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September, 2010

The 10 Greatest TUF Winner Fails of All Time

Dan Henderson Michael Bisping
(Where’s your glass trophy now, playboy? Props: thesun.co.uk)

By CagePotato contributor Jim Genia

In a perfect world, The Ultimate Fighter would give us an up close and personal look at some of the most promising mixed martial artists out there, vying for greatness in the crucible of combat. But in reality, it’s become a perversion of manufactured drama and prefabricated stars — stars made bright not by the depth of the competition they must face but by the trouncing of whatever hapless wannabes a SpikeTV producer chose at the tryouts. You see, it stopped being about “who’s the best” a long time ago, and was twisted into “who makes for the best TV,” so what we get now is more Jersey Shore than Ultimate Fighting Championship, only instead of Snooki and JWoww’s cleavage we get an IFL champ or Sengoku veteran beating the ever-loving crap out of people with maybe a handful (if that) of fights.

That’s why, when a TUF winner loses in Octagon — sometimes after facing real UFC-level competition for the first time — it’s totally awesome! Because, sure, Michael Bisping, Joe Stevenson and Mac Danzig are tough, likeable guys, but don’t try to fool us into thinking they’re the definition of “badass” just because they defeated a personal trainer from New Orleans, a boxer from Maine and some kid who should be working on a farm. We’re not the ignorant general public flicking through the channels, we’re knowledgeable MMA fans. We know better!

Therefore, here, in no particular order, is a list of the ten greatest TUF winner fails of all time. It’s a list based not on animosity towards any particular fighter, but on animosity towards the Spike TV executive who skipped over the few hundred fighter hopefuls with real talent and real skill, and instead chose the clown with the funky hair, the drinking problem and the propensity for trashing houses…

Michael Bisping vs. Dan Henderson, UFC 100
British fighter Michael Bisping was a stud in the UK MMA scene (which is a lot like saying you’re a gold medalist in the Special Olympics) when he got the call to compete on TUF, and he took Season 3 top honors after beating, well, pretty much no one of note. But he continued to rack up wins on the pay-per-views, defeating such marginables as Elvis Sinosic, Charles McCarthy and Jason Day. However, TUF 9 saw him pitted against Dan Henderson as an opposing coach, and we were supposed to believe the inevitable Octagon conflict between them would be competitive. It wasn’t, and fans everywhere rejoiced over a knockout so devastating Bisping has no recollection of anything to do with the weekend of July 11, 2009 and about nine days before and after.

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Here’s a Crazy Idea: Maybe the UFC Should Test Fighters for Steroids, HGH


(Whatever could have been done to prevent this terrible tragedy?!? PicProps: Fightertrends.com)

One of the more interesting side effects of the report this week that Chael Sonnen’s urine tested way, way too manly at UFC 117 is that pretty much everybody in the industry got the chance to weigh in on MMA’s “steroid problem.” From Bloody Elbow’s suggestion that the sport just “accept” steroids in order to regulate them to Kevin Iole’s idea that promoters start funneling money to state athletic commissions for better testing to Bas Rutten saying he’s “blown away” that guys continue to look for unfair advantages, nearly everyone old enough to have a Twitter account tossed out an opinion.

For his part, Dana White told Iole that the UFC already shells out “literally millions of dollars a year to try to prevent the steroid problem” and the promotion brings in DEA officials to “speak to the fighters about the ramification of performance enhancing drugs” at its annual fighter summit. Iole writes that White was “exasperated” to learn over the weekend that Sonnen had tested positive and Big DW sounds downright at-his-wits-end when he moans: “What else do I do?” during the article.

Hey, I’m glad he asked. What the UFC should do about steroids in MMA is actually incredibly simple (Spoiler alert: It’s not spend “literal millions” to hold an annual summit where fighters get a stern lecture) …

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Dana White Confirms Our Hunch; Belfort vs. Silva is Official

UFC president Dana White today proved our sneaking suspicion that Vitor Belfort being dropped from his UFC 122 bout with Yushin Okami had little to do with him being injured, as was originally incorrectly reported by MMAWeekly, and a lot to do with Chael Sonnen being unable to face Anderson Silva at the UFC’s planned NYE show.

Although White didn’t tweet a date for the eventual showdown, the CP magic 8-ball points to the January 1 UFC 125 card that Sonnen was scheduled to face Silva on.

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Batshit Crazy Neo-Nazi MMA Fighter Vyacheslav Datsik Arrested in Norway


(Alleged footage of Datsik taking time to train after his escape – via YouTube)

Well, it looks like we won’t get to see the freak show fight of the year we were all looking forward to as Vyacheslav Datsik’s time on the lam has come to an unceremonious and uneventful end.

The Nazi-Russian MMA fighter who has been behind bars since 2007 for uttering death threats and a string of armed cell phone store robberies, and who escaped from a St. Petersberg, Russia mental hospital nearly a month ago by tearing through a chain link fence with his bare hands, has been arrested in Norway. 

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Wednesday Morning MMA Link Club


(Joey Beltran predicts a slugfest against Matt Mitrione during the UFC 119 Spike TV Prelims, and explains the origin of his "Mexecutioner" nickname. Props: FightMagazine)

Some selected highlights from our friends around the MMA blogosphere. E-mail feedback@cagepotato.com for details on how your site can join the MMA Link Club…

– CSAC’s George Dodd Explains Why Chael Sonnen Was Allowed to Compete at UFC 117 (MMA Fighting)

– Chael Sonnen Plans To Appeal Drug Test + Jim Rome’s Take On Sonnen (MMA Convert)

– UFC 119: Frank Mir’s Last Run At Heavyweight Title? (Heavy.com/MMA)

– Dunham, Sherk Headed in Different Directions Leading Up to UFC 119 (Versus MMA Beat)

– This Is What Google Says About Your Favorite Fighter (MiddleEasy)

– Snowman’s Land: Jeff Monson Discusses Next Fight in Israel, Drop to Light-Heavyweight (LowKick)

– The Best Rafael "Feijao" Cavalcante Highlight Reel Ever (MMA Scraps)

- Understanding Why Chael Sonnen Failed His UFC 117 Drug Test; a Procedural Look (Watch Kalib Run)

– Bas Rutten Comments on Steroid Use in Mixed Martial Arts (Five Ounces of Pain)

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Reports: Vitor Belfort Out of UFC 122 Fight With Yushin Okami; Marquardt to Replace

Vitor Belfort UFC MMA
("We gotta take it again, guys. Some dumb jackass wandered into the shot and wasn’t fist-posing." Photo courtesy of CombatLifestyle.com)

When it comes to the UFC’s middleweight division, we expect chaos, bro, every day. Just two days after Vitor Belfort vs. Yushin Okami was announced as a #1 contender’s match for UFC 122, new reports claim that Belfort has been forced to pull out of the match, and will be replaced by fellow top contender Nate Marquardt, who defeated Rousimar Palhares via TKO (stupidity) last week at UFC Fight Night 22. Due to the shoulder injury that benched Belfort for the better part of this year, the former light-heavyweight champ hasn’t competed since his UFC return fight against Rich Franklin at UFC 103.

Adding an odd wrinkle to this story is Belfort’s trainer Shawn Tompkins, who semi-responded to the reports on Facebook late last night, writing, "you will recieve Vitor Belfort news very soon…All I can tell you as his coach is that he is 100% healthy." Belfort might be physically sound, but that doesn’t mean he’s not withdrawing from the event for other reasons. Could the UFC be promoting him to an immediate title shot at UFC 125 in Chael Sonnen‘s place? We’ll update you when we know more…

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Werdum Aiming For March Strikeforce Return; Wants Fedor or Overeem and Not Barnett

 
(Barnett? Yeah, right. You saw what he did to Affliction, didn’t you?)

Fabricio Werdum revealed to Sherdog today that he is targeting March for his return to the  Hexagontm, but says newly-signed Strikeforce heavyweight Josh Barnett isn’t on his radar for his first or second fight back.

"The surgery was such a success and I’ve been working so hard with the physical therapy that I’ve already made some movement on the ground a few days ago using 70 percent of my power…I believe that by March, I’ll be back to the ring…My goal now is either a rematch with Fedor or (one) with Overeem for the belt," he said. "But actually the most important thing for me is not who they will choose, but that my body is 100 percent recovered, so I can show to the ones who thought I was lucky that I was actually ready and pretty well-trained to fight Fedor.”

According to Werdum, it’s not that he thinks "The Babyfaced Assassin" is any less of an opponent than "The Last Emperor" or "The Demolition Man," it’s that he hasn’t thought about fighting him at all.

"I thought it was a great acquisition to the event," Werdum explained. "Barnett is a really tough heavyweight. I haven’t thought about facing him yet."

Translation: "I’m waiting to see if Strikeforce is still around after I fight both of those guys and if I get an invite to return to the UFC before I commit to a fight with Josh."

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Gambling Addiction Enabler: UFC 119 Edition

UFC 119 poster Mir Cro Cop Nogueira Bader Indianapolis

After an unsuccessful stint in rehab, the Gambling Addiction Enabler has returned to do what it does best — make large, ill-advised wagers simply for the thrill of gambling. We’re not saying you should follow our betting advice, necessarily, but there are plenty of opportunities to beat the bookies at UFC 119, which goes down this Satuday in Indianapolis. The betting lines are below, courtesy of bestfightodds.com. If you can’t afford to waste real money, please hit up MMA FightPicker and throw down some virtual PotatoChips on the fights. And if you don’t know what these numbers mean, please read this first.

MAIN CARD
Frank Mir (-220) vs. Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic (+215)
Ryan Bader (-165) vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (+155)
Chris Lytle (-125) vs. Matt Serra (+120)
Evan Dunham (-204) vs. Sean Sherk (+190)
Melvin Guillard (-150) vs. Jeremy Stephens (+140)

SPIKE TV PRELIMS
CB Dollaway (-295) vs. Joe Doerksen (+270)
Matt Mitrione (-140) vs. Joey Beltran (+136)

UNAIRED PRELIMS
Thiago Tavares (-290) vs. Pat Audinwood (+240)
Steve Lopez (-115) vs. Waylon Lowe (-115)
T.J. Grant (-150) vs. Julio Paulino (+145)
Mark Hunt (-215) vs. Sean McCorkle (+200)

And away we go…

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Butterbean Has Now Officially Proven He Has No Clue About MMA


(Video courtesy YouTube/rattsnakeratt)

Having watched quite a few of Eric "Butterbean" Esch‘s MMA fights over the years, purely for the comedic value, I’ve taken to calling him "Turtle," because every time he got on his back he was fucked. 

Despite joining American Top Team — a camp known as much for its high-level Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belts as it is for it’s dangerous strikers, Esch has done very little to round out his game in his nearly seven years in the sport. He’s basically just an older, fatter version of the hard-punching jobber he was in boxing.

So when he says things like "Mariusz Pudzianowski is going to be the best heavyweight in the world in two years," his opinion doesn’t hold much water.

He could be trying to talk up the terrible showing he had against The World’s Strongest Man" last weekend in Poland in a first round TKO loss that looked suspiciously like a WWE work, but if Turtle Butterbean truly believes that Mariusz will be the next Fedor or Brock, Moosin might want to reconsider having him as its spokesperson.

"He’s learning very much. He’s come a long way. In two years, I don’t think there would be anybody out there that would be able to compete with Mariusz. So, Poland, they might have to wait two years to have the best MMA man out there. But it’s coming. He’s learning very, very fast," Esch said in an interview after his KSW bout last weekend. "He’s a very smart man. He’s not stupid. He’s very smart. I’ve never said anything bad about Mario, other than he punches like a girl. But he’s a very smart man, very nice, very strong. Two years he’ll be unbeatable."

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Harbinger of Doom Alert: Barnett Still Talking About Fighting Fedor


(C’mon, what’s the worst that could happen? PicProps: MMA Gear Guide)

If you’re Strikeforce, this ought to make you pretty nervous. I mean, the last time Josh Barnett started angling toward a fight with Fedor Emelianenko it spelled the beginning of the end for the previous group of jokers who tried to take on the UFC. Nonetheless, the heavyweight fighter the fans love to hate went on MMA Weekly radio this week and said he still intends to make a fight with Emelianenko come to fruition, assumedly inside the Strikeforce cage.

"I’m sure it will happen at some point,” Barnett said during the on-air appearance. “And it will be just as amazing, at least for me anyways, as it would have been."

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