Either Dana White made it his New Year’s resolution this year to not attack rival promotions or he saw the figures from Saturday night’s Strikeforce event — either way, he actually compliments Scott Coker and co. and their planned heavyweight grand prix in this interview with Fighters.com.
The UFC president has remained conspicuously silent on the subject and it was somewhat surprising that neither Kevin Iole or Ariel Helwani were the first to report The Baldfather’s feelings about Strikeforce’s eight-man tournament.
Here’s what he had to say:
"No, [I do] not [feel that the grand prix is competition for the UFC] at all. You know how I feel about Strikeforce and the smaller leagues. Listen, putting on a heavyweight tournament that’s going to draw some interest for those guys and then they end up with someone at the end who is perceived as one of the top guys – I love that shit… love it. I honestly havent thought about it all, but good for them."
("Guess who can afford a new car now motherfuckers?")
The California State Athletic Commission released the salary, attendance and live gate figures today for last weekend’s Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Cyborg event that was held at the HP Pavilion in San Jose Saturday night.
Topping the list of money earners for the event was Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz who made $150,000 followed by middleweight champ Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza who earned $85,000. The pair took home a combined $235,000 — more than half of the disclosed $463,500 payroll for the show, whose live gate amounted to $533,214.50.
Attendance for the show topped off at 9,059, with 8,817 of those being paid attendees and 231 who received comped tickets from the promotion.
("When you put your focus on one thing, you tend not to focus on the journey. Once you get there, it’s not going to be as big of a deal as you thought it was going to be.")
This Saturday, Rich Franklin will step into the Octagon for the 18th time to face Forrest Griffin in the co-headlining feature of UFC 126. During his 12-year career, Ace has experienced everything from championship glory to bitter defeat, and now stands as one of the sport’s most revered statesmen. “I think that what people will remember me for is that I’m a tough competitor who’s put on entertaining fights for the fans all these years," Franklin tells CagePotato. "And I’m happy with that kind of legacy.”
Rich was generous enough to give us some phone-time recently, and instead of asking him about his gameplan for Forrest, we discussed Franklin’s career as a whole, from the moment he decided to pursue MMA as a full-time job, to the fight that changed his life, to every other notable moment that helped forge the fighter he is today. Let’s begin…
The Early Days, 1993-1999 Rich Franklin: “I started training in traditional martial arts in 1993, then I saw the first couple UFCs and started doing some jiu-jitsu. I was training at a Royce Gracie chapter here in Cincinnati, and the guy who was leading my class was a blue belt. By today’s standards, if the best you had in your area was a blue belt, you’d be way behind the times, but in 1994 it was a big deal to have that kind of a resource. So I was doing jiu-jitsu, working with kickboxing coaches, and of course I’d been watching the UFC, learning off instructional tapes and all those kinds of things.
I started fighting at these little local amateur shows out in Richmond, Indiana, and clearly at that point in time, I was just light-years ahead of the competition that was showing up at the event. The promoter told me, ‘These are amateur events, I don’t really have anybody for you to fight.’ But there was a gentleman there who said, ‘You know what, I run a pro show, and I’ll pay you to fight." And he offered me 200 bucks. I was like, ‘Wow, I can make money fighting? This is great. I’m gonna make 200 bucks." I was bankin’.
RICH FRANKLIN (5-0) vs. AARON BRINK (7-4) — Franklin’s first regional title fight IFC: Warriors Challenge 11, 1/13/01 Result: No contest due to accidental injury, after Brink’s leg slipped through the cage.
Alan Belcher has been hinting for a while with tweets like the one above that he will soon be returning to the UFC.
"The Talent" has been sidelined since sustaining a career-threatening partially detached retina last summer while training for his UFN 22 bout with Demian Maia, but according to one of his Remix MMA students he has been given the OK by his eye specialist to compete once again and is eyeing (no pun intended) a May or June return to the Octagon.
Here’s what amateur fighter Rodney Derouen said about the situation on MixedMartialArts.com’s Underground forum today:
A Maia redo or a scrap with Bisping both sound good to me. Discuss.
No reason for the change was given, though MMA Junkie quotes PR spokesperson Mike Afromowitz saying (in fairly typical Strikeforce fashion) that “the matchup had never been signed in the first place.” In any case, it appears to complete a four-fight card for the cleverly named “Strikeforce: Columbus,” and essentially leaves Miller without a date. Interesting (but probably coincidence) that this switch goes down less than 48 hours after middleweight champion Jacare Souza successfully defended his crown against Robbie Lawler and longtime Miller crush object Nick Diaz stretched Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos to retain his welterweight belt. Wild speculation, anyone?
The big question mark whenever Vitor Belfort’s doubters talk about how successful the Brazilian powerhouse will be in upcoming bouts like his middleweight championship tilt with Anderson Silva on Saturday night at UFC 126 is where his head’s at.
When his sister Priscilla was kidnapped in 2004 in the week prior to his UFC 46 championship bout with Randy Couture, "The Phenom" admitted that the situation was weighing heavily on his mind. Because he spoke openly about the emotional effect loing her had on him, many assume that he never really got over the ordeal even after her kidnappers substantiated fears that Priscilla was dead, confessing in 2007 to her killing.
Subsequently, most of Belfort’s detractors chalk his eight MMA losses up to him being mentally fragile, even though they all came against present and future champions and only two were via stoppage. If being beaten by Chuck Liddell, Alistair Overeem, Randy Couture and Dan Henderson in their prime makes you a mental midget then guys like Rich Franklin and Wanderlei Silva must be psychologically retarded as well.
After suffering a first-round knockout at the hands of Mac Danzig at UFC 124, Joe Stevenson is once again riding back-to-back losses, and in desperate need of a victory. While a few UFC fighters (including Danzig himself) have been able to drop three straight without losing their jobs, it’s just not something you’d want to leave to chance these days.
According to MMA Mania, "Joe Daddy" will return at UFC on Versus 3 (March 3rd; Louisville, KY) where he’ll face former WEC lightweight contender Danny "Last Call" Castillo. With an overall record of 10-3, Castillo has eaten stoppage losses against Donald Cerrone, Shane Roller, and Anthony Pettis. But after defeating Dustin Poirier and Will Kerr in his two most recent fights, he’ll be coming into his next bout with some momentum. It’s one of those "nothing to lose, everything to gain" situations for the Team Alpha Male member, who is looking to make a dramatic entrance in the UFC. As for Stevenson? Well, he’d better not lose this one.
(Well, that’s what you get for leaving it in the hands of the judges.)
Friends, Romans, CagePotatoans, lend me your ears. We’re all familiar with the UFC’s famous gladiator introduction. And if you’re familiar with it, you probably want them to change it. Guess what? It ain’t happening. Dana White (along with most Americans) is fascinated by that era of Roman history and its various dramatic representations, be it in the movie Spartacus, HBO’s Rome or the upcoming movie The Eagle. One can’t help but be infatuated with their tales of valor, violence, and debauchery. We can all go peruse Wikipedia and learn about the roots of MMA in pankration, so there’s no need for us to delve into its lineage and bore you.
Let’s take a quick look at gladiators. Many of them were slaves or prisoners condemned to fight, though there are some who volunteered for the job. While most gladiators’ non-fighting lives were rife with pain and sorrow — I mean, they were slaves after all — stepping into the arena was seen as a blessing, a chance to showcase their skills, a place to hear the cheers of the crowd and the love of the people. Some gladiators were as popular in the arena as the Senators themselves. While outsiders saw combat as barbaric and violent, it was a necessary evil to the combatants in order to attain glory.
For the gladiator, it wasn’t always about winning or losing, though losing could prove to be fatal; it was also about getting the crowd behind you. Most people aren’t aware that many gladiatorial contests were worked (like wrasslin’) in order to garner fan support. Look at it like Chris Lytle making a deal to try and win Fight of the Night. If you fought valiantly, the crowd cheered — unless you kept losing. We’ve all seen that “thumbs up or thumbs down” scene in Gladiator; well that wasn’t exactly accurate, but it wasn’t too far off from the truth. Your life was potentially in the hands of the official over the games and if they weren’t entertained, you died.
Monica and Mercedes have enjoyed the vacation. PicProps: Bellator.com
In all this talk of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix and subsequent rumors of a Lightweight Grand Prix, it seems that some of us are forgetting about the promotion that put on *seven* tournaments last year, without once sucking their own dicks about how awesome they were to pull it off. Well, Bjorn Rebney and company are returning to the airwaves new and improved on March 5th with a new slate of tournaments, and CagePotato wants to keep you abreast of developments. Because we care, Potato Nation, because we care.
Probably the deepest and most talented division in Bellator, eight fighters are entered in the third tournament at 170 pounds. The field is already set, and packed with stars and standouts competing for a large check (see what we did there?) and a date with current welterweight kingpin “Funky” Ben Askren. A full list of the competitors and some highlight vids are after the jump, so now you can discuss the tournament intelligently, should it come up on the golf course or at the dinner table. You’re welcome.
(It’s a Nor-Cal thing. Or something. VidProps: MMA Fighting)
In successfully defending his welterweight title on Saturday night, Nick Diaz underscored exactly why he is Strikeforce’s most compelling and valuable property. Diaz possesses the total promotional package — the stand-up, the grappling, the trash talk, the antisocial personality disorder – and at this point it’s clear that Scott Coker needs his blend of credibility, charisma and troubled-foster-kid charm more than almost anyone else on the SF roster. We give him a lot of shit on this website (almost all of which he richly deserves) but after his command performance against Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos in this weekend’s main event, it was impossible not to come away with a greater appreciation for the wonderful train wreck that is Diaz.
From his recent conference call outburst to his shellacking of a game Cyborg to the fact that when the fight was over Diaz couldn’t wait to walk to the side of the cage, flip off some random hecklers in the crowd and call them “fucking bitches,” it was a pleasure to watch him work. There’s just something about this guy: We can’t take our eyes off him and yet as the video at top proves, it would be totally insufferable to actually be around him for longer than five minutes. In that way he’s kind of like a bizarre, badass Milla Jovovich.
Here we are with Strikeforce’s first major event of the 2011, or as we like to call it, their first shot at fucking up the good things they did last year.
Although rumor has it Gus Johnson won’t be in the broadcast booth tonight, he promises that he’ll bring his MMA-retarded rhetoric back in time for the first round of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix in February, despite the fact that HDNet has announced Michael Shiavello and Bas Rutten will be added to the announce team — at least for the prelims.
With no GuJo to screw up the broadcast and no feuds brewing between the Diaz’s and opponents they’ll likely never face, there’s a pretty good chance that this event could go off with out a hitch. The only thing that could knock this ship off course would be for Cyborg to upset Diaz and for Lawler to knock out Jacare.
And for the record, we WANTStrikeforce to succeed more than we want to see Justin Bieber fall down a flight of stairs, it’s just that they haven’t exactly given us a lot of indicators that they’re ready to go head-to-head with Zuffa’s Evil Empire (Just kidding, Dana. Ben doesn’t want to get fucked again.)
Let’s get this thing going. Spoilers after the jump. Refresh often.
“Sometimes I’ll call Cesar, but on that occasion I didn’t call Cesar and I let my guys handle it, and it was really close,” Coker said. “I thought it was going to happen, but at the last minute it fell apart. I know weight was definitely one of the issues. The weight they say, ‘Oh it’s only two pounds, three pounds,’ but you know what? When you’re two or three percent body fat, five percent body fat, there’s just not a lot to lose and we just couldn’t bridge the gap. In the future, I’d still like to put that fight together because I think they have some unfinished business with that match-up.”
Tim Sylvia showed up at Titan Fighting Championships on Friday night looking very much like a 311-pound man who knew he had to get this over with in a hurry. Unfortunately for the rotund former UFC champ, Abe Wagner had the same idea. Both guys came out of their corners throwing heavy leather and it was Wagner – a +355 underdog despite appearing to have trained at least one day for this bout – who got to Sylvia first. He clipped the “Maine-iac” with a right hand above the eye in the early going and drove him across the cage flurrying punches (that mostly missed) before Sylvia ran out of real estate on the other side. There he was felled like a giant, flabby redwood by a left to the jaw and another right. When referee Jason Herzog jumped in to call a stop to the action, then hesitated, Wagner responded exactly as a fighter should in that circumstance: He walked away and started celebrating, creating such an awkward situation that Herzog had no choice but to wave things off.
Sylvia tried to protest the stoppage, but you could tell he was on wobbly legs. And not just because they were covered in cellulite, either. The end came in just 32 seconds which – to answer Michael Schiavello and Frank Trigg’s question – is four seconds fewer than it took Fedor to topple Sylvia. The current part-time cop said prior to this bout that he believes police work will “help fill the void” when the time comes for him to retire from MMA. That time may be now. Fill the void, Tim. Fill it with something besides ice cream sandwiches.
"Not sure who I should send this to, but I thought you would like to see a video from an MMA seminar I went to this past weekend in Charleston, WV. Wandy was in attendance and after demonstrating various techniques, he began sparring with individuals. This was all going pretty well, being that most people understood that he was an animal and respected that at any moment he could destroy their ability to operate their limbs. That is, until a young upstart at the age of 16 chose to show off in front of everyone. It turned out less than favorable for him…Enjoy."
That 16-year-old kid is lucky to be alive after disrespecting Master Silva with his insolent turning side kick. The ensuing bear-slap is pretty epic, and you gotta love how the entire class groans when the kid starts into his Royce Gracie-style heel-chops at the 0:37 mark. I think everyone there learned a valuable lesson at that seminar — when Wanderlei Silva asks you to spar with him, don’t. A reverse angle of the video is after the jump.
(Hmm..Guess they ran out of space for Cyborg and Gracie on the poster.)
Saturday’s Strikeforce event is the promotion’s first non-Challengers event of 2011. Unfortunately, it’s been toiling in the shadows of the much-anticipated Heavyweight Grand Prix and hasn’t received much in the way of coverage. There are quite a few reasons to tune in this weekend.
Here are five big ones.
Herschel Walker, Genetic Freak Though only a novice in the game of mixed martial arts, Hershel Walker is no stranger to high levels of competition. His athletic accolades read like a novel. College football Heisman trophy winner, All-Pro NFL running back, track and field star, black belt in Tae Kwon Do, Olympic bobsledder. Yes, Olympic bobsledder. And after all of this, Walker decides to throw his hat into the cage and try MMA. Did I mention he’s 48? Now, in MMA that may not seem special as we have our own version of a 48-year old wonder in Randy Couture, but Couture looks every year of 48. Walker, on the other hand, could pass for a man in his early 30s and has the physique that men in their athletic primes dream to attain. Herschel Walker, at 48, might be the greatest physical specimen to step foot in an MMA ring or cage…ever.
(Apologies if the vid takes awhile to load. You try squeezing all of Walker’s BS in to a simple embed code. VidProps: Shoot Media)
We’ve been pretty studiously ignoring Herschel Walker since his bout with Scott Carson got postponed back in November. Somewhere along the way we just got tired of the guy’s running patter. Even last week when the mainstream media grabbed hold of his offhand comment about trying to make a comeback to the NFL when he turns 50 and trumpeted it from the rooftops like it was some kind of actual news, we turned a deaf ear. For our money, 48-year-old dude wants to fight? No big deal. He’s semi-famous, so we gotta put him on the main card? We get it. For real though, the fact that Strikeforce has to go out and sign no-name opponents for the express purpose of getting beat up by Herschel Walker in 220-pound catchweight fights pretty much says it all about the legitimacy of his MMA career.
However, this latest video from the good people at Shoot Media – who in all honesty do pretty great work – sparked our interest. Mostly because it successfully falls in line with the standard Rich-Athlete-Makes-Sacrifices-to-Pursue-his-True-Passion clichés while still giving us a nod and a wink about what an odd, odd man we’re dealing with here. Among other dubious claims made in this vid, Walker says he was just a fat kid with a speech impediment from small town Georgia that no one thought would amount to squat. You know, until it turned out he was one of the greatest natural athletes of all time, rushed for over 3,000 yards in high school, became a national prep scholar-athlete of the year and went on to become maybe the greatest college running back in history. Still, those early years were pretty touch-and-go.
(Despite not being able to afford a shirt, JZ remains upbeat about the situation.)
When you’re a fighter and your income is dependant on how often you fight, it’s understandable that you might get a bit upset when your employer, without explanation, keeps you out of work for an extended period of time.
"JZ" has been sitting on the sidelines waiting since October for Strikeforce to call to tell him when he would be fighting next. Unfortunately for the American Top Team lightweight his phone has been silent the past three months so he decided to take matters into his own hands and contacted the San Jose-based promotion to see what was up.
Not surprisingly, he was given the runaround.
“I’m basically in the dark. I wanted to fight on either the December or January Strikeforce card. I was told they were full, so I was told I’d be fighting in the February show," JZ, who signed a four-fight deal with SF prior to his last fight explains. "That got full, so I heard March would be it. But that’s coming up quickly. I don’t know when or who I’m fighting.
In case your Brock Lesnar and Georges St. Pierre Fatheads need company, Arianny Celeste is now selling a "Super Lifesized Wallsticker" on her store page. For just $49.99, a 5’7" two-dimensional representation of the UFC Octagon Girl can be yours to slap onto any flat surface. Check out that first thumbnail image, in which the Arianny wallsticker is displayed in what appears to be an Ikea model-bedroom — so unlike any bedroom that this sticker would actually be displayed in. Where are the bags of Cheetos? The TapouT-brand bed-sheets? The bottle of hand lotion on the end-table? A little truth in advertising would be nice, that’s all I’m saying…
We can’t seem to find full weigh-in results for the event, but we will say that Abe Wagner is looking mad beefy, and appears to be a hell of a lot more serious about the whole thing than his "aw fuck it" opponent. The Titan FC 16 main card will be broadcast on HDNet tonight at 10 p.m. ET. The full lineup — which also features UFC vets Rich Clementi, Drew McFedries, and Jason High — is after the jump…
(If it were any man other than Bas, he’d be getting a punch in the mouth.)
Undefeated in the past four years, at 13-1 Ryan Jimmo is one of Canada’s most promising MMA prospects.
The Big Deal is in the thick of training camp for a championship bout with fellow Canadian Dwayne Lewis at MFC 28 on February 25 in Edmonton Alberta and has offered to write about his preparations for the biggest fight of his career via a weekly training blog published every week leading up to the fight here at CagePotato.com.
“People like to think they are experts on things they think they know,” Kharitonov says. “I beat Alistair (Overeem) and (Fabricio) Werdum and (accomplished) that at a time when my stand-up skills were not 25 percent (of) what (they are) now. You do the math.”
In fact, the Russian-paratrooper-turned-Golden-Glory-kickboxer says a bunch of totally badass stuff to Tapology. Stuff that only becomes more badass when you imagine him saying it in monotone, heavily-accented English like a certain 1980s movie villain we could mention. Case-in-point, Kharitonov’s message for first-round opponent Andrei Arlovski: “I will break you.” That’s right, he said it.
(A few of the victims who felt the wrath of Fight for the Troops II.)
Here we are five days out from last weekend’s Fight for the Troops II show and word has begun trickling out about the statuses of a few of the fighters on the card.
The Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation announced on Tuesday that it had suspended five fighters who fought at the event held at the Fort Hood military base in Killeen, Texas.
Williamy Freire (out indefinitely for right hand and right cheek injuries) Matt Mitrione (out indefinitely for a broken second metacarpal on his left hand) Tim Hague (out until February 22 as precaution due to TKO), George Roop (out until February 22 as precaution due to TKO) and Evan Dunham (out until February 22 as precaution due to TKO) were all handed down suspensions this week.
Couple things you need to know about this Elite1 MMA promotion that will reportedly give ancient old man Dan Severn a chance to win its heavyweight title this Saturday night at a casino in Moncton, New Brunswick (that’s in Canada): First, current champ Scott Fraser is just 3-1 and two of those wins come over the same guy – an apparent light heavyweight named Dan Fowler, who is 2-3 overall but was a respectable 2-1 the first time he and Fraser fought. The other guy Fraser beat? One Jeff “Viking” Lundburg, who is currently 1-7 and riding a four-fight losing streak. Don’t tell Justin Wren about this, you guys. For the record, that gives Severn (listed at 96-16-7, by Sherdog) an experience edge of 115 fights over Fraser.
The second thing you need to know about Elite1 MMA? A cool $40 (Canadian) will get you in the door, so if you live anywhere in the greater Northumberland Straight-area, you might as well check it out. Severn, who’s been averaging a half-dozen fights per year since 1994, is in the midst of a seven fight win-streak and has won 18-of-his-last-20, all over no-name dudes at smaller shows. His last six bouts were all fought under the King of the Cage banner, so they probably weren’t even fixed. Probably.
Fun fact: According to the Dog’s fight finder, in 119 fights Severn has only been knocked out once. Top that, Couture.
(Actually, make that the "9 MMA Fights That Were Over Before They Started.")
Your average Mixed Martial Artist devotes three months of his life to preparing for a fight. That’s ninety days of rigorous training and dieting; ninety days of mental preparation and time spent away from friends and family. That great sacrifice becomes worthwhile the moment the bell rings and he gets to show the world what ninety days of commitment can bring. There are few better ways of displaying your hard work than to shut down your opponent in theblink of an eye. After months of speculation, hype, and anticipation, you could say that such fights were over before they even began. You could say that, but you’d be wrong. That ignoble distinction belongs to a whole other category of fights. Fights that didn’t end with a winner and a loser. Fights that didn’t make the sacrifice of training worthwhile. Fights that were truly over before they began.
("On our way in here, we totally walked under a ladder. Anybody got an umbrella? Pop that shit open." PicProps: Us.)
In other sports, they have rules about this kind of thing. In baseball, dude has a perfect game going, you’re not allowed to go anywhere near him in the dugout, let alone fuck around and say some dumb shit like, “Hey, Nolan! I sure hope you can close out this perfect game!” In football, whenever you hear a play-by-play announcer say something about how a kicker hasn’t missed a field goal all year, well, you pretty much know what’s coming next, right? In MMA these rules seemingly don’t apply, as manager Ed Soares made a recent appearance on MMA Weekly radio and spoke with an apparent disregard for Anderson Silva’s current 12-fight win-streak in the Octagon, and 13 consecutive victories overall.
“In a perfect world, I’d like to see Anderson retire going undefeated in the UFC,” Soares said. “If I could have my perfect world, that’s what I would love to see.”
If you didn’t believe us when we told you that Tim Sylvia is a part-time cop in Illinois, maybe the ride-along video above will convince you.
Notice that the department made Big Tim shave off his goatee and those trademark mutton chops — not because they have a dress code, just because they thought he looked ridiculous. Rumor has it they eventually made him stop wearing his Powerhouse World Promotions heavyweight strap while on duty, too.
The former UFC heavyweight champ’s worries that nobody would recognize him were soon squashed.
"I”ve been recognized a few times pulling guys over," he explains. "Some guys when I pull up and ask for their license, registration, insurance, they’re like, ‘Are you Tim Sylvia?’ and I’m like, ‘Yeah.’ ‘That’s cool, man. I just got pulled over by Tim Sylvia,’ and I’m like, ‘Well, be safe, slow down and have a good day.’"
Our video reporter at large, Sal Mora recently caught up with former UFC light heavyweight standout Keith Jardine at his recently opened Mean1 MMA & Fitness gym in Albuquerque, NM and broached a number of topics with "The Dean of Mean."
Jardine gave us the scoop on what went down in the Dominican Republic during the nightmare Nemesis Fighting show on December 11 and also outlined his goals for 2011, which include stringing together a few solid wins and making his way back to the UFC. He recently helped establish PaytheFighters.com, a not-for-profit website whose purpose is to raise money to pay all of the short changed fighters on the Nemesis card.
A 30-second look at Wren’s personal internet photo stream and/or his new website tells us he’s not kidding around about this Viking shit. There’s a picture of him on there in a helmet and animal pelts, carrying a warhammer and a battle axe and (possibly) wearing white jeans. White jeans, dude. Anyway, after the jump you can read Wren’s first-person account of slaying the pig. We have to warn you that it includes phrases like “waterfall of steaming hot blood” and “seeing it’s beating heart (and) stabbing it” so, you know, do so at your own risk.
"Every guy I fight, I create just this monster out of him,” Schaub says. “It doesn’t matter who it is – (Chris) Tuchscherer, Chase Gormley – I just make them into these nightmares. It makes me train harder and makes me so much sharper in the cage. It gets me focused."