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January, 2011

Dana White is Surprisingly Complimentary of Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix

(Video courtesy YouTube/currierj21)

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

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."


Strikeforce Diaz vs. Cyborg Attendance, Live Gate and Salaries

("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.


Rich Franklin: The CagePotato Retrospective Interview

Rich Franklin UFC MMA photos
("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.


According to Teammate, Alan Belcher Given Medical Clearance to Fight; Expects to Return to the Octagon by Summer

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’s Underground forum today:

A Maia redo or a scrap with Bisping both sound good to me. Discuss.


Switcheroo Alert: Kennedy to Fight Rockhold; ‘Mayhem’ Without Opponent for March

("Hey, I thought you guys said you would call me if you were gonna do anything tonight." PicProps: Fighters Only)

Well, this is only going to fuel more speculation about you know what. As Strikeforce moves to finalize its March 5 card in Columbus (tickets go on sale tomorrow, y’all), the recently postponed rubber match between Jason “Mayhem” Miller and Tim Kennedy has been scrapped entirely, at least for the immediate future. Instead, Kennedy will fight Luke Rockhold, the company announced on Monday via press release. That’s at least some compensation for an already pissed off Kennedy, who went public recently with a list of fighters he said had turned down bouts with him and his complaints that Strikeforce was leaving him to die on the vine from sheer inactivity.

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?


Vitor Belfort Says Despite Opinions to the Contrary, His Troubled Past Will Not Affect His Fighting Future

(Video courtesy YouTube/SNETCF)

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.


Joe Stevenson’s Last-Chance Fight Will Be Against Danny Castillo

(Vidprops: teezme420)

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.

Semi-related: Despite dropping an unexpected decision to Rani Yahya on the preliminary card of UFC Fight for the Troops 2, former featherweight champion Mike Brown will be getting another shot in the Octagon. Brown’s most recent loss was his fourth in his last six outings.


‘Modern Warriors’: The MMA/Gladiator Connection

gladiators gladiator roman ancient art painting drawing mma
(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.


Bellator News Weekly: Welterweight Grand Prix-view

Monica and Mercedes have enjoyed the vacation.     PicProps:

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.


‘Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Cyborg’ Aftermath: Oh, Nick Diaz, You So Crazy

(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.