(Photo courtesy of Playboy. See the full gallery after the jump.)
Props (as usual) to BabesofMMA for turning us on to Iryna Ivanova, a Ukrainian model who now makes her home in Tuscon, Arizona. The 22-year-old is a ring girl for the Arizona-based World Fighting Federation MMA promotion, and has landed a coveted spot as Playboy‘s “Playmate of the Month” for August 2011. (Seriously. Pick up the issue right now.) Iryna is also a grad student in psychology, and is obsessed with guacamole and Starbucks. Follow her life on Twitter, and check out more great Iryna Ivanova photos in our gallery below…
You would think that given the embarrassing loss he was handed by Randy Couture and the fact that he’s now set to fight Ken Shamrock in his return MMA bout, that James Toney would keep the names of UFC champions outta his mush mouth.
Apparently “Lights Out” done lost his mind on top of his language skills and is now calling out Rampage. James, Dana isn’t going to pay you a million again to throw a handful of jabs and flop around like a fish on your back until you tap out. The experiment is over just like the Kimbo experiment and just like the *sniff* PRIDE experiment. Deal with it.
I first met Shawn Tompkins six years ago while I was working for The Fight Network in Toronto, Canada. I’d been a fan of his work for a while, having watched Mark Hominick and Sam Stout climb the Canadian rankings under his tutelage, but didn’t get the opportunity to shake the hand of the London, Ontario coach, who was considered by many to be the top trainer in Canada until late 2005. He was one of the good guys in the sport, always eager to talk shop and would give you the shirt off of his back if you needed it.
I last spoke to “The Coach” a week ago for a story I was working on for Fighters Only Magazine about his brother-in-law and longtime protégée Sam Stout. In spite of the fact that he was on vacation (the first one he’d taken in years) and was in the midst of celebrating his wedding anniversary with his wife Emilie, Shawn promptly responded to the text I sent him asking if he had time to talk that week with a familiar reply: “I’ve always got time for you, Mike.”
It didn’t surprise me when he told me that day that he and Sam had never had a disagreement.
Ed “Short Fuse” Herman impressed some of us last night when he went all Paul Harris on poor Kyle Noke, catching Noke with a heel hook and torquing that motherlover until Mario Yamasaki noticed Noke’s “owwie” face and tap simultaneously, stopping it with a minute left in the first round. No official word yet, but expect Noke to be walking gingerly for the next few weeks.
If you’re not familiar with the much-feared heel hook, take a quick peep at this video where the lovely Joanne Spracklen demonstrates the mechanics, and keep in mind that the twisting action at the heel puts a lot of strain on the knee of that leg. And when we say “a lot of strain”, we mean that ligaments pop and tissues tear when you start cranking on this.
Joanne illustrates the standard heel hook, whereas Herman pulled off the inverted variety, moving Noke’s leg to the other side of his hips and twisting the toes out away from the body; the effects are every bit as devastating.
Do NOT try this at home. Seriously, people talk about how kids are resilient and can bounce back from anything, but surgery on knee ligaments will slow even the best of them way down.
Plus, i’m being told that mine is past the manufacturer’s warranty period, and now i have to pay out of pocket to get him fixed. And that’s why we can’t have nice things.
If you want to be a supreme catch wrestler and torque human bodies in ways that they were not meant to be torqued, you’re going to want to spend some time with Erik Paulson at Combat Submission Wrestling Training Center. There you will learn the many ways to destroy muscle and sinew and compelling your opponent to tap via pain or oxygen deprivation.
While you spend your time with CSW learning all these amazing abilities, show up a few minutes early to class. This video should explain why sufficiently.
(If only our last day at the office could be this satisfying. Also, what’s up with the little bunny on Dan’s shorts? Photo courtesy of UFC.com)
After Dan Hardy tapped to a Chris Lytle guillotine choke last night at UFC on Versus 5 — Hardy’s fourth consecutive loss within the Octagon — many fans assumed that the Outlaw would be released by the UFC to get a couple of tune-up wins somewhere else. But Hardy doesn’t have to start updating his resume just yet. UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta confirmed via Twitter that Hardy won’t be cut. His reasoning: “I like guys that WAR!!!”
That’s great news for the former welterweight title contender. The question is, does Hardy even want another chance? Winless since 2009, Hardy appears to be in no rush to get back on the horse. As he told MMA Junkie:
“I think if they are going to give me one more fight, then I really need to take some time and come back reinvented…There are a lot of things I can do. But right now, I need space from competing, and I need space in the gym getting beaten up by much better guys in every area. I’ll either improve or find another way. If I’ve got one more fight, then I’ll take one more fight. But maybe it won’t be for a little while…“
Multiple sources have confirmed that well-regarded MMA coach Shawn Tompkins has passed away at the age of 37. He was found dead Sunday morning in Canada, where he was traveling with members of his Team Tompkins stable. As UFC vet John Gunderson put it, Tompkins “didn’t wake up.” No other details on Tompkins’s death are immediately available.
“Team Tompkins thanks everyone for all of the condolences that have come in since the tragic news of ‘The Coach’s’ death. Shawn would be touched beyond words by the outpouring of love from the MMA community. Sam Stout, Chris Horodecki, Mark Hominick, Kekoa Quipolta, Mr. and Mrs. Tompkins and I thank you for the respect you have shown us during this trying time. Shawn loved MMA and he considered all of you family. We will miss our Coach very much.”
Seriously, is this intimidating to anyone? Either of them? PicProps: MMAJunkie (obviously)
The UFC is in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, tonight for a live show on Versus, with some really good fighters on tap from the Facebook fights beginning the evening to the veterans retiring after putting on one more show.
I’ll start updating shortly with the Facebook fights, and we go live with the Versus show at 9PM ET. Come on in early and start drinking; i’m way funnier that way. Also, hit F5 on your keyboard to refresh often. It won’t make me work any faster, but something funny might happen.
What’s next for Hardy if he comes up short?
With Jim Miller – Ben Henderson on the card to remind us of the logjam at 155, how can we make sense of the lightweight division?
And shouldn’t Clay Guida still be carrying around the WEC belt? Because that would be dope.
OK, Nation, it’s my first time so take it easy on me. Mmmkay?
With Jon Jones fighting Quinton Jackson at UFC 135, and the winner of that fight more than likely fighting Rashad Evans, the light-heavyweight title is not without challengers. Based on a report being passed along by MMAMania.com, the winner of Jones/Jackson vs. Evans may already have a challenger in line as well. Rumor has it that Lyoto Machida vs. Phil Davis is in the works for a future card.
As you may remember, when Phil Davis was forced to withdraw from his fight with Rashad Evans at UFC 133 due to a knee injury, Lyoto Machida was originally set to replace him. However, Machida felt he was worth that “Anderson Silva money” and declined the bout. So having the two potential Rashad Evans opponents fight each other for the right to potentially fight Rashad Evans sort of makes sense, I guess.
Part of Dana White’s success is attributable to his ability to identify with the common man. Remember when your car broke down and you had to walk five miles to get to work? Dana feels you. Of course, in his case the car is actually a luxurious private jet, and he doesn’t have to walk because there’s a second private jet at his disposal waiting in the next hangar. Like they say- mo’ money, mo’ problems.
Dana’s second “UFC on Versus 5” vlog gives us an up close and personal view of yesterday’s weigh-ins, though thankfully the camera backs off when it’s time for Hardy to shed his skivvies. Give it a look and catch the tension in the Miller-O’Brien staredown, the bold donning of a pair of daisy dukes (is another ban about to drop?), and the cool excitement in Lytle’s smile as he heads into battle one last time.
Pulver vs. Wheeler, from last night’s Co-Main Event
Yesterday, you may have looked at the name of Houston Alexander’s opponent, Razak Al-Hassan, and thought “Where have I heard of him before?”. Spoiler alert: He’s the guy who got his arm snapped by Steve Cantwell at Fight for the Troops because tapping is for bitches. It probably won’t come as too much of a surprise to you to find out that he had another fight stopped by injury. It may surprise you to find out that this time, the injury that prevented him from continuing was a dislocated finger. You read that correctly, Urijah. Not to make any accusations of bitchassness, but how did the doctor even realize that Al-Hassan had dislocated his finger without someone telling him?
The stoppage to this fight was almost as odd as watching Junie Browning give up during the first round of his fight with Jacob Clark. Granted, you could argue that Junie Browning gave up on this fight well before yesterday’s weigh-ins. Junie Browning came out quickly, earning an early takedown and nearly submitting Jacob Clark with a twister. However, once the ref stood the fighters back up and Clark stuffed an attempted takedown, Junie Browning gave up. Browning allowed Clark to gain side control, and immediately tapped once Clark started throwing elbows. Given Browning’s loss coupled with the fact that he has to forfeit an undisclosed sum of money per pound over 155, there is a possibility that Browning essentially fought for free (or rather, whatever his sponsors paid him) last night.
Chris Lytle’s career has been something of an enigma. He’s a fan favorite that largely flies under the radar. He has a go-for-broke style that’s measured with solid technique and an enviable ground game. He sports a losing record in an organization that has awarded him a record number of post-fight performance bonuses. It’s the kind of engrossing tale that deserves a captivating, in depth interview to truly appreciate. But for a man who’s entire life is a lesson in self-sacrifice, there’s still much to give outside of the cage, and Lytle’s ready to turn the lights out on his fighting career.
Ariel Helwani broke the news in an interview with Lytle last night. Despite his participation in a sport where hype and self-promotion can help raise you to the top, it’s no surprise to hear “Lights Out” speaking only of others. “I’ve been fighting since ’98, fighting forever, a lot of it is just that I’m not doing my responsibilities like I need to at home. I feel like I’m not being the type of dad I want to. I got four kids and lots of times I feel just an immense sense of guilt for not being there in times when I should.””
More on Lytle’s plans for life outside of the cage after the jump.
Kimbo Slice‘s pro-boxing debut last night in Oklahoma ended in highlight-reel fashion, as the former bare-knuckle YouTube brawler/MMA fighter turned out James Wade‘s lights with a crushing right uppercut, sending him through the bottom rope just 10 seconds into the match. Check out the video above for two different angles of the finish; as you can see, it took a long time for Wade to regain his senses.
Two dudes known for throwing bombs, and the only guy trying to look tough is the promoter in the background. (Pic: @danawhite)
Tomorrow night Dan Hardy could be fighting for his spot in the UFC, but he came up just a little short in his battle with the scales. Ditching the shorts brought him within a half pound of the 171lb Welterweight limit, but additional time will be needed to shed the excess weight. A quick rinse should take at least a few ounces of mousse out of his mohawk. (Update- the rinse worked! Hardy made weight).
Ben Henderson was the only other fighter to make use of the towel, though he made weight without the need for additional time. The only real heat from the event surfaced when Cole Miller and T.J. O’brien got to jawing during their tense staredown. Based solely on the weigh-ins, I’m going to make a bold prediction for the Jason Reinhardt-Edwin Figueroa bout: Reinhardt will piss hot for crystal meth.
Gifs of those two staredowns and full weigh-in results are after the jump.
Royler Gracie is 5-4-1 in his professional MMA career. He hasn’t fought since losing to Hideo Tokoro at K-1 Premium 2006 Dynamite!! on New Year’s Eve, 2006. Ueda, meanwhile, is 13-1-2 and riding a three fight win streak. He most recently knocked out Rumina Sato with a body kick on July 18th. If you’re a believer in “momentum” and/or “cage rust”, then Ueda is easily the early favorite.
Bad news: Coach Wonka insists that checks be written out to Team Oompa directly, not to the fighters. (Pic: Smosh.com)
The little guys will get a chance to make their debut in the UFC, just not as soon as earlier predicted. Dana White is now eying early 2012—not the end of this year—as a likely introduction of the Flyweight class.
In addition to the frantic pace that the diminutive fighters bring to the cage, they could potentially help tip the scales in Zuffa’s favor as they try to break into the Japanese MMA market. Many consensus top-10 Flyweight mixed martial artists hail from the Land of the Rising Sun, and with the whole Akiyama thing not working out so well, they could use dozens of tiny helping hands in their efforts abroad.
Just as we saw with the addition of the Bantam and Featherweight divisions, White expects many fighters to shed some pounds when the opportunity to compete in a lower weight class presents itself. Some fighters have allegedly already begun that process.
The trouble started for D’Alelio the moment the bell rang; Rousey switched up her takedown attack feverishly until she succeeded in bringing the fight to the mat just eighteen seconds into the bout. The trouble started for Mazzagatti about eight seconds later, when he stopped the fight based on a rumor he’d heard that D’Alelio had verbally submitted. The truth is that that Rousey was more than capable of making D’Alelio tap and tap quickly, and her odds of escaping that armbar were slim. But it doesn’t look like Mazzagatti stepped in because D’Alelio tapped verbally or otherwise, or because she was in immediate danger. Rousey stops torquing the arm and turns toward Mazzagatti to inform him that D’Alelio had cried out “Tap! Tap!”, and though we haven’t heard his side of the tale it looks like he takes her word for it and ends the fight. D’Alelio claims to have yelled “Wahahaaahaa!” in response to the pain, but that she never wanted out of the fight. D’Alelio could call for a rematch, but the end result would probably be the same. As for Rousey, how about a fight with Kyra Gracie?
Get full results and gifs of Rousey’s near-wardrobe mishap at the weigh-ins and Derek Mehman’s gruesome cut after the jump.
Pictured: Cagepotato.com interns reenacting the weigh-in for Browning vs. Clark.
I’ll be completely honest: I forgot about Junie Browning over the past few years. Well, maybe not so much “forgot about” as “assumed that he, like that other crazy MMA fighter with lame tattoos, has been crushing cans and causing shenanigans”. Given his three fight losing streak coming into his fight with Jacob Clark at tonight’s MMA Pit Fight: Genesis, he hasn’t been crushing cans. And unless we’re being lenient with our usage of “shenanigans”, his weigh-in for the fight didn’t provide them, either.
Yes, Junie Browning missed weight. Badly. As MMAFighting.com reports, Junie Browning weighed in at 162.25 pounds for what was supposed to be a lightweight fight, or seven and a quarter pounds over the limit. Missing weight, especially by that much, isn’t so much shenanigans as it is being irresponsible. But don’t be quick to feel bad for his opponent, Jacob Clark. Despite the New Mexico Athletic Commission’s generous two pound weight allowance, Clark also missed weight, weighing in at 158 pounds. MMA Fight Pit plans on fining both fighters an undisclosed sum of money per pound over the 155 pound weight limit.
All other fighters made weight for what is shaping up to be a pretty good card for a regional event. If you’re itching to watch some MMA before tomorrow’s UFC Live on Versus 5, it may be worth some change. Whether it’s more worthy of your money than the Taco Bell Party Pack and fifth of Evan Williams you’re currently planning on consuming in a dark room by yourself tonight is up to you.
Dana White broke Ariel Helwani off a few minutes of his precious time to talk about a myriad of subjects, most interesting of which was his reaction to Golden Glory manager Bas Boon‘s public desire to meet all of Zuffa’s concerns, including direct payments to fighters and an exclusive contract with Alistair Overeem: “Well that’s awesome. If that’s the true story and that’s what he said, sounds like we can make a deal then…If Bas Boon is saying that this is the way we can do it, then we can absolutely, positively make a deal and we can get this ball rolling again.”
Though he appeared willing to move beyond whatever was behind the mass-firing, Dana didn’t relent from his position that the cuts were simply a matter of different business practices between the parties and nothing more: “I don’t give a shit what they tweet, what they take pictures of, or what they say, they fucking know exactly how it worked and we would not do it that way.”
After the jump, it turns out that Overeem has not been officially released by Strikeforce after all.
When fighters walk away from the sport, rarely do we see them gravitate towards the other side of the interview microphone, but the decision to do just that was a good one for “Chainsaw” Charles McCarthy. After stepping away from the sport in 2008, the former TUF 4 contestant announced that, in spite of his retirement he would be turning his focus to his American Top Team affiliated gym in Boyton Beach, Florida and would still be involved in MMA.
We haven’t heard from the 10-5 UFC veteran, who was at the wrong of a highlight-reel spinning back kick KO by David Loiseau much since then, but he recently joined up with a relatively new MMA website called “CageJunkies” (original, huh?) and has proven that he’s an adept reporter.
Since Sunday night’s UFC on Versus 5 broadcast will be led off by Duane Ludwig‘s welterweight battle with Amir Sadollah — we’ll be liveblogging the action starting at 9 p.m. ET, by the way — we figured we’d look back at one of Bang’s classic knockouts that you might not have seen before. On January 25th, 2003, Ludwig (8-2) faced off with former UFC lightweight champion Jens Pulver (14-2-1) in Montreal for UCC’s vacant lightweight title. After vacating his UFC title the previous year, Pulver had won his first two fights outside of the organization and was looking to pick up another scalp and another belt. It didn’t quite work out like that.
About 12 seconds into the fight, Ludwig leveled Pulver with a massive right hand. Pulver managed to struggle to his feet, and Yves Lavigne broke the fighters after a brief clinch. From there it’s all Duane — a body shot, head kick, and a right-straight finisher that dropped Pulver and actually had him rolling out of the ring to avoid more damage. As the commentator puts it, ”Jens Pulver might be ‘Little Evil’, but Duane Ludwig is a shepherd for the devil.” The dramatic victory earned Ludwig a shot in the UFC, where he out-pointed Genki Sudo in his debut at UFC 42.
It’s too bad we didn’t notice this charity auction item until after bidding on it ended, because we know a few of you may have been interested.
WWE wrestler-turned MMA hopeful Dave Bautista (AKA “Batista”) was offering a one-hour training session with him and a Cesar Gracie black belt (please let it be Nick Diaz) at his newly-opened gym in Tampa Bay and a follow-up lunch as part of a charity auction for Ovarian cancer. Now, I’m not sure if our valuation skills are a bit skewed, but we’re guessing that the deal isn’t quite worth the $2,500 they estimated — especially when the winning bidder had to provide his or her own airfare and accommodations for the lesson.
In case you forgot, Jens Pulver is fighting this weekend at MMA Fight Pit: Genesis in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He’s taking on tough 14-3 WEC veteran Coty “Ox” Wheeler, whose only losses came against Ian McCall, Charlie Valencia and Will Campuzano.
Jens has literally been living in Jeff Curran’s gym in Chicago for the past 10 weeks to prepare for the bout and G4′sAttack of the Show host Blair Herter recently paid him a visit at the facility to get some tips on how to fight.
What up Nation, it’s your boy ReX and the weekend is almost upon us. I’m going to assume that you’ve already given up doing any actual work for the rest of the day, so let’s grab some lunch and talk about our plans.
I don’t mean plans like your girlfriend wants to make, like going out for tapas and enjoying Crazy, Stupid, Love either. Although, i will sort of be asking all you bastards for a date night…
Inside: i want to play a game, judo news, my god this Rousey, and a couple of quick previews for the Zuffa shows this weekend. Come on in and let’s get loaded.
Earlier this week, UFC announcer Bruce Buffer caught up with Chael Sonnen for a segment on his Sherdog Radio Network show ‘IT’S TIME!!!’. Buffer got Sonnen to open up about his highly entertaining fight with Anderson Silva, his thoughts on Tito Ortiz, and Ken Shamrock’s get-rich-quick scheme. Wait, what?!
Straight from the horse’s mouth to the screen in front of you, we’ve got the highlights of the interview.
“In what parallel scoring system do you punch a man three hundred times, he hits you eleven times, wraps his legs around your head for eight seconds and they declare him the winner? That doesn’t make you a winner.
In no form of society, from the jungle to the streets, does that make you a winner. I’m the People’s champion I’m the linear champion. I’m the best middleweight there’s ever been and I am the UFC’s true champion.”
Since he’s on his way to Wisconsin for the lead-up media appearances for Sunday night’s UFC Live on Versus 5: Hardy vs. Lytle event, Dana White’s first video blog for the show is more of a recap of UFC 133, which is just as well.
It’s interesting to see Dana’s non reaction to Vitor Belfort’s win over Yoshihiro Akiyama. He can clearly be heard telling Lorenzo Fertitta that the finishing blows by “The Phenom” were to the back of “Sexyama’s” head. Neither UFC executive showed little emotion when Belfort came over to their side of the Octagon to let them know he’s back and White later said in an interview that the former UFC light heavyweight champion would have to chew on his loss to Anderson Silva for a while before he gets another title shot.