(‘The Mazz’ making sure things don’t get started before the bell Saturday night.)
With all the talk of how the judges scored last weekend’s UFC 143 main event between Carlos Condit and Nick Diaz, CagePotato thought it would be interesting to shift the focus and speak with the man charged with mediating the fight – referee Steve Mazzagatti. In this exclusive conversation, the veteran top ref and occasional owner of one of the best mustaches in all of MMA, talks about Dana White’s hate for him, bitch slaps, shit talking and much more.
(These two bouts alone beat most Strikeforce Challengers events.)
CagePotato.com has learned that a trio of bouts featuring UFC veterans has been added to Worldwide MMA’s debut card in El Paso, Texas.
Karo Parisyan (19-8-4 1 NC) versus Dave Menne (45-16-2), Lyle Beerbohm (16-2) versus Jamie Varner (18-6-1 2 NC) as well as Drew Fickett (41-16) versus Kevin Knabjian (12-6) will all take place at the March 31 event.
Aside from its placement atop nearly every MMA fan’s “Favorite Fights” list, Stephan Bonnar and Forrest Griffin‘s war at the first TUF Finale is widely considered to be the fight responsible for popularizing MMA into the near mainstream sport it is today. Well, believe it or not, that fight almost didn’t happen on account of Bonnar’s uncontrollable desire for bottom shelf alcohol, specifically, Mad Dog. Although Bonnar has told this story with a slightly different spin before, Dana White recently discussed the craziness that was the first season of The Ultimate Fighter, and how Bonnar almost got himself kicked off the show:
The first season of the ‘Ultimate Fighter’ was the longest season we’ve ever done. It was something like 8 weeks and those guys were losing their (expletive) minds. I almost kicked (Stephan) Bonnar off the show.
Bonnar turned the shower on, climbed out the window and went to find a liquor store. Remember we took all the liquor out after that big fight? These idiots…we had been driving these guys around for six or seven weeks and the house is in the middle of nowhere. There was no liquor store near there. The guy was walking around for an hour and thirty minutes. So much crazy (expletive) happened that first season. Imagine if I had kicked off him off the show for going to a liquor store? Forrest (Griffin) and Stephan would have never happened.
We haven’t seen or heard much from Brock Lesnar since his first round UFC 141 TKO loss to Alistair Overeem and subsequent retirement from MMA. Most of us assumed he was likely off on another possibly illegal hunting trip, or perhaps was spending day and night just getting on top of that smoking hot wife of his. In either case, the former UFC Heavyweight Champ recently popped up in Minneapolis to present Minnesota Gopher freshman wrestler Logan Storley with the 2011 Junior Hodge Trophy. Storley, who recently helped the Gophers clinch half of the Big Ten Dual Meet conference championship (along with Penn State), attended the same high school as Lesnar, who, as we all know, was a NCAA Division I Champion himself. After compiling an incredible 262-3 record, Storley was voted the nation’s best prep high school wrestler by the Amateur Athletic Union and WIN Magazine. Now start training those hands, son.
Join us after the jump for a plethora of videos from around the MMA blogosphere, including a nasty Thai Boxing KO, Thiago Alves‘ first (and incredibly brief) UFC on FX video blog, and more…
Thank God for Arianny Celeste. The woman’s tireless devotion to strip down and be photographed in everyfashionpossible is commendable to say the least, and her recent shoot with Randall Slavin for Complex Magazine shows us a yet another side of the long time UFC ring girl, specifically, the Nightmare Before Christmas/S&M side. It’s safe to say that we REALLY enjoy this facet of her personality, and hope to see more of it in the near future. Check out the gallery above (Props to Don Fonzarelli for the find), the video below, and be sure to follow Ms. Celeste on Twitter.
Besides Roger Huerta and Tito on TMZ, we haven’t really had any MMA luminaries who have gotten much attention from the tabloids. Not sure that’s a bad thing, but it’s likely to change as the sport grows and gets more mainstream.
Ok, perhaps not at this very moment, but come May 1, it will have been over a year since the UFC champ has defended his 170lb strap. St. Pierre hasn’t run from challenges or fights, he’s just had several consecutive knee injuries (the most recent one, a torn ACL that required surgery to repair) that have forced him to pull out of scheduled belt defenses.
Carlos Condit just won a razor-thin interim title bout against Nick Diaz at UFC 143, but would have to wait until the new year is almost over before being able to fight GSP. The Canadian says he won’t be ready to fight again until November. Unfortunately, we’ve seen these situations in the UFC before and a standard has emerged of champions needing to defend their titles at least once a year. In 2004, UFC heavyweight champ Frank Mir was in a motorcycle accident that put him on the shelf. Initially, when it was unknown if and when he would return, an interim title was created and was won by Andrei Arlovski. When it was clear that Mir would go longer than a year without defending his belt, the interim champ was made the “full” champ. It wasn’t about punishing Mir, it was simply about letting the division continue, with significant matchups made and fights promoted well.
Even GSP seems to agree that he shouldn’t be considered the UFC champion while going so long without defending the gold. “The way I see it, I am not the champion anymore on Saturday night. I have not fought since April, against my will, but I understand the champion must fight. You have to put the belt on the line in order to call yourself champion, the best in the world. Right now I am not the best in the world, I am injured,” he told UFC.com shortly before UFC 143.
(Apparently after this loss, Max Holloway decided to change his nickname from “Lil’ Evil” to “Blessed,” likely because taking Jens Pulver’s nickname REALLY lets opponents know where your weakness lies.)
Aside from bitterly dividing fans on what exactly constitutes a fight, UFC 143 left us with a lot of unanswered questions. Should Carlos Condit consider a nickname change?* Will Dustin Poirier get the next shot at Jose Aldo?** Is Nick Diaz really calling it quits?*** Though only time will truly calm our concerns, we’re going to make some bold predictions for Saturday’s winners and losers nonetheless, because that’s how we do things ’round here. Check out our matchmaking picks below, and let us know what you think in the comments section.
Nick Diaz: Perhaps the most impressive thing about Nick Diaz is that, despite his intellectual shortcomings, he maintains an ability to instill fear into whomever he fights. His cardio, striking attack, and Jiu Jitsu are second to none and just plain SCARY, but it is the man’s confidence, his willingness to relentlessly pursue and trade with anyone, that breaks even the strongest of competitors. Going into a fight with Diaz, you know you aren’t going to submit him, and you know it’s damn near impossible to knock the SOB out, so what the fuck are you supposed to do?
(“If you’re gonna tease me, at least let me shove this down your shorts, homie.”)
The Nevada State Athletic Commission today released the salaries for Saturday night’s UFC 143: Diaz vs. Condit event at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.
The entire payroll for the show, which was attended by 10,040 fans and earned a reported live gate of $2.3 million, was $880,500.
Nick Diaz took home the biggest paycheck out of the night’s combatants with $200,000, not including discretionary back room bonuses which are rumored to have brought Diaz’s payday to the $1 million range. The next highest payout went to Josh Koscheck, who doubled up on his $73,000 base salary with his razor-close win over Mike Pierce, bringing him to $146,000. In third was Carlos Condit, who took home $110,000 for his win over Diaz including a $55,000 win bonus.
Fabricio Werdum’s UFC salary remained the same as his Strikeforce one as he netted his customary $100,000 flat rate for his win over Roy Nelson, who is still at the lower end of the pay scale of the UFC’s upper-echelon of fighters thanks to his TUF contract. To put it in perspective, Scott Jorgensen took home $500 more than “Big Country” for his loss to Renan Barao, while Mike Pierce matched salaries with the former heavyweight IFL champ.
You know an intro is questionable at best when it has fans clamouring for more Stemm and a metrosexual gladiator.
Saturday night the UFC debuted its new “Evolution” video montage that will kick off every pay-per-view event for the unforeseeable future, or at least until fans bitch and moan enough that Dana White gets sick of hearing them and gives in and changes it. The concept was good, but superimposing classic UFC moments over top of an industrial CGI set made it look like the outtakes from a dime-a-dozen video game.
Fans have been split on whether or not they like the “upgrade,” but the ones who seem okay with it are the ones who never really cared one way or the other.
Dana revealed last week that the intro cost an obscene amount of money to make, but unfortunately the piece of avant-garde visual “art” ended up looking like a hot mess, rather than a Jackson Pollock. Money well spent.
Roy Nelson’s UFC 143 scrap with Fabricio Werdum was truly an exercise in futility for “Big Country,” because it more or less showcased what we already knew about him (the man can take a beating like no other), while at the same time reinforcing the idea that Nelson has damn near refused to evolve as a MMA fighter. Yes, he has recently shown a commitment to slimming down and yes, not many of us expected him to try and submit Werdum on Saturday, but if Roy doesn’t start switching up his striking routine (aka looking for anything but a big overhand right), he can expect several more axe wounds like the one above in his future.
We love you Roy, but it might be time to depart from The Country Club for a while, because you can only change the tee box and hole locations for so long until you just get sick of playing the same course over and over again.
Speaking of axe wounds, join us after the jump for a brief look back at some of MMA’s nastiest cuts…
Kos dropped a bombshell at the post-fight press conference that he has split from the San Jose-based camp and that he will now prepare for his future bouts in his Fresno AKA location – though he isn’t sure that he’ll keep the affiliation of the gym the same. He clarified with MMAWeekly that the decision to leave the gym was a result of a handful of slights Mendez made towards him and his teammates following losses the fighters incurred.
“This goes back from quite a bit, and history repeats itself. Whenever you have a guy for example whenever I had the loss against [Thiago] Alves and I took the fight on short notice with him, and after the fight I had a lot of friends come up to me and calling me saying ‘have you read this interview with Javier Mendez?’ and talking about me and my game plan. So I went online and I read this interview and I started to notice after all my teammates lost, it was the same thing,” Koscheck recalled. “[He'd say things like], ‘They didn’t listen to the game plan,’ — that he deferred it away from himself, and he threw us under the bus basically, saying that we didn’t listen to him and he tries to make himself look good, so it doesn’t reflect on him us losing. I’ve lost a lot of respect for Javier Mendez as a coach, as a person, because if you go back and listen to the history of the interviews of him after AKA guys have lost, the interviews he does, go back and look at the Cain Velasquez [fight], go back and look at the Josh Koscheck [fight], the other guys on that team, and see if you can find interviews where he refers to, ‘Oh I did my job,’ to make himself look good and they didn’t do theirs. That’s not a coach.”
Here at CP, we have covered damn near every type of knockout that has occurred in the MMA world, and in fact, we pride ourselves on our devotion to the topic. And although we’ve seen both the double KO and the even more rare no contest due to both fighters falling out of the cage, little did we know that over the weekend, these two would meet at a shady hotel, do the nasty, forget to wear protection, and give birth to the above knockout.
The event was Hardrock MMA 43, which went down on Saturday night. The place was Sheperdsville, Kentucky. In the co-main event of the evening, lightweight fighters Brandon Bishop and Braedon Ward squared off in what started as a relatively even match that saw both men struggle for superior position in the clinch. After Ward managed to toss Bishop to the mat but was unable to complete the takedown, he bull rushed ahead with a double leg, eventually slamming into to cage door, which burst open and sent both fighters crashing to the ground.
As team members rushed to their aid, it quickly became apparent that both parties had been knocked unconscious in the fall, and the bout was subsequently ruled a no contest. Fortunately, both men were able to walk away on their own power after a few minutes. According to Gary Thomas of ProMMAnow.com, who was in attendance for the entire event, a hinge in the cage had been damaged in an earlier fight, but was believed to have been fixed. However, when both fighters hit the door, the pin was knocked loose, causing one of the more bizarre fight endings we have seen in quite some time.
And as it turns out, this was not the only bit of controversy that went down at Hardrock MMA 43. Join us after the jump for an illegal KO from the same event that is as brutal as it is hilarious.
Anymore, you learn about bruises in comic books — all heavy cross-hatching and lilac purple contrasting American Red and Cornflower Blue. Children today never get a chance to know hurt. The woods are clear-cut. Toys are shatter proof and non-toxic. The playgrounds are low. Rounded. Cushioned.
Twenty years ago, you cut your hand open on an axe and ran a mile back home, and maybe you got stitched up.
Twenty years ago, nobody knew anything about game-planning for a fight. Men who all knew little pieces of fighting tactics — what would they know of strategy? To plan past the third haymaker was beyond many of them.
Anymore, people fight like it’s some kind of job, like they’re trying to make money out of it. People who watch these fights, they talk like it’s some sort of highest form of competition with safety rules and scoring rules and “Octagon control”.
Not for nothing, but these guys don’t want to talk about how those early days were so special. How watching two walking slabs of beef hurl themselves at one another was like watching Wild Kingdom with people. Survival of the fittest. Kill or be killed. No one wants to talk about the boner they get for names like Paul Herrera, Steve Nelmark, Jeremy Bullock.
“Where I come from, people who lose close fights retire.” Props: UFC.com
While watching UFC 143 from the comfort of my favorite dive bar last night, I knew that MMA fans would be waging war on the internet over the fights that went the distance. Between the two point deduction that cost “Bruce Leroy” his fight against Edwin Figueroa and Josh Koscheck’s close fight with the “undeserving” Mike Pierce, I knew that I could expect a long-winded, philosophical debate over what constitutes a fight and what doesn’t- whether abstract concepts like “control” and “aggression” mean more than punches thrown, and whether takedowns earned and stuffed negate an inferior striking display. Naturally, this debate would include a lot of ad hominems and off topic ranting, because that’s just par for the course online.
And that was beforethe main event of the evening, which saw Carlos Condit earn a close decision over Nick Diaz. Carlos Condit used backward and lateral footwork while outstriking Nick Diaz, yet many fans felt that Nick Diaz should have won the fight. Before the fight even ended, the debate already began on whether “Octagon control” necessarily means “the guy moving forward”, and whether counter-punchers should automatically be considered less aggressive than their opponents. Judging from the comments sections of today’s articles, that debate won’t be ending any time soon.
Benjamin Disraeli once said that there are three types of lies: Lies, damned lies and statistics. For the time being, let’s move our arguments about last night’s fights past the first two. Let’s now turn our focus towards the statistics from last night’s close decisions. FightMetric’s breakdowns of Riddle vs. Martinez, Figueroa vs. Caceres, Koscheck vs. Pierce and, of course, Diaz vs. Condit have been published, and are available after the jump.
Two kicks + two mangled testes = two points?(Photo: UFC.com)
Controversial decisions weren’t limited to the feature bout at UFC 143, my friends. From scrotum to scorecard, there’s much to break down from the undercard action.
Fabricio Werdum put on a striking clinic against the slightly less-hefty Roy Nelson. Werdum put together crisp, powerful combinations and launched a torrent of knees from the clinch to bloody “Big Country” up. It was a welcome rebound from his performance against Overeem and a promising re-introduction to the Octagon. Nelson has an incredibly tough chin—proven by the sheer number of bombs he takes fight after fight—and a heart as big as they come—what else could pump that much blood out of his face?–but that’s not enough to make it in the UFC’s heavyweight division. He’s served as a very game punching bag for much of his post-TUF career, and it’s not a good look. On the positive side, his refusal to die in the cage did help the duo score the evening’s $65k ‘Fight of the Night’ bonus.
“Come on, Nick. Tell us how you *really* feel.” (Video: ZombieProphet)
Though he fought in a cage only ten yards wide, Nick Diaz must have felt like he was fighting on a football field last night. For five rounds he stalked Carlos Condit but was unable able to pin him in any of the Octagon’s eight corners. In true Stockton fashion, he never stopped pressing forward and was always the aggressor, but did he exhibit ‘Octagon Control’? As we generally define the term, yes. As it’s actually defined, no. Diaz didn’t want to keep circling and chasing Condit; he wanted to trap him against the cage and unload merciless combinations–basically, to fight him in a phone booth. The reason he didn’t was because Condit executed his game plan perfectly and dictated the flow of the fight. Even if that wasn’t the case and Diaz was in full control of the bout, let’s not start pretending that we love nothing more than a fight full of ‘Octagon Control’. As fans we value effective striking and grappling above position and pace. So too should the judges.
Handling play-by-play for tonight’s action is interim liveblog champion Aaron Mandel. Follow us after the jump for live results from the UFC 143 pay-per-view card, beginning at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT. Refresh the page every few minutes for all the latest, and please use the comments section to let us know how we can better serve you.
The report we filed two days ago on the Brandon Vera-Thiago Silva grudge match is already woefully out of date. According to “The Truth”, he was so eager to ‘welcome’ Silva back to the Octagon that he jumped the gun and accepted the rematch before discussing the bout with his coaches or doctors. A consultation with his physician revealed that he wouldn’t be recovered from an injury in time for the May 15th fight.
With only a few hours until the main card of UFC 142, and only one day until Super Bowl XLVI, we’re killing two birds with one stone with this video of current (and former) NFL players making their predictions for tonight’s main event. In yet another example of how far our sport has come towards gaining mainstream acceptance, the seven players interviewed genuinely seem to be fans of mixed martial arts as they pick Nick Diaz over Carlos Condit, five votes to two.
Obviously, FOX Football Analyst Michael Strahan seems to deliver the most informed, thought out opinion on the fight as he explains his reasoning behind picking Nick Diaz to win. However, the rest of those interviewed aren’t too far behind him. Well, maybe not Eli Manning- though his stoic, soft spoken personality makes him hard to figure out.
Last night marked the end of a great run for the Primetime series as it followed the two fighters headlining tonight’s pay per view card. We’ve learned a lot more about Carlos Condit, the wayward youth turned loving father and professional fighter, while playing armchair psychologist to Nick Diaz along the way. The crews shadowing these two 24/7 did the heavy lifting, so we’ll just pop the video up above and make our little jokes after the jump.
Gaudinot vs. Lineker should provide a clear contender for the coveted ‘Worst Hair in Professional Sports’ title.
Presumably after enduring three rounds of fatigued middleweights Chris Weidman and Demian Maia leading off UFC on FOX 2, the UFC brass figured it would be a good idea to show off its smaller fighters to the casual fans. For the organization’s third effort on FOX, the UFC will showcase two of its smallest fighters on the roster. Yesterday, the UFC announced a matchup between flyweights Louis Gaudinot and John Lineker has been booked for UFC on FOX 3.
As a bantamweight cast member of TUF 14, Louis Gaudinot lost to Dustin Pague in the fan voted “Fight of the Season” before losing his UFC debut to the much larger Johnny Bedford. As expected, Gaudinot is returning to flyweight, where he went 5-1 before his UFC career.
Though reported to have gone down in Las Vegas, last night’s weigh-ins clearly took place in Bizarro World. How else could you explain a slim(mer) Roy Nelson, Josh Koscheck being the victim of bullying, and Nick Diaz comporting himself like a true gentleman?
Koscheck hasn’t had much to say about his foe—aside from having to look him up after the fight was signed—but Mike Pierce provoked him further by donning a pretty accurate wig during their staredown. Considering that Pierce called him out in the first place, he either knows something we don’t or is setting himself up for a lesson in humility this evening.
And as for Diaz, there’s not much to say beyond how civilized he looked. No, he didn’t bro hug ‘Conduit‘ after the face-off, but the ruffian we know and love was nowhere to be seen. First a handshake at the presser, and now no mean mug? Could it be that the ‘Pride of Stockton’ has failed to muster up the hatred for his opponent that usually fuels his fights, and if so, does it even matter?
Full weigh-in results, and a closer look at the Diaz-Condit stare-down after the jump.
Someone sent me the video above that chronicles Eddie Bravo’s career defining 2003 win over Royler Gracie at the Abu Dhabi Combat Club tournament. I watched the well done mini-doc a few times before heading over to the Roots of Fight site to learn a bit more about the company, as I haven’t really heard much about them.
Besides the Bravo signature shirt that immortalizes the 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu founder’s upset over Gracie, what stood out were the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy, Cassius Clay/Muhammad Ali and Bruce LeeJun Fan Gung Fu Institute shirts.
Discussing MMA is a lot like discussing politics; what starts off as a friendly difference of opinion more than often spirals into an alcohol-fueled debate, rife with personal insults and name calling, before ending in a sloppy wrestling match that gets both parties banned from their boss’s wine tasting parties for life. Luckily, we have Doug “ReX13″ Richardson and Jared Jones here to dispute all things UFC 143, because frankly, we can’t make heads or tails outta this card.
Let’s kick things off how we normally do, with a completely offhand topic. Who wins the Super Bowl?
RX: Me, if the commercials are good and Bane blows up the stadium. Let me guess, you’re a-
JJ: GO GIANTS!
RX: I hate you so hard, man.
JJ: First off, I’m not your buddy.
RX: But I never-
JJ: Eli Manning is to the Patriots what Dylan Klebold was to Columbine High School; he cannot be defeated, unless by that of his own doing. Giants 35-27.
RX: Wow…this has gotten off to a rough start. Can we just move on?
(Nick Diaz and Carlos Condit exchange a respectful handshake at Gladiator Man‘s funeral.)
Weigh-ins for tomorrow night’s UFC 143: Diaz vs. Condit event are scheduled to get rollin’ today at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT in Las Vegas. You can watch the action right here on CagePotato.com, in the video player after the jump. Will Nick Diaz start talking shit during the staredown? What can Roy Nelson possibly do to top his last weigh-in appearance? And will the Fabricio Werdum smirk of insanity make its UFC debut? Keep your browser parked right here to find out, and be sure to come back tomorrow night at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT for our liveblog of the UFC 143 main card.