Steroids in MMA
Which MMA Fighter Will Test Positive For Steroids Next?

July, 2013

MMA Alternate History: What if the WWE Purchased the UFC in 2001 Instead of Zuffa?


(McMahon poses with legendary WWE manager Paul Bearer (RIP). / Photo via Getty)

By Matt Saccaro

MMA history contains many compelling “what ifs” that could’ve changed the fate of the sport. If one path is taken, disaster. If another path is taken, absolution.

Some “what ifs” are more compelling than others. Not much changes if Floyd Sword or Rudyard Moncayo decides to never step into the cage. The timeline remains intact if Anderson Silva doesn’t get a DQ loss against Yushin Okami at Rumble on the Rock. But there are scenarios where the entire sport can change — where the timeline can split like in Back to the Future Part II.

This is the start of a series at CagePotato where we examine such scenarios, using historical fact to help create realistic historical fiction. Here is our first historical conundrum:

What if Vince McMahon Purchased the UFC in 2001?

In 2001, Vince McMahon’s WWE (then WWF) purchased the decaying WCW and the fledgling, bankrupt ECW. That year, McMahon’s XFL hosted its first (and only) season. It was quite a year for Vinny Mac. He destroyed his two rivals and expanded into a new sport.

2001 was also the year that Zuffa purchased the UFC from the company’s original owners, SEG. SEG was cash-strapped and could no longer carry the burden of running an MMA promotion in a country that was, at the time, hostile to MMA. The Fertitta Brothers bailed out Bob Meyrowitz and SEG, and the rest is history.

But what if, for one reason or another, The Fertitta brothers didn’t buy the UFC and give it to Dana White like they were tossing their kid the keys to the Ferrari? What if Vince McMahon decided to add another three letters to his shopping list…U, F, and C?

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CagePotato Databomb #14: The Rise, Fall, and Flattening of UFC Bonuses


(Click on the chart for the full-size version. For previous Databombs, click here.)

By Reed Kuhn, @Fightnomics

In March I made the trip to Montreal for UFC 156 and was puzzled by a financial observation. If the $50,000 Fight Night bonuses for that card sounded small for a pay-per-view event, well, that’s because they were. At least they were “low” when put into historical context, and they’ve been that way ever since.

But let’s start with the big picture with our first DataBomb to have dollars as a unit of measure. The chart above displays the official Fight Night Bonus amount published for Fight of the Night, Knockout of the Night, and Submission of the Night for numbered UFC events since UFC 61 in 2006 through UFC 162 earlier this month. Like Chael Sonnen closing a Skype interview: Kaaaaa…boom.

The Rise of the UFC in the Mid-2000’s

Let’s put this in context. The end of 2006 was a great time for the UFC. In addition to seasons three and four of the smash hit reality series The Ultimate Fighter, the promotion closed out the year with a defining moment in UFC 66. Headlined by future hall of fame superstars Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz, the event drew more than one million pay-per-view purchases, a first for the still maturing organization.

It may then come as a surprise that Liddell and Ortiz each only received a $30,000 bonus for their Fight of the Night performance. But not really, because we should all know that there’s a lag between success and financial reward. These same fight night bonus amounts would double by UFC 81 just over a year later when they hit $60,000 for the first time. For part-time fighters on the undercard only making “three and three” back then (i.e., $3,000 to fight and another $3,000 for a win), a windfall $60,000 bonus was potentially life-changing. And bonuses weren’t done growing yet.

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UFC Outspends Most Sports Leagues in 2012 Congressional Lobbying


(“…and if you can beat Harry Reid in ping-pong, I’ll *double* it.”)

MMA Junkie cites the Center for Responsible Politics in reporting that the UFC has spent $620,000 on lobbying the U.S. Congress this past year, mainly on anti-piracy matters. In terms of major sports leagues, only the NFL has spent more than the UFC. From the Junkie report:

The industry-leading fight promotion shelled out $620,000, double the amount of Major League Baseball and nearly five times the National Basketball Association’s payout, according to the Center for Responsible Politics.

The NFL dwarfed all major sporting organizations with $1.14 million.

The UFC’s 2012 figures represent a 51 percent increase from the previous year, in which parent company Zuffa spent $410,000 in Washington, and a 158 percent increase from $240,000 in 2008, when CRP first tracked lobbying records.”

A pair of firms – Brownstein, Hyatt, Faber and Schreck LLP, as well as SB Consulting – represent the UFC. The promotion’s co-chief operating officer, Lawrence Epstein [said] that the firms are used to educate legislators on MMA and to push for tougher anti-piracy laws that could stem financial losses from illegal streaming.”

You may remember that some hackers attacked UFC President Dana White for his organization’s support of and lobbying for passage of SOPA. The UFC has long been aggressive in litigating real or perceived violations of its intellectual property, going after individuals, small business owners, and large companies alike, and this level of investment in congressional lobbying shows that they are eager to get all the legislative help they can as they seek to monetize the content they create and own.

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Photo of the Day: War Machine & Christy Mack Validate Their Relationship With Matching Ink


(Two tattoos, zero real names. Photo via War Machine’s Twitter.)

According to our poll, a staggering 55.3% of you believed that former TUF star and current Bellator badass War Machine had the hottest pornstar girlfriend of them all in Ms. Christy Mack (to the 2 people who suggested “our mom,” that doesn’t even make sense. To the man/woman who suggested GSP & Dakota Cochrane, bravo.). Clearly, Mr. Machine agrees with this sentiment, which is why he and his significant other got coordinating tattoos over the weekend. Because if there’s one thing we’ve learned about a pornstar’s love, it’s that it’s forever.

On the heels of a first round TKO over Blas Avena in his Bellator debut, it appears that War Machine is riding pretty high these days. Gone are the days of assaulting his pornstar girlfriends at parties and, well, assaulting the patrons of Vegas gay clubs. Nowadays, a humbler, simpler War Machine can be found “crucifying” his pornstar girlfriend (his words, not ours) on Twitter when he’s not giving Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu lessons to children whose parents have clearly never visited BeenVerified.com. It’s the American dream, really, and we wish these two kids the best of luck.

-J. Jones

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Hot Potato: 23 Photos of Cage Wars Ring Girl Jessica Storie


(Photo courtesy of BlazzinPix.com. Full gallery is after the jump.)

And now, your daily dose of yowza. Props to the hard-working talent scouts at Babes of MMA for introducing us to Jessica Storie, a 19-year-old model from Dalton, Massachusetts, who does ring girl gigs for the upstate-New York-based amateur MMA promotion Cage Wars.

Jessica loves to play guitar in her free time, and lists tattoos, country boys, motorcycles, and sense of humor among her turn-ons. Check out some of our favorite Jessica Storie photos in the gallery below, and follow her life on Twitter and Facebook. And help Jessica become Playboy’s Miss Social July 2013 by voting here!

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WSOF’s Next Main Event Dares Ask: “Hey, Anyone Wanna See Rumble Johnson KO Another Guy?”


(Our answer? HELL TO THE YES.) 

Look, we know the idea of paying to see Ricardo Mayorga get in a sanctioned Nicaraguan street fight might be asking a little much, even for such seasoned freak show aficionados as yourselves. Thankfully, World Series of Fighting recently announced a slightly less freakish but equally confuddling headliner for their next event, and you don’t even have to pay for this one!

On the heels of a unanimous decision victory over Andrei Arlovski at heavyweight in the promotion’s second event, Anthony “Rumble” Johnson will find himself back at light heavyweight when he squares off against Mike “MAK” Kyle at WSOF 5 on September 14th in New Jersey. The over-under on how long this thing lasts is currently set at 24 seconds.

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In Case You Missed It: “Cyborg” Smashes Coenen, Torres Edges Out “Thug” Rose at Invicta FC 6 [VIDEOS]


(Cris Cyborg vs. Marloes Coenen II. Video via FancyMojo420)

As was written so aptly this past weekend on these pages, the women folk on Saturday’s Invicta FC 6 card were some bad mofo’s. Most of the attention was given to the main event title fight (above) rematch between “Cris Cyborg” Santos and Marloes Coenen but we’ve got much love for everyone else on the card as well, especially our very own “Thug” Rose Namajunas.

For the second time in her career, Coenen showed that she can last longer than most women against Santos, but once again, she took a bad beating and a loss at the hands of the “Cyborg.” Namajunas faced the tough Tecia Torres and lost a hard-fought decision that got the main card off to an explosive start.

Both bouts were entertaining and give enough argument on their own that women’s MMA deserves our collective attention. Check out the main event above and Namajunas vs. Torres after the jump and see what we mean.

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Battle of the Bulge: Big Country Nelson vs. Daniel Cormier a Go for UFC 166


(How fucked up is it that *this* is the #1 search result when you type “Roy Nelson clean shaven” into Google? Photo via Getty.) 

Update: The matchup has been formally announced as the co-main event for UFC 166: Velasquez vs. Dos Santos 3.

In the weeks leading up to his scrap with Stipe Miocic at UFC 161, it appeared as if Roy Nelson would be headed for the greener pastures of an MMA promotion that wasn’t run by a guy who hates his fat ass. In the days following Nelson’s three round trouncing at the hands of Miocic, it was the general consensus that Bellator was a CHICK’N Crisp sandwich away from luring in one of MMA’s top heavyweights at a steal of a price. So how does Nelson now find himself in line to fight Daniel Cormier, a former Strikeforce champion who is coming off a (tepid) win over Frank Mir in his UFC debut?

Perhaps we should step back for a second. You see, prior to UFC 161, Nelson had strung together a nice little three-fight win streak (all via KO) and was looking to break himself off a piece of that Daniel Cormier hype. Imploring the classic UFC strategy of declaring that the fight “wouldn’t make sense,” then trying to turn it into a #1 contender fight for another division’s title, then bringing race into the equation, Nelson was able to successfully troll his way into a fight with Cormier despite coming off a loss. Huzzah! The likelihood of this fight coming to fruition is all dependent, of course, on how Nelson’s contract negotiations with the UFC go, according to Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports.

Then again, you could argue that Nelson was more impressive in defeat than Cormier was in victory based purely on the amount of shots he was able to absorb without being knocked out. It would be an insane argument to make, but hey, Tim Sylvia would probably have your back. In either case, the pair is tentatively set to throw down at UFC 166, which goes down on October 19th in Houston, Texas.

In other fight booking news…

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Freak Show Alert: Crazy S.O.B. Ricardo Mayorga to Face Street Fighter ‘Level’ in Nicaragua, Because Hell, What Else Is He Gonna Do?


(Feel free to skip past the first 35 seconds of bullshit. / Props: OFFICIALLEVELPAGE)

Ricardo Mayorga‘s second-life as an MMA fighter has been colorful, to say the least. The batshit crazy, nicotine-addicted former boxing champ is coming off his no-contest for an illegal knee to the spine against Wesley Tiffer at Omega MMA: Battle of the Americas in May — a bout for which he weighed in 20 pounds over the contracted 165-pound limit, no big deal — bringing his official MMA record to 0-0-0 with one no-contest. (Prior to that, Mayorga’s only MMA action consisted of karate chopping Din Thomas in the neck at a press conference for a fight that never happened.)

The Tiffer incident garnered Mayorga a three-month suspension from the Nicaraguan Cock-Fighting and Shave-Ice Commission (loose translation). Apparently he got his sentence reduced for good behavior, because the same Nicaraguan fight promotion, Omega MMA, is booking El Matador in another match in his hometown of Managua, just two months after he tried to paralyze his opponent. Hey, I’m sure he’s learned his lesson, right?

MMAMania passes along the news that Mayorga will face Rene “Level” Martinez in the main event of Omega MMA 9 on July 27th. Though Martinez has an official record of 4-0-1 in MMA, he’s perhaps best known for the bareknuckle backyard fights he had in South Florida as part of DADA 5000′s crew. (I’m personally fond of the one where Level first-punch-KOs the hapless martial arts instructor who clearly did not know what he was getting into. Good times.)

It’s unclear which weight class Mayorga vs. Martinez will be held at, as if that matters. I’m guessing they’ll just come into the fight weighing whatever, tie some razor blades to their feet and beaks, and go to work. And if you say you’re not interested in this fight, please turn in your CagePotato I.D. Card at the front desk, because clearly you don’t appreciate a great freak show, you maricon.

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On This Day in MMA History – Kazushi Sakuraba Born Forty Four Years Ago


(Baby Saku – Already cooler than you or I at age 1)

If the sport of MMA continues to grow in popularity, decades from now there will be legions of fans raised only on the UFC who will have no idea who Kazushi Sakuraba was and is. I’ll feel sorry for them.

To date, Sakuraba is the greatest and perhaps bravest fighter to have come out of Japan in the sport’s history. He became a super star while fighting for the defunct Pride Fighting Championships.

Sakuraba’s prime warring days took place before an appropriate weight class came into existence for him and as a result, the natural welterweight fought light heavyweights and heavy weights. Usually, he beat them.

Sakuraba would, and sadly still does, fight anyone, anywhere and always does so in exciting and unrelenting fashion. He is a jester-samurai if there ever was one, quick with a Kimura shoulder lock or smile. Sakuraba combines excellent wrestling with dynamic submissions and effective stand up striking.

In recent years, Sakuraba has fought on past his health and has taken brutal beatings. Though they make us cringe, they do not and cannot possibly diminish this champion’s legacy.

Win, lose or draw, from lightweight to heavyweight, from Gracies and Wanderlei to “Rampage”, Belfort, Nogueira and “Cro Cop”, no one that has ever gone into the ring or cage with Kazushi Sakuraba has left it without respecting him. Enjoy the highlight videos of Sakuraba and always remember, where there’s a will, there’s a way.

More highlight videos after the jump.

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