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21 Humans Who Make Being Human Look Really, Really Hard

September, 2013

And Now He’s Fired: Yushin Okami Released by UFC After Seven Years of ‘Perennial Contender’ Status


(“Look, Andy, you’re clearly still upset about the pool party thing, but I swear, the Evite must have gone to your junk mail folder or something, because we totally included you on the-oh God noooooo NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!” Photo via Esther Lin/MMAFighting)

“Perennial contender” is a back-handed compliment — it means you were always good enough to hang in the top ten, but never good enough to hold the belt. It suggests a kind of career limbo, in which you’re forever in the mix, highly regarded, but ultimately unsuccessful. Jon Fitch was a perennial contender, and when he was fired by the UFC in February, fans who never liked him in the first place criticized the UFC for getting rid of their #9-ranked contender — as if rankings held any sort of accurate measure of a fighter’s value. Fitch may have been more talented than most welterweights in the world, but he had outlived his usefulness, from both a competitive and promotional standpoint.

And so it goes with Yushin Okami, the latest medium-to-high-profile UFC fighter to be axed by the promotion, who is still listed as the #6 middleweight contender on UFC.com. UFC president Dana White confirmed Okami’s release today, telling Yahoo!’s Kevin Iole:

He’s been with us forever. He was always a tough guy and was right up there, but it’s almost like he’d become a gatekeeper. I like Okami, and you’ve heard me say this many times, that a win over Yushin Okami meant something. But he was never able to get over the hump and win one of those [significant] fights. We have a lot of guys coming in and I’ve been saying this all year: We have a full roster and there are guys who deserve opportunities. When you bring guys in, someone has to go. That’s why these fights are so meaningful.”

Okami was already a 16-3 veteran when he joined the UFC, with appearances in Pancrase, Pride, Hero’s, and Rumble on the Rock, where he scored a bizarre DQ victory over Anderson Silva in January 2006. “Thunder” made his Octagon debut later that year at UFC 62, and began to steadily rise up the middleweight ranks, winning his first four fights — including decision victories against Alan Belcher and Mike Swick — before losing a #1 contender fight against Rich Franklin at UFC 72.

The rest of Okami’s UFC career would play out the exact same way.

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Friday Link Dump: Aoki Drops to Featherweight, Mayweather Prays for Anderson, Trouble in Casa Machine/Mack + More


(TUF 18 contestants Roxanne Modaferri and Shayna Baszler do battle at MARS – Bodog Fight in 2006. Via reddit/MMA)

Anthony Pettis: The Most Exciting Fighter in MMA (BleacherReport)

Shinya Aoki Makes Featherweight Debut Against Cody Stevens at ONE FC 11 (MMAFighting)

Dennis Hallman Shows up on TUF and Almost Starts a Fight (Fightlinker)

Ronda Rousey’s Mom Blasts MMA Fans Over ‘Drybaby’ Comments (MMAMania)

Meet MMA Stunner Kahili Blundell (Babes of MMA)

Mayweather: “I Pray for Anderson” (FightersOnly)

Are Pornstars Allowed to Get Mad if Their Boyfriend Fuck Other Girls? (Hint: This is about War Machine) (BarStoolSports)

If Everyone Was Ron Swanson (worldwideinterweb)

Florida Friday: Man Tries to Pay Water Bill With Three Crack Rocks (Filmdrunk)

5 Badass Lizards (Yes, Lizards) (DoubleViking)

Girl Breaks *Both* Arms While Arm Wrestling (EgoTV)

Five Ridiculously Easy Tequila Recipes (MensFitness)

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The 10 Greatest Light Heavyweight Title Fights In UFC History


(Photo via Getty)

By Adam Martin

That might be the greatest title fight in the history of the light heavyweight division — and I don’t even know who won! What an incredible fight!

Those are the words UFC color-commentator Joe Rogan uttered last weekend at the end of the five-round epic at UFC 165 between UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and challenger Alexander Gustafsson, a fight Jones won via razor-thin unanimous decision.

Although Rogan is often known for his hyperbole, he might have been dead-on that night. Was “Bones” vs. “The Mauler” really the greatest 205-pound title fight in the history of the Ultimate Fighting Championship? To determine the veracity of that statement, I went back and watched the best light heavyweight fights ever held inside the Octagon, and after countless hours of tape study, I feel as though I’ve come up with a very fair list.

Below I’ve listed what in my opinion are the top 10 light heavyweight fights in UFC history based on a mixed criteria of competitiveness, excitement level, hype, how the fight played out in comparison to its expectations, and how it ended. So without any further ado, let’s get started…

10. Lyoto Machida vs. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua 1, UFC 104

(Photo via Getty)

Kicking off the list is the controversial first fight between Lyoto Machida and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, a fight that still ranks up there with the worst-all time judging decisions in MMA history.

Machida had just knocked out Rashad Evans at UFC 98 and, in the fateful words of Joe Rogan, the “Machida Era” had commenced. However, “Shogun” had a thing or two to say about that as the former PRIDE star was coming off of two TKO wins over Hall of Famers Chuck Liddell and Mark Coleman, and he wanted to prove to everyone it was he, not Machida, who was the best light heavyweight in the world at the time.

For five rounds, Machida and “Shogun” went toe-to-toe in the Octagon and although Machida definitely had his moments in the match, it appeared to most observers that there would be a new light heavyweight champion crowned, as Rua landed a ton of brutal leg kicks to Machida that left the champ’s torso and thighs looking like a bruised peach.

But while “Shogun” arguably won every round of the fight, the judges somehow saw the fight in favor of Machida, with all three scoring the bout 48-47 in favor of “The Dragon” despite the volume of leg kicks thrown by Rua, leading judge Cecil People to idiotically declare that leg kicks don’t finish fights. UFC president Dana White saw things differently, however, and set up an immediate rematch at UFC 113 where Rua KO’d Machida into oblivion — a happy ending to an infamous screwjob.

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[EXCLUSIVE] Bellator’s Joe Warren Talks Bellator 98 Health Scare, Getting Back to Fighting, and the Return of Olympic Wrestling


(Photo via Bellator)

By Elias Cepeda

Former Bellator champion Joe Warren was set to face Nick Kirk earlier this month at Bellator 98 in Connecticut before the state’s commission refused to allow him to fight. The exact reason was not given at the time but speculation from fans and members of the media as to why Warren was barred from fighting abounded.

Some wondered if Warren had tested positive for marijuana as he had during his competitive wrestling days. Even Bellator’s CEO Bjorn Rebney volunteered a theory – that Warren had been knocked out during his training camp and so was not being allowed to fight because of brain damage. Just two fights ago, of course, Warren was hurt badly in a KO loss to Pat Curran. That was his second straight KO loss.

Warren has since been cleared to fight in tonight’s Bellator event and he and Kirk will square off in this season’s bantamweight tournament. CagePotato visited with Warren as he cut weight Wednesday.

Not knowing how else to get into the matter with Warren as he stepped out of the sauna we simply had to ask, “What the heck happened?”

“A big mess happened,” Warren said.

“The Connecticut commission is stricter than most and I had a CT scan and MRI done leading up to the fight. I had three different doctors telling me different things. They didn’t read the images correctly and thought I had an abnormality on the image of my brain. One was telling me I had had a stroke, one was telling me I’d never fight again. Crazy stuff. Another said that I was fine. I was running around for weeks getting different tests done out of my own pocket, my family was scared. It was a huge ordeal.”

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Nova Uniao Head Trainer Confirms Renan Barao Is Totally Being Screwed by That Whole “Interim” Title


(And to think, if the guy on the left had won, we’d have a new outright champion by now. Photo via MMAFighting.)

October 1st will mark the two year anniversary (?) of the last time we saw bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz defend his title in the octagon. Multiple ACL tears and a rejected cadaver ligament transplant have seen the once dominant champion sidelined ever since his 2011 battle with now flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson. As such, the bantamweight division has been stuck in a perpetual state of limbo, frustrating fans, fighters and most importantly, Dominick Cruz.

But perhaps the only person more frustrated by Cruz’s arduous road to recovery than the champ himself is interim title holder Renan Barao, who recently became the first fighter in UFC history to defend said title twice (via a second round KO of Eddie Wineland at UFC 165). Actually, Barao is the first fighter in UFC history to ever defend an interim belt. Unfortunately, the Brazilian isn’t seeing many benefits of being the closest thing to a champion his division has seen in a dog’s age.

That’s at least, according to Nova Uniao head trainer Andre Pederneiras, who recently appeared on MMAJunkie radio to discuss Barao’s current predicament:

He’s very frustrated because he needs to make money. So many sponsors here in Brazil are not sponsoring him because he’s not the real champion from the UFC. He’s the interim champion. He’s losing money every day.

The sponsors here want a real champion. A linear champion. 

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Classic UFC Fight: Cain Velasquez Beats Bejesus Out of Brock Lesnar, Wins Heavyweight Title


(Fight starts at the 3:03 mark. Props: YouTube.com/UFC)

With UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez set to make his Octagon return next month at UFC 166, the UFC has released the video of his first-ever title fight, which took place at UFC 121 on October 23rd, 2010. His opponent that night was Brock Lesnar, the reigning champ who had proven his toughness the previous July with a classic comeback win against Shane Carwin. Lesnar was gigantic, athletic, and had legit talent as a wrestler. To stand a chance at winning, Velasquez would need to be faster, more efficient with his striking, and more willing to take abuse before giving it back. And that’s exactly what happened.

After some rather hoarse-voiced introductions from The Buff, Lesnar bull-rushes the smaller challenger right away, hoping to establish himself as alpha-male. And it actually works, at first. Brock stuffs some knees into Velasquez’s midsection (including a flying knee), and Cain has to retreat momentarily. He storms back with some punches but Lesnar responds by nailing a takedown and landing on top — a position that had spelled doom for the majority of his past opponents. But Cain gets to his feet immediately.

Brock struggles to put Velasquez’s back on the mat once again, and momentarily succeeds, but Velasquez is up even quicker the second time, and deftly escapes Lesnar’s grasp. It’s here that the momentum shifts. Velasquez begins popping Lesnar with punches, showing off his significant advantage in striking technique, before single-legging Lesnar to the mat and firing down some punches from above as Lesnar is turtled. Eventually he escapes to his feet, but he looks much worse for the wear, hunched over, dazed, swatting at Velasquez in panic.

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Weight Cut Blamed in Death of Brazilian MMA Fighter Leandro Souza [UPDATED]


(Photo via MMANYTT.SE)

A 26-year-old Brazilian fighter named Leandro “Feijao” Souza died yesterday while cutting weight for today’s Shooto Brazil 43 card in Rio de Janeiro, MMA Fighting reports. The 1-1 MMA rookie was attempting to finish his cut for a flyweight matchup with Gabriel Brasil, when he passed out and died shortly thereafter.

According to his teammate Andre Santos, “We don’t have much information yet, but we do know that is related to his weight cut. He’s my student but he also trains at Nova Uniao for about a year. I wasn’t with him during this process because I have a fight scheduled in Russia, so he spent the night at Nova Uniao’s gym. His sister called me saying that he had passed out so I went to the hospital, but he was already dead when I got there.”

Deaths in MMA have thankfully been a rare occurrence — but the torturous lengths that some athletes go to in preparation for their fights can be more dangerous than the fights themselves. Improper weight-cutting can permanently ruin a fighter’s health, causing everything from kidney damage to hypogonadism. Unfortunately, massive weight cuts have become a necessary evil for fighters who don’t want to be at a size disadvantage during their fights, and the wide distances between weight classes in MMA contribute to the problem. Maybe this tragic incident can serve as an eye-opener for young fighters who severely dehydrate themselves to compete, at the expense of their long-term health.

Our deepest condolences go out to Souza’s family and the Brazilian MMA community.

UPDATE: Shooto Brazil president Andre Pederneiras has announced that tonight’s event has been canceled as a “sign of mourning” for Souza.

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Jon Jones’s Striking Coach Mike Winkeljohn Explains Why Greg Jackson Was Kicked Out of Corner at UFC 165


(Winkeljohn says that Jackson’s absence didn’t affect their fighter’s performance too much, but “it could have ended up a lot worse.” / Photo via Getty)

By Elias Cepeda

video emerged this week showing a controversial moment during Jon Jones‘s title-defense against Alexander Gustafsson, but it was what could be heard in the video, not seen, that raised some eyebrows. In the background, the voice of what would seem to be an athletic commission official asks another man what his name is.

That man answered, “Greg Jackson.” Jackson, of course, is well known as Jones’s head coach, but he was promptly told that his name was not on the list of approved cornermen and forced to leave the area.

CagePotato spoke with Jones’s striking coach, Mike Winkeljohn — who was also in the champ’s corner that night in Toronto, but was able to stay there for the duration of the fight — and asked him what, exactly, happened.

“Normally for title fights a fighter gets four cornermen except for in Ontario where they have always just allowed three for some reason,” Winkeljohn explained. ”Heading into the fight, though, we were told that we had gotten permission to have four corners for Jon. We were all allowed to walk out and get in the corner with him and stayed there during the first round, but heading into the second round I could hear a commission inspector talking to Greg.

“I was trying to focus on the fight, on Jon, because it was a stand-up fight and I’m constantly speaking to him in code so it’s important not to have that communication disrupted. After the round, I find out that Greg was told to leave. We had permission from someone back there, but a different person — the inspector — for some reason didn’t let us. He was just doing his job as he thought he should, and you can’t blame him.

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On This Day in MMA History: Randy Couture Puts a Literal Spanking On Tito Ortiz, Unifies the LHW Belts and Becomes the Oldest MMA Champion in Ever

It ended up in the last thirty seconds, in a weird situation. He was kinda outta desperation, he rolled to a kneebar and an ankle lock. He had my leg, I’m sitting and have his feet and all I can see is his butt. You know, he was “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” and I can’t really get my leg out, and it just pops into my head, ‘spank him.’

That’s how former two-division UFC champion and UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture described delivering one of the most humiliating beatdowns in MMA History, ten years ago today. The event was UFC 44: Undisputed. Couture’s opponent was then light-heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz, who had successfully defended his title a record five times; a record that would not be broken until last weekend. The date was September 26, 2003 (do you feel old now?).

Believe it or not, there was a time long, long ago when the relationship between the Coutures and the UFC was something other than mutual disdain. It was the early aughts, and after pounding out Chuck Liddell for the interim LHW championship at the previous event, Couture would successfully unify the belts with a five-round drubbing of Ortiz.

While there was no shaming “The Hunting People’s Champ” for losing to a legend like Couture, there was plenty of shame to be seen in the final thirty seconds of the fight, when “The Natural” proceeded to spank his younger foe like he had just found a bag of grass in his sock drawer. For lack of a better word, it was…hilarious.

At 40 years of age, Couture would become the oldest fighter to ever win a UFC title. And he wasn’t even done yet.

But Couture vs. Ortiz wasn’t the only historic beatdown to happen at UFC 44. Not by a long shot…

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Fear the Fighter Caption Contest #2: Bruce Buffer, Dangerously Obsessed Fan


(FTF’s Wrestling tee. Check out the rest of their Combat Line shirts here.)

As promised, we’re giving you another chance to win a Combat Line t-shirt from our good friends at Fear the Fighter. Want to tell the world that your style is the strongest? Then listen up…

After the jump, you’ll find a picture of Veteran Voice of the Octagon™ Bruce Buffer, making it clear where he stands in the Arianny vs. Brittney debate. Submit a clever photo-caption to the comments section of this post by Sunday night at midnight PT. We’ll select one winner on Monday, who will receive a Combat Line shirt of his/her choice. Any questions, let us know in the comments section. Good luck.

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