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December, 2013

With Mark Hunt Injured, Dana White Nixes Plans of an Immediate Rematch With Bigfoot Silva


(Take it easy guys, you’re scaring the children. Photo via Getty.)

So Dana White recently sat down for an interview with Sportsnet, during which he gushed over Mark Hunt vs. Antonio Silva like a little schoolboy. Not that I blame him; I’ve been talking up that fight with such bombast, you’d think it was my sex life (*three successive rimshots*). And being that draws often warrant rematches, Sportsnet made sure to ask DW about the possibility of seeing Hunt vs. Bigfoot II in the future:

Every morning when I open my eyes, the first thing I think about is Mark Hunt and Antonio Silva. The sickest heavyweight fight I’ve ever seen. I was jumping around the room like a little kid during that fight. I can’t stop talking about that fight, I can’t stop thinking about that fight. It was amazing.

In that fight, Hunt broke his hand in two places so he’s gonna be out for a while. So no, there won’t be an immediate rematch. I’m assuming that Silva’s gonna want to fight again before Hunt’s back.

I’m not saying I’m glad that Mark Hunt broke his hand, but I’m kind of glad Hunt broke his hand and here’s why:

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Five Obvious but Overlooked Things Fans Need to Remember About the UFC


(Just keep repeating to yourself, “Nobody’s making me watch this…nobody’s making me watch this…nobody’s making me watch this…”)

By Matt Saccaro

The UFC has come under fire lately for several reasons: Declining numbers, oversaturation, the fading of their stars, launching a digital network with a questionable premise, not hiring Ben Askren and so on. When we fling insults at the UFC, we need to remember a few things about the company in order to put these negative occurrences and circumstances into perspective. Let’s start with the most obvious but frequently-ignored point:

1. The UFC is a business.

The purpose of the UFC is to make its owners money. The UFC does not exist to feed fighters’ families. There’s not much else to say on this front. Companies have to make money to be viable. Yeah, it sucks that some guys get paid an absurdly small amount of money for what they do, and it sucks that the UFC is upping the PPV price.

That’s just something we have to deal with though. If you don’t like it, vote with your dollar. If enough people tune out, Zuffa’s wallet will know and they’ll either change their tune accordingly or lose money.

2. The UFC is an international company.

There’s been talk about the UFC hiring unfit-for-television jobbers lately. It’s true but necessary. The UFC is headed to distant lands where MMA is in its most nascent stages. The talent pool in these places is more like a mud puddle. The UFC has to work with what it’s given in China and Singapore. Deepening foreign talent pools can only happen by growing the sport overseas, and growing the sport overseas can only happen when they have foreign (foreign to us, home grown to them) fighters on the card. And since there aren’t many great foreign fighters, the UFC has to scrape the bottom of a very empty barrel. This results in fighters getting a place in the “Super Bowl of MMA” who shouldn’t even be in the bleachers, let alone on the field.

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Strikeforce WSOF Deathwatch: WSOF 7 Pulled in Just 94,000 Viewers


(And just when they were figuring out proper product placement! Curses!!)

Well, we can’t say this looks good.

Thanks to a last-minute injury that saw their (cursed) main event scratched, Ray Sefo and the gang were forced to push the featherweight title fight between Georgi Karakhanyan and Lance Palmer from the co-main spot into the spotlight at WSOF 7 last weekend. Viewing audiences apparently did not approve of this unfortunate yet necessary change, or maybe they just had better things to do on a Saturday night. Or maybe we were all tapped out from the epicness that was Fight Night 33. In any case, it appears that none of you heeded our advice and tuned into WSOF 7. Seriously, like none of you (via MMAPayout):

MMA Payout has learned through Nielsen sources that World Series of Fighting’s event on Saturday night received a meager 94,000 viewers.  WSOF 7 from Vancouver, BC in Canada competed with a heavy night of college football, boxing and Invicta FC. 

One could argue that the lack of “compelling” fights (which, as we pointed out in our breakdown, was not the case with WSOF 7) and multitude of events that transpired last weekend were responsible for the utter failure that was WSOF 7. But as MMA Payout also pointed out, WSOF 6 managed to draw in 161,000 viewers despite competing with both Mayweather-Alvarez and Fight Night 30.

Perhaps most troubling, however, is the complete nosedive WSOF’s ratings have taken over their last few events.

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[VIDEO] And Now, Your First-Punch KO of the Day…

The art of the first-punch knockout is an oft underappreciated one, right up there with the opening bell diving heel hook. Most fighters don’t even get their bearings until the second round, yet crazy sons a bitches like Benjamin Pierre-Saint (I know, right?) up there are so dialed in on their opponents that they can literally end the fight before it begins. First-punch knockouts are more devastating yet simultaneously graceful than any footage of a lion attacking a gazelle you will ever see, so check out this prime example that went down at SHINE 2 last weekend and thank us later.

-J. Jones

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Ian McCall vs. Brad Pickett, Gunnar Nelson vs. Omari Akhmedov Added to UFC Fight Night 37 in London


(Clad in a ragged fedora and suspenders, ‘One Punch’ is the first sub-boss you encounter in the “England” level of Super UFC Bros. / Image via @MleegArt)

After pulling out of this weekend’s UFC on FOX 9 card due to injury, Ian McCall has been reassigned to UFC Fight Night 37: Gustafsson vs. Manuwa, March 8th at the O2 Arena in London. “Uncle Creepy” will face off against Brad “One Punch” Pickett, who is dropping to flyweight for the first time following a 3-3 UFC stint at bantamweight. The UFC confirmed the booking yesterday.

Though Pickett was never able to put together a long winning streak in the Octagon, his fan-friendly style has earned him four Fight of the Night bonuses and one Knockout of the Night bonus since 2011, totaling $270,000 in extra cash. His last appearance resulted in a triangle-choke loss to Michael McDonald, in a bout that won the FOTN award for UFC Fight Night 26: Shogun vs. Sonnen. Of course, McCall is no slouch himself when it comes to bonuses, with two Fight of the Night bumps in his four UFC appearances. So yeah, should be fun.

Also on the card…

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Is Holly Holm As Valuable to the UFC as Her Manager Thinks She Is?


(Fresquez and Holm field questions after her win over Angela Hayes on Friday. / Photo via Getty)

By Mark Dorsey

Former world champion boxer Holly Holm is an MMA franchise. She’s a marquee star, a better face of the UFC women’s division than Ronda Rousey, and worth a six-figure contract — at least according to her manager, Lenny Fresquez, who has been making the media rounds lately trying to convince the public that his undefeated client is the only worthy challenger to Rousey’s belt.

Let’s get one thing straight: Calling Holly Holm a “franchise” is ludicrously premature. Georges St-Pierre and Anderson Silva are MMA franchises. Beyond that, the list gets very thin. In fact, the concept of franchise players is fading in every sport as the Lebron Jameses and Jacoby Ellsburys of the sports world show that their loyalty only extends to the highest free market bidder.

The argument could be made that UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey is a franchise athlete. After all, Dana White has admitted that the UFC only created the women’s division because of her. But Holly Holm is not on the same level of recognizability as Rousey. Sure she was a big boxing draw in New Mexico, but being a regional draw does not translate to franchise-level success with a global brand like the UFC.

Chances are, not many outside of the hardcore MMA and boxing fanbase have even heard of Holly Holm. The Holly Holm brand might bring a few new eyeballs from the boxing world but she is certainly not selling a PPV on her own.

However, just because Holly Holm is not a “franchise” does not mean she wouldn’t make a great investment for the UFC’s fledgling women’s division. Holm is a fantastic athlete. Once considered by many as the best female boxer on the planet, she was twice named Ring Magazine’s female Fighter of the Year. Training under Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn, she not only has the physical ability and attributes, she also has the right team around her to be a world champion in MMA.

It’s possible that Holm may one day be a UFC franchise athlete. She certainly has the potential to dominate a women’s division that is severely lacking in high-quality strikers. She could also develop into a legitimate MMA star. She’s personable, good looking and professional. However, she’s not there yet.

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Six Things the UFC Can Learn from the WWE Going Into 2014


(On second thought, make that seven things. Photo via With Leather.)

By Seth Falvo

On paper, my timing couldn’t possibly be worse. Aside from the fact that there are dozens of “What the UFC can learn from the WWE” articles on the Internet, last week’s edition of Monday Night Raw – the company’s flagship television program – brought some of its worst viewership numbers of the past fifteen years. With this week’s edition competing against a Monday Night Football game between two teams still in playoff contention for the casual fans, it’s doubtful that those numbers improved by much.

So then why am I writing yet another article about what a company that sells choreographed “fights” experiencing some of its lowest viewership numbers can teach the UFC? Because the WWE’s idea of “terrible numbers” involves only averaging 3.53 million viewers. To put that into perspective, the TUF 18 Finale main card drew 1.129 million viewers. That’s right, the WWE is in panic mode because their weekly Monday night show only attracted three times as many viewers as a UFC event.

Don’t worry, I’m not about to suggest that the UFC resort to ridiculous storylines, assigning character gimmicks to fighters, forcing celebrity guests into shows, forming an ill-advised partnership with a dying pro-wrestling promotion, or any of the other things that would make most MMA fans roll their eyes. Nor am I going to ignorantly blame the UFC for less than spectacular fights, controversial finishes, and other things that a legitimate sports league cannot possibly be expected to control. On the contrary, my first suggestion is something that the UFC actually used to do better than the WWE…

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‘TUF: China’ Cast Includes 0-0 Yoga Instructor Who Doesn’t Know How to Fight


(The soon-to-be-forgotten and/or fired TUF China cast. Photo via the Global Times.)

That The Ultimate Fighter: China features the powerhouse *coaching* duo of Tiequan Zhang (currently riding a 3-fight losing streak with his sole UFC win coming over Jason Reinhardt) and Hailin Ao (retired) should say more about the talent level of its contestants than we ever could, but you guys have got to read this.

The premiere episode of TUF: China transpired last Saturday. While most of us here in the states failed to take notice of this, f4wonline‘s Mark Harris recently published a recap of the episode and offered some insight. You should check out the entire summary here, but the following paragraphs truly emphasize how fucked this season is going to be (emphasis mine):

The fighters on this season are a mixed bag of promising talent and hapless newbies…The quirkiest character this season is Li Jin Ying (0-0, welterweight), who admitted to having no MMA experience before sparring in front of the cameras. His appearance on the show is so bizarre I have to wonder if he’s only on to illustrate to viewers the level of training and experience that’s needed to succeed in MMA.

Li is a spiritualist yoga instructor “eager to be Asia’s biggest MMA star”. Yes, a yoga instructor. He has a photogenic face, the kind of face UFC would probably want to put on advertisements in China, but he apparently has no MMA experience and describes himself as shy.

I never dreamed that there would come a day when TUF and American Idol adopted the same criteria for selecting contestants. I was wrong.

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Submission of the Day: Ian Entwistle’s Diving Heel-Hook at Cage Warriors 62 [VIDEO]


(Props: Cage Warriors/themmaclinic via r/MMA)

Though Saturday’s Cage Warriors 62 event had to proceed without its headliner, there were more than enough wild moments to make up for it. Case in point: this impressively acrobatic heel-hook that English lightweight Ian Entwistle landed on Liam James just 24 seconds into their bout. Watch as Entwistle dodges a right cross from James and immediately wraps up his opponent’s rear leg, dragging it to the mat and sinking a heel-hook in the blink of an eye. The victory marked Entwistle’s fourth-straight win by submission. Good stuff, mate.

Also on the card, Martin Sheridan challenged Chinzo Machida for Most Violent Knee-KO of the Year. Check out Sheridan’s first-round win over Jordan Desborough after the jump…

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The Four Most Likely Scenarios to Emerge From Georges St. Pierre’s Upcoming Press Conference


(In a shocking turn of events, St. Pierre announces that he will be retiring from MMA to replace A.J. Pierzynski’s catcher’s mitt in the 2014 season. Photo via Esther Lin/MMAFighting.)

As it has been ever since UFC 167, the MMA blogosphere is currently abuzz with speculation regarding the future of welterweight kingpin Georges St. Pierre. Amidst (hopefully) false rumors pertaining to his father’s illness, an unplanned pregnancy, and a multi-million dollar lawsuit with his former manager, St. Pierre announced his semi-retirement from the sport immediately following his controversial split decision win over Johny Hendricks, only to be buried by Dana White for having the gall to worry about his own health and personal life thereafter.

According to the Journal de Montreal, St. Pierre plans on holding a press conference this Friday to address his future in the UFC and clear the air regarding the multitude of rumors surrounding him. But being that sports journalism thrives on speculation, we’ve decided to go ahead and predict the four most likely reasons for GSP’s upcoming presser, as well as what the MMA world will be facing come Saturday morning.

Scenario #1:  Retirement

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