MMA Fighter Challenges People to Punch Him in the Face, Everyone Fails

January, 2014

Rampage Jackson and King Mo Lawal Entered in Bellator’s Completely Unbiased 10th Season LHW Tournament


(Ah, memories.) 

As part of their ongoing effort to forcibly establish a marketable champion introduce new contenders to their LHW division repeatedly cycle through their apparently limited stable of noteworthy fighters (while making sure to book as many rematches in the process as possible), Bellator unveiled their season 10 light heavyweight tournament last night, and surprise surprise, all of the fighters competing in said tournament have either a) already lost a previous tournament b) recently lost the LHW title or c) are Rampage Jackson. Although in the case of King Mo Lawal, who is also entered in the tournament, it’s a little bit of a and b.

The four-man tournament* will kick off at Bellator 110 on Feb. 28 from the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut, and will feature Quinton “Rampage” Jackson vs. Christian M’Pumbu on one side of the “bracket” and  Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal vs. Mikhail Zayats on the other. What, you didn’t think King Mo and Rampage would actually be paired against one another in the opening round, did you? Anyway, Rampage spoke with select members of the media during a conference call yesterday and brought his usual mix of faux-enthusiasm and borderline incomprehensible syntax to the proceedings, stating:

I’m very excited to do my first tournament in years. I’m in it, and I’m in it to win it. I’m going to win this tournament by everybody going to sleep.

Ah, the Ben Askren strategy. Interesting to see Rampage switching up game plans this late in his career.

Seriously though, who does Bellator think they’re fooling with this tournament? It’s become increasingly obvious as of late that the organization is willing to do whatever it must to fast-track its marketable faces to title shots (see: Mo Lawal, King or Curran, Pat) at the expense of its actual champions. Look no further than their treatment of Attila Vegh if you don’t believe me. While the UFC may be struggling to create new stars, Bellator seems content to betray its own mission statement in order to force the few stars they have into power. Call me crazy, but the latter strategy seems a lot more risky to one’s credibility than the former.

Let’s look at the facts here:

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[EXCLUSIVE] Fighting in Plain Sight Director Edward Doty Discusses His Upcoming Documentary of Rafiel Torre, MMA’s Most Infamous Journalist Turned Con Man and Killer


(The Fighting in Plain Sight campaign video via IndieGoGo.)

By Jared Jones 

Mixed martial arts was facing an identity crisis in the early aughts to say the least. The UFC had just been purchased by the Fertittas, who were slowly attempting to shed the “human cockfighting” label the sport had acquired in its early years. Although athletic commissions around the country were beginning to adopt the unified rules put into place by Jeff Blatnick, John McCarthy and Joe Silva, a large majority of fights on the local level were still contested in underground, unsanctioned events. There was no fame or fortune fueling these warriors of the early days; there was only passion.

At the center of all this was Rafiel Torre, a charismatic reporter, former undefeated fighter and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt who covered all aspects of MMA for such prestigious publications as ADCC News and Submission Fighter. Considered one of the most notorious journalists of his day by those closest to the sport, Torre interviewed countless top fighters in an effort to promote and help showcase the human side of mixed martial arts during a time when most audiences viewed it as borderline criminal.

In February of 2001, Torre announced that he was coming out of retirement, supposedly to settle a vendetta with a former student of his, the 300+ pound Ioka Tianuu. The fight transpired at King of the Cage 7 and, aside from being one of the most obvious works in the sport’s history, would ultimately serve as the catalyst to Torre’s demise. Four years later, Torre would be convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Attempting to chronicle this unbelievable story is Edward Doty, a filmmaker and mixed martial arts enthusiast who has been documenting the sport for some 15 years. His first MMA documentary, Life in the Cage, is a must-see for “real” fans of the sport, but it was Doty’s close relationship with Torre that spawned the documentary he is currently attempting to crowdfund through IndieGoGo, Fighting in Plain Sight. We recently sat down with Doty to discuss his love of the sport, the facade that was Rafiel Torre, and what he is looking to accomplish with Fighting in Plain Sight. 

CagePotato: As an amateur filmmaker early in his career, was it the spectacle inherent in MMA that drew you to the sport? 

Edward Doty: I began training in Traditional Martial Arts (Yang style Tai Chi Chuan and Jing Mu Kung Fu) in 1993. In the September ’93 Issue of Black Belt Magazine, I saw an ad for “Tournament to Determine World’s Best Fighter!” I called the number, and Rorion Gracie picked up. It was the line to the Torrance Academy. Being the punk 15 year old that I was, I asked, “Yeah, do you guys have an under 18 division?” clearly not realizing what it was they were trying to do. After a pause, he said, “No….18 and over only” and hung up.

A couple years later I was doing Forms Competition at the Ed Parker tournament in Long Beach, and SEG had a booth set up, advertising UFC 3 and showing UFC 2 on a small TV. The fight? Pat Smith vs. Scott Morris. My life changed at that moment. There was just something so authentic about it. It was exhilirating, kinda scary, but most of all, honest. I still appreciated what I was doing, but it became clear over the next couple of years that Martial Arts was never going to be the same, and that was probably for the better. Two months after turning 18, I fought in the Team USA Shidokan in 1996 and promptly got my face caved in. Even so, I still loved training, and I began BJJ at Jean-Jacques Machado’s academy in 1997. I still train, albeit sporadically, and am a Purple Belt under Eddie Bravo.

My freshman year of college I realized I wanted to take my equally passionate love of Film and make that my career. In 1999 while attending a Neutral Grounds show promoted by my friend Bobby Razak, I realized that there were stories within MMA that needed to be told. That was the genesis of my first film, Life in the Cage.

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And Now He’s Retired: Chris Leben Walks Away After 11 Years of Rough-Neckin’


(Leben celebrates his knockout of Wanderlei Silva at UFC 132 in July 2011. It would be his last victory pose in the UFC. / Photo via Getty)

The last time we saw Chris Leben, he was telling his cornermen “I’m done” after a round’s worth of abuse by Uriah Hall at UFC 168. As it turns out, he wasn’t just done for the night — he was done, period. The TKO loss was Leben’s fourth straight defeat in the UFC, and it finally convinced him that there might be more to life than getting kicked in the head for a living.

On yesterday’s installment of The MMA Hour, Leben officially announced his retirement:

It’s been a fantastic, wonderful ride,” Leben said. “I’ve landed more strikes than anybody out there. Definitely highs and lows, ups and downs, but I think I’m starting to realize that, for me, it might be time to make that transition away from competing and get more on the coaching side of things.

After [UFC 168], I wanted to go back and re-evaluate things, make sure that the decision wasn’t based purely on emotion. That it was really what I wanted to do. And now, yes, I can say, I’ve really retired from competing in MMA…

I’m 33 years old now, which isn’t the oldest for a fighter. But like I tell people, it’s not how old you are, but it’s how long you’ve been doing it. And I’ve been doing this game for quite a while.

I’ve got a lot of years ahead of me. I would like to still have my head on my shoulders and have a brain when I’m raising kids and doing all the other stuff that I want to be part of. I think it might just be time for me to gracefully bow out.”

Leben, who recently took a job as a coach at Victory MMA & Fitness in San Diego, discussed how his fight against Uriah Hall was a harsh reminder that he’d gone as far in the sport as his skills would allow him, and could no longer be competitive on toughness alone:

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Shogun vs. Henderson 2 to Headline March ‘UFC Fight Night’ Card in Brazil [UPDATED]


(2011′s Slobberknocker of the Year is getting a sequel. / Photo via MMAFighting.com)

As first reported by Tatame, a rematch between Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Dan Henderson will headline a March 23rd UFC Fight Night event in Natal, Brazil. Broadcast plans haven’t been announced yet; hopefully the UFC doesn’t bury it on Fight Pass, because I’d actually like to watch this one.

(Update: UFC Fight Night 38: Shogun vs. Henderson 2 will take place at the Nelio Dias Gymnasium in Natal, and will be aired live on FOX Sports 1. By the way, March 23rd is a Sunday. The event isn’t happening on Saturday because FS1 is airing a motocross event that day. Seriously.)

Shogun and Hendo first squared off at UFC 139 back in November 2011, with Henderson earning a unanimous decision victory after five rounds of beautiful violence. But as we all know, Shogun was kicking Dan’s ass in last round, and would have won had the fight been scored under the Unified Rules of Stockton.

Rua has gone 2-2 since that night, including savage knockouts of Brandon Vera and James Te-Huna (“The Old Shogun is back! PRIDE neva die!”) and losses to Alexander Gustafsson and Chael Sonnen (“Shogun is finished! PRIDE die, maybe!”). Meanwhile, Henderson has only tasted defeat over the past two years, eating three straight losses against Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans, and Vitor Belfort. Hendo’s losing streak led the UFC to make him a borderline-insulting lowball offer during his recent contract negotiations, but apparently the two sides have come to terms.

So are you psyched to see these two living legends do battle once again? Or did you satisfy your PRIDE fanboy fix the first time?

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Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson Is the Hottest Free Agent in MMA — And the Most Over-Hyped


(In case you missed it, here’s what Rumble did to Mike Kyle on Saturday. Props: Arquivo El)

By Scott Sawitz

What a weird, wild ride it’s been for Anthony “Rumble” Johnson for the past 18 months. He’s gone from being a welterweight prospect with an insanely high ceiling (and an even bigger weight cut), to a high-profile UFC castoff, to a star for the fledgling World Series of Fighting promotion at light-heavyweight. After his spectacular knockout of journeyman Mike Kyle on Saturday night — which fulfilled the last fight on his WSOF contract — there was plenty of speculation among the MMA community on where he’d end up next.

Somehow, Rumble Johnson has become the hottest free agent since Hector Lombard. The WSOF, the UFC, or Bellator (or maybe all three) is going to offer him a big money deal because of one thing: Anthony Johnson is the only unsigned light-heavyweight in the world right now who looks like he could be a relevant fighter in the top tier of the 205-pound division. But the reality is, that’s only because he hasn’t had to face anyone that would suggest otherwise; the current buzz around Johnson wasn’t exactly built on quality of competition.

Bloody Elbow’s Mookie Alexander wrote a terrific piece on why the UFC needs Johnson, if only to bolster its dwindling, aging LHW roster, but I’d argue that Johnson isn’t the sort of high-profile fighter we think he is right now. You could never call him “elite” because he hasn’t fought anyone of note (with the possible exception of Andrei Arlovski, who he fought at heavyweight). In his best moments, Johnson looks like he could actually pass for a UFC title contender, but that could also be the result of some kind matchmaking by World Series of Fighting and Johnson’s management team.

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‘TUF 11′ Castmember Kyacey Uscola Convicted of Domestic Violence Charges, Faces Up to 13 Years in Prison


(Never trust an MMA fighter without tattoos. / Photo via Getty)

Middleweight journeyman Kyacey “Ice Cold” Uscola has been convicted of domestic violence charges stemming from a brutal attack on the mother of his child on June 15th, 2013. According to Sacramento news outlet news10.net, a Sacramento Superior Court found the 32-year-old Uscola guilty of battery on a spouse or cohabitant, battery with serious bodily injury, and corporal injury on a cohabitant.

As news10.net reports, Sacramento D.A. spokesperson Shelly Orio said “the victim suffered a life-threatening laceration to her pancreas, eight broken ribs, a punctured lung, an orbital fracture and two lumbar fractures.” Uscola’s sentencing is scheduled for February 14th, and he faces the possibility of up to 13 years in prison.

The report describes Uscola as a “rising star in the MMA world,” which couldn’t be further from the truth. Perhaps best known for his unsuccessful stint on TUF 11 — during which he almost got his dick bitten off by a pitbull (long story) — Uscola has lost eight straight fights since November 2010. His professional record stands at 21-24, and he’s never won more than three fights in a row.

News10.net interviewed Sacramento’s own Urijah Faber, who tried to set Uscola on the right track several years ago, until a 2011 domestic violence incident derailed their working relationship:

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It Looks Like Michael Bisping and Tim Kennedy Might *Finally* Have a Date Set for Their Grudge Match


(Kelsoburn.gif via Kennedy’s twitter.)

For what has felt like years now, middleweight contenders Michael Bisping and Tim Kennedy have been locked in a (revolutionary?) Twitter war, throwing petty and occasionally hilarious insults at one another like the sweet burn seen above. For a while, the dispute held about as much credibility as your average internet argument, as neither man seemed truly willing to sign on the dotted line. With Bisping out nursing an ironic eye injury and Kennedy busy picking off Brazilians like they were members of Al Qaeda, the digital back and forth quickly began to lose steam amongst MMA fans with Twitter accounts and unlimited free time.

Earlier this month, however, Bisping was cleared by his doctor to resume fighting and was immediately offered a bout with Kennedy. Yesterday morning, Fox Sports broke the news that Kennedy and Bisping have finally set a tentative date for their grudge match: April 16th, at the TUF Nations finale (no, I don’t know what the fuck a TUF Nations is either). Kennedy confirmed the matchup via his Twitter, and barring the results of Bisping’s upcoming tests with the UFC’s doctors, this fight is all but a lock. At the risk of sounding jingoistic…(*clears throat*)…USA! USA! USA!!

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True Confessions: I Gave Matt Riddle Weed Before He Got Fired From the UFC, And I Also Stole His Gloves


(Photo courtesy of the author.)

By George Tibbles

CagePotato has allowed me to write an article for its legion of reprobates and cretins — well, in the eyes of some leading industry figures anyway — and I’d like to use this opportunity to issue an open letter to our second-favourite, no wait third-favourite, ahh fuck it, one of the many stoners in MMA, Matt “Deep Waters” Riddle. Matt and I shared a brief moment in time last year, and I want to publicly apologise to him for my actions that night. Hopefully, I didn’t wreck his career.

Allow me to introduce myself and set the scene a little. Initially you may notice my vocabulary may be a bit different. This is due to myself being a typical Limey wanker. So I’ll clear a few things up though before I proceed: I can’t stand tea in any form, in no way are my teeth perfect but they’re not bad either, I think Bisping is awesome, I’m fully aware I may be writing this in German were it not for The US of A’s (late) involvement in WW2, I also whole-heartedly apologise on behalf of my country for this this twat and I am quite susceptible to the lay ‘N’ pray strategy. But I digress.

So let’s rewind back to February 16th, 2013, to the Barao vs McDonald card at the Wembley Arena in London. Now the UFC only comes to my little island once or twice a year and normally brings with it a pretty sub-standard card in terms of name recognition. So, me and my band of merry men turn it into a bit of a “boys” weekend and end up in all types of debauchery, eventually returning home with our tails between our legs and feeling rougher than a badger’s arsehole.

This particular card is pretty much a drunken haze, and I can only remember pieces of it. The Snake’s leg internally combusting. Watson repeatedly kneeing Nedkov. During the Poirier/Swanson fight, there was an equally good fight going on in the stands. (In the third round, Swanson put his hand to his ear thinking the crowd was cheering him, but in actual fact the crowd was cheering the huge fella raining down bombs on some poor twat.) And a delightful member of bar staff named Shaniqua who had tickled my fancy and was evidently turned off by how unbelievably twatted I was.

It was at UFC 138 where we discovered that, at UK events at least, the UFC puts the fighters in the closest Hilton Hotel to the event stadium. So for each event we go to, we always head to the nearest Hilton and have our post-fight/pre-club drinks there. After this particular card, the strategy paid off in droves.

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Ten Different Ways to Look at UFC Fight Pass


(Saffiedine! Lim! Eleven fighters we’re so confident you won’t know that we aren’t even going to bother showing you their faces! Props to Michael Sempervive for the image.)

By Seth Falvo

With all of the coverage that UFC Fight Pass has been receiving, it’s hard to believe that it has only been two weeks since the launch of the network. So far, opinions have ranged from “pathetic cash grab” to “everything a fight fan could possibly want.” In an effort to evaluate Fight Pass up to this point, here are ten ways of looking at the network, arranged in no particular order.

1.) Should You Buy Fight Pass? Well, Should You Buy Netflix?

“Netflix for Fight Fans” is how Lorenzo Fertitta summed up the service, and honestly, that sounds about right. Fight Pass offers exclusive content in the form of international events and preliminary fights – just like how Netflix offers Orange is the New Black – but its selling point is its archives. If you already own all of your favorite fight cards on DVD and are only interested in watching the UFC’s pay-per-views, then Fight Pass has nothing to offer you. For the rest of us, it’s a matter of whether archives and international cards are worth $9.99 per month.

2.) It Isn’t Nearly the Bargain that Supporters Claim It Is.

The Netflix analogy doesn’t quite hold up though. I use my Netflix account every day, and regardless of who I’m watching it with, I can find something on there that everyone will enjoy. I’m not about to sit down and watch old fights on a daily basis, and unless the original documentaries that the UFC is promising us are downright spectacular, I doubt that my non-fight fan friends are going to want to watch Fight Pass with me. This doesn’t mean that Fight Pass is a waste of money, but let’s not pretend that paying $119.88 per year to watch old fights and Facebook preliminaries is the best thing to ever happen to MMA fans, either.

3.) It Isn’t Nearly the Insult That Detractors Claim It Is.

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3 Ways Dana White Will React to GSP’s Talk About Drug Testing


(Photo via Getty)

By Matt Saccaro

One of Dana White’s greatest talents is burying fighters. When old, broke war dogs speak out against the UFC, White cuts them down with assertions that he “makes millionaires” and labels detractors as “goofs” and “dummies.”

But can White do that to Georges St-Pierre, who recently called out the UFC for their drug testing policies. Well, we’ve already had a small taste of White’s verbal stylings. He questioned GSP’s manhood, implying that GSP airing his grievances with the media was somehow cowardly. He also said GSP’s actions were “kooky,” and that his claims were ridiculous.

That was just the opening salvo. What’ll Dana White say about his former meal ticket six months from now, a year from now, two years from now, when GSP’s relevance fades and insulting him carries less risk?

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