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Interview: ‘Kingdom’ Actor Jonathan Tucker Discusses His Journey...

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Interview: ‘Kingdom’ Actor Jonathan Tucker Discusses His Journey Into MMA Culture


(“The great majority of people who are fighting are not doing this for money and glory. There’s something else that drives them to the cage.” / Photo via kingdom.directv.com)

Though mixed martial arts has inspired its share of movies — both decent and dreadfulKingdom is the first TV drama to be set in the world of MMA. The series, which premieres next Wednesday, October 8th, on DIRECTV’s Audience channel, focuses on ex-fighter Alvey Kulina (played by Frank Grillo), his two sons, and their daily battles inside and outside of the cage.

Providing some of the show’s necessary tension is Jonathan Tucker, who plays the troubled black sheep of the Kulina clan. Jonathan took some time last week to chat with CagePotato.com about his preparations for the role, and the lengths that the cast and crew went to in order to ensure authenticity. Read our interview with Jonathan below, follow him on Twitter @jonathanmtucker, and visit Kingdom’s official site to learn more. 

CAGEPOTATO.COM: Kingdom takes place in the setting of a mixed martial arts gym and professional fighting, but it really seems to be about a father’s relationship with his sons. Tell me a little bit about the character you play, Jay Kulina.

JONATHAN TUCKER: Jay’s kind of this high-wire act, who’s part warrior, part jester. There’s a lot of characters in MMA gyms, and everybody’s being driven to fight for some different reason. Everyone’s finding a sort of healing in the training or the fighting or the camaraderie of being in a gym like that. And for Jay, there’s a sense of distance that he gets from the training and fighting that keeps him out of the other addictions in his life. And when he loses that ability to train, he succumbs to a lack of self-confidence and turns to alcohol and drugs and sex — which is certainly something that I got to see among people in different gyms around Los Angeles.

How much physical preparation was required for a role like this, where you’re portraying a fighter? What was that process like?

We did a two-week boot camp with Joe “Daddy” [Stevenson] and his team, and Greg Jackson, out in Pomona and Victorville, and I did a lot of individual coaching at different places around LA. I was already generally walking around at the weight I was on the show, but when you give a person a few months to really step it up and focus on the diet and the workouts, that extra 5% difference really shows.

I was dragging my ass to the gym every single minute I wasn’t working, and then fight training; we rolled in the morning, got in conditioning right afterwards, then we’d have time for lunch, we’d go box, and usually do some kind of kickboxing in the evening. Of course, we had the luxury of time. All we’re really trying to do on the show is honor the fighters who are trying to pay their rent, who are always working a second job, who are supporting families. The luxury that we had to just train without worrying about paying our mortgage, that was something we never took for granted.

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Cung Le Tests Positive for HGH Following Michael Bisping Fight, Receives Nine-Month Suspension


(Ha-ha!)

The UFC announced this evening that middleweight Cung Le tested positive for HGH following his gruesome defeat at the hands of Michael Bisping at UFC Fight Night 48 in Macau last month. This is especially hilarious because of how adamant Le was before the fight about how he wasn’t using PEDs; that photo of him looking like the Incredible damn Hulk (see above, right) was just the result of hard work and good lighting and clean living and more assorted bullshit. Cung Le is a liar, and he’ll be punished for it. Here’s the full statement from the UFC:

UFC middleweight Cung Le tested positive for an excess level of Human Growth Hormone in his system following his fight at UFC Fight Night in Macao, China on August 23. Due to his positive test result, Le was suspended by the UFC and notified that he violated the UFC Fighter Conduct Policy and Promotional Agreement with Zuffa, LLC. The UFC has a strict, consistent policy against the use of any illegal and/or performance-enhancing drugs, stimulants or masking agents by our athletes. Le will serve a nine-month suspension and, at its conclusion, will need to pass a drug test before competing in the UFC again.

I have three things to say about this…

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Tim Kennedy Is None Too Pleased With Big John McCarthy’s “F—ed Up” Performance at UFC 178


(Alas, Kennedy was *so* close to having his There Will Be Blood moment. Photo via Getty.)

True story: After being forced to reign in my gambling habit (and temporarily flee the state) due to a particularly tough beat in the Dolphins-Pats game, I sheepishly made another go of it for UFC 178 last weekend, placing a harmless 100 dollar bet on an Ebersole-Masvidal-Zingano-Kennedy parlay. If all went according to plan, the bet would have netted me around $990, a.k.a enough to stop Hairy Mike and that bug-eyed goon Roscoe from throwing me out of another speeding car. (It’s the lack of respect that hurts the most. That and the road rash.)

At the end of the second round between Kennedy and Romero, I was never more sure that I would avoid another unfortunate roadside beatdown. Though I was bound to a chair with a gasoline-soaked rag stuffed in my mouth, confidence was flowing through every fabric of my being. “Mff iff i d,” I mumbled aloud, which is rag-speak for “This is my day.” When the allotted 60-second break between rounds had passed and Romero was still slunken on his stool, I came as close to jumping for joy as my constraints would allow. How could the fight *not* be over? Romero was out on his feet ass and Kennedy has already begun celebrating! Surely my moment of validation was at hand!

You could imagine my surprise when Big John McCarthy — he of MMA lore and Marvin Gaye lyric-stealing fame — not only *didn’t* call the fight right then and there, but actually allowed Romero to continue. The utter madness! In any case, the third round started, Romero channeled what I can only assume was voodoo strength, and the next thing I know, I’m being pushed out the back of an F-150 onto a crowded interstate highway. Life’s not fair sometimes.

The only person arguably more pissed at the controversial turn of events than myself was Tim Kennedy, who engaged in a heated debate with Romero’s corner backstage before filing an official appeal of the decision. Never one to shy away from telling it like it is, Kennedy appeared on The MMA Hour yesterday to air his grievances with what has since been dubbed “stoolgate” and took primary aim at none other than Big John himself.

I think John is the best ref in the promotion. He and Herb Dean, truly, I have respect for. He f—ed up majorly in my fight. He got owned. He got owned that night by a bunch of guys doing sh—y things. He got played by all three of them, and he just let it happen.

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GIF of the Day: Chuck Liddell Has Run Out of Hand Gestures


(Props: Reddit MMA)

Shaka, fist pose, shaka, fist pose, fist pose. Yep, that about covers it.

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Lightweight Contender Bobby Green’s *Other* Brother Was Shot Last Night


(Photo via Getty.)

The continuously trying story of UFC lightweight contender Bobby “King” Green has taken yet another unfortunate turn.

Back in May, Green lost his younger brother, Mitchell Davis Jr., in a drive-by shooting that Green believes was related to Davis’ previous gang ties. In the aftermath of his brother’s death (which also saw two of his uncles and his cousin shot), a hit was allegedly placed on Green himself. Even for a foster child who grew up in a particularly seedy section of San Bernardino, CA — one who had witnessed countless gang atrocities throughout his upbringing — this was a particularly horrific development to say the least.

And now, it appears that Green’s *other* brother has been shot as well. The heartbreaking news came from Green’s Facebook page late last night:

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Here’s the ‘Rocky’-Themed Pasodoble That Got Randy Couture Kicked Off ‘Dancing With the Stars’ [VIDEO]


(Props: DTWS via MMAJunkie)

Randy Couture‘s brief run as a television dance-show competitor came to an end last night, as he and partner Karina Smirnoff were voted off Dancing With the Stars season 19 following a mediocre pasodoble performance on week 3. Their dance was soundtracked by “Eye of the Tiger” from Rocky III. You know, because Randy’s a fighter? This is why MMA needs a more iconic song than “Face the Pain.”

Couture looked a little stiffer than he did during his alarmingly decent foxtrot on week 1, although the giant swing into jumping somersault that he pulls off at 1:09-1:17 was pretty badass. Ah well. Genius is never recognized in its own time. And now, we’ll go back to reporting on Randy Couture news that’s actually relevant.

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Gross Injury of the Day: Alan Patrick Pulls Out of UFC 179 Due to Horrifying Fractured Jaw [UPDATED]


(The “before” picture, via Getty)

Undefeated Brazilian lightweight Alan Patrick has withdrawn from his UFC 179 matchup with Beneil Dariush due to a fractured jaw suffered in training. Patrick sustained the injury last Thursday while sparring at X-Gym in Rio de Janeiro. As he told Sherdog:

I was training and was hit by a knee. I was using a mouthguard, but it hit the bottom of my mouth. I have never been hit by such a knee before. It went right into my chin. Now, I will have to put a titanium plate on my chin. If I wasn’t going to be hit anymore, I wouldn’t have to do it, but as a fighter, I have to be cautious…In about a month, I’ll be able to resume doing cardio, and after another month, I’ll resume with the soft-contact training. I expect to fight in December.”

We have placed a photo of Patrick’s injury after the jump, because honestly, it’s too gross to leave on the homepage. Brace yourself…

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Videos: CagePotato Breaks Down UFC 178′s McGregor vs. Poirier and Cerrone vs. Alvarez on TYT Sports

Thanks again to TYT Sports — and the sharply-dressed Francis Maxwell — for having me on this morning to break down UFC 178. Here are the other two segments we shot, about Conor McGregor‘s hype-justifying TKO of Dustin Poirier, and Donald Cerrone‘s victorious battle against Eddie Alvarez. Short version: McGregor is the good kind of crazy, and Cerrone has gone from entertaining gunslinger to true elite in the lightweight division. Could both these men have title fights in their immediate futures?

Subscribe to TYT Sports’s YouTube channel right here, and check out our segment on Demetrious Johnson vs. Chris Cariaso if you missed it earlier.

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Report: The Nogueira Brothers Narrowly Escape Ongoing Hostage Situation in Brasilia Hotel [UPDATED]


(Photo via Mirror.uk. Props to CP reader Airton S for the tip)

In a story eerily reminiscent of the movie Swordfish (minus Halle Berry’s world-renowned torso acting skills), it seems as if Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira just narrowly avoided an ongoing hostage situation in a Brasilian hotel this morning.

According to Globo, the MMA legend and his brother were staying at the Saint Peter Hotel in Brasilia, Brazil over the weekend, when they (along with nearly 300 other hotel guests) were evacuated from the building by fireman due to an apparent “gas leak.” The situation was far more severe in reality, as a crazed gunman had actually taken a hotel employee hostage on the 13th floor*, handcuffed him, and strapped a bomb to his chest (see photo above).

The incident began around 8 a.m. this morning, when the suspect was spotted climbing up the side of the building by several concerned guests. While information is limited, it is believed that the gunman has a grudge with the Brazilian government and “is calling for ‘the fall of Dilma’ among other things.” Dilma, of course, refers to Brazil’s 36th and current President Dilma Rousseff.

A spokesman for the Brasilian police stated that it has not yet been confirmed whether the white cylinders seen on the hostage’s vest are actual bombs or not, but that “Security evacuated the hotel and three negotiators are trying to resolve the situation peacefully. A bomb disposal unit is on the scene.”

We will update you on this situation as it develops.

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VIDEO: CagePotato.com Appears on TYT Sports to Discuss Demetrious Johnson vs. Chris Cariaso Fight at UFC 178

The classy dudes at TYT Sports were kind enough to have me on their show this morning to discuss the top three fights at UFC 178. First up, this breakdown of the main event, Demetrious Johnson vs. Chris Cariaso.

I haven’t watched the video yet because I don’t like looking at my own face or hearing the sound of my own voice, but I definitely remember what we talked about. Basically, I ran down the lopsided two-round beating that Johnson gave Cariaso, why Mighty Mouse’s performance was impressive and not impressive at the same time, and why staying in the flyweight division might not be in Johnson’s best interest, career-wise.

Give it a look, and please subscribe to TYT Sports on YouTube for more UFC 178 analysis videos from yours truly, which will be posted by this evening.

(BG)

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UFC 178 Salaries: McGregor, Johnson, Cruz Are Well-Compensated for Their Time

The UFC paid out $1,433,000 in disclosed salaries and bonuses to the 22 fighters who competed at UFC 178, with seven of those fighters comfortably landing in six-figure territory.

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Tim Kennedy Argues With Yoel Romero Backstage At UFC 178 About #Stoolgate, Shirtless Debate Ensues

Tim Kennedy, bruised and battered, pulls a fit backstage and gets in Yoel Romero's face after #stoolgate at UFC 178 this past weekend in Las Vegas. Shirtless men arguing after the jump.

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UFC 178 Results: Johnson Submits Cariaso, Cerrone Out-Points Alvarez, McGregor Flattens Poirier,

Round-by-round results from the UFC 178 pay-per-view card will be right here starting at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT. Come and get it.

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Bellator 126 Results and GIFs: Halsey Destroys Shlemenko, Held Dominates Freire

The whistling of Conor McGregor's hypetrain heading into UFC 178 made it easy to forget about Bellator 126. However, as always, CagePotato has you covered with a Bellator recap post.

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Some must-see highlights from our bros around the blogosphere.

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Injury Roundup: Jose Aldo Hospitalized With Kidney Stones, Conor McGregor Rumored to Have Busted Hand

EVERYBODY PANIC!!!

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Behold: The Most Awkward Cat Zingano Interview of All Time

"Are you nice and relaxed? You seem relaxed."

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Nick Diaz Pleads Not Guilty to DUI Charges

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Another Ex-Girlfriend of Anthony Johnson Accused Him of Battery in March, Police Report Reveals

Johnson will never answer to these charges in a court of law. The only punishment he might receive is the permanent loss of his UFC contract, which seems likely at this point.

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VIDEO: Jessica Penne Chokes Out Lisa Ellis on TUF 20, Episode 3

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