Here’s Michael Bisping‘s UFC 89 video blog from yesterday, following him through the weigh-ins and the aftermath. Since much of this video is just Bisping sitting around and talking with his British friends, I understood very little of what was going on. Still it seems interesting that Bisping does his own video blog for this event, is basically the impetus for the whole card and its location, and has already been named as the next TUF coach regardless of his performance tonight.
We like to rag on fuckups like Junie Browning and Jesse Taylor for their ridiculous drunken antics, lack of impulse control, and apparent urge to piss away every chance that’s given to them in an endless quest toward self-destruction. But in general, being a violent, alcoholic jackass is a result of some kind of unresolved psychic torment that booze temporarily erases. Monday’s UFC 89 Countdown: Bisping vs. Leben special detailed the upbringing of TUF‘s original hard-drinking hothead, Chris Leben. It seems that everybody in Chris’s family was a drinker, from the father who abandoned him to the mother who tried to support him and his two siblings with her bartending job — and the lack of supervision, stability, and positive role models through his childhood didn’t exactly shape him into the world’s most balanced person.
Other things we learn about Chris Leben in this video: He couldn’t read or write when he graduated high school. He went AWOL from the Army after being convinced by a recruiter — falsely, it turned out — that he could enlist just to be on their wrestling team. Losing to Anderson Silva sent him on a two-week bender. Excluding boot camp and jail, he’d never been sober for more than a week or two straight since he was 13, but at the time of Leben’s interview for the special, he was 89 days sober. And finally, he ain’t goin’ all the way to England to lose.
(Bisping realizes how overdressed he is for the occasion. Click the image to watch the video on UFC.com.)
UFC.com just put up a video of a UFC 89 press-conference held earlier today in Birmingham, England, where Chris Leben did his best to add heat to the main event fight by complimenting Michael Bisping’s suit and criticizing the Count’s style as one that makes self-preservation the top priority. Bisping kept his cool, saying he doesn’t need extra motivation to beat Leben: “I don’t have to do anything to get myself fired up…I don’t need any kind of smack talk, I don’t need any kind of reason to hate the person. To me it’s all about business…by winning my fights, it enables me to provide the lifestyle I want for my family, and that’s all the motivation I need.” Anyway, the fans were expecting Leben to come at them with a crazy new hairstyle for this fight, and you can’t say that he didn’t deliver. WAR ‘ROWS.
Inside MMA welcomes “Sugar” Rashad Evans, Bobby Lashley, and Dave Meltzer. Here’s a quick taste in this preview video. Right off we’re talking about “evisceration,” which is a fun start, and Bas Rutten asks Kenny Rice, “Did you see that movie Braveheart?” This prompted me to ask, is there anyone on earth who hasn’t seen it by now? It’s more ubiquitous on TV than Remember the Titans.
Below we’ve got Brandon Vera basking in the glory of his fame in the Phillipines. Looks like Dana White wasn’t joking when he said that the UFC was even more mainstream there than they are in the U.S. Props to MMA Payout.
After the jump, Nevada State Athletic Commissioner Keith Kizer gives his thoughts of the EliteXC controversy.
Gina Carano does her best to play down the various EliteXC controversies in this interview with Steve Cofield. They cover everything from her naked weigh-in (where maybe Jared Shaw tried to sneak a peek) to her very meager pay to the impending investigation into the Seth Petruzelli bonus fiasco to…wait a minute. Is that the national anthem playing in the background? Gina, did you carry on with the interview through the national fucking anthem? The goddamn Star-Spangled Banner!? Jesus, that’s worse than wearing a hat during it! And you call yourself an American Gladiator.
But on a serious note, where I get confused is where Carano says she’s actually happy that people know how little she made (1/20 of Kimbo’s purse, as Cofield points out) because now they’ll know she doesn’t do this for money. Now, I’m no high-powered sports agent, but I have to think that maybe it’s this attitude that’s the problem. It’s one thing to say you’re not only in this for the money, but this is your career. It’s not just about what you want; it’s about what’s fair. I’m sure there are plenty of up-and-coming women fighters who wish that you’d make this point to your employers a little more forcefully. Plus, maybe if you made more to fight you wouldn’t have to do all this other shit on the side. Just saying.
Below, check out a clip from Randy Couture‘s perfectly coiffured days as a wrestler. An extra special bonus surprise awaits you after the jump. Props to MMA Scraps for the find(s).
Check out this revealing interview that Sherdog did with Anderson Silva in Rio de Janeiro, in which the Spider delves a little deeper into his motivations for retiring next year. First, he repeats his claim that he’ll be gone after the six remaining fights on his UFC contract are up, but he estimates that he’ll be finished with those fights in June 2009 — which would mean he’d fight almost every month next year. “Everything has its time,” he says, “and I believe my time is already over.”
When asked if financial concerns were behind his desire to leave the UFC, and whether he was bothered by the fact that some UFC fighters who aren’t even champions get paid much more than he does, Silva says “It has nothing to do with money because I’m a humble person who has an ordinary life. Actually I never did it for money…Everything I could do for MMA, I already did. Now it’s time to help the new generation.”
By the end of next year, Silva says he’ll already be retired. “You will not see myself pinching a fly anymore…I’m going to be fat, with a big belly by the side of the Octagon, eating popcorn behind the scenes, making my imitations and screaming for the fighters: ‘Go there! Kick his face! Put him down!’ It’s going to be really funny!”
As for his upcoming UFC 90 fight against Patrick Cote, Silva had this to say: “I’m not able to predict the future, but I can say it’s going to be fun. He’s going to beat me a little bit, and I’m going to beat him a little bit…If God permits, I’ll keep my belt.”
In the official UFC 89 hype video we continue to hear about Chris Leben‘s transformation as a fighter, which has quickly become one of the main storylines heading into this event. Oddly, with all the talk about Leben’s transition from brawler to technically sound MMA fighter, whenever anyone talks about his strengths they inevitably end up talking mostly about the characteristics of a brawler (hard-hitting, looping punches, good chin, etc.) while ascribing to Michael Bisping the characteristics of a technical fighter (straight punches, apparently, which is laughable to Chris Wilson). Not saying Leben isn’t a different fighter these days, just saying the whole thing is interesting.
Anyway, give it a look and you won’t be disappointed. Despite burning through all the stock footage of British landmarks in existence, it’s another solid effort from the Countdown crew.
Just in case you thought Junie Allen Browning was putting on an act for The Ultimate Fighter, here’s some video evidence that at the very least it is a consistent act. Here’s Junie (known at the time as Allen) and his brother Rob appearing on something called “Insight 2 Sports” back in their AFL days. After watching this, I can honestly say that I feel like I have gained some insight, although I’m not so sure it is insight 2 sports so much as it is insight 2 the strange interior world of Junie Browning.
The constant bragging, the fight-picking, the ‘born to lose’ attitude in his darker moments. Junie, let me ask you something. Would you say that you’ve never felt quite good enough? Like maybe, when you’re in a restaurant and you hear people laughing across the room, your first thought is that they must be laughing at you? And then your second thought is that you should probably go over there and beat them all up?
I do like hearing Junie’s brother Rob lay out his plans for the future, though. First he talks about being in college like he’s serving a prison sentence, then says that all he wants to do is teach school, coach sports, and pay the bills with his fight purses. Of course, this all comes after we’ve seen him do his stripper fight entrance, which I can only describe as unsettling.
If you’ve ever wondered where Sean Sherk gets his endless gas tank, check out the agony he puts himself through at Minnesota’s Athletic Performance Inc. Their infamous “Caveman Training” sessions push cardio and muscle endurance to the absolute limit, incorporating everything from steeply-inclined treadmill-running to what looks like double-dutch rope-swinging, which I guess isn’t just for little girls and fairies anymore. Even the insanely conditioned Muscle Shark is sucking air and checking his watch before long. Sherk returns to action at UFC 90 (October 25th, Chicago) against Tyson Griffin, who has gone to a decision in his last five fights — which shouldn’t be a problem for Sean.