We haven’t been giving it much attention on this site, but HDNet has begun airing the very entertaining M-1 Challenge (Friday nights at 8 p.m. ET), where ten teams from around the world do battle for MMA supremacy. Above is the recap of episode 2, in which Team Holland — led by Gegard Mousasi — blanked Team Germany 5-0. It wasn’t even close; Bogdan Christea, Romano de los Reyes, Jason Jones, Mousasi, and Jessie Gibbs all scored first-round stoppages over their German counterparts at the March event. We also learn that Russia’s Red Devil Team succumbed to France 3-2 in the premiere episode. (Ouch. Good luck explaining that one to Fedor.) Don’t forget to catch episode 3 this Friday, as the Finns take on the South Koreans.
Props to Fightlinker (I guess) for turning us on to this kinda depressing video of two “little people” fighting each other in a 6′x6′ cage for the amusement of a bunch of drunken hicks in a Tampa-area honkey-tonk. After a fierce back-and-forth battle, Chip “Demo” Santiago defeats the much larger Jason “Short Dog” Jones via guillotine choke, and referee Herb Dean climbs in to make it official. Seriously.
Dwarf cage fighting is a unique event. Dwarfs fight mixed martial arts in a smaller scale UFC style cage. [Ed. note: It's a dog cage, basically.] These might be little people; but they have big skills. They train just like other fighters, grappling, boxing, kickboxing, jiu jitsu, sambo, muay thai, and more. Often times fans leave with a look of shock on their faces when they see the skill level these micro athletes display…If you want the most SHOCKING [Ed. note: Because they're so skilled!], Unusual, guaranteed pull at your nightclub, you need to email us today!
The website also has a link to a St. Petersburg Times profile on Demo Santiago, where it’s revealed that DCF’s champion and marquee fighter is a former operations manager at UPS who married one normal-sized woman then impregnated another, and has put in work as everything from a St. Patrick’s Day bar leprechaun to a Valentine’s Day cupid. He also doesn’t need your pity:
“Where were you when people are making fun of me on the streets?” he asks anyone concerned. “Why are you trying to take money out of my hand?” … Santiago jumped at an idea suggested by his promoter. Ultimate cage fighting is a hit. So is the TLC reality show Little People, Big World. Why not dwarf ultimate fighting cage matches?
“It’s like TLC meets Spike TV,” Santiago says.
Fair enough. I just wish the cages were bigger. What do you think, people? Dwarves: Good or bad for the sport?
From Spike.com: Chris Leben says his loopy, wide-open style knocks people out. He also refuses to lose, check the news and read the interviews. Damn…dude is like the white Shonie Carter. Skip to the -5:14 mark for the ridiculous ending to his fight against Terry Martin; there’s your warning to not get cocky, Count. Later in this video, we look at the matchup between the Dean of the Mean and the Truth, also at UFC 89.
From CBS.com, for some reason: A preview of the UFC 90 welterweight feature between Thiago Alves and Diego Sanchez. “You are going to see the strongest Sanchez you have ever seen before,” Sanchez says. “The result is gonna be a dominating submission victory.”
Things that you have to love about this Ken Shamrock video:
1) He doesn’t blame you for thinking he’s washed up based on his last few fights.
2) He continually refers to the sport as “the MMA,” just like your father might.
3) He apparently trains exclusively in slow motion with a piano tinkling in the background.
All kidding aside, this video makes me both excited and sad for Shamrock’s fight with Kimbo Slice on Saturday. The man’s will is still there but the flesh is, well, not. He’s doing a great job of crafting a narrative (around the 11:00 mark he starts talking about Kimbo, and at 14:15 he explains that Kimbo “is walking into my sport, and he hasn’t earned the right to be there.”), which has always been one of the things Shamrock does well.
But after what we’ve seen from him in recent years there’s just no reason to think he’s going to go out there and beat Kimbo. There is every reason to think that one of the sport’s pioneers is going to go out there and lose badly and it’s going to be a damn shame to see.
Who knows, though. He seems acutely aware of why Elite XC brought him in, and maybe he will indeed “completely blow up their party” on Saturday night. If he does I hope the CBS cameramen have the good sense to pan to Jared Shaw immediately afterwards. That look on his face? It will be the ‘That son of a bitch just blew up my party,’ look.
It’s kind of creepy to hear Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta say almost exactly the same thing when asked by Fox News how the economic meltdown will affect their business. It’s as if they’re reading off the same cue cards. Clearly, this is a conversation they’ve had before, and most likely pretty recently as they’ve tried to figure out whether a piss-poor economy means they should cash in their chips and start hording gasoline and ammunition in the Nevada desert somewhere.
When it comes to pay-per-view buys, their logic holds up. You get six or seven guys together to split the cost of a UFC pay-per-view and it’s cheaper than going to a movie. Live ticket sales might be another matter, but big shows like UFC 91 in Las Vegas will still sell out, especially when they can count on the casinos to snatch up the ridiculously-priced tickets at Octagon-side.
MMA Payout recently broke down Lorenzo Fertitta’s claim the UFC has seen a “double-digit increase” in pay-per-views buys this year. Turns out it’s true, but just barely. 10.8% growth is technically double-digits, even if most of it is a result of holding two pay-per-view events in the UK in 2008, as opposed to just one in 2007. Domestic pay-per-view growth was at a meager 3.3%, but that’s still not cause for panic.
As we’ve discussed before, for some reason pro fighting is one of the sports that typically does well during hard economic times. Ballet, on the other hand, straight up tanks when the going gets tough. That’s right. Fuck you, ballet.
Gina Carano was a guest on The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson last night to plug her upcoming appearance at EliteXC: Heat. It’s nice to see her getting some late-night couch time for a change (not that Kimbo’s appearances on Jimmy Kimmel don’t make for classic television). Explaining why she has chosen such a painful profession, Conviction explains, “I’d rather have a job where I travel and fight people and train than be married with children who hate me and a horrible husband.” Gina? WHY DO YOU HATE THE SANCTITY OF MARRIAGE SO MUCH? She also drops this bomb on Craig: “You can’t really hide anything in the cage. It’s just real, two people going at it. It’s kinda like sex.” But it’s cool, because she’s “just kidding.”
Finally, someone has come up with video evidence of the fracas, and it turns out Horse’s version of the story has some holes in it. The clip above shows Bennett doing the “jumping,” as he tackles Cristiano Marcello after some trash-talk from the Brazilian. Rather than gang-stomping Krazy Horse, the Chute Boxe team displays remarkable restraint in letting the pair settle their beef one-on-one, which eventually leads to Marcello choking Horse into unconsciousness. (Now that is just high-level locker room jiu-jitsu.)
As for that bit about Bennett knocking out the Axe Murderer? Well, apparently, that moment wasn’t captured on tape. But hey, we’ll take Krazy Horse’s word for it…
Fighters Only passes along the news that Dutch kickboxer and mixed martial artist Melvin Manhoef has announced his retirement, citing a desire to spend more time with his family. Manhoef compiled a career MMA record of 22-5-1 — with all but one of his wins coming by way of extremely violent KO/TKO — and he holds notable victories over Evangelista Santos, Ian Freeman, and Kazushi Sakuraba (who he kicked the living crap out of at DREAM.4 in June). Manhoef’s last performance was a submission loss to Gegard Mousasi in the semi-finals of DREAM’s middleweight GP last Tuesday, which snapped a five-fight win streak.
Though his retirement is not quite an Anderson Silva-level shocker, his stint in DREAM seemed to mark the beginning of a new stage in his career, not the end of it altogether. Here’s hoping that this family-man bit is only a temporary phase. In the meantime, enjoy the above highlight vid of Manhoef beating dudes like they said shit about his mama.
Kimbo Slice appeared on ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption” recently to discuss his October 4 bout with Ken Shamrock on CBS. What followed was Tony Kornheiser dragging himself through an interview he clearly didn’t want to do, and Kimbo alternating between statements that are clearly false and those that are merely very questionable.
On complaints from hardcore fans who criticize him for being “unproven”:
“[Expletive] it. That means they need to step up to the plate, we fight, so I can be proven, like I am street certified.”
On whether his credibility was damaged when he struggled to defeat James Thompson:
“To a lot of people James Thompson was elite. He fought in Pancrase over in Japan. …James is a well-rounded fighter, man. He has a good chin. [ed. note: really?]“
On whether he deserves his celebrity status:
“I never consider myself a celebrity. Celebrities don’t go to K-Mart. Celebrities don’t eat at McDonald’s. Celebrities don’t go to Wal-Mart. I don’t consider myself a celebrity. I’m just a little squirrel in this big world and I’m still trying to get my nut.”