(Click the image to watch the video; photo courtesy of UFC.com.)
MMA Payout passes along the bad news that Wednesday’s episode of The Ultimate Fighter drew a 0.8 rating, making it the lowest-rated episode in the show’s history. (“The program drew quarter hours of 0.80, 0.66, 0.79, and 0.90.”) Who knows if Junie Allen Browning’s train-wreck antics will attract more people to the show or repel them, but it’s clear that his little storyline is going to get even more outrageous next week. Check out the TUF preview clip linked above, which shows Junie and his tremendous set of balls dragging Ryan Bader into the pool, kicking Tom Lawlor, and shoving Bas Rutten-lookalike K-Sos. Sure, Tom’s a total pussy, but I wouldn’t fuck with those other two unless I had a death wish. Of course, the reason that his housemates don’t murder the wee bastard is because they don’t want to jeopardize the opportunity they’ve been given to be on the show. What a concept…
It’s been a Kimbo-tastic week at ESPN, so naturally MMA Live had to get into the act with their own one-on-one interview of Kimbo Slice before Saturday’s big fight. For the most part it’s the usual material, but about two and a half minutes in Brett Rogers becomes a topic of conversation, and that’s where things get interesting.
First, Kimbo says he isn’t going to fight someone just for running his mouth and says he doesn’t “even want to call out his name because he doesn’t deserve respect.” Right, because all Rogers has done is rack up an 8-0 record, finishing all eight fights. We have yet to see him against Afro Puff, for Pete’s sake!
Kimbo then criticizes Rogers for “just fighting to get paid,” and goes on to say that for him it’s personal. He’s fighting for a cause, and that cause is his family. As for what he has to gain from fighting Rogers, Kimbo replies: “Nothing.”
Let me see if I understand this. Kimbo isn’t just fighting for money; he’s fighting for his family. Which means what, exactly? I always thought that when guys say they’re fighting for their families (a noble reason, I might add), what they mean is that they’re fighting to make money so they can provide for their family. Correct me if I’m wrong, but Kimbo has been paid very well for his each of his three pro fights, has he not? And yet Rogers catches heat for calling Kimbo out and trying to get paid? I don’t get it. Just like I don’t get how, if it’s personal for Kimbo, he wouldn’t fight a guy for running his mouth. Isn’t that exactly why you’d fight him if it was all personal?
Look, everyone fights for money. They do it because they love it, sure, but this is their career. It makes perfect sense for Rogers to try and build his name and up his salary by beating Kimbo. And Kimbo does have plenty to gain by fighting Rogers, such as credibility. If he beats Rogers, it will prove that he can do more than pound on tomato cans and over-the-hill fighters who are on long losing streaks, which is more than he’s done so far. Please Kimbo, fight Brett Rogers. You can both get paid. And if you win, we’ll all stop complaining that you haven’t fought anybody.
When Andrei Arlovski steps into the cage with Roy Nelson tomorrow night at EliteXC: Heat, one thing is guaranteed — his hands will be ready. The Pitbull has been training with boxing guru Freddie Roach at Wild Card Boxing Club since before his Affliction: Banned bout against Ben Rothwell. The above video features Roach discussing his star MMA pupil, claiming Arlovski could have a successful boxing career and lauding his willingness to learn: “My best champion Manny Pacquiao has great work ethic and Andrei’s right there with him, and that’s why they’re world-class fighters.” Will Arlovski be able to execute Roach’s “punches in bunches” philosophy en route to a win over Big Country? (Answer: Yes, probably.)
MMA Rated’s Ariel Helwani is live on the scene of Elite XC: Heat and managed to score interviews with some of the principle players in Saturday night’s event. Above, Kimbo Slice explains why he had to turn his phone off so he could fully focus on battering his senior citizen opponent.
Once more Kimbo makes his case as a populist fighter based on shopping at the same stores normal people shop at. Of course, he shops there with the hundreds of thousands of dollars he made for beating up substandard opponents, and he may or may not be wearing shoes with his picture on them. So there is that minor difference.
Ariel also spoke with Kelly Kobald — who very politely explains her desire to make Gina Carano the “broken, bruised, and bloody face of women’s MMA,” — as well as Gina Carano herself, who seems to genuinely like Ariel for some bizarre reason. Just proves she has poor taste in men. First Kit Cope, now Ariel Helwani? Gina, why do you do this to yourself?
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.”