When we wrote about American judoka Ryan Reser and his plea for more love from MMA fans, some of you responded with disappointment that there wasn’t a lot of judo on tap during NBC’s Olympic coverage. Here’s a clip courtesy of Korean TV and, no matter what Reser says, I don’t see it catching on the way MMA did. Maybe it’s just me, but the most exciting part of these clips is the announcers losing their minds during the brief bursts of action. Anyway, you people said you wanted to see it. So soak it up, jerks.
When Chris Leben first showed up to a fight with a tattoo of a samurai holding a severed head sprawling across his back, it seemed like he had finally found something to believe in. In this edition of “Chris Leben: Evolution of an Icon” he adds a different belief system to a different part of his body. Now, you’re probably thinking, ‘What could possibly make Chris Leben want a tattoo of the Buddha when nothing about his life or personal ethos seems to be in keeping with Buddhism?’
Fair question, but what you probably don’t know is that traditional Buddhism actually puts a lot of emphasis on coming in smelling like booze and dirty strippers and still putting the stamp on kids. Plus it looks cool, and nothing’s more American than co-opting the religious symbols of other cultures as ornamentation.
Bisping better be worried now. If he gets hit with Leben’s Buddha arm, it’s lights out.
This video of BJ Penn’s experience at UFC 87 (courtesy of BJPenn.com, via Yahoo!) confirms a few things that I’ve long suspected: 1) BJ Penn has more fun than I do, 2) Jesse Ventura (seen sitting stone-faced next to Penn at one point) does not, and 3) everyone in the world — including “Rampage” Jackson — thinks they do a good Hulk Hogan impression, but most of them are wrong.
Where things really start to get interesting here is when Penn enters the Octagon to confront Georges St. Pierre about their superfight. You can hear Dana White asking Penn to let GSP “have his moment here real quick,” and you can also hear the boos from the crowd when Penn steps up to the mic. No matter, Nick Swardson thinks he’s the best fighter in the world, and that’s enough for me.
Below, check out BJ hitting the town with Bruce Buffer, who declares Jon Fitch to be “a tough son of a bitch.” You gotta love the Buff.
Some classic MMA goodness from the ’90s: First off is Andrei Arlovski’s unsuccessful pro MMA debut against Viacheslav Datsik (above), which went down in St. Petersburg, Russia, at the M-1 MFC World Championship on 4/9/1999; props to MMA Fight Girls for digging up the video. Fight starts at the 2:11 mark, and the Pitbull gets put to sleep about six minutes later. Arlovski would return to the cage a year later at the M-1 MFC European Championship, where he smoked Michael Tielrooy and Roman Zentsoz in a four-man bracket and caught the attention of the UFC.
Below is an absolutely insane video of Absolute Fighting Championship 1, a one-day, 32-man vale tudo tournament — yes, 32-man tournament — that took place in Moscow on 9/25/1995. Enormous future PRIDE fighter Ricardo “The Mutant” Morais made his MMA debut that day, stopping four opponents via strikes (all in less than two minutes apiece), before choking out Mikhail Illoukhine in the final. I guarantee it’ll be the most hardcore thing you see all week.
In this video from RawVegas.tv, Russian stoic philosopher Fedor Emelianenko drops some knowledge regarding the issues of the day, including his thoughts on Randy Couture and his somewhat surprising admission that he is impressed by Brock Lesnar. My personal favorite is when he responds to Dana White’s earlier criticism of him by remarking that the UFC president’s comments are on his own conscience and he’s the one who will have to live with them. These are the moments that make me wonder if Fedor isn’t some being sent from another world in order to teach us all to be kinder to one another. Then I rewatch his bout with Tim Sylvia and I am forced to abandon that theory.
The most unsung performance from UFC 87 was that of Jon Jones, the Octagon newbie who began fighting professionally in April. Though Jones’s decision win against Andre Gusmao didn’t make the pay-per-view broadcast, those who saw it were treated to one of the wildest offensive displays in recent memory. Check out the video above, where Jones pulls out every trick in his whoopass bag, including the sick takedown at the video’s 2:14 mark, a spinning elbow at 7:11, a spinning backfist at 7:17, more backfists at 11:54 and 13:05, and the switch-leg flying knee at 16:46. (And of course all those knees to the groin.) Sloppy? Absolutely. But with his wrestling prowess, aggressiveness, and creativity, he could eventually develop into a truly scary fighter.
And also, the opening Mike Goldberg/Joe Rogan exchange at 0:21-0:34? Instant classic.
Nobody likes to lose, but there’s losing like a man and there’s losing like a six-year-old. In the above video from NBC Sports Jon Fitch ups his stock by taking his loss to Georges St. Pierre as well as can be expected. Not only did he prove his toughness by hanging in against GSP for five rounds, he also showed up to the press conference even though his face looked like he’d just made out with a wolverine. That’s an honorable competitor, right there.
For fighting his heart out and for this display of gentlemanly sportsmanship, we extend to Jon Fitch our rarely-awarded Cage Potato ‘Atta Boy (award has no implied or actual monetary value). We’d like to also give one to Dana White for trying to subtly replace Fitch’s beer with a bottle of water while he’s answering questions from reporters, but we only have so many of these fake awards lying around.
In the interest of finishing what we’ve started in regards to this whole Dana White UFC 87 video blog business, here’s the closing entry. We get to see some of White’s fight night routine, which includes a fair amount of smokin’ and jokin’ (no actual smoking occurs) backstage with Rampage Jackson. We also hear once more about White’s enthusiasm for the city of Minneapolis, also known as “no bullshit, America’s best-kept secret.” And here I thought our best-kept secret was The Trail of Tears.
In case you’re sitting there all weepy-eyed over this little experiment in “vlogging” having come to an end, have no fear. Dana White vows that they’re going to start doing this before every event. Looks like someone has been won over by the power of the internets.
(Eric “Butterbean” Esch vs. Wesley “Cabbage” Correira)
The K-1 World Grand Prix 2008 went down Saturday at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu, with Turkish kickboxer Gokhan Saki cruising through the event’s eight-man tournament thanks to three consecutive knockouts of Deutsch Puu, Rick Cheek, and Randy Kim. The GP’s quarterfinal round featured a match between Eric “Butterbean” Esch and Wesley “Cabbage” Correira, who previously fought in an MMA bout at Rumble on the Rock 8, where Butterbean won a doctor’s stoppage victory after two rounds. This time the ‘Bean wasn’t so lucky, as he suffered a head-kick knockout in the second round, which dropped his K-1 record to 2-4.
Another fighter who didn’t make it to the semis was American Gladiator/kickboxer Justice Smith, who lost a hard-fought decision to Mighty Mo Siligia — Mo was unable to continue to the GP’s second round, and was replaced by alternate Randy Kim, who knocked out Correira in the semis before being put down by Saki in the finals.
In the non-tourney superfights, K-1 World Heavyweight Champion Badr Hari needed all of seven seconds to knock out Domagoj Ostojic, and Min Soo Kim outlasted one-time UFC fighter Scott Junk to a unanimous decision win. Full results and video of the Hari/Ostojic knockout are after the jump. Props to MMA Mania and Bloody Elbow.