(“…unless it’s on short notice, in which case I’ll have to decline because it would be the worst decision of my career.” Pic Props: No Holds Barred)
By Jason Moles
The Ultimate Fighting Championship recently held its own version of Dana White’s “blocking spree,” as the official roster has been narrowed quite noticeably, leaving many to seek employment elsewhere. Over the past few weeks, a handful of fighters received their pink slips for refusing to take a fight on short notice, losing a fight taken on short notice, missing weight, and flat-out sucking. Although it’s been quite a while since we last did this, we feel it only necessary at this point in time to offer a few suggestions to the latest Zuffa casualties.
Dennis Hallman: If there’s one thing we’ll remember about Hallman, it’s his appearance in the Octagon wearing nothing but a Speedo and the gloves on his hands. The aging veteran (he’ll turn 37 in December) still has a few years before he’s eligible to receive those social security checks and will need to find a new gig to line his wallet. The timing couldn’t be better, really; as it turns out, Speedo needs a new PR guy. And to think you thought I was just grabbing low-hanging fruit. Psssh! Having a former UFC fighter with over 65 fights pushing your product will definitely put Speedo back on the map. He’ll tell consumers about the extra attention and unique propositions you’ll undoubtedly receive because of the confidence you exude. If he plays his cards right, maybe someone will pay him to just go away.
DaMarques Johnson: Google “glutton for punishment” and you’ll spot this BJJ blue belt. (Okay, not really. But you get the idea.) Enlist in the Army, which is essentially code for signing up to get screamed at while being forced to run or do pushups? Check. Willfully live in a house full of testosterone-and-booze-fueled dudes, away from your family, and without life’s many pleasures for an entire season of The Ultimate Fighter? Check. Take a short notice fight just two weeks after your medical suspension has ended? Double check. The next logical step for Johnson is for him to become a career human medical research subject. Hey, if it’s one thing “Darkness” enjoys is being paid in exchange for tremendous amounts of pain and suffering.
Rich Attonito: Former TUF 11 castmember Rich Attonito is best known for just that — being on a reality television series. If it weren’t for a broken hand sustained during his second fight in the house, he might have been remembered for so much more. With nothing to lose, “The Raging Bull” starts his own blog where he will later be recognized for his unique and colorful look at life in the MMA world. Hey, the man did a bang up job for us during his days as a reality TV star. It could happen. But until he starts earning CagePotato-money, Attonito will resume his duties as a fitness manager and personal trainer for New York Sports Clubs.
Charlie Brenneman: With a family to feed, “The Spaniard” will return to his roots as a high school Spanish teacher. Unfortunately, the worsening economy will all but put the final nail in the coffin at Hollidaysburg Area Senior High School. In an attempt to save all extra-curricular activities, especially wrestling, from impending doom, Brenneman will become the real-life version of Scott Voss from Here Comes the Boom by fighting his way back to the bright lights of the big stage in a desperate attempt to pay off the school’s debts — or at least earn some bonus cash. You know, whatever.
Michihiro Omigawa: Since he’s obviously not cut out to be an Octagon warrior, Omigawa will head to the land of the rising sun and do the whole Puroresu thing. It’s not the highest-paying line of employment in the world, but it’s the only place that still exists for him to try to earn a living in combat sports entertainment. Maybe Vince McMahon will try to strike gold in a new Japanese star, thus signing the journeyman mixed martial artist to a lucrative deal and starting an ongoing feud with Yoshi Tatsu.
Carlo Prater: After blasting UFC color commentator Joe Rogan for his ‘unethical’ criticism of referee Mario Yamasaki, Prater goes on to become a full-time public speaker focusing on Athlete-Journalist Relationships, Professional Personal Conduct, as well as the Golden Rules of Critiquing. Not only will he make appearances at the annual UFC Fighter Summit, the BJJ black belt will be requested by the NFL, NBA, and MLB in an attempt to steer the mainstream sports stars away from their normal ways of reckless abandon.