Five days before his UFC 120 showdown with Dan Hardy, welterweight contender Carlos Condit swung through New York yesterday for a media tour, which ended with an evening workout session at The Wat. After Kru Phil Nurse put him through a few grueling rounds of pad work, Carlos was kind enough to give us a brief interview, in which he discussed his matchup with the Outlaw this weekend, his dramatic win over Rory MacDonald at UFC 115, and why he’s become a loyal follower of Greg Jackson. Some highlights…
(…Only I didn’t say "fudge." I said the word. The big one. The queen mother of dirty words. The f-dash-dash-dash word…)
Team GSP is basking in Michael Johnson’s victory, and Mike Tyson is in a reflective mood. Iron Mike says the fight game is about who’s smarter. "Confidence breeds success, and success breeds confidence…confidence applied properly surpasses genius." Also, how you conduct yourself in the cage reflects on how you conduct yourself in life. Between him, Greg Jackson, and John Danaher, the team is stacked with philosophers.
After two losses, Team Koscheck is fired up to get revenge on Team GSP. "The harder you work now, the later you get rewarded," Josh Koscheck says, probably meaning to say "the more you get rewarded later." He also pronounces "especially" as "ekspecially" at one point. We’ll see if these Titoisms become a trend.
During the Johnson/Wilkinson fight, Alex "Bruce Leroy" Caceres was a little too supportive in the bleachers, screaming "Beat the shit out of him! Fuck him up!" to MJ. Some of the guys don’t like how Caceres seemed to wish harm upon one of his housemates. I mean, they’re all in this together, right? They all came to the house to make friends? Anyway, the guys have a little shit-talking session about it. "That’s disrespectful, bro," says Sevak "The Armenian Stereotype" Magakian. "He’s a stupid, ignorant kid," Jeff Lentz says, bitterly.
(The beginning of the Johnson/Wilkinson battle from last night. You can watch the rest here. Props: SignofBelief)
Alex "Bruce Leroy" Caceres may have impressed us in last week’s fight, but he’s making no friends in the house by bragging about his victory non-stop. While hanging out with the defeated Jeff Lentz, he says that Jeff may have been "underesterating my talents and skills," and claims that every head kick bounced off his afro. Lentz manages to avoid strangling the bastard, but the other TUF guys are quickly losing patience.
GSP brings in wrestling world champion Guivi "Gia" Sissaouri, to work with his squad. Homeboy is sick on the mat. It’s a great little master-class for the guys, but Georges has another visitor coming in later that will make Gia look like small potatoes. (Hint: Face tattoos, tigers.)
Down 0-1, Koscheck is playing catch-up. His fighters already seem to be breaking down, physically and emotionally, so Kos makes it clear that they need to toughen up and quit ass-dragging in practice. Training seems to improve after that.
It’s fight announcement time, and since Team GSP won last week, they retain control of the picks. St. Pierre selects Michael Johnson (his craftily-obtained #1 draft pick) against Aaron Wilkinson (Koscheck’s #6 pick??). GSP is obviously looking to take Koscheck’s heart with a brutal victory, but is it a wise strategy to waste your ace on the other team’s weakest link? (Keep in mind that Jeff Lentz was Team Koscheck’s #7 pick.) Still, a badass wrestler vs. a British guy. This seems gift-wrapped for the red team.
(Crappy, TV-shot video of the Alex Caceres vs. Jeff Lentz fight, courtesy of TheMMAResource.)
After last week’s trial by fire, it’s time for the 14 UFC hopefuls to move into the house and get comfy. And boy is the new TUF house classy. The dining room has a chandelier in it and everything.
Alex "Bruce Leroy" Caceres and Jeff Lentz down some shots right away. They’re both characters. Jeff’s a chain-smoker from Jersey with a dye-job, and says he’ll never tap, not even to an armbar. (Pay attention! This will be important later!) The guys are apprehensive about the cigs and booze that Lentz is constantly consuming, but Jeff says he’s just playing with them, and he actually has gas for days. I mean, he’s clearly a nicotine addict and probably has a drinking problem on top of that, but it’s all just a persona, y’know? As for Alex, he can play the harmonica, he once killed a gator with his bare hands, and he nearly murdered a deer, too. But as they say, man is the most dangerous game.
In advance of the team selections, Coach Josh Koscheck has every guy in the house ranked, 1-14. He’s got Michael Johnson at #1, Marc Stevens at #2, Sako "Psycho" Chivitchian and Sevak Magakian at 3 and 4. Koscheck loves those Armenians, bro.
Greg Jackson has been here before with Rashad Evans on TUF 10, and now he’s Georges St. Pierre‘s consigliere. He advises Georges to go after the first matchup rather than the first fighter, if possible. GSP knows that Koscheck likes Michael Johnson, so he gets an idea to try a little gamesmanship. "We’ll see if he’s smart," GSP says. Koscheck, as it turns out, is not smart.
Props to our buds at Asylum.com for putting Georges St. Pierre to good use when he stopped by their offices the other day. To recap, GSP is not impressed by your work, not impressed by Matt Hughes, not impressed by Taylor Swift, and somewhat impressed with that orange. Hopefully GSP keeps the running gag going and delivers his catchphrase to every losing fighter in tomorrow night’s TUF 12 elimination round.
The Ultimate Fighter: Team GSP vs. Team Koscheck could turn out to be very entertaining, but in general, we’re not expecting any surprises. The coaches already have their roles sorted out, and won’t be straying from them: Georges St. Pierre is the nice-guy champion who doesn’t let his opponents get under his skin, and Josh Koscheck is the trash-talking contender who gave up on being liked a long time ago. At this point, there’s no reason to think St. Pierre won’t dominate Koscheck in December like he did during their first meeting in 2007. But maybe Kos can take a page out of the Chael Sonnen playbook and force you to care about the rematch through the sheer power of his assholishness.
So anyway, here’s the first five minutes of next week’s TUF 12 premiere, courtesy of Spike. Koscheck vows to whip GSP’s fake ass. Dana White is so excited that he’s sweated through his Bruce Lee t-shirt. (Too early for gray, buddy.) It’ll be another "wild card" season — the setup that allowed finalist Kris McCray to fight five times in six weeks last season. Dana pumps up the cast with his usual arsenal of F-bombs. We meet the first two preliminary round fighters. And that’s pretty much it. No word on if any doors are destroyed this season, or if any raw fish is beaten off into. Okay, fine, maybe there will be a few surprises…
Now that we’ve met TUF 12‘s lightweight contestants, it’s time to start building some hype for the rival coaches. SPIKE has provided CagePotato.com with this exclusive promo for The Ultimate Fighter: Team GSP vs. Team Koscheck, in which St. Pierre and Kos face off during a pretty nasty-looking storm. Personally, we’d be huddled in a basement somewhere, but you know how these fighters are — you can’t tell them anything. TUF 12 premieres Wednesday, September 15th, at 10pm/9c, directly following UFC Fight Night: Marquardt vs. Palhares.
Ontario and its capital city of Toronto opening their doors to MMA is being regarded as kind of a big deal and the news touched off some fairly hilarious quotes among the local politicians north of the border. The Canadian Press is also asserting that the UFC might hold off on Georges St. Pierre’s rematch with Josh Koscheck until the new year so it can stage that “blockbuster bout” at the Air Canada Centre or Rogers Centre. Oh Canada, so adorable with your funny spellings, earnest political discourse and relentless optimism.
(Pittsburgh?!? Those country rubes wouldn’t even know what to *do* with big-city action like this. PicProps: The new UFC.com)
It appears that neither Josh Koscheck nor Georges St. Pierre will get his wish regarding the locale for the pair’s Dec. 11 welterweight title fight. Both guys had previously expressed desires to hold the bout – which we assume will become a “heated grudge match” just as soon as Koscheck gets down to business being really annoying on “TUF 12” – close to home. GSP wanted Montreal. Koscheck wanted Pittsburgh. After the UFC recently opened an office in Toronto, it seemed the company might try to use this fight as its entre into the Forbidden City.
But with MMA still locked out of Ontario (tolerant, forward-thinking Ontario) UFC President Dana White told the Sun newspaper this week that Pittsburgh just didn’t feel quite big-time enough for a championship fight of this magnitude. Next stop, everyone’s favorite home-away-from-home: Las Vegas.
October 2002, Montreal. With first-round stoppages against Ivan Menjivar and Justin Bruckmann under his belt, Georges St. Pierre (2-0) was already the welterweight champion of the Canada-based Universal Combat Challenge when he stepped into the ring against Edmonton native Travis Galbraith, who was a slightly-more-seasoned 5-1 at the time. It took St. Pierre all of four seconds to score the double-leg takedown — Rush was already a natural at age 21 — and aside from an armlock attempt, Galbraith didn’t have much to offer on the ground.
The real reason to check out this fight if you’ve never seen it before is the unique finish, which starts around 3:23. With Galbriath’s arms locked around GSP’s arm and neck, St. Pierre pulls up and drives Galbriath’s head against the mat a couple times. After throwing in a couple of conventional strikes, GSP goes back to the brutal short-slams until his opponent is dazed and the ref stops the fight. After two more wins in Canada, St. Pierre earned his ticket to the UFC. And hopefully we’ll see this finishing move again someday…
(See, this only looks like a picture of Chael Sonnen getting arm-barred by Jeremy Horn at UFC 60. It’s actually just a clever Chael Sonnen impersonator. PicProps: Susumu)
So in a nutshell, here’s what Chael Sonnen would currently have us believe about his “fake” Twitter feed: Back in February, some enterprising imposter started an account in Sonnen’s name for the purpose of … well, we’re not sure exactly why … but over the next four months only used the account to post a grand total of 10 tweets (two of which link to Sonnen’s website) and did such a good job parroting the middleweight’s distinctively crazy voice that not only did no one notice the charade, but the UFC’s official twitter feed and Sonnen’s own “official campaign” Twitter account both became followers of the "fake" Chael Sonnen.
At least that’s the story Sonnen seemed to be sticking to as recently as Friday, when he appeared on stage for a Q&A session with luminaries from the UFC Fight Club in Vancouver and again reportedly claimed that he does not have a Twitter account. This despite the small matter of a video from a couple months back where he not only admits it to Ariel Helwani (at about the 45:40 mark) but spells out the “fake” account’s address so we can all find it.
Apparently, if someone is impersonating Chael Sonnen on Twitter, they’re doing such a great job that even he thought it was his real account for a while there.
The revelation of a UFC Hall of Famer’s past steroid use promised by HDNet’s “Inside MMA” became pretty anticlimactic on Friday when the fighter in question turned out to be Ken Shamrock. While Shamrock’s taped interview during a segment of the show called “Fighting Words with Mike Straka” marked his first public admission of cheating, the MMA pioneer has long been rumored to dabble in the juice and tested positive for banned substances following his most recent victory – a submission win over the now-deceased Ross Clifton in Feb. of 2009 — so the news came as a surprise to exactly no one.
More interesting than the actual confession were Shamrock’s contentions that steroids are so easy to get it’s “like going to the grocery store,” and that fans should shoulder at least some of the responsibility for athletes turning to performance enhancers.
"From what I’ve heard from other fighters in other camps, yeah, [St-Pierre] has done steroids and HGH, possibly. I don’t know. This is just on hearsay information that I’ve gotten…B.J. Penn and his camp gave me a little phone call. They were saying, ‘Yeah, he’s on steroids. He’s this; he’s that.’ I said, ‘Yeah, there’s a possibility.’ The guy is pretty ripped all year round…I think Olympic-style testing would be great for our sport. At least you do it a couple times out from the fight. I think it will be a great idea."
Olympic-style drug testing involves taking blood, which is more effective than the standard urine tests used by athletic commissions because it allows for the identification of a greater range of P.E.D.’s, including human growth hormone. But Koscheck’s first attempt at getting one over on St-Pierre was unfruitful, as the champ shook off the accusations without getting too upset, and said he’s down with any testing they throw at him:
We’d also like to show a little love to the contest’s three runners-up, who you can check out after the jump. Chin up, guys — shoot your info to email@example.com and we’ll hook you up with CagePotato t-shirts. Thanks again to FLO TV for their support, and please give ‘em a look at flotv.com.
Losing isn’t always the end of the world. Sometimes, taking an ass-kicking — or getting screwed out of a well-deserved victory — can be the best thing for a fighter’s career. Don’t believe us? We’ll start with one that should still be fresh in your minds…
What happened: Lil’ Nog was originally supposed to face Forrest Griffin at UFC 114, until Griff was struck down by a shoulder injury three-and-a-half weeks before the event. The UFC had to book a replacement, and fast, so they called up wrestling specialist Jason Brilz. Like a true warrior, Brilz put down his beer, blew off his 10-year wedding anniversary, and stepped up to the plate. On paper, he should have been destroyed by the sharp hands and top-flight experience of Nogueira. Instead, Brilz nearly choked Nog out with a guillotine in the second round, wobbled him with strikes, out-wrestled him, and arguably controlled the majority of the fight. But after the last horn sounded and the scores were added up, only one judge saw it his way. Victory in defeat: If you didn’t know who Jason Brilz was before last weekend’s show, you do now. Brilz picked up even more classy-points by not bitching about the decision: "I’m not upset. Sure, I’d have liked to win. Everybody likes to win. I think I went out there and I proved to people, but more importantly I proved to myself, that I can compete with the top dogs. That’s sort of what I’ve been aiming for my whole career.” We don’t know exactly what Jason’s future holds, but it’s looking a lot brighter now. The $65,000 bonus check probably doesn’t hurt either.
Happy Memorial Day, Potato Nation! As promised, we are proud to present the finalists of our FLO-TV t-shirt design contest, which brought in nearly 100 brilliant entries over the last two weeks. Please study all 16 (!) of the nominated designs after the jump, then vote for your favorite in the poll over on the right. (It’s a little bit down the page, under the "Most Recent Comments" box and the Power Rankings link.) Get your votes in by Thursday night at midnight ET; we’ll announce the winner on Friday, who will score their own FLO TV Personal Television, with access to the pay-per-view broadcast of UFC 115. Überprops to everybody who entered, and to FLO TV for making this happen!
Of the many things that set UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre apart from his competition, one of the most notable is his willingness to travel great lengths in order to improve elements of his game. While many fighters are content to hang out in one camp, GSP has traveled to Brazil for jiu-jitsu training, spent time learning from the Canadian wrestling team, and regularly leaves his Montreal home base to bang with the all-star team at Jackson’s MMA in Albuquerque or drill his Muay Thai at the Wat in New York. The latest piece of the puzzle is a familiar one: St. Pierre is now working on his boxing with legendary trainer Freddie Roach, at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood. As he told Yahoo! Sports:
“It is time to focus on my boxing. When I get to the other side of my career I don’t want to be one of those fighters who have been hit too many times, so they keep getting knocked out. If you have the opportunity to work with someone like Freddy, you take advantage…I’ve only been here a few days with Freddie and each time I left feeling like I was better.”
GSP plans on spending a week with Roach before taking off to film TUF 12, opposite Josh "Booooooo!" Koscheck. As for Roach, the soft-spoken trainer is beginning to occupy a very unique place in the world of MMA.
We’ve reached the mid-way point in our fighter t-shirt design contest, and the submissions are rolling in nicely; many thanks to everybody who sent in designs. To re-ignite your competitive fires, we’ve posted some of our current favorites, which continue after the jump. Please send your entries to firstname.lastname@example.org by Sunday, 5/30, at midnight ET. Voting on the finalists will begin the next day, and the top vote-getter will score that FLO TV Personal Television, with access to the pay-per-view broadcast of UFC 115. So get crackin’…
I’d actually be interested to see how Koscheck does in a rematch with GSP. He has the wrestling skills to stuff a takedown here and there, and his hands are more powerful than the champ’s. As long as he doesn’t focus on taking St. Pierre down like he did during their first fight in 2007 — and failing, and failing, and failing — he could keep things competitive. But my God, if Daley wins? Be prepared for the 25-minute sequel to GSP vs. Hardy that nobody asked for. Here’s the irony: Paul Daley really does have one-punch knockout power; he’s everything that the UFC hyped up/exaggerated Dan Hardy to be. The problem is, Semtex is notoriously weak on the ground, and GSP would have no trouble putting him there. We already know how this story goes, and no amount of hyperbolic promotion is going to change the outcome.
It hasn’t been officially confirmed that the Koscheck/Daley winner will coach TUF 12 opposite GSP, but rumors are pointing in that direction, and both fighters would be open to the opportunity.
Random thought:Jake Shields‘s first match in the UFC (fingers crossed) should be Paulo Thiago, and that match should produce a title contender. Discuss.
In the beginning it was anything goes, with 200-pound karate stylists taking on 600-pound sumo wrestlers and Brazilians feverishly jumping up and down shouting “Vale tudo! Vale tudo!” as they beat opponents with sticks. For a new American promotion called the Ultimate Fighting Championship this made for some serious pay-per-view buy rates, but it also made the general public somewhat upset, so rules were introduced. Suddenly gone was the wrestler’s ability to run down his foe with a tractor. Also gone was the kickboxer’s ability to use a prison-shiv. With a new list of fouls and weight classes, “no-holds-barred fighting” became the MMA we know and love today. Unfortunately, over the course of ten years the evolution of the sport has created a new set of problems, and the time has come to implement some very necessary additional rule changes. Here, in no particular order, are the six most important:
A Two-Round Limit on Dry-Humping When ground-and-pound turns into lay-and-pray and it becomes painfully obvious that the guy on the bottom can’t stop takedowns and the guy on top couldn’t out-grapple a passed-out teenager on prom night, then watching what transpires is akin to torture. At the last Strikeforce/CBS outing, we learned by round 3 that Gegard Mousasi knew no wrestling and Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal knew nothing but wrestling. Every round after that was like watching Twister ™ night at the retirement home: boring, horrifying and sad. There needs to be a two-round limit on dry-humping — maybe stand them up immediately or let them duel with pistols at 20 paces. Anything is better than five rounds of man-loving-man.
Heavyweight Fighters Are Forbidden From Punching in the First Round Props to CP reader Dan W. for suggesting this crucial rule change. We’re tired of paying big money for heavyweight interim title-fights and headliners, only to have them end abruptly in the first round due to excessive punching. Look, you guys are just too damn strong, and it gives you all an unfair advantage against each other. (Yes, that makes complete logical sense, just trust me.) Since we can’t shrink the size of their 7XL hands, we’ll instead ban heavyweights from throwing leather in the first frame. Wrestle, try some kicks and flying knees, work for submissions — that’s all good. But Shane Carwin‘s uppercuts represent the kind of brutality that this sport doesn’t need right now.
Yes, I’ll update the very dusty CagePotato Power Rankings soon, you have my word. But coming up with a new set of P4P rankings is a hairy proposition, considering that all of the usual suspects haven’t had any awe-inspiring, damn-near-inhuman performances in a long time.
Between Douglas Crosby’s bizarre message-board diatribe, Anderson Silva’s nonsensical justifications for ruining a main event, and the announcement that Ben Fowlkes is leaving us to start his own Smoothie King franchise — do not request the "protein shot" — we’re all feeling a little emotional right now. So how ’bout we all just take a deep breath and enjoy this complete history of the MMA nipple-tweak? UFC 87 was the first time we’d noticed the bizarre ritual, but lookoutawhale has blown the case wide open, showing that Georges St. Pierre was tweakin’ as early as UFC 50, though he usually did it under the cover of a t-shirt. When first confronted about his nasty little habit, Rush tried to play it off as a combination nervous tic/Sign of the Cross. Eventually, his Team Jackson homeboys followed his lead, and GSP was able to come out of the closet, so to speak, openly nip-twisting in pre-fight face-offs and in the presence of hot models at photo shoots. Hey, you can’t argue with success. Special appearance by Darrill Schoonover!
If Anderson Silva‘s inscrutable performance at yesterday’s UFC 112 left you feeling angry and cheated, Dana White feels your pain. White stormed out of the arena after the fourth round of Silva’s non-fight with Demian Maia, but not before dropping Silva’s championship belt off with the Spider’s manager, Ed Soares, refusing to deal with it himself. At the post-fight press conference, White ripped into the middleweight champ, telling media "I don’t think I’ve ever been more embarrassed in the ten years of being in this business." (Hmm. Does that sound familiar?) "I don’t know how yet," Dana continued, "but I will make this up to the fans that bought that shit tonight."
Having to repeatedly apologize for Anderson’s fights may have soured the UFC president on Silva permanently: "He said the other day that he wanted to cut to 170 and fight GSP. I don’t want to see that fight now. He doesn’t deserve to fight GSP…I’d like to say he lost his mind tonight, but this is the third time this has happened, this isn’t the first time."
Later, in an interview with Ariel Helwani, Dana called UFC 112 his lowest moment as president of the UFC, and appeared genuinely heartbroken that he had let down the people (and investors) of Abu Dhabi. It bothers him that he has to apologize to fans while Anderson seems to have no urge to do the same. Asked who he’d be interested to see Anderson fight next, White replied "Anderson doesn’t interest me right now."
With so much MMA action packed into so few days, the Potato Index supercomputer is a bit overworked. It’s even been making a weird whirring sound lately. It sounded like it was overheating late last night, so we poured a bucket of water on it. Haven’t heard the whirring sound since. And to think there are some idiots out there who actually throw money away on an IT staff.
Let’s see who’s up, who’s down, and by how much after UFC 111.
Georges St. Pierre +137 A successful title defense in which he wins every single round, takes virtually no damage, and nearly snaps his opponent’s arm? Sorry, but even without a finish, we can’t find anything to complain about.
Dan Hardy -18 As far as offense, he had nothing for GSP. We expected that. What we didn’t expect is that he’d prove so difficult to put away. The kid has guts, even if he doesn’t have much of a takedown defense.
(Ariel Helwani chats with Dana White, who says Carwin and Lesnar will face off on July 3 for the real heavyweight championship belt.)
Impressive performances at UFC 111 were worth an extra $65,000 to a few lucky fighters on Saturday night. Kurt Pellegrino nabbed the Submission of the Night bonus for his rear naked choke finish of Fabricio Camoes. Shane Carwin pocketed the Knockout of the Night bonus for battering Frank Mir into a surreal dream state, and prelim fighters Jared Hamman and Rodney Wallace got the nod for Fight of the Night after their three-round slobberknocker that resulted in a decision win for Hamman. Other notes to come out of UFC 111:
- Rousimar Palharessays he’s “really sorry” for injuring Tomasz Drwal’s knee by holding on to that heel hook, but the apology isn’t good enough for the state of New Jersey. The local commission issued Palhares a 90-day suspension for not letting go of the submission more promptly.
("Please, Dan, I used to fuck guys like you in prison. Coincidentally, I used to fuck guys like you before I went to prison. The guys I fucked after I got out of prison were different from you in certain fundamental ways, but I don’t have time to get into that right now." Photo courtesy of the UFC 111: Weigh In Pics gallery on CombatLifestyle.com.)
Armpit of America? No, ladies and gentlemen, tonight New Jersey will be super classy. UFC 111 is now underway at Newark’s Prudential Center, and will culminate in two thrilling title fights: Heavyweights Frank Mir and Shane Carwin do battle for a make-believe belt, and welterweight king Georges St. Pierre tries to avoid a shock upset against massive underdog/red-eyed freakDan Hardy. Live UFC 111 results from the Spike TV prelims and pay-per-view broadcast are after the jump; refresh the page every few minutes for all the latest.
The only time weigh-in stories are ever not completely boring is when someone misses weight by a large margin or when something weird happens. The pushing and shoving that sometimes goes on? Even that has started to get somewhat commonplace, and more often it can be accurately described as ‘jostling.’ So what we truly need in order to have something to talk about is for someone to show up heavy, or possibly with red contact lenses. Fortunately, the UFC 111 weigh-ins had both.
Dan Hardy wore an ‘I Hate Dan Hardy’ t-shirt complemented by evil red vampire eyes, and Rory Markham came in six pounds over the upper limit for his welterweight bout with Nate Diaz. Markham will reportedly be fined $1,000 (or 12.5% of his show money) for his lack of carb-control, while Hardy somehow gets off free for treating the weigh-ins like a half-ass rave. I tell you, there’s no justice in this world.