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Tag: Ben Askren

Bellator Confirms Stacked Lineup for Jan. 17 Spike TV Premiere, Debut Date for King Mo and ‘Babalu’

Bellator’s first event on Spike TV will take place Thursday, January 17th, at the University of California’s Bren Center in Irvine, California, and will be headlined by a pair of title fights. The promotion confirmed the news today, revealing that undefeated phenom Michael Chandler will make his first official lightweight title defense at the event (aka Bellator 85) against Rick Hawn, the 14-1 Olympic judoka who won the Season 5 lightweight tournament earlier this year.

Also on the card, featherweight champion Pat Curran — who’s 4-0 since dropping to 145 and is coming off his near-murder of Joe Warren — will be putting his belt on the line against explosive contender Patricio “Pitbull” Freire. Though Freire won all three of his fights in 2011, winning the Season 4 featherweight tournament, he wasn’t able to compete in 2012, partly due to injuries.

And that’s not all. During a Bellator/Spike TV conference call held earlier today, many more details about Bellator 85 and the promotion’s upcoming eighth season were announced. For instance…

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Bellator 82: Musings From Press Row

By Jason Moles

This past Saturday, Bellator Fighting Championships came to Michigan for the first time in the promotion’s nearly four-year history with its 82nd event. It’s been said that you only get one chance to make a first impression, and I’m not sure this was what CEO Bjorn Rebney had in mind, despite the obligatory smile on his face. Don’t get me wrong, the night could have gone worse — but it could have also went so much better. But I’m just a hack “journalist,” so what do I know?

I know demand for Bellator’s Michigan debut was low. Although the Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort was pretty full for the main card fights, it was by no means a packed house. This just wasn’t one of those ‘standing room only’ functions, which probably explains why one of the more popular local watering holes* didn’t show Bellator that night.

When asked about the decision in the hours leading up to the fights, the response from one of the employees was an apathetic “Because we’re just not.” Not one of their dozen or so TVs would be allowed to show the second largest mixed martial arts promotion. Not one. I wonder how much of this could have been prevented with a proper main event — you know, the kind where the two guys set to throw down are ones you’ve heard of before or maybe even seen on the cover of a magazine.

I also know that all MMA events are improved with at least one matchup featuring two “Let me bang, bro!” type of guys. And while I thoroughly enjoy a great display of BJJ and wrestling, watching two highly skilled ground specialists do their thing, not everyone shares my opinion.

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Exclusive: Ignoring Criticism From ‘Fickle’ Fans, Ben Askren Seeks to Become the Best in the World


(Photo via MMAWeekly)

By Elias Cepeda

American wrestler Ben Askren’s entry into MMA after the 2008 Summer Olympic Games seemed so full of promise and excitement. Here was one of the world’s best wrestlers deciding, in his athletic prime, to give up wrestling and devote himself to learning the MMA game.

Furthermore, Askren was known as having one of the most exciting styles in the NCAA during his college career. Add to this the fact that Askren seemed to take to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu very quickly — routinely entering Jiu Jitsu tournaments to stay sharp — and it seemed like he was destined for success.

Four years into his MMA career, Askren has undoubtedly achieved one type of success while another has thus far eluded him. All Askren does is win — he’s 10-0 with victories over some of the best veterans and prospects in the welterweight division. But he’s also become a polarizing and unpopular figure, criticized by pundits and fans as “boring.”

Askren has done his job as a highly touted blue-chipper, winning and winning some more, even earning the Bellator welterweight championship in the process. But his efforts have mostly been met with criticism in the public.

The hate hasn’t affected him, though. “No, not really,” Askren insists during a conversation with CagePotato. “Fans are fickle. I knew that coming in. I’ve never been worried about fan reaction.”

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Quote of the Day: Ben Askren Will Likely Retire Before He Even Attempts to Knock Out an Opponent


(Hey Bjorn, can you switch the big screen over to MTV 2? This fight is boring the shit out of meheywaitaminute!) 

You know, with all the talk of “fakeness”, “arrogance”, and “haters” that has utterly dominated any Jon Jones/UFC 151-related article we have posted since the infamous event occurred, perhaps we should be thankful that there are still a few guys out there who will tell it the way it is with little to no regard for their “brand,” their fanbase, or any fight promoters that might be interested in them. Honesty appears to be a fleeting quality in MMA fighters — and athletes in general — and is often swept under the rug in favor of the kind of politically correct, sponsor-gaining rhetoric that has been carbon-copied from athlete to athlete to the point of delirium. It’s an unfortunate side effect of a culture insistent on turning everyone who can throw a ball, a punch, or a kick into a “role model.”

So, like we said, maybe we should take more time to appreciate the select guys in the MMA biz who couldn’t care less about extravagance or endorsement in an ever-popularizing sport, and would rather just speak their mind when asked to do so. We’re referring of course, to Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren, who has shown in the past that he gives not a shit what MMA fans, writers, or even certain UFC presidents think about his…let’s call it “routine” style of fighting.

Askren has seen his fair share of haters since exploding army-crawling onto the MMA scene back in 2009, mainly as a result of his seemingly carefree attitude in regards to finishing a fight. Although his record stands at a perfect 10-0, Askren has only finished two of his fights, and only one if you take into account that his submission victory over Ryan Thomas at Bellator 14 was the product of a referee blunder. Whereas most of Askren’s “lay-n-pray” counterparts would likely insist that they are at the minimum always looking for a finish in a fight that simply hasn’t present itself, Askren outwardly stated in an interview with MMAJunkie that he will probably never even look for a knockout in a fight no matter how long he is in the game.

OK, maybe honesty is an overrated quality.

Full story after the jump. 

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Old Spice, Chevy, and Six More Corporate Sponsors That Should Tap Into MMA


(“Nothing comes between me and my Baconator. Nothing.”)

By Jason Moles

In the ever-competitive world of professional mixed martial arts, the men and women are fighting for more than just the fans and their next paycheck; they’re fighting for survival. When you barely have enough money left for yourself after paying your training partners, coaches, and buying nutritional supplements, it’s time to find another source of income. Most do this in the way of sponsorships — you know, like the Nike deal Jon Jones recently signed, or Anderson Silva’s relationship with Burger King. And if more of these well-known mainstream companies would sponsor a few fighters, the smaller companies that currently sponsor fighters could move to guys and gals who are still making their way up the ranks without anyone losing out. Let’s look at the companies that best suit MMA, how they should be involved, and why it makes sense.

Company: Old Spice
Ideal fighter to sponsor: Cheick KongoAlistair Overeem

Why it makes sense: Standing 6′ 4″ and weighing 230 pounds, and 6′ 5″/263, respectively, the Frenchman and the Dutchman are the most physically imposing fighters in the UFC’s heavyweight division. Old Spice is known for their funny commercials targeting the same audience watching PPV’s on a Saturday night. In the past, Old Spice has used NFL players Brian Urlacher and Ray Lewis as spokesman for their ‘Swagger’ line of men’s body products, as well as jacked Expendables cast-member Terry Crews. And if those guys can do it, why not Kongo and Overeem? In particular, “The Demolition Man” is the type of guy you want your customers to think they’ll be more like by using your product. Alistair could even make his commercial debut by eating the horse the original Old Spice Guy rode in on.

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BREAKING: Jay Hieron Returns to the UFC to Face Jake Ellenberger at UFC 151


(That’s an understatement.)

Talk about the opportunity of a lifetime.

After a seven year absence from Zuffa’s graces that saw him go 16-3 in various promotions including Bellator, Strikeforce, and most recently Legacy Fighting Championships, highly-ranked welterweight Jay Hieron will finally be returning to the UFC to take on Jake Ellenberger in Josh Koscheck’s absence in the co-main event of UFC 151.

Awwwwww yeah!! 

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Survey: Which Current Champion Has the Most Impressive Win Streak in MMA?


(I’ve got 25, 25, do I hear 26 for this authentic Cuban-born champion? I’ve got 25, do I hear 26? 26?! 26?!!! Sold at 25!) 

After battering and busting up Urijah Faber en route to his 29th straight victory, newly-crowned interim bantamweight champion Renan Barao proved to the world at UFC 149 that his win streak was the product of hard work and dedication, not the culmination of years spent crushing cans that seemed to be the case for a certain somebody making his long awaited debut just one fight before. This is not to say that Hector Lombard doesn’t push himself as a fighter — by all accounts he does the exact opposite, in fact — but to say that Lombard was the first fighter to come to the UFC on a huge win streak, only to have said streak invalidated almost immediately would be a bold faced lie (Jason Reinhardt, anyone? How about our buddy Sean McCorkle?).

But when guys who have spent years fighting below their level come up short on the big stage, it just makes it all the more impressive to see the Barao’s and Ryan Jimmo‘s of the world succeed in living up to their hype. Simply put, it’s no coincidence that most of the guys with the greatest win streaks in the sport are all champions, and the rest are either made up (I shall refer you to the infamous tale of Craig Rehage as my primary example) or busted as soon as the fighter faces some legit competition.

However, when trying to determine which champion has the most impressive win streak of them all, we surprisingly found ourselves at odds. Some of us went with the obvious choice in Anderson Silva, some of us thought that Jon Jones’ streak was more impressive, and ReX thought that Ronda Rousey’s run stood atop them all before snatching a copy of her ESPN magazine shoot and running off to our executive bathroom. He has yet to return.

So as is often the case when we are struggling to decide upon an issue, we will hand the power over to you, Potato Nation. After the jump, you will find a survey. The topic: “Which Current Champion Has the Greatest Win Streak in MMA?” You WILL vote on this poll, and you WILL leave us your convincing arguments in the comments section. Sound good?

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Simply Put, It Sucked: Assembling the Best Tweets Regarding the Crappiness of UFC 149


(Well said.)

Twitter holds an interesting place in the MMA landscape. On one hand, it often comes across as little more than a medium for fighters to vent their frustrations with the foresight and competency of a middle school dropout, or to aid in the ongoing series of endless, needless arguments that constitute 90% of the internet nowadays. Seriously, I was on one of those porn sites that allow comments the other day and stumbled across a heated argument concerning what the woman fellating the donkey onscreen was probably thinking. My guess was that she was reconsidering her choice to forgo those online courses for some quick cash and a shot at Fame (which coincidentally was the horse’s name), but the two (probable) gentlemen involved in said dispute seemed to think she was trying to determine the ethnicity of said horse (if that’s a thing), and which race she likely decided upon. Did I mention she was blindfolded? She was blindfolded.

On the other hand, “The Twitter” has shown on several occasions that it can serve as more than a battleground for our petty arguments, and can actually be used as a tool to unite people from opposite ends of the planet over a given cause. Although it failed in the end, Twitter was almost solely responsible for giving Mark Hunt the opportunity of a lifetime, or bringing Tim Sylvia back to the UFC to dominate 85% of the promotion’s heavyweights like we all know he would (I mean, have you even seen his workout regimen?).

And one thing that the collective minds of Twitter seemed to reach an agreement on was that UFC 149, to put it professionally, sucked major donkey dick (see how I brought that all together? I’m less a writer, more a prophet). So in order to bid what will ultimately go down as one of the most disappointing main cards in UFC history adieu, we’ve collected some of the funniest tweets from around the Twittersphere, some from actual fighters, others from random jagoffs with the simple ability to hashtag UFC 149 after their comment, for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy.

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The 10 Greatest Undefeated Fighters in MMA: 2012 Edition

In June 2010, we posted a list of the ten greatest fighters who had yet to take a loss. By November 2011, none of their perfect records were still intact, proving once again what a cruel bitch this sport is. Half of the fighters on our original list — Shane Carwin (#1), Megumi Fujii (#2), Ryan Bader (#6), Evan Dunham (#7), and Lyle Beerbohm (#10) — have even lost *twice* since then. So we decided to start over from scratch and come up with a new ranking of undefeated MMA fighters. Check it out, and let us know who you think will hold onto their ’0′ the longest. -BG

#1: DANIEL CORMIER (10-0, six wins by first-round stoppage)

Notable victories: Jeff Monson at Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum (UD), Antonio Silva at Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Kharitonov (KO R1), Josh Barnett at Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Cormier (UD)

Next fight: TBA

The former collegiate wrestling star and Olympic competitor went through hell to get to where he is today. Less than three years after kicking off his MMA career, Cormier battled his way to a career-defining matchup against ex-UFC champ Josh Barnett — a catch-wrestling savant with four times as many fights on his pro record as Cormier — in the finals of Strikeforce’s Heavyweight Grand Prix. But Dan didn’t need to turn the meeting into a grappling match. As he also demonstrated against Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva in his previous outing, Cormier packs enough speed and punching-power to win fights with his striking alone. It’s only a matter of time before he enters the UFC to take on the best in the world, and we have a feeling he’ll make an immediate impact.

#2: MICHAEL CHANDLER (10-0, eight wins by stoppage)

Notable victories: Patricky Freire at Bellator 44 (UD), Eddie Alvarez at Bellator 58 (sub R4), Akihiro Gono at Bellator 67 (TKO R1)

Next fight: TBA

Michael Chandler is the perfect example of how a tournament can transform a fighter from unheralded prospect to breakout star. After winning his first two Bellator appearances by swift first-round stoppage in 2010, Chandler was invited to participate in the promotion’s season four lightweight tournament. The Xtreme Couture product sliced through it, starting with a first-round submission of Polish prodigy Marcin Held, and ending with a decision win over knockout artist Patricky “Pitbull” Freire in the finals. Then, Chandler did the unthinkable — he took the lightweight belt from Eddie Alvarez, choking out the formerly untouchable Bellator champ in the fourth round of an insane Fight of the Year candidate last November. (A follow-up non-title match against Akihiro Gono was little more than a one-minute showcase of his killer instinct.) In eight months, Chandler went from 5-0 up-and-comer to newly-minted champion with a win over a top-ten ranked opponent. Is it okay if we use the “meteoric rise” cliché, just this once?

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Jay Hieron is Officially a Free Agent, But it Wasn’t Cheap


(This is the last known photo taken of Jay Hieron before he was forced to cut off that thumb to fulfill contractual obligations.) 

You gotta feel sorry for Jay Hieron. After a successful run through Bellator’s season 4 welterweight tournament, he was given the chance to knock reigning champion and narcolepsy catalyst Ben Askren from his perennial throne at Bellator 56. The fight was close to say the least, but it was the general consensus that Hieron had done enough (ie. stop Askren’s takedowns) to earn the title. The judges, however, saw things differently, awarding Askren the victory despite his usual lack of anything resembling offense. Sometimes these things happen in MMA. And just like that, Hieron’s title hopes, and a ten fight win streak dating back to 2007, were destroyed.

Cut to a year later. Hieron has requested time and time again for a rematch with Askren, only to be repeatedly denied by the Bellator brass, who informed him that if he is so desperate to get “Funky,” he should sign up for the next tournament and try his luck. Hieron wasn’t having it, and asked to be released from his contract.

And although Bellator are likely dealing with some separation issues at the moment, they kindly obliged “The Thoroughbred”…on the grounds that he would return a significant amount of money first.

Hear Hieron’s side of the story after the jump. 

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