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Tag: BJ Penn

CagePotato Roundtable #15: What’s Your Favorite MMA Photograph of All Time?


(Photographer unknown. Level of badassery incalculable.)

For this installment of the CagePotato Roundtable, we invited a few of our photographer buddies over to discuss our all-time favorite MMA photos. Judging by our selections, shots of agony and defeat have a special attraction to them. I think it’s because they allow us to get close to an incredibly intense, transcendent moment, without having to experience the pain of it. And isn’t that why we love MMA in the first place? Our special guests for today are…

- Lee Whitehead, author of Blunt Force Trauma & The Mammoth Book of Mixed Martial Arts. You can see more of his work at www.leewhitehead.com, on Instagram, and on Twitter @leewhiteheadmma.

Jon Sluder, who shot Bellator 34 for us back in October 2010. Check out his recent highlights at Sluder.net.

- Jason Wright, who shot UFC 119 for us back in September 2010; if you follow us on Facebook, you recently saw one of his highlights from that night. You can see more of J-Dog’s work at jasonwrightphotography.com.

Disclaimer: There’s a short list of MMA photographers who have asked us to stop posting their work on this site due to copyright issues, and a couple of contributors to this week’s column happened to select photos taken by those photographers. We’ve used stand-ins in those cases, with links to the actual photos. Also, we don’t know why BJ Penn is so heavily represented in this column. The guy always seems to be in the right place at the right time.

Lee Whitehead

(Click image for larger version.)

I have many favorite photos from all the years shooting MMA but this one has to rank amongst the very top purely because of all the flack and accusations of photoshop manipulation with the blood spurt; professionals can spot a ringer, and this ain’t one. The disappointing thing is that all negative comments detract from our main strength as MMA photographers — to understand the sport, spot smaller nuances, read the timing, and capture a key defining moment in a fight. To me, this brief slice of time from UFC 80 serves as the perfect reminder of how dominant BJ Penn was in his prime.

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TUF or WTF?: A Season-by-Season Retrospective of The Ultimate Fighter


(Thanks to tufentertainment.net for the fitting logo.)

By Nathan Smith

With the recent announcement that Roy Nelson and Shane Carwin have been named as the coaches for the next installment of The Ultimate Fighter series, the MMA universe immediately launched into a full-blow orgasmic ticker-tape parade complete with tons of flying confetti and a marching band belting out death metal tunes. Once I heard the news, it was as if my life instantaneously turned into a beer commercial and the entire Potato Nation was invited. There was a rad pool-party, barbeque, a plethora of hotties, endless alcohol, and an overall quest for fun.

Well . . . . . actually, none of that happened. In fact, when word spread that Nelson and Carwin would helm the next season of TUF, it was officially filed under “WTF?” Judging from the comment section, most of the CP brethren didn’t care for the choices either. TUF is coming off a season that saw the ratings dip lower than they ever had, which could partially be blamed on the move to FX and the dreaded Friday night time slot. Regardless of the variables for the ratings drop, something drastic needs to be done, but is anybody really convinced that Carwin and Nelson are the answer to TUF’s slow and painful demise? Let’s start from the beginning and take a look back to see if this runaway train can be coaxed back onto the main rail.

The Season That Started it All 

The inaugural season of TUF featured future Hall of Famers Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture as the competing coaches who would go mano y mano at the PPV after the season finale. For fans of the UFC, that was good enough for most to initially tune in for the Fertitta-funded experiment. It still remains the best crop of young talent and personalities to ever grace the show; future stars like Forrest Griffin, Stephan Bonnar, Josh Koscheck, Chris Leben, Diego Sanchez, Mike Swick, Kenny Florian, and Nate Quarry were all complete unknowns vying for stardom in a fledgling sport. You mix in the whole “fatherless bastard” angle and the show was off and running even before the awe-inspiring climax between (pre TRT) FoGrif and The American Psycho. Even before that, we were treated to the greatest speech of all time that has since been condensed into a few words. “Do you wanna be a fighter?” Though there were other memorable moments from the seasons that followed, Zuffa should have quit while they were ahead because it would never be this good again. The unrefined personification of immature talent, undeniable aspirations and gonzo-sized balls oozed from the boob tube during every episode.

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Freddie Roach Bit a Dude’s Eyeball; Also, Offers His Thoughts on GSP, Anders- No Seriously, He Bit Out An Eyeball


‘Oh Africa Brave Africa’. It was… a laugh riot.

By George Shunick

Famed boxing trainer Freddie Roach recently appeared on MMAJunkie.com Radio, and he delivered the goods. Sure, he touched on Amir Kahn’s upcoming fight, Pacquiao, and certain MMA fighters, but none of that matters. Freddie Roach almost ate a man’s eye in a street fight. Not only did he do this, but he talks about it with the gleeful amusement more befitting a child recalling his favorite prank than a grown man describing how he used his teeth to transform another human being into an unwilling cyclops.

The conversation begins with Roach discussing Amir Khan’s fight against Danny Garcia, but quickly veers into MMA. At one point, Roach claims that one of the reasons that boxing has fallen behind MMA in terms of pay-per-view numbers is that “[boxing has] promoters that don’t like each other, and they bring their personal life into boxing.” Fortunately, MMA hasn’t had to suffer overly emotional promoters who hold grudges, so it’s still in good shape. Then Roach hits on a number of topics, including…

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Is Chael Sonnen Calling it Quits?


(Sonnen tries to remain calm while scanning for the nearest exit at the UFC 148 pre-fight press conference.) 

How the high and mighty have fallen, Potato Nation.

Just a few days after coming up short (again) against Anderson Silva at UFC 148, the rumors and speculations of what lies in store for middleweight contender Chael Sonnen have already begun to take on a life of its own. And at the forefront of those rumors, is the possibility that we may never see perhaps the greatest fight-hyper in the biz in the octagon again. Now, we aren’t normally quick to buy into retirement rumors that come in the immediate aftermath of a fight, even when they are coming from the fighters themselves. Because, as was the case for B.J. Penn and Jamie Varner, these supposed “retirements” were more or less a way of coping with the frustration that comes with of a string of losses (or in Sonnen’s case, a particularly hard loss to swallow), and were over before most of us compile a “Best of” list for either man. The jury is still out on how long Nick Diaz will hold out, but we’re guessing it will likely coincide with his recent suspension.

But regardless of the semi-thesis statement we’ve just laid before you, the head grappling coach at Xtreme Couture, Neil Melanson, feels that we may have seen the last of Sonnen for now. Melanson took over Sonnen’s UFC 148 training camp after Scott McQuary, Sonnen’s longtime head coach, suffered a heart attack a couple months back, and recently sat down with the ironically-titled Verbal Submission Radio to discuss Sonnen’s future in the sport:

Any time you’re a part of training camp or you’re friends with somebody and they lose, you just worry about them like, how are they gonna handle it mentally? Are they gonna come back from this? You know, I don’t know what Chael’s plans are, but I got a feeling he’s done fighting. I don’t know. I’ve just got a feeling he’s done. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think he was serious when he said, ‘If you beat me, I will leave forever,’ and there’s a very good chance of that.

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“We Pull No Punches” Caption Contest: And the Winners Are…


(Hey, at least they’re actually doing something on this season of Whale Wars.) 

A congratulations is in order to those of you who managed to submit an entry for our “Pull No Punches” caption contest; all 134 of you. If this contest showed us anything, it’s that when it comes to comedy, or at least an attempt at it, you Taters are some like-minded SOB’s. There were at least 95 horsemeat jokes (including one likely hipster who thought ironically pointing out this fact would somehow win him a shirt), 20 some odd Anthony Johnson or B.J. Penn jokes (which are always solid), and a handful of Over the Top references (which were actually pretty awesome). Since we enjoyed scanning through your entries as much as the UFC enjoys scanning through our articles to keep us in check, we must first recognize some of the captions that just fell short of T-shirt glory.

franco3445: The Nevada State Athletic Commission came to the conclusion that the only way Overeem could compete with the T/E ratio of 14 men was to go against someone the size of 14 men.

skeletor: There is no fucking way that Anthony Johnson is making weight this time.

P2: They smiled when they realized, if you use your left hand, it totally does feel like someone else is arm wrestling.

Deadpanda: Not to be outdone by the Japanese New Year’s Freak Show, US promoters put together a 4th of July event between Alistair Overeem & Joseph Son’s inflamed right testicle.

RwilsonR: We all know BJ lets himself go between fights, but I had no idea he stops shaving his back.

mcw89138: Ladies and gentlemen, say hello to the new main event for UFC 149.

BossNasty: Reem…It’s not polite to play with your food.

And now, to the winners…

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CagePotato Roundtable #13: Who Was the Biggest Waste of Potential in MMA History?


(Whatever happened to Harold Howard anyway? The man was athletic and explosive.)

A few weeks ago, we ran down the crappiest fighters to ever be crowned “champion.” In this week’s installment of the CagePotato Roundtable, we’re sort of doing the opposite of that — discussing fighters who had all the talent in the world (and actually were champions in some cases), but screwed themselves out of glory thanks to their own poor decisions. So who was the biggest waste of potential in MMA history? Who made chicken shit out of chicken salad? Read on and we’ll tell you. As usual, if you have a topic suggestion for the Roundtable, please send it to tips@cagepotato.com.

Seth Falvo — as dictated from a hospital bed. Long story.

“Personal Demons.” It’s arguably the most annoying phrase in sports journalism. The phrase is nothing more than a cop-out; what we use to show that an athlete’s performance has been sub-par due to his life outside the sport, while concurrently admitting that we have no business going there. Rather than just say that someone’s career is in a rut due to a crippling addiction or reckless antisocial behavior, we say that they have “personal demons.” Because it’s trashy to say it, but it’s somehow professional to imply it.

Yet “personal demons” is the perfect phrase to describe our sport’s biggest waste of potential — and the only WEC Middleweight Champion to defend the belt — Paulo Filho.

In his prime, “Ely” had all the tools that a future UFC champion would need. Even today, a fighter with Filho’s credentials would be heralded as one of the UFC’s elite middleweights before even throwing a punch in the Octagon. Filho had black belts in Judo and Jiu-jitsu, a major organization’s title, and a flawless 16-0 record with wins over guys like Murilo Rua, Ryo Chonan, Chael Sonnen, and Minowaman. This is a guy who beat Anderson Silva while training with him, who turned down an opportunity to train with Chuck Liddell (after the Iceman sought his help). He had it all.

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Don’t Worry, BJ Penn Will Clean Up MMA’s Steroid Problem Himself If He Has To


(Careful, BJ — drinking Sean Sherk’s blood is one of the easiest ways to get a false positive.)

In a Floyd Mayweather-esque bit of gamesmanship, BJ Penn went on twitter yesterday to make a unique “offer” to his next opponent, welterweight prodigy Rory MacDonald:

“VADA anti-doping has offered to sponsor our upcoming fight. I’ve accepted and invite you to help me clean up the sport. VADA results will be released after the fight to ensure that the fight happens. Lets get started asap!!”

You see what he did there? If Rory refuses to undergo VADA’s voluntary PED screenings, well then he’s a doper, and by extension, all the accusations that Penn previously made about MacDonald’s mentor Georges St. Pierre were accurate, and BJ Penn is the last honest man in the sport. (Like the fight itself, this whole VADA business just seems to be a way for Penn to stick it to his old buddy GSP.)

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Unforgettable: Kenny Florian Discusses His Greatest Opponents


(“I’ve never been knocked out in a fight and I’ve never been knocked out in training. But I’ve never been hurt the way that [Penn] hurt me.” / Photo via Las Vegas Sun)

By Matt Kaplan

Two weeks ago, Kenny Florian, the man who finished fights, announced that he is finished fighting.

Florian cited a November 2011 back injury and eventual numbness and tingling in his limbs as the impetus for closing the chapter of his life that’s been defined by five UFC Fight Night appearances, four weight classes, three UFC championship fights, two vicious elbows, and — lest we forget — one samurai costume.

As an undersized middleweight, Florian first appeared on our radars as the TUF 1 runner-up to Diego Sanchez in 2005, and after two victories at welterweight, Florian transformed his body and game, and established himself as one of the best lightweights in the world. Florian then made a brief run at featherweight in 2011, defeating Diego Nunes and losing to champion Jose Aldo, before announcing his retirement at the age of 36.

In a recent conversation with CagePotato.com — and in loving tribute to Ring Magazine’s “The Best I’ve Faced” feature — Ken-Flo looked back on his MMA career and remembered the opponents who stood out across a number of categories…

Fastest on his feet: I’d say Jose Aldo. He was the quickest. His explosiveness in general, his footwork, and his ability to move definitely are impressive.

Toughest chin: I remember hitting Sam Stout with hard shots. I hit him on the ground with a big bomb that connected real well, right on his chin, and he just ate it. And from seeing the rest of his fights, I see why. He’s got a real good chin.

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Junior Dos Santos vs. Cain Velasquez ll Set for UFC 152

The seemingly inevitable rematch now has a date in place.

Immediately following UFC on FX 3, Dana White revealed his plan to have the heavyweight championship rematch headline UFC 152 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. As of right now, a welterweight bout between BJ Penn and Rory MacDonald is also scheduled for the event.

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Friday Link Dump: Jones vs. Hendo Trailer, Wikipedia vs. UFC Drama, Zombies, Strippers + More


(Jon Jones vs. Dan Henderson ‘Inspiration’ trailer via djil93100)

- THQ Sold UFC Video Game License After Failing to Break Even on It (Gamasutra)

- The Bizarre Connection Between the Miami Face-Eating Bath Salts Zombie and the UFC (MiddleEasy)

- Wikipedia Continues Its Absurd War on the UFC (BleacherReport/MMA)

- 14 Awesome UFC Head Kick Photos (Heavy.com/MMA)

- BJ Penn Talks Reason For Taking Rory MacDonald Fight (Fightline)

- Video: Anderson Silva Budweiser Commercial Behind-the-Scenes Outtakes Featuring Steven Seagal (MMAMania)

How to Live to Be 100 (MensFitness)

Pacquiao Will Receive $26M for Saturday’s Fight (MMA Payout)

The Women Available to Alpha, Beta & Omega Males: Where Do You Fit In? (DoubleViking)

A Gallery Of Hot Girls With Puppies, Babies, And Kittens (WorldWideInterweb)

Gina Carano Is Looking Thick ‘n’ Tasty. Do You Approve? (Facebook.com/CagePotato)

- Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Django Unchained’ Official Trailer (Break)

- The 6 Best Stripper Portrayals In All Of Modern Cinema (ScreenJunkies)

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