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Tag: Bob Meyrowitz

YAMMA Debuts Tonight : (


Well, we all knew this day would come. YAMMA 1 goes down tonight at the Trump Taj Mahal Arena in Atlantic City, New Jersey, starting at 9 p.m. The live pay-per-view card kicks off at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT, and the final-final-final lineup is as follows:

Masters Superfights (two five-minute rounds)
Oleg Taktarov vs. Mark Kerr
Patrick Smith vs. Eric “Butterbean” Esch

Heavyweight Tournament (one five-minute round in quarter- and semi-final matches; championship fight is three five-minute rounds)
Ricco Rodriguez vs. George Bush
Travis Wiuff vs. Marcelo Pereira
Chris Tuscherer vs. Tony Sylvester
Sherman Pendergarst vs. Alexey Oleinik

Alternate Bouts
Antwain Britt vs. Bryan Vetell
Lamont Lister vs. Oleg Savitsky

Standby Alternate
Ron Waterman

Weigh-ins were held yesterday, and Butterbean tipped the scales — and I mean literally, like the thing fell over — at a shocking 416 pounds, meaning he’ll have a 176-pound advantage on Patrick “Because I Got High” Smith. Ricco Rodriguez weighed in at 267.2 on his first attempt, but was able to make the 265-pound limit an hour later. So for those of you who were hoping Double-R would be in better shape than during his paunchy performance against Antonio Silva at “Street Certified” in February, not so much.

We haven’t previously reported on the alternate-bout fighters, so here goes: Bryan Vetell is a 3-3 IFL vet who had the honor of being defeated by both Ben Rothwell and Roy Nelson; Lamont Lister is also 3-3, and has fought in Cage Fury and Palace Fighting Championships; Antwain Britt has a 3-0 record in local promotions; and Oleg Savitsky, the night’s lightest competitor at 199 pounds, has a 1-1 record with his loss coming at the hands of Tim Boetsch. Our money’s on Savitsky to win it all.

We’re guessing that the show pulls in 2,500 PPV buys, but we really have no idea what to expect. Sooooo…anybody plan on attending? Anybody buying the pay-per-view? Has anybody ever seen The Producers, where Bialystock and Bloom come up with the scheme to raise more money than they need for a guaranteed Broadway flop that will close after the first night? Could this have been Bob Meyrowitz’s plan all along?


Behold “The YAMMA”

Ricco Rodriguez
(Ricco is about to get his YAMMA on)

YAMMA Pit Fighting just won’t give up. They’ve added former UFC champ and Celebrity Rehab star Ricco Rodriguez to their eight-man tournament, and they’ve also announced that Mark Kerr will take on Oleg Taktarov in a “Masters Superfight”. Exactly what Kerr and Taktarov are masters of is still unclear, though indications are that “Masters” is a kinder synonym for “old”.

But wait, it gets better. Details are emerging regarding the mysterious new surface upon which the fights will take place. The good news is, it’s every bit as ridiculous as we’d hoped:

The YPF surface, known as “The Yamma,” is an evolution of the traditional fighting structure and is designed to keep the fighting more explosive and continuous. In today’s MMA matches, fighters rush their opponents in the quest for a takedown, and the fight often ends up on the ground and pushed up against the fence. The action often stalls there, and must be stopped and moved back into the center of the ring. The Yamma’s design is specifically aimed at stopping this break in the action. The Yamma is a circular pit, shaped almost like a bowl, with a circular flat bottom that rises up around the edge. In this ring, if a fighter is pushed backwards towards the fence, he moves up the lip, gaining both a height and leverage advantage over his opponent. From this position, the fighter on the lip can use gravity and leverage to reverse his opponent, and take the fight back into the center without a break in the action.

If this is all a clever ruse by YAMMA founder Bob Meyrowitz to put on an event that is so strange and obviously ill-fated that people are too distracted to notice while he skips town with the fighters’ purses, then I think we can declare it a success. If the goal is anything else, then no.

Ignoring, for the moment, that “The YAMMA” sounds suspiciously like the surface in Chuck Norris’ World Combat League, I also have to doubt that it will work the way Meyrowitz thinks it will. The fact that he refers to fights that go to the ground and end up against the cage as ‘stalling’ is troubling in itself. That makes me think that he is not a man with a real appreciation of MMA.

If you like fights that never go to the ground or end up against the cage, Mr. Meyrowitz, you should really check out boxing. I think you’ll love it.

But beyond that, haven’t we reached a point where we can effectively declare that the possible “surfaces” for MMA competition are settled? You can have a cage, preferably with eight sides and an even, flat floor, or you can have a ring. Meyrowitz says The YAMMA is “about the evolution of a sport”, but if the intent is to limit groundfighting, how can that be considered evolution? Does anyone out there believe that what’s holding MMA back is the lack of a big, sloped bowl for guys to fight in?

Apparently, yes, someone does. That someone is Bob Meyrowitz, and he seems pretty confident that your mind will be blown when you see Butterbean and Gary Goodridge square off inside The YAMMA. My question is, does it really count as “evolution” if the newly-evolved organism dies almost immediately?


Maurice Smith Calls in Sick to Avoid YAMMA Show

(Maurice Smith becomes the latest YAMMA victim.)

Seriously. It’s now officially fucked up. Let’s count the fighters that Bob Meyrowitz’s YAMMA 1 event has lost to date:

– Headliner Don Frye
– Gary Goodridge
– Frye’s replacement, Patrick Smith
– Rex Richards
– Two undisclosed members of the heavyweight tournament

The fight card on YAMMA’s site has still not been updated, but we’ll try and keep score for ya’. It was reported earlier that Ricco Rodriguez had been tapped to fill in as one of the replacements in the eight-man tourney, but we’re still not sure where that one stands. Rex Richards was replaced by Kevin Jordan. Don Frye had pulled out for whatever reason — probably because he realized how terrible the card is — and Patrick Smith took over. Then Pat Smith had been dropped due to arrest scheduling and 90-year-old Maurice Smith had been submitted as his replacement.

Now 5 Ounces is reporting that Maurice Smith has pulled out due to sickness related to old age (okay, I added that last part). But it gets better. Nick Lembo, attorney for the New Jersey Athletic Control Board, confirmed that Smith was dropping out, but then said the other Smith had been resubmitted. Pat Smith’s charges had been taken down a notch to misdemeanors so he would be able to compete. In case you’re lost by now, Patty would be fighting Oleg Taktarov at the show.

Gary Goodridge has yet to be replaced, but rest assured that the replacement will be well into his forties, if not fifties. Skip Hall should keep his phone on.

YAMMA 1 is scheduled for April 11th at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City and we’ll wait until the 10th to publish the fight card, because it just might change. More importantly, those that care about Bob Meyrowitz should put him on round-the-clock suicide watch. This is just too much for one man to absorb.


YAMMA Parties Like It’s 1996!

(I’ll kick your ass in 1996!)

We recently chatted to UFC founder Bob Meyrowitz about his newly-formed YAMMA Pit Fighting organization, but couldn’t bribe him to give up the names of fighters he was close to signing for the debut event. Well, jump in your time machine and set it for the mid-1990′s. Don “The Predator” Frye was interviewed by TAGG Radio and has revealed he has signed on the dotted line to fight none other than Oleg “The Russian Bear” Taktarov.

As posted by MMA Junkie:

“I hope (YAMMA) made the announcement because I just signed to fight Oleg Taktarov,” Frye said.

The alleged old-timers ball is supposed to be for the April 11th Trump Taj Mahal show and will be one of the “Masters SuperFights” that YAMMA has planned to go with their eight-man tournament that evening. The report is that the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board has tentatively approved it with shorter rounds and medical examinations sandwiched by fights.


Exclusive Interview: UFC and YAMMA Founder Bob Meyrowitz

(Artist’s rendering of what the YAMMA pit will look like.)

Bob Meyrowitz is the former CEO of and Semaphore Entertainment Group (SEG), the company that launched and ran the UFC until 2001. Many blame Meyrowitz for the near-demise of the UFC before Dana White and the Fertittas took over and built the organization to its current level of success. It was recently announced that Meyrowitz has started up a new MMA organization, YAMMA Pit Fighting. When we got word that Meyrowitz was once again throwing his hat into the MMA ring, we had to know more and gave him a call. Although there’s a lot he’s still not leaking to anyone, we got him to open up about what YAMMA’s mysterious new surface is not, and some of his plans for the new fight club.

CagePotato: What made you want to jump back into the MMA business after your troubles with the UFC?
Bob Meyrowitz: I’d been out of the business for about five or six years, but I had this thought for a new surface — which I don’t want to overplay — but it was about getting people excited and talking about it. Really the surface is what started everything.

What can you tell us about this mysterious surface?
(laughs) Trust me on this, it’s not that mysterious. I’ve read some of the blogs. There are no hydraulics or sharks involved.

Do you feel your PPV and publicity contacts give you a head start in getting YAMMA off the ground?
Well, I think my pay-per-view knowledge is certainly going to be helpful. But I really look at my [MMA] knowledge…my overall knowledge of how you promote, how you entertain, how you make a star.

Given the choice, would you sign a fighter with a lot of hype behind them, like Brock Lesnar or Kimbo Slice, or a proven fighter who may not have much of a TV personality?
What I have always looked for is the best possible athlete. They take care of themselves. Is Brock Lesnar the best possible athlete? I really don’t know.


The Newest MMA Player: YAMMA

(Meyrowitz is giving MMA another go.)

We already gave you the heads up about UFC founder Bob Meyrowitz’s plans to step back into the MMA business. And now the details are here thanks to a press release sent out this morning.

YAMMA Pit Fighting is the name of the new organization and they’re promising a “unique approach” to their MMA events. Intriguing for sure, but as we said already, is yet another MMA organization good for the sport? Especially one from a guy that ran his first organization off the tracks? Regardless, it’s going to happen – unless Yamma goes all WCO on us. Appears Meyrowitz’s new joint will be throwing a few events for Pay-per-View, with the debut event kicking off in Atlantic City on April 11th of this year.

Check out some of the press release:

Los Angeles, January 29, 2008 – Ultimate Fighting Championship founder Bob Meyrowitz and his company Rope Partners today announced the formation of a brand new mixed martial arts (MMA) league, YAMMA Pit Fighting (YPF). Continuing in his role as a trailblazer in MMA, Meyrowitz and YPF will take a unique approach to the sport by reviving the Tournament fighting format and unveiling a new fighting surface that promises to revolutionize the traditional MMA approach.

Trailblazer is a strong word. Someone who initially had good ideas and the gumption to keep the sport going after being banned in 48 states, but didn’t have the long-term vision to carry it past its rough years – thus kicking your own company in the balls – that would be a better term. Whatever term that might be.


Bob Meyrowitz Still Doesn’t Get It

(Not Bob Meyrowitz, but close enough.)

Entrepreneur Bob Meyrowitz — who founded the Ultimate Fighting Championship in 1993 with his company Semaphore Entertainment Group before running it into the ground and selling it to Zuffa in 2001 — has emerged from obscurity to throw his hat into the cage once again. According to Dave Meltzer in the Wrestling Observer, Meyrowitz and leading event promoter Live Nation have signed a deal to start a new MMA promotion, with more details to follow in the next two weeks. Though Bloody Elbow argues that Live Nation’s network television connections give the yet-unnamed promotion an immediate leg up, we can’t help thinking that another addition to the MMA landscape would sink under a lack of available stars.

Meyrowitz’s first foray into MMA ended after he tried to market the UFC as the deadliest, most outrageous spectacle on pay-per-view; Dana White and the Fertittas proved that it could thrive if it was presented as safe, mainstream entertainment on basic cable. There’s no question that Meyrowitz will be taking cues from his disciples, but there’s more to launching an MMA organization than following the UFC’s lead. With all the nation’s truly talented MMArtists already signed to one promotion or another, Meyrowitz will have to cull unproven, inexperienced fighters to fill the ranks of his new show. Sure, that might be enough for the teenaged stoners looking for low-impact entertainment on Saturday afternoons — the same demographic that watches dudes jump around a halfpipe on Live Nation’s Mountain Dew Action Sports Tour on NBC — but for a new promotion to truly catch fire with MMA fans, it would need star power, or at least a large amount of undiscovered talent. If Monte Cox and Fedor Emelianenko can’t attract a decent talent pool, we don’t see Bob doing it either…