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Tag: CagePotato Roundtable

CagePotato Roundtable #23: What Is Your Favorite (Non-Rocky) Fight Movie of All Time?


(Because if Rocky movies were fair game, this column would just be all of us agreeing that Rocky IV was the greatest movie ever made.)

Since we already made a list of what we consider to be the best fight movies of all time, today we’re here to talk about our personal favorites. Just one small rule: In an attempt to keep this column from quickly degrading into a list of Rocky movies, we agreed that none of them would be eligible for inclusion. What we ended up with is a list containing a few legitimate classics, a few cult favorites, and the formula for a damn good movie night with your fellow fight fans this weekend. At least for those of you who won’t be streaming War MMA’s inaugural event on Saturday night, obviously. Read on for our picks, and please continue to send your ideas for future Roundtable topics to tips@cagepotato.com.

Ben Goldstein – who is making his triumphant return to the CagePotato Roundtable.


(Rather than pick just one memorable scene, we’ve included the whole documentary.)

John Hyams’s 2002 documentary The Smashing Machine is mainly remembered as a cautionary tale — a hard look at a hard sport, full of broken bodies, drug abuse, and predatory behavior of the physical and emotional varieties. And make no mistake, it should be remembered for all of that. It’s absolutely gut-wrenching to watch the downfall of an incredible talent like Mark Kerr, an alpha male who was utterly chewed up by professional fighting.

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CagePotato Roundtable #22: What Was the Worst UFC Title Fight of all Time?


(It’s not a UFC fight, but you can’t talk awful title fights without at least referencing Sonnen vs. Filho II. Photo courtesy of Sherdog.)

Today we’re talking about bad UFC title fights – fights that fizzled out after weeks of hype, bored even the most die-hard fans among us, and left us baffled that the winner was considered the best in his weight class. Since we’re dealing strictly with UFC title fights, notable clunkers like Ruiz vs. Southworth II (Strikeforce), Wiuff vs. Tuchscherer (YAMMA), and Sonnen vs. Filho II (WEC) are ineligible for inclusion. Also, we promise that the only appearance of the name “Ben Askren” in this column lies in this incredibly forced sentence. Read on for our picks, and please, pretty please, send your ideas for future Roundtable topics to tips@cagepotato.com.

Jason Moles

Detroit is known by many names – Motown, Motor City, and Hockey Town to name a few. None of which lend to the idea that the birthplace of the assembly line was also a mecca of mixed martial arts or a place to catch great fights on Saturday. Unfortunately, UFC didn’t care; they took the show to the Great Lakes State in 1996 for UFC 9: Clash of the Titans 2 nonetheless. Ken Shamrock and Michigan native Dan Severn were set to face off for the first world title outside of Japan, the UFC Superfight championship. However, thanks to Senator John McCain, instead seeing an exciting rematch that was sure to cover the canvas in bad blood, fans in attendance and at home watching on PPV were treated to what became known as “The Detroit Dance.” And to this day, it is regarded as one of the worst fights in the history of the sport.

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CagePotato Roundtable #21: Which Fighter Had the Most Unexpected Career Comeback of Them All?


(They say a picture is worth a thousand words, yet the only one that comes to mind when looking at this one is ZOMGBARFLOLLERCOPTER. Via Getty Images.) 

Mixed martial arts is a cruel mistress, Potato Nation, and we’re not just talking about Fallon Fox. As the sport’s popularity has increased over the past decade, its participants have been forced to take on the added pressure of not only supporting their families with the oft paltry salaries they take home every few months (if they’re lucky), but winning fights and winning them impressively for the sake of their ever-increasing fanbases, who will turn on them at the drop of the hat should they fail to meet expectations. At the risk of sounding too cliche, MMA is a game that truly offers the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. It’s also a sport that Tim Sylvia once declared 90% half mental.

And to some degree, that semi-retarded Ogre was right; MMA is a sport that, aside from pushing one to their limit and often past it physically, can do ten times as much damage to a person mentally. A string of losses — a single, particularly devastating loss even — can leave a fighter questioning whether they ever truly belonged in the first place, or whether their prime has simply passed them by. And it just happens so damn fast; in the span of roughly a year, Chuck Liddell went from the unstoppable light heavyweight kingpin to a washed up brawler who was getting punch-drunk into an early grave. At least according to the “experts” who regularly peruse the UG and Sherdog forums, CagePotato comments sections, and Wikipedia.

No, it’s not every day that we see a Randy Couture or a Georges St. Pierre who can recover from a brutal loss or string of losses and use them as motivation to refocus or completely resurrect their career. And in light of Wanderlei Silva and Mark Hunt’s recent triumphs, we go to thinking: Who Had the Most Unexpected Career Turnaround of Them All? 

That’s right, Taters. The Roundtable is back.

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CagePotato Roundtable #20: What Should MMA Fans Be Thankful For?


(A good meal well prepared, and the company of your loving family — that’s what it’s all about, guys.)

Happy Thanksgiving, Potato Nation, and welcome to a short and sweet Turkey Day edition of the CagePotato Roundtable. Today we’re discussing things we’re thankful for in the world of MMA, so if you can spare a moment from shoving cranberry sauce down your filthy gullet, give it a look and tell us what *you’re* thankful for in the comments section

Seth Falvo

There’s an argument to be made that the best quarterbacks in the history of the NFL have always been the most boring people on the planet. Throughout the league’s history, the most fascinating quarterbacks on the field have been about half as interesting as the instruction manual that came with your toaster off of it. Johnny Unitas was stoic enough to make Fedor look expressive in comparison, Joe Montana somehow didn’t have enough charisma to last on NBC, Brett Favre made people feel themselves get dumber whenever he opened his mouth, and Drew Brees wears Affliction shirts (seriously). While it’s not exactly a fact that having any type of personality will ruin your chances of becoming a famous NFL quarterback, I don’t see too many people wearing Christian Ponder or Ryan Fitzpatrick jerseys.

So why am I talking about football? For one, it just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving unless some oafish mouth-breather that no one in your family actually likes didn’t talk about football during your holiday dinner and/or roundtable discussion. But aside from that, it’s because, in many ways, this has carried over to MMA as well. As fans, it’s fun to cheer for an interesting fighter — especially when he’s actually good — but while the personalities of our fighters have led to the rapid growth and development of our sport, they have also brought on some downright ugly consequences as well.  You don’t need to be the most interesting guy in the room to be the best athlete in your sport, and as fans, we should be far more thankful for the boring guys who are great at fighting than we currently are.

Case in point, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson has outstayed his welcome in the UFC by about three years, putting on boring fights and complaining about the exceptional treatment he’s received as if he’s washing dishes at a Denny’s somewhere. Yet Rampage is still one of our sport’s most popular fighters — especially among mainstream media outlets — because of his reputation as a funnyman and an entertainer, despite being neither funny nor entertaining. Likewise, Dan Hardy has gone 2-4 in his last six, with Amir Sadollah being his most notable victory since 2009, yet his colorful hair and marketable image have kept him on ESPN as recently as last week.

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CagePotato Roundtable #19: Fighters You Hated, Then Loved (Or Vice-Versa)


(I was a big fan of James Thompson until he TKO’d my beloved Giant Silva. You broke my heart, James. You broke my heart. / Photo via Sherdog.)

We’d like to send out a CagePotato Fist-Bump to reader Joseph Cisneros, who submitted today’s topic on this Facebook thread: “Fighters that u hated, that now u are a fan of.” It’s a good question (despite its grammatical quirks), and so is the reverse of it — fighters who you were a fan of, but can’t stand anymore. We figured, why not cover both sides of the coin?

Joining us for this installment of the CagePotato Roundtable is a very special guest, and former Roundtable subject: veteran MMA heavyweight James “The Colossus” Thompson. It’s been a fruitful year for Thompson, who has scored wins over Bob Sapp and Bobby Lashley under the Super Fight League banner, and launched his own MMA media empire with a fantastic blog (ColossalConcerns.comand a highly entertaining MMA podcast, which you should subscribe to on iTunes right here. Follow the Colossus on Twitter @JColossus, and quiet down children, because the man is about to speak…

James Thompson

When I was told the subject for this round table, I thought I’d have to pass on it, simply because on first reflection I couldn’t think of any fighters that I was a fan of, but then went off completely, or vice versa. But then I did something I try, as often as possible, not to do…I used my brain. After this painful but mercifully brief process was over, I remembered a couple of fighters hidden deep in my grey matter that did fit this description. So here’s what I dug up.

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CagePotato Roundtable #18: Who’s Your Favorite TUF Cast-Member of All Time?


(Seriously? Not even *one* vote for Jason Guida?)

The 16th season of The Ultimate Fighter kicks off tonight on FX, and while we wouldn’t exactly say we’re looking forward to it, the premiere of a new season always puts us in a reflective mood. In this week’s installment of the CagePotato Roundtable, we’ll be paying tribute to our favorite cast-members in TUF history, and joining us today is a very, very special guest — Luke O’Brien, an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in Rolling Stone, The New York Times, The Atlantic, Fortune, and many other outlets that are much more respectable than the one you’re reading right now. (I first discovered Luke through his excellent MMA reporting for Deadspin.)

Shoot us your own favorite TUF guys in the comments section, and if you have a topic for a future Roundtable column, e-mail us at tips@cagepotato.com

Luke O’Brien

Has there been a more unlikely TUF champion than Amir Sadollah? In 2008, the Persian-Irish surgical technologist came out of nowhere — or in his case, Richmond — to win the seventh season of the show by beating All-American wrestler C.B. Dollaway. Sadollah armbarred Dollaway not once, but twice. Before that, he triangled Matt Brown, who oozed tough. And before that, he TKOd Gerald Harris, who certainly looked tough. At the time, Sadollah had never had a pro fight. Not one. I liked him immediately. Not because he was an upstart, a little doughy around the middle and a bit of a lumberer. There were purer reasons that drew me to a fighter who walks out to Iranian techno music.

For one, he had a mullet. This wasn’t the unaware bumpkin coiffure found in many stretches of this country. Rather, it was a curated flange of keratin that complemented the smirk often playing on Sadollah’s face. It was a mullet that, like its owner, didn’t take itself too seriously. A mullet that grasped irony. And irony has always been in short supply on TUF. The premise of the show — quarantine 16 fighters for a month in a house stocked with unlimited amounts of booze and see what happens — is absurd, although I guess you could say the same about all reality television. As much as I enjoy TUF, the only way I can fully appreciate it is at a sardonic remove. Sadollah allowed me to do that.

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CagePotato Roundtable #17: What Was the Most Embarrassing Moment in MMA History?


(God damn it, Tim. We will never forgive you for this.)

We envisioned this week’s CagePotato Roundtable as a friendly take-down of everything from “Hello Japan!” to Tito Ortiz’s brief and terrifying career as a post-fight interviewer. But then a funny thing happened — the UFC canceled their first event of the Zuffa era due to a very unexpected decision by one of their champions, and the world exploded. The Jon Jones/UFC 151 fallout and much more will be covered in today’s column, so grab a beverage and get comfortable. And as always, if you have a topic idea for a future Roundtable, please send it to tips@cagepotato.com.

Seth Falvo

World Combat League, bro. It already exists.”

In the perfect MMA Universe I envision whenever I eat enough Lotus Leaf, these words are uttered directly to MMA’s Vince Russo, Bob Meyrowitz, while he’s looking for investors for the mind-numbingly ridiculous YAMMA Pit Fighting. Upon hearing them, Bob decides to become a jaded boxing promoter, World Combat League is still the only promotion that uses a bowl as the fight surface and we are all spared the most stupid, embarrassing, gimmicky event since Heroes of Wrestling. Also in this universe: The Super Hulk division is recognized by the UFC as a real weight class, Paulo Filho never touches the GHB, Fedor knocks out Brock Lesnar and then retires as a UFC Heavyweight Champion and Chael Sonnen never attempts that freaking backfist. Who says us nerds don’t know how to party?

Of course, reality is a cruel mistress, and YAMMA Pit Fighting ended up happening despite the best efforts of an injury curse. Much like the aforementioned Heroes of Wrestling, Meyrowitz attempted to cash in on our love of nostalgia by booking a bunch of aging has-beens, never-weres, nobodies and ne’er-do-wells to compete in the promotion’s inaugural event. Never mind that half of the roster hasn’t been relevant in a decade (using “relevant” as loosely as possible in some cases), or that one of the fighters was best known for getting knocked out by a leg kick, or that another fighter was best known to casual fans for his stint on Celebrity Rehab; they’re going to brawl, you guys! Add on one of Brock Lesnar’s Team Deathclutch punching bags, the cheapest journeyman-for-hire you can find, an obese former Toughman Contest champion and some obscure Russians who dabble at sambo — because, you know, Fedor — and we’ll have all the tools for an exciting bankruptcy case after no one watches this. Tack on the incredibly cheesy, stuck-in-the-mid-90s “On the streets it’s against the law — in the pit it is the law” tagline, and laissez les bons temps rouler.

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CagePotato Roundtable #16: What Was Your Most Memorable Run-In With an MMA Fighter?


(If you were a guest on that gay Indian party bus and want to share your story, please e-mail tips@cagepotato.com.)

Thanks to everyone who submitted stories for today’s crowd-sourced edition of the CagePotato Roundtable. We’ve selected 12 tales from the pile — ranging from drama to comedy to horror — and we’ll begin with a story that comes to us from an actual pro fighter, involving one of MMA’s greatest out-of-the-cage rivalries…

Sal Woods
A few years ago I fought on the Strikeforce: Lawler vs. Shields card. While at weigh-ins I was obviously star-struck from being at Al Hrabosky’s with a room full of legends and badasses. The only guy I had the balls to say what’s up to was Nick Diaz. He was completely cool and super polite, he said hi and introduced himself to the entire table (my cornermen, shaking each one’s hand). We were just shooting the shit about how it was my first time on a big card and that I was fighting T-Wood. I was thinking this dude is nothing like the interviews I have watched.

All of a sudden he looks over and sees Joe Riggs and almost flips shit, starts telling his corner guys “there’s that little bitch right there!” Looks over a crowd of people and called Riggs a punk bitch. Then Gil and someone else walked him away/cooled him down. Proved that if Nick doesn’t like you and fights you he may fight you again in the hospital and almost again at completely different fight’s weigh-in!

Noah “Jewjifshoe” Ferreira

You guys all remember Dan Barrera from TUF 6, right? Well I met him during a math class in the Fall of 2011 and it was one of the weirdest experiences I’ve ever had.

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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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CagePotato Roundtable #14: Who Was the Greatest American Fighter in MMA History?


(Little known fact: The original version of America the Beautiful contained a fifth verse about Don Frye’s shorts.)

In honor of our country’s 236th birthday, we’ve got a special CagePotato Roundtable discussion for you guys: Who was the greatest American MMA fighter of all time? Because let’s face it, America is exceptional, and we produce the best goddamned fighters in the world. SORRY LIBERAL MEDIA, I SAID IT. Enjoy, and if you have an idea for a future Roundtable topic, please send it to tips@cagepotato.com. And hey, be careful with those bottle rockets, okay?

Ben Goldstein
 

What do MMA legends Chuck Liddell, Matt Hughes, Tito Ortiz, Kazushi Sakuraba, Wanderlei Silva, Randy Couture, and Mark Coleman have in common? They all started their careers within 11 months of Dan Henderson‘s professional debut in June 1997. And where are those guys now? Retired, pretty much retired, retiring this weekend, completely washed up, close to retirementretired, and retired unless Herschel Walker picks up the phone. Meanwhile, Hendo is preparing for his next title fight in September. Does the TRT help? Sure, though I don’t think you can credit Henderson’s heart, balls, and H-bomb power to a little hormonal help. (You also have to give some props to the Jam Gym.)

I’d stack Dan’s accomplishments up against any other fighter in this roundtable discussion — the unprecedented two-division title reign in PRIDE, the five single-night tournament sweeps, the stunning knockouts of Wanderlei Silva, Michael Bisping, and Fedor Emelianenko — but what makes him America’s MMA G.O.A.T. is his incredible longevity. Dan Henderson has been a top-ten fighter longer than anybody else in the history of the sport. I can only think of two other MMA fighters who started their careers 15 years ago who are still considered viable stars, and neither of them are American: Vitor Belfort, whose career was plagued by long stretches of injury and inconsistency, and Anderson Silva, who’s a freakish exception to any rule.

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