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Tag: CagePotato Roundtable

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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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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CagePotato Roundtable #12: Who’s the Baddest Motherf*cker of All Time?


(Too obvious?)

Friends, Romans, countrymen, welcome to the most star-studded — and foolishly ambitiousCagePotato Roundtable in history. This week’s topic is “Who’s the Baddest Motherfucker of All Time?” and we have two very, very special guests to help us out. They are…

- Ben Fowlkes, the former CagePotato senior editor who abandoned us in April 2010 and has been writing incredible features for MMAFighting.com ever since. Last month, he and fellow CP veteran Chad Dundas launched a hilarious and thought-provoking weekly MMA podcast called The Co-Main Event. Do yourself a favor and subscribe to the show on iTunes right here, right now.

- Jason Ellis, the professional skateboarder, author, MMA fighter, truck racer, boxer, singer, and actor who hosts The Jason Ellis Show on weekday afternoons on Sirius XM Radio’s Faction channel. Jason’s best-selling autobiography — the appropriately titled I’m Awesome — details his triumph over drugs, personal tragedy, and being Australian, en route to becoming “the new voice of action sports in America”? Go buy it.

I’m sure some of you have already passed out from shock and excitement. As for the rest of you, pack a canteen and follow us into the abyss. Warning: It’s gonna get weird…

Ben Fowlkes

You want to talk old school badasses? I mean really, really old school? Like pre-Rickson Gracie old school? Look no further than Julius Caesar, son. Right about now you’re all like, ‘Who, dude with the cheap pizzas?’ First of all, that’s Little Caesar’s, which sucks. Second of all, shut up. I’m trying to teach you something here.

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CagePotato Roundtable #11: If You Could Fight Any MMA Fighter in the World, Who Would It Be?


(I got winner.)

Today on the CagePotato Roundtable, we’re taking a trip through the magical world of make-believe! Which MMA fighter would you scrap with if reality was no object? Would it be a hated heel? A personal idol? An undersized Japanese lady who you might actually have a puncher’s chance against? Joining us this week is Vince Mancini, the esteemed editor of FilmDrunk.com and occasional CP commenter. Follow his shit @FilmDrunk, and if you have a topic idea for a future Roundtable column, please send it to tips@cagepotato.com.

Chris Colemon

Saying that I could fight any MMA fighter implies that I also have the option not to do so, and I would exercise that option. You see, I’m what scientists call “a pussy.” I don’t like my chances in a scrap against anyone, trained or not. In that way I’m kind of like the anti-Krazy Horse: I’ll back down from men, women, children, retarded people

But if I had to throw down with an MMA fighter of my choosing, it’s going to be Bob Sapp, all day. The reasons are plentiful. As stated earlier, any trained fighter is going to wreck me, badly, so I’m certainly not going to pick someone smaller than me or a female — why give my detractors [friends] more to mock? No, I’m going to pick an intimidating juggernaut, and few fit that bill better than Bob Sapp. If I lose the fight — which is pretty much the only possibility — non-MMA fans [again, my friends] will look at pictures of him, then back at my unimposing frame, and accept the loss as a forgone conclusion while giving me eternal props for climbing into the cage with such a monstrosity.

Actual MMA fans tuning into the fight will already be expecting to see someone turtle-up and play dead before the first punch connects, so they won’t be disappointed if I take a page out of “The Beast’s” own playbook and hit the canvas prematurely. All of Sapp’s recent battles have been farces, so at least no one will be expecting a real fight; I’d hate to disappoint the crowd.

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CagePotato Roundtable #10: Who Was the Worst Major MMA Champion Ever?


(Come on Tim, you haven’t even read the column yet. Maybe we wrote nice things about you, okay?)

Today on the CagePotato Roundtable, we’re talking paper champs — the one-and-dones and never-shoulda-beens who weren’t quite worthy of the gold around their waist. To limit our scope a bit, we’re only focusing on major MMA promotions like the UFC (including tournament champions), PRIDE (even though all their champions were awesome), Strikeforce, the WEC, and probably Bellator and DREAM as well if anybody cared enough to mention them. Joining us this week is our dear friend Kelly Crigger, the retired solider and best-selling MMA author who’s currently elevating rugby-awareness at American Sin Bin. Read on for our picks, and please, please, please send your ideas for future Roundtable topics to tips@cagepotato.com.

Jared Jones

For four months in 2001-2002, Dave Menne — the fighter who Phil Baroni famously steamrolled at UFC 39 — was the UFC’s middleweight champion. That’s right: The belt that Anderson Silva has proudly worn for the last five-and-a-half years used to belong to this guy. Menne won the title in September 2001 by beating 5-0 newcomer Gil Castillo, and went on to compile an overall record of 2-4 in the Octagon. Gentlemen, the floor is yours. Good luck.

Kelly Crigger

The worst major MMA champion of all time has to be Carlos Newton. For starters when you say your fighting style is Dragon Ball Z Jiu Jitsu to pay homage to a Japanese anime character, there’s a screw loose somewhere.

Secondly, when Newton won the UFC welterweight title, there wasn’t exactly a deep talent pool of competition. MMA was still evolving and techniques were as sound as using bubble gum on a car engine. I will admit that he beat a very experienced and talented Pat Miletich to get the strap, but that’s the lone gem in his dreadlocked crown. Today every weight class has a laundry list of accomplished fighters and an alternate list of accomplished fighters waiting in the wings in case they tweet something controversial and Mr. White fires all of them. The point is, he didn’t exactly climb a ladder of giants to get to the belt.

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CagePotato Roundtable #9: What Was the Most Memorable Fight You’ve Ever Been In?


(“Uh…your hands getting tired yet?”)

For our first crowd-sourced CagePotato Roundtable, we asked you to give us your wildest fight memories, and damn did you people deliver. Our tip-line was flooded with dozens of hilarious, horrifying, obviously exaggerated tales. In the interest of brevity, we cherry-picked the 12 best submissions for today’s column, which you can read below, including a gem from CageWriter‘s own Maggie Hendricks, and a heart-warming story of asshole-comeuppance from the amateur MMA circuit. But first, one that’s near and dear to my heart…

RollsRoyceGracie writes:

This was back in 1988, when I was a senior in college, in Boston. It was late and I was a little drunk, but my biggest problem was the horrible Chinese food I had for dinner earlier that was trying to make its way down the pipeline and into my drawers. I was walking in a mostly residential neighborhood, having failed to score with my date, and I was looking for a McDonalds or a gas station, but I was getting ready to settle for a dark corner behind someone’s garage. [Ed. note: Been there, bro. Been there.]

As luck would have it, two local dropouts spotted me and innately sensed my vulnerability. They hustled over to my side of the street, but I decided to keep walking and ignore them. They didn’t like being ignored. I remember them calling me “Cock” – “Hey cock, where ya headed?” “Hey cock, why ya lookin’ so sour?” I foolishly insulted them by blurting out that I didn’t have any money. “Ya think we’re gonna rob ya, cock? We’re just lookin’ for some sport.” And with that, the smaller one, a skinny kid maybe 40 pounds lighter than me (because I let myself get fat in college), punched me in the stomach. I shit myself on the spot. Loudly.

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CagePotato Roundtable #8: What Was Your Lowest Moment as an MMA Fan?


(Props: David T. Cho)

Being an MMA fan ain’t easy sometimes. Hyped-up fights turn out to be snorefests, scandals damage the sport’s legitimacy, incredible parlay bets get wrecked by incompetent judging, forcing us to explain to our kids once again that Santa Claus most have lost our address this year. On today’s CagePotato Roundtable, we’re discussing the fights and moments that made us want to give up on MMA entirely and follow [*shudder*] baseball for a while. Let us know your own lowest fan-moment in the comments section, and if you have a topic for a future Roundtable column, send it it to tips@cagepotato.com.

Seth Falvo

It’s crazy how life goes full circle: When I was ten years old, Doug Flutie was my favorite NFL player. I begged my dad to buy me Flutie Flakes for breakfast, so that I too could grow up and be a successful, albeit undersized quarterback for a small market football team. My dad refused, which explains why I’m now a writer (You’re welcome, Andrew Luck). After all, I was too young to remember the real Doug Flutie, the Heisman Trophy winning Boston College quarterback who helped make the USFL somewhat relevant. Flutie may have still been a talented quarterback — especially for his age — but he had clearly lost a step by the time I started watching football.

Thirteen years later I was on the phone with my dad, talking about one of the most lopsided fights he had ever seen. I spent the entire conversation trying to convince him that the small, pudgy guy he just watched get destroyed by a no-name oddity was at one point the most dangerous fighter on the planet. As you may have guessed, I’m specifically referring to Fedor Emelianenko vs. Antonio Silva. But really, Fedor’s entire Strikeforce run can be summed up the exact same way. Perhaps Fedor was too old, perhaps the heavyweight division had simply caught up to him, or perhaps it was a combination of the two. But one thing is clear: By the time that Fedor made his way to Strikeforce, he was no longer the untouchable fighter that he had once been.

Even in his lone victory, a second round knockout against Brett Rogers, he was arguably losing the fight before connecting with the fight ending right hand. And Brett Rogers is no Apollo Creed; he’s barely a pimple on the ass of Vodka Drunkenski. He’s a gatekeeper in every sense of the word — just legitimate enough for EliteXC to have kept him away from a “prime” Kimbo Slice, but not legitimate enough to pose any threat of beating a true contender. We had all the warning signs that Fedor was going to be a bust signing after this fight, yet we chose to ignore them because hey, he won, right?

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CagePotato Roundtable #7: What Was the Greatest Upset in MMA History?


(Matt Serra: MMA’s patron saint of lost causes.)

With tomorrow night’s UFC 145 main event slated as a 4-1 squash match, the CP gang is talking upsets for today’s installment of the CagePotato Roundtable. If you have a topic-suggestion for a future Roundtable column, please send it to tips@cagepotato.com, and share your own MMA-upset testimonials in the comments section…

Doug “ReX13″ Richardson

This wasn’t a hard decision for me: My personal “greatest upset” would have to be Fabricio Werdum vs. Fedor Emelianenko.

While I normally disagree with that crazy fanboy (hey Sodak) explaining to me how Fedor is an intelligent machine, sent back in time to destroy craniums and assassinate Andrei Arlovski, I completely wrote off Werdum here. Like, no way a guy who hung out in Minotauro Nogueira’s guard for six days is going to get tapped by a dude who calls himself “Go Horse” and smiles like this, right? So yeah, I gave him no chance of pulling out a victory. I could be on tape somewhere saying that he had no chance, in an obnoxiously opinionated manner. I may also be credited with one of the worst predictions in CP history.

So yeah, that one stung a little bit.

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CagePotato Roundtable #6: What Was the Worst Referee Blunder in MMA History?


(I know, Kim. These fights make us want to puke, too.)

Sometimes, that “third man in the cage” can be a fighter’s worst enemy. And so, we thank CP reader Ryan Barnhart for providing us with this week’s CagePotato Roundtable topic: “What was the worst referee blunder in MMA history?” Since we’ve already covered judging fiascos, it only seemed fair to dump some hate on the sport’s officiating as well. If you have a topic-suggestion for a future Roundtable column, please send it to tips@cagepotato.com, and let your voices be heard in the comments section…

Chris Colemon

I’ve already lost this Roundtable debate. The travesty captured in the video above isn’t a “blunder” at all — it’s a referee-sanctioned homicide. At first glance you spot the black slacks and tie and assume this official to be a professional of the highest order; only later do you realize that he’s a struggling mortician simply there to drum up more business for himself.

Rogerio da Silva and Eric Venutti met in the second round of the ‘Brazilian Vale Tudo Fighting 2‘ tournament. Not only does the lard-ass at the helm of the match allow his own indecisiveness to place a fighter in jeopardy, he insists that an unnecessary finishing blow be delivered to a fighter too rocked to realize that he’s still engaged in a fist fight, Mortal Kombat-style.

It’s easy to look at the date of this event — May 31, 1996 — and dismiss it as the sort of thing that happened in those early days of human cockfighting. But keep in mind that by this time the UFC had ten events under its black belt, and Brazil was no stranger to the fight biz either. Even under a looser rule set, previous fights in the same organization had ended via judges decision and TKO due to cuts, so civility was not entirely lost on these people. This lone act makes everything Cecil Peoples has done look completely acceptable. Almost.

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CagePotato Roundtable #5: If You Could Make One Change to the Unified Rules of MMA, What Would It Be?


(“From now on, all preliminary card fighters will be required to slam four shots of tequila before the start of each round.”)

After a one-week resting period, the CagePotato Roundtable is back up in that ass with another spirited debate. Today’s topic is “If you could make one change to the Unified Rules of MMA, what would it be?” Sitting in this week is Potato Nation comment-section all-star Nathan Smith (aka The12ozCurls) — and since it’s his first time, we’ll make the new guy go first. If you have a topic-suggestion for a future Roundtable column, please send it to tips@cagepotato.com, and shoot us your own MMA rule-change suggestions in the comments section…

Nathan “The12OzCurls” Smith
One of the reasons we love the sport of MMA is the absolute reality that a fight can end in the blink of an eye. We have all held off taking a leak or grabbing another beer until the end of a round because we all know that in the 30-90 seconds that we step away from the screen, the fight could be over. It has happened to all of us. You figure the last minute of the round is going to be uneventful just like the four minutes prior. You get up to snag another High Life and then you hear the collective “OOOOOHHHHHHHHH SHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” from the roomful of friends that have gathered in your man-cave garage to watch the latest UFC.

So I ask: How could it get better? Answer: By adding another way to win a fight in the blink of an eye, that is more painful than a Paul Harris ankle lock and more powerful than a 2005 Iceman overhand right.

I would change the rule that states that it is illegal to “intentionally throw your opponent out of the cage/ring.” Now let me preface this by saying it has to be a cage because pushing somebody over the top rope is for guys like Brock and Hillbilly Jim. Not only would I make chucking your opponent out of the Octagon legal, I would propose that you automatically win if you are able to successfully achieve that feat.

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