MMA Fighter Challenges People to Punch Him in the Face, Everyone Fails

Tag: Dominick Cruz

Interim UFC Champ Barao Pulls Out of UFC 161 Title Defense Against Eddie Wineland

Tatame by way of Bloody Elbow reports that June 15th’s UFC 161 has lost its main event. UFC interim 135 pound champion Renan Barao was set to face Eddie Wineland in the event’s headlining match but the Brazilian has reportedly been forced to pull out due to injury.

Barao is reported to have injured a foot. He became the interim champion by beating Urijah Faber after champion Dominick Cruz went on injured reserve because of multiple knee ligament injuries. Wineland is on a two-fight win streak and Barao recently defended the interim belt by choking out Michael McDonald and earning his 20th consecutive win.

As of yet, the extent of Barao’s injury is unknown and so then is how long he will be out of action. No word yet from the UFC, either, on a substitution main event for UFC 161.

You up for an interim-interim bantamweight champ, nation?

- Elias Cepeda

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Interview: Urijah Faber Breaks Down His Upcoming MMA Combine, MMADraft.com, Optical Panacea Posters, And Cruz vs. Barao


(An excerpt from Urijah Faber’s Optical Panacea poster. Click the image to see the full-size extended version.)

By Ben Goldstein

From the very beginning of his career, Urijah Faber understood that he could be so much more than just a guy throwing punches in a cage. The California Kid bought his own gym in 2006, and went on to build one of the most successful fight teams in the sport. He’s partnered up with apparel brands ranging from K-Swiss to Torque. He’s written a book. And he’s been the entrepreneurial driving force behind a number of forward-thinking enterprises, including MMADraft.com — a site he launched with Phil Davis that seeks to find better opportunities and wider attention for amateur fighters — and Optical Panacea, a new company that elevates MMA fighter posters into fine art.

With Faber awaiting his next fight-assignement from the UFC, we spent some time on the phone with him yesterday to discuss all of the projects that will keep him hustling this summer, from the first-ever MMA Combine that will take place at the next UFC Fan Expo on July 6th, to the public launch party for Optical Panacea that will be going down next Friday in Las Vegas. (Be there!) Enjoy, and be sure to follow Urijah on Twitter @UrijahFaber.

CAGEPOTATO.COM: It’s been a month since your submission win over Scott Jorgensen at the TUF 17 Finale. Has the UFC given you any word on when they want you to return, or offered you your next opponent?

URIJAH FABER: I haven’t heard anything. I’ve kind of been on vacation, but I’m looking forward to continuing training and doing big things.

CAGEPOTATO.COM: Duane Ludwig has been getting a lot of attention lately for his work as the head coach at Team Alpha Male. Is there one thing he’s specifically told you or taught you that’s helped to improve your game?

URIJAH FABER: I think one thing in particular is that we’ve been doing a lot of drilling. As wrestlers, we’ve all drilled a lot with our wrestling techniques, and now we’re bringing that into the other avenues as well. Duane’s got some awesome drills, and he has a great system down — the Duane Bang Muay Thai system — that we’re all learning. I was definitely able to incorporate a little bit of that into my standup [in my last fight], and it’s only going to get better.

CAGEPOTATO.COM: Tell me a little about the MMA Combine for amateur fighters that you and Phil Davis are hosting at the next UFC Fan Expo in July. How close will this be to something like the NFL Scouting Combine, and what are some of the testing criteria that will be specific to MMA?

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A Note to the MMA Media: Please Stop Asking Dominick Cruz When He’s Coming Back

Dominick Cruz UFC ring girls Kenda Perez Brittney Palmer MMA photos
(“Laid up” takes on a whole new meaning when you’re a UFC champion.) 

According to his website, Dominick Cruz is “a professional mixed martial artist and UFC champion.” However, according to his MMA record, Cruz has been anything but since October of 2011. The ironic thing? Cruz’s website has not been updated since his coaching gig on The Ultimate Fighter 15, wherein he suffered the ACL injury that has kept him out of action ever since.

But if you were hoping that Cruz would give us a timetable for his return following his second ACL injury last December, you better think again. And while you’re at it, you should just stop asking Cruz about the issue altogether if you happen to be a member of the MMA media (you know, those people who get fancy lanyards at UFC events), because he will wait until 2020 to return to action if he damn so pleases (via Sherdog radio):

I’m not gonna let media or anybody else push me on a date. ‘Give us a date. That’s all we want. We want a date, Dominick. Give us a date to look at!’ I can’t. I want a date. I don’t have one. I’m listening to my doctors because if I don’t do that, I get hurt again. The focus is ‘pull the reigns down’, pull the reigns on myself. Don’t let myself go in there too soon and just do the work I can with the UFC, with my sponsors, do everything I can on Fuel TV and say to the fans I will be back. I’m coming back. I’m working hard. No date yet but I’ll give it out when I have it. I promise. 

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CagePotato Databomb #6: Breaking Down the UFC Bantamweights by Striking Performance


(Click chart for full-size versionFor previous Databombs, click here.)

By Reed Kuhn, @Fightnomics

It’s almost time for the interim bantamweight championship fight between Renan Barao and Michael McDonald. But first, let’s examine the whole UFC bantamweight division in several key striking metrics. As one of the youngest divisions with quite a few newcomers, there were several chart busters who have performed either really well in a certain metric, or in Mike Easton’s case, really poorly, so those outliers are noted. Usually those fighters will regress towards the mean, but they’re worth keeping an eye on. A full explanation of the chart and variables is included at the end of this post.

As a group, the 135’ers are the hardest to hit, as illustrated by their lowest power head striking accuracy of any UFC division. But they manage to maintain a high pace of action, with the second-highest significant strike attempts per minute average. (Flyweights have the highest.) So which fighters get the awards in this frenzied group?

The Winners

Sniper Award: Rangy southpaw Alex Caceres leads the division with 48% power head striking accuracy. Though he has yet to score a knockdown in the UFC, the Bruce Lee superfan has definitely put on entertaining fights including sharp striking, rapid pace, and some very retro body suits.

Energizer Bunny Award: Johnny Bedford has been outstriking his UFC opponents more than 2:1 on his way to two finishes. Bedford’s size has been an advantage for him in one of the smallest weight classes, and we’ll see if he can continue his streak.

Biggest Ball(s) Award: In addition to outworking his opponents, double award winner Johnny Bedford is 2-0 in the UFC with two knockout finishes. But an honorable mention also goes to knockout machine Michael “Mayday” McDonald, who has landed four knockdowns during his 5-0 streak with Zuffa. McDonald gets his biggest test yet against higher volume striker and interim champ Renan Barao, in an interesting contrast of power and finesse.

The Losers

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[INJURYCEPTION] Injured Champ Dominick Cruz Re-Injures Himself While Recovering From Injury, Now Out Most of 2013


(Dominick Cruz, seen here seconds after being made aware that Dominick Cruz had been injured yet again.) 

It just doesn’t end, you guys. It. Doesn’t. Fucking. End.

The insatiable injury curse of 2012 — seemingly fed up with claiming non-injured, active fighters — has somehow grown powerful enough to affect those who were already injured to begin with. NO, IT DOESN’T MAKE ANY SENSE.

And while the title may be a little misleading being that bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz didn’t truly re-injure himself, but rather failed to recuperate properly from the ACL injury that has kept him out of action since May, it looks like we won’t be seeing “The Dominator” dominating anything but a Domino’s delivery menu until late 2013 [WORDPLAY]. The newsbroke earlier today that the anterior cruciate ligament Cruz had replaced with that of a cadaver’s following his run on TUF 15 was rejected by his body, forcing the champ to undergo additional surgery in order repair/replace it.

“He’s pissed and disappointed,” remarked Cruz’s trainer Eric Del Fierro, echoing the sentiment of not only MMA fans around the world but that of MMA hack journalists such as myself.

I mean, I’m running out of ways to continue delivering bad news to you guys in this format. Creativity be damned; I feel like a World War 2 messenger at this point, just handing out notifications of death to the families of the deceased, trying to remain as emotionally unavailable as possible while little Jimmy Pocket and his Mom stare at me with tear-filled eyes. No Jimmy, your father isn’t coming home this Christmas. And that really awesome toy you wanted? You won’t be getting that either, because Santa never existed and now your Mom will have to pull double shifts at the diner and sell her body for money nightly just so you can eat canned hot dogs and stay off the street long enough to die with some dignity at age 7, when, following your Mom’s inevitable descent into cocaine and then full-on heroin addiction she’s since developed as a coping mechanism for being ravaged by the local charlatans and bottom-feeders day after day, she will fall asleep with a cigarette in her mouth and burn your house to the ground while you are dreaming of something, anything to remove you from the hellish nightmare your existence has become.

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“The California Kid” is Back, Faces Vaughan Lee in #1 Contender Bout at UFC 156 [BA DUM TSSH]


(“It looks like this artist…*puts on sunglasses*… finally got his SHOT at fame. YEAAAAHHHH!!!) 

There is perhaps no fighter in MMA history who has looked more deadly in victory and more broken in defeat than former WEC featherweight champion Urijah Faber. After dropping his umpteenth title bid (albeit one of those pesky interim ones) to Renan Barao at UFC 149, many MMA pundits were calling for “The California Kid’s” retirement, because in their eyes, being able to beat 98% of your division just isn’t good enough to warrant your existence.

Yet for some reason, it appears that Faber still wants to continue making boatloads of cash in this thing called MMA, and will return at UFC 156 to face off against Vaughan Lee.

Who in the blue Hell is Vaughan Lee, you ask? Good question.

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Bantamweight Interim Champ Renan Barao Will Likely Defend His Title Against Michael McDonald


(Don’t fart…don’t fart…don’t fart…don’t fart…)

Well here’s a bit of good news for once.

If you’re like us, you’re probably sick to death of watching interim champions all but refuse to defend their titles while the actual champions remain on the shelf. So when Renan Barao’s camp announced that he would be taking the Carlos Condit approach to the interim title, we here at the CP offices let out a collective groan before pouring another round of Johnnie Walker Blue Label on the rocks — also known as our HR department — and prepared for a long winter of semi-meaningful-but-not-really bantamweight fights. Thankfully, Dana White is a Johnnie Walker man, and after he smashed a bottle of it over Danga’s head, we managed to come to an agreement regarding the UFC’s last remaining interim champ.

White recently told MMAWeekly that Barao will likely be defending his belt before champion Dominick Cruz is back in action, and his potential opponent should come as a surprise to no one.

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[VIDEO] Fuel TV’s ‘UFC Fighter Trivia’ Needs to Become Its Own Game Show

Before we even get into the awesome that is UFC Tonight’s recent “Fighter Trivia” episode, I just want to put it out there that I will beat any of you in any game show trivia challenge. Any of you. When I was in college, the only channel my RCA 630TS television received was The Game Show Network. Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, Family Feud, Double Dare, right down to the early pioneers of Press Your Luck, Match Game, Pyramid, and The Price is Right were at my disposal on a near 24/7 basis. When I wasn’t browned out in an alleyway looking for a jar of marmalade and bus ticket to Santa Fe, you could assume I was getting my trivia knowledge on with Brawlin’ Bob and the gang.

So you can imagine my excitement when I came across this gem of an idea Fuel TV devoted an episode of UFC Tonight to, with Ariel Helwani playing the proverbial Bob Eubanks role. The premise is simple, a group of fighters are subjected to what I assume is five rounds of trivia (there aren’t videos of all 5 rounds to confirm/deny this) covering everything from their knowledge of The Ultimate Fighter to that of pop culture. They are paired up for certain rounds, but mostly are forced to go on their own until one man is declared the winner.

For the inaugural segment, Michael Bisping, Rashad Evans, Dominick Cruz, and Kenny Florian were chosen as participants. Spoiler alert: Cruz doesn’t know sh*t about sh*t, and Bisping knows more about Dora the Explorer than we would have ever imagined.

After the jump: Two snippets from the show in which Florian forgets that Bisping and Evans fought at UFC 78 (along with the rest of the world) and Cruz fails to identify Bruce Springsteen by his nickname. Unforgivable, Dom.

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Renan Barao, Carlos Condit, and Why the UFC Needs to Eliminate Interim Titles


(“OK guys, the winner gets an interim belt, the loser has to purchase a replica from Wal-Mart. I assure you that they both carry the exact same value.”) 

In a recent interview with Latin American online news network, UOL, bantamweight interim champion Renan Barao‘s coach, Andre Pederneiras, declared that Barao would not be defending his interim strap and instead would wait for Dominick Cruz to recover from the ACL injury that set up Barao vs. Urijah Faber at UFC 149. And before the MMA media could even begin to make the comparison to Carlos Condit, Pederneiras did it for us, stating:

[Barao] just won the title, he just fought. We will wait. Look how long the wait was for Condit and GSP to unify the belt?

Where Pederneiras was attempting to use the Condit comparison as a justification for Barao’s decision to essentially put the bantamweight division on hold for the time being, he unknowingly summed up the inherent pointlessness of the interim title in the first place.

As you are all aware, the interim title essentially serves as a placeholder for the division’s number one contender (at the time) in the absence of a champion. The problem being that, by declaring the number one contender to be “a champion” when they are anything but — and I mean this with all due respect to Condit and Barao — you are basically giving a contender a power that they have not rightfully earned: the power to pick and choose who they fight.

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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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