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Tag: ESPN

Rampage Jackson Outs Training Camp ‘Spy’ During ESPN SportsCenter Interview


(Twit-cap via MMAConvert)

For one unlucky employee of MusclePharm, this Rampage vs. Jones “spygate” thing just got uncomfortably real. While doing a split-screen interview appearance for SportsCenter, the UFC light-heavyweight stars covered familiar ground about disrespect and training camp spying. But then, Quinton Jackson dropped a bombshell:

Jackson: We just found out who the spy was, and he’s terminated. He’s no longer working right now. So we found out exactly who the spy was…and it’s true, everything I said was true.

Jones: So who was the spy, Rampage? If you don’t mind answering that. Why don’t you tell the world who the spy was?

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Happy Ending Alert: Rad Martinez Scores Bellator Contract After ESPN ‘Outside the Lines’ Appearance

Hailing from West Jordan, Utah, Rad Martinez has compiled a 9-2 record as a professional MMA fighter while caring full-time for his father Richard, who suffered significant brain damage in a car accident twenty years ago. Martinez’s story caught the attention of ESPN, who produced a moving “Outside the Lines” video feature on the fighter, covering the multiple tragedies of his family life as well as his current struggle to balance his profession with his personal obligations. If you haven’t seen it yet, we highly recommend taking 11 minutes of your day and checking it out above.

Thanks in part to the ESPN profile, Martinez has just gotten the first big break in his career, as Bellator announced this morning that they had signed the featherweight prospect to a fight contract. “Rad not only has an incredibly uplifting, powerful story, but he’s also a fierce competitor who will be a great addition to the Bellator family,” said Bellator chairman/CEO Bjorn Rebney in a press release. “We’re proud to have Rad under the Bellator banner, and expect big things from him inside the Bellator cage.”

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Watch Your Back, Chuck: Suddenly a Company Man, Couture Eyes Post-Retirement Job With Zuffa

(“That’s a great question, Fabricio. Actually, Chuck and I have found that through careful investment research it’s possible to locate dependable mutual funds that can average as much as 12 percent annual growth over the long term.”)

Look, we gotta believe there are a limited number of fake jobs that Zuffa, LLC can possibly make up for aging former fighters as the company’s way of saying, “Thanks for getting punched in the head for so many years so Dana could buy a new Ferrari.” Chuck already has one, Matt Hughes obviously wants one and now MMA grandpa Randy Couture is making noise about wanting one too. Not for nothing, but if we were Liddell we might be getting a little nervous right now. I mean, if you could choose to have Couture as your phony Vice President of Business Development instead of THIS GUY, you’d do it in a heartbeat, right? Office politics can be a bitch that way.

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Facepalm of the Day: ESPN’s Franklin McNeil Gives Keith Jardine the Edge over Gegard Mousasi

(Well, that explains it.)

When message board commenters gush about how much better The Ultimate Fighter alumni are than the rest of the fighters in their respective division, we typically just give the little TUF noobs a proverbial pinch on the cheek and dismiss their uninformed opinions as being asinine as a result of the impeccable job the UFC and SPIKE did convincing them its true.

But when a so-called MMA expert like Franklin McNeil continually gives the edge to fighters who have appeared on the reality show in bouts against fighters who are widely considered more skilled and are thus ranked accordingly, it makes us shake our heads in disbelief that ESPN, the leader in sports coverage, gives this guy a forum to spew his skewed view of the sport under the guise of journalism. We may print a ton of opinion pieces here, but CagePotato isn’t proclaiming to be the CNN of MMA coverage and we’re clear in stating that editorials contain (sometimes cynically humorous) bias and are not to be taken as fact or even seriously in some cases. ESPN, however, is a different animal than CP.

Josh Gross, you have our sympathy.

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Video: MMA Live with Bjorn Rebney, Rashad Evans and Kenny Florian


(Video courtesy ESPN)

If you missed last night’s episode of MMA Live, not to worry, we got you covered, mang.

If you couldn’t be bothered to actually watch it and expect us to give you the pertinent stuff in a nutshell, we got you covered there, too.

Here’s what you missed:

- Kenny Florian says he would be interested in a fight with Jim Miller at UFC 129 in Toronto if his injured knee (which did not require surgery to repair a torn meniscus and ACL) heals in time.

- Bjorn Rebney says that the new Bellator deal with MTV will ensure that their events are not pre-empted if they go over their broadcast time, which will be the same each week.

- Rebney also said that despite his efforts the Strikeforce co-promoted Gilbert Melendez-Eddie Alvarez match-up is pretty much dead in the water at this point.

- Junior Dos Santos has been training his Muay Thai with Brandon Vera at Alliance in San Diego.

- Dos Santos has said that he is planning to keep his championship bout with UFC heavyweight champ Cain Velasquez (which is rumored to be slated for the April show in Toronto) standing.

- Both Rashad Evans and Ken-Flo believe that their teammate Georges St-Pierre will fight Jake Shields in Toronto.


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ESPN Host’s Remark That UFC is Starting Its Own TV Network Fuels Speculation That Announcement is Imminent

It may have been a speculative remark fueled by an interview Dana White did with Broadcasting Cable this week in which the UFC president intimated that his promotion was considering starting its own television network, but to many MMA news sites, an eight-second conversation the hosts of ESPN’s Pardon The Interruption show had on the subject yesterday was enough to prompt speculation that this is the major announcement that will be made during today’s media conference call.

Here’s what White told BC’s Ben Grossman:

"A lot of people don’t realize we are in a half a billion homes around the world. You know all the things we’ve been through in the United States, but this sport travels well. Cricket will never be big here and the NFL will never be big around the world. But we are all human beings and fighting is in our DNA. We get it and we like it. So we are working on a couple moves now and should be in a billion homes around the world in the next couple months. Sports Business Journal just came out with a survey asking big names in the industry which sport could start its own network and 4 out of 5 said us. They are right. I agree. That will happen within the next couple years.You are starting to see now ESPN is starting to cover us more. I think this is one of those things ESPN will probably kick themselves in 10 years saying, ‘We could have fucking had that.’"

It is possible that if it is true that ESPN got wind of the news, considering they have a deal to broadcast UFC events and to produce satellite pre and post-event MMA Live programs, but it’s more likely that PTI is just throwing the scenario out there to create dialogue on the possibility.

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Dana Vlog: The Boss Pals Around at the Worldwide Leader


(VidProps: YouTube/UFC)

One of the things the mainstream media loves to crow about Dana White is that he appeals to MMA fans because we view him as a “normal guy” who talks like we talk, dresses like we dress and isn’t afraid to speak his mind when the time comes. Of course, like a lot of things the mainstream media says about our sport, that’s total bullshit. There’s nothing “normal” about Dana White. Normal guys don’t take their kids to Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory for their birthdays, flit around on private planes or have sit downs with Mike Tyson.

In fact, one of the main reasons to like Dana White is that he’s not a normal guy. One of the reasons to like Big DW is that after the mainstream media told MMA fans to collectively go fuck themselves for, oh, about a decade Dana White smiled at them and basically said, “You’ll be begging me to be on your shows someday.” You know what? That cocky fucker was right, and it’s hard not to admire him for it. As evidence, witness DW’s new video blog, where he’s basically given the run of ESPN’s Bristol, Conn. “campus” for a day while he’s out promoting UFC 118.

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Brett Rogers Does “First Take,” ESPN Reporter Butchers Fedor’s Name

Okay, Dana Jacobson of ESPN.  We know you’re not an MMA reporter, so the sight of Fedor Emelianenko‘s name on the teleprompter was probably pretty jarring.  But seriously?  Umalenenko?  How do you look at a name that starts with an E, contains no U’s, and come up with that?  You didn’t want to maybe ask someone beforehand how it was pronounced?  Brett Rogers was sitting right there, and chances are he’s heard the name enough by now to help you out, even though "The Grimm" is too much of a goddamned gentleman to make you feel bad about it. 

If you saw the "Fight Camp 360" episode, there’s really no new information on Rogers here, but it is interesting to listen to him talk about fighting Fedor as if he is not an extreme underdog.  I can’t decide if he just needs to tell himself that it’s going to be as simple as going in there and banging, or if he truly believes it.  He says he has no other option but to win, and yet almost no one expects him to.  If he does pull it off, could this be the greatest upset in MMA history?

Semi-related: Yeah, Strikeforce and CBS are putting a lot into promoting the Fedor/Rogers bout, and this ESPN appearance is proof of that, but what about the other fights on the card?  That’s exactly what Ariel Helwani and I discussed, among other topics, on this week’s roundtable discussion over at MMA Fanhouse.  Be a doll and check it out, won’t you?

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Shaq Is Not Going to Fight Chuck Liddell, ESPN Lady

ESPN "First Take" brought Shaquille O’Neal’s personal trainer on so he could talk about the Diesel’s MMA training and mention the name of his gym and its website no less than a dozen times.  The interviewer here seems oddly amused by her own ignorance of MMA, and really presses this guy to give her odds on the possibility of a Shaq vs. Chuck Liddell fight in the UFC.  Let me put it to you this way, lady: there’s about as much chance of that fight happening in the UFC as there is of you taking over for Larry King when he finally retires/dies.  Got it now?

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Quick Hits: Fight Bookings, More Dana White Media Exposure, + More


(Jacare vs. Mayhem 1, to refresh your memory.)

According to Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza’s manager, they’re planning on a fight “for the title” at Dream.9 on May 26.  Nothing is confirmed yet, Jacare’s manager told Tatame, but right now it looks like it will be a rematch between Jacare and “Mayhem” Miller for Gegard Mousasi’s vacated middleweight belt.  If true that would make for a tight turnaround for Miller, who’s slated to take on Kala Hose in Hawaii at Kingdom MMA on April 18.  Call it making up for lost time.  Or maybe he’s just assuming that it won’t take much out of him to whup on Hose in front of his Hawaiian peeps.

As we saw earlier today, Dana White’s threats to step back from the limelight might be the slightest bit hollow, but ESPN plans to actually make him talk on video when they send their E:60 crew to Montreal for a story on his recent video blog controversy.  The piece will allegedly seek to compare White to the heads of other major sports organizations, asking what would have happened to them had they gone all nasty on a female sports reporter and her anonymous sources.  We just hope E:60 has learned from their past mistakes.  If they ask him about steroids, the interview’s over.

– Spike TV sent out another ‘in your face!’ press release today to announce that Saturday night’s replay of UFC 94 was the “#1 program among Men 18-34 in all of television (cable and broadcast) during its time period.”  The replay peaked at 2.4 million viewers for the main event and averaged 1.9 million over the three-hour broadcast, which, as Spike is kind enough to point out, bested HBO’s Winky Wright/Paul Williams bout, which drew a measly 1.5 million viewers.  What you’re wondering is, did they mention how it compared to Strikeforce’s viewership?  They did not.  But they know you’re thinking about it anyway.

– Remember the rumored bout between Mark Coleman and Stephan Bonnar?  The UFC made it official for UFC 100 today, but relegated it to the “may not be broadcast” prelims.  On one hand, that’s a hell of a place to end up after such a great career (talking about Coleman, obviously. I said great career, not one great fight).  On the other hand, if there’s one UFC card where you can feel okay about being pushed to the prelims, it’s that one.

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