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[EXCLUSIVE] Fighting in Plain Sight Director Edward Doty Discusses His Upcoming Documentary of Rafiel Torre, MMA’s Most Infamous Journalist Turned Con Man and Killer


(The Fighting in Plain Sight campaign video via IndieGoGo.)

By Jared Jones 

Mixed martial arts was facing an identity crisis in the early aughts to say the least. The UFC had just been purchased by the Fertittas, who were slowly attempting to shed the “human cockfighting” label the sport had acquired in its early years. Although athletic commissions around the country were beginning to adopt the unified rules put into place by Jeff Blatnick, John McCarthy and Joe Silva, a large majority of fights on the local level were still contested in underground, unsanctioned events. There was no fame or fortune fueling these warriors of the early days; there was only passion.

At the center of all this was Rafiel Torre, a charismatic reporter, former undefeated fighter and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt who covered all aspects of MMA for such prestigious publications as ADCC News and Submission Fighter. Considered one of the most notorious journalists of his day by those closest to the sport, Torre interviewed countless top fighters in an effort to promote and help showcase the human side of mixed martial arts during a time when most audiences viewed it as borderline criminal.

In February of 2001, Torre announced that he was coming out of retirement, supposedly to settle a vendetta with a former student of his, the 300+ pound Ioka Tianuu. The fight transpired at King of the Cage 7 and, aside from being one of the most obvious works in the sport’s history, would ultimately serve as the catalyst to Torre’s demise. Four years later, Torre would be convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Attempting to chronicle this unbelievable story is Edward Doty, a filmmaker and mixed martial arts enthusiast who has been documenting the sport for some 15 years. His first MMA documentary, Life in the Cage, is a must-see for “real” fans of the sport, but it was Doty’s close relationship with Torre that spawned the documentary he is currently attempting to crowdfund through IndieGoGo, Fighting in Plain Sight. We recently sat down with Doty to discuss his love of the sport, the facade that was Rafiel Torre, and what he is looking to accomplish with Fighting in Plain Sight. 

CagePotato: As an amateur filmmaker early in his career, was it the spectacle inherent in MMA that drew you to the sport? 

Edward Doty: I began training in Traditional Martial Arts (Yang style Tai Chi Chuan and Jing Mu Kung Fu) in 1993. In the September ’93 Issue of Black Belt Magazine, I saw an ad for “Tournament to Determine World’s Best Fighter!” I called the number, and Rorion Gracie picked up. It was the line to the Torrance Academy. Being the punk 15 year old that I was, I asked, “Yeah, do you guys have an under 18 division?” clearly not realizing what it was they were trying to do. After a pause, he said, “No….18 and over only” and hung up.

A couple years later I was doing Forms Competition at the Ed Parker tournament in Long Beach, and SEG had a booth set up, advertising UFC 3 and showing UFC 2 on a small TV. The fight? Pat Smith vs. Scott Morris. My life changed at that moment. There was just something so authentic about it. It was exhilirating, kinda scary, but most of all, honest. I still appreciated what I was doing, but it became clear over the next couple of years that Martial Arts was never going to be the same, and that was probably for the better. Two months after turning 18, I fought in the Team USA Shidokan in 1996 and promptly got my face caved in. Even so, I still loved training, and I began BJJ at Jean-Jacques Machado’s academy in 1997. I still train, albeit sporadically, and am a Purple Belt under Eddie Bravo.

My freshman year of college I realized I wanted to take my equally passionate love of Film and make that my career. In 1999 while attending a Neutral Grounds show promoted by my friend Bobby Razak, I realized that there were stories within MMA that needed to be told. That was the genesis of my first film, Life in the Cage.

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[EXCLUSIVE] Muhammed ‘King Mo’ Lawal Talks His Heated Rematch with Emanuel Newton, Balancing Pro-Wrestling and MMA + More


(Photo via Bellator.)

By Elias Cepeda

Bellator light heavyweight Muhammed Lawal remembers the moment when the switch flipped for him regarding Emanuel Newton. Before they fought this past February at Bellator 90, the former training partners were respectful of one another in public statements.

After Newton shocked Lawal and the world with a spinning backfist KO in the first round, however, “The Hardcore Kid” began to suggest that Lawal had simply received his comeuppance for being cocky. To Lawal, who says he made an effort to not trash talk Newton because of their mutual friend Antonio McKee, it was a criticism that came out of nowhere and it created harder feelings than simply losing had engendered.

“A friend told me that [Newton] had said I was cocky and got what I deserved in an interview and I was like, ‘what?’” Newton remembers. (Ed note: I’d like to think it was one of those extended, overly-dramatic “Say WHAAAAAAAAT?” kind of whats. I’m not even here. -Danga)

It’s not that Lawal is unaware of how he comes off when he saunters into the ring or cage wearing a crown and a cape, it’s just that he didn’t expect to be called that after a fight where he’d made a special effort to not do much trash-talking.

“I don’t know what he’s doing. Maybe he’s trying to play to the media so they can write about him, but I didn’t go into that fight cocky and I didn’t fight cocky. I know the mistake I made in that fight and it was a mistake I’d made before and was working on.”

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Exclusive Interview: Inside the Mind of MMA Referee Mario Yamasaki


(Not only does Yamasaki officiate MMA bouts, he also resurrects blunt force trauma victims. Photo Credit: Esther Lin)

By Jason Moles

In a world of barbarous blitzkriegs and surreptitious submissions, seasoned referee Mario Yamasaki is the epitome of thinking on your feet. Having reffed over 400 fights in the UFC, Strikeforce, WEC, EliteXC and Pride Fighting Championships, Yamasaki has been in the cage with the best fighters the world has to offer – and tried to keep them safe in the controlled carnage that is professional cage fighting. CagePotato caught up with Yamasaki earlier this week and we asked him about everything from controversial stoppages to being accosted by Joe Rogan. Here’s what one of MMA’s best referees had to say.

CagePotato: How long have you been an MMA referee?

Mario Yamasaki: I started around 1992 at local shows in Brazil.

CP: What first captivated you about MMA and is that what lead you to your current profession?

MY: I started doing Judo back in 1968, so the mat was my home. My father had 14 studios in São Paulo and when I was either 19 or 20 years old I thought that I was a great fighter because I use to train with the Brazilian National team in Judo and could kick a lot of people’s butt. When I met Marcelo Behring I got controlled on the ground like I never had before, so I was intrigued with that situation and instead of walking away I said, “Let me learn that so I can become even better than I am.”

From the beginning, I had an advantage against other students because of my background in Judo so I became one of the best students he had. So was my brother, so we started helping him in his private classes so we could learn more and faster. As far as the refereeing part, my father & uncle went to 5 Olympic games as referees and I learned from them.

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[EXCLUSIVE] Clay Guida: The Talent of Hard Work

Clay Guida UFC
(Photo via, you guessed it, Heavy.com)

By Elias Cepeda

Whether or not he’ll admit it, Clay Guida hates being an underdog. It isn’t that the featherweight doesn’t enjoy proving people wrong – he does.

It’s the underestimation that bothers him. Most of his UFC wins have come over opponents who were favored over him before he broke them down and beat them. Even before his UFC career began back in 2006, Guida’s opponents were regularly favored over him.

The assumption that he is an “over-achiever” that has to defy our low expectations just to win smacks Guida like a backhanded compliment time and time again. He’s too polite to get visibly angry when the term has been brought up but in the past, but he’s made it clear to this writer that he doesn’t think of himself in that way. After about a decade of “over-achieving,” Clay would prefer if we simply started referring to him as the elite MMA fighter he truly is. On Saturday, Guida will once again be considered the underdog when he fights former featherweight title challenger Chad Mendes.

Like Guida, Mendes is a wrestler, but he is a more decorated amateur one. Like Guida, Mendes is happy to go wild and throw strikes on the feet, but the Californian has been putting people out with his shots. Both men are obviously in the same weight class, but Mendes would appear to be the more physically imposing, stronger fighter.

Mendes’ only career loss was a shocking one to division champion Jose Aldo. Since that fight, Mendes has won three straight fights by knockout. At some point, in some way, every successful fighter must be a giant in his or her own mind. And in his mind, Guida is the clear favorite in his UFC 164 match up with Mendes.

“Chad is a great wrestler,” Clay admits to me one afternoon a month ago from his New Mexico training camp.

“But we are going to show him what Midwest wrestling is all about. It is a whole different beast. It is just scraping, driving non-stop, relentless and winning scrambles.”

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[EXCLUSIVE] UFC Heavyweight Brendan Schaub Takes on New Challenge at Metamoris II

Brendan Schaub UFC 134

By Elias Cepeda

There are two high-level and well known international MMA fighters competing on the June 9th Metamoris II card. One is Shinya Aoki, who takes on Kron Gracie in the main event.

Metamoris is a unique submission grappling event filled entirely with super-fights. No points are counted, the matches are twice as long as usual grappling competitions, and the only way to win is by submitting your opponent. Aoki, largely known as one of the most dangerous ground specialists in MMA, is a perfectly logical cross-over guy to bring in to Metamoris.

The other famous MMA fighter on the card is TUF 10 runner-up Brendan Schaub, and his placement doesn’t make nearly as much sense at first glance. Because of his success in the UFC, Schaub is surely one of the most well-known competitors on the card, however, none of the former college and professional football player’s MMA wins have come via submission. He’s young in the sport and is certainly not considered to be one of the best grapplers in the heavyweight division, let alone the UFC.

No, most of Schaub’s success has been achieved in the standup department, by knocking his opponents out silly, not by relying on “the gentle art.” But to the former TUF finalist, competing at Metamoris II against top Jiu Jitsu and submission grappling champion Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu no less makes all the sense in the world.

“A lot of people don’t know this,” Schaub tells CagePotato. “But, Jiu Jitsu is my passion. It was the first real thing I did in martial arts. For me, competing at Metamoris is a way for me to give back to Jiu Jitsu for all it’s done for me. Jiu Jitsu has changed my life.”

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[EXCLUSIVE] Felice Herrig Talks Bellator 84, Sex Appeal, and How “Dana White Doesn’t Care About Women’s MMA”

By Jared Jones 

In less than an hour, Bellator’s final card of the year will kick off live from The Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Indiana. Fighting in the only women’s bout of the night will be none other than Felice Herrig, a former Muay Thai wrecking machine turned MMA starlet who has been featured in such programs as Oxygen’s Fight Girls. Tonight, she squares off on the preliminary card against late replacement opponent Patricia Vardonic in a strawweight fight that is sure to convert more than a few fans to this thing called WMMA.

Being the humanitarian that “Lil’ Bulldog” is, she recently set aside some time in her busy schedule to discuss everything from the great injury plague of 2012 to the role of sexuality in female sports with us, so join us after the jump to get inside the head of one of WMMA’s fastest rising prospects in this surprisingly candid interview.

CagePotato: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us, Felice. First off, we were wondering if you could talk about the controversy surrounding Michele Guitierrez’s withdrawal from Bellator 84. When did you first suspect that she wasn’t being exactly honest about the alleged injury that forced her out of your scheduled fight? 

Felice Herrig: “I had suspected since I signed to fight Michele that she was going to do it. I’ve been in this game a long time and I heard a couple people that trained around her say that she was like 20-some pounds overweight, that she wasn’t going to make it, and that she was asking [her training partners] for tips on how to cut weight. For so long, Michele has done so many things to me that I’ve had to keep quiet about and now I feel like I got to expose her for what she really is.”

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“Through The Eyes of the Underdog” Pt. 1: Josh Burkman Talks Injury and Resurgence, Sonnen vs. Jones, and Nightclub Brawls With Phil Baroni [EXCLUSIVE]

By Jared Jones

Unless you’ve been a close follower of the Utah MMA scene over the past few years, chances are that you’ve probably forgotten all about TUF 2 alum Josh Burkman. After a three fight skid saw him ousted from the UFC back in 2008, Burkman took over a year and a half off to recover from several injuries that could have ended any lesser man’s career, injuries Burkman admits in hindsight that he should have addressed much earlier. But if you were to ask Josh how the past few years have treated him, you’d think he was on top of the world.

I called Josh at approximately 5:15 p.m. EST yesterday. He was just stepping into his house after a long day of training for his November 3rd match against fellow UFC veteran Gerald Harris on the inaugural card of the Ray Sefo-run World Series of Fighting promotion. It’s a win that could very well propel “The People’s Warrior” back into the octagon for the first time in over four years, yet he doesn’t appear to be showing any signs of the pressure getting to him. I ask him how he’s doing. “Life is good,” he tells me, making sure to kiss his ten day old son as soon as he enters the house. From the get-go, I can tell that Josh is a much more open and laid back guy than some of the fighters I’ve dealt with in the past. But little did I know that before our conversation was over, we would discuss everything from his career comeback and newly found lease on life to his infamous in and out of the ring brawls with Jeremy Horn and Phil Baroni.

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Unforgettable: Matt Lindland Discusses His Greatest Opponents

Matt Lindland Strikeforce Robbie Lawler knockout MMA photos

By Matt Kaplan

Matt “The Law” Lindland has been clinching, smothering, and dirty boxing his way through the MMA world since the days of wrestling shoes in the Octagon. He’s fought alongside and against some of the very best in the world and was a fixture in the top-ten middleweight rankings for years.

A 2000 Olympic Greco-Roman wrestling silver medalist and Team Quest charter member, Lindland went 9-3 during his UFC middleweight tenure and earned a 2002 title shot against champion Murilo Bustamante. After leaving the UFC (Google his UFC 54 t-shirt controversy), he moved up in weight classes to fight Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Fedor Emelianenko (in Russia), he won his two IFL Super Fights as the coach of the Portland Wolfpack/Team Quest, and he was the hardcore fan’s dream opponent for Anderson Silva.

Although Lindland has been inactive for nearly a year-and-a-half, he has yet to hang up his fingerless gloves. “I’ve never won a world title, so it’s kind of hard to retire,” explained the 42-year-old Lindland, whose focus today is on leading wrestling and MMA seminars, overseeing his SportFight promotion, and coaching his Team Quest MMA fighters.

Inspired by Ring Magazine’s “The Best I’ve Faced” series, here’s the legendary Matt “The Law” Lindland looking back on a long, hard-fought career and remembering those opponents who stand out across the following categories:

Best boxing: Vitor Belfort. With boxing it all starts with your footwork, your movement, and he has explosive hands and hips. And not just the night I fought him. He’s got consistently good boxing.

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[Exclusive] Mark Munoz Talks Coaching Himself, Throwing Bombs, and Taking Names


(Munoz pays tribute to his favorite terrible fighter, Emmanuel Yarborough, by squashing a scrawny ginger less than 1/3rd his size.) 

By Elias Cepeda

At first, what he said kind of passed by unnoticed, but when I caught it, I was forced to ask him to clarify. We were talking to UFC middleweight contender Mark Munoz about training camp for his UFC on FUEL 4 main event scrap tonight against Chris Weidman and thought to ask how things were going with the gym he owns, Reign Training Center.

Munoz opened up the Southern California fight gym a couple years ago and since that time it has grown to house not just 9-5ers seeking workouts, but some of the best fighters in the world as well. Munoz said the business was going swimmingly, spoke about some of the challenges of starting up and managing a gym and, almost in passing, mentioned that he led training for the guys.

Well, certainly not while he was in camp, right? Wrong, Munoz corrected. The fighter has, in fact, been his own head coach and trainer for all the fighters at Reign as he has readied to fight Weidman.

“I actually lead the training along with training myself,” Munoz said. “I’ve been coaching for awhile now and for me, I love running practices. I think about how to run practices and how to be able to breakdown technique and to be able to help the whole group. I’ve been doing it for over 10 years when it comes to Division I wrestling. Love to teach and to coach and get a good workout in the process. The guys love it too. They see the workouts and feel that they are catered to them. I’m glad I can accomplish both coach and competing. I’ve always wanted to do both but with wrestling you can’t really do it.”

Simultaneously fighting and coaching? That’s some Bill Russell and Pete Rose stuff right there.

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Exclusive Video: Junior dos Santos Prepping for Spring Showdown with Velasquez


Junior dos Santos interview – Watch more Funny Videos

CagePotato video correspondent Brian D’Souza braved the X-Gym in Rio De Janeiro recently and nabbed some interview time with the No. 1 contender to the UFC heavyweight title (and recent Playboy Mag fashion model) Junior dos Santos. First off, please accept our assurances that things went way better than when BDS tried to conversate in English with the middleweight champ this week. In fact, unless you’re just an out-and-out dick we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at dos Santos’ English, which appears to be coming along nicely. Secondly, no that’s not a weed shirt he’s wearing. We don’t think.

While no official date has yet been set for his shot at the 265-pound gold, dos Santos says he expects a March or April showdown with Cain Velasquez and is already working out down in Rio with the likes of the Nogueira brothers, Anderson Silva and Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante to get ready. Dos Santos and D’ Souza cover a number of topics in their short time together, including what Cigano thought of Velasquez’s recent win over Brock Lesnar. Sounds like he enjoyed it as much as the rest of us.

“That fight was very interesting,” says dos Santos with a chuckle. “Brock Lesnar tried to fight like a monster, like what he is. I think in my mind Cain was perfect, because he just waited (out) that initial pressure from Brock Lensar. (He) waited for the right moment to change the fight and win. Cain Velasquez was perfect in that fight.”

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