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Fireworks and Fighters: A 4th of July Comparison Guide

By Jason Moles

We the people of, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Bans, insure comments section Tranquility, provide for the common noob, promote the general Lack of Welfare, and attempt to secure the Blessings of Dana to ourselves and our readers, do ordain and establish this Comparison of fighters and fireworks for the Potato Nation.

There are plenty of MMA fighters out there who love to bring the pyrotechnics to the cage, lighting up their opponents for the enjoyment of the fans and the pleasure of a paycheck. In honor of Independence Day weekend — and our new friends at Wild Turkey — here’s a list of actual 4th of July fireworks that remind us of some well-known scrappers. Celebrate safely, and please try not to lose any fingers.

Snap-n-Pops (aka bang snaps, snappers, or whip’n pops): Corey Hill, Jason MacDonald, Razak Al-Hassan, Tim Sylvia

Call ‘em what you want, these small novelty fireworks are perfect for youngsters. You throw them against a wall, floor, or sleeping grandparent, and they make a satisfying POP! Cool, huh? It’s hard not to think of a ‘Snap-n-Pop’ and not think of these guys, whose limbs unfortunately made the same noises in their past fights.

Roman Candles: Clay Guida

Excitement. Power. Flash. Seemingly unending performance. Fun. Clay ‘The Carpenter’ Guida is more than your average firework. Hey may not blow up any doors but rest assured he’s always going to be a crowd favorite. No one has ever had a Roman Candle war or watched a Guida fight and not had the time of their life. For every colorful ball that is emitted from the candle, Guida whips his hair back and shoots in for a takedown. Regardless of what happens, they both just keep going until the final bell. When messing around with either, be careful; someone usually ends up a bloody mess.


Full Fighter Roster Released for ‘UFC 2009 Undisputed’

Keith Jardine Quinton Jackson Rampage UFC Undisputed 2009
(If this happened in real life, you’d expect the people around the cage to freak out a little more. Image courtesy of GameSpot.)

GameSpot has revealed the full fighter roster for the UFC’s long-awaited video game 2009 Undisputed, which will be released on May 19th for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. (Props to MMA Junkie for the heads-up.) The list is below; fighters with weight-class abbreviations after their names can also be played in those divisions. As you’ll see, there are some unfortunate omissions (Randy Couture, Shane Carwin, Matt Hamill, Patrick Cote, Jon Jones, Junie Browning), a few guys who left the UFC a long time ago (Andrei Arlovski, Tim Sylvia, Tito Ortiz, Kazuhiro Nakamura), and one fighter who isn’t even alive anymore (Evan Tanner).

Heavyweights: Andrei Arlovski, Mark Coleman, Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic, Gabriel Gonzaga, Antoni Hardonk, Heath Herring, Cheick Kongo, Brock Lesnar, Justin McCully, Frank Mir, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Eddie Sanchez, Tim Sylvia, Cain Velasquez, Brandon Vera (LHW) and Fabricio Werdum

Light heavyweights: Houston Alexander, Ryan Bader (downloadable character available exclusively through GameStop), Tim Boetsch, Stephan Bonnar, Rashad Evans, Wilson Gouveia (MW), Forrest Griffin, James Irvin, Quinton Jackson, Keith Jardine, Chuck Liddell, Lyoto Machida, Kazuhiro Nakamura, Tito Ortiz, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, Thiago Silva and Wanderlei Silva

Middleweights: Ricardo Almeida, Michael Bisping (LHW), Kendall Grove, Rich Franklin (LHW), Dan Henderson (LHW), Martin Kampmann (WW), Chris Leben, Thales Leites, Jason MacDonald, Demian Maia, Nate Marquardt, Drew McFedries, Yushin Okami, Amir Sadollah (WW), Anderson Silva (LHW) and Evan Tanner


P4P In-Depth: MMA’s Top Ten Greatest Fighters

Fedor Emelianenko Andrei Arlovski MMA Affliction Day of Reckoning
(When in doubt, knock him out: Fedor Emelianenko proved his status as the best in the world with his KO of Andrei Arlovski at Affliction’s "Day of Reckoning" event last month.

Ah, the pound-for-pound list — one of the most infuriating traditions in MMA punditry. Our sport has a wealth of dominant champions and brilliant contenders, but who would win an epic, all-inclusive grand prix, if every fighter (somehow, theoretically) were the same size? To put it as simply as possible, who is the most talented mixed martial artist in the world? And by what combination of win streaks, titles, victories over top-ranked opponents, and ability to finish fights does one measure "talent"? All good questions, dear reader. The list below is our effort to define MMA’s absolute top ten list, as things stand now in February 2009. Read on, and let us know how you feel in the comments section…


1: Fedor Emelianenko (29-1, 1 no contest)
Some might argue that naming a heavyweight as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world sort of misses the point of the exercise. But at an even six feet tall (and a somewhat doughy 230 pounds), Emelianenko has never relied on size to win fights, and has beaten considerably larger opponents his entire career. Between his devastating punches and virtually undefendable armlocks, the Last Emperor can end a fight anywhere, at any time. And since the only loss on his record was due to a technicality — a cut stoppage due to an illegal elbow 17 seconds into a fight against Tsuyoshi Kohsaka, which he later avenged — Fedor has developed an aura of invincibility that has psyched out opponents before they even step into the ring with him.

But hey, maybe he really is invincible. Even when a fighter manages to briefly put Emelianenko in a bad spot (see esp. Kazuyuki Fujita in 2003, Mark Coleman in 2004, Andrei Arlovski in 2009), his tremendous instincts always rescue him from danger; Fedor on auto-pilot is better than most fighters on their best night. If he can put away a couple more top-ten heavyweights before he retires (while avoiding losses), his status as the greatest fighter of all time will be non-debatable.

2: Georges St. Pierre (18-2)
Georges St. Pierre MMA UFC
GSP’s demolition of BJ Penn at UFC 94 proved that when two extremely talented fighters face off, the big guy will usually beat the shit out of the little guy. That’s just reality — and it’s why we create pound-for-pound rankings in the first place. But the size and strength advantages that St. Pierre enjoyed in his most recent welterweight title defense shouldn’t take away from his inspiring performance. Easily one of the most athletic mixed martial artists in the world, GSP is also one of the most cerebral; his win over Penn was largely the result of a meticulous game-plan executed perfectly. Though we believe he’ll rule the UFC’s welterweight division for a long time, St. Pierre’s April 2007 upset loss to Matt Serra raised some questions about his chin and mental fortitude. With a little luck — and some more of his unstoppable wrestling — St. Pierre will continue to answer those questions in 2009.
Why he’s below Fedor: It’s possible that GSP is merely human. If he can have a bad day against Matt Serra, he can certainly have another one against an even better fighter in the future.


Stockton, Stand Up! …And Move to Pretty Much Any Other City in the Nation

(Upon entering, the town extends its middle finger to you, gentle traveler.)

As loyal reader Walter informed us, Stockton, California — hometown to the Diaz brothers — was named by Forbes Magazine as the number one “most miserable” city in America.  Damn, son.  Not the 209!

According to Forbes:

Only 15% of Stockton adults have a college degree, which is one of the lowest rates in the U.S. Unemployment is expected to hit 15% in 2010, while housing prices should keep falling back to their mid-1990s level when the median home price was $130,000.

Stockton also has problems with violent crime, and paradoxically has one of the longest average commute times while also having one of the highest unemployment rates, begging the question, where the hell are these people commuting to every day?

Say what you will, elitists at Forbes Magazine, Stockton is a great place to raise fighters.  It’s also a good place to get bitten by a mean dog, or have your car stereo stolen.  One man’s misery is another man’s home.  Homey.


Sorting Through the Pro Elite Unemployment Line

(Will act coquettishly adorable and sexy for food?)

While none of us may be positively heartbroken or even surprised to see Pro Elite shut down its operation, the thing to keep in mind is that the MMA marketplace just got smaller. That means fewer opportunities for fighters and, at least for most, meager paychecks in the near future. Former Icon Sport promoter Patrick Freitas reminded us of this fact with a post to the UG that read, in part:

I Just wanted to say that as everyone here is dancing on the Elitexc’s grave, I think its important to remember that a shitload of good fighters (and great people) just saw their contracts disappear into the ether.

That’s the truth. Whatever you think of Pro Elite’s demise and the reasons behind it, one thing we can all agree on is it isn’t the fault of the fighters they employed. But now that those fighters find themselves without an organization to call home, where do they go? The answer, of course, depends on who they are. Most will end up in local promotions. But what about the big fish?

Jake Shields: If the UFC could only pick up one of the newly unemployed EliteXC fighters, Shields should be that one. He was probably the most talented guy on their roster, and something tells me Zuffa could scoop him up relatively cheaply. If he comes in and makes an impact on the UFC’s welterweight division right away, great. If he doesn’t, the UFC can claim it as proof that their fighters are far and away the best in the industry.

Kimbo Slice: The EliteXC collapse couldn’t have happened at a worse time for Ferg. Coming off an embarrassing loss and with a half a million dollar price tag, he does not look like a good investment right now. We know the UFC isn’t interested. Affliction has enough heavyweights to do something with him, but he’ll have to take a major pay cut. Even then his shelf life is a question, as is his desire to continue on as a pro fighter. Don’t be surprised if we’ve seen the last of Kimbo’s MMA days.