Our condolences to anybody who was looking forward to a hastily thrown-together UFC card featuring a couple of old-timers and whoever else was available at the time. A Spike TV source has told MMAFighting.com that the UFC’s rumored Strikeforce counter-programming show on April 17th is no longer happening. This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, considering that no fights had been made official a month away from the date. (The UFC doesn’t seem to share the same "whatever happens happens" attitude as the Japanese when it comes to fight-booking.) And so, Strikeforce wins this particular standoff, and will instead be going heads-up against one of the UFC’s recent pay-per-views. Considering how those PPVs have been doing lately, that’s good news for Scott Coker.
“After careful consideration, I have decided that it is in my best interest to part ways with M-1 Global. During the time I spent under their wing, M-1 Global, as a promoter and management company, allowed me to achieve many great things. I appreciate all they have done for me…My management is [now] being taken care of by someone close to me."
Mousasi added that he’d like to come back to the U.S. to train with Josh Thomson at American Kickboxing Academy; the two fighters recently became acquainted in Miami during the last Strikeforce show. So what spurred Mousasi’s split with M-1? Apparently, they wouldn’t keep him on the payroll for life. Mousasi’s former manager at M-1, Apy Echteld, told MMA Junkie that the Last Gypsy broke ties when M-1 refused to sign him into a long-term management deal that would give the Dutch-Armenian fighter "lifetime security" — a contract setup reportedly enjoyed by Fedor Emelianenko.
Mousasi is still under contract with Strikeforce for as many as seven fights, and plans to enter DREAM’s light-heavyweight grand prix later this year. His next match is rumored to be against Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal in April.
It’s not often that anyone in the MMA media gets to do a video interview that resembles a WWE promo, but this is probably the closest Ariel Helwani is ever going to get to feeling like Mean Gene Okerlund while on the job. Especially once Paul Daley comes on the scene, all Helwani is missing is a tuxedo and a sweet mustache, as well as perhaps a charmingly befuddled expression. Say what you will about “King Mo” Lawal and his chances against Gegard Mousasi, but the man is an entertainer. Anybody who spends that much time and energy thinking about and studying entrances is okay by us.
The only thing we could really do without is his fixation on his own “haters.” Maybe it’s his weak attempt to paint himself as a pro wrestling-style heel, but talking about how many people hate you is a little like going on a first date and talking about how many psycho exes you have. It doesn’t take long before that becomes an annoying personality trait, and one that doesn’t really achieve the desired end.
If you really want to be a villain, do it the old-fashioned way. Try talking some smack about the local sports teams in every city you visit, maybe disrespect a national icon or two. Or, if you’re short on time, just manhandle Helwani during the interview, calling him a pencil-necked geek and threatening to show his wife what a real man looks like. Trust me, Ariel has watched enough pro wrestling in his life to know exactly how to play along.
“I am nervous being away from my family and friends for two weeks and I don’t think of it like Georges is calling me for help,” Mousasi told Sherdog. “I think he is a great athlete that wants to train with different fighters to improve himself. To be honest, I’m curious about everything, curious how he does things and if I have to say something specific that would be how he puts everything together to be able to take down opponents with ease…I always train for my fights in Holland. This is just a learning experience…I will take what I learn and try to do it in Holland, but I don’t prepare for fights in other gyms. I always try to prepare for my fights in Holland.”
(Can one gym even hold that much badass? Magic eightball says, ‘Outlook not so good.’)
As UFC welterweight champ Georges St. Pierreputs on more weight and continues to dominate every 170-pounder in his path, finding sparring partners who can push him is apparently becoming more of a problem. In a talk with Heavy.com, Tristar Gym owner and longtime GSP trainer Firas Zahabi says that he can’t even put him up against other fighters his own size in training anymore, adding "It’s getting scary. Georges is getting better and better, believe it or not."
That’s why he’s looking to add a new face to St. Pierre’s training camp: Strikeforce light heavyweight champ Gegard Mousasi.
Since he mentioned it no less than twice in the interview, we’re assuming Zahabi is serious about getting "The Last Gypsy" in the gym with GSP. If it happens, we can only hope that the cameras are there to capture it for "UFC Primetime." Though who are we kidding, St. Pierre-Mousasi is a sparring session worthy of pay-per-view. Maybe they should just film it and keep it in the can. That way, if GSP runs through Dan Hardy too quickly, they can go ahead and add it to the broadcast to make the fans feel like they got their money’s worth. As an added bonus, it seems like the kind of thing that would really, really piss off M-1 Global.
If you’re feeling a little down today and are considering taking a long hot bath with a clock radio to top off the evening, you aren’t alone. Today is what many have come to call "Blue Monday." It’s officially the most depressing day of the year. In an effort to help you soldier through it, we found some fun videos that only sort of have to do with MMA.
Those of you who read Neal Taflinger’s excellent profile piece on Fedor Emelianenko in the October ’09 issue of Fight Magazine may recognize this little scene on the M-1 Global tour bus. Those of you who didn’t read it will have to live with that decision for the rest of your sad lives. Taffy is the guy with the bright orange hair in the back of the bus trying to conduct an interview via Fedor’s interpreter. Fedor is the Russian dude grinning from ear to ear after shoving some ice down the back of Gegard Mousasi‘s trousers. Some things transcend all language and cultural barriers, and ice in somebody’s pants is undoubtedly one of those things.
More MMA-related pick-me-ups await you after the jump.
The answer, Goodridge told me when I spoke to him for an SI.com article this week, is surviving. He was getting paid the only way he knows how, though he wishes he didn’t have to.
"I’m trying to get a job, period," said Goodridge. "My background is in security, police, corrections. I went to school for four years at a college level to learn how to beat people properly. I would love to be a bodyguard, whatever. I’m just looking for a job."
"I’m hoping in April I get a chance to fight Mousasi next. That’s the fight I want…I know I’ll put on a show and I’ll win that fight…Anything can happen in MMA when you’re dealing with two guys that train hard and want it. So, I’m not worried about the fans [doubting me] ’cause the fans ain’t fighters. They’re fans, they just watch. So they should just sit back and watch in April and see what happens. King Coker, I hope he can give me that fight…I don’t know if I deserve it yet, but if the fight makes sense, let’s make it happen…
When I had the opportunity to fight Travis Wiuff, I watched his footage twice and I was like ‘got him.’ And I have that feeling right now. I’ve watched Mousasi’s fights, a lot of his fights, and he’s been fighting for a while, and I think he’s hit his peak. He won’t improve too much…I think he’s been winning off of just being a smart fighter and more technical than other fighters. I want it ’cause I know I’mma win it."
— Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal invites the haters to keep hating in this recent video interview, where he makes his intentions known regarding Gegard Mousasi‘s Strikeforce light-heavyweight strap. With a record of 6-0 over mostly uninspiring competition, it seems like Mo should have to complete an intermediate step between fighting Mike Whitehead and fighting the Last Gypsy. But with Strikeforce’s 205-pound class as thin as it is, Mo’s personality could make him marketable enough to sell the fight. Still, I wonder what Lawal could have possibly seen in Mousasi’s fight tapes that would make him think "got him." For the record, Mo’s Wikipedia page currently lists his division as "Moneyweight."