Steroids in MMA
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Fighters Only Caption Contest: The Fedorable Winners!

Fedor Emelianenko MMA Sambo celebration
Fighters Only U.S. version Lorenzo Fertitta UFC Fighters Only Canada version Georges St. Pierre MMA UFC

After a sort of pathetic whopping 550 votes were cast by CP readers in our latest caption contest, we’re calling an end to the action at 2:38 p.m. of 3/25. The lucky winners, who are all receiving subscriptions to either the U.S. or Canadian versions of Fighters Only magazine, are as follows:

1st place, with 35% of the vote — Batman: After Fedor’s circumcision, the Russian Team celebrates because they now have enough meat to eat for a year.

2nd place, with 21% of the vote — philaxler: Fedor returning from his glorious arm bar victory over God.

3rd place, with 13% of the vote — SiDeBuRnZ: In mother Russia, sky go youdiving.

4th place, with 11% of the vote — mayhem420: 3 cheers for Emelianenko!?
Hep hep hooray?
hep hep hooray
?hep …..oh sorry that’s the other Emelianenko!

5th place, squeaking by with 7% of the vote — danomite: Everyone was happy til someone told Fedor that Nicoli forgot the ice cream. A mass funeral service will be held tomorrow at 2 pm.

If you’re one of the Big Five, send your name and address to and we’ll get you hooked up; though be patient, because it’ll take a while for your first issue to arrive. And Batman, we’ll also send you a CP t-shirt for being so awesome, if you don’t have one already. Sound good? Man, I love it when a plan comes together.


Caption Contest: Win a Subcription to Fighters Only! [UPDATED]

Lorenzo Fertitta Fighters Only magazine MMA
Georges St. Pierre GSP MMA UFC Fighters Only magazine
(The launch issues for the new U.S. and Canadian versions of Fighters Only, available on newsstands now.)

Heads up, Potato Nation. Fighters Only, the world’s longest-running MMA and lifestyle magazine, has finally invaded North America with new editions for the U.S. and Canada. Previously only available on import, subscriptions to the U.S. and Canadian versions of the magazine are now available, and we’re giving you lucky people the chance to win one. All you have to do is come up with a clever caption for the photo after the jump [updated, 10:13 a.m. ET: We had to switch the photo; sorry for wasting your brilliance], and post it in the comments section below. The best five captions will win subscriptions to the Fighters Only edition of their choice. Feel free to enter multiple times, but be sure to get in your captions by Monday night at midnight ET. Good luck!


Party Like a Potato

(I know, Joe.  I have the same reaction when I get too close to the Cage Potato logo.)

It’s hard to be the Cage Potato sometimes.  Partying with MMA royalty like Forrest Griffin and Urijah Faber.  Drinking for free at an open bar while chicks in bikinis gyrate beneath a giant flashing sign that says “SEXY.”  Giving out free Hall of Fame t-shirts to the pleading masses.  Oh, wait a minute.  That isn’t hard.  That was just my Friday night.

If you can’t tell from the above paragraph, last night’s Fight Magazine/Cage Potato VIP Party was a complete success.  I arrived with an all-star blogging crew that featured Fightlinker’s Ryan Harkness and MMA Frenzy’s Kris Karkoski precisely at 8:30 pm.  It might seem a little lame of us to show up exactly when the party was scheduled to start, but in our defense: a) that’s when the open bar started, and b) Joe Stevenson had already been there for ten minutes by then.  That’s right, “Daddy” knows how to party.


FIGHT! Magazine Exclusive: ‘Brave New World’

Jens Pulver WEC Fight Magazine

FIGHT! Magazine’s June issue hits newsstands this week, containing articles on Jens Pulver and Lyoto Machida, as well as the following piece on the current state of competition in the MMA industry. Provided exclusively to by FIGHT!, “Brave New World” features EliteXC’s Gary Shaw, Strikeforce’s Michael Afromowitz, and HDNet’s Mark Cuban weighing in on how they plan to survive and succeed in the vast shadow of the Octagon.


By Matthew Ross

First it was Royce vs. Ken on closed-circuit pay-per-view. Then came Forrest vs. Stephan on basic cable. Now? It’s the UFC vs. everybody else, coming to you live on enough channels to give your TiVo a nervous breakdown.

Welcome to a new era of MMA.

First, a recap. In 2005, Dana White and Spike TV revolutionized mixed martial arts with the advent of The Ultimate Fighter reality series, which introduced the channel’s historically frat boy-esque demographic to the world of organized ass-kicking. The results were rapid and dramatic. TUF skyrocketed up the Nielsen charts and Spike began airing live, high-quality UFC cards. What had once been a fringe sub-culture whose following in the U.S. consisted of fighters and a small but dedicated army of diehard fans had now become a mainstream attraction. New gyms began popping up in strip malls all over America. Guys like Chuck, Tito, and Randy became household names, and dudes could throw out terms like rear-naked choke and Thai clinch around their girlfriends without getting slapped in the face.

By the end of 2007, UFC championship bouts were regularly covered by the national news outlets, and the brightest stars had graced the covers of ESPN the Magazine, Sports Illustrated, and Men’s Fitness. As Dana White would tell any reporter who’d listen: “We’ve arrived.” Not since Tony Alva, Stacy Peralta, and the rest of the Dogtown Z-Boys showed the world how to catch air with a piece of plywood and some polyurethane wheels had any sport ever gotten so big, so fast.

Not surprisingly, fans and journalists weren’t the only ones who caught wind of what was going down. Spike and the UFC may have gotten the ball rolling, but a bevy of broadcasters have teamed up with one or more of the savvy new MMA promotions to get a piece of the pie. While the empire created by Dana White and the Fertitta family shows no sign of ceding its title to any of the young upstarts, it’s impossible to deny that the UFC is no longer the only game in town. They may have the best overall roster of fighters and biggest brand recognition in the game, but things are about to get interesting.


FIGHT! Magazine Exclusive: ‘Smoker’


When Din Thomas was arrested for holding unlicensed amateur MMA matches in his gym, the world of the “smoker” was dragged out from the shadows. Though these unsanctioned fights are rarely policed, they’re generally illegal, which highlights a little-discussed challenge of being a mixed martial artist — how can you gain enough experience to turn pro if it’s impossible to compete as an amateur?

FIGHT! Magazine’s March issue hits newsstands today (pick it up at Borders, Barnes and Noble, or Walden Books), and it features an in-depth article on the history and legal status of smokers, and what’s being done to regulate amateur bouts. Check it out below, and let us know how you feel. Are you an amateur fighter struggling to find matches in your home state to build up experience? What special rules (if any) should be in place to protect fighters in amateur bouts? Should amateur fighters just man up, jump into the fire, and stop bitching about gaining experience before putting their records on the line? (Equally valid point-of-view, by the way.)

By Neal Taflinger

Someone broke the first rule of fight club, and Din Thomas wound up in jail. On October 31, 2007, in Port St. Lucie, Florida, police arrested Thomas, a 31-year-old Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran, for holding illegal cage fights in his St. Lucie West training center.

Two weeks earlier, police received an anonymous tip about a so-called fight club being held on October 19 at Thomas’ American Top Team gym. Police attended the event, a smoker featuring eight of Thomas’ students, fighting in front of friends and family. The officers filed a report stating that Thomas charged approximately 150 spectators $10 each for entry to the unsanctioned amateur event, and had no medical staff on hand.

Thomas’ arrest brought widespread attention to smokers – combat sports’ not-so-dirty, not-so-little, not-so-secret dirty little secret. Unfamiliar to many casual fans, smokers are a long-standing tradition in boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai, and mixed martial arts. These unsanctioned, often illegal fights are organized in gyms or private clubs to give young fighters experience in front of a crowd. Most smokers are held without incident, and often feature police officers as spectators or participants.

Professional prize fighting was illegal in many municipalities in the early to mid 20th century. Loopholes allowed for sparring between members of private clubs for exercise and entertainment, so promoters skirted the law by holding bouts in Eagle and Elk lodges, Knights of Columbus halls, and American Legion posts. Fighters and spectators simply joined the club and bought a ticket; authorities mostly looked the other way. These fights became known for the noxious cloud of tobacco smoke hanging over the crowd.

When Asian martial arts became popular in America after World War II, full-contact karate competitors continued the smoker tradition of their knuckle-bustin’ forebears. Over time, state lawmakers became comfortable with kickboxing, but the brutal elbows and knees of Muay Thai were considered beyond the pale. Until the sport was sanctioned, “guys did gym shows under the radar,” says famed kickboxer and trainer Jeff “Duke” Roufus.

States were hesitant to sanction no-holds-barred bouts in the early to mid-1990s, so cage fighters retreated to gyms, warehouses, pole barns, and discreet nightclubs to compete. Even now that the sport has established rigorous safety guidelines and unified rules, states are slow to legitimize it.

According to UFC Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner, 32 states regulate professional MMA and more are coming on board. But the sport is still illegal in some states and unregulated in others. Amateur matches are illegal in many more states, including some that allow pro bouts like California and Florida. These states host as many or more pro fights each year than Nevada does, but offer no structured opportunities to homegrown fighters looking for experience before taking on pro competition.

While Thomas says smokers are common in Florida, he never competed in them before turning pro, opting instead to compete in Japanese-style shoot fights. He believes that experience is essential and wants his own fighters to be tested in serious competition before jumping on pro cards. Thomas feels that the booming popularity of the sport has resulted in Florida’s professional undercards being filled with amateur quality fighters. “Guys who have no business fighting are ruining themselves early,” says Thomas, “They think they are ready to fight and they ain’t.”