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Tag: Matt Hamill

Brandon Vera Puts Celebration Gripes in Perspective

Watch Steve Cofield’s video interview with Brandon Vera and see if you aren’t suddenly glad that “The Truth’s” formerly-overpaid ass is sticking around in the UFC.  The best part is when he addresses Matt Hamill’s post-fight celebration after knocking out Vera’s friend and training partner, Mark Munoz, at UFC 96.  Hamill caught some flack for acting like he just made a half-court shot worth a million bucks during halftime at a Laker game, when all the while his opponent was still crumpled in a motionless heap against the cage.

As Vera explains at the 3:30 mark, winning a fight in the UFC (particularly by bonus-worthy KO) is actually a lot like winning the lottery:


UFC 96′s Best Photos

Pete Sell Matt Brown UFC 96 MMA

Props to, MMAWeekly, Sherdog, and CombatLifestyle.

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Bader Draws Former UFC Heavyweight for First Post-TUF Appearance

Carmelo Marrero UFC MMA
(Carmelo Marrero winds up to club Rafael Real at a WCO event in November 2007. Photo courtesy of Sherdog.)

FiveOuncesofPain is reporting that TUF 8 light-heavyweight winner Ryan Bader — who defeated Vinny Magalhaes last month to win the show’s six-figure contract — will be returning to action at UFC Fight Night 18 (April 1st, Nashville). His opponent will be Carmelo Marrero (10-2), an American Top Team fighter who went 1-2 in the UFC in 2006-2007. Marrero made his Octagon debut as a heavyweight at UFC 64, where he scored an upset split-decision over Cheick Kongo. Unfortunately, he then took a first-round loss via armbar to Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 66, and was then choked out by Wilson Gouveia at UFC 71 after dropping to light-heavyweight; Marrero was released by the UFC shortly after. Since then, "The Fury" has gone 4-0 with one no-contest, most recently winning a split decision over Steve Steinbless at WEC 36 in November — and earning a return trip back to the UFC.

In other UFC news…

— A little higher up the light-heavyweight ladder, Matt Hamill (5-2) will reportedly be welcoming WEC vet Mark Munoz (5-0) to the Octagon at UFC 96 (March 7th, Columbus). A former NCAA wrestling champion at Oklahoma State and current protege of Urijah Faber, Munoz scored first-round TKO victories in his last two fights, against Ricardo Barros at WEC 37 last month and Chuck Grigsby at WEC 34 in June. Hamill most recently defeated Reese Andy by second-round TKO at last month’s UFC 92.

Randy Couture will most likely face Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in his next fight, but not until the second half of this year. Couture had to undergo surgery recently to remove a pair of abnormally large bone spurs from his elbow, which means he’ll be out rehabbing for a while.


Good to Know: The 20 Most-Watched MMA Fights in U.S. History

Kendall Grove Chris Price MMA UFC
(Believe it or not, Kendall Grove vs. Chris Price was one of them.)

Using minute-by-minute Nielsen ratings data, MMA Weekly’s Ivan Trembow has painstakingly put together a list of the 20 individual MMA fights with the highest U.S. viewership. As he clarifies: “Viewership levels are based on live viewership, plus same-day DVR, rounded to the nearest 1,000 viewers, and the times listed are ET/PT. The indicated times begin at the opening bell of a fight and end at the minute in which the winner of the fight is known.” A few things to keep in mind before we get to the list:

— Pay-per-view fights are excluded due to a lack of reliable information, so the list only includes UFC fights on Spike and EliteXC shows on CBS.

— Seth Petruzelli actually appears on the list twice, thanks to his recent headlining fight at EliteXC: Heat and his fight against Matt Hamill at UFC: The Final Chapter in October 2006. Kimbo Slice, Gina Carano, and Hamill also show up on the list twice.

— Keep in mind that these aren’t even close to being the most-watched MMA fights worldwide. Due to Japan’s love of New Year’s Eve freak show bouts, a fight would need to draw over 30 million sets of eyeballs to crack the top five. In the U.S., only a bout between Kimbo Slice and Gina Carano would come close to putting up those kinds of numbers. So here we go…

1. EliteXC on CBS (5/31/2008): Kimbo Slice vs. James Thompson— 7.281 million viewers (Aired from 11:27 PM to 11:40 PM)

2. UFC on Spike TV (10/10/2006): Tito Ortiz vs. Ken Shamrock— 6.524 million viewers (Aired from 9:42 PM to 9:45 PM)

3. EliteXC on CBS (10/4/08): Seth Petruzelli vs. Kimbo Slice— 6.451 million viewers (Aired from 11:08 PM to 11:08 PM)

4. EliteXC on CBS (5/31/2008): Robbie Lawler vs. Scott Smith— 5.867 million viewers (Aired from 10.39 PM to 10:57 PM)

5. UFC on Spike TV (9/8/2007): Quinton Jackson vs. Dan Henderson— 5.811 million viewers (Aired from 11:29 PM to 12:03 AM)


Exclusive Interview: Michael Bisping

Michael Bisping MMA UFC The Count
(“The Count,” courtesy of

Though he was impressive as a light-heavyweight — winning The Ultimate Fighter 3 after going 10-0 in England, then beating down Eric Schafer and Elvis Sinosic — two rough split-decisions convinced Michael Bisping to drop to a more competitive weight. And since then, he’s looked absolutely scary. Bisping will be looking to continue his success as a 185-pounder at UFC 89 (October 18th; Birmingham, England), where he’ll take on Chris Leben in the main event; a win would officially make the Liverpool-native a title contender. Ben Zeidler caught up with The Count recently to get his take on his next opponent, the UFC’s middleweight title picture, and that rumor about him being a future TUF coach.


CAGEPOTATO.COM: What have you done to prepare for Chris Leben?
MICHAEL BISPING: Well, obviously he’s a southpaw so we’ve been bringing in a ton of southpaws to spar with. I see a lot of problems with him, so I’ve been trying to really step up my training. You know, it’s the all-around game, the all-around training. I’m very focused.

Do you prefer to fight in England? What does it mean to be the hometown favorite every time out?
When I go out there, it’s unbelievable. I can’t even put it into words. I have great memories there, for sure, but the UFC fans are always amazing no matter where I go. The sport is so great and so awesome right now that any fans, in any arena in the world, are just great. Fighting in the UFC is very special to me.

There was a lot of controversy surrounding your UFC 75 win against Matt Hamill. Do you believe you won that fight?
You know what, I want to fight Matt again. It was really close and depending on what you’re looking for, you can make an argument either way. People say that it went my way because it was in the UK, but the UK judge is the one who gave it to Hamill. It was the Americans who gave me the decision. Hamill definitely won the first round, and that’s because I wasn’t prepared mentally. I didn’t focus. He caught me off guard and came out guns blazing. I needed to get in gear and I did. I started to take control, he got some takedowns but I got some on my own accord, and I did more damage. I won 2-1 but it was close. I should have given him more props, but we had some history going into the fight, so I wasn’t prepared. But I do think I won.


Exclusive: Chris Leben Talks Fighting Bisping and the Judges at UFC 89 in England

Chris Leben’s first shot at Michael Bisping didn’t exactly go as planned. Soon after signing to fight “The Count” at UFC 85 in London, Leben was forced to return to Oregon to deal with an outstanding warrant resulting from a DUI arrest before he could leave the country. Though Leben and the UFC were hoping to resolve the matter quickly, the judge had other plans. Leben was sentenced to thirty-five days in jail, prompting the UFC to scratch him from the card.

With his legal troubles now behind him, Leben is getting a second chance at Bisping, this time at UFC 89 in Birmingham, England. In this exclusive CagePotato interview Leben discusses his maturation process as a fighter, his gameplan against Bisping, dealing with hometown judges, and more. Hey Chris. Thanks for talking with me. We’re a few weeks out from the fight. How is your preparation coming?

Really good, really well. It’s been long and intense and I’m kind of just getting to the point now where I’m ready to go fight and get this thing over with.

It seems like things really changed for you when you moved to Hawaii. What has that move done for you?

You know, it’s great. Moving to Hawaii is definitely the best thing I’ve ever done in my life. I had the opportunity to be the head coach at Icon and there are a whole bunch of guys out here training with me who are just great. But besides the gym and the wonderful people out here you have the weather and everything that is Hawaii. It’s been really conducive to my training.

I hear a lot of people say you’re much more mature these days, no longer such a wild guy in and out of the cage. What do you think prompted that transformation?

Losing (laughs). You know, I got away with being a brawler for a long time. And it’s hard to change things when they’re working. But when I fought Anderson I realized, I might be able to beat 95% of the guys out there, but I’ll never be a world champion fighting this way. So I had to go back and change a lot of things. That was one part of it.

And the other part was, you know, coaching. Now that I have a team of amateur guys fighting, it’s hard to tell them to do something if you’re not doing it yourself.


Matt Hamill Defends His Trainer

(No, Matt! Don’t stand and trade with her, take her down! Photo from MMA Hot Stuff.)

After Matt Hamill’s loss to Rich Franklin at UFC 88, Duff Holmes, Hamill’s trainer, was not pleased. Holmes claimed that his man had no fighting spirit, that he’d let the UFC and his fans down, and that “The Hammer” had some psychological issues to work out before he ever got in the Octagon again. Taking this gripe to the media seemed counterproductive to us, not to mention completely unnecessary. Hamill, however, says he isn’t bothered by it:

“I don’t follow what people say in the media,” said Hamill. “All I can say is I didn’t follow the game plan that we put together. Duff wants me to perform at the level he knows I’m capable of. I’m glad I have a trainer that won’t accept that performance and I respect him for speaking the truth. Duff didn’t do anything wrong.”


“I guess people are right to say that I was too nice and I let our friendship take my killer instinct away,” said Hamill. “But I can’t take anything away from Rich. Rich is a great guy and a great fighter.”

Aw, dammit, Matt. You’re doing it again! You’re being too nice! Where’s the killer instinct? Where’s the anger? Quick, call somebody a cocksucker. Anyone, it doesn’t matter who. Go on. I’ll wait…

You’re not going to do it, are you? Okay, fine. I can’t stay mad at you. You’re just so likable.


Hey Matt Hamill, What’s It Like Under the Bus?

(Friendship. It’s a bitch.)

Matt Hamill may not have fought his greatest fight against Rich Franklin at UFC 88, but he went two rounds and change before succumbing to some brutal body kicks. That’s not the outcome you want if you’re Hamill, but there’s no shame in that, right? Not so, says Hamill’s trainer, Duff Holmes (if in fact that is his real name). He blasted Hamill’s performance in an interview with, suggesting that Hamill didn’t have his mind right going into the fight and questioning his “fighting spirit,” among other things:

“I practically begged Matt to take Rich down,” said a clearly frustrated Holmes. “I was screaming at him to stop fighting Rich’s fight and fight his fight. I can’t explain it. He just had this blank look on his face. I don’t know where he was, but the Matt Hamill that I know and trained for the past 11 weeks was not in that octagon on Saturday.”


“Reports that Matt wasn’t able to take Rich down are completely false. Matt didn’t shoot once the whole fight. He didn’t try. Matt Hamill is one of the most physically gifted athletes in the UFC. He has double leg takedown that’s like he’s shot out of a cannon. The guy is an animal; unfortunately that’s not the Matt Hamill that showed up on Saturday. He didn’t work the game plan.”


“I can’t explain it,” said Holmes. “The only person that knows why he didn’t come out to fight is him. I told him after the fight that his performance was uncharacteristic and that he really needed to do some soul searching to see if this is really what he wants to do. He had absolutely no fighting spirit, no killer instinct. He looked like a shell of himself and was just out there to get through it and that is very disconcerting.”


Chuck Liddell Tops UFC 88 Salaries + Medical Suspensions

UFC Chuck Liddell Rashad Evans MMA
(Couldn’t have happened to a nicer person. Photo courtesy of

Saturday’s UFC 88 card took in $2.6 million in ticket revenue, making it the second-highest-grossing event ever held at Atlanta’s Philips Arena, next to a Barbara Streisand concert in 2006. The fighters at “Breakthrough” pulled in $1,510,000 in disclosed payouts, with a third of that going to knockout recipient Chuck Liddell. The numbers are below. Unless otherwise noted, each winning fighter’s salary represents a doubling of his base pay.

Chuck Liddell: $500,000
Dan Henderson: $250,000 (win bonus was $150,000)
Rashad Evans: $180,000 (including $60,000 Knockout of the Night bonus)
Jason MacDonald: $104,000 (including $60,000 Submission of the Night bonus)
Rich Franklin: $100,000
Kurt Pellegrino: $84,000 (including $60,000 Fight of the Night bonus)
Thiago Tavares: $73,000 (including $60,000 Fight of the Night bonus)
Nate Marquardt: $56,000
Dong Hyun Kim: $46,000
Ryo Chonan: $30,000
Jason Lambert: $17,000
Tim Boetsch: $16,000
Martin Kampmann: $15,000
Matt Hamill: $10,000
Roan Carneiro: $9,000
Matt Brown: $8,000
Rousimar Palhares: $7,000
Michael Patt: $5,000

Underpaid: Not that the dude’s going broke, but it’s surprising that Rich Franklin’s base salary is only $50,000; Rashad Evans makes more than he does (which makes sense now, I suppose). It’s also too bad that someone as talented as Rousimar Palhares couldn’t negotiate better terms when he joined the UFC.

Overpaid: I’d let Evans knock me the eff out for half of what Chuck got for his little two-round appearance. Seriously. Get in touch with my people, Rashad.


UFC Quick Hits: ‘Shogun’ Wants Rashad Evans, Anderson Silva Won’t Fight Paulo Filho


Now that he’s finally injury-free and ready to fight, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua is setting his sights high for his return to the Octagon. Rua told Fighters Only that he’d like to be the first to beat Rashad Evans following his impressive knockout of Chuck Liddell over the weekend:

“Rashad fought the perfect fight, he obviously studied Chuck and worked hard on his game plan,” he said. “He may be undefeated but everyone is there to be beaten and I would like to be the first one to do it.”

Of course if he can’t get that fight, he’ll take Rich Franklin, who’s also coming off a win. Apparently “Shogun” is not deterred by the fact that he’s coming back from a long injury layoff, or that his last time out didn’t go so well. Maybe it might be a better idea to ease back into it. I hear Matt Hamill’s schedule is pretty open.

- In other Brazilian fighter news, UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva told Tatame that there is absolutely no chance of him facing WEC middleweight champ Paulo Filho even after the heavier weight classes are absorbed into the UFC. Silva called Filho “the best middleweight,” saying “there’s nobody to beat him.”

It probably helps that they’re buds:

“I would never fight with Paulão. We almost train together, we’re always helping each other and (Josuel) Distak is our coach. There’s no chance to happen. People can complain, scream, whatever, but it won’t happen.”

You heard the man. You might as well stop your constant complaining and screaming for Silva-Filho, because it ain’t happening. Just let it go and move on with your life. Somehow.