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Tag: Michael Bisping

Dana White Talks UFC’s Mob Troubles, Next TUF Coach


(Damn it feels good to be a gangsta.)

I’ve always assumed that the worlds of professional fighting and organized crime came into contact more often than we know. I’ve also assumed that if you’re involved in either industry, it’s probably better not to talk about that contact. But Dana White, being the UFC president and the producer of an upcoming Spike TV Irish mob drama, is just putting it in the streets anyway.

Fighters Only quotes White as blaming the Yakuza for Zuffa’s inability to do anything with Pride. This is no big shock, since the Japanese mafia’s involvement with Pride was rumored to be a big part of their downfall. It is a little surprising that White is so willing to talk about it, however, and apparently it’s not just Japan where the mob is an issue:

The UFC has also long had its eye on staging events in Mexico because, as White puts it, “when we first bought this company, we said there are three no-brainers: the US, Mexico and the UK. They are big fight countries.”

However, what he terms “The Mexican initiative” is taking “a lot longer than we though it would, basically because five families control all of Mexico”.

“A lot of these places are tough, you just have to work your way around it. The corruption in Japan, the way things are in Mexico, you know? In every country you go to there are different ways of doing business.”

Ain’t that the truth. Friend of mine went to the Netherlands over the summer, my hand to God, they sell marijuana over there. Like legally, in coffee shops and stuff. This crazy world, am I right?

Dana White must be in a talkative mood these days, because he also let it slip to Fighters Only that no matter what happens tomorrow night, Michael Bisping will be coaching on the next season of The Ultimate Fighter, as we suspected.

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At the UFC 89 Weigh-Ins: Bisping Says Leben Underestimating Him


(Leben fits Bisping for a right hook. Photo courtesy of MMA Weekly.)

The weigh-ins for UFC 89 went off without a hitch today. Everyone hit their target weight, or at least fell within the one-pound allowance of it, and nobody had to strip naked while their dad held a towel in front of them. There was a terse exchange between the main eventers, with Chris Leben offering an apology in advance to the British fans, and Michael Bisping getting all Rodney Dangerfield about Leben showing him no respect:

Said Leben:

“I’m sorry for coming over and ruining your guys’ big hope and dream. I know you love him, but I didn’t come all this way to lose. One of us will take a step back and the other a step forward; there isn’t too many ahead of us now.”

Replied Bisping:

“You’re right, one forward and one down. I am moving forward. You underestimate me and I think that is a mistake. May the best man win and I will see you tomorrow night.”

As weigh-in disagreements go, that’s downright gentlemanly. Guess that’s what you get in jolly old England. Full scale-tipping results are after the jump:

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Ben vs. Ben: UFC 89 Edition

With one day to go before UFC 89 (which we’ll be liveblogging, naturally), it’s time for everyone’s favorite self-indulgent exercise: Ben versus Ben. This time around we argue bonuses, the UK-centric undercard, and the mysterious/as-of-yet fictional Millerplata, among other stuff.

How exactly will Bisping/Leben end?

Fowlkes: As much as we’ve heard about Leben’s transformation from immature brawler to well-rounded tactician, a part of me (the part located in the brain region) isn’t totally buying it. Leben may be a more seasoned fighter, but he still knows one way to win a fight when things get hectic and it’s throwing big, looping bombs and hoping one catches his opponent on the chin.

This has worked at times. He hits hard and he can take enough punishment to make that strategy effective. But as strategies go, it’s relatively easy to prepare for, especially for a more cerebral fighter like Bisping. “The Count” is smart enough to avoid a street fight with Leben. He’ll accumulate points and damage but won’t dive in for the illusion of a quick finish, and this will frustrate Leben.

Leben knows he doesn’t want to go to a decision against a Brit in Britain, so the closer to the final horn he gets the more desperate he will become. This is where Bisping will find an opening, drop him with a straight shot, then pour on some ground-and-pound that looks worse than it is, causing the referee to stop it at 4:02 of round three. And Leben is going to be pissed.

Goldstein: I concur. Bisping is a more talented, complete fighter than Leben, and this business about the Crippler maturing is more manufactured narrative than reality. But I don’t think it’ll take Bisping until the third frame to get the stoppage win. As a middleweight, his kickboxing has looked razor-sharp — his last two opponents didn’t make it to the second bell — and his ground capabilities are underrated in general.

The headliners will give the crowd what they paid for in round one, slugging it out like a couple of drunken soccer hooligans, and Bisping will go about finishing the fight in round two, engaging the killer instinct that we’ve seen from him lately. If Leben starts to land more shots in that second round, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Bisping clinch with Leben, bully him to the ground and finish him from the top. Either way, it’ll be a stoppage due to strikes at exactly the 4:15 mark of round two.

Who will win the Vera/Jardine and Sokoudjou/Cane fights?

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Video: Bisping and Leben’s Press-Conference Face-Off

Michael Bisping Chris Leben UFC MMA
(Bisping realizes how overdressed he is for the occasion. Click the image to watch the video on UFC.com.)

UFC.com just put up a video of a UFC 89 press-conference held earlier today in Birmingham, England, where Chris Leben did his best to add heat to the main event fight by complimenting Michael Bisping’s suit and criticizing the Count’s style as one that makes self-preservation the top priority. Bisping kept his cool, saying he doesn’t need extra motivation to beat Leben: “I don’t have to do anything to get myself fired up…I don’t need any kind of smack talk, I don’t need any kind of reason to hate the person. To me it’s all about business…by winning my fights, it enables me to provide the lifestyle I want for my family, and that’s all the motivation I need.” Anyway, the fans were expecting Leben to come at them with a crazy new hairstyle for this fight, and you can’t say that he didn’t deliver. WAR ‘ROWS.

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Gambling Addiction Enabler: UFC 89

Michael Bisping
(Bisping challenges another poor bloke to high-stakes Rock, Paper, Scissors.)

As our collective faith in the health of the economy deteriorates, the online gambling market is looking better and better. The more I think about it, the more I’m surprised it didn’t come up in last night’s debates. But once again neither candidate speaks to my issues. Looks like this is one more election year where I’ll end up scrawling “Wanderlei” in crayon across my ballot and then handing it to the overweight woman at the desk, who will inevitably respond by insisting that “this is not a polling place.” Goddamn bureaucracy.

Anyway, if you’re like me and are ready to bet your foreclosed home on UFC 89 this Saturday, here are the sweetest lines around, courtesy of BestFightOdds.com. If you don’t understand how betting odds work, read this. If you still don’t get it, stop sniffing glue.

Chris Leben (+191) vs. Michael Bisping (-211)
Luiz Cane (+104) vs. Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou (-114)
Dan Hardy (+285) vs. Akihiro Gono (-308)
Neil Wann (+600) vs. Shane Carwin (-675)
Keith Jardine (+155) vs. Brandon Vera (-165)
Jess Liaudin (+141) vs. David Bielkheden (-135)
Marcus Davis (+230) vs. Paul Kelly (+285)
Paul Taylor (+300) vs. Chris Lytle (-328)
Samy Schiavo (+166) vs. Per Eklund (-180)
Terry Etim (+275) vs. Sam Stout (-291)
David Baron (+155) vs. Jim Miller (-172)

Thoughts…

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Michael Bisping’s UFC 89 Video Blog (10/15)

With Dana White skipping out on his vlogging duties for UFC 89, someone had to step up and fill the void. This time it’s Michael Bisping giving us a look at his life in the days leading up to his main event bout against Chris Leben. Bisping starts this video by saying he needs ice because there’s something wrong with his back — which isn’t very confidence-inducing — but he soldiers through a day of press and an open workout, taking time to hang with fans in between. Later, Cheick Kongo shows up to speak in a strange voice, and Bisping has to go without hot dogs and cookies because he still has eight pounds to lose. At the end, he tells us how he just saw Chris Leben in the lobby of his hotel, and he looked slimmer than usual, but still has a large head. To see previous installments of the Bisping video blog, go to Bisping.tv.

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Video: Countdown to UFC 89

In the official UFC 89 hype video we continue to hear about Chris Leben‘s transformation as a fighter, which has quickly become one of the main storylines heading into this event. Oddly, with all the talk about Leben’s transition from brawler to technically sound MMA fighter, whenever anyone talks about his strengths they inevitably end up talking mostly about the characteristics of a brawler (hard-hitting, looping punches, good chin, etc.) while ascribing to Michael Bisping the characteristics of a technical fighter (straight punches, apparently, which is laughable to Chris Wilson). Not saying Leben isn’t a different fighter these days, just saying the whole thing is interesting.

Anyway, give it a look and you won’t be disappointed. Despite burning through all the stock footage of British landmarks in existence, it’s another solid effort from the Countdown crew.

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Chris Leben’s Got Your Perspective Right Here

Chris Leben
(The people’s philosopher.)

When it comes to getting drunk and going crazy on The Ultimate Fighter, Chris Leben is sort of like the Neil Armstrong of the field. He did it first, when no one even knew whether it could be done, and so forever after people wanted to know what his thoughts were when other people did it. The difference is that while Armstrong stayed pretty involved and interested in the space program (God, this is a terrible analogy), Leben says he doesn’t really keep up with new installments of TUF. Which is why he might be forgiven for getting a little frustrated when asked about Junie Browning’s drunken freakouts during a media conference call to promote UFC 89:

You know, every time someone gets drunk on that show I get called by one of my friends who says, ‘You know, this guy reminds me of you. He was drunk and out of hand.’ You know, a house full of fighters…I got a saying, fighters are like strippers, they ain’t paying their way through college. What I mean by that is we all got a bunch of problems and skeletons in the closet.

Here’s my question: does Chris Leben have any sayings that don’t involve strippers? This is the same guy who, during the first season, coined the phrase, “I’ll come in smelling like booze and dirty strippers and still put the stamp on kids!”

Not that it wasn’t awesome, and not that his stripper/fighter analogy isn’t many times better than my Leben/Armstrong analogy, but dammit, comparing fighters and strippers seems like it isn’t doing either group too many favors.

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Friday Link Dump

- Drew Fickett gets waaaaaay too personal in forum post. (UG)

- Kim Couture calls Jared Shaw a perv, no one is terribly surprised. (Steve Cofield)

- Kenny Florian struggles for answers on “MMA Live”. (ESPN)

- Michael Bisping responds to Chris Leben with dry British sarcasm. (Fighters Only)

- TUF 8 ratings rebound with Junie Browning’s alcohol-fueled antics. (MMA Payout)

- Marcus Aurelio says Hermes Franca is a bad person. (MMA Rated)

- Bobby Lashley goes from WWE to ATT. (AmericanTopTeam.com)

- Brett Rogers to fight TBA for EliteXC in November. (AOL Fanhouse)

- The sad state of product placement. (Wall Street Fighter)

- Tribute to the naughty nurse. (Holy Taco)

- Eric Cartman’s most evil moments. (Screen Junkies)

- Japanese wrestler beaten by coach. (Nothing Toxic)

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In Depth: Bisping/Leben, Jardine/Vera, Alves/Sanchez

From Spike.com: Chris Leben says his loopy, wide-open style knocks people out. He also refuses to lose, check the news and read the interviews. Damn…dude is like the white Shonie Carter. Skip to the -5:14 mark for the ridiculous ending to his fight against Terry Martin; there’s your warning to not get cocky, Count. Later in this video, we look at the matchup between the Dean of the Mean and the Truth, also at UFC 89.

From CBS.com, for some reason: A preview of the UFC 90 welterweight feature between Thiago Alves and Diego Sanchez. “You are going to see the strongest Sanchez you have ever seen before,” Sanchez says. “The result is gonna be a dominating submission victory.”

(Props: “Card” on the UG)

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