There are only three certainties in life: Death, taxes, and dreadful refereeing in mixed martial arts. With tax day behind us and a clean bill of health from the doc, the only thing left to avoid is blunders like those that occurred this past Saturday night at The Ultimate Fighter Season 17 Finale at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. The offenses ranged from unrepentant fence-grabbing to controversial stoppages. (Surprisingly, we’re not talking about Steve Mazagatti this time.) Sadly, this might have been prevented if Nevada State Athletic Commission executive director Keith Kizer would squash his beef with the godfather of MMA referees, “Big” John McCarthy.
What’s the beef about, you ask? To hear McCarthy tell it, Kizer got upset and took his ball home when UFC’s first head referee said the same thing the fans have been saying for years. Via MMAFighting:
“I thought he was putting some people in positions to judge fights that didn’t understand actually what the fighters were doing, and that’s wrong,” McCarthy explained. “I said that and I stood by it. He got mad, and from that, he has never licensed me again. And that’s okay. That’s his choice. I’m not going to cry about it and worry about it.”
McCarthy apologized publicly to Kizer and three years ago resubmitted his application for licensure. Not surprisingly, he hasn’t heard back, other than an ominous note stating that his “application will stay on file.”
At the The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale last night, Cat Zingano earned a shot at Ronda Rousey’s UFC bantamweight belt as well as an opposing coach slot on The Ultimate Fighter 18 with her beastly TKO over Miesha Tate. At the post-event press conference her and Rousey posed for photos and Rousey spoke with MMA Junkie about, among other things, the tight ship she plans on keeping as a TUF 18 coach.
Presumably for the same reason that TUF producers have been quick to stock and re-stock at fighter requests the TUF House liquor cabinet in direct opposition to what is good for training, fighting and fighters, the TUF 18 House will be co-ed, occupied by both female and male contestants on the competition. That is, the idea that setting up as many extra curricular, dangerous roadblocks for fighters can make for tragic lost opportunities but also, and more important, great, drama-riddled television.
If anyone wonders what type of sexual tension and (network executive fingers crossed oh so tight) actual activity might be spurred on among male and female fighters locked in a mansion for months without access to their family or friends back home, television, radio, newspapers or reading material of any sort outside of the Bible (the Matt Hughes special dispensation), then it is likely you’ve gotten the precise point of why the UFC and Fox are doing this way. Rousey was clear, however, that she’ll tell her female team members what types of consequences will be in store for those who can’t keep it in their pants.
“If they’re the chick that was screwing around the house, for the rest of their career they’re going to be known as the chick that was screwing around the house. Sponsors are going to be looking at that. Everybody’s going to be looking at that,” she told MMA Junkie.
“If you think it’s $100,000 worth of that lay [ed. note - she talkin 'bout boning], then go for it, but I’m just going to remind them that there’s a lot of very permanent consequences to how they carry themselves in the house,” Rousey went on.
This post is ostensibly about the fighters who weighed in yesterday for tonight’s big TUF 17 Finale event. We will not, however, judge you if you skip right to the twenty five minute mark to watch Miesha Tate and Cat Zingano, who for some reason, both decided to weigh in wearing bikinis (do you, ladies. No complaints here at the CP office.).
If you didn’t get enough Zingano from her open media workout which was ostensibly about giving a taste of her workouts but was really about stretching… Oh, the stretching….anyway, she’s in this video along with Meisha and some other guys who we guess are fighting, too. I don’t know.
We heard something about a couple guys named Urijah (what are the chances of that, huh?) fighting, a Brazilian Sasquatch with a black belt on a come-back tear and a do-or-die featherweight match up on facebook between some straight bangers named Cole and Bart. Who knows?
If you watch the above video, you’ll probably end up learning more than we know. So, go for it.
On paper, this Saturday’s TUF 17 Finale card is dominated by wide mismatches. But which fights will actually be blowouts, and which ones will end in profitable upsets? Check out the betting lines below (via bestfightodds.com) and let’s see if we can win some cash off this thing.
MAIN CARD (FX, 9 p.m. ET)
Urijah Faber (-435) vs. Scott Jorgensen (+375)
Uriah Hall (-309) vs. Kelvin Gastelum (+325)
Cat Zingano (-115) vs. Miesha Tate (+106)
Travis Browne (-250) vs. Gabriel Gonzaga (+240)
Robert McDaniel (-166) vs. Gilbert Smith (+155)
PRELIMINARY CARD (FUEL TV, 7 p.m. ET)
Josh Samman (-445) vs. Kevin Casey (+370)
Luke Barnatt (-124) vs. Collin Hart (+115)
Jimmy Quinlan (+100) vs. Dylan Andrews (+105)
Clint Hester (-160) vs. Bristol Marunde (+150)
PRELIMINARY CARD (Facebook, 5:30 p.m. ET)
Bart Palaszewski (-160) vs. Cole Miller (+155)
Daniel Pineda (-120) vs. Justin Lawrence (+109)
Maximo Blanco (-200) vs. Sam Sicilia (+195)
If you’re confused about what the numbers mean, read this. Otherwise, let’s proceed…
(Her training methods may be unusual, but dammit, the woman GETS RESULTS.)
Just a heads up for any of you members of the Potato Nation who fancy themselves the next Forrest Griffin (or more than likely, the next Julian Lane); it has recently been announced that the UFC will be holding auditions starting at 8 a.m. PT on Monday, April 15th to kick off the highly anticipated upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter: Rashes*. Auditions for both male and female bantamweight competitors will be held at the Grand Ballroom of the Palace Station Hotel, located on 2411 West Sahara Avenue in Las Vegas, Nevada.
In order to apply for TUF 18, one must first download the application here. The restrictions are as one would expect: You must be above 21, a legal US citizen, and have at least three verifiable pro MMA fights. Also, no fat chicks,”ugos,” skipskops, skallywags, trick-ass marks, or mark-ass tricks. I’m just reading the release, people.
(According to the press release, the season will feature 15 talented female MMA prospects, and “one drunken asshole who’s basically like a chick-version of Junie Browning.” / Ronda photo via Getty Images)
When Dana White tweeted that a big announcement will be made at the end of the UFC 158 FX prelims, fans started buzzing with theories ranging from New York MMA legalization to Nick Diaz no-showing the event (although based on his performance, he might as well have). Instead, looking to continue riding the Ronda Rousey Women’s MMA Train, White announced that the two head coaches for the 18th season of The Ultimate Fighter will be Ronda Rousey and the winner of the Meisha Tate/Cat Zingano fight on April 13. TUF 18 will debut sometime this fall, and to add to the intrigue, the season will feature both male and female fighters in the 135 weight class competing for contracts in their respective divisions.
While ratings for this season have seen a slight uptick on FX, the series has failed to match the previous numbers it once enjoyed while on Spike. Now with the rival network preparing to launch two new reality shows featuring a now ousted UFC Hall-of-Famer, the UFC has the added pressure to step up their game in order to keep their MMA/Reality TV market share in point. While to some die-hard MMA fans, this may not seem like a big deal, for the UFC and Bellator, the ratings for their reality TV programs do have a significant impact on how the networks will present their brands to potential television partners in the future.
This current season of TUF has seen a change of direction in terms of how the competition has been portrayed. There is significantly less drunken buffonary, bodily fluid pranks, and even a limited instances of a-holes being a-holes (*Cough*Bubba*Cough*). Hell, even Chael Sonnen has been on his best behavior! (Which I’m kind of disappointed with, but you can’t win them all.) Instead, as Joe Rogan pointed out during last night’s Mike Ricci/Colin Fletcher fight, TUF 17 highlights the challenges faced by contestants being a struggling MMA fighter as well as the added pressure of being on a reality show. Throw in some exciting finishes and we have MMA at its purest with no gimmicks needed. But a fundamental problem remains: Do we really feel that any contestant on this show could have a significant career in the UFC?
Poor Miesha Tate. It’s bad enough that she nearly had her arm ripped from her torso when she first fought Ronda Rousey, but the fact that she is forced to relive it each and every time a microphone is shoved in front of her face has to leave her feeling somewhat bitter about the whole experience, and perhaps rightfully so.
Take last Saturday for instance, when Tate and her upcoming opponent Cat Zingano — both of whom appeared to be sponsored by either Lucky Charms or Zubaz Pants — were interviewed by Ariel Helwani following Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche’s historic battle at UFC 157. While one would think that Tate would put her personal differences with Ronda aside for a moment and simply congratulate her for the achievement, Tate opted rather to declare that she will “rip [Rousey's] face off in the rematch.” Um, Miesha, your next opponent is actually the woman who was standing right next to you when you all but wrote her off. Awkward.
In fact, Tate was spilling haterade so vigorously that even Zingano jumped in line for a glass, declaring that Rousey had “a lot of holes in [her] game” after first saying how proud she was of the first WMMA fight in UFC History and blah blah blah. On the opposite end of the spectrum, both Tate and Zingano were impressed by Carmouche’s performance despite the fact that she lost and that they would have totally finished Rousey if put in the same situation.
And fortunately (or perhaps unfortunately) for Tate or Zingano, it’s looking like the winner of their upcoming fight will be given the opportunity to put her money where her mouth is. During the UFC 157 post-fight show on FUEL TV, Rousey mentioned that she “is interested” in the outcome of the matchup and will be in attendance when Tate and Zingano face off in Vegas on April 13th. So make sure to tune in for the chance to witness the first ever 209 gang-stomping in WMMA History.
The fight was pulled because it was felt by Garry Cook, the UFC VP in charge of UK and European operations, that it wasn’t suited to the Swedish audience.
Sweden is a new market and there is still some considerable opposition to the UFC among that infamously liberal and ‘progressive’ nation’s press. Politically it is a very left-wing country and it was only in 2007 that a 1970 ban on professional boxing was lifted.
Alexander Gustafsson has spearheaded the charge into what has proven to be an unexpectedly lucrative market for the UFC, but the potential for the national press to dislike or misinterpret a women’s fight was felt to be too high to risk.