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Tag: Mike Ricci

Gambling Addiction Enabler: TUF China Finale, Bellator 110 and Titan FC 27 Edition

By Seth Falvo

I have a feeling that most of you degenerate gamblers are going to take this weekend off. And hey, that’s a very logical decision. The TUF: China Finale is packed to the brim with squash matches and unknown prospects, and if you’re the type of person who doesn’t normally watch Bellator or Titan FC, it would be an incredibly stupid risk to throw money down on fighters you barely recognize.

Which is exactly what makes a “Gambling Addiction Enabler” for this weekend’s fights so appropriate. With the UFC hosting an obscure Fight Pass card — and Bellator and Titan FC featuring guys you’ve heard of but aren’t necessarily invested in — only the most hardcore MMA fans and the most hopeless gambling addicts are going to be risking their money on this weekend’s fights. If you fall into either category, we’d be letting you down if we decided not to share our rock-solid (*tries to stop laughing*) gambling advice with you.

If you’re the type of person who enjoys drinking Camo 24, betting on professional wrestling, getting a PhD in English, and other reckless, high-risk activities, then read on for my picks and suggested parlays, which are based on the odds at 5Dimes. May the winnings be yours.

The Main Events

TUF: China Finale: Dong Hyun Kim (-360) vs. John Hathaway (+300)

It’s hard to disagree with the odds here. Kim has not only faced tougher competition, but he also has the advantage of fighting on his home continent; not exactly a frivolous observation, as Kim himself would be quick to point out. A straight bet on Kim won’t yield an impressive return, but it does make for a low-risk parlay addition.

Bellator 110: Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (-450) vs. Christian M’Pumbu (+360)

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And Now He’s Fired: Yushin Okami Released by UFC After Seven Years of ‘Perennial Contender’ Status


(“Look, Andy, you’re clearly still upset about the pool party thing, but I swear, the Evite must have gone to your junk mail folder or something, because we totally included you on the-oh God noooooo NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!” Photo via Esther Lin/MMAFighting)

“Perennial contender” is a back-handed compliment — it means you were always good enough to hang in the top ten, but never good enough to hold the belt. It suggests a kind of career limbo, in which you’re forever in the mix, highly regarded, but ultimately unsuccessful. Jon Fitch was a perennial contender, and when he was fired by the UFC in February, fans who never liked him in the first place criticized the UFC for getting rid of their #9-ranked contender — as if rankings held any sort of accurate measure of a fighter’s value. Fitch may have been more talented than most welterweights in the world, but he had outlived his usefulness, from both a competitive and promotional standpoint.

And so it goes with Yushin Okami, the latest medium-to-high-profile UFC fighter to be axed by the promotion, who is still listed as the #6 middleweight contender on UFC.com. UFC president Dana White confirmed Okami’s release today, telling Yahoo!’s Kevin Iole:

He’s been with us forever. He was always a tough guy and was right up there, but it’s almost like he’d become a gatekeeper. I like Okami, and you’ve heard me say this many times, that a win over Yushin Okami meant something. But he was never able to get over the hump and win one of those [significant] fights. We have a lot of guys coming in and I’ve been saying this all year: We have a full roster and there are guys who deserve opportunities. When you bring guys in, someone has to go. That’s why these fights are so meaningful.”

Okami was already a 16-3 veteran when he joined the UFC, with appearances in Pancrase, Pride, Hero’s, and Rumble on the Rock, where he scored a bizarre DQ victory over Anderson Silva in January 2006. “Thunder” made his Octagon debut later that year at UFC 62, and began to steadily rise up the middleweight ranks, winning his first four fights — including decision victories against Alan Belcher and Mike Swick — before losing a #1 contender fight against Rich Franklin at UFC 72.

The rest of Okami’s UFC career would play out the exact same way.

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And Now He’s Fired: Gooble Gobble, Gooble Gobble, Colin “Freakshow” Fletcher is No Longer One of Us


(Even in the face of despair, Fletcher always maintains a sunny disposition. Via Colin’s Twitter account.) 

Although not completely unexpected given his current 0-2 record in the promotion, the UFC’s recent firing of TUF: Smashes lightweight runner-up Colin “Freakshow” Fletcher might represent one of the fastest post-TUF firings for a finalist in the show’s history. After dropping a tepid decision to fellow runner-up Mike Ricci at UFC 158, the news of Fletcher’s firing was passed along over the weekend via Colin’s twitter. As one would expect, “Freakshow” maintained his sunny disposition in the face of despair:

Fletcher now joins TUF 6′s Tommy Speer, TUF 8′s Vinny Magalhaes, and TUF 1′s Brad Imes as the only TUF finalists to not be given a third fight (or second post-TUF fight) in the UFC before getting axed. To be fair, Imes was eventually brought back to face Heath Herring at UFC 69, but that was before the time of The Great Deluge.

Dire times are upon us, Potato Nation. Dire times.

A video of Colin’s closest friends and family reacting to the news is after the jump. 

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Armchair Matchmaker: ‘UFC 158: St. Pierre vs. Diaz’ Edition


(If there was ever an image that summed up Nick Diaz’s mental state at all times, this is it. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.) 

By Jack Saladino

After months, nay, years of hype, trash-talking, late night hotel stalking incidents, and promises of Georges St. Pierre unleashing “his dark side,” UFC 158 finally transpired last weekend to mixed reception. While no one was left questioning how great the night’s co-main event battle between Carlos Condit and Johny Hendricks was, GSP’s one-sided, grappling-heavy routing of Nick Diaz — which has become the champ’s M.O. as of late — left more than a few fans wondering just what it would take to get St. Pierre to actually try and finish an opponent. Because if that was his dark side, well, it looked a hell of a lot like his regular side.

On the other side of the coin, many fans saw GSP’s performance as the epitome of dominance and classiness in the face of an adversary that thrives when coercing opponents into playing his game, often through mental warfare and now attempted cheap shots after the bell. Based on his continually skyrocketing ticket sales, it appears that no one has grown tired of St. Pierre’s shtick just yet, but will a fight with Hendricks succeed in bringing in anywhere near as many ticket/PPV sales? And if not Hendricks, then who?

It’s not an easy question for UFC matchmaker Joe Silva to answer, but luckily for him, this is typically the time when the Armchair Matchmaker swoops in and all but does his job for him. So join us after the jump as we break down the potential futures of last weekend’s biggest winners (and some of the losers) in an effort to once again bail out Silva and get ourselves back into the UFC’s good graces. You could detect the sarcasm in that last statement, right?

Georges St. Pierre: Hendricks, then a long awaited superfight with Anderson Silva, then retirement. What…have you not heard about the welterweight champion’s secret UFC exit/world domination plan yet? Well we suggest that you break free from the conformist, white-washed shell of ignorance you’ve been living in all these years and get with the Goddamn picture. Also, the destruction of the Death Star was an inside job. Time to wake up, Taters.

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UFC 158: St-Pierre vs. Diaz — Live Results and Commentary


(I don’t always get so excited about a fight that I quote Tito Ortiz, but when I do, I say July 4th…has come early. Photo courtesy of MMAMania)

GSP. Diaz. The Bell Centre in Montreal. That’s right, Potato Nation, it’s finally time for UFC 158. If I need to say literally anything else to get you excited about this card, there is no hope for you at this point. Please show yourself out quietly, and no, we don’t care how exciting you think spring league baseball nonsense is.

But Georges St. Pierre vs. Nick Diaz isn’t the only great welterweight fight we have to look forward to tonight. Elsewhere on the card, Johny Hendricks battles Carlos Condit, and Jake Ellenberger welcomes Nate Marquardt back to the big leagues. Plus: A middleweight tilt between Nick Ring and Chris Camozzi, as well as a lightweight bout between TUF finalists Mike Ricci and Colin Fletcher, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Handling tonight’s liveblog will be none other than Aaron Mandel, who will diligently record every punch, kick, and Stockton Heybuddy thrown in the cage after the jump, beginning at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT. Refresh the page every few minutes for all the latest, and toss your own observations into the comments section. Let’s do it…

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Colin “Freakshow” Fletcher to Face Fellow ‘TUF’ Runner Up Mike Ricci at UFC 158


(“Hey Norman, ever play skin the cat?”)

As Dana White announced earlier today at the UFC 158 press conference, a lightweight bout between TUF: The Smashes lightweight runner up and presumable collector of Haunter Pokemon memorabilia, Colin Fletcher, has been booked to take on TUF 16 runner up and sensitive artist, Mike Ricci, on the welterweight-heavy UFC 158 card in March.

On the heels of a UD loss to Northern Ireland’s “Stormin” Norman Parke at UFC on FX 6, Fletcher will no doubt be looking to utilize his reach advantage against Ricci, who will be making the drop from welterweight following a unanimous decision loss of his own to Colton Smith at the TUF 16 Finale. Ricci has gone win-loss in his past six contests, including notable losses to Daron Cruickshank and Pat Curran, and holds notable wins over Strikeforce veteran Jordan Mein and Canadian Rory MacDonald…

…I’m sorry, that’s Canadian Rory McDonell, who was able to score his last victory by, and I quote, “Gogoplata Straight Armbar.” Seriously, if you doubt me, just check out this photo of the finish. How that sub was somehow overlooked by nearly every MMA site out there is beyond me, but feel free to discuss this massive oversight in the comments section. Because, let’s be real, it’s probably more interesting than the subject at hand.

-J. Jones

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The Ultimate Fighter 16 Finale Aftermath — The Perfect Ending to the Series You Didn’t Watch


Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

If you haven’t been keeping up with a television series, taking the time on a Saturday night to watch the series finale is a gigantic waste of time. Heading into the finale of a season that we could not have cared less about, the UFC realized that they were facing this exact problem. The promotion realized that if the finale was going to generate any kind of interest, it would have to actually place as little emphasis as possible on the fighters from the show. Rather than focusing on the contestants, the finale was a card packed with current UFC talent.

In an effort to ensure that this wouldn’t backfire, the promotion made sure that the guys filling in for whoever was actually on this season of The Ultimate Fighter were guys you’ve heard of. One great fight led to another great fight, and pretty soon we were anticipating one of the best free shows we’ve been given in a while. As we wrote yesterday, on paper, this card wasn’t so much a TUF Finale as it was a genuinely stacked lineup of free fights that included one main card match between two guys you’ve never seen before.

Even though injuries scrapped the fight between this season’s coaches (as is tradition), and Jamie Varner was forced off of the card at the last minute (more on that later), this event exceeded all of our expectations. Actually, that puts things too mildly: this may have been, top to bottom, the best event of 2012. Let that sink in: A TUF Finale produced a legitimate candidate for Event of the Year – when was the last time we’ve been able to say THAT?

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The Ultimate Fighter 16 Finale — Main Card Results & Commentary


(Mitrione refused to undergo VADA drug-testing. Nelson refused to shampoo the crabs out of his beard. / Photo courtesy of CombatLifestyle. For more photos from this set, click here.)

It doesn’t matter if you haven’t watched a single episode of The Ultimate Fighter this season. (Spoiler alert: You haven’t). Tonight’s TUF 16 Finale on FX is still one of the greatest free cards of the year, partly because there aren’t any TUF also-rans mucking it up.

Instead, we’ve got two heavyweight slugfests (Roy Nelson vs. injury fill-in Matt Mitrione and Pat Barry vs. Shane Del Rosario), a lightweight battle that will likely end up in a brutal stoppage (Melvin Guillard vs. Jamie Varner), a pair of featherweight contenders trying to bounce back from submission losses (Dustin Poirier vs. Jonathan Brookins), and a TUF 16 welterweight final featuring a man so dehumanized by his time in captivity that at this point he’s nothing more than a vessel for unspeakable acts of violence.

Taking us through the play-by-play this evening is Level 8 Liveblog Wizard Anthony Gannon, who will be updating us with main card results after the jump beginning at 9 p.m. ET. Refresh the page every few minutes for all the latest, and please, please, please, leave us some comments in the comments section.

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Watch the ‘TUF 16 Finale’ Weigh-Ins Right Here at 5 p.m. ET / 2 p.m. PT


(Props: YouTube.com/UFC)

We know it’s confusing, so we’ll try to make this as clear as possible…

- The weigh-ins for tomorrow night’s TUF 16 Finale are scheduled for today at 5 p.m. ET / 2 p.m. PT, and you can watch them live in the player above. We’ll be liveblogging the FX main card broadcast tomorrow night beginning at 9 p.m. ET.

- The weigh-ins for tonight‘s UFC on FX: Sotiropoulos vs. Pearson card went down yesterday in Australia, and we’ll be liveblogging the main card tonight beginning at 9 p.m. ET.

- The TUF 16 Finale, which features Roy Nelson vs. Matt Mitrione, Pat Barry vs. Shane Del Rosario, Melvin Guillard vs. Jamie Varner, and Dustin Poirier vs. Jonathan Brookins, is a pretty badass card. Honestly, if you only have time to watch one UFC event this weekend, make it this one — by which I mean tomorrow’s.

- Fun fact: Melvin Guillard plans on getting the lightweight title when he’s 35 or 40, so that he can retire shortly afterwards, rather than fade into obscurity like other guys who have fought for the title. It all makes sense now.

- We’ll be putting today’s weigh-in results after the jump. You’re welcome.

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Quote of the Day: TUF 16 Finalist Mike Ricci Wanted to Sue the Show “For Psychological Damages”

*Super Friends announcer voice* MEANWHILE, IN THE DINING ROOM…

If you thought watching the sixteenth season of The Ultimate Fighter was hell, just wait until you hear how bad it was to be one of the show’s participants, and a winning one at that. As finalist Mike Ricci will tell you, TUF 16 wasn’t exactly Dancing With the Stars, where everyone got to take their perfect-bodied Ukranian supermodel partner home and have their way with them (although to be fair, the above video makes the case that there certainly was a lot of banging going on). No, TUF was much, much uglier. In fact, during a recent appearance on The MMA Hour, Ricci admitted that he hated his time on the show so much — despite being a finalist, mind you — that he wished he could sue the show for the “psychological damages” he suffered:

It was an absolute nightmare, I wanted to sue for psychological damage, I wasn’t the same person. I actually thought I had a case, ‘I’m not the same person, I can do this and win.’ But, I felt like don’t get me wrong, I knew what I was getting into I knew how I was going to react. Even some of the producers in the house toward the end were like, ‘Geez, you’re the most institutionalized fighter we’ve ever seen, we’ve done 11 seasons and we’ve never seen anyone like you, you’re like a robot now. 

Much more from this interview is after the jump.

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