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Tag: MMA on TV

Interview: ‘Kingdom’ Actor Jonathan Tucker Discusses His Journey Into MMA Culture

(“The great majority of people who are fighting are not doing this for money and glory. There’s something else that drives them to the cage.” / Photo via

Though mixed martial arts has inspired its share of movies — both decent and dreadfulKingdom is the first TV drama to be set in the world of MMA. The series, which premieres next Wednesday, October 8th, on DIRECTV’s Audience channel, focuses on ex-fighter Alvey Kulina (played by Frank Grillo), his two sons, and their daily battles inside and outside of the cage.

Providing some of the show’s necessary tension is Jonathan Tucker, who plays the troubled black sheep of the Kulina clan. Jonathan took some time last week to chat with about his preparations for the role, and the lengths that the cast and crew went to in order to ensure authenticity. Read our interview with Jonathan below, follow him on Twitter @jonathanmtucker, and visit Kingdom’s official site to learn more. 

CAGEPOTATO.COM: Kingdom takes place in the setting of a mixed martial arts gym and professional fighting, but it really seems to be about a father’s relationship with his sons. Tell me a little bit about the character you play, Jay Kulina.

JONATHAN TUCKER: Jay’s kind of this high-wire act, who’s part warrior, part jester. There’s a lot of characters in MMA gyms, and everybody’s being driven to fight for some different reason. Everyone’s finding a sort of healing in the training or the fighting or the camaraderie of being in a gym like that. And for Jay, there’s a sense of distance that he gets from the training and fighting that keeps him out of the other addictions in his life. And when he loses that ability to train, he succumbs to a lack of self-confidence and turns to alcohol and drugs and sex — which is certainly something that I got to see among people in different gyms around Los Angeles.

How much physical preparation was required for a role like this, where you’re portraying a fighter? What was that process like?

We did a two-week boot camp with Joe “Daddy” [Stevenson] and his team, and Greg Jackson, out in Pomona and Victorville, and I did a lot of individual coaching at different places around LA. I was already generally walking around at the weight I was on the show, but when you give a person a few months to really step it up and focus on the diet and the workouts, that extra 5% difference really shows.

I was dragging my ass to the gym every single minute I wasn’t working, and then fight training; we rolled in the morning, got in conditioning right afterwards, then we’d have time for lunch, we’d go box, and usually do some kind of kickboxing in the evening. Of course, we had the luxury of time. All we’re really trying to do on the show is honor the fighters who are trying to pay their rent, who are always working a second job, who are supporting families. The luxury that we had to just train without worrying about paying our mortgage, that was something we never took for granted.


Randy Couture Added to ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Season 19 Cast

(“And you say you’re self-taught? IMPOSSIBLE.”)

The cast of Dancing With the Stars Season 19 was announced this morning, and to our great delight, it features 51-year-old UFC Hall-of-Famer Randy Couture. The Expendables and Gym Rescue co-star (and expert tail-puller) has been partnered up with Karina Smirnoff for the season, which debuts September 15th on ABC.

Couture will wage ballroom warfare against an eclectic bunch of celebrities (and “celebrities”), including legendary pothead Tommy Chong, Olympian Lolo Jones, and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air‘s Alfonso Ribeiro, who will surely be busting out the Carlton Dance at some point.

“The Natural” will be just the second UFC fighter to appear on the American version of DWtS, following Chuck Liddell in 2009, who was eliminated fifth on Season 9, and gave us some good laughs along the way. In 2012, Denis Kang appeared on the show’s South Korean version, and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira appeared on Brazil’s “Dance of the Famous”.

After the jump: Some photos that Chuck and Anna Trebunskaya shot for SI after Season 9, just because they’re awesome.


[VIDEO] Gina Carano Returns to the Small Screen in February on Almost Human

(Thanks to CP reader Steven Wong for the tip/image.)

Good news, Taters! Former MMA starlet Gina Carano is making her triumphant return to the world of television and all we can say is Hnnnnnng

Carano, who is coming of a successful turn in Fast and Furious 6*, will guest star on the next episode of Almost Human, the future cop/Robocop buddy cop show on FOX. If the episode promo after the jump is to be believed, it looks like Carano will be playing an emotionless cyborg killing machine that has gone off the reservation…Haywire, you might even say. (*sad rimshot*)

Carano also has two projects currently in the works — In the Blood (a.k.a female Taken) and an untitled Adi Shankar project (a.k.a female Expendables). It’s always nice to see an old friend finding employment, but especially so when that friend is Gina Carano and that work involves corsets and fishnets.

The next episode of Almost Human airs February 3rd on FOX, so join us after the jump for a sneak peak.


Chael Sonnen’s ‘It’s Always Sunny’ Cameo: The Extended Promo [VIDEO]

(Skip to 3:45 to watch Sonnen chew up the scenery. Props: AlwaysSunnyonFX)

It was just nice to finally get my break. I’m sure you can imagine, you know, the plight of the blue-eyed German male in this country, and if I finally get my chance, great — if it doesn’t, I’ll go back to the streets and return to gang-life.”

See? What did I tell you about this genius!

The eighth season of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia premieres Thursday, October 11th, at 10 p.m. on FX. It’s still unclear if Sonnen and the other members of the “replacement” cast will be actually be getting screen-time that night, or if this is just one of the most bizarre promos in the history of basic cable. couchbirth.gif, you guys.


New Spike Reality Show Announced for Bellator Fighting Championships

(Bellator’s charmingly “WTF?” fight-finishes are coming to a reality show near you.)

Though Bellator Fighting Championships has been putting on high-quality fights for three years now, the organization and CEO Bjorn Rebney have been careful to not wage war with the UFC. However, it was announced today that Bellator will step just a little bit closer to direct-competitor status, with a reality show to air on the same cable network that gave the UFC its big break by airing The Ultimate FighterSpike TV.

After the UFC and Spike could not come to terms on continuing their partnership, Spike’s parent company Viacom bought Bellator, announcing that the new organization would begin airing programming on Spike in 2013. We now know that part of that will be a reality show featuring Bellator fighters and produced by The Amazing Race producer, Bertram van Munster.

“Some of the most physically-gifted and fascinating athletes in the world fight in Bellator, and I believe that they make ideal subjects for an innovative non-scripted series,” van Munster said in a statement released by Spike today.


Happy Halloween: Andy’s Chuck Liddell Costume on ‘Parks and Recreation’ [VIDEO]

(Props: via BloodyElbow)

MMA’s awkward march into the mainstream continues! Last night on NBC’s Parks and Recreation, lovable meathead Andy Dwyer (Chris Pratt) co-hosted a Halloween party, and showed off his Chuck Liddell costume. It isn’t clear if the pitcher of beer was meant to be part of it. A scene from the episode is above; a photo of Andy doing the classic Iceman pose is after the jump.

Please share your own ridiculous Halloween costume plans in the comments section.


Jon Jones and Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson Will Mean-Mug Each Other Tonight on ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’

(It’ll be like their confrontation on Saturday, except with more nervous laughter from the interviewer. Props: isanoria)

Still don’t believe that the UFC likes to manufacture rivalries between fighters? Then how do you explain their decision to double-book Jon Jones and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson for a joint-appearance on tonight’s episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live? (ABC, midnight/11 p.m. central)

The soft-spoken UFC light-heavyweight champion and tough-talkin’ former champ are fresh off their personal-attack-heavy segment during the Shields vs. Ellenberger broadcast. Even with the two separated through the miracles of satellite technology, it felt like a fight could break out at any moment. So what will happen when they’re sharing the same couch to promote UFC 135?

As mentions, “It’s unknown at press time whether the third guest on the show, Dr. Phil, will be brought in to try and smooth things over between the two.” Oh man. Kimmel, if you don’t make that bit happen, then Jimmy Fallon has won the war.


‘Big Law: Deputy Butterbean’ Is a Real Show, for God’s Sake

He made his bones knocking out palookas in the Toughman circuit in the ’90s, before transitioning into an MMA career where he was usually matched up against other oddly-shaped fighters. But now that he’s older and wiser — and still enormous — all Butterbean wants to do is protect and serve. That’s the premise of a new reality series called Big Law: Deputy Butterbean, which premieres August 9th on the Investigation Discovery channel.

The show follows Eric Esch (aka Butterbean, King of the Damn Four-Rounders) and his partner Deputy Adam Hadder as they patrol the streets of Jasper, Alabama, tracking down crystal meth labs and unsanctioned rib-eating contests. Will the 400+ pound ‘Bean be forced to scale a chain-link fence during a pursuit? Will Steven Seagal come in for a guest-spot? These are serious questions that need to be asked now.

When reached for comment, Tim Sylvia cried “What about meeeeeeeeeeee??” Anyway. You guys gonna watch this crap or what?


Jon Jones Gets Eye-Raped by Crowd of Middle-Aged Women on ‘The Mo’Nique Show’

As the UFC’s new semi-official Ambassador to Women, light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones appeared on The Mo’Nique Show this week. It seemed like the only two people who knew who the hell Jones was when he walked in the room were Eddie Griffin and Mo’Nique herself, but baby, that didn’t matter. All the hungry crowd saw was a big, sexy man. Honestly, the vibe on set was downright bachelorette party-esque, and Bones did his best to play along.

It’s a pretty standard media appearance, otherwise. Jones explains his nickname for the 5,000th time, tells Mo’Nique what mixed martial arts is, etc. Luckily, Eddie Griffin is there to punch it up when the conversation gets slow. (“…and then I got hit one time, have you ever seen your own ass.”) Jones tries to show off his spinning back elbow, but instead gets served in a dance-off. Time well spent, folks.


Videos: Brock Lesnar Chokes Out Jimmy Fallon, Discusses ‘TUF 13′ and Junior Dos Santos


Not only did Brock Lesnar avoid dropping The Other F-Bomb during yesterday’s appearance on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, the former UFC heavyweight champion actually managed to come off as a fairly charming dude. Watch as Lesnar runs through his life story, explains his chest-tattoo and The Ultimate Fighter series, and — as is expected when you have a huge MMA fighter do a TV spot with a pencil-necked geek — chokes Jimmy out to end the segment. The book is called Death Clutch, and TUF 13 premieres tomorrow night on Spike.

After the jump: Lesnar does a longer and more serious interview with Ariel Helwani, in which he discusses his Ultimate Fighter coaching gig, gives his thoughts on Junior Dos Santos, and tries to make sense of his loss to Cain Velasquez.