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Tag: MMA

Why More Fighters Need to Talk Sh*t (Hint: It Works)


(What are you gonna do against the largest arms in the world, brother? / Photo via Getty)

By Matt Saccaro

MMA is the ultimate “nice guys finish last” sport. It’s called prize fighting for a reason, and “I respect him; he’s a great opponent” doesn’t sell.

This is no secret. Just look at how Chael Sonnen—a perennial mid-carder who nobody knew or cared about—resurrected his career with carefully executed, bombastic trash talk.

Why am I telling you this if it’s common sense? Because it’s only common sense to people who appreciate MMA for what it is—real-life pro wrestling. Unfortunately, most hardcore MMA fans (and some media members) refuse to see it this way. They either believe in a non-existent code of honor, or an even less corporeal competitive architecture. “It’s a sport,” they maintain. “It should be only about competition. Besides, who wouldn’t want to see the best fighters go at it, even if they have less charisma than a light bulb?” The answer to that question: Most of the country.

There’s a sport with no flash, no glitz, and none of the other maligned “entertainment” trappings of the UFC and the WWE. It’s called amateur wrestling, and nobody watches it. MMA turning into amateur wrestling hurts the fighters. If there’s no viewers, there’s no money. It’s crazy that people still need to be reminded of this, but selling the fight is equally as important as fighting the fight. To quote The Simpsons, “Every good scientist is half B.F. Skinner and half P.T. Barnum.”

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Bellator 118 Results: Joe Warren Captures Bellator Interim Bantamweight Title

Bellator 118 is Bellator season 10′s penultimate event. Joe Warren had a chance to claim the interim bantamweight title if he beat Rafael Silva. And that wording is deliberate. Silva missed weight, so if he won, Bellator wouldn’t award him the title. It was only a championship fight for Warren. Semifinal bouts for the welterweight tournament and summer series light heavyweight tournament took place as well.

What fights should you fast forward when you watch this card on your DVR and which ones should you watch intently? Read on and find out.

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A Brief History of MMA — The Real Version, And the Zuffa Version


(Commodus: The original Just Bleed Guy.)

Note: This timeline of MMA’s history is extremely abridged for the sake of brevity. If you’re interested in the topic, Jonathan Snowden’s Total MMA and Shooters, and Clyde Gentry’s No Holds Barred cover MMA history in detail better than I ever could.

By Matt Saccaro

MMA History

684 BCE: Pankration—a hybrid martial art whose name means “all powers”—is introduced into the Olympic games.

19th century: Various mixed rules contests take place throughout the United States, ultimately morphing into what we now call professional wrestling. (Seriously, I can’t recommend Shooters enough for information about this phase of combat sports’ evolution.)

1898: Edward William Barton-Wright invents Bartitsu–a martial art combining boxing, judo, savate, and stick fighting and one of the first dedicated “mixed martial arts” in the entire world. This mixing of styles occurs 42 years before the birth of Bruce Lee, the so-called “father of MMA.”

1905: President Theodore Roosevelt conceptualizes MMA on a whim in a letter to his son, Kermit. “With a little practice in [jiu-jitsu], I am sure that one of our big wrestlers or boxers, simply because of his greatly superior strength, would be able to kill any of those Japanese,” he says in reference to watching a Japanese grappler submit an American wrestler named Joseph Grant.

1914: Judo ambassador and all around tough guy Mitsuyo Maeda arrives in Brazil. In the coming years, he’ll begin teaching the Gracie family judo techniques, planting the seeds for BJJ.

Early-mid 20th century: Vale Tudo competitions emerge in Brazil, and ultimately gain popularity. The Gracie family rises to prominence and enjoys success in these “everything allowed” contests.

1963: Gene Lebell fights Milo Savage in North America’s first televised mixed-rules fight.

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UFC 172: The Card That Helped MMA Not Suck Anymore


(Photo via Getty)

By Matt Saccaro

UFC 172 wasn’t terribly interesting on paper. “Who cares about Jon Jones vs. Glover Teixeira and a bunch of other mismatches?” we all asked. And we were right to. MMA had been in a slump. Good cards were sparse–islands in a sea terrible TUF finales, awful Fight Pass exclusives, and PPVs not worth the $60 price tag.

Last night changed all that (well, it did if you ignore UFC 173)

I know what you’re thinking. “Tone down the hyperbole a bit, Matt…and by a bit we mean several orders of magnitude.” Let me explain.

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Is It Time to Admit MMA Will Never Become a Mainstream Success?


(Dana White’s “If you don’t like it, we don’t want you as a fan” strategy has worked. / Photo via Getty)

By Matt Saccaro

UFC on FOX 11 was one of the better cards in recent memory, but nobody outside of the MMA bubble cared.

It pulled in only 1.98 million viewers—the lowest ever for a UFC event on Fox and a 27% decline from UFC on FOX 10. The fight card lost out to every other major network in total viewers, and only beat CBS in the key 18-49 demo.

“Fighting is in our DNA,” Dana White likes to maintain. It’s a universal action that everyone understands. If a fight breaks out, everyone stops what they’re doing to watch it. Fighting is raw, visceral, but somehow pure and sacrosanct. It has been part of humanity since the first caveman shot a double leg.

Except it’s not. Those lines we all swore were so true when we started watching MMA, the ones we cited as reasons for MMA’s inevitable (and rightful) ascent to greatness, are all bullshit. When a rerun of Mike and Molly draws more viewers than free fights, one has to question whether MMA will ever achieve the mainstream popularity fans and pundits have been anticipating for years now—unless an overweight Chicago police officer (no, not Mike Russow) and his wife are even more in our DNA than fighting.

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21 Times the UFC Proved They Cared More About Entertainment Than Sport


(#22: Building doors out of wet cardboard for dramatic effect.)

The UFC is not a sports organization. They’re an entertainment company that dabbles in athletic competition. Here’s the proof:

1. Firing Jake Shields.

2. Firing Yushin Okami.

3. Firing Jon Fitch.

4. Not firing Dan Hardy (“I like guys who WAR“)

5. Giving Chael Sonnen a title shot coming off a loss.

6. Giving Nick Diaz a title shot coming off a loss.

7. Bringing a 1-0 Brock Lesnar into the UFC.

8. James Toney.

9. Signing Sean Gannon after he beat Kimbo Slice via exhaustion in an illegal bare-knuckle street fight.

10. Putting Kimbo Slice on a main card after he went 0-1 in the TUF House.

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Why “Going Out on Your Shield” Is the Most Toxic Part of MMA Culture


(Photo via WSOF)

By Matt Saccaro

Rousimar Palhares and Yushin Okami were the stars at last night’s World Series of Fighting 9. Both fighters crushed their respective cans, and got write-ups on MMA sites across the web because their “UFC veteran” status makes them more page view friendly.

While fans and pundits are lost in circular debates about Palhares’ leg lock ethics, the sport is missing out on something more serious that happened at WSOF 9: Marlon Moraes vs. Josh Rettinghouse.

This fight was a horrifically one-sided mismatch. Rettinghouse couldn’t compete with Moraes in any area of MMA. As the bout dragged on, Moraes’ leg kicks started to take their toll. Rettinghouse was reduced to hobbling and then Nick Serra-level buttscooting. Rettinghouse had little to no chance of victory by the time the “championship rounds” started. The media knew it. The referee knew it. Rettinghouse’s corner likely knew it as well. The fight went the full five rounds, but it was over long before the judges submitted scorecards. It shouldn’t have made it that far. It should’ve been stopped.

Unfortunately for Rettinghouse’s legs, such behavior is an anathema to MMA culture. MMA, the ultimate dude-bro sport, values a glamorized Spartan ethos that never considers the results of its “come back with your shield—or on it,” mantra. Fans, fighters, coaches, and everyone in between agree almost unanimously that getting knocked out is better than quitting on your stool between rounds, and that (s)napping is better than tapping. It’s better to let a fighter “go out on their shield” than stop a fight too early, robbing the winner of undisputed victory and the loser of honor in defeat.

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The 23 Worst Things About Being an MMA Fan


(Photo via Getty)

By Matt Saccaro

1. Having to explain that the UFC is not the WWE.

2. Boxing vs. MMA discussions.

3. MMA “lifestyle” brands thinking you’re a goon who’ll only wear clothes if it has skulls, wings, or a tribal pattern on it.

4. Hearing casual fans talk about Kimbo Slice every time you decide to catch a PPV at a bar.

5. Hearing non-MMA fans talk about “this rolling around on the ground” every time you decide to catch a PPV at a bar.

6. The obscene cost of being an MMA fan (PPVs, Fight Pass, etc.).

7. Other MMA fans saying you’re not a TRUE fan because…[insert bullshit reason].

8. After the fight scene in a movie or TV show, everyone glares at you because they know you’re about to bash it for how unrealistic it was.

9. Debates about who was the GOAT.

10. People still going on about how awesome Pride was. Yeah, it was awesome, but it’s still dead and it ain’t coming back!

11. Dealing with other “fans” who “train UFC”

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Five Obvious but Overlooked Things Fans Need to Remember About the UFC


(Just keep repeating to yourself, “Nobody’s making me watch this…nobody’s making me watch this…nobody’s making me watch this…”)

By Matt Saccaro

The UFC has come under fire lately for several reasons: Declining numbers, oversaturation, the fading of their stars, launching a digital network with a questionable premise, not hiring Ben Askren and so on. When we fling insults at the UFC, we need to remember a few things about the company in order to put these negative occurrences and circumstances into perspective. Let’s start with the most obvious but frequently-ignored point:

1. The UFC is a business.

The purpose of the UFC is to make its owners money. The UFC does not exist to feed fighters’ families. There’s not much else to say on this front. Companies have to make money to be viable. Yeah, it sucks that some guys get paid an absurdly small amount of money for what they do, and it sucks that the UFC is upping the PPV price.

That’s just something we have to deal with though. If you don’t like it, vote with your dollar. If enough people tune out, Zuffa’s wallet will know and they’ll either change their tune accordingly or lose money.

2. The UFC is an international company.

There’s been talk about the UFC hiring unfit-for-television jobbers lately. It’s true but necessary. The UFC is headed to distant lands where MMA is in its most nascent stages. The talent pool in these places is more like a mud puddle. The UFC has to work with what it’s given in China and Singapore. Deepening foreign talent pools can only happen by growing the sport overseas, and growing the sport overseas can only happen when they have foreign (foreign to us, home grown to them) fighters on the card. And since there aren’t many great foreign fighters, the UFC has to scrape the bottom of a very empty barrel. This results in fighters getting a place in the “Super Bowl of MMA” who shouldn’t even be in the bleachers, let alone on the field.

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CagePotato PSA: You Can Support Women’s MMA and Still Think a Women’s Fight Was Awful


(Roxanne Modafferi, cruising to another bantamweight title-defense in the Ultimate Friendship Championship. / Photo via Getty)

By Matt Saccaro

In women’s MMA, as in men’s MMA, there are great matches and there are not-so-great matches. Claiming a men’s fight is sub-optimal doesn’t carry a negative stigma. Sure, some “YOU’RE NOT A FIGHTER, BRO” types will get upset, but generally it’s OK to call out the poor aspects of a contest — whether it pertains to the booking or the in-cage action — when two males are fighting.

Making the same comments when women are in the cage changes things. We learned this the hard way on Twitter last night. You’re branded a WMMA hater when you say that every women’s fight on The Ultimate Fighter 18 Finale isn’t Bonnar vs. Griffin I with estrogen.

We don’t hate women’s MMA. CagePotato is a proud sponsor of Invicta strawweight Rose Namajunas, and we’ll be sponsoring Angela “Overkill” Hill for her XFC debut later this month. However, just because we love WMMA doesn’t mean we’re not going to criticize a fight just because it’s between two women.

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