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Tag: MMA

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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Several Days Removed from Heart Attack, Shane Del Rosario Still in Critical Condition but the Outlook is Grim


(Photo via Getty)

UFC heavyweight and Strikeforce vet Shane Del Rosario suffered two heart attacks on Tuesday, November 26th. Though Del Rosario has not passed away as some reported, the outlook is still grim—the 30 year old has no brain activity.

In case you don’t remember Del Rosario, he made his name in Strikeforce with a submission win over Lavar Johnson. He came up short against Stipe Miocic in his first UFC fight. He last appeared in the Octagon back in December 2012 in a losing effort against Pat Barry. He was expected to fight at UFC 168 but had to withdraw due to injury (a rib injury seemingly unrelated to his current predicament).

It’s tragic and highly atypical for such a young, athletic individual to suffer a heart attack. Del Rosario’s manager stated that the fighter’s doctors believed it was called by a condition called Long QT Syndrome—an exceedingly rare heart condition that can lead to death-inducing arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat).

Unfortunately, it’s highly probable that Del Rosario will be taken off life support soon. At the time of writing, there have been no updates on this front. We will provide any news as it becomes available. The CagePotato staff is hopeful that it will be the good kind of news.

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Heart & Soul of MMA: Said Hatim, And The Virtue of Staying Ready


Said Hatim (center) cuts weight on a treadmill in Minsk, Belarus this week with student Andrei Arlovski (right) and coach Dino Costeas (left) | Photos via HatimStyle

By Elias Cepeda

MMA has come quite far in the past decade but very few fighters are featured on national television, sponsored by big companies and able to focus 100% of their energy on the sport. Many more put in the blood, sweat and tears without the bright lights or big bucks, filled with and fueled by love and an inexplicable drive to simply be a better fighter.

They hold down full-time jobs, have families and are known only to those truly in the know. They are the heart and soul of MMA.

Said Hatim is one such fighter.

The idea was initially proposed half-heartedly. Former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski had recently booked his next fight — a main event contest on the Battle in Minsk card in his home of Belarus on Nov. 29 — and jokingly asked his Muay Thai coach Said Hatim if he also wanted to fight on the card.

Said was a pro kickboxer and boxer for years and has coached and trained with high level fighters like boxer Mike Mollo, UFC veteran Clay Guida, top Bellator featherweight Mike Corey and TUF veteran Mark Miller but his lone, albeit successful, MMA fight had taken place five years ago. Since that time, Hatim has focused on coaching and submission grappling tournaments.

Sure, he’d make the trip to Europe with Arlovski to be in his corner as he usually does, but Hatim was now 38 years old and half a decade removed from his last fight. “The Pitbull” was suggesting that Hatim add to his coaching responsibilities on fight night with his own contest against a much younger competitor. Said didn’t hesitate.

“Andrei told me that he was fighting in a main event November 29 and asked me, ‘Oh, do you want to fight too?,’” Hatim recounts to CagePotato.

“We were joking like that. I said, ‘Yeah, I’ll fight.’”

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