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Tag: MMA

Exclusive Interview: NY Assemblyman Rob Walker — Our Man in Long Island

Rob Walker New York State Assembly Committee MMA
(Photo courtesy of Newsday.)

Great news, fight fans — we now officially know more New York State Assemblymen who support the regulation of MMA in New York than those who are against it.

A lifelong resident of Long Island, Rob Walker has been a member of the New York State Assembly since 2005 and currently sits on the Assembly Committee for Tourism, Arts, and Sports Development. And like our friend Jonathan Bing, Walker is a co-sponsor of the bill to lift the MMA ban in New York. We called Assemblyman Walker at his office yesterday to discuss the public support for MMA in Long Island and why it’s finally time for New York State to say "yes" to safe, sanctioned competition.

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CAGEPOTATO.COM: How did you become involved with the Tourism, Arts and Sports Development Committee?
ROB WALKER: Prior to my election, I was the deputy commissioner of parks in the town of Oyster Bay, so it was just logical that when they handed out committee assignments, I’d wind up on the committee that oversees parks, recreation and tourism. I took my role in local government and brought it to the State Legislature.

What initially drew you to the MMA regulation issue?
First and foremost, I actually have some constituents and friends that have been fighting in New Jersey and everywhere else, and they brought it to my attention that we can’t even hold events because it’s not sanctioned in New York State. So that was the first knowledge I had of the sport, and then with the bill that was coming out last year we got more intimately involved and gained some more knowledge of what it’s about. We’re just trying to learn all we can before we take some action.

Why is it a good time to finally lift the ban on MMA in New York?
I think there are a couple reasons. First, the economic advantages are quite apparent. And it’s also what we’re competing against — New York is competing against many states that border it, and we’re losing out. Our residents are going across state lines to compete, and why should New York be one of five or six states that don’t allow participation in MMA? What’s ironic about this bill is that it’s not even demanding that the athletic commission remove the ban; we’re simply giving the athletic commission the ability to go in and see if they want to provide sanctions.

What do you think of Assemblyman Bob Reilly’s arguments that MMA would breed more violence in society, and that it would be economically harmful to New York?

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UFC 96′s Best Photos

Pete Sell Matt Brown UFC 96 MMA

Props to UFC.com, MMAWeekly, Sherdog, and CombatLifestyle.

Joe Rogan Columbus MMA UFC 96 Patt Brandon Vera UFC 96 MMA Patt Brandon Vera UFC 96 MMA Kendall Grove Jason Day UFC 96 MMA Gray Maynard Jim Miller UFC 96 MMA Matt Hamill Mark Munoz UFC 96 MMA Matt Hamill Mark Munoz MMA UFC 96 Matt Hamill UFC 96 MMA Matt Brown Pete Sell UFC 96 MMA Matt Brown Pete Sell UFC 96 Pete Sell UFC 96 MMA Keih Jardine Quinton Rampage Jackson UFC 96 MMA Keith Jardine Quinton Rampage Jackson MMA UFC 96 Quinton Rampage Jackson Rashad Evans UFC 96 MMA face-off Shane Carwin UFC 96 MMA Miguel Torres Mike Goldberg MMA UFC

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Aleks Emelianenko Leaves Red Devil, Continues to Pretend That He Can Fight in America


(‘I drink gypsy potion during full moon.  Hepatitis gone now.  Is fine.’)

In a statement posted by Dream Fighters, Aleksander Emelianenko announced that he has left Russia’s Red Devil team under what he claims are amicable circumstances.  Of course, he also goes on to claim that he will soon be fighting in America again, so maybe we shouldn’t believe everything we read here:

I will say right away that there was no conflict between us. I asked the club president Vadim Filkenstein to remove all contractual obligations from me connecting me to “Red Devil”, as well as their obligations for me. Vadim was not against this. But we have also agreed, that as a promoter he will still offer me to participate in some events and fights, and I will review those offers. I asked Vadim to put me down for the next Affliction event, which will happen in the Summer, since I have the contract with Americans for three fights. Currently there is no concrete answer, since it is not yet known when exactly this event will take place, and who will be participating. But nothing is interfering with me fighting on such a big show in America.

Nothing is interfering with you fighting in America, Aleks?  Not even the California State Athletic Commission refusing to license you and then vowing that no other commission in the country would do so either?  Any of that ring a bell?

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Shane Carwin: A Man in Need of a Nickname


(I know, tons of words rhyme with Shane, but let’s think this through.)

There’s a discussion brewing in our forums right now, begun by user LuketheDuke, with the goal of finding a suitable nickname for UFC heavyweight Shane Carwin.  Luke is right, here.  Carwin doesn’t have a nickname (that we know of — maybe he’s keeping it a secret?), and after knocking out Gabriel Gonzaga and cracking the all-important top ten in the Cage Potato Power Rankings, the time is now.  

Trouble is, after looking through your forum posts I see that many of you are in love with the rhyming nickname.  This disappoints me.  As awesome as suggestions like Shane “The Great Dane” Carwin and Shane “You’ll Need a Cane” Carwin are, rhyming nicknames always seem forced.  Although at least T Rex rhymed the last name with his submission: Shane “Darwin” Carwin (since the dude is bringing survival of the fittest back to the UFC’s heavyweight division).  I like that.

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Mike Goldberg Is Driving Us to Drink

Mike Goldberg MMA UFC
(He’s the one in the creepy Jesus t-shirt. Photo courtesy of the UFC 96: Friday Night Preparties set on CombatLifestyle.com.)

SackMikeGoldberg is a new-ish blog by BloodyElbow writer Mike Fagan that specializes in dissing Goldie’s clumsy UFC commentary and the middle-school-caliber writing level of MMA bloggers. (Damn, bro — shoot fish in a barrel much?) Of particular interest is the site’s official drinking game, which does seem like it would get you fucked up in short order:

Take a drink if Mike…
 
-Says, “Here we go!”
-Says, “It’s all over!”
-Plugs a non-UFC entity during a fight
-Warns, “Watch the upkick(s)!”
-Says anything that Joe directly and immediately refutes
-Mentions Randy Couture or Chuck Liddell (disregard during a Liddell or Couture fight or if Couture is in the broadcast booth)
-References the “official” UFC stats during the main event
-Calls someone a “future UFC hall-of-famer”
-Brings up Griffin/Bonnar I
-Asks “Can he finish?”
-Tells Joe that you can “make the argument”
-Says, “Virtually identical.”
 
Finish your drink if Mike…
 
-Doesn’t make you take a drink during a fight that lasts longer than one minute.

To prevent a bad hangover the next morning, we recommend drinking a glass of water every time Mike throws it to "the veteran voice of the Octagon, Bruce Buffer." Though you should definitely do a shot of bottom-shelf tequila every time Goldberg does something that makes his partner visibly uncomfortable.

Now who wants to make the Joe Rogan drinking game?

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Donnie Come Lately: King to Take a Swing at MMA Promotion

Don King MMA rocket launcher
(Only in America…would this man be allowed to handle a rocket launcher.)

Chilling news from MMA Junkie: Apparently, wild-ass boxing promoter/double-murderer Don King has been brought on as a senior advisor for RHM Productions, a new entity headed up by former Sky Capital Holdings CEO Ross Mandell that is planning to put on MMA events. Dig:

While complete details of the new group’s business plan were not immediately clear, the company’s initial efforts are expected to begin with a reality show/documentary film series in the style of HBO’s successful "24/7," which will use the program to build up the as-yet-unnamed promotion’s fighters before the debut event…
 
Broadcast distribution for the new promotion’s reality series and debut event is reportedly in negotiations. While the sources could not reveal what networks were involved in the bidding process, King’s 30-plus-year relationship with the subscription-cable giant HBO would seem to provide a unique in-road to the channel’s programming…

It seems that King was brought into the picture via his longtime news media advisor Robert Weneck, who heard about the new promotion and pounced:

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Pete Sell Is Okay; Yves Lavigne Admits to Screwing Up


The one person in the MMA world not criticizing Yves Lavigne for his refereeing decisions in UFC 96’s Matt Brown/Pete Sell bout is Pete Sell.  And that makes sense.  Just like Josh Koscheck asked all refs everywhere to let him get beaten into unconsciousness before stopping his fights, Sell also wants the opportunity to try and get back in the fight, even when it’s a really bad idea:

"I want always to be given the chance to fight back, not matter what," Sell said Tuesday. "I thought he did good with that. … I want any referee that judges the fight to always give me the benefit of the doubt that I’m always willing to fight."

But willingness to fight isn’t so much the issue.  It’s whether he’s capable of fighting intelligently, or whether he’s so dazed that he’s taking needless punishment.  The referee is there to make that decision because we don’t trust individual fighters – guys like Sell, whose tremendous heart could get him seriously hurt in such a situation – to make that decision for him.  

Lavigne failed in that task, and he knows it:

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CagePotato Power Rankings Updated

Shane Carwin UFC 96 MMA
(Shane Carwin — one of the ten best heavyweights in the world. Photo courtesy of UFC.com)

In the wake of UFC 95, WEC 39, and UFC 96, we’ve tidied up the heavyweight, light-heavyweight, middleweight, welterweight, and featherweight top ten lists in our Power Rankings section. Some notable changes…

— Shane Carwin enters the heavyweight list at #9 after taking out his first Top 20 opponent in 69 seconds.

Keith Jardine leaves the light-heavyweight list (temporarily, at least) after his loss to Quinton Jackson on Saturday. He may have beaten a post-peak Chuck Liddell and a pre-peak Forrest Griffin, but it’s unclear if he has what it takes to beat a high-level opponent when they’re at their best.

Robbie Lawler and Jake Shields drop a spot due to inactivity. Not their fault, but whaddya gonna do. Luckily, their stints in Strikeforce begin soon.

Josh Koscheck falls to #8 on the welterweight list after being upset by Paulo Thiago. Kos definitely still has the talent of a top-ten fighter — he’s just made some unfortunate choices.

— Jose Aldo ascends to #6 on the featherweight list after his fourth brutal stoppage win in the WEC.

Check ‘em out and let us know if you see things differently.

Unrelated, but important: Thanks so much for all your awesome nominations in our Best MMA Bars forum thread. We’re going to start compiling our list soon, so if you have any others to share, please let us know!

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Fighter Names Released for ‘The Ultimate Fighter: U.S. vs. U.K.’


(Boooooooo! U-S-A! U-S-A!)

Yahoo! Sports has revealed the 32 castmembers for the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter, which will pit a group of American fighters (coached by Dan Henderson) against a group of fighters from the U.K. (coached by Michael Bisping). Featuring welterweights and lightweights, "TUF 9" will premiere on April 1st, directly following UFC Fight Night: Condit vs. Kampmann. Here’s what Yahoo! dug up about the upcoming crop of UFC hopefuls.

U.S. welterweights
• Ryan Biglar (2-1): Biglar, 24, is a jiu-jitsu fighter originally from Guam who represents the Cobra Kai in Las Vegas.
 
Ray Elbe (20-11): A Muay Thai fighter, the 25-year-old Elbe has spent the last three years working on his game in Phuket, Thailand. The most notable man he’s faced was Renato Verissimo, who knocked him out in 2003.
 
Christian Fulgium (6-2-1): A wrestler, Fulgium represents the Gladiator camp in Lafayette, La.
 
DaMarques Johnson (13-6): Johnson took up MMA training while in the military. Training out of Elite Performance in Salt Lake City, Johnson once faced former World Extreme Cagefighting welterweight champion Brock Larson, who submitted him in a 2005 bout.
 
Kevin Knabjian (10-3-1): A wrester from Eastern Illinois University, the same school that produced UFC star Matt Hughes, the one-time WEC fighter trains at Gilbert Grappling in Chicago.
 
Mark Miller (10-4): A Muay Thai fighter also based in Chicago, Miller trains at Dino Costeas MMA and Toro Muay Thai.
 
Jason Pierce (9-0): A one-time collegiate soccer player, Pierce trains with the vaunted Miletich Fighting Systems camp in Bettendorf, Iowa.
 
• Kiel Reid (8-1): A native of Bettendorf, Reid also trains with Miletich, whose experience includes a 2004 fight against UFC veteran Luigi Fiorvanti.

After the jump: the rest of the American fighters, and Team Bisping.

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Exclusive Interview: NY Assemblyman Jonathan Bing Fights for the Cause

Jonathan Bing MMA New York Assemblyman

In our efforts to spread awareness about the current fight to legalize mixed martial arts in New York State, we’ve wasted a lot of energy shaking our fists at the opposition. So let’s all take a deep breath and keep in mind one thing — Assemblyman Bob Reilly is just one man, with one vote. Luckily, there are reasonable men and women on the Assembly Committee for Tourism, Arts and Sports Development, who have a different idea about what’s best for New York and its athletes.

One of those men is Jonathan Bing. Representing New York’s 73rd Assembly District since 2002, Bing is a co-sponsor of the bill to regulate our sport in the Empire State. Though his work in the State Assembly has included everything from organizing free flu shots for seniors and dental exams for children, to helping 9/11 rescue and clean-up workers attain workman’s compensation benefits, he is now at the forefront of the movement to lift NY’s outdated 12-year-old ban on MMA. We recently caught up with Assemblyman Bing to discuss how MMA would help New York, the arguments of its critics, and when MMA could finally come to Madison Square Garden.

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CAGEPOTATO.COM: What initially drew you to the MMA legalization issue?
JONATHAN BING: As a member of the Assembly Tourism Committee, this issue has been before the committee for about a year now, and due to my membership on that committee and my interest in tourism and cultural issues, I became involved.

Had you been a fan of the sport before, or at least aware of it?
I’ve been aware of it. I’m not particularly a fan of the sport, but I’m a fan of increasing revenue to the state of New York, and I’m a fan of high-quality athletics. It’s not really something that I personally would order a pay-per-view for, but I appreciate what it would mean to the state in terms of revenue, and I appreciate the quality of the athletes participating in it.

Why is it a good time to finally lift the ban on MMA in New York?
Well, it’s something that pretty much every state with an athletic commission has approved, so we know it’s been working in other states, and we know how successful it’s been in terms of raising revenue. We’re in a desperate fiscal time right now where we’re looking for any way possible to raise revenue in New York State, and this would provide perhaps millions of dollars if we were to allow these competitions.

Assemblyman Bob Reilly has been very vocal about his opposition to your bill. Have you had any personal discussions with him about it?

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