Today at 1 p.m. PT, UFC prez Dana White and UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta will hold a press conference to address recent statements made by Randy Couture and answer questions for the media. MMAjunkie.com reports that UFC’s chief financial officer John Mulkey will also participate in the press conference, hopefully to illuminate some of the mystery behind the UFC’s signing bonuses, “locker-room bonuses,” and pay-per-view percentages. The press conference will be streamed live on UFC.com; stay tuned for wild liveblogging action, which will hopefully run a lot smoother than last time.
The word on the street is that Fedor Emelianenko’s first fight in the M-1 Global organization will be against former UFC heavyweight contender and self-proclaimed anarchist Jeff “The Snowman” Monson. MMA fans are discussing this matchup as if it’s a foregone conclusion due to this Rogue Magazine article in which Monson is quoted as saying “Yeah, it looks a go — and I can’t wait to have a shot at what most call the best guy out there. It’s a good possibility at the moment.” Could be a lot of fun to watch, but any fight Fedor takes that isn’t Randy Couture is going to seem like a mismatch at this point. M-1 has yet to make a formal announcement on the subject, but according to this unsourced, unreliable interview on the Sherdog forums, Fedor’s (and M-1 Global’s) first match will be in Chicago in February.
In other news, the rumors that Brad “The Hillbilly Heartthrob” Imes will be Brock Lesnar’s first UFC opponent are probably bullshit. Still, even if they were true, Imes wouldn’t be able to comment on a fight with Lesnar before the UFC did. So we’ll file this under “As good a guess as any.” It wouldn’t be a bad match-up, though — the 6’7″ Imes just scored his second-consecutive win by gogoplata, a feat as rare as winning your second-consecutive baseball game by inside-the-park grand-slam — and he’s been known to give inexperienced fighters a seriously bad time…
In the headlining match at yesterday’s K-1 HERO’s Korea event in Seoul, Yoshihiro Akiyama proved that he had no ring rust from his 10-month lubrication-related suspension. Though he was generally considered an underdog in his matchup against Denis Kang — an American Top Team member who had gone 20-1-1 with one no contest in his last 23 fights — Akiyama looked razor-sharp once he settled in, busting Kang’s nose with a jab and stalking his opponent until he connected with a right uppercut that put Kang’s lights out. Check out 6:22-6:24 — that nose isn’t so much broken as exploded.
Everything you need to know to start planning your week…
CBS, who just paid tribute to Randy Couture on Shark, will feature the man himself as a guest star on The Unit, another series I’ve never seen. The show airs at 9 p.m., and Couture will reprise his role as “Sgt. Strickland.” Also, UFC 71 and 72 are released on DVD.
It’s Halloween, and I’m dressing as Mystery. On The Ultimate Fighter, a frustrated, whiny Matt Hughes berates his team and asks them to give him one good reason why he should stay on the show as their coach. I think he learned that technique from Vince Lombardi.
Attention drunks! Atlanta honky-tonk Wild Bill’s is hosting Wild Bill’s Fight Night 12, featuring Rhomez Brower, Brent Weedman, and an appearance by Forrest Griffin. Biker attire is prohibited.
Undefeated 19-year-old phenom Chris Horodecki headlines the 2007 IFL World Grand Prix at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, IL, while the all-female MMA outfit Fatal Femmes Fighting comes to the Ontario Convention Center for “War of the Roses.”
If you’re like the vast majority of Americans, you’ve never seen an episode of Shark. And I hadn’t either until last night, when I was flipping through the ol’ digital cable and came across this description: “A fighting league’s CEO is charged with murder for pushing steroids.” Whoa, ripped from the headlines much?! I had to watch to see how this would play out.
First of all, Shark is basically a homeless-man’s Law and Order, where the show opens with a gruesome murder (inspired by a recent real-life news story), multiple people become suspects, and there’s a few twists and courtroom shockers at the end which lead to someone unexpected being nailed for the crime; a five-year-old could write this shit. So, the plot of last night’s episode: Steve Abbott, the heavyweight champion and #1 box-office attraction of the UFL (Ultimate Fighting League!) is found dead in his home from a gunshot wound to the head. James Woods and his crew first visit Abbott’s training partner Rick, who reveals that steroid use is rampant in the league. Woods makes the intellectual leap that the UFL’s CEO, Teddy Banks, forces his fighters to take steroids as a condition of their employment. They pay a visit to the league’s doctor, who folds like your mother on laundry day.
Tonight, the ShoXC Elite Challenger Series goes down at Santa Inez, California’s Chumash Casino Resort. The first three fights will be streamed live on the Internet starting at 9:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. PT on ProElite.com. The five-bout main card will be broadcast on Showtime starting at 11 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the west coast). If you happen to find yourself without plans this evening, tune in and pay attention to the following:
Other than a disqualification in January ’06 for an illegal kick against Yushin Okami, the last time Anderson Silva lost a fight was on New Year’s Eve 2004 at a PRIDE bout against Ryo Chonan. How that loss came about must be seen to be believed:
Note to UFC middleweights: Start working on your scissorlock-takedown heelhook-submissions immediately.
Today at 4 p.m. ET, the UFC will hold a media conference call to announce a new television deal, as well as the signing of Brock Lesnar and the UFC 79 fight between Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva.
A half-hour later, Randy Couture will be holding a press conference in Las Vegas to explain his disassociation with the UFC — and hopefully comment on his future plans. Couture’s press conference will be broadcast live on HDNet as well as on ProElite.com. (Hmm…could this mean a signing to EliteXC is a possibility? Could a Randy Couture/Kimbo Slice fight be far behind?)
Stay tuned for live-blogging madness…
UPDATE: The UFC media announcement will be broadcast here.
Well, it looks like my educated guess was correct on this one, as Team Hughes dropped another match on last night’s The Ultimate Fighter, putting them in a 5-1 hole and giving all control of the quarterfinal matchups to Team Serra. I just didn’t expect the loss to result from awful coaching, an oversized hand and a demonic possession.
Big ups to the guys at MMAjunkie.com, who were able to obtain official fight salaries for UFC 77 from the Ohio Athletic Commission. Below are the amounts that each fighter in the main card took home that night. (Keep in mind that the winners’ totals reflect a doubling of their base salary.)
Anderson Silva ($120,000) def. Rich Franklin ($45,000)
Tim Sylvia ($200,000) def. Brandon Vera ($100,000)
Stephan Bonnar ($44,000) def. Eric Schafer ($6,000)
Alan Belcher ($22,000) def. Kalib Starnes ($7,000)
So, lots to discuss here. First of all, Jorge Gurgel earned about 35 cents for every time he was punched in the face, which seems a little low. (I don’t get out of bed for less than 50 cents per face-punch.) His opponent Alvin Robinson came in with a $3,000 base salary — shockingly low for someone on the main card of a UFC pay-per-view event.
Dana White insists that Stephan Bonnar is one-half of the greatest UFC fight of all time, yet pays him a base salary of only $22,000, equal to that of Alan “Huh?” Belcher. This is the part where the average MMA fan would start up with the “Dana White has no loyalty” rant, railing at how poorly White treats fighters who temporarily fall out of favor (see also: Franklin’s surprisingly-low $45k take). But Tim Sylvia was never popular, and he makes a guaranteed hundred-thou per fight. But then again, so does Brandon Vera, and Vera was never champion.
Come to think of it, that Vera figure can’t be right. How does an up-and-coming heavyweight contender have a base salary that’s $40,000 more than the middleweight champion’s? It’s like Vera’s manager is Don Corleone, and Anderson Silva’s manager is this guy:
Some questions I had after watching SpikeTV’s “The 25 Tuffest Moments of All Time”…
— Has Forrest Griffin ever made a TV appearance where his face wasn’t covered in scabs and bruises? It’s as if him and Stephan Bonnar showed up to the taping and the producers were like, “Alright, let’s get Stephan into makeup, pronto. Forrest, we’re going to need to lay into your face with a phone book for 15 minutes or so, then rub dirt in your hair. Cool? You’re gonna look super tough.” I know the dude fights for a living and all, but I have a feeling he engages in some high-risk behavior on the side. Just speculating, here. Or maybe his body just doesn’t heal as fast as the average person’s. Maybe he has the opposite of what Wolverine has. Poor guy…
Back in August, Bodog — one of the world’s largest online gambling companies and owner of the BodogFights series — was ordered to pay $49 million in damages and forfeit its domain name after failing to respond to claims that their downloadable software infringes on a patent held by 1st Technology LLC. (I know, pretty boring so far.) Bodog CEO Calvin Ayre called the suit an “extortion attempt,” partly due to the fact that he isn’t able to personally respond to the charges in Las Vegas. (Bodog is based in Antigua, and the U.S. Department of Justice has a habit of arresting online gambling executives; 1st Technology may be counting on Ayre to settle out of court rather than risk arrest by traveling to Nevada. I know, still kind of boring.)
Anyway, it was reported today that Ayre has challenged 1st Technology CEO Scott Lewis to a three-round BodogFight rules MMA bout, with Ayre offering $1 million in prize money to get Lewis in the ring. If you’re wondering what kind of man would respond to a lawsuit by challenging the plaintiff to a fight, or if you’re wondering whether Ayre deserves to lose $49 million over a simple patent infringement claim that’s yet to be proven, the answer to both questions can be answered by this picture of Calvin Ayre:
[hint: a jerkoff, and yes]
What’s really troublesome about Calvin’s sad publicity stunt is that Scott Lewis would have to defeat Ayre 49 times to collect the total judgment. It should also be mentioned that one of the features currently on Bodog’s new site is Bif Naked Bride, an “8-Webisode Bodog TV Exclusive” that follows the pop-punk artist Bif Naked — remember that song “Moment of Weakness” from like 1998? No? — as she gets married to some dork. Wow. It’s not exactly subject matter I would normally associate with poker, or MMA, or the Internet for that matter. But if this is what it takes to get tattooed 30-something lesbians interested in gambling, maybe Calvin Ayre is smarter than we think. You don’t see George Maloof going after that market!
I forgot to mention one very important aspect of last night’s M-1 press conference — the gift bag, which contained an M-1 Global promo t-shirt (they had mediums!) and a French-language highlight DVD called Absolute Fedor. I’ve spent the majority of the afternoon watching this DVD while eating leftover pizza. (Condolences to those readers who have to work in an office every day, and deal with inept bosses and co-workers, and who have to actually get dressed in the morning. Maybe you should try developing specialized skills?)
Anyway, it’s pretty stunning to watch all of Emelianenko’s victories one after the other, and I wanted to post a couple of them since today is all about Fedor. The first is his meeting with Mark Coleman at PRIDE GP 2004, and the second is against Kazuyuki Fujita at PRIDE 26 in June 2003 (with appropriately off-the-wall introduction and commentary by my personal hero, Bas Rutten). Both of these fights illustrate what I think is the key to Emelianenko’s dominant success in MMA. It’s not just that his power punches are stronger than everyone else’s and his ground game is technically perfect. It’s that even when he’s nearly asleep from a choke-hold or a hard shot to the face (as you’ll see in these videos), he manages to remain calm and stick to his game plan until he figures out a way to win. You’ll also notice that when a guy loses to Fedor, he tends to stay on the mat for a while…
Hey guys. Sorry I got all serious and heavy with that last post. To make up for it, here’s a picture of UFC middleweight champ Anderson “The Spider” Silva wearing a ridiculous t-shirt.
I wonder what’s more effective with the ladies — that shirt, or the pickup line “I can choke you out from any position, plus I have knockout power in both my fists, as well as my knees,” delivered in a totally incomprehensible Portuguese accent.
This is a picture of the torso of Melvin Costa, the #10-ranked light heavyweight in the King of the Cage organization:
If you can get past the tattoo on his stomach that says “I have a small penis,” you might also notice that there’s a swastika on his chest. (There’s also a spiderweb tattoo on his elbow, generally worn by gang members who have murdered someone.)
I bring this up because if you haven’t already, you should read this intervew that Sam Caplan did with Costa for Caplan’s blog on ProElite.com. I think he does a great job in drawing out Costa’s mentality, which unsurprisingly is littered with flawed logic and ignorance.
So, it turns out that Marc Ecko’s only role in last night’s press conference at the Complex Media offices was donating the space. He hasn’t invested in a piece of M-1, and he won’t be branding anything else with an asterisk, as far as I know. You can all exhale.
Here’s what actually went down: Sibling Entertainment Group CEO Mitchell Maxwell, veteran MMA fight manager Monte Cox, Fedor Emelianenko and his manager Vadim Finkelchtein gathered to announce the formation of Sibling Sports LLC for the purpose of creating M-1 Global, a new worldwide MMA organization. Cox will act as the CEO, and Fedor will be its first marquee fighter, signed to a two-year/six-fight contract. I was there with my trusty Canon Digital Elph — easily the smallest camera in the room, and the only one without a telephoto lens. Regardless…
This guy walked out about 15 minutes after the press conference was originally slated to begin. For a brief moment, I thought that Fedor was going to announce that he’s grown out his hair and will be dropping down to the lightweight division.
Here’s Vadim and Fedor, seated with their interpreters. Matt Kaplan at FiveOuncesofPain.com described these women as “stunningly beautiful,” but I don’t know…to me, they seemed more like the “good from afar, but far from good” type. Still, having female interpreters is apparently a huge status symbol in Russia.
The most shocking moment of UFC 77 was the announcement that former WWE superstar Brock Lesnar has decided to switch his career focus from works to shoots, signing with the UFC as a heavyweight fighter.
As of now, Lesnar’s professional MMA record is a scant 1-0. Now, if I was an a-hole, I might say something like “Wow, a pro wrestler? The depths that Dana White will sink to inject interest into his flailing, star-less heavyweight division…” But I’m not that kind of a-hole. The truth is, Lesnar was absolutely terrifying as a amateur wrestler, amassing a 106-5 record in four years of college; his single pro fight resulted in a very credible submission-via-strikes victory over Min Soo Kim at K-1 Dynamite; and he might be the most physically imposing MMA fighter since Bob Sapp. Remember, this is a guy who once power-bombed a freakin’ shark:
It’s rumored that Lesnar will make his UFC debut at a February 2, 2008, event in Las Vegas, and we’re already looking forward to the WWE-style trash-talking. Stay tuned for the details of EliteXC’s imminent signing of “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan and Superfly Snuka…
It was recently reported that the seventh season of NBC’s The Apprentice will be a “Celebrity Edition,” with the confirmed “celebrities” including Stephen Baldwin, Vincent “Big Pussy” Pastore, CNBC’s Jim Cramer, and none other than THE HUNTINGTON BEACH *BAD* BOY, TITOOOOO ORTIIIIIIIIIIIIIIZ!!!!!(??)!!
Seriously, click here, sit through a 15-second Pantene commercial, and behold as Tito is caught by TMZ.com‘s cameras slinging hot dogs as part of an Apprentice challenge alongside Baldwin, Gene Simmons, Lennox Lewis, and a guy that looks a lot like Mystery from VH1′s The Pick-Up Artist, but who I’m told is probably country music star Trace Adkins. (Tito’s the one with the “Bad Boy For Life” t-shirt and enormous head.)
Sure, this may open the HBBB up to all kinds of ridicule by MMA fans, but it could be a great way for Ortiz to transition into the multiple income streams provided by reality TV stardom, employment in the Trump Organization, or hot dog selling. After all, the dude’s gotta retire from fighting someday — what’s he going to do, mooch off his best-selling author girlfriend forever?
Everything you need to know to start planning your week…
Fedor Emelianenko will formally announce the details of his new fight contract today at 5:30 p.m. ET, from Marc Ecko’s offices in New York City. Could this mean that Ecko has bought a controlling stake in the M-1 Mix Fight organization? Or will he announce his intention to brand Randy Couture’s UFC Hall of Fame plaque with an asterisk? Tune in tomorrow morning for my full report on the press conference (yes, I’ll be there).
Speaking of the world’s greatest heavyweight, the ION network will be televising Emelianenko’s April 14th BodogFight match against Matt Lindland at 11 p.m. (10 p.m. Central). Get pumped for the bout by watching the 25 Tuffest Moments of All Time highlight special on Spike at 8 p.m.
If you want to make some easy money, bet a friend that Team Hughes will drop another match this week on The Ultimate Fighter, putting Team Serra up 5-1. Let’s just call it a hunch (and not inside info from someone who isn’t allowed to comment on these things).
How can you think about MMA when MTV’s Making Menudo is premiering tonight? Priorities, people…
Undefeated 205-pounders Aaron Rosa and Jared Hamman clash at ShoXC: Elite Challenger Series, which will be broadcast on Showtime at 11 p.m., while former Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Marcus Jones makes his professional MMA debut at WFC’s Cage Wars V in North Tampa, Florida.
Founded by Randy Couture and Matt Lindland, Sportfight will showcase Oregon’s best fighters at “Homecoming”, held at the Rose Garden in Portland and presented by BodogFight. King of the Cage welterweight champion Aaron Wetherspoon defends his title against James Fanshier at “Arch Rivals” in Reno, Nevada.
Controversial lotion-user Yoshihiro Akiyama and PRIDE veteran Denis Kang headline the 12-fight card at Olympia HERO’s Korea 2007 in Seoul, Korea. So, if you’re in the area…
How hated, exactly, is Tim Sylvia? Let’s put it this way: He got booed more after his win over Brandon Vera on Saturday night than Anderson Silva did after knocking out Rich Franklin in Ace’s hometown of Cincinnati — while Silva was wearing Pittsburgh Steelers colors. Now that’s hate.
Scoring a unanimous decision over the good-humored, charismatic Vera in a fight that generally consisted of the two men clinching on their feet against the fence, Sylvia did nothing to change his image as a boring fighter who relies on his size to win matches. But you gotta feel for the dude; it can’t be fun to get booed at weigh-ins, and to have Brandon Vera explain to the crowd after the fight, “he’s a nice guy once you get to know him.” (Vera, it should be said, didn’t look too impressive against the Maine-iac, was responsible for most of the clinching that made the fight so dull, and should probably give up the ice cream and drop down to light heavyweight.)