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On This Day in MMA History… July 12


(Brock, pre-c*ck sword)

Former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar was born in Webster, South Dakota on this day in 1977.

Thanks to an undefeated 33-0 record he compiled in his final year of high school and an upset victory over top-seeded University of Minnesota heavyweight Brent Boeschans his division in the North Dakota State University’s Bison Open Tournament in 1997 while attending Bismarck Junior College, Lesnar was granted a full scholarship by Boeschans Alma Mater the following year after Bismarck dropped its wrestling program. Brock, who had amassed a 56-3 record in his two years at Bismarck wasted no time in making a name for himself at U of M by winning the Big 10 tournament and effectively ending Iowa’s 25-year streak as tournament champion.

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On This Day in MMA History…June 24


(PRIDE never die…)

PRIDE 3 went down 13 years ago.

Why it matters:

• Mark Kerr was still in his prime, which was how we want to remember “The Smashing Machine.” He easily handled IVC and IVF champ Pedro Otavio.

Gary Goodridge picked up his eighth MMA win.

Kazushi Sakuraba continued to assert his dominance over top competition by dispatching of Canadian rising star Carlos Newton, who would eventualy win the UFC welterweight strap.

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On This Day in MMA History…June 23


(Listen, Dana…Do you think you can say I was with you the night the heist went down?)

Lee Murray was released from a Morroccan jail 2 years ago.

Why it matters:

Although his freedom was short-lived (as in two days), it may be the only time the former UFC middleweight, who was sentenced to an additional 10-25 years for his part in the publicized Securitas heist in the UK, may taste freedom in the next two decades.

 

Ivan Salaverry retired from MMA three years ago…sort of.

Why it matters:

Salaverry announced that he was done fighting on this day in 2008, but later revealed (as illustrated in the interview above from Matt Lindland’s ‘Fighting Politics’ documentary) that his decision was brought on by the way he felt he and other fighters were mistreated by UFC president Dana White. Since there was a loophole in his UFC contract that stated that retirement nullified his agreement after a specified amount of time, after sitting out for nearly three years from his last bout at UFC 84, Salaverry pulled a Randy Couture and returned to action May 21 of this year to face Matt Ewin at Bamma 6. Unfortunately for the 40-year-old whose version of the mounted crucifix holds a special place in the heart of UFC commentator Joe Rogan, the long layoff and his age did him no favors as he lost the bout by unanimous decision.

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On This Day in MMA History…June 22


(Video courtesy of YouTube/Stemerm1)

Strikeforce: Shamrock vs. Baroni went down 4 years ago.

Why it matters:

• Frank Shamrock became Strikeforce’s inaugural middleweight champion after he defeated Phil Baroni at the EliteXC co-promoted event held at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California by choking “The New York Badass” unconscious with a rear-naked choke. Shamrock was criticized for “kicking” Baroni off of him after the bout. He explained the incident at the post-fight press conference. “He was heavy on top of me… he was squishing the life out of me… he was laying on my leg and on my chest… that’s it. And I thought it looked better on camera.” Shamrock would lose the strap one fight later to Cung Le.

• Following the bout California State Athletic Commission test results revealed that Baroni tested positive for Boldenone and Stanozolol steroid metabolites. He was fined $2,500 and suspended for a year from competing in California — a suspension that would be observed by every member agency in the Association of Boxing Commissions. Baroni denied any wrongdoing and appealed the decision and on October 31, 2007 Baroni’s suspension was reduced to 6 months without a even a shred of evidence presented that exonerated him.

• Murilo Rua defeated Joey Vilasenor to become the first EliteXC middleweight champion. He would lose it in his next fight with Robbie Lawler.

• Carter Williams was found by the CSAC to have tested positive for cocaine. As a result he was fined $1,000 and suspended for six months.

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On This Day in MMA History…June 21


(RIP Evan Tanner.)

Well, it wasn’t the most MMA history-steeped day, but there were a few noteworthy events that took place on this day in MMA.

The Ultimate Fighter 7 Finale went down 3 years ago.

Evan Tanner Post Fight Interview
Tags: Evan Tanner Post Fight Interview

Why it Matters:

The event marked the final fight of former UFC middleweight champion Evan Tanner before his untimely death in the Paolo Verde, California desert. In spite of a close split-decision loss to Kendall Grove on the card, Tanner would give perhaps his last and most harrowing interview that provided an eerie foreboding soundbite that fans will forever make wonder if it was in reference to his career or his troubled life. “I’m feeling off, flat, can’t move. Maybe it’s…you know…Maybe my day is done.”

The event also saw the first TUF winner with no professional fighting experience crowned. Amir Sadollah, who has since racked up a respectable 5-2 record in the Octagon defeated the more seasoned former Arizona State wrestling standout CB Dollaway by first round submission.

One of the night’s winners, Diego Sanchez, would make an ill-fated decision he may now regret in retrospective. Following his win over Luigi Florvanti, Diego announced that he would be dropping to light weight to take a run at a title in the lighter class. After racking up a pair of wins over Joe Stevenson and CLay Guida, “The Nightmare,” as he was known back then, lost via decisive fifth-round TKO stoppage to then-lightweight champion BJ Penn at UFC 107. After a one-year stint as a lightweight, the TUF 1 middleweight winner decided to move back up to welterweight where he has since compiled a 2-1 record with a loss to John Hathaway and a pair of wins over Martin Kampmann and Paulo Thiago.

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On This Day in MMA History…June 20


(Time sure does fly…)

WEC 49 went down 1 year ago.

Why it matters:

Josh Grispi earned the next shot at WEC featherweight champ Jose Aldo with his win over LC Davis at this show held in Edmonton, Alberta. Because of an injury, Aldo had to pull out of their planned UFC 125 bout. Rather than wait for his shot, Grispi took a fight with Dustin Poirier on the January card and lost via unanimous decision. As a result, another fighter who impressed on the UFC 49 card earned the next shot at Aldo.

Mark Hominick was en route to a unanimous decision loss to fellow Canadian Yves Jabouin in Edmonton, but pulled out one of the most impressive come from behind wins in WEC history.

Stunned and dropped by a stiff right hand, Hominick weathered the ensuing ground and pound onslaught, swept Jabouin and forced a TKO stoppage via punishment from the mount.

A quick first round TKO win over teammate George Roop in his next bout earned him a shot at Aldo at UFC 129 this past April. Although he couldn’t finish the Aldo, Hominick showed the heart of a champion by fighting through a massive, disgusting hematoma to give Aldo the fight of his life and finishing the last round in dominating fashion.

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On This Day in MMA History…June 19


(Back when Ken was making more than GSP…)

The TUF 11 Finale went down 1 year ago.

Why it matters:

Five of the fighters from the show are still active in the UFC and four are undefeated in the Octagon.

TUF winner Court McGee, who defeated Kris McCray in the finale by rear naked choke also beat Ryan Jensen by arm triangle at UFC 121 in October. He’s set to face Don Yi Yang at UFN “Battle at the Bayou” in September.

Kyle Noke, who was beaten by teammate McCray by unanimous decision in the quarterfinals of the show, defeated Josh Bryant by TKO at the finale and rattled off two rear naked choke submission wins against Rob Kimmons at UFC 122 in November and TUF 11 cast mate Chris Camozzi at UFC 127 at home in Australia in February. He’ll face Tom Lawlor next at UFC Live: Hardy vs. Lytle in August.

Brad Tavares, who lost to McGee in the semi-finals by rear naked choke is undefeated in official competition as well as 2-0 in the Octagon.He defeated TUF 11 quarterfinal opponent Seth Baczynski at the finale by unanimous decision and Phil Baroni by knockout at UFC 125 in January.

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On This Day in MMA History…June 17


(Since this sculpture seemed to be a major talking point…)

Minoru Suzuki was born 43 years ago.

Why he matters: One of the co-founders of Pancrase — the pre-cursor to the UFC — Suzuki was of the best Japanese submission specialists of his era. He holds wins over Ken Shamrock, Vernon White, Matt Hume and Guy Mezger and Maurice Smith. A former Olympic alternate freestyle wrestler for Japan and former Japanese freestyle wrestling national champion, Suzuki retired from MMA competition in 2002 with a record of 27-20 to focus on professional wrestling, in which he is still active today.


(Video courtesy of YouTube/MrDartzero)

Many MMA luminaries from Bas Rutten and Ken Shamrock to Josh Barnett count Suzuki as one of THE best catch wrestlers the sport has ever known.


(Video courtesy of YouTube/scientificwrestling)

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On This Day in MMA History: 14 Years Ago Dan Henderson Made His MMA Debut


Dan henderson first fight by MMAGLORY

We’re going to try to do an almost daily “On This Day in MMA History” series starting with this appropriate first installment that features one of the sports most popular and successful fighters, former Pride welterweight and middleweight and current Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Dan Henderson.

14 years ago today “Hendo” made his MMA debut in Brazil against Crezio de Souza in the opening round of the Brazil Open ’97 lightweight (176lbs and below) tournament.  Henderson’s bracket of the one-day grand prix also featured Jose “Pele” Landi-Jons, while the heavyweight side featured Kevin Randleman and Tom Erickson.

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