Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic has finally achieved something he never had up this point in his legendary fight career and has become a world champion. Cro Cop defeated Ismael Londt yesterday in the finals of the 2013 K-1 Grand Prix, held in Zagreb, Croatia.
Prior to the finals, Cro Cop also decisioned Pavel Zhuravlev and Jarrell Miller – a win with some controversy because many observers felt Miller deserved to get the nod from the judges. There was not controversy in the finals, however, as Cro Cop scored a knockdown via left high kick (!) in the second round.
The thirty eight year-old kick boxer, former special forces member and member of Croatia’s Parliament, first fought in K-1 seventeen years ago. He got close but never managed to become champion of the organization’s vaunted Grand Prix before last night. Cro Cop moved on to fight in MMA in Pride and once more got close, twice, to becoming a world champion but on two occasions lost in world title fights – once to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in an interim title bout and once to Fedor Emelianenko.
After the UFC purchased Pride, Cro Cop would go on to fight ten times in the American organization, compiling a 4-6 record and leaving after three straight losses. He has since fought and won once more in MMA competition, this past New Year’s Eve against Shinichi Suzukawa in Japan.
Cro Cop decided to make another run in kickboxing and last night’s home-town win vindicates his decision. Watch his full finals bout in the above video and then highlights of some of our favorite Cro Cop moments after the jump.
(Insert whatever version of a “Ground-n-Pound” sex joke you see fit here.)
When UFC Hall of Famer Mark Coleman stormed onto the mixed martial arts scene in 1996 following a storied college wrestling career and top 10 placing in the 1992 Summer Olympics, he brought with him an economic, workman style of fighting that would lead him to championship glory on his first night out. The event was the aptly-named UFC 10: The Tournament, and after beating the rights to the nickname “The Hammer” out of Moti Horenstein in his very first fight (an agreement that Moti never honored), Coleman would take out veteran Gary Goodridge and UFC 8 tournament winner Don Frye in back-to-back fights to claim the tournament championship. Coleman would repeat this feat in even more dominant fashion at UFC 11 and would unify the Heavyweight and Superfight Championships at UFC 12 the following year by choking out fellow scary wrestler Dan Severn. With the victory, Coleman’s legacy as one of the sport’s pioneers was all but written in the history books.
But Coleman didn’t stop there. Over the next 14 years, Coleman would not only popularize but would be dubbed “The Godfather” of the wrestling-based, “ground-n-pound” attack that would lead him to a PRIDE openweight championship in 2000 and a list of victories over the likes of Mauricio Rua, Stephan Bonnar, and Igor Vovchanchyn to name a few. But as all good things must come to an end, so must the legendary career of the now 48 year-old Coleman. Although he hasn’t fought since his 2010 submission loss to Randy Couture — a bout that would mark the first Hall of Famer vs. Hall of Famer fight in UFC history — Coleman has decided to officially announce his retirement from the sport as of yesterday. “The Hammer,” who is scheduled to undergo hip surgery next week (because that’s what old people do, amiright? *self-fives*), posted the following on his Facebook:
Total Hip replacement next Monday. Ouch.
The hammer is done fighting. I know been done. Just looking for some prayers.
i thank everyone who will help me get through this. Have to pay to play sometimes. Only regret is could have worked harder.
Love you all live your dream.
After the jump: A look back at some of Coleman’s greatest moments, as well as one of his worst.
“I don’t know what happens in Japan, but makes me feel young again.” Wanderlei Silva returned to the scene of his many glorious crimes last night at UFC on Fuel 8, knocking out Brian Stann in the second round of their main event bout.
At the post-event press conference, a proud and happy Wanderlei reflected on his win, his career and looked towards an uncertain future. Wanderlei reigned supreme in the now defunct Japanese Pride Fighting Championships organization for years but had not fought in his adopted professional home since 2006.
“I’m happy to make a good fight. Brian Stann is a tough opponent…this victory is for my fans, who give support to mem” he continued at the post-presser.
“I don’t have words for how happy I am right now. This job is a tough job. After so many years of fighting, every time it is harder to do that.”
Watch and listen to everything else Wanderlei and other UFC on Fuel 8 fighters had to say last night after the action.
MMA legend Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic is a man of many skills. Before he was a world class MMA fighter, he was a top kickboxer. Before that, he was a special forces officer in the military of his native Croatia. He also later became an elected member of his country’s parliament.
Filipovic is also no stranger to making ridiculous videos and posting them on the internet. He’s made videos of darkly humorous, (or sometimes just dark) pranks where he’s laughing like a hyena at the end of them. Case in point, the video after the break of him punking the very worthy subject of then Pride television broadcast commentator Mauro Ranallo. There’s also my favorite video with “Cro Cop” refereeing an impromptu boxing match between two aging, drunk men at a backyard cookout, that has unfortunately been taken down from youtube and may be lost to future generations.
Just as he insists is the case with his fight career, however, Filipovic isn’t done with goofy internet videos yet, nation. The above video reveals a basketball hoop installed in his home gym. What “Cro Cop” and his teammates do with that situation is nothing short of awesome.
May we present, Croation MMA-Basketball. There’s dribbling, shooting, pink singlet guy, arm bars, knees and lots of choking. And then “Cro Cop” speaking Croatian at the end in a high-pitched voice, perhaps mocking someone.
Hey ‘Taters. I’ve been working on a new MMA podcast called “The Conversation” over the past few months, and we’re finally ready to debut it. The concept is simple — in depth, retrospective conversations with the most fascinating people in the fight world.
The production is basic and it’s something that I’ll be working to improve over time. What I hope shines through are the incredible stories that the remarkable people we speak with share during these honest and intimate conversations.
For this episode I traveled to New York to visit with everyone’s favorite Gracie, Renzo. In fact, it was just about a week or two before his now famous mugger smackdown tweet-a-thon. In my own head, I like to think that Renzo discussing self-defense and street fights during this podcast recording got his old-school juices flowing again. That, of course, is nonsense.
Renzo is always Renzo. He has deeply held convictions and stories that would make the fictional “World’s Most Interesting Man,” look like a mail room clerk in comparison.
And if you thought you’ve heard all the crazy stories Renzo had to tell before, I guarantee you have not before now. Renzo details a very independent childhood that had him fighting drug dealers on beaches to living in an Amazon brothel, experiencing lots of firsts. He goes on to talk about his pioneering family and a bit about his own time in Pride and the UFC.
He also opens up about the direction his careers have gone, possible regrets, and looking towards the future. If you love fight stories, life philosophy, and laughing your ass off, join us after the jump for this informal conversation with Renzo Gracie. Enjoy, and let me know what you think.
Last Friday we (and the rest of the known cyber MMA world) complained about Singapore MMA promotion One FC botching an otherwise solid event in the Philippines with convoluted rules relating to kicks to the heads of downed opponents. Referees somehow had to give fighters “permission” in the moment to throw kicks to the heads of their fallen opponents.
None of us who watched it could ever forget when former UFC and Pride champion Mark Colemanembraced his sobbing daughters in the ring after losing to Fedor Emelianenko in 2006 and reassured them that “daddy was alright.” Turns out, neither have his daughters. But, according to one of them, it wasn’t nearly the terrifying experience that we all assumed it to be.
“It was so fun out there…I don’t regret it at all,” Coleman’s daughter said during an interview for an HDNet Fights segment on her dad, which you can check out above.
Coleman was also interviewed, and teared up when talking about the moment and the criticism that he received for it. The idea that he had in some way traumatized his daughters by bringing them to the fight — then introducing them to the man who beat him up — is still hard for Coleman to swallow. “Being a dad was the most important thing to me in the world,” he said.
We can’t really blame Coleman for trying to do what he thought was best, especially since it doesn’t look like he did it flippantly; he was just shouting out to his daughters in the audience with the mic, and PRIDE officials apparently ushered them into the ring to make for “good” TV. At any rate, it’s nice to see that his daughters are rockstar athletes now, rather than rabid anti-MMA activists.
(Busto vs. Anjo at UFC 25, or, before the UFC’s commentating team knew what an arm-triangle choke was.)
Former UFC Middleweight Champion Murilo Bustamante will be returning to action for the first time since 2010 on March 31st when he headlines Amazon Forest Combat 2. And if that sentiment alone doesn’t give you a fearection, then get this: the man he will meet across the cage is none other than the same one he took the UFC Middleweight title from, Dave Menne.
One of the founding member of Brazilian Top Team and a twenty year MMA veteran, Bustamante’s grappling accolades are extensive to say the least, including four Brazilian National BJJ Championships, a 1999 Mundials World Championship, and several appearances in the ADCC World Submission Wrestling Championships. After defeating Menne back in January of 2002 at UFC 35 by second round TKO, Bustamante would defend the belt once, submitting Matt Lindland with a guillotine in the third round of their UFC 37 title fight. Financial disputes with the UFC, however, would force Bustamante to vacate the title shortly thereafter and sign with PRIDE FC, where he would go 4-5 against the likes of Dan Henderson, Ikuhisa Minowa, and Quinton Jackson. Bustamante will be looking to erase the memory of his last performance, an abysmal second round TKO due to retirement loss to TUF 7 alumnus Jesse Taylor at Impact FC 2 in July of 2010.
Join us after the jump to hear Bustamante’s thoughts on his upcoming rematch with Menne, as well as his pick for a future opponent that will make the PRIDE fan within you channel Lenne Hardt.
(If it isn’t my old nemesis, “The Knee.” Come to finish me off, have you?)
Well this is interesting. Coming off a razor thin decision loss in a Fight of the Year candidate match with Dan Henderson at UFC 139, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua is looking to get back in the 205 lb mix. With many of the division’s elite already tied up in their own fights, the former UFC Light Heavyweight champ finds himself in a difficult position in terms of matchmaking. But according to Rua, there is one specific fight he has his eyes set on, and it’s not the one you would think. Here’s what he recently told Tatame.com:
The fight against Rampage will happen eventually. It’s inevitable and UFC knows it. He won’t retire before fighting me and neither am I (laughs).
(“Where’s your other fist and why do they call you ‘Master’ anyway?”)
Just a friendly reminder that the UFC is on Japanese time this weekend, so everything will be happening a bit later than usual.
Today’s weigh-ins are going down at 11:00 pm ET and we’ll have the live stream for you below.
Will the fighters play up to the Japanese crowd? Will young local girls cover their mouths and laugh when fighters disrobe? Will Akiyama cause mass hysteria and women to pass out? Will Dana be booed by the PRIDE faithful?
All of these questions and more will be answered after the jump.
Joe Rogan debuted his new recurring segment on Fuel’s Ultimate Insider show this week and it was pretty good. For the first episode, Joe looked back on what made PRIDE awesome. The standout moment had to be his wild-eyed impersonation of former PRIDE announcer Lenne Hardt.
Anderson Silva — a longtime training partner of “Pele,” who lost to the Cuban-born fighter twice in muay thai competition — credits the original Chuteboxe team fighter with helping make him the dangerous fighter he is today.
Well, it appears that Pele is back to form after suffering a career threatening leg break back in 2008 and now the 38-year-old, who is undefeated in his four bouts since returning from the grisly injury, will take on Jorge “Macaco” Patino for the third time at MMA Combat 2 Kumite on January 20 in Brazil.
URCC (Philippines), Cage Fighting Championship (Australia), ROAD Fighting Championship (Korea), DARE Championship (Thailand), Team Lakay Wushu (Philippines), Tiger Muay Thai and MMA (Thailand), Tigers Gym (India), Evolve Mixed Martial Arts (Singapore), Legacy Gym (Thailand), Tough MMA (Taiwan), Synergy Jiu-Jitsu (Indonesia), Juggernaut FC (Singapore), Fightworks Asia (Singapore), PAK MMA (Pakistan), Team Force (Korea), MuayFit (Malaysia), Leverage MMA (Malaysia)
Aside from this list, CEO/Owner Victor Cui announced that they would be adding 23 more gyms and promotions to their network in the following weeks in an effort to “unify Asian MMA and to build the sport that we all love dearly.” Cui continued:
(If Aleks hadn’t gone and contracted Hep C, they could have sorted things out the old fashioned way. – vid courtesy of YouTube/Sakuraba78)
When Russians fight, they don’t beat around the bush.
In an interview he did over the weekend with Valetudo.ru in which he responded to claims from Aleksander Emelianenko that his brother’s loss to Dan Henderson over the weekend was the fault of Fedor’s trainers, Sergei Kharitonov called Lil’ Emel “a drunken, diseased drug addict who wasn’t raised properly and who was a mistake.”
“When I read his interview I laughed out loud. Although he is 30 years old and that’s certainly not the reason for laughter. Firstly, for guys like Aleks I am not ‘Serezha’ but rather ‘Sergei Valeryevich.’ Secondly, it’s about time for him to learn how to compress thoughts and, above all, to think before he speaks. He didn’t get a proper upbringing, I guess, but I don’t want to go deeper in it – he doesn’t deserve so much honor. He is a great trash-talker, but real fighters prove their strength in the ring. Aleks is a drinker, he is always brawling. Normal men like me or Fedor would never drink to alcoholic mania and fight in the street. But I often hear about Aleks getting into scraps like this in different corners of our country,” he says. “He rampages, harasses the waitresses and other girls, lies, cries on every corner that he is a champion of the world and the strongest man on Earth. I guess, this is some kind of a drug effect.”
(We know one thing: some female Japanese reporters are getting dry-humped by Rampage come February 26.)
When Zuffa effectively killed PRIDE soon after purchasing the Japanese promotion back in 2007 for a reported $64-million US, when UFC president Dana White stated it was just impossible to deal with the Yakuza, it seemed unlikely that we would ever see the Octagon in the Land of the Rising Sun again.
Well, it looks like dealing with the Yakuza in 2011 is a lot easier than it was four years ago.
According to MMAWeekly, the UFC is close to finalizing a date and location for its first Japanese show since 2000, and the first under the Zuffa banner since Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta purchased the company from SEG in January 2001. The date for the planned show would be February 26 and the planned venue is the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama — the arena that housed 24 of PRIDE’s 68 events.
Of course, you wouldn’t expect us to make inappropriate jokes about the UFC in the first place.Props: ufcundisputed.com
As a gamer, it sometimes confuses me that I get so excited about the release of new sports games. Other than updated rosters and an occasional gimmick that actually pans out, I’m essentially buying the exact same game every year. Not to mention that for every new feature that I’ll actually use, such as the truck stick in Madden games, there are two or three that I’ll either ignore or downright loathe. So for me to actually be excited about the newest edition of UFC Undisputed is sort of an accomplishment.
Earlier this week, THQ and the UFC released details regarding the game’s development. Set to be released in January of 2012, UFC Undisputed 3 will be available for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 gaming consoles. Obviously, UFC Undisputed 3 will feature the addition of featherweights and bantamweights, improved graphics and new camera angles, just like every other sequel to a sports game. For those of you looking to get in touch with your inner Mayhems, the game will also have fighter entrances. What is especially noteworthy though is that the game will also allow players to play in Pride mode.
For those of you thinking that this just means players will get to use soccer kicks in the Octagon, prepare to be pleasantly surprised. The game will not only feature authentic Pride environments (read: a ring), but also Bas Rutten and Stephen Quadros doing commentary. That alone has potential to be an awesome gaming experience, although the competition for best video game announcer is pretty stiff. Naturally, you will also be allowed to use soccer kicks, knees to a downed opponent and head stomps.
For the past several months fellow Brazilians have been rallying for Murilo "Ninja" Rua to be added to the UFC’s 185-pound roster.
Wanderlei Silva posted a video blog on YouTube last week asking UFC president, Dana White to sign the former PRIDE star to the organization.
Besides "The Axe Murderer," Ninja’s younger brother, UFC light heavyweight champion, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua as well as welterweight contender Paulo Thiago also appeared in the clip to express their support for Murilo, who is undefeated in his last four outings, being brought into the UFC’s middleweight mix.
Speaking with TATAME this week, Ninja says that the ultimate goal would be to join friends like Wand and Shogun in the UFC, but he isn’t banking on it happening without him proving that he deserves it.
“I see it from a positive perspective, but I’m fighting and doing my job. If one day I’ll fight for the UFC it’ll only be a consequence. I’ll wait and it’ll come," Rua explained. “[The UFC's middleweight division] is a great division; there are great fighters, it’s really hard, but I’ll try to be on my best to go for the belt. That’s my dream, my goal, and I want to deserve it. On the right time, I’ll join the UFC’s cast."
In this episode, Alistair explains how he got into mixed martial arts and talks about the early days of his career when promoters couldn’t find an opponent in Holland to face him.
He also details his fights with PRIDE and the behind the scenes things that were going on his life that contributed to the series of losses he dropped, which is interesting to hear his account of, but it’s during this portion that you realize just how slick the production of these videos really is.
One story I had never heard before that "Demolition Man" tells in this segment is how he came to fight in K-1 on a whim against Badr Hari to shut up the Dutch-born Moroccan who had been incessantly dogging him to face him in a kickboxing match.
Regretfully, there is no mention of horsemeat or Fedor ducking him this time around, but there’s always episode 7.
(Who the hell is this guy? I thought you said Mark Hunt was coming here.)
Former PRIDE and K-1 star Mark Hunt is taking his last kick at the can of his mixed martial arts career seriously as evidenced by the photo above. Not only has he transformed his body from its rotund former self, he has also joined American Top Team, where he will spend the last month of his training camp preparing for his September 25 UFC debut opposite former fellow super heavyweight, Sean McCorkle at UFC 119 in Indianapolis.
Hunt’s critics have always pointed to his lack of conditioning and the fact that he didn’t train with a top-tier team in his native New Zealand as the reasons why he never got past his role as gatekeeper in PRIDE. Even fights that Hunt was winning, he always seemed to find a way to lose, usually as a result of his lack of cardio or his lack of a ground game.
If you can make it through the terrible music without poking your eardrums out with a Slim Jim, this short Wanderlei Silva retrospective is definitely a good watch. The video opens with Wand heading to the hospital for knee surgery, which, be forewarned if you have a weak disposition, they catalogue in graphic detail.
Here’s one for the Pride nerds out there: A report from MMAFighting.com on Saturday says the UFC may have softened its stance on Ricardo Arona enough to slide a contract his way some time in the near future. This news comes after a report by Tatame.com last year quoted company president Dana White saying some not-so-complimentary things about the streaky light heavyweight. Now Arona says he hopes to make his Octagon debut by October or November.
(Three out of four former PRIDE announcers agree: Jerry Millen is an opportunistic douchebag.)
By Cagepotato.com contributor Mike Russell
Nearly two years have passed since the collapse of PRIDE Fighting Championships and although the future of the organization most assumed to be dead is somewhat foggy, one fact that has been made crystal clear is that a growing number of ex-employees of the beloved Japanese promotion despise the show’s former American producer, Jerry Millen.
If you recall, Bas Rutten was the first to open up about Millen’s lack of professionalism and knowledge of mixed martial arts as well as his abusive treatment of former commentators Stephen Quadros and Mauro Ranallo. Here’s the quote from Bas’ original post from the Sherdog forums:
“He went out with me and Stephen Quadros the first night, we went to see some Pancrase fights. I realized that he didn’t like Stephen at all. [I] don’t know why. He would ask me what I wanted to drink, and while Stephen was standing next to me, he wouldn’t ask him anything and gave me only a drink. I asked Stephen afterwards if he did something to piss him off. Stephen had no clue. But I knew that there was something going on. Next thing I [know] is that they fired Stephen a show later. Now I guess that Jerry now needed a new victim that he could push around, and Mauro Ranallo was that victim. Why? Again, I have no clue, but he started to mess with him. I believe because he saw that Mauro was unbelievably talented and maybe he was jealous?
Ranallo, who like Rutten worked for the promotion prior to Millen being hired, quit PRIDE in 2006 citing his differences with Millen as his primary reason for leaving:
I felt it was an untenable environment to work in. It was commonly known since day one that I’ve had difficulties with the American producer, Jerry Millen. Apart from Millen, I loved working with all of my colleagues at PRIDE, especially the Japanese staff. They treated me very well, but I think my future as a broadcaster lies elsewhere.
Now Ranallo’s former broadcast partner Frank Trigg has entered the fray to add his account of Millen’s evil ways in an exclusive and candid interview with Cagepotato.com.
Holding a record of 31-5, Gomi is best known for his dominant run in PRIDE from 2004-2006, where he won the organization’s lightweight belt and took out such notable fighters as Jens Pulver, Tatsuya Kawajiri, Hayato Sakurai, and Mitsuhiro Ishida. However, his last PRIDE appearance was a shock gogoplata loss to Nick Diaz in February ’07, and he then went 2-2 in Sengoku, dropping matches to Sergey Golyaev and Satoru Kitoka; after the Kitaoka loss, Gomi began to question his training and motivation. Though Gomi has won his last two bouts, he hasn’t been facing the kind of top-level competition that he regularly enjoyed at his peak. Will the UFC’s talent-rich lightweight class re-ignite the Fireball Kid, or will he join Mirko Cro Cop and Wanderlei Silva in the PRIDE Curse Club?
Cro Cop‘s head kicks. The Gracie Train. The double-knockout. The Randleplex. The flying inverse triangle choke. Severn‘s suplexes. Inoki’s slaps. Coleman‘s daughters. The entrance. The face-off. The blood. The towel. The destroyed limbs. The shaving gel endorsement. The agony and the ecstasy. The subtitle of this film is "MMA Is Just a Sport." We know better than that. Two more GY PRODUCTION films are after the jump. Happy Monday.
Fighting for a living is a lot like teasing a really mean dog: you can’t do it forever without something bad happening to you.Even the great ones get to a point where their drive becomes sluggish and their bellies are too full for them to stay hungry, and that’s usually when a particularly bad beating takes what remaining fire they have and douses it with the fury of a God pissing on your dreams.It doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll quit right then, even if they should, but it does mean that they’ll never be the same again.Here now, in chronological order, are the most notorious breaking points in MMA history.
It’s hard to say that Igor Zinoviev was really on his way to being a legend of the sport, because he got stopped almost before he really got started.The former Soviet Army commando was one of the first fighters in the early days of MMA to beat a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt when he TKO’d Mario Sperry, and he took out Enson Inoue the next year.All this came after years of fighting underground brawls in Brooklyn warehouses following the fall of the Soviet Union, so his toughness was never in question.
When he joined the UFC the future was, as they say, wide open.Then he came up against Frank Shamrock, who wasted no time in scooping him up and slamming him down so viciously that it shattered his collarbone and knocked him out cold.It was Zinoviev’s first career loss, and he would never fight again after that.We’re not saying the devastating finish served as the catalyst for Shamrock’s out of control ego over the next 10+ years, but we’re not saying it helped, either.
Internet video savant Lookoutawhale has done it again. Here we get a chance to see what it might have looked like if the production teams from both Pride and the UFC had gotten drunk together and engaged in an orgy of fight hype. The result is a beautiful and slightly comical love child. It really makes you grateful for the wonders of technology and the things it can be used for when people have too much time and not enough of a social life. The special appearance by Bruce Lee at the end is what takes this from mere tomfoolery and carries it into the realm of genius. Bravo, Mr. Whale.