(Some say Goldberg had a legit sexual harassment claim after what happens in the 0:49 mark in this interview, but clearly he was asking for it walking in there dressed like that.)
The war of words between Strikeforce fighters Joe Riggs and Phil Baroni this week seemed to promise an interesting encounter on today’s media conference call to promote Saturday night’s Strikeforce event on Showtime. The only problem is that Riggs failed to pick up a phone in time, so Baroni was left alone with Jake Shields and the notoriously tight-lipped Robbie Lawler to do all the talking. Fortunately Baroni had prepared all his life for just such a moment.
("Josh, bro, you ever look at your hands? I mean really *look* at them? It’s like, why do we have five fingers anyway? Who decided that? It would be cool if I had six, but I’d probably be able to get by with just four. Or like, why is there a thumb on only *one* side of your hand. I feel like I’d be able to get more done with two thumbs on each hand. Do you ever watch ‘Fringe’? Great fuckin’ show." Photo courtesy of MixedMartialArts.com.)
With less than two weeks to go before Strikeforce returns to action on Showtime, the second-biggest fight on the "Shamrock vs. Diaz" card (April 11th, San Jose) has been scratched from the lineup. Strikeforce announced last night that lightweight champion Josh Thomson broke his left leg above the ankle while sparring with Billy Evangelista yesterday, and will not be having his rematch with Gilbert Melendez next Saturday. Said Thomson:
“I’m very upset. All the hard work was done and it was time to fight. I was looking forward to putting on a great show for the fans. All I can say is that I’ll be back when I get healthy.”
Strikeforce is searching for a late replacement for Melendez so that the former champ can still compete on the card. Tough break (literally) for Thomson, but on the bright side, we didn’t want to see him fight Melendez again anyway. Their first meeting last June saw Thomson dominate Melendez with his striking for all 25 minutes of the match; El Nino was never really in the game. And Melendez hasn’t fought anybody since then, so it’s not like he’s legitimately earned another crack at the champ. We’ll keep you posted on the random-ass opponent they scare up for him. The full lineup for "Shamrock vs. Diaz" can be seen here.
Neither Riggs or Shields is injured and one source indicated that Shields is being saved for a possible headlining slot against Robbie Lawler during a tentative Strikeforce event scheduled for May in Seattle. Additional sources have confirmed that the possible Lawler vs. Shields matchup could be officially announced by Strikeforce officials during a Thursday press conference in Los Angeles as early as today.
— 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!
Ever since Strikeforce purchased “select assets” from Pro Elite we’ve been wondering a) which select assets, and b) what the hell does he plan to do with them? In an interview with USA Today, Coker inched closer to answering those questions, saying he’s spoken with 10 Pro Elite fighters and only one of them has tried to renegotiate his deal (we assume this was Kimbo Slice insisting he take a pay cut and be place on the untelevised undercard).
Coker also said he “would like to invite K.J. Noons to fight [Strikeforce lightweight champ]" Josh Thomson, and added that he’s in talks with Noons’ agent, Mark Dion, to make that happen.
You’ll recall that Noons essentially turned his back on EliteXC when they tried to make him fight Nick Diaz on CBS and Noons was unhappy with the payscale and with rematching Diaz in general, who was slated to make more than him despite losing the first meeting due to a cut stoppage. Thomson is a quality, name opponent, and if Noons decides he doesn’t want to fight him either, we in the MMA world would probably do well to forget about “King” Karl altogether and let him box his little heart out.
But just when all Carano’s revenue streams look to be drying up, it sounds as if Dana White may actually be serious about getting her signed. The UFC prez told Five Ounces of Pain’s Gary Herman that Carano, Robbie Lawler, and Jake Shields are all former EliteXC fighters he’d like to sign. He also chastised fighters for signing with “fly by night companies,” saying they were “wasting their time.”
There you have it, young fighters not in the UFC. Don’t sign with organizations other than the UFC or you’ll be wasting your time. Just keep fighting one-offs in tiny regional shows for almost no money. Then, after the UFC signs you and later cuts you, it won’t be so hard to re-adjust to your life of poverty and despair. See? Circle of freaking life.
A notice sent out to several managers representing Pro Elite fighters states:
“Elite XC and ProElite are currently downsizing its staff in an effort to improve its business moving forward. As this process is implemented, Elite XC cancelled the event previously scheduled for Nov. 8 in attempt to re-schedule another event in early 2009.”
That’s funny, because if I was running an MMA company that was merely downsizing but which intended to continue promoting events, and suddenly there were widespread reports that my company was filing for bankruptcy, I think I might say something to contradict that right away. I might, for example, immediately issue a statement declaring my intention not to just roll over and die. I might even call the people who had circulated those reports a bunch of lying sons of bitches. What I would not do is say nothing at all until fighters started trying to get free of their contracts, and only then come up with an obviously bullshit reason for not releasing them.
As you might expect, no one is buying this explanation.
Add Nick Diaz to the list of EliteXC refugees who Dana White may be looking to pick up. During an appearance on TapouT Radio Live, the UFC prez was complementary of Stockton’s favorite son, though he made it known that he doesn’t approve of Diaz’s confrontational antics:
“I think Nick Diaz is a bad ass. Nick Diaz is a tough kid. Nick Diaz doesn’t handle himself right all the time in public. I like him — I respect him as a fighter. I love his attitude. I love the way that kid fights. But you can’t do the stuff that this kid does in public. You can’t get into fights when the fight is over … you can’t do that stuff.”
Of course, we immediately think of Diaz’s in-cage taunts of KJ Noons and his father at EliteXC: The Return of the King in June — and the obscene gestures he makes at the crowd after his fights, which is something of a Diaz family tradition. But Dana White is likely also referring to a bizarre incident that took place after Diaz’s UFC 57 fight against Joe Riggs in February 2006. As Wikipedia retells it:
(‘Sometimes I think there’s a disconnect between how I see myself and how the world perceives me to be.’)
From the sound of things, being a fighter under contract to EliteXC these days is a lot like being in a long distance relationship. You never know exactly what your status is, whether you’re free to make out with other people in bars, whether you’re still getting together over Thanksgiving, and what little contact you do have with one another is always tinged with confusion and regret. Fortunately for EliteXC middleweight champ Robbie Lawler, he has Monte Cox for an agent, and Monte knows just what to do in this situation: write a break-up letter.
“There’s a warranty clause in the contract that you can challenge if they have enough money to fulfill the contract,” Cox said. “Obviously, right now, they do not. I notified them of what I considered to be breach of contract and they have 30 days to respond. They have to prove they can fulfill it or we’re a free agent.”
“We’ve done everything we can do,” said Cox. “Now, they may fight [the claim of breach of contract], but we can’t do anything at the moment. Right now, there’s no one at Elite to even talk to us. If I wanted to ask, there’s nobody there.”
Elite XC’s Jared Shaw takes a little shot at yours truly in this MMA Rated interview, calling me Ben “UFC” Fowlkes, which I suppose is an implication that I’m pro-UFC and anti-Elite XC, although I like to think that my record as an equal opportunity critic speaks for itself. If an organization does dumb things, it’s my job to point it out. If one organization does more dumb things than others, they’re going to receive more criticism. That’s just how it works. If it makes me a hater, I can live with that. But since when do we all have to like everything?
$kala says he just wants some love for his fighters, not himself. Fair enough, Jared. You do have some good fighters in your organization. Guys like Jake Shields, Robbie Lawler, Wilson Reis, Nick Diaz, and “Ninja” Rua, just to name a few. These are all fighters that I enjoy watching. But your fighters aren’t what you’ve been criticized for, and I think you know it.
Let’s take the event you’ve got this Saturday, for example. On the undercard you’ve got a few interesting scraps between guys like Paul Daley and Jake Shields, Benji Radach and “Ninja” Rua, and a sweet little co-promotional joint between Affliction fighters Andrei Arlovski and Roy Nelson (nice work scoring that, by the way, whether you had anything to do with it or not).
But your main event features a 3-0 fighter in Kimbo Slice, who has yet to face an opponent coming off a win, taking on a forty-four-year-old legend of the sport who hasn’t won a fight or even made it out of the first round in over four years. And that’s your main event.