It took a while, but Antonio McKee has finally played the race card against the UFC when attempting to explain why he was dropped by the promotion after just one loss in the Octagon.
McKee spoke to Layzie the Savage from MiddleEasy recently and had some interesting things to say about Zuffa’s stranglehold on the sport or on black fighters, depending on how you interpret his racially-infused rhetoric.
(Aoki is not impressed by DREAM’s choices of opponents)
DREAM lightweight champion Shinya Aoki will reportedly take on either former World Extreme Cagefighting lightweight champion Jamie Varner or former Maximum Fighting Championship lightweight champion Antonio McKee at DREAM’s “Fight for Japan” disaster relief benefit show on May 29 in Tokyo.
According to MMAWeekly, Aoki’s original opponent, UFC and Shooto veteran Williamy Freire, was unable to secure a visa to fight in Japan, so the promotion offered the bout to McKee, who was inexplicably stripped of his MFC belt earlier this month and learned of the news from a press release put out by the Edmonton, Alberta-based promotion announcing that Drew Fickett and Hermes Franca would be competing in its next show for “Mandingo’s” strap. His opportunity to contend for DREAM gold, however has hit a snag as he too does not have a visa to fight in Asia. As a precaution, DREAM has now offered Varner the bout, but it is unclear at this point which of the two former champions will be taking on Aoki in three weeks.
Also supporting the Japan Bantamweight Tournament at DREAM.17 will be a featherweight meeting between PRIDE Bushido/DREAM mainstays Joachim Hansen and Mitsuhiro Ishida. Hansen’s last DREAM appearance was a first-round submission of Hideo Tokoro last September, while Ishida is riding back-to-back decision victories over Daiki Hata and “Wicky” Akiyo Nishiura. Speaking of Wicky, he’s also been booked for a DREAM.17 date against 15-year MMA veteran Caol Uno, who has gone winless in his last five fights.
Of course, Uno has previously suffered losses to Aoki and Hansen, while Aoki and Hansen have fought each other three times. Basically, everybody mentioned in this article shares germs.
(Imanari and Aoki: The [lady-]boys are back in town.)
While Sengoku’s tail-spin has been widely publicized, news about DREAM has been almost non-existent since Dynamite!! 2010 on New Year’s Eve. The silence was broken today at a press conference in Japan, where DREAM organizers announced a May 29th event at the Saitama Super Arena — the promotion’s first show of 2011.
DREAM.17 will feature the quarterfinals and semifinals of their Japan Bantamweight tournament, which will feature the following native competitors: Hideo Tokoro, Masakazu Imanari, Kenji Osawa, Darren Uyenoyama, Keisuke Fujiwara, Atsushi Yamamoto, Takafumi Otsuka, and Yoshiro Maeda.
According to Nightmare of Battle, the finals and third-place fight (between the losing semi-finalists) will take place at a subsequent event in July. The winner and loser of the final match and the winner of the third-place fight will advance to the DREAM World Bantamweight Tournament (date TBA). N.o.B passes along even more details…
(“My suit? No, it’s not Mr. Big and Tall, it’s Brooks Brothers. I got a Zuffa corporate card now.”)
The California State Athletic Commission today revealed the salaries from last weekend’s Diaz vs. Daly event in Stockton, and for the most part the fighters from the card were pretty well compensated.
The top money-earner of the night was welterweight champ Nick Diaz who netted $175,000 for his beatdown of Paul Daley. For his effort, Daley took home $65,000. Tied for second place in the night’s salary rankings are Strikeforce lightweight kingpin Gilbert Melendez and former light heavyweight champ Gegard Mousasi who both took home $150,000 for their efforts. The disparity between the take-home pay of Melendez and Mousasi’s opponents was interesting. Tatsuya Kawajiri picked up $97,612.50 for eating a handful of Melendez’s “hellbows” while Keith Jardine made just $25,000 for taking Mousasi the distance.
Nick Diaz: I know Georges St. Pierre is the obvious answer, but then I think about GSP out-wrestling Nick for five rounds and the dream-fight becomes a lot less dreamy. I’d actually be more interested in seeing Diaz try to avenge his 2005 decision loss to Diego Sanchez, another fighter who puts on a thrilling show every time he steps into a cage. Diaz has probably not forgotten his beef with Sanchez, and Diego has actually suggested that the two settle their rivalry as opposing coaches on TUF. Cosigned, homey.
It’s just as well. Frankly “011-44-115″ is harder to remember than “209″ (Pic: Strikeforce.com)
The first major Strikeforce event under the Zuffa/Forza banner delivered a full night of action and first round stoppages, with a little of the obligatory ‘Majority Draw’ bullshit mixed in for good measure. While it was a typical Strikeforce show from top to bottom, the UFC hardly tried to keep a low profile at the event. Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta were both in attendance, the cage floor advertised the upcoming GSP-Shields fight, and talk of cross-promotional bouts peppered the event from the commentator booth to the stupid text polls. Maybe it’s just us, but there are far more important issues to vote on.
After years of watching Nick Diaz win the stand-up battle against “better strikers”, is it now time for us all to admit that he is the better striker? In true Diaz fashion, he did exactly what he said he would do and exactly what the media and fans alike discouraged- stand up with a dangerous striker. Like a successful version of Jorge Gurgel, Diaz has built his mystique and fanbase upon his refusal to utilize his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt and his unquenchable thirst to punch dudes in the face. While victorious once again, that doesn’t mean he dominated the fight. Daley’s power was a known commodity headed into this bout, which made the both the risk and the reward to stand and bang with him all the greater for Diaz. The two exchanged heavily throughout the one-round fight, and twice “Semtex” dropped Diaz to the floor in what looked like the beginning of the end for the pride of Stockton.
Of the five betting websites we perused this morning, only one – Bookmaker.com – is offering lines on all four of Strikeforce’s scheduled televised bouts as well as a couple from the undercard. Most electronic bookies are steadfastly avoiding Gegard Mousasi vs. Keith Jardine, likely because they don’t want to be complicit in Jardine’s untimely demise. Not Bookmaker though, those brave motherfuckers are posting odds on that fight and somehow still allowing prop bets on the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix. A guy can still get Fab Werdum to win it all at +550 over there, if you’re interested. In order to stay focused on the here and now however, after the jump are the lines for Saturday night’s “Diaz vs. Daley” show courtesy Bookmaker, plus our picks.
God willing and the creek don’t rise, we’ll get some answers over the next couple of months. Edgar and Maynard will (fingers crossed) settle their differences for good at UFC 130, the Pettis Hypothesis will be proved or disproved against Clay Guida in June and either Dunham or Sotiropoulos will get back on track after their newly-announced bout at UFC 132. Until then though, it’s just a goddamn schmazz. When you read our latest rankings after the jump, you’ll see that the top three spots in the lightweight division are pretty self-explanatory. After that, we’re really just picking names out of a hat.
Unfortunately, one of the names on the poster — lightweight title contender Tatsuya Kawajiri — might have to drop out of the event, due to the current devastation in Japan. According to an MMAJunkie report, Jorge Masvidal and KJ Noons have been asked to stand by as replacements in case Kawajiri and Shinya Aoki are unable to compete. Masvidal and Noons were originally slated to face each other on the “Diaz vs. Daley” card, which goes down April 9th card in San Diego; now we could be seeing Melendez vs. Masvidal and Noons vs. Lyle Beerbohm. We’ll let you know when things are official.
Aoki’s last Strikeforce appearance ended in a five-round shutout at the hands of Gilbert Melendez at Strikeforce: Nashville. He won his next three MMA bouts in Japan, but most recently got knocked out in a bizarre mixed-rules bout against Yuichiro “Jienotsu” Nagashima at Dynamite!! 2010. As for Beerbohm, the Spokane-based fighter had his perfect record snapped last month in Texas, when he got out-worked by Pat Healy in one of the greatest grappling exhibitions in recent MMA history.
Strikeforce announced today via press release that its planned April 9 event which was supposed to play host to the remainder of the opening round bouts of its heavyweight grand prix tournament will be put on hold until the summer. According to the promotion’s CEO, Scott Coker, they ran out of time to properly promote the event.
“Strikeforce is coming off a record presale and impressive attendance for the kickoff of the Grand Prix at IZOD Center in New Jersey that also drew a record viewership on SHOWTIME for live MMA,” said STRIKEFORCE CEO Scott Coker. “To build on the tremendous momentum from New Jersey we needed the proper time to promote an event of this magnitude, which is why we have decided to continue the Tournament on June 18 at American Airlines Center in Dallas, a venue that has been identified as one of the premier sports and entertainment venues in the U.S.”
So let me get this straight. Strikeforce wanted to build on the tremendous momentum created by the success of its first grand prix quarter final event, so it decided it would be best to delay the second event by two months? Seems like a logical way to keep the momentum going.
As Japanese MMA seems to slowly dwindle away from the glory days of the sport, hardcore fans like myself shed a tear for our great loss. It wasn’t just knowing those obscure 135-pounders whose names had syllables our gaijin tongues could barely pronounce, or the fact that it was the land where stomping and soccer-kicking a human being in the face was perfected into a sweet science. More than that, it was the stars that were produced that we came to know and love, whether they were fighting someone on their level or tearing open a tomato can — and that is where this list begins.
Blatant mismatches aside, JMMA gave us so many beautiful fights with men like Fedor Emelianenko, Mirko “Crocop” Filipovic (go tell your favorite TUF noob that his last name is not Crocop and relish in their confusion), Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Ikuhisa Minowa and Kazushi Sakuraba. For every epic bout that went into the history books for their unbelievable drama, we had other fights that we remember for less than pleasant reasons. Yes, the freak show fights! What would a JMMA event be without a match worthy of a 1930′s carnival? The big question here was how do I rank something that is mediocre to begin with? Well, I’m as clueless as you are, so let’s get started on this journey down “Freak Show Lane,” across the street from “What Were They Thinking? Boulevard”…
10. Daiju Takase vs. Emmanuel Yarbrough
Pride 3, 6/24/98
This was the first freak show fight in Pride history, and earns a place on this list for that merit alone. It pit 169 lb. Daiju Takase against 600 lb. Emmanuel Yarbrough, who most fans will recall was clobbered into submission by Keith Hackney and his broken hand at UFC 3 (Yarbrough has no luck in any event associated with the number three). The sumo plodded around the ring tossing his hamhock arms at Takase, while the smaller Japanese fighter fled and slowly wore down Yarbrough.
Takase makes the mistake of going for a lazy single leg on Yarbrough, which results in the large fighter flopping onto his belly and absorbing Takase into his flesh. As Stephen Quadros lamented, “This is horrible! This is like “Jaws!” Eventually, Takase slid out from the greasy underside of Manny, and in an ending eerily similiar to his UFC 3 fight, Takase went to town with clubbing hands to his exhausted opponent’s face, leading to a tapout in the middle of the second round.
(Despite not being able to afford a shirt, JZ remains upbeat about the situation.)
When you’re a fighter and your income is dependant on how often you fight, it’s understandable that you might get a bit upset when your employer, without explanation, keeps you out of work for an extended period of time.
"JZ" has been sitting on the sidelines waiting since October for Strikeforce to call to tell him when he would be fighting next. Unfortunately for the American Top Team lightweight his phone has been silent the past three months so he decided to take matters into his own hands and contacted the San Jose-based promotion to see what was up.
Not surprisingly, he was given the runaround.
“I’m basically in the dark. I wanted to fight on either the December or January Strikeforce card. I was told they were full, so I was told I’d be fighting in the February show," JZ, who signed a four-fight deal with SF prior to his last fight explains. "That got full, so I heard March would be it. But that’s coming up quickly. I don’t know when or who I’m fighting.
You’ll remember this bout as the “special rules” contest that alternated a three-minute kickboxing round followed by a five-minute round under Dream rules. You know, kind of like they do it on “Bully Beatdown.” You’ll also recall that Aoki clearly came out with a game plan to just fuck around during round one, waste as much time as possible with copious rule-breaking and rely on the impotent Japanese referee to not penalize him for it. It was a strategy that worked like clockwork until the opening bell of round two, when Nagashima knocked him stiff with a knee as he shot in for a takedown. On this side of the Pacific, it seemed like an obvious case of karma being a complete bitch. At home, it doesn’t sound like Aoki is taking it too well.
Full results from today’s New Year’s Eve event in Saitama, Japan, are after the jump, along with a few must-see videos courtesy of ZP420MMA. Note: Bob Sapp apparently backed out of his IGF slap-fight-rules bout with Shinichi Suzukawa at the last minute.
Getting trapped in a submission is a panic-inducing experience for any fighter. But what happens when you’re put in a position that you’ve never even seen before? In honor of next week’s DVD/Blu-ray release of Locked Down (which co-stars Rashad Evans, Kimbo Slice, and Cheick Kongo), we’re taking a look back at MMA matches where fighters were "locked down" for real — caught in off-the-wall subs that offered no chance of escape. Enjoy the list, and come back next Thursday for a chance to win a Locked Down combo pack in our next caption contest…
#10: Alexander Otsuka’s double-armbar vs. Mike Bourke PRIDE 11, 10/31/00
Dusting himself off after a pathetically botched dropkick attempt early in the fight (see the video’s 0:38 mark), Otsuka begins working his jiu-jitsu against the tank-topped American brawler. When Bourke starts to hang out with one arm posted and the other throwing down telegraphed punches, the "Diet Butcher" seizes the moment, snapping his legs over Bourke’s head and torquing both of his arms simultaneously. Bourke is so screwed he has to tap with his knee.
#9: Ivan Salaverry’s anaconda body lock vs. Tony Fryklund UFC 50, 10/22/04
We usually think of the body-triangle as a technique used to soften up an opponent before or during a rear-naked choke. It takes real talent to actually finish somebody with it. After taking Tony Fryklund’s back, Salaverry passes up the neck and instead wrenches his arms around Fryklund’s body, driving his hips forward to exert maximum pressure on the spine and ribs. Fryklund has two options at this point: Allow himself to be cracked like a walnut, or scream for mercy. Fortunately, he makes the right choice.
Inspiration to all womenKim Couture competed at Ring of Combat 32 in Atlantic City on Saturday, dropping a unanimous decision to Team Tiger Schulmann product Munah Holland, who was making her pro MMA debut. As captured in the photo above, the aftermath was eerily familiar. The loss dropped Couture’s record to 3-4, and comes just three weeks after her submission victory over Felicia Wells at an Absolute Action MMA event in Kentucky; Wells also had an 0-0 record going into the fight, just like Couture’s two previous opponents, Marianna Kheyfets (who Couture lost to by first-round submission) and Rosa Vizcarra. Couture’s spotty record against inexperienced fighters is very surprising, considering what a beast she is in training.
(What, this??No, it’s not sparring; it’s physiotherapy.)
When Marcus Aurelio dropped out of SHINE Fights’ lightweight grand prix with an elbow injury less than a day after it was announced that all fighters who competed on the unsanctioned card would receive between 60 and 90-day suspensions that would be enforced by all of the membership bodies governed by the Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC), a lot of MMA fans and pundits (including this one) called bullshit.
Add to the list of the aggrieved the already insufferable Shinya Aoki, who tells MMA Fighting.com that – in the wake of his own soul-crushing defeat by Gilbert Melendez and idol BJ Penn’s second straight loss to Edgar – he’s not too down with all this wrestling stuff.
(Well, they’ve definitely felt the cutbacks in the creative lab.)
It looks like FEG is giving this MMA thing one last try before calling it quits.
The Japanese organization today released the poster for its DREAM 16 event and if it’s any indication of who will be fighting on the card, it looks like Tatsuya Mizuno, Caol Uno, Shinya Aoki, Hiroyuki Takaya, Ikuhisa Minowa, Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto, Gegard Mousasi, Kazushi Sakuraba and Hideo Tokoro will all fight on its upcoming September 25 card.
If we’ve learned anything from the past, though, its that the Japanese are crafty marketers and they often say one thing and do another.
(Rooting against these guys will be easy, but who do you root for in this one?)
United Glory recently announced that it will be putting on a pretty decent eight-man welterweight tournament that will include guys like former BoDog Fight champion Nick "The Goat" Thompson, DREAM 170-pound tournament winner Marius Zaromskis and Roan Carneiro.
Although the line-up is decent, one hypothetical match-up that could materialize may be more intriguing than the fight card itself.
Give the DREAM bosses some credit, these guys sure know how to build suspense into what otherwise might be a fairly straightforward and pleasing night of MMA fights. As it turned out, there was no surprise run-in from Alistair Overeem and the Japanese promotion with the fly-by-the-seat-of-its pants matchmaking style never found a fight for Ricco Rodriguez. We hope it paid for the flight and the sushi, at least. On the bright side, DREAM finally did manage to convince Gegard Mousasi to put in the 31 seconds of work it took to defeat an overweight Jake O’Brien and Shinya Aoki likewise bounced back from an embarrassing loss in Strikeforce a few months ago to put a quick and typically stoic beating on Tatsuya Kawajiri.
Like “Sweet and Sassy,” Aoki called it an early night, withstanding some heel kicks to the face as he locked up an Achilles lock that secured the tap and appeared to damage his Kawajiri’s leg in just one minute, 53 seconds. A couple of days after possibly declaring his bi-sexuality at the event’s weigh-in (we assume he was being ironical), Aoki ditched his trademark colorful tights for relatively conservative board shorts and rushed from the ring following his win to get some lovin’ from his (possibly female) fiancé.
After the jump, O’Brien vs. Mousasi, where it will take you all of the first 15 seconds to see why the American had a little trouble making weight …
Can Rodriguez use Overeem as a springboard to a career rebirth? No, probably not — but he could impress a lot of people just by giving Overeem a tough fight and not spitting on anybody. In a related story, Ricco is no longer listed for that 7/18 Impact FC fight against Jeff Monson, which is unfortunate because you can bet that Paulo Filho and Ken Shamrock will be dropping out at the last minute…
A note before we get started: The CBS broadcast of tonight’s Strikeforce event may not be live in all areas, so please check your local listings before you run headlong into spoilerville. Now then, we’ve got a short but sweet lineup of fights in store for us, with three titles on the line: Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez defends his belt against invading DREAM champ Shinya Aoki, Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal attempts to steal the crown from reigning light-heavyweight ruler Gegard Mousasi, and middleweight champ Jake Shields faces off against PRIDE/UFC legend Dan Henderson in the biggest fight of his career. Live Strikeforce: Nashville results await you after the jump, beginning at 9 p.m. ET. Refresh the page every few minutes for round-by-round updates and the usual jokes about Frank Shamrock’s braces and Stephen Quadros’s clown-makeup.
Tango & Cash. Pancho & Lefty. Lee Harvey Oswald and the CIA. All great duos, and yet none can last forever. So it is with Cage Potato’s own Ben & Ben. But before we break up the team for good, we’re getting together one last time to go head-to-head on Strikeforce: Nashville picks in this week’s MMA FightPicker (Heavy Hitter Pool 10 #1517, stand up!). If you haven’t made your picks yet, get to it. Time waits for no man, and neither does the UFC/Pride prize pack.
Henderson vs. Shields @ Strikeforce: Nashville… BG: I don’t think he’ll run away with it, but Dan Henderson clearly holds more advantages in this matchup and should be able to take the victory. Hendo has serious knockout power, and unlike Shields’s past opponents, he won’t be manhandled on the ground. BF: Agreed. Shields isn’t going to submit him and definitely can’t hold him down for five rounds. It’s a bad, bad matchup for him.