Win or lose, you can always count on Mark Coleman to give up the emotions after a fight. Taking home his first win in over three years against Stephan Bonnar on Saturday, the Hammer was elated. In the video above, Coleman tells us that he can’t stand being called an old man, and guarantees he’ll be a factor in the UFC light-heavyweight division now that he’s changed his mindset and the way he trains. He also denies gassing out at UFC 100: "I always look tired, I’m playing possum…I was fresh, I got better as the fight went on." You can watch the fight here to see just how fresh he looked.
According to Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza’s manager, they’re planning on a fight “for the title” at Dream.9 on May 26. Nothing is confirmed yet, Jacare’s manager told Tatame, but right now it looks like it will be a rematch between Jacare and “Mayhem” Miller for Gegard Mousasi’s vacated middleweight belt. If true that would make for a tight turnaround for Miller, who’s slated to take on Kala Hose in Hawaii at Kingdom MMA on April 18. Call it making up for lost time. Or maybe he’s just assuming that it won’t take much out of him to whup on Hose in front of his Hawaiian peeps.
– Spike TV sent out another ‘in your face!’ press release today to announce that Saturday night’s replay of UFC 94 was the “#1 program among Men 18-34 in all of television (cable and broadcast) during its time period.” The replay peaked at 2.4 million viewers for the main event and averaged 1.9 million over the three-hour broadcast, which, as Spike is kind enough to point out, bested HBO’s Winky Wright/Paul Williams bout, which drew a measly 1.5 million viewers. What you’re wondering is, did they mention how it compared to Strikeforce’s viewership? They did not. But they know you’re thinking about it anyway.
– Remember the rumored bout between Mark Coleman and Stephan Bonnar? The UFC made it official for UFC 100 today, but relegated it to the “may not be broadcast” prelims. On one hand, that’s a hell of a place to end up after such a great career (talking about Coleman, obviously. I said great career, not one great fight). On the other hand, if there’s one UFC card where you can feel okay about being pushed to the prelims, it’s that one.
— An oddly appropriate light-heavyweight matchup may be in the works for UFC 100 (July 11th, Las Vegas). According to MMA Mania, bout agreements have been offered for Mark Coleman to face Stephan Bonnar at the milestone event. That’s right: The UFC’s first official heavyweight champion and early star of the SEG era will likely be taking on the man who helped take the UFC mainstream in the Zuffa era with his epic TUF 1 finale battle against Forrest Griffin.
Kind of an interesting way to pay tribute to the Octagon’s history. But for the fighters themselves, the matchup will be all business. Coleman most recently put in a shambling wreck of a performance against Mauricio Rua at UFC 93, eventually losing by TKO in the third round, while Stephan Bonnar was out-hustled by Jon Jones at UFC 94, losing by unanimous decision. Both men need a win here to remain relevant. UFC 100 will also reportedly feature fights between Frank Mir and Brock Lesnar (for the unified heavyweight title), Georges St. Pierre and Thiago Alves (for the welterweight title), and Michael Bisping and Dan Henderson (for the right to get their ass kicked by Anderson Silva at some point in the future).
I talked to Jon Jones for this week’s SI.com column, in which he discusses what it was like growing up with two brothers who both now play defensive line at Syracuse (with the eldest headed soon to the NFL) and how he learned to strike by watching YouTube videos:
The gym I train at is a really small gym, a lot of wrestlers, so I didn’t have a striking coach until this last fight. I had to teach myself how to strike. I would study a lot of videos on YouTube, or go to different websites where I could watch old Pride fights. I just became obsessed with MMA and watched videos over and over again. I learned the moves and took them to practice and started using them. Before I knew it I was considered a pretty good striker.
YouTube videos can really teach you a lot. It depends how you search for them. If you look really hard, you can find videos of seminars from some of the best fighters in the world. It’s just a matter of taking them seriously. You have the Bas Rutten’s and the Anderson Silva DVD’s, but you can find most of that stuff on the internet for free, so that’s what I was doing. I was basically teaching myself with them. Now I can honestly say I’ve been taught by some of the best teachers in the world because I’ve watched some of the greatest seminars online.
Obviously, Jones is a freakish athlete who can simply do things other people can’t, such as watch YouTube videos and then beat up UFC veterans. But what struck me was his humility and obsession with improving as a fighter. Check this quote, for example, on what went through his mind after the UFC offered him the fight with Bonnar:
Other moments worth seeing here: Dana consoles a distraught Stephan Bonnar, Joe Rogan and Eddie Bravo gush over Jon Jones, and Dana watches Akihiro Gono and his camp rehearse their elaborate Octagon entrance, which was truly a thing to behold. When Gono and his boys walked out in those matching evening gowns, pausing every few steps to get their dance on, you could feel the crowd going through a range of emotions. First came shock, then slight amusement, then genuine appreciation. Honestly, it was the best entrance in the history of MMA.
In the post-fight press conference a reporter asked Dana what he thought of a guy who came out in drag and got his ass kicked. Dana pointed out that a) a lot of people are going to get their ass kicked against Jon Fitch, and b) he loves Gono and what he brings to a UFC event. Then he conceded: “But if you’re going to wear a dress you probably better win.”
I know some people will make the argument that Gono would have been better served focusing more time and energy on his preparation for the fight than on his entrance, but let’s be real. Gono was going to get beat up with or without the awesome, cross-dressing entrance. Might as well have some fun before the pain begins.
Fight-day installments of the Danavlog tend to be a lot more interesting than other episodes from the previous week, and the 1/17 video was no exception. It opens with DW chatting with Michael Bisping before they do a demonstration of UFC Undisputedin Dublin. Bisping reminisces about the days when he was unbeatable at Street Fighter II. He’s also pleased with the U.K. team that he’ll be coaching on TUF, and very psyched to be a part of it. During the video game demo, Dana White plays as Quinton Jackson, while the Count plays as himself. The simulated fight goes pretty much how it would if Bisping were to actually fight Rampage.
At the fights, Alistair Overeem stops by to to say hello to the UFC prez; giddy as a schoolgirl, Dana starts squeezing his muscles. Overeem points out that he’s not as big as Brock Lesnar. Dana asks him if he’s ready to fight in the UFC, and Overeem says he is if management can work it out. K-1 super-heavyweight champ Semmy Schilt is also in attendance, and Dana makes it clear that he’d be welcome in the Octagon too. Later, Joe Rogan brutally mocks a Dana White superfan directly behind her back, Mauricio Rua is offered the Chuck Liddell fight, and Dana calls Dublin "pound-for-pound the best fuckin’ place we’ve ever been."
Above is the trailer for Fighting Politics, a new documentary about Matt Lindland‘s path from collegiate wrestler to mixed martial artist, his questionable dismissal from the UFC over an unapproved sponsor, and his life’s second act as a politician in his home state of Oregon. Notable MMA journalists Loretta Hunt and Josh Gross appear in interviews, suggesting that Lindland was actually fired to make room for poster-boy Rich Franklin as middleweight champion, while Keith Evans (formerly of the UFC and IFL) says “Dana White is not the same guy that I knew back then.” The release date is still TBA, but I think it’s safe to say that Dana won’t be there on opening night.
Speaking of the Baldfather, Dana White was recently shot for ESPN: The Magazine, along with everyone’s favorite Octagon Girl Arianny Celeste and fighters Randy Couture, Forrest Griffin, and Stephan Bonnar. Watch as the ESPN photo editor becomes visibly freaked out by Randy’s ear, Stephan is brought in just so Arianny can have something to sit on, and Dana has to keep his t-shirt on while entering the pool. After the jump: A fairly sick highlight video of PRIDE’s 2006 Open-Weight GP; props to CREzja1.
Elsewhere in the episode, Anik, Kenny Florian, Stephan Bonnar, and Franklin McNeil discuss Brock Lesnar‘s recent achievement in the Octagon and his future prospects in the UFC, Ken-Flo gives his full analysis of his win over Joe Stevenson, and the gang runs down tonight’s Strikeforce card. Bonnar’s delivery is still a little shaky, but he’s trying, and trying used to count for something.
Speaking of ESPN, the network’s Spanish-language arm ESPN Deportes will be broadcasting the Bellator Fighting Championships, a new MMA league that will debut in April 2009. Twelve two-hour episodes will air on Saturday nights, featuring tournaments in the featherweight, lightweight, welterweight, and middleweight divisions. Rumored participants include Paulo Filho, Hector Lombard, Eddie Alvarez, and Jorge Masvidal.