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Tag: Strikeforce

The UFC Can Learn a Lesson From Bellator: How to Promote Bad Fights


(Photo via Getty)

By Matt Saccaro

The UFC said “Hey, did you hear there’s UFC FIGHTS™ on tonight? The finest athletes in the world are facing off and it’ll be action packed. Watch it!”

So we took their word for it, and watched. The athletes faced off, but they weren’t the finest in the world, and it wasn’t action packed. The athletes were green, regional-caliber competitors and there was more labored breathing and bouts of stalling than action.

Then the next event came. “It’s FIGHT WEEEEEEK! UFC FIGHTS™ are on again. The finest athletes in the world are doing battle in the Octagon™. Be sure to watch!”

We were skeptical, but being loyal MMA fans, we watched again. We were let down again. We voiced our concerns, only to be told we weren’t Real Fans if we didn’t appreciate the fights the UFC gave us. Not wanting to lose our MMA streed cred, we watched the next event that promised the top 1% of fighters battling in the Superbowl of MMA only to be disappointed.

This is what being an MMA fan has been like for the past year or two–especially since the UFC went full “World Fucking Domination” on us.

Fight cards are tougher to sit through because the talent levels are lower. Sometimes there’s two of these regional-level, star-sparse cards on the same day! And I’m not ragging on UFC Fight Night 42 specifically; on paper the card was pretty decent for a free Fight Night Card. I’m referring to the general lowering of the bar in terms of card quality that’s become undeniable as of late. The most insulting part is all these events are, for the most part, marketed the same way: Here’s awesome UFC Fights. They’ll be good. Watch them or you’re not an MMA fan.

And judging by the decline in interest (and PPV buys), lots of viewers decided they weren’t fans. And I’m not going to go on for much longer because I’ve written about the issue of over-saturation extensively on CagePotato, but the UFC can learn an important lesson from Bellator regarding how it promotes less-than-stellar fights: Be honest.

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On This Day in MMA History: The Gina Carano Lip Bite Gif Was Born (Also, Nick Diaz Fought Frank Shamrock)


(Oh God…can’t…control…the hnnnnnng.)

Although Gina Carano may have stepped away from our beloved sport years ago, her ability to captivate and stimulate MMA fans in gif form remains unmatched to this day. But none of the truly amazing photos, screengrabs, or gifs Carano has been responsible for over the years hold a candle to the night she was captured biting her lip at Strikeforce: Shamrock vs. Diaz on April 11th, 2009 — five years ago today.

In fact, nothing Carano has done since — not the sexy dance or Haywire or even fighting for the Strikeforce Women’s championship — quite compares to the glorious night she bit her lip while staring directly into the soul of our wieners, and I say that with all due respect. Because above all else, Carano has always been a bit of a trailblazer. She brought women’s MMA into the mainstream and was one of the sport’s first crossover stars, to the point that she is still being used to promote WMMA despite leaving it behind some 5 years ago. She also was the first female fighter to bite her lip on camera, capturing the imagination of the country in doing so. And for that last thing, we give thanks.

But there is an unsung hero in all this, a person who truly helped launch Carano’s lip-biting career into the stratosphere and one who finally deserves his due credit. I’m talking about the Strikeforce cameraman who was given the simple assignment of filming Gina Carano sitting ringside and used the opportunity to forever cement his place in MMA History, of course. I don’t mean to overstate this, but the way he ever so slightly pushed in on Carano (phrasing) just in time for the lip bite is a moment of filmmaking history comparable to Spielberg’s dolly zoom shot in Jaws.

Georgia O’Keeffe spent most of her career trying to capture the essence of female sexuality, strength, and femininity, and this anonymous Strikeforce cameraman managed to do it in under 15 seconds. So on this day, we salute you, Strikeforce cameraman responsible for the Gina Carano lip-bite gif (“Reeeeal men of geeenius…”).

Oh yeah, Nick Diaz vs. Frank Shamrock also went down on this day five years ago. We’ve thrown a full video of their fight after the jump, if you’re into that sort of thing.

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Heart & Soul of MMA: Caros Fodor, And the Heroism of Companionship


(Photo via OneFC)

By Elias Cepeda

From the cage to the battlefield, some forms of bravery are easy to recognize. Then there are the daily acts of minor heroism, the kind that never get publicized. While everything Caros Fodor has accomplished in his career has made him worthy of respect, it’s his lifetime commitment to another fellow human being that makes him truly stand out as an unsung hero. Caros represents the heart and soul of MMA, and his story deserves to be heard.

*******

It had already been one of the more interesting work conversations I’d gotten to have with a fighter this year when I asked a last question as sort of an afterthought.

Seattle-based lightweight Caros Fodor was open in discussing his former life as a Marine with me. A Strikeforce/UFC vet who currently competes for OneFC, Fodor always wanted to be in the military, enlisted right out of high school and found himself in boot camp at just 17 years of age on September 11, 2001. From there, he was sent to Kuwait, and eventually Baghdad in the spring of 2003 as a part of the United States’ invasion of Iraq.

The realities of war — civilian casualties, cruelty to and destruction of the host nation, and bureaucratic banalities — changed Caros’ mind about wanting a career in the military. The carnage he’d taken part of also left him angry and suffering from PTSD when he returned home.

He had nightmares. He drank. The nightmares wouldn’t stop so he drank more. Caros and his friends went out most nights and started brawls.

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On This Day in MMA History: “The Last Emperor” Decapitates Brett Rogers, Earns Dana White’s Respect & Retires With P4P G.O.A.T. Status Intact

I definitely have a huge advantage when it comes down to exchanging punches. That’s my strong point, and that’s definitely going to be his weak point.

I can’t not picture me knocking him out. So he better do some chin-ups or whatever he needs to do to make him strong, because I’m coming for him. He’s not going to be able to handle my power standing and banging. He stands in the pocket with me, he’s gonna get knocked out. 

Those words might as well have served as the last will and testament of noted patriarch Brett Rogers, who upon saying them, all but signed up to be violently and karmatically (for a number of reasons) knocked out by Fedor Emelianenko at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Rogers on November 7th, 2009 – four years ago today.

Us Zuffa shills tend to forget this, but before Anderson Silva, Jon Jones, or Georges St. Pierre started dominating our “Greatest Mixed Martial Artist of All Time” (aka “The G.O.A.T”) debates, there was an emotionless Russian killer who was universally viewed in this light. His name was Fedor Emelianenko, and after quietly building a reputation as PRIDE‘s most dominant fighter over in Japan, “The Last Emperor” made his long-awaited stateside debut against Tim Sylvia at Affliction: Banned in July of 2008.

The fight would confirm what we already knew about Fedor, as would his next fight with Andrei Arlovski at Affliction: Day of Reckoning, but it wasn’t until his monumental signing with Strikeforce (a Strikeforce was kind of like a Bellator, but we don’t have time to discuss semantics) that US fans were truly introduced to the mythical Russian. And for his first “true” test, Emelianenko was given Brett “Da Grim” Rogers, a then-undefeated slugger who had one-upped Fedor by KO’ing Arlovski in just 22 seconds in his previous fight.

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Report: Tatsuya Kawajiri Signs With the UFC, Hoping to Make Debut at January Singapore Event


(Tatsuya Kawajiri highlight via Kid Milly. The video says “Fight, Billy, fight!” but the music says “Dance, Billy, dance!”)

Some moderately interesting news out of Japan today (no, not the countries newfound enthusiasm for abstinence), as it is being reported that former Strikeforce title challenger Tatsuya Kawajiri has signed with the UFC.

Currently riding a five fight win streak (with four finishes) and sporting an overall record of 32-7-2, Kawajiri has long been considered one of the greatest Asian lighterweight fighters currently competing today. With victories over Joachim Hansen, Yves Edwards, Josh Thomson, Gesias Cavalcante and Krazy Horse to his credit, it seemed as if a call up to the UFC was inevitable for the former Shooto champion.

Although Kawajiri’s signing has yet to be confirmed by the UFC, sources close to “Crusher” told MMAJunkie that Kawajiri is hoping to make his promotional debut on the UFC’s inaugural Singapore-based card, “Fight Night 34,” in January. Given that Kawajiri’s only stateside appearance resulted in an annihilation via elbows to Gilbert Melendez in their Strikeforce lightweight title fight at Strikeforce: Diaz vs Daley, we can’t really argue with his logic.

We will have more on Kawajiri’s signing as details are made available.

-J. Jones

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Fight Booking Alert: Carmouche vs. Davis & Krause vs. Green Set for Fight for The Troops


(Liz Carmouche pounds out Jessica Andrade | Photo via MMAFighting.com)

Two new bouts were just added to the November 6th UFC Fight for the Troops 3 in Kentucky. Lightweights James Krause and Bobby Green will square up and Marine Veteran Liz Carmouche and Alexis Davis will lock up in a women’s bantamweight contest.

Yahoo! Sports broke the news on Carmouche vs. Davis Friday. The UFC announced the Green/Krause bout on twitter.

Carmouche has fought twice this year already. First, she challenged 135lb champ Ronda Rousey last February, losing by arm bar. In July, however, Carmouche got back in the win column with a second round TKO win over Jessica Andrade. Davis last won a decision over Rosi Sexton at UFC 161

Krause and Green are both riding high heading into their bout. Krause has an eight fight win streak and won his last by submission over Sam Stout. Green came from Strikeforce and submitted Jacob Volkmann in his organization debut at UFC 156. The win was Green’s fifth straight.

The Fight for the Troops card will be headlined by former light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida making his middleweight debut against veteran Army Ranger Tim Kennedy.

- Elias Cepeda

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Tim Kennedy Walks Back Criticism of UFC, Apologizes For Calling Pay Poor


(“Apologize or Dana will do WHAT to my butt?” Photo via OTM.)

By Elias Cepeda

Looks like someone got a call from their boss. Former Strikeforce fighter Tim Kennedy is set to make his UFC debut July 6th against Roger Gracie but made news yesterday for an interview he recently gave in which he criticized UFC fighter pay.

“It’s a good thing I have another job because the UFC doesn’t pay very well,” he told GrappleTalk Podcast.

“Anybody who accepts [fighters being underpaid] as a reality of the sport is sad and pathetic,” Kennedy went on. “I hope this isn’t the reality of the sport. If it is I should probably go do something else, like empty trash cans. I’d make more money than I do now.”

It didn’t take the middleweight long to regret his words, however, and he issued an apology to UFC brass for the interview through his facebook fan page yesterday. “I recently made comments regarding fighter pay. The intent of these statements was to highlight that professional fighters incur significant expense associated with their preparations to fight and that fighter compensation is still not on par with other major sports,” Kennedy began.

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Classic Knockout Of The Day: Melvin Guillard’s Boxing Debut Doesn’t Go Well


(Props: TheMrsCountryman. Fight starts at the 2:23 mark, knockout happens at 4:16. And yeah, the audio doesn’t work in this clip, so feel free to hum a tune of your choice.)

Ten months before making his UFC debut at the TUF 2 Finale in November 2005, Melvin Guillard decided to take a pro boxing bout in Las Vegas against a Detroit-based fighter named James Countryman. The fight did not go well for Melvin.

About a minute and a half into the match, Countryman lands a big overhand right that levels Guillard. The Young Assassin springs to his feet and nods his head a couple times to signify that yes, he got smacked with a good one, then goes right back into the fight. Seconds later, Guillard catches a left hook from Countryman flush on the jaw and falls backwards into the ropes, unconscious. Game. Over.

Guillard would go onto a successful career in the UFC, but has never boxed professionally again. Countryman boxed for four more years, compiling a 14-1 record through March 2009. Interestingly enough, Countryman’s final boxing match was a decision win against none other than Karl “KJ” Noons, the current UFC lightweight and former EliteXC champion. Noons fought three more boxing matches that year, winning all three of them, and put together an 11-2 boxing record overall before devoting himself to MMA full time — which maybe wasn’t the greatest choice, in retrospect.

- Elias Cepeda

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Report: UFC to Increase Number of Fights on Cards to Accommodate Strikeforce Transfers


(Illustration via OctagonBuzz)

By Elias Cepeda

In a move that will likely make both fans and former Strikeforce fighters quite happy, CagePotato has learned from multiple sources close to the UFC that the promotion intends to increase the average number of fights per event in order to accommodate former Strikeforce fighters.

The UFC currently plans to feature twelve fights at UFC 160, their May 25th card in Las Vegas (main event TBA). From then on out, we are told, the organization plans to regularly produce twelve- and thirteen-fight cards in order to create more spots for former Strikeforce fighters. This would be a 1-2 fight per card increase over what the promotion has been doing lately. Most of the UFC’s recent cards — including UFC 156, UFC on FOX 6, and UFC on FX 7 — have each featured 11 fights.

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Ovince St. Preux vs. Gian Villante Added to UFC 159 [STRIKEFORCE NEVA DIE!]


Look, Ovince, all I’m saying is that maybe Lane Kiffin is slightly underrated and doesn’t deserve so much hatred. Props: fightinginsider.com

You could make the argument that Strikeforce has been more relevant since its demise in January than it was during its final year of existence. With Gilbert Melendez earning an immediate title shot against Ben Henderson and Strikeforce veterans pulling off massive upsets at UFC 156, it seems like we’re spending more time talking about it now than we were when it was still in business.

It is now being reported by Long Island Newsday that two of Strikeforce’s best light heavyweights, Ovince St. Preux and Gian Villante, will fight each other at UFC 159 in Newark, New Jersey.

A former college football player for the University of Tennessee, Ovince St. Preux went 4-4 before being signed to fight on the undercard of Strikeforce: Nashville in 2010. St. Preux provided more than just a cheap pop for the organization, as he would defeat Chris Hawk in only forty-seven seconds. OSP would win his next six fights before dropping a unanimous decision to Gegard Mousasi at Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal in December of 2011. St. Preux’s most recent fight was a knockout over TJ Cook at Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman in August.

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