MMA Fighter Challenges People to Punch Him in the Face, Everyone Fails

Tag: UFC

Video: John McCain, Lorenzo Fertitta, Jon Jones, Bernard Hopkins, and More Boxing/MMA Figures Unite to Support the Professional Fighters Brain Health Study


(Props: Senator Reid)

There are few occasions where you could get executives from the UFC, Bellator, Golden Boy, and Top Rank in the same room without a full-scale brawl breaking out. But today in Washington, DC, an unprecedented congregation of combat-sports power players joined forces to support a common cause — the Professional Fighters Brain Health Study, which is being conducted by the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas.

According to a press release distributed today, the Professional Fighters Brain Health Study was launched in April 2011, and is “focused on developing methods to detect the earliest and most subtle signs of brain injury in those exposed to head trauma, as well as determining which individuals may be more likely to develop chronic neurological disorders.” You can read a little more about the Cleveland Clinic’s work here.

Senators and lifelong boxing-lovers Harry Reid (D-NV) and John McCain (R-AZ) were keynote speakers at today’s press-conference, which you can watch above in its entirety. The list of speakers also included UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta, UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones, Spike TV President Kevin Kay, Bellator lightweight star Michael Chandler, Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer, Top Rank President Todd duBoef, and boxing legend Bernard Hopkins. Collectively, the combat sports promotions in attendance pledged $600,000 to help the Professional Fighters Brain Health Study continue its research for another year. As the press-release explains:

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Yushin Okami on Bridging the East-West Training Divide and Moving Forward After His UFC Release [Tokyo Dispatch #2]


(Photo via Getty)

By Elias Cepeda

I got off the Oedo subway line from Shinjuku station at the Kiyosumi Shirakawa stop and waited for a few minutes to meet up with my guide for the night, Stewart Fulton. Stewart is a Scottish ex-pat who has lived in Tokyo for over a decade. He’s also a professional fighter and has bled and sweated with some of the best fighters in all of Japan.

On this Friday night, Stewart is taking me to the gym of the man UFC president Dana White has said is the best fighter to have ever come out of Japan — Yushin Okami. Uncle Dana may very well be right about that.

It’s an interesting time to visit with “Thunder” because, despite White’s lauding of him, the UFC released Okami last fall. Now, the former middleweight title challenger is signed with the World Series of Fighting (WSOF) and is expected to make his promotional debut in March against a yet-to-be-determined opponent.

Stewart has told me that I can train with the group of select professional fighters that Okami will lead tonight but also warned me that it is a sparring day and that they go hard. After three straight days of hard grappling at other schools in Tokyo, I’m fine with sitting through tonight’s session as a spectator and leaving with my head still attached to my body.

I wonder out loud to Stewart what kind of mood Okami will be in tonight. He hasn’t done many interviews since being cut by the UFC. Okami’s release shocked some observers since he is still clearly a top middleweight. Surely, it shocked Okami as well. Who knows how eager he’ll be to talk about the topic.

Luckily, there are plenty others to discuss. Namely, training.

Stewart tells me that over the years he’s been amazed that Yushin has never appeared to be injured during training. Injuries happen constantly in training and fighters are almost always nursing several of them that vary in severity.

“I’ve never noticed him favoring an injury during practice,” Stewart tells me.

“Either he doesn’t get hurt or he’s very good at not showing it.”

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28 Signs You’re Not a “REAL” MMA Fan


(“So, did you find a stream of that UFC fight we bought tickets to, or will we have to show up halfway through the main event to play on our phones during it?”)

by CagePotato.com staff

1.You use “UFC” and “MMA” interchangeably.

2. You don’t know how to score a fight under PRIDE rules.

3. You boo fights the second they hit the ground.

4. Your “MMA training” consists of curling in the squat rack, shadowboxing while watching MMA (despite having never hit pads in your entire goddamn life), and picking fights at Buffalo Wild Wings.

5. You don’t have the UFC Fight Pass, security issues aside.

6. You don’t have Legacy FC and Titan FC fight cards committed to memory.

7. Your pathetic DVD collection doesn’t even have any events from Rumble on the Rock.

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The 23 Worst Things About Being an MMA Fan


(Photo via Getty)

By Matt Saccaro

1. Having to explain that the UFC is not the WWE.

2. Boxing vs. MMA discussions.

3. MMA “lifestyle” brands thinking you’re a goon who’ll only wear clothes if it has skulls, wings, or a tribal pattern on it.

4. Hearing casual fans talk about Kimbo Slice every time you decide to catch a PPV at a bar.

5. Hearing non-MMA fans talk about “this rolling around on the ground” every time you decide to catch a PPV at a bar.

6. The obscene cost of being an MMA fan (PPVs, Fight Pass, etc.).

7. Other MMA fans saying you’re not a TRUE fan because…[insert bullshit reason].

8. After the fight scene in a movie or TV show, everyone glares at you because they know you’re about to bash it for how unrealistic it was.

9. Debates about who was the GOAT.

10. People still going on about how awesome Pride was. Yeah, it was awesome, but it’s still dead and it ain’t coming back!

11. Dealing with other “fans” who “train UFC”

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In the Wake of Matt Brown’s Sexist Comments, Has the UFC’s Image Finally Grown Up?


(Dana White’s “I’m not the president of a massive company” pose, typically used by presidents of massive companies. / Photo via Getty.)

A few years ago, Matt Brown’s recent, sexist comments about women’s MMA wouldn’t have rocked the boat much. Some people would’ve complained, citing such infractions of decency as the reason why the UFC wasn’t where the NFL was in terms of mainstream appeal. Dana White would’ve simply responded “Fuck you, dummy” or some other dismissive, useless remark. The UFC is cool, and it’s cool because the fighters aren’t corporate, generic, and anodyne. They’re as real as it gets, as opposed to the walking-press releases that are athletes in other major sports.

For proof, look no further than motorboat-gate. Rampage Jackson acted lecherously towards a female reporter (and this wasn’t the first time he’d done such a thing). Nothing happened. When Yahoo’s Maggie Hendricks lambasted Rampage and the MMA media, Joe Rogan called her “cunty” and MMA fans thought it was the cleverest comeback since Lord Palmerston verbally thrashed his enemies in parliament.

CagePotato’s own Ben Goldstein got to the crux of the issue:

Nine out of ten UFC fans will side with Quinton Jackson and Joe Rogan every time, because Rampage and Joe are awesome, and motorboating is hilarious, and who the fuck is Maggie Hendricks anyway? Seriously, here’s another representative comment from the UG thread from member ‘Bat21?:

“shitty cunty?!?!? BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAA!!!
Fuck, I’m still laughing after 5 minutes. You’re the man, Joe.”

Jesus. If this is the mindset of the average UFC fan, then good luck being taken seriously, guys.

A high-profile commentator for the NFL or NBA couldn’t get away with throwing around slurs like this in public forums. I know that the fast-and-loose quality of the UFC’s frontmen and fighters has been part of the brand’s great success to this point. But there will come a time (we hope) when MMA is so popular that guys like Rampage and Rogan will have to behave like gentlemen — so they may as well start practicing for it now.

Has this time finally come? Do UFC employees finally have to behave, as Ben Goldstein put it, like gentlemen?

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Beware the Bowing, Humble Man: 5 Things We Learned Over 5 Days in Japan

By Elias Cepeda 

I spent last week in Tokyo, Japan, to cover the Glory year-end championship kickboxing event and interview and train with luminaries of Japanese MMA. I’m only now beginning to process everything I experienced and saw but here are five immediate take aways.

1. Japanese Fans are No Longer Silent During Fights, But They are Still Hella Observant

Watching Pride events on television years ago, I used to marvel at how attentive and respectful the Japanese fans in live attendance seemed. During most of the action, it seemed as though you’d be able to hear a pin drop in even the largest of super arenas because the fans watched in almost complete silence.

Then, a fighter might make a minor adjustment towards a submission that most American fans would not be able to recognize as the offense it was, and the previously silent Japanese crowd would “ooohh,” and “ahhh.” In my American fight world of boorish booing, louder t-shirts and indifference to any aspect of fighting that wasn’t a competitor being knocked unconscious, Japan seemed like a magical place where people watched fights live with the understanding and respect they deserved.

This past Saturday, I watched a Glory kickboxing event live inside the Ariake Coliesum in Tokyo, Japan. It wasn’t MMA, but I was still excited to not only watch the great strikers on the card, but to experience a Japanese crowd in person for the first time.

Well, they are no longer silent during fights. Apparently that part of fight-viewing culture in Japan has changed in the past ten years or so.

Fans shouted throughout bouts and hooted and hollered. Still, they seemed to know what was going on much more so than American crowds I’ve been a part of or witnessed. Little bits of the fight were still appreciated by the crowd and they showed tremendous support to anyone who showed perseverance and heart in a fight, even if it wasn’t the crowd favorite.

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Watching Royston Wee Will Set You Back $10, and Other Info About the UFC’s New Digital Network


(Subtlety was never the UFC’s strong suit…)

Remember that subscription-based, digital UFC network we talked about a couple weeks ago? You know, the one that promised cards full of unfit for television jobbers like Royston Wee?

Well, the UFC officially announced the price point: Access to the “UFC Fight Pass” will cost $9.99 a month.

What exactly does the monthly fee get you?

Access to international fight cards like UFC Fight Night 34, the UFC’s MMA fight library which includes fights from Pride, Strikeforce, and the WEC, as well as the UFC’s TV show archives (TUF, UFC Unleashed, etc.). Subscribers also get access to any original content the UFC is willing to put on the network, such as interviews, features, and whatever else.

It seems Alexander Hamilton carries a bit of respect at Zuffa, though initially the entire video library won’t be available. Marshall Zelaznik, the UFC’s Chief Content Officer, elaborated on this during the MMA Hour:

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The UFC’s Future More Uncertain Than Ever in the Wake of GSP’s Departure


(Photo via Getty)

The UFC can undergo a new renaissance or it can further fade into Toughman on FX-level obscurity—and it’s actions in the aftermath of GSP’s hiatus (and possible retirement) from MMA will determine which path the company takes.

GSP’s departure has come at a devastating time. The UFC is in a rut. TUF has long since stopped being the advertising vehicle/farm system it was years ago. Ratings are down. The worst part of all is that PPV—the UFC’s chief source of revenue—is lagging too. The culprit is a lack of stars, or rather the UFC’s apparent inability to replace the fading ones.

The UFC lost Chuck Liddell. The UFC lost Brock Lesnar. Rashad Evans, a good draw in his own right, is aging, as is the recently-toppled Anderson Silva. Ronda Rousey lost her luster and already put an expiration date on her career.

Now they’re short a Canadian superhero, a man who’s drawn an average of 800,000 buys over the last three years. And there are no young studs to pick up the slack. Jon Jones and Cain Velasquez are not fit to carry the company on their shoulders judging by the buyrates on their recent PPVs. The UFC’s young, great ethnic hopes—Tiequan Zhang, Erik Perez, and Erick Silva—haven’t developed as planned. Most importantly, the strategy of grooming Rory MacDonald to be GSP’s replacement has failed (or has at least been delayed).

The UFC’s future is still on the backs of aging warhorses whose knees are beginning to buckle.

Yet there is still hope.

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Five Obvious but Overlooked Things Fans Need to Remember About the UFC


(Just keep repeating to yourself, “Nobody’s making me watch this…nobody’s making me watch this…nobody’s making me watch this…”)

By Matt Saccaro

The UFC has come under fire lately for several reasons: Declining numbers, oversaturation, the fading of their stars, launching a digital network with a questionable premise, not hiring Ben Askren and so on. When we fling insults at the UFC, we need to remember a few things about the company in order to put these negative occurrences and circumstances into perspective. Let’s start with the most obvious but frequently-ignored point:

1. The UFC is a business.

The purpose of the UFC is to make its owners money. The UFC does not exist to feed fighters’ families. There’s not much else to say on this front. Companies have to make money to be viable. Yeah, it sucks that some guys get paid an absurdly small amount of money for what they do, and it sucks that the UFC is upping the PPV price.

That’s just something we have to deal with though. If you don’t like it, vote with your dollar. If enough people tune out, Zuffa’s wallet will know and they’ll either change their tune accordingly or lose money.

2. The UFC is an international company.

There’s been talk about the UFC hiring unfit-for-television jobbers lately. It’s true but necessary. The UFC is headed to distant lands where MMA is in its most nascent stages. The talent pool in these places is more like a mud puddle. The UFC has to work with what it’s given in China and Singapore. Deepening foreign talent pools can only happen by growing the sport overseas, and growing the sport overseas can only happen when they have foreign (foreign to us, home grown to them) fighters on the card. And since there aren’t many great foreign fighters, the UFC has to scrape the bottom of a very empty barrel. This results in fighters getting a place in the “Super Bowl of MMA” who shouldn’t even be in the bleachers, let alone on the field.

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Six Things the UFC Can Learn from the WWE Going Into 2014


(On second thought, make that seven things. Photo via With Leather.)

By Seth Falvo

On paper, my timing couldn’t possibly be worse. Aside from the fact that there are dozens of “What the UFC can learn from the WWE” articles on the Internet, last week’s edition of Monday Night Raw – the company’s flagship television program – brought some of its worst viewership numbers of the past fifteen years. With this week’s edition competing against a Monday Night Football game between two teams still in playoff contention for the casual fans, it’s doubtful that those numbers improved by much.

So then why am I writing yet another article about what a company that sells choreographed “fights” experiencing some of its lowest viewership numbers can teach the UFC? Because the WWE’s idea of “terrible numbers” involves only averaging 3.53 million viewers. To put that into perspective, the TUF 18 Finale main card drew 1.129 million viewers. That’s right, the WWE is in panic mode because their weekly Monday night show only attracted three times as many viewers as a UFC event.

Don’t worry, I’m not about to suggest that the UFC resort to ridiculous storylines, assigning character gimmicks to fighters, forcing celebrity guests into shows, forming an ill-advised partnership with a dying pro-wrestling promotion, or any of the other things that would make most MMA fans roll their eyes. Nor am I going to ignorantly blame the UFC for less than spectacular fights, controversial finishes, and other things that a legitimate sports league cannot possibly be expected to control. On the contrary, my first suggestion is something that the UFC actually used to do better than the WWE…

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