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Tag: UFC

UFC 172: The Card That Helped MMA Not Suck Anymore


(Photo via Getty)

By Matt Saccaro

UFC 172 wasn’t terribly interesting on paper. “Who cares about Jon Jones vs. Glover Teixeira and a bunch of other mismatches?” we all asked. And we were right to. MMA had been in a slump. Good cards were sparse–islands in a sea terrible TUF finales, awful Fight Pass exclusives, and PPVs not worth the $60 price tag.

Last night changed all that (well, it did if you ignore UFC 173)

I know what you’re thinking. “Tone down the hyperbole a bit, Matt…and by a bit we mean several orders of magnitude.” Let me explain.

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Is It Time to Admit MMA Will Never Become a Mainstream Success?


(Dana White’s “If you don’t like it, we don’t want you as a fan” strategy has worked. / Photo via Getty)

By Matt Saccaro

UFC on FOX 11 was one of the better cards in recent memory, but nobody outside of the MMA bubble cared.

It pulled in only 1.98 million viewers—the lowest ever for a UFC event on Fox and a 27% decline from UFC on FOX 10. The fight card lost out to every other major network in total viewers, and only beat CBS in the key 18-49 demo.

“Fighting is in our DNA,” Dana White likes to maintain. It’s a universal action that everyone understands. If a fight breaks out, everyone stops what they’re doing to watch it. Fighting is raw, visceral, but somehow pure and sacrosanct. It has been part of humanity since the first caveman shot a double leg.

Except it’s not. Those lines we all swore were so true when we started watching MMA, the ones we cited as reasons for MMA’s inevitable (and rightful) ascent to greatness, are all bullshit. When a rerun of Mike and Molly draws more viewers than free fights, one has to question whether MMA will ever achieve the mainstream popularity fans and pundits have been anticipating for years now—unless an overweight Chicago police officer (no, not Mike Russow) and his wife are even more in our DNA than fighting.

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21 Times the UFC Proved They Cared More About Entertainment Than Sport


(#22: Building doors out of wet cardboard for dramatic effect.)

The UFC is not a sports organization. They’re an entertainment company that dabbles in athletic competition. Here’s the proof:

1. Firing Jake Shields.

2. Firing Yushin Okami.

3. Firing Jon Fitch.

4. Not firing Dan Hardy (“I like guys who WAR“)

5. Giving Chael Sonnen a title shot coming off a loss.

6. Giving Nick Diaz a title shot coming off a loss.

7. Bringing a 1-0 Brock Lesnar into the UFC.

8. James Toney.

9. Signing Sean Gannon after he beat Kimbo Slice via exhaustion in an illegal bare-knuckle street fight.

10. Putting Kimbo Slice on a main card after he went 0-1 in the TUF House.

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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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