“MMA Live” talks to Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker about his recent acquisitions, and breaks down new rules on Vaseline, as well as running down all the fun little news items floating in the ether of late. And yeah, War Machine’s arrest gets a mention. They know how to have fun over at ESPN.
In this preview of the upcoming episode of “Inside MMA” Thiago Alves discusses his weight issues. He insists he doesn’t have any problems getting down to 170, except for the fight with Matt Hughes, where he missed it by four pounds, and the fight with Tony De Souza, where he was caught using a diuretic and suspended for eight months. But he admits that he normally walks around at about 200 or 205 pounds, which is pretty freaking big for a welterweight. If it was me though, I wouldn’t be talking about that stuff in public before a bout with GSP. That’s only going to help him understand your physiology and how better to destroy it.
After the jump, a look at the new Sengoku ring girls.
But as Markham admits in this exclusive interview, that’s just not his style, as anyone who saw his devastating head-kick KO of Brodie Farber in his UFC debut knows by now. At UFC 95 next Saturday night Markham takes on England’s Dan Hardy in London. Chances are, things will get ugly fast.
CagePotato.com: Thanks for talking with me, Rory. Now that you’re in the UFC, how have things changed for you?
You know, I’ve been putting in a lot of time, trying to hone my skills since October. I found that I was weak in certain areas and I knew I needed to improve. Being in the UFC now, it’s improve or die.
What areas do you feel you needed to improve in?
I don’t want to touch on bad instances, but there was one moment in the Brett Cooper fight where I really felt like if he hadn’t gotten the takedown and I could have kept it on the feet, there would have been a drastically different finish to that fight. Since then I’ve been really trying to hone my wrestling skills. I see what wrestling has done for guys like Georges St. Pierre and even, I think people overlook what it did for B.J. Penn. When he went out with Randy [Couture] and Matt Lindland, that’s when he really hit his stride. That’s something I noticed that I needed to work on. Definitely in the long run, maybe not in this fight or even the next one, I think it’s going to add to the longevity of my career.
“I think that if you look back at the past, he could have been built up to have the fights that he needed to face the Seth Petruzellis of the world and be successful, but he wasn’t given the opportunity,” said Coker. “When I look at Kimbo, I don’t look at it as his fault. He was in a ‘no win’ situation.”
Kimbo’s manager, “Icey” Mike Imber, indicated that while he wasn’t enthusiastic about a pay-cut for his fighter, he’d consider it rather than keep him out of action indefinitely. But one thing’s for sure, Bas Rutten will not be training Slice. Ever.
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:
The boys from “MMA Live” break down UFC 94, which, of course, includes a thorough look at LubeGate (or as some of you would rather call it, LubriGate). Franklin McNeil is quick to dismiss it as no big deal, but Kenny Florian makes mention of a “select few” who do make use of greasing agents. It’s almost as if he has someone specific in mind. Someone he’s personally faced, who was “slippery,” and who had also trained with one Georges St. Pierre at various points. Hmmmm….
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.
This is a Pepsi commercial that will air during the Super Bowl. From the looks of it, the goal is to show that each generation continues doing things that previous generations before them did, like drinking Pepsi!
Gina Carano comes in around the 0:18 mark, right after Bruce Lee. Before you get too worked up about the comparison, remember that this fun little SAT analogy game started by going from Bob Dylan to will.i.am, as if to prove that this generation is more superficial than every other one. Still, MMA fighter in a Super Bowl ad. Hooray.
In the second episode of Dana White’s UFC 94 video blog we get a look inside the taping of “The Ultimate Fighter,” and encounter a man identified as Dana White Sr. Could this really be the father of the UFC prez? The brief look we get at their relationship seems contentious yet oddly loving enough. After that it’s off to NYC for more Pinkberry (so no more Men’s Health cover shoots any time soon, then?) and another race through the city streets. Oh, to be rich and loaded on sugar. Nothing at all about GSP-Penn in this episode, by the way.
Andrei Arlovski comes home to Chicago and thanks his fans for their support after his loss, which he attributes to a stupid mistake. His cameraman, playing the role of the enabling sycophant, insists it was just necessary risk-taking, but Andrei knows better. He also tosses another jab at “pee-pee-pee taster” Tim Sylvia, because that always makes a man feel better when he’s down in the dumps.
(Is there any situation not improved by sound effects from Super Mario Bros.? Props: MMA Scraps.)
Freddie Roach has figured out what went wrong for Andrei Arlovski on Saturday night. It’s simple really. Fighting the world’s best heavyweight proved too easy. This bored Andrei, prompting him to try the flying knee that he was not awake long enough to finish:
"He made a young man’s mistake," Roach told MMAInsider backstage. "It was too easy for him. He was winning the fight handily I thought, controlling the fight like we planned. He got a little cocky, and he tried the flying knee from too far away, no setup, and he paid for it. … But Fedor swings hard, that’s his thing. He probably had his eyes closed, but he just got lucky, I think. If we had followed a more disciplined fight, and kept to the game plan, I think it was going to be easy."
I agree with Roach on one point: Arlovski did make a mistake. As for the rest of his explanation, it’s just more evidence that Roach doesn’t understand the differences between MMA and boxing. In the boxing world, a man who wins via one-punch knockout after landing fewer punches than his opponent until that point is almost always the beneficiary of a lucky punch. Not so in MMA, especially when that man is Fedor.
You can say he got lucky. You can accuse him of closing his eyes and hoping for the best. But you can’t explain away his record. Arlovski may have helped him out with that mental error, but a right hand like Fedor’s sure improves a man’s luck considerably.
Be honest, when Fedor’s legs went briefly wobbly at around the 0:17 mark, you thought to yourself, ‘Oh shit, Arlovski might actually do it.’ Then Arlovski jumped into one of those "overhand murderballs" that Goldstein warned against, and you remembered, ‘Oh yeah, it’s Fedor in there.’
More videos from last night’s fights after the jump.
(‘To the death, Georges. To the death. Right after I get back from vacation.’)
As if you couldn’t tell from the high production values in last night’s debut episode of “UFC Primetime” on Spike TV, that thing didn’t come cheap. The pricetag for the entire series is $1.7 million, which is a lot when you consider that your run-of-the-mill “Countdown” show only costs about $200,000. But judging by the ratings numbers from last night’s premiere episode, it may prove to be worth it.
MMA Payout reports that the show drew nearly 1.5 million viewers (1,494,000 to be exact), according to ratings estimates. In case you’re curious how that compares to the “Countdown” ratings, the best that show ever managed to draw in its first airing was 782,000 viewers. That means “UFC Primetime” drew nearly twice as well as the best “Countdown” ever, and it has the added benefit of being a recurring series, so we can see how many of those people come back for more next week.
But here’s the real question: will the high ratings translate into big pay-per-view buys? Probably. “Countdown” ratings have proven to be a fairly decent barometer for how a given PPV event will sell, and these kinds of numbers should give the UFC reason to be very optimistic about the potential for UFC 94. Then again, Georges St. Pierre-B.J. Penn II was bound to be a huge event anyway, so it will be difficult to say how much “Primetime” helped.
Either way, as long as the UFC is putting out something this good, and as long as they keep employing our boy Ariel Helwani (who is hopefully seeing a big chunk of that $1.7 million, because we need to borrow some cash to cover our gambling losses after UFC 92), we aren’t complaining. Let’s just hope this success means more “Primetimes” in the future.
“Who knew that not sleeping and not eating could mess with your mental state?” says “Rampage” Jackson in this post-guilty plea interview with the OC Register.
If you had asked me that question before this incident, my answer would have been: everybody. Everybody on the face of the earth knows that not sleeping and not eating will cause you both physical and mental problems, up to and including death. After seeing this video, however, I realize I would have been wrong to say that, because at least one person had to find out the hard way.
In this video from Bad Boy, "Shogun" Rua gets his train on in preparation for his bout with Mark Coleman at UFC 93 next weekend. At least in the gym, this looks more like the old Shogun we all knew and loved, the Grand Theft Title-era Shogun, if you will. Now we just have to wait and see if that transfers into the Octagon after so much time off.
Respect the tights, people. If nothing else, this fight proves that Shinya Aoki knows how to stick to a game plan. When his butt-scoot attack didn’t pan out, he used an Alvarez kick to turn this into a grappling match. Alvarez’s hip toss was pretty sweet, but it might have been a mistake to think he was going to mount Aoki so easily. That’s where things start to go wrong for him, and once they start they only get worse.
Give him credit, Aoki is slick. He’s also the first WAMMA lightweight champ, for what that’s worth. They might as well etch onto the belt "Best Lightweight Not Currently in the UFC." We all know that’s what it means, anyway.
Gegard Mousasi puts a serious hurting on Musashi, plus more after the jump.
Someone had to shut Frank Shamrock up. Thank God for Cung Le. Shamrock stayed true to his promise to stand and trade with the San Shou sensation, though maybe it would have been a better idea if he didn’t. He got kicked in ways he never imagined until a broken arm forced him to give in after three rounds of action, just when it was starting to get really good. Watching these highlights just makes you mad at Cung Le for running off to be a movie star instead of sticking around in MMA for a while. It also makes you wonder what would happen to Frank’s new braces if he got kicked in the face like that now. Perhaps we’ll never know.
4. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson vs. Forrest Griffin (7/5/08)
They don’t get much closer than this light heavyweight championship fight at UFC 86. Simply mentioning who you think won the bout (cough*Griffin*cough) is enough to start a message board argument that will produce countless personal attacks and ultimately accomplish nothing, but that just proves what a close battle it was. Five rounds of back-and-forth action led to a unanimous, though oddly scored decision victory for Griffin, and a few sleepless nights for Jackson. “Rampage” says he’d like to run it back in ’09. We’d rather see him fight Evans for the title, but we also wouldn’t complain about seeing a repeat of this scrap.
Even though Dana White is a millionaire with fancy cars and a private jet to fly around in, no material object seems to bring him as much pleasure as that shock pen. He’s still pulling the prank at UFC 92, even on “Rampage” Jackson, who just wants to relax at Octagonside after knocking Wanderlei Silva senseless. Come on, Dana. Time and a place, man.
Skip to the 5:37 mark and you can actually see Dana White beginning to realize that Steve Mazzagatti is not a good ref. He’s less adamant about it than those around him, but that is not the way a man who’s happy about what he’s seeing chews gum.
After the jump, episode two of "Arlovski 360," in which boxing trainer Freddie Roach lays out the game plan that he thinks will beat Fedor Emelianenko. It seems…optimistic.
From the moment this video declares Fedor-Arlovski to be the most anticipated heavyweight bout in MMA history, for the "undisputed" heavyweight title, you know what you’re getting into. Still, the look of the video is impressive for a DIY internet effort. It rips off all the cool things about the HBO 24/7 series, though since they spend the entire time pumping up Arlovski it reaches none of the emotional depth.
Oh well. It’s still the best promotional tool we’ve seen yet for this fight that’s just over a month away. If Affliction’s not embarrassed by that, they should be.
After the jump, Frank Mir gets deep, plus a little something extra that you may hate me for, but it’s for your own good.
Despite getting off to a great start, last night’s K-1 World GP Finals ended in bizarre fashion, with Badr Hari getting disqualified for illegally taking Remy Bonjasky down and then attacking him while he was under the referee’s care, finally stomping on his head before being shoved off by the ref. At first Hari looked like he’d just receive a yellow card, but with Bonjasky complaining of double-vision, the bout was stopped and Bonjasky declared the winner via disqualification.
Upon further review, the illegal blows don’t look so bad. But that’s easy for me to say since I didn’t take them. Bonjasky’s the guy who fought his way into the finals and was taking it to Hari for much of the first round, so you have to give him the benefit of the doubt as a tough bastard who would’ve continued if he could.
You hate to see it end that way, especially considering what a great show it was up until that point. If you’re wondering how Kimbo Slice did in his commentating duties, you can check out the reply on HDNet tonight. Or you can take my word for it that he didn’t say much, but did manage to slip in there how much he loved "the city of Japan." That’s right.
A couple more videos from the K-1 World Grand Prix 2008 after the jump.
(You can bet that one of these two men went to bed reeking of Bengay and whiskey after this. Click the image to view the video, courtesy of Spike.com)
At long last, the video has surfaced. Al “Stankie” Stankiewicz and Efrain Escudero lace up the gloves and step in the Octagon. It starts with a little good-natured ribbing, followed by a very credible Stankie impression by Kyle Kingsbury, and then Efrain finds out the hard way that Stankie isn’t joking about his strong desire to kick some ass one more time.
Say what you will about Stankie’s skills in the cage, but if I can move and punch like that when I’m sixty-seven, I’ll be happy. Actually, if I’m still alive by then, and if the world has not deteriorated into a post-apocalyptic wasteland where we do battle over watering holes and run from roving packs of wild dogs, that will be enough for me.
Way to show these young punks what it means to have an enduring warrior spirit, Stankie. I’d be proud to call you my crazy grandfather figure, if only my actual crazy grandfather wasn’t always banging around up in the attic, yelling about how the neighborhood has gone to hell ever since the Irish moved in.
I can’t help but wonder whose idea it was to have new WEC featherweight champ Mike Brown on Inside MMA and then ask the panel — which consisted of Brown, Dave "Pee Wee" Herman, and oddsmaker Nick Kalikas — who the best fighter in the WEC is. You know Brown’s going to say it’s him, and you also know the other two guys are going to want to say it’s Urijah Faber, thus implying that Brown got lucky when he beat Faber for the belt at WEC 36. And you know that when this happens it will create a palpably uncomfortable situation for everyone. And yet they do it anyway.
Say what you will, I have no choice but to admire that move. It’s kind of a mini ethics test, because we’d know if one of them said Brown it would only be because he was sitting a few feet away and not because they really believed it. But honesty ruled the day, and as usually happens in real life, awkwardness followed with it.
It just wouldn’t be a night at the fights if someone didn’t get all riled up and start their own action outside the Octagon. What this guy doesn’t take into account, however, is that the cops at UFC 91 have been watching the same ass-kicking action all night long, and are now just as eager as he is to bash some skulls. Maybe even a little too eager.
The slam that comes at around the 0:27 mark may not be a model of technical execution, but it ends with our bewildered troublemaker on his back soaking up spilled beer and wondering how the cops at the MGM Grand got to be so agro, brah. At least he waited until after the main event to get himself brutalized.
Our good friend Ariel Helwani of MMA Rated was kind enough to supply us with these exclusive video interviews that he conducted over the weekend. Above the lovely Gina Carano discusses her future, why she can’t run off to the WEC just yet even if Dana White decides he’d like her to, and what exactly was going on between her and Tonya Evinger in those infamous photographs we all enjoyed so much.
Josh “Heavy” Hendricks has one thing going for him: he doesn’t have to worry about anyone putting him in a video game. His knockout loss to Gabriel Gonzaga was enough to get him bounced from the UFC after only one fight. Granted, he did not look like he was up to the level of competition in the UFC. Gonzaga absolutely dominated him in his brief few minutes in the Octagon, before knocking him out and then punching him again while Steve Mazzagatti was busy sorting out his tax deductions in his head.
But at the same time, making your UFC debut against a guy like Gonzaga is a tough way to start and finish. It’s kind of like being brought up to the majors for one at-bat to face a pitcher who almost made the All-Star team last year. You strike out on three pitches, no one in the clubhouse says a word to you, and the next day you catch a Greyhound back to Rancho Cucamonga to play for the Quakes again. And yes, that type of thing has been known to happen in baseball, so this isn’t a case of the UFC being uncommonly dickish. It’s just another one of the normal dickish things that happens in pro sports.
Best of luck in your future endeavors, Hendricks. At least now you’ll have plenty of time to pound out that screenplay you’ve always wanted to write about the aliens that come to earth to intervene in the Revolutionary War. Can’t wait to read it.
Do you know what today is? Yes, it’s Wednesday, November 19. But in the history books it will be remembered as the premiere of the XARM Heavyweight Championship. Finally!!!
For those of you who missed our earlier mention of XARM, where we appropriately grouped it with dudes breaking things and a monkey doing pushups, XARM is the brain child of UFC co-creator Art Davie. It’s also pronounced “ex-arm,” though I admit I’ve been calling it “zarm” when mocking it to my friends and family. But now they’ve put together their own heavyweight tournament, premiering today on Ripe TV, complete with several XARM “Boot Camp” episodes. So basically, I’m in no danger of running out of material for mockery.
The idea of XARM is that it combines arm wrestling (which, let’s face it, peaked in popularity with “Over the Top”) and a really lame, stationary version of MMA. The two men are tied together, sometimes with duct tape, then they punch each other wearing MMA gloves. If that sounds like the stupidest thing you’ve ever heard, then congratulations, your brain works properly.
In this edition of Dana White‘s video blog he prepares for UFC 91 by going to the THQ headquarters to get a look at the upcoming “UFC 2009: Undisputed” video game. Does it look totally sweet? It does. The designers attempt to explain some of their revolutionary methods in creating this game, but Dana doesn’t care. He just wants to play as Brock Lesnar. And if you’re going to try and tell me that the THQ dudes didn’t let him win, don’t bother.
This video blog also has the strangest ending we’ve seen yet. After Dana gets done swearing his way through an interview with the Wall Street Journal, he responds to a critic on YouTube who wondered why a rich guy like the UFC prez would listen to music on regular earphones like the rest of us plebes. Well, problem solved, because now he’s got the Dr. Dre Beats headphones, bitch! You happy now?! Well, probably not, no.
Seriously, is Dana White going through and reading the YouTube comments on his video blogs? Because that is not the best use of his time.
Randy Couture‘s son, Ryan, was successful in his amateur debut this past weekend, submitting Ricky Perez in the first round. The reaction from Ryan’s friends in the crowd is, let’s just say, enthusiastic.
I always have mixed feelings watching the children of famous people attempt to do what their famous parents do. On one hand, Couture’s son probably has great genetics and excellent training to help him along. On the other, he’s always going to be known as Randy Couture’s son.
Just think about what he’d have to do in order to get out from under that cloud as an MMA fighter. If he became the greatest fighter in the history of the sport, if he defeated the children of Fedor Emelianenko and Chuck Liddell on the same night and then beat up Tito Ortiz and Jenna Jameson‘s love child on his way back to the locker room (naturally I assume that the Ortiz/Jameson offspring will be a screaming drunk in the audience) that might do it.
Who knows, sometimes the child eclipses the father, and that is one hell of a triangle choke. But for every Peyton Manning there’s a Gloria Hemingway. Best of luck in avoiding that fate, little Couture.
“Countdown to UFC 91″ airs tonight on Spike TV at 11 pm EST/PST. In this brief taste we get an idea of what the storyline between Randy Couture and Brock Lesnar is going to be, but somehow it still feels like less than an all-out promotional blitz for an event Dana White predicted would top one million pay-per-view buys. Maybe they think this one sells itself. Maybe they think the wrestling fans will come out in droves to buy this one like they never have before. Maybe they finally realized that the undercard is caught somewhere between mediocre and painfully weak, and they’re already thinking about hyping UFC 92.
After the jump, Matt Lindland stops by to give his analysis of the Couture-Lesnar matchup.