Hot Links Main Page (No Flash) Main Page (Flash) Martial Arts Schools List O2 Martial Arts Academy Links Page Man Page Guestbook

Upcoming Events
Do you want to list an event on Onzuka.com?
Contact Us
(All events on Oahu, unless noted)

2013

2/16/12
Mayhem At The Mansion
Kauai Cage Match 14
(MMA)
(Kilohana Carriage House, Lihue, Kauai)

2/2/12
World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship: Hawaii Trials
(BJJ & Sub Grappling)
(McKinley H.S. Gym)

1/12/12
Reuben "Cobrinha" Charles Seminar
4-7PM
(Ku Lokahi Wrestling Club)

2012

12/8-9/12
8th Annual Clint Shelton Memorial Amateur Boxing Event
(Palolo District Park Gym)
(Amateur Boxing)

11/24/12
Aloha State BJJ Championship
(BJJ & Sub Grappling)
(McKimley H.S. Gym)

11/10-11/12
Eternal Submission Tournament
(Sub Grappling)
(Kauai)

11/10/12
Toughman Xtreme Fighting Championships
(Boxing, Kickboxing, XMA, MMA)
(Hilo Civic Center, Hilo)

10/20-21/12
NAGA Hawaii
(BJJ & Sub Grappling)
(Radford H. S. Gym)

10/20/12
King of the Cage: Mana
(MMA)
(Blaisdell Arena)

10/7/12
Worlds Master Senior Championship
(BJJ)
(The Pyramid, Long Beach, CA)

9/8/12
Destiny: Na Koa
(MMA)
(Blaisdell Arena)

9/1/12
Toughman Hawaii
(Boxing)
(Hilo Civic Ctr)

8/18/12
Warpath to Mayhem:
Rumble at the Resort
(MMA)
(Kauai Beach Resort, Lihue, Kauai)

August
King of the Mat
(Submission Grappling)

8/4/12
Maui Open
(BJJ & Sub Grappling)
(Lahaina Civic Center, Lahaina)

7/21/12
Sera's Kajukenbo Martial Arts Tournament
(Continuous Sparring, MMA (Controlled), and Sub. Grappling)
(War Memorial Gym, Wailuku, Maui)
**CANCELLED**

7/14/12
King of the Cage
(MMA)
(Blaisdell Arena)

6/29/12
Vendetta 5
(Kickboxing)
(Waipahu Filcom Center)

6/16-17/12
State of Hawaii BJJ Championship
(BJJ & Sub Grappling)
(Blaisdell Exhibition Hall)

6/16/12
Destiny
(MMA)
(Blaisdell Exhibition Hall)

6/15/12
Man Up & Stand Up
(Kickboxing)
(Blaisdell Exhibition Hall)

5/26/12
Toughman Hawaii Presents; King Of The Ring
(Boxing)
(Edith Kanakaole Tennis Stadium, Hilo)

5/19/12
Scrappler's Fest
(BJJ & Sub Grappling)
(Island School, Lihue, Kauai)

The Quest For Champions
Martial Arts Tournament 2012
(Sport-Pankration, Submission Grappling, Continuous Sparring)
(St. Louis High School Gym)

5/18/12
Vendetta 4
(Kickboxing)
(Waipahu Filcom Center)

5/4/12
King of the Ring
(Kickboxing)
(Waipahu Filcom)

Just Scrap XVI
(MMA)
(Maui War Memorial Gym, Wailuku)

4/28/12
Destiny
(Kickboxing & MMA)
(The Waterfront, Aloha Tower)

4/21/12
Amateur Boxing Event
Smoker Fundraiser
(Boxing)
(Palolo District Park Gym)

4/14/12
Man Up & Stand Up
(Kickboxing)
(Waipahu Filcom, Waipahu)

Hawaiian Open Championship of BJJ
(BJJ & Sub Grappling)
(Kaiser H.S. Gym)

3/29/12 - 4/1/12
Pan Jiu-Jitsu Championship
(BJJ)
(Irvine, CA)

3/3/12
Warpath to Mayhem:
Rumble at the Resort
(MMA)
(Kauai Beach Resort, Lihue, Kauai)

Vendetta 3
(Kickboxing, Triple Threat)
(Waipahu Filcom, Waipahu)

Toughman Hawaii: Challengers
(Kickboxing)
(Hilo Civic, Hilo)

2/11/12
Amateur Boxing Event
(Boxing)
(Palolo District Park Gym)

2/4/12
Man Up & Stand Up
(Kickboxing)
(Waipahu Filcom Center, Waipahu)

1/21/12
ProElite MMA
(MMA)
(Blaisdell Arena)

1/15/12
Polynesia International BJJ Tournament
(BJJ)
(King Intermediate, Kaneohe)

1/7/12
Toughman Hawaii
(Kickboxing)
(Hilo Civic Center, Hilo)
 News & Rumors
Archives
Click Here

December 2012 News Part 3

O2 Martial Arts Academy provides 7 days a week training! Relson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu classes taught by Black Belts Kaleo Hosaka and Chris & Mike Onzuka

We are also offering Kali-Escrima (stick fighting) on Monday nights with Ian Beltran & Erwin Legaspi.

Kickboxing Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday with PJ Dean & Chris Slavens!

We just started a Wrestling program in May taught by Cedric Yogi.

Kids Classes are also available!

Click here for info!

Take classes from the Onzuka brothers in a family-like environment!





Want to Advertise on Onzuka.com?

Click here for pricing and more information!
Short term and long term advertising available.

More than 1 million hits and counting!

O2 Martial Arts Academy
Your Complete Martial Arts School!

Click here for pricing and more information!

O2 Martial Arts features Relson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu taught by Relson Gracie Black Belts Chris and Mike Onzuka and Kaleo Hosaka as well as a number of brown and purple belts.

We also offer Boxing and Kickboxing classes with a staff that is unmatched. Boxing, Kickboxing, and MMA competitor PJ Dean as well as master boxing instructor Chris Slavens provide incredibly detailed instruction of the sweet science.

To top it off, Ian Beltran & Erwin Legaspi heads our Kali-Escrima classes (Filipino Knife & Stickfighting) who were directly trained under the legendary Snookie Sanchez.

Our wrestling program is headed by Cedric Yogi who was previously the head coach of the Pearl City High School Wrestling Team.

Just a beginner with no background? Perfect! We teach you from the ground up!

Experienced martial artist that wants to fine tune your skill? Our school is for you!

Mix and match your classes so you can try all the martial arts classes offered at O2!

If you want to learn martial arts by masters of their trade in a friendly and family environment, O2 Martial Arts Academy is the place for you!


Want to Contact Us? Shoot us an email by Clicking Here!

Follow O2 Martial Arts news via Twitter at:
http://www.twitter.com/O2MAA

12/31/12

Joe Lauzon Receives 40 Stitches After Award Winning Performance at UFC 155

If there’s a more exciting fighter to watch in the UFC than Joe Lauzon, they certainly have not proven it in 2012.

While Lauzon’s record sits at 1-2 for the year, no one would look at it as anything less than impressive especially after his last two fights received “Fight of the Night” honors, and most likely “Fight of the Year” by most standards.

Lauzon gutted out two nasty cuts that were absolutely gushing blood for much of his fight at UFC 155 against Jim Miller to almost pull off two late submissions. He fell short by decision, but Lauzon still deserves a ton of credit for the performance and his ability to make every fight he’s in memorable when it’s over.

To Lauzon the journey to the fight is as important as the end result.

“I don’t really care how the fight goes so much as long as I gave it my all. I go out there and I do the best I can in training and if I did a great job in training, then I really don’t care about how the fight ends,” Lauzon said Saturday night.

“If I lose to somebody, I’m glad it’s a good guy like Jim (Miller).”

Following the fight, Lauzon visited the doctors who were able to seal up the huge gash over his eye that produced the majority of the blood that ended up thrown all over the Octagon during his fight with Miller.

All told according to Lauzon it took 40 stitches to close the wounds, but all in all, he’s doing just fine.

“40 stitches and a lot of lost blood but I’m all good,” Lauzon wrote on Twitter on Sunday. “Props to Jim Miller on a great fight!”

Lauzon picked up his 12th post fight award at UFC 155 as well, which ties UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva for the most in company history. It’s rarified air that Lauzon breathes in that category and even though he’s going home with a loss, he can hold his head proud with the performance he pulled off on Saturday night.

Source: MMA Weekly

Anderson Silva Signs New 10-Fight UFC Deal

It appears Anderson Silva‘s future is set with plenty more fights left inside the UFC Octagon after his latest contract negotiation.

Following his win over Stephan Bonnar at UFC 153, Silva and his management confirmed that the longtime champion had two fights left on his current deal, but they were going to begin dialoging with the UFC soon about an extension.

Now, according to UFC president Dana White, those terms have been reached and it’s a big deal.

White confirmed that Anderson Silva will sign a new 10-fight deal with the UFC that will take him up until the day he likely decides to retire, closing the book on one of the most storied careers in all of fighting.

“Ten. He signed a 10-fight deal. I don’t think we’ve ever done a 10-fight deal. Maybe we did one with Forrest once, I don’t remember, but Anderson said, ‘I want a 10-fight deal, not an eight-fight deal.’ I’ll give him a 100-fight deal if he wants one,” White said on Saturday night.

Already the most dominant champion in UFC history, Silva probably received the most lucrative deal the company has ever offered, and it stands to reason why.

Silva is undefeated in his UFC career with more title defenses than any fighter that has ever stepped foot in the Octagon, and even at 37 years of age he doesn’t appear to be slowing down whatsoever.

“Ten more fights, realistically, is three more years. I mean, the guy is (almost) 38, but he doesn’t look it,” White said about his champion.

It’s likely Silva’s next trip to the Octagon will be defending his UFC middleweight title for an 11th time, likely facing Michael Bisping, should the brash Brit defeat Vitor Belfort at UFC on FX 7.

There are still potential superfights looming overhead as well with Silva possibly facing UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre or light heavyweight champ Jon Jones.

Whatever he chooses to do, Silva will be doing it in the UFC, and that’s just fine by Dana White.

Source: MMA Weekly

UFC 155 Results: Yushin Okami Decisions Alan Belcher

Yushin Okami flexes during the UFC 155 weigh-in on December 28, 2012 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Yushin Okami displayed his dominance on the ground, topping Alan Belcher in their UFC 155 fight Saturday night in Las Vegas.

Okami stayed in top position for a majority of the fight, allowing the judges to see it in his favor with scores of 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28.

Belcher tested Okami on the feet early, throwing headkicks and creating space. The fight went to the ground, however, and Okami pressured from top position. Belcher defended from the back, while his opponent worked small strikes through the end of the first round.

In the second round, Okami nearly got caught in a Belcher guillotine, but persevered. Okami worked in side control for an extended amount of time until being questionably stood up by the ref, which led to a significant right-handed punch by Belcher. The fight returned to the ground, and Okami won the round.

Belcher kept his back against the cage and Okami pressured him against it as the third round started. Belcher secured a takedown and got full mount, but Okami transitioned and gained top position, landing several more strikes until time expired.

With the win, Okami wins his second straight contest, while Belcher loses his first in five outings.

Source: Gracie Magazine

UFC 155 Results: Derek Brunson Outlasts Chris Leben

Derek Brunson won a unanimous decision over Chris Leben at UFC 155 in Las Vegas on Saturday night.

Brunson worked his takedowns throughout the fight, but both fighters lacked the stamina to land any significant strikes after the first round.

In the first round, Brunson brought the fight to the ground and landed several shots on his opponent. Leben attempted to recover to the feet, but Brunson continued to pressure through the first five minutes of the contest.

Brunson got another takedown early on the second round, but looked noticeably tired as time went on. Leben landed more punches, but none landed with any significant impact. After time of the round expired, Brunson kneeled down in his corner, gasping for breath.

Both fighters were out of breath in the third round. Brunson scored another takedown late in the final frame and solidified the win.

With the victory, Brunson wins his UFC debut, while Leben hasn’t won in the octagon since July 2011.

Source: Gracie Magazine

UFC 155 in Tweets: Pros react to Junior dos Santos vs. Cain Velasquez, Jim Miller vs. Joe Lauzon

Three fights into UFC 155's pay-per-view, it looked like the end-of-the-year blowout was destined to be a disappointing dud. Eight grueling, gory rounds later, that notion had been buried under the a gallon of blood that suddenly coated the Octagon floor.

After a year spent cursing the what ifs, Cain Velasquez returned with a vengeance. No longer hampered by injuries, Velasquez dominated Junior dos Santos en route to a lopsided decision victory to reclaim his UFC heavyweight title and set up a potential rivalry that could churn out classic battles for years to come.

That performance, in addition to an otherworldly ‘Fight of the Year' candidate from co-main eventers Jim Miller and Joe Lauzon, provided the UFC a fitting sendoff for a rollercoaster 2012 campaign. And all along the way, a slew of pro fighters were just as excited as everyone watching at home.

Alistair Overeem

@Alistairovereem

Aaaand, its all over... Great fight, great performance by Cain. Nice :)

Jon Fitch

@jonfitchdotnet

Hell yes. So proud of @cainmma much respect for JDS for being so tough.

Josh Koscheck

@JoshKoscheck

Told you!!!! #Cain. By wrestling!!

Tito Ortiz

@titoortiz

Cain has all my respect!!!! Wow. The mexiCan champ is back. #UFC155

Dan Henderson

@danhendo

Nice to see cain wrestling again. Looks great

Kenny Florian

@kennyflorian

You will remember where u were when #velasquez fought #DosSantos #UFC155 #amazing @ufc

Michael McDonald

@MaydayMcDonald

I never thought this would get out of the first round! What is going on here?!

Manny Gamburyan @MannyGamburyan

One word for this two guys HEART OF A CHAMPION I'm Speechless @ufc @UFC_Updates @danawhite

Nam Phan

@NamPhanMMA

YEAH !!!! looks like BROWN PRIDE did it . AWESOME JOB @cainmma you're the MAN :)great job @akajav

Dominick Cruz

@TheDomin8r

Awesome to watch Cain work, and jds shows how tough a champ really is! #wrestle #UFC155 #monsterenergy

Josh Barnett

@JoshLBarnett

So Cain gets in JR's face with striking & then gets the takedown rhythm going. It was the key to the fight. Nice work.

Brian Stann

@BrianStann

Another impressive performance, both men for different reasons, going to bed motivated and impressed! Love this sport

Jorge Rivera

@Jorge_Conquista

Honestly @junior_cigano my friend your humility is very very cool...

Jimmy Smith @jimmysmithmma

JDS is taking the kind of beating that cuts YEARS off of your career

Patrick Healy

@BamBamHealy

Joe Rogan ur the man but for Christ sake Ur man crush on Cain is making this fight impossible to watch #UFC155

Tim Kennedy

@TimKennedyMMA

Someone should tell JDS that you can't block punches with your face for very long. #UFC155

Ben Askren @Benaskren

Best heavyweight title fight in the history of the UFC! Good old fashioned American wrestling gets it done.

CB Dollaway

@cbdollaway

Congrats to @cainmma that was an impressive victory ! Congrats man ! Proud to be a sundevil tonight !

Court McGee

@Court_McGee

Best heavyweight fight ever!!!! #UFC155

Aaron Simpson

@aaronsimpson

Congrats to @cainmma. That was an impressive 25 min. Relentless attack. #Unstoppable. Right @ARobles125? @ufc

Krzysztof Soszynski

@KSOSufc

New Champ! Great fight!

Brad Tavares

@BradTavares

JDS is a beast, took a beating and kept coming! Congrats to Cain! #UFC155

Sarah Kaufman

@mmasarah

Domination from Cain Velasquez! And again heavyweight UFC champ.... #ufc155

Javier Vazquez

@javiershowtime

What an ass-kicking by @cainmma!! Wow!!! He did exactly what he had to do

Julie Kedzie @julesk_fighter

Is it Overeem v Cain next? That sounds pretty awesome to me!

Pat Barry

@HypeOrDie

I GUARANTEE WHOEVER LOOOOOSES, SILLY PEOPLE ARE GONNA DEMAND THEY GO DOWN TO 205!!!

Mike Quick Swick

@officialswick

And the new Heavyweight Champion of the world!! @cainmma #TeamAKA #UFC155 @AKA_HQ @ufc

Scott jorgensen

@Scottjorgensen

That's a wrestling pace n mentality from Cain. U kids wanna learn that? WRESTLE. #taketheirheart

@MieshaTate

You can't count JDS out, Cain is stupid for not taking the RNC when it was there, JDS could def still KO him he's still got that pop

Miesha Tate

@MieshaTate

Cain PLEASE OPEN YOUR EYEBALLS!!! The RNC is there for Dayzzz!

Miesha Tate

@MieshaTate

Don't pass on an opportunity to Finish a fight period, I've seen horrible decisions & comeback KO's so regardless Cain shoulda went 4 choke


Cheick Kongo

@kongo4real

Congratulations to Cain Velasquez. #UFC155 @cainmma

Josh Thomson @THEREALPUNK

Congratulations to AKA's very own @cainmma for winning his UFC title back tonight. So proud of you Champ!

juniorcigano

@junior_cigano

@junior_cigano: Thank you all for your support but this time I lost but i promise that i tried my best

glover teixeira

@gloverteixeira

Congrats to new champ pic.twitter.com/Kbm4IDH2

LATE FIGHT OF THE YEAR CANDIDATE: MILLER VS. LAUZON

Michael McDonald

@MaydayMcDonald

Finally!!! What a fight. We have been starved for action all night! Lol

Benson Henderson

@BensonHenderson

GREAT elbows from Miller...that is all...#UFC155

Benson Henderson

@BensonHenderson

Hats off to both JimMiller & JoeLauzon, what a performance!!! Those boys deserve a DOUBLE @ufc #UFC155 #FOTN bonus @danawhite...

Dominick Cruz

@TheDomin8r

Lauzon is tough as hell!

Dan Henderson

@danhendo

Great fight. Miller looked great.

Bart Palaszewski

@Bartimus7

Holy shit was that an elbow or a car that hit him?! Wow! Crazy

John Dodson III

@JohnDodsonMMA

I didn't know that leben got a 2nd fight tonight. Look at Jim miller's hair. #UFC155

John Dodson III

@JohnDodsonMMA

As much blood as Jim Miller is drinking he should be checked to make sure he ain't a vampire. #UFC155


Jon Fitch

@jonfitchdotnet

Wow. Still don't know who won that fight.

Aaron Riley

@aaronrileymma

Lauzon's modeling career is over

Star-divide

Anthony Pettis

@Showtimepettis

I wanna see another round!!! Fight of the century!!!

Cub Swanson

@CubSwanson

This fight is a crazy bloody mess! #warriors #UFC155

Cub Swanson

@CubSwanson

Fight of the Year??? #UFC155

War Machine

@WarMachine170

Sick fight! Lauzons heart and cardio is amazing.

Ed Herman

@EdHermanufc

That was awesome @JoeLauzon looks like a zombie coming at miller

Brad Tavares

@BradTavares

And here is our FOTN Lauzon vs miller #UFC155


John Hathaway

@ufcjohnhathaway

wow this fight has gone full on horror movie!

The Diamond

@DustinPoirier

Such a great fight!!!! #bloodbath #ufc155

Jimmy Smith @jimmysmithmma

DAMN!!! Horror movie shit!! Miller beat Lauzon like he owed him money

Pablo Garza UFC

@PabloGarzaMMA

I call Lauzon and Miller fight of the year!!!! @ufc

Cung Le

@CungLe185

Jim and Joe's fight is an action pack FOTN blood bath!

Cung Le

@CungLe185

Fight of the year! Amazing!!!!!!!!!

Julie Kedzie @julesk_fighter

I love both these men. Never met either one. Don't care. Blood blood blood! WAAAARRRRRRR!!! @ufc

Jorge Rivera

@Jorge_Conquista

Love watching @JimMiller_155 & @JoeLauzon throw down every time!!! Thanks for the great fight!!!

Krzysztof Soszynski

@KSOSufc

I would consider this a "holy shit" fight!

Aaron Simpson

@aaronsimpson

Wow. Lauzon vs Miller was everything it was supposed to be…and more. Hats off to those guys. @ufc.
Kenny Florian

@kennyflorian

You want an exciting card? Put Lauzon on it! Miller looked fantastic & on short notice! Wow! Beautiful grappling exchanges. #UFC155

Gesias JZ Cavalcante

@Gesias

GREAT FIGHT #UFC155 J-Lau x Miller. Lauzon proved one more time how tough he is. @canalCombate


Mike Quick Swick

@officialswick

AHHH!!! So close & such an awesome fight!! Great job by both guys! Millers starting pace insane, @JoeLauzon finished like boss! #UFC155 @ufc

Miesha Tate

@MieshaTate

I have never seen THAT much blood in a fight, surprised they let it go almost but glad, great battle! Congrats to both miller & Lauzon #UFC

Star-divide

Sarah Kaufman

@mmasarah

What an amazing fight!!!! Could be the Fight of the year!!! Great fight Jim miller and joe lauzon #ufc155

@JoeLauzon

40 stitches and a lot of lost blood... But I'm all good. Props to @JimMiller_155 on a great fight! #UFC155

Source: MMA Weekly

Glory World Series Expands Into the U.S. in 2013, Continued Plans to Revive Fight Scene in Japan

Marcus Luer - Glory Sports InternationalThe tradition of huge shows in Japan on New Year’s Eve goes back many years, but with the mixed martial arts and fight scene in general in the country failing over the last several months, many wondered if 2012 would be the first year no major show would close out 2013.

Thanks to Glory World Series and a partnership with DREAM, the New Year’s Eve show was saved, and later tonight a double card featuring several MMA bouts as well as a 16-man heavyweight kickboxing tournament will cap off 2013 in Japan.

Glory World Series Managing Director Marcus Luer was one of major players pushing for the New Year’s Eve date in Japan after watching Pride Fighting Championships and K-1 close out the year so many times in the past.

Now Luer and his Glory World Series team are looking at Japan and the United States as the two major markets his promotion wants to conquer in the coming year. The kickoff begins tonight in Japan, and continues on Monday and Tuesday in the United States as the show broadcasts on the CBS Sports Network.

The chance to go to Japan on New Year’s Eve was a no brainer for Leur, but this isn’t a one time ploy to jump and cash in on an age old product. This is a building block for the future, and hopefully the start of something big in Japan.

“Japan was a huge market and we believe with what we are doing we can revive it,” Luer told MMAWeekly.com from Japan. “If you look at our calendar for next year we’re looking at 3 events in Japan, and 3 events in the U.S. Another 4 in Europe, it’s a good even mix between the different parts of the world.

“We believe we are a worldwide company, but we will have a strong emphasis on core markets and that is U.S., Japan, and the big New Year’s Eve card is something we want to do every year.”

Coming to the United States is the next plan for Glory, who kick off the year in February with their new Road to Glory series for young, up and coming kickboxers in the States. From there they plan on putting on several shows including some of their biggest kickboxing tournaments that will land on American soil for the first time.

“We are coming to the United States with the Glory product next year, there’s a series of things we’re planning out. So for us this is sort of a kickoff to allow someone to first watch what we’re doing. This is by far the biggest tournament we’re running on a yearly basis, our 16-man heavyweight tournament in Glory is just absolutely off the charts,” said Luer.

“The American market is very important to us. We’ve got 2 or 3 things planned for next year. We have Road to Glory where the plan is to indentify American fighters, these kick off in February, they are not big shows, not high profile as what we’re doing here in Japan. Just a way to run a 8-man tournament in different weight categories. We’re looking to come in with our first full Glory show somewhere in the middle of the year, probably somewhere around May or June. Somewhere in the middle of that is a launch on television again.”

The television deal is a big part of being able to expand in America, and they’ve already nailed down a spot with CBS Sports Network for the New Year’s Eve card in Japan. The final product will be split into two parts with one airing on New Year’s Eve in America, and the second on New Year’s Day.

Luer says he’s been negotiating with CBS Sports Network for some time and believes they could be a long term partner for Glory in the United States.

“We’ve been in discussion with them for a couple of months now really, and I think they felt this was a great opportunity to test it for them. CBS hasn’t done much really in that space with CBS Sports Network, so they were looking at the particular genre, they like the size and scale of this event and the uniqueness that it is, and they had a window that fit their schedule,” said Luer.

Right now the plan is to make the New Year’s Eve show one of the biggest of the year, and then Luer and Glory will begin their expansion into the United States in early 2013, while continuing to breathe life back into the fading fight scene in Japan.

Source: MMA Weekly

12/30/12

Chael Sonnen Doesn’t Buy that Violent Sports Lead to Violent Acts
by Damon Martin

Whenever a tragedy happens, there’s always an immediate search for the cause and effect surrounding the horrible incident.

In the case of Kansas City Chiefs player Jovan Belcher, who murdered his girlfriend before committing suicide, there were more than a few questions as to why this all happened?

In a question raised by Showtime host Jim Rome to UFC fighter and Ultimate Fighter coach Chael Sonnen, he asked if a violent sport leads to a violent life? Could Belcher’s involvement in a violent sport such as football put him on the past to violent acts like the horrible atrocities he committed on Dec. 1?

“I absolutely don’t,” Sonnen said when asked if violence begets violence. “Jovan goes in, he does a horrible, horrible, despicable act, they blame everything. They blame depression, they blame concussions. Look concussions don’t mash people’s brains up, I mash people’s brains up. Let’s not forget this is the same sport where these guys were wrapping a roll of toilet paper around their head and then going out and playing.

“Nobody ever killed their girlfriend until O.J. Simpson got the bright idea to do it.”

Sonnen doesn’t believe you have to look any further for the cause of the violent crime than to Belcher himself, who is the one that committed the act. Playing football or fighting in a cage don’t lead someone to commit murder.

Sometimes a person is just evil and they do an evil thing according to Sonnen.

“They blame everything from the concussions, to depression, to possible medication, they even blamed the gun. I read articles where they blamed the gun. When’s the last time you saw a gun walk into a room and shoot somebody?” Sonnen asked.

“They did everything they could do except blame the dumbass that was holding the gun that is named Javon Belcher. Let’s make sure to call it what it is.”

Source: MMA Weekly

Fueled by Renewed Focus and Faith, Leonard Garcia Expects Bounce-Back Effort at UFC 155
By Tristen Critchfield

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Nearly every morning during his most recent camp, Leonard Garcia began his day by reading passages from the Bible aloud in his room at the ranch he shares with UFC lightweight contender Donald Cerrone.

In doing so, the popular brawler known as “Bad Boy” attracted something of a following in his Edgewood, N.M., residence. At any given time, Garcia and Cerrone provide lodging and training opportunities for multiple mixed martial artists, most of whom harbor dreams of reaching heights similar to those achieved by their celebrated hosts. Recently, many of those same fighters have found themselves drifting into Garcia’s room to listen as he reads.

While it was never his intention to draw an audience, the presence of his training partners is most certainly welcome, Garcia says.

“What’s crazy is I never invited anybody,” said Garcia, who faces Max Holloway at UFC 155 on Saturday. “They just kind of heard me reading. I read out loud because I feel like I shouldn’t be ashamed of it. I think reading the Bible out loud is a great thing. [Now] they come in and tell me, ‘Hey, are you gonna read?’ And I say, ‘Yeah, I was just waiting on you guys.’”

Not everyone at the ranch is following the same path. According to Garcia, Cerrone has taken it upon himself to find a scripture that can easily be identified with his friend, like the “Austin 3:16” handle that become famous during professional wrestler “Stone Cold” Steve Austin’s rise to prominence in the WWE. At least that means Cerrone is reading, Garcia points out.

“Cowboy makes fun of me a little bit. He says he’s gonna bring Bibles to the gym and beat me up with them so I can have crosses all over me – so I can go praise God,” Garcia said, chuckling at the memory.

Garcia discovered his faith during a recent trip to his hometown of Plainview, Texas, where he served as a guest speaker at a local youth ministry. The appearance had a profound effect on the UFC featherweight talent.

“I got up there and talked, and I noticed that everyone was holding on to my [every] word,” he said. “All these kids were paying attention to me – they wanted to know what was going on in my life. I had a great feeling come over me, and I wanted to keep it. I knew that feeling wasn’t something that can be given by anything normal. I knew it had to be God. It took off from there, and it hasn’t left yet.”

A newfound devotion to religion is just part of the shift in philosophy adopted by Garcia. After three consecutive losses in the UFC, the Jackson’s MMA product realized that, despite his reputation for entertaining slugfests in the cage, his position in the Las Vegas-based promotion had grown tenuous. This revelation did not come easily for the 33-year-old Texan, as he admits to coasting on his reputation since a wild, split-decision triumph over Chan Sung Jung at WEC 48, a bout that was one of the most entertaining fights of 2010 – and one that some believe Garcia didn’t deserve to win.

“I remember after that fight just believing: I can go into a fight on this many week’s notice, train kind of hard and still win. It turned out to be a curse for me. After that (Jung) fight is when it really turned on, and after my last one is when it turned off,” Garcia said.

Garcia’s last appearance reminded no one of the Fight-of-the-Night-worthy performances for which he has become known. Taken down at will by wrestler Matt Grice, “Bad Boy” landed just two significant strikes en route to a one-sided unanimous decision loss at UFC on FX 3.

“I had a fractured ankle in that fight. The last Thursday of sparring I went with Clay Guida, I kicked him right in the knee and my foot blew up the size of a basketball,” he said. “I iced it all weekend – couldn’t run, couldn’t do anything. I took the fight for financial reasons. I had no choice. I had to take the fight or lose my home. Everybody knows when you make choices in life, you pay for them. I made the wrong decision.”

Despite being hindered by an injury in that loss, Garcia didn’t lie to himself. He still realized he needed to renew his focus in the gym. Four-day workout weeks had become the norm, and the fighter was finally beginning to notice the negative effects of his relaxed approach.

“It took all this to humble me and to make me realize that I wasn’t the superstar I thought I was,” Garcia said. “You don’t want to think about stuff like that when you’re training. I ‘m here with the best guys in the world. I’m in here hanging with them every day. I wasn’t pushing them anymore. I was just satisfied with hanging in.

“Guys started passing me up. Guys started getting better. I realized that something was going wrong,” he continued.”I had to come back in and do the classes like everybody else. I had to put my time in on the mat. Now it’s getting back to normal. The main guys are talking about me like I’m a main guy again. They’re asking me to be part of their rounds again. Whereas it used to be, I’d volunteer and they’d be like, ‘That’s all right.’”

When Garcia squares of with the 21-year-old Holloway, he knows his back is against the wall. While the WEC veteran is officially 3-6-1 in his last 10 fights under the Zuffa umbrella, the presence of three split-decision wins and a split draw on his ledger suggest that Garcia could just as easily be 0-10.

The road doesn’t get any easier with Holloway, a promising talent who has been impressive in dispatching Pat Schilling and Justin Lawrence in his last two Octagon appearances. That said, Garcia relishes his current position.

Source: Sherdog

Mayweather measures up with greats
Floyd Mayweather Jr. can make a statistical case for being boxing's best ever
By Igor Guryashkin | Special to ESPN.com

Floyd Mayweather Jr. reigns supreme in the hit-and-don't-get-hit game.

"Hit and don't get hit," goes the old adage in boxing. And from a statistical perspective, at least, it seems no one is better at living up to that credo than Floyd Mayweather Jr.

According to Bob Canobbio, owner and founder of CompuBox -- a computerized scoring system that counts every punch a boxer throws and lands -- Mayweather's average connect rate of 46 percent, compiled during his past nine fights (a "prime" designated by CompuBox), ranks as the best among current active fighters.

Power In Numbers

Baseball has Bill James and the Oakland A's Beane counters. The NBA has its Sloan Conference. Even the NFL, often seemingly stuck in a "Mad Men" time warp, is starting to answer the siren song of statistical analysis.

But boxing? Turns out the sweet science isn't so scientific after all.

Our hope is to change that, or at least to get fight fans talking and thinking about how even basic statistics can help reveal truths about the sport we love.

Skeptical? You should be. Boxing stats have been virtually ignored, in so much as they exist at all. Whereas baseball has batting averages and ERAs (and now WHIPs and OPSs) -- treasured artifacts that also spark cogent, data-driven debate -- boxing has win-loss records, knockouts and ... little else.

But maybe we can help nudge the sport, and its fans, toward a state of statistical bliss. We don't expect the numbers we cite to prove anything more than a meticulously considered pound-for-pound list would. Any numbers geek will tell you stats are reductive, not predictive -- ghosts of performances past, not heralds of things to come.

Bottom line: Our little endeavor in analytics is meant to start the conversation, not end it. If you disagree with our findings, let us know. Just keep an open mind and your slide rule handy.

By how much? Well, fellow pound-for-pound greats such as Sergio Martinez and Miguel Cotto (both 34 percent during their primes) just don't hold up. And Nonito Donaire, it seems, isn't as flashy as his "Filipino Flash" nickname suggests, averaging only 29 percent. Mayweather's only competition in the accuracy stakes is super middleweight champion Andre Ward, at 38 percent.

More impressive than Mayweather's own connect percentage is that of Floyd's opponents against him. They land a mere 16 percent of punches thrown, the lowest collective figure recorded in CompuBox's 4,000-fight database.

While most of boxing's cognoscenti debate who should be crowned pound-for-pound king, few would question Mayweather's dominance as the era's best defensive fighter. That's an important distinction. Because although all fighters hit as often as they're physically able, the best boxers connect often and avoid being hit too frequently.

Given that, what can we surmise about Mayweather's station using the CompuBox data? Subtract the average connect percentage of Mayweather's opponents from Mayweather's own hit rate during that designated prime, and the numbers reveal an enormous chasm between Floyd and today's other top fighters.

With a plus/minus connect percentage rating of plus-30 percent, Mayweather is at least twice as effective in the hit-and-don't-get-hit game as any of his contemporaries. Ward, who ranks fifth in Dan Rafael's March pound-for-pound rankings, is next best behind Mayweather with a plus-15 percent differential. And the rest of boxing's elite -- Donaire (plus-7 percent), Martinez (plus-3 percent) and Vitali Klitschko (plus-13 percent) -- don't remotely compare.

In fact, Mayweather's plus-30 rating at welterweight (seven fights, all of them spanning his designated nine-fight prime) measures up as the best of his career. After having dominated at junior welterweight (plus-28), lightweight (plus-22) and junior lightweight (plus-23) during a period that often makes up a fighter's athletic prime, Mayweather, at age 35, seems to be at the peak of his powers.

Mayweather versus Pacquiao

After welterweight champ Manny Pacquiao's lackluster performance against Juan Manuel Marquez, Mayweather seemed to re-emerge as the popular favorite in the Manny-"Money" fantasy bout, should it ever take place. But how does this era's greatest pure boxer stack up statistically against the era's greatest brawler?

Assuming it happens (and that's still quite a reach), there is little doubt that the fight would take place at welterweight. The bad news for Pacquiao: Mayweather is more accurate at this weight than he has been at any other stage of his career. Mayweather has logged a grand total of 68 rounds as a welter, against some of the toughest opponents he has faced in his career, including Zab Judah, Shane Mosley, Juan Manuel Marquez, Ricky Hatton and, most recently, Victor Ortiz.

How 'Money' stacks up

A comparison of Floyd Mayweather Jr. to his current contemporaries in the plus/minus category -- the difference between a fighter's connect rate and that of his opponents.

Fighter

+/-

Prime

F. Mayweather

+30

9 fights

A. Ward

+15

7 fights

V. Klitschko

+13

8 fights

Y. Gamboa

+12

6 fights

M. Pacquiao

+11

7 fights

T. Bradley

+8

6 fights

N. Donaire

+7

7 fights

*Data through February 2012

-- Statistics courtesy of CompuBox

Mayweather beat all comers by throwing 20 fewer punches per round (38.6) than the weight class average of 58.4. Yet despite the relatively low output, Mayweather landed only two fewer punches per round (17.5) than the weight class average of 19.1. Those numbers attest to a fighter who rarely misses, indeed one of the most efficient punchers alive.

So how does Pacquiao compare? The numbers are undeniably impressive. His 21.8 punches connected per round is greater than Mayweather's. But with Pacquiao, the numbers also illuminate his most glaring weakness, one he shares with countless other warriors of the ring: He gets hit a lot.

Measured against Mayweather's plus-30 rating at 147 pounds, Pacquiao's plus/minus is puny (plus-4.7). Manny throws his jab twice as often as Mayweather, but he connects with that punch only 12.3 percent of the time, compared with Mayweather's 41.6 percent jab connect rate.

More telling is the comparison of power punching. Pacquiao's connect rate on power punches is an astronomical 45.3 percent, only slightly below that of Mayweather, who lands at 47.8 percent. But opponents land 33.6 percent of their punches on PacMan. Pretty Boy's foes? They touch him up at roughly half that rate (18.6 percent).

Perhaps this explains why Juan Manuel Marquez had so much success against Pacquiao, while Mayweather recorded a one-sided rout against JMM. Most likely, it was only Pacquiao's industry and granite chin that saved the day in his three wars with Marquez.

Greatest of all time?

Statistically speaking, Mayweather clearly reigns supreme over his contemporaries. But he also stacks up very well against history's pugilistic pantheon.

CompuBox stats suggest Mayweather sits high atop a pile of fighters whose numbers were measured during their designated primes, tabulated using ringside figures and fight films. In a plus/minus comparison, greats such as Marvin Hagler (plus-17 percent) and Sugar Ray Leonard (plus-13 percent) don't come close. Roberto Duran (plus-8 percent), Thomas Hearns (plus-6 percent) and Muhammad Ali (plus-4 percent) fall short, too.

Only heavyweight great Joe Louis, at plus-26 percent, approached Mayweather's peak. And the one area, at least for this particular analysis, in which Mayweather had competition was connect percentage, where Louis and fellow former heavyweight champ Lennox Lewis edged him by 2 percent.

The name on the lips of most who might dispute Mayweather's claim as boxing's GOAT is Sugar Ray Robinson. There is almost unanimous agreement among experts that Robinson's reign at welterweight represented boxing skill at its purest, perhaps not bettered since. Unfortunately, no film footage exists of his exploits at that weight, and we are left to rely only on written accounts of his brilliance.

Full disclosure: The CompuBox statistics for Robinson are sampled from his below-peak middleweight years (although he is also widely considered the greatest middleweight of all time). The absence of comprehensive (and in some cases, any) data from bygone eras is an inherent drawback in any historical statistical analysis, but the numbers we have, combined with anecdotal evidence, give us the foundation to start a Robinson-versus-Mayweather discussion.

Calculating "greatness" by the numbers might be an impossible task. But for the purposes of this analysis, and taking into account that age-old boxing axiom, we may have to concede that Mayweather is every bit as good as he claims to be: the greatest ever.

Source: ESPN

DREAM 18/GLORY 4 New Year's Eve event to air on CBS Sports Network
By Mike Chiappetta

Japan's New Year's Eve combat sports spectacular now has a broadcast home in the United States.

The event, "GSI presents DREAM 18 and GLORY 4 Tokyo - New Year's Eve Special," will air on the CBS Sports Network, MMA Fighting has confirmed.

CBS Sports Network is currently in 47 million U.S. homes, according to the cable channel's online literature.

The event will air on tape delay in two parts, starting at 10 p.m. ET on Dec. 31. That broadcast will air the GLORY card. The next night at 10 p.m. ET, the channel will air the DREAM portion of the event. A live broadcast of the show will be available online at GloryWorldSeries.com.

The massive, 20-fight card will feature bouts in MMA and kickboxing.

The top mixed martial arts fights include Bibiano Fernandes vs. Yoshiro Maeda, Shinya Aoki vs. Antonio McKee, Melvin Manhoef vs. Denis Kang and Tatsuya Kawajiri vs. Michihiro Omigawa. Other recognizable names include Phil Baroni and Marloes Coenen.

The Glory Grand Slam kickboxing tourney includes Sergei Kharitonov, Semmy Schilt, Gokhan Saki and Remy Bonjasky, among others.

The event emanates from the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.

Source: MMA Fighting

Roger Gracie’s Pre-Strikeforce Roll at Alliance Rio
Marcelo Dunlop

Luxury training session at Alliance’s Rio de Janeiro chapter: Victinho Paiva, Gurgel, Gigi, Léo Leite and Roger Gracie among others (Publicity photo)

Roger Gracie, who is tabbed to face Anthony Smith this coming January 12 at Strikeforce, made sure to get in some first-rate training during his stay in Rio de Janeiro.

Besides the MMA sparring he’s been getting in at Team Nogueira, Gracie (5-1) made the most of the weekend before Christmas to stop by Alliance Rio, an academy in the city’s upscale Leblon neighborhood run by Alexandre “Gigi” Paiva, an old buddy of his father Maurição Gomes’.

On the 23rd of this month, for example, practice turned into a great big study session on Jiu-Jitsu as applied to MMA, thanks to the presence of Fabio Gurgel, who spent Christmas in Rio, and Léo Leite and others of the team’s young talent.

“Gigi knows a great deal about No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu. And as Roger’s opponent is good on the ground too, they went over some things the guy likes to do, moves the American is frequently seen doing, things like that,” Fabio Gurgel told GRACIEMAG.com over the phone.

“The session was focused on the clinch. We did some clinch technique training as well as some work on Roger keeping us from getting up. Léo Leite and I went bouncing around on the ground and Roger had to keep the pressure on so we wouldn’t get up. It was good for getting his game tighter. It was another cool exchange between Roger and our team, which is always good for the gentle art and a pleasure for us,” Gurgel added.

Roger will be taking on Anthony Smith at the Strikeforce event in Oklahoma City, Okla., on the 12th of next month. Check out the complete card for the event:

Strikeforce: Marquardt vs Saffiedine
Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
January 12, 2013

Nate Marquardt vs. Tarec Saffiedine
Daniel Cormier vs. Dion Staring
Josh Barnett vs. Nandor Guelmino
Gegard Mousasi vs. Mike Kyle
Ronaldo Jacaré vs. Ed Herman

Under card (broadcast on Showtime Extreme)

Roger Gracie vs. Anthony Smith
Tim Kennedy vs. Trevor Smith
Ryan Couture vs. KJ Noons

Non-TV-broadcast preliminaries

Jorge Gurgel vs. Adriano Martins
Michael Bravo vs. Estevan Payan

Source: Gracie Magazine

Frank Shamrock on Cung Le, Broken Bones, and Bare Knuckle Fights

UFC on Fuel 6 from Macao, China saw the long-time MMA veteran and former Strikeforce Middleweight Champion Cung Le knock-out UFC veteran Rich Franklin. Long before Zuffa owned Strikeforce, another mega-battle occurred between Cung Le and Frank Shamrock. Frank, an MMA legend and pioneer, spoke with FightMedicine.net about the forearm fracture he sustained against Cung Le as well as other injuries he amassed during his long and storied career.

FightMedicine.NET: What would you say was the biggest injury you have sustained during training or fighting and how did you deal with it?

Frank Shamrock: By far, it was when I broke my right arm and displaced my ulna bone. To fix it, they put a titanium plate with 6 screws and took about 3 months to recover before I could wrestle again. It was major surgery. Then I had the plate taken out about a year later because I wanted to fight and I didn’t want my bones to grow around the plate or for my arms to break anywhere else because of the plate. The bone had fortified by itself. Now that plate is a necklace that I wear – makes a nice piece of jewelry.

What was your doctor’s role in treating your injury?

I’ve had a great many doctors. Most of them were chiropractors or sports physiotherapists. Towards the last stage of my career (last 5 years), I brought my own doctor with me to each event so my doctor could consult with whoever was there. I liked to travel with my own doctor.

How did you rehab from your injury and do you feel any lingering effects?

I did extensive rehab with all of my injuries. The major injuries I had were with my arm, broke my right leg, tore my ACL in my left knee, and I had surgery to repair a tear in my right shoulder. Yes, I do feel lingering effects from some of them. I never had surgery on my left knee and although it felt strong after rehab, I still feel tightness. Hiking helps to loosen up my knee and that’s good because I enjoy hiking.

Even after surgery, my right arm feels crunchy — I think I may have also damaged a tendon because I hear quite a bit of a popping noise, but it’s not painful. When the bone in my right arm broke, I don’t think there was any way to fix it perfectly.

Have you ever had any surgeries related to your fighting career? If so, can you comment on them?

The SLAP tear surgery on my right shoulder was related to my fighting career, and that’s it. I’m not a man of surgery. (SLAP = a tearing of the labrum, or cartilage ring, around the shoulder socket that helps deepen the socket. It stands for Superior Labrum torn from Anterior to Posterior).

I hurt it during a boxing sparring session with a very fast featherweight boxer. I got frustrated from chasing him and threw my biggest punch just as he moved out of the way. I tore the tendon out of my shoulder. That happened two weeks before I fought Elvis Sinosic in my first MMA match in K-1, in front of 80,000 people at the Tokyo Dome.

How did your ACL injury occur?

The ACL injury happened two weeks before the Phil Baroni fight in 2007. It happened during a sparring session with judo champion, Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou (Soko), as he attempted a judo leg trip where my body hit the mat and my foot stayed planted. I have that on video too. Now it feels most unstable with activities like basketball, tennis, skiing – anything with fast lateral motion where I need to stop quickly or twist my knee.

What would you say are the most common, but not mentioned training injuries?

Probably the most common but not mentioned training injuries are those involving the neck and feet. Neck and feet injuries never get enough attention. Injuries like twisted ankles and broken toes happen all the time. And for older guys, the hips get banged up frequently too.

What do you see as the doctor’s role in helping an MMA fighter and how can the medical community improve their role in MMA?

The role of the doctor is similar to a coach in that the fighter doesn’t really understand the limits to his body, so the doctor should teach him in ways that will help him to understand. The hardest thing to realize is that by age 40, you’ll amass all these injuries. We think we’re invincible when we’re young and we must understand all the risks involved. The doctor’s role is critical to educate, support, and help an athlete understand his physical limitations.

Do you have any advice on preventing injuries in MMA or training?

My advice would be that you don’t have to beat each other up to have a good time. Most of the injuries (95%) happen during training.

How has the training for fights evolved over the course of your career and do you see this as increasing or decreasing the rate of fighter injuries? Has the treatment for injuries evolved with it?

Yes, the training has evolved and so have the injuries. The sport mainly consists of wrestling and striking, and with that we see more hip, knee, and shoulder injuries. The training has evolved to make athletes bigger and stronger so they can inflict more damage to their opponent. Sports medicine has progressed at same time and that is because, luckily, a lot of doctors are helping our professionals in martial arts.

Do you think MMA athletes are driven to overtrain and thus injure themselves in training or come into fights less than 100%?

Yes, I think there is a culture of overtraining because of the very fact that people must be ready to fight at all times; that is how the industry is structured. Unless you are one of the top 15 five-star athletes, you must be ready to step in and compete at any time if you want to make serious advancements in your career.

Do you think MMA as a whole is a safer place to fight than it was when it first started?

Yes, I do. With added regulations and the advancement of the sport, I definitely think so.

You have mentioned before that you think rounds prolong fights and make it a “points” game. Do you think eliminating rounds would have an effect on fighter safety or injury rates?

I think it would lessen the injury rates, especially head trauma and strikes just because when you eliminate the rounds, it eliminates that rest and recover period. It would become a battle of attrition and a fatigue-based sprint, so the athlete would get tired faster and therefore have less energy to damage each other.

There has been some talk about fighters suffering traumatic brain injuries that can lead to depression. Gary Goodridge has come out as saying he suffers from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Others have pointed to Junior Seau’s suicide as an example. Do you think there is any validity to this or are people using it too broadly when perhaps something else may be to blame for fighter behavior?

I believe 100% that damaging the human brain is the worst thing in the world for you. Damaging the areas that control speech, emotion and memory is really bad, and we’re seeing the after-effects of those who have been injured in their careers. So with that said, if you plan to stay in a game where you risk damage to your head, you need a style or plan. Take precautions to protect your brain and body. And you must get out of that career before you get hurt, or you are taking a bad gamble. Weigh your options and decide for yourself if the risk is worth it and remember that your brain controls the body — if you destroy the brain, the body will follow.

Every now and then the idea of bare-knuckle matches returning is thrown around. Do you think this is a safe avenue for the sport to pursue? Obviously you have your background with Pancrase as a framework to draw upon.

I think that any type of combative sport can be safe if regulated with safety measures in place. It is what it is. Whether it’s boxing or kickboxing, it’s like my coach, Maurice Smith used to say, “A fight is a fight is a fight.” It doesn’t matter whether it’s bare-knuckle or anything else, it’s going to be dangerous and you’ve got to figure out a way to win. Fighting is sport as entertainment — sometimes they’ll fight with hair, no hair; shoes, no shoes; etc. No matter what, the bottom line is that it’s still a fight. I fought with bare knuckles for years and it’s all the same stuff.

What is your most memorable experience in the ring or octagon?

My most memorable experience was beating Olympian Kevin Jackson in 16 seconds and becoming the first UFC middleweight champion. That’s when I went into the books of the Guinness World Records for Fastest UFC Title Fight Victory by Submission in 16 seconds at UFC Japan in Yokohama, Japan. I will never forget winning the title that quickly or how Kevin Jackson, the Olympic Gold Medalist in 1993 for wrestling, walked out the cage without shaking my hand.

Doctor’s Corner

Frank mentioned several injuries during his interview. One of the most well-known injuries is the fracture of his ulna during his bout with Cung Le. People often hear broken bone or fracture and think one if worse than the other. In fact, they are both exactly the same. Doctors just prefer to use the technical term of “fracture”.

Frank broke his ulna, which is one of two bones in the forearm. The other is the radius. The ulna forms the olecranon, or big elbow bone you can feel when you touch your elbow. It tapers down to a much more narrow end at the wrist. The other bone in the forearm is the radius. Its round at the elbow forming part of the elbow joint and widens to form the major part of the wrist. When people fall down and “break” their wrist, its usually the radius that is broken.

When bones fracture, they naturally want to heal. Our own body incites an inflammation response which brings in reparative cells. Usually the body lays down a callus of cartilage to bridge the fracture gap and stabilize the bones. This is eventually replaced and remodeled with bone.

Casts and splints help keep the bones from moving so that they can heal. People often fail to recognize that bones act in joints above and below the fractures, and if those joints move, so do the bones. That is why splints and casts may involve a joint above or below the fracture even though the fracture is in the middle of the bone. So, if a doctor immobilizes a joint above or below the fracture, please respect that. Too many patients take off parts of their casts because they want to move a part of the body and then displace the fracture. Casts aren’t working by compression or as a strut, they are working to immobilize. Wearing a cast as a forearm bracelet with your wrist free does nothing to immobilize the bones in the forearm!

Sometimes, the bones are too far apart or need better alignment for healing. That’s when surgery can help. Orthopedic surgeons can use several means of stabilizing bones. They can put rods down the middle of the bone and line it up like a shish-kabob and lock it in place or they can use plates and screws. Occasionally, they may pin it from the outside. In Frank’s case, he has rods and screws placed to stabilize his ulna. In general, bones take about 6-8 weeks to heal.

Frank’s injury is called a nightstick fracture, because back in the old days, when a police office would hit someone with their nightstick and the person would block it with their forearm, they would fracture their ulna in that specific place. Frank also chose to have his plates and screws removed. However, the vast majority of orthopedic hardware is left inside with no detriment to the body, unless its painful or infects. In those cases they are removed.

Many fighters ask what they can and cannot do during the healing process. One important aspect of fracture healing is no weight-bearing. Unless bones are healed, lifting things or applying forces to the bones can displace the fracture and prevent healing. Things they can do, however, are move the joints that are not immobilized in order to prevent stiffness in other parts of the body.

People often ask how they can improve healing. Most people get enough calcium in their diet, so supplements are usually necessary. In rare instances, a doctor may order an ultrasound machine to help stimulate the bones to heal (a “bone stimulator”). Frank actually had that done.

Source: Fight Medicine

Bellator set for seventh season, last before move
by Steven Marrocco, USA TODAY Sports

Bellator Fighting Championships kicks off its seventh season this week. Officials are excited about the final 12-week run on MTV2, but they're also looking ahead to a move to the larger Spike TV next year.

Bellator featherweight champion Pat Curran arrives at Spike TV's 6th Annual "Guys Choice Awards" at Sony Pictures Studios on June 2 in Culver City, Calif.

Viacom, the parent company of both channels, acquired Bellator a year ago, and that set in motion the upcoming move to Spike TV.

But first the tournament-based MMA promotion returns to MTV2 on Friday in Atlantic City, N.J., with the sold-out Bellator 74 (8 p.m. ET). The seventh season, which includes a three-month run of weekly events, features eight-man tournaments in the featherweight, lightweight, welterweight and heavyweight divisions. Up for grabs is $100,000 in winnings and guaranteed title shots.

This season brings an influx of Russian talent thanks to Bellator's continued international expansion. Russian fighters Andrey Koreshkov (who's part of the welterweight tourney that kicks off Friday) and Alexander Sarnavskiy boast undefeated records and train with two-time Bellator tourney champ Alexander Shlemenko, who is also Russian. Both fighters have been featured prominently by state-run Russia 2, a new broadcast partner that helps put Bellator programming in 87 countries.

"Russia is going to be the new Brazil for Bellator," said Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney, comparing Russia to its fight-crazed and lucrative counterpart.

Despite some active competition â?? some would say skirmishing â?? for talent with industry leader UFC and the upstart World Series of Fighting, Rebney said the pool of available fighters for Season 7 remains deep.

"I think part of that is because Bellator has gotten bigger, and the Spike TV alliance and the Viacom acquisition have opened up a lot of doors with us," he said.

"With the demise of the WECs and Afflictions (now-defunct MMA promotions), and with all the troubles that Strikeforce is having, there are less and less alternatives. Now there are only two. There's still a huge number of world-class fighters around the world who are looking for a place with huge television alliances to ply their trade."

Source: MMA Fighting

Strikeforce’s Bobby Green Makes Octagon Debut against Jacob Volkmann at UFC 156
By Mike Whitman

Bobby Green is the latest Strikeforce talent to transition to the UFC.

Promotion officials recently announced that Green will do battle with Jacob Volkmann at UFC 156, which takes place Feb. 2 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. The pay-per-view broadcast main draw is topped by a featherweight title headliner between reigning king Jose Aldo and former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar and will also see former Strikeforce heavyweight ruler Alistair Overeem return to the cage against Antonio Silva, provided “The Demolition Man” is granted a license by the Nevada Athletic Commission.

Green, 26, has won four straight fights, most recently outpointing fellow prospect Matt Ricehouse at “Rousey vs. Kaufman” on Aug. 18. A former two-division King of the Cage champion, Green relinquished a contentious split decision to veteran Gesias Cavalcante in his Strikeforce debut but responded by posting victories over Charon Spain, James Reese and James Terry before besting Ricehouse to earn his 19th career win.

Known for his suffocating wrestling attack, Volkmann, 32, has won six of seven fights since making the cut to 155 pounds from welterweight in 2010. “Christmas” suffered his lone lightweight loss this past May, when he was submitted by Paul Sass with a slick triangle-armbar at UFC 146. The Minnesotan rebounded from the defeat in his most recent outing, however, finishing Shane Roller with a rear-naked choke in front of a partisan crowd on Oct. 5 at UFC on FX 5 in Minneapolis.

Source Sherdog

Invicta FC Goes From Zero to a Force in First Year
by Mick Hammond

It would be hard to find a promotion that had as much of an impact in 2012 as Invicta FC. What started as a new promotion focused solely on women’s MMA, Invicta’s shows quickly established it as a premier promotion in the sport, regardless of gender.

Numbers for live streams of the promotion’s three events in 2012 were beyond expectation, and perhaps more so importantly, fighters themselves raved about the first-class treatment they received and in return delivered some of the most competitive and impressive action anywhere.

“I’m going to say that we far exceeded any expectations,” said Invicta VP Shannon Knapp.

“Any time you start a new business you hope for the best, but to start an all-female promotion like we did and have any expectations, we had none. We just wanted to do our best and succeed to some degree to where we could start making a difference for the athletes.”

While some promotions could point to a couple of moments that stood out for them this past year, Knapp feels everything Invicta managed to accomplish in 2012 were highlight moments for the promotion.

“Honestly, I think the highlight moment was to kick off that first show and to have such an amazing response and for people to support and embrace us,” she said. “That second show was also a highlight, and now that I think about it, every show that we did and to see the support we got and how vested the athletes were in it were all highlights for us.

“It was a process of growth for us too. To go into something and not really know how it was going to work out, and to sit back and watch every aspect become highlights because they were all success. Every show stands out to me as a highlight because they just got better.”

Likewise, Knapp couldn’t single out any individual fighter as an MVP for the company, as she feels that from top to bottom, they all gave their best.

“Each and every one of them brought something important to the promotion, so it’s really hard to say one person outshined any one of them,” she said. “They all stepped up.

“To tell you, honestly, each and every one of them who stepped in the cage is the MVP because they all brought it. Not one athlete that I can think of didn’t go in there and give it everything they had and didn’t get behind what we were doing with the movement.”

Looking forward to 2013, Knapp told MMAWeekly.com that she hopes that things continue to improve to where that not only the promotion reaps the benefits of growth, but the fighters as well.

“The biggest thing that stands out more than anything for our goals for next year is to keep improving our product and to make a difference in helping find ways to put more dollars in our athlete’s pockets and move the sport forward.”

Source: MMA Weekly

12/29/12

The Controlled Chaos of ‘One Punch’
By Tim Leidecker

Brad Pickett is one of the United Kingdom mixed martial arts scene’s favorite sons and one of the sport’s true roly-polies. Over the course of his eight-year career, the well-rounded Englishman has had to cope with his fair share of setbacks, only to come back with more vigor than ever.

Now 34, Pickett will take on former World Extreme Cagefighting bantamweight champion Eddie Wineland at UFC 155 “Dos Santos vs. Velasquez 2” on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The bout carries with it genuine bantamweight title implications for 2013.some heavy artillery.

“The Top 10 speaks for itself,” Pickett told Sherdog.com. “[Champion] Dominick Cruz is out for some time now. Then you have number two-ranked Renan Barao defending his interim belt against Michael McDonald, who is number three. You have Urijah Faber, who has another fight scheduled, and then you’ve got me at five and Eddie Wineland at six. So we’re in a type of fight where the winner could be fighting the winner of the Barao-McDonald.”

A quasi title eliminator is familiar territory for the man famous for wearing a string vest, cutoff jeans and his customary trilby hat for his entrances.

“I’ve been in this position a few times before. I was in this position when I fought Renan Barao. If I had beaten Barao, I would have gotten a title shot,” Pickett said. “And also when I was supposed to fight Miguel Torres [at UFC 130] and then I got injured and Demetrious Johnson, whom I already beat, took my place. He beat Torres and went on to get a title shot. Finally, when I fought Scott Jorgensen in the WEC and he beat me, he went on to get a title shot. Hopefully, I don’t fall over at the final hurdle like I’ve done these few times before.”

In order to maximize his chances, Pickett has once again traveled 4,400 miles from London to Coconut Creek, Fla., to hold his training camp at American Top Team.

This is the seventh year in a row that the bantamweight star has dropped anchor in the Sunshine State to prepare for his fights. When he first arrived at American Top Team headquarters, the tatami was full of well-known standouts like Marcus Aurelio, Gesias Cavalcante, Denis Kang, Jeff Monson, Thiago Silva and Din Thomas. Many of them have since left the team or retired, like Charles McCarthy and Mike Thomas Brown. Still, Pickett insists the team is more than strong enough to be considered one of the best in the world.

“Any training camp has their ups and downs. A lot of guys come and go,” he said. “A lot of guys have obviously left for [the] Blackzilians, because they are paid to train there, so essentially what they are doing is buying training partners. Still, if you look at their track record in the UFC, that’s not very good. Meanwhile, our guys at American Top Team are all winning this year.”

The recipe for sustained success at American Top Team comes down to two ingredients, according to Pickett: new blood and diversified training.

“There’s a lot of up-and-coming guys [there], like Dustin Poirier, Sirwan Kakai and Mirsad Bektic,” he said. “What American Top Team has been doing, as well, is recruiting a lot of high-level NCAA Div. I wrestlers to help out with the training. In the past, ATT was known to be a place with a lot of high-level jiu-jitsu guys and some good strikers but lacking the wrestling. That’s not the case anymore.”

As part of the UFC 155 prelims, Pickett must confront the heavy-handed and experienced Wineland. The 28-year-old Duneland Vale Tudo representative staked his claim at 135 pounds in June when he knocked out Jorgensen -- one of only two men to have beaten Pickett since 2007. Pickett respects his opponent’s power but has no plans to back away from it when the two bantamweights meet in the middle of the Octagon.

“I know that I can take a punch, but that’s still not a case of I let him punch me to see how much power he’s got,” Pickett said. “On the other hand, I’m not gonna be afraid of him, because then I’m not gonna be able to implement my game plan [if I fight afraid]. It’s the fighting game, so I’m gonna get hit. I just need to make sure I’ll keep my hands up and keep my defense tight, as well as my offense.”

“I come in aggressive, fight hard and use technical brawling to get my opponents caught up in my moment, caught up in a fight,
and that’s where I can catch them.” - Brad Pickett, UFC bantamweight

Even though he trains with familiar teammates like onetime WEC champion Brown and good friend Kakai, from Sweden, Pickett has made a concerted effort to fine-tune his game. It has yielded positive results, as he has scored back-to-back finishes on Damacio Page and Yves Jabouin.

“I’ve been working this year with a new pad guy called Paulie Gloves,” Pickett said. “He’s been working really well with me. I’ve always had power, but he’s helped me with a few different things; for example, my timing is a bit better. What we like to say what I do is controlled chaos. I come in aggressive, fight hard and use technical brawling to get my opponents caught up in my moment, caught up in a fight, and that’s where I can catch them. This is what I want to do against Wineland, whom I consider a very well-rounded counter striker.”

A win over the former WEC titleholder could finally catapult the likeable Londoner into a major title fight -- one of the few achievements missing from his resume.

“Fighting for the title would be a nice way to end my career,” Pickett said. “Win or lose, just being there and making that experience would be great.”

If securing such an opportunity means training and dieting during the holiday season, so be it. The man they call “One Punch” is all-in.

“For me, it’s a much better Christmas present to get a nice win than to be able to eat my food,” Pickett said. “I’ll be happy with a nice win for Christmas.”

Source: Sherdog

Fighter of the Year: Ronda Rousey
By Mike Chiappetta

The debate over the "Fighter of the Year" selection usually involves not only wins and losses, but also the impact of the matches and personalities involved. Factoring it all together, there should be no debate at all when it comes to 2012. It was the year of Ronda Rousey.

During the year, she managed to beat the Nos. 1 and 2 bantamweights, forced her name into mainstream public consciousness, and to cap it all off, convinced Dana White of the viability of women fighting in the UFC. By any measure, that's a powerful resume.

To dissect it further, let's start with her wins. Rousey began the year 4-0 with four first-round armbar victories, propelling her into a title match with then-champion Miesha Tate. There were still doubts remaining about her though. For example, how would she do against increasingly improved competition? What would happen if she couldn't take the fight to the ground? And, how would she respond if she couldn't secure an armbar?

Most of the questions were answered, and quickly. For the first time in her career, Rousey was extended past one minute as Tate mounted a challenge, but in the end, Rousey's relentlessness won out with another armbar win. Sarah Kaufman, who walked into a match against Rousey with a gaudy 15-1 career record, didn't fare nearly as well. She was blitzed, suffering a 54-second loss that left her literally shaking her head in disbelief and what had been done to her.

In the combined ring time of 5 minutes and 21 seconds, Rousey had dispatched the women that were ranked first and second in the division to start the year.

Both Tate and Kaufman -- two highly trained and well-respected former champions -- knew what was coming and they still couldn't prevent it from happening. That's the definition of domination, and Rousey embodied it in 2012.

Away from the cage, Rousey exhibited the same unstoppable force. She was the subject of a lengthy Sports Illustrated profile. She co-hosted TMZ. She was on the cover of Oxygen and ESPN The Magazine. She was a guest on Conan.

All of that stuff matters. Mixed martial arts is a sport built in pieces, event by event, and the ability to make headlines is crucial for building interest. Rousey has now become a staple of MMA news sites, and has shown consistent crossover appeal, making her a double-threat star that 99 percent of the UFC's male fighters can't match.

Above all else, Strikeforce's female fighters have Rousey to thank for their entry into the UFC. White has acknowledged that the introduction of the women's division is "the Ronda Rousey show." Without her, the women would be facing an uncertain future when Strikeforce closes its doors. So while it may be her "show," they, too, have been given the platform to shine.

Undefeated year? Check. Mainstream inroads? Check. Changing the landscape of the sport? Check. And for all that, 2012 belonged to Ronda Rousey.

2. Ben Henderson
Henderson was No. 3 on last year's list, and one-upped himself in 2012 by ascending to the UFC lightweight championship. Though both of his fights with Frankie Edgar generated some controversy, Henderson got the judges' nods in both cases and then solidified his hold on the top of the division with a spectacular display against Nate Diaz in December before a national television audience. A few years ago, Henderson said his goal was to be the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. After this calendar-year, he may just get there yet.

3. Anderson Silva
Once upon a time, Anderson Silva said he was going to retire at 35. Now 37 years old, the "Spider" is still going strong and reportedly angling for a 10-fight extension. This year, Silva torched Chael Sonnen in the rematch of their 2010 epic and then moved up to 205 on short notice to Matrix Stephan Bonnar in a jaw-dropping knockout. Silva also gobbled up blue-chip sponsors Budweiser, Nextel and Philips, and has continued to front the wild growth of MMA in his native Brazil.

4. Matt Brown
What a difference a year makes. Brown entered 2012 with a mediocre 12-11 record and losses in four of his last five fights. It was getting to the point where you had to wonder if he was running out of chances. Then, the calendar got flipped and Brown's fortunes did, too. In a 10-month span from February to December, Brown fought four times and won four times, with three knockouts. His most recent, a second-round finish of Mike Swick, is his most significant so far and nicely sets up his career progression.

5. Stefan Struve
The 24-year-old is starting to establish a reputation as one of the UFC's most exciting heavyweights, with only one decision in his 30 career fights. In 2012, he went a perfect 3-0 with finishes of Dave Herman, Lavar Johnson and Stipe Miocic. The last of those three fights was the most significant, as Miocic was a highly regarded prospect. After a second-round TKO win, it's onward and upward, if such a thing is possible for the 7-footer.

Honorable mention: Andrey Koreshkov (5-0), Johny Hendricks (2-0), Demetrious Johnson (2-0-1), Cub Swanson (3-0), Nick Newell (3-0)

Source: MMA Fighting

Alan Belcher: If Yushin Okami Can’t Get Me Down, “He’s Going to Be Crapping His Pants”
by Damon Martin

It’s been six long years since Alan Belcher made his Octagon debut at UFC 62 when he fought top ranked Japanese fighter Yushin Okami.

But on Dec. 29, Belcher’s UFC career comes full circle in a manner of sorts as he finally gets the chance to avenge that fight and loss when he again faces Okami at UFC 155.

Almost 100 UFC events have passed since Belcher debuted in the Octagon, and in that time he’s learned an awful lot and been through even more. Despite the fact that he has shared 15-minutes of fight time with Okami before, Belcher is approaching this fight like they’ve never even met before.

In the last six years Belcher has changed a lot, and in terms of growth, who was once a kid that faced Yushin Okami in 2006, he is now a man.

“I’ve got to scratch that one; we’re both different fighters. He’s still the same athlete and still a good grappler, but he’s improved in a lot of different ways. I was looking at his most recent fights to go by. I wouldn’t even have to train for him if I could just erase that and not know what he was going to do at all, I could go in there and he wouldn’t take me down at all, as easy as he did then,” said Belcher when speaking to MMAWeekly Radio.

“Now he couldn’t do the same thing to me again. That fight doesn’t matter, and I’m a lot better at wrestling and grappling than I was then.”

Belcher proved a lot of naysayers wrong about his grappling in his last fight in May when he took out leg lock specialist Rousimar Palhares.

Just about everybody believed that if Palhares got the fight to the ground, Belcher would be in a world of trouble. Well, the fight did land there and Palhares even got to attack Belcher’s leg with his infamous knee bar submission.

What some called a miracle, Alan Belcher calls good training because he worked through the submission, ended up on top and finished Palhares with a barrage of strikes in the first round.

Belcher plans on displaying that same level of confidence when he faces Okami at UFC 155.

If they are on the feet, he’s going to make Okami regret it, and if he does happen to get it to the ground, Belcher is more than confident that he can hold his own or work back to his feet. Wherever the fight goes, Yushin Okami is in trouble.

“Every second we’re on the feet, I’m going to be bringing the pain to him. I’m going to make him make him not want to be in there with me. I want it worse than him, I want this win worse than any fight ever,” Belcher said.

“If he can’t get me down, he’s going to be crapping his pants. Whenever I hit him, he’s going to realize when he looks in my eyes that I want it a lot more than he does, and he’s just going to be the best he can just fighting off his instincts, his heart’s not really going to be in it because he’s going to feel my heart and my ferocity. He will be scared.”

Belcher will look to notch his fifth win in a row when he faces Okami at UFC 155, while taking another step forward in the UFC middleweight division.

Source: MMA Weekly

Doctor: PCL Injuries in MMA Often Due to Shooting In

Forrest Griffin’s knee injury, which forced him out of his UFC 155 matchup against Phil Davis, is just the latest in a string of fight cancellations for the UFC.

Knee issues in particular seem to be especially prominent lately, sidelining Georges St. Pierre, Dominick Cruz, Shane Carwin and many other fighters. During a recent episode of the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Rewind” show, FightMedicine.net’s Dr. Jonathan Gelber joined the program to discuss injuries, prevention and more.

On injuries in MMA: “One of the reasons I think we hear about so many injuries is because there are so many fights and so many cards. It used to be when Zuffa first was putting out the UFC in the earlier days you had maybe three or four cards a year. Now you have three or four cards a month. There’s that many more guys training. There’s that many more guys getting injured and there’s that much more news we’re hearing about it. And because the cards aren’t as stacked as they used to be, all you have to do is look at the [Dan] Henderson-Jon Jones debacle to see how one main event being cancelled can affect an entire card. I think there always were injuries. It’s just that there’s more people out there, more cards, and more injuries are a natural result of that.”

On knee injuries in particular: “With mixed martial arts, a lot of grappling, a lot of twisting of knees certainly can predispose you to ACL injuries. The addition, though, is, I think, shooting in. It’s very interesting to me. I’ve been looking at a lot of PCL injuries lately, and the PCL, which is behind the ACL, is not very commonly injured. You hardly ever see that in your clinic practice, but you have actually been seeing that a lot in mixed martial artists. Especially we just read about Shane Carwin having to have his PCL, his LCL and his popliteus, all ligaments in the back of the knee, needing to be reconstructed or repaired. I think that’s because of the shooting in.

“When you shoot in, your knee hits the ground and there’s a posterior, or a backwards-directed force, across the knee and that’s when the PCL gets injured. The other time it might happen is in a car accident. We call it a dashboard injury, where the dashboard pushes the knee backwards. You hardly see that in any other sport, but I think with mixed martial arts, you’re seeing that specific injury a lot from shooting in. I think another reason we’re seeing a lot of injuries in general is just the level of training these guys are having. There are so many cards the last two years that they’re training constantly, so they’re never giving their bodies a rest. You go in and train hard every single day because you don’t want to gas and you’re putting yourself at high risk every time you go 100 percent just in training.”

On ACL injuries and prevention: “A lot of ACL injury prevention is actually focused on women because women are predisposed to ACL injuries because of their biomechanics. For instance, volleyball players or basketball players, when they jump and they’re female, they tend to bring their knees in, sort of like a knock-knee position. We train them to land with their knees out in a sort of bowlegged position. It actually helps reduce ACL injuries because hitting the knee from the side, the knee turns inward, and that’s one of the mechanisms that affects the ACL and can cause it to rupture. Proper biomechanics is certainly good, doing things like box jumping or other plyometric exercises where you make sure you have strong legs and a good foundation, making your quadriceps stronger, your hamstrings stronger. These are also things that can help protect the knee because these are large muscle groups. If someone hits your knee or if you’re shooting in or you’re moving from side to side -- lateral movement is a big, big thing with the ACL -- these larger muscle groups tend to absorb the impact and thus spare the smaller ligaments within the knee.”

On the role of transitions in MMA injuries: “During that transition the fighter is not necessarily contracting his quad muscles or his hamstring muscles, so the knee is sort of at an area where it’s vulnerable because it’s not being focused on. Of course when you’re taking somebody down or they’re taking you down, you go down at awkward angles. … Your knee is being swept out from under you or you’re being lifted up and turned over. I certainly agree that these transitions are very vulnerable points for a fighter to get injured because it’s not something that you can train. You can’t be training to be swept down over and over again.”

On the effects of knee injuries: “If you look at these old-time football players, they’re hobbling around because their knees have seen four or five times the amount of injuries or force that the average person does. It’s actually a really good question: What are the long-term effects of these injuries on these fighters? I think given that they have knees just like the rest of us and the same anatomy, repeated injuries are going to take their toll. Whether they’re experiencing the same continual forces that an NFL lineman is, I can’t say, but I can certainly say that if they have a significant injury, it can lead to arthritis down the road.”

On Georges St. Pierre’s recovery: “I think Georges showed us what a great athlete he is, what great training he’s had. A lot of people, unfortunately, this year saw Adrian Peterson came back from his ACL reconstruction and only six or seven months and he’s kicking everybody’s butt on the turf, so a lot of people don’t really realize that the ACL is a huge injury. Adrian Peterson and now Georges St. Pierre being exceptions, the vast majority of guys do not get back to their level of play. … I think what Georges St. Pierre did is actually very impressive.”

Source Sherdog

Paul Daley Out of Bellator Season 8 Tournament, Denies Bar Brawl Allegations
by Damon Martin

Paul Daley will not be a participant in the Bellator season 8 welterweight tournament, but the fighter denies charges levied against him about a bar fight.

On Christmas day, reports began to surface that Daley was charged with assault stemming from a bar brawl in England, and the pending charges have kept the fighter from receiving a visa to return to the United States for work, in his case fighting for Bellator.

While Daley is indeed out of the tournament, the fighter stated late Wednesday night that he emphatically denies the allegations that he was involved in a bar fight.

“It seems as though (sp) a mass press release has gone out to the MMA media stating I was involved (in a) bar brawl, arrested, and cannot obtain a P-1 visa to compete in the USA. I am currently awaiting a decision on my visa, which is not expected until late April. Which means I am unable to compete in the season 8 Bellator tournament, as it starts in January,” Daley wrote in a message via Facebook.

“I will be fighting in Europe in the coming months, so I am able to stay active while awaiting a decision on my visa status. I was not involved in a bar brawl. This is 100-percent a false statement.”

Source: MMA Weekly

12/28/12

UFC 155 ‘Dos Santos vs. Velasquez 2’ Statistical Matchup Analysis
By Reed Kuhn

The heavyweight title is on the line in a rematch of the first-ever UFC on Fox fight. Between rumors that both Junior dos Santos and Cain Velasquez fought injured in their first encounter and their dismantling of opponents since, perhaps it is fitting that we run this matchup back one more time. UFC 155 “Dos Santos vs. Velasquez 2” will close out the year for the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and, as is tradition, it has stacked the card to end with a bang.

Let us see how these guys matchup:

Gone are the days of the lumbering, super-sized heavyweights. Dos Santos and Velasquez are leaner, meaner and pair power with speed. Dos Santos is slightly younger, but both men are in the peak age range for UFC fighters. Each will stand orthodox, with a 77-inch reach. Dos Santos stands a little taller, perhaps diminishing any hope of a miracle high kick from Velasquez.

These familiar opponents have been on tears in the UFC, rarely going to a decision and averaging only five to six minutes per fight. Hoping that their past injuries are behind them, they have each enjoyed a seven-month layoff since their wins on the all-heavyweight main card at UFC 146. The tale of the tape does not reveal many advantages, but it does tell the story of two guys fully capable of smashing their opponents.

In their last fight, all but the final seconds were spent standing, and that is how these guys will start their rematch. Let us dive into the almost 6,000 data points they have racked up in their time in the Octagon:

Heavyweights stay standing more than any other weight class, and that will play to the strength of the champion. Dos Santos was already the best striker in the heavyweight division before he put on a striking clinic against Frank Mir, and he carries sound technique, high accuracy, dominant pace and brutal knockout power all in the same two hands.

A couple things are worth noting here. Both fighters have excelled across offensive metrics, so both are excellent strikers. More specifically, dos Santos’ training as a boxer is evident with his sharp jab and dominant pace of action. He has nine knockdowns in nine fights; his accuracy is way above the heavyweight average; and he throws nearly two and half times as many strikes as opponents while in a standing position. However, his tendency to box in lieu of slugging it out also leads to his slightly lower share of power strikes. Interestingly, while his accuracy significantly exceeds that of his opponents, his opponents have been roughly average with their own accuracy, meaning dos Santos’ defense is just average for his division.

Velasquez is no slouch, either. He, too, has outpaced his foes in standup striking and has done so with superior accuracy that is also -- but to a lesser degree -- above the heavyweight average. Plus, he throws a greater share of power strikes than the champion. His clinch striking accuracy -- dirty boxing to some extent -- is quite good and much better than dos Santos, though Velasquez’s defense there lags. Most significantly, the challenger’s overall striking defense is actually superior to the champion’s, as seen by the low accuracy of Velasquez’s opponents compared to those of dos Santos. This could be a byproduct of Velasquez’s wrestling ability, as adversaries may have been more conservative in exchanges while worrying about his takedowns.

The bottom line: despite Velasquez’s solid performance to date, dos Santos has the edge here in striking. However, both of these heavyweights wield knockout power, so as long as this fight is standing, do not blink. Whoever can land a big strike first could end this main event early. The numbers favor dos Santos, and their last fight ended quickly after he landed an overhand right. That being said, we have yet to see how Velasquez’s mobility on a healthy knee will help his defense in avoiding the threat of the champion’s striking.

We all want to see them stand and trade, but we cannot ignore the ground game:

Velasquez has shown an aggressive wrestling attack, averaging 2.7 takedown attempts per round. He also lands those takedowns with high success, about two-thirds of the time, which is well above the UFC heavyweight average. Velasquez has wisely utilized the clinch position for most of his takedowns, even incorporating slams on occasion – an impressive feat in the weight class of giants. While dos Santos has a similarly high success rate, he averages very few attempts and clearly prefers to keep things standing.

Once on the ground, Velasquez has been quite active with ground-and-pound. Rarely attempting submissions, he actively passes guard and often ends up in side control or even full mount, where he rains leathery bombs by the hundreds. Though his focus is on striking volume -- and not submissions -- has led to frequent opponent escapes and standups, there is no question he has been absolutely dominant on the ground.

In stark contrast, dos Santos has barely attempted any ground game at all -- a rarity for a Brazilian fighter. Still, the findings here are less demonstrable, as opponents have not gotten the better of him, either. Dos Santos has shown a similarly stout takedown defense, and on the two occasions where he ended up on his back, he was able to get back to his feet quickly without absorbing a single strike. His Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt from Team Nogueira is still waiting for a legitimate debut in the Octagon, and Velasquez’s tendency to close the distance may provide the best chance yet. The real unknown here is whether dos Santos can be effective fighting off his back and actually lock a submission on a seasoned wrestler. Generally speaking, submissions in the heavyweight division are rare, but Velasquez’s submission defense is untested in MMA competition. He has only faced one guillotine choke attempt, while dos Santos has not faced any submission attempts at all. It may be a longshot, but it adds an unknown element to this rematch should the fight go to the ground.

The Final Word

odds.
The betting line here is close, much closer than most title fights in recent history. As a -150 favorite, Vegas says dos Santos has a 60-percent chance here. That is not a lot of respect for the guy that handed Velasquez his only defeat -- and in 64 seconds no less. That is the reality of two dangerous heavyweights facing off. They are both capable of finishing any fight. While dos Santos will have the advantage standing and Velasquez will have the edge in ground-and-pound, we will have to wait and see who ends up landing the shot that closes out 2012 for the UFC.

Next time, we will look into Frankie Edgar’s debut at featherweight against champion Jose Aldo at UFC 156.

Note: Raw data for the analysis was provided by, and in partnership with FightMetric. All analysis was performed by Reed Kuhn. Reed Kuhn, Fightnomics, FightMetric and Sherdog.com assume no responsibility for bets placed on fights, financial or otherwise.

Source: Sherdog

Alan Belcher Still Has Unfinished Business with Michael Bisping
by Damon Martin

Alan Belcher was certainly not happy that he had to pull out of UFC 153 earlier this year when he was scheduled to face Vitor Belfort.

The Mississippi based fighter suffered a fractured spine that kept him off the card, and pushed his return to action all the way to Dec. 29 closing out the year on the UFC 155 fight card.

Now that he’s healthy, Belcher wants to stay as busy as possible, and if he comes away feeling good from his scheduled fight against Yushin Okami, he’ll be the first person to call if the UFC needs someone to fight on Jan. 19 in Brazil.

Belcher is looking directly at the fight headlining UFC on FX 7, when Michael Bisping meets Vitor Belfort in Brazil.

Belcher has been targeting brash Brit Michael Bisping for some time, but the fight has never come together. Belcher says you have to look no further than Bisping to find the reason why.

“He had the chance to fight me a while back, when he fought Brian Stann. That was between me and Brian Stann, and don’t let anybody lie to you, there was one person that made that decision and that was Michael Bisping,” Belcher told MMAWeekly Radio recently.

“I pick the hardest fights, the fights that get you excited. It’s a big difference fighting me and Brian Stann, and he fought Brian Stann. That tells you one thing.”

The fight selection that Bisping apparently made did nothing more than ruffle the feathers of one Alan Belcher, who still has a score to settle with the former Ultimate Fighter winner.

If something were to keep Vitor Belfort from fighting on Jan. 19, Belcher wants the world and the UFC to know he’s the guy that would be more than happy to step in and face Bisping in the main event.

“I’d love to fight him. If something happens with Vitor, I’ll be ready,” said Belcher. “I’m going to get back in there Rocky style training for Bisping just like the fight’s going to happen, so when I get the call I’m going to be ready.”

Source: MMA Weekly

California’s battle over amateur MMA, drug testing, and inspectors
By Zach Arnold

I noticed that the one real media storyline for the upcoming Manny Pacquiao/Juan Manuel Marquez 4 fight this week is the battle of words over PED usage from the two camps. Keith Kizer didn’t do random drug testing of either fighter. Combine that with the steroid history of Marquez’s conditioning coach (Angel Heredia) and doping is now a talking point heading into Saturday night’s contest.

The fight is taking place in Las Vegas and the topic of steroids is… well, topical. On Friday at 9 AM, the Nevada State Athletic Commission will be holding a telephone conference call regarding their “Steroid and Drug Testing Advisory Panel. The meeting room will be on the Third Floor of the Grant Sawyer State Office Building (Suit 3018), 555 East Washington Avenue. Unfortunately, the commission isn’t releasing a conference call # for the public to call and listen, which is probably more of a feature for Keith Kizer than a bug. If you’re a member of the media and interested in listening in, the commission’s number is 702-486-2575.

The 9 AM Friday time is ridiculous, but again that’s more of a feature than a bug when it comes to limiting the amount of people who show up for these meetings. The Department of Consumer Affairs is pulling the same stunt and has been having meetings at 9 AM. They held a meeting this past Monday in Los Angeles and there was no multimedia available online for the public. However, we did have some people on the ground who attended the meeting and there were several topics — including California’s ability to handle drug testing — that popped up for public consumption.
The massive document dump of meeting materials for the LA meeting should give you a clue about the direction of CSAC in 2013. On page 40 of the PDF, there’s this… curious… item about California’s drug testing procedures:

“While the success of this program is difficult to document, the Commission does identify dopers and deals with them through the fining and hearing process. This is done in cooperation with the office of the Attorney General. In comparison with many other jurisdictions, California is truly a model for drug testing and enforcement.”

After Andre Berto failed his VADA test in the Summer, Che Guevara & DCA let Berto fight Robert Guerrero a couple of weeks ago. Yep.

And then there’s this passage from CSAC’s document dump:

“Primarily testosterone is the main drug of choice for mixed martial arts athletes. Testosterone is a favorite not because of the physical look the hormone provides, but due to the increased recovery time between training sessions leading up to the fight. We are looking to make improvements by adopting ABC recommendations and also by reviewing world anti-doping agency standards.”
Anyone who has followed the way California has handled the issue of drug testings knows just how embarrassing Sacramento’s behavior has been. Nevada, ground zero in giving out hall passes for testosterone, is even worse. Keith Kizer has done more to ramp up the acceptance of testosterone usage in MMA than anyone else. Of course, the UFC’s two-faced anti-marijuana metabolite, pro-testosterone policies have contributed greatly to the matter. When you give fighters six month suspensions for marijuana but grant exemptions for testosterone, your priorities are completely backwards.

Karen Chappelle, the execrable fool from the state’s AG office in Los Angeles, should not be working drug testing cases in California. However, she’s been allowed to congregate with another fool, Che Guevara, whenever there are disciplinary matters in front of the commission. Chappelle and Guevara have damaged the credibility of California’s commission when it comes to drug testing and disciplinary matters. Until these two clowns are removed from the process, there is no way in hell that California can look at the public with a straight face and say that they know what they are doing with managing drug testing protocols correctly.

Regarding California’s official position on testosterone usage in MMA, it is accurate to say that healing from an injury is a reason for T’s usage. However, T is used just as much to increase strength and gain KO power as it is for the purposes of healing from injury.

The impact of qualified vs. incompetent inspectors on enforcement of drug testing protocols
In order for California to have people on the ground who know what the hell they are doing with drug testing, you have to actually book competent inspectors for the shows you are regulating. Unfortunately, there are too many incompetent inspectors on the ground who are regulating shows while more talented individuals are on the sidelines due to politics and money. For example, using three or four inspectors for a show just isn’t good enough given the lack of depth in quality inspectors. If we’re talking five or ten years ago, OK, I could see how you could run a show with a minimal crew if you had guys like Joe Borielli in charge. However, when you have individuals like Che Guevara and Anthony Olivas (he of Oxnard fame), you can see how things get screwed up in a hurry.

In Monday’s document dump, here’s where the Commission stands with inspectors:
“The Commission believes the ideal number of athletic inspectors assigned to an event is five to six. … Although we recognize that five to six athletic inspectors is ideal, we must live within our budgeted spending authority. As a result, we have been able to reduce the number of athletic inspectors assigned to an event from the ideal of five to six, to four per event.”

“Fiscal Controls are now established limiting the number of hours and travel to events. … The Commission is working with the Department of Consumer Affairs Human Resource office to develop a third class of inspector who will be paid on a per event basis.”
Let’s review all the non-binding, illegal policy decisions that DCA has pushed this year for inspectors.

Their first band-aid to try to fix their inspector problems was to try to get inspectors to sign coercive contracts of adhesion called Volunteer Service Agreements. That flopped, so the next trick from DCA was to get a state memo stating that they don’t have to pay for inspector’s travel costs based on Federal labor law. What the memo intentionally avoided was state labor law, which supersedes Federal labor law because Federal labor law is considered a floor and not a ceiling. You can read all about this right here. Based on this faulty legal opinion, DCA is now creating different classifications for inspectors so that they can stiff non-lead inspectors on pay for certain items while the leads (i.e. the ass-kissers, political favorites, cronies) continue getting paid. The next step, now, is to create yet another inspector classification, this time on a per-show basis. Only in California could you witness more layers being created upon layers of rules & regulations that already exist on the books.

The end result of all of this? Absolutely none of these moves would hold up in a court of law. In other words, one lawsuit from one inspector destroys the schemes in place to try to artificially & illegal curb inspector costs in California. DCA’s calculated opinion is that the few competent inspectors that currently exist are too chicken to file a lawsuit. Therefore, they can get away with their actions. So far, their calculation has proven to be right. None of the qualified inspectors wants to file the proper lawsuit. The result is that Che Guevara and his cronies are benefiting while those who should be taking a stand won’t do so. The new policies are driving away qualified inspectors, which means the level of quality for regulation will decrease. It means more mistakes will happen at shows. Like mistakes with drug testing.

There is word that new inspectors are being hired and that some of the old guard of inspectors are being pushed aside. If the inspectors getting pushed out in favor of less qualified inspectors decide to go the Dwayne Woodard route, DCA & CSAC will be facing some legal headaches from an age discrimination & retaliation lawsuit (or two).

On page 91 of the Monday document dump, there is a training manual by Che Guevara for the inspectors. Remember, Che got his job after he failed to see the illegal hand-wraps of Antonio Margarito. Instead of getting fired, he got promoted by the Department of Consumer Affairs, perjured himself (along with Karen Chappelle) at the disciplinary hearing, and got people who had nothing to do with his mistakes fired from their jobs. In the section called “Ethics, Ethics, and some more Ethics,” Guevara has these gems in the manual:

“Do not fraternize with licensees, including attending after parties or post-fight functions”
“Report the spreading of rumors or untrue information to Commission Staff immediately”
“If you see that something is against the rules, unfair, unsafe or unethical: NOTIFY SOMEONE!”
I guess Che missed the boat on the inspectors who drink at the wet bars after shows (Jordan Breen has witnessed this in the past). I guess Che’s a bit nervous about us. Che lecturing anyone about notification of illegal activity is priceless. He got his job based on not following this piece of advice. He’s also someone who won’t do a damn thing, outside of an occasional cease & desist letter, to stop illegal events from happening in the state. Anyone who thinks that this guy is some harmless stooge in over-his-head is clueless about what a dangerous, reckless force he has become in the deterioration of California fight sports regulation. There’s no other way to put it.

The battle over amateur MMA regulation in California

In addition to the battles over drug testing protocols & management of inspectors, new California State Athletic Commission Executive Officer Andy Foster is now engaged in a battle over the way amateur MMA regulation is changed in California. Currently, Jeremy Lappen & JT Steele regulate amateur MMA in the state through their CAMO delegation.

Andy Foster has a big role in regards to the development of MMA regulation for the Association of Boxing Commissions. He has their own opinions about how amateur MMA should be regulated in California. Throw in the fact that California promoters had a choice between CSAC or CAMO regulating amateur MMA fights and you have a political battle on your hands here.
Recently, the practice of CSAC itself regulating amateur MMA fights was halted. However, Andy Foster sent a letter to the usually-powerless members of the CSAC panel to change the protocols for amateur MMA regulation in the state. From page 170 of the Monday document dump:
“Dear Commissioners,

I have included the unified rules of amateur MMA on the agenda. I would encourage the Commission to consider directing me to being the process of adopting them as regulations. … The main rule difference between these rules and the commonly accepted amateur MMA rules is there is no punches to the head on the ground for the first three fights. Also, shin pads are worn. After three fights, if both fighters agree the rules move to an advanced division which allows punches to the head of a grounded fighter. While I have no medical evidence to provide that no punches to the head of a grounded fighter is a safer rule set, I would hope that common sense dictates that it would be.

Many young martial artists are entering competition earlier than in the past. These rules allow a safer transition to professional mixed martial arts than the current amateur rules used in California. I do think that this would be a change to the industry, and some may be resistant but the health and welfare of the contestants is the Commission’s primary concern. These are safe rules that will better protect our amateur mixed martial artists and I recommend that the Commission direct me to begin the process to adopt them as regulations.”

At Monday’s hearing, the proposed changes were tabled by the commission members. It was a temporary win for CAMO and a temporary set back for Andy Foster. You win some, you lose some battles. Expect things to heat up very quickly in 2013 in the California fight sports regulatory landscape.

To put things into perspective, Andy Foster is facing a situation where projected revenues for California over the next two years are $1.4 million & $1.6 million. There’s currently $208,000 in the bank account. Despite the fact that California is entirely broke, Governor Jerry Brown has budgeted $1.9 million dollars for each of the next two years. On paper, it looks relatively easy for Andy Foster to repair the commission’s finances and have a surplus.

Curiously, after DCA forced out George Dodd through resignation based on claims that DCA needed to get CSAC a loan, Monday’s document dump claims that the commission doesn’t have any outstanding loans to the state’s General Fund. This completely goes against all of the phony emergency meetings that DCA had in late June and July to approve of DCA’s money fixers in getting loans to the commission. Now the official position is that there aren’t any loans from the state’s General Fund.

Putting aside all of the financial & political issues facing CSAC, the biggest problem is that the pool of available event promoters in the state is shrinking. For Fiscal Year 2011-2012, there were only 61 licensed promoters (permanent & temporary). Unfortunately for California, this list includes the deadbeats from Oxnard (Raul Orozco & Armando Renteria). You can thank Che Guevara for licensing idiots like Orozco & Renteria. In a happy ending on the Oxnard situation, Andy Foster made sure that all the fighters who got screwed on that show got 100% of their money. He made sure that the bond was fully hit for the Oxnard deadbeats, which is something the wretched Kathi Burns & DCA legal didn’t want to do.

With a decreasing amount of promoters & shows in the state, Andy Foster’s job of recruiting new promoters & new shows is going to be a difficult task. The economy isn’t getting any better and marginal tax rates are going to increase because of the passage of Prop 30. The challenge is large. You can never say never, but Andy has his work cut out for him.

Source: Fight Opinion

Former Champion Zach Makovsky Released from Bellator
by Damon Martin

In a strange turn of events just one fight after losing the Bellator bantamweight title, former champion Zach Makovsky has been released from the organization.

Makovsky announced the news via Twitter on Sunday.

“Honestly shocked but thank you for the opportunity Bellator,” wrote Makovsky.

In a later message he wrote responding to a fan, “Yes released but as every door closes new ones, maybe better ones, open.”

During his time with Bellator, Makovsky amassed a 6-2 record including his run to win the Bellator bantamweight title before losing the belt to Eduardo Dantas earlier this year.

Makovsky dropped his second fight in a row losing by split decision to Anthony Leone just earlier this month, and now he finds himself on the outside looking in with Bellator.

Source: MMA Weekly

UFC Champ Jose Aldo on Return: ‘I Like to Fight Too Much’ Aldo rushes to the stands after knocking out Chad Mendes.

It’s year’s end: time to slow down at work, catch up with the friends, fill up restaurants and the old belly. That is if you’re not a certain fighter from Nova União who has an engagement in the cage scheduled for early 2013, of course.

At the invitation of Nova União head coach André Pederneiras, the GRACIEMAG.com crew headed over to the team’s Rio de Janeiro headquarters to get a look some of the team’s stars in training.
When UFC featherweight champion José Aldo Jr. (21-1) greeted photographer Gustavo Aragão and reporter Carlos Arthur Jr., he said he wasn’t quite 100 percent: “I’m 1000 percent. I’ve only got one problem: I really, really want to get back in the octagon. I want to fight too much,” the black belt said, alluding to how the fight had previously been scheduled for October but was postponed due to a motorcycle accident he suffered in Rio.

His challenger, Frankie Edgar, had better be ready, as the 26-year-old Brazilian is promising to train like never before.

Once the training session was over, Aldo had the following chat with our reporters about his upcoming title defense against former lightweight champion Edgar, who is coming off back-to-back losses to Ben Henderson and has now dropped to the featherweight division in hopes of claiming the title.

GRACIEMAG.com: How is training for your Feb. fight in Las Vegas going?

JOSÉ ALDO: Truth is, we’re just getting started, since there’s still a bit over two months to go till the fight. We’re going to start stepping it up a bit now, but once we’re one month from the fight, then we’ll intensify the training. But we’re starting our first steps in preparations.

Frankie Edgar dropped to featherweight to try to take your belt, but that’s nothing new for you. It was the same deal with Kenny Florian. Can this move to a different weight class be an advantage to you since you’re more accustomed to fighting at 145 pounds?

That’s what we’re counting on. It’ll be his first time fighting at featherweight, and he’ll have to lose a bit more weight. But a fight’s a fight. It’ll be the first time he fights in this division, where there’s a faster class of fighter. As for me, I’m doing my part, preparing and training as much as I can to get out there and defend my title.

What’s your take on Frankie Edgar’s style?

He moves around a lot, is really explosive, and he likes to surprise. He never stops and has great endurance. We’re analyzing him, seeing what he gets right and wrong so we can come up with the best strategy and have a good fight.

Last of all, how do you feel 2012 went for you?

I’m a really positive guy, so I’d say it went great. I expected to have three fights this year, but only had one. I had two injuries, suffered a motorcycle accident… But to me it was great. I’m healthy; that’s what matters. The rest we can make happen.

Source: Gracie Magazine

UFC Japan 2013 fight card: Wanderlei Silva vs. Brian Stann main event
By Zach Arnold

As reported by Gong Kakutougi magazine today:

Wanderlei Silva vs. Brian Stann
Stefan Struve vs. Mark Hunt
Diego Sanchez vs. Takanori Gomi
Siyar Bahadurzada vs. Dong Hyun-Kim
Brad Tavares vs. Riki Fukuda
Bryan Caraway vs. Takeya Mizugaki
Cristiano Marcello vs. Kazuki Tokudome
Alex Caceres vs. Kyung Ho Kang
Marcelo Guimaraes vs. Hyun Gyu Lim

Source: Fight Opinion

Chris Leben returns from drug suspension with a different outlook on life
By Dave Meltzer
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

On Saturday night, when Chris Leben goes into UFC's Octagon for the 20th time in a career that started with the first season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) reality show, he'll move into a tie for seventh place on the all-time list of most fights in company history.

But in many ways, he's hoping his fight with late replacement Derek Brunson (9-2) will be the first fight of a very different Chris Leben.

"I'm very excited, very nervous, I have a lot of anticipation," said Leben, whose last year after being suspended for pain killers has been spent battling demons away from the sport and getting ready for a fresh return. "I haven't had a payday in a year. I'm broke. This fight marks a transition. Dec. 29 is the end of a rough year for me. I've got a lot of new things going on. Financially, I can become stable a little bit, so this is a very big transition. I really want to do well. I'd like to get that KO bonus. I'm shooting for it, but I need to get a victory, get the money in the bank, and make the most of my career for the next few years."

This Chris Leben (22-8) is coming to Las Vegas strictly for business. He's getting there as late as possible, arriving Wednesday, spending as little time there as he can, and flying back home immediately after one post-fight personal appearance. For most people, they look forward to a trip to Las Vegas. For Leben, he's looking forward to a fight purely as business, believing Las Vegas is not a good place for him to spend a lot of time in. It's the same mentality that has changed his social life back home in Hawaii.

It'll be almost 14 months since he lost to Mark Munoz, and then got suspended for one year by the UFC for testing positive for Oxymorphone and Oxycodone. Unlike many who will come up with excuses when failing drug tests, Leben, for the second time, immediately admitted usage. The first time he tested positive was for the steroid Stanazolol after he lost to Michael Bisping at UFC 89.
In training for the Munoz fight, which he lost when the fight was stopped after the second round, he was rapidly going down.

"A lot of things were going on," he said. "There was stuff going on in my camp. There was stuff going on in my personal life. Hindsight is always 20/20. It just wasn't the best camp leading up to the fight. I had major issues and I was dealing with them the wrong way."

"It's been a long struggle, not just pain medicine, but drug and alcohol abuse, and I've had it through my entire career," said Leben, whose drinking and issues with depression and aggression dating back to childhood made him the most compelling figure in the first season of the reality show. "Some fights I was doing better than other fights. Things came to a head. My last fight was more of a cry for help.

"I knew I was going to get caught," he said. "I knew I wasn't supposed to be doing what I did. Thank God for (UFC matchmaker) Joe Silva and (UFC President) Dana White. They helped me. I broke the rules. They suspended me for one year. It's not like I was trying to cheat. I had a problem and an issue. They sent me to rehab. I needed a month of inpatient rehab, and went directly to outpatient treatment. I've continued to focus on my treatment. That's a continual battle in that fight. I take it one day at a time. I haven't taken a pain pill since. I've continued to be drug and alcohol free."
But he admitted he's now having to prepare for two different kinds of fights.

"You have to fight that war on all fronts, internal work with my thought patterns and my old ways of dealing with issues and problems," he said. "At the same time, there are situations I've had to remove myself from. A lot of good people I know that are still friends of mine, but they know we can't hang out because they're living that other life. The best thing for me is to not be around that. There are certain places I don't choose to go. If my friends are going to a bar instead of a restaurant, or a restaurant that is more of a bar, I don't go."

Since that time, he's gotten treatment for deep seated emotional problems that he would medicate himself away from addressing. He feels younger, lighter and in better shape. The time off has healed his injuries, but left him in rough shape financially.

"You really don't know what you have until it's taken away," he said. "This was truly a blessing in disguise. I had that invaluable time I needed for my personal life. I do miss competing. I miss getting in there. I miss training for a fight and missed the paydays as well. I have a different mindset. I'm much more clearheaded. But with that comes different issues. There's more anxiety, more nerves, questions on how I'm going to perform. I'm trying to make that a positive thing, to push myself harder, to be more ready."

But he thinks what he's been through has been a positive, that it's both a learning experience for him, and also allows him to have the firsthand experiences to help others dig themselves out of similar pitfalls.

"All I can say is everything I've done has a purpose," he said. "I volunteered to go to jails in Hawaii (Leben lives on he island of Oahu). I go every Tuesday. My and my friend Mark. I've been there. They don't listen to the guards. They don't listen to their parents. So I kind of believe everything happens for a reason. My hope is with all this stuff I've been through, that God has a plan for me. I've grown in the last year from it and become a different person, a person who can benefit society and people around him in a positive way."

He's also trained smarter, more scientifically and for the first time in his career, is watching closely what he's eating.

"As a fighter, there's always the question of slacking or overtraining, and I've been guilty of both. I've in better condition, with more strength and a higher vertical leap. Being sober helps. You don't have to fight those toxins. Drinking a half bottle of booze a night doesn't help you as an athlete."
"I'm more ready, by far, then I've ever been. I'm in the best shape I've ever been. My heart rate walking around is in the mid-40s. I'm ready to go. I've done everything I can to insure a victory. The fight changing, having a year off, I can't do anything about those things."

Leben found out while eating lunch on Dec. 18 that his opponent had changed from Karlos Vemola, who was injured, to Brunson.

"I'm glad to be fighting," he said, noting he's grateful to Brunson for taking the fight on short notice. "It's a bummer for Vemola. Too bad for him. I'm still pretty excited I get a chance to fight. There's not a huge difference between the two of them. They're both wrestlers who have fairly heavy hands. After training for one style, I'm glad I'm not getting a K-1 kickboxer. There are definitely some adjustments that have to be made. He's a southpaw. The good thing is, I'm not one of those guys who trains for one fight at a time. I'm always trying to better my skills."

One advantage in fighting Brunson, is that Leben's friend, Kendall Grove, fought him, winning a split decision on June 16.

"I gave my buddy Kendall Grove a call," Leben noted. "Kendall had some very nice things to say about him. They went back-and-forth on the Internet. He gave me his input on what he saw, and how he planned for Brunson. He knows me and knows my style and what would work best for me. We chatted for a while. My coaches both pulled up videos and watched DVDs and gave me their input."

While a lot of UFC fans still think of Leben as the guy who got out control in the early episodes of The Ultimate Fighter, Leben noted that was eight years ago and he's moved past that era.

"I certainly am tired of hearing about p***ing on (Jason) Thacker's bed, or when people ask me, `When are you going to fight Josh Koscheck,'" he said. "That was seven, eight years ago. It's over."

Source: MMA Fighting

Pros Pick: Dos Santos vs. Velasquez 2
By Mike Sloan

The Ultimate Fighting Championship’s year-end events are typically anchored by a tremendous main event. That is certainly the case at UFC 155 on Saturday, as Junior dos Santos defends his heavyweight crown against Cain Velasquez at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Dos Santos captured the championship with a first-round technical knockout against Velasquez at UFC on Fox 1 in November. Can the American Kickboxing Academy standout turn the tables and avenge the only defeat of his professional career?

Sherdog.com touched base with a number of professional fighters and trainers to gauge their opinions on the UFC 155 “Dos Santos vs. Velasquez 2” headliner:

Ricardo Liborio: JDS will keep the gold.

Jason Dent: JDS will win again. I’d say by TKO late in round three.

Mike Ciesnolevicz: Cain is a bad matchup for just about everyone besides JDS. I think the fight lasts a bit longer than last time with the same ending. Cain can’t box effectively with JDS, and while he can take him down, he can’t hold him down. JDS has great takedown defense and explosive hips. Cain gets stopped within three rounds.

Keith Berry: I’m taking JDS. I think he has Cain’s number. I’m looking forward to this one.

Jeremy Stephens: Cain wins.

Dave Jansen: History repeats itself. JDS dismantles Cain again with technique, speed and power in under two minutes. JDS by knockout in round one.

Ramsey Nijem: This is an easy one for me. Of course, I’ll pick my mentor and friend, JDS. His boxing is just too good. He’s shown great takedown defense, and winning breeds winning. I think his confidence, too, will also help him win this fight by KO in the second.

Tom DeBlass: I have to go with JDS. I believe Cain learned from last fight and will try to bring it to the ground quicker. However, I believe the takedown defense and striking will be too much for Cain to handle.

Myles Jury: JDS wins.

Caros Fodor: Man, I gotta go with JDS again. I think this fight will go as the last one did. I don’t think Cain will be able to get him down and will eventually get clipped and knocked out. JDS is a bad dude.

Ben Askren: I really hope Cain can pull this one off. I think without his knee injury he will be more mobile and able to use his wrestling.

Jeff Hougland: I pick Cain by referee stoppage in the fourth round. I think he’ll mix up the wrestling and striking to keep the champ off of his game.

Igor Araujo: I think only Alistair Overeem can trade punches with dos Santos in the UFC, and Cain saw that when they first fought. Cain will try to take him down, but I think JDS is ready for any situation and he will knock him out again, keeping the belt. JDS wins by KO in the first or second round.

J.J. Ambrose: JDS is a great fighter. He’s been ripping through the heavyweight division with good takedown defense and superior striking. That being said, I think Cain is the best heavyweight out there. Watching him train at AKA, you could see that he’s on another level from the rest. The first fight he got caught; he won’t make the same mistake as last time. Cain wins via third-round TKO.

Mitch Clarke: I’m going with Cain in the rematch. JDS may be the best boxer in the division and possibly the UFC, but I believe Cain is more dynamic in his striking and has stellar wrestling. He looked like a man possessed in his fight against “Bigfoot” Silva, and I think we’ll see more of the same in the rematch since Cain is looking to get some revenge. Cain wins by decision.

Jason High: I’m going with Cain for this one. I think if he’s healthy he’s tough for any heavyweight to beat. Pace, cardio and wrestling will be the difference.

Steven Siler: JDS is gonna stop the takedown, keep his range and knock Cain out again so we can finally see JDS vs. Overeem.

Jacob Volkmann: I have no idea on that one. It’s going to be a great fight. Not the same as their first fight.his only defeat.

Travis Lutter: Tough fight to pick. I want to say Velasquez, but I really think it will be Junior’s night again. His standup is going to be hard for him to deal with, but the longer the fight goes, the better chance Velasquez has.

John Gunderson: I’m going with Junior for the stoppage, but my gut is telling me Cain will take him down and grind him out.

Ed Herman: Damn, that’s a tough one. I’m gonna go with Cain if he uses his wrestling to control the fight; it will be a ground-and-pound second-round stoppage. If they stay on their feet and dos Santos can keep his distance, then he wins via third-round TKO.

Nam Phan: I like JDS, but I believe in Cain.

Cung Le: Cain wins by ground-and-pound.

Erik Paulson: This will be another scorcher. I think that Cain was not ready for Junior’s heavy hands and aggression. I think he will be prepared now. I know that Junior absolutely loves that belt, so he will come as hard and strong as he always does. I think he will be in much better shape for this fight. Boys, we’re gonna see a war.

Mark Bocek: JDS wins via KO.

Eric Prindle: I hope Cain wins if he uses his wrestling and top control and keeps his punches tight. Dos Santos has fast hands and good takedown defense. I think dos Santos wins in the second round, but I wish Velasquez would win by first-round ground-and-pound.

Robert Drysdale: Velasquez wins.

Travis Wiuff: Cain upsets the champ by TKO in the third round. He uses his wrestling and cardio to take down dos Santos and ground-and-pound him.

Colton Smith: I definitely choose Cain. I think his wrestling is far superior and I believe he can turn the tide this time around, put his hands on JDS and take him down.

Darren Elkins: I got dos Santos. I think he has the knockout power, the one-hit punch that, if he lands it at any time, puts ’em to sleep.

Johny Hendricks: Man, I gotta go with Cain. I feel like Cain is going to go in there with a different game plan. Even though I know dos Santos is a tough opponent, it’s hard to go against the wrestler.

T.J. Waldburger: Dos Santos. You know, I think the guy just has Cain’s number. I think he’s just going to overpower him. He’s got way more strength in his body and in his punches. He’s got a lot of power. Even with Cain’s wrestling, even on the ground, I think he’s going to overpower him.

Max Holloway: I've got JDS by KO. I gotta stick with the striker my man!

Michael Chiesa: I'm taking JDS by decision. He's improving every fight and he has that great balance of athlete/fighter similar to Bendo.

Pros Picking dos Santos: 18
Pros Picking Velasquez: 10
No Pick: 6

Source Sherdog

Vale Tudo Japan 1st Results: Hideo Tokoro Tops Rumina Sato; Is This the End for Megumi Fujii?

The legendary Vale Tudo Japan has returned with a vengeance. The event had fans the world over buzzing with excitement and it didn’t disappoint, receiving praise from all in attendance and those watching on PPV in Japan.

The night’s main event ended in the blink of an eye. Fan favorite Hideo Tokoro returned to action for the first time since his horrifying slam knockout loss at DREAM NYE last year, and he quickly blasted Japanese MMA icon Rumina Sato with a flying punch after pushing him to the ground.

Tokoro dedicated the win to the late Tomoya Miyashita, who passed away from leukemia at the end of last year.

The victory is very bitter sweet for many. The universally beloved Rumina Sato has now lost by knockout twice in a row, to guys not known for big knockout power. He has been around, pretty much as long as the sport of MMA has. One has to think his legendary career is nearing its conclusion.

Mamoru Yamaguchi is one of MMA’s pioneering flyweights, but he may have missed his last chance at a run stateside. The Fro lost to former Tachi Palace champ Darrell Montague over three close and technical rounds of all stand-up action. Montague got a split judges nod and picked up the biggest win of his career.

Shooto golden boy and one of AsianMMA.com’s most highly touted fighters, Kyoji Horiguchi has finally established himself as a top global bantamweight. Kyoji took a hard fought unanimous decision over Tachi Palace champion Ian Loveland.

The two exchanged head kicks and Loveland threatened with a few submissions, but Kyoji got the better, using thudding kicks and his wicked speed to drop Loveland and take a big 29-28 win.

Even though she stated in our interview with her that she would continue to fight in big name matches, if this was the last fight of the greatest female fighter in history – as some reports suggest – it will surely go down as one of the best retirement fights MMA has ever seen. Megumi Fujii and V.V Mei went to war for 10 minutes, trading furious punches and masterful grappling the whole time.

Fujii was naturally the dominant wrestler, but Mei reversed her a number of times, even scoring a sweep off the cage, but Fujii locked in several tight submissions, including an armbar and a sleeper. The ultra tough cookie that is Mei Yamaguchi simply refused to give in. Ultimately though, Fujii’s top control, ground and pound, and slight striking advantage saw her lead on all the judges’ scorecards.

Vale Tudo Japan 1st Full Results:

Vale Tudo Japan 1st
Yoyogi National Gymnasium, Tokyo
December 24, 2012

-Hideo Tokoro def. Rumina Sato via TKO (Punches) – R1, 0:39
-Kuniyoshi Hironaka def. Carlo Prater via Unanimous Decision
-Darrell Montague def. Mamoru Yamaguchi via Split Decision
-Kyoji Horiguchi def. Ian Loveland via Unanimous Decision
-Megumi Fujii def. “V.V” Mei Yamaguchi via Unanimous Decision
-Kenji Osawa def. “Lion” Takeshi Inoue via Unanimous Decision
-Keita Nakamura def. Nobutatsu Suzuki via Submission (Choke Sleeper) – R1, 2:09
-Daisuke Hoshino def. Kuntap Weerasakreck via Submission (Armbar) – R1, 2:19

Source: MMA Weekly

12/27/12

2012 MMAWeekly.com Reader’s Choice Award – Fight of the Year?

For our annual awards, MMAWeekly.com turns to you the readers and fans to choose the best of the best for 2012 including “Fight of the Year.”

Last year it fell down to only a few possible contenders, but this year’s selection is tougher because there are a number of fights that have been all out wars in the cage.

Chan Sung Jung and Dustin Poirier battled it out at UFC on Fuel in a compelling featherweight match-up that stole the show.

Joe Lauzon and Jamie Varner put on a classic at UFC on Fox 4, while Jake Ellenberger and Diego Sanchez had a dog fight when they fought earlier this year as well.

The hype that built up to Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate was only surpassed by their fight, and while it lasted less than a round, it was as tense as any fight this entire year.

Miesha Tate was involved in another classic later in the year when she took on Julie Kedzie in Strikeforce, and that fight even had Dana White jumping out of his seat in excitement.

Both UFC lightweight title fights between Benson Henderson and Frankie Edgar could land in consideration.

So what do you say? Our readers and viewers will pick the best fight for 2012 in the comments section below.

What was your choice for the Fight of the Year for 2012?

Source: MMA Weekly

NYE Special Split in Two: Glory 4 Airs Dec. 31 on CBS Sports; Dream.18 Follows One Night Later

Glory Sports International has aligned its kickboxing promotion with the revival of the Japanese mixed martial arts promotion Dream, keeping the annual tradition of a kickboxing/MMA New Year’s Eve extravaganza alive at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.

It came down to the wire, but the year-end event finally has a home on American television, landing on CBS Sports Network.

Related posts

Marloes Coenen Bout Added to Dream 18; Event Will Air on CBS Sports in the U.S. in Two Parts
Glory Intends to Make Dream NYE Bigger Than Ever; Plans Full Assault on the U.S. Next Year
Glory Announces Kickboxing Tourney Match-ups for Co-Promoted Dream NYE Fight Card
Glory Combines Dream 18 and Heavyweight Grand Slam into Historic New Year’s Eve Event
Glory Sports International Resurrects Dream; Plans NYE Return and Several Events in 2013

The Glory 4 kickboxing portion of the event will air at 10 p.m. ET on Dec. 31 on CBS Sports, while the Dream.18 MMA rules bouts will be broadcast one night later on Jan. 1, also at 10 p.m. ET, and also on CBS Sports.

The Glory 4 portion of the event features a 16-man single elimination tournament format, along with several feature fights.

Former Dream champion Shinya Aoki headlines the mixed martial arts portion of the card, facing UFC veteran Antonio McKee in the Dream.18 main event.
Dream.18 MMA Bouts:

-Shinya Aoki vs. Antonio McKee
-Melvin Manhoef vs. Denis Kang
-Bibiano Fernandes vs. Yoshiro Maeda
-Tatsuya Kawajiri vs. Michihiro Omigawa
-Hayato Sakurai vs. Phil Baroni
-Hiroyuki Takaya vs. Georgi Karakhanyan
-Satoru Kitaoka vs. Will Brooks
-Marloes Coenen vs. Fiona Muxlow
GLORY Grand Slam Tournament:

-Semmy Schilt vs. Brice Guidon
-Sergei Kharitonov vs. Rico Verhoeven
-Gokhan Saki vs. Raomoru
-Anderson “Braddock” Silva vs. Igor Jurkovic
-Remy Bonjasky vs. Filip Verlinden
-Errol Zimmerman vs. Jamal Ben Saddick
-Peter Aerts vs. Mourad Bouzidi
-Daniel Ghita vs. Jhonata Diniz
GLORY Superfights:

-Makoto Ebata vs. Sang-Jae Kim
-Matsumoto Toshio vs. Jason Wilnis
-Yuichiro Nagashima vs. Robin van Rosumaren
-Jerome LeBanner vs. Koichi

Source: MMA Weekly

Marloes Coenen Bout Added to Dream 18; Event Will Air on CBS Sports in the U.S. in Two Parts

Marloes Coenen and Liz Carmouche battle at StrikeforceThe Glory/Dream New Year’s Eve event from Saitama, Japan, is just around the corner, and while American broadcasting details are still being nailed down, one more high profile MMA bout has been added to the card.

Former Strikeforce women’s 135-pound champion Marloes Coenen will make her way to Japan to face Fiona Muxlow on the Dream portion of the event at Saitama Super Arena, according to MMAWeekly.com sources.

Coenen (20-5) has seen little activity since losing her Strikeforce belt to Miesha Tate in mid-2011. She fought once for Invicta FC, defeating Romy Ruyssen by unanimous decision in April of this year.

Muxlow, fighting out of Australia, has a solid 6-1 record, but this will mark the first time she’s fought outside of Australia or New Zealand, and Coenen is by far the toughest opponent she’s ever faced.

The two will be part of the Dream MMA rules bouts when the promotion is resurrected on New Year’s Eve in Japan.

The event will air in the United States on the CBS Sports Network. The Glory kickboxing portion of the event will broadcast on Dec. 31 on the network, while the Dream MMA bouts hit the airwaves on Jan. 1.

Independent MMAWeekly.com sources confirmed that CBS Sports Network is hosting the American broadcast of the event, which was first reported by MMAFighting.com.

Source: MMA Weekly

Alan Belcher: If Yushin Okami Can’t Get Me Down, “He’s Going to Be Crapping His Pants”

Alan Belcher at UFC 113It’s been six long years since Alan Belcher made his Octagon debut at UFC 62 when he fought top ranked Japanese fighter Yushin Okami.

But on Dec. 29, Belcher’s UFC career comes full circle in a manner of sorts as he finally gets the chance to avenge that fight and loss when he again faces Okami at UFC 155.

Almost 100 UFC events have passed since Belcher debuted in the Octagon, and in that time he’s learned an awful lot and been through even more. Despite the fact that he has shared 15-minutes of fight time with Okami before, Belcher is approaching this fight like they’ve never even met before.

In the last six years Belcher has changed a lot, and in terms of growth, who was once a kid that faced Yushin Okami in 2006, he is now a man.

“I’ve got to scratch that one; we’re both different fighters. He’s still the same athlete and still a good grappler, but he’s improved in a lot of different ways. I was looking at his most recent fights to go by. I wouldn’t even have to train for him if I could just erase that and not know what he was going to do at all, I could go in there and he wouldn’t take me down at all, as easy as he did then,” said Belcher when speaking to MMAWeekly Radio.

“Now he couldn’t do the same thing to me again. That fight doesn’t matter, and I’m a lot better at wrestling and grappling than I was then.”

Belcher proved a lot of naysayers wrong about his grappling in his last fight in May when he took out leg lock specialist Rousimar Palhares.

Just about everybody believed that if Palhares got the fight to the ground, Belcher would be in a world of trouble. Well, the fight did land there and Palhares even got to attack Belcher’s leg with his infamous knee bar submission.

What some called a miracle, Alan Belcher calls good training because he worked through the submission, ended up on top and finished Palhares with a barrage of strikes in the first round.

Belcher plans on displaying that same level of confidence when he faces Okami at UFC 155.

If they are on the feet, he’s going to make Okami regret it, and if he does happen to get it to the ground, Belcher is more than confident that he can hold his own or work back to his feet. Wherever the fight goes, Yushin Okami is in trouble.

“Every second we’re on the feet, I’m going to be bringing the pain to him. I’m going to make him make him not want to be in there with me. I want it worse than him, I want this win worse than any fight ever,” Belcher said.

“If he can’t get me down, he’s going to be crapping his pants. Whenever I hit him, he’s going to realize when he looks in my eyes that I want it a lot more than he does, and he’s just going to be the best he can just fighting off his instincts, his heart’s not really going to be in it because he’s going to feel my heart and my ferocity. He will be scared.”

Belcher will look to notch his fifth win in a row when he faces Okami at UFC 155, while taking another step forward in the UFC middleweight division.

Source: MMA Weekly

Could Frankie Edgar Be the First Ever Three-Weight Class Champion?

It’s a pretty amazing feat what Frankie Edgar has been able to do fighting well out of his perceived weight class for his entire UFC career.

At five-foot-six and typically walking around at just over 155 pounds, Edgar’s run as UFC lightweight champion should be looked at as nothing but a huge accomplishment when gauging the success of smaller fighters in MMA.

Edgar’s career at 155 pounds was defined by him almost always being the undersized underdog and finding a way to win no matter what, but after his last fight against Benson Henderson, the decision was made to move to the featherweight division.

According to Edgar’s lead trainer and coach Mark Henry, he’s actually been urging the New Jersey native to make the drop for several fights going all the way back to his bouts against Gray Maynard in 2011.

“My input was when he was fighting Gray Maynard,” Henry revealed when speaking to MMAWeekly Radio. “The thing people don’t realize is Frankie’s going down to 145 and he’ll still probably be 12 pounds less than Jose Aldo. That goes to show you the amazing things that he’s been doing, he’s going down a weight class and he’ll still probably weight 12 pounds less. Jose weighs around 170, I think he’s said that himself. Frankie walks around at 157.”

Edgar lost his lightweight title to Henderson in early 2012, but because the fight was viewed as a controversial decision, the UFC opted to give him another crack at the belt and opponent. This time around the fight was even closer, but still Henderson came out on top.

Days later Edgar announced he was moving to 145 pounds. Most assumed it was because he had lost to Henderson twice and another title shot would probably be very tough to land. In reality however, Edgar was planning on moving down to featherweight all along, he just really wanted another shot at Benson Henderson.

“When we fought Ben, I don’t think anybody knows, but we were going to go down to 145 anyways,” Henry stated.

“It was 100-percent, you can even ask Nate (Diaz) and we saw Nate before the fight and we discussed how Frankie (was moving down). Kill whoever you’re fighting because we’re beating Ben, whoever you’re going to end up fighting we wish you luck and we’re going down.”

Now Edgar will start his new life at featherweight, but as his coach pointed out earlier, he’s still going to be giving up size to many of the fighters competing in that weight class.

It’s one of the reasons why Edgar is so revered because he’s able to compete against bigger, stronger fighters and still win. That doesn’t mean at some point in his career, Edgar wouldn’t enjoy being the bigger guy in the fight.

So it’s possible at some point in the future that Edgar could test the waters at 135 pounds if the right opportunity came along.

“We definitely have to worry about Jose now, that’s the only thing we’re thinking about. But I think he could be the first guy to win three belts,” Henry said.

“I think if it’s for history. I think if Frankie beats Jose, it’s hard to deny he’s one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. If he won three (titles), you can’t deny it. Anderson Silva is so close to Jon Jones’ weight, what are they 10 pounds different? Frankie’s fighting guys that are way heavier than him. If Frankie was to go for two belts or three belts, I don’t know how you would deny it.”

Right now the only focus for Edgar and his team is to capture the gold at 145 pounds and they know that won’t be an easy test. Featherweight champion Jose Aldo has been a very dominant titleholder that has dispatched of every contender he’s faced.

For argument’s sake, however, it’s fun to think about Edgar conquering featherweight and then at some point taking a shot at the bantamweight belt as well.

“Nobody’s ever done it. Weight-wise, it could be done, so it’s going to be in the conversation. You’re going to talk about it,” Henry said. “Especially greatness, you can do something nobody’s done and make history; it’s something you’re definitely going to talk about.”

Source: MMA Weekly

Tim Boetsch: UFC Will Have to Give Me a Title Shot After I Run Out of People to Beat Up

Make no mistake, Tim Boetsch wants to earn a shot at the UFC middleweight title, but he wants to work to get there and not get handed anything.

Heading into UFC 155, Boetsch was expected to face fellow top ranked middleweight Chris Weidman, but a training injury forced the New Yorker out of the fight and into surgery.

In his place stepped his teammate Costa Philippou, who presents a very tough challenge, but does take away some of the hype for this fight, as it was originally touted as two top middleweights battling for a potential shot at the title.

Boetsch was disappointed with the turn of events, but it’s nothing he hasn’t dealt with before and he’s sure he’ll deal with it again.

“It’s a bit more frustrating for me. I felt like this would really determine who the No. 1 contender was. Everybody has very high expectations of Chris, and I’m certainly on a tear; I’ve beaten two fairly high ranked opponents my last two fights. So I was very much looking forward to getting in the cage with Chris and seeing who came out the other side as the victor,” Boetsch told MMAWeekly Radio recently.

“I was very upset that I wasn’t going to get to fight Chris, but at the same time I feel for the guy. He’s had a very rough year. A hurricane just ripped through and wrecked his house, now he’s just got this injury, he just had surgery and he’s in the recovery phase. My thoughts go out to him. Although it’s not Chris Weidman, Costa’s a tough guy and it’s going to be an exciting fight. He’s on a roll right now, he’s a tough boxer and he’s always looking to take people’s heads off.”

In his last two fights, Boetsch has knocked off Yushin Okami and former Bellator champion Hector Lombard to solidify his place near the top of the middleweight rankings, but his name still doesn’t get mentioned nearly as often as some others when talking about who will next take a shot at Anderson Silva’s 185-pound crown.

Talking is the point because Boetsch is not a boastful fighter who claims anything is his, or that he needs to be handed the keys to the kingdom.

“For me that gets frustrating. Just because I’m one of those guys who isn’t very vocal about calling people out and saying I deserve such and such an opponent. Michael (Bisping)‘s very good at that and he’s made a career out of it, there are talks of him getting a title shot maybe before even I do, so he’s done a good job of promoting himself and that’s one way of doing it,” said Boetsch.

“I think the better way to do it, or the way I prefer to do it, is to step in the cage and beat people up, and eventually they’re going to have to give me a title shot because I’m going to run out of people to beat up. That’s how I plan on doing it.”

That’s Boetsch’s plan for Dec. 29 when he faces Costa Philippou, and if that doesn’t earn him a shot at the title then he’ll move onto another fight in 2013 and then another, if that’s what it takes.

Boetsch wants to earn his shot at the belt and if that means two or three more wins first, then that’s what he plans to do. He’s not going to suddenly try to become a trash talker just to get a crack at the UFC middleweight belt.

“I am staying in the mix. I’m taking fights that the UFC is giving me; it doesn’t matter the opponent. People have been injured and late replacements, and I’m willing to fight whoever they put in front of me. I just want to climb all the way to the top,” Boetsch stated.

“It doesn’t matter if other people are out there running their mouths and trying to call people out and say what they deserve. I want to earn what I get.”

Source: MMA Weekly

Benson Henderson: MMAWeekly.com’s 2012 Fighter of the Year

Three title fights, three title wins, and nearly six million viewers for his last fight, and with that Benson Henderson has done more than enough to earn MMAWeekly.com‘s award for Fighter of the Year for 2012.

The year opened for Henderson in Japan where he finally got his shot at the UFC lightweight title when he faced champion Frankie Edgar. A back and forth battle ensued, but when it was over Henderson was crowned the UFC lightweight champion.

The fight was so close enough, however, that the UFC granted Edgar a rematch just months later, but Henderson never complained or cried about facing the former champion a second time, much less in back-to-back fights.

The rematch was even closer than the original one, but again Henderson got the nod for the victory, and with that made his first title defense as UFC champion.

To close out 2012, Henderson traveled to Seattle to face No. 1 lightweight contender Nate Diaz at UFC on Fox 5 in the main event. Up until then, Diaz had been dominant in his last few fights putting away names like Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and Jim Miller.

There was no close call in this one, however, as Henderson dominated from bell-to-bell, putting on a masterful performance in his one-sided decision win over Diaz. It was the second time Henderson had been on a UFC on Fox card, but unlike his first fight which was a preliminary bout and did not make the airwaves, his second time was like a dream come true.

Nearly six million viewers saw Henderson’s performance over Diaz, which capped off a phenomenal year for the former WEC champion, and earned him a well deserved spot as Fighter of the Year for 2012.

“Thank you so much, it’s nice to be recognized for what you do,” Henderson told MMAWeekly Radio after being notified of the award. “Whether you’re a reporter and you win the Pulitzer, or whatever the case is, any time you get recognition and appreciation for what you do, that’s always awesome. Fighter of the Year, there’s a lot of great fighters out there, a lot of tough fighters out there, I’ll definitely take it.”

Claiming the UFC title and defending it twice, plus Henderson buying a stake in his home gym in Arizona, were important for him, but through all of that it was a trip to Korea that meant the most to the UFC lightweight champion in 2012.

Henderson visited the country following his title win over Frankie Edgar in February along with his mother, whose heritage is Korean. He says it was like nothing he’s ever seen before, and probably nothing he’ll ever see again, and to put it bluntly, the entire experience was unforgettable.

“After the first fight in Japan against Frankie (Edgar) after I won, going over to Korea. The reception that I got in Korea was mind-blowing. I don’t think I’ll ever really get used to that, it was truly mind-blowing. It was like Rolling Stones type stuff, completely overwhelming. That was what stuck out the most for me in 2012,” Henderson stated.

For all the celebrating that Henderson could do in 2012, he’s simply happy to be where he’s at, and stays grounded in who he is as a person. When he goes into his gym, Henderson is still just one of the boys, and isn’t treated any differently now than before he had the UFC title.

Staying true to who he is as a person and fighter are key reasons why Henderson flew to the top of the lightweight division in 2012, and that attitude and work ethic could make him a front runner for the same kind of accolades in 2013.

“What it boils down to is not believing your own hype, not getting sucked into that kind of materialistic world. That Hollywood lifestyle. It’s a little bit of your own personality, a little bit of trial and error, you learn through your own mistakes, you learn from other people’s mistakes. You see other people go through it and what happens to them, and you go ‘oh, they messed up because they did this’ and you can learn from that and you don’t have to make those same mistakes to learn,” Henderson stated.

Thus far in his career, Benson Henderson has made very few mistakes and excels in his triumphs. He should be proud of what he did in 2012, and 2013 looks very bright for the UFC’s reigning and defending lightweight champion.

Source: MMA Weekly

UFC veteran Joe Lauzon 'carrying the flag' for submissions in KO-hungry MMA world

LAS VEGAS – Everyone understands a punch to the face. The complexities involved in a mixed martial arts submission, however, are lost on many fans.

A lack of understanding of the ground game is one of the issues holding MMA from widespread acceptance.

Joe Lauzon has won submission of the night in his last four UFC victories.

Joe Lauzon, who has seven submissions in 13 UFC fights and has won a Submission of the Night bonus six times, concedes that most fans will never appreciate an arm bar as much as a one-punch knockout.

Rest assured, though, that he is doing his part to make it so. In addition to his six Submission of the Night bonuses, he's racked up a Knockout of the Night and four Fight of the Night bonuses while going 9-4 in the UFC.

He faces Jim Miller on Saturday in the co-main event of UFC 155 at the MGM Grand Garden and will be disappointed if he wins a three-round decision, even though it will be a significant victory in the crowded lightweight division.

Lauzon has always sought to make his opponent tap and said he could never imagine fighting any other way. Though the UFC pays post-fight bonuses, his motivation is far more than money.

It feeds some sort of primal urge for him.

"Honestly, I do it for me more so than the bonuses," Lauzon said of his propensity to aggressively seek submissions. "The bonus money is nice, but I don't want to be a hypocrite and just go out there and try to win rounds. I don't want to go out there and skate through fights without trying to actually finish guys.

"If I'm not doing anything, I get bored, so I have to go out there and look for those submissions. I want to make them say, 'You're better. I give up.' … When you get a submission and the guy says, 'OK, please stop. You're going to destroy my arm,' or they get choked unconscious, then there is no question about who was the better guy."

Lauzon is only 28, but has been in the UFC since 2006, when he needed just 48 seconds to knock out Jens Pulver at UFC 63.

He's just now moving into his athletic prime, but he already feels out of place in a way. There simply aren't a lot of fighters who are as aggressive as he is at going after submissions.

Win or lose, when Joe Lauzon is in the cage, the fight is going to be interesting.

Occasionally, that can lead to problems, but it's also made him one of the company's must-see fighters.

"I kind of feel I'm a dinosaur a bit in that there aren't a whole lot of guys who hunt submissions nearly as aggressively as I do," he said. "There are definitely guys who have good submissions, but I feel like I go out there in every fight constantly looking for the submission. There are so many guys who seem content to win decisions and just win round after round after round.

"They do it, but they're not finishing guys. I feel like I'm one of those guys who is carrying the submission flag. There's not a whole lot of us."

He said he appreciates watching Demian Maia, Stefan Struve and Miller fight because of the way they look to get a submission.

Lauzon said he looks forward to Saturday's bout with Miller because it will showcase submission fighting at a high level.

"I think we're probably both going to come out swinging, and whoever lands the first solid punch will probably get the takedown and submit the other guy," he said.

Most casual fans – the same ones who determine whether or not a pay-per-view show is success – will never fully grasp all the intricacies of a well-done submission.

Lauzon, though, is among that core group who is forcing them to take notice. They don't necessarily need to know all the technique to know that what they're seeing is rare and pretty special.

"I'm not a big soccer fan and if a soccer game is on TV for more than five or six minutes, I'm probably going to change the channel," he said. "But when you see someone with great ball control and guys are trying to follow him and are tripping over their own feet, I can definitely appreciate that.

"It's like that with a submission. I give people credit. They appreciate it and kind of know what's going on, they just don't appreciate all the stuff that goes into it. But they understand enough that when someone is trying to end a fight and not just cruise through 15 minutes, they definitely appreciate it."

Source: Yahooo Sports

UFC 155 predictions

It's arguable UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos is the UFC's least-respected champion. That isn't to say he doesn't receive any respect or even a lot of respect. The question is: does he receive the kind of respect his achievements merit?

I'm not so sure he does, from me or many others. I have tremendous admiration for the heavyweight king, but part of me still feels like he isn't fully tested. Tested some? Yes. Tested quite a bit? Of course. Tested in all the kinds of ways Georges St-Pierre or Anderson Silva or even Ben Henderson have been? I can't say that he has.

Maybe Velasquez will lose in the same manner he did before. No one knows. What I do know, however, or what I am reasonably sure of is that win or lose, Velasquez has the skill set to test dos Santos in ways no previous opponents have or could. He has to take the fight deeper this time. He has to avoid many of the mistakes that cost him his title in their first meeting. Even if he does, he may not still win. But what's great about this bout isn't merely the stakes, but how the outcome may define who these fighters are for years to come if not the rest of their careers.

Can Velasquez reclaim his lost title or will dos Santos finally earn the respect some believe is missing by repeating against the former champion? I answer that question and more with predictions for Saturday's UFC 155.

What: UFC 155: Velasquez vs. dos Santos II

Where: The MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada

When: Saturday, the three-fight Facebook card starts at 6:30 p.m. ET, the four-fight FX card starts at 8 p.m. and the five-fight main card starts on pay-per-view at 10 p.m.

Cain Velasquez vs. Junior dos Santos

I'll openly state I think it's better for MMA if Velasquez wins. The greater his star power, the easier it will be to begin cracking open the Mexican market in a real way. I also believe it'll force Daniel Cormier down to 205 pounds. I further believe while the champion in dos Santos has excellent takedown defense, we haven't seen it tested over the course of several rounds by a competent takedown artist. Velasquez never tried the first time they fought. It's one thing to defend a shot or two. It's quite another to do so round over round as the type of takedown changes.

I'm siding with JDS, however, for one clear reason: Velasquez adapts to his opponents striking style over time, but has troubling getting out of the way early. Against a big puncher with quick hand speed, that's a bad combination. I don't suspect this fight will look like the first, but I cannot get away from the idea that Velasquez will have too much trouble early.

Pick: Dos Santos

Alan Belcher vs. Yushin Okami

I do not believe Belcher is going to get stuck behind the jab of Okami, as good as it is. Okami is also a talented grappler and position adjuster, but he's not going to catch Belcher there either. I always hate to break down fights in terms I can't quantify. When others do it it drives me crazy. But I do get the sense there's momentum behind a renewed Belcher while Okami is flagging. For Belcher, it's the second chance on a career that nearly got taken away. He's working with extreme vigor in the gym, which is paying technical dividends. Okami, while still dangerous and capable of beating most elite middleweights, seems a little gunshy and uninspired. Belcher takes this in the end with a pressure game.

Pick: Belcher

Jim Miller vs. Joe Lauzon

The major difference between these two...well, there isn't a whole lot. If I had to pinpoint better predictors of success, though, it'd be length of bout. Lauzon likes to get into a fight and win or lose, get out of it. Miller's ended fights early, too, but he's much harder to put away early. Miller plays the long game while Lauzon tries speed chess. Lauzon's ultra-dangerous and can catch almost anyone early, but my bet is Miller outlasts him to put the pressure on deep in the second or third round.

Pick: Miller

Constatinos Philippou vs. Tim Boetsch

This fight is ultra close. Philippou is the better pure boxer and probably the better athlete of the two, but Boetsch has underrated 'utilitarian' striking. That is, it doesn't look flashy nor is it necessarily going to rock opponents, but the constant pace of it over time slows opponents down and gives Boetsch a chance to set things up. Philippou also has very good takedown defense, especially over his last few fights. This is not the same fighter who was controlled by Nick Catone. But I don't think he's impossible to takedown either. Philippou will stop a Riki Fukuda shot from the outside, but from the clinch along the fence? Especially where Boetsch does excellent dirty boxing? This one could honestly go either way, but Boetsch will be the more physical and offensively-minded of the two. That should be enough to squeak past.

Pick: Boetsch

Chris Leben vs. Derek Brunson

I don't really know what to expect from Leben. At his best, this should be a relatively winnable fight for him. He's got good enough takedown defense and the ability to throw the lumber over the course of three rounds to make things happen for himself. Brunson is a very athletic, talented wrestler, but I don't know that's as willing to exchange where it matters to do the kind of damage necessary to win. And while I grant Brunson can get a few takedowns over the course of the bout, I don't see him getting enough to win a decision. Then again, is Leben really himself these days? I guess we'll find out.

Pick: Leben

Brad Pickett vs. Eddie Wineland

This is an extremely close fight where both fighters are quick, courageous and technical strikers as well as adept wrestlers and grapplers. This one feels like whoever loses the quick draw challenge loses it all. I'm going to side with Pickett, if that's the case. While the two are nearly equal in ability, Pickett is the more accurate striker of the two. But more importantly, he mixes up his game more adeptly. Wineland is going to be hard to takedown, but just forcing him to react can be enough to score points and land strikes in transition. Pickett gets hit a bit much for my comfort, but I'm not convinced Wineland's going to be the guy to put him away.

Pick: Pickett*

*This bout is actually airing on FX. Consider it a free, extra prediction.

Source: MMA Fighting

12/23/12

UFC Supports Push to Legalize Cage Fighting in Melbourne; Wants Stadium Event There
by Andrew Potter

The UFC has welcomed a proposal from the Victorian Labor Party surrounding the laws about cagefighting in the Australian state.

Mixed Martial Arts in a cage has been banned in Victoria for years with promoters facing a $12,000 fine or 12 months in jail if the law is broken, but Victoria’s opposition Labor Party has said it wants to overturn the ban in a bid to make combat sports safer.

The UFC welcomes the opportunity to work with the Victorian Government on any review of their MMA regulations and have also called on the Minister for Sport and Recreation, The Honorable Hugh Delahunty to support the Labor Party’s reforms.

“MMA events are presently only allowed to be conducted in Victoria in boxing rings, which were never designed for MMA competitions,” said Michael Mersch, the UFC’s Senior Vice-President of Business and Legal Affairs.

“The safety of our athletes is our priority and the Octagon is designed to provide the safest environment for MMA competitions. We now hope that the Victorian Government agrees to review and lift the current ban on the Octagon, which will allow the UFC to stage events in Melbourne.”

Providing the ban is overturned, the UFC will look to hold an event in Melbourne, hinting they would like to bring a title fight to the land down under.

“We could close the roof at Etihad and get 60,000 in there for a pay-per-view,” the UFC’s Marshall Zelaznik said. ”It won’t be next year, but 2014 is likely. That’s the way to get a pay-per-view in Australia.”

“The UFC wants to be a regular part of Melbourne’s sporting calendar,” added Tom Wright, the UFC Director of Operations for Australia and Canada. “If the Victorian Government were to approve the use of the Octagon, we would immediately begin the process of planning for an event at Etihad Stadium and bringing a UFC Fan Expo to Victoria, both of which would generate in excess of $38 million in economic activity for Victoria, while strengthening Melbourne’s reputation as Australia’s sporting capital.”

Past events in Australia have packed out Allphones Arena in Sydney with 15,000 fans in attendance, and the TUF Smashes Finale at UFC on FX 6 last weekend drawing a sell-out crowd of 5,133 fans at a much smaller venue on the Gold Coast.

Source: MMA Weekly

MMA’s Mount Rushmore
The First Superstar
By Todd Martin

Mount Rushmore carries a unique aura of majesty, with the faces of some of America’s greatest political leaders. However, the landmark was originally planned as a more down-to-earth tribute to the Wild West’s most famous figures, and that sort of tradition is more in line with the rough-and-tumble world of mixed martial arts. The question then becomes, who would most deserve to be immortalized on MMA’s Mount Rushmore?

Selecting just four faces for MMA’s Mount Rushmore was not an easy task. There are so many fighters that have distinguished themselves in different ways, and key figures have to be omitted. With that said, this is my best effort to choose a fitting Mount Rushmore for MMA.

Consideration for the spots included a number of criteria. First and foremost is fighting accolades. Championships, key wins, quality of opposition and longevity are all important. Innate ability is also paramount. Second is influence. Fighters that altered the course of the sport in one way or another rank ahead of fighters who achieved excellence without affecting the bigger picture. Third is stature. The most popular and top drawing fighters deserve extra credit for that lofty status.

With those criteria in mind, here are the selections for MMA’s Mount Rushmore:

Royce Gracie
Nationality: Brazilian
Discipline: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Years Active: 1993-2007
Record: 14-2-3

Arguably the easiest selection, Gracie was the fighter who put the Ultimate Fighting Championship on the map and taught a generation of fans what a real fight looks like.

For decades, sports fans debated which athletes were the toughest and which martial arts were the most effective. Boxers largely were perceived as the best of the bunch, while the ground game remained a mystery to the general public. That changed at UFC 1 when Gracie used Brazilian jiu-jitsu rather than closed punches to conquer bigger, stronger men.

While Royce was not considered the best fighter of the Gracie family -- that honor at the time went to brother Rickson -- his selection as the Gracie representative for the first UFC tournament made him the family standard bearer to the average fan. His tournament wins at UFC 1, UFC 2 and UFC 4, particularly a dramatic submission of Dan Severn at the close of UFC 4, cemented his status as the biggest star and most intriguing figure in the early UFC.

The Gracies for decades were devoted to the preservation of the family mystique. Royce was no different in this regard, and he carefully protected himself after other fighters started to learn submission defense. He did not duck formidable competition altogether, but he did begin to insist on certain rules and lofty paychecks to return to action. This resulted in making his rare fights feel more important.

In the early 2000s, the focus of the MMA world shifted from America to Japan and Pride Fighting Championships. Perhaps no fighter was more symbolic of this shift than Royce. His legendary fight with Kazushi Sakuraba was probably the most important bout in Pride history, ushering in six years of strong business success.

By 2006, the balance of power in MMA had shifted again. The UFC was thriving on pay-per-view, and Gracie followed the wind once more. A fighter at the center of the early UFC’s success and the heart of Pride’s boom thrust himself into the middle of the UFC’s pay-per-view explosion of 2006.

At the time, Matt Hughes was one of the UFC’s most successful fighters, but he was not a drawing card. A catchweight bout with Gracie was a perfect opportunity to turn Hughes into a star. Hughes-Gracie at UFC 60 drew what was at the time the biggest buy rate in Ultimate Fighting Championship history, and Hughes went on to draw well in future fights with B.J. Penn and Georges St. Pierre.

Upon returning to the UFC, Gracie proclaimed, “I built this house.” He could have been referring to MMA in general. The sport has of course evolved well past the point where a fighter can dominate with one discipline, but it never would have gotten there without Gracie.

Kazushi Sakuraba
Nationality: Japanese
Discipline: Catch Wrestling
Years Active: 1996-2011
Record: 26-16-1

In order for Pride to evolve into the second most successful organization in MMA history, the company needed to create a native drawing card. Nobuhiko Takada was the closest thing the promotion had to a money player in the early days, but he was not a real fighter. Pride could only coast for so long rotating between worked Takada wins and real Takada losses.

It was from within that setting that one of MMA’s unlikeliest superstars rose. Sakuraba was a preliminary professional wrestler with little fan appeal who had trained in Takada’s dojo. The thing Sakuraba had going for him was that he could fight. A gifted submission grappler, Sakuraba spent the early days of Pride submitting highly talented competition from around the world.

While Sakuraba was building a reputation as an excellent fighter, he still needed to do something to catch on with a wider audience. That happened when he entered into a rivalry with the Gracies in 1999 and 2000. Rickson Gracie had humiliated Takada and Sakuraba stepped in to avenge his mentor and the professional wrestling fans who had thought him a credible fighter since his days as the top star in the Union of Wrestling Forces International.

In a little more than a year, Sakuraba defeated four different Gracies. The crowning jewel of the series was the 90-minute epic match in which he handed Royce his first career loss. It catapulted Sakuraba into a status as Pride’s top star and celebrated national figure. Sakuraba’s popularity came not only from his in ring ability but his playful, experimental brand of entertainment-oriented fighting.

Unfortunately for Sakuraba, he was willing to take on all comers. As a result, he spent the next 12 years taking on elite fighters, many of whom outweighed him by dozens and dozens of pounds. Even in defeat, Sakuraba was taking MMA to new popularity levels. His main event against Wanderlei Silva at Pride 17 drew more than 50,000 fans to the Tokyo Dome, setting an MMA attendance record. Less than a year later, his headliner against Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic drew more than 90,000 to Tokyo National Stadium, establishing a new mark.

The toll of a series of tough fights combined with little time to recuperate eventually resulted in Sakuraba’s deterioration and left us with a fighter who could barely move. Like a shot boxer of another era, Sakuraba’s late career was downright sad. He was trotted out for fight after fight well past the point he should have still been competing, and he struggled against opponents he could have tapped in minutes just a few years earlier.

Some fans who did not see Sakuraba in his prime may doubt his greatness, but those of us who saw him at his best can attest to it. At his peak, Sakuraba was something special as a fighter and as an architect of MMA’s growth. MMA would look a lot different if it were not for “The Gracie Hunter.” Meanwhile, we are left to wonder how different Sakuraba would look today if not for the handlers who exploited him so shamelessly.

Fedor Emelianenko
Nationality: Russian
Discipline: Sambo
Years Active: 2000-12
Record: 34-4

In the early days of MMA, most fighters knew just one discipline. Over time, those fighters learned other disciplines so they could better utilize their own. Then, you had fighters who were good at two disciplines. The key to Emelianenko’s long reign as MMA’s top heavyweight was that he was good at everything. The sport had fully evolved.

Against strikers, Emelianenko could use his sambo to take the fight to the ground. Against submission artists, he could use his striking to win. If a wrestler managed to get him to the ground, he used his submissions. There was no comfortable path to victory, and that led to a long, historic period of success.

Emelianenko entered Pride already a highly respected competitor in Rings. Dominant wins over Heath Herring and Semmy Schilt further established his ability. He only had one loss -- a controversial cut stoppage many viewed as illegitimate -- but when he entered his fight with Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at Pride 25, he was still counted out by most. Emelianenko was good but Nogueira was thought to be on another level, as “Minotauro” found a way to submit one elite heavyweight after another. To this day, Emelianenko and Nogueira are still generally accepted as the two greatest heavyweight fighters of all-time.

The Nogueira riddle was finally solved in March 2003. It was not a close decision, and it would not be avenged. Emelianenko simply beat up Nogueira for 20 minutes while avoiding the Brazilian’s much feared submission ability. It took a diverse skill set to get by a fighter as multifaceted and talented as Nogueira.

In the coming years, Emelianenko would ride his reputation forged in the Nogueira fight and the subsequent rematches. A win over Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic and former UFC champions Andrei Arlovski and Tim Sylvia would further build his aura. “The Last Emperor” did not lose for more than eight years, posting wins over his top contenders for best MMA heavyweight.

Over time, however, detractors began to emerge. During his time in Pride, the promotion was widely considered to have the best heavyweight MMA fighters. Thus, there was little questioning Emelianenko’s status as the best. Following the demise of Pride, MMA’s heavyweight talent began to spread out even further. More talent was present in the Ultimate Fighting Championship than anywhere else, and fans called for Emelianenko to join the UFC and compete against the best.

The UFC made him lucrative offers, and many questioned whether or not the Russian was ducking top competition. Emelianenko then finally lost to Fabricio Werdum under the Strikeforce banner, diving overzealously into the two-time Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championships gold medalist’s guard. He lost his next two fights, as well, and his tenure as MMA’s best was clearly over.

While fans will be left to lament the fact that Emelianenko never fought in the UFC, he attained a level of sustained, long-term dominance that few have ever matched. During that time, he helped to usher in the modern era of fully fledged MMA. It is a legacy in which the humble Russian can take pride.

Anderson Silva
Nationality: Brazilian
Discipline: Muay Thai / Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Years Active: 1997-Current
Record: 33-4

If your buddy tells you he knew how good Silva was going to be when he signed with UFC, feel free to call him a liar. Silva’s unprecedented run of Octagon success has led to a feeling of almost invincibility and a healthy dose of myth making. When he joined UFC, there were still questions about how well he would perform, “The Spider” had struggled with his wrestling and submission defense in previous fights. Against Chris Leben in his first UFC appearance, Silva was only a moderate favorite among oddsmakers.

Any doubts about Silva’s ability to thrive in the UFC were short-lived. What followed was the most remarkable run in MMA history -- more than six years undefeated as UFC middleweight champion. He beat strikers, wrestlers and submission specialists with ease, all while nearly doubling the record for successful UFC title defenses.

Silva has been so dominant that he forces us to disregard the basic laws of MMA. Success is fleeting, even among the very best. Titles change frequently, with the most successful runs generally topping out at four or five defenses. With so many ways to win, there is always a new dangerous challenger with the potential to knock off a champion. Silva manages to be immune to all of it, dismissing one elite fighter after another.

Silva’s brutal destructions of Rich Franklin left “Ace” searching for direction the rest of his career, blocked from the title within the weight class he had enjoyed his most success. Dan Henderson threatened him but failed. Forrest Griffin did nothing against him. Chael Sonnen had his mouth shut twice. Vitor Belfort was dropped by a kick out of the movies.

What distinguished Silva even more than his victories was the way he secured them. Silva tried out different techniques, showing a fluidity of motion and creativity while winning every time out. The Brazilian went back to the original concept of a martial artist in his fights. There is genuine artistry in his technique. Silva’s dominance reached a point that the UFC promoted his last bout with comedy commercials about how there was no sensible approach to fighting him.

Of course, Silva will eventually fall. Every fighter does, as age catches up to him and a new generation rises; or so one would think. The way Silva’s career has gone, if there is anyone who can perpetually defy all logic and common sense, it will be him. Either way, his place in history is secure.

Worthy Alternatives

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira: Arguably no competitor in MMA history has fought with the same heart and courage as “Minotauro” Nogueira. Come-from-behind wins against the likes of Mirko Filipovic, Bob Sapp and Tim Sylvia were among his most memorable moments. Few fighters command as much affection and respect among his peers as the legendary Brazilian.

Bas Rutten: Undefeated in the final 22 bouts of his career, “El Guapo” found a successful formula mixing kickboxing with an evolved ground game. Unfortunately, his body broke down before he could compete on the biggest of stages. Still, the Dutch-American remains one of the sport’s greatest ambassadors with a magnetic charisma and charming wit.

Chuck Liddell: A Mohawk might seem strange carved into a mountain, but Liddell deserves credit as one of the sport’s elite fighters and most important figures. Liddell’s peak as a fighter coincided perfectly with the UFC’s rise as a promotion. Fans learned what MMA was at a time when “The Iceman” was knocking out opponents left and right.

Dan Henderson: Over the course of a remarkable 15-year career, Henderson has fought arguably the most impressive lineup of opponents in MMA history. With a rugged style and willingness to battle anyone, Henderson has demonstrated an innate toughness few can match.

Frank Shamrock: Undefeated in the UFC, Shamrock reached his peak as a fighter at a point when there was limited money in the sport. While that naturally leads to many “what ifs,” Shamrock’s UFC, WEC and Strikeforce title wins are impressive enough on their own. Shamrock also was the key player in turning San Jose, Calif., into one of MMA’s hottest and most unlikely hotbeds.

Georges St. Pierre: The youngest fighter in consideration, GSP, at the age of 31, has already built one of the most impressive legacies in the history of the sport. In the cage, he has wins over just about every top fighter in his weight class. Outside the cage, he is one of the sport’s most popular stars and a national icon in Canada.

Ken Shamrock: Discredited by many because of his less-than-stellar 5-10 record since returning from the World Wrestling Federation, Shamrock’s MMA legacy ought to remain strong. From his role as one of the pioneers in Pancrase and his early UFC rivalry with Royce Gracie to his sport-elevating feud with Tito Ortiz, Shamrock has been one of the biggest box office attractions and historical influences in the sport..

Matt Hughes: Prior to the UFC ascent of Anderson Silva, Hughes was the most dominant champion in the history of the promotion. The Illinois farm boy dominated the UFC welterweight division for five years with his top-notch wrestling. His dominant victory over Royce Gracie exemplified the evolution of the sport from the early UFC days.

Mark Coleman: Coleman’s place in MMA is as much about his influence as his competitive success. More than any other fighter, “The Hammer” was responsible for the popularization of ground-and-pound as an effective mat counterbalance to jiu-jitsu. Coleman also scored key wins over the likes of Igor Vovchanchyn, Don Frye and Dan Severn.

Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic: Just like Coleman was instrumental in demonstrating the effectiveness of ground-and-pound, “Cro Cop” was key in showing that high-level striking coupled with strong takedown defense could work at the highest level of MMA. Filipovic’s Pride open weight grand prix victory in 2006 was likely the crowning achievement of his career.

Randy Couture: One of the closest to making the final four, Couture is one of the greatest icons in MMA. Defying the odds time in and time out, he maintained a competitive edge well into his 40s. One of only two men to win UFC championships in two different weight classes, Couture also helped to take the sport to another level by coaching opposite Liddell on the first season of “The Ultimate Fighter.”

Tito Ortiz: When Zuffa purchased the UFC in 2001, the company envisioned Ortiz as the top star it would market to the public. That effort paid off handsomely, as Ortiz’s fights with Ken Shamrock and Liddell were box office extravaganzas. Ortiz’s peak as a fighter may have come earlier, during his time as UFC light heavyweight champion from 2001-03.

Wanderlei Silva: Few fighters in MMA history have inspired as much fear as “The Axe Murderer” at his peak. With his menacing stare downs and his aggressive attacking style, Silva dominated the Pride middleweight division for years. His rivalries with Quinton Jackson and Kazushi Sakuraba were among Pride’s most memorable. Source: Sherdog

Source: Sherdog

Consumer Affairs hiring new athletic inspectors for CSAC
By Zach Arnold

While DCA is hiring new athletic inspectors, Executive Officer Andy Foster will be holding a training session for inspectors at Big John McCarthy’s gym in Valencia, California (25385 Rye Canyon Road Valencia, CA 91355) this Sunday. Information here (PDF).

Posted online yesterday (printer friendly version here):

CONSUMER AFFAIRS, ATHLETIC COMMISSION

Title: ATHLETIC INSPECTOR
Salary: $20.66 – $22.97
Posted: 12/11/12
Job Description:
PENDING OHR APPROVAL

Under the direction of the Lead Athletic Inspector, Assistant Chief Athletic Inspector, and /or the Chief Athletic Inspector, California State Athletic Commission (Commission) Athletic Inspectors (Athletic Inspector) are responsible for the immediate supervision of Commission regulated combat sporting events; wherein they ensure the health and safety of the competitors and compliance with the laws and rules related to regulated combat sporting events. Duties include, but are not limited to:

Weigh In

Collect all outstanding medical or other documentation required for licensure
Assist with documenting, weighing and verifying the weight of each competitor meets contract and legal requirements
Collect payment and issue receipts/licenses for those at the weigh in
Assist event supervisor with paperwork associated with event

Event

Supervises the dressing room so that only those affiliated with the competitor are present and nothing is brought into the dressing room that is now allowed. Ensure competitor has the required equipment. Ensure corner people are licensed.

Escorts competitor to the ring, in and out of the ring; remains ringside during the bout to perform the following: 1) Listen to referee’s instructions; observe the competitor and the care of the competitor; communicate information as needed to the referee, ringside physician or Lead Inspector. 2) Observe the conduct and actions of the corner people and take appropriate action. 3) Assist the ringside physician and the paramedics, if necessary. 4) Keep unauthorized personnel out of the ring or cage. 5) Escort competitor back to dressing room at the end of the fight.

Observe and sign-off on hand wraps ensuring compliance with applicable laws and rules. Verify gloves are the correct weight and type for the bout.

Facilitate the collection of urine samples from the competitors for drug testing (direct observation).

Distribute the fight purse to the competitors and any other checks written by the promoter and obtain each competitor’s signature on pay-off sheet. Provide athlete with suspension form and insurance claim form, as necessary.

Assist in the reconciliation of Box Office receipts, tickets, etc. to determine the percentage to be given to Commission for gate taxes, neurological and pension funds.

Assist with last minute licensing and document collections.

Issue suspension(s) and/or fines, as necessary for rule violations.

Perform cage/ring inspections.

This is a temporary position until the examination is administered later in 2013. Once the exam is administered, candidates passing the exam may be appointed to a permanent intermittent position. Candidates are paid at an hourly rate and as needed for special events.

Events are held throughout the State of California.

WHO MAY APPLY: Candidates who meet the minimum qualifications listed below may apply.

Either:

1) Paid employment in boxing, kickboxing, or full-contact martial arts sports in several matches or exhibitions as an official, participant, manager, club owner, matchmaker, trainer, box-office employee or as a news media reporter reporting boxing, kickboxing, or full-contact martial arts matches.

OR

2. Two years of experience and involvement in the fields of boxing, kickboxing, or full-contact martial arts or experience and involvement in the collection of State revenue assessment and of State taxes.

HOW TO APPLY: All interested applicants must submit a standard State Application Form STD 678 (with original signature). Please make sure to include specific details about your work experience. You may include a resume to provide more details. Please indicate position #617-110-8846-907 in the Examinations or Job Title box.

SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS:

100% of the time is spent attending Athletic Commission-regulated events. Events are typically indoors (although some are outdoors) and will require sitting, standing, walking, walking up stairs, climbing in and out of boxing rings and cages and light lifting (less than 25 pounds). Inspectors are assigned sporadically to events as close to their residence as possible; however, at times, the number of events held on one date may require travel outside of the inspector’s immediate area.

Office of Human Resources
1625 N Market Blvd Ste N-321
Sacramento, 95834

Sheila Braverman
916-574-8389

Source: Fight Opinion

After video of knee injury surfaces, Cain Velasquez admits fighting dos Santos wasn't 'best decision'
By Mike Chiappetta
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

On Tuesday, a video by veteran MMA filmmaker Bobby Razak hit Youtube, which purportedly showed Cain Velasquez tearing his ACL just days before his November 2011 title match against Junior dos Santos. The injury was no secret -- its possibility was discussed on the night of the bout -- but the severity was.

We also found out then that dos Santos had a similar tale to tell. He, too, had injured his knee just days beforehand, tearing his meniscus less than two weeks before fight night.

But since Velasquez lost -- in 64 seconds no less -- he's the one who has had to live with the regret. If there is any.

"I don't think it was the best decision, but you know, I did it anyway, so it’s in the past," he said on Wednesday.

Velasquez has always been a man of few words, and that was true as ever on the UFC 155 conference call, where he only briefly touched on the ramifications of that choice and just how injured he was. Those words were as close as he's come to voicing any negativity about following through on the fight while hurt.

To his credit, he noted that it's a decision that is routinely made by fighters, including those at the highest level. And in that way, he refused to use it as an excuse.

"Junior was hurt, and I was hurt as well, so we’re just guys who get in there and fight," he said.

And that was mostly it. No explanations of what he could have done if 100 percent healthy, no complaining about losing his belt on one good leg, no promises about what he could do now. Just a man owning his decision.

No one expects the quick bout to be repeated this time around, including dos Santos, who said he is anticipating the aggressive, high-paced style of Velasquez at his best. Something like his recent mauling of Antonio Silva.

"Cain Velasquez is an excellent wrestler," he said. "His game is like that. He’ll put pressure on his opponents all the time. I think that’s what he'll try to do with me. Put pressure, use his ground and pound, try to take me down. That’s what I think he’s going to do. I have to be careful with that, using my takedown defense, my boxing skills, everything I’m training. I’m very confident I’m going to win this. It doesn’t matter what happens, I think I’m going to knock him out again."

The odds have dos Santos as a slight favorite to win and repeat his victorious outcome, but after their UFC on FOX 1 fight was affected by injuries, both men are quick to say one part of the fight will be different this time around.

"I'm 100 percent," dos Santos said.

"I'm ready to fight. No injuries," Velasquez said.

Where have we heard that before?

Source: MMA Fighting

Dream.18 NYE Fight Card Rumors

Dream.18 – Special NYE 2012
Date: December 31, 2012
Venue: Saitama Super Arena
Location: Saitama, Japan

MMA Bouts:
-Tatsuya Kawajiri vs. Michihiro Omigawa
-Hiroyuki Takaya vs. Georgi Karakhanyan
-Hayato Sakurai vs. Phil Baroni
-Satoru Kitaoka vs. Will Brooks
-Shinya Aoki vs. Antonio McKee
-Bibiano Fernandes vs. Yoshiro Maeda
-Melvin Manhoef vs. Denis Kang

GLORY Grand Slam Tournament:
-Semmy Schilt vs. Brice Guidon
-Sergei Kharitonov vs. Rico Verhoeven
-Gokhan Saki vs. Raomoru
-Anderson “Braddock” Silva vs. Igor Jurkovic
-Remy Bonjasky vs. Filip Verlinden
-Errol Zimmerman vs. Jamal Ben Saddick
-Peter Aerts vs. Mourad Bouzidi
-Daniel Ghita vs. Jhonata Diniz

GLORY Superfights:
-Makoto Ebata vs. Sang-Jae Kim
-Matsumoto Toshio vs. Jason Wilnis
-Yuichiro Nagashima vs. Robin van Rosumaren
-Jerome LeBanner vs. Koichi

Source: MMA Weekly

California’s fraudulent audit claiming CSAC misappropriation of $120k
By Zach Arnold

The state Athletic Commission overpaid 18 athletic inspectors nearly $119,000 over two years. They were inappropriately paid overtime rates rather than straight-time rates.

That’s the headline coming out of tonight’s report from California’s Bureau of State Audits. The inspectors in question were not named specifically, but you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out who the inspectors in question are. How can I say this with such confidence?

Just look at the list of inspector salaries we compiled. When we released that salary list, it spooked everyone in Sacramento.

KCRA, the NBC affiliate in Sacramento, led their 6 PM newscast with the story about the BSA report and CSAC.

Nearly $119,000 in improper overtime paid to inspectors from the California State Athletic Commission

Those overpayments to 18 different inspectors included amounts ranging from $666 to $25,257. KCRA 3 asked state officials how they could miss such massive overpayments.

“The understanding that we had was because these individuals are state employees, that we required to pay them premium time, which is time and a half,” said Russ Heimerich, a spokesman with the California Department of Consumer Affairs, which oversees the State Athletic Commission.

Heimerich said his department asked the auditor to look into the suspicious payments. He told KCRA 3 the inspectors are now required to reimburse the state for the overpayments.

So, reading this summary, you would think that the audit was proper and that the conclusions raised from it actually have merit. As the case with all California politics, you would be wrong in assuming that the opinions & conclusions raised by the audit are accurate and with merit. They’re not.

We’re about to explain to you why the legal opinions stated in the BSA report on CSAC fraud charges are… fraudulent.

The BSA report, which can be read here in PDF form, covers the time period of April 2011 to June 2012. From page 17 of the report:

Twenty-four of the athletic inspectors the commission employed also held full-time positions with the State either at the commission or at other state agencies.

Although the commission paid these athletic inspectors overtime because of advice it obtained from the Department of Personnel Administration (Personnel Administration), Personnel Administration based its advice on inaccurate information provided by Consumer Affairs.

In addition, we found that the commission’s hiring process often led it to hire athletic inspectors who had other full-time state jobs. As a result, the State’s costs increased because the commission paid $29,051 more in overtime than it would have if it hired individuals not employed full-time by the State.

Let’s put this into perspective here. You have 24 athletic inspectors who are full-time state employees. The audit report claims that 18 of them were over-paid time-and-a-half (overtime) as state intermittent employees during their work as AIs.

The 18 intermittent athletic inspectors are full-time employees at the commission and other state agencies. These individuals voluntarily applied for the intermittent athletic inspector position: Their other full-time positions with the State did not require them to apply to be athletic inspectors.

OK, so notice that they are going only after inspectors who are full-time state employees as opposed to going after AIs like non-full-time state employee Sid Segovia, who claimed over $40,000 for salary last year. Got it. The fact that the focus is strictly on full-time state employees is a red flag here.

The reason Sacramento is so paranoid about full-time state employees working as athletic inspectors is because state law explicitly states that these inspectors should be paid time-and-a-half as intermittent state employees. The Department of Consumer Affairs and the Bureau of State Audits has no way to refute this legally in a courtroom on the merits. However, this has not stopped DCA & now the Bureau of State Audits from intentionally muddying the waters with garbage legal opinions about what full-time state employees who work as athletic inspectors should be getting paid.

On October 4th, we wrote an extensive article about Sacramento’s new scam called Legal policy changes at the California State Athletic Commission ignite an internal uproar. Read the article if you haven’t already done so. In the article, we destroyed the phony legal opinion that DCA is now relying on to not pay full-time state employees (working as athletic inspectors) time-and-a-half.

In short - DCA has been paying full-time state employees time-and-a-half because it’s the law. They managed to weasel a faulty legal opinion from a state agency claiming that the 1938 FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act) is the ceiling, not the floor as to what salary rights a full-time state employee has as an athletic inspector. The phony legal opinion claims that since working as an athletic inspector is voluntary and/or sporadic work, the AIs shouldn’t get paid time-and-a-half. What the fraudulent legal opinion never stated was actual California law code or case law to back up their assertions. Why? The FLSA rules & regulations are a FLOOR and not a CEILING when it comes to state labor law. If California state law on the books offers better pay & benefits for state employees, then state law takes precedent over FLSA rules & regulations. Even legal opinions from various state agencies in California reviewing FLSA and its application to California business practices back up this assertion by citing… case law.

Why does this matter? Because today’s Bureau of State Audit report pushes the notion that the October legal opinion about not paying full-time state employees (who work as athletic inspectors) is one that must be followed by the California State Athletic Commission. Newsflash to BSA & DCA: your phony legal opinion that you’re basing your actions on would not hold up in a court of law, period. You’re violating state labor laws here.

The fact that such powerful Sacramento agencies are basing their audits on fraudulent legal opinions absolutely shreds their credibility here.

In an attempt to justify the charges of fraud by 18 athletic inspectors, BSA’s audit report shows us the blame game.

In 2010 Consumer Affairs requested an opinion from Personnel Administration about whether the commission was required to pay overtime to athletic inspectors it employed on an intermittent basis who were also full-time state employees. Personnel Administration advised Consumer Affairs in March 2010 that the commission should pay overtime to these athletic inspectors. However, Personnel Administration based its advice in part on inaccurate information that Consumer Affairs provided to it. Specifically, Consumer Affairs stated that athletic inspectors regularly worked at two to four events each month. As discussed previously, the athletic inspector time sheets we reviewed during a two-year period did not support this statement. When we interviewed the Personnel Administration attorney who advised Consumer Affairs, the attorney stated that she relied upon the facts provided by Consumer Affairs when she formed her advice and did not conduct any additional work to determine the accuracy of the information. Thus, Personnel Administration’s advice was based on inaccurate information and did not support the commission’s payment of overtime to the athletic inspectors.

The BSA report ends by claiming that none of the athletic inspectors working for CSAC should get paid overtime in the future. This assertion is without any legal merit whatsoever and is a recipe for legal disaster down the road. It’s completely dishonest hackery by state officials. They only care about the public relations aspect of what is happening at the commission as opposed to actually tackling the real problems that CSAC is facing. When Andy Foster took over as Executive Officer, I was very bearish on his ability to fully clean up the mess in Sacramento because of the behavior & actions of the politicians & bureaucrats in charge. This audit report by the BSA only strengthens my assertion even more.

Shameful. There’s so much to investigate with CSAC and instead Sacramento has decided to break state labor law in an attempt to cover their asses so that they don’t have to address the actual problems that the commission is facing right now.

One other point that should be made – the state’s investigators focused heavily on the inspector timesheets. Who is in charge of booking the athletic inspectors for events? Che Guevara. Who is responsible for the timesheets? Che Guevara. The BSA is claiming that 18 athletic inspectors were fraudulently paid overtime. If you are making claims of this nature, then you better terminate Che Guevara immediately. If you don’t fire him, then you’re backing up his actions as the chief athletic inspector for CSAC. You can’t have it both ways, Sacramento.

Source: Fight Opinion

Max Holloway agrees to replace Cody McKenzie against Leonard Garcia at UFC 155
By Luke Thomas
Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE

The MMA injury bug rolls on unabated and this time claims a preliminary card bout for the final UFC show of 2012. UFC lightweight Cody McKenzie is out of his bout with Leonard Garcia at UFC 155. Max Holloway has agreed to replace McKenzie for the contest, the UFC announced on their website.

"With Cody McKenzie injured, Leonard Garcia gets a new opponent in Max Holloway," the statement read. "Verbal agreements are in for that bout as well." The nature of McKenzie's injury was not directly specified.

Holloway, 21, most recently fought at UFC 150 in August of this year, besting Justin Lawrence by TKO in the second round. He is 2-1 in the UFC and 6-1 in professional MMA.

Garcia, 33, is on a three-fight losing skid. He's dropped three consecutive fights to Chan Sung Jung, Nam Phan and most recently Matt Grice at UFC on FX 3 in June of 2012. He is 6-8-1 in UFC competition and 15-9-1 in professional MMA overall.

UFC 155 takes place on December 29th at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev., and is headlined by a heavyweight title fight between champion Junior dos Santos and challenger Cain Velasquez.

Source: MMA Fighting

UFC Welterweight Duane Ludwig Named New Head Coach of Team Alpha Male
By Mike Whitman

UFC welterweight Duane Ludwig has been named the new head coach of Team Alpha Male.

“It’s flattering to have the request and good timing, as I’ll be out for at least a year,” Ludwig recently told Sherdog.com. “With that said, chances lead toward me stepping away from the actual fighting and starting to train the next generation. To be given a team like Alpha Male is a coach’s dream. The work ethic of great wrestlers with a more Dutch style of kickboxing, such as mine, is going to be fun to watch. Everyone at Alpha Male is already a great and successful mixed martial artist, so this can only get better.”

Founded in 2004 by ex-World Extreme Cagefighting featherweight champ Urijah Faber, Team Alpha Male primarily trains out of Ultimate Fitness in Sacramento, Calif. In addition to “The California Kid,” the team also houses two more former UFC title challengers in Chad Mendes and Joseph Benavidez, as well as “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 14 runner-up T.J. Dillashaw.

“I'm really excited to have Duane Ludwig as the new addition to Team Alpha Male’s coaching staff. He will be stepping in as the head coach for the team full-time,” said Faber. “We have a ton of hungry up-and-comers, as well as a handful of some of the top fighters in the world. Duane makes a perfect fit with his expertise in standup and knowledge of everything MMA. In my opinion, the coaches of the future are going be competitors themselves. I’ve always been a fan of Duane’s fighting style. His personality fits our team, and he’s great at breaking down what he knows.”

A former ISKA muay Thai world champion, Ludwig also holds nearly 13 years of pro MMA experience to his credit. “Bang” made his Octagon debut in 2003 and returned to the UFC roughly three years ago following a run in Strikeforce. The 34-year-old has shifted between 155 and 170 pounds throughout his career, posting a 2-3 record since returning to welterweight in November 2010. The 35-fight pro lost his third straight bout on Sept. 29, when a knee injury ended his UFC on Fuel TV 5 contest with Che Mills just 2:28 into round one.

Source Sherdog

California’s battle over amateur MMA, drug testing, and inspectors
By Zach Arnold

I noticed that the one real media storyline for the upcoming Manny Pacquiao/Juan Manuel Marquez 4 fight this week is the battle of words over PED usage from the two camps. Keith Kizer didn’t do random drug testing of either fighter. Combine that with the steroid history of Marquez’s conditioning coach (Angel Heredia) and doping is now a talking point heading into Saturday night’s contest.

The fight is taking place in Las Vegas and the topic of steroids is… well, topical. On Friday at 9 AM, the Nevada State Athletic Commission will be holding a telephone conference call regarding their “Steroid and Drug Testing Advisory Panel. The meeting room will be on the Third Floor of the Grant Sawyer State Office Building (Suit 3018), 555 East Washington Avenue. Unfortunately, the commission isn’t releasing a conference call # for the public to call and listen, which is probably more of a feature for Keith Kizer than a bug. If you’re a member of the media and interested in listening in, the commission’s number is 702-486-2575.

The 9 AM Friday time is ridiculous, but again that’s more of a feature than a bug when it comes to limiting the amount of people who show up for these meetings. The Department of Consumer Affairs is pulling the same stunt and has been having meetings at 9 AM. They held a meeting this past Monday in Los Angeles and there was no multimedia available online for the public. However, we did have some people on the ground who attended the meeting and there were several topics — including California’s ability to handle drug testing — that popped up for public consumption.

The massive document dump of meeting materials for the LA meeting should give you a clue about the direction of CSAC in 2013. On page 40 of the PDF, there’s this… curious… item about California’s drug testing procedures:

“While the success of this program is difficult to document, the Commission does identify dopers and deals with them through the fining and hearing process. This is done in cooperation with the office of the Attorney General. In comparison with many other jurisdictions, California is truly a model for drug testing and enforcement.”

After Andre Berto failed his VADA test in the Summer, Che Guevara & DCA let Berto fight Robert Guerrero a couple of weeks ago. Yep.

And then there’s this passage from CSAC’s document dump:

“Primarily testosterone is the main drug of choice for mixed martial arts athletes. Testosterone is a favorite not because of the physical look the hormone provides, but due to the increased recovery time between training sessions leading up to the fight. We are looking to make improvements by adopting ABC recommendations and also by reviewing world anti-doping agency standards.”

Anyone who has followed the way California has handled the issue of drug testings knows just how embarrassing Sacramento’s behavior has been. Nevada, ground zero in giving out hall passes for testosterone, is even worse. Keith Kizer has done more to ramp up the acceptance of testosterone usage in MMA than anyone else. Of course, the UFC’s two-faced anti-marijuana metabolite, pro-testosterone policies have contributed greatly to the matter. When you give fighters six month suspensions for marijuana but grant exemptions for testosterone, your priorities are completely backwards.

Karen Chappelle, the execrable fool from the state’s AG office in Los Angeles, should not be working drug testing cases in California. However, she’s been allowed to congregate with another fool, Che Guevara, whenever there are disciplinary matters in front of the commission. Chappelle and Guevara have damaged the credibility of California’s commission when it comes to drug testing and disciplinary matters. Until these two clowns are removed from the process, there is no way in hell that California can look at the public with a straight face and say that they know what they are doing with managing drug testing protocols correctly.

Regarding California’s official position on testosterone usage in MMA, it is accurate to say that healing from an injury is a reason for T’s usage. However, T is used just as much to increase strength and gain KO power as it is for the purposes of healing from injury.

The impact of qualified vs. incompetent inspectors on enforcement of drug testing protocols

In order for California to have people on the ground who know what the hell they are doing with drug testing, you have to actually book competent inspectors for the shows you are regulating. Unfortunately, there are too many incompetent inspectors on the ground who are regulating shows while more talented individuals are on the sidelines due to politics and money. For example, using three or four inspectors for a show just isn’t good enough given the lack of depth in quality inspectors. If we’re talking five or ten years ago, OK, I could see how you could run a show with a minimal crew if you had guys like Joe Borielli in charge. However, when you have individuals like Che Guevara and Anthony Olivas (he of Oxnard fame), you can see how things get screwed up in a hurry.

In Monday’s document dump, here’s where the Commission stands with inspectors:

“The Commission believes the ideal number of athletic inspectors assigned to an event is five to six. … Although we recognize that five to six athletic inspectors is ideal, we must live within our budgeted spending authority. As a result, we have been able to reduce the number of athletic inspectors assigned to an event from the ideal of five to six, to four per event.”

“Fiscal Controls are now established limiting the number of hours and travel to events. … The Commission is working with the Department of Consumer Affairs Human Resource office to develop a third class of inspector who will be paid on a per event basis.”

Let’s review all the non-binding, illegal policy decisions that DCA has pushed this year for inspectors.

Their first band-aid to try to fix their inspector problems was to try to get inspectors to sign coercive contracts of adhesion called Volunteer Service Agreements. That flopped, so the next trick from DCA was to get a state memo stating that they don’t have to pay for inspector’s travel costs based on Federal labor law. What the memo intentionally avoided was state labor law, which supersedes Federal labor law because Federal labor law is considered a floor and not a ceiling. You can read all about this right here. Based on this faulty legal opinion, DCA is now creating different classifications for inspectors so that they can stiff non-lead inspectors on pay for certain items while the leads (i.e. the ass-kissers, political favorites, cronies) continue getting paid. The next step, now, is to create yet another inspector classification, this time on a per-show basis. Only in California could you witness more layers being created upon layers of rules & regulations that already exist on the books.

The end result of all of this? Absolutely none of these moves would hold up in a court of law. In other words, one lawsuit from one inspector destroys the schemes in place to try to artificially & illegal curb inspector costs in California. DCA’s calculated opinion is that the few competent inspectors that currently exist are too chicken to file a lawsuit. Therefore, they can get away with their actions. So far, their calculation has proven to be right. None of the qualified inspectors wants to file the proper lawsuit. The result is that Che Guevara and his cronies are benefiting while those who should be taking a stand won’t do so. The new policies are driving away qualified inspectors, which means the level of quality for regulation will decrease. It means more mistakes will happen at shows. Like mistakes with drug testing.

There is word that new inspectors are being hired and that some of the old guard of inspectors are being pushed aside. If the inspectors getting pushed out in favor of less qualified inspectors decide to go the Dwayne Woodard route, DCA & CSAC will be facing some legal headaches from an age discrimination & retaliation lawsuit (or two).

On page 91 of the Monday document dump, there is a training manual by Che Guevara for the inspectors. Remember, Che got his job after he failed to see the illegal hand-wraps of Antonio Margarito. Instead of getting fired, he got promoted by the Department of Consumer Affairs, perjured himself (along with Karen Chappelle) at the disciplinary hearing, and got people who had nothing to do with his mistakes fired from their jobs. In the section called “Ethics, Ethics, and some more Ethics,” Guevara has these gems in the manual:

“Do not fraternize with licensees, including attending after parties or post-fight functions”

“Report the spreading of rumors or untrue information to Commission Staff immediately”

“If you see that something is against the rules, unfair, unsafe or unethical: NOTIFY SOMEONE!”

I guess Che missed the boat on the inspectors who drink at the wet bars after shows (Jordan Breen has witnessed this in the past). I guess Che’s a bit nervous about us. Che lecturing anyone about notification of illegal activity is priceless. He got his job based on not following this piece of advice. He’s also someone who won’t do a damn thing, outside of an occasional cease & desist letter, to stop illegal events from happening in the state. Anyone who thinks that this guy is some harmless stooge in over-his-head is clueless about what a dangerous, reckless force he has become in the deterioration of California fight sports regulation. There’s no other way to put it.

The battle over amateur MMA regulation in California

In addition to the battles over drug testing protocols & management of inspectors, new California State Athletic Commission Executive Officer Andy Foster is now engaged in a battle over the way amateur MMA regulation is changed in California. Currently, Jeremy Lappen & JT Steele regulate amateur MMA in the state through their CAMO delegation.

Andy Foster has a big role in regards to the development of MMA regulation for the Association of Boxing Commissions. He has their own opinions about how amateur MMA should be regulated in California. Throw in the fact that California promoters had a choice between CSAC or CAMO regulating amateur MMA fights and you have a political battle on your hands here.

Recently, the practice of CSAC itself regulating amateur MMA fights was halted. However, Andy Foster sent a letter to the usually-powerless members of the CSAC panel to change the protocols for amateur MMA regulation in the state. From page 170 of the Monday document dump:

“Dear Commissioners,

I have included the unified rules of amateur MMA on the agenda. I would encourage the Commission to consider directing me to being the process of adopting them as regulations. … The main rule difference between these rules and the commonly accepted amateur MMA rules is there is no punches to the head on the ground for the first three fights. Also, shin pads are worn. After three fights, if both fighters agree the rules move to an advanced division which allows punches to the head of a grounded fighter. While I have no medical evidence to provide that no punches to the head of a grounded fighter is a safer rule set, I would hope that common sense dictates that it would be.

Many young martial artists are entering competition earlier than in the past. These rules allow a safer transition to professional mixed martial arts than the current amateur rules used in California. I do think that this would be a change to the industry, and some may be resistant but the health and welfare of the contestants is the Commission’s primary concern. These are safe rules that will better protect our amateur mixed martial artists and I recommend that the Commission direct me to begin the process to adopt them as regulations.”

At Monday’s hearing, the proposed changes were tabled by the commission members. It was a temporary win for CAMO and a temporary set back for Andy Foster. You win some, you lose some battles. Expect things to heat up very quickly in 2013 in the California fight sports regulatory landscape.

To put things into perspective, Andy Foster is facing a situation where projected revenues for California over the next two years are $1.4 million & $1.6 million. There’s currently $208,000 in the bank account. Despite the fact that California is entirely broke, Governor Jerry Brown has budgeted $1.9 million dollars for each of the next two years. On paper, it looks relatively easy for Andy Foster to repair the commission’s finances and have a surplus.

Curiously, after DCA forced out George Dodd through resignation based on claims that DCA needed to get CSAC a loan, Monday’s document dump claims that the commission doesn’t have any outstanding loans to the state’s General Fund. This completely goes against all of the phony emergency meetings that DCA had in late June and July to approve of DCA’s money fixers in getting loans to the commission. Now the official position is that there aren’t any loans from the state’s General Fund.

Putting aside all of the financial & political issues facing CSAC, the biggest problem is that the pool of available event promoters in the state is shrinking. For Fiscal Year 2011-2012, there were only 61 licensed promoters (permanent & temporary). Unfortunately for California, this list includes the deadbeats from Oxnard (Raul Orozco & Armando Renteria). You can thank Che Guevara for licensing idiots like Orozco & Renteria. In a happy ending on the Oxnard situation, Andy Foster made sure that all the fighters who got screwed on that show got 100% of their money. He made sure that the bond was fully hit for the Oxnard deadbeats, which is something the wretched Kathi Burns & DCA legal didn’t want to do.

With a decreasing amount of promoters & shows in the state, Andy Foster’s job of recruiting new promoters & new shows is going to be a difficult task. The economy isn’t getting any better and marginal tax rates are going to increase because of the passage of Prop 30. The challenge is large. You can never say never, but Andy has his work cut out for him.

Source: Fight Opinion

Invicta FC 4 Fight Card Rumors

Invicta FC 4
Date: January 5, 2013
Venue: Memorial Hall
Location: Kansas City, Kansas

-Carla Esparza (8-2) vs. Claudia Gadelha (9-0)†
-Sayna Baszler (15-7) vs. Alexis Davis (12-5)
-Leslie Smith (4-2-1) vs. Raquel Pennington (3-2)
-Amanda Nunes (7-2) vs. Sarah D’Alelio (6-3)
-Ediane Gomes (9-2) vs. Hiroko Yamanaka (12-2)
-Joanne Calderwood (4-0) vs. Bec Hyatt (4-1)
-Stephanie Frausto (4-4) vs. Cassie Rodish (3-3)
-Tamikka Brents (1-0) vs. Amanda Bell (0-0)
-Liz McCarthy (1-0) vs. Jodie Esquibel (2-0)
-Emily Kagan (2-0) vs. Rose Namajunas (0-0)
-Tecia Torres (1-0) vs. Paige VanZant (2-0)
-Katalina Malungahu (2-1) vs. Veronica Rothenhausler (0-0)
-Laura Marcusse-Sanko (0-0) vs. Cassie Robb (0-0)

†Invicta Strawweight Championship

Source: MMA Weekly

12/22/12

Cain Velasquez: Getting the Win Back Against Junior dos Santos is Most Important
by Damon Martin

Cain Velasquez knew going into his first fight with Junior dos Santos in November 2011 that he wasn’t even near 100-percent ready.

The UFC heavyweight champion suffered a serious knee injury during his training camp, but rather than pull out of the fight and risk ruining the first ever UFC on Fox show, he pushed through and stepped into the Octagon that night.

Sixty-four seconds later his night was over, his title was gone, and Velasquez had no choice but to live with his decision to fight.

You’ll never hear the former champion talk much about the injury that hampered him, or how he didn’t stick to the strategy put forth by his coaches that night. Velasquez is more the type that looks ahead instead of making excuses for the past.

Still, it can’t be denied as he heads into his rematch with dos Santos at UFC 155, he’s a happy man to be healthy and ready to go.

“Just to be able to do stuff in the gym, to actually do your game plan, mentally that just gets you so much stronger. I feel a lot better going in, and that’s the best thing I could ask for right now,” Velasquez told MAWeekly Radio about the differences with this fight camp versus the last time he prepared to face dos Santos.

Throughout his athletic career, Velasquez hasn’t had to taste defeat often, but it’s definitely not a flavor he enjoys. He gained All-American honors as a wrestler at Arizona State, but didn’t capture an NCAA title.

That was the last time Velasquez lost anything up until his fight with dos Santos last year. So facing the man that handed him that defeat is of special importance to Velasquez, who is excited to regain the UFC heavyweight belt, but even more importantly he gets the chance to erase the memory of that last fight.

“Getting the win back,” Velasquez answered when asked what’s more important in this fight. “And just knowing that you beat the best guys out there to achieve the belt.”

There is an inherent pressure that comes along with this rematch, however. If Velasquez is unsuccessful in a second bid to beat dos Santos, he’ll likely never get a third try at it. He’ll also fall far, far away from a title shot because so long as dos Santos is champion, Velasquez won’t be the man to challenge him.

Velasquez is well aware of all the consequences that go along with a loss, so he rids his mind of it, and focuses only on the things that he can control.

“In those situations, I just think about what I’m going to do when I get out there,” said Velasqeuz. “How I’m going to do it. Plan A, plan B, think about every situation out there. Don’t think about the pressure, the pressure of things. Just when I go out there I need to do this, this and this and that’s it.”

There are no guarantees in this fight, and Velasquez knows it. Every fighter who says things like “this has been the best training camp of my life” can still lose the next day. So Velasquez isn’t making bold predictions.

He’s just getting ready the best he can and if he performs to the best of his ability, win, lose or draw, Velasquez knows he’ll have left it all in the cage.

“I could be my best, 100-percent and I could still not win the fight,” said Velasquez. “But me knowing that I did everything I could, and that when the bell rings I’m going to do that with a purpose.

“I’m going to punch with a purpose, look for different stuff in the stand up, if it goes to the ground do my best down there. Keep doing all that stuff.”

Source: MMA Weekly

Viewpoint: Contingency Plans
By Tristen Critchfield

If you are a mixed martial arts fan, you know the sinking feeling all too well, especially this year.

It happened again on Saturday at “The Ultimate Fighter 16” Finale, when rumors of a sick and nauseous Jamie Varner began to make their way from the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas to the social media pipeline. Leading up to this weekend’s twin bill of Ultimate Fighting Championship action, Varner’s matchup with Melvin Guillard was arguably the most anticipated bout of the promotion’s 48-hour MMA binge, along with the UFC on FX 6 pairing of Hector Lombard and Rousimar Palhares.

Withdrawals and cancellations have been the norm in 2012, but the slugfest between Varner and Guillard appeared to be safe. The fighters had made it through camp and weigh-ins. All that was left was to put on the gloves and step into the Octagon. Then, suddenly, reports surfaced that Varner, as UFC President Dana White so eloquently put it, was vomiting “like the Exorcist” backstage, leaving the Nevada Athletic Commission no choice but to cancel the fight.

Mishaps, ailments and maladies are not always so courteous as to announce their presence weeks and months before a scheduled event. Sometimes they prefer to give a few days -- or hours -- of notice instead. Just ask Tim Means, who took a spill in the sauna just one day before he was set to compete at UFC on Fox 5; or Sean Loeffler, who injured his ankle during warm-ups before he was to face Buddy Roberts at UFC on Fuel TV 1; or even Marcin Held, whose fight with Dave Jansen at Bellator 84 was nixed by Indiana’s gaming commission at the last minute because he was 20 years old.

No matter how hard a fighter, a promoter or an organization might try, there are just some things that cannot be accounted for, some things that will inevitably force everyone involved to call a disappointing, yet necessary, audible.

“No, he’ll never get the chance to fight me,” said Guillard when assessing the chances of a future meeting with Varner shortly after the cancellation of their bout was officially announced. “I thought what he did tonight was cowardly. I lost all respect for him. I have a level of respect for him as a person but not as a fighter.”.

Not so fast, Melvin. White had already made the call that the fight would be moved to UFC 155 on Dec. 29, which had an opening because Forrest Griffin withdrew from his co-main event clash against Phil Davis due to a knee injury. For a change, things worked out pretty well, and a fight people were excited to see will only be delayed for two weeks.

“That’s cool,” Guillard responded. “I just hope he doesn’t back out again. The UFC might want to line someone else up to fill in if he backs out again.”

In reality, cowardice had nothing to do with Varner’s sudden withdrawal. The former World Extreme Cagefighting champion had taken his two previous fights on short notice and against high-level competition in Edson Barboza and Joe Lauzon. Bowing out at the last minute was never part of the plan.

Still, Guillard does touch on one important point: in the current, injury-plagued UFC climate, it never hurts to have a backup plan. Obviously, it is unrealistic to expect a stable of alternates to be available at every event -- the big payoff of a grueling camp is actually getting a guaranteed fight at the end of it -- but it makes sense to at least attempt to have other options available when it comes to big-ticket fights.

Call it the lesson learned from UFC 151, an event that depended so heavily on its main event that it fell apart when Jon Jones elected not to face replacement opponent Chael Sonnen on just eight days’ notice. Nixed fights are inevitable in this day and age, but another canceled card would be disastrous, which is why you can now start to see contingency plans being adopted within the structure of future fight cards.

UFC 158 is already shaping up to be one the most anticipated and controversial happenings of 2013. The three bouts officially announced on Saturday -- Georges St. Pierre vs. Nick Diaz, Carlos Condit vs. Rory MacDonald and Johny Hendricks vs. Jake Ellenberger -- reflect the depth and talent of the promotion’s welterweight division, even if everyone does not agree with the matchups.

The debate regarding who should be paired with who will rage on until March 16 arrives, that much is certain. Some, like St. Pierre himself, believe GSP-Diaz is the biggest fight that can be made at 170 pounds right now. Others feel that Hendricks has been unfairly bypassed as the rightful No. 1 contender. Still others wonder how MacDonald gets to pick the site for his return bout with Condit after losing on home soil the first time. What most everyone can agree on is that it will be one tremendously talented grouping of welterweights, assuming everyone makes it to the Bell Centre in Montreal unscathed.

Even if initial plans fall apart, the card has been created to hope for the best while expecting the worst. It is no secret that Diaz is not the most reliable of characters, but if he falters along the way to Montreal, it should be less difficult than usual to find someone to take his place; and if someone else falls victim to injury along the way, the same rule applies. St. Pierre’s absence would be the most catastrophic, but would not Diaz-Hendricks make for a tasty alternative?

“[The division] is stacked. This is basically a little welterweight tournament with all the best welterweights in the world,” White told Sherdog.com after “The Ultimate Fighter 16” Finale.

It never hurts to have options.

Source: Sherdog

UFC Japan 2013 fight card: Wanderlei Silva vs. Brian Stann main event
By Zach Arnold

As reported by Gong Kakutougi magazine today:

Wanderlei Silva vs. Brian Stann
Stefan Struve vs. Mark Hunt
Diego Sanchez vs. Takanori Gomi
Siyar Bahadurzada vs. Dong Hyun-Kim
Brad Tavares vs. Riki Fukuda
Bryan Caraway vs. Takeya Mizugaki
Cristiano Marcello vs. Kazuki Tokudome
Alex Caceres vs. Kyung Ho Kang
Marcelo Guimaraes vs. Hyun Gyu Lim

Source: Fight Opinion

Pat Barry explains emotional post-fight speech after TUF 16 performance
By Luke Thomas
USA TODAY Sports

Pat Barry is never one to be coy. If he's feeling anything in the human spectrum of emotions, you're going to see it. Nowhere was that more on display than outpouring of grief, sadness, joy and anger following his stoppage win over Shane del Rosario Saturday at The Ultimate Fighter 16 Finale in Las Vegas.

Like many other Americans, Barry was in shock over the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut. So abhored and stunned by the entire event was Barry that in his post-fight comments next to UFC commentator Joe Rogan that Barry implored those in attendance and watching on TV to hug and spend more time with their children.

Barry wasn't feeling a wave of emotions in an intense moment of victory. The issue had been troubling him since it happened. In fact, he believed the UFC cancelling the entire finale fight card was the right call. And that was ok by him, because he was going to get on a plane to go back home.

"I remember I started getting messages from people," Barry told Ariel Helwani Monday on The MMA Hour. "Somebody tweeted 'the UFC should cancel the event in light of the incident.' When I read that I went, 'yeah, that would be cool.'

"Not that they should or shouldn't, " Barry continued, "but when I read that I was thinking 'That'd be a great idea because then it wouldn't be my fault because I am leaving right now. Hopefully they cancel because then that would make since as to why I'm in an airport right now flying home.' I wanted to just get home. I didn't want to be there."

The event was not canceled, and despite his reservations about competing, he pushed through onto fight night. As the world saw on Saturday evening, Barry prevailed and did so with authority. While Barry is quick to note the horror in Connecticut is an unspeakable tragedy, the scale of it all managed to distract him enough that he never got his typical pre-fight nerves. "It took my mind off the fight, so I didn't have the 'get an ulcer-anxiety-stress' towards the fight all day because I didn't have it on my mind," he said.

Despite being out of it for most of the weekend, Barry's on better legs now. He finally got home, which is where he wanted to be the moment he heard the news of what happened. And while his concern for what happened hasn't waned, he has at least had a small chance to reflect on the matters most immediate (if not most important) to his personal life: how he performed as a prize fighter.

All things considered - from the mental distractions to the offense of Shane Del Rosario - he is walking away with a positive review for himself.

"I got taken down. I don't want that," Barry noted. "That's going to be a negative. I did hit the ground, so we get some points deducted for that. But other than that, I stayed calm on the ground. I defended four submissions and I had two of them myself."

In Barry's self-evaluation, he notes several times he nearly went for submissions before abandoning them on the corner advice of coach Trevor Whitman. He listened and believes doing so was the right call not just because he won, but because of how he won. "The way the fight ended is a lot better than the way it would've ended if I would have submitted him," he said matter of factly.

As for what's next, Barry is sanguine. He's healing from his injuries, spending time with his girlfriend Rose Namajunas while training her for her next fight and biding time until his next bout comes along.

Who would he like to fight next? As Barry puts it, everyone is a bad match-up for him, so why get specific?

"Everybody's a bad match-up for me," contends Barry. "If I'm fighting, oh, that's bad. Anyone, anyone." Still, he's up for the challenge if the UFC calls. "As long as it's human, I'll be up for the task."

Source: MMA Fighting

UFC 158 Fight Card Rumors

UFC 158: St-Pierre vs. Diaz
Date: March 16, 2013
Venue: Bell Centre
Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

-Georges St-Pierre (23-2) vs. Nick Diaz (26-8)
-Carlos Condit (28-6) vs. Rory MacDonald (14-1)
-Johny Hendricks (14-1) vs. Jake Ellenberger (28-6)

UFC 158 Start Times:
Preliminary Bouts: TBD
Main Card on Pay-Per-View: 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT

Source: MMA Weekly

Updated GLORY 12/31 Saitama Super Arena & Inoki 12/31 Ryogoku fight cards
By Zach Arnold

GLORY/DREAM NYE event

MMA fights

Bantamweights: Bibiano Fernandes vs. Yoshiro Maeda
Middleweights: Melvin Manhoef vs. Denis Kang
Lightweights: Shinya Aoki vs. Antonio McKee
Featherweights: Tatsuya Kawajiri vs. Michihiro Omigawa

Kickboxing

70 kg: Robin Van Roosmalen vs. Yuichiro Nagashima
Heavyweights: Jerome Le Banner vs. KOICHI

$400,000 Grand Slam Heavyweight tournament:

Semmy Schilt vs. Brice Guidon
Gokhan Saki vs. Raomoru
Daniel Ghita vs. Fabiano Aoki
Remy Bonjasky vs. Filip Verlinden
Peter Aerts vs. Mourad Bouzidi
Errol Zimmerman vs. Jamal Ben Saddik
Anderson Braddock Silva vs. Igor Jurkovic
Sergei Kharitonov vs. Rico Verhoeven

Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2012 in Tokyo at Ryogoku Kokugikan

Naoya Ogawa vs. Kazuyuki Fujita
Satoshi Ishii vs. Tim Sylvia
Mirko Cro Cop vs. Wakakirin

Source: Fight Opinion

Former Strikeforce fighter Derek Brunson meets Chris Leben on two weeks' notice at UFC 155
By Ariel Helwani

All's well that end's for Derek Brunson.

Months after he was pulled off "The Ultimate Fighter" season 16 right before filming began due to a contractual issue with Showtime, the now former Strikeforce middleweight has agreed to step up on short notice to fight Chris Leben on Dec. 29 in Las Vegas. A slot opened up for Brunson after Karlos Vemola, Leben's original opponent, withdrew from the fight due to an injury.

MMAJunkie.com first reported the news Tuesday night.

Brunson (9-2) will look to get back on the winning track after going 0-2 in 2012, thus far. He lost to Kendall Grove via controversial split decision in June and was then knocked out in just 41 seconds by Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza in August.

Then, on a recent episode of The MMA Hour, Brunson said he felt like his luck was getting worse this year after he was pulled off TUF.

"It's a nightmare," Brunson said "Throughout the day I'm like, man, that was the worst-case scenario that actually happened.

"This has not been my year," he said. "What can happen? Nothing, nothing good at this point can happen. I'm thinking all the things that could go possibly wrong are going on at this point."

But just hours before New Year's Day, Brunson can turn his nightmare into a dream. Amazingly, he will be the first Strikeforce fighter to make his UFC debut since it was reported that Strikeforce will fold following its Jan. 12 event.

As for Leben (22-8), he'll look to bounce back from an inactive 2012 due to his year-long suspension for a positive drug test following his UFC 138 loss to Mark Munoz in Nov. 2011.

The Leben vs. Brunson tilt is expected to kick off the pay-per-view, which will be headlined by Junior dos Santos vs. Cain Velasquez for the UFC heavyweight title, from the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Source: MMA Fighting

Aleksander Emelianenko Announces Retirement from MMA at 31
By Tim Leidecker

Russian heavyweight Aleksander Emelianenko announced his retirement from MMA competition on Wednesday.

The 31-year-old Pride and M-1 veteran released an open letter to his fans, citing a chronic injury and a lack of time for his family as contributing factors in his decision.

“Unfortunately, I am no longer able to perform in the ring because of health problems caused by old injuries,” the statement reads. “I want to thank my fans for their support, for sticking with me despite everything [that was said] about me.”

The younger brother of one of the greatest fighters of all time, Fedor Emelianenko, Aleksander rose to fame fighting in Japan. During his stint with Pride FC from 2003 to 2006, the heavy-handed slugger accumulated a 6-2 professional record with notable wins over UFC veteran Assuerio Silva, Olympic judo gold medalist Pawel Nastula and former Pride number one contender Sergei Kharitonov.

Despite enjoying significant success in the Land of the Rising Sun and Russia, the heavily-tattooed three-time combat sambo world champion never managed to step out of the larger-than-life shadow of his older brother. His sporting situation worsened when he allegedly tested positive for hepatitis ahead of his fight with Paul Buentello in July 2008. Emelianenko has refuted the reports, though he never applied for another license to fight stateside nor was tested by an independent laboratory afterwards. He fought exclusively in Russia for the final five years of his career.

Emelianenko’s retirement follows only six months after his older brother stepped away from the sport after back-to-back first-round knockouts of Olympic judo gold medalist Satoshi Ishii and former three-time UFC heavyweight title contender Pedro Rizzo. With the Emelianenko brothers now enjoying their retirements, the Nogueira brothers -- Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira -- are now uncontested as MMA’s longest-serving and most successful active brother pair.

Source Sherdog

Leonard Garcia Draws Max Holloway as UFC 155 Replacement Opponent

UFC officials on Wednesday not only confirmed an earlier MMAWeekly.com report that Derek Brunson had stepped in to face Chris Leben at UFC 155, but they also announced that Max Holloway has agreed to face Leonard Garcia on the Dec. 29 fight card in Las Vegas.

Garcia’s original opponent, Cody McKenzie, dropped off the card with an undisclosed injury, but Holloway wasted no time stepping in for him.

Garcia (15-9-1), despite being considered one of the more exciting fighters on the UFC roster, has to be feeling the pressure to come out of this fight with a victory.

Garcia has lost four of his list five bouts, including entering this fight on a three-fight skid. He has lost consecutive bouts to Chan Sung Jung, Nam Phan and Matt Grice.

Holloway (6-1) is on the opposite end of the spectrum, going 2-1 under the UFC banner, including back-to-back victories heading into the fight with Garcia.

UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos headlines UFC 155, putting his belt on the line against the man he took it from, Cain Velasquez, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Dec. 29 in Las Vegas.

Source: MMA Weekly

12/21/12 Happy End Of The World!

Daniel Cormier Wants Frank Mir for His UFC Debut; Plans on Sticking at Heavyweight
by Damon Martin

It’s been a long time coming, but Daniel Cormier‘s UFC arrival is imminent.

The former Olympian has been on the cusp of coming to the UFC for most of the last year after it was announced that the heavyweight division in Strikeforce was being disbanded following the end of the Heavyweight Grand Prix, plus one additional “super fight” for the winner.

Cormier won the Grand Prix by beating Josh Barnett in May, but since that time he’s been on the sidelines just waiting to fight, and then following the conclusion of that, he will move over to the UFC.

On Jan. 12, Cormier finally fulfills his Strikeforce commitment when he faces Dion Staring in Oklahoma, and then he will move over to the UFC’s heavyweight division later in 2013. Cormier is obviously excited to finally make the move, but he knows he still has to get through Staring and then he can eye his first match-up in the Octagon.

Once he gets that first fight, he wants to stay very, very busy for the entire year.

“I look forward to getting in the cage early January, and the other day I got tweeted that Frank Mir said he would love to fight me in the UFC. So I’m hoping that I can make my UFC debut around March and if I get through that fight not too hurt, I’d like to fight again in May or June, and then I’ll fight in September and then I’ll fight again at the end of the year. I’m a wrestler, we wrestle every week, so if I can get four or five fights (in 2013), that would be great for me,” Cormier told MMAWeekly Radio over the weekend.

Frank Mir was supposed to fight Cormier in Strikeforce back in November, but suffered an injury in training that forced him out of their bout. That entire card was eventually scrapped, but Cormier is still happy to face Mir, this time on his turf in the UFC.

One other factor that will play a role in Cormier’s future in the UFC is an upcoming bout at UFC 155 when his close friend and teammate Cain Velasquez fights for the UFC heavyweight title against Junior dos Santos. Cormier and Velasquez have worked side-by-side for years, and it’s no secret neither would be jumping at the chance to face the other in the Octagon.

Cormier says for now it’s not an issue. He’s got a fight on Jan. 12, plus he’d love to settle things with Frank Mir for his first fight in the Octagon, and then after that it becomes “wait and see” what happens.

“Obviously, it plays a part in my career, but not right now. I’ve got to fight this guy Dion and I’m hoping to fight Frank when I get in the UFC, so I’ve got some time to make some decisions, but obviously it does have some bearing,” said Cormier.

“As I’ve always said, Cain and I fighting is a ways away. I’m a heavyweight, so Cain has to beat this guy dos Santos, Cain has to beat Alistair Overeem if he’s able to get past Bigfoot Silva. So there’s a lot of things that would have to happen for Cain and I to fight, to even becoming a reality. It does have some bearing, but not immediately. I’m going to fight at heavyweight when I get to the UFC because I want to fight Frank Mir.”

Cormier and Velasquez, along with their coaches and trainers at American Kickboxing Academy (AKA), have discussed the possibility that at some point down the road they may be in a position where one would be champion and the other would be the top contender. It’s not a scenario either are looking forward to confronting, but the reality is that it could happen in the next year.

“We all talk about this time and time again with the options of going down a weight division; there’s options and we discuss them all. We discuss the benefits to whether we fight or not, we discuss the benefits of me going down, we discuss everything as a family. That’s one thing we always do at AKA, we always leave it all out on the table so there are no secrets,” said Cormier.

“We have the same management team, Zinkin Entertainment. We have the same coaches, Bob (Cook), Jav (Mendes), Leandro (Vieira), all our teammates; so it would just be very difficult. Us fighting would not be ideal in any way, shape or form, so we would probably try to avoid that as best we can.”

It looks like at least upon his arrival in the UFC, Cormier is resigned to sticking around the heavyweight division. If he’s ever faced with the reality of fighting his friend and teammate Cain Velasquez, then all of the options will be placed on the table and they will decide as a team what’s the best move going forward.

The move right now is for Cormier to stay focused on Dion Staring and his final fight in Strikeforce on Jan. 12.

Source: MMA Weekly

Matches to Make After TUF 16 Finale, UFC on FX 6
By Brian Knapp

When Hector Lombard crossed the threshold into the Octagon at UFC on FX 6 on Friday at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, he had two goals in mind: make a definitive statement against Rousimar Palhares and leave the cage with his lower-extremity ligaments intact. Mission accomplished.

Lombard blew away Palhares with a volley of power punches 3:30 into the first round of their middleweight battle, winning for the 21st time in 22 appearances. The former Bellator Fighting Championships titleholder knocked down Palhares three times. Lombard’s final barrage -- a destructive left hook, right hook, left hook combination followed by thunderous standing-to-ground punches -- left the Brazilian leg lock specialist unconscious at his feet.

In that moment, Lombard re-established himself as a significant player at 185 pounds and started the process of erasing the disappointing memory of his split decision loss to Tim Boetsch in his promotional debut at UFC 149. The Cuban judoka called for a bout with “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 3 winner Michael Bisping, but with the world-ranked Brit hoping to pin down a title shot in his main event with Vitor Belfort at UFC on FX 7 next month, Lombard will likely need to look elsewhere for his next challenger.

Alan Belcher will meet Yushin Okami in a rematch at UFC 155 on Dec. 29, with the winner emerging as a sensible and viable alternative to “The Count.”

In the wake of UFC on FX 6 and “The Ultimate Fighter 16” Finale, here are nine other matchups that ought to be made:

Roy Nelson vs. Daniel Cormier:

Nelson looks like a truck driver and hits like a tank. The former International Fight League champion rang Matt Mitrione’s bell in “The Ultimate Fighter 16” Finale headliner, putting his heavy hands on display with a first-round technical knockout. Cormier, the reigning Strikeforce heavyweight champion, will join the Ultimate Fighting Championship following his Jan. 12 bout in Oklahoma City. The 33-year-old Olympian has won all 10 of his fights as a professional, including victories over Jeff Monson, Antonio Silva and former UFC heavyweight titleholder Josh Barnett.

Chad Mendes vs. Chan Sung Jung:

Those who expected Mendes to crawl in a hole after his knockout loss to current featherweight king Jose Aldo in January were sorely mistaken. The v standout needed less than two minutes to blast through newcomer Yaotzin Meza at UFC on FX 6, as he delivered his second first-round knockout in as many appearances and kept his name near the top of the 145-pound heap. The surging 25-year-old Jung has finished three consecutive opponents since joining the UFC, including a seven-second knockout against Mark Hominick at UFC 140 in December 2011.

Dustin Poirier vs. Darren Elkins:

Poirier bounced back beautifully from his first defeat in nearly two years, as he submitted Jonathan Brookins with a brabo choke at “The Ultimate Fighter 16” Finale. Still only 23, the Louisianan has dropped anchor at American Top Team and figures only to improve with age and experience. A largely overlooked piece of the 145-pound puzzle, Elkins has quietly compiled a 5-1 record since arriving in the UFC.

Mike Pierce vs. Nate Marquardt-Tarec Saffiedine winner:

No one wants to fight Pierce. The rugged Oregonian cruised to a unanimous decision over “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 11 alum Seth Baczynski at UFC on FX 6, as he executed his clinch-heavy game plan to near perfection despite tiring down the stretch. Since entering the UFC in 2009, the 32-year-old Pierce has lost only to Jon Fitch, Johny Hendricks and Josh Koscheck, all on points. Marquardt will defend his Strikeforce championship against Saffiedine on Jan. 12 before returning to the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Rousimar Palhares vs. Mark Munoz:

Palhares wore the dreaded deer-in-headlights look in his ill-fated encounter with Lombard at UFC on FX 6. The Brazilian Top Team export offered little in the way of meaningful offense or defense and ultimately succumbed to first-round punches from the explosive Cuban judoka. On a two-fight losing streak, Palhares must regroup in a hurry or risk becoming a forgotten man at 185 pounds. The world-ranked Munoz crashed and burned against Chris Weidman at UFC on Fuel TV 4 in July, as he was victimized by a standing elbow and follow-up punches.

Pat Barry vs. Philip De Fries-Todd Duffee winner:

Few men in the heavyweight division are as flawed or as frightening as Barry. The 33-year-old New Orleans native dodged three submission attempts from Shane del Rosario in the first round and scored a vicious knockout in the second at “The Ultimate Fighter 16” Finale. A guaranteed source of entertainment, 11 of Barry’s 13 mixed martial arts bouts have ended inside the first two rounds. De Fries and Duffee will toe the line against one another on Dec. 29, the latter returning to the UFC for the first time in almost three years.

Ross Pearson vs. Thiago Tavares-Khabib Nurmagomedov winner:

Pearson settled back into life as a lightweight, as he wiped out Australian rival George Sotiropoulos with third-round punches in the UFC on FX 6 main event. The 28-year-old Alliance MMA representative buried Sotiropoulos with crisp standup, staggering him several times before delivering the finish less than a minute into round three. Tavares and the undefeated Nurmagomedov will lock horns at UFC on Fuel TV 7 on Jan. 19 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The 24-year-old Nurmagomedov has stopped nine of his last 10 opponents, seven of them in the first round.

Matt Mitrione vs. Brendan Schaub-Lavar Johnson loser:

A late replacement for the injured Shane Carwin in “The Ultimate Fighter 16” main event, Mitrione could not withstand the sheer force housed within Nelson’s hands. “Big Country” leveled him with a three-punch combination and finished him with a series of standing-to-ground punches in the first round. Mitrione, who now trains with the Blackzilians camp in Boca Raton, Fla., can only return to the drawing board following his failed upset bid. Schaub and Johnson will face one another at UFC 157 on Feb. 23 in a matchup that had to be postponed earlier this month.

George Sotiropoulos vs. Mark Bocek:

Once a dark horse title contender at 155 pounds, Sotiropoulos has lost his last three fights. His latest misstep, a technical knockout defeat to Pearson in the UFC on FX 6 headliner, raised some real questions about the Australian’s viability as anything more than a lightweight gatekeeper. Bocek faces similar doubts after dropping a unanimous decision to Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 154 in November.

Source: Sherdog

JMM vs. Manny drawing 1.15M PPV buys & the great PED debate
By Zach Arnold

Here’s the article from ESPN about the estimated buy rate. Here’s Dana White’s response trashing Arum for booking JMM/Manny 4 because Pacquiao should have gotten an easier fight. That sure doesn’t sound like the typical UFC PR line when it comes to matchmaking, does it?

Jim Lampley, on The Fight Game, had plenty to say about JMM’s win over Manny and the issue of doping in boxing.

Unfortunately, because of the presence in Juan Manuel Marquez’s training camp of a man who once admitted under oath to being a world-renowned purveyor of performance enhancing drugs, because of Marquez’s stunning appearance on the scale, followed by his stunning power in the fight, and because there was no drug testing beyond the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s one-time-only post-fight test, it suddenly became the public speculation centerpiece of the year’s most meaningful over-arching story in boxing, which is the sudden emergence of abundant circumstantial evidence that the sport faces a significant performance enhancement problem.

It’s no secret why boxing finds it so difficult to face up squarely and directly to its creeping problem with performance enhancing drugs. Other sports have been flagrantly guilty of that too, even though no other sport pays such a high price for a positive test. Only here does a single positive bring down an entire event, in the case of both Khan-Peterson and Ortiz-Berto earlier this year, a seven-figure event with a television date and advance publicity. But that in no way relieves the responsibility this sprawling, largely ungoverned enterprise has to protect itself and its participants from unwarranted mayhem. As the late Emanuel Steward observed, people aren’t hitting baseballs here; hey are hitting each other in the head. Whatever is the worst thing that can happen as the result of boxers employing modern medical science to strengthen their bodies, it hasn’t happened yet. But if nothing is done to further strengthen testing standards and applications, it surely will. And when it does, we won’t be complaining anymore that boxing can’t find its way into mainstream media. We’ll be there in a big way, and in no way to our credit.

Lampley named Dr. Margaret Goodman as his person of the year in combat sports. Roy Nelson is also in her corner when it comes to increasing the quality of drug testing in combat sports. Lampley said that Nonito Donaire is his fighter of the year because of the fact that he’s willing to go the extra mile to get drug tested. Dan Rafael echos those same sentiments in this posting.

Rory MacDonald called VADA testing annoying and a distraction. Matt Mitrione said the same thing, claiming that there isn’t enough money floating in MMA for fighters to use high-end designer steroids. Mitrione pushed the line that VADA hurt its credibility based on their dealings with Shane Carwin. Brent Brookhouse addressed this smoke screen last October and how the behavior of SEC-investigated Jason Genet is an example of what Brent characterizes as poor MMA fighter management.

Source: Fight Opinion

Emboldened by new coaching staff, Mike Pyle repeats call for top 10 opponent
By Shaun Al-Shatti
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Mike Pyle can't say whether we was more disappointed or surprised to find out his bout against James Head had been placed on The Ultimate Fighter 16 Finale undercard. After all, Pyle had been around this game for 14 years, left with his hand raised in five of his last six UFC appearances, and was fresh off two stellar first-round knockouts.

Besides, it wasn't as if the free television event was a stacked pay-per-view.

"I just don't know [why]," Pyle admitted on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour. "I had a super sweet knockout on Josh Neer. Nobody's put him face down before in the UFC. He's fought a lot of good guys.

"I get it, you've got to earn your spot. But come on, I think I've earned that, [to] at least have a better spot. But whatever, I did my job. I did what I needed to do, and I can't dwell on those kind of things."

Pyle did indeed do his job. At 37 years old, Pyle continued to mount an improbable late-career push into contention by blasting Head with a gorgeous knee to the jaw less than two minutes into the bout. Head collapsed in a heap, and Pyle celebrated his third straight quick finish.

For a man who entered 2012 with just two knockouts to his credit, Pyle's run is something to behold. Especially when you consider his recent split with Xtreme Couture, the gym he helped found with UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture.

Pyle says the split was amicable, though he isn't the only core member to have left Couture in recent times -- Gray Maynard, Michael Chandler and Tyson Griffin have all departed for a fresh start. Still, he credits his recent resurgence to a conversation that started back in 2011, when he got crushed by Rory MacDonald in just under four minutes.

"I'd already made a decision that I needed to seek some other coaches," Pyle remembered. "That was after the Rory fight. So when I came back, a friend of mine has a home in northern California on a river, so I was out there just chilling one day, with my big booboo lip because of the loss, and I was like, ‘That's it, I've got to make a change. I'm going back, I'm going to talk to a couple coaches I know. I'm going to change everything. I'm going to see if that works, and if it doesn't, I quit.'"

Luckily everything seems to have worked out for Pyle, who suddenly finds himself peaking at an age when most fighters are already retired. Nonetheless, he admits it is odd to not be representing the banner he help start.

"It is [weird], but to be honest with you there were a lot of changes that were going on there anyway," said Pyle. "Things just weren't feeling as close-knit family, and I like that kind of thing. You come in and it feels like family, familiar faces and unspoken rules of thumb.

"I just needed a change, man. I'll be honest with you. It was the same thing over and over and over. A lot of the same training, a lot of the same routine, and I just knew I wasn't reaching my full potential. And I'm no spring chicken so I've got to get things done, man. I've got to do the necessary things to make me better."

When it comes to beating the urgency of Father Time, Pyle is doing a remarkable job. With Saturday's win, Pyle became the only welterweight on the UFC roster with three straight first-round KO/TKO finishes. Immediately afterward he took advantage of his post-fight facetime to ask for a top-ten opponent.

Pyle didn't throw out any particular names, for of naming a fighter who had already been booked. But now that he's had some time to think, someone like Josh Koscheck seems to fit the bill nicely.

"There's a top ten guy," Pyle concluded. "Top ten guys, I feel like I've been there before, [it's] not like [the UFC has] denied me, and I've dropped the ball. I'm back to that point again, so let's do it. And maybe one day I'll break into the top ten. I don't know, what the hell?"

Source: MMA Fighting

Will BJ Penn Hang Up the Gloves for Good Following Recent Loss to Rory MacDonald?
by Ken Pishna

After Rory MacDonald dominated BJ Penn at UFC on Fox 5 recently, the calls quickly came for the famed Hawaiian fighter to reverse his coming out of retirement party and finally hang up his gloves for good.

Chief among those saying Penn should head back into retirement was UFC president Dana White.

“He didn’t say it tonight, but I think BJ is probably going to retire, and I wouldn’t mind seeing that,” said White following the fight.

“BJ is a warrior, talk about a guy that doesn’t give up and doesn’t quit and just keeps coming. I have so much respect for BJ; I always have, even through the good times and the bad times. I’d like to see him retire.”

Penn, however, isn’t sure just yet what he’s going to do.

Leaving the door open, he told Inside MMA on AXS TV on Monday to remind his fans that he holds the “old man record for spending the most time in the Octagon and never being dropped once, even to a knee.”

Such bravado might indicate that Penn is considering stepping back in the Octagon, but he didn’t commit one way or the other telling Inside MMA that he is “taking some time to figure out my next step.”

Penn is a two-division champion in the UFC, winning the title in both the lightweight and welterweight divisions.

He has struggled in his last few fights, most recently losing the fights to Rory MacDonald and Nick Diaz, but is considered a shoe-in for the UFC Hall of Fame.

Source: MMA Weekly

Dana White’s no-lose bet with Ronda Rousey as UFC main eventer in Anaheim
By Zach Arnold

So, the debate this weekend in media circles was about Dana White’s defense of Ronda Rousey vs. Liz Carmouche being booked for the main event slot of the UFC show this February at the Anaheim Pond (Honda Center). There really shouldn’t even be a debate.

Sure, I suppose you could have a debate in a Machiavellian kind of way if you think that Dana wants women’s MMA to tank, ergo Ronda Rousey vs. Liz Carmouche in the main event flopping would somehow serve his purposes of saying, “See, I told you women’s MMA in UFC wouldn’t work.”

However, that just doesn’t logically make sense from a current or historical perspective.

When Gary Shaw was promoting Gina Carano as his women’s ace, was he in the women’s MMA business or the Gina Carano business? He did pretty well with Gina as one of his top two aces (Kimbo Slice being the other ace). Gina drew plenty of eyeballs against female fighters who had lower media profiles. She saw her run end against Cyborg, but it was a hell of a run. You can’t say that the experiment was a failure. You can argue that the ceiling could have and should have been higher if Gina was more dedicated to training, but that’s about it.

Much in a similar vein to Gary Shaw with Gina Carano, Dana White sees Ronda Rousey as his vehicle to reach the masses who only care about Entertainment Tonight, Extra, The Insider, Access Hollywood, Inside Edition, and random Youtube video clips where Rousey can make remarks about sex & testosterone and know that a billion people are going to talk about her comments. Rousey is completely shameless in the way she attracts what political pundits call ‘low information voters’ and she’s proud of it.

Appealing to the masses on a sleazy level works. It’s why Vince McMahon is still in business and it’s why Chael Sonnen still has PPV appeal.

So, why is there more heat on Dana White for promoting Ronda Rousey the way Gary Shaw would promote Gina Carano? Rousey’s a significantly better fighter & athlete. Combine that with the media buzz that Zuffa’s consumer behaviorologists in Las Vegas are focusing on and you have a pretty fail-safe combination here.

Does the success of Rousey given her tactics mean that I have to embrace her actions? Hell no. I largely find her schtick to be incredibly boring and mundane. However, I’m not the one that UFC is trying to target and get $60 out of to pay for a PPV. I’m going to watch the shows no matter what, anyways.

Other odds and ends from the weekend

The way FX handles the UFC B-level shows makes me scratch my head. Why did they decide to go live in all US time zones for The Smashes TUF Australia Finale but go West Coast delay for the US TUF 16 Finale show? That was a weird move. Plus, it turned out to be a brutal call given that you had two boxing fights going on HBO & Showtime at the same time.

Mike Goldberg’s performance on the TUF 16 Finale show was truly embarrassing. I’m not harsh on him like many other writers are but he should absolutely get called out for … whatever that was on display Saturday night.

Georges St. Pierre is a 4-to-1 favorite to beat Nick Diaz when they fight in Montreal this March. Talk about home cooking. Wonder how UFC feels now spending the capital they did to push GSP/Anderson Silva before GSP/Condit happened and during the PPV itself?

Am I in a bubble here or does it feel like the Junior dos Santos/Cain Velasquez fight coming up in Vegas has less buzz than the media campaign generated for St. Pierre vs. Carlos Condit? I couldn’t avoid ads for GSP/Condit, even if I was on Yahoo or watching NBA games on television.

Source: Fight Opinion

Ratings Report: As expected, U.S. TUF finals beat Australian version in weekend ratings
By Dave Meltzer

Running shows on successive nights ended up as a mixed bag when it came to the UFC's weekend ratings.

The Friday night show, headlined by the finals of "The Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes," a series that was not broadcast in the U.S., did 972,000 viewers.

That number was the lowest of the eight live main cards broadcast this year on FX (not including airing prelims before major shows), which previously had ranged between 1.1 million and 1.4 million viewers. But that shouldn't be unexpected, given two shows over the weekend and for marquee value to most fans, this being the second priority.

The main event of coaches George Sotiropolous vs. Ross Pearson wasn't going to have major appeal in the U.S., since almost none of the buildup for the fight was available nor talked about on U.S. television.

The show still beat out all but two episodes of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) season 16 reality show that had been airing weekly the past three months on Friday nights. The prelims on Fuel did 96,000 viewers which was right on average. The average rating for Fuel prelims of UFC events for 2012, with Saturday being the final show, ended up averaging 94,000 viewers.

The Saturday show, from Las Vegas, was more successful. The finals of the TUF season 16 in the U.S. drew 1.3 million viewers. Besides a main event with heavyweight Roy Nelson knocking out Matt Mitrione in the first round, the fighters overall were far more familiar to the U.S. audience. The Mike Ricci vs. Colton Smith TUF finals climaxed a three-month season, and popular heavyweight Pat Barry, former TUF winner Jonathan Brookins and featherweight contender Dustin Poirier, were all on the main card.

It tied for second place among the eight FX live cards this year, trailing only the second show in March headlined by Martin Kampmann's win over Thiago Alves. It also handily beat out the season 15 finals in June, which did 1.02 million viewers. It was still lower than 13 of the 14 season finales that had aired on Spike. The prelims on Fuel did 104,000 viewers.

Bellator also ran its final episode of the current season on Friday night. Even though it was running head-to-head with the UFC event from Australia, the show did 191,000 viewers, its second-highest total of the season. The previous week's television show had pushed three tournament finals, but only one of those fights actually took place.

Alexander Volkov of Russia defeated Richard Hale via decision in a dull five-round fight to win the heavyweight tournament, and also the company's vacant heavyweight title.

Bellator's final season on MTV 2 on Friday night averaged 162,000 viewers. The number was up slightly from the 155,000 for the spring season.

Both The Ultimate Fighter and Bellator numbers have been down this year since each group moved to Fridays at the start of 2012. It proved to be a bad night for ratings since the target MMA audience of males 25-40 don't watch a lot of television Friday nights.

In mid-January, The Ultimate Fighter will move to Tuesdays on FX. The expectation is that a better night, combined with higher profile coaches in Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen, will lead to a significant turnaround in ratings that set record lows this past season.

Bellator debuts on Thursday nights on Spike, with a live 10 p.m. ET time slot. Spike is not only available in 98 million homes, compared to less than 75 million homes that carry MTV 2, but also is a far higher-profile network and is more associated with MMA. Even under a worst possible case scenario, ratings for Bellator would be expected to triple with more promotion, a better station and a better night.

Source: MMA Fighting

For Daron Cruickshank, No Better Striking Coach Than His Father

Daron Cruickshank was more than impressive Dec. 8 at UFC on Fox 5, dominating Henry Martinez on the feet before finishing him with a head-kick knockout.

In a recent interview with the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show, Cruickshank credited his father for his striking skills, discussed his future and more.

On his parents being martial artists: “Ever since I could remember, my parents taught class and I was always running around in the gym doing martial arts. My mom, she was a professional kickboxer and I saw her fight back in the day just in little shows and stuff. I just grew up around it. I picked it up. The best thing about my growing up with it is my parents really didn’t make me do it. When I was in the gym, it was because I wanted to be there. They never forced it on me, and I was able to have fun with it.”

On whether he always wanted to become a mixed martial artist: “I really wanted to do it when I was in college. When I was wrestling, it was the Matt Hughes era when he was going undefeated, the world champ for a long time. That’s kind of what made me like, ‘Yeah, that’s what I want to do. I want to do that after I’m done wrestling.’ I would train during the summers when I would come back from school, but nothing real serious. Once I was done wrestling and kind of having to move on, I really hit it hard.”

On his striking training: “I have to travel to find sparring partners, and as far as technical striking and all that, I work out at my house, in my garage, with my dad. That’s where I’ve grown up. That’s where it goes down.”

On whether he’d consider a move to a bigger camp: “I’ve been to these big gyms and I’ve checked them out. The good thing about these gyms is yes, there’s a lot more talent in one room at a time, but technically, I don’t get what I get at home from anybody else. My dad’s my striking coach. He has everything that he’s done in his past. He came about when the JKD era was around and it was big. That’s when mixed martial arts really, I believe, came together, with Bruce Lee and putting it all together and trying different arts and that philosophy. That’s where I get my stuff from is my dad. My dad’s about to be 60 years old. I don’t have that much more time with him. I want to take as much as I can learn from him as possible. If I go out and move to Arizona or California or Vegas, then I’m not going to be able to get that.”

On his win over Henry Martinez: “He’s a tough dude. When they gave me the name Henry Martinez and [asked] would you want to fight him, my dad looked him up and was like, ‘He’s Mexican and he’s going to be tough. He’s going to be able to take a shot.’ That’s basically what happened. The guy can definitely handle some shots. For me, I don’t pride myself on being able to take a hit. I pride myself on not getting hit and being able to hit.”

On what he wants to accomplish in 2013: “I would like to try to get maybe four fights in the year and work my way up the ladder.”

Source Sherdog

Georges St-Pierre Thanks Benson Henderson for the Blueprint on How to Beat the Diaz Brothers
by Damon Martin

It’s likely Georges St-Pierre has already broken down and analyzed exactly how he intends to deal with Nick Diaz at UFC 158.

For more than a year now, St-Pierre has had Diaz on his radar, and the longtime welterweight champion is known for his ability to adapt and neutralize just about any fighter he comes up against.

That doesn’t mean, however, that St-Pierre doesn’t mind seeing just how well a good game plan can come together, and he was watching UFC on Fox 5 recently for that very reason.

UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson took on the younger Diaz brother, Nate, and soundly defeated him after five rounds of action. Henderson used a mix of leg kicks, takedowns and pressure to keep Diaz off balance throughout all 25 minutes.

Now Nate Diaz and Nick Diaz are certainly different fighters, but stylistically they can be very similar in their approaches, and St-Pierre noticed just how masterful Henderson was in picking apart the aggressive style employed by the family duo from Stockton, Calif.

“I watched very carefully your fight against Nate Diaz. It was a great display of athleticism, technique and wrestling,” St-Pierre told Henderson on Saturday night.

“I’m going to try to use some of the stuff you have done in the fight to win over Nick Diaz as well. I’m going to learn from what you did and try to apply it in my game plan. Thanks for showing me the blueprint.”

St-Pierre may be showing his hand here on purpose because he’s smart enough to know that Nick Diaz can see the interview as well as anybody, so it’s really anybody’s guess if the welterweight champion will actually employ those tactics or not, but he has a little extra strategy in hand if he needs it now.

St-Pierre will face Diaz in the main event of UFC 158 on March 16 at the Bell Centre in Montreal.

Source: MMA Weekly


#
Counter courtesy of www.digits.com