Lessons Learned (Sometimes the Hard Way) in the Land of the Rising Sun
For starters, there's the production value you hear so much about. In Japan, they don't just introduce a guy and play whatever Tupac song he's chosen for his entrance music; they make a true multimedia presentation out of it. Perhaps no one made better use of this than Akihiro Gono, who, as we already know, loves to make an entrance. His walk-out this time was like a mini-concert, which is fitting since Dynamite's main ratings competition on Japanese TV is something called "The Red White Song Battle," -- essentially a free concert featuring famous musicians, couched as a competition between an all-male and all-female team of singers.
GSP "not impressed" with reporters
Georges St. Pierre is not impressed with the way the media has reported his comments on potentially representing Canada in wrestling at the 2012 Olympics. The French-Canadian feels he has been misinterpreted after talking about the kind of preparations he would have to make.
Randy Couture told the Las Vegas Sun that he “talked to him at length at an appearance this weekend and he's a little frustrated with the media, frankly, He said that they are blowing this whole thing out of proportion.
UFC President still not keen on Liddell fighting
UFC president Dana White’s stance on former UFC light heavyweight titleholder Chuck Liddell fighting again hasn’t changed. He still does not want to see his longtime friend competing in the Octagon again.
“The thing that everyone loves about Chuck Liddell was he’s a fighter. That guys loves to fight. And when you’re walking out in that arena and 16,000 people are going crazy and yelling your name and (expletive), it’s hard to walk away from. I get it, but you know, he doesn’t have to do it anymore. He doesn’t,” said White to the media following UFC 108 on Jan. 2.
Liddell will fight again despite White’s opposition, being named a coach on the eleventh season of “The Ultimate Fighter” pitted against his arch nemesis Tito Ortiz. But White would rather provide a position within the organization for Liddell that doesn’t entail fighting.
Raphael Assuncao: Fighting his way into the light
He may be the most underrated Top 10 featherweight in the sport right now, but Raphael Assuncao knows that everything he's done up till now has earned him the shot against Urijah Faber this Sunday night at WEC 46: Varner vs. Henderson in Sacramento, Calif. He also knows with one more win he will get a shot against champion Jose Aldo and the WEC 145-pound divisional title.
Going 2-0 since making his move to the WEC, Assuncao has finally gotten the big fight he was gunning for since moving to the promotion. It's an opportunity he doesn't intend on wasting.
Skipped holidays are part of the fight game for Evan Dunham
Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Day and two birthdays – UFC lightweight Evan Dunham trained through them all for his co-main-event fight against "The Ultimate Fighter" season-eight winner Efrain Escudero at Monday's UFC Fight Night 20 event in Fairfax, Va.
He's given up a lot but said it's a small price to pay for victory. Training and personal time are the same thing.
Mike Brown needs to 'go berserk' at WEC 46 to get back into the featherweight title hunt
"I just went straight back to it -- I didn't even take time off. I've felt worse before after losses -- I've gone into a depression before after losses. It's part of the game. I don't want to lose but I lost to a tough guy and I've just got to re-calculate things, figure out where my mistakes were and come back stronger. I know what went wrong. I changed my training a little bit. I changed my pace trying to be ready for five rounds, training more like a long-distance runner, and I sacrificed some of my power. I need to get back to becoming the kind of fighter who can beat someone in the first two minutes of the fight. I need to just go berserk."
Zuffa Brings Legal Action Against Pub That Illegally Streamed UFC 104
Well that didn't take very long. After UFC President Dana White vowed to make life miserable for the chiselers who stream illegal feeds of live UFC programming, the Boston Herald reports that the Zuffa legal team may have bagged their first casualty in the war on pirates. Zuffa is suing "The Draft" and its owner, Derek Brady, for reportedly allowing a patron to connect a laptop illegally streaming UFC 104 to one of the establishment's television sets for all the customers to enjoy.
Bars and restaurants are typicaly required to purchase UFC events through an approved closed-circuit provider (for UFC events that's usually Joe Hand Promotions) and can pay anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars for an event, depending on the circumstances.
They didn't pay on Oct. 24, but they may pay in court -- to the tune of $640,000 plus legal fees if found guilty.
Jamie Varner Isn't Happy With the WEC's Marketing
"…That’s one thing I don’t like about the WEC, they put all their marquee dollars into Urijah Faber, so when Urijah lost his world title to Mike Brown, it’s like who is Mike Brown? And then I’m fighting the main event for this fight coming up, and you would have no idea that I’m the main event in Sacramento, cause all we’re doing is pumping up Urijah Faber. And the fight in San Diego, all they’re doing is pumping up Urijah Faber."
Gray Maynard Didn't Think B.J. Penn Was a Very Good Coach on TUF
Should Maynard prove the experts correct and defeat Diaz, he would likely be the next contender for lightweight champion B.J. Penn. Coincidentally, Penn was Maynard's coach on TUF. However, Maynard was not altogether pleased with the instruction he received.
"As a coach, you have to help the guys keep their goals, and I think he was just 'there'," Maynard said. "He was like 'I just want to go home.' I don't really think we had the best training."
Swick vs. Thiago official for UFC 109: Marquardt vs. Sonnen promoted to co-feature slot
The UFC today officially announced a recently reported contest between welterweights Mike Swick (14-3 MMA, 9-2 UFC) and Paulo Thiago (12-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) for February's "UFC 109: Relentless" event.
Swick stepped in as a replacement for Josh Koscheck when his teammate was forced off the card with an injury.
While Koscheck and Thiago were originally scheduled in the evening's co-main event, the organization has promoted a middleweight fight between top contenders Nate Marquardt (29-8-2 MMA, 8-2 UFC) and Chael Sonnen (24-10-1 MMA, 3-3 UFC) to the co-feature slot.
Spencer Fisher burning to fight “Fireball Kid”, Takanori Gomi
When it was announced last weekend that former Shooto and PRIDE Champion Takanori Gomi had signed with the UFC rumors began swirling in regards to who he might debut against in the organization. Though the first name to surface as an opponent was Ken Florian, it appears as though Gomi’s presence in the company has at least one other fighter jazzed at the idea of meeting the Japanese striker at the center of the Octagon.
Since I’ve started MMA Gomi is one of the guys I looked up to and copied some of my style from him…I’ve always talked about guys diving for my shoelaces and the script might be flipped this time! (laughs) But of all the fights in the world that one excites me the most. I would have to be in tip top shape to fight someone of his caliber.
WEC 46 gets extended time slot on Versus
World Extreme Cagefighting returns to Sacramento on Jan. 10 with WEC 46: Varner vs. Henderson. It will air live on Versus, and the network has extended the timeslot to two and a half hours.
“We’ve been able to move to a two and a half hour show with this event on Versus. Versus has given us more time and we are really, really happy about that," said WEC General Manager Reed Harris on a media conference call promoting the event. “We’re going to be able to get all five of our main event fights on TV as well as possibly some other prelim fights depending on the time.”
WEC moving forward with flyweight division
In early 2009, World Extreme Cagefighting announced its intentions of adding a flyweight division. On a media conference call on Tuesday, WEC General Manager Reed Harris said to expect further announcements this year on the 125-pound weight class being incorporated into the organization.
“We’re working on it,” said Harris. “The thing that we focus on in WEC is making sure that all of our fights are meaningful and making sure our divisions are deep. Part of that is making sure your guys get fights. So right now we’re focusing on the divisions we have, getting those guys plenty of fights, keeping them busy.
“We’re working on the flyweight division and sometime, I’m sure, in 2010, we’ll announce that we’re going to be forming that and get that moving.”
Next up for Aldo: Winner of Faber vs. Assuncao
As the hours tick away, Urijah Faber and Raphael Assuncao now know that they are not only headed for a tough fight against each other on Sunday night in Sacramento, Calif., but also a fight that will likely determine the next contender to WEC featherweight champion Jose Aldo.
“We’ve definitely had that discussion,” said WEC general manager Reed Harris on Tuesday. “Ultimately Sean Shelby, our matchmaker, will make that decision, and we always like to wait until after the fight. But I’ll be honest with you guys, we’ve had that discussion over the last week.”
As UFC Fight Night 20 approaches, Amir Sadollah making up for lost time
"The Ultimate Fighter 7" winner Amir Sadollah (2-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) went nearly 14 months between his first and second appearance in the UFC, but now the welterweight is making up for lost time.
Sadollah meets Brad Blackburn (15-9-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) on the broadcast-opening bout of "UFC Fight Night 20: Maynard vs. Diaz" on Jan. 11, and the contest will be the "TUF"-winner's third fight in just five months.
Spike: Record 1.5 Million Viewers For UFC 108 Prelims
Spike TV officials today announced that their one hour "UFC Prelim" special that aired before UFC 108 did a 1.0 rating and a total of 1.5 million viewers Saturday night. That's the best viewership yet for the series of pre-PPV specials, which have all done between 1.3 & 1.4 million before this one. 9 more such specials are planned this year.
UFC Announces Strikeforce: Miami Counter-Programming
New year, same old plans. Not wasting any time in taking shots at Strikeforce, UFC has announced that Spike will air an edited replay of UFC 107 on January 30 opposite Strikeforce: Miami on Showtime. The UFC broadcast will feature at least 3 107 fights: BJ Penn vs. Diego Sanchez for the UFC Lightweight Championship, Frank Mir vs. Cheick Kongo and Clay Guida vs. Kenny Florian.