How Cain Velasquez seemingly came out of nowhere to become a top UFC heavyweight
"He has to be part of a gang."
Marquee-sized letters scripted in calligraphy were stitched onto an alley-wide chest of a 6-foot-1, 240-pound mountain of an individual. The stereotypes are, unfortunately, quick to populate. The person's last name ends with a Z. He's dark-skinned with a trace of a Latino accent. Body art is most often associated with personal tributes, though at times it could be linked to representation and subliminal messages to one's posse or – much worse – rivals.
Kenny Florian the artist (not the fighter) will have physical advantage on August 8
“I have never said I was a fighter. I am a martial artist and that is an important distinction for me. There is a lot of beauty and art in what we do … It is important to respect the art. That’s the reason I am here, because of the art and those who taught me. I will have the advantage physically (at UFC 101) but BJ (Penn) has great natural talent and balance. Winning the title would be an honor. But the real challenge for me is BJ and beating a guy with the skills he possesses.”
Fedor says No training Issues, Ready For Work
Not an hour after Emelianenko plucked the former UFC heavyweight champ out of the sky at January’s “Day of Reckoning,” Voronov was breathing a sigh of relief backstage.
“(Fedor) won with his old baggage, with his old tricks,” he said. “We did everything we can to get him ready for this fight. But for these title fights, for these dangerous fights, we can’t train the way we trained for this fight.”
Emelianenko wrapped an action movie alongside Rutger Hauer and Michael Madsen last November and canceled an American press tour citing a need to prepare for the January fight. In November, he suffered his first loss in Sambo in eight years.
At UFC 99, Etim Has 6 Months To Unleash
Terry Etim has lived, breathed, shed blood and hammered his training for well over six months with Justin Buchholz in mind. Originally slated to fight at UFC 95, the bout was scratched when his opponent pulled out due to an undisclosed injury, only to be replaced with Brian Cobb.
Another win later and the fight is back on for UFC 99 on Saturday night in Germany. Etim is pumped.
“I have been training for this guy for two long grueling camps now, both of them 10 weeks long. So I am really looking forward to finally making this happen,” explains the Liverpudlian.
Mike Brown tastes like Raspberries and Smells like Rum
No, there was not any fruit-themed lewdness at his after-party, at least not that we know of. However, astronomers have recently discovered that in dust clouds at the center of our galaxy, there are quantities of a molecule called ethyl formate, an interesting ester that both contributes to the taste of raspberries and smells of rum.
With his second win over Urijah Faber on Sunday, Brown is now the first great 145-pounder in modern MMA -- the center of the featherweight galaxy. Therefore, it's very likely he's tart to the taste, smells like debauchery.
UFC Signs Content Deal With Heavy.com
MediaPost.com has the lowdown on the UFC partnering with Heavy.com to offer programming for the popular pop culture website:
Men’s media network Heavy.com has struck a content distribution partnership with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Online Media Daily has learned. Heavy will now host a video channel containing content from the professional mixed martial arts organization’s library, including fight highlights, interviews and analyses, backstage footage and previews of upcoming fights.
All UFC videos will employ Heavy’s video ad units throughout — known as “video skins” — monetizing the video by wrapping it with a premium, high-CPM ad unit specifically designed for brand advertisers.
While UFC.com is hugely popular, it is encouraging to see the UFC in not looking at that as the sole distribution point online and source of revenues. The deal with Yahoo to sell PPV’s online is massively troubling from a journalistic viewpoint, but it is a smart for the UFC move in that they are dispersing their distribution. The Heavy.com deal has ad-based elements that will generate additional passive income. Dana white has stated in the past that he sees everythign eventually moving online, so staying aggressive in the new media realm will be key to this vision.
The deal also signals the UFC entrenching further in their 18 to 34 male demo. That is the target market for Heavy, and the UFC programming will complement the action sports programming that now plays a big role at Heavy. The UFC continues to increase its positioning with “action sports.” A similar move was made recently with the signing of the UFC to Fuel TV in Australia.
MMAjunkie.com Fight Biz: On cusp of historic show, what's in store for UFC's next 100?
UFC 100 – it is a milestone few thought possible when the organization was fighting for its survival in the mid-1990s.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship was deemed too heinous for even pay-per-view and on its way to becoming but a footnote in American sports.
"I knew they were going to shut it down," said Guy Mezger, one of the early "ultimate fighters," who competed at UFC 4 and 5. "The reason that I fought in UFC 4 in the first place, I wanted to see how I would do in such a challenge because I thought they were going to shut this down, with it being a no-rules contest. And, we were right. The original Semaphore Entertainment Group held on for as long as they could, but they weren't willing to change with the times and the flow of, let's say, the politics, and they became nonexistent and Zuffa took over."
It's largely because of the change in ownership that the UFC will celebrate a seminal moment in its history on July 11 in Las Vegas with its 100th show. With the "UFC Fight Night" series added to the count, the promotion topped the century mark some time ago, but that's beside the point. UFC 100 takes on special significance because of what the organization – and the sport – has endured to get here.
"The sport had to shake its old renegade image, back in the head-butts and groin-shot days," Showtime MMA analyst Stephen Quadros, who served as a judge at UFC 8, told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "It had to clean itself up, but I've always believed in the athletes and the sport. It's already rivaling primetime sports like NASCAR and the NBA, and people know what mixed martial arts are today and what the UFC is."
It took 16 years to get to this point, and with the pace the UFC now schedules major shows, UFC 200 will arrive on a much faster timeline. So what will the UFC look like then, nine to 10 years from now? Will the promotion and MMA truly be mainstream, as much a part of the American sports lexicon as the NFL, college football or the NBA finals?
For all its strides thus far, MMA isn't there yet.
"It's not mainstream," Mezger said. "We get a lot of attention, it gets a lot of hype, but I don't think we're mainstream, mainly because you don't see GSP (Georges St. Pierre) with the multimillion dollar Nike contract, the Gatorade contract and selling Cadillacs."
The UFC's lack of a network TV deal is one of the main reasons that MMA still sits on the sporting fringe in the U.S. For hordes of casual fans, the UFC is MMA. The organization has the most recognized fighters, the biggest marketing budget and the promotional edge over its rivals. Most casual fans can't even spell Sengoku, much less articulate what it is. The UFC has a significant advantage over all competing promotions, enabling the UFC to draw more new fans to MMA than even EliteXC could with its breakthrough exposure on CBS. However, until the UFC establishes a consistent presence on national network TV, its growth will be tempered.
Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone earns a rematch with Jamie Varner later this year...
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - WEC lightweight Donald Cerrone (10-1 MMA, 3-1 WEC) will get a second shot at current champion Jamie Varner (16-2 MMA, 4-0 WEC) some time this fall.
While Cerrone has made no attempt to hide his desire for the rematch, WEC general manager Reed Harris announced following Sunday's WEC 41 event that Varner had also agreed to the contest.
"I spoke to Mr. Varner tonight, and he's ready to go," Harris said. "He's going to take the fight."
OFFICIAL WEC 41 Fighter Salaries
Despite a loss to Josh Grispi in what might prove to be his final professional MMA fight, Jens Pulver earned an event-high disclosed salary of $31,253 at Sunday's "WEC 41: Brown vs. Faber II" event.
Pulver suffered a first-round submission loss to Grispi in the first Versus-televised bout at WEC 41, which took place at ARCO Arena in Sacramento, Calif.
WEC 41 officially falls short of attendance record...
...but sets new high for live gate.
WEC 41 didn't set an attendance record after all.
Although initially and unofficially announced as 13,027, the attendance at Sunday's show at ARCO Arena in Sacramento, Calif., drew 12,706 fans (10,110 paid) for a $815,415 gate, the California State Athletic Commission today confirmed with MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
WEC: 8 Shows This Year, 10 Likely Next Year
Following WEC 41, perhaps the promotion's most successful event ever, WEC GM Reed Harris unveiled the plans for the rest of the year and 2010. WEC will hold a total of 8 events this year, meaning 4 more events this year including August's WEC 42, and the plan is for 10 shows in 2010 but that also depends on TV partner Versus.
Ben Rothwell vs Chase Gormley Set for Affliction: Trilogy
Former IFL heavyweight champion Ben Rothwell is set to square off with undefeated up-and-comer Chase Gormley at Affliction: Trilogy on August 1 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.
MMA Fanhouse confirmed the matchup at Wednesday's Affliction: Trilogy press conference with Affliction Vice President Tom Atencio.
Strikeforce won't stand in way of Brett Rogers' championship aspirations (Possibe title shot in August)
"Alistair, I was kind of aiming for him," Rogers said in a post-event press conference following Saturday's "Strikeforce: Lawler vs. Shields" event at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis. "I was expecting the title today. He's still in my sight."
According to one Strikeforce executive, that Rogers vs. Overeem bout could happen as soon as August.
During Saturday's Showtime broadcast, Strikeforce announced an Aug. 15 card featuring new signee Gina Carano vs. Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos and Strikeforce world lightweight champion Josh Thomson vs. interim title-holder Gilbert Melendez.
Overeem is essentially a lock for the card. BUT Could the Dutch fighter, who hasn't defended his Strikeforce world heavyweight belt since winning it in late 2007, now meet Rogers?
Josh Barnett: ‘Rock Em, Sock Em’ Reilly will vote for MMA when he can get rich from it
"New York is a very big legislative district and there’s a lot of money going through here … [MMA] is an easy target for a politician to make it seem like he’s working for the money he’s gobbling up into his pockets through special interests and greasing palms, the old-boys network. Politicians aren’t really there to serve us, they’re there to serve themselves and to work and live in the political circle that it is and live off the political money that is in that circle. When the day comes that it’s more beneficial for them to have MMA (in New York) instead of attacking it, then things will change. Until they think they can get rich off it, they’re going to use it as their Rock’Em, Sock ‘Em Robot."