BILLY EVANGELISTA TRIES TO REMAIN UNDEFEATED
Wednesday night, Billy Evangelista hit what distance athletes call “The Wall.” MMAWeekly.com spoke to him in the throes of cutting weight. Cotton-mouthed and gravelly, he sounded miserable on the phone.
“Hot and tired,” he said. “I’m thinking every time I see a gas station of something, I can drink in there. Part of the untold great things of MMA.”
When Evangelista’s suffering ends Thursday after weigh-ins, he’ll acquaint himself with another unknown, his opponent. Like all of his fights, Evangelista sees them for the first time on the scale. In this day of tape dissecting and game plans, he prefers to improvise when he gets in the cage.
“I think all the secrets are out already,” he said. “I think it’s how well you use them in combination, from move to move, and discipline to discipline. I just know that he’s going to be a tough fighter, and like everybody else, I should be ready for everything he’s going to try and throw at me.”
DIRE STRAITS: CEO TRIES TO RESUSCITATE ELITEXC
In the corporate world, Chuck Champion is seen as a turnaround artist. After making his start in business-to-consumer marketing for newspapers, he took the reigns of several companies in financial distress. His last turnaround, online gambling website Youbet.com, went from $.45 a share to $6.50 a share in his five-year tenure with the company.
Champion had left Youbet and was “taking a break” when he received a call from a board member of ProElite, Inc. in November of 2007, asking him to take a look at the company’s ledger. Their balance sheet was a story he’d read before.
“Like a lot of startups, they’d gone out and their appetites were fairly significant. They’d bought a lot of brands and they did that very quickly,” he said. “You could see the problems that created, trying to integrate all that stuff into one company.”
The company was also bleeding cash. Champion says Sales, General, and Administrative costs, which account for the overhead of a business, were burning $1.7 million dollars a month in cash reserves. Something needed to be done, fast, or ProElite would soon close its doors.
- UFC 92 TO FEATURE NOG VS MIR, GRIFFIN VS EVANS & SILVA VS RAMPAGE
The Ultimate Fighting Championship expects to close out 2008 with a bang as the promotion has decided on three key match-ups for their year end show on Dec 27.
Interim heavyweight champion, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira will face Frank Mir, while light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin returns to action defending his belt against Rashad Evans and Wanderlei Silva goes for three in a row against former 205lb champion, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.
The news was confirmed by UFC President Dana White to Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports.
UFC 94: Matt Arroyo vs Dan Cramer
It’s a battle of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) contestants as season six alumnus Matt “No Regard” Arroyo (3-2) is scheduled to face season seven’s Daniel Cramer (0-0) at UFC 94 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, on January 31, according to WrestlingObserver.com.
Arroyo was last seen getting pounded out by Matt Brown at The Ultimate Fighter 7 Finale back in June. This will actually be Dan Cramer’s first professional fight despite a 3-0 amateur record and making it all the way to the TUF 7 quarterfinals.
This should prove to be an interesting fight between two competitors who match up pretty well.
UFC 94 will feature the welterweight superfight between former 170-pound champion and current lightweight kingpin BJ Penn versus current welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre.
“Rush” first fought “The Prodigy” back at UFC 58 in 2006. The two battled back-and-forth in a very close fight that ultimately ended in a split-decision - one hotly contested by Penn and his followers ever since. Now he finally has his rematch - and a chance to settle the score.
- UFC DUBLIN: FRANKLIN/HENDO & SHOGUN/COLEMAN
i know it's been posted but his time it's official
The Ultimate Fighting Championship has officially announced a return to Ireland on Jan 17, but this time they will be traveling to Dublin for the first time. Former middleweight champion, Rich “Ace” Franklin stays put at 205lbs to face Dan Henderson in a tough light heavyweight showdown as the main event.
Also on the card will be former top light heavyweight stand-out, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua moving up to heavyweight for the night to get a rematch with Mark “The Hammer” Coleman, who defeated Rua while the two were in Pride a few years ago.
Josh Grispi vs Diego Nunes WEC 37 fight likely Dec. 3
Josh “The Fluke” Grispi (9-1) will face off against Brazilian Diego Nunes (10-2) in a featherweight bout on the WEC 37 card at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, on December 3, according to InTheGuard.tv.
“The Fluke” is currently riding a seven-fight win streak, including his most recent first round destruction of Micah Miller at WEC 35. In fact, each of his nine career wins have been ended in the first frame (five by (T)KO and four by submission).
The Boston area fighter is among the WEC’s youngest and brightest up-and-coming stars. At only 19 years old he’s already developed into a very dangerous mixed martial artist and he still has a world of potential in front of him.
This will be his third fight in the WEC cage. He previously defeated Mark Hominick with a first round rear naked choke at WEC 32 and Miller at WEC 35 by technical knockout.
Affliction Foiled Again By UFC?
At first it might not seem that way, but it seems that UFC announcing UFC 93 in Ireland on January 17 was another preemptive strike against Affliction. Although they hadn't announced it yet, it's said that 1/17 was the date Affliction/Golden Boy was targeting for their MMA/boxing show in Anaheim with Fedor headlining.
Inside the Numbers: Who Draws On PPV?
The charts below break down the relative drawing power of each fighter in comparison to the average card with out them. These numbers cover PPV’s since the beginning of 2006, which for all intents and purposes marks the beginning of the modern era of the UFC on PPV. It was during this time period that the organization was first able to fully realize the benefits of their success with The Ultimate Fighter.
Medical beat: Do MMA fans want a sport -- or sanctioned street fight?
I write articles about sports from a medical perspective. I have been described as "a passionate fan that just happens to be a doctor." I like this description and find it to be reasonably accurate.
I am not trying to preach to anyone or act as some sort of "moral authority." I am not the all-knowing definitive voice of anything. I aspire to use my training/knowledge, professional (and personal) experience and humor to offer a fresh perspective.
Do the hardcore fans want MMA to be a sport or sanctioned street fight?
AFL loans out LaRosa, Modafferi and Assuncao for Nov. 8 Chicago event
As part of what it calls its "Affiliate Promoters Program," the American Fight League has loaned top female fighter Tara LaRosa (15-1), opponent Roxanne Modafferi (12-4) and notable featherweight Raphael Assuncao (11-1) to the Illinois-based Ironheart Crown organization.
The three competitors will compete on the Nov. 8 "Ironheart Crown XII: Resurrection" card.
The event, which features a headline bout of UFC veteran Gideon Ray (15-9-1) vs. Juan Magana (6-0), takes place at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago.
The Kentucky-based AFL has made some waves this year with high-profile signings of LaRosa, former WWE star Bobby Lashley and a slew of UFC veterans, including Mike Van Arsdale, Dan Christison, Junior Assuncao and others. The AFL has also been in negotiations with former UFC champion and top free agent Tito Ortiz.
Sobral: Ortiz is still my dream fight
After defeating Mike Whitehead at the last Affliction show, Renato “Babalu” Sobral made it very clear who he wanted to fight next. He publicly stated that Tito Ortiz is his dream fight.
Ortiz appeared destined to sign with Affliction after finally parting ways with the UFC. However, to this day, Ortiz and Affliction have not come to terms on a contract. Sobral has still not wavered on a potential match-up.
“That is my dream fight,” said Sobral, “I’d fight him for free. I’d whip that ass for free.”
Sobral and Ortiz undoubtedly had multiple opportunities to get to know each other. They both fought in the UFC for many years. Apparently, that time didn’t go very well.
“I don’t like his attitude,” said Sobral, “it would be awesome to fight him.”
Benji Radach not happy with the UFC
EliteXC newcomer Benji Radach will be fighting this Saturday during CBS’ “Saturday Night Fights” for the first time since losing in the finals of the IFL middleweight Grand Prix Finals to Matt Horwich last Dec. 29.
Radach was the odds-on favorite to become the first-ever IFL middleweight champion in that fight and a victory would have given him a perfect 6-0 record in 2007. Burned out from competing six times in one year, Radach’s body was depleted and he was not able to perform to the best of his ability.
There still was a silver lining coming out of the loss in that Radach still posted an impressive 5-1 record following a three-year hiatus from competitive MMA due to a multitude of injuries.
Due to the demise of the IFL, Radach never was able to get a second shot at claiming the title. He become a free agent two months ago and spoke with a number of suitors before signing a multi-fight deal with EliteXC.
UFC and Affliction Play Chicken
In the last few days, news leaked out of a potential January 17th UFC show in Dublin.
Rumors have already started flying about fights for the show, and while fighters have been approached about participating on the card, the show is not confirmed. It is yet to be confirmed because the whole purpose of the show is to counter program Affliction in January. At the same time, Affliction is still yet to finalize a date because they do not want to be counter-programmed by the UFC.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. They could leak a fake date and then reschedule for later, but then the UFC could do the same thing. The longer they wait, the less time there is to promote the show. Frankly, I think the competition lead to a lot more press coverage for the show in July, and I'm still not convinced one way or the other whether it hurt or helped Affliction in the end.
Affliction should just pick a date and start promoting it. Waiting longer does them no favors. I think it is a mistake for the UFC to counter them at this point, the story of UFC vs. Golden Boy will get a lot of press, and probably bring more attention to the Affliction show than it would otherwise get.
Women's MMA is Ready for Its Closeup
As previously blogged by Mike Fagan, the media is paying increasing attention to women's MMA. The latest example is a cover story in Minneapolis City Pages.
It's a long article, so here are the highlights:
EliteXC considering all-female card:
"We're looking into having two divisions. And we hope to keep bringing in top-level talent to fill our rosters," says Jeremy Lapin, head of EliteXC fight operations. "We're actually looking into having an all-female card in the future."
Rosenthal on Kim Couture fight:
"I didn't catch flak for the fight and some complimented me for letting the fight happen," Rosenthal says. "Kim Couture even complimented me by saying I had the sack to let it keep going."
Gina Carano on cutting weight with her opponent:
"Kaitlin is such a sweetie," Carano would say later. "We actually cut weight together in the sauna before the fight. She's still young and is going to become a great fighter."
Smack talk about Gina leading up to this Saturday's fight on CBS:
People have made much about Kobald's upcoming fight against Carano on CBS this Saturday. Kobald has been quoted to the effect that she plans on ******* Carano's shit up. "Right now it's the Gina Carano league and her opponents," Kobald says of EliteXC.
The Case Against TUF's "Six Figure Contract"
The six-figure contract is nothing more than a slick piece of marketing; its original incarnation was as a nine-fight deal that required three full years of service to earn $300,000, assuming you could go undefeated over the course of the contract. Let’s also not forget the contract is not guaranteed, which means you’re always a couple of losses away from being shown the door.
Considering the value of your average “The Ultimate Fighter” winner to the UFC, it becomes rather obvious the promotion preys on the desperation of fighters who would practically sell their souls to get their foot in the door.
As the nature of the six-figure contract has become more publicized, however, many top prospects have come to realize that their future does not rely on allowing themselves to be manipulated into becoming cash cows on the cheap.
Perhaps the most notable example is Brandon Vera, who refused to sign on the dotted line when offered a spot on TUF because he felt the contract contestants must sign was simply unfair. You’d think the perpetually vindictive White would have made sure Vera got his comeuppance by joining the UFC’s blacklist, but a funny thing happened along the way to banishing the gifted light heavyweight. Knowing it could ill afford to lose a charismatic and talented prospect like Vera to another promotion, the UFC signed him. He made $200,000 in a unanimous decision win over Reese Andy in his seventh fight inside the Octagon in July. Even more staggering, Vera pocketed more in his last three fights -- he lost two of the three -- than a TUF winner would make even if the winner went undefeated over the entire life of his initial contract.
It makes more sense for blue-chip prospects to negotiate a three-fight UFC contract that pays them less than TUF winners initially but leaves the door open for future.
Kelly Kobald: "I’m going to be the pretty one leaving the cage."
Apparently Kelly Kobald sees her fight against Gina Carano Saturday as being a "2 pretty women enter, 1 pretty woman leaves" deal. Kobald says in her words that she plans on hitting Gina with the "ugly stick" durign Saturday's fight as well as finishing her in the 1st or 2nd round.
Note: Link contains some bad words.