Snapshot of the Day: Rampage's New Home
The legally embroiled Quinton "Rampage" Jackson formally confirmed his split from trainer/manager Juanito Ibarra today, and announced that he will now train with and be managed exclusively by Liverpool, England's Wolfslair. UK site Fighters Only broke the news.
According to multiple reports, it's now all but confirmed that Jackson will face Mauricio "Shogun" Rua at UFC 91 in Portland, OR, on November 15th.
Quinton Jackson Likely To Fight At UFC 91
Despite being currently entangled in the legal system, Quinton Jackson is forging on with his mixed martial arts career.
After losing the title at UFC 86 via a unanimous, but controversial, judges decision, Jackson will likely grace the UFC’s first Northwestern card in Portland, Ore. at UFC 91. No opponent has been named for the embattled former champ, but speculation has named Mauricio “Shogun” Rua as a possible draw. Jackson badly lost to Rua in his latter days with the Pride Fighting Championships, falling to strikes in the first round of their 2005 fight. The news comes from a report by Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports after speaking with UFC president Dana White.
Jackson on Tuesday was charged with two felonies and four misdemeanors by the Orange County District Attorney’s office for a July 15 hit-and-run incident on the streets of Costa Mesa. If convicted, he could face up to three years in prison. A felony charge related to a female victim of the incident never materialized.
Holli Griggs was a passenger in one of the cars that Jackson sideswiped. Griggs was 16 weeks pregnant with a boy when she miscarried two weeks after the incident. Orange County DA spokeswoman Farrah Emami told MMAWeekly.com that a subsequent investigation of the miscarriage did not implicate Jackson.
Tyson Griffin not considering rematch with WEC champion Urijah Faber
Despite recent rumors to the contrary, UFC lightweight contender Tyson Griffin (12-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC) is not considering a move to 145 pounds to take on WEC featherweight champion Urijah Faber (21-1 MMA, 6-0 WEC).
In fact, while a guest on a recent edition of TAGG Radio (www.taggradio.com), the official radio partner of MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com), Griffin said the cut wouldn't even be possible
"I'm 180 pounds right now," Griffin said. "There's no way I'm making 145 pounds. Ever. I don't see that happening."
Faber is currently riding a 13-fight win streak. That streak started after Faber's lone career loss -- a Gladiator Challenge bout with Griffin. However after that 2005 contest, Griffin stated he felt he would no longer be capable of making the cut down to 145 pounds.
While fans and media continue to speculate over who could possibly provide a challenge for the dominant "California Kid," Griffin said not to include him in the discussion.
"There's no truth to me moving anywhere," Griffin said. "I've never heard that from anybody. I do not plan on moving in weight class or organization. I'm happy with where I'm at."
Instead, Griffin will continue to focus on his astounding run in the UFC's talent-rich lightweight division.
After a controversial decision loss to Frankie Edgar in February 2007, Griffin has won four straight against some of the sport's best in Clay Guida, Thiago Tavares, Gleison Tibau and Marcus Aurelio. Now the 24-year-old will face former lightweight champion Sean Sherk at October's UFC 90 event.
"They just get tougher and tougher," Griffin said of his opponents. "I definitely don't get a break in competition.
"At the same time, that's what keeps me motivated to train harder and harder. If you have easy fights, it's kind of hard to push yourself. The more you get challenged, the more you challenge yourself in the gym."
Griffin, who faced Faber in just his third career bout -- as well as notable Duane "Bang" Ludwig in his seventh -- isn't complaining about the constant high-level of competition. In fact, the Las Vegas resident wouldn't have it any other way.
"I just think it comes down to the way I am and the way I compete, even before I was part of the UFC," Griffin said. "And as soon as I became a part of [the UFC], I made sure my manager told them straight up and down I want to fight stiff competition. The more challenges I have the better."
Brett Rogers/Team Bison Fire Shots at Kimbo Slice, Ken Shamrock
There's some pretty hilarious stuff said here.
It's not clear who penned the memo, but I suspect Rogers at a minimum proof read the piece or at least gave it the thumbs up. Either way, it's a purposefully incendiary message that I suspect will only heat up the battle between Slice and Rogers; something that can be utilized should an EliteXC PPV ever come to fruition. Notable quote:
As for Oct 4th; that was our spot. Shamrock with his name and giant ego butted in line to get a slice of Kevin. At 103 years of age Ken usurped our rightful place against the YouTube champ. Our sincerest hope is that Ken whips Kimbo and then we can finally euthanize the "World’s Most Dangerous Man" and relegate him to some MMA dinosaur exhibit. Maybe taxidermy him and Severn and place them on a rotating pedestal where they can endless circle each other.
If Ken proves to be more sham then rock and Fergi beats him, then the Slice hype grows even greater. Dude is already more myth then Sasquatch, Chupacabra and a ******* unicorn combined. Kevin is the black Yeti.
Caught between a Shamrock and a hard place, Kevin has chosen the old over the new; the past over the future. But Fergi… the hard place is coming. By putting us off, making us wait will only make matters worse. There is nothing business about it anymore. Kimbo made it a point to go frontin’ to our boys at Big Black. But that street thug B.S. might work well with the fan bois and the Internet dorks who think your street cred means something; but Son… Brett comes from Cabrini Green; the worst 12 blocks of America. Compared to that your street is Sesame Street. So you can say it is very personal between Brett and Fergi. So go ahead and make us wait while you fight Tank and Shamrock. Hell, why not fight Hackney, Harold Howard, Fred Ettish and the rest of Jurassic MMA? And while your shuckin’ and duckin’ we will be hustlin’ and muscilin’ and when the bell finally tolls the only real question left is … do you wake up looking at canvas or arena lights?
EliteXC should actually be thankful that Brett Rogers is willing to create enough drama around this situation without their help. If Kimbo is going to eventually lose to Rogers as the Rogers camp predicts, it's better to do so to a heated and known enemy than a anonymous yet talented opponent. I don't think the same heat will carry over should Shamrock win, but Rogers' bonus shots at Shamrock certainly can't hurt.
The only question is what sort of post-fight antics can we expect should Slice win and Rogers enter the cage for the post-fight interview? If it's as bad as the Noons vs. Diaz dust up, I'll live. If it turns into something as violent as the Source Awards, I will have quite a bit to say.
Southworth Injury Update, Could Return In '08
Strikeforce executive Mike Aframowitz has revealed that SF Light Heavyweight Champion Bobby Southworth has a potentially torn ACL and meniscus suffered during training last week, but left the door open to Southworth returning before the end of the year. The injuries caused Southworth's upcoming title defense against Renato Sobral to be scrapped.
WEC Promises Garcia Shot At Faber If He Beats Pulver
Should all go according to plan as he's been told, meaning he beats Jens Pulver and Urijah Faber beats Mike Brown at WEC 36, Leonard Garcia reportedly would be Faber's next challenger for the WEC Featherweight Title. And Garcia could have home-cage advantage: The fight could be in his native Mexico.
ULTIMATE FIGHTER'S HUTCHERSON TO FACE CROW
Sometimes it can be a good thing to fall through the cracks.
After his experience on the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s third season of “The Ultimate Fighter” television series ended with a loss to Luigi Fioravanti on the series finale in 2006, Solomon Hutcherson faded from the limelight.
Surfacing a year later in smaller shows, Hutcherson has been allowed the opportunity to sharpen his skills and become a true MMA veteran in the process without the pressures of performing on a Pay-Per-View stage.
EDDIE ALVAREZ, "I'M GOING TO GET MY DAY"
Eddie Alvarez entered the Dream 2008 Lightweight Grand Prix as a dark horse to win the star-studded tournament. After defeating Andre Amade, Joachim Hansen and Tatsuya Kawajiri, he earned his spot in the finals, but had to withdraw due to cut suffered in the semi-final bout.
The spectators that filled the Osaka Castle Hall in Osaka, Japan on July 21 witnessed a “Fight of the Year” candidate when Alvarez and Kawajiri slugged it out for seven and a half minutes to determine who would advance to the finals to take on favorite Shinya Aoki, who had defeated Caol Uno in the previous fight on the card.
"Once we felt each other’s power, and we hit each other, it just became mayhem," the Philadelphia fighter told MMAWeekly.com about the match with Kawajiri.
Alvarez received a cut under his right eye early in the fight, and the action was stopped to check the laceration at a time when Alvarez seemingly had Kawajiri hurt and fatigued. Asked about the decision to check the cut at that time, he replied, "The only thing I thought was they were trying to give Kawajiri time to get his breath back.
"It was part of my gameplan going in. He's 30 years old. I'm 24. My conditioning compared to most of the fighters out there, that's where I win fights," stated the Top 5 ranked lightweight. "I'm able to attack and keep coming. That's a big advantage of mine and they were taking that away from me by giving him his breath back.
"I kept arguing with the referee while I was in the corner, saying, 'I'm okay. I'm okay.' Let me back out," he added. "I don't know if that was more about them checking a cut or giving him some air."
Fifty seconds later, the fight resumed. And almost immediately Kawajiri stunned Alvarez with a punch that sent him to the canvas, swaying the momentum of the fight. Alvarez soon found himself mounted, but was able to scramble to his feet where he'd eventually knock his opponent down and finish him on the ground with strikes.
In a tournament format where you compete more than once in the same night, victory celebrations are short lived and the focus quickly shifts to resting, re-hydrating and preparing for the next fight. Alvarez did just that.
"I went to the back, I iced up, everything that we had practiced for the last six weeks before that night. I went through these trials plenty of times, so I did it just like I did it in practice," explained Alvarez. "I went to the back. I started icing up, massaging. I took my reload that I had. It's like carbohydrates and protein. I felt great. Within like 15 or 20 minutes, I felt fully recovered. I was icing up and all we had to do was keep that eye open.
"The doctors were checking it and everything seemed positive. Every time they came back to check it they seemed pretty positive, so I was pretty excited to be able to finish this up. Finally they sent in like seven different doctors. They all checked me. I passed all of their tests. They asked me how many fingers do I have up and whatnot. I passed everything as far as I was concerned."
"Then, they all got in a big huddle. I was like, 'what the hell is going on here? Can someone interpret, or let me know what's going on?'" continued the lightweight contender. "Finally the matchmaker came to me and was like, they think if you go back out and get hit you're going to go blind. They may even be concerned about you going blind right now, like before you even go out there. On the side of the white part of my eye, there was a blood bubble coming off of my eye, like protruding off of my eyeball. They were concerned about that busting and me having vision problems."
"I understand keeping my safety in mind, but I asked the guy, 'is it anything 100,000 dollars can't fix?' I wanted that money, man. He looked at me and said, 'seriously, I can't let you go back out there.' I just started crying like a girl. I couldn't deal with it. I worked so hard," added the disappointed fighter.
Alvarez tries to stay positive when looking back at the situation and was satisfied with his performance. "I'm not disappointed in anything that I did that night," stated the former Bodog welterweight titleholder. "The only thing I'm mad about and upset about is that I didn't get the big check that I wanted... I could have used that money. I seriously could have used that money. Other than that, I'm not disappointed about anything I did. Everything that was in my control I worked hard for, I controlled.
"The situation sucked because everything that I could control that night, like my performance and getting the knockout and everything, I was happy with. I controlled everything that I was able to, but it was just something that was beyond my control that I'm not used to."
Joachim Hansen replaced Alvarez in the finals and defeated Aoki to win the Grand Prix. With the disappointment behind him, Alvarez looks to the future. "I could have used the money, yes. But I'm still the only undefeated fighter in that tournament and I'm happy with that," he reflected. "My money will come. I'm going to get my day."
Rampage Jackson Trashes Forrest Griffin; Will Return in November
In an interview with Fighters Only Magazine, a UK publication, Rampage Jackson slammed Forrest Griffin:
...Regarding that fight, he says: "I just want my fans to know, I was at my worst, he was at his best - and I still beat him."
Jackson says that when he said [that he got his ass kicked], "I was being sarcastic, because I really could not believe that it went the way it did."
"I'm not a sore loser, shit happens. But I was hoping that Forrest would be a man and come out and say 'you know what, I didn't win that fight,' especially after he watched it."
"...But now, I don't respect him as a man. Because if it was me, I would have said, 'I have to give him a rematch right away, to remove all doubt.'"
I guess this is the beginning of the heat-up to their next fight. if Jackson pleas down his charges to probation and some community service, could we see this fight sooner than later? They sure are desperate for a November main event, but I don't know how willing they are to give Jackson a title shot given everything that just happened.
Kevin Iole interviewed Dana White for a new Yahoo Mailbag piece, and White confirmed that Jackson would return in November, but that they are still looking for an opponent:
But Jackson will fight, likely on the Nov. 15 card in Portland, Ore., and the charges won’t impede him.
“Of course he’ll fight,” White said. “If he was doing drugs, if he had been drunk, if he had gone out there and done what he did because he was pissed off at someone, that would be a completely different story. But he was ill. And in this company, we support our friends and anyone who works for us when they’re ill and have problems. He was ill, the incident occurred, and now he’s fine.
“Rampage feels awful about the woman’s baby, but he had nothing to do with it. And the (traffic incident) occurred because he was very ill and not with him in control of his faculties.”
Iceman Rx: Chuck Liddell vs. Forrest Griffin at UFC 92 (If all goes to plan)
It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world — especially for fans of mixed martial arts.
Who could have ever predicted the career of Chuck Liddell would be sandwiched between two contestants from The Ultimate Fighter (TUF)?
Yet that’s exactly what’s happened to the former light heavyweight champion, who’s had an interesting 2008.
Liddell was originally scheduled to face PRIDE assassin Mauricio Rua at UFC 85 until “Shogun” re-injured his ailing knee and was forced to withdraw.
TUF Season 2 winner and undefeated light heavyweight Rashad Evans answered the call to replace Rua, but this time it was Liddell who canceled after a devastating hamstring injury.
Now fully healed, Chuck is set to honor his commitment by battling Rashad Evans at UFC 88 at the Philips Arena in Atlanta, Ga., on Saturday, September 6.
At that time of the announcement (June), it was sort of anti-climatic. After all, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson was still the 205-pound champion. Defeating Evans meant a possible autumn superfight against Shogun Rua and not the title shot for which he was hoping.
But boy have things changed since then.
Jackson was narrowly defeated by TUF Season 1 winner Forrest Griffin at UFC 86 and spent some time after the fight ranting and raving on the highway like Dr. Miles Bennell.
And Shogun somehow ended up bypassing Liddell altogether and could go straight to a Jackson rematch (from their PRIDE days) in November/December. That’s assuming he can make it that long without his knee folding up like George Jetson’s car.
So where does that leave the Iceman? In line for a title shot against Forrest Griffin at UFC 92, according to his nutrition company Iceman Rx.
Unless of course “Sugar” Rashad Evans has anything to say about it.
The Psychology of Fighting
Former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton Jackson’s recent hit-and-run encounter with the law reminded fans that training and competing are only two-thirds of the mixed martial arts equation. Jackson was arrested just 10 days after he relinquished his 205-pound title in a unanimous decision defeat to Forrest Griffin at UFC 86. The 30-year-old has since been charged with two felonies and could spend up to three years in jail.
“He was kind of bummed about the [Griffin fight],” said friend and one-time World Extreme Cagefighting lightweight titleholder “Razor” Rob McCullough. “He hadn’t slept. That alone will make someone act a little weird.”
Disappointment often leads to self blame, as fighters become overwhelmed by the feeling they have let down trainers, training partners, family, friends and fans. It anchors their perceived professional and personal failures.
“You can’t be embarrassed to be a warrior,” McCullough said, reflecting on his own high-profile loss to Jamie Varner earlier this year. “Win or lose.”
All celebrities walk a tightrope in the public eye, and professional athletes are no different. MMA fighters are slowly entering mainstream circles and some, like Jackson, have even started earning their Hollywood stripes. With greater fame comes the risk of greater falls.
Dana White on Kimbo Slice vs Ken Shamrock
"Another ******* joke from Gary Shaw. This ****** is so clueless that it's laughable. First he thought we protected our guys, which is bullshit. Then he gave us shit for matching up Brock against Frank Mir. Which would he rather us do? Obviously he's in favor of protecting guys since Kimbo doesn't seem to be fighting a good fighter anytime soon. Bo Cantrell? Who the **** is Bo Cantrell? Tank Abbott? He was never that good, he just looked tough and always got his ass kicked. Now Ken Shamrock? When is Kimbo going to fight a guy who was relevant past 1998? Tito Ortiz, who sucks, destroyed Ken Shamrock three times. It's clear that Gary is going to milk his YouTube cash cow for all he's worth but true fans know that Kimbo is a joke and he would get destroyed against any UFC Heavyweight. Maybe that moron Ken Shamrock will expose Kimbo and he'll go back to fighting guys at the local Burger King. Gary Shaw and his 3rd rate promotion have no ******* credibility."
Joe Lauzon "I'm not going to let any fight slip by"
In a relatively short period, 24-year-old Joe "J-Lau" Lauzon has gone from computer geek to starring on The Ultimate Fighter 5 television reality show, upsetting a former world mixed-martial-arts champ, and then headlining UFC Fight Night 13. Not too shabby for the nerd-looking but fearless fighting lightweight contender who has a Bachelor's degree in computer networking from Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston
Liddell changes his focus from title to “Rampage”?
Chuck spoke to thesun.co.uk about avenging one of the last losses on his record:
"I want to fight “Rampage” real badly. I actually think I match up very well against him, but I’ve managed to lose to him twice now. But the third fight will not have anything to do with the first two, it will be a fresh start. “Rampage” is the one fight I really want, as much as I want my title back. He’s lost the belt now, so I can’t beat him and win the title back in one fight, but I want to fight him just as bad as when he was champion.”
Speaking on his fight with Rashad Evans, Chuck thinks his unbeaten opponent won’t pose him a big threat:
"Evans is a very different type of challenge because he is very fast, goes for takedowns, and has a mentality to try and take the fight into his comfort zone. I won’t allow him to do that, I’ll pressure him for three rounds if I have to but I think I’ll knock him out. I think I’ll get to him. I have real doubts about his shot. He won’t be able to take me down. He had a hard time taking Michael Bisping down in his last fight, and I’m known for stopping shots.”
Chuck will be fighting Rashad at UFC 88 in Atlanta on September 6th, and on winning the fight, could gain himself a title shot.