Greg Jackson: The Swamp Fox of MMA
"I love the mist coming off the trees," Greg Jackson says staring at the early morning fog enshrouding the Georgia pine. "It reminds me of Francis Marion." Just the fact that he knows who Francis "The Swamp Fox" Marion is turns my head. I'm an Army officer who sees the world through historical blunders and tactical victories, so Jackson is treading on my turf. Like he cares. Shocking people has become a hobby of his and he'd just pulled off his biggest surprise party the night prior when Rashad Evans knocked Chuck Liddell off the ‘top ten light heavyweights in the world' list. I've had a relationship with Jackson for over a year, but like the rest of the world, I'm learning that he has a knack for unpredictability; a facet that reinforces his nearly mythical status.
It's roughly eight o'clock in the morning and we've just finished an hour-long workout with Delta Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment at Fort Stewart, Georgia. The soldiers catch their breath and cool down, but Jackson, covered in grass and sweat, is amped. "I can't think of a better way to start the day," he tells the troops. His days immediately after a stressful event like UFC 88 should be reserved for decompressing and relaxation, but instead he's on a road trip with me to spend a couple of days with soldiers in the muggy southern heat. That doesn't stop the MMA world from trying to find him despite the poor cell phone coverage.
DANZIG SEES GUIDA AS KEY TO TOP LIGHTWEIGHTS
With the recent success of both Forrest Griffin and Rashad Evans, “The Ultimate Fighter” has been proven a successful building ground for future champions. The winner of Season 6, Mac Danzig, is hopeful to keep that formula alive. His next step up the lightweight ladder is Wednesday night against Clay Guida.
In his first fight out since the show, Danzig put away Brazilian Jiu-jitsu ace Mark Bocek at UFC 74 in Montreal, but following the fight he was forced to take some time off with a knee injury.
Coming into the fight with Guida, the former Pittsburgh native says he is 100 percent healthy and ready to compete.
“The knee’s good going into the fight,” Danzig said during an appearance on MMAWeekly Radio. “I could stand to have a little bit more range of motion with it. It’s still not at 100 percent range of motion wise, but there’s no more pain or anything.”
In a previous interview discussing his opponent, Danzig had been quoted as calling Guida a “gatekeeper,” but the Xtreme Couture team member wants everyone, including Guida, to know that it was not meant as an insult to him at all.
WEC CHAMP MIGUEL TORRES DEFENDS IN DECEMBER
Top ranked bantamweight Miguel Torres is gearing up to defend his World Extreme Cagefighting title in December, and while his opponent has yet to be named, he expects it to be undefeated Manny "The Mangler" Tapia.
"I fight Dec. 3. I don't know who I'm going to fight yet, but I'm going to fight whoever they bring to me," Torres told MMAWeekly.com. "I don't know the venue. I think it might be in Vegas."
While he will fight whomever the WEC lines up, he has his sights set on Tapia. "Like I said, I'm down to fight whoever they have in my weight class. I think Manny Tapia will be an exciting fight because he'll want to bang the whole time. Brian Bowles too, is very explosive standing up and has a good ground game. But I'm hoping to fight anybody," said Torres.
"They have a long list of guys for me to fight, but I think the guy next in line is going to be Manny Tapia. I think him first and then after that, whoever."
Guillard Arrested on Drug Probation Violation
UFC lightweight contender Melvin Guillard was arrested Aug. 13 in Houston for violating probation on a 2007 drug charge, a Harris County deputy told Sherdog.com.
The 25-year-old New Orleans native is in custody at the Harris County jail in Houston, the deputy said last Thursday, and will be released to a drug treatment facility as soon as space becomes available per the terms of his recently amended probation.
Same old Melvin.
Mac Danzig: ‘I’m going for that first round finish’ of Clay Guida at UFC Fight Night 15
“Clay is one of the coolest people I’ve met in the fight game. One of the things that makes him dangerous isn’t necessarily his skills, but his intensity and heart. He’s constantly moving forward and has a good work ethic. He goes for the whole fifteen minutes … I know that I’m going to win. I think I have an advantage in training with guys who, skill-wise, are better than Clay. I know what he’s going to bring to the table. I just have to work on stopping him and controlling the pace. The best-case scenario: I end it in the first round. I’m not going to say how, but I’m going for that first round finish.”
Season six winner of The Ultimate Fighter, Mac Danzig, talks about his upcoming UFC Fight Night 15 co-main event bout against Clay Guida at the Omaha Civic Auditorium in Omaha, Neb., on September 17. Danzig has not lost since he joined the promotion, winning his last two fights via submission against Tommy Speer and Mark Bocek, respectively. He has 10 first round finishes in 23 professional fights.
“Young Guns III” Forced to End Early
A broken cage door forced the California State Athletic Commission to abruptly shut down the remainder of Strikeforce’s “Young Guns III” show last night in San Jose due to an official ruling preventing the event to continue with a damaged fighting structure.
Shortly after Chris Bostick scored a first-round submission of Jorge Interiano, ringside officials discovered that the latch locking the cage door had broke. A brief intermission was instituted in order to allow Strikeforce workers the opportunity to fix the problem, but their attempts were unsuccessful.
Oddly enough, this isn’t the first time that Strikeforce has experienced a problem with their cage. Bobby Southworth‘s June 2006 bout against James Irvin was ruled a no-contest after a Southworth takedown attempt inadvertently drove both fighters through the cage.
Affliction's Future Hinges on Main Events
I remain unconvinced Affliction's new joint promotion with Golden Boy Promotions will end in success. However, the bottom line is that Affliction had to make a major change. Financial reality hit after their first show, and they found themselves in a position where they could not afford to lose that much again, but had no way to avoid losing that much again. They deserve credit for making a major change this early. Most promotions have waited too long, lost too much, and fell by the wayside before they could make changes.
In fight promotion, it is a universal truth that the main event sells PPV buys. There's a reason UFC 66 did over a million buys and UFC 73 did under 400,000. Similarly, Oscar de la Hoya vs. Floyd Mayweather did over 2 million buys without any fights on the undercard to speak of. If Affliction can promote joint shows with just one big MMA fight and one big boxing fight, they may be able to pull in enough buys on PPV to survive. Besides those two fights, the fights on the undercard don't matter at all, and they need to avoid fights like Matt Lindland vs. Trevor Prangley, which would have cost about $350,000 for nothing in return.
Affliction Co-Promoter Englebrecht Comments on Affliction-Golden Boy Deal
Roy Englebrecht, Affliction’s Promoter of Record for the Affliction Banned and Day Of Reckoning PPV cards, spoke exclusively with MMAPayout.com about the joining of forces between Affliction and Golden Boy:
“I am the only person in this new partnership that has worked for both entities, as the COO for Golden Boy Promotions for its first three years, and as the licensed promoter for Affliction Entertainment and their inaugural MMA show Affliction Banned show.
The Affliction Entertainment bar has been set pretty high after Affliction Banned….a sellout of 13,850 fans and a 2.1 million dollar gate. I feel very privileged to have worked with some great people in Todd Beard, Tom Atencio, Rick Kulis, Michael Cohen, Eric Foss and Clif Chason in making this first show happen. What was done by a small number of people (7), in a small amount of time (60 days), with the awesome results achieved, may never happen again!
No one captain’s a ship better than Richard Schaefer at Golden Boy Promotions, so I am confident that this partnership will come out of the gate strong and be innovative in what they will do with this new combative sports concept.
It would be my pleasure to continue to have a relationship with them.”
Despite Affliction postponement, Jay Hieron still looking to fight Oct. 11
Jay Hieron, the final reigning welterweight champion of the IFL, had been slated to debut for his new fighting home of Affliction during it’s “Day of Reckoning” pay-per-view event scheduled for Oct. 11 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. But like many other fighters, Hieron learned last week that the card would not be taking place as scheduled and that the promotion’s second show is now slated for January 17 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.
Despite the setback, Hieron has no regrets about his decision to sign with Affliction despite offers from the UFC, WEC, EliteXC, and Strikeforce, and is still working on competing on Oct. 11 at the Thomas & Mack anyway.
During an exclusive interview with FiveOuncesOfPain.com, Hieron revealed that he’s in talks with another promotion to fight on that same date.
JAMES MCSWEENEY SCORES FX3 HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE
READING, England – FX3 9: Relentless played out once again to a packed house at the Rivermead Complex, where former K-1 fighter James McSweeney lifted the vacant FX3 heavyweight title in an entertaining back and forth battle with Chris Cooper.
Both fighters started out strong firing on all cylinders, but neither landing much damage. McSweeney has always been rangy with his knees and tried to implement them into his game as much as possible. Cooper had obviously studied his adversary well and knew what he had on offer, so he set about throwing crosses and hooks as a response to every knee attack catching McSweeney flush on occasion and prompting him to work for the takedown. He scored it, but it wasn’t long before Cooper was back out to the feet.
And so they engaged again, McSweeney looking for the knees and Cooper looking for the shoot. He went for a single, but was deflected with a fast sprawl. Transitioning fast, McSweeney piloted round to take his back and sink the hooks in, bypassing the hunt for a read naked choke in order to pound away at the side of his opponent’s head. At 3:09 into the round, referee Grant Waterman steps in to halt the bout.
Akiyama Selects Tonooka for DREAM.6 Bout
Top-ranked middleweight Yoshihiro Akiyama has officially been added to the card for DREAM.6, which will take place on September 23 at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan. Akiyama will be facing karate stylist Masanori Tonooka.
DREAM officials stated at a press conference on Thursday that they had given Akiyama a list of three potential opponents for him to choose from, but his management team didn’t respond right away.
The judo expert fought for the first time this year on July 21, submitting professional wrestler Katsuyori Shibata in a bout that turned out to be tougher than expected. Tonooka is 1-1 thus far in his professional career. After falling in his debut against Young Choi at a K-1 Hero’s show last October, Tonooka bounced back to score a first-round knockout of Hidehira Yabu at DEEP’s 36th Impact show in July.
“Cigano” confident for Werdum fight
Junior Cigano’s job in his UFC debut is not one fo the most easy. The fighter from Minotauro Team will face at UFC 90 the BJJ World Champion and ADCC champion, Fabrício Werdum, that has in his history great fights in UFC and Pride. “It could be a little late to debut in Ultimate and face a guy like Werdum, but I have all the conditions to beat him. I train with one of the best, Rodrigo Nogueira, and he said I can defeat him, so I’m pretty confidence that I can put him down”, said Cigano, that is training hard at Minotauro Team.
With seven fights and only one loss in MMA, Junior is developing his Wrestling and Muay Thai to keep this fight standing up and get another victory. “I hope keep this fight stand. I watched some of his fights with Minotauro and he gave me some tips”, said Cigano. With a victory against Werdum, the fighter guarantees that wouldn’t face his friend, the interim UFC heavyweight champion. “It’s impossible to face my master. As long as he keeps the belt, I’ll be his guardian. To face him, people will have to beat me first”, guarantees.
Anderson Silva: “Gracie’s time is past”
Pointed as the best pound for pound MMA fighter of the world, Anderson Silva commented the fight between Rousimar Palhares and Dan Henderson, that ended with the unanimous decision victory for the former Pride champion. “I didn’t see the fight, but everybody said that Den Henderson was very superior, as I was expecting. Toquinho (Palhares) is very young, has a lot of thing to go through in the sport and it was a good experience”, said the UFC middleweight champion, that doesn’t believe that only BJJ can bring the fighter to victory in the octagon.
“You have to train everything… People are wrong about MMA. The time when the Gracie’s supremacy was total, when Jiu-Jitsu was the most important, but Gracie’s time is past. That thing about the weak fights the strongest, everybody knows something, avoid the ground, defend a leg-lock, nobody is fool nowadays”, analyzed Anderson. “But who is Andeson Silva to say about it, it happens… It could be the opposite, he could have catch his foot and finish him, but isn’t easy, that guy needs to be respected and Toquinho hasn’t much experience to fight him”, said Anderson to TATAME.com.
Wamma, Bamma, No Thank You Ma’ama (Parts 1&2)
WAMMA, BAMMA, NO THANK YOU MA’AMA
A couple of weeks back, I received (second hand, mind you) a release from an organization called WAMMA (World Alliance of Mixed Martial Arts) trumpeting their new ratings for the month of August. This crew, which is headed up by s former FBI agent, is, I suppose, is trying to establish itself as accepted authority of sorts on ratings and titles, along the lines of what Ring Magazine has been trying to re-establish for itself (with mixed results - but that’s a LONG story) in the world of boxing.
On balance, I think the WAMMA ratings are a nice thing. They should actually be kind of a harmless thing. They give another perspective on who the best fighters in each weight division are, especially since the UFC does not issue official rankings. But I’m not sure you want to get carried away with all this. Remember, it’s just one perspective among many, many perspectives. You also have ratings made available by Sherdog and other mixed martial arts publications, and could probably get dozens and dozens of ratings lists from people if you just asked them for it.
I just hope WAMMA doesn’t get crazy and start thinking it is going to install itself as “official” ratings for the entire sport, by attempting to find an impressionable ear somewhere in the Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC) to push this through as another of those “innovative” ideas, or worse yet, as part of a legislative mandate through some federal bill. After all, there are many ABC members who DO impressions; they are sometimes very good at imitating real, live public servants.
As ridiculous as this concept may sound to you, there have been half-hearted attempts to do it in boxing. And there is a certain precedent as well, because even though many boxing people (including most regulators themselves) don’t seem to be aware of it, sanctioning bodies like the WBA and WBC started out as nothing more than associations between boxing commissions.
But as this point, an official national ranking of mixed martial arts fighters would REALLY be going too far. Can you imagine - the United States government rating fighters?
Next thing you know, somebody will be looking to the government to subsidize losing pay-per-view ventures or rescue failing promoters, the way that they are bailing out Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.
This all sounds pretty trite, and was meant that way, until I found out that WAMMA made a presentation at the latest ABC meeting that was held in Montreal. I can’t think of any reason they may have been there other than to get their foot in the door as a way of eventually garnering some sort of recognition by the ABC. You can not forget that the ABC has for years granted an exclusive “record keeping” license to one company in boxing, and is doing that with another group for MMA. It may not seem inconceivable to some that if they are controlling that kind of thing they would do the same for ratings that would be “recognized” by every jurisdiction.
The standard has been set for giving such license to a private business, as has been done with Fight Fax, the record-keepers in boxing, and that company has felt a certain amount of entitlement toward such exclusivity ever since, with opportunistic regulators like Greg Sirb of Pennsylvania running interference for them along the way. The reasons for that became clearer over time, especially when it was revealed that in John McCain’s bill to take over federal oversight of boxing there was the provision for a big chunk of taxpayer dollars to subsidize the keeping of fighters records and medical records. Gee, why not ratings? Remember, WAMMA has positioned itself as a commercial business.
Yes, a commercial business. And that’s what starts to worry me, within this particular context, as you’ll find out in Part Two of this mini-series.
Boxing and MMA is like oil and water
After having to reschedule their second MMA event from October 11th to January of 2009, Affliction promised the MMA public a breathtaking, earth-shattering announcement that would forever alter the course of the fight industry. This announcement would take place at a press conference featuring Ricky Hatton to hype up his next boxing fight. Rumors were abound that Affliction finally inked a partnership with Golden Boy Promotions.
So on Saturday night, we were treated to Hatton no-showing his own press conference (illness was used as the reason for the no-show) and Affliction announcing that they would promotion four fighting events with Golden Boy Promotions in 2009. The headline from this press conference on AP and other news agencies revolved around the fact that Oscar De La Hoya was finally getting into the MMA business.
The real headline, of course, is that Affliction is now abandoning their originaly MMA business model in hopes of promoting hybrid fight shows featuring both boxing and MMA matches.
What a lousy concept.
Babalu Undergoes Knee Surgery, Eyes November Return
Renato “Babalu” Sobral has undergone successful surgery on his injured knee which on Wednesday knocked him out of his “Strikeforce at the Mansion 2? bout against Anthony Ruiz.
The former UFC 205-pound contender could return to action by as early as November.
Sobral’s manager, Richard Wilner, confirmed the developments with MMA Junkie on Thursday.
Following a mid-August injury Babalu last week underwent arthroscopic surgery on his knee to repair a medial meniscus tear.
Strikeforce continues to look for a replacement for Sobral to take on Ruiz on the September 20th card.
The all-time TUF Top 10
While there are cynics that like to downplay the relevance and importance of the UFC and Spike TV's hit reality television series The Ultimate Fighter, Rashad Evans' upset knockout of Chuck Liddell last weekend during the main event of UFC 88 has proved the show's impact on the sport undeniable.
While not yet official, it's expected that in December during New Year's Eve weekend, Forrest Griffin will defend his UFC light heavyweight title vs. Evans. Once the bout is finalized, it will mean that the light heavyweight winner from Season 1 of TUF will be taking on the show's Season 2 heavyweight winner in the main event of the biggest show of the year with arguably the sport's most prestigious title at stake.
It doesn't get any thicker than that.
There still might be a pocket full of skeptics who claim that many of the show's top graduates are nothing more than "manufactured reality TV stars," but that argument seemingly weakens with each fight card that passes. The argument that the show has manufactured some fighters might have some validity, but the vast majority who have appeared on the show were already legitimate guys who were only lacking exposure.
HBO Unhappy With Golden Boy/Affliction
I just got off the phone with a friend of mine over at HBO (who will remain anonymous) and they want nothing to do with "bastardizing" (as he put it) their Boxing product.
It seems Golden Boy offered the Arlovski/Barnett fight on the under card of Hopkins/Pavlik... but HBO rejected the idea.
We also discussed the end game:
If Golden Boy is successful what then? You just converted another fan pool for the UFC. The casual UFC fan will not order these mixed boxing/MMA cards who wouldn't already... so the best case scenario for Golden Boy is to convert their boxing fans into MMA fans.
Is Golden Boy taking a risk may bite them in the ass? It seems HBO is not.
If you work the numbers and realize that in order to be successful you would have to convert a good portion of the boxing fans into MMA fans... that opens up alot of variables that can blow up in your face - for example: right now boxing ppv's are hurt by counter programming via other boxing events on other networks...
This would create a situation where counter programming by other MMA events can then have a similar effect.
For HBO It would be like playing chess against 2 players where you only have one set while the other 2 each have their own... how can you conceivably protect your king?