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.
UFC May Bring David Loiseau Back To Big Show
After putting together three straight wins, former UFC Middleweight Title contender David "The Crow" Loiseau has found himself back in the sights of UFC match maker Joe Silva.
A source close to the UFC has informed MMANews.com that the company is interested in bringing Loiseau back to the Octagon, possibly in his next fight. There is a possibility that Loiseau may have to take one more fight outside of the UFC depending on schedules and potential match ups, but if all goes well "The Crow" could be back sometime over the next few months.
Shane Carwin Confident of Victory
Shane Carwin will travel to Birmingham, UK to take on Neil Wain at UFC 89: Bisping vs Leben.
Carwin is one of the hottest prospects in the Heavyweight division - and the prospect of fighting away from home does not worry him.
He told UFC.com:
“It’s gonna be his backyard and I know that the fans are gonna be behind him. I’ve been in college situations before where I walked in and got booed, so that’ll probably be nothing any different for me. Sometimes that makes you a little bit more hyped up.”
Rampage: Abdul Mohamed Will Be UFC Champ
Quinton "Rampage" Jackson has moved to the Wolfslair in the UK. At his new camp - he believes he has met a fighter with a big future. In fact, Rampage has even compared Abdul Mohamed to one of the biggest names in the sport.
Rampage told gazettelive.co.uk:
“I call him mini Randy, because he looks like (UFC heavyweight champion) Randy Couture. He will get a UFC contract and he will be champion, all he has to do is believe in himself.
“He is a strong wrestler, he is a hard worker and he has got a strong mind. You can see it with the look in his eye.
“Tell the UFC to look out for mini Randy!”
Can Ken Shamrock Save EliteXC?
Ken Shamrock has been in more matches that have shaped the history of mixed martial arts than any other fighter.
This long and winding road leads to what may be his final exit on Saturday night when Shamrock headlines against Kimbo Slice on CBS in yet another pivotal night in the sport’s history.
A bad prime-time television rating, coming off the heels of poor numbers for a July card, would likely doom Elite XC’s future on the network. And it wouldn’t be a positive as Showtime makes a final decision on whether to purchase the company, which is running low on funds with more than $56 million in losses over the past two years.
“Several times in my career I’ve been put in this position where the company needed a rating or a buy rate and I’ve always come through,” said Shamrock, 44.
Shamrock still has the ability to talk up a fight, but can his body match his mouth? Shamrock says his accumulated injuries, such as knees that couldn’t hold up to the kind of training needed to fight top-level competition at his age, and a shoulder that had to be surgically replaced, are fine and he’s finished a good camp. Those who have trained with him say he’s strong, fast and hits hard.
HBO, WWE Executives Weigh-in on UFC
MMAPayout.com recently did a segment on Inside MMA on the PPV battles between UFC, HBO, and WWE. Multichannel News recently elaborated on this battle for supremacy, with HBO and WWE execs commenting on the situation. At least for the press, both HBO and WWE execs tend to play down the impact that the UFC is having on their business.
HBO Pay-Per-View senior vice president Mark Taffet tends to feel a rising tide is lifting all boats:
“The landscape continues to look bright,” he said, adding that HBO’s pay-per-view boxing set records in 2006 and 2007 with 2008 proceeding apace, while the traditional network’s live events are also faring well. (Boxing tends to draw an older demographic than MMA.)
“There is room for everyone,” said Taffet. “It’s good for pay-per-view — mixed martial arts has just added more consumers to the television set.”
Gegard Mousasi: I'm Fighting Vitor Belfort, Fedor to Fight Josh Barnett Both at Affliction's January Show
Fighter's Only mag breaks the story:
DREAM middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi expects to face Vitor Belfort on Affliction’s next MMA show in January.
Speaking to Fighters Only this week, he revealed that the US organisation wants him to fight the Brazilian, while Red Devil team mate Fedor Emelianenko may face Josh Barnett.
“I’m going to train with Fedor in preparation for Affliction in January,” he said. “I think it is Fedor against Josh Barnett and they want me to fight Vitor Belfort.”
Mousasi is part of the Red Devil International team and he shares a manager with Fedor in the shape of Vadim Finkelstein.
Notice Mousasi said "think" in regards to Fedor vs. Barnett, but it's worth acknowleding in this space. The more important story, though, is that if true Affliction scrapped their Arlovski vs. Barnett fight in favor of bringing Fedor into the fold. Without getting confirmation from Affliction regarding these developments we should take the news with a grain of salt. But if true, this portends a great deal for Arlovski and his future with Affliction as well as Golden Boy's first co-promoted show. Add to that having Mousasi introduced to American fans and we have exciting (though not terribly marketable) developments.
Report: UFC 93 In Ireland On January 17
Although it hasn't been confirmed by UFC yet, there are reports that UFC will return to Ireland for UFC 93 on January 17. The event, to be held at the O2 Arena, could be headlined by Rich Franklin vs. either Chuck Liddell or Maurucio Rua.
Aleksander Calling For Barnett Rematch At Affliction 2
Aleksander Emelianenko is calling for Josh Barnett to be his opponent when he fights for Affliction in January.
The Russian heavyweight spoke to Fighters Only on Saturday when he appeared in Nottingham for the UK leg of the M-1 Challenge tour.
Asked by Fighters Only editor-in-chief Ian ‘The Machine’ Freeman who he wanted to fight next, the Russian heavyweight said: “There is only one choice... Josh Barnett.”
Emelianenko and Barnett have some history, as they have fought each other once before in a PRIDE FC event that took place in 2006.
At first it was Emelianenko that had the edge as he pummelled Barnett around the ring, but the American was eventually able to force the fight to the floor and obtain a keylock submission.