Are pro-wrestling fans ‘graduating’ to MMA?
On this web site in June of 2008, we discussed an interesting topic regarding the ongoing divide in MMA circles involving those who come from the world of professional wrestling and those who have backgrounds in more traditional sports (like boxing). One of the major reasons for this growing divide involves the decline of professional wrestling.
What does professional wrestling have to do with the growth of MMA in Japan and North America? Think: demographics.
The Ultimate Fighter series may come to UK
The Ultimate Fighter series, with British mixed martial artists trying to get a UFC deal, on terrestrial TV? Sounds far-fetched.
It may not be. The Ultimate Fighter series could soon be in the UK, and be shown on terrestrial television, with Michael Bisping as one of the team coaches. Bisping, of course, went from Clitheroe in Lancashire to Las Vegas and won Series 3 of the Ultimate Fighter.
Those are the whispers - not confirmed - that talks are underway to create a first TUF series in the UK, given its success in the US. It follows the success of Forrest Griffin last weekend.
Roy Jones Jr.’s future plans don’t include Anderson Silva
Various media outlets are reporting that a light heavyweight title fight between Joe Calzaghe and Roy Jones Jr. has been signed for Sept. 20. The bout is expected to take place at Madison Square Garden and will be televised on HBO pay-per-view.
The 36-year old Calzaghe, who is considered by many pundits to be the number two pound-for-pound boxer in the world behind Manny Pacquiao, fought in the U.S. for the first-time ever this past April in Las Vegas. In that bout, Calzaghe defeated Bernard Hopkins at the Thomas & Mack Center to claim the light heavyweight title he currently holds.
State officials weigh in on new weight classes
A wise man once said "to change and change for the better are two different things."
The Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC) last week found itself toeing that fine line when the group released its newly revamped recommendations for the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts. While there were several issues addressed in the new form, only one has caused an uproar: the changing of MMA's traditional weight classes to a new 14-tier system.
Several of the country's most influential athletic-board directors also disagree with the new weight class standards, and a few shared their thoughts with MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
Jason Day regroups and refocuses for UFC return
The Cinderella story of Jason Day came to an abrupt end when he collided with Michael Bisping at UFC 85: “Bedlam” last month at the O2 Arena in London, England.
“Dooms” scored one of the early upsets of the 2008 fight season when he stopped the super tough Alan Belcher in the first round of his Octagon debut during their 185-pound scrap at UFC 83: “Serra vs. St. Pierre 2? back in April.
Of course, in the UFC no good deed goes unpunished. So when Chris Leben was jailed for a probation violation just weeks before his fight with “The Count,” the promotion turned to Day on relative short notice and offered him the biggest fight of his career.
It didn’t go his way. However, Day is determined now more than ever to prove that he was not a one-hit wonder.
UFC Going On Tour
The Las Vegas Review-Journal's Adam Hill brings up an interesting note on the next group of shows for the UFC:
-- After the July 19 card, it might be awhile until the UFC returns to its home city.
The next three pay-per-view events in the United States will be in Minneapolis, Atlanta and Chicago. A return to Great Britain is also scheduled for October in Birmingham, England.
The organization also will host a Fight Night card in Omaha, Neb., on Sept. 17, and is eyeing a card in the Pacific Northwest, likely Portland, Ore., in November.
New York Times On UFC's International Expansion
Ross Schneiderman has a piece detailing the UFC's international expansion efforts in today's New York Times. The piece does a good job of succinctly explaining the company's international expansion strategy and the challenges it faces in introducing MMA to a new audience. Most of the ground covered is familiar to devoted followers of the industry, but the piece was well researched with interviews of Dana White, Dave Meltzer, and myself, as well as Tim Leidecker and Oliver Copp for a prospective on the ground in Europe.
Press Release: Xyience Out, BSN In
Bio-Engineered Supplements & Nutrition Inc. (BSN), the world leader in cutting-edge sports nutrition products and makers of N.O.-XPLODE™, the #1 selling extreme pre-training energy and performance igniter, is proud to announce a multi-year partnership agreement with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), the premier Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) organization in the world today.
MMA is an intense combat sport where high level professional fighters use interdisciplinary forms of fighting that include Jiu-Jitsu, Taekwondo, Karate, Boxing, Muay Thai, Wrestling and other disciplines to their strategic and tactical advantage in a sanctioned match. UFC® fighters are among the best-trained and most conditioned athletes in the world, making BSN’s association with the sport of MMA and the UFC® a perfect fit. What BSN is to the world of sports nutrition with their leading line of physique, performance and energy products, the UFC® is to Mixed Martial Arts, true innovators and world leaders.
“I’m excited to announce that BSN is the ‘Official Nutritional Supplement Provider’ of the Ultimate Fighting Championship,” said Dana White, UFC® President. “As the world leader in physique and performance supplements, they are a perfect fit for the UFC – we look forward to working with BSN as we take this sport to a whole new level.”
The Ultimate Fighting Championship® is regulated by the most prestigious sports regulatory bodies in the United States. UFC live pay-per-view events take place at preeminent destinations including MGM Grand, MEN Arena, Mandalay Bay and 02 Arena, and consistently draw sell-out crowds with record-breaking gates. Presenting over twelve pay-per-view events per year, the UFC stands as the largest pay-per-view content provider in the United States.
The UFC also dominates television with its reality series The Ultimate Fighter, now heading into its eighth season. The Ultimate Fighter has reigned supreme for years in the coveted 18-34 male ratings demographic, and regularly enjoying higher ratings than traditional franchise sports such as the NBA, NHL, NASCAR as well as NCAA football and basketball. In partnership with Spike TV cable network,
the UFC also presents ten live UFC Fight Night events and the popular program UFC: Unleashed.
BSN’s President and CEO Chris Ferguson comments on the partnership, “I’m proud to announce that BSN is now the 'Official Nutritional Supplement Provider' of the UFC. MMA is the fastest growing sport in the world today. We are excited to be aligned with an organization as prestigious as the UFC and are eager to stretch our brand with this partnership by showcasing our product line, which includes N.O.-XPLODE, the foremost pre-training igniter in the world today. BSN is a dominate force in over 75 countries and climbing. We have entered into this strategic partnership with the UFC to solidify our combined global presence. I want to thank everybody at the UF for their efforts and for their continued commitment.”
Joe Stevenson talks UFC 86 win, second title shot
New light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin wasn't the only "Ultimate Fighter" alumnus looking to improve his stock at this past Saturday's UFC 86 event. Season two winner Joe "Daddy" Stevenson (29-8 MMA, 6-2 UFC), who had previously lost a lightweight title bout to B.J. Penn, defeated Gleison Tibau (15-6 MMA, 3-3 UFC) to get back on the winning track.
"Joe Daddy" was a recent guest on TAGG Radio (www.taggradio.com), the official radio partner of MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com), where he discussed his big submission win over the ATT standout.
"I really didn't want to finish this fight with a guillotine," Stevenson said. "I wanted to drop him. It just didn't work out for me this time."
However, Stevenson nearly found himself on the wrong side of a submission attempt, spending much of the first round fighting off an omoplata. Midway through the second round, however, a frustrated Stevenson came back to lock in a deep guillotine choke during a Tibau takedown attempt.
"I think he was really caught off guard," said Stevenson, who's the first fighter ever to submit Tibau. "I don't think he expected my guillotine to be as good as it was."
The Victorville, Calif. native hadn't fought since his January title loss to BJ Penn, and Stevenson said he needed to shake off some ring rust before he could figure out his opponent.
"I guess it was good to get some of the cobwebs off," Stevenson said. "I figured out [Tibau] is incredibly strong. (However), he doesn't want to peter out so he uses it in bursts. If you can catch him when he is trying to rest, that is when you are going to do your big damage."
Looking back now, the 26-year-old feels he should have capitalized more on Tibau's rhythm so he could secure a stoppage earlier in the fight.
"I made the mistake of not just following up when I knocked him down with my right hand," Stevenson said. "(Also), when I took him down, I should have just exploded with forearms on him. I was thinking, 'I've got to be careful. This guy is super strong and (has) a black belt.' Honestly, I think I didn't fight him to my best ability."
So, regardless of the fact that he walked away a victor, the always-modest Stevenson still believes his outing was sub-par.
"I was pretty upset with my performance; I thought I could have done 10 times better," said Stevenson, who's now 6-2 since winning "The Ultimate Fighter" season two. "I am really critical of myself."
One factor that may have hampered Stevenson's performance was an assortment of injuries he sustained prior to the fight.
"I came into that fight not even 100 percent. ... I was really hurt," Stevenson said. "I had a bruised femur and a hurt elbow."
However, the 10-year-veteran joked that he may never fight at full capacity since injuries are a common part of the fight game.
"Honestly, with the right camp, I'm sure you can come in 100 percent," Stevenson joked. "I just haven't done it yet."
Now that he is back in the win column, Stevenson plans to commemorate the official grand opening of his new gym, Joe Stevenson's Cobra Kai, as well as allow his injuries to heal. Stevenson is also looking forward to getting another shot at the UFC lightweight title, a chance that may come sooner rather than later if he continues to win.
"Joe (Silva) was telling me two or three wins," he said.
For the entire interview with Stevenson, download Monday's edition of TAGG Radio, available for free in the TAGG Radio archives.
Former UFC Champ Loses Boxing Match
Former UFC heavyweight champ Ricco Rodriguez lost in a split decision Tuesday night as boxing returned to the Las Vegas Hilton.
Rodriguez looks huge. But not in a good way like Kaspars Kambala. Ricco tipped the scales at 270 pounds.
Let’s put it this way, Ricco doesn’t look very suave.
He had Xtreme Couture boxing coach Ron Frazier in his corner and wore a pair of trunks with a Throwdown logo in an odd homage to MMA.
UFC To Counter-Program EliteXC - Will Air UFC 84 For Free
Dana White mentioned recently that he was planning something special on July 26; the same night that CBS/EliteXC airs it's second event. If you guessed that something special was counter-programing then you were correct.
The UFC has just announced that they will be airing back-to-back showings of UFC 84. For those that missed it the first time, it was likely the best MMA event of the first half of this year.
The card was stacked with great fights that lived up to the billing. Even the under card was fantastic.
Below is a look at the card:
- B.J. Penn vs. Sean Sherk
- Keith Jardine vs. Wanderlei Silva
- Wilson Gouveia vs. Goran Reljic
- Lyoto Machida vs. Tito Ortiz
- Thiago Silva vs. Antonio Mendes
Lyoto Machida: "They Prefer Chuck With The Belt"
After watching UFC 86 this past weekend, Light Heavyweight contender Lyoto Machida had some opinions of his own. “Quinton defeated Forrest, but they give it to Forrest.” Machida told Brazilian magazine Tatame. He went on to say that he believes the UFC prefers to have Chuck Liddell as the Light Heavyweight champion because of his marketability.
Spot on Lyoto, spot on
Breaking the Rules
There are certain traditions that are expected to be followed during a telecast of any mixed martial arts contest: ring girls putting their surgeon's work on display, labored prefight insults and -- most crucial of all -- commentators audibly musing about how they don't quite understand the rules.