Russian Emelianenko brings big reputation to the States
Drop him on his head. Knock open a nasty gash on his face. Fedor Emelianenko hardly even blinks. The consensus No. 1 heavyweight in mixed martial arts shrugs it off and conquers his opponents.
Conquering the American marketplace is much more of a challenge. He'll try July 19 as the star attraction on the debut card of Affliction, a clothing company taking a shot at MMA promotion, in Anaheim, Calif.
The burly Russian — a fan of action movies, Bruce Willis and Sting — wants to break through in the USA.
"I have a great desire to have the American fans know who I am and hopefully be just as popular in America as I am in Asia," he said Wednesday via a translator while commuting on a train in Russia.
MMA BLOG: Don't take Sylvia, Rizzo lightly
Within the MMA community, Emelianenko has single-name status, like Kobe or Tiger in their sports. Affliction bills the bout against Tim Sylvia as "Fedor vs. Sylvia."
"I give him the respect and say he's No. 1," says Ben Rothwell, another heavyweight on the Affliction card. "I'll keep giving him that until anyone can prove otherwise."
Emelianenko (27-1), whose sole loss is considered a technicality that he decisively avenged, built that reputation with dramatic wins on Japan's now-extinct PRIDE circuit.
In 2004, Kevin Randleman lifted him for a slam. Emelianenko's head took the brunt. Stunned for just a moment, he flipped himself on top, then started to hammer Randleman's head. When Randleman released his grip to deflect the blows, Emelianenko grabbed his arm for a good wrench, forcing Randleman to submit.
Shawn Tompkins to Fight Ken Shamrock? Whaaa?
The Xtreme Fighting Association (XFA) recently announced the signing of Xtreme Couture trainer Shawn Tompkins to a three-fight deal in their K-1 style organization, and while there was initially no word on an opponent we all assumed it would be someone xtreme, like maybe one of those skateboarders from the Mountain Dew commercials. Now MMATraining.com is reporting that Tompkins’ first opponent may be none other than Ken Shamrock:
“I just signed a 3 fight deal with XFA, which is a K-1 kickboxing promotion in Las Vegas. I’ll be doing my first fight September 26th. Between September, December and February. They are looking at my first fight being Ken Shamrock”.
As much as those who train under him love to talk about Tompkins as some kind of Yoda of the fight game, his brief foray into MMA was, shall we say, unsuccessful. Perhaps returning to his roots as a kickboxer is a good idea.
Of course, embarking on a new career as a kickboxer is probably not a good idea for Shamrock, but that never stopped him before. Perhaps Tompkins will have to make an xample out of him. See what I’ve done there? I’m going to go cry now.
HERMES FRANCA CLEAR TO FIGHT, PENDING DRUG TEST
The Nevada State Athletic Commission today cleared lightweight Hermes Franca for the UFC’s hastily assembled July 19 card at the Pearl in Las Vegas.
Franca was originally suspended last July by the California State Athletic Commission after a positive test for the steroid Drostanolone following UFC 73 in Sacramento, Calif. His suspension in that state – effectively a suspension from fighting in all states with major athletic commissions – ended on the 5th of this month.
Franca now must prove he is drug free in a test for performance enhancers to be administered this Friday. The test was originally scheduled for next Monday, but according to NSAC executive director Keith Kizer, that makes it more unlikely that he will be cleared in time for his fight.
“We should be able to get it in on time,” Kizer said. “If not, he won’t be fighting.”
The administrative procedure is similar to the one undergone by his former opponent, Sean Sherk, who was recently re-licensed for his fight against BJ Penn in May.
Elite XC media workout for ‘Unfinished Business’ on July 26
Elite XC Middleweight Champion “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler, Jake Shields, Scott “Hands of Steel” Smith, and Cris Cyborg — four of the talented fighters who will compete in Stockton, Calif., on July 26 at “Unfinished Business” — participated in an open media workout yesterday at “The Ultimate Training Center” in Roseville, Calif.
Smith and James “The Sandman” Irvin are part owners of the gym.
Cyborg — wife of Pride FC veteran Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos — will face Shayna Baszler on the main card that will air on CBS. The winner of the bout will more than likely take on Gina Carano sometime in the fall for the right to become the first Elite XC female champion.
After months of delays, Shields will finally get his crack at the Elite XC welterweight gold. He’ll lock horns with Nick “The Goat” Thompson for the vacant 170-pound strap in a fight is one of the most anticipated fights in the organization’s history. The two are coming in on a combined 21 fight winning streak.
Something has got to give.
UFC Quick Quote: Brandon Vera could stay at 205 after UFN 14 Reese Andy fight
everybody’s saying that my power looks and good and actually my kicks look faster and harder now. I was 212 (pounds) today at the end of practice … I think it’s working to an advantage. It’s making me hungry and meaner…. I wouldn’t mind staying at 205. It’s all up to UFC in their grand scheme of things. We’ll see what’s going on and what they have in mind…. Talent-wise, man, the who’s who of 205 in the world is in the UFC right now. It’s ridiculous, it’s a whole long laundry list of who’s who. And the heavyweight division — you can pull, I think, maybe six guys out of the heavyweights. So yeah, I would say that 205 is way more stacked.”
– Former heavyweight contender Brandon Vera — who will make his light heavyweight debut against Reese Andy at UFC Fight Night 14 on July 19 — tells the USA Today that he could remain in the 205-pound division if the organization sees fit. However, “The Truth” is still bitter about his loss to Fabricio Werdum at UFC 85: “Bedlam” last month, which he and many others feel was stopped prematurely. He would like to avenge the loss at some point … especially if Werdum is able to one day soon capture the heavyweight strap.
The Highly Unofficial Half-Year UFC Awards - The Knockouts
When it comes to award time, whether it’s the half-year awards
or the end of year honors there are always categories that will give you fits when trying to narrow things down to the five or ten best. Not the knockout category though; whenever it’s time to choose the best KOs or TKOs, there are always more than enough candidates to pick from, and the winner is almost always clear-cut. So far, 2008 is no exception.
"Shogun" Rua Targeting A December Return
Maurício "Shogun" Rua hasn't fought since he was defeated by current UFC light heavyweight Champion, Forrest Griffin, last September.
Shogun is returning to the trainings step by step. He started the Boxing and Conditioning preparation and his knee is OK. Probably in a week he will come back to Jiu Jitsu practice.
Rua is not worried about a revenge versus Forrest Griffin and knows he have to get ready to face any one after his defeat for Griffin. He is planning on to come back in December.
Brandon Vera could stay at 205 after UFCFN 14
” …everybody’s saying that my power looks and good and actually my kicks look faster and harder now. I was 212 (pounds) today at the end of practice … I think it’s working to an advantage. It’s making me hungry and meaner…. I wouldn’t mind staying at 205. It’s all up to UFC in their grand scheme of things. We’ll see what’s going on and what they have in mind…. Talent-wise, man, the who’s who of 205 in the world is in the UFC right now. It’s ridiculous, it’s a whole long laundry list of who’s who. And the heavyweight division — you can pull, I think, maybe six guys out of the heavyweights. So yeah, I would say that 205 is way more stacked.”
DEWEES SIGNS MULTI-FIGHT DEAL WITH AFFLICTION
Affliction on Wednesday announced that it has signed Edwin Dewees to a multi-fight contract. He will replace Vernon “Tiger” White at the promotion’s July 19 debut event.
White was initially scheduled to face Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, but was recently suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for the use of a banned diuretic prior to a kickboxing bout. Dewees will now step in to face Nogueira at the Honda Center.
Andrei Arlovski's trainer: "Nothing set" for pro boxing debut
Despite a recent report of a possible September bout, legendary boxing trainer Freddie Roach says his new pupil, MMA superstar Andrei Arlovski (12-5), has not yet finalized plans for a professional boxing debut.
Roach and Arlovski each addressed the media in a conference call today promoting Arlovski's bout with fellow heavyweight Ben Rothwell at "Affliction: Banned," which takes place July 19 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.
"I've been training Andrei for boxing, yes," Roach said. "I know he has a future in boxing, of course. But I don't believe there's anything set out there."
Tito Ortiz To Re-Sign With UFC?
Don't be surprised if Tito Ortiz's last fight is with the UFC. Sources close to the situation have informed us that despite being courted by several other organizations, Ortiz apparently prefers to finish his career with the organization he started it with and is currently considering possible fight offers from the UFC. Although no contract agreement has been reached, Ortiz has been in negotiations and was offered potential fights with UFC light heavyweights Houston Alexander, Thierry Sokoudjou and Stephan Bonnar to name a few.
As evidenced by the standing ovation he received from the crowd in attendance during his unanimous decision loss to Lyoto Machida, Ortiz is still a big draw amongst fans. The overwhelming support he received could be one of the reasons why Ortiz, who's grown accustomed to his superstar status and fighting in front of 10,000+ fans, would prefer to stay with the UFC, undeniably the biggest and most popular MMA organization in the world.
Another reason could be that despite going winless in his last three fights, Ortiz is still only one or two fights away from a title shot. Ironically, he holds a controversial split-decision win over newly crowned UFC light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin and he also has a draw with Rashad Evans, who will be facing Chuck Liddell later this year at UFC 88 to determine the next challenger for the UFC light heavyweight title.
FIGHT-BY-FIGHT: CAGE RAGE 27 PREVIEW
Cage Rage 27: “Step Up” is due to play out in London this weekend in what many expect to be the penultimate show for the promotion in Wembley. Topping the bill, and at relatively short notice, is Phil Baroni. “The New York Badass” will be making his welterweight debut against Cage Rage Contenders regular Scott Jansen.
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.