The Machida Chronicles
5:30 AM. An ungodly hour for most, even for Lyoto Machida. But without fail he rises, like he has for almost 30 years, and he faces the man who will always be his toughest opponent: his teacher, his hero, his father – Yoshizo.
MMAmania.com Exclusive Interview with Dustin Hazelett
Now that I’m fully rested from my Canada trip (and then some), I got back in touch with UFC welterweight fighter, Dustin “McLovin” Hazelett.
I had spoken several times with Hazelett over the last few weeks, trying to get him to comment on his upcoming fight with Josh “The People’s Warrior” Burkman. As instructed by the UFC, Hazelett wouldn’t comment on his next opponent until the fight was made official.
But this didn’t stop Burkman from throwing in his two cents in an interview with MMAWeekly.com. You can find those comments here.
Now that the fight is official, Hazelett opened up about the upcoming fight, responded to Burkman’s “I’ll even retire if it does go to a decision” comments, and even addressed his new nickname. The following interview is a conglomerate of our three previous conversations.
Dustin Hazelett faces Josh Burkman at The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 7 Finale on June 21.
Adam Wagner (MMAmania.com): I’ve been trying to get you to comment on your upcoming fight with Josh Burkman at The Ultimate Fighter 7 Finale on June 21, but you wouldn’t budge. This didn’t stop Burkman from talking about it, though, including saying that he would retire if the fight goes to a decision. Do you find this disrespectful?
Dustin Hazelett: Yeah, I found it pretty insulting. I think it shows a lack of respect for myself. But also, he might be concerned with the UFC cutting so many people. With his last five fights going to decision, he might be worried about getting cut if he loses or goes to a decision. So I think that might be why he said that.
To me, I don’t think it matters if a fight goes to a decision, as long as it’s an exciting fight. Of course everybody wants to finish, but if it’s an exciting decision, I don’t think the UFC cares about that. So I think it was still a pretty insulting comment.
Chris Leben ‘wont be getting the right nutrition and workouts’ for UFC 85 fight
“Its not a fun thing and it sucks for anybody to be in jail but it’s not like he’s afraid. He won’t be getting the right nutrition and workouts in but that’s his only concern…. Yes, we knew [Leben staying in jail longer than expected] was always a possibility and it still is. We won’t know until his hearing on the 8th. We are talking to attorneys and we are confident that it will be ok but there are no guarantees.”
T. Jay Thompson — Icon Sport Academy owner where middleweight fighter Chris Leben now trains in Hawaii — shares some concerns about the recent stint in an Oregon jail that “The Crippler” is currently serving while he awaits a probation violation hearing on May 8 to (hopefully) resolve an old Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charge. Of course, it’s not an ideal situation for Leben, who had to take a break from training for his UFC 85: “Bedlam” fight against Michael Bisping in London, England, on June 7 to tend to the legal matters. Even if he is released on May 8 it really only gives him three weeks of hard training to prepare for the bout (traveling, media obligations, “tapering” and other commitments often consume the last one or two weeks of fighter time before a fight). Leben is a gamer and more than likely was in good shape prior to the incarceration, but will it be enough?
DREAM fight in Jeopardy for Nick Diaz
Nick Diaz's DREAM bout is very much in jeopardy. Diaz was given the go ahead by EliteXC for a April 29th fight against Marcelo Garcia in Dream, however when that fight was scrapped, Dream decided to instead have Diaz fight on their May 11th show. Unfortunately no one at Dream shared this information with EliteXC and EliteXC President, Gary Shaw, only learned of the change via the internet 2 days ago.
With Diaz having been scheduled to fight in Hawaii on June 14th, Shaw finds the new May 11th date perilously close to the Showtime card and has therefore nixed Diaz's participation on the Dream card. Unless Shaw has a change of heart this fight will be a no go.
EliteXC VP On Affliction Ban: No Longer Clothing, Now Competition
EliteXC recently decided that Affliction will no longer be an approved sponsor for its fighters, and EXC VP Jared Shaw said its simply a matter of the clothing company getting involved in the fight-promotion business. Shaw said the only other stipulations that EliteXC fighters may encounter are from CBS, which will broadcast the organization's network-television debut on May 31.
Hermes Franca eyeing return to MMA
With former UFC lightweight champion Sean Sherk preparing for his return to active mixed martial arts competition having fulfilled his suspension after a positive drug test stemming from his successful title defense over Hermes Franca last July, it harkens wonder to what the other half of that title match is doing.
Franca, who is still currently on suspension until early July, had built up tremendous momentum heading into the fight with Sherk, having won eight fights in a row prior to the title showdown.
It appeared he could have more than a chance to fulfill his goal of Ultimate Fighting Championship champion, but was denied, losing a five-round unanimous decision to Sherk.
Shortly after the fight it was revealed that both Franca and Sherk had tested positive for steroids. Unlike Sherk, however, Franca did not deny his usage of performance enhancing drugs, thus inciting a year-long suspension.
Since then Franca has left the team he was with prior to that fight, The Armory, and has kept busy with other things in anticipation of a return to action within the coming months.
“I’ve been teaching seminars,” said the Brazilian born fighter. “I’m the head coach at Premier Martial Arts, which is all over the United States, like 50 or 60 academies, and some in Canada.
“I’m doing the jiu-jitsu program over there. So I’ve been really busy doing a seminar almost every week for two or three months.”
Nogueira to Return at UFC 87 in August
It appears that Nog and Mir won't be the TUF8 coaches (if they were it would be an 11 month layoff for both of them)
Perhaps Arlovski will re-sign and get a title shot vs. Big Nog. Otherwise I see him fighting Mir or the Vera/Werdum winner.
Tito Ortiz: “I Feel Like a Slave”
to Ortiz has been a vocal critic of both Dana White and the UFC payscale for much of his MMA career, so it only makes sense that he would combine his two favorite topics as the last fight on his current contract draws near. A recent video from Throwdown features Ortiz with some incendiary rhetoric and fuzzy logic as he rails against the UFC and his former manager:
“Back then [Dana White] used to fight for things that I believe in. He fought for me to get paid more money…He was the guy battling for me. Now I’m battling against him. I’m not asking the fans for more money. I’m not asking you guys for more money. I’m asking the company that you guys pay for more money.
We’re the modern day gladiators, and we’re getting treated like gladiators…those guys were slaves. I feel like a slave. Yeah, I get paid a little money, but these guys are keeping the big revenue.” .
An indie filmmaker may become king of the (MMA) screen
Hollywood has hijacked mixed martial arts. Think Karate Kid meets Bring it On (you know, that cheerleading movie).
According to Never Back Down, the world of underground fighting works a little something like this: boy (and likely Calvin Klein underwear model) moves to a new town. Boy lusts after innocent, cute girl. Boy encounters bully. Boy works his butt off to beat up bully. Boy becomes hero.
"That stuff just doesn't happen in real life," says Bobby Razak. "The guys in the movie are not fighters, the whole story is cheesy, and in my 13, 14 years in MMA, I've never seen any story like that."
For dedicated MMA followers, the film is a double-edged sword, cheaply, and inaccurately, promoting a sport that's growing but still struggling for acceptance. And Razak understands first-hand the battles the sport has endured -- in and out of the cage.
As a former MMA fighter, he not only admires the sport, but also has beared the sport's die-hard regimen. Judo, boxing, martial arts, ultimate fighting -- he's done it all and probably seen it all. And as an independent filmmaker, he's also put it all on screen.
His first documentary, Rites of Passage, which was screened at the Sundance Festival, follows the lives of multiple fighters, combining personal drama with in-the-ring action. Delving into the technique and tactics of MMA, his next film, Pit Fight, was the first to capture bare-knuckle fighting live on 35 mm film. Follow-ups Invincible Warrior and Underground NHB earned him recognition among many in the MMA circle as he followed star Chuck Liddell and John Lewis on their quest for the best techniques and bare-knuckle brawls in Holland.
Warning: there's nothing comparable to "the Iceman" in Never Back Down. Yes, Hollywood's take is, well, tacky, but it's also a big-screen advertisement for the sport. Capturing the real stuff, the hard-core fights and psychological unrest is a task Razak has taken on himself. And so far, his popularity is growing almost as fast the sport itself.
Razak recently inked a deal with Time Warner, the parent company of SI.com, to put his latest mixed martial arts reality series Underground Kings of MMA on the media megacorp's video-on-demand channel. Starting in May, the series will be carried on six cable networks and syndicated across broadband and mobile. That's 22 episodes of complete 24/7 access to the training routines, unseen brawls, mental breakdowns, fighter-manager clashes, legal conflicts and high-profile matchups of many of the MMA's best: Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, Frank Shamrock, Riddick Bowe and Lewis.
While the UFC dodges worry, EliteXC isn't as lucky
Having quickly overcome Chuck Liddell's badly torn hamstring and the second lost main event for June 7 in London, the Ultimate Fighting Championship can sit back and await its next pay-per-view attraction, UFC 84, in Las Vegas, knowing it's booked solid back-to-back cards.
Other mixed martial arts promotions, however, are not as fortunate or able to plug in Matt Hughes and Thiago Alves on short notice when things go awry.
Last week it was revealed Drew Fickett, who was set to fight Jake Shields for the vacant EliteXC welterweight belt, had been forced out of the June 14 Showtime-televised clash with a badly injured knee. The question now for the Kimbo Slice-led promotion is what to do with Shields, who is coming off an injury that prevented a bout with Fickett on March 29.
Step one starts Monday, when Shields plans to test his bad back for the first time with hard training and sparring. If healthy, Shields said he'd like to remain on the upcoming Hawaii EliteXC card, even if it's not a title bout.
"I'm pretty sure I'll be fine," the 29-year-old Shields said. "I'm hoping they'll get me a fight in June. If not, they said September, and I don't want to go that long without fighting. That's just way too much ring rust."
According to EliteXC promoter Gary Shaw, the fighter's June wish has been noted.
"My plan right now, as you and I speak, is to fight him on June 14," Shaw said. "The question is, can we get him the right opponent?"
Tracking the progress of The Ultimate Fighter 1 contestants - Part I
There is no question that the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ reality series - better known as ‘TUF’ - has been the most influential vehicle for promoting the success of UFC, and to a lesser extent MMA in general, in North America. The careers of most contestants have been boosted like they could have never imagined. Even the ones who never came close to winning were still given a chance to prove their worth in the UFC, and many of the fighters released from the UFC were instantly picked up by smaller organizations simply because of the newly acquired name recognition.
With the show now in it’s seventh season, let’s take a look back at where it all started. The first season of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ took place in 2005, and featured 8 middleweights and 8 lightheavyweights competing for two ’six figure’ contracts with the UFC. Most of the contestants were virtually unknown in the MMA world at the time, yet all are now very familiar names for most fans...
UFC Cuts Three More Fighters
The UFC continues to trim it's roster. According to Dave Meltzer, the promotion dropped three more fighters; Din Thomas, Kuniyoshi Hironaka and Tommy Speer. All three are coming off of losses in the organization and Speer and Hironaka are a combined 1-5 in the UFC. Din Thomas is considering a move down to 145 but may retire according to the report.
Aoki still in tourney, will fight at Dream 4
Shinya Aoki, who earned his spot in the second round of the DREAM Lightweight Grand Prix with a recent victory over Gesias “J.Z.” Calvancante, will be allowed to continue on in the tournament despite recent injuries. His bout with Katsuhiko Nagata will, however, be moved from its planned date of May 11 on the DREAM.3 fight card, to the DREAM.4 event on June 15. The promotion announced the move at a press conference on Monday.
According to his doctor, Aoki suffered a cervical injury in his March 15 bout with Calvancante, which impaired the feeling in his right arm. He also severely bruised a rib on April 29 in his second bout with the Brazilian. As such, he will not be allowed to fight on May 11.
This is great news...FEAR THE STRETCHY PANTS...WAR AOKI!!!
UFC Champions Nogueira & Silva To Open New Training Center
UFC interim heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and middleweight champ Anderson Silva will soon open a new mixed-martial-arts academy, Nogueira and Silva Mixed Martial Arts Academy, in Miami. In addition to teaching others, the two title-holders will train together at the center, which officially opens May 16.
WEC’s Varner Plans to Show MMA World He’s No One-Hit Wonder
Jamie Varner hears his critics, those who believe the World Extreme Cagefighting lightweight champion’s unexpected victory over “Razor” Rob McCullough was more dumb luck than stroke of genius. Their doubts only stoke his competitive fires.
Nearly three months have passed since the dynamite in Varner’s hands left McCullough a battered and beaten man against the cage at WEC 32, but little has changed for the confident 23-year-old Arizonan. The same hunger that drove him past McCullough on that February night in Albuquerque, N.M., drives him still.
Taylor vs. Liaudin part of new UFC 85 card
Despite the loss of its Chuck Liddell vs. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua main event -- and then the loss of a new main event between Liddell and Rashad Evans -- UFC 85 isn't lacking in overall quantity of fights.
Over the weekend the UFC confirmed a previously rumored bout between Paul Taylor (8-3-1 MMA, 1-2 UFC) and Jess Liaudin (12-9 MMA, 2-1 UFC), bringing the total number of rumored bouts for the June 7 event to 13 (with 12 now official).
IMO, another solid matchup made by the ufc. WAR JOE SILVA!