8 matchups for '08
Matchmaking, as any good talent relations chair will tell you, involves a great deal more than just coming up with an exciting fight.
Like Kasparov staring down a chessboard, matchmaking involves thinking three or four moves ahead, preparing promotional strategies for all possible outcomes and determining what a match result will mean for business a year or more down the road -- not to mention navigating the myriad of contractual, personal and physical issues that can undermine plans.
It's a thankless job. Credit for a good fight goes to the athletes, and blame for a somnolent mess falls on the beleaguered matchmaker. (Fun fact: Joe Silva began his UFC career at a sturdy 6-foot-2. True story.)
Thankfully, this space doesn't need to concern itself with responsible thinking. To that end, here are eight bouts that would make 2008 a happier new year for fans.
Marcus Davis Enterview
Wanderlei Silva on UFC 79, move to middleweight, Liddell rematch
LAS VEGAS — Both his eyes remain blackened, a week after one of the greatest fights in UFC history. A streak of blood covers the white of one of those eyes.
Wanderlei Silva is in pain.
But it’s not the beating Chuck Liddell put on him at the Mandalay Bay Events Center exactly one week earlier that is hurting Silva on this chilly Southern Nevada Saturday night.
“Here,” Silva says, pounding his chest. “This is where it hurts.“
Having already named Quinton Jackson as its Fighter Of The Year, Sherdog has now taken the opportunity to recognize 6 other fighters who had great years but were easily overlooked or got little to no attention.
MMA Legend Randy Couture to Host Charity Poker Tournament
Another year, another laundry list of celebrity charity poker tournaments. The first one of the new year, we think, is "Operation All In," which takes place next week, January 12, and will be hosted by UFC fighter Randy Couture at The Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.
"Celebrities" scheduled to attend are 2005 WSOP Main Event champion Jamie Gold and "Superman" TV star Dean Cain. Others can join the festivities for $550, which gets you a seat at one of the 15 tables and an opportunity to watch one of the more fascinating portions of a celebrity poker event, rebuying for charity. The rebuys are $200 and are an excuse for everyone in attendance to play really bad poker and claim that they are doing it so that they can rebuy and add to the amount going to charity.
In depth interview with Randy
I know many are fed up with Randy and the situation between him and the UFC, but I thought this was a very good interview and Randy touches on a lot of subjects I haven't heard him talk about before. Its a bit long but a good read.
PDG: You began your career as a wrestler and stepped into mixed martial arts when there really wasn’t much to it. Since then it has become the fastest growing sport in the world, and you have become a legend. What is it like for you to be known worldwide and be considered one of the greats of the sport?
Randy: I don’t really think about it, I’m still the same person that I’ve always been. I just kind of do what I do – I like to train in the gym and I like to work with these fighters and I like to fight. I kind of entered this sport on a whim from the wrestling world because it looked intriguing and I saw some other wrestlers doing it and the whole thing kind of just took on a whole life of its own.
There have been a lot of sacrifices. The travel and the time away from family, the celebrity [status], and the demands of this professional sport cost me a marriage. I feel very blessed now to have Kim in my life. My current wife – the love that she has and the support that she has, is amazing. Together we have taken it to another level.
But it’s a little overwhelming to be recognized everywhere you go sometimes. I’ve been stopped in airports, stopped in the grocery store… it doesn’t really matter. It’s just overwhelming at times, but when you think about it it is also kind of cool. The fans are fantastic and they just have a genuine passion and love for the sport – as do I, so we share that. So it’s not bad at all.
Serra talking about coming to Canada and Huges/GSP 3
Matt Serra can't wait to come to Canada to film the sequel to his surprise blockbuster win over Montreal's Georges St. Pierre.
"I love it. Let it be in Canada," says the 33-year-old Italian-American from Long Island, N.Y. after hearing the rematch is tentatively scheduled for April in Montreal.
"Let me tell you about a little movie called Rocky IV. A little Italian guy goes over to Russia to fight a big Russian experiment named Drago.
"Now, a little Italian guy goes to Canada to fight the big Canadian experiment named frickin' GSP. It's a monster movie. I want to be in that movie. I want to be Rocky."
Chute Boxe Coming To Los Angeles
The famed Chute Boxe camp, based in Brazil and home to some of MMA's top fighters, is finalizing plans to open a branch in Los Angeles sometime in 2008. No location or opening time indicated, but Master Rafael Cordeiro is in final negotiations.
Heath Herring offered UFC 82 fight with Cheick Kongo
Rising heavyweight contender Cheick Kongo (11-3-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) may meet veteran fighter Heath Herring (27-13 MMA, 1-2 UFC) at UFC 82 — an event that takes place March 1 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
A source close to Herring told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that the fighter had been offered the rumored bout, plans to accept it, but hasn’t yet signed to make it official.
Neither Herring nor Kongo could immediately be reached for comment.
Report: Serra to Fight St. Pierre in Montreal
UFC welterweight champion Matt Serra (Pictures) will get a chance to validate his upset over Georges St. Pierre (Pictures) when he fights the Quebecer in Montreal this April.
Serra, forced out a Dec. 29 title defense against Matt Hughes (Pictures) when he herniated a disk, confirmed the rematch to NBCsports.com and said his bad back has been "rapidly improving." The 26-year-old St. Pierre replaced Serra (9-4) on the UFC 79 card, winning the interim title via armbar submission over Hughes. Afterwards, St. Pierre said he wouldn't consider himself UFC champion again until he defeated Serra.
Serra-St. Pierre tops the first UFC in Canada, which is expected to take place April 19 at the Bell Centre.
Xtreme Couture Signs on for IFL’s 2008 Season
has learned that Randy Couture’s Xtreme Couture gym in Las Vegas will be one of the four teams featured on the IFL’s 2008 season opening card on February 29 at the Orleans Arena in Vegas.
In addition to Xtreme Couture, fighters representing Matt Lindland’s Team Quest and Ken Shamrock’s Lion’s Den will be featured as well. A fourth and final team that will be appearing on the card has yet to be finalized.
Now, obviously you’re not going to see Forrest Griffin and Wanderlei Silva doing battle in the IFL ring, but it’ll be interesting to see the young, hungry kids that Randy sends in to represent his Las Vegas collective