Part I of interview with new ProElite Chairman Chuck Champion
Already the CEO of ProElite since February, Charles F. Champion added the title and duties of Chairman of the Board last week after former Chairman Douglas DeLuca submitted his resignation to the company.
While Champion has been involved with the company for several months, the MMA media is just now starting to become more aware of his presence. But just who is Chuck Champion and is he the right man to navigate ProElite and EliteXC through the rough financial waters of the MMA industry?
While Champion did not have a prior background in MMA before joining ProElite, he had earned a strong reputation in the business community as a turnaround specialist. He initially made a name for himself in the newspaper industry, helping several papers in major markets gain market share on their competitors. Champion rose to even greater prominence after entering the technology sector in 2002 upon joining YouBet.com as its eventual Chairman.
The rating game: DREAM perhaps on life support, UFC turning Japanese and more
Now Japan’s DREAM (or PRIDE II, as some fans see it) is finding itself in the same murky waters. Dismal ratings have left many officials banking on its September 23 event as make-or-break for the company.
And that hardship couldn’t have come at a more opportune time for the UFC, who not coincidentally has just signed a new pay-per-view contract with Japan’s WOWOW PPV company.
Here’s an excerpt from Kamipro.com explaining the partnership:
“We finally signed a contract with the UFC on July 11. I knew this news had been rumored before we officially announced it. We used to air the UFC. We wanted to maintain our contract, but unfortunately the negotiations were broken off and we stopped broadcasting after the UFC 70 in April, 2007. They approached us again in 2008. We were planning to show the UFC in HD starting April of 2007; although the UFC terminated the contact. I remember we were very surprised and disappointed. We are basically going to show all numbering events. Their PPV packages are 3 hours. We will condense into 2 hours by picking up 5 to 6 fights.”
Legislator Pushes for Mass. MMA Regulation
The Boston Globe has apiece up about the efforts to have MMA regulated by the state. There had been a previous effort to include MMA regulation as part of a budget bill, but the item was stricken form the larger bill and made to wait until the next legislative session. This delays Massachusetts from having legal MMA in 2008. This delay caused the UFC to postpone a possible Boston card in November. Several Mass. legislators have taken up legalization as a cause for the next session:
The next opportunity will be in December, when Moran said Timilty will put forth a stand-alone piece of legislation that addresses the sport.
“The senator is going to move on it as one of his first orders of business,” said Moran. “Unfortunately, we didn’t get it made in the budget, but what we have is sort of a great first step with the bill, given that the Senate has already passed it and the Senate Ways and Means has already signed off on the language. So it should move very quickly. With the senator being chairman of public safety and homeland security, the bill would likely come to our committee, which means hearing and favorable release would be pretty easily obtained.”
Fight Biz Quote: Jeremy Lappen
Question: Is the future of EliteXC on pay-per-view?
Lappen: There’s no doubt that I think in this business that’s where the revenues are, I think you have to build pay-per-view stars to have a viable business. That’s what we’re trying to build our fighters toward is pay-per-view stars. I don’t think it’s solely pay per view — I don’t believe in that model, but I think pay-per-view is an important part of our business.
But I think the fights have to be pay-per-view worthy. We’re not going to put things on pay-per-view if they’re not pay-per-view worthy. It’s hard to get people to part with their money if they’re not fights people are excited about. We want to do pay-per-view once it’s big enough and meaningful enough to be worth fans’ money.
CONDIT READY TO UNLEASH ON MIURA
While the champion admits that it’s nothing personal before the fight, once that cage door closes, the switch is flipped and he makes it personal.
“Before the fight I don’t like to talk a lot of crap about my opponents, it’s nothing personal, when it comes to interviews or anything like that,” said Condit in a recent interview with MMAWeekly Radio. “But once I get in there, I make it personal. This is my livelihood, my life is either going to go up or go down depending on what happens right here, so it’s really personal. I make that guy my enemy.”
Condit understands the competition involved with mixed martial arts, but he also knows at the core of it all his opponent wants to knock him out or submit him and take what’s his.
“He’s going to get in there and he’s going to try to take something from me,” Condit stated. “Not only my reputation, my pride, but he’s going to try to knock my (expletive) in the dirt.”
At the end of the day it’s still business, but a fight is always personal.
“I’ve got nothing but respect for the guys I compete against, but in the cage it’s a different story,” said the champion.
Strikeforce at Playboy Mansion confirmed for September 20
Strikeforce will follow up its successful June event, which featured Josh Thomson’s victory over Gilbert Melendez for the lightweight title, with “Strikeforce At The Mansion II” on September 20. This will be the San Jose-based mixed martial arts company’s second event at the world famous Playboy Mansion.
The first show aired live from the Mansion last September, featuring a main event title defense for then lightweight champion, Gilbert Melendez. The event attracted a star-studded audience, including Jaimie Pressly, Chuck Liddell, Joe Rogan, Cung Le, Frank Shamrock, Josh Barnett, Andre Arlovski and others.
No bouts have been confirmed for the fight card as of right now, but Japanese middleweight fighter Kazuo Misaki is rumored to be making his Strikeforce debut, as well as Josh “The Punk” Thomson, who will be making his first title defense.
In addition to a full night of MMA action, all “Strikeforce At The Mansion II” guests will be treated to a top-shelf open bar; buffet-style, gourmet dinner; and wine-tasting party featuring the spirits of various California gold medal wineries.
The Top 5 David vs. Goliath Matchups
While weapons are thankfully banned in rings and cages around the world, Davids have fought Goliaths on numerous occasions throughout the past 15 years in MMA. Sherdog.com has picked five of the most remarkable, bizarre and mind-boggling mismatches for a trip down memory lane.
Kimbo Slice to Co-Star with Hulk Hogan in New Children’s Movie
I still have trouble reading that title without laughing.
According to media sources, Kimbo Slice and Hulk Hogan are set to co-star in a martial arts children’s comedy entitled, “Kung Fu U”. It’s about a group of nerdy kids who are sent to a special school (Kung Fu U, we presume) to learn fighting skills that will help them stand up to bullies.
Talkin’ MMA & Boxing with Roy Englebrecht
Promoter Roy Englebrecht talks about his successful business philosophy, his intriguing new “American Champion” reality TV show project, Affliction Banned, and much more in this interview:
BoxingInsider.com: You have been busy promoting a lot of MMA shows lately. One of the claims you like to boast about is that you are still promoting shows while other promoters like the IFL are losing tons of money. Why are you able to remain successful as a promoter while others are flailing around in the business?
Roy Englebrecht: Deliver good shows, at good prices, in clean venues, and say thank you. Fans will come back. Also, I am a minor league operator, while the others thought they were major league without any experience.
BoxingInsider.com: Besides promoting boxing events in cities such as Irvine, CA you have also been involved in Fight Promoter University. Tell us a little bit about how this project started, why you started it, and who some of the more successful students to come out of the class have been.
Roy Englebrecht: The fight business has been very good to me and I wanted to give something back. It just made me so sad to see promoters, who meant well, lose $25,000 on a show and were never heard from again. I want everyone to have a chance to be successful. We have had graduates be successful in Ohio, PA, Boston, California, Texas.
Dellagrotte: Florian Could Run Through Huerta
The following quote is from an interview with Kenny Florian's trainer, Mark Dellagrotte on Sherdog.com
Sherdog.com: What’s your breakdown of Florian’s upcoming fight against Roger Huerta?
DellaGrotte: In my opinion, I think Kenny’s going to determine what type of fight he makes it. Kenny could run over Roger if he really wants to, or he could allow Roger to give Kenny a fight. I think Kenny’s ability to harness his energy and ability to control his aggression and not become emotionally attached to the fight -- like Roger likes to fight -- is going to give Kenny the technical advantage that he needs. If Roger is able to get in Kenny’s head and make him fight a sloppy, wild, Roger Huerta -style of fight, then obviously that type of fight fits Roger Huerta. Kenny knows he not only needs to use his technical abilities, but he also needs to play a very mental game with Roger … make sure Roger doesn’t take him out of the element of his technical ability and turn him into a brawler. I know Roger’s going to try to do that, and that’s what we’re going to try to avoid in this fight.
Cris Cyborg: "I'll dominate this category"
The women MMA is on the rise, and EliteXC may have no regrets on calling Cris Cyborg to fight at July 26th’s edition. Ready to leave Cutiriba, Brazil, the athlete said she will shock the world and impress all American fans… And she did. “More Cris Cyborg”, asked Kieran Malone, from MMARated.com. “I said (to Dana White) that after my fight he would change his mind about women fights, and would see that he have the same capacities and aggressively”, said Cris Cyborg to Chute Boxe official site, guarantying that White wouldn’t regret to open UFC for women MMA.
Belfort vs. Lindland for Affliction's MW belt
The knockout over Terry Martin at Affliction’s first edition didn’t only put Vitor Belfort back to victories, but can get him a title fight. Belfort’s broken hand might not be a trouble for his next fight. “The doctor will analyze it, but I may stay four weeks out. I’ll come back in October 11th to fight Matt Lindland for the belt”, told the athlete, that will face the Fábio Negão’s opponent on Affliction’s first event.
“It’ll be a great fight, we’ll see who is the best of the world there”, said Belfort, that guarantees his style will be a problem for Lindland. “I saw his fight with Negão and he’s a warrior... He comes be over you, but I don’t think he has the strength to stay over me”, analyzes Vitor, that wants another knockout on his career. “I’ll go to knock him out… My punches are well-aimed and when it hits he won’t stand”, guarantees Belfort.
Nobody Wants To Fight Lyoto Machida
I was watching the fantastic Margarito vs. Cotto fight on Saturday, and all of the talk surrounding Margarito was that nobody wants to fight him. He has an aura around him as a legit tough contender that can damage a money-making reputation. This brought up one name in my head, one fighter in MMA that fits that profile: Lyoto Machida. Lyoto is a fighter that has, in just a short amount of time, made quite a name for himself. Right now, the name is one that high level competition are flat out looking to avoid right now. Lyoto has always had an aura around him, always been met with a certain degree of hype, only to then confuse both fighters and fans.
I remember New Japan Pro Wrestling and Inoki hyping up the debut of the mysterious LYOTO. For those that (luckily) aren’t in the know when it comes to the sordid history of New Japan Pro Wrestling, Antonio Inoki was able to take a company that was incredibly influential to the world of MMA in Japan to a company obsessed with trying to compete with modern MMA, as pro wrestling had been exposed as inferior to MMA. In Inoki’s mind, pro wrestling was just as strong — or stronger — than Mixed Martial Arts. I could write for days on this subject, but instead, I will focus on where LYOTO fits into the picture. Lyoto was Inoki’s hand picked successor to his throne of Japanese fighting star. He was under Inoki’s control, trained where Inoki wanted him to train and only fought on Inoki-approved events.
Mike Whitehead recovering from pre-Affliction injury
Less than two weeks after a unanimous decision loss to Renato "Babalu" Sobral at "Affliction: Banned" ended his 12-fight win streak, veteran light-heavyweight Mike Whitehead (23-7) is looking to heal a broken hand in time for Affliction's second card.
While Whitehead did his best to keep the news from going public, the pre-fight injury was brought up while Whitehead was a guest on a recent edition of TAGG Radio (www.taggradio.com), the official radio partner of MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
"(The injury happened) about two-and-a-half weeks before the fight," Whitehead said. "I punched (training partner) Wanderlei (Silva) in the top of the head and I broke my hand."
Whitehead said the injury caused him to adjust his game plan dramatically.