Ayre comments on Fedor, Angle, and Lesnar
I’ve been trying to do some digging lately on the biggest free agent names in MMA right now and have been working the phone (I’d say “phones” but I’m only using one phone) and e-mail. Bodog Fight founder Calvin Ayre was kind enough to respond to some of my questions. I don’t have anything Earth-shattering to report, but thought some of you might still be interested in Ayre’s responses.
Here’s the mini-interview:
Five Ounces of Pain: First, it’s being reported by several outlets (including the Wrestling Observer) that Kurt Angle will be meeting with Bodog Fight officials this week. Can you confirm those rumors and possibly comment on interest in Angle?
Calvin Ayre: There have been conversations between Bodog Fight and Kurt Angle’s manager to discuss the possibility of working together. Kurt would be an amazing asset to our organization as a cross-over athlete with an Olympic wrestling pedigree. At this time, there are only discussions and no formal meeting is set to take place this week.
FOP: Second, Brock Lesnar is now a free agent following his win Saturday night for FEG/K-1. Has Bodog contacted his representatives yet? If not, is there interest in talking to him about possibly joining the promotion?
CA: Bodog Fight has not contacted Brock’s representatives. Cross-over athletes require a great deal of time to review and assess their performances in a new sport and matching them with appropriate opponents can be difficult. Brock was an incredible wrestler and phenomenal entertainer in the WWE; working together in the future may be a possibility.
FOP: Final question; is Bodog currently negotiating with Fedor Emelianenko?
CA: Working with Fedor and the Red Devil has been a rewarding experience for our organization. There is considerable interest in several of the Red Devil fighters, Fedor being one of them.
Dana White was on The Jim Rome Show today
Some notes from the radio interview:
He talked about how he got interested in the UFC (mentioning fighter John Lewis by name).
He talked about how ‘the old owner’ (Bob Meyrowitz) burned so many bridges and did things the wrong way. White claimed UFC was supposed to be a one-time show, but did so well that they ran shows over and over again and the old owners didn’t realize that they were creating a new sport. It was bad to market it as “two men enter the cage, one man leaves.”
When asked about the position of UFC as a sport in America, White said that UFC will never be as big as the NFL but “we’re NASCAR-big now, we’re MLB-big now, we’re NBA-big now.” He said that unlike the NFL, which isn’t popular outside of North America, the UFC product can cross cultural barriers and be global. White made an analogy to someone going to England to watch cricket and not ‘getting it’, but everyone gets UFC.
Dana talked about how UFC PPVs outsell WWE and boxing. He says that the UFC PPV audience comes from both industries. When asked what is more dangerous (MMA or boxing), Dana hesitated at first but stated that 5-6 boxers die a year and that more people die in football (on the high-school level) but nobody complains about that because it’s football.
White claimed that 85% of the fighters in UFC are college-educated and that they include guys who were Olympic wrestlers and went into martial arts (which he stressed required money). He said the fighters are good human beings and once again brought up the Haystacks Calhoun comparison to Matt Hughes (one’s fictional, one’s real). “Reality is better than anything you can write.”
He said that the blueprint of UFC was based on the business of boxing and what not to do. White said that Don King and Bob Arum destroyed boxing and that nobody in boxing has done anything to secure the future of the sport. He stressed that UFC is ran like a real business.
When asked by Jim Rome how he was able to build UFC into an empire with no college degree and no formal business training, White responded by saying “I know fighting” and “I know what fight fans want to see.” When pressed to give an example of where boxing has gone wrong, he brought up the De La Hoya/Mayweather event on May 5th. White said that seats were $2,500 USD a piece and the PPV cost $55 or $60. He said that Oscar De La Hoya has many fighters under contract (like Shane Mosley), but chose not to put the best fights on a single card and stack the line-up. White juxtaposed UFC events in comparison to boxing by stating that he builds entire cards that fans want to see and that when prelims start at 5:15 PM, 75% of the fans are already at the build ready to watch.
Dana shyfully thought that Rampage/Liddell lived up to the hype and made the claim that Chuck Liddell is the best or one of the best MMA fighters in the world. White said that he is still in shock that Chuck got knocked out, and he also deflected criticism of Chuck staying out late at night before fights by stating that Liddell has always done that and “gotten up at 3 or 4 PM in the afternoon the next day.” White also stressed that his intention is to book Liddell vs. Wanderlei Silva, claiming that “it will probably be the biggest fight in MMA history.”
Tito Ortiz, Doing What He Does Best
Doing what Tito does best, Talking Shit! In a recent blog entry on Tito Ortiz’s Myspace profile, Ortiz had these notable things to say about his next opponent:
I am really pumped on caving Rashads face in… more focused than I have ever been I think. He really has no idea what he is in for…I guess until you get your ass kicked really good, you never really do. I am going to make him rethink his career in the UFC. Maybe he should go back to flipping burgers after I put him in a wheel chair. LOL
Tito Ortiz can sure hold his own against the best WWE superstars. Hyping fights, dramatic entrances, and legendary revelry’s, that is why people love him.
Brock Lesnar Post Fight Interview
OTM: So this is your MMA debut and you came out with a win, tell me how you feel about that?
Brock: I’m glad its over, I really enjoyed it! (It has been) A long time training for my first fight and It really hasn’t sunk in yet. I’m disappointed because I didn’t get to fight Hong Man at the last minute but I still wanted to fight, and I’m very excited about the victory.
International Fight League Coaching Legends to Visit Troops on USO Tour to Persian Gulf Region
ARLINGTON, Va. - The International Fight League (IFL), the world’s number one mixed martial arts league, will have two of its world champion coaches-the Quad Cities Silverbacks’ Pat Miletich and Tucson Scorpions’ Don Frye, along with reigning PRIDE world champion and Portland Wolfpack assistant coach Dan Henderson-embark on a USO tour to the Persian Gulf region in late June. These three legends will visit with service members and perform demonstrations of their fighting techniques to the troops. The tour is co-sponsored by U.S. Army Europe.
Faber Fever in Full Effect as WEC assaults the Nation
“The California Kid” has gone Nationwide.
With the third successful defense of his World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) Featherweight Championship belt now in the bank after a technically brilliant first round submission win over previously unbeaten Chance Farrar on Sunday night, Urijah Faber not only lived up to the media attention afforded him in the weeks leading up to his bout at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, but he showed a new legion of fans watching on the VERSUS network just what state of the art mixed martial arts is really about.
Yahoo! Sports Launches Official MMA Section
Internet powerhouse Yahoo! Sports has launched a dedicated MMA/Boxing section, furthering its coverage that begin with the hiring of famed boxing writer Kevin Iole from the Las Vegas Review-Journal last month.
Report: State Of Tennessee Likely To Legalize MMA
In the Tennessee Daily Times, it is being reported that the state is very close to legalizing Mixed Martial Arts. According to the report, supporters are hopeful that the legislation will be put in place by May 2008. Marc Ratner of the UFC has already responded by saying they'd love to run either Nashville or Memphis.
TUF 5 Finale: Leonard Garcia to fight unknown show contestant
Gritty lightweight Leonard Garcia will return to the Octagon at The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 5 Finale on June 23 against a competitor on the current season of the reality series, according to FightNetwork.com.
He did not name his opponent.
Garcia burst onto the UFC scene back in April at UFC 69 — albeit in a losing effort to Roger Huerta via unanimous decision. It was the “Fight of the Night,” and in the post-fight press conference UFC President Dana White singled out the Greg Jackson product for his solid effort.
Here’s a snip from the news bit:
“Though he lost a unanimous decision, Garcia won over fans with his tenacity and toughness as he absorbed Huerta’s best shots, at times meeting his opponent’s strikes with smiles. Many consider it a frontrunner for Fight of the Year.”
Even though Garcia and Huerta went toe-to-toe for most of the night, Garcia has predominantly been successful with his submission game, winning more than 75 percent of his fights via tap out.
It will be interesting to see if the UFC puts him in the cage with another fighter like Huerta who prefers to keep the fight upright in an attempt to recapture that same magic.
This has the potential to be a solid bout … let’s just hope it’s someone who is still in the running (Diaz, Hill, Gamburyan, Lauzon, Maynard or Wiman).
We’ll keep you updated on this match up, which is probably under lock and key since the show is still ongoing and the UFC wants to avoid potential spoilers at all costs (unless of course Wayne Weems, Andy Wang or one of the other already eliminated finalists is the guy tapped to face Garcia).
The TUF 5 Finale at The Palms Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, is headlined with the rematch between coaches — and former champions — BJ Penn and Jens Pulver. For the latest TUF 5 Finale line up click here.
Lawmaker Proposes MMA Regulation To Michigan State
LANSING ??" A state lawmaker wants to regulate mixed martial arts fights and make them legal in Michigan.
A state House committee heard testimony Tuesday on legislation aimed at expanding state law covering boxing to include contests sponsored by the Ultimate Fighting Championship or other mixed martial arts organizations.
The legislation, which sponsors say still needs work, was approved by the committee and sent to the House floor for future action.
Supporters say the legislation could make Michigan an option for professional mixed martial arts fight promoters. Twenty-three states have in some way regulated the sport, most of them since 2000, and several other states are considering similar action.
“It’s the next big sporting event,” said Rep. Barbara Farrah, a Democrat from Southgate and the legislation’s sponsor. “It’s going to continue to grow.”
Farrah told the House Regulatory Reform Committee ??" which she chairs ??" that she is sponsoring the legislation in hopes of drawing professional fights and the economic benefits that could go with them to Michigan.
Not all states and communities are rushing to embrace the sport. For example, a half-dozen cities in Minnesota have banned or restricted mixed martial arts fighting because of safety concerns. The events also have drawn criticism in some other states.
But representatives of the UFC touted their safety record Tuesday. UFC representatives said they want to come to Michigan, but they want regulation first to help promote safety.
“We are moving one step at a time, one state at a time,” said Marc Ratner, an official with the UFC.
Supporters of the legislation say Michigan’s current law does not allow professional mixed martial arts fights, except at American Indian casinos.
The fights ??" which may include karate, judo and wrestling moves in addition to boxing ??" are growing in popularity at arenas, on television and through pay-per-view events. The events may be held in rings or cages.
The state’s Department of Labor and Economic Growth wants the fighting to be regulated. The department also wants any new laws passed to address both professional and amateur fighting and eliminate any gray areas between the two.
Regulators are concerned about the growth of fighting that could be classified as amateur mixed martial arts. Some promoters have argued amateur fights are exempt under current Michigan law or aren’t covered in statute, a potential loophole that regulators want closed so there is no debate.
“That’s where the major problems are,” Archie Millben, enforcement director of DLEG’s Bureau of Commercial Services, said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. “It’s not these big guys. It’s all the little guys coming in.”
Japanese Fighter Auctioning His PRIDE Winner's Trophy
The following is an excerpt from Zach Arnold's FightOpinion.com blog:
On Yahoo Japan auctions, a mystery fighter from the PRIDE 34 show is auctioning off his winner’s trophy. The current bid is 81,000Y with the minimum asking bid of 120,000Y. Since the auction is in Japanese, the obvious question is who the seller is. The Japanese fighters that won on the PRIDE 34 show were Makoto Takimoto, Shin’ya Aoki, and Yoshihiro Nakao. Unless one of the foreign fighters who won on the show gave away their trophy…
Exclusive Interview w/ TUF 3 & UFC Star Rory Singer
MMANews.com's own Chris Howie recently caught up with Ultimate Fighter veteran and current UFC fighter Rory Singer to discuss his upcoming bout against Jason MacDonald on the main PPV card of UFC 72 "Victory", coming up on June 16th in Ireland among a number of other topics. Below is a complete transcript of the discussion.
CURRAN FINDS A HOME IN WEC, WANTS FABER
Widely considered as one of the top 145-pound fighters in the world, Jeff Curran looks to make an impressive debut in the WEC’s featherweight division. The “Big Frog” recently signed an exclusive 4-fight contract with the Zuffa-owned organization and is expected to have his next fight in August.
“Basically, I had a 2-fight deal with Pride that ended in September of this year and I had no idea when the next fight was coming,” explained Curran. “Monte [Cox] and I always have wanted to have a good showing in a 145 lbs. division like the WEC has going on. I pushed for Monte to make the deal with the WEC, but had to wait until the Zuffa/Pride deal was final. The day it was done I was in. I got my contract the very next day and we are ready to rock!”
Having fought in Pride, UFC, ZST, and the IFL, the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt is one of the most experienced featherweight fighters today. Curran has been victorious in his last five outings and holds notable wins over Wagnney Fabiano, Charles Bennett and Antonio Carvalho.
Marlon Sims Tells Another Story
Ok, this one is a pure gem for you if you've been watching TUF5. As you know, Marlon Sims was and still is bragging about the hundreds of street fights he's been in and I have to say that he tells his stories in great detail with overwhelming enthusiasm.
I can also see why the rest of the dudes in the house got tired of his story telling because Marlon is... shall we say... over the top.
In the story Marlon tells below which he left on the TUF Forum, he had me on the floor laughing the second when he mentioned a "Tiger Claw". Marlon Sims IS the real life Reggie Warren Jr.
Too much fun!
An Unsung Lion
Ken Shamrock’s Lion’s Den is a team and a family. Just ask any of the fighters belonging to this elite fight club. Whether they are Den fighters, IFL fighters, or both--such as in the case of Vernon “Tiger” White--they will all tell you that the Lion’s Den is a unified organization.
But the Lion’s Den is more than a group of fighters. This unit would not be complete without the coaches, trainers, office staff, and even their agent, Rodney Donohoo, Esq.
Donohoo, a 1989 Magna Laude graduate from California Western School of Law, was referred to Ken Shamrock when the hall-of-famer required legal assistance in a civil suit brought by opposing MMA fighter. While most attorneys would have encouraged their clients to settle, Donohoo agreed that Shamrock was morally and legally in the right and boldly took the case to trial.
Arum: UFC Underpays Its Fighters
Legendary boxing promoter Bob Arum says that the UFC is using its status as the world's premier mixed martial arts organization to underpay the athletes who have made the sport what it is.
"They have a complete monopoly," he told Boxing Scene, "and have choked off all the competition, and their fighters have to take what they give them. In boxing, we have a totally different model, different pay scale. We give 90 percent of the money from a promotion to the fighters."
He admits that the UFC's presentation and promotions blows away boxing, but says part of that is due to so few dollars going to fighters.
"The guys who promote this stuff are able to spend so much money on advertising because they don't pay their fighters anything. Here they had a big pay-per-view show last week in which they had more than a million buys and took in around 20 million dollars. And I doubt they spent more than a million dollars on all the participants on the program." (The actual number reported to the athletic commission was $920,500).
As the UFC receives an increasing amount of mainstream attention, its pay structure has come under some scrutiny as fans marvel that some athletes in the most prestigious MMA promotion in the world are making as little as $3,000 per fight
Spencer Fisher wants to kill two birds with one stone June 12th
When Spencer Fisher squares off against Sam Stout in the main event at UFC Fight Night 10 on June 12 in Hollywood, Fla., he'll have the chance to kill two birds with one stone - avenge a hard-fought, split decision loss and move back into the UFC's lightweight title picture.
After earning two impressive UFC wins as a welterweight, Fisher finally had the opportunity to fight in the newly-resurrected lightweight division at UFC 58 against Stout in March 2006. He was fighting at his more natural weight of 155 pounds, but Fisher had to take the match on just a few days notice, filling in for an injured Kenny Florian. Although Fisher had his moments in the fight, the judges gave the nod to Stout.
He could've blamed the setback on the judges' scorecards or having to lose 23 pounds in two days, but Fisher didn't making any excuses for the loss.
"The judges made what they thought was the right decision," said Fisher, who fights out of Davenport, Iowa. "If I hadn't let the fight go the distance it wouldn't have been up to them."
Art of War 3 – new date
Pedro Rizzo and Jeff Monson face each other on September 1
Initially set for June 30th, Art of War 3 has a new date. It will be on September 1st, at the American Airlines Center, in Dallas, Texas. The main event will be kept and include Pedro Rizzo and Jeff Monson. Further participations from such well-known names as Jeremy Horn, Jake Shields, Ron Waterman and Ricco Rodriguez are expected.
Wanderlei Silva has new site
The Chute Boxe star is visiting the USA
Anybody that thinks Wanderlei Silva is taking a break is fooling himself. Although there has been no confirmation of a fight in the near future, the star of Chute Boxe is still working hard. Wand’s most recent commitment was this weekend, in the United States. More and more popular in the land of Uncle Sam these days, Wand participated in the inauguration of Randy Couture’s newest gym.
Photos of the trip to the UFC heavyweight champion’s lair can bee seen on Wand’s new site. The address is still the same www.wanderleisilva.com.br, but the page has been reformulated and now web surfers can follow the steps of the idol from Curitiba around the world. It is worth a visit.