Texas Crazy Horse looks forward to third bout with Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
Heavyweight Heath (Texas Crazy Horse) Herring has fought Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira twice before, so the veteran mixed martial arts fighter knows what to expect when they meet again Saturday night at UFC 73 in Sacramento, Calif.
"If you want my Texas analogy, me and Nogueira fighting is like putting two cats in a burlap sack. We get after it pretty good," he said over the phone.
Vera to fight two times, by the end of 07'
VERA SHEDDING MANAGER, WANTS BACK IN THE OCTAGON By Loretta Hunt (email@example.com)
Heavyweight contender Brandon Vera says he will fight two times by the end of this year, this in light of lingering contractual issues the 29-year-old has with both his existing manager Mark Dion and with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Vera stated yesterday in an interview on FIGHT NETWORK RADIO that he has parted ways with Dion, who also owns the City Boxing gym in San Diego, and will seek arbitration through the California State Athletic Commission as early as July.
Vera confirmed he had been offered a title bout against former UFC Heavyweight Champion Tim Sylvia on March’s UFC 68 card in Columbus, Ohio, though he did not elaborate why the bout never came to happen. Randy Couture would come out of retirement to earn the title from Sylvia with a five-round unanimous decision.
In late March, Vera signed a six-month extension with the UFC with one fight left on his current contract. Vera had previously stated he intends to re-sign with the UFC.
Though only 6-0 in the fight game, the muay Thai savvy Vera has created a wave of anticipation with four dominating turns in the Octagon, including his decimation of former UFC Heavyweight Champion Frank Mir via first round TKO at last November’s UFC 65.
Antonio Silva Undergoes Surgery...
Antonio Silva wasnt cleared to fight in his last scheduled appearance for Elite XC, and it was rumored that a tumor was found in his head. He underwent surgery to remove it, and is looking to return to MMA soon...
BJ Penn Vs. Diego Sanchez UFC 74
Sherdog.com is reporting that BJ Penn and Diego Sanchez have agreed to fight each other on the UFC 74 card.
CSAC: Baroni Positive for Two Types of Steroids
Middleweight Phil Baroni (Pictures) tested positive for Boldenone and Stanozolol Metabolites, the California State Athletic Commission announced Tuesday afternoon. The 31-year-old from Long Island, New York has been fined $2,500 and suspended 365 days from the conclusion of his loss against Frank Shamrock (Pictures) on June 22 in San Jose. The final 51 days of that suspension will be fulfilled at the start of Baroni's next licensing year, should he decide to reapply.
Baroni joins Carter Williams who was suspended six months and fined $1,000 following a positive test for cocaine, as the second fighter to test positive for banned substances following the Strikeforce/EliteXC co-promoted card.
All other fighters on the card have been cleared by the CSAC.
RODRIGUEZ TO TEACH “CRO COP” CAGE ED 101
Former UFC Heavyweight Champ Prepares for Comeback
By Loretta Hunt (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The cage is all the rage, as UFC heavyweight contender Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic is finding out the hard way. So, the feared striker has invited Ricco Rodriguez to join him in his Croatian homeland at the end of this month for a lesson in the nuisances of the Octagon.
“He’s asked me to come out and show him some of the ground-and-pound techniques, getting out and up from the bottom, the mechanics of the cage,” says Rodriguez, who has mastered key outings in both apparatus during his eight-year career. “We’ll be exchanging information. There’s absolutely a difference between the ring and a cage.”
Rodriguez, who utilized a ground-and-pound arsenal to capture the UFC Heavyweight Championship from Randy Couture in 2002, will assist the former PRIDE star in his training for his Sept. 8 UFC 75 bout against fellow stand-up artist Cheick Kongo in London, England. The fight will be Filipovic’s third career turn in a cage, after claiming a first round TKO over Eddie Sanchez last February and a surprise loss via head kick by Gabriel Gonzaga in April.
Cro Cop, a member of Croatia’s elite special police unit and a Parliament representative, has spent the majority of his career competing in the ring, rising to notoriety in K-1’s world-class kickboxing tournaments and PRIDE Fighting Championships. Cro Cop capped off a fruitful run for the Japanese promotion with a 2006 Grand Prix Championship before defecting to the UFC. Rodriguez reports the stone-faced assassin revered for his instantaneously crippling left high kick has imported a cage for his training complex in preparation.
The prestigious invitation comes at an opportune time in Rodriguez’s career as the heavyweight wages a comeback during the sport’s most lucrative time yet. Though the 29-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt has been offered a steady stream of bouts, including a marquee fight against the world’s number one-ranked heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko in bodogFIGHT last December, Rodriguez has been adamant regarding his financial worth in a market in demand for the division.
“I know everybody hates when I say it, but for all the effort I’ve put in, I’d like to get a good paycheck,” he says.
At a time, Rodriguez was considered among the world's top heavyweights, demonstrating above average agility and athleticism for his weight division in performances against Andrei Arlovski, Paul Buentello, Jeff Monson, and Couture. In 2003, Rodriguez lost a highly contested unanimous decision over former PRIDE Heavyweight Champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in Japan after challenging the jiu-jitsu legend all three rounds.
Rodriguez (25-6) lost the UFC title to a hungry Tim Sylvia at 2003’s UFC 41, and has since wrestled with a host of demons, including obesity, heavy partying, and drug use.
Topping out at 350 pounds when he dropped a decision to an unknown Robert Beraun in Arizona, Rodriguez earned four back-to-back victories in 2006, including a vindication rematch to Ron Waterman at July’s WFA 4 “King of the Streets.” Rodriguez was dealt a setback in November, when a California State Athletic Commission-administered drug test revealed the presense of cocaine. Rodriguez has since served a six-month suspension that completed in mid-May.
Rodriguez’s weight has gradually melted down to 265-270 pounds, where he’s hovering for a super heavyweight bout in November with American Top Team up-and-comer Antonio Silva, who underwent tumor removal surgery in June, at Pro Elite’s “EliteXC” promotion. Rodriguez aims to drop as far as his body will allow, possibly even to the svelte 235-pound frame he carried during the five-fight win streak he enjoyed in the Octagon leading up to taking the crown.
A recent father to one-year old son Ricco, Rodriguez’s experiences have been filmed for the last ten years for a pending documentary on his life. The film will include his rise to the UFC championship, his downward spiral, and his comeback, with training footage of him and legendary fighter Kazushi Sakuraba in Japan, his interactions with troubled training partner Mark Kerr of “The Smashing Machine” fame, and Rodriguez’s first day of boxing training with coach Saul Soliz in Texas, where the heavyweight now resides.
Shamrock won't return to UFC
Dana White, however, has other ideas, as the UFC President stated today that the 43-year-old legend had his contract terminated with one fight left on it, meaning he will no longer fight for the organization.
"I like Ken Shamrock," White said in a conference call. "If I saw him tomorrow, I'd say hello to him and see how his family is and everything else. He needs to think about retiring."
Shamrock has lost six of his last seven MMA fights, including three in a row in the UFC. His only win came against fellow 40-something Kimo Leopoldo.
"He has lost every fight he's had in UFC except for one," White said. "He's just not at that level anymore as a UFC fighter.
"He lost to Tito Ortiz three times," White continued. "He lost to Rich Franklin, who's a 185-pounder. Before we picked him up from PRIDE, he'd lost like six fights in a row in PRIDE. (In actuality, Shamrock lost three of four PRIDE fights.)
In other news, White said that the company was hoping to have Chuck Liddell back in the octagon in November, though his opponent is still not yet known. White at one time had alluded to a possible fight with Wanderlai Silva, but said now that it was no longer a certainty.
In regards to the PRIDE sale, he acknowledged that the company is in a bit of disarray, and that bringing fighters over to the UFC is a way to keep them active while the future of PRIDE is decided.
"They went out of business for a reason," he said. "Because that company's a mess. We're trying to figure it out and fix it. We've got a lot going on with the UFC. We opened an office in the UK and other things going on, we have a lot going on and these things take time. It's a lot more complicated and messed-up than we thought it was. PRIDE is a very powerful brand and I honestly don't know what is going to happen. We bought it with the intention of running it but it's a seriously messed-up company, so we're trying to figure it out.
Finally, despite a recent report in Variety which stated the UFC-HBO deal was likely not going to happen, White insisted it's "far from dead."
Possible Rampage vs Ortiz
Former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz (15-5 MMA, 14-5 UFC) is willing to fight his friend (and current light heavyweight champ) Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (27-6 MMA, 2-0 UFC) — if the price is right
this would be a big money maker and could possibly go down if Tito beats Rashad.
TITO ISN'T LOOKING PAST RASHAD EVANS
'The Huntington Beach Bad Boy' Tito Ortiz is gearing up for battle against Rashad Evans this weekend at UFC 73 in Sacramento, Calif. The former UFC light heavyweight champion spoke with MMAWeekly about the fight, his training, and his place in the UFC
Mixed martial arts scorecard: A judge's inside look at how he rates fights
By Neil Davidson
(CP) - After lightweight Tyson Griffin was awarded a split decision over Clay Guida at UFC 72 last month, three reporters on press row looked at each other and compared notes.
Two of those journalists are considered the deans of the sport, having followed mixed martial arts for years. The third was covering his eighth straight UFC card.
All three scored the fight for Guida, reasoning a strong finish had earned him the decision. One judge agreed, but his two fellow judges disagreed and Griffin won a majority decision in what was later named the fight of the night.
"One of the best fights I've ever seen," said Jeff Mullen, one of the three judges for the Belfast bout.
"I thought Clay Guida clearly won and the other two judges disagreed with me," he added.
Griffin-Guida is why fighters don't like to let judges decide their fate. Judging is subjective in any sport and more so in mixed martial arts where judges must follow striking, grappling and jiu-jitsu.
"There's a lot of things you look at," says Mullen. "The things you look at are effective striking, effective grappling, Octagon (ring) control, effective aggression and effective defence.
"But the most important by far are effective striking and effective grappling."
Judges must adapt to the fight before them, says Mullen.
"If 80 per cent of the round is spent standing up, then effective striking is going to carry a whole lot more weight than effective grappling. Whereas say 95 per cent of the fight was fought on the ground, then effective grappling would count more than the effective striking. So it's a sliding scale and you have to adjust it to where most of the fight takes place."
It gets more complicated since fighters can also strike on the ground.
"It depends on where it takes place and what happens where it takes place," he added.
Mullen, 50, reckons effective aggression, effective defence and Octagon control are more "fallback criteria that you use if the others things are even."
A flurry at the end of the round may look good but Mullen says it has to be judged in the overall scheme of things.
"A good judge will look at the whole five minutes. An experienced judge will remember what happened at the first of the round, where a lot of times fans will just remember what happens at the end of the round.
"If a guy lands a couple of big shots at the end of the round but he's been getting pounded throughout the first part of the round, that's not going to sway me."
Cosmetic damage, ie blood, doesn't matter, says Mullen, noting one punch to the nose can prompt a torrent of blood.
Things can happen so quickly in an MMA bout that casting your eyes down to take notes can means missing something. So Mullen keeps score in his head from the first bell.
"I'm constantly thinking this guy's slightly ahead or this guy's ahead by this much. I'm keeping that tally in my head all the time."
At the end of each round, he gives both fighters a mark using the 10-point must system - which means the winner gets 10 points and the loser nine or less.
Rounds of 10-8 are rare - they call for "damage and domination," says Mullen who has never given a 10-7.
MMA fights last three rounds, with championship bouts lasting five.
Given MMA rounds are five minute long and there are so many ways to attack your opponent, Mullen says he has plenty to base his decision on.
"Now there's a lot of really close ones, but I usually have a clear idea who I think won at the end of the round."
In judging effective striking, Mullen says it can be tough balancing a hard blow against repeated lesser ones. A punch that staggers a fighter, buckling his knees or knocking him down, will count more than "a whole lot" of jabs or combinations.
But then if a fighter is "busting up" his opponent with repeated blows, that also counts.
"Generally damaging strikes count more than just scoring strikes."
It's the same with takedowns. A slam that stuns an opponent will score more than a basic takedown where the aggressor lands in the other fighter's guard. Still that kind of takedown counts in Octagon control, in that one fighter is controlling where the action takes place.
Mullen must be doing something right. He says he has never been approached by a fighter or someone from their camp about his verdict.
Referees often feel the heat more than judges for stepping in to stop fights.
A Memphis native, Mullen has judged in Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Mississippi, New Jersey and Nevada as well as Brazil, England and Northern Ireland among other places.
A former pro kickboxer, Mullen operates a gym called Mullen's Karate Kickboxing and Jiu-Jitsu in Memphis. He has been teaching full time since 1986 and training in martial arts since 1975.
Mullen had already been judging karate and had always wondered what would happened when fighters of different styles were matched up. So he was hooked when he heard of the UFC. He watched the UFC's first show in 1993 on pay-per-view and, the next Monday, called UFC matchmaker Art Davie to chew the fat.
In those days, the UFC didn't bother with judges. Fighters won by knockout or if their opponents tapped out or their corner threw in the towel.
In December 1995, the UFC brought in judges - most of whom wrote for mixed martial arts magazines, according to Mullen. In '96, Mullen suggested he judge and Davie agreed.
"He put me on for the next fight, in December 1996 (Ultimate Ultimate 96), and I've been judging Ultimate Fighting Championships ever since," Mullen said.
Today, Mullen is the most senior of active MMA judges.
The judges for each card are picked and paid by the state athletic commissions, who tend to rotate through their roster. Mullen may find his dance card packed and then go several months without a show.
On June 12, he judged a UFC televised show in Florida and then handled UFC 72 in Belfast four days later.
When he first started judging, Mullen would do every fight on the card - which made it difficult if nature called. These days, he might do three, four or five in a night.
Mullen answers to the athletic commission. meeting with them after each card to review scores and fights, and has no dealings with promoters or organizers.
He helps mentor young judges, who often study tapes of fights Mullen has judged. Like fighters, judges work their way up to the UFC by learning their trade on smaller circuits.
An MMA veteran who has judged on several circuits, Mullen marvels at how complete today's fighters are, singling out recent bouts such as Griffin-Guida, Roger Huerta-Leonard Garcia and Canadian Sam Stout-Spencer Fisher for particular praise.
"From top to bottom, UFC cards are stacked," he said.
Marquee fights he has worked include Mark Coleman versus Maurice Smith at UFC 14 in 1997, Frank Shamrock versus Tito Ortiz at UFC 22 in 1999, Ortiz-Ken Shamrock 1 at UFC 40 in 2002, and Ortiz-Chuck Liddell 1 at UFC 47 in 2004.
"Man I love my job," said Mullen. "I get excited every one I go to. Best job in the world.
"It's the best seat in the house."
Stephan Bonnar’s Second Act
The world loves a good comeback story. The tale of Stephan Bonnar applies.
One half of the tandem (along with Forrest Griffin) responsible for putting mixed martial arts on the mainstream map in April of 2005 with their nationally televised three round war at the Ultimate Fighter season one finale, Bonnar was one of the UFC’s golden boys – he could fight, he loved to scrap, and was quick with a witty sound bite.
Fight Card interviews Tito Ortiz
Tito Ortiz is on The Fight Card radio show. Check out this interview Tito talked about how Dana has made up lies about him, and as always Tito does a little trash talking about his up and coming fight with Evans, and a little bit about his beautiful girlfriend Jenna! Check it out at www.myspace.com/thefightcard