UFC HAWAII !?
Reported by Sam Caplan of cbssportsline.com This past weekend, Fighting Entertainment Group made the first attempt by a fight promotion at holding a major mixed-martial arts show at an outdoor stadium in the United States. From both a financial and quality perspective, the show was a total failure.
But if UFC president Dana White’s comments several weeks ago during a pre-UFC 71 conference call are any indication, Zuffa could be the next fight company to attempt a major outdoor MMA extravaganza.
White expressed his desire for the company to eventually hold an outdoor show at the 50,000-seat Aloha Stadium in Hawaii. He gave no timetable for when a card will be scheduled and the UFC is not expected to promote a card in Hawaii until the state regulates MMA.
MMA cards currently take place in Hawaii on a regular basis but state rules do not require the shows to be regulated. Aside from holding shows in Europe, the UFC wants to avoid putting on fight cards in areas where MMA is not regulated.
MMA in the Mainstream Watch
Back in January I gave my opinions on what we can really use as markers to definitively say that MMA has reached widespread acceptance in American culture in a post titled 11 Signs That Mixed Martial Arts is Mainstream.
We’ve seen a couple of those markers reached in the meantime. We have seen:
An MMA fighter on the arm of a hollywood actress at the Oscars awards ceremony with Tito Ortiz and his lady-friend Jenna Jameson
ESPN has begun formally covering mixed martial arts
While no other of the criteria I gave have been met to my knowledge, a couple have come very close.
I required that an MMA fighter would host Saturday Night Live. We’re still not there yet, but we’re getting close in Chuck Liddel’s appearance on David Letterman Thursday evening.
While we haven’t seen Sports Illustrated grant Sportsman of the Year to a fighter yet, we have broken the seal with both Sports Illustrated and ESPN featuring cover stories on the sport of MMA.
We’re getting there slowly but surely. Dana White recently was quoted as saying that MMA is nowhere near mainstream (sorry, I don’t know where I saw that to link you to it). What do you think? Have we crossed that threshold?
The Way It Is (And Not Much Else) - Franklin-Okami
There is no denying it; the fight card for UFC 72 is the UFC’s weakest offering in quite some time. I am a devoted student of the game, and all I can tell you is that Rich Franklin is fighting Yushin Okami, Forrest Griffin is fighting (somebody) and that some fighters with Irish heritage are making an appearance.
That being said, the intrigue of a Franklin/Okami battle is more than enough reason for me to tune in once again.
The Way It Is: Barring a freak knockout or submission, Rich Franklin should overwhelm Okami early in the fight. Franklin is relentless. If you watch Franklin’s pre-Silva fights, he comes out swinging from bell to bell. As bad as he looked against Anderson Silva, Rich Franklin is easily one of the most effective, well-rounded fighters in the UFC. Punching, kicking, knees, takedowns, slams, and submissions are all a big part of Franklin’s impressive game.
Most of all, with Franklin-Silva II lurking in the not-too-distant future, Franklin should be more motivated than he ever has to pull out a win in this fight to secure the rematch.
Don’t get me wrong, Okami is great and he’s only going to get better. If the situation is right, I have no problem picking the underdog. In this situation however, I simply believe Rich Franklin will be too much for Okami to handle.
Bottom line, Okami is good, but he’s not THAT good. Don’t count him out completely, but count him out.
Paul Buentello Joins The WheyUP Team
The Head Hunter Joins the WheyUP Team
Mixed Martial Arts fighter Paul Buentello will endorse new energy drink that is packed with whey protein
Chandler, Ariz. ??" June 7, 2007 ??" Paul Buentello, a world-class Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter has joined the WheyUP team. Buentello, nicknamed "The Head Hunter" for his aggressive style, will endorse WheyUP for his upcoming bout on June 22 against Carter Williams (3-1-0 in MMA). The fight is scheduled to air live on Showtime pay-per-view. The Buentello-Williams match is on the undercard of the Ken Shamrock-Phil Baroni championship bout.
The Legends of Fighting (LFC) premieres Friday on HDNet
The Legends of Fighting Championships (LFC) is set to premiere on television sets across the country on HDNet Friday night June 8 at 10pm ET.
Each 90-minute taped episode will showcase two title bouts and two feature bouts.
This is a big step up for the local promotion based out of Indiana.
“We will now be recognized not only on a local level but also on a regional and national level,” said Scott J. Sims, the LFC promotions manager. “We are looking to fill the void left by the WEC when the UFC purchased it.”
The first episode will cover the May 26 LFC 18 “Pole Position” event which included a super heavyweight bout between Tiny Norton and Leo Sylvest.
“Lil Hulk” Ready To Run Wild In The UFC
At one time, it seemed as if Luke “Lil Hulk” Caudillo was going to be one of those good fighters that had a serviceable career, but never quite made it to the big time.
During his first eight fights in MMA, Luke managed just to break even, and appeared to be on the journeyman’s path as a stepping stone for fighters on their way up the ranks.
But times have changed, as Caudillo managed to win eleven of his next fifteen fights and more specifically, his last four in a row in impressive fashion, all leading up to his UFC debut on June 12 at Ultimate Fight Night 10 in Hollywood, Florida, where his opponent will be Nate Mohr.
Schoenauer On IFL Anaconda's 3-0 Season
With the IFL’s 2007 regular season just about over, the playoff picture for the World Team Tournament has begun to clear up after the fog of contenders has thinned.
One team’s fate that was not in jeopardy, however, was the Los Angeles Anacondas.
Going into last Friday’s IFL event in Everett, Washington, the team just needed to perform well, baring some sort of massive collapse, to lock up the top seed in the World Team Tournament. To that point, they succeeded.
Key among their 3-2 victory over the tough Seattle Tiger Shark was Alex Schoenauer’s surprising win over the hot streaking Allan Goes in the evening’s light-heavyweight showdown.....
Last Man Standing Promotions Presents Caged Kombat
Josh Robbins Vs Roger Lawson
Jerrel"Scooter"Dickenson Vs Jesse Sexton
Steve Maness Vs Brandon"the Sandman"Hall
Matthew"Chico"Yeary Vs TBA
Mike Hamilton Vs Cory Brown
Andrew"Burrito" Yeary Vs Sean Hicks
Adam Robbins Vs TBA
Mike Garcia Vs Rodney Kilgore(Not finalized)
Jeffery Mullins Vs Scott Crabtree
Kevin "Fivel"Yeary Vs Brandon Howard
Others scheduled to fight are: Ryan Robinette,David Slone,Jason Keen and a couple others (fight card subject to change)
Saturday June 16th at Lee High School in Ben Hur,Virginia
Advance tickets are $5 off and are available at All Fitness Gym and Audia's Boxing of Pennington Gap,Virginia.
For more information or if interested in fighting call Jason Coomer at 276-275-4266 or Steve Collier at 276-546-5288.
KICK DOWN 38: "Destruction"
Tickets on sale now!
Date: Friday June 29, 2007
Venue: Red Lion Hotel I-70 and Quebec
Mixed Martial Arts Bouts. Up to 13 action packed bouts.
PRELIMINARY FIGHT CARD
Brian Cristina vs Damond Clark Kick Down Professional Heavyweight MMA Title
Cruz Chacon vs Chris Woods
Tom Johnson vs John Sargent
Joey Welch vs Jason Dake
Louise Johnson vs Claire Curtis MMA
Anthony Sanchez vs Kyle Johnson Kick Down am. Welterweight Title
Dominic Blanco vs Isaac Colon Kick Down Jr. Featherweight MMA Title
Tim Ridley vs Ken Scott
Joe Salley vs Ben Shattuck
Greg Shipporeit vs Rainbow Goodhunts
Scott Tamblin vs Jeremy Hernandez
Tony Miller vs Jeff Soucy
RESERVED (Rows 3, 4, 5,6,7)............................$35.00
Gen. Admission $25.00
For Tickets Call: 720.422.5154 or (303) 692-4865 or (303) 368-7800.
We accept Visa and Master Card (internet or phone only).
(Tickets also available at the door.)
Three-time ADCC champion to fight MMA in September
The week after having been announced as K-1 Hero’s' newest reinforcement, Marcelo Garcia is already training hard to do well in MMA. With his debut set for the September 17th edition of Hero’s, the Alliance black belt spent the week at Team Quest, the team that is home to such forces in MMA as Dan Henderson, Rameau Sokodjou and the Brazilian Vinicios Pezao Magalhaes.
Baroni/Shamrock press conference one for the ages
The UFC wasn’t the only MMA promotion to conduct a conference call today to promote a pay-per-view. EliteXC and Strikeforce hosted a conference to promote their upcoming PPV on June 22 at 10 p.m. ET from San Jose featuring Frank Shamrock vs. Phil Baroni for the vacant Strikeforce middleweight title.
Shamrock and Baroni were the stars of the show with Baroni putting on one of the most entertaining performances during a conference call that I’ve ever heard. EliteXC usually sends transcripts of their conference calls and if I get it, I’ll post it here.
Baroni may have set a World record for expletives used. I mean, I can’t remember hearing so much swearing. At one point he also told a reporter to hold on while being asked a question and Baroni asked someone in the background to bring him another beer and empty his ashtray. Later on, and I’m not making this up, Baroni could be heard urinating while on the conference call.
In addition to the antics, Phil said that Shamrock has been inactive over the past 7-8 years because the money in MMA wasn’t that big until recently and that the only reason why Shamrock has come back is for the money.
Baroni also indicated that he has an open invitation to return to the UFC anytime he wants. He basically said that he only wants to go back if he can secure a title shot. According to Baroni, Dana White has promised him that if he knocks out Shamrock that he will get a shot at the UFC middleweight title.
Frank said some interesting things as well. He claimed that Renzo Gracie took the easy way out in their fight back in February during EliteXC’s debut card. He claimed Renzo knew there was no way he was going to win and that he saw his chance to get out and took it. Shamrock didn’t feel he even really hit Gracie that hard with the knees that were deemed illegal.
Shamrock also said he has his next fights planned through 2009. I asked him about who he’d like to fight, specifically asking him if he wanted a rematch with Renzo and his adopted brother, Ken. Shamrock confirmed that both are matches he’d like to see made and I asked him if there had been any movement in talks with the match against Ken since the last time I interview him. He said he couldn’t comment in detail but that it’s on the table.
Another name Frank said he’d like to fight is a fighter already on the Strikeforce roster that will be fighting on the undercard June 23, Cung Le.
Can Forrest Griffin rebound at UFC 72?
I just got finished listening to a UFC 72 conference call and it left me with some concerns about Forrest Griffin.
They’re is a saying that some knockouts can be so brutal that a fighter never truly recovers emotionally. Well, I don’t think Forrest is done as a fighter by any stretch of the imagination, but I do think his devestating loss to Keith Jardine at UFC 66 might have some lingering effects.
While Griffin has never be the type to come off as arrogant or overconfident and has always had a tendency to poke fun at himself, my feeling was that he might be questioning himself a little bit.
Remember the scene in Rocky III after Rocky got owned by Clubber Lang and Apollo Creed showed up at Mickey’s Gym out of nowhere? And Apollo kept telling Rocky that he needed to get back that “eye of the tiger?” Well, I think someone needs to have that talk with Forrest.
Griffin stated on more than one occasion that his biggest concern about his fight against Hector Ramirez was the possibility of getting knocked out. He even said at one point that after the Jardine fight he’s just not sure his chin is as solid as he tought it was.
I also asked Forrest about the reported re-occurence of staph infection in his knee and whether this bout had almost been called off. He didn’t address whether his fight with Ramirez was almost cancelled, but he did say the staph infection returned a second time and that he was on antibiotics for about a month.
Once he confirmed the return of the infection, I instantly had questions about his conditioning. I assumed he was going to tell me everything was going great and it hasn’t really affected him (because fighters only talk about injuries after a fight) but I asked him anyway. Forrest didn’t sound too confident in his cardio and quipped that he’s pretty sure being on antibiotics for a month didn’t do any favors for his conditioning. He also said that he felt the extensive travel for his fight could have an adverse effect on his cardio.
Maybe I am reading too much into things (something I have a tendency to do), but Forrest did not sound like a fighter who is going into UFC 72 expecting to win. My impressions of Hector Ramirez were the exact opposite. Ramirez sounded confident and hungry. He acknowledged that Forrest is a tough guy who can throw fists, but he seemed excited about that prospect, as if he was looking forward to a potential brawl.
Based on all the talk, I just get the sinking feeling we might see another upset in MMA.
Then again, talk is cheap.
Tommy Morrison to step into the cage this Saturday
Tommy Morrison, a former WBO boxing heavyweight champion, will make his mixed martial arts debut Saturday at World Fighting Championship in Camp Verde, Arizona.
He is scheduled to face the 340-pound John Stover, who is being billed as having 8 professional MMA fights.
Morrison, who has zero mixed martial arts training, is calling this fight a one-time thing to help out his advisor Peter McKinn and to earn some extra money along the way.
Morrison left boxing in 1995 after receiving a positive HIV test. Earlier this year, Morrison was able to prove that the positive test was false and was approved of a boxing license by the West Virginia Athletic Commission. He officially returned to the boxing ring on February 22 by scoring a second-round knockout over John Castle.
Q&A with Dana White, president of Ultimate Fighting Championships
Dana White, 37, is largely credited with helping turn Ultimate Fighting Championships from a farce into a force in the world of mixed martial arts. As UFC president, White has overseen staggering growth in the public consciousness and helped UFC stake a larger claim in the pay-per-view market than WWE or boxing last year. As it goes more mainstream -- UFC was featured on recent covers of Sports Illustrated and ESPN The Magazine -- White has ideas about how it can grow even bigger. He talked about a wide range of topics recently with the Star Tribune.
Rampage wins title, Liddell still garners attention
Hours after UFC 71, I posted at Sprawl ‘n Brawl the reasons why Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson is good for the UFC. To summarize, he is naturally marketable. Every interview he does is humorous. And as many have pointed out, he appeals to an African-American market that UFC has yet to tap into.
With all that being said, who has the UFC decided to put over?
From a Q&A session with Dana White in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:
Q Chuck Liddell is among the most recognizable UFC fighters. What impact does his recent loss to Quinton Jackson have on UFC?
A It happens in this sport. Guys lose. Chuck is one of those fighters that’s going to bounce back. He’s a tough guy. … You never know who’s going to win. Chuck getting knocked out was the equivalent of Buster Douglas knocking out Mike Tyson.
Excuse me? Buster Douglas? Surely, you’re not comparing ‘Rampage’ Jackson to Buster Douglas. Let’s be fair here. Buster Douglas was a 42-to-1 underdog. Didn’t you see the betting odds for the Rampage/Liddell fight? A 42-to-1 underdog Quinton Jackson was not. Not even close. This is an example of pushing the angle that the fight was a fluke victory for ‘Rampage’.
Not a single mention has been made of ‘Rampage’ in any of the interviews I have seen with Dana recently. Yet, he repeatedly mentions Chuck Liddell.
Most interesting are his comments yesterday on The Jim Rome Show. He says Chuck Liddell is one of the best, if not the best, mixed martial artists in the world. Dana mentioned that Liddell v. Silva would be the biggest fight in MMA history. I would have to argue that the 205 pound double-crown championship fight between Rampage and Dan Henderson could be considered the biggest fight in MMA history, depending on how you market it. White was also still shocked that Chuck got laid out. Apparently, Dana forgot what happened in Japan in 2003.
I don’t have anything against Chuck Liddell. I think he’s a great fighter and I love watching him fight. Chuck has done great things for the UFC and helped them get to where they are now, and I am sure Dana is appreciative. However, you have to roll with the punches and embrace your new champion.
You have a commodity that is waiting to be marketed in Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson. Market him correctly, and he can help you take UFC to a new level. If Jackson beats Henderson, you’ll have no choice but to market him — so you might as well get a head start.
C’mon, Dana. Like Rampage would say, “you know the bidness.”
Three IFL Athletes To Compete for USA Grappling Team Spots
NEW YORK, June 7, 2007 - The International Fight League (OTC.BB: IFLI), the world’s number one team-based professional mixed martial arts league, will have three athletes competing this weekend at the USA Wrestling Grappling World Team Trials at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, with the winners going on to the Wrestling World Games in Antalya, Turkey in September. The trio, New York Pitbulls heavyweight Bryan Vetell (Hempstead, N.Y.), Portland Wolfpack middleweight Matt Horwich (Portland, Ore.) and Wolfpack assistant coach Dennis Hallman (Yelm, Wash.), all won qualifying events to reach this weekend’s competition.
WILL BARONI GET A UFC TITLE SHOT?
In a conference call with the media today, Phil Baroni and Frank Shamrock fielded questions about their upcoming headline bout for Strikeforce. In the midst of the banter back and forth between the two, Baroni made a few comments about his future that caught a lot of attention.