From Underdog to Favorite, Sanchez Looks to Make a Statement at UFC 72
Eddie Sanchez won’t lie. He enjoyed the attention that came with his February fight against Mirko Cro Cop, the photo shoots, autographs, interviews, but he also knew that he was the foil, the one expected to lose to the thunderous Croatian striker who was making his UFC debut after a long career fighting for the K-1 and PRIDE organizations in Japan.
MYTHED MARTIAL ARTS: SAFER THAN BOXING?
The first installment of this series discussed the assertion that a cage is safer than a ring. As a quick follow-up, the main point of the column – that the very idea of a “cage” hurts MMA’s image – would seem to be confirmed by all the recent nonsense comparing MMA to dogfighting. Naysayers see mixed martial artists as caged animals, bred for mayhem. It will be an important battle in the coming years to challenge that notion.
DRUG USE IN MIXED MARTIAL ARTS
A few weeks ago, UFC lightweight fighter Melvin Guillard tested positive for cocaine use. The Nevada State Athletic Commission subsequently suspended him for eight months.
Unfortunately, this is not a new trend in mixed martial arts. Though Guillard's positive test has been for what many might consider the most "hardcore" drug, it is by no means the first time a professional MMA fighter has tested positive. Nick Diaz, Diego Sanchez and Joe Pearson have all tested for marijuana. Tim Sylvia, Josh Barnett, Stephan Bonnar, Kit Cope and Vitor Belfort have all tested positive for steroids. Kevin Randleman was suspended by the NSAC for providing fake urine for his drug test, due to his taking banned painkillers and antibiotics for a severe lung infection he was battling. Mark Kerr's various drug addictions were well documented in his documentary, "The Smashing Machine."
Agent: Jake O’Brien’s Injury Is Possibly “Career-Ending”
The injury that forced UFC heavyweight Jake O’Brien (10-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) to pull out of Saturday’s UFC 72 fight with Tom Murphy isserious — and the possibility that it’s career-ending hasn’t been ruled out, according to his agent, Ken Pavia.
UFC VET SALMON BACK ON TRACK, DROPPING DOWN
Sean Salmon returned to action last night, earning a much-needed victory after a two-fight skid in the UFC. Losing to Rashad Evans and Alan Belcher in the Octagon, Salmon stepped up at the last minute to defeat Jason Freeman on Saturday night before a hometown crowd in Cleveland, Ohio.
Morrison Wins Modified Rules Debut
Nestled in Arizona's red rock mountains, former heavyweight boxing champion Tommy Morrison made what was billed as his mixed martial arts debut Saturday night.
Out of reach of the Arizona State Athletic Commission on the Yavapai-Apache Nation, unheralded John Stover of South Dakota stood as Morrison's first opponent.
Penn-Pulver II Pre-Show Special On Spike TV 6/18
On Monday, June 18th - Spike TV will air a "Countdown" special focusing on the rematch between TUF 5 coaches B.J. Penn and Jens Pulver. The show premieres at 11:30PM ET and will re-air on Thursday, June 21st at 12:30AM ET and Friday, June 22nd and 12:00AM ET.
Very In-Depth Interview With "NYBA" Phil Baroni
MMANews.com's own Chris Howie recently caught up with one of the most exciting fighters of any weight-class, Phil Baroni for an in-depth interview. Baroni headlines the Strikeforce MMA show live on PPV June 22 against the legendary Frank Shamrock. Chris caught up with Phil to discuss this fight among a number of other topics. Below is a complete transcript.
Anthony Johnson Replaces Steve Bruno
The Fight Network is reporting that Anthony Johnson (3-0) will replace Steve Bruno at UFC Fight Night 10 when he faces Chad Reiner (13-2) in a welterweight showdown.
Anthony Johnson is replacing Steve Bruno who was forced to withdraw from the fight due to a torn rotator cuff. Anthony Johnson is a veteran of Pangea Fights and Rocky Mountain Nationals-MMA promotion with a record of 3-0 and victories over Keith Wilson, Rich Moskowitch, and Jonathan Romero
Kit Cope Signs With AFL
June 6 (Louisville, KY) (Las Vegas, NV) – On July 21, 2007 the American fight League (AFL) will add a bit of “Havoc” to their mixed martial arts (MMA) line-up for their nationally televised debut on HDNet.
The AFL is proud to announce the signing of MMA and television star, Kit “Havoc” Cope. A former Muay Thai champion, Cope has made the transition from the ring to being a main-event star inside the cage almost effortlessly. Having competed in both the UFC and WEC promotions, Cope thought it was time for a new challenge and when he received an offer from the AFL, he answered with a resounding “yes”.
“I like the idea of signing with the AFL because it’s still grass roots. The organization is about to go mainstream and so I think it’s a good move signing up with this company now so I can actually grow with them“, Cope enthusiastically said.
Kit has changed training camps and partners since his stints in the UFC and WEC organizations and now feels better prepared and ready to make his mark in the competitive sport of mixed martial arts.
Mr. Cope finished by saying, “I have had sort of a rocky start in MMA. In the beginning it was more because I was sort of like Mirko Cro Cop was when he started out. I was like a kickboxer in MMA. Since my first fight, I worked on my ground name and got it back to the level it was when I was wrestling. I was a competitive wrestler for 8 years and have been on the Nevada national team.”
It hasn’t been an easy go for the AFL’s newest fighter. He has had to over come some serious injuries, a trial by fire of sorts, as he made the transition in to the exciting world of MMA.
“I had my right shoulder reconstructed and fought on that for a few fights. I separated my ribs and had to take some time off. Now I’m healthy and this is a great opportunity for me to show my improvement and my support for the American Fight League”, he finished with a smile.
Cope will make his long awaited debut for the American Fight League July 21, 2007 in Louisville, KY on the Caged Inferno 7: Glory card. In his corner will be international MMA superstar training partners Nate and Nick Diaz, along with motocross sensation Carey Hart, a star of VH1’s Surreal Life reality show. Hart also appears on the reality show "Inked," shown on the A&E cable network that chronicles Hart’s Las Vegas tattoo shop, Hart and Huntington.
This is the first nationally televised event for the American Fight League and President Jon Hatton couldn’t be more pleased about the addition to the roster.
Kimbo Slice Interview - "I'm on another level"
I know, I didn't think Kimbo Slice could string a sentence together either other than, "All day!", but in this CFFC 5 interview with Kimbo about his upcoming fight on June 23 against former pro boxer, 'Merciless' Ray Mercer, Kimbo impressed me!
Check out the grill and beehive beard on Kimbo too... he IS a character... All Day!
Rampage vs Henderson in London
Quinton Jackson confirms fight at UFC 75
September, the eighth. That is the date of the next UFC light heavyweight title dispute. According to information published in the US specialized press, Quinton Jackson told the CBS network he will put his title up for grabs against Dan Henderson at the event to take place in London, England. "He (Henderson) has the Pride belt, and I will go after something I have never had," said Rampage.
Although it has not yet been announced by the American organization, it is hoped that UFC 75, in London, will mark the return of Mirko Cro Cop to the octagon after having been so mercilessly knocked out by Gabriel Napao at UFC 70, at the end of last April.
Ex-agent: Boxer Morrison is HIV positive
Tommy Morrison's former agent said Friday that the ex-heavyweight champion was positive for HIV in mandatory blood tests for a boxing license.
"Tommy has tested positive for HIV anti-bodies, and he always has," Randy Lang of Glendale said.
Morrison, who was licensed by West Virginia and beat John Castle on Feb. 22 in Chester after undergoing some of those tests in Phoenix, is scheduled for a mixed martial arts bout tonight against John Stover at Cliff Castle Casino in Camp Verde.
Morrison doesn't need a license tonight because the casino is the property of the Yavapai-Apache Nation and not under jurisdiction of the Arizona State Boxing Commission.
Morrison, 38, again said Thursday at a news conference in Camp Verde that he does not have HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. He also said the initial diagnosis before a scheduled fight in Las Vegas in 1996 was a false-positive.
"What doctors have told me is a lie," said Morrison, who has been living and training in Phoenix. "They're telling me I'm dying. I'm fine."
Lang said he split with Morrison on Feb. 25 because he said the tests in Phoenix were misrepresented by the boxer and his promoter, Peter McKinn, also the promoter for tonight's mixed-martial arts card.
The tests, which were witnessed by Lang, McKinn and John Montano of the Arizona Commission, were supposed to have been the basis for the West Virginia license.
However, Lang alleged that either the undisclosed documents were fraudulent or that blood samples were switched.
"All the blood tests came from Randy Lang and, as far as I saw on the paperwork sent by Lang, the results were zero-negative," said McKinn, who said he was never in West Virginia for the licensing process because of personal business in Phoenix.
McKinn and Morrison's publicist/manager, Lisa Woodard of Northridge, Calif., said that Lang misrepresented himself as an attorney.
"He has no credentials," said Woodard, who is engaged to be married to Morrison.
Lang said Friday that he has a degree from the American College of Law in Anaheim.
Lang said Friday that his work with Morrison was based on the argument that he had a right to fight, even with a positive test, because evidence of HIV was so low that the virus could not be transmitted in the ring if injured fighters exchanged blood in a collision.
"That has always been my position, and it's the appropriate one," said Lang, who also said Morrison tested positive for Hepatitis C.
Morrison, a nephew of late actor John Wayne and had a film role in Rocky V, was scheduled for an April 27 bout in Houston.
He underwent blood tests in Houston, but documentation did not arrive in time for Texas authorities to grant him a license, according to media reports. Morrison said he withdrew the application. Those tests were reported to be negative.
Q&A with UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture
There’s a pretty good interview with Randy Couture that’s now available at CBS Sportsline. Couture broaches a number of topics, including a potential showdown with Pride heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko:
IFL’s got it right in some areas
The IFL kicks off its relationship with USA Wrestling this weekend at the World Team Trials according to an article at NBC Sports. For all the things wrong with the IFL, aligining itself with USA Wrestling is great for both parties. USA Wrestling gets TV exposure and the IFL will have a talent pool of great wrestlers to draw from. But that’s not the only thing the IFL is doing right. They have the right mindset in terms of educating people about the various facets of the sport. The event this weekend is a demonstration of how wrestling can be translated to the world of MMA.
“Our goal is to not have wrestling overshadowed,” IFL commissioner and co-founder Kurt Otto said. “We want to work with USA Wrestling as a vehicle to educate wrestlers about MMA. The more they come to clinics, they’ll see it’s not human cockfighting. It’s a pure sport.”
Not only does it allow wrestlers to see how wrestling is involved with MMA, it lets fans see how wrestling is a huge part of MMA. For those who are just now becoming fans of the sport due to increased media exposure, there are a lot of things to learn. And this is a step in the right direction to educating fans about MMA and all the various martial arts involved.
“It’s one more piece to the puzzle as far as taking MMA mainstream,” Otto said. “We feel comfortable working with them.”
Exactly. It’s all about making the sport legitimate.
Kurt Otto has the correct mindset as far as the sport goes. Educate the people about technique and the sport becomes much more exciting and accepted. This weekend, Matt Lindland and IFL fighter Bryan Vettell will hold clinics to show how wrestling techniques can be applied to MMA. If the IFL was smart, they would tape some of the clinics and air them on IFL Battleground. Educating more people about things other than striking is great for the sport.
I have a feeling it will be all for naught, though, considering that the IFL’s financial future doesn’t look so good at this point. Oh well, at least they’re trying.
Column: Michigan MMA legislation not up to par
The Grand Rapids Press newspaper has taken a beating this week over an anti-MMA article published by writer Brian VanOchten, who has been ridiculed across-the-board by both MMA writers and fans. However, the newspaper has published a new article today by author David Mayo titled Safety ignored in rush to OK ultimate fighting. Once you get past the use of ‘ultimate fighting’ in the title, the article is very informative.
Dope Report: Tim “Big Perm” Persey Test Positive For Methamphetamine
According to the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC), Tim “Big Perm” Persey tested positive for Methamphetamine following the EliteXC/K-1 Dynamite USA event at the Los Angles Colosseum on June 2. The CSAC has suspended Persey for six months and he will be fined $1000, 5% of his purse of $20,000. Persey (8-2) fought Jonathan Wiezore in the televised Showtime portion of the event. Wiezore won the fight early in the second round when he flattened out Persey and continuously landed strikes to Persey’s head, referee Herb Dean steeped in and stopped the fight. Also former NFL wide receiver Johnnie Morton was also suspended for refusing to take a post-fight drug test. The CSAC has frozen his whole purse till a hearing on the matter