The business of MMA in 2008
In 2007, the sport of mixed martial arts garnered unprecedented mainstream sports acceptance, gracing the covers of ESPN The Magazine and Sports Illustrated . Media outlets that one year ago wouldn't have touched MMA were suddenly proclaiming it as the fastest growing sport in the country, and even the replacement for traditional boxing.
But the reality is a little different. As this past year showed, the respective ups and downs of the UFC and pro boxing aren't related. Boxing had its biggest year ever on pay-per-view television, and while UFC didn't have the two incredible draws which turned 2006 into its biggest year – Tito Ortiz's matches with Ken Shamrock and Chuck Liddell – business solidified. Of the 15 biggest PPV events of 2007 in North America, UFC had eight, to four for boxing and three for World Wrestling Entertainment (numbers are not yet available for UFC 78 and November and UFC 79 in December, both of which are expected to crack the Top 15). In 2006, those numbers were six each for boxing and UFC and three for WWE. Boxing's record year really consisted of two gigantic fights: Oscar De La Hoya-Floyd Mayweather and Mayweather-Ricky Hatton. UFC did the most consistent business, and WWE, with the exception of a stellar Wrestlemania and strong SummerSlam, has faded in comparison.
Palaszewski training with Matyushenko, Arlovski, Curran for rematch with Taurosevicius
By Chris Yucus
International Fight League lightweight slugger Bart Palaszewski is leaving Pat Miletich’s tutelage for the Chicago-based IFL team.
According to Palaszewski, the team will be affiliated with former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski’s team and trainers and will include former Chicago Red Bear Mark Miller (8-2) and IFL light heavyweight champion Vladimir Matyushenko (20-3).
[...]Palaszewski (28-10) expects a title shot if he can get past his next fight, which he said will be on Friday, April 4. It will be a rematch of his controversial submission loss to Deividas Taurosevicius (9-2) at the 2007 IFL World Championship last September in Hollywood, Fla.
Arlovski fights again!!!!!
I don't know if its been posted already (sorry if it has) but Arlovski fighting again is big news!
The man looks hungry and a "healthy relationship" with the UFC can only be a good thing right?!
Hector Lombard and UFC Vet Jordan Radev Booked for “CFC #3?
Would-be UFC fighter Hector Lombard (14-2-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) and former UFC middleweight Jordan Radev (11-3 MMA, 0-2 UFC) have been booked for the Feb. 15 Cage Fighting Championship’s “CFC #3” event in Sydney, Australia.
As agent Ken Pavia reported in today’s column for MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com), Radev was recently dropped from the UFC. He confirmed the bout with Lombard this afternoon.
The Evolution of The Ultimate Fighter
With former winner of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) reality show Joe “Daddy” Stevenson set to face BJ Penn for the Interim UFC Lightweight Title at UFC 80, I started thinking about how important the show has been to the UFC.
Cummo Vs. Fioravanti Set For UFC 82
Luke Cummo has revealed on his website that Luigi Fioravanti will be his opponent at UFC 82 in March. Cummo takes a 2-fight win streak into the fight, while Fioravanti has lost his last 2 UFC fights.
UFC 81 Site is Up
Brock talks a lot of smack saying he's going to do a bunch of things to Mir and Mir seems pretty composed. I don't know what to think of the trailer for the event I don't really like seeing WWE wrestling clips meshed in with UFC.
Also on the card is Sylvia vs. Nogueira. Dana White and Joe Rogan mention how Tim looked great in his last fight and Nog didn't. If it goes to the ground Nog has an advantage but Nog still has good standup to.
The heavyweight event takes place Saturday Feb. 2nd
Dan Henderson: Anderson Silva Doomed in “Clinch Game”
PRIDE 185-pound champion Dan Henderson is less than two months away with his UFC 82 title fight with UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva, and in a recent interview with our friend Steve Sievert at the Houston Chronicle, Henderson says he’s expecting nothing short of victory.
In fact, Henderson is confident he’ll beat Silva at his own game.
8 matchups for '08
Matchmaking, as any good talent relations chair will tell you, involves a great deal more than just coming up with an exciting fight.
Like Kasparov staring down a chessboard, matchmaking involves thinking three or four moves ahead, preparing promotional strategies for all possible outcomes and determining what a match result will mean for business a year or more down the road -- not to mention navigating the myriad of contractual, personal and physical issues that can undermine plans.
It's a thankless job. Credit for a good fight goes to the athletes, and blame for a somnolent mess falls on the beleaguered matchmaker. (Fun fact: Joe Silva began his UFC career at a sturdy 6-foot-2. True story.)
Thankfully, this space doesn't need to concern itself with responsible thinking. To that end, here are eight bouts that would make 2008 a happier new year for fans.
Marcus Davis Enterview
Wanderlei Silva on UFC 79, move to middleweight, Liddell rematch
LAS VEGAS — Both his eyes remain blackened, a week after one of the greatest fights in UFC history. A streak of blood covers the white of one of those eyes.
Wanderlei Silva is in pain.
But it’s not the beating Chuck Liddell put on him at the Mandalay Bay Events Center exactly one week earlier that is hurting Silva on this chilly Southern Nevada Saturday night.
“Here,” Silva says, pounding his chest. “This is where it hurts.“
Having already named Quinton Jackson as its Fighter Of The Year, Sherdog has now taken the opportunity to recognize 6 other fighters who had great years but were easily overlooked or got little to no attention.
MMA Legend Randy Couture to Host Charity Poker Tournament
Another year, another laundry list of celebrity charity poker tournaments. The first one of the new year, we think, is "Operation All In," which takes place next week, January 12, and will be hosted by UFC fighter Randy Couture at The Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.
"Celebrities" scheduled to attend are 2005 WSOP Main Event champion Jamie Gold and "Superman" TV star Dean Cain. Others can join the festivities for $550, which gets you a seat at one of the 15 tables and an opportunity to watch one of the more fascinating portions of a celebrity poker event, rebuying for charity. The rebuys are $200 and are an excuse for everyone in attendance to play really bad poker and claim that they are doing it so that they can rebuy and add to the amount going to charity.
In depth interview with Randy
I know many are fed up with Randy and the situation between him and the UFC, but I thought this was a very good interview and Randy touches on a lot of subjects I haven't heard him talk about before. Its a bit long but a good read.
PDG: You began your career as a wrestler and stepped into mixed martial arts when there really wasn’t much to it. Since then it has become the fastest growing sport in the world, and you have become a legend. What is it like for you to be known worldwide and be considered one of the greats of the sport?
Randy: I don’t really think about it, I’m still the same person that I’ve always been. I just kind of do what I do – I like to train in the gym and I like to work with these fighters and I like to fight. I kind of entered this sport on a whim from the wrestling world because it looked intriguing and I saw some other wrestlers doing it and the whole thing kind of just took on a whole life of its own.
There have been a lot of sacrifices. The travel and the time away from family, the celebrity [status], and the demands of this professional sport cost me a marriage. I feel very blessed now to have Kim in my life. My current wife – the love that she has and the support that she has, is amazing. Together we have taken it to another level.
But it’s a little overwhelming to be recognized everywhere you go sometimes. I’ve been stopped in airports, stopped in the grocery store… it doesn’t really matter. It’s just overwhelming at times, but when you think about it it is also kind of cool. The fans are fantastic and they just have a genuine passion and love for the sport – as do I, so we share that. So it’s not bad at all.
Serra talking about coming to Canada and Huges/GSP 3
Matt Serra can't wait to come to Canada to film the sequel to his surprise blockbuster win over Montreal's Georges St. Pierre.
"I love it. Let it be in Canada," says the 33-year-old Italian-American from Long Island, N.Y. after hearing the rematch is tentatively scheduled for April in Montreal.
"Let me tell you about a little movie called Rocky IV. A little Italian guy goes over to Russia to fight a big Russian experiment named Drago.
"Now, a little Italian guy goes to Canada to fight the big Canadian experiment named frickin' GSP. It's a monster movie. I want to be in that movie. I want to be Rocky."