MMAPlayground Interview Series - Vol. 12 (Michelle "The Karate Hottie" Waterson)
As with any successful professional, mixed martial artists eat, sleep and breathe their craft. They put everything on the line when they wake up, hit the gym and pour their blood, sweat and tears into the sport we all love. When they enter that cage, for the fan, it's all about the entertainment, but these athletes go through the daily rigors with more in mind. For some fighters, it's a paycheck. For others, it's the glitz and glamour, but for some it's a lifestyle fueled by a deep passion and connection to the sport of mixed martial arts.
In our newest site feature, MMAPlayground would like to introduce you to some of these men and women of MMA that you may not know much about.
Our mission? To introduce. To educate. To spread the word.
Michelle "The Karate Hottie" Waterson is the subject of this week's interview. MMAPlayground's own, Kyle Galvin (aka "Kpro") recently had a chance to interview Waterson who currently sports a mixed martial arts record of 8-3-0.
Check out the interview below to read Waterson's thoughts on training while raising a newborn child, what she thought of Jon Jones' victory over Quinton Jackson, and more!
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MMAPG: We really appreciate you taking the time to chat with us, Michelle. How did you get interested in transitioning from point sparring in Karate to competing in combat sports on a professional level?
WATERSON: It was a challenge for me and I wanted to see if I could overcome that challenge. Plus it was a major adrenaline rush.
UFC 137's Bart Palaszewski 'disrespected' when opponent missed weight
Prior to their fight at UFC 137, Bart Palaszewski issued an edict to opponent Tyson Griffin to "come and fight."
Concerned Griffin (15-6 MMA, 8-4 UFC) might try to turn the bout into a wrestling match, Palaszewski (36-14 MMA, 1-0 UFC) used his pre-fight interviews to goad the fellow featherweight into a standup fight.
But on the eve of the event, his focus instead shifted to Griffin's failure to even make weight for the event.
And Palaszewski made him pay.
Donald Cerrone vs. Nate Diaz targeted for UFC 141 in Las Vegas
A clash of hard-swinging lightweights is likely headed to the UFC's year-end show.
Multiple sources close to the event today informed MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that Donald Cerrone (17-3 MMA 4-0 UFC) and Nate Diaz (14-7 MMA, 9-5 UFC) have verbally agreed to meet at UFC 141.
UFC 141 takes place Dec. 30 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Cerrone vs. Diaz is expected to be part of the event's main card, which airs live on pay-per-view. As MMAjunkie.com first reported, the event also gets a two-fight "UFC Prelims" special on Spike TV.
The latest UFC 141 card now includes:
Brock Lesnar vs. Alistair Overeem
Donald Cerrone vs. Nate Diaz
Jon Fitch vs. Johny Hendricks
Alexander Gustafsson vs. Vladimir Matyushenko
Dong Hyun Kim vs. Sean Pierson
T.J. Grant vs. Jacob Volkmann
Clean-shaven Roy Nelson not dwelling on the past after UFC 137 win
Roy Nelson wore a fat suit to Friday's UFC 137 weigh-ins because fans shouldn't get to see half-naked people for free.
After a much-needed victory that sent MMA legend Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic into retirement, Nelson shaved his Grizzly Adams beard and trimmed a nest of hair so people like me would have something to write about.
In other words, Roy Nelson (16-6 MMA, 3-2 UFC) hasn't changed a bit.
"The Ultimate Fighter 10" winner, who had suffered back-to-back losses (and was one more away from receiving his UFC walking papers), staved off the termination with a third-round TKO victory over Filipovic (27-10-2 MMA, 4-6 UFC). The bout was part of the pay-per-view main card of UFC 137, which took place at Las Vegas' Mandalay Bay Events Center.
UFC 137's Cheick Kongo aiming for rematch with 'lucky' champ Cain Velasquez
Slow and steady wins the race, though fighting ugly does little to win fans.
Cheick Kongo knows Saturday's UFC 137 co-main-event win over Matt Mitrione wasn't a signature or highlight-reel win that dazzled fans, but it served its purpose.
It got him one step closer to a rematch with champ Cain Velasquez, whom Kongo said was "lucky" in their first meeting.
Kongo (17-6-2 MMA, 10-4-1 UFC) earned a unanimous-decision victory over the previously unbeaten Mitrione (5-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC) in the pay-per-view co-headliner of UFC 137, which took place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. An action-light first round was showered in boos, though Kongo picked up the pace for an effective third round that led to the victory.
"Most of the time, when I win a fight, I can say it was exciting," Kongo told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) after the event. "But I was kind of slow.
"I was expecting to exchange more than I did tonight. I wanted to see what he would do specifically. The last round, I just decided to go for it."
Eric Prindle vs. Thiago Santos heavyweight-tourney finale set for Bellator 59
Bellator Fighting Championships' season-five heavyweight-tourney finale between Eric Prindle (9-1 MMA, 3-0 BFC) and Thiago Santos (10-1 MMA, 2-0 BFC) is set for Bellator 59.
Bellator officials announced the news on the MTV2 live broadcast of Saturday's Bellator 56 event.
Bellator 59 takes place Nov. 26 at Caesars Atlantic City in New Jersey. The main card airs on MTV2 (and in high-definition on EPIX) while the prelims stream on Spike.com.
The latest Bellator 59 card includes:
Eduardo Dantas vs. Alexis Vila (bantamweight-tourney finale)
Eric Prindle vs. Thiago Santos (heavyweight-tourney finale)
Patricky "Pitbull" Freire vs. Kurt Pellegrino
Marcin Held vs. Phillipe Nover
Michael Costa vs. Lyman Good
Despite lopsided UFC 137 win, Diaz unhappy with performance, training, finances
While former Strikeforce champ Nick Diaz (26-7 MMA, 7-4 UFC) certainly didn't have the best first round of his professional career on Saturday night, he rebounded over the final 10 minutes in an epic beatdown of MMA legend B.J. Penn.
UFC president Dana White called the performance "awesome," and labeled both Diaz and Penn "warriors."
It's everything Diaz could have hoped for in his octagon return and yet it sounds as if it was nothing that he wanted. In fact, at Saturday night's post-event press conference, Diaz admitted he simply wasn't happy – about just about anything, really.
"I'm not happy with my performance at all," Diaz said of his win over Penn, which served as the main event of Saturday's UFC 137 event in Las Vegas. "I wasn't 100 percent today. I felt good, but just leading up to this fight, I went through a lot of hard times."
UFC boss complimentary of 'Cro Cop,' uncertain if Penn's retirement will stick
Saturday night's UFC 137 event may very well have marked the final fights in the careers of two MMA legends.
That said, UFC president Dana White isn't 100 percent certain both Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic (27-10-2 MMA, 4-6 UFC) and B.J. Penn (16-8-2 MMA, 12-7-2 UFC) have entered the cage for the final time.
"B.J. is a warrior," White said. "What happened to him tonight has never happened to him in his entire career. What he's thinking tonight he might not think eight weeks from now."
A battered Penn told UFC broadcaster Joe Rogan he was done fighting after being demolished in the final two rounds of his main-event contest with Nick Diaz at Las Vegas' Mandalay Bay Events Center. A CompuStrike report pegged the final striking tally at 239-76 in Diaz's favor, and while his right eye bore the marks of a war, it paled in comparison to the damage on Penn's face.
White admitted he didn't speak to Penn following the fight, but he's not completely convinced that at just 32 years old, "The Prodigy" is done competing.
"They took B.J. right to the hospital," White told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "Who knows. It might be or it might not be (Penn's last fight). That's up to him. I don't know."
UFC 137 bonuses: Diaz, Penn, Palaszewski and Cerrone earn $75,000 awards
Nick Diaz, B.J. Penn, Bart Palaszewski and Donald Cerrone each earned $75,000 fight-night bonuses for their performances at Saturday's UFC 137 event.
Palaszewski earned the night's "Knockout of the Night" award, Cerrone picked up the "Submission of the Night" bonus, and Diaz and Penn took home "Fight of the Night" honors.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) learned of the bonus winners and award amounts at UFC 137's post-fight press conference.
UFC 137 took place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. The night's main card aired on pay-per-view, and Facebook and Spike TV carried portions of the preliminary card.
When GSP scratched, Chris Lytle briefly considered post-retirement UFC 137 return
Let's make it perfectly clear: Chris Lytle has no plans to come out of retirement.
After a recent storybook ending to a memorable UFC career, Lytle is focused on an Indiana State Senate run and spending more time with his family.
But admittedly, when he heard UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre had scratched from this weekend's UFC 137 event and that Carlos Condit might be without an opponent, he briefly entertained the idea of a comeback.
So there's still that itch to get back in the cage?
"Actually there is," Lytle recently told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). "I really didn't realize it that much until a few weeks ago. I heard Carlos Condit was going to fight GSP and GSP got injured, and I was thinking, "Hmmm, I'm not doing anything that day.'
"But I haven't been training or anything. I've been running for state Senate. That's keeping me really busy. I've been disappointed with how little I've been able to get into the gym. I've been able to get in there a little bit but not as much as I like."
UFC 137 weigh-in results
MAIN CARD (Pay-per-view)
•Nick Diaz (170) vs. B.J. Penn (169)
•Cheick Kongo (234) vs. Matt Mitrione (255)
•Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic (235) vs. Roy Nelson (252)
•Jeff Curran (134) vs. Scott Jorgensen (135)
•Hatsu Hioki (145) vs. George Roop (145)
PRELIMINARY CARD (Spike TV)
•Donald Cerrone (156) vs. Dennis Siver (155)
•Tyson Griffin (149)* vs. Bart Palaszewski (146)
PRELIMINARY CARD (Facebook)
•Eliot Marshall (204) vs. Brandon Vera (205)
•Danny Downes (155) vs. Ramsey Nijem (155)
•Chris Camozzi (185) vs. Francis Carmont (185)
•Dustin Jacoby (185) vs. Clifford Starks (186)
* - Bout to be contested at catchweight of 148 pounds; Griffin fined 25 percent of "show" money
UFC Smartly Nixes Plans for UFC Japan to Lead Into U.S. Pay-Per-View
According to a report from MMAFighting.com's Daniel Herbertson, the UFC has finally wised up to the realities of promoting an event in Japan. It was originally suggested by UFC President Dana White that the UFC Japan card, scheduled to take place at Saitama Super Arena on February 26, would act as a prelude to a stateside pay-per-view, but sources have confirmed that the UFC has nixed that approach:
The UFC's long-awaited return to Japan on Feb. 26, 2012 will be a full pay-per-view level event, sources have confirmed to MMA Fighting as initially reported by Dave Meltzer. Zuffa has thus abandoned its controversial plan to have the UFC Japan event act as a free-to-air lead-in to a Las Vegas PPV event.
Bellator 56 weigh-in results: Champ Askren (169.6), Hieron (169.8) on weight
Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren and challenger Jay Hieron both today made weight for their long-awaited title fight.
The two notables today weighed in for their five-round Bellator 56 championship headliner, which airs Saturday on MTV2 from Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kan.
At an official ceremony at Argosy Casino in Riverside, Mo., Askren weighed 169.6 pounds. Hieron was a few ticks heavier at 169.8 pounds.
The full Bellator 56 weigh-in results included:
MAIN CARD (MTV2)
Champ Ben Askren (169.6) vs. Jay Hieron (169.8)
Neil Grove (264.6) vs. Thiago Santos (264.6)
Eric Prindle (264.2) vs. Ron Sparks (264.4)
PRELIMINARY CARD (Spike.com)
Daniel Gallemore (247) vs. Derrick Ruffin (242.6)
Rudy Bears (169.6) vs. Marcio Navarro (169.8)
Adam Schindler (145.8) vs. Jeremy Spoon (145.4)
Dan Spohn (205.6) vs. Kelvin Tiller (206.4)
Emanuel "E.J." Brooks (157) vs. Willian de Souza (155.8)
Jacob Aiken (131.4) vs. Jeimeson Saudino (136.8)
Aaron Ely (140.4) vs. Owen Evinger (135)
Officials detail Jon Anik's new duties with UFC broadcasting team
Following Thursday's announcement that veteran ESPN broadcaster Jon Anik has joined the UFC broadcasting team, officials today detailed some of his new duties with the promotion.
Anik, the longtime host of "MMA Live" on ESPN2 and ESPN.com, has officially joined the UFC as a play-by-play man.
The duties include broadcasts on both FX and FUEL TV.
FX and FUEL TV are both owned by FOX, which recently inked a landmark seven-year deal with the UFC. The partnership officially kicks off in 2012.
While the longtime broadcasting team of Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan will remain intact and handle the usual pay-per-view events, Anik's duties will include a mix of cable events and highlights programs.
Anik will provide play-by-play commentary for shows that air on FX and FUEL TV, including UFC Fight Night and The Ultimate Fighter Finale events. He'll also handle the newly created host position for the revamped "TUF" reality series that moves from Spike TV to FX in 2012. He'll also host a new "Ultimate Insider" show that debuts January on FUEL TV.
Officials have not announced who may be paired with Anik as a color commentator.
UFC 142 booked for Rio de Janeiro's HSBC Arena on Jan. 14
The Ultimate Fighting Championship won't wait long to return to spiritual home of mixed martial arts.
Following this past August's ultra-successful UFC 134 event, the UFC will return to Rio de Janeiro's HSBC Arena on Jan. 14 for an event expected to serve as UFC 142.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) today confirmed the booking with UFC officials.
The UFC has yet to make an official announcement regarding the event, and potential fight bookings for the card have yet to be revealed
FUEL TV debuts 'UFC Champions Roundtable' with Jay Glazer on Nov. 8
UFC president Dana White has promised FUEL TV is planning "must-have" programming for MMA fans, and the cable channel will soon debut a "UFC Champions Roundtable" special with host Jay Glazer.
Featuring current and former UFC champions Forrest Griffin, Chuck Liddell, Jon Jones and Frank Mir, the special debuts on Tuesday, Nov. 8, at 9 p.m. ET (6 p.m. PT).
The channel also plans frequent replays leading up to that week's UFC on FOX 1 event.
FX and FUEL TV are both owned by FOX, which recently inked a landmark seven-year deal with the UFC. The partnership officially kicks off in 2012.
Additionally, FUEL TV has announced plans for both a pre- and post-fight show for the Nov. 12 UFC on FOX 1 event, which features a heavyweight title fight between current champ Cain Velasquez and top contender Junior Dos Santos. Th event takes place at Anaheim, Calif.'s Honda Center.
Movie of UFC champion Jose Aldo’s life story headed to the big screen
"The Hammer," the major motion picture that tells the life story of former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight Matt Hamill, is set to open this weekend at select theatres. The movie depicts the life of the Utica, N.Y., native and how he has faced challenges as a deaf athlete from his childhood in Loveland, Ohio, to the Octagon.
Now, another UFC fighter will have a movie made about his trials and tribulations on his road to mixed martial arts (MMA) stardom, as it has been revealed that featherweight champion Jose Aldo will be the focus of a new movie set to come out in 2012.
According to Tatame.com, "Vale Tudo" -- the title for the proposed project -- is still being written, meaning the details such as cast and set locations are still being considered. Though information about the movie is sketchy at this point, the man selected to portray the UFC featherweight champion has been confirmed.
Brazilian actor Malvino Salvador will portray Aldo in what the actor says is a similar story to the one he experienced:
"There're two motivations for this movie. Aldo born in the same city I did, so we're in the same tune. Second, he left Manaus to another state, went through many things like I did, built a career and today is one of the best fighters in the world."
Charles Oliveira making transition to UFC's featherweight division
Brazilian youngster Charles Oliveira (14-2 MMA, 2-2 UFC) is dropping to 145 pounds.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) today learned from Oliveira's manager, Wade Hampel, that Oliveira has informed UFC brass he would like for his next fight to take place in the company's featherweight division.
"Charles hopes to return to action before the end of the year, if possible," Hampel said. "We're extremely excited to see what he can achieve at 145 pounds."