“Strikeforce Challengers 15? Aftermath: Lopsided Beatdowns in the 209? Business As Usual.
Strikeforce Challengers 15 marked the promotion’s first event since Zuffa seized control, but with the exception of the addition of elbows on the ground, there were no noticeable changes to the event which took place in homey Stockton, CA. Mauro, Quadros, and Miletich made themselves at home in the commentary booth and the broadcast had the same production feel we’re accustomed to. The only thing unfamiliar about the event may have been some of the fighters themselves, but that’s par for the course for the Challengers series. Strikeforce’s endeavor to showcase the up-and-comers in the sport may not always result in overly competitive fights, but the event did put several fresh faces on the map for those unwilling or unable to follow the sport to its lower levels.
Logic Taps Out: Politicians Seek To Ban MMA In Watertown, South Dakota
The latest political maneuverings straight from the Bob Reilly MMA ****-Blocking For Dummies handbook are coming courtesy of the sleepy town of Watertown, South Dakota. Once again, a knee jerk reaction to emotional appeal has triumphed over common sense to help ban our sport from another city’s stage. While a serious, tragic event has shaped the decision in this case, the actions of Mayor Gary Williams and Watertown City Council are not just an affront to MMA, but to logic itself.
Chael Sonnen vs. Michael Bisping TUF 14 Coaching Slots Possible
"The plan from Spike TV and UFC for the next season of Ultimate Fighter, which would air September through December, is to have Chael Sonnen and Michael Bisping as coaches to build to a PPV match in December. The winner would likely be in line for the first middleweight title match of 2012."
"Neither UFC nor Spike can publicly announce this due to Sonnen not being licensed in Nevada. ... The decision, rumored for weeks, is controversial and will likely be heavily criticized if it does happen."
Fighter faces murder charges
A co-founder of a Watertown mixed martial arts team faces murder charges after the Thursday death of another man in what police described as an alcohol-fueled assault in a bar parking lot two weeks ago.
Really sad, I'm not sure if this is a case of murder though it seems more like unintentional homicide. Could someone with a better knowledge of the law comment?
Wilcox, Damm Set for Strikeforce Challengers 15
Seeking his sixth consecutive victory, American Kickboxing Academy representative Justin Wilcox knocks at the door of lightweight relevance.
Wilcox checked in at 155.2 pounds for his showdown with Sengoku Raiden Championship veteran Rodrigo Damm (155.8) in the Strikeforce Challengers 15 headliner on Friday at the Stockton Arena in Stockton, Calif. The eight other men slated for duty on the televised card -- including AMC Pankration prospect Caros Fodor (155.4) and Cesar Gracie protégé David Douglas (154) -- also made weight without incident at Thursday’s official weigh-in.
Lighty Knows Little About Larkin, Doesn’t Mind
This is nothing new for Scott Lighty.
He had been preparing to fight Satoshi Ishii on Friday at Strikeforce Challengers 15, but the promotion announced Monday that Lorenz Larkin would be replacing the Japanese fighter due to visa issues.
TUF 13 Premier TV Ratings In Line With Ultimate Fighter Season 12
the ultimate fighter: team lesnar vs. team dos santos” didn’t exactly get rave reviews following wednesday night’s premier episode, but it did attract viewers in line with season 12’s average.
The Ultimate Fighter: Team Lesnar vs. Team dos Santos” didn’t exactly get rave reviews following Wednesday night’s premier episode, but it did attract viewers in line with Season 12’s average.
Eddie Alvarez Issues Obligatory Criticism of UFC Fighters
And then there was one. It’s been almost three weeks since the news broke that Zuffa, LLC. had purchased Strikeforce – this week Our Octagon Overlords allegedly began signing SF fighters to their own airtight contractual arrangements – and it just now dawns on us what this means for Eddie Alvarez. Put simply, the continued Dana-fication of the MMA landscape means Alvarez is the only US-based 155-pound fighter anywhere near the Top 10 (or, hell, Top 20) not currently owned in a roundabout way by Big DW and the Fertitta Bros. God, that must be lonely.
Paul Daley Looking to Strikeforce Title for Leverage in UFC Negotiations
One of the fighters put in the most awkward position by the recent Zuffa acquisition of Strikeforce is clearly Paul Daley. The brash Brit had started a UFC career at UFC 103 with a tremendous stoppage of Martin Kampmann and followed that up with a KO of Dustin Hazelett. Fans were calling for Daley to get a shot at the welterweight title and a win over Josh Koscheck would have gotten him the shot. Unfortunately for Paul, Koscheck was able to take him down over and over for three rounds leading to Daley throwing a punch after the final bell at his trash talking foe. The act led to his immediate release from the UFC and claims by Dana White that Daley would never fight in the UFC again.
Since the release, Daley has gone 4-0 including crushing KO's in his last two bouts against Scott Smith and Yuya Shirai. Now set to face Strikeforce welterweight champ Nick Diaz at Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley, Daley realizes that he's in a position of power. From MMA Fighting:
But the truth be told, when I am the Strikeforce champion, I'll have even more bargaining power, and it will be even more of a kick to the teeth of the guys that don't like me in the organization. To negotiate before the fight would show a lack of confidence in myself, and I'm very confident I'm going to beat Nick Diaz. Once a champion, I have more power to negotiate.
It's a reasonable position to take but one that may not matter if the negotiations don't extend past White saying "we don't want you." For his part, Daley is still trying to figure out exactly why the UFC boss has such a problem with him:
If Dana gives me an honest opinion -- aside from hitting Koscheck after the bell -- as to why he genuinely dislikes me, then at least I'd get some explanation. But there's too many incidents in the history of the UFC that prove it's more personal. Many of the UFC fighters have done a lot worse things to bring the company into disrepute, and they're still there.
The UFC has retained or signed fighters involved in high speed drunken chases with police, fighters involved in huge post-fight brawls and fighters with long histories of in-ring poor behavior including attacking referees. So it isn't hard to see why Daley feels that this is somehow a personal issue.
The only way to know if Daley will ever get another shot in the UFC is for him to defeat Diaz on April 9 and remove any chance for White to dismiss his credentials. This is a truth Daley seems to be fully aware of and one that he appears to have plenty of confidence will become a reality.
Bellator boss unconcerned with ratings decline, insists brand continues to grow
It's hard to ignore numbers.
Bellator Fighting Championships, which earlier this month kicked off its fourth season of tournament action, has seen sagging TV ratings in recent weeks despite success out of the gate in key viewership demographics with its new broadcasting partner MTV2.
Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney believes that early success will soon build traction with overall viewership for the promotion's live televised events.
Bellator on Saturday stages its first title fight of the season with arguably its biggest star, lightweight champ Eddie Alvarez, who meets Pat Curran at Bellator 39. The event takes place at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn., and airs live on MTV2.
There have been plenty of challenges so far. Rebney said the promotion's earlier start time, which was adopted to avoid a head-to-head challenge with three UFC events scheduled this month, may have actually hurt viewership numbers with a show of inconsistency. Added to the strain was the March Madness basketball tournament that may have drawn away casual fight fans.
Although Rebney did not mention it specifically, it couldn't have helped that the UFC upped the number of free fights available on its Facebook page this past Saturday for UFC Fight Night 24.
But as Rebney also noted, Bellator drew over half a million viewers over two airings of Bellator 36 when the supposed slide started.
"What we're doing in terms of building out this brand and this partnership with MTV2 and MTV networks, this is a marathon – this is not a sprint," he said.
So, the executive is not sweating week-to-week fluctuations.
"What I'm getting drawn up in is improving the quality of our production, increasing the quality of our fights, and trying to make this bigger and better," Rebney said. "The fights we've got coming up over the next four weeks are just blistering, so I'm looking forward to seeing what happens and what kind of impact that has both in terms of live event attendance and the ratings we do."
YouTube videos featuring Bellator highlights continue to be a counterpunch to the challenges in building an audience. The most recent win for the promotion on that front was this past Saturday's clip of Richard Hale's inverted triangle submission over Nik Fekete, which Rebney said is around 140,000 hits on the video channel.
"I love it as a vehicle," he said. "The bottom line is we all forget because we've been around this and talking about and thinking about Bellator for the last couple of years, but we're still a relatively new brand in terms of general market crossover.
"MTV2 helps change that dynamic very quickly. The more you can feed out there in terms of YouTube or you can get out there vis-a-vis social networking ... the better of you are. It's a vehicle and it's a tool that we'll continue to use. I think it's been instrumental in building the brand and it will help push more people to MTV2 live and free on Saturday night."
While the promotion could definitely use a good turnaround at Bellator 39, Rebney said the event is not a make-or-break situation.
"I'm just hoping this Saturday night comes close to being what the last three weeks have been, and I'm hopeful about next week, when we get to watch champions and superfights and other semifinal fights," Rebney said. "I don't know that it has that more significance to us as a company, but it has an enormous amount of significance to the gentlemen on this call and 16 other fighters who are getting ready for Saturday."
Pittsburgh's Consol Energy Center emerges as frontrunner for UFC on Versus 4
Two strong options for the UFC's fourth Versus-broadcast event have now narrowed to one.
Sources close to negotiations today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that Pittsburgh's 19,000-seat Consol Energy Center is a leading candidate to host UFC on Versus 4.
The event is targeted for June 26, though the promotion has yet to make anything official, and Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission said earlier this week that talks are still in the preliminary stages.
Previous UFC on Versus events have touched down in Broomfield, Colo., San Diego, and most recently Louisville, Ky.
The promotion hosted UFC 101 in Philadelphia, and the same city is rumored for a summer event this year. However, Pittsburgh, one of the nation's great sports cities, never has hosted a show.
As of now, two fights are targeted for the June 26 card: Pat Barry vs. Cheick Kongo and Matt Brown vs. Rich Attonito.
Barry comes into the fight with win over Joey Beltran in his most recent performance, and Kongo hopes to rebound from a draw against Travis Browne.
Meanwhile, Matt Brown is in a must-win situation after three consecutive losses, and Attonito is on the mend from his first octagon setback.
Alvarez: Rankings ‘Nonsense’
Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez doesn't think much of the MMA media's top-10 rankings. According to the fighter, they help little when he steps into the cage. In the negotiating room, however, it's a different story.
“I understand that in order to get in the rankings, you have to first gain popularity. And I’ve been saying this over and over. There are going to be guys in the next couple of years from Bellator who are going to be ranked in the top-10, and that's not necessarily because they are better than the UFC guys,” said Alvarez during Wednesday's media conference call.
“[The rankings] are very subjective and very political. I think it's more of a popularity contest than a talent contest. Rankings, to me, are just a way to negotiate my money with a promotion. Other than that, they hold no bearing. It's all nonsense. A No. 1 guy can lose to a No. 10 guy any day of the week.”
That statement may hold special significance for Alvarez, who currently ranks as the fifth-best lightweight in the world. On Saturday, the Philadelphia Fight Factory standout will defend his lightweight title against the unranked Pat Curran at Bellator 39 from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. Despite the perceived disparity in ability, Alvarez asserts that he has studied Curran's tendencies closely in preparation for their bout, which will air live on MTV2.
“I'm very fortunate to have the support that I have from my wife, my family and my fans. They allow me to be very selfish and just focus on the guy I have in front of me,” said Alvarez. “That's what makes me quite dangerous. I get crazy with watching tape, studying moves, going over things. It gets monotonous, but when I get sick of it, that's when I know I’m ready.”
Both accomplished grapplers in high school, some have questioned which fighter holds the advantage in the pure wrestling department. But for the champion, the answer to that question -- much like his opinion on divisional rankings -- means little when it comes to the fight.
“Pure wrestling doesn't really mean anything to me anymore. It's really about the ability to transition from one art to another seamlessly,” said Alvarez. “If Pat does have good wrestling, I don't feel like he uses it. I don't think that he is good at transitioning from his stand-up to his wrestling. I’ve been watching a lot of his tapes, and it looks like he gives it away. He makes it look like it's coming.”
While the champion did not explicitly give a prediction as to how his main event confrontation with Curran would end, he did elaborate on the respect he holds for his foe, who won Bellator's second-season tournament to earn a shot at the strap. That said, Alvarez is hoping that the underdog Curran holds nothing back when they go nose-to-nose inside Bellator's circular cage.
“I actually look up to Pat. It's something I did in 2008. Nobody knew who I was, and I put myself in a pit of fire in the Dream tournament. I think a lot of people are counting this kid out as well, but I’m praying that Pat comes to fight me and doesn't come to quit on me. I want him to fight me like he wants to win so we can put on a great show for all these people watching.
M-1 Challenge 24 Nets 189,000 Viewers on Showtime
reported 189,000 viewers tuned in to watch M-1 Global’s debut on Showtime, which aired at 11 p.m. ET on March 26.
M-1 Challenge 24, which was headlined by a lightweight title confrontation between Artiom Damkovsky and Jose Figueroa, took place at the Ted Constant Convocation Center on the campus of Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va.
MMAJunkie.com first reported the numbers on Wednesday, and Sherdog.com confirmed the statistics with a source close to the event. The program reportedly earned a 0.52 household rating; demographic information was not available at the time of this report.
In the main event, Figueroa snatched the promotion’s lightweight belt from Damkovsky in the Belarusian’s first title defense. After scoring multiple takedowns, the American Top Team Orlando-trained Figueroa finished the fight with ground-and-pound in the second period.
The event also saw co-headliner Magomed Sultanakhmedov capture the vacant M-1 middleweight strap, as he knocked out Team Quest representative Tyson Jeffries in the second frame. Using unpredictable strikes to both the head and body of his foe, Sultanakhmedov earned his seventh consecutive knockout victory at 3:07 of round two.