MMAPlayground Interview Series - Vol. 13 ("Rowdy" Ronda Rousey)
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.
For anyone familiar with Women's MMA, you've likely heard the name "Rowdy" Ronda Rousey before. If not, you most certainly will. Rousey's MMA record stands at 3-0-0 with all 3 wins coming by way of submission (armbar). And get this...the total combined time of those three fights? 99 seconds - nearly the same amount of time it took me to do the math...
Rousey was kind enough to spare some of her personal time and agreed to participate in the MMAPlayground Interview Series with our own, Kyle Galvin (aka Kpro). The full interview is below.
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MMAPG: Ronda, thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions! You're scheduled to take on Julia Budd on the Strikeforce Challengers card on November 18th. How is your training going?
ROUSEY: Training is going great. I'm in the best shape of my life, and after competing in two Olympics, that's saying a lot.
MMAPG: For readers who may not know, you've won multiple Judo gold medals at the Pan American games and also became the first female American to medal in Judo at the Olympics. As you could have easily continued training for the 2012 Olympics, what made you decide to turn to MMA?
ROUSEY: I just wasn't happy with the lifestyle required to be a world class judoka. I reached a point where I knew what it would take to win the Olympics, and I just wasn't willing to be miserable for 4 years so I could be happy on one day. Doing MMA, I enjoy every day of training, love where I live, love the team of people working to help me win, and am just a more content person in general.
UFC on Fox: John McCarthy Likely to Referee Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos
According to a report that came out last week, Big John McCarthy was 99% likely to referee the UFC on Fox main event bout between Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos. MMA Mania spoke to George Dodd, the Executive Officer of the California State Athletic Commission and asked for an update today. And it still appears that BJM will be center stage on Fox on Saturday night:
"It's 99 percent still. There's always that last minute thing that could always change something. Obviously something could happen to John or whatever the case may be but for right now, until he steps in the cage, it's 99 percent sure."
With 'Pitbull' injured, Pat Curran gets Bellator champ Joe Warren in February
With Patricio "Pitbull" Freire (17-1 MMA, 5-1 BFC) recovering from a second hand surgery, fellow tournament winner Pat Curran (16-4 MMA, 6-1 BFC) will get the next shot at Bellator featherweight champion Joe Warren (7-2 MMA, 5-1 BFC).
Bellator CEO and chairman Bjorn Rebney today confirmed the plans with MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
According to Rebney, Curran has leapfrogged Freire in the division's pecking order. His title fight with Warren in now targeted for a currently unannounced February event – one that could also feature Bellator champ Eddie Alvarez (22-2 MMA, 7-0 BFC) vs. DREAM champ Shinya Aoki (29-5 MMA, 0-0 BFC).
Bobby Lashley now meets Mark Martinez in Shark Fights 21 headliner
Let's try this again. Again.
Mark Martinez (4-1) has stepped up to headline Shark Fights 21 opposite Bobby Lashley (6-1) in a bout for the promotion's heavyweight title.
Shark Fights CEO Bud Brutsman today confirmed the news to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com), saying, "As a Shark Fights veteran, we're happy that Mark is getting a shot at the title."
Shark Fights 21 takes place Nov. 11 at Fair Park Coliseum in Lubbock, Texas. The event airs via delay on FUEL TV on Dec. 23.
With injury woes behind him, UFC on FOX 1's Cub Swanson motivated for debut
It's a nice idea to Cub Swanson that he's fighting at the event where the UFC makes its network TV debut, even if he's not one of those who gets to bask in the spotlight (just like everyone else not named Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos).
But reality is staring Swanson in the face.
This is his first fight in the UFC after injuries delayed his debut. In fact, when he learned he will be in the newest version of the UFC's video game, he tweeted its developer and asked whether his character breaks his hands after every fight.
"I just wanted to know how realistic the game was," Swanson (15-4 MMA, 0-0 UFC), who fights Ricardo Lamas (10-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) at UFC on FOX 1, joked while on MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio).
UFC on FOX 1 takes place Saturday at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. Swanson's fight streams live on Facebook while the card's main event airs live on FOX.
Bellator looks for worldwide TV deals following FremantleMedia partnership
Bellator Fighting Championships has inked a deal to give FremantleMedia Enterprises a license to negotiate its international TV rights.
FremantleMedia will handle the licensing, digital and ancillary rights for the U.S. and international markets.
The company has operations in 22 countries and distributes nearly 100,000 hours of programming, including some of the highest-rated prime-time entertainment, drama, serial drama and factual entertainment programs.
Viacom recently purchased a majority interest in Bellator, which currently airs on MTV2 and is planning a move to Spike TV in 2013. MTV2 is available in approximately 80 million homes, and Spike TV is available in 100 million. Prelims currently stream worldwide on Spike.com.
"This deal further diversifies FME's third party slate and builds on our reputation as experts at identifying and exploiting the potential of emerging brands," FME Global CEO David Ellender stated. "The sport of mixed martial arts is gaining momentum with fans worldwide, and we can see huge potential for the Bellator brand across all platforms, both in the U.S. and internationally."
SB Nation announces acquisition of MMAFighting.com
Great news for mixed martial arts (MMA) fans.
MMAmania.com parent company, SB Nation, today (Nov. 7, 2011) announced that it has expanded its MMA portfolio by acquiring MMAFighting.com.
SB Nation Chairman and CEO Jim Bankoff made the announcement on today's edition of The MMA Hour.
"SB Nation, unlike a lot of other sports sites, from the beginning, put our emphasis on coverage of MMA. We have a lot of big sites in our portfolio like MMA Mania and Bloody Elbow. Those sites will continue to exist as they do exist now and its not really our plan to merge those sites whatsoever."
While it's impossible to say this without drawing a humorous comparison to Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), you can expect it to be "business as usual" around these parts.
UFC on Fox: Clay Guida Wants Title Shot After Ben Henderson Bout
Clay Guida may be getting shafted a bit by it being made clear that his fight with Ben Henderson is not going to make the Fox TV broadcast no matter how quickly the bout between Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos ends, but that isn't keeping him down. Guida knows that the Henderson fight is a huge moment in his career and he seems ready to pounce.
UFC president says U.K. and European expansion hinges on 'right TV deals'
A little more than a week ago at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, the venue was nearly empty for UFC 137's first preliminary-card fight.
A week later, a raucous crowd filled LG Arena in Birmingham, England, and gave every UFC 138 bout a main-event feel.
So why is the UFC much more likely to visit Sin City than other European locales?
UFC president Dana White said it's all about the TV deals. In the U.S., the UFC is wrapping up a seven-year live-events deal with Spike TV and will move to FOX (and FX and FUEL TV) in 2012. In Canada, Rogers Sportsnet has been a dependable home for the organization. The deals supplement and help promote the UFC's usual pay-per-view offerings, which is the promotion's real cash cow.
Chris Leben Reportedly Cut 21 Pounds in 24 Hours
Chris Leben gave it his best shot when he faced Mark Munoz at UFC 138. Leben scored with some punches, came close with a few submissions and even got a pair of takedowns over the much better wrester. In the end Munoz's skills were just too much though and Leben was forced to retire from the bout when he said he couldn't see due to vision problems stemming from a cut over his eye.
Now, Fighters Only Magazine is reporting that Leben had a terrible weight cut:
Chris Leben cut nearly 21 pounds in 24 hours to make weight for his fight with Mark Munoz, Fighters Only was told ahead of last night's bout.
The 31-year old middleweight had "a terrible weight cut" and was in such bad shape before the weigh ins that medical staff were keeping a very close eye on him.
A source close to Leben told Fighters Only on Friday that Leben had been left "shattered" by the amount of weight he had to cut on weigh-in day.
Bellator 57 fight card official with eight bouts, including two tourney finales
The fight card is set for this weekend's Bellator 57 event.
As previously announced, the event takes place this Saturday, Nov. 12, at Casino Rama in Rama, Ontario, Canada.
The co-headlining spots feature tournament finales with welterweights Ben Saunders (12-3-2 MMA, 3-0 BFC) vs. Douglas Lima (20-4 MMA, 2-0 BFC) and middleweights Alexander Shlemenko (42-7 MMA, 6-1 BFC) vs. Vitor Vianna (12-1-1 MMA, 2-0 BFC).
Each winner of this season's eight-man tournaments earns $100,000 in total pay and a guaranteed title shot.
The full Bellator 57 card includes:
MAIN CARD (MTV2)
Douglas Lima vs. Ben Saunders (welterweight tourney finale)
Alexander Shlemenko vs. Vitor Vianna (middleweight tournament final)
John Hawk vs. Roger Hollett
PRELIMINARY CARD (Spike.com)
Alexandre "Popo" Bezerra vs. Doug Evans
Chuck Mady vs. Denis Puric
Eric Moon vs. Josh Shockley
Mike Sledzion vs. Taylor Solomon
Shawn Levesque vs. Matt Van Buren
UFC 138's Renan Barao says he's ready for bantamweight title shot
Renan Barao believes he's ready for a title shot.
Of course, his 27 straight victories lend some credence to the argument.
After all, Barao, who scored a first-round submission victory over English fighter Brad Pickett in Saturday's UFC 138 co-headliner, said there's only one reason fighters come to the UFC: to fight for a championship.
Soon after his Spike TV-televised victory, which came via rear-naked choke at LG Arena in Birminghan, England, Barao answered the obvious question: Is he ready for a shot at bantamweight titleholder Dominick Cruz?
Fighters in L.A. for BJJ tournament stop a robbery at hotel
Two mixed martial artists from Oregon were in Los Angeles for a grappling tournament, but they ended up using their skills to do much more than win a match. They subdued an armed robber who was holding up the clerk at their hotel. Watch the security video in this report from KCAL-TV.
Brent Alvarez runs Twisted Web MMA in Eugene, Ore., and Billy Denney is his student. They were walking through the hotel lobby when they saw the robber, who had gone behind the hotel's counter, pulled out a gun, and demanded money. The clerk handed over the cash, but yelled for help. Alvarez and Denney jumped on the robber, and while Denney controlled his wrists, Alvarez sunk in a rear naked choke. They held him in place until police arrived.
Alvarez is 2-2 in amateur bouts, while Denney is 7-2. According to the Twisted Web Facebook page, Denney took third at the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation no-gi worlds. (In no-gi, participants wear a rash guard or no shirt instead of the traditional martial arts uniform of a gi.) Alvarez went 1-1 in his fights.
No matter their results, I have a feeling that Denney and Alvarez will remember this trip to L.A. for something other than the tournament. Kudos to them both for being brave and using martial arts to do more than win a match
UFC boss won't rule out Paul Daley return but admits he's still 'not a fan'
BIRMINGHAM, England – British slugger Paul Daley may have potentially removed himself from UFC president Dana White's "pay no mind" list, but don't expect him to be stepping into the octagon anytime soon.
At Saturday night's UFC 138 post-event press conference in Birmingham, England, UFC president Dana White didn't necessarily uphold his "never again" stance on the banished welterweight but did say Daley wasn't exactly on his radar.
And while making the comment, White also seemed to suggest that the current Strikeforce-Showtime talks, of which he recently took charge, are at least currently ongoing.
Carlos Condit vs. Josh Koscheck in the works for UFC 143 in Las Vegas
BIRMINGHAM, England – After being bumped from a championship fight with Georges St-Pierre in favor of Nick Diaz, Carlos Condit has his new target.
MMAjunkie.com has learned from sources close to the promotion that Condit and Josh Koscheck have verbally agreed to meet at UFC 143 in February.
UFC president Dana White revealed the likelihood of the potential booking at Saturday night's UFC 138 post-event press conference in Birmingham, England.
UFC 138 bonuses(Spoilers Inside)
England – Che Mills, Terry Etim, Renan Barao and Brad Pickett each earned $70,000 fight-night bonuses for their performances at Saturday's UFC 138 event.
Mills earned the night's "Knockout of the Night" award, Etim picked up the "Submission of the Night" bonus, and Barao and Pickett took home "Fight of the Night" honours.
Shark Fights 21's Bobby Lashley without opponent as Dave Huckaba scratches
The heavyweight is again without an opponent at Shark Fights 21 after his scheduled opponent, Dave Huckaba (16-4), withdrew for undisclosed reasons. Sources close to the event today confirmed the change with MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
Shark Fights 21 takes place Nov. 11 at Fair Park Coliseum in Lubbock, Texas. The event airs via delay on FUEL TV on Dec. 23.
Eddie Alvarez vs. Shinya Aoki Rematch Booked For February, Sort Of
There have been rumors for months about Bellator staging a rematch between their lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez and the Dream lightweight champion Shinya Aoki. Today, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney confirmed the rumors and said the bout was signed for February - on one condition (via MMA Weekly):
The only hurdle left to go before the fight happens is Alvarez defending his Bellator lightweight title against tournament winner Mike Chandler in just over a week. That by no means is a gimmee. Rebney understands that and so does Alvarez.
"To be completely honest, Ed has got his hands full against Mike Chandler. Mike Chandler is an absolute freak of nature in terms of his wrestling. His stand-up has really come around. Chandler’s a beast," said Rebney.
Johnny Eduardo scratched from UFC 139, replacement search underway
Brazilian bantamweight Johnny Eduardo (25-9 MMA, 0-1 UFC) has suffered a shoulder injury and has been forced out of this month's UFC 139 fight with Michael McDonald (13-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC).
UFC officials today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) a replacement search is underway. Tatame first reported the scratch.
UFC 139 takes place Nov. 19 at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif.
While the main card airs on pay-per-view, Eduardo vs. McDonald was slated for the portion of the preliminary card expected to stream on Facebook.