James Irvin Talks Pills, Curses, the UFC, and Getting Robbed by Ken Shamrock
By CagePotato contributor Jason Moles
Coming off a loss to Jorge Oliveira in December, James Irvin returned to action last weekend at Gladiator Challenge: Young Guns 4 — and he would have gotten his much-needed rebound victory, if it wasn't for the meddling of celebrity referee Ken Shamrock. (Seriously. You can't make this stuff up.) Freak occurrences have plagued Irvin's career from the beginning, and that night was no different. "The Sandman" recently gave us on opportunity to chat with him about his anti-climactic match against Mike Crisman, his battle with painkiller addiction, and his plan to make another run in the UFC.
CAGEPOTATO.COM: First and foremost, I'd like to thank you for taking the time to talk with us at CagePotato. Tell me a little about the physical toll your body has taken after fighting three times in the past four months.
JAMES IRVIN: It's been good for me. It's tough, but I've been doing this for ten years. In shape, out of shape, and back into shape again. Kinda like what Chris Leben said — it keeps me sharp. I fight again on February 20th and have two fights in March, one in May. I train best when it's intense and there's nothing more intense than training for a fight.
Judge Orders Emelianenko, M-1 Global, Affliction to Resolve Disputes
Amid a recent flurry of discovery disputes between courtroom adversaries Fedor Emelianenko/M-1 Global (plaintiffs) and Affliction Entertainment (defendant), a federal magistrate judge on Monday issued an order staying discovery between the parties, ordering them to meet and confer “day to day until done” to resolve their disputes.
The litigation commenced back in October 2009, when Emelianenko and M-1 Global, a promotional/management group with which the fighter is closely aligned, filed suit to recover damages they allegedly suffered after Affliction cancelled the co-promoted “Trilogy” event, scheduled to take place on Aug. 1, 2009. “The Last Emperor” and M-1 claim that Affliction Entertainment breached the “Fight Agreement” when it refused to stage and promote a third bout for Emelianenko after his advertised opponent, Josh Barnett, was refused a license in California. Two weeks before the Affliction event, the California State Athletic Commission denied Barnett’s license application, reporting the fighter tested positive for steroids. According to M-1 and Emelianenko, Affliction did not undertake “all reasonable efforts” to find a fighter to replace Barnett. They contend that Affliction lost interest in promoting this third bout partly because it was trying to repair its soured relationship with the UFC.
Former TapouT employee sues for being forced to watch UFC
Michelle Thomas, a 32-year-old ometime model who worked for the mixed-martial-arts clothing and lifestyle company TapouT says in a lawsuit that her bosses actually made her watch television on her own time..
... Thomas claims that the company required workers to watch its eponymous reality show on Versus as well as Ultimate Fighting Championship bouts on Pay Per View on their own time -- and on their own dime.
The woman from San Pedro worked at the company for eight months in sales and filed her wrongful termination suit in 2008, but it's just now being heard before a jury this week.
Bellator signs veteran middleweight Joe Riggs
Bellator Fighting Championships' recent signing spree has netted veteran fighter Joe Riggs (34-12 MMA, 0-0 BFC).
Officials today announced they've signed the former WEC champion and UFC/Strikeforce veteran to its middleweight division.
Riggs enters the organization with six wins in his past seven fights, which have taken place between 170 and 185 pounds.
Officials did not announce if the 28-year-old fighter will be part of an expected season-four middleweight tournament, which kicks off in March on MTV2.
Former UFC champ Jens Pulver returns to action in March in Chicago
Twelve-year MMA veteran Jens Pulver (22-14-1) will soldier on.
The upstart Chicago Cagefighting Championship announced Pulver will serve in the main event of a March 5 fight card in suburban Chicago at The Odeum in Villa Park, Illinois.
Pulver will face an opponent yet to be named.
A former UFC lightweight champion and eight-time veteran of the world's largest MMA promotion, Pulver is currently mired in a six-fight losing streak, and five of the results have come in the first round.
Matt Lindland: Suspension will toughen up UFC's Chael Sonnen
Matt Lindland, Chael Sonnen's coach of 15 years, was one of dozens of people trying to reach the UFC middleweight contender this past Tuesday, and like most of them, he was unsuccessful.
When news broke that Sonnen had been suspended by the UFC not long after his guilty plea to federal charges of money laundering, he rang Sonnen's cell phone and got voicemail.
"He honestly did not have the energy to push 'dial,'" Lindland on Thursday told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "I've been there before. You feel like, 'Just let me sit here for a while and figure out what my next move is going to be.'"
Sonnen eventually answered, though, and on Wednesday, the two met and talked about that next move.
One Side Claims Fix, Other Cites Confusion in Controversial Decision
As Hermes Franca waited for the decision of his fight against Ferrid Kheder to be read inside the cage in a Cartago, Costa Rica high school gym, the UFC veteran thought his losing streak was history. Instead, to him, it was the beginning of something even worse than defeat.
If it was a simple loss, Franca could have handled it, but what happened next could not be so easily settled in his mind. According to some, Franca was simply the victim of a bad decision. But according to others, he was robbed, the victim of a fix.
"This is like a bad joke," Franca told MMA Fighting. "It's unbelievable. I won the fight. The judges gave it to me. I got my hand raised. And then they said I didn't win."
"What happened was confusion," said Jean-Francois Billon, who helped organize the show. "It's a big story for a little thing. Nobody had bad intentions. Nobody was cheating."
What started out as a fight in the cage became a fight for the truth.
Keith Jardine Documents Corruption At Nemesis Fighting, U.S. Secret Service Involved
The nightmare surrounding the Nemesis Fighting show in the Dominican Republic on Dec. 11 is still unfolding as more details emerge. The latest advancement is the U.S. Secret Service’s involvement in the investigation.
Keith Jardine, who fought and won during the show, has made a personal commitment to make sure the promoters who scammed the fighters either pay up or do some jail time for their part in the disastrous show that took place.
The UFC veteran is taking much of the responsibility simply because he knows a lot of the fighters that competed that fateful night, stayed on the card due to his involvement. He’s hopeful the work he’s doing now will at least help some of the fighters out from the financial strain caused by promoters Tim Fields and Bob Fill.
“I know some people stayed on this card because I was on it, and they would ask John (Madrid, Jardine’s manager) ‘Well, Keith’s still on it right?’ and they would stay on the card because of me, and that makes me feel really bad,” Jardine told MMAWeekly Radio. “So I’m doing my best, doing my part to gain control of the production of the fights to maybe get it on pay-per-view and get all the money to pay the fighter’s purses.”
Aleksander Emelianenko Suffers TKO Loss to Peter Graham
Aleksander Emelianenko, the younger brother of Fedor, lost in an upset this past Saturday in Russia, ending an eight-fight unbeaten streak lasting over three years.
Competing under modified rules of stand ups after 30 seconds on the ground, Aleksander lost in the main event of "Draka 5" to K-1 veteran Peter Graham by way of leg kicks at two minutes and 50 seconds of the second round.
It seemed like a great deal: a match in the Dominican Republic resort town of Punta Cana, with paid airfare and accommodations, on an event featuring multiple UFC veterans streamed worldwide via online pay-per-view.
That is what the fighters on Florida-based Nemesis Fight Promotions’ “MMA Global Invasion” card expected. What they appeared to have gotten was a surreal, disorganized evening of fights and paychecks which were not worth the paper they were written on.
CEO Bjorn Rebney details Bellator's new three-year deal with MTV2
A seemingly all-but-official deal with the FOX Entertainment Group wasn't in the cards for Bellator Fighting Championships, after all.
Officials today announced the mixed-martial-arts promotion has signed a three-year broadcasting deal with MTV2, which will air two annual 12-week seasons live in the cable station's 80 million homes in 2011. Additionally, "offseason" events will air live between seasons.
In an exclusive interview with MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com), Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney confirmed the organization was in "advanced negotiations" with three TV groups but that the MTV option was, by far, the most attractive.
"There is absolutely no question our first choice was MTV2," Rebney said today from Bellator's Chicago offices. "It's about who you reach and how reach them. There was no mistake in this deal or in this structure. TNT or USA or ESPN or FX or CBS or NBC or every TV station, the biggest concentration of men ages 12-34 is on MTV2. It's the same demo that lives and breathes MMA.
"If you're going to build a brand ... in this space, where could there be a better home? There's no question this was the No. 1 option."
Todd Duffee meets Abe Wagner at January's Titan Fighting event on HDNet
Three months after his unexpected release from the UFC, Todd Duffee will begin the process of rebuilding his career.
HDNet Fights CEO Andrew Simon today told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio) that Duffee is scheduled to appear on a Titan Fighting Championships event scheduled for Jan. 29 in Kansas City, Kan.
Duffee (6-1) meets "The Ultimate Fighter 10" cast member Abe Wagner (6-3) at the HDNet-televised event, according to Duffee's manager, Monte Cox.
It's Duffee's first fight since May, when he was upset at UFC 114 by Chicago fighter Mike Russow. After dominating the fight on the feet for two-plus rounds, the iron-jawed Russow landed a right hand that knocked Duffee out cold in one of the most dramatic come-from-behind wins in UFC history.
Duffee, who works with Grudge Training Center in Denver, was expected to take on Jon Madsen at UFC 121 but withdrew from the fight in August with a knee injury. Less than a month later, he received an email from the UFC notifying him that he had been cut by the promotion because of his loss to Russow.
Oregon Ducks and Oregon St. Beavers Took Civil War To Next Level
Randy Couture is flying in to coach the Beavers this week.
OK, Couture won't be at Saturday's Civil War football game.
He is going to be on hand for the Full Contact Fighting Federation's Cage Fights: Ducks vs. Beavers on Thursday at Gill Coliseum.
Couture is a popular MMA fighter and actor who was an assistant wrestling coach at Oregon State. He will coach the Beavers while former University of Oregon wrestler and mixed martial arts middleweight Chael Sonnen will coach the Ducks for the event.
There are 18 fights on the card with two FCFF championship bouts.
Oregon St. won the MMA Civil War by 2 bouts.
Report: Bellator Season 4 to Air Live on FX
Bellator Fighting Championships’ days of having televised events pre-empted by high school football games and air racing competitions may finally be over.
After two seasons’ worth of sometimes-live, but often tape-delayed events on Fox Sports Net, the promotion is reportedly close to announcing a new, multi-year deal with Fox Entertainment Group which would see its fourth season aired live weekly on cable station FX. News of the deal was first reported Friday by MMAJunkie.com.
The report also states that while Bellator’s live shows -- which have been held on Thursday nights for each of its first three seasons -- would be broadcast on FX, replays and highlight packages will likely continue to run on FSN, as well as the Fox-owned “extreme sports” channel Fuel TV.
Asked to comment on the potential new deal, Bellator chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney issued the following statement to Sherdog.com:
California to test new points system
December 2, 2010
By Josh Gross
California will experiment with a new points system for amateur mixed martial arts bouts beginning in 2011, a move that could lead to significant changes in judging at the professional level.
The test to determine whether the 10-point must scoring system is best suited for dynamic MMA bouts will be conducted by the California Amateur Mixed Martial Arts Organization in conjunction with the California State Athletic Commission.
The new system will be used in amateur bouts in California during the 2011 calendar year, allowing the state to serve as a Petri dish without risking the livelihood of professional mixed martial artists. It figures to be tested in more than 100 bouts.
Fights will be scored under both standards, said Jeremy Lappen, CEO of CAMO, with the intent of delivering "comparative data" that regulators can use to determine whether or not the trial system -- Mixed Martial Arts Specific Scoring (MMAS) -- should eventually apply to the pros.
Trainer Greg Jackson: "Fighting safe is an illusion" but fighting smart isn't
Greg Jackson's philosophy on finishing fights is not too far from a well-worn cliche in mixed-martial-arts circles: Impose your will.
Still, he's been criticized for grooming fighters who favor scorecards over submissions and points over punches.
He'd like to set the record straight with those who question him. When it comes to how things play out inside the octagon, he asks only that his fighters be smart when they compete.
"I get in there and I ask guys to finish every fight," Jackson told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "Because here's the problem with fighting safe: Fighting safe is an illusion."
A statement such as that might bring groans from those who've seen decisions from several of Jackson's high-profile clients. UFC president Dana White recently went on the offensive and said it's "safety first" when it comes to the trainer's octagon strategy. That prompted Jackson to respond on Tuesday with a stat sheet that listed the bonuses his fighters have earned in 2010.
Jackson urges fans to look at his stats for evidence of his philosophy.
Trial Begins for Man Accused of Manslaughter in Death of Tapout's 'Mask'
Opening statements began on Tuesday in the vehicular manslaughter trial of Jeffrey David Kirby, the driver of a Porsche that allegedly crashed into the Ferrari of Tapout co-founder Charles "Mask" Lewis in an accident that killed Lewis.
Kirby was arrested shortly after the March 11, 2009 crash in Newport Beach, California, registering a .13 blood/alcohol level, well above the legal limit.
According to the Orange County Register, prosecutor Jason Baez told jurors in his opening statement that skid marks show that Kirby was driving at speeds over 100 mph when he lost control of his car and crashed into Lewis.
Soccer Brawl Outside Brazil Fight 3 Leaves 1 Dead, 2 Injured
BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil -- The Brazilian MMA community has long argued that its sport is safer than soccer, given the history of Brazilian futebol rivalries and violence. Saturday night in Belo Horizonte, that violence tragically bled indirectly into MMA.
While the city's Chevrolet Hall played host to the third edition of Brazil Fight, an alleged brawl between supporters of rival Belo Horizonte-based soccer clubs Atletico Mineiro and Cruzeiro broke outside the venue, leaving one man dead and two others hospitalized.
19-year-old Otavio Fernandes died Saturday night due to sustained head trauma after he was allegedly beaten with an iron bar by members of Atletico Mineiro fan group Galoucura. Flavio Celso da Silva, 35, and Rodrigo Marques, 39, were also sent to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
According to eyewitness accounts of the full-scale street fight that erupted, the much larger Galoucura group overwhelmed the Cruzeiro fans, attacking them with iron bars. The fight is estimated to have only lasted a few minutes, but blood was still visible on the ground outside Chevrolet Hall on Sunday morning.
'UFC Fight for the Troops 2' Main Card Official for Spike TV
Fighting with a truly meaningful purpose in front of some real American heroes, "The Ultimate Fighter" alums Kenny Florian, Mike Swick, Matt Mitrione, Melvin Guillard, and U.S. Army and National Guard veteran DaMarques Johnson will be featured on Spike TV's telecast of "UFC Fight For The Troops" live from Fort Hood, Texas on Saturday, January 22, 2011 at 9:00 p.m. ET. The main event showcases two of the best lightweights in the world, Florian and Evan Dunham.