Women's MMA: Potentially Dying in America, Thriving in Japan
The Queen of Pancrase. For those familiar with the testosterone heavy environment of the pioneering MMA promotion, it's something that's tough to wrap your head around. It's not just the MMA business that is changing, it's Japan. A once fiercely patriarchal society is welcoming women into the workforce in record numbers. The role of motherhood, at one time so lauded and respected, has shifted into the background as Japanese women have fewer and fewer babies. These two news items, of course, are connected at the hip. But that's a story for another time and another blog. The times are indeed changing - and that includes MMA as well.
Bellator Champ Eddie Alvarez Talks About the UFC
Bellator lightweight champ Eddie Alvarez just defended his title against Pat Curran at Bellator 39. At #6 on the USAT/SBN Consensus MMA Rankings, he's one of the most highly ranked fighters not currently under contract to Zuffa, the parent company of the UFC.
He recently spoke to ESPN's Josh Gross (audio file) about his decision-making in staying with Bellator and not jumping to the UFC (transcription via Fight Opinion):
"It means I'm still somewhat in-disposable. If I was among that group, I'd be disposable immediately the day that my contract was taken over by Zuffa, so... I feel like I still can have some sort of say with where my career goes and what sponsors I want to get and whether I want to be in a video game or not. There's a lot of things. The whole signing with Zuffa thing is a big control issue with me and I don't know, I just... I'm happy that they're doing what they're doing but right now I don't know if it's the right move for me."
Mr. Alvarez tried to walk a fine line but remain honest about his feelings regarding the UFC.
"I don't think they're doing anything wrong. I think they're running their business the way they are supposed to. But my issue with it is the way fighters lose one or two fights and they're fired and, not only that, there is no like, it's not like a union like the NFL, the NBA, and these other sports where the finances are regulated and you have to receive a minimum in order to be a part of that league. Like NFL, I don't know, maybe you have to receive half a million dollars per year just to play in the NFL or maybe a quarter of a million. The UFC's not like that. They can offer someone, you know, $5,000 and $5,000, the guy can fight at first and get his face broken to pieces and then he can totally put on a poor performance and then get fired. That scares me. I would like to be paid like an athlete and, I don't know. I guess I have a lot of issues with it and when I was, I believe when I was ranked #2 in the world, I was offered something from the UFC but it was significantly lower than what I was getting paid at that time, almost like insultingly low and I just, it wasn't the right move for me at that time. I have no qualms, I like the UFC, Dana White does a great job with them and they're definitely the biggest stage on Earth. And if I fight there some day, then great, but right now I think I'm where I'm supposed to be at."
Magalhaes refutes weekend's 'Lesnar BJJ prodigy' stories
Vinny Magalhaes has killed off a hoax story about Brock Lesnar and the Xtreme Couture gym that was doing heavy traffic at the weekend.
Quotes from a fake interview with Jay Heiron were widely published, supposedly recounting a time when Lesnar visited the XC gym and demonstrated legendary levels of jiu jitsu as he toyed with everybody from Forrest Griffin and Vitor Belfort to Randy Couture himself.
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.
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?
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.
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.
Phil Baroni, Frank Trigg targeted for BAMMA 6 appearances, but contracts not yet signed
UFC and PRIDE veterans Phil Baroni and Frank Trigg have each been targeted for an appearance at May's BAMMA 6 event, but neither has committed to the fight card.
The potential bookings were first reported by MMA Fighting.com, but MMAjunkie.com has subsequently confirmed with sources close to the fighters that neither has signed a bout agreement for the event.
BAMMA 6, which is expected to feature a middleweight title fight between current BAMMA champ Tom "Kong" Watson and Murilo "Ninja" Rua, is scheduled for May 21 at London's Wembley Arena.
Karo Parisyan not fighting at Shark Fights 15
Recent rumors that Karo Parisyan is returning to action at an upcoming Shark Fights event are untrue, the former UFC welterweight today told MMAjunkie.com.
Parisyan was rumored to meet Strikeforce veteran Paul Bradley, and while the matchup was originally targeted for Shark Fights 15, it has since fallen by the wayside.
"There was some contractual stuff for us to go to California that we decided to pass on," Shark Fights president Brent Medley added.
YouTube shuts down Gracie channel for use of copyrighted UFC video
Rener Gracie was both shocked and confused when YouTube shut down the channel of his father's academy and cited a third claim of copyright infringement.
But UFC president Dana White said there's a simple reason for the action, and it's the same one that's prompted the promotion to heavily invest in the protection of its product: the unauthorized use of copyrighted content.
"When you go out and you get on a YouTube or one of these huge portals where you can download content and show content – if you use copyrighted material, we've spent lots of money to make sure there are people out there that take that stuff down," White told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
Gracie, the son of UFC co-creator Rorian Gracie, produced a series of videos for YouTube with his brother Ryron that he said were meant to educate and entice MMA fans by demonstrating techniques used in the UFC. The videos, which he said drew between 50,000 and 100,000 views per episode, often included snippets of footage from UFC fights.
White, who was traveling to Chicago on Tuesday and caught wind of the situation when Gracie sent him a message on Twitter, appreciates the intention behind the videos, but he said the brothers erred in not gaining permission to use the footage.
"I've got nothing against these kids," he said. "I don't even know these kids. I reached out to [Rener] on Twitter and said, 'Give me your number and I'll give you a buzz. Maybe there's something we can work out.' But you can't just go use people's footage and make your own videos."
Although White said the UFC's Las Vegas office had no part in it, YouTube on Monday shut down the Gracie Academy channel as part of its policy on users with multiple copyright infringement claims against them. The channel had previously drawn two claims from 20th Century Fox for copyrighted music.
Gracie believed the length of the UFC clips used – no more than seven seconds – put them in the category of "fair use" in U.S. copyright law, which allows for limited use of copyrighted material in certain circumstances without prior permission from its owners.
What's more, Gracie said he'd received ample praise from UFC employees on the videos, and said several of them subscribed to the academy's channel. The shutdown, he felt, was a "contradiction."
"I was under the impression that it was OK and not a problem," Gracie said. "If I knew it was a problem with them, I would have never done it. I would have just shown clean breakdowns with nothing in it."
White, however, said the brothers should have known better. He said they only needed to look at their father to provide an example of how business gets done when using copyrighted footage.
"We just did a documentary called 'Ultimate Royce Gracie,' and we paid a lot of money to license that footage from Rorion," White said. "And he was very aggressive and very stern in how he wanted his footage to be used. 'You can show it X amount of times, and then you owe me more money. And if you do this, you owe me money for that, too.' Their father does the same exact thing with his footage of the Gracies.
"When you look at what's going on with Justin.tv and all these other sites, the responsible sites like a YouTube go through and police what's on their website. They're not going to let people go in there and infringe. It's not the UFC calling up and going, '[Expletive] the Gracies. Pull that [expletive] down.'"
Following his Twitter exchange with White, Gracie told MMAjunkie.com that he was working with a UFC staffer to reverse the claim so that the academy's channel could be reinstated. He was also re-editing a video breakdown of Chan Sung Jung's recent twister submission over Leonard Garcia to be released free of UFC footage on a separate "GracieBreakdown" channel.
But White balked at the idea that his staff had made any such deal and said he planned to directly address the issue with the young Gracie.
"They used the UFC footage and just like anybody does, it gets taken down," he said. "And believe me when I tell you I find it hard to believe that somebody from this office called and started trying to work out a deal with Rener without me knowing. I find that very hard to believe.
"This whole thing is ridiculous. It's a bunch of Internet goofballs on those [expletive] chat rooms saying, 'Oh God, look what they did,' and all this stupid talk of how we're policing everything we do. Of course we do. We're a major sports league just like any other sports league."
The UFC began an aggressive anti-piracy campaign in January 2010 and has pursued legal action against several individuals and websites alleged to have stolen its broadcasts using the Web.
The promotion very recently got some help from the federal government in its crackdown. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations unit arrested the operator of Channelsurfing.net, a website which the agencies said hosted several illegal streams of the UFC, NFL, NBA, WWE and other sports programming. The operator faces five years in jail.
As MMAjunkie.com reported in mid-2010, UFC officials announced they had reached "confidential settlements" with more than 500 businesses and individuals as a result of illegal broadcasts and viewing of UFC events.
The UFC's general legal counsel Lawrence Epstein said all cases involving the question of fair use are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. The fan who posts a highlight reel shouldn't be too worried. Unfortunately, though, issues such as the Gracie videos are a byproduct of the promotion's plight.
"If people weren't ripping us off all the time, a lot of these issues wouldn't pop up," Epstein said.
MMA Top 10 Rankings: Phil Davis Finally Breaks Through
The updated MMAWeekly.com World MMA Rankings were released on Wednesday, March 30. This system ranks the Top 10 MMA fighters from all across the world in each of the seven most widely accepted weight classes.
Taken into consideration are a fighter’s performance in addition to win-loss record, head-to-head and common opponents, difficulty of opponents, and numerous other factors in what is the most comprehensive rankings system in the sport.
Fighters who are currently serving drug-related suspensions are not eligible for Top 10 consideration until they have fought one time after the completion of their suspension.
Fighters must also have competed within the past 12 months in order to be eligible for Top 10 consideration unless they have a bout scheduled within a reasonable time frame.
Below are the current MMAWeekly.com World MMA Rankings:
HEAVYWEIGHT DIVISION (over 205 pounds)
1. Cain Velasquez
2. Fabricio Werdum
3. Brock Lesnar
4. Junior Dos Santos
5. Alistair Overeem
6. Antonio Silva
7. Fedor Emelianenko
8. Shane Carwin
9. Frank Mir
10. Sergei Kharitonov
LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT DIVISION (205-pound limit)
1. Jon Jones
2. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua
3. Rashad Evans
4. Quinton Jackson
5. Lyoto Machida
6. Forrest Griffin
7. Thiago Silva
8. Ryan Bader
9. Dan Henderson
10. Phil Davis
MIDDLEWEIGHT DIVISION (185-pound limit)
1. Anderson Silva
2. Yushin Okami
3. Nathan Marquardt
4. Demian Maia
5. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza
6. Jorge Santiago
7. Michael Bisping
8. Robbie Lawler
9. Hector Lombard
10. Vitor Belfort
WELTERWEIGHT DIVISION (170-pound limit)
1. Georges St-Pierre
2. Jon Fitch
3. Jake Shields
4. Thiago Alves
5. Josh Koscheck
6. Nick Diaz
7. Paul Daley
8. Carlos Condit
9. B.J. Penn
10. Diego Sanchez
LIGHTWEIGHT DIVISION (160-pound limit)
1. Frankie Edgar
2. Gilbert Melendez
3. Gray Maynard
4. Shinya Aoki
5. Eddie Alvarez
6. Jim Miller
7. Tatsuya Kawajiri
8. Kenny Florian
9. Anthony Pettis
10. Melvin Guillard
FEATHERWEIGHT DIVISION (145 pound-limit)
1. Jose Aldo
2. Chad Mendes
3. Manny Gamburyan
4. Diego Nunes
5. Hatsu Hioki
6. Dustin Poirier
7. Mark Hominick
8. Erik Koch
9. Michihiro Omigawa
10. Josh Grispi
BANTAMWEIGHT DIVISION (135 pounds or less)
1. Dominick Cruz
2. Brian Bowles
3. Joseph Benavidez
4. Scott Jorgensen
5. Urijah Faber
6. Miguel Torres
7. Brad Pickett
8. Demetrious Johnson
9. Masakatsu Ueda
10. Michael McDonald
Training Updates: Fedor Heads to Holland to Train with Ernesto Hoost and Chael Sonnen Adds Some Swagger to the 209 Where He’s Helping Jake Shields Prepare for GSP
Jake Shields mentioned in an interview he did with Joe Rogan during Saturday’s Ultimate Fight Night 24 broadcast that he was planning on bringing in Chael Sonnen to help him prepare for his April 30 UFC 129 match-up with UFC welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre.
According to MiddleEasy, he wasn’t just blowing smoke up our asses as the beleaguered UFC middleweight contender has offically arrived in the 209 with his Team Quest mate Matt Lindland in tow to help Shields prepare for GSP.
Here’s the photo of the unlikely pairing of the fighting Republicans and the Skrap Pack:
In other news, former PRIDE heavyweight champ Fedor Emelianenko has made good on his promise that he would shake up his training by traveling to the Netherlands to prepare for his next bout. “The Last Emperor” is spending the next two weeks at Ernesto Hoost’s Dutch kickboxing gym.
Here is some footage of Fedor training with Mr. Perfect in the land of tulips and wooden shoes.
This isn’t Fedor’s first training trip to Holland. Check out this vid of the once-thought invincible Russian training a few years back with Alistair Overeem and Gilbert Yvel at Team Golden Glory.