UFC’s Akiyama a Key to Other Asian Market
As soon as the news broke Wednesday that Yoshihiro Akiyama was UFC-bound, discussion blazed about Zuffa's continuing international expansion, and the signing's impact toward making inroads in the elusive Japanese market.
Between the ultimately disastrous handling of the Pride Fighting Championships buyout, the company's courting of proclaimed Japanese MMA savior Satoshi Ishii and the recent signing of star Caol Uno, UFC President Dana White and Zuffa have remained adamant that the Japanese market was a priority for the company, a notion only furthered by their signing of Akiyama, who remains one of the few viable draws in Japanese MMA.
It is extremely telling that the largest topic of the ensuing discourse is not where Akiyama, a borderline top-10 middleweight, fits into an increasingly interesting UFC middleweight class, but rather what the maneuver means for Zuffa's global strategy, whether it provides the company with any more leverage or interest in the market and whether it brings the Octagon any closer to a return to Nihon.
It would be myopic, however, to see the signing of Akiyama strictly as an investment in Zuffa constructing a future in Japan. In fact, there's a more immediately extravagant and potentially lucrative market now ripe for the taking with the inking of Akiyama. His ethnicity -- which has been both a gift and a curse over the course of his career -- may provide the company with a genuine cultural superstar in the growing South Korean market that Zuffa has already been keenly courting.
While he was born in Japan, Akiyama is a fourth-generation "zainichi," or ethnic Korean. His status as a K-1 star has afforded him a high athletic profile in Japan. However, as evidenced by their booming and creative film industry, South Koreans appreciate a stellar drama, and over the last eight years, Akiyama's cinematic personal story has seen him ascend from ignominious pariah to esteemed hero.
Interesting article that deals with the current business environment of mma in Asia.
KING MO - King of Pancrase versus King Mo
Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal - Sengoku VII
PunchDrunkGamer's Justin Bolduc sat down with rising prospect Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal to talk about his upcoming fight against King of Pancrase Ryo Kawamura at Sengoku Seventh Battle, as well as his background, his training partners, and his career.
Melvin Manhoef: Walking Hand Grenade
Concussions, knockouts and migraine headaches have been handed out freely throughout the career of one of the absolute most dangerous strikers in the brief history of the sport.
Melvin Manhoef is the very definition of a knockout artist. A walking hand grenade. Twenty three times he has tasted victory in mixed martial arts and twenty two of those times the Dutch terminator has finished his fights on his terms, violently, and by knockout.
Pa. to allow MMA bouts in the state
Pennsylvania has joined the growing number of states to allow Mixed Martial Arts, or MMA, events within its borders.
The State Athletic Commission announced today it had adopted final regulations that will allow for the ulta-rough bouts popularized on cable sports networks to be held in the Keystone State.
It's about time!
The Offense of ‘Intelligent Defense’
It didn't deserve a MacArthur fellowship, but I don't see anything defensively dull or dimwitted about Josh Koscheck turning his hips and extending his arm to shield Paulo Thiago from pouncing on him Saturday at UFC 95.
Brian Cobb butt scooting and attempting a weak double-leg doesn't warrant a Nobel Prize in defense either, but I would hardly call it brainless or idiotic.
Unfortunately, it seems they still weren't "intelligent" enough.
Let me be clear about what this is, or more pertinently, what it isn't. This is not an assertion that any of the evening's contentious proceedings would've wound up with a different victor if allowed to continue. This is not a criticism of any of the stoppages at UFC 95, nor is it an indictment of officials Dan Miragliotta, Kevin Mulhall, Leon Roberts and Marc Goddard.
In fact, given the current climate of refereeing in MMA, all of the event's referees did their jobs to the letter and their stoppages were just.
Instead, this is an inquiry into whether the refereeing standards in MMA are appropriate. UFC 95 was not an assortment of irresponsible stoppages but an illustration of the intensifying issue of what constitutes a justifiable end to a fight, as the margin between winning and losing in MMA has become hideously deformed.
Great editorial by Jordan Breen
Jay Hieron: “The sky is the limit”
Success in Mixed Martial Arts is typically measured by a fighter’s ratio of wins to losses, as well as the level of competition faced, and takes into account championship gold the individual has racked up along the way. With a professional record of 17-4 and the IFL’s final welterweight title-holder, it is fairly safe to say Jay Hieron has had a successful MMA careeer thus far.
McCarthy talks Vaselinegate and Strikeforce
“Big” John McCarthy talks Vaselinegate and Strikeforce’s purchase of Pro-Elite
As a referee in mixed martial arts for over a decade, “Big” John gave his thoughts on the recent controversy revolving around Vaselinegate with Georges St. Pierre and B.J. Penn:
It has been a problem for a long time. It is one that we [referees] have addressed before. As much as people want to make of it; I don’t ever want to suggest that the performance by GSP in that fight was aided by Vaseline....that is ridiculous! His performance was not based at all by having Vaseline on him. He beat B.J. Penn soundly and because of the mistake by someone in his corner people try to make it a bigger deal than it really was. We stopped allowing fighters to have their corner men apply Vaseline to them in the locker-room because we did find that some people were applying it to areas that were illegal. You have commissioners in the back that work both MMA and Boxing matches and sometimes those lines get crossed because there are some differences between the two that sometimes get overlooked. So that is why the fighters get there pre-fight Vaseline at the cage now. This allows the referee or an inspector to watch the cut-man or cornerman when it is applied. Even now though there are times that Vaseline still ends up on a fighter’s back by accident. I don’t think it was intentional or an attempt to cheat but I agree it should have been stopped by the inspector and checked to make sure who ever was applying the Vaseline to GSP’s face didn’t touch him anywhere else. I think the situation was handled well and it wasn’t like they were rubbing handfuls of Vaseline all over his chest and back. I think it has been blown out of proportion and that it didn’t have any effect on the fight. The new rules established by the UFC should stop these incidents from occurring in the future but there is still going to be the chance that the cut-man accidentally touches the fighter somewhere other than his face. Its just human error and not cheating. As far as B.J. goes, I am sure he is upset that it happened but I highly doubt he is going to use that as an excuse for why he lost the fight.
MMA bill advances in South Carolina
A bill that would allow mixed martial arts contests in South Carolina has advanced.
With no debate, the bill won unanimous approval Tuesday from the House Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee. It now heads to the House floor.
The increasingly popular sport combines elements of karate, judo, jujitsu and kickboxing. State law currently bans the fighting events.
UFC 94 Does Only 800k Buys, Affliction Barely Over 100k
Dave Meltzer has buyrate updates on the UFC and Affliction in his latest newsletter(subscription only--it's worth it.) First, UFC 94:
The trending information and some early information from a variety of sources gives an inconclusive picture nailing down how UFC 94 did, but it appears to have fallen short of early predictions regarding blowing away all previous company marks.
Based on the early trending data, it overall looks to be just over 1 million buys, with the major boost coming from Canada, where it was a record setter.
There are other reports from those with actual knowledge of PPV numbers themselves who have said at this point the confirmed number of buys was closer to 800,000, which, if true, would be a disappointment by today’s standards.
Ask the Doc: Are narcotic painkillers performance-enhancing drugs?
Should narcotic painkillers be classified or thought of as performance-enhancing drugs?
In the wake of Karo Parisyan's failed UFC 94 drug test due to the alleged use of a painkiller cocktail, many fans wonder why the drug's users receive such harsh punishments. Is it because painkillers are performance-enhancing drugs, as some commission executives contend?
In our latest "Ask the Doc" column, MMAjunkie.com medical columnist and consultant Dr. Johnny Benjamin weighs in.
David Loiseau 'The Crow Returns to the UFC' Interview
David Loiseau 'The Crow Returns to the UFC'
PunchDrunkGamer's Justin Bolduc sat down with David “The Crow” Loiseau to talk about his UFC return against Ed Herman at UFC 97 in April.
PDG: First, it is great to have you back in the UFC. How do you feel about your upcoming return?
David: I feel great, man. It feels good to be back home. [The UFC] is my home. It was a long time since I've been back – since 2006, and I'm just very happy to be back, man.
Nick Thompson: To fight or not to fight, that is the question
Self admittedly, Nick “The Goat” Thompson has come a very long way in his mixed martial arts career since the days when he had to pay $10 just to get a scrap at his local bar. The powerful 170 pounder recently put together a twelve fight win streak against some of the sports toughest competition and is widely known as one of the best welterweights in the business.
Miletich Talks WAMMA, Sports Agents, UFC Gyms
Pat Miletich is a legend in the sport of MMA. If the UFC Hall of Fame were a credible one Miletich would surely be mentioned there for his achievements as both a fighter and trainer (just as an aside, any hall that omits Frank Shamrock, Tito Ortiz, and the aforementioned Miletich is going to have problems being taken seriously). Pat recently sat down with SportsAgentBlog to talk about his role with WAMMA as well as a host of other issues, some business related:
Manhoef Booked Up, But Open To Offers
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker on Sunday told MMAWeekly.com he was eyeing Dutch terror Melvin Manhoef for a spot on one of the 10 Showtime cards expected for the San Jose-based organization in 2009.
Heavy-handed former EliteXC middleweight champion Robbie Lawler was a front-runner as an opponent, and manager Monte Cox said on Tuesday that there had been “discussions” about a possible bout in April and May, Strikeforce’s first shows planned for the premium cable network.
“I mean, wouldn’t that be a great fight?” Coker said from Los Angeles.
However, Simon Rutz, Manhoef’s manager, said his client's schedule ruled out an appearance on the spring/summer cards. Manhoef’s next commitment was a possible appearance in a K-1 fight against Gohkan Saki on March 28 in Japan, followed by a Showtime-broadcast fight at the Amsterdam Arena against Stephan Leko on May 16.
Drysdale tests out role as player-coach
A few moments before the weigh-in for UFC 86 was to begin at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, UFC lightweight Joe Stevenson spotted a reporter standing about 100 yards away.
The moments before a weigh-in are when a fighter is usually at his crankiest. He’s sick of not being able to eat, sick of having to sweat weight off, and the pressure of the fight is beginning to build. Normally, he just wants to be left alone.
Stevenson, though, ran over in a dead sprint. He was eager to introduce his new jiu-jitsu coach, 2007 Abu Dhabi Submission Wrestling world champion Robert Drysdale.
“This guy is the best ever,” Stevenson said exuberantly.
Tim Sylvia in talks to fight former boxing champ Ray Mercer
Long-time MMA promoter and manager Monte Cox is looking to think out of the box for his next Adrenaline MMA shows as he is involved in negotiations to finalize the first-ever MMA rules matchup between a former heavyweight champions in MMA and boxing.
Cox revealed to FiveOuncesOfPain.com that an Adrenaline event tentatively scheduled for May 30 in Atlantic City, N.J. could be headlined by former UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia taking on 46-year old former WBO heavyweight champion “Merciless” Ray Mercer.
Former UFC fighter Jon “War Machine” Koppenhaver arrested on battery charges in Las Vegas
Former UFC welterweight Jon Koppenhaver, now legally known as War Machine, has found himself in more legal trouble.
A source speaking on the condition of anonymity informed FiveOuncesOfPain.com early Monday morning that Koppenhaver had been arrested by Las Vegas Metro Police over the weekend.
Jay Rivera, a representative with the Public Information Office of the Metro Police Department, confirmed that Jonathan Paul Koppenhaver was arrested Saturday, February 8 at approximately 4 a.m. local time. According to Rivera, a citizen’s arrest was made of Koppenhaver on charges of misdemeanor battery.
Ken Shamrock: A lifetime of work has earned me this chance
Ken Shamrock's days as an elite-level fighter are over. The 45-year-old is comfortable admitting to that reality.
But as Shamrock (26-13-2) recently told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com), "The World's Most Dangerous Man" feels he has done enough for the growth of MMA to warrant his continued pursuit of an active career.