2008 OLYMPIAN BEN ASKREN CONSIDERING MMA
Ben Askren, a 2008 Olympic wrestler, who just returned from the Beijing Olympics will soon decide if he will continue to work toward the 2012 games in London or make a move into the sport of mixed martial arts.
The University of Missouri wrestler, who won the 2006 and 2007 NCAA National Championship in wrestling in the 174-pound weight class, is a long time fan of the sport and sees the level of competition he could face as a whole new challenge.
“I see it as the ultimate competition, one man against another man, very limited rules, and the toughest guy wins. So that’s definitely what I like about it,” said Askren during an appearance on MMAWeekly Radio.
He competed at 174 pounds while in college and at 163 pounds while in the Olympics, but he said if fighting is his ultimate choice, he would compete in the 170-pound welterweight division.
Shinya Aoki Responds to Jake Shields
"Ah yea, I heard that the American, Jake Shields, is saying 'Aoki ran.' What the hell are you? A feudal lord? If you were some kinda genius like Michael Jackson, maybe I'd pay you some mind. But you? You can't say that."
-- Shinya Aoki, responding to claims by Jake Shields that Aoki had "no budo." More on budo (likely he means "bushido") here.
Exclusive: Fedor Extends Deal With Affliction, Not Set For New Years
Forced out of a WAMMA Heavyweight title fight with Andrei Arlovski that was set for Affliction: Day Of Reckoning on Octocter 11th due to a hand injury, Champion Fedor Emelianenko has had his sights set on a New Year’s Eve fight in Japan against an unnamed opponent followed up by a date with the winner of the WAMMA heavyweight elimination bout on the October 11th card between Arlovski and Josh Barnett.
Tom Atencio, Vice President of Affliction, told MMANews.com this week that the company has just extended their current contract with Fedor and will look to have the WAMMA Heavyweight Championship fight in January or February when they intend on holding their 3rd show.
EDDIE ALVAREZ, "I'M GOING TO GET MY DAY"
Eddie Alvarez entered the Dream 2008 Lightweight Grand Prix as a dark horse to win the star-studded tournament. After defeating Andre Amade, Joachim Hansen and Tatsuya Kawajiri, he earned his spot in the finals, but had to withdraw due to cut suffered in the semi-final bout.
The spectators that filled the Osaka Castle Hall in Osaka, Japan on July 21 witnessed a “Fight of the Year” candidate when Alvarez and Kawajiri slugged it out for seven and a half minutes to determine who would advance to the finals to take on favorite Shinya Aoki, who had defeated Caol Uno in the previous fight on the card.
"Once we felt each other’s power, and we hit each other, it just became mayhem," the Philadelphia fighter told MMAWeekly.com about the match with Kawajiri.
Alvarez received a cut under his right eye early in the fight, and the action was stopped to check the laceration at a time when Alvarez seemingly had Kawajiri hurt and fatigued. Asked about the decision to check the cut at that time, he replied, "The only thing I thought was they were trying to give Kawajiri time to get his breath back.
"It was part of my gameplan going in. He's 30 years old. I'm 24. My conditioning compared to most of the fighters out there, that's where I win fights," stated the Top 5 ranked lightweight. "I'm able to attack and keep coming. That's a big advantage of mine and they were taking that away from me by giving him his breath back.
"I kept arguing with the referee while I was in the corner, saying, 'I'm okay. I'm okay.' Let me back out," he added. "I don't know if that was more about them checking a cut or giving him some air."
Fifty seconds later, the fight resumed. And almost immediately Kawajiri stunned Alvarez with a punch that sent him to the canvas, swaying the momentum of the fight. Alvarez soon found himself mounted, but was able to scramble to his feet where he'd eventually knock his opponent down and finish him on the ground with strikes.
In a tournament format where you compete more than once in the same night, victory celebrations are short lived and the focus quickly shifts to resting, re-hydrating and preparing for the next fight. Alvarez did just that.
"I went to the back, I iced up, everything that we had practiced for the last six weeks before that night. I went through these trials plenty of times, so I did it just like I did it in practice," explained Alvarez. "I went to the back. I started icing up, massaging. I took my reload that I had. It's like carbohydrates and protein. I felt great. Within like 15 or 20 minutes, I felt fully recovered. I was icing up and all we had to do was keep that eye open.
"The doctors were checking it and everything seemed positive. Every time they came back to check it they seemed pretty positive, so I was pretty excited to be able to finish this up. Finally they sent in like seven different doctors. They all checked me. I passed all of their tests. They asked me how many fingers do I have up and whatnot. I passed everything as far as I was concerned."
"Then, they all got in a big huddle. I was like, 'what the hell is going on here? Can someone interpret, or let me know what's going on?'" continued the lightweight contender. "Finally the matchmaker came to me and was like, they think if you go back out and get hit you're going to go blind. They may even be concerned about you going blind right now, like before you even go out there. On the side of the white part of my eye, there was a blood bubble coming off of my eye, like protruding off of my eyeball. They were concerned about that busting and me having vision problems."
"I understand keeping my safety in mind, but I asked the guy, 'is it anything 100,000 dollars can't fix?' I wanted that money, man. He looked at me and said, 'seriously, I can't let you go back out there.' I just started crying like a girl. I couldn't deal with it. I worked so hard," added the disappointed fighter.
Alvarez tries to stay positive when looking back at the situation and was satisfied with his performance. "I'm not disappointed in anything that I did that night," stated the former Bodog welterweight titleholder. "The only thing I'm mad about and upset about is that I didn't get the big check that I wanted... I could have used that money. I seriously could have used that money. Other than that, I'm not disappointed about anything I did. Everything that was in my control I worked hard for, I controlled.
"The situation sucked because everything that I could control that night, like my performance and getting the knockout and everything, I was happy with. I controlled everything that I was able to, but it was just something that was beyond my control that I'm not used to."
Joachim Hansen replaced Alvarez in the finals and defeated Aoki to win the Grand Prix. With the disappointment behind him, Alvarez looks to the future. "I could have used the money, yes. But I'm still the only undefeated fighter in that tournament and I'm happy with that," he reflected. "My money will come. I'm going to get my day."
The Psychology of Fighting
Former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton Jackson’s recent hit-and-run encounter with the law reminded fans that training and competing are only two-thirds of the mixed martial arts equation. Jackson was arrested just 10 days after he relinquished his 205-pound title in a unanimous decision defeat to Forrest Griffin at UFC 86. The 30-year-old has since been charged with two felonies and could spend up to three years in jail.
“He was kind of bummed about the [Griffin fight],” said friend and one-time World Extreme Cagefighting lightweight titleholder “Razor” Rob McCullough. “He hadn’t slept. That alone will make someone act a little weird.”
Disappointment often leads to self blame, as fighters become overwhelmed by the feeling they have let down trainers, training partners, family, friends and fans. It anchors their perceived professional and personal failures.
“You can’t be embarrassed to be a warrior,” McCullough said, reflecting on his own high-profile loss to Jamie Varner earlier this year. “Win or lose.”
All celebrities walk a tightrope in the public eye, and professional athletes are no different. MMA fighters are slowly entering mainstream circles and some, like Jackson, have even started earning their Hollywood stripes. With greater fame comes the risk of greater falls.
MMA Fighters...The Hardest I've ever been hit
When I fought Jorge Oliveira in WEC. It Sucked!
-- "Mr. International" Shonie Carter
"My most painful was probably David Loiseau's elbows... Felt like getting hit in the head with a bamboo pole....
-Mike "Quick" Swick
"It was my dad in 8th grade...I wiped boogers(i know i was old but immature and still am)on a girl and teacher got pissed and told my dad. It was a private school so my dad was really embarrassed so he beat the shit out of me on the drive home in the car it felt like sledgehammers hittin' me at 20 punches per second! Either that or training at TUF2 with Keith Jardine he kicked me in the head and I was out for a few seconds...that sucked!.
---Seth "The Silverback" Petruzelli
In preparation for Forrest Griffin's fight with Rampage (Jackson) we were doing a lot of hard sparring at Extreme Couture. There was a particular day when Forrest hit me clean with a solid left hook to the liver followed by a left Thai kick straight to the liver as well. Needless to say either shot would have dropped me but both in succession of one another sort of felt like I was having my colon removed while I was awake. I still finished the round but it did almost kill me.
"I would have to say taking a clean and clear right cross to the forehead just above my left eye. The guy who punched me was Falaniko Vitale. We were sparring last year around this time and we were coming to the end of the round. I felt pretty confident with my left hook so I was in the process of throwing one when "POW"!! I dropped to a knee and put my right fist on the ground, "3 points of contact" to try and get my bearings back:) It is still the hardest I have ever been hit. My head felt like it did when you were a kid and you would fall off your skate board and smack the back of your head on the concrete. A vibrating cold feeling and then you're snapped back to normal:)".
--"The SGT" Steve Byrnes
"Most painful hit I've ever been hit with was probably a liver shot from (Jens) Pulver. It happened more than once, and every time I wished I got KO'd cause it's hard to explain the amount of pain I was in..
--Bart "Bartimus" Paleszewski
Dan Henderson almost knocks me out every day at practice, Thierry (Sokodjou) kicks the shit outta my legs, Mayhem (Jason Miller) has given me the hardest liver kick fortunately all my training partners though.".
--Jesse "JT Money" Taylor
"Well I don't need any more herpes rumors getting out... I would say most hits aren't painful, especially during the fight. You're either conscious or not. Probably the worst are body shots, a good hit in the liver is pretty debilitating. I've been dropped in practice a few times with those."
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Mickey's signs Tito Ortiz, set to release limited-edition cans
Despite being a free agent with no MMA home of which to speak, former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz remains a popular pick with sponsors.
In fact, Mickey's Fine Malt Liquor has signed Ortiz to a sponsorship deal, and this week, the company will roll out commemorative Mickey's cans that feature Ortiz's likeness.
Mickey's has provided MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) an exclusive first look at the cans.
"Tito is one of the most talented and popular athletes in the world of mixed martial arts, and Mickey's is thrilled to bring the partnership to life for our fans with this limited-edition can," Mickey's Brand Manager Mike Davitt stated. "Many people have wanted to get their hands on Tito over the years. Well, this is their chance."
Financial terms of the sponsorship deal were not revealed.
"Can" jokes aside, Ortiz (15-6-1) remains one of the sport's most recognizable stars and one of the very top pay-per-view draws in MMA history. However, he's winless in his past three fights, and despite announcing he agreed to a "record-breaking" contract with Affliction earlier this month, Ortiz currently remains a free agent.
The Ortiz cans hit stores this week and will be available through the end of the year.
Upper Deck has an MMA trading card set on the way in October
Upper Deck has a mixed martial arts, MMA, trading card set on the way in October. The Art of Fighting would be the first standalone MMA trading card product, including 100 basic cards in the basic set and two autographed cards per 24-pack box.
While there's no doubting MMA's growing popularity, its mainstreaming reminds me a bit of the professional poker wave from a few years ago. Upper Deck had planned to produce a professional poker set, but those plans were scrapped. (Same for a professional fishing set around that time.)
I'm sure the MMA set will do well -- Donruss' Ring Kings insert cards have been pretty popular from the Americana set -- but I think I might rather have the poker/fishing boxes.
I'll decide for sure, though, when I rip into a box in October.
Former UFC star Ortiz signs with rival Affliction
It seems that former UFC light heavyweight champion, “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Tito Ortiz, has finally signed with rival promotion Affliction in time for their next PPV event on October 11th.
Although no details have been released at this time about the size of the contract, the promotion must surely have talked Ortiz’s terms down from the massive figures originally discussed.
Although just a rumour a few weeks back, this deal seems to have been finalised and according to mmapreview.com, an announcement is due in the next couple of days.
With no creditable victories in the past few years and seemingly being more interested in a celebrity lifestyle, UFC President Dana White will not be losing any sleep over Ortiz’s decision to fight for a rival promotion.
"JZ" Calvancante Hopes to Return by Year's End Against Joachim Hansen
American Top Team lightweight Gesias Calvancante will soon resume training following a four-month layoff due to surgery, and according to a rough translation of an interview published this week on DREAM's official website, the Brazilian has his eyes on a late 2008 return against newly crowned DREAM Lightweight Champion Joachim Hansen. "JZ" also seems to leave the door open for a rematch with Shinya Aoki ("because we would not like to be defeated by anyone, don't you think?"). Calvancante sustained a severe knee injury during his DREAM.2 decision loss to submission wizard Aoki, who in turn was dismantled last month by tournament alternate Hansen in the final match of the promotion's inaugural lightweight grand prix.
Voice your opinion on MMA rules & procedures
I recently spoke with Nick Lembo, the legal counsel for the New Jersey Athletic Control Board and recently appointed chairperson of the Association of Boxing Commissioners' MMA committee, which includes representatives from all the major sanctioning bodies.
Mr. Lembo is in the process of gathering input from those within the MMA industry, as well as the media and fans of the sport, to help guide the committee on important decisions that will affect the rules of MMA.
That includes you, our CBSSports.com readers.
Mr. Lembo asks that readers submit their opinions and comments in writing, no later than September 17, 2008. Comments should be mailed to the following address:
DAG Nicholas Lembo
NJ State Athletic Control Board
Hughes Justice Complex
P.O. Box 180
Trenton, NJ 08625-0180
The committee is reviewing the unified rules of MMA for potential changes, most notably the amendments discussed at the ABC Convention in Montreal in July. Key areas of discussion include, but are not limited to:
* Strikes to the back of the head (more specifically, the question of how wide the foul area is... this would be the "headphones" interpretation vs. the "mohawk" interpretation).
* Downward elbow strikes
* Knees to the head of a grounded opponent
* Weight classes
Lembo told me he welcomes comments on all aspects of the rules, so if you have an issue you would like the committee to address other than those listed above, by all means, include it. You never know -- if others have the same feedback, you could inspire change for the better in this still-evolving sport.
Top 49 Most Influential Men of 2008 (VOTE: including Dana and Spider)
Who have been the most influential men in 2008? Over the past 12 months, which guys have had the biggest impact on the way other men behave, buy and think? We at AM have a good enough idea to have assembled the shortlist of candidates youll find below. Now we need your help in determining the final 49. Follow the steps outlined below to build and submit your own Top 49 list. Your picks will be combined with those of other AM readers and our staff to produce the final list: the Top 49 Most Influential Men of 2008.
Fedor's New Year's Eve Freak Show Fight
Satoshi Ishii, the 21 year old judoka who just took home the gold medal in Judo is calling out Fedor Emelianenko. From Dave Meltzer:
In Beijing, China, after winning the gold medal in the superheavyweight division in judo this past week, Japan’s Satoshi Ishii said he wanted to fight "Emelianenko Fedor," as the legendary Russian fighter is known in Japan.
Ishii, 21, has never fought MMA style. The idea of the match may sound laughable to MMA aficionados, but New Year’s Eve in Japan is traditional for gimmick performers, whether they be Japanese entertainment personalities, giants, or athletes who were successful in other sports, doing fights. With Ishii becoming a national hero in Japan and the sport fading in popularity, such a match would draw the kind of interest that Emelianenko against a top fighter could never do.
What does the future hold for MMA?
Modern mixed martial arts is not quite 15 years old, so it’s still a relatively young sport in terms of its development.
That may seem like a long time to someone who fits into the sport’s leading demographic age of 18-34, so it requires a little perspective to understand that MMA is really still in its infancy.
Fifteen years after the 1920 founding of the NFL, the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins were each less than three years old. The Chicago Bears’ Bronko Nagurski was the sport’s biggest star and Vince Lombardi was still a college student, more two decades before he became Green Bay Packers coach.
The game has changed dramatically in the 74 years since.
Mikey Gomez Florida's #1 unsigned Mixed Martial Artist
Check out all the Interviews by Penny Buffington on
Here is just part of the Interview from Mikey Gomez who was voted #1 unsigned Fighter in Florida!!!!!!!
"Gomez is fighting Charley Blanchard for the welterweight title. On Thursday August 15, 2008 I spoke with a happy Mikey. He told me, “I am really excited to fight for the Cage Warriors belt. I’m fighting a really tough aponant named Charley Blanchard from American Top Team. I’ve been training really hard for this upcoming belt and now I’m just tweaking up my game in preparation for it.” - Mikey Gomez
Check out the Full interview by Penny Buffington on
Hermes Franca 'Ready to Show My Full Potential'
Hermes Franca 'Ready to Show My Full Potential'
By Dave Carpinello
UFC Lightweight contender Hermes Franca took some time to talk with PDG after his trip to New York about his comeback, future opponents and his upcoming fight with Gleison Tibau at UFC 90 in Chicago.
PDG: All right, let's talk just a little bit about the past; did it bother you at all that you served a full one-year suspension and Sean Sherk only had to sit out six months?
Franca: It doesn't bother me because it was my problem and my fault. I told the commission the truth and it doesn't matter to me what Sherk told them. It is just great to be back and the commission has a lot of great guys that came up to me at my last fight and told me they were glad to have me back. They told me I was the man and I had balls because I told the truth which apparently a lot of people don't.