Winky Wright Criticizes Boxing Politics, Praises UFC
Concerns are growing that Mixed Martial Arts fighting is on the way to surpassing professional boxing in popularity (if it hasn’t already) with Elite XC on network TV CBS, The Ultimate Fighter series on Spike, etc. etc. Add Winky Wright to the list to those lauding the UFC’s business plan and questioning the decision-makers in boxing.
In a wide-ranging interview with Danny Flexen in the July 25th Boxing News weekly magazine of London (State Of The Game with Danny Flexen), Wright voiced plenty of logical sentiments which the boxing powers-that-be had better begin to heed, and fast. Among them told by Wright to Flexen:
“When I was coming up, more top fighters fought each other. They all wanted to prove they were the best in their weight class, not in the WBA, the IBF, but the best, period. But now the promoters and the networks get in the way and we’re losing a lot of fans because of it. The promoters milk the prospects, they don’t match them against top fighters. The networks allow too many easy fights.”
New Athletic Commission Chairwoman Could Be Key to MMA in NY
After the UFC’s lobbying efforts failed to get MMA legalized in New York, Zuffa’s Marc Ratner vowed not to give up so easily. Not long afterwards, Melvina Lathan was named as the new chairwoman for the New York State Athletic Commission, and guess what? She seems friendly to the UFC’s cause, despite being a “boxing purist” according to a recent Newsday article:
Royce Gracie On Fighting Ken Shamrock Again
Our friends over at DreamFighters.com were recently granted a quick interview with MMA Legend Royce Gracie. It would appear that Gracie still has it out for Ken Shamrock. Some things never change.
Gracie On The Possibility Of Fighting Ken Shamrock A Third Time:
"I have no interest in fighting him. I have nothing to settle with him. I beat him in less then a minute the first time and the second time he held me down for 30 minutes and still I was the one attempting submissions. And then he landed one punch, which did not KO me, and he held again for 5 minutes. Then declared himself a winner because he did not lose. To me when a guy is 50 lbs. heavier then me and he holds me down, that is not a winner. So I have nothing to prove by fighting him again. And I don't need the money that bad. Maybe he does."
Fighter Salaries: A Fair Share of Revenues (Part 1)
Without a doubt the most contentious of all the fighter salary issues, determining a fair share of revenues for the fighters is no easy task. I’ve thought about the direction that I wanted to take this piece for some weeks and it has occurred to me that the best format for something such as this is to just put everything on the table and try to make some sense of it.
There really is no other place to start than defining the word fair; and, in this case it’s a matter of multiple perspectives. Without a doubt, primary consideration must to be given to the opinions and viewpoints of both the promoters (and their organizations) and the fighters - they are the main actors. However, secondary consideration needs to be given towards creating a revenue sharing scheme that is fair to the sport and fair in the eyes of the fans.
It has been reported that the Fertitta brothers dumped close to $40 million of their own wealth into the UFC from 2001 until 2005 (the time before the company began to see a profit). From their point of view and that of other owners and promoters, those that take the financial risks ought to determine the amount of financial rewards they’re entitled to.
Seven Fighters in Need of a Promotion
As the boom of mixed martial arts promotions and shows continues, one fact has become more and more apparent: Zuffa and the UFC are the gold standard, both in show production and fighter talent. As a result it can be sometimes painful to watch fighters of superior talent fight in promotions lacking the roster depth to fully test their abilities.
In the wake of the EliteXC show the newly crowned welterweight champion is a staunch reminder of the challenges that face a top ten fighter when fighting outside of the UFC. The talent discrepancy between the top 10 fighters in a weight class and the rest of the division can be daunting when trying to match-make. The 63 second drubbing Jake Shields laid on Nick Thompson is a repercussion of being an elite level fighter outside of the UFC.
Fighters who show elite-level ability can outgrow the competition around them very quickly in some promotions. If they want to take the next step forward as a fighter, both competitively and financially, then they need to make the move to the UFC. It’s a harsh reality of the mixed martial arts landscape for those not in the good graces of Zuffa. The step up in competition that Zuffa can provide brings legitimacy and respectability. Combined with the increased marketing and exposure the UFC can bring to the table, it results in sponsorship money that can far exceed a fighter’s purse.
After watching Shields win on Saturday evening, it got me thinking about who else in mixed martial arts would benefit from a move to the UFC or the WEC. Below is a short list of fighters, one from each major weight class, who are in dire need of a move to Zuffa:
MMA Adversary Removed From NYS Payroll
In a recent New York Post story discussing the firing of Ron-Scott Stevens, who had been the chairman of the New York State Athletic Commission, it was speculated by George Willis, the writer of that piece, that Stevens’ attitude toward MMA, which has not yet been passed in New York but inevitably will be, was a factor in the decision by Governor David Patterson to replace with with Melvina Latham.
Stevens was quoted in Willis’ story as saying, “It’s not my role to say whether I like it or not. My role is, if it’s passed by the legislature, to regulate it properly.”
That’s a tough thing to do when the whole world knows you have a pre-disposition against it. It’s the kind of thing that would leave him open to constant attack, some of it justified, over decisions that may seem controversial or unfair against an MMA operator. And that might be the kind of thing that is expected out of someone who is part of the boxing culture, as a matchmaker for so many years as Stevens was.
Ask the Doc: Dr. Benjamin on scar tissue
Welcome to our initial "Ask the MMA Doc" column here at MMAjunkie.com.
Every other week, I'll answer your questions about current medical issues and general trends within the MMA industry.
My initial column takes a look at some of the big topics currently being discussed within the community, including scar tissue, the ABC's new definition as to what constitutes a strike to the "back of the head," and whether youth MMA is really safe.
If there's a question you have, scroll to the bottom of the page to find out how to contact me. We might use it in a future column.
Here we go...
Front kicks look different these days in MMA
If you watched Amir Sadollah go from a relatively unknown amateur fighter to TUF 7 Champion then you were likely impressed with several things he did. First, by defeating Steve Byrnes, Gerald Harris, Matt Brown, and C.B. Dollaway twice by stoppage on the way to the crown, the sheer difficulty factor he overcame en-route to taking the six- figure contract on the show was high. Second, he was losing almost every one of those matches before coming back to win; thus, Sadollah’s heart could not be questioned. But on top of that there was this stand up technique Sadollah kept going back to; something that proved highly effective for him.
Legislator Pushes for Mass. MMA Regulation
The Boston Globe has apiece up about the efforts to have MMA regulated by the state. There had been a previous effort to include MMA regulation as part of a budget bill, but the item was stricken form the larger bill and made to wait until the next legislative session. This delays Massachusetts from having legal MMA in 2008. This delay caused the UFC to postpone a possible Boston card in November. Several Mass. legislators have taken up legalization as a cause for the next session:
The next opportunity will be in December, when Moran said Timilty will put forth a stand-alone piece of legislation that addresses the sport.
“The senator is going to move on it as one of his first orders of business,” said Moran. “Unfortunately, we didn’t get it made in the budget, but what we have is sort of a great first step with the bill, given that the Senate has already passed it and the Senate Ways and Means has already signed off on the language. So it should move very quickly. With the senator being chairman of public safety and homeland security, the bill would likely come to our committee, which means hearing and favorable release would be pretty easily obtained.”
The Top 5 David vs. Goliath Matchups
While weapons are thankfully banned in rings and cages around the world, Davids have fought Goliaths on numerous occasions throughout the past 15 years in MMA. Sherdog.com has picked five of the most remarkable, bizarre and mind-boggling mismatches for a trip down memory lane.
Kimbo Slice to Co-Star with Hulk Hogan in New Children’s Movie
I still have trouble reading that title without laughing.
According to media sources, Kimbo Slice and Hulk Hogan are set to co-star in a martial arts children’s comedy entitled, “Kung Fu U”. It’s about a group of nerdy kids who are sent to a special school (Kung Fu U, we presume) to learn fighting skills that will help them stand up to bullies.
Tito Ortiz's Options
Recent reports that Tito Ortiz has come to terms with Affliction appear to be premature. He was in Stockton for Elite XC, and I highly doubt he made the trip up to see the fights. At this point, he is by far the hottest free agent in the industry, and all three major companies would benefit from signing him.
Colin Robinson On The Road Back To The UFC
As a successful amateur boxer who had competed at international level, Northern Ireland heavyweight Colin Robinson thought martial arts were ineffectual outside of Hollywood blockbusters and Bruce Lee films. So when a friend invited him to train at his mixed martial arts gym one evening, he was expecting an easy time of it.
“Back in the day boxing was the ultimate combat sport and that is what attracted me to it,” says the genial Ulsterman, “In my opinion, martial arts didn’t work.”
“I came to the gym one day just to show them all how it was done - and the coach tied me in a knot and left me in the corner!
“I can remember thinking ‘My god, what is this all about? He is not supposed to be able to do that!’”
The experience was a Damascus moment for Robinson, who had never previously considered venturing outside the square circle: “I thought, I have got to learn this, this is great.”