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.
OZZY OSBOURNE GOES MMA
Las Vegas – Heavy metal legend Ozzy Osbourne will perform live at Affliction “Day of Reckoning” on Saturday, Oct. 11 at the Thomas & Mack Center. Presented by Roy Englebrecht Events, Donald J. Trump, Affliction Entertainment in association with Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, the mixed martial arts event will be the first Affliction show in the Las Vegas area.
“To bring the ‘Godfather of Heavy Metal’ to our event is a dream come true,” said Tom Atencio, vice president of Affliction Entertainment. “An incredible fight card combined with Ozzy’s live performance, our fight in Las Vegas will be an unforgettable event.”
With a career spanning for more than 37 years, Ozzy has entertained in front of millions worldwide. The Grammy Award-winning rocker has released more than 20 solo albums including his first solo record, the multi-platinum Blizzard of Ozz to 2007’s success of Black Rain. Ozzy has continuously released chart-topping hits including “Dreamer,” “No More Tears” and “Mamma I’m Coming Home.” In 2002, Ozzy and his family gained national appeal with their record-breaking reality show “The Osbournes” on MTV. From singing sensation to reality star, Ozzy Osbourne epitomizes the free artistic expression that transcends true rock culture around the globe.
Tito Ortiz: The Barry Bonds of MMA?
Steve Cofield makes the argument:
Barry Bonds is desperate to get back on the baseball field. So much so that his $15-18 million asking price is now down to the major league minimum. His agent Jeff Borris told Ryen Russillo of ESPNRadio that Bonds would play this year for the minimum salary. Borris said, "What other option does he have?"
Is fighter Tito Ortiz going to face a similar fate in the MMA world? This is not to say Ortiz has been involved in a drug scandal like Bonds but the slugger is out of baseball as much for his attitude as the steroid mess. Ortiz may be developing the reputation that he's a guy who is impossible to work with.
Cofield also brings up recent remarks by Affliction COO Michael D. Cohen about Tito's asking price being "more than ANY league could afford."
Tito has clearly wildly over-estimated his current market value. I expect the UFC will re-sign a sadder but wiser Tito when it's all said and done.
Without Zuffa’s aggression, nobody has momentum
Have you noticed the compete lack of heat going into the second Affliction show on October 11th? You’re not the only one.
The promotion will headline their second big show (this time at the Thomas & Mack Center) with a main event of Josh Barnett vs. Andrei Arlovski. On paper, it’s an excellent bout. In reality, however, it’s going to be hard to see the fight moving the needle as far as casual fan interest is concerned. Affliction spent so much energy promoting Fedor on their debut show that the theme for the second show is, “Which heavyweight will end up facing Fedor down the road?” Call it the “Kimbo Slice effect,” but Affliction’s second show could turn out in similar fashion in terms of crowd heat as Elite XC’s second show on CBS did when they didn’t have Kimbo Slice on the card as opposed to their initial showing on broadcast TV.
The great irony in Fedor not appearing for the second Affliction show is that he claims he wants to fight on New Year’s Eve for DREAM in Japan. DREAM is another promotion that is teetering on the edge of collapse and given Fedor’s track record of headlining promotions that have gone out of business, it would be a sad but fitting end to K-1 & DSE’s bastard child of an MMA project gone horribly stale.
5 Fighters You Need to Watch
While some of you may see the brief reprieve we’re enjoying from a whirlwind last few weeks of high-profile throwdowns as a bit of welcome rest for the weary, you’re all wrong. Yes, every last one of you.
Now is the time to discover the fighters you’ve been ignoring, parked in front of your screen researching the next generation while selling your less-than-essential organs for rare fight tapes.
Luckily, I’ve done most of the work for you, finding five of the most pugilistically inclined superstars in the making of whom you’ve probably never heard. In the event you’re familiar with these guys, just smile and nod for the sake of everyone else.
Tito Ortiz back on the open market
Despite proclaiming earlier this month that he had signed a “record breaking” contract with Affliction Entertainment, former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz is once again negotiating with multiple MMA promotions, reports MMAjunkie.com’s Dann Stupp in his latest column for the Dayton Daily News.
Stupp reports that Ortiz is talking to the usual suspects such as Affliction and EliteXC but also adds that the Kentucky-based American Fight League is making a play for his services and that even talks are taking place between Ortiz and the UFC.
Why WAMMA Won't Work
"Big" John McCarthy explains:
First, if a titleholder from the UFC fights either in the UFC or in another promotion and loses to a fighter not under contract to the UFC, then the UFC just devalued itself and its championship belt. They will not have control of the person who is now considered the top fighter in the world and their belt will be viewed by many people as just another promotional belt instead of the belt that signifies the best fighter in the world at that weight class. People will realize that maybe not all of the greatest fighters in the world fight for the UFC, but that there are other promotions out there that have very good fighters who can fight as good or better than the more popular fighters under contract to Zuffa.
None of this helps the UFC so you can see why they will not be jumping on the WAMMA bandwagon. I can't blame Zuffa at all for looking at this the way it does. They have worked very hard to get where they are. They have their matchmaker in Joe Silva who sets up the matches that Dana White, the president of the UFC, wants to promote. They are a very successful self-contained promotion that has no outside influences telling them what to do. Why would they want to let someone in that can now influence their promotion in anyway?
This is the problem that confronts Dave Szade and Michael Lynch, the chief executive officer and chief operating officer, respectively, of WAMMA. They have a pretty good idea, and I want to see the best fighters in the world fighting each other no matter what promotion they are signed to. Politics and money have a huge influence over all of the combative sports and since that is not going to change, it is going to take a "hell freezing over" moment or a shift in the political power of the sport before you see the UFC and WAMMA working together.
ATT Loses Top Trainer Andre Benkei
André Benkei has decided to leave one of MMA's most prestigious fight camps, American Top Team, due to ideological differences. Benkei informed Brazilian site Tatame.com of his decision this earlier this afternoon.
“I left the team because of some idealogical disagreements with ATT head coach, Ricardo Libório. I had no trouble with the Dan Lambert or Conan Silveira”, said Benkei told Tatame.
Benkei stated many of the fighters at ATT will continue to work with him at Prime Time.