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.
John Alessio: I'm not facing Jake Shields at Sept. 20 EliteXC event
Despite recent reports of EliteXC welterweight champion Jake Shields (21-4-1) defending his title on EliteXC's Sept. 20 card against John Alessio (23-11), the potential challenger today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) he will not be ready in time for the Albuquerque, N.M. event.
Alessio was recently forced to take time off from training after suffering a broken arm in a June victory over veteran Pete Spratt. Now the Xtreme Couture fighter feels it imperative to allow ample time for a full recovery
The Olympic Crossover
The 2008 Summer Olympic Games and their vast commercial reach could serve as a launching pad for the next mixed martial arts superstar.
With NBC, MSNBC, the USA Network and various Internet outlets providing more than 3,600 hours of Olympic coverage, a medal-winning athlete with a compelling story could be in perfect position to crossover to MMA. After all, it has happened before.
Many Olympic wrestlers and judokas from various countries have gone on to give MMA a try. Some enjoyed more success than others.
Jackson Arraignment Postponed
The arraignment of former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (Pictures) has been postponed Friday pending further investigation into his July 15 arrest in Costa Mesa, Calif.
Jackson was arrested on suspicion of felony evading, reckless driving and hit-and-run charges following a chase by authorities that saw elite fighter’s Ford pick-up truck bounce off other vehicles, jump street medians and swerve onto sidewalks, which “caused pedestrians to flee in terror,” according to a Costa Mesa police department report.
Sincaid, Von Flue Return at PureCombat
One-time “Ultimate Fighter” cast members Lodune Sincaid and Jason Von Flue will both return to action tomorrow night at PureCombat’s scheduled “Hardcore” event at the Visalia Convention Center in Visalia, California.
Sincaid, who has won four out of his last six bouts, will be taking on Emanuel Newton, who brings an eight-fight undefeated streak into the bout. Sincaid most recently submitted Rafael Real at a Palace Fighting Championships event in May while Newton last competed at an IFL show last year, submitting Jeff Quinlan.
Von Flue will attempt to snap a four-fight losing streak against Hawaii native Bryson Kamaka. Both fighters have struggled greatly as of late. Von Flue has racked up a 1-4 record since being released from the UFC two years ago while Kamaka hasn’t won consecutive bouts since 2005.
Kimbo Slice inspiring gridiron greatness?
In the old days, folks wanted to “Be like Mike”.
Never in a million years did I think they’d want to “Be like Kimbo”.
But an article with the Washington Times shows Santana Moss, a fan of the EliteXC heavyweight and star wide-receiver for the Washington Redskins, injecting a little fire into his off-season workout by turning to mixed martial arts training for a much needed shot in the arm.
That decision was inspired by his interest in the aforementioned brawler and has apparently caught on with teammates like Antwaan Randle El.
From the starting wideout:
“If it was just run, run, run - that’s something I could do, but I was losing some of my muscle mass. But I’m not losing as much this year. I think the grappling [helps]. When you are on the ground wrestling with a guy - that’s how it is when you catch a ball and you’re tussling with a guy and trying to get out.”
Randy and Fedor meet again. Talks between two camps.
MMAPayout.com has learned that Couture and Emelianenko, along with their respective management teams, have spent a great deal of time together in Los Angeles this week. The purpose of the informal summit is not entirely clear, but one logical goal of the meetings could be the development of a collective strategy moving forward in order to insure that [their] fight takes place, sooner rather than later.
Interesting to see where this goes.
Josh "The Punk" Thomson Talks Anthony Johnson, Frank Shamrock, And Much More
Earlier this evening, I had the great pleasure of joining Larry Pepe of Pro MMA Radio for some post UFC 87 fight talk. We touched on a variety of issues including reactions from the event and the latest regarding rumors and possible match-ups for many of its participants. Click here to check out the audio from the show.
After our segment, Pep also welcomed in Josh "The Punk" Thomson, who had a number of very interesting takes on everything from Anthony Johnson's recovery to his budding feud with Frank Shamrock. Below are just a few of the highlights from this very candid interview:
Fighter Salaries: A Fair Share of Revenues (Part 4)
Meeting Fighter Interests
Unfortunately, for the fighters and the public that love to loathe the UFC, a lack of information and the problematic complexities of a definitive revenue splitting scheme means that they may have no other choice than to cooperate with the UFC and trust that Dana White “takes care of his guys”.
Most are going to scoff at this idea, especially after having read Fight! Magazine’s latest interview with Roger Huerta. Yet, it appears as though a confluence of events is currently taking shape to help guarantee that Dana White begins taking better care of his fighters.
I see the emergence of legitimate competition, Zuffa mis-steps such as the merchandising contract and Randy Couture incident, in addition to the evident success and continued growth of the MMA industry all putting pressure on Zuffa to bend its standard operating procedures in favour of the fighters.
Lee Murray/Securitas raid Being Made Into Movie
The story of former UFC and Cage Rage middleweight Lee Murray and his participation in Britain's biggest bank heist will be made into a movie.
"Breaking The Bank," will be the first film produced under the new partnership between Time Inc. and production companies The Collective and XYZ Films. The deal will turn articles out of Time Inc. publications such as Sports Illustrated, Time and Fortune into features and documentaries.
Murray was featured in a story by L. Jon Wertheim on the April 14 issue of Sports Illustrated.
On February 22, 2006, Murray took part in a robbery for £53,116,760 (or approximately $92.5 million US) at a Securitas Depot in Kent, England. Murray escaped with the money, but would be arrested four months later in Morocco.