10 Fights that Changed the Course of Careers
Take his career as a whole and Matt Hughes -- who competes Saturday for the first time since a second devastating loss to Georges St. Pierre -- is unquestionably the most accomplished 170-pound athlete to ever don a pair of open-fingered Ouano gloves.
With a list of casualties including B.J. Penn, Sean Sherk, and even St. Pierre himself, Hughes has run the gauntlet in one of the deepest talent pools in the sport. Yet the defining image fans will carry into his bout against Thiago Alves in London's O2 arena is his arm being torqued at unnatural angles at the hands of St. Pierre last December.
That sobering defeat could turn out to be the fulcrum on which Hughes' career now swings. Snapped from his perpetual dominance of the division, he may be more cognizant of his physical limitations and opponents may be less fearful of his abilities.
In properly melodramatic form: the St. Pierre loss could be the beginning of the end.
It wouldn't be the first time that five or 10 minutes managed to stall career momentum for good. Other athletes have had experiences that reduced them to shells of their former selves. Inversely, some fights have taken fighters to new levels of popularity and performance.
The psychological and physical reverberations of a good beat down -- taken or given -- can last the duration of a fighter's ring life.
Some examples, in ascending order of impact:
Donald Trump Joins the MMA Fray
According to a press release from Affliction, Donald Trump will be partnering with the clothing company turned MMA promoter in a capacity to be revealed at a press conference tomorrow. The full press releases comes courtesy of Five Ounces of Pain:
Report: Donald Trump to Announce Affliction's Signing of Andrei Arlovski
MMARated.com has learned that at tomorrow's Affliction press conference in Manhattan, Donald Trump will be announcing that former UFC heavyweight champion, Andrei Arlovski, has officially signed with the upstart promotion. The Executive Vice President of The Trump Organization and the Special Counsel to Donald J. Trump, Michael D. Cohen, confirmed the news with MMARated.com.
Trump will also announce that he has become an equity partner in the Affliction promotion. When asked what percentage of the organization he now owns, Mr. Cohen would only say "a significant amount."
Finally, when asked if Trump's relationship with Tito Ortiz would help bring the former UFC light heavyweight champion to Affliction, Cohen said:
"Everything that Donald Trump does is the biggest and the best and the "Afflcition: Banned" show will be just that.
Due to the status of the Trump mark, and Donald Trump as a mogul business man, Mr. Trump has received dozens of phone calls from fighters who are interested in joining the Affliction family."
CBS Executive Responds To Critics Of MMA Debut
In life and network television, there are tradeoffs.
Kelly Kahl, Senior Executive Vice President for CBS Primetime television, found out you can’t please everybody, especially when perfection is the standard.
On the mixed martial arts message forums mere hours after the conclusion of CBS’s grand MMA experiment, “CBS-EliteXC Saturday Night Fights,” Kahl realized that few fans were ready to give his product a ticker tape parade. Much of the feedback was downright nasty.
“I thought some of it was fair,” he said. “I think in some cases you have people out there who… basically, if it’s not UFC it’s not credible.
“We have a little work to do with the hardcore fans and that’s something we’ll certainly address next time. But I think in terms of getting new people in I think we did a fantastic job.”
Best around: MMAmania.com exclusive sit down with WEC champion Miguel Torres
On one night in February, Miguel Torres went from being a relatively unknown fighter from East Chicago (Ind.), to being the WEC bantamweight champion and being considered one of the top pound for pound fighters in the world.
His first real introduction to most casual fans was at WEC 32, when Torres defeated then-champion Chase Beebe via submission (guillotine choke) to win the 135-pound title. However, the scrappy Mexican-American has been beating people up — sometimes grown men who outweigh him by more than 25 pounds — for years in sanctioned and unsanctioned bouts for close to a decade .
His nearly perfect professional record (46-1), which includes just about every submission and finishing result in the book, is nothing compared to his unbelievable “amateur” accomplishments.
That number might seem different to you because Sherdog’s Fight Finder has Torres listed as 33-1. Torres acknowledges that they were small time fights that were unsanctioned
“They were fights that helped build my career,” Torres told MMAMania.com. “They were the ones that got me into the sport. They weren’t weight classed, they were open rules.”
Those early fights earned him a cult-like following on the underground Midwest MMA scene, as well as the respect of his peers such as UFC veteran and The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) star, Stephan Bonnar.
“When we were coming up, Miguel had the entire Chicago scene by the balls,” said Bonnar. “He could sell more tickets than anyone. He turned events into such a show, complete with Mariachi bands and everything.”
MMA Myths Debunked Again
In the mid-’90s, politicians looking to score easy points succeeded in pressuring cable television executives to boot the fledgling sport off cable television. Instead of killing off MMA, it simply went underground
When MMA returned to cable in 2001, it was portrayed as a sign of the decline of American civilization. Somehow, the republic survived.
When the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s popularity exploded in 2005, it was dismissed as a fad that would soon go away. Three years later, the company is on the hottest sustained pay-per-view business streak in its history.
EliteXC: If It's on TV, It Must Be Good!
Well, this is it, folks. After years of government and media backlash, countless steps back and some memorably disastrous runs at the mainstream, MMA finally makes its major network debut with none other than Gary Shaw leading the way.
Hard to believe but EliteXC has made its mainstream push behind an odd assortment like reformed YouTube brawler Kimbo Slice and female MMA superstar Gina Carano. Both will be present and accounted for come 9 p.m. Saturday night on CBS and so should you if for no other reason than to see if John McCain shows up and tries to call the whole thing off. Gotta admit, it would be good for a few laughs.
Kimbo not the face of MMA
Kimbo Slice, a one-time homeless man, one-time strip club bouncer, one-time backyard, back-alley brawler turned Internet sensation/big money mixed martial artist isn’t a problem. Only in America, right?
He’s said to be a great guy, a boot-strap success story who deserves everything coming to him. I’ve watched him maul “Adryan” a half dozen times alone. You have, or will, too.
Kimbo Slice being a street fighter, rather than a Brazilian jiu-jitsu or Muay Thai master, isn’t a problem either.
A lot of good points here. I agree with this article for the most part. I do think that the UFC gives fighters easier opponents sometimes to give them wins.