Sakuraba Style at the DREAM 4 Weigh-Ins
Not only is the dude one of the all time greats -- probably the greatest Japanese MMA fighter of all time -- but he's also funny as hell and just does not give a shit. The photo at right is from the DREAM 4 press conference. Here's a SukiMMA translation of Sak talking about his opponent Melvin Manhoef a couple of days ago:
Interview with “Big” John McCarty
The past several weeks have brought controversial outcomes to several major bouts. At the center of the controversy at both EliteXC: Primetime and also at UFC 85 a week later was New Jersey-based referee Dan Miragliotta.
Herb Dean also found himself in the spotlight after deducting two points from Nathan Marquardt during UFC 85 bout vs. Thales Leites. Leites was declared the winner, but Marquardt would have won on the scorecards had it not been for the deductions.
Frank and Ken Shamrock to fight soon
Frank Shamrock will be facing his step-brother Ken in his next fight, according to a recent interview.
The California native told MMAYou.com that the deal is "pretty darn close" to being done.
"I think it's a good time for it," he said. The two were raised by the same stepfather - Bob Shamrock - but have famously never got along.
Shamrock also called out Tito Ortiz, who recently left the UFC, for a rematch.
Donald Trump Makes His Move
When the Affliction clothing line announced its Affliction: Banned pay-per-view event, there was a great deal of skepticism. To be blunt, there is no way that the show will be able to make a profit.
Fedor Emelianenko, Tim Sylvia, Josh Barnett and Andrei Arlovski have big money contracts, and the ceiling for non-UFC MMA pay-per-views has been around 50,000 buys. That includes the Las Vegas Pride pay-per-views which had comparably star-studded cards, world-class production and a much stronger brand name. As a live event the Affliction show will take place at the Honda Center in Anaheim, which drew a $1.98 million gate for the last UFC show featuring Chuck Liddell.
Fedor interview by mixfight-combat.com.ru
Are fighters born or made?
Fighters are made. There is a predisposition for it in one’s character, but I think you need to become a fighter.
Is there a difference between a fighter who grew up on the street and then came to the gym - and a man from a successful family, who was brought in by his father, and then started training?
It’s tough to say. I do think that children from either family can achieve great results. What’s probably more important is a child’s upbringing. Not in which conditions he lives in, but how he is brought up. The street doesn’t always harden a young guy, girl, or child; sometimes the opposite. We need to take the children away from the streets.
At the same time if a child lives not feeling a need in anything, and doesn’t have goals, interests, doesn’t go to the gym, or anywhere else - his character will rot. But if a child is busy training, that’s a whole other story. I would wish that there was mentoring at home and at the gym.
Cacareco Out, Ralek Gracie in at Dream 4
Alexandre “Cacareco” Ferreira has been pulled off the Dream 4 fight card due to visa issues that prevent him from entering Japan. He was scheduled to face Russian fighter Alavutdin Gadzhiev.
Replacing Cacareco will be Ralek Gracie, who takes the MMA fight on short notice. Gracie was originally scheduled to face Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic in a special grappling rules match at Dream 4. The grappling bout, however, was scratched off the card when Cro Cop withdrew because of injury.
With MMA, UFC influence spilling over to wrestling, are Olympics next?
The U.S. Olympic wrestling trials begin Thursday in Las Vegas. It's the perfect location because so much of the chatter surrounding the event is focused on pushing the ancient sport to sexy, combative extremes.
"People aren't trying to pin each other anymore," said Jason Townsend, who is promoting a new style -- "Grappling" -- for USA Wrestling, the sport's national governing body. "They're trying to choke each other, arm-bar, leg-lock and get their opponent to say, 'Uncle.' How long can you hold out before you tap out?'"
You "tap out" before turning blue, feeling your knee burst or your arm snap.
Welcome to 21st-century international wrestling, and -- perhaps -- the future of Olympic wrestling. Buffeted by a perfect storm of marketing and cultural vectors striking Olympic sports, wrestling -- arguably the most traditional of all -- can be traced back thousands of years, when, Townsend said, "wherever people were, whether they were in a tree, they were wrestling. People have evolved with wrestling."
Freestyle, which is similar to high school and college wrestling, and Greco-Roman, in which no holds or actions are permitted below the waist, remain the classic Olympic styles and are on the Beijing program. But that almost certainly won't be the case 20, 10 or perhaps even five years from now.
"There is a school of thought among traditionalists that our sport will exist in its current form forever," USA Wrestling executive director Rich Bender said. "But even those within that traditionalist community would have to admit our sport has changed. We have to keep our eyes wide-open."
The International Olympic Committee has made it known it seeks to modernize its sports to better attract young audiences. Consider the advent of BMX cycling in Beijing this summer, or snowboarding in the Winter Games.
Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) have exploded onto the sports scene recently, giving rise to the new wrestling style, Grappling, which was approved by FILA, the international wrestling federation, in 2006.
California likely to require clean drug tests for past offenders
California is poised to join Nevada in requiring fighters who previously tested positive for drugs to prove they are clean before being allowed to fight again.
The California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) is working on this and other changes to regulations designed to stem the use of performance-enhancing and recreational drugs in combative sports. The proposed change to current rules in California would require a clean drug test for licensure or renewal of a license when an athlete has "previously tested positive for a prohibited substance in any commission state." This clean-test stipulation comes with no expiration date.
To cite a real-world example, this proposed rule change means that if former UFC lightweight champion Sean Sherk is to fight again in California, whether it's next month or 10 years from now, he will be required to pass a drug test before he's cleared to compete. This is similar to a rule on the books in Nevada, as Sherk was required to pass a drug test prior to his bout with BJ Penn last month at UFC 84.
"This is to assure us that they are safe to be placed into a competitive environment again and prevent repeat test failures," Bill Douglas, acting assistant executive officer with the CSAC, told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "It will only apply if they have had a previously verified test failure."
The proposed rule is working its way through the bureaucratic process in California. That includes a public-comment period, which closed last month, and reviews by a litany of state agencies. Douglas is confident that the rule will pass and be signed into law by the middle of July. If that timing holds, Douglas anticipates the rule would take effect approximately 30 days after being signed to give promoters ample notice of the change.
Few, if any, other states outside of Nevada require this clean test for fighters who have previously tested positive for drugs, according to Douglas.
Another rule change currently under review would permit the commission to overturn a victory when a fighter has won his or her fight and subsequently tested positive for a banned substance. The fight would be declared a no-contest. Currently, victories by fighters who fail a drug test stand.
Following this round of rule revisions, random testing is next on the CSAC agenda.
"One of the things that were also hoping to address in the future with a rules package -- more than likely the very next one I'll be working on -- is out-of-competition testing," said Douglas. "That's currently being done in Nevada, and California is hoping to do the same thing. We're not looking to do this a week or two before a fight. We want to be able to do it whenever we want. So if someone fights and then six months into their training, we can call them up with their date and time (for testing)."
Judo Olympian Ronda Rousey Could Be an MMA Star -- If Her Mom Will Let Her
There's a lot to like about Ronda Rousey. She's America's best hope for an Olympic medal in judo this summer, she's a passionate advocate for her sport, and she has a blog that shows she's smart and funny.
Unfortunately, beyond those two weeks in August in Beijing, she's not going to have many opportunities to be in the public eye, or to make a living as a professional athlete. So that's why it makes sense that, as Beau Dure of USA Today reports, she's considering turning her attention to mixed martial arts:
"I have quite a few people who have been trying to get me to do MMA," Rousey says. "A coach has been talking to me about teaching me striking (punches, kicks) after the Olympics....
"My mom's generally not a big fan of the idea, so we'll see if I can convince her,"
Guy Mezger on PRIDE and Worked Fights
From an interview with MMAyou.com:
MMAyou.com: Here’s a question from one of your fans that I thought was a really good question. Why did the Pride judges hate you so much?
Mezger: You know, I’ll tell you truthfully man, I wouldn’t play ball with them on certain things. They wanted me to do certain things that’s just not something that I’m gonna do. It’s against my, kind of my moral code and I think it pissed them off because I’m not gonna do some of the stuff that they wanted me to do
Josh thomson trains For Milendez (and doesn't like dog fighting)
Current lightweight champion Josh Thomson has joined Cung Le as the second Strikeforce fighter to record a PSA for California-based non-profit Knock Out Dog Fighting. The program is organized by For Pits' Sake, Inc., who "has recruited the American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) to help teach children that dog fighters are losers and that it is not a sign of strength to torture helpless animals."
Testify, Brother Thomson:
Dog fighting is animal abuse, plain and simple. Torturing animals is not cool; nor is it a sign of being a real man. Real fighters stand up for what's right and protect those who are unable to do so.
Dana White Refutes N.Y. Regulation Is Topic Of "Big Announcement"
As we previously reported, UFC President Dana White made a guest appearance yesterday on CNBC's "Power Lunch" to announce a merchandising deal with JAKKS. During the interview White took time to publicly address rumors that are swirling around the internet involving another big announcement that the UFC has planned for next Tuesday - stating that Floyd Mayweather will not be signing with the UFC, the company will not go public, Vince McMahon will not buy out the Fertitta's and the UFC will not be shown on free TV anytime soon. (Click here to watch the interview)
The nature of the UFC's big announcement has remained secret, but White has boasted that the announcement will reveal MMA's direction over the next five years. Fans and insiders have speculated about the nature of the announcement and a variety of plausible scenarios have surfaced; all from "reliable sources", all appear legitimate and all of this speculation greatly benefits the UFC.
After EliteXC's mainstream success and Affliction signing or partnering up with every big name tough guy out there, including business mogul Donald Trump, is it possible that White and Co. floated a number of these rumors to in order to drum up some interest and get the conversation back onto the UFC? While unlikely, it's certainly not out of the realm of possibility, and the fact remains that all of this speculation can only be good for the industry leaders.
White and the UFC appear to be getting such a kick, not to mention publicity, out of all of the speculation surrounding their impending press conference that they decided to let us all flail about a bit more by pushing back the day of the press conference from this Thursday to next Tuesday. Good business decision, bad for all of us grown-ups who had a tough time waiting for Christmas as kids.
Sam Caplin reported earlier today that he had revealed White's big surprise; an MMA New York sanction, but that was quickly shot down by White himself through German MMA reporter Oliver Copp. Apparently, White told Copp and other reporters in London that the big surprise would not be New York regulation. There you have it.
New York votes against sanctioning MMA, but all hope is not dead.
Word has spread quickly throughout the MMA community that the state of New York's Committee on Tourism, Arts and Sports Development has overwhelmingly voted down a bill that would govern the regulation of MMA in the state.
However, according to an official within committee chair (and bill sponsor) Steve Engelbright's office, the bill is still very much alive with the committee, and it will be revisited at a committee session next Wednesday.
While our good friend Sam Caplan at FiveOuncesOfPain.com first reported that the "bill was voted down in overwhelming fashion," according to a member of a major state athletic commission, sources within Engelbright's office refuted that claim when contacted by MMAjunkie.com.