411 MMA Fact or Fiction 01.12.08
Should Georges St. Pierre really be ranked ahead of Anderson Silva on p4p charts? What kind of edge if any does marijuana provide before a fight? Will Matt Hamill defeat Stephan Bonnar on TUF 7 lead-in show? All of this and more in the latest edition of 411 MMA Fact or Fiction.
Baroni to Japan - Phil Baroni Takes the World Victory Road
Fledgling Japanese mixed martial arts promotion World Victory Road on Friday announced that Phil Baroni would face Sanae Kikuta at its March 5 event at the Yoyogi National Stadium Gym in Tokyo.
The fight marks Baroni’s return to competition following a six-month suspension due to a positive drug test for Boldenone following his June 22 Strikeforce bout against Frank Shamrock. He became eligible to regain his license in California on Dec. 22.
"World Champion"; What the heck does that mean?
When it came time to put together an MMA “champions” list - http://msn.foxsports.com/boxing/story/7637366
- for FoxSports.com, InsideFighting was happy to help but we also knew that we would just be setting ourselves up for criticism no matter how he structured things. Boxing has had the time to develop international sanctioning bodies that, though decidedly imperfect, simplify who is recognized as a world champion and who is not.
The international boxing bodies also provide consistency in weight classes no matter if a fight is happening in New Jersey or Shanghai. MMA, in contrast, has been a product of individual promoters creating organizations, putting on fights and crowning champions on their own.
MMA Talk-2008 Predictions
Happy New Year!!!
It may be a little late but this is the first MMA Talk of 2008. I ended last year with a Year in Review. I would like to start this year looking ahead. I expect it to be another great year for MMA with exciting fights and great fighters.
St. Pierre and Faber Join Sherdog P4P Rankings
The first Sherdog pound-for-pound rankings in 2008 deliver a significant shakeup outside the top three.
Jumping onto the list is Georges St. Pierre (Pictures), who goes from unranked into the top five. Also joining the list for the first time is featherweight Urijah Faber (Pictures), who defended his WEC belt in December against Jeff Curran (Pictures).
Lightweights Gilbert Melendez (Pictures), loser of a tight decision on New Year's Eve, and Sean Sherk (Pictures), inactive while fighting and serving a suspension for steroids, were dropped from the list.
The Hit List: Who Stays, Who Goes?
As the embryonic cells of the New Year move into their fetal stages, the landscape of mixed martial arts is littered with dozens of champions, both legitimate and imposturous. Though the number of organizations within the sport are quite numerous, only a select few can lay claim to sporting "true" titles -- the countless minor league titles are just plain meaningless.
Big boys like UFC, Shooto, K-1 HERO'S, WEC, Strikeforce and EliteXC are a handful of companies whose gold-plated plastic belts actually mean a hill of beans to the sport. A few fighters who have those titles find themselves in precarious situations, and it's a mystery whether they'll hold onto their prized straps throughout the 2008 campaign.
In the following paragraphs, you'll take a gander at a collection of fighters that have been gathered for this column. These men are all "world" champions of a major MMA organization, and this Hit List will determine who will remain a champion by the end of ‘08 and who will not.
The business of MMA in 2008
In 2007, the sport of mixed martial arts garnered unprecedented mainstream sports acceptance, gracing the covers of ESPN The Magazine and Sports Illustrated . Media outlets that one year ago wouldn't have touched MMA were suddenly proclaiming it as the fastest growing sport in the country, and even the replacement for traditional boxing.
But the reality is a little different. As this past year showed, the respective ups and downs of the UFC and pro boxing aren't related. Boxing had its biggest year ever on pay-per-view television, and while UFC didn't have the two incredible draws which turned 2006 into its biggest year – Tito Ortiz's matches with Ken Shamrock and Chuck Liddell – business solidified. Of the 15 biggest PPV events of 2007 in North America, UFC had eight, to four for boxing and three for World Wrestling Entertainment (numbers are not yet available for UFC 78 and November and UFC 79 in December, both of which are expected to crack the Top 15). In 2006, those numbers were six each for boxing and UFC and three for WWE. Boxing's record year really consisted of two gigantic fights: Oscar De La Hoya-Floyd Mayweather and Mayweather-Ricky Hatton. UFC did the most consistent business, and WWE, with the exception of a stellar Wrestlemania and strong SummerSlam, has faded in comparison.
8 matchups for '08
Matchmaking, as any good talent relations chair will tell you, involves a great deal more than just coming up with an exciting fight.
Like Kasparov staring down a chessboard, matchmaking involves thinking three or four moves ahead, preparing promotional strategies for all possible outcomes and determining what a match result will mean for business a year or more down the road -- not to mention navigating the myriad of contractual, personal and physical issues that can undermine plans.
It's a thankless job. Credit for a good fight goes to the athletes, and blame for a somnolent mess falls on the beleaguered matchmaker. (Fun fact: Joe Silva began his UFC career at a sturdy 6-foot-2. True story.)
Thankfully, this space doesn't need to concern itself with responsible thinking. To that end, here are eight bouts that would make 2008 a happier new year for fans.
Having already named Quinton Jackson as its Fighter Of The Year, Sherdog has now taken the opportunity to recognize 6 other fighters who had great years but were easily overlooked or got little to no attention.
Eight things to expect in '08 (ESPN)
Consider where MMA was a year ago. Who had the better fighters, UFC or PRIDE? Could anybody beat Chuck Liddell? Would somebody stand up and challenge Tim Sylvia?
One year later, those questions have been answered. PRIDE guys struggled. Yes, Liddell could be beaten -- more than once, actually. And Sylvia, well, we all remember Randy Couture's stunning comeback to reclaim a UFC belt. So 2007 answered plenty.
But 2008 presents a new wave of questions. Here are eight things to expect in '08.
MMA Weekly Fight & Fighter Of The Year Chosen
The listeners of the MMA Weekly Radio program recently voted on their Fight & Fighter Of The Year for 2007. Their choices were Nick Diaz vs. Takanori Gomi as Fight Of The Year and UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva as Fighter Of The Year.
New Year’s Mixed Martial Arts Resolutions (Story from Yahoo! Sports)
As the year ends with a bang in mixed martial arts, it’s time to start thinking to 2008. To help things along, I have a few resolutions to share for the big names in the business.
Dana White: There is no fight fans want to see more than one between Randy Couture and Fedor Emelianenko. For the good of the sport, the UFC president should put everything else aside and do what he has to do to make this fight happen.
Randy Couture: Should make a concession and defend his UFC heavyweight title if White agrees to allow him to fight Emelianenko.
Fedor Emelianenko: The man who once was universally regarded as the world’s top MMA fighter continues to fight questionable opposition. Emelianenko owes it to the sport and his fans to take on quality fighters. If it’s not Couture, then he must insist on it being Josh Barnett.
“Big” John McCarthy: The famous ex-referee should promise candor in his new role as an analyst for The Fight Network. He’s collected many great stories during his years as an official and he should promise to share them with his viewers.
Great article with some great insights. Props to Kevin Iole.
MMA 2007: Year in Review
Even after nearly fifteen years of mainstream history, the sport of mixed martial arts really took off in 2007. We will look back in fifteen more years from now and see 2007 as the year where MMA finally became accepted into the mainstream and finally took of as a legitimate big-time sport, forever replacing boxing as the top combat sport in the world. In this year where there were eight free UFC events on Spike TV in the US, the lower weight classes also took center stage; legend Randy Couture resigned from the UFC amid intense speculation; Chuck Liddell took a nosedive, losing not only his belt but two straight fights; PRIDE was sold to the owners of the UFC; two fighters died, one as a result of action in the ring; and lightweight champion Sean Sherk was stripped of his title after testing positive for steroids.
There are so many things that I tried to fit into this column, and I did the best I could to sum up the biggest fights and review the biggest stories of the year.
MMA Talk-Looking Back, Year in Review
I hope everyone had a Happy Holidays and has a great new year. With 2007 coming rapidly to an end, I think it is time to look back at the year that was. It was great year for MMA that saw unprecedented growth in popularity, rise of new superstars, return of a legend, great fights, and shocking upsets.
A Look Back At Japanese MMA In '07
While it looked like 2007 was a good year for MMA in Japan, scandals tainted what could've been a banner year-the Akiyama-Sakuraba controversy, tabloid scandals, and the "death" of PRIDE FC.