MMA Submission: The MMA/College Wrestling Pipeline
Check out about 30 seconds of any Phil Davis match , and it's obvious why the kid is college wrestling's latest hot MMA prospect. He's a four-time All-American who just won his first national title as a senior. The Penn Stater is an athletic freak, with gi-enormous arms and surprising power for his lanky 197-pound frame. Throw in plenty of personality (he swears he's a sewing addict) and it's obvious why Team Takedown, a year-old organization that "hires" former wrestlers and pays them a salary and living expenses, is after Davis hard. "He's probably our No. 1 target," says TT founder Ted Ehrhardt. "He could be a really good one."
Davis may be the top target, but he's not the only one. Here are two more prospects, according to an informal poll of college wrestling coaches, MMA trainers and fighters with a wrestling background.
J.D. Bergman, Ohio State: He just lost in the NCAA finals. But he's a long, lean heavyweight who moves well for a big guy. Here's a clip of him defeating Davis last year at 197 pounds . Plus, if you saw the NCAA championships this year, he does an amazing Governator. "He would do well," says one coach of a top-five program. "You gotta be mean to make it in MMA. He looks and sounds nice, but I have no doubt he'd be good at punching people in the face."
Another MMA Organization Reports Losses
Elite XC reported $27,584,500 in losses for 2007 in the company's annual report. The company has now lost $31,834,355 between its inception and 12/31.
In money spent, the company paid $3.25 million to fully acquire King of the Cage, $4.1 million for Mixed Martial Arts, Ltd., $400,000 for ownership of Future Fights (ICON in Hawaii), and $1 million for partial ownership of Entlian Corporation (Spirit MC in South Korea).
Elite XC is cutting back on expenses by reducing the number of staff, and did staff layoffs in January.
(Source: Wrestling Observer)
They also forgot the Acquisition of Cage Rage in the UK. Coupled with the fact they just signed Kimbo etc. to long term contracts could this mean problems for them longterm?
It seems Dana's statement about the 'latest three initials MMA company' is not far off the mark after all.
More Fighters To Be Cut From The UFC
UFC is expected to make significant talent cuts, as the active roster has grown to 200 fighters under contract to the MMA organization. UFC doesn't run enough shows to keep all the fighters in a regular rotation.
One of the first major casualties was heavyweight Jake O'Brien, a former Purder wrestler. As reported yesterday, Kalib Starnes was also let go.
Despite the impending cuts, UFC did sign Yushin Okami to a new contract.
So whose next on the list then?
Da Riddum, Da Rebel, and Da UFC Welterweight Championship
Good morning, afternoon, evening, or whatever in-between time it is that your eyes have found their way to the Punch Drunk Hangover! I'm here with another one-stop shop for catching up on last week's Mixed Martial Arts news. As always, it's a pleasure bringing you Monday's reaction to a UFC Pay Per View event and I don't think I'm alone in my feeling UFC 83 delivered everything a fan could have hoped for and maybe even a little more. The crowd was perhaps the best in promotional history, though I also give a ton of credit to the Ohioans at UFC 68 who showed up in full force to support Randy Couture and Rich Franklin. The Montreal fans were loud from start to finish, whether raining down their adulation, disproval, or chants of "G-S-P", "Gou-let", "OLE! OLE OLE OLE!", or any of the other en masse, sometimes R-Rated, choruses of raucous cheering. Their enthusiasm, whether positive or negative, added to my enjoyment of an event featuring great action, incredible technique, highlight-reel moments, and a few laughs to boot.
I thought "Ken-Flo" did a solid job acting as Joe Rogan's replacement, though I will admit, I found myself wishing Randy Couture was still in the good graces of the UFC, and vice-versa, as he would have almost certainly been acting in Florian's role were we in that alternate dimension. Ken did a nice job on color commentary and it was hard not to smile at his post-fight exchange with Rich Franklin regarding the Middleweight's resemblance to Jim Carrey. If the Canadian comedian decided to smash his nose into a wall a few times I might tend to agree with Florian's assessment (which was also made by 411's Adam Tool in his latest column). Personally, I think Matt Lindland looks like he and the LotR's Gollum were separated at birth but that's a subject for a future PDH. And, again, sorry for any delay in load times but UFC 83 had too many memorable moments to not share with the world via animated GIF file.
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St. Pierre epitomizes lightning-fast evolution of MMA
The perfect mixed martial artist used to be a skinny Brazilian with little ability to punch, kick or wrestle. Which means he wasn't perfect at all. All Royce Gracie could do was take his opponent to the ground and twist him into taffy, but that was enough to dominate the early days of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. That was in the mid-1990s. Not so long ago.
Georges St. Pierre is the perfect amalgam of every MMA fighting style. (AP)
Georges St. Pierre is the perfect amalgam of every MMA fighting style. (AP)
Since then the sport has become unrecognizable. Royce Gracie in his prime, with his exact skill set from the mid-'90s, couldn't survive today. What was perfect in 1995 has become outdated in 2008. On an individual level, mixed martial artists are growing as fast as their once-underground sport. Maybe faster. Which makes MMA startling and even exhilarating for a traditional sports fan such as myself. And maybe such as yourself.
UFC 83 Preview
We are set for the biggest grudge match since last October, when middleweight champion Anderson Silva knocked out Rich Franklin for the second time in a year, this time in Franklin’s hometown of Cincinnati. Matt Serra shocked the world last year with his monumental upset via first round knockout of Georges St. Pierre, an extremely athletic fighter that seemed almost unbeatable at welterweight at the time. Here we are a year later, and St. Pierre again looks unbeatable, coming off of his lopsided win over welterweight legend Matt Hughes last December. Serra is relishing the underdog role, and it looks like we are in line for yet another great fight to unify the welterweight championship of the world.
EliteXC Signs Australian, Hector "Shango" Lombard
LOS ANGELES (April 18, 2008) – One of Australia’s most promising young fighters at both middleweight and welterweight and one of the world’s most prolific Judo players, Hector “Shango” Lombard, signed a long-term contract with Los Angeles-based ProElite, Inc.’s live division, EliteXC.
IFL Report $31 Million Losses
The IFL will promote no pay-per-views in 2008, but that is the least of the MMA group's problems. According to the the IFL's 10k SEC report filed on 4/15, the group has suffered a net loss of $31 million. The IFL received $1.6 million from MyNetwork TV for programming, but paid $15.9 million to run shows in 2007. As things stand, the group has insufficient funds to operate past the third quarter of this year.
Report from Gerweck.net
I don't think this will come as a surprise to anyone really. So will any of the other orgs pick up any of the talent in the IFL.
MMA injury statistics
This is a great article about the Injury reports in MMA from 02-07. It is suprisingly low. I think it is great news because a lot of people don't consider MMA a legitimate sport. And this proves how civil and professional it really is. It is worth a look check it out.
Babalu earns his black belt.
On Tuesday Bablu earned his black belt under Carlos Gracie Jr.
Hard to believe he was only a brown belt up until Tuesday.
Here is the article
New Blood for the Heavies - Cain Velasquez makes his UFC Debut
"Ever notice that when a stellar collegiate wrestling star makes his transition into mixed martial arts, striking is never an issue in those formative months of development?
Learning jiu-jitsu can be a frustrating chore, figuring out that what worked on the wrestling mat may not work in the Octagon can be equally baffling, but when it comes to punching, elbowing, and kicking, that’s like being a kid who wakes up on his birthday and finds out he got a snow day off from school as well.
Heavyweight prospect Cain Velasquez most certainly agrees."...
COUTURE WEIGHS IN ON FEDOR VS SYLVIA
A match-up between former Pride heavyweight champion, Fedor Emelianenko, and former UFC heavyweight champion, Tim Sylvia, is currently in the works for a possible fight in July. Current UFC heavyweight champion, Randy “The Natural” Couture, recently spoke to MMAWeekly Radio about his thoughts on the fight, if it does happen.
Kurt Angle says he and Couture are signed
Take it for what you will, Kurt Angle opening his mouth, but that’s the word according to Rajah.com, citing an interview with Angle on KHTK 1140 in Sacramento.
Angle states he’s doing different things from tv shows to movies to an upcoming “MMA fight” with Randy Couture:
Randy Couture Signs Exclusive Sponsorship With Everlast
The following is provided courtesy of a press release from Everlast:
Everlast Worldwide Inc., manufacturer, marketer and licensor of sporting goods, apparel, footwear, and other active lifestyle products under the Everlast brand name is proud to announce that they have partnered with Randy “The Natural” Couture with a long term exclusive contract. Couture a six-time UFC Champion and the most celebrated name in the sport was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame and was the first fighter to hold titles in both the Heavyweight and Light-Heavyweight divisions.
This long-term partnership marks the commitment of Everlast to become the premiere brand in the fastest growing sport of Mixed Martial Arts. The partnership with Couture allows him to exclusively wear Everlast fight shorts, fight gloves, training equipment and training apparel. In addition, Everlast will be the exclusive equipment and apparel sponsor of Xtreme Couture Gyms, in all locations. Together, Everlast and Couture will collaborate on a co-branded line of MMA equipment that will set the standard for equipment and apparel in MMA. Additionally, the partnership will work on developing grassroots programs to teach the youth, and create fitness clinics and retail concept shops.
Former Pride Owners Sue Zuffa Holding Companies, Fertittas
When Zuffa purchased Pride in March 2007, the MMA world immediately began anticipating the epic battles that would follow. However, the "Super Bowl of MMA" never materialized, and Zuffa ultimately abandoned the Pride brand in October.
Now, one year later, the acquisition appears set to provide the fireworks it initially promised -- only in the court room instead of the cage.
Nobuyuki Sakakibara, Ubon, and Dream Stage Holdings sued Pride FC Worldwide, both the Nevada and Japanese corporate entities, as well as Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta individually on April 2 in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas.
Lift the Ban Watch: Legal MMA in New York By 2009?
UFC executive Marc Ratner, who gained fame as the executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission in the 1990s, told the Times Herald-Record yesterday that he believes sanctioned mixed martial arts events will be held in New York by the end of the year.
Ratner said he is hiring a lobbyist -- one he expects to name later this month -- to try to convince state politicians to bring the issue to the table in Albany.
Thirty-two states and the District of Columbia allow mixed martial arts, which is enjoying a massive surge in popularity but is banned in New York. A November UFC card held in Newark, N.J., attracted thousands of fans from New York eager to see a live event.
"We have been working on it," said Ratner, the UFC's vice president of government and regulatory affairs. "We want to get to New York and start the legislative process. I find no reason why (mixed martial arts) shouldn't be allowed in New York."
There is no overselling how huge legalizing MMA in New York would be. Madison Square Garden is the home for many of boxing's greatest fights, so for that esteemed venue to then host MMA fights would not only be a triumph of the efforts at legalization, it would also be a symbolic passing of the torch as to which sport - boxing or MMA - is the premiere combat athletic endeavor. Maybe legalization won't make liking MMA and boxing an either/or proposition, but for sure that question of which sport is on top will be raised and there's no question as to which sport has the momentum.
Boxing absolutely has the history and cultural inroads to make a strong case for it's status, but all MMA needs is time and it's got plenty of that
UFC Fight Night 13 Preview
It’s finally here: the 13th installment of the live fight show that is part of what took the Ultimate Fighting Championship to new heights. Returning to Colorado – the birthplace of the UFC – to the Broomfield Event Center is the largest organization in the world. Kenny Florian and Joe Lauzon will square off in a lightweight bout to end the night, but this card is packed with 11 other fights, each and every one of them more compelling than the last. The event is going to be three hours on Spike TV, and it will be followed by the premiere of The Ultimate Fighter 7, where Forrest Griffin and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson will be coaches before they fight for Jackson’s light heavyweight title this summer. This will be a great night for any fight fan, and you’ll be sorry if you miss it. Let’s get started with the breakdown.
The 25 Toughest Athletes (w/ 2 faces you might recognize)
Let's start a barroom argument. Who are the toughest athletes in sports? Well, hang on a second. How do you define tough? The ability to take and deliver a shot or ten? To play hurt and still play well? The utter refusal to give in to pressure, circumstance, or more physically imposing foe? To dominate one's opponents or even one's sport? How about the ability to overcome serious personal setbacks, such as a dire injury or illness, and return to the highest level of performance? How about sheer longevity in a punishing, demanding game?
We've considered all of those things while sorting through long lists of worthy candidates. Our Top 25 (in order, says us) contains some surprising choices. We've also put together a list of current notables in the four major pro sports and a photo gallery of the greatest old school toughs -- legends who are no longer active, surely to the relief of their beleaguered foes.