UFC Quick Quote: Bad coaching, not sheer awesomeness, the reason Rashad Evans lost to Lyoto Machida
“I went back and watched the Rashad fight again, and I think it comes down to bad coaching. In the prefight press conference, I heard Rashad say that he didn’t bring anybody in who would resemble Machida’s style. When I heard that, I knew that there might be some problems. That is probably a big reason why Rashad didn’t do very well in the striking area. I also think Rashad should have been coached on using his wrestling talent. He didn’t shoot one takedown that I can remember and he just made it a sparring match. If I was to coach Rashad against Machida, I would have told him to make it a fight, use his wrestling and groundwork to really dictate the match. Not just go out and spar with him. I think Rashad could have done a lot better in that fight. I’m not saying he should have won, but he’s a lot better than he showed on Saturday.”
– Matt Hughes shares his thoughts via his personal blog about the main event fight between Rashad Evans and Lyoto Machida at UFC 98 on May 23. “The Dragon” looked phenomenal, taking out “Sugar” in the second round with a lethal explosion of strikes that separated the champion from consciousness for the first time ever in his previously unbeaten career. Hughes chalks the loss up to bad coaching and a poor strategy going into the fight. And he’s not the only one — Shawn Tompkins, the head trainer at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, told CageWriter.com that Machida is “far from unbeatable” and Rashad “gave Lyoto everything he needed to make himself look invincible” by failing to close the distance and use his strong wrestling skills. So is Machida really as good as he looked last weekend or does Evans’ head trainer, Greg Jackson, deserve some of the credit?
Brett Rogers Talks Arlovski
PDG: Are there any fights on the card that you are looking forward to seeing?
Brett Rogers: Definitely the Kevin Randleman fight and Scott Smith versus Nick Diaz fight. I like both Smith and Diaz but I am very interested to see how Smith is going to handle Diaz’s striking. Diaz always changes things up and both of them love to stand and bang but Scott usually is the counter-puncher so it is going to be interesting to see how both fighters approach the fight. Then you have Randleman who goes full bore all the time and doesn't care where the fight ends up; he may just end up pumping me up for my fight. I can't wait to see his fight.
Fedor Emelianenko vs Josh Barnett can be one of the most anticipated fights in MMA history
“I consider Josh as one of the truly best in MMA, I think he is really in his prime right now. Just like when I fought Cro Cop, he was in his prime as well. At that time it was one of the most anticipated fights in MMA history (and) my fight with Josh can be that as well…. Every opponent is a danger for me and Barnett has a great ground game. He is capable of adjusting his gameplan any minute in the fight.”
The last man to hold the Pride FC heavyweight title and current WAMMA heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko (29-1) hypes his long-awaited fight against “The Babyface Assassin” at Affliction’s third venture, which is set to go down from the Honda Center in Los Angeles, Calif., on Aug. 1, 2009. There has been a lot of talk over the years that both Emelianenko and Barnett were avoiding meeting in the center of the ring because of the friendship they forged during their years under the Pride FC banner. It appears, however, that the showdown was inevitable — they are the last two men standing under the Affliction banner atop their respective division.
UFC Quick Quote: Tito Ortiz is ’still a force to be reckon with’ based on UFC 98 main event
“Well, to start it off, I think Machida will win by what Joe Rogan calls, ‘elusiveness!’ or in my words ‘hit and run.’ This will be a great test for Evans to find the range to get the takedown. Machida is the favorite in my experience with both fighters. Never mind there’s only one of the fighters that are undefeated truthfully. That mark one on Rashad’s record isn’t a draw. It’s nice to see that one guy I almost submitted will be the champ and the other that I beat is the champ. I’m still a force to be reckon with.”
– Former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz tells PunchDrunkGamer.com that he’s still got game because he’s given the UFC 98: “Evans vs. Machida” main event participants all they could handle. “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” battled current 205-pound champ, “Sugar” Rashad” to a draw at UFC 73: “Stacked” back in July 2007, but more than likely would have won the bout if he didn’t get docked a point for grabbing the fence in the second round. He then had Machida in big trouble courtesy of a triangle/armbar submission attempt late in the third round of their bout at UFC 84: “Ill Will” in May 2008. He eventually dropped the contest to “The Dragon” via clear-cut unanimous decision. So what say you … is Tito Ortiz still a major player at 205 pounds or can he still compete (and beat) the best in the world?
UFC 98 Preview w/Monster, Ortiz, Miletich, Thomson & More!
Nate Quarry – “Serra/Hughes is the fight I'm personally tuning in to see. Ever been to a UFC and seen a fight break out in the stands? Everyone turns to watch it. Why would they want to see two drunken brawlers instead of two well conditioned athletes? Because of the passion the drunken idiots have. We're addicted to seeing this personal part of people's lives. It's what makes us tune in to reality shows. We want to see those raw emotions on display. It's one of the few taboos left in the world. Well, guess what? That's what we get to see with Hughes and Serra. Two guys who don't like each other. One farm boy and one New Yorker. Hughes plan is going to be the same as always. Take him down and ground and pound. But Serra is going to be very tough to do that to. He's got very fast hips and is built well for reversals and submissions. And Serra has proven he has knock out power in his hands. I don't generally give predictions because I usually get them wrong but... I've got to go with Serra on this one.”
Dana White's UFC 98 Video Blog - Episodes 1 and 2
Check out Dana White's video blogs as he meets up with fans during the midnight release of UFC 2009: Undisputed, and gets left an interesting message on the sidewalk.
In the second video, Dana makes an appearance on the Opie and Anthony show, hangs out with Jimmy Fallon, and more.
Dana White to CNBC: UFC First Quarter up 20%
UFC President spoke with CNBC’s Darren Rovell and touted the UFC”s First Quarter results for 2009:
White gave us a never before released number to prove it, saying that business was up 20 percent in the first quarter of 2009 compared to the first quarter of 2008.
Much of the increase in quarter over quarter results can be traced back to the PPV success of UFC 94: Penn vs GSP 2, which generated nearly a million buys on PPV. This was a net increase of around 300k buys over the highest selling PPV in the First Quarter of 08 (Lesnar vs Mir). The UFC also benefited from higher than normal numbers for their Franklin Henderson card from their UK Division. Other items, like their deal with Topps also came to fruition during this time period, opening up additional revenue streams. The UFC can also look forward to a higher than normal result for the second or third quarter of 2009, depending on when revenue from the UFC Undisputed 2009 video game is booked.
White also hinted at his strategy when enticing sponsors on the corporate level for the UFC:
“Look our ratings in the 18-34’s,” White said. “We outrated Monday Night Football in that demo four times last year.” White also said he thinks that even in this environment the UFC….. can land another big sponsor. “Especially now we can do it,” White said. “The price of an NFL sponsorship is so high and we hit the same market at a lower price.”
The UFC can sell itself as a value play, giving more bang for the buck. The UFC make a very attractive option, especially now when the ad/sponsorship market is in something of a free fall. The value play doesn’t come without some risk for the sponsors, as evidenced by the videoblog brouhaha that erupted recently.
Chuck Liddell: War on retirement ‘blown way out of proportion’
“It’s like if you’re a kid and your parents don’t get along. They both called me up and talked to me, and they both love me and have my best interests at heart. I love both guys, and I’m not going to take sides. They’ve never liked each other. But they’ve always kept it quiet out of respect for me. Now that it’s going back and forth, it’s been blown way out of proportion.”
Former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell is uncomfortable with the public feud that he erupted between his longtime trainer, John Hackleman, and his boss and good friend, UFC President Dana White, over his retirement. White feels the “Iceman” — who has suffered three knockouts in his past five fights — “is past his prime, doesn’t need the money, and there is no purpose in risking permanent injuries.” Hackleman feels Liddell should be able to make up his own mind. Perhaps the only thing that will end this saga is a decision from Liddell, which is apparently still in the works.
Following back surgery, Goran Reljic takes up light training for UFC return
Goran Reljic's UFC debut couldn't have gone much better.
Pushing his professional career record to 8-0, the 25-year-old Croatian defeated Wilson Gouveia via second-round TKO and earned a $75,000 Fight of the Night bonus for his efforts.
Reljic (8-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) hasn't fought since that UFC 84 main-card bout a year ago, but his manager told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) the middleweight recently recommenced light training and hopes to return to the UFC later this year.
Reljic had been slated to make his second UFC appearance in October at UFC 90. However, a back injury forced him out of his scheduled bout with Thales Leites just two weeks before the Chicago event.
"Since then we had been trying different (forms of) rehabilitation to solve his back problems," Relic's manager, Zoran Saric, said. "Three months ago, doctors in Croatia decided to do lower back/disc surgery. Everything went well, and Goran started light training for a month."
Rashad Evans: Lyoto Machida is better than Rampage Jackson; Interested in Anderson Silva fight
“I thought Lyoto was more deserving than Rampage anyway. He’s better … actually, I like Rampage a lot. I think he’s really funny and charismatic. But I still want to beat his ass some day…. [My goal is to] get Anderson Silva’s record for the most consecutive wins in the UFC, with nine, keep the belt and then break that record…. I’d love to fight Anderson Silva.”
UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Rashad Evans — who has eight wins in nine attempts inside the Octagon (the “other” fight was a draw against Tito Ortiz — has no qualms defending his 205-pound title for the first time against Lyoto Machida at UFC 98 on May 23, because as he puts it, the undefeated Brazilian is more deserving. “Sugar” was expected to defend his belt against former division champion, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, however, he had to turn down the bout because of nagging injuries. He is expected to take on the winner of Evans-Machida later in 2009, which would no doubt be a blockbuster pay-per-view (PPV) event … especially if Evans can come out on top. And if Machida and possibly Jackson were not enough to handle, Evans also has middleweight champion Anderson Silva — who also competes at light heavyweight — in his cross hairs. Talk about a tough road ahead … can he pull it off?
Howard Davis Jr.: Chuck Liddell Should Take a Year Off, Retirement Decision Should Be His to Make
American Top Team boxing coach and Olympic gold medalist Howard Davis Jr. spoke with me about his work with Chuck Liddell prior to his UFC 97 loss against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. Contrary to what some people believe, Davis said he really did work with Liddell for about two and a half months, and while he didn’t change his style he did try to add a couple tools to Liddell’s game. Here Davis talks about what Liddell’s recent loss means for his career, and whether he thinks the former UFC champ should call it quits like Dana White is insisting he do. He also touches on the addictive “drug” of being a world champion fighter, and why he thinks Liddell has seemed more vulnerable in recent bouts – and it’s not because he’s getting old.
Dana White: The man, the sport, and the money
Former street tough Dana White rescued the Ultimate Fighting Championship and transformed the mixed martial arts organization into the hottest sport in America. Get out of his way because he's not stopping now. And besides, you just might get hurt.
Most corporate titans don't look like this. It's hard to picture Donald Trump rolling into a shareholder meeting sporting a fresh shiner from one of his employees. And you definitely won't see Warren Buffett tossing up 300 pounds on the bench press. Thirty-eight-year-old Ultimate Fighting Championship(UFC) president Dana White may now have the boardroom cred of other business bigwigs, but with his round-shouldered build and two faint but permanent red lines along the edges of his nose (courtesy of a sparring partner), he mostly resembles just another fighter. And that's perfectly fine with him.
Indeed, White's tenure as the guiding force behind the rise of the UFC as the newest "fastest-growing sport in America" is best described as a knock-down, drag-out brawl in which he's now the undisputed champion. Nearly worthless and tainted by controversy less than a decade ago (the sport was not sanctioned by most states), White has helped elevate mixed martial arts (MMA) into the mainstream and transformed the UFC, the first MMA organization, into the biggest—and most surprising—success story in sports.
Acquired in 2001 for $2 million by White and other investors, the UFC now fills arenas in North America and Europe, produces a hit cable series (Spike TV's The Ultimate Fighter) and has smashed the all-time pay-per-view record. In 2006, the UFC generated more than $200 million in pay-per-view revenue, outperforming boxing and pro wrestling. Last year, Time magazine estimated the UFC's value to be over $1 billion.