Barnett & Babalu Talk Affliction---
Josh Barnett & Renato 'Babalu' Sobral Leading up to Affliction 'Day of Reckoning'
PDG: So much to lose by taking this fight and not much to win. Why did you as a top 3 Heavyweight in the world take this fight? Barnett: Because it’s a fight; Plain and simple. I can wait around to fight one guy and let my career pass me by or I can get in there and do what I love to do: commit murder.
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Andrei Arlovski's opportunity of a lifetime
Saturday will mark the culmination of eight years worth of challenges for Andrei Arlovski. Facing him at Affliction’s “Day of Reckoning” is the man generally considered to be the scariest, most talented, ruthless fighter to set foot on MMA’s canvas: Fedor Emelianenko.
For three months, this phrase has almost become a mantra: He’s only human.
A necessary reminder, of course, for a man many believe to be unbeatable.
“I thought nobody can beat me, but everybody knows that Tim Sylvia beat me twice,” counters Arlovski. “He’s a human. I guess he was prepared for all the fights very good.”
Arlovski wants the world to know he prepared for the fight of his life like no other. For three months, his web series, “Arlovski 360,” has chronicled the sweat shed for Emelianenko, along with his thoughts on facing the champion. It’s a record for him, too. Whatever happens on Jan. 24, he can look at the tape and know he did his best.
But to beat the unbeatable, the journey really begins and ends in his mind.
“I have to be mentally prepared for this fight I think the most,” he said. “I want to be the first in MMA to beat Fedor.”
Another mantra follows this wish: I will do everything possible to beat him.
Arlovski says the addition of Freddie Roach made his camp more experimental, a welcome change from the usual orbit of boxing/wrestling/jiu-jitsu, that, while necessary, gets old. Roach’s inexperience in the world of MMA shook up the well-defined play between steady coaches Mike Garcia, Dino Costeas, and Sean Bormet.
“I was really surprised, and at the same time excited, because Freddie asked me…'what can you do for example, can you kick here or punch there?' says Arlovski. "And all my trainers are here. Everybody asks each other, ‘what do you think about this?’ Everybody is on the same page, and it’s great. Freddie asks ‘what if you kick him low here or front kick here, can you punch here?’ I think so, let’s try it.”
MMA Quick Quote: Fedor Emelianenko and Kirill Sidelnikov beat each other with branches
“The sauna helps with rejuvenation between practices. We boil the water, then we get the steam. We get massages and beat each other with branches. It helps get rid of all the lactic acid. It helps with restoration so you can start the week full of energy.”
– The last man to hold the Pride FC heavyweight title, Fedor Emelianenko, reveals a bizarre (and perhaps antiquated) recuperative practice that he and his primary training partner, Kirill Sidelnikov, often rely on to stay fresh after training sessions. The sauna is located in a rundown house in Emelianenko’s hometown of Stary Oskol, Russia. The odd-looking procedure was demonstrated through fogged glass during the 60-minute “Baddest Man on the Planet” special, which aired on FOX Sports Net (FSN) this evening. If you missed the show, go watch it. Fedor is unlike any other major mixed martial arts fighter in the world on so many different levels. It’s remarkable, really.
Live Video Chat with Fedor Today!
Fightline.com will be hosting a live video chat with Affliction superstar Fedor Emelianenko today starting at 8:00p EST. This will be followed directly by the premier of the Affliction "Day of Reckoning" countdown show.
Emelianenko will be squaring off against former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski for the cards main event.
UFC Quick Quote: Mark Coleman didn’t have enough money to train right for UFC 93 fight
“I didn’t have any money for a training camp before this fight. Those things cost money man and I just couldn’t afford it.”
– Former heavyweight champion Mark Coleman had an “explosive” reaction in the dressing room after his third round technical knockout loss to Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC 93: “Franklin vs. Henderson” at The O2 in Dublin, Ireland, on January 17. He was upset, according to The Telegraph, about the referee’s decision to stop the bout with just seconds on the clock, as well his lack of funds to train properly for the match. Perhaps he will not have similar complaints in the future now that UFC President Dana White curiously awarded Coleman and the Brazilian $40,000 each for putting on a “Fight of the Night”-caliber performance … in his eyes. Check out a video of Coleman’s post-fight reaction in the locker room after the jump.
Andrei Arlovski's boxing passion not distracting from "Day of Reckoning" prep
As former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski (14-5) nears his Jan. 24 bout with current WAMMA heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko (28-1), much attention has been given to the Belarusian's legendary boxing trainer Freddie Roach.
And while Roach joined Arlovski on a recent media call in anticipation of Saturday's "Affliction: Day of Reckoning" in Anaheim, Calif., Arlovski was quick to point out that he hasn't abandoned the rest of his normal routines.
"Of course I like boxing right now," Arlovski said. "I spent a lot of time in a boxing gym, but I concentrate on everything -- wrestling, jiu-jitsu and everything else -- so I practice every night. I'm ready for standing or if the fight is going to be on the ground. I'm ready in both ways."
Arlovski had been in discussion to make his professional boxing debut in Sept. 2008. That fight didn't pan out, but speculation has since run rampant that the former UFC champ would reschedule that fight shortly after the bout with Emelianenko. Arlovski was less certain.
"I don't know," Arlovski said. "Right now, I'm focused on the fight against Fedor on Jan. 24, and we'll see what's scheduled after. But it's just what I have to do on Jan. 24. And I'm focused on this fight and I'm ready."
Some had speculated that Arlovski's 2008 departure from the organization that helped make his trademark fanged mouthpiece famous was due to the 29-year-old's desire to pursue a boxing career. Arlovski immediately dispelled that theory.
"I love boxing, [but] I am not just in UFC because of that," Arlovski said. "I am not in UFC for some other reason.
"But like I said, I'm focused right now on my MMA career and my fight against Fedor on Jan. 24. And I told you we'll see what happens after. Maybe one day it will be boxing. I cannot focus only on boxing, [but] I still have a lot to learn in boxing and that is why I train with Freddie."
UFC Quick Quote: Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua before and after UFC 93
Coming into UFC 93 talking to Five Ounces of Pain:
“[Coleman] is a great wrestler but I think I’m better at jiu-jitsu and striking. Plus, I have better cardio. I think it’s a good match up for me in theory. I feel great. I’m well-trained, in good shape and have little weight to cut for the fight. I’m feeling fast, my cardio is good and I have been working a lot on my power.”
Following UFC 93 at the post-fight press conference:
“I stayed sidelined for one year and a half. I went through surgeries. That is not easy, and that took a lot of my conditioning. It’s one thing to train and another thing to fight. When you get back to fighting, you have to get back your rhythm. I paid a price for that, but I’m sure that by my next fight, I’ll be more prepared and in better shape, with better conditioning, to give my fans a great show.”
-Former PRIDE light heavyweight standout Mauricio Rua talks about his rematch against Mark Coleman at UFC 93 at The O2 Arena in Dublin, Ireland, on January 17. “The Hammer” defeated Rua in controversial fashion at PRIDE 31 back in 2006 when an awkward landing broke the Brazilian’s arm less than a minute into the fight. Shogun’s quest for vengeance fell a bit short at Saturday’s pay-per-view despite a TKO win after a dreadful performance made it nearly impossible for any fan in attendance to believe this was at one time a consensus top 5 light heavyweight and winner of the 2005 Pride FC Grand Prix Champion.
Simple toughness serves Henderson well
"I feel like I'm the same Dan Henderson [despite my age]," he said. "Obviously, those first two [UFC] fights were two [scheduled] five-round fights. I think I almost prepared for those. I was real ready, conditioning-wise. For whatever reason, I got a little tired this fight in that third round.
"I don't know if it was from getting nailed in the ribs or just getting tired. Either way, I'm the same fighter. I had a good day today."
Henderson is a perfectionist who wasn't ebullient despite beating one of the UFC's top fighters. Franklin left the middleweight division while still widely regarded as the second-best fighter in the class. He also became an instant contender at 205 pounds, almost certainly the UFC's best class.
Henderson wasn't pleased that he tired in the third and allowed Franklin to take that round. Most 38-year-old fighters -- heck, most fighters, period -- would have been happy to walk away with a win over Franklin.
Henderson's victory puts him in an elite group, joining Silva (twice) and undefeated Lyoto Machida as the only men to defeat Franklin.
"I could have done more in that third round," Henderson said solemnly while sipping from a bottle of water. "That's what I'm disappointed about."
Meet Jon Jones - 'Bones'
Meet Jon Jones a.k.a. ‘Bones’
At the young age of 21, Jon Jones has made the most of his opportunities so far in the mixed martial arts world. Compiling a 7 – 0 record, he will be making his second appearance in the UFC on January 31st, 2009 against Stephan Bonnar. Jon took some time recently to talk with PDG about his rise to the UFC, his background and what drives him to be the best.
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411 MMA Interview: A Conversation With Jason High
411’s Todd Bergman recently had the opportunity to talk with Affliction’s Jason High, who is busy training for his upcoming showdown at Affliction’s “Road To Reckoning” with Jay Hieron. High discusses his previous fights, his experience with the Ultimate Fighter and more!
World beater: Josh Barnett interview exclusive with MMAmania.com
James Iannotti (MMAmania.com): How do you feel you match up with either Fedor or Andrei? Are both of those fights you feel like you can win?
Josh Barnett: Yeah, I think on the feet I can knock either one of them out. I think that Fedor is actually more dangerous because of his ability to mix it up so well between striking and then initiating grapples and taking you down. He keeps people on their toes and he keeps them off balance. It’s really a cool thing to see him implement it. As far as the grappling aspect, I think that Fedor would be a much more difficult fight for me on the ground than Arolvski. Arlovski’s a very strong, capable heavyweight and when he’s doing well he gets stronger as he goes. That’s always something to keep in mind, but when things are going tough you usually test the faith.
James Iannotti (MMAmania.com): What are your thoughts on the rumors of poor ticket sales for this event?
Josh Barnett: They’re just that, rumors. I’ve not heard or seen anything to substantiate them. Unfortunately, a lot of things that people like to point out is the negative. I’ve read some of the negativity in terms of — not just Affliction — but any promotion besides the UFC that’s trying to get off the ground. Everybody’s got an opinion and they all think they can do a better job. Instead of being happy for the possibility of seeing more great fights and sometimes the match ups you’ve been wanting to see for a while, I don’t know, people are just very, very hard to please nowadays. But, you know, the economy is hurting things and the UFC has a huge lock on the market so it’ll be hard to establish your brand amongst that. But you do what you can and if you can put on the kind of fights that get people talking then that’s what’s going to keep bringing them back.
End of an Era: Fighter-Manager Handshake Deals Die as MMA Grows
Widely regarded as the dean of MMA managers, Monte Cox has always relied on handshake deals with his fighters.
That just might change in the near future.
As MMA continues to grow, so does the money in the sport, attracting a new breed of fighter representatives -- agents, as opposed to managers -- from outside the game. These agents attempt to jump on the MMA gravy train, Cox and others contend, by poaching fighters from their existing managers with inflated promises of bigger paydays.
Cox, a 13-year MMA veteran who boasts the biggest stable of name fighters in the game, of late has lost a couple of those handshake clients to other managers or agents.
And thus, he said he is seriously considering switching to written contracts.
“It’s becoming more of a business than a sport,” said the Bettendorf, Iowa-based Cox, whose 60 some fighters include Matt Hughes, Tim Sylvia, Rich Franklin, Jens Pulver and Robbie Lawler.
“I’m an odd character in that I don’t do contracts,” he said. “For 13 years, I’ve gone on a handshake. But now, it’s become a little different in that you take somebody that you’ve developed and you’ve built and they’re making a lot of money and then they jump to somebody else. And it leaves you holding the bag.
“So now I’m definitely thinking about” going with written contracts, said Cox, who is also a veteran promoter with Extreme Challenge, which he owns, and other promotions.
While Cox does not believe that the few fighters he lost, most notably Roger Huerta, were actually poached, he said he hears poaching horror stories from smaller managers all the time.
“All the smaller guys tell me how bad it is,” he said.
Chad Bergmeier, based in Waterloo, Iowa, is one of them. Like Cox, he too has lost some fighters, including Kevin Burns, with whom he had handshake deals. Bergmeier said he also is going to start instituting written contracts with his fighters.
“It’s so strange,” said Bergmeier, who manages about 30 fighters -- including Rob Kimmons, Ryan Thomas and Travis Fulton -- though none with quite the star power of Cox’s A-listers. “I’ve been involved in this sport for about 11 years now and it definitely has changed a lot, gotten bigger. And naturally, as that happens, you do have more of the poacher-type people showing up.”
Another smaller fighter rep is Mike Camp of F1 Management in Akron, Ohio, whose biggest name client is Dave Herman.
“I’d like to do all my business with a handshake,” Camp said. “But in this climate, you just can’t do that. The sport has changed where you gotta be more guarded with your clients...
Ask the Doc: Dr. Benjamin on MMA, concussions and mental illness
In the wake up the recent deaths of MMA fighters Evan Tanner, Justin Levens and Justin Eilers, many fans are struggling to find a correlation.
While there may be none, some people, including researcher Chris Nowinski, see combat sports (and concussions) going hand-in-hand with depression and mental illness in later life.
In his latest “Ask the Doc” column, combat-sports specialist Dr. Johnny Benjamin discusses the topic, specifically as it relates to MMA, and why there’s so little relevant information available on it. He also gives two reasons why there’s so much controversy about trying to connect the two.
Q. Dave Meltzer recently wrote an article discussing three unrelated deaths of former UFC fighters; two of the fallen fighters were known to suffer from depression. Metzler notes Chris Nowinski’s studies correlating boxing to mental illness later in life. Many fans and fighters feel MMA is safer than boxing. MMA fighters are more likely to suffer a few concussive blows (i.e. knockouts) as opposed to a myriad of “padded” shots as in boxing. Many fights end without any substantial head shots. Is it fair to assume the same long-term consequences in MMA? Steve in Los Angeles
A. Steve, you are asking the million-dollar question.
Also, my hat is off to Dave Meltzer for even attempting to intelligently discuss this difficult subject. This and apparently many other topics are difficult for the MMA faithful to discuss reasonably without deteriorating into emotional outbursts, personal attacks and worse. Good articles are written to make intelligent readers think not to defame anyone or anything.
Do repeated blows to the head make MMA participants more likely to suffer with depression or other forms of mental illness later in life? It’s a great question and one that needs to be investigated and researched now rather than adopting a wait-and-see approach.
The current form of MMA is relatively early in its life cycle. We are talking less than 20 years. As major sports go, MMA is still in its infancy. Therefore, I would assume nothing with respect to the potential long-term health consequences. But as you’ve implied, I would learn a few things from the collective experience of other, more mature (older) contact and combat sports. It is also prudent to be proactive when it comes to fighter safety, since it is very difficult, if not impossible, to fully restore competitors’ mental health once it has traumatically been taken from them.
Retrospective (looking back after the deed is done) studies of professional athletes involved in boxing, football, soccer, hockey and rugby seem to suggest a link between repetitive blows to the head, concussions (MTBI, which is minor traumatic brain injury) and depression or dementia. This is a very controversial statement for at least two major reasons.
First, it is very difficult to prove a direct causal relationship. Did the accumulation of blows to the head directly cause permanent brain injury that led to depression or dementia? Or are the athletes that participate in these sports on the professional level more prone to depression to begin with? Do their inherent, aggressive, possibly somewhat antisocial personality traits allow them to achieve in these sports at a high level? Simply put, they may be a little crazy or unstable to begin with. That’s why they do so well in these contact and combat sports. (Absolutely no disrespect is intended to those that suffer with mental illness.)
Second, the powers that govern these major sports fear the cost associated with acknowledging a relationship between participation in these sports and subsequent dementia and/or depression. Simply put, if the sport caused it, somebody is going to have to pay for it. Forget lawsuits and punitive damages (which will most certainly come); just the cost of long-term care would be staggering. No one is prepared to pay that without a serious fight.
Professional MMA fighters should assume nothing and be prepared for everything. When your favorite fighters’ careers are over and no one is any longer screaming their names, paying them sponsorship fees and buying their pay-per-view appearances, who is going to pay their medical expenses and provide assistance to their often forgotten caregivers? Your heroes have families too.
Again, Steve, it’s a great question but not one anyone can answer definitively at this time.
Dr. Johnny Benjamin is MMAjunkie.com’s medical columnist and consultant and a noted combat-sports specialist. He was also recently appointed to the ABC’s medical advisory team and will help review and refine the unified rules of MMA. Dr. Benjamin writes an “Ask the Doc” column every two weeks for MMAjunkie.com. To submit a question for a future column, email him at askthedoc [AT] mmajunkie.com, or share your questions and thoughts in the comments section below. You can find Dr. Benjamin online at www.drjohnnybenjamin.com, and you can read his other sports-related articles at blog.drjohnnybenjamin.com.
Check out more UFC News at MMAjunkie.com. This story originally appeared on MMAjunkie.com and is syndicated on Yahoo! Sports as part of a content-partnership deal between the two sites.
UFC 92 "Crushes" UFC 91 in PPV Buys
It may be the new record holder...
In a recent interview with ESPN, Dana White was asked what happens in the aftermath of St. Pierre vs. Penn, he responded "I'm not worried about that; I'm worried about the fight itself. I think it's going to be the biggest fight we've ever done. The last Lesnar pay-per-view did really well, and then our Dec. 27 show crushed it." But the boss didn't stop there. He went on to say "I don't want to get into numbers too much—that's our policy. But it crushed it. I'll say this: The Christmas show crushed the Lesnar fight by 150,000-175,000 buys."
If true, that is an incredible feat. UFC 91 is estimated to have accumulated about 1,010,000 PPV buys, which would have put it as the second biggest PPV buy the UFC has ever done. Then UFC 92 comes along out of nowhere and does 150,000-175,000 more than UFC 91. That would put the number at just under 1.2 million, which would put it over UFC 66 as the most bought UFC PPV. Also with this is the revelation that the UFC is the new record holder for PPV revenue in a single year by a company, beating out WWE (then WWF) in 2001. On top of that, Dana thinks that UFC 94 will be the biggest show they've ever done.
UFC Quick Quote: Big fights are for people who sell tickets, not losers
“A lot of it is pay-per-view (PPV) buys. If you sell a lot of tickets, you get fights. And Lesnar is one of the biggest ticket sellers we have in our sport right now. You can’t argue that, it’s just a facet of the game and instead of complaining about it I need to make sure I can sell a lot of tickets too. I don’t like that mentality when guys are like ‘Oh well it should be this way and it should be that way’ and I’m like ‘Dude, you’re a loser’.”
– UFC Interim Heavyweight Champion Frank Mir (12-3) tells host Larry Pepe in Part II of their interview on MMAmania.com’s exclusive presentation of Pro MMA Radio that current UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar earned his title shot against Randy Couture at UFC 91 - and against anyone else the UFC sees fit because of his ability to sell tickets and PPV’s. Mir and Lesnar are expected to unify the belts in a rematch sometime in late Spring of 2009. Will history repeat itself or will Lesnar score revenge in Act II?
Roach predicts Arlovski to KO Fedor
There’s a slight sense of amusement coming from Freddie Roach when he breaks down student Andre Arlovski’s fight with Fedor Emelianenko. Roach is a man who's has spent his entire life looking at the hands as weapons, along with the subtle and not-so-subtle elements that make boxing a science. But he's been thrown into the world of MMA through Arlovski, and he's doing his best to take it in stride. His vocabulary is limited; when he looks at Arlovski’s chances, it’s really just a best guess. When the topic of Emelianenko’s armbar comes up, a smile creeps onto his face.
“He looks pretty effective on the ground from what I can see,” Roach says. “He’s really good at the armbar, I guess it’s called. How he gets those guys in the position for an armbar is pretty clever.”
Still, Roach knows what his student is up against. Facing Emelianenko is as much about his legend as his fighting ability.
“If I saw him in the street, I wouldn’t be scared of him,” he says with another smile. “But I’d be wrong.”
Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva fight license to be subject of CSAC meeting Feb. 10
In July, following a dominating Elite XC heavyweight championship victory over Justin Eilers, Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva (12-1) tested positive for the steroid Boldenone and was suspended by the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) for a full year and fined $2,500.
Claiming his innocence, Silva took matters into his own hands and appealed the ruling in October. However, these things have more of a guilty until proven innocent theme to them instead of the other way around.
And the commission’s final decision was to uphold the suspension when Silva’s defense did not appear to sway the initial finding.
With his fight career being his family’s main source of income, sitting out for a full year was not an option for the Brazilian. He decided to disregard the punishment and take a fight in Japan where the CSAC’s suspension would not be recognized.
The big man’s manager Alex Davis released this statement in early December regarding his client’s decision to fight in Japan in spite of the CSAC’s suspension:
“Antonio has decided to fight, he really has no option. He’s innocent, he’s tried to prove it and it fell on unwilling ears, and he has financial commitments that to not meet would have serious consequences for him. In light of these, he has decided to continue his career in Japan until when and if his situation with the CSAC is resolved.”
Speaking engagement in Gresham, OR
just figured out about it but thought people in the Northwest would want to know. But from what I heard Ken Shamrock, Prangley and Lindland and MARK Hughes will be speaking including many other fighters will most likely attend.
"Babalu" Sobral: "I'm probably going to submit" Sokoudjou on Jan. 24
Less than a year ago, Rameau Thierry Sokodjou (5-3) was widely regarded as one of the most dangerous light-heavyweights in MMA.
But after a less-than-impressive stint in the UFC led to Skoudjou's recent dismissal from the organization, Renato "Babalu" Sobral (31-7) thinks "The African Assassin" presents little in the way of special challenges.
"I have to prepare a little bit for Sokoudjou's strikes, and I have to respect his judo skills of course," Sobral said in a recent media call. "I respect all his skills, but I know what I have to do to win this fight. And I don't have anything special prepared for Sokoudjou."
The two former UFC fighters will meet on the main card of "Affliction: Day of Reckoning," scheduled for Jan. 24 in Anaheim, Calif. The bout will be Sokoudjou's first since an October TKO loss to Luis Cane prompted his release from the UFC.
Sobral, a 10-year veteran with 30 more professional bouts than his adversary, believes that the difference in experience will not play a major role in the fight.
"The truth is that it doesn't matter," Sobral said. "If you have 100 fights in the bag or one fight, minutes before the fight everybody pretty much does the same. That's where you have to control more emotions over there, like minutes before the fight. But this really doesn't matter very much because some kids just coming up right now, they already know how to control (their pre-fight) emotions."