The Outlaw and The Losing Streak
If Dan Hardy had his way he would have shaved the mohawk by now. Five minutes with some clippers, one quick swoop down the middle of his head, and the signature hairstyle that makes him so recognizable to fight fans could be gone. Maybe then he could blend in. Maybe then he could get a moment to be alone with himself and figure out just what in the hell is going on.
He'd do it if he had it his way. But he doesn't.
It's a UFC fight week in Toronto and Hardy has come at the request of Xyience, a sponsor of his that has him scheduled for autograph signings and fan meet-and-greets all week. And Xyience? You better believe Xyience wants the mohawk. That's because the fans want the mohawk. They expect it. You book Dan Hardy and he shows up with a shaved head, it's like having Carrot Top show up as a blonde.
The fans want the guy they've seen on TV. They want the brash, cocky Brit with the punk rock swagger. But after a rough stretch of four straight losses in the UFC -- a 17-month span that dropped him from top contender to just barely employed -- he's not even sure where that guy went, or if he's ever coming back.
"I don't feel like myself right now," Hardy says.
You look in his eyes and you know he means it. He sits slumped in a plush leather chair in the lobby of a posh downtown Toronto hotel. He speaks so softly you have to lean in close just to hear him. The last thing he wants to do these days is draw attention to himself. He knows what people are thinking. And even if they aren't thinking it, they might as well be, since he hears their accusations in the wordless glances from across the room. It's not just the fans, either.
"I start to feel like other fighters are looking at me like, why is he still in the UFC? And I don't want people looking at me like that."
UFC 141's Lesnar relates to Overeem's plight but unconcerned with potential distractions.
As a massive 6-foot-3 heavyweight who cuts weight to make the 265-pound heavyweight limit, former UFC champion Brock Lesnar (5-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC) is no stranger to questions regarding performance-enhancing substance use.
But as he prepares for his UFC 141 contest with former Strikeforce titleholder Alistair Overeem (35-11 MMA, 0-0 UFC), all the question marks have been centered around his chiseled Dutch opponent.
Pay no mind, says Lesnar. When you're in the spotlight, you can expect some scrutiny. A shot at UFC heavyweight champ Junior Dos Santos hangs in the balance, and there's simply no time for distractions.
Frank Mir: Strikeforce heavyweights add much needed depth to UFC roster
Mir talks to ESPN 1100/98.9 FM's "MMA Insiders" show (via Yahoo Sports):
"We don't have the type of depth that the other weight classes have and I think it's only a benefit to move them (Strikeforce heavyweights) over to us. I guess I have a bad taste in my mouth because of what happened when I first started my career. I had to always hear about, 'Oh, you guys are good, but the PRIDE guys would kick your butt.' There is no comparison and then that frustration of not being able to get to them. And then when Nogueira came over and Mirko, ( I ) got a hold of them. 'Yeah, but there is still Fedor.' I don't want to hear that. I want to know that anybody that is in the division, it's like if you think you can beat me, 'Hey Joe Silva, is he clear?' Okay, cool, let's fight. Now we can solve it you know? That whole unattainable thing just drives me insane."
M-1 Global doesn't want Fedor Emelianenko to fight mediocre fighters ...
"At this moment, for us, the key thing is the level of the opponent, and not how much we get paid. I can say that if we were unable to agree with Ishii, we wouldn't participate in this tournament. We had concurrent offers with other DREAM fighters, but this is not for Fedor's level, and we didn't want to have a fight with mediocre fighters, taking a step backwards. We want to be taking steps forward and we will follow this in the future. We want to have three fights. One in Russia, one in Europe, and one in the USA. We really want to get a rematch with Werdum, but he is locked up in the prison called UFC, and because of that arranging for him to fight Fedor would be very difficult. Dana White is like a dog on hay -- he neither eats it himself, nor lets the others eat it. There are many other good fighters, whom we are considering. For instance, Josh Barnett. We need to wait for the Strikeforce heavyweight tournament to end and then we can see how likely it is that we can arrange a fight."
White hints at GSP or Jones farewell for Anderson Silva.
Dana White has hinted that he would like Anderson Silva's final fight to be against either Jon Jones or Georges St-Pierre.
Silva is widely recognised to be heading into the final fights of his career, with speculation over whether he has two, four or even more bouts left in his tank.
Alistair Overeem granted conditional license for UFC 141, facing four drug tests
For now, at least, former Strikeforce champion Alistair Overeem (35-11 MMA, 0-0 UFC) will face Brock Lesnar (5-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC) in the main event of December's UFC 141 event.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission today granted Overeem a conditional license to face Lesnar on Dec. 30, subject to a pre-fight drug test to be submitted in Europe within the next 72 hours, as well as an additional screen submitted in the U.S. when the Dutch heavyweight arrives for the contest.
Overeem's conditional license also includes two post-fight drug screen orders, to be completed less than six months after the bout.
The decision was made during Monday's Nevada State Athletic Commission monthly meeting, which took place at the Grant Sawyer State Office Building in Las Vegas.
Overeem's status for the bout was in doubt after he failed to comply with out-of-competition testing ordered by the NSAC on Nov. 17...
Frank Mir - A myriad of threats
Fight day is here! As I get set for my fight at UFC 140 Saturday night, I take great confidence from the belief that I have more ways to win than my opponent Antonio (Minotauro) Nogueira. Although a great fighter in his own right, I truly don't think "Big Nog" has the same options as me going into this fight.
Let me explain. If I'm not happy with the way the fight is going on my feet, I have the option of taking it to the floor and maintaining control there, and the same applies if I'm unhappy with how my grappling is working out. Nogueira will have to be resigned to do whatever I want him to do in this fight.
Sure, he can fight me jiu-jitsu versus jiu-jitsu, but if there comes a point where he doesn't like what's going on down there, he's not going to be able to change that. I can change where this fight takes place, he can't. If he starts getting hurt on his feet in a striking battle, I really don't see how he is going to take me down and take me away from what I was doing with punches and kicks.
Frank Mir - Beware the Rematch
When you get offered a fight by the UFC, you have a choice: either embrace it, get ready for it and win it, or sulk and question whether you are even a fighter in the first place.
I was offered a fight against Antonio (Minotauro) Nogueira on Dec. 10 at UFC 140 and, although I already held a win over the man, I jumped at the chance. It was another big fight in my career, against a legend, and one that will move me a step closer to another UFC heavyweight title shot. What is there not to like about that?
Naturally, some people look at this weekend's fight and think to themselves, 'Damn, Frank already holds a win over that guy -- isn't he going over old ground,' and, in a sense, I guess they are right. I beat Nogueira inside two rounds back in December 2008 and, three years on, it does kind of feel as if I'm going through it all again, especially as I personally believe this rematch will bear an uncanny resemblance to the first fight.
I am a fighter, though, and fighters can't afford to ever think like that. I knew this was a fight I had to take seriously, despite the fact I had already beaten the man. Nogueira is someone I have a victory over, but, right now, that only means he is hungry for revenge and will be much better in this rematch than he was in the first fight.
Despite Close to UFC Career, Mirko Cro Cop Plans Return to Kickboxing
A third straight knockout loss brought a close to Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic's UFC career, but the Croatian apparently isn't quite ready to call it quits when it comes to combat sports. While he's rehabbing a torn right biceps muscle, he is also plotting a return to kickboxing, and says he will fight in a March 10 show in his nation's capital city, Zagreb.
In an interview with Croatia's Fight Channel, Cro Cop revealed that he injured his right arm before his recent UFC 137 fight with Roy Nelson and decided to fight anyway. Even beforehand, he told fans that it was likely his last time in the octagon, and while he says he's done in the MMA realm, he plans to return to K-1 for the first time since 2003.
"K-1 is the sport where I started," he said. "This is my first love and I find K-1 more attractive and more suitable for our Croatian fans than MMA."
Cro Cop isn't scheduled to have his right arm removed from a cast until December 20, but despite his doctor's advice of staying on the sidelines for eight weeks, he has begun training in preparation for his return...
TUF 14 Finale medical suspensions: Miller possibly out six months with broken nose
Punches both invited and uninvited took a toll on "The Ultimate Fighter 14" coach Jason "Mayhem" Miller, and he could be suspended for up to six months unless cleared by a doctor.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission today released a list of medical suspensions following The Ultimate Fighter 14 Finale, which took place this past Saturday at The Pearl and The Palms Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The event's main card aired live on Spike TV while preliminary-card bouts streamed on Facebook.
In the event's headliner, Miller may have suffered a fractured nose before he was stopped in the third round of the five-round non-title fight by opposing "TUF 14" coach Michael Bisping, who walked away with a light suspension.
A noticeable hematoma near Bisping's eye, which likely was the result of a losing first round with Miller, netted him a term of less than a month.
In other notable suspensions, "TUF 14" winner Diego Brandao also is out for up to six months unless he can get his left hand and jaw cleared by an oral maxial-facial doctor. Dennis Bermudez, who dropped Brandao with a right hand in the first round before falling prey to an armbar, did not suffer any serious damage to his left arm despite hyperextending it prior to the fight, as he told MMAjunkie.com.
MMA Quick Quote: Nate Quarry wants back in the UFC
Former UFC middleweight mauler Nate Quarry states his case on The Underground for the position of "on-air personality," which the promotion may need in light of its recent expansion across three channels on the FOX network. Quarry, famous for his exciting fights and ability to take punishment, might have taken enough beatings to last him a lifetime. Now that he's enjoying retirement and putting more work into his Zombie Cage Fighter line, it looks like he's gunning for another go-round with the world's largest fight promotion.
Bendo's Oral Fixation
Kenny Florian during the Fuel Postfight:
I actually brought Benson Henderson out to help me prepare for Clay Guida when I was about to fight him... you saw Benson, he had a toothpick in his mouth... he actually trains with a toothpick in his mouth. We were rolling and we probably trained, sparred for about 45 minutes to an hour, and he took a toothpick out of his mouth, I'm like 'what are you doing?' He had the toothpick in the whole time we were sparring. He may have even fought with it, who knows.
UFC Quick Quote: Dana White wants you to shut up and stop bitching about not seeing more fights on FOX
"This fight was not part of the (FOX) deal. The deal is for seven years (and) so many fights on FOX. This time, that time, this was never part of the deal. After we signed the deal, FOX said, 'Why don't we do this, why don't we do a fight right away, lets put a great fight on TV, kick it off and let everybody know about the partnership?' That's what this thing was. For anybody to bitch about this fight and they didn't get to see that fight, shut up! You should have bought tickets then if you wanted to see all the fights and you don't like to watch it on Facebook. Seriously, shut up. I don't even want to hear it."
Bobby Lashley thanks Josh Barnett for efficient Shark Fights 21 title win
The extensive work Bobby Lashley (7-1) did with Strikeforce heavyweight Josh Barnett paid off big time on Friday night.
The former WWE wrestler and ex-Strikeforce heavyweight cinched a first-round submission on Karl Knothe (20-6) in the main event of Shark Fights 21, which took place Friday at Fair Park Coliseum in Lubbock, Texas.
After a struggle, Lashley caught Knothe with a kimura, or – if you're a catch-wrestling type of person – a top-wrist lock.
Who drilled the sequence that led to the submission? One "Warmaster."
"It was exactly what we working on, from the transition to getting into it," Lashley told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "Step by step we went over that same series, like, maybe hundreds of times."
Chael Sonnen... Ultimate Gentleman?
Most of the UFC fan base are familiar with his on-screen personality, as Sonnen and his sharp tongue slice and dice their way through pre-fight interviews and media appearances. In fact, outside of Brian Stann at UFC 136, you'd be hard-pressed to find the former NCAA Division I All-American wrestler having anything nice to say.
Or so we thought.
Fedor's manager worried about next fight
Notably quiet and reserved, it’s rare that Emelianenko really elaborates about his fights, whether he wins or loses.
“Fedor’s mentioned to me after his last three fights that he could have won, but that he felt something went wrong at a certain moment in the fight,” said Finkelstein, “but he felt like he could’ve totally won the fights.”
Another subject Emelianenko won’t broach is his family life. I’ve asked him about it in the past and he’s always politely declined my questions. Emelianenko’s also the type of fighter who doesn’t make excuses for his losses, but Finkelstein filled me in on the drama that followed the Russian fighter to America last July
“Prior to his last fight (against Henderson), Fedor’s wife was giving birth right as he was flying over,” said Finkelstein. “He actually found out about the birth of his (third) daughter as he made a connecting flight in Germany on his way to Chicago. There were some medical complications with the birth and he was extremely worried. It was a difficult time and there was a lot of psychological pressure, so maybe he wasn’t all there in his mind.”
MMAPlayground Interview Series - Vol. 12 (Michelle "The Karate Hottie" Waterson)
As with any successful professional, mixed martial artists eat, sleep and breathe their craft. They put everything on the line when they wake up, hit the gym and pour their blood, sweat and tears into the sport we all love. When they enter that cage, for the fan, it's all about the entertainment, but these athletes go through the daily rigors with more in mind. For some fighters, it's a paycheck. For others, it's the glitz and glamour, but for some it's a lifestyle fueled by a deep passion and connection to the sport of mixed martial arts.
In our newest site feature, MMAPlayground would like to introduce you to some of these men and women of MMA that you may not know much about.
Our mission? To introduce. To educate. To spread the word.
Michelle "The Karate Hottie" Waterson is the subject of this week's interview. MMAPlayground's own, Kyle Galvin (aka "Kpro") recently had a chance to interview Waterson who currently sports a mixed martial arts record of 8-3-0.
Check out the interview below to read Waterson's thoughts on training while raising a newborn child, what she thought of Jon Jones' victory over Quinton Jackson, and more!
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MMAPG: We really appreciate you taking the time to chat with us, Michelle. How did you get interested in transitioning from point sparring in Karate to competing in combat sports on a professional level?
WATERSON: It was a challenge for me and I wanted to see if I could overcome that challenge. Plus it was a major adrenaline rush.
Movie of UFC champion Jose Aldo’s life story headed to the big screen
"The Hammer," the major motion picture that tells the life story of former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight Matt Hamill, is set to open this weekend at select theatres. The movie depicts the life of the Utica, N.Y., native and how he has faced challenges as a deaf athlete from his childhood in Loveland, Ohio, to the Octagon.
Now, another UFC fighter will have a movie made about his trials and tribulations on his road to mixed martial arts (MMA) stardom, as it has been revealed that featherweight champion Jose Aldo will be the focus of a new movie set to come out in 2012.
According to Tatame.com, "Vale Tudo" -- the title for the proposed project -- is still being written, meaning the details such as cast and set locations are still being considered. Though information about the movie is sketchy at this point, the man selected to portray the UFC featherweight champion has been confirmed.
Brazilian actor Malvino Salvador will portray Aldo in what the actor says is a similar story to the one he experienced:
"There're two motivations for this movie. Aldo born in the same city I did, so we're in the same tune. Second, he left Manaus to another state, went through many things like I did, built a career and today is one of the best fighters in the world."