Sport vs. Spectacle
In 1870, Jem Mace and Joe Coburn were tossed into competition with each other to decide the world’s bare-knuckle boxing champion -- a sport that played host to some horrific injuries. (Death, for example.)
Mace and Coburn contested the title for an astounding three hours and 45 minutes.
Neither man landed a single blow.
Not long after, someone made an attempt on Mace’s life.
To say it was someone who bought a ticket to that fight is perhaps not unreasonable.
Jon Jones: "Following his Destiny" (interview)
At 22 years of age, Jon "Bones" Jones has quickly become a rising young star to look out for in the UFC's light heavyweight division. With two wins under the organization's banner—including an impressive decision victory over TUF season one finalist Stephan Bonnar—he’s already making waves in one of the most stacked divisions in the entire sport. Jon sat down with me to discuss his past, his upcoming bout with Jake O'brien at UFC 100, and his plans for the future.
The full article is
Great interview! I had no idea he was only 22, definitely has a bright future in the sport IMO.
Dan Henderson, Cung Le, ‘Shogun’ Rua, Matt Serra Join Round 5 for Expanded ‘Series 4' Release
Four of the most popular and accomplished champions in mixed martial arts, Dan Henderson, Cung Le, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Matt Serra, have partnered with Round 5, the leading producer of MMA collectibles, to create figurines that will be included in an expanded Series 4, it was announced today by Barron Lau, Round 5 CEO and co-founder and Damon Lau, president and co-founder. The series, scheduled to be available at retail in July in time for UFC 100, will include the four plus fellow superstars Fedor Emelianenko and Gina Carano. McCarthy, Frank Mir and Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira, will be in stores across North America and at online outlets including www.Round5MMA.com in late May, about a month behind its original schedule.
“With six figurines, Series 4 will be our largest issuance to date,” said Damon Lau. “Adding four more of the biggest names in the sport – with wide fan bases – to what began as an already stacked set is huge for Round 5 and a great opportunity for fans to quickly add to their collections.”
To date, Round 5 has issued two Series of four athletes each: Randy Couture, Matt Hughes, Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson and Tito Ortiz comprised Series 1 while Rich Franklin, Sean Sherk, Anderson Silva and Wanderlei Silva were released in Series 2. Series 3 had been planned for an April release, but has been delayed by about four weeks.
“The Series 3 prototypes have been completed and are currently in production,” said Lau. “It took a little longer than we had originally anticipated, but we feel that the finished product is well worth the extra wait.”
Henderson, the last man to hold the welterweight and middleweight titles for PRIDE, has a 24-7-0 career MMA record, competing against many of the best in MMA. “Hollywood” defeated Wanderlei Silva to take his final PRIDE crown, then rejoined the UFC, where he has won his last two bouts. He leads Team USA in Season 9 of The Ultimate Fighter television program and will fight fellow coach Michael Bisping at UFC 100 on July 11 in Las Vegas.
Though he has competed for years in the Chinese martial art of Sanshou, the South Vietnamese native Le gained fame in North America by defeating legendary Frank Shamrock via TKO last year in San Jose, Calif., where he trains. Le is unbeaten (6-0) in his MMA career and has begun a career in acting, with several feature films nearing international release.
The Brazilian star Rua, known the world over as “Shogun,” boasts and 18-3 record, last week recording a first-round knockout over Chuck Liddell at UFC 97. He is a former PRIDE champion, winning the Grand Prix title in 2005 with wins over Quinton Jackson, Rogerio Minotoro Nogueira and Ricardo Arona.
Serra, a Long Island, N.Y., native, has compiled a 9-5 MMA mark, earning international acclaim following his first-round TKO of Georges St. Pierre in their first meeting in 2007 for the UFC welterweight championship. St. Pierre won the rematch last year, and Serra is next scheduled to battle Matt Hughes at UFC 98 in May. A Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu master, Serra also gained fame as the winner of Season 4 of The Ultimate Fighter.
GSP Announces Fan Logo Design Contest
Georges St-Pierre is rapidly becoming an international icon – not only is he one of the strongest, toughest, and most energizing athletes to grace the MMA Octagon, he is also a class act outside of it. Now Georges wants to take his brand to the same level that his athletic performance has taken him. To accomplish this task, he’s engaging those that who will help him achieve that goal – his fans. “Georges has some of the greatest fans in the sport”, said Shari Spencer, Georges’ manager. “This contest represents his desire to give something back to his fans – to allow them to participate in his efforts to represent this sport on a whole new level.” The winning logo design will be incorporated into Georges’ new website, be displayed on his shorts and banner within the Octagon during his fights, and be incorporated into a new line of merchandise to be debuted in conjunction with UFC 100 on July 11th.
Here is your chance to show GSP your skills and help him develop a logo that represents GSP in your eyes! Take some time to draw, paint, or even sketch your ideas – then go to GSPfightclub.com and send him your ideas. GSP will narrow the choices down to ten (10) finalists. Then, just as GSP draws upon his fans’ support to win his fights, he’ll turn to his fans to help him pick the winning logo design. Your design just might be chosen as the lucky winner that he’ll wear during his upcoming fight at UFC 100! But you better hurry – this contest is only open for a short time. For full contest details, check out .
"Hanging-up the Gloves: Chuck Liddell is just the Beginning"
"Who is next to say goodbye?"
This past Saturday night at the Bell Centre in Montreal marked an emotional evening for not just the Iceman, but for the Mixed Martial Arts community as a whole. Chuck Liddell has been a front-runner in one of the most stacked divisions in the sport for as long as most of us can remember, but in the last two years of his prolific, exciting, and accomplished career, his aura has melted, exposing his age and the fact that the level of competition has simply passed him by. The changing of the guard happens in every sport, but not as frequently and quickly as in MMA. In the span of sixteen years we’ve seen multiple generations emerge and fall victim to the next, and at this juncture in 2009 it is happening again. The major difference between this passing of the torch from Chuck Liddell’s generation to Mauricio Rua’s at UFC 97, is the fact that the Iceman’s generation was the first to really cast the UFC into the mainstream spotlight, making him one of the sport’s first truly iconic superstars.
Here's the , definitely a depressing but interesting read!
Spiders and Outsiders
by Jordan Breen (email@example.com)
Anderson Silva fascinates me. He fascinates me now more than ever.
Since his metamorphosis into the human weapon in 2005, Silva has been largely a counterstriker whose penchant for brutality is only coaxed out through fighters who attempt to draw first blood, such as Chris Leben, Rich Franklin, Travis Lutter and so on. At this point, Silva's reputation is almost cancerous. Fighters are too hesitant to engage him without the most meticulous planning of every single body movement, which results in long periods of nothingness in the cage.
So, if I have a logical explanation for Silva’s last two throne defenses, why do I have a sense of wonder about Silva that hadn't existed for the better part of a decade I’ve been watching him? It isn't just his sudden turn from beloved MMA hero to enigmatic public enemy. It is the fact that this unfortunate transformation has coincided with his Roy Jones Jr. obsession.
Never mind the fact that Silva is obsessed with boxing a fighter who, however faded, is still a serious pugilist -- a fact that can't be trivialized (ask celebrated striker K.J. Noons, who was handled in a recent six-round boxing match against anonymous competition). Silva's fixation on Jones is an anachronism: Jones is nearly seven years past his prime, not a great draw outside of his faithful Floridian fans and the boxing world generally wants the former pound-for-pound king to bow out rather than embarrass himself by fighting onward. Silva's angling for Jones is clearly not based on prestige, unless Silva is akin to Hiroo Onoda in his avoidance of boxing news over the last six years.
Given Silva's opportunity to feasibly wipe out every serious challenger at middleweight, and take on challenges at 205 pounds, I find his desire to fight Jones truly fascinating. I don't find it fascinating for the potential fight itself, where I would expect Silva to be simply and soundly outboxed, out of his depth in the vastly different waters of the sweet science. It engrosses me partially because I can't rationalize it: With prestige not part of the equation, what is it about RJJ that is so magnetic and enchanting for Silva? That question has led me to fixate on the parallels between the two fighters and has left me wondering if Silva sees Jones as more of an idol than an opponent.
The similarities between their careers are arresting. Since Silva's reemergence following the Chonan debacle, his lone loss was a maligned disqualification to Yushin Okami for an illegal upkick. During Jones' rapid climb to pound-for-pound preeminence, his only loss came at the hands of Montell Griffin, a bout in which he was disqualified for indiscreetly hitting Griffin after having knocked him down.
Lost in translation
During the UFC 97 post-event confusion there was a lot of apologizing going on, specifically from Dana White to everyone and Anderson Silva to Dana White. But it turns out that Silva wasn’t as apologetic as his manager Ed Soares translated him to be. Here’s what Anderson apparently said in Portuguese:
Contrary to his manager Ed Soares’ translation after the fight, Silva did not apologize for his performance.
“I did well in the fight,” said Silva in Portuguese. “I can’t always make you happy.”
Silva continued his condemnation of Montreal’s vocal MMA fans.
“Not everyone understands what they are watching,” Silva said. “But hey, you guys can boo if you want. You are paying my salary.”
And here is how Ed Soares relayed that sentiment:
“It’s unfortunate that things sometimes turn out that way, but when you’re not in here, it’s hard to tell what going on sometimes,” said Silva. “Sorry.”
Hitomi Akano and Josh Barnett talk “Cyborg”
PDG: Megumi Fujii stated that: “After the ref stopped the fight, Cyborg didn't come over to check on Akano.” Was that more disrespectful or the fact that she showed up to weigh-ins 7 pounds over more disrespectful?
Akano: From the moment she missed the weight, I expected NOTHING from Cyborg.
Pros Picks: Liddell vs. Rua
A few years back, a showdown between Chuck Liddell and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua would have been a fight fan’s dream matchup. Liddell was the defending UFC light heavyweight champion and at the top of his game while laying out opponents like kitchen tile. Rua was on a meteoric rise through Pride Fighting Championships’ ranks, rivaling Liddell’s fistic floor masonry in Japan. Before Zuffa bought out Pride, it seemed like a full-scale tilt between these two explosive knockout artists would never materialize.
Thankfully the fight will finally come to fruition this Saturday at UFC 97 in Montreal, but like Liddell’s stellar conquest of Rua’s former Chute Boxe teammate Wanderlei Silva, the matchup is being purchased off the shelf a few years after its expiration date. Looking at his most recent bouts, Liddell’s age appears to be catching up to him and the 39-year-old icon just might be a bit past his fighting prime.
Rua, 27, has had a rocky transition to the cage, where his stamina has been harshly tested. Once feared for his heavy, looping punches, Liddell has been knocked out at the hands of Quinton Jackson and Rashad Evans in the last two years. Rua was soundly beaten by Forrest Griffin and nearly suffocated in a near hilarious, though triumphant, scuffle with fighting fossil Mark Coleman.
Luckily for the fans though, Liddell-Rua should still be an all-out war, a skirmish that could wind up being a “fight of the year” candidate when all is said and done. Will Liddell’s experience and hunger to recapture his title, along with a new striking coach, earn him another highlight-reel knockout? Will Rua have made the necessary adjustments to avoid exahaustion and finally get on the tear that UFC fans expected from him from the start?
Many professional trainers and fighters think they have the answer to those questions. Sherdog.com recently polled dozens of the pros in an attempt to get a read on the pulse of the MMA elite. Some were a little hesitant to comment on the fight, but the brave ones put their names and reputations on the line and boldly picked a winner.
Nate Quarry talks UFC 97 & Video Games!
PDG: UFC 97 in Montréal, Canada is a pretty stacked card; what fights are you looking forward to seeing that night?
Quarry: Any time that you get a chance to fight on a card with Chuck Liddell and Anderson Silva, it is a real treat. I have been a fan of Chuck's for a long time and we are also friends. So being able to be there and to say I fought on the same card as Chuck Liddell is a real honor. That is something that I will always remember.
Frank Trigg offers to "retire" Frank Shamrock
UFC, PRIDE and Strikeforce veteran – and co-host of MMAjunkie.com Radio – Frank Trigg (19-6) is currently on a four-fight win streak, yet he doesn't know where or when his next bout will take place.
But on Wednesday's edition of MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio), Trigg identified one opponent he believes would be easy prey: Strikeforce middleweight Frank Shamrock (23-10-2).
"They can have me fight him any time they want up there," Trigg said. "Put it back at 180 (pounds) again, and I'll put him into retirement. It's not that difficult. Frank Shamrock's only got like two or three fights left in his life."
Trigg fought once for the California-based organization, defeating Falaniko Vitale in October 2008. The 36-year-old said he would love the opportunity to return to the organization in a chance to prove just how far Shamrock has fallen in recent defeats to Nick Diaz and Cung Le.
"How much [expletive] can you talk to Frank Shamrock?" Trigg asked. "He's not that good. The sport has passed him by.
"Do you really want to be seen training on Lamaze balls? Is that really what you want to do? That's what he does. Half of his techniques are done on Lamaze balls. I'm like, 'OK. That's really interesting. That's great. Who's teaching you your takedown defense?'"
Trigg questioned Shamrock's commitment to preparation for his April 11 main event with Diaz at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif.
"You live in [expletive] San Jose," Trigg said. "There's like 75 great wrestlers that live right down the street from you. You don't train with any of them? That doesn't make any sense to me.
"You're a great striker, you're incredibly athletic, you have a great ability to talk before the fights, you've got a great ability to sell the fight. But then you're striking hasn't changed. Your ability, your flexibility, your ability to hit your punches hasn't changed. You haven't learned – knowing full well against a guy who's going to do takedowns – how to stop a takedown and how to keep it on your feet where you would have had a shot to win.
"But then, you're on your feet and you got out-punched by a jiu-jitsu guy. It doesn't make any sense."
While Trigg's career has been filled with bouts against the world's top competitors, he last fought in a unanimous-decision win against an unheralded Danny Babcock. While the win certainly wasn't a career-builder, Trigg insists Shamrock's current 1-3 streak proves he's no longer relevant.
"The sport's just passed [Shamrock] by," Trigg said. "It's the same thing I said to Ken (Shamrock). It's the same thing I said to Mark Coleman. It's the same thing I said to Tito Ortiz: The sport has passed you by.
"You haven't adjusted. You haven't learned. You haven't spent the time being in the academy every day trying to learn. You're out there [expletive] around doing other stuff when you're not training. It's not smart anymore for this sport...
MacDonald Inks Round 5 Deal
The Fight Network has the info on Jason MacDonald signing a figurine deal with Round 5:
Pavelich Sports Entertainment is pleased to announce that Jason “The Athlete” MacDonald has signed a deal with toy manufacturer Round 5 MMA to create his very own action figure.
MacDonald, a native of Edmonton, Alberta, will now join a very exclusive and elite group of fighters that have all collaborated with Round 5 to produce some of the most detailed and unique MMA action figures in the world.
“Since we are based in Ontario, I am particularly excited that Jason MacDonald is the first Canadian to sign with Round 5,” said Damon Lau, Round 5 President and Co-Founder. “He is one of the most successful and popular MMA stars in the country and enjoys a strong following across North America.”
It is interesting that Round 5 is now reaching into the mid-tier level with their signings. The initial signings have been high profile: Couture, Matt Hughes, Wanderlei, Rampage, etc. When looking at the mid tier fighters, Round 5 may look to hit those fighters that have some degree of tenure with the UFC, giving them name recognition if not superstar status. Other factors like being a regional draw (MacDonald’s Canadian roots) may also be taken into consideration.
Dodging bullets and prison visits keep Houston Alexander focused for UFC 98
After opening his UFC career with two first-round TKO wins, Alexander has now dropped three-straight contests. But despite the struggles, "The Assassin" recently told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio) that he's not worried about losing his place in the UFC.
"I'm not feeling any pressure at all," Alexander said. "When you have children, the only pressure you feel is taking care of your kids. As far as the world, or pleasing anybody else, I don't feel any pressure from that."
It's not that Alexander isn't working to turn his situation around. In fact, the Nebraska native is focused on doing exactly that when he daces Andre Gusmao (5-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) at UFC 98 in May.
"I've kind of stepped up a little bit," Alexander said. "We've been going to different camps and dealing with different bodies and different individuals. It's been working out really good."