KJ Noons may not be a coward, but he’s doing an awfully good impression of one.
The latest temper tantrum -- a pastime nearly as popular as the sport itself -- to hit media sites has been between Noons’ employer, EliteXC parent company ProElite, and Noons’ manager, Mark Dion, who insists proposed opponent Nick Diaz isn’t a credible contender for an Oct. 4 defense of Noons’ EliteXC lightweight title on CBS.
(The very same title he won against Diaz, a fact that incites a paradox of Dion’s claim: If Diaz isn’t a worthy opponent, what worth does Noons’ belt possess? Doc Brown warned us about this kind of thing.)
This stalemate was preceded earlier by Noons’ apathetic response to pestering about his seemingly inevitable rematch with Diaz. To paraphrase: I’ve beaten him once, so why do it again? I’m in no rush.
But you should be, Mr. Noons. You should be.
If there’s one thing MMA can finally offer after 15 years of its stubborn existence, it’s hindsight: If you don’t do the money match now, it’s going to slip right through your Ouano-laced fingers.
Back in 2003, the UFC thought it could “build” to a marquee match between Ken Shamrock and David "Tank" Abbott. Unfortunately, both went virtually winless in the Octagon, and the polished veneer of that fight chipped off like paint with no primer.
But it’s more than just the loss of a potentially incendiary fight. Barely in diapers in his MMA career, Noons was being offered the Holy Grail of anyone coveting mass exposure: a slot on primetime network television. A fight on CBS, regardless of the result, would give Noons an instant level of recognition that could be parlayed into any number of opportunities: endorsements, sponsorships, acting, seminars, etc.
Put another way, product advertisers spend hundreds of thousands of dollars securing pithy ad time on networks in an effort to marinate viewer brains in their product. Dion’s product is Noons, and instead of paying out the nose for the exposure, ProElite would be paying him -- and so would sponsors eager to get their logos captured by CBS’ high-definition cameras.
I’m not a business major, but that doesn’t sound too bad.
Top 49 Most Influential Men of 2008 (VOTE: including Dana and Spider)
Who have been the most influential men in 2008? Over the past 12 months, which guys have had the biggest impact on the way other men behave, buy and think? We at AM have a good enough idea to have assembled the shortlist of candidates youll find below. Now we need your help in determining the final 49. Follow the steps outlined below to build and submit your own Top 49 list. Your picks will be combined with those of other AM readers and our staff to produce the final list: the Top 49 Most Influential Men of 2008.
Silva Pleads Innocence to Steroid Allegations
EliteXC heavyweight champion Antonio Silva and his representatives have denied allegations that the 28-year-old Brazilian took steroids prior to his July 26 contest against Justin Eilers, and they’re willing to fight to prove it.
On Thursday, the California State Athletic Commission released urinalysis results pointing the finger at the 6-foot-4, nearly 300-pound Brasilia native for Boldenone, an anabolic agent. Silva was immediately suspended for one year and fined $2,500, but may protest the disciplinary action and request a hearing before the commission –- something Silva’s manager, Alex Davis, plans to pursue without hesitation.
“It’s a false positive. He got tested positive for something he didn’t take,” said Davis from his home outside Rio de Janeiro. “I will not let my fighter sit back and be wronged like this. I just won’t.”
Silva was notified of the positive test result Wednesday via a phone call from the CSAC, though Davis said rumors of his fighter’s results had been circulating during a prolonged testing period, which included independent tests of two separate samples conducted by Quest Diagnostics and the World Anti-Doping Agency-approved Laboratoire De Controle Du Dopage in Montreal.
“I did not use the steroid Boldenone, or any other steroid of prohibited substance,” Silva wrote in a prepared statement distributed to Sherdog.com. “I don’t agree and never have agreed with the use of this kind of product in order to win, for this is cheating. I will go to the full extent of my power and the law to prove my innocence in this matter.”
Brock Lesnar vs. Cheick Kongo in November?
Big news, ladies and gents: Our own Jeffrey Lee has tracked down the "International Man of Mystery" himself, Cheick Kongo. Not sure how he did it but good on him for doing so. Stay tuned for his interview with the Frenchman in the coming days.
In the meantime, we leave you with these two little nuggets:
Kongo on Brock Lesnar:
"There's really nothing that worries me too much with Brock Lesnar."
So, wait, are these two behemoths about to get it on?
Well, according to a member of Kongo's management team the answer is yes:
"Cheick has been contacted about his next fight. It should be Lesnar maybe in November or December."
Mikey Gomez Florida's #1 unsigned Mixed Martial Artist
Check out all the Interviews by Penny Buffington on
Here is just part of the Interview from Mikey Gomez who was voted #1 unsigned Fighter in Florida!!!!!!!
"Gomez is fighting Charley Blanchard for the welterweight title. On Thursday August 15, 2008 I spoke with a happy Mikey. He told me, “I am really excited to fight for the Cage Warriors belt. I’m fighting a really tough aponant named Charley Blanchard from American Top Team. I’ve been training really hard for this upcoming belt and now I’m just tweaking up my game in preparation for it.” - Mikey Gomez
Check out the Full interview by Penny Buffington on
5 Fighters You Need to Watch
While some of you may see the brief reprieve we’re enjoying from a whirlwind last few weeks of high-profile throwdowns as a bit of welcome rest for the weary, you’re all wrong. Yes, every last one of you.
Now is the time to discover the fighters you’ve been ignoring, parked in front of your screen researching the next generation while selling your less-than-essential organs for rare fight tapes.
Luckily, I’ve done most of the work for you, finding five of the most pugilistically inclined superstars in the making of whom you’ve probably never heard. In the event you’re familiar with these guys, just smile and nod for the sake of everyone else.
John Alessio: I'm not facing Jake Shields at Sept. 20 EliteXC event
Despite recent reports of EliteXC welterweight champion Jake Shields (21-4-1) defending his title on EliteXC's Sept. 20 card against John Alessio (23-11), the potential challenger today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) he will not be ready in time for the Albuquerque, N.M. event.
Alessio was recently forced to take time off from training after suffering a broken arm in a June victory over veteran Pete Spratt. Now the Xtreme Couture fighter feels it imperative to allow ample time for a full recovery
Jackson Arraignment Postponed
The arraignment of former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (Pictures) has been postponed Friday pending further investigation into his July 15 arrest in Costa Mesa, Calif.
Jackson was arrested on suspicion of felony evading, reckless driving and hit-and-run charges following a chase by authorities that saw elite fighter’s Ford pick-up truck bounce off other vehicles, jump street medians and swerve onto sidewalks, which “caused pedestrians to flee in terror,” according to a Costa Mesa police department report.
Randy Couture’s Pricetag: $6-10 Million
I’d love for the UFC to step up and make the fight [with Fedor Emelianenko] happen. It has the potential to be the biggest mixed martial arts fight to date…It has the potential to do 700,000+ pay-per-view buys which is a helluva lotta money. I think 6-10 [million should be the salary] for each of us and they’re still gonna make a boatload of money on top of that.
Now I am beginning to believe that this fight will never happen. No way any promoter can make it happen at that price tag.
Emelianenko: I’m not the best fighter
One of the most hotly debated topics in mixed martial arts these days is the identity of the world’s best pound-for-pound fighter.
UFC president Dana White insists it’s middleweight champion Anderson Silva. Others consider either UFC lightweight champion B.J. Penn or UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre to be No. 1.
Further down Dana says:
“But we all have to thank him for getting rid of Tim Sylvia. He’d been stinking out the joint the last couple of years and Fedor did everyone a favor by beating him so easily and getting rid of him.”
I thought that was low, even for Dana.
Tito Ortiz actively negotiating with AFFLICTION
LOS ANGELES – At a press luncheon on Tuesday, Affliction vice president Tom Atencio told MMAWeekly.com that negotiations are now underway with former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz. Affliction COO Michael Cohen confirmed that Ortiz is free to negotiate with the upstart company, and was working on a deal with Ortiz’s lawyers.
In an interview with SI.com last week, Ortiz confirmed he was working on a “groundbreaking record contract” with a company assumed to be Affliction. However, the outspoken fighter was a no-show at the press conference for “Day of Reckoning” in Las Vegas. Ortiz still appears to be persona non grata in UFC president Dana White’s book, but on more than one occasion, that has not come between Ortiz and a UFC contract.
As of yet, few details on the negotiation exist, but Atencio initially said the dollar signs associated with the record-breaking contract are the major sticking point.
“We’ve got a contract, and it’s just not feasible,” Atencio said.
Both Atencio and Cohen have fielded interest from a large number of free agents looking to sign with the new promotion. Affliction received a great deal of attention, much of it negative, for the 3-4 million dollars it paid to fighters in its first show, “Banned,” on July 19. Afterwards, Atencio told MMAWeekly.com one of his future concerns was to make sure fighters didn’t look at Affliction as a “cash cow.” And while there’s no doubt Ortiz can sell tickets for Affliction, it would come at a steep premium.
Randy and Fedor meet again. Talks between two camps.
MMAPayout.com has learned that Couture and Emelianenko, along with their respective management teams, have spent a great deal of time together in Los Angeles this week. The purpose of the informal summit is not entirely clear, but one logical goal of the meetings could be the development of a collective strategy moving forward in order to insure that [their] fight takes place, sooner rather than later.
Interesting to see where this goes.
Bull Ropes and BS: 'Respect' and Other Fan Foolery
After a 15-minute emasculation of Heath Herring (Pictures), even in the face of other notable Saturday night happenings, I was fully aware Brock Lesnar (Pictures) was going to dominate my inbox come Sunday morning. However, I expected most of the discussion to be centered on his obvious potential as a heavyweight, with requests for me to impersonate Joe Silva by forecasting Lesnar's future fighting engagements.
Instead, I have been swarmed with and puzzled by dozens and dozens of choleric and venomous messages from incensed fans who have apparently suffered damaged psyches at the hands of Brock Lesnar's in-cage antics.
Jordan Breen talking sense once again...
Affliction Lands Horodecki
In a move that strengthens its roster outside the heavyweight division, the upstart Affliction promotion on Wednesday announced the signing of former International Fight League poster boy Chris Horodecki (Pictures). Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The once-beaten 20-year-old Canadian will make his promotional debut at Affliction “Day of Reckoning” on Oct. 11 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. An opponent has yet to be named. Horodecki (12-1) last competed in April, when he earned a unanimous decision victory against World Championship Fighting veteran Nate Lamotte (Pictures) at an IFL show in East Rutherford, N.J. ...
Dana White and His Rise to Multi-Millions
"When you see Dana White, the bald headed President and co-owner of the UFC on TV, he always leaves you with the same impression. He's loud, obnoxious, confident, and most probably wealthy. You're right about the wealthy, but how much is he worth? "
Most of this is a shot in the dark. I am posting it because there is some cool information about the finances of Dana and the UFC. Like how Dana is a 10% owner of Zuffa.
Bas Rutten On The Demise Of The IFL
In just a few short years the International Fight League went from ambitious concept to reality to demise.
At its best, the promotion helped reintroduce a group of veteran mixed martial arts pioneers to the new era of MMA fans, as well helped jumpstart the career of what would become some of the sport’s best young fighters.
One of the promotion’s first and most prominent figures was former King of Pancrase and Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight titleholder Bas “El Guapo” Rutten.
Starring initially as the head coach of the Los Angeles Anacondas, Rutten then transitioned to a commentator role and ultimately ended up as Vice President of Fighter Operations, and shined with the usual El Guapo flair in each position.
Still, all things come to an end. As such, Rutten has been released from his contract with the company, and now he looks to transition to other things.
Speaking from his adoptive hometown of Los Angeles, Rutten spoke to MMAWeekly about his time in the IFL, his roles in the promotion, and what’s coming down the pipeline for one of MMA’s premier personalities.
MMAWeekly: First off Bas, tell us about your recent release from the IFL.
Bas Rutten: Well, from what I understand, there is no more IFL, right? We’ve been sold, but there’s still some working going on. Exactly what, I have no clue, but the paychecks have stopped coming in. For me it’s stopped and for all the people I knew in the IFL it’s stopped.
I knew the company was struggling. I had gotten emails from people there that had been let go. “Thanks for the great time working together,” and stuff like that. There was a hardcore group left, and once they started getting rid of those people, I knew the end was near. I was aware it was going to happen.
Nick Diaz camp wants KJ Noons but will settle for Hayato ‘Mach’ Sakurai
Elite XC lightweight contender Nick Diaz provided his hometown fans in Stockton, Calif., with an exciting early second round technical knockout win over Thomas “Wildman” Denny last Saturday night during Elite XC: “Unfinished Business.”
The question now is: What is next for the Cesar Gracie jiu-jitsu black belt?
On the surface there are two very obvious answers to that question, both of which involve world titles. Either Diaz will take on Hayato “Mach” Sakurai (32-8-2) in Japan at DREAM 6 for the company’s welterweight gold, or he’ll finally get his redemption fight against Elite XC lightweight champion KJ Noons (7-2).
So which fight is going to happen?
Diaz has made it clear that he enjoys competing in Japan — where he feels the art of this sport is better appreciated and the rules favor more of a traditional martial arts style. He was already supposed to have fought Sakurai at DREAM 5 two weeks ago, but that fight fell through when Diaz learned he was instead going to fight in Stockton for Elite XC.
It seemed obvious that Diaz would have much rather taken on “Mach” for a world title than a mediocre Thomas Denny in a non-title affair, but there’s more to that story than meets the eye.
Not only was he fighting in his hometown an exciting idea for Diaz, but there’s also some hesitation on his part to compete for DREAM since the Japanese based company has yet to pay him a single dime for his May win over Katsuya Inoue at DREAM 3.