Five Greatest Career Turnarounds in MMA
Nothing gets boring faster than perfection, except for perhaps mediocrity. In the realm of fight sport, the sight of an athlete slipping from one into the other is often the fuel for the theater of the unexpected that MMA has become.
While seeing our favorites cast aside after one beating too many is all too common an occurrence, we do occasionally get to see the most moribund of fighters get in touch with their inner "Cinderella Man."
With both James Braddock and a certain "TUF" product in mind, we cast our sights on chronicling the five greatest career turnarounds this young sport has ever seen. So load up for a trip down memory lane and don't forget the Kleenex -- this place is gonna be Niagara Falls in a bit.
Crocop's official statement regarding dream 5
A quote from Crocop from his website at MMA-ID.com
unfortunately I have some bad news? I won't be fighting at DREAM 5 at all. I was about to face Jerome LeBanner but he decided to fight in K1 against Schilt. Mighty Mo was the alternative and I accepted this challenge, but unfortunately Mighty Mo pulled off from the fight. I was ready to face Mo, but maybe this scenario wasn't that bad for me at all and I'll tell you why.
I've been having problems with my right elbow for years and the injury got even worse over last 6 months. I'm already receiving a proper treatment but the recovery won't happen over night. The second problem is a knee injury, something that troubles me for quite a while. I had difficulties using my kicks and over last few weeks I focused more on boxing and grappling. I really wanted to fight on July 21 and I was even ignoring doctor's suggestions, but now I've rached the point from which I can't continue with my normal training regiment due to my injuries.
I was willing to accept the risk of fighting Mo or someone else without being 100% ready fo the fight. I had only one fight this year, I miss big fights and top level competition. I'm eager to get back to the big stage, I still have good fights left in me and I won't give up. I'm not happy with this outcome of course, but at this moment I need to be patient and give some time for my body to recover.
I'm scheduled for arthroscopy tomorrow morning, it's a minor surgical procedure but it will keep me away from MMA trainings for 2-3 weeks probably. From Wednesday I'll focus on my new cardio training program and we'll add MMA elements to my training regiment as soon as my knee will be ready for action.
My goal is to become the first heavyweight champion in DREAM and to do that I need to be ready to fight on September 23. I'm not interested in summer time, vacations or things like that; I'll focus on getting back to shape and hopefully I'll fight in September. I would really like to fight Alistair Overeem, we all know why and I won't let it go. My career is far from being over, I'll be fighting some strong competitors soon again and hopefully I'll meet Fedor in the ring once more in 2009.
Thank you for supporting me and I'll get back to you all soon to keep you updated. "
UFC's Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson becomes a changed man
Just as some began to sense Quinton "Rampage" Jackson was on the downside of his career, Juanito Ibarra saw a man with untapped potential. When other mixed martial artists considered Jackson nothing more than a brawler, Ibarra was convinced he could supply him with an arsenal of self-defense tactics...........
"What I seen in Quinton was just a lot of raw ability and a bad attitude," Ibarra remembers.
"I always said, if this kid can really learn how to be a professional, act like a professional, build a brand and have somebody teach him how to fight . . . he'd be a champion."
Big John McCarthy joins as Affliction's ringside announcer
Former MMA referee "Big" John McCarthy may have retired from working in the UFC Octagon but he will be a color commentator for the July 19th "Affliction Banned" pay-per-view event, featuring the WAMMA heavyweight championship fight between the most lethal MMA heavyweight of all-time, Russian M1 superstar legend Fedor "The Last Emperor" Emelianenko (27-1), and former UFC heavyweight champion Tim "The Maine-iac" Sylvia (24-4), live from Honda Center in Anaheim, California.
Aoki, Imanari and Kawajiri Take to the Mat
Daniel Herbertson was on location in Tokyo to witness the second day of K-1 Max and Dream's Akasaka Fight Festival, where Shinya Aoki (Pictures) and Masakazu Imanari (Pictures) took to the mat for a grappling exhibition.
Also, Tatsuya Kawajiri (Pictures) and Hidehiko Hasegawa (Pictures) displayed some excellent technique.
Diaz-Denny Banked for July 26 CBS-EliteXC
Thomas Denny has no problems walking into the lion's den.
The former King of the Cage champion has agreed to face resident troublemaker Nick Diaz in his hometown of Stockton, Calif. on EliteXC's second CBS-televised card at the Stockton Arena on July 26. Contracts are expected to be inked Tuesday.
The 160-pound bout joins a previously announced matchup between the much-vaunted Jake Shields and former Bodog Fight champion Nick Thompson for the vacant EliteXC welterweight crown.
A self-promoting crowd-pleaser, the "Wildman" has waged over 40 battles in the cage since 1999, including key victories over Tony Fryklund and Olaf Alonso.
Denny's three-fight deal with the Pro Elite promotion kicked off against the single-named muay Thai striker Malaipet on a ShoXC "Elite Challenger Series" card last March. Malaipet was disqualified for elbowing Denny to the back of the head at the conclusion of the first round.
Denny and Diaz had been slated to meet in other organizations on two different occasions.
Anyone insistent that mixed martial arts has more in common with boxing than professional wrestling should learn their alphabet: UFC, IFL, WAMMA, etc.
Like the televised clown convention that is the WWE, the UFC has a stable of athletes unavailable for lending -- kind of like those musty reference books at the library.
That stands in sharp contrast to boxing's business model, which tends to acquiesce to fans' demands. Lennox Lewis was an HBO commodity. Mike Tyson was on Showtime's leash. Yet, the two networks understood that remaining contentious was just leaving money on the table.
With $106 million in the till, the Lewis-Tyson fight was the second most profitable pay-per-view of all time.
MMA's current problem is that no one -- fans, media or otherwise -- are demanding promoters to make important bouts before age and ring wear make them obsolete.
What follows is a list of fighters from disparate promotions that should swap leather before it's too late.
Between viewers or fighters, T.U.F. chooses the former
It's hard to believe more than three years have past since Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar lit up televisions across America during the finale of the inaugural season of The Ultimate Fighter.
On Saturday, the Spike TV reality show completes yet another season -- its seventh -- in a world where mixed martial arts has become a fairly regular installment on television.
Of course, roughly three-and-a-half years ago, that wasn't the case. Few realized it, but the gimmicky show on a network no one had ever heard of was MMA's chance -- maybe even its last chance -- to make it big. While mounting debt put Zuffa, the parent company of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, in a perilous spot, co-owners Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta cobbled together $10 million to pay for one season of the show.
It wasn't some great discovery. Everyone around the sport rightly believed that exposure in large doses of an underappreciated sport was the only way to get MMA off life support and on the path of progression. The problem resided in getting a deal done. Networks weren't interested in taking a risk on something they hadn't a clue about, especially when the targeted audience was unclear.
Thanks to The Ultimate Fighter, we now know that young men take to MMA.
The show's concept was new, or at least the MMA spin was unforseen. There wasn't a template, and everyone seemed to be winging it -- from the fighters to the promoters, and even the producers. Whether it was genius casting or a moment of serendipity, the first group of fighters was special. Not only could most of the guys prove themselves in the cage, but they were also boiling over with personality. From the pranks of Chris Leben and Dana White's infamous "Do you want to be a [deleted expletive] fighter?" speech, to, perhaps, the best battle in T.U.F. history between Griffin and Bonnar, no season has yet to compare...
Stomp & Circumstance: Fedor graduates with degree in butt-kicking
May 4 became a very important day for Fedor as he finished his study as a student of chair of physical training at Belgorod State University. It’s understandable that Fedor’s schedule wouldn’t let him graduate as quickly as other students normally do. The topic of his thesis was “Methodology of physical skills development training 13-15 year old sambo practitioners”. Of course he was in the grip of slight emotion but years of hard training regimen helped him keep his composure while answering the questions with a smile. The topic was chosen intentionally since Fedor himself tried and proved all the methods he offered during his graduate work. By the way, the Fedor Emelianenko’s Sports Academy which is being built in Belgorod will soon test Fedor’s strategies of bringing up the best athletes.
Vera to fight Reese Andy on July 19th
Anderson Silva is about to make the jump.
The UFC middleweight champion has accepted an invitation to move up to the light heavyweight division for a bout with James Irvin at an impromptu UFC event July 19 in Las Vegas. Heavyweight prospect Brandon Vera has also agreed to make a move in the opposite direction -- he'll face former International Fight League rep Reese Andy in a co-featured bout at 205 pounds, multiple sources have confirmed to Sherdog.com.
The event, which is being assembled on five weeks' notice, will air live on Spike TV the same night that Affliction Entertainment hosts its first pay-per-view card, "Banned," at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.
Tito Ortiz-This Is Gonna Hurt...It Certainly Did
I will get to the very few highlights of the book but believe me when I say there weren't many. If half the shit he talked about is true I certainly commend him for picking himself up and making a life for himself. While I have always enjoyed Ortiz's antics and for the most part his fights, I have lost a measure of respect for him as a person.
The book starts out talking about his early childhood, his mother and father were big time potheads. There's a picture of them sitting at a table cutting up marijuana plants. Tito grew up with two older half brothers. This is where his first outrageous claim starts. He says that he was smoking pot and drinking by the time he was 5, I don't know about you but I find that a little ridiculous. If it's true then his older brothers are the biggest dirtbags in the world. He was never a good student because for the most part he skipped a lot of school and was into getting in trouble. Nothing major but petty theft and the like. His parents never tried to hide their drug use and were very open about it. His father was injured at work and was on morphine to dull the pain, when that was no longer working his mom and dad were introduced to Heroin. Their habit was bad and it forced the family to move from place to place, live in motels, people's garages and trailers. Tito had no direction and was getting high and joined a gang.
This behavior continued throughout middle school and it wasn't until early on in High School Tito met a friend named Eric Escobdo who was on the wrestling team, this is where Tito's life began to turn for the better. He kept clean for the most part while wrestling but after the season ended it was right back to the drugs. He did everything but Heroin, he said he would never do that because of what it did to his parents. He was pretty succesful in wrestling right from the start and he really enjoyed it. He met his future wife Kristin while a sophmore and it was just a friendship then it wouldn't turn into love until awhile later. Tito went to jail during the summer of his sophmore year for stealing a car. This was one of many times he had run ins with the law, but as I said they were never anything major. He was very close to going to jail for a long time and he has wrestling to thank for not being involved. His friend Nacho begged him to go on a run with him to do some work for a guy, well he didn;t go because pf practice and his friend was arrested with a million dollars worth of speed, guns and bulletproof vests, his friend got 25 to life.
After high school his mom who was now remarried told him his stepfather wanted him out so he moved in with his stepbrother and his girlfriend. He got a job at a moving company and was miserable. He was still getting high and being a degenerate. He started dealing meth and other drugs and one night at a party he reconnected with Kristin, they started to hang out and that's how they began their love story. Then by chance he was at a bar and ran into an old wrestling coach. He helped Tito get financial aid, hooked him up with the wrestling coach and he was off to Golden West College. Tito started school in 1995 and was a physical education major, he said he would have loved to have been a teacher because he wanted to help kids avoid the pitfalls that life can throw at you. Kristin also attended the same school with him. In his first year he won the state title and led the state with the most pins. It was around this time when he became hooked on watching The UFC. One day while watching an event he recognized a guy he had defeated while in high school, his name was Jerry Bohlander and Tito was amazed.
After the wrestling season ended he was introduced to Tank Abbott who was looking for someone to help him train, so Tito went and trained with Tank for a few weeks. Tank taught how to work the crowd and make yourself a commodity. Tito went back to school and repeated as state champion in 1996. In March of 1997 Tank called Tito asking him if he was interested in fighting on an UFC card. He fought as an amateur so he wouldn't lose his student status. He trained for 6 months with Tank to get ready for his fight. To my surprise his first fight in MMA was not with the UFC, it was to fight in a gym against a BJJ guy, he wanted to test himself. That fight went to a draw.
His first UFC fight was May 30th, 1997 at UFC 13. He fought Wes Albritton a 5th degree black belt in karate. The fight lasted 22 seconds, they clinched Tito took him down and mounted him and nailed him with punches. To his surpise he fought again that night against Guy Mezger. Tito tapped out to a rear naked choke after some back and forth action. After that people started recognizing him and his life would never be the same. He then attended Bakersfield college and it was there that he started another life long problem, cheating on Kristin. With her back in Huntington Beach it was easy. This is also where his relationship with Tank went awry. Tito got into trouble, Tank promised him help and never delivered. He also had problems with the wrestling coach at Bakersfield, they didn't get along at all. He quit school after the season and went back to Huntington Beach and got a job at Spanky's Adult Novelty Store. He had a manager by the name of Saul Garcia who was trying to get him a fight with the UFC but Tank stabbed Tito in the back and said he would never fight for the UFC again if they hired Tito. He took a fight in a warehouse against a guy named Eugen Jackson a veteran of Extreme Fighting Championships. That fight ended up a draw as well.
Tito was fed up and him and his manager went down to Brazil to go see a UFC official named John Peretti, this trip was sponsored and paid for by the owner of Spanky's. After some needling Peretti called Tito and offered him a fight with his old high school opponent Jerry Bohlander. This took place on January 8, 1999 at UFC 18. Tito won by TKO at 14:31. Right before the fight he was approached by a porn production company and they paid him a couple grand to wear a t-shirt htat said I Just ****** Your Ass. This is where the t-shirt thing started. His next fight was on March 5, 1999 at UFC 19 against Guy Mezger once again. He beat him the whole fight and it was stopped at 13:00. That;s when he pulled out the Gay Mezger Is My Bitch shirt and this is where the war with Ken Shamrock started as Tito flipped of Mezger's crew.
Devin Cole Arrested on Charges of First-Degree Rape
Devin Duane Cole, 31, of the 500 block of Pearl Street, Medford. Medford police Saturday arrested Cole on charges of first-degree rape, two counts of first-degree sodomy and two counts of first-degree unlawful sexual penetration. He was lodged in jail on $5 million bail.
Iceman Rx Inc. Scores Major Success with Lyoto Machida During UFC 84
Up and coming Mixed Martial Arts fighter Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida was the talk of the town as he handed Former UFC champion Tito Ortiz a defeat in what was said to be Tito's last UFC fight. Another big winner appears to be Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell's supplement company, Iceman Rx which had secured Lyoto Machida as a spokesperson for their nutritional supplement line prior to the fight.
Although Chuck Liddell and Lyoto Machida share the same weight class, the business relationship was a simple decision for Iceman Rx, as Lyoto is touted to be a rising star in the Mixed Martial Arts world. "I think it's great for Iceman Rx and I'm happy to have Machida, a great competitor and humble fighter, represent Iceman Rx at UFC 84. To see my banner in the ring staring down Tito, an old rival of mine, during the introductions and watching Machida pull out a dominant victory was just icing on the cake," said Liddell when asked about Lyoto wearing the Iceman Rx Brand at UFC 84.
Machida appears to be one of the first marquee fighters added to Team Iceman Rx, as the brand is growing at an incredibly rapid rate and the Iceman Rx Complete 2-Step Package gains a devoted following. When asked about his involvement with the new supplement line Machida said, "I'm honored to be one of the first fighters selected to be a part of Team Iceman Rx." This latest victory in the ring for Iceman Rx serves as a testament to the efficacy of the product as more and more fighters have begun adding the 2-Step package to their workout regimen.
The Pre-Workout formula aids in development of strength, training intensity, and stamina. The post-workout formula helps with muscle recovery, refueling the body and muscle growth. Together they form the patent pending Iceman Rx Complete 2-Step Package.
BJ Penn, Michael Bisping, Urijah Faber and Carlos Condit to visit troops in Afghanistan
UFC Lightweight Champion BJ Penn and middleweight contender Michael Bisping, along with WEC champions Carlos Condit and Urijah Faber, will soon travel to Afghanistan to visit with United States military and other coalition troops stationed there.
Here’s a snip from UFC President Dana White:
“We are honored to send UFC and WEC fighters to visit the men and women of the United States Military. We are pleased to be giving back to such a great cause; many of our fighters have served in the military and understand what a great contribution our troops are making overseas.”
No timetable for the visit or duration of the trip was announced at this time. However, Condit is set to defend his 170-pound title on August 3, meaning it has to happen real soon or after WEC 35.
This is certainly not the first time Zuffa has dispatched a small contingent of its fighters overseas. Randy Couture, Rich Franklin and Rachelle Leah visited troops in Iraq back in 2006. Tito Ortiz and Justin McCully have also been fixtures on recent USO tours.
Remember that the promotion staged a special Spike TV live event in an aircraft hangar at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, Calif., on December 13 that was open only for troops to attend. It featured a main event between Diego Sanchez and Joe Riggs, which the “Nightmare” won via first round knockout.
And there’s also been discussions that the UFC plans to hold a future event on the deck of a Navy aircraft carrier.
JAKKS Pacific® Secures Ultimate Master Toy License For Ultimate Fighting Championship®
MALIBU, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The world leader in fighting action figure toys, JAKKS Pacific, Inc. (Nasdaq:JAKK), announced today that it has signed an exclusive, four year worldwide Master Toy license agreement with the Ultimate Fighting Championship® (UFC®) organization, with a planned product launch expected to commence in 2009.
The new UFC product line from JAKKSTM will be collector-focused, and the license covers UFC legend Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell, Brock Lesnar, Antonio "Minotauro" Nogueira, Michael "The Count" Bisping and UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson "The Spider" Silva, among others. The license also includes the famed UFC Octagon™, and role-play items based on the UFC brand and its classic and current roster of star fighters.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship organization is the world's leading professional mixed martial arts group, regulated by the most prestigious sports regulatory bodies in the United States. UFC live pay-per-view events take place at preeminent destinations including MGM Grand®, MEN Arena, Mandalay Bay® and O2 Arena, and they consistently draw sell-out crowds with record-breaking gates. Presenting more than twelve pay-per-view events per year, the UFC stands as the largest pay-per-view content provider in the country.
The UFC also dominates television with its reality series, The Ultimate Fighter®, now heading into its eighth season. The Ultimate Fighter has reigned supreme for years in the coveted 18-34 male ratings demographic, and it regularly enjoys higher ratings than traditional franchise sports such as the NBA®, NHL® and NASCAR®, as well as NCAA® football and basketball. In partnership with Spike TV® cable network, the UFC also presents ten live UFC® Fight Night™ events and 26 taped programs of the popular program UFC® Unleashed™.
“The UFC is a perfect match for JAKKS, given our extensive expertise in developing and marketing collector driven sports action figures,” said Stephen Berman, President and COO, JAKKS Pacific. “UFC’s enormous and growing popularity amongst adults, coupled with the extensive roster of physically powerful star fighters, gives JAKKS a substantial base to work with, and should be a powerhouse combination for the line. Our objective is to give collectors an authentic UFC experience.”
“We are thrilled to have JAKKS on board as our first official UFC action figure partner,” said Dana White, UFC President. “The demand for UFC is tremendous, and through this relationship with JAKKS, we can present authentic UFC products and have them available to our loyal UFC fans all around the world.”
UFC Could Crush Affliction, Put Brock Lesnar on Spike vs. Fedor Emelianenko on PPV
UFC is the undisputed champion of mixed martial arts promotions, but there are a few organizations that are trying to put some chinks in UFC's armor. EliteXC got a prime time network TV deal, and Affliction has a pay-per-view show next month -- headlined by Fedor Emelianenko -- that will have every bit as much MMA talent on display as a typical UFC pay-per-view show.
But UFC President Dana White could take a huge step to undercut Affliction and show that UFC is still the dominant dog: He could take the Brock Lesnar-Heath Herring fight, which is currently scheduled for UFC 87, August 9 on pay-per-view, and move it to July 19 on free TV or basic cable (most likely Spike), head to head with Affliction's pay-per-view show.
That would crush Affliction. Although I was skeptical about Lesnar when he first signed with UFC, he's undeniably a big draw. He's well-known from his days in the WWE, and MMA fans respect his background as an NCAA wrestling champion. Emelianenko is a much more accomplished MMA fighter than Lesnar, but among American fans, Lesnar's name is bigger than Fedor's, and if the choice is between watching Lesnar on basic cable or paying $50 to watch Fedor, for most fans, that's an easy choice to make.
The Making of a Superstar in Korea
Dong Hyun Kim's impressive May 24 UFC debut was not televised in North America, but in South Korea it was shown live.
And then it was shown again.
And then it was shown again: three times total, with commentary, prior to the resumption of live coverage.
Even before the translator could mangle Kim's responses to Joe Rogan in the postfight interview, YTN, the Korean cable news network, had added "Kim Dong Hyun wins by TKO in first UFC contest" to the news ticker at the bottom of the screen, amid updates on American beef imports and the earthquake in China. KTX trains also added Kim's picture to the queue of rural photographs cycling on the aisle monitors.
Virtually unknown to all but hardcore fight fans, suddenly it seemed as if Kim was on every screen in Korea.