Fear and Hope - One Tough Kid
There was always that reflexive twinge, the slight moment’s pause just before he turned the key in the ignition. Dan Miller could not pull out of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia without some pangs of guilt coursing through him. Sitting there alone in his car, he wondered aloud if taking the 120-minute trek up the New Jersey Turnpike to train was worth it. The same questions repeatedly stabbed at him: “Am I doing the right thing? Should I leave her alone? Should I leave him alone?”
Miller always found himself somewhere else during that time, never in the moment, never thinking of himself; whether it was alone in the car staring at the radio grill or bouncing his way toward the Octagon. His mind invariably wandered somewhere else, back to his son, back to little Danny and how he was doing.
Those terrible days were punctuated by constant uncertainty, as Miller tried convincing himself something better had to come; it was bound to come. However, the alone times were the most painful for him, the nadir of what is gradually turning into -- hopefully -- a remarkable, inspiring, uplifting situation.
Miller has experienced a tragedy no parent ever wants to endure: losing his day-old daughter, Alexis. A year after her passing, Miller found himself clutching strength again he never knew he had, when his son, Danny Jr., became gravely sick in March 2010 while battling Polycystic Kidney Disease, a life-threatening disorder which enlarges the kidneys and affects an estimated 12.5 million people worldwide. Miller was not about to bend, not to PKD or the physical demands of his job as a mixed martial artist.
It did not matter that he had fights coming up against Michael Bisping, Demian Maia or Chael Sonnen. Miller was not about to make excuses or let on about what he was going through. It did not matter that he was a late substitute to fight former middleweight King of Pancrase Nate Marquardt at UFC 128. He lost all four fights, yet you never heard a peep from Miller or his team. There was no way you would, no way he would even consider taking some time off, not when there were fights to be had and the constant pressure of paying for little Danny’s exorbitant medical costs looming over him, screaming at him.
Forget Instant Replay
Using video or instant replay to decide a critical element of a mixed martial arts fight is an interesting idea, but it’s not necessary. Let the referees make their decisions, rightly or wrongly, and live with it.
UFC president Dana White indicated following UFC 142 that video replay would be considered in the wake of the controversial decision made by referee Mario Yamasaki to disqualify Erick Silva following his apparent victory over Carlo Prater for illegal strikes to the back of the head.
Yamasaki, a veteran referee, made the decision on the spur of the moment, and afterward he was criticized by announcer Joe Rogan. White also tweeted that he thought Yamasaki made the wrong call and later paid Silva his win bonus.
Effectively, Yamasaki has been thrown under the bus for what he believed to be the right call.
If you use video replay, based on how it’s implemented in other sports, a call can only be overturned based on conclusive evidence. And it’s the referee who normally overturns it, although some sports go to a command central, which is an independent board that makes the final ruling.
In this case, a video replay would have to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Silva did not, in fact, hit Prater in the back of the head and thus overturn his disqualification. It appeared that Silva hit Prater at least once and possibly two or three times -- even Rogan, an educated and respected analyst in MMA, could not say for sure. So, based on that result, would the evidence have been conclusive enough to overturn Yamasaki’s decision? No.
Chael Sonnen Is A Huge Early Favorite Over Michael Bisping, Weidman Favored Over Maia
Yesterday was a busy day in the world of MMA, and one of the major stories was the UFC on Fox 2 card getting re-shuffled when Mark Munoz was forced out of his bout with Chael Sonnen. Sonnen now faces Michael Bisping, and Demian Maia will now face undefeated prospect Chris Weidman on the main card. Not long after the changes were made, the betting lines came out for the new matchups and the Sonnen/Bisping like is pretty crazy at first glance (line via Bodog.ca):
The third fight on the main card will feature prospect Chris Weidman taking Demian Maia, and while many are stating that it's too early for Weidman to take such a tough bout, the guys who set the lines (Bodog in this case) feel a bit differently:
Source: Cain Velasquez vs. Antonio Silva not happening
A heavily rumored matchup between former UFC heavyweight champ Cain Velasquez (9-1 MMA, 7-0 UFC) and Antonio Silva (16-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC) is not happening, a source today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
The bout was reportedly targeted for April, when the UFC is scheduled to return to Atlanta for UFC 146.
While Silva is still targeted to make his octagon debut on that month, his opponent is undetermined.
With fighter pay in spotlight, UFC vets shed light on life in octagon's middle-class
For three of the UFC's rank and file, the bottom line rarely ends at "show" and "win."
Sponsorships, performance bonuses, and discretionary bonuses help to line the pockets of George Roop, Jacob Volkmann and Nam Phan.
They are not millionaires. But despite a wide disparity in pay with their headliner counterparts, figures disclosed by the fighters painted an upper-middle-class living.
Pay-per-view dollars are, for now, a faraway dream that Roop, Volkmann and Phan hope to realize. They have won and lost and are no strangers to the preliminary card. They draw hardcore interest but are known by a casual few.
Featherweight Roop, a veteran of "The Ultimate Fighter 8," has fought nine times in the now-defunct WEC and UFC and carries a record of 3-5-1 under the Zuffa-owned promotions. Lightweight Volkmann signed with the promotion in 2009 and has fought seven times in the UFC, where he's amassed a 5-2 record including five consecutive wins inside the octagon. Phan, a veteran of "The Ultimate Fighter 12," has fought four times in the UFC as a featherweight and carries a 1-3 record.
Thirty-nine millionaires have been created by the promotion, according to UFC executive Lorenzo Fertitta, who defended his company's pay structure in a controversial segment aired on Sunday for ESPN's "Outside the Lines." Responding to charges that top stars are compensated handsomely while lower-tier fighters risk life and limb for as low as $6,000 a fight, he said the company shares around 50 percent of its revenue with athletes under contract.
Roop, Volkmann and Phan's guaranteed pay leans toward the lower end of what fighters make in the promotion.
But they're not struggling...
Munoz Right Elbow Will Require Surgery - Recovery Time Unknown
Middleweight contender Mark Munoz has withdrawn from a No. 1 contender fight against Chael Sonnen at UFC on Fox 2 on Jan. 28 due to an injured right elbow.
Munoz (12-2) was flown to UFC headquarters in Las Vegas last week to meet with physicians. The injury will require the 33-year-old fighter to have surgery. His recovery time is currently unknown.
Fighter Pay Explained By Former UFC Fighter Sean McCorkle
Sean McCorkle's UFC career fits a somewhat standard UFC model. He was able to manage a win over Mark Hunt in his promotional debut, dropped back-to-back fights to Stefan Struve and Christian Morecraft and was released. He fits comfortably into that mid-tier fighter who couldn't quite make it in the UFC. In other words, he is very similar to the fighters in the range that the recent ESPN "Outside the Lines" feature focused on in terms of potentially being underpaid.
McCorkle hit up The Underground to defend the UFC's pay structure and to give some details about how he was paid during his time in the promotion:
During my 3 fight stint with the UFC the paid me exactly 150% what they were contractually obligated to pay me. That is without a KO/Sub/Fight of the night bonus of any kind. That is even though I lost 2 of my 3 fights.
I got a discretionary bonus after all 3 of my fights, even an amount equal to my what would have been my win bonus after my embarrassing performance against Stephan Struve. I was told that was given to me based strictly on the effort I put in to promoting the fight, and not because of how I performed.
I am currently unaware of any pro sports franchise that pays any player more money than they are obligated to do so.
Sponsorship wise during those 3 fights I made an average each fight of about 75% of what I was contracted to be paid by the UFC. So if my purse for fighting was $10,000 I made approximately $7,500 in sponsors on average.
Take an average fighter's reported pay for a televised fight, and double it, and you'll have a rough number of the amount he made on that fight. So if a guy is reported at $12,000 to show, and $12,000 to win, chances are he'll make around $50,000 by the time it's all said and done for that fight.
Sean McCorkle Thinks MMA Should Do Away With Drug Testing
UFC fighter Sean McCorkle, who has always been known for his blunt honesty, has another idea, though. If it were up to him, McCorkle would level the playing field by doing away with drug testing completely.
"What you end up with is a situation of where the guys who are beating the test, where the guys who can afford to get a doctor to prescribe whatever they want, where the guys who have access to stuff, they have an unfair advantage already," he said on Tuesday's edition of The MMA Hour. "I think we'd be pretty naive to think that every person who's ever taken anything was caught. So I think, to me, in all professional sports, I say, let guys do whatever they want to do and be done with it. I don't think anybody's going to make or break their career based on steroids unless you're talking about longevity, because to my understanding, the majority of them are used for recovery from injury."
"There's stuff at [nutrition store] GNC that will make you pee hot for a PED, and it's not necessarily something that's going to enhance your performance at all," he said. "It's just something that's banned."
UFC 145 - Montreal show postponed/fights moved to April
MONTREAL -- The UFC has postponed its March show in Montreal.
UFC 145 was scheduled for March 24 at the Bell Centre. But the UFC scrapped it for now, citing scheduling complications and a desire to deliver a "championship card."
UFC director of Canadian operations Tom Wright says he expects Montreal to stage a show later this year.
Most of the fights announced for the March show will be shifted to a card set for April in Atlanta.
Miragliotta stands behind stand-ups, rules out any UFC involvement in decisions
Dan Miragliotta hasn't yet sat down to watch the replay of this past Saturday's UFC 142 bout between Vitor Belfort and Anthony Johnson, but as the contest's referee, he remembers it vividly in his mind.
"If there's two guys on the ground that aren't doing anything or if they're in a takedown position and they're just very tired so they're leaning against each other and they're not going for a single-leg or they're not trying something different to change their position, I give them some time," Miragliotta today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "I warn them, and then I'll separate them."
Miragliotta's critics say his three restart calls, two that came with Johnson in top position and one with "Rumble" in a takedown position against the cage, were unfair and far too hasty, but the referee said he felt his decisions were all warranted.
"[Johnson] established position and then just held his wrist and laid on top of him," Miragliotta said. "He had that one real nice, heavy punch that kind of busted up Vitor's face in the very early beginning of the first round, and then after that his takedowns had just kind of stopped."
Some critics suggested the rowdy HSBC Arena crowd had something to do with Miragliotta's calls. After all, the arena was decidedly pro-Belfort and made it clear they weren't enjoying Johnson's time on top.
Miragliotta, a veteran of big fights all over the world, said that simply isn't true.
"Honestly, the way the fans were screaming and hollering for the fight, I don't think it would have mattered if it was up or down," Miragliotta said. "They were just into the fight. I don't listen to the crowd. They don't bother me."
All UFC/Strikeforce signees must undergo pre-contract drug screenings for PEDs
Zuffa is making it a bit more difficult to become a UFC or Strikeforce fighter.
Officials today announced that all potential UFC and Strikeforce fighters, including those who compete on "The Ultimate Fighter" reality series, must first pass a mandatory pre-contract screening for performance-enhancing drugs.
The policy has been put into immediate effect.
Once signed, fighters will undergo the normal event-related drug testing performed by state athletic commissions (or outside agencies Zuffa hires when no regulatory body is available in a specific region, such as Brazil and the U.K.).
Strikeforce's 'King Mo' Lawal tests positive for anabolic steroid, fighter denies use
Former Strikeforce light-heavyweight champion Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal tested positive for the anabolic steroid Drostanolone at the Jan. 7 "Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Jardine" event.
That's according to Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Keith Kizer, who today emailed the event's drug-testing results to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
When today contacted by MMAjunkie.com, Lawal denied using any banned substances.
Drostanolone (also known as Drolban or Masteron) often is used as a diuretic among weight-cutting athletes, according to various online sources.
PRIDE and Strikeforce vet Miltinho Vieira signs with UFC
Miltinho Vieira (13-7-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC), a veteran competitor who's credited with the invention of the anaconda choke, has signed a four-fight deal with the UFC.
The fighter's management team at Alchemist Management today announced the deal.
No debut date or opponent have been announced for the featherweight fighter.
However, Vieira, a native Brazilian, is certainly a possibility for the UFC's planned June return to Brazil, which takes place in Sao Paulo.
UFC champ St-Pierre anticipates November return, prefers to fight Diaz
Following knee surgery for a torn ACL and damaged meniscus, UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre currently is planning for a November return to the cage.
St-Pierre laid out the plans on Monday's new edition of "Inside MMA" on HDNet.
And upon his return, St-Pierre said he'd rather fight Nick Diaz than his upcoming UFC 143 opponent, Carlos Condit.
"Hard training will be in July, and fighting again – the timing to get back – I would say beginning of November," he said. "Late October or the beginning of November, that'd be great."
Now, upon his returned, St-Pierre (22-2 MMA, 16-2 UFC) hopes Diaz is the one holding the interim title.
"Carlos Condit is a very nice guy ... and I like him a lot, but the reason I wish for Nick Diaz to win that fight is because I want to fight Nick Diaz," he said. "I hope the best man will win, and if the best man is Nick Diaz, I will appreciate it more because it will be a better buildup for the fight."
After tough loss, UFC on FX 1 headliner Jim Miller hopes for quicker road to contention
Jim Miller kept secret the fact that he was suffering from mono and had developed a kidney infection cutting weight to fight Ben Henderson five months ago.
Still, he blames himself for not fighting better.
"I've never felt like that and hope to never feel like that again, inside or outside the octagon," Miller told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio).
Miller threw submission attempt after submission attempt at Henderson when they fought in the co-main event of UFC on Versus 5. He said a kneebar was his in the second round. But the strength to finish the joint lock wasn't there; he was tired after two rounds of warm-up backstage and too debilitated to hold on.
Any other night, and who knows?
"I stepped into the octagon, and there was never that tingle, that feeling of adrenaline," he said. "So I knew something was off, and I feel I should have adapted to it. I should have fought more conservatively and tried to get dominant positions and not expend so much energy hunting for that finish the whole fight."
Buddy Roberts vs. Sean Loeffler Confirmed For UFC on FUEL TV 1
Officials with the Ultimate Fighting Championship have confirmed a previously reported middleweight bout between newcomers Buddy Roberts (11-2) and Sean ‘The Destroyer’ Loeffler (25-5) for next months UFC on FUEL TV 1 event.
The promotion announced the news via Twitter (@ufc) on Monday.
- Middleweight matchup: @seanloeffler vs. @THEBUDDYROBERTS at UFC on @FUELTV in Omaha next month
Kenny Florian tapped color commentator for UFC broadcasting 'B team'
Kenny Florian has officially been tapped the color commentator for the UFC's second broadcast team.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) today confirmed the new position with UFC officials.
Florian, a current UFC fighter and three-time title challenger, debuts with play-by-plan man and fellow recent hire Jon Anik at Friday's UFC on FX 1 event.
Anik and Florian will handle all broadcast duties not taken by the primary team of Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan. Most of the "B team's" events will air on FX, such as Friday's show at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena, and FUEL TV. Both are FOX-owned channels that have taken over the smaller UFC events that previously aired on Spike TV and Versus.
Florian, 35, is no stranger to the broadcast booth. The fighter, who previously hosted "MMA Live" on ESPN (with Anik) and now anchors "UFC Tonight" on FUEL TV (with Todd Harris), previously has filled in for Rogan. For example, when "Fear Factor" taping prevented Rogan from attending this past August's UFC 134 event, Florian filled in as the night's color commentator.