An indie filmmaker may become king of the (MMA) screen
Hollywood has hijacked mixed martial arts. Think Karate Kid meets Bring it On (you know, that cheerleading movie).
According to Never Back Down, the world of underground fighting works a little something like this: boy (and likely Calvin Klein underwear model) moves to a new town. Boy lusts after innocent, cute girl. Boy encounters bully. Boy works his butt off to beat up bully. Boy becomes hero.
"That stuff just doesn't happen in real life," says Bobby Razak. "The guys in the movie are not fighters, the whole story is cheesy, and in my 13, 14 years in MMA, I've never seen any story like that."
For dedicated MMA followers, the film is a double-edged sword, cheaply, and inaccurately, promoting a sport that's growing but still struggling for acceptance. And Razak understands first-hand the battles the sport has endured -- in and out of the cage.
As a former MMA fighter, he not only admires the sport, but also has beared the sport's die-hard regimen. Judo, boxing, martial arts, ultimate fighting -- he's done it all and probably seen it all. And as an independent filmmaker, he's also put it all on screen.
His first documentary, Rites of Passage, which was screened at the Sundance Festival, follows the lives of multiple fighters, combining personal drama with in-the-ring action. Delving into the technique and tactics of MMA, his next film, Pit Fight, was the first to capture bare-knuckle fighting live on 35 mm film. Follow-ups Invincible Warrior and Underground NHB earned him recognition among many in the MMA circle as he followed star Chuck Liddell and John Lewis on their quest for the best techniques and bare-knuckle brawls in Holland.
Warning: there's nothing comparable to "the Iceman" in Never Back Down. Yes, Hollywood's take is, well, tacky, but it's also a big-screen advertisement for the sport. Capturing the real stuff, the hard-core fights and psychological unrest is a task Razak has taken on himself. And so far, his popularity is growing almost as fast the sport itself.
Razak recently inked a deal with Time Warner, the parent company of SI.com, to put his latest mixed martial arts reality series Underground Kings of MMA on the media megacorp's video-on-demand channel. Starting in May, the series will be carried on six cable networks and syndicated across broadband and mobile. That's 22 episodes of complete 24/7 access to the training routines, unseen brawls, mental breakdowns, fighter-manager clashes, legal conflicts and high-profile matchups of many of the MMA's best: Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, Frank Shamrock, Riddick Bowe and Lewis.
Tracking the progress of The Ultimate Fighter 1 contestants - Part I
There is no question that the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ reality series - better known as ‘TUF’ - has been the most influential vehicle for promoting the success of UFC, and to a lesser extent MMA in general, in North America. The careers of most contestants have been boosted like they could have never imagined. Even the ones who never came close to winning were still given a chance to prove their worth in the UFC, and many of the fighters released from the UFC were instantly picked up by smaller organizations simply because of the newly acquired name recognition.
With the show now in it’s seventh season, let’s take a look back at where it all started. The first season of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ took place in 2005, and featured 8 middleweights and 8 lightheavyweights competing for two ’six figure’ contracts with the UFC. Most of the contestants were virtually unknown in the MMA world at the time, yet all are now very familiar names for most fans...
UFC Cuts Three More Fighters
The UFC continues to trim it's roster. According to Dave Meltzer, the promotion dropped three more fighters; Din Thomas, Kuniyoshi Hironaka and Tommy Speer. All three are coming off of losses in the organization and Speer and Hironaka are a combined 1-5 in the UFC. Din Thomas is considering a move down to 145 but may retire according to the report.
UFC Champions Nogueira & Silva To Open New Training Center
UFC interim heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and middleweight champ Anderson Silva will soon open a new mixed-martial-arts academy, Nogueira and Silva Mixed Martial Arts Academy, in Miami. In addition to teaching others, the two title-holders will train together at the center, which officially opens May 16.
Taylor vs. Liaudin part of new UFC 85 card
Despite the loss of its Chuck Liddell vs. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua main event -- and then the loss of a new main event between Liddell and Rashad Evans -- UFC 85 isn't lacking in overall quantity of fights.
Over the weekend the UFC confirmed a previously rumored bout between Paul Taylor (8-3-1 MMA, 1-2 UFC) and Jess Liaudin (12-9 MMA, 2-1 UFC), bringing the total number of rumored bouts for the June 7 event to 13 (with 12 now official).
IMO, another solid matchup made by the ufc. WAR JOE SILVA!
Sherk Talks Steroid Test, Beats Up Some Poor Schmuck
ean Sherk gets a very specific type of look on his face whenever anyone mentions his failed steroid test. I don’t know whether it’s restrained rage or just the last of his patience draining away, but it’s definitely not good. You can see it in this video from FHM, which does its best to clear Sherk of all charges by asserting that the failed test was “pretty obviously a mistake.” I suppose you’ve got to play nice to get footage like this.
Even after that, Sherk still punches the guy in the face a bunch of times. Flattery will get you nowhere with “The Muscle Shark.”
HUERTA PLANS TO WORK AT TEAM JACKSON
The list of fighters who have sought out training and gameplan master Greg Jackson continues to grow as Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight contender, Roger Huerta, is expected to travel to the camp’s home in New Mexico to help him prepare for his August match-up against Kenny Florian.
Pitbull unafraid of Hughes
Even so, Pitbull is not intimidated, and in a talk with GRACIEMAG.com affirms that he is the perfect adversary to take him to his objective: the belt.
“I’m training like mad and I’m really strong with a lot of wind. MMA demands a lot of effort and training to not leave anything to chance. We brought in some wrestlers to train and we’re putting together the right strategy for the fight. To me, experience is what counts. Hughes is already in the UFC Hall of Fame and has only lost to Saint-Pierre. But I’ve been doing this since I was 15 in muay thai and MMA. I can’t be satisfied being just another one, I want to be the best and I’ll only leave dead. They were giving me ever tougher opponents each time and now they send in Matt, but the name doesn’t matter, I’m taking this win for the ATT,” Thiago guaranteed
Joe Lauzon rolls with punches
“I think I won the first round,” the East Bridgewater native said. “If it was at sea level, I think I would have been able to push that pace for all three rounds, but being in Colorado, I couldn’t do it. I came out for the second round and I felt like my legs weighed 1,000 pounds each. I thought I had a good first round, but cardio killed me and a couple of other things just didn’t go my way.”
Quarry discusses new camp, Starnes fight, future challenges
Earlier this month at UFC 83, Nathan "Rock" Quarry (10-2 MMA, 5-1 UFC) used everything from Muay-Thai strikes to a playground taunt en route to earning one of the most lopsided decisions in UFC history. His opponent, "The Ultimate Fighter 3" cast member Kalib Starnes (8-3-1 MMA, 2-3 UFC), has since been released from the UFC, and Quarry is anxious to return to the octagon for an opportunity to again prove himself as a top middleweight contender.
UFC tackles long-term growth issues
he success of the Ultimate Fighting Championship over the past three years has always carried with it one major question: Is this a long-term sport or a short-term fad?
After all, when what was essentially an underground sport suddenly becomes popular based largely on a reality show on a cable station, it’s easy to question its longevity.
Roger Huerta – Leaving ‘Normal’ Behind
For much of his young life, Roger Huerta just wanted to be normal. He wanted to have two parents sitting around the dinner table at night, a white picket fence around a house with a yard, and the type of stability that could be dubbed by some as boring.
Kalib Starnes Explanation
The former UFC fighter had this to say about his performance at UFC 83
"I will say again what I've said before; I had the game plan of circling and moving to stay out of exchanges and to work off of my jab because he hits so hard, to avoid the clinch because he was very strong and I'd taken knees and elbows there in my previous fight, and to throw some kicks as the fight wore on."
i apologize ahead of time if this has already been posted, i didnt have time to look for a previous post
Travis Lutter Wants His Damn Money
Our friend Ariel at MMARated did an audio interview with Travis Lutter shortly after he was cut by the UFC, and if you’re curious about where “The Serial Killer” goes from here you should give it a listen. Lutter still sounds a little dazed by his layoff — and bitter that he was cut while other two-time-losers like Kendall Grove are still in the mix — but there were some interesting revelations. For example:
— After his dismissal, Lutter e-mailed Dana White about the $36,000 that Xyience still owes him. That e-mail has not yet been returned.
— When he said that fans of MMA suck, he was specifically referring to the ones that send him hate mail; according to Travis, the only person who deserves that kind of hate mail is Osama Bin Laden. [ed. note: I know, right? If only we had his address!]
— Since his firing, he’s been called by the IFL and HDNet/Affliction; he’d love to fight Matt Lindland.
— Lutter still doesn’t know why he gassed against Rich Franklin. He also hasn’t watched the fight yet, because he doesn’t feel like it.
— He says “y’know” more than maybe anyone else in the world, ever.
WANDERLEI STRENGTH COACH PREPARING FOR JARDINE
MMAWeekly’s Ivan Canello recently caught up with Wanderlei Silva’s personal strength and conditioning trainer, Rafael Alejarra. Besides Silva, he has or does also train the likes of Antonio Rodrigo and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, Robert Drysdale, an Phil Baroni, among others.
Alejarra discussed the recent performance of Jacare at the DREAM Middleweight Grand Prix, where he won his opening round bout, Silva’s upcoming fight with Keith Jardine at UFC 84, training mixed martial artists, and more.
MMAWeekly.com: What did you think about the Jacare’s fight in the DREAM Middleweight Grand Prix?
Rafael Alejarra: I think Jacare is a complete athlete, even without too much experience in big events. But I am sure that he came to stay. About the fight, everything went exactly how we predicted. Thanks to God, Jacare was strong, explosive and with his technique at a very high level. Because of this, it happened exactly the way we wanted.
MMAWeekly: How was the preparation? Was there anything special to this fight since the opponent changed a few days before the fight?
Alejarra: No, in fact, we don't train for this or that opponent. We train for any kind of opponent, and we had to be well prepared for all situations possible in one fight. Fortunately, we had a positive result.
MMAWeekly: Will Jacare keep the relationship going with you and during Wanderlei’s training?
Alejarra: Yes, he’ll go to Brazil to see his girlfriend and soon he will come to Vegas and will join us to start the training again and help Wanderlei for his next fight.
Rich Franklin may return to Light Heavyweight
“Rich has to make a decision. We’ve certainly considered going to 205 and seeing how he does up there. He’s fought almost everybody in the 185-pound division. There are some guys that he could fight, but if he beats them it knocks them out of title contention. And nobody is looking to see Rich and Anderson Silva 3 right now, including me. He’s not helping the 185-pound division right now by beating everybody up in it. We’ve talked about going to 205 and how would he match up with some of those guys, with a Forrest Griffin or a Keith Jardine. There’s a whole bunch of 205’s that I think would be interesting. In the end, we do what the UFC wants. If they want us to try 205, we’re up for it. If they want to keep us at 185, then we’ll do that too.”
Chris Wilson vs. Steve Bruno
I just read on wikipedia that chris Wilson will be fighting Steve Bruno at UFC 87. Wilson looked very impressive against Jon Fitch at UFC 82, I'll take Wilson RD 2 TKO