Category Archives: UFC

Baroni Released by UFC

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According to Versus.com, the UFC has released Phil Baroni, AKA The New York Bad-Ass.

When I read this on BloodyElbow.com, nothing could have made me happier. Neither I nor m’girl care for this guy because of his persona inside the ring, including the introductions at UFC 125 when he put his sunglasses on just for Bruce Buffer’s pre-fight introductions. However, the video below (an outstanding interview by Ariel Helwani) reminds us that everyone’s human.

Like him or hate him, Phil Baroni works hard to compete in MMA, and was obviously heartbroken even before his (expected) release from the UFC. I may not root for you, Phil, but you have my respect. God bless, and hope to see you back in the UFC soon.

Category: MMA, UFC

Dana White and ESPN

Bloody Elbow reports that Dana White was unhappy with ESPN for reporting UFC 120 results before the fights were broadcast on Spike TV. I really hate spoilers for events, so I agreed with Dana.

Initially.

However, let’s think about this for a minute. As a UFC fan, I was ecstatic when ESPN started reporting results, because their reporting added legitimacy to a sport that is still in its infancy compared to other major league sports.

So, now the UFC is a legitimate sport. And a conflict arose because the results were reported by ESPN as they occurred. Dana was upset because this spoiled the Spike telecast, which was tape delayed.

My question is, Dana, if you want the UFC to become a legitimate sport, why are you tape-delaying events? No other sport does it. Even NHL matches in Europe to start the season are broadcast live at 9:00am.

The solution is NOT to complain about ESPN. The right thing to do, sir, is to broadcast the event live. If you want to run it again during prime time, go right ahead.

But complaining about ESPN, a powerful network with the ability to add or remove legitimacy to your sport, is not going to be productive.

Category: MMA, Sports, UFC

ESPN: No live MMA events in foreseeable future

In the Wednesday MMA Live chat, Jon Anik states there is no plans to air live MMA events on ESPN:

While ESPN UK does air some events, not going to happen for us Yanks anytime soon.

Category: MMA, UFC

UFC 118 at the theater

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M’girl and I usually watch all the UFC events. Sometimes we stay home and order it on PPV, and other times we go out – usually to a sports bar. Thanks to MMA Roundup, we got free tickets to see UFC 118 at the AMC Theaters at Westgate.

I will talk about not only the fights, but first I want to review the experience of seeing UFC in the theater. It was a unique experience…an experience I will probably not repeat unless some changes are made. NOTE: these changes need to be made by Fathom Events and possibly the UFC. These issues are not the fault of AMC.

The first aspect of this I did not care for is the lack of an undercard. For this fight, there were a couple of fights before the PPV shown on Spike. However, the theater did not show these fights. Instead, they showed the countdown show that previously ran on Spike and Directv’s 101 Channel. I believe most of the other people there had seen it before too, because almost everyone was talking to their friends.

I would have liked to seen the undercard live at home, but then I would have been late to see the main card. The theater was about 60-70% full, and showing up at 7pm PDT would have meant sitting in the front rows (blech). We recorded the undercard on our DVR, but didn’t get to see those fights until after we got home from the PPV.

The next consideration about going to the theater is money. First, even though our tickets were free, if we were to purchase them we would have spent $30. The hi-def version at home is $54.95, so the savings for two people would have been about $25…until we figure in the cost of food and drink. The candy, popcorn, and sodas we bought was $21…negating the savings we would have had. It is true that we could have done without the candy and popcorn but drinks were still needed (about $13 for drinks alone). But figure in any more than two people and it would be cheaper to stay home and order it. I do not see reduction of ticket prices as a possibility. I do not think a cheaper price would entice me to do it again, and the theater has to make their money. Since the UFC event takes about 3 hours, the theater should be compensated for about the price of two movies.

After all these issues, we then sat down to enjoy the show. The audio was only coming out of the front speakers when it started, and seemed to improve as the night went on. By the start of the first fight, the audio was one of the positives about the night.

Seeing the fights on the big screen was probably the best part of the experience. Seeing the fighters about 2-3 times actual size was a nice touch, but it was almost too big. At the end of the evening, I would have to say that I am glad to see fights on a screen this size, but I think I prefer the HDTV at home to the big screen. I have watched IMAX 3-D movies with no problems, but watching this type of event on a screen this large this close was a little dizzying at times.

I know this has been a negative review of seeing UFC at the theater, but I believe there is an audience for this. The best audience for this would include: younger people that do not have access to the event at home, people not interested in drinking alcohol while watching the fights, and people that don’t have a lot of friends interested in UFC. I just don’t fit into these groups.

That being said, let’s talk about the card.

The first fight was Marcus Davis and Nate Diaz. Since Bubba has a wee bit o’ Irish in him, I was rooting for Marcus “Irish Hand Grenade” Davis. The first round was fairly even, but turned bloody when a large gash opened up over Davis’ eye after what appeared to be an accidental clash of their heads. The cornermen patched up the cut as much as possible in between the first and second rounds, and after a doctor examined it they continued fighting. It was at this time that Diaz appeared to find his range and landed the better shots. Between Diaz’s strikes and the blood draining into his eye, Davis steadily weakened until Diaz choked him out in the third round. Some question the speed (or lack of speed) of the stoppage as Davis appeared to pass out from the choke about 10 seconds before the ref stopped it.

Next up was Kenny Florian and Gray Maynard. The winner of this fight had previously been promised a shot at the lightweight championship, adding a little more importance to the bout. This fight went to the judges after three rounds, and Maynard won convincingly after taking Florian down repeatedly. This was not the most exciting fight of the night but still interesting.

Demian Maia and Mario Miranda were up next. Maia’s last fight with Anderson Silva was still fresh in everyone’s mind, and expected him to come out fired up. Maia controlled the fight to a unanimous decision after three rounds, but couldn’t finish Miranda, another well-schooled BJJ student. Miranda’s counters to Maia’s submission attempts were nothing less than spectacular, but Maia’s skills were too much of a match for Miranda to gain any momentum.

I think it would be safe to say that no one outside of Boston was watching for either of these fights, though. The moment we were waiting for was finally here: James Toney v Randy Couture. Toney chased Dana White around the country, begging for an opportunity to show that boxing was where the skill was, and the UFC was full of a bunch of chumps. The trash talking continued long after the bout was finally signed, and included Toney dressing up a Couture action figure with an evening gown and purse.

But now was the time for the trash talking to stop and the fighting to start. Couture repeatedly said he would not box Toney, but would take him down and beat him up. Well, Couture could not have predicted it any better. The initial single-leg takedown attempt failed, but seconds later Toney was on his back, receiving the good old ground and pound from the UFC hall of famer. After 3:19 of the crowd chanting “Randy” and “UFC”, Toney either tapped out or begged the referee to stop the arm triangle and the one-sided beating he was enduring. In a post-fight interview, Toney declared that his ground game was “alright”. I know it’s a tired cliché, but between his manner of speech and the self-evaluation of his skills, he clearly acted like a boxer that had taken one too many hits to the brain.

After the fight, Dana White declared the boxing experiment officially over and declared there would be no more boxers fighting in the UFC. Thank God.

It is a little hard to believe that Toney/Couture was not the main event, but that honor was reserved for the UFC Lightweight Championship, a rematch between the former champion BJ Penn and the new champion Frankie Edgar. Many fans, myself included, expected Penn to come out swinging, ready to retake the championship from Edgar. But Penn wasn’t the only improved fighter after having his title taken away. Edgar came out of the dressing room looking more like Clay Guida, displaying the same type of bouncy energy Guida is known for. Edgar moved from side to side in an unpredictable manner, causing Penn to never find his rhythm. Edgar repeatedly took down Penn, and assumed control of the fight for all five rounds. Going into the fifth round, his corner was heard saying “do not let this guy take even one round!”

Knowing that Penn still had great BJJ skills, Goldberg and Rogan emphasized the importance of not letting up; good advice knowing how Anderson Silva beat Chael Sonnen after being dominated for four and a half rounds. By continuing to pressure Penn until the end of the fight, Edgar escaped that fate and won a unanimous decision, 50-45 on every card.

Overall, the card was entertaining, and I’m glad we saw Toney get his butt kicked after all the smack talk. However, I don’t think I’ll be seeing any more fights at the theater.

Category: MMA, UFC

James Toney and MMA

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After seeing a live chat today (http://www.mmafighting.com/2010/07/28/chat-live-with-james-toney/), I have a better appreciation for him. Here’s a quote from that chat:

Everybody has this misconception I don’t like MMA. I love MMA. I love Georges St. Pierre, I love Rich Franklin, I like BJ Penn, I like Anderson Silva, Rampage Jackson, Rashad Evans, I like a ton of these guys. I don’t have a problem with those dudes. MMA is a great sport.

Turns out that Toney isn’t arrogant because he disrepects MMA; he is just full of himself. UFC 118 is gonna be fun to watch.

Category: UFC

UFC 116: Pre-event thoughts

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Dana White has been both lauded and criticized for the way he promotes the UFC. However, he stated in an interview that people have been waiting for years to see a heavyweight title bout with the potential that Lesnar/Carwin carries.

Like him or hate him, he is exactly right.

I grew up watching boxing, and remember watching some of the fights with my dad. It wasn’t my favorite sport at the time but I enjoyed the contests, and looked forward to some of them. Sugar Ray Leonard, Ray “Boom-Boom” Mancini, and some other fighters I can’t remember right now put on some impressive bouts.

However, boxing has become irrelevant. I can’t remember knowing or actively caring about a boxing match. Outta sight, outta mind. Dana is making sure this fate doesn’t happen to the UFC anytime soon.

Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin are two trains with heavy locomotives on the same track heading toward each other at 100 miles per hour. You know the collision is gonna happen, and you can’t wait to see which train is left standing. OK, maybe you aren’t that keyed up about it. But if you’re a UFC fan, a boxing fan, or even a mild sporting fan…the more you  know about this fight, the more you are anticipating it.

For those of you that do not already know, Brock Lesnar is a former WWE wrestler that switched to MMA in 2007. Because of his size and quickness, Lesnar managed to fight for (and win) the UFC Heavyweight Title in his fourth MMA fight. Some were upset because Lesnar got a title fight so quickly, and others (myself included) are not cheering for him because of his brash, often offensive outbursts about his opponent.

Most UFC fighters have great respect for their opponents, and in a world often short of true sportsmanship these fighters have gained a lot of followers. Brock, however, has chosen a different road. Because of his antics, he doesn’t garner as much respect as maybe he should.

Say what you want about the man, but his ability, athleticism and desire cannot be questioned. The improvement in Brock’s game has been tremendous, and if he loses tonight at UFC 116 it will not be from lack of training.

Shane Carwin, on the other hand, is well-spoken, well-mannered, and appears to be a true sportsman. Not only has he won all 12 of his fights, but every fight has ended with plenty of time left in the first round.

The train wreck created by these two men is gonna be intense.

Some other things you need to know about this fight:

  • Brock is fighting for the first time in about a year due to a severe bout of diverticulitis. Ring rust may be a factor.
  • While Lesnar looks like a huge beast (and he is), Carwin’s glove size is bigger.
  • Lesnar won the NCAA Division I wrestling championship in 2000. Carwin won the NCAA Division II wrestling championship the year before. Lesnar is greatly downplaying Carwin’s Division II championship. While I am sure there is a difference between the two in skill levels, I am not sure it is going to matter in 2010. Remember when Lesnar got caught in a heel hook from Frank Mir? A world-class wrestler on top of his game would never have been caught in that hold.
  • Lesnar is a favorite right now in Vegas (odds -145/+125 as of right now) but has lost ground over the past month when he was as high as -200 (http://www.bestbetufc.com/ufc-odds/ufc-116-odds/).

I am calling this one for Carwin. Mostly because I want him to win, but also because I believe his style is much more controlled than Lesnar’s. Brock will come at you like a raging bull but Shane has been very patient and methodical in his victories. Funny to say that about a guy that hasn’t needed any more than one round to put away his opponents.

If you don’t wanna drop the money on PPV ($40+), find a sports bar that will show the fight. BWW and Hooters usually shows UFC fights.

We are visiting some of my wife’s friends from school right now…so not sure how we are going to catch the fights. If we don’t see them tonight, we will catch it later from home.

If you have never seen the UFC or haven’t seen it for years, this is the fight to catch.

Category: UFC

Dana White: “I will cut Anderson Silva”

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Whoa.

Pulled from MMA Roundup’s Facebook feed.

Dana White on Jim Rome is Burning: “if he ever acts like that again in the ring, I will cut him. I don’t care if he’s the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world, I don’t care if he’s the middleweight champion. I will cut him.”

Category: UFC

UFC 110 Fantasy Results

I guess I did alright…ranked 110 out of 17,575 players. Woot!

For those that didn’t get to see the card…wow. You missed a great one. Cro Cop returned to his winning ways against Anthony Perosh, an Aussie that took the fight on two days notice. Ryan Bader knocked out Keith Jardine in the 3rd round with an impressive combination in a very close fight. George Sotiropoulous got a decision over Joe Stevenson in an entertaining fight with lots of action, and what I believe was an underdog win. Wanderlei Silva also went to the judges to get his win over Michael Bisping in another close fight. Finally, Cain Velasquez should get knockout of the night after putting Minotauro Nogueira to sleep in less than 3 minutes.

The UFC continues to impress with the competitiveness of their bouts. What a night!

Category: UFC

UFC 110 Fantasy Picks

Here’s who I’m picking for UFC 110. Which means I’ll fall flat on my face since I’m publishing them.

Bubba's UFC Picks

Category: UFC

UFC 104: Are you upset about something?

It’s Sunday morning, and the hotel room we’re staying is a stone’s throw from LAX. Aimee is still sleeping, and I’m still taking in the experience we had last night. I have to say thanks again to Dana White (@danawhiteufc) for giving me and about 3300 others free tickets to UFC 104 last night. He is obviously being very aggressive in marketing his product, and I’m way too happy as a fan that I got to go.

Most of the fights were very good. At times, fans would boo when action was not moving fast enough, a product of the “I want it now!” fan that the UFC has helped create. However, some of those times the fighters were still working, especially in the case of Machida/Rua. Sometimes, folks, you have to enjoy something for what it is.

There are plenty of writers that are giving recaps of all the matches, so I will focus on the ones that I liked.

Pat Barry gave up 10 pounds, 5 inches in height, and a sizable reach advantage when he fought Antoni Hardonk. However, it only took him a round and a half to gain victory when he punched him out in the second round.

Tempe, AZ resident and former ASU wrestler Ryan Bader fought an entertaining fight against Eric Schafer, a fighter that was described on the broadcast as dangerous because he finds different ways to win. As someone that was rooting for Bader, I got worried during the match that he would lose because he didn’t win in a convincing fashion. Or at least that’s what I thought…because the decision was unanimous.

Anthony “Rumble” Johnson quickly dispatched Yoshiyuki Yoshida. A lot of people, myself included, love Rumble because of his lightning-quick hands with a lot of power behind them. After the fight, Rumble apologized to everyone because he didn’t make weight. I’m sure he’s going to have to forfeit some prize money, but a few pounds isn’t what won the fight.

Possibly the best fight of the night was Spencer Fisher and Joe Stevenson. It didn’t get out of the first round, but Stevenson put on a clinic against a very talented Fisher, and eventually pummeled him into the canvas when he tied up Fisher so effectively that he could rain down elbows to Fisher’s head unimpeded. Very entertaining.

Gleison Tibau defeated Josh Neer in a match that went to the judge’s scorecards. This match was also entertaining, with Tibau taking down Neer repeatedly throughout the 3 rounds. Some of the takedowns were spectacular, including the first when he flipped Neer almost like a hip throw in professional wrestling. However, I wondered about the outcome of this match because the takedowns never resulted in a real advantage for Tibau. Neer may have been taken down, but once down there, Tibau was ineffective, and in some cases suffered more damage than standing up. Tibau, a Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt, was thoroughly frustrated by Neer’s ability to negate any advantage gained by the takedowns.

In pre-fight interviews, Josh Neer stated that he believed Tibau “would waste a lot of energy trying to take me down”. I believe Josh was prepared for Tibau’s style, and rendered him ineffective. However, while Neer was a defensive genius in my book, he had no offense whatsoever. The unanimous decision handed down by the judges for Tibau was justified.

Cain Velasquez defeated Ben Rothwell easily, but not without some controversy. By now, you’ve probably heard the outcry from fans claiming that referee Steve Mazzagatti stopped the fight too early.

I have to tell you a little background of my own opinion on this one. Aimee and I have watched a lot of fights that Mazzagatti has supervised, and his tendency is to let the fights go on way too long. I can’t recall specific fights, but trust me when I say that when we see Steve ref a match, we get drinks and a meal ready, because he ain’t gonna stop it for nuttin’.

So, back to last night. Velasquez is easily taking down Rothwell, and dispensing a lot of damage. However, Rothwell must have had a stone chin and a lot of heart, because he kept getting up, even when Velasquez appeared to have him down for the count. It almost looked like the fight would not get out of the first round, and there is probably at least one or two places where Mazzagatti would have been adequately justified in stopping it. But true to the reputation he has with us, he let it go.

The fighters come out for the second round, and it’s more of the same. Velasquez damaging Rothwell at will, and Rothwell continuing to escape and go back to standing up. Just before the fight was stopped, Cain was dealing more punishment, and Rothwell was starting to stand up. Again. He was almost to his feet when Mazzagatti stepped in and ended the fight, with Rothwell sporting a “what the hell?” look on his face. Rothwell continued to stand there, even after the decision was announced and almost everyone else had vacated the octagon. To his credit, I believe he congratulated Velasquez, and realized that the ref was the reason he was ticked.

Make no mistake about it, folks. To say Velasquez dominated this fight is an understatement. However, that being said, I do not feel he effectively finished Rothwell to the point where the fight should have been stopped. One of the things that makes the UFC so exciting is that one punch by a fighter can turn a loser into a winner in a split second. Could Rothwell have delivered that blow? I believe he could have.

Steve Mazzagatti, as a referee, is charged with mediating a fight and keeping the fighters safe. For that reason, I can’t just say “oh, you stopped it too soon”. However, I am challenging his consistency. To let some fights go on until a fighter’s face is hamburger, and then stop this one as soon as you did, is just ridiculous. You consistency, sir, is what sucks.

Finally, we have Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. In spite of the fans’ boos during some of the fight, this was also extremely entertaining. This was a five round chess match where neither fighter seemed to adequately “solve” the other. After reading some other reviews, I have to say that Rua appeared to be better conditioned than Machida, who was breathing hard after two rounds.

Like every other fan that saw the match, I have to agree that Rua was probably the better fighter last night. However, there are two sayings that come to mind. First is the voice of Dana White and every other boxing coach worth their salt. “Never, NEVER, let a fight go to the judges. You never know what they will see in a match.” So, for all of you that thought the judges should have given the decision to Rua, you have nothing to be upset about.

Furthermore, this is a championship match. Every boxing, wrestling, and MMA fan in the world knows that, in the words of Ric Flair, “if you wanna be the man, you gotta BEAT the man!” Did Rua deliver a convincing beating of “the man”? I do not think that Rua was that much better, justifying a change of the belt. Therefore, I believe the judges made the right decision. However, Rua deserves a lot of credit for his performance, winning the hearts of a lot of Staples Center fans last night.

If you feel ripped off by the decision, rejoice in a late-night tweet sent by Dana White. “I hear you all. They have both agreed to a rematch.”

Well, it’s time for me to get going. I hope you got to watch the fights last night…it was awesome.

Category: UFC