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Posts from — January 2010

Fitch and Koscheck: Crimefighters

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Elvis Presley was an honorary fed. Steven Seagal is a walking a beat in Louisiana. Now, Jon Fitch, Josh Koscheck and their American Kickboxing Academy coach and former UFC fighter Bob Cook were sworn in as honorary police officers in Coal Township, Pennsylvania. Read the whole story here. Seems they’re model-citizen types who give talks to school kids about not doing drugs (although I expect they spend far more time answering questions about fighting Georges St. Pierre). I just can’t get past the look on Koscheck’s face, a class clown kind of smirk, like he’s getting away with something or he’s expecting Ashton Kutcher to interrupt the proceedings. Maybe they should take the Seagal route and start their own reality series.

January 20, 2010   No Comments

MMA takes a step closer to legalization in New York despite a video that does nothing to advance the argument

The UFC has two huge targets for expansion in 2010: New York and Ontario (Toronto, specifically). MMA is currently illegal in both jurisdictions. But that’s about to change, at least in New York.

On Tuesday, NY governor David Paterson unveiled a bill that would lift the thirteen-year ban on MMA in the state, paving the way for the UFC to take Manhattan by the end of the year (assuming the bill clears the necessary hurdles to go into effect).

Now that just leaves Ontario, which is beginning to look increasingly behind-the-times and stodgy and out-of-touch with its refusal to sanction the sport.

Below is a plea to legalize MMA in New York. It’s a flashy promo/documentary created by filmmaker Bobby Razak (the guy behind the cool slow-mo Robert Drysdale flying triangle/armbar TapouT commercials) in conjunction with Mark Ecko of Ecko Unlimited. The problem is the doc just doesn’t work.

It’s preaching to the choir and would do little to convince non-MMA supporters to get behind the sport. It relies on fighters only fans would recognize (Frank Shamrock, Migel Torres) and provides no real information about the sport. And it muddies the water by bringing the situation in Ontario into the picture while relying on commentary from fighters in Montreal (which makes sense if you know the sport up north but again, would be useless in enlightening anybody else). Overall, it makes a nice commercial for Ecko, though.

Now, there’s a possibility that Razak might be making a similar film about legalizing MMA in Ontario. Sounds great – if he can give us more insight into the sport and maybe actually make a solid argument for its legalization, one that non-fans can understand and appreciate.

January 20, 2010   1 Comment

Team Brazil knows Wanderlei Silva needs to beat Michael Bisping

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Talk about Brazilian pride. Check out this video of fighters – Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Anderson Silva, Paulo Thiago, Royler Gracie, Jose Aldo, Thales Leites, etc – sending best wishes to Wanderlei Silva as he prepares to face Michael Bisping at UFC 110. I don’t recall ever seeing such a public declaration of support for a fighter en masse like this, especially preceding such an insignificant fight (there’s no title on the line and the winner is not in line for the next crack at the title).

This public show of support tells me a couple of things – that everybody really wants Wanderlei to win and that Wanderlei needs to win. And he does. The former PRIDE terror (23-4-1) is 1-3 since rejoining the UFC and he’s coming off losses to Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Rich Franklin. And while he’s not in immediate danger of being dropped by the promotion – he’s too big of a fan favourite – he needs to start winning before he stops believing he can win. His friends know it and I’m sure he does, too.

January 20, 2010   No Comments

Brock Lesnar plans summer return

I’m not a huge fan of the word “miracle.” It gets thrown around as carelessly as “genius.” Neither of which apply to Brock Lesnar. Nevertheless, the UFC heavyweight champ is calling his recovery from a hole in his gut (aka diverticulitis) miraculous. Lesnar and UFC boss Dana White were on ESPN’s SportsCenter this morning to say that the fighter has been given a clean bill of health and should be back in the cage to defend his title by this summer.

Former champion Frank Mir and Shane Carwin, who was supposed to fight Lesnar way back at UFC 106, will square off for the interim belt at UFC 111, with the winner advancing against Lesnar upon his return. If neither of those two fighters are able to fight Lesnar (i.e. they’re too injured to be ready for a summer bout), then the winner of Cain Velasquez and Antonio Rodrigo Noguiera will get the shot.

Okay, that’s all well and good. I’m glad Lesnar has recovered and is healthy, and I’m sure White is breathing a huge sigh of relief. But let’s put this in perspective for a second. Lesnar contracted a terrible illness (originally misdiagnosed as the flu and mononucleosis). He was hospitalized, underwent surgery and lost something like forty pounds. Now, he says he’s since packed back on thirty pounds, but it doesn’t take a genius to realize there has to be a greater physical and psychological toll. It remains to be seen exactly what kind of fighter Lesnar will be once he’s back in the cage. Maybe he’ll be exactly as he was, an unstoppable behemoth. Then again, maybe not. So I’d hold off on crediting his recovery to divine intervention.

January 20, 2010   No Comments

Oleg Taktarov sneaks some photos from the set of the Predator remake

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January 18, 2010   1 Comment

Best of PRIDE debuts tonight

Can you imagine a rematch between Strikeforce champ Alistair Overeem and Chuck Liddell? The result would not be the same the second time around, especially when you consider Liddell’s a bit past-his-prime and Overeem is about twice as big as he was when they first fought. Of course, you would never see UFC president Dana White send his best fighters over to Strikeforce to prove which promotion’s tougher. Wish he would, though. That would result in some amazing cross-promotional battles and would be good for everybody, especially the fans.

January 15, 2010   No Comments

A-Team trailer: “It sucks to be you, homey”

There seems to be an awful lot of dramatic build-up implied in the back of Quinton “Rampage” Jackson’s mohawked head. Liam Neeson delivers every line with the leaden sobriety of the Gettysburg Address. And the action feels like leftovers from the GI Joe movie. Where’s the sense of fun that the original series had? I doubt we’ll see Neeson in a Godzilla suit even once. And while the ‘83 GMC van is a nice homage, if I was a kick-ass special forces team blowing shit up while on the run from the law I’d maybe drive a Hummer. Just sayin’.

January 13, 2010   No Comments

Shooto been a contender

I really dig this twenty years of Japanese Shooto highlight video. So many great fights. I also really, really appreciate the fact that whoever put this together didn’t use the typical screeching heavy metal (or hip-hop) soundtrack. This is such a cool juxtaposition of image and sound. Very groovy. Oh, and for you Toronto-area readers, that’s Revolution MMA owner/head instructor Joel Gerson dropping the fight-ending armbar on Japanese NHB legend Rumina Sato at the 41-second mark (it also happened to be Sato’s first-ever loss).

January 12, 2010   No Comments

Video: Mark Coleman trains to fight Randy Couture

January 12, 2010   1 Comment

Quick thoughts on UFC Fight Night 20

Gray Maynard may have out-boxed (barely) and split-decisioned jiu-jitsu brown belt Nate Diaz in the main event, an effort that looked more impressive than it was because of Diaz’s flailing/pawing striking style, but I’d hate to see what would happen to him in a title fight against BJ Penn. There’s just no way the former Michigan State University wrestler could stand and strike with Penn and he just doesn’t have the GSP-calibre takedown ability to grind it out on the ground.

Then again, I’m not sure the other top contender, Frankie Edgar, would fair any better against the Prodigy. While it’s only been rumoured that Edgar will get the nod against Penn at UFC 112, I think tonight’s less-than-stellar – by which I mean less-than-dominant – performance by the still-undefeated Maynard takes him out of the running for the moment.

That was one painful-as-hell armbar submission Evan Dunham slapped on Ultimate Fighter 8 champ Efrain Escudero in the third round of their bout. I have to wonder why Escudero waited so long to tap. He had to know he wasn’t going to get out of it. It was locked in as tight as any armbar can be.

Sure, the Gracies have an honour thing about not tapping and I get the warrior spirit mentality, but come on, Escudero ain’t no Gracie. Better to save the arm so he can fight again and soon. It wasn’t a cheap submission hold, their was no wiggle room. Dunham was twisting apart Escudero’s livelihood and it’s not like he’s at the top of the UFC foodchain cashing six-figure paychecks. I’m not sure he can afford a four- or six-month layoff to heal a broken arm unless he’s got a trust fund he can tap into. Credit to Dunham, too. He gutted out a first-round beating that had him weebled and wobbled only to turn the tables in round two before the Submission of the Night and a perfect 3-0 UFC record.

Ditto Aaron Simpson, who got rocked and was spaghetti-legged for almost the entire first round against Tom Lawlor but managed to dig deep and hold on and survive for a three-round split-decision win and the Fight of the Night bonus. No one would’ve faulted Simpson if he’d collapsed to the canvas after any of the handful of crosses and uppercuts Lawlor landed, but he kept his feet under him, kept moving forward, and Lawlor started gassing late in the second as Simpson shot for takedowns. The crowd may have booed but it was the right call as Simpson clearly had Lawlor beaten in the final frame and oftentimes it’s how you finish a fight that matters most.

And TUF 7 winner Amir Sadollah was in top form as he out-worked Brad Blackburn en route to a unanimous-decision victory to open the televised portion of the card.

Among the prelims, Chris Leben earned a UD win over Jay Silva that could’ve (and should’ve) ended in the first round when Leben worked a rear-naked choke for close to four minutes but couldn’t finish it. Rick Story settled for a split decision over Jesse Lennox while Nick Lentz and Thiago Taveres battled to a majority draw that Tavares would’ve won if he hadn’t nailed Lentz with a brutal groin shot in the third round that cost him a point. Twenty-year-old Canuck Rory MacDonald made his UFC debut by armbarring veteran Mike Guymon in the first round, Rafael dos Anjos outlasted Kyle Bradley for a unanimous-decision win, Gerald Harris TKO’d John Salter in the third round and Nick Catone took a split decision over Jesse Forbes.

January 12, 2010   No Comments

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