musings on mixed martial arts, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Muay Thai and all things mano-a-mano
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Posts from — March 2010

Quick hit prediction for tonight’s Florian vs. Gomi tilt at UFC Fight Night 21

After a lackluster UFC 111, my enthusiasm for another event so soon is ebbing. That’s probably a good thing. As I discussed with Joel Gerson from Revolution MMA, it’s the cards with low expectations, like tonight’s UFC Fight Night 21, that often deliver the biggest bang for the buck.

There are two fights worth discussing on the card, a lightweight tilt between Kenny Florian and Takanori Gomi and a heavyweight throwdown between Roy “Big Country” Nelson and Stefan “Skyscraper” Struve. But for our purposes let’s just stick to Florian vs. Gomi (Big Country vs. Skyscraper is such a Laurel & Hardy match-up it’s hard to take it seriously).


FW:
Florian is one of the most well-rounded fighters at 155, great Muay Thai, great jiu-jitsu, and he’s been training alongside Georges St. Pierre. But as long as BJ Penn is in the picture at lightweight, he’ll never be anything more than a gatekeeper. As for Gomi, a former PRIDE champion with plenty of knockout power, he’s searching for one last title shot with a major promotion. So how do you see this fight playing out?

JG: I see a well-prepared and intelligent Florian methodically frustrating Gomi in UFC enemy territory, while he goes on to win by decision in a quick paced, interesting fight. Japanese fighters have often underperformed when fighting overseas for a variety of reasons, whether it be unfamiliarity, jetlag, better competition, or poor overall preparation. I see this being the case here as well.

Gomi’s first foray under the bright lights (and in an octagon) will be a risky venture when put in the cage with a seasoned cage vet like Florian. Florian’s quick footwork and overall striking prowess should keep him safe from Gomi’s heavy, telegraphed punches. Look for a tired Gomi to swing and miss while Kenny bounces around like the energizer bunny, waiting for the right time to throw an elbow from inside the clinch or on the ground, reminding Gomi that he’s not in Shinjuku anymore.

FW: Agreed. I’d love to see Gomi win – I’m not a Florian hater, I just have a soft spot for Japanese fighters, especially the Fireball Kid – and he may, I say may, land a show show stopper here like he did against Jens Pulver back in the day. But Florian is too well-rounded, too experienced and has too good of a training camp to not be able to avoid the big blows and put up a W.

March 31, 2010   No Comments

Totally bad-ass: Couture, Stallone, Willis, Lundgren, Li, Statham, Schwarzenegger…

This trailer is just too much ’80s action awesomeness not to post. All that’s missing is Norris, Van Damme, Seagal, Dudikoff and a little Sho Kosugi.

March 31, 2010   No Comments

Video: GSP’s Under Armour commercial

This newly released Under Armour ad does a good job of distilling the various components that comprise Georges St. Pierre as a mixed martial artist.

There’s the obvious physical elements, the striking, takedowns, grappling, physical conditioning (e.g. those Michael Jordan-level vertical leaps), plus the subtler mental side, the chess-playing, reading Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. Sure, it’s trading on martial arts clichés that pre-date Bruce Lee, but it’s effective and is in keeping with GSP’s spit-and-polish image.

March 30, 2010   No Comments

Wanna fight for the Strikeforce heavyweight title? Just get KO’d by Fedor first

Start your griping now. Turns out all it takes to earn a title shot in Strikeforce is to lose to the top-ranked fighter in your weight class and one of the most-dangerous fighters in the history of MMA. As I wrote about a few weeks ago, there was a rumour that Brett Rogers would get first crack at the long-MIA Strikeforce heavyweight champ Alistair Overeem when he finally decided to grace us with his presence.

Well, Five Ounces of Pain has confirmed that Rogers and Overeem will meet on the April 17 Strikeforce bout. Never mind that Rogers was knocked out by Fedor Emelianenko in his last fight. By that logic, next in line should be Andrei Arlovski, followed by Tim Sylvia, Hong-Man Choi, Matt Lindland, Mark Hunt, Mark Coleman

March 29, 2010   No Comments

Video: GSP and Hardy discuss UFC 111

Funny how welterweight champ Georges St. Pierre looks a bit scratched up while Dan Hardy, whom he beat on for five rounds, looks unscathed. Hardy jokes that he feels fine, uninjured, “a bit more flexible than I was before.”

GSP says he never intended to stand and strike with Hardy (despite saying in interviews leading up to the fight that he was unhappy with never having knocked out an opponent), and that the takedowns and grappling were the intelligent route to victory even if it wasn’t the most fan-satisfying. He lumps Hardy into the same league as Jon Fitch, Thiago Alves and Josh Koscheck, the implication obviously being that GSP is in league of his own. He also hints that his next fight could be a rematch (Fitch? Koscheck?) and moving up to 185 pounds is definitely on his mind.

March 29, 2010   1 Comment

Video: Bendo vs. Cerrone 2

Consider yourself on notice: Book a babysitter, call your buddies, mark on your calendar – you do not want to miss this fight. The first time Ben Henderson met Donald Cerrone at WEC 43 it was the fight of the year. Hands down, no contest. Here’s what I wrote at the time back in October:

Last night’s WEC interim lightweight title bout may not have been the most technical display of mixed martial artistry but it was easily the most-exciting back-and-forth, end-any-second, go-either-way battle not featuring Clay Guida this year. Definitely a Fight of the Year candidate.

Henderson, a 3-1 underdog, survived multiple submission attempts – guillotines, triangles, D’arce chokes, armbars, omo platas, kimuras, the kitchen sink – to earn the five-round unanimous decision victory over Donald Cerrone.

“Survived” is the operative word as Henderson appeared on the verge of being choked out or having his arm separated from his shoulder on several occasions – at one point he spent an uncomfortable, mesmerizing minute locked into a deep arm-triangle choke that had me holding my breath, while a fifth-round kimura mangled his arm into such a horrifying position that there was an audible gasp from the audience when he was able to give the ref the thumbs up before escaping and popping to his feet as fresh as a daisy.

I’m sure Henderson – henceforth and forever to be known as Bendo – requires no oxygen and that when he went to the hospital after the fight for x-rays they came back negative because he has no bones.

March 29, 2010   No Comments

Ontario politicians take sides against province’s “nanny premier” in MMA debate

I missed this story in the Toronto Sun on Sunday because I was still recovering from a few too many during Saturday night’s UFC 111. And let me also preface this by saying that none of this reflects today’s decision by the UFC to abandon plans to hold an event in Vancouver because of the idiocy of a few wrong-headed city councilors.

Toronto is heading toward a civic election in the fall and with MMA becoming a hot-button issue (especially after UFC president Dana White’s visit to the city last week), politicians hoping to get elected or re-elected are choosing sides in the sanctioning debate. From the Sun:

Councillors Joe Pantalone and Giorgio Mammoliti have expressed interest in attracting mixed martial arts to boost tourism and accommodate its many fans.

It’s not for us to apply our view of morality on this issue,” Pantalone said. “These are well-conditioned athletes who basically push their bodies to the limit as a boxer would, as an Olympic champion would.”

As with other athletes, we should demand only that they don’t use drugs and be in good shape, Pantalone said.

“If individuals and the sport are able to provide us with those assurances to our satisfaction as a community, then the sport has to be allowed.”

Pantalone said it’s not a sport he would likely watch, but Toronto is a diverse city that can accommodate a lot of different outlooks and activities.

UFC officials have been lobbying the provincial government for permission to hold matches in Ontario — in particular, a large event in Toronto.

But the UFC is up against an opponent that can’t be conquered with a well-placed kick — political indifference.

Premier Dalton McGuinty repeated his long-standing message this past week that it’s not a priority for his government.

“It’s just not on the agenda for us right now,” McGuinty said.

Mammoliti said the province is “asleep at the switch” because a UFC event would draw tens of thousands of visitors from throughout southern Ontario and the U.S.

“There’s no reason whatsoever in my opinion that it shouldn’t be allowed in Toronto,” he said. “If I become the mayor of the city, the first thing I’d do is pass a resolution that would ask the province to reconsider. And if that doesn’t work, I’d try to figure out how to bring it here anyway.”

Mayoral candidate Rob Ford said he can’t see any good reason the UFC should be frozen out.

An event that can bring in 50,000-100,000 fans would be a boon to businesses, he said.

”I don’t doubt it’s controversial. I don’t like to see two people try to kill each other inside a cage. Some people do — but I don’t think the majority of people like to see that,” Ford said. “But if there’s money to be made, and it’s legal, no one’s forcing you to watch it. It’s your prerogative if you choose to watch it or not.”

Provincial politicians are also entering the fray. Tim Hudak, leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, even went so far as to call Dalton McGuinty a “nanny premier” because he “wants to tell us what kind of dogs we can own, what kind of snacks we can give our kids to take to school, what kind of products we can use on our lawn and now he wants to tell us what kind of sports we can watch in our province.”

Hudak said the province already has a regulatory framework that allows other martial arts and that if he were in charge MMA sanctioning would’ve happened already. “All this requires is directing the consumer minister to make it happen, just as it has in five other provinces, in 41 states and counting.”

March 29, 2010   No Comments

UFC bails on Vancouver

The UFC is dead to Vancouver. Neil Davidson over at the Canadian Press is reporting that due to “insurance and other issues,” the promotion has scrapped plans to hold UFC 116 in the city on June 12 at GM place and is now looking at Cincinnati as a possible venue.

Seems the UFC just got sick of waiting for officials in Vancouver to get their shit together and pulled the plug.

This comes after word surfaced of a discord between the pro-MMA Vancouver Athletic Commission and the city council, which is a mixed bag of supporters and haters with their heads up their asses. According to the Vancouver Sun’s Chris Parry, here are the issues the city council hold-outs have:

First, the city is concerned that a fighter waiver might not be enough to prevent the city from being sued by an injured fighter and so the venue must indemnify the city from any future legal actions. Since all city venues with the exception of BC Place and GM Place are city-owned, that would mean the city has to indemnify the city against itself [for events not held in either of those two locations] – a gordian knot of big enough proportions to have thus far kept the city’s legal team from reaching any decisions. It should also be noted that nobody has ever, in the history of MMA, boxing and associated sports, sued a city for allowing them to take part in a regulated fight, especially after they’ve signed a waiver beforehand. But even if it were a valid issue, surely hockey and boxing would be in the same boat MMA is.

The second issue was [councilor Raymond] Louie’s demand that promoters insure their events for $12 million. That would be six times what a 14,000-seat arena MMA event in Florida needs to be insured for, and would cost smaller promoters so much as to make Vancouver-based MMA events unprofitable no matter how many seats were sold.

In addition to his amendments, Louie is reportedly putting hurdles in place of regulated MMA at the arena end. Numerous promoters, including the Maximum Fighting Championships boss Mark Pavelich from Edmonton, have told me that all discussions they’ve had with the PNE for the purpose of renting city-owned facilities have ground to a halt because, and I quote Pavelich here, “the councilor who runs the PNE board said he won’t allow it.”

Pavelich is fuming, demanding to know why he can’t negotiate a price for use of a public building that, frankly, sits empty more often than not, and would bring tax dollars and arena rental dollars to the city – especially since the by-law that allowed regulation of MMA specifically mentioned that the use of public facilities was welcomed.

Clusterfuck is the best way to describe the situation. Political stupidity is another.The UFC is a business and it has no problem taking its business elsewhere, like back to the United States.

It also sends a horrible message to anyone in Ontario who hopes to see MMA sanctioned there. Now politicians in that province can point across the praires to BC and say, “Look, if laid back, forward-thinking, herb-happy Vancouver thinks MMA is a bad idea then why the hell would we want it in our own backyard?”

March 29, 2010   No Comments

UFC 111: Breaking bad

A couple of days ago, Revolution MMA’s Joel Gerson weighed-in with some pre-fight predictions for Saturday’s UFC 111. It’s only fair he come back for the post-mortem.

FW: On paper, UFC 111 was the most-exciting card since UFC 100. The return of welterweight champ Georges St. Pierre after an eight-month layoff due to a groin injury and the interim heavyweight title bout between Frank Mir and Shane Carwin were each worthy of anchoring their own cards. But once the dust settled I can’t help but feel disappointed, even though the final outcomes weren’t unexpected.

Your prediction for the Carwin vs. Mir bout was prescient. While I waffled a bit, expecting Mir to put up more of a battle, perhaps even get the fight into the second round or on the ground, waters where Carwin would not be comfortable, Carwin never gave him the opportunity. Were you surprised, though, at the ease with which Carwin destroyed Mir? Where did Mir go wrong?

JG: Next week’s winning lottery numbers are…34 56 74 92 01. Send 50 percent of your winnings to the addresses listed at www.revmma.com.

I can’t say I was surprised by Carwin’s dismantling of Mir. I think Mir underestimated how much blunt-force trauma Carwin’s punches could produce in the clinch and the ease with which he would be able to control him and put him against the fence. I also think Carwin did his homework with the help of Greg Jackson and executed a great game plan. The tape is out there on Mir – you know what he’s going to do.

On the flipside, Carwin has yet to leave the first round and his game is still evolving, making it harder to anticipate his patterns and ‘tells.’ People have to keep something in mind: this year and all leading up to this fight, Mir talked nonstop about Brock Lesnar. He was obsessed with him. You can’t do that. As a fighter you have to force yourself to not even mention another fighter’s name if you’re fighting someone else first. He got away with it against Cheick Kongo because of the style match up, but Carwin is just a different man (or pachyderm); and to a point, I think Carwin was much more focused on Mir than he was on Lesnar, which made a difference. It’s all too bad for Mir, who desperately wanted to face Lesnar in what would have been 1) a massive payday for everyone involved, 2) a treat for the fans, and 3) the final fight in a trilogy to cement his legacy as one of the sport’s great heavyweights. Let’s just hope Dana White has arranged round-the-clock supervision of Mir so he doesn’t hang himself with his black belt.

FW: I have to wonder what’s next for Mir (after he gets out of the hospital, of course). I was impressed with his size, his sheer mass, and in the opening moments of the bout I actually feared for Carwin a little bit. And then the fists started flying, the clinch-work and dirty boxing right out of Randy Couture’s playbook came out, and it was like a replay of the last Mir-Lesnar fight.

Carwin had really only fought one quality fighter prior to this – Gabriel Gonzaga – so I thought that lack of experience against a seasoned warrior like Mir could hurt him. Guess I should put away my Magic 8-Ball and relied more on you for picking fights. As for the Carwin-Lesnar title-unification bout, which could happen at UFC 116 on July 3, all I can say is damn Carwin looked tiny beside Brock. Talk about taking the wind out of Carwin’s sails – did you see that flicker of “Oh shit, I have to fight him next?!” cross his eyes when Lesnar entered the cage? Ended Carwin’s victory party real quick.

Speaking of victory party, how much celebrating do you think Georges St. Pierre is doing today? Probably not as much as Dan Hardy. Hardy may have lost the fight, but who could have possibly expected him to last all five rounds and come out of it relatively intact and unscathed? That’s a victory in and of itself, one that will allow Hardy to continue to flap his lips. What Hardy did wasn’t impressive. It’s that what GSP failed to do was so monumentally shockingly unimpressive. Agree or disagree?

JG: Quick – what’s the difference between Jon Fitch and GSP? A gold belt and about $10 million. I kid of course, and I’ll get to Fitch later, but don’t we expect more from our superheroes? They are expected to leap tall buildings in a single bound, rescue small children from the throes of evil, but most important of all, we expect them to finish fights.

GSP went the distance with Thiago Alves, Fitch, Josh Koscheck and now Hardy. Georges may be untouchable at 170, but his inability to finish legit contenders (as well as contenders by default like Hardy) should handicap his ability to sell the main event of a pay-per-view and affect the legacy he leaves behind.

Further, what was with his inability to finish that kimura? Hardy’s arm was done. Hardy fought valiantly against the armbar and managed finally to escape but GSP didn’t have the technical experience to pick the lock that was Hardy’s shoulder, even when there was no real resistance being applied. There was even a point when he was above Hardy and had his hands threaded in the proper grip and was waiting—for what I don’t know—to apply it again (and then Hardy escaped). Either way, he couldn’t manage to get the right angle on the elbow and shoulder and experienced other technical issues when he was at the finish line, while on Hardy’s back or even from side control.

All of this begs the question: does GSP have kill in him? Because he certainly doesn’t have KO power. To contrast, BJ Penn hasn’t won by decision since 2005 (against Renzo Gracie in K-1)! And with the exception of Anderson Silva’s decision win against Thales Leites, who spent most of the fight not fighting, The Spider hasn’t won by decision since 2004 (against Lee Murray in Cage Rage). That should put things in perspective when people discuss GSP’s place in the top pound-for-pound rankings.

What I found was the most surprising about Hardy was the lack of punishment he took on the ground with GSP on top as compared to BJJ legends Penn and Matt Serra. You gotta hand it to Hardy, he avoided taking a lot of damage considering he was on the defensive for 25 straight minutes. Greg Jackson’s curious strategy of staying in the guard until the last 30 seconds (which Georges didn’t follow) might have produced more damage and a quicker ending, but I guess we’ll never know.

So Hardy will get thrown back into the mix, and probably give us an entertaining fight at the end of the year and more interesting sound bites leading up to it, but what’s next for GSP? Are there interesting fights left for him at 170? Because we’ve already seen him beat the top guys, by decision… sigh. Anyway, so when’s Anderson or BJ fighting again?

FW: I think Jake Shields is next for GSP. His contract with Strikeforce expires on April 17 when he fights Dan Henderson and he’s made it very clear he’s interested in the UFC and GSP. But you’re absolutely right when you question GSP’s killer instinct (or lack thereof). He did everything right in that fight – except put Hardy away. He took him down at will, he passed his guard, worked from side control, from mount, chipping away at Hardy but never inflicting any real damage. According to the Fight Metric stats, he scored a career-high number of takedowns (11), submission attempts (6) and positional improvements (26), but his 35 heavy strikes landed is a third of what he landed against Fitch and less than against Penn or Alves.

You can point to Hardy and say, “Wow, I can’t believe he survived that armbar, I can’t believe he survived that kimura,” but it had more to do with GSP’s poor technique than Hardy’s good counter-technique or survivability. GSP even went back to the locker room after the fight and worked on his jiu-jitsu just to sort out what went wrong. And that’s a great idea, in theory.

The problem is, he’s seeking a short-term solution for a short-term problem (i.e. how to finish those particular submissions in that particular fight). Part of his whole “learn from my mistakes” philosophy. But the armbar wasn’t GSP’s problem, the kimura wasn’t the problem. It was his unwillingness to take risks, to stand and strike a bit, soften Hardy up on the feet first, to stay in Hardy’s guard – either standing or on the ground – and drop some bombs.

Ever since he got caught by Serra in their first meeting, he’s been a bit gun shy, afraid to pull the trigger. With Hardy, GSP was obsessed with submitting him. Perhaps it had something to do with Hardy training with former nemesis Matt Serra, a BJJ black belt under GSP’s training partner, Renzo Gracie. Maybe he was focused on honouring the Gracie legacy or something. Clearly he was overly focused on that one thing to the point that it distracted him from the job at hand – winning by whatever means necessary.

Now, GSP’s still one of the most dominating fighters in any weight division. And if I was in the cage I’d be doing whatever it took to ensure that 1) I won the fight, and 2) I sustained as little damage as possible (and not necessarily in that order). So I can’t fault GSP for pulling out the textbook for GSP 101. But I’d like to see him read a few chapters from GSP 201 or 301.

He’s becoming a boring champion, a champion who resembles his public persona – nothing flashy or wild. I don’t get the sense that he’s putting anything on the line when he fights. He and Greg Jackson are like a couple of insurance actuaries determining all the risks and threats and how to neutralize them. It really becomes a cerebral chess match in that regard. But I don’t want to see GSP trade pawns and work toward a stalemate. He needs to clean the board.

As for Hardy, in addition to being surprisingly classy in his post-fight comments, he’s set himself up as a true welterweight contender just by taking GSP the distance and walking away still smiling.

JG: I find there is a pattern with UFCs – the PPVs that look the most interesting on paper and pack the most marketing punch never live up to their billing, and the ones where you couldn’t care less about the fighters or the match-ups end up being the most entertaining. Saturday night’s fights for the most part were the former. The bulk of the fights resembled the no gi trials for the upcoming Abu Dhabi tournament. Grappling, grappling, and oooh look, more grappling.

While I can appreciate good jits and wrestling as much as the next guy, I have a short attention span for non-violence and at some point would like to see someone get lit up. Or take a chance. Or do something new (see: Jon Jones). These 15- or 25-minute positional grinds frustrate the viewer. Some of these fighters should have a PVR disclaimer as a sponsor on their shorts. Fitch for example, is the MMA equivalent of dialogue in an adult movie: it’s probably necessary, but you’re going to fast forward to the good parts anyway. One of my pro fighters had to fill out a form that detailed his background and I was trying to help make it interesting, but he wasn’t getting it. He said, “I’m a fighter.” I said, “No, you’re an entertainer.”

Oh, and poor Mark Bocek got robbed. They really need to do something about the referees and judges. I’m pretty busy, but I’m sure I can squeeze in a UFC here and there if they need a hand…

FW: I wouldn’t say Bocek was robbed. I think he and Dan Miller split the first two rounds and the third was a coin toss. Although Miller says he wouldn’t have been surprised if Bocek had gotten the decision, so I take your point. The officiating has been sketchy, at best, and the more educated the fans become, the more their errors in judgment will get them shredded by everyone from Dana White to the bar stool fanboy. Unfortunately, even as the refereeing and judging improves – and it is improving; if you don’t think so, go back and rewatch some of the UFC cards in the 20s and 30s – it will always be fallible. Look at every other sport, from baseball to hockey to football, there are always bad calls and missed calls. It’s just the nature of the game, any game.

Okay, rant over. And no, I can’t believe I just defended MMA officiating since I’ve been just as vocal about how horrible it is. Maybe it has something to do with all the bad calls that happened in the NHL and the NCAA March Madness this weekend that’s softened me a bit.

You’re right about cards that look good on paper collapsing under the weight of our expectations while others that seem barely worthy of a free Fight Night turn out to be the ones we still remember. Chalk their success up to our low expectations and a general lack of hype, perhaps, or maybe the sense among the fighters that they know they have to put on a good show for the fans and for Dana White.

And that’s what was missing from UFC 111. Save for Carwin and Mir, there was no go-for-broke attitude evident. When a fighter who isn’t even on the card gets the biggest response from the live audience – and I’m talking about Brock Lesnar – you know there’s a problem.

I’m a huge fan of the grappling side of MMA, especially since I’ve gotten deeper into my own jiu-jitsu training and actually have an understanding of what’s happening on the ground and what the fighters are trying to do. But there was a definite fucking need for a few more main card guys to swing for the fences. Just look at the fighters on the undercard who knew they needed to put on a show to please the fans and the UFC brass. Hell, Rousimar Palhares was the most excited fighter the whole night, Hulking out atop the cage after he subbed (and almost snapped) Tomasz Drwal’s ankle, a too-long sub that has earned Palhares a 90-day suspension by the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board. It was disturbing and also compelling, and damn if Palhares wasn’t fired up about fighting. Not so much everybody else.

So who do we blame? The fighters for not stepping outside of their comfort zone, for not abandoning their game plans and going for it? Or Dana White and matchmaker Joe Silva, who put the card together and determined what would make for an entertaining night of fights?

I’m not the one stepping into the cage, so I’m not going to judge the former too harshly. Or not any more harshly than I already have. But from a matchmaking perspective the card was an epic fail. Yet you never hear Dana cop to setting up a bad fight, you never hear him blame Joe Silva for giving us these prolonged hugfests. No, he points the finger at the fighters, he points the finger at the officials, he points his finger at the fans for not appreciating the greatness that is the UFC. Come on, get real.

Who actually thought it was a good idea to put Jon Fitch on the main card? He hasn’t finished a fight in three years. The most-exciting fight he’s ever had was when GSP beat him to a pulp for five rounds. Now he wants another title shot after beating Ben Saunders (who stepped in at the 11th hour to replace Thiago Alves), says he won’t fight his American Kickboxing Academy teammate Josh Koscheck. Refuses to fight him and tells Dana that to his face in front of a bunch of journalists. Bury him on the undercard, I say. Make his fight his way back to a title shot, not grope his way there.

JG: You say that it is our expectations that betray us when we watch these fights, but I’d like to submit another theory: the fighters we don’t know too much about fight like they have nothing to lose. Having said that let’s hope that Demian Maia and Anderson Silva, and BJ Penn and Frankie Edgar consider what’s at stake when they meet at UFC 112 and are able to still please the fans in spite of it.

Bullfight critics row on row
Fill the enormous Plaza de toros
But only one is there who knows
And he is the one who fights the bull.

-Domingo Ortega

March 29, 2010   1 Comment

I definitely don’t hate Frank Mir

Consider this my counter-punch to Jesse Katz’s I hate Shane Carwin story.

His significant submissions and boxing skills aside (and even though he TKO’d one of my favourite fighters, Minotauro Nogueira), I dig the hell out of Frank Mir. He’s brash, blunt, cocky and loves kids and cookies. What’s not to like?

I don’t care that he talks about murdering Brock Lesnar; it’s no different than the kind of bar talk we all engage in while watching the fights, Mir just happens to have a microphone in his face when he does it.

Mir says what he thinks, take it or leave it. He knows how the play the heel as well as the hero. It makes him a personality in the sport, somebody to cheer for or cheer against. You either want to see him win or you want to see him lose, but the strength of his personality forces you to have an opinion one way or the other and often the choice you make about him isn’t based on his abilities as a fighter.

And beneath all that bravado and arrogance (which is not entirely unearned considering his accomplishments in the cage), there’s a genuine person, someone who’s even quite likable. I get the sense that Mir wouldn’t be a bad guy to have over for a barbecue. He’d probably even stand over the grill in a stupid apron and goofy chef’s hat and flip burgers while chatting away. How many other UFC fighters can you say that about?

March 27, 2010   1 Comment

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