When “Gladiator Man” comes on the screen at the beginning of every UFC pay-per-view it is officially guys night out. The mayham might have started earlier, the debauchery well under way, but the dude in the leather skirt and sandals makes it official; it’s fight night. Like the first song you got laid to, G-Man might have been cheesy, low rent and outdated (a throwback to an era of the UFC long passed) but the nostalgic sentimental value was through the roof.
Gladiator Man probably outlasted 99 percent of the fighters he promoted before finally getting a thumbs down from Dana White. Like Randy Couture he just kept coming back, and yes, we were entertained.
In a press conference announcing the UFC’s epic new deal with Fox, White announced that Gladiator Man was going to be the first casualty: “We’re gonna change everything, graphics, show openings for pay-per-views and fight nights. We’re going to enhance the look and feel. The gladiator (PPV) opening is going away.”
So what does this new deal with Fox mean other then the demise of Gladiator Man? Basically, live fights and UFC productions will be available to a larger audience for free (if we are lucky enough to get the Fox spin-off stations FX and Fuel up here in Canada). Does it mean MMA is going more mainstream? That remains to be seen. Just because the fights are on free TV doesn’t necessarily mean more people will watch.
Hopefully, Fox will feel more comfortable promoting a “blood sport” than CBS did when it was hosting Strikeforce and hopefully the UFC will give us awesome cards it might have normally been charging PPV prices for, but this, too, remains to be seen.
August 22, 2011 No Comments
I would normally never let someone drive me to the Hershey Centre, the sports complex in Mississauga, unless they wined and dined me first. A rule I should have heeded. Last night was theScores Fighting Series, the first MMA event fully organized by the network.
The Score had done a great job of promotion leading up to the fights, making video promos of some of the local fighters and giving the event a lot of coverage on their station. But after the shock and awe of UFC 129 at the Rogers Centre (and the smaller yet no-less-remarkable rumble created by The Reckoning at Casino Rama), theScore Fighting Series had big shoes to fill. Of course, there’s no way for a promotion to compete with the UFC juggernaut. That said, I could not help but feel that the event lacked production value.
June 11, 2011 4 Comments
On Facebook a couple of weeks ago, Revolution MMA’s Joel Gerson posted the video of his famous victory over Japanese Shooto legend Rumina Sato. Within hours, good-natured comments about the Jewish fighter and the stunned Japanese crowd appeared.
It got me thinking: In today’s world, the Jewish fighter is an anomaly. Once upon a time, though, Jewish fighters were the norm, not the exception.
The stereotype of the North American Jew tends to be one of intellectual might, not athletic prowess. I am as guilty of thinking this way as anyone else. When I think Jew, the image is more likely to be of starving Holocaust survivors and Woody Allen, than of a boxer or Bugsy Siegel. The Holocaust has left us with the impression of Jews as victims, meekly walking, without protest, to their deaths. This amounts to little more than cultural and historical amnesia on the part of the Jewish community and society as a whole.
May 31, 2011 2 Comments
Every blue moon I come across something that just makes me happy. A gesture, an act of good will or kindness that restores my faith in people. Today, that blue moon was provided by Clinton O’Shea, who will be wearing a pink gi to the South East Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Open to raise money for cancer research. He’ll also shave his head into a hot pink mohawk. You can donate to him online here.
A small but inspirational gesture. Maybe one day I’ll get the stones to wear my pink gi outside the house…
May 10, 2011 No Comments
In the weeks leading up to UFC 129 I was both excited and anxious. The biggest MMA event in North America was in my own backyard, yet I could not help feeling that $400 dollar tickets (plus taxes and Ticketmaster fees) were God’s way of telling me I had too much money.
Inspired by guilt, I sold my UFC tickets last week (and not at a profit). But then I woke up Saturday morning feeling like it was Christmas and there was nothing for me under the tree.
So, with a little luck, I was able to secure tickets at a price I could live with, $200 apiece for front row in the 100 level. Voila, my faith in Santa was restored.
A stacked card is a stacked car, whether watching live or at the bar. The question for me was never GSP or Shields? Aldo or Hominick? Machida or Couture? It was, Can Dana White make live MMA a more intimate experience for 55,000 pumped fans than if they were at home, sitting comfortably on their couches and with a profoundly less-expensive price tag?
May 2, 2011 2 Comments
Casino Rama, in partnership with Knockout Entertainment Canada, had big gloves to fill as it hosted Ontario’s first
sanctioned MMA event on Saturday. On top of making history, MMA: The Reckoning did so at the risk of being a “dog and pony show” compared to the UFC’s “Big Top,” which comes to town on April 30.
Up until this point if Ontario fans wanted to watch MMA it usually meant a road trip to Quebec or flight to Vegas. Having MMA at our doorstep was amazing and Rama and Knockout did a bang up job of putting Ontario’s best foot forward into the cage, at this historic premier event.
Oddly enough, the most recognizable faces at the event were not the fighters but the referees. Names like “Big” John McCarthy, Dan Miragliotta and Yves Lavigne of UFC fame added an air of legitimacy to the evening. The crowd was pumped and the event was near capacity, drawing more paying customers to Rama’s 5,200-seat auditorium than any of the previous 13 boxing shows held there.
The production values were excellent, with the requisite metal music before the fights began, pyrotechnics when the fighters came out and large screens and TV camera work good enough to watch the action when the fights went to the ground.
Despite no major names on the card, most of the fights were excellent. The highlight being the fight of the night between English lightweight Jason “Shotgun” Young and Jorge Britto, from Toronto BJJ (confession time, this is where I train).
If last nights event is any indication, it is evident that sanctioned MMA in Ontario means more than just the UFC, its big names, pomp and circumstance. It also means getting a chance to cheer for local fighters in a more intimate setting at affordable prices. I could not be more excited about it.
April 3, 2011 No Comments
I know, you get asked for donations for so many good causes that it’s just easier to focus on your $4 latte. However, we really encourage you to check out Train for a Cause – Will Ribeiro Recovery at Toronto BJJ this Saturday.
Ribeiro was a WEC fighter who was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident two years ago and is still on the road to recovery. Toronto BJJ head instructor Jorge Britto is a friend of Ribeiro’s and he’s holding an open house class for any person from any academy to attend in order to raise money for his friend. This special seminar will be from 12-2 pm with all donations being transferred to assist the injured fighter.
Please attend and always wear a helmet/condom or anything else that keeps you safe. I’ll stop sounding preachy now…
November 17, 2010 No Comments
I know going to a pro-MMA rally should not be complicated. Throw on ye old Affliction shirt, head down to Queen’s Park, meet up with the guys from the gym, discuss why the United Nations has been conspicuously silent about mixed martial arts not be sanctioned in Ontario, and eyeball the handful of women who might show up.
Fuckin’ right MMA should be legal. So should all consensual crimes (marijuana, prostitution…). My issue is that my fat ass did not make it to Queen’s Park for Darfur, Haiti or any of the other numerous causes that are infinitely more important.
I associate demonstrating at Queen’s Park with social strife and social/political/economic injustice. MMA not being legal in Ontario is to social injustice what McDonalds is to fine dining.
I’m not saying I’m not going, just that if I have time to go to this, I should probably be doing more social activism or community work or at least donating a few bucks to a good cause. If MMA is the cause du jour, I should be conscious that I’m doing better than 99% of the world and should at least consider giving a little something back where it would really make a difference.
May 20, 2010 No Comments
For those with no life there has been some fiery cyber tough talk between a BC blogger named Jonathan Ross and “Showdown” Joe Ferraro. Ross has an issue – several, actually – with the way Ferraro reported on whether the UFC was or was not coming to Vancouver. If you want to read something that will remind you of why you hated high school, check it out. That said, I don’t blame Showdown for his responses in the comments section. He was defending himself. It is all the other losers, including myself, who I find pathetic. My thoughts on Ross’s argument can be found among the mess of other comments from those who should be typing less and trying to get laid more.
April 8, 2010 No Comments
Yesterday, I received a comment in regards to an article I wrote about the Nazi-inspired clothing line Hoelzer Reich and how the neo-Nazi imagery being worn into the ring/cage reflects horribly on the sport of MMA and is unacceptable.
A racist fighter who has been finding it hard to find a fight because he has SS lightning bolt tattoos has taken exception to what I wrote. His comments are relevant to the article and although I find them morally reprehensible, still worthy of printing. If nothing else, it demonstrates that the original article is relevant and the issue of neo-Nazi imagery in the cage is not going to disappear.
I decided to publish his comment within this post and not in the comments section because I do not want to provide a forum for his beliefs without making sure the position of FightingWords.ca is fully addressed. This is not a censorship issue but an editorial standard. It is our blog and we can do with it as we please. The racist fighter can post his opinions on any number of “white is right” sites and even start his own blog if he so desires. Here is the comment verbatim:
“I HAVE WHAT WOULD BE CONSIDERED A RACIAL TATTOO. AS AN AMMATURE FIGHTER I DO FIND IT HARD TO FIND A PROMOTER WITH BIG SS LIGHTENING BOLTS ON MY RIBS. THE PROBLEM RELATED TO THIS IS THE FACT THAT “NON RACISTS” ARE BIGGER BIGGETS THAN RACISTS ARE. IN MY LIFETIME I HAVE FOUND THAT PEOPLE OF COLOR TO BE MORE RACIST THAN ANY WHITE MAN. WE ARE BLAMED FOR COLOR’DS RACIAL PLITE. WE CANT GET A JOB BECAUSE WHITEY HOLDS US BACK. THIS IS 2010. THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR ANY RACE TO NOT BE PRODUCTIVE TO THEIR COMMUNITY. MY TATTOO SIGNIFIES MY FAMILY HISTORY AND THE WHITE MANS STRUGGLE FOR RACIAL FREEDOM AND PURITY. NO DIFFERENT FROM ANY OTHER RACE. YES, WE WENT ABOUT IT IN A SOCIALLY UNACCEPTABLE WAY, JUST REMEMBER THIS, THE WINNER OF WARS CREATE HISTORY IN THEIR OWN VIEW. EVERYONE IS ENTITLED TO THEIR OWN OPINION, AND THOSE WHO EXPRESS THEM OPENLY DESERVE MORE RESPECT THAN THOSE WHO DONT REGUARDLESS OF RACE, COLOR OR CREED. A FIGHTER IS A FIGHTER. REGUARDLESS OF WHERE THEIR HATE IS FROM, ALL FIGHTERS HAVE SOME FORM OF HATE. IF NOT, THERE WOULD NOT BE A UFC.”
I’m a huge believer in freedom of speech, even when people refer to the Holocaust ( the death of six million Jews including millions of women and children) as “A SOCIALLY UNACCEPTABLE WAY.” No one here at FightingWords.ca is denying you your opinions. We are just saying that there are ramifications and consequences for those opinions. In this case, fight promoters (and others) will be horrified by your politics and will not want to give you time inside the cage. It is their opinion (which I hope we both can agree they are entitled to) that while in their employ, you represent their company.
We will have to agree to disagree on everything else. This is fine. The sound of conflicting ideas (no matter how morally reprehensible I find them) is the sound of freedom and to me it is one of the most beautiful sounds in the world.
I do agree with you on one thing: “EVERYONE IS ENTITLED TO THEIR OWN OPINION, AND THOSE WHO EXPRESS THEM OPENLY DESERVE MORE RESPECT THAN THOSE WHO DONT REGUARDLESS OF RACE, COLOR OR CREED.” This is why I sign my name to my work. Meanwhile, I know you only as firstname.lastname@example.org.
April 5, 2010 1 Comment