Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Dana White: "Rampage Will Fight."

Here are a few comments from Dana White about the "Rampage" Jackson situation. He also touches on the possibility of Brock Lesnar vs. Fedor Emelianenko in the UFC:

As long as we're at it, here's another recent video in which Dana basically says the same things he always does about the future of the UFC and his place in it. The interviewer doesn't let him off the hook too easily, though:

Monday, September 28, 2009

"Slice" vs. Nelson Goes Down This Wednesday On Spike

Sneak Peek: Kimbo Fights

The first two episodes of The Ultimate Fighter 10: Heavyweights have been the highest-rated in T.U.F. history, but Spike hopes to set a new record this Wednesday when a former boatyard brawler, Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson (3-1), takes on a former IFL champion, Roy "Big Country" Nelson (13-4).

Regardless of their opinion of his skill-set, very few MMA fans would call Kimbo's style boring, while, for his part, "Big Country" is the odds-on favorite to win the entire show.

Expect fireworks.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Forrest's First Interview Since Getting Embarrassed At UFC 101

Here it is: the first public statement by Forrest Griffin since he got exposed by Anderson Silva in July. It was arguably the most one-sided loss ever suffered in the octagon by a former UFC champion. I don't want to spoil too much of the video, but I'm not sure why Forrest even bothered to break his silence just to act like a snob for five minutes while doing his best to avoid answering any questions.

I understand that he's generally not the most upbeat guy, but he comes across downright surly here. Which isn't very wise because, at this point, he could use all the fans he can get.

The State of MMA in British Columbia: Welcome To The Wild, Wild West

As 2009 winds to a close, mixed martial arts remains outlawed throughout much of British Columbia. This is because many B.C. municipalities continue to delay the approval of sanctioning. For the most part, the hesitation stems from the negative reputation that MMA earned in its comparatively rule-free, early years. The legislative reluctance is also due to the fact that the average city councilor falls well outside MMA's primary demographic of 18-to-35-year-old sports fans.

Unfortunately for MMA fans, B.C.'s prohibiting municipalities include both Victoria, the province's capital city, and the entire Lower Mainland, its most populous region. This means that, while sanctioned fights are consistently being held in B.C.'s smaller centres, such as Nanaimo, the Southern Interior and Prince George, the majority of fans live hours away from the sites of these events.

The result, as so often occurs in cases of prohibition, has been the rise of an underground MMA scene in B.C. This wave of unsanctioned cage-fighting, which has been particularly prevalent in the Lower Mainland, often results in conditions that are much more dangerous for the fighters involved. It also makes it difficult for the average B.C. MMA fan to even locate a live event.

For example, Valleyfight holds monthly MMA shows at Corky's Liquor Bin on a Native Reserve in Chilliwack, B.C., but that undoubtedly-fine establishment simply isn't frequented by the average Vancouverite. As a result, most fans don't even realize that these fights are occurring in their region.

On Vancouver Island, successful MMA events, like the Armageddon Fighting Championship card that was held recently at Colwood's Bear Mountain Arena, are being held just outside the City of Victoria's jurisdiction. While these fights are well-attended, they must overcome the damaging stigma of being officially unwelcome within the capital's city limits.

But don't despair, change may be just over the legislative horizon.

Last April, Vancouver's city council came close to regulating MMA before shelving the motion at the last minute. Shortly thereafter, representatives from the UFC held closed-door meetings with Vancouver's Mayor, Gregor Robertson, which left them feeling encouraged that MMA would be sanctioned in the city in the very near future.

In fact, the UFC has tentatively scheduled an event for Vancouver in June of 2010. Word is, such an event would be held at GM Place-- the region's largest and most modern arena. Clearly, the UFC brass know something we don't. That fact leaves us with no choice but to desperately hope that their president, Dana White, isn't bluffing when he makes statements like this: "We're heading to Vancouver. We'll be there soon."

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Rory MacDonald Defeats Nick Hinchliffe by K.O., Rd. 2

So far, there are no official descriptions of the fight, but King Of The Cage Canada is reporting on their site that Kelowna's own Rory Macdonald (9-0) has successfully defeated Nick Hincliffe (11-5) by knock-out. The finish came during the second round in the main event of the KOTC: Disturbed card, which was held in Edmonton, Alberta on Friday, September 25th.

What's most impressive about this win is that, while MacDonald is just moving up from lightweight, his opponent has fought as high as light-heavyweight in the past. What's more, despite the fact that the majority of Hinchliff'e's wins have been (T)K.O.'s, while most of MacDonald's victories have come by tapout, it was the younger, smaller, MacDonald who finished their fight with strikes.

Clearly, my confidence in Rory MacDonald was not misplaced. I expect big, big things from him and believe that he'll break into one of the big shows in the near future, possibly even the UFC.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Vitor Leapfrogs Middleweight Contenders?

The L.A. Times website is reporting that the UFC is close to finalizing Vitor "The Phenom" Belfort (19-8) vs. Anderson "The Spider" Silva (25-4) for the main event of UFC 108. This card will serve as the UFC's annual New Year's Eve blow-out and takes place this year on Saturday, January 2nd, 2010.

Some in the MMA community are upset at this announcement. They believe Belfort hasn't done enough to earn this title shot, especially considering that Nate Marquardt (29-8-2) and Dan Henderson (25-7) both scored recent K.O. wins against top middleweight contenders-- at UFC's 102 and 100, respectively.

I can understand the logic of that argument, especially since "The Phenom" has technically never fought at 185 lbs. in the UFC. However, from a financial stand-point, Belfort vs. Silva makes a lot of sense: fans have already seen both Marquardt and Henderson getting handled fairly easily by "The Spider", so there wouldn't be very much interest in watching either rematch.

In my opinion, Henderson and Marquardt should fight each other to determine who truly deserves a second title shot. Heck, they should even schedule that fight at UFC 108. Then we'd have round-one of a four-man tournament on our hands.

UFC 104: Early Thoughts

It's still almost a month away, but I figure it's never too soon to get geared up for a UFC that features Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida (15-0) in the main event.

If you're wondering why Mauricio "Shogun" Rua (18-3) is getting a title shot after going just 2-1 in the octagon, there are actually a couple of good reasons.

First, because the UFC's next best option was probably Rich Franklin (25-5), or Jon Jones (9-0), or...uh...well, there just wasn't anybody else who didn't already have a fight scheduled.

Oh yeah, and it's also because "Shogun" is a certified bad-ass who was once ranked #1 in the world at light-heavyweight. He holds quality wins over Chuck Liddell (21-7), Quinton Jackson (30-7), Antonio "Little Nog" Nogueira (17-3), and Ricardo Arona (14-5), among others.

Rua even went 13-1 against a murderer's row of opponents in Pride FC. His only defeat in that span was due to a fluke arm injury that he sustained against Mark Coleman-- Shogun later avenged that loss at UFC 93. If the best "Shogun" we've seen yet steps into the octagon on October 24th, his striking should be dynamic enough to at least make things interesting.

Having said that, I, like most, fully expect "The Dragon" to officially usher in what Joe Rogan called "The Machida Era" by retaining his belt at UFC 104. Interestingly, no UFC light-heavyweight has successfully defended the title since Quinton Jackson beat Dan Henderson (25-7) by unanimous decision at UFC 75-- over two years ago!

The rest of the card is pretty solid, but I'll have more on those match-ups as we get closer to fight night:

Main Event

Champ Lyoto Machida vs. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua

Main Card

Ben Rothwell vs. Cain Velasquez
Josh Neer vs. Gleison Tibau
Spencer Fisher vs. Joe Stevenson
Anthony Johnson vs. Yoshiyuki Yoshida

Under Card

Yushin Okami vs. Chael Sonnen
Patrick Barry vs. Antoni Hardonk
Rob Kimmons vs. Jorge Rivera
Ryan Bader vs. Eric Schafer
Razak Al-Hassan vs. Kyle Kingsbury
Chase Gormley vs. Stefan Struve

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Is Rampage Really Done?

It's somewhat old news at this point, but I thought I'd weigh in on the retirement of Quinton "Rampage" Jackson (30-7).

What Went Down:

Jackson was scheduled to fight Rashad Evans (13-1-1) this December at UFC 107. It was to be the culmination of their time spent as opposing coaches on The Ultimate Fighter 10: Heavyweights.

Just prior to last week's UFC 103, Rampage announced that he would be unable to fight in December because he'd accepted the role of B.A. Baracus in the new, big-budget A-Team movie.

The sudden loss of a drawing fight for UFC 107 left the UFC scrambling. As a result, B.J. Penn (14-5-1) vs. Diego Sanchez (21-2) was pushed back from UFC 105 to fill the spot at UFC 107. A new fight, Randy Couture (16-10) vs. Brandon Vera (11-3), had to be signed to fill the main event slot at UFC 105.

Anyone familiar with Dana White's modus operandi should know that the UFC president had plenty to say about Jackson's decision. Including, but not limited to:

Rampage is a guy that we’ve obviously taken under our wing over the last few years, we really like him and we’ve really done a lot of good things for him. And for him to do this to me and to pull out and do this goofy A-Team movie man, I’m not happy about it all…They’re not paying him jack. He’s giving up literally millions of dollars to play Mr. T. …Rampage is somebody I consider a friend, he put me in a bad position and I’m not happy about it. He hurt himself, he hurt us. Sometimes, seriously, you have to save these guys from themselves. What he’s doing makes no sense whatsoever.

A few days after Dana made those comments, Jackson dropped the bombshell heard 'round the MMA world:

I'm not like Randy Couture. My body has been getting so many different injuries that I wont be able to fight until my forties & neither do I want to fight that long. So I feel like my second career could be in jeopardy.. so I'm done fighting... I'm gonna miss all my loyal fans but hopefully they'll follow me to my new career & I will gain more loyal fans along the way. & all you hater fans out there can kiss my big black hairy ass! & anybody that don't like what I just said can come try to kick my ass!

That all sounds pretty final, but mere days later Jackson posted this on his official site:

I feel like this whole situation could have been avoided if UFC would have respected me more & rescheduled the fight about a month or more in my hometown, which I know fights can be rescheduled because of the Matt Hughes & Matt Serra was postponed due to injuries. Instead, Dana went on the internet & started talking bad about my decision... I feel like I'm being disrespected. Everything is not about how much money you make. You could be the richest man in the world but if nobody respects you then it don't mean shit.

Bottom Line:

In the end, the two sides don't seem very far apart. Personally, I think a deal can be reached that will result in "Rampage" returning to the octagon in early 2010.

For one thing, Jackson stands to rake in a huge payday from a fight with Rashad. He can say what he wants about money not buying respect, but, at the same time, almost everyone's got a price. Besides that, I believe Quinton genuinely dislikes Rashad, which means he'll be reluctant to forgo the opportunity to, legally and repeatedly, punch Evans in the head.

More on this story as it develops.

Rory MacDonald Is The Real Deal

For those out there who don't already know, Kelowna's Rory MacDonald (8-O) is B.C.'s brightest up-and-coming MMA star.

He's been competing since 2005 and has already captured a lightweight belt for King Of The Cage. These days, the 20-year-old submissions specialist fights at welterweight, where he expects to remain for the foreseeable future.

As you can see above, Rory has a fight this Friday in Edmonton on the KOTC: Destruction card. Realistically, my blog is so new that no one is likely to read this in time to make it to the show, but I'll post again after the fight with the result. For us B.C.'ers the outcome will be acceptable either way, because Rory's opponent is Nanaimo-based fighter, Nick Hinchliffe (11-4).

Seriously though, regardless of tomorrow's result, look for big things from Rory MacDonald in the future. He's the real deal.