What the fuck is up with UFC 85?!

Just read that Evans will be out of the event altogether. Surely this makes it the most botched card in history?

Shogun vs. Liddell was originally the main event. Then Shogun’s knee explodes so he is out.

Evans steps in to replace Shogun and face Chuck.

Then, Chuck pulls out due to his hamstring crumbling away and his leg beginning to resemble that of an aging stripper.

James Irvin comes in to replace Chuck, to face Evans.

Now James Irvin has pulled out due to a foot injury leaving Rashad holding his balls, thus the UFC scrapped the fight, fearing that if they replaced any more replacement replacement fighters with replacements then they’d have to change the subtitle of the event to UFC 85: THE REPLACEMENTS.

Just so that’s clear:

Shogun vs. Liddell. Shoguns pulls out. Evans vs. Liddell. Liddell pulls out. Irvin vs. Evans. Irvin pulls out. Evans pulls out.

The resulting fight would have been so far away from the super ultra mega bout that Liddell vs. Shogun was going to be, it would have been RI-DICULOUS.

Leben also had to pull out of his fight with Michael Bisping because of some old drunk driving conviction giving him hassle.

RI-DIC!

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World MMA Awards

Headed up by Martial Farts commentator (important title, that) Hywel Teague, Fighters Only Magazine is pretty much the coolest MMA magazine I’ve ever read. And I’m not just saying that because they have published two of my articles.

They have organised something that every MMA fan should check out…

The World MMA Awards.

In their words:

Fighters Only announce first World MMA Awards

Fighters Only, The UK’s Only Mixed Martial Arts and Lifestyle Magazine, is proud to announce plans for the first World Mixed Martial Arts Awards.

In a move that reflects the development and growth of the Sport and the Magazine, Fighters Only will organise and host an event that acknowledges outstanding achievements and efforts in MMA worldwide. Fighters, promoters and industry individuals will be eligible to win in a variety of categories that reflect their accomplishments in the sport.

The first World MMA Awards will be held in December 2008 with winners being nominated and chosen by fans throughout the year online. Using state of the art software Fighters Only will accept open nominations from May 2008 and the top 5 nominations in each category will be short listed for fans to choose from when nominations end on 31st July 2008. Fans who nominated will then be asked to vote for their winner from the shortlist.

Fighters Only Managing Director Rob Hewitt:

“The last 12 months have seen huge developments in MMA on a global level. We feel that now is the right time to launch an annual award ceremony which focuses on all that is great in this sport. Fighters Only have been innovators in terms of the feature and coverage that we provide to our readers, traditionally in our magazine and now on our website, and it is only natural that we should continue to blaze a trail by organising what is another first in the industry.”

“MMA fans are the best in the world and we feel that these Awards will give those fans a voice in the industry by allowing them to directly show their appreciation for the men and women who make this sport the best in the world.”

The World Mixed Martial Arts Awards website can be found at:

http://www.onlineawards.co.uk/fightersonly/home.asp

For further information contact:

Jim Burman

(+44) 7970 868333

Jb.i2media@gmail.com

Fighters Only Website:

www.fightersonlymag.com

Now that’s something I can get behind.

Get out there and vote, snotfaces…

DREAM matches!

I’ve just cast my votes over at the DREAM website for who I think should fight next in the middle and lightweight GPS.

You can do the same!

Head here for the middleweight matchups, and here for the lightweights.

It’s really easy, the fighters’ names appear in the dropdown menu in the same order that they appear in the picture above. You will see the fighter’s picture once you select him, anyway.

Once you are done, press the big blue button at the bottom.

Here are my pics.

Middleweight:

I have Kin Taei-whatsisname against Mousasi. I think this could be a good fight and hope that Mousasi get’s through it.

Then the Dongbar against Zelg Galesic, who I think is awesome and showed much improved ground skills in his last outing. I think the Dongbar will take it though, as Galesic is too green to be winning any GPs just yet.

I’ve got Sakuraba against Mayhem, because I think that would be an awesome fight and I think there would be some lovely-jubbly jiu jitsu on display there.

And Jacare vs. Tamura, which I think will be a great fight, and will test Jacare.

I hope that the next round will have Mousasi, Dongbar, Sakuraba or Miller, and Jacare.

Lightweight:

I quite like Caoru Uno, and was very impressed by his handling of Ishida, but I personally don’t think he has enough star quality to win something like this. Eddie Alvarez is on a tear and this could be his breakout performance. These two will show a good fight.

The other dude I don’t really care about, but I hope Aoki gets through and the final will be Aoki / Alvarez.

Head over and cast your votes, let me know how you chose!

The Monkey Speaks: UFC 79

The Monkey Speaks: UFC 79

The start of what I hope will be a regular column. It all depends on how motivated I am and how much I crave the adulation of my faceless internet peers.

You won’t see the usual stuff in this column: I won’t introduce fighters as “UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Donnie Brungle-cheeks” or “Former Welterweight Champion Snarbang Groodlegerg”. I expect you to know who I am talking about, I am talking to the average fan, here.

So, the show starts with the same stupid gladiatorial intro. And it is definitely time to change that introduction sequence. I’m all for brand identity and consistency, but I’d love to see something a little more innovative. With all the talent-poaching from Pride, why not bring over Sato Daisuke, the genius behind all the Pride intro videos? Nu-metal, face-punching montages are sooo 1990’s. Let’s get some Bach or some Wagner with shots of fighters crying, or holding up babies, or planting flowers or something.

Anyway. For about the 60th time, Mike Goldberg declares the night to be one of the biggest nights in MMA history. Rogan wisely ignores him as usual and screams out his opinion. Man, I’d hate to see that guy’s vocal chords. I’d imagine they look like crumbly old mini French breadsticks.

Guillard against the man with the strange eyeballs, Rich Clementi, begins. There is muchos “trash talking”, or rather, trash gesturing, with Guillard flipping the bird and Clementi, um, caressing his hip flexors in Guillard’s general direction. In my head, I’m hoping someone says to Clementi “Hey man, why are you staring at me like that?” and Clementi says “You insensitive asshole, that’s the way I was born! Have at thee!”

That all out of the way, it is a good fight. There’s nothing I love more than the clash of two big personalities. It adds a certain excitement to fights that is missing when the two fighters feel nothing towards each other. Every punch thrown, every takedown stuffed, is infused with a kind of urgency that sucks you in. Clementi wins with a nice rear naked choke from a body triangle. Guillard looks like he’s taking the loss well, but then Clementi does some kind of pelvic thrust / groin stroking gesture at the back of his head, which naturally gets him pissed off. I know if it was me, I definitely wouldn’t stand for a bearded man with bug eyes thrusting anything towards the back of my head, especially if it was his pelvis. So Guillard hops around and does the “Hold me back, man, hold me back!” thing with the ref for a bit. Clementi does a little hand waving thing, which definitely makes him awesome in my books! Ooh, can you taste the sarcasm? Rogan momentarily transforms into the crinkly old Asian guy from Conan the Barbarian and says… “The time for fighting is past.” What a wise old sage that dope-smoking jiu jitsu guy is. In the replay, I notice a nice manouvre by Clementi… taking the back, he steps right across, ignoring putting the hook in, and goes straight for the body triangle. Clementi is either so pumped from the victory (and groin thrusting gestures) his mouth isn’t functioning properly, or he’s dyslexic, because he says “I wanted to stand long enough to let people know my stand up ain’t bad and Melvin eat shit and then I do what I do. Done deal go practice jiu jitsu Melvin.” Yes, and a got in the take of going to fuck on the groundfighting eating sandwhiches shit. “He’s just upset because I validated what he is been knowing for six years that I’m the better man.” He’s upset because you pumped your nuts in his face, dude.

Next fight. Sokodjou comes out with a fairly awesome Predator mask. I listen to Rogan ranting on about Sokodjou possibly being the greatest 205 pounder in the galaxy, and then I remember that all I’ve see him do is throw about three punches in Pride. He did, however, use two of those punches to knock out two of Brazilian Top Team’s big guns in Arona and Noguiera. The first one I can understand being a fluke. The second? Who knows? But third time? I decide that either he wins this one in the same way and thus becomes the bestest fighter ever, or he loses and we realise he wasn’t what everyone thought he was.

Rogan has orgasms about Lyoto’s “elusive” (polite word for “boring”) style, and about Sokodjou’s “explosive athleticism” (a Roganism for “black”.) I feel a lot rests on this fight. Machida could move up into title contention, Sokodjou is sitting on the fence of destiny, with “what were we thinking?” on one side, and “next big thing” on the other. Lyoto has chosen the least original nickname in the universe, the Dragon.

I actually enjoyed Lyoto’s performance in this fight. Very confidence, very skilled, and not at all intimidated by Sokodjou strength, athleticism, or dreadlocks. One of which, by the way, seems to get chopped off during one of Lyoto’s ground and pound sessions and skitters across the mat. Sokodjou looked majorly sucky on the ground. He let himself get flattened out, didn’t try to explode at all, didn’t move his hips. He even committed the cardinal sin of trying to guillotine from under half guard. There’s an interesting moment where Lyoto begins to secure an arm triangle. Someone, no doubt a highly educated combat expert from the crowd, takes time out from chugging beers to boo loudly. Yamasaki hears it and immediately jumps in to stand the fighters up.

In the end, Machida gets that arm triangle and looks very impressive in doing so. Bravo. Rogan comes up with a delightfully musical turn of phrase, claiming that on the international scale, Sokodjou was very highly touted. Lyoto leaves hopefully to prepare for a title shot, and Sokodjou leaves to go crush up some bathroom tiles, mix it with some radioactive glue and put it on his injuries. You have seen Predator 2, right?

Sao Palolaoileielei fights Eddie Sanchez. It’s really boring, except for a couple of times where Sanchez says “woo.” What is it with heavyweights and the desire to lean against each other on the cage? I blame Tim Sylvia. I also blame Tim Sylvia for the broken toe I got in training last night, global warming, and mosquito bites. Someone yells “Diry Sanchez” which is rather amusing. Sanchez wins via hurting Sao Palualasol’s face a lot with punches. Then he stands around mugging towards Poolololol and swearing and shouting, them does a complete double take in the post fight interview by saying he loves his opponent and want him to thrust his groin in his face.

Then comes Silva – Liddell. Silva’s music blasts into the arena and I feel my blood boiling and my toenails curling off. It’s quite surreal, but incredibly satisfying as a fan, to see Silva making his entrance in the UFC with Rogan wailing over the top of him. Silva is looking pumped, and wiggles his neck around spectacularly. I try it and hear something click and get one of those annoying pains that you get when you turn your head too fast. I recover in time to see Wanderlei slip up on his way to his corner. Is it a bad omen? Possibly, but then I remember Fedor slipped up on the way into the ring once.

Chuck comes in looking focused, hard-edged and soft bellied. I love Chuck’s body shape. He waddles around like a drunken baby with a pot-belly. Silva starts the wrist rolling thing a little too early and has to do it for what seems like an eternity while Bruce Buffer mumbles his way through the introduction.

The fight starts, and all I can do is hope it lives up to even half of the expectations. My worst nightmare is in the first seconds of the fight, Chuck lunging for a KO and his leg unexpectedly snapping in half and clattering to the floor before shattering into a thousand pieces, or Silva trying to clinch and then his pancreas failing and squeezing out of his ear like brown toothpaste. Basically, I really don’t want some random event to cut this fight short.

The fight doesn’t disappoint, and the crowd roars with every back and forth exchange. As I kind of knew but didn’t want to admit, Chuck’s pinpoint, power punching style works out better than Silva’s balls out, haymaker attacks. The fight delivers a constant stream of excitement and for once, lived up to the hype. Chuck does a nice backfist that wobbles Silva, and closes in for the kill. Somehow Silva survives and bobs and weaves nicely.

Although there was no KO finish, Chuck won fair and square. It was smart of him to go for a couple of takedowns, which definitely helped him secure the win. Without those takedowns it would have been a lot harder to call. With them, it was a done deal.

Both fighters give good post-fight interviews. I always wince when a foreign fighter gets interviewed. I’m worried about the crowd. The Americans can be, how I say, less than welcoming to foreigners? The average fan seems to be like your stupid friend that you hesitantly introduce to your other friends, hoping that he doesn’t dribble on his shirt or ask to smell their underpants or something. Luckily they behaved themselves and cheered for Silva in all the right places.

Still recovering from the excitement, I realise with a small squeal of glee that it’s not over yet! I’m disappointed with Silva losing, but I feel that all will be right with the world if GSP spanks Hughes.

And he does.

Hughes looks his usual, confident self. In the staredown, GSP is able to firmly look Hughes in the eye. He’s come a long way from staring at the ceiling and hopping around during the first fight staredown. GSP looks absolutely phenomenal in the fight, stuffing Hughes’ takedowns, bouncing around, landing strikes, and taking Hughes down at will.

First round is over and the commentators aptly say that GSP is administering a Hughes style beatdown on Hughes himself. Hughes comes across as a complete anus when somebody in his corner reassuringly says “You’re OK,” and he snaps back “I know.” Uh, dude, he was being nice to you. You are getting your salad tossed, riddimically, by that French-Canadian.

Second round continues in much the same way and GSP secures a dominant position, goes for the kimura, Hughes uses super-ultra-mega farm power to blast out of it but St. Pierre is all over him and transitions to an armbar. Hughes eschews the traditional method of submitting and decides instead to call the ref from the other side of the octagon to rescue him.

Badda bing, badda boom, one of the best UFCs for a while is in the books.

Can’t wait for the next one.

In the meantime, can’t wait for Yarennoka! and Dynamite!!

PUMPED about NYE?!?!?!

So the New Years Eve MMA scene in Japan went from being about as exciting as watching men’s figure skating to as awesome as inhaling TNT whilst boning Lucy Liu during an earthquake with two tiny crocodiles nibbling on your nipples.

First, K1’s Dynamite spectacular.

We are going to see Rani Yahya against Yamamoto Kid. Kid showed in his last fight that he can be really pushed by a strong and skilled, elite-level BJJer. Yahya may not be as strong as Bibiano Fernandes, but his BJJ is world-class (as Joe Rogan would say in between frowning at Mike Goldberg’s overenthusiastic use of the word “teep”). Kid is always exciting, so this should be a fantastic fight.

We are going to see Sakuraba against Funaki. Putting aside the fact that these two guys combined ages probably reaches over 100, this is going to be awesome. Two absolute legends, and they both like a bit of the old grapple grapple, so it should be a chessmatch between two greats. Here’s hoping it’s not a fly-swatting match between two pensioners, or a yawn-inducing snooze fest a-la Gracie Sakuraba II.

Then there’s the rumours of Kharitonov, Minowaman, Tokoro, and Melvin Manhoef (last spotted ripping the heads off babies and skewering them on his penis) all competing which pretty much make this a can’t miss.

Second, the revival of Pride… or is it? A quick glance at the website ( http://www.yarennoka.com/ )reveals that Pride’s Japanese web designer clearly wasn’t out of a job for long… I also hear that Sato Daisuke will be involved. He’s the one who made all the majorly pump-tastic introduction clips for the Japanese broadcasts of Pride… I compiled a couple here.  Basically, everyone who was involved in Pride is involved in this special event. Yarennoka means “Can’t we do it?!” and was one of Antonio Inoki’s catchphrases. His others being the equally as inventive “ONE TWO THREE DAAAAAAAAAAH” and its derivate, “DAAAAAAAAAAAAA” (while slapping you in the face.)

Basically a bunch of the Japanese MMA scene’s bigwigs got together ( Monte Cox (CEO of M-1 Global), Shigeru Saeki (DEEP) and Sadaharu Tanigawa (FEG)) and decided to make a totally awesome MMA spectacular, and a shitload of cash for themselves. They all claim this is a farewell to Pride, rather than a revival. Takada is on board… you may remember him from such disasters as “Man with a nappy on bangs a huge drum for ten minutes”. Takada said he’d only get involved with Yarennoka if he could get Gomi on the card. Well that didn’t happen, but still…

We are going to see Shinya Aoki against Gesias Cavalcante. This has got Japanese MMA fans salivating harder than Gabe Ruediger in a Mister Donut. Can Aoki’s high-flying submission style beat the ape-like strength and aggression of “JZ Calvan”? (Hint: no. Aoki will take too much punishment trying to reverse boston crab JZ’s earlobes.)

Then there is the strong possibility of Fedor fighting the Techno Goliath, Choi Hong Man. While I am disappointed that such a great man has been reduced to a comedy match worthy of a K-1 main event, I am also pretty pumped to see Fedor pummelerizing the be-tumoured one’s rather large head into a giant Korean flavoured pancake. Other rumoured competitors include Mitsuhiro Ishida, Tatsuya Kawajiri, Kazuo Misaki, Joachim Hansen, Luiz Azeredo, Ricardo Arona, Gilbert Melendez, Aleksander Emelianenko, Mark Hunt… basically, it is going to be sweeeeeeeet as.

I’m pretty pumpalised about the whole thing, really.

If you’d like to keep up with Japanese MMA news, I recommend the following sites. Bookmark them if you haven’t already!

http://nightmareofbattle.wordpress.com/
http://sukimma.blogspot.com/
http://www.fightopinion.com/

Boondock’s new highlight.

I like this guy’s work. Good sense of drama and timing without getting too flashy.

Enjoy.

Got an article published.

I wrote an article on the demise of Pride, and what a darn shame it was. It was accepted for publication by Fighters Only Magazine, and appears in the December issue, out in the UK now.

Whoopedy doo!

Extract:

Don’t Look Back in Anger

Pride Never Die. Except, of course, when the current American owners telephone the head office in Tokyo and fire everybody, as they did in October. That would pretty much do it. With that sombre thought in mind, I felt it was time to reminisce about some of my most enjoyable experiences with the greatest of all times.
First, my real introduction to Pride: Pride 10. I had heard only rumours about this far off promotion in Japan, having been raised on bootlegged copies of UFC 1 and 2 at college. I decided to seek out a DVD, and after much virtual-rummaging on the internet, ordered a second-hand copy of Pride 10. I’d psyched myself up to watch it, and when it finally arrived, I think I remember tearing the plastic wrapper off with my teeth while it was still in the postman’s hand. The event didn’t disappoint. I sat open-mouthed, heart beating, and after seeing Wanderlei Silva savage Guy Mezger, Gilbert Yvel K.O. Gary Goodridge with the first strike of the fight, and Enson Inoue get turned into human hamburger patty by the relentless Igor Vovchanchyn, I was hooked. Sakuraba bending Renzo Gracie’s arm completely the wrong direction was just the icing on the cake.