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Posts Tagged ‘mixed martial arts’

The closest rival to the UFC has decided to call it quits. Insiders and true MMA fans both new that the company was in pretty bad financial troubles but a few weeks ago their true situation become crystal clear when it was announced publicly that CBS had to front Elite XC 100% of the money to put on their last show. For this reason CBS had the rights to 100% of  any revenue the last show earned. This was when it became pretty evident that this financial situation along with a devastating loss by Kimbo Slice might be the beginning of the end for Elite XC.

It’s interesting that even though two of the three shows that Elite XC aired on CBS were ratings successes; they still could not find a way to make money in the fight business. This goes to show just how hard it is to run a fight promotion. Fighters tend to have needs and egos. They are like wide receivers and when you are a fight promoter you have to deal with 20 of them on any given night. They all want more money and more recognition. You want to give it to them but you have to run a company at the same time.

This is a big blow to Kimbo Slice and on an even sadder note Gina Carano. It is unlikely for the UFC to offer either a contract. This could also hurt Affliction, who gained a lot of exposure at the last Elite XC event through the fight between Andre Arlovski and Roy Nelson.

Two guys who could, and in my opinion should, get UFC contracts out of this mess; Jake Shields and Nick Diaz. Both were scheduled to fight for the championship of their weight class on November 8th but this has of course now been scrapped. In fact, that is how much of this story broke. GracieFighter.com, a partner of Diaz confirms that “…Elite XC has folded”.

This disaster for Elite XC still showed just how much the sport of mixed martial arts has grown and seemingly just how much the sport has the potential to grow in the near future. If a company like Elite XC that had little to no star power and very little business savy can pull the ratings they did on CBS then this sport has yet to see its best days.

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It was already been announced that th next Ultimate Fighter will be called “US vs UK”. There is a report coming out of the UK that the coach representing the United Kingdom will be Michael Bisping. This makes sense. Bisping is by far the most popular British fighter in the UFC.

The other part of this news is more rumor; being that Dan Henderson will be the coach of the US team. This sets up not only a potentially great season with two fighers who can entertain but a great fight for the #1 contedner spot in the middleweight division.

That’s what creates great seasons of the Ultimate Fighter; charisma or potential bad blood. Tito-Shamrock and Hughes-Serra had the bad blood thing down cold while BJ Penn and Jens Pulver had a little bit of both.

Neither Bisping nor Henderson are the type that have to talk and hype there fights but it is something that both have experience with. Bisping even got into it with Matt Hamill while in the TUF house. Beyond the common fight hype, these two guys have personality; a perfect pairing for this platform especially with the US vs UK context. Bisping being the most popular UK fighter and Henderson having represented the US in two Olympic games.

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Houston Alexander Vs. Eric Schafer
Alexander is from Nebraska and is fighting in his hometown. He is a KO machine with tons of potential. The problem is he is getting up there in age. Schafer on the other had is a submission machine who will look to take the fight to the ground. Houston gets way too excited. Look for him to burn himself out in his home state. It will definitely be fun to watch regardless.

Schafer by submission

Ed Herman Vs. Alan Belcher
Herman trains with Team Quest but lost to Damian Mai at UFC 83. I still think he is on his way up. Belcher is no joke however.

Herman by TKO

Clay Guida Vs. Mac Danzig
These are two very good fighters. This is the toughest fight for to pick on the main card. This is a possible sleeper, fight of the night candidate. Danzig will likely look for a submission.

Guida by decision

Nate Diaz Vs. Josh Neer
I’m a big Diaz brother fan. Love watching them. Both so fun to watch and both very talented. Neer really worries me. Diaz always fights a way to finish; it is nothing short of incredible and is incredibly fun to watch. Literally he has no seen a decision since before 2005. It this goes to decision Neer wins. Nate will look to submit Josh and he is entirely capable of it.

Diaz by submission

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People who are familiar with the UFC and the sport of mixed martial arts in general certainly know the name Evan Tanner. His professional fighting career goes back to 1997 and he debuted in the UFC at UFC 18 in early 1999. Tanner began his UFC career with a 6-1 record in the octagon, his only loss come to a nearly unstoppable Tito Ortiz at the time. Tanner holds a resume of over 40 pro fights. He only lost 8, including 4 of his last 5.

Tanner had battled demons with alcohol abuse in the very recent past. He was fortunate to gain a new four fight UFC contract about 1 year ago. To date Tanner lost the two fights that had taken place of that four fight deal.

Tanner was a pioneer of the great sport of mixed martial arts. It is unfortunate that he will not be able to further enjoy the fruits of his labor. He was a different guy, a character for better or for worse.

Our prayers are with the Tanner family.

A note from Tanner’s close friend Ian Dawe (eventanner.net)

UPDATE: Here is the link to Evan’s infamous blog post regarding the California desert and his plans. Also, it has been reported that he send text messages as recently as Thursday to friends saying he ran out of water and gas for his motorcycle.

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If you remember this one was suppose to go down at UFC 85 until Chuck torn his hammy in training...

If you remember this one was suppose to go down at UFC 85 until Chuck torn his hammy in training...

Chuck Liddell got a taste of his own medicine when Rashad Evans made him a piece of a highlight reel style knockout, not unlike what Liddell has been on the other side of for much of his career. Evans single-handedly threw a wrench in the gears of the 205 pound division this past Saturday. Dana White has already stated that Evans is now next in line (or should I say first in line) to take on Forrest Griffin for the light heavyweight title.

Admittedly, I have not watched the fight or even the KO ending since I saw it live on Saturday night. Also admittedly, I was not exactly 100% sober by the time the main event rolled around. None-the-less I was right in front of the TV, eyes glued on this fight.

A couple people watching near me where commenting on Evans overhand punches he had been throwing. I had just turned to a them and stated that there was a snowballs chance in hell that Evans would be able to finish with that punch. No sooner than when I turned back to the fight did Liddell fall like a ton of bricks.

I can not recall what the odds were in the Griffin/Jackson fight but I still call that a bigger upset than this fight. Now we have two TUF veterans; Griffin from season 1 and Evans from season 2. These are two guys who have been underdogs for much of their careers in the UFC. Evans was an undersized heavyweight when he won TUF 2 while Griffin’s underdog story culminated in an impressive victory over Rampage Jackson.

You have to feel good for these too on some level. These are two of the hardest working guys in the Light Heavyweight division of the UFC. They have not been handed their success. They have worked extremely hard and earned it. Congratulations Rashad.

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UFC 88 emanates tonight live 10 PM ET from Atlanta, GA. Here is how I see it going down.

The Main Card

Martin Kampmann Vs. Nate Marquardt
This could be a surprise fight for most. First of all, in regards to betting Marquardt is favored, however I’ve seen a lot of love going Kampmann’s way from people I personally respect. That being said, I am on Nate “the great” Marquart still. I think this one will go to decision and Marquart will due enough.

Pick: Marquart (split decision)

Dan Henderson Vs. Rousimar Palhares
Henderson is very open about his wanting to have a rematch with Silva. Henderson probably won the first round in that fight and was looking good until he got caught by Silva. This could be a classic trap match for Henderson. Palhares is not joke, his jits is top notch, he has won his last 5 by submission. Henderson is a wrestler but he loves to stand and throw and that is what he will do here. If Henderson can stay off his back then he can win easily. You aren’t going to knock out Hendo. However, if Palhares can control Henderson by taking him to the mat and using his world class jiu jitsu.

Pick: Henderson (TKO)

Rich Franklin Vs. Matt Hamill
This fight was an odd one from the time it was announced. These are two of the biggest fan favorites in the UFC. I know this is not scripted, pro wrestling stuff but it just doesn’t seem to make that much sense to have them face off here. If Hamill wins, he does move up the middleweight rankings for sure but it Franklin wins it does do that much for him. Franklin has an awful situation; he is the second best fighter in a division where the #1 guy (Anderson Silva) is unstoppable and Franklin has been no exception. To add to the odd match making decision of Joe Silva, these two guys are good friends. They are from Cincinnati and Franklin put in a good word for Hamill to help get him on TUF 2. As far as the fight goes, everyone thought Franklin was on the decline and he is getting older but its not so much a decline as it wastwo other things; an injury and facing SIlva that made him look bad.

Pick: Franklin (TKO)

Chuck Liddell Vs. Rashad Evans
Liddell has underrated cardio, I’d look for that to play a role here. Evans is not going to stand like we have seen in the past, not with Liddell. Evans will use his wrestling to attempt to take Liddell down but the only thing more underrated that Liddell’s cardio is is sprawl. He is one of the toughest guys to take to the mat. I’m not the classic Liddell fan like most, but I don’t see him losing here. I think Evans strengths can be neutralized by those things I mentioned Liddell does extraordinarily well. On the other hand, Evans will be hard pressed to stop the inevitable onslaught of punches from Liddell.

Pick: Liddell (TKO)

The Undercard

The biggest lock of the night for me is Dong Hyun Kim Vs. Matt Brown. I see Hyun taking this one easily. I’m pretty much on all the favorites so I won’t run them all down. I also believe Jason Lambert Vs. Jason MacDonald will end in either a spectacular submission (MacDonald) or more likely a great TKO/KO (Lambert). And for those who have not heard Karo Parisyan sustained an injury yesterday, just hours prior to weigh-ins, and will be unable to go.

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Personally I am a big fan of Dan Wetzel. Dan has been with Yahoo! Sports for the last couple years. He used to write for CBS Sportsline. Now on top of his duties at Yahoo! he is also the author of a handful of sports related books including being the co-author of the book Glory Road, which was made into a major motion picture. I have also had the pleasure of meeting him. I was a fan prior to this experience but was only further impressed after meeting him. As far as I can tell he is a good guy but more importantly a talented sports writer.

A couple mornings ago, I was on Yahoo! Sports and anytime I see Wetzel I’ll take a look at his piece. This piece stuck out to me, I thought it odd that he was writing about the UFC, specifically Dana White and Brock Lesnar.

Looking back over some of Wetzel’s archive there are a couple articles about MMA but they are more general. This one was very specific and was based around one news story. Now today, Dan has another piece about Chuck Liddell on Yahoo! Even thought Wetzel is cleary a big MMA and boxing fan, he is not a MMA columnist for Yahoo! sports. Yahoo! has a team of, not just good, but great MMA writers. That team includes Dave Meltzer, Kevin Lole, Steve Cofield and the MMAjunkie contributors.

This is another example of the growth of the sport of Mixed Martial Arts. Not that other’s haven’t been there before, but Wetzel’s latest article is on the front page of Yahoo! Sports this morning.

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