Blog: Stallone Meets MMA’s Rocky

Apr 13, 2009

Shogun’s side job? He’s a landlord
By Jake Rossen ([email protected])
James Meinhardt/

He's busy being a landlord.
Tuesday, 10:40 p.m. ET: Caught the UFC Countdown show that aired Monday evening -- as usual, a professional, polished attempt to get you emotionally wrung out over the fates of the co-headlining athletes. (Thales Leites has a baby on the way -- just try to root against him.)

The standout segment, though, belonged to the profile of Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, the heavily dimpled Chute Boxe alum who’s logged two mediocre performances in the Octagon since his debut in September 2007. The reason for his lax attacks?

He’s too busy being a landlord.

Because of his businesses in Curitiba, Brazil -- including renting out several apartments -- Rua claimed he would sometimes miss training sessions because of fatigue.

“It takes away my focus a little bit,” he said.

In summation: Shogun is too busy to be a successful UFC fighter because he’s unclogging someone’s shower drain and playing phone tag with exterminators. Sensing impending doom Saturday against Chuck Liddell, he moved his training camp to Sao Paulo to minimize distractions. Expect a better performance. Unless a tenant calls about a water leak.

Coleman-Bonnar added to UFC 100
By Jake Rossen ([email protected])
Tuesday, 9:20 p.m. ET: January’s fight with Mauricio Rua proved two things: Mark Coleman is as tough as a petrified leather boot, and the only way he should ever see 205 pounds again is via tapeworm.

Exhausted after only a minute, Coleman’s saving grace in the fight -- one that led him to nearly see out the distance -- was that Rua could barely lift his own arms up. It was a performance that can only be described as an extremely honorable display of very poor conditioning. I haven’t decided if that’s a compliment. Probably isn’t.

Now Coleman has signed to fight Stephan Bonnar at UFC 100. In addition to making no contextual sense whatsoever, it’s another example of the UFC failing to recognize the inanity of pitting aging first- or second-generation athletes against modern multidiscipline guys.

It’s UFC 100, fellas. Can’t the nostalgia nuts get a break? Was Oleg Taktarov not available?

De La Hoya retires while he can still remember where he put his car keys
By Jake Rossen ([email protected])
Dave Mandel/

Oscar is hanging them up.
Tuesday, 6:00 p.m. ET: Only tangentially related to MMA, but still very much worth a mention: Oscar De La Hoya announced this afternoon that he is exiting professional boxing after over a decade of being one of the sport’s top draws. (Having Scrooge McDuck levels of cash might have had some small measure of influence on the decision.)

De La Hoya’s exit might prove to be a strong influence on other combat athletes who stick around long enough to become little more than glorified Pez dispensers.

Cognitive functioning: still very much a useful tool in life.

UFC 94 ratings
By Jake Rossen ([email protected])
Tuesday, 5:35 p.m. ET: A media-saturating e-mail from Spike’s PR hub indicates that Saturday’s telecast of UFC 94 -- airing head-to-head against Showtime’s Strikeforce bow -- was “the #1 program among Men 18-34 in all of television.”

Sometimes the statistics on display in these barker announcements get painfully esoteric: You can be “#1” in broad type, while the miniscule font reveals it’s among males aged 43-45 with a sixth toe, a hunchback and progressive dementia. It’s often political-level spin.

The e-mail also makes mention that the broadcast’s audience average of 1.9 million viewers bested HBO’s Winky Wright/Paul Williams fight the same evening -- never mind that HBO draws a subscriber base of 40 million (in collusion with sister network Cinemax) and Spike is available in nearly 100 million homes.

Still, a strong effort. And I’d take a rerun of UFC 9 over another “CSI” marathon any day of the week.

‘Babalu,’ Ortiz jaw at Strikeforce
By Jake Rossen ([email protected])
Tuesday, 4:00 p.m. ET: A brave soul from zoomed in on an apparent verbal altercation Saturday between long-dormant Tito Ortiz and a clearly agitated Renato “Babalu” Sobral. Sadly, the footage cuts out before the Great Muta jumped in between them and suggested they both enter the Royal Rumble.

While Strikeforce probably believes their exaggerated heat would make for an interesting fight, I’m a little confused as to who the protagonist would be: Ortiz is roundly booed whenever his Macy’s-Day-parade-sized noodle fills the screen, while Sobral turned himself into an MMA pariah by holding a choke too long against David Heath. Who exactly would we be rooting for, again?

Is ‘The Spider’ spinning in place?
By Jake Rossen ([email protected])
Marcelo Alonso/

We'd like to see Anderson
Silva at UFC 100.
Tuesday, 3:35 p.m. ET: UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva faces a legitimate test of his skills Saturday, taking on jiu-jitsu craftsman Thales Leites at UFC 97.

Only problem? It comes roughly six months after Silva’s last title defense, a bizarre ballet against Patrick Cote. Silva allegedly went to UFC brass last year to express his desire to fight more often; there were no reports of any lingering injury (other than to his reputation) coming out of the fight. So why has it taken so long to get him back in, especially in light of the UFC’s tendency to run dozens of shows per calendar year?

It can’t be a lack of opponents. Demian Maia is 5-0 in his UFC tenure; Nate Marquardt is perhaps one or two wins away from earning a second shot; and there’s a surplus of one-off fights at 205 pounds.

Un-torqued coming out of the Leites fight, Silva in a bout with the winner of the Mauricio Rua/Chuck Liddell co-main event that same evening would be a welcome addition to UFC 100.

Heck, charge me an extra five bucks if you have to. It’d be worth it.

Support for MMA in New York
By Jake Rossen ([email protected])
Tuesday, 3:10 p.m. ET: Brought to my attention via Zach Arnold and The Albany Times-Union ran a pro-MMA letter to the editor in yesterday’s paper, accessible here.

As a native of the state for the better part of my underwhelming life, it chafes to see state assemblyman Bob Reilly and other Quaker-Oat-brained stiffs decry MMA like it was the resurrection of the Christians and the lions. Anyone who forms an opinion on the sport without A) having at least watched one event in its entirety, B) talking at length with its participants and C) displaying even a modest knowledge of its safety record is an invalid voice.

Harlan Ellison once wrote that the whole everyone-is-entitled-to-an-opinion chestnut is a bunch of baloney; everyone, he says, is entitled only to an informed opinion. Harlan Ellison: smart man.

Nogueira Brothers Hold Private Show for Stallone
By Marcelo Alonso ([email protected])
Marcelo Alonso/

Sly Stallone met the
Brazilian Rocky Balboa.
Tuesday, 3:20 a.m. ET: Sylvester Stallone arrived in Rio de Janeiro last week and one of his first requests was to meet the “Brazilian Rocky Balboa,” Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.

The silver screen’s most endearing underdog has started filming his new film “The Expendables,” a testosterone-fueled vehicle that will star a plethora of action stars, including Jet Li, “The Transporter” Jason Statham, and a familiar newcomer named Randy Couture. Stallone also took a private meeting with Nogueira. The former Pride and UFC champion and his brother Rogério were discreetly picked up and transported by van to Mangaratiba, a small city located an hour outside of Rio, where most of the movie will be filmed.

“We were really impressed about his knowledge of MMA. He even recognized I was Rogério and Rodrigo was Rodrigo, which is not really usual,” said the Nogueira twin, who stayed with his brother and Stallone from 8 a.m. until midnight to observe filming.

Continue Reading: » Nogueira Brothers Hold Private Show for Stallone

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