Friday Blog: Digital Violence & More

Apr 24, 2009

Friday Mailbag: Going Postal
By Jake Rossen ([email protected])
Friday, 9:25 p.m. ET: It’s mailbag time.

Silva’s Oil Change

We all saw it on Saturday: Anderson Silva transferring grease from his face to his chest and arms. The mainstream media have a duty to mention it, no? After the ire of many that Georges St. Pierre caught for his corner’s (alleged) stupidity, here you have a man about to face a top jiu-jitsu practitioner and he’s rubbing grease from his face over his arms and chest like it’s sunscreen.
-- Tony V

Well, “all” might be a bit of a misnomer: I didn’t catch this during the initial broadcast -- I might’ve been busy asphyxiating on a Baked Dorito -- but observers had animated GIFs of the incident up within hours.

It was a little odd, granted, and God knows if Thales Leites had lost an armbar or triangle that we’d never hear the end of it, but I think St. Pierre’s recent mini-scandal has made us more than a little paranoid. Vaseline smeared on faces is going to leave residue elsewhere, and fighters are a sweaty, slippery mess minutes into the fight regardless.

Dave Mandel/

Couture has nothing to prove.
Couture’s Last Run

The prospect of Randy Couture defeating Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira would do nothing but add to the already established legacy of the UFC Hall of Famer. If Nogueira’s fight with Frank Mir was truly affected by the rumored staph infection, this in itself shows just what kind of professional the former UFC heavyweight champion truly is. Where most fighters would have pulled out, Nogueira did not let his fans down.

Was Nogueira’s fight with Frank Mir truly a fluke, or is there something to the fears of his many fans who believe he may have taken too many shots to the head in his career?
-- Jesse D

If I may abuse pro wrestling terminology, Couture-Nogueira might be a “loser leaves town” match, especially if one looks particularly plodding.

I have no clue what affliction Nogueira might be suffering from, but spending two and a half fights with Fedor Emelianenko stuffed in your guard probably doesn’t contribute to a sustainable career.

Silva Lining

Anderson Silva should not be apologizing to anyone for any of his performance. Leites wanted nothing to do with him. He tried for a takedown, which was rejected. I don't blame Anderson for fighting the fight that he did. It's his belt and it's up to the challengers to take that away. By no means at all should he risk his streak and title because of the fans and Dana White. The guy has put on showcases before and, unfortunately, American and Canadian fans are stupid. At least 90% of them are. This is a business and in these cultures you are expected to end fights electrically. I thought that Anderson fought amazingly [well]. He didn't have an opponent that could hang with him. Fighters are not only as good as their last fights. It's called a career for a reason.
-- Seth L

I was surprised at how hard White came down on Silva. There was little latitude granted for the things you describe. If Silva meets Demian Maia in the summer and drops more Octagon Ambien on the crowd, I would expect there to be some kind of serious repercussion. Cutting or stripping him is not as outlandish an idea as some might think.

White is a tastemaker among casual fans in this industry. If he tells them Silva is the pound-for-pound great, many will believe it. If he tells them Silva is a head case who has combat paralysis and didn’t deserve his standing, they’ll buy that, too.

Do not underestimate the power of the spin.

Wrestling with Respect

I'm surprised you hate pro wrestling so much. Even though I wouldn't be caught dead anywhere near an event, and try not to discuss non-Japanese pro wrestling in polite company, most MMA fans have at least a soft spot for wrestling, as a reminder of a misspent youth.
-- Alex C

I enjoyed pro wrestling when I was 14. As an adult, I feel embarrassed for its participants. I cringe at the bad acting, and I feel depressed that so many are dying before age 50 because their hearts can’t take the painkiller/steroid/upper cocktail they funnel down their throat to keep a road schedule. It seems to be so much sacrifice for such a big barrel of nothing.

I freely admit I just don’t get it. And while I may have been a little harsh in an earlier evaluation of wrestling fans, I maintain that I have yet to meet any Nobel laureates wearing a Stone Cold Steve Austin t-shirt.

All Bobby Lashley did at TNA Lockdown was stand at the entrance ramp and look at the ring. That's it. They played a Lashley video and some music. No one knows what he's going to do. That's what keeps Pro wrestling interesting… speculation. We don't know if Lashley is going to team with the evil Kurt Angle or oppose the former 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist.
-- Leslie D

The suspense is killing me.

Send comments, questions to [email protected]

Jones, Jr. set to blend boxing and MMA a second time
By Jake Rossen ([email protected])
Friday, 5:45 p.m. ET: The Los Angeles Times reports -- dare I say threatens -- that fading boxing Hall of Famer Roy Jones, Jr. is plotting another hybrid MMA/boxing program for the summer.

Jones, who would likely fight Jeff Lacy in the main event, used a similar Frankenstein approach for “March Badness,” a March pay-per-view that was warmly received by purists and dismissed as a bit of a hot mess by most everyone else. Despite the commonality of punching someone in the nose, boxing and MMA seem to appeal to very different demographics: asking one segment to remain patient while the other sits amused is a tough sell in an already-congested premium event schedule.

It’s an even riskier gamble considering July’s UFC 100, a multi-main event card that’s likely to gobble up much of the disposable cash in fight fans’ pockets that month.

Lashley signs to fight Sapp; world not that interested
By Jake Rossen ([email protected])
Photo by Splash News

Lashley will face Sapp.
Friday, 5:15 p.m. ET: In the kind of fight only their mothers could love, Bobby Lashley and Bob Sapp have agreed to face one another June 27th in Biloxi, Mississippi.

Despite an admitted weakness for nonsensical fights with no real stakes involved, I can’t stir up much interest in this one. Sapp has been irrelevant in MMA for years, having neither the time nor inclination to train at the level needed to evolve beyond his huff-n-puff haymaker style. Lashley, meanwhile, looked turgid in a win over Jason Guida in March.

A technique clinic this isn’t; Lashley really needs to get in some rounds against more threatening opposition. He was criticized for the Guida victory, but he was up against a veteran with nearly 40 bouts to Lashley’s one. It’s an easily-excused performance. But this would appear to be regressing.

Prize Fight Promotions is said to be the brain trust here, and while they have experience in boxing, their apparent non-issue with Lashley fighting for the MFC May 15 doesn’t bode well. Building a pay-per-view event around an athlete who could easily get injured, even in a win, a little over a month prior isn’t exactly strategizing at its finest.

MMA promotion: so easy, even your kid could do it
By Jake Rossen ([email protected])
Friday, 4:00 p.m. ET: Students at Milford High School in Milford, New Hampshire were recently invited to design a promotional campaign for a local cagefighting event as part of their curriculum.

Two things.

1). The UFC might have made good use of these kids circa 2001 -- at the nadir of their Carmen Electra/Zuffa record label advertising delirium.

2). I clearly went to the wrong high school.

No arms? No legs? No problem. Maynard fights tomorrow
By Jake Rossen ([email protected])
Friday, 3:30 p.m. ET: Mike Chiappetta provides one of many feature snapshots of Kyle Maynard in the final 48 hours leading up to Maynard’s MMA debut in Auburn, Alabama Saturday evening.

Maynard, for the uninitiated, made waves several years ago with his amateur wrestling prowess despite being limbless from the elbows and knees down. He had unsuccessfully petitioned the Georgia Athletic and Entertainment Commission for a license to fight in 2007; Alabama is apparently way more into the whole personal responsibility thing.

Media and editorial reaction to Maynard’s ambitions has delivered a heavy dose of speculation that it could signal the end of Western civilization. For some observers, the sight of a physically restricted athlete getting punched is on the same sadistic level as a good puppy-kicking.

"This could do a lot of damage to the sport and hurt a lot of people," Casca-Grossa’s J.J. Cornell told the Montgomery Advertiser. "I hate it for Kyle, because I respect… him and what he's accomplished, but this (fight) looks like a scheme to sell tickets. There are a lot of people who are (ticked off) about this going down."

Much of the venom appears to be spit in the general direction of fight promoter David Oblas, accused of being a remorseless sadist and opportunist.

That might make sense if Maynard was mentally defective, but he’s clearly a willing participant who would choose to compete in MMA with or without Oblas’ assist. The real issue is the growing penchant for Maynard and others to flee to a state like Alabama, which has no regulatory athletic body, to circumvent the policies intended to safeguard athletes’ health.

Putting on the Devil’s advocate horns: if Maynard is as passionate about MMA as he indicates, why defy the structure that’s helped give it a measure of acceptance?

A world-class weekend of MMA
By Jordan Breen ([email protected])
Photo Courtesy: Ben Askren

It's a world-class weekend
of MMA ahead. Respect that.
Friday, 6:10 a.m. ET: Due to overzealous commentary and shameless shilling, "world class" is now a meme and a punchline in mixed martial arts speak. However, believe me when I tell you that this weekend's slate of MMA action has some legitimate world-class wrestlers in action.

The most striking of these grapplers -- both visually and reputably -- is 2008 Olympian and funk proprietor Ben Askren, who will get his second MMA workout against 1-3 Mitchell Harris on Saturday night at “The Patriot Act 2” in Columbia, Mo.

A two-time NCAA national champion and twice a Dan Hodge Trophy winner, Askren is one of the greatest American collegiate wrestlers in history. His aggressive, unorthodox wrestling style has long been thought to be highly compatible with MMA. The fluffy-haired Mizzou standout is already a purple belt under Kiko France at American Top Team Missouri, and was a key training partner for fellow welterweight prospect T.J. Grant in preparation for the Cole Harbour native’s victorious Octagon debut against Ryo Chonan at UFC 97.

Whether or not Askren's star can help contribute to a wrestling renaissance in MMA like the late 1990s remains to be seen, but given Askren's visibility as one of America's few amateur wrestling "stars," and the financial viability of fighting as a career, the funky 24-year-old, if successful in MMA, may lead the way for other outstanding wrestling converts -- not just from the NCAA ranks -- but FILA as well.

Continue Reading » A world-class weekend of MMA

Knockout of the week
By Mike Fridley ([email protected])

Telman Sherifov vs. Rizvan Ganiyalov from M-1.
Friday, 4:00 a.m. ET: Yeah, I know. We haven’t done a knockout of the week for four years or so, but I’m bringing it back for an instant classic.

Courtesy of M-1, watch on as Telman Sherifov sings Rizvan Ganiyalov a lullaby before lamping him with a clean knee to the chin last weekend in St. Petersburg.

Does anybody have a dentist in western Russia they can recommend?

Other fights from the M-1 "Selection" card can be viewed in their entirety here.

Check the blog all day for more entries.

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