Diaz-Smith Added to June 6 Strikeforce CardBy Jake Rossen ([email protected])
Monday, 10:10 p.m. ET: Former welterweight Nick Diaz intends to continue a run at 185 pounds when he meets Scott Smith during Strikeforce’s trek to St. Louis on June 6.
Good fight. Diaz is more technical, but might be feeling a bit of a misinformed confidence boost after his win over a creaky Frank Shamrock. Smith will be quicker, punch harder and offer more resistance during tie-ups. After seeing Smith in dogfights against heavier hitters like Robbie Lawler, Benji Radach, and Pete Sell, I would not expect him to crumble without significant reason. Like, say, a hammer.
I have no idea what happens in this fight, and that makes it appointment viewing.
Maynard to Fight AgainBy Jake Rossen ([email protected])
Monday, 9:40 p.m. ET: Despite discovering that an opponent who doesn’t wish to engage with him doesn’t have to, congenital amputee Kyle Maynard has told Sherdog.com that he fully intends to fight again following Saturday’s decision loss to Bryan Fry.
Having suffered through the live Internet broadcast -- the production values of which made Roger Corman look like Michael Bay -- I remain suspicious that Fry exerted himself at maximum capacity. If he had chosen to tee off on Maynard, it did not seem likely that would’ve suffered any for it.
Fry himself might tell you that he tried as hard as he could; there might have been a subconscious anchor that dictated otherwise. Maynard has figured out how to adapt to many things in life he “shouldn’t” have been able to, but I don’t think MMA will ever be one of them.
And the risks for failing are substantial, even for a fully limbed participant.
Faber To Throw UpBy Jake Rossen ([email protected])
Monday, 9:15 p.m. ET: The WEC has issued word that former featherweight champion and vicious garden gnome Urijah Faber is set to appear at a May 26 Oakland A’s game to throw out the first pitch.
If you predict this will be the most exciting portion of the game, you are probably correct. Let’s hope some wise guy charges the mound.
Domestic Violence: Brandon Vera’s Wife to Make MMA DebutBy Jake Rossen ([email protected])
Monday, 8:35 p.m. ET: From MMAFighting.com: Kerry Vera, wife of UFC light heavyweight Brandon Vera, will make her professional MMA debut on Bellator’s May 15 program.
Vera is scheduled to face Leslie Smith in a 135-pound contest. Regardless of promotional conflicts, do not expect Vera to meet 100-and-something-something-pound Gina Carano in the future. Not unless Vera begins a regimen of eating 22 times a day.
(What, I’m above a Carano weight crack? Negative.)
MMA Movie Moonlighting: Part 1 (of 5)By Jake Rossen ([email protected])
Monday, 6:00 p.m. ET: Actors want to be rock stars. Rock stars want to be actors. Athletes want to be actors. Nobody wants to be a writer.
Since the post-“Ultimate Fighter” explosion in 2005, Hollywood -- or more accurately, its zero-budget little brother, the Direct-to-DVD market -- has tried to capitalize on the notoriety of mixed martial artists. Bean counters figure that if someone enjoys watching Georges St. Pierre in a real fight, they will enjoy watching him in a fake one. This kind of logic can cost a lot of people a lot of money.
Recruiting athletes for their name value is nothing new. Jim Brown found modest success in film; Brian Bosworth, not so much. Charisma doesn’t necessarily translate from the playing field to the screen: Muhammad Ali once portrayed himself in his own biopic. While that kind of casting was appropriate considering the hubris of its subject, the movie was so terrible that it theater owners were sued by attendees for emotional distress. True story.
All this week, we’ll be taking a look at MMA notables who have sampled a life out of the ring and in front of cameras. If that sounds more like a threat than anything, you’re probably right.
Since my heart isn’t entirely made of coal, I’ll be crediting one good (vaguely watchable) performance every day along with one cornea-scorching disaster.
Writers, after all, want to be wiseasses.
See It: Quinton Jackson in “Midnight Meat Train” (2008)
Clever directors realize the thespian limitations of athletes and mold roles appropriately; Quinton Jackson spends less than two minutes onscreen in this Clive Barker adaptation antagonizing serial killer Vinnie Jones before getting bludgeoned to death with a meat tenderizer.
He plays dead with conviction. One imagines Chuck Liddell running this scene in a loop with a face full of popcorn.
Miss It: Ken Shamrock in “Scarecrow Gone Wild” (2004)
Shamrock aficionados are fond of recalling his underwear-clad machine-gun scene in 1998’s “Champions” as the low point of MMA cinema; I say, stick Robert De Niro in that Speedo and it’s not going to get a whole lot better.
To really understand the limits of Shamrock’s performance art, it’s necessary to subject yourself to “Wild,” a horror film that makes frequent and uncomfortable use of teenage boy semi-nudity. As Coach Ramsey, a high school gym teacher who has a zero-tolerance bi-curious policy among students, Shamrock delivers his lines with the conviction of a Moviefone recording.
If memory serves, Shamrock engages the titular scarecrow in a scrap before succumbing to his mortal wounds. But if you think I’m going to watch this again just to make sure, you greatly exaggerate the limits of my work ethic.
Fun fact: It’s the only film on Netflix that the software refuses to add to your queue. That’s called caring for your customers.
MMA in New York: D-Day ApproachesBy Jake Rossen ([email protected])
Monday, 5:30 p.m. ET: From the Democrat and Chronicle (by way of CagePotato.com) comes word that New York’s State Assembly could vote on whether or not to invite MMA into their jurisdiction within the next two weeks. (The decision is ultimately the Governor’s.)
Enthusiasts will note that the sport has been met with opposition by Assemblyman Bob Reilly, whose education on the topic appears to have come from local newscasts circa 1995. Reilly is a propagandist, pushing his own morality at the expense of personal freedom, and nothing would make me happier than to see his irrational crusade smothered.
Well, Anderson Silva vs. Cung Le would make me quite happy. So would Doritos made entirely of indigestible fiber. But this is a close, close second.
'Fighting' Knocks Out a Percentage of the CompetitionBy Jake Rossen ([email protected])
Monday, 3:55 p.m. ET: A “Bloodsport” meets “90210” flick, “Fighting” (very subtle) drummed up $11.4 million over the weekend, edging out the Jamie Foxx Oscar-bait drama “The Soloist” and some ominously educational documentary about the planet, “Earth.” Why not just title everything “Movie” and be done with it?
Having not seen “Fighting,” preferring instead to ram freshly sharpened pencils into my eyes at home to achieve a similar effect, I can’t testify to its effectiveness as an escapist action movie. But aggregate scores indicate it’s a film best enjoyed by the Tatum family.
In most fight movies of this type, the protagonist is usually forced into combat because of financial woes, a sick relative or blackmail; Hollywood seems to find it distasteful for anyone to want to fight for fight’s sake. And yet that’s why the majority of combat athletes do it. I struggle to find any UFC participant locked into a cage because his sister has been kidnapped.
There is also the issue of grappling, unlike boxing, being inherently un-cinematic. There are no broad, balletic moves in close-quarters fighting -- unless you go heavy on the judo. Choreographed mat work looks more than a little silly.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go watch a temporarily-blinded Jean-Claude Van Damme win the Kumite.
Dept. of Psychological Warfare: Franklin to Train with Silva for SilvaBy Jake Rossen ([email protected])
Monday, 1:25 p.m. ET: MMAJunkie.com’s Dann Stupp reports -- via a Dayton Daily News update -- that Rich Franklin will be spending some time with former rival Anderson Silva in preparation for his June 13 195-pound catchweight bout with Wanderlei Silva.
Silva and Silva, you may recall, are former training partners who have recently engaged in a heated dialogue over who could rearrange the other’s face in greater abstract-painting fashion. (Heated from Wanderlei’s side, anyway -- Anderson remained cordial in his trash-talking.)
This smacks just a bit of Tito Ortiz spreading word he’d be enlisting the late Carlson Gracie prior to one of his cancelled fights with Vitor Belfort (a Gracie protégé) a number of years ago. If the goal is to make Wanderlei so cheesed off that he commits an error, swell. If the goal is to somehow discover a super-secret neural shutoff switch on Wanderlei, it’s a bit of a waste: Silva has been knocked cold three times in the past three years. Having spent a third of his life in brutal, sanctioned assault may be taking its toll.
At least we’ll finally have an answer as to which of them is the best 195-pound fighter on the planet. Not that anyone was asking.
Maynard PPV Numbers ColdBy Brian Knapp ([email protected])
Monday, 2:30 a.m. ET: Kyle Maynard drew international attention for his mixed martial arts pursuits, but his amateur debut proved a pay-per-view bust.
According to David Oblas -- the man who promoted the Auburn Fight Night show in which Maynard competed on Saturday at the Auburn Covered Arena in Auburn, Ala. -- the congenital amputee’s main event bout with Bryan Fry drew roughly 100 buys at $14.95 apiece at www.KyleMaynardFight.com.
“It wasn’t many,” Oblas said. “The pay-per-view was more about people wanting to see it than actually making money. Because we didn’t have Internet access, I had to bring in a satellite truck. It was kind of a pain to do it all. We expected a couple thousand [buys]; we were shocked it only drew about 100.”
Oblas plans to use the minimal revenue generated by the PPV to recoup expenses he incurred putting the show on the Internet. An estimated crowd of 1,200 gathered at the outdoor venue, which was located a few miles from the Auburn University campus.
Maynard dropped a unanimous decision to Fry, who kept the Georgian on the end of his punches and often out of range for takedowns. The 23-year-old Maynard, a former ESPY Award winner, pressed the attack from start to finish but never moved close enough to Fry to change the direction of the fight. Those in attendance greeted his entrance and exit with standing ovations.
“I think we knew the crowd was going to applaud Kyle,” Oblas said. “We were more scared of how the crowd was going to react to Bryan.”
In fact, Fry requested that a car be made available immediately following the fight in case the crowd turned hostile.
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