Ultimate Athletes: Sports Stars in MMA I (of IV)By Jake Rossen (email@example.com)
Tuesday, 5:05 p.m. ET: Jose Canseco made history early Tuesday morning by becoming the first former professional baseball player to attempt mixed martial arts. He’s also likely to be the last.
Outweighed by nearly 80 pounds against 7-foot-2 living special effect Hong Man Choi, Canseco’s head was used to hit a grounder. It was over in a minute. It was ridiculous. It was Japan.
Not all “mainstream” sports athletes are so ill-equipped to deal with the rigors of the ring. This week, a look at other ball-sport athletes who gave it their best shot.
Rex Richards (6-2)
Affiliation: Practice Squad, Indianapolis Colts
Resume: Black belt in jiu-jitsu under Vinicius “Draculino” Magalhaes; lost to current UFC contender Shane Carwin (but said to have escaped from Carwin’s mount). Second loss came May 2 during a heavyweight title fight in Lubbock, Texas: claimed rapid weight loss from December (to come under 265-pound divisional limit) sapped him of energy.
Bench? No way: Richards has earned his stripes (literally) under reputable tutelage, supplementing his size (6’5”) with credible skill.
Johnnie Morton (0-1)
Affiliation: Wide Receiver, San Francisco 49ers
Resume: Enlisted by K-1 for their first U.S. MMA show in 2007 despite only having a few months of combat training: knocked into slumber by Bernard Ackah in 38 seconds. Refused to take his post-fight doping test and was summarily suspended for his pre-fight sample, which contained abnormal (re: utterly ridiculous) levels of testosterone.
Bench? Little training, no natural fighting prowess -- Ackah is a part-time comedian -- and competing virtually with a syringe still sticking out of his ass. You decide.
Mousasi: ‘I will be fighting Vitor Belfort’By Sherdog Staff
Tuesday, 3:45 p.m. ET: Fresh off his win over Mark Hunt on Tuesday in Dream’s Super Hulk tournament, Gegard Mousasi announced on M-1 Global’s Web site that he will be fighting Vitor Belfort at Affliction’s Aug. 1 event.
Sherdog.com ranks Mousasi as the No. 3 middleweight in the world. Belfort comes in at No. 10.
However, with Mousasi exiting the middleweight division, the fight could be contested at 205 pounds, according to the M-1 article.
Quick Hits: Dream 9 ResultsBy Jake Rossen (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Tuesday, 3:20 p.m. ET: Anyone whose pre-fight highlight reel consists solely of home run footage and a mention of a fling with Madonna probably doesn’t belong in a ring. But those of you who thought MLB-player-turned-future-Bellevue-resident Jose Canseco would look less effective than an actual corpse against Hong Man Choi were proven wrong Tuesday morning. For approximately 15 seconds.
The financially motivated Bash Brother made a valiant attempt in his MMA debut at Dream 9, swinging for Choi’s gigantic melon and then sprinting awkwardly out of the way. He also landed a few tae kwon do-style side kicks before toppling to the mat and getting hammered out. Purse was undisclosed, but Canseco earned an honor more valuable than yen: entry into the Sherdog Fight Finder.
Give Canseco credit: Not too many of us would climb into a ring that ill-prepared against a 7-foot-2 biblical antagonist. (Usually because an athletic commission would never allow it, but whatever.)
Sadly, Choi was the only genetic freak of the Super Hulk tournament to advance to the semifinals. Blubbery Jan Nortje was pummeled by Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou, Mark Hunt was armbarred by Gegard Mousasi, and Bob Sapp succumbed to a knee torque courtesy of Ikuhisa Minowa. (There was nearly a late entrant when Nortje’s cornerman, Ray Sefo, tried to get his hands on Sokoudjou for his after-bell attack on Nortje.)
In less embarrassing events, Hideo Tokoro, Hiroyuki Takaya, Bibiano Fernandes and upset specialist Joe Warren all advanced to the semifinals of Dream’s featherweight tournament. Warren -- a world champion in Greco-Roman wrestling and an Olympic hopeful in 2008 -- bested favorite "Kid" Yamamoto via split decision. Yamamoto landed the harder shots standing, but Warren scored with numerous takedowns and applied the classic wrestler technique of wearing Kid the hell out.
Lightweight contenders JZ Cavalcante and Tatsuya Kawajiri had a spirited contest, with Kawajiri relentless in taking Cavalcante down and tapping at his face with water-torture effectiveness to earn the unanimous decision.
The main event, a rematch between Ritalin poster child Jason "Mayhem" Miller and Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza, ended when Miller connected with his shin to a downed Jacare, opening a scalp wound and prompting a bloody no-contest call from officials.
MMA Welcome, Says Quebec CommissionBy Loretta Hunt (email@example.com)
Tuesday, 3:00 a.m. ET: The Quebec Boxing Commission says mixed martial arts is welcome in its province, as long as promoters dot their I’s and cross their T’s.
Rejean Theriault, director of communications for the combat sports division of the Governing Body of Alcohol, Races and Games of Quebec (RACJ), which oversees the commission, told Sherdog.com last week that MMA events can and will take place in the province, including the popular destination Montreal, as long as its organizers meet the “minimum safety requirements.”
Zuffa LLC, which met with the RACJ’s new leadership in February after the regulatory body told promoters it would uphold antiquated MMA rules that had been previously ignored, hosted UFC 97 to 21,000-plus spectators in Montreal on April 11 under the more recognized unified rules of combat.
However, two promotions recently cancelled or moved their shows out of the province. Bellator Fighting Championships relocated an event scheduled for May 29 in Montreal to Monroe, La., when it says it was told that it could not use a round, corner-free cage. Another promotion, XMMA, cancelled its May 16 event only nine days out, citing “an administrative conflict” with the RACJ that could not be rectified in time.
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