Hopeless MMA-a-Phobe Editorial Dept: Special Times of India EditionBy Jake Rossen ([email protected])
Wednesday, 6:20 p.m. ET: An unattributed editorial in the Times of India has the author fretting over the UFC’s pending date in Germany, labeling combatants “men who maul each other” in a “setting straight out of Mad Max.” (Can we call a moratorium on the Thunderdome analogy? Thanks much.)
The essayist, misguided as he is, can’t be blamed for the opinion formed by superficial examination of the sport. Without a base understanding of grappling or low-ounce striking, it really can resemble a bloody bit of barely controlled mayhem.
The overwhelming support said mayhem enjoys, though, should compel anyone trying to assemble a critical position to look a little more deeply. Like most opponents, I would be shocked if his exposure went beyond a two-minute YouTube clip of Kimbo Slice picking gravel out of his knuckles in a Wal-Mart parking lot.
In fairness atypical of these smear jobs, the Times ran a counterpoint piece sympathizing with the distaste for violence but noting that combatants are willing participants.
“… those disgusted by the whole affair,” Anil Thakkar wrote, “are free to ignore it.”
‘UFC Undisputed’ Reviews Come InBy Jake Rossen ([email protected])
Wednesday, 5:30 p.m. ET: Leaving the video game reviews to the experts: “Undisputed,” the UFC’s first branded video game since a 2000 Dreamcast platform release, appears to be garnering high marks from the callused-thumb crowd.
Planet Xbox360 was “very pleased” overall, expressing only mild distaste for “minuscule mistakes” that cost them virtual victories. GameSpot gave it a 8.0 out of a possible 10, nagging on a slow menu system and “laggy” online play.
UFC President Dana White has no time for sissy-ass critical evaluation: He’s anointed it ”the best fighting game ever made,” a clear slap in the face to employee Bruce Buffer’s own “Ready 2 Rumble” franchise.
The two hundred hours I spent playing “Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out” would appear to veto both of those choices, but to each their own.
CraveOnline related links » A review at Game Revolution and previews at Operation Sports and CraveOnline.
Kongo In for Injured Herring at UFC 99By Jake Rossen ([email protected])
Wednesday, 11:10 a.m. ET: MMABay -- to my disappointment, not an auction site -- has received word Cheick Kongo will step in for an illness-stricken Heath Herring on late notice to take on Cain Velasquez at UFC 99 in Cologne, Germany June 13.
This reads like a No. 1 contender’s bout, save for the fact that Kongo has only a little over three weeks to steel himself: That’s a fact likely to be drudged up repeatedly should he suffer a loss to the undefeated Velasquez, who has been making heavy bags bleed for weeks preparing for Herring.
Then again, taking a fight means accepting the consequences. And I’m still of the mind the winner of August’s proposed Randy Couture/Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira bout could sneak in to meet the winner of the Brock Lesnar/Frank Mir title unification July 11. Dollar signs dictate you take advantage of Couture’s last rodeo when you can: Both Kongo and Velasquez are years away from farting cobwebs.
Dismembering WAMMA: Miletich, Others Leave Catch-All OrganizationBy Jake Rossen ([email protected])
Wednesday, 11:05 a.m. ET: MMA fans and observers are often pessimistic about startups of any kind, and there’s a reason why: Most of them are destined for failure.
The latest fight Titanic? The World Alliance of Mixed Martial Arts, a self-appointed sanctioning body that attempts to crown world champions regardless of their promotional affiliations.
If that sounds like a big, hot bag of air, that’s because it is. Since its inception in September 2007, only two “undisputed champions” have been named: Fedor Emelianenko and lightweight Shinya Aoki. Since the UFC refuses to participate, that leaves crater-sized holes in every other division.
Now MMAJunkie reports both Pat Miletich and interim COO Sam Caplan have opted to de-board.
“… I no longer believe that WAMMA's execution is where it needs to be in order for it to meet its full potential,” Miletich said. “Based on that and a growing difference of opinion with WAMMA's board of directors, I made the decision that it is time to move on."
That decision probably should’ve been made in late September 2007, but better late than never. WAMMA is threatening to continue operations, but overwhelming public apathy and uncooperative promoters should eventually take their toll.
Flawless UFC Victories: Part IIIBy Jake Rossen ([email protected])
Wednesday, 1:05 a.m. ET: The third in a series looking at UFC main event attractions that performed without error (or close to it). Two-round minimum; pre-dented tomato cans need not apply.
Chuck Liddell vs. Tito Ortiz II (UFC 66, Dec. 30, 2006)
To really understand how thoroughly and completely Chuck Liddell shut down Tito Ortiz, you need to watch Ortiz’s vehicular-manslaughter title run from 2000-2004. Ortiz wasn’t just dominant: He was oppressive, cracking opponent vertebrae like walnuts and offering few opportunities for hope.
Against former training partner Liddell, his shots were stuffed and his strikes whiffed air. Once so malicious, Liddell’s counter game forced him to become docile, as though he were moving at a slower frame rate. In nearly 15 minutes of fighting, Liddell was only hit in the face twice. (This combination angered him, and he immediately swarmed Ortiz for the win.)
That Ortiz could barely muster one trip-to-takedown after a career of planting people like spruce trees was something to see. Liddell escaped virtually unmarked; Ortiz, meanwhile, was marked both in body and for ambulance transport.
‘Jacare’ Talks Evans-Machida, Anderson-GriffinBy Mike Fridley ([email protected])
Wednesday, 1:00 a.m. ET: Marcelo Alonso sat down with Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza recently for a video interview that will run later this week on Sherdog.com.
Below are a few tidbits not in the video.
Marcelo Alonso: You’ve already trained with some of the most renowned MMA fighters in the world -- Forrest Griffin, Wanderlei Silva, Randy Couture, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. What impresses you the most about Anderson Silva?
Jacare: Anderson is an amazing talent, not only standing up but also in the ground. His jiu-jitsu skills are excellent. He’s definitely at a black belt level. If someone thinks taking him to the ground is the easiest way to beat Anderson, they’re making a big mistake. To beat Anderson, a fighter has to be really good standing up, on the ground, in every aspect. It’s not going to be easy.
Marcelo Alonso: You had the opportunity to train a lot with Forrest Griffin, when I visited you at Xtreme Couture last year. He said you were one of his best training partners. How do you see his fight against Anderson Silva playing out?
Jacare: I look to the future and see an amazing fight -- a fight between two very tough and well-rounded fighters who deserve all the respect in the world as athletes, fighters and people.
Marcelo Alonso: You told me he was your best training partner during the time you trained at CoutureÂ´s gym.
Jacare: He also told you that. Forrest and I used to have really tough sparring sessions everyday. It was very nice, and I have great memories of Forrest.
Marcelo Alonso: What about Lyoto Machida? How do you see his fight against Rashad Evans playing out?
Jacare: I think Rashad is a tough guy who can cause problems for Lyoto. Even though I’m pretty much a nationalist, I think Rashad is a tactical fighter and can take the fight to the final rounds; that would be a problem for Lyoto. I’m 100 percent Brazilian, so I’ll cheer for Lyoto.
Check the blog all day for more entries.