9.25.2008

A Reason for a Lawsuit if I Ever Saw One

Wow. Just wow. I don't know that I've ever felt sorrier for somebody than I do the guy in this story.

Man Sues After Genital Amputation

There's a link to the article and my brief thoughts on this after the jump.



From Kentucky.com :

A Kentucky man who claims his penis was removed without his consent during what was supposed to be a circumcision has sued the doctor who performed the surgery.

Phillip Seaton, 61, and his wife are seeking unspecified compensation from Dr. John M. Patterson and the medical practice that performed the circumcision for “loss of service, love and affection.” The Seatons also are seeking unspecified punitive damages from Patterson and the medical practice, Commonwealth Urology.

A woman who answered the phone at Commonwealth Urology would not take a message for the doctor Thursday. But the Seaton’s attorney said the doctor’s post-surgical notes show the doctor thought he detected cancer and removed the penis. Attorney Kevin George said a later test did detect cancer.


How exactly do you go from circumcision to complete genital removal? I see that the doctor's post-surgical notes show the doctor "thought" he detected cancer, but is it really the best idea to cut a guy's junk off if you "think" you detect cancer?

The Plaintiff's attorney alleges that this was not an emergency situation, so the doctors could have hypothetically stopped, woken the guy up, and asked him what he wanted to do.

I don't know a man alive that would've said, "Sure, Doc, go ahead and cut it off." Seriously, it's not even anything sexual, it's just that I don't know of a guy who would say that he'd rather live sans junk than die earlier because of cancer. Not to mention, what about chemotherapy? What about other sorts of treatment?

I don't know what the doctor was thinking that day....well, frankly, I think it's clear he wasn't thinking.

My thoughts and prayers go out to Phillip Seaton in what must be the worst situation he's ever had to deal with.

-PreView

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9.22.2008

KYFC #44 - Event Follow-Up and Post-Fight Commentary with Fighters

The Kentucky Fighting Challenge (#44) this past Saturday night was definitely an exciting event. As I stated in my brief post-event comment, there were eleven fights, nine of which ended in the first round. (The picture is of Jimmy Mc, the man who makes it happen. Picture owned by KY MMA Association.)

First, a bit about the promotion itself. The Kentucky Fighting Challenge is organized and promoted by Jimmy Mc. Check out the promotion's website here. I was able to meet Jimmy prior to the show and he is a genuinely nice guy who wants to make sure that anybody who wants to fight gets to fight, and that everyone who comes enjoys the show. It was obvious this was not his first show, as the promotion ran fairly smoothly throughout. It was an amateur event sanctioned by the Kentucky State Athletic Commission, complete with judges, a trained referee (Will Schneider, owner of London’s Premier Martial Arts out of London, KY – check them out on the web here), a 6-sided cage provided by Sinister Angel cages – check them out on the net here) ringside doctor, EMTs on standby, the whole nine yards. The fight format was three three-minute rounds. Seats were good, too, and since I was there when the doors opened, I had my pick of the general admission seats, from the second row on back. Definitely worth the $20 ticket price. (There was a co-promoter, too, but I was not able to get the name. I'll edit later if I can find it.)

Fighters came from a number of different Fight Teams, but the majority of fighters came from two – The Edge MMA and Team Dogg Pound. You can find Edge MMA on myspace at here (but their profile is private) and you can find Team Dogg Pound on myspace at here.

Although I was not officially covering the event, the fighters were hanging out in the audience both before and after their fights, so I was able to catch up with a number of them, trusty mini-recorder in hand. However, in what I’m sure was a cost-saving move to prevent extra expenses for the fighters, there weren’t programs, and I know I wasn’t able to get all of the names right, much less written down, but I’ll give you the best I can, including pre-fight comments from one fighter, and post-fight comments from a number of fighters. My apologies to any fighters whose names I misspelled or whose fight teams I couldn’t get a link to.

In the first fight of the night, James Reed out of Williams’ Karate Studio in West Liberty, KY faced Rick Reed from Team Dogg Pound (TDP), who was making his MMA debut. James Reed took a mount position fairly quickly, and although Rick almost submitted James via guillotine, James transitioned to win by rear naked choke.

In the second fight, Robbie Powell (of TDP) took on Nick Hettrick (of Edge MMA) who was making his MMA debut. Hettrick hit Powell with a quick right hand (what looked like a right cross from where I was sitting), and after a struggle, got the takedown. Shortly after that, Hettrick finished powell via a front scissor choke from the top position. A great move. I was able to speak to Hettrick briefly after his debut victory and when I asked him how he felt going into the fight, he summed it up with one word – “Ready.” When I asked him when he thought he’d be ready to fight again, it only took two words to get his point across – “Next week.” Hettrick stated that his training background was in submission wrestling and a little bit of muay thai. If I had to pick one word to describe Hettrick before the fight, it would be “focused.” I don’t think his facial expression changed more than once the entire time he was in the cage – he got in there, handled his business and got out, ready for the next fight. I look forward to seeing him fight again.

In fight number three, Bob Donaldson, fighting out of Bullitt County MMA (check them out on myspace here) took on Danny Abney (from TDP) making his MMA debut. Donaldson came roaring out, floored Abney with a few quick strikes and let loose with more until the ref jumped in to halt the action. Over in less than a minute.

Fight number four found Jason Stanley out of Stephens Vale Tudo (check them out on myspace here) vs. Jeremy Edmonson fighting out of Iron Dragon. Edmonson quickly got a guillotine attempt but Stanley reversed position, got the mount and started with a ground and pound assault until Edmonson gave up his back and Stanley sank in the rear naked choke for the win. I had a chance to talk to Stanley after his fight. He was a very approachable, well-spoken fighter. He stated that he took the fight on short notice, and had fought up a weight class at 185 (he normally fights at 170). I would not have guessed this - he's in great shape. His training background is mainly in BJJ, but he’s also trained in some boxing, muay thai and wrestling. Stanley stated that as of September 1, he had begun training full time and looked to turn pro after three or four more fights, provided those went well. Check out my blog in the near future for a full interview with Stanley. Out of everyone I saw fight Saturday night, I quickly decided he is the guy to look for in the future – he appears to have great physical conditioning and a strong skill set, and he’s definitely dedicated to the sport.

Fight number five pitted Devin Heierbacher out of Mt. Sterling, KY making his MMA debut against Brad (missed the last name) from Williams Karate Studio. Devin ended up winning a unanimous decision after three rounds that largely saw quick bouts of striking followed by some inactivity. I spoke to Devin after the fight and was surprised that he is a freestyle fighter with no truly formal training. His skill level appeared to be higher than that, but he credited his sparring partners, including his cousin, with helping him get ready. He also stated that coming into the fight as the local boy, he definitely felt like he needed to leave the cage with a win, and that for the last few days before the fight, he’d definitely felt the anxiety getting ready. When I asked him if it was something he’d like to do long-term, he stated that he wanted to get some more formal training and get a few more fights under his belt before making that decision. At 6’1”, 207, even though he fought a Heavyweight, Devin could easily make the Light Heavyweight class, and with his long reach and some BJJ training, I think could make a go at good amateur run.

Fight number six saw Josh Riddell out of TDP take on James D. from Iron Cobra MMA. Riddell weathered an early, hard leg kick and came back with a flurry of strikes that had the ref jumping in to stop it inside the first minute.

Fight number seven saw Josh Salencio out of Edge MMA vs. Chris Washburn out of Iron Dragon. Salencio weighed in at 153 pounds while Washburn weighed in at 145. Washburn went in for the quick takedown, but couldn’t fully execute it. Salencio then initially took Washburn’s back, but Washburn transitioned and ended up in Salencio’s high guard. After multiple triangle and armbar attempts, the round ended. I had it 10-9 Salencio. Early in the second round, Salencio got the mount and started a barrage of ground and pound strikes until the ref stopped the fight early in the second. Salencio definitely displayed a lot of submission skills in his fight - even though he couldn't capitalize on his triangle or armbar attempts, he was constantly transitioning, trying to get the best position. As I stated, he utilized the high guard, and it definitely worked to his advantage, keeping his opponent at a distance.

Fight number eight saw Larry Norton of TDP take on Shane Carroll of Iron Dragon in a 135-pound match-up. The pair clinched up early and Carroll landed a huge knee that almost floored Norton. Carroll quickly transitioned to Norton’s back and sank in the rear naked choke for a quick win. Carroll is apparently the 135-pound champion in another league he fights in, and it’s not hard to see why. He even fought a second time Saturday night (see #10).

Fight number nine matched up Brad Butler out of Edge MMA againt Pete Holmes, Jr. fighting out of Iron Cobra. The action started right out of the gate on this one as both fighters came out swinging. Butler quickly landed a solid guillotine attempt, but wasn’t able to immediately finish it. However, Holmes was not able to break the choke and was just thrown around the cage until he verbally submitted. Butler came in at 6’2” and 175 pounds, definitely tall for (what the weight class I assume he would fight in professionally) a welterweight. I think he could definitely use that reach to his advantage to both keep the distance and get better leverage when trying chokes. Even though he wasn’t able to immediately choke out Holmes, Holmes never could break out of the choke attempt.

Fight number ten saw Sammy Dills, a 145-pounder, (formerly out of Four Seasons) fight a returning Shane Carroll. I had the chance to speak to Dills both before and after the fight, and let me tell you this – this kid does not back down from a challenge. Coming into the event, he was not supposed to fight Caroll. Dills’ opponent dropped out before the fight, claiming a breathing problem. At this point, Dills was faced with a tough choice – fight a guy he knew nothing about except that he’d won his first fight of the night very quickly, he was the 135 pound champ in another league, and that he had a completely different body type than the fighter he trained for, OR, not fight at all. Dills manned up and took the fight. Dills came out firing, but ultimately over-committed on one of his strikes and got stuck in a tight guillotine choke where he was forced to tap out. When I spoke to Dills after the fight, he said he was definitely disappointed in how it went, but that he came to fight, so he was going to fight. Dills stated that he was going to return to Four Seasons and look for a rematch with Carroll at 135. That’s a fight I would definitely like to see.

The main event of the night pitted Dwayne Buckner out of Edge MMA against Doug "The Warrior" Copher, a fighter out of Four Seasons, sponsored by Spearmint Rhino. (Yes, Spearmint Rhino, the Gentlemen’s Club - awesome.) You can find Doug on Myspace here. Buckner came in the fight at 156 and Doug at 150. These guys came out firing from the beginning. They got in a sort of half-clinch standing, but Doug was able to transition and put Buckner down with a big slam. After that, Doug took Buckner’s back and worked on rear naked choke attempts until one landed and Buckner was forced to submit early in the first.

I know that was a lot of play-by-play coming a couple days after the event, but I wanted to make sure everyone knew about the action that went down because there were a lot of great amateur fights. I’ll definitely be attending any other KYFC events in the area, and I’m sure they’ll be just as exciting.

As a wrap-up I’d like to turn everyone’s attention back to The Edge MMA for a minute. I had a chance to talk with their owner/head-trainer/cornerman/guru Robert Cilinceon. He was an extremely nice guy and really stressed how he wasn’t just doing this so guys could learn to fight; he was doing it to help get kids off the street; to provide a more positive influence. Look for a more complete interview with Cilinceon soon – for now, I’ll just say that he’s definitely got the right idea. His school and his fighters are well-represented at KYFC events, and fighters from his gym hold multiple KYFC belts. Again, check back for the full interview with him soon.

Until the next local promotion comes around….

-PreView

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9.21.2008

KYFC # 44 Event Follow-Up and Post-Fight Interview Coming Soon

I attended the Kentucky Fighting Challenge, that I previously wrote about, on Saturday night in Mt. Sterling, KY. It was a great time. There were 13 fights on the card, but only 11 happened (2 fighters' opponents dropped out at the last minute), and out of those 11 fights, only 2 of them went past the first round. It was definitely an exciting night.

I had a seat close to the action and I was able to do some quick post-fight interviews with a few of the fighters. I'll have everything posted within the next few days, I just wanted everyone to know I'm finalizing the article now.

-PreView

END
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9.18.2008

UFC Fight Night 15 Post-Event Thoughts: Redemption.

I’ve subtitled my post Redemption because I that is what I got with my event picks this time. After posting a horrible record for UFC 88 (3-6), I came back with an 8-2record this time. In the grand scheme of things, what does this mean? Well, it probably means I’ll be back in the 3-6 arena next time – I rarely have good repeat performances in my fantasy picks.

Overall, I was pretty happy with the event. I did have a few complaints, namely that there were only four televised fights in a broadcast that ran just over 2 hours. I thought there would at least be 5, especially since all of the preliminary fights ended in stoppages, and some of them very quickly. Check after the jump for some more thoughts on a couple of the prelims as well as the televised card.


I think I was most proud of my call of Mike Massenzio beating Drew McFedries via submission. It ended in the first round (and I predicted the second), but I’m happy that Massenzio pulled off the upset victory. I was also happy to hear that Alessio Sakara won his fight (and got a KO of the Night bonus to boot), because I’ve always thought he’s been an underrated fighter. He does have somewhat of a suspect chin, but he is a solid fighter, and I hope this win puts him back on track to get some wins over bigger name opponents.

As for the televised card….

Houston Alexander vs. Eric Shafer – I was disappointed to see Alexander lose, especially in front of the home crowd. However, in spite of his previously claimed allegiance to Nebraska, he released a statement today in which he blamed the fans for the loss, saying that he couldn’t hear his corner shouting there were only a few seconds left in the round, and had he heard them saying that, he would’ve held on. Check out that comment on Cage Potato here.

I think that was kind of a cop-out. Sure, the fans were loud, but Alexander seemed to be feeding on that up to that point. Further, Alexander has gotten quite lucky in his short UFC tenure, in his ability to throw illegal knees without getting caught. He did it to Keith Jardine in his UFC debut (although at the point it happened, I don’t think it really made much of a difference), and did it to Shafer last night. Props to Shafer on the submission win.

Alexander stated prior to the fight that he was told if he lost he would have to win some fights outside the organization to get back to the UFC. I think this is a good idea, but I don’t think it’s going to help Alexander as much as some solid BJJ training would. I’m not saying he hasn’t been training BJJ, because all of the training fighters do is rarely showcased in the cage. However, I don’t think fighting outside the organization will do him too much good - he’ll likely go to a smaller show that doesn’t have nearly the caliber of Light Heavyweights the UFC does, he’ll rack up a few quick (and likely devastating) KO wins, and then they’ll bring him back – and if he gets taken down, he’ll lose like he did last night. I think Alexander is an exciting fighter, and I want to continue to see him in the UFC, but I’d also like to see him up his ground game, or at least execute it more effectively.

Ed Herman vs. Alan Belcher – Belcher pulled out a split decision win, which Herman later stated he thought went the wrong way. Although I was pulling for Herman to win, I agree with the judge’s decision. Belcher knocked Herman around for most of the fight, but Herman held in there much longer than I thought he would. He even got the better position a few times and came close to a few submissions, but ultimately was not able to end it. Herman had a few short bursts of dominance in the fight, but I do think Belcher deserved the split. I’d look for Belcher to fight somebody like Jason MacDonald next, since both are now coming off wins.

Clay Guida vs. Mac Danzig – I called this one exactly right, so obviously I was happy about that. One of the things I stated in my pre-event analysis was that “…I think Guida is much more explosive and will be able to frustrate Danzig to grind out a decision.” And I think that’s largely what happened. Guida’s tenacity is what makes him both an exciting fighter and a good fighter, even thoug his individual skill sets (i.e. striking) are often outclassed by other fighters. Guida clearly frustrated Danzig – the longer the fight went on, and the more Guida kept getting taken down, the more Danzig appeared to be frustrated that he couldn’t do anything to stop Guida from imposing his will. I’m interested to see who Guida fights next, and who Danzig will get next as well. I think Danzig will come back strong in his next fight.

Nate Diaz vs. Josh Neer – I previously stated that I thought Guida vs. Danzig should be the main event, but I was much happier with Diaz/Neer than I initially thought I would be. Both fighters put on a hell of a show, and I give Neer credit for avoiding the submission attempts throughout the entire fight. I also thought it was interesting to see Diaz repeatedly use the roll traditionally used to set up a kneebar, to get away from Neer’s to hold him down. Diaz had a couple takedowns I’m sure they’ll use in his highlight reel from now on, and I think Diaz is still growing as a fighter, which simply means he’ll be even more of a force as time goes on.

I do wonder who he’ll fight next, and how much longer he’ll be able to keep his UFC undefeated streak going. I think a match-up with Lauzon would be interesting, as they’re both BJJ maniacs and are both coming off wins, but Diaz does have a submission loss to Hermes Franca, from a WEC event in 2006, and even though Franca is coming off two losses, the UFC could easily bill this is Diaz trying to avenge his only submission loss.

Also, I feel I’d be betraying the Diaz brothers if I didn’t somehow work in a mention of Stockton, and “The 209”. Diaz’s post-fight interview was largely incoherent (as is most of the things he says), but I did catch the Stockton and 209 references as well as a request for someone to fight his brother because KJ Noons and other people were ducking him…or something like that. Also, at the post-fight press conference, apparently someone said something that angered both of the Diaz brothers as they started yelling and stormed out. No official word on what that was.

All in all, a good fight card, and a great free event. Looking forward to the next free one on Spike.

-PreView


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Kentucky Fighting Challenge - this Saturday, September 20, 2008.

Kentucky Fighting Challenge 44 is this Saturday, September 20, 2008 in Mt. Sterling, KY. Full details can be found here. There will be fighters from three states, and at least one MMA Vendor. Tickets are cheap and the venue is nice, so if you're in the area, check it out.

-PreView

END
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9.17.2008

Fight Night Picks: Redemption! And Congrats to Junie Allen Browning

My picks this time were much better. I went 8-2 for the night, and placed 60 out of 16,000 and change on the UFC fantasy site. Not too bad.

Also, for those of you who couldn't catch the premiere of TUF 8, congrats to Junie Allen Browning on taking that first step to becoming the Lightweight Ultimate Fighter - he walked through Jose Aguilar and beat him down so bad that Aguilar chose not to continue at the end of the first round. Junie looks like a good prospect for both teams. One of the coaches, Frank Mir, commented that he'd be looking to pick Junie early if Noguiera didn't get ahold of him first.

Tune in next week to see the rest of the elimination fights.

-PreView

And here is the rest of it.
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9.14.2008

PreView's Picks and Analysis for UFC Fight Night 15

I love UFC Fight Nights. First of all, they’re free, and I never argue with that price. Second, since the fighters they showcase are generally up-and-comers or lesser known fighters simply looking for more exposure, the fights tend to be very exciting, because the guys are looking for their tickets to the big show, so they leave it all in the cage. What more could you ask for?

As I do before all UFC events, I’m posting my picks for the events, but since I have a few extra minutes this time, I decided to enlighten you all to the rationale behind my picks. Hopefully, my picks will be more accurate than my picks for UFC 88. Check after the jump for my picks and analysis.


Nate Diaz vs. Josh Neer – (Diaz) This is an interesting match-up. Diaz had notable wins over Kurt Pellegrino and Junior Assuncao and a notable loss to Hermes Franca, via submission. Neer is the much more experienced of the two and has notable wins over Din Thomas, Joe Stevenson, Melvin Guillard and Forrest Petz, with notable losses to Nick Diaz, Drew Fickett, Spencer Fisher and Josh Burkman.

Nate Diaz’s specialty is obviously submissions, but he has a solid striking game and an awkward stance that can throw many fighters off (just like his brother Nick does). Not to mention, Neer does have a loss to Nick Diaz, and since Nick and Nate train together, I’m sure the two have been constantly reviewing Nick’s fight with Neer. Neer racked up 6 wins in 7 fights outside the UFC before coming back to defeat Din Thomas at UFN 13 in April of this year. Neer’s six losses have come via 1 KO, 3 decisions and 2 decisions. Nate’s two losses have come via 1 decision and 1 submission.

Nate is riding a 4 fight win streak in the UFC, and is seen as one of the division’s up and comers. He is favored to win the fight and I think he will. I don’t see it being a quick ending as Neer can use his experience to hold off Diaz for a while, but ultimately I see Diaz taking it via submission in the second round.

Clay Guida vs. Mac Danzig – (Guida) I know this is the co-main event, but I think this should be the main event as it provides a much more interesting match-up between two of the lightweight division’s strongest fighters. Danzig is coming off 2 wins, having won the 6th season of TUF, and defeating Mark Bocek at UFC 83 (both wins by submission). However, in his last two fights before TUF, Danzig faced back-to-back losses against Clay French (split decision) and Hayato “Mach” Sakurai (via KO).

Guida is kind of an enigma. He is also 2-2 in his last 4 fights, with wins over Samy Schiavo and Marcus Aurelio and losses to Roger Huerta and Tyson Griffin. Guida is 3-3 in his UFC career, and had two decision losses in his first two fights in the organizations. Many fighters under similar circumstances would have been released to build up their records in another organization, but Guida was relentless in those two fights, and his split decision loss to Griffin was a fight many thought Guida won. Not to mention, before Guida ate a knee from Huerta that ultimately allowed Huerta to set up the rear naked choke, pretty much everyone I know had Guida ahead on their scorecards.

Guida and Danzig both have the majority of their wins by submission, and both are very tenacious fighters. However, I think Guida is much more explosive and will be able to frustrate Danzig to grind out a decision. The oddsmakers do have Guida the favorite in this one, but not by much. On the random side, Danzig is a vegan, and I think that lifestyle is ridiculous, and Guida wins the contest for beating a fighter with a name closest to his own. Guida beat Clay Guidiolla via ankle lock at Combat-Do Fighting Challenge 2 in February of 2005. However, Danzig does train out of Xtreme Couture and I’ve seen some videos of him training for this fight and he looks to be in good shape. Danzig clearly outclassed everyone on the reality show and he was even fighting a weight class above his normal one then. He is going to be a force in the UFC Lightweight division, but I don’t think he’ll be tenacious enough to take out Guida. Guida by unanimous decision. This is also my call for Fight of the Night.

Ed Herman vs. Alan Belcher - (Herman) Before a loss to Demian Maia, Herman had racked up three wins in the UFC, however that was after two losses, one to Jason MacDonald and one to Kendall Grove. Alan Belcher is also coming off a loss, to Jason Day, a UFC newcomer. Belcher has notable wins over Jorge Santiago and Kalib Starnes (before he switched to his track career). Herman has notable wins over Scott Smith, Chris Price, Dave Menne, and Glover Teixeira. Belcher is a solid fighter, and although they’re both looking to rebound from losses, I think Herman will bounce back quicker, provided he can avoid Belcher’s better striking skills. Belcher will look to get in quick and TKO Herman, at which point Herman can submit Belcher. Herman by submission, Round one.

Houston Alexander vs. Eric Schafer – (Alexander) Alexander looks to come back strong after back to back losses to Thiago Silva and James Irvin. Schafer is coming off 2 wins outside the UFC after losing 2 in the UFC. Schafer only has 1 win by TKO, so I don’t think he has the striking power to overwhelm Alexander. Alexander by TKO in the first.

Alessio Sakara vs. Joe Vedepo – (Sakara) I like Sakara, I always have, and I think he’s a fighter who has caught some bad breaks in the UFC. He’s a former boxer out of Rome Italy and currently trains with American Top Team out of Miami. This is Vedepo’s inaugural bout in the UFC, having fought mostly in smaller shows, recently winning the Midwest Cage Championship Middleweight belt with a 3rd round submission win.

This will be Sakara’s second fight at middleweight, having lost the first to Chris Leben at UFC 82 in Columbus. Look for Sakara to close the distance quickly. I don’t think Vedepo is a wimp or anything, but this is his first time in front of a big crows and Sakara needs a win. Sakara by TKO in the first.

Wilson Gouveia vs. Ryan Jensen – (Gouveia) I’m surprised the UFC brought Jensen back. He only had two fights in the UFC (both losses) and is 2-1 outside the organizations since leaving. Gouveia lost his first fight in the UFC to Keith Jardine, but then racked up 4 straight wins in the UFC before losing to Gorin Reljic at UFC 84. Jensen has never taken a fight to a decision, win or lose, but his strength lies in submissions and Gouveia has never lost by submission in his pro career. Jensen may be able to hold Gouveia off for the first round, but at the latest, I see Gouveia winning by TKO in the Second Round.

Joe Lauzon vs. Kyle Bradley – (Lauzon) First, hats off to Bradley for taking a fight with Chris Lytle at UFC 81. Bradley did lose by a devastating TKO in the first round, but he took the fight on two weeks notice, up a weight class, against a fighter with much more pro experience. At his natural weight class of 155, I think Bradley will make a better showing. Lauzon is looking to come back since losing to Florian at UFN 13 in April. Lauzon is a submissions monster, while the majority of Bradley’s wins come from TKO or KO. The oddsmakers have Lauzon as a heavy favorite, and I tend to agree. I see Lauzon winning by submission in the first.

Jason Brilz vs. Brad Morris – (Brilz) This is Brilz’s first fight in the UFC and Morris’s second (lost to Cain Velasquez via TKO). Both fighters have won the majority of their fights via submission, but Brilz has 9 wins via submission compared to Morris’s 4. Odds place Brilz as a favorite, but not by much. I don’t know much about either fight, but Brilz seems to have faced more quality opponents and has notable wins over Alex Schoenauer and Jason MacDonald. I’ll say Brilz by submission in the 1st.

Drew McFedries vs. Mike Massenzio – (Massenzio) The oddsmakers have McFedries as a heavy favorite, but I think Massenzio is going to pull off an upset. 4 of McFedries’s 7 wins come via TKO or KO, and 5 of Massenzio’s wins come via submission. McFedries is an explosive fighter and will look to overwhelm Massenzio, and keep the fight off the ground, but as Kampmann showed, McFedries can be taken down and may be weak on the ground. I think Massenzio will be able to withstand the onslaught and expose McFedries on the ground. Massenzio by submission in Round 2.

Dan Miller vs. Rob Kimmons – (Miller) The oddsmen have this fight almost even. Kimmons has more experience, with 24 professional fights (21-3). Miller, on the other hand, only has 9 pro fights (8-1). Miller is one of the UFC’s recent transplants from the now-defunct IFL, having won the IFL Middleweight championship is his second fight, beating Ryan McGivern via kneebar. The majority of both fighters’ wins come via submission; Kimmons’s 13 to Miller’s 5. I’d look for both fighters to be constantly trading off submission attempts while looking for the other to make a mistake. Miller will be looking to make an impression in his first UFC fight and Kimmons will be looking to build on his first victory in the UFC againt Rob Yundt. I think Miller will be able to grind it out. Miller by Unanimous Decision.

There are going to be some entertaining fights as well as an opportunity to check out some of the new guys. Don’t forget to watch the premiere of season 8 of TUF afterwards to watch Junie Browning do his part to put KY on the MMA map.

-PreView

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9.12.2008

If there were ever a reason not to do steroids....

I recently wrote an article about drug use in MMA and the numerous reasons I think it's bad. However, during the span of that article, I didn't talk too much about the negative physical effects it can have. I'm sure you've all heard the stories, but I'd never run across one as bad as this. Check out the story and images after the jump, but be prepared, they're GRAPHIC.


Check out the full article here. Pictures copyrighted (not by me)



-PreView

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TUF 8 Teaser Featuring Junie Allen Browning


Spike TV has a preview of TUF 8, featuring Junie Allen Browning (From KY - trains out of Four Seasons like Steve Keaton, the fighter I just interviewed).

Check out the video here.

It is both hilarious and disturbing, particularly where Aguilar likens himself to Hitler.....hmm....don't quite know what to say about that.

Regardless, before the pair fights, I think their verbal exchange is hilarious, and I'm glad to see that Junie Browning can talk some s**t. And frankly, I think he's got the skills to back it up.

Looking forward to the show starting.

Obviously, out of respect to Browning, Steve K. and Four Seasons I'm throwing up a logo found on their website. Check Four Seasons out here.

-PreView


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9.09.2008

E-Interview with Amateur Fighter Steve Keaton

In the up and coming world of mixed martial arts, oftentimes the fighters we hear about, the fighters we follow and the fighters we see on t-shirts and new action figurse, are guys like Chuck Liddell. Fighters like Liddell often get the biggest financial benefit, win or lose. His devastating KO loss to Rashad Evans notwithstanding, Liddell managed to bring in the highest salary for the recent UFC 88event, a flat fee of $500,000.

TV portrayals of fighters rarely show the whole picture. UFC event countdown specials give us the picture of fighters who can afford to train full-time and have a stable of trainers, nutrionists and health professionals at their beck and call.
Bloated payrolls for some organizations like clothing-company-turned-fight-promoter Affliction can lead casual viewers to believe that a million dollar payday for a main event MMA fighter is normal. The numerous sponsors' logos splattered all over fighters' shirts and shorts can make viewers think that all fighters walk around tripping over all the people who want to sponsor them.

Not only are those things not true for a number of professional MMA fighters - those exaggerated ideals give hardly any consideration to some of the hungriest fighters in the game. Those ideals lend barely any credence to the fighters working the hardest to get their big break. Those ideals don't even seem to take into account the largest contingent of fighters that make up the MMA world - amateur fighters.

Too often, though, we overlook or don't even know about all the amateur fighters - grinding it out, working hard, doing what they can to promote both themselves and the sport.

If you have a couple minutes, take that time to read this (my first in a series to help promote the local MMA scene) to introduce yourself to one of these guys - Steve Keaton, an amateur fighter out of Lexington, Kentucky.




(That's Steve, rocking a t-shirt with the Four Seasons logo.)

Thanks for agreeing to the interview, Steve - let's jump right into it.

What initially inspired you to get into the fight game?

I've always been a huge fight fan. I grew up a boxing fan sitting on my dad's lap watching tuesday night fights on the USA network. In 1993 when the UFC came out I was blown away with the styles and match ups. I can remember ordering the first UFC on pay per view and seeing this skinny Brazilian guy dominate much bigger opponents. As it was in eastern Kentucky there weren't any opportunities to have that kind of training. It was until my last year of college in 2005 that I took my first Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class at Eastern Kentucky University. After that I was hooked, moved to Lexington from Richmond enrolled at 4 Seasons Martial Arts Gym and haven't looked back since.

What is your current record?

My current record is 3-1 as an amateur.

In what promotions have you fought?

I've fought in the Southern Fighting Network which is actually a promotion I helped form with some friends of mine and the Kentucky Fighting Challenge.

What is your training background and in what do you currently train and where?

My primary art is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I currently train at 4 Seasons Martial Arts Gym in Lexington, KY

Do you have a job in addition to fighting?

I work two bartending jobs at Buffalo Wild Wings and The Chase..a small bar in downtown Lexington owned and operated by one of my BJJ instructors and former Shooto fighter Chris Heflin.

Are you able to do a typical “training camp” before a fight, and if so, how long does that generally last?

Work keeps me pretty busy but it allows me plenty of time to train. My work schedule stays pretty much the same so I am able to maintain a regular training schedule as well. Typically I like to have at least 6 weeks of time to prepare, preferbly more before a fight.

What’s an average day of training like for you?

At 4 Seasons we have a fairly experienced and very knowledgable aresenal of coaches and classes to train with and in. Since Brazilian jiu jitsu is my base I do quite a bit of rolling in the gi with a fair amount of no gi submission wrestling. When I have a fight scheduled my days typically involve a lot more full speed sparring and work in the cage that we have at our facility.

Who do you typically train with before a fight?

When I have a fight coming up I usually do a lot more training with some of the more experienced guys at our gym. It varies from one end of the spectrum to the other as far and weight. I'm fortunate enough to be able to train with highly skilled and experienced professionals as well as smaller younger faster amateurs. So that blend of training pretty much prepares me for whatever I may encounter when I step in the cage. We have Mike O'Donnell as our head coach who is a King of the Cage veteran and also happens to be a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt under Carlson Gracie. So there is no shortage of skilled training partners to choose from at 4 Seasons.

What kind of mental preparations do you go through for before a fight?

I generally like to work quite a bit with a fight coming up. It helps me keep my mind off things and keeps me out of trouble and focused on my training and my opponent.

Is there one particular training aspect you single out as being more important than the others?

Cardio. It doesn't matter how many stripes you have on your belt or how heavy your hands are, if you run out of gas in there the fight is over. Period.

What is your normal pre-fight routine?

If I have to cut a lot of weight it usually involves spending a lot of time on the bike or in the sauna. But usually the day of the fight I spend the mornings alone to focus and the afternoon with my friends, training partners, and coaches to help shave the nerves.

At this point in your career, if there’s one fight you could do over again, which would it be?

My last fight was my first loss so that is definitely one I would love to have back. But I was able to recognize the mistakes I made leading up to and during that fight and learned from the defeat.

To date, what do you consider to be your biggest achievement in fighting?

My biggest achievement was definitely the SFN's inaugural show March Massacre last year here in Lexington. My partners Lee Jacobs and Donnie Prater were able to put together a respectable and entertaining fight show that we, the fans, and the fighters could be proud to be a part of at a time when a lot of promotions were running some less than honorable events.

What is your favorite technique?

Being one of the more inexperienced fighters at 4 Seasons I spent a lof of time on my back in the guard so I grew pretty fond the Kimura, which is a shoulder lock, and the triangle choke.

What is the Southern Fighting Network?

The SFN is a fight promotion I helped put together with some close friends of mine, Lee Jacobs, Donnie Prater, and professional wrestler Eric Darkstorm. A year earlier I competed at a local promotion and had to walk to the cage on a dirt floor in a cattle ring. It was embarassing and degrading. I vowed to myself to work hard and eventually put on a show that I could be proud to invite fans and fighters to be a part of. March 2nd 2007, we held our first event at the Kentucky Basketball Academy in Lexington. All the fights were competitive and exciting to watch capped off with Ultimate Fighter contestant Allen Browning defeating a very game and very tough Stu Hassler from G-Force fight team out of Cincinnati. We sold out the building and I walked out that night proud of the show we put on and hopefully so did the fighters involved.

It seems like fighters are being sponsored by companies from all industries – at any given event, you’ll see logos for mortgage companies, energy drinks and the ever present Condom Depot emblazoned across a number of fighters’ asses – do you think this kind of exposure helps or hurts the sport?

I wish I could say it didn't hurt the sport, but in a way it does. Which is sad. MMA is still fighting for mainstream acceptance and I know recently a company that turned down a sponsorship for a friend of mine that is gonna be fighting for the UFC in December because they feel MMA is still "too controversial" to become involved with. Many of these fighters hold day jobs and any sponsorship they can secure is hard to turn down because they really really need the money. Thats why you see some of the sponsor logos on shorts and shirts worn by the fighters. They just don't have the luxury of turning down the money from Joe Bob's Porn Emporium and other similiar types of businesses.

As an amateur fighter, do you find that you have a harder time finding sponsors?

Somewhat. Sponsorship is all about exposure and not too many amateur events are televised so bigger companies arent as willing to shell out the cash that some fighters need. But for the most part any MMA related clothing or equipment comany has always been very helpful in providing sponsorships even if its a small banner or free or reduced priced gear. Its getting bigger more mainstream companies involved thats the difficult part for an amateur.

As an amateur fighter, do you find that you have to do a lot of self-promotion to get your name out there, and if so, what kind of things do you do to achieve that goal?

Absolutely. Amateurs don't always get the kind of exposure as the professionals for obvious reasons so it involves a lot of self promoting to get your name out there. For me its a little easier because working in a hugely popular sports bar like Buffalo Wild Wings I have a unique opportunity to interact with the public that some fighters dont usually have.

Who is your agent and/or manager?

Lee Jacobs is a close friend of mine who handles a lot of my sponsorships etc. Mike O'Donnell from 4 Seasons Martial Arts Gym handles most of the match making and supervises my training as well as that of my teammates.

Do you have aspirations of turning pro? If so, how long, or after how many more fights do you think it will it take to do that?

That's the dream I suppose. I've always wanted to have at least one pay day as a professional fighter. I'm still working towards that and hopefully after a dozen or so amateur fights I'll be able to make that dream come true.

How do you feel about organizations like the American Fight League (AFL) out of Louisville, Kentucky?

I like the organization that the AFL possesses. They have always been involved with and held quality MMA events in the area and the gentlemen involved were very helpful in regards to the show I helped create with the SFN.

Do you think that promotions like this that start on a local level will ever be able to compete with organizations like the UFC?

Its hard to say. It seems like anyone who tries to butt heads with the UFC usually ends up on the losing end. Which is sad because as long as MMA is structured the way it is with promotion companies and exclusive contracts we will never see the best fighters fighting each other. Until there is a universal governing body that oversees the sport of MMA and fighters have the opportunity to compete against the best competition available it will never be taken seriously as "mainstream" and you will never see the fighters making the kind of money boxers make which is what I think many of us in the game wanna see.

A number of websites publish the fighters’ salaries after events along with the winners of bonuses such as the UFC Fight of the Night, KO of the Night and Submission of the Night bonuses, and they do it with a disclaimer that the figures don’t include costs of medical examinations, travel and the like – what kind of expenses do you deal with as a fighter that most people wouldn’t know about?

As an amateur so far I haven't had to deal with any huge expenses such as CT scans and other pre-fight medical examinations. A lot of people don't know but for a professional fighter it can be a task to get that kind of stuff paid for before the fight. That's why sponsorships are so important because not everyone is getting Chuck Liddell type endorsement money that pays for pre fight expenses. A friend of mine told me when he fought in the UFC he paid his own air fare, hotel, received one extra ticket to the event for his wife, was denied a request for any other extra tickets and on top of that had to pay for his pre fight physical and history as well as any scans and other medical clearance needed to fight.

In your opinion, who is the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world?

Anderson Silva certianly seems to be the man for right now. But as unpredictable as MMA can be that could change the next fight. He just seems to be clicking on all cylinders right now, standing and on the ground. Fedor obviously has the skills but with the lack of marquee matchups for him he doesnt get a lot of credit but he is definitely up there in my opinion in the P4P debate.

Who are some fighters, past or present, that you admire?

Wanderlei Silva is first and foremost a fighter that I admire. He has always been a fan first kinda fighter. Never turning down a matchup whether it was in his best interest or not. The guy has fought and defeated some of the best fighters in the world. When he stepped up and fought Mark Hunt in Pride I was amazed. Seeing him come to the UFC was great because I knew he would perform and put on a great show and so far win or lose he has. I admire the Gracie family for providing an opportunity for people like me to view and train for MMA. Kazushi Sakuraba is most definitely a hero of mine as throughout his career has never looked away from a fight and always been entertaining.

The sport seems to be getting more exposure and as a result, becoming more accepted across society – where do you see the sport in five years?

In five years the sport is gonna be completely different. The game from promotion to training is evolving every day. In 5 years I think we will all be watching the best and most finely tuned athletes in the world competing against each other. MMA will be respected as a sport instead of the butt of jokes and ire of uneducated polititians.

What kind of hobbies do you enjoy in your down time?

Spending as much time as possible with my son, playing cards, just basically whatever life throws at me.

How do you your family and friends feel about your fighting career?

Most of them used to think I had lost my mind when I started training. The girlfriend I had at the time walked out on me and I was left pretty much with nothing. At my first fight I think most of my friends and people I knew were there to see me get beat up but now I think people in my life have realized this is something I love to do and can be very good at given the time. As matter of fact a few months ago when I was out with some friends to watch a UFC pay per view and ran into that ex girlfriend with a group of her friends there to watch a sport she once told me I was an idiot for getting involved in. I think given time and a fair shake MMA is something a lot of people will eventually fall in love with.

Thank you for all this, Steve – is there anyone you’d like to thank?

I wanna thank you for this opportunity I've really enjoyed it. I also wanna thank my friends and training partners for all the support I've been given over the years. If anyone is ever out at Bw3's definitely stop by and say hello. Thanks Again and God Bless.

You can find Steve on myspace here and you can find Four Seasons on the web here.

-PreView


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9.07.2008

PreView's Picks for UFC 88 - Post Event

Well, another PPV has come and gone, and I'm back to posting horrible records on my fantasy picks. I went 3-6 this time. Horrible. Absolutely horrible.

Here are a few quick thoughts on the event (after the jump), in no particular order - I'll likely flesh this out some more when it's not almost 3 in the morning.


Liddell vs. Evans - Had someone been able to look into the future and told me that Evans won, and that I could win a million dollars by guessing what way he finished the fight, I think KO would have been my absolute last choice. Regardless of that, Evans had what could likely be dubbed KO of the year, and a spot on any instructional videos on what an overhand right is supposed to look like. I was among the many who thought Evans couldn't handle Liddell, and so I now have to give major props to Evans.

Franklin vs. Hamill - no real surprises here for me, except that Franklin took so long to finish the fight and Hamill didn't try to shoot in more than he did. Hamill can definitely be a force at 205, but he needs to expand his striking game. I think he only threw four or five different punches the entire fight. I think Franklin can post a more dominating victory at 205, but he'll have to fight somebody he's not so close with.

Henderson vs. Palhares - this fight was kind of disappointing for me, in that I thought Palhares would post a stronger performance. Not to take too much away from him, though, because he did survive some huge onslaughts from Henderson, and tried to capitalize on the ground when he had the chance.
And the big slam he got will definitely show up on his personal highlight reel in future UFC events. But my question now is what's next for Henderson?

Kim vs. Brown - I was fairly pleased with this fight. I thought Brown fought hard through it, effectively stuffing Kim's Judo game. I think Brown would've ended up in a better position had he pushed the action more, but it was an entertaining fight.

Kampmann vs. Marquardt - Also a little disappointed here. Frankly, I didn't think Marquardt stood that good of a chance in winning this fight unless he started in on the crotch-shots much earlier this time. I thought Kampmann would definitely win the stand up battle, and would be able to survive enough on the ground to frustate Marquardt. But like with Evans, props to Marquardt - it was definitely a dominating victory. 2008 has been much better to Greg Jackson than 2007 was.

Lambert vs. MacDonald - No big surprise here for me, although I did think MacDonald did a great job of not panicking when he was in (literally) a tight spot. In spite of the fact Lambert lost, I think he should stick with 185 - he seemed a lot lighter on his feet than he did at LHW.

Boetsch vs. Patt - No big surprise here either, except for the fact that Boetsch came in to the fight in WAY better shape than he was against Hamill. I'd heard he was working harder, but you could definitely see it, as he was much lighter on his feet and looked significantly lighter as well. I'm excited to see who Boetsch will fight next.

Finally, while they did not broadcast Tavares vs. Pellegrino, since it garnered Fight of the Night honors, I'm hoping they'll show it for free on UFC.com like they did with Burkman vs. Hazelett.

Oh, and maybe for the UFN, I won't embarass myself in the fantasy leagues like I did tonight. One can only hope.

-PreView


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9.05.2008

PreView's Picks for UFC 88

No belts are on the line at UFC 88, but there are plenty of entertaining fights. See my picks below.

Chuck Liddell vs. Rashad Evans - Liddell

Rich Franklin vs. Matt Hamill - Franklin

Dan Henderson vs. Rousimar Palhares - Palhares

Thiago Tavares vs. Kurt Pellegrino - Tavares

Dong Yung Kim vs. Matt Brown - Brown

Roan Carneiro vs. Ryo Chonan - Careneiro

Martin Kampmann vs. Nate Marquardt - Kampmann

Jason Lambert vs. Jason MacDonald - MacDonald

Tim Boetsch vs. Michael Patt - Boetsch

I know Palhares and Brown are both underdogs in their fights, but I think they're going to pull out some surprises, especially Palhares.

-PreView


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9.02.2008

World's Most Dangerous Man, or World's Least Dangerous Can? PreView's Look at Kimbo Slice vs. Ken Shamrock

Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson’s next opponent has been named, and it’s “The World’s Most Dangerous Man”, Ken Shamrock.

But just how dangerous is Shamrock these days? Is he going to be the pushover Elite XC expects him to be? For a look at this, as well as a quick analysis of Gina Carano’s next opponent, take a look after the jump.



So – how dangerous is Ken Shamrock? First, I think you have to make that question a little bit more specific. First, how dangerous is Ken Shamrock to pretty much any Heavyweight fighter other than Kimbo? Not very. How dangerous is he to Kimbo? Definitely the most dangerous opponent he’s faced so far.

Shamrock is 26-13-2 overall, but he’s 8-2 in his last ten fights, and hasn’t had a win since 2004, against Kimo Leopoldo.

Shamrock is definitely an MMA pioneer, having fought in the original UFC, losing only to Royce Gracie. Shamrock has beaten Bas Rutten (twice), Dan Severn, fought Royce Gracie to a draw at UFC 5, and beat Maurice Smith (when he didn’t suck so bad).

Shamrock is the head of the once-famed Lion’s Den training camp which produced such fighters as Guy Metzger and Edwin Dewees, and of course, Frank Shamrock (Ken’s adopted brother).

Ken has also been an ambassador for MMA as a whole, making numerous TV appearances and testifying in front of various committees during “the dark years” when Senator John McCain campaigned against this “human cockfighting”.

Fast forward to the future, though, and Shamrock’s last fight against Robert Berry at Cage Rage 25 was a disappointing KO loss in March of this year.

Now, let’s take a look at Kimbo. As many of you probably know, Kimbo Slice rose to fame as a backyard brawler in the Miami area. He didn’t face much competition until he fought a police officer, Sean Gannon, in an underground match, the rules of which could be described as constantly changing, at best. Gannon would lock Kimbo up in the clinch, Kimbo’s people would say the clinch wasn’t allowed. Gannon would knee Kimbo, Kimbo’s people would say knees weren’t allowed. Gannon would get Kimbo in a guillotine choke, Kimbo’s people would say chokes weren’t allowed. You get the point.

So Kimbo then gets an honest to goodness MMA fight with Bo Cantrell….a former boxer. Bo Cantrell tapped after Kimbo punched him and knocked him down. Ridiculous.

Then, Kimbo got to fight Tank Abbott – more of an MMA fighter, but still primarily a puncher, really a brawler. Ten years ago, this fight might have been entertaining. However, Tank was long past his prime, and got knocked out in the first round.

Then, Elite XC, on the network premiere of MMA (on CBS), Kimbo got to fight a real MMA fighter, James “Giant awful looking cauliflower ear” Thompson. Kimbo won by TKO (ref stoppage) in the third round, although many people thought the stoppage was premature.

So there you have Kimbo. He has gained “some” respect from taking things at least semi-seriously and training with Bas Rutten (who assures everyone Kimbo is taking it seriously), but Kimbo’s still-raw image as well as his penchant for crap-talking have reassured everyone he hasn’t strayed too far from his backyard roots.

Many people wondered how Kimbo would fare in the Thompson fight. To sum up James Thompson’s background, I’ll just say that at best, he looks tougher than he is. Even that isn’t as true anymore as he came into the Kimbo fight looking rather doughy, and with a ridiculous cauliflower ear no doctor in his right mind would have not drained before letting Thompson go out there and fight.

I think the most obvious and relevant fact for purposes of this article is that Thompson is famous for KOs….as in he’s famous for being the victim of KO….as in if the “Cutman” (guy in the corner who tends to cuts, and puts Vaseline on the fighter’s face before the fight and in between rounds) who was putting the Vaseline on before the fight rubbed a bit too vigorously, it would probably KO Thompson.

However, in spite of Thompson’s obvious defects, including the fact that he’s 3-7 in his last ten fights, many people were interested to see how Kimbo would fare against Thompson, as Thompson is a more complete (frankly, younger) MMA fighter than Abbott.

Kimbo struggled. He was not able to get a TKO until the third round, and even then many feel it was a controversial stop. Thompson probably just looked in worse shape than he actually was, his cauliflower ear having burst from one of Kimbo’s punches. Also, for most of the second round, and a fair amount of the first, Kimbo was on his back, unable to do much to defend Thompson’s takedowns, and struggling to get back on his feet after being taken down. If Thompson were half as good at submissions as he is at getting knocked out, he would’ve submitted Kimbo inside the first round.

But Kimbo prevailed, and although he was barely able to breathe at the end of the fight, he was able to stir up a fair amount of crap at the post-fight press conference where he was called out by Brett Rogers (another Elite XC Heavyweight), who basically said that Kimbo sucked, albeit in much more colorful terms.

Kimbo responded, and what has since ensued has been a ridiculous display of trash-talking between two fighters who were seemingly being set up for an entertaining Heavyweight clash – what would surely be the main event of Elite XC’s next events. The Scott Smith and Robbie Lawler rematch was the main event for the second CBS-televised event, and October 4th was then set as the date for the next Elite XC event on CBS.

Many of the viewers who were excited to see Elite XC do a better job on their second TV outing thought the third time truly would be the charm, with a potential fight between Kimbo and Brett Rogers, and what could easily be a co-main event between Gina Carano and Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos who was fresh off a decisive TKO win over Shayna Baszler when Carano (watching in the audience) said they should fight. But as it turns out, that’s not the case…or cases, as it were, since Carano won’t be fighting Santos either.

Instead we have Kimbo facing Ken Shamrock and Carano facing Kelly Kobald, out of the Minnesota Martial Arts Academy (where former UFC LW Champ Sean Sherk, and UFC HW fighter Brock Lesnar train), who is 0-2 in her last two fights, but 16-2-1 overall.

So, why did Elite XC, which is $55 million in debt (as of their last required SEC filing) foregoing two potentially major fights for the two they’ve scheduled?

There are a couple of possibilities here, both of which I feel are valid concerns on their part. First, ratings. While the first two network outings of live MMA did fairly well on CBS, even though the second one had a much better production value than the first (see Puddin’s were those dancers), the second one had lower overall ratings, leading many to speculate it was because Kimbo and Carano weren’t on the card. Furthermore, while Elite XC has enjoyed an exclusive deal with Showtime since their inception, the rumor is that Elite XC will be foraying into the Pay-Per-View world in early 2009, in hopes of raising their revenue. So, since Kimbo and Carano are both on the October CBS card, the ratings won’t suffer, and they can reserve the two marquee matches for their PPV debut. A fairly plausible explanation.

Second, Elite XC cannot afford for either Kimbo or Carano to lose right now. Kimbo is arguably their biggest draw, but is definitely the fighter that has the least experience of anyone in their entire organization. Carano, on the other hand, has been billed as the face of Women’s MMA, and in addition to her undefeated MMA record, 6-0, it doesn’t hurt anything that she’s easy on the eyes, especially when compared to Cristiane Santos, who….well, she is ripped, and could probably beat up both Puddin’ and I at the same time, but….let’s just say she’s no Gina Carano.

Possible opponents for Kimbo’s next matchup (prior to Shamrock being announced) were Brett Rogers, and Sean Gannon (see above). Gannon’s financial demands were apparently too ridiculous, and I think Elite XC thought Rodgers would beat Kimbo, and they didn’t want to take that chance. Kimbo is their poster boy right now, and everyone has speculated that he doesn’t have the experience or skills to face up against a true MMA fighter, and a loss would prove that point.

Given the fact that Kimbo struggled against someone he should have KO’d in the first minute of the first round (Thompson), Elite XC is worried, so they figure they’ll feed him Shamrock, who has lost his last five fights by KO or TKO, two of them to Tito Ortiz, and I think even Puddin’ would say that if Tito Ortiz can TKO you, you should think about hanging up your gloves. Add to that the fact that Shamrock is 44 years old, and I think it’s apparent the years are catching up to him. Don’t get me wrong, he deserves to be in the UFC Hall of Fame and he is both a pioneer and ambassador of MMA, but the harsh reality is that he is past his prime. So Elite XC thinks that they can throw yet another “can” to Kimbo who will KO Shamrock, and then they can set up months of trash-talking between Kimbo and Rogers to hype their inaugural PPV.

But, in looking to find an opponent with name recognition for Kimbo, I think they might have made the bad choice in Shamrock. I haven’t forgotten all the things I just wrote, but the fact remains that Shamrock is one of the pioneers of the sport, so he has something Kimbo clearly lacks – experience. Add to that the fact that 22 of Shamrock’s 26 wins have come via submission, and Kimbo’s submission defense has never been tested, and due to the experience factor, I’m sure is lacking. Kimbo will look to jump on Shamrock quick, and Shamrock will clearly look for the submission, but one of Kimbo’s biggest strengths is his coach, Bas Rutten, who in addition to losing to Shamrock twice, has a wealth of experience. Surely Rutten is going to be drilling Kimbo on submission defense from now until the fight happens – but again, formal training can only take you so far. It was apparent that Kimbo didn’t panic too much when Thompson had him on the ground, but I get the feeling that even though Shamrock is much older, he’ll be working a lot harder to improve his position on the ground, and at that point, experience would do him more good than training, but since he won’t have the experience, he could be in some trouble.

However, Kimbo apparently hits pretty hard, and is a much bigger guy than Shamrock is used to fighting, having spent most of his career at Light Heavyweight. Look for Shamrock to go for some sort of leg/knee/ankle lock the first time Kimbo knocks him down or to try and outlast Kimbo, to win a lackluster decision.

Let’s jump back to Carano and Santos for a second. Carano trains out of Xtreme Couture, and as I mentioned before is 6-0 in her MMA career (1 KO, 2 TKO, 1 submission, 2 decisions). Santos trains out of Chute Boxe Academy and is 5-1 (4 TKOs and 1 decision win, 1 submission loss in her first MMA fight).

When Santos beat Baszler, she was a beast – transitioning from the clinch to groundwork to great striking. While Carano has attained some celebrity-like status, she has not yet proven herself to be quite as vicious in the cage, and I’m sure like with Kimbo, Elite XC was concerned their poster girl would get her ass kicked, so they’re handing her Kobald, who has lost her last two fights, expecting a win from which they can build a rivalry between her and Santos.

There are two problems with this. The first one is all Carano – she fights at 140 pounds, but has had trouble making weight in all of her fights, and in her most recent fight against Kaitlin Young at the May Elite XC event, she missed the mark by four pounds. Any fighter not making weight is a problem, both for the fighter, and for the promotion. It tells the viewers that the fighters can’t get their stuff together before a fight, or perhaps they’re not taking it as seriously as they should, and it just looks bad for the promotion. In the event that someone misses weight, their opponent can decline to fight, so there is simply no fight. Or (and this is the much more likely alternative), the opponent will accept the fight and the fighter who failed to make weight will forfeit a percentage of his or her overall purse to the opponent (generally 10-20%). In the event the fight was supposed to be a title fight, it will be downgraded to a non-title fight, both for title purposes, and timing purposes (i.e. now 3 rounds instead of 5).

The second problem is Kobald. Like with choosing Shamrock for Kimbo, I think Elite XC may have jumped the gun on giving what they feel should be an easy fight to their poster girl. Kobald may be 0-2 in her last two fights, but like I said, she’s 16-2-1 overall, and while “MMA math” doesn’t generally mean too much, for Pete’s sake, I want to mention that Carano and Kobald only share one common opponent in their professional careers – Julie Kedzie. Carano beat Kedzie by Unanimous Decision in February of 2007; Kobald lost to Kedzie by Unanimous Decision in August of 2007.

Kobald is a solid fighter. Other than one draw, she went undefeated from her first match in July of 2002 until July of 2007 when she lost by submission (armbar) to Tara Larosa. Of her 16 wins, 6 have been TKO or KO, 8 have been submissions and 2 have been decisions. Kobald stated that she thought Carano would have a hard time dealing with her as she has a different build than most of the women Carano has fought; she’s more muscular, and has a much broader torso and shoulders. But as we know, Carano isn’t just a pretty face, and she’s not afraid to get in there and mix it up. Carano is a former kickboxer, so she’s no stranger to the clinch. All in all, should be a good matchup. I don’t want to make a prediction just yet – I’ll wait until it gets little closer to October 4th – but I will say I think this fight will be much more contested than Kimbo and Shamrock. Frankly, I think that will be over in Round 1, either due to Kimbo knocking out Shamrock or Kimbo doing something stupid and getting caught in a submission.

Regardless, while Elite XC’s choices of opponents for their two biggest fighters do have some rationale behind them, Elite XC can only shield them for so long, before the questions of inexperience turn into taunts of easy matches for their poster children, while Elite XC states that Kimbo and Carano are both great fighters, but won’t put them up against anybody who could truly prove (or disprove) that.

For the record, I’d like to see Shamrock submit Kimbo and Carano grind out a tough decision.

-PreView


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