Skip to Content

Category Archives: MMA News

How MMA squeezing boxing out of Asia

The explosive growth of mixed martial arts (MMA) in Asia is putting the squeeze on boxing as it attracts millions of young fans and sells out venues across the region.

0 0 Continue Reading →

Mayweather vs. Pacquiao: The Money Behind the Fight

Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao fight week has finally arrived. With all of the monetary figures surrounding this fight being well documented, the attention has now turned to what will happen inside the ring.

0 0 Continue Reading →

Wanderlei Silva officially files suit against NSAC

Wanderlei Silva has kept good on his word and officially filed a lawsuit against the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC), which stems from the harsh and unreasonable punishment that was handed down to him last year. The NSAC held a hearing and ultimately issued a lifetime ban to Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva, which is one of the actions that revealed the commission’s lack of transparency.

Chael Sonnen was handed a 2-year ban from fighting, but was able to compete at Metamoris 4 in California. The NSAC threatened Sonnen with a $250K fine if he went through with the competition, but it hasn’t taken any actions against the former UFC fighter.

If the NSAC did, the case would have likely gotten thrown out the door.

Competitive Grappling, which Metamoris functions as, is not classified as a professional combat sport by the Association of Boxing Commissions, which the NSAC ultimately answers to. The Association of Boxing Commissions only regulates Boxing, Kickboxing, and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA).

If Sonnen wanted to compete in the Olympic trials to make the 2016 US Olympic Wrestling team, the NSAC would be powerless to stop him. The event does not fall under NSAC jurisdiction.

Metamoris 4 took place in California, where the NSAC has no jurisdiction.

The NSAC would overstep its legal boundaries if it decided to punish Sonnen for his participation in Metamoris 4. Even if Metamoris 4 took place in Nevada, competitive grappling is not classified as a professional sport, which means the NSAC has no jurisdiction.

These circumstances shape Silva’s argument in his lawsuit against the NSAC, which he wants the lifetime ban overturned.

The punishment stems from Silva evading a random drug test on May 24th, which is one of the pre-fight drug tests before the planned fight against Sonnen at UFC 175. You should already know that the fight between the two fighters was canceled because of the controversy.

Silva’s lawyer argues that the NSAC unlawfully gave the lifetime ban for a few reasons. The first reason was that Silva had yet to have an active license in Nevada, which is a requirement to compete in that state. The second reason is that Silva had not agreed to sign for the fight yet, which means he did not have to take the random drug test.

It is important that a ban from the NSAC does not mean that your career is over.

You have to remember that the NSAC’s jurisdiction is only within the state of Nevada.

If you are banned in Nevada, there are other states in the United States to compete in. You can compete in New Jersey, Washington, Georgia, Massachusetts, Illinois, Oregon, California, Arizona, and other states and not get punished by the NSAC.

You can even fight overseas and the NSAC would really overstep its bounds for trying to punish you.

Sonnen is moving on even after the 2-year ban and is trying to talk with Silva for something big.

Silva has used his experience with the NSAC to show his support for Jon “Bones” Jones who, is on the public hot seat after testing positive for cocaine. He used this opportunity to take a pot shot at the NSAC on not following proper laws and protocols.

He even took for its controversial move of signing Phil Brooks, known as professional wrestler CM Punk. Silva points out the controversy just as other fighters have, Brooks has neither an amateur nor professional MMA record. That also became another potshot at the NSAC for its “lack of oversight” when the UFC signed Brooks.

Brooks is currently training at Roufusport in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for his debut fight. This is the same camp that houses current UFC Lightweight Champion Anthony Pettis and ONE FC Welterweight Champion Ben Askren.

It is unknown if Silva will join in the class-action lawsuits that were filed against the UFC last month.

Nate Quarry, Jon Fitch, and Cung Le are named as “identity class clients,” which means their names are officially attached. That does not mean their names are the only names in the lawsuit. The lawsuit argues that the UFC violated the Sherman Antitrust Act.

Part of the suit argues that the UFC placed harsh restrictions to prevent fighters from working for rival organizations after leaving the promotion. This even extends to a non-combat capacity, which Silva is rightfully sore about.

Silva made is official retirement from fighting a few days before the NSAC hearing, but he is still under contract with the UFC. It is likely the UFC will let Silva out of the contract unless he files a lawsuit.

At Bellator 131, Silva was going to appear at the event and give autographs. That didn’t happen because the UFC threatened to sue Silva if he did because it would be in violation of the current contract.

This situation mirrors Cung Le’s reason for his retirement announcement just recently. Le claims the UFC did not give him the benefit of the doubt when his post-fight blood test came up positive for HGH.

Le was handed a 9-month suspension without letting him give the UFC the benefit of the doubt, but it was overturned when it was revealed that the test was faulty. That was after Le’s last fight at UFC Fight Night 48: Macau, where he lost to Michael Bisping.

He asked to be released from his contract, but the UFC denied the request.

One can speculate if Silva’s lawsuit against the NSAC will connect with the ongoing class-action suits against the UFC because of the unique relationship between the two organizations.

Officially written for and published on The News Hub.

0 0 Continue Reading →

Tyron Woodley issues Twitter challenge for fans to an 8-week fight camp

UFC fighter Tyron “T-Wood” Woodley has spoken out on hotly debated subject in the sport of professional MMA, which many other professional fighters are likely thinking. You probably have heard people let alone UFC President Dana White say, “don’t leave it in the judges’ hands” because the decision usually never goes the way you or your favorite fighter want it to.

The scoring system has become hotly debated because of its more than fair share of controversy, but is centered specifically on the 10-Point Must System. Under this system, the winner must be awarded 10 points and the loser must be awarded 9 points or less, but most commissions give the loser nothing lower than a seven.

This is why the winner scores a “perfect 30” and the lower scores between 21 to 29, but often scores 27 as the lowest.

UFC commentator Joe Rogan, also an actor and standup comedian, blamed a combination of the scoring system and the judging system for creating problems in MMA. I believe Rogan is right because the MMA scoring system is derived from Boxing, which is an effect of the Association of Boxing Commissions legally regulating MMA by delegation through the state athletic commissions like the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC).

The NSAC has its share of controversy and now it faces a lawsuit from former UFC fighter Wanderlei Silva.

Rogan said that Boxing is easier to figure out than MMA because the latter focuses on punches and the latter focuses on virtually everything that is legal. He called for better judges and felt that MMA judges should have a background in the martial arts.

Kelvin Hunt understands Rogan’s point-of-view, but disagrees that there’s anything wrong with the 10-Point Must System. He does share Rogan’s criticism on the judging system.

Bakersfield College professor Daniel Edwards created his own scoring system and addressed UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta on changing the point system. Fertitta said a new system would be nice, but it would not entice fighters to “finish fights.”

I personally am working on a new scoring system for professional MMA and I corresponded with Edwards in December and got a reply back earlier this month. Edwards told me that the current state athletic commissions are not interested in changing the 10-Point Must System.

In layman speak, MMA is judged by people should shouldn’t be judging events in the first place let alone judge Boxing matches.

This place a lot of unnecessary pressure on the fighters.

Tyron Woodley lashed out at MMA fans on Twitter because of the fans criticizing fighters for “letting it go to the judges.

He told MMA fans to “stop telling fighters to not let fights go to judges’ decision” and explained that no fighter thinks that way. Fighters want to get the fight finished as soon as possible, but understand that most fights go all the way.

You want to finish the fight and your opponent wants to finish the fight and unless somebody goes down or taps out, the fight outcome is in the judges’ hands.

His last tweet on the issue was a challenge to non-MMA fighters, which means normal people, to do an 8-week camp and compete in one amateur match to understand the sport and become more appreciative of what these fighters train for on a regular basis.

I do agree with Woodley’s stance and can empathize with him because most MMA fans have little to no understanding of the amount of work they put in for one fight. The typical MMA would be horrified to learn that most professional MMA fighters are paid peanuts in the figurative sense.

It is easy to tell fighters not to let the bout end up in a decision, but it’s difficult to keep that from happening.

You can criticize a fighter for trying to win by points, but you have to understand where that person is coming from. Win records are impressive, which means you have to get a win by means. That includes the risk of being a boring fighter to watch.

Former UFC Fighter Jon Fitch, who is a plaintiff in the ongoing class action lawsuit against the UFC, posted a video explaining how much he was paid during his career with the promotion. Fitch said that you get a pay bump if you win and explains that it is important to win your fights.

Fighters do not get paid for their training and most of them still work regular jobs to supplement their income.

UFC fighter Joanne Calderwood, one of the fighters to join UFC’s new women’s strawweight division, had to quit her regular job to dedicate more time to training.

It is difficult balancing your training and your regular job, which is something many people do not understand.

You can understand Woodley’s point-of-view when you think about it, but the challenge he issued was a little immature and petty. That is the part of Woodley’s argument I have to disagree with. It is doubtful that most people that agree to do an 8-week fight camp would be ready for their first amateur fight.

There are many things MMA trainers factor before allowing you to compete.

I wrote an article for Moosin proposing that MMA fighters add Yudo, the Korean version of Judo, to their training. I explained the four staple styles of MMA because the sport is a combination of those four combat sports.

Those four sports are Boxing, Kickboxing, Competitive Grappling, and Wrestling.

Kickboxing can be interchanged with Muay Thai and Competitive Grappling can be interchanged with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

An 8-week fight camp isn’t enough if you enter with no prior background in martial arts let alone Scholastic or Collegiate Wrestling experience. If you join an MMA school and you are out of shape, being battle ready in eight weeks is unrealistic.

It is important to point out that Woodley is an NCAA Division I wrestler.

Most people have school and/or work meaning they cannot commit to a fight camp, which is one of the reasons that Woodley’s challenge is childish at best.

I do not completely agree with Woodley’s argument because of the issue with the scoring and judging system for the reasons already argued by Joe Rogan, Kelvin Hunt, Daniel Edwards, and many other critics.

The scoring system ultimately favors wrestlers, but serves as a double-edged sword. Wrestling wins fights because of the scoring criteria, but makes fighters look boring at the end. If you are boring, you could get cut from the promotion if you lose your next fight.

Jon Fitch and Jake Shields suffered that fate from the UFC.

Fighters are often disenfranchised because of compounded problem form the 10-Point Must System and the judging system, which have led to controversial decisions.

For example, I thought Mauricio “Shogun” Rua was going to win over Dan “Hendo” Henderson by split decision at UFC 139, but was shocked the judges gave the win to Henderson by unanimous decision.

It is easy to say Henderson was “controlling” most of the fight, but I don’t see it that way because the two of them were hammering each other repeatedly. The fight was bloody on both sides.

Yoshihiro Akiyama lost to Jake Shields by unanimous decision at UFC 144 even though Akiyama was able to dominate Shields with multiple throws like the Osoto Gari, which caused Shields to land on his head.

It leads me to think that Wrestling takedowns are scored higher than Judo throws by the judges.

Megumi Fujii lost her retirement fight to Jessica Aguilar by majority technical decision when she suffered an accidental eye poke. The judges gave Aguilar a TKO win, but changed it to majority technical decision even though Fujii was the one that got poked in the eye.

Tecia Torres almost knocked out Carla Esparza a few times in the quarterfinals during The Ultimate Fighter 20. Esparza wanted to take Torres to the ground, but was unable to during most of the fight.

The judges ruled in Esparza’s favor by majority decision.

In 2012, my friend Michael drove to Key West for an amateur fight being sponsored by a nearby MMA school.

Jamie, one of my friends at Tiger’s World of Martial Arts, rode with Michael to work his corner. He shared a room with a fighter who was the opponent of one of the people from that MMA school. The fighter from that school won, but his face was hamburger meat according to Jamie on the fact that he was scoring takedowns.

To sum up everybody, you don’t really get graded on your hard work. That may entice fighters to play for points instead of finishing fights, but on the other hand your opponent could be very difficult to take out.

I agree with Woodley’s argument to an extent, but it masks the problems of the point and judging systems.

Originally written for and published on The News Hub.

0 0 Continue Reading →

Cung Le Makes His Retirement Official After Eight-Year MMA Career

Former Strikeforce middleweight champion and UFC fighter Cung Le Makes His Retirement Official from fighting on Tuesday through his management, Athletic Management Representation Group.

0 0 Continue Reading →

Jose Canseco wants to fight CM Punk, confident he'll win

[youtube id=”af8NmSimsL8″]

The UFC is not without its share of controversy, which is not surprising due to the sport of professional mixed martial arts (MMA) being riddled with countless problems that can be compounded into one collective problem. If you keep up with the latest MMA news, you already know about the partnership between the UFC and Reebok, which requires all fighters and people working their corners to wear a standard uniform.

They will be required to wear the uniform at all events on the week of the fight. Lorenzo Fertita, who shares a majority stake with his brother Frank, is confident that the partnership with Reebok will elevate the UFC to the same level as the NFL, MLS, NHL, NBA, and other major sports leagues. There are fighters that applaud the deal and there are more fighters who are against it out of fears it would make them lose needed sponsorship money.

If you thought that was major, you would not see what came a few days later: an antitrust suit filed against the UFC. Nate Quarry, Jon Fitch, and Cung Le are part of a class action suit that accuses the UFC of violating the Sherman Antitrust Act. They are “identity class” clients, but it does not mean they are the only fighters in the class action suit. It rounds down to the UFC’s treatment and payment of the fighters that compete in its matches.

The suit goes the angle of accusing of the UFC for creating a monopoly, which led to the current work conditions for the fighters because the promotion has no major competition.

Now a second class action suit has been filed by the UFC with Javier Vasquez and Dennis Hallman as the plaintiffs. The lawsuit also accuses the UFC of creating and maintaining its monopoly over professional MMA. The fighters in that suit are also being represented by the same lawyers that filed the first class action suit.

You would assume things couldn’t get more controversial, but that’s far from the case.

December’s been a controversial month for the UFC. The signing of former WWE wrestler CM Punk, whose real name is Phil Brooks, is the cherry on the proverbial sundae. You already know that CM Punk was signed by the UFC.

It’s not uncommon for fighters to go into promotions like WWE. Ken Shamrock joined the WWE for a short time when it was known as WWF. Tank Abbott and Dan Severn joined WCW for a short time. Tito Ortiz and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson temporarily joined TNA Impact for a storyline that got canceled because of their Bellator obligations.

Brock Lesnar left WWE, but he’s back now, to compete in MMA, where he became a UFC Heavyweight Champion. Here is the thing, Lesnar didn’t get an immediate shot at the UFC. You have Punk, with neither actual Wrestling experience nor professional MMA experience and he’s only a white belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, who will have his first UFC fight sometime next year.

UFC President Dana White’s justification is to allow CM Punk to “live out his dream.

We have no idea who Punk will fight in his debut match, but it has generated a lot of controversy.

Controversy can either be good or bad, but can generate enough publicity regardless, which turns into a lot of money.

Jason David Frank, famously known for playing Tommy Oliver in the Power Rangers franchise, offered to be Punk’s first opponent. He holds a 1-0 professional MMA record. That is good for fighter of Frank’s age. You have to understand that Frank is incredibly busy that he doesn’t have the time to train to put more wins on his record.

It seems unlikely that Frank and Brooks will fight, but the former is putting his name in the hat.

Former MLB player Jose Canseco has offered to fight Punk and is confident that he will win, too. That seems very absurd and ridiculous, but the idea might not be as bad as you think. It’s not a well-known fact that Canseco competed in a professional MMA match in 2009. That didn’t become international news because the fight took place in Japan at DREAM 9.

It’s important to note that celebrity matches are common in Japan. Bobby Ologun, a Nigerian-born TV personality, had a stint in MMA, which earned him the title of “The World’s Most Dangerous Newcomer.”

Canseco’s opponent was South Korean fighter Hong-Man Choi, who stands at 7’2. The fight was one-sided with Choi as the victor. You have to applaud Canseco for not backing down from the fight even when you are the T-800 fighting against the Starship Enterprise.

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure out who’d win that battle.

Canseco claims to be a certified martial artist with Dan ranks in Karate and Tae Kwon Do. He claims to have Kung-Fu and Muay Thai training, too. I can believe that Canseco does Tae Kwon Do because of the kicks he hit Choi with, but the Muay Thai is harder to believe because he didn’t bother kicking Choi’s legs.

If Canseco is a certified martial artist that would make him suitable to fight CM Punk, but his age is a factor. CM Punk is 36, Frank is 40, and Canseco is 50. It’s doubtful that Canseco will have the same shot that CM Punk have with the UFC.

At least Canseco has a professional MMA record even it was only one fight, which he lost badly.

I personally do not have a problem with CM Punk fighting in a professional MMA match, but I felt that it should never be in the UFC or another major match. It should have been an exhibition match let alone against another celebrity.

You have to remember that CM Punk has no MMA record. He is a person that came directly from WWE. Professional fighters have to go through a process before ever being considered for a shot at the UFC. Punk is an untested fighter with neither an amateur nor professional record. He has the necessary durability, but there’s more to winning MMA than just being tough.

Punk’s first opponent will likely be a low tier fighter with a 1-0 or 2-0 fight record, but still, he has no record, which is a risky investment for the UFC.

A fight between CM Punk and JDF is not a bad idea and neither is a fight between CM Punk and Jose Canseco. Yes, Jose Canseco claiming he can beat Punk in a fight comes off as being ridiculous, but at least he’s tested. Let’s be realistic, you can’t expect a first-timer like Canseco to have beaten Choi.

It is realistic that Punk will fall on his face as he admits could happen to him. If you think about it, Punk vs. Canseco doesn’t seem like a half-baked idea.

You can argue against the idea of Canseco, but remember Punk has no record either. I strongly feel Punk would lose his first match regardless of the fighters offering to train him. Kimbo Slice was trained by Bas Rutten for his match against Seth Petruzelli in EliteXC, but he lost. That lost damaged EliteXC, which ended up folding.

Originally written for and published on The News Hub.

0 0 Continue Reading →

Jason David Frank wants to be CM Punk's 1st UFC opponent

[youtube id=”LrINiezo4n0″]

Phil Brooks, who is famously known as CM Punk, is signed with the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) and that is a reality you have to accept. If you like it or don’t like it, Brooks is scheduled to make his UFC debut sometime next year once the non-compete clause in his termination from WWE expires.

The only thing about the signing that would look remotely transparent is that the UFC was motivated by making money off of Punk’s international fame. Punk still retains a loyal fanbase even though he is no longer signed with the WWE. UFC President Dana White can say that he is granting CM Punk’s dream, but that opens a flood gate of other celebrities wanting to have the same “dream” granted in the future.

White can say no, but that only hurts the UFC. He already boasts that the UFC has the best fighters when talking about the idea of Brock Lesnar signing with Bellator after leaving professional wrestling, but that is a big if.

Lesnar’s contract with the WWE is supposed to expire after Wrestlemania 31,but don’t compare CM Punk to Brock Lesnar. It is very far-fetched to do so.

Former UFC fighter Chael Sonnen is confident that he knows who Punk’s first opponent will be, but he’s keeping mum on it. Jason David Frank and Jose Canseco have offered to fight Punk in his debut match. On paper, the idea seems preposterous, but they may be viable choices.

Let’s be honest hear, the sole motivation to sign Punk was for the money. If Punk manages to “prove” himself, the UFC makes more money. If Punk loses, it’ll be a financial loss for the UFC. The UFC knows, but won’t admit that it’s taking a huge financial risk signing Punk.<

[youtube id=”gGe21q7lmNk”]

Frank is once again offering Punk and has issued a challenge to him. If you are familiar with Frank, you will be surprised to see someone like him stoke the fires of an online flame war. Just remember UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey, a former Olympic Judoka and 2008 bronze medalist, is skilled at trash talking. You would least expect an Olympian to trash talk to an opponent.

Frank is calling Punk out for being scared to fight him.

Punk laughed off the challenge and implied he never heard of it.

[youtube id=”XM5oFV_mHwA”]

Frank further stokes the flames by claiming that Punk is lying. When you carefully think about it, Frank does make a valid case. Frank and Punk are constant special guests on the Wizard World Comic Con circuit. That means the two of them would have ran into each other constantly and exchanged words.

You can see Frank’s Comic Con schedule on his Facebook page. It should be expected that panel attendees will be asking Frank and Punk about a possible match against each other.<

Frank, like many other people online, attacked Punk’s credentials. Many professional fighters are angry that Punk was signed by the UFC. That is understandable because that gives a slap to the face of all fighters that hope to fight in the UFC one day. Ben Askren, former Bellator turned ONE FC fighter and welterweight champion, attacked the UFC for that move.

Don’t dismiss Frank because of his past as the legendary Green and White Rangers. He is a legit martial artist that has proven himself in the cage. Frank has a diverse background that includes Karate, Muay Thai, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

He also holds a 3-0 amateur record and a 1-0 professional record. Three of the four fights, including his first professional fight, ended in submission. That shows Frank has proven himself to be effective on the ground.

White will probably pair Punk against a fighter with either a 1-0 or 2-0 record. He will have to temporarily sign a new fighter for the fight. Most UFC fighters already built a record before they signed with the promotion. A fighter with a 1-0 or 2-0 record in the UFC could have had at between three to five professional fights prior.

[youtube id=”BdTQ1gwuHW8″]

Punk has no amateur record either, which means a 1-0 or 2-0 fighter will give him a difficult time.

UFC fighter Cole Miller is confident that Punk will be successful in the UFC. He feels that Punk would dominate on the ground because over 50% of the fighters only hold a blue belt in BJJ. You have to remember that a blue belt can still do plenty of damage on the ground.

Punk is still a white belt in BJJ.

If you think things could not get anymore interesting, Punk has chosen to train at Roufusport MMA, which is located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This is the MMA camp of Ben Askren and Anthony Pettis, with the latter being the current UFC Lightweight Champion. It will be interesting for Punk to be trained by Askren and Pettis.

Duke Roufus will likely plead for Askren not to “kill Punk” in training. This is a very interesting choice for Punk because of that reason. It is more interesting because of what happened recently with the death of Dennis Munson, Jr.

Will Punk stick to the training or will he join another camp? There are camps that will likely accept Punk with open arms.

Regardless of whom he fights, Punk will need all the help and training he can get. Frank is putting his name out there, but look at him as a legitimate martial artist and MMA fighter. Don’t be blinded by the fact Frank is one of the original Power Rangers.

Punk will likely remain in MMA for a long time and it seems likely he will never return to the WWE, which has responded harshly. The promotion has created a new policy that all CM Punk signs are to be confiscated from all events. All WWE-related backlash aimed at Punk could extend to his wife AJ Brooks famously known as AJ Lee.

Originally written for and published on The News Hub.

0 0 Continue Reading →

Bellator and UFC could get into bidding war over Brock Lesnar

There are a couple of questions one may ask about the idea of Brock Lesnar leaving professional wrestling and going back into mixed martial arts (MMA).

Do the fans want to see Brock Lesnar return to the steel cage?

How will the WWE react if Lesnar decides to leave the promotion? His contract with the WWE will be over after the next Wrestlemania, which is next year.

Will Lesnar re-sign with the UFC or jump on board with another promotion?

There is the possibility that Lesnar may not re-sign with the UFC and may instead join Bellator. You would think the idea to be nonsense, but Bellator CEO Scott Coker is adamant about signing Lesnar to the promotion. UFC will need to take Bellator seriously in the near future as a rival major promotion.

[youtube id=”stgbtdeXh6M”]

If you have kept up with the news, a class-action antitrust suit was launched against the UFC. Cung Le, Jon Fitch, and Nate Quarry, three notable fighters with grievances with the promotion, held a press conference announcing a suit was filed against the UFC on charges of violating the Sherman Antitrust Act.

The documents allege that UFC called other promotions let alone Bellator “minor league.”

If Lesnar leaves the WWE, which his contract is supposed to expire afterWrestlemania 31, he will be a free agent. It is important to note that the WWE, like the UFC, usually adds a non-compete clause in the exit contract. Vince McMahon of the WWE believes the UFC to be a rival even though professional wrestling and MMA are two very different things.

Phil Brooks, who is famously known as CM Punk, talked about the non-compete clause when he got fired from the WWE, which was on his wedding day. That is the reason Brooks cannot fight immediately even though he was recently signed with the UFC. Don’t be surprised if the WWE adds a non-compete clause if Lesnar leaves the promotion. The WWE could say Lesnar cannot work for a rival promotion for at least two years. It is unknown if the WWE would, but it could. The WWE is preparing for that possibility.

If that is the case, expect Bellator and the UFC to get into a brutal bidding war to sign Lesnar. Bellator could offer Lesnar a lot of money because its owned by Viacom, which makes more money than Zuffa Inc. The UFC does have things that would likely say Lesnar to its favor.

[youtube id=”YHHbFoPSnKw”]

Why would that happen?

If Viacom injected more money into Bellator, provided it gets board approval that would affect how much the promotion can pay the fighters. Why did I mention board approval? Viacom is a publicly traded company versus Zuffa, which is a privately-owned LLC. The Fertita brothers, with regard to Zuffa, hold majority interest, which means they make the final decisions.

How would signing Lesnar benefit Bellator?

Lesnar would remain a big draw. When he left WWE, one assumed Brock wouldn’t get that far, but he surprised virtually everybody by making it into the UFC and actually becoming UFC Heavyweight Champion. He became one of the biggest pay-per-view draws in the promotion.

I remember watching the PPV fight on December 30th, 2011. The main event was between Brock Lesnar and Alistair Overeem. I arrived at restaurant early, but had a hard time finding a parking spot because all the spots were taken.

Once I got to the restaurant, it was difficult to find a table. As if the place wasn’t packed enough, more people entered in preparation for the final match. A lot of people were angry when Lesnar lost to Overeem.

Then Lesnar returned to the WWE bigger than ever. His stint in the UFC was beneficial. When he was in the UFC, support from his former co-workers in the WWE was beneficial, too.

When Lesnar fought in the UFC, he already had a viewer base from the WWE. He created more viewers from the UFC. Lesnar returned to the WWE and brought back those same viewers plus the addition of the new viewers. The addition of fans from the UFC benefited the WWE greatly, which meant more people tuning in to watch its events, even though WWE is scripted.

We shouldn’t discount the WWE once Lesnar’s contract expires. It may do whatever it takes to get Lesnar to re-sign. You have to expect the possibility there will be a 3-way bidding war for Lesnar.

White doubts Lesnar will sign with Bellator because he believes the “UFC has the best fighters.” That is becoming more subjective because of the recent signing of Brooks, who has no professional MMA record.

It would be stupid to compare Brooks to Lesnar because the former has no actual Wrestling training and the latter is an NCAA Division I wrestler.

Bellator is interested in signing Lesnar for many reasons. It is obvious that signing Lesnar would bring more eyes to Bellator. The second reason is to teach the UFC that Bellator should never be taken lightly. Coker wants to show the MMA world that Bellator will be able to afford and access any fighter on the face of this earth.

Contacting Lesnar proves that Bellator is bearing its fangs.

Bellator could still over Lesnar a lot of money, but still lose him to the UFC. This was the case with Gilbert Melendez, who recently lost to Anthony Pettis. The UFC matched the signing amount Bellator was offering Melendez.

The UFC could do the same with Bellator plus there is the past working relationship between the two.

Lesnar would likely be one of the few fighters that would financially benefit from the partnership between the UFC and Reebok. Ronda Rousey and Jon Jones, respectively the UFC Women’s Bantamweight and Men’s Light Heavyweight Champions, have signed individual deals with Reebok.

It is doubtful that Reebok would be blind to Lesnar’s popularity. That could influence Lesnar’s decision to join the UFC if he is adamant about returning to fighting.

Bellator isn’t centering on Lesnar, it has an interest in signing Fedor Emelianenko. If that happens, it would be good for Bellator and bad for the UFC, which has been trying to sign Emelianenko for a long time.

That could be a possibility given Emelianenko and Coker’s past working relationship in Strikeforce. It could be a good way to convince Lesnar to sign with Bellator instead of re-signing with the UFC as the latter was trying to secure a match between Lesnar and Emelianenko, which ended up a pipe dream.

Emelianenko could stipulate that Bellator and M-1 Global cross-promote. M-l Global, which is located in Russia, is partially-owned by Emelianenko. If that happens, a cross-promotion would be beneficial to Bellator as it brings in many fighters from Russia and Europe. The UFC refused the idea when it tried to sign Emelianenko.

Bellator’s not afraid to draw blood and its recent actions show it.

Originally written for and published on The News Hub.

0 0 Continue Reading →

UFC Needs To Sign Megumi Fujii To Women's Strawweight Division

[youtube id=”mcc4ob51OQ0″]

The results of the final fight in the finale of The Ultimate Fighter 20 aka TUF: A Champion Will Be Crowned was upsetting, but it should not have been surprising to those that have enough understanding of mixed martial arts (MMA). Part of me was cheering for Rose Namajunas because of her extensive martial arts background and the fact that she was exciting to watch.
I doubt Namajunas would not have gotten that far let alone to the finale because of her lack of fight experience. You can debate the reasons Namajunas made it that far, which is an impressive feat. At the end, Namajunas fell to Carla Esparza, a seasoned veteran and the former Invicta FC Strawweight Champion, before she vacated the belt to join TUF 20.
Why did Namajunas lose?
The first logical reason was the gap inMMA experience, which is wide between Namajunas and Esparza. There was that sliver of hope that Namajunas could have won because of the outcome of the quarterfinal match between Esparza and Tecia Torres, with the latter having the same amount of pro-MMA experience as Namajunas.
That gap was apparent when Esparza defeated Angela Hill in the first match ofTUF 20.
The second logical reason is that Namajunas faced a true wrestler, Esparza, who has a scholastic and collegiate background. Wrestling wins fight, but does usually finish them. A fighter, whose background is Wrestling, can keep scoring takedowns and securing certain positions until the end of the match.
Like it or not, many matches go to a judges’ decision, which usually ends up in the favor of whoever gains ground superiority. Wrestlers, who are masters of ground superiority, usually win those decisions.
For that reason, Esparza won over Torres by judges’ decision. It doesn’t matter how much you hurt your opponent with your strikes in the match if you don’t get either a KO or TKO victory.
It’s important to understand that all college wrestlers are good or they wouldn’t get a Wrestling scholarship in the first place.
All national level wrestlers are good or they wouldn’t get a spot on the national team.
All Olympic wrestlers are good or they wouldn’t make it far into the trials let alone make it onto the Olympic team.
There’s a sizable gap between Scholastic Wrestling, which Namajunas took up in high school, and Collegiate Wrestling, which Esparza competed in during college.
I was disappointed that Namajunas lost, but wasn’t surprised. Bleacher Report said it best, a good wrestleris a major obstacle for fighters. If you are unable to effectively deal with wrestlers, you will not get far in MMA. Namajunas fought against and lost to a true wrestler.
Wrestling, since the UFC came to be in 1993, was the dominant style used by the fighters. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu came second because more fighters wanted to improve their ground game, which this style more than offered. It’s not uncommon for Wrestling-based fighters to train in BJJ during or after college.
For that reason, I wrote an article onMoosin making a case for MMA fighters to take Yudo (Korean Judo) to compensate for a lack of Wrestling training.
The third logical reason, which is an extension of the second reason, is because Esparza’s a former champion. Namajunas faced a true wrestler and a former champion.
Now the UFC is faced with the task of building its new women’s strawweight division and fighting viable opponents for Esparza. Don’t even assume for a second that should ever validate and legitimize UFC’s recent action in signing Phil Brooks, who was known in the WWE as CM Punk.
There’s a fine line between an actual wrestler and a TV wrestler.
Former Invicta FC Atomweight Champion Jessica Penne, though proven an effective fighter, might not be an option because of her strong friendship with Esparza. There is also the factor of Penne’s age, which many consider old in MMA.
If Penne starts losing, there may be a call for her to retire.
There are two viable opponents for Esparza.
The first opponent is Jessica Aguilar, the current World Series of Fighting Women’s Strawweight Champion. The two fought with Aguilar winning by split decision. Aguilar wouldbe a good addition to the UFC, but is currently signed with WSOF.
[youtube id=”l8TeDWU1akY”]
The second opponent is Megumi Fujii, who recently retired. Fujii pleaded to the UFC last year to create a women’s strawweight division. As she is retired, Fujii is not signed with any promotion, which means the UFC could ask her to temporarily come out of retirement.
The UFC should convince Fujii to come out of retirement. If she refuses, offer her enough money for the fight to do so.
Why?
Fujii holds a 26-3 record in MMA. When you look at a fighter’s losses, you have to examine the reasons behind the loss. You could lose by a judges’ decision even if you thought or everybody else thought you should have won the fight.
All three losses on Fujii’s record wereby decision.
Her first loss, which was against Zoila Gurgel, was a split decision. Her second loss, which was against Jessica Aguilar, was by unanimous decision, which was deemed controversial. Her third loss, against Aguilar again, was originally declared no contest by accidental eye poke, but was overturned and became a majority decision.
No fighter has beaten Fujii by any ruling other than judges’ decision. She was neither KO’ed nor submitted. There’s a huge gap between Fujii’s ground skills and Esparza’s ground skills.
At Bellator 24, Fujii submitted Esparza almost one minute into the second round. She’s the only person to defeat Esparza with a submission. Nobody has yet to knockout Esparza. Aguilar defeated Esparza at Bellator 46 by split decision.
Fujji has defeated Lisa Ellis, who Penne has defeated twice, and Seohee Ham, who lost to Joanne Calderwood at the TUF 20 Finale.
At ADCC 2005, Fujii won the bronze medal after she was defeated in the semifinals to Kyra Gracie,who went on to win gold.
Having a background in martial arts before MMA training proves to be useful. Fujii developed a strong background in Judo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Russian Sambo. Fujii is technically a triple black belt though Sambo uses competitive ranking instead of formal ranking. It is an understatement to say Fujii has her ground game covered.
Fujii holds the title “Queen of Jiu-Jitsu” and “Princess of Sambo,” with most of her wins being by submission.
This is exactly the opponent that Esparza needs to face to prove she is deserving of the UFC Women’s Strawweight Title. There is a sizable gap between her skills and most of the strawweights. It is doubtful that the likes of Lisa Ellis, Heather Clark, Felice Herrig, Angela Hill, Randa Markos, Alex Chambers, Bec Rawlings, Paige VanZant, or Seohee Ham will ever defeat Esparza and take the title from her.
Like Esparza or not, you have to accept the reality that she’s going to be champion for a long time.
Unless the fighters, with the exception of Penne, can effectively deal with wrestlers, they won’t win against Esparza.
Torres was close to beating Esparza, but there’s a time gap between the final episode and the finale, which is a lot of time for Esparza to train and improve. The next time they meet in the cage, hypothetically, the outcome may be different, but still be in Esparza’s favor.
The UFC needs to sign fighters who can pose a threat to Esparza. Fujii is one of those few critical threats. If the UFC wants a good fight, Dana White and the Fertita brothers need to convince Fujii to step out of retirement for a few years.
Originally written for and posted on The News Hub.
0 0 Continue Reading →

Signing CM Punk, UFC's Lack of Transparency

[youtube id=”QsE7ZUnZpzA”]

Former WWE wrestler Phil Brooks, famously known as CM Punk, refuses to stay silent and refuses to fade into obscurity. The WWE better take note in the future because it may have hurt itself in the long run by getting rid of Brooks, who informally left the company early this year, but was officially fired in June.

Of every day in the month of June, Brooks received the news of his firing on the day of his wedding. If you didn’t know, Brooks is currently married to WWE Diva AJ Lee, known as April Jeanette Brooks (nee Mendez). This is one of those bits of news that no person should ever receive on their important day of happiness.

Brooks said that he received a FedEX delivery that contained his termination contract. There was supposed to be a meeting with Paul Levesque, known as Triple H in WWE, according to Brooks. The meeting never happened because Brooks was handed his pink slip.

He left WWE on less than pleasant terms.

On the bright side for Brooks, he is free to do whatever he wants with the rest of his life. It is doubtful that Brooks will return to professional wrestling let alone work with the WWE.

Brooks is going to compete in professional MMA fights. At UFC 181, which took place recently, Brooks was one of the guests in attendance. He gave a shocking announcement of his plans to fight in the UFC sometime next year.

UFC President Dana White is keeping an open mind as he signed Brooks for the promotion. It is safe to assume that signing Brooks is ultimately for the money, which is logical. Brooks retains a large fan base, which will likely want to watch him in action.

Brooks is confident about his abilities though he has never competed in an actual fight before. It is known that Brooks is a practitioner of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, but Brooks said that he also holds a background in Kenpo.

That means Brooks does have a striking and grappling base, but lacks a true wrestling base. A Collegiate or Olympic wrestler is going to give Brooks a problem in the cage. He plans to fight in a weight class that is under 205 lbs.

MMA training is going to be brutal for Brooks, who supposedly weighed 215 as a wrestler. He’ll have to change his diet and learn to cut weight. Weight cutting is going to be a brutal ordeal for Brooks.

I wouldn’t mind watching Brooks fight. I’ll keep an open mind about it. The drawback of the Brooks situation is that the UFC has again shown its lack of transparency, which antagonizes most fighters.

It is similar to the controversy of White’s plans to sign Gina Carano, former Strikeforce Women’s Featherweight Champion, to the UFC to fight against UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey.

The fight between Carano and Rousey was supposed to take place over the weekend at UFC 181. She was supposed to receive a chance to win the title from Rousey.

Why does that show a lack of transparency?

Carano, after losing her title to Cris “Cyborg” Santos, never stepped in the cage or ring again. Since 2009, Carano has been busy with film and TV roles, which means she hasn’t fought in five years. The UFC, knowing Carano hasn’t fought in that amount of time, was quick to sign her.

There’s no transparency, but I understand the logic. Carano was the women’s face of MMA before she lost to Cyborg. Cyborg never became the new face for many reasons such as testing positive for PEDs in a post-fight test after her successful title defense against Hiroko Yamanaka.

Cyborg was stripped of her title and placed on a 1-year fight suspension. She is currently fighting for Invicta FC as the current Featherweight Champion and is supposed to make her bantamweight debut in the near future.

Since returning to the cage after the suspension, Cyborg has tested clean, but is still dissed regardless about the drug test. If you follow MMA, Cyborg receives more criticism that Chael Sonnen, Wanderlei Silva, and Vitor Belfort combined.

White’s decision to sign Carano was not without criticism. UFC fighter Miesha Tate, former Strikeforce Bantamweight Champion, called the potential Rousey vs. Carano fight a “joke.” The talks to sign Carano had broken down and White blames the people in Hollywood for their “scheduling problems.”

The potential Carano vs. Rousey fight is a pipe dream.

Rousey and Cyborg continue to verbally attack each other. Bellator fighter and UFC Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz, who used to be Cyborg’s manager, continues to make his case for Cyborg and Rousey to fight at 145. He does make a point with Cyborg, with the lack of transparency with Rousey willing to fight Carano, but fails to understand that UFC doesn’t have a Women’s Featherweight Division.

It’s doubtful that the UFC will ever have one.

Like Tate, who criticized Carano’s title shot, many fighters have voiced their criticism of Brooks signing with the UFC.

Ben Askren, the current One FC Welterweight Champion, mocked the UFC of signing a “fake wrestler” instead of an Olympian, referring to himself. Bellator fighter King Mo tweeted his support to Askren.

Rousey’s support of Brooks joining UFC isn’t surprising as she is a huge WWE fan.

The criticisms are understandable though. They are fighters that work hard and have built their records. When you look at things from a level of merits, these fighters deserve a contract with the UFC more than Brooks does.

Bellator fighter Phil Baroni, a former UFC fighter, said that Brooks would end up with a broken neck if he competed.

Ralek Gracie expressed skepticism of Brooks’ success. He added that Brooks would lose quickly in a Metamoris match.

If you don’t know what Metamoris is, it is a grappling-only promotion set up by Ralek Gracie. Former UFC fighter Chael Sonnen, who was handed a 2-year fight ban by the NSAC and a firing by the UFC, competed in the previous event. I have to agree with Gracie as Brooks doesn’t have a competitive grappling record either.

Hypothetically if Brooks did want to compete in Metamoris, there would be a lot of grapplers voicing their criticism.

Maybe Brooks should shoot for something a bit smaller than the UFC, but there is the appeal of him competing in a world stage. If and when Brooks fights, the match will probably take place in Las Vegas because of the UFC’s relationship with the NSAC.

There is a process that has to be done before competing in the professional leagues. You have to fight for the amateur promotions to get used to fighting in front of a large crowd, then you fight in the professional leagues, but have to build up your fight record.

You have to climb that proverbial latter, but the UFC is allowing Brooks to bypass the process. This will probably backfire on the UFC. Then again, something could happen that forces Brooks to pull out of the match.

It is unknown who Brooks is going to fight or when he’s going to fight.

Jason David Frank, who holds a 1-0 professional record, is offering to be Brooks’ first opponent. That might be a plausible opponent for Brooks to have for his UFC debut. Brooks is 37 and Frank is 40. Brooks is already known as CM Punk, but Frank is more known for his role in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers as Tommy Oliver, who was the Green Ranger and the White Ranger.

That is a logical fight to make as both of them are celebrities in their own right.

I do feel that maybe Brooks shouldn’t fight in the UFC because of his lack of a professional record. The UFC would take a hit to its credibility for allowing the fight to happen, which its competitors will be watching closely.

If Brooks wants to have an MMA fight and is willing to take on Frank, an exhibition match setting would be better off.

Don’t expect Brooks to fight until late-summer 2015 to winter 2016 at the earliest. The WWE issued a one-year “no compete” clause with the UFC in Brooks’ exit contract.

You can argue that Brock Lesnar and Bobby Lashley competed in MMA, but Lesnar is an NCAA Division I Wrestler and Lashley is an NAIA National Wrestling Champion. Unlike Brooks, Lesnar and Lashley have a true Wrestling background.

Love or hate him, Brooks may be fighting in the Octagon late 2015. That leaves Brooks plenty of time to train, prepare, and cut weight. That also allows the UFC to find a suitable opponent for Brooks.

It has to be stressed that the UFC will have a credibility problem in the future. The promotion is signing a person with no MMA record. You can’t do that and claim to be the one promotion that sets up the best fights.

Once again, the notion of an MMA meritocracy is thrown out the window.

UFC, however, is still the big daddy in the MMA world. It can get away with the lack of transparency, but the UFC can only go so far with that in the long run. Many promising fighters will voice their criticism with the UFC. If they don’t get signed, other promotions may pick them up.

On the flip-side, when you think about it, the fight should generate a lot of money, which the UFC could use.

In the post-UFC 181 press conference, Brooks said that the people in the UFC will respect him after he steps inside the cage. It is doubtful because he bypassed the process. For that reason, I doubt many fighters will respect him for stepping in the cage. They’ll still look at the fact that Brooks was signed to fight in the UFC even though he doesn’t have a record.

That’s no different from giving a passing grade to a failing student because s/he is related to someone rich and influential.

Nobody takes kindly to people cutting in line, MMA fighters are no exception.

Originally written for and published on The News Hub.

0 0 Continue Reading →