Monday, May 26, 2008

THE MMA WEEKLY WRAP UP for the week of 5/26/08

Hi and welcome back to the Wrap-Up! Traditionally, after a UFC Event, we start the report with a recap of the fights. After all, the UFC is the biggest name in mixed martial arts, and their events are always the biggest news of the week. Right?

Well, not this week! There's a new game in town, and even if it's starting out on some shakey ground, it's definitely getting a lot of attention. This week we bring you the most highly anticipated televised combat sport event ever...

MMA HITS PRIMETIME ON CBS WITH ELITEXC: SATURDAY NIGHT FIGHTS

Remember where you where for the first Ultimate Fighting Championship? You had no idea who was fighting or what was going to happen; but it sure was exciting.

Well, that's kinda the feeling around this Saturday's EliteXC Primetime fights showing on CBS, May 31st at 9:00pm. (Okay, we now know a whole lot more about the sport, as well as more about the fighters, but it's still a really big moment for MMA.)

There's quite a few fight-critics out there complaining about the event. "Kimbo's never fought a worthy opponent," "The headlining fighters are facing MMA nobodies," "Gina's just on the card because she looks pretty," etc,. And while the critics do have some good points, we should take time to reflect on what an important moment this could be.

Exposure on network television during the prime time slot takes Mixed Martial Arts from a back-alley, pseudo-sport right into the mainstream. Although these fighters may not technically be the best out there, they're all about to become public celebrities. (Sure, 'Kimbo' is already one of the most recognized fighters around, but his superstar status is about to go through the roof.)

Regardless, of where they stand now, I think this is an important opportunity for Combat Sports to legitimize itself and make the move from spectacle to sport.

On the Card for Saturday:

'Kimbo Slice' (Kevin Fergusson) vs James Thompson

Robbie Lawler vs Scott Smith

Gina Carano vs Kaitlin Young

Also, it was announced this week that MMA Legend, Frank Shamrock will be doing fight commentary for this broadcast. This shows that CBS is honestly trying to make the event work when they put someone who knows what he's talking about in the booth.

You gotta wonder if this is part a carreer change plan for Shamrock. He might be thinking about putting his fighting days behind him. (Except, of course for a big payday fight against his brother... if Ken is ever able to get his act back together.)

-Here's a quick video from Press Day, to get us all caught up and introduced...






And the critics are right... Gina is "pretty"; but check out this photo shoot for Muscle & Fitness magazine. She can also Kick!



And finally, the Star of the Show, the one and only Kimbo Slice. (It's hard to get video of Kimbo without a lot of 'cursin' language, but luckily this one has a musical overdub!) Again, this guy may not have fought any big names yet, but he has one heck of left hook!



It would be nice to see what Kimbo can do on the ground. - I wonder if Thompson can get him there? ... Hey, I just had a funny thought... I know it's crazy; but what if... just what if... James 'the Collosus' Thompson actually won? How weird would that be!


UFC 84: "ILL WILL" - LIVES UP TO IT'S NAME

It was an exciting night for UFC 84 at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas.

B.J. Penn and Sean Sherk surprised everyone by standing their entire fight and mostly throwing strong punches at one another. They fought three hard rounds with Penn appearing to get the better of the exchanges with crisp jabs that bloodied Sherk's face. Still, Sherk returned fire with hard punches of his own.

However, in the third round Sherk seemed to be having trouble with his right hand, wincing and shaking it off after blocks and punches. Penn, sensing weakness, launched a jump knee kick that landed squarely on Sherk's head, taking him to the mat. Penn quickly attempted to follow up with punches, but the buzzer sounded - ending the round.

However, it was obvious that Sherk could not continue and B.J Penn was declared the winner, retaining the title.

The Silva/Jardine fight was also a shocker. Most fight commentators (including yours truly) believed that Wanderlei's recent loss record and Jardine's unorthodox punching methods would be too much for Silva. We were wrong.

Jardine came out strong, but Silva quickly moved inside hitting Jardine hard and putting him on the ground. Wanderlei finished with a quick ground-n-pound before the referee stopped the bout at 36 seconds of Round 1.

Then there was Tito Ortiz against the undefeated Lyoto Machida. To his credit, Ortiz put up a good fight in what he claims will be his last UFC appearance. However, Machida's skill was just too much for him. Lyoto clearly won each of the three rounds for a unanimous decision (30-27 on all of the scorecards).

Ortiz did have a slim shot at glory, when he landed a triangle choke near the end of round three, but then attempted to transition into an arm bar which was easily escaped by Machida.

As we predicted, even with the loss, the fireworks began afterwards during the Postfight Press Conference. UFC Prez, Dana White and Tito Ortiz have had an ongoing and very vocal feud. So after the fight, Dana's people wouldn't let Ortiz into the Press Conference... and then Ortiz was going to leave, but his girlfriend, Jenna Jameson told him to stay... and... well here, I'll just let them tell you in this next clip:





Okay, there's a lot there, and I'll just let everyone make whatever they want to out of the accusations. But, I've got to say, I think Tito makes some very good points. There's no reason for the UFC to make obscene amounts of money off of the blood and sweat of it's fighters and then refuse to compensate them fairly.

But, my favorite part of this interview comes at the 3:00 mark where Tito's girlfriend Jenna Jameson, who is a porn star, (or so I've been told) compares the UFC to her Adult Entertainment company in regards to Health Insurance.

Wait, is she somehow implying that pornography and fight promotion are somehow related; That they both use and exploit people for their own purposes; That they both pander to the most basic and disgusting lusts of the public; That they both abuse their employees and the discard them when they are no longer of any use?

Actually, I can't think of a better analog. -Jenna, you are a genius!

Anyway, somehow Ortiz did get into the Postfight Press Conference. So what did the reporters want to ask about first? Wanderlei Silva's stunning upset? B.J. incredible title defense? Machida's undefeated record? Sherk's postitive steroid tests?

Nope, you guessed it; Tito!





MORE EXTREMELY LOCAL NEWS AS COMBATWIRE COMES TO CLTV IN CHICAGO

Yeah, I know; Lately I've been really pushing the Chicago MMA scene - but there's really some exciting stuff going on around here lately.

The newest thing is a program called Combatwire which shows on the local cable network: CLTV. The show is on Tuesday and Friday nights at 10pm and midnight, and also on Saturdays at 10pm. For those of you out of the area, you can check it out Combatwire.com.

Hosted by local kickboxer and MMA fighter, Felice Herrig and Q101 morning radio DJ , Jim Lynam, (of 'The Morning Fix') the show does a really nice job of highlighting all of the local combat sport events. They also provide interviews as well as a segment on training tips.

Although they aren't the most professional commentators you'll see on television, both Herrig and Lynam are fun and energetic (well, at least Herrig is).

I also like Herrig because she trains at my old gym in the Elgin Recreation Center (Big Props!)

Anyway, check her out getting some 'choke' tips in the following clip:





If Felice Herrig looks a little familiar, you might remember her from Oxygen channel's Girl Fight series. Here's her fighting in Phuket, Thailand during the season finale:



Okay, that's going to do it for this week. Check back again soon when we'll bring you more of the best of the web in MMA action and also tackle important questions, like... "Do 'Adult Entertainers get dental and vision insurance? -What about a 401K?"

Anyway, take care,

Rick

3 comments:

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Matthew said...

Great wrap up Nathan. I got to see some of the EliteXC event - very interesting stuff. I won't spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen it, but the Kimbo Slice fight is worth checking out. I've been following his career for a little while now (and watching his fun street fight videos) and this fight was definitely more mainstream than anything i've seen before.

One thing though - what did you think about the glam and spectacle of elitexc? By that I mean the dancers, the "personas", the entrance fireworks and all that jazz. Didn't it strike you as a little "pro wrestling" in style? That's a very slippery slope. These guys should take a look back at how pro wrestling started - very bare bones and to the point, just like mma. Then the glam happened and now its a spectacle rather than a medium for combat.

Best,
Matt (Ikigai)

Nathan Teodoro said...

Hey Matt,
Thanks for the comments, but I can't take the credit for the wrap-up - it's Rick! I periodically flood his house with some special nerve gas (when the animals and small children are out of there, of course!), then plant him in front of a keyboard and he just does it - AMAZING! On a serious note, all of us are lucky to have him doing this fine service for MMA fans.

I saw the EliteXC show and posted on it , and posted about it here: http://tdatraining.blogspot.com/2008/06/elitexc-show-made-ufc-look-professional.html
I think we are of one mind on that. Scary! :-)