Monday, June 02, 2008


Hello and welcome back to another exciting edition of the MMA Weekly Wrap Up. This is where you can find all the latest Internet news and happening for the world of Combat Sport!

It's been an incredible weekend, so let's get right into all the action!


Well, amidst all the hype of this Saturday’s event on CBS, many things were gained: mixed martial arts was given legitimate sports attention by a television network, many potential fans were introduced to cage-fighting for the first time, and the largest MMA organization, the UFC was finally threatened by an emerging promotion. (Actually, the UFC suffered a one-two punch with EliteXC and the WEC… but more on that in a minute.)

Unfortunately, something was also tragically lost by EliteXC on Saturday… a chance to rise above the spectacle of sport-entertainment (like professional wrestling) and prove that itself as genuine and impartial association. Along with the fireworks, dancers, and music video processions into the ring, the theater actually seemed to continue after the fighters entered the ring… err cage.

What isn’t quite clear is whether or not certain fighters were being protected or whether the television network simply wanted to protect the public from seeing anything too ‘barbaric’ between Burger King and Miller Lite commercials.

The pre-fight trailers and interviews made it rather clear that certain athletes were going to be the ‘stars’ of the show; including Robbie Lawler, Gina Carano, and of course ‘Kimbo Slice’ - Kevin Fergusson. These guys were the favorites to win and no one begrudged EliteXC from hyping up their participation. -After all, EliteXC doesn’t have many big names like UFC or Affliction yet.
What most of us didn’t suspect however, is that these same stars might get preferential treatment inside the ring.

The first main fight of the evening was Gina Carano vs. Katlin Young. The evening started off badly for Carano as she weighed in 3lbs heavy for the match and had to surrender some of her fight purse to Young. Carano also looked a bit sluggish during the first round, taking some hard kicks in the process.

The two women battled it out for two rounds with Carano scoring some vicious right hands in the 2nd. Young ended up with a horrible looking welt under her left eye. However, she appeared to be ready and capable of continuing the fight. The eye wasn’t swollen shut or injured in any way. (Compare this situation to the WEC Torres/Maeda fight that we’ll get to in a minute.)

Still, between the second and third round, referee Herb Dean had the doctor check out Young’s eye and declared her unable to continue. You could hear Katlin complaining in her corner just before she was quickly whisked away for “medical attention.”

My first thought was outrage. Of course this was some kind of gender discrimination! CBS just didn’t want to show a girl getting a black eye on its network, so they had the fight called early! (Kaitlin had no post fight interview and wasn’t mentioned again during the broadcast.)

The next fight, however, caused me to re-evaluate my gender bias argument. During the Lawler/Smith Middleweight Championship, Scott Smith suffered an eye gouge in the third round. (Compare to the WEC Faber/Pulver fight that well mention soon!) Although, Smith recovered within the 5 minutes allowed by the rules, the doctor stopped the fight, calling it a “no contest.” -Well, at least they weren’t only being overly gentle with the girls.

Then came the main event; Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Fergusson vs. James Thompson.
Thompson is an enormous guy, with a rather severe cauliflower ear; he looked almost like something out of a monster movie. The fight started out with the two trading punches. Thompson eventually got a takedown and delivered some elbows as the two continued to brawl. Later, Thompson would catch Kimbo in a standing guillotine, but suffer some knee kicks as Kimbo escaped.

In the second round, the two ended up on the ground again with Slice attempting a neck crank. The round ended with Thompson getting in a little more ground-n-pound against the cage. Kimbo was unable to get himself free and Thompson unable to finish.

In the third round, Kimbo wisely decided to do his best to stay on his feet. The two exchanged blows when Kimbo’s fist landed right on the cauliflower ear of Thompson. The thing blew like an enormous zit, sending blood everywhere.

Kimbo followed up with some hard punches that clearly rocked Thompson, but did not send him to the mat. But, just like the other big fights, this one was immediately stopped just as soon as someone started bleeding. The referee waved Thompson off and told him the fight was over.
Thompson quickly flew into a rage and took a quick shot at the ref. In probably one of the best techniques of the night, the ref quickly parried him and let him know that he wouldn’t tolerate any antics like that. (Would have been funny if the ref kicked his butt faster than Kimbo could.)

So what was the deal? Was CBS trying to stop the fights before they became too messy? Was EliteXC trying to protect their main attractions? Or was it all just a coincidence?

It’s hard to say, but during the post fight interviews, EliteXC’s promoter, Gary Shaw seemed as eager to get rid of James Thompson as he had been to lose Kaitlin Young. He told reporters that Thompson was having problems breathing and had to go to the hospital. Unfortunately for Shaw, Thompson then walked in the door ready to answer questions.

Now, say what you want about Thompson’s fighting ability or his chin, but one things certain, the guy has a couple of brain cells working. At 3:00 into post fight press conference, Thompson gets Shaw to agree to pay him his fight bonus in front of the press and even attempts to get some grass roots support for a rematch. (Nobody actually seems interested, but it’s still a valiant attempt!) Thompson knows his 15 minutes are over and he’s about to make sure he’s paid for each one of them.


Okay, I really figured that this week would be real easy to cover, I knew I’d be talking about the Primetime event and I knew I’d be talking about the Faber/Pulver fight, what I didn’t know I’d absolutely have to cover was the WEC’s Bantum weight championship.

Now, for me, the current champ, Miguel Torres, is a local fighter from East Chicago. He’s fought in the Chicagoland area for quite some time now, and I’ve watched him develop over the years. I like his quick aggressive style and smart ground strategy. Recently, he’s really kicked his game up and has become a true champ.

But nothing prepared me for the incredible display he and Yoshiro Maeda put on Sunday night just before the main event. Everything about their match from the intense staredown before the bell, to the rapid pace of their assaults, to the bone cracking power of their punches and kicks left me awestruck.

These two fighters took everything the other threw at them and returned it with gusto. On the ground they transitioned from one another’s attacks and countered effectively. Both fighters poured everything they had into each technique, constantly looking for a weakness or opportunity, and creating an opening wherever they could.

However, by the third round, Torres began to find his reach advantage and began punishing Meada’s left eye. The eye soon swelled up, completely blinding his vision and possibly injuring the eyeball.

Unlike, the quick poke that Scott Smith suffered on Saturday night, this injury really was a threat and the fight was ended after the third round. Both fighters showed sincere respect for one another and the battle they had just waged.

It was going to be a tough act for Urijah Faber and Jens Pulver to follow, but the two Champions made a show of trying. Faber surprised everyone by keeping the fight primarily on its feet. He faced Pulver’s legendary left hook and ‘Dirty Boxing’ strategy head on.

Pulver, to his credit, took everything that Faber could dish out, including some unbelievably strong right crosses. At times, Pulver looked almost out on his feet, but rather than the fight being called like the Kimbo Slice/Thompson match up, Pulver would quickly move in and go on the attack.

Every time you thought there was no way Pulver could continue, he would surprise everyone in the crowd and keep coming forward. The Featherweight championship went the full five rounds, with hardly any slowdown.

The fights from Sacramento were like watching a Rocky movie, only better. (And real!) Faber retained his title by unanimous decision, but neither of these fights seemed to have a loser. The fans seemed to enjoy cheering on their favorites as much as they did respecting the courage of their opponents.

As much as Saturday night tried to show us what Combat Sports could be, Sunday night showed us what they really are.

Here's a quick interview with Urijah Faber after the fight:


Oh Yeah, this Saturday Matt Hughes faces Thiago Alves, while Michael Bisping goes up against Jason Day, and Marcus Davis will meet Mike Swick… big deal. If the UFC wants to keep us coming to pay-per-view, their going to have to get a little more exciting than that.

Even our usual fight diva, Joanne from MMA Girls hasn’t chimed in with her usual predictions. B-O-R-I-N-G

Anyway, here’s a quick clip to get you pumped for the fights if you’re interested.

Okay, that's going to do it for this week. Check back again soon for more of the best of the Web in combat sports. (Yeah, we'll even cover the Hughes & Werdom fights, but after all the WEC excitement this week, it's gonna be tough competition.)

Take Care and Keep Training,


No comments: