There are way too many UFC events to keep track of these days. Some will disagree and call me out on not being a “true fan” but with television ratings and pay-per-view buy rates on the decline, the results speak for themselves. After looking at the totality of events from years past, the problem doesn’t simply lie in the number of events, but the lack of stars. I think the reason why there are so many UFC shows is because they’re hoping to create new stars.
Until now, the UFC has always possessed a number of star attractions to attract an audience. Gracie, Shamrock, Severn, Abbott, and Coleman boosted the company during its inception to mythological proportions. During the dark ages, Ortiz, Randleman, Rizzo, and Miletich kept the company afloat. One reality show later and business boomed like never before. Hughes, Penn, Liddell, Couture, Griffin, Mir, Lesnar, GSP, and A. Silva became household names while fighters from Japan with fierce reputations such as Nogueria, W. Silva, Rampage, Shogun, and Cro Cop traded ring glory for caged grandeur.
Between then and now, the best fought the best. Some won, some lost, but they all got old, and throughout that process, the UFC failed to create new stars. Ronda Rousey, Jon Jones, Chris Weidman, Cain Velasquez, Frankie Edgar and Jose Aldo are the current crop of main attractions. However, besides Ronda Rousey, they are all flawed in various ways. Velasquez has no personality and gets hurt too often to build any momentum. Edgar is the ultimate blood and guts warrior, but somehow, he doesn’t move the needle. Weidman needs more time in the spotlight before we can determine if he’s main event or bust. While dominant, Aldo has failed to execute at the legendary standards of his WEC days, which is how he’s marketed. Then there is Jones, who people tune in to see lose more than anything else and will stop watching his fights once that occurs. Not a very promising roster.
You don’t want to manufacture a new star because fans will see right through it and WWE’s modus operandi of creating them is out of the question. So, what’s a fight promotion to do? Hold as many events as possible and hopefully lighting will strike in a few different places. Within the next 30 days, the UFC will hold five cards with 50 fights announced so far. August 16th Fight Night headliner Ryan Bader vs. Ovince Saint Preux is hardly must see TV on a Saturday night. Still, if a spectacular performance emerges from the show, word of mouth will get everyone to rush to their DVR or visit their favorite website for the blow by blow results, but it’s not the same as getting excited for a show and witnessing everything as it unfolds. Along with bout mentioned above, the headline fights on these cards coming up are Lawler vs. Brown, Bisping vs. Le, Henderson vs. Dos Anjos, and Dillashaw vs. Barao II. That line up alone used to make up on one show. Now, we have to watch five whole shows in order to see them.
The UFC has changed their business model. The days of consistently stacked shows are over. A combination Boxing’s singular promotional presentation and MMA’s multiple highlights are now the norm. Like any change in direction after twenty years, there is an adjustment period. Some fans will get used to it, others won’t, and then you’ll have those who simply don’t care. Cub Swanson headlined a show four weeks ago with the promotional hook of him as the next contender for Jose Aldo’s featherweight title.
Swanson won, and earned Fight of the Night honors in the process. Now, the UFC is promoting him while hoping that time has erased his brutal eight second loss at the hands of Aldo, five years ago. Maybe, the answer lies with Connor McGregor. The superstar reaction he received in his home country of Ireland was unlike anything I’ve ever heard before. With three wins inside the octagon, the hype train has left Dublin and heading full speed for Las Vegas, where the true litmus test will take place, on September 27th, in the form of Dustin Poirier. If McGregor can win and get over in the fight capital of the world, that will be proof that the UFC’s new business model can or perhaps is working.
On Saturday night the Octagon touched down in San Jose, California for the 12th installment of the UFC on FOX. The fight card was filled with exciting matchups including a main event where the winner would be next in line for Johny Hendricks welterweight championship. Here are my lessons learned from a fun night of fights on FOX.
Lesson 1: New Number 1 Contender
Robbie Lawler is the new number one contender to the UFC Welterweight Championship. That means we will get to see a rematch of the awesome fight between Johny Hendricks and Lawler from March. Since coming back to the UFC, Lawler has been simply dominant and I did not see this coming.
Lawler lost 5 of his 8 fights in Strikeforce, so there where not many expectations when he made his return to the UFC. In his five fights back, he knocked out Josh Koscheck, Bobby Voelker and Jake Ellenberger. He defeated top contender Rory MacDonald and he lost a narrow decision to Hendricks for the welterweight championship. On Saturday, Lawler defeated Matt Brown, who was on a 7-fight winning streak, to get another opportunity for UFC gold.
If I had to pinpoint one reason why Lawler has had so much success in his return, I think it’s a pretty clear. He’s where he belongs. Maturity has a lot to do with it also, but bottom line is that he’s exactly where he should be and he’s happy. He looked like a fighter who was lacking motivation when he was in Strikeforce and he lost fights against guys he would demolish right now. He is taking full advantage of his second run in the UFC and I would be very surprised if he didn’t hold the gold before his career was over.
Lesson 2: Major Threat at 205
Going into his fight with Antonio Rogerio Nogueira I think it was pretty clear that Anthony “Rumble” Johnson would get an easy win but no way did I think it would only take him only 44 seconds to annihilate Little Nog.
In his first fight since being released from the UFC for his weigh-in mishaps, he absolutely dominated top contender Phil Davis. That performance made it very clear that Rumble was comfortable and extremely dangerous at light heavyweight. After that victory, he shot up all the way to being ranked fifth in the division. On Saturday night, Rumble did to Little Nog what no other fighter has ever done, and if I was a fighter at 205, I’d be scared.
Most of the top fighters are tied up with fights or injuries. In an ideal situation I would love to see Johnson fight Alexander Gustafsson with the winner getting a title shot. Gustafsson was scheduled to fight Jon Jones for the title but a torn meniscus knocked him out of that fight. There’s no word on how long he will be out but that’s the fight I want to see. Daniel Cormier gets the call and will step in and fight Jones for the light heavyweight championship. Rumble and Rashad Evans are teammates so that probably won’t happen. Glover Teixeira would be an amazing matchup but it looks like he will have a fight with Phil Davis next. A matchup with the winner of the Ryan Bader-Ovince St. Preux could be interesting but I feel a fight with either of them is a step down at this point and wouldn’t be worth the risk. Rumble says he wants to fight everyone and keep active so that fight could make sense.
All I know is if I were Jon Jones or Daniel Cormier, I would be expecting a fight with Anthony Rumble Johnson in the very near future.
Lesson 3: Brown Belongs
As mentioned earlier, Matt Brown lost a title eliminator to Robbie Lawler on Saturday night. There aren’t many situations where your stock goes up in a loss but that happened against Lawler.
Personally, I did not think Brown had any chance of winning this fight, let alone survive five rounds against Lawler. Brown was on a very nice winning streak but he hadn’t been in the cage with anyone on the level of Lawler. Plus, with as much as Brown gets hit in his fights, I predicted that Lawler would put him away within 2 rounds. The fight went the distance and he proved me wrong. Even Dana White was impressed, by saying that Brown should move up in the rankings after that fight.
There are plenty of options for Brown next but I think there’s one no brainer. Matt Brown vs. Carlos Condit is the fight I want to see next. This matchup was originally scheduled for last December but Brown pulled out of the fight with a back injury. Condit fought Tyron Woodley where he lost and suffered a torn ACL. No official timetable for his return, but that should be the next fight for both of them.
After tonight’s performance, there is no question; Matt Brown proved that he belongs in the upper echelon of the welterweight division.
Other Notes from UFC on FOX:
Dennis Bermudez looked extremely impressive in his victory over Clay Guida on Saturday night. He now holds the longest winning streak in the featherweight division at 7 in a row and called for a title shot after his win. Not sure he’s there yet but he’s close. The 145-pound division is stacked right now so there will be plenty of opportunity for Bermudez to earn that shot. A fight against Ricardo Lamas would be a good start.
Considering everything Bobby Green has been through, his performance on Saturday night was simply spectacular. He lost his little brother less than two months ago and accepted a fight against the number 3 ranked lightweight in the world on short notice. He’s another guy to keep a very close eye on because he proved he’s ready to contend in the UFC’s lightweight division.
Pat Cummins completely dominated Kyle Kingsbury en route to his second UFC victory in a row. He’s an extremely high level wrestler who will be able to control almost anyone in a grappling match. As dominant as he was, he still has a ton of work to do but is very much someone to keep an eye on.
Jorge Masvidal put on a great performance in his unanimous decision victory over Daron Cruickshank. Masvidal called for a fight with Cowboy Cerrone and without question that’s fun fight to book.
Steven Grossi is a digital video producer who likes to write a little. He’s a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, hardcore MMA fan and a total wrestling nerd. He usually has a strong opinion on anything combat sports related so give him a follow on twitter @SteveOGrossi.
After letting BJ Penn’s official retirement settle in for a few days I came to the conclusion that an MMA fighter’s record does not always tell the whole story. Very much like Randy Couture, Penn had an impact on the sport that goes way beyond his fight record. Here’s a list of some of the things BJ Penn was able to accomplish in the fight game:
Earned his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt in three years.
First non-Brazilian to win gold in the black belt division at the World Jiu-Jitsu Championships in Brazil.
UFC welterweight and light weight champion.
Second fighter in UFC history to hold belts in multiple weight classes (Randy Couture).
Headlined a total of 11 main-events.
Defeated Matt Hughes twice.
Fought former light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida in a catchweight fight where Machida weighed 225 pounds.
BJ Penn retires with a 16–10–2 record. To the young fans out there who did not have the opportunity to watch him will see that record and think he’s highly over rated. Another legend in the sport, Randy Couture retired with a record of 19–11. Again, on paper, that’s not as impressive has his stature in the sport would indicate. Like Couture, Penn’s impact and accomplishments greatly overshadows his record.
Penn is widely considered the greatest lightweight fighter in MMA history. He was a true pioneer when it comes to the lower weight classes. Many believe (me being one of them) that without the impact of BJ Penn, there would be no lighter weight classes in the UFC. His fights against Sean Sherk, Kenny Florian, Diego Sanchez, Jens Pulver, and Joe Stevenson put the lightweight division on the map.
Outside of his accomplishments as a lightweight, he made a huge impact in the welterweight division as well. His feuds with Matt Hughes and Georges St-Pierre were legendary. In his 170-pound debut at UFC 46, Penn choked out Matt Hughes to win the UFC welterweight championship. He would later finish off a trilogy with Hughes at UFC 123 where he knocked him out in just 21 seconds. At UFC 56, he lost to Georges St-Pierre in a title eliminator and almost took out the great GSP in the first round. Even though Penn was never able to get the better of GSP, their rivalry will go down as an all-time great.
Of course, you can’t break down all the “great” without talking about the “bad.” I feel his biggest downfall fighting at welterweight was his training. When you are BJ Penn and sitting on top of the world in Hawaii, it’s easy to lose focus in a training camp. He lacked the training and cardio to hang with the greats at 170 pounds. The size of the fighters at welterweight had a lot to do with it, but his cardio didn’t always seem to hold up. It hurts me to say this, but there will always be questions on how much better he could have been. He was a legend of the sport as it is. Imagine if he put everything he had into his training throughout his career.
Regardless of any of that, BJ Penn will always go down as my favorite fighter in MMA history. When he was at the top of his game there was no one more fun to watch. He was truly the definition of a mixed martial artist. He had the ability to finish fights standing and on the ground. The thing I loved most was that he finished fights in a very violent manner. If the opportunity to finish the fight was there, you know BJ Penn was going to go for it. His finishes of Caol Uno, Joe Stevenson, Sean Sherk, Diego Sanchez and both over Matt Hughes were things of beauty. Call me crazy, but I also loved it when he would lick the blood off his own gloves. BJ Penn was a savage in the cage and it was awesome.
BJ Penn is one of the greatest fighters in the history of the sport and I want to take this time to thank you, BJ Penn for an amazing career. It was truly an honor to watch you fight. You are the true definition of a fighter and you will forever be known as a legend.
Steven Grossi is a digital video producer who likes to write a little. He’s a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, hardcore MMA fan and a total wrestling nerd. He usually has a strong opinion on anything combat sports related so give him a follow on twitter @GrossiMMA.
If you noticed in my EA UFC review, I sort of took a battle axe to career and kept hitting it in the head until there was nothing but blood, bits of skull and mush left. I was a bit harsh on the career mode overall, but to be honest, EA had it coming. When you put the team behind the Fight Night games in charge, you expect a damn good career mode.
The career mode here, well it’s not. It’s actually quite bad and most of all it’s repetitive with little to no variety. You also have to remember, by not adding another other modes of gameplay like I mentioned in my review, career mode would have to carry the game. Since it doesn’t do that, it deserves the criticism that has been leveled at it thus far. I’m not the only person who’s noticed this; many video game websites have rallied against the career mode.
The general consensus is that career mode is bare bones and boring. With that being said, I’m going to go over some of my issues and then offer what I believe could make the career mode in the next game much better. Or at least not this career mode. Here are some of my main problems that I divulged upon in my review and some I didn’t talk about that. After that, my recommendations to fix career mode.
Mike Dolce and The UFC Gym
When Madden first starting doing Superstar Mode Terrell Davis was your mentor and it made sense. Your player was drafted in the lower rounds and Davis was the 196th pick in the NFL draft. So, it made sense that you had a guy who rose from low round pick to superstar as your mentor. Mike Dolce as your mentor makes no sense. I’m sure Mike Dolce is a swell dude and his Dolce Diet seems to help a lot of fighters in the sport today. Yet, this is the guy that they pick to be your mentor? No offense to Dolce, but he’s not the first guy that I would think of to be the mentor in career mode.
You’d think that a guy like Greg Jackson or Duane Ludwig would be the guy to play mentor in the game. Since they hyped up having to go through the Ultimate Fighter to get in, why pick a guy who lost in the first round of the TUF tournament? I’m not making fun of the guy at all, but he just doesn’t scream mentor to me. If you wanted a TUF alumnus, why not go with Forrest Griffin? He’s pretty funny, won the first season, coached a season and was the first guy to win a title from the show. Compared to Dolce, who is seemingly reading off of a script while watching television or something, Griffin would make training interesting. You train in the UFC Gym for your entire career and I mean your entire career. Wanna go train at Jacksons? Sorry, you gotta play Undisputed 3 in order to do that. While that may not seem bad at all, the problem is that once again there is no variety towards training at The UFC Gym. Every now and then, a fighter will visit the gym and you get to spar with them. So far, Dan Henderson and BJ Penn have dropped by in my career mode.
While this seems like something that could be really cool, you just do the same drills that you usually do. You don’t learn any cool moves from them or unlock anything special; it’s just sparring with a guy who isn’t the generic training partner. If you were invited to train with the guy after the sparring sessions, it would be interesting. Especially when these guys have gyms of their own so it would make sense. In the end, you’re stuck at the UFC Gym until your career is over, so that means no training elsewhere to learn new moves. They made that irrelevant by giving you the option to buy new moves, which isn’t bad at all but have the fun of career mode was traveling to different gyms and learning this move or that move. Since moves are cheap, all you have to do is save up a nice amount of evolution points and buy up. It takes the fun out of traveling to all these different gyms and eventually committing to one.
Train, Fight, Wash, Rinse, Repeat and Lack of Options for Opponents
We all know what this section is about; it’s what most reviewers have hit the game on. You train; fight, train, fight and you do this for forty fights. Yep, there is no option to retire your fighter you keep doing it until you hit that magic number. So, if you’re fighter ends up a brain damaged shell of himself and a threat to others, you still have to play through to the end. The only other way you could end it would be to delete your career and never start one again. What was interesting to me was that the training rarely reflected the fighter I was going against. I was set to face a high level wrestler and none of my training options reflected anything about grappling or takedown defense. Luckily my opponent did nothing but throw the same overhand right and I picked him apart, but then came the big one, which plays into point number two.
After moving up into facing regular opponents, I got a title shot against Cain. It should be noted that my opponents were Travis Browne (Legitimate enough) and Pat Berry (LOL) and now I found myself looking at a title shot. Cain in a 99 and just about kill you with two really good power punches, my guy is a 77 overall. I got Thai Pads, Submission and Heavy Bag for training options, nothing on blocking or using footwork to avoid Cain’s KO power. I did win the fight by controversial split decision and proceeded to defend against: Travis Browne, Cain again, Cain, Junior Dos Santos, Cromier, Junior again and finally Cromier for the second time. You know what would make career interesting? If the champion of the lower division would challenge you to a super fight, something to break up the monotony of facing the same guys. Or even going overseas and defending the belt in PR-
Oh yeah, you guys got rid of that.
In the previous games, you could pick and choose what opponents you fought so you could slowly build your guy over time. If you wanted to take things slowly you could pick and choose while slowly moving up the ladder or you could be aggressive and pick the bigger fights. Now, I would prefer to pick the route of going fight by fighter when my skills weren’t up to par and then gamble when my skills were ready for that. Now, you just get the fights that Joe Silva sends you. I presume this for realism but I also hope that I can complain about pay and get buried by Dana White in the press. Or, if you’re a lower rung fighter, deciding rather eating or paying the electric bill with your fight pay and small sponsor check.
Gotta have that realism.
Snarkiness aside, I’m going to talk about my idea for potentially improving career mode and hopefully somebody from EA reads this. Probably not.
1. Develop a Character
This is where the MMA purists begin to cringe; being able to develop some form of character in career mode would make things interesting. I’m not talking a Chael Sonnen level of being an a-hole, but it wouldn’t be bad to spew some trash talk. You can either go the route of being a GSP like sportsman or go the route of talking trash. Heck, it could have a profound effect on your opponent in the fight, your opponent comes out aggressive going for the kill and you can capitalize on that by hitting some key counter moves. It wouldn’t be much, just something to make career mode interesting which would play into my second recommendation.
2. Develop Rivalries
Like I said, once I won the title in career mode that was basically it, you’d face the big names and then move on to facing randomly generated fighters. I thought that by facing Browne again that I defeated in an eliminator fight and I thought that we’d get a video from Browne or some acknowledgement that I beat him. Nope, just the usual message of you having to face all up and comers. Shouldn’t Browne be my bitter rival since I took away his chance at a title shot? Instead, it’s just treated as a regular old fight; Browne comes out and fights like it is some normal fight. There’s no hype video, no weigh-in stare down or even a threatening video message from Browne or a message from Dana. Overall, develop some rivalries in career mode to add some depth towards the fights.
3. Go the TUF Route or Travel the World
While adding The Ultimate Fighter was a good idea, they really didn’t do much with the concept overall. You didn’t really learn much, the coaches only appeared in messages and you didn’t do any training with them. I’m all for TUF, but they would have to fine tune the basic concept of TUF. I say that your fighter should have the choice of going through TUF and traveling the world, the same way you could in EA MMA. Even better, the game could make usage of the dead promotions that the UFC owns such as the WEC and Strikeforce.
Fight your way from the bottom, maybe go through the dead World Fighting Alliance or throw a bone to King of The Cage for the starter league. If you’re a lower weight guy you can work your way through the WEC to get a contract and same thing for the upper weights in Strikeforce. If you go the route of fighting outside of the UFC, you arrive in the UFC a well-rounded and polished fighter and find yourself in fights against actual opponents right off the bat. Go the TUF route, win it all and slowly go the route of fighting up from the bottom.
4. Realistic Training Calendar
The one thing I have never gotten about career mode in most MMA games is that you can do a few activities and then fight. So, I say have a realistic training set-up, you dictate that level of training you want to do that day: Hard, medium, and easy. If you train hard you can get more XP but you can wear your fighter out by picking hard too many times. You would have to find a middle road with the level of training you pick each day so that you don’t wear your fighter out, but you have built your fighter up for the upcoming fight. You should also have the ability to pick what exactly you want to have your fighter train in such grappling, striking, cardio and strength. It’s not much, but it’s better than stuck with the same three options.
5. Train Where You Want to Train or Bring in Partners
Yeah, no more Mike Dolce and the generic UFC Gym, EA. While your fighter would eventually have to commit to a gym (Similar to Undisputed 3), your fighter should have the right to go train anywhere for any upcoming fight, since most fighters will do that from time to time. Say your fighter has an upcoming fight against a high level wrestler; you could branch out and train at a gym that has a high reputation for wrestling training. You could also have the option of inviting a fighter to train for an upcoming fight, something that EA tried but didn’t do much with. Bring this guy in to specifically train in certain aspects for an upcoming fight and if he has a team of his own, you now have a camp that you train with. If the fighter your training with has a certain special move that you don’t have, you should be able to unlock it and add it to your arsenal of moves.
So there you go my suggestions to make career mode for the next EA UFC better than the one we got. The insane thing is that I believe most of my suggestions came from previous UFC games or the EA MMA game. That’s why those games had better career modes and EA UFC’s career mode is the…inster bad movie here of career modes.
I’m gonna go play WrestleFest now.
Robert Goeman has been writing for CamelClutchBlog since 2014 and has written for FiveOuncesofPain and What Culture. Follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/RobertGoeman. After every article, Robert usually does “Talking Points” on twitter, bringin up points that didn’t make the article.
4th of July weekend means the UFC is in Las Vegas for International Fight Week. Two titles were up for grabs when Middleweight Champion Chris Weidman took on Lyoto Machida, who had the opportunity to become just the third fighter in UFC history to hold belts in two weight classes. In the other title fight, Women’s Bantamweight Ronda Rousey put her title on the line against Alexis Davis. In what was a great night of fights, here are my lessons learned from UFC 175.
Lesson 1: Still Champion
I never questioned the skill or toughness of Chris Weidman but there seemed to be a lot of chatter before the fight that he hasn’t truly earned the respect he deserves as champion. Some believe that both wins against Anderson Silva were flukes. I wasn’t one of them. He did what no one else was able to do in the first fight, and he perfectly checked a kick that caused Anderson to break his leg in the second fight. I see his first win as a clean knockout and it’s unfortunate, but injuries do happen in this sport.
On Saturday night, Weidman again was able to do something no one else has done. As a wrestler, he controlled Lyoto Machida. He did not get the finish as he predicted, but he was dominant in victory. He implemented a very dangerous strategy but putting pressure on Machida worked. For once, it looked as though Machida wasn’t sure what to do. Weidman moved forward, threw a lot of kicks, landed combos and really took Machida out his game. Things got very interesting in rounds 4 and 5. Weidman clearly slowed down and it opened up opportunities for Machida. Weidman took some big shots but was able to get a takedown late in the 5th round to pretty much seal the deal. Weidman showed all the nonbelievers that he could take a shot and win a five round war. No question in my mind that he a strong champion. Do you respect him now?
Lesson 2: No Competition
Saturday night showed that there’s no competition for Ronda Rousey in the UFC. When the challenger gets tougher, the fight gets easier. She dismantled Alexis Davis in a matter of 16 seconds. For the second fight in a row, Ronda showed that she has more than just an armbar. Rousey blasted Davis with a big right hand, landed a big knee in the clinch, and hit one of her famous Judo throws. From there, she pounded Davis out. It was her fourth title defense in 16 months as she improved her record to a perfect 10-0. Oh yeah, every one of her victories ended in a finish.
What could be next for the baddest women on the planet? Really, there is only one fighter in the world I want to see her fight right now and it’s Cris Cyborg. I used to think that Cyborg could be the one to defeat Rouser, but after Saturday night I am not sure anymore. There’s no one in the UFC that will be able to hang with Ronda. Cyborg is the only one who stands a chance and the fight MUST happen. UFC needs to find a way to bring Cyborg into the UFC.
Lesson 3: Big Heart
Uriah Hall proved a lot of the skeptics wrong on Saturday night. Since coming up short on the Ultimate Fighter, questions have been asked about his heart. He powered through a broken toe in the first round to earn a decision victory over Thiago Santos. When the referee and doctor asked him if he’s good, he could have easily ducked out of the fight but he didn’t. Instead, he decided to continue as he danced around the cage, throwing huge kicks with a broken toe in rounds two and three. He showed flashes of the guy who landed the nastiest knockout in TUF history. He’s ultra talented and the future is still bright for Uriah Hall.
Lesson 4: Thank God
It was very unfortunate but the Stefan Struve-Matt Mitrione fight was canceled. It was reported that Struve almost blacked out while warming up for his fight with Mitrione. It was supposed to be his first fight since suffering a leaking aortic valve and an enlarged heart back in August 2013. All I can say is thank God this happened in the locker room and not inside the Octagon. Struve and the UFC dodged a huge bullet and it shows a fighter’s safety is always the number one priority.
Other notes from the UFC 175:
There isn’t really much more Urijah Faber can do in the sport. He remains undefeated in non-title fights and his training partner and protégée; T.J. Dillashaw holds the belt in his division. I cant see him getting another title fight anytime soon, so might as well conclude the trilogy with Dominick Cruz. Cruz should be back later this year.
Alex Caceres performed much better than I expected in his fight with Faber. I thought Faber was going to roll through Bruce Leeroy like he was nothing, but that didn’t happen. Faber did catch him with a choke in the 3rd round but I think Caceres is getting better and has a bright future at bantamweight.
Welcome to the UFC Rob Font. Font earned himself a “Performance of the Night” bonus with his knockout win over George Roop. Font is a guy we all need to keep our eyes on.
Steven Grossi is a digital video producer who likes to write a little. He’s a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, hardcore MMA fan and a total wrestling nerd. He usually has a strong opinion on anything combat sports related so give him a follow on twitter @GrossiMMA.
MMA and video games haven’t exactly meshed well in the past. Sure, the UFC games for the THQ ranged from good (UFC Undisputed 2009), alright (UFC Undisputed 2010) and finally holy crap that’s amazing (UFC Undisputed 3). I even liked the old Pride game on Playstation 2 since it possessed the best create a fighter function until EA MMA. Then, we had EA MMA which was an excellent all-around game with solid gameplay; great create a fighter, and probably the best career mode for an MMA game. It sadly bombed out, killing any potential of a sequel. The early UFC titles that appeared on the PlayStation 1, 2 and Xbox weren’t that great and are generally forgotten for a good reason. When you can tap out Tim Sylvia with a 125 pound girl (Yes, you read that right), you are not doing your job correctly.
So, what can I say about EA UFC is that while it’s a fun game, although it feels unfinished. For one, there is no depth outside of career mode and arcade mode. Remember, UFC Undisputed 3 had a tournament mode, title mode, title defense mode and most of all, the Pride mode. I was still playing the game two years after it came out just for Pride mode so I could run the Grand Prix and the freakshow fights. THQ went the extra mile and reunited Stephen Quadros and Bas Rutten to do commentary to give it a truly unique feel. While arcade mode is fun and you can spends hours just playing random match-ups, this feels like a barebones game.
The barebones notion doesn’t help when it comes to a rather sparse roster of 97 fighters spread out over nine divisions and while the company has promised DLC for those who rose to prominence (UFC Bantanwieght Champion TJ Dillashaw is absent from the game), there is no presence of any sort of legends. It doesn’t help that Dana White has pissed off most of the fighters you could place in legends mode (Randy Couture for example) or that most of them have associated themselves with Bellator like Tito, Rampage or Frank Shamrock. While this does mean that the fighters in the game have their own unique traits (Rousey mean mugs and has a wide variety of armbars, Pettis uses the cage on offense, Jon Jones and Anderson Silva have a wide variety of kicks and elbows), it still feels a bit off. EA tries to make for this by letting certain fighters move up and down in class, which is a way to cover up the issue. A problem in my mind is that fighters that don’t have any special moves are restricted with the same set of moves and animations. I’ve seen the same belly to belly suplex used by a good amount of fighters, which is almost a kill move if you’re stamina isn’t at full level. Do this move once and it can drain your opponent’s stamina by a good amount and you once you learn this takedown with a fighter who has it, you can dominate.
The striking mechanics in EA UFC are top notch, probably the best striking mechanics I’ve seen in any MMA game. Yes, it does take a while to learn some of the bigger moves, but it’s worth it to see a well pulled move. My biggest complaint though comes from the ground game and that has more to do with the submission system. Personally, I loved the submission system from EA MMA, with well-timed button hits for leg and arm submissions and the hot spot for chokes. It wasn’t the greatest or most innovative submission system, but it was better than the shine that THQ was offering. Here, we have a mini game similar to the hot spot requiring usage of the right and left sticks, it is incredibly infuriating. It somehow managed to top the submission system from Undisputed 3 for the most annoying submission system in the UFC series. Congrats I guess. It makes me yearn for the shine.
Now, let’s talk about career mode and my first big problem in what are my many, many problems with it. First, you really don’t have much for customization when it comes to said creation. You can pick from pre-set hair and body, a far cry from the creation system in other combat sport games, including the WWE games. You also have preset stats depending on what style of fighting you decide to go with. You also can’t take any fighters on the main roster (Bruce Lee the exception) and there was a certain fun in taking Dan Severn and transforming him into a Thai fighting machine. Also, I feel a slight bit creepy for beating on Bruce Lee or anytime I land a solid shot to the brain or knock him out with a headshot.
I’ve always thought that having your created fighter enter The Ultimate Fighter and get into the UFC way was a great idea. Unfortunately that’s about it for career when it comes to variety as after you win the whole thing (With unlimited rematches if you lose in TUF, there’s a Batista joke somewhere) and career mode becomes monotonous. You don’t have the option of picking opponents taking out any suspense on whether your guy is truly good when you step up to face a big name, do three training activities and then fight. That’s it; career mode is best played in short bursts every now and then. Just boot up the game, take a few fights and then turn the game off. Do the same thing three days later to keep things going. The worst part is that you can’t branch out to other gyms to learn new moves or techniques and you can’t change weight classes or participate in Pride tournaments. Don’t ask me how my Brock Lesnar cut enough weight to make 205, just marvel at the epic war between him and Jon Jones that headlined Madison Square Garden. Also, for as much hype that the UFC has put behind Rousey, you’d think that you could go as a woman in career mode, but that isn’t included. While it’s not a huge complaint (Large enough for me to point it though), it’s an interesting point since the UFC has put so much hype behind Rousey.
What’s sad about this is that EA Canada developed this game and these were the guys responsible for the last two Fight Night games, some of the best boxing games of all time. Fight Night Champion had a very good Championship Mode that was more like a movie. Sure, it seemed a bit cliché with the plot but it worked and it made for a fun play through. That’s the disheartening part about this since Undisputed 3 and EA MMA had solid career modes and this feels like an afterthought. EA could have done so much more with career mode, heck that’s my next post. With such a highly regarded studio behind the game, it’s tough to say this but career mode is probably the worst career mode I’ve seen in an MMA game in a long time. Take a look at the career mode in the NBA 2K games and take a look at this, this feels like some slapped on at the last minute.
While I haven’t started online play because I don’t like having slurs hurled at me by twelve year olds, a point of interest was that EA killed their Fighter Share program. It drew quite a bit of controversy since the excuse seemed rather lame (Avoid copyright issues) and it was quickly pointed out that THQ had no issues with the WWE and UFC games. When I heard this, I had visions of having to take that perfect Fedor CAF and drag him through career mode and then doing the same thing with any other fighter. Luckily, you can give fighter the stats they deserve without a cap, so smart move EA.
As this point, you’re probably thinking that I hate this game but I don’t. The graphics are fantastic, the presentation is done will with a minimalistic HUD and commentary seems to be on point. The fighters are well animated, the striking feels great and most of all you’ll have a great mixture of pain and frustration. It’s the type of game you can get a whole of friends together have a few solid hours of fun playing with. My main hope is that EA Canada can build off what seems to be a solid foundation while fixing some of the mistakes they’ve made. The biggest problem will be the specter of Undisputed 3 hanging above the EA UFC games, so hopefully EA can top that. If EA Canada can work on the problems and keep the gameplay fresh with new features, I can see the EA UFC series topping the Undisputed games. EA just needs to make the effort on their end.
Robert Goeman has been writing for CamelClutchBlog since 2014 and has written for FiveOuncesofPain and What Culture. Follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/RobertGoeman. After every article, Robert usually does “Talking Points” on twitter, bringin up points that didn’t make the article.
UFC fighter Chael Sonnen has turned into arguably the greatest sound byte in all of sports.Today we celebrate Sonnen’s wit by looking back at his top 40 quotes. Why 40? Because anything less wouldn’t be enough!
Sonnen is an equal opportunity offender but appears to take more pleasure out of insulting his foreign peers. The bulk of his material has been directed to Anderson Silva yet Sonnen has had plenty of insults to toss the way of Michael Bisping, Wanderlei Silva, Mirko Cro Cop, Cyborg Santos, Georges St-Pierre, and Lyoto Machida. In addition to the insults, Sonnen’s high opinion of Chael Sonnen also makes for fun fodder. Thanks to the wonderful archives of Twitter and You Tube, here is a look back at Chael’s greatest hits.
“I think everyone up here is grateful to be on Fox. They would probably say ‘Fox thanks’. Everybody but me. I would say ‘Fox, you’re welcome.’ You’ve been telling everybody for years you’ve got the American Idol, and now you finally do.”
“Greetings from Sao Paulo! I’m learning the language: breakdancing in the Special Olympics is called Capoiera and cocaine is called brunch.”
”(Anderson Silva’s) got a black belt under the Nogueiras. I think a black belt under the Nogueiras is saying, like, I got a free toy in my Happy Meal. I don’t really understand what the big deal is. One of em’s a punching bag, and the other one I just ignore; he’s really irrelevant.”
“My phone rings, they call me up and say, ‘Chael, your testosterone level is too high.’ I say, ‘Well, how high was it?’ They say, ‘0.7.’ I said, ‘What’s normal?’ They say, ‘0.6.’; I said, ‘One-tenth? You’re telling me I’m one-tenth higher than the average man? Re-test that – you must have caught me on a low day.'”
“Take Lance Armstrong. Lance Armstrong did a number of things and he gave himself cancer. He cheated, he did drugs, and he gave himself cancer. Well, instead of saying ‘Hey listen, I cheated and gave myself cancer, don’t be like me.’ He actually made himself the victim and then went out and profited something like $15 million dollars from this ‘Hey, poor me, let’s find a cure for cancer’ campaign instead of just coming clean and saying, ‘Look, here’s what I did, I screwed myself up, and I hope people learn from my mistakes.’ You just watch these guys and can’t help but think, God, what a fraud. You got the whole Michael Phelps being a pothead thing too. I’m just glad I’m in the business I’m in so I can get them in the cage and kick the crap out of them.”
“If Brock Lesnar was here right now, I’d take my boot off and throw it at him, and he’d better polish it up before he brings it back to me. Talking about he’s the baddest guy in the UFC? Brock, quit eating so many raw eggs and doing push-ups because it’s affecting your realm of reality. Are you kidding me? I’d slap you in your face, and you wouldn’t do anything. ‘I’m Brock Lesnar. I’ve got this $5 haircut and a knife tattooed on my chest.’ I’ll shove it up your face if you get in Chael Sonnen’s way.”
“Listen Wanderlei, I will do a home invasion on you. I will cut the power to your house and the next thing you’ll hear is me climbing up your stairs in a pair of night vision goggles I bought in the back of Soldier of Fortune magazine. I’ll pick the lock to the master room door, take a picture of you in bed with the Nogueira brothers working on your ‘jiu-jitsu.’ I’ll take said quote unquote photograph, post it at dorksfrombrazil.com, password – not required, username – not required. That, Wanderlei, is how you threaten someone. Dummy.”
“Anderson Silva is as fake as Mike Tyson was. They called him the hardest, ‘the baddest man in the world’ but he wasn’t even the toughest guy in America and we had to sit through and listen to that over and over again as he fought lots of tomato cans. Anderson Silva has no interested (sic) in the fight with me and I don’t know what his deal is …”
“You’re looking at the reflection of perfection. You’re looking at the man who gets all your attention. You’re looking at the man with the biggest arm. At the man, with the greatest charm, the man in Chicago who will do harm to the guy three doors down.Whatcha gonna do, when you know who? Howya gonna deal, with the man of steel? How ya gonna react to Sonnen’s attack? Tune in on the 28th! 8 p.m. Eastern Time! You’ll find out who the real champion is.”
“I am going to knock the teeth out of this snot-nosed Brit who calls himself royalty, who calls himself a Count,” Sonnen wasted no time in declaring. “I am MMA royalty and America will tune into the Chael Sonnen show next Saturday on Fox.”
“I should be the reigning champion. I punch a guy 300 times, he punches me a couple and they call him the champion? In what parallel universe does that make you the winner? I am the champion. I’ve been the champion. Anderson’s ribs have the exact same problem that his hands and his feet have, they’re attached to a cowardly person. For Anderson to say that he wasn’t 100-percent, I completely believe him. Who cares? But yeah, do I think his ribs where hurt? Sure. Why would I think they weren’t? He’s the only one who could tell if they were hurt.”
“How do you, with a straight face, pretend that those ‘fights’ … and I’m of course holding up quotation signs … in Japan were real?”
“I’d suggest to him being a little careful about spitting on any of MY cornermen, since any one of them can beat him up as badly as I can. Thanks ever so much.”
“You tell Anderson Silva I’m coming over. I’m kicking in his back door and I’m pattin’ his old lady on the ass and I’m telling her to make me a steak, medium rare just how I like it.”
“Cyborg? I thought he was a middleweight.”
“Brock Lesnar actually is telling people that he wrote a book, when to the contrary there’s no evidence that he’s actually literate.”
“Hey Vitor, take my name out of your mouth until you show up for half as many fights as you pullout of.”
“Me taking on a mop and a garbage can would be a more interesting fight than those two (GSP and Anderson Silva).”
“You know, these guys are out there making man-love all the time, giving high-fives and huggin’ one another. You deserve to be knocked out if you’re trying to hug a man in the middle of a fistfight.”
“News flash, Lyoto: the spotlight is part and parcel for the gig. Go join a monastery if you want to pretend that fighting is about honor or integrity. And who are you to talk about being a big man? I don’t see you changing diapers on flipper babies in Chernoybl.”
“If I could read three books by Warren Buffett or one by Dana White , I’d read Dana’s.”
“Pipe down Mirko and let us just use you for oil like the rest of the dinosaurs.”
“When I was young they used to call me ‘The Foreman,’ not because I was in charge but because I did the work of four men.”
“Bisping, you make good points about deserving a title shot. After all you did beat, umm, well ahh … Hum and then there was … Ah … Wait, what!?”
“Okami is ready to go get that belt. Once he returns from Rio, we can truly say ‘he went to Hell and back’ to get it.”
“What are we even doing here, guys? This is insanity. He sits over here pretending he doesn’t speak English? Come on! That’s like pretending you’re the World Champion.”
“Anderson Silva, their big national hero, just put 2 million dollars down on a mansion in LOS ANGELES. Los Angeles is in America, for those of you that aren’t good at geography, it’s not in Brazil.”
“I’m a partner of the UFC and Anderson’s an employee. There’s a big difference. That’s why all the questions keep coming to me, because I give a coherent and clear answer that somebody wants to hear and he sits on a speakerphone on a car somewhere and says yes and no.”
“Machida is a gentleman. MMA is very cutthroat, and it’s sweet that Lyoto promised to never fight his girlfriend Anderson. That’s devotion.”
“…when I was a little kid, I’d go outside with my friends and we’d talk about the latest technology, in medicine, gaming, and American ingenuity, and Anderson and the Brazilian kids are sitting outside playing in the mud.”
“A black belt under the Nogueiras is like saying I got a free toy in my Happy Meal.”
“Anderson, think it through. There’s still a couple months left before they lock that cage behind me and you. Last time, they raised your hand, but it was plain to see. I took a lot more outta you than you took outta me. I broke the mirror and I blew away the smoke. It was me who tapped, but it was you who broke. So, Anderson … my friend, think it through. Who ya gonna send? Frankenstein Nogueira or your lap dog Ed Soares with a couple of rusty pistols and a beat up Ford Taurus? If they shoot like you fight, all they’re gonna do is bore us with your overrated standup and your takedown defense that’s porous. Karate boy Machida, will he show up with some fresh warm peepee in a Starbucks cup? Wanderlei, Vitor, Babalu himself, I’ll give ‘em all beatings and put ‘em back on the shelf. Come on trains, planes, or bikes, but here’s a little advice don’t send no one you like, cause you come to my home running your mouth you’re gonna be shakin’ hands with Jesus or the man further South. So get in the gym and work on your sprawl. I just talked to Uncle Dana and it’s winner take all. I’m gonna leave you with some string and a whole buncha welts. You’re gonna need it keep your pants up, Anderson, cause I’m taking your belt!”
“He thinks he’s gonna break my face? Tell him I’ve got two words for him: ‘medium rare’” Sonnen countered.
“I don’t like this guy,” and “I want to beat him up,” but it goes much further than that. Sonnen says that while he grew up talking about technology, medicine, and American ingenuity, Silva was outside in Brazil playing in the mud.”
“Spent months training to fight Munoz and now I have to fight a guy who sounds like Pip from South Park.”
“Brazil isn’t a bowing country. You bow in Brazil they’ll hit you over the head and take your wallet out of your pocket.”
“I am attempting to pick a FIGHT with some Brazilian fighters. Not fighters that care about you, Brazil. Fighters that have abandoned you. Fighters that claim they’re from Brazil, like Wanderlei Silva, but he lives in a gated community in Las Vegas. He drives an Aston Martin. Do you guys even know what that is? That’s what James Bond drove! It costs 200 grand. Wanderlei could have bought a fully-loaded Lexus, drove around in style for forty-one thousand, sent a hundred and fifty-nine grand back to your country, built two schools … but he didn’t.”
“I don’t do training camps. I don’t sleep in tents and I don’t roast marshmallows. Camps are for kids.”
“I want an easy fight. Anderson Silva, Wanderlei Silva. Either of the Silvas. Bigfoot Silva. They all suck. Gimme a Silva.”
“He (Wanderlei) has got the worst record in the history of the UFC and I can’t imagine how I could be demoted down to need to compete with him. And I don’t even say that to be a jerk. Those are the numbers.”
The best promo in the history of MMA has called it quits. A day after revealing he failed he drug test, Chael Sonnen has announced his retirement. Sonnen ends a six-year run in the UFC and leaves another big void for Dana White to fill.
The news comes a day after it was revealed that Sonnen failed a surprise drug test prior to his scheduled UFC 175 bout against Vitor Belfort. The news appeared embarrassing on the surface after Sonnen spent the last two weeks ridiculing Wanderlei Silva for skipping out on his drug test. However, a more objective look at the story offers a much more polarizing view.
“There is a huge distinction between illegal versus banned. These are perfectly legal substances. These are not performance-enhancing drugs. These are not anabolics. These are not steroids of any kind. Look, they [the Nevada State Athletic Commission] changed the rules and I’ve got to comply with the rules. However, there is a transition period and I couldn’t have been more open or more transparent. Whether it was UFC TONIGHT, whether it was different interviews, anybody that I could tell or talk to about this, I did. And these are the medications that you have to go on to lead a healthy life. If they’re asking me to choose between my health and my sport, that’s not a choice I can make. I’ve got to choose health.”
The basic gist of the story is that Sonnen claims he was taking drugs to get his body back to normal after the Nevada State Athletic Commission banned TRT exemptions. The drugs in question are reportedly used for this purpose, yet for some reason Sonnen reportedly never told the commission. The fact that Sonnen never revealed to the commission prior to testing that he was using these drugs is what got him into trouble.
This wasn’t a clear case of a guy cheating to get ahead. My takeaway is that the NSAC needed a better plan when declaring TRT exemptions off limits. They should have either grandfathered in the guys like Sonnen who were exempt or shown some leeway when it came to medications used to get their bodies back to normal.
Now my first thought is that Sonnen should have just waited a few more months to get his body back to normal before signing to fight. However, it suddenly occurred to me that Sonnen’s fight was originally scheduled for Brazil. Who knows what kind of testing Brazil would have done? Sonnen never signed for a fight in Vegas, circumstances just happened to dictate that.
Sonnen is arguably the second biggest star in the UFC after Ronda Rousey. There is nobody better at talking people into the seats than Sonnen. This leaves a tremendous void in a company that is losing stars faster than they can make them. In just the last few years they have lost Georges St-Pierre, Sonnen, Brock Lesnar, and while Anderson Silva hasn’t retired, he is at least out until next year. A guy like Sonnen is going to be almost impossible to replace.
Say what you will about Sonnen but he had arguably the greatest fight in UFC history against Anderson Silva. He may not have an impressive record (1-3 in his last four), but he understood the art of selling a fight better than anyone ever has or probably ever will. His numbers back it up against Anderson Silva and even his fight last year against Jon Jones.
I will miss him. As much as I found him to be a bigger hypocrite than most at times, he made the UFC fun. There isn’t a whole lot of fun in the UFC these days. Without Sonnen, there probably won’t be much fun in the UFC for a long time.
The biggest UFC rematch of 2014 will be coming to Toronto. It’s official, Jon Jones will put his UFC light heavyweight title up against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 178. As expected with Bones, this rematch did not come without plenty of controversy.
I can’t recall a UFC fighter who has had as much drama as Jon Jones has had in his or her UFC careers. Nothing is ever simple for Jones. Sometimes it’s good drama, yet the majority of trouble is not so good. Once again Jones put himself in the middle of controversy after refusing to fight Gus again. It took a final negotiation on Thursday between the UFC and the champ to get the fight signed.
Unless something changes from now to December and it can, this will be the biggest fight on paper for 2014. The fight rematches what some are calling the greatest light heavyweight title fight in UFC history. Jones survived a five-round onslaught against Gustafsson late last year. Yet even with what some call a controversial decision, Jones had very little interest in a second fight. Jones was reportedly more interested in a fight with undefeated UFC fighter Daniel Cormier, although he is now playing that down.
“I think Cormier is the tougher fighter, but the fans want to see me fight Gustafsson,” Jones stated. “There was never an issue with taking the Gustafsson fight. The issue was that my brother is getting married in July, and I would have preferred a later date. I didn’t want to go this early, and I would have preferred to go later in October or November.”
While a lot of UFC fans may not want to hear this I have to be honest with you. Jones is right. Jones should be fighting Daniel Cormier. Gus-Bones I was a close fight and it was a fun fight but here are the facts. Gus gassed out and he didn’t beat him. As the challenger he needed to do more to win the fight. He didn’t. Jones survived and had more in the tank at the end of the fight than his challenger did. It was a great fight, no question, but I just don’t understand the outcry for a rematch so soon.
What has Gus done since the fight? He has one won fight against Jimi Manuwa. Taking nothing away from Manuwa and while he was undefeated, he wasn’t even considered a top five fighter. Shouldn’t a guy who lost the fight against the champion have to do more to get a rematch? I am still waiting to see Frankie Edgar get another shot at the lightweight belt after coming close to defeating Ben Henderson. While Cormier hasn’t gone out and beat what I’d call the best, he has fought higher ranked opponents than Gus. He does deserve the shot.
Jones gets a lot of criticism for being a bad businessman but he is dead on here. His previous fight with Gus at UFC 165 did around 310,000 buys. Keep in mind that includes replay buys so if fans were so interested in seeing that classic, they would have ordered the replay the next day. That number is pathetic for a guy who is supposed to be the number one or two star. There was no business with Gus. He knows that and he knows that there is a much better chance that a fight with Cormier would do better business. I think an argument could be made that as great as their first fight was, Bones-Cormier could theoretically outdraw a rematch.
Regardless, the fight is coming and it is signed for UFC 178. Cormier will have to wait his turn, which may be a good thing since he reportedly has a knee injury. I look for Jones to retain the title in a fight that doesn’t go the distance. Gus gave him everything he had and couldn’t put him away. I don’t see anything different the second time around.
The UFC has lost its biggest grudge fight of the year. Wanderlei Silva vs. Chael Sonnen is off but fear not Brazilians. A new Brazilian hero has stepped up to fight Sonnen and his name is Vitor Belfort.
News broke early Wednesday evening that Wanderlei Silva had not shown up to get licensed to fight Sonnen on July 5. According to a report, Silva no-showed the procedure and left the Nevada State Athletic Commission hanging. It didn’t take long for the UFC to step into action and sign a new fight.
The UFC released the following statement to the media. “Due to issues related to Wanderlei Silva’s licensing in the state of Nevada, the UFC was forced to seek a replacement opponent to face Chael Sonnen at UFC 175 on Saturday, July 5 in Las Vegas. Former UFC champion Vitor Belfort has accepted the fight with Sonnen, subject to Belfort receiving a license to compete from the Nevada Athletic Commission.”
Chael Sonnen told the media that Silva refused to take a drug test on Saturday. According to Sonnen, he ran from his own gym when the commission showed up to take a sample. One report cites NSAC executive director Robert Bennett commenting that Silva had “ample time” to apply for a license.
To some this was a huge shocker, yet others weren’t as surprised. MMA journalist Dave Meltzer has joked constantly on his podcasts about Silva vs. Sonnen not happening. Silva was late to sign the bout agreement, which quite honestly has been cursed from the start. It was rescheduled and now the fight is off. Even as news broke on Twitter, some in the media commented that they never believed the fight would happen in the first place.
One theory I have seen talked about online is that Wanderlei felt he couldn’t hang with Sonnen after Sonnen took him down so easily in their scuffle on The Ultimate Fighter Brazil. It’s hard to wrap my head around that one because if there is one thing you could always say about Wanderlei, it is that he is as gutsy a fighter you’ll get…until now.
Vitor Belfort’s name came out of nowhere here. Belfort is in the midst of a career resurgence with a 3-0 win streak, all KO/TKO wins. Belfort was signed to challenge Chris Weidman for the UFC middleweight title when it was ruled that no fighter could use TRT exemptions any more. Belfort withdrew from the fight and went M.I.A. Even UFC president Dana White recently commented that he was unsure of Belfort’s future when asked about the Phenom.
What makes this so incredibly odd is that Belfort was probably going to get his title shot at Weidman on the July 5 card. Weidman was subsequently booked to fight Lyoto Machida once Belfort pulled out. Now after handing over his title shot, Belfort will presumably fight on the card anyway. Instead of fighting for the title, he is now fighting Sonnen who is 1-3 in his last four fights.
I questioned putting Sonnen vs. Silva on an already stacked card with Ronda Rousey and Chris Weidman fighting at UFC 175. Now it makes a lot of sense. While nobody will probably admit it, I have to think that the UFC purposely put this on a stacked card knowing that there was a good chance Silva would pull out. It would have been an enormous risk to put this on as a headliner knowing the questions surrounding Silva’s interest in the fight.
Unfortunately for Sonnen he just went from an easy win to an annihilation.
30 years ago the debate would be which pro wrestler was the toughest of the locker room. Today, it is about which pro wrestler could jump over to the UFC. So I thought I would have a little fun and take a look at 5 WWE superstars that have the intangibles to fight in the UFC.
Please keep one thing in mind with this entire list. I am certainly not saying that all of these guys would jump into the UFC or MMA and have the success that Brock Lesnar. All I am saying is that these five guys have the background and skills to at least attempt a jump to MMA without embarrassing themselves.
So with that said, let’s dive deep into the resumes of your favorite WWE superstars and take a look at who has a shot…albeit a long shot of jumping into the octagon. Whether they would be Brock Lesnar or Bobby Lashley will always be up for debate until the day comes when they bite down on the mouth guard and throw down in the world of MMA.
Wade Barrett - For those of you unaware, Wade Barrett is probably one of the most street-tough superstars in the WWE. Barrett is a former bareknuckle boxer. In other words, Barrett boxed for years in his native England…but without gloves. I have no doubt that Barrett could jump into the octagon tomorrow and at least be competitive on his feet.
On the ground is another story. Barrett has no amateur wrestling in his background as far as I know. This would make him vulnerable to the ground attack of almost any MMA fighter. This isn’t to say that Barrett wouldn’t have a puncher’s chance of catching someone shooting in with an uppercut or right hook. It just means that Barrett would have a lot of work to do if he ever decides he’d like to try his hand in MMA.
Santino Marella - How ironic is it that one of the toughest guys in the WWE is portrayed as one of the wimpiest? Forget about the guy you see on RAW and SmackDown (well barely), Santino is one tough dude. Santino also has minimal experience in MMA which makes you wonder about how well he’d fare at this stage of his career.
Santino is well experienced in judo, practicing judo for over 20 years. According to one report, I saw that he had a 6-1 record but I haven’t seen much else. Santino said in an interview awhile back that the only reason he left Japan and MMA was that he overstayed his Visa. If that is the case, he is one guy that could do some serious damage if he was to jump back into the world of MMA.
Dolph Ziggler - You would never believe it watching him in the ring but Dolph is one of, if not the most accomplished amateur wrestler in the WWE. Dolph was a standout high school and collegiate wrestler. Even better, he was teammates with Gray Maynard who appears to have done pretty darn good with his transition into MMA.
How good was Dolph as an amateur wrestler? Ziggler scored an unbelievable 82 pins which is a record in high school. At Kent University, Ziggler holds the second most wins in school history at 121. He is as legit as they come. He would certainly have to work on his standup and submissions, but the guy appears to be a prodigy of sorts. Even better, imagine the fun confrontations between Vickie Guerrero and Dana White!
Alberto Del Rio - Alberto like Santino, is the only man on this list to actually have MMA experience. Unfortunately Del Rio’s success in MMA wasn’t quite the same, going 9-5 overall. However, I think it is fair to say that he has more actual MMA experience than anyone in the WWE right now. Who knows how well he would do if he returned to the sport.
Alberto’s amateur wrestling background is one of the most impressive in pro wrestling history. Alberto is a Mexican national champion freestyle, won the Greco-Roman bronze medal teenage world championships; 1997, and placed 5th at 214 pounds Pan American Games.
Well quite frankly I don’t think he’d do that well at all. He does hold a record of 7 wins by submission which is none too shabby. He even put together a six fight win streak before joining the WWE. However, at 34 and after a few years inside the WWE, he probably has the least shot of making any real waves than anyone on the list. Ironic because if there was anyone that could certainly give it a go tomorrow, it would be him.
Jack Swagger - If Jack Swagger jumped into the world of pro wrestling 30-40 years ago, he would probably have had several NWA world title reigns by now and be regarded as a pro wrestling legend today. That is because Swagger is boasts an outstanding amateur wrestling record and with his size, he would have been a top draw for years throughout the territory.
Swagger was a two sport athlete in college, and this wasn’t just any college. This was the University of Oklahoma. At Oklahoma, Swagger took part in both wrestling and football. He concentrated on wrestling full time after his freshmen year and became one of the most successful wrestlers in school history. Swagger was a true All-American and set a single season record for most pins at 30.
With his size and his athletic background, Swagger could conceivably be a powerhouse in MMA. Of course he would have to train hard and develop a standup game, but he could certainly hold his own on the ground. His background shows a guy that is great at anything he sets out to do athletically. He’d also be fighting as a heavyweight, which doesn’t always have the best athletes. At 6’6, 263, and 29 years old he has all of the tools to jump into the octagon with some training and make some real noise in the MMA world.
Will any of these guys make the leap to MMA? I don’t think so. But it would be interesting if they did.
Note: This was originally published on October 13, 2011
The UFC is not taking pirate streams laying down. UFC parent company Zuffa hopes to make a statement with a $32 million lawsuit against one defendant. While $32 million seems extreme, you may want to hear a little about the defendant before you rip Zuffa.
The story made international headlines last week when a New York man was served with a $32 million bill for streaming UFC shows. The lawsuit alleges that this streamer owes the company $32 for providing torrents to UFC events. That is the key here. He wasn’t just watching the shows. He was actually uploading and proving the shows on torrent sites.
The $32 million figure sounds absurd on the surface but when you read about the case, the figure is not completely ridiculous. Steven Messina allegedly uploaded 141 UFC events to torrents site Piratebay and accepted PayPal donations to keep his uploading going. So not only was he providing the shows, he was profiting as well.
Here is where it gets fun. Messina publicly bragged about his illegal uploads. Messina referred to himself online as “Provider of Best MMA & Boxing rips online!” He actually gave an interview with website Torrent Freak last year where he bragged about the quality of his video torrents. Here is how the article described him.
“One Pirate Bay focused releaser, known as Secludedly, is dedicated to releasing UFC/MMA, boxing events and other TV shows. He has dozens to his name and many of them are uploaded at 60FPS.”
He even boasted about the quality of his uploads, in addition to writing a check for $32 million.
“Take for example the 720p rips of The Ultimate Fighter that I do. Someone in the cage throws a punch at their opponent. Now, you see them punching, but it’s as if all you saw was a mere blur, and you can’t completely decipher where that punch landed because of the deduction of the frames in 24FPS or 30FPS. Why? Because the frames are pruned to a point where fast action like a punch cannot keep up in a lesser frame-rate.”
The lawsuit states, “(Messina and his friends) are intent on becoming the most well known pirates and infringers on the internet by making their mark on the major torrent websites available on the internet,” the suit states.”
I think that the UFC is impacted by pirate streams and torrent sites more than just about any other sporting company. I was never in favor of them going after people that watched a stream, but I think they have every right to go after individuals who upload and provide the torrents, especially ones who profit financially off of it.
Unfortunately as clear cut as this case appears to be there is little chance of Zuffa ever receiving anywhere close to judgment as Messina reportedly lives with his parents. This isn’t about money. It’s about a statement and the UFC wants everyone to take notice…and they have.