CM Punk in the UFC is the Height of Hypocrisy

December 08, 2014 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, WWE | Pro Wrestling

This thing isn’t a joke. You don’t just decide “I’m a professional wrestler I think I’m going to fight.” It takes a lot of time, dedication and hard work — just like wrestling does. I’m sure these guys have to train hard and have to get in great shape to professional wrestle. You can’t just jump up one day and say, “I’m going to be a pro fighter and I think I’ll fight next month.” It doesn’t work that way. It doesn’t even come close to working that way.” – Dana White 2007

CM Punk will be returning to action…but not in a WWE ring. The former WWE world champ is stepping into the UFC octagon in a move that has a lot of WWE fans excited and a lot of MMA fans asking questions.

It (fighting MMA) was always in the back of my mind since then. There was a fork in the road, I chose one direction. I’m fortunate to be able to revfisit things and take another fork in the road.

Punk has signed a multi-fight deal to join the UFC. The announcement comes less than two weeks after Punk returned to the spotlight after a series of podcast interviews in which he blasted the WWE and gave his side of the story on his exit. Ironically the things said in those interviews make very little sense in light of his latest announcement.

Punk talked extensively about the injuries he has suffered over the last several years in the WWE. He talked about concussions, bad knees, and MRSA infection, and broken ribs to name a few. Punk talked about burnout and went on a lengthy rant about Ryback in particular injuring Punk during their program. For a guy who has been so badly beaten up in a pro wrestling ring the last several years, the move to an actual combat sport doesn’t seem very logical does it?

My first reaction to hearing the news is that this may be the height of hypocrisy for CM Punk. Especially when you look back on all of the harsh statements Punk made against The Rock coming back to the WWE.

I have no personal problems against Dwayne. It’s very frustrating being here and watch a guy come in and get credit for a WrestleMania buyrate when he didn’t do anything on the show. He certainly didn’t do anything entertaining.

Let’s fast-forward to 2014 and compare the situations. You now have a guy (Punk) who is getting a UFC fight without any professional or amateur athletic background simply due to his star-power. This is a guy who is taking a spot away from an MMA fighter who has made the sacrifices and trained hard to get a coveted UFC spot. It would be one thing if Punk had to earn it on The Ultimate Fighter but he has never even had an MMA fight. His spot on the UFC card is undeserving no matter how you look at it and he is now that guy walking into the UFC locker room, without even an amateur fight or background, and taking someone’s spot. It doesn’t get any more hypocritical than that.

And then there is Dana White. The same Dana White who blasted competitors in the past for signing fighters with no MMA experience for their celebrity.

Which athletic commission is going to let this guy fight?” White asked. “Who the f**k are they going to find to fight Herschel Walker? A guy in a wheelchair?

Great question! Which athletic commission is going to let CM Punk? At least Herschel Walker had a professional sports background and the same can be said for James Toney who got a fight in the UFC. They also did not have a history of concussions. Keep in mind that a couple of years ago when Kurt Angle expressed interest in joining the UFC that Dana White was going to make Angle go through TUF to get a UFC spot and Angle is an Olympic gold medalist in wrestling! CM Punk is getting a contract and a fight simply for being a professional wrestling superstar.

I don’t have any doubt in my mind that Bellator was the key factor in getting this deal done. There was no Bellator aggressively signing fighters back when Angle wanted in. Bellator is aggressively going after the UFC and there is no doubt that they would have given Punk a fight on network TV if the UFC didn’t jump first. I also don’t care what anyone from the UFC says, this move is about a company that is struggling mightily on pay-per-view and looking for a Hail Mary. Even with Anderson Silva coming back, the UFC will be lucky if they get two fights out of him in 2015. The UFC has been unable to create new stars and the numbers don’t lie. They need something and signing a popular WWE star is about as good as it is going to get.

Signing with the UFC is one thing. Getting into a UFC fight is another. Punk had a problem staying healthy in a worked pro wrestling sport for the last several years. Granted he wrestles a more physical style than most but it is pro wrestling. Will his body hold up through a full training camp? Has he even put in a full training camp to see if it would? That is a big question.

Regardless, it will be a must-see event the day Punk steps foot inside of the octagon. My suspicion is that a guy without one MMA fight, one camp, and no amateur wrestling or boxing background is not going to fare well.

But we’ll all be watching and as far as Dana is concerned, that’s more important that credibility in 2014/15.

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UFC Prez Says Brock Lesnar Wants To Fight

November 18, 2014 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, WWE | Pro Wrestling

The quarterly Brock Lesnar to UFC rumors have reared their ugly head again. Thanks to UFC boss Dana White, the hot topic is back in conversation and according to the UFC president, it is a real possibility.

The UFC held a big press conference on Monday to announce…well nothing of note. UFC president Dana White took questions from the media and the name Brock Lesnar popped up. White told the media that while Lesnar is under contract to the WWE right now, he is healthy and has expressed interest in fighting again.

This isn’t a new story. The Brock back to UFC story has popped up several times in the last couple of years. The irony is that as much as Dana White says he hates rumors, he is generally the one to start the talk. That said, I certainly can’t blame him when you look at the void Brock has left in the UFC.

Brock Lesnar was the biggest draw in UFC history. There are certainly a variety of reasons but it is not coincidence that the UFC has not been the same since Brock left. No, he didn’t single handedly kill the momentum of the company. However, his departure took money away and attention away from the UFC that they haven’t gotten back.

As Dana said, Brock is still under a WWE contract. Brock’s contract expires with his WrestleMania 31 match. There are no rumors at all indicating that Brock and the WWE are in talks to re-negotiate. Several pro wrestling pundits have raised concerns about Brock being a lame duck champion heading into Mania. This UFC talk certainly won’t help quell those concerns.

A year ago it was a given that Brock and the WWE would agree on a new deal. Yet the economics are much different today for the WWE. With pay-per-view revenue off of the table and the emphasis on WWE Network subscriptions, an objective look at the landscape says that it will be very hard for the WWE to justify giving Brock a new deal.

I am a big Brock fan but the bottom line is the bottom line and he hasn’t been the draw for the company that most thought he would be. He hasn’t brought new viewers with him. His last PPV appearance against John Cena drew a disappointing buyrate. In the ring and on television he has been solid, but there is no indication he is moving any needles under the new business structure. It would certainly be in Brock’s interest to drum up these rumors because quite frankly I don’t know what kind of leverage he is going to have this spring when it comes to negotiating a new deal.

I suppose there is always the potential for the WWE and UFC to work out some kind of arrangement. There is all kinds of buzz about the WWE wanting Ronda Rousey for a match or appearance. There is always the possibility that Dana and McMahon could work out some kind of swap allowing Brock to fight in the UFC and Ronda to appear or wrestle a WWE match. I don’t foresee that ever happening but the deal would certainly be advantageous to both sides. Especially if the WWE could keep Brock yet lease him out the UFC to offset some costs.

Who knows what will happen in 2015. The UFC is desperate for stars and would likely make Brock a deal, giving Brock one last huge MMA payoff as he enters his forties. At 37 and with a history of injuries, I can’t imagine Brock being competitive in the current UFC landscape. The heavyweight division was much different when Brock came into the UFC in 2008. The UFC could always give him a favorable fight against a Big Foot Silva or even Mark Hunt. If Lesnar wins, I would expect the UFC to thrust him right into a title fight. If he loses, everyone wins with a big payday and a ride off into the sunset for the Beast Incarnate.

2015 could be a very interesting year indeed.

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Dana White Blasts Gina Carano For Failed UFC Deal

September 25, 2014 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

After telling fans the biggest WMMA Super Fight in history was all but ready to go, Dana White has once again let another one slip away. Gina Carano isn’t coming to the UFC after all and the UFC president isn’t happy about it.

Here we have another case of Dana White teasing fans with a Super Fight that was never going to happen. Whether it was Anderson Silva vs. Georges St. Pierre, Silva vs. Jon Jones, and now Gina Carano vs. Ronda Rousey, the big super fights continue to elude the UFC and MMA fans.

Rumors were in the air that a Carano vs. Rousey fight was all but signed and ready to take place on the same card with Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier. Over the last several months White has guaranteed that Carano would be coming to the UFC. White was telling reporters three weeks ago that the deal was done with the exception of one snag! Let’s take a look at some of White’s teases over the last few months.

She’s going to come back when she wants to sign,” Dana was asked about Ronda vs. Gina he replied “I’d do Ronda and Gina.” – April 9, 2014

Yeah it’s complicated, but I think we’re close,” White said. “I think we’re close.” – August 23, 2014

There’s just one more little thing (in the negotiations),” White said. “It’s close, but it’ll be done (before the end of the year).” – September 1, 2014

It’s even more complicated today and it appears that the fight is close…to never taking place. White has now taken to the offensive and is blasting Carano’s management team and Carano for failing to make a deal because you know, it is always everyone else’s fault when the UFC can’t make a deal. White vented to and revealed that negotiations are no longer taking place.

The hardest human being we’ve ever dealt with and I didn’t see it coming,” White said about trying to sign Carano. “I don’t know, we’ll see how these things play out. Just incredibly difficult. We’ve dealt with (Brock) Lesnar, Tito (Ortiz), Chuck (Liddell) was f–king king of the world, Ronda Rousey, we’ve pretty much done deals with everyone on Earth and she is the hardest f–king athlete we have ever dealt with.

It is typical Dana White to play the victim card. At some point the UFC president and the organization need to take responsibility for failing to pull off these super fights. I think it is pretty clear that the fighters realize the leverage they have in negotiating these fights and the UFC isn’t willing to ante up. White is the first person to blast boxing for not making Pac vs. Mayweather. White on the other hand has failed to close the deal on several big fights.

White isn’t ready yet to throw Gina completely under the bus. White is putting all of the blame squarely at the feet of her management.

The problem is she allows herself to be handled by these Hollywood f–king idiots. It’s absolutely crazy. We’ve had all the biggest superstars in the world.

If you didn’t know any better you’d think that Dana was talking about negotiating with Fedor.

You have also had all of the biggest superstars in the world who probably didn’t have the means to have the representation that Carano has. How is it that Carano’s “f-cking idiot” managers can’t make a deal with the UFC but can make deals with billion dollar movie studios? Carano just signed for two movies and has become a real action player in Hollywood yet her managers are the idiots while he is left with no super fight.

White does him no favors when he tells fans and media that negotiations or close or guarantees a fight that isn’t signed. White is giving all of the leverage away at that point. I think fans have caught on but he really needs to keep his mouth shut on super fights until they are signed.

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Gina Carano Rumored to Sign with Bellator MMA

August 12, 2014 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

There is a big rumor swirling around the world of MMA today. Bellator MMA is expected to make a big announcement later today and the word on the street is that Scott Coker will announce the return to Gina Carano to MMA.

Wait a second, didn’t Dana White all but guarantee that Gina Carano vs. Ronda Rousey would happen in December in the UFC? Well he did and this will go down as another one of his long list of super fight guarantees that he couldn’t get done. Carano has been negotiating with the UFC for the last several weeks so Bellator stealing her away from White and company is a big, big story.

At first read you’d wonder why Carano would opt for Bellator over the biggest MMA company in the world. Yet once you take a step back you can completely understand her choice and I am sure it came down to more than just money. Bellator is owned by Viacom and I am almost positive that television and movie work came along with this deal. For someone like Carano who is a rising action star in Hollywood, the decision makes a ton of sense.

I also think Carano was smart enough to know she was walking into an embarrassing loss in the UFC. I know, you know, and most of us know she didn’t stand a chance of beating Ronda Rousey. Carano hasn’t trained or fought in years and Rousey is superior to Carano in both stand up and ground. I don’t think it would have been the mauling Carano received from Cyborg but it was a no-win situation.

Quite honestly I think it is a great thing for the UFC. Now the UFC will be forced to go back to the negotiating table with Cyborg. Rousey vs. Cyborg is the fight to make here. I don’t think it’s intentional that Dana White has been blowing that fight off. She knows that Rousey would be walking into a buzzsaw. Now that Bellator is back in the WMMA game, there is no way White can let Cyborg hang around out there and risk losing that fight to his competitor.

The announcement is expected to come Tuesday afternoon. Marlos Coenen is also expected to be announced as a new signee. I would guess that Coenen vs. Carano would be put on the books immediately. This is a step in the right direction for Bellator and the first stamp Scott Coker has put on the company since taking over leadership.

I look forward to the Dana White spin on this one.

Update: Scott Coker denied the story to Ariel Helwani for what it’s worth.

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UFC Fighters Need To Stop Complaining About Pay

February 28, 2014 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

A hot topic that never seems to go away in MMA social media is UFC fighter pay. Every once in awhile a current or ex-UFC fighter will succumb to tension and stress and go public with his salary complaints. Nate Quarry is the latest and I hope the last to cry poverty.

I have about had it with UFC fighters complaining about their pay. Recognizable names such as Chris Leben, Tim Kennedy, Jon Fitch, and of course Nick Diaz with Quarry being the latest have publicly cried about their financials to the sympathies of many fans and bloggers. Here is one blogger that wishes to bury this topic and move on.

Nate Quarry recently ranted about this after reports came out about the UFC instituting fighter uniforms which would reportedly impact fighter sponsorship deals. Quarry, who had his back surgery paid for by the UFC and was turned into a celebrity on The Ultimate Fighter (a show the UFC almost went broke producing) believes the UFC should have done more.

People have no clue from the outside what it’s like to fight for the UFC,” he wrote. “After spending 10-15 years chasing your dream, only to see that the company it’s been your dream to fight for cares nothing about the fighters and only cares about the bottom line.

Quarry also went on to whine about the salary he received for fighting the world champion. “I fought for the world title for $10,000. Not a penny more. No bonus. No cut of the PPV. The gate alone was 3.5 million dollars. The third highest gate in UFC history at the time. And they must have loved the fight cuz they show the final punch at the start of EVERY UFC PPV. :-)

Quarry’s buddy Chris Leben was not nearly as eloquent when he recent revealed on Twitter that he is broke. Leben later retracted the comment yet regardless of the retraction, he put it out there. Keep in mind that Leben has had documented problems with substance abuse.

Lorenzo Fertitta, Zuffa CEO recently responded to these salary complaints to Yahoo Sports. “This fight Nate is talking about (UFC 56, Franklin vs. Quarry) was so long ago and clearly the business wasn’t where it is today. It was in its infancy and we were coming out of a period where we suffered millions upon millions in losses. It wasn’t an insignificant amount of money. And I’ll tell you this, Nate is a smart guy. Absolutely he is. He knew when he signed his contract exactly what he’d be paid.

Just for kicks I decided to take a look at the fighter salaries from the UFC’s most recent pay-per-view event, UFC 169. The minimum salary for the night was $8000 while Alistair Overeem topped the list with $407,143 for a fight that wasn’t even a co-main-event. These numbers don’t take into account unreported bonuses and sponsorship deals but you get the gist of it.

I am sorry but I am tired of these fighters complaining. UFC fighter pay is not a secret. It is reported after every show. These guys chose to become fighters and knew very well what the pay scale is. Hey listen, I love radio, did it for ten years, but opted not to make a career of it for one simple reason. The chances of me making a secure, high salary in that business are about the same as someone who wants to try their hand in the UFC or MMA. I could have gone down that road and while I’d certainly be happier at my full-time job, I would have sacrificed a better life for myself and my family. That’s why I do podcasting…as a hobby!

Nate Quarry didn’t have to become a UFC fighter and he certainly didn’t have to accept a world championship fight. Quarry could have done something else with better earnings potential and practiced MMA as a hobby. Quarry was also given a shot at a golden ticket by even getting that fight because a win would have propelled him into a different salary range. Quarry could have also cut pro wrestling-style promos on Franklin and actually promote his fight, which in turn would have made him a star. Quarry lost in the first round and said nothing but complimentary things about the champion. He blew it.

Unless you truly believe you have what it takes to beat the best and if you don’t, go out there and promote your fights like it is show business, you have no right complaining about your pay. There is a reason we see so few superstars and draws in the UFC. Chael Sonnen was in the same situation as Quarry and turned that impossible task into an opportunity that made him a star. Quarry didn’t do that, nor have most of the fighters who complain about pay.

So the next time one of these fighters who made a choice to turn a hobby into a career goes on social media to complain about pay to fans who are working just as hard and making much less than they deserve, don’t do it. I don’t want to hear it and most of the fans don’t want to hear it. You don’t want to wear UFC uniforms, quit and do something else with your life. You made your career choice now live with it.

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Big UFC Fights Missing In 2014

February 12, 2014 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

With Anderson Silva and GSP on the sidelines, the UFC will need to count on new stars to fill those big fight slots this year. Unfortunately an early look at 2014 exposes a dull year and one of the most turbulent periods of the Zuffa era.

While the UFC has become a watered down product over the last couple of years, there have always been a couple of big fights to get excited about. A 2014 doesn’t show much promise when it comes to these big fights. I looked up and down the list of scheduled fights and potential fights and there is absolutely nothing for a casual fan to get excited about.

Dana White has had a lucky run the last few years. His two biggest stars, Anderson Silva and Georges St-Pierre continued to carry the company while cards became watered down and stars became harder to make. Now White is left with Jon Jones and Ronda Rousey, both unproven and somewhat unstable in their positions. It may be time for the UFC president to press the panic button.

If there is a big fight to get excited about in 2014 I don’t see it. When I mean big fight I am talking a fight expected to draw 700,000+ buys. Sure there are some intriguing fights that will appeal to the hardcore fans and maybe even some casuals, but where is the can’t-miss event of 2014?

Let’s take a look at some of the pay-per-view headline fights already scheduled for 2014. Excuse me while I grab a pillow.

Ronda Rousey vs. Sara McMann UFC 170 – This is the test for Rousey. There are many who believe that Rousey is the biggest star in the UFC. She certainly had a hand in that impressive UFC 168 buyrate but what has she done on her own? If Rousey can break 500,000 here I will concede that she is the biggest star in the UFC. If she can’t, it is a real dose of reality for the UFC who have hyped her more than any fighter since Brock Lesnar. Rashad Evans vs. Daniel Cormier in the semi is about as exciting as a sleeping pill. I would say thus far there is less buzz going into this Rousey fight than her previous two which isn’t a good sign.

Johny Hendricks vs. Robbie Lawler UFC 171 – I like the fight, like it a lot, but is it a draw? Hendricks drew a disappointing buyrate with GSP and let’s be clear, it was GSP drawing the number. I think a lot of casual fans still see Lawler as a Strikeforce castoff, which he certainly isn’t. I think it is going to be a fun fight but I can’t imagine many people scrambling to get together watch Robbie Lawler vs. Johny Hendricks.

Jon Jones vs. Glover Teixera UFC 172 – Again this is another fight I can’t wait to see. I am not the casual fan and casuals probably aren’t as hyped about Teixera as I am. Jones has not been the draw he should be given his star power (or lack thereof). His fight against Alexander Gusftafsson didn’t even break 400,000 buys! That is pathetic. The problem with Jones is Jones. The only time the guy draws is when his opponents like Rashad and Rampage do the talking. I don’t expect a lot of smack talk from Teixera here and thanks to Jones minimizing his opponent as he always does, I’d be hard pressed to expect anything more than 300,000 buys here.

Vitor Belfort vs. Chris Weidman UFC 173 – Of all the fights on paper this is the one I am most excited about. That said, how many times are fans going to get bit by Vitor Belfort’s championship chokes? Belfort is an exciting fighter whenever he is not challenging for a title. I think this is the most intriguing fight on the docket yet I don’t know how many fans are going to buy into Vitor. Add in the TRT controversy and Belfort is more of a turnoff in this situation. The saving grace here is Wanderlei vs. Chael which could push this event past 500,000 buys.

Quite honestly the more intriguing headliners to me are on the free shows. Lyoto Machida vs. Gegard Mousassi, Dan Henderson vs. Shogun Rua, Michael Bisping vs. Tim Kennedy, Roy Nelson vs. Bog Nog, and Travis Browne vs. Fabricio Werdum are better fights to me than most of the headliners.

Looking at the rest of the year there is nothing I can see that will fill the void left of by GSP in regards to pay-per-view buyrates. I don’t trust Jon Jones at all in selling the Gustafsson rematch. Teixera winning and a rematch with Jones could be a big one. Cain Velasquez will fight later this year but neither Fabricio nor Browne are opponents that anyone will get excited about. Machida vs. the Belfort vs. Weidman winner could be interesting but Machida has never been a big pay-per-view draw. Rousey vs. Cat Zingano is a fun fight but I don’t see either one doing the kind of promotion necessary to push it over the top. A miracle BJ Penn win over Frankie Edgar could make him an unlikely title challenger in what would be a huge fight. Any hope that GSP will come back and fight the Hendricks vs. Lawler winner seems to be dissipating with Dana White’s classless verbal attacks. If there is a big one I am missing let me know because all I am seeing is a bunch of okay fights lacking star power.

What is the UFC to do? There are no super fights available to solve this problem. The only super fight that is out there is Jones vs. Cain and according to Jones, he wouldn’t even entertain that until 2015. The UFC are going to have to work hard at creating new stars and using 2014 as something of a rebuilding year. Professional franchises do it all of the time. The UFC can still have a decent year while getting new faces and new stars ready for the future.

If not, 2015 is going to be an even uglier year for the UFC.

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The Fate Of UFC In 2014 Rests On Anderson Silva

November 18, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

The UFC is in trouble. If you don’t think the UFC is in trouble than check out UFC president Dana White’s press conference after 167. Ironically it now appears the success of the UFC in 2014 will not be decided until the final fight of the year at UFC 168.

The roof started to collapse following Georges St. Pierre’s controversial win at 167 over Johny Hendricks. GSP squeaked out a controversial decision and followed up his win with an even bigger shocker. The champ announced he was taking an indefinite leave of absence due to personal issues. While he didn’t retire, he did announce that he wouldn’t fight for a while.

Dana White was not happy! At the post-fight press conference White went off on the champion. White more or less said that GSP owed it to the company to stick around and isn’t ready to let the champ just walk away.

He didn’t say he was going to retire. He said I’m going to take some time off. You don’t just say, hey I’m going to take some time off, maybe I’ll be back, maybe I won’t. You owe it to the fans, you owe it to that belt, you owe it to this company, and you owe it to Johny Hendricks to give him that opportunity to fight again, unless you’re going to retire.

There’s no I’m going to take a hiatus, I’m going to take a leave of absence, whatever it was he was saying, that’s not how it works.

Why is this such a big deal? Certainly a company as large as the UFC can survive without one player, albeit his most successful world champion right? Maybe, but December 28 could spell the beginning of a deep descent for a company that Dana White has compared to the NFL.

The future of the UFC rests in the hands of Anderson Silva. Anderson Silva will get his rematch with Chris Weidman. If Silva loses there is a huge chance that the G.O.A.T. will announce his retirement. GSP’s hiatus may have precipitated this and the UFC is completely screwed going into 2014 without its two big stars.

Why would Anderson Silva not retire if he loses to Weidman? He has plenty of money and has cemented his MMA legacy over the last several years. The only reason for Silva to stick around would be a potential Super Fight with GSP. With GSP out of the picture there is nothing left for Silva to do without a title to defend. The Jon Jones fight isn’t happening and without a money fight on the table, I predict (and I believe that the UFC thinks this as well) that Silva will retire.

Now what would happen o the UFC without either guy? There is nobody even remotely close to filling Silva and/or GSP’s shoes as a draw. Jon Jones is a star but is nowhere close to the pay per view draw that Silva or GSP are. Maybe if he is seen as the top star without GSP and Silva it helps him as a draw? A UFC calendar in 2014 without Silva and GSP is a pretty dismal calendar when you look at predicting buyrates.

Dana White may think that GSP owes the UFC but he owes them nothing. In my mind he paid back the UFC by accepting a fight with Nick Diaz that he had no business accepting. Georges has given the UFC everything he has had for the last five years as champion so the idea that he owes the company anything is selfish and just foolish.

I don’t know what will happen with Georges. Whether he fights again or not in 2014 will become a much larger story if Anderson Silva joins him on the sidelines following UFC 168. Talk about huge stakes and a lot of negotiating power for Anderson Silva. How ironic that these roads always lead back to the Spider?

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Fedor Emelianenko Blames Dana White For Not Signing With UFC

October 15, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, Videos

Fedor Emelianenko will always be the one who got away from the UFC. How could the Last Emperor continually turn down millions of dollars from the UFC? According to Fedor it was one man, ironically the same man who wanted him that kept him away.

Fedor Emelianenko was arguably the greatest heavyweight fighter of his generation and maybe the greatest MMA fighter ever to never fight in the UFC. It wasn’t for a lack of trying. The UFC negotiated with Fedor and M-1 Global several times and yet could never snag their big fish. Fedor’s critics claim that he never signed due to the competition. Fedor says that it was actually his number one critic that kept him away.

“In my opinion, everything was in Dana White’s hands,’ says Emelianenko. “Because at that moment, I just felt like ‘this guy, he just hates us.’ Like, personally to [me]. There were insults coming from Dana White all the time. There were many very loud things said, but for real nothing happened. It was [all talk].”

Dana White, the same man who was negotiating with Fedor was the reason Fedor stayed away. I always wondered why Dana would mock Fedor and insult his management team repeatedly in public while trying to make a deal at the same time. It never made sense to me and it obviously never made sense to Fedor. Dana has done a lot of great things for the UFC but his influence in keeping Fedor out has to be one of his biggest fails.

This has always been one of my problems with Dana and I am not the only one. I remember having a conversation once with one of the most successful promoters in pro wrestling history about Dana. He told me that he could never understand why White would bash his own talent while trying to promote them at the same time. I remember having that exact same conversation with Tito Ortiz who was constantly being trashed by White at the time…while in the UFC.

I would say that Dana’s inability to sign Fedor is right up there with the biggest fails in UFC history. Dana has always claimed that it was M-1’s instance at co-promoting that kept deals from being done. I do believe there is a lot of truth to that. Yet at the end of the day the bottom line here is that you had the biggest MMA company in the world unable to sign the biggest free agent in the sport on multiple occasions.

The UFC president made a shocking revelation a year ago about his last attempt to sign Fedor. According to White he had Fedor vs. Brock Lesnar signed and ready to go until Fedor’s father passed away. White also praised Fedor publicly for the first time that I can ever remember.

“Fedor is one of the greatest heavyweights ever. Greatest MMA fighters of all time? You’re out of your minds” A nice compliment but a little too late according to the former Pride champion.

Fedor was also asked who he would have liked to fight in the UFC. Fedor doesn’t give an answer and says he is retired so he doesn’t think about fighting. He does say that he likes Cain Velasquez. He predicted Velasquez over Junior Dos Santos this weekend. He likes Velasquez’s ability to transition and thinks that gives Cain an advantage.

Fedor vs. Cain anyone? Yes please.

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How UFC Has Killed My Love For MMA

August 06, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

The idea of the Camel Clutch Blog has never been about pro wrestling and MMA. I wanted to have a platform to write about whatever I (or others) enjoyed. Unfortunately if you are a UFC fan than you will probably see less MMA blogs from me and that is not by accident.

I have been an MMA fan since I first got my hands on UWF tapes as a teenager. Yes I know it was a work but it laid the groundwork for me and helped cultivate a love of Mixed Martial Arts. Then there was Pancrase, UWFI, and eventually the UFC made its way to pay per view. It wasn’t pretty but I was hooked immediately on UFC 1.

I loved the UFC, especially the characters that developed early on such as Tank Abbott, Ken Shamrock, Dan Severn, Royce Gracie, Tito Ortiz, Randy Couture, Maurice Smith, Mark Coleman, Marco Ruas, etc. As the UFC grew I couldn’t get enough of it. At one point I found the UFC taking the top spot among my favorite past times over NFL football, boxing, and of course WWE wrestling.

I was bummed when Pride FC went down as I loved having an alternative to the UFC. I picked up Strikeforce and found myself enjoying more Strikeforce shows than UFC shows. Between Strikeforce and the UFC I couldn’t get enough MMA, or so I thought. The last couple of years have proven different.

I am at the point now where I am ready to turn off MMA altogether. I have just become genuinely disinterested and uninspired by the UFC in 2013. A big part of that is the UFC in 2012. There are only so many times where you can be played for a fool before you have to look yourself in the mirror and either embrace the fool or have some pride. I’m tired of playing the fool.

Over the last 12-14 months the UFC has done a wonderful job of killing my love for MMA. The amount of cards make it almost impossible to follow the company anymore. I loved boxing as a kid but I only got up for the big fights every few months. As much as I loved boxing I never sat around watching Friday Night Fights. The UFC has turned into Friday Night Fights.

With the over abundance of cards comes an over abundance of fighters. They are all generally the same. The wrestling fan in me looks for the guys with character or personality. I can count on one hand those fighters in the UFC. How can I be personally invested in a fight where I could not care less who wins or loses? Welcome to the UFC in 2013 and a look back at 2012.

The cards are also stacked with the lighter weight classes. I grew up enjoying the heavyweights as a boxing fan. I never enjoyed the speed and science of the lighter fighters. With all due respect I want to see heavy strikes and KO’s. The UFC generally loads their cards up with lighter fighters with maybe one-three fights (if you are lucky) at light heavyweight and above. To me and I know I’ll get slammed from the hardcore fight fans for saying this, you’ve seen one lighter weight bout you’ve seen them all.

The UFC president has said on several occasions that if I don’t like the fights, don’t “watch the f*cking fights.” I find myself taking him up on this more and more.

The personal investment in sports always pays off with a title game or playoff. Not in the UFC. The UFC continued to insult the intelligence of its fans last year through the present by booking title fights with guys (and girl) undeserving of title shots, passing over the rightful contenders in favor of draws. I get it, it’s a business, but what is the point of rooting for anyone in a fight if a win or loss really doesn’t matter? At some point something has to give. That would be like the NFL promoting the Giants vs. Cowboys to the Super Bowl because they are the best drawing teams. I’m all for it once in awhile if there is a good grudge to justify it, but it’s gotten absolutely ridiculous.

UFC president Dana White almost pushed Rashad Evans straight to Anderson Silva  few months back.  White said that a win by Rashad Evans over Lil Nog at UFC 156 could have put him at the top of the line to fight Anderson Silva for the UFC middleweight title. After going on national television and proclaiming Lyoto Machida the number one contender last year it appears that Alexander Gustaffson is next in line. I suppose Gus is much better than the plan White would have preferred which was to shoot Daniel Cormier to the front of the light heavyweight line without a fight in the division. Keep in mind that the idea is on the table for Cormier to get a title shot…if he beats heavyweight Roy Nelson who is coming off of a loss. Anthony Pettis would have gotten Korean Zombie’s crack at Jose Aldo if he didn’t get hurt and of course there is the Miesha Tate situation.

I’m done! I mean really, I’m done. There’s a point where you have to decide whether you are a fool or you have some pride, and I have a lot more pride than being taken for a moron. I can understand deviating from sport on rare occasions in favor of entertainment but what is the point of a fight anymore if the result means nothing in the rankings?

The UFC have a rankings system they have developed with fight metric. That is all well in good but I don’t need a writer from ESPN to tell me who the number one contender is. I can watch the fights and see for myself. Some of the rankings are actually quite funny. The kicker to all of this is that Dana said that even with the rankings in place they will make the fights they want to make. In other words, they are irrelevant.

Finally and probably most responsible is Dana White. I can’t think of a more unlikable person in sports period. The man makes it harder and harder to root for the UFC every day. The man insults his audience weekly with his childish rants, ridiculous statements, insulting tweets, and the continued lies. It amazes me, flat out amazes me the free pass he gets from the MMA media. He’ll tell you one day that a fight is never happening while telling you the next day it’s signed. He’ll tell you one day that they have a fight booked and tell you the next day it’s nowhere close to happening. Silva vs. Jones or GSP anyone? He spent a week ranting about banning a fighter’s own father from cornering him in fights. I have just gotten to the point where I can’t justify supporting a product and putting any more money behind this man’s company. Is he any worse than Vince McMahon or Roger Goodell? Probably not, but they aren’t giving me the middle finger daily in the media or in social media.

So if you start to see less MMA and UFC blogs coming from me, now you know. As a business owner it probably isn’t the best decision since the blogs do a lot of traffic but I can’t write about what I have no passion about. I’ll still be putting up show previews and recaps for the fans that enjoy those blogs. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending upon whether you are enjoy my musings) they probably won’t be coming from me.

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UFC on FOX 8: Johnson vs. Moraga Results and Wrap Up

July 29, 2013 By: Category: UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

People can continue to rag on the UFC Flyweight division. Complaints about lack of depth in the division might have some truth to them, but complaints about the quality of fights that the division have put on need to be laid to rest. With the co-main event of this card filled with trash talking and bad blood, the UFC Flyweight Championship headliner took a back seat to the Welterweight grudge match. In the end, it was the Flyweights who turned in a Fight of the Night performance while the Welterweights stunk up the arena and were showered with boos for the majority of their fifteen minute dance-routine.

In the main event UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson put on a dominant display, outstriking, outhustling and straight up outworking the overmatched challenger John Moraga for four straight rounds. Clearly up on the scorecards, Johnson decided not to coast for a victory and continued to press on, his efforts were rewarded as he earned the first stoppage of his Flyweight career with a late submission via arm bar. In the co-main event the action was light and neither man looked overly interested in getting knocked out by an opponent who had talked so much trash. In the end Rory MacDonald used an excellent jab to badly outstrike Jake Ellenberger for the full fifteen minutes. Despite the dominant performance, MacDonald did nothing to up his stock in the division, as the action-light affair was showered with boos and even earned some rage from UFC President Dana White at the post-fight press conference.

As usual, it’s time to take a look at what’s next for the UFC main card winners and losers, and take a look at where they go from here.

Women’s Bantamweight Bout: Liz Carmouche defeated Jessica Andrade via TKO (Elbows and Punches) at 3:57 of Round Two

21-year old Brazilian newcomer Jessica Andrade looked fairly impressive in the first round. She was well composed and picked her spots wisely, but was often overmatched physically by Liz Carmouche. In the second round, Carmouche completely took over. Andrade rushed Carmouche but was slammed to the ground for her efforts. From there Carmouche mounted the Brazilian and began a vicious ground and pound onslaught. Andrade survived and rolled for a good three and a half minutes, but Carmouche was with her every step of the way, holding dominant positions and continuing to drop bombs. Eventually referee Herb Dean had seen enough and he stopped the fight with just over a minute left in round two.

What’s next for Carmouche? There’s a bit of a crowd forming at the top of the Women’s Bantamweight division, so Carmouche is going to need to win a few more bouts before she gets another crack at champion Ronda Rousey. Canadian grappler Alexis Davis recently made a successful UFC debut, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see these two ladies hook it up next.

What’s next for Andrade? She stepped up when the UFC needed her to, and at only 21-years-old she is still a solid prospect that will likely remain with the UFC. She’ll probably get a slight step down in competition for her next bout. Rosi Sexton is coming off of a loss, but I could also see the UFC pairing her up with an Invicta FC Fighter who might be making her UFC debut.

Welterweight Bout: Robbie Lawler defeated Bobby Voelker via KO (Head Kick) at 0:24 of Round Two

Joe Rogan was having a slight love affair with Lawler during the commentary for this bout, showering him with praise and compliments. Lawler for his part, deserved most of it. He looked relaxed, composed and in-shape for his two round destruction of Bobby Voelker. Voelker was a late replacement, but was coming off a slugfest with Patrick Cote where he showed an incredible chin. Didn’t matter to Lawler who beat him up for most of the first round with uppercuts, flying knees and solid combinations. In the early part of the second round a massive head kick landed for Lawler that dropped Voelker and a few follow up shots sealed the deal.

What’s next for Lawler? He was originally expected to face the final Strikeforce Welterweight Champion Tarec Saffiedine at this bout, before an injury changed the plans for that bout. That bout still makes sense, but Saffiedine doesn’t have a lot of name recognition and two straight knockouts for Lawler may move him past that bout. Still it’s probably the fight that makes the most sense.

What’s next for Voelker? He’s lost two straight bouts in the UFC, but he loves to stand and trade and was willing to take on a dangerous fighter on short notice, basically he’s the UFC’s favorite kind of fighter. I expect him to get a more favorable match up in his next bout. The loser of the upcoming bout between Jason High and James Head might make sense. They might also use him to rebuild Strikeforce imports Jordan Mein or Tyron Woodley after tough losses though.

Welterweight Bout: Rory MacDonald defeated Jake Ellenberger via Unanimous Decision after Three Rounds

Don’t watch this fight. Unless you’re a massive fan of the jab’s use in modern MMA and want to see just how terrible striking defense can be at the top level of the Welterweight division. Rory MacDonald used a strong, fast, accurate jab and not much else to defeat Jake Ellenberger handily for three rounds. For his part Ellenberger looked flat and frozen for much of the bout, unable to get anything going. He rarely shot for takedowns, he threw punches that weren’t even close and he chose not to utilize any head movement as he stalked forward. It was a dominant performance for MacDonald but his lack of urgency or aggression will likely due him no favors in the UFC’s and fan’s eyes.

What’s next for MacDonald? He’s clearly a top talent and he keeps calling out Carlos Condit wanting to avenge his only career loss. The bout makes sense as they are two of the top fighters at Welterweight. However, Condit is already set to square off against Martin Kampmann at UFC Fight Night 27 on Fox Sports 1. If Condit wins that bout he should fight MacDonald. If Kampmann scores the upset, then he should take the bout against MacDonald instead.

What’s next for Ellenberger? The loss is bad news for Ellenberger. He talked a ton of trash heading into this bout and then did nothing to back it up. Not only did he get beaten and beaten badly, he looked pretty bad doing it, in a fight that the fans booed non-stop. His stock has certainly tumbled. A bout with Nick Diaz would make sense if Diaz decides to fight in the UFC again. If not Josh Koscheck might make sense as would a bout against Thiago Alves if he can get back into the cage after multiple injuries over the past year.

UFC Flyweight Championship Bout: Demetrious Johnson defeated John Moraga via Submission (Armbar) at 3:43 of Round Five

The UFC’s Flyweight Champion turned in his most dominant championship performance to date. Johnson’s submission actually beat out Anderson Silva’s previous record for latest stoppage in UFC history. Johnson was 12 for 12 in his takedown attempts and passed guard for dominant positions a staggering 14 times during the contest. Moraga found brief success with a massive right hand in the fourth round, but that was about his only highlight from the bout as he spent the rest of his time trying to handle the offensive onslaught of Mighty Mouse.

What’s next for Johnson? He’s defeated all of the top contenders in the division and he’s talking about superfights with Bantamweights, which Dana seemed open to at the press conference. Unfortunately the UFC Bantamweight and Flyweight Champion doesn’t have the same allure as GSP-Silva or Silva-Jones, but it’s an option. Joseph Benavidez dropped a very close Split Decision to Johnson in the inaugural title bout, and he will have three straight wins if he defeats Jussier da Silva at UFC Fight Night 28. I’d expect Benavidez to get the next crack if Johnson doesn’t face Bantamweight Champion Renan Barao next.

What’s next for Moraga? He took this fight after two straight Facebook fights, so it’s likely it was a case of too much, too soon for him. Still he’s a promising fighter with a decent skillset. Heading into this bout, his lone loss was against John Dodson at a regional show in 2010. With both of them being the last men to lose to the Flyweight Champion a rematch makes some sense for both men. Plus it would be a highly entertaining scrap.

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