Archive for March, 2008

EliteXC returns to Hawaii June 14

March 29th, 2008
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EliteXC

Former Big Island resident KJ Noons will headline the June 14th EliteXC event at the Blaisdell Arena when he defends his world lightweight title against Yves Edwards.

The fight was officially announced during tonight’s EliteXC/StrikeForce co-promoted event in San Jose, Calif. The Hawaii show will be broadcast on Showtime and also features the crowning of the promotion’s first welterweight champion as Drew Fickett and Jake Shields will fight for the title. That fight was supposed to take place tonight, but Shields suffered a back injury in training and had to pull out.

It’ll be the second show for EliteXC in Hawaii. Robbie Lawler knocked out Murilo “Ninja” Rua in the main event of the first one last September. EliteXC is the same organization that recently signed a deal with the CBS network. Saturday Night Fights will debut May 31 with Lawler defending his middleweight title against Scott Smith, a heavyweight fight featuring internet legend turned MMA superstar Kimbo Slice and Phil Baroni against Rua.

In a memorable main event last night on Showtime, Cung Le stopped Frank Shamrock in three rounds to become the new Strikeforce middleweight champion in front of a packed house at the HP Pavilion. The fight was billed as a battle for San Jose and is an early candidate for fight of the year as Shamrock stayed true to his word and engaged in a striking contest with a world renowned kickboxer in Le. Le controlled the first two rounds, but a series of hard right hands had Le in trouble near the end of round 3. After the bell rang, Shamrock slumped to his knees in his corner and couldn’t continue as one of Le’s powerful kicks broke Shamrock’s right arm.

Baroni to fight on CBS; HFC on Maui this weekend

March 25th, 2008
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In an interesting twist, I was able to confirm that Phil Baroni, who just lost to Kala Kolohe Hose at Icon Sport: To Hell and Back, will fight on the CBS EliteXC event May 31st against Murilo “Ninja” Rua. Rua hasn’t fought since being knocked out by Robbie Lawler at EliteXC: Uprising last September at the Blaisdell Arena.

What’s interesting to note about the Baroni fight is that Hose, who is also under contract to EliteXC, beat Baroni rather convincingly, but won’t be fighting on the card. For those of you that caught Monday’s Fighters Club Radio Show, Patrick Freitas and I discussed the question is MMA mainstream yet? What you have with the Baroni fight is that even though he sports a career 10-9 record, he has fought in all the big shows, is a name most fans know, and has entertainment value with his ability to talk trash prior to fights.

However, if MMA is really going to become a respected, understood, legit sport in the mainstream world, shouldn’t guys like Kala Kolohe Hose be rewarded for beating a guy like Phil Baroni? Yeah, he might not be the most outspoken fighter out there, but when you take Baroni’s best shot in the first round and then beat the guy up for the next 15+ minutes, shouldn’t you be the one getting rewarded?

It’s clear EliteXC is going with the more known and marketable fighter on a national scale, but what are you thinking if you’re Hose? You just beat a guy who is 10-9. You’re 6-1. Yet, the 10-9 guy gets the bigger fight on the first card on national television in front of an audience MMA hasn’t reached yet? Maybe as the sport finds its place on the national scene, it’ll change, but sooner or later, guys that get the big fights are going to have to be the ones that earn it in the cage, not the ones that are more marketable outside of it.

HFC March 29, War Memorial Stadium

>> Big card on Maui this weekend as promoter Mike Malone puts on a Hawaii Fighting Championship event at War Memorial Stadium Saturday night. Kaleo Kwan fights in Tyson Coloma-Nahooikaika in the main event. Other good fights include Kiana Hyatt against Tony Bergamo and Albert Manners against William Armstrong. Manners, who trains with BJ Penn in Hilo, has been followed around by the Tapout crew in preparation for the fight. For those that don’t know, the Tapout has its own reality show on the Versus network where three guys go around the world to find the best fighters as they get ready for upcoming fights. The Tapout crew has been filming Manners leading up to Saturday night and will be at the event along with Penn and Icon Fitness trainer Chris Leben of the UFC. Looks like a good event for those of you on Maui to check out.

>> UPDATE: Thanks to an email, I did some research and the EliteXC PPV Saturday night is on Showtime as well as Showtime PPV. Those people that already pay for Showtime won’t have to fork out the $24.95 it costs to order the PPV. In addition to Jake Shields having to withdraw from his fight, Nick Diaz also won’t be competing on the card. For those that are interested in watching, obviously the Frank Shamrock/Cung Le main event will be huge, but I’m excited to see Gilbert Melendez back fighting in the states. Melendez, 13-1, is coming off the first lost of his career in Japan and holds a win over local boys Harris Sarmiento and Stephen Palling. The Palling fight happened in Hawaii in 2004.

Pearl City’s Oshiro gets KO victory

March 24th, 2008
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Mark Oshiro KO’s Chris Cariaso

Big congratulations to Pearl City’s Mark Oshiro, who earned a first round KO victory over Chris Cariaso to open Friday night’s ShoXC card on Showtime.

Oshiro came into the fight with an injured back he hurt during training and was in trouble during the early minutes. Cariaso scored a takedown and went right into the mount position before eventually getting Oshiro’s back. Oshiro took a few shots to the head and a couple of knees to the back of the leg, but was able to block a rear naked choke attempt and eventually worked his way back to his feet. As the fighters turned to separate, Oshiro clocked Cariaso with a clean right hook that put him on the canvas. Oshiro pounced on his fallen opponent to force the referee to stop the fight as Cariaso could not defend himself.

Oshiro finishes Cariaso

With the win, Oshiro is now 10-1 and is expected to fight on the next Icon card June 14. Maui’s Analu Brash also fought on the same card, but was stopped in the first round by Shane Del Rosario of California. Rosario took advantage of Brash’s inexperience on the ground and pounded out a TKO victory.

Be sure to check out 1500-AM at 9 a.m. Monday morning when I’ll co-host the Fighters Club Radio Show with Icon Sport promoter Patrick Freitas. We’ll talk about MMA and if it really has hit mainstream yet as well as preview this weekend’s HFC event on Maui. We’ll also discuss the EliteXC card on Showtime this Saturday featuring Frank Shamrock against Cung Le and the battle for the EliteXC welterweight title between Jake Shields and Drew Fickett.

For those that remember, Shields won the Rumble on the Rock welterweight tournament at the Blaisdell Arena a couple pf years ago in what has turned out to be a stacked event. The 8-man field included current UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, former Icon Sport champion Frank Trigg, current WEC champion Carlos Condit and Yushin Okami, who could be Silva’s next opponent in the UFC.

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Kimbo, Lawler to headline first CBS show

March 20th, 2008
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Kimbo Slice

Just got the official press release about the first EliteXC show broadcast on CBS:

LOS ANGELES, March 20 — CBS and ProElite, Inc. today announced that the first live primetime mixed martial arts event will be broadcast Saturday, May 31 (9:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. CBS ELITEXC SATURDAY NIGHT FIGHTS will be broadcast live from the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

“We’re excited to introduce broadcast television viewers to America’s fastest growing sport with this prime time event,” said Kelly Kahl, Senior Executive Vice President, CBS Primetime. “EliteXC is putting together a lineup card that showcases the unique personalities, world-class athleticism, and raw power and emotion that characterizes mixed martial arts.”

Champion “Ruthless” Robbie Lawler will put his title on the line against Scott “Hands of Steel” Smith in a middleweight championship bout. EliteXC heavyweight phenom, Kimbo Slice, will also participate in the May 31 event along with other stars from mixed martial arts. Additional matchups will be announced at a later date.

“I am very happy for the highly trained fighters, who will finally get the kind of exposure they deserve, and, of course, the viewers, who will get the opportunity to learn that MMA is truly a sport that requires an abundance of skills, both mentally and physically,” said Gary Shaw, EliteXC Live Events President.

CBS and ProElite, Inc., a Los Angeles-based leading entertainment and media company that produces world class mixed martial arts (MMA) events, announced last month they were teaming up to bring MMA to a major broadcast television network for the first time. CBS will broadcast four MMA events per year, produced by ProElite’s EliteXC fight division, as two-hour live primetime specials.

Mixed martial arts is a sport evolved from a number of ancient combat disciplines including judo, jiu-jitsu, karate, wrestling and kickboxing. World-class athletes engage in hand-to-hand combat in a ring — both caged and traditional — and must adapt their fighting style to fit their opponent. The wide variety of styles and techniques make every event an unpredictable spectacle.

CBS ELITEXC SATURDAY NIGHT FIGHTS will be produced by SHOWTIME Sports. The executive producer is David Dinkins, Jr. with Bob Dunphy directing.

For additional information visit www.proelite.com

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Now we know why Lawler wasn’t ready to commit to fighting Kala Kolohe Hose on March 15. It’s interesting to note that Lawler was also part of the first UFC fight shown on cable when he beat Steve Berger. It was shown on FSN’s Best Damn Sports Show Period.

Also don’t forget tomorrow night’s ShoXC event broadcast tape delayed in Hawaii at 8 p.m. on Showtime. Local boy Mark Oshiro will fight in the televised opener against Chris Cariaso and Maui’s Analu Brash takes on Shane Del Rosario in a heavyweight fight.

Egan Inoue making a return

March 19th, 2008
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Egan Inoue

Big mahalo to Norman Kaui at MMAHawaii.com for the photo from Tuesday’s press conference.

42-year-old Egan Inoue, who became a huge fan favorite in Hawaii during a seven-fight winning streak in Super Brawl (now Icon Sport), announced on Tuesday he has signed a deal to compete for X-1 World Events. Inoue will will return to the ring after four-plus years away from the sport as the headliner for the May 16th Legends show at the Blaisdell Arena.

Inoue’s opponent has yet to be determined. He will be joined on the card by Ray Cooper, Marcelo Tigre, Niko Vitale and Tyson Nam.

Egan hasn’t fought since Dec. 2003 when he lost to Jason “Mayhem” Miller after injuring his ribs in the second round. Inoue was sprawled out in the middle of the ring at the end of the round and couldn’t continue. While the win served as a springboard for “Mayhem” to become a big name in the MMA world, it was the last we saw of Egan in a ring.

After battling injuries and personal problems, Egan says he’s refreshed and ready to see how he can match up with the fighters of today.

“What I’m trying to get at for the first fight is I just want to see where I am,” Inoue said. “I didn’t make any decisions on how many fights. I want to do this fight and it will tell me what I do after it.”

Egan training

Following the Miller fight, Egan has spent most of his time running two gyms-The Studio and Grappling Unlimited-n Manoa Marketplace. He has spent countless hours training men and women of all ages and has watched the sport blow up worldwide at an amazing rate. It’s something he always hoped for, but he never expected it to get quite this big.

“I always hoped it would get like this,” Inoue said. “I am kind of surprised at how big it’s getting. This sport really is probably the best sport I have ever been in. A lot of people view it as brutality. If you don’t understand wrestling and boxing and jiu-jitsu and how they mix together and how hard they are to pit together, then you don’t understand. If you try to learn about it, then you’ll realize it isn’t just guys trying to kill each other. Everyone is highly trained.”

Inoue went on to say that he thought fighters were becoming much more well-rounded in their skills when he left the sport, but recently he’s starting to see more fighters become one-dimensional. Egan says ending his career with two loses is something that has always bothered him, and he’s back to go out the right way.

With a win.