Archive for April, 2010

Randoms

April 27th, 2010
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Don’t forget about GalaxyMMA on Saturday night at the Blaisdell Arena. Fabiano Scherner and Scott Junk headline and Tyson Nam and Keola Silva are the co-main. Event starts at 6 p.m. and I’ve been promised it will be a smooth show, so don’t expect to be stuck at the Blaisdell until midnight.

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I didn’t watch the WEC PPV this weekend, but heard plenty of good things about Jose Aldo and Benson Henderson. Can these guys compete for the title in the UFC’s 155-pound division?

I did see the Garcia/Jung fight on the prelims. First off, I have no idea how Garcia won that fight. The other thing I thought is yes, this is a fun fight to watch, but really, how much of it was two guys swinging wildly with no technique? It hasn’t taken WEC/Zuffa/Dana White long to bill it the ‘fight of the decade.’ If it is, then the MMA is headed for a sorry next 9+ years…

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Congratulations to Enson Inoue for winning his first fight in more than six years. Inoue won a fight in Japan by armbar at an event dedicated to legendary Japanese fighter Hidehiko Yoshida, who announced his retirement. It was Inoue’s first time in the ring since his fight with Tom Sauer at a SuperBrawl event in the Blaisdell in 2004.

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SAY IT AIN’T SO TITO. Tito Ortiz was arrested and eventually released on bail for what news sites are reporting as a domestic violence case. We already know that his stint on the Ultimate Fighter ends abruptly as evidenced by a Chuck Liddell/Rich Franklin fight at the end of the show instead of Liddell/Ortiz. Now this? You think Dana White is already kicking himself for letting Ortiz back with the promotion in the first place?

Penn/Edgar rematch set for August

April 23rd, 2010
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At the WEC press conference yesterday promoting tomorrow night’s PPV, UFC President Dana White confirmed to VERSUS.com reporter Ariel Helwani that B.J. Penn would get a rematch against Frankie Edgar for the UFC lightweight championship.

Most people are saying it’s scheduled to be August 28 at an event in Boston, but the UFC has not officially announced the event or the fight. However, Kenny Florian, who Penn successfully defended the title against last August, has publicly stated that he will fight Gray Maynard in Boston on Aug. 28. Reports also surfaced yesterday that James Toney would make his MMA debut against Randy Couture on the Aug. 28 card.

After UFC 112, it made sense that Edgar’s first fight as champion would be against Maynard, the only person to beat Edgar. However, that left Penn without any real opponent at 155 pounds. Penn’s also clearly head and shoulders above everyone else at 155 as a legit main event draw, and public interest in a Penn/Edgar rematch outweighs that of an Edgar/Maynard title bout.

Weigh-ins for the WEC PPV, featuring Jose Aldo vs. Urijah Faber and Ben Henderson vs. Donald Cerrone, will be held today at 1 p.m. Maui’s Brandon Visher, undefeated in 13 professional fights, will take on Tyler Toner in a prelim bout on Saturday night.

Visher won his WEC debut with a first-round TKO victory over Courtney Buck back in December. This will be the first WEC show that’s only available on PPV.

DIRECTV finally gets the VERSUS channel back on the air and the WEC goes to PPV. Such my luck…..

Is GalaxyMMA the answer?

April 21st, 2010
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Picture

Don’t get me wrong, I have a hard time envisioning in this current local climate an MMA organization being able to prosper in Hawaii. A lack of big-name draws, a sport that is already overdone on television, regulation laws that seem to be more about the state making money off the sport than the actual regulatory tasks to legitimize MMA, and the obvious economic impact has left people scurrying back to the underground to put on local events.

X-1 seems to be back trying to make a go of it with shows at the Blaisdell Arena, but it’s still got a long way to go in figuring out how to endear itself to the casual fan.

Enter GalaxyMMA, a new organization that will try to fill the void left by the old SuperBrawl/Icon events that packed Blaisdell Arena. GalaxyMMA will have its first show on May 1 at the Blaisdell, featuring a main event between Scott Junk and Fabiano Scherner and co-main event pitting Tyson Nam against Keola Silva.

So far, I give these guys credit. They have been persistent in trying to work with the media to get word of their new show out there. They have put together a very nice website, which can be seen HERE, where you can get all the information you need to for the show.

Obviously, it’s going to be a work in progress. Unless B.J. Penn is headlining your show, it’s going to be hard to come out and immediately pack the house for your first event.

But give these guys props. I’ve already seen more GalaxyMMA ads on television than any other local promotion. I’ve been contacted by the people running the show more times than anyone other than Patrick Freitas, who was the media savant for SuperBrawl/ICON. They seem to have their heads on straight and promise Saturday’s event will be smooth and all about the fights. (They promise no half-hour concerts between fights!)

I’m a fan of anyone willing to come out and put on fights and try to put together a good show at the Blaisdell. These guys are going to give it a try, and while the card itself might not be the most dynamic list of fighters, a smooth, timely show with an emphasis on making it a fan-friendly experience would be a heck of a start.

Fights will take place in a cage, ESPN 1420-AM’s Chris Hart will be the MC, and 11 total fights, including eight pro bouts, are scheduled.

GalaxyMMA: Worlds Collide
Saturday, May 1
Blaisdell Arena
Doors open, 5 p.m.; First fight, 6 p.m.
MAIN EVENT
Scott Junk vs. Fabiano Scherner
CO-MAIN EVENT
Tyson Nam vs. Keola Silva
LIGHTWEIGHT TOURNAMENT
(First round)
Harris Sarmiento vs. Chris Yee
Jose Salgado vs. Kyle Kaahanui
Jenzen Espanto vs. Kristopher Kyle
Steve Gable vs. Clay Lewis Jr.
Plus
Brennan Kamaka vs. Bruski Louis
RJ Richter vs. Eldon Sproat
AMATEUR FIGHTS
Markus Kindblad vs. Evan Lowther
Zack Pang vs. Kimo Sanders
Ethan Rista vs. Chris Templo

Tickets start at $20 and can be purchased at the Blaisdell Box Office, Ticketmaster Charge-by-Phone 1-800-745-3000, Ticketmaster.com, and at Sports Gear in the Windward Mall.

Posted in Fights | 4 Comments »

Losing my faith

April 19th, 2010
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One of the first MMA shows I ever covered was B.J. Penn vs. Renzo Gracie at Aloha Stadium. The Ultimate Fighter had yet to blow up on SPIKE TV, the sport was still underground, and somehow, 12,000 people attended the fight that lasted past midnight.

I remember thinking to myself that night that this sport could become as big as boxing. 12,000 people at a K-1 card in Aloha Stadium that most people I knew my age (I was 22 at the time) didn’t know anything about? Imagine what it’d do once it was all over television. Imagine what it’d do when people grew a connection through the media to these fighters and became huge fans. Imagine when it became mainstream? Ever since that day, I thought MMA would become boxing for the next generation.

As big as it has gotten, I still felt like it could grow more. I thought people would sit at home on Saturday nights, see big fights for free on network TV, and become hooked. PPV numbers would continue to grow. Top-level fighters would start making seven, maybe even eight figures, like the great boxers do.

Saturday night I was prepared to write something up as soon as StrikeForce was over. I stayed away from all forms of media to make sure I didn’t know the outcomes when it began six hours after the fact on tape delay in Hawaii. I was excited to see Hendo and Shields. I was excited to see the alternative to a UFC organization that I’ve really soured on in recent months. I was excited to see Mousasi, a guy I’ve really become a fan of.

I can’t begin to explain how depressed I was when 10:30 p.m. rolled around. I witnessed three 25-minute decision fights that I’ve got on DVR in case I can’t fall asleep tonight. I saw another ugly, post-fight brawl involving some of the most classless fighters the sport has ever seen. I saw supposed champions like Mousasi, legends like Dan Henderson, mock the sport by showing up completely unprepared to fight. Both guys looked ready to pass out from exhaustion after 5 minutes of fighting..even though they still had FOUR ROUNDS to go.

I sat back, thought about it for awhile, and for the first time in my life, I came to the realization that this is going to be as big as MMA gets.

Scott Coker has a world of problems at StrikeForce. You have classless fighters like Nick Diaz representing your company as a champion when you can’t trust a single things he does. You have top draws like Dan Henderson and Gegard Mousasi not even bothering to get in shape for headlining fights. You have a champion in Jake Shields waiting to bolt to the UFC, and your biggest star, Fedor Emelianenko, is represented by a company (M-1 Global) that has no interest in helping your organization grow.

The UFC is run by Dana White, a man that has become so stubborn in his ways that it’s starting to show up in his product. Ask him about why fighters are making so little compared to the total revenue the company brings in and he gives you the generic, ‘oh don’t worry, they’re well taken care of’ answer without providing any specifics. Ask him about the horrible judging decisions that are becoming more frequent and he’ll say, ‘well don’t let it go to the judges.’ Great answers that do nothing to address the problems, which seems to be the way he wants it.

Recently, he’s come out and ripped on Penn’s new book, saying most of it is untrue, then admits he hasn’t read it. On twitter, he’s been caught telling people to F*** off. PPV numbers have evened out, live crowds aren’t getting any bigger, and it seems like the UFC has reached a plateau.

This is the guy that’s going to continually stay ahead of the game and take MMA to unparalleled heights? He’s brought the sport where it is today, but in the last 12 months, I continue to see his stubbornness get in the way of great things. Am I wrong about this?

I could go on, but my point is this. Maybe it’s just been a bad run of cards. Maybe it’s just a run of poor matchmaking. But I have a lot of casual fans that I was with watching both UFC 112 two weeks ago and StrikeForce on Saturday night, and none of them came away excited to ever watch an MMA fight again.

Suddenly, a rematch between Shogun and Machida doesn’t interest me. If Fedor decides to come out from wherever he’s hiding and fight again, it doesn’t excite me right now. Why should I trust Dan Henderson, Gegard Mousasi, heck, even B.J. Penn, to show up in shape and prepared to be the very best they can be? And don’t even get me started on Anderson Silva.

I’ve lost my faith in mixed martial arts after Saturday night. I’m tired of wasting 3 hours watching ho-hum fights and spending 55 bucks for UFC PPV’s that have fights like Hughes/Gracie, Silva/Maia and St-Pierre/Hardy that I’m constantly grilled by the UFC as being great matchups.

What’s it going to take to snap MMA out of this funk? Or have we already seen the best it’s ever going to get?

Penn rematch; Official scores

April 13th, 2010
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Sherdog.com has a story up HERE on rumblings from both camps saying a rematch between Frankie Edgar and B.J. Penn is in the works for August or September, matching Penn’s timeframe he gave before the fight on when he’d want to fight next.

Also, Ive been asked by a couple of people about the judging for the fight between Anderson Silva and Demian Maia. Bruce Buffer announced that Silva won a unanimous decision, but didn’t announce the scores, which I can’t remember happening in any previous UFC events.

A person within the UFC sent me the official scores from the three judges for the fight today. Two judges had it 50-45 Silva and one judge had Silva winning 49-46, giving Maia the last round.

Douglas Crosby, who scored the Penn fight 50-45 in favor of Edgar, also scored the Silva/Maia fight 50-45 in favor of Silva.

Again, I ask those people that watched it. How does Anderson Silva win that last round?

Posted in Fights | 9 Comments »