The string of exciting televised MMA events continued this weekend with two action-packed offerings from the IFL and Elite XC. Missed any of it? Here’s who scored well on our report card:
Jared Shaw: No one did anything bad enough to fail but I was none too pleased with Elite XC Live Events Vice President Jared Shaw. I am fully aware that promoters (or in this case their son) like to jump in the cage or ring after a fight but Shaw was way too visible after each ShoXC bout on Saturday night. At first it didn’t bug me too much, but after he gave the referee a look of discontent following the Hamman-Suganama main event it really pissed me off. Who the hell is Jared Shaw to intimidate a licensed MMA referee after a semi-controversial stoppage? Well, he is the Elite XC Live Events Vice President damn it! Doesn’t matter. Those in Shaw’s position need to support the referees while this sport continues to grow. It’s a very difficult gig and they deserve that much. While I didn’t agree with the stoppage, I had no problems with it. One can strongly make a case for the decision and the bottom line is that if the ref thought Hamman could no longer intelligently defend himself it was the right move to make. That should be enough for Shaw too. One last note on Shaw: I’m a young guy, I hate to wear suits and shave every morning. But if I held a job with as much visibility as the one Shaw holds I would make a little more effort to clean up before events. On Saturday night, Shaw was the face of Elite XC and instead of looking like a respectable adult he looked like a punk. The mohawk, sweatshirt and gold chains look so unprofessional it’s not even funny. Shaw is lucky to be fathered by a “successful” boxing promoter. He’s been handed a great opportunity and, from where I sit, he isn’t making the most of it.
Honorable Mention: The Table Mountain Casino crowd. I know most of them came to see Jared Hamman win but there is no excuse for booing Poai Suganuma as much as they did.
Chris Horodecki: No disrespect to Nate Lamotte but I expected a hell of a lot more from Chris Horodecki on Friday night. I thought he would have come out with guns blazing but, alas, that wasn’t the case. Either Lamotte was just too tough or Horodecki hasn’t gotten over his loss to Ryan Schultz last December. I am going with the former as he’s way too young to let a loss like that affect his psyche. That said, another effort like this one may prove that “The Polish Hammer” wasn’t quite as good as we once thought.
Honorable Mention: Jamal Patterson. A solid effort against a much more experienced fighter in Vladimir Matyushenko.
Ten quick storylines to look out for while watching tonight’s telecast on HDNet:
10. Is Jamal Patterson good enough to hang with the likes of Vladimir Matyushenko?
9. Can Bart Palaszewski rebound from two devastating losses in a row?
8. Is Jim Miller worth all the hype?
7. Is Mark Miller ready to be considered a top middleweight?
6. What did Shad Lierley learn from his loss to Chris Horodecki last year?
5. Is Nate Lamotte brave enough to trade punches with Chris Horodecki?
4. How will LC Davis rebound from the first loss of his career?
3. Will Carmelo Marrero return to become the kind of fighter that defeated Cheick Kongo once upon a time?
2. Can Wagnney Fabiano continue his IFL submission winning streak?
1. Has Chris Horodecki completely forgotten about Ryan Schultz?
The IFL’s lightweight star looks to get back to his winning ways tonight
The mark of a true fighter (and champion for that matter) is how they respond to adversity. All’s well when the wins are piling up but once that fighter suffers his first devastating loss just how will he respond? That’s the question that looms over the Chris Horodecki-Nate Lamotte fight on tonight’s IFL card. With all due respect to Lamotte, this one’s all about the Canadian kid.
We all thought it would be a foregone conclusion that Horodecki would be crowned the IFL lightweight champion following his bout against Ryan Schultz in the IFL World Grand Prix Finals, however, in one of the biggest upsets of the year, Schultz shocked the MMA world when he defeated Horodecki in the first round. So, it’s back to the drawing board for the Team Tompkins member. Tonight we found out what he is truly made of.
MMA Rated Radio spoke to Chris about a bunch of topics:
* Is he over the loss to Schultz
* What went wrong?
* Has he studied the tape?
* How he dealt with the first professional loss of his young career
* What he will look to do differently in this fight
* His thoughts on Nate Lamotte
* His contract situation with the IFL
* Is he interested in ever fighting for another promotion?
Jim Miller talks about his IFL debut and being courted by the UFC
Jim Miller last fought on March 7th. Since then, he was rumored to be fighting on last night’s Ultimate Fight Night show against Marcus Aurelio while also rumored to be making his International Fight League debut. Obviously, the IFL won out as Miller will be fighting on tomorrow night’s card against the very dangerous Bart “Bartimus” Palaszewski. MMARated Radio caught up with Miller just 24 hours before his bout to talk about a whole host of subjects:
* Why he didn’t end up fighting on UFN 13
* Is he happy fighting in the IFL after all
* His contract situation with the IFL
* Does he still hope to someday fight in the UFC
* His thoughts on Bart Palaszewski
* What we can expect from him tomorrow night
* How soon he would like a shot at the IFL lightweight title
The former UFC fighter talks about his IFL debut
Really loved this interview* particularly because Josh Haynes was very candid with his thoughts. Haynes makes his IFL debut tonight against Leopoldo Serao at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas (HDNet, 11 pm EST).
Haynes gained his initial fame on The Ultimate Fighter 3 when he made it to the finals against Michael Bisping. Unfortunately, though, he would end up losing the bout.
It’s been well-documented that his son has had to endure seven brain surgeries for a tumor he developed at a young age and that has very much endeared the 30-year-old figher in the eyes of MMA fans.
Some of the topics we discussed included:
* How he hooked up with the IFL
* Why he chose to make the switch from Team Quest to Xtreme Couture
* His thoughts on the Couture/UFC saga
* Why things soured between him and the UFC
* Why he has no interest in ever fighting for the UFC again
* His disappointment in what mixed martial artists earn for their fights
* The difference between fighting in a ring as opposed to a cage
Josh Haynes – 02/29/08
*The only part I didn’t love about this interview was that just moments before talking to Josh my audio recording system decided to crash on me. So, I was forced to record it using my computer microphone. That would explain the hollow and slightly distorted nature of my voice. Sorry about that. I promise the audio problems will be fixed soon!
The IFL’s new Lightweight champ previews his first title defense
If you ask me (and I know you didn’t but whatev), no one has more to prove at the IFL’s season opener than Ryan Schultz. The promotion’s first-ever Lightweight champion is coming off a shocking victory over arguably their most popular star in Chris Horodecki. Given the fact that he was such a late replacement, most, if not all, MMA enthusiasts weren’t expecting Schultz to hand Horodecki his very first loss but he did and tomorrow night “The Lion” heads to the ring as the hunted when he puts his belt on the line against John Gunderson.
I spoke to Schultz about the upcoming fight and some other topics, such as:
* Has his life changed since defeating Horodecki?
* Why was he so confident going into that bout?
* Does he expect a rematch against Horodecki fairly soon?
* Does he deserve the right to main event tomorrow’s card?
* His mindset going into the bout as the champion as opposed to a huge underdog
* Has he received enough respect from the MMA community since becoming champion?
Ryan Schultz – 02/28/08
A couple of weeks ago on HDNet’s Inside MMA, Ken Shamrock and Kurt Otto had some not-so-flattering things to say about Jarry Parker (catchy, eh?) Kurt Angle‘s interest in mixed martial arts. Basically, Otto said that after Angle sat in the front row at an IFL event in September 2007 he got cold feet and decided against fighting Shamrock at an IFL event. Shamrock then implied that Angle was scared to go toe-to-toe with “The World’s Most Dangerous Man.”
As always, there’s two sides of every story. Angle has been travelling all over this great earth lately so he wasn’t available for an official interview but he did tell me this when I asked why he backed out of the IFL deal:
“That’s because they tried to force a fight with me and Ken in two and a half months. (It’s) not enough time to take off from TNA and train for a fight. They rushed it…I would have never been ready. They didn’t care. He just wanted PPV buys.”
He went on to say that:
“They are only trying to push my buttons – to start another angle. My rep in MMA is that I back out. No I don’t. Usually they back out of the deal because of my price. I want giant money. Usually they say they will pay me what I want then they change it and tell me they will pay me on the back end. I want it up front PERIOD.”
At this point, I doubt we will ever see Angle fight in an IFL ring. Obviously, money talks but it appears that their unsolicited shots at him closed the door for good. And, while we’re at it, until he officially announces a deal with a promotion all the talk of Angle competing in an MMA fight should end.
Despite the growing popularity of the sport, I am always pleasantly surprised to see a national newspaper cover MMA. So you can imagine how I felt when I took my seat cageside at HDNet Fights: Reckless Abandon and realized I was sitting next Damon L. Sayles of the Dallas Morning News.
A major paper covering a non-UFC event? This was too good to be true. I’m sure the Mark Cuban association had something to do with it but, whatever, we’ll take what we can get.
So, with one of the most important years in MMA history (in terms of mainstream acceptance) under our belts and one of the biggest weekends of the year (in terms of MMA fights) on the horizon it made sense to invite a writer of Sayles’ stature to give his perspective on the action to come.
Listen below as we discuss UFC 79, the IFL World Grand Prix Finals and Yarennoka! and much more.
If you’re lonely this weekend don’t be – a slew of tremendous fights are upon us.
MMA New Year’s Eve Weekend Preview with Damon L. Sayles
The International Fight League held a press conference earlier today to announce their plans for the coming year.
It’s no secret that 2008 will go a long way in determining whether or not this promotion can become a viable player in the world of Mixed Martial Arts. Several weeks ago, IFL president Jay Larkin hinted at a few of the changes to come but today commssioner Kurt Otto shed some light on the specifics.
The main points were:
* As speculated, they will be moving away from calling their teams names like Silverbacks or Dragons to being named after the camp their coach is affiliated with. The coaches on board are: Ken Shamrock, Pat Miletich, Renzo Gracie, Matt Lindland, Bas Rutten, Marco Ruas, Ian Freeman and Mario Sperry and a group managed by a Chicago-based coach (Arlovski? Just kidding).
* They will also be implementing an “open-door policy” where if a coach not officially affiliated with the organization (Frank Shamrock, Carlos Newton etc.) has a team he can enter them to fight one of their own. Basically, this is a nice way of saying: “Mr Couture, please bring some fighters to our show.”
* They will hold eight events in 2008 with four camps competing on each show. The camps will have a minimum of three fighters competing on a particular show. So, it will likely go down as a best-of-three format. In all, each camp will compete twice a year.
* The eight events will be held in three locations: The Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, The Izod Center in East Rutherford, NJ (formerly known as Continental Airlines Arena) and The Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut. The first event of ’08 will be on February 29 (leap year!) at The Orleans Arena.
* There will be two title defense per card. Here’s hoping that the curse of the Lightweight title doesn’t cross over into ’08.
* No news on a new TV deal. That should come in January.
To read more about their plans for ’08 click here OR just listen below.
IFL Press Conference – 12/19/07