Opportunity Knocks For Jon Murphy

The Elite XC fighter prepares for the fight of his life

“Hey, young fighter! Yeah, you with six fights under your belt. Listen up, I know your last fight was in August and I know you’re recovering from shoulder surgery but, forget all that, I have the proposition of a lifetime for you. How would you like to fight on the televised portion of Elite XC’s debut on CBS. You’ll be sharing the stage with the likes of Kimbo Slice, Gina Carano, Robbie Lawler and Phil Baroni. Sounds like the deal of the century for someone in your shoes, right?”

You’re damn right it does and that’s exactly the spot Jon Murphy has been placed in. Murphy is getting ready to face Brett Rogers in a heavyweight swing bout at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ, on May 31st that is unlikely to last very long. If you ask me, the ten or so fighters, including Murphy, that are assured a spot on the CBS card are probably the luckiest MMA fighters around.

Without a doubt, they have a chance to propel this sport into full mainstream acceptance by simply doing what they do best. Furthermore, score a big knockout or slick submission and you’re guaranteeing a spot for yourself in MMA for at least the next couple of of years.

We caught up with Murphy to talk about the most important fight of his life:

* How did he feel when he found out he would be fighting on the televised card

* The responsibilities that come with it

* His mindset going into the bout

* What he’s expecting from Brett Rogers

* The health status of his shoulder

* Losing back-to-back fights in 2007 including a loss to Houston Alexander

* What he learned from that experience

* His contract situation with Elite XC

* Why he cut off all his hair

All that and much more from a fellow Syracuse University student and a heavyweight fighter that we may be talking about for years to come.


The lightweight star gears up for Gleison Tibau at UFC 86

Joe Stevenson was featured today on MMARated Radio. Here are some excerpts from the interview:

On his next fight:
“The way I look at it, I’m fighting for the title again in my head because to get another title shot, I got to beat Gleison (Tibau) and not just beat him in a close decision. I’ve got to go out there and finish him.”

On his loss to BJ Penn:
“I practiced to go into his power hand, his right, because I thought his left hook was more dangerous, and he never really throws his right. However, on this fight, I guess he was practicing his right hand a lot more according to his boxing coach and stuff.”

On BJ Penn’s greatness:
“To tell you the truth, in my book it goes, Dan, Randy, and then B.J. Those are all people that I, you know, work and want to aspire to be, so, honestly, he beat me on that day, and was in great shape and did a great job. I can’t take anything away from him.”

On Penn liking the blood off his gloves after the fight:
“I didn’t see it. I didn’t see that until after the fight and watching it on the videotape. I was pissed off for a minute it was like ‘oh you jerk!'”

All that as well as why he turned down a fight against Tyson Griffin and which non-UFC lightweight star would he love to fight next. Ryan McGivern Is Now The Hunted

The IFL’s new middleweight champion prepares for his first title defense

80073097.jpgIt’s been almost a year since Ryan McGivern lost a hard-fought battle to Tim Kennedy via guillotine choke. Needless to say, McGivern then found himself at a crossroads in his career. After winning his first six professional fights, the Iowa-native lost five of his next nine including the submission loss to Kennedy.

His next test came in the form of Fabio Leopoldo – the man responsible for the second loss of his career. Thankfully for McGivern, he may have saved himself a job in the IFL by recording his first-ever knockout victory. He was waiting to find out which fighter he would face next when Tim Kennedy, scheduled to fight then-IFL middleweight champion Matt Horwich in February, was called into duty by the U.S. Military.

His replacement came in the form of our friend Ryan Mcgivern and a few weeks later the once struggling fighter was crowned the IFL’s new middleweight champion following a unanimous decision over Horwich.

His first title defense comes on May 16, against Dan Miller, winner of seven of his first nine fights (one no contest). For the first time in his career, McGivern now enters the ring with a bulls-eye on his back.

MMARated Radio caught up with McGivern to talk about a whole host of topics:

* What’s like being a champion?
* Has life changed?
* Has the IFL treated him any differently?
* His upcoming fight against Dan Miller?
* Will he enter the fight with a different mindset now that he is the champion?
* Filling in for Kennedy less than a month before the Horwich fight?
* The Horwich fight
* What he would like to accomplish in his career


Randy Couture’s wife talks about her entrance into the world of MMA

So, I got to interview a fighter’s wife the other day. That was a first. Actually, more specifically, I got to interview’s a fighter’s wife who also happens to be an aspiring fighter. You know, Kim Couture…Randy’s wife. I’m sure you’ve heard a lot about her lately. Actually, there seems to be a general feeling of ambivalence with regards to her entrance into the world of MMA. Regardless, it’s a pretty fascinating story to follow if only because of her last name.

Some of the topics we discussed included:
* What was it like to get her first amateur fight under her belt
* Why get into fighting in the first place?
* What is she looking to get out of this new career?
* Who got her involved in this mess?
* Is there a fighter out there that she would like to fight?
* Did she get interested in fighting only AFTER meeting Randy?
* Why are people so hesistant to support female fighting?
* Her take on the Dana vs. Randy feud

Alert: Really bad joke/awkward moment at the 4:00 mark. Man, I’m good.


The TUF 7 cast member discusses his experience on the show

When I first saw Matthew “Chipper” Riddle crush Dan Simmler’s jaw on in the second episode of TUF 7, I quickly thought to myself: “That kid’s going far in this tournament.” I think it was a mix between the smug smile on his face and the excessive TV time he received in the following episode that truly made me feel like he would be a force to be reckoned with.

Shows how much I know as Riddle suffered a second round loss via armbar submission to Tim Credeur on last week’s episode of the show. I certainly didn’t see that one coming.

Is this the last time we’ll be seeing that kid who still lives at home with his mom and doesn’t have a driver’s license fight in the Octagon again? Something tells me no. In fact, Riddle even told us that he was one of the few cast members that will be fighting on the Finale in June. A win against his yet to be announced opponent will probably ensure a several fight stay in the UFC.

MMARated Radio caught up with the 21-year-old Riddle to talk about a whole host of subjects:

* His experience on the show
* Having to fight his way into the house
* Breaking Simmler’s jaw
* Has he seen him since?
* What went wrong against Credeur
* Rampage’s reaction after the fight
* Should he have done things a little differently?
* Where he is moving to improve his game
* Will he ever got a shot at Dante Rivera?

All that and more from the not-so-surprisingly chipper Matthew “Chipper” Riddle.


The embattled fighter speaks up on his release from the UFC

Travis Lutter. Say that name on any MMA forum and you’re bound to strike a multitude of emotions from fans. Some hate him while others remain supportive. Some root for him to fail while others continue to pull for him. Some we’re disappointed in his performance at UFC 83 while others are just ecstatic that the UFC has since released him…wait, what? The UFC released a former TUF winner after two losses in a row? Didn’t Kendall Grove lose two in a row and is now headlining the TUF Finale in June? Yes and yes.

Now, granted, Lutter did fail to make weight in his title shot against Anderson Silva last June but I can’t help but feel like the punishment didn’t fit the crime. Maybe I’m wrong though…

Anyhow, MMARated Radio caught up with the much-maligned Lutter to get his side on how and why he was suddenly released:

* When did he find out?
* How did he find out?
* Has he talked to anyone in the UFC?
* Was he surprised he got released?
* What went wrong in the Franklin fight?
* Has he spoke to any other promotions (hint: they rhyme with DIEFL and Appliction)
* When he expects to fight next
* Which fighter would he like to fight next?

We also gave Lutter the forum to address anything else that was on his mind.


The super-agent talks Fedor-Sylvia, M-1, Adrenaline and Ken Pavia

It’s tough keeping up with Monte Cox these days. He’s with M-1 Global. He’s without M-1 Global. He’s starting Adrenaline MMA. He’s hooking up Affliction with Tim Sylvia to fight Fedor. He’s friends with everyone. He’s calling Ken Pavia, for all intents and purposes, a midget (more on that in our interview). It’s safe to say Cox is the busiest man in MMA.

Thankfully, he granted MMARated Radio an interview (free of charge to boot!) to talk about all the action in his professional career:

* Is Fedor-Sylvia official?
* What’s the deal with this Affliction show?
* Does it have anything to do with Adrenaline MMA?
* Is it weird working on a match involving Fedor?
* More details on Adrenaline MMA
* How many shows will they hold per year
* Fights signed for the inaugural show
* Any beef between him and Pavia
* What went wrong between Tim Sylvia and the UFC?

Oh, and Cox also teases us with the knowledge that one of his fighters has been contacted to fight in the main event of UFC 85. As you will hear, I tried my hardest to find out more but Cox put the kabosh on all my efforts.


“The Count” Fires Back At Charles McCarthy One Last Time

Did you hear? Charles McCarthy isn’t impressed with Michael Bisping. Also, Bisping thinks McCarthy runs his mouth too much. Oh, and McCarthy wants to put Bisping to sleep…

Give these two credit, though, as they’ve definitely surpassed Lutter-Franklin in the hype department for UFC 83. Solid trash-talking between two combatants can do that for fight.

MMARated Radio wanted to give “The Count” the last word since McCarthy has done his fair share of talking so we caught up with him just days before his UFC middleweight debut. Some of the topics we discussed included:

* Does he feel disrespected by McCarthy?
* Why all the hate?
* What does he think of McCarthy?
* Is McCarthy a step down for him?
* Why the move to 185?
* Was it a long time coming?
* Will he have trouble making weight?
* Does he still hear about the Hammill incident from fans?
* Does he expect to be booed in Montreal?
* Where does he fit in the middleweight division?

All that and much more from a very open Bisping.


“The Natural” Discusses His Future In Mixed Martial Arts And More

Whether it’s his legal issues with the UFC or all the fighters competing under the Xtreme Couture banner, one might surmize that Randy Couture will one day be considered the most influential fighter to ever compete in the sport.

While everyone has had a chance to ask Couture about his issues with the UFC we tried to conduct an interview with him where we talked about everything BUT those problems. Sadly, we only lasted eight minutes and thirteen seconds. Oh well, it was worth a shot. Here’s a taste…

Ariel Helwani: I guess it’s now time to talk about those problems. A lot has been said about your departure from the UFC so I don’t want to recycle the same questions all over again but I am curious as to what you think about the Sylvia-Fedor rumored matchup. Honestly, are you a little disappointed that Fedor has agreed to this fight so closely to when you expected to be free from the UFC?

Randy Couture: Anything’s possible. Tim’s no slouch. He’s a seasoned veteran and it’s still a fight. Anything can happen. I don’t think anyone is going to count Tim out. I do think everyone is expecting Fedor to beat Tim but I think it will be a great fight. It will certainly give me an idea of where I stand since I just fought Tim last March. It will be interesting to see how Fedor deals with the interesting problems Tim poses as a fighter and as competitor. I am not terribly concerned (though). Things will work out the way they work out. I will probably be free and clear sometime in July if the courts go the way we think they are going to go and whatever happens happens. I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about these things.

Ariel Helwani: Did Fedor’s management team talk to you before talking to Sylvia?

Randy Couture: Well, I know he doesn’t want to wait around. He wants to fight and make a living. He is not going to want to sit around and wait to see what happens with me. He just fought on New Year’s against Hong Man Choi and he has taken some heat for not fighting anyone in the top ten but this fight is definitely against a top ten guy in Tim Sylvia. But does the fight lose luster should Fedor lose? I don’t know, it probably changes things but I think the fans will still want to see it. They still wanted to see Wanderlei and Chuck and both guys were coming off losses.

Ariel Helwani: So, for the record, you would still be interested in fighting Fedor even if he losses to Sylvia?

Randy Couture: Yeah, I would still be interested in competing against him but, again, I want to be considered the number one heavyweight in the world but, if he loses to Tim, that piece of the puzzle kind of goes away. So then what happens? Does Tim move up and become number one? Do we need to settle it again between Tim and I? Who knows what really happens. Maybe nothing! Maybe I’ll just walk away…

Ariel Helwani: It certainly opens things up a little bit and then you have to think about Minotauro moving up in the rankings since he just beat Sylvia. Would you then consider fighting him?

Randy Couture: I think that (Nogueira) is a fantastic fighter. I have watched him compete and have been ringside for several of his fights. He has an amazing ability to survive and get fights where he can find a way to win. My only concern or drawback to that whole scenario is that it would have to be with the UFC and I just can’t see going back and fighting for the UFC at this point with all the things that Dana has said and all the things that have happened…they have pretty much sealed that deal.

Ariel Helwani: Are you surprised that Fedor split from M-1 Global less than six months after we all thought he had signed with them?

Randy Couture: I wasn’t surprised. Everyone had heard rumors and inklings that (M-1) was kind of a shell and that there wasn’t a lot of money to get Fedor signed and outside of Fedor they didn’t seem to have a lot of other things going on. Outside of Fedor, there seemed to be an internal power struggle between the investors and Monte Cox and the Russians. There was kind of this whole rocky landscape and everyone wasn’t really surprised that it didn’t work out.

Ariel Helwani: What if Fedor would end up with the UFC, would you then consider returning?

Randy Couture:
I think if this whole thing has pointed out one thing to me it’s that I have an opportunity to control my own destiny a little bit and, potentially, through this process, change the way the fighters are paid and the way things are done in MMA and those are important things for me as a fighter. There are a lot of guys that are still scratching out a living and all the cards are held by the promotions. And, certainly, the most powerful promotion in the landscape is the UFC. So, would I say “never will I fight for the UFC,” well, I am not going to say “never” because there are circumstances where things could change but that’s the way I feel right now.


The American Gladiator talks Kaitlin Young, CBS and her MMA career

Has it really been seven months since we saw Gina Carano fight for Elite XC? It certainly has, but it may not seem as long if you’re a fan of “American Gladiators” on NBC. Sure, her performance on that show is all well and good but true Carano fans have been anxiously awaiting her return to the cage. First we thought she would be fighting in February on the Kimbo-Tank card. Not so. Then we heard 3/29 on the Le-Shamrock telecast. Think again.

But, thankfully, the wait will soon be over (we hope) as Carano will face Kaitlin Young on the first Elite XC on CBS telecast on 5/31.

That fight, without a doubt, is the most important one in the history of women’s combat sports. Never before have two female fighters, whether it be in boxing or MMA, fought on such a highly-publicized card for free. Lots of pressure for the 25-year-old face of women’s MMA but considering her performance on the then-most important female MMA fight in history in February 2007 against Julie Kedzie on Elite XC’s inaugural Showtime telecast, we think she’ll do just fine. caught up with Carano in between “American Gladiators” tapings to talk about:

* Why it has taken so long for her to return to the Elite XC cage?
* Will her “American Gladiators” duties have a negative effect on her fighting career
* How is she juggling both careers and learning from the mistakes of how other fighters have dealt with fame
* Did EXC force her to come back too soon for the CBS show?
* Is she happy fighting for Elite XC?v * Her experiences on “American Gladiators”
* Her thoughts on Kaitlin Young
* Her take on the current female MMA scene

In all honesty, we talk to many fighters on a daily basis but we’d hard-pressed to find one more down-to-earth and humble than Carano. Just another reason to jump on the “Crush” bandwagon.