A Tough Pill To Swallow For Luke Zachrich

The TUF 7 cast member reflects on last night’s loss

Luke Zachrich is coming off a disappointing, yet spirited, loss to Dan Cramer on last night’s edition of “The Ultimate Fighter” and I can’t help but feel a little bad for him a day later.

You see, Zachrich’s fight was nudged right after the whole Matt Brown-Jeremy May battle with little fanfare, hype or buildup. Now we probably won’t hear much about him for the rest of the show (unless, of course, he returns as an injury replacement which is quite possible).

Regardless, he was kind enough to sit down with us today and was quite honest and sincere throughout the interview. Highlights include:

* His thoughts on the fight

* His lack of conditioning in the fight

* Would he have done anything differently

* The way he was portrayed on the show

* The fact that his fight came right after the Brown-May bout

* Does he regret doing the show in the first place?

* Will we see him in the UFC following the conclusion of the show?

Again, Zachrich had some very interesting things to say about the whole TUF experience. Definitely worth checking out.


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.

Ali Sonoma To Appear On ABC’s “The Mole”

Without a doubt, MMA fans are a very “what have you done for me lately” kind of bunch. Betray their trust or put up a stinker and they may never forgive you. So, you can imagine my surprise when someone sent me a tip that former UFC Octagon girl Ali Sonoma would be appearing on the fifth season of ABC’s “The Mole.”

When Sonoma and the UFC parted ways at the end of 2007, she told everyone who would listen that she would be back in the limelight sooner rather than later. Of course, most believed that would be modeling at some car expo in Ohio. Au contraire, she has landed the biggest non-UFC gig of any Octagon girl.

I wish I could tell you what “The Mole” is but, sadly, I have never seen the show. That said, I have been able to gather this essential information:

* It airs on ABC

* It premieres on June 2, 2008

* This is its fifth season

* There are twelve contestants on the show

Oh, and the basic premise is that contestants will work together to complete various physical and mental challenges to build up a significant cash prize for the winner. One of them, however, is “the Mole,” a double agent hired by the producers to sabotage the efforts of the group.


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.


Welcome to week four of’s Cultural & Media Rankings. Each week we’ll weigh in on who’s hot and who’s not in the world of mixed martial arts. Take a look…

1. Kimbo Slice UP He’s calling out Chuck Liddell, gracing the cover of ESPN The Magazine and headlining the first Elite XC on CBS card. Itís good to be the Kimbo.
2. UFC cuts DOWN Certainly these cuts are good news for the Elite XC’s of the world but you canít help but feel for a fighter who has to deal with the burden of if he just would have applied that armbar a little tighter he would still be employed by the UFC.
3. DREAM DOWN A semi-exciting second offering but their tournament appears to have gone to hell due to injuries. Another reason why MMA tournaments will always be flawed.
4. UFC 85 UP One can make a strong case that the additions of Hughes vs. Alves and Bisping vs. Leben make this show a hell of a lot more interesting than the original lineup featuring Liddell.
5. Roger Huerta UP Who knew so many people cared about his love life? More importantly, “El Matador” returns in August against Kenny Florian in a match we canít wait for.
6. IFL STATUS QUO Some weird statements being made by IFL president Jay Larkin lately… is the end near?
7. Anderson Silva DOWN Yo yo, Spider, chill on the Roy Jones Jr. talk for a minute. It’s really way too premature.
8. Hong Man Choi DOWN Free at last! Free at last! Thank God almighty, Hong Man is free at last (from his mandatory Korean army service, of course).


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.


Phil Baroni: “Instead of Ninja Sushi I’ll be having a Smoking Joe Burrito”

The last time we caught up with Phil Baroni he only had Murilo “Ninja” Rua on his mind. Since we spoke, Rua was replaced by Joey Villasenor as Baroni’s opponent for the May 31st Elite XC on CBS telecast. No official reason has yet to be given for the switch.

Naturally, the moment we found out about the change in opponents we contacted “The New York Bad Ass” to get his thoughts on it all…

Ariel Helwani: When did you hear that Ninja Rua was pulling out of your fight?

Phil Baroni: I don’t know. Same time everyone else did.

Ariel Helwani: What was the reason you heard?

Phil Baroni: He was injured or something. Really what difference does it make? Whatever the reason is he should consider himself lucky. I’ll be coming in top shape for this one guns blazing.

Ariel Helwani: Do you believe he was really injured?

Phil Baroni: Yeah, the guy has fought the best. Lawler, Rampage, Henderson…I have no reason to believe he wouldn’t fight me. The guy is no bitch; he comes to fight.

Ariel Helwani: Is it possible he read our interview on and got scared?

Phil Baroni: I doubt he can even read.

Ariel Helwani: What are your thoughts on your new opponent on May 31st, Joey Villasenor?

Phil Baroni: Instead of Ninja Sushi I’ll be having a Smoking Joe Burrito.

Ariel Helwani: In your opinion, is Villasenor a step up or a step down in competition for you?