The JarryPark.com/MMARated.com familia is back in familiar territory this weekend – good ol’ Montreal – and the following clip is just a TASTE of the amazing, all-access, behind-the-scenes footage we are capturing. Expect the rest to drop later this week (following UFC 83) but trust me when I say it will be worth the wait…
Stephen Brunt, one of Canada’s top sports reporters, has a solid article in The Globe And Mail today looking at the rise of the Ultimate Fighting Championship as the promotion gets set to hold their first event north of the border. Shockingly, there aren’t too many inaccuracies in the article except for his writing that the UFC produces ten PPVs a year when it’s closer to thirteen or fourteen.
The highlight of the article, though, is some brilliant quotes from Dana White. In the past, every time someone asked White about HBO he always seemed to praise them while holding out hope that they would soon come to an agreement. Well, hope no more. That door has officially been shut.
On HBO Sports:
“If I had to hear one more time how many [expletive] Emmys they’d won, I was going to jump out the window. I’m kicking their ass on pay-per-view, no matter how many Emmys they’ve won.”
I have to admit that as a former employee of HBO Sports, I found that quote pretty funny. Other goodness from White includes his take on the Elite XC and CBS marriage:
“I think it’s horrible. It sucks, to be honest with you. They’re going after the freak show aspect which is everything we stayed away from. When we started to build this thing, it was all about the sport, about the real athletes. It sucks that CBS is going that route. CBS doesn’t know anything about MMA. Everything they know about MMA is from me being in there talking to them about it.”
Say what you will about White but reporters covering the MMA beat have got to love him. He fills up notebooks quicker than Houston Alexander gets knocked out by guys named James Irvin.
Montreal mayhem promises to be big hit (The Globe and Mail)
“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.
Welcome to week two of the MMARated.com’s cultural and 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…
MMARATED CULTURAL RANKINGS – 04/15/08
|1. Matt Serra||STATUS QUO||This might be the first poll that has Serra ranked at the top. Remember kids, he is still the champ and until GSP beats the man, well, he ain’t the man.|
|2. Georges St. Pierre||UP||Something tells us he will be “the man” at around 12:30 AM EST early Sunday morning.|
|3. Kimbo Slice||UP||He’s fighting James Thompson on 5/31, just inked a new contract extension with Elite XC and was seen rubbing elbows with boxing greats this weekend while wearing a fedora. Love this man.|
|4. Hermes Franca||DOWN||A shot at BJ Penn? Don’t hold your breathe on that one.|
|5. Pete Sell||DOWN||Mental Midget? Ummm, who are you again?|
|6. Fedor vs. Sylvia||UP||Until we hear an official announcement from one Vadim Finkelstein we won’t believe it.|
|7. Phil Baroni||UP||Best. Interviewee. Ever. Now all he has to do is win fights.|
|8. YAMMA Pit Fighting||DOWN||No comment. Over/under on how long they will last is set at 3.5 shows.|
“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.
To my Montreal bretheren: Get your cameras ready this weekend!
by David Weintraub, MMARated.com & JarryPark.com Contributor
If you are a fan of mixed martial arts (MMA) you are certainly aware of the outcry against it on FOX News and certain other media outlets. However, FOX News seems to be running with the anti-MMA gauntlet the most, as two of their premiere hosts, Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity have both recently done segments denigrating the sport. Of course, neither do this alone, as O’Reilly brings on like-minded journalists (I use that term loosely) to echo his thoughts, while Hannity takes on defenseless parents and every day people in an attempt to legitimize their own beliefs. Both hosts look foolish to anyone who knows a thing about the sport, but the main problem is that so many people do not know much about it, and they get their news from shows like these. On some level it’s certainly an issue when those without knowledge are doing their best to hurt the sport, but on what level I’m not so sure.
If you’ve watched either of these programs, or similar ones, a typical approach to bashing MMA is mentioning words like “barbaric” or “gauging,” often referring to it as a “blood sport.” For those who know the rules of MMA, gauging is certainly not legal. But please, O’Reilly, don’t let that stop you. I mean, “facts” are really only useful if you know them.
Still, the reason for the recent outcry on O’Reilly’s program is CBS will begin airing Elite XC fights on Saturday nights starting in May. This is an apparent affront to broadcast television, as O’Reilly tells it (some might say he is), and most recently author Bernard Goldberg supported his views as well as Fox News Correspondent Jane Hall.
I understand it does everyone over at FOX News a service by bashing a rival like CBS, but that’s hardly the reason for O’Reilly’s stance against MMA. After all, the point is simply ratings. This is the sole reason he, or anyone else, would discuss MMA on any level, similar to the interviews he conducted with Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White, and fighter Rich Franklin.
To people like O’Reilly, combat sports are terrible for society, but other shows featuring women competing for the love of a bachelor, contestants living on a deserted island eating bugs, or “redneck” weddings are all raising the journalistic integrity of the networks. Making a mockery of love and marriage, the holiest of institutions, as often told to us by hosts like Hannity and O’Reilly, is clearly preferable to two individuals, well trained in mixed martial arts, who have dedicated their lives, competing to achieve greatness. Clearly.
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.
MMARated.com 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.
Today, John Pollock pulled in the guest of all guests: Bill O’Reilly. Quite the coup.
Much like he is in other sectors of society, O’Reilly is currently enjoying his status as MMA’s Public Enemy #1 for his coverage of the sport last week.
So, Pollock got the exclusive and really found out what O’Reilly thinks of the sport. A great piece of journalism highlighted by Mauro Ranallo’s excellent appearance at the end.
Pollock’s POV: One-On-One With THE Bill O’Reilly
You can hear much more from John Pollock weekdays at 3 p.m. ET on Fight Network Radio on Sirius channel 186 or via Hardcoresportsradio.com not to mention every Sunday evening at 11 p.m. ET on Live Audio Wrestling.
Phil Baroni Waxes Poetic On Rua, Shamrock, Hose And Others
I was going to write some nice little intro on how Phil Baroni is gearing up for his fight against Murilo “Ninja” Rua on CBS but I think it would be wise to just get into our interview. Let me just quickly say that I have never conducted an interview quite like this one…and that’s a good thing. And away we go:
Ariel Helwani: How did it feel to get back in the ring after a long layoff?
Phil Baroni: I felt like shit after about four minutes. I was out of shape (and) I didn’t train for seven months. (It’s) nobody’s fault but my own. Oh well, I made a mistake. Fuck it, I’ll take it out on Ninja. Poor Ninja.
Ariel Helwani: Were you happy with your performance against Hose?
Phil Baroni: What the fuck do you think? Was I happy with my performance against Hose? What are you retarded?
Ariel Helwani: There has been talk of a rematch in the works…does that interest you?
Phil Baroni: Fuck yeah it does. I’ll fight anybody anytime, especially that guy. No hard feelings, Kala (Hose) is a nice kid. But I owe him an ass-kicking. And that Icon belt ain’t too shabby. Fuck, I love Hawaii…sign me up.
Ariel Helwani: You’re next fight is against Murilo Ninja Rua on CBS. Did you ever think, when you started out in this sport, that you would get a chance to fight on a network like CBS?
Phil Baroni: No, nobody did. Not the fighters anyway. Back then you weren’t fighting to become rich or famous. You did it because you loved it. You wanted to compete (and) prove yourself.
Ariel Helwani: Who’s the better fighter Hose or Rua?
Phil Baroni: Come on man, who do you think? Rua. Ask Rampage or Henderson who’s better. Those guys won questionable split decisions against Rua. Rua has fought the best in the biggest shows and held his own. Hose is a tough kid but he still has a lot to prove. He needs to rematch me and show his fans and the world he is for real. Its my job not to let that happen. There are too fucking many tough middleweights already (ha ha). We don’t need anymore.
Ariel Helwani: Who would you like to fight after the Rua fight?
Phil Baroni: Man, I already told you, I’ll fight anybody. Anderson Silva because he is considered the man and that’s what I want to be.
Ariel Helwani: What did you think of Frank Shamrock’s performance against Cung Le?
Phil Baroni: I think he won the first round. I think he hurt Cung in the third (round). Watching the fight I kept thinking to myself: “how the fuck did I lose to that guy.” I’m so much better than him.