Pollock’s POV: “I Survived UFC 82”

picture-2-16-05-37.pngI’m sure most of the residents of Jarry Park have attended at least one UFC event at some point in their lives.

Not so for our weekly ranter, John Pollock. The producer of Fight Network Radio and Live Audio Wrestling popped his UFC cherry this weekend when he made a last-minute decision to drive down to Columbus, OH, to watch UFC 82.

You may be thinking: “Ugh, not another blow-by-blow diary of a UFC weekend!”

Au contraire, mes amis. Take a listen as Pollock recounts his memorable drive down to the Buckeye State in the midst of a snow storm and, most importantly, breaks down his top 5 observations from attending his first MMA event.

If you’ve ever been to a show I think you’ll agree that Pollock’s POV is dead on.

Pollock’s POV – 03/03/08

You can hear more from John Pollock (who is thankfully not shown above) 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.

Arianny Celeste Brings “Peace” To The Park

Remember our last fireside chat with the lovely Ms. Arianny Celeste? Well, of course you do because it just reeked of awesomeness! Team ECK 4 Life.

Ahem, anyhow, one of the highlights of the interview was when Arianny promised she would show the millions upon millions of the Jarry Park faithful how much she loved our site by flashing the ever-classic Peace sign during UFC 82.

Truthfully, the interview was several weeks back and I actually forgot about our “deal.” However, loyal reader Xad reminded me of it yesterday and was even kind enough to send me some screen grabs of these historic moments – yes, she did it multiple times.

Part of me feels bad because the Peace sign may be deemed passe so, rest assured, the next time an opportunity like this comes up I’ll think of something a little more innovative.

It might not be as cool as bumping into Matt Serra at a 7/11 but it’s pretty damn cool if I may say so myself.

More peace, love and happiness from AC after the jump.

Continue reading “Arianny Celeste Brings “Peace” To The Park”

Saturday In The Park: Ho-Hum Another Jam-Packed Saturday Night

It’s a busy weekend at the Jarry Park headquarters. Not only did we have the IFL season opener and Bute-Joppy last night, UFC 82 and Marquez-Vazquez III tonight, we’re also putting the finishing touches on our brand-spankin’ new website.

Remember those promises about a newer website? Dreams do come true my friends because it’s on the way.

So, I am going to keep things short and sweet this morning. Below are a few videos to get you all pumped up for tonight’s action.

First up, a nice piece of footage highlighting the beauty that was Marquez-Vazquez I & II. On March 3, 2007, in their first meeting, Rafael Marquez defeated Israel Vazquez in the 7th to capture the WBC Super Bantamweight title. Five months later, Vazquez snatched his title back with a 6th round TKO victory. They meet again tonight at the site of their first war – The Home Depot Center in Carson, CA. I’m expecting Marquez to win another slug-a-rama.

Thousands of miles away in Columbus, OH, Dan Hednderson and Anderson Silva meet to unify the Pride and UFC Middleweight titles. As I said earlier this week, I have been looking forward to this one for a long time. However, I am going against Sam Caplan’s prediction because I believe Silva will stand a little taller yet again. He will win the battle in the clinch and despite Hendo’s wrestling skills and strength I think Silva’s prowess on the feet will prove to be the difference. The man is an amazing fighter but let’s not get carried away with the Mike Tyson comparisons. That’s one of the craziest comparisons I have heard in a long time. He doesn’t look like Mike, act like Mike and even fight like Mike. Plus, Mike doesn’t possess ninja skills like this:

Enjoy the fights, friends. Take it all in and we’ll discuss later.

A Great Day for MMA, UFC, And Don’t Forget About Elite XC

Quite the day for the sport of mixed martial arts.

First, we hear about Elite XC striking a multi-year deal with CBS to air events starting in April and then the UFC lands its first mainstream sponsor in Bud Light. So, who had the better day? Well, right now I would have to call it a draw.

Wait, what? A draw?

Yes, a draw.

I know what you’re thinking: How can landing a broadcast network TV deal be compared to just gaining one sponsor. Let me explain.

Sure, Pro Elite’s deal is beyond huge but until EXC proves that they can pull in a rating that broadcast networks expect (and there is a huge difference between what cable as opposed to broadcast networks expect) the jury is still out on the deal. WWE thought they could also be successful with Saturday Night’s Main Event in primetime on NBC and, well, we all know how that went.

I wouldn’t be surprised if NBC or FOX will now wait to see what kind of rating EXC generates before agreeing to televise UFC events. This is the litmus test. If, for whatever reason, enough people don’t watch these shows it will be very hard for Dana White to ever land that television deal he has been working to secure.

So, why is it a draw? I am calling it such because both moves strongly impact each other. If EXC pulls in great ratings, FOX or NBC will surely go after the UFC. Conversely, the fact that a major sponsor has attached itself to the UFC comes at a great time for the Elite XC because they are now looking for someone to sponsor their CBS events. Bud Light has announced that it is now longer a risk to sponsor MMA. Other than a network paying them to air their shows this is the most important obstacle they have overcome (and it’s still unclear whether Elite XC is paying CBS or vice versa).

The UFC just secured a major sponsor; one that is also associated with the NFL and the NBA. This gives them credibility in the advertising world and will no doubt open the eyes of all major corporations (and networks). It’s a move that will provide instant dividends while a lot needs to happen before this CBS deal is deemed a true financial success.

Now, don’t get me wrong, congratulations are in order for everyone affiliated with Pro Elite Inc. They will go down in history as the first MMA promotion to ever land a broadcast network deal. A year ago, EXC had just aired its first ever event and now they are the trail blazers – not the more established UFC.

I guess this means we’ll finally get an answer to the question that has been debated for the last year or so: Which three letters are most popular? MMA or UFC.

One thing’s for sure, it certainly isn’t EXC because a quick look at the articles written about the deal all have headlines that mention MMA and not EXC. Proof: Variety, Associated Press and Multichannel News all have something to the effect of: “CBS to air MMA” not “Elite XC.”

Furthermore, fiveouncesofpain.com just put up a clip from today’s episode of ESPN’s Around The Horn discussing the historic deal and, yet again, Elite XC wasn’t mentioned. Not even once. A small victory was won when J.A. Adande uttered the words “Kimbo Slice” but that was right before the break under the show’s theme song. One must pay close enough attention to notice it.

It would be silly for me to think that Elite XC is a household name so I understand why it isn’t being mentioned as much as expected but neither is MMA. I would have expected something to the effect of “CBS has agreed to air Elite XC, a new mixed martial arts league, starting in April.”

Meanwhile, mainstream articles covering Bud Light and UFC’s new partnership clearly mention the Las Vegas-based promotion in their headlines. Proof: Sports Illustrated, Multichannel News and The Canadian Press.

I’m not trying to rain on Elite XC’s parade. I think they have grown exponentially since their first show in February ’07 and continue to produce great cards and even better fights. But if anyone thinks this is a victory in itself they are sorely mistaken. There is still a ton of work to be done. Just ask the XFL.

The Park Previews UFC 82 With Sam Caplan

Sam Caplan breaks down UFC 82’s biggest storylines

There’s another loaded weekend of combat sports on the horizon so we’re going to get a head start and hit you with a preview of the big one first: The 82nd Ultimate Fighting Championship pay-per-view.

I’ve been looking forward to this card since the Dan Henderson vs. Anderson Silva main event was announced back in October. Of course by now you know the story: Title vs. Title. Pride vs. UFC. Middleweight unification. It’s all so very exciting.

Since I have a feeling that Silva-Hendo might be one of the best main events of ’08, I called upon one of the best MMA writers around – Sam Caplan of CBSSports.com, ProElite.com and Fiveouncesofpain.com – to preview the card.

The main topics discussed included:

* Comparing the buzz leading up to this event as opposed to UFC 68 (the last card held in Columbus, OH)

* Do Pride titles even mean anything anymore?

* What does Dan Henderson need to do to derail the Spider?

* Is Cheick Kongo a legitimate Heavyweight contender?

* Evaluating Heath Herring’s UFC career

* What’s at stake for Jon Fitch and how dangerous is Chris Wilson?

* What does the future hold for Andrei Arlovski, Diego Sanchez and Josh Koscheck?

Sam’s appearances at The Park are always tremendous and some of my favorites. This one was no different.

Sam Caplan – 02/27/08

Rob Yundt Gets Second Chance To Make A First Impression

The Alaskan-born fighter reflects on his UFC debut

Imagine being an MMA fighter whose ultimate goal is to someday compete for the Ultimate Fighting Championship. You’ve compiled six straight victories in your career and things are starting to look good. You decide to try out for The Ultimate Fighter 7 show but only make it as an alternate. You stay in shape but begin to wonder when your time will come. Then you get a phone call…

Agent: “Hey, listen, you know how Alan Belcher was supposed to fight Ricardo Almeida at UFC 81 in a few days? Well, he has a bad case of bronchitis and had to pull out.”

You: Yeah…and?

Agent: Well, the UFC wants to know if YOU would be willing to replace him?

You: You mean fight on three days notice?

Agent: Yeah.

You: Give me five minutes to pack my bag and I’ll be ready.

While I can’t confirm the conversation between agent Ken Pavia and Rob Yundt went exactly like that I am pretty certain that’s a close enough reenactment of it. Of course, Yundt ended up losing to Almeida in 68 seconds via guillotine choke but, fortunately for him, he recently signed a four-fight contract with the promotion and will get a second chance to make that first impression.

I spoke to Yundt about his UFC debut, his amazing Petey Williams-esque slam during the bout, when he expects to fight next and much more. Take a listen.

Rob Yundt – 02/25/08

What’s Next For Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou?

A year ago, most of us had heard very little (if not nothing) of Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou. Obviously, all that quickly changed once he knocked out Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Ricardo Arona in a span of two months.

Then, everything really changed for The African Assassin. Pride FC was purchased by Zuffa and all of sudden Sokoudjou became one of the hottest free agents in mixed martial arts. First, he was rumored to sign with Elite XC and then K-1 Hero’s. Both those deals fell through and, voila, he became the latest in a long line of former Pride stars to sign with the UFC. And, much like many of those former Pride stars, he faltered in his Octagon debut.

I hadn’t heard much from the 23-year-old since his UFC 79 loss to Lyoto Machida so I called him up and basically asked: “what happened against Machida and when are you fighting next?”(By the looks of that photo he appears to be in deep contemplation mode, eh?) I also asked a couple of other things, such as:

* The difference between fighting in the UFC as opposed to competing in Pride

* His thoughts on Machida’s post-fight comments

* Why he didn’t sign with Elite XC or K-1

* What’s up with his parents not knowing that he is a mixed martial artist

* Whether he plans on ever letting the cat out of the bag

* How his life has changed in the last year

* His budding movie career

Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou – 02/04/08

Saturday In The Park: Here Comes The Pain

I touched on this in our UFC 81 preview with John Chandler (found below) but, again, I really do get the feeling that MMA purists are hoping Brock Lesnar loses to Frank Mir tonight and quietly goes back to the “fake stuff.” I have even read some people contemplating whether tonight’s fight will be a work. I guess it makes sense. This wrestler with a weird tattoo is coming into THEIR world? How dare he! Forget the fact that the man was an amateur wrestling standout. The guy wrestled for Vince McMahon and there’s nothing else to it.

Listen, I don’t know Lesnar and was never even a huge fan of his when he did work for World Wrestling Entertainment. But that said, I do find it a little annoying to read these snarky remarks about his MMA abilities and his time in WWE. So, despite the fact that I think Mir deserves a high-profile victory after everything he has been forced to overcome, I am hoping Lesnar wipes the floor with him and then beats every heavyweight contender. Then, I pray he holds that title for approximately 10-15 years. Yeah, that’s right. 10 to 15 years of having to watch this former fake wrestler guy hold the crown jewel of the UFC. What a beautiful sight that would be.

Anyhow, to celebrate Lesnar’s long-awaited UFC debut, The Park presents his top 3 moments as a member of the WWE roster. And away we go…

3. The Debut – 2002: There I was, sitting in the Molson Centre (now known as the Bell Centre) in Montreal enjoying a good old fashioned hardcore match when this behometh jumps into the ring and starts annhilating everyone in sight. To make matters even cooler, he was accompanied by Paul Heyman. What a brilliant pairing that was.

2. The Loss – 2004: Sure, this match was highlighted by the fact that Lesnar lost his WWE title to the late Eddie Guerrero but, nevertheless, I thought it was Lesnar’s best performance in the ring mainly because he helped make us believe that a former Cruiserweight champion was worthy enough of holding that Heavyweight title. (By the way, isn’t it kind of eerie how this clip starts with Lesnar screaming “just die Eddie”? Sheesh.)

1. The Collapse – 2003: Brock Lesnar superplexes Big Show from the top rope. They land simultaneously. The ring collapses. The ring was gimmicked, I know, but it was a tremendous site.

Breaking Down ‘Breaking Point’

The very talented and knowledgeable John Chandler of MMAontap.com stopped by The Park to break down the UFC 81 card. Some of the topics we discussed included:

* Why this is the most expensive PPV in UFC history

* The reasons behind the price increase

* The marketing buzz surrounding Brock Lesnar’s debut

* The underappreciated Tim Sylvia

* Minotauro’s UFC destiny

* The return of Jeremy Horn

* Tyson Griffin’s rise up the Lightweight rankings

We also spoke about the rest of the card and what to expect from some of the key fighters in the future. Take a listen.

John Chandler Previews UFC 81 – 02/01/08

One Year Later, The Beastman Returns To The UFC

Marvin “The Beastman” Eastman’s last fight in the UFC was at UFC 67 against then-newcomer Quinton Jackson. Twelve months later, Jackson holds the Light Heavyweight title while Eastman prepares to make his Middleweight debut this Saturday night against Terry Martin. Needless to say, he is in desperate need of a victory.

Following a devasting loss to Travis Lutter at UFC 50, it took Eastman (14-7-1) more than three years to get a another fight with the company. Should he fall short against Martin it might be four strikes and you’re out for the North Las Vegas Detention Center corrections officer (Eastman lost his UFC debut to Vitor Belfort). He will head into Saturday night with one fight left on his current contract and looking to break his “UFC curse.”

The former Calgary Stampeder was actually supposed to make his Middleweight debut at UFC 77 against Damian Maia but was forced to pull out of the bout after electing to undergo eye surgery to fix a tear in his retina last September. That decision came two months following a victory over Rob Kimmons at an IFO event.

The fully-healed Eastman talked to The Park about his fight against Martin, his injury, the reasons behind his move to 185 and his future in the UFC.

Marvin Eastman – 01/31/08