Thursday, September 27, 2007

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Sidekick

Will Cung Le be the man to bring the sidekick the respect it deserves? Sherdog's pictures of his fight with Tony Fryklund show Le landing several sidekicks that look like they really have some oomph on them. Almost no one else has used them yet in MMA, but perhaps that's because no one knows how to use them properly. There was also a point at which no one had used a back kick or a spinning kick, and although there has yet to be a proper hook kick knockout, the back kick has shown its effectiveness in several fights.

Maybe soon he'll even whip out the skipping or sliding side kick ala Bruce Lee.

Here's hoping.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Still Got It

At least, so it seems - Frank Shamrock could possibly still be a middleweight contender.

Now, I haven't yet seen the fight, but word on the net is that Frank handled Baroni on the feet and then put him to sleep with a rear choke in the second round. Baroni says he tore his groin in the opening moments, and that may be true, but it still sounds like he got owned.

This is exciting news - if Frank can still hang with some of the better talent, there's a chance he may get crack at the top dogs in today's middlweight division - Silva, Franklin, Henderson, Kang, etc.

Unfortunately, given their history, it seems unlikely we'll see Shamrock in the UFC (though you would also have said that about BJ Penn before he came back), and the UFC seems to be poaching the top talent of it's recent acquisition, Pride FC. Except for Dan Henderson though, no middleweights have made the move, and so there could be a good number of exciting matchups if Frank moves over to the land of the rising sun.

Of course, Ninja also just fought (and won) on the Elite XC card, so perhaps a matchup between him and Frank could be next. I know I would pay (or not and download instead) to see that one.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Finally!

Frank Shamrock will compete in his first bout against a competitive opponent since fighting Tito Ortiz in, what, 1999?

I loved the guy, he was awesome. Totally in shape, one of the first cross-trainers, fought aggressively . . . and then he decided there was no competition for him, just before competition started to take off.

Frankly, I don't think he can hang with top middleweights today, but sadly, there's no way to know how he would be doing if he had continued to compete at the top. Phil Baroni is not a top middleweight, but that's a good thing. Phil has beaten tough guys, he trains with a good team, and he's probably stronger than Shamrock. If Frank manages to beat Phil, he proves he's still a viable commodity, and then I'd be real interested to see him against Franklin, Okami, Silva, Henderson, Filhio, those kind of guys.

Honestly though, after the Renzo performance, I hate to see it, but I see Frank getting straight up Menne'd.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Are Submission Doomed?

A Jiujitsu friend of mine recently told me he heard that Randy Couture said in an interview that he believed submissions will play less and less of a rule in MMA as fighters become more comfortable with them, and eventually most fights will be decided by standup and wrestling.

Recent UFCs sometimes seem to confirm this - there are UFCs where almost every fight is a knockout or TKO, but I can't think of one where almost every fight ended by submission. Yushin Okami's failure to get Rich Franklin to tap to a kimura that was tight and extended quite far also make you wonder whether more and more fighters will be able to just muscle out of them.

For my part, I just can't imagine submissions dissappearing from the game. First of all, learning to defend submissions properly requires years of jiujitsu training and practicing submissions. And I can't see why any fighter would spend years learning them and then not employ them in a fight.

The recent season of the Ultimate Fighter actually had no knockouts (some TKOs), but many submissions, and while they almost never end the majority of the fights, most UFCs have at least one or two submissions.

What I believe is changing is true is that most fighters entering the UFC today do not see themselves as submission guys, having been trained primarly in wrestling or in boxing. There's also the fact that crowds today like to see the knockout - there's not much clamoring for submissions against knowledgeable fans.

And let's not forget (let's not forget!) that both fighters having good standup can lead to a stalemate as well. Boxing and K1 both have many fights that go to decision, and in boxing that means up to 12 or 15 rounds without a KO.

What is true is that fewer and fewer fighters can expect to just impose their specialty on their opponent, whether than specialty is wrestling, standup, or submissions - fighters are just too well rounded. Submissions seem to have lost their edge when jiujitsu fighters are stall by wrestlers with good standup or kickboxers with a sprawl like crocop. But this is only natural - if you have an advantage in one area and the ability to determine where the fight takes place, you're going to win. Stand up fighters neglected their ground abilities early in the sport's history (and wrestlers their standup and submission skills), but these days it is often the jiujitsu man who fails to enlarge his skill set.

Back Of The Head

What exactly is it about blows to the back of the head that necessitates banning them in MMA? Are they more likely to result in a KO (or, more importantly, permanent damage) than blows to the temple or chin?

What got me thinking about this was the Cole VS Joe Lauzon fight from the Ultimate Fighter, and the fact that Cole was so visibly hurt by the blow. But then again, that elbow would also have hurt if it struck the temple. . .

Blows that at least glance the back of the head are almost unavoidable when the opponent turtles, and it seems like at least half of successful soccer kicks strike the back of the head. Is it silly to have a rule that is almost always at least slightly tread upon in the fight? Have you ever seen a (long) fight where Big John didn't warn the fighters at least once to watch the back of the head?

And if it's such a sensitive area, you'd think it would be possible to knock someone out from within your guard with an elbow or palm strike, particularly if they are controlling your head, but I've never seen it. And it certainly seemed to make Frank Shamrock's knees from the bottom more effective against Renzo, though again, they might be just as effective from the temple.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Say It Ain't So Royce

Man, even freakin' Royce Gracie tests positive for steroids. It's a sad day for mixed martial arts. What can you say? I guess the rumors of steroid use being persive through most sports are looking more and more true.

Of course, I have to say that Johnny Morton is even dumber than Royce for using steroids - not only did he not get his hundred grand for fighting, but NFL teams may be having second thoughts at this point. (The NY times article on his upcoming fight mentioned that he is considering offers from several teams)

Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Surprises Continue

Being a big Rampage fan, and having followed his career closely since he made his debut in Pride, I was not surprised to see him beat Chuck Liddell a second time. To me, the match seemed like a tossup, though I would have given Liddell a slight edge. I was VERY surprised to see him KO the Iceman midway through the first round.

While Mike Goldberg did say "Rampage has KO power in both hands," I'm not sure I would have agreed with that until this fight was over. Sure, he KOd Randleman, and he did knock out Cyril Abidi in K-1, but he's usually not known as a KO puncher. Most of his TKO's came the same way he beat Chuck Liddell the first time - steady pressure, slams, and then a barrage of punches. Effective, brutal, but not the one-shot KO that Liddell is known for.

Rampage's movement looked awesome in this fight, making Liddell move, but not over-extending and exposing himself to the Iceman's counters. In retrospect it's easy to say Liddell was foolish for throwing that body-shot out of the blue, but the man's never been KO'd before, and he can usually take a punch. This one was right on the button though, and Rampage followed up beautifully.

I am confused, however, by the UFC's decision to bring in Dan Henderson as the next challenger. UFC fans are barely familiar with Rampage. A win over Henderson won't boost his image much in their eyes, and a loss could be devastating. And what about Pride? Is their plan to take all of the top talent away and leave Pride as a mostly-Japanese organization? I can see some benefit in that, vis-a-vis having the top fighters all compete for one belt, but Japan is a big market, and I can't imagine they wouldn't be miffed to have their organizatoin, which was once the undisputed top dog, relegated to second-class status.

Most of the other fights on the card last night were awesome as well. Houston Alexander absolutely crushed Keith Jardine, and it was just brutal the way he slumped head-first into the canvas after that uppercut. Another huge upset for 2007. Come to think of it, Terry Martin knocking out Sallavery with a slam was pretty surprising as well. What is it about this year that insists on turning all MMA expectations on their head. If I'm ever going to take on Fedor Emelianenko, this might be the time, cause who knows what can happen these days?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

MMA In The New York Times

I love MMA, so I'm always happy to see it get more exposure in the popular media. The New York Times has an article on Johnny Morton, and ex-NFL player I'd never heard of, training for his MMA debt, and all in all, it's a good read. Certainly I'm excited about the possibilities when guys as athletic as this dude (benching 400 lbs as a reciever) want to step into the cage.

But then you get a line like this:
Together, they are teaching Morton how to compete in mixed martial arts, one of the few sports that may be more violent and more dangerous than professional football.
Now, it's a throwaway line, and it has the qualifier "may", but it's yet another example of people's reflexive view that MMA is really, really, dangerous, despite lack of any evidence. Now, MMA doesn't have nearly the participation rate, and hasn't been around as long as something like football (so it's hard to make a direct comparison), but there's substantial evidence that football is QUITE dangerous, particular for neck and spine injuries, and people have died while playing and practicing.

Of course there's danger in a sport where you Mirko Crocop can soccer kick you in the head, but there's hardly a physical activity that doesn't involve some risk of serious injury or death. To me, it seems fairly obvious that the biggest injuries come from being hit with a lot force from behind or from an angle you can't see - something much more likely to happen in football than in MMA.

Friday, May 18, 2007

New Art Of War

Having been out of Jiujitsu for the past month due to an ankle injury, I was unaware there was a new Art of War in the making, and it looks pretty good.

This time the theme appears to be "foreigners", as there is at least one lao wai involved in each of the bouts on the poster. There's a couple Koreans, including a Tae Kwon guy (I love you man, but I hope you have insurance), a few Japanese, an Italian, and, most surprising, two Indians (Ghandi, not Sitting Bull).

I had no idea there even were mixed martial arts fighters in India, but apparently there are at least two willing to come to Beijing and mix it up. I'm very excited to see if they're any good.

Speaking of which - why isn't India a sports powerhouse? They have nearly as many people as China, and they're plenty good at pressuring their kids to become doctors, bankers, or programmers, why not atheletes?

My guess is it has something to do with Commmunism, and a resulting tendency to create all sorts of special sports schools which can create top atheletes even when a lot of the population is too poor to train or eat properly.

But at some point, India almost has to become a sports powerhouse - the question is when. 2020? 2050?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

What to do with Fedor?

Pride's recent aquistion by the UFC creates a whole slew of interesting fight possibilities, but the recent exchanges between the two orgs seem as one-sided as the last couple years have been in the opposite direction. The UFC has acquired Rampage, Crocop, Assuerio Silva, and now Nogueira, and not a single big name has left for Pride.

I dearly hope that Fedor, who is now riding high on a near universal concensus that he is the baddest man on the planet, will not be forced to coast through his remaining prime years without top competition - that would be a complete travesty.

The heavyweight picture needs to be shaken up - the UFC now has too many of the sport's best, and Pride too few. And while simply switching the two division will create more interest temporarily among newer fans, for the hardcore bunch, it will be a string of rematches in a different ring/cage.

Sending Tim Sylvia to Pride might be a good start. He's huge, which Japanese fans like, and his ego will be assuaged there because they will never boo him no matter what stupid shit he says. Matches with Fedor, Alex Emelianenko, or even Japanese pro-wrestlers would be entertaining. I fear a matchup with Mark Hunt would end up with Sylvia conservatively using his reach to out-point Hunt.

Arlovski might also be interesting if sent to Pride, and the new set of competitors would let both him and Sylvia at least a couple fights in before their inevitable fourth encounter, which Japanese fans would probably appreciate more anyway.

At any rate, let's hope that the Fertittas plan on sending someone good for Fedor to fight so that the greatest fighter of all time does not languish for lack of good matchups. And if recent rumours are right that there the Fertitta's acquisition deal may not ultimately go through, let's hope they are able to acquire Fedor and bring him to the UFC.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Arlovski Not Next

www.ufcmania.com is citing a Chicago tribune article in which Dana White is quoted as saying Andrei Arlovski will not be the next challenger for the heavyweight title after Gabriel Gonzaga. Although White hinted that Andrei would be next before the Werdum fight, the lackluster action in Manchester apparently put off Andrei's title hopes for a while.

Like UFCMania, I have to agree that putting on exciting fights is a legitimate criteria for advancing fighters. As much as I like Andrei both personally and as a fan, the fight was not very good after the first round.

I don't ascribe Andrei's lack of aggressiveness as much to fear of being KOd (like many Sherdoggers) as a justified fear of going to the ground with Werdum. Fortunately, Werdum didn't seem to be doing much to take the fight there. While he may have been confused by Werdum's strategy, Andrei certainly should have stepped it up in round 3 and looked for the KO.

Of course, we should put even more blame on Werdum - did he think he was going to knock Andrei out with that bitch slap?

Despite having to wait at least one more fight for a shot, I think Andrei did the right thing. A win is a win, and he'll get a shot eventually - there are only so many top heavyweights. I think the best matchup for him now may be Crocop.

Of course, nobody has been talking about the real reason Dana White can postpone Andrei's title shot - Nogueira. You might say you make fights with the fighters you have (thank you, Donald Rumsfeld), and until now, Dana only had so many legit heavyweights, particularly after Crocop was left in a heap by a jiujitsu man. My hunch is that Dana is itching to make Nogeuira the next UFC champ, and then set him up for a string of fights with Arlovski, Cropcop, etc, before finally bringin in Fedor - because after all, who can Fedor fight in Pride these days?

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

UFC 72 - LIVE!

According to ufc.com, UFC 72 will be broadcast live on Spike TV.

Halle-fuckin-lullah.

Granted, I haven't been paying for my UFC pay-per-views, but now I can dispose of whatever shred of guilt I was supposed to have about that.

This is what we MMA fans have been waiting for. Enjoy, my brothers and sisters.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Mirko Not Crippled

According to UFCJunkie, apparently he only has ligament damage to one of his ankles. It seems I was right that his shin was basically in line with his knee and didn't twist, but I'm not at all surprised that he hurt something - that foot was turned back well over ninety degrees. Having experienced some ligament damage in my own foot while training jiujitsu recently, I feel at least part of Filipovic's pain (the part not in his head). Let's hope this means we'll see him back in the UFC fairly soon, hopefully against Kongo, Arlovski, or Sylvia.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Crocop's Future

What to do with Crocop now? The UFC cannot afford to let this guy the just signed to a huge contract just fall by the wayside, so he needs a good fight. The feed-someone-to-him approach didn't work too well with Eddie Sanchez, who avoided getting high kicked into Mirko's entrance footage, so I suggest giving him a good stand up war. If he loses, he's not fit for the top tier of the heavyweight division anyway, so better find out now. I say give him Check Kongo or Tim Sylvia - either one will almost certainly end by KO (with the off-chance of a decision), and be an instant fan-favorite. If Sylvia beats Crocop, he's right back in the title picture, if Crocop wins, he's a couple fights from being back in line.

Arlovski would also make an exciting matchup for Crocop, but something tells me Andrei is in position to fight for the title after Gonzaga unless the Fertittas bring in Nogueira or another star heavyweight from pride, and Crocop's stock with the casual fan may have dropped enough that a victory over him wouldn't do that much for Andrei, and if Crocop wins, he can't fight for the title one fight after getting KTFOd.

It may be some time before we see Crocop in the Octagon again though, considering how his leg looked after he fell in a heap. Hopefully this time he'll actually train with a cage. . . At any rate, Crocop should get a real challenge this time - he needs to prove he's worth what the UFC paid to lure him here.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

When Will It End?

Up until the Crocop-Gonzaga fight I thought I was going to get a good card with exciting fights, but unsurprising results. Then Gonzaga dominated Crocop and knocked him out IN THE FIRST ROUND WITH A HIGH KICK. Jesus, that's 3 UFCs in a row where a huge underdog has taken out the favorite in spectacular fashion. Arguably the least surprising of the 3 was Couture beating Sylvia because he did it via decision, although no one saw him knocking Sylvia down in the first.

I was impressed with Gonzaga before this fight, mainly because each time he shows up in better shape and finishes quicker, but I really think he may be the next heavyweight champion. He's definitely a bad matchup for Couture - a big man, with a great groundgame, and now some heavy striking to add to that. The elbows he was throwing against Crocop were awesome - he would grab Mirko's hand, push it down, and then throw the elbow with the same arm. That technique seems almost impossible to stop using a defensive, holding guard. The only thing I can think of is to start working for a sweep or armbar because the arm is extended, which is good for Gonzaga in other ways - at any rate I hope other fighters start using this technique as well.

It's unbelievable to me that we're going to see a heavyweight title fight where both challenger and champion were not even ranked at heavyweight a couple months ago. Except for Fedor at the top, the heavyweight rankings are in chaos - the only real winners from tonight were UFC heavies in general, as two top Pride heavies failed to deliver.

Speaking of which, what exactly was Fabricio Werdum's game plan? I know he can strike a little, and I did worry when he came with those flurries, but he only tried to take the fight to the ground like twice. Did he really think he was going to knock Arlovski out? Andrei did not deliver the riveting performance we've come to expect from him, but he won, he used good tactics, and he stuck to his game plan, which has been a problem in some previous fights. His english seems to be getting better, as he was able to do the interview with no interpretation, so I was happy to see that. Let's just hope he doesn't start sinking into a decision rut like Sylvia has. This is only his second decision in his career though, so there's no need to worry - yet.

Also, how fucked up must Crocop's leg be? Rogan kept talking about his knee, but my guess would be that his ankle is totally screwed. His shin seemed to be in line with his thigh when he was down, but his ankle was turned back 90 plus degrees, as if he'd gotten inverted heel-hooked. The way he went down was eerily reminiscent of the way Silva fell to his high kick several months ago. And why did that kick land like that anyway? It wasn't crazy fast, and there wasn't a whole lot of set up, just a kick and BOOM! Crocop must have had a very off day - aside from that middle kick he didn't have anything in that fight.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Fedor "The Rock Of Gibraltar" Emelianenko

Oh, Fedor who art wherever it is in that corrupt, cold country of yours that you liveth, hallowed be thy name. Thank you for keeping our faith alive, and providing a haven of stability for we MMA fans who have been so shaken by recent events. You didn't lose spectacularly to a huge underdog (though I almost wouldn't have been surprised these days), no, you armbarred him in the first.

In 2007 first Silva was toppled, then Sylvia, then St. Pierre, and along the way Minotoro and Arona were knocked out cold in the first minute by an unkown Judoka. But Fedor still reigns supreme. He's been untouchable for almost five years now, and despite looking like your average guy at the bar, is unquestionably the baddest man alive.

Friday, April 13, 2007

More MMA Drugs

Now Melvin Guillard gets busted for recreational drug use, but this time it's cocaine, which actually could enhance your performance, both as a stimulant and as a pain killer.

Cocaine's effects are relatively short-lived, however, and my best guess would be that Guillard was partying it up in Vegas rather than trying to give himself a physical edge (like he needs one?).

These drug tests detect the presence of metabolites, not the presence of the drug itself, and while cocain'es metabolites don't last nearly as long as marijuana, it's still unclear whether any was actively effecting him at the time of the test.

Granted, knowing they are going to be tested for these substances it's beyond retarded that these fighters put their careers in jeopardy by not staying clean for a reasonable time before the fight.

In my view there are 3 main problems with the doping regime in sports. First, the innane inclusion of purely recreational drugs like marijuana, which have no demonstrable performance enhancing properties. Second, the fact that you're testing for byproducts, so in many cases it's hard to know whether the chemical in question is still in the atheletes system and able to affect his/her performance. Lastly, the decision of which drugs or supplements are unacceptable inevitably seems somewhat arbitrary. There are plenty of supplements that are widely considered performance enhancing but completely legal to use. The reasoning behind steroid prohibition has more to do with their percieved danger than performance enhancement. And as science advances the detection and regulation regimes will always lag slightly behind the latest doping methods. In the end (many years from now)I suspect people are going to accept that atheletes have not been "natural" for a long time and will just let them do whatever they want.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Stoppages

While the stoppages in the Art of War here in China tended to be on the early side (although many turned out to be tapouts on tape review) I have to comment on the late stoppages in the latest round of Pride and UFC.

I cannot believe that Mike Swick did not get stopped against Okami in the third round. He was mounted and taking lots of punches, and while he was blocking them and trying to roll to his back, he was having only limited success through a substantial barrage of blows. For most fighters this fight would have been stopped. I understand and agree with the rational that fighters who have proved themselves competent in such situations get a little leeway (such as Tito not getting stopped in the first against Liddell), but this deprived Okami of the TKO that was rightfully his. Fortunately, Swick did escape, and he didn't get beaten to within an inch of his life, which somewhat vindicates the decision to let it continue.

There is no excuse, however, for letting Don Frye take a minute of uncontested punches from a monster like James Thompson just because he looks like Magnum PI and the ring ropes were holding him up. Frye was clearly out on his feet (and that only because he got knocked against the ropes with each punch), and his efforts to flail back at Thompson indicated how out of it he was. Yes, I know Frye has balls of steel and this is probably the way he would want to lose, but c'mon. I eagerly tell people how safe MMA is compared to boxing and how no one has ever died in the ring. Don't make me a liar guys.

Also, people are ripping on the refs for this, but what about the corner? Swick's corner would have little reason to do so, but why didn't Frye's corner throw in the towel? It's no stain on the fighter's toughness if his corner sees him getting mauled and decides to spare him further injury, so why don't they? Yes, fighters want to win at all costs, but in some situations you know there's almost no possiblity of winning - if that coincides with taking a massive beating, corners really should be throwing in the towel.

Finally, people on Sherdog who say such late stoppages make them sick seem very odd to me. Yes, on retrospect I think there need to be some changes, but until the end I was loving it seeing Frye get tooled, especially after they both went for the Frye-Takayama-hold-your-opponent's-head-and-punch routine. It was comical seeing him flail like that and I unashamedly admit I laughed at the sight. That doesn't mean I think that's what should have happened, I don't. But c'mon - at least one reason you watch MMA is to see people get absolutely knocked silly, and Frye-Thompson delivered. Don't act like you didn't like it.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

My Head Really Is Going To Explode

The Nevada State Athletic Commision just changed Nick Diaz's amazing gogoplata win over Takanori Gomi to a No-Decision because Diaz had high levels of THC metabolites in his urine.

Allow me to wretch.

Dr. Tony Alamo is officially retarded. He actually thinks that Diaz was so stoned at the fight that he didn't feel Gomi's punches, and yet he was able to whether the storm, give Gomi a beating on the feet, and then win with a gogoplata, which he presumably made up while smoking blunts back stage. Groan.

Does this guy not understand that the presence of metabolites does not equal THC in your bloodstream? Or that THC is not exactly Morphine?

And are we really going to believe that Nick Diaz would otherwise have tapped because getting punched hurts (being KOd or stopped by the ref would almost certainly be EASIER if you were either stoned or on real painkillers)? Has Alamo ever seen any of Diaz' other fights?

The fact that someone this stupid can be licensed to practice medicine in our nation fills me with dread, revulsion, and a desire to take at least 6 bong rips to get this fool out of my head.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

My World Is Collapsing Around Me

Can someone please explain to me what is going on? First Couture utterly embarasses Sylvia, and now Matt Serra, who until last night had most of his wins by decision and not a single KO or TKO, TKO's Georges fuckin' St. Pierre. In like two minutes. In Pride, Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou knocks out his second top 10 light heavyweight in as many fights. Hasn't someone told him this isn't how it works?

The UFC welterweight division is entirely upset at this point. Hughes and St. Pierre just suffered losses, Diego (was going to be the next challenger) just lost, and Serra is at the top of the heap. Who is he going to fight? I think eventually Hughes will regain the title and be toppled again by St. Pierre, but if the UFC follows its usual formula this will take probably a year. Hell, Kendall Grove could be the next champ - he was the only welter that performed to expectations.

Fedor better be kept under lock and key, there's something in the air (nervousness about the Pride acquisition) that's taking our champions down. I was happy to see Sylvia go, but no one looks safe now.

I had mixed feelings about Diego losing. A year ago I would have been delighted, but not only has it been revealed that he's a pot smoker, but Koschek fought a very conservative, boring fight strategy (although he did nail some nice jabs). Diego definitely not bring his A game - he looked tentative and afraid to let go, which seemed odd because forcing Koscheck to take him down would have been good for him. The one time they did go down he swept to mount and almost to back. Maybe he was stoned. . .

That Okami guy sure is tough, Swick had some moments at the end of the second, but he basically got schooled. Roger Huerta is a badass. That's all for now. . .

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Art Of War

So I saw Art Of War V on Saturday, took some good pictures, and came away impressed overall. The production is on TV, with a potential broadcast audience in the hundreds of millions, and the production was good overall - reminded me of a lower budget Pride (same aesthetic sensibilities, which makes sense).

The crowd was better than the average UFC crowd. While the Chinese don't go for the Japanese respectful-silence-followed-by-applause-during-grappling-transitions, there were no boos, no cries of "quit dancing you homos", although there was occassional shouting, it was more of the "jia you" (literally 'add oil', but it basically means 'go!') variety.

There must have been fifteen or so fights - it was a lot in any case.

The three guys from the Beijing JiuJitsu Academy absolutely outclassed their opponents, and all three won by strikes - their opponents (all Mongolian Judokas) briefly put Shuang Hai and Tie Quan in a bad position, but they quickly escaped, and once the judokas started getting hit they quickly folded. Ao Hai Lin's fight was even quicker - he was relentless.

Zhao Zi Long, a San Da champ who is starting out in Jiujitsu rapidly took his opponent out with stinging low kicks.

The fights between fighters I didn't know were a mixed bag. On the one hand, there were some really compelling fights, one in particular, in which the two guys landed big shots and, amazingly, didn't go down before running out the time and coming to a draw (no decisions here). On the other hand, there was some truly horrid jiujitsu on display: dropping for a footlock with controlling the leg, throwing the leg over for an armbar while paying no attention to the hips, and even not using hooks properly from the back. It's clear that a lot of these guys have seen MMA on TV, but have never had any proper instruction. I think the market is ripe for some instructional videos in Chinese, of which there are currently none.

Of course, this is only the fifth professional MMA event in China, and there's only one team fielding fighters that can actually grapple - you can't expect the UFC or Pride. But this country is soon to have the largest economy in the world, and it's leisure-loving middle class is growing daily. I don't think it's at all unrealistic to think that in 10 years MMA will have a sizable following in China, and that we will be seeing a few Chinese atheletes having success in the UFC or Pride.

The recent acquisition of Pride by the Fertittas brings new challenges to the Adoria Entertainment, the company putting on Art of War. While it's now the dominant (and only) player in China, it's going to have to work to make sure Zuffa isn't able to steamroll it's way in, buy off the top atheletes, and take the Chinese market for itself. Of course, simply selling out to Zuffa could be a lucrative option as well. . .

Monday, April 2, 2007

Art Of War Pics

Commentary to follow tomorrow. . . sorry for the delay.




Friday, March 30, 2007

Art Of War Tonight

Sweet. I'm going to see my first MMA show in China this evening. I'll post pictures (if I'm allowed to take them) and some commentary tomorrow. I'm in the third row so if I can take them, I ought to get some pretty good pictures.

Can't wait.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Freakin' Sweet

Marcello Garcia is making his MMA debut. I'm totally pumped about this - Marcello is a submission grappling wizard, and more important, he's a finisher - I don't know where to find his submission grappling record online (help?), but it seems like most of his fights end by rear choke. His arm-drag techniques are awesome, and it'll be nice to have someone in there who's actually making people fear giving up the back.

I had the priveledge to attend a Garcia seminar in 2005, and the guy was just awesome. When we sparred he shut down all my shrimping, all my upas, all my escapes without even using his hands. Definitely the real deal.

Jacare is also fighting on the card, and it seems we may be on the verge of a resurgance of the jiujitsu wizard in MMA. Recently strikers have been making all the noise, and submissions seem more and more like something to be wriggled out of than a serious sweat. The most impressive submission finishes have also bean coming from the Japanese of late. The additions of Garcia, Jacare, and Roger Gracie (who tapped Ron Waterman in the first) could change that dynamic. Granted, they're just starting out in MMA, and have a long way to go, but you have to start from somewhere.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

It's Official

The Fertitta brothers now own Pride. Sherdog has three articles on the subject, but it was this piece in the New York Times that caught my attention since it was on the main web page (albeit below the fold). Good to see the 'real' media covering the world's greatest sport, although I wonder where the article appeared in the print edition.

This looks like good news for the fans to me. The Fertittas plan on running Pride as a separate organization and keeping a Japanese flavor to it, which seems like a smart idea to me. There's a reason UFC was more successful in the US and Pride in Japan - culture matters. Now we can finally see Wanderlei (or maybe Hendo now?) VS Chuck and Fedor VS someone from the UFC (please Randy, don't, it's not a good matchup).

For the fighters, however, this represents a loss of bargaining leverage. I even heard Brandon Vera re-signed with the UFC. Aside from EliteXC, BodogFight, and a host of other orgs that have dubious staying power, there's no gigantic "other" that fighters can threaten to flee to if the Zuffa doesn't pony up. Fortunately, salaries have been rising though, and if the trend continues I won't worry. As more and more money flows into the sport I have to imagine some of it will make it's way to the fighters. And remember, Tito negotiated a raise way back when not by fleeing to Pride, but by not fighting at all. At least that's still an option.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Apparently Not

Dana says there's no deal in place to buy pride. So, he and Sakakibara are saying exactly the opposite, maybe one's lying, maybe one's trying to keep it under wraps till everything's done, who knows.

Assertion and retraction within two days - it looks like the MMA media is as reliable as the national media.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Pride Being Sold To Zuffa?

It looks like the volatility of position in the MMA world applies not just to fighters, but also to the organizations. A couple years ago people argued that the UFC could never match the salaries of Pride fighters, and as a result, Pride would always steal away the UFC's top talent and remain the superior league. Now we hear that a deal selling Pride to Zuffa is all but sealed.

It looks like the league will continue to be run separately, but there will be no barrier to cross-promotion fights, which seems like a good thing. I'm uncertain how this will affect the MMA scene in the long run. Zuffa seems to have displaced what was, for many years, the dominant competitor worldwide, but with Showtime Elite XC, and the IFL there seems to be more competition domestically. And then there's K-1, which continues to have a TV deal in Japan, but not nearly the caliber of fighters that Pride did.

At least the next few years won't be boring.

Also, although I can still post, I haven't been able to actually view the blog for a while, so I cannot respond to any comments. Blogger seems to have pissed off the great fire wall or something. . .

Thursday, March 22, 2007

This Is Getting Ridiculous

First Nick Diaz, and now Diego Sanchez have both tested positive for marijuana. For some odd reason Diego was able to pay his fine and serve the three month suspension before any MMA news outlets got wind of it. Very odd.

It's still total bullshit that they even care about this though. What does having some marijuana metabolites in your system have to do with your ability to compete in MMA?

For those who are saying it may be second-hand smoke, sorry, I was piss and hair tested at one point during college and my friends CONSTANTLY smoked around me. I even went to Amsterdam with them. You have to smoke it yourself.

Frankly though, I didn't realize Diego was this cool. I'm beginning to warm up to 'the nightmare'.

Silva/Marquardt + Ortiz/Evans

I'm pretty excited about these matchups. Silva VS Marquardt has the potential to be a boring decision, but it could easily be the fight of the night. I think Marquardt knows that as the champ Silva will have an advantage going into a decision, and he can probably out-point Marquardt on the feet, so I think Nate will have to push the action and really go for a submission. Silva by TKO in the 4th.

Tito is definitely the biggest test Rashad has had so far, and I think it will come down to Rashad's mental development as a fighter - Tito has a lot more experience and he might be able to frustrate Rashad as the fight progresses. That said, I think Rashad is a better wrestler, and a more explosive athelete. I expect him to put Tito on his back several times during the fight. I'm not sure how things will develop on the feet. Tito looked much better standing the second time against Chuck, and while it wasn't enough to stop the Iceman, it may work better against Evans. Rashad by unanimous decision.

Monday, March 19, 2007

MMA Show In Beijing, March 31st

I'm so pumped to go see my first Art of War fighting championship, May 31st here in Beijing.

I've been training with some of the fighters in the upcoming show, and they are just beasts. Two of the guys cut to 155 and the "big guy" weighs 186 now and could definitely cut to 170, and they're all stronger, faster, and more athletic than me. Overall, jiujitsu is their weak point since they come from wrestling and San Da backgrounds, but against the competition in China, Jiujitsu is their biggest advantage.

It'll be fun to see what kind of production the show has and what the competition looks like. Someday I'll be saying "I was there when MMA just started in China" and some 8 foot Chinese dude from Qing Hai will be wreaking havoc in the UFC superheavyweight division.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

OMG: Nick Diaz Smoked Weed

While there's no official word yet on whether Nick Diaz will be suspended by the NSAC or his bout with Takanori Gomi ruled a no contest, my guess is that he'll at least be suspended (which is bullshit); otherwise, why would they bother testing for marijuana?

It's amazing that people still think it's worthwhile to test atheletes for drugs that are clearly not performance enhancing, and which are almost certainly not even in their systems by the time of the event. Ross Ribagliati almost lost his gold medal in snowboarding (98?) for the same thing.

Why is it that you can still compete if you beat your wife or assault someone, but if you smoke weed it would send such a bad message if you didn't have to give up your livelihood?

Then again, Nick Diaz is mexican. Marijuana makes him want to have sex with white women, and act surly towards cops. (Headline: Reefer Crazed Wetback Gogoplatas, Rapes White Woman)

Friday, March 16, 2007

Looks Like Forrest Really Does Have Staph

One of the great things about the internet age is that we don't really have to wonder (unless you go for big conspiracies involving forging evidence, etc.) whether somebody really was injured or how bad it is.

Their buddies just videotape it and put it on youtube. This is really kinda nasty, and I can't blame him for pulling out, even a month before the fight.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

6' 4" 155 lbs.

Remember when I said the one dude in the Ultimate Fighter 5 pic looked REALLY tall.

Well, he is. His name's Corey Hill and he's 6' 4"!!!

Even more interesting, he's a wrestler, not a striker.

Can't wait to see that guy fight.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Please Frank, Retire

I hope Frank Mir reads this Sherdog article. Mir is a shadow of his former self, and should not be competing at the top levels of the sport. If he wants to hang around at King of the Cage or other B level shows, fine, but Frank, you're never going to be champ again, and you're gonna get hurt. Even in victory against Dan Christenson, the-man-who-ate-Frank-Mir looked terribly fat and out of shape, though his gas tank, which has always been very bad, didn't look much worse than before.

I agree with most of the others on Sherdog's list, but some of them could simply step down their competition levels. Coleman is never going to be a champ like Couture, but there's no reason it wouldn't be fun to see him fight Japanese pro-wrestlers, or serve as a gate keeper, provided he's willing to fill that role.

And I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Tank, but he is no longer fit for top competition. I would always love to see him in a slug-fest with some local talent though. Tank is a big enough draw though that he's probably not willing to settle for that amount of money. Please Tank, don't start thinking Abbott-Arlovski would be a good matchup.

One notable name missing from the list is Ken Shamrock. Again, Ken in King of the Cage would be fine, but he is simply not capable of beating Tito Ortiz or pretty much any other light heavy in the UFC. Please Dana, don't subject us to Ortiz Shamrock 4.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Ultimate Fighter 5

Via UFC Mania, the Ultimate Fighter season 5 is ready, and it looks pretty awesome. All one weight class, so a lot more potential matchups, and only one champion at the end.

BJ Penn and Jens Pulver as coaches, setting up a great fight between them after the finale. And damn, that guy in the back of the picture looks freakin' tall for a lightweight.

Dana seems stoked about the new season, so I'm hoping most of the fights don't go to a close decision, something lightweights have a tendency to do sometimes. At least with these guys though, there shouldn't be as much gassing and fatigue in the fights (which for heavier guys is understandable - they aren't getting to taper and rest up for the fight, but are fighting right out of hard training).

Pedro Rizzo May Be Back

Rizzo beat a very game Justin Eilers by unanimous decision in Dallas Friday night. According to the article, he actually pushed the action, and it sounds like it was a great fight. Both guys had a lot to prove, as Justin is coming back from absolute demolitions at the hands of Arlovski and Vera, and Rizzo hasn't looked good since beating Arlovski at UFC 36.

This is great news, as Rizzo is a very talented guy who never had things together at the right time in the right place to become a champion. Despite being knocked out twice in Pride, if his head is on straight I think he can stand with anyone in the MMA world, and before those two quick defeats he was known as a very durable fighter, if somewhat of a bleeder.

There's still some good fights left in him if he can keep this up. Amazingly for a guy who fought Randy Couture before he was old, he is only 33.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Elbow Inconsistency

The UFC's rules prohibit downward strikes with the point of the elbow, but apparently that only applies to strikes that are downward with respect to the floor and ceiling, not to the strikers body.

This is just silly. If those strikes are dangerous, it's because you're using the point of the elbow and have a lot of leverage striking downward, not because the trajectory is actually downward. These strikes have been used very effectively by Hughes from the sidemount, and by Anderson Silva when he had Travis Lutter in the triangle choke.

Now, I'm glad the strikes are available - I think knees on the ground should be available to, but it just seems odd to prohibit them only in when oriented a certain way.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

In Case You Haven't Seen

Apparently Nyquil is stronger than the combined fists of Babalu, Overeem, Mezger, Randleman, and Tiger White.



Sorry, not buyin the Nyquil story. If I had to guess, Chuck spent the entire night before up drinking (maybe some extracurriculars on the side to help) and showed up still somewhat drunk. He wants to fight Tommy Morrison?

What Makes Mixed Martial Artists So Durable?

Randy Couture is 43. Chuck Liddell is 37. These guys are probably the exception rather than the rule, but MMA seems to be one of those sports in which you can stay at your peak through your 30s and into your 40s. It's not the only sport like that; powerlifting records, for example, have been set by men in their forties. But most high-impact sports that require quick reactions (like basketball or football) are dominated by men in their 20s, and only the best stay around for much of their 30s. Other sports, like swimming, are even more skewed towards younger competitors, not only in terms of how long they last, but how early they become world class (Ian Thorpe could dominate the Olympics at 17, but can you imagine something like that in MMA?)

So why is this? Training for MMA is extremely strenuous. It may not have the same impact on your knees as basketball, but basketball doesn't require you to get kicked and punched and to heal from those injuries. MMA is also extremely cardio-intensive, so why can't younger guys out-hustle the Couture's and Liddell's of the world?

Captain America Strikes Again

Damn, Randy Couture is my hero. This is the second time he's made a major comeback, changed weight classes, and shocked the MMA world by winning a match many saw as impossible. The man is just not human.

I am very happy to see Tim Sylvia dethroned, and to have a class act on top of the heavyweight division again. In my mind, all of Couture's criticisms of Sylvia were borne out by his performance; he was entirely too cautious (not bothering to escape from Couture's rear mount for four minutes), and could not come up with a new game plan, sticking with the same old jab and cross. Couture epitomizes the intelligent fighter, tailoring his gameplan to his opponent. Sylvia is a lumbering, one-size-fits-all fighter who counts on his size and reach to win fights.

Speaking of Couture's game plan, his head movement in this fight was awesome. It was almost certainly what kept Slyvia from landing one of his bombs (along with the constant pressure and threat of the takedown), and shows that Couture is always improving and learning new things. If Arlovski had used head movement like that in his fights against Sylvia I'm confident he would have knocked him out.

Couture was already a hall of famer, I think he's just put himself back in the running for greatest fighter ever. Now the only question is, how will he fare against Crocop?

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Couture/Sylvia Thoughts

On paper of course, Tim Sylvia should kill Randy Couture - he's much bigger, has a better record, lots of KOs, and Couture has been getting KOd lately. In addition, Couture's last two losses in the heavyweight division (after which he moved down to light heavy to upset the Iceman at UFC 43), were to bigger men: Ricco Rodriguez and Josh Barnett. All in all, the matchup would seem to be a bad one for Captain America.

But if there's a crucial difference, it's that the two big men who beat Randy were large grapplers. Tim Sylvia may crow about his ground skills and claim to have made Jeff Monson 'gurgle', but he clearly does not have the ground skills of a Barnett or Rodriquez. If he's going to dominate the Natural, it's going to be on the feet.

And while a big man should be harder to take down, Sylvia is tall and gangly, with long legs that are just begging to grabbed. We've never really seen Sylvia's bottom game against someone with a legitimate ground and pound attack. It may be that Randy Couture has the tools to upset Sylvia and win a record fifth UFC title.

That said, I still think the odds rest with Sylvia. Call it 65/35 Sylvia.

Tim Sylvia Hating

I think Tim Sylvia probably outnumber his fans at least two to one. Not that that's bad for the UFC - I'll tune in to watch a guy I hate lose (hopefully). Now, I hate Tim Sylvia because he's Andrei Arlovski's nemesis, but everyone has his/her own reasons, ranging from his hick persona, to his petulant behavior, but when even a guy who runs a blog called "UFC Mania" calls you out for toolishness and sucking, you know you're a career heel.

So let's all raise our grasshoppers in support of Randy Couture this coming weekend!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

MMA Everywhere

I was reading Andrew Sullivan's blog (not related to MMA) when suddenly I see Bisping's face staring at me from my screen. When the sport has entered into the consciousness of gay conservative (of doubt) bloggers, we know the sport has arrived.

On an unrelated note, I forgot to comment on Shogun's performance last night in Vegas. When he tools his opponent standing, I'm always impressed by his striking abilities, and the way he can mix in the occasional jumping-reverse-roundhouse, but this fight with Overeem was the third occasion I've seen Shogun losing the fight on the feet (not getting owned, but losing). The other two were against Overeem the first time, and against Cyborg in Cage Rage. In all three of the fights, Shogun has willingly mixed it up on the feet, but eventually moved the conflict to the ground where he dispatched his opponent with ruthless bombs; that shows heart, a willingness to change strategy, and well rounded skills.

Unfortunately, I think that raises doubts about his chances against two other top 205ers - Dan Henderson and Chuck Liddell. Both of these guys have murderous fists (Hendersons having been acquired fairly recently), and both are better wrestlers than Shogun. If things were to sour on the feet for Rua, I don't see him being able to take them down, and certainly not dispatch them with punches. A submission is possible, and I like the ChuteBoxe fighter's willingness to attempt them, but neither he nor his stablemates have ever shown themselves to be real finishers with submissions.

Pride 33

One word: wow.

I can't remember the last event this good. 3 big upsets, only one decision, top fighters and great action. Best of all, it turned the MMA world upside down as much as any event can.

Nick Diaz really impressed tonight. He's always put on a good show in the UFC, but his last couple of fights he hasn't been able to really impose his will and keeps ending up on the wrong side of the judges cards. I was concerned he might be to big for 160, but looked great, and it was his height that allowed him to pick Gomi apart with striking (I loved how the commentator kept calling Diaz' striking 'unorthodox' as Gomi is swinging wildly). The finish was exceptional as well - the gogoplata seems to be THE new submission in Pride. Diaz also showed he has a chin, taking a heavy shot from Gomi and popping right back up.

For his part, the fireball kid seemed to gas very easily tonight, but I suspect that had a lot to do with the stinging shots Diaz kept landing at will on him. At the end of the first he was stumbling around the ring like he was drunk. Something must have been in the desert air last night though, because Gomi was not the only Pride superstar to forget his A game in Japan.

The most shocking upset of the night had to be Rogerio Nogeuira getting knocked out cold by an unkown Judoka; I would never have thought that a guy with his iron chin would go down in less than a minute, especially having seen the punishment he can take. Sokoudjou definitely has the physique, now he's made waves with his debut match - I'm anxious to see him fight a few more times. Maybe he can take on the former middleweight champion.

Looking back, I shouldn't have been as surprised as I was to see Wanderlei Silva crumple under Dan Henderson's left hook. Since moving down to middleweight, Henderson has developed some serious power (though usually in his right hand), knocking out many opponents, even one's you would think were better strikers, like Gono. I thought he might have trouble moving back up, but apparently not.

Henderson deserves props, but Silva didn't look like himself tonight. From the staredown, he didn't seem to have the usual aggression, and he definitely didn't fight like his usual self; much less aggressive, not pushing the action, and he didn't look like he had a gameplan. Maybe Crocop is still in his head, maybe he had problems training, who knows. What I do know is that there's no reason to write off Silva as washed up or past his prime as many on the usual forms are predictably doing. Crocop had a string of losses, Rampage got KOed twice by Silva in more dramatic fashion, and Couture suffered back to back losses to bigger men. 2 losses is hardly the end of the world. Besides, it's things like this that make MMA the most exciting and compelling sport on the planet. Fights can end in a split second, and good style matchups create possibilities unsuggested by win/loss records. Sometimes you get boring-as-hell snoozefests like UFC 33. Sometimes you get Pride 33. Sometimes theres a man, sometimes, there's a man.

UFC Rolling In Money

According to UFCmania (Via Dave Meltzer's wrestling observer), the UFC made a cool $220,000,000 in PPV buys last year

Damn. I mean, I knew they would be making some dough now that they were on cable and entering into the popular conciousness, but I had no idea. That doesn't include what they make on tickets, merchandise, or from Spike TV.

Consider also, that their fighter payrolls pale in comparison. For UFC 67, the fighters took home only $803,000, heavily skewed towards a few fighters, of course. Actually though, UFC 67 was one of the better UFCs as far as the fighters are concerned; only one fighter made the usual 3 grand, and a good half the card made five figures.

Now, I'm a proper capitalist, so I think it's fine that the UFC is making money hand over fist; I'm sure the Fertitas absorbed some losses when they first purchased the organization. But it's good to see fighter salaries going up; these guys are as hardworking as any. Here's hoping they continue to rise.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Werdum VS Arlovski in Manchester

Via Sherdog

How the world changes. A year or two ago all the trolls on Sherdog could talk about was how the UFC heavyweight division was thin (and thus Sylvia and Arlovski deserved no respect), and now the UFC is picking off Pride's top heavies one by one, leaving the undisputed baddest man in the world with fewer and fewer top opponents (Fedor/Nogueira 4 anyone?).

This is a HUGE fight, classic striker VS grappler, and presents great future matchups for the heavyweight division. I almost don't care that the UFC is apparently losing Brandon Vera. I am, of course, heavily biased towards Arlovski (trained with him), but I do feel he'll pull out the win this time, although Werdum is no long shot. If Andrei can stop the takedown, it's bad news for Fabricio; if he can't, he'd better be working on submission defense and standing up. The absurdity of MMA-Math notwithstanding, Werdum was submitted by Pe De Pano in ADCC, so it's not unreasonable to think Andrei will be able to avoid tapping in this fight either, although I think he'll have a tougher time with Werdum.

As far as the division goes, it's fantastic to be adding a top grappler to the mix, especially one who is a natural heavyweight without being ridiculously jacked (Monson). Now that Frank Mir is washed up, the submission threats above 205 have been limited to Gonzaga and Monson, who haven't distinguished themselves in MMA the way Werdum has, despite Monson's title shot.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Slate's Television Critic is an Ignorant Ass

Sigh. I love Slate. Not only do I often read articles by Christopher Hitchens and William Saletan, but I have a special place in my heart for this article, which laments the fact that a fantastic sport in which skill triumphs over brute force is being killed by John Mccain and other morality cops.

Thankfully, those days are gone for, but MMA's new popularity has attracted the attention of ignorant douches like Troy Patterson, who wrote this review after watching one and only one episode of UFC Unleashed. I found this nonsense as I was reading about Terry Gilliam's movie Brazil, and saw the words "what kind of moron watches Ultimate Fighting?" in the side panel.

Mr. Patterson proceeds to portray UFC fans as a bunch of bloodthirsty hooligans who just want to see someone go out on a stretcher. While this actually is a somewhat accurate description of 75% of the fans at live events (if you add drunk and stupid), Mr. Patterson might consider watching an actual event before making some of his startlingly wrong conclusions.

The article covers three fights: Arlovski VS Cabbage, Arlovski VS Buentello, and Shamrock VS Ortiz 1. On this basis, Patterson concludes that 1) no fights go to decision (may I suggest he watch UFC 33? And did he not realize that Unleashed is a BEST OF and fights that go to decision aren't as exciting, and more importantly, too long?), 2) All UFC fights are mismatches, especially when one guy is jacked and the other kind of dumpy (I refer Patterson to the undisputed #1 fighter in the world, Fedor Emelianenko, and to the reigning UFC champ, Tim Sylvia, who still has a saggy stomach), and 3) the paramedics see more action than the ring judges. If I remember correctly all three of these fights ended with the loser exiting the ring under their own power, with any paramedic checks purely a formality for the safety of the fighters.

I realize writers have deadlines to meet, but if Mr. Patterson isn't going to actually learn anything about the UFC (by say, going on the FUCKING INTERNET), he should kindly refrain from focusing his diarrhea of the mouth on it.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Some Thoughts on Frank Vs Renzo

Man, what a dissapointing finish, especially given the surprising competitiveness of the fight up until that point.

First, this was a freak knockout. Yes, I know strikes to the back of the head can be dangerous (what, it's not dangerous to hit the chin or the temple?), but knees from the bottom have much less leverage than the top, and if you could normally knock people out like that we'd have seen it before now.

Shame on Frank for poor sportsmanship. "I thought we were fighting?" Give me a break. If you were fighting, Renzo would have turned your face into jelly with headbutts, and then slammed a couple of knees into the side of your head, using the superior leverage that comes from having taken you down and passed your guard like it was nothing.

I've heard people say that Renzo was 'dominating' the fight, but that's far from true. He was getting owned standing, but he managed to take the fight to the ground at will. I'm sure Renzo could take me down, but he's never been considered a takedown artist. Something is seriously wrong with Frank Shamrock's takedown defense; he's younger, stronger, more athletic, and trains with the Stanford wrestling team.

And what is with Frank Shamrock's non-existent guard? Fine, you don't like sitting in the guard forever, but that doesn't mean being side-mounted is good for you. I like how he continuously strikes from the bottom (and the knees to the ribs were looking good), but to offer no resistance to the pass is foolish. I was surprised when Shamrock fought Jeremy Horn that he gave up the mount so easily, but for him to still be giving up position like this is shocking.

Finally, while it's certainly possible Renzo wanted to take the DQ for a payday, there's little reason to think that's the case, and it's basically a bogus charge. Seriously, this is the guy who got his arm snapped without flinching against Sakuraba. Renzo was taking him down at will and working for an armbar (albeit slowly and methodically), if he could continue, it makes sense that he would think he could win by submission, and win all the glory that comes with tapping out Frank Shamrock for the art of Jiujitsu.

Frank lost his cool and started to play dirty, that's what happened. I loved Frank back in the day, but I'm starting to agree with Dana White's assesment of him. No, he did not (as he said in the previews) beat every champion there ever was, and he is not the Michael Jordan of MMA. Since he left the UFC he's been fighting only average opponents, and intermittenly at that. And now, he's not even winning.