Skeletal Metal and UFC to Release UFC Branded Jewelry

January 31, 2009

MMAPayout.com profiled Skeletal Metal last month and talked of the ties between SM part owner Marty Cordova and UFC owners Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta. Those ties look to have payed off for Cordova as it was announced today that the two companies will work together to offer UFC branded jewelry. The press release via FightNews.com and Fight Opinion:

Skeletal Metal and UFC Form Partnership to Release UFC® Octagon™ Line

Las Vegas, NV (USA) – The Ultimate Fighting Championship, the premier brand in mixed martial arts, today announced a strategic partnership with Skeletal Metal LLC (SKM), creator of surgical steel jewelry, to launch the first ever UFC branded jewelry. Available through UFCstore.com, the UFC line launches today with Men’s bracelets styled after the famed UFC® Octagon™.

UFC President Dana White, wearing the black Octagon Bracelet, announced the deal earlier today at the UFC 94 weigh-in event inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

“UFC is always pushing the edge when it comes to innovation in our brand,” said Dana White, UFC President. “When we wanted to create a line of UFC jewelry, we immediately turned to Skeletal Metal here in Las Vegas to design pieces that fit the UFC lifestyle and convey the excitement and energy of our sport.”

“Joining forces with the world leader in mixed martial arts to develop a new line of UFC jewelry was an easy decision for us,” said Dr. Mike Crovetti, Skeletal Metal Founder and CEO. “UFC represents a powerful demographic all over the world, and exciting new opportunities for the SKM brand.”

The Octagon bracelet is made from an actual surgical steel reconstruction plate used in orthopaedic surgery to secure broken bones. This plate has been ion plated in black for a sleek, cutting-edge look. The UFC will market the Octagon jewelry line on television, in UFC catalogues, online at UFC.com and at UFC live events. Men’s Octagon bracelets are available now via UFCstore.com for $139 (Polish/silver) and $159 (Black). Women’s Black and Polish Octagon bracelets will be available in the near future.

The Octagon line is the first of an extensive line of UFC products to be produced under the strategic partnership, which includes the support of UFC in the marketing, sales and distribution of the Skeletal Metal products.

About Skeletal Metal
Skeletal Metal (SKM) designs, manufactures and distributes a unique jewelry line with products created from surgical steel devices used in orthopaedic surgery to mend broken bones. Their product line includes rings, bracelets, necklaces, and pendants. Based in Henderson, Nevada, SKM is owned by Dr. Mike Crovetti, former MLB Rookie of the year, Marty Cordova and Anthony Bonifazio.

Luke Burrett of Silver Star Talks With Fight Ticker

January 31, 2009

Clothing company Silver Sar looks to imprint themselves on UFC fans tonight as they will sponsor Karo Parysian and Georges St Pierre on the main card of UFC 94. Brian Furby of FightTicker.com had a chance to sit down with Silver Star head honcho Luke Burrett and talk about his plans for Silver Star in the MMA space. To say he is ambitious would be an understatement:

FightTicker.com: About the contracts, what kind of deals do you have with GSP and Rashad?

Luke Burrett: One thing I want to do, what I’m trying to do is pay the fighters more than anybody else has paid the fighters, and give them a piece of the action, so when we sell product, they make money. My number one goal is to have everybody in this industry taken care of. I feel they’ve been taken advantage of for quite a while and I want to take care of the fighters.

FightTicker.com: You’ve already signed a few of the sport’s biggest names, and you’re clearly building your roster – how long do you think it will take for Silver Star to emerge as one of the pre-eminent brands on the MMA scene.

Luke Burrett: One year. We’ll be the biggest brand in MMA in one year. It’s a bold statement and it’s going to be tough, but that’s my plan.

Burrett looks to have bold plans for for his MMA venture. One of the key components to this plan will be his highest profile endorser, GSP. GSP will be wearing a signature Silver Star shirt during his entrance at UFC 94. St Pierre’s signing with Silver Star is a departure from his recent fights where he has entered the Octagon sans endorsements in allegiance with his primary sponsor, Affliction Clothing, which has been banned from UFC events. Sources indicate to MMAPayout.com that St Pierre will maintain an outside of the Octagon relationship with Affliction, but Silver Star could be a possible future in cage linch pin for the popular French Canadian.

Gina Carano Featured In Pepsi Super Bowl Ad

January 31, 2009

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The Super Bowl is a Madison Avenue mecca, where the big guns of advertising put their best foot forward. Pepsi feels that Gina Carano is ideal in getting across their message and appealing to the mainstream, as she is featured in their ad buy for tomorrow’s big game. Pepsi issued the following statement, highlighting Carano’s involvement:

A First for MMA and Gina Carano

With the launch of an updated logo for Pepsi comes a new campaign meant to signify the prevailing spirit of optimism and renewal sweeping the country. Fueling the spirit and hopefulness of youth, the “Refresh Anthem” commercial features Grammy-winning artist Will.i.am performing Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young” to a visual collage of iconic images celebrating generations past and present. Within the “Forever Young” spot, MMA powerhouse, GINA CARANO, is paired opposite Bruce Lee making her one of the first MMA athletes to be spotlighted in a national commercial campaign. The Pepsi spot is set to air during this Sunday’s Super Bowl XLIII.

Check out the full ad below:


Is NSAC Steroid Testing Toothless?

January 30, 2009

Ivan Trembow of MMAWeekly and Ivan’s Blog did some excellent investigative research into the recent steroid testing (or lack thereof) by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. NSAC has been hailed for their implementation of out of competition testing, a move seen as key in actually deterring fighters from using performance enhancing drugs. In order for these tests to be effective, though, they have to actually be administered to the fighters, something that hasn’t been done according to Trembow’s report:

The Nevada State Athletic Commission did not test any fighters on the UFC 94 card as part of its out-of-competition drug testing program.

In addition, there were no fighters subjected to the out-of-competition drug testing program who competed on the WEC event on December 3; or on the UFC events on December 13 or December 27. All four events took place in Nevada and fall under the NSAC’s jurisdiction.

When asked on January 15 if any fighters on the January 31 card had been tested as part of the NSAC’s out-of-competition drug testing program, NSAC Executive Director Keith Kizer replied, “Not yet.”

When asked earlier this week, on January 28, if any fighters on the January 31 card had been tested as part of the NSAC’s out-of-competition drug testing program, Kizer replied, “No.”

NSAC’s taking a 2+ month steroid testing holiday comes off making their steroid testing policy look weak, ineffectual, and toothless. Using the crutch of “Well, the fighter had to operate under the assumption that he could possibly be tested,” will probably be trotted out but I think would be a weak argument. You catch fighters using steroids by testing them for steroids, something that NSAC has been remiss in doing. Having an out of competition testing policy and then basically mothballing it for months at a time calls into question NSAC’s whole commitment to providing an environment that is from of performance enhancing drugs.

“The MMA Show” Launches on The Score

January 30, 2009

Score Media will launch “The MMA Show” on January 30th.

The new show features Mauro Ranallo, from The Fight Network, regarded as one of the most well known and respected voices in the world of MMA, Mixed Martial Arts.

The show, airing on The Score and The Fight Network, will finally give fans the opportunity to tune into a dedicated show that covers weekly news, highlights and interviews from the world of mixed martial arts, programmers describe.

“We are really excited about the launch of ‘The MMA Show’ and know mixed martial arts fans will be thrilled,” says John Levy, Chairman & CEO, Score Media Inc. “We look forward to delivering engaging multi-platform content and behind the scenes access to one of the fastest growing sports in the world.”

Every week viewers will be given a breakdown of the biggest events in North America and beyond. And the tone will be set during the first episode with the premiere setting the stage for arguably the biggest MMA card in history – BJ Penn vs Georges St. Pierre at UFC 94.

“It’s great to see these two companies come together to produce a show that all MMA fans will want to watch each and every week,” says Mauro Ranallo, Host, “The MMA Show.” “Both as a fan and as a host, I am eagerly looking forward to the launch of this new series.”

Don’t miss “The MMA Show” airing weekly on The Score on Fridays at 12pm and 3pm & Saturdays at 2am, 2pm & 6pm. In addition, “The MMA Show” will air on The Fight Network at 8pm on Fridays & Saturdays at 3am, 1pm and 8pm (all times EST).

For more information on “The MMA Show” visit www.thescore.com/themmashow or www.thefightnetwork.com.

ABOUT SCORE MEDIA INC.

Score Media is a media company committed to delivering interactive and authentic sports entertainment. Created in 1997 in response to the growing desire for increased participation in the consumption of sports, the Company has now established itself as the home for hardcore sports fans. Score Media’s primary asset, The Score Television Network (“The Score”), is a national specialty television service providing sports news, information, highlights and live event programming in more than 6.4 million homes across Canada. Score Media also operates Hardcore Sports Radio, a satellite radio network available across North America on SIRIUS Satellite Radio, and other interactive assets including theScore.com, ScoreMobile, and Score Poker. Growing from a team of 60 in 1997 to over 220 employees in 2009, Score Media is a revolutionizing interactive media company.

ABOUT THE FIGHT NETWORK

Launched in 2005, The Fight Network is a multi-platform, international sports and entertainment company, providing its content to fight fans on digital television, pay-per-view, VOD, radio, mobile and online. The Fight Network is the global leader in presenting and covering all combat sports, including Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), Boxing, Wrestling and Kickboxing and theme-related entertainment, through its 24/7 dedication to the sports.The Fight Network Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of TFN Global Inc., whose corporate headquarters are located in Toronto, Canada. Visit www.thefightnetwork.com.

Bloomberg News: Station Casinos Near Default

January 30, 2009

As Zuffa has seen a uptick in business as the economy worsens, the performance of the Fertitta family business, Station Casinos, has be heading in a diametrically opposite direction. Bloomberg News today reports that the company may be teetering on the edge of bankruptcy:

Station Casinos Inc., whose Las Vegas-area properties include Red Rock Casino and the two-month old Aliante Station, may be on the brink of default, making its private-equity owners a casualty of the largest recorded decline in gambling revenue.

“From a liquidity perspective, they are on the brink of bankruptcy,” New York-based Holloway said in an interview. “It depends on their ability to negotiate with lenders and willingness to amend the debt.”

Station has a bond payment due Feb. 1, according to Chris Snow, an analyst at CreditSights Inc. in New York. The payment is for $450 million of 6.5 percent notes due in 2014, Snow said. The securities now trade at 2.5 cents on the dollar, down from 70 cents in February 2008…

Zarnett recommended investors avoid Station Casino’s debt due to “deteriorating fundamentals, upside down balance sheets, lack of liquidity, high leverage and potential breach of covenants.”

Time and a “once in a century” economic downturn have contributed to present a scenario that would have been unfathomable of 5 years ago: a Fertitta portfolio where the UFC is business that is the cash cow, throwing off huge prfits and Station Casinos is debt riddled entity that is on shaky financial legs. The roles were reversed not that long ago in a Pre-TUF environment that saw the UFC continue on only because of the largess that a booming Station Casinos provided. One may wonder at what point a suite in the Zuffa offices is made ready for Frank III.

THQ Launches Official Web Site for UFC 2009 Undisputed

January 30, 2009

THQ LAUNCHES OFFICIAL WEB SITE FOR UFC® 2009 UNDISPUTED

Site to Unite Gamers and MMA Fans Alike Through Extensive Community Portal

With Exclusive Content, Developer Blogs, Forums and More

AGOURA HILLS, Calif. – January 30, 2009 – THQ Inc. today announced the launch of its official Web site for UFC® 2009 Undisputed, the company’s highly anticipated videogame based on Ultimate Fighting Championship®.  The site is now live at www.ufcundisputed.com.

The site will go live with in-game images of Welterweight Championship contenders Georges St-Pierre and BJ Penn, who are scheduled to meet in the Octagon™ this weekend for UFC 94, along with former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Forrest Griffin featured on the main page.  www.ufcundisputed.com will feature up-to-date game information and assets, including videos, screenshots and fighter renders.  In addition, the site will include detailed information about specific game features, deliver content in step with UFC’s upcoming Pay-Per-View schedule and reveal individual fighter profiles leading up to the game’s launch in Spring 2009.

The site will also offer an extensive community experience.  Branded as The Octagon™ and accessible via www.ufcundisputed.com, the community portal is slated to feature in-depth information about UFC 2009 Undisputed, including developer blogs and other exclusive content.  In addition, readers may participate in discussion forums, as well as take advantage of contests and polls surrounding UFC’s Pay-Per-View schedule and UFC Fight Night™ programming on Spike TV.

About UFC 2009 Undisputed

UFC 2009 Undisputed is an explosive fighting game that will detail the action, intensity and attitude of a UFC live event.  Players will explore a deep roster of more than 80 top fighters in UFC competition across all five weight classes.  In addition, they will enter the Octagon surrounded by the sport’s popular commentators, announcers, referees, trainers, Octagon girls and more.  Photorealistic models are at the forefront, as players will view amazing ripple effects across the faces and bodies of their fighters from the impact of devastating punches and kicks.

A brand new fighting game engine designed specifically for next generation systems will deliver innovative, responsive and easy-to-play controls that give unparalleled command of fighters, as players take down opponents with a variety of mixed martial arts disciplines like Muay Thai, Kickboxing and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.  In addition, the game’s Create-A-Fighter system will jumpstart the careers of future champions through character customization, while a robust Career Mode will develop a fighter’s attributes and skill sets while fighting to enter the UFC Hall of Fame. Furthermore, players will be able to enhance their UFC 2009 Undisputed gameplay experience through online support, including downloadable content.

UFC 2009 Undisputed is scheduled for release on the PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system and Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft in Spring 2009.  More information about UFC 2009 Undisputed can be found at www.ufcundisputed.com and www.thq.com.

Encouraging News For UFC Fighters on UFC Gyms

January 29, 2009

The AP reports that BJ Penn and Georges St Pierre will be signing with UFC Gyms. The UFC will create signature gyms branded with the fighters names that would offer the fighters royalties on the usage of their names in conjunction with the gym. The UFC are at times heavy handed in their business dealings with their fighters, but the type of structure mentioned is encouraging and looks to be expanding the revenue pie in a way that benefits both the company and the fighters. Kudos to the UFC for this:

LAS VEGAS—The Ultimate Fighting Championship has signed deals with two of its top fighters to give them signature gyms in a chain of fitness clubs planned by the mixed martial arts league.

UFC President Dana White said Thursday that the gyms will be named for B.J. Penn and Georges St-Pierre, scheduled to fight Saturday in Las Vegas for the UFC welterweight title.

White says the fighters will be paid royalties from the gyms whether they are fighting or not.

Mark Mastrov, a former 24 Hour Fitness CEO working to open the new clubs, says the fighters’ gyms will be open by the end of the year in Penn’s native Hawaii and St-Pierre’s hometown of Montreal.

Ford Thinks Outside The Box With Sponsor

January 29, 2009

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“A rose by any other name is just as sweet” is a phrase made famous by Shakespeare, and the same is true with sponsors. At the end of the day sponsor dollars are sponsor dollars. Any and all sponsor opportunities should be looked at and MMA fighter Ryan Ford is an example of this common sense approach to bringing in sponsor dollars. His most recent sponsor deal looks beyond the t-shirt, energy drink, or random .com placement and actually breaks barriers for the sport.

Ford recently signed on with underwear company Ginch Gonch to model and promote their product. He sat down for an interview with The Gay and Lesbian Times to discuss how he got the deal and other topics. I think it is smart to see that he isn’t letting the ignorance and prejudice of others guide him in the business decisions he makes, and I commend him for it. Working with this sponsor he is also helping open up the demographic that looks at MMA. The straight 18-34 male is the wheelhouse demo for those that watch MMA, but anything that can help extend beyond that into other groups is welcome, be that the Hispanic, Black, or in this case, Gay and Lesbian community.

Silver Star Making Moves In The MMA Field

January 29, 2009

Hat Tip to Fight Ticker

(SAN CLEMENTE, CA) – Georges St. Pierre, Rashad ‘Suga’ Evans, Karo Parisyan, Jeremy Horn, Rob Emerson and David Loiseau will have their signature line of shirts debuted at the Silver Star Clothing booth #22148, at the MAGIC trade-show in the Las Vegas Convention Center, February 17- 19, 2009.

Silver Star’s MMA collaboration includes: Rashad “Suga” Evans, who is known for defeating Forrest Griffin, the winner of the first season of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality TV show, and remains undefeated; UFC welterweight champion, Georges St. Pierre; one of the best welterweights in the world, Karo Parisyan; knockout master Rob Emerson; Jeremy Horn who have proved victorious against Forrest Griffin and Chuck Liddell; and David “The Crow” Loiseau. These fighters all have signature Silver Star tees honoring their athleticism and brute force, and more will be added to the Silver Star roster in the near future.

Silver Star is very excited to be working with these great fighters, and is presently in negotiations with Sean Sherk [one-time UFC lightweight champion] to bring him into the Silver Star fold.” said owner, Luke Burrett. “We have Rashad coming to sign autographs for fans and support the line at MAGIC, and I think this venture is going to be a very positive experience for all of us.”

Each high quality graphic tee made of 100% distressed cotton, and and includes foil accenting, with water-based dyes responsible for the powerful colors and no-hand-feel on the graphics. The art for these signature shirts is designed exclusively for the fighters, by Silver Star’s art team.

Silver Star Casting is a cutting-edge company that’s not afraid to break the rules. With roots firmly planted in hard-rocking and ass-kicking, its full line of men’s and women’s shirts, outerwear, fleece, headwear, jeans, shoes, belts, buckles jewelry, and watches can be found in over 2000 stores worldwide. www.buysilverstar.com

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