St. Pierre Trainers File Response with NSAC

February 26, 2009

This afternoon George St. Pierre’s camp filed a response with the NSAC regarding BJ Penn’s allegations stemming from his fight with St. Pierre at UFC 94. The complete response including detailed statements from Greg Jackson, Phil Nurse, Steven L. Friend, and John Danaher can be found here.

In a joint statement Jackson and Nurse issued the following summary:

We take our involvement in the sport of mixed martial arts serious. We hold the sport in high esteem and are honored to be two of the chosen few who are able to participate in this noble profession. We would not, nor would Georges or any of his handlers, advisors or his manager, do anything to jeopardize either Georges’ reputation or the integrity of the sport. Therefore, we believe strongly, that we have done nothing to violate Nevada State Athletic Commission rules or to otherwise impugn the outcome of UFC 94, the integrity of the UFC or the sport and that the Letter constitutes nothing more than Mr. Penn’s desperate attempt to protect his reputation and commercial value after being totally dominated by a superior athlete.

The filing also contains a proposed rule change to “avoid any possible appearance of impropriety” as it relates to greasing. The most significant feature of the proposal is the suggested use of alcohol or another solvent in a pre-fight wipe down.

Complete details of the proposed rule changes as well as the camps detailed explanation of the incident can be found here.

Intellectual Property Issues A Recurring Problem In MMA Apparel

February 25, 2009

When most look at the T-shirt business, the first thing that comes to mind isn’t necessarily corporate intrigue or strife . Any readers of our site, though, know there is no shortage of drama, legal and otherwise, in the MMA Marketplace. From bans on Cagefighter and BooYaa Wear, to Affliction’s squabblings with Kim Couture and Silver Star, apparel issues have been quite the content filler for us.

The most recent item of note is a lawsuit filed against TapouT by Justin Weber. The suit is in regards to TapouT allegedly appropriating the intellectual property of Weber. IPToday.com as the gist of it:

http://www.iptoday.com/news-archived-article.asp?id=3295&type=ip

After seeing just how fast and well Weber’s design merchandise was selling, Tapout’s management crafted a scheme to obtain Weber’s original artwork so that it could freeze him out by having a different company manufacture the Weber-designed goods. After fraudulently obtaining Weber’s original artwork, Tapout manufactured and sold thousands of pieces of merchandise bearing Weber’s designs without his permission, and without payment for the use of his artwork.

The lawsuit is pending in the Superior Court of California in San Bernardino County.

MMAPayout.com previously reported on the issue between Paul Herrera and Hitman Fight Gear over the usage of the Hitman moniker as it relates to MMA. Hitman is distributed through TapouT.

“The Fight Expo” on tap March 21-22 in Del Mar, CA

February 25, 2009

DEL MAR, California (February 25, 2009) — A massive two-day Mixed Martial Arts and Extreme Sports extravaganza, “The Fight Expo,” is coming to the Del Mar Fairgrounds, the weekend of March 21-22, in Del Mar, California.

“The Fight Expo” is the first event of its kind, infusing MMA, Grappling, Pankration, and several Extreme Sports — Motocross, Skateboarding, Harley Davidson Pulls and much more — into one giant entertainment supershow. “The Fight Expo” has chosen The Make-A-Wish Foundation of San Diego as its beneficiary with portions of proceeds from every ticket sold, charity auctions, and MMA seminars going to this worthwhile cause.

UFC announcer, Bruce Buffer, “The Voice of the Octagon,” has joined the team to create a very special event for five Make-A-Wish children suffering from life threatening illnesses, which will include the children being escorted around by American Gladiator and the World’s Most Famous Female Fighter, Gina Carano, as well as getting publicly introduced by Bruce Buffer as Honorary Fighters in the Cage. They will also have an opportunity to meet their favorite MMA Superstars from a group including Brandon Vera, Joe Stevenson, Jake Shields, Cung Le, TUF Season 8 finalist Vinny Magalhães, Eliot Marshall, the Tapout Crew (Punkass, Mask and Skrape), Dean Lister, and many more.

For Grappling and Pankration fans, “The Fight Expo” will host the 10th anniversary of Grapplers Quest Competition with 300 Submission Grappling and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Divisions, plus two mega-Superfight Divisions to crown The World’s Best Submission Fighters, totaling $25,000 in prizes.

Bud Light presents the Pankration Team Battles on Saturday night (Mar. 21), pitting two military teams, 29 Palms vs. Camp Pendleton.

Greg Jackson, coach of UFC champions Georges St. Pierre and Rashad Evans, will be conducting the inaugural 100% Make-A-Wish Charity MMA Seminar on Sunday (Mar. 22) for MMA fighters and fans.

Other event highlights include G.I. Joe star and world famous model, Channing Tatum, and other stars from the upcoming Rogue Picture’s film release, “Fighting,” 100+ exhibits selling top MMA clothing, nutrition and health products; special area for women including the “Chic Boutique,” which will have clothing, jewelry, massage therapists and an “elite” dating service; as well as the Grappling Hall of Fame award presentations by Grapplers Quest.

Proceeds from every ticket sale will benefit fundraisers for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of San Diego.

For discount tickets and more information about “The Fight Expo,” go to www.TheFightExpo.com.

For more information on Grapplers Quest, go to: http://www.GrapplersQuest.com.

For Exhibit & Sponsorship opportunities, contact Ken Schmitz of SALESFISH, the marketing and sponsorship sales agency for “The Fight Expo” at kschmitz@salesfish.com.

UFC Names Tequila CAZADORES Official Spirit Sponsor

February 25, 2009

Tequila CAZADORES(R), the number-one premium tequila in the world, is proud to announce that it has been named the Official Spirit Sponsor of the Ultimate Fighting Championship(R) (“UFC(R)”) through March 2010. UFC is the world’s leading professional mixed martial arts organization (“MMA”) that offers a premier series of MMA sporting events.

This sponsorship will provide millions of adult UFC enthusiasts with the chance to enjoy a premium brand experience as Tequila CAZADORES takes the Octagon(TM) (eight-sided mat and cage) in upcoming UFC events. Just as UFC competitors, or “Ultimate Fighters(R),” are among the best-trained and conditioned athletes in the world, Tequila CAZADORES is the world’s best-selling premium tequila because of its uncompromising quality, authenticity and heritage. The sponsorship will introduce the authentic experience and taste of Tequila CAZADORES to UFC adult fans around the world.

“We are proud to be the Official Spirit Sponsor of UFC,” said Ariel Meyer, Vice President and Brand Managing Director, Tequila CAZADORES. “UFC organization has helped create mixed martial arts into a responsible, safe sport, with strict rules and regulations for athlete protection and fair play. Today, UFC is an increasingly popular event that reaches legal drinking-age consumers in an engaging environment for adult audiences. For these reasons we are excited about this partnership along with the opportunity to showcase Tequila CAZADORES as the “Spirit of Champions.”

This sponsorship brings two complementary brands together creating a winning combination. As the Official Spirit Sponsor, Tequila CAZADORES will be featured nationally through Pay-Per-View broadcasts, digital and print media content as well as venue signage throughout the year. In addition, Tequila CAZADORES will host special adult consumer tastings, events, and promotions to support the Sponsorship.

Handcrafted in the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico, the premier agave growing region, Tequila CAZADORES is an authentic 100% agave tequila deeply rooted in heritage. This makes it the best way to salute the authentic spirit of the UFC contenders.

Thanks to MMAFighting.com for the find.

HDNet Announces Affliction Day of Reckoning Rebroadcast

February 25, 2009

MARCH IS A MONSTER MONTH OF MMA ACTION ON HDNET – HEADLINED BY “AFFLICTION:  DAY OF RECKONING”

Explosive match-up between Fedor and Arlovski to air for the first time since the live pay-per-view event – exclusively on HDNet Friday, March 13 at 10:00 p.m. ET

DALLAS (February 25, 2009) – For true MMA fans, HDNet is THE place to be this March as the network kicks off a full schedule of new MMA events, featuring the first cable network television broadcast of the blockbuster “Affliction:  Day of Reckoning” event.

“Affliction:  Day of Reckoning” was originally broadcast on pay-per-view and featured the long-awaited match-up between World Alliance of Mixed Martial Arts Heavyweight Champion Fedor Emelianenko and former UFC Heavyweight Champion Andrei Arlovski.

HDNet will air “Affliction:  Day of Reckoning” on Friday, March 13 at 10:00 p.m. ET.  The broadcast is part of an exclusive long-term partnership to air Affliction Entertainment events on HDNet in North America.

”HDNet Fights continues its mission to bring the best fighters in the world to HDNet,” said Andrew Simon, CEO of HDNet Fights.  “After watching ‘Day of Reckoning,’ there is no doubt that Fedor is the #1 pound for pound fighter in the world.  This event had the highest fighter payroll in MMA history – and the fighters delivered throughout the night.”

Also this March, HDNet will broadcast three new Mixed Martial Arts events.

On Saturday, March 14, at 9:00 p.m. ET HDNet will premiere “HDNet Fights Presents:  HEIWA DREAM 7 Featherweight Grand Prix – 1st Round.”  This event, taped in Japan on March 8, features Atsushi Yamamoto, Chase Beebe, Takafumi Otsuka, and Abel Cullum – plus the match-up between WAMMA World Lightweight Champion Shinya Aoki  and David Gardner.

Then, on Friday, March 20, it’s the debut of Sengoku as “HDNet Fights Presents:  World Victory Road:  Sengoku 7” airing LIVE from Japan at midnight PT.  The event will feature Hatsu Hioki, Hideki Kadowaki, L.C. Davis, Nick Denis, plus undefeated Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal  takes on Ryo Kawamura.  HDNet will also broadcast an encore presentation of this event at 10:00 p.m. ET on Friday, March 20.

Finally, on Saturday, March 28, “HDNet Fights Presents:  FieLDS K-1 World Grand Prix 2009.”  This is the first event in 2009 of the much anticipated K-1 World Grand Prix.   HDNet‘s partnership kicked off late last year with the K-1 World Grand Prix Finals and has featured the best K-1 fighters in the world through the K-1 Classic series – airing Friday nights at 8:00 p.m. ET.  Participants for the K-1 World Grand Prix 2009 include Remy Bonjasky, Badr Hari, Semmy Schilt, and Peter Aerts.  Timing for this live broadcast will be announced at a later date.

These events and much, much more round out a full month of MMA action this March – making HDNet THE television destination for MMA fans!

About HDNet

HDNet (www.hd.net) is a network that is original, thinks independently and delivers

unique content and provocative, authentic programming that appeals to men of all ages, delivered in true high definition.

HDNet is the exclusive, high definition home for popular, original programming, including television’s only HD news feature programs “HDNet World Report,” and the Emmy Award winning “Dan Rather Reports,” featuring legendary journalist Dan Rather.  Only HDNet goes beyond the headlines to deliver real news that is redefining the way we look at our world.  HDNet News is provocative, sometimes controversial and always relevant  – telling the important stories of our time in-depth, with attitude and with independence.

HDNet presents championship sports coverage featuring the best of Mixed Martial Arts through HDNet Fights.  HDNet Fights partners with leading MMA promoters including Affliction, DREAM, Sengoku, XFC, M1, K-1, K-1 Max, MFC, Adrenaline and more.  HDNet produces more live mixed martial arts events than any other network and HDNet’s “Inside MMA” is the hottest mixed martial arts program on television, giving MMA fans their weekly fix for everything MMA.

HDNet also delivers the world’s largest and most diverse concert line-up through the HDNet Concert Series.  The HDNet Concert Series features leading artists and bands including Coldplay, Gwen Stefani, John Mayer and more.  HDNet also features revealing lifestyle programming featuring “Art Mann Presents,” “Vegas Confessions,” “Deadline” and “Get Out!”  HDNet is also the exclusive high definition home to critically acclaimed and award winning documentaries as part of the InFocus series.   “NASA on HDNet” presents all live shuttle launches through 2010.

Only HDNet Movies delivers exclusive Sneak Previews of new movies before they hit theaters.  The HDNet Movies Sneak Preview series features top Hollywood stars in critically acclaimed performances including Gwyneth Paltrow, Joaquin Phoenix, Demi Moore, Michael Caine, Tom Hanks, Vera Farmiga, Parker Posey, Brian Cox, Matthew Broderick, Brittany Snow and Eric Bana.

Upcoming Sneak Previews include “The Great Buck Howard,” starring Colin Hanks, John Malkovich and Tom Hanks, and “Harlem Aria,” starring Damon Wayans.

In addition to being the exclusive home of Sneak Previews, HDNet Movies presents viewers with over one hundred films and an average of twenty-five  “HD Premieres” each month.    HDNet Movies viewers enjoy the best films from the classics of the 1950s-1970s, to favorite films from the 1980s and 1990s, to recently released theatrical films.

HDNet Movies offers subscribers a premium movie viewing experience in true HD, and more original movies shot entirely in HD than any other network.

Launched in 2001 by Mark Cuban and General Manager Philip Garvin, the HDNet networks are available on AT&T, Bright House Networks, Charter Communications, Comcast, DIRECTV, DISH Network, Insight, Mediacom, Time Warner Cable, Verizon and more than 40 NCTC cable affiliate companies.  For more information visit www.hd.net.

Fox Fight Game Chats With Strikeforce's Afromowitz [Video]

February 24, 2009

Carano Inks Round 5 Figurine Deal

February 24, 2009

MARKHAM, Ontario, Canada, February 24, 2009 – Known to many as the “face of female mixed martial arts,” Gina “Conviction” Carano has parlayed great ability in the cage and a glamorous look out of it to burst onto the MMA scene and in many ways transcended the sport. Now, the unbeaten star has announced she will be working with Round 5, the leader in collectible MMA figurines, to produce a figure that reflects her stardom. Carano joins an All-Star lineup of 13 MMA standouts who currently work with Round 5.

Carano, 26, gained notice for her success in the cage and has earned additional attention with appearances as “Crush” on the NBC television series “American Gladiators” and by serving as a mentor/coach on the Oxygen network series “Fight Girls.” She is also in many ways a pioneer in women’s MMA, competing in the first-ever sanctioned bout in Nevada in September 2006 and in the first female bout (boxing or MMA) on the Showtime Network in February 2007. She currently owns a 7-0 record in MMA competition.

“Gina Carano has emerged as a star, not just in MMA but in the mainstream,” said Damon Lau, Round 5 President. “As the first female in the Round 5 line, we expect her figurine to be popular among the sport’s enthusiasts as well as those who have seen her on TV or in magazines.”
“I’m incredibly blessed to be a part of so many wonderful opportunities and to now be included in Round 5’s line up of gifted fighters is another exciting privilege,” said Carano. “When I was a little girl my dad always joked about making a ‘Gina doll’ and I smile when I think it has become a reality. It is both humbling and invigorating to consider this is just the beginning with so many other gifted women whose figurines are yet to be made.”

The Carano figurine is tentatively scheduled to be released as part of Series 4, which is planned for a summer 2009 release. As in the earlier Series, Carano will maintain creative control of her likeness, including the pose, facial design and shorts. She will have a major hand in creating the final design and will benefit from a royalty agreement that gives her a considerable portion of the proceeds from the sale of her unit.

Round 5 has announced partnerships with 13 mixed martial arts stars to date, with eight figurines already available: Randy Couture, Matt Hughes, Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson and Tito Ortiz (Series 1); and Rich Franklin, Sean Sherk, Anderson Silva and Wanderlei Silva (Series 2). Series 3 figurines are scheduled to be available in April, featuring Andrei “The Pit Bull” Arlovski, “Big John” McCarthy, Frank Mir and Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira. International superstar Fedor Emelianenko has also signed on and will be in a future Series in 2009.

Round 5 collectible figures may be purchased at leading retailers such as Toys ‘R’ Us (Canada), Champs Sports and FYE. Other retailers can be found at www.Round5MMA.com/wheretobuy.php.

In addition to Carano, Round 5 plans to release collectibles of three more series of athletes in 2009, one during each quarter. Other athletes to be represented in those series are yet to be announced.

Fighters Only’ Launches US and Canadian Editions –Press Release

February 24, 2009

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Fighters Only’ – the World’s First Monthly Mixed Martial Arts Magazine Launches US and Canadian Editions – today Feb 24 2009

Fighters Only Magazine, the world’s leading mixed martial arts and lifestyle magazine, which is distributed and sold in 13 countries worldwide, today launches dedicated US and Canadian editions.

In the first US issue of Fighters Only Magazine, read a magazine world exclusive with UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta, who sheds light on the ambitious expansion plans he has for the sport, and why he believes the world’s fastest growing sport has captured the public’s imagination.

In the first interview Fertitta has granted to a sports publication, one of the leading figures and driving force behind the Ultimate Fighting Championship describes his upbringing, the early days in which the UFC struggled to break into the mainstream, outlining the events which led to its phenomenal success.

Fighters Only has been the biggest-selling, market-leading magazine in the UK with an international team of writers delivering the highest-quality news, views, features, interviews and insight on mixed martial arts for the past 4 years.

Now published every four weeks – 13 issues a year – Fighters Only reaches mixed martial arts fans in four different continents and has become the premier media source for the sport in the world, rivaling any magazine publication.

Fighters Only sees the US as the largest and most powerful market in the world for MMA, growing exponentially. Moreover, with Canada’s loyal and passionate fan base, Fighters Only wanted to deliver another version of the magazine with a more distinct Canadian ‘feel’ to give those fans an MMA publication of their own..

The Canadian launch edition of Fighters Only, also on sale today, February 24, features a world exclusive interview with UFC welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre.

On April 3 2009, a German issue will also launch, making Fighters Only the most far-reaching magazine publication on the sport anywhere on the planet.

Fighters Only magazine publishes the 50th issue of its UK edition in 2 months’ time, and the company has every intention of growing, improving and delivering – in quality – alongside the phenomenal growth of the sport worldwide.

Fighters Only magazine is already a market leader, but aims to deliver the biggest interviews – and insight – for fans, followers and the fighters themselves.

Fighters Only CEO Rob Hewitt said:

“This is a very exciting time for everyone at Fighters Only and fans of MMA. We consider ourselves to be true innovators in what is naturally an innovative industry.”

“We were the world’s first monthly MMA magazine, the first to launch a monthly digital edition, the first to deliver MMA industry awards and the first to offer readers 13 issues a year.”

“We’re now ready to bring our innovative approach to North America”

The expansion is a sign not only of the brand’s success but that Mixed Martial Arts, popularized by the UFC, is taking the sporting world by storm.

About the Magazine

* Fighters Only was the world’s first monthly Mixed Martial Arts and lifestyle magazine launching in the UK in 2005.
* By 2008 the magazine was on sale in 13 countries world wide
* Dedicated US and Canadian editions launch 24th February 2009
* Dedicated German Edition launches 3rd April 2009

Spike TV’s Telecast Of UFC 95 Peaks At 3 Million Viewers For Main Event

February 24, 2009

New York, NY, February 24, 2009 – Spike TV’s coverage of UFC 95 on Saturday, February 21 (9:00pm-Midnight) delivered more Men 18-34 (634,000) and Men 18-49 (1,244,000) than anything else on television (broadcast or cable) in its timeslot. The action-packed fight card peaked at 11:30pm with 3 million viewers for the main event featuring former “The Ultimate Fighter” champs and current lightweight contenders Diego “Nightmare” Sanchez and Joe “Daddy” Stevenson. With a bevy of exciting early-round knockouts, the three-hour Spike telecast included an unprecedented nine fights, five from the main card and four undercard bouts. The previous high for a Spike TV fight card was seven fights.

Emanating from the O2 Arena in London, England, UFC 95 aired same-day tape on Spike TV and drew a 2.2 in Men 18-49, 2.7 for Men 25-34, 2.2 for M18-34, and 2.4 million viewers

Competitively, Spike TV out drew all major sports competition in Men 18-34 and Men 18-49 on Saturday, February 21 including ESPN’s coverage of the Oklahoma-Texas NCAA college basketball game.

Politics, Not Ignorance, Delaying MMA in NY

February 24, 2009

There is a central misconception at the heart of discussion of the opposition to the legalization of MMA in New York. The opposition is not born of ignorance, but rather politics. Last October my colleague Robert Joyner provided a detailed examination of the political situation at the root of the current opposition in an article titled “Labor Politics at the Heart of MMA’s Impasse in NY.”

In brief summary, UNITE HERE is embroiled in a bitter struggle to unionize Station Casinos in Las Vegas. Coincidentally, it is also registered to lobby on the subject of Mixed Martial Arts in the state of New York. Disclosure forms show that it has actively lobbied on the topic for the past two years (See reports: here, here, here, and here). In fact outside of the UFC, it is believed to be the only group that has registered to lobby on the subject.

The labor angle was largely forgotten following a public denial by the UFC’s Marc Ratner, however, as every day passes without progress towards the legalization of MMA in NY it becomes clearer that there are forces at work in the matter far greater than mere ignorance or genuine good faith opposition.

Case in point, the recent opinion poll released by Assemblyman Reilly. The classic push poll (the use of poll phrasing to reach a desired result is staple of political lobbying) was produced by Gramercy Communcations.  From the release:

Gramercy Communications is a communications firm based in Downtown Albany that specializes in public relations, marketing, and public affairs. Founder & Principal Tom Nardacci earned his master’s degree in strategic communications from Columbia University, and his bachelor’s in history from Syracuse University.

Tom has over a decade of experience as a public relations strategist, senior public affairs advisor and communications manager. Tom previously directed public relations for the Alliance for Downtown New York, lower Manhattan’s business improvement district, and he formerly managed communications and organizing for the 40,000 member retiree division of 1199 SEIU, New York State’s largest private sector labor union. Tom has served in leadership and consulting roles on dozens of federal, state and regional political campaigns, including as a field coordinator in Iowa for a United States Presidential Candidate. (emphasis added)

For those unfamiliar with labor politics, the SEIU is one of the largest and most powerful unions in the country. Coincidentally, it is also closely aligned with UNITE HERE. Both are members of the Change to Win Coalition of labor unions and according to Wikipedia have a joint local union chapter in New York called Service Workers United.

Someone paid the group to produce the poll and appears to have had a good idea of how they wanted it to turn out. I doubt a group of outraged citizens of New York is responsible, if such a group were behind it they most surely would have taken credit. Now on the other hand if a labor union were the benefactor, they might have good reason to keep there efforts hush hush.

I suppose that the fact that the poll was handled by a pro-union firm with ties to SEIU and UNITE HERE could be a coincidence. However, considered in light of the other facts and circumstances, I believe the logical conclusion is that opposition from pro-labor forces to the legalization of MMA remains alive and well.

The UFC has chosen to ignore the labor angle in its public efforts thus far, perhaps hoping to avoid confronting the issue all together, but has it becomes increasingly clear that its opponents are more committed than previously believed to delaying/defeating the legalization of MMA in New York. As this reality becomes clearer, the time is coming when the UFC may need to call a spade a spade. The current strategy is allowing the opposition to drive the debate without exposing their true motives which gives their arguments undeserved credibility.

MMA deserves an up or down vote based on its merits, labor politics have no place in the octagon. If a debate takes place solely on the merits of MMA I am confident that the sport will be legalized in New York.  But in order for that to happen, a light has to be shown on big labor’s opposition to the bill.

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