Former Premier Fighter Owner Arraigned

May 28, 2009

The Omaha World Herald has more information on the arraignment of former Premier Fighter owner Matthew Anselmo. Anselmo’s reputation is spotty with corners of the MMA community but the indictment and arraignment shed light on other disturbing allegations:

A former Papillion police officer once honored by Sarpy County Crime Stoppers appeared in federal court Wednesday accused in a 27-count indictment of defrauding investors in a Ponzi scheme. He pleaded not guilty to all counts.

Charges against Matthew H. Anselmo, 37, of Bellevue, include wire fraud, mail fraud and money laundering. He promised 20 to 100 percent returns on the investments and loans, but used the money to pay off previous investors, pay off debts, gamble and buy a personal residence and vehicles, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The scheme cost 13 victims about $4 million.

“We acknowledge that some bad business decisions were made by Mr. Anselmo,” said Anselmo’s attorney, Donald Schense. Schense said those decisions do not equate to criminal conduct and said his client would be “vigorously defended” in court.

The indictment states that Anselmo told investors that their investments were risk-free. He also showed victims false documents, including a purchase agreement with the government of Cook County, Ill., in the amount of $680,000, with Tyco International for $2,998,000 and with Northrop Grumman Corp. for $7,992,000, according to the indictment.

When he could not repay investors, Anselmo gave various excuses. According to the indictment, he said: The repayment checks were in the mail; the funds were sent to a Pakistani supplier that had gone out of business; his wife had been in a vehicle crash; and he had been arrested by IRS agents.

Fighters Only: Machida Defense in September

May 28, 2009

The eagle-eyed guys over at Fighters Only caught mention on Lyoto Machida’s website that he is getting word that his next fight should be in September:

Newly-crowned UFC light-heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida (15-0) has revealed that his first title defence will be in September this year. The announcement was made on his personal website, which declares: “Next Fight! September 2009, Las Vegas, NV’.

However, Machida’s manager Ed Soares said yesterday that his client would not be appearing as a coach on the show. The UFC has yet to make official announcements on who the coaches will be.

Going on the assumption that these comments by Soares aren’t a smokescreen for an eventual TUF announcement, the logical match-up at this point for Machida would be a showdown with Shogun Rua. Their fight schedules match-up nicely, and Rua is coming off an impressive first round KO of UFC legend Chuck Liddell. No other fight makes sense or is available. Forrest Griffin is tied up with Anderson Silva in August, Rashad just got steamrolled by Machida with no one clamoring for a re-match but Greg Jackson, and Rampage will be tied up with TUF (presumbably with Evans?). The turnaround time for a season on TUF would seem to preclude a Machida – Rampage matchup.

UFC 2009: Undisputed Nabs Two Top 10 Spots Down Under

May 28, 2009

Kotaku breaks down Undisputed’s performance in Australia during it first week in release:

All Format Full-Priced Games Top 10 for the w/e May 24:
1. Pokemon Platinum (DS)
2. EA Sports Active (Wii)
3. UFC 2009: Undisputed (PS3)
4. Wii Fit (Wii)
5. Wii Play (Wii)
6. UFC 2009: Undisputed (360)
7. Mario Kart (Wii)
8. Brain Training (DS)
9. More Brain Training (DS)
10. Killzone 2 (PS3)

This is a great performance for the game in a country that currently has cagefighting, but not necessarily at the visibility level it has in other areas like the US, Canada, or the UK. The game will be a good way of socializing folks (esp the 18-34 demo) to the sport to a greater degree in The Land Down Under. Australia has been mentioned by UFC Capo di tutti capi Lorenzo Fertitta as a possible future spot for a live card, and the success of the game there would be a nice passive way of laying the groundwork for that.

GSP Makes Men's Fitness 2009 MF 25

May 28, 2009

After being a cover boy for Men’s Fitness earlier this year, UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St Pierre was named to the magazine’s 2009 MF 25, denoting the fittest guys in the world for 2009:

By dismantling UFC lightweight champion BJ Penn earlier this year, St-Pierre took ownership of the “best pound-for-pound fighter” mantle. GSP routinely kills it in the gym with strength and conditioning coach Jonathan Chaimberg, a fellow Montreal native. Chaimberg has taken him from only eight body-weight pullups per set to now banging them out with a 120-pound dumbbell attached to his waist. Normally 188 pounds, St-Pierre cuts about 20 pounds for a fight and carries only about 5% body fat. “He’s probably the most gifted athlete you’ll ever meet,” says Chaimberg.

GSP joins other luminaries on the list such as F-1 racer Lewis Hamilton, Arizona Cardinal Larry Fitzgerald, NBA superstar Lebron James, boxing’s pound for pound king Manny Pacquiao, and college footballer Tim Tebow.

When not explicitly training for a fight, GSP has to balance his business and marketing efforts with his commitment to maintaining his fighting vessel, ie his body. GSP’s manager Shari Spencer notes in her blog that when she has GSP doing PR and business related work , she makes sure to prioritize gym and workout time so GSP can keep himself sharp:

I can attest that he is one of the most disciplined guys in MMA, if not all professional sports. When we travel for promotional activities, Georges starts to go a little nuts if he doesn’t get to train, so I quickly learned not to ‘overbook’ our days so that he can work in some form of training. And if nothing else, I’ll hold the stopwatch when he’s running sprints.

It is defineitly a balancing act when handling the biz duties for the fighters, but GSP and Shari seem to have found the equilibrium point between the two.

Straka Talks With Silver Star's Luke and Charis Burrett

May 27, 2009

IBN inks deal with IMG

May 27, 2009

IBN Sports announced yesterday a partnership with IMG, a deal that could have interesting effects on the MMA media space. IBN has been making a concerted play in the combat sports area, first with a deep involvement with boxing and more recently with MMA with the signing of Karen Bryant for MMA-related programming. Bringing IMG into the picture could mean a larger play into MMA, benefiting the members of the MMA community as well as the fans.

05/26/09 — IMG Sports Media, the sports production and distribution division of IMG Worldwide, announced a preferred provider agreement with iBN Sports, a premier Internet sports network. The comprehensive three-year agreement gives iBN access to IMG’s vast library of multimedia content, and also calls for IMG to provide iBN with consulting expertise and worldwide facility utilization.

“We are extremely pleased to be working with IMG and look forward to a long-lasting venture,” said Michael Conley, Executive Vice President, iBN Sports. “This arrangement helps to ensure the long-term vision of iBN Sports as a worldwide leader in Internet TV sports programming for fans, athletes, sponsors, teams, and leagues worldwide.”

“IMG is the premier sports, entertainment and media company in the world and we are honored to be working with them for sports content streamed over the web,” said John Mudge, Chief Executive Officer, iBN Sports. “This strategic alliance is a mutual win, delivering IMG’s best in content over iBN’s robust worldwide sports network.”

“The combination of IMG’s global resources and iBN Sports’ longstanding partnerships will maximize the opportunities we can develop for iBN Sports,” added Togo Keynes, Head of U.S. Digital Media Sales & Vice President Business Development, IMG Media. “We believe iBN Sports has tremendous potential and we are excited about working together on these new initiatives and helping iBN build enriched content offerings for fans and sponsors alike.”

“We are very pleased to team with iBN Sports,” said Dipesh Morjaria, IMG’s Global Head of Digital Sales. “This venture fits our strategic plan to grow our digital broadband business and become a major provider of content for the broadband community.”

Operating in 30 countries and with 140 sales executives across the world, IMG Sports Media distributes nearly 18,000 hours of high-quality programming in nearly every sports genre and represents global rights negotiations for all forms of media including television, radio, in-flight, DVD, mobile and broadband.

IMG Sports Media advises many of the world’s leading sports governing bodies, sporting events and cultural organizations, including: International Olympic Committee, All England Lawn Tennis Club (Wimbledon), The European Tour, The Premier League, The Indian Premier League, International Rugby Board, Le Mans 24 Hours and The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews (The Open Championship).

UFC Bouying Wall Street Perceptions of THQ

May 27, 2009 reveals the news that stock analyst Brean Murray has issued a hold recommendation for the THQ stock, with the success of the UFC 2009: Undisputed videogame playing a prominent role:

Brean analyst says, “While we believe UFC Undisputed is likely to be a hit, pre-sales for Red Faction Guerilla are off to a slow start and key franchise properties under the WWE and Nickelodeon banners are expected to decline YoY, suggesting FY10 may prove challenging post F1Q results………. we think THQ shares fairly reflect the strong early reception for UFC Undisputed against the greater uncertainty later in the year. We believe further evidence that THQ’s internal development efforts can consistently deliver the hit games needed to drive leverage through the model will be needed for the stock to work higher from current levels.”

While not a buy, the hold recommendation has to be looked on with a silver lining. The company had a significant loss in its’ last quarterly filing, but the UFC’s game initial success as well as possible viability as a going franchise is giving industry touts a reason for optimism.

McNeil: UFC 101 Tickets Over 10k Mark

May 26, 2009

Franklin McNeil of ESPN Live and the New Jersey Star Ledger has the inside scoop on the brisk ticket sales for UFC 101 in Philly:

Tickets are selling extremely fast for UFC 101, which will be held August 8 at Wachovia Center in Philadelphia. More than 10,000 tickets have been sold for the event, a source close to the situation told The Star-Ledger. The tickets were made available to the public on Saturday.

With high profile match-ups like Penn-Florian and Silva-Griffin, the East Coast MMA fans are being given a card that they can really get excited about. The UFC’s last foray to the Northeast featured a less than thrilling (at the time) main event of Rashad Evans vs Michael Bisping. This time around the card has much more star power and the fans are responding accordingly.

TapouT on Forbes TV – Vid

May 26, 2009

Hat Tip to MMAWeekly

Affliction III: Daley vs. Hieron Confirmed

May 26, 2009

Sources have confirmed to that the highly speculated bout between welterweights Paul Daley (21-8-2) and Jay Hieron (17-4) has indeed been signed for Affliction III – an event tentatively scheduled for August 1st in Anaheim, California.

Daley, 27, is a former Cage Rage welterweight champion and is currently enjoying a two-fight win streak. However, his last notable fight was a three round decision loss to Nick Thompson at MFC 20 in February. The international striking sensation will look to get back to his winning ways of old – and avoid some of his previous weight cutting issues – when he climbs into the ring with the former IFL welterweight champion, Hieron.

Hieron, 33, is coming off an impressive KO victory over Jason High at the last Affliction event in January and is as tough as they come. He’s competed in numerous organizations, including the UFC and the IFL, and owns victories over the likes of Jake Ellenberger, Pat Healy, and Delson Heleno.

Although Affliction has yet to officially announce its next fight card, today’s confirmation seemingly adds yet another piece to Affliction III’s impressive puzzle. Earlier in the week, MMA Fanhouse reported that Fedor vs. Barnett had been verbally agreed to and just yesterday Gegard Mousassi announced via M-1 Global that he will be taking on Vitor Belfort on the same card.

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