December 31, 2009
The last major card of 2009 was held just outside Tokyo, Japan last night as FEG held its annual FieLDS Dynamite!! card from Saitama Super Arena. The event drew a strong 37,000+ people and featured a host of interesting MMA bouts including Shinya Aoki, Gegard Mousasi, Melvin Manhoef, and Kid Yamamoto.
The crowd was great – at one point the announced attendance was 45, 406 – and there’s still very much something to be said for the ability of Japanese MMA to draw 37,000 people to an arena. The feeling is that a great deal of the support for this event surrounded the retirement of Masato, but the showing is nonetheless a good one for MMA as a whole.
That panoramic television view showing the huge crowd really gave the event a big time feel, and it’s undoubtedly something that North American MMA events will be shooting for in the coming years. It’s the kind of picture that communicates a thousand words, and something that would surely signal to a larger audience that MMA is legitimate. It’s hard to think that the UFC won’t try to accomplish a massive event like this within the next two years; either with GSP in Canada or BJ Penn in Hawaii.
Expect the ratings late this week or early next.
Business Story Lines
– Kid Yamamoto and Masanori Kanehara put on perhaps the fight of the night with a spirited back and forth affair. It would appear that Kid will have to re-tool his game in order to compete in the more well-rounded and competitive bantam and featherweight divisions. His ability to draw in Japan – and the appeal of him crossing the pond to fight in the WEC – will now be called into question. However, his lack of wrestling/ground game could fuel the fire for him to join a camp like Xtreme Couture.
– Alistair Overeem looked impressive, but faced a clearly over-matched opponent in Fujita. He remains committed to K-1 until late March, but Strikeforce has been adamant about getting him into the cage in time for their CBS show in April. The organization would then look to setup a bout between the behemoth and Fedor Emelianenko on PPV later in the year.
This strategy isn’t without its risk, however. Not only might there be issues surrounding the status of Overeem’s contract in the future, but the swirling allegations surrounding PED use at Overeem’s gym in Holland are also a concern. Strikeforce could invest a lot of time and money in this big fight – not really having any other clear alternative at this point – and then have it crumble as the result of a contract or a bad test. There’s always some risk involved in any fight, but it seems to be heightened in this case.
– Gegard Mousasi mentioned about a week ago that he’d likely be a part of the Strikeforce card in April, which bodes well for the CBS event that’s already likely to feature Fedor and Henderson.
– Shinya Aoki was very impressive, but the lack of respect he displayed at the end of the fight took away from the performance. It was reminiscent of Lesnar’s antics after the Mir fight, only worse because Aoki was taunting a downed opponent that wasn’t getting up any time soon.
On one hand, these gestures at the end of the fight are the types of thing that MMA’s opposition – or even the fence sitters – look at and use as ammunition as to why the sport is brutal savagery. On the other hand, it’s something that a promotion can use to fuel interest in a fighter – people like to see bad guys get beat.
– Melvin Manhoef is always so impressive on his feet. It’s a real shame that he’s stated he has no desire to work on the ground, because he could be a force in MMA with some solid take down and ground defense. That’s the real danger as a promoter, too: the guy wants big bucks, but you risk flushing that investment down the drain. Manhoef is far too one-dimensional and that just doesn’t cut it in MMA anymore.
December 31, 2009
The Fighters Only 2009 MMA Awards were held last night in Las Vegas, Nevada, and not surprisingly Georges St-Pierre, the UFC, and Tapout came away as the big winners.
Here’s the entire list of winners on the evening:
- Fighter of the Year: Georges St-Pierre
- Fight of the Year: Diego Sanchez vs. Clay Guida (TUF 9 Finale)
- KO of the Year: Dan Henderson over Michael Bisping (UFC 100)
- Submission of the Year: Toby Imada’s inverted triangle over Jorge Masvidal (Bellator 4)
- Special Achievement Award: Charles “Mask” Lewis
- Best Promotion: UFC
- European Fighter of the Year: Gegard Mousasi
- Breakthrough Fighter of the Year: Brock Lesnar
- Female Fighter of the Year: Cristine “Cyborg” Santos
- Leading Man of the Year: Dana White
- Coach of the Year: Greg Jackson
- Ring Girl of the Year: Arianny Celeste
- Best MMA Media Coverage: MMAJunkie.com
- Best MMA Gym: Jackson Submission Fighting
- Best MMA brand: TapouT
- Best MMA Clothing: TapouT
- Best MMA Shorts: TapouT
- Best Gloves: UFC
- Best Journalist: John Morgan (MMAJunkie)
December 31, 2009
Dave Meltzer of Yahoo! Sports does a good job of chronicling the injuries that have made UFC 108 “the cursed” show of 2009. Never before has a card started with so much promise and fallen so quickly.
Back in September, UFC 108 looked to be a card with the unique problem of having too many big matches.
Then, the dominoes started falling. Middleweight champion Anderson Silva’s minor surgery to repair bone chips in his elbow healed slower than expected.
Lesnar fell ill, which ended up diagnosed a case of diverticulitis, which has him out indefinitely. Light heavyweight champ Lyoto Machida had surgery on his left hand. Suddenly, with B.J. Penn scheduled for Dec. 12 and Georges St. Pierre not being ready to fight until February due to a torn abductor muscle, UFC was in a position where instead of too many title matches for one night, there were none available.
A prospective Dan Henderson vs. Nate Marquardt match to determine the top contender for the middleweight title was bandied about, but it fell apart as Henderson and UFC couldn’t agree to terms on a new contract and he signed with Strikeforce.
Then the middle of the card got gutted. Carlos Condit, Gabriel Gonzaga, Rory Markham, Griffin and Sherk all pulled out for a variety of ailments over the past six weeks. White decided to go on with the show on pay-per-view, avoiding what would be a stream of logistical nightmares in trying to make a late change in plans.
The injuries that this card has suffered have obviously made the UFC’s job a nightmare: everything from advertising, to logistics, to matchmaking has taken a hit.
The advertising and promotion for the event has likely changed 3-4 times by now – which are marketing dollars spent that now return next to nothing. Moreover, the constant changing of the fight card has to at least slightly impair the UFC’s goodwill amongst fight fans. It didn’t help that the UFC failed to correct some material for 106 and 107 that, until one week before each original date, still ran trailers for Lesnar-Carwin and Jackson-Evans.
Logistically, the injuries have put the UFC in the position of having to fulfill obligations to venues and PPV providers that the it might otherwise have wanted to avoid. UFC 108 as a PPV is much more of a problem than UFC 108 as a free gift on Spike.
Not only has Joe Silva’s hand been forced in many situations, but the ultimate product fight fans will see on the 2nd is likely to be hampered by a lack of preparation time for many of its fighters. Every injury to one fighter, affects at least one other. Jim Miller trained for three different opponents leading up to this bout, and now faces a last minute replacement that is far different, stylistically, than the opponent he’d anticipated to face previously.
The quesiton is now, trend or fluke? Javier Mendez and Greg Jackson give their different opinions on the future toll that injuries my take on MMA, but it was interesting to hear both men mention increasing competition as a critical component in the new MMA landscape.
Another by-product of MMA’s surging popularity is the impact it may have on the development of future talent. There are over 26,000 martial arts facilities in the United States – all with a growing membership base. Not only are martial arts once again seen as a popular athletic activity, but also a trendy way to get in shape. Thus, the sport of MMA can expect to see a continued influx of talent in the coming years – should the sport sustain this growth and popularity – which will ultimately boost competition levels.
If Mendez is right, this increased competition will bring greater wear and tear on the MMA fighter.
However, if Jackson is correct, this competition will push training methods to become more efficient but less intensive from an overall health perspective – train smarter, not harder. He might also be supported by the theory that better competition often comes as the result of superior athletes. Superior athletes being those that can better withstand MMA’s intensive training regimen than some of the fighters a part of MMA’s founding generation.
December 30, 2009
Welcome to MMAPayout.com’s 2009 Power Rankings!
This year’s edition features a slightly new format that considers the gross pay-per-view and gate revenue generated by each fighter in both main and co-main events. The revenue generated by an event will be split 70-30 between the main and co-main events for any given show. The switch was made to include co-main events because the appeal of many PPV shows is no longer singularly driven by the main event; fights like UFC 97, UFC 100, UFC 101, UFC 107, etc. all featured strong co-main events.
*Note that the rankings consider gross revenue – the UFC receives about half of the actual PPV revenue generated by any given event.
Observe the change in position of MMA of the UFC’s fighters from the 2008 rankings:
The results are obviously influenced by the host of factors that impede a fighter from entering the cage regularly, but in combining the results over the last two years we get to see which fighters are consistently involved in the highest grossing events. (Note: fighters that had less than 3 headlining fights were omitted for obvious reasons.)
|2008 – 2009|
St-Pierre and Mir will likely become the early favorites to lead 2010 in generated gross revenue, but BJ Penn and Lyoto Machida may not be far behind with big fights rumored for each of them in April and May, respectively.
Anderson Silva’s talent should ensure that he continues to develop as a credible draw. Although it’s too bad he was unable to jump back into the cage soon after his destruction of Forrest Griffin at UFC 101 – that momentum and another stellar performance would have put him over the top.
The wild cards here are Forrest Griffin, Rashad Evans, and Rich Franklin. Griffin lost a lot more than the fight when he was crumpled by Anderson Silva – his drawing ability saw a dramatic decrease at UFC 106. Evans simply hasn’t competed a great deal, but he could revive much of his drawing ability should he defeat Thiago Silva at UFC 108 and set up the long awaited match between he and Rampage Jackson sometime in May or June. Franklin, isn’t a contender at either the 185 or 205 weight classes, but still retains the name value from his reign as middleweight champion to be an effective secondary draw on occasion.
Possible New Entrants?
Shane Carwin – The heavyweight could easily make next year’s rankings if he is able to defeat Frank Mir in their rumored interim heavyweight title bout this Spring. It would assure him another headlining date – possibly against Brock Lesnar.
Jon Jones – The talented newcomer is set to headline his first show – albeit a cable show on Versus – in March, but could easily land in a main or co-main event role by Summer 2010. He’s too dynamic not to feature, and the UFC has big plans for this kid.
Kenny Florian – Likely the second best lightweight in the UFC, he’s a virtual guarantee – barring injuries – to be a main or co-main on the UFC PPV in Boston next August. Expect him to fight three times in 2010, and perhaps even challenge for the title once more.
Honorable mentions: Antonio Rodrigo Nogeuira, Cain Velasquez, Rampage Jackson, Vitor Belfort, Nate Marquardt, and Dan Hardy.
December 29, 2009
DALLAS (December 28, 2009) HDNet will feature exclusive coverage of “HDNet Fights Presents: FieLDS Dynamite!! 2009,” from the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan on Thursday, December 31 at 3:00 a.m. ET. Replays of the event will air on Thursday, December 31 at 8:00 p.m. ET and Friday, January 1, 2010 at 10:00 pm ET.
The combat sports world’s signature event makes its North American television debut on HDNet with 17 fights featuring the brightest stars of DREAM, Sengoku Raiden Championship, K-1, and K-1 MAX. War has been declared between HDNet’s Japanese MMA Partners – DREAM and Sengoku Raiden Championship.
“One of the greatest annual traditions in mixed martial arts is fights from Japan on New Year’s Eve, and there is a reason Dynamite!! is the most watched MMA event in the world,” said Andrew Simon, CEO of HDNet Fights. “Fight fans have been asking to see this event for years and as ‘Your Home of MMA,’ HDNet will deliver this event for the first time in North America! You can expect lots of surprises throughout the night in what is guaranteed to be the most unbelievable night in MMA.”
A challenge series between the stars of DREAM and Sengoku headlines the evening as the DREAM Lightweight Champion Shinya Aoki (22-4) faces off with Sengoku Lightweight Champion Mizuto Hirota (12-3-1), DREAM star and Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion Alistair Overeem (31-11) faces Kazuyuki Fujita (15-8), Norifumi “KID” Yamamoto (17-2) tangles with Sengoku Featherweight Champion Masanori Kanehara (15-7-5), Hayato “Mach” Sakurai (35-9-2) takes on Akihiro Gono (30-15-7), Katsuyori Shibata (4-6-1) squares off with Hiroshi Izumi (0-1), Hideo Tokoro (23-19-1) meets Jong Man Kim (21-10-3) after injury caused Marlon Sandro to back out, Tatsuya Kawajiri (22-5-2) meets Kazunori Yokota (11-2-3); and Hiroyuki Takaya (12-7-1) battles Michihiro Omigawa (8-8-1) to decide promotional supremacy.
In other highly anticipated MMA bouts, Olympic Judo Gold Medalist and highly sought- after heavyweight prospect Satoshi Ishii makes his MMA debut against fellow Gold Medalist Hidehiko Yoshida (8-7-1) Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion Gegard Mousasi (27-2-1) meets MMA pioneer Gary “Big Daddy” Goodridge (23-19-1), Melvin Manhoef (23-6-1) faces off with Kazuo Misaki (22-9-2), and the Super Hulk tournament concludes as Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou (7-4) faces off with “Minowaman” Ikuhisa Minowa (43-30-8).
In other K-1 rules action, Japanese superstar MASATO enters the ring for the final time as he faces Andy Souwer in his K-1 farewell match, Ray Sefo meets Yosuke Nishijima in a K-1 Heavyweight clash, and the annual K-1 Koshien high school tournament reaches its climax.
Mike Kogan, Director of FEG USA, “We are very excited to further our already strong relationship with HDNet and bring North American fans our year-end megashow DYNAMITE!! for the first time. This partnership between FEG and HDNet has enabled us to deliver amazing fights to fans in 2009 and we are looking forward to another great year in 2010.”
Calling the action for HDNet will be Michael “The Voice” Schiavello and Guy Mezger. They will be joined by Bully Beatdown star Jason “Mayhem” Miller!
See it all EXCLUSIVELY on HDNET!
HDNet (www.hd.net) is the independent network with unique and provocative content that appeals to men of all ages and is 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 five regular season games from the Premiere Season of the United Football League. HDNet also features the best of Mixed Martial Arts with its Friday night series, “HDNet Fights” (www.hdnetfights.com). “HDNet Fights” works with leading MMA promoters including DREAM, Sengoku, XFC, M-1, 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,” “New York 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 (www.hdnetmovies.com) 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, Eric Bana, John Malkovich, Emily Blunt, Robin Williams, Charlize Theron and Kim Basinger.
Upcoming Sneak Preview films include “Wonderful World” starring Matthew Broderick.
In addition to being the exclusive home of Sneak Previews, 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, Charter Communications, Comcast, DIRECTV, DISH Network, Insight, Mediacom, Verizon FiOS and more than 40 NCTC cable affiliated companies.
The HDNet networks can be followed via Facebook at facebook.com/HDNet1, facebook.com/HDNetFights and facebook.com/HDNetMovies and via Twitter at twitter.com/hdnet, twitter.com/hdnetfights and twitter.com/hdnetmovies.
December 29, 2009
Streaming coverage of UFC events is available on MMAPayout.com courtesy of UFC.com. Click the UFC Stream at the top of the navigation bar to catch press conferences as they are scheduled below.
- UFC 108 Pre-Fight Press Conference: Wednesday, December 30th @ 4PM ET / 1 PM PT
- UFC 108 Official Weigh-ins: Friday, January 1st @ 7PM ET / 4PM PT
- UFC 108 Post-Fight Press Conference: Saturday, January 2nd @ approximately 12:55PM ET/ 9:55PM PT
- Please note all times subject to change
December 29, 2009
Las Vegas, NV, Dec. 28, 2009 – The Fighters Only World Mixed Martial Awards Ceremony being held at The Joint by Rogue inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on Wednesday, December 30 at 7:30 p.m. has quickly become the can’t-miss event of the year. The black-tie gala, hosted by comedian John Heffron, NBC’s Season Two winner of “Last Comic Standing,” and sponsored by Bodybuilding.com, Silver Star Casting Company, TapouT and THQ’s UFC® 2009 UndisputedTM, will include a special performance by the “X” Girls from “X” Burlesque, the sexiest revue on the Strip. The entire ceremony will stream live on www.Versus.com and be nationally broadcast on the Versus Network January 6, 2010 at 9 p.m. EST and PST.
Red carpet arrivals begin at 5 p.m. featuring an impressive array of confirmed presenters and award nominees including (in alphabetical order): Quinton Aaron (“Blindside”), ESPN’s Jon Anik, Arianny Celeste (Ring Girl of the Year nominee and last year’s winner), Randy Couture (Fight of the Year nominee), Junior dos Santos, WEC’s Peter Dropick, Terry Etim (multiple nominations), Mike Goldberg, Dan Henderson (KO of the Year nominee), 11-time WSOP Champion Phil Hellmuth Jr., Heath Herring, Jay Hieron, guitar legend Scott Ian (Anthrax), comedian and television host Matt Iseman (“Sports Soup,” “Clean House”) “Inside MMA” correspondents Kenny Rice and Adam Swift (Best Media Source nominees), BMX Pro T.J. Lavin, Holly Madison (Ring Girl of the Year nominee), Gray Maynard, actress and poker pro Tiffany Michelle, Frank Mir (Fight of the Year nominee), Gegard Mousasi (European Fighter Of The Year nominee), Roy “Big Country” Nelson, Antonio “Rodrigo” Nogueira (Fight of the Year nominee), Tito Ortiz, rock icon Vinnie Paul (Pantera, HELLYEAH) Diego “Nightmare” Sanchez (Fight of the Year nominee), Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos (Female Fighter of the Year nominee), “Poker Babe” Erica Schoenberg, Wanderlei Silva (Fight of the Year nominee), Amir Sodollah, George St. Pierre (Fighter of the Year nominee), Logan Stanton (Ring Girl of the Year nominee), TapouT’s Mark, Punkass and Scrape (multiple nominations), actor Wilmer Valderrama, UFC President Dana White (Leading Man of the Year nominee) and Natasha Wicks (Ring Girl of the Year nominee), among others. Radio and television personality Dave Farra will be joined by actress and television host Alison Haislip (G4’s “Attack of the Show”) to capture all of the action on the carpet and backstage.
This groundbreaking event was created with the purpose of recognizing and celebrating the achievements of the people involved in making MMA what it is today as voted on by the sport’s loyal fan base from around the world. Voting concluded on December 5, 2009 in eighteen categories, including “Fighter of the Year,” “Knockout of the Year,” “Promotion of the Year” and the popular “Ring Girl of the Year.” A panel of industry experts votes for the nineteenth category, “Lifetime Achievement,” to honor an individual for their outstanding contribution to the sport.
“We created The Awards Show to honor those who advocate our collective goals to expand the sport of MMA,” said Rob Hewitt, President and CEO, Fighters Only. “We’re delighted at the overwhelming support we’ve received from the MMA community, the fans and everyone at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.”
Fighters Only was the world’s first monthly Mixed Martial Arts and lifestyle magazine, launching in the UK in 2005. By 2008, the publication was on sale in 13 countries worldwide. A dedicated U.S. edition was launched in February 2009 featuring content specifically generated for the largest market in the world. A Canadian edition was simultaneously launched with a German edition in April 2009, and a South African edition launched at the end of November.
Tickets start at $50 and are on sale now at The Joint Box Office, 702-693-5000, or Ticketmaster at www.ticketmaster.com. VIP tables and skyboxes are available by calling 702-577-2801. For more information about Fighters Only World MMA Awards, please visit www.worldmmaawards.com.
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December 29, 2009
The final numbers have come through on WEC 45 regarding the live gate, which allows us one final summary comparison of the head-to-head match-up between the WEC and Strikeforce that went down December 19th.
Attendance: 1,087 (161 comp)
Attendance: 9362 (1362 comp)
*Strikeforce figures per Meltzer (vastly different than the 14,000+ reported by other outlets)
It’s important to note that the two events were held in different venues and on different scales. The Strikeforce show was held at the 18,000+ seat HP Pavillion, while WEC 45 was held at The Palms in Vegas (the UFC often does 2,000 in this venue).
Further comparison of the events can be found here.
December 29, 2009
Dan Hardy fired this salvo in the direction of Georges St-Pierre earlier this week at a press conference promoting the event, and expect the frequency of these to only increase as we approach March 27th:
(Video courtesy of MMA Fanhouse)
There are three things that will draw people to a title fight:
1.) The promise of a very good bout.
2.) The promise that a dominant champion will yet again display his tremendous skill.
3.) The promise that the antagonist, if you will, is going to meet his demise.
This fight depends on the latter two.
Most people look at Dan Hardy as Georges St-Pierre’s weakest competition to date – aside from, perhaps, the first time that he fought Matt Serra – but that doesn’t mean this fight won’t draw.
Hardy poses a thread on his feet; he’s got a puncher’s chance, especially considering it’s be done with St-Pierre before. Moreover, if he continues to talk as much as he has lately, he’ll also draw the ire of many fans simply looking to see him “get what he deserves.”
Then factor in the rumored addition of an interim heavyweight title bout between Shane Carwin and the UFC’s best trash-talker, Frank Mir, and UFC 111 could very well enter the must-see, big PPV territory for even the most casual fan.
December 28, 2009
The last major card of the year, Fields Dynamite: Dream vs. Sengoku, has been finalized with the addition of Melvin Manhoef vs. Kazuo Misaki and will air on NYE morning in North America on HDNet. The 11 fight event will feature five Dream vs. Sengoku matches, in addition to the final of the Super Hulk tournament.
Sherdog’s event coverage if you haven’t already read up on the event:
Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto vs. Masanori Kanehara
Satoshi Ishii vs. Hidehiko Yoshida
Shinya Aoki (No. 2 LW) vs. Mizuto Hirota (No. 9 LW)
Alistair Overeem vs. Kazuyuki Fujita
Melvin Manhoef vs. Kazuo Misaki
Tatsuya Kawajiri (No. 5 LW) vs. Kazunori Yokota
Hayato “Mach” Sakurai vs. Akihiro Gono
Hiroyuki Takaya vs. Michihiro Omigawa (No. 6 FW)
Katsuyori Shibata vs. Hiroshi Izumi
Marlon Sandro vs. Hideo Tokoro
Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou vs. Ikuhisa Minowa
Now, according to Dave Meltzer early indications are fairly positive for the show in Japan, which bodes well for this last second alliance between former competitors. It might also be a good sign for the future of MMA in Japan as discount store Don Quijote is rumored to be interested in acquiring FEG’s MMA division which includes Dream and K-1.
The New Year’s Eve advance is strong largely due to the Masato retirement. They’ll draw 35,000 at the Saitama Super Arena for the show, which will be the biggest MMA crowd of 2009.