MMAterial Facts (01/29/10)

January 29, 2010

  • Shine International strikes Strikeforce deals
  • Harris Confirms WEC 48: Aldo vs. Faber in May on PPV
  • Gov’s plan to legalize mixed martial arts gets mixed reviews
  • Michigan promoter reveals own highs and lows during state’s drive toward pro MMA
  • “Inside MMA” to Preview “Strikeforce: Miami”,  KOTC signs TV Deal With HDNet
  • Herschel Walker ready to tackle MMA

Shine International strikes Strikeforce deals

Distributor Shine International has completed a host of deals for its Strikeforce brand internationally, selling more than 70 hours of mixed martial arts programming in Europe, Australia and Latin America.

Virgin Media Television-owned Bravo in the UK, Turner in Latin America, FX in Portugal, Ukraine’s Megasport, Seven Network in Australia and Dahlia TV in Italy have all purchased Strikeforce’s library of TV programming.

“Strikeforce is the leader in mixed martial arts content as proven by the huge demand for their programming around the world,” said Chris Grant, president of Shine International.

“They have the world’s best fighters, the world’s best events and they know how to translate that into fast-paced programming that captures what will soon be the most popular sport in the world.”

The deal covers the 30 episodes and 56 hours of fights that have aired on NBC and Showtime respectively. (C21Media)

Harris Confirms WEC 48: Aldo vs. Faber in May on PPV

The upcoming featherweight title fight between champion Jose Aldo and challenger Urijah Faber will be the first pay-per-view fight card in World Extreme Cagefighting history, WEC President Reed Harris said Friday.

“I think the Aldo-Faber fight could truly be one of the most exciting fights ever in the whole sport of MMA,” Harris said on the Dave and Mahoney Show.

Harris said an official announcement is coming within the next week or 10 days, and that he expects the fight to take place in May and cost $45, the same price as a UFC pay-per-view.

There’s no question that Aldo vs. Faber is a good enough fight to be worthy of pay-per-view. The question is whether the WEC can convince enough people of its worthiness to make the event a financial success. Non-UFC MMA events have never turned a profit on North American pay-per-view, and the WEC faces an uphill battle in making this one work, no matter how great a fight Faber vs. Aldo is.  (MMAFighting) … [MMA Payout’s Perspective]

Gov’s plan to legalize mixed martial arts gets mixed reviews

New York Gov. David Paterson’s plan to legalize mixed martial arts in an effort to raise $2 million to help close the budget gap doesn’t have much support among registered voters.

According to the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, 68 percent of registered New York voters opposed Paterson’s plan to legalize what’s known as ultimate fighting. However, 29 percent support the measure.

The institute, which is affiliated with Marist College in Poughkeepsie, found 82 percent of women and 55 percent of men disapproving Paterson’s proposal.  (The Business Review)

Michigan promoter reveals own highs and lows during state’s drive toward pro MMA

Donofrio credits the UFC with helping Michigan regulators realize the importance of bringing the sport to the state, but he also feels the sport’s biggest promotion may have added a few regulations that make true grassroots growth of professional MMA very difficult.

“It wasn’t exactly as I hoped it would be,” Donofrio admitted. “There were so many stipulations that would make it difficult for a small-time promoter to be successful. One of them was you have to have a minimum of 30 rounds (on a card), which would be 10 three-round fights. You can’t have a pro-am card. The fee to do the show is $2,000 compared to $125 for boxing. And then the fighters have to have a CT scan and EKG, all that stuff.

“So it’s kind of difficult for anybody to be profitable doing a professional show here in Michigan. That was probably by design.”

Donofrio, who is the first to admit he’s not a medical professional, thinks perhaps the extensive testing could be reserved for older fighters and those who have shown previous reason for concern. Nevertheless, the promoter admits fighter safety is of the utmost concern, and simply hopes the commission will at least revisit the fees one day in the future.

In the meantime, Donofrio is pleased that unlike a handful of states still looking to pass regulation, Michigan will no longer have to concern itself with unregulated events.

“I think the regulations in Michigan are pretty strict, but I think the rogue promoters need to be put in check,” Donofrio said.  (MMAJunkie) … [MMAPayout’s Perspective]

“Inside MMA” to Preview “Strikeforce: Miami”,  KOTC signs TV Deal With HDNet

This week the “Inside MMA” panel will preview the “Strikeforce: Miami” fight card with the following fighters joining Kenny Rice and Bas Rutten to add perspective to the event and to discuss their own journey through the ranks in mixed martial arts.  The panel features Gegard Mousasi, Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champ (and former Dream Middleweight Champ), Gilbert Melendez, Strikeforce Lightweight Champ and Tony Lopez, the Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight Champion of King of the Cage.  The panel will take a look at the Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos vs. Marloes Coenen match-up, along with the Nick Diaz vs. Marius Zaromskis fight and Herschel Walker vs. Greg Nagy.

Also, Ron Kruck files a report on the MMA debut of Walker, the Heisman Trophy winner, and former NFL running back.  Despite having several decades of experience in martial arts and being a sixth- degree black belt in tae kwon do, Walker admits he has quite a learning curve.

Also, HDNet will make a BIG announcement on tonight’s broadcast.  Don’t miss it!  (HDNet Fights)

MMAPayout Note: KOTC has partnered with Mark Burnett to produce KOTC based programming and signed a 3 year deal with HDNet for live monthly events. The first KOTC event to air live on HDNet will be the 2/12/10 show, which features Lopez v. East, Valenzuela v. Sanchez, Coca v. Cullum, Wiuff v. Kyle, and Clementi vs. Lapsley.

Herschel Walker ready to tackle MMA

Herschel Walker is most known for his accomplishments on the gridiron, but his athleticism extends further, and on Saturday, Jan. 30, he will add mixed martial artist to a stellar résumé, debuting for Strikeforce at the Bank Atlantic Center in Sunrise.

The 47-year-old Walker will face another MMA newcomer, Greg Nagy (1-1).

“I love martial arts,” he said. “I’ve loved it for years. I love the sport of it. When I saw MMA years ago, I fell in love with it.

“They’ve cleaned it up so much that it is now a mainstream sport, and I wanted to get involved in it. There are incredible athletes doing it, and I want to consider myself a good athlete, and that’s the reason I want to do it.”

A very good athlete, Walker, a 6-1, 220-pound former running back with the University of Georgia, Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings, holds a fifth degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and boasts additional training in Kenpo karate and Muay Thai.

“People have to know that I love this sport [MMA], but I am green,” he noted. “I’m not stepping into this sport, fighting for a belt, `Oh, I want to be heavyweight champion.’ No.

“I’m stepping into this sport because I love it and to fight people who are trying to grow like I’m trying to grow. I don’t know how far I’m going to go and how long I’m going to be in it.”  (Miami Herald)

***

Drive to compete powers Walker’s jump to MMA

“This is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” the 6-foot-1, 220-pound Walker said. “This was a very tough sport for me. … Every muscle in your body is sore.”

He added that his MMA instruction was even tougher than the grueling NFL training camps he endured for 12 seasons in the sweltering heat. Walker said that in football, a play goes for eight seconds and then players have 30 seconds to rest. In MMA, athletes don’t have such a luxury.

Even his Tae Kwon Do skills were somewhat neutralized, saying he had to, in essence, forget about that fighting style and enter his training with a completely open mind.

Walker, who said he’s an avid fan of MMA and watching it inspired him to enter the sport, is thankful to Strikeforce for giving him a shot. For a company looking to raise its profile any way it can, this was a simple decision. In announcing Walker’s signing in September, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker said, “I flew to L.A. last month to watch Herschel train and was surprised to see his advanced wrestling and striking abilities. He’s got work ahead of him.”

Coker’s company has plenty of work to do too. Strikeforce is the No. 2 MMA company in the United States, behind the juggernaut Ultimate Fighting Championship. Not many sports bosses are going to travel to watch a guy pushing 50. But, Walker brings a known name and will attract mainstream interest.  (Fox Sports)

QUICK HITS

  • MMA fighting: Herschel Walker faces new challenge at 47 (Miami Herald)
  • ESPN Primer: Strikeforce: Miami’ (ESPN)
  • COENEN READY TO GO TOE-TO-TOE WITH CYBORG (MMAWeekly)
  • The future of women’s MMA (Baltimore Sun)
  • Nick Diaz getting back in cage (Lodi News)
  • Cyborg Santos ‘Ready for War’ With Marloes Coenen (MMAFighting)
  • Shamrock gives Coenen a shot at ‘Cyborg’ upset (Cage Fighter)
  • Diaz, Manhoef tabbed to earn victories at Strikeforce: Miami (Sports Illustrated)
  • Strike Force Miami (Sun Sentinel)
  • Nagy Ready to Seize his ‘Opportunity of a Lifetime’ (Sherdog)
  • Lawler: I’ll take my chances on the feet against Manhoef (USA Today)
  • Melvin Manhoef Coming to Strikeforce for ‘American Dream’ (MMAFighting)
  • Wes Sims promises Hogan legdrop on Lashley (USA Today)
  • Five Burning Questions for Strikeforce in 2010 (MMAFighting)
  • Five Burning Questions for WEC in 2010 (MMAFighting)
  • Intimidation Clothing Sponsors Greg Nagy at Strikeforce Miami (Email Wire)
  • 5 Heavyweights Strikeforce Needs to Sign (Fight Magazine)
  • Matrix Fights to launch in Philadelphia on Feb. 27 with Matt Makowski vs. LeVon Maynard (5OzsOfPain)
  • Ultimate fighting a knockout and bound for Sydney (Cumberland Courier)
  • King of Cage competition producer returns home (U.S. Marine Corps Bases Japan)
  • Marloes Coenen: Survival of the Fittest (Fight Magazine)
  • DREAM LIGHTWEIGHTS HEADED TO STRIKEFORCE (MMAWeekly)
  • HIERON/RIGGS WINNER LIKELY TO GET TITLE SHOT (MMAWeekly)
  • DREAM Roughs Out 2010 Plans, Korea Possible (MMAWeekly)
  • King Of The Cage Japan: “Toryumon” Preview (MMARising)

VIDEO OF THE DAY

  • Inside MMA Preview (01/29/10): Guests Gegard Mousasi, Gilbert Melendez and Tony Lopez weigh in on the latest in mixed martial arts news with hosts Kenny Rice and Bas Rutten. Also, reporter Ron Kruck previews the upcoming Strikeforce: Miami fight card.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

Updates on the attendance for the past two shows. The Jan. 2 show drew 13,529 fans in total according to the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Those are different numbers than announced that night or numbers from the building. The live attendance and gate were the same as we reported, with 8,004 paying $1,969,670, so there were 5,314 comp tickets, and of those paid tickets, a couple of thousand were casino buys, so there were actually more fans who didn’t pay for tickets in the arena than paid. (Dave Meltzer commenting on UFC 108 attendance, Wrestling Observer)

TV LISTINGS

  • HDNet Fights Presents K-1 Classics (Musashi Tribute) at 8 PM ET on HDNet (01/29/10)
  • InsideMMA (Gegard Mousasi, Gilbert Melendez, & Tony Lopez) at 9 PM ET on HDNet (01/29/10)
  • HDNet Fights Presents Best of DREAM Super Hulk GP at 10 PM ET on HDNet (01/29/10)
  • Best of Pride FC at 10 PM ET/PT on Spike (01/29/10)
  • Strikeforce Miami: Diaz vs Zaromskis at 10 PM ET/PT on Showtime (01/30/10)
  • Countdown to UFC 109 at 12:30 AM ET/PT on Spike (01/30/10)

UPCOMING EVENTS

  • Strikeforce Miami: Diaz vs Zaromskis at 10 PM ET/PT on Showtime (01/30/10)
  • FCF 39: Women’s 135 lbs Grand Prix: Opening Round on PPV (01/30/10)
  • KOTC: Toryumon from Okinawa, Japan on PPV (01/30/10)
  • UFC 109 at 10 PM ET on PPV (02/06/10)

Harris Confirms WEC 48: Aldo vs. Faber in May on PPV

January 29, 2010

The Dave and Mahoney Show sat down with Reed Harris to discuss many things related to the WEC including talk about the company’s debut on PPV this May.

There’s more to the interview than just talk of the PPV, but here’s a summary of the more pertinent points:

  • WEC 48: Aldo vs. Faber will happen in May on PPV
  • Harris believes Aldo-Faber could be one of the greatest fights ever
  • No location yet; looking at announcement in next few days or weeks
  • Harris wants $44.95 for price, but it’s not decided yet
  • He thinks hardcore fans will pay for the fight, and believes he’ll be able to bring casual fights in for fight

Payout Perspective:

The UFC brand has built a tremendous amount of goodwill over the last 5 years, which is why it can be guaranteed to pull 300,000 buys on every card regardless of its actual quality. While the WEC’s card might be just as entertaining as those of the UFC, the perception in the mind of the consumer will likely be very different. Thus, charging $44.95 will be a difficult sell for the company.

The price the WEC sets for this card also has to fit with its long-term objectives. If the WEC is looking to establish a sustainable PPV business model, then the price of its cards must be a consistent reflection of the perceived quality that consumers are getting out of their purchase. In other words, if the plan is for more than just one WEC PPV, this price must be a function of not just what Aldo-Faber are worth, but the brand’s equity and its host of offerings moving forward.

—–

The topic also leads into an interesting discussion as to what the follow-up plan may be: whom do they use in the 2nd PPV, how do they work to build the equity in more than just the main event guys, what is required of their PR/marketing team to get that brand image to the next level, etc.

Tonight's "Inside MMA" to Preview "Strikeforce: Miami"

January 29, 2010

WHAT: This week the “Inside MMA” panel will preview the “Strikeforce: Miami” fight card with the following fighters joining Kenny Rice and Bas Rutten to add perspective to the event and to discuss their own journey through the ranks in mixed martial arts.  The panel features Gegard Mousasi, Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champ (and former Dream Middleweight Champ), Gilbert Melendez, Strikeforce Lightweight Champ and Tony Lopez, the Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight Champion of King of the Cage.  The panel will take a look at the Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos vs. Marloes Coenen match-up, along with the Nick Diaz vs. Marius Zaromskis fight and Herschel Walker vs. Greg Nagy.

Also, Ron Kruck files a report on the MMA debut of Walker, the Heisman Trophy winner, and former NFL running back.  Despite having several decades of experience in martial arts and being a sixth- degree black belt in tae kwon do, Walker admits he has quite a learning curve.

Also, HDNet will make a BIG announcement on tonight’s broadcast.  Don’t miss it!

WHEN: TONIGHT, January 29 at 9:00 p.m. ET only on HDNet.

About 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 “District 13:  Ultimatum.”

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.

Michigan MMA Strongly Regulated

January 29, 2010

John Morgan of MMAJunkie has an interesting article that discusses the long road to hoe that Michigan and its regional promoters have experienced over the last three years. Joe Donofrio, running “Malice at the Palace” this weekend explains even with regulation, it’ll be tough to make a profit in the current environment because of certain fees and restrictions.

Donofrio credits the UFC with helping Michigan regulators realize the importance of bringing the sport to the state, but he also feels the sport’s biggest promotion may have added a few regulations that make true grassroots growth of professional MMA very difficult.

 

“It wasn’t exactly as I hoped it would be,” Donofrio admitted. “There were so many stipulations that would make it difficult for a small-time promoter to be successful. One of them was you have to have a minimum of 30 rounds (on a card), which would be 10 three-round fights. You can’t have a pro-am card. The fee to do the show is $2,000 compared to $125 for boxing. And then the fighters have to have a CT scan and EKG, all that stuff.

 

“So it’s kind of difficult for anybody to be profitable doing a professional show here in Michigan. That was probably by design.”

Donofrio, who is the first to admit he’s not a medical professional, thinks perhaps the extensive testing could be reserved for older fighters and those who have shown previous reason for concern. Nevertheless, the promoter admits fighter safety is of the utmost concern, and simply hopes the commission will at least revisit the fees one day in the future.

 

In the meantime, Donofrio is pleased that unlike a handful of states still looking to pass regulation, Michigan will no longer have to concern itself with unregulated events.

 

“I think the regulations in Michigan are pretty strict, but I think the rogue promoters need to be put in check,” Donofrio said.

Payout Perspective:

There are two schools of thought here: 1.) the regulations are unnecessarily tough and will impact the growth of the sport in the state, or 2.) the strict regulations are a way of separating the cream from the crop and preventing the riff raff from holding cash grab shows that more often than not just take from the sport instead of giving back.

I’m of the opinion that it’s not a bad thing to force promoters to actually draw up a business plan and force them to execute it in order to make a profit. MMA is not a money tree – it should be no different than any other business.

One of the keys to success for MMA in the long term is establishing stable, nurturing environments at the grass roots level; the feeder systems that the UFC, Strikeforce, and other organizations can use to develop talent. The more consistency MMA can get from these feeder organizations, the better off it will be in the long run.

It’s also worth mentioning that, in a lot of cases, these smaller organizations are the first live experience that many people have with MMA. Generally, live MMA is a superior recruiting than television, but if it’s done poorly, it can also work in the opposite direction and turn people away from the sport.

These restrictions will weed out the bad actors and leave the stable promotions behind, which is ultimately in the best long term interest of the sport.

MMAterial Facts (01/28/10)

January 28, 2010

  • EA MMA Adds Lashley, Diaz, Zaromskis, Riggs, Manhoef and Possibly Joachim Hansen
  • Truesport Alliances & Entertainment, Ltd. to Produce Logistics at Strikeforce: Miami
  • Aiona proposes creation of Hawaii Sports Commission
  • Bud Light Takes Over South Beach Hotel for Football’s Big Week
  • Herschel Talks up MMA on ‘Pardon the Interruption’
  • Women’s MMA rests on Santos’ shoulders

EA Sports MMA Adds Lashley, Diaz, Zaromskis, Riggs,  Manhoef and Possibly Joachim Hansen

Shortly after Bobby Lashley was announced on today’s edition of ESPN.com’s “MMA Live” as the latest addition to “EA Sports MMA,” four more fighters involved in this weekend’s “Strikeforce: Miami” event were also confirmed for the game.

Nick Diaz (20-7 MMA, 2-0 SF), Marius Zaromskis (13-3 MMA, 0-0 SF), Joe Riggs (32-10 MMA, 3-2 SF) and Melvin Manhoef (24-6-1 MMA, 0-0 SF) will all appear in the upcoming rival to THQ’s “UFC Undisputed” franchise.

The latest additions to the forthcoming video game’s roster were announced in an ESPN.com interview with Lashley.

Diaz and Zaromskis will be featured in the main event of Saturday’s “Strikeforce: Miami” event in Sunrise, Fla., when the pair contests the promotion’s vacant welterweight title. (MMAJunkie) … [MMAPayout’s Perspective]

***

Former Dream lightweight champion Joachim “Hellboy” Hansen is the latest fighter expected to take part in the upcoming “EA Sports MMA” video game.

The title is expected to be released late this summer on the Playstation 3 and XBox 360 consoles.

A native of Oslo, Norway, Hansen is widely respected as one of the most dangerous fighters in the sport with notable victories over the likes of Shinya Aoki, Caol Uno, Yves Edwards and Takanori Gomi to his credit. (5OzsOfPain)

Truesport Alliances & Entertainment, Ltd. to Produce Logistics at Strikeforce: Miami

Truesport Alliances & Entertainment, Ltd. (OTCBB: SEWE) to coordinate logistics at Strikeforce: Miami, a mixed martial arts (MMA) event at BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida on Saturday, January 30.

“Truesport Alliances & Entertainment, Ltd. is proud to be coordinating and aiding in the production and operations of Strikeforce: Miami. The Truesport Alliances & Entertainment, Ltd. team offers top experience in event planning and equipment manufacturing, so the quality in the products and services we bring to Strikeforce is second to none,” said Eddie Wenrick, CEO of Truesport Alliances & Entertainment, Ltd.

Truesport Alliances & Entertainment, Ltd. has cultivated an unparalleled client base consisting of the top MMA brands. With the MMA culture quickly becoming a standard in sports excellence, Truesport Alliances & Entertainment, Ltd. provides graphic and printing services for the cage canvas, as well as coordinates all equipment and manufacturing for Strikeforce.  (CNN Money)

Aiona proposes creation of Hawaii Sports Commission

At a press conference yesterday at the State Capitol, Aiona discussed a joint legislative proposal that would establish the 13-member Hawaii Sports Commission. The entity’s mission would be “to attract, develop and promote sports and sporting events throughout the state, and generate revenues for Hawaii’s economy,” Aiona said.

If enacted by the state legislature, the HSC would not require any general funds but it would have a $100,000 appropriation from a special fund for this fiscal year. The commission would be established this July and expected to be up and running by next legislative session.

Of the 13 members, eight would be appointed by the governor with the remaining five representing the Hawaii Tourism Authority and the mayors of the state’s four counties. The only paid member would be the executive director.

Although there was emphasis on the high-profile sports such as pro football and golf, the commission would also be looking at international and domestic competitions in youth sports, such as regional volleyball, soccer, baseball and softball tournaments. Among those attending yesterday’s press conference were representatives of AYSO, LIttle League, the Hawaii Golf Alliance, the Hawaii Stadium Authority and Mixed Martial Arts Hawaii. (Star Bulletin)

Bud Light Takes Over South Beach Hotel for Football’s Big Week

For eleven days this winter the world’s best-selling light beer is heating up South Beach and creating an exclusive football fan experience when it transforms Miami’s Surfcomber Hotel into the Bud Light Hotel.

From Jan. 29 to Feb. 8, Bud Light is re-branding the entire Surfcomber property – everything from the towels and mints to the marquee atop the property – and has planned a full lineup of exclusive events, star-studded live concert performances and sports exhibitions making the Bud Light Hotel the place to be on South Beach.

“Pro football’s culminating event is one of the biggest events on the American sports calendar,” said Mike Sundet, senior director of Bud Light brands.  “As the beer of good times, Bud Light saw an opportunity to offer adult football fans everywhere a VIP experience to the celebration, social scene and special events leading up to kickoff.”

Wave Two (Feb 1 – 4)

The second wave of guests check-in Monday night to relax poolside and enjoy cold Bud Light with new friends.  On Tuesday, UFC’s own Mike Goldberg hosts UFC stars like former World Champions Rich Franklin and Matt Hughes, The Ultimate Fighter Season Eight Champion Efrain Escudero and other rising superstars as they demonstrate training techniques and fighting styles in a mixed martial arts exhibition in the Octagon placed over the Bud Light Hotel pool.  The following night, musical acts Uncle Kracker and DJ Skribble perform live at the Super Pool Party.  Wave Two wraps up Thursday night with an invite-only event hosted by GQ Magazine.  (PR Newswire)

Herschel Talks up MMA on ‘Pardon the Interruption’

Mixed martial arts has many opponents in the mainstream media, but few are as vocal or high-profile as Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon, the hosts of ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption.

So Herschel Walker accomplished something extraordinary in an appearance on PTI Wednesday by convincing both Kornheiser and Wilbon that they should check out his fight on Saturday night at Strikeforce Miami.

Knowing that Kornheiser and Wilbon were skeptical about MMA, Walker patiently explained to them why they shouldn’t view MMA as a brutal endeavor.

“This sport has been cleaned up,” Walker said. “I think football and boxing is worse. In boxing you get knocked down, they give you a standing eight count, you’re still woozy and then you get back in there and fight. In football you’ve got all the concussions. Years ago this was a brutal sport, years ago there’s no way I would have gotten involved in it, but it has become a sport, it has become an art.”

Both Kornheiser and Wilbon have a long history of saying they find MMA abhorrent, but they obviously respect Walker.

“Herschel, what you’re doing sounds insane to me, but I know you’re very serious about it,” Kornheiser said, adding that Walker seems like too sweet a person to hurt anyone,

Walker responded, “I don’t know that I’m stepping in the cage to hurt anyone. I’m stepping in the cage to compete.”

Strikeforce signed Walker for exactly the kind of publicity that he got in his Pardon the Interruption appearance, during which he was sure to promote Strikeforce and Showtime and to note that there are better fighters than him on Saturday night’s card.  (MMAFighting)

Women’s MMA rests on Santos’ shoulders

Inside the cage, the Brazilian faces the most experienced top fighter she has ever faced in Marloes Coenen (17-3) of Holland in her first championship defense. The fight is the semifinal, under Nick Diaz vs. Marius Zaromskis, at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla., on the Strikeforce event that airs live on Showtime at 10 p.m. ET.

More important in the long run, no matter who wins, is the question of how the public will react to women in a top position on a major show without the obvious public appeal Carano brought to the table.

Strikeforce promoter Scott Coker, with UFC not promoting women as fighters, has become the builder of women’s MMA. And no matter what happens Saturday, he’s got ideas spinning in his head to feature women prominently on shows for the next several months, with new matches and attempts to create new stars.

“If Marloes wins, we can do Gina vs. Marloes [for the title],” said Coker. “If Cyborg wins, we’ll come back with Cyborg vs. Erin Toughill (10-2-1).”

Toughill’s career dates back to the same Japanese tournament where Coenen made her name. She’s also the only woman ever to have stopped Coenen, by knockout, in a 2004 match in Japan. Of Toughill’s two losses, one was via disqualification and the other was against a 320-pound Russian Olympic judo star.

Carano, who has the lead role in a Steven Soderbergh film, “Knockout,” which is currently filming, is expected to return over the summer.

“I don’t think she wants to go out the way she did in her last fight,” said Coker. “Cyborg has already fought Gina so we want to put her against someone else. She can fight Marloes, or three or four other girls out there, like maybe Kerry Vera (the wife of UFC star Brandon Vera, whose fight with Kim Couture drew the highest rating of any “B” level Challengers fight show on Showtime).” (Yahoo! Sports)

QUICK HITS

  • UFC To Offer Spanish-Language Feed For March PPV Event (Multichannel)
  • Breaking down the Strikeforce card (ESPN)
  • Bobby Lashley Interview (ESPN)
  • Couture Has No Issues With Walker Doing MMA (MMAFighting)
  • With planned retirement at 30, Gegard Mousasi searching for best career options (MMAJunkie)
  • Fernandes Will Defend Title at Dream.13 (MMAFighting)
  • Jay Hieron Looking to Cement His Status as Strikeforce’s Top Welterweight Contender (MMAFighting)
  • Banderas, Paxton Join Carano Film (Sherdog)
  • Gunshot Survivor Johnson, Others Added to March Strikeforce Challengers (Sherdog)
  • 12 Questions for Cris ‘Cyborg’ Santos (Sherdog)
  • Patrick Barry vs. Gilbert Yvel targeted for UFC 115 main card (MMAJunkie)
  • Source: Despite threats, no one yet fired from Brock Lesnar’s camp (MMAJunkie)
  • Drwal vs. Palhares, Camoes vs. Pellegrino official for UFC 111 prelims in March (MMAJunkie)
  • Liddell, 40, has plenty of fight left in him (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
  • DREAM Roughs Out 2010 Plans, Korea Possible (MMAWeekly)
  • King Of The Cage Japan: “Toryumon” Preview (MMARising)

VIDEO OF THE DAY

  • MMA Live: 1-28-10: MMA live offers up a full preview of Strikeforce: Miami, including the MMA debut of Heisman trophy winner Herschel Walker. Also, the crew debate Chuck Liddel’s fighting future.  Bobby Lashley, Nick Diaz, Marius Zaromskis, Joe Riggs, Jay Hieron and Melvin Manhoef  are also announced as the latest roster additions to EA Sports MMA.

IMAGE OF THE DAY

EA Sports MMA: Bobby Lashley

TV LISTINGS

  • HDNet Fights Presents K-1 Classics (Musashi Tribute) at 8 PM ET on HDNet (01/29/10)
  • InsideMMA (Gegard Mousasi, Gilbert Melendez, & Tony Lopez) at 9 PM ET on HDNet (01/29/10)
  • HDNet Fights Presents Best of DREAM Super Hulk GP at 10 PM ET on HDNet (01/29/10)
  • Best of Pride FC at 10 PM ET/PT on Spike (01/29/10)
  • Strikeforce Miami: Diaz vs Zaromskis at 10 PM ET/PT on Showtime (01/30/10)
  • Countdown to UFC 109 at 12:30 AM ET/PT on Spike (01/30/10)

UPCOMING EVENTS

  • Strikeforce Miami: Diaz vs Zaromskis at 10 PM ET/PT on Showtime (01/30/10)
  • FCF 39: Women’s 135 lbs Grand Prix: Opening Round on PPV (01/30/10)
  • KOTC: Toryumon from Okinawa, Japan on PPV (01/30/10)
  • UFC 109 at 10 PM ET on PPV (02/06/10)

EA MMA Adds Lashley, Diaz, Three Others

January 28, 2010

EA Sports has announced the addition of five new fighters – Bobby Lashley, Nick Diaz, Marius Zaromskis, Melvin Manhoef, and Joe Riggs – to its growing roster of playable fighters in EA MMA.

The game looks to be coming along nicely. Here are a few screenshots EA sent our way this afternoon:

LashleyEA1

LashleyEA2

Lashley EA 3

Payout Perspective:

There’s been some interesting discussion lately surrounding who the real main event of this next Strikeforce card ought to be and how the promotion should schedule the bouts. It’s no secret that Herschel Walker has been doing a ton of press for Strikeforce and his debut fight, so it really doesn’t make sense to have him compete first on the television portion of the show. But, there’s no possible way to justify him fighting last due to his inexperience and the necessary respect that Strikeforce needs to show to the sport and the other veteran fighters on the card.

The situation is even further complicated by Lashley’s presence. He’s the second most popular fighter on the card, but also has little experience in MMA. Where do you slot his bout in relation to the two title fights and middleweight showdown between two brawlers?

If I’m Strikeforce, I want to do my best to position Walker and Lashley to give as much exposure as possible to what are likely to be the most dynamic fights of the night in Lawler-Manhoef, Diaz-Zaromskis, and Santos-Coenen. I’m sure they’ll play around with the ordering, but Lashley-Sims followed by Santos-Coenen, Walker-Nagy, Lawler-Manhoef, and Diaz-Zarmoskis would achieve that goal.

——

Note: Jon Robinson has an interesting interview with Bobby Lashley over at ESPN in which they discuss Strikeforce, MMA, a return to professional wrestling, and more. Interesting read if you have time; one answer in particular is bound to fuel further speculation that he isn’t willing to let go of TNA.

Dream Announces Seven Events for 2010 Calendar

January 28, 2010

NightmarefBattle.com is reporting that Dream has announced it will host seven events in the 2010 calendar year including it’s only official date which is Dream 13 on March 22nd.

DREAM will hold events in March, April, May, July, September, and November this year and the April event will most likely be held in South Korea. If the South Korea event goes well a November event might be held abroad as well (with Taiwan or Macau as possible locations). Like the 2009 Osaka event, a cage event is planned for this year too.

 

A Light Heavyweight GP consisting of 8 or 16 fighters (planned for the May, July, and September events or two of them if it’s an 8-man GP) will take place this year and Gegard Mousasi will play a leading role in it.

 

Middleweight and Heavyweight champions will also be crowned in 2010 so by the end of the year all weight classes in DREAM will have champions. The Heavyweight champion will be decided through a single fight and not a GP. Alistair Overeem will likely be one of the two participants of the Heavyweight title fight.

 

They want to hold crossover fights with other organizations this year as well, especially with SRC and Strikeforce. They think it’ll be a hot thing. DREAM EP Sasahara also said that, if possible, he wants to talk with Yoshida Dojo.

Payout Perspective:

Since rumors started swirling that Don Quixote was on the verge of acquiring FEG’s combat division, we haven’t heard a lot to substantiate the claims other than that the super grocer is planning to continue as a sponsor. The success of the NYE show has given the organization the confidence to go forward with a full slate of shows in 2010, including the light heavyweight grand prix.

The last we heard of Dream’s rival organization Sengoku – the same group it partnered with for its NYE event last year – the organization was planning a similar 6-7 events starting with an event on March 7th, in addition to several proposed tournaments amongst different classes.

Fedor, Lesnar in Business Week's Top 100

January 28, 2010

The annual BusinessWeek Power 100: Most Powerful Athletes was published this week and caught the interest of the MMA industry by naming Fedor Emelianenko and Brock Lesnar to the list, in addition to boxers Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather Jr, Shane Mosley.

Athlete Rankings of note:

72. Manny Pacquiao
82. Fedor Emelianenko
91. Floyd Mayweather Jr.
93. Shane Mosley
96. Brock Lesnar

BusinessWeek provides the following insight into its methodology:

The Power 100 rankings are based on a blended mix of athletes’ “on-field” and “off-field” performance to determine which athletes are having the greatest overall impact in the world of sports. On-field scoring is determined by statistically ranking each athlete’s sports performance within his or her peer group over a two-year period. For each sport, key performance metrics include such measures as points scored, money earned, laps lead, and batting average, to name a few. This ranking is then adjusted by the overall popularity of the sport itself, based on an index of fan avidity and TV viewership. The off-field scoring is developed from hundreds of surveys on athletes and how the general public perceives them. The data was compiled by E-Poll Market Research, a leading provider of custom research services and products for entertainment and media companies, using their E-Score® Celebrity database. Athlete rankings are based on such attributes as awareness, appeal, trustworthiness, and influence. In addition, the amount of endorsement dollars each athlete earns rounds out the off-field ranking.

Payout Perspective:

The methodology is there to provide some semblance of objectivity to the rankings, but there are too many head-scratchers on the list for it to have any true meaning.

To be fair, it’s very difficult to produce a rankings list of this sort, because it really becomes a question of how to weight on and off-field accomplishments. There’s also more than likely a political element involved when considering what sports and athletes to include on the list.

I think the larger takeaway here is simply that MMA fighters were considered on the list – irrespective of their positioning. It demonstrates just how far the sport has come in the last ten years.

UFC Partners with China's Sohu.com

January 28, 2010

The UFC has partnered with Chinese web portal Sohu.com, as mentioned in yesterday’s MMAterial Facts, to provide viewing of UFC events online starting with UFC 109: Relentless.

Sohu.com, Inc., (SOHU), is a leading online brand in China. Services provided by the company include news, search, e-mail, games and wireless messaging. Sohu.com was the official web partner for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and is also the official partner of the NBA, ESPN, Adidas and Sports Illustrated in China.

 

UFC programming debuted in China last summer on Inner Mongolia Television (NMTV), a network broadcast station available in 60 million households, with the potential to reach 240 million viewers throughout all the provinces.

Payout Perspective:

The deal is another stepping stone towards getting the UFC on a major network in China. They started with Inner Mongolia Television last year and will now look to increase their exposure to a wider audience online. It’s really going to be a game of patience for the UFC in many of these foreign markets; slowly pushing the product and increasing its visibility so that the consumer can grow comfortable and isn’t bombarded (that’s especially important in a nation where government censorship is notoriously strong).

The use of the internet as a medium does two things: it targets a naturally younger, tech savvy audience (which fits more closely with the traditional UFC audience) and it serves as a trial for the online streaming business model that is being bandied about in the sports world (and covered by us to a fair extent).

It’s difficult to speculate as to whether this deal was helped along by Flash Entertainment, but they’ve been working with the UFC since the end of October so it’s quite plausible they had a hand in the deal. Certainly, the connections that Abu Dhabi and Flash have in China didn’t hurt.

MMAterial Facts (01/27/10)

January 27, 2010

  • UFC now available on Sohu.com
  • UFC to make history in Abu Dhabi at UFC 112
  • Woods Tops Power List in Bloomberg BusinessWeek Sports Rankings (Fedor and Lesnar Make List)
  • Bellator Selects Its Home Base
  • Stakes are high in Walker’s MMA debut
  • Second UFC Gym to open in California this summer

UFC now available on Sohu.com

Hundreds of millions of sports fans in China will now have the opportunity to see UFC superstars like Randy Couture, Georges St-Pierre and “Minotauro” Nogueira fight in the UFC® Octagon™.  The Ultimate Fighting Championship organization today announced it has inked a deal with one of the country’s largest web portals, Sohu.com to present UFC pay per view events online. Named the official web partner of the UFC in China, Sohu.com will live broadcast UFC events starting with UFC 109: RELENTLESS in February.

“China is one of the gateways to building UFC into the biggest sport in the world,” said Dana White, UFC President.  “China is the cradle of martial arts, many of the styles that you see in the UFC were born in this country.  With Sohu.com as our web partner, we look forward to presenting world class fights and to bringing the great tradition of martial arts back to its homeland in China.”

Larry Jin, Director of Sports, Sohu.com said, “SOHU Kungfu channel is made to comprehensively report and follow-up the many Kungfu fighting related events both in China and overseas. We are looking forward to working with the UFC to create a stronger relationship and to seeing Chinese warriors in the Octagon.” (UFC)

UFC to make history in Abu Dhabi at UFC 112

UFC in Abu Dhabi Official

The world’s greatest indoor sporting event goes outdoors on April 10 as the Ultimate Fighting Championship® organisation lands in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates for the first time.

Some of the world’s greatest mixed martial artists will appear on the historic open-air UFC 112 event at the Concert Arena, Ferrari World, Yas Island.

Topped by a double main event, two UFC world titles will be on the line at UFC 112. First, UFC lightweight champion BJ ‘The Prodigy’ Penn puts his belt on the line against No.1 contender Frankie ‘The Answer’ Edgar and then UFC middleweight king Anderson ‘The Spider’ Silva defends his crown against fellow Brazilian striker Vitor ‘The Phenom’ Belfort.

As well as two fascinating UFC title clashes, the UFC’s first venture into the region will also showcase an intriguing battle of legends as UFC icon Matt Hughes locks horns with MMA pioneer and Brazilian jiu-jitsu legend Renzo Gracie at welterweight.

UFC President Dana White said: “This is one of the biggest and most significant nights in the history of the UFC. UFC 112 is our first ever outdoor event and it is taking place in the hometown of our brand new partners, Flash Entertainment. We are very happy we could deliver what fans around the world will recognise as a stacked card featuring the sport’s biggest stars.”  (UFC)

Woods Tops Power List in Bloomberg BusinessWeek Sports Rankings (Fedor and Lesnar Make List)

To determine who the 100 most powerful athletes are on and off the field, Bloomberg BusinessWeek teamed with CSE, formerly known as Career Sports & Entertainment, an integrated sports and entertainment company that connects brands with fans, and Bloomberg BusinessWeek columnist Rick Horrow of Horrow Sports Ventures and host of “The $ports Take with Sports Professor Rick Horrow,” to create the 2010 version of the Power 100.

Unlike previous Power 100s, this year’s would focus only on athletes — not owners, agents, commissioners or coaches. On- field metrics included athletes who scored the best on the field (or the rink, greens or court) over a two-year period. The more popular the sport, the more weight those achievements garnered. (Bloomberg)

82. Fedor Emelianenko   Mixed Martial Arts
83. Derrick Rose              Basketball
84. Vijay Singh                 Golf
85. Steven Jackson         Football
86. Andy Murray            Tennis
87. Allen Iverson           Basketball
88. Danica Patrick          Auto Racing
89. Brandon Roy             Basketball
90. Manny Ramirez       Baseball
91. Floyd Mayweather    Boxing
92. Candace Parker          Basketball
93. Shane Mosley              Boxing
94. Diana Taurasi              Basketball
95. Misty May-Treanor   Volleyball
96. Brock Lesnar        Mixed Martial Arts
97. Patrick Kane             Hockey
98. Chad Ochocinco      Football
99. Matt Ryan                  Football
100. Ryan Sheckler       Skateboarding

Bellator Selects Its Home Base

Mixed martial arts promotions typically have one town they return to over and over again with their biggest and best events. The UFC has Las Vegas. Strikeforce has San Jose. The WEC has Sacramento.

Bellator Fighting Championships has now made it official that it has a home of its own, with Hollywood, Fla., set to host Bellator’s top shows in 2010.

Bellator has announced that its Season 2 premiere will take place on April 8 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla., and that it will return to the venue for its June 10 Season 2 finale, its Aug. 12 Season 3 premiere and its Oct. 28 Season 3 finale.

The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino also hosted Bellator’s Season 1 premiere and Season 1 finale.

“We are thrilled to be returning to the Seminole Hard Rock during our second and third seasons,” Bellator founder and CEO Bjorn Rebney said in a statement. “As we discovered during our inaugural season, the Hard Rock Live is one of the finest, most state-of-the-art venues for MMA and the fan response was spectacular. We’re looking forward to bringing four world-class MMA events to South Florida and some of the country’s most devoted and die-hard MMA fans.”   (MMAFighting)

Stakes are high in Walker’s MMA debut

Most will think of things like, “Yeah, it’s too bad he got hurt,” or “It’s too bad he embarrassed the sport,” or even “It’s too bad this had to be televised.”

But don’t expect to see a sports horror story like Willie Mays playing center in the 1973 World Series or Johnny Unitas quarterbacking the San Diego Chargers or Muhammad Ali fighting Larry Holmes. Instead, Walker, the 1982 Heisman Trophy winner, will fulfill a long-time dream on Saturday by fighting professionally for the first time.

More likely, after the fight, most who watch Walker – and rest assured, it will be one of the largest audiences Showtime has ever had for an MMA card – will say “It’s too bad the guy wasn’t born 25 years later.”

He’s such a great athlete, if he were born in 1987 instead of in 1962, he could have become the greatest MMA fighter who ever lived.

We’ll never know. This is a guy who was born when John F. Kennedy was president for barely a year. The Cuban Missile Crisis was still seven months away.  (Yahoo! Sports)

***

A lot of the players who are playing in the Pro Bowl on 1/31 have requested tickets to the show. This show is unique in how it’s laid out. To the public, the main event is Herschel Walker, but from a standpoint of who should in what spot based on tenure, he should be in the opener. The second biggest star is Bobby Lashley, who at this point is scheduled to be in the opener with Walker either second or third, probably with Melvin Manhoef vs. Robbie Lawler in the middle, and Cyborg in the semi and Nick Diaz vs. Marius Zaromskis as the main event.

As far as public interest as judged by Internet trends, if Walker is 100, Lashley is 44, Diaz is 19, Cyborg, Zaromskis and Manhoef are all a 2, which is the best indicator of who would draw the ratings and theory, who you’d want on last to not lose audience. Obviously there are reasons it won’t be that way, but I can’t think of any show where it is the prelims that are going to determine what level of success the show has. The goal at this point is to get 9,000 to 10,000, which would be more than Kimbo drew in the same arena in essentially his home town 14 months ago.  (Dave Meltzer, Wrestling Observer)

Second UFC Gym to open in California this summer

“We are excited to open our second UFC Gym this summer,” NEFC CEO/co-founder Jim Rowley, said. “This facility will continue with the UFC Gym approach and feature unique fitness programming that will truly change the way people think about fitness.”

With easy access off Interstate 10, UFC Gym officials expect the Rosemead facility to become an instant fitness destination. The gym will feature cutting-edge training techniques, including MMA programming such as Muay Thai kickboxing, jiu jitsu, self-defense classes, and team-oriented Daily Ultimate Training, as well as one-of-a-kind offerings such as UFC Kid’s Gym Fitness, Octagon Training Disciplines, and High-Octane Conditioning. What’s more, the second UFC Gym will inspire members to realize results like never before.

“By combining our innovative fitness techniques with the fast-paced action of the UFC, we believe we’ve found the formula for success,” Rowley said. “We are really looking forward to bringing a UFC Gym to Rosemead. We are confident that it will only take one trip to our new facility for people to see why UFC Gyms are the future of fitness.”  (UFC)

QUICK HITS

  • UFC’s Nate Marquardt Named SAF’s “True Warrior” for 2009-2010 (Sharon Antcliff Foundation)
  • Strikeforce Targeting Johnson-Mahe, Tate-Frausto for Challengers VII (MMAFighting)
  • Frank Shamrock Now Targeting May, Not March, Return to Strikeforce (MMAFighting)
  • DREAM.13 set for March 22 at Yokohama Arena in Japan (MMAJunkie)
  • Rory MacDonald, Carlos Condit Verbally Agree to UFC 115 Bout (MMAFighting)
  • Strikeforce: Miami Fight Card (MMAFighting)
  • Coaches Honored with ‘Jackson/Winkeljohn Day’ (Sherdog)
  • UFC Lands Internet Broadcast Deal in China (Sherdog)
  • WEC’s Cruz vows to gradually dismantle bantamweight champ Bowles (USA Today)
  • “Strikeforce: Miami” open workout photos (MMAJunkie)
  • Chad Mendes vs. Eric Koch official for WEC 47 prelimary card (MMAJunkie)
  • Dos Santos in No Hurry For UFC Title Shot (MMAWeekly)
  • Yes, you will get to watch Hieron vs. Riggs this Saturday (Yahoo! Sports)
  • Roxanne Modafferi Welcomes King of the Cage’s Entry to Japan (MMAFighting)
  • King Of The Cage Japan: “Toryumon” Preview (MMARising)

VIDEO OF THE DAY

TV LISTINGS

  • HDNet Fights Presents K-1 Classics (Musashi Tribute) at 8 PM ET on HDNet (01/29/10)
  • InsideMMA (Gegard Mousasi, Gilbert Melendez, & Tony Lopez) at 9 PM ET on HDNet (01/29/10)
  • HDNet Fights Presents Best of DREAM Super Hulk GP at 10 PM ET on HDNet (01/29/10)
  • Best of Pride FC  at 10 PM ET/PT on Spike (01/29/10)
  • Strikeforce Miami: Diaz vs Zaromskis at 10 PM ET/PT on Showtime (01/30/10)
  • Countdown to UFC 109 at 12:30 AM ET/PT on Spike (01/30/10)

UPCOMING EVENTS

  • Strikeforce Miami: Diaz vs Zaromskis at 10 PM ET/PT on Showtime (01/30/10)
  • FCF 39: Women’s 135 lbs Grand Prix: Opening Round on PPV (01/30/10)
  • KOTC: Toryumon from Okinawa, Japan on PPV (01/30/10)
  • UFC 109 at 10 PM ET on PPV (02/06/10)
80. Maria Sharapova     Tennis
81. Sergio Garcia       Golf

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