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)

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)

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.

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

MMAterial Facts (01/26/10)

January 26, 2010

  • Affliction’s Motion to Dismiss Denied in Fedor Lawsuit
  • LNF Ultra Cage MMA fighters raise money for breast cancer
  • New Mixed Martial Arts Search Engine and Directory
  • Ontario leads world in MMA devotion, UFC says
  • UFC fights still not welcome in Ontario despite the sports growing popularity in the province
  • UFC’s big hopes for the Big Apple

Affliction’s Motion to Dismiss Denied in Fedor Lawsuit

Fedor Emelianenko and his promotional team survived a first-round attack Monday in a legal battle that pits them against their former business partner, Affliction Entertainment.

Affliction’s attorney, Michael Bassiri, confirmed to Sherdog.com that a Los Angeles federal judge had denied Affliction’s motion to dismiss several claims made in a breach of contract lawsuit filed Oct. 28 by Emelianenko and M-1 Global.

The case is set to go to trial on Nov. 16.

Emelianenko and M-1 Global, a promotional/management group with which the fighter is closely aligned, have sued Affliction for damages following Affliction Entertainment’s decision to cancel its co-promoted “Trilogy” event, which was scheduled to take place Aug. 1 in Anaheim, Calif. (Sherdog) … [MMAPayout’s Perspective]

LNF Ultra Cage MMA fighters raise money for breast cancer

“It ended up being a great show,” LNF Ultra Cage Fighters founder Dan Ferrie said. “We had enough entertainment for everybody. (Glen) Big Baby Davis came, so we had the stars out. From the kid’s demonstrations, to the Human Floor, to the fights—it had something for everybody.”

“It was a very good night,” LNF Director Greg Mendes agreed. “Everybody pulled together. You know, me and Dan did a lot of work, but the final result was a culmination of everybody picking up all the loose odds and ends. And we had everything, from boxing, to kickboxing matches, MMA matches, and (strict) grappling. In the fights nobody got hurt real bad, which is always good, and everybody joining together to raise awareness really shows what type of people we have in the surrounding communities out here.”

It also demonstrated the intense following of mixed martial arts on the local level. Despite several supposed setbacks, the Holiday Inn was swarming with eager fans.

“MMA is drawing fans better than ever,” Mendes said. “And if it’s this good now, just imagine five years down the road—it will be the biggest thing out here. And hopefully New England can be a Mecca for the sport.”

Before entering the event room, patrons were greeted by the thumping bass from DJ Al Martinez, who kept the atmosphere buzzing throughout the evening. Singer Angella Kronillis also delighted the crowd with a stirring rendition of “God Bless America.”  (Taunton Daily Gazette)

New Mixed Martial Arts Search Engine and Directory

Bridgewater, NJ (PRWEB) January 24, 2010 — Index MMA has launched a mixed martial arts directory and search engine. Located at www.indexmma.com , this website is a database of all mixed martial arts websites on the Internet. The worldwide directory consists entirely of user submitted websites.

“The sport of mma is growing incredibly fast and there are new websites all over the world created daily,” said Shawn Ayre president of Zelfanet. “We created a website to accommodate this phenomenon. Now a mma fan can jump on one website and search through a plethora of websites that may have been buried or not even listed in traditional search engines. This is exciting news for mixed martial arts enthusiasts”.

The website was created by the web design group of Zelfanet LLC. Zelfanet is a leading provider of technology solutions based out of New Jersey, USA.  (PR Web)

Ontario leads world in MMA devotion, UFC says

More than any other part of the world, Ontario has the most interest in pay-per-view shows for mixed martial arts, the Ultimate Fighting Championship says.

“When we look at our TV ratings and our pay-per-view buys, on a per-capita basis, Toronto and Ontario are the No. 1 places in the world,” UFC executive Marc Ratner tells the Toronto Sun. “It’s unbelievably popular in the province of Ontario and especially Toronto.”

Although Quebec has hosted UFC events and Vancouver plans to do so later this year, Ontario officials say MMA remains illegal in their province for now. But UFC can draw a crowd of 35,000 to 40,000 in Toronto, says Ratner, the promotion’s vice president of regulatory affairs.  (USA Today) … [MMAPayout Perspective]

UFC fights still not welcome in Ontario despite the sports growing popularity in the province

On the phone from his office in Las Vegas, Marc Ratner says bluntly that if Ontario were to legalize mixed martial arts, the biggest-ever UFC event in history would go down in Toronto.

“We think we can draw 35,000 to 40,000 there,” said Ratner, vice-president of regulatory affairs for the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Despite his desert locale, Ratner should know what he’s talking about when it comes to Canada’s most populous city. As the UFC’s expansion point-man, he’s spent years lobbying state and provincial governments to pass laws legalizing the controversial UFC. Most of them have. Queen’s Park hasn’t.

According to Ratner, there isn’t a place on earth that boasts more of an interest in UFC than Ontario.

Provincial athletics commissioner Ken Hayashi, who rightly or wrongly has been perceived by some as being anti-MMA because of his strict adherence to federal Criminal Code regulations, which in his interpretation outlaws mixed martial arts, didn’t respond to calls and e-mails from the Sun.

In a story last year by the Sun’s Steve Buffery, Hayashi maintained his stance that mixed martial arts is an illegal activity in Canada.

Until Sec. 83 is changed to allow for professional combat sports beyond what the law calls a “boxing contest,” there won’t be any UFC bouts in Ontario, Hayashi has said.  (Toronto Sun)

UFC’s big hopes for the Big Apple

When Gov. Jim Doyle signs the bill sometime this week, Wisconsin will become the 43rd state to regulate mixed martial arts.

It’s one that doesn’t regulate it that still stands out, however. The Ultimate Fighting Championship has been desperate to get into New York and has spent thousands on its lobbying effort.

But there will be no MMA in New York any time soon, even if the state legislature sends a bill to the desk of Gov. David Patterson for his signature in the next few months. That’s because once the bill is signed by the governor, there would be a 120-day window that would have to pass before the bill became law and the sport became legal and regulated by the New York State Athletic Commission.

If the state does pass a bill this year, this is a thought that may essentially give UFC president Dana White a license to print money: Hold the company’s annual New Year’s Eve show in Madison Square Garden with a bout featuring reigning heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar. (Who knows if he’ll hold the belt then, but he should be the headliner regardless.)

January 1, 2011, is a Saturday, the day the UFC normally holds its pay-per-view events. How about a New Year’s Eve weigh-in and then a fight to kick off the New Year in the world’s most famous arena?  (Yahoo! Sports)

QUICK HITS

  • Hansen challenges Fernandes for DREAM title (Yahoo! Sports)
  • Round 5 Announces UFC Ultimate Collector Series 2 (Round5)
  • MMA fighting: Bobby Lashley ready for bout at BankAtlantic Center (Miami Herald)
  • Bobby Lashley Sees Positives of Opponent Shuffling (MMAFighting)
  • Herschel Walker to Debut in MMA (Financial News USA)
  • Walker uses star power to hype fight  (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
  • Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal cautiously optimistic on potential bout with Gegard Mousasi (MMAJunkie)
  • Tokyo Five Signs Matt Serra For Sponsorship At UFC 109 (FightLine)
  • 11 Bouts Signed for UFC’s Versus Debut (Sherdog)
  • Griffin vs L’il Nog at UFC 113 (Yahoo! Sports)
  • Josh Gross: Stoic Zaromskis shoots for Strikeforce welter title (Sports Illustrated)
  • Liddell, 40, has plenty of fight left in him  (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
  • Cole Konrad, Training Partner of Brock Lesnar’s, Wins MMA Debut (MMAFighting)
  • Nick Diaz Happy With Welterweight Return (MMAWeekly)
  • 12 Questions for Cris ‘Cyborg’ Santos (Sherdog)
  • Shine Fights inks Dave “Pee Wee” Herman; bout with Jeff Monson likely for spring (MMAJunkie)
  • Mauler Manhoef aware of shortcomings (ESPN)
  • King Of The Cage Japan: “Toryumon” Preview (MMARising)

IMAGE OF THE DAY

Round 5 MMA Ultimate Collection

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)

MMAterial Facts (01/25/10)

January 25, 2010

Today’s MMAterial Facts illustrates the impact of social networks and media on MMA.

  • Notes: UFC branding machine marches on
  • Break Media Launches Social Game and Opens Game Studio
  • From Motivational Thoughts to Bar Fights, MMA Turns to Twitter
  • MMA Pro Fighter Tops the Facebook MMA Rankings
  • Fight Biz: Fighters capitalize on social media to take stories directly to fans
  • Midwest MMA Expo Exceeds Expectations

Notes: UFC branding machine marches on

The UFC Gym idea came from a series of meetings about 18 months ago between UFC president Dana White, CEO Lorenzo Fertitta, and Mark Mastrov and Jim Rowley, the founder and former division president respectively for 24 Hour Fitness, who had both left the company and to start their own new ventures, opening gyms like YogaWorks, Crunch and Steve Nash Fitness World.

The result is a merger of the 24 Hour Fitness-type of gym with a traditional martial arts gym. The gym features the traditional assortment of weights, treadmills, exercise bikes and other aerobic equipment, along with television monitors and blaring music. But the major differences are the obvious UFC trappings. An Octagon in the center of gym is used for martial arts classes. Huge wall photos of UFC Hall of Famers and life-sized cardboard cutouts of current stars decorate the interiors…

By the end of the day Saturday, which featured autograph sessions with the fighters and martial arts demonstrations by the kids classes, approximately 10,000 people had come through the doors. Many were the type of adult males you’d expect to see at a live UFC event, but there were a number of adults bringing young children. Mastrov noted it was the highest turnout for any gym grand opening in his 26 years in the industry.

UFC Gym

UFC lines up Versus debut

“With the UFC viewers watching, we can push WEC events and our other products,” Fein said.

Fein said an advantage of Versus when it comes to live programming of both WEC and UFC is that they aren’t going to be as strict on the time slot.

For example, when Strikeforce had its debut event on CBS, there was a panic backstage because the network affiliates wanted to show to end at 11 p.m. ET because of the scheduled local newscasts. For Spike, the live UFC specials are usually there to build an audience for Spike to debut a series, so they want the new show being showcased to start as close to its advertised time as possible. Fein said if there is a great match on the undercard, they won’t have qualms about the show going well past the scheduled time slot to fit it in. (Yahoo! Sports)

Break Media Launches Social Game and Opens Game Studio

Break Media, the Internet’s premier entertainment community for men, today announced the formation of a game studio to drive its expansion into social gaming. The studio, located in Shanghai, China, will launch its first game on February 1: MMA FightPicker, a mixed-martial-arts-themed social game that will be featured on Break’s MMA property, CagePotato.com.

“Break’s success as a media company is predicated on a deep understanding of our audience and an ability to deliver the content they want,” said Keith Richman, CEO of Break Media. “Gaming is a natural extension of that strategy, enabling us to build on our existing strengths as a publisher to bring even more value to our users and open new revenue opportunities for Break and its advertising partners.”

The new game studio, which has been operating since Q4’09, is currently working on a half a dozen original titles for Break Media, all slated for release in 2010. The studio is expected to grow rapidly throughout the year, staffing up to more than three-dozen employees by mid year. Alex Lien, formerly COO of Chinese game development company Winking Entertainment, has been hired as General Manager, Greater China for Break Media and will manage the game studio and all other Break operations in the region…

MMA FightPicker, the first title from the Break game studio, combines elements of social gaming and fantasy sports games to provide players a unique way to interact with each other and the sport of mixed martial arts. In the game, players join pools and make predictions on upcoming MMA matches; the player who scores the most points wins the pool and status as a top MMA expert, as well as other potential prizes. Players will be able to purchase in-game currency called “potato chips” to join more pools and take advantage of offers from Break partners to earn free chips.  (Business Wire)

From Motivational Thoughts to Bar Fights, MMA Turns to Twitter

Thanks to Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites, a day — and night — in the life of a mixed martial arts fighter is now clearer than ever. Especially since many fighters treat their smartphone like a body appendage…

Following fighters on the Internet can involve taking things with a grain of salt, however. Former WEC featherweight champion Mike Brown had his Facebook account hacked while UFC light-heavyweight Keith Jardine found someone else masquerading as the Dean of Mean on Facebook.

Penn, one of the savviest fighters around when it comes to social networking, uses Twitter to link to www.bjpenn.com for a video offering commentary on his next title fight against Edgar…

Penn did his video in Las Vegas, where he was meeting with Dana White. The UFC president was also on Twitter, showing off a picture of him enjoying a small tub of Pinkberry yogurt.

Belcher, a middleweight, links via Twitter to video of him signing his new four-fight deal with the UFC.

…Loiseau, a Montreal-born middleweight with roots in Haiti, and others use Twitter for a more serious topic: “Praying for HAITI… Praying for all my family and friends.”

Former champion Frank Shamrock and UFC ring girl Arianny Celeste use tweets to urge donations to Haiti. (TSN)

MMA Pro Fighter Tops the Facebook MMA Rankings

Digital Chocolate, a quality leader in original and high quality games on all platforms, today announced that its recently launched game MMA Pro Fighter™ is already the #1 mixed martial arts application of any kind on Facebook. This top ranking includes MMA games, news apps, fan apps, video apps, quizzes, and trivia apps on the leading social networking site. The app can be played at: http://apps.facebook.com/mmaprofighter/

“The depth and quality of MMA Pro Fighter has already made it the favorite of mixed martial arts fans on Facebook,” said Trip Hawkins, CEO of Digital Chocolate. “We’re glad to bring MMA followers a whole new level of experience as they throwdown with their Facebook friends.”

Created specifically to take full advantage of Facebook, players can build and develop their fighter and compete with friends to reach the top of the ranks. Players can also customize their character’s look, gear, fighting styles and more, as well as meet the MMA Pro Fighter Ring Girls.

MMA Pro Fighter features an in-depth fighting engine that realistically simulates fights, blow by blow, using actual MMA moves and attributes. The game offers the opportunity to have your fighter learn up to 300 different bone-crushing fighting moves as you level-up in the game. MMA Pro Fighter provides stunning 3D graphics and high production values to deliver the best executed fighting game on Facebook. (Business Wire)

Fight Biz: Fighters capitalize on social media to take stories directly to fans

Welcome to the age of do-it-yourself reporting.

The social media revolution has given anyone with a keyboard and an Internet connection the means to communicate to the masses. Mixed martial artists are among the most passionate adopters of this type of self-generated media, which gives them the ability to connect with fans on their terms.

“Fighters are celebrities,” Darren Shuster, founder of Pop Culture PR, told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). “They realize that they are their own brand and that their brand value can be increased in pretty measurable ways. For example, Twitter, with the number of followers.”

Fighters are turning to Twitter in droves. Chuck Liddell has amassed 43,000 followers. Some 28,000 fans are following UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre while lightweight king B.J. Penn boasts nearly 31,000 followers. Posts to the social networking site give fans intimate access to the lives of fighters like never before, and no detail seems insignificant.

“Because of the nature of the MMA industry, it’s highly personal. Twitter is built as a personal medium, and fans have an insatiable demand for the very latest moves, rumors or how many times a fighter went to the gym that day,” Shuster said. “Details like that are very interesting to the real fan.”

No other fighter has capitalized on the emergence of social media and Web 2.0 quite like Penn, who never misses a chance to plug his Web site in the obligatory post-fight octagon interview. Penn has established a massive following on his popular membership-driven site, which gives fans a look into his life through video blogs. More than 110,000 members have registered for Penn’s site. Further demonstrating just how plugged in he is to social networking strategy, his official Twitter page isn’t listed under his name. Instead, it’s bjpenndotcom.

Penn’s use of social media was fueled in large part by how he felt he was being treated by the MMA media.  (MMAJunkie)

Midwest MMA Expo Exceeds Expectations

To say that the first annual Wisconsin Combat Sports Midwest MMA Expo was a success would be a vast understatement; the unforgettable event was filled with energetic seminars and ultra-personal meet and greets that led to an unbelievably enjoyable weekend.

Hosted at the Lake of the Torches Resort and Casino in Lac du Flambeau, the weekend getaway was certainly a trek for many of the participants.  However, a great atmosphere and some huge stars made it all worthwhile…

Michael Broderick, the Director of Marketing for the LOTC, was extremely excited with how the entire event unfolded.

“I think the event was fantastic,” said Broderick.  “It was phenomenal for the fans, it was phenomenal for the fighters and participants, and it was phenomenal for the Lake of the Torches and Wisconsin Combat Sports.  I couldn’t be happier with how the event ultimately unfolded.”

While increasing the length of the individual seminars may be on the agenda for next year’s event, one thing for certain is that the inaugural expo was undoubtedly a success…

The area’s first ever attraction of this kind allowed fighters and fans the opportunity to meet and even learn from some of the world’s best mixed martial artists.   And best of all, it was free to every single person that attended. (Wisconsin Combat Sports)

QUICK HITS

  • Hieron-Riggs to Air Live on EASports.com (Sherdog)
  • Despite age, Walker no gimmick (Yahoo! Sports)
  • The Making of Herschel Walker (MMAFighting)
  • Bobby Lashley vs. Wes Sims official for “Strikeforce: Miami,” Jan. 30 card finalized (MMAJunkie)
  • Machida Healed, Ready For Shogun Rematch (MMAWeekly)
  • Mousasi Joins St. Pierre’s Camp, Eyes ‘King Mo’ Next (Sherdog)
  • Andre Galvao vs. Luke Stewart targeted for “Strikeforce Challengers VII” in Fresno, Calif. (MMAJunkie)
  • Ortiz taps McCullough, Soliz and Luciano “The Ultimate Fighter 11” assistant coaches (MMAJunkie)
  • Liddell selects Hackleman, Davis, Epstein, Shields as “The Ultimate Fighter 11” coaches (MMAJunkie)
  • Bibiano Fernandes vs. Joachim Hansen title fight in the works for DREAM.13 (MMAJunkie)
  • Jorgensen Draws George at WEC in Columbus (MMAWeekly)
  • Denis Kang Signs With Canada’s W-1 MMA (MMAFighting)
  • Melvin Manhoef looks ahead to Strikeforce debut against Lawler (USA Today)
  • Shooto titlist Inoue calls out Top-5 featherweight Hioki (USA Today)
  • Gina Carano’s ‘Knockout’ film to start shooting Feb. 2 in Ireland (USA Today)
  • N4G.com : UFC Undisputed 2010 gets May 28 release in UK (N4G.com)
  • UFC Undisputed 2010 Trailer (VIDEO) (5OzsOfPain)

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)

MMAterial Facts (01/19/10)

January 19, 2010

  • Lesnar’s likely return tops busy UFC agenda
  • Truesport Alliances, Ltd. Opens TapouT Training Centers in Gatineau, Quebec and Boston, Mass.
  • Martial arts athletes to visit area in fight against drug usage
  • MotoUSA Heads to Big Apple for New York IMS
  • NY Governor Introduces MMA Bill with State Budget Proposal

Lesnar’s likely return tops busy UFC agenda

Lesnar is scheduled to appear on ESPN on Wednesday morning to discuss his situation with diverticulitis, which forced him to cancel a Nov. 21 title defense, hospitalized him for two weeks, and has kept him on the sidelines ever since.

Lesnar will likely announce his return, possibly with a time frame. In the past week, two of Lesnar’s coaches – Greg Nelson and Marty Morgan – have said Lesnar would be returning, hinting it would be soon but saying they couldn’t confirm when. Others close to the situation have noted it has not been an easy decision for Lesnar to make; without having major surgery, there is a risk of another painful attack.

…The issue was whether he would need, or it would be advisable, to get surgery on his intestine, which would keep him out of action for more than a year. Such a lengthy absence would force him to vacate the heavyweight championship.

Another change made is in arguably UFC’s biggest fight on the books at this point: the Quinton “Rampage” Jackson vs. Rashad Evans match built on the last season of “The Ultimate Fighter” with the two as rival coaches. The match will likely take place at UFC 114 on May 29 in Las Vegas instead of the originally announced UFC 113 show on May 1 in Montreal. UFC president Dana White said in a text message Tuesday morning that Jackson vs. Evans will most likely take place in Vegas… (Yahoo! Sports)

Truesport Alliances, Ltd. Opens TapouT Training Centers in Gatineau, Quebec and Boston, Massachusetts

Truesport Alliances, Ltd. (OTCBB: SEWE) is officially opening the doors of the new TapouT Training Center in Gatineau, Quebec and Boston, Massachusetts.

Truesport Alliances, Ltd. has cultivated an unparalleled client base consisting of the top MMA brands, including TapouT, the premier mixed martial arts apparel, gear and lifestyle brand. With the MMA culture quickly becoming a standard in sports excellence, TapouT Training Centers will offer a full complement of MMA training and classes open to the public.

The TapouT Training Centers will be the third and fourth stand alone fitness facilities of its kind to be built by the company, whose brand has become synonymous with the attitude and prominence of mixed martial arts. TapouT’s distinctive, authentic logo graces everything from clothing, accessories, and gear, to nutrition products and a magazine, as it does within the training center…(CNN Money)

Martial arts athletes to visit area in fight against drug usage

Three professional mixed martial arts athletes will be in the area today and Thursday to encourage young adults to stay away from drugs, establish goals in life and continue their education so they can become productive citizens and successful professionals.

The athletes were brought to the area through the efforts of Magisterial District Judge John Gembic III and his cousin, Mark Gross, a Coal Township native who now lives in North Carolina, “Crazy Bob” Cook, a former undefeated Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighter who also serves as a trainer, coach and fight team manager at the renowned American Kick Boxing Academy in San Jose, Calif.

Jon Fitch and Josh Koscheck, UFC competitors from Fort Wayne, Ind., and Josh Koscheck of Waynesburg, respectively, will be appearing at 9 p.m. today at Sees’ M.A.T.S., located at the former Magic River Skateland on Route 15 , Danville.

The athletes also will address students at Shamokin Area Middle/High School at 1 p.m. Thursday, and will participate in a special ceremony that will honor them as “honorary police officers” at the Coal Township Board of Commissioners meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday. After the meeting, the trio will head to Brewser’s SportsGrille to continue spreading their message of eradicating drugs through education, hard work and setting an example for others… (Newsitem)

MotoUSA Heads to Big Apple for New York IMS

From the cruiser domain, Harley-Davidson is scheduled to make an announcement, Victory will be unveiling a limited edition motorcycle, and Star Motorcycles is breaking wraps on a Performance Machine Star Raider. For custom motorcycle fans, the Bikes & Beats Ultimate Builder Competition presented by TapouT will attract plenty of East Coast talent to the show, and Hardcore Choppers is set to debut its Datasol Speedster “iBike.” Hardcore will also have other customs on hand like its ‘P-40 Warhawk’ Special Edition Speedster and the ‘Bat Bike.’ Just look for the ‘Hardcore Hotties’ and you’ll know you’re in the right place.

To add to the show’s entertainment value, UFC fighters Roy Nelson, Jens Pulver and Rolles Gracie will be on hand to meet fans at the TapouT Champions Area this Friday night. If racing is more your cup of tea, Marlboro Ducati rider and former MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden will be at the Ducati display Friday at 7 p.m., and AMA Drag Racing champion Rickey Gadson is scheduled to be at the Kawasaki booth… (Motorcycle USA)

NY Governor Introduces MMA Bill with State Budget Proposal

Jake Encarnacao of Sherdog.com reports that New York Governor David Paterson has unveiled his state budget proposal for the up-coming fiscal calendar and it includes a bill that would effectively re-instate MMA in New York…

The gate tax is really quite high, which suggests this push to legalize the sport is more of a money grab than a recognition of MMA’s legitimacy. Moreover, the difference in tax levels between New York and neighboring states may provide smaller promoters – those which do not benefit from the status appeal of hosting a show in the Big Apple, for example – with the incentive to take their shows to states like Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, or even Rhode Island… (MMAPayout Perspective)

QUICK HITS

  • UFC Primetime: GSP vs. Hardy (MMAPayout Perspective)
  • Werdum vs. Fedor “99% confirmed” in April (Tatame Magazine)
  • Ambriz out as Lashley opponent, officials at “square one” on replacement (MMAJunkie)
  • Overlooked and Overshadowed, Greg Nagy Ready for Herschel Walker (MMAFighting)
  • AKA Teammates Insist Herschel Walker Is Ready for MMA Debut (MMAFighting)
  • UFC: Exclusive Paul Daley earns new six-fight deal and faces US wrestler Koscheck (Telegraph)
  • Coenen: I can go strike-for-strike with women’s champ ‘Cyborg’ Santos (USA Today)
  • WEC fighter urges fans to aid Haiti survivors (Las Vegas Sun)
  • Remembering Bob Shamrock (ESPN)
  • After title loss, Diego Sanchez returning to UFC’s welterweight division (MMAJunkie)
  • UFC signs Rick Story to new four-fight deal (MMAJunkie)
  • MMA fighters teach Marines skills for combat (Marine Corps times)
  • Source: Ninja Rua fighting for DREAM in March (Fighters Only Magazine)
  • Nam Phan in Title Fight, Eyeing Return to Japan (MMAWeekly)

VIDEO OF THE DAY

TV LISTINGS

  • HDNet Fights Presents K-1 Classics (Asian GP 2008) at 8 PM ET on HDNet (01/22/10)
  • InsideMMA (Ed Soares, Jose Aldo, Jon Fitch, & Randy Couture) at 9 PM ET on HDNet (01/22/10)
  • HDNet Fights Presents Best of 2009 K-1 World MAX at 10 PM ET on HDNet (01/22/10)
  • Best of Pride FC  at 10 PM ET/PT on Spike (01/22/10)

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 TBD (01/30/10)
  • KOTC: Toryumon from Okinawa, Japan on PPV (01/30/10)

MMAterial Facts (01/18/10)

January 18, 2010

  • Boxer’s treatment costs spur look at injury fund
  • One on One With Shari Spencer
  • Looking at Japan in 2010
  • Get an inside look at how Illinois legalized UFC
  • Fighting for MMA

Boxer’s treatment costs spur look at injury fund

The creation of a fund earmarked for catastrophic injuries to boxers and martial arts fighters is being studied by the Nevada Athletic Commission, its chairwoman said Tuesday…

Lundvall said to prevent taxpayers from paying the medical bills of fighters in the future, she is asking some of the “best minds in insurance” to devise ideas “along the lines of an annuity.”

Lundvall, a Reno attorney, said she envisions a monetary pool for catastrophic injuries being funded through a small percentage of both ticket sales and pay-per-view sales in Nevada.

How much that percentage would be, she said, “needs much more study.” She said the question of how to fund a catastrophic medical pool will be on the commission’s agenda in February.

A recent study done by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority on the nongaming economic effect of 20 major fights since 2005 found that nearly $200 million was poured into the community by visitors… (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

One on One With Shari Spencer

Just as his accomplishments inside of the UFC’s Octagon can be attributed to hard work, dedication, and the continuing improvement of a skill set that is already amongst the most formidable in any weight class, UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre’s accomplishments outside of the cage can almost exclusively be attributed to the efforts of his personal manager, Shari Spencer. Aside from defending his title twice in 2009 against two of the best fighters in the welterweight division, St-Pierre became the first MMA fighter to truly break into the mainstream of sports advertising when he signed exclusive sponsorship agreements with marketing juggernauts Gatorade and Under Armour last year, two of the largest sports-related advertisers in the world… (Tapology)

Looking at Japan in 2010

Michael Schiavello: I think 2010 will be a resurgence year for K-1. We’ll see K-1 do some big things in Europe, such as the rumored four European shows including possibly a European Grand Prix in a major European city (I can’t say which city just yet, but if the rumor comes true, it’s a city K-1 hasn’t been in yet and one that would be very exciting). Also I believe we’ll see K-1 return to mainland USA this year, with at least one show but maybe as many as three, which is big in itself and has a lot to do with the enormous popularity K-1 has garnered on HDNet.

Michael Schiavello: I don’t think it’s easy for anyone to do a show in Japan unless you’re working in with FEG. They’re the big power in Japan. They hold all the aces in their pockets with television, marketing, the best fighters, venues, etc. Scott Coker is a smart cookie and has tremendous experience with the Japanese market from his many years working with K-1. A Strikeforce show in Japan done with the blessing and partial assistance of FEG could be successful depending on which fighters were utilized. The key to capturing the Japanese fans is using Japanese fighters, not American fighters. Strikeforce and FEG have a working relationship which I believe is very healthy. My dream scenario would be for a joint Strikeforce/Dream series doing one show a piece in the USA and in Japan, not unlike Dynamite was a DREAM/Sengoku series… (MMAFighting)

Get an inside look at how Illinois legalized UFC

It didn’t take any punches or kicks or choke holds for mixed martial arts to be legalized by the Illinois Legislature and signed into law by then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich, just the usual mix of political clout and a little campaign cash, according to a portion of Blagojevich’s new book, The Governor.

Other key players declined to talk about Blagojevich’s version of the story, but public records back up key portions.

Blagojevich writes of his distaste for the sport, which takes place in an octagonal steel cage and combines boxing, karate, jiu-jitsu and other martial arts. But he says he put that distaste aside and signed the legislation legalizing mixed martial arts to score points with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel’s brother, Hollywood superagent Ari Emanuel, the real-life model for the character Ari Gold in the HBO series “Entourage.”

And why might Ari Emanuel care about mixed martial arts? Among his Endeavor Talent Agency’s clients:  Zuffa LLC, the Las Vegas company that owns UFC… (Chicage Sun-Times)

Fighting for MMA

According to mmafacts.com, a website devoted to spreading the word about MMA, an HR&A study conducted in 2008 analyzed the economic impact one Ultimate Fighting Championship (a company that hosts MMA caged bouts) event would have in Buffalo and Downstate New York.

According to the study “$1.7 million of direct spending is leveraged three times to result in $5.2 million of total activity in the local economy,” which means one event “could increase direct sports-related activity in Buffalo by 20 percent.”

Every dollar spent planning, promoting and staffing the event,  along with  every dollar spent on ticket sales, merchandise, food, travel, hotels, and entertainment will has a three-fold impact on the community.

By attracting event-goers and employing locals to work at the event, just one UFC or MMA event will bring money in to the community and keep it there. The money is leveraged because it will continue to circulate within the community even after the day of the fight.
Furthermore, the direct revenue benefits, or taxes, to New York State could total $320,000, and that’s from just one event.

The impact on Downstate New York is even greater: findings indicate potential for $11.3 million of economic output,” which is 15 percent of the [region’s] economic activity over a single weekend.”

“The Times Union Center in Albany anticipates a single MMA event generating close to $1 million in economic impact for Albany businesses and an additional $100,000 in tax revenues for Albany County” the study reported… (Saratoga Today)

QUICK HITS

  • Herschel Walker isn’t joking about MMA (ESPN)
  • Expectations rise for Strikeforce’s Bobby Lashley (USA Today)
  • Report: Floyd Mayweather to fight on May 1st, would go head-to-head against UFC PPV (Fight Opinion)
  • UFC president says May 1 card in Montreal could be moved to another date (The Canadian Press)
  • Sanchez contemplates return to 170 (Yahoo! Sports)
  • Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson vs. Matt Mitrione targeted for UFC 113 in Montreal (Yahoo! Sports)
  • Derrick Noble vs Yves Edwards Heads MFC 24 (MMAWeekly)
  • Weekend Rundown: Monson Wins; Houston Alexander Loses (Sherdog)
  • ESPN to air UFC: Best of 2009 on free-to-air weekend (Mirror.co.uk)
  • Kongo vs. Buentello, Ludwig vs. Fisher Added to UFC on Versus (MMAFighting)
  • Kampmann vs. Saunders set for UFC 111 main card, two bouts official for prelims (MMAJunkie)
  • Bellator Signs GSP Training Partner Mike Ricci (MMAWeekly)
  • Koscheck vs. Daley at UFC 113 in Montreal (MMAWeekly)
  • Update On Bobby Lashley’s Strikeforce Opponent (MMANews)

TV LISTINGS

  • HDNet Fights Presents K-1 Classics (Asian GP 2008) at 8 PM ET on HDNet (01/22/10)
  • InsideMMA (Ed Soares, Jose Aldo, Jon Fitch, & Randy Couture) at 9 PM ET on HDNet (01/22/10)
  • HDNet Fights Presents Best of 2009 K-1 World MAX at 10 PM ET on HDNet (01/22/10)
  • Best of Pride FC  at 10 PM ET/PT on Spike (01/22/10)

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 TBD (01/30/10)
  • KOTC: Toryumon from Okinawa, Japan on PPV (01/30/10)

Dynamite!! Likely to Return in 2010

January 7, 2010

Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer writes that Dynamite likely did enough with its ratings on NYE to secure a slot with Japanese TV station TBS next year.

It is the rating for the big matches that the network is most concerned with, and it was considered a success, being in second place for what is traditionally the most-watched night of television of the year in Japan. While Sadaharu Tanigawa of K-1 seemed disappointed, hoping to be more competitive with the concert, particularly during the Masato and Ishii matches, TBS president Toshimi Ichihara did a press interview talking about the success of the show in beating a comedy show on NTV that featured a lot of big names. After last year, the tradition was in trouble, but this rating guarantees TBS doing it again next year. The problem is when you look at what drew the rating, Ishii’s debut was a one-time thing and he didn’t look good, and got destroyed in all the newspapers, and Masato, who ended up being the star of the show, was retiring. I could easily see a big push next year to bring him out of retirement because they’ll need him.

Payout Perspective:

The news is good, but Meltzer does hint at the larger problem which still clearly exists in Japanese MMA: the sport’s reliance on the non-traditional matches to draw viewership. Masato’s retirement bout will not be available and Ishii’s star is fading, so what will the organization do next year?

In fairness, you have to give FEG credit for this year’s show; it was the first in a long time that didn’t feature any freak show bouts (even if it did feature the final of the Super Hulk tournament). Moreover, even the regular MMA shows routinely draw 20-40k at the gate, which in many cases is far greater than what MMA is doing in North America.

However, as we move into the future, the one big issue surrounding MMA in Japan will continue to be whether the sport, itself, will take in the country.

Ratings: FieLDS Dynamite!! 2009

January 2, 2010

The numbers are in, and FieLDS Dynamite!! 2009 drew a 16.7%.

Fightopinion with the translation:

The final numbers: NHK’s Kohaku music show – 40.8% (37.1% and 40.8% for the two parts), Dynamite!! with Masato’s last match drew a 16.7%, and Nippon TV’s Downtown comedy special (hotelman 24 hours) did a 16.4%. Fuji TV did a 9.2% rating for it’s program. 

Payout Perspective:

The event finished second in the annual NYE ratings battle, which is a good showing. The result tops what Dream and Sengoku were able to do all year, and is the best Dynamite!! result since 2006.

A list of the Dream and K-1 ratings on the year can be found at Nightmare of the Battle.

« Previous PageNext Page »