Archive for the ‘MMA’ Category

Tito & Dana Sitting in a Tree

August 15, 2009

Tito Ortiz and Dana White proved last week that Philadelphia really is The City of Brotherly Love. Now that’s G.

UFC Caps & Beanies


MMA Manifesto – An Ode to Anderson Silva

August 9, 2009

Spiderman, Spiderman,
Does everything a fighter can,
Pound for pound, he’s the best
Head and shoulders above the rest
Look Out!
Here comes Anderson Silva, man.

MMA Manifesto – An Open Letter to Dana White

August 8, 2009

Hi Dana – I hope it is ok to call you Dana – you don’t seem like one for formalities. I know you’re really busy now, what with UFC 101 happening tonight, but there is an important topic I wanted to discuss with you. It is concerning the importance of competition and, more specifically, Strikeforce. No, not the Tito Santana-Rick Martel tag team from the late 80s – I’m talking about the MMA promotion.

Sorry, I probably confused you by calling the promotion Strikeforce rather than the name you coined for them “Strikefarce” (you are so funny and witty). I guess you are pretty peeved at Strikeforce right now for signing Fedor Emelianenko on you, but like I wrote before, you made the right choice letting him go elsewhere. Now you feel threatening by this promotion, the very same promotion you used to bestow kind words upon. You say that Fedor is going to ruin Strikeforce and that if they want to fight you then bring it on. But I think you are missing the point here – you shouldn’t feel threatened about a competitor getting stronger – you should view it as a positive.

Competition isn’t a dirty word – it’s a good thing. Competition will keep you and your organization on its toes and make sure that you don’t get complacent. Competition will also help grow the sport, which in the end means more money in your pocket. Look no further than the world that your current heavyweight champion, Brock Lesnar, came from – pro wrestling. Wrestling was on fire in the last 1990s when the WWE (nee WWF) and rival WCW were waging a full-on battle royal. The WWE’s TV ratings were twice what they are now, and combined with WCW’s equally high ratings, the sport was getting more attention and viewers than ever before. Then Vince McMahon bought up all the competitors (WCW & ECW) and the TV ratings have dropped. With MMA still in its infancy, you and the UFC can not go it alone in building the sport into a mainstream powerhouse – you need help. That is where promotions like Strikeforce and Dream and Sengoku come into play. They get your sport exposure and drum up interest without you having to put any money into it. As long as you remain the leader in the industry – which you apparently have a stranglehold on for the long run – you will do nothing but benefit from this growth of your sport.

If you don’t like the pro wrestling comparison, we can find examples in the place where you want to be – mainstream sports. The AFL brought exciting, offensive-minded football to the fans before they combined with the NFL. The WHL introduced the world to Wayne Gretzky before they joined the NHL. The ABA introduced Afros, Dr. J and the slam dunk competition to the realm of basketball. In the end all of these leagues ended up merging with their competitors, but the point is that for a period they put up strong competition to the respective leaders in their fields, causing everyones’ games to get elevated. Having a strong competitor in Strikeforce will force you to continue to put together strong PPV cards, not Rich Franklin vs. Vitor Belfort main events (because, seriously, you expect people to pay $49.99 for that?!?).

Besides, even with Fedor, Strikeforce (sorry – Strikefarce – so funny) shouldn’t be considered a dangerous rival anyways. They should be looked upon as nothing more than a minor league – a place where fighters can gain exposure and experience before you sign them to the big leagues in the UFC. This is a promotion that has a woman’s match – which, at this early stage of women competing in the sport is nothing more than a gimmick match – headlining an upcoming PPV. Maybe Strikeforce will steal some of your advertising and TV revenue and force you to pay a little more for fighters than you would have preferred, but in the long run the positives of having a strong competitor far outweigh the negatives.

I know you hope and predict that you will crush Strikeforce and force them to join your ranks, like Pride and Affliction before them. But hopefully I have made you reconsider that position.

Hugs and Kisses,

The Hoops Manifesto

UFC Fighter Tees

MMA Manifesto: Big Fedor, Small Pond

August 4, 2009

It is with a heavy heart that I report the demise of the Fedor Emelianenko in the UFC dream. And as hard as it is to say due to the fact I’m not a fan of the man’s persona or way he carries himself, Dana White did the right thing.

I wanted Fedor in the UFC as much as the next guy (but probably not as much as my brother, who has developed a serious crush on The Last Emperor), but I completely agree with White and the UFC’s decision to hold their ground and not cave in to Fedor and M1’s demands of a co-promotion deal. The UFC has taken years to build their brand to the position it is at now and there is no way they can compromise that position by letting a fighter’s management company piggyback on their brand name. As much as Fedor would have brought to the UFC, it would not have been enough to justify giving M1 a co-promotion deal. If the UFC crossed that bridge, negotiations with every other big name fighter in the future would have gotten infinitely harder.

White might be a blowhard, but there is no denying that he is a brilliant business man. Being a MMA fighter is a precarious occupation – one day you can be on top of the world, the next moment you are considered washed up. That is why White has wisely made his mug – and not that of a fighter – as the face of the UFC. White isn’t going anywhere – no one is going to knock him out (even though many dream of that) and tarnish his image. He is the one getting all the media attention. He is the one on the cover of the inaugural edition of the UFC magazine. Dana White is the most famous person in the MMA world, not Fedor or anyone else. While it would have been great to see Fedor in the UFC, the truth was that Fedor and M1 needed the UFC more than the UFC needed them. As long as the UFC have Dana White, they are going to be fine.

Besides, it is not like Fedor is much of a draw in North America anyway. Us hardcore MMA fans know and love him, but the casual fans – the ones that every sport depends on to make a profit and prosper – probably only know about him due to all the publicity his recent contract negotiations with the UFC garnered. He is a chubby, shy Russian who comes off as rather unassuming. Before the bell rings he certainly doesn’t appear to be a bad ass, like his heavily tattooed brother does.

The intangibles Fedor does possess – his mystique and seemingly invulnerability – would have been destroyed pretty quick in the UFC. Once the UFC’s marketing muscle was put behind him, his mystique would have vanished almost immediately. He’d no longer be this mysterious Drago-like character from Russia – he’d be exposed as the normal, down-to-earth person that he is. As for the invincibility, that disappears for all fighters eventually. All fighters – no matter how dominant – eventually lose in the MMA world. Fedor has only lost once – that was nine years ago and it was due to a cut – but the fact of the matter is he is 33-years-old, and as much as we hoped, there was no guarantee he wasn’t going to get his face smashed in during his very first UFC match versus Brock Lesnar. So, with the mystique and the invincibility gone, what would the UFC have been left with? Just another talented – but aging – fighter. Not someone worthy of having his own management help run the organization.

So as tough as Fedor is, it looks like he finally ran into an opponent who he couldn’t make tap out – Dana White.

UFC DVDs 300x250

Button Mashing of the Future

July 30, 2009
Since we’re on a bit of a video game kick, lets continue with some news of a couple of upcoming games that are of interest to The Hoops Manifesto – NBA 2K10 and EA Sports: MMA.

First, some exciting news from our good friends at 2K Sports – NBA 2K10: Draft Combine. Rather than summarize it for you, here it is straight from the horse’s mouth. This press release was sent to me by 2K Sports:
2K Sports Announces NBA 2K10: Draft Combine, a Totally New Downloadable Game Experience

Get a taste of NBA 2K10’s all-new gameplay and My Player career mode while living the life of an NBA hopeful going through the real NBA Draft Combine.

New York, NY – July 28, 2009 – 2K Sports today announced NBA® 2K10: Draft Combine, a download-only title that will provide pre-season fun for basketball fans leading up to the fall launch of NBA 2K10. Planned for release this September on Xbox LIVE® Arcade for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and PlayStation®Network for PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system,, NBA 2K10: Draft Combine will allow fans to create their own custom player with the utmost detail and, for the first time in the NBA 2K series, begin their career by experiencing the on-court life of an NBA hopeful going through the NBA Draft Combine at the world-renowned, ATTACK Athletics gym in Chicago.

“We’re giving our dedicated NBA 2K fans an incredible opportunity with NBA 2K10: Draft Combine,” said Greg Thomas, senior vice president of sports development for 2K. “Gamers will have exclusive access to online content and get to test drive NBA 2K10’s new gameplay features, advanced player progression system and the all-new My Player career mode before the game launches this fall.”

Features of NBA 2K10: Draft Combine include:

· Building custom players by working with a mentor, the 2K Insider, and increasing their NBA stock through a variety of challenging basketball drills and 5-on-5 games.

· Over 300 different signature customizations, including player-specific shooting animations, dunk and dribble packages and more to allow each created player to have his own unique personal style.

· Ability to strengthen all parts of the created player’s game with a variety of drills, such as shooting, post offense and defense, attacking the basket, dribbling, challenging shots, boxing out for rebounds and more to progress through the NBA Draft Combine.

· Organized games that will allow players to gain valuable skill points and offer a variety of specific in-game objectives that will need to be accomplished in order to gain them. At the end of each game, a full analysis will be available for gamers to review their player’s performance and strategize their further improvement.

· All players created in NBA 2K10: Draft Combine will wear a special patch on their uniform throughout the rest of that player’s career to denote that they have completed the NBA Draft Combine.
· Online leaderboards to track the highest ranking custom built players, and where a player stacks up against the competition.

· Opportunity to unlock special achievements on Xbox 360 and trophies for PLAYSTATION 3 system.

· Fans can take their custom built players from NBA 2K10: Draft Combine and use them in the all-new My Player career mode in NBA 2K10 launching this fall, allowing them to continue their journey of becoming an NBA legend.

NBA 2K10: Draft Combine, developed by Visual Concepts, is planned for release in North America, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and India this September on Xbox LIVE Arcade for Xbox 360 (400 Microsoft Points) and PlayStation Network for PLAYSTATION 3 system ($4.99). For more information about NBA 2K10: Draft Combine, please visit

Obviously that is very exciting news for hoopheads, video game addicts and draftniks like yours truly. The Hoops Manifesto will be all over this on its release and will give you a full review of it.

Also announced this week was some more news on EA Sports: MMA, which is scheduled to drop in 2010. Among the announced fighters for it are Fedor Emelianeko and Randy Couture, but with no UFC fighters on the roster, will the average fan be interested in buying it (especially considering how good a game UFC Undisputed is)?

If you can’t wait for either game to drop, here are links to the pre-orders:

Pre-order NBA 2K10 Here

Pre-order EA Sports: MMA Here

I Still Love You

July 21, 2009

I’ve been real busy doing some articles for the upcoming Athlon NBA preview, so I haven’t had much time and energy for any meaningful posts on this here blog. Just wanted to let you that you are not forgotten and a more substantial post will be coming in the next few days. Until then, enjoy this video of the Dream 10 Welterweight Grand Prix finals straight from Japan.

UFC The Ultimate Fighter Sale

MMA Manifesto – Who’s Not Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

July 12, 2009

I guess the odds makers in Vegas really do know their MMA. All three of their picks for the headline matches at UFC 100 came through – GSP, Henderson and Lesnar. While this was a fairly entertaining PPV to watch, parts of it did leave a bad taste in my mouth.

First off, apparently Dana White and co. need explained to them what the phrase “main event” means. If Henderson-Bisping, GSP-Alves and Mir-Lesnar are your “headline” matches that you are giving the most lead up publicity to, then they should be the last matches on your card, in that order. You don’t put the Jon Fitch-Paulo Thiago fight – a fight I was looking forward to see – on after the main event. The crowd was already dead, and to pour more salt in the wounds, the match was pretty slow. Add in a weak main event match leading into this and you end the card on a downer, instead of a high note. Kinda like how performers would never go on stage after James Brown. Some things you just don’t follow.

More about the dud of a main event later. On a more positive note, the first three matches on the card – Yoshihiro Akiyama-Alan Belcher, Henderson-Bisping and GSP-Alves – were worth the price of admission. I’m glad Henderson won but, at the same time, I lost a lot of respect for him for pounding a knocked out Bisping in the face knowing full well that he was already seeing birdies. That was one of the most gruesome knockouts I’ve seen in a while, but the usual classy Henderson should have remained that way rather than pound on the helpless, sleeping Brit.

Nuff respect due (word to Big Daddy Kane) to Thiago Alves for going the distance with Georges St. Pierre. Alves was totally dominated and outclassed by GSP, but I was impressed with the way he was able to thwart off St. Pierre’s ground game and get back up to his feet time and again. At only 25-years-old, Alves still has a very bright future ahead of him. Unfortunately for him (and every other 170lb fighter in the world) GSP is only 28-years-old and is only getting more dominant every match. There is NO ONE currently in the weight class who has any shot at beating GSP. Alves had the best chance of the bunch and all that got him was a mangled face. Which causes a dilemma for the UFC. With no one able to legitimately give GSP a run for his money – and the fact that he’ll have real trouble moving up a weight class (at least in the very near future) – what is the incentive for people to purchase future PPV’s that he headlines? The main reason we are all drawn to sports is the thrill of the unknown. There is no unknown with GSP – we know heading in that he is going to dominate his opponent.

Which brings us to the most disappointing of storylines in the sport – the reign of Brock Lesnar. While Lesnar playing the role of the bad guy is good theater (Vince McMahon taught him well) and makes me want to see him get punched in the face, who has any shot of beating him? Just take a look at Frank Mir’s face after the match (photo below) and let me know who wants to step up and be the next contestant in Brock Lesnar’s Ground and Pound of Doom?

Lesnar isn’t good for the sport for several reasons. First of all, as mentioned above he is so big and strong (and the heavyweight division so weak), that there are no legit challengers for him currently, especially as he gets more experienced. He appeared on the scene at just the right time to dominate. Randy Couture and Minotauro Nogueira have seen their best days, we just saw what he did to Mir, and the next generation of up-and-coming heavyweights aren’t ready yet. Additionally, his fights aren’t that exciting. He basically just overpowers his opponent and pounds on them, like a bully stealing kids lunch money.

Also, what kind of image of MMA does it convey when an inexperienced fighter can jump right into the sport and dominate? A former professional wrestler no less. With MMA battling to be fully recognized as a legitimate mainstream sport, this is not a good thing. So Brock Lesnar needs to be stopped for the good of the sport. But I don’t see anyone currently in the UFC who can do that. So I’m begging – pleading – that Dana White can persuade our white knight from Mother Russia to come over and save us all. Help us Fedor Emelianenko – you’re our only hope.

New Items Marked Down! Shop the UFC Sale

MMA Manifesto – UFC Undisputed Review

June 30, 2009

Forgive me if you’ve heard this before, but it must be said again – UFC UNDISPUTED IS A FANTASTIC VIDEO GAME. In fact, it is the best fighting game I’ve ever played and one of the best sports games I’ve had the pleasure of bashing the buttons to.

What makes the game so fantastic is the realistic way that it portrays MMA. A large part of that is due to the graphics, which are stunning. All your favourite fighters are rendered true to life, right down to the tattoos and cauliflower ears. Mike Goldberg, Joe Rogan and Bruce Buffer are all along for the ride, so the audio is true to life also. And, most importantly, the action is about as realistic as you can get, without actually getting your face punched or kicked in. Of course there’s blood and cuts and contusions, and the knockouts are as gruesome as they are in real life, with limp, twisted bodies hitting the canvas. Transitions, clinching, striking and submissions are just as realistically rendered and fairly easy to pull off and get the hang off. But, like in real life, it’s the knockouts that are the real seller here.

While most of the big name UFC fighters are in the game (as well as some surprise additions like Tito Ortiz and Andrei Arlovski), the career mode is the feature of the game you’ll probably get the most enjoyment out of. You create your own fighter, decide on what disciplines he will specialize in, and then hop into the Octagon and fight your way up the ranks until you get a title shot.

Of the top of my head, there really isn’t anything wrong or needs improving in the game – it is about the best representation of MMA that a video game is capable of at this point in time (I’m sure after a couple of more years of innovation this game will look archaic). UFC Undisputed is an addictive game – the type of game that you can pop in one evening and before you know it the sun has come up the next morning (or so I’ve been told). And of course I’d want my faithful readers to become addicts also, so I’ve included helpful links below to go and grab a fix yourself. – PS3: UFC 2009: Undisputed – XBox: UFC 2009: Undisputed – PS3: UFC 2009 Undisputed – XBox: UFC 2009 Undisputed

MMA Manifesto – When The Music’s Over

June 14, 2009
If you are looking for my normal basketball musings (or if blood makes you queasy) scroll down to yesterday’s post about Brandon Jennings and Ricky Rubio. For it is once again time for another edition of the MMA Manifesto.

MMA is a brutal sport. The physical side of the brutality goes without saying – it is on full display in the ring or cage for all the world to see. The behind the scenes brutality – having to negotiate with the George Steinbrenner/Vince McMahon of the MMA world, Dana White, in order to be able to fight in the top promotion must be equally as tough. But another brutal aspect, which has been coming more and more to light recently, is deciding when a fighter’s career is over.

Deciding when to retire is normally a problem for most athletes, especially the great ones. At least in team sports it can be a gradual process – a former star can extend his career by a few years by taking on a lesser role with a team. Still, the danger exists to overstay your welcome and stay in the game longer than you should.

Easing yourself out of the sport isn’t an option for MMA fighters – you’re not able to call time out during a fight and substitute in a younger fighter to take your place for a few minutes. All the cliches actually hold true in the cage – kill or be killed, only the strong survive, etc. If your skills, stamina, strength or reaction time declines at all you’ll find yourself seeing stars instead of being one. There really isn’t any margin for error in the win/loss department either – lose a couple of fights in a row and you may not get another shot at righting the ship. Which is the position four former titans of the sport, all on the wrong side of 30-years-old, currently find themselves – Chuck Liddell, Tim Sylvia, Andrei Arlovski and, as of last night, Wanderlei Silva.

Silva’s slump has spanned three years and two different fighting promotions. After getting knocked out in his last two Pride fights, Silva has gone 1-3 in the UFC. Not exactly a good position to be in for a soon-to-be 33-year-old. Surprisingly you aren’t hearing too many calls for Silva to hang up the gloves, like you did for Liddell after his last loss. Which is good news for the Brazilian – where else is a guy named The Axe Murderer (the greatest nickname in sports) who has a giant tattoo on his skull going to find a job? Silva fought very hard during Saturday’s bout against Rich Franklin, and, despite Franklin winning a unanimous decision, the win very easily could have been given to Silva. Which goes to show how precarious a job in MMA is – if the judges had awarded the fight to Silva we’d be talking about whether or not Franklin should hang up the gloves.

Here’s hoping The Axe Murderer gets back on the winning track in the middleweight division, especially with the bad blood brewing between him and former training partner Anderson Silva. Or, if worse comes to worse, maybe the UFC can steal an idea from the world of pro wrestling – Wanderlei Silva vs. Chuck Liddell in a “Loser Leave Town Retirement Match” (because a hair vs. hair match would pretty much be pointless).

MMA Manifesto – Float Like A Butterfly

May 25, 2009

If these NBA playoffs have been too rough and violent for you, then this column is probably not for you. Rather than to write some more about how great these playoffs have been, today it is time for The Hoops Manifesto to make way for The MMA Manifesto. If you don’t know what MMA is, that is that sport where you are allowed to punch, kick and choke your opponent (and I’m not talking about hockey).

And if we are going to talk MMA, we have to talk about the man of the hour – newly crowned UFC light heavyweight champ Lyoto Machida. The Dragon’s mix of Shotokan karate and Brazilian JiuJitsu has taken the fighting world by storm, and his name is now in the mix for best pound-for-pound fighter in the world (along with GSP, Fedor and Anderson Silva). And, perhaps most interesting, he has shown that karate can be an effective tool in the octagon.

What the 14-0 Machida has done over his past two UFC fights is truly stunning. His knockouts of previous undefeated Thiago Silva and Rashad Evans were devastating, with neither opponent having a chance in either fight. His dismantling of Evans on Saturday was especially impressive, as, per usual, Machida barely got touched throughout the fight. Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee couldn’t be a more fitting description of Machida’s fighting style. With precision, pin-point kicks and punches his offense is deadly, especially considering he leans back when he kicks his opponent, nullifying any chance of a counterstrike. But his defense might be even more impressive than his offense. Extremely quick and light on his feet for his size, The Dragon dodges and weaves his opponent’s strikes and is next to impossible to take down.

Next up for Machida is apparently top contender Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. As formidable as the former champ is, he has no shot at beating Machida. Jackson has proven to have no desire to check his opponent’s leg kicks, and it cost him the belt when he fought Forrest Griffin. The Karate Kid will eat him up with kicks, and Rampage’s aggressive style will allow Machida plenty of openings to strike.

So if Rampage doesn’t have a shot at beating him, then who does? Undefeated fighters don’t stay undefeated for too long, so Machida is bound to lose soon, right? Maybe not. Scanning UFC’s current light heavyweight division (perhaps the company’s strongest weight class) there are no names that jump off the page at you as a potential knight to slay The Dragon. But there is one man who would have a shot at beating Machida. That would be middleweight king Anderson Silva.

Silva, like Machida, is a puzzle that few opponents can solve. Silva is also one of the rare fighters who can go up in weight and still be successful. So Silva going up to light heavyweight and fighting Machida in a “superfight” that Dana White is so fond of would be a no-brainer, right? Wrong. Silva and Machida are training partners and have stated that they have no interest in fighting one another. And even if they did step into the octagon to face one another, would they even fight? Both Brazilians tend to dance around the ring and wait for their opponent to make the first move. Would there even be a first move if these two went at it?

So what should be a dream situation for the UFC – two champions with awe-inspiring skills – could become a nightmare. With no one really having a chance at beating either man, where is the drama? The reason sports are interesting to people is because the outcomes are unknown. When these two step into the octagon, the outcome is pretty much known before the first punch is thrown. The only answer is to get Silva and Machida to go at it. And while Dana White talks loud and carries a big stick, his stick might not be big enough to make this dream a reality.