Category Archives: IFL

Roy Nelson Punches Me in the Face

It seemed like a good idea at the time.  During our pre-fight interviews before the IFL’s show in Las Vegas, we asked some fighters to demonstrate their favorite moves.  After a brief discussion, it was decided that I would the demonstration dummy for these.  It made for an interesting day, especially when Matt Horwich put me in something called a “ninjaplata”, which I suspect he made it up on the spot.

I wasn’t crazy about Roy Nelson’s idea to demonstrate an overhand right on me, but it worked out okay.  He stopped just short of hitting me, though just hearing him describe how he liked to target his punch on the back corner of a man’s jaw made me a little uneasy.  I mean, that just sounds unpleasant.

Anyway, here’s the video demonstration of “Big Country” doing the overhand right, plus a look at how he put it to work against Antoine Jaoude.



Filed under IFL, MMA, Roy Nelson, Sports

IFL Recap, UFC 82 Liveblogging

I’m finally home from Las Vegas and ready to gear up for UFC 82.  My flight was actually on time, and I sat behind comedian Dave Attell, who spent the five hours trying to be nice to two nosy old women who refused to let him watch his mini-Jet Blue television in peace.  Just witnessing it made my flight endlessly pleasant.

You can check out my insider recap of last night’s IFL event at Cage Potato, and I’ll also be writing a live blog of UFC 82 there tonight.

Basically, it will be like sitting next to me on my couch during a UFC pay-per-view, except this way you don’t have to think up a polite excuse to leave when I go off on a tangent about Heath Herring’s style-over-substance approach to fighting, which inevitably makes people uncomfortable.  Actually now that I think about it, maybe it’s the fact that I typically deliver this tirade drunk and with my shirt off that does that.  Either way.

For more of my clever witticisms, check out Cage Potato tonight.

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Filed under IFL, MMA, Sports, UFC

“Sometimes You Have to Hit People”

My first IFL diary is now online at Cage Potato, featuring some behind-the-scenes commentary from Las Vegas.  Here’s an excerpt:

Covering the IFL for the past year and a half, here’s one lesson I’ve learned: during any interview with Matt Lindland, he’s going to get mad at me at least once. I can never tell what will cause it; it could be anything. This time it’s Kimbo Slice.

It’s the day before the IFL Las Vegas event and we’re interviewing all the fighters and coaches. It can be monotonous, to say the least. We get just about everyone to weigh in on Kimbo, but as soon as I ask what Lindland thinks of him, the mood of the interview changes.

“He’s a bum,” says Lindland. The look on his face tells me to leave it alone. I ask what he means by that. He glares at me. I bring this on myself. I really do.

“I mean he’s a bum,” he says. “He’s a nobody. What do you want me to say? You asked me what I thought and I told you. I don’t have anything else to say about him.”

The hell of it is, despite how ornery he can be I really like Lindland. I can’t help it. Even when he gives me the look like he’s trying to figure out how one human being ever got to be this stupid, at least I know it’s sincere. You have to respect honesty like that.

Read the rest here.

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Filed under IFL, Matt Horwich, Matt Lindland, MMA, Sports

IFL Las Vegas Preview

The IFL hits Vegas on Friday night for the first event in 2008. Those of you with HDNet can see it live at 7:30 PST/10:30 EST. The rest of you will have to either buy a ticket or catch the fights on the internet, though they should be available fairly soon following the show. I’m flying out tonight and as usual I’ll be blogging my experience on the road, which in Vegas always includes plenty of lamentation about cheap hotel buffets and tourists wearing fanny packs.

For a preview of the non-title fights this Friday night, check out this new article on the IFL website. A preview of the three championship bouts is forthcoming.

One of the undercard fights that I’m really looking forward to is the featherweight bout between Dennis Davis and Ian Loveland.  These two should be familiar to fight fans in the Northwest, as both got their start with Team Quest in Portland.  I saw Davis in a Sportfight show some years back and he was an exciting fighter, to say the least.

What makes this one interesting is that Davis was Loveland’s first MMA coach.  He trained him back when Loveland was just getting his start, before Davis left Team Quest for Xtreme Couture, and now both their careers have intersected again.  I was surprised that when I talked to Ian Loveland about this match he seemed to have a pretty irreverent attitude about fighting Davis.  I don’t know if it was bravado or not, but he said he’d taken Davis apart in a recent training session and felt confident that he’d do the same thing in the ring.

When I mentioned this to Davis, he freely admitted that, yes, Loveland had gotten the best of him in a training session, but that it didn’t mean anything.  He said he’d been out of shape after not training for a few months, and that if Loveland was basing everything off that one afternoon in the gym, he was in for a surprise.

Personally, I love the dynamic at work in this fight.  Teacher-versus-former student is a great theme.  Usually it only happens in the movies.  I can’t wait to see how this one plays out in real life on Friday night.

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Filed under Dennis Davis, Ian Loveland, IFL

Mayweather Revisited

After recently ordering HBO solely to watch the new season of The Wire, I’ve finally gotten a chance to see the 24/7 documentary/hype series they did in advance of the Mayweather-Hatton fight. Though the fight itself seemed less than exciting, what with Mayweather throwing one punch at a time and then diving into the clinch for much of the fight, HBO knows how to put together a promo piece and make it look like a real documentary.I won’t go on and on about how much I wish there was an MMA version of 24/7, or how I wish HBO would get involved with our sport and bring their budget and high production values with them. That’s a given. I will say, though, that while I realize Mayweather is, in all likelihood, not going to cross over into MMA, at least as a fighter, I really wish he would, and not just so I could see him catch a beatdown.

We did interviews at the last IFL event where we asked all the fighters and coaches what they thought of Mayweather coming to MMA, and oddly enough the most interesting response came from Ken Shamrock. He said that because of the initial reaction — which, as you may recall, mostly called for Mayweather to fight Sean Sherk for his first bout — it will never happen, and that we’re the ones who are missing out. I think he has a point.

If MMA embraced Mayweather and made a real effort to get him and help bring him along, rather than throwing him to the wolves to prove a point, it would help everyone. Revenue and fighter salaries would benefit, there would be a greater and more diverse audience, and maybe some of the old guard sports editors who still think MMA is a passing fad would finally put down their cigars and fedoras and hammer out a positive story on their typewriters.

It’s not often that Ken Shamrock has the cooler head when it comes to thinking things through, but he’s right on target here. As much as we in the MMA world would love to see a top boxer get whooped on by an MMA fighter just to silence the people who’ve refused to accept our sport into the mainstream, we’d ultimately be better served by making it a more feasible transition.

That’s not to say that I think Mayweather will ever come to MMA. It looks like pure PR from where I’m sitting. But he should at least know that MMA would like to have him and would help him get started. Then, after he’s had a chance to get acclimated, we can let Sean Sherk plant him like an azalea.

Here’s the full video of IFL fighters and coaches answering the Mayweather question:

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Filed under Floyd Mayweather, IFL, Ken Shamrock, MMA, Sports, UFC

New Tim Kennedy Article, With Fight Video

I’ve posted a new article about Tim Kennedy on today. More and more Kennedy is looking like he could be a real star in MMA. He has all the physical tools, plus he’s smart and very personable in front of the camera. You can watch his full fight against Elias Rivera (which is embedded into the IFL article) and while I know Rivera isn’t the best or most seasoned middleweight out there, the way Kennedy manhandled him is almost scary.

Plus, while Kennedy was cutting weight at the hotel gym the day before the Grand Prix, he was overheard outlining the entire plot of “Lord of the Rings” to his trainer, which I find both weird and intriguing. You have to pass the time on the treadmill somehow, but who would expect to hear some badass MMA fighter starting sentences in the gym with, “Okay, so there’s this wizard named Gandolph, right?”

Read the article and watch the fight here.

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Filed under IFL, MMA, Sports, Tim Kennedy

What A Weekend For MMA

It’s been a long weekend in our sport, and I’m pretty exhausted.  After the IFL Grand Prix and UFC 79, it’s enough to make you wonder how we got to this point from the days of tiny shows in civic center arenas that went straight to VHS tapes.  How far we’ve come.  Anyway, it’s Monday morning now, so back to work…

I keep reading on the internet how surprised people are that Ryan Schultz beat Chris Horodecki for the IFL lightweight title.  Apparently, no one even gave Schultz a chance, which is odd when you consider he’s the only man to beat Roger Huerta, so he must know a thing or two about this MMA stuff.  What’s really strange to me though are the people who seem to think Schultz’s victory spells doom for the IFL.

I mean, really?  First, people complain that the IFL is propping Horodecki up and protecting him as the league’s golden boy.  Then, when he loses his first fight to a tough guy like Schultz, they think the IFL is finished?  I just don’t see it.  Maybe I’m a little biased, but I think the more diversity and unpredictability the IFL has, the better.  Who wants to see the same guy win every time?  Now the division is wide open, and it should be interesting to see Schultz’s first title defense.  I know for a fact that he and John Gunderson have wanted to fight each other for a very long time, and that could be an explosive one.

On the whole, the five championship fights on the IFL card were all great ones, and all ended decisively.  What really surprised me was not so much Schultz winning, but Benji Radach losing.

Matt Horwich has got to be a truly baffling fighter to go up against.  His style is so awkward and it doesn’t seem to bother him at all to get hit in the face over and over again.  Radach was doing a great job in the first round, circling away and landing solid shots.  But Horwich just never stops.  He may be a little on the weird side, but that really only makes him more difficult to figure out in the ring.  I can’t wait to see Horwich and Tim Kennedy go at it, which has got to happen hopefully sooner rather than later.

I didn’t get to see any of the UFC fights until returning home yesterday afternoon, but they, too, were worth the wait.  Georges St. Pierre proved what a dominant fighter he can be with a submission victory over Matt Hughes, and Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva treated fans to a truly memorable battle.

After the GSP-Hughes fight, I have to wonder what Matt Serra is thinking right now.  He shocked St. Pierre the first time, but does he believe he can do it again?  St. Pierre looked to me like one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world on Saturday night.  When he comes in ready and focused, I don’t think there’s a 170-pounder in the world who stands a chance, Serra included.

The other question at hand is, what becomes of Hughes now?  He’s said before that he only has a few fights left in him, and if he can’t beat GSP there’s little hope for him in the welterweight title picture, so what’s he waiting around for?  The answer may be a grudge match with Serra after his GSP fight.  That’s the only thing that makes sense for Hughes, other than retirement.

As for Liddell, the win over Silva is a tremendous career boost and will stand as a hallmark moment in his already Hall of Fame career, but I don’t think it qualifies him for an instant title shot.  I’d like to see him against somebody like Forrest Griffin first, but that probably won’t happen now that Griffin and “Rampage” Jackson are coaching the reality show.  More and more, TUF seems like an albatross for MMA, and for exactly that reason.  It puts the title picture on hold in whatever division the coaches come from.  So what does Liddell do now?

Well, how about a fight with “Shogun” Rua?  He got beat pretty soundly by Griffin, but it might make for a good contender match.  Then again, the UFC will probably just hold Liddell out of action until after Jackson-Griffin, rather than take a chance on him losing and getting tossed back in the 205-pound ranks.  Oh well.

As for Silva, he fought well enough to prove that he can still make some waves in the UFC.  He’ll probably never wear another major MMA title, but a rematch between he and “Rampage” still has some heat, though that’s a long wait for “The Axe Murderer.”  Wait a minute, what’s Keith Jardine up to these days?  Hey, I’m just saying.


Filed under Chris Horodecki, Chuck Liddell, Georges St. Pierre, IFL, Matt Hughes, MMA, Ryan Schultz, UFC, UFC 79, Wanderlei Silva