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M-1 Global’s Fedor-themed Reality Show: Worst Idea Ever?

They have a funny way of looking at things over at M-1 Global.  By funny, of course, I mean stupid.  That’s the only explanation for their latest endeavor, a reality show where sixteen fighters compete for the chance to face Fedor Emelianenko.  Oh yeah, they also seem to think that this is a new idea.

I can’t tell you what’s going on inside the minds of the M-1 Global executives.  Apparently unsatisfied with being a Fedor rental operation disguised as a fight promotion, they’re now endeavoring to tread ground already broken by their predecessors, only they want to do a much sloppier job of it.

I also have to wonder if M-1 has license to use that old Pride footage of Fedor.  I mean, any other company you’d give them credit for not being so dumb as to expose themselves to the most litigious fight organization on the planet.

Then again, nothing about what M-1 has done makes me inclined to assume that there’s any intelligent thinking going on in there.

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MMA-America: UFC Announces Plan to Sue Everyone on Earth

If you haven’t yet checked out MMA-America, I suggest you do so immediately. Here’s why:

LAS VEGAS — Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White announced at a press conference on Thursday plans for the fighting organization and its parent company, Zuffa LLC., to “sue every fucking person on the fucking planet,” as part of an ongoing effort to dominate the American mixed martial arts market. “Men, women, fucking little kids,” White said. “We don’t give a fuck. Every fucking pussy on fucking planet Earth is going to get fucking sued by the fucking UFC.”

The move culminates years of litigation by the UFC and its owners designed to intimidate employees and contractors while bankrupting its competitors. It also expands efforts that already include the company suing its own heavyweight champion over the use of his likeness and several outstanding lawsuits against companies that no longer exist, like the Japanese-based Pride Fighting Championships and Dream Stage Entertainment.

“We fucking own everything,” White said, gesturing to reporters. “That fucking camera? I own it. We have a fucking copyright on whatever you motherfuckers are writing right now.”

Go to MMA-America

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Why It Isn’t Easy Being Matt Serra

Imagine you’re Matt “The Terror” Serra.  You’re a 5’6″ pro fighter from Long Island.  You aren’t particularly good-looking or charismatic.  Your nickname only works if someone says it with the same thick accent that you have.  The Terra.

You scratch and claw your way through an MMA career, but can’t catch a break until you go on reality TV to fight other guys who have been deemed washed-up by their employer.  But so what.  You win it all anyway.  Then the organization puts you up against their poster boy for a title fight that is generally agreed upon to be one of the biggest mismatches of the modern era.  The oddsmakers have you as an 8-1 underdog in most places, and that’s considered conservative.

But so what.  You win that too.

Now you’re the champion, even if everybody is waiting for your Buster Douglas moment to be over.  You injure your back in training and have to sit out a few more months before your first title defense.  The jokers on the internet have a field day.  And when you get word that your big night is finally coming, your chance to show that you’re not a one-hit wonder, they put you in for a rematch with the man you took the title from.  And oh yeah, the fight’s in Montreal, his backyard.  Otherwise known as “hostile territory.”  Otherwise known as the organization stacking every card it can find against you.

Maybe I’m overreacting.  Maybe Serra doesn’t care where he fights Georges St. Pierre for their welterweight championship rematch.  Even if he does care, I doubt he’d admit to it.  But me, I wouldn’t exactly feel like my employer had a great deal of faith in me, nor would I feel like they wanted to see me come out on top.

It’s been a rough road for Serra.  Whatever you think of him, you’ve got to admit that the guy is tenacious.  You can’t say he’s caught too many easy breaks in his career.  He’s undersized and underestimated in just about every fight he enters.  And yet the guy delivers.  Call his win over St. Pierre a fluke if you like, but he’s the one with the belt around his waist.

Now he’s being asked to turn around and do it again, and in St. Pierre’s home country, no less.  And despite his shocking upset the last time out, there can be little question that he will once again be the underdog.  It’s enough to make me really want to get behind Serra.

And yet…I can’t.  It’s damn near impossible to pick against St. Pierre here, and the fact that the UFC scheduled this fight for their Montreal debut suggests that they’re expecting (hoping for?) a hometown coronation.  A lifetime of action movies have taught me never to doubt a plucky underdog like Serra who’s facing seemingly insurmountable odds, but this isn’t a movie.  This is real life, and in real life the guy with the natural advantages usually wins.

That guy is St. Pierre, and as much as a feel-good story that another Serra victory might be, it probably just isn’t in the cards.  This is one situation where I’d really like to be wrong, though.

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UFC Lawyers Have a Busy Year Ahead of Them

Ah, litigation.  How can you have a fight promotion without it?  Zuffa, the parent company of the UFC, certainly can’t.  Their legal division has been far more active than their heavyweight one of late, filing suit against former champ Randy Couture and, most recently, Dream Stage Entertainment, the former parent company of Pride FC.

Technically, the suit has been filed by Pride FC Worldwide Holdings, the company formed by Zuffa after their purchase of Pride.  It alleges that Dream Stage and their president, Nobuyuki Sakakibara, defrauded them of millions.  Word is that Sakakibara is planning his own countersuit, alleging breach of contract.  Isn’t this way more fun than putting on fights?

But wait a minute.  Maybe Zuffa has good reason to sue.  After all, they were heavily involved with Xyience, which recently filed for bankruptxy (see what I’ve done there?), and which still owes thousands of dollars to marquee UFC fighters.  Maybe Zuffa plans to pay Matt Serra and Rich Franklin out of the proceeds of that lawsuit, the way Frank Shamrock keeps claiming that he’ll pay opponents like Bas Rutten out of the proceeds of their fight.

What is it about the fight game that encourages people to constantly try and cheat one another?  From Jack Dempsey to Mike Tyson and now MMA, fighters are constantly getting screwed by the people making money off their blood.  Now Zuffa is no longer content to haul one their most legendary fighters into court, so they’re going after the company they rushed to purchase (and, rumor has it, overpaid for).   Maybe it’s over fighter contracts that they thought they were buying.  Maybe it’s over the video catalog they thought they’d have full rights to.

Whatever is at the heart of this suit, it offers one more chance for the UFC to flex their legal muscle, which they apparently love doing.  Meanwhile, Rich Franklin patiently awaits his Xyience money for appearing in all those cheesy commerxials.

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UFC 81 Head-to-Head Picks on CBS

The new edition of Head-to-Head is currently live on CBS Sports. You’ll notice that new editions now feature the respective records of the analysts. I’m not going to point out that I’m currently tied for first. I’m just going to assume that you’ll take note of it all on your own.

Read it here.

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Is Brock Lesnar A “Mental Midget”?

We all know Brock Lesnar is a physical specimen.  One look at his action-figure physique and cartoonishly square head tells us that he’s probably gifted when it comes to hurting other people.  But what’s going on upstairs for “The Next Big Thing”?  According to Kurt Angle, who worked alongside Lesnar in the WWE, not much.  In a recent radio interview Angle commented that while he thought Lesnar had all the physical tools to be successful in MMA, he is too much of a “mental midget” to survive when the going gets tough.

Now, I know what you’re thinking.  Angle is a pro wrestler.  He’s been talking sensationalist trash so long it’s questionable whether he even knows or cares any more about the distinction between saying something he believes and something intended to build hype.  But, just for the sake of argument, let’s say this was a comment that Angle thought through beforehand and is willing to stand behind.

Lesnar is the guy who walked away from the WWE to become a pro football player.  Then, when the Vikings decided he was not quite ready for prime time and offered him a spot on their NFL Europe team, he walked away from that, too.  Now he wants to be an MMA fighter.  It’s at least worth asking, how committed is Lesnar to this new course of action?  How will he react after a loss?  Will he walk away if he isn’t UFC heavyweight champion in a year?

I’ll be the first to say that I’m very interested to see what Lesnar can do in this sport, but I also wonder about a guy who seems to change his mind every few years about what he wants to be when he grows up.  Six months from now is he going to quit MMA to become an astronaut or a fireman?  Only time will tell.

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UFC Fight Night: You Get What You Pay For

If there’s one thing I learned from last night’s UFC Fight Night on Spike TV (aside from the fact that “Rambo” comes out this Friday — did you guys know Stallone is Rambo?), it’s that there’s a reason some guys are main event fighters and some guys aren’t.  Josh Burkman and Mike Swick?  Sorry, they just aren’t.  Not yet, anyway.

The fight between Swick and Burkman was about as exciting as a seniors tennis championship.  For three rounds Burkman tried to bull his way in for a takedown, pressing Swick against the cage.  When that didn’t work, he kept doing it.  For the next two rounds.  And got exactly zero takedowns.  For his part, Swick looked to stay on the outside and win with his striking, though he landed only sporadically and never appeared to have Burkman hurt or even more than slightly annoyed.

Somehow, Swick got the decision, though how the judges saw fit to give this to either man is a mystery to me.  One judge scored the fight 29-29, which is about as close to accurate as I can imagine.

On the whole the event offered a little more excitement, though not much.  Thiago Tavares failed to put away or even sufficiently dominate the very mediocre Michihiro Omigawa.  Nate Diaz looked sharp with a triangle choke submission over Alvin Robinson.  In the best fight of the night by far, Kurt Pellegrino recovered from an early head kick that nearly knocked him out to defeat Alberto Crane by TKO.  Patrick Cote also got himself another win when Drew McFedries folded up shop after catching a good uppercut on the chin.

For a night of fights on free TV, it’s hard to complain.  Unless you consider that there was a time in recent memory when Fight Night’s on Spike TV didn’t necessarily mean that every fight would feature either a reality show fighter or a guy struggling to get to the middle of the pack.

Because I want to give the UFC the benefit of the doubt, I’ll go ahead and say that this card might have been affected by the fact that they put on a pay-per-view event in a foreign country just four days earlier.  But then, who thought it was a good idea to try and put on another event inside of a week?  Doesn’t it usually work the other way around, where you put an event on free TV the week before a pay-per-view, in order to drum up interest in it?

Instead, we get a Burkman-Swick snoozefest as a main event, which even the UFC didn’t try too hard to convince us was a compelling matchup.  Let’s just hope this doesn’t become a habit for the UFC, and the days of decent fight cards of free TV don’t go the way of un-ironic heavy metal band.

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