An interview with UFC President Dana White

nullAs I mentioned yesterday, I had the chance to do an interview with UFC President Dana White on Tuesday afternoon to discuss this week’s UFC on FOX 7 event.

You can read the entire interview, which was done for Bullz-Eye.com, here.

Below are a few excerpts from the interview:

One of the things I was really excited about with this deal with FOX was being able to bring big fights back to free television. That has always been my goal since we bought this company. Coming off “The Ultimate Fighter” finale last weekend, every fight was sick, it was an amazing finale. We pulled 1.7 million viewers. We were the highest-rated thing on network and cable television with males 18-34. This fight on FOX is going to be a big one. Ben Henderson is defending his lightweight title again, this time against Gilbert Melendez, who is probably the toughest guy at 155 pounds that has never had a shot in the UFC. Everybody thinks this guy might be the best in the world, so we are going to find out on Saturday.

I have been thrilled with the Strikeforce fighters. A lot of bad stuff happened at Strikeforce. A lot of guys didn’t get paid for a while and these guys are hungry. First of all, they are happy to be back fighting and getting paid to do it. These guys want to prove to the world that they can fight and become the best in the world. The UFC is the place to do that. These guys have been fighting like maniacs, and I love it.

UFC President Dana White sounds off on Boston Marathon attack

nullUFC President Dana White is a busy man, but he is passionate about the things he cares about.

With the UFC set to hold its seventh event on FOX this Saturday (its third of four events in April alone), I had the chance to speak with him for an interview for Bullz-Eye.com.

The interview will come out later this week, but I wanted to post White’s thoughts on what happened on Monday at the Boston Marathon. White previously lived in Boston and is a known supporter of the Boston pro-sports teams.

“It really bummed me out because when the city that you lived in gets attacked like that….you know, you think about when I lived there, we used to watch the race all the time, we would walk up and down Newbury Street. It was just a disgustingly, cowardly act. It makes me sick. To attack a race like that, where people have trained to run this thing from all over the world and their friends and family are waiting at the finish line for them, it’s just so (expletive) cowardly that it makes me sick. The one thing about the city of Boston and the United States as a whole, it’s one of those things where people will all come together, just like 9/11, and the city will bounce back. It’s just unfortunate that….not to mention that it’s the most popular marathon in the world and the oldest marathon in this country, to just do something like that is just….ugh. I can’t even put it into words without going crazy and sounding like an absolute psycho.”

I will post the rest of the interview with White later in the week.

Women’s MMA is stealing the show in the UFC

nullDana White once stated that he’d never have a women’s bout in the octagon that is the UFC.

White didn’t feel there was a market there.

Not only is there a market in women’s MMA, but the market is rising at a very fast pace.

Ronda Rousey put the women on the map in the UFC with her win over Liz Carmouche in the main event of UFC 157 in February. Though the fight went just one round, it was exciting from start to finish and featured great grappling and striking.

On Saturday, in the season finale of The Ultimate Fighter 17, the UFC held its second women’s bout, with Miesha Tate taking on Cat Zingano.

These two bantamweights put on an even better show than Rousey and Carmouche did, going nearly 15 minutes before Zingano finished Tate with an impressive flurry of knees and elbows.

The crowd was electric for the fight, knowing the winner would face Rousey next and get a spot coaching against Rousey in The Ultimate Fighter Season 18. The two battled it out on the feet and on the ground for the entire duration of the fight. Each showed tremendous skills and a determination to win.

When the fight ended, it felt like the fans and viewers had just witnessed the main event. It is clear that the fans appreciate a good fight, and the women have been giving the fans great fights.

White isn’t stupid either. He is trying to capitalize on the buzz surrounding the women’s bantamweight division by having Rousey and Zingano coach TUF next season. With Rousey already pulling in over 400,000 pay-per-view buys, and Zingano stealing the show Saturday night, there is a lot of evidence that the UFC should look to expand its women’s crop to more divisions.

The women have showed an aggression that has been lacking in some of the marquee men’s fights as of late. The fans always want to see two fighters leave it all in the cage, and the women are doing exactly that.

I personally am excited to see upcoming women’s bouts because the bar has been set very high by Rousey and Zingano.

Gegard Mousasi wins in a no-win situation

nullGegard Mousasi faced the most dangerous situation he has faced in his MMA career on Saturday afternoon.

He faced an unknown opponent if his UFC debut and was expected to run right through him.

After preparing for months to face top UFC light heavyweight contender, Alexander Gustafsson, Mousasi would instead be forced to face Ilir Latifi after Gustafsson wasn’t cleared to fight after suffering a cut earlier in the week.

Latifi, a native of Sweden, where the fight was taking place, was making his UFC debut and trains with Gustafsson. So, Latifi had some insight on what to expect of his opponent, while Mousasi knew nothing of the man he was to face.

I give credit to Mousasi for taking the fight on such short notice, because he really had nothing to gain. Everyone expected him to win. A loss would have set his career back a great deal, especially in a crowded light heavyweight division.

Mousasi didn’t look overly impressive in a decision win over Latifi, which was to be expected, but he did escape a dangerous situation with a victory.

The win doesn’t propel the former Strikeforce champion into title contention in the UFC, but it at least gives him some experience and he can now focus on bigger things, perhaps a fight with Gustafsson.

UFC marketing magic

The UFC has become a marketing machine. Here’s an interesting article from Fast Company that addresses this topic in depth.

On the afternoon before one of the biggest mixed-martial-arts fights of 2012, a group of Ultimate Fighting Championship employees takes up position in a sun-blasted parking lot outside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. It’s July in Las Vegas. It’s 103 degrees of unpleasant. And it’s about to get worse–because UFC president Dana White just tweeted their location. White is giving away 20 $1,200 tickets to this weekend’s UFC 148 (most fight cards are named by number), headlined by a rematch between Brazilian middleweight champion Anderson Silva and his American nemesis, Chael Sonnen. Any fan who shows up within 20 minutes with a can of UFC-branded Edge shave gel will be entered into a ticket raffle.

It takes less than 10 seconds for Isiah and Dominique Quintanilla, teenage brothers from Visalia, California, to materialize from the back stairs with cans. “Some guy offered us $66 for one,” Isiah says. UFC fans, it seems, had cleaned out drugstores on the Las Vegas Strip.

Minutes later, a horde bursts from the casino–mostly men in the UFC’s coveted 18- to 34-year-old demographic, but women, too, in a dead sprint. They stampede toward the UFC team, grooming products in hand. Some hurdle a chain in the parking lot. One woman tries to scale a fence and bloodies her knee. In the fight business, these fans are known as hardcores. They buy the UFC’s pay-per-view shows, which blend wrestling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, and other combat styles into an action-packed, often-bloody sport known as mixed-martial arts, or MMA. They buy apparel and merchandise. Above all, they buy into a UFC lifestyle that celebrates everyone’s inner warrior.

Check out the entire article.

Travis Browne knocking out Stefan Struve

Here an amazing “Superman Punch” video, with Travis Browne knocking out Stefan Struve.

UFC 148 Results & Recap: Anderson Silva is the best

nullNot that many needed convincing, but Anderson Silva is the best fighter in the world.

There was a little bit of doubt in the minds of some due to Silva’s performance against Chael Sonnen at UFC 117, but on Saturday at UFC 148, Silva removed all doubt.

Silva stopped Sonnen at 1:55 into the second round with a barrage of strikes that Sonnen couldn’t respond to, as he defended his UFC Middleweight Championship for the 10th time.

Sonnen won the first round, as he took Silva down quickly and held him down for five minutes, but Silva showed great takedown defense in the second and used his pinpoint accuracy with his striking to end the fight.

With Sonnen past him for good, there really is no viable challengers left to Silva. Sonnen seemed to have the best style to beat Silva, and the champ still ran through him.

Silva is now 15-0 in his UFC career and just adding to his legacy as the greatest UFC fighter of all time. Perhaps a change in weight class is in order to challenge him, or perhaps he should just retire on top of the world.

In the co-main event, Tito Ortiz saw his career come to an end in a unanimous decision loss to Forrest Griffin.

Ortiz (16-11-1) a former UFC champion and now Hall of Famer, seemed to tire early in the fight, which opened the door for Griffin to pepper him with strikes. Ortiz landed a few big punches and a few takedowns, but Griffin had a 3/1 edge on total strikes and was the more active fighter.

Ortiz is going out at the right time, as he clearly is not among the best in the division and this performance proves it. For knowing it was his last bout, he didn’t have much of a spirited effort to win. For a man of his stature and his talk about being the people’s champion, he sure didn’t go out on his sword.

Griffin didn’t look at that great either, but he was definitely looking to finish the fight at the end.

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Ranking Fedor Emelianenko among the MMA greats

nullLast week, “The Last Emporer” Fedor Emelianenko decided to call it a career following his first round KO win over Pedro Rizzo at a M-1 Global event.

It wasn’t the way many envisioned Fedor stepping away from MMA.

For a man that went undefeated for a 10-year span, Fedor should have been someone that ended his career in a blaze of glory.

Instead, he ended his career on a three-fight win streak over fighters that had passed their prime long before he did.

The lasting images of Fedor seem to be a tapout to Fabricio Werdum, a bloody face at the hands of Antonio Silva, and face-down body thanks to a big hand from Dan Henderson.

There is no shame in Fedor’s losses, as time makes cowards of us all, but we all hoped for greater things from Fedor. Perhaps greater than he could really achieve.

Fedor is following in the footsteps of many MMA legends before him.

There was a time that Tito Ortiz seemed unbeatable in the UFC. Now, he is not even top 10 in the light heavyweight division.

Chuck Liddell was untouchable when he finally won the UFC title, but he soon developed a glass jaw and simply couldn’t beat anyone.

Matt Hughes is still referenced as the greatest welterweight champion in UFC history, but he has not been a title contender for five years.

All of these men should have no shame. Nobody can sustain a level of performance that they achieved for very long.

Even today, the likes of Jon Jones and Anderson Silva appear to be flawless. But, there will be a day when they too must accept the fate of time.

Looking back, it is hard to imagine anyone will have the kind of run Fedor did during the first 10 years of the new millennium. He won 28 fights in that time without a single loss and fought the majority of the top fighters in the heavyweight division at that time. He also did so as an undersized heavyweight.

Anderson Silva has been unbeaten since 2006 and has done so very impressively, but in today’s age of MMA, with fighters evolving so quickly, you have to imagine someone will have his number sooner rather than later.

The same can be said for Jon Jones. A better, younger, and stronger Jon Jones is being built right now in gyms around the world.

Fedor did what few have. He managed to stay ahead of the game for 10 years. It is a feat that may never be repeated. For that reason, it is fair to call him the greatest heavyweight in MMA history and maybe even the greatest fighter in all of MMA history.

UFC 146 Results & Recap – Junior Dos Santos Keeps Rolling

nullJunior Dos Santos verified himself as the top heavyweight in the UFC as he knocked out Frank Mir in the second round of the main event of UFC 146 on Saturday from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Coming into his bout with the former UFC champion, Mir, Dos Santos was expected to win with his crisp striking, and that is exactly what led to the win.

After somewhat of an eventful first round that saw Dos Santos win thanks to his striking, the champion managed to finish off the fight in the second thanks to a big right hand that caught Mir flush on the cheek. JDS then followed up with a flurry on the ground to earn the TKO stoppage.

The win for JDS was as big for him as it was a big loss for Mir. The former champion likely won’t see another title shot anytime soon after losing his last three matches where a belt was on the line by devastating knockout.

Mir has had quite the career, but it is clear he doesn’t have the ability to contend with explosive strikers that have the ability to keep the fight standing. He has been brutally beaten by the likes of Brock Lesnar, Shane Carwin, and now Dos Santos.

In the co-main event, Cain Velasquez destroyed Antonio Silva in Silva’s UFC debut. The former heavyweight champ bloodied Silva thanks to a big elbow across the nose and he followed up with a number of strikes thereafter.

The win for Velasquez probably pushes him right back up to the No. 1 contender spot, as Dos Santos knocked him out in their meeting last November.

For complete results from UFC 146, check out the jump.

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Is Chan Sung Jung A Threat To Jose Aldo?

nullJust a matter of a week ago, it seemed as if there were no real threats to UFC Featherweight Champion, Jose Aldo.

Aldo has seemingly cleaned out the division and is now preparing to face Erik Koch at UFC 149 later this year.

But, on Tuesday, some light may have been shed on the featherweight tunnel.

Chan Sung Jung put on the best performance of his career in a fourth-round submission win over Dustin Poirier.

Long thought of as just a bit of a novelty act, Jung had made a name for himself for being able to take a beating and keep coming forward, hence the name “The Korean Zombie”. Nobody really thought of him as a legit title contender.

But, on Tuesday night in the main event of UFC on Fuel TV 3, Jung showed great all-around skills and some of the slickest jiu-jitsu I have seen in a fight in quite sometime.

Jung had tremendous transitions, great execution, and he also mixed up his striking to include leg kicks and knees. It was clear that Jung has improved a great deal since joining the UFC, where he is now 3-0.

While he still needs to keep improving to beat the likes of Aldo, he does present one thing that Aldo’s opponents haven’t seemed to possess, and that is the ability to press the action.

Most of Aldo’s opponents have been very tentative against the champion and have tried to react to what Aldo does as opposed to making him react to what they do.

That won’t be an issue with Jung. He is going to fall on his sword and go with his style, win or lose. I think he could possess a real threat to Aldo because he will be able to eat some punches and kicks and keep coming forward. If the fight goes to the ground, it is hard to see anyone really out-working Jung.

Kenny Florian may have put it best on the broadcast when he said Jung “is always throwing finishing moves at you.” All of his strikes have the intent to end the fight and on the ground, he is always pursuing a submission. He doesn’t give his opponents a chance to relax.

The one area Jung may need to improve is his conditioning, but he will have a while to do that before facing Aldo. I think fans would get behind an Aldo vs. Jung bout as well, at least a lot more than Aldo vs. Koch.