By Jonathan King The Clinch Report

Video By: Bob Fisher and Alex Linares

Manny Gamburyan burst on the scene as a contestant on the ultimate fighter early in the genesis of that reality incarnation. At first he was known for his grappling, being the cousin of Karo Parisyan, Gamburyan possessed a slick judo game but his striking was always an issue. However at only 5’5 inches tall, the vertically challenged Gamburyan was constantly at a size disadvantage, and usually ended up losing most of his power as he reached for his opponents. His punches landing past their peak power.

Still he was able to maintain a pretty good record, and eventually when the UFC began to take on the lighter weight classes, Gamburyan began to test the waters. At 145 lbs, Gamburyan made it all the way to the number 1 contender spot, earning a shot against WEC champion Jose Aldo, when he was ale to knock out divisional stalwart Mike Brown. Since that win Gamburyan has gone 2-4 with 1 no contest.

After Gamburyan lost a 3 round decision to Nick Lentz, dietician guru Mike Dolce joined him in the cage and told him it was time to try 135 lbs. Under Dolce’s guidance Gamburyan rearranged his training and diet in order to drop the weight. Gamburyan is now set to make his mark in a division that is full of young hungry lions frothing for a title shot. Gamburyan’s power and pure judo automatically make him a dangerous opponent for anyone in the division.

For “The Anvel”, the new division is not an excuse to just hang around. In his eyes, this is his last shot at making a legitimate run for a title. It doesn’t matter who or when, Gamburyan is ready. The question remains, is the division?

Manny Gamburyan trains at The Glendale Fighting Club under the watchful eye of head coach Edmond Tarverdyan. Make sure to tune in to the UFC 178 preliminary card to see Manny take on Cody Gibson.

 

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By: Jonathan King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report, Bob Fisher Pugilpix.com, and Alex Linares

Everyone has plans for Halloween, well now you have plans for the night before as well! Lights Out Promotions in association with Bash Boxing is proud to present another night of mixed discipline warfare on October 30th at the Florentine Gardens. The event will showcase a combination of boxing and mixed martial arts fights. The “Fight Night” series always delivers a great night of action, and this Halloween eve will be no different!

The card will feature some of the areas most popular young mixed martial artists including:

Thor Skancke  vs. Daniel Clarke

Eric Winston  vs. Dmitry Gerasimov

Richard Leroy  vs. Derion Chapman

Marcos Bonilla vs. Adel Al Tamimi

Cooper Gibson  vs. Jay Bogan

Skancke, is coming off a huge win at “Chaos At The Casino 5″ where he defeated Matt Hagge via impressive KO in the third round of their back and forth war. Known throughout Southern California for his aggressive style, Skancke will be looking to build off the victory to create a winning streak. In  his way is jujitsu ace Daniel Clark. Clark is looking to build off his last performance, a win over Bobby Sanchez, however it has been over a year since he has fought according to Sherdog.com. If so, he will have to battle the “ring rust” as well.

Also featured on the MMA portion of the card is Systems Training Center’s Dmitry Gerasimov.  Besides his formerly fantastic beard, Gerasimov is perhaps best known for his epic battle against Chinzo Machida at RFA 15. The fight saw Gerasimov attacking the heavily favored Machida the entire fight. Although he came up short via decision the bout was a highlight real of exchanges as both fighters showcased their superb striking skills. Gerasimov will be taking on a very tough Eric Winston who went the distance against BAMMA USA champion Terrion Ware, although he came up short in the decision.

Popular 145 lbs local Marcos Bonilla will be looking for his first win as a pro as he faces off with Kyokyshin karate expert Adel Altamimi, Richard Leroy will be looking for his 2nd win as a pro when he squares off with Derion Chapman. Chapman is undefeated as an amateur and will be making his highly anticipated debut.  SoCal fight veterans Cooper Gibson faces Jay Bogan to round out the MMA portion of the card!

The event will take place on October 30, 2014 at The Florentine Gardens in Hollywood. For tickets information go to: www.bashboxing.com or by calling (626) 388-8888. The events are normally sold out so make sure you get your tickets early. Just the MMA portion of the card alone is well worth the price of entry!

 

 

silva

Conduct is defined by Webster’s as “the way that a person behaves in a particular place or situation.” However it also has a secondary meaning and that is “the way that something is managed or directed” 

By: Jonathan M. King

The UFC recently did its best NFL impersonation when they reinstated Thiago Silva to their active roster after he was arrested for aggravated battery (on his ex wife) and resisting arrest. Allegedly, Silva upset that his ex wife was with another man, drove to his Brazilian Jujitsu academy with a gun and made threats outside that he was going to kill everyone inside. “Allegedly” this happened in front of 25 people. The incident is not in question, the specifics may be, but there were many people who saw the interaction. In fact the jiu jitsu academy had to be locked down with all the students inside to keep everyone safe. Silva, was supposedly armed and showed the gun!

Silva then barricaded himself in his home and refused to obey police commands to surrender. The police were eventually forced to taser the 205lbs fighter before taking him into custody. Where he remained for quite some time, a guest of the county! That prompted the UFC to release Silva immediately. UFC President Dana White even went so far as saying “This guy will never fight in the UFC again!”

Silva managed to get out on bail, although he was monitored by an ankle bracelet he resumed training at The Blackzilians gym in south Florida. He took a fight with Howard Davis’s ‘Fight Time Promotions’, however the bout fizzled out. Then something extraordinarily odd happened. All the charges were dropped!

The report cited his ex wife’s refusal to cooperate as a reason, as she had moved out of the country and was no longer assisting in the investigation. Then some how, Glenn Robinson (Silva’s Manager) somehow greased the wheel enough for Dana White to awkwardly back track and allow Silva back into the worlds biggest mixed martial arts organization.

White’s reasoning seemed sound, but he himself seemed skeptical at best. “When I watched it and heard of the charges, it didn’t look good for Thiago Silva. But he was acquitted of all charges. How do you not let the guy fight again?”He went through the legal process and came out of it untainted. He deserves to be able to make a living again. He’s back under contract”,White said.

Perhaps the UFC was satisfied with an “Official” report from the police. Maybe they didn’t feel the need to investigate. But as the cell phone video Kamiji Silva produced proved, they probably should have! The video (in portuguese) shows an armed Silva, who appears out of sorts, and is reportedly wiping cocaine from his nose as he threatens his now ex wife.

Like the NFL the UFC has been wearing their flip flops to work lately, because after suspending, and reinstating Thiago Silva, they have decided to cut him again based on the new video! The on again off again, on again love affair is apparently off again! The strange part is this, like the NFL the UFC could have avoided this embarrassment by simply making a few phone calls.

Hopefully these incidents change the way these organizations handle internally problems that happen externally. Athletes or not, accountability for reprehensible actions has to be punished across the board universally. If not you risk the integrity of the sport by alienating the fan base, and you can’t wait for Budweiser to threaten pulling your advertising (which the NFL did!), you have to be proactive.

Note: Anthony Johnson has been suspended indefinitely pending an investigation an investigation into allegations by his ex wife that he beat her in 2012 and knocked out her teeth. Johnson vehemently denounces the allegations as lies. It should be mentioned that unlike Adrian Peterson, Thiago Silva, and Ray Rice these allegations are not recent, nor is their evidence in the media that makes it place inherent guilt on Johnson. That is not to say the charges are false, but they definitely seem a little shady. If he is guilty he should suffer the same fate as Silva.

Hopefully the UFC has learned from the embarrassment of the Thiago Silva debacle. Lets just hope they also learn from the NFL(and it appears that they have!) that sweeping things under the rug, only lead to a complete mess down the road! When it comes to conduct a line has to be drawn, firmly.

 

 

 

oct11

By: Jonathan M. King The Clinch Report

Spar Star MMA Promoter Tony Padilla and Matchmaker Mel Robles Valenzuela have once again rewritten the local MMA playbook by booking the first ever CAMO  sanctioned WMMA bantamweight tournament. Four local women will stake their claim in the opening round of the tournament on Oct 11th at The Hollywood Park Casino.

The winners of each fight will move on to face each other in the finals, in late November, culminating in the first ever Spar Star MMA bantamweight champion. The first fight will feature Aiko Ewing vs. Farren Romero, and the second pits Danielle Mack against Paola Ramirez.

As the sport of mixed martial arts continues to proceed into the mainstream, it is the women who have recently picked up the torch and really turned heads with some of the best fights in recent memory. Supporting this progression at the grassroots level is what will ensure the long term success of Women’s MMA.  Promotions like Spar Star MMA recognize the need to feed the sport.

Continually showcasing talent such as Ashley Evans-Smith, Albert Morales, Andre Nickelson, Matthew Spencer and many others; the promotions relentlessly scouts local talent that consistently make waves in the pro ranks. By offering these fighters a chance, Spar Star MMA not only entertains it ensures the sports future. Make sure you come out to support some of Los Angeles’s finest local amateurs.

Oct 11th Spar Star MMA Hollywood Park Casino

The event will also be Streamed Live on the Internet for those who wish to watch from home!

Your new UPC Unlimited Middleweight Champion

Your new UPC Unlimited Middleweight Champion

By: Jonathan M. King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report

One of the most exciting aspects of covering mixed martial arts is watching a fighter develop. Watching young men and women transition past pedigree into the realm of contendership is very satisfying. At times it seems like you are on the ride with them.

So tonight make sure you tune in to the preliminary fights on http://www.Bellator.com, before the Spike TV broadcast takes over at 8pm ET. One of the sports top prospects Chris ‘The Cutt’ Honeycutt (4-0 MMA) will be making his promotional debut against Aaron ‘The Daywalker’ Wilkinson (11-6  MMA). Honeycutt is a former two-time NCAA finalist in wrestling out of the powerhouse that is Edinboro College.

Now training in Fresno CA with former collegiate teammate Josh Koscheck’s Dethrone Base Camp, Honeycutt burst on the scene as a series regular on “Fight Factory”, a show which showcased the lives of several fighters including Koscheck, Honeycutt, Phil Baroni, Ron Keslar, UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez, and many other of the fighters who train at either AKA or Dethrone.

Currently undefeated as a mixed martial artist, Honeycutt seems to be ready for the step up in competition. Wilkinson a former finalist on the Ultimate Fighter is certainly no stepping stool. ‘The Daywalker’ is 5-2 in his last 7 fights since his loss to Cody McKenzie at the Ultimate Fighter finale, and a win over the surging Honeycutt will certainly put his name on the Bellator MMA contender list.

Wilkinson should have a clear advantage in the technical striking area. However Honeycutt’s power, and smothering wrestling based attack should dictate the pace and location of the fight. If Wilkinson is unable to defend the takedown, he will be in for a very long night! Once Honeycutt is in a dominant position his power really shows. Like a new-age Mark Kerr, Honeycutt is a finisher. He is a shark, he can sense blood in the water, and his finishing instinct is scary. Scott Coker may not recognize the gem he is sitting on, but he will tonight!Crazy B

Prediction: Honeycutt via TKO Rd 1. When tomorrow comes, the MMA world will know his name!

Note: The fight will also be Honeycutt’s first at 170 lbs… Previously he fought at 185 lbs.

 

Bellator-125-Fight-PosterBy: Jonathan M. King The Clinch Report

Kickboxing legend and Mixed Martial Arts veteran Melvin Manhoef (28-11 MMA) is set to make his Bellator MMA debut against Doug ‘The Rhino’ Marshall at Bellator 125. Both men can end the fight with one shot, and both would prefer to stand and strike. A fight that has most MMA fans frothing at the mouth. Not because there is anything at stake, but simply because this is  a powder keg of a fight.

The well travelled Manhoef finds his way to Bellator MMA after successful stints in well known promotions such as Dream, Cage Rage, K-1, and most recently One FC. Now fighting in the United States, Manhoef hopes to make a big impression. “I want to show America who Melvin Manhoef is and I think Bellator is the perfect organization to let the fans enjoy my skills.” Manhoef said.

Manhoef transitioned from kickboxing to MMA years ago, and continues to fight in both disciplines today.  Although he has other kickboxing engagements already booked, make no mistake this is not a ‘one and done’ scenario for Manhoef. He has one goal in mind, and that is securing the Bellator MMA World Title. “I want to be Champion. This is my goal!” Manhoef said.

His first step towards achieving that goal is an extremely dangerous one. Doug Marshall may not be as technical as Manhoef in the striking department, but make no mistake he is just as dangerous. Marshall generates tremendous power in his punches, and can just as easily end this fight with one punch. Just ask Brett Cooper, who is known for having a granite chin. Marshall is that strong, and coming off of his suspension for PED’s he will be looking to make a statement.

With both fighters eager to stake their claims in a wide open division, its best to take Manhoef’s advice. “Don’t Blink!”

Prediction: Manhoef via TKO Rd 2 in one of the most entertaining fights of the year!

By: Jonathan M. King The Clinch Report

Many men and woman look the part, and act the part in Mixed Martial Arts. Time however inevitably exposes the hype. Categorizing the serviceable pro from the contenders, and relegating those who never live up to expectation into obscurity. The combat roads are littered with those who dared to believe their own hype, before creating anything more than raw ability. In the fight game toughness and god given ability will get you far, but not far enough.

Liam McGeary (8-0 MMA) is the latest fighter to find himself on that road. Complete with an endearing smile, charming accent, and a very aggressive style; McGeary has all the tools and the early success that could make him the next great light heavyweight. His last fight was supposed to be his toughest test yet. The Bellator brass wanted to see if there protege could stand up against a higher level opponent. His opponent Egidijius Valavicius (27-11 MMA) was far more experienced, and a tough dude who had fought some of the best in the business including Fedor Emelianenko.

The matchmakers at Bellator MMA had there plans thwarted as McGeary dispatched the veteran in just 2:10 into the fight. Utilizing his superior reach McGeary picked his way inside of Valavicius and tore through him with nasty elbows and knees forcing the stoppage. One question however was answered. McGeary ate a few big shots from Valavicius early into the round, and he walked right through them.

In answering those questions, McGeary also punched his ticket to move on in the light heavyweight tournament. His opponent in the finals will be toughest test yet for McGeary as he will face off with American Top Team’s Kelly Anundson (9-2 MMA). Anundson possesses some of the best wrestling in the division and that could be the focus of the fight. Will McGeary, who is primarily known as a striker, be able to withstand the relentless pressure that Anundson brings to every fight.

With a grappler as accomplished as Anundson its not a matter of if he will shoot for the takedown but when? Can McGeary stop them, certainly not all of them. This fight will eventually end up in Anundson’s living room. However if McGeary can get back to his feet, he is deadly in the clinch. So although Anundson has the wrestling advantage, he is going to have to walk through a hell storm of knees and elbows to finish the shot.

The key to victory for either fighter is being able to score in the opponents territory. If McGeary is on his back he has to be active with the strikes, in order to counter the methodical smothering of Anundson. For Anundson, it is imperative for him to score on his feet. He can not allow McGeary to manipulate the distance. If he does, he has a tendency to telegraph his shot, especially as he wears down. If he does, McGeary should be able to avoid, and counter with his superior striking.

In a weekend filled with fights, both Boxing and MMA this is the single most intriguing fight of the weekend, and one that cannot be missed!

The winner of the fight will face the winner of the Joey Beltran vs. Emanuel Newton fight, and vie for the Bellator MMA Light Heavyweight Championship of the World.

Prediction: Liam McGeary via TKO RD 2

 

 

 

oct11

 

 

By: Jonathan M. King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report

Video: Courtesy of JT Media, LLC

UPDATE: Women Named for the tournament! 

Aiko Ewing vs Farren Romero will square off in the first bout, while Danielle Mack vs Paola Ramirez will face each other in the second opening round bout on Oct 11, at The Hollywood Park Casino. The winners will fight for the inaugural Spar Star MMA Womens Bantamweight Title which will take place Nov 29th at Spar Star MMA’s Thanksgiving Fight Weekend!

Tickets are available now!

Spar Star MMA Promoter Tony Padilla, and ‘Matchmaker Mel’ are putting together the first ever CAMO Womens Bantamweight Tournament. With the next two dates secured, the promotion is in prime position to put together a round robin tournament at the amateur level.

October 11th will feature the opening round as four women will enter the cage, each with a chance to move on to the November finals. On the line the inaugural Spar Star MMA Womens Bantamweight title, and bragging rights as the first ever CAMO sanctioned tournament winner.

The tournament is just the latest addition to what is shaping up to be an amazing fight card. Stay Tuned for more details!

Photo By: Bob Fisher Pugilpix.com

Photo By: Bob Fisher Pugilpix.com

By: Jonathan M. King The Clinch Report

A magazine that is not even worth sourcing, has labeled UFC President Dana White #8 on a list of the “Top 25 Sleaziest Men in Sports”. White is the meat in the sleaze sandwich with one piece of bread being that of an admitted cheater (Lance Armstrong #9), and convicted felon and alleged woman beater (War Machine #7), as the other slice according to the article.

The periodical aledges that White “underpays his employee’s, bullies his rivals and, generally impersonating Don King as a bald white guys doesn’t do wonders for his charisma.”

Breaking Down the Bullshit:

We can start with the first accusation. Although we have no idea what the UFC corporate workers make, the fighters are the highest paid fighters in the industry, and although mixed martial artists are vastly underpaid with respect to boxers and other professional athletes. The UFC still pays the most. That is why most fighter want to fight there. There pay structure is higher than any other promotion and have created the sports first multi millionaires. So to say he underpays his employees; at least on the fighters side is completely irresponsible. Simply because it is untrue.

Secondly White “bullies his rivals”, the author of this tripe may be confusing competition with “bullying”. Is Dana White brash? yes, he certainly is. Does he curse an awful lot for an executive? Yes he does. Does he meet his detractors and competitors head on? yes he does. Does that make him a bully? Absolutely not. Is he tough on his competition? Absolutely. Arent you supposed to be?

As the head of the UFC White is the target not only for soundbites by the media, but for the spears that all the ‘fly by night promoters’ hurl. With their “we are gonna be better than the UFC” mantras. White has even started some of these beefs himself, but not out of hatred but out of a competitive desire to succeed. White is a winner. Like Jordan, Bird, Rose, he’s not cuddly. Most winners are guarded, measured personalities that rarely break from competition. Does that make him a bully?

As far as “impersonating Don King as a bald white guy” is an obvious attempt at taking a shot at not only someone’s character but their appearance. Odd for an author who just accused his subject of “bullying”tactics, for these are the methods of  the bully. The author might also want to do a little research because he compared White to a convicted murderer, that now happens to promote boxing.

Dana White is a tough character to understand. He has been a huge advocate for the sport of mixed martial arts, and this article cites one jaded opinion without presenting any of the facts. The facts are simple and undisputable. Dana White has built a sport not single handedly, but collectively he has played a huge part. Since White has been in charge the sport has moved from back alleys to the back pages of the sports sections. Even those who dislike him profoundly have to admit his role has been crucial to the sports success.

No longer relegated to monthly PPV’s, the UFC has played a major role in bringing the sport to the mainstream. Leading that charge is Dana White. You may not like him or agree with him. He is at times a curmudgeon, often confrontational, and fiercely protective of his brand. You can rightfully accuse Dana White of all of these things. But he has other traits the author neglected to mention.

He is also guilty of donating tons of money and time for kids, he makes sure to spend time with the fans, and even engages and occasionally endears some of his detractors on twitter. However to refer to him as one of the “sleaziest” people in sports is pretty hacky. A pathetic attempt to push off TMZ-esque nonsense as actual news. Calling Dana White one of the sleaziest men in sports is a statement made by someone who knows nothing about sports or sleaze for that matter.

wolf

By: Jonathan M. King

In the fight game, anything can, will and usually does happen. Fighters often fall off of cards at the last minute, leaving promoters in the lurch, holding the bag. So replacement fights are understandable. “Shit happens”, as my mother would say. Mixed martial arts fans understand that. So when news broke about Renan Barao falling ill during weight cuts broke, a replacement name was not a surprise. After all you can’t cancel the event, that would be a logistical nightmare that would cost many people their hard earned paychecks.

So thanks to Joe Soto, we will still have an opponent for headliner TJ Dillashaw. The fact that the fight is still a 5 round title fight however leaves many with their chins on the floor. How does a first time UFC fighter earn that kind of juice? Especially a fighter that was bounced from Bellator after loosing his title and subsequent bouts in decisive fashion.

Of course we will be subject to the same rhetoric Don King used to feed us “Only in America”, only this time it will be geared to a fighter who stays ready. Well, unfortunately the world isn’t buying the “wolf tickets” the UFC is selling. Giving Joe Soto (who does belong in the UFC) a title shot is more than just affording a worthy fighter with the “opportunity of a lifetime”, it cheapens the brand and creates a paper title.

In our sport which is teetering on the main stream, that is a suicidal push in the wrong direction. Renan Barao was Dana White’s pick for best overall fighter pound-for-pound. TJ Dillashaw earned the opportunity to shock the world, and now that same opportunity is being gifted towards Soto? A guy who Terrion Ware thoroughly dominated on his feet just a few weeks ago? Do rankings matter at all?

Ware also belongs in the UFC, but he like Soto are long from being contenders, let alone champions. The move again has to be to satisfy the hometown Sacramento crowd. And the UFC is in a tough spot. Decisions have to be made quickly and you have to move forward. Its too close to show time to second guess themselves. That being said the fight should have remained a five round contest with no title ramifications. After all Soto hasn’t earned even Chael Sonnen type bragging rights yet.

Maybe from the outside it is easier. Without having any money invested, it may be clearer. The decision to put Soto in was a good call. He is a tough fighter, and a former champion. However the UFC is supposed to be the place where titles are earned.

 

Thought: Joe Soto lost his Bellator title, and then his job. Wins on the regional scene and gets gifted a title shot. Ben Askren is undefeated, untested, leaves Bellator with the strap, but he doesn’t even warrant a roster spot? Wolf Tickets! What about Scott Jorgenson? He is on weight? He has at least won in the UFC? Also Former Olympic Gold Medalist Henry Cejudo is so happy he is bumped from the headlines by Barao’s illnes. Cejudo missed weight again, 4th time as a pro, and is out of his UFC debut.