Photo by: Bob Fisher Pugilpix.com

Chael Sonnen the Face of The Cheater Photo by: Bob Fisher Pugilpix.com

By: Jonathan M. King

“Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results!” Albert Einstein

It seemed like the clown show was over. With the TRT exemption in the rear view mirror, it appeared the drug test nightmare was over. Unfortunately it was just beginning. Kevin Casey, Brian Ortega, and Robert Drysdale, and Mike King were revealed as the most recent violators. While Ortega, King, and Casey failed for the first time, this was Drysdales second infraction. King, Ortega and Casey tested positive for substances, while Drysdale’s test revealed an elevated T/E ration, which is a red flag for testosterone use.

The latest disappointments join a long list of decorated fighters who have shamed the company. Chael Sonnen recently retired because of his pending positive test which resulted in a 2 year suspension from competition. The opponent he was set to face Wanderlei Silva is in the middle of his own CSAC case for running from a drug test.

The list is as long as it is distinguished. Some of the sports best fighters,currently are or have cheated! So with the list continuing to grow, what is the UFC left to do? Maybe they could start instituting their own penalties outside of the commission’s sanctions.

Possible Ideas:

  • Use repeated failures as a way to trim the already bloated roster. Without exemption.
  • Remove Sponsorships for the following fights: Take away the banner and the t shirts, remove all patches. Maybe this kind of penalty will remind you not to mess around in between competition.
  • Weigh In Changes. Cap the size and weight people are allowed to cut, by weighing them in day of the fight! Allow a differential from the official weigh in, but no more 30 lbs swings. This may seem like an odd way to cut drug usage, but diuretics are responsible for a large number of failures. Essentially weight cut supplements.
  • Fight Bonus Eligibility: If you have been caught cheating with PED’s, your not eligible.
  • Ban PED users from any promotional push.
  • Maybe we, the media need to take control and refuse to write about fighters who use.
  • If the substances are illegal, then get law enforcement involved!

Of course these are just a few ideas. Maybe they are not possible, or legal, but at least it is a progressive thought. Hopefully one that leads to a possible solutions.

One thing is certain the problem is not going away with commission penalties. Perhaps if the promoter took more of a stance as far as penalizing. To the UFC’s credit they have increased testing and even taken steps to be at the fore front of testing, but until now the punishments have been dealt out by the commission for the most part.

Hopefully the firing of Chael Sonnen from his broadcasting duties is a sign that this type of behavior can not be tolerated in the UFC. Fighters using anabolics and PED’s that give an unfair advantage are no different than Panama Lewis removing Luis Resto’s glove material and dipping the wraps in plaster of paris.

It is cheating that can result in permanent injury. Hopefully the Billy Collins jr-like wake up call never comes. However if this continues, the tragedy is not a matter of if, but when?

Allowing this to continue defines insanity.

 

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Battle tested, champion approved!

Battle tested, champion approved!

By: Jonathan M. King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report

A new day in Bellator MMA has dawned, and the cracking sun shines on a new undisputed champion. The second Eddie Alvarez was released, Will Brooks became the promotions 155 lbs torch bearer. His first title defense is pretty obvious. Michael Chandler will most likely get the first shot at the newly minted undisputed champion. After losing a controversial decision to Brooks, it appeared that a unification bout with Alvarez put Chandler in limbo. It didn’t seem right for him to have to go through another tournament though. Thankfully now he won’t have to!

The Alvarez release makes sense for Bellator MMA. It allows the company to build with fighters that intend on being there for a while. Once the promotions and Alvarez engaged legally, the relationship was fractured. After signing an offer sheet with the UFC, Bellator under Bjorn Rebney exercised their matching rights, and claimed they matched the offer, and a nasty battle outside the cage ensued.

The parting also makes sense for Alvarez who has for years been at the top of the divisional rankings, without having to step foot in the octagon. Alvarez now has the opportunity test himself against the best 155 lbs fighters in the world. His first fight will be against Donald Cerrone at UFC 178. It will be Alvarez’s first fight since defeating Chandler nearly 10 months ago.

Now that Alvarez has moved on and with Scott Coker at the helm, the promotion can finally cut its own path, again! With Coker’s pedigree in MMA and with his new team of matchmakers it seems their only hurdle is the companies past transgressions. However with a group of solid young fighters that includes Chandler, Brooks, 205 lbs contender Liam McGeary, 170 lbs title holder Douglas Lima, 145 lbs champion Pat Curran, Daniel Straus and many others a bright future maybe only be a few roster tweaks away.

With Coker looking to book more big name fights, the Bellator PPV dream may once again become a viable option.

Odd Man Out: Ben Askren ‘Bad timing’

When Ben Askren was released CEO Bjorn Rebney based the decision on Askren’s “one dimensional’ style. Even though he was undefeated and the 170 lbs champion, he was cast aside. Happily Askren accepted the release, expecting his entrance into the UFC. However, Dana White had no intention in legitimizing the Bellator promotion by allowing Askren to continue his domination. So,he was told to sign elsewhere.

Now with One FC, Askren remains undefeated and is slowly becoming the poster child for the dominant Asian promotion.

Now that the regime has changed. It appears tensions have as well. Yes, Alvarez is more exciting to watch, but if the UFC claims to have the best fighters in the world, then you have to include the undefeated Askren. Especially when you consider the UFC even signed Jay Hieron following his loss to Askren.

Maybe Askren wanted too much money, or guarantees the UFC couldn’t grant. However with Alvarez being swallowed up right away, its begs the question. Why Alvarez and not Askren?

By: Jonathan M. King The Clinch Report

Filmed By: Bob Fisher Pugilpix.com and John Walsh The Clinch Report

Wearing only 4oz gloves, knockouts in MMA are hardly a rarity. Chins get tested often and exposed regularly. How durable a fighters jaw, or ‘beard’ is an intangible that can excuse the mistakes a young fighter makes.

Dmitry Gerasimov is a fighter that embodies that quality. Not only does he posses the literal beard, as his last fight proved, he has the figurative one in spades as well.

Facing Chinzo Machida at RFA, Gerasimov was expected to loose. Machida, the elder brother of UFC contender Lyoto, was highly touted entering the bout as a top prospect in the 145 lbs division. Everyone in attendance, including myself expected Machida to plow through his opponent.

Unfortunately for Machida, but to my delight someone forgot to inform Gerasimov of his stepping stone expectations. From the opening bell, Gerasimov matched Machida’s movement and output.  By the second round ended, Machida clearly seemed frustrated with Gerasimov, and it was apparent we all underestimated him.

For three rounds Gerasimov attacked Machida. Often times walking through multiple punch and kick combinations to secure the take down. For three rounds, Machida looked for a highlight reel finish, and each time he tried Gerasimov returned fire.

Although he lost the fight by unanimous decision, Gerasimov earned the respect of everyone in attendance. Now back training, the Russian from Minnesota is helping his Systems Training Center teammates prepare for their fights. He continues to stay in shape, which is something Southern California promoters need to keep in mind. A guaranteed exciting fight, is only a phone call away.

 

By: Jonathan M. King The Clinch Report

Filmed By: Bob Fisher Pugilpix.com and John Walsh The Clinch Report

That city is well fortified which has a wall of men instead of brick.”  Greek Philosopher Lycurgus

Christos ‘The Spartan’ Giagos (9-2 MMA) has become one of the most complete mixed martial artists in southern California. He has notable wins over Sevak Magakian, Chris Tickle, the late great Joe Camacho, Thor Skancke and Preston Sharf. In his last fight, Giagos secured the Tachi Palace 155 lbs title against Magakian.

However the celebration with his father and friends was short lived. The win earned Giagos another title shot in a gateway bout with Dakota Cochrane for the RFA 155 lbs title on August 22nd. More importantly the winner will almost certainly punch his ticket into the UFC.

Preparing him for this bout as always is his Systems Training Center Family. Giagos trains alongside BAMMA USA 135 lbs Champion Terrion ‘Flash’ Ware, WSOF fighter John Robles, and recent RFA standout Dmitry Gerasimov. With coach Ian Harris and Marcus Kowal in his corner, Giagos rounds out a uniquely talented team.

Giagos sat down with The Clinch Report, to talk about his now infamous celebration after his Tachi Palace win, training for his RFA title fight, and what it means to be a major part of the Systems Training Center family.

Christo Giagos is Represented By: Iridium Sports

Giagos vs Cochrane for RFA 155lbs Title

 

 

By Jonathan M. King The Clinch Report

Filmed By: Bob Fisher Pugilpix.com and John Walsh The Clinch Report

The sharpest of blades is forged with steel. Beaten into form. The edges razor thin, through brutal poundings and repeated tempering. Impurities at this stage can lead to catastrophic failures in battle. Fractures formed force confidence from the field of battle. A warrior who has no faith in his weapon is not an efficient warrior.

The same can be said of fighters. Although an individual sport, each fighter is shaped, molded and forged by the camp he or she trains. You may walk to the cage, the only one in gloves, but you are followed by an entourage who are equally invested in your prosperity. Simply because you are invested in them. There is a blind but beautiful loyalty to a fight team, that can only be built by repeated beatings. The camaraderie formed at the forge shapes a teams success.

Systems Training Center in Hawthorne, California is quickly becoming recognized as one of the best gyms in the Los Angeles area. Owner Marcus Kowal sat down with us to talk with us in the first of a several part series featuring some of the teams top young talent.

UFC Champion Ronda Rousey poses with a young fan! #ChaosAtTheCasino

UFC Champion Ronda Rousey poses with a young fan! #ChaosAtTheCasino

 

By Jonathan King The Clinch Report

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

Chaos At The Casino 5, was one of the most memorable fight cards in Southern California history. Future and Former UFC stars battled it out in the cage in front of a sold out crowd. Many UFC stars were on hand to watch the fights including UFC Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey, Shayna Baszler, Jessamyn Duke, Chris Beal, Josh Barnett and many others.

The card was headlined by former TUF finalist Karim Ghazi and highly touted prospect Dominic Clark. Clark was able to get Ghazi down early in the first round bout. Once there he quickly grabbed a modified guillotine and put Ghazi to sleep. The win moves Clark that much closer to the UFC, and also garnered him the ‘Submission of The Night’ bonus that was provided by 911 Tax Relief.

Thor Skancke also earned a bonus, for his devastating knockout over a very tough Matt Hagge. In a back and forth heavy handed showdown, both fighters had their moments early. However once Skancke was able to achieve top position, he was able to end the fight with some brutal ground and pound earning the “Knockout Of The Night” Bonus thanks to the Law Offices of Allen Saralou who sponsored the prize.

The “Fight of The Night” bonuses went to Christoper Fajardo and Paul Amaro. Both fighters gave as good as the received in this back and forth battle. Fajardo seemed to have Amaro heading for the exit on several occasions but he kept coming back. Amaro even turned the tide momentarily with some heavy haymakers that had Fajardo reassesing his approach. Ultimately Fajardo proved to be too much, and with Amaro hurt and down, the referee was forced to halt the action. The FOTN bonus was sponsored by Pain Away.

The biggest upset of the evening went to Amanda Bell, who was able to storm through Marina Shafir in the first round of their fight. Bell came out aggressive and landed some nice right hands, that had Shafir adjusting right away. A stiff right hand from Bell starched and staggered Shafir. Bell then swarmed her felled opponent and was able to secure the win with some ground and pound strikes that forced the referee to step in and stop the bout.

Heavyweight stalwarts Chase Gormley and Tony Lopez fought each other in a rather cautious fight that had neither willing to commit. Lopez started slow and was on his back for most of the first round, but was able to reverse the momentum in the second frame. Gormley appeared dominant at first, but then tired, as Lopez began to turn up the pressure. Late in the third frame Lopez attempted a head kick and his knee gave out from under him. Referee Mike Bell let him continue but repeated falls prompted a stoppage that immediately puts Chase Gormley back in the hunt for the UFC contract he so covets.

Also victorious at Chaos At The Casino:

Jay Bogan defeated Marcos Bonilla, Ruben Warr won a unanimous decision over Jordan Isordia, Vardan Sholinian out wrestled Mike Frear for the decision win, Jemyma Betrian decimated Hadley Griffith, and Joe Hernandez came back to TKO Arsen Galstyn.

Once again George Bastmajyan and his Lights Out Promotions team exceeded expectations. The well thought out matchups, and improved organization gave the show a very polished feel. The resulting amazing fights were presented properly in a quick fan friendly format. The event left fans asking as …”When is Chaos At The Casino 6 going to be?”

A very good question only time will answer.

 

 

Broadcast brought to you BY: JT MEDIA in association with The Clinch Report and PugilPix.com

Commentators: Matthew Spencer and Jonathan King

By Jonathan King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report

Spar Star MMA is known throughout the Southern Californian region for there amazing amateur showcases. Once again some of the best young mixed martial artists entered the cage. Some dreams were realized, while others were derailed.

Promoter Tony Padilla and his team started with a small snow ball, which has now tripled in size and moves of its own accord. The momentum this promotion has created is fueling a buzz that was making waves across the country. For the first time the event was streamed live online for free, and people were watching live, across the country. Padilla and his team cut their own path, and for fighters that path serves as directions to the ‘big show’.

Fight Card:

Craig Plaskett fighting out of Hayastan MMA, moved his amateur record to 2-0, when he was able finish a very tough Steven Ayala who was making his debut. Plaskett utilized his superior striking to secure the TKO in the 2nd round of the fight.

Lance Lee, Plaskett’s Hayastan MMA teammate also won his fight via split decision over Jose Granillo. Granillo who fighting out of Kings MMA, came up short in a very close split decision.

Sergio Perez completed the perfect evening for Hayastan, when he was able to defeat Jonathan Quiroz.

The highlight of the evening was also the most pleasant surprise. Super Heavyweights Hernan Sebastiani and Edward Rodriguez shook up the entire casino with their incredible brawl. Both fighters showed tremendous heart, and surprising technique. Sebastiani even throwing some nice head kicks. Which is not easy especially when you weigh nearly 400 lbs! In the end, Sebastiani was able to secure the win in a fight that had the entire crowd standing in approval.

In the main event ‘Dog Pound MMA’s’ Jose Lopez remained perfect as an amateur after cruising past an overwhelmed Santiago Diaz.

 

 

 

 

By Jonathan M. King The Clinch Report

Videoed and Edited By: Bob Fisher Pugilpix.com

Manny Gamburyan is set to take on Cody Gibson at UFC 178. This time he will be competing in a new weight class. Gamburyan will be dropping for the first time to 135 lbs, and is hoping the new neighborhood will be his permanent home.

Gamburyan has fought at 170, 155, and 145 lbs as a pro, very often fighting much larger opponents. The new division will mark his 4th as a mixed martial artist. Now working with nutritionist guru Mike Dolce, Gamburyan is confident he can maintain his energy at the new weight and is looking to make a run at a title.

‘The Anvil’  is also the consummate teammate. He is constantly helping other fighters prepare for their bouts and will be at Chaos At The Casino 5 on August 10th to support his teammates Marina Shafir, Jemyma Betrian, Varden Sholinian, and Alfred Kashakyan. All of whom will all be competing on one of the most stacked fight cards of the year.

UFC 178 is only a few months away and although everyone is talking about Jones v Cormier, Gamburyan v Gibson is a fight that cannot be missed!

 

August 10th Hollywood Park Casino

August 10th Hollywood Park Casino

Lights Out Promotions returns to The Hollywood Park Casino on Aug 10th. Headlining this stacked card is a very interesting matchup between two fighters with very different backgrounds, however they both share one goal. Both want to fight on the big stage, and whenever graduation is on the line you can expect a good fight.

Dominic Clark (6-3 MMA) vs. Karim Ghazi (11-6 MMA) is an intriguing match up. Ghazi, formerly known as Chris Saunders, is a ‘TUF’ alumnus with both UFC and Bellator MMA fights on his resume. After a loss to Sevak Magakian, Ghazi rebounded with a 3rd round submission over Dominic Gutierrez at ‘Chaos At The Casino 4′. Consecutive wins would certainly put Ghazi back on the UFC’s radar.

Clark  is aware of that and of several things, he understands coming off a loss that he needs a good performance. The UFC will not even look at a fighter with two consecutive losses, especially in the stacked 155 lbs division. Clark is also aware of his opponents pedigree. In his way is a very well rounded and dangerous fighter. A tactician who has tasted the big show, and is scratching and clawing his way back.

Fighting out of PKG in Los Angeles, Clark enters the main event as the underdog. With the way his last fight ended, its hard to imagine why he would take a step up in competition instead of taking a tune up fight. However Clark is an opportunist. He is not fighting for the sake of fighting. He has a goal. Like many others Clark wants to fight in the UFC, and you don’t get the UFC brass’s attention by fighting tomato cans.

Excuses are abundant. In life, and in the sport of MMA they roll off the tongue freely. Performances are often blamed on nutrition or, horrible judges renderings. Dominic Clark makes no excuses for his performance in his last fight. He was winning the fight, dictating the pace, and implementing his gameplan. Then his opponent hit a homerun.

The loss although heartbreaking, changed very little about Clark. “My past four fights I showed up to every one. In the last one I was putting the fight where I wanted, and he got me with a ninja type Machida-esque kick.” Clark said “I am really looking forward to showing a loss is a loss, and we move forward now we always stay aware.”

As for this opponent, Clark  seems to have a pretty decent scouting report prepared.

“He was on the Ultimate Fighter, and had a great run in the house.” Clark said. “He beat Sam Sicilia, put up a great fight against Vinc Pichel and ran into a very tough Myles Jury.” An impressive resume to say the least, however Clark is still confident. “I’m just really excited for the opportunity, especially with the buzz a promotion like Lights Out generates.” Clark said.

Fighting as the main event usually carries a heavy burden. Clark will be fighting in front of his hometown fans, and in a fight that certainly has career implications.  A win over Ghazi, may not be enough to get him in the UFC, but it will certainly open some eyes.

With both fighters making concerted efforts to move on, this is a fight you will not want to miss.

 

Dominic Clark fights for: Team PKG

And is Sponsored By: Training Mask Dethrone Zevia

Managed By: Iridium Sports

Dominic Clark would like to thank his Coaches: Mac Danzig, Chad George, and Jeremy Umphries

And his training partners: Joe Locicero and Eric Steans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Jonathan M. King The Clinch Report

Video and Editing By: Bob Fisher Pugilpix.com

Jemyma ‘The Golden Girl’ Betrian is one of the most dynamic strikers alive. As a kickboxer she is known the world around for her career changing liver kicks, and her lightning fast hands.

When you talk to her, its hard to imagine such a sweet effervescent spark plug, transforming into a killing machine. However, that is exactly what happens when the cage door is closes.

Jemyma refers to it as “WarMode”. Although the war analogy is overplayed in our sport, there is not really a better way to describe the sheer violence she unleashes when the bell rings. Her liver kicks can cause cirrhosis, and her hand speed is blurry, even when played in slow motion. Simply put she is the most dangerous striker alive in any division of women’s MMA.

She is already only a few fights away from the UFC.

Betrian will debut on August 10th at Lights Out Promotions ‘Chaos At The Casino 5′ which begins at 6:30 Sharp. The event will stream live on the internet. But if you can get to The Hollywood Park Casino, this is an event you won’t want to miss!

chaos5