Posts Tagged ‘AKA’

By: Jonathan M King The Clinch Report

Champions emerge, by a culling of the common. A lone figure atop a mountain of vanquished demons. The UFC 194 main card exemplifies these laws of natural selection. A historic event with epochal implications. Simply put, if you are going to buy a combat sports PPV this year this is your huckleberry!

When Conor Mcgregor began his meteoric climb through he UFC rankings it became obvious that a matchup with Jose Aldo would be down the line. Once the fight was signed the hype train was derailed by an Aldo rib injury. Forcing McGregor to fight for the interim belt against divisional stalwart Chad Mendes, who he picked apart methodically. Now that Aldo has healed the fight appears inevitable, just days away and the excitement level could not be higher. Both fighters have fight ending-one punch power and can win in a host of different ways. The odds may determine a favorite but in actuality this fight is an absolute toss up!

The hype generated by this matchup alone is leaving some of the Hollywood elite without ticket options. When you add in the fact that the Weidman vs Rockhold middleweight title fight is the chaser for the featherweight shot on the marquee, you might want to consider a cab ride home.

The co main event might end up being the best fight on the card. Chris Weidman has been dominate since rising to the top of the middleweight division. Unblemished, his win over Vitor Belfort in May proved his durability as he withstood Belforts best punches before slamming him to the mat and swarming him for the finish. His opponent challenger Luke Rockhold may be his toughest test to date. Rockhold possesses a unique blend of speed and athleticism that translate well to all areas inside the cage, and his speed and length may prove to be a nuisance for the champion. Another even matchup that only odds makers could fine a margin of advantage.

Also on the card is a middleweight showdown between Yoel Romero and ‘Jacare’ Souza. The classic matchup of wrestler vs jiujitsu will be on display in this fight that will most likely decide the next title contender. Neither fighter has tasted defeat in quite some time, and when you add in the title implications this fight could be a closely contested battle that goes into deep waters. Standing both fighters have advantages, with Romero the stronger of the two fighters he will have a power advantage. However ‘Jacare’s’ ever evolving standup game with grant him with a significant technique advantage. Another very close contest on paper, that will produce a future contender.

Featherweights Max Holloway and Jeremy Stephens will face off in yet another intriguing battle. Both fighters are at a similar junctions in the title picture, teetering on earning a top 5 ranking. If either fighter is going to become a legitimate contender the time is now, and this fight will solidify that claim. Holloway is riding a 7 fight win streak since his decision loss to Conor McGregor, a run that showcased victories over Cub Swanson and Charles Olivera. In his way is one tough son of gun, Jeremy ‘Lil Heathen’ Stephens. Owner of some of the most powerful punches in the division, Stephens is coming of a big win over Dennis Bermudez and is also at the point where he needs to make some noise. At 29 and with alternating wins and losses, this is a huge opportunity for Stephens to steal some thunder by landing some lighting.

Rounding out the main card is welterweight fight that will also have title implications, featuring two grappling wizards. Both Gunnar Nelson and Demian Maia are absolute masters on the mat. Maia having a career resurgence at 170 lbs has been on a roll (pun absolutely intended) since finding a new weight class.  Outside of his close decision losses to Rory McDonald and Jake Shields, Maia has been nothing short of a menace inside the octagon. Fresh off a dominant win over Neil Magny, the Brazilian submission expert is yet again on the verge of another title shot. His opponent Gunnar Nelson will neutralize much of the ground advantage that Maia is used to enjoying over his opponents which could lure him into a slugfest. A grappling expert himself, Nelson also has some accurate hands. Should a toe-to-toe slugfest emerge, Nelson should maintain a significant striking advantage. However with those little gloves anyones lights can go out at anytime, so don’t blink.

However the card ends up, whoever wins, only time will reveal. Two champions will emerge but so too will claim staking contenders nipping at those champions heels. For in MMA you can only celebrate for as long as the champaign stays cold. Once those grapes go stale, the culling will continue. This card not only serves a holiday feast for fight fans, it also sets the table for the next banquet.

NOTE: Urijah Faber will take on Frankie Saenz in a must see fight on the undercard. Also Jocelyn Lybarger will be making her promotional debut against American Top Teams Tecia Torres. This is another promising fight that could produce entertaining results.

Jose Aldo vs. Conor McGregor For UFC Featherweight Title
Chris Weidman vs. Luke Rockhold For UFC Middleweight Title
Yoel Romero vs. Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza
Max Holloway vs. Jeremy Stephens
Demian Maia vs. Gunnar Nelson
UNDERCARD
Marcio Alexandre Jr. vs. Court McGee
Warlley Alves vs. Colby Covington
Kevin Lee vs. Leonardo Santos
Magomed Mustafaev vs. Joe Proctor
Urijah Faber vs. Frankie Saenz
John Makdessi vs. Yancy Medeiros
Jocelyn Lybarger vs. Tecia Torres

Bellator 131-33

I wonder how long it will take Tito to sign the lawsuit!

 

By: Jonathan M King The Clinch Report

This week three fighters Jon Fitch, Nate Quarry, and Cung Le announced their filing of a lawsuit claiming violations of the Sherman Anti Trust Act, against their former employers The UFC. The lawsuit had been a poorly kept secret for last two years, with most industry insiders hearing tell about the suit over 2 years ago.

Basically the three fighters claim that the UFC uses its industry clout to crush competition, which history cannot deny. The UFC has bought out all of their major competitors including Pride, Elite XC, Affliction, Strikeforce, and the WEC which the UFC merged with creating the lower weight class structure.  Since then The World Series of Fighting and Bellator MMA have emerged, but neither have attained anywhere near what could be considered ‘competitor’ status. They even use Whites own social media postings as evidence to efforts to “kill” his competition.

Where there is smoke?:

With the Reebok uniform deal now in place it appears the UFC is trying to control all of the income generated by their fights. Fighters will no longer be able to pick and choose sponsors, and will be paid on a scale based on the fighters position in the rankings. The move according to Dana White will result in the UFC “Not making a dime of the deal!”. Which I find to be completely bullshit! If the deal is not resulting in profit, than why were the financial terms not disclosed? One reason is so White could say just that! The statement is a hapless attempt at trying to appear to be on the side of fighter advocacy. The idea was to make this deal look like it was done FOR the fighters benefit, which may be a side effect, but it definitely was not the reason!

Another source of the smoke, are the personal vendettas that were used to form policy that affected the fighters ability to earn. Fighters carry sponsorship on contract. Some of these sponsors have found themselves on the wrong side of the UFC’s wrath for sponsoring fighters who fight outside of the world leader. Companies like RVCA, Affliction, and many others have been banned at times, removing their fighters opportunity to earn. When Apparel company RVCA sponsored the one fighter the UFC couldn’t sing Fedor Emeliananko, they were banned from the UFC. Essentially removing several fighters primary sponsor, including a guy who built the UFC BJ Penn! A petulant move by a company that has essentially become an industry!

The UFC is the greatest fight organization on the planet. Dana White and the Ferttita brothers took a failing competition and built upon the foundation an empire that is at the head of a billion dollar global sport. They are the impetus, the Alpha and the Omega. They are great men, who have exceeded every expectation to date. They donate millions of dollars, consistently provide for our troops, and always give back to the cities that host their events. They do a ton of good things. You may not like Dana White, but there is no denying he is the best promoter on the planet. I don’t want this to be perceived as a “bash the UFC” piece because that is not the intention.

They also pay the fighters more than any other organization. UFC fighters are treated better than any other organization. However that is still not enough. When the uniform policy was announced, the UFC brass likened the move to the NFL and NBA, stating those players had a dress code, and couldn’t wear sponsors. This of course is true. It is also true that both NBA and NFL players have pensions, and healthcare, and a union that is consistently looking out for the players best interests! Yet UFC fighters are without both. Lets keep making comparisons to NFL and NBA players don’t just stop where your point looses steam!

NBA and NFL players are also guaranteed money and the bonus structure is defined in writing. If a player under contract is cut, he still gets paid! Players are also paid for their likenesses in video games. In fact the game Madden NFL has to come to agreements with the NFL and the NFLPA (players association) in order to use player likenesses. That means all players benefit, because the players union distributes that money. So I think the UFC brass should continue their line of thinking, by all means, just follow the logic. If they did, they would see the fighters point of view.

Major Problem with the lawsuit:

“When trouble arises and things look bad, there is always one individual who perceives a solution and is willing to take command.  Very often, that person is crazy.”  ~Dave Barry

The three fighters involved with the suit all have baggage. Nate Quarry has always been a staunch critic of the UFC’s business practices, and is considered somewhat of a curmudgeon by other fighters. Cung Le just failed a well documented PED test, and although he has since been exonerated on a technicality, he is being looked at as a guy who is just pissed off at the UFC for the way they treated him following his failed test. Jon Fitch is the lone gunmen who could garner some support. Fitch was at one time the captain of Team AKA which features some of the most notable fighters in the UFC. He is well respected fighter but he is a quiet guy, and has never been the type to make a lot of noise. Unfortunately for these three that is what they need. They need a mouth like Quarry, with the respect of Fitch. I am not trying to bash these guys, I agree with their points, I just wonder if they were the best choice. Maybe they are, but I do not think I am off base looking into their past as reason for their motivations. Just playing devils advocate.

Of course the suit is geared to gain more names, however with so many staying silent. It may take a while. Most fighters and managers are keeping quiet publicly, although they are all inquiring privately. Essentially that is the problem and the major hurdle. Everyone is scared to anger the big bad UFC. After all, the ban hammer falls equally on sponsors and fighters the like, managers too! Like the Dave Barry quote states, the guy who stands up to take charge is very often crazy, but does that extinguish the need? No it doesn’t, it just extinguishes the fire, making the smoke that much more difficult too see!

Hopefully this suit solidifies the fighter base. That would be the best result. If the fighters emerge with one voice, looking out for their interests than this suit will serve the industry. In the end a fighter union is what is needed. One that represents fighter advocacy as their primary function. However, they must be careful not to fall in the same pit that most MMA manager find themselves currently in! Represent our fighters interests, or anger the big bad UFC? Unfortunately for the fighters fortune favors the bold, and most MMA managers are the exact opposite!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

By Jonathan M. King The Clinch Report

When Phil Baroni started fighting the sport of MMA was known as a somewhat ‘brainless tough man competition’, where the brutal usually trumped the tactician. However, Baroni was one of the first to bring a blend of disciplines together to win with regularity. His tremendous hand speed, and stiff wrestling pedigree made him one of the first all-around fighters in MMA.

Once he made it to television,Baroni’s career took off. As the UFC was starting to grow into a major sport, Baroni’s brash character, and aggressive style made him an instant draw. People paid to see him win, and they also paid to see him loose. His polarizing persona forced you to make it a decision. You either loved him or you hated him, but either way you wanted to see him fight.

His fight against Dave Menne at UFC 39, and rivalries with Matt Lindland and the late Evan Tanner will always be considered as all-time UFC classics.

Since then “The New York Bad Ass” has fought in every major organization around the world (Several stints with the UFC, Strikeforce, Pride, Dream, Elite XC, ONE FC, Titan FC and  others), and is now set to make his promotional debut for Bellator MMA against Karo Parisyan (23-10 MMA) on July 25. On paper the fight seems like a “cross roads” bout, as both fighters are trying to right their once promising careers. However for Baroni, its just another fight!

“I still have the fire!” Baroni said. “I love to train. I’m happy and I have a lot left to prove. I feel my career has been a letdown, and maybe a bust.” Baroni said. Those of us who watched him fight however would disagree. “I’m looking to this fight to set the record straight.”

That record has seen him fight everyone from Frank Shamrock to Ryo Chonan. Adding Parisyan’s name to the win column would certainly pave the way for more big name fights. “Karo is coming off a big win over Ron Keslar, who was a sparring  partner of mine at AKA, and Keslar beat War Machine who is another friend, so its a big fight me.”, Baroni chuckled. “I need to show these young guys I’m still the big dog!”

Currently still under contract with One FC, “The New York Bad Ass” was able to secure a fight with Bellator while still under contract with the Asian promotion in part due to the negotiations of former CEO Bjorn Rebney. With Rebney no longer in charge, Baroni is excited to fight for his former Strikeforce boss Scott Coker; who is now running the Bellator operations.

“When I was coming out of Pride I met Scott Coker; He came up to me and told me ‘I want to be in the Phil Baroni’ business.” Baroni said. “He promotes fighters.” Coker unlike his predecessor at Bellator, and unlike Dana White prefered to remain behind the curtain. A trait that left a lasting impression with Baroni. “You see these guys like Dana White and Bob Arum, become big stars as promoters, doing media scrums, and its like ‘who cares?’ they are just promoters! I just don’t understand it.” Baroni said.

As a promoter, Coker prefered to see his fighters in the limelight. The fact that Scott Coker prefers to stand behind his fighters motivates Baroni more.

“If you look at the Strikeforce fights, it was Frank Shamrock vs. Phil Baroni, or it was Frank Shamrock vs. Cung Le. It wasn’t Strikeforce a hundred and whatever, it was about the fighters, not the promotion!” Baroni said. “When Coker came to me after Pride, it meant something, it motivated me, ‘Now I want to repay that faith and make him[Coker] happy he is in the ‘Phil Baroni’ business.”

A good showing in his promotional debut would certainly secure that faith. However, win or loose “The New York Bad Ass” already has plans to drop in weight and fight at 155 lbs. Baroni claims he could have made the weight for his debut with Bellator, however he “could’t say no to a big name like Karo.” A fighter he not only respects, but recognizes as a legitimate threat. “Karo is coming off a big win, he is a real tough dude, the guy was one of the best in the UFC for a long time.” Baroni said. “I know he had some personal issues in the past, but he seems past all that now, and looked strong in his last fight.”

This fight will also be the first test for Baroni’s surgically repaired ankle. The long recovery from the injury has tested him mentally and physically. A test he would have never passed without the help of his loving wife Angela. “She didn’t give up on me, and she held it down while i was recovering!” With her support he has been able to continue fighting, and again looking to regain his former form.

A return to OKG Gym in Las Vegas is another reason for the drop to 155. “Nick told me if I wanted to come back to OKG I had to prove to him I was serious.” With his injures healed, and his weight in check it appears Baroni has passed all of the test he needed, now he needs to parlay that confidence into a great performance.

Although confident about his chances again, Baroni understands he may have to win over the pundits. “I’m not stupid, I know what the critics say” Baroni lamented. “They think I’m washed up, especially coming off the injury, but the public didn’t really see my fights in One FC, and the critics don’t see me training hard everyday. That is why this is also an opportunity for me to reintroduce myself to the American MMA fan.” Baroni said.

A win over Parisyan on national television would certainly go a long way to regain that notoriety. A loss however, would not define him. Guys like Phil Baroni are cut from a different cloth. His interests carry outside the world of fighting, and he currently owns his own business along with partner boxer Paulie Malignaggi (Future Legend), and also spends a lot of his time helping charities raise money.

“Recently I started volunteering for the One Step Closer Foundation that works with families of and individuals with, cerebral palsy.” Baroni’s nephew Christopher is one of the children who receives assistance from the charity. “I see first hand how hard it can be financially on families, it breaks my heart to see people like my sister struggle to afford things they need.” Baroni said. The charity utilizes the fighters loyal fan base to help raise money through events like their charity poker event which raised $63,000 that directly helped those in need, those like Christopher.

Baroni wears a green armband in support of the charity, and if you would like to make a donation please visit their site at: http://www.onestepcloserfoundation.org

The future for Phil Baroni will be defined by Phil Baroni, not by the critics. His legacy is secured in the concrete memories of the true fan, alongside the Chuck Liddells and Randy Coutures. He may not have won a title (Yet!), but his popularity can never be questioned. Despite what anyone may say, he is and always will be “The Best Eva!”

Make sure you watch Phil Baroni at Bellator 122 on July 25th, when he takes on Karo Parisyan. The fight will be live on SPIKE TV Check you local listings or log on to Bellator MMA.

 

You can follow: Phil Baroni on Twitter: https://twitter.com/philbaroni

Phil Baroni is Sponsored By: Future Legend http://www.futurelegend.co/ a company he owns with Boxer Paulie Malignaggi.

He Trains out of One Kick Gym in Las Vegas http://onekickgym.com/index.html

Phil Baroni would also like to thank the following:

Havoc Boxing for making “The best boxing robe in the business” Phil is their First MMA Sponsored Fighter Following the Likes of Diego Corrales and Sugar Shane Mosley

Tracy from Affliction Clothing,

Garden of Life Raw Meals

Lana’s Egg Whites

Special Thanks: to Chiat Sityodtong from Evolve Singapore.

 

Blagoi Ivanov

 

By: Jonathan King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report

 

Bellator MMA’s roster of fighters is a diverse group of young talent, coupled with a few older lions who are looking for to either return to form, win a world title, or too  prove to themselves that they can still mix it up with the best. Three fighters that we will focus on tonight are Blagoi Ivanov, Karo Parisyan, and Vladimir Matyushenko.

On the Cusp of Immortality

Two years ago, Blagoi Ivanov was at the start of a very promising Bellator MMA career. He came to the company on the heels of defeating MMA Legend Fedor Emelianenko in the World Sambo Championships. Everything was going according to plan. Until armed thugs confronted Ivanov and a group of friends in his homeland of Bulgaria, at a nightclub. During the melee, Ivanov was stabbed under the armpit with a 12 inch blade. The wound pierced his heart, and lungs. Emergency surgery was performed to save the young fighters life, but then infections set in. Ivanov was placed into a medically induced coma, where he lay near death for over 80 days, in the dark.

When he awoke, he was a shell of his former self. The once strapping heavyweight was closer to a welterweight in size, and walking and breathing became his new hurdles. His career was effectively over as a fighter, however someone forgot to tell him. He spoke with Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebeney and promised that he would return. After one year of intense training, Ivanov began to put on the weight he slept off, and slowly but surely began regaining his facilities.

Since his return, Ivanov appeared to not have missed a step. He has remained undefeated. His latest win at Bellator 116 over former UFC fighter Lavar Johnson, came via a slick Americana late in the first round that forced ‘Big’ to tap. The win has earned Ivanov a place in the Heavyweight Tournament Finals where he will face former Title holder Alexander Volkov for a shot at the World Title. In two years Ivanov has been in places not many have gone before. He keeps defying the odds at every turn, he is a champion in life, and soon may have the belt to match.

Return to Form

From 2002-2008 Karo Parisyan was one of the worlds top welterweight fighters. He was fighting all over the world, and was on the verge of a title shot. During this run, the young judoka was considered one of the sports most talented fighters. With wins over Nick Diaz, Josh Burkman, Ryo Chonan, Former Champion Matt Serra, and Chris Lytle, Parisyan seemed set to have a long successful career. Then the wheels fell off!

Parisyan spoke with us before his fight with Rick Hawn, and told us how his life spun out of control. Substances that initially were designed to heal the nagging injuries a fighter must deal with, became part of his every-day routine. He was cut from the UFC, and seemed to be another case of wasted talent.

Like a real champion, Parisyan woke up one day and realized what he was losing. He sought help and slowly began to find himself again. He also started to feel that fire in his belly, that once labeled him ‘The Heat’. Taking some fights on the regional circuit may be difficult for a fighter who once fought at the top, however it was that same humility that led Parisyan back into the light.

After a few fights with mixed results, ‘The Heat’ began to churn into an inferno again. With his weight in check, and his problems in his rear view mirror, Parisyan was given a second chance with Bellator. His first fight against Rick Hawn was a difficult task, however Parisyan attacked from the opening bell. His hands looked up to speed, his movement was working and then he got caught. Hawn won the fight but it was obvious to everyone in attendance that Parisyan was on his way back.

His next fight was equally difficult. At Bellator 116 Parisyan was paired with AKA’s Ron Kesslar who is coming off a big win over War Machine. On paper the match pitted judoka v wrestler. However its was Parisyan’s hands that made the difference. late in the second round, Parisyan dropped Kesslar with a series of punches and was able to finish with impressive ground and pound.

The win solidified Parisyan’s chances for being selected in the next welterweight tournament. Parisyan, at one time could have been one of the best in the world. In fact he was one of the best. However real champions are not made they are built. In Parisyan’s case he is rebuilt. This version, the 2.0 version is much more humble and intelligent. Like the phoenix before him, ‘The Heat’ has risen from the fire and the future looks very bright!

Farewell to A Legend

Vladimir Matyushenko has fought everywhere, and in every major organization. ‘The Janitor’ has long been one of the top light heavyweight fighters in the world. The former IFL Champion, fought in the UFC, Bellator, IFL, IFC, and Affliction and many other organizations around the world. With a record of  27-8, Matyushenko has shared the cage with a ‘who’s who’ of the MMA elite.

At Bellator 116, Matyushenko lost to Joey Beltran via North South choke late in the 3rd round. The legend left his gloves in the cage signifying his retirement. Like a wrestler leaving his shoes on the mat, ‘The Janitor’ said goodbye to the world of fighting but will remain relevant in MMA as one of the best wrestling coaches alive. Vladimir is living the American dream. He came to this country speaking only the language of a wrestler, now he is revered as legend. Matyushenko will continue as the head wrestling coach at Dynamix MMA in Santa Monica where he will be an amazing influence on all fighters young and old for many years to come.

 

 

avmma

By: The Clinch Report

Make sure you mark your calenders and order your tickets before they are gone! Amateur MMA at its finest.  AVMMA has teamed with Big John McCarthy’s Ultimate Training Center in Valencia, and they have organized one hell of an event.

Champions are not born, they are made. Come out and support your local fighters.  For tickets, go to this link:
http://www.avmma.com/live_mma_tickets.html

 

By Jonathan King The Clinch Report

Champions are made, they are not born. It takes years of work, unyielding dedication, daily sacrifices, and even a little luck to get to the top of the mountain. In the world of MMA, that mountain is made up of the souls you’ve defeated. Each victory brings with it a target, which beams brighter and looms larger, with each win.

There is a “Ying and Yang”, to be recognized in a sport early on in your career. Pedigree can open doors for you and exposure can add zeroes to paychecks, however the learning curve is steep and unforgiving. For every Peyton Manning, there is a Ryan Leaf.

So although those doors may be unlocked with your name, your performance ultimately is what keeps the doors open. For some this ‘target’ can be an uncomfortable burden, for others it can be their ultimate motivation. For Chris Honeycutt (1-0 MMA), the latter is true! “I’m used to having a target on my back!”, Honeycutt said. “That target on my back is a positive thing, it means I am doing the right thing!”

For many this ‘target’ carries with it extraordinary pressure to perform. Often times the anxiety to perform stifles the performance. This is not the case with Honeycutt. “If you don’t feel pressure you are not doing something right!” the affable young fighter said. “It motivates me, I don’t plan on being average, I plan on being the best.” Honeycutt said.


To ensure his success Honeycutt has surrounded himself with a top notch team of advisers, managers and trainers. Training primarily in Fresno CA, the east coast native has found a home at Dethrone Base Camp where he trains with owner and MMA legend Josh Koscheck (Fellow Edinboro College Alumni). Now training full-time under the watchful eye of John Salter and ‘Kos’ Honeycutt focuses on every aspect of the game.

Methodically he began to transition from the power wrestler, into a well rounded and disciplined martial artist. As rapid as his growth has been, each day at the gym serves as a reminder that there is still much to learn. “I have a hard time keeping up with these guys!” Honeycutt said. “It’s not easy working with Lavar(Johnson), Koscheck and Salter, but each week I’m getting more fluid, and more confident.” Honeycutt said.

When his future calls, Honeycutt will rely on the wisdom of his team. “DeWayne Zinkin and Bob Cook have been in business a long time, they guide my path.” Honeycutt said. For now, “It’s my job to get better and to train hard.”

Last year Honeycutt made his successful debut with the UPC Unlimited Promotion winning with impressively with his trademark ground and pound. With the win and a few more months on training under his belt, for Honeycutt the skies the limit!

His next fight will be May 11th in Fresno CA at the Sierra Athletic Club (For tickets http://upcunlimited.vbotickets.com/event/upc_15/3032) for the UPC UNLIMITED Promotion, and will also be featured on there June card at the Agua Caliente Casino.

By: Jonathan King The Clinch Report

The State of California has more mixed martial arts events than anywhere else in the country. So, very often the product becomes watered down. Many promotions have been in business for so long, that the display of exciting fights becomes secondary to running a business. This is why it is refreshing to see a fairly young promotion breaking through the model of ‘regional’ mixed martial arts promotions.  UPC Unlimited based out of Fresno Ca, has created an exciting environment for some of the sports best prospects!


Going to a regional event becomes that much more exciting when you see fighters that are destined for Bellator or the UFC. Much like the minor leagues in other sports, these regional promotions can and have developed some of the sports most recognizable names. Creating an environment for young fighters to grow while also allowing veterans to re-tool their games is the goal for every promotion. Consistently achieving this goal, is what separates UPC Unlimited from the rest of the pack.

The roster of fighters is quite an impressive mix of young stars, and savvy veterans including: Poppies Martinez, Steve Stryker, Steve Swanson, Billy Evangalista, Zac Bucia, Tim Eastom, and several fighters that are featured on NUVO TV’s Fight Factory including Ron Kessler, Chris Honeycutt, Gabriel Carrasco, and many other great fighters. The impressive and extensive roster allows the promotion and matchmakers the flexibility to stack several exciting cards in succession, that leave each fighter hungry, and each spectator enthralled.

UPC 15 is scheduled to take place May 11th in Fresno at The Sierra Sport & Racquet Club. For tickets go to http://upcunlimited.vbotickets.com/event/upc_15/3032.
If you are a fan of Mixed Martial Arts, this is a show you can not miss!

By Jonathan King The Clinch Report

This weekend the UFC will put forth a pay per view caliber fight card, that will be featured for free on FOX. Not only will the lightweight title be on the line, but Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier will make his long anticipated debut in the UFC.

Jordan Mein  vs. Matt Brown  

The resurgent Matt Brown has proved that if a fighter wants to stay in the UFC he has to improve once he has arrived. Brown is in the midst of a 4 fight win streak, and is looking to solidify his chances for a possible contender slot. Mein is looking for his second UFC win after defeating the always game Dan Miller by TKO in his last outing. Mein should be technically proficient in the striking department, but Brown is notorious for his tenacity. Prediction: Brown via Split Decision

Nate Diaz  vs. Josh Thomson

Nate Diaz is one of the most talented fighters in the UFC. His boxing skill is unrivaled in the division, and even if you can put him on his back, his submission skills are just as refined. However, in his last performance Benson Henderson completely dismantled the Stockton native, beating him at his own game. Josh Thompson is no stranger to the Cesar Gracie team, having faced Gilbert Melendez 3 times already. Thompson is a hell of an athlete, who even at 34 years old is still extremely dangerous in the division. Prediction: Diaz via Unanimous Decision


Daniel Cormier  vs. Frank Mir

Frank Mir is and has been a top ranked heavyweight for nearly 10 years. As a former champion, he has the skill to end the fight in any position with either a strike, or a submission. He also does not like being considered a stepping stone (see Brock Lesnar first fight)! Daniel Cormier is the best wrestler in the division which alone presents problems, but Cormier can also turn out the lights with his heavy hands. Mir could very well grab a hold of a limb during a take down, but this fight might not ever make it there. Predictions Cormier via TKO RD 2


Benson Henderson* vs Gilbert Melendez 5 Round 155 lbs Title Fight (*Champion)

Finally, ‘El Nino’ Gilbert Melendez will be making his octagon debut, and he does so in an immediate title fight. Coming in as the Strikeforce champion Melendez for a long time has been considered one of the to 3 lightweight fighters in the world. His durable style suits either the quick knockout, or the five round battle. He sets up his powerful hands with excellent feigns, and has great take down skills as well. Benson Henderson is one of the biggest lightweight fighters around. The champions power begins with his tree trunk like legs, that power one of the most athletic frames in all of MMA. As a striker Henderson has great power, and even better timing, often beginning and ending combinations with balance shattering leg kicks. Once Henderson achieves top position, he is nearly impossible to sweep. Make sure you use the bathroom before the fight begins! Prediction: Henderson via Split Decision (Fight of the Night)

Phil “The New York Bad Ass” Baroni is one of the early pioneers in the sport of Mixed MArtial Arts. The Massapequa Long Island native, has fought in some of the biggest stages in the world. Baroni became an immediate fan favorite with his brash style, his unapologetic demeanor, and his vicious aggressiveness. With his legacy assured, and losses piling up many people wondered why Baroni was still fighting at all.  Baroni recently said in our 30 minute interview. “I’m a Pride fighter.”

Below is a few of the questions from our MMA discussion.

JK:You have been fighting since 2000, in some of the biggest shows in the world. Why in your own words do you still compete?

Baroni:”I’m a pride fighter, you know. I fight for money. Records are for DJ’s, Money talks and bullshit walks. But my goal is to win the One FC belt. However, a shiny belt only puts food on the table if you sell it on ebay, at this point in my career money talks.”

JK: You seemed to be a different fighter in your last fight,(win at One FC Debut) do you feel more comfortable fighting under the unified Pride Rules? (with soccer kicks and knees to grounded opponents)

Baroni: “Yeah, I’m a New York street fighter. I’ve been kicking people in the head since I was a little kid! But I play by the rules whatever they are.”

JK: What was the difference between the last fight, and the one before, the one you lost to Holland in Denver?

Baroni: “I have to give a lot of credit to my cornerman, Mike Swick. Everyone before had been telling me to pace myself, and try not to get tired, but Swick told me to be the old Phil Baroni, the guy who comes out guns blazing, and something clicked in my head. At the time I was listening to too many people, my own press clippings, but Swick told me to fight my fight, and thats what I did. He understands me, he was coming off a few losses and a long lay off as well, so he knew where i was at”

JK: The Holland fight was featured on the “Fight Factory” television show. Did having the cameras on you put any added pressure on you? It was a pretty heart wrenching scene with you wife crying after the loss.

Baroni: “The show didn’t show it, but Javier Mendez begged me not to take that fight. I had a few major injuries that hadn’t healed yet, and I took the fight cause i needed the pay day. I should have never taken that fight! I didnt watch that fight, still…I’d rather watch the last one!”

JK: Good segway. How do you feel about Jon Jones not taking the Chael Sonnen fight on short notice?

Baroni: “I would have taken the fight, but look what happened last time, I lost. But, I’m not Jon Jones. I think everyone should get off this kids back. He is the champion, the Boss, what he says goes. Would I have taken the fight, ‘yes’ but who the hell am I? I am not sponsored by Nike, when you’re the champion you get to make those decisions. I don’t think it was his fault the event got cancelled. He is young. In this sport he doesn’t even have hair on his balls yet, is he brash and cocky, ‘yes he is’ but he is the champion, and the champ calls the shots, do you think Don King ever forced Mike Tyson to fight? Tyson would have told King to go fuck himself!”

JK: How has training at AKA changed you as a fighter?

Baroni: “It hasn’t really changed me, but I get to train with the best all the time! Everyone here is a great!”

JK: Did any of the drama between Josh Koscheck and Javier Mendez have any effect on the team?

Baroni: “On me, no. But the team and the trainers yeah it caused a strain. A lot of the fighters were close to Josh, some aren’t. I personally respect the guy, he is a former NCAA champion, and he is super tough…trains his fucking ass off! But business is business and that was it. It disrupted the coaches and managers, but not really the team. at one time Javier and Josh were really close, so there are personal things involved. thats none of my business.”

JK: How did you feel when all of this stuff was airing on television?

Baroni: “Would I have said and done things differently? Maybe I don’t know I got a big fucking mouth too, but yeah maybe some of it was better left off camera.”

JK: How was it having your life documented at every turn?

Baroni: “I’m used to the cameras. I’ve been in this game for a long time, I don’t even pay attention to them.I got nothing to hide.”

JK: What is next for the New York Bad Ass, I saw some rumors that you may be signing with Rey Sefo?

Baroni: “I would love to fight for the One FC belt, but like I said at this point in my career, I have to go where the money is. I have bills to pay, and have to put food on my table!”

JK: Do you have another fight booked?

Baroni: “Not sure what is next. I feel great. I’m in great shape. Old injuries, I don’t make excuses, everyone fights injured but I had some old injuries finally heal, and working at AKA i have learned more in the last six months than I have my entire career. I get to wrestle with Daniel Cormier all the time, I feel great. Feel like I could jump right into the NCAA’s and do great.

JK: What can Phil Baroni fans expect to see in your next fight?

Baroni: “You’re gonna see the same as the last fight. I’m gonna come out guns blazing, looking to finish in the first round. If you can get passed it, hats off to you. I used to train with the Team Quest guys a little (Matt Lindland, Dan Henderson) Like those guys and Randy Couture, I’m getting better as I get older. Physically I am just as strong as ever, and technically I’m faster. ”

JK: When you do decide to hang up the gloves, do you see yourself still part of the fight game in another capacity? Or will you do something else completely.

Baroni: “I love the game man, after fighting I’ll be involved somehow.”

Interview note: I would like to thank Mr Baroni for taking the time to speak with me. We will keep the post updated with any Phil Baroni Information and fight announcements. You can also follow “The New York Bad Ass” on twitter @philbaroni