Posts Tagged ‘Dana White’

fn10-23-archuletta-4

 

“May see thee now, though late, Redeem thy name, And glorify what else is damn’d to fame” Richard Savage

By: Jonathan M. King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report

Edited By: Bob Fisher Pugilpix

Perspective can bring clarity. Unfortunately there is no time line for understanding. For some it comes early, for others it may never come at all. For Joe ‘Daddy’ Stevenson, perspective has been quite elusive. As a young fighter Stevenson made his pro debut in 1999 at the tender age of 16, now nearly 50 fights later, that perspective has arrived.

Long after his last fight, Stevenson found himself on the mat at his gym, working with his younger fighters. He told them he wanted them all to define their goals as fighters clearly. He wanted to know what each of his fighters expected of themselves, so he, the coach, could do his best to make those expectations come true. Everything was going according to plan until one of Stevenson’s young proteges, Jamal Pogues, asked, “What about you coach?”

The seemingly innocent question may have been considered a wise-ass response, but instead the question stabbed its way through 17 years of fighting and attacked a soft spot inside of Stevenson that he himself had never addressed! “I thought about his question for quite some time.” Stevenson said, with the answer eluding him at every turn.

As a coach, Stevenson has many young students who count on his experience and knowledge to light the dark passage that is a fight career. During the ‘goal definition’ process, Stevenson realized he himself had never completed the exercise. “I’ve had a lot of great coaches, but I’ve never had someone in my ear outside of the cage” Stevenson said. Although he had many coaches that focused on technique, Stevenson didn’t have a coach to lean on during the difficult times away from the cage.

As young wrestler, Stevenson’s stock skyrocketed with his success. At 16 years old he was already training with the likes of Oleg Taktarov, Bas Rutten, Ted Williams, and Genki Sudo. All of whom, were successful mixed martial artists at the time. For Stevenson, this opportunity was all he had. “Wrestling was the only thing I was ever good at!” Stevenson said. After working with these legends, fighting seemed to be the next logical step. His pro debut came against Joe Camacho (rest in peace) one month before his 17th birthday.

His career was off to a terrific start, and after a successful stint with the King of The Cage, Stevenson moved to Las Vegas to pursue his black belt in jiujitsu. During this time, Stevenson pretty much retired from fighting. Instead he focused on coaching, training and helping others prepare for fights. Things stayed the same until UFC matchmaker Joe Silva came into the gym to watch Stevenson train. After watching, Silva insisted that Stevenson join season 2 of The Ultimate Fighter. Just one year earlier this show launched the sport of mixed martial arts into the main stream. With the epic bout between Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar fresh on his mind, Stevenson leapt.

Opportunity once again knocked, and Stevenson was ready to answer, but still he was going through the motions. Once he was isolated inside the TUF house, the demons that haunt so many came knocking. “I was very self conscious about my drinking, thats why if you re-watch the show I always had a red cup!” Stevenson said. “I didn’t want my kids or any kids to see me drinking!” So, he tried to keep the demons hidden, away from view.

Still, Stevenson thrived professionally, winning season 2 of The Ultimate Fighter. Inside the cage, Stevenson was becoming one of the most feared men in the lightweight division. However outside of the cage, and away from the lights, Stevenson’s life was beginning to unravel. Now the centerpiece in the crowd, Stevenson never felt more isolated.

Celebrity can bring with it a loneliness. For Stevenson, he looked for the answer in the bottom of a bottle, or three. “I was a undefeated as a drinker!” Stevenson said. Depending on how you look at the situation, one could certainly agree or disagree depending on what you consider defeated. “The day after the Ultimate Fighter Finale, the day after the biggest night of my life, I was given my first DUI.” Stevenson said. Apparently the alcohol from the celebration had not found its way out his body, and on his way back home, the TUF season 2 winner found himself in hand cuffs.

As a fighter, Stevenson could always rely on his god given talent. So the dance with demons continued between fights, and even sometimes during the fights. At the age 20 Stevenson’s marriage fell apart. And Stevenson responded by healing the only way he knew how, in the gym by day and the bar by night.

Still, inside the UFC cage the wins kept coming! After a self imposed hiatus from drinking, Stevenson went on a tear, winning four fights in a row, earning him a shot at the vacant lightweight title against the future legend B.J. Penn. A fight that still evokes a very deep emotion from Stevenson. “B.J. and I were actually friends.” Stevenson said. “I can remember hanging out with him in a bar one night, and he came over and said ‘You now one day we are gonna fight bro, good knows good!'”, and although that meeting ended in celebration, their next meeting was not so easy.

Penn won their fight decisively in what would be remembered as one of the bloodiest fights in UFC history. “I remember seeing my blood shoot out of my head in a stream that was about five feet long”, Stevenson said. According to a ringside doctor the gash on his head caused him to lose over 500 ccs of blood. You would think a loss like that would be devastating, and to some extent it was, but after all, Stevenson had never planned on even getting there. Up until this point, one of the best fighters in the world still didn’t have a single defined goal. Instead the loss was handled much the way the wins were, with a few pills chased by alcohol.

After that fight, Stevenson returned with an impressive win over Gleison Tibau, but then alternated 2 wins with 2 losses. One of the wins was an impressive domination of current lightweight contender Nate Diaz. Up until this point, Stevenson was always able to maintain two lifestyles. at first he was a fighter who liked to party, but soon he became a partier who moonlit as a fighter. Soon the perennial fight of the night contender now found himself in rather boring fights. An uninspiring decision loss to George Sotiropoulos was followed by 3 more losses, including a KO loss to Mac Danzig, which was the only time Stevenson had ever been knocked out in his career. After his loss to Javier Vasquez, Stevenson was released from the UFC.

Although devastating, the loss was quickly washed away, and soon the mediocrity of everyday life became the daily reminder to what he had pissed away. Stevenson began to realize he had not only lost his job, but he was beginning to loose himself as well. Nearing bottom Stevenson began to look for answers. He found some of those answers in familiar faces that were now anonymous. It was in these meetings that, Stevenson began to discover himself. He found both comfort and solace listening and sharing. He reveled in being an example.

In the gym, Stevenson was quickly becoming known as one of the best young coaches in the sport. His pedigree and wrestling base made him a fountain of knowledge that even the most seasoned of fighters could drink. Rapidly his young stable of fighters began to start making names for themselves. And Stevenson himself was also starting to evolve professionally.

After working on the show ‘Breaking Bad’, Stevenson began his love affair with Hollywood. Soon after he received a phone call from coach Greg Jackson that would change his direction. Jackson had been contacted by the powers that be in Hollywood, who were looking for a fight choreographer for a new show that showcased the world of mixed martial arts.

The show created by Byron Belasco starred Frank Grillo, Nick Jonas, Jonathan Tucker, Matt Lauria, Mac Brandt, Paul Hauser, Natalie Martinez and Nikki Going as a dysfunctional fight family native to the Venice Beach area. One of the main problems with shooting a show about MMA, is making it look real. In the past, the sport has not been kind to the translations of MMA incarnations on film, which weighed heavy on Belasco. So they brought in Stevenson to sculpt the cast into fighters, and to add certain level of authenticity that would resonate heavily with mixed martial arts fanatics.

Taking his time, and working from the bottom. Stevenson began to shape these actors. “I only know how to train fighters,” Stevenson said. ” I don’t know how to pretend to fight”. So these actors pretty much went to bootcamp. Their bodies changed, their diets changed, and even their outlook on the sport changed. The show ‘Kingdom’ debuted to raucous reviews, and quickly became a hit. Not only were television audiences impressed, but the MMA community specifically was considerably thrilled. A testament to the actors, and the choreography of Stevenson.

Busy on many fronts, Stevenson found himself torn between coaching and working in Hollywood, living somewhere in the nexus between an old itch returned. Constantly being involved a long forgotten flame began to burn again, and soon ‘The Daddy’ was ready again, to take to cage. Returning to the action for the first time in 3 years, Stevenson took on very tough prospect Dominique Robinson. The fight ended up not going Stevenson’s way (he lost a 5 rd split decision) but his performance was hindered by poor preparation and by an infection that had him on antibiotics the day of the fight. He simply forgotten how much preparation was necessary, and Robinson was more than willing to remind him. Even still the fight could have gone either way.

The loss bothered Stevenson, but his performance is what left a particular bad taste. “I didn’t prepare for the fight properly.” Stevenson said. “Even though mentally I was in the right place, physically I didn’t take enough time to prepare. When you are out of action for 3 years you can’t just jump into a camp and get ready, and I thought I could.” Stevenson said.

For the next few months, Stevenson went back to the usual grind. Alternating between cornering fighters, coaching, and working on set, while maintaining his role as the father of four young boys. However this time he kept his weight down, returned to training, and for the first time in his life Joe Stevenson was doing everything the right way, but he didn’t know where he was heading.

Then came the answer in the form of a question. “What about you coach? What are your goals?”

“I went home after Jamal asked me about my goals, and thought about it.” Stevenson had often looked for answers, and often found them from within, but this time he was at a loss. Was his purpose now to coach, or was his goal now to grow as a coordinator in film industry? The answer once again came back to fighting.

“50 wins” Stevenson said. “My goal is to win 50 fights, then I can move on.” Currently Stevenson would need another 17 victories to accomplish that task (Some websites differ with regard to record). At 34 years old he is still young enough to compete at a very high level, and his pedigree will always translate to the sport. But why would he want too?

The goal although defined, remains obscured by certain mitigating factors. Truth, fear, the past, and even the demons themselves are all part of the motivation. For a fighter of Stevenson’s caliber his last performances can’t be easy to live with, especially since now he thinks he could today, out perform his younger self. ” I’d instigate the 25 year old version of me into a brawl, before I double legged him and pounded him out!” Stevenson confidently claimed. Perhaps that is who he will be facing the rest of the way.

For Stevenson, the goal may have been defined. The 50 win plateau may hopefully end up being the destination. The end may justify his goals, and what Stevenson finds on the road to redemption remains to be seen. However it appears in coming full circle as a person, Joe Stevenson has finally arrived as a fighter.

 

Notes: Joe Stevenson returns to action July 30 in his hometown of Victorville CA, fighting under the California Fight League promotion. Click the link for ticket information. Joe Stevenson is also set to fight in August under the Tru-Form Entertainment Promotion, it what could be one of the best SoCal fight cards of the year! For information on where to watch the hit television show Kingdom (click the link).

Advertisements
Christos -6

Seizing the day, The Spartan Delivers

Seize the day, put no trust in the morrow!”- Horace

By: Jonathan M. King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report

Going into his fight with Karen Darabedyan at RFA 38, Christos Giagos appeared as as calm as the day is long. Waiting for his walkout music, he patiently paced back and forth, pausing for a moment to acknowledge a few fans in the crowd. He didn’t seem concerned in the least, instead the young fighter appeared oddly at peace. Almost tranquil, it appeared as if the Spartan already knew the outcome. For the day was at hand, and Giagos appeared as if he didn’t have a care in the world.

Did he know that this was perhaps the most important fight of career? He had to know that Dana White, his former boss, was in the building filming ‘Looking for a Fight’, (a show that showcases White’s search for emerging talent that airs on the UFC network Fight Pass). If not he was certainly aware of the danger before him.

His opponent Karen Darabedyan is one of the fiercest grapplers in the division. If you make a mistake against him, you can loose an arm, a leg, or end up asleep looking up at the lights wondering what the hell just happened. However as soon as the fight started it became clear The Spartan’s calm almost ‘laissez-faire’ approach was the result of proper preparation.

As Darabedyan bounced in and out Giagos countered with a crisp jab, cross combination that sharply snapped the head of Darabedyan back. A few moments later, after eating a sharp jab from Giagos, Darabedyan charged in looking to engage in a fire fight, but instead walked into a three punch combination from Giagos that clipped his chin, sending him to the canvas. A few ground and pound strikes later and Giagos finally came to life.

Running towards the cage, ‘The Spartan’ ran a flip off the cage, and then began screaming with all his might, for the first time all night he appeared uncomfortable. He didn’t know what to do. For months, this moment was all that was on his mind. Now having seized the moment, the raw emotion simply took over.

The fight ended up producing one hell of a MMA equation. The fashion of the victory, multiplied by the caliber of the opponent equaled UFC President Dana White saying ” This last kid was in the UFC, and tonight he looked like he should be back in the UFC.” (interview with Ron Kruck on Inside MMA). How about that for some MMA math?

Where Giagos fights next remains to be seen, however he has certainly proved he belongs in the UFC. In his first run with the promotion, Giagos compiled a 1-2 record, with the win splitting the losses. When he was cut, it seemed odd, as he had not lost consecutive bouts, and the last loss to Chris Wade ended up being an extremely entertaining fight.

Not only was Dana White impressed with his performance but UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby was in the building as well and appeared extremely interested as well.  So it appears all the stars are lining up for The Spartan’s return to the UFC. However making it to the UFC is one thing, but staying there is a completely different animal. If Giagos hopes to remain, he will have to continue to conquer each day, as if it is his last.

 

All photos and content are owned by The Clinch Report, LLC. Any unauthorized use is strictly prohibited. Email news@theclinchreport.com for licensing. 

 

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by: Bob Fisher Pugilpix.com

Photo by: Bob Fisher Pugilpix.com

By: Jonathan M. King The Clinch Report

Photo: By Bob Fisher Pugilpix.com

Apologies are a slippery slope. The become easy to spit, and often lose all meaning. That is why it is refreshing when an athlete like Chael Sonnen comes along. Sonnen who has always made headlines in his career made them once again when he tested positive on multiple occasions for PED’s. He retired as a result, and since has been issued a 2 year ban by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Then he was released from his position as a broadcaster, leaving a major hole on the FOX Sports stage.

Since his departure, Sonne recently called the shots at “MMA Battlegrounds” with legendary announcer Jim Ross. He also started his own podcast titled “You’re Welcome”. During the inaugural episode Sonnen discussed his positive test with Ariel Helwani and offered a refreshing take!

“For me, the litmus test was flawed. Here was my litmus test: can’t be a steroid and it’s got to be legal. I can’t take anything, I don’t want to be in possession or consume anything that’s not legal. And what I’m talking about there is I’m not talking about the commissions and the rules, I’m talking about the law. I’m talking about if I’m holding something in my possession and a police office sees me, am I allowed to have that or aren’t I? If the answer’s Yes, then I’m in. That was my test. If I can get this legally, if there’s a legal medication, I’m taking it. I’m not cross-referencing that with the commission. I’m not going to take the rules or anything over that of a doctor. I told myself to sleep well at night. That’s a flawed test. I don’t think a lot of guys do that from this era.”

“I don’t think there’s a lot of guys that do it. I think that the problem, or the guys in the violation of the rules are the guys from my time. The guys that before these rules take place or were changes and adapted to what they are now, the guys that got set in their ways, they grew up through the 80’s and grew up in the early ’90s, they just grew up doing stuff wrong. I think that’s where the real problem is. I know that’s where it comes for me. The other thing is that it was working. I was feeling good, I was having some good success. You’ve got to stay in compliance, it’s completely wrong, but there it is. I’m speaking purely about mindset now. I think that’s what my mindset was.” Chael Sonnen  From his podcast “You’re Welcome” on Podcastone.

Maybe its time we stop looking for forgiveness. Or maybe we should just go back to using our parents as role models. Maybe we should just let the athletes entertain. When they do mess up like you and I; maybe they should be judged as men and women, not as pariahs!

One thing is certain is Sonnen’s ‘I’m sorry im not sorry’  approach (and i’m paraphrasing) is a fresh take, one long over due in sports. Im not saying we should forgive him for cheating, but for god sake how long do we have to endure his absence? Maybe its time we reward honesty, instead of continually perpetrating an apologetic fraud!

 

To listen to “You’re Welcome” click the link below

http://podcastone.com/chaelsonnen

Flash picking his shots

Flash picking his shots

By: Jonathan King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report

Terrion ‘Flash’ Ware took another step towards attaining his UFC goals, with his 4th round dismantling of Jeff Martin at BAMMA USA’s BadBeat 13 event. Martin was a clear underdog coming into the fight, however his jujitsu pedigree proved that on paper odds mean very little once the fight started. Martin was able to take the champion down and flirted with several deep submission attempts, including a straight armbar that Ware was able to battle through. Clearly giving him the first round.

Then quickly things changed. Ware utilized superior movement to get inside of Martin’s jab with vicious body shots that slowed down Martin’s shots, and removed his take down strength entirely. Crisply, Ware changed levels effectively gaining entry at the body, then finishing at the head. Martin did his best to stay in the fight, and did so for three rounds, despite clearly being down on the scorecards.

It appeared Ware could finish Martin several times, but instead decided to continue the punishment. Ware appeared to be one a mission. Once the fourth round began Martin faded quickly and mercifully after some nasty hammer fists the fight was stopped. For a long time the knock against Ware was the his lack of finishing ability. Perhaps last nights ‘country ass whooping’ was directed at silencing those critics.

The win rights the ship for Ware who lost his last fight against UFC Title contender Joe Soto. Currently Ware has avenged his first lost, and since only lost to guys who have or currently do fight in the UFC. With a history of exciting fights, and a style that consistently entertains, perhaps it is time for Sean Shelby or Joe Silva to take notice.

BAMMA USA once again delivered a tremendous card. Great night of fights.

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.

 

 

 

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.

 

Photo By: Bob Fisher Pugilpix.com

By: Jonathan M. King The Clinch Report

When word broke last, I like most chalked it up to rumors fueled by the Alvarez release. Then for a few days it disappeared. Waking this morning to the news that former TUF 1 Finalist and UFC Hall of Famer Stephan Bonnar came out of retirement to sign a multi-fight deal with the UFC’s rival Bellator MMA was not shocking, but it does seem intriguing.

‘The American Psycho” released a statement with regards to the signing, and hinted as to why..

I want everyone to know I’m coming out of retirement because it’s time to free the MMA world of the virus that’s known as Tito Ortiz. We’ve been suffering through his boring fights for too many years, and it’s about time that someone beats it out of him once and for all.” Stephan Bonnar

Earlier this week the UFC signed Bellator MMA’s 155 lbs champion Eddie Alvarez setting him up for his promotional debut against Donald Cerrone at UFC 178. Now with the Bonnar signing; although much less relevant, Bellator has shown they mean business. Even if they are past their primes, Bonnar v Ortiz is a fight that is guaranteed to entertain. Bonnar’s chin down head first style, and Ortiz’s traditional ground and pound make this a chess match on paper that should not be missed.

Does Stephan Bonnar v Tito Ortiz matter in the MMA world? Sure it does. The fight matters as long as it is promoted properly. If its a grudge match pitting two guys who clearly dont like each other, then its a fun fight. If this ends up being a setup for a 205 lbs contender, then its a joke. A joke that may end up costing the promotion credibility.

Is Bonnar the same guy he was when he carried the sport on his shoulders in his first fight with Forrest Griffin? No, but that doesn’t mean he still cant entertain in the cage.

Setting either one of these guys up for a title run, will only solidify the companies position as a UFC pretender. However, if they utilize both of these guys the way the UFC uses fighters like Cung Le and Rich Franklin, it could be a pretty smart move. Bonnar is also a polished broadcaster, so he will probably see double duty when he is not fighting.

The move will certainly illicit some sort of response from his former employer. Dana White has always been a huge supporter of Bonnar, and even went to great lengths to defend his enshrinement into the Hall of Fame. So it will be interesting to hear his response.

Quelled as a rumor when first reported a week or so ago, the signing may be a sign that the two promotions have put to rest the animosity. Under Bjorn Rebney’s control Bellator MMA was consistently the target for well placed jabs by Dana White, who referred to his counterpart “Bjork”. Now with Rebney out, and Scott Coker in, maybe the two promotions have decided to co exist.

If so it would be a decision that could benefit both companies and the sport as a whole. Perhaps a united front from both Viacom and Zuffa would present a hurdle that even Sheldon Silver could not jleap over, paving the way for the sport to be legalized in New York State. If these two giants could unite if only for that purpose…..Oh the humanity that would result!

 

 

Photo by: Bob Fisher Pugilpix.com

Photo by: Bob Fisher Pugilpix.com

By: Jonathan M. King

The best way to describe Chael P. Sonnen’s personality is polarizing. His cantankerous approach and quick tongue leave most people who come across him on one side of the room or the other. Not many  folks find themselves in limbo when asked “What do you think of Chael?” He is charismatic, talented, extremely intelligent, and his fight analysis is as cerebral as anyone in the business. He can also be a dick. A big one! He doesn’t mind playing the bad guy. He understands that in the world of entertainment everyone has a role to play.

These characteristics are the reason he became the face of the UFC on FOX. Simply put, no one else was a better fit. He was the perfect ambassador for the sport. A good looking, witty dude, who engaged the camera as if it were the viewer themselves. Sonnen made you part of the broadcast weather you agreed with him or not, he involved the viewers. His WWE style promos endered fans who once thought him as brash, but now branded him as ‘colorful’.

Most importantly he raised everyone else’s game to his level. He made Karyn Bryant that much better than she already was… His back and forth exchanges with Kenny Florian, were always hysterical, and his presence made the shows fun to watch. Sort of the way Will Ferrel does, Sonnen’s presence commands the room. You never can be sure what you are going to get from him, and that edginess created a ‘Howard Stern-like’ quality that even his detractors had to watch.

Then it all disappeared. Following two failed drug test (for competition in the UFC, not narcotics) Sonnen was released from his position at FOX, the network cited his conduct as their reasoning.

Ever since the quality of the FOX broadcasting of UFC events has been lacking. Sonnen’s chair has been filled with an ever-changing group of fighters that include (most recently) Josh Koscheck, Matt Serra, Chris Lytle, and Jake Ellenberger. All of whom made Sonnen’s absence that much more obvious with less than stellar performances.

Broadcasting and working with other broadcasters is an artform. A talent that Sonnen has displayed naturally. Maybe we miss him now because those who have tried to replace him have been horrible. However I don’t think its about the what the others lack, per say, its more about what Sonnen possesses. Simply put they’re failures are that they are not Chael!

Not everyone is meant to be a fighter. The same can be said about analysts.  Sonnen’s absence from the FOX broadcast team has shined a glaring spotlight on that fact. The void left in his absence is tremendous. It reminds me of what the news must have been like after Cronkite left…There was no news, because he WAS the news!

Punishment and forgiveness go hand in hand. With the circumstances around this case, with the types of drugs he was taking, and the reasons for taking them (coming off of TRT, and fertility treatments for the soon to be father), maybe its time to forgive. Not because he is needed so badly but….well yeah, because he is needed so badly.

Lets face facts ‘The UFC on FOX’ programming is horrible without ‘The American Gangsta’, borderline unwatchable. The last few shows have proven like Cronkite before him, Chael Sonnen is the identity of ‘The UFC on FOX’ programming. Without him, there really isnt much too watch. Its time to stop fixing mistakes with other mistakes. Please, put Chael back on TV.