Posts Tagged ‘Joe Soto’

By: Jonathan M. King The Clinch Report

Video and Edited By: Bob Fisher Pugilpix.com

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report
Chad ‘The Savage’ George has been around the mixed martial arts block a few times. He understands the game as well as anyone. He first burst into the rankings while fighting for the now defunct WEC (Which was purchased by ZUFFA in 2008 and later absorbed in 2010). While under the Zuffa umbrella, George earned his first win over John Hosman before losing to Scott Jorgensen, and Antonio Banuelos. The latter of the two bouts was a title eliminator bout, a fight George lost by a close decision.

Leading up to his last fight in the WEC, George was the subject of a documentary called “Occupation Fighter” which received a huge following on Netflix. The movie documented his training camp leading up to the bout with Banuelos. The movie brought a lot of attention to George, and it looked as though the UFC would be calling. Shortly after his last fight in the WEC, the UFC absorbed the promotion, however they only created one new division, leaving George and a host of others without a job.

Not one to wait, ‘The Savage’ returned to the regional scene and quickly picked up 3 wins in a row. Once again on the precipice, George stepped up to face current UFC contender Joe Soto under the Tachi Palace banner. George started out doing very well until he made a mistake and got caught in a choke that cost him the fight.

A subsequent loss to UFC bantamweight Cody Gibson followed . Then the storms came. The normal struggles that plague fighters began to pile up on George, however they were happening all at once. Two losses in a row set back his aspirations of UFC gold, but the injuries that followed threatened to end his career. A back injury and other assorted ailments left George’s fight career in limbo, however through the turmoil George found another passion; coaching.

George split with the former gym and created his own brand in California Mixed Martial Arts and Fitness. In a very short period of time the CMMA team has left an undeniable mark on the Southern California fight scene. The wins continued to pile up for the team, and although the head coach was proud of his new family, something was missing.

While getting the gym prepared and his injuries tended too, George soon found himself scratching at the old itch himself. A win over Sam Rodriguez on the regional scene primed George for his return to the national spotlight. He found that opportunity inside the Bellator MMA cage.

During the fight his opponent Mark Vorgeas attempted a guillotine choke however George deftly passed to side control where he applied what has become known as a ‘Von Flue’ choke. (A shoulder choke, that is named after Jason Von Flue who used the technique often with success!) George, an accomplished grappler knew his opponent was in a precarious situation and could tell by his disrupted breathing that the end was imminent.

As Vorgeas drifted into a state of unconsciousness a rather bizarre discussion ensued. “He’s out!”, George stated as he postured up, ready to drop hammers that remained holstered. ‘No he’s not!’ the referee blindly countered. After a few weird moments the referee looked in and finally agreed waiving off the fight.

The win and perhaps the bizarre circumstances behind the victory again thrust George into the spotlight. This time not as young gun with pink hair, but as a seasoned veteran and a true ambassador for the sport. Normally fighters are taught to wait for the referee to pull them off before relenting their attack. Had George acted like most, the whole sport itself would have been colored with the barbaric brush once again.

Although his recent win for Bellator MMA grabbed them a ton of notoriety (which they most definitely exploited), for some reason they have yet to book him another fight. In George it appears they could have what the UFC lacks, a marketable 135lbs fighter that could translate to the masses outside of the cage.

Instead it appears Bellator would prefer to promote aging legends and ‘never have beens’ whose only relevance is in projected ratings on a piece of paper. However one thing is certain in the MMA world one man gathers what another man spills, and its only a matter of time before the UFC realize the earning potential a fighter like George can bring.

 

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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.