Posts Tagged ‘Randy Couture’

By: Jonathan King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report

Hall of Fame Fighter and Mixed Martial Arts Pioneer Royce Gracie

Hall of Fame Fighter and Mixed Martial Arts Pioneer Royce Gracie

One way to make sure people show up for a fan fest is to fill the stage with UFC Hall of Famers. Of the 11 living enshrined fighters, five of them were signing autographs on Tuesday for Bellator MMA. The panel brought together by Scott Coker, was held at Dave and Busters in San Diego.

The event was not without an agenda as the November 15th PPV card headlined by Stephan Bonnar and Tito Ortiz was the obvious backdrop. Bonnar and Ortiz were joined by fellow UFC Hall of Famers Randy Couture, Royce Gracie, and Ken Shamrock.  King Mo Lawal and Michael Chandler were also on hand to sign autographs for fans and to provide sound bites for the press.

The trash talk between Bonnar and Ortiz continued albeit tame in nature. Bonnar referring to Ortiz as a “douche-bag” drew a few smiles, and a particular finger from Ortiz in response. Other than that the event went without incident as Coker intelligently put the onus on the fans.

Unlike the UFC, Bellator is lacking the loyal fan base that can sustain a PPV schedule. Allowing fans access through events like this offers them the emotional attachment to fighters that will lead to that fan base.

With Coker at the helm, Bellator MMA appears to be blazing a new path, one that refuses to be a little brother to anyone, and maybe that is what the sport needs. The landscape is littered with the graves of those who tried to be second. With Coker’s leadership and Viacom’s support this tank will keep rolling along slowly picking up steam.

 

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Champions Smile

A Champions Smile

By: Jonathan King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report

Bellator MMA The Toughest Tournament in Sports, hosted open workouts for the upcoming event on Saturday evening.

The main card features three world title fights, headlined by the rematch of Chandler v Alvarez II. Eddie Alvarez makes his much anticipated return to the Bellator cage since having over a year off due to contractual disputes. With those issues in the rear view mirror (for now), Alvarez is attempting to regain the title he lost to a much improved Michael Chandler.

Pat Curran will also put his 145 title on the line against tournament winner Daniel Straus. Now known as one of the top 145 lbs fighters in the world, Curran will look to solidify those rankings, while Daniel Straus will attempt to end that discussion.

Also on the main card are 205 lbs heavy hitters Emanuel Newton and King Mo Lawal who will face off for the second time, this time with the interim title on the line. The last meeting ended with a surprising spinning back fist KO, that left Lawal prone, and Newton on top of the world. However, each fight is different and whoever wins, it certainly going to be worth watching.

Other notable match-ups worth watching on SpikeTV.com are Michael ‘Joker’ Guymon v Aaron ‘Blood Spiller’ Miller; and Akop Stepanyan v Mike Richman.

The preliminary bouts can be viewed on SpikeTV.com while the main card will air live on Spike TV. Make sure you tune in to what should be one hell of a night of MMA action.

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By Jonathan King The Clinch Report

Video by: John Walsh The Clinch Report

In the world of mixed martial arts, few names are more recognizable than Randy ‘The Natural’ Couture. He is the only 3x Light Heavyweight and 3x Heavyweight champion in the sports history, and has also transitioned outside the sport into main stream media better than almost any other fighter. His fights are legendary and so are the training camps that he founded.

Team Quest and Xtreme Couture are two of the sports most recognizable camps, and both were founded in part by Couture. We have seen his coaching skill first hand on the UFC’s Ultimate Fighter, so he is the perfect fit for Bellator and for the show.

Couture has endured a media backlash from the UFC since signing with the rival promotions new endeavor. Dana White has said publicly that Couture is now persona non grata at all UFC events including ones where Randy’s son, Ryan( who is on the UFC roster) is fighting. The elder Couture was in the UFC employ up until recently, but decided to sign elsewhere when he felt his status with the company was left in limbo.

Now with “Fight Masters”, Couture is looking forward to the shows reception. Which should be well received. The show itself on the surface may seem like a ‘TUF’ retread, however after watching the premier episode it is evident that this is not the case. The show offers a completely fresh look at the reality concept with regard to fighters.

Each fighter gets to choose his coach for the season. After a short interview process each fighter decides between Frank Shamrock, Joe Warren, Greg Jackson, or Couture.  Each coach evaluates the fighters, and in some cases, even lobby to be chosen. The show somewhat represents what a real fighter would do, by choosing his own path.

With a diverse mix of talent and incredible coaching; the show is all about pure mixed martial arts. However the coaches add a dynamic of competition between themselves that is not only genuine, but at times it is hysterical. The added entertainment value is a refreshing change to the buffoonery we have become use to on the other reality shows.

The show debuts  Wednesday, June 19 at 10 PM / 9 PM Central on SPIKE TV, and offers a mid week MMA fix for both the avid and casual fight fan alike. With the network having previous success with this reality show format in the past, and with Bellator’s current growth ‘Fight Master’s’ success is all but guaranteed.

Bjorn Rebney bellator Owner and CEO

Bjorn Rebney bellator Owner and CEO

By: Jonathan King The Clinch Report

Once again Bellator shows their business acumen by following in the footsteps of one of the UFC’s most lucrative paths. Viacom and Bellator announced on Tuesday, that filming would begin “imminently” for a show that would be similar to the Ultimate Fighter, set to debut in the summer of 2013.

Several high profile MMA stars have signed on to coach including UFC exile Frank Shamrock, UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture, renowned coach Greg Jackson, and former world champion Joe  Warren. The show dubbed “Fightmaster:”, will not be an exact clone of the TUF series, but very similar. Once again Bellator seems to have stolen more of the UFC’s thunder.

The most glaring issue is the signing of Randy Couture, whose tumultuous relationship with the UFC is apparently permanently put to rest. “I’m glad I never have to do business with the man ever again!” Dana White bristled when asked about Couture teaming with Bellator. “Most people that do business with him would agree!” White, also clarified that the former two division champion’s son would still be fighting under the UFC. Although he made it clear that the elder Couture was not welcome in any capacity. “He can’t even buy a ticket!”

Building on the TUF model, Viacom has put together a tremendous team to run “Fightmaster”. “The cornerstone of this show is really about the people behind it,” said Bellator president Bjorn Rebney.  ”The Amazing Race” creators Bertram van Munster and Elise Doganieri will be the wizards behind the curtains.

The series will feature 32 welterweights who will choose their own coaches. Fighters will compete for a 6 figure contract, as well as a spot in a future championship tournament. 2013 is looking like the year of Bellator.

Every move they make, seems to pay dividends. With partnerships that are genuinely concerned with producing a quality product, and fighters who tend to leave it all in the cage, the successful rise of this promotion seems to be guaranteed!

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