Posts Tagged ‘Tito Ortiz’

Bellator 131-33

By: Jonathan M. King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report

Weight can be a finicky burden. Sometimes you don’t realize how heavy something is until you let it go. For the better part of 15 years Tito Ortiz carried a good portion of the load. Weather his former employers are willing to admit that or not, weather his detractors are willing to admit that or not, it is undeniable he was one if not the, torch bearer for a long time.

However that weight started to take its toll. Years of fighting injured, and ‘answering the call’ to duty had left the former Champion adrift in the rankings, injured and without any real love from the house he helped build. So he left. And it appeared the sun was setting on a former UFC Champion and UFC Hall of Famer. However, Tito Ortiz just didn’t feel ready to call it a career yet. And once again, the sun began to peek above the horizon.

So, he signed with Bellator MMA and after an initial fight with Rampage Jackson fizzled out due to an Ortiz neck injury, it seemed Tito would ride out the rest of his days in quasi relevancy appearing from time-to-time. However then they announced his first fight.

Ortiz debuted against former 185 lbs champion Alexander Shlemenko (51-9 MMA) and quickly dispatched him with a head and arm choke. Although the much larger man, Ortiz looked the part putting the smaller striker to sleep before digging his grave in the center of the cage, in classic Ortiz fashion.

Then he went on to systematically beat the tar out of an aging Stephan Bonnar (15-9 MMA). Again although Ortiz’s opponent didn’t look up too snuff, Ortiz certainly did. His wrestling looked as explosive as ever, and his gas tank never emptied. That win, although not against a top contender, led him to this title shot against current champion Liam McGeary (10-0 MMA). In McGeary, Ortiz not only faces the Champion but his toughest test since switching companies.

The champion McGeary on paper presents a ton of challenges, mainly his freakish reach. Ortiz not know for his boxing will somehow have to find a way inside in order to impose his will. If he ends up going backwards, or flailing for a takedown it could be long night, (or a short one) for Ortiz. However if Ortiz can bring the fight into his own neighborhood he certainly has the power and ability to end the fight himself. the one outcome that is assured is greatness! Greatness is bound to happen, either McGeary becomes bonafide, or Ortiz shocks the world, how can you not watch?

Win or loose Ortiz has already said his fighting career will continue, and from the way he has looked in the cage and in training who can argue? His performance against McGeary may steer some opinions one way or the other, but one thing seems certain, the sun may have set on the Huntington Beach Bad Boy, but its only rising for the ‘Peoples Champion’.

dynamite

Tito Ortiz took a second to talk with Aaron Tru from The Brutally Honest Radio Show about his upcoming fight, his journey for another world title, and about cementing his name in history. Plus his lovely girlfriend Amber Nicole also has a few things to say about how the ‘People’s Champion’ prepares. Check out the video below:

Brutally Honest Radio is hosted by Aaron Tru, Adrian Gallegos, and Jonathan King. The podcast is broadcast live each week from an undisclosed studio in Long Beach California. You can subscribe and download each episode on iTunes. Or you can listen on sound cloud.

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By: Jonathan M. King The Clinch Report

A long time ago, in a galaxy far away…actually it was San Luis Obispo… a young fighter living with Chuck Liddell and Antonio Banuelos was in search of a nickname. Fighting at a weight class that didn’t even exist yet, Ian McCall began his journey in Mixed Martial Arts at the tender age of 18, amongst giants with monikers like ‘The Iceman’ and ‘The Huntington Beach Bad Boy’.  Then one late night, while chasing around a friends son in an attempt to tire him out. A slip of the tongue from a child created one of the greatest nick names in the history of our sport. Randomly from the mouth of a babe, ‘Uncle Creepy’ was born.

Since then Ian McCall (13-5 MMA) has embarked on a life journey that has been a ‘creepy’ roller coaster ride of highs and lows, both emotionally and chemically. All the while, McCall has been able to maintain his status as one of the top 125lbs fighters on the planet. From his legendary thread on The UG, to his epic brawls with Demetrious Johnson; Ian McCall has always been a fan favorite.

“Everyone knows Im the lovable, degenerate, savior who can’t seem to get his shit together!” McCall said. “However, things changed, I had a kid and I can’t do those things anymore!” McCall said. Now the father of a young daughter, McCall seems to be adjusting well to the responsibility. However the troubles continued, almost like some sort of curse. Injuries mounted, multiple procedures were needed and then the bottom fell out. McCall and the rest of his Team Oyama family were devastated by the sudden death of friend and teammate Shane Del Rosario.  Having buried my best friend, I can attest to the affect it has, life in itself becomes difficult however life continues and so to does the career of ‘Uncle Creepy’

Now 5 weeks out of shoulder surgery McCall may not be ready for a fight but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have something to say.  After this weekends 125 lbs Title Fight, McCall was a guest on the Brutally Honest Radio Show where he talked about his life, his career, and more importantly when we can expect his return! Check out the interview to hear about his Legendary thread on the UG, the philosophy he used for picking up girls, why American MMA fans are ‘pretty fucking stupid’, and how he is the savior for the 125 lbs division!

Brutally Honest Radio is hosted by Aaron Tru, Adrian Gallegos, and Jonathan King. The podcast is broadcast live each week from an undisclosed studio in Long Beach California. You can subscribe and download each episode on iTunes. Or you can listen on sound cloud.

Bellator 131-38

By: Jonathan M. King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report

Scott Coker has been around for a while. Very few have a greater understanding of the ins and outs of MMA. So his hiring by Viacom to replace Bjorn Rebney as the head of Bellator MMA  seemed like the best choice. As the last of the tournaments under the old regime wouned down, a lame duck period ensued which showed very little difference. The look and feel had not changed, the faces were the same, and the results reflected the lack of interest.

That lame duck period came to an end with Bellator 131, In fact that period came to a screeching halt! Bonnar vs. Ortiz provided the perfect stage for Scott Coker and Viacom to unveil there re-branded image. The fighters now entered the cage via a long walk way, reminiscent of the old Japanese promotions. Some fighters like King Mo, Joe Vedepo, Tito Ortiz, and Stephan Bonnar came complete with entourages to escort them to the cage. The added pomp may not add to the excitement of the fight, but it certainly does improve the image of a promotion that was in desperate need of one!

The fight card itself may not have had title implications for anyone outside of Michael Chandler and Will Brooks, but it was very well matched as even the preliminary bouts provided a good show. The fights simply made sense. King Mo and Joe Vedepo faced off in the curtain jerker that opened the Spike broadcast. King Mo overwhelmed Vedepo from the opening round in what proved to be a one sided match although an entertaining one.

In perhaps the best fight of the evening, Glory alums Joe Schilling and Melvin Manhoef engaged in a back and forth war that saw both fighters nearly finished before a short right hook from Schilling ended the affair. Half way through the second frame Manhoef appeared to have to edge on the scorecards. In the first round Manhoef had Schilling on his back and in trouble as the ground and pound rained down. However Schilling was able to roll out of trouble, establish his guard, and ride out the round before ending the fight with one punch.

Mike Richman made perhaps the loudest statement of the night when he knocked out Nam Phan in under a minute. He then proceeded to challenge title holder Joe Warren who was cage side providing commentary for the fight. ‘The Marine’ has looked extremely impressive since he dropped down in weight, and with the win he finds himself on a short list of fighters who deserve a shot at the title.

When Michael Chandler and Will Brooks entered the cage to battle for the then interim lightweight title, everyone expected a war. The first round was a back and forth battle for position, similar to their last engagement. Brooks and Chandler battled for 3 rounds with Brooks appearing to get the better of Chandler.

Then in the fourth round Brooks cracked Chandler with a right hand that left the former champion struggling to find his senses. He appeared to ask for a stoppage, at first it appeared as if Chandler was poked in the eye, however replays confirm that he was on queer street and the punch’s effects had him essentially saying ‘No Mas’! The win for Brooks solidifies his claim as the legitimate world champion, while Chandler must find a way to rebound from his third consecutive loss.

Skepticism is fickle. Once the cage door is closed the hype disappears and performances are defined. I like most at first, felt like watching through interlaced fingers, the fear of having to witness a fraud unfold motivating me to vaguely hide my eyes. Fortunately both Tito Ortiz and Stephan Bonnar removed that fear just seconds into their entertaining 3 round fight.

Both guys played to their strengths, as Tito Ortiz looked to ground the superior striking of  Stephan Bonnar. Early on Ortiz stalked the ‘American Psycho’ and blasted through his legs with quick single leg take downs, and later a power double that kept Bonnar grounded for most of the fight. The fight appeared to be a 30-27 clear cut win for Tito Ortiz, however one judge saw the fight 29-28 for Bonnar, awarding Ortiz with the split decision win.

The evening ended up being a return of sorts. After speaking with Scott Coker  it is obvious that Bellator MMA is heading in the right direction. The open minded leader referred to the possibility of tournaments in the future, they make sense as long as you are not beholden to them. The idea is to create an environment where fighters want to fight, to create an experience that the fans feel a part of and not just witness too. Last night an old idea forged in the spirit of martial arts was unveiled to an audience that wants to be a part of something.

The idea to return to the once a month format seems to make sense. The sport is currently over saturated, causing the growth rate of the sport to slow. With Coker on board the Viacom-Bellator MMA conglomerate seems destined to succeed. Hopefully the symphony created as a result  between Coker and Viacom carries a tune we can all dance to for a while. In a world where the UFC is practically rammed down our throats it will be nice to have a viable alternative.

 

131

By: Jonathan King The Clinch Report

We will be on site, and reporting live from the Valley View Casino Center for tonight’s Bellator 131: Bonnar vs. Ortiz

Please tune in for our fight by fight coverage on live analysis. Photos will be uploaded tomorrow.

Main card (Spike TV at 9 p.m.)
Tito Ortiz vs. Stephan Bonnar
Michael Chandler vs. Will Brooks
Mo Lawal vs. Joe Vedepo
Melvin Manhoef vs. Joe Schilling
Nam Phan vs. Mike Richman

Undercard
Kyle Bolt vs. A.J. Matthews
Ron Henderson vs. Jonathan Santa Maria
Jordan Bailey vs. Alex Higley
Nick Garcia vs. Matthew Ramirez
Andy Murad vs. Bubba Pugh
Rolando Perez vs. Mark Vorgeas
Ian Butler vs. Joao Faria

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.

 

By: Jonathan M. King The Clinch Report

Videoed and Edited By: Bob Fisher Pugilpix.com

Usually it would begin with some jokes or ‘smack talk’. Then it would escalate quickly. Emotions, embarrassment, and ego all fueled the once benign flicker into an all encompassing inferno, culminating with those words we have all heard! “After school!” For the rest of the day the hype would grow. Exaggerations and magnifications illuminate the stage, and before long the whole school knew.

When Tito Ortiz and Stephan Bonnar squared off for the first time on Spike TV a few weeks ago, the whole school began to talk. Was it real? Was it scripted? Why the hell was Justin McCully wearing a mask? The angle had been used before, however the many unsavory stories about Tito Ortiz’s past made it somewhat believable. And again, why the hell was Justin McCully wearing a mask?

Long before the talk began, stories have swirled about Ortiz’s questionable business practices. After all his beef with Dana White is supposedly the reason Bonnar was released from the UFC. The prospect of Bonnar punishing Ortiz made it easy for White to allow Bonnar’s exit.

For now of course we ask do Ortiz and Bonnar genuinely dislike each other? At least for now they do. Ortiz, normally no stranger to the hype machine has decided to let his opponent do most of the press. His silence only feeding the fire further. Bonnar on the contrary remains quite vocal. Even warning that Tito’s ex Jenna Jameson may be under the mask next time!

Only time will tell if the bad blood is real. How many times have we seen the hype disappear with a touch of the gloves? It remains a very good possibility that this was all concocted in some board room. Either way the clock strikes 3 o’clock on November 15. The hype, of course will build until then. Lucky for us eventually these two will meet on the playground, and if principal Scott Coker has his way, the whole damn school will be watching!

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!

 

Cali Love

Cali Love

By: Jonathan M. King The Clinch Report

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report

Spar Star MMA once again took over the Hollywood Park Casino with not only a collection of amazing fights, but SoCal’s favorite son DUB C of the West Side Connection took over at intermission, and the place exploded! Locals saluted with their hands, and the performers responded in kind, as the intimate setting proved to be a unique fusion of entertainment that complimented each other well.

The fights were also extremely entertaining. The main event featured two highly skilled amateurs who are both making names for themselves as top MMA prospects. Tigran Martirosyan and Albert Morales squared off for the vacant 145 lbs Spar Star Title.

Morales and his teammates were all working with heavy hearts as their teammate Dee Boites was killed earlier in the week, the victim of a senseless criminal. Boites was crossing the street in Inglewood, when a criminal who was being pursued by the police, barreled through a red light and struck Boites with his car in the crosswalk. Boites later succumbed to his injuries. Morales fought with “Dee” written all over his equipment, as a tribute to his fallen training partner.

The fight was a back and forth battle with both landing heavy strikes, however the story was Morales’s grappling. Martirosyan was unable to counter the slick transitions by Morales on the ground. Once Morales exposed this weakness, he seemed to focus on bringing the fight to the mat. After several attempts at a submission with the arm, Morals was able to transition to the triangle. After a roll he ended up keeping it in the mount, where he secured the head, and the tap! The win brings Morales to 2-0 as an amteur, but the caliber of his opponent will certainly elevate him in the Camo ranks.

Spar Star Promotions provides a necessary element in MMA. They provide a stage for young fighters to test their metal. Spar Star separates the wheat from the chaff, the confident from the bragard, and the fighters from the frauds. They provide the pro ranks with a talent pool to choose from that has been battle tested, and crowd approved.

To Read more about Dee Boites please go to this site: http://www.systemstrainingcenter.com/systems-training-centers-loss-brother/

There is a link on that page to make donations to the Boites Family.

We would like to send our thoughts and prayers to the friends and family of Dee Boites, and all of his training partners at Systems Training Center!

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.

Bellator MMA is all set, and the fighters are all on weight for three title fights. Michael Chandler, Eddie Alvarez, Pat Curran, Daniel Straus , King Mo, and Emanuel Newton are all set for their championship matches, in what promises to be Bellator’s best card ever.

Photos By: John Walsh The Clinch Report

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