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It's Improbable That Tyrone Spong Can Fight for the UFC Any Time Soon

  • Published in Glory

The news today out of UFC's event in Dublin was that Tyrone Spong was in attendance (we already knew that from his seminar schedule) and that he spoke with Dana White, asking for a one-fight deal to fight for the UFC in Dublin, Ireland. Dana White reported this during the post-fight press conference to illustrate the point of everyone wanting to fight for the UFC in Dublin thanks to what was a rather crazy, raucous crowd. This has the MMA world chattering about Tyrone Spong and fantasy booking him in the UFC already.

Well, hold on a minute. 

Tyrone Spong is signed by both GLORY Sports International and World Series of Fighting, GLORY for kickboxing and WSoF for MMA. The GLORY deal came first and while they are open to allowing fighters to work outside of GLORY, there are restrictions. I have seen some GLORY contracts from a while ago and heard about more recent ones. Most, not all, include clauses about taking outside bookings, such as they must be approved through GLORY's management prior to accepting them, with some restrictions. One of those restrictions? That the UFC was out of the question. 

It's not clear what Spong's contract status is with GLORY at the moment, but one would have to think that he's still under contract and since he's one of their better-paid athletes, that they have a long-term, binding contract in place with Spong. So, not to dash your hopes and dreams, but it's pretty unlikely at the moment. Sorry.

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Strikeforce: The MMA World's Purgatorio

  • Published in Kickboxing

In the realm of Mixed Martial Arts, there are some clear levels, much like Dante Alighieri wrote in his epic La Divina Commedia (The Divine Comedy). For Dante, there was a clear progression as he toiled through the afterlife, he was first led through Hell, then he was led through Purgatory before finally having a glimpse at Heaven. If you wanted to compare it to MMA, the smaller, regional promotions are the veritable Hell. Low pay, bad attendance, poorly organized and promoted, but for most fighters, a necessity to move on to the “big leagues.” For many fighters, the biggest achievement is to be accepted into the UFC, to walk amongst the gods themselves beyond the steel gates of the Octagon. For fighters, the UFC is Heaven.

For a promotion like Strikeforce, though, there is a sense of being left-behind, like a middle child. Strikeforce finds itself not a containing the same rigors and lack of pay like the small minor leagues, but does not include the perks and the money that comes with fighting for the UFC. Instead, it is a virtual Purgatory for fighters. Fighters are left to reflect on their careers and see that they aren’t deemed as good enough to be called into the UFC, but are beyond the toiling in the reigional promotions.

Last night proved to be the first bigger Strikeforce event since the Showtime deal was re-negotiated, and something about the show did not come off as planned. On paper, the card was exciting and showed a lot of promise, but in execution it was a mess. If a fighter is competing within a promotion that stands on its own, there is something for them to achieve, but when the promotion is a feeder league with parallel divisions, the whole scope of the game changes. Part of what helped with Strikeforce’s charm was the attitude and identity of the promotion. It felt like a spiritual successor to some of the bigger Japanese events, with a focus on entertainment and promoting the fighters, not just the brand.

Continue Reading about the Harrowing of Strikeforce...

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UFC: Sanchez vs. Kampmann Proves That MMA Judges Need to Learn How to Score Striking

  • Published in Americas

(C) HeavyMMATonight at UFC: Sanchez vs. Kampmann we saw Diego Sanchez once again at Welterweight against Martin Kampmann. Kampmann, a Danish Muay Thai fighter-turned-MMA fighter who has rounded out his game considerably in MMA. Diego Sanchez saw mixed results at Lightweight, making his way to a fight with BJ Penn and being decimated, so badly that he refused to fight at Lightweight again. His return to Welterweight did him no favors, but he came into this fight with a win over Paulo Thiago and an uncertain future.

Kampmann came into the fight calm, collected and with a game plan. He was able to drop Diego Sanchez in the first round and in the second round was able to continually stuff Diego's takedown attempts and keep him at a distance with his jabs. Everything from his composure to stance were exactly what he needed to do in this fight.

Diego came into the fight looking soft, as UFC President Dana White so aptly pointed out on Twitter (how'd you like your boss with a million plus followers calling you fat?) and slow. He had next to no defense for Kampmann's striking and due to Kampmann's stance of keeping his front leg heavy, was nearly impossible to get a takedown, which he needed.

In the third round Kampmann broke his hand and was unable to piece together combinations, which meant Diego was able to swarm Kampmann with wild, looping hooks, connecting once in a while. The problem was, whenever he backed off, after maybe connecting a wild shot or two, Kampmann was able to score at will against Diego. This was the story of the night. Kampmann won all of the exchanges with crisp striking while Diego simply threw like Leonard Garcia.

Amazingly enough, the judges all scored the fight 29-28 for Diego Sanchez. The question is; why? Ariel Helwani on the post-fight show makes the point that many of us were making on Twitter, that judges see the aggression and think that means they are winning the fight. We've seen Leonard Garcia get a few "gifted" decisions, and now this fight falls right in line.

As an avid kickboxing fan, this fight was very cut and dry; a knockdown as well as clear connections against wild shots that were being deflected. As a MMA fan, it was even more cut and dry; a knockdown as well as clear connections and stuffing every takedown. It doesn't help that Dana White on Twitter after the fight says that Diego "clearly" won the fight. This was the second decision against Kampmann in a row that was disputed by fans and analysts. To me, that speaks volumes about the mythical bad MMA judging that we all often speak about.

The argument used to define poor MMA judging has usually been that judges do not understand grappling and come from a boxing background. At this point, I argue that they also do not understand striking. The criteria for the judging is fine, it is the lack of knowledge that holds the sport back and gives us piss poor decisions. The amount of times I hear Joe Rogan quote poor judging on UFC shows is just astounding.

I'll toss this out here; if you are a professional judge and want to learn more about striking, contact me, and I'll help you as well as point you in the direction of those that can help you. I'm being serious.

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Alistair Overeem's Reaction to Strikeforce's Golden Glory Purge

  • Published in K-1

Alistair Overeem's dismissal from the UFC has been a topic for debate over the past week, as has the more recent release of his Golden Glory teammates Marloes Coenen, Valentijn Overeem and Jon Olav Einemo. This leaves the lone Golden Glory contracted fighter of Sergei Kharitonov who will fight on September 10th in the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP. There has been widespread speculation over what has happened between Zuffa and Golden Glory, with both sides making claims of the other. Zuffa claims Golden Glory was trying to have their fighters paid through Golden Glory and Zuffa claims they only pay the fighters directly, the fighters can pay their management on the side. Marloes has been very public about this, saying that she didn't need Zuffa's "protection" and that she prefers her camp be paid directly due to tax reasons in Europe.

This interview with Inside MMA covers a lot of this, with Overeem discussing his injuries and the fact that Zuffa attempted to push their standard, exclusive contract upon him and that he was not pleased with that. Overeem is clear that he still wants to fight for K-1.

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Alistair Overeem Fights Friday at UFC 141, Watch This Preview

  • Published in K-1

Let's be honest, the year is finally beginning to wind down. For Kickboxing fans it has been an up and down year, the lack of the K-1 World Grand Prix is indeed a loss for 2011, but the promise of a re-organized K-1 system in 2012 shows a lot of promise and hope for fans. The MMA world will see something quite unique this Friday as Alistair Overeem, the 2010 K-1 World Grand Prix Champion, step into the UFC ring as the "reigning" K-1 WGP Champion. Overeem fights Brock Lesnar, the former WWE star and college wrestling standout in a classic clash of styles. This is also the first time since 1998 where the Linear Heavyweight Championship returns to the UFC with Alistair Overeem fighting. That title dates back to the early UFCs and left when Randy Couture lost in Japan. For years Fedor was considered the Linear Heavyweight Champion, but his loss to Werdum changed that in a hurry. Well, Overeem then beat Werdum and captured that title (there is no physical belt if you don't know this already). So eventually, the UFC Heavyweight title will be "whole again." Wow.

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LEGEND 3 Set for April 5th in Milan, LEGEND 4 with Badr Hari in June

  • Published in Kickboxing

Legend

Interestingly enough, if you follow the exploits of LEGEND's Ruslan Suleymanov you'd know that he appeared at UFC 169 to have some discussions with Dana White and Lorenzo Fertita about a possible UFC event in Russia, just like he had been in discussions with GLORY officials recently and plans to again. Suleymanov has money and a love for the world of Kickboxing and MMA, so he seems steadfast on promoting more big events around the world.

According to an interview with MMAFighting's Ariel Helwani from this weekend, the next LEGEND event will be on April 5th in Milan, Italy. There have been no bouts announced yet, but we have learned that it will be a co-promotion with Carlo di Blasi's Oktagon promotion, which promotes Muay Thai in Milan. This has added to it rumors of using Giorgio Petrosyan on the card, as Di Blasi is Petrosyan's manager. This could be an explanation for the meetings with GLORY officials, as Petrosyan is signed to GLORY. The next LEGEND event afterwards will be in June, where Suleymanov expects Badr Hari to appear.

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Jon Jones Wants to Fight Cormier, Says White

  • Published in MMA News

UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones has been under some level of scrutiny at every point of his UFC career, the latest comes with his "contract negotiations" with the UFC. After UFC 173 Dana White stated that the UFC was currently negotiating with Jon Jones, but now posted a news story on UFC.com claiming that they have Jon Jones under contract for five more fights still and are trying to get him to sign a bout agreement. Okay.

What exactly is going on? Dana White claims that Jon Jones is refusing to fight Alexander Gustafsson and would rather fight Daniel Cormier now. I'm not so sure that is a bad problem to have, although the rematch with Gustafsson is one that many fans are clamoring to see still. I'm not sure what to make of it, but Jon Jones does have the right to negotiate a new contract with the UFC for more money without being razzed for "ducking" a fight. 

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