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Shin Breaking Will Never Be an Epidemic

  • Published in Interviews

Anderson

So after the UFC fights last night, I searched my twitter and Facebook walls and notice the usual talk of the action in the cage. As expected, most felt sorry for Anderson Silva who suffered a horrific shin break after his kick was checked in the second round. However the talk seemed to take on a new life, as I studied the trainers and coaches in the sport. It seems like all of them had an opinion on why it happened and how to avoid it. This was in response to their students, who in bunches started asking how it happened and if it could happen to them. As a coach of several UFC level fighters and high level kickboxers, I too got many texts and questions about the shin break. I hope to assure all of you that this is really rare and how it shouldn't effect how you teach techniques.

First of all, the main reason this scares everyone is because of who it happened to. Its just like steroids, who gets caught is what makes us take notice. If this happened to some undercard guy it would have been sad, but no one would have talked about it. Its because it happened to an all time great, who resume wise, showed way more muay thai skill sets than his opponent. If it were to happen to anyone, it should't have been Silva. No one imagines themselves a journeymen, but as a great. So when we see someone great get hurt, it reminds us of our own frailties and inabilities. If it happens to an undercard fighter, than that fighter was just unlucky, if it happens to a legend, than we feel that no one is safe, because these athletes are have dream careers, and no one gets injured in dreams.

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LiverKick.com Exclusive Interview with Glory's Pierre Andurand

  • Published in Interviews

AndurandIt takes more than just passion to create a successful Kickboxing promotion, sadly. If all it took was passion, I'd be running a Kickboxing organization that is without rival and would leave people in awe. No, it takes more than just passion, it takes a lot of things, with one of the most important pieces of the puzzle being money. When Glory Sports International was announced, it was clear they were embarking on the daunting journey of creating a whole new brand in a sport that has been dominated by one brand for almost twenty years now. The organization is bolstered by members of the Golden Glory team as well as the Total Sports Asia team, with one other big piece of the puzzle coming into the picture in the form of superstar investor Pierre Andurand. Pierre not only brings with him success as an investor, funding and business sense, but he also brings with him pure passion for the sport.

LiverKick.com caught up with Mr. Andurand to discuss his move into the Kickboxing world as well as what fans should be on the lookout for from Glory.

LiverKick: So you are best known for running BlueGold, an oil-oriented hedge fund, and helping to run a Kickboxing empire is a vast departure from that. What prompted you to invest in the sport of Kickboxing?

Pierre Andurand: Yes indeed it is a very different project. But being good at investing/trading is mainly about recognising good opportunities and understanding risk and reward. I think the sport of kickboxing has a lot of potential, actually, more than the other combat sports (MMA, boxing, wrestling, etc.). It is fast, technical, and very exciting. So far no organisation managed to exploit its true potential. I closed BlueGold in April this year for other reasons, and right now I am 100% focused on getting the right vision, the right team, and the right partners in GLORY. I do believe by the end of the year GLORY will not need my involvement on a full-time basis anymore, and I’ll just take a step back and let the team run the organisation, even though I will still oversee it and make sure we go in the right direction. I will remain involved in major decisions to some extent, but I will not be running the company. I am I think the right person to understand the potential, and to put the right pieces together, but I would not be the right person to run it on a day by day basis. We are putting a world-class team together.

LK: We understand that you are a big fan of Kickboxing, tell us a bit about how you got into Kickboxing; like which event was the first one that really made you a fan, which fighters caught your eye at first.

PA: I started practising martial arts about 10 years ago when I was living in Asia. I did some Muay Thai, then Shaolin Wushu, and then Muay Thai again and kick boxing. I started watching it on TV actively in 2005. The first big event I watched was the K1 WGP final in 2005. I was then hooked. It was such a great event. I love the tournament format. I was very impressed by Semmy Schilt, the way he destroyed his opponents with such ease. I was scared for them. They really looked like they didn’t have a chance. People say he has an unfair advantage being so tall, but they don’t realise that he is incredibly fast and precise for his height too, and very technical. He clearly is the man to beat, still today. I also loved Remy Bonjasky’s style, in and outside of the ring.

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UFC 140 Highlights the Gentrification of Mixed Martial Arts

  • Published in News

Over the weekend at UFC 140 the two featured bouts of the evening saw exciting finishes by two of UFC’s bigger stars. Former UFC Heavyweight Champion Frank Mir took the fight to another former [Interim] UFC Heavyweight Champion in Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, surviving being knocked out by quickly reversing a choke and applying an armlock and promptly breaking Big Nog’s arm. Current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones put on an equally as impressive finish after recovering from being outpointed on his feet to working the challenger Lyoto Machida over with elbows on the ground before he was able to corner the challenger and apply a neck chancre that rendered Machida unconscious.

As a fan, it is hard to complain about fights at this level being finished in thrilling fashion. So, while it may be hard to complain about the fights being finished in a dramatic, decisive fashion, there are some other, much more troubling trends in both of these fights that have gone largely unnoticed amidst the excitement. Behavior of fighters has changed, as fans have noticed over the past few years, with both of the featured fights this weekend making light of this. Big Nog suffered a broken arm at the hands of Frank Mir, Nog still laying on the mat while Mir quickly pulled on the gear from his sponsors and celebrated. Jon Jones claimed that he “knew” Lyoto Machida was out cold, but quickly let go to strut off while Machida fell head-first to the mat in a heap.

It is a matter of respect and concern for the opponent’s well-being that seemingly melted away over the past few years, being flaunted on-air at UFC 140. It is a paradigm shift that has occured in the rush to help “legitimize” MMA as a “real sport” in the United States.

Continue reading about "Bushido."

 

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Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar at UFC 136: Dissecting Striking Concepts in MMA

  • Published in Kickboxing

Jose AldoThe sport of Mixed Martial Arts began as a concept that pit practitioners of different forms of martial arts against each other. Eventually in the United States, this led to fighters starting to cross-train in other forms of martial arts to help defend against certain techniques or simply add it to their repertoire. The UFC and MMA have grown a lot from the early UFC events (we aren’t going to touch Japan, different beast entirely), to where MMA has almost become a style of its own, just as it has become a sport of its own.

At UFC 136 there were two championship fights, and both showed different displays of striking prowess, with one fight ending in a decision and one fight ending in a knockout. What I find interesting to take away from the event is how Dana White was quick to declare Frankie Edgar as the best “Boxer” in the UFC and how quickly fans and media followed suit, with many declaring Frankie one of the elite strikers in the MMA world. I have to admit that I was taken aback, as after watching the Jose Aldo fight and how it was an impressive display of striking, I did not feel the same thing about the Edgar fight. The only difference to the naked eye was that the Edgar fight finished with a knockout, while Aldo took Florian to a decision.

What needs to be established first and foremost is that knockouts happen in combat sports, and a knockout does not always mean a superior display of “striking.” Fighters like Joey Beltran and Leonard Garcia are fighters who primarily like to strike in their recent fights and put on strike-heavy fights at UFC 136, but I’m not sure I’d rate either as a very good striker. Beltran holds eleven wins by knockout and Garcia has three, and both men are quick to turn fights into brawls that showcase a lot of heart and wild punches, but that does not make for a good striker, and I feel like many understand this concept in these scenarios. People like watching Leonard Garcia fight, but not many will say he is a great technical striker.

What needs to be established next is that “Boxing,” “Muay Thai” and “Kickboxing” are not lone attributes in a fighter’s toolbox. They are not videogame-like attributes that are assigned and can simply be explained as, “they have good Boxing.” Many have been lauding over Frankie Edgar’s boxing skills through simple phrases like, “Frankie Edgar’s Boxing is Great,” or “Frankie Edgar has the best Boxing in MMA.”

Boxing, Muay Thai, Kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Wrestling, Judo and everything else in the MMA universe are sports and styles unto themselves, and include many, many facets to them. Frankie Edgar knows how to move out of harm’s way and not get hit and he also has very sound technique when it comes to throwing his strikes. On the other side of the coin, he drops his left hand a lot or doesn’t keep it in tight near his chest to defend his chin, leaving him open to take damage from time to time, while his head is also mostly stationary. Another thing to note is that he also tends to focus on the head when he strikes, rarely changing levels.

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Dana White's Ethical Quandary of Rape Jokes

  • Published in K-1

Of late, Mixed Martial Artists have found themselves under extreme scrutiny for some of their public statements. The UFC has grown leaps in bounds in the past twenty years, becoming a household name with a television deal on Fox Sports. To say that the UFC came up hard would be an understatement. Over the years they have faced opposition from the government, from local sanctioning bodies and anyone and everyone who likes to talk about “decency.” Over the past few months, though, problems have been coming from within, in a bit of an odd form. Rape jokes.

For some reason rape jokes have become the gold standard for distasteful jokes made by UFC fighters. Forrest Griffin began the trend on his twitter account through a series of rape jokes that span months, only one of which really raised the ire of the media enough to report on it and make a big deal about it. Forrest Griffin, the winner of the first season of The Ultimate Fighter has a rather good relationship with UFC head Dana White and the issue was quickly swept under a rung in a coordinated PR move of Forrest doing a photo-op at a rape clinic, discussing how terrible rape is.

Forrest made a mistake, and a pretty weighty one that irked a lot of people. There was no punishment handed down, though, as Dana White was quick to defend the fighter’s actions by saying that he meant nothing by it and quickly made amends for his distasteful joke. The irony, of course, is that Forrest won a “Twitter Bonus” from the UFC for his “creative use” of Twitter.

This week things heated up again, as Rashad Evans at a UFC on Fox press conference made a joke about rape and PSU. If you have been out of the loop, a sex scandal has rocked Penn State recently after a few key players were found to be involved with or had knowledge of child molestation and rape. Rashad, another former winner of The Ultimate Fighter, has apparently been reprimanded by UFC boss Dana White, but not in any official or public manner. White has only gone as far as to call it “stupid.”

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Overeem a Favorite on UFC 141

  • Published in K-1

UFC 141 kicks off on Friday, December 30th at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.  In a fight that will setup the #1 contender for Junior Dos Santos's heavyweight title, Brock Lesnar takes on Alistair Overeem in the main event of the evening.  Several online sites, including Ladbrokes Poker, have released odds on this fight for those looking to place a few wagers on the fights.

Lesnar is coming into this fight as a huge underdog.  Overeem has two inches in height and nearly seven times the fight experience of his opponent.  Overeem is almost a more well rounded fighter.  Bookmakers are taking this into consideration as all of them betting on Overeem.  Bodog currently has the best odds out of the three coat -190 for Overeem and +155 for Lesnar.  

The only other fight to receive any line action on the card is the light heavyweight battle between 26-5 Valdimir Matyushenko and 12-1 Alexander Gustaffson.  Gustaffson has 5 inches on his opponent and is much stronger in his submission game.  While not as experienced a fighter as Matyushenko, odds makers are giving Gustaffson the advantage.  Online poker room Ladbrokes Poker has him at 1/3 to win with Matyushenko at 12/5.  Gustaffson is -290 on BetOnline vs Matyushenko at +245.  

While the lines may not have much action on the other fights, the undercard on this one has some solid match-ups.  Lightweights Nate Diaz and Donald Cerrone battle in an attempt to jockey for position to face Frankie Edgar for his lightweight title.  Johnny Hendricks puts his 11-1 record on the line against 26-3-1 JonFitch.  Nam Phan broke a three loss losing streak in October and looks to improve his 17-10 record against undefeated Jimy Hettes.

On December 30th, Junior Dos Santos will find out whether he will defend his title against Brock Lesnar or if Alistair Overeem will get his shot at heavyweight gold.  Don't miss this one. It should be a helluva night of fights.

{jcomments off}

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Alistair Overeem's Failed Drug Test and the Word Maybe

  • Published in K-1

Badr/Overeem

When news broke earlier today that UFC Heavyweight Alistair Overeem failed a random drug test administered by the NSAC, there was a swell of mixed emotions from the fans and media. The usual suspects were quick to harp on how they "knew" that Overeem was going to get caught eventually. Others were in shock that one of the UFC's banner main events for the year 2012 was potentially crumbling into pieces right before their eyes. Nothing is final yet, and there are a lot of "maybes" hanging in the air.

Maybe Overeem's "B" sample will come up clean.

Maybe the fight will be called off.

Maybe Frank Mir will step in.

Maybe Dana White will fire Alistair Overeem on the spot for putting the main event in jeopardy.

As of right now, everything is simply speculation, with the only facts being that Alistair Overeem turned up a test with a 10:1 T/E ratio, where 6:1 is considered NSAC's legal limit. The UFC 146 main event against UFC Heavyweight Champion Junior Dos Santos is indeed in danger, but simply put, no one knows until there is a verdict from NSAC on this matter.

What is interesting to note is that kickboxing fans are already looking to the future. If Alistair Overeem would be let go from the UFC, since his ties with Golden Glory have been more than severed, the only logical place for him to go would be K-1. With K-1 under new management and looking to make a big splash on European and American markets, a fighter like Overeem who is already the most recent K-1 World Grand Prix Champion who has also risen to be a top contender within the UFC, would be huge for them. The "stigma" of PED abuse with U.S. fans does not seem to stick for fighters, as the UFC houses multiple offenders, with some like Chael Sonnen even receiving title fights.

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Is Winning Enough to Cement a Legacy for Georges St. Pierre in UFC?

  • Published in Kickboxing

(C) Getty ImagesAt UFC 129 we saw UFC sell 55,000 tickets for what turned into North America's largest MMA event in history, in GSP's home country of Canada. Georges St. Pierre is one of the UFC's most decorated champions in history, a two-time Welterweight Champion with six defenses in a row, seven if you count retaining the Interim Championship against Matt Serra to be crowned the Undisputed Welterweight Champion. Of course, over that streak there are only two stoppages, including the win over Serra and defense against BJ Penn, which has earned him a reputation among hardcore fans as lacking a killer instinct.

Without a doubt, GSP is something very special for the MMA world. To see that all you needed to do was watch tonight's UFC 129 and watch for both fighters entering the arena. GSP came into the arena sporting a seasonally fashionable suit and looked very composed while Shields was shown stumbling in the arena dressed in a t-shirt, oversized hoodie, jeans, baseball cap and sneakers. For St. Pierre this is par for the course, he is the epitome of professionalism in the world of Mixed Martial Arts; he dresses well, he speaks well, he also comes across as personable and intelligent. He is really the total package in a business sense, with no one able to come close to him in this department and might not for a while. Shields, while the elder to GSP was walking into the biggest fight of his life looking like a NASCAR vehicle, splattered with his sponsors and a bit nervous.

There is also little doubt as to why there were so many fans in the arena tonight; 55,000 came not only for the UFC brand name, the experience and for fights, but to see a hometown hero like Georges St. Pierre fight for the honor of Canada. We may have to wait and see what the PPV numbers are, but there is a good chance that they are indeed very good considering the solid line-up and marketing leading into the event. For GSP, everything seems on par for him to become one of MMA's biggest legends and superstars, yet something doesn't feel right.

On the same card fans saw a humble Randy Couture knocked out by a Crane Kick (not joking) by Lyoto Machida and announce that he was officially retired. Couture has already cemented his legacy, oddly enough he did so with a 19-11 record, which for an elite level MMA fighter who is held in such high regards as he,  a rather poor record. You could see Couture as the fighter that made the blueprint for GSP to follow; be humble, professional, follow the rules and never forget your fans. Yet for Couture, there is something about him that is very different, and that is his story and feelings he evokes from fans. Couture overcame insurmountable odds a few times in his career, hopping between two of the most competitive weight classes in the sport during his twilight years and securing big-name victories and title wins unlike any other fighter. Some of his fights when watched live were impossible not to be caught up in the moment and the passion of, like the Time Sylvia bout, don't hold up when viewed years later. The Sylvia fight is actually a rather boring fight with a very active crowd, but that is because it has already happened and we all know the outcome. Live, it was exciting and told a story of an over-the-hill underdog, former champion coming out of nowhere to stop a then-dominant champion. When Couture landed a punch you felt your heart race, when he took Sylvia down you wanted to jump out of your seat and cheer.

Randy wasn't always "good for business" with Zuffa, as they had a very public tiff a few years back including a lawsuit, Randy almost fighting for Affliction against Fedor Emelianenko and signing on for the EA MMA video game, all while holding the UFC Heavyweight Championship. Even with that said, Randy returned to UFC, was given a better contract than he had before, was allowed to keep his Heavyweight title and actually put it on the line against up-and-comer Brock Lesnar who was doing great PPV numbers for his previous fights. For many, Randy has an X-Factor, even if there are stories of him being a womanizer, hard to work with, terrible at managing his finances and possibly using hormone therapy to extend his career. None of that matters in the eyes of the public.

At this point UFC has two dominant champions; Georges St. Pierre at Welterweight and Anderson Silva at Middleweight, yet neither man really seem to be as beloved as Couture or primed to have as long of a lasting legacy as Couture. Both champions have been criticized for not finishing off their opponents, many of which are clearly not on their level. For Anderson Silva, the criticism tends to lean towards him simply playing with his opponents and becoming bored and disinterested with fighting them or putting on a good show. For GSP the criticism comes that he looks to fight a safe fight and only to win, not to finish his opponents. Anderson Silva plays more of a bad boy and GSP plays off more like a company man, and while both have great drawing potential in their home countries, possibly even become big stars on a world-wide scale, neither man have the untouchable aura of Randy Couture.

This makes one wonder if winning is really important for cementing a legacy as much as telling the fans an interesting story and having them get emotionally invested in you as a person, not just a fighter. A fighter like Brock Lesnar has this figured out, as to date he has only a handful of fights but has earned more money in those fights than some UFC fighters with lengthy, successful careers. On top of that, he will most likely always have a place in UFC history with fans all having a strong opinion on him, be it good or bad.

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UFC 133 Makes One Clear Point: K-1 Kickboxers Are in Demand

  • Published in K-1

Spong/Rashad/AlexandreIt was a peculiar sight to behold at UFC 133, and no, I don't mean Dennis Hallaman's poor choice of costume or Brian Ebersole's arrow made of chest hair. Instead, I mean the amount of times we got to hear about K-1 level striking on a UFC broadcast and that it was hard to argue. No, sadly it did not coincide with the action in the cage, but instead the choice of trainers that the elite MMA fighters of the world have been choosing to help round out their game.

We've already seen Kenny Florian working with Cosmo Alexandre, Jose Aldo working with Andy Souwer, Jake Shields prepared for his fight with GSP by training with the legendary Rob Kaman and more. Tonight at UFC 133, though, the two feature attraction fights also featured two elite kickboxers in a corner, as "Sugar" Ray Sefo, a K-1 legend and the 2000 K-1 World Grand Prix runner-up cornering Vitor Belfort. Belfort is known for his top notch hands, for his speed, precision and power, but bringing on Ray Sefo has helped him to round out his full spectrum of striking after a quick loss to Anderson Silva. Without a doubt having a legend like Ray Sefo helping him prepare will give him some helpful tips and pointers, both in offense and defense and the results looked promising with Belfort picking up a win tonight.

In the main event, Rashad Evans brought a younger K-1 fighter to the ring with him, as he came to the ring with Tyrone Spong. Spong has been an integral part of Rashad's training camp to prepare for his fight, originally against Phil Davis before Davis had to pull out, and now against Tito Ortiz. The fight turned into more of a grapple-heavy contest, but some of the techniques that Rashad picked up along the way and the sparring with a fighter like Spong who is known for his strong clinch game and heavy kicks were apparent in the way Rashad moved and how he responded to situations. One of the clearest examples of him working on his clinch striking more came with the finish of the fight, where Tito Ortiz was on his knees covering his head up and Rashad landed what was a picture perfect knee strike to the midsection that dropped Ortiz and led to the finish.

A technique like that is often overlooked in the MMA world because one false move and the knee becomes an illegal strike to the head and can cause a point deduction, disqualification or a no contest if the opponent cannot continue. It takes a great deal of confidence and dedication to drill moves like that for a fighter to be comfortable throwing them, and Rashad timed it perfectly and it landed exactly where it should have.

If UFC 133 was any sort of indicator, the chances are that more and more UFC fighters will be turning to high level kickboxers and muay thai fighters to help them prepare for their fights. The days of fighters preparing with noted MMA striking trainers without much real combat experience might be coming to a close, or at least be supplemented by having modern professional fighters at the top of their game helping to spar and round out a fighter. Right now Quinton "Rampage" Jackson is preparing in his camp with American kickboxing sensation Mark "Fightshark" Miller, who has notably trained with Rampage's upcoming opponent, Jon "Bones" Jones in the past and can only help Rampage out more and more as he prepares for his title fight.

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With Alistair Overeem Out of the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP, a K-1 Return is Possible

  • Published in K-1

Some of the downright oddest news I had read in the past few weeks was that Alistair Overeem was no longer in the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP and there were rumors swirling around that he was no longer fighting under the Zuffa banner at all. On Monday Overeem went on the MMA Hour and more or less trashed his new bosses, claiming no one had confirmed him fighting on September 10th with him and revealing that he only had one fight on his contract remaining with Zuffa. The insanity that a fighter involved in a possible three-fight tournament with only two fights remaining on their current contract is disorganized at best. Many had assumed that since Zuffa's purchase of Strikeforce that fighters like Overeem would be immediately locked down into newer contracts, but the truth is that Overeem's management team at Golden Glory has been trying to negotiate with Zuffa to secure the future for Overeem and it appears that things have reached a standstill.

With UFC scooping up Strikeforce talent such as Nick Diaz and possibly Gilbert Melendez it would only make sense to scoop up Heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem as well, but the Heavyweight Grand Prix has made that difficult. Overeem is apparently nursing a broken toe, which he has decided will keep him out of action until at least October, when he feels like he could fight.

In recent interviews Alistair has made mention of a possible boxing match with Vitali Klitschko in Europe, which for the uninitiated is a reigning boxing world champion and former kickboxer himself and would make for a huge payday for Overeem, possibly more than he could make in his MMA career. Overeem has also noted that K-1 will be returning and that he would love to return to kickboxing action and under his current Strikeforce contract he is able to do so. If you add this to the persistent rumors that K-1 has an upcoming event planned for October in China or Japan and there being no Strikeforce events scheduled for October, it appears like Overeem showing up in a K-1 ring is possible.

Out of all the unlikely scenarios one would have imagined just two months ago, it has once again become a possibility.

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