By Zach Arnold | October 11, 2013
The bad news is that Spike TV didn’t give the documentary a real promotional push. The good news is that they at least got a TNA audience lead-in. I think a lot of fans were more than happy to wash out the sour taste left in their mouths by Dixie Carter to see a real icon in combat sports.
Loretta Hunt (Sports Illustrated): Frank Shamrock documentary stirs ghosts still haunting former UFC champion
The story was simple — after all of the bad blood between Ken & Frank Shamrock, the two were finally going to meet to have a one-on-one sit down to hash out their differences. In the process, we learned all about Frank’s background in Redding and Susanville, California. Drinking alcohol at age 7. Heading to juvenile hall after threatening his sister. Going to Susanville after being adopted by Bob Shamrock.
Then came the beatdown by Ken at the Lion’s Den gym. Six months of training, Frank was sent to Pancrase to fight Bas Rutten in Tokyo (December 1994 at Ryogoku Kokugikan). He won that fight. Talk about a flashback to my early days of writing about that scene. Ken ended up moving to WWE and TNA in the late 90s, which left Frank to oversee Lion’s Den and he wasn’t comfortable with Ken having him run the gyms the way Ken wanted them ran. So, he left. Ken claimed Frank was jealous and that all Frank had to do was ask for his blessing to party ways. Instead, he “ran away.” Frank claimed that Bob Shamrock told him that if he and Ken didn’t get along that there would be no more relationship.
When it came to fighting, “Frank was a scientist whereas Ken was a brute.” Footage of Frank’s fight with Enson Inoue at Vale Tudo Japan ‘97 was shown. Then the mention of Frank’s fight against Kevin Jackson and then the encounter with Tito Ortiz to win the UFC belt. Henry Holmes, Frank’s business manager, had a cameo where he talked about Frank retiring and giving up the UFC belt in order to get out of the onerous contracts at the time.
Also the Frank Shamrock as "MMA's first real free agent" thing? He fought twice in six years after leaving UFC
— Sean Ross Sapp (@SeanRossSapp) October 11, 2013
There was the K-1 fight against Elvis Sinosic. Then the teaser about Frank fighting Ken with Bob Shamrock picking Ken to win the fight because he’s too strong for Frank. Bas Rutten loved the idea of the two brothers fighting each other. Maurice Smith felt Frank would have won.
A review of Frank’s history in Strikeforce was covered – from mentions of the Cesar Gracie & Renzo Gracie bouts to Frank becoming the local San Jose hero. “San Jose was quickly becoming my town and HP Pavilion was my house.” Then came the pictures of Frank vs. Phil Baroni and finally Frank “passing the torch” to Nick Diaz. Several interview clips of Nick Diaz talking about Frank Shamrock was interesting to watch. The crazy cameo(s) from Mickey Rourke talking about the pain of watching Frank get beat up by Nick Diaz was oddly compelling.
Then came the death of Bob Shamrock. Tonya, Ken’s wife, called Frank and told him that Bob wanted to see him in the hospital before he died. Frank didn’t appear at the hospital or the funeral. Ken was super pissed that Frank didn’t go to the funeral. Frank explained why he did what he did: “I didn’t know what to do. I really regret not calling him.”
Before Frank traveled to Las Vegas to meet with Ken, he went back to his old stomping grounds in Redding to find his older blood brother, Perry, who happens to be homeless. Perry had written him a year earlier asking for money. Frank found him under a highway overpass where there were a couple of chairs, a sofa, and a tent. Perry hadn’t communicated with anyone in over two years, the last time he had a laptop. He was surprised that Frank was able to locate him. Frank promised to help him, hugged Perry, and left in his car. After the meeting, Frank cried and said “I need to help him get out of there.”
Then came the build-up to the meeting between the two brothers. Ken asked, “What did my dad do to him that caused Frank to not go to his funeral?”, and stated, “My Dad gave him everything and he spit on him.”
In a Las Vegas gym, Ken sat in one folding chair and the other folding chair was set up for Frank to face him eye-to-eye once he sat down. Frank took off his shoes and extended his hand to Ken for a handshake. They shook hands. About six minutes of the reunion was shown on television. There was a lot of nervous tension. Frank started talking. It quickly degenerated into a rough back-and-forth. After Frank thanked Ken for being his mentor, Ken stepped in.
“I’m a little confused.”
He wondered why he ran away from Bob Shamrock and the Lion’s Den. Frank was upset about the beating Ken gave him when he first stepped foot at Lion’s Den. Ken responded to Frank’s feelings by stating, “This is (about) your own insecurity, man.” Ken said that anyone who survived the initiation beating at Lion’s Den was respected by all the team members.
When Frank tried to justify not showing up to Bob Shamrock’s funeral as a sign of respect, Ken had none of it.
“I don’t buy that (reason). You were a coward. … You let him die with no closure.”
— Tito Ortiz (@titoortiz) October 11, 2013
Then came time to discuss whether or not the two brothers should fight each other. Ken wanted to fight Frank. Frank didn’t seem so into the idea. As they were arguing back-and-forth, Frank made his position clear.
“I’m not a fighter, I”m a human being.”
Ken justified his behavior towards others by stating, “I beat the hell out of everybody. I yelled at everybody.” Ken prodded Frank by telling him that Bob asked for him on his death bed in the hospital. Ken claimed that Bob told him the only way the two brothers would repair their relationship was if they had a fight. Ken said he would accept Frank’s decision either way on the matter now that the topic was out in the open for discussion. Frank cemented his opinion about not wanting to fight now.
“We have to beat each other up to get closure? I don’t want to get hurt any more.”
The two brothers hugged each other. Frank was crying and Ken was smiling. And the two parted ways.
By Zach Arnold | October 9, 2013
The NFL, like combat sports, will stay popular regardless of brain damage. Always the cover-up that brings down the titans. #leagueofdenial
— FightOpinion (@FightOpinion) October 9, 2013
On Tuesday night, Public Broadcasting via Frontline aired a two-hour documentary on the National Football League called League of Denial. If you have followed the concussion dilemma in American football over the last decade closely, then nothing in the documentary was necessarily news to you. However, the documentary is based on a book written by the Fainaru brothers (Steve & Mark) who also happen to write for ESPN… and ESPN backed out at the last-minute from the cooperation with PBS according to a report in the New York Times that alleged that the NFL … convinced… ESPN that backing out would be the right thing to do.
After watching the documentary online, you can see exactly why the NFL and its business partners wanted nothing to do with the television presentation. PBS presented evidence we already largely knew about but did so in such a methodical, easy-to-understand, detailed manner that you’ll never look at NFL politicos the same way ever again. It had all the echoes of Big Tobacco from a generation ago.
I mention this as a back drop to initial results released from a medical study via the NIH two months ago related to boxers & mixed martial artists who agreed to participate in a study for the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health (Cleveland Clinic). If anyone can provide me with a PDF of the up-to-date study results, I would be very grateful.
The NIH abstract from the brain study states the obvious — that both boxers and MMA fighters can suffer from concussive brain damage due to blows to the head in fights. We know about pugilistica dementia. What the study does conclude is that the specific type of brain damage suffered by boxers and MMA fighters is different.
By Zach Arnold | October 3, 2013
To read all CSAC-related articles, dating back to May 2012, CLICK HERE.
Food fight at CSAC front office over $5.5 million USD boxer’s pension fund
They won’t be punishing judges Gwen Adair, Marty Denkin, or Carla Caiz at this Monday’s California State Athletic Commission event in Los Angeles. However, the commission’s document dump for Monday’s meeting contains a boatload of information about where things are headed.
For example, page 5 of the 180-page document claims that Karen Chappelle from the Attorney General’s office in Los Angeles is billing the commission a lot of money to handle two major lawsuits (Dwayne Woodard’s age discrimination case & Sarah Waklee’s sexual harassment case). I would suggest so far that the commission has gotten the raw end of that deal in terms of quality legal representation.
On page 18, there is an itemized list of shows and how much revenue/expenses CSAC has from each event. What’s interesting to note is that while boxing revenues are most important, the UFC events are the easiest cash grabs for the commission. A whole lot of money.
On page 41, there is discussion about whether or not the commission will abandon the rules/regulations regarding color-coded tickets. On page 72ish, there are detailed booking sheets revealing which inspectors/officials worked what shows. Around page 100, there’s a copy of a box office sheet that Andy Foster’s #1 inspector, Mark Relyea, completed. Guess he’ll get an award for that.
On page 131, there’s quite a letter from Jeremy Lappen that, on any other occasion, would be a hot topic of discussion. In short, after Andy Foster emasculated CAMO over their fee structure for regulating amateur MMA, CAMO faced a choice — either go with the program or else risk losing their delegation to the controversial Steve Fossum. Instead of putting up a rightful legal challenge in court over what was about to happen to CAMO, Jeremy Lappen simply walked away. With the prospects of money drying up for the non-profit entity, Jeremy Lappen diminished his role with CAMO and left JT Steele at the helm.
However, all of these items are small potatoes compared to the real main event issue at Monday’s commission meeting — and it’s getting little-to-no media attention at all. The issue at hand? What the hell to do with the $5.5 million dollars sitting in the boxer’s pension fund. And the fight could get very ugly between the commission and the third party that is investing & managing the funds.
By Zach Arnold | October 2, 2013
To read all CSAC-related articles, dating back to May 2012, CLICK HERE.
Mood of the grunts in So. Cal working for California commission (Andy Foster) is very angry right now about what's happening (JCC/Vera).
— FightOpinion (@FightOpinion) October 1, 2013
Behind-the-scenes in California, Saturday night’s fight between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Bryan Vera became a turning point for Andy Foster, the Executive Officer of the Consumer Affairs-controlled California State Athletic Commission. It’s close to a year since he took over the job of Sacramento’s regulatory body. The MMA industry was excited to see his arrival. The boxing types had no clue what to expect and were stunned at DCA’s selection. A year later, the book from MMA insiders is that they like Andy Foster. The book from boxing insiders is that he’s naive, can be easily manipulated, and doesn’t know what he is doing.
In a state where boxing revenue eclipses MMA revenue, the opinion of those in the boxing scene matters.
There is no way to skirt around what happened on Saturday night with judges Gwen Adair, Marty Denkin, and Carla Caiz of the Caiz clan. It was a total disaster. Bryan Vera won the fight. He didn’t lose it. The worst-case scenario should have been a draw. Instead, Chavez was selected as the winner via unanimous decision. On the surface, Carla’s scorecard could be justified… except she scored the last six rounds in favor of JCC. This pissed off people in the boxing scene big time. It spurred one of our favorite Twitter personalities to produce this graphic:
Judge Carla Caiz NOT WATCHING THE FIGHT SHE IS JUDGING as Bryan Vera lands a punch in round 9: http://t.co/Zg0OdqMxmL
— Fight_Ghost (@Fight_Ghost) September 30, 2013
By Zach Arnold | September 29, 2013
You know what happened with the score cards from Saturday night’s fight in Carson, California between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Bryan Vera. Not only did we break down the scores, we also broke down the politics & lawsuits from each of the players involved in the controversy: Gwen Adair, Marty Denkin, and Carla Caiz.
In Saturday night’s article, I strongly suggested that Andy Foster drag Adair & Denkin in front of the commission on October 7th in Los Angeles. Bryan Vera’s camp (Banner Promotions), according to Boxing Scene, will be filing a formal protest to Andy Foster about what took place. Don’t expect the protest to even be given consideration whatsoever, unfortunately.
The score cards were so bad that Kevin Iole on Yahoo, Chris Mannix on Sports Illustrated, Dan Rafael on ESPN (web & TV), Bill Dwyre in The Los Angeles Times, Steve Kim of Maxboxing, David Avila of The Sweet Science, Gabriel Montoya at Doghouse Boxing, Doug Fischer at Ring TV, and Mark Whicker in The Orange County Register tore into the judges & the California State Athletic Commission.
Here’s the bad news for all the critics: no punishment, let alone admonishment will be issued against Gwen Adair, Marty Denkin, or Carla Caiz. Any protest filed by Vera’s camp will be immediately dismissed by Sacramento. Sacramento is well aware of the public outcry but do not expect any action whatsoever to be taken. They genuinely believe that Chavez won the fight on the merits and do not see what happened as a scandal. You can call it tone-deafness, considering what happened two weeks ago with Cynthia Ross in Nevada, or you can call it a cynical calculation based on the 24/7 news cycle which causes ADD amongst scribes & fans.
One thing is for sure — the honeymoon between Andy Foster and various members of the combat sports media is over.
By Zach Arnold | September 28, 2013
Andy Foster’s first real crisis has arrived as head of the Sacramento DCA-controlled California State Athletic Commission. In fact, the whole week with Top Rank & Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. has been one giant embarrassment.
Judge 96-94 97-93 and 98-92 for Julio Cesar Chavez. BAD CALL OUCH #ChavezVera
— Kevin Iole (@KevinI) September 29, 2013
You could hear the embarrassment in Lupe Contreras' voice from the first word out of his mouth. Pretty obvious whose name was getting read.
— Eric Raskin (@EricRaskin) September 29, 2013
Coming off of his suspension from the Nevada State Athletic Commission due to testing positive for marijuana metabolites, Chavez signed a bout agreement to fight Brian Vera in basically what, on paper, amounted to a squash. The fight was booked after Andy Foster (rightfully) ruled in arbitration that Dan Goossen had not violated his contract with Andre Ward. Thus, Ward couldn’t jump ship to Top Rank and fight JCC. So, what originally looked like a fight scheduled for Staples Center with JCC/Ward turned into JCC/Vera at 163 pounds. Then it went up to 168. Then it went up to 173 pounds.
Then came the rumors of JCC trying to cut weight to make it to 173 (at Azteca gym) for the fight and that Vera allegedly got a 6-figure payoff from Top Rank for his troubles. Plenty of folks in the boxing press wanted action from the California State Athletic Commission to put a stop to the circus. Andy Foster was going to allow the fight to happen as long as there wasn’t a spread of more than 11 pounds in weight between Vera & JCC. So, if Vera showed up at 173, JCC had up to 184 pounds or else the fight would have been called off.
When it came time for weigh-ins, Vera and JCC made the 173 benchmark. At fight time, Chavez was bigger… and Vera was smacking him around enough to where he should have won the contest.
Andy Foster is an MMA guy. He is not a boxing guy. California is a state that is boxing-crazy and driven by boxing revenue much more so than MMA. This is where Andy’s background came into play. He assigned Lou Moret as the referee. Moret, for all intents and purposes, is now the #2 boxing referee in California (behind Jack Reiss). Pat Russell isn’t getting booked as #2 any more. As for the judges assigned to JCC/Vera, you couldn’t have possibly booked a worse crew if you tried: Gwen Adair, Marty Denkin, and Carla Caiz. Yes, of that famous Caiz clan with Raul Sr. and Jr.
Gwen Adair has previously sued the state of California in the past on sexual/racial claims and has gotten settlement(s) treatment. Job security will remain intact as long as there’s a legal avenue to use. Sports Illustrated did a profile article on Gwen Adair in October of 1998, talking about how her mother launched Fatburger and appearances on M*A*S*H. The Los Angeles Times profiled her in November of 2009. They quote Marty Denkin in the piece. They also quote Gwen stating that she wished she got more high-profile bookings. You don’t say.
If you talk to various inspectors and officials down South, they speak of old-timer Marty Denkin as someone who views himself (still) as a political wheeler-and-dealer. His daughter Jackie, despite being on somewhat tenuous political ground, remains a judge.
As for the Caiz clan, Raul Sr. is in political favor. Jr. on the other hand, not so much. Carla is booked as well.
As for one Louis F Moret, he has political juice in the state. For years, he was a member of the board of administration that dealt with California’s public employees retirement system. Otherwise known as the monstrous behemoth named CalPERS. Moret views himself as a political mover-and-shaker close to big wigs like Nancy Pelosi.
Don’t believe me? Read this June 18, 2008 article in The Los Angeles Times titled Pension board member helped fix deal, suit alleges with the sub-headline Louis F. Moret is accused of conspiring to arrange a $48 million dollar South Gate garbage contract.
- Gwen Adair scored Saturday’s fight 98-92 in favor of JCC. Gwen only gave R8 & R9 to Vera.
- Marty Denkin was 97-93. Marty only gave R3, R8, and R9 to Vera.
- Carla Caiz was 96-94. Carla gave first four rounds to Vera & last six rounds to JCC.
Che Guevara, the hack who was CSAC’s Chief Athletic Inspector, came from a boxing background. He got his job because he did the wrong thing when it came to throwing others under the bus with the Antonio Margarito hand wrap situation back in 2009. Hell, he got his job promotion because of it. I don’t think that Che, if he was walking the straight and narrow, would have allowed this combination of officials to work a fight like JCC/Vera. I say this bitterly given my utter disgust with the man’s prior on-the-job behavior.
Andy Foster has his first major image crisis on his hands here. Should Andre Ward get past Edwin Rodriguez in November (in Ontario, California), it would appear that HBO will help set up Ward vs. JCC… and that fight will likely happen in California in 2014 — which makes the events that transpired tonight look even worse than they appear to be on the surface. Bet the conversations between Danny Goossen and Bob Arum will be fun for that meeting.
As for Andy Foster, if folks like Gwen Adair will sue to keep their gigs then the only recourse he has left is to put the judges on the agenda for the next commission meeting on October 7th in Los Angeles. Let John Frierson & Martha Shin-Urquidez dispose of the malcontents. Dan Rafael went on ESPN television and ripped Marty Denkin, stating that Marty should have been put out to pasture years ago.
Kevin Iole summed up the situation on Yahoo in a relatively detailed manner. Vera’s camp believes that HBO will book a JCC/Vera rematch. Good luck with that.
By Zach Arnold | September 26, 2013
— MMA Supremacy (@MMASupremacy) September 26, 2013
We’re a month into the Ronda Rousey/Miesha Tate Ultimate Fighter series and so far, the numbers are… inconsistently consistent. Low, yes, but fluctuating. Unlike other UFC programming on Fox networks, this is the show where the suits look at the live airing numbers plus the DVR figures. We only get a glimpse at the live airing ratings, so let’s take a look at numbers from MMA Payout about the first month:
Week 1: 762,000
Week 2: 870,000
Week 3: 639,000
Week 4: 778,000
We know all about the problems with Ultimate Fighter. The show has worn out its welcome. It doesn’t recruit the best young talent because if you’re good enough to fight in the UFC, the UFC has already signed you. The show has bounced from network to network. The concept of a “6-figure contract” holds little regard in terms of credibility.
With this season of Ultimate Fighter, some new dynamics entered into the equation.
The show is airing on a new channel (Fox Sports 1). The argument is that the network is growing its audience. The problem with this argument is that when the channel launched, UFC blew the roof off the ratings with their Boston event headlined by Chael Sonnen with 1.8 million viewers. So, hiding behind the “FS1 is a new channel” line of reasoning doesn’t hold water for UFC because of UFC’s proven strength to mobilize its hardcore fan base.
By Zach Arnold | September 25, 2013
On Monday, Big John McCarthy stated the obvious when he ripped into Keith Kizer as a man who simply is clueless about combat sports. His comments backed up what we wrote about Kizer over the past week about the man’s job security and just who exactly is politically protecting him. I even made a prediction as to what kind of dog-and-pony show the five-person Nevada State Athletic Commission panel would present to keep Kizer in power.
My prediction turned out to be half-right. He’s keeping his job. What I didn’t expect is that there wouldn’t even be an attempt at a dog-and-pony show in the first place as a symbolic slap on the wrist for Keith Kizer.
At Wednesday’s Nevada State Athletic Commission meeting in Las Vegas, Chairman Bill Brady stated that fighter camps & promoters will be approached before big fights with pool lists of officials and will be given an opportunity to voice any displeasure with certain officials. (In other words, nothing has changed). Kizer was asked to provide pool lists and background information on officials he nominates into pool lists for the commissioners. Kizer, amusingly, told the commissioners that if they want information on the officials he books that they can go to Boxrec and check out the information themselves. Skip Avansino, who basically is treated as the don of the commission, said that he didn’t have time to go to Boxrec and wanted information supplied to him directly on officials. Brady said that the process Kizer has been using for selecting officials and notifying others about the process has been ’somewhat sloppy.’ That was the only official criticism stated publicly on Wednesday.
Brady acknowledged a meeting the day before at the Nevada AG’s office in Las Vegas, which is next door to the NSAC office.
Kizer was asked for his pool list of officials for the Tim Bradley/Juan Manuel Marquez fight coming up in a couple of weeks. For referees, he listed three: Kenny Bayless, Robert Byrd, and Tony Weeks. His issues with Jay Nady continue. After listing a slew of judges, Kizer ended up selecting Byrd as the referee and judges which included Patricia Morse Jarman and Glenn Feldman. Kizer stated that JMM’s purse is $6 million USD and Tim Bradley’s purse is $4.1 million. Cameron Dunkin was called upon by the commission to voice any objections and none were voiced. Commissioner Francisco Aguilar asked Kizer why he doesn’t book foreign officials for top shows.
Keith Kizer’s job security remains unscathed. Marc Ratner, Skip Avansino, Lorenzo Fertitta, and Sig Rogich apparently won’t pull the plug on the guy and neither will the Attorney General or Governor offices. When Bob Arum rants and raves about the commission being controlled by Republicans, he’s actually telling the truth. It’s a very close-knit community and the political glue is Sig Rogich, a self-styled political fixer for Ronald Reagan & George H.W. Bush. Rogich is the classical political fixer who brings celebrities & pols to big fights and has a school named after him in Las Vegas. Rogich has lobbied the Nevada state legislature to legalize gay marriage & raise state taxes & increase immigration; he’s pretty much your classic Establishment Republican who has the ear of every state pol & wannabe pol nationally because of his public relations operation, Rogich Communications Group, and his background in advertising. So, while Bob Arum is right that Republicans controls the Nevada State Athletic Commission, he’s entirely wrong about Rogich being a racist if you look at his track record on immigration.
When it comes to advertising, Sig Rogich is a man whose claim to fame is coming up with the infamous Michael Dukakis “tank” campaign ad in 1988 despite Roger Ailes reportedly being involved in the process.
Mr. Rogich is the money man behind the World Series of Fighting, the unofficial bastard child of UFC & semi-stalking horse of Bellator. He is very close to the Zuffa family. He also is the former Chairman of the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
Rogich and his allies have apparently decided that Keith Kizer isn’t enough of a political liability to stain their reputations. They’re wrong and eventually something horrible, like a death in the ring, will have to occur before they decide to pull the plug on what has been an embarrassing spectacle over the last seven years. The casinos are legitimately concerned about the reputation of the commission because they don’t want to lose activity for big fights at the sportsbooks. However, Rogich & Lorenzo & Ratner & Avansino apparently have no qualms about keeping Keith Kizer in place at the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
As one close Nevada insider stated, “What else did you think would happen? If [the political fixers] admit [Kizer] isn’t good enough, they have to get rid of him now. That doesn’t mean they won’t move him on if he continues to screw up but these guys are experts as how to handle all of this and Sig is one of the finest PR guys in the world for crisis management.”
Most PR firms tell their clients to publicly admit that they have a problem and then ask for public forgiveness. The political fixers that control the Nevada State Athletic Commission won’t even do that. Hell, they allegedly can’t even get Keith Kizer to attend yearly Assocation of Boxing Commission meetings.
By Zach Arnold | September 23, 2013
So far, we have six matches announced for the UFC 168 event on December 28th at MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas. A look at the card so far:
- Middleweights: Uriah Hall vs. Chris Leben
- Lightweights: Gleison Tibau vs. Michael Johnson
- Featherweights: Dustin Poirier vs. Diego Brandao
- Heavyweights: Josh Barnett vs. Travis Browne
- Women (135 pounds): Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate
- UFC Middleweight title match: Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva
With Jon Jones having a bruising battle against Alexander Gustafsson in Toronto at UFC 165, it’s clear that he’s not ready to make a move to Heavyweight. Which means that depth of quality heavyweights is non-existent at this point and it’s why UFC is rushing to sign a lot of new heavyweights who the company probably would have never considered booking in the past.
All of this leads to a situation that is prime for Josh Barnett, the wily veteran, to take advantage of. Despite his drug testing failures and business differences with the Zuffa empire, Barnett has the leverage in the business relationship right now and could gain even more leverage if he gets a win over Travis Browne. Browne is coming off a ballsy comeback performance in Boston against Alistair Overeem. Browne’s fight was on the same FS1 telecast as Chael Sonnen vs. Mauricio Shogun, which means a whole lot of people watched the fight. And a whole lot of people are going to be watching the UFC 168 PPV as well. Weidman/Anderson is a pick ‘em fight and Ronda is a 10-to-1 favorite over Tate.
As for Barnett, Jordan Breen says he’s a slight favorite… a very slight favorite.
“I still imagine Josh Barnett being able to get Travis Browne to the ground, even though I don’t think Josh Barnett is as good a wrestler as maybe as advertised sometimes. Barnett just isn’t a good outside wrestler, he’s not a guy with a power-double, he doesn’t maul guys to the ground. He basically has to punch his way in, get there, and then find ways to get leverage inside, trip guys to the canvas. Nothing wrong with that, just a tough order against Travis Brown who’s a big, athletic guy. He’s not just some lumbering 6′7″, 6′8″ idiot. This is a guy that’s got some real athletic acumen, has slimmed down, is more aerodynamic and can do some different stuff in there. And we know that he’s not just going to submit to the odds, take a beating and crumble and die. Otherwise, Alistair Overeem would have beaten him. Travis Browne, when he came back, put a teep in his face.
“I still feel like Barnett probably deserves a little early favoritism. I see a lot of clinching, I think Barnett tries to smother him, take that reach away. Barnett’s a clever guy and I think he’ll do a good job of that but the question is how much offense can he actually rack up? Because we’ve seen some Josh Barnett fights historically, can’t get a guy to the ground, end up clinching along the fence, the ropes, and it’s not the most appetizing look and more than that, Travis Browne is someone that can actually hit hard and do some things close inside. I wouldn’t want to get caught with a Travis Browne knee to the face, to be sure. So, I favor Josh Barnett.
“The other part of the question is if he won, is he getting a title shot? I think so. How many other heavyweight options do you have? We’re going to have Cain Velasquez & Junior Dos Santos fight for a third time. That’ll be over. Daniel Cormier’s still got his eye on 205 pounds and he’s not going to fight Cain Velasquez, so short of JDS pulling it off in the third fight surprising people again, that ain’t going to happen. Who else is there? Fabricio Werdum? I mean, I have… I think Fabricio Werdum has shown his worth as a MMA heavyweight time and time again. I’d love to see him get that fight. If it means that him and Barnett have to do some kind of title eliminator, cool, but that’s really it. That’s the only other really feasible competition he has for a heavyweight title shot right now.
“This isn’t true just of Josh Barnett. I mean, I don’t think that his past with Dana White being prickly and, you know, saying some unsavory things about him in public in the past is going to hurt him based on the fact that they just need guys to fight for the heavyweight title. They love Cain Velasquez, they want to push him. You always want interesting challengers, worthwhile challengers for your champion. There’s just no one else. After the JDS/Velasquez III fight, it’s pretty much Browne, Barnett, Werdum, or bust. Stipe Miocic isn’t there as a contender quite yet. I mean, who are the UFC’s other prospects? I don’t know, maybe Shawn Jordan really gets it all together and turns into the guy but I’m not seeing it. There’s not that many options and when you don’t have that many options, it forces your hand. Josh Barnett, even if he was still publicly miserable to Dana White, if he went out and performed against Travis Browne in the worst case scenario, the very worst, title eliminator and I still don’t think that happens because we often talk about, ‘well, what if we do a title eliminator in this situation? what if we do a title eliminator in that situation?’ and the reputation of it or the shooting down of the idea is typically, ‘well, if we do that, we only have one contender where we used to have two.’ If there’s any division where that is always going to stand up where that’s going to always be a factor where you’re always going to have to consider how important it is to have two contenders instead of one, heavyweight’s going to be the division. It’s going to be one lacking depth and more than that you get a guy like Cain Velasquez who comes on the scene, rolls strong, beats up a lot of good guys fast… there’s not as many clear answers.”
How would you set the odds for the Barnett/Browne fight if you were an oddsmaker?
By Zach Arnold | September 21, 2013
The judge who scored Jon Jones 49-46 over Alexander Gustafsson was Chris Lee. Richard Bertrand & Doug Crosby were 48-47 each.
— FightOpinion (@FightOpinion) September 22, 2013
Event: UFC 165 (Saturday, September 21st from the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
TV: Fox Sports 2/Fox Sports 1/PPV
- Heavyweights: Daniel Omielanczuk defeated Nandor Guelmino in R3 in 3′18 by KO.
- Bantamweights: Alex Caceres defeated Roland Delorme after 3R by split decision.
- Welterweights: Michel Prazeres defeated Jesse Ronson after 3R by split decision.
- Lightweights: John Makdessi defeated Renee Forte in R1 in 2′01 by KO.
- Bantamweights: Mitch Gagnon defeated Dustin Kimura in R1 in 4′05 by submission with a choke sleeper hold.
- Welterweights: Stephen Thompson defeated Chris Clements in R1 in 1′27 by TKO from punches.
- Bantamweights: Wilson Reis defeated Ivan Menjivar after 3R by unanimous decision.
- Lightweights: Myles Jury defeated Mike Ricci after 3R by split decision.
- Lightweights: Khabib Nurmagomedov (-250, 5 to 2 favorite) defeated Pat Healy (+200) after 3R by unanimous decision.
- Middleweights: Francis Carmont (+160) defeated Costa Philippou (-200, 2 to 1 favorite) after 3R by unanimous decision.
- Heavyweights: Brendan Schaub (EVEN) defeated Matt Mitrione in R1 in 4′06 with a choke.
- Bantamweights: Renan Barao (-600, 6 to 1 favorite) defeated Eddie Wineland (+450) in R2 in 35 seconds by TKO.
- UFC Light Heavyweight title match: Jon Jones (-750) defeated Alexander Gustafsson (+600) after 5R by unanimous decision to retain the title (48-47, 48-47, 49-46). A judge gave Jones four rounds!
Outside of UFC 165, Anthony Pettis vs. Josh Thomson is now booked because TJ Grant is recovering from a concussion. Move makes sense in that Thomson is a regional guy and will help out some ticket sales at Arco Arena in Sacramento. There’s a vocal group of fans suggesting Pettis vs. Aldo in a title vs. title match for the Fox broadcast but Pettis looking strong on network television is not a bad thing, either.
Only minor headache for UFC here is that Thomson will attract some political heat for the organization because of his prior comments about gay marriage.
By Zach Arnold | September 20, 2013
Keith Kizer in the corner of Cyborg's opponent, expressing concern. Since when did he start giving a shit about fighters?
— Paul Lazenby (@MaulerMMA) September 21, 2013
$20M live gate & 2.2M PPV buys for Mayweather/Canelo. Can't wait for Keith Kizer next Wed. to use it to try to save his job. @MMASupremacy
— FightOpinion (@FightOpinion) September 20, 2013
The early estimates for the Floyd Mayweather/Canelo Alvarez PPV are extraordinary. 2.2 million PPV buys, a $20 million dollar gate at MGM, and over $2 million in closed circuit TV revenue. Plus, 22 million television viewers in Mexico watched the fight. In today’s languishing economy, these numbers are staggering and vindicate all the business decisions being made in Mayweather’s camp.
Which is why I highly suspect that Keith Kizer, the Executive Director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, will attempt to use the figures in an attempt to save his job by claiming that he somehow is partly responsible for the fight’s big business.
It’s time for Skip Avansino, Sig Rogich, Bill Brady, and Bob Arum to pick up the phone and make the call to get Kizer fired. Keith Kizer is a political liability. He’s not respected by any of the major fight promoters. They know it or are at least starting to come to the realization that he makes them look bad. If you’re a fight fan or industry insider and want to see Keith Kizer get fired, don’t make a case based on morality or superficial respect. Make the case to the powers-that-be that it’s in their best self-interests to remove him from power. Appeal to their id that it’s in their best interests to get rid of the guy.
Keith Kizer’s track record over the last seven years has been absolutely lousy. However, why is his job in jeopardy? Because he made the political fixers and the casino bosses look bad with the Cynthia Ross judge booking. The regulators in Las Vegas are always going to be accused, to a degree, of being corrupt. If you’re going to be accused of being corrupt, then at least make sure that your critics don’t accuse you of incompetence or the appearance of incompetence. By defending Cynthia Ross after the Mayweather/Canelo fight, Kizer put a big bright media spotlight on what we’ve known all along in terms of his incompetence & tone-deafness. He’s being accused of being corrupt and accused of incompetence. That’s the kind of double whammy that’s simply untenable to the power brokers. Kizer’s not very competent as a public relations spinster. He loves to pick fights and alienate potential allies. He’s also not competent in terms of recruiting and attracting business to his state. Most importantly to the powers-that-be, he’s not very good at making the commission look qualified with the officials he books for fights.
If you’re going to be a front man that pretends to be the Godfather of regulators, act more like Tom Hagen and less like Fredo Corleone.
Keith Kizer’s biggest blunder for maintaining job security was defending Cynthia Ross. He went a bridge too far and allowed his enemies the opportunity to go after him with vigor because it’s politically safe to do so. Kizer’s made many enemies over the years but lots of scribes bit their tongue because who is really interested in reading a bunch of anti-Kizer screeds? Once Kizer gave an opening, game on. In our article five days ago about Keith Kizer’s job security, we noted how he is prone to spending plenty of time on boxing & MMA message boards rather than, say, accomplishing productivity at the office.
Ask yourself the following: if Keith Kizer was fired tomorrow from the commission, would the amount of revenue the commission takes in from shows really change? Of course not. He has zero positive impact on business affairs. The way Marc Ratner molded Nevada’s commission basically makes it easy to run on auto-pilot as long as you don’t massively screw up paperwork. Why do you think Keith Kizer sits on his ass and goes on boxing & MMA message boards and web sites every day? He has time to kill while drawing a paycheck he simply doesn’t have to do much work for.
Ed Graney of the Las Vegas Review-Journal just happened to make a similar point about Kizer in his latest column. Graney says that Kizer gave him a sermon about taking pleasure in writing negative things (about topics like UNLV football). Don’t worry, Ed, you’re not the only one wondering why Keith has so much free time. It’s easy to have free time when other states are poaching some shows from your calendar to fill their event calendars. What’s next, Kizer disguising his voice in order to be a regular caller on Steve Cofield’s excellent ESPN 1100 AM radio show?
Next Wednesday’s dog-and-pony show
The other day, I wrote an article stating that it was intervention time for Sig Rogich, Skip Avansino, and other politicos to step in and remove Keith Kizer from the commission. They have the power to make the call and it would self their best interests to do so. Every day that passes that Kizer remains in power, the worse they look to the general public. Kizer’s poor performance will be viewed as poor political performance on their behalf.
Next Wednesday in Las Vegas at 3 PM local time, Keith Kizer will assign officials to work the Tim Bradley/Juan Manuel Marquez fight. An award for great timing considering that Cynthia Ross, as a judge, scored the Bradley/Pacquiao fight in favor of TB and Marquez would go on to KO Pacquiao. The chickens are coming home to roost.
The predictable move from politicos like Bill Brady & Skip Avansino is to put on a front for the media attending by making it look as if Keith Kizer will endure this horrible scrutiny that will force him to sweat a bit. A dog-and-pony show, in other words. It’ll give the commission members, who do not run the day-to-day operations, a chance to look tough in public. It would be easy to do. It would also not be a good long-term move in the self-interests of those who really wield power.
The correct move from the politicos would be to announce a vote of no-confidence for Keith Kizer and to grease the wheels for removal behind-the-scenes. When the meeting starts at 3 PM, it will start out with a session for public comment. That means anyone can show up, if they so desire, and basically have a couple of minutes to say what they want about commission affairs. Most people are not going to take time off of work to attend a commission meeting but all it takes is one person to actually show up and address the elephant in the room while pointing out why the guy is a political liability. Kizer is vulnerable right now and only one person needs to make the case in an eloquent manner to tell the politicians that the guy’s days should be numbered. It would have more impact if a fighter, active or retired, made such remarks.
Grant Sawyer State Office Building
555 East Washington Avenue, Suite 3200, 3rd Floor
Las Vegas, NV 89101
555 E WASHINGTON AVE STE 3200
LAS VEGAS NV 89101-1066
I suspect at least one television camera will be at the meeting. If you’re a Vegas local, it’s now-or-never to push the weakened Kizer out of office. Showing up is half the battle. Convincing the powers-that-be that it’s in their best political interests to ditch the guy is the other half.
Prediction: Keith Kizer will announce what has already been reported, which is a seminar for officials next month in Las Vegas. Amusing that Kizer, who’s never worked as a judge, will find a way to remain the selector of officials. There will laughingly be a “sub-committee’ created amongst the 5 members to work with Kizer on picking officials and creating an unofficial list of criteria that officials must be compatible with. In other words, a bunch of public relations spin.
By Zach Arnold | September 18, 2013
As with every scandal in today’s 24/7 news cycle, we have the general pattern: scandal happens, mea culpa or excuse, fighting over response, and then basic ‘we’ll investigate’ or ‘we’ll fix the problem’ response. Then the audience tunes away from the story and moves onto something else.
We know what happened with judge Cynthia Ross scoring the Mayweather/Canelo fight a 114-114 draw. Ross butchered the score for the Tim Bradley/Manny Pacquiao fight. I knew that as soon as she scored Mayweather/Canelo a draw, all the attention would go on her. It’s a fool’s errand. The real culprit is Keith Kizer and everyone, deep down, knows it. Kizer, in the past, has always defended his officials and judges — partially to create loyalty and partially because he has always figured that blowing off the critics was easy to do and that his job security was always in tact.
Then came Saturday night… and Sunday afternoon… and Kizer was defending Ross as a judge. Even the best con men discover that one cover-up too many can bite you in the ass. Rather than diffusing the situation and taking the heat off of his booking of judges, Kizer says what he always does in these kinds of controversies and defended Ross by blaming the 10-point must system. And in the process, Kizer exposed himself for others who held their fire back in the past to go after him this time because there was nothing to lose.
Realizing that his job security actually is at risk this time around, Kizer embraced a scenario where Ross would take an ‘indefinite leave of absence’. The whole thing is a farce. Keith Kizer is the man who runs the operation and has ran the ship since Marc Ratner left to go work for UFC. It doesn’t always mean that he is in total control, however.
In addition to embracing the departure of Ross, Kizer is claiming that he will hold a seminar for judges & officials either next month or in November in Las Vegas. A seminar. Talk about the blind leading the blind. If you have no leader and no leadership, then it’s useless. Kizer hopes that this sales pitch will cause the media to back off of him and relieve some of the public outcry.
Now is not the time to stay silent.
By Zach Arnold | September 17, 2013
Last week’s edition of The Ultimate Fighter was great television. I still believe that the show in general has outlived its usefulness and that the shelf life is pretty much done. On Spike or FX, that would be a correct assertion. However, given the low ratings that Fox Sports 1 attracts, The Ultimate Fighter is going nowhere and will be around for a long time because drawing a 0.7 on FS1 makes FS1 happy. When Fox is happy, UFC is happy.
Everyone, except maybe the participants involved, was happy with last week’s show. It was high drama, both real and scripted. It was 60 minutes of Ronda Rousey & Shayna Baszler bragging about what was going to happen against Miesha Tate fighter Julianna Pena. In round one of the fight, Baszler pretty much got close to scoring a 10-8 round. In round two, it was a different story. As Mike Tyson famously stated, everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth. Pena ended up submitting Baszler and shocked everyone.
With that context in mind, Shayna Baszler’s radio interview with Sherdog on Monday was really interesting to listen to. Shayna explained why things went south in round two of her TUF fight.