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Friday fight notes: A bad week just got worse for K-1

By Zach Arnold | August 16, 2007

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Two more drug test failures, this time coming out of K-1’s Las Vegas show over the weekend. Check out the T/E ratio for Nordstand – 21:1. This has been a disastrous week of PR for K-1. First, the failed drug tests. Second, the allegations that they falsified the MRIs of Choi Hong-Man so he could fight in Nevada. Third, the rumors of Denis Kang vs. Kazushi Sakuraba (a terrible match to book in terms of Sakuraba’s safety). Fourth, the Las Vegas show aired in Japan on Fuji TV after Midnight (which, for K-1, is a shocker because they are usually always on prime-time slots).

Failed drug tests are sure a fun topic to write about, Dana White.

Randy Couture questions why there are so many positive drug tests in California:

“It’s odd to me that a lot of these positive tests are happening in the state of California. So I’m curious to see how Sean Sherk’s appeal comes out and what exactly are the testing procedures in California that so many of these guys in California are coming up positive. I don’t know if their protocol is different, or what the deal is going on in California, but something seems to be up there.”

First, California and Nevada use similar drug tests (with a generous T/E ratio of 6:1 as compared to a higher standard like 4:1) and supposedly the same drug lab for getting the test results. Second, California tests all fighters on all big MMA shows (unlike Nevada which does random drug testing at big MMA events).

WWE responds to Congress and their investigation into pro-wrestling’s drug culture. Plus, more bad news on the PR front for wrestling. First, Brian Adams was revealed to a client of Signature Pharmacy, which the Feds targeted in a steroid probe. Second, here is an article in The Washington Post about the massive amount of deaths in the North American pro-wrestling scene. ESPN Radio host Colin Cowherd talked about this situation on his radio show on Thursday (audio here).

IFL ring announcer Tim Hughes will be heading over to Beijing for the Olympics in 2008.

More trouble for Kevin Randleman. It actually gets worse.

Sam Caplan has joined

More on the Dana White front… He wants to book Brandon Vera against Tim Sylvia. What an awful proposed match this is for fight quality (given Sylvia’s height and big weight advantage combined with his normal fight-style). What does Tim Sylvia gain from beating Brandon Vera, who very few casual UFC fans know of? If I’m Sylvia’s agent, I would reject that fight immediately because there’s no upside in taking that fight whatsoever.

Calvin Ayre will have a novel coming out soon.

Onto today’s headlines.

  1. Sprawl ‘n Brawl: Looking back at RINGS (this was a fantastic promotion, ran by Akira Maeda)
  2. CBS Sportsline: Fedor’s next destination should be the UFC
  3. MMA Weekly: Nick Diaz added to Shooto card in California
  4. Fightlinker: Brock used HGH? That’s unpossible!
  5. Irish Whip Fighting: Interview with Andrei Arlovski
  6. MMA Madness: Ask Eric Schafer questions
  7. MSNBC: Soft-hearted ‘Rampage’ ready to bring the heat
  8. The Californian (Salinas): Angel Murillo prepares for his MMA debut
  9. Crave Online: Pound for Pound, Nick Diaz – the difference between potheads and cheaters
  10. Kung Fu Cinema: Andre Lima goes ‘Beyond the Ring’ (MMA movie)
  11. MMA on Tap: Steele Cage 9/1 Las Vegas card line-up (this BS with ‘sanctioning bodies’ like the IFO for Richard Steele and the IFA for Art of War has got to stop, it’s ridiculous)
  12. Jordan Breen: Shooto-mania, brother
  13. UFC HP: With the monkey off his back, Patrick Cote moves forward
  14. Sportsnet (Canada): Gonzaga on my mind
  15. The Oregonian: Josh Haynes returns to TV — on a bull
  16. Fight Network Radio: An interview with Sports Illustrated’s MMA writer Todd Martin

Topics: BoDog, Canada, Japan, K-1, Media, MMA, Pro Elite, Pro-Wrestling, UFC, WWE, Zach Arnold | 27 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

27 Responses to “Friday fight notes: A bad week just got worse for K-1”

  1. Zack says:

    – I don’t think Sakuraba vs Kang is that terrible. It’s much better than Sak vs Wanderlei, Cro Cop, Arona, etc etc. At least he’s fighting at his own weight class. I know he’s past his prime but I’m still kind of fired up to see this. I’ll be up watching the stream at 4am for sure.

    – I don’t think Vera vs Sylvia is a bad matchup at all. Vera will win and this will catapult him into the top mix of dudes in the org. This is what they were trying to do with the Mir match, but this is more legitimate.

    – While RINGS probably had the best scouting of all time for any organization, the rules and scoring criteria for the fights kind of ruined all the solid matchups that took place. Look at Fedor vs Arona still being debated today about who won. Also, does anyone really think Hendo beat Nog? If Rings had full MMA rules, it could’ve been one of the best orgs ever, instead the fights almost need an asterisk next to them.

  2. Rollo the Cat says:

    Sylvia v Vera is a perfectly good match. Vera is not much of an unknown. He was set for the title match with Sylvia before the managerial problems. He had several impressive wins on PPV before that. I was actually hoping to see this or maybe Vera v Werdum. What does Sylvia gain? I would say Tim finally gains respectability if he beats a fighter of that quality.

    The UFC isn’t going to feed Tim Carmello Morerra, so he has to step up against a quality opponent. Vera is as good a match up as he will get in the current UFC HW division.

  3. Jonathan says:

    I am going to concur and any fight that Sylvia loses is going to be good for the UFC…especially given that he will be losing to a man named “Brandon Vera.” For whatever the reason, Brandon Vera being a good heavyweight is good for the UFC.

  4. Zach Arnold says:

    I’ll distill my point more clearly here…

    Sylvia wins against Vera = little or no benefit with the casual UFC fans.

    Sylvia loses = potentially dog-track time for him and his career.

    If I’m his agent, I *do not* want this fight to happen.

    As for Vera… he beats Sylvia, excellent for him.

  5. Jordan Breen says:

    Zach, I really thought if you focused on anything in that article, it would be GCM and their boner for the Unified Rules.

    As for Vera-Sylvia, there are far worse fights Sylvia could take. Vera is still just about as good of a prospect as heavyweight MMA has, and so there is some hardcore dap to be earned on Tim’s part should he win. There are some guys that I can see manager’s wanting to avoid like the plague, like a Jake O’Brien-type, but I don’t think Vera is one of them. I think Vera has enough dap from hardcore fans and recognizability from your medium-level UFC consumers to make it a worthwhile venture.

    Also, RINGS rules were atrocious, and their judging was more atrocious insofar as their standards made no sense. Easily the worst judging ever. Henderson-Nogueira 1 was jawdropping shit, Overeem got robbed twice against Kotchkine, and it can’t be stated enough that despite fights typically going to an extension round in the event of a draw, Henderson won the Babalu fight by majority draw to become the first King of Kings.

  6. Zach Arnold says:

    As for Vera-Sylvia, there are far worse fights Sylvia could take. Vera is still just about as good of a prospect as heavyweight MMA has, and so there is some hardcore dap to be earned on Tim’s part should he win.

    Tim Sylvia just came off of an embarassing loss to Randy Couture in March. He needs to repair his image with the masses, not with the hardcore fans. If I’m his agent, why the hell would I care what hardcore writers or fans think when I need to pick fights that can build Tim’s credibility upwards with the mainstream audience?

    Vera would be going in at 220-230 pounds, whereas Sylvia could be 280 or higher after making weight. The last thing Sylvia needs is an opponent that is going to make him have to formulate a boring game plan, which is exactly the type of plan Sylvia would need to beat Vera. That’s a one-way trip to Dana’s doghouse, and Tim’s been there plenty of times with boring fights. He needs to face an opponent that will allow him to win in exciting fashion.

  7. Rollo the Cat says:

    “He needs to face an opponent that will allow him to win in exciting fashion.”

    Zach, who exactly would that be? I don’t think the UFC feels like they owe Sylvia anything. He can demand Christian Wellisch, but I don’t see Joe Silva giving in to that demand. He is stuck with the top guys as potential opponents.

    I also don’t know if he should or would use the same boring game plan against Vera that he did against Arlovski. It wouldn’t work against Brandon anyway. He isn’t keeping him off him with that jab of his.

    I think you are underestimating Vera’s name recognition with the casual fan. Unless you mean the people who only know Chuck and Randy and a few TUF guys. In that case, everyone he could face is an unknown and a loss to any of them would mar his reputation.

  8. Zach Arnold says:

    UFC doesn’t owe Tim Sylvia anything. His agent and marketing representation, however, certainly do. Let’s hope they look out for his best interests.

  9. ukiro says:

    I’ve found absolutely NOTHING about Nordstrand in Swedish media yet, which normally loves to sink its teeth in this sort of story. I guess his fighting style is so boring that even the tabloids don’t care any more.

  10. Ernest Helwig says:

    Yeah, I Read On The Companion that GCM is Adopting Unified Rules.. Crazy. Also Riki Fukuda Vs. Joey Villasenor!!! Now Thats A Fight I Want to See.

  11. 45 Huddle says:

    Randy Couture’s comments makes me think that he doesn’t see too much use of drugs, at least in his camp…. And that is why he is surprised at the recent roid positives.

  12. Tim Sylvia’s agent will be responsive to Tim Sylvia’s wishhes – I don’t think Sylvia would even want a fight with the Dan Christionsons of the world. He wants to be the best.

  13. JThue says:

    What does Sylvia gain from beating Vera? What did Gonzaga gain from beating Filipovic? Then multiply it a time or two since the fans already know Sylvia. All they need is a couple of video packages on(the very charismatic) Vera to refresh some memories, and he’ll be a formidable, even favored opponent in most every casual’s eyes. This man was after all the undisputed top contender not even a year ago, touted as the official Sylvia Slayer, whereas Sylvia just got outboxed by a sixty year old two feet tall wrestler in his last fight.

    The times of easy fights in the UFC HW-division are for the most part over, and if Timmy’s agent was supposed to sit out for a can he might have had to wait for a while – nevermind a loss there would be far more damaging than one to Vera and the upside virtually non-existent(unless Timmy is in desperate need of a confidence boost – which I’m sure his agent knows more about than we do).

    Tim Sylvia has a good chance of beating Vera, and this fight was supposed to happen earlier this year anyway, so from a booking standpoint it of course makes complete sense. It also has a better on paper chance of being entertaining than Sylvia’s most recent fights(notwithstanding hindsight being a bitch in the Couture-fight).

    Mir, Arlovski, Herring and Werdum would all have been worse opponents in terms of both up/downside for TS and potential entertainment value IMO. If the UFC do even a half way decent job of marketing this fight(if it indeed is signed it shouldn’t take much to hype it up on the potentially weak Oct/Nov cards), the winner will naturally come out as a top contender in 2008. If Sylvia should lose, then that is the time to put him against lower level competition. To say there is no upside for Sylvia against Vera is to underestimate Vera’s previous status, the current up-for-grabs-state of the HW-division, the UFC promo-machinery, and indeed to overestimate Sylvia’s current status. A win will do good things for either man.

    This is a crucial time in the UFC HW division. I’m sure Sylvia wants his belt back, and assuming that is the motivation, this is the quickest way back into contention right now. If he were to take it easy now, it only gives the likes of Crop Cop, Arlovski, Werdum and Nogueira one more chance to establish themselves ahead of Timmy in the pecking order. From a marketing standpoint this is exactly the right thing to do – try to sneak in quick before the WALL is established and makes it all the more difficult to impress, get title shots and make money. It’s a gamble, but anything will be at this point. In the end, to 1. lose to Vera + 2. fight a can won’t do much more damage than just going straight to the can and giving others the chance to impress in the meantime. From a financial standpoint, a win over Vera will also secure longevity for Sylvia as a top fighter even if he should lose his next two fights. He would not have that if he were to beat a nobody and then lose. The upside is very likely there(and most definitely not “non whatsoever”), and it’s also a case of getting on the boat before it’s too late. Plus, who knows what Silva/White will promise these two in negotiating this fight – both in terms of financial benefits on the night and the next fight for the winner.

  14. Jason Gatties says:

    I think Mr.Arnold, trying to play know it all again, is under estimating just how many “casual fans” know of Brandon Vera. I believe at this point, most of your “casual fans” probably know who most of the fighters are. Vera began to hit big around the same time Chuck blew up on the mainstream.

    At what point do we all just become fans rather than “OG” or “Hardcore” or “TUF” or “Casual”???

  15. Sam Scaff says:

    I agree. Vera vs. Silvia is a perfectly good matchup. Excellent, perhaps.

  16. JThue, you’re really overthinking all this. Remember, in the long run, we are all dead. It’s kind of an economic truism that has guided the UFC’s business policies in the past.

  17. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    When would this Vera vs. Sylvia matchup happen?

    If Vera has a new contract, then you’d think UFC would want to get him into the cage sooner rather than later, and Sylvia is one of the guys who came down with staph. Depending on how that goes, he may not be able to get back to training for several weeks, then he would probably want to train for a couple months to get back in fight condition.

    I don’t think that Sylvia would try to dodge out of the matchup if it was scheduled earlier, but he certainly wouldn’t be in peak condition.

  18. Fred says:

    There’s nothing wrong with a Sylvia/Vera fight. It’s really what was supposed to happen in March, before Brandon’s manager screwed things up. It’s a challenging fight between 2 top contenders. There should be no complaints at all on this one.

  19. JThue says:

    Aaron: Overwriting perhaps. It didn’t take much thought power 😉

  20. Smoogy says:

    TheFightNetwork is reporting that Gomi’s PRIDE deal runs out in September, at which point he is almost certain to sign with Hero’s.

  21. Euthyphro says:

    As far as making the most of his star power, that’s where he belongs. Here, among non-hardcores, he is at best the guy who got beaten down by Nick Diaz.

  22. K. Fabe says:

    Count me among those who thinks Zach is missing the boat on Vera-Sylvia.

  23. Jordan Breen says:

    “At what point do we all just become fans rather than “OG” or “Hardcore” or “TUF” or “Casual”???”

    Never, really. Those kind of labels, however annoying, have their purpose when it comes to describing public interest. Like, there is a reason some UFC PPVs creep just under a million buys, and a reason that some get half of that. And it’s nothing unique to MMA, same goes in boxing, probably even on a grander scale with more fights happening globally.

    Anyway, as someone whose UFC watching experiences are spent with a diverse crop of people, I’d say that Vera has some middle of the road exposure to your average UFC fans. I watched 65 at a big party, and a lot of the dudes there were your garden variety newjack UFC fans, and they were exciting for him to fight Mir, and were pumped when he jacked him. They also hated Sylvia, and Sylvia’s heel heat transcends a bit to your more casual fans who may only buy a UFC PPV when they see Randy, Chuck or Tito fighting. The fight doesn’t offer the biggest reward for Sylvia, but it’s not a terrible idea, either.

  24. 45 Huddle says:

    Also the reason why anything not with a “UFC PPV” label gets a maximum of 30,000 PPV Buys, including Pride with some of their stacked cards.

  25. Jeff Gass says:

    The big danger I see in the Sylvia – Vera fight (for the UFC) that I see is if Sylvia wins.

    They are risking a hot young prospect who is undefeated against one of the most reviled fighters in MMA today. Unfortuneately for Vera, Sylvia is a very effective fighter who may just beat him. Why would UFC risk Vera this way? They need to build him up to star level with a few increasingly risky fights, not throw him to the dogs after he has been out for so long.

    I thought the idea here was to create starts to push the sport forward? Vera could be one of those stars.


  26. PizzaChef says:

    I wouldn’t mind seeing Vera fight Tim Sylvia. Speaking of dog tracks, maybe Dana is booking it, hoping that it will kill Tim’s career. Tim was one of the worst champions in UFC history, period. And I don’t blame Dana one bit for wanting to kill off his career.

    Of course Pat Miletich will probably spaz and say Dana has something against MFS.

  27. 45 Huddle says:

    The UFC’s official website announced that Wanderlei Silva has signed with the UFC. They also sent out a mass emailing announcing this as well. Giving Silva the royal treatment.


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