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February 26th chalkboard: Hasim Rahman in MMA, Yoshihiro Akiyama talks to Sankei Sports

By Zach Arnold | February 26, 2009

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  1. Sankei Sports interviewed Yoshihiro Akiyama on Wednesday to talk about his signing with UFC. He held up a piece of paper that had UFC’s press release on his signing (it was in English on top with “UFC inks Akiyama” and translated in Japanese on the bottom). Sankei Sports said that, “If Akiyama becomes UFC champion, a reward anywhere from 80,000,000 ~ 120,000,000Y for one match could be achieved.”
  2. Sherdog: Hasim Rahman heading to MMA — within months

    Gelke said that the 36-year-old Rahman is “quite serious about fighting in MMA” and they are currently in negotiations with several promotions, hoping to line up a debut fight sometime in the next 2-3 months. The ex-champ — whose boxing career went south after losing a rematch to Lennox Lewis — built a reputation on a big right hand in the sweet science, though he was also inconsistent and at times seemed to lack the impetus to get in shape.

    “He thought it would be an interesting thing. He’s seen Kimbo Slice fight on TV, and he’s like, ‘I’d like to fight some of these guys,’” said Gelke.

  3. Dan Hardy has a column here talking about his win last against Rory Markham at UFC 95. Setanta Sports has more on Mr. HGH InFusion and what’s next for him.
  4. The LA Times got their hands on a copy of the response from Georges St. Pierre’s camp in regards to vaseline usage and questions from the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
  5. Paul Kelly is planning on heading to the Lightweight division.
  6. AOL Fanhouse: You like? Heath Herring vs. Cain Velasquez booked for UFC’s upcoming Germany event.

Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 23 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

23 Responses to “February 26th chalkboard: Hasim Rahman in MMA, Yoshihiro Akiyama talks to Sankei Sports”

  1. 45 Huddle says:

    Akiyama’s payrate really shows two things.

    1. The UFC is very serious about penetrating the Asian Market. I have a feeling we will see them in Korea before we see them in Japan.

    2. It shows that the top fighters who can also draw get paid a lot of money, and much more then is reported by the athletic commission. We already knew this to an extent, but this is further proof.

    As for Cain vs. Heath…. Very good matchmaking. Cain should win this fight, and it gives him a win over a named opponent. I really like the way they have brought up both Cain & Carwin.

  2. Fluyid says:

    Rahman doesn’t have a good boxing style to make the transition with.

  3. Jim Allcorn says:

    As a lifelong boxer myself, as well as a martial artist, I’m of the school that believes that a well schooled, cross trained, athletic boxer can succeed in MMA at a high level.

    For instance, back in the early days of the UFC when Royce Cracie ruled, I always felt that the then prime Roy Jones Jr would have been the perfect foil for him, with his ( again, then ) mix of speed & power.

    But, a 36 year old, fat, slow, under-motivated Hasim Rahman is most definitely NOT a prime RJJ.
    Sure, he’ll probably knock out a few Ross Cliftons & Mike Bourke-types early on, maybe even someone as established as a Pat Smith down the line, but beyond that?

    Forget about it.

  4. 45 Huddle says:

    It would have to take the right type of boxer to still be successful. Guys like Hopkins or Calzaghe would likely not transition over well. Guys like Roy Jones Jr or even the Klitchko’s definitely would if they could pick up the grappling aspects and adapt their punching style to more of a kickboxing / Muay Thai style. And for Wlady and Vitali…. They were both kicboxers anyways, so I think they would be very good.

  5. Fluyid says:

    The only things I want to remember Rahman for are his smack talking after beating Lenox Lewis and that cantaloupe-sized knot on his head after Holyfield butted him.

  6. 45 Huddle says:

    According to MMAWeekly….

    Randy Couture vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC 101. Potentially in Portland, Oregon. Randy has accepted. Waiting on Nog. Can’t see why he wouldn’t.

    Should be a good fight.

  7. robthom says:

    He must be believing that Mass delusion in the boxing world that they’re still more talented than MMA fighters.
    But the good part is, we get to chew up and spit out another one.

    I can already hear the boxing pundits priming their excuses for when he gets his ass handed to him as if he was never a top contender.

    It is cool to see some of the boxing fraternity look past the artificial and, as far as I can tell, boxing promoted rivalry with MMA. But even when they try like roach, they still have trouble facing some facts, like roach.

    I actually like “rockman”, but he’s either being foolish or greedy to say that he wants to fight MMA now because he saw Kimbo.

    Cest la vie.
    Its only an ass whipping, it wont kill him.

  8. robthom says:

    Actually now that I’m thinking about it (just woke up), Dana did have a lot to do with fueling that rivalry also.
    That goodness he seems to have dropped that tired old bag these days.

  9. Alan Conceicao says:

    Rahman isn’t fighting because of some delusion that he can legitimately compete, its that there is more money in him in MMA right now than in boxing because of what he did there.

  10. Ivan Trembow says:

    Heath Herring has no takedown defense + Cain Velasquez has devastating ground and pound = Cain Velasquez beats Heath Herring

  11. samscaff says:

    Cain vs. Herring is NOT “very good” matchmaking. Oh wait…its 45 commenting on the UFC…of course its VERY GOOD.

    This matchmaking is standard, at best. Nothing special. Its not brain surgery. You put up-and-comers in matches with way-over-the-hill fighters who used to be good and developed a name. They have been doing this in boxing for the last 90+ years. Rocky Marciano vs. Joe Louis, Larry Holmes vs. Muhammad Ali.

    Nothing new. Stop hugging.

  12. Jim Allcorn says:

    Yeah, I have to agree with Sam here.

    At this point, the only real interest in a Cain – Heath bout is whether or not the young up & comer can finish Herring where his compatriots O’Brien & Lesner were unable to …

  13. robthom says:

    Well, rahman is pretty much a hardcore lunk from what I heard. And Tim sylvia was never a martial artist, just big as all outside.

    Maybe rahman can do it in the HW’s with his size just standing.
    At least He’s got more coming in as far as pro fighting experience than sylvia did.

    But since that experience is standing straight up in the pocket without worrying about everything else, will that actually be more of a detriment than a green outlook?

    He was never that great of a boxer IMO, so maybe ironically that might turn out to be his asset for a transition to another sport.

  14. Alan Conceicao says:

    Sylvia developed decent takedown defense, Rahman won’t even bother with that. I see him beating a couple crappy fighters in possibly fixed fights before losing to Yoshida in Japan.

  15. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    Cain needs to prove himself. Herring is a UFC t10 HW (7) and roughly in the same class as Gonzaga and Couture. I don’t think we’re getting a number one contender out of this fight, but Cain’s no where near deserving that yet. I’m still not recovered from rocketing Lesnar from the cradle to the crown, so I’d prefer they take Cain slower.

  16. robthom says:

    I agree unfortunately Conceicao.
    I figure he’s really just looking for a few bucks off his name value.
    Hence “when I saw Kimbo”.

    So be it.

    There’s room for the Kimbo’s and giant Silvas of the sport, either in Japan or “Midwest Parking Lot in the Cage”.

  17. Jim Allcorn says:

    Oh, I’ve no doubt that there will be a market for Rahman. Maybe even a bigger one than we think, considering that he’s a relatively recent two time titlist & a perenial top ten contender that just fought THE best heavyweight in the sport in a champinship fght. So, he’s a part of the current scene. Not some older, spent fighter coming out of retirement for a quick desperate grab at some $$$.

    In fact, now that I’ve had a day to think about it, if I were Tom Atencio, I might give some serious thought to putting off the Barnett bout & booking Rahman vs Fedor right away for Affliction III. ‘Cause I think it would sell. Big time.
    Especially after how people saw Arlovski dominate early on with superior boxing. It won’t take much of a leap of faith for many to believe that Rahman would have a legit chance.

    As for it being Rahman’s MMA debut, so what?
    Hong Man Choi was only 1-0 when he met Fedor a year ago, so …

    Based on the world class boxing vs MMA match up, the personalities involved & the curiosity factor, I think this thing would sell itself on PPV. Especially with Golden Boy as a partner putting a good title fight on as a part of the undercard. Shane Mosley, perhaps?

    I think a PPV like that would do major UFC-like numbers.

    Any thoughts?

  18. samscaff says:

    I do agree that the Fedor-Rahman card could do decent PPV numbers (though not UFC numbers, but the fallout would be enormous when Fedor subbed him in 15 seconds.

    Ultimately, it would hurt the promotion, who already appears to be hurting already. When you put on a show every 6 months, they really need to be top-flight, not gimmicky like Rahman-Fedor would be.

  19. Jim Allcorn says:

    Well, I’m shocked Sam.

    For someone who’s moniker is one & the same as that of a truly legendary West Virginia State Heavyweight Boxing Champion, one would think you’d give Rahman a better shot than that …
    I mean, 15 seconds? C’mon! LOL

    Seriously though, it could very well end that soon in Fedor’s favor, but there’s also a (VERY) slim shot that Rahman’s skills with his hands could give Fedor trouble like Arlovski’s did & an even (MUCH) slimmer chance that he could shock the world again by landing the same right hand that put Lennox Lewis to sleep almost a decade ago.

    Either way, it would be a less than one round contest assured. But, that would be a big part of the selling point.
    It’s gimmicky for sure, but no combat sports enthusiast can deny that they’ve always wanted to see what would happen if you put an elite level boxer in with an elite level MMA fighter. It’s been debated about since UFC 1.

    Yep, I’ll agree that we do indeed have a very good idea of how things would end up & it’s not encouraging news for Rahman. But, Rahman’s not an Art Jimmerson or a Melton Bowen.
    Though to be honest, he’s also no longer a real elite level heavyweight any longer. It’s not as if he’s one of the Klitschkos making a move into MMA. Far from it.
    But, he’s the closest thing to a top notch boxer with a big name that’s made a commitment to entering the MMA world & I think Affliction should at least entertain the idea of making him a part of their next main event against Fedor.
    It’s an opportunity that might not come around again any time soon.

  20. Alan Conceicao says:

    Rahman would tap the second he was on his back with Fedor, or for that matter, anyone. I’ll be shocked if he’s not in Japan by the end of the year fighting for DREAM or WVR.

  21. RIS says:

    Rahman won’t bring any cross-over boxing fans and everyone else would just see it as a freakshow, Affliction and Fedor would just look really bad.

    Rahman has no boxing fans and he has been washed up since getting knocked out in 2006. This year he quit against Toney and didn’t even try against Klitchko, and he was only there as a last minute substitute.

  22. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    Why would Affliction or Fedor look really bad if he was booked in a freakshow? Freakshows are his bread and butter, and Affliction’s fanbase seems to have a higher proportion of self-identifying Pride fans than your average promotion. You’re selling people what they want and what they expect.

  23. samscaff says:

    Please tell me that was a joke.

    Pride happened to put on freakshows, yes. They also happened to put on the highest quality, highest level matchups in all weight classes from 2000 to about 2007…while UFC was the real joke of a promotion. Funny how times change and history gets re-written.


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