July 23, 2009

Fightin' Words has a new ring

Fight fans,

Fightin' Words has a new home for its mixed martial arts blog. So click over to http://www.newsday.com/fightinwords and update your bookmarks and feeds. See you in the new blog.

It may take a minute or two to load in the first day or so while we work out all the bugs. But keep trying please.

July 13, 2009

A little Gina Carano never hurt anyone


(EliteXC photo)

Strikeforce is in New York this week to promote its Aug. 15 card, including the fight between Gina Carano and Cris "Cyborg" Santos in San Jose on Showtime.

There's a press conference for Carano and Cyborg at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, July 14 at 2:30 p.m. EDT. (It will be streamed live at strikeforce.com)

But on Monday morning, Carano stopped by WFAN's Boomer & Carton show again to talk about mixed martial arts and some other goodies.

>> Listen to Gina Carano interview on Boomer & Carton

July 12, 2009

Dan Henderson did nothing wrong at UFC 100

There seems to be some sentiment floating around the MMA Internet world that Dan Henderson did something wrong when he landed that second flying right hand to Michael Bisping's face at UFC 100 in Las Vegas on Saturday night.

Let's be clear here: Dan Henderson did nothing wrong.

He did exactly what every fighter is supposed to do: Fight until the bell rings or the referee steps in to stop the bout.

Henderson knocked Bisping out with a right hand that rendered Bisping unconscious before he even hit the mat. As Bisping hit the canvas, Henderson landed a flying right to Bisping's face.

A second later, referee Mario Yamasaki came flying in to end the fight with 1:42 left in the second round.

The only reason people are complaining is because of what Henderson said in the in-ring interview afterward when Joe Rogan asked if he knew Bisping was out cold after the first punch.

"Normally, I'm not that way in fights," Henderson said. "I know if the guy is out, I tend to stop. I knew I hit him out. I think that one was just to shut him up a bit."

Henderson and Bisping coached against each other on Season 9 of "The Ultimate Fighter" and didn't exactly become BFFs. Bisping kept the talking up during the pre-fight hype.

At the post-fight press conference, UFC president Dana White said Henderson told him he was just kidding when the two spoke after the fight.

Jokes or not, Henderson shouldn't be condemned for his actions. Henderson did what all fighters do. He pounced on a fallen opponent until the fight was stopped. Rashad Evans did the same thing after he laid out Chuck Liddell. The only difference was the referee got there in time to prevent a second devastating punch.

Based on the televised fight, Yamasaki wasn't close enough to the action when Henderson landed that devastating right hand. Of course, that is based on what we saw on television, since that's the only point of view I had. If I were in Mandalay Bay for the fights, perhaps I'd have seen his exact positioning. Plus, no matter how close or far Yamasaki was, it takes a second or two to cover ground and get in there to stop the fight.

Just to be clear here, no one is hanging this on Yamasaki at all. It's not his fault, either. It's no one's fault. It's just one of those things. Henderson blasted Bisping. Twice.


>> UFC 100 photos
>> Watch UFC 100 live video stream of post-fight press conference

Next logical question: Brock Lesnar vs. Fedor Emelianenko?

And someone posed that question at the UFC 100 post-fight press conference.

Here's what UFC president Dana White had to say about a Brock Lesnar-Fedor Emelianenko heavyweight super fight:

"This whole Fedor thing that has been going on and on and on and on, I keep saying this and that about him, and he keeps waiting. Eventually Fedor's going to be here. I want Fedor. I want him to come to the UFC . . . and we'll end up getting that deal done, and we'll have Brock vs. Fedor and it'll be a huge fight."

Any time frame?

"He's obviously contractually obligated to fight [with Affliction]," White added. "Once that's over, we'll figure it out."

That would be a rather interesting fight watch, don't you think?

>> WATCH: UFC 100 post-fight press conference
>> VOTE: Brock Lesnar's next opponent?
>> SEE: UFC 100 photos

UFC 100: So, about that bloodied Octagon

My initial reaction took less than one second to process in my brain. As soon the Octagon was shown on pay-per-view at the start of the Yoshihiro Akiyama-Alan Belcher fight at UFC 100, I wondered what the heck happened during the undercard to produce such a bloodied canvas.

This thing looked like an empty dish of pasta you left on the counter overnight instead of rinsing off and putting in the dishwasher. There were dried-up red stains all over that thing.

Since I was at Radio City Music Hall for the UFC 100 viewing party -- great place to watch the fights, by the way -- I couldn't really research whose DNA was all over that mat. But a contact in the UFC said it belonged to Mac Danzig and Stephan Bonnar.

Danzig lost to Jim Miller, and Bonnar lost to Mark Coleman. Um, I think they may need a blood transfusion. Have a look at these photos:

Stephan Bonnar . . .

Mac Danzig . . .

(Getty Images)

>> See more UFC 100 photos

UFC 100: Jon Fitch vs. Paulo Thiago

I usually get slightly perturbed when these swing bouts follow the main event. The main event is supposed to be just that: the main event. The last fight of the night. The showstopper.

I understand how and why they happen, but it's still very anti-climactic.

The crowd is almost always asleep after the main events. There is rarely any energy in the arena for these swing bouts. A good portion of the crowd here at Radio City left after the Brock Lesnar-Frank Mir fight.

Sometimes, we're lucky enough to see a great fight. Other times, not so much.

Jon Fitch and Paulo Thiago's welterweight bout at UFC 100 was somewhere in between. Nothing too spectacular at all. In fact, the bout -- a unanimous decision victory for Fitch (23-3) -- was sort of boring. Had it happened before the main events, it might have been more intriguing to watch and appreciate the groundwork. Fitch won the bout, 30-27, 29-28, 29-28.

This is not a slight on Thiago (11-1) or Fitch. Not in the least.

The issue is after driving a Lamborghini for a few hours, how do you get behind the wheel of a Chevy Lumina?

>> UFC 100 photos
>> Watch UFC 100 live video stream of post-fight press conference

UFC 100: Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir


(Getty Images)

Brock Lesnar wanted no part of the customary pre-fight touching of the gloves. He decided to leave all the glove-touching to his Mir's face.

The UFC heavyweight champion defended his title with a second-round TKO of Mir at UFC 100. The crowd at Mandalay Bay didn't seem too happy with Lesnar's winning. They booed him like crazy, even during the post-fight interview in the cage with Joe Rogan.

"Yeah, keep going, keep going," he yelled to the crowd, reverting back to his WWE days. "I'm going to go home, I'm going to drink a Coors light. That's a Coors light," he said, pointing to the Bud Light logo in the Octagon, "because Bud Light won't pay me nothing."

Great quotes.

Lesnar (4-1) got Mir (12-4) to the ground early in the first round and then lay his montrous 265-pound plus body on him. He landed some heavy shots to Mir's face periodically. Exciting to watch? No. Powerful and dominating? Yes.

To open the second round, Lesnar knocked Mir to the ground, then let him right back up. Mir landed a good shot or two, then while in close quarters up against the Octagon, he attempted a flying knee. Mir landed the shot slightly, but fell to the ground afterward.

That proved to be Mir's downfall.

Lesnar kept Mir pinned to the ground up against the cage and unloaded with that cement block he calls a right hand until referee Herb Dean stopped the fight.

Whatever your opinions are of Lesnar, it's hard to argue his presence in the ring is anything other than overwhelming.

The scene inside Radio City: Stunned and angry and quiet. They don't seem to like Lesnar. Well, some of them at least. In fact, when Lesnar flipped the bird to the crowd at Mandalay Bay, some in the crowd here at Radio City flipped it back.


>> UFC 100 photos
>> Watch UFC 100 live video stream of post-fight press conference.

July 11, 2009

UFC 100: Georges St-Pierre takes down Thiago Alves again and again and again


(AP Photo)

Georges St-Pierre is the great neutralizer of MMA. He can do anything he wants to do in the Octagon, but more importantly, he can make other fighters not do things.

GSP's supreme takedown skills kept Thiago Alves at bay with his standup at UFC 100, and St-Pierre successfully defended his welterweight championship at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Two judges scored the fight, 50-45, and the third judge scored it 50-44 as St-Pierre won the unanimous decision.

GSP (19-2) controlled the first round, scoring three takedowns of Alves (22-5). He did the same in the second round, only this time, GSP was more aggressive with the ground and pound. He landed punches and elbows that opened up Alves' nose and right eye.

In the third round, St-Pierre once again dominated Alves. For good measure, he landed a right hand that dropped Alves to the floor with about 45 seconds left.

In the fourth round, Alves managed to get GSP on his back for about 1 minute and 15 seconds and landed a few punches. But once back on his feet, GSP caught an Alves leg kick, punched him in the face and took him down again.

In the fifth round, well, by now you know the deal. GSP took down Alves. Then, GSP took down Alves.

All that, and GSP claims he injured his groin in the third round.

It's GSP's world, people. The rest of us just live in it, and that's only because he's a nice guy.

How much longer until we get to see GSP vs. Anderson Silva?

Joe Rogan asked the question in the post-fight interview. "When I fight, I do it for a challenge," GSP said. What better challenge than the top two pound-for-pound fighters in the world?

The scene inside Radio City: They're in love with GSP here in NYC. Not like in Montreal, of course. The crowd sat patiently, almost mesmerized, as they watched GSP systematically pick apart Alves.

Don't let the video thumbnail below fool you. GSP's post-fight interview is after the Lesnar quotes

>> UFC 100 photos
>> Watch UFC 100 live video stream of post-fight press conference

UFC 100: Dan Henderson flattens Michael Bisping


(Getty Images)

From a television viewing standpoint on "The Ultimate Fighter," Michael Bisping was better than Dan Henderson. Bisping was charismatic as coach of Team UK. Henderson was pretty bland as coach of Team USA.

But that's just on television. Inside the Octagon, at UFC 100, oh my God!

Henderson absolutely blasted Bisping in the face with a right hand that knocked out the Brit and left him motionless in the Octagon midway through the second round of their middleweight bout. It earned Henderson a $100,000 bonus for Knockout of the Night.

Henderson (25-7) throw an ineffective left inside leg kick, Bisping circled to his left, which just so happens to be Henderson's strong side. Henderson threw a loaded right hand that will have Bisping (18-2) asking what happened weeks after watching the videotape of the fight. Then, just for fun, Henderson

"That's what he does every fight," Henderson said. "He always circles to his left and I didn't think that would be a smart idea against me."

With Bisping flat on his back, Henderson landed a flying right hand square to Bisping's face before referee Mario Yamasaki could get in there to stop the fight.

"That one was to shut him up a bit," Henderson said.

Wow, what a knockout! We'll be seeing that one again and again on the "Knockouts 2009" DVD. While I reserve final judgment until second and third reviews, right now, I'm saying this knockout was better than Rashad Evans' flattening of Chuck Liddell.

Henderson controlled the first round with a few punching flurries. Bisping held his own, but in the last minute or so, Henderson got him in the clinch and landed knees at will.

The scene inside Radio City: It is about as anti-England as New York City has been since the American Revolution and the War of 1812. The crowd has been against Bisping since the doors opened at 8 p.m. The crowd of more than 2,100 all jumped to their feet after the knock out and began the "U-S-A!" chant.


>> Dan Henderson did nothing wrong at UFC 100
>> UFC 100 photos
>> Watch UFC 100 live video stream of post-fight press conference

UFC 100: Yoshihiro Akiyama robs Alan Belcher


(Getty Images)

Yoshihiro Akiyama made middleweight his debut inside the Octagon at UFC 100 in Las Vegas. And that's about all we can say about that except Alan Belcher just got robbed!

Akiyama (13-1) won a split decision. How that happened, I have no idea. No way he did enough to win the fight, let alone all three rounds, as one judge scored it. Another scored it 29-28 in favor of the Japanese import, while the third judge gave the fight to Belcher, 29-28. As did Fightin' Words (which of course doesn't mean much beyond this blog.)

Belcher (13-5) landed leg kicks at will in the second round, which was a change from the first round when he blasted Akiyama in the nether regions with a left leg kick. Inadvertently, of course, but tell that to Akiyama's nether regions!

Akiyama's left eye was swollen shut by the end of the fight.

Overall, I thought Akiyama made a decent debut in the UFC. Nothing too spectacular. I don't understand why he kept the fight on his feet so much. If he's supposed to be a judo superstar in Japan, shouldn't he do more than just throw punches? The few times he exhibited such skills, he looked good, especially in his escapes.

The scene inside Radio City: It was a pretty neutral crowd for this fight. All the fans wanted was to see each fighter punch and kick. They got what they wanted.

4:07 a.m. UPDATE: Ha! Just watched the post-fight press conference and Dana White said "I wasn't 100 percent sure of the decision, you know what I mean, but I think it was a tough fight to score, too." Still, each fighter earned $100,000 for Fight of the Night.

>> UFC 100 photos
>> Watch UFC 100 live video stream of post-fight press conference

UFC 100: What the heck happened on the undercard?

While Yoshihiro Akiyama recovers from that massive groin kick from Alan Belcher, I can't help but wonder what the heck went on during the undercard at UFC 100.

The Octagon is bloodier than I have ever seen it before. It looks like several people got their heads punched in and then were dragged around the Octagon. Twice. Thrice.

Can't wait to read what happened later on after the pay-per-view card.

>> UFC 100 photos
>> Watch UFC 100 live video stream of post-fight press conference

Nice work, UFC!

Before every UFC event goes live on pay-per-view, they play an amazing montage of past knockouts, takedowns and other fight scenes in the arena that hosts the event.

It's set to "Teenage Wasteland" and is just about the best pre-fight hype machine you could have.

Driving into Manhattan tonight for the UFC 100 viewing party at Radio CIty Music Hall, I wondered if they'd play it here. They did. Nice!

>> UFC 100 photos
>> Watch UFC 100 live video stream of post-fight press conference

UFC 100: New York will always be New York

With each flip flop in the New York State Senate, the state of mixed martial arts becoming legal in the state teeters on the edge. Will they get to vote on this piece of legislation before the session ends? Who knows?

Whatever happens, though, one thing remains true: New York will always be New York.

Whenever a fan stepped to the microphone to pose a question to Frankie Edgar or Matt Hamill during the Q&A session at the UFC 100 viewing party at Radio City Music Hall, that fan would state his or her name and hometown.

Then, a three-second pause.

Why?

Because this is New York and when someone shouts out their town in public, they expect others to join in the fun.

"Hey, I'm Tony from Brooklyn . . . "

One. Two. Three.

"Woooooooooooooo!" chanted the Brooklynites in the crowd.

". . . My question is for Frankie . . . "

The fans from New Jersey caught a few boos -- OK, more than a few boos -- but the kid who claimed to have driven up from Chattanooga, Tenn., drew a nice ovation, most likely because he said the ride was fine "until I got to New Jersey. New Jersey killed me."

Too bad most of the questions asked were pretty lame.


UFC 100 photos
>> Watch UFC 100 live video stream of post-fight press conference

Fightin' Words open for business at Radio City UFC 100 party

They were lined up along up and down 50th Street, and around the corner on 6th Avenue at 7:30 p.m. just to wait to get into Radio City Music Hall for the UFC 100 viewing party.

And the fights don't even start until 10 p.m.!

Initial expectations hover around 2,500 fans to be in attendance at Radio CIty to watch the fights. In the mean time, Matt Hamill and Frankie Edgar are downstairs signing autographs at a meet-and-greet with fans. The Q&A with these UFC fighters starts at 8:45 p.m.

Fightin' Words has primo real estate in the crowd -- front row of the second section on the left, with a right aisle seat. Basically, I've got an awesome, unobstructed view of the 70-foot wide HD screen to live blog UFC 100 for you. And my angle of view is perfect in terms of not having to worry about any future neck pain. But you don't care about that, you care about the fights. So do I.

Let's hope my laptop battery lasts through the night.

>> UFC 100 photos
>> Watch UFC 100 live video stream of post-fight press conference.

UFC 100 video interview with Michael Bisping

Gareth A. Davies of The Telegraph in the UK interviewed Michael Bisping in the days leading up to his UFC 100 fight against Dan Henderson.

The camera work is sketchy, but the words being said on the camera are pretty good. Give it a look below, and if you wish to read Davies' story on Bisping, you should click that link I just gave you.

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