Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Drago Steps Up

Serra-Longo middleweight and UFC veteran Pete "Drago" Sell recently spent time with a high-school wrestler battling cancer. Read more about it here.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Straight from the Shark's Mouth

Sean Sherk has been obstreperous in denying the steroid allegations that have plagued him since this summer, but I'm not wholly convinced that he's innocent. In fact, I'm not at all convinced.

In an interview before his UFC 73 fight with Hermes Franca, Sherk spoke about overcoming a shoulder injury that kept him sidelined for nearly a year:

"There was a lot of pressure I put on myself to get back sooner. I don’t like sitting on the sidelines. I’m a fighter. I don’t want to be the guy sitting on the couch watching all these other guys fight on TV and I’m eating potato chips. I want to get in there. I want to fight and defend my belt. I want to make some money. I want to train. I’m not used to sitting on the sidelines watching my training partners’ train, which I had to do unfortunately for eight-nine weeks. So I put a lot of pressure on myself to get back in there, get back in the gym and I spent a lot of time rehabbing. I was actually back on the mat 10 weeks after the surgery, which blew my physical therapist away."

Is it me, or doesn't this seem to be more like an excuse for taking steroids, rather than a flat-out denial? Sherk needed money; he needed to get out on the mat. I understand that. What I don't understand is exactly how he dealt with that pressure, and how, coincidentally, he tested positive for steroids.

Hermes Franca, who admitted to using banned substances, made an eerily similar statement after testing positive.

Am I crazy, or just a blatant BJ Penn fan?

The Worst Farts in MMA?

The following is an excerpt from the latest installment of a four-part series on IFL welterweight champ and Long Island native Jay Hieron:

"We had a lot of good times in the IFL, (Mike) Pyle and I. At one of the events we were at, the commission guys were watching us wrap our hands and everyone just started farting. Mike has the worst farts ever. Anyone who knows him knows that that is true. He should be in the Guiness Book of World Records for stinkiest farts. I’d bet my next purse that no one has worse farts. Bas had a towel over his face the whole time. It stank in that locker room. It got so bad at one point the commission guys had to leave the room. We were wrapping our hands with nobody watching. We could have put brass knuckles in our gloves. Of course we didn’t, we just wrapped our hands up right and went out and did our business."

That's amazing.

Arlovski and Patrycja Split; Game On

According to my man Andrei Arlovski's MySpace page, he and the lovely Patrycja are no longer. Both list themselves as "Single," and both seem to have taken down pictures of one another.

Come to think of it, she is my type...

Monday, February 4, 2008

Happy Birthday, Andrei Arlovski!!!

The big guy turns 29 today, and in tribute of one of my absolute favorites of all time, I'm wearing my Arlovski Team Pitbull t-shirt. No, I'm not kidding.

It's been an action-packed past twelve months for the former champ. He earned a decision win over the highly touted Fabricio Werdum, appeared on The Jerry Springer show, launched a series of signature LCD televisions, and left his fans (both of us) wondering where the hell he's been.

Speaking of which, it looks like Arlovski will return to the UFC cage next month at UFC 82 when he will face Jake O'Brien...as part of the undercard.
Happy Birthday, champ.

Monday, January 14, 2008

An Inside Look at Matt Hughes' "Made in America": Part III

In the closing chapters, Hughes devotes a few lines (and nothing more) to his fights with Frank Trigg, BJ Penn, and Georges St-Pierre. If you’ve seen the fights, you can skip right over these pages. He also talks about doing The Ultimate Fighter, not wanting to fight his good buddy Rich Franklin, getting married, and beating up Royce Gracie. Again, if you’re up on your MMA, you’ve seen and heard it all before.

Hughes finds God and renews his faith as a Christian in the chapter appropriately named “The Sublime and the Ridiculous.” Hughes walks us through his listless spiritual quest and recreates for the reader the evolution of his faith. The conversations with Brian, a buddy from church, were not only self-serving, but also extremely predictable and at times laughable. It was as if he were writing a parable he’d later pass along.

Hughes talks about his admiration for Randy Couture, and how for a long time he wanted nothing to do with Randy after his divorce. Somehow, perhaps through the grace of God, Hughes mustered up the strength to not only say hello to Randy Couture, but to tell him that he’s ready to be Randy’s friend again. Hughes wrote: “I didn’t have to support divorce to support Randy Couture.” How very Christian of him.

As I sailed through the final pages of the book, I noticed that there’d been no mention of Hughes’ bad blood with Matt Serra. Hughes revisits the Serra-GSP fight, after which Hughes and Sean Sherk were captured on camera slapping each other on the back and laughing like schoolgirls. He describes that and nothing more. Serra’s well-articulated disdain for Hughes as a person has been almost contagious throughout the MMA world, and I expected Hughes to at least address his foul-mouthed, East-Coast antagonist, this time in print. Nope.

I’d also been hoping to read about Hughes’ departure from Miletich Fighting Systems. No such luck. In fairness, this book was probably finished by the time he left and took Robbie Lawler with him, so I’ll give him a pass. Then again, based on his cursory treatment of just about everything else in this book, I don’t see why he couldn’t have slipped in a little something.

Ultimately, Made in America falls short. The superficial recollections of boys being boys and the shallow account of Hughes’ championship journey left me unsatisfied. My biggest gripe is that there’s no real emotion in the book, especially when it comes to being a professional fighter. The stories involving Hughes and his wife, I thought, were told with such little regard that you wonder whether he had a smirk on his face when he wrote them.

I don’t know if I’ll ever really root for Matt Hughes in a fight. I don’t know that I want to. I don't think he's a bad guy; I think he's a brutal competitor who’s always looking to get dominant position on you. And it doesn’t really matter who you are.