***This week, the hilarious Stephan Bonnar and Forrest Griffin talk about their future and their initial impressions of the UFC, plus Josh Barnett talks about his role in the UFC.
Also, the son of a famous talk show host from the 90’s is now fighting MMA (and oddly enough it’s not Jerry Springer!)
And finally, Tim Sylvia and Phil Baroni are fighting in Asia, a boxing champion enters the MMA world as a potential threat to Ronda Rousey, and the time in the UFC is now 4:20! All this and much more, this week on Inside MMA Live! ***
Inside MMA Live on AXS.TV report by Steve Te Tai
Originally aired LIVE Friday, May 31 at 9pm EST on AXS.TV
Big Win for Olympic Wrestling
They talk about wrestling surviving the first cut this past week, and now wrestling competes with baseball, softball, and squash as potentials for the 2020 Olympics. Kenny characterizes this as wrestling now having a “decent shot” at making the 2020 Olympics, and the next step will be in December. Bill Scherr, chairman of the Committee to preserve Olympic Wrestling said via phone, this is comparable to a team that wins a playoff round, having a short time to celebrate but must quickly prepare for the next game. The next round being the finals will be a tougher fight, and their massive lobbying campaign must reach over a hundred different members of the IOC to convince them that wrestling should be the one provisional sport.
Actors Billy Baldwin and Mark Ruffalo have been part of this (no mention of Kurt Angle who was at that big New York event with Baldwin) movement, and they’ve asked the UFC for help as well. Bas feels that if spectators show up at the 2016 Olympics (the last scheduled event for wrestling) for the wrestling events and then they will re-consider cutting wrestling. Kenny says they’ve been changing rules around wrestling to increase its appeal and trying to get women involved as well. Kenny sees baseball as the biggest obstacle if they can get major leaguers in the Olympics, but as of now, that doesn’t appear to be happening.
President of the IOC, Dr. Jacque Rogge released a statement in reference to the various campaigns to save this event, that wrestling was taken by surprise when they first removed, but wrestling has definitely reacted well.
Kenny boils this down to 2-3 months ago wrestling not having a shot, and now they are in the game, but baseball and softball are the main competitors, particularly if baseball could get MLB involvement (which would basically create several “dream teams” and be a huge marketing opportunity for the Olympics).
One FC from the Philippines
--Tony “The Hulk” Johnson Jr. over Tim Sylvia via TKO from blood stoppage
--Nobutatsu Suzuki over Phil Baroni in 1st round TKO
--Former Dream champ, Bibiano Fernandes over Koetsu Okazaki via decision
--Koji Oishi over Honorio Banario via KO.
Stephan Bonnar & Forrest Griffin LIVE
Kenny explains how the Ultimate Fighter Finals on April 9, 2005 turned in the most important fight in MMA history, since that was the one that got people interested in MMA for the first time. Kenny says how Bonnar and Griffin are forever linked by that fight, and it is appropriate that they are retiring and being inducted into the UFC HOF at the same time. Bonnar and Griffin join us on the big screen from a gym in Las Vegas.
Bonnar recalls the first day of sparring on TUF, he and Forrest started out light, then one thing lead to another, and they each tell their versions of how things got out of hand, and how Bonnar ended up with a big cut from that exchange, and Bonnar worried Bobby Southworth would open it up and all sorts of other scenarios. Forrest was worried he might miss fights with Sam Hoger and others from that season due to various cuts and injuries too.
Years later, Bonnar is still surprised by everything that happened from the TUF finale to his entire career. He remembers when he first saw UFC in 1994, when this skinny little guy in a gi was choking everybody out and he, the Tae Kwon Do kid, couldn’t believe it. Then he fast forwards to college when he saw world class wrestler Randy Couture against explosive striker Vitor Belfort, who knew the same stuff that the “Gracie kid” knew, that matchup was unbelievable. That was the fight that made him want to be a fighter. At that time he never imagined he’d ever fight in the UFC, let alone be an important part of UFC history.
Forrest recalls the same Couture-Belfort show that got him into wanting to fight in the UFC too. Before that he only saw a “fat pro wrestler” in Dan Severn, to which Forrest points out that Severn made him pay for that belief, as Severn was his first ever pro-MMA fight. Forrest’s impression of Royce Gracie was a “skinny Mexican in pajamas” and didn’t even realize there was a South America at that point.
If he ever fights again he can’t say for sure, but he’s definitely retired from cutting weight, as they joke about how a Bonnar-Griffin III would have to be at heavyweight.
As for their HOF induction, Stephan Bonnar reveals that no one actually called to tell him, and Forrest busts out laughing because no one called him either and they both found out from Twitter. They both laugh.
The subject of how “HOF worthy” Stephan Bonnar is comes up, and Forrest points out that Bonnar is basically in for their TUF fight, and was in the right place at the right time, just like him, and he’ll take great timing over skill any day of the week.
Forrest adds, the HOF induction is cool, but a job with a steady check from the UFC is better. Bonnar says just being in the UFC was great enough and he’s so appreciative and loves being a part of it and the opportunities he had because of that.
Multiple-time Boxing champ, Holly Holm is full-time MMA now, training with Greg Jackson MMA. She is 3-0, all knockout, in Bellator so far with different types of strikes for those KO’s. She has signed a new deal with Legacy for future fights. She doesn’t want to always be defending takedowns, she wants to learn wrestling and jiu-jitsu and be well rounded and have an answer for everything. If she wanted to be a stand-up fighter she would’ve stayed in boxing.
--Montel Williams Jr. (1-1) RNC’d Jason Weyrich (0-0)
--21 year old, John Hackleman Jr over Andrew Lipp (Hackleman is the son of Liddell’s long time trainer John Hackleman Sr.) with a standing guillotine
UFC Rule Change
After months of speculation, the UFC has changed their stance on marijuana, tripling the number of MJ metabolites allowed. WADA recently raised it from 50 Nanograms to 150 which they are very much in favor of. While the athletic commissions around the US have their own rules for marijuana use, the UFC holds many events around the world in places that have no commissions so they utilize their own rules. The UFC will now modify their restrictions to match WADA’s change for those events.
Out with Cat, in with Cupcake
At the 11th hour, Cat Zingano tore her ACL, and is out of the TUF season 18 against Ronda Rousey. In her place will be Ronda Rousey’s arch-nemesis Miesha Tate. They show pictures that Cat Zingano posted of her surgery and hopes to be back to fight the winner of this UFC fight in nine months.
New UFC debut
James Krause signed with UFC after fighting for various AXS.TV broadcasted events. He will make his debut against UFC vet Sam Stout.
Nick Newell’s New Home
Nick Newell (one-armed fighter) has signed with World Series of Fighting with no opponent yet named. Nick includes non-exclusivity in every contract in case he should get an offer from the UFC. Kenny points out that Dana has told IMMA he never anticipates giving Newell a shot in the UFC. (I don’t remember that and I think that’s worth looking into. I don’t understand why he would dismiss any fighter so nonchalantly unless he’s comparing Newell to that fighter with no arms or legs as some sort of a carnival gimmick. Nick Newell, is not a true one-armed fighter, he’s just missing from mid-forearm down, and he’s proven to be a legitimate fighter, and Dana’s dismissiveness is just as annoying as when Dana dismissed women’s fighting for so many years because of his stubbornness and narrow mind.)
--A legitimate one-armed fighter Eugene London, who lost his arm from the shoulder at age 14, competes in MMA, and they showed a clip of London finishing Norm Robichaud with a series of kicks and left punches.
--Valdir Araujo over Alik Tseiko
--Robert Washington Luis Palomino
--Yasutaka Koga over Yuki Yasunaga from Pancrase in Japan.
--Boston Salmon beat Saul Rosales (Don’t think I’ve ever seen a fighter who sounds like a menu item, but it opens all sorts of opportunities for creative trash talk like why am I fighting Boston Salmon? Was Maine Lobster booked somewhere else? Or tonight in Las Vegas, you’re not the appetizer you’re the main entrée, and when I’m done devouring Boston Salmon I’ll wash it all down with some chianti and fava beans. F-f-f-f-f-f-f!)
Months ago after Ed West won his bout, he jumped up to embrace team member George Roop who met him on top of the cage and in his excitement to celebrate ended up giving cornerman Roop a Steiner Brothers style belly to belly superplex off the top of the cage. This past week, George Roop returned the favour when he won his fight and this time gave Ed West the Steiner Superplex from the top.
Bas Rutten with Josh Barnett
The Warmaster joins Bas outside the Nokia Plaza for an interview. 11 years later, Barnett is back in the UFC. With today’s MMA landscape and how the UFC is trying to build the heavyweight division to epic status, it made sense to him to try to get into the UFC. It just sort of fit. His manager handled all that stuff and he didn’t specify any other details of how the signing went down since he and Dana White have history.
After the Frank Mir fight in Milwaukee this summer, he has no idea what would be next other than they’ll keep lining up bodies and he’ll keep sending guys to the morgue. These days he’s been training with Matt Mitrione, Bobby Lashley, and a whole slew of guys. They don’t have a lot they just have the right people. He doesn’t anticipate training a Mir imitator, he’ll just train like he always does. Bas shows a graphic for Barnett, that since leaving UFC in 2002, he’s 19-5, 19 finishes from those fights, for 10 different promotions. Barnett calls himself a “MMA slut”.
Strength through MMA
Ron Kruck does a very nice follow up piece about Dr. Alex Constantinides. Dr. Alex is a well known MMA ring doctor out of Denver, and nearly two years ago he was involved in a horrible flash flooding accident that took the lives of his wife and all three of his daughters. Kruck interviews him about how he copes and how he’s leaned on the MMA world for support in dealing with his tragedy.
He has since established the “Never Alone Foundation” that promotes international adoption (all of his daughters were adopted from Asia) in honor of his fallen family. June 1 will be the first “family jam” to raise money for the international adoption community. For tickets or to donate money go to www.laurelsmessage.org
Josh Barnett joins them in the studio at the IMMA desk now. In one of the more gross scenes from MMA, last week at CFA 11, Sariano and Britto fought, and blood was literally squirting out of one of their heads, or as Schiavello said during commentary, that blood was pissing out of his head.
Barnett recalls his bloodiest fight was against Semmy Schilt and goes into detail about all the blood pouring out of his head in that bout back at UFC 32 in 2001, before “MMA existed”.
Upcoming AXS TV shows
--May 31 Legacy FC
--June 7 Titan Fighting Championships (Bobby Lashley)
--June 14 XFC 24
--June 21 RFA 8 (Sergio Pettis-Jeff Curran)
So like Bas always says, Godspeed and party on!
If you don’t get AXS.TV or missed the show, you can watch a replay on Tuesdays at 1am or you can see extended video highlights. You can also follow Inside MMA on Twitter and Facebook.