***This week, a big interview with the very confident Chris Weidman, and Dana White and Big John McCarthy comment on the Fitch-Burkman controversial finish. Mark Munoz explains how he’s a new man, a fighter explains how his college degree will help win the World championship, and a discussion of the piledriver heard around the world! 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, June 21 at 9pm EST on AXS.TV
Bellator 96: Return of the King
They show highlights and finishes for this week’s Bellator event which saw “King” Mo Lawal in his first fight back since the KO loss, where he KO’d the infamous Seth Petruzelli. They also showed Jacob Noe over Renato “Babalu” Sobral, Ryan Martiznez over Richard Hale, Vitaly Minakov over Ron Sparks, and War Machine over Blas Avena. Martinez (12-2) will now face Minakov (11-0) for the Bellator Heavyweight finals championship.
Following his loss, Babalu retired from fighting in the ring, leaving his gloves on the mat in a tearful good bye, and Seth Petrozelli also announced his retirement after this show.
Anthony Pettis LIVE
Anthony Pettis is out of his fight with Jose Aldo due to a knee injury, so he joins us on the big screen from Milwaukee while the RFA prelims take place behind him.
He says the knee is coming along. It’s a frustrating injury where he doesn’t really feel it, but he knows that it’s there. It’s a torn LCL, and the Las Vegas doctor says he’ll be out for six weeks before he can train again.
While Pettis has expressed a desire to get back ASAP to not be left out of any title fights, Bas asks him to hold off until his knee is fully taken care of and the UFC says so too. Pettis explains he still wants Ben Henderson since he beat him before in WEC’s finale (the immortal running up the cage kick to the face fight) and his injury recovery happens to line up with the date of the Henderson-Grant title fight, so he wants to be available should either one be unable to compete. Plus, it takes place in his hometown of Milwaukee so he figures it’d be perfect for him.
He says the spotlight isn’t on you for a long time so he’s taking advantage by opening a Tae-Kwon Do center along with his sports bar, on top of his gyms. Bas thinks Pettis is spreading himself too thin and is trying too hard to hurry back from this injury to get into these fights. Bas says he’s only 26 and should pace himself.
Ron Kruck talks to Chris Weidman (Part One)
The next challenger for Anderson Silva’s middleweight belt joins us live on the big screen from Matt Serra’s gym.
He says this match is absolutely huge for him. When he first started, he had to envision himself beating Anderson Silva or there was no point to beginning a MMA career in the first place. But this bout has been one that he’s literally been envisioning since day one. He wants to be champion and be champion for a long time.
It’ll be exciting for him to prove those wrong who felt he didn’t deserve a title shot. If you watch him fight you’d see that he deserves it. While wrestling in college he earned a degree in Psychology, which helps him understand where your mind needs to be, to be a winner, and how to deal with adversity and negative thoughts, and how to keep the right mindset. Particularly since Anderson Silva beats so many people by mentally defeating them before they step into the cage.
His trainer Matt Serra says to keep focused on the fight and avoid being pulled in different directions. As long as your coach and team believe in you that’s all that matters.
If he won he would represent Long Island and bring the belt back to New York, which would be help bring more attention to the issue of it not being legal in New York. Otherwise, its been in Brazil for a long time now and wants to bring it back to America.
Other featured bouts at UFC 162 on July 6 from Vegas, are Charles Oliveira vs. Frankie Edgar, and Tim Kennedy vs. Roger Gracie.
Mark Munoz LIVE
Joins us on the big screen from his gym in Orange County, CA. Munoz looks noticeably thinner.
He says it’s been a roller coaster ever since he pulled out of his fight with Chael Sonnen. He rushed back to face Chris Weidman and things just weren’t right in that fight. He was taken down at will which usually doesn’t happen. He also fought with a broken foot in that bout.
After that devastating loss, he ate a lot of food to cope, since he doesn’t drink or anything, but now he’s happier and in shape, probably the best shape he’s been in. He is out of his depression mode, and it’s his time to shine now. He tells his horror story of cutting 30 pounds in a month for that Weidman fight and all of his cardio training was off with his broken foot, but he sucked it up and took that fight. In general, he did everything wrong to prepare for that bout.
His next opponent, Tim Boetsch is very resilient, elusive, strong, uses is kicks for the distance. He’s got some good takedowns, and is a viable opponent for him. He has to push him to the limit as far as cardio is concerned and put his back on the fence and on the mat. He needs to use the angles and use his athleticism in order to beat Boetsch. A win will put him back in the title hunt and he’s looking to do this in convincing fashion because this is where he belongs. Since he has no injuries, 2013 has been dedicated to getting back to where he should be. This fight will be indicative of what he can do in the octagon.
--XFC had Ricky Rainey over Reggie Pena and
--XFC also had Luis Santos over Dave Courchhaine
--559 fights had James Spear over Andrew Garza in an amateur bout
--Ring of Combat had Andre Harrison over Matias Vasquez
Big John McCarthy comments on Steve Mazzagatti
At last week’s WSOF show Josh Burkman defeated Jon Fitch via guillotine, however the referee, Steve Mazzagatti is under fire for perhaps stopping the fight too late, as the fight actually wasn’t called until after Burkman released Fitch who had passed out in his arms. Bas felt the Mazzagatti might’ve waited a second or two too long to stop the fight when Josh Burkman had an incredibly tight guillotine.
They played a clip where Dana White commented on this finish and he said Mazzagatti literally did nothing. Fitch is out cold and goes limp and is out, Burkman rolls him flops him over, stands over him with his arms raised before Mazzagatti even f’ing gets into the picture. The NSAC is going to keep this guy around until he seriously hurts somebody. If he really wants to be a ref so bad send him to the minor leagues and let him do some work there because he doesn’t belong in the pros. (I’m sure the folks will be glad to hear that Dana doesn’t regard them as “minor leagues” according to this statement!)
Mazzagatti didn’t reply to Dana but did release a statement putting over Burkman for his level of sportsmanship in letting Fitch go when he went limp, as the fighter will usually know a split second before the referee when the opponent goes out (or in this case the fighter knew somewhere between several seconds and a half minute before the ref knew!)
Big John McCarthy joins us live in the studio to comment on this controversy. Kenny thinks Mazzagatti has gotten some unfair criticism in the past. John says you want to be there for the safety of the fighter. When Burkman locked in the choke, Mazzagatti could’ve been on the other side where Fitch’s head was to see the face, if he had to criticize anything about the referee’s performance. If you watch the tape, Fitch is only out for a second. It wasn’t a situation where the safety of the fighter was in jeopardy, as it was released by Burkman so that’s the bottom line. (all I can say about this is that John McCarthy is a very good friend to Mazzagatti!)
The NSAC does assign refs to the fights. Dana has had a problem with Steve in the past. Mazzagatti did the Hunt-JDS fight and Steve did a great job in that fight and you’ll never hear the complimetns but you’ll hear the bad things at times.
Big John McCarthy comments on the piledriver
XFC 24 saw Eric Reynolds use the Jerry Lynn stuff-piledriver on Kevin Ferant. Bas thinks he should be suspended for a year but the ref didn’t even DQ him (If Bas was smart he’d know that the piledriver is only banned in Memphis’ Mid-South Coliseum.)
McCarthy says they looked at the piledriver when they did the unified rules, and the cervical spine can be severely damaged by that move. Steve Austin’s career was actually ended by a piledriver, even though it was in wrestling where you’re supposed to be protected from that sort of thing. If you do that in MMA you’re actually trying to hurt your opponent as it can only be executed intentionally (as opposed to a hit in the back of the head or headbutt.) As a ref, if you see that you should stop the fight, bring in a doctor, and make sure he’s ok to continue. And according to the unified rules, that is either an automatic DQ, or a 2 point foul. (If Reynolds knew that he would’ve hit the piledriver while the referee was distracted by his manager.)
Ron Kruck with Chris Weidman (Part 2)
Weidman feels he hasn’t been able to show the world everything he can do yet. This is the perfect fight to really shine against the greatest of all time. From what Silva’s accomplished you can’t deny what he’s done, but Weidman says he’s the best in this weight class and wants to be the greatest of all time.
On paper his biggest advantage is his wrestling and jiu-jitsu, but also his mental mindset, as he’s not going to get beat before he walks into that cage like so many of Silva’s past opponents seemed to do. Silva is facing someone who is looking to finish him and shine, not just measure how he does against him. You would think his advantage would be his strong ground game and getting top position, but you never know. It could be the threat of a takedown that gives him a victory on their feet? There’s a lot of different things that could win this fight for him. He’s pushing for a finish early but he’s 100% ready for a five round battle getting ready for Silva to upkick him in the face and everything. Weidman is excited to demonstrate what he’s been doing.
Kruck tells him that Dana White has said that most fighters he spoke with believe that Weidman will win. He says he’d like to sit back and enjoy it but he’s training and focusing on the fight every day. It’s one thing to have his teammates have faith in him, but for fighters that don’t know him to say that, like GSP, is a boost of confidence that his peers believe in him as well. He will absolutely shock the world. He sees the Vegas lines are the closest they’ve even been against Silva, so Vegas has an idea of what will happen on July 6. If you don’t think Silva will lose to him, then you’ll be shocked on July 6. (Very confident, almost overconfident, then again so was Sonnen before their first fight and he dominated Anderson. Weidman is the first real young up and comer to challenge Silva so this might be new territory. All his past opponents were veterans who did seem to have mental issues in overcoming the idea of facing Anderson Silva. As long as Weidman can stay away from any bizarre knockout strikes I can definitely see him winning because I don’t see him getting submitted at all.)
Prospect Watch: Justin Gaethje
They show clips of the All-American wrestler from the University of Northern Colorado. He is now 16-0 in amateur and pro fights and is currently 2-0 for WSOF. Bas he doesn’t throw combos yet, but his low kicks are boom boom, with lots of power.
New York Fighting
Glory 9 kickboxing will see Daniel Ghita vs. Brice Guidon plus Tyrone Spong, and Errol Zimmerman on a NYC fight show, however for the fourth straight year the assembly didn’t even bring MMA regulation to the floor for a full vote. Dana says the problem in NY is its all corruption a bunch of corrupt politician. All this corruption is coming out in other areas exposing how bad it is.
Sponsorship in MMA
Dana White revealed that Pretorian Hard Sports apparel can no longer be worn by fighters or their cornermen at UFC events, since they owe “a lot of money”.
Becky Brensinger, a new IMMA News Correspondant explores this. To fans it’s just logos, but for sponsors it’s much more than that always has been and always will be. They intermix clips from managers Malki Kawa and Ed Soares, plus other advertising and industry analysts. The biggest gamechangers were Anderson Silva and Jon Jones deals with Nike. It allows you to say to various sponsors that if Nike is doing it, why can’t you?
In 2009, UFC added a “tax” for companies seeking to sponsor a fighter. Ultimately it weeded out the smaller companies who refused to pay, or couldn’t afford to pay. Bigger companies will come in and weed out the smaller one and the higher echelon fighters will get the bigger endorsement deals, and everyone else will fight for what’s left over. Soares says the upside to do that, is if the sponsors aren’t willing to step up and invest in the sport, you’ll run into other problems such as, are they going to pay you, or are they stable enough to do a long term deal. So in a way they’re really trying to protect the sport and the value of these fighters with the “tax”.
Since the FOX deal, agents have had more opportunities to sign deals. There are more fights for fans and money for fighters. The bigger sponsors have recognized the expansion of the sports since FOX, and in particular hitting that 18-34 demographic. That demo is the most valuable as they have disposable income and time and money to invest into this sport.
Coke, Pepsi, and McDonald’s have not jumped in yet, as its still seen as a very brutal sport and companies like McDonald’s don’t want that image. However Burger King, Harley-Davidson, and Bud Light have seen the value in sponsoring UFC. The ideal sponsor for Ed Soares would be to see Anderson Silva on a Wheaties box. It wouldn’t mean much internationally, but in America that would mean a lot. (I think it’d only mean a lot to people over 40. Wheaties doesn’t have the heat it used to.)
Jeff Monson was introduced for a fight for M-1 Challenge in Russia, where Fedor watched on, and Monson wore his big Russian furry hat and furry cape and emerged from a castle entrance for this outdoor show. Monson says he has considered a Russian citizenship and is in support of anarchy in the US and has even been arrested in Washington for his politically motivated actions. But he lost by decision and was hammered in this fight. But they still adorned him afterwards, in a new, big white furry vest and furry looking white hat and gave him a medal. (Maybe he can get the Patriots’ Super Bowl ring back from Putin while he’s there.)
Upcoming AXS TV shows
--July 19 Legacy FC 21
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.