***The same week Ric Flair crashes the UFC show, Dan Rather crashes Inside MMA! Dan Freakin’ Rather! Plus the one and only Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini talks fighting Floyd Mayweather, Josh Thomson says who the toughest lightweight in the world is, Ray Sefo issues a challenge, and Urijah Faber sings the Beach Boys! All this and much more, this week on Inside MMA!***
Inside MMA Live on AXS.TV report by Steve Te Tai
Originally aired LIVE Friday, January 17 at 9pm EST on AXS.TV
UFC Fight Night 35
They run down the results and show highlights from the Duluth, GA show headlined by Luke Rockhold’s quick knockout of Costas Philippou. They also show TJ Dillashaw (Alpha Male) over Mike Easton, and Yoel Romero over Derek Brunson.
Josh Thomson LIVE
Josh Thomson faces Ben Henderson next weekend. The former SF lightweight champion joins us on the big screen from his gym in San Jose. This past week he’s had time to focus on the fight rather than helping out other fighters. It was a long tough camp, but everything’s come together. Having to switch from champion Pettis, to former champ Henderson sucks. Having that title shot taken away for having to face who he considers the toughest fighter in the division isn’t good. With Henderson he has to work on everything since he doesn’t see a whole lot of weaknesses, as opposed to Pettis there are spots you can hope to exploit. He likes how he mixes in his kicks and his transitions from standup to takedowns. You always have to check kicks and stop takedowns all at the same time. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out from switching game plans.
To continue the Strikeforce vs. WEC feud from last week, they show a graphic of the three SF lightweight champions, and how they’ve done against WEC lightweight champions. Clay Guida is 1-2, Gilbert Melendez is 1-1, and Josh Thomson is 2-1, for a total of 4-4. Next week will see another battle of former champions so the tie will be broken.
He says Benson Henderson is a little like Gilbert Melendez’ style, so he wouldn’t be surprised if this ends up as another classic trilogy, like his one with Gilbert, which he also calls the best MMA trilogy ever, if you look at the actual fights.
Ray Sefo LIVE
World Series of Fighting returns this weekend from Hollywood, FL, headlined by Anthony “Rumble” Johnson vs. Mike Kyle, Justin Gaethje vs. Richard Patishnock, and the 1st women’s fight for WSOF will see Jessica Aguilar vs. Alida Gray.
WSOF President Ray Sefo, joins us on the big screen from the venue in Hollywood, FL. He feels Gaetthje’s style might make him a very long-term champion comparing him to Mike Tyson, and is very entertaining to watch. Johnson-Kyle has been cancelled three times already, so he expects a real throwdown in this heated bout.
Ray Sefo is flying to Japan for a press conference to announce an upcoming WSOF show there.
Kenny brings up the talk of a Bellator/WSOF co-promotional deal, and IMMA’s Andrew Simon brings it up to them from time to time and they show a graphic of a proposed “dream” card to be shown on AXS.TV. (left is WSOF, right is Bellator)
--Tyrone Spong vs. Quinton Jackson
--Anthony Johnson vs. Attila Vegh
--Yushin Okami vs. Alexander Shlemenko
--Rousimar Palhares vs. Douglas Lima
--Justin Gaethje vs. Michael Chandler
--Jon Fitch vs. Rick Hawn
They also bust out another”dream” card, this time with the AXS.TV fighters vs. WSOF:
--Leonard Garcia (Legacy) vs. Georgi Karakhanyan
--Holly Holm (Legacy) vs. Ashlee Evans-Smith
--Steve Mocco (Resurrection) vs. Andrei Arlvoski
--Sam Alvey (MFC-Edmonton) vs. David Branch
--Carlos Diego Ferreira (Legacy) vs. Justin Gaethje
--Pedro Munoz (Resurrection) vs. Marlon Moraes
Sefo says it’d be great for the sport if it happened, but not sure if they’d take up the challenge. As soon as this challenge was made, he’s had nothing but positive tweets and great responses from people. He makes fun of Andrew Simon’s AXS.TV challenge show, since they are a network not a fight league.
Kenny Rice & Bas Rutten will be the announce team for the WSOF show on NBC Sports
--Marvin Blumer finished Mike Herndandez with a series of punches to the back of the head from the top from Driller Promotions
--Dan Kiser finished Billy Christianson with a triangle choke also at Driller
--Joshua Robinson finished Kenta Takagi with a left punch at Pancrase
--Kendo Kanabe finished Daiki Yamaishi with a triangle also at Pancrase, and followed up by waving his middle fingers all over the place (although I’m not sure this kid knew what it meant)
--Juan Barajas finished Jonathan De Leon with a quick right punch at 559 Fights
--Wade Sauer finished Andy Eichholz with a barrage of punches from the top at Full Nelson promotions
GSP vs. UFC
GSP recently revealed there was much more to vacating the belt and stepping away from the UFC. He told a group of reporters that one reason was the UFC ‘s lenient stance on drug testing and them not addressing a “rampant” drug problem. When he volunteered for increased testing through VADA prior to the Johny Hendricks fight he felt the UFC didn’t support him. GSP said because the UFC is a monopoly, the fighters have no power, so no one will say what they really think. Lorenzo Fertitta said it was disappointing to hear these comments, and Dana White said the comments were “shocking” and “insane”.
Mauricio Zingano 1976-2014
Mauricio Zingano died this past week at the age of 37 at his home in Colorado. He was a pioneer jiu-jitsu and MMA instructor. He even participated in the Gracie Challenge at the Gracie Acadamy back in the day. Mauricio was the husband of UFC female star, Cat Zingano, and they have a son.
World Extreme Fighting Founder dies
Jamie Levine died at 46, due to blood clots. Levin was the founder of the controversial World Extreme Fighting promotion that ran PPV shows in the 90’s. I remember it as the first competitor to the UFC.
TUF Reunion Fights
RFA 13 will be headlined by TUF alums Efrain Escudero fighting Dakota Cochrane from Lincoln, NE on March 7.
Stefan Struve Update
Stefan Struve’s career almost ended last summer because of his heart condition, but this week, he has been cleared to resume sparring. He hopes to return to the Octagon this Spring.
--At the Pro Karate Championships, one guy hit some sort of a spnning pele kick in a great finish.
--Ian Park over Jose Jovel at U of MMA
-- Jens Grau (from Bas’ gym) over Bruno Casillas, also at U of MMA
Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini LIVE
They show a clip from documentary “The Good Son”, now on DVD, about boxing legend Ray Mancini, evidently meeting the son of Dooku Kim, the boxer who died in his fight Ray Mancini back in the 80’s. Wow.
Mancini joins us on the set and since they are all standing, Mancini looks like someone from Little People, Big World. He looks ridiculous, like a gray haired, balding child. Come on IMMA, switch the set for this guy …
Mancini talks the story about how he was approached to first do a book, which he didn’t think he did enough to warrant that, but they convinced him. Then they approached him about the documentary about him, based on that book. It’s about his rise from Youngstown, OH and that story, and how everything changed with the famous Kim fight. Kenny talks about how legendary and famous he is, how you would think he fought for 20 years, but he actually only fought for about five.
He talks about losing his love for boxing, and once you do that, you can’t continue, so that’s why he retired. Bas brings up how they changed those fights from 15 rounds to 12 rounds after Mancini. Mancini gets a little heated remembering that feeling they jumped the gun, as there’s never been any evidence or testing that more accidents happen in those final three rounds. He sees that as a discredit, and a reaction to heat put on the boxing industry to do “something”, so that’s what they did.
They run a clip of 3-time champion boxing champion, Adrian Broner, who was recently caught on camera phone, saying he doesn’t look at MMA as a real sport. You can’t just walk into boxing to be a champion, you have to be born with it. But a regular guy can walk into a MMA gym and learn all the submission moves and be a world champion. But that same guy, no matter how long or what he does, could ever be a world champion in boxing.
Ray Mancini says he’s been training jiu-jitsu for 12 years. When he’s always asked who wins in a boxer vs. MMA, he boils it down to whoever gets in first. If you can get that first punch off and hit a guy on the chin, he’s out. But it’s like an elephant gun and you only get one shot. So if you miss, the MMA guy will wrap you up and you’re done. So the reason he learned jiu-jitsu is so he doesn’t get choked out by some 18 year old on the street. He’s not looking for fights since he loves everybody, but if he does and it ends up in the dirt, like it usually does, at least he’ll know what to do.
Mancini shakes his head how there’s so much more flash these days than in the early 80’s. Definitely more sizzle than steak. (They didn’t get a chance to clarify if he was referring to boxing, MMA, or both.)
A fan created a video of a parody song about Renan Barao “sung” by a cartoon Urijah Faber, to the tune of “I Get Around” by the Beach Boys, complete with funny graphics and cartoon pics. Very good.
Inspirational MMA comeback
Ron Kruck did a piece on Joshua Rector. Rector was destined to join the Army since he was a child. He joined straight out of high school to live this lifelong dream, but was only deployed for a month when he lost his arm in the Middle East. It was harder for him to deal with having to leave the Army, even more than actually losing the arm. Following this he started drinking a lot for a year or so and put on a lot of weight. Realizing how out of shape he had become, he met fellow soldier Miles McDonald, who was fighting MMA. Rector instantly fell in love with that, and started training at that gym. Last year, he won his first amateur MMA debut for Blackout FC.
Nick Newell is someone he absolutely looks up to, and he gets a lot of inspiration from him, since Newell has dealt with the “arm condition” for so much longer than him. Nick Newell told IMMA he is a fan of Rector as well and expects big things from him in the future. Rector encourages men and women of the military to find their passion after service. His 2nd MMA fight is this weekend in Joplin, MO.
Dan Rather LIVE
Fellow AXS.TV employee and CBS News Anchor legend, Dan Rather joins Kenny Rice in the studio in a special seated area of the set. Wow.
Rather says wounded warriors have needed help for centuries and they don’t always accept it when offered. He says what helps them the most is having focus, some north star to work towards. But if it’s MMA or anything, that goal can be very valuable.
He says he’s not all that surprised that MMA is as big as it is, based on when he first saw it. However he didn’t think it would be this big this fast. Historically, television lends itself to good drama, and MMA is real drama, because in the ring it matters, and that’s what draws people. That is the basis of the popularity.
The public is becoming more informed of the dangers of concussions, etc. particularly as it affects children and teenagers, and that’s a good thing. Also having the right medical help immediately available, can make a very big difference with blows to the head so inevitable in boxing and MMA.
He says his boxing career as a youth in Texas was very short and very unsuccessful. They were taught boxing in high school, and they had a golden gloves tournament. He was basically a stick and run guy, if you left yourself open, maybe a lucky uppercut or right cross might’ve worked on you, btu he did get a lot out of it. There’s nothing like that combat, the feeling of it’s you and one other guy, no help, no teammates.
Dan Rather’s The Big Interview is Mondays at 8 EST on AXS.TV
Facebook Questions for Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini
--Would you have gotten into MMA back in the day?
He might’ve to be honest. Because of his father, he always wanted to box, but he very well might have if MMA was there. He probably would’ve pursued it.
--Do you think Floyd Mayweather would’ve gone the distance and other greats of that time.
His father used to tell him you can’t compare fighters from different eras because all
you can do is put two guys together and see what happens, and if it can’t happen, then why are you talking? That being said, Mayweather is special. The only way you beat him is pressure which negates speed and quickness. He was a pressure fighter so he’d like to think he’d do okay style-wise, but not that he’s saying he’d beat him.
--Which current MMA fighter reminds you of you?
He won’t say anyone reminds him of him, but he will say his favorite guy is Frankie Edgar from New Jersey with a heart as big as this place!
(Ray Mancini has great charisma, and the more he talks, the more you want to hear what he has to say and you want him on the show.)
Upcoming MMA shows
--Jan 24 RFA 12
--Jan 31 Legacy 27
--Mar 7, RFA 13