Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
Following Thursday afternoon's classic press conference, UFC President Dana White spoke to reporters in his customary post-presser scrum. White hit on a wide variety of topics over the course of the hour session, including a source of some his recent frustration.
White and Nick Diaz's trainer-slash-manager Cesar Gracie have had their battles in the past, and after this week's 209 roller-coaster, that irritation finally bubbled up to the surface.
"I think Cesar Gracie is a huge part of the problem, to be honest with you," White said flatly. "Cesar comes out ... first of all the tweet that he tweeted. Second of all, comes out and says, ‘Well the guy that's producing [the UFC 158 Countdown show] lives up here in northern California so how much could this really be costing them?' I mean, this f--king guy has no clue about production. And to come out and say something that asinine, is unbelievable. Yeah, when we send a crew up to shoot these things, what do you think we're sending up? Like, a guy with a f--king camcorder? We're sending the guy who shoots those features that has been working in the sports world for 30 years, and the crew he's got around him are good too.
"You guys are in the business. You know what this s--t costs. I noticed in the news now, these news reporters in Vegas, because of all the cutbacks, the f--king guy who's the reporter shows up with the camera now, and he's doing both jobs. You know why? Because it's f--king expensive to have a cameraman now. That's why."
White was then asked if he'd prefer the Diaz brothers drop Gracie altogether.
"I don't make those decisions," the UFC President responded. "That's up to them. Obviously, as far as a trainer goes, Cesar Gracie must be a damn good trainer because look at the camp that he's created. But Cesar Gracie likes to play bulls--t games that drive me crazy. But as far as a trainer, he's their trainer, that's their guy, and obviously he's a good one or they wouldn't be where they are today.
"Do I think it's an act? No. I think Cesar is a dick. That's what I think. I think Cesar does some stuff that's just bulls--t. You know what I mean? I don't think it's an act or a shtick, or anything else."
5 MUST-READ STORIES
White talks Gracie, TRT, Walker. During a lengthy post-presser scrum, UFC President Dana White criticized Cesar Gracie's role in the Diaz camp, opened the door for former NCAA star Herschel Walker to fight in the UFC, and continued his crusade against TRT users. Said White: "If [you] can't stop taking [TRT], maybe it's time to hang them up."
Diaz riles up St-Pierre, throws around steroids accusations. Where to start? Nick Diaz not only showed up for Thursday's UFC 158 pre-fight press conference, he owned it. Stockton's favorite son apologized to fans, whipped out tangent after tangent, answered questions that weren't even directed at him, and generally burrowed as far under Georges St-Pierre's skin as possible. Diaz then took his talents to Toronto's Fan 590, where he dropped this gem: "I believe that [St-Pierre] is on plenty of steroids and I don't believe they've tested him as well. I don't care what they're saying or marketing to the media. I don't think either of us are going to be tested. And if so, he's probably got a bottle of piss in his pocket. I doubt they're standing over him, making sure he's not on steroids."
Hunt one win away. Unlikely heavyweight contender Mark Hunt will earn a title shot with a victory over Junior dos Santos at UFC 162. Said White: "I think (he's) one of the greatest stories in sports right now, to be honest with you."
St-Pierre's alleged plan. Georges St-Pierre and his trainer Firas Zahabi neither confirmed nor denied a secret "plan" divulged by St-Pierre's former manager Stephane Patry, which consisted of St-Pierre retiring after three more fights: Diaz, Johny Hendricks, and then Anderson Silva. Commented Zahabi, "I think if that happened, if Georges beat [Diaz and] Hendricks and Silva, I'd tell him, ‘Retire. It's over. There's nothing else to do. There's no bigger fight. Just retire. Enjoy your life.' Ideally, the Silva fight is the last fight of his career, win or lose."
Fight night bonuses capped. All UFC post-fight bonuses -- Fight of the Night, etc. -- will be capped at $50,000 for all fight cards from now on, regardless of whether an event takes place on FUEL TV, FX, FOX, or pay-per-view.
Pre-fight scrums are either tame affairs or absolutely wild. There's rarely middle ground. I'd say this one falls into the latter category.
You want to know more about the hotel story? Well, if you insist. (But only because you're so gosh darn good-looking.)
I don't know about you guys, but I think it's time for a change of pace -- and this fantastic fan-made trailer is as good as any place to start.
New mission: Uncover a video of Shawn Jordan dressed in drag and upload it immediately.
According to Wikipedia, Graston is a way to treat scar tissue that "employs a collection of six stainless steel tools of particular shape and size." Now ladies and gentlemen, this is Joe Lauzon undergoing Graston for the massive scar he sustained against Jim Miller. And it looks like it sucks.
Yep, this is the internet.
Props to big bro Ken Al-Shatti for the find.
Considering the circumstances, it seems fitting that we end with one of Nick Diaz's finest moments.
That was a fun press conference, ehh?! #wolftickets— Johny Hendricks (@JohnyHendricks) March 14, 2013
Just watched #UFC158 press conference and it was awesome haha— Chris Camozzi (@ChrisCamozzi) March 14, 2013
Missed out on some wolf tickets #ufc158— Mitch Gagnon (@MitchGagnonUFC) March 14, 2013
I'm a GSP fan but I've always rooted for Diaz!! I'm pulling for Diaz!!!— The Diamond (@DustinPoirier) March 15, 2013
Dan Hardy (@danhardymma) March 14, 2013
Best conference ever !!!— Roger Hollett (@rogerhollett) March 14, 2013
Wolf tickets ...?— Ian McCall (@Unclecreepymma) March 14, 2013
Al Iaquinta (@ALIAQUINTA) March 14, 2013
John Cholish (@JohnCholish) March 14, 2013
GSP vs DIAZ!!! twitter.com/danawhite/stat…— Dana White (@danawhite) March 14, 2013
CONDIT vs HENDRICKS!!! twitter.com/danawhite/stat…— Dana White (@danawhite) March 14, 2013
ELLENBERGER vs MARQUARDT!!! twitter.com/danawhite/stat…— Dana White (@danawhite) March 14, 2013
NEW PROMOTION, NEW CAMP
Camp at The MMA Lab has begun! Today was intense, very hard training and I loved every minute of it!… instagr.am/p/WyW4VnCkir/— Miesha Tate (@MieshaTate) March 13, 2013
BOETSCH WITH THE ZINGER
Nice poster... twitter.com/TimBoetsch/sta…— Tim Boetsch (@TimBoetsch) March 13, 2013
@timboetsch I wasn't counting any chickens. Just liking a poster. But since u brought it up, I now count one...— Tim Boetsch (@TimBoetsch) March 13, 2013
Was kicked off the ultimate fighter for being too young, came back five years later as a coach.— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) March 13, 2013
I will never lose to someone who takes shortcuts.. I'm going to show you the power of hard work, just wait— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) March 13, 2013
Announced yesterday (Thursday, March 14, 2013):
- UFC 161: Roland Delorme (8-1) vs. Edwin Figueroa (9-2)
- UFC Stockholm: Tor Troeng (13-4) vs. Adam Cella (4-0), according to MMANytt
FANPOST OF THE DAY
Today's Fanpost of the Day comes from magnetic, who changes the subject with: K-1 is dead, Kickboxing is not
This is an issue that often causes ongoing confusion when it comes to talking about what's going in kickboxing right now. Every few months news surfaces about an event that is billed as being K-1, which seems to perpetuate the idea that K-1 as an organization still survives and rules the kickboxing world.
This is simply not true. The decline of K-1 starting from 2010 to 2012 has been very well publicized at this point. Most people are familiar with the downfall of FEG, a company headed by Sadaharu Tanikawa which formerly oversaw the K-1 franchise and co-produced the DREAM MMA promotion with Real Entertainment (former Pride).
After 2012 is where the story starts to get even more confusing. In 2012, a K-1 comeback was announced with the company now helmed by "K-1 Global," a Hong Kong-based company headed to Michael Kim, a venture capitalist for ENCOM Global Holdings. This new K-1 was helmed by Doug Kaplan, an American, and with an American promotional team that included former UFC employees, it produced the K-1 Rising 2012 event in Los Angeles. A 2012 MAX Final in Korea as well as a 2012 GP Final in New York City was announced for the end of the year. Things seemed to be looking up as a broadcast deal with SpikeTV was announced for 2013.
This is the part where most people lose the story. After the K-1 Rising event concluded, most of the K-1 team responsible for producing this event was fired. K-1 operated with a skeleton crew and partnered with SuperKombat to produce the 2012 heavyweight Final 16 in Japan and partnered with a local promoter in Greece to produce the K-1 MAX Final 8 tournament (which Murthel Groenhart won and didn't get paid for). The 2012 heavyweight Final in New York City was postponed. A February 2012 event in Korea was announced, but it never materialized. Ultimately, the rumor was that K-1 was going on hiatus until they could relaunch with SpikeTV's backing.
Where we are right now is that K-1 as an organization does not exist. It may have signed contracts last year, but these contracts have apparently not been honored. The fighters have no idea what is going on. The 2012 Final which is taking place this Friday in Croatia is being produced by Fight Channel TV, a Croatian company headed by Mirko Cro Cop's manager. At this point, we have reason to believe that K-1 has little to no involvement in this event. There was talk of a K-1 event at the Arnold Classic festival, but it was recently revealed that this event was scrapped in order to pull together the cash to pay for Badr Hari's involvement in this Croatian event.
The bottom line is that K-1 is dead. People who think that K-1 has a future at this point are wrong. It is right now being produced at someone else's expense, and each time K-1 is failing to make good on its commitments with its partners and failing to make good with the fighters. Someone else is going to have to pay Murthel Groenhart's win purse.
Now let's talk about GLORY. The name has been out there for a while, but it obviously is still in the process of growing and establishing itself. Some people may think that GLORY is some incarnation of Golden Glory, a gym-management entity once headed by Bas Boon. This is not true. GLORY is a completely new company founded by Marcus Luer, a sports marketing executive and CEO of Total Sports Asia--a company responsible for syndicating major sports entertainment brands in Asian markets such as golf, tennis, and the WWE--and Pierre Andurand, a venture capitalist with a background in hedge-fund management. The two of them together bought Golden Glory and It's Showtime, two of Europe's leading kickboxing brands, and built a company that now sports the biggest kickboxing roster in the world. They also acquired the DREAM brand and signed co-promotional agreements with OneFC. On the management side, they've recently appointed Andrew Whitaker, a former executive VP for the WWE, as their new CEO. Some of the Golden Glory people work for the new company, but this new company is not the old Golden Glory.
Glory is in America right now. They have staged Road to Glory tournaments in Tulsa, OK and Los Angeles, which are being used to scout new talent to build new weight divisions. They have held big events around the world, including the Heavyweight Grand Slam in Tokyo, an event last fall in Stockholm, and coming up they have big fight cards planned for London and Istanbul, featuring top names like Remy Bonjasky, Tyrone Spong, Gokhan Saki, and Daniel Ghita. Last fall they also held a 70kg tournament in Rome, which was swept by Giorgio Petrosyan. The Tokyo event aired on the CBS Sports Network here in America, and it is heavily rumored that a deal with SpikeTV may be on the horizon for this summer.
In other words, Glory is quickly becoming the major league of kickboxing. It has money, it has the fighters, and it has experienced management. Chances are it is coming to your TV screen soon. Another promotion that deserves mention is SuperKombat. It is a Romanian promotion headed by Eduard Irima that is for the time being a small show, but I think it is set to become a major player in kickboxing. A new rumor going around is that SK may collaborate with Glory, which will further fortify Glory's standing.
This is a summary of what has taken place in the world of kickboxing these past three years. There have been lots of ups and downs, but this is where things currently stand: K-1 is dead, Glory is the world's largest and fastest growing kickboxing organization, and kickboxing is happening in America. Get excited.
Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me on Twitter @shaunalshatti and we'll include it in Monday's column.
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