Team Alpha Male has been on fire lately, ripping off nine straight wins over the past five months, including a clean sweep of first-round finishes at UFC on FOX 7. Much of the credit has gone to new head trainer Duane "Bang" Ludwig, a longtime UFC veteran who has quickly developed a flair for the art of coaching.
Ludwig remains humble in the face of this newfound praise, though he's willing to admit that his unique attention to detail may provide the extra spark fighters like Urijah Faber and Joseph Benavidez have been missing throughout their lengthy, and mostly successful MMA careers.
But what makes Ludwig's methods so unique? I'll let the man tell you for himself.
"I'm always studying film, looking at fights from all aspects," Ludwig told MMAMania.com on Wednesday. "When I watch a fight, I watch it from A's corner and then I watch it from B's corner. Even with that, I look at the fight again and I alter my own consciousness and I watch the fights again just to make sure, just to get some different looks on things."
Wait, wait, wait... let's play that back: "Alter my own consciousness." Please explain, sir.
"It's freakin' legal," Ludwig followed. "Let me address this issue. When I watch film, I watch film normal how I am now. Then I watch film when I'm high on marijuana. I also watch the film again when I have Alpha Brain in my system. I watch film from three different states of consciousness just to get different looks at things. Just to see if maybe I missed a step or a nice little detail just to get different looks on things. I take this serious as hell. So serious that, if the guys aren't making strides, I personally get my feelings hurt because I want them to succeed so much. I feel it, man. 'This could be better. Take a step here, a two step there.' I care for these f--king guys that's for sure."
Simply fantastic. This is a perfect example why I love covering this sport. These guys can't help but be honest. No P.R. coaching, no generic stock answers.
So hey, good on you, Mr. Ludwig. Like the old saying goes, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
5 MUST-READ STORIES
Ludwig talks altered states of consciousness. Team Alpha Male coach Duane "Bang" Ludwig explained his methodology for breaking down fight footage, which includes watching footage sober, then high, and then after ingesting Alpha Brain.
White: UFC working on new glove. With the eyepoke epidemic becoming increasingly prevalent, UFC President Dana White told ESPN 710 in LA, "We actually have started to work on a new glove that actually curves your hand. Like the glove is curved like a U, so you can still open your hand, but your fingers don't point straight out."
UFC roster cuts. Earlier this week we told you about Pablo Garza and Antonio Carvalho. Well, on Wednesday seven more UFC fighters reeling from recent losses were cut from the UFC roster: Leonard Garcia, Justin Lawrence, Bart Palaszewski, Sam Sicilia, Kurt Holobaugh, Reuben Duran and Issei Tamura.
Jones-Sonnen PPV numbers. UFC 159, headlined by a light heavyweight title fight between Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen, drew anywhere from 520,000 to 550,000 pay-per-view buys, according to preliminary estimates. Those numbers would make UFC 159 the second-highest selling UFC pay-per-view of 2013, behind Georges St-Pierre vs. Nick Diaz.
Cormier talks 205, heavyweight. UFC heavyweight contender Daniel Cormier hopes to take at least one more heavyweight fight while cutting his body down to 205 pounds. Said Cormier: "Could I fight at 205 in November? Yes. Could I fight at 205 in August? No. I could fight at 220 in August. Even if I'm fighting a 250 pound guy, it doesn't matter. I could be 220 and still be in the cage, getting experience as I'm making my way down."
No better way to start your morning then with Prebek's latest:
Who says you can't practice double legs in the middle of a 10-mile obstacle course?
Nick Diaz uploaded this video of himself on Wednesday. I have no idea why.
Tito always gets a lot of flak, but it was hard not to feel good for the guy when this happened.
Anytime I can watch people kick really high or strange objects in unique ways, I'm all for it. So thank you, Korean Taekwondo Diplomacy Foundation.
Okay, that Anderson Silva interview was gold.
THE CUT LIST
Thanks to all my friends this is a great reality check time to get back on the grind With god all things are possible hard work will pay off— Leonard Garcia (@badboygarcia) May 8, 2013
Thanks for all the love guys. Maybe @ksw_mma will have me :) would be cool to go back to the old country. It has been way too long— Bart Palaszewski (@Bartimus7) May 8, 2013
I'm sad about being cut, but hopefully I can get a sweet gun sponsor for my next fight :)— Bart Palaszewski (@Bartimus7) May 8, 2013
MEETING WITH BIG-NAME SPONSORS LEFT AND RIGHT
Wand- you have 24 hours to accept. If you do, I will donate 10% of my purse to help schools in your hometown of Curitiba .. I mean, VEGAS.— chael sonnen (@sonnench) May 9, 2013
BEST HASHTAG EVER
I mean you see this shit?! She’s alllll up in dudes personal space. Where are peoples’ manners? twitter.com/HPbasketball/s…— Jason Highwalker(@KCBanditMMA) May 9, 2013
My yucky cauliflower ear twitter.com/HectorLombard/…— Hector Lombard (@HectorLombard) May 8, 2013
Announced yesterday (Wednesday, May 7, 2013):
FANPOST OF THE DAY
Today's Fanpost of the Day sees galathrax pose the question: Zero tolerance policy for fouls - is it finally time?
I've been thinking this for awhile when it comes to MMA fouls, recovery, and safety: the subjective reffing in enforcing rules against fouls has the potential to completely change a fight. A zero tolerance policy could work wonders on the following most-common types of fouls.
1. Fence grabbing - Everybody hates this cheap tactic, because it's commonly used to either avoid a takedown or keep a clinch that would otherwise have separated, and is thus is a form of stalling. This happens so often in fights I don't even need to give examples. This is a perfect foul for zero tolerance: you grab the fence, you lose a point.
Now you might say, Galathrax, it's only human and everybody makes mistakes. That may be true, but we're talking about a potentially fight-changing foul here. It may be pretty human to stomp on guys heads when it's right there in front of your foot (especially if you're Shogun or Wand) but you can train to avoid committing acts that are fouls. Same thing applies for fence grabbing. I have no doubt that if a zero tolerance policy were initiated, fighters would understand that fence grabbing = point deduction, and would modify their training appropriately.
2. Eye poking - This one may be a little more difficult, but when you consider that the purpose of the MMA rules is to avoid injury even at the expense of a less exciting fight, it becomes clear that fighters should have to modify training to avoid eye pokes. How can a fighter train to avoid eye pokes? It's simple: never have an open hand near your opponents face. I can't think of a single eyepoke that occurred during a grappling exchange, which is perhaps odd. But again, if the purpose of "NAC 467.7962 Acts constituting fouls" is to protect fighters, the rules should be enforced strictly. This one is especially crazy considering the seriousness of the foul: Burns/Anthony Johnson and now Bisping/Belcher were horrific, and potentially career ending. Obviously accidents from a closed fist/glove can happen (Belfort/Couture 2) but that's unavoidable. An open hand during striking exchanges? Completely modifiable through training.
3. Groin shots - This is less clear cut, because the in-step kick so often lands where it shouldn't just due to the frenetic positioning in a fight. However, knees to the groin are less forgiving: if you are clinched or throwing a knee at standing, you should have the wherewithal to avoid the groin. Maybe give a one shot warning, with the second resulting in a point deduction. The fighter who is throwing the shots should modify their attack to avoid the groin after the first warning and not continue to throw. Now, you may have fighters who overemphasive a light strike or fake it (Hughes/GSP II comes to mind on the 2nd strike), but that's what instant replay is for. Fighters who game the system (Koscheck) should be penalized as well.
4. Back of the head shots - This is a no-brainer. Don't throw a shot unless you're sure where it's going to land. With Gonzaga's recent fight, Brown's first elbow may have been legal, but the subsequent blows are questionable at best. I've read others say that the rule doesn't apply if the intended target moves so as to put the back of the head as the target. I don't see why that makes sense: if the objective is fighter safety, again, shouldn't we put the onus on the fighter throwing the strike? I think it's very rare (I've never seen it) where a fighter is throwing a strike nowhere in the vicinity of the back of the head but it nevertheless lands on the back of the head. These "accidental" back of the head shots are almost always incredibly close to the foul area to begin with. Belfort's strikes to the spinal column are always ridiculous to watch. Which also reminds me: how about a standardized definition of "back of the head"?
5. More exotic fouls: spiking opponents, spitting, attacking after the bell, etc. - There are easy to enforce, because they're never accidental. A lot of the fouls could use further clarification as well: what is "spiking"? A lot of the NSAC rules are undefined. (What is a "verbal tap out"? Does Chael screaming like a girl count?) That needs to be fixed.
The ref should also be given the benefit of modern science: television replay when determining whether a foul occurred.
Should the athletic commission start a zero tolerance policy for fouls?
Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me on Twitter @shaunalshatti and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.