LiverKick

Switch to desktop Register Login

Zuffa, Parent Company of UFC Purchases Strikeforce, Monopolizes MMA

  • Published in Kickboxing

We here at LiverKick.com pride ourselves on our kickboxing coverage, but from time to time find it important to discuss the MMA world as well. There is a lot of crossover between the two worlds, and at times, they go hand in hand. Strikeforce has a storied past, as does its promoter, Scott Coker. Coker had worked the kickboxing market in the West coast for years before working for K-1 to bring their USA shows to fans. His baby, Strikeforce, was a kickboxing promotion before it was a MMA promotion. It was local talent like Cung Le and Frank Shamrock working with Coker to put on MMA shows that got the ball rolling and Strikeforce became the best regional promotion in the country. It didn't take much, just using big names on the main event slots with local big names to fill out the rest of the card and young, local up and comers on the undercard.

It worked, and soon Strikeforce was in a position to purchase EliteXC's poison assets. Or so we thought. We all assumed anything affiliated with EliteXC was awful and doomed, but Coker and Co. showed that with a better business plan and some patience, you can make anything work. Today something happened, something big. Ariel Helwani posted a video of Dana White discussing Zuffa's purchase of Strikeforce. I had to look twice at the date and make sure it wasn't April 1st, because sometimes time just moves quickly. It isn't, it is March 12, 2011. Remember that date.

People on Twitter immediately freaked out; co-promotion? Will Strikeforce immediately die? Does this mean Fedor, Barnett, Overeem, Diaz, Daley, etc. in the UFC? Watch the video and you get a feel for what is happening. Dana White claims over and over again, "business as usual." This means that as long as Strikeforce has their television deals; CBS and Showtime, it is its own entity. There will be no co-promotion, and fighters stay where they are, of course, unless they decide differently. Scott Coker and his crew are still in control of Strikeforce for the time being. If you are a Strikeforce fighter, you are one until Strikeforce is gone or your contract is up. Same goes for UFC.

If you know how Zuffa works and remember their history with acquisitions, you should understand where the concern comes from. I've heard many herald this move as a great move for the sport and one step closer to the holy grail in fighting; a fighters union. I appreciate and applaud the enthusiasm, but Zuffa is not acting like a sport league as much as it is a corporation, a business.

I worked in the PR world with some of the heavy hitters of modern industry for four years, with some of the biggest companies in the world; AT&T, Apple, Microsoft, Motorola and Boeing to name a few. Before someone calls my BS on this, there were people in each company I was on a first name basis with and spoke to daily for years. I'm simply painting a picture here for people to illustrate a point that I've worked with huge corporations in a public relations and investor relations setting and know how the big dogs do business.

Keep reading.

 

Read more...

Is Winning Enough to Cement a Legacy for Georges St. Pierre in UFC?

  • Published in Kickboxing

(C) Getty ImagesAt UFC 129 we saw UFC sell 55,000 tickets for what turned into North America's largest MMA event in history, in GSP's home country of Canada. Georges St. Pierre is one of the UFC's most decorated champions in history, a two-time Welterweight Champion with six defenses in a row, seven if you count retaining the Interim Championship against Matt Serra to be crowned the Undisputed Welterweight Champion. Of course, over that streak there are only two stoppages, including the win over Serra and defense against BJ Penn, which has earned him a reputation among hardcore fans as lacking a killer instinct.

Without a doubt, GSP is something very special for the MMA world. To see that all you needed to do was watch tonight's UFC 129 and watch for both fighters entering the arena. GSP came into the arena sporting a seasonally fashionable suit and looked very composed while Shields was shown stumbling in the arena dressed in a t-shirt, oversized hoodie, jeans, baseball cap and sneakers. For St. Pierre this is par for the course, he is the epitome of professionalism in the world of Mixed Martial Arts; he dresses well, he speaks well, he also comes across as personable and intelligent. He is really the total package in a business sense, with no one able to come close to him in this department and might not for a while. Shields, while the elder to GSP was walking into the biggest fight of his life looking like a NASCAR vehicle, splattered with his sponsors and a bit nervous.

There is also little doubt as to why there were so many fans in the arena tonight; 55,000 came not only for the UFC brand name, the experience and for fights, but to see a hometown hero like Georges St. Pierre fight for the honor of Canada. We may have to wait and see what the PPV numbers are, but there is a good chance that they are indeed very good considering the solid line-up and marketing leading into the event. For GSP, everything seems on par for him to become one of MMA's biggest legends and superstars, yet something doesn't feel right.

On the same card fans saw a humble Randy Couture knocked out by a Crane Kick (not joking) by Lyoto Machida and announce that he was officially retired. Couture has already cemented his legacy, oddly enough he did so with a 19-11 record, which for an elite level MMA fighter who is held in such high regards as he,  a rather poor record. You could see Couture as the fighter that made the blueprint for GSP to follow; be humble, professional, follow the rules and never forget your fans. Yet for Couture, there is something about him that is very different, and that is his story and feelings he evokes from fans. Couture overcame insurmountable odds a few times in his career, hopping between two of the most competitive weight classes in the sport during his twilight years and securing big-name victories and title wins unlike any other fighter. Some of his fights when watched live were impossible not to be caught up in the moment and the passion of, like the Time Sylvia bout, don't hold up when viewed years later. The Sylvia fight is actually a rather boring fight with a very active crowd, but that is because it has already happened and we all know the outcome. Live, it was exciting and told a story of an over-the-hill underdog, former champion coming out of nowhere to stop a then-dominant champion. When Couture landed a punch you felt your heart race, when he took Sylvia down you wanted to jump out of your seat and cheer.

Randy wasn't always "good for business" with Zuffa, as they had a very public tiff a few years back including a lawsuit, Randy almost fighting for Affliction against Fedor Emelianenko and signing on for the EA MMA video game, all while holding the UFC Heavyweight Championship. Even with that said, Randy returned to UFC, was given a better contract than he had before, was allowed to keep his Heavyweight title and actually put it on the line against up-and-comer Brock Lesnar who was doing great PPV numbers for his previous fights. For many, Randy has an X-Factor, even if there are stories of him being a womanizer, hard to work with, terrible at managing his finances and possibly using hormone therapy to extend his career. None of that matters in the eyes of the public.

At this point UFC has two dominant champions; Georges St. Pierre at Welterweight and Anderson Silva at Middleweight, yet neither man really seem to be as beloved as Couture or primed to have as long of a lasting legacy as Couture. Both champions have been criticized for not finishing off their opponents, many of which are clearly not on their level. For Anderson Silva, the criticism tends to lean towards him simply playing with his opponents and becoming bored and disinterested with fighting them or putting on a good show. For GSP the criticism comes that he looks to fight a safe fight and only to win, not to finish his opponents. Anderson Silva plays more of a bad boy and GSP plays off more like a company man, and while both have great drawing potential in their home countries, possibly even become big stars on a world-wide scale, neither man have the untouchable aura of Randy Couture.

This makes one wonder if winning is really important for cementing a legacy as much as telling the fans an interesting story and having them get emotionally invested in you as a person, not just a fighter. A fighter like Brock Lesnar has this figured out, as to date he has only a handful of fights but has earned more money in those fights than some UFC fighters with lengthy, successful careers. On top of that, he will most likely always have a place in UFC history with fans all having a strong opinion on him, be it good or bad.

Read more...

Anderson Stands Alone in MMA Striking at UFC 126

  • Published in Americas

Anderson SilvaAnderson Silva squared off with most recent challenger, Vitor "The Phenom" Belfort. After his last defense against Chael Sonnen there were many questions as to where Anderson Silva really stands. His stand up has always been his strong point, but Chael Sonnen was able to score on him and even knock him down in their fight. To many, this was a glaring hole in his game, and against a boxer like Vitor Belfort, could mean bad things.

Most of the first round featured both men tentative and afraid to strike until Vitor Belfort landed a one-two combo. Silva gets frustrated and throws a high kick that Vitor catches and takes him down with. Silva is easily able to hop up and get his back, then Vitor spins around and eats a clinched knee from Silva. Silva then channeled our favorite retired K-1 MAX fighter not named Masato and lands a Kohi front kick to KO Vitor, followed by a few follow-up shots for good measure. Anderson wins by first round KO.

Anderson Silva quietly sits upon his MMA striking throne, but we still have questions about where he stands against professional boxers, kickboxers and muay thai practioners.

Read more...

Daniel Woirin Breaks Down Anderson Silva vs. Vitor Belfort at UFC 126

  • Published in Kickboxing

Daniel WoirinThere aren't many men considered "experts" in training with both fighters for this weekend's UFC 126 Middleweight Title Fight, but Daniel Woirin knows Anderson Silva and Vitor Belfort very well. Woirin has trained both Anderson and Vitor in Muay Thai in Brazil, as well as Lyoto Machida. Woirin now lives in the United States, working with Dan Henderson's Team Quest as their Muay Thai coach.

Our good friends at Riddum.com caught up with Woirin to ask him to weigh in on this fight, and it sounds like his opinion falls in line with what most think; Vitor has to force Anderson out of his comfort zone and use his superior speed to his advantage. [source]

Riddum.com: How do you see their fight unfolding and what will be the key to victory for each fighter?

Daniel Woirin: Anderson is taller and has more weapons standing up than Vitor. He will probably work from a long range and try to frustrate Belfort with counters and defensive lateral movement, but also with the clinch in the short range when Belfort reduces the distance.

Vitor has great boxing and he will need to close the distance. He will need to fight from mid-range and for that, he will have to set up his offenses by utilizing feints in order to avoid Anderson's counters.

If Vitor Belfort wants to win, he will have to provoke Anderson Silva and take risks.

Read more...

Photo of the Day: Cosmo Alexandre Trains MMA With UFC Fighters Jon Jones and GSP

  • Published in Kickboxing

Yet another of the kickboxing/muay thai world is dipping his toes into the water of the MMA world, this time in the way of Cosmo Alexandre. As we've seen with Cosmo, he is immensely talented, hits hard and has incredible skill. If he learned how to sprawl and escape submissions he could be a force to be reckoned with in MMA, but of course, that takes years of preparation.

If you've been following Cosmo's exploits online, you've seen the mentions of him training for MMA, but here is the photographic proof of him training with some of the best (or at least posing with them). [source]

Cosmo with Jon Jones Cosmo with GSP
Cosmo/Jon Jones Cosmo/GSP
Read more...

Alistair Overeem's March to the Top Continues; MMA Fans Show Their True Colors

  • Published in K-1

Alistair Overeem proves to be the shades of grey that we as MMA fans do not often see anymore. In a world where the UFC lays claim to every top fighter in every weight class, very few fighters are seen as holdouts while still on the top of their game. The shine has worn off of Fedor Emelianenko with two back-to-back losses against non-UFC Heavyweights, Nick Diaz has decided to bite the bullet and return to the UFC to square off against UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre. His teammate Gilbert Melendez, Strikeforce’s Lightweight Champion also appears to be on the same path as Diaz, heading to the UFC to prove who is really the best in their respective weight class.

Alistair Overeem is the Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion, the DREAM Heavyweight Champion and the 2010 K-1 World Grand Prix Heavyweight Champion, making him one of the most decorated champions in all of the combat sports world, yet many still see him as a relative unknown quantity. To many fans, Alistair Overeem is still untested, with only one fight within the United States against a fringe top ten competitior in Brett Rogers to defend his Strikeforce Heavyweight Championship. Overeem has chosen to compete in other parts of the world, in Europe and Asia while waiting for a dream fight between Fedor Emelianenko before Fedor lost to Werdum. With those plans dashed, Overeem looked for a rematch with Werdum, whom he lost to in PRIDE back in 2006 during the Openweight GP. At the time, Overeem was cutting down to Light Heavyweight and not allowing himself and his naturally large frame to do any muscle-building exercises.

What that tells me is that Overeem is one of the only top fighters in his respective weight classes who has yet to be tested in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and fans refuse to accept that anyone outside of the UFC system can truly be the best. Overeem represents a sense of freedom and unknown, much like a horse out in the wild that has yet to be broken. Overeem has all of the skills, charisma and power to be one of the most legendary MMA Heavyweights to ever exist, he just needs to amass the wins over fighters that are considered to be the best of the division to placate the masses.

Overeem’s status to American fight fans is disputed, as some see him as the best and others see him as overrated and being measured for his merits outside of the familiar MMA world. Overeem has become one of the most spoken-about and disputed fighters of recent memory, which has only helped to build up the legend around him, to build up his aura of invincibility. There is no doubt that Overeem is beatable and has indeed been defeated in the past, sometimes worse than others. If anything this just proves one of the main fallacies of modern MMA fans and pundits alike -- they have a very narrow world view when it comes to greatness and there is a sense of reality missing from it. Everyone is held to the gold standard set by boxing great Rocky Marciano where he retired at 49-0, unscathed by the horror of defeat.

This indeed is an impossible standard to live up to for many professional fighters and shows just how narrow of a world view MMA fans have. Many mainstream sports stars could not live up to the impossible standards set by MMA fans, if they were held to those standards they would be written off as quickly as they rose and replaced with someone younger and with a still-untarnished record. The truth is, every legendary athlete has had setbacks and disappointments. There has yet to be a home run king in baseball who has yet to strike out or a basketball player who has never missed a shot. Every major sports team that has been to the top of the mountain has lost or choked when they got to the top at least once.

Part of what makes for a great, legendary athlete is the ability to overcome adversity, to taste defeat and have that only fuel the desire to come back, bigger, stronger, more skilled and better than ever. Talent is apparent, it is visible in sports, you can see talent and you can measure it. Do you knock a college basketball prospect with immense talent for being stuck in a weak conference where they can make the opposition look bad? Do you declare a MLB pitcher who throws a no-hitter against another team as overrated because the other team isn’t the best? No.

This weekend I eagerly await watching Alistair Overeem ply his trade against another incredible fighter in Fabricio Werdum, with the winner being the better man that night, both with bright futures. Talent is apparent in both, with Werdum being an incredible MMA BJJ practitioner who has worked to improve his stand up while Overeem is a decorated submission grappler in his own right and easily the most decorated kickboxer alive right now. Both men will go to war, looking to move on to the next round of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix. What is sad is that most MMA fans and pundits won’t be seeing this fight for what it is, but will instead see two non-UFC Heavyweights involved in a pointless exercise of tedium that might involve an entertaining fight.

Read more...

Photo of the Day: Alistair Overeem Trains with Tyrone Spong

  • Published in Kickboxing

It is just a week away until Tyrone Spong will step into the ring at It's Showtime 58 against the legend Peter Aerts. The bout is slated to be Mr. K-1's retirement in the Benelux region of Europe, originally his full retirement, before Glory stepped in with an offer that he couldn't refuse. As we are all very aware of, Spong is training in Florida alongside the Blackzilian camp, which includes UFC Heavyweight contender and former K-1 World Grand Prix champion Alistair Overeem. This means that Spong and Overeem train together, and for Spong, who better to train with than the man that narrowly defeated him in K-1? The team behind the Reem was there to photograph their training and share it with the world.

Don't forget to go ahead and purchase the PPV for It's Showtime 57 and 58, which means access to the full card!

Spong/Reem

Read more...

Fedor Emelianenko is Training to Win the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP

  • Published in Kickboxing

The upcoming Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix has been garnering a lot of attention over the past few weeks, all leading up to February 12th where the tournament kicks off at a card headlined by none other than Fedor "The Last Emperor" Emelianenko squaring off with Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva. The inclusion of Fedor Emelianenko automatically takes what was a great tournament and makes it legendary, with the stakes for winning the tournament being more than bragging rights, but instead to lay claim to being one of the top, if not the top Heavyweight in the MMA world.

With the show just a few weeks out, it means that Emelianenko's media duties have begun, with the Russian Heavyweight only speaking to select media outlets and remaining entrenched in an aura of mystique. A few years ago I argued that part of what makes Fedor so great is the fact that he doesn't train in a state-of-the-art MMA gym with a team of other top fighters, instead he chooses solitude and a simple life. You won't find Fedor on TMZ.com out partying or knocking out college football players in Texas, instead you see stories of him jogging with his priest and just learning about Twitter.

Our good friend, Jon Luther, caught up with Fedor to discuss the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP, and Fedor is in it to win it. I also really enjoy Fedor's take on being "number one." It just shows that fans care more about status than most fighters do. [source]

"I can’t wait to compete again. Silva is a great athlete who is skilled in many areas. He has proven to be a very worthy and dangerous opponent. My training camp has been very strong. I feel proud to be representing my country in the tournament. I’m training to win the tournament.”

Eight of the top heavyweights in the world will participate in the tournament, leading many to believe that the eventual tournament champion should be in the running for the title of best heavyweight alive. To Emelianenko, his opinion on the matter is irrelevant.

“The tournament participants are all highly skilled athletes. As for whether the winner should be considered number one in the world, it is not for me to say. That is something left to the media and to the fans.”

Read more...

LiverKick.com Goes "All In" for Mauricio "Shogun" Rua at UFC 128 Against Jon Jones

  • Published in Kickboxing

ShogunTo say I'm a pretty bright guy is probably an understatement, and to publicly say that is probably a good way to make people either roll their eyes or continue an onslaught of e*attacks against my person, yet here I am, writing exactly that. I think having some confidence in a world of uncertainty is a great feature to possess. Like a good portion of hardcore fans on the internet, I've been watching MMA for a very long time, and like an even smaller portion, I watched PRIDE during its heyday.

I don't make a lot of PRIDE NEVER DIE posts, but yes, the bushido spirit flows through my veins at times and I remember that really awesome Japanese promotion that was home to a lot of the world's top talent as well as a lot of the world's most charismatic cans and both sometimes converged to create incredible squashes like only PRIDE could do. That is to keep the haters happy, as there were also a lot of really, really incredible fights between the best in the world.

So I have to be honest, I'm scratching my head over here; how is Mauricio "Shogun" Rua an underdog against Jon "Bones" Jones at this weekend's UFC 128 event? I pose a very, very serious question to those that feel like Jones is unstoppable; who has he beaten compared to Shogun? Shogun was the PRIDE 2005 Middleweight Champion, quite possibly having the most incredible tournament run imaginable for that year. Shogun defeated, in the opening round, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, then Antonio Rogerio "Little Nog" Nogueira, Alistair Overeem and then Ricardo Arona.

To me, this fight is a no-brainer. An absolute no-brainer, to the extent that I've been given $1,000 by BetDSI to bet on this fight, and I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I'm all in for Mauricio Shogun Rua. The odds on BetDSI right now? Ridiculous. Shogun is +155 and I'm betting that I'll be laughing all the way to the bank on this one. So that is, risking $1,000 to win $1,550. Want to know why? Read more.

Read more...

The Reem Part II, Episode 2: The Tournament Begins

  • Published in Kickboxing

The age of the internet has led to a lot of great things, including being closer than ever to superstar athletes as they globe trot and make a bigger name for themselves. I firmly believe that Alistair Overeem's recent burst of fame has a lot to do with great management and the hype that was built up for him. Overeem's internet documentary The Reem is absolutely first class. We followed Overeem from his Strikeforce title win to his K-1 World GP win and now we follow him through the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP. This is the second episode of The Reem. [source]

Read more...
Subscribe to this RSS feed

Copyright 2010 - 2014 LiverKick.com. All Rights Reserved.

Top Desktop version