This week MMA UK drifts to the lighter divisions of MMA, towards the Bantamweight division. I don’t think anyone would disagree that even though the fighters in the WEC are lighter, it doesn’t stop their fights from being hard-hitting and fast. One of the greatest fighters to fight in the Bantamweight division and even MMA is Miguel Torres. He’s amassed a tremendous record over man years and made numerous opponnets tap out. He’s been on an unusual losing streak as of late, but that won’t destroy his legacy as one of MMA’s greats.
Miguel, MMA UK salutes you! Good luck in your bout against Charlie Valencia at WEC 51
Strikeforce gives us all one big What the hell?! moment by not only failing to put on and promote a fight between Welterweight champ Nick Diaz and Middleweight contender Jason “Mayhem” Miller, AKA the fight that hypes itself, after the two have been calling each other out online and even having a god damned brawl on live network television; now they’ve somehow let Heavyweight champ Alistair Overeem slip back into K-1 and leave their long awaited Fedor/Overeem match that seemed derailed out in the rain. What’s frustrating is that this time the Russian’s camp for once came out as the instigators and suggested the match-up for later this year only to be denied by Overeem who claims that, since Fedor is now on the losing track (Ed note: by “losing track” he’s are referring to that one loss in his last 30) he’d rather wait until Werdum recovers and instead spend his time competing for the title in K-1.
To be fair to Overeem, he really wants that K-1 title and it’s something he’s aspired to all his life so of course the entire division should take a break while he’s away realizing his dream; the UFC did the same for Couture and “Rampage” Jackson in regards to their acting aspirations and I think we can all agree that went over just swell.
Of course there are inevitably going to be some miserable cynics out there claiming that this is just a put-on by Overeem in an attempt to duck Fedor and instead fight the, on paper, less dangerous Werdum but those people probably don’t even think John Edward can speak to the dead.
Speaking of “Mayhem” Miller the brash fighter has recently been slated to fight the aging Kazushi Sakuraba at DREAM.16, this according to a twitter post (I refuse to refer to them as “tweets” due to fears that I might develop a sudden fondness for Meg Ryan movies and praising child performers for “at least trying”) by HDNet Fights CEO Andrew Simon.
“DREAM 16 breaking news- Mayhem v Sakuraba, Joe Warren v Omigawa &Gegard v Mizuno for title. HDNet kick ass card. News from me & @hdnetfights”
This is where I get slightly more serious than is warranted and wonder just when the hell enough is enough for Sakuraba. His last fight against Ralek Gracie saw the Brazilian avenging his family’s honour… well, avenging really is a pretty strong term for a young buck beating up an old man, isn’t it? Especially since you’d think they’d be over this guy by now. What I’m trying to say is that despite Sakuraba being one of my favourite fighters of all time he’s so far past his prime that it’s a bit sad. Miller is younger, more well rounded and I can’t see Saku putting up much resistance here.
Due to the controversy surrounding their last fight it has been confirmed that Chael Sonnen will get an immediate rematch against Middleweight champ Anderson Silva. For those of you who might have missed it the controversy in question was that Sonnen seemed to be winning until he lost, something the fragile minds of the fans just couldn’t bear.
Because of this the man who was originally slated to fight Silva, Vitor Belfort, had been sidelined yet again. Not one to rest on his laurels however Belfort requested another fight this year and will be taking on Japanese wrestler Yushin Okami, the only man in the UFC to hold a win over Anderson.
Sure, he beat him by getting kicked in the head but as Josh Barnett would say: a win is a win is a win is a win is a win, unless you’re on roids in which case it’s a no contest and a one-way ticket to the puroresu circuit.
The fight will go down as the main event on UFC 122 in Oberhausen, Germany and will air for free on Spike TV on the 13th of November.
UFC 118 has come and gone, the dust has settled and it’s time for the aftermath.
While the card was pretty damn entertaining overall there are three things in particular that need to be adressed, the first of which being Kenny Florian.
I’ll admit that I have a soft spot for this guy; he’s entertaining, eloquent and a great ambassador for the sport. He does have a pretty significant handicap that his later fights have given light to: he tends to wilt in high profile fights. Both against Penn and now against Maynard Florian looked off, a little flat on his feet and even confused. The Florian we saw fight Maynard last night frustrated me because he can do better than that and we’ve all seen him do it.
This isn’t taking anything away from Grey Maynard, the guy’s a stud and anyone who expects to have an easy night against him is sorely mistaken, but the Kenny Florian we saw yesterday didn’t give it his all. I guess this just goes to prove that the mental game is just as, if not more, important than the physical.
I have no joke for this paragraph so here’s a picture of Frank Trigg and Tom Cruise.
"Trigg is way too deadpan for this image"
The second thing would be the embarassing way in which James Toney entered and exited MMA. Can we drop the whole debate now? Will Bob Arum let the white man continue to lube up and dry hump in cages without ridicule? I’d love to say yes to this but despite the painful results of Toney’s first match boxers and boxing promoters are always going to criticize MMA because boxing is kind of, sort of on it’s way out. It’s not going away, it’s just going to be eclipsed by MMA at some point when more and more young boxers go to MMA instead of boxing for a pay day.
These men will also never really accept MMA because it has grappling and like all alpha males they’re insecure about their sexuality and once they see those tight shorts on GSP they fly off into a confused, frightened and strangely aroused rage. I’m here to tell you guys: it’s ok! Just like you’ve suspected all MMA fans are extremely camp but hide it very well behind skulls, swords, barbed wire and slogans like “TapOut” or “Deathclutch” or “Xtreme I’mma Kick Your Ass”. All this grappling nonsense is, just like you’ve said from the start, just thinly veiled gay-porn though I guess since you recognized it as such you must already be more than familiar with that subject.
"De La Hoya working on his Jiu Jitsu
At least we have the guts to watch men get bummed in public!
The third issue is of course BJ Penn. Some of our readers might recall me heralding this year as the potential downfall of the current greats and the new generation rising up to take the throne. So… yeah. That happened. As it stands the only fighter left right now is GSP and I hope he isn’t a supersticious man looking around at all the other pound for pound greats who suddenly aren’t looking that hot anymore.
Penn’s sudden implosion could possibly be linked to the fact that he still trains with basically the same people. Sure, he brings in new guys to train with occasionally but the camp and corner has been the same for a while now and I get the feeling he’s the top dog around there. As has been said before iron sharpens iron and I feel like Penn might need to go travelling for a bit to find someone to not only push him but to assess his skills objectively and help him improve his game further. Either that or be stubbornly left behind as the sport moves forward.
MMA UK’s resident MMApedia, JB, has contributed to the new “Worst To Best” series. Take a look!
Despite what we all claim while sipping brandy, reading Tolstoy and stroking absurdely large cats we all love a good brawl. After all, the brawler goes in there with the most visceral and yet peerlessly stupid tactic imaginable: I’ll let him hit me so I can hit him!
As absurd as it is it seems to work for some fighters. Some fighters manage to use their frankly inhuman toughness to break their opponent’s will only to knock them out or submit them after taking brutal amounts of punishment. Today we’re going to look over some of these fighters to find the toughest sluggers imaginable and the Glass Joes who should really take a long look at their records and have a little think.
Now, to lay some ground rules down here, this will be based on where the fighter is at now but will take their career history into account as well. If the fighter switched styles to or from brawling at some point the effect this had on their career will also be accounted for.
”Ice Cold” Igor Vovchanchyn – I decided to include his nick name not only because it kicks so much ass but also because it perfectly describes Vovchancyn’s demeanor in the ring. Much like Fedor but without the ground game, timing and strategy Vovchanchyn was iconic back in the day for knocking people absolutely silly with the biggest, most ridiculous punches ever thrown (not counting pub brawls in Ireland). He’s perhaps best known for being massacred by knees courtesy of Mark Coleman, being ragdolled by “Rampage” Jackson or nearly losing his head against Alistair Overeem but I choose to remember him for the delivering the greatest KO in MMA history.
Unfortunately he’s kept off the actual list due to inactivity and also because he’s not a pure brawler in the same sense as the other guys on this list.
Tank Abbott – The man some say started it all, Tank Abbot became massively popular after his stint in the early days of the UFC, sporting some great knock outs and some terrifying defeats at the hands of people exploiting his open, take-one-to-give-one strategy. Seriously, it feels almost pointless to talk about this guy, everyone seems to have seen one of his fights! Let’s celebrate his legacy with a grainy montage set to some terrible music.
Tank will have to be content with an honourable mention though due to his inactivity and the obsolete version of his brawling; it kind of worked back then but it certainly doesn’t work now.
Don Frye – This guy get’s an honourable mention for no other reason than his fight with Takayama. Best brawl ever? Is Criminal Minds the funniest show on TV? The answer to both those questions really have nothing to do with anything so let’s just watch, shall we?
So why isn’t he on the list? Like the other two here he’s fallen out of relevancy in later years but has left one hell of a legacy.
Now, with those out of the way we move on to the actual list.
The Worst: James Thompson – Looking at this English giant you’d probably say he has all the tools he needs to be a great brawler. Then again, you’d probably say the new Star Wars movies were good so you’re not to be trusted anyway. Thompson is big and strong, this is true. He could probably knock you out cold whenever he wanted to, I’ll concede that. Problem is that he’s got a glass jaw and a gas tank filled with sugar and marmite, which you’d once again think would deter him from just rushing straight in and getting knocked out in mere seconds, but once again you have to go and praise CSI: Miami for it’s storytelling in the next breath so jog on.
The face every child makes when told the truth about Santa. Bad timing Big Dan.
Ok, this might sound pretty damn harsh – how bad could he really be at brawling? The answer?
How brawling has served him: after amassing a couple of wins in the minor leagues Thompson entered Pride FC in 2004 where he spent some time opening cans. After that he lost 11 of his next 15, most of which came by knock-out. I guess the answer is not well at all. The Bad: Jorge Gurgel – I call him the man with the worst gameplan in the world for a reason. This man is a black belt in jiu jitsu and yet for about four years we haven’t seen him show it, instead opting to trade with every opponent he faces leading to some pretty bad losses in fights he very well could’ve won had he decided to strike properly instead of going in guns blazing. The problem here is that while Gurgel is pretty tough he’s nowhere near as tough as he’d need to be for this to be a viable strategy. He also doesn’t have the kind of knock-out power necessary and his striking tends to be sloppy even by slugger standards. To his credit he knows what pays the bills so it’s not shocking to see him go for this style as most fans find it entertaining but to me it’s just sad. This guy could have, and indeed had, much more success with a gameplan that didn’t involve getting punched in the face and if there’s ever been a fighter who’s above brawling it’s this guy. The guy’s trained Dustin Hazelett for god’s sake!
Bet you never thought you'd see this again
How brawling has served him: since moving more and more into the style in 2006 Gurgel has garnered two Fight of the Night honours, been cut from the UFC and lost four out of his last five fights. That one win was against Conor Heun. Yeah. His last fight also saw him try to brawl with KJ Noons, an accomplished striker. Guess I spoiled how that went, huh?
The Good: Takanori Gomi – This one was tough to call but I had to give it to Gomi for two reasons, the first one being that he has almost everything he needs. He’s got a rock solid chin, tons of speed, decent wrestling and grappling and arguably the heaviest hands in the sport pound for pound, all of which helped make him the concensus #1 Lightweight in the world at one point. However, the second reason is his will, which is unfortunately the first to break. As soon as Gomi ran into a brick wall he started to fade and bouncing back from losses has always seemed difficult for Gomi since he lost his aura of invincibility.
Believe me if he hits you on the chin you’re going down, just ask Tyson Griffin, but if you can avoid the brawl and make him miss Gomi rarely has a plan B and will likely break. The Gomi of yesterday was easily one of the best brawlers of all time but when the losses came rolling in he showed weaknessess that made me question how suitable he really is as a brawler and how much better he could be as a technical striker.
Even as early as that a technical striker like Sakurai was doing pretty well until he made the mistake that let Gomi win the fight. While Gomi can be an awesome brawler I feel that by mixing his strategy up a bit and by working on his mental game – which as we all know is 90% of the fight – he can once again become great. He has all the tools after all.
How brawling has served him: Former Pride FC Lightweight champion and baddest mofo on the planet in that division between 2004-2006. Has since been figured out by his opponents, first by Marcus Aurelio, followed by Nick Diaz until he was completely destroyed by Kenny Florian. He’s recently spoken of rethinking his training so hopefully we’ll see the Fireball Kid rise again.
The Great: Chan Sung Jung – I remember seeing this kid for the first time in Sengoku’s Featherweight tournament fighting Masanori Kanehara and being amazed not only by the racially motivated robberry he suffered at the hands of the Japanese judges but also by his amazing tenacity. No matter where you take the fight this young Korean slugger will come right back at you; you punch him and he’ll punch you twice as hard, never slowing down. His ground game is also rock solid often using his crazed striking offense to set up a submission and certainly not being a slouch off his back if you should happen to knock him down.
He gained international fame through yet another prime-time robberry that may or may not be attributed to racism as much as just plain insanity after his amazing, underline amazing, fight against Leonard Garcia at WEC 48: Aldo vs Faber earlier this year, which still kind of, sort of makes him undefeated so well done Jung!
Now that's a burgeoning bromance if I ever saw one
So what makes this guy such a good fit for the brawler style? Well first of all he never stops attacking. Ever. He rolls with punches like crazy and combined with his insane chin it’s earned him the nickname “The Korean Zombie” which sums up his style. He also hits like a freight train and has very solid submissions once on the ground. He overwhelms his opponents until they can’t keep up and are forced to either make a desperate move or just lay down and wait for the end. Few fighters can pull that off consistantly and few are so entertaining doing it. Just enjoy this awesome highlight video and see for yourselves.
Considering that this kid isn’t more than 23 years old the sky is truly the limit for him. He made me a fan back in Sengoku and if his fight against such a tough guy like Garcia is any indication we’re in for a treat everytime he fights.
How brawling has served him: A record of 12-2 where every win is by stoppage and both losses are questionable speaks for itself. Keep up the good work!
The Best: Chris Leben – Narrowing it down to the top spot was no easy feat so in the end I just asked myself the question “Who comes to mind as soon as someone mentions the term ‘Brawler’?”. The answer, quite simply, is the guy who goes toe to toe against anyone; who knocks you out when he himself is on the verge of being knocked out; who takes high profile fights on ridiculous notice out of a passion for combat and who just won’t go away.
Chris Leben embodies brawling. When he’s in the cage it’s always just a matter of time. Many complain that he’s one dimensional (despite him constantly showing decent submission skills off his back) and always comes in using the same strategy, which I rebuke with the old saying “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”. Leben has been in there with the best, hell the only guy to knock him out that I can recall is the current champ and pound for pound contender Anderson Silva, and more often than not performs well when he can draw his opponent into a brawl, something he usually accomplishes.
What Leben has to his advantage isn’t just a titanium chin, nukes for fists or a resolve that will break all but the most stoic of fighters but also something more subtle and insidious: He has an incredibly punchable face. Every opponent who gets in there with him seem to at some point or another get a sudden urge to just beat his face into mush and whenever this happens there’s always an overhand left waiting for them.
While his personality can be grating and his style anything but cerebral we can all do with some Chris Leben every now and then. In a way he embodies toughness and it’s always fun to see him fight. OK, maybe not when he’s fighting Bisping.
How brawling has served him: Chris Leben is currently one of the most popular fighters in the UFC despite never holding a title. He’s got an extensive knock-out reel and despite a rocky career at times he’s never at risk with the company due to his exciting fights. While he may not have the record that Chan Sung Jung has he practically embodies this style of fighting and truthfully I can’t think of anyone who does it better.
UFC 118 isn’t one of the most anticipated events of the year. It’s solid, but I think this event is more about answering questions and sorting out where fighters are in the UFC “rankings”. Is BJ Penn going to exact ferocious revenge on Frankie Edgar, or does Edgar have the answer (see what I did there?). Can MMA legend Randy Courture beat boxing legend James Toney whose been on Chael Sonnen trash talking levels ever since the card was announced. Even I’ve resorted to calling grown men princess.
Can Demian Maia destroy the memory of his embarrassing last fight against Anderson Silva and build himself up again when he faces Mario Miranda or will Miranda make him name for himself and take out the BJJ specialist.
It’s a fight for the number one contender for the lightweight title. Will it be third times a charm for Kenny Florian or will Gray Maynard bully him out of title contention. We also have a Welterweight matc-up between the Nate Diaz and the Irish Hand Grenade, Marcus Davis. Will Diaz be able to move further up the welterweight division or will the experience of Marcus Davis prevail?
As always your three favourite MMA analyst Kris, JB and myself Aundre will be giving you guys our opinions on whom we think will win.
Nate Diaz Vs Marcus Davis
Koscheck vs St. Pierre is scheduled for December. Jon Fitch or the winner of Jake Shields vs Martin Kampman likely to be next in line. Neither of these guys are truly in the mix. Nate Diaz is trying to establish himself as a factor in the welterweight division and Marcus Davis is doing everything he can to avoid being the new welterweight gatekeeper. A couple of wins could put either guy in the conversation as it’s new blood for the title, especially if GSP is still the champion. This fight is perfect timing for both fighters and truly is a must win. I believe Nate is truly more technical on the ground and on the feet but Marcus Davis will probably show Nate a level of power that he hasn’t handled before in the octagon
I’m always a fan of technique prevailing and I think this will be no different. The Irish hand grenade is no stranger to submissions so I think he will avoid being finished but I think Nate Diaz will be the victor.
Nate Diaz Via Submission
This fight should be a blowout. We’ve got two guys who won’t back down and have solid stand up skills. Davis probably has the edge standing but if it goes to the ground Diaz will absolutely murder him with his jiu jitsu. As much as I like Davis we all know that Diaz is more than willing to pull guard if he wants it on the ground and unless Davis can avoid that it’ll be a short night.
Diaz by submission
I’m a big fan and a big believer in the talents of both Diaz brothers. Although I think Nick is the better fight at this current moment in time, I don’t think that’s anything to take away from Nate. His ground game is sick, he loves a fancy submission and his striking has become a lot sharper. I feel that Marcus Davis is past his prime and should be beaten by Diaz. However, he isn’t called the Irish Hand Grenade just for the hell of it, so Diaz has to watch out for a vicious strike otherwise it could be a bump in his career.
Diaz by Submission
Kenny Florian Vs Gray Maynard
Well and truly number 3 and 4 in the division within the UFC at the moment. With Kenny Florian desperately trying to get another shot at the title, while Gray is adamant to get the fight that he feels should’ve been his prior to Edgar’s short. I think that the fight will be a stand up war until Gray gets frustrated and takes Kenny down. Florian definitely has one of the most under rated guards in the division but I do believe that he is going to get well and truly bullied. Gray is determined, motivated and has the size to give Florian more problems than he can handle.
Gray Maynard via Decision
This is one I’ve gone back and forth on for some time now. Florian is a very well rounded fighter, so much so that people forget that he’s a grappler first hand! Maynard, however, is not so well rounded; everyone knows he’s a wrestler and everyone knows he’s going to try to take Florian down, smother him and try to win by decision. What this fight comes down to in my mind is two questions:
can Maynard take Florian down without getting badly hurt and once there can he control him? If the answer to either of those questions is No then I think we’ll see Florian walking away with another win and possibly another title shot.
Florian by submission
I’m a huge fan of Kenny Florian. I think he’s one of the most well rounded fighters in any division and constantly improves on aspects of his game and as he likes to point out, he finishes fights. He has always been a pretty exciting and energetic fighter and that’s why fans love him.
However, I think he’s met a man in Gray Maynard who is going to be able to control him and stop his Jiu Jitsu, which is one of Florians main weapons. This fight is really a question of whether or not Maynard can take Florian down and is Maynards wrestling better than Florians Jiu Jitsu. Personally, I don’t think it’s going to be a good night for Florian…
Maynard via decision
Demian Maia Vs Mario Miranda
This both looks and feels like a tune-up fight for Maia but looking through Miranda’s previous fights he’s not one to sleep on. He’s got great jiu jitsu, solid wrestling and pretty heavy hands so if Maia lets himself get punched in the face it could spell disaster for him. Of course Maia is going to have the advantage on the ground, no questions asked; he’s submitted black belts before and made it look easy. So I guess what I’m saying is that Miranda is in there to play the part of the can but don’t be surprised if he should fight back.
Maia by submission
Possibly the best thing to happen to Maia. Mario Miranda has stepped up to fight Maia due to Alan Belcher and his detached retina. Belcher offers massive problems for Maia, Miranda . . . . . not so much. I expect Maia to use his new found stand up confidence to get on the inside and either pull guard or take Miranda down. Once he’s there it’s pure and simply game over. Two wins in a row and again he can work towards the number one contender spot.
Demian Maia via Submission 1st Round (Submission of the night)
I don’t have much to say on this fight as I don’t know much about Mario Miranda. I do know that Demian Maia is a fantastic BJJ artist and I’m convinced that he’s going to take him down and make him tap. Sorry Mario, but you’re fighting a high calibre opponent that is probably way over your pay grade.
Maia Via Subission
Randy Couture Vs James Toney
Randy Couture, one of the true pioneers of the sport. Well rounded fighter with a solid Greco roman background. James Toney is by far the best boxer to wear 4oz gloves. Logic would suggest that Couture is going to use his wealth of experience to get on the inside, take Toney down and well and truly beat him up (probably from half guard). However with Randy getting rocked in a couple of his last fights, going in the hardest puncher he has ever faced, I’m going to go with the under dog.
James Toney by way of Ray Mercer vs Tim Sylvia (just not as quick)
Someone is getting embarrassed in this fight, trust me on that one. Couture is a seasoned veteran in MMA and one of the legends of the sport while Toney is a seasoned veteran and a legend of boxing. Throwing the whole “MMA vs boxing debate” out of the window (because it isn’t a debate unless you also debate rugby vs football or curling vs golf) this one comes down to two guys with very simple gameplans.
Toney: Punch him in the face.
Couture: Don’t let him punch you in the face.
Whoever executes their gameplan the best will win and I’m gonna go with Couture on this one based on experience alone. We’ve seen boxers try to cross over to MMA before (Yosuke Nishijima comes to mind) and while Toney is certainly training for his fight I think his lack of experience is going to do him in. Still, if Randy boxes with him he’s gonna get KTFO.
Couture by TKO
This fight is really a case of who does what quicker. Can Couture take Toney down first or can Toney light up Couture face like a christmas tree? I’m not sure really, but if I had to take a guess I’d say Couture. Couture has always been a smart fighter and a great tactian. He knows he’s getting old and his chin isn’t what it used to be, so he has to go for what everyone is presuming he’s going to do. He’s going to go for the takedown and it doesn’t matter if Toney has been training his wrestling – he’s a newbie to the sport. He’s not going to be able to get up once he’s on the floor and then Toneys nickname is going to haunt him as I believe it will be lights out for the boxer.
Couture via TKO
BJ Penn Vs Frankie Edgar
This is an intriguing fight, more so than last time they fought, because now Edgar has a chance to prove that last time wasn’t a fluke. If he manages to beat Penn again it will completely mess up the rankings and also kind of mess up the way we currently view MMA; where suddenly the small guy, who with today’s BS weight cutting plans should be fighting at Featherweight yet decides to use his speed at a higher weightclass can be dominant.
Penn isn’t going to have that, of course. While he’s already admitted, and I agree, that Edgar winning wasn’t a fluke but rather a well executed game plan he’s vowed to fight a better fight and get his title back and secure his legacy. This is honestly a tough fight to call because on paper Penn has every advantage but the speed and possibly the cardio but despite this we’ve seen Edgar steal a decision from him. In my mind Edgar has all the tools and he might just have figured Penn out. I’m probably crazy but I’m going with the champ on this one and expect an awesome showing from both guys who both have something to prove.
This fight reminds me of a Call of duty game where you edge a win by a couple of kills and then in the next game you get nuked. I believe that BJ Penn will well and truly provide the Vaseline as his rape of Edgar will look that easy. BJ Penn is in the top 5 best pound for pound fighters in the sport and we will all see why on Saturday
BJ Penn via Total destruction 3rd round (only because he wants to make Frankie cry in the first 2 rounds)
I’m going to make this short, sweet and in mathematical terms.
BJ Penn +Motivation + I need for revenge = New champion.
MMA UK are going to be starting a new series of articles detailing our thoughts on the worst to best aspects of MMA. Our first article will be on who we think are the worst and best referee’s in MMA right now.
Honourary Mentions – Dan Miragliota
If I could do a referee between Yves Lavigne and Josh Rosenthal, I’d put Dan Miragliota. The big man is a pretty decent referee who was quick to react when Paul Daley took a sucker punch at Josh Koscheck. Much Kudo’s to the man.
I know a lot of people will be asking “Where is Mario Yamasaki on the list?” and honestly I’ll reply to that with a “Where is Mario Yamasaki in general?”. I wanted to make sure the list was full of active referees and Yamasaki hasn’t been seen in a cage for quite a long time. However, I hope he comes back soon as he definitely deserves to be near the top of this list.
Starting at number five and arguably one of the worst referees in MMA today – Steve Mazzagati
Dana White on Steve Mazzagati as a referee
Picture from Sherdog.com
“Mazzagatti, as a referee?” White said. “This f**king guy shouldn’t even be watching MMA on TV, let alone refereeing it. I think he’s the worst ref in the history of any fight business, ever. He’s horrible. We don’t pick the refs. The athletic commission does. Those guys are picked by the government. It’s not that I don’t like him, he’s a nice guy. He’s an absolute nice guy, he has no business whatsoever being anywhere near mixed martial arts”
(Taken from the Opie and Anthony Show and MMAfighting.com)
Here’s one of the reasons as to why Mazzagati is so heavily criticised
Number four Referee - Yves Lavigne
Picture from TheMMAnews.com
Yves Lavigne isn’t a great referee. He’s better than Mazzagati, but he’s made two glaring mistakes in his career. He’s done the two cardinal sins of a referee. He’s stopped a fight too early (Matt Wiman Vs Mac Danzig) and stopping a fight too late (Pete Sell Vs Matt Brown)
Pete Sell was the only person who wasn’t angry at Lavigne after he took a beating saying;
“I want always to be given the chance to fight back, not matter what,” Sell said Tuesday. “I thought he did good with that. … I want any referee that judges the fight to always give me the benefit of the doubt that I’m always willing to fight.”
However, Lavigne had this to say about the fight;
“I did let Mr. Sell take maybe — not maybe — I let him take a beating for absolutely nothing,” he told The Canadian Press. “So I didn’t do my job properly. So basically, I screwed up. I screwed up and I’m going to learn from it and try not to do it again. … I’m going to make sure not to do it again.”
Sources from CagePotato
Number 3 goes to Josh Rosenthal
Picture from MMABay.co.uk
Josh Rosenthal isn’t considered one of the most elite referees in the business and he may never be considered one of the top, but as it is for fighters, it’s the same for referees – every fight counts. Rosenthals last memorable refereeing gig was the Shane Carwin Vs Brock Lesnar fight. As you can see by his plaudits, he did pretty well
Dana White On Josh Rosenthal
“When the fight was first starting, I looked at (UFC CEO) Lorenzo (Feritta), and you guys know how critical I am about this stuff,” White said. “I said, ‘How the hell did Josh Rosenthal get this fight?’
“Listen, I don’t know Herb Dean. I’ve probably said five words to Herb Dean in my entire life. I just think that Herb Dean is the greatest ref in the history of the world. When guys are in there, I wish Herb was in every fight. But I want to say Josh Rosenthal did a fantastic job, and I apologize for badmouthing him before he did nothing wrong.”
Credit to MMAjunkie
Herb Dean On Josh Rosenthal
“I think in the first round Shane definitely hit Brock with some good shots and was attacking him. For a second it seemed like Brock was in danger. The referee, Josh, did a really good job of keeping the fighter safe and not affecting the outcome of the fight. I agree with what he did. I think he did a great job. I feel that it was the best decision to be made.”
Credit: Micheal Pepper and MMbay.co.uk
Number 2 – Herb Dean
Picture from MMAbay.co.uk
For those who are new to MMA, Herb Dean is a pretty unique and significant figure when it comes to referees. He barely ever makes a bad decision and just seems like a generally nice bloke. His officiating his lauded across the world of MMA. In fact his boss Dana White has this to say about Dean.
…hold up Uncle Dana. Herb is awesome and defiantly one of the best referees in the world. However, we’ve got to disagree with your statement. As long as one man still officiates he will be the best in the business. His name is…
Picture from Addictedtomma
Big John McCarthy has been regarded as MMA’s top referee for many years now and I don’t think it will ever change. Honestly, the man never makes a mistake and the only reason he hasn’t been seen back in the UFC until recently was because he had some disparaging remarks about the company. Welcome back though John. The more quality refereeing we get in MMA, the better.
Hardcore MMA fans know who Hector Lombard is, but if you’re not a huge fan and you only watch UFC and possibly Strikeforce, then you need to get to know this guy. He’s a 4th degree black belt in Judo and a BJJ Black belt. However, he hasn’t had to use it much in his recent fights as 6 of 7 fights have finished via TKO or KO. The man is an absolute tank and is Bellators First Middleweight Champion. Keep a look out for this guy and if you didn’t know, now you do.
In this weeks edition of Submission of the week, we’re going to bring it all the way back to UFC 48: Payback. The fight that we’re going to be showing you is Frank Mir vs Tim Sylvia. Usually I’d talk about the fighters and how the submission came about, but today I’m going to talk about the referee – Herb Dean.
I think that most people who are MMA fans such as myself are highly critical on referees and sometimes, they deserve it. They can call a fight to early or to late, or even simply call it wrong. However, I’m not sure if the referees get as much praise when they make the right decisions. Herb Dean is arguably one of the best referees in the MMA now. Most would say that the only referees that are on the same calibre or are even better than Herb Dean are Big John Mcarthy and possibly Mario Yamasaki. However, I think MMA fans would agree that he is part of the small, but elite group of quality referees in MMA today.
To further prove this point, take a look at this video…
One Man’s Epic Journey into the World’s Toughest Sport
From Writer to Fighter in 12 weeks training
Filmed by BlockHouse Films for an upcoming TV series
Journalist Mark Amor-Carling enters the Octagon with the UK’s top MMA Organisation – Ultimate Challenge - September 18th, Troxy, London
(London, August 2010) Can an out of shape, heavy drinking, chain smoking, burger munching journalist cut it in the world’s toughest sport with only 12 weeks of training? Brighton based Mark Amor-Carling thinks he can, and will be stepping into the Octagon on September 18th at UCMMA 15: Showdown in front of a sell out crowd for his biggest challenge to date.
With the help of the most experienced and skilled mixed martial artists, top nutritionists, boxers and cage fighting promoters, our hero in training will take on veteran fighter Jason ‘Badass’ Barrett in three five minute rounds of full contact MMA. Every punch, every kick and every tear is being captured by BlockHouse Films for an upcoming TV series as we follow this gruelling attempt at understanding these modern gladiators from the inside.
Dave O’Donnell: legendary promoter, founder of UCMMA and cage fighting guru who introduced the sport to the UK heads up team. He’s guiding, advising and showing Mark every aspect of this glamorous yet dangerous sport.
Dale Hatt: one of Britain’s most dangerous men, taking a break from looking after global super-stars such as Timberland and JaRule is putting his expertise into training Mark full time
Nick ‘Head Hunter’ Champman: Ground n’ Pound and conditioning coach, owner of fight-science (fight-science.co.uk) and rising MMA star
Gary Turner: Kickboxing coach, black belt in Judo, Jiu Jitsu, 13 times world champion – Certified Practitioner of HypnosisandCertified NLP Practitioner
Mark Prince: Champion boxer and KO King – the striking coach showing how to land the perfect one two.
Dave O’Donnell said: “It’s not often that guys come along who say they want to fight and actually do – Marc Carling is one of those guys – balls as big as coconuts and obviously no fear. Every time I’ve trained with him and put him to the test he hasn’t backed down. He may not be the best fighter in the world but he’s guaranteed to come out and give it 100%. “