Shine Fights Saga Continues
When the UFC was shut out of multiple states thanks to John McCain’s politicking in the mid-‘90’s, the UFC found last minute replacement venues because as the adage goes, “the show must go on.” In a time where such rogue activity is uncommon, Shine Fights—most notable for failing to defeat Don King’s injunction against their Ricardo Mayorga-Din Thomas MMA vs. boxing super fight—has left Virginia for Oklahoma in search of a home for their 8-man, one night tournament. They found one in the First Council Casino in Newkirk, Okla. With the move stemming from a he-said-she-said battle with Virginia’s athletic commission over whether or not Shine, who admittedly was delayed in paying Thomas and others after their last event failed to launch, has provided a surety bond to ensure fighters pursues among other integral safety measures required for a promotion, it’ll be clear by fight night Friday if Shine or Virginia was in the right.
Take it for what its worth: Marcus Aurelio, originally scheduled for Friday’s 8-man, one-night lightweight tournament, withdrew due to an elbow injury despite staying in a scheduled bout in DREAM on September 25.
Shine was slated to air on DirecTV pay-per-view; however, has been pulled since the original announcement by MMAFighting. As late as Wednesday night, Shine seems to be going forward, announcing the first round of their tournament as follows:
Drew Fickett (37-13) vs. Charles “Krazy Horse” Bennett (23-17-2)
Rich Crunkilton (16-3) vs. Carlo Prater (24-7-1)
Shannon Gugerty (12-5) vs. Dennis Bermudez (6-0)
James Warfield (21-6) vs. Kyle Baker (8-4)
TapouT Sells to Brand Firm
(L-R Dan “Punkass” Caldwell, the late Charles “Mask” Lewis, Tim “Skyskrape” Katz)
The most storied brand in mixed martial arts, TapouT, has been sold to New York-based branding, licensing and development firm Authentics Brand Group as first reported by Sherdog.com. Hitman Fight Gear, an asset of TapouT, came along in the deal too. Not lost on MMA’s market appeal, Authentics Brand Group also brought Silver Star in the fold. Dan “Punkass” Caldwell and Tim “Skyscrape” Katz retain positions at TapouT (President and Marketing/Creative Director respectively), while Silver Star founder Luke Burrett has an unspecified role. The move signals another push into the mainstream as the popular fighting brands bring their business closer to Madison Ave.
UFC Releases Todd Duffee
Just over a year after scoring the fastest knockout in UFC history, Todd Duffee has been released by the UFC. Duffee lost his last contest at UFC 114 when a major tide change by Mike Russow’s last-minute punch floored the hot prospect; however, considerable hype and upswing (not to mention Duffee being up on all three scorecards) kept Duffee, 1-1, on the “fighters to watch list.” There were even rumors he’d appear at UFC 121 in Anaheim, CA; however, UFC contracts permit releasing a fighter coming off a loss. The only question that remains in Duffee’s case is why wait five months to do so?
On to the Fights…
Bellator hit the airwaves again last night with a slew of non-tournament bouts. UFC veterans Matt Horwich and Rich Clementi faced Carey Vanier and Eric Schambari, respectively, while Bellator’s homegrown standout Georgi Karakhanyan attempts to rebound from his tournament loss with a win against Anthony Leone.
The weekend kicks off with Canada’s Maximum Fighting Championship. MFC 155-pound titleholder Antonio McKee is as respected for seven-year win streak as he is maligned for a snoozing wrestling style. He guarantees an exciting show and finish in his first lightweight title defense against Luciano Azevedo or he’ll retire. Should the 40-year-old, who has only one finish in the last eight years, fail to deliver, “Mandingo” has said he’ll hang up the gloves for good. British standout Tom “Kong” Watson faces off with Jesse Taylor in the night’s must-see tangle.
Bas Rutten and Don Frye calling fights together is enough of a reason to tune into Shark Fights on Saturday night. Excellent matchmaking and a concerted effort to maintain such quality bouts in lieu of injuries creates one of, if not the best regional cards of the year. UFC, WEC and Strikeforce vets can be found in every bout as Keith Jardine meets Trevor Prangley in the main event and guaranteed fisticuffs between Paul Daley and Jorge Masvidal promises bang for your buck.
Oh, and Shine Fights might happen too.