Quick Hits

Quick Hits

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We’re told that “size doesn’t matter,” but we all know it does. In reality, inadequate size severely limits your likelihood of playing NBA hoops or becoming president. Conversely, ex-Sumo wrestlers never become Kentucky Derby jockeys or fighter pilots. Basic anthropometrics like height, reach, and hand dominance follow us everywhere and influence how we perform physical tasks. But what does it mean in MMA? What can weight classes tell us about knockout rates? Let’s settle it once and for all.

 

HEAVY HANDS

 

Heavyweights score more knockouts, almost three times the rate of lightweights. A graph using only weight classes to predict KO/TKO finishes showed a direct correlation between weight and knockouts, validating this key relationship. Spanning the 110-pound journey from lightweight to heavyweight almost triples the rate at which TKOs occur. That’s a big difference. You can correctly bet heavyweight fights will end by strikes more than half the time, while betting against lightweights finishing by strikes will get you paid 80% of the time. Analysis of data from Strikeforce revealed a similar pattern. It’s true, size matters.

 

The idea of knockout power drives this relationship. Some guys have it, some don’t– but size is a key ingredient. Shane Carwin remarked that once his hands  touch people, “they go to sleep.” However, he is using more than just his hands. Muscles are like engines—they burn fuel, converting chemical potential energy into mechanical kinetic energy. Muscles enable physical work. The simple result is that heavyweight fights often end by strikes because more muscles do more damage.

 

Assisting heavyweight knockout artists is higher power striking accuracy. In the critical metric for knockout blows—power head strikes—heavyweights beat all other weight classes in accuracy. This is likely because heavier fighters are less agile, and their reactions are slower. More mass takes more effort to move due to inertia. Higher heavyweight accuracy is even more pronounced in the clinch and on the ground. Conversely, quick and elusive lightweights have the lowest accuracy of any weight class across the board. Are lightweights poor strikers? Probably not, their opponents are just faster.

 

PHYSICS IS MERCILESS

 

When fist meets head, energy is transferred between them, and collisions like this are governed by physics. Isaac Newton determined that force equals mass times acceleration (F=ma). Physics is merciless. There’s no secret to this “Force,” and there’s no magical bracelet you can wear to break its laws or hide from its unrelenting truths. Monstrous 3XL-gloved fists with correspondingly massive arms, back, hips, and legs, are capable of inducing rapid acceleration of a human head upon contact. Collisions are also governed by momentum, which equals mass times velocity (p=mv). In a direct strike, conserved momentum accelerates the head quickly, causing the brain to bounce within the skull. This causes concussion injuries or knockouts. Both governing equations rely on mass, so bigger is better.

 

But momentum also relies on speed, and if lighter fighters have quicker hands, they should have more KO’s, right? No. The much larger mass of heavyweights dominates any increase in quickness of lighter hands. Larger fighters are also taller, with longer arms and reach. While it takes more energy to get a big arm moving at high velocity (inertia again), longer arms also have a longer runway to accelerate before they run out of room and finally stop at maximum reach distance. Shorter arms of lightweights may snap into action quickly, but can’t accelerate for long.

 

POUND FOR POUND

 

Realizing the chances of scoring knockouts at lightweight are drastically reduced, smaller fighters have attempted to win on the ground more often. The physics of the situation has changed the way fights unfold. Lightweights attempt 72% more takedowns per fight than heavyweights and 95% more submissions. A lightweight’s increased chances of surviving a few direct strikes means more time working submissions than heavyweights. Ultimately, we’ll see better BJJ among the elusive, lighterweights, where their skills can shine, rather than at heavyweight, where they’re only one crashing meat paw from Octagon nap time.

 

• More than half of heavyweight fights end via strikes, but few by submission.
• Almost half of lightweight fights go the distance, but few end via strikes.
• More muscle means more acceleration of your opponent’s head, which is bad (for them).
• Fighters adjust their fighting style to account for size.
• Size matters.

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How did you get the nickname “Dominator?”

 

I was the smallest guy on my football team, but I would never stop and I’d always get back up.

 

What’s the last CD you bought?

 

Eminem’s Recovery.

 

Where do you keep your WEC title belt?

 

It’s on my couch underneath a pile of clean clothes.

 

What’s your ethnicity?

 

I’m Mexican-American, half and half. My dad’s Mexican and my mom’s white.

 

Are you inspired by your Mexican-American heritage when it comes to fighting, particularly your boxing?

 

I think more than anything, it’s in my blood. I’ll be honest—I really think that.I don’t know where else it would have come from. My mom didn’t teach it to me. That’s for sure.

 

What embarrassing music did you like growing up?

 

MC Hammer. I had Hammer pants. I sure did. They were pimp.

 

Color?

 

Black, they had to be black, they’re Hammer pants, man. They’re all baggy with velcro on the bottom and top.

 

What’s been your best Halloween costume?

 

The best Halloween costume was last year when I dressed up like Robin “The Boy Wonder.” Batman’s assistant. It was so perfect.

 

What’s the first thing you eat after a fight?

 

A huge beer. To be honest, Bud Light. Think about it!

 

If you could have a bromance with any actor, who would it be?

 

Rob Dyrdek. That dude kills me. I feel like his sense of humor is on point. We could just talk shit together all day and it would be hilarious.

 

Maybe you can be his bodyguard. He doesn’t have “Big Black” anymore.

 

I’m like his size, but at the same time, I know I can do some damage on somebody.

 

Who would play Dominick Cruz in a movie?

 

I’m gonna answer this for everyone who knows me on a personal level, because they all make fun of me and call me Tom Cruise.

 

What’d you do with your first big sponsorship check?

 

I bought a car. I didn’t have a car. I used that money to buy my new Honda. Oh, big bad Honda. It works. I’m a minimalist.

 

What’s the most interesting thing a fan has ever said to you?

 

“Boo! You f’n suck,” as I’m walking out for a fight. I’ll never forget it. It was against Urijah Faber.

 

Who’s your favorite comedian?

 

Dave Chappelle.

 

What’s in your DVD player?

 

Volume one of the X-Men cartoonseries.

 

What sort of sponsorship do you think would be an ideal fit for Dominick Cruz?

 

I think an ideal fit for me would be Bud Light.

 

Refreshing answer. We know about your striking and wrestling. How’s your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

 

My BJJ hasn’t been seen yet. People don’t know about it. It’s something that I definitely have made a lot of improvements in, and I’m very good at it. I just like to keep things on my feet. I like to scrap.

Back pain affects nearly 80 percent of the population and can severely interfere with your ability to train and compete if you are an MMA athlete. Contrary to what most people believe, the most common cause of back pain is not poor lifting mechanics, but it is more often the result of poor postures and muscular imbalances. This applies to the average sedentary working person, but for those of you who train in MMA, there is more to back pain than meets the eye. The MMA athlete puts a higher demand on the lower back than many other sports, which can lead to bouts of acute and chronic lower back pain resulting from herniated discs.

 

THE SOURCE OF THE PROBLEM

When you have back pain that radiates past your knees and there is numbness or tingling in your legs, you probably have a herniated disc along with a pinched nerve in your lower back. The discs are cartilage, or “shock absorbers” found between the vertebrae, which allow for flexibility in the spine. I like to use the analogy of a jelly doughnut when explaining what can happen to discs. The disc is composed of a cartilaginous outer layer (annulus fibrosis) and a soft center (nucleus pulposis). A disc does not “slip” as most people believe, but it can do one or a combination of three things: it can degenerate, bulge, or herniate.

 

Disc degeneration is a process that occurs as a normal part of aging, but it can also be accelerated from excessive stress on the body. The disc essentially wears away and dries out, becoming less flexible and less soft over time (the “dough” becomes dry and the “jelly” loses its fluid content). Abnormal pressure in the lower back from repetitive movements can cause a disc to bulge. A bulge occurs when the soft center of the disc (the “jelly”) pushes out on the outer cartilage layer (the “dough” is pushed outward) which can potentially pinch a nerve. If a disc herniates, the soft center of the disc actually leaks outward and compresses or irritates the sensitive nerves in the lower back. This is a common cause for the radiating pain down the back of the thigh and leg, which is referred to as sciatica. X-rays can rule out a fracture or dislocation, but they do not show the integrity of the discs. An MRI will accurately diagnose whether you have a degenerated, bulging, or herniated disc.

 

Many disc injuries are predisposed by muscle imbalances. Mixed martial arts and grappling athletes often have flexion dominance in the lower back and pelvis. In neutral spinal postures, the lower back should curve inwards, but many of the movements in Jiu Jitsu and submission grappling occur with the back in the opposite direction with the lower back flexed forward and the hips flexed. Additionally, most training drills involve repetitive flexion at the waist and abdominal strengthening movements, causing tightness of the hip flexors and weakness of the hip extensors. Over time, the lower back muscles become under utilized while the hip flexors become shortened. Addressing these muscle imbalances often makes back pain disappear or at least helps them to become more manageable.

 

REPRIEVE FROM THE PAIN

The good news is that most cases of herniated or bulging discs are self-limiting and usually get better if you give it enough time. Unfortunately, the pain is often too much for athletes to cope with and less conservative options don’t always provide the immediate relief patients are seeking. Treatment typically involves an initial period of rest with anti-inflammatory and pain medications. Physical therapy modalities including electrical stimulation, ultrasound and mechanical traction can also help with pain relief and speed up recovery. Once the initial painful symptoms have resolved, you should start a physical therapy program that includes stretching the tight muscles (usually hip flexors and hamstrings) and a good spinal stabilization program. The goal of any rehab program is to prevent future recurrence and allow you to safely return to training and competition.

 

When conservative measures fail, a short term course of corticosteroids taken orally or epidural steroid injections applied directly into the spine can decrease the inflammation and lessen the symptoms. When all else fails, surgery may be necessary to remove part of the disc or fuse the vertebrae so there is no pressure on the nerves. Any back pain that is accompanied by loss of bowel or bladder control, weakness or inability to control your legs may indicate damage to the spinal cord and requires immediate medical attention. Though there are many treatment options available, one thing remains clear: it is imperative that you undergo aggressive rehab following a disc injury to stay active in mixed martial arts. For more information on disc injuries and how to rehab back pain, you can contact Dr. Park at the address to the right.

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Former Miss TransWorld Motocross Chrissy Blair parlayed her guest appearance as a UFC 133 ring girl into a permanent job alongside Arianny Celeste, Brittney Palmer, and Vanessa Hanson. Now, the blonde bombshell heats things up every time she circles the Octagon.

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Where are you calling home these days?
That’s a good question. I’m homeless. I’m going back and forth between L.A. and Miami. I don’t stay in one place for more than two or three months because I’m trying to figure out where my market is. I have to be available in certain times in different areas. I’m a nomad. 

Is living out of a suitcase the lifestyle for you?
It’s both good and bad. I definitely wish I had a home base, whether I was home there or not because it’s kind of stressful knowing I don’t have a place to go to 24/7. I send everything to my parents’ house.

image descWeren’t your parents rock stars?
My dad was in a band since he was 13 years old. He met my mom—she was a singer—while he was touring with a couple of bands. They were in the same band at one point, that’s how they met.

Did you inherit any musical talents?
I used to sing a lot when I was younger, but then I started cheerleading, and I couldn’t do that and music at the same time, so I kind of stopped singing. I really love music. I’m starting to learn how to play the guitar and I’m going to start singing again.

I heard your favorite TV shows are Family Guy and Duck Dynasty.
Yeah, I love humor. My favorite movie is Anchorman. I grew up with a goofy dad, and I’m goofy. I love witty humor.

What was it like to win Miss TransWorld Surf?
It was almost like it was meant to be…or I hit the lottery. I was in the right place at the right time. I was in Orlando. I always dated surfers because I’m into the surfer world. I wasn’t really modeling. I was kinda doing it as a hobby on the side. It was just for fun. They had this TransWorld “Girl of the Month,” and I submitted for it a couple of times. The second time I submitted, they picked me.

And then you won the 2011 Miss TransWorld Motocross modeling search?
At the same time as the surf search, they had one for motocross, and the winner got to be a UFC guest ring girl. I was only in the surf thing. I didn’t know the motocross one was going on. I got a phone call from them, and they asked me if I wanted to be a motocross “Girl of the Month” and guest ring girl for the UFC. I was like, “What are you talking about?”

So, you didn’t you know anything about the UFC?
That’s funny. When they asked me, I was like, ‘What is that? That fighting thing?’ They told me all about it. I was like, ‘It sounds pretty cool,’ because I didn’t want to offend them. I told them I needed to think about it. I called my really good guy friend and asked him if it was like WWE? He was like, ‘No, not at all. You have to do this. It’s not a choice. You have to call them back and go all in.’ I was super excited after he gave me the whole rundown. Now I’m a huge fan. Before, I didn’t even know what it was.

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What was working your first UFC event like?
I was really nervous about tripping and falling. That’s what everyone says. ‘Don’t trip. Don’t fall.’ I was so excited to be in front of that many people. I’ve always loved to be in front of that many people doing any type of performing. It was the first time I ever had someone tell me, ‘Here’s your information, get on your flight, you’re going to go here.’ I just felt so special and important.

Did that make you feel like you made it?
I felt like I was getting a taste of what it was like to make it. After my guest spot at UFC 133, Reed Harris from Strikeforce called. Strikeforce was bought out by the UFC and didn’t need the RockStar girls anymore. They needed two new girls. They brought Vanessa Hanson in and then me. When UFC and Strikeforce became one, they made us UFC Octagon girls that did Fuel and FX cards.

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Where is your favorite place that your UFC duties have taken you?
That’s such a good question. The cool thing about the UFC is they send us to places I probably wouldn’t pick to go to. They all end up being really different and super cool—really cool towns. I can’t say which is my favorite. Everywhere I go is pretty awesome.

Is there a place you want the UFC to send you?
There are a ton of places I’d love to see a UFC. I actually wish they would come to Florida because my friends and family could come. There are a lot of MMA fans that could come. New York, I’d love to go to New York. I’ve never been to New York. 

Neither has the UFC. Thank you, good night!

Follow Chrissy on Twitter @chrissy_blaire

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Brittney Palmer

After almost six years under the Zuffa banner, former WEC sweetheart Brittney Palmer is just hitting her stride in the UFC.

You’ve got a busy day today—photo shoot and then a charity event with Arianny Celeste right after. Do you and Arianny tag team events often?

We’ve been doing it more so lately, it’s been great. I love her, and she loves me, and it’s a good relationship.

Do you do your own charity stuff as well?

I’ve done my own charity things. I did a USO tour in Italy for 10 days with Urijah Faber and Clay Guida. I’ve done the Wounded Warriors, mostly military stuff.

Of all the places you’ve traveled on the Zuffa dime, what place did you not want to leave?

Australia. It’s beautiful. It’s amazing, and I love the place. I love the people, and I love the beach.

How many photo shoots do you think you’ve done in your entire life?

I think 50 sounds about right.

Is it getting old?

No, not at all, because it’s always different. It’s always creative.

How did you get into painting?

When you become an artist, it isn’t something you ‘get into.’ You’re always into it. It’s always been an interest of mine, and I’ve always really appreciated it. I moved to L.A. one-and-a-half years ago to go to art school to pursue this dream of becoming an artist. Whether I make it big and sell a bunch of paintings or have my own little mini collection, I love it, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Brittney PalmerYou’re enrolled in UCLA’s art program. What’s it like walking around the UCLA campus? Do you get hit on a lot?

Well…a lot of artists aren’t really big UFC watchers. They are kind of hippies and keep to themselves and don’t really watch TV, so I don’t get recognized that often. But when we go around the class and tell what we do, and I say what I do, people start Googling me.

What about just when you’re strolling around the streets?

I get stopped every once and a while, but it’s nothing too dramatic. I look so different in person than I do on TV and in an Octagon outfit. When I’m on TV, I have lashes and makeup. I don’t walk around like that. I walk around with no makeup and very casual in Converse and cutoff shorts. For the most part, I never get recognized. I have the best job anyone could ask for, whether or not people are following me.

Does the gig tend to help or hurt in the dating realm?

It helps weed out people who are insecure and controlling. Their colors show really fast. In my career and where I’m at with Playboy, guys hollering at UFC events, you can tell if a guy will be able to handle that kind of lifestyle. It helps it. It makes me not date losers for too long.

Having 350 professional fighters back you up probably helps too.

Oh yeah. Lots of big brothers.

Is that the relationship between you and the fighters—big brothers?

Yes, and I have to thank Dana White for that. He’s defi nitely put Arianny and me on a pedestal. But I think we deserve to be on it. We’re a family, and we’ve been with them for so long. I’ve been with Zuffa since I was 19 years old, and Arianny has been with the UFC since she was 19, and I’m 25 now and she’s 26, I believe. Dana really treats us like we’re his little girls. No one disrespects us or says anything they shouldn’t. They don’t because we’re Dana’s girls, and you can’t do that.

What does the tattoo on your back say?

But thou, contracted to thine own bright eyes,
Thyself thy foe, to thy sweet self too cruel.

It’s a sonnet from Shakespeare, and it’s about how being a narcissist is not only cruel to yourself but also cruel to those around you. I grew up in Vegas, and that’s really a town of narcissistic people and a town of ‘Who’s who and who’s better? Who gets a VIP to this club and who makes more money and who’s sleeping with who?’ It’s very toxic, and there’s a reason why a lot of dreams are born and die there. There’s a reason why a lot of people are born and die young there. I grew up in that, and I got away from it, and I’m very appreciative that I didn’t get sucked into that life. It’s very easy to do. I feel bad for a lot of people that did. My father was one of them. It’s kind of an ode to him.

What happened to your father?

He passed away when I was 16. He was in the wrong scene. Wrong place, wrong time.

What about the cross and necklace on your ankle?

That one was a mistake [laughing]. That was a 16-year-old-I-don’t-know-whymy-dad-isn’t-here-so-I’m-justgonna-get-a-tattoo tattoo. Most of my tattoos, I actually had done before I was 18. I have seven all together. I have my dad’s initials on my toe. My shoulder. I have one on my butt. I have one on my
lower back, which was a mistake. I have one on my neck. I have one on my wrist.

Is the shoulder tattoo a reminder to stick to the straight and narrow?

I don’t really need a way to stick to it. It was just something at the time I wanted to do. I fell in love with the sonnet. I was actually in a car accident, and I did a lot of reading. I was just fucking bored. I couldn’t walk, so I said, ‘Fuck! I want to get a tattoo.’ The taste of ink is addicting. Anyone who has a tattoo, I’m sure they have more than one.

So you were in a really bad car accident?

I was 21 years old. I was T-boned and pinned in my car. I had a little two-seater sports car. I fractured my pelvis in three places, two in my groin, one in my coccyx. I couldn’t walk for three months. And that’s when Jersey Shore was just starting, so I was totally over TV and I started reading.

Brittney PalmerWhat do you do during fights?

Watch, Tweet, hang out with Arianny, and enjoy the fights. I wish I could drink beer and eat popcorn and nachos with everyone else. But I get the best seat in the house.

What do you do after the fights?

It’s different every time. Arianny and I will either host a party, whether it’s together or apart, or just go back to the hotel room and eat a good meal because we’ve been starving all day. We don’t look at it as another way to party. It’s work for us at the end of the day, so you’ll never see me dancing on a table, and you’ll never see pictures of me wasted.

That’s a shame.

I know. I make it a point to stay that way. I really respect my job, and I really respect Dana White. I hope to be with the UFC for as long as I can, and making mistakes like that just isn’t worth it.

The UFC went through a lot of ring girls in their day. How have you managed to stay out of trouble?

I learned from everyone else’s mistakes [laughing]. I’m an ambassador for the sport and I’m their spokes model, so you must represent the sport as best as you can.

Five years ago, did you picture yourself as an artist?

Yeah. I didn’t think I would be this much into art as I am. I didn’t think I could be a professional artist and make money in art. But I’m so happy for every single day, and I’m happy that I can do what I love. I’m stoked for what could be five years from now.

Do you ever get nervous for your role as a ring card girl?

No. I get nervous speaking. I don’t get nervous performing. I spoke at my friend’s wedding once, and that was really, really bad.

What did you say?

I told her entire family, including his, that one day I wanted to grow up and be just like her. She’s only two years older than me.

Who’s your favorite fighter?

Anderson Silva. He’s the champ, he’s amazing. He’s a family man, he’s a showman. I’m all about the show business.

What are your goals moving forward?

Do this for as long as I possibly can—eventually start hosting a show. Be like the next Brooke Burke. If Kathy Ireland and Brooke Burke had a baby, I’d like to be that child.

Be sure to follow Brittney Palmer on Twitter: @BrittneyPalmer

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Photos by Paul Thatcher
Makeup, Hair & Wardrobe by Maraz

You don’t have to look any further than Leticia Cline to figure out July is the hottest month of the year. When the blonde firecracker isn’t heating up the pages of FIGHT!, you can find her rocketing through the air…seriously.

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What’s on the agenda for your Fourth of July?
It definitely involves some sort of beach or water, drinking, and fireworks. I love to blow stuff up. It’s the one time of year you can explode things. I grew up in Kentucky, and we used to drive to the Tennessee line to buy all the big fireworks that were illegal. You can expect some fireworks from me on the Fourth.

What’s your beach beverage of choice?
Beer or whiskey. Nothing fruity or sweet. I’m really into ryes, too. My favorite is a Kentucky bourbon called Bulleit.

What’s the best thing about growing up in Kentucky?
I grew up in Cave City, outside of Mammoth Cave National Park, and I worked as a cave guide for years. I had access to all these secret caves, so we used to go down there and hang out in high school. Plus, we’ve got the University of Kentucky, where I went to college and studied psychology.

Have you put that degree to good use?
Only when I used to bartend. I liked to psychoanalyze the drinkers. Instead of psychology, I got into modeling and other stuff after college.

image descBy other stuff, do you mean Maxim, Playboy, and now FIGHT! Magazine? That’s the Big Three.
Yeah [laughing], I’m really excited. I love MMA. I’m an adrenaline junkie. In fact, in 2006, I worked for Rio Heroes, the Vale Tudo league in Brazil. I did on-camera interviewing for them. After that, I worked in front of the camera for TNA Wrestling and Motocross. I’m used to lots of action.

What are you doing for your adrenaline rush these days?
I work for JETLEV, the water jet packs that rocket you into the air.

Say what?
Yeah [laughing]. It’s a jet pack that shoots you 30 feet up using water pressure. I teach people how to fly them. I feel like a superhero when I do it. Cars come screeching to a halt when they see it. It’s the craziest thing.

How long do you think it would take you to teach me?
You’d be hovering in five minutes and flying a little bit in an hour or so. It’s fun to teach people, because they obviously have no reference point flying a jet pack, but I’d get you in the air in no time.

What’s your favorite extreme sport?
I love motorcycles and speed. I love the freedom of racing.

What about guys punching each other?
I’m into all that—wrestling, boxing, fighting. I watch MMA a few times a month. There’s a lot of crossover appeal with MMA, racing, and other extreme sports.

image descWho’s your favorite fighter?
Georges St-Pierre. I’m a sucker for a guy who speaks French. He’s the best. I was hooked after he beat the shit out of Jon Fitch.

How do you stay in shape?
I do a lot of core work, yoga, and weights. I hate cardio more than anything. I’d rather do anything than run—basketball, soccer, anything. I’m also a nut about eating organic. We grew a lot of our own food growing up, and I still like to have a garden when I have time.

What’s your food weakness?
Oh, definitely cheese. I can live off some cheese, without a doubt. Anything covered in cheese. I would put cheese on ice cream [laughing].

How many tattoos do you have?
Six. Ankle, right ear, right arm, left arm, and tramp stamp.

That’s only five.
Well, I actually have two tramp stamps [laughing]. I know, I know, very classy. I got them when I was young. I’m getting both of them lasered off right now, and it’s the worst pain in the world. I’ve had a compound fracture of the tibia, but the tattoo removal pain is insane. It burns so bad that it feels like what happened to Freddy Krueger’s face.

Are you gonna get any more tats?
One more in memory of my dad. He recently passed away. I want to get something to remember him by. It’s funny, growing up, people would knock on our door in the middle of the night for my dad to come give them a tattoo, and he would. But he stopped doing it when me and my sister were still little because he didn’t want to set a bad example. I guess it didn’t help.

image descSpeed Round. Are you a night owl or an early bird?
Both. I hate sleeping. I’m just not a cuddler. It’s a waste of time.

You don’t like lying in bed?
Nope. I don’t know how many relationships I’ve ruined because of it.

In a relationship or on the prowl?
Relationship.

How did he snag you?
He was a photographer [laughing].

Those guys get all the girls.
We actually met at an event—not on a shoot. All girls say they want a guy who makes them laugh, but I didn’t think that until I met him. He’s hysterical.

Any hidden talents?
I can play the clarinet and saxophone. I love jazz music.

What do you have planned for the rest of the year?
I’m about to start as a spokes model for No Limits Oil. I’ll be going to 15 events—conventions and races. Plus, I’m going to be flying my jet pack.

Happy rocketing.

Follow Leticia on
Twitter and Instagram:
@LeticiaAnnCline & LeticiaCline

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Photos by Paul Thatcher \ Wardrobe by Chelsea Elisha \ Makeup by Natasha Chamberlin

The World Series of Fighting hit a homerun when they decided to make Kat Kelley a ring girl for their inaugural event in November 2012. The 25-year-old Las Vegan took the cage by storm, leaving viewers with more than just an appreciation for MMA.

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What’s going on, Kat? Sounds like you’re at a construction site.
I’m sitting in the Vegas airport, waiting to board my plane for Amsterdam.

Amsterdam? Do tell.
I’m making an appearance at a nightclub to do some promotional work. I’ve never been to Europe, so I’m going to make the most of it.

Are you going to visit any hash bars?
Maybe. You only live once [laughing]. I’m more excited about the waffles, though.

You know what they put on French fries in Holland?
Yes. Mayonnaise. I love it with a passion. I eat mayonnaise with everything. That’s going to be amazing.

How long have you lived in Las Vegas?
Ten years.

Do you still party on the strip or prefer to take it easy?
I like to go to the nightclubs on the weekdays. The people are much more laid back. The weekends are for crazy party animals, so I’ll hit up a dive bar instead.

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What’s the best dive bar in town?
I’d have to say Frankie’s Tiki Room. It stinks in there and smells like smoke, but they pour a strong drink.

What’s the absolute worst thing about living in Las Vegas?
Dating. There are no good guys. They are all tools and meatheads and parasites. It’s horrible. It’s better to be single, make your money, and get out.

A girl with a plan. What are you looking for in a guy?
I’m not looking for a guy.

Are you looking for a girl?
No [laughing]. I’m single right now, and happy with it. I’m focusing on my modeling and finishing up my marketing degree at UNLV.

How did you get hooked up with the World Series of Fighting?
There was a competition with more than 200 girls that lasted five months. I had to attend clubs and get the crowds to vote for me and impress the judges. It was a long process, but so much fun, and so worth it.

On March 23, you’ll be in Atlantic City for WSOF 2. You excited?
Yes, I’ve never been to Atlantic City, so I’m ready to go. And the event is going to be on NBC Sports Network, so I’m hoping we will do big numbers like our first event.

Are you a big MMA fan?
Yeah, I love MMA. My favorites are Jon Jones and Andrei Arlovski. I’m pumped to see Arlovski headline WSOF 2 against Anthony Johnson. I also look up to Arianny Celeste. She’s so pretty…and she’s half-Asian just like me.

What’s your ethnicity?
I’m 50 percent Filipino, 25 percent French, and 25 percent Irish.
Looks like some good genes. How do you stay in shape?
I do a lot of Pilates. I also don’t eat red meat or pork, and no sodas.

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Do you still enjoy an adult beverage every now and then?
Definitely. I love wine. I’m a wine fanatic. And I love whiskey.

Whiskey? Now we’re talking.
I’m one-quarter Irish [laughing]. It’s in my blood. My favorite is Maker’s Mark.

I heard you recently shot an MP5 sub-achine gun. How was that?
Fun! I own a Ruger P95, but I’d never shot a machine gun. I was impressed. Those things are powerful.

Where is your favorite place to visit?
I love going back to the Philippines. I have like a thousand cousins there. I’m not kidding.

What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
Probably three weeks ago. I had to spend the day dancing with tile.

Explain that.
I got roped into doing this promo at a private restaurant. When I got there, I found out it was for a tile company, and they wanted me to dance in a go-go box with a piece of tile. The outfits were hideous. It was awful. It was pretty embarrassing. So I drank a couple glasses of vodka and started dancing…with tile. Longest hour of my life.
_

Guilty pleasure food? 
Cake…anything cake. Sweets are my addiction.

Do you have a nickname?
Well, “Kat” is short for “Katrina,” but my pet name is Sasha. It’s a Filipino thing.

What’s the last good book you read?
I like to read self-help books.

What’s the best one?
Why Men Love Bitches.

Why do we?
Read the book [laughing]. Well, it’s time to board for Amsterdam. Wish me luck.

Good luck. I hope you get your waffles with mayonnaise.
Me too!

Follow Kat Kelley on Twitter @Kat_Kelley_

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Bellator beauty Jade Bryce is poised to have her biggest year to date. Between Bellator’s breakout move to Spike TV and her acting and writing aspirations, the charitable world traveler is taking her passions to the masses.

Hey Jade, happy 2013. How did you ring in the New Year?

Well, for more than a decade, I’ve wanted to be in Thailand for New Years. But Bellator’s break was only one month, and I want to go over there for three months. So, I spent New Years in Malibu, ringing it in with the positive people in my life—some of my writer friends.

What are you writing these days?

I’ve still got my blog, Diary of a Travel Size Model, but I’m writing a semi-autobiographical book about remaining positive during a negative upbringing. I hope it will serve as an inspiration. It’s about my earliest memory to the present. It’s called Om Mane Padme Hum, which is Sanskrit for “Behold the Power of the Lotus Flower.” I’d get that tattooed on my leg, but Bellator likes to tone down the ink.

What’s your resolution for 2013?

I’ve got three: One, establish a manager in L.A. It’s a lot harder than it seems. Two, raise $40,000 for charity. I raised $35,000 in 2012, so I want to raise more this year. Three, travel. Every year I like to backpack to a different country. I stay in hostels or camp—it keeps me alive, creative, and grateful for my life in America. I want to go to Southeast Asia for three months—volunteer in Cambodia, explore Vietnam, and live in Thailand for a bit.

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This is your third appearance in FIGHT! You’re in exclusive company with Arianny Celeste, Brittney Palmer, and Amber Nichole now.

That’s unbelievable. I’m a huge MMA fan, so this is a big honor.

Are you excited about Bellator’s move to Spike TV?
Of course. Everything is going to blow up. Our following is going to grow. And I’m going to try and use my spotlight to do some good things in this world—raise more money for charity.

Last time we spoke, you told me that Michael Chandler was going to upset Eddie Alvarez, and you were right. Give me your predictions on Ben Askren vs. Karl Amoussou.

I told you so [laughing]. Look, I’m not a huge Ben fan, which will probably make it awkward when he gets on the treadmill next to me in the gym. But, I love Amoussou. He comes off as cocky, but he’s so classy and super entertaining. I’d love to see him win. I hate to say it, but I’m totally ready for someone new to get the belt from him. I don’t think Bellator would like me saying that, but I’m rooting for Amoussou.

You’ve been with Bellator since Season 4, and now they’re into Season 8. Has the time flown by?

It’s made my whole life fly by the last two years.

Does the travel schedule wear you out?

It’s exhausting, but this job is one in a million. And I’m so lucky to have it. That’s my mindset. There are so many girls who would kill for my job, and believe me, I see what they say on Twitter and Facebook. But I don’t worry about them. I’m my own competition. I want to be with Bellator as long as they will have me. But, I do wish I could teleport.

In 2012, you appeared in a Beach Boys video and on Dexter. Can you top that in 2013?

I hope so. I remember listening to the Beach Boys as a kid, so being in their video is something I can look back on fondly. I didn’t get to do as much on Dexter because the shooting days overlapped with my Bellator travel schedule. But I got to meet everyone, and it was worth it to see how the whole process of shooting a television show unfolds. It was good networking for when my Bellator career is over and I try to get into acting more.

What’s your workout routine been like recently?

I love to hike, so I try and do that as much as possible. I watch what I eat, and I hit the gym to do my cardio and squats. Gorgeous women need butts. I’m such a butt person, so I’m adamant about my squats. When I’m on the road, a lot of the hotel gyms close at night, so I pull up Insanity on my iPad. It’s not that hard, but it’s better than nothing.

Between the road and your home base in L.A., how’s the dating scene?

The dating scene in L.A. sucks. I’m such a Southerner, a Texan, an Austinite. These guys in L.A., especially celebrity types, think they get to skip the steps of dating and get right down to business on the first date. There’s only been a couple of guys that I’ve had a connection with, a relationship with. If you think it’s gonna happen after one date, think again. These guys are so aggressive. I don’t mind an aggressive guy if I’m in a relationship with him, but skipping dating steps, that never works.

Are there any celebrity types you’d like to bash in the pages of FIGHT!?

Yes [laughing]. But I won’t. I’ll keep it classy.

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I liked Josh Hartnett when I was younger, but he disappeared. So, no—no celebrity crushes. I like going on a good date. I like funny guys. I love laughing.

Knock, knock.

[Laughing] Who’s there?

The speed round. You ready?

Hit it.

Best movie of 2012?

Moonrise Kingdom. I’m such a sucker for an adventurous love story. All my friends who saw it told me the lead character Suzy reminded them of me. I want to see the world, just like her.

Last concert you attended?

Mumford & Sons. Their music speaks to me so much it brings me to tears.

Worst job you’ve ever had?

When I was 16 years old, I was a papergirl from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m., and there were no holidays. The paper never stops. Tough hours, but I look back and giggle at that job. Actually, the worst job I had was as a cashier at Chuck E. Cheese’s. The amount of noise, all the racket, and moms stressing over their kid’s birthday was too much.

Guilty pleasure food?

S’more fudge brownie at Yamashiro Sushi in Hollywood. It’s a chocolate brownie with a roasted marshmallow served on a graham cracker with a scoop of ice cream. The restaurant overlooks the city. It’s the best place for a date.

What Pandora station are you listening to right now?

Little Walter. I’m a huge Blues fan. I just bought a waterproof case for my iPhone so I can listen in the shower.

Beer, liquor, or wine?

I’m not a big drinker. I maybe have champagne or wine twice a month when I’m eating sushi. I feel like I’m a health nut. I won’t go anywhere where people are smoking.

How do we know you’re really a Texan at heart?

I still wear my cowgirl boots and Wranglers.

Favorite book?

I love to read. My favorite is Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge. It’s about unveiling the mystery of a woman’s soul.
How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?
Part of me wants to stay 28 years old, but that’s too close to 30. I want to be 25 forever. I’m young at heart. I want to explore forever. I want someone to grow young with.

Thanks, Jade. We’ll be watching you grow young on Spike TV.

You’re welcome! It’s going to be a great season!

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Photos by Paul Thatcher
Hair & Makeup and Wardrobe by MARAZ
Special thanks to Mary Todd Hairdressing Company & Steven Sloss / marytoddhairco.com

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You were born and raised on the bayous of Louisiana and grew up during the rise of the hip-hop scene in New Orleans. Back in those days, there was a power struggle being played out between Master P’s label No Limit Records and Birdman’s label Cash Money Records. I imagine there was no half-steppin’ on that particular topic. Which side of the line did you stand on?

That’s an awesome question, but Cash Money for sure…100 percent. When I was in middle school, kids used to run around with the “No Limit Records” on chains. They’d come up and ask if you were down with No Limit or Cash Money. For me,it was Cash Money all the way. That was an awesome question. I love it.

Is there another genre of music that you dig in your free time?

I like to listen to older rock n’ roll with a little bit of older country, too. I listen to Johnny Cash and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Just good ole music, man. You were heavily featured in a critically acclaimed documentary Fightville that chronicled the regional MMA scene in southern Louisiana.

If a camera crew showed up around the Poirier residence these days, what would be the subject matter of the next documentary?

I could definitely put together my own cookbook and should have my own cooking show. If you want to set that up with Food Network, that’s good by me. I’m pretty sure that one guy on the Food Network—Guy Fieri—is a big fan of MMA and a really big UFC fan. I think if we could get a show together, that would be the best way to go.

How about The Knockout Kitchen?

That’s exactly right. You got it, man. Now get to work so we can get this pilot shot and put together.

As a proud Louisianan and a native of the Gulf Coast, you get to see different aspects of your culture all over television. Shows like Duck Dynasty and Gator Boys have become very popular. How much “reality” is in those reality programs?

You know what, man, those things exist for real, and it’s not just for television. New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Lafayette—where I’m from—are all cities, and they are pretty modern, but if you drive two hours away from those places, you get some pretty crazy stuff like you see on television.

In addition to your fighting skills, you also have a strong ink game working. At what age did you get your first tattoo?

My first tattoo was at 14 years old. To tell you the truth, it was done in somebody’s living room in some old project in Louisiana. Looking back now, I’m happy it didn’t get infected or I didn’t catch any crazy diseases. I got lucky.

What’s next in the ink department?

With tattoos now, it kind of comes and goes. I’ll be cool for a year and won’t get any work done. But then I’ll get the itch after a fight or something and I’ll want to get some work done. It just comes and goes, but I’m definitely still working on it. I’ll probably start working on a sleeve for my left arm.

I bet you get some interesting looks from the older crowd?

Yeah. I’ll be in the grocery store shopping, and there will be some old lady with blue hair across from me, and I can see her staring at my arms and giving me that look like I’m some kind of bad guy or something. Going from a highly touted prospect in the WEC to becoming one of the top featherweights on the UFC roster and with all the attention Fightville garnered, sounds like it has been a pretty hectic stretch for you. It has been 100 miles an hour with no looking back. I’m happy with everything that has happened thus far, and that includes the losses on my record. I’ve learned a lot from those losses, and I believe everything happens for a reason. I want to finish out this year with another win, then head into 2014, get a few more wins, and get that strap. I’m growing in this sport with every fight and every day in training. I don’t take any time off. I train everyday, and I think it is all part of my journey. I think everything is right on track and where it should be.

Is 2014 going to be your year?

100 percent. That title is within my grasp. I just have to go out there and win fi ghts. If I keep beating top guys, it will definitely happen. I know Ricardo Lamas is fi ghting Jose Aldo for the title next, and I feel like I can beat Ricardo Lamas, so I’m close, man. I’m right there.

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5. THE RUAS

(Brothers Mauricio “Shogun” and Murilo “Ninja”)

Impact on MMA:

The Ruas haven’t been around for very long (Mauricio is 25, Murilo is 27). That said, beyond their talent and participation in an influential training camp that has revolutionized the striking game – Brazil’s famed Chute Box Academy – the Ruas really haven’t influenced the sport all that much…yet.

Fighter quality:

Despite his shocking loss to Forrest Griffi n at UFC 76, Mauricio Shogun Rua, should still be considered one of the best 205 pound fighters in the world. He’s an overwhelming stand-up fighter that uses foot stomps, knees, and pinpoint punches to destroy opponents (he has already accumulated 13 career KO/ TKOs). Further, his submission skills are underrated.

Shogun has already defeated current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Ricardo Arona, and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira during his young career.

Murilo “Ninja” Rua (14-7-1) is a solid fighter with well-rounded skills that has experienced his share of success. However, he often seems to fall short when he steps in with the big guns, although on June 22, 2007 he finally came through with a TKO victory over Joey Villasenor to become EliteXC’s 185 pound champion.

Length of participation:

These two haven’t been at the top of the MMA game for very long. Mauricio had his first professional MMA fight in September of 2002; Murilo started his career in May of 2000.

Final word:

It is quite likely that someday the name Rua will be even bigger in MMA, as these two brothers haven’t even entered primes yet. For right now though, they will have to settle for number five on the list.

4. THE EMELIANENKOS

(Brothers Fedor and Aleksander)

Impact on MMA:

This part is all about Fedor. He is the straw that stirs the family drink. The long-time PRIDE Heavyweight Champion has widely been considered the best fighter in the world for over four years now. Anyone that good is bound to have influence.

Fedor has also helped revolutionize training methods by proving that weight lifting isn’t necessarily needed in fighting. You see, Fedor doesn’t do any, yet he is still considered one of the strongest men in MMA history.

Beyond this, Fedor looks like an everyday guy and never talks junk. This style has won over huge numbers of fans in his homeland of Russia, as well as throughout Japan and America.

Fighter quality:

Obviously, Fedor (26-1) is as good as they come. He has defeated names like Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (twice), Mark Coleman (twice), and Matt Lindland.

He has the striking skills (ask Cro Cop) and the submissions (he’s taken out thirteen fighters that way). Oh yeah, and then there’s his power.

“Look, I’ve fought many people from around the world, so I’ve seen many strong fighters,” said Renato Babalu Sobral to GracieMag.com. “But like him, never.” Then he went on to add, “He’s got takedown skills, but sometimes (he) just throws you down, using tremendous strength that he just doesn’t look like he’s got.”

Fedor’s brother Aleksander (11-3) is a good, young fighter. He has succeeded in defeating solid opponents like Assuerio Silva and Sergei Kharitonov. However, he has also lost to the two best fighters he’s faced: Josh Barnett and Cro Cop.

That said, his career is still in its infancy. There is likely much more to come.

Length of participation:

Fedor has been in the sport since August of 2000 and has been dominating it since 2003. Aleksander has only been fighting professionally since October of 2003.

Final word:

The fact that Fedor’s brother is good ends up being icing on the cake.

 

3. THE NOGUEIRAS

Twins Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira)

Impact on MMA:

These guys are highly respected fighters that don’t talk a lot of junk. They are liked virtually everywhere they go, which has helped to bring in fans.

Their first camp, Brazilian Top Team with Mario Sperry, is one of the most innovative in the world when it comes to the ground game. Though the Nogueiras and BTT have parted ways, the skills the brothers picked up have stood them in good stead in MMA competition.

The Nogueiras also cross train with the Cuban National Boxing Team, bringing their striking ability to a new level.

Fighter quality:

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (30-4-1) is widely considered the best heavyweight submission fighter in MMA. His toughness is near legendary. The former PRIDE Heavyweight Champion has defeated Mirko Cro Cop, Josh Barnett, Mark Coleman, and Bob Sapp (350 pounds).

Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (12-3) is also an outstanding fighter that is cut from the same cloth as his brother (remember, they are twins), although a major title has eluded him. He is the kind of fighter that has a chance to beat anybody at 205 pounds.

Length of participation:

Rogerio has been fighting in MMA since August of 2001; Rodrigo since June of 1999.

Final word:

Rodrigo’s legendary fights against Sapp and Barnett, plus their longer history in the sport, put them ahead of the Emelianenkos.

 

2. SHAMROCKS

(Adoptive brothers Ken and Frank)

Impact on MMA:

Ken Shamrock has been on the scene since UFC 1 (November 12, 1993). On that day, Ken left an overconfi dent striker by the name of Pat Smith screaming in pain with a heel hook on the ground. Thus, he helped usher in the truth (that submission and ground fighting were king).

Later in Ken’s career, he helped the sport grow. As Ray Hui, editor of MMAFighting.com said, “Ken Shamrock gave MMA the larger-than-life superstar presence needed to market the sport. He was a fighter who understood how to bring the story element into a fight.”

Ken also headed one of the first high level camps (the Lion’s Den), which set the standard for how MMA fighters would train in the future.

Frank Shamrock was perhaps the most dominant UFC Champion of all time, short of Matt Hughes. He is a freakishly talented athlete that left the sport early due to a lack of money and worthy adversaries (he recently made a victorious comeback against Phil

Baroni). Frank was also one of the first high profile players to bring in an elite fighter from a different discipline to work with in his training (kickboxer Maurice Smith).

MMA owes much of what it is to these two.

Fighter quality:

Ken (26-12-2) isn’t what he once was (he’s lost six of his last seven). That said, in his prime he was an outstanding fighter with excellent power and submissions. Remember, this is a guy that defeated Dan Severn, Bas Rutten (twice), and Maurice Smith.

In his prime, Frank Shamrock (22-8-1) was one of the best ever. He has defeated fighters like Tito Ortiz, Jeremy Horn, Bas Rutten, and Phil Baroni during his career. Frank has always demonstrated outstanding submission skills, underrated striking, and ridiculous cardio endurance.

Length of participation:

All the way back to UFC 1.

Final word:

As far as MMA families go, the Shamrocks are an obvious number two.

 

1. THE GRACIES

(Damn near all of them)

Impact on MMA:

About fourteen years ago, a 170 pound Royce Gracie, armed with a martial art that his father had in essence invented, won three of the first four UFC Championship tournaments (no rounds, no weight classes).

Thus, a legend was born.

“He (Royce) changed the way the general public viewed martial arts. It was no longer about how muscular a person looked or how dangerous traditional martial arts hypothetically were. Royce, with his slender physique, used his family’s technique to force his more imposing opponents into submission,” says Hui.

However, the Gracie family as a whole was completely dominant for years in MMA. In that way, they are about so much more than Helio (the inventor of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) and Royce.

Fighter quality:

Today several Gracies are still good mixed martial arts fighters, though none are currently top flight contenders. That said, Royce was once considered the best MMA fighter in the world. Rickson was always considered the best fi ghter by the family (undefeated at 11-0), Renzo is one heckuva fighter himself, and then there’s Ralph, Ryan, Rodrigo. . .

And that’s not even counting the Machados (five Gracie cousins that learned BJJ from one of the originals, Carlos Gracie himself) who then taught It to the next generation.

Bottom line is, that when it comes to Jiu-Jitsu, the Gracies are it.

Length of participation:

Royce was the winner of UFC 1, and

his father was beating boxers like Antonio

Portugal back in 1932.

Final word:

There is no other choice. The name

Gracie will live on in MMA forever

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