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(Our money is on Rudolph because of his explosive athleticism – plus Frosty melts under pressure. Pic props to the UFC Stream Team.)

Each week, FIGHT! brings you the best from our friends around the web.

– 2010 Potato Awards (Cage Potato)

– While M-1 Negotiates, Fedor’s Legacy Suffers (MMA Fighting)

– Overeem In Japan for Dynamite!! But Still Waiting for Opponent (Middle Easy)

– UFC 127 Ties Record for Fastest Sellout (Versus MMA Beat)

– Five Reasons Shields Will Beat GSP…Or Not (Low Kick)

– Mean 1 On A Mission To Get Paid (MMA Convert)

– Roxy Talks “Sould of Fight” Bout with Akano (5 Ounces of Pain)

– Eddie Bravo Breaks Down Hazelett vs. Bocek (MMA Scraps)

– GSP Named Canadian Athlete of the Year (Heavy MMA)

– MMA Year In Review (SB Nation)

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(BAMMA 3: Reid vs. Watson. Courtesy of BAMMA)

There is an MMA event on the horizon that is sure to garner unprecedented mainstream media coverage, publicity and crossover appeal in the UK. No, it’s not the world’s biggest organisation, the UFC, presenting a line-up of elite superstars. Instead the immense drawing power of current “flavour of the month” and Celebrity Big Brother winner Alex Reid will be put to the test as he returns to the cage. His relationship with model and TV star Katie “Jordan” Price has seen an abundance of column inches and his ‘likeable idiot’ persona on the British version of the celebrity reality show Big Brother saw a whole new breed of fans hop on the “Reidernator” bandwagon.

Reid is a well versed and competent fighter despite the less than stellar 8-8-1 (1 No Contest) record he sports. He is a ten year veteran of MMA competition, besting ‘Lightning’ Lee Murray in controversial fashion in the early, unrecorded stages of his career and compiling six wins and a No Contest in his first seven outings.

Despite this, Reid’s professional record depicts a very different scene – six straight losses, not counting the decision he dropped to Dean Amasinger in an exhibition bout in the preliminary stages of ‘The Ultimate Fighter 9’. His losses came largely in the defunct Cage Rage promotion to top tier talent that skew the public’s perception of Reid’s abilities. UFC veterans Xavier Foupa-Pokam, Dave Menne and Jason Tan took home decision victories whilst Murilo Rua and Tony Fryklund stopped the Londoner.

With the calibre of competition he has faced engrained in his mind, Reid won’t be fazed by the task of squaring off with the UK’s number two Tom “Kong” Watson despite the disparity in rankings; Reid not making the top ten, nor being close to doing so.

Watson has recently signed for the Canadian promotion MFC and trains out of Greg Jackson’s gym with the likes of Georges St-Pierre, Rashad Evans and Nate Marquardt. He made his move a permanent fixture to further his career, telling us “I have given up everything to become the best fighter I can and there is no doubt in my mind it will all pay off in the end.”

Of the bout with Reid, he also noted,

“I am definitely motivated. Alex is a highly underestimated fighter due to his record and last six or seven fights, and I see this as a tough fight.”

With the spotlight on UK MMA being firmly fixed on May 15th – should Reid still be relevant in the fickle world of celebrity culture by then – it is reassuring to know that there will be a good tussle heading the bill but also, if the first two events are anything to go by, a reliable and relevant undercard. BAMMA II highlighted BJJ sensation Gunnar Nelson, top domestic lightweight Rob Sinclair and flyweight Billy Harris amongst its solid roster.

The focus will be largely on one man though and despite his current commercial appeal, Reid is adamant he is training hard and focused. While the limelight only lasts so long, pride is forever and neither man will want to take a backwards step when they take to the BAMMA cage on May 15th at the LG Arena, Birmingham.

Tickets are available as of tomorrow, Friday 19th February. Head to www.BAMMA.net for more information.

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Frank Mir had an accident.

Everyone knows about it; it’s old hat. When I ask Frank about it, I can see his eyes roll back in his head with boredom. “Another idiot with a pencil,” I can hear him think. He knows he has to talk about it. It’s an integral part of his story, the elephant in the room. He’s going to be talking about that damn accident for the rest of his life. He gives me a tired grin. Frank is a big friendly guy, with a cherubic face and massive, veined hands that belie his boyishness.

FIGHT! is digging into the archives to celebrate UFC 100. Go here to read the rest of Sam Sheridan’s December 2008 cover story, and check out FIGHT!’s photos of Frank. Mir is scheduled to face fellow UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar in a title unification bout at UFC 100 on July 11. Go here for more Mir, and click here for more on Lesnar.

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Each week, FIGHT! brings you the spiciest bits from our friends around the web.

Jake Shields Released by Strikeforce, Wants Anderson Silva (CagePotato)

Shane Carwin Is Ready for the Biggest Moment of His Career (Heavy MMA)

Mr. Bonus, Chris Lytle (MMAFighting)

Middle Easy Weekly Exclusive: Joe Warren (MiddleEasy)

King Mo vs. Feijao (5OzofPain)

Create-a-Caption with Phil Davis (WatchKalibRun)

Chuck: Dana Can Still Make Money With Me Fighting (MMAScraps)

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To mark the passing of UFC 100, FIGHT! Magazine compiled some interesting, funny, and sad data about the worlds largest mixed martial arts promotion.

1. It took Royce Gracie a total of 4:59 seconds to defeat Art Jimmerson, Ken Shamrock, and Gerard Gordeau to become UFC 1’s tournament champion. That’s one second less than the standard five-minute round MMA enjoys today.

2. John Milius, screenwriter of Apocalypse Now, invented the Octagon.

3. UFC 2 featured the lone 16-man tournament. The winner? Royce Gracie.

4. The only non-tournament fighters at UFC 1 were reserves Jason Delucia and Trent Jenkins. They never saw action that night.

5. “Big” John McCarthy began “refereeing” at UFC 2. Early sentiment had UFC brass and competitors employing an “If he dies, he dies” philosophy. McCarthy lobbied for reason and went on to literally invent the referee stoppage in the sport.

6. Steve Jennum won the UFC 3 eight-man tournament by fighting only once, entering the finals as an alternate. It only took him under two minutes to enter the record books.

7. Pay-per-view broadcast cut off the end of the UFC 4 tournament. Fans didn’t get to see Royce Gracie triangle choke Dan Severn to win his third and final tournament.

8. Don Frye made a lasting impression in his debut at UFC 8—he knocked out Thomas Ramirez in eight seconds, scoring the UFC’s quickest KO. James Irvin tied the record 12 years later by trumping Houston Alexander.

9. Randy Couture debuted by choking out Tony Halme at UFC 13. Fans may remember Halme better as his World Wrestling Federation persona, “Ludvig Borga.”

10. Tito Ortiz also debuted at UFC 13, competing for no money to maintain amateur status to continue collegiate wrestling.

11. Mark Kerr’s debut at UFC 14 saw him finish a fight by jamming his chin into Daniel Bobish’s eye. It was the first and last time that submission was seen.

12. UFC 15 marked the first addition of rules to the original three: “no biting, eye-gouging, or fish-hooking.”

13. MMA legend Kazushi Sakuraba’s lone UFC appearance came at “Ultimate Japan,” an event between UFC 15 and 16, when he defeated Marcus Silveira.

14. Kevin Jackson, an Olympic gold medalist in freestyle wrestling, is the most decorated wrestler to compete in the UFC. Frank Shamrock submitted him in 16 seconds at Ultimate Japan.

15. Frank Shamrock’s UFC 16 crippling slam of Igor Zinoviev was a unification fight for the UFC and Extreme Fighting middleweight titles.

16. Chuck Liddell debuted at UFC 17 and currently holds the record for Octagon appearances with 22.

17. UFC 22 brought the 155-pound division to the organization. The weight class was scrapped after UFC 49 and was brought back at UFC 58.

18. UFC 24 featured current American Kickboxing Academy trainer Bob Cook’s lone UFC appearance. He submitted Tiki Ghosn.

19. Semmy Schilt is the UFC’s tallest competitor, standing at 6’11. Josh Barnett submitted him in his lone appearance at UFC 32.

20. Joao Marcos Pierini competed at UFC 37.5, losing to Yves Edwards in his lone UFC bout. Years later, he pleaded no contest to one felony and three misdemeanor counts of child molestation.

21. UFC 37.5, headlined by Chuck Liddell and Vitor Belfort, was the UFC’s first venture onto basic cable television. Steve Berger vs. Robbie Lawler was aired on the Fox Sports Nets’ “Best Damn Sports Show, Period.”

22. Ken Shamrock and Tito Ortiz delivered a landmark event at UFC 40, getting the UFC its most attention on pay-per-view since UFC 5 and landing its first ever million-dollar gate.

23. Pete Spratt defeated then-young gun Robbie Lawler at UFC 42, earning him a title shot against welterweight champion Matt Hughes. He turned it down and never got the offer again.

24. Nick Diaz debuted at UFC 44 just after his 20th birthday, making him the youngest American competitor to compete in the Octagon at the time. Vitor Belfort, a Brazilian, debuted at 19. Dan Lauzon was 18 at UFC 64 when he surpassed both.

25. Tito Ortiz lost his light heavyweight title to Randy Couture at UFC 44, leaving him with five successful title defenses—a divisional record.

26. Lee Murray defeated Jorge Rivera via triangle choke at UFC 46. It was his lone UFC appearance. He now resides in Moroccan prison after (allegedly) masterminding the biggest bank heist in United Kingdom’s history.

27. UFC 52 was the first event after the inaugural “The Ultimate Fighter” reality show. Coaches Randy Couture and Chuck Liddell headlined the card. Liddell knocked out Couture in the first round.

28. Nick Diaz lost a unanimous decision to Joe Riggs at UFC 67. He went for round four when both fighters were in the hospital for post-fight evaluations and began to brawl.

29. Nick Diaz was the most featured UFC fighter between UFC 44 and 65 with 10 appearances in three years and two months.

30. Matt Serra became the first “The Ultimate Fighter” contestant to win a championship by upsetting welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre at UFC 69. It’s regarded as one of the biggest upsets in history.

31. Roger Huerta defeated Leonard Garcia at UFC 69. Garcia and Huerta were the first mixed martial artists to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated.

32. Lightweights Sean Sherk and Hermes Franca both tested positive for steroids according to the California State Athletic Commission after UFC 73. It is the first time two UFC fighters in a title fight (or a fight period) tested positive.

33. At UFC 73, fan Eraldo Cano fell to his death from a smoking balcony at Arco Arena in Sacramento, California.

34. UFC 75 placed UFC 205-pound champion Quinton Jackson across from Pride 205-pound champion Dan Henderson in the first ever UFC-Pride unification title fight. Jackson won a unanimous decision. Henderson went on to lose another UFC-Pride unifying bout when Anderson Silva submitted him at UFC 82 in a 185-pound contest.

35. UFC 76 dubbed, “Knockout,” featured none.

36. B.J. Penn captured the lightweight belt by submitting Joe Stevenson at UFC 80.

37. Michael Bisping answered Charles McCarthy’s pre-fight smack talk by beating him into retirement in less than five minutes at UFC 83.

38. Frank Mir achieved the unthinkable at UFC 92 when he finished Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira with strikes.

39. Georges St. Pierre and B.J. Penn II became the UFC’s first cross-division championship bout as well as the first bout to carry a “UFC Primetime” hype series.

40. Anderson Silva set a new win-streak record in the UFC, becoming the first man to win nine consecutive fights. He surpassed Royce Gracie and Jon Fitch, who halted their streaks at eight.

41. UFC 100 wasn’t actually UFC 100. Do you know how many cards the UFC has actually promoted?

Read Bear Frazer’s thoughts on UFC 100 here and check out the 9th edition of the “Acosta Is Legend” Awards.

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By FIGHT! contributor Brian J. D’Souza

In any action movie, the audience waits for that uneasy silence before the storm arrives. When Andre “Dida” Amado spars it’s just a matter of time before his hands cause fireworks, taking a toll every time they connect. For sparring partners, the seconds become agonizing minutes—time is relative to the pain being administered—and as the pressure mounts, they wilt, stop punching back and get dropped.

“Dida” comes from Curitaba, Brazil and trained at Chute Boxe, the same place that produced greats like Anderson Silva, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Wanderlei Silva, a place that prepared him for turbulence.

In Curitaba, “Dida” lived in a condominium complex that housed 13,000 people. “I had 40 friends,” he said. “We would run around causing trouble wherever we went. I enjoyed it even though I didn’t have all the things other kids had.” He didn’t have much. “Dida” owned a single pair of Adidas sneakers, and when the “A” and “s” rubbed off, a nickname was born.

The 25-year-old fighter joined Chute Boxe at the age of 13. He paid 50 reais (about $24 USD) a month for three-days a week of training, but when his talent became apparent he was made an instructor and trained for free. The philosophy of the team had a process that weeded out the talkers who lacked heart. “Dida” explains that if new members were quiet, they were brought along with care—but if someone showed up and claimed to know all about fighting, they were kindly asked to partake in a demonstration of skill.

“At Chute Boxe, we would train a lot of security. There was a nightclub in the area, a lot of the bouncers from there would come to Chute Boxe to train. They were big guys—220 to 250 pounds—they would walk in and see me sitting there, I was 16 at the time, the coach would say, ‘You train? Take that guy over there.’ The guy would say, ‘Are you sure? He’s so skinny. I don’t want to hurt him. Am I allowed to hit him?’ And the coach would say, ‘Go ahead, do what you have to do. He can handle it, hit him hard.’”

The muscled tough guys had yet to learn the first tenet of the martial arts: never underestimate your opponent. Escorting inebriated patrons outside with the help of five or six co-workers is different than unarmed combat with a professional. It came as a painful shock that a 140 lb. teenager was tagging them, knocking them down and— eventually— putting their lights out. “[Chute Boxe] lost a lot of regular students,” he said. “Now they can’t do it because it doesn’t work financially.”

As a professional, “Dida”’s striking has served him well, but he has holes in his game that need to be filled. The power in his hands helped him smoke Remigijus Morkevicius in one round in a K-1 rules fight and defeat Caol Uno in a three-round war during the K-1 Heroes tournament. During the next round of the tournament, he buckled Gesias “JZ” Calvancante before being submitted. In the opening round of the DREAM lightweight Grand Prix, he dropped Eddie Alvarez before being stopped on the ground.

“After I saw Wanderlei, I modeled my career after him,” “Dida” said. “I wanted to be like him. Wanderlei was winning all his fights in his style. That’s where I picked everything up, my brother and watching Wanderlei.”

The Japanese love his exciting style, and it’s one he hopes to teach Canadians with the formation of a new fight team at Toronto BJJ called “Evolução Thai”—a new form of muay Thai that is pragmatic for MMA competition.

“Dida” will take on Katsunori Kikuno in a lightweight match at DREAM.10. The card will be broadcast live on HDNet at midnight, July 20 PST and 3 a.m. ET, July 21. The show will be replayed at 10 p.m. ET on Fri., July 24.

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(Photo by Paul Thatcher)
(Photo by Paul Thatcher)

Lyoto Machida has inspired hyperbole unmatched since Royce Gracie’s glory days. He appears untouchable, invincible, doing damage at will while rarely if ever getting hit. Pundits and fans are quick to credit Machida’s success to his family’s style of karate but while it’s true that styles make fights, it’s the fighters who make styles.

In The Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell explores the causation of extraordinary success; what enables the Wayne Gretzky’s, Bill Gates’, and Yo Yo Ma’s of the world to achieve greatness. There are many factors that contribute to the creation of world-class hockey players, software programmers, and cellists, but one of them jumps out as being particularly relevant to sport fighting, and that is the rule of 10,000 hours.

In Gladwell’s research he found that all of his subjects had achieved minimum of 10,000 hours of practical experience by the time they had reached a breakthrough: the draft, a eureka moment, acceptance to Julliard. For a hockey player it was ice time, for a programmer it was time spent in front of a monitor, for a musician it was time spent with bow in hand. Assuming age, ability, and socio-economic status are the same between two subjects, ten thousand hours was the line of demarcation between damn good and great. To put that number in context, it averages out to almost 2.75 hours per day, every day, for ten years.

Now there are many tens of thousands of black belts in the world but mixed martial arts has proven that rank is rarely a predictor of success in the ring or cage. That’s because every fighting system is broken down into sets of rudimentary movements and principles. Learning them is rarely difficult but applying them nearly always is, and that’s where the 10,000 hours comes in to play.

Lyoto Machida is a world-class athlete raised by an old-school Japanese karateka. Ability and environment, two key factors in Gladwell’s research, were in place. Yoshizo trained his Brazilian-born sons to be modern samurai – early mornings, hard work, and long hours were the norm for the youngest Machida, who probably passed the 10,000-hour mark before he started shaving.

After thousands and thousands of repetitions technique becomes muscle memory, theory becomes reflex, and a fighter begins to express him or herself instinctually. Machida may be rooted theoretically and technically in karate and judo, but years of free form fighting in the gym, ring, and cage, have allowed him to achieve what Bruce Lee called “the style of no style.”

This punch may come from karate, that throw may be textbook judo. But his fights are peppered with bits of wrestling, muay Thai, and Brazilian jiu jitsu as well. A lot of what “The Dragon” does is dependent on timing, rhythm and range that he honed over years of training. His stance and footwork are also products of experience. What Machida does can be learned but much of it can’t be taught.

For every Lyoto Machida there is an army of karate black belts who can’t fight their way out of a paper bag. Style does not guarantee success; it is simply the starting point on a 10,000-hour journey.

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(Lawler lands against Smith. Photo by Paul Thatcher.)
(Lawler lands against Smith. Photo by Paul Thatcher.)

By FIGHT! contributor Josh Nason

Just a few months ago, fans got a dream fight in Georges St-Pierre vs. B.J. Penn. The clash featured two champions from two weight classes; men who can inflict damage in a variety of ways and are damn good at doing so. In the end, the larger man – GSP – was victorious in a near-dominant performance. On June 6, MMA will get another mixed-weight class vs. weight superfight involving two former EliteXC champions when Jake Shields and Robbie Lawler headline Strikeforce’s first major Showtime card.

“Lawler’s a guy I’ve liked watching fight for a while. I wanted to fight him in EliteXC because they didn’t have anyone for me at the 170s. He held the belt and I held a belt, so I wanted to capture both of them,” Shields said. “Unfortunately, it’s not going to be a title fight for either one of us, but it’s still going to be a main event, a superfight and one that I’m really excited for.”

The 27-year-old Lawler (16-4-0-1) was EliteXC’s last middleweight champion, winning the title from Murilo “Ninja” Rua via third-round TKO in September 2007. Lawler has fought twice since then, both times against Scott Smith – the last ending in a TKO victory. Of his 16 wins, the hard-charging Lawler has won 13 by kayo and for he comes into this fight unbeaten in his last six – a streak dating well over two years. But if he expects to cut through his smaller opponent easily he doesn’t admit it.

“I think he’s a really good opponent. He fights at a high level, especially at 170,” Lawler said. “He’s got good takedowns and really good positioning on top. His submissions are really good. It’s going to be a tough fight.”

On paper Shields (22-4-1), EliteXC’s last welterweight champion, is Lawler’s polar opposite. The Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt has won five out of his last six fights by submission and hasn’t dropped a fight since 2004. Lawler has been submitted only twice in his career, while Shields has lost via TKO only once, coming in just his third professional fight.

“It’s pretty obvious it’ll be the submission guy versus the stand-up guy. I’ll want to try to put him on his back and submit him, but I’ve been working a lot on my stand-up. He’s a hard guy to take down, so I have to be comfortable banging with him on my feet as well,” Shields said, adding that a big difference between Lawler and other strikers he has fought is size and his left-handed stance.
Like Penn, Shields is moving up from his ideal weight class but if Shields has his way, the outcome will be different. “It’s going to go a lot different. The small guy is going to go in there and tap out the bigger guy,” Shields said.

Strikeforce: Lawler vs. Shields will be televised live on Showtime at 10 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast).

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Frank Lester didn’t lose to James Wilks, he was beaten – badly.

The welterweight suffered a broken nose, two black eyes, and a gash that required 24 stitches to close during the Ultimate Fighter: United States vs. United Kingdom second round match. An oral surgeon went to work on Lester with a scalpel immediately following the fight to remove the roots of the four teeth Wilks knocked out of the American fighter’s mouth, leaving his gums, “raw as hell,” Lester said.

But the residual ache of the beating was nothing compared to the hell Lester would put his body through in an effort to make weight for an unexpected third fight.

With nothing to do in the TUF house and no reason to stay fighting fit after his loss to Wilks, Lester began putting away heaping helpings of Haagen-Dazs. The extra calories, coupled with intense power lifting sessions, caused the fighter to swell to 201 pounds in a matter of days.

When signs pointed to Jason Pierce being removed from the tournament either due to injury or an attitude problem, Lester volunteered to replace him despite the fact that he looked like an extra from “Dawn of the Dead.”

“I saw Dana [White] walking back to the offices and I stopped him, tapped him on the shoulder,” Lester said. “I was like Dana, ‘If Pierce is out, I want that fight.’ He kinda looked at me like I’m f—— stupid and patted me on the shoulder like I was some little kid and he taps me on the shoulder and he goes, ‘You did great man, that was a great fight the other day.’ And he just walked off.”

Lester learned later that he would be given the chance to fight David Faulkner, one of his better friends in the house. He was ecstatic until the Haagen-Dazs came back to haunt him.

“I think I found out Friday and the fight was Monday or Tuesday or something,” Lester said. “Dude, I had to f—— cut 30 pounds in like, three days.”

Dana White put Lester’s dream on life support and there was no way he was going to let it die on the table a second time. “I remember I got into the sauna at 2 a.m. in the morning, cutting weight,” he said. “The whole house was asleep and I f——- woke up in the middle of the night for two hours in the sauna and I went to bed and I got up at 8 a.m. and I passed out because I was so tired and I woke up and I did it again and somehow.”

“I’m telling you, Mark Miller and Santino [Defranco] had to like, hold me and carry me into the van,” Lester said. “No f—– bullshit, I thought I was going to die.”

And Lester very well could have. Other TUF contestants have played up the pain of cutting weight for the sake of the cameras but the Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran put his health in serious jeopardy. When Rory Markham misjudged his weight prior to his UFC 95 fight against Dan Hardy and was forced to cut 31 pounds in four days, the rapid weight loss caused a partial collapse of Markham’s lung and fluid build-up around his heart.

But Lester survived the crucible and entered the match with Faulkner determined to leave whatever he had left in the cage. “I wanted to go out throwing on my feet,” Lester said. “Whether I won or lost I wanted to go out like a gangster.”

The bout, which Lester describes as “a f—— dog fight” was set to enter the third stanza when Faulkner failed to answer the bell. “I don’t know why Faulkner quit,” said Lester, adding that Ross Pearson thought his British teammate was deterred because the uppercut he favors didn’t put Lester out when it landed. Faulkner confirmed as much to Lester after the fight.

“You know how many people I’ve hit with that uppercut and they go to sleep,” Faulkner asked Lester. “It looked like it didn’t even phase you.”

“The thing was, it did phase me,” Lester said, “but I didn’t want to show it. If I get hit, I’m coming forward, because I’m not gonna let him smell blood and jump on me. When he hit me, my mind went kinda fuzzy, you know, went black a little bit so I started throwing hands.”

Lester was the first TUF contestant to win after being given a second chance, and everything after this is gravy for the Team Quest fighter. No matter what happens in his rematch with James Wilks, Lester’s gutsy display has earned him fans and secured his place in TUF lore. It’s hard to imagine than anyone has ever gained more by losing so much.

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(Props to Middle Easy.)

Each week, FIGHT! brings you the best from our friends around the web.

In Giving Penn/Fitch Winner Title Shot, UFC Banking On Bigger Plans (Versus MMA)

Old, White Guy Bob Arum Continues to Insist on Racializing MMA (Cage Potato)

M-1 Global To Air Events On Showtime (MMA Convert)

Dana White Meets Subway Stabber-Stopper *VIDEO* (MMA Scraps)

UFC 129 Ticket Sales Open Up New Possibilities (SBNation MMA)

Jorge Rivera: I Got Under Michael Bisping’s Skin (LowKick)

Gabe Reudiger: You’re Fired…Again (Five Ounces of Pain)

The Ultimate Fighter: Phillipines? (5th Round)

What Might Have Been: Fedor In the UFC (MMA Fighting)

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