Donovan Craig's MMA Articles

December 2010 // Features
Miracle Mile

In January 2004, Priscilla Belfort, the younger sister of MMA Superstar Vitor Belfort, went missing in Brazil. For three years following her disappearance, the family led a frantic nationwide hunt for the missing girl. In August 2007, a woman named Helaine Paive Da Silva confessed the following to Rio Police: She said that she and [...]

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October 2010 // Features
After The Fall

Luzhniki   A giant statue of Vladimir Lenin, the father of the Russian Revolution stands in the courtyard of the massive Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. The statue gazes out across the black Moscova River and onto the city it names. The stadium, which was originally dubbed the Central Lenin Stadium when it was built for [...]

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September 2010 // Features
On The Utility of Struggle and The Art of Rising

I. MOTORCYCLE HILL   “You must make friends with suffering!” Greg Jackson shouts to a group of about 15 professional fighters and one aging, but aspiring, participatory journalist as we all struggle up a diabolically steep and absurdly huge sand dune on the outskirts of Albuquerque, NM.   I’d arrived the day before for a [...]

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August 2010 // Features
Command Performance

ZAYED’S DREAM   Highway E 11 cuts 79 miles through the great Rub’ al Khali desert between the emirates of Abu Dhabi and Dubai. FIGHT! Staff Photographer Paul Thatcher is piloting a tiny blue rental car as we speed down the busiest highway in the Arab world on the way to Dubai. We’re in the [...]

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March 2010 // Features
On Subtlety and Violence

Sometimes it’s something a fighter doesn’t do as much as what the other guy does do that gets him beat. These omissions can be tiny, almost invisible to an untrained eye. A right hand held an inch too low, a posture a bit too forward in an opponent’s guard, a slip or parry mistimed by [...]

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November 2009 // Features
A Fight Night For Heroes

IN THE BELLY OF THE WHALE The city of Mosul is in the Northern part of Iraq on the banks of the Tigris River. A sprawling city of nearly two million inhabitants, it has been here in one form or another for thousands of years. It is built on the ruins of the ancient city [...]

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October 2009 // MMA Life
The Moral of The Story

I. The Mayhem Show Some people are just blessed with more energy than the rest of us, I think as I watch my friend Jason” Mayhem” Miller at his manic best whipping up the crowd of screaming fans on the set of his hit show Bully Beatdown, I’ve been here two days at the invitation [...]

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Aug/Sep 2007
Team Quest

About 50 miles north of San Diego on Highway 15, right in the middle of Southern California’s wine country, is a nondescript building next door to a ballet studio. This is Team Quest’s California MMA training center and on any given day you are likely to find several of the most talented fighters in the [...]

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January 2009 // Features
Victorville

Vigorous Creatures – Lost – An important Call Twilight on the edge of the Mojave Desert. A jackrabbit the size of a terrier lopes into the middle of the road, where I’m standing outside my parked car. I make eye contact with the animal and it stares back brazenly before darting off. I hadn’t realized [...]

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July 2009 // Features
The Art Of War

The Crowne Plaza Hotel in the Wuzhou district of Beijing is a place where you can clearly see the forces that are shaping the new world economic order. Well-dressed European and American businesspeople, eager for a chance at China’s massive domestic market (which is larger than those of the US, European Union and Japan combined) [...]

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May 2009 // Features
Team Alpha Male

As I watch him train today at his successful Ultimate Fitness Gym in downtown Sacramento, however, Urijah is anything but unrestrained. He’s slowly drilling takedowns with a class of twelve other fi ghters from Urijah’s MMA team: Team Alpha Male. They’re doing “structured drilling,” in which they practice their maneuvers at about 25 percent resistance. [...]

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March 2009 // Features
Getting After It

After a month of diligent training at some of the top camps in the world, FIGHT! editor Donovan Craig steps through the ropes to make his MMA debut against the tough Ty Beeson at Tuff-N-uff in Las Vegas, Nevada. I. A Million Dollar Team, One Dimension, Some Timely Advice “Don’t think about winning the fi [...]

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February 2009 // Features
Big In Vegas

I. RANDY INC.- A FAMILY AFFAIR- ON ANOTHER LEVEL I can always tell who is at Xtreme Couture by the cars parked outside. Randy used to have a big black Humvee, but now it’s a badass black Dodge Challenger. Mike Pyle’s got a big Honda Truck, Jay Heiron has a tricked-out White Charger they call [...]

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March 2008 // Features
Waiting For Couture

AN INTRODUCTION OF SORTS He stands ramrod straight and looks at me as if he’s sizing me up through a pane of glass. His stare is piercing yet disinterested and his body language is cold. He speaks to me in a faint voice, as if he’s thinking about a million different things. “We’ll work it [...]

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September 2008 // Features
Through the Storm

The house sits at the end of a poorly kept dirt road in a neighborhood with no visible street signs. The gate is locked and I can hear several dogs barking behind it. It’s growing dark and I start to wonder if I am even in the right place. As the dusk turns to outright [...]

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September 2008 // Features
Old Wounds

The View From Ipanema “This is close to where Rickson Gracie had the famous fi ght with Hugo Duarte,” Master Ricardo Murgel tells me as we jog along Ipanema beach after a morning workout. Murgel is that rarest of creatures, a Brazilian with a correct sense of punctuality. He meets me every morning at 8:00 [...]

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October 2008 // Features
Beauty Honor & Struggle

Beautiful People As you move south of the equator, so too does the focus of male sexual attention. Unlike the American cultural obsession with large breasts, Brazilian women pride themselves on the tone and shapeliness of their behinds. The ideal of feminine beauty is also different: darker, athletic, and more authentically sexual. Where the US [...]

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August 2008 // Features
Brazil Part 1 – Great Masters

On June 7th 1494, at the Treaty of Tordesillas, in an act of monumental hubris the nations of Spain and Portugal divided up the known world outside of Europe. Spain got everything west of the Cape Verde Islands and Portugal got everything that lay east, including what would become the nation of Brazil. This is [...]

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July 2008 // Names in the Game
Dreams And The Proper Distance

Team Meeting… Any one who has spent a lot of time in fi ght gyms will recognize their familiar smell: of stale sweat, wet leather and something vaguely reminiscent of urine, (the imported leather, which fi nds its way into a lot of training gear, is treated with cow urine overseas.) Although it’s not a [...]

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Oct/Nov 2007 // Features
Brotherhood of the Cage

“It’s called the Mongolian Attack…” I am watching Greg Jackson as he instructs Keith Jardine and Tait Fletcher on one of Jackson’s famously arcane mixed martial arts techniques before they begin a sparring session at Jackson’s New Mexico gym. “What the Mongolians would do is rush in with their cavalry,” says Jackson from outside the [...]

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Dec/Jan 2008 // Features
PAT MILETICH

The quick, rhythmic pop, pop, pop of punches hitting mitts echoes through Pat Miletich’s training center in Bettendorf, Iowa. UFC fighting legend and master trainer Pat Miletich is working the pads with one of his students. Pat begins to mix it up, circling, trying to get the guy used to movement. The old fighter’s physical [...]

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February 2008 // MMA Life
American Top Team

Pessimism is a type of cowardice. It is a way of giving in. Your typical fighter, being by definition a brave and vigorous individual, is also an optimistic one. A great deal of his energy comes from hope. He runs on faith. It might be faith in his physical strength or his conditioning or the [...]

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