Vision 5: Stockholm Preview

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Vision Fighting Championship celebrate a hugely successful 2012 since merging with Scottish Fight Challenge with their biggest card to date tomorrow night, cementing their place as Northern Europe’s premier MMA promotion.

The main event sees Bantamweight champion, David Häggström (6-1) defending his title against highly ranked Artemij Sitenkov (14-8) in an interesting style clash. Häggström has taken his wins equally by knockout and decision, with his sole loss coming via submission while Sitenkov has all of his wins via tapout and has fallen to knockouts twice and subs six times, and has never had a fight go to the judges.

In terms of momentum, Häggström is riding a two fight win streak with the most recent being his title winning decision victory over Griphouse fighter James Doolan back at Vision FC 3: Uprising. Across the cage Sitenkov is looking to recover from a submission loss to Patrick Holohan at Cage Contender 14 which snapped a two fight win streak over top UK fighters Neil Seery and Rob McCrum.

It’s a compelling fight between two of the best 135lbers in Europe, with momentum and standup on Häggström’s side and experience and submissions in Sitenkov’s corner.

The co-main event sees former Vision FC Featherweight champion Martin Svensson (10-3) looking to bounce back from his first round TKO loss to Robert Whiteford in September against the unbeaten and highly regarded Niklas Bäckström (5-0)

Svensson is touted as the ‘tallest Featherweight in MMA’ as he stands an impressive six foot, one inches tall and this characterises his fight style as he uses his rangy frame to smother opponents and gain submission or decision victories. Bäckström is not so lofty, but despite being less experienced, already holds twice as many TKO wins as Svensson, so you could view this as a grappler vs. striker match, but as usual things rarely turn out that clear cut.

Other main card bouts that catch my eye see Jonathan Westin (4-2) facing late replacement for original opponent, Christoffer Svenson, Glen Sparv (5-1) at welterweight, and top Finnish fighter Joni Salovaara (11-5) facing off against another late replacement, the well travelled Cage Warriors and M-1 veteran Olivier Pastor (17-11) who steps in place of the injured Per Eklund.

It’s a testament to the hard work and commitment of the Vision team, especially head booker, Rob McCrum that they’ve managed to pull together such high quality replacements at short notice for their year end card. Boys, you’re doing it right.

One more match I want to draw attention to is the first ever Women’s bout on a Vision FC card, pitting Cheryl Flynn (1-1 amateur) against Pannie Kianzad (1-0) on the preliminary card. We at Kumite are firmly behind the advancement of Women’s MMA and it’s good to see another top promotion offering opportunities to the girls.

This is Vision’s biggest card to date, and given how much I’ve enjoyed their three Glasgow shows this year, Im just a little bit gutted that I can’t make it in person.

If you’re in commuting distance of Stockholm and don’t already have tickets, what’s wrong with you? Get on it!

For information on tickets and all things Vision, please visit http://www.visionfighting.com

Full Fight Card

MAIN CARD:
David Häggström vs Artemij Sitenkov – *Bantamweight Title fight*
Martin Svensson vs. Niklas Bäckström
Nicolas Musoke vs. Michael Lebout
Oliver Pastor v Joni Salovaara
Jonathan Westin vs. Glenn Sparv
Carlos Prada vs. Frantz Siloa

PRELIM CARD:
Oskar Sollevi vs. Botan Tokay
Fernando Gonzalez vs. Lauri Väätäinen
Håkon Foss vs. Niclas Danielsson
Dennis Erdogan vs. Jonatan Salminen
Pannie Kianzad vs. Cheryl Flynn

Paul McVeigh – Ten Point Must Interview

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Ahead of his headlining fight at Cage Warriors 50, Dinky Ninjas main man Paul McVeigh took the time to answer some of our questions and we cover everything from SAFE MMA and title ambitions to comic books and Kung Fu movies.

Irishman and adopted Scot, McVeigh (18-7) faces American, Brandon Hempleman (8-1) at a catchweight of 130lbs in the main event of Cage Warriors first show in Scotland.

While undefeated when fighting for Cage Warriors, and having held both their Featherweight and Bantamweight titles, McVeigh’s recent efforts have not gone to plan as he was eliminated from The Ultimate Fighter by Louis Gaudinot and ended up on the wrong side of a unanimous decision when facing Erik Perez at BAMMA 8.

As he looks to bounce back, while gradually cutting down to Flyweight from his long term home at 135lbs he faces an opponent coming off a five fight win streak who is certainly not just coming to make up the numbers.

As the featured fighter on the biggest MMA card to ever come to Scotland, we’re plenty excited to see what Paul has to say, so without further ado, let’s get into it.

1 – How long have you been involved in MMA, where did you start, what was your first discipline?

For pretty much as long as its been around in the UK. I started of in Japanese Jiu jitsu as a kid and picked up all of the other more established disciplines along the way as it became evident I was deficient in certain areas.

2 – What first got you into martial arts?

Reading the amount of comics and watching the number of Van Damme movies I did as a kid it was only a matter of time before I tried to become a professional ass kicker.

3 – In your fight on the Ultimate Fighter, you received a lot of praise from both coaches and Dana White, despite losing the decision. Did that mean a lot to you?

Losing always stings but so long as you have put everything into your performance you can rationalise whatever occurs. The outcome is a consequence of your preparation and performance. It was cool getting praise from those guys but the lessons I learned where more valuable.

4 – At Cage Warriors 50, you’re making your first stop on a cut down to Flyweight. What caused you drop down from Bantamweight where you’ve been so successful?

It was originally a devious plan to avoid sparring with some of our big scary featherweight nut jobs like Afterburner (Graham Turner), Dean Reilly and Robert Whiteford. But a lot of our flyweights are reproducing so I’ve had to spar with these guys anyway and now that I’m 5kg lighter than normal the kicking I’ve been on the end of have dramatically increased.

5 – You’re undefeated when competing for Cage Warriors and this card marks that promotion’s debut in your adopted home of Glasgow. What does it mean to you to compete on such a card?
I love fighting in Cage Warriors and in Glasgow. When you combine them both with a card this good it’s a real privilege to be a part of it. It’s two weeks out and I’m already waking up every morning like a highly caffeinated chimp,

6 – What are your career aims in the next year or so?

I have a plan and it starts with this upcoming bout. Not looking past my opponent or anything but after that I hope to secure the CWFC Flyweight title. That would make me the first person to hold titles in the organisation in 3 different weight categories which is pretty baller.

7 – What’s it like balancing the demands of being a trainer at the Griphouse with the demands of a fight camp?

Pretty easy to be honest we have good systems in place and great people who are available whenever they are needed. When James Doolan and I are competing Dean Reilly runs the show and puts in so many hours with the guys I feel a bit guilty just training and going home to sleep.

I don’t think it’s as hard as for someone who trains and has a full time job. I can let some business related stuff slide for a few weeks and focus on fighting.

8 – As an experienced fighter who’s also involved in running a gym, not to mention being well known for their commitment to fitness and conditioning, do you think the recently revealed SAFE MMA project will help improve the level of safety in UK MMA and gain more mainstream acceptance of the sport?

It’s adds to the overall professionalism of the sport. Which is something everyone who is serious about MMA has been trying to promote for years so I am all for it.

9 – Over a decade you’ve been one of the key figures in the growth of MMA in the UK, and Scotland especially. If there was to be a movie made of your career, who would you want to play yourself?

Samuel L Jackson….. I shout a lot.

10 – What would you say to any kids considering taking up martial arts training?

Sports are a great vehicle to develop yourself as a person and understanding values like self sacrifice, dedication, altruism and hard work. A few months in good MMA gym will make you a better person in every aspect of your life. You’ll also learn how to engage in some of the most feral banter imaginable. All positive stuff.

Last of all, a shout out to your sponsors, gym etc.

Cheers to the guys at the Griphouse (www.thegriphouse.co.uk) and the rest of the Dinky Ninja Fight Team guys.

Everyone at Kumite would like to thank Paul for taking the time to answer our questions, and we’re really looking forward to watching him and the other Dinky Ninjas, Alan Johnston, Graham Turner and Mark Connor compete at Cage Warriors 50 on Saturday 8th December.

If your minded to experience more of Paul’s ‘feral banter’ we recommend taking a look at this behind the scenes video on YouTube which had us in stitches – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgyYPxzjZaw&sns=em

You can follow Paul and the Griphouse on Twitter with the handles @Maccavelli and @Griphouse and for more information on Cage Warriors 50 and to get tickets if you haven’t already done so, check out http://www.cagewarriors.com

Cage Warriors 50 will stream live internationally on http://www.mmajunkie.com and UK viewers will be able to see it a few days later on Sky Sports. We promise to wave from the cheap seats.

Image from http://www.madebrave.com

BAMMA 11 Preview

This Saturday is a landmark in UK MMA history as BAMMA 11 becomes the first MMA card to be shown live on a free to air terrestrial channel when it airs on Channel 5.  Thats pretty cool for starters, but the card itself is one of BAMMA’s deepest offering’s to date and should present a fantastic advert for new fans to the sport.

The main event pits former British Middleweight champion Jack “Hammer” Marshman (11-1) against veteran French fighter Xavier “Professor X” Foupa-Pokam (22-18) in an intriguing matchup which is likely to produce fireworks.  Marshman’s only defeat to date has come to former Middleweight champion Tom Watson, who is now in the UFC, and Watson is the only fighter to take Marshman to a decision at this point with six of Marshman’s eleven victories coming in the first round.  It’s worth noting that the only reason Marshman is a FORMER British Middleweight champion is that he missed weight for his BAMMA 10 defence against Andrew Punshon and he actually won that fight in dominant fashion, so Jack is coming into this fight with a great deal of momentum.

Across the ring, “Professor X” is an exceptionally well travelled fighter having fought all over the world, from Africa to Japan, via Russia, India and even a 0-2 run in the UFC.  While recent results haven’t been on his side as he’s posted a 2-7 record since leaving the UFC in 2009 it’s never wise to rule out a fighter with 22 pro wins, especially when he’s shown an equal ability to score highlight reel victories with knees or submissions.  Foupa-Pokan actually holds an win over Tom Watson from Cage Rage back in 2007 and so according to the inexact science of MMA Mathematics should be the favourite here.

OK, so I’m kidding and this is set up to be just another rung on Jack Marshman’s impressive rise to the top, but this is MMA and anything can happen…

Placed as the co-main event on every billing I’ve seen except Channel 5’s TV listings where it figures as the main event is Alex Reid (9-9-1) against Sam Boo (5-7-0) and the reasons fort that should be apparent to all but the most naive.  OK, I’ll recap for those who haven’t been paying attention.  Thanks to his relationship with glamour models Jordan and then Chantelle, combined with his willingness to talk to anyone with a camera or a tape recorder about being a cage fighter and a cross-dresser, Reid became Britain’s best known mixed martial artist to the point that BAMMA gave him a title shot against Tom Watson at BAMMA 4 despite his being on a six fight losing streak.

Predictably, Reid lost that fight but in the end it came down to a decision rather than the predicted TKO1 for Watson and I (along with many others) was impressed by Reid’s heart, chin and all those other superlatives we use for fighters who take a beating but keep getting up.  Hell, I think I even gave him a round and genuinely thought he’d sink a submission in during the last round.

In any case, the event was a success for everyone involved and Reid even managed to get back into a winning way with a 2011 win over Jason Barrett at UCMMA 22.  Still a well known figure through the readers of those glossy magazines you find in doctors waiting rooms and beside teenage boys beds, Reid certainly adds a little extra mainstream attention to BAMMA’s coming out party on Channel 5.

As for his opponent Sam Boo, I am at a loss.  He’s got a 5-7 record and at least two of those wins came by DQ.  The puritan in me says that a guy with a losing record shouldn’t be on the main card, let alone being talked of in main event terms for a self respecting promotion.

On the other hand, he has amassed a twelve fight pro career in a year and a half, and while I’m not altogether down with fighters competing a week after being TKO’d, you have to respect Boo’s work ethic.  He’s fought ten times since Reid last competed and if they say there is no experience like being in the cage…

You could look at this as almost an inverse of the Reid-King fight, with Reid now taking the place of the established, more experienced fighter and Boo in the ‘Rocky Balboa’ role where he’s pretty much booked to make up the numbers but as we always say, anything can happen in the cage…  Either way, it’s a fabulous opportunity for Boo.

This fight is basically a curiosity attraction, designed to draw in casual viewers who may be enthralled enough to give BAMMA’s more credible stars, like Jack Marshman another look.  Hopefully, folks tuning in to see Reid will switch their telly-boxes over earlier to witness some of the most promising stars in British MMA strutting their stuff.

That leads us neatly to the next two matches down the card where we have Warren Kee facing Tom Breese for the Lonsdale British Welterweight title and Scotland’s Steven Ray facing Dale Hardiman for the British Lightweight belt.

I’ve always been a fan of BAMMA’s idea to institute ‘British’ titles as a rung below their promotional (notionally ‘World’) titles and these two fights are in my eyes the best reasons to be excited about this card.

Warren Kee (7-1-1) and Tom Breese (5-0) come into this fight with neither man having gone to a decision, and this looks like the kind of striker vs. submission artist fight that could finish fast, with Kee having 6 KOs to his name and Breese having all but one of his five wins by submission.  Kee was knocked out in his last fight at UCMMA 27 back in April and having drawn the bout before that, I have to think the momentum is with Tom Breese here.

Steven Ray (11-3) against Dale Hardiman (9-3) is another fight that looks unlikely to go to the scorecards as these guys have gone the distance once each in a combined twenty six fights.  Ray is the slightly more experienced and well rounded fighter, with two more fights and mixing up his victories with four wins by TKO and six by submission.  However, all three of his losses have been by submission and that seems to be Hardiman’s speciality, with six of his nine wins coming by tapout.

That said, I sincerely doubt Ray will be afraid of going to the floor with Hardiman and I’ll expect both of these fighters to be looking to get their hands on the belt as quickly as possible, maintaining their mutual record of a high proportion of first round victories.

I’m not gonna break down every fight on the card, because this is already past a thousand words and I’m starting to go cross eyed.  However, there is one more match I want to pay a little attention to and that is the Bantamweight clash between the Dinky Ninja’s James Doolan (16-8-2) and highly ranked Spencer Hewitt (10-3).

Doolan may have posted a 2-5-2 record since 2009 compared to Hewitt’s 10-3 over the same period, but the fact that he is the more experienced and well rounded fighter shouldn’t be discounted.  A look at the stats shows that Hewitt has nine of his ten wins by submission, but on the other hand has never been knocked out.  Doolan on the other hand has a more balanced 8 KOs to 7 submissions and has similarly never been knocked out.  With Doolan looking to bounce back from his decision loss to David Haggstrom at Vision FC 3 and Hewitt looking to build on his submission win over CameronElse at UCMMA 30. , the momentum is certainly with the English fighter.

That said, whoever wins the bout will surely be at the head of the queue when BAMMA are considering awarding their Bantamweight title and that sort of motivation focusses a fighter’s mind.  If I have to make a call, I’d lean on the fact that nine of Hewitt’s wins have come in the first round and I find the likelihood of him bumping off a veteran like Doolan that quickly to be very slim.  Hewitt has lost to three of the four guys who have taken him past the first round and those fighters, including the likes of Giorgio Andrews and Kris Edwards are more in Doolan’s class than the rest of Hewitt’s victories.

Hell, I’m an MMA blogger from Glasgow, of course I’m tipping the Griphouse fighter for the win!

It’s a great card and a great opportunity for UK MMA to chip away at the prejudice and stigma we put up with every day.

Check http://www.bamma.com for further details and set your Sky+ or TIVO box for Channel 5 on Saturday night.  I know I’ll be watching.

Slainte,

Chris

Full Fight Card

Middleweight
Xavier Foupa-Pokam vs Jack Marshman
Middleweight
 Alex Reid vs Sam Boo
 
BAMMA Lonsdale British Welterweight Title
Warren Kee vs Tom Breese
BAMMA Lonsdale British Lightweight Title
Steve Ray vs Dale Hardiman
 
Light Heavyweight
Kevin Thompson vs Max ‘Power’ Nunes
Light Heavyweight
Marcin Lazarz vs Sam Mensah
Bantamweight
James Doolan vs Spencer Hewitt
Lightweight
Richie Downes vs Jeremy Petley
Lightweight
Marc Allen vs Kyle Redfern
Featherweight
Andrew Fisher vs Andy Green
Middleweight
Ben Constantine vs Yannick Bahati
 
Bantamweight
Dawid Farycki vs Bryan Creighton
Welterweight
Jonny Bilton vs Leon Edwards
Light Heavyweight
Thomas Denham vs Mike Neun

Know the Score – Part One – Effective Striking

Failte,

We’re going to embark on a wee series of articles designed to clear up (or at least promote informed debate on) some of the regularly controversial issues in MMA. We’re going to start off with how judges should score fights, as its clear that a great many fight fans (and it has to be said, fighters, promoters and judges) don’t actually seem to understand the scoring system as it stands.

We very much feel that a little more understanding would quieten the never ending stream of calls on discussion forums for the scoring system to be changed.

The first element judges should look at when scoring a round is EFFECTIVE STRIKING.

Striking is the first criteria for judging a round of MMA as strikes are simply the fastest way to secure a victory. Ground work leading to a submission is all well and good, but nothing ends a fight faster than a well placed kick or punch.

Unless a round is spent mostly on the ground in a grappling battle (although effective striking from mount or another advantageous grappling position does count) or with little in the way of effective striking going on, effective striking should be the criteria by which the winner of the round is decided.

They key word here is EFFECTIVE and many fight fans seem to confuse the volume of strikes thrown or willingness to steam forward swinging with striking being effective. This is simply not the case.

Effective striking means landing more clean shots, preferably heavy strikes that have an effect on your opponent, and does NOT necessarily translate to damage, but we’ll come to that in a minute.

In a round where fighter A throws a hundred strikes but most miss, are absorbed by gloves or otherwise blocked or evaded and fighter B throws ten counter strikes, each one finding its mark, then fighter B has won the round.

A common misconception is that a strike which causes a knockdown automatically earns the striker a 10-8 round. This may be true if the round was already in their favour, but if it was equal or their opponent has had the better of it, then the score may be otherwise.

The point is that a round should be judged AS A WHOLE and judges should not be disproportionally influenced by events at the end of the round or a limited recall of highlights.

It’s perfectly possible for a fighter to have a noted dominance for the majority of a round, then get knocked down by a desperation counter strike in the closing seconds. Is that a 10-8 for the fighter who was on their back foot for almost five minutes? No, of course not…

Another common misconception is that ‘damage’ is a scoring criteria. The simple truth, is that it isn’t and there are a few reasons for this.

Firstly, some fighters will ‘mark up’ easier than others, either due to their racial heritage or previous history of being in some intense fights. If you take damage as a scoring criteria, you are effectively building in a penalisation to anyone who is a bit pale skinned, or has incurred any facial scar tissue.

Look at the recent GSP vs. Condit fight. At the post fight press conference, GSP looked like he’d lost the fight, while Condit had one little cut at his temple. However, GSP was in control of that fight for the best part of four out of the five rounds and landed a whole lot more strikes. It’s just that the one’s he took, looked worse on his pale skin.

Secondly, there are striking techniques which will cause visible damage disproportionate to their actual effect on your opponent. A good example are elbows from mount and high collar tie ups, as used so effectively by the likes of Jon Jones and BJ Penn. Such elbows take a second to land and can easily cause a head wound that invariably bleeds like stink but doesn’t actually HURT your opponent a whole lot and is unlikely to earn a KO all by itself (sure, they do often lead to cut stoppages but that’s another debate…)

Some of the most effective striking techniques, like jabs and body shots (especially strikes to the liver, kidneys and diaphragm) don’t look all that individually impressive but any striking coach will tell you that it’s here that the real work is done.

Damage can be taken as an indicator of effective striking, but it’s better to measure this through the effect on a fighters movements, rather than how it superficially looks.

You can have a nasty looking black eye from a right cross, blood dropping from a cut lip and still be bang on your game, moving intelligently etc. and conversely you can eat a steady diet of by themselves innocuous jabs and body shots for the full round and just get that one good shot in. Who wins the round?

So, the next time your watching a fight and considering how you’d score a round, remember that the first thing you are looking for is effective striking. This means your looking for which fighter has landed the more clean shots, which fighter has landed the higher proportion of their attempted strikes, which fighter has pushed their opponent back or clearly frustrated their opponents plan, as opposed to who’s thrown more or which fighter looks more beaten up.

If its close, then sometimes there is a question between volume of strikes landed compared to less, but more significant strikes landed but this is a question where a judges affinity for the sport and personal judgement comes into play. This is why you have three judges from different viewpoints scoring a fight.

If both fighters have done as well as each other as regards striking, then we need to look to the next criteria, effective grappling and we’ll pick up there next week.

Slainte,

Chris

MMA Monday – 26th November 2012

Give thanks!  Due to the American festival of Turkey and Gridiron there wasn’t a whole lot of western MMA this past weekend as even Bellator had a mid-season off week.  So, I’m gonna use this MMA Monday to flag up some of the tantalising stuff we’ve got coming up in the next few weeks as well as giving a little spotlight to the action that did happen from the Super Fight League and Score Fighting Series’ Friday Night Fights.

Incoming

Theres a ridiculously exciting bundle of cards coming up over the next few weeks, with BAMMA 11 next Saturday, December 1st featuring Jack Marshman vs. Xavier Foupa-Pokam in the main event with a supporting cast including two Lonsdale British title fights, Scottish standouts James Doolan and Steven Ray alongside a featured appearance by (apparently) Britain’s most known mixed martial artist, Alex Reid.  A full preview will be coming later in the week.

The weekend after, we have Cage Warriors 50, which is probably the biggest MMA card in Scottish history featuring the likes of Robert Whiteford, Paul McVeigh and Wilson Reis.  We’ve got a full programme of build up to that card, partially to make up for the fact we won’t be able to live tweet as we’ll be in attendance and the reception in the Kelvin Hall is atrocious.  When we get home that night, we’ve got one of the more exciting UFC cards in recent memory to watch as Benson Henderson defends his Lightweight title against Nate Diaz and we get Rory MacDonald vs. BJ Penn, Shogun Rua vs. Alexander Gustafsson and Jim Miller vs. Joe Lauzon as h’ors d’oeuvre.  Full previews of both cards with be forthcoming.

The rest of December has Vision FC 5 from Stockholm, two UFC Ultimate Fighter Finales, UFC 155, Cage Warriors 51 and a resumption of Bellator’s usual service but we’ll deal with all that in due time.

Talking Points

Sakaragate

There has been a lot of huffing and puffing about the Quebec Athletic Commission’s decision to uphold the decision to award Patrick Cote a disqualification win over Alessio Sakara rather than a No Contest following the fight ending due to illegal shots to the back of the head.  From where I’m sitting, this decision is based entirely on whether the referee thought the blows were intentionally to the back of the head.

Given that Sakara landed a good nine or so shots in the flurry that put Cote down (not all of them to the back of the head as defined by the rules) and Cote didn’t suddenly turn, instead moving in a pretty much straight line it’s hard to argue that Sakara didn’t mean to punch him where he did and complaints about not hearing a verbal warning are moot given that every fighter knows (or should know) that you’re not supposed to hammer-fist people in the back of the head.

Of course you can make a case for the referee being a little slow to react to the illegal shots, but on repeated views, most of the first few are technically legal as they struck Cote on the ear and it’s the last two or three that actually knocked him out that were definitively illegal and intentional.

In any case, it’s a little hard on Sakara as he was clearly winning the fight and could have had a perfectly good TKO finish if he’d picked his shots a little better.  Given Dana White’s assessment of the situation I think we’ll have a rematch soon enough anyways.

The Snowman

It may have slid under the radar of many MMA fans that veteran heavyweight Jeff “the Snowman” Monson picked up a win this past weekend at ROAD FC 10 in Korea.  Despite being 41 years old, Monson is now undefeated in his six bouts in 2012, certainly putting in the air miles competing under the banner of M-1, 100% Fight, CFC and ROAD FC in Russia, France, Australia and Korea.  Since dropping back to back fights in 2010, Monson has amassed an impressive recent record of 14-2-1 with his only defeats coming by decision to Fedor Emelianenko and Daniel Cormier.  That’s not exactly bad form…

Sure, he’s 41 and not exactly a prospect, but given his continued good form, I’d love to see the master of the North-South choke get a bow in the UFC (where he last competed in 2006, losing a World title match to then-champ, Tim Sylvia) before he calls it a day.

Invicta 4

Continuing the steady stream of positive news for WMMA, the Invicta 4 card, due to take place on January 4th is taking shape, headed up by a bout to determine the promotion’s first Straw-weight (115lbs) champion between Claudia Gadelha (9-0) and Carla Esparza (8-2).  The undercard features a battle of two of WMMA’s mainstays as Alexis Davis faces Shayna Baszler  as well as an intriguing fight between Scot’s kick boxer Joanne Calderwood and promotional newcomer Bec Hyatt.  The prelims have Invicta debuts for exciting talents Stephanie Frausto, Rose Namajunas and Paige Van Zandt alongside promotional favourite Tecia Torres.

The UFC may have added a Bantamweight division, but Invicta is still the place for your WMMA fix, and long may it continue.

Results

Score Fighting Series 7 

Canada’s Score Fighting Series most recent event saw big wins for up & comers Jordan Mein and Jesse Ronson against big league veterans Forrest Petz and Ryan Healy
Main Card (AXS TV)

Jordan Mein def. Forrest Petz via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 1:29
Jesse Ronson def. Ryan Healy via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-25, 30-27)
Tristan Johnson def. Will Romero via split decision (30-27, 30-27, 28-29)
Alex Ricci def. Kevin Morin by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Jason Saggo def. Iraj Hadin via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 3:41
Ryan Dickson def. Brandt Dewsbery via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 4:39

Preliminary Card

Elias Theodorou def. Ali Mokdad via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Adam Assenza def. Tommy Cote via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Rory McDonell def. Desmond Green via submission (gotoplata/armbar) – Round 1, 4:41
Paul Jalbert def. Oliver Vadnais via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

Super Fight League 10

The development of Indian MMA continues with one of the most action packed and brief cards yet, with the seven fights totalling less than 25 minutes of in cage time and every fight producing a finish (although two were by retirement and one by doctor stoppage, but let’s not quibble.)  The main event saw the well travelled American heavyweight Jimmy Ambriz score a first round submission win, but given that Ambriz has gone to a decision twice in a 36 fight career, a finish was always on the cards…

Jimmy Ambriz def. Mohammed Abdel Karim via submission (arm triangle choke) – Round 1, 2:38
Charmaine Tweet def. Puja Kadian via submission (guillotine choke) Round 1, 0:45
Abhijeet Petkar def. Sanjay Jah via TKO (retirement) Round 1, 5:00
Jason Solomon def. Suresh Rajput via KO (knee) Round 1, 1:21
Nikola Janjic def. Vikas SinghRuhil via submission (rear naked choke) Round 1, 2:09
Javed Ali Khan def. Srikant Sekhar via TKO (Doctor Stoppage) Round 2, 5:00
Jagdish Kumar def. Shaikh Mohammed Farhan via TKO (retirement) Round 1, 2:38

 

“Because I got high…”

Breaking down the issue of marijuana in MMA.

Failte,

Ever since Nick Diaz got a 12 month ban from the Nevada State Athletic Commission for failing a drug test for marijuana metabolites and having never informed them of his medical marijuana use, it’s been a hotly debated issue that marijuana cannot be considered a Performance Enhancing Drug, and failing a test for it should not incur a ban. The recent test failures and subsequent punishment of Matt Riddle, Dave Herman and Thiago Silva have only reignited the debate.

To be honest I’m a little torn on the wider issue for reasons that ill go into in a bit, but in practise if you are aware that use of a certain substance is banned by the authority that licenses you to work, then you take it at your own risk, irrespective of prescriptions or the relative moral or legal standpoint in the rest of society.

Basically, if you’re a truck driver and you fail a drug test, you’ll get fired. If you’re a cop and you fail a drug test, you’ll get fired. If you’re an Olympic athlete who tests for trace elements of something that is banned cause you took an over the counter cough medicine… they’ll still ban you.

MMA is, and should be no different. There is no point whinging about a rule that you knowingly broke, once you’ve just been busted breaking it, it just comes across as petulant.

However, that doesn’t mean to say there isn’t a case for it being an unjust rule. Aside from the fact that the SACs say that marijuana is banned and its illegal in most civilised places, there are a few points to argue that getting busted having taken a 4:20 break or two shouldn’t result in career harming bans and wins turned to losses or no contests on your record.

The first point is that marijuana isn’t exactly a performance enhancing drug. This is pretty much a non-point, as its not banned because it makes you faster or stronger etc. it’s banned because its largely illegal and it’s also 100% proven to be a substance which slows your reactions and affects your reasoning. It you go into a fight stoned, you are effectively risking your own life and that’s not something your opponent, employer or whatever oversight authority needs to deal with. It’s unprofessional, it’s unsafe and it’s disrespectful.

A counterpoint to that is that you can test positive for marijuana metabolites having not had a smoke in weeks, due to the amount of time the particles remain in your system, long after having been active.

Of course, that’s immaterial as long as marijuana is an illegal drug. There is no doubt that MMA fighters testing positive for heroin or cocaine in their systems would still be considered a Bad Thing by almost everyone, largely because the apologists and campaigners on behalf of these (more obviously harmful) drugs are far fewer in number and have less of a case. However, marijuana is legal in some US states and is legal with a medical card in a few more.

On that reasoning, you can fail a drug test for your fight based on something you took completely legally, or worse for something you have been prescribed by your doctor.

Now, the fact that marijuana is legal in some places is not an issue, because there are lots of legal things which are banned substances for the purposes of athletic competition and if the SACs think excessive use of something is dangerous to a fighter or their opponent, they are well within their rights to ban it.

The medical marijuana point is more valid, as there are more than a few fighters, such as Matt Riddle who have medical marijuana prescribed for psychological issues, like depression or anxiety.

Now, I’m not necessarily advocating that use of the drug (my experience with stoners indicating that heavy marijuana use leads to dependency, mood swings and insularity) but I’m not a Doctor and on principle, I’m inclined to think that you shouldn’t be banned for taking prescribed medicine.

Outside the context of MMA and sport in general, I personally believe that all drugs should be legal and regulated, as prohibition doesn’t work, criminalises a chunk of the population unnecessarily, funds organised crime and costs a fortune to police (ineffectively.)

On the other hand, legalisation and regulation would add a revenue stream to the government, would reduce deaths from folks taking dubious things like detergent sold to them as drugs by a shady guy in an alley, and removing the ‘drugs are bad’ stigma and increasing proper education would just be a good thing for everyone. I believe that self responsibility and more education is always a better course than a ‘thou shalt not, and don’t question it’ attitude.

However, that belief applies to normal people, not professional athletes who by definition should not indulge in things which are banned in the interests of safety and fair play.

Marijuana might not help you gain muscle mass but it does have psychological and physiological effects which are broadly regarded to be negative. As such, I’m perfectly happy with athletic commissions having it on their list of banned substances. However, I do believe that folks who have marijuana prescribed by their doctor should be allowed to register a certain amount of marijuana metabolites in their tests.

Hell, if a doctor says its necessary for them to live a normal life, I’m a lot happier with an exception for that that an older fighter getting a TRT exemption to hold back the years…

It’s an argument that will run on and on, and the hard liners on both sides, from the ‘all drugs are bad, except the ones that are already legal and taxed’ brigade on one side and the heavy stoners who insist that cannabis has no negative side effects and is in fact a miracle crop (yeah, cause you want it to be legal so you can make it into clothing…) bunch on the other side unlikely to ever meet in the middle.

At the end of the day, it is now a banned substance and taking a banned substance when as a professional athlete you know you will be tested for it is just damned silly and an obvious risk to your career prospects.

In my humble opinion, some fighters need to take some personal responsibility for their actions and have a look at their priorities. Likewise, those fight fans who are apologists for fighters who get busted for smoking need to think what would happen if they failed a drug test at work…

I’m off to listen to some Black Sabbath and look at a lava lamp for a few hours…

Slainte,

Chris

“He ran away…” is a rubbish excuse for losing…

Failte,

It’s not the first time I’ve heard this excuse following a fight going to a decision. The fighter who ends up on the wrong side of the score cards decries their opponent for ‘running away’ and ‘not coming to fight!’ We heard plenty of this from Nick Diaz back we he was beaten by Carlos Condit back in February and we’re hearing it again from Sam Stout following his unanimous decision loss to John Makdessi at UFC 154.

As excuses for losing goes, it’s arguably the worst going, beating even the usual ‘oh, I came into this fight injured’ from a fighter who was declaring himself to be on top form 24 hours previously.

The thing is, if the other fighter was actually running away and refusing to engage, they would have points taken off them for timidity by the referee. If the other fighter was running away the whole time and not landing strikes, then you would win the fight on the score cards for aggression, even if you chased them around the ring for fifteen minutes and never landed a punch.

What actually happens when this excuse gets wheeled out, is that one fighter’s game plan is to turn the fight into a messy brawl and the other fight decides to actually display some skill and avoid their opponents preferred rock ’em sock ’em robots approach while scoring counter strikes.

Backing up and counter striking, making effective use of a jab and movement is a perfectly valid tactic in MMA. Hell, it’s a central precept of much of the striking in karate and boxing.

There are fighters who are good when it’s close and scrappy, feel they can take a punch and thereby move forward and swing wide looking for that highlight reel KO. The likes of Stout have earned a reputation for putting on entertaining bouts where two fighters go toe to toe and take a punch to give a punch.

That’s perfectly fine if that’s how you want to fight, but please don’t whinge because your opponent didn’t stand in front of you to take a right cross to the face and instead moved, landed a counter strike and moved again.

The first thing MMA judges look for when scoring a round is EFFECTIVE striking. This does not reward the total number of strikes thrown or the weight behind those strikes. It rewards the total number of strikes LANDED and the effect they have on an opponent. You can throw half a dozen haymakers that would remove your opponents head and send it spinning into the front row, but if he evades them and lands one jab- he wins the round.

Whinging that your opponent ran away or didn’t come to fight is basically a self gratifying way of saying that your opponent came with a good tactical plan and showed the discipline and skill to carry it out. It also shows that not only did you fail to adapt to that plan and impose your own will on the fight, but you lack the perspective and self honesty to take that responsibility on yourself.

There is a saying in jiu jitsu that goes “you win, or you learn” and that holds true, except when fighters make really dumb excuses for why they lost. That’s the only way to truly lose.

Slainte,

Chris