Posted on: December 5, 2009 11:41 pm
Edited on: December 5, 2009 11:57 pm
Roy "Big Country" Nelson fights Brendan Schaub in the heavyweight final of the TUF tournament.
Winner gets a UFC contract, but history tells us that the loser will most likely be back, too. Although probably at a far different pay scale than the winner.
Roy Nelson walks to the cage to the Michael Jackson parody song "Fat" by Weird Al Yankovic. I am not making that up.
Round 1: They both tag each other with jabs to start. Nelson tries for a takedown but Schaub stuffs it, separates, and unloads with strikes, but nothing that seriously damages Nelson. Nelson with a takedown and Schaub takes half guard. Nelson works for an Americana. He passes to side control, and here is where he usually applies the crucifix. Schaub escapes to his feet. They both throw haymakers, with Nelson missing and Schaub grazing Nelson with one of them. Nelson misses, Schaub connects with a right. Nelson again with a combo, and Schaub's hands are just that much faster. Nelson cracks Schaub in the jaw with a big right hand, but Schaub answers with counterstrikes. Schaub throws a right jab that misses, and Nelson absolutely smashes him with a right counterpunch that knocks Schaub out cold. Nelson hops up onto the cage wall and caresses his gigantic potbelly in celebration.
Winner: Roy Nelson defeats Brendan Schaub via KO due to strikes at 3:45 of Round 1.
Posted on: October 2, 2009 1:05 pm
Edited on: October 5, 2009 12:53 pm
Maybe you heard, but Roy Nelson beat Kimbo Slice on The Ultimate Fighter. It was kind of a big deal. The fight broke Spike TV ratings records, but when Kimbo gets into the cage with cameras present, that's usually what happens.
People watch. Records break. You know. That old chestnut.
But what follows every Kimbo Slice fight is an avalanche of micro-analysis from a wide swath of humanity, from journalists all the way down to the marginally interested casual TV viewer that happened to catch the fight while flipping channels. As the opinions flooded the internet over the past few days, a few things became abundantly clear:
Perhaps the biggest turn of events: When it comes to objects of ridicule and scorn, Roy Nelson is the new Kimbo Slice.
Prior to the season premiere of TUF 10, MMA fans roundly (and rightly) accepted Nelson as one of the favorites to win it all. He was a well-established, successful heavyweight outside of the UFC already. His bulk was a problem for opponents and his skill set was good enough to consider him a moderate threat from any position, standing our on the canvas. But in praising Nelson as the guy to beat -- and in the week leading up to the show, as a fighter far more impressive than Kimbo Slice -- informed MMA fans may have helped set up casual MMA watchers for disappointment.
Casual fans are notorious for not enjoying or appreciating ground fighting. When Nelson took Kimbo down, held him in a crucifix and used a series of light punches to stay active enough to win via stoppage since Kimbo couldn't move, MMA fans understood what he was doing. It was fair, it was legal, and under the circumstances, it was a great strategy. But to most of the casual fans watching on TV, it was a turn-off.
Nelson used a combination of his formidable girth and good technique to win that fight. But many of the casual fans watching didn't pick up on the technique part of it. All they saw was that bulbous belly. All they saw was a fat guy laying on top of a superstar and love-tapping him until the referee decided the fight was over. And when Kimbo got up, he didn't even look hurt.
There was technique involved, but a person new to MMA typically isn't going to pick up on that. If MMA is to convert all of those new eyeballs into full-blown MMA fans, it will not be with a fight like that, nor with a fighter like Roy Nelson.
In South Florida -- Kimbo's turf -- popular morning drive DJs Paul Castronovo and "Young" Ron Brewer, who rarely discuss the UFC, talked about the fight before it aired. The morning after, Castronovo called Nelson's win the "gayest thing I've ever seen on television." Once intrigued by Kimbo, the hosts blew him off for not being able to beat a big, fat guy who didn't appear to be hurting him at all.
Aside from their lessened opinion of Kimbo Slice (most people seem to like the guy more now in spite of the loss, and the UFC is going out of their way to build on that for obvious reasons), Paul and Ron echoed a lot the same opinions I've heard and read from new viewers that saw that fight. The majority opinion from the non-MMA crowd is "That fat guy who asked the promoter for a cheeseburger is a real MMA fighter and Kimbo Slice isn't? Check please."
That's not Roy Nelson's fault. If he went out of his way to make the fight more exciting, he would have abandoned his game plan and exposed himself to a greater chance of defeat. It's not the fault of knowledgeable MMA fans for building up Nelson as a respectable MMA fighter, because he is (doughy physique notwithstanding).
If the new viewers were turned off by Nelson, it seems as if the UFC and Spike TV turned that negative into a positive by helping Kimbo Slice repair his own image. All things considered, that was the big victory here. Win or lose, Roy Nelson was never going to be a breakout superstar. The money -- and the potential new fans -- always rested with Kimbo, and they've done as good a job protecting that investment as possible given that the guy didn't win his first (and potentially last, but they're teasing otherwise) fight on TUF.
A year ago, longtime MMA fans hated Kimbo Slice for being a street fighter soiling the sport's reputation by waltzing right in as a main eventer on network TV. Today, the casual fans hate Roy Nelson for being a chubby guy that puts on boring fights. We know Nelson is the exception to the rule, but they don't. The trick is getting them to tune in again to find otherwise.
What's worse for the potential growth of MMA in the mainstream: An exciting one-trick pony like Kimbo, or a well-rounded fighter that bores the casual fans and doesn't look the role of a true athlete? What's more likely to turn away potential new fans?
At what point does the sport have to make concessions for the casual fans in order to grow the business, and where would you draw that line? I'm interested in your opinions, so fire away.
Follow Denny Burkholder on Twitter: http://twitter.com/DennyBurkholder
Posted on: July 10, 2009 1:30 pm
While these names have circulated for a while now, the UFC and Spike TV finally made it official on Friday, via press release.
Straight from the release, the full cast of The Ultimate Fighter 10, including notes on their credentials, MMA and otherwise:
New York, NY, July 10, 2009 – In what will literally be the biggest season ever of "The Ultimate Fighter" on Spike TV, the 10th season of the groundbreaking series, premiering Wednesday, September 16 at 10:00pm, will showcase 16 of the best unsigned heavyweight mixed martial arts fighters in the world. Featuring former UFC light heavyweight champions "Suga" Rashad Evans and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson as coaches, season 10 marks the only installment to include only the heavyweight weight class (206+ lbs).
"The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights" includes a list of notable athletes with impressive and diverse pedigrees including four former NFL players, UFC veterans, a former IFL heavyweight champ, and a highly-publicized former EliteXC fighter who gained prominence through his non-sanctioned bouts on YouTube.
The cast includes:
During the six-week taping of "The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights," these 16 men endured a grueling regimen of jiu-jitsu, judo, Muay Thai, karate, boxing and wrestling. The intense competition among the fighters continues after they leave the gym – at the Ultimate Fighter House. These warriors must live together, knowing that any day they might be forced to fight each other in the famed UFC Octagon™.
The two finalists will square off in a live finale Saturday, December 5 on Spike TV, when the winner will be declared "The Ultimate Fighter" and net the six-figure contract and a cash prize. UFC President Dana White will once again serve as host of the series.
After each show, Spike.com users will get exclusive extended footage from each episode and an exclusive video leak of the upcoming episode.
Aside from Kimbo Slice, the most intriguing contestant is Roy Nelson, the former IFL heavyweight champion who is most famous for his fight vs. Andrei Arlovski on CBS EliteXC Saturday Night Fights last October. "Big Country" is often mocked for his less-than-chiseled look, but he's a very good fighter, especially when thrown into a competition with several guys that don't have his level of experience.
Sims is the only other guy in the house that has already fought a former UFC champion -- twice, actually, and at an actual UFC event.
The season debuts on Spike on Sept. 16. If you've been suffering from Kimbo withdrawl since the events of last fall, mark it on your calendar.
In the meantime, here's the family portrait, courtesy of Spike:
Unless I'm seeing things, Kimbo Slice is the smallest of the bunch, easily.
Posted on: October 4, 2008 10:11 pm
Edited on: October 4, 2008 10:22 pm
Coming up next is a potential show-stealer: Former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski vs. IFL heavyweight champion Roy "Big Country" Nelson.
On a side note, I've struggled to follow some of the action because Mask (of TapouT fame) is seated right in front of me, and is wearing a big floppy hat. But it could be worse -- Skyscrape took a seat in front of the Sherdog guys.
Round 1: Nelson locks Arlovski against the fence. He takes Arlovski to the mat and works from side control. Arlovski pushes off with his feet and almost pops up, but Nelson doesn't allow it. Nelson back in side control, and the live crowd is getting upset. The ref stands them up. They exchange shots without much success, and Nelson clinches Arlovski against the cage one more time. Arlovski cracks Nelson with a knee to the jaw. Nelson is getting tired. The ref separates them again. Arlovski unloads with kicks and a nice punch to the jaw. Nelson forces Andrei to the fence again and the round ends. Nelson wasn't able to capitalize on superior positioning, and Arlovski landed better strikes, so I give the round 10-9 to Arlovski.
Round 2: Nelson throws some haymakers and then gets right back to pushing Arlovski against the fence. Arlovski with a nice right hand. Arlovski clinches and lands a knee, then a combo of strikes. Nelson fires one back. Arlovski advances forward and lands a straight right that puts Nelson face down on the canvas for the stoppage.
Winner: Andrei Arlovski defeats Roy Nelson via KO at 3:14 of Round 2.
Posted on: October 3, 2008 6:55 pm
Edited on: October 3, 2008 9:14 pm
The weigh-ins for CBS Saturday Night Fights took place Friday afternoon, and as weigh-ins go, this one was pretty eventful. Some highlights:
-- Gina Carano initially weighed in for her 140-pound bout with Kelly Kobold at 142.75 pounds -- which, due to the one-pound allowance, is actually 1.75 pounds over the limit. She was white as a ghost, walking very slowly and completely straight-faced. I would compare it to how someone looks when they are in the middle of a serious case of the flu. Clearly, Carano is still having issues getting down to 140, and it's getting to the point where you have to wonder if it's safe for her to continue cutting that much for a fight. At the very least, her method of cutting needs to be reevaluated.
This is where it gets a little bizarre. Rather than try to go cut more weight, Carano -- for the first time I can recall -- opted to weigh in again with no clothes on. Several officials shielded her from onlookers with a large towels. She removed her clothing, stepped back on the scale... and came in at 142.50 this time. Clearly upset and not feeling well, there was a few seconds of discussion on the stage, before Carano stepped onto the scale a third time. Although she didn't appear to remove any further clothing (she was already nude, as far as anyone knew), she came in at 141.0 on the third attempt. There was definitely plenty of confusion among the press and other onlookers in the room, who couldn't figure out what happened in that 10-20 seconds between weigh-in attempts that caused a 1.5 pound difference in Carano. I did not see anything personally, and I think very few people did. One theory kicked around on my side of the room was that some of the clothing Carano removed may have been sitting on the scale during the second attempt, causing the second failure, but I wasn't in a position to see her feet, so I can't confirm that.
It was definitely a curious scene. I'll try to get an official answer about what happened between the second and third nude weigh-ins that made such a difference, but a lot of people were scratching their heads after that one.
-- After Ken Shamrock and Kimbo Slice weighed in, a wild pull-apart shoving match took place. Before the fighters did the customary staredown photo op, Kimbo turned to walk away. Shamrock got angry and yelled at Kimbo for turning his back. Kimbo didn't respond, so Shamrock shoved him -- hard -- in the back. Both camps immediately jumped into the fray, with EliteXC's Jared Shaw and Jeremy Lappen in the middle, trying to regain order. Kimbo's people seemed legitimately upset and were yelling at officials about Shamrock's behavior. The curtain backdrop in the weigh-in stage was rocking back and forth in the melee, to the point that Andrei Arlovski -- who had weighed in moments earlier -- peeked out from behind the curtain, trying to see what the commotion was.
-- This one will get the rumor mill going in a hurry: "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" himself, Tito Ortiz, was in the house and openly mingling with the fighters and other officials. He was wearing an Affliction shirt, but no word on whether that bears any significance. Keep in mind that Affliction's deal with EliteXC is what got Arlovski vs. Roy Nelson onto this CBS show, and with Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions now working with Affliction, the group might now have the financial backing to sign a guy like Ortiz. Especially if Ortiz has come down to earth a little on his asking price. Keep in mind, few in the history of MMA have been better self-promoters than Tito Ortiz, and Ortiz clearly understands the value of being seen on a CBS broadcast. Hmm....
No word on how Tito's presence affected Shamrock, who was beaten by Ortiz three times, all by TKO, in the UFC.
-- Also in attendance: Former Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva, Roan Carneiro, Bas Rutten, and current cast member of UFC's The Ultimate Fighter 8 (and CBSSports.com blogger!), Tom Lawlor.
-- Pro wrestling fans from years past will be happy to know that former WWE star The Warlord is currently working as part of Kimbo Slice's entourage. It's not clear how many people in attendance made that connection, but I do know Tom Lawlor was very excited, and actually seemed to startle the big man by yelling out "WARLORD!" as he walked past.
-- The only fighter to miss weight was Nicolae "Curry" Sinicio. Jorge Boechat agreed to accept the bout anyway, so it did not affect the card.
Official weigh-in results: