The Fight Nerd The containment unit of combat sports

January 15, 2015

Josh Barnett on Jon Jones cocaine story, analyzes Werdum vs. Velasquez

Filed under: Interviews,Lead Story,Videos — Tags: , , , , , , , — The Fight Nerd @ 10:38 AM

While interviewing Josh Barnett to promote his role as commentator alongside Mauro Ranallo on the “New Japan Pro Wrestling” show for AXS TV (that premieres on January 16), the topic of MMA was bound to come up eventually.

Barnett did not have much to say in terms of news when it came to what is next for his fighting career, but we did discuss whether or not Bellator MMA under Scott Coker could be seen as an equal in the industry, or even surpass the UFC, as well as some awesome fight analysis of the potential Cain Velasquez vs. Fabricio Werdum heavyweight title fight that is bound to happen soon.

While Barnett was not ready to necessarily predict a winner of the fight, he did offer some big insight on the key points to what could affect the outcome of the bout. “Werdum is known to be quite good on the ground and I don’t know, I actually don’t believe he would have any hesitation in throwing big knees and kicks,” Barnett stated. “It’s the usual sort of thing where he might say, well, you know, ‘I don’t want that guy to have the opportunity to punch me so I will let him take me down,’ don’t think he would even be concerned in the least by being taken down by Cain. And that, potentially, could be his downfall.”

“You don’t let a wrestler like that control you, hit you, stifle you. I mean, as good as Werdum is, Cain is just as strong, a bit faster, and if all he is doing is shutting down any hand control, just keeping hand control… and just establishing good posture and stays in his face, just keeps chipping away on him, back up on the feet, hits him on top, puts him on the cage, hangs on him, punches on him a bit, they break, gets back in again and just keeps controlling, controlling, controlling… eventually, Werdum is going to get a bit too tired to get any offense on. So if I am Werdum… do throw knees, do try to lure him into that shot on purpose so you can fire something off up the middle… if you can’t find what you want, don’t hang out, get moving. But we got to get those guys in the ring and see what happens.”

Barnett also had some thoughts in regards to the big story of Jon Jones testing positive for cocaine use before his fight at UFC 182 against Daniel Cormier, and gave us one of the best versions of a “no comment” answer that MMA has ever had. “I am neither the disciplinarian for the UFC or the NSAC so I will let them do what they see best. Even so, my opinion wont really make any difference. As far as Jones doing coke, i heard once from a very wise man that is was a hell of a drug. So, I am likely to believe him, especially since he wrote some really classic songs like “Super Freak” and he also created the Mary Jane girls, and anybody that has that kind of talent is well worth listening to. I hope it was off of a very righteous rack of tits. I suppose what’s done is done and there is no going back on it now, and the firestorm that will come from it still perhaps has not even reached its peak.”

January 14, 2015

Josh Barnett: “MMA in Japan is not Dead”, talks new role with NJPW

If there is one American fighter with his pulse on the Japanese combat sports beat, it would be Josh Barnett. I spoke with “The Warmaster” recently to discuss his new role as an english-speaking commentator alongside Mauro Ranallo on AXS TV’s “New Japan Pro Wrestling” show, which debuts January 16, and the topic quickly went into whether or not Japanese MMA was completely dead, and if it could ever attain the same status that Pride FC once held as top promotion in the country.

Barnett was adamant that the sport has not seen its last days, and that pro wrestling is currently enjoying a huge boost in popularity, which could be leveraged to help push MMA back into the limelight. “It’s tough, every country that you go to, culturally, is not going to respond to everything in the same way,” Barnett said. “What may barely register in one culture will completely set an industry back in another, and that’s just really the way of the world. But I think that Japanese MMA is making somewhat of a resurgence and I think that pro wrestling can be a big help to that, especially if some of those wrestlers are potential fighters as well, and that is actually very tough to come by. But it can be great for cross-over work. Also, the fight industry is always, whether they want to admit it or not, has always had some reliance on the professional wrestling industry, and the pro wrestling industry has been hurting and the fight industry has been hurting even more so.”

He continued, “There is a potential to bring back a big company but it’s not so easy to say well, we are just going to reach out to these guys and they’re just going to love it, not necessarily. It’s not so easy to say we are going to put in these foreign heavyweights and they are going to batter each other and we are going to love it. That is not so easy either. Part of that I think is because Japanese fans, or the ones that you are trying to reach to immediately, they’ve already seen pretty much everything that you can throw at them, so it’s tough to bring MMA back into the status that it was, but it isn’t dead. Far from dead. And pro wrestling being great right now is fantastic for the bis overall, it’s great not just for NJPW but for every pro wrestling company out there. I personally am an IGF guy, and I am working with them right now… I want to see all of those companies be successful because in the end, it’s just going to help everybody.”

Josh also discussed his excitement to be part of this commentary team for the NJPW show, and broke down his performance at this year’s Inoki Bom Ba Ye, where he tag-teamed with Naoya Ogawa to take on Kazuyuki Fujita and Ikuhiza Minowa, who had just returned to action after a rough leg injury in this pro wrestling bout of former Pride FC veterans.

Originally posted on Bloodyelbow.com

January 11, 2015

Royce Gracie talks CM Punk, ‘Rampage’ Jackson & Old School UFC

Royce Gracie is one of the men that built MMA, and has a very zen-like approach when it comes to discussing the sport. In the second part of this two-part interview (the first installment being where Royce said “acting is harder than fighting”), Gracie talks about some current events in the sport, as well as some old school history.

As a brand ambassador for Bellator MMA, Royce told us he was looking forward to seeing Georgi Karakhyan fighting soon, as well as the entire upcoming “British Invasion card” in Connecticut at Mohegan Sun. On the topic of Bellator, Royce felt that Quinton Jackson may have jumped the gun too quick when he recently signed with the UFC while also still having a deal with Bellator. “I’m not sure about his contract deal… but he has two fights left in Bellator. He should finish that, get rid of your contract and then move on.”

When it came to the topic of CM Punk in the UFC, Royce has a wait and see mentality about the former WWE champion. “Well, we will find out, we will find out. I mean, it’s a little different, i mean he is going to get punched in the face for real now, i know those guys they connect with each other when they slap with open hands, but this one is for real. We are going to see. He might come in and beat everybody up, not even take a punch. But if he comes in and takes a beating, we will see where his heart is at, if he wants to continue in that or just go back to the WWE.”

Gracie also gave us his thoughts on the UFC’s new deal with Reebok, and told us who his toughest opponent was in the early days of the SEG-era UFC (this answer might surprise a lot of you, and make others groan), and explained what happened during the time he left the UFC in 1995 and before he went to Pride FC to enter the Pride FC Grand Prix.

Originally posted on bloodyelbow.com

January 10, 2015

Mauro Ranallo frustrated with Jon Jones & drugs in MMA + Pro Wrestling Dream Matches

Mauro Ranallo has been present first-hand for some of the greatest times in MMA and continues to be a top commentator and analyst in the sport. However, that does not mean that someone so deeply immersed in the professional side of the sport can not be as angry and confused like us fans are when they heard about Jon Jones’ positive drug test for Cocaine.

While discussing Ranallo’s new job as one-half of the English-speaking commentary team on AXS TV’s “New Japan Pro Wrestling” alongside Josh Barnett (which premieres January 16) we meandered over to the topic of MMA and Jon Jones, which Ranallo had plenty to say about:

“It’s devastating, it’s shocking and it’s obviously not a great way to kick off the year in MMA. MMA, a sport that I have been involved in for over a decade, I love MMA… it doesn’t matter if its a local show or Pride FC or the UFC, I have covered it at every level, I have called matches at ever level and every time i start commentating a match, I realize just how incredible these people are that are putting their lives on the lines and showcasing their skills. And to see one of the best ever, a guy at the age of 27… Jones has had a history of making these kinds of mistakes.

We all make mistakes, we all do idiotic things but he is a guy with plenty of responsibility. As the old saying goes, with plenty of power comes plenty of responsibilities. He has brands to worry about… he is the UFC light heavyweight champion, and for him to test positive for metabolites and cocaine, which don’t even get me started on what the commission and how the UFC has handled this because, frankly, I am very confused and very frustrated, and I have had conversations in the past with the NSAC about how they deal with certain things, and you know, when you follow the WADA code where other competitions drug testing, they don’t test for recreational drugs like cocaine or marijuana, so the fact that now the commission is saying it was an anomaly or an oversight, there has to be hell to pay here in many ways.

And while the UFC code of conduct covers substance abuse and all this stuff that is detrimental to the PR and reputation of the company, I know a lot of people are frustrated that Dana White, when Jon Jones pulled out of UFC 152… Dana White railed against him, and now here he tests positive for cocaine and stands firmly in support of him and so at the end of the day, i am no one to judge… but because of the profile and because of who he is, I wish him the best… but there does have to be some repercussions regardless of what the rules are going.

The commission and the UFC had to have known December fourth when the results came out… and a guy who was already a very polarizing personality… now I wonder what the future holds and whether this is going to be all but forgotten and soon enough, we continue, because there seems to be some double standards when you look at the marijuana tests, when you look at the people that have been fired for far less egregious situations… when you look at it from the way it is now, it was out of competition drug test, out of competition is 12 hours, or 12 days before the fight, and hours after the fight, so it’s a mess… I really love the sport of MMA but boy, does this sport really do a good job of shooting itself in the foot and when it comes to performance enhancing drugs and drugs of any type, it needs to be eradicated and the commissions need to be overhauled and everyone has got to be on the same page or what’s the point? It’s not good.”

Ranallo had plenty more to say on the topic as you will hear in the video above, which he discusses after we do some fantasy booking for pro wrestling dream matches.

For those readers that are also fans of Pro Wrestling, especially Japanese Pro Wrestling, I urge you to listen to the other parts of this interview I conducted with Mauro, such as this one below where he discusses his roots in pro wrestling, explains the big storyline between Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kazuchika Okada, and tells us why MMA fans should watch NJPW, why they will love it, and how it is nothing like the product that WWE produces:

In this part below, Mauro and I review Wrestle Kingdom 9, which is the NJPW equivalent of “Wrestlemania” and already considered one of the best NJPW shows ever:

January 9, 2015

Mauro Ranallo & The Fight Nerd review NJPW’s “Wrestle Kingdom 9″

The Fight Nerd caught up with one of the busiest men in MMA, Mauro Ranallo, who was a commentator for Pride FC, Elite XC, and Strikeforce, and currently commentates for Glory Kickboxing and Invicta FC, as well as being part of the english commentary team for AXS TV’s New Japan Pro Wrestling show, premiering January 16.

In part two of this three part interview, Mauro and I break down and review NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 9, by running through the show and the great matches there, and discuss why we think Shinsuke Nakamura VS Kota Ibushi stole the show. We also discuss what is next for Hiroshi Tanahashi now that he has retained the IWGP title and the threat that AJ Styles poses for that championship, and more on the differences between Japanese pro wrestling (puroresu) against the American product.

NJPW photos courtesy of AXS TV and TV Asahi Corporation

January 7, 2015

Royce Gracie: “Acting is harder than fighting”

MMA & BJJ legend Royce Gracie is back in action, but not inside an octagon or on the mats. This time, he is wearing body armor and carrying a sword.

In the first installment of this two-part interview, we spoke to Royce about his role as Aangar in the new movie, “The Scorpion King 4: Quest for Power“, where he is featured along with other MMA fighters and action movie stars like Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, Roy Nelson, Don “The Dragon” Wilson, and Lou Ferrigno.

The “Scorpion King” series has been a haven for MMA fighters trying their hand at acting, and previous films have included Randy Couture, Kimbo Slice, and one-time MMA fighter and former WWE champion Dave Bautista. For Royce, the BJJ master thought acting was much more difficult than fighting, “For me, it’s harder. I have fought all my life, that is easy for me… I’ve handled swords before but never choreographed fight scenes with a sword. So, that was challenging, and having to memorize lines and, man, I have a totally new respect for actors.”

In regards to his co-stars, Royce said there was plenty of goofing off during the filming of the movie with his MMA cohorts, and I would love to see the blooper reel for this film to see how much there actually was on set. “Scorpion King 4″ will be available on DVD & Blu-Ray starting January 13, 2015, and also stars Victor Webster, Barry Bostwick, Ellen Hollman & Will Kemp.

Stay tuned for part two of this interview, where Royce gives us his thoughts on CM Punk entering the UFC, Quinton Jackson joining with the UFC despite Bellator claiming he has a contract with them still, and more.

Originally published on bloodyelbow.com

January 6, 2015

OSMMA Review Awards, Volume 1 (1993-1996)

The Old School MMA Review returns with their inaugural edition of the OSMMA Review Awards!

After a month of voting on Bloodyelbow.com, The Fight Nerd and Zane Simon have tallied the votes and read the comments, and on this episode we reveal the winners (and sometimes losers) of the twelve categories that included nominees like champions Royce Gracie, Ken Shamrock, and Dan Severn, fan-favorites like Tank Abbott and Keith Hackney, along with other surprises like Fred Ettish, Joe Son, and Paul Varelans from the UFC events that we have watched on the series (UFC 1 through Ultimate Ultimate 1996).

The categories included obvious ones like best fight, best KO, best submission, and best event, along with other great old school MMA throwbacks like most memorable loser, best fake fighting style, and best mismatched opponents. Who will walk out with the coveted Golden Andy Anderson award? Watch the show and find out.

If you agree or disagree with the fans choices, or ours, let us know in the comments!

The OSMMA Review will be back soon to continue down memory lane as we tackle UFC 12 and everything in between, all the way up to UFC 22. It will be a long journey, but we are anticipating this one being very awesome as we dive into the forgotten dark age of the UFC.

August 15, 2014

Old School MMA Review: UFC Ultimate Ultimate 1996

The Old School MMA Review returns with a huge milestone from the SEG UFC era – the Ultimate Ultimate ’96! The Fight Nerd and Zane Simon are back with more useless trivia and self-deprecating humor to educate and ridicule the past of our beloved sport.

Bringing you the best of the best (or whoever was available) from the past events, this epic tournament (also known as UFC 11.5) took place on December 7, 1996 in Alabama, and marked the end of an era for the company, as this event was their final one-night eight-man tournament. After watching this event, the reasons for doing this became painfully obvious.

Featuring the return of stars like Ken Shamrock, Don Frye, Gary Goodridge, and Tank Abbott, along with Kimo Leopoldo, Brian Johnston, Cal Worsham, and Paul Varelans, this show is a high point in terms of talent, but matchmaking… well, you will see. Huge slams, big brawls, high emotions, and more in this opening round of the tournament and the first part of our review!

In the second part of this review, after Zane Simon snores during The Fight Nerd’s display of bootleg DVD’s and official Panther Video collection, we get back to the epic one-night tournament that took place on December 7, 1996 in Alabama. Picking up at the start of the second round of the brackets featuring Don Frye VS Mark Hall in one of the most well-known and acknowledged fixed fights in UFC history, as well as Tank Abbott coining the term “Nelmarked” as he faces alternate Steve Nelmark in one of the most vicious knockouts ever. We also get lots of filler that Zuffa has hidden from the masses (an amazing Scott Ferrozzo promo in the style of Ric Flair and so much Dan Severn hype that I thought Jeff Blatnick might explode), plus the thrilling conclusion to this huge tournament, and the official end of an era as the UFC announces that they are done with the eight-man tournament format and progresses into the next step of their evolution – weight classes!

Plus, we say goodbye to many fighters that we have come to know and love, and make way for the next phase in the world of the OSMMA Review series. What is that next phase? Make it to the end of the video and see.

August 1, 2014

Michael Chandler talks Scott Coker in Bellator & wrestling

Filed under: Interviews,Lead Story,Videos — Tags: , , , , , — The Fight Nerd @ 6:47 PM

The Fight Nerd had a chance to interview Bellator MMA lightweight contender, Michael Chandler, at a recent press event in NYC.

In part two of this interview, Chandler talks about the recent change in power when Bjorn Rebney left Bellator MMA and was replaced by former Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker, and what he would like to see Coker change and do differently in this role.

Chandler also tells us if he has any plans to ever return to amateur wrestling or if he will stay in MMA for good, and we ask him if the money was as good in wrestling as it was in MMA whether he would have stayed in the wrestling scene. Plus, we ask the age-old question – does Michael Chandler have a nickname?

If you missed part one of this interview, head to this link here to see why Chandler wants a rematch with Will Brooks first and not Eddie Alvarez.

Tito Ortiz: “If guys use TRT, they need to retire!”, + TNA Wrestling & Old School MMA

The Fight Nerd caught up with Bellator MMA light heavyweight Tito Ortiz at a recent press event in New York City, and Tito had plenty to say!

In part two of this interview, Tito gives us his thoughts on the UFC’s idea of giving uniforms to their fighters, if he has any plans to return to TNA Wrestling and whether or not he thinks that TNA will survive if Spike TV does not renew their contract, and how he squares up against Bellator MMA LHW champ Emanuel Newton.

Ortiz also comments on the trend of fighters using TRT and getting TRT exemptions, and how random drug testing should be used more in the sport, and gives us some old school MMA stories about “Tank” Abbott and Tito’s first fight in the UFC.

If you missed part one of this interview, head to this link here to check out what Tito had to say to critics of his Shlemenko fight and why he does not want to fight King Mo.

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