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Wednesday
Jun152011

Dana White recently announced that the UFC is going to begin implementing five round fights for main events that are non-title fights.  I can see this being good news for fighters like Nate Diaz, who tends to turn it on in the latter stages of his fights.  Other fighters, like BJ Penn and Roy Nelson seem to lose their steam in many of their fights toward the later rounds.  With me being a fan of all things under the MMAjunkie.com banner, as well as an avid listener of Sherdog Radio’s Jordan Breen, I was excited when I saw that MMAjunkie.com staff columnist Steven Marrocco joined Jordan in “The Press Row”, which is a weekly segment where Jordan talks about different MMA topics with another member of the MMA media.  That segment can be found here: http://www.sherdog.com/news/articles/Steven-Marrocco-Joins-Press-Row-33193

This week’s topic covered the UFC’s decision to implement five rounds for main event fights.  It is no secret that Jordan has been in favor of the switch.  He believes that a three round fight can take away the strategic element.  If a fighter chooses to feel out and observe their opponent for even one round, they may be forced to win the remaining ten minutes of the fight.  Steven on the other hand, is not in favor of the change.  Although he thinks there would be fights that would benefit, he also believes that it spreads out the action and does not foster to fights like Griffin vs. Bonnar where both fighters were basically sprinting for three rounds.  Had that fight been slated for 5 rounds, it is very possible that they may have come in with game plans that allowed them to last until the end of the fifth frame.  Steven also noted that many times, #1 contender’s fights play out with fighters implementing safer game plans to give them a better chance at a title shot, which can end up producing boring fights.  #1 contender’s fights often garnering main event status, which would mean that boring 3 round fights turn into boring 5 round fights.   

I believe good arguments can be made for both sides.  Before I decided which side of the fence I stood on, I wanted to find out how many fights would have actually been affected by the change.  I went back and looked at every UFC event from January 1st, 2011 to this past weekend’s UFC 131.  Within that time frame, there were eleven UFC events.  Out of those eleven, I am only considering nine of them due to two events already including 5 round title fights.  So of the nine events that would have been affected, six had main events that went to a three round decision while the remaining three fights ended with finishes.  The six fights that went to three round decisions were:

UFC 127’s Penn vs. Fitch

UFC on Versus 3’s Sanchez vs. Kampmann

UFC Fight Night 24’s Nogueira vs. Davis

UFC 130’s Rampage vs. Hamill

The Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale’s Pettis vs. Guida

UFC 131’s Dos Santos vs. Carwin

Although these six fights were the main events, Rampage vs. Hamill would have remained a three rounder due to it being bumped up to main event status once Maynard vs. Edgar fell through (which would have been a 5 round fight anyway).  Another fight in question may be Guida vs. Pettis because The Ultimate Fighter Finale fight was the main event, but I would assume that the UFC would have switched the main event to Guida vs. Pettis had the “five round main events” been implemented beforehand.  That all being said, I am going to consider those six fights for argument’s sake.

Looking at the six fights listed above, I believe that five round fights would have benefitted half of the fights.  I think that Fitch would have finished Penn due to Penn’s decline in the 3rd round, Kampmann would have received the nod due to Sanchez’s face closing up, and Dos Santos would have finished Carwin assuming that Shane would have absorbed more strikes because of his lack of eyesight.  The remaining three fights, in my opinion, would have continued on to being 5 round Decisions based on how the first 3 rounds played out (this is all speculation on my part). 

So instead of there being six decisions, we would have only been subjected to three decisions.  With the current state of MMA judging, I am going to say that that is a positive.  We can point to both the Penn vs. Fitch fight, and the Sanchez vs. Kampmann fight as being met with controversial decisions handed down by the judges and another two rounds would have undoubtedly had an impact on that.  I could also point to the Pettis vs. Guida result as being controversial as some thought that Pettis was the more active fighter from his back, but the judges scored the fight 30-27 for Guida which means that two more round would have not affected the result, baring a potential finish by Pettis.  I like the idea of six decisions turning to three, and also clearing up two controversial results. 

The downside to this hypothetical analysis, which was also a negative that Steven Marrocco pointed out, is that the other three decisions may have subjected the viewing audience to even more stale rounds to sit through.  If the first three rounds were indicative of how another two rounds may have gone, then Guida, Davis, and Rampage would have gone on to win 5 round snoozers instead of just 3 round snoozers, which is not conducive to entertaining the casual MMA fan.  We already see the boo-birds come out in the 1st round of many slow starting fights, and 5 round fights would extend fights that are often perceived to be boring. 

Adding on to my last point, boring three round fights would only worsen if they were five round fights.  My reasoning is due to the game-plans that may be implemented by coaches and fighters having to deal with fighting more rounds.  I believe that coaches like Greg Jackson would alter game-plans to include a slower pace to the fight, much like a runner would have a slower pace when running a mile compared to a ½ mile.  There may be more “staring showdowns” than “throwing bombs” which was also a point brought up by Steven Marrocco.  Although he brings up a good point that I cannot disagree with, I also believe that that situation (or Dana White to be exact) will take care of itself.  We have seen Dana White react harshly (crazy, huh) when fighters do not initiate action in a fight.  Gerald Harris was given the pink slip after not producing in a loss to Maiquel Falcao despite Harris garnering a winning record in the UFC that also included a Knock Out of the Night.  If fighters end up dancing around the cage ala Anderson Silva vs. Damien Maia, or lay and pray on top of their opponent ala John Fitch (in many fan’s eyes), I doubt the UFC  will consider them for future Main Event fights.  I also believe that if a fighter is slated to be the Main Event of a fight card, they obviously are toward the top of their division, or they have a history of putting on exciting fights.  Obviously, there will be some exceptions where a fight that looked exciting on paper turns out to be a boring 5 round fight, but like I said….those situations will take care of themselves.

There are many ways to look at this situation and we can think of more pros and cons on each side of the argument.  Could 5 round fights add to the wear and tear that fighters are subjected to?  Would the two potentially extra rounds force fighters to come into the fight in better shape which may also add to better fights, and in turn prepare challengers for future title fights?  Will this change have a large effect on the entertainment value which could either turn casual fans away from the sport, or will it make 3 round fights even more exciting?  Will we see less televised fights due to longer main events or will YouTube and Facebook fights take care of that concern?  All of these questions may or may not be answered in the future after we have some actual 5 round non-title fights to base our judgments on, but I do believe that the pros will end up out-weighing the cons.

Thank you for reading the Ph1sh Bowl!  Leave a comment if you wish and Be Champions!        

Wednesday
Jun012011

Today is Wednesday, June 01, 2011.  One week ago this morning, I was just arriving at the Mandalay Bay Race and Sports Book where MMAjunkie.com Radio hosts their show Monday through Friday.  Man, what a week it was.  Last year, I came out to Las Vegas and hung out with the crew during the same week, and I attended the Fan Expo as well as UFC 114.  Following that vacation, I never thought that my experience could be out done but boy was I wrong.  I can’t even begin to explain how great this trip was.  The work that Goze, Gorgeous George, and JRT Lover put in to make this event so memorable can not be overstated.  Every single day between Wednesday and Saturday were filled with events and activities so that us MMAjunkies could enjoy the wonderful experience celebrating MMAjunkie.com Radio’s 1000th episode.  Whether it was going out to eat and bowling with Michael Chandler, Mark Beecher, and Justin McCully; going out to eat at Texas de Brazil with Stitch Duran; or partying it up at Eye Candy with Ryan Couture, we were so lucky to have this opportunity in Las Vegas.  Those are just a few things that we enjoyed during our time there.  I know that there are bigger things on the horizon for all things under the MMAjunkie.com banner so get ready for the ride!

If you are an MMAjunkie, you have heard how great of a job MMAjunkie.com lead reporter John Morgan does not only for the site, but for MMA in general.  It is widely known that if anyone wants to read the true story of current topics happening in the sport, wait until you see it on MMAjunkie.com.  One of the biggest contributing factors behind the journalistic excellence is the work being done by John Morgan.  Journalistic integrity goes hand in hand with the work that John Morgan does.  MMAjunkie.com’s editor-in-chief and co-founder Dann Stupp even refers to John Morgan as “the single biggest and best hiring in the site's history”.  While being out in Las Vegas, I was amazed to see how much work John really does.  Not only does he put hours and hours into the site, but he also co-hosts MMAjunkie.com Radio as well as call the fights for promotions like Tachi Palace Fights, TUFF N UFF, and MMA Xplosion. 

While out in Vegas, John’s busy days were quite evident when he was out to eat with us with his laptop in front of him at the table, as well as at the bowling lanes.  I give him props for spending some of his time to hang out with us while he had work to do during the week of UFC 130.  John’s dedication does not go unnoticed, and his “MMA Journalist of the Year” award at Fighter’s Only Magazine’s MMA Awards in 2009 is more proof of that.  Not only that, but John is not afraid to rock a purple Adidas jump suit while co-hosting the show which is very commendable.  I was very interested to find out how John got into the sport of MMA, and how he turned his fandom into working for MMAjunkie.com and being a large part of Junkie Nation.  Here is what John had to say:

It was Guy Mezger that first introduced to me to the world of mixed martial arts. A friend of a family friend, I was introduced to Guy prior to his UFC career, when he was just a kick boxer. That led to an interest in Muay Thai, and then the UFC.

I knew right away that I loved the sport. I bought every video I could find of events, instructionals and anything that related to MMA. Not once did I ever think it would lead to a career of any kind. Sure, I was interested in a career in sports journalism as a kid, but MMA wasn't even really a sport back then. It was just spectacle, and I never thought of it as anything more than the coolest sh*t I'd ever seen - certainly not as a budding industry.

As I was attending college, I paid my bills by working at a restaurant called Abuelo's. I moved up the ranks quickly, and I settled on restaurant management as a career. It paid the bills and was relatively enjoyable, and it took me to stops all over Dallas, as well as stints in Oklahoma, Kentucky and Ohio. All along, I still remained a massive MMA fan.

As I neared 30 years old, I realized I still had a passion for writing. I wanted to be a journalist, but I gave it up because honestly, I was making way more money in the restaurant business than I ever would trying to break into the sports industry. Still, something was missing.

A few years back, I was on vacation from work. I wasn't going anywhere. I just took a week off from work to rest, play a golf and (of course) drink an adult beverage or two. During that time, I saw a post at MMAWeekly.com. "TAGG Radio" host "Gorgeous" George Garcia was looking for a volunteer to recap interviews from his show for publication on MMAjunkie.com. Here was a chance to start dabbling in journalism again. Sure, it wasn't for any money. But hey, it gave me a chance to write - and about MMA, no less.

I sent a message to George, although I assumed he would find someone far more qualified for the role. After all, I had taken some college courses, but I never finished my degree. Still, George gave me chance.

It started during that vacation, and it continued when I went back to work. I would work my 12-hour days at Abuelo's, then come home and work on the interviews. Fortunately, my wife Daniela was willing to put up with it. Dann Stupp, liked the work I was doing, and a few months of volunteer labor turned into an offer for part-time work.

I stepped down as general manager at Abuelo's and promoted my assistant to be my boss so I could work both jobs. That carried on for about six months before Dann made the offer to a full-time position. It was a paycut, but it was a chance to work a dream job. I jumped on it. Coincidentally, my apartment lease was up at the same time. No longer tied down by a location, I talked my wife into moving to Las Vegas. If you're going to do something, might as well go all out, right?

In the meantime, "TAGG Radio" had become "MMAjunkie.com Radio." I was invited to sit in on the show when I moved to Las Vegas, and there was an instant connection with myself, George, "Goze" and Frank Trigg. The guest spot became a regular role and honestly one of the favorite parts of my job - even if it's not technically part of my job's definition!

The callers of Junkie Nation (even Jeffrey), make the show great. This is now my job, and MMA really has consumed my life (as my wife will attest), but I'm still that fan at heart. The chance to travel the globe to watch MMA and then return back home and talk about the experiences with Junkie Nation is a true honor. I've worked my ass off since taking the job, but I've never regretted the decision. Not many people in this world get to do something they truly love, and I'll never forget how lucky I am to do exactly that.”
 

Thanks for reading The Ph1sh Bowl.  Please leave a comment!          

Wednesday
May252011

Today is Tuesday, May 24, 2011, and it is a landmark episode for MMAjunkie.com Radio.  Not only is it episode #997, but it is also the #1 episode of MMAjunkie.com Radio being live on Cable TV!  Fight Now TV, which is available primarily on the East Coast through Cablevision, airs 24-hours a day, seven-days-a-week and is a combat sports-themed channel.  Although the distribution is currently limited, Fight Now TV is looking to expand their viewership in the future.  If you are on the East Coast and have Cablevision, check out channel 464. http://mmajunkie.com/news/23707/fight-now-tv-launches-today.mma 

It is amazing how far MMAjunkie.com Radio has come in just over 4 years on the air.  The show was originally named TAGG Radio, with Frank Trigg and Gorgeous George hosting and Goze producing.  What took the show to the next level in my opinion is when they established a relationship with MMAjunkie.com, and eventually becoming MMAjunkie.com Radio.  In my opinion, that acquisition by MMAjunkie.com not only propelled the radio show to where it is today, but it has also been huge for  the website which is evident by the multiple “Best MMA Media Source” awards from The Fighter’s Only Magazine MMA Awards.  Many of the interviews from MMAjunkie.com Radio get turned into stories posted on MMAjunkie.com.

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Monday
May232011

Monday is here, but to me it feels more like Thursday in regards to my work week.  Tomorrow will be my “Friday”, and then off to Vegas which couldn’t get here too soon.  Today’s episode of MMAjunkie Radio will be #996 and as the Radio show has grown, so has the listeners and viewers.  Many listeners have heard almost every one of those 996 shows, and some are just finding out about the show.  A while back, I did a Ph1sh Bowl where I posted some of my favorite and most memorable episodes which can be found here: http://www.gozejitsu.com/the-ph1sh-bowl/2011/1/4/tuesdayrsquos-edition-of-mmajunkie-radio-marked-the.html 

What episode was the first one you listened to?  Was it in the Tagg days or MMAjunkie Radio?  What were your initial impressions of the show and the hosts?  When did you go from listening to the show, to becoming part Junkie Nation, and what does the show mean to your everyday life? (Post your answers to these questions in the comments section!)  These are some questions and topics that have been covered by the fellow MMAjunkies that have been spotlighted in the past few Ph1sh Bowls.  This week will be no different as I am going to be spotlighting at least one member of Junkie Nation leading up to Friday’s 1000th show.  Today’s focus is on two MMAjunkies who could probably trick people into thinking that they play in the NFL as offensive linemen!  Dudes are huge!  Not only that, but they are both nice as can be. 

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Friday
May202011

Today is Thursday, May 20, 2011 which means that after today’s episode of MMAjunkie Radio, there will be only 4 more shows until we reach Show 1000 next Friday!  I am excited to be there, and very lucky to be able to fly out to Vegas and hang with Junkie Nation for the 2nd year in a row during Memorial Day weekend.  One of the great things about Junkie Nation is the diversity within the community.  Whether talking about age, race, sex….Junkie Nation includes all walks of life, which brings me to today’s Ph1sh Bowl focus.  Yesterday, I highlighted TIC Bob and talked about how he started watching MMA and how that transitioned to being a hardcore fan and part of Junkie Nation.  Today I am going to highlight two different Junkies who are complete opposites in many aspects but share the love for MMA.  One is younger in age, 19 to be exact, and the other has kids older than 19 (I won’t publicize his actual age).  One is from the east coast, the other from the west but both have just as much in common as their differences.  Both share the love for Hip-hop, MMA, and are MMAjunkie Family. 

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