By Dave Madden @DMaddenMMA
Fresh, flashy, and riveting already describe the athletes who compete in MMA’s premiere organization, the UFC, but these adjectives could also tactically combo off one another with precision to relate to one of the UFC’s most recently contracted hires: Robin Black, MMA analyst and color commentator at The Fight Network. The UFC used no feints and shot-in to takedown Black onto their side of business because one of his insightful fight breakdowns would prove beneficial leading into UFC 193: Rousey vs. Holm, yet Black, “The Rockstar of MMA,” likely, predicted such an attack the entire time.
What usually wins fights is not so much style as content.
Both style and content are what won Robin Black an opportunity to thoroughly evaluate the main event of UFC 193. With an ultimate fascination to cultivate a product that entices its fans, the UFC has wisely opted to enlist the craft of Black to delve deeply into the pairing of “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey (12-0) vs. “The Preacher’s Daughter” Holly Holm (9-0). Obtaining accreditation as a pound-for-pound best in the realm of noting fighters’ tendencies, Black appeared as a guest on the MMA Latest P4P Podcast to reveal MMA’s infinite possibility when it comes to learning, and his success, principled on learning, is not limited to only the fight game.
I. Why Does Black Breakdown?
Type 1 behavior is fueled by more intrinsic desires than extrinsic ones. It concerns itself less with the inherent satisfaction of the activity itself.
Black admitted that his repetitive sweep of fight film would be freelance, basement projects if nobody paid him, and the UFC’s continued progression rests on such innovation. Dana White, President of the UFC, was pleased that Black will work his magic prior to Rousey entering the Octagon against Holm because Black targets the Performance of the Night bonus with each tale of the tape,
“Truth is: If seven people saw it [footage of my breakdowns], or, if possibly, no one saw it, I would still love doing it.”
Fighting is a way to feel, an anti-video game, a way to force something to happen.
Each dissection of a fight by Black registers on FightMetric as significant and spot-on strikes, glamorizing the importance of breaking down the largest scale women’s fight in MMA to date,
“When it [a breakdown] is done, you really want to show somebody because the whole motivation of these breakdowns, at least mine, is I’m obsessed with it.”
Part of becoming a writer is the desire to have everything mean something.
A similar search for meaning occurs in any chosen field. Black simply wants everyone to comprehend the nuances his studies have unearthed,
“The idea is: I want to figure out what’s going on. Then, the thing is: I think I’ve figured out some things, and then it’s like-holy shit, this is cool; people have to see what’s going on here.“
The great artist is the simplifier.
-Henri Frederic Amiel-
Manipulating video footage, Black artistically constructs the piecemeal to answer any lingering questions surrounding a particular fighter or pairing of combatants,
“Making the breakdown itself is because people have got to see this thing. If they see what’s happening here, their minds will be blown. It’s so cool that it’s true for some people, but there is still this idea: that every person in the world, if they could really see what fighting really is, literally 98% of them would love it.”
Standing toe-to-toe with one of Black’s masterpieces ushers anyone along the fence, or anywhere near its proximity, to inch closer to the canvas. Check out a piece Black composed in an attempt to derail the alleged hype behind “The Notorious” Conor McGregor’s train of success into the UFC:
II. Black’s Prescription to Breakdown
Authority is 20% given and 80% taken…so take it.
When Black informs listeners how he reached his current destination, it was definitely not a sparring match, and he held back on nothing,
“It’s a funny thing because I hate clichés, so I won’t be, ‘Oh, I feel so blessed to be given this opportunity.’ I don’t know why people talk like that. I just think people should talk like real people, so that’s a weird pet peeve that I have. My hesitation to talk like that stops me from saying just how fucking fortunate I feel.”
There is an important “I” quality to work.
Appreciative toward his camp of colleagues, Black refuses to shy away from the efforts he invests into his practice,
“At the same time, you have to give yourself some credit for going out and pursuing this stuff. So whatever the luck, good fortune, or whatever I did to get there, I’m not going to the judges at American Idol and say, ‘I’d like to thank the judges and everyone else who voted for me.’ People who talk like that are full of shit.”
III. Prognosis for Future Breakdowns
Create your own future from your future, not your past.
As a means of furthering his push to transcend historical context, Black wanted to linger on the mentality that freezes change,
“I know we are going to be talking about fighting, mostly, because I know that’s what we’re here to do, but there’s this weird distraction I’ve had lately with weird rituals.”
Before sharing, Black sets the stage with a group of co-workers fixated on a baseball game. Playoff baseball or not, Black broke down his observations,
“I tune into this baseball [game] for a second, and, low and behold, this broadcast starts with a guy standing in front of a stadium, ‘Hi, I’m here on location in front of whatever stadium. Today, these guys will be facing off; it’s game whatever.’”
Mimicking this baseball commentator with a robotic tone, Black would prefer to not see these broadcasters survive the first round, and his flare for screen-time and MMA could knock past methods out,
“If you went into 1951, the teachnology would be different and we would dress differently, but it would be the exact same fucking broadcast. What are we doing as a people that we are looking to do exactly what someone did fifty years ago? How on Earth did we decide that was the best way to make television?”
A broadcast should be as colorful as one of Black’s shirts.
Sometimes I think human beings learn to harden like concrete.
Break the mold, start anew; put it in your rearview. Each of these fragments could fit securely into any sentence espoused by Black about recycling the same format to deliver information,
“Entire generations of people have gone to school to study broadcasting, and they just go and learn what those people did back then. I started to find that really strange; probably because watching martial arts and studying martial arts, studying the greats in martial arts. The greats are literally pioneering by the hour. We live in a world where some people don’t pioneer shit.”
IV. Prognosis for Future Breakdowns
You’ve got to continue to grow or you’re just like last night’s cornbread-stale and dry.
Black would contend the best fertilizer for personal prosperity is feeding your curiosity,
“Why do we watch great people? We were talking about Joe [Rogan], who is a great human being. So why are we watching him? And that takes us right back to fighting. Why are we watching Ronda Rousey perform at the highest level? Why are we trying to see how Matt Hume and Demetrious Johnson are pioneering their thing? We are watching them to be inspired and to learn something from it.”
You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club.
Black instructed those who wish to mirror a similar growth mindset must go on the offensive,
“If somebody says, ‘That thing, I don’t know how to do it. Learning is the only thing you can be doing right now. It’s the only way to make sense of the world.”
The more you look around, the more you see everyone is fighting something.
Every talent must unfold itself in fighting
Cramming countless hours of rounds, Black arrived at the realization: No matter the area someone chooses to demystify expertise, Black would agree that all learning entails a fight of some kind,
“I’m pretty evangelical about why fighting and martial arts are so beautiful, but, among them, everybody who is a black belt was a white belt. That’s fucking cool! You can become a black belt of cooking, or you can become a black belt of being a good friend, or you can become a black belt of making your apartment look cool, or you can become a black belt in appreciating your parents, or whatever.”
BJ Penn, the “Prodigy,” will sometimes roll with white belts and analyze the awkward new positions they end up in-not that they’re necessarily good ones but there might be something in it.
Masters living each day as beginners collect valuable knowledge, intrigued with contemplation and problem solving, and Black would encourage everyone to strive for mastery in any endeavor that livens your heart,
“I think that is where the beauty of martial arts is: understanding that type of improvement and mastery over time. If it’s important to me in my collection of things I want to get better at in life, you can become a black belt.”
Stay tuned to Robin Black for his itemized list of what will take place at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, Australia for UFC 193. Not if, but when Black nails the bulls-eye for what to expect in the Rousey versus Holm matchup, it is safe to assume the UFC will seek out Black’s prowess to continue cataloging the science behind the sport’s complexities.
Don’t be surprised when it comes to MMA, follow Robin Black at:
Check out Black’s collection of fight analysis at:
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Felice Herrig vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz in the works for UFC 223
UFC 223 looks to add a variety of intriguing bouts. With Paul Felder vs. Al Iaquinta reportedly set for the unannounced UFC 223 card, the promotion looks to add a high stakes female flyweight match-up. According to MMANYTT.com, sources confirmed a bout between Felice Herrig and Karolina Kowalkiewicz, is in the works for the pay-per-view card.
Assuming the match-up does come to be, both women have much to gain from a victory. For Herrig, she currently sits on a four-fight win streak. A streak in which the strawweight contender defeated Kailin Curran, Alexa Grasso, Justine Kish, and Cortney Casey. The MMA veteran, Herrig, began fighting professionally in 2009. As of late, her issues with the marketing machine that is the UFC have intensified.
After demonstrating her technical prowess over Justine Kish at UFC Fight Night 122: Chiesa vs. Lee, Herrig put her emotions on display. She stated at the post-fight media scrum, “Sometimes, I feel like, I’m not young and beautiful enough for the UFC to want to promote me. And it’s sad because I’ve really worked so hard to be here and it’s hard to see these people who’ve not been through what I’ve been through. Who just got into the UFC at the right time. They’re getting all these opportunities and I see how hard I work to get here and it’s just like, it doesn’t matter. I just feel like, ‘I’m not pretty enough and I’m not getting any younger'”.
A frustrated Felice Herrig then spoke to MMAJunkie.com in December. She claimed, “Aside from (former UFC women’s strawweight champ) Joanna (Jedrzejczyk), I’m the only strawweight who’s gone on a four-fight winning streak. That’s a fact. At this point, I want to fight someone in the top 10. It doesn’t really make sense for me to keep fighting girls that are ranked below me. That’s the whole point. If I want to keep working my way up. I fight the most dangerous girls outside the top 10”. The #9 ranked women’s flyweight has a point. In her UFC career, she recorded one loss in six appearances. Yet, she has one co-main event booking, while fighters like Michelle Waterson, booked the main event in her second UFC bout. In Waterson’s third bout, she received a co-main event scheduling. Understandably, Felice Herrig is upset with her situation.
Later in her interview, Herrig brought up Kowalkiewicz as a potential next opponent. “For whatever reason, I really want to fight Karolina. I just think that would be an exciting fight… Stylistically, I really like that fight. She’s ranked above (me), and it may be a good gauge for me,” she stated. Right now, it looks like Herrig is close to getting what she wants.
Kowalkiewicz last fought in her native country of Poland on the UFC Fight Pass card, UFC Fight Night 118: Cowboy vs. Till, in October. The Polish star defeated Jody Esquibel, after losing consecutive contests to former UFC female strawweight champion, Joanna Jedrzejcyk and Claudia Gadelha, respectively.
A win for either makes a good case for the next or an eventual title challenger. Kowalkiewicz holds a victory over current division champion, Rose Namajunas. While a win for Herrig would further establish her impressive win streak and undoubtedly give her the boost in the rankings she deserves.
Douglas Lima found out about change to co-main event at Bellator 192 from the internet
Bellator 192 fight card has gone through a shake-up over the past week. Bellator president Scott Coker revealed last week that the scheduled welterweight title fight between Rory MacDonald and champion Douglas Lima will now be serving as the co-main event and the heavyweight matchup between Chael Sonnen and Rampage Jackson would instead take top billing. At the time no explanation was made for the change. Monday Douglas Lima was a guest on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani to discuss this change.
“I was little bummed, but it is what it is, it’s business you know. I was pretty excited you know? Being the main event, having Rampage fight as the co-main event, I was happy there. Then I was bummed out that they changed it back to the co-main event. It’s not going to change a thing for me, I’m just focusing on the fight.”
Lima has been notoriously looked over in the eyes of fight fans. A longtime member of Bellator and a two-time champion has not gotten the notice he deserves and hopes to get.
“I found out through the internet, nobody tells me anything, I didn’t know. the same thing happened in New York, I thought my fight would be before the two main events there, but it ended up being the first fight of the night on Pay-Per-View. Hopefully, it doesn’t take anything away from the fight, you know spotlight and stuff.”
Lima is looking to make all the naysayers take notice at Bellator 192 that takes place at The Forum in Inglewood, Califonia on January 20th.
“This is the fight I’ve been waiting for for a long time. To get my name out there, to get people to know who I am. I’ve been delivering a lot of good fights, fights fans like to watch but no attention yet. I’m hoping though that after a win over Rory this week it will really put my name out there and show all these welterweights out there that I am for real.”
Al Iaquinta vs. Paul Felder rescheduled for UFC 223 in April
MMA fans around the world wept in deep sorrow when Al Iaquinta withdrew from a bout scheduled for UFC 218 against Paul Felder. Weep no more, for Paul Felder faces Al Iaquinta at UFC 223. Rumblings behind the match-up, first reported by FloCombat.com, came Sunday night before MMAFighting.com confirmed the bout scheduled for unannounced pay-per-view card, later in the evening.
The original bout fell through due to a severe knee injury to Iaquinta. He spoke to BJ Penn Radio about the injury nearly a week before the December 2nd, PPV event in Detriot. The Long Island real estate agent claimed, “I tore my PCL and my MCL maybe three or four months ago… for me to really put in a full training camp and do what I need to do, I would’ve had to just focus on fighting and physical therapy… it was the kind of thing where all roads led to me not kind of taking a risk and fighting on December 2nd”.
Iaquinta went on to say, “I kind of accepted the fight, but I never signed a bout agreement… I was kind of told I had to give them an answer pretty quick. It was a fight I thought I really wanted. I thought it was a good stylistic match-up for me, so I accepted the fight, and then thinking about it over the course of a day, we realized it probably wasn’t a smart decision for my health, for everything”.
An outspoken lightweight, he is not the first of his kind. Al Iaquinta is no stranger to idly waiting on the sideline for the UFC to make a move. Contract disputes and other bad strokes of luck left the Serra-Longo with three octagon appearances since 2015. The feud between Iaquinta and the promotion comes as a surprise when looking at the credentials of the aforementioned fighter. With an octagon record of 8-2, he earned notoriety as one of the best lightweights in the world. During his time in the UFC, he defeated Kevin Lee, Ross Pearson, Joe Lauzon, Jorge Masvidal, and most recently Diego Sanchez.
His opponent, “The Irish Dragon”, Paul Felder, holds an impressive UFC record of his own. At 7-3, Felder defeated tough competition as well. His record notes wins over Daron Cruickshank, Jason Saggo, Stevie Ray, and Charles Oliveira. Even more impressive than his record, his knockout ratio. At this stage of his career, Felder knockouts 55% of his opponents (10 knockouts in 18 career pro bouts).
Like his opponent Iaquinta, Paul Felder has a separate career outside of fighting. As many should notice, Felder found a role as a color commentator with the promotion he fights for. Following the footsteps in a long line of fighters before him, Felder announced multiple events alongside another new addition to the UFC broadcast team, Brendan Fitzgerald.
PPV card, UFC 223 and its location are not official yet. Despite a lack of an announcement, the event takes place in Brooklyn, New York at the Barclays Centre, according to multiple reports. Currently, the card features no official bouts. Reports state Felice Herrig vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (per Jim Edwards), and Evan Dunham vs. Mairbek Taisumov (per Farah Hannoun) are both in the works for UFC 223.
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