By Dave Madden @DMaddenMMA
Whether situated under the brightly lit Bellator MMA canvas or behind a hot microphone, Bubba Jenkins (10-2), a featherweight rising the MMA ranks and co-host of the acclaimed MMA Roasted Podcast, never appears to struggle with maintaining his cool and articulating his feelings. Therefore, when Jenkins visited with Fight Network’s Cody Saftic (link here) in regards to his upcoming matchup opposite Goiti Yamauchi (19-2) at Bellator 151, the audience probably cocked their heads to the side when Jenkins was momentarily tongue-tied to compare the worth of his 2011 NCAA Division 1 Wrestling Championship versus that of an MMA world title.
“Man, that is a tough question—tough question.”
Harboring the background knowledge of what Jenkins endured as a collegiate competitor for the Penn State Nittany Lions, to then return as an Arizona State Sun Devil near the backyard of his recently departed alma mater, listeners better grasped how a national ranking, for now, outweighs one for the world,
“I would say the odds that I had to bury through and go through to win a National Championship. After having surgery so close to the national tournament, wrestling an undefeated guy who I used to be teammates with… There were so many things leading up and against me.”
Facing a deck of cards stacked disadvantageously, Jenkins surfaced onto the championship mat to face David Taylor (38-0), a highly touted freshman with everything suited in his favor. When Jenkins locked up a cradle and rolled the rookie to his back for the pin, overwhelming joy coursed through Jenkins’ veins. In fact, the same happiness can still be traced in his blood work while completing medical evaluations for Bellator 151,
“For me to have done that and achieved it, it’s hard to say that that isn’t the hardest and toughest thing and the best achievement. Other than having a son, that is the biggest achievement of my life.”
Having exited Penn State after four seasons of dedication, any sourness couldn’t have tasted any sweeter atop the 157-pound NCAA podium. Competing as a mixed martial artist, more than ten pounds lighter than he did as a wrestler, it would seem his matured will to win outweighs any body mass; MMA math has its own set of algorithms,
“But, when I win, not if I win; when I win the belt, it will be hard in that moment to say that winning Nationals was bigger.”
Always in the present, Jenkins leaned down to eye the scale’s needle and offered his final analysis of the data at hand,
“Right now, as it pertains to today, I think winning a National Championship was the greatest feat of my life, but when I become world champion in Bellator, it will be hard to say different at that moment.”
Faced with the adversity of Yamauchi, an opponent with nearly twice the experience, Jenkins, as he has modeled in a singlet with tightly laced wrestling shoes, will transform any struggle into success. Tune-in, live on Spike TV, to the main card of Bellator 151, to witness Jenkins, in the featured slot, inch closer to paralleling MMA’s elite.
Follow Jenkins on his trek to becoming an MMA world champion at:
Douglas Lima found out about change to co-main event at Bellator 192 from the internet
Refereeing’s Loss is Bellator’s Gain
When former Bellator color commentator Jimmy Smith left the organization last week, not many expected MMA veteran referee, John McCarthy, to be his replacement. There is little doubt that McCarthy will make an excellent color analyst. However, it’s hard not to be disappointed that the sport is losing one of the best and most experienced referees.
McCarthy has been part of the fabric of MMA and the UFC in particular, since 1993. He was hugely influential in creating and enforcing the rules of the cage that have changed MMA into the respected sport it is today. Back in early to mid-nineties, the ‘sport’ was fairly labeled by some critics as ‘human cockfighting’. Without McCarthy as an instrumental player in changing regulations and rules, who knows where the MMA would be today.
What we have grown to appreciate most about McCarthy over the past two decades is how simple he makes this tough job look, which can be credited to years of experience and dedication. To the layman, it would appear that it’s a simple as stopping the fight when a fighter is knocked out or submitted. MMA fans know there’s a lot more to it than that.
It’s difficult to remember a moment in recent memory where McCarthy has let a fight go too long, or even stopped a fight too soon. His timing is almost always perfect. His composure and rationale in the cage are unmatched. When McCarthy is the third man in the Octagon we know the fighters are in safe hands.
It’s worth reiterating how important McCarthy is in maintaining the standard of referring and judging in the sport. The sport of MMA is still very young and is growing rapidly and so are the rules. The former LAPD police officer created his own training school known as C.O.M.M.A.N.D. The course teaches the next generation of MMA referees and judges, and there is no better person to be educated by. Referees must complete this or a similar course run by Herb Dean to be licensed as an official.
Former fighter Frank Trigg, who has pursued refereeing since his career wound down, has taken the course. He recently appeared on The MMA Hour to explain just how tough C.O.M.M.A.N.D is. It took Trigg three attempts to pass, emphasizing just how difficult a career path officiating is.
While ‘Big John’ as he is more affectionately known hasn’t completely left refereeing, he will likely no longer be seen in the cage at the biggest shows. The pool of referees trusted with the big title fights is rather small. Normally McCarthy and Herb Dean are tasked with the important title fights.
It’s not all bad that McCarthy is stepping aside for the time being. The likes of Mark Smith, Jason Herzog, and Chris Tognoni have all shown they are capable officials. There is now a great opportunity for them to move into the main event slots. There are also the likes of Yves Lavigne, Mike Beltran and Marc Goddard who can be trusted to referee the big fights.
While it is surprising, it’s understandable that McCarthy is looking for new career ventures. It is no secret that MMA referees are poorly paid relative to other sporting officials. Las Vegas often discloses referee pay when assignments are announced. The pay tends to range between $1000 and $2000 for the night. Trigg explained on The MMA hour that there is no money in becoming a referee and that most also have full-time jobs. McCarthy’s passion for the sport of MMA has been the biggest incentive for refereeing. It is totally understandable that he would take a bigger payday and put all his knowledge of the sport to good use in the commentary booth.
McCarthy will almost certainly be as dedicated to his new job as he was with his refereeing duties. He can also offer a fascinating insight into the officiating of a fight that nobody else can offer. If there wasn’t already an excuse to watch Bellator 192 on January 20th, headlined by Rory MacDonald vs Douglas Lima, then there most definitely is now.
Chael Sonnen vs. Rampage Jackson the new main event at Bellator 192
Bellator is getting ready to kick off their heavyweight grand prix at Bellator 192 on January 20th. The grand prix gets started with two former UFC greats who have now set their sights on Bellator gold, Chael Sonnen and Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson. Today it was announced that this heavyweight matchup of two ordinarily light heavyweights will be getting the bump up to the main event. The reason for the change has not been announced.
Can confirm via @BellatorMMA President Scott Coker, the main event of #Bellator192 will be Chael Sonnen vs Rampage Jackson with Douglas Lima vs Rory MacDonald WW Title Fight as the co-headliner. #MMA @sonnench
— Steven Muehlhausen (@SMuehlhausenMMA) January 12, 2018
The main event was scheduled to be the much anticipated welterweight matchup between champion Douglas Lima and former UFC title challenger Rory MacDonald. Bellator has been promoting this event as such the welterweight title fight would get top billing. Earlier this week the fighters involved in the main and co-main event were part of a conference call. At the time there was no mention of the switch to the lineup.
This fight between Sonnen and Jackson is just the first in a series of heavyweight fights leading up to the crowning of the Bellator heavyweight championship in December. There has been great interest shown in this heavyweight grand prix between fans and media, which could attribute to the last minute change.
Lima vs. MacDonald will now serve as the co-main event on January 20th. Lima, who has been with Bellator since 2011 has been accused of being overlooked by the organization. He has held the welterweight title since November 2016 and perhaps has not gotten the showcases he deserves. This event will take place at The Forum in Inglewood, California.
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