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Throwback Thursday: This Week in MMA History May 11-17th

Vinny Craig

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This Week in MMA History…

Throwback Thursday is a weekly article written about the events and news that have happened in the world of MMA during this week. The twist, we’ll be going back in time to show you the events that already happened and are forever stitched into our minds. This week we take a look at May 11 to May 17.

UFC 9: Motor City Madness

For the first event held in Detroit, MI, the UFC put on a Superfight Championship bout between the champ Ken Shamrock and Michigan born and raised Dan Severn. This fight happened a year prior at UFC 6 with Shamrock reigning victorious. Starting off the night was a bout between Don Frye and Amaury Bitetti. Frye would win the fight by TKO 9 minutes in. The next fight lasted just 40 seconds with Mark Hall getting his own TKO win over Koji Kitao. A 12 minute fight between Gary Goodridge and Mark Schultz ended when a cut on Goodridge rendered him unable to continue. In the ‘co-main’ event of sorts Steve Nelmark got the doctors stoppage win over 7 minutes in. In the main event, they saw all 30 minutes of action with Severn taking the title away from Shamrock by split decision.

UFC 17: Redemption

It was a busy night in Mobile, Alabama as the UFC had fights in 3 different weight classes, a title fight and a Middleweight tournament. The night started with that tournament with former two-time Olympian Dan Henderson and future UFC Welterweight champion Carlos Newton advancing to fight each other to be crowned the tournament winner. Newton would only need 54 seconds before putting on a Triangle Choke to tap out Bob Gilstrap. ‘Hendo’ did it a little differently as he won his fight by decision. When the two met in the finals, Henderson would come out on top with a split-decision win. A Light-Heavyweight bout gave us the first look at future legend Chuck Liddell as it took him all 12 minutes to win a decision over Noe Hernandez.

The night continued with four Heavyweight fights, all ending with a finish. The first fight of ended with a knockout by Andre Roberts as he hit Harry Moskowitz with an elbow.  Mike Van Arsdale put a kimura on Joe Pardo 11 minutes in. David ‘Tank’ Abbott beat Hugo Duarte with a TKO. In the last Heavyweight fight, Pete Williams hit Mark Coleman with the first head kick knockout we had ever seen in the UFC. The main event was a Light Heavyweight title as Frank Shamrock beat veteran Jeremy Horn with a Kneebar 16 minutes in.

UFC on Fuel TV: Korean Zombie vs. Poirier

A 12 fight card wasn’t the most exciting we’ve ever seen, but it got the job done. 8 of 12 fights ended in a decision, with 3 of the remaining 4 by submission. The 6 fight prelim card on Facebook started with a decision as Francisco Rivera beat Alex Soto. The first finish came from now Lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos as he won by Rear-Naked Choke over Kamal Shalrous. TJ Grant would pick up a decision win over Carlo Prater. The only other finish on the prelims; Cody McKenzie got his patented Guillotine win over Marcus LeVesseur.

The main card started with the only knockout win as Tom Lawlor needed less than a minute to put Jason MacDonald away. The next four fights all ended in a decision as Igor Pokrajec, Yves Jabouin, Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone and Amir Sadollah all picked up wins. The main event was a three round war to start off as it looked as though Chan Sung Jung (aka ‘The Korean Zombie’) and Dustin Poirier may never end with a winner. The fourth round had barely started when ‘Korean Zombie’ found the neck of Poirier and beat him with a D’Arce Choke.

WEC 27: Marshall vs. McElfresh

In the home for MMA, WEC 27 took place with a Light Heavyweight title fight as the headliner. Champion Doug Marshall saw challenger Justin McElfresh in what could have been a five round championship fight. The prelim card saw 5 of 6 fights end with a finish. Eric Schambari got the only decision as he beat Art Santore. The next three ended in a KO/TKO as Ed Ratcliff, Manny Tapia and Tom Speer picked up wins. The last fight on the prelims saw Marcus Hicks submit Sergio Gomez with a Guillotine in the second round. The main card started with a TKO win for Sherron Leggett. The co-main event saw Jason ‘Mayhem’ Miller get his 23rd career victory in a unanimous decision victory over Hiromotsu Miura. The main event didn’t last long as Marshall retained his Light Heavyweight title with a knockout over McElfresh half way through the first round.

Strikeforce Challengers: Evangelista vs. Aina

In the first ever Strikeforce Challengers event, a 9 match card was one that people wanted to watch. To start off the night Ben Holscher needed just over half the first round to get his Rear-Naked Choke win over Cody Canterbury. Future UFC fighter Fabricio Camoes also got a Rear-Naked Choke win when he beat Torrance Taylor. In a Heavyweight fight, Lavar Johnson need 18 seconds to knockout his opponent. The co-main event saw two of the best 135 pound women as Miesha Tate and Sarah Kaufman met in the cage. Kaufman would grind out a decision win. The main event did not come without some drama. The fight originally ended in a DQ win for Evangelista, but was challenged by the camp of Mike Aina. The decision was overturned by the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) to a No-Contest.

Strikeforce: Heavy Artillery

The Heavyweights took the main stage in St. Louis for Strikeforce: Heavy Artillery. The seven fight prelim card started off with a split decision win for Darryl Cobb. The next saw Michael Chandler (known then by Mike Chandler) get the Rear-Naked Choke just under a minute in. The next four bouts all ended with submissions. The last fight on the prelims, Vitor Ribeiro picked up decision win over Lyle Beerbohm.

Starting off the main card was a Light Heavyweight bout between Antwain Britt and Rafael Cavalcante. ‘Faijao’ would pick up the knockout win in the first round. Roger Gracie did what a Gracie does when he submitted Kevin Randleman with a Rear-Naked Choke in the second round. Future Strikeforce champion Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza beat his opponent Joey Villasenor by decision. The co-main event saw a really good Heavyweight fight between Andrei Arlovski and Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva. ’Bigfoot’ would get the decision win for his seventh win in his last 8 fights. The main event, a Heavyweight title fight, saw Alistair Overeem do his normal and get a TKO win in the first round over Brett Rogers to retain his title.

Bellator 7 and Bellator 8

The event took place on Friday, May 15 but was aired the next night on tape delay on ESPN Deportes. In the non-tournament fights, the night started with a women’s bout at 135 pounds. Kerry Vara beat Leslie Smith by unanimous decision. The next two fights ended in submissions with Jacob Volkmann beating Kevin Knabjian with a D’Arce choke. Jesse Juarez would get a TKO win over DeRay Davis in the Welterweight division. Former UFC Heavyweight Eddie Sanchez picked up his first Bellator win with a TKO win over Jay White. The Welterweight semi-final fights were the main attraction with Lyman Good and Omar De La Cruz getting TKO wins to move on.

Bellator 18

In a small town in Louisiana, Bellator put on a main event for the ages and the semi-final fights of the Featherweight division. In the non-tournament fights, 4 of the five ended in a KO/TKO. Former college football player turned MMA fighter Shaw Jordan got a TKO win over Douglas Williams in the first round. The last bout on the prelim card saw an armbar win for Bill Albrecht. The main card started with a Featherweight semi-final fight won by Joe Warren. The next fight saw future champion Patricky ‘Pitbull’ Freire beat Wilson Reis. In a 190 pound catchweight fight, former Judo Olympian Hector Lombard needed just six seconds to beat Jay Silva by knockout.

Bellator 44

At Bellator 44, a four fight main card was capped off by a Lightweight tournament final. The night started with Jay Silva getting a decision win over Gemiyale Adkins. A Heavyweight bout between Randy Smith and Jamall Johnson ended with a Rear-Naked Choke win in the second round for Johnson. The main card started with future Middleweight champion Alexander Schlemenko getting a decision win over Brett Cooper. The co-main event saw the brilliance of Hector Lombard continue as his ridiculous power showed when he got the knockout win in the third round. In the main event, Michael Chandler overcame being deducted a point in the third round to beat Patricky Freire. Chandler was the Lightweight tournament winner and got his chance at Lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez.

Bellator 68

Four different weight classes showcased the Bellator 68 card. Three split decisions and one TKO sums up the prelims pretty well. The main started with a 172 pound catchweight fight between Marius Zaromskis and Waachiim Spiritwolf. A doctor’s stoppage gave Zaromskis the win between the second and third rounds. A Lightweight bout was won by Marcin Held as he submitted Derrick Kennington with a heel hook in the first round. A Bantamweight semi-final fight was won by Marcos Galvao. The main event, a Featherweight final, saw Daniel Strauss stamp his ticket for a title shot as he beat Marlon Sandro by unanimous decision.

Bellator 120

In the first and only pay-per-view by Bellator, the card was one we may call stacked. The original main event between Lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez and Michael Chandler was scrapped when Alvarez was injured. The new main event was the Light Heavyweight tournament final between Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson and ‘King Mo’ Lawal. The prelims on Spike TV started with a decision win for Goiti Yamauichi. A kimura won the fight for Lightweight Fabricio Guerriero started the finishes for the night. Marcin Held won by armbar over Nate Jolly for his fourth straight win. In the prelim headlining position, Cheick Kongo beat Eric Smith by TKO.

The main card started off with a Welterweight fight won by TKO as Michael ‘Venom’ Page beat Ricky Rainey. In the Heavyweight tournament final, Alexander Volkov beat Blagoy Ivanov by Rear-Naked Choke. A Light Heavyweight bout saw former UFC Light Heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz beat Middleweight champion Alexander Schlemenko in a non-title fight. The fight was ended in the first round when Ortiz caught Schlemenko with an Arm-Triangle choke. The co-main event saw one of the most shocking upsets in recent memory as Will Brooks beat former Lightweight champion Michael Chandler by split decision to take the Interim Lightweight champion. In the main event, a controversial unanimous decision was won by ‘Rampage’ Jackson over ‘King Mo’.

Future: UFC Fight Night: Edgar vs. Faber, Bellator 137

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Douglas Lima found out about change to co-main event at Bellator 192 from the internet

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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.”

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Refereeing’s Loss is Bellator’s Gain

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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.

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Chael Sonnen vs. Rampage Jackson the new main event at Bellator 192

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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.

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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