Inside the Chicago Cagefighting Championship

By Bloody Elbow

Saturday, March 5th. Illinois is in deep cloud cover, awash with snow and icy rain. Forty minutes west of Chicago, in the town of Villa Park, inside the Odeum Expo Center, Jens Pulver is hounding local palooka Wade Choate around the cage. It’s the closing minutes of their three-round affair. The arena is already half emptied out.

For Pulver, having just snapped a six-fight losing streak last January, this fight is the first chance in nearly five years for him to put two wins together and begin to change the story of the end of his career. Wade Choate is in a hole almost as deep. Dubbed “The Last Dog Man,” he also just recently emerged from a stretch of losses, which saw his record fall to 12-12-0 before a win last August. He’s a little younger than Pulver, but he’s never reached the heights the former UFC champ has seen. As if he’d like to erase the past two years of his career, Choate’s introduction states his record as it stood in January of 2009, before his five-fight skid: 12-7-0.

It’s easy to imagine how desperate he is to string a couple of wins together, and though outside the cage he may have observed Pulver’s recent downward spiral with due sympathy, in the fight it’s every man for himself. Hence Choate’s refusal to stand in the pocket, and his stubborn adherence to a stick-and-move game plan. It’s been surprisingly effective. Pulver’s had trouble chasing him down all night, and his power shots have come slow and fallen short time and again. It’s enough to draw angry boos from the crowd. Unthinkably, the words “You suck” rain down from somewhere in the audience.

Pulver and Choate fight it out for a final, lonely couple of minutes. When it comes time to hear the judges’ decision, Pulver favors his left foot as he walks over to the referee. It’s a close fight to call, but people nevertheless crowd the exits.

 

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Jean-Claude Van Damme has chosen a promoter and country for his fight

By Dave Walsh

It was bound to happen sooner or later, and it did. We’ve been talking about this mythical fight Jean-Claude Van Damme has been preparing for now for just about two years, and it never felt any closer. There were talks of having Golden Boy promote the fight in Vegas, but after contacting the NSAC it was clear that they had never heard from anyone about a JCVD fight, ever, and that it would be a big risk for Oscar De la Hoya and his crew.

There were talks about China, Thailand, Japan, getting K-1 to promote the fight. There were dates, it was pushed back due to JCVD’s schedule, trouble finding a suitable promoter. The list goes on and on and on and sadly, on. But it seems like JCVD has finally found suitable business partners and an arena to host such an event as a kickboxing fight against Somluck Kamsing.

Apparently the legendary Fairtex gym will be hosting JCVD’s fight in November or December of this year in Thailand. Banjong Bussarakamwong of Fairtex will be promoting the fight and is currently looking for a suitable 30,000 seat arena, possibly the Impact Arena or the Hua Mak Indoor Stadium. There are talks about the fight being broadcast live across the world as well and Kamsing was given a 200,000 baht down payment (about $6,500).

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Kato and Sakakibara Open Up Shop. Japan Cup – Bantamweight GP?

By Daniel Herbertson

The new promotion spearheaded by former Pride FC president Nobuyuki Sakakibara and former Pride FC vice president Hiroyuki Kato is gaining momentum as the pair have moved into an office in Shibuya, Tokyo and have started to flesh out the details of their Spring event.

It has been decided that Kato will be the face of the promotion while Sakakibara will be working behind the scenes due to Sakakibara’s past legal issues and the plan at this stage is to have the event at either JCB Hall or Yoyogi No. 2 Gymnasium.

The event will be called something along the lines of “Japan Cup – Bantamweight GP” and will include several fighters that fought under the DREAM banner and obviously a bantamweight tournament. DREAM champions Shinya Aoki and Hiroyuki Takaya and top lightweight Tatsuya Kawajiri were being targeted, but have since been lost to Strikeforce. The loss of Aoki is quite surprising as Kato has personally been paying Aoki for his fights in DREAM.

The event will not be a major production or a replacement for DREAM or Pride FC, but will be around the size of Shooto’s Vale Tudo Japan. DREAM was planning on holding a bantamweight GP in 2011, but it now seems unlikely.

 

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Hesdy Gerges Goes to War With Daniel Ghita, Survives to Take a Decision

By Dave Walsh

The fight that almost didn’t happen is indeed happening. Hesdy Gerges has had his legal problems, but he is a free man for now and takes on the very, very tough Daniel Ghita. Both men start off throwing incredibly hard and fast kicks, to the extent where you forget how big they are. Ghita’s hands have improved, but Gerges still has an edge in that department, he is also checking every few leg kicks, but Ghita’s leg kicks are crisp and deadly.

Ghita comes out a bit slower than he did in the first round and is getting frustrated by Gerges’ quick combos. He drops his hands and invites Gerges to unload on him, awesome moment where he is just shouting for more punishment. This won’t win him the round or the fight, but moments like that are amazing. Gerges keeps his combos crisp and near the end of the second round is actually able to drop Ghita hitting him low! Ghita pulls himself up and keeps slugging it out. It isn’t clear if that was counted as a down or not, but it doesn’t matter as it was a round for Hesdy.

 

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Brazilian congressman attacks MMA, wants to ban the sport from TV

By Oriosvaldo Costa

The primitives warned us that the nation that steals from itself its artistic, cultural and sportive creations is condemned to fail. Not even is so called totalitarian countries, like Iran or Venezuela, MMA chased like it is in Brazil, where it’s been created.

I don’t really consider Brazil a democratic country. Fighters and managers may be deprived from their right to raise money, and the fans won’t have the freedom of chose what they want to have fun with.

The controversy bill of the reelected congressman Jose Mentor (PT-SP) might bring us a lot of headache pretty soon. I actually had to change this article like three times in two days because things wouldn’t stop to come up.

On the last week, PL 5.534/09 has been filled. However, Jose Mentor demanded it was reopened, and obeyed right away. These things make me think that this congressman will have even more influence on this new government than he had on the previous one.

He was able to convince, secretly, the current writer of the bill, so that he seems favorable to the approval of the project, unlike the former writer, who was against it. The infamous bill transacts in Brasilia since June of 2009 and intends to forbid the broadcast of non-Olympic combat sports on all kinds of Brazilian television.

 

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WWE/MMA: Dave Bautista vs Ken Shamrock

By Geno McGahee

Mixed Martial Arts knows how to use athletes of other fields. WWE does as well, and that is why they work so well together. Former WWE Champion “Batista” is making the move that Brock Lesnar and Bobby Lashley have made, shifting over to the world of mixed martial arts and is in negotiations with another former WWE superstar, Ken Shamrock.

A Shamrock vs. Batista match is a big seller because of their association with the WWE. It’s a curiosity and that will sell. James Toney coming to the UFC in an un-winnable fight sold very well because it was a curiosity. Batista is a huge guy and is reportedly on a collision course with yet another former WWE guy turned MMA guy, Bobby Lashley.

Look for the Batista-Shamrock bout to materialize. Ken Shamrock seems to enjoy the role of gatekeeper and likes the idea of turning a good buck against a big guy that may not know what he needs to about mixed martial arts. At the advanced age, Shamrock is still strong and still knows how to fight. It should be very interesting.

 

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TapouT car debuts in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series, nets 12th-place result

By John Morgan

The TapouT Chevrolet made its NASCAR debut, and driver Elliot Sadler guided the No. 2 car to a 12th-place finish in its first-ever race.

The TapouT-sponsored race car was officially unveiled at Saturday’s Sam’s Town 300 Nationwide Series Race, which took place at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and was broadcast on ABC.

In February, MMA clothing manufacturer TapouT announced it was branching out from its core audience with a multi-year partnership with racing team Kevin Harvick Inc.

“I expect NASCAR and MMA fans to be in a bit of shock – in a good way,” TapouT exec Tim “Skyskrape” Katz stated in the original announcement. “TapouT has never ventured outside of MMA like this, but seeing how the fans love both sports, I think they will be the real winners here.

“TapouT loves doing things out of the ordinary and we think this is going to be a great partnership.”

 

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