MMA overtime round? UFC lightweight champ Frankie Edgar says bring it on

By MMAjunkie.com

The first two months of 2011 delivered two high-profile draws – UFC 125’s Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard II and UFC 127’s B.J. Penn vs. Jon Fitch – both of which ushered in a slew of controversy and left their respective divisions in flux.

As a rule, draws generally frustrate fans, almost certainly frustrate fighters and generally cause more confusion than resolution. But can the sport’s governing bodies find some way to improve the current system? At least one UFC champion thinks so.

In this past week’s new edition of HDNet’s “Inside MMA,” MMA legend and show host Bas Rutten addressed a viewer’s email that suggested an overtime round be instituted to resolve draws in high-profile bouts such as title contests and No. 1 contender affairs.

Rutten, a former UFC heavyweight champion and King of Pancrase, thinks the idea is a winner. After all, it’s already used in other combat sports, and the UFC even has a “sudden victory” round in place for its Spike TV-broadcast reality series.

“They do it at K-1 in Japan, and I love that idea,” Rutten said. “Actually, ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ does it, too. You fight to a draw, boom, the last [round], whoever wins that wins.”

Edgar, who survived a first-round beatdown against Maynard to battle make to a split draw at UFC 125, was a guest on the new edition of “Inside MMA” and also supported the idea. The UFC lightweight champion now rematches his nemesis at May’s UFC 130 event, but Edgar said he would have preferred to put the situation behind him in January.

“I think another five-minute round would be perfect,” Edgar said. “You go into a fight, you prepare, and you want a decisive outcome. To have to wait another three months and possibly another fight is kind of annoying. I would say another round would be great. You get to figure out who’s the winner right then and there.

 

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Fitch says he won the fight, Dana strongly disagrees

By Fighters Only

Jon Fitch has sat down and watched his UFC 127 fight with BJ Penn – and thinks the judges should have awarded him the win rather than declaring the fight to be a draw.

“Finally watched the fight back myself. First [round] draw and I won [round] 2 and 3. I will prove myself if I must. But I know I won that fight,” he wrote on The Underground.

“Much respect to BJ. He is the legend I thought he was. I think that was the best BJ any of us have ever seen.”

Unfortunately for Fitch, UFC president Dana White shot his performance to bits after the event and said he believed Penn should have been awarded the win.

“Fitch is one of these guys that goes, ‘Oh, I want my respect,’” White said. “He just fought a 155-pound guy and went to a draw with him and in my opinion, he lost the first two rounds – and he’s crying for a title shot?

“Personally, I scored the first two rounds for Penn and had him winning the fight. There’s no doubt B.J. got pounded in the third round, but that wasn’t a 10-8 round. You’ve got to get in there and decisively beat people. You have to have fans clamouring for you to fight for the title.”

 

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Admin Note: I scored the fight also. Jon Fitch clearly won that fight.

Attention Goes to UFC 127 Drama, but Praise Belongs With Brian Ebersole

By Mike Chiappetta

Let’s put the UFC 127 controversy and arguments away for a little while, just long enough to celebrate someone deserving of some praise. Can we do that? I mean, it’s easy to focus on the negative, but shouldn’t we give equal time to the people who beat the odds? That’s why we watch sports, isn’t it? To watch people win, to overcome obstacles, and celebrate the triumph of the human will.

We get enough negativity in this lifetime from the regular news, yet in the sports world, the victory of Brian Ebersole is buried under the headlines of Michael Bisping spitting, and the disputed draw between BJ Penn and Jon Fitch.

Ebersole was never going to have an easy time stealing the limelight from those guys. Despite a career spent in the trenches, he was not well known by anyone other than the hardest of the hardcore fans. Walking in to his fight with Chris Lytle, Ebersole was a major underdog, particularly fighting on short notice as a replacement for the injured Carlos Condit.

But Ebersole performed brilliantly under the adverse conditions. He frustrated Lytle with his unconventional style, hurt him badly with a flush knee to the chin, and stifled most of Lytle’s considerable offensive skills.

When it was all said and done, Ebersole — a self-proclaimed MMA journeyman who had fought in places far and wide, from Australia to South Africa to Japan to Mexico — had his first UFC win at the age of 30.

 

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Dana White Says He Thought BJ Penn Beat Jon Fitch

By John Heinis

UFC President Dana White wasted little time in voicing his opinion about UFC 127’s main event.  White told ESPN.com “I didn’t think it was a draw”, disagreeing with the final decision of the fight.

“Personally, I scored the first two rounds for Penn and had him winning the fight. There’s no doubt B.J. got pounded in the third round, but that wasn’t a 10-8 round.”

White is notorious for having a problem with guys who can’t finish fights, and few fighters have the propensity to grind out decisions like Jon Fitch does.  Fitch has had his past nine fights go to the scorecards, not finishing a fight since 2007, when he made Roan Carneiro tap out from a rear naked choke.

In 23 professional victories, Fitch has won 13 by decision.

White, who said that Fitch would get a welterweight title shot after his victory against Thiago Alves in August of 2010, quickly changed his tune once Jake Shields signed with the UFC.  Is a draw against BJ Penn reason enough for Fitch to get another crack at the title?

Well, the short answer is no, as far as Dana White is concerned.

“Fitch is one of these guys that goes, ‘Oh, I want my respect,'” White said. “He just fought a 155-pound guy and went to a draw with him and in my opinion, he lost the first two rounds — and he’s crying for a title shot?”

 

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GSP, Loiseau open up lives in Striking Truth

By The Canadian Press

TORONTO — Georges St-Pierre and David (The Crow) Loiseau opened up their lives for parts of four years for the documentary “The Striking Truth.”

Director Steven J. Wong says that alone shows the two mixed martial arts fighters really are champions.

“I’m very proud of these guys,” said Wong, whose film had its Canadian premiere Friday night. “It’s very easy to say ‘Sure, Steve, film wherever you want. You’ve got full access.’ When time comes and you’re holding the championship belt, it’s easy. It’s easy to say ‘Hey, point the camera at me.’

“But in those hard times — and there are some hard times for both Georges and David in this movie — during those hard times the real man steps up and doesn’t shut the camera down.”

The film documents St-Pierre winning, losing and reclaiming the UFC welterweight title. And it shows the struggle of Loiseau, his close friend and fellow Montrealer, in trying to turn his fighting career around.

Both fighters said having a friend like Wong manning the camera made the filming process from 2006 to 2010 seem natural.

“Sometimes I just forgot that he was there,” said St-Pierre, who opens up in the movie about his family and is seen disconsolate in his hotel room after losing his 170-pound title. “Sometimes he was filming some shot that I didn’t even know that he had. When I saw the movie, I was like ‘Wow. I didn’t know he had those shots.”‘

 

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Rising MMA talent Ryan Bader from Reno hits toughest test

By Jim Krajewski

He recently suffered the first loss of his mixed martial arts career, but Ryan Bader still has his sights set on winning a title. Bader, who lost to Jon Jones earlier this month via second-round tap out, is not sure when he will fight next. He would like to fight three times a year.

“Training for a fight requires two-plus months of preparation and it takes a lot out of you. Your body needs some time off after that, not necessarily from the fight, but from the training camp,” he wrote from Australia, where he was promoting but not participating in an Ultimate Fighting Championship fight. “My goal is to be champion.”

Even with the loss, Bader (6-foot-2, 205 pounds), still is ranked No. 7 in the latest UFC light heavyweight rankings by profighting-fans.com. Curt Heinrichs compiled the rankings, and says the 27-year-old from Reno has knockout power and will be a force in his weight class.

“Bader took a step backwards in the division when he lost to Jon Jones, but he is still young and improving every time he steps into the octagon,” Heinrichs wrote.

He doesn’t have any fights in his immediate future, but Bader, who wrestled for Arizona State in college, is staying busy. He is preparing to open a combination MMA and fitness gym in Scottsdale, Ariz. The 25,000-square-foot facility is scheduled to open March 19.

“People can come train to be a fighter, just take a Jiu Jitsu class, run on the treadmill, lift weights, and anything and everything in between,” Bader said.

 

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Penn, Fitch Both Dissatisfied with Draw, Open to Return Bout

By Mike Whitman

Though B.J. Penn and Jon Fitch both fought their hearts out at UFC 127, neither fighter was happy with the result.

After three seesaw rounds during which both men showed flashes of dominance, the bout went to the scorecards. Nothing was resolved, however, as judges Barry Foley (29-28 Fitch), Sal D’Amato (28-28) and Chris Lee (28-28) rendered a majority draw. According to Fitch, his performance in the evening’s main event simply was not up to snuff.

“I’m awfully disappointed in myself,” said Fitch at the event’s postfight press conference inside Sydney, Australia’s, Acer Arena. “I could have performed and prepared a lot better, regardless of the judges’ decision. I expect more of myself.”

Fitch, the betting favorite heading into the bout, found himself unable to control the smaller Penn in the way that many fans and pundits believed he would. Many of Fitch’s perceived difficulties might have been due to the Hawaiian’s surprising choice of strategy. While the prevailing opinion was that the former two-division champion would look to outbox Fitch, he instead chose to close the distance and try for takedowns, securing the bigger man’s back in both of the first two frames.

“I just kind of got over trying to box people and run away and stuff. I’m a grappler, myself,” said Penn. “I’m going to continue to try to take them down, and I’m going to try to punch them. I’m going to try to do both.”

 

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