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March 23

“Archer MMA”

By Tim Archer

If I wrote an article for every interesting item in my little MMA notebook, I will have already written the largest MMA book in history. Boy, how things have heated up in the last 10 years! Now, every day introduces a myriad of MMA news, enough to keep the hardcore fan glued to his computer or television. Here’s what’s on my mind this week…

JENS PULVER leaves his boots in the Octagon and calls it a career. For those of us still around from the old days, Pulver was THE lightweight fighter to follow. From his defeat of BJ PENN for the UFC lightweight title to his battles with Uriah Faber, “Lil Evil” always brought heart and honor to this sport. He is a guaranteed Hall of Famer and certainly has left a legacy for others to aspire to. I will miss him. Thanks Jens for everything!

So, VERSUS, DIRECTV and COMCAST reach an agreement! DirecTV subscribers will finally be able to tune in to WEC events again. Or is the WEC going to PPV and only PPV? Who knows? Truth is this little dispute would have been better handled by a group of 2nd graders on the playground. This whole thing has left such a bad taste in my mouth. I’m still considering a switch to FIOS and knowing that Comcast owns Versus and the Philadelphia Flyers, a loyal MMA and Pittsburgh Penguins fan such as myself wants nothing further to do with Flyers’ owner Ed Snider or his company.

DANA WHITE, ZUFFA, and UFC 111 shoot for the big screen! That’s right…ZUFFA will air UFC 111 in select theaters nationwide. Better yet, he’s tapped such dignitaries as the ICEMAN, CLAY GUIDA, MATT SERRA, and STEPHAN BONNAR to host the evening’s festivities! It’s this kind of forward thinking that keeps the UFC and Dana White so much ahead of every fight organization out there. Call me a White nut hugger all you want. He has great passion for what he does. He has an uncompromising vision for the UFC. He’s in touch with the fans. He’s hell bent on making MMA a worldwide phenomenon. When he finally takes a bite out of the Big Apple, he will give new meaning to the “Great White Way.”

During a recent INSIDE MMA broadcast, JAMES TONEY said, “I want BROCK LESNAR.” Slow down James! All this MMA experience you have is going to your head! I think you’d have a more fair and evenly contested fight against…my grandmother. She’s got Alzheimer’s and is slightly delusional, but she’s one hell of a battler. Great take down skills. Better Octagon control, especially now with two new hips. Maybe a little one dimensional in her style, but she does things with that walker I’ve never seen another senior citizen do. But James, you punch better! She hits like a girl, but in MMA who doesn’t, right? I’m beginning to understand why you are called, “Lights Out.”

April is shaping up to be one very, very good month for MMA fans! Just a taste of what we have to look forward to: AOKI v. MELENDEZ, SHIELDS v. HENDERSON, MOUSASI v. “KING MO” (all STRIKEFORCE bouts to seen on CBS), ALDO v. FABER, HUGHES V. RENZO GRACIE, FLORIAN v. GOMI (actually on March 31, but who’s counting), and “THE SPIDER” v. MAIA. But the fight that has my attention takes place on April 24 in Sacramento, California.

When WEC lightweight champion BEN HENDERSON squares off against DONALD “COWBOY” CERRONE at WEC 48, be prepared to witness another war. My advice? Sit down on the couch, put on your seatbelt, and pray nobody gets seriously hurt.

Oh…and by the way…I’m putting my money on Dan Hardy.

Tim Archer is a Pittsburgh based freelance writer and MMA historian. He can be reached at Fightfox@comcast.net

Archer MMA

By Tim Archer

Dana White does very few things that cause me to raise an inquisitive eyebrow. But, signing boxing legend James Toney, 41, to a multi-fight deal has me looking like Mr. Spock trying to understand President Obama’s healthcare plan.

When a fighter displays a skill or a facet of his fight game that is far and away so much better than everybody else, it forces others to elevate their own game. See BJ Penn’s ju-jitsu. See Randy Couture’s clinch game. See Fedor’s transitional skills. For the UFC’s sake, we can only hope James Toney’s punching prowess translates as well in the Octagon, as in the boxing ring.

Nobody can question Toney’s boxing pedigree—72 wins (44 by knockout), 6 losses and three draws. At issue for me, however, is Toney’s mindset and lack of respect when it comes to MMA, its fighters, and the fans that embrace this sport. But, don’t take my word for it.

In a recent interview posted at Fighthype.com, Toney said, “These guys in MMA, they good wrestlers and good grapplers and good kickers, LIKE GIRLS, but, you know, when it comes to throwing them blows, they ain’t got a chance in hell, you know what I’m saying?” Okay…ah…like girls James? Really? When it comes to “throwing them blows, they ain’t got a chance in hell, you know what I’m saying?”

No James…I don’t know what you are saying. Are you implying the UFC’s fighters punch like girls or just kick like girls? Would that be punches thrown while standing or does your comment extend to their ground and pound skills as well?

During the same interview he offered this nugget of wisdom, “Like I said, yeah, you’re right, MMA is not like boxing, because boxing is tougher, you know what I’m saying?” No, I don’t know what you are saying. Maybe I don’t understanding the subtle difference between boxing “tough” versus MMA “tough.”

I’m sure you’ll clear it up for the fans, though, when you knock Randy Couture’s head into orbit. As you so succinctly put it, fighting Randy Couture poses a lose-lose situation for HIM, not you. He stands with you, you knock his head off. He tries to take you to the mat, you knock his head off. How could Captain America or any UFC fighter ever survive in the Octagon with you? With such an impenetrable game plan and your extensive MMA knowledge, Dana should just mail you the UFC heavyweight championship belt now.

This move is more about money and a still weakened heavyweight division, than it is about James Toney. For now, Dana has found his newest sideshow freak. Fans will finally see what happens when a gifted boxer climbs into the Octagon. Eventually Cain Velasquez will ascend to the title and James “Lights Out” Toney will join the ranks of Eric “Butterbean” Esch, Ray Mercer, and Francois Botha.

This is how “Lights Out” wants it. Said Toney, “If I can’t get a meaningful big fight in the boxing world, I’ll keep fighting in the UFC, which is something I want to do anyway,”

Here’s hoping you find a meaningful big fight in the boxing world. Know what I’m saying?

Tim Archer is a Pittsburgh based freelance writer and MMA historian. He can be reached at Fightfox@comcast.net


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