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Meet Krzystof Jotko, the latest addition to the UFC 170 pound division. Whatever dark corner of Poland he comes from allows stomps and knees to the head on the ground, and Jotko takes full advantage of this in his highlight video. He looks like a welterweight PRIDE era Shogun – not that any of those illegal moves will help him much in the US. Still, at 13-0 he’s an interesting prospect to keep your eye on.

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So I dunno if you noticed the tiny update at the bottom of an earlier post, but not only has the UFC signed Lil Pettis, they’ve already got him penciled in for a fight on November 16th against UK fighter Vaughn Lee. That’s the UFC’s big GSP vs Johny Hendricks card, which was already rammed to the tits with sick fights. Why rush Pettis onto a stacked card five weeks before it’s happening? I have no idea, but I ain’t complaining. The sooner he fights, the sooner SERGIO-MANIA RUNS WILD ON YOU ALL!

And yes, I intend to finish every Sergio post this way from now til the day he retires.

Tonight’s episode of The Ultimate Fighter features Ronda Rousey’s mother, Dr. AnnMaria De Mars – a favorite of Fightlinker’s since before Ronda got MMA famous. De Mars isn’t one to stay silent in the face of bullshit drama, and she recently posted this up on her blog in defense of those who thought her daughter was coming off ‘bitchy’ on The Ultimate Fighter:

From the fraction of the entire time I observed, it appeared that Ronda was taunted quite a bit without being allowed to respond, with a deliberate intent to create  a certain image for television.  Maybe they’ll show some of that on the episode, maybe not. For those of you who say she cries too much – she’s always cried like that all of her life. Who the hell are you people  to enforce a crying quota? If she cries over sad movies, happy endings and losing her car keys, what’s it to you? I’m the opposite of that. I’ve cried three times in the last twenty years, and one of those was when Ronda’s father died. So, she can have my share of the quota and it averages out.

People are sometimes offended by Ronda because she does not fit how they think she should act. At Ronda’s age, given the same degree of provocation, I would have punched out a few people, hit someone with a chair, told everyone to fuck off and walked out. This is why our family cannot do a reality TV show. So, no, I am the LAST person to ask don’t I think she should behave differently.

Some of those same people will argue, “I don’t care what the instigation, you should never  —- ” fill in the blank. They are entitled to their opinions. I am equally entitled to my opinion that they have their heads up their asses.

And Dr AnnMaria isn’t afraid to share those opinions, which is part of why I’m interested in tonight’s episode. Not like I expect a Bravo level reality show brawl or anything – just some of her sneaky, manipulative Nietzsche-esque training tactics and that sarcastic grit old people like De Mars and Clint Eastwood exude that makes everyone in our generation feel like soft ass piles of cookie dough.

ionyThe only thing worse than the non-stop Breaking Bad fellatio going down on Facebook is the omnipresent wah wah government shutdown stuff. I’m sure you’re sick of it too, and anything else that reminds you that our elected officials are petty fuckups and not the stewards of our economic survival we kinda sorta need right now. So I apologize in advance for this story about an official from a town in Saratoga New York who is being investigated for allegedly taking bribes and kickbacks for political favor. What makes it interesting to us is that one of these unscrupulous interactions may have involved the effort to get MMA legalized in New York.

A federal criminal investigation of Halfmoon Supervisor Melinda A. Wormuth is probing whether she secretly accepted money for lobbying on behalf of mixed martial arts legislation and whether she or her family received thousands of dollars from a builder with business before the town government.

The information comes from multiple people familiar with the case. They said the FBI is focusing on Wormuth’s contact with two Republican state lawmakers — Sen. Kathleen Marchione and Assemblyman James Tedisco — related to a bill that passed the Senate but failed in the Assembly and would have legalized mixed martial arts fighting.

In early May, Wormuth, 46, wrote letters on town letterhead to both Tedisco and Marchione stating she “strongly urge(s) you to support MMA legislation.”

“Some of my constituents are fans and promoters of MMA and have to travel outside the town of Halfmoon to promote or watch the sport they love,” Wormuth wrote.

Sources close to the case said Wormuth’s peculiar and sudden support of the MMA is at the heart of the federal investigation.

Is it, Times Union? Is it really? Because two weeks ago, it seemed like the FBI’s focus on Wormuth was over all those sketchy kickbacks she was taking from developers looking to build in Halfmoon. For example…

The U.S. Attorney’s office also has used subpoenas to examine banking records relating to a transaction several years ago in which Wormuth’s husband, Larry, who owns a small used-car dealership in Halfmoon, allegedly took thousands of dollars from Bruce Tanski, a Halfmoon developer whose projects have been voted on by Wormuth, sources briefed on the investigation said.

And…

In 2011, the Times Union published a story about the Wormuths’ sale of two small homes they owned on Route 146 to Scott Earl, a wealthy stockholder in a waste-hauling company that was vying to buy the Saratoga County landfill. Shortly after the story was published, Wormuth stepped down as chairwoman of the county public works committee that was tasked with coordinating the sale of the landfill.

Wormuth denied any impropriety in the sales. An appraiser retained by the Times Union analyzed the purchases and said Earl paid nearly twice the appraised value for the homes.

The Wormuths still reside in one of the residences they sold to Earl. Saratoga County District Attorney James A. Murphy III previously said he did not believe there was anything improper involving Earl’s purchase of the properties.

This MMA thing sure could be an extra interesting wrinkle in the entire affair. The UFC, Madison Square Garden, and other interested parties have had lobbying groups pumping New York politicians harder than the gun lobby pumps Capitol Hill after a mass shooting. Everyone has been very straight up in declaring the millions of dollars being spent trying to ‘change the minds’ of politicians so they unban MMA in the state.

So was some of this money distributed through less than legit channels? What potentially innocent but probably quite shady looking transaction took place right before Wormuth started singing songs in praise of the noble UFC fighters? Will this give us a bigger glimpse into the political sausage making process that led to 64 New York assembly members declaring their support for legalizing mixed martial arts in writing? And will we have more answers by the next post so everything I write doesn’t end in question marks?

In a totally imaginary way, Renan Barao is the real bantamweight champion

Bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz has been on the bench due to a series of knee injuries for two and a half years. Renan Barao has been the interim bantamweight champion since July 2012 and has already defended his kinda not real belt twice (he’d probably be up to three fights if he hadn’t injured his foot in June). All this has many people wondering why the UFC hasn’t stripped Cruz already. Dana White admits they probably should have, but why do it now that we’re SO CLOSE to having Cruz back? Estimated return fight: the first quarter of 2014 (hopefully).

That leaves poor Renan stuck as the interim guy. Which kinda sucks. Here’s Dana White trying to unsplit hairs on that one:

“Renan Barao is a champion. If you look at Renan Barao and what he has done, he’s beaten everybody that Dominick Cruz would be fighting if Dominick Cruz was healthy and was the champion. So, [the interim label] takes nothing away from [Barao], other than just that pin, that place holder until Dominick Cruz comes back… But for all intents and purposes, Renan Barao is the real champion. He’s the one that’s beating the guys that need to be beaten.”

Hey that’s all well and good – let’s write in our diaries that he’s the bantamweight champion of our hearts. That doesn’t change the very real financial repercussions of having an unsexy word like ‘interim’ stuck around your neck like a lodestone. As far as everyone is concerned, he’s the champion*. And that asterisks has very real consequences. Just ask his trainer, Nova Uniao’s Andre Pederneiras:

“He’s very frustrated because he needs to make money,” Pederneiras told MMAjunkie.com Radio. “So many sponsors here in Brazil are not sponsoring him because he’s not the real champion from the UFC. He’s the interim champion. He’s losing money every day.

“The sponsors here want a real champion. A linear champion.”

And let’s be honest here – Brazilian sponsors aren’t alone in ignoring Barao because he’s only some interim guy. To most spectators of the sport, he’s still just the #2 dude keeping the #1 dude’s top spot in the division warm. Even with his 8 year winning streak and that spinning donkey kick to the face of Eddie Wineland, there is no escaping Cruz’s shadow until the two fight. That’ll probably be true regardless of whether or not the UFC really makes Barao champion, but at least the guy can make a little more champ paper in the meantime for doing the champ’s work.

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