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It has been 20 years since Jean Claude Van Damme earned the title of best fighter in the universe by defeating Chong Li in the finals of the Kumite. But in light of Fedor Emelianenko’s stunning defeat of the unstoppable giant Hong Man Choi, JCVD (as he is known to friends and fans) has made the decision to pass the title onwards to this new generation of fighters.

“I am happy to say I have finally found another fighter worthy of my title,” said Jean Claude on New Year’s Eve. “For over 20 years I have been renown throughout the world as the Most Awesome Fighter in the Universe. Now it is time to step down and give my position to the new unstoppable force, Fedor Emelianenko!”

Does this mean that the mighty Van Damme has retired? “Yes, it could be” mused Van Damme. “There was some talk of having me fight Fedor before passing on the title of world’s greatest, but I thought I had held it long enough and it was time to let someone new into the spotlight.”

The change marks a tumultuous end to Jean Claude’s title as the world’s greatest fighter. Throughout the 80s and 90s Jean Claude faced stiff competition like Bolo Yeung, Dolph Lundgren, Lance Henriksen, his own evil twin, Raul Julia, the entire cast of Street Fighter, and Bill Goldberg.

But in the past few years his list of opponents has dwindled as he has faced farcical competition again and again in direct to DVD flops. This has led to many people questioning Jean Claude’s title as the Most Awesome Fighter in the Universe.

“This marks the beginning of a new era for the World’s Most Awesome Fighter in the Universe,” said Monte Cox, Fedor’s manager or something. “We will not hide behind politics or business plans in order to protect Fedor. He will fight the strongest fighters in the world. In fact, we have just travelled through time to find the best heavyweight in history: Pedro Rizzo from 2001!

Boy how time flies. It seems like only yesterday that we were writing about ‘Bang the Champ’, a porno website where two guys fight MMA style and the winner gets to fuck the ring girl. Now it sounds like Bang the Champ has ruffled the feathers of the ‘Association of Boxing Commissions’. They’ve decided that this is definitely illegal and needs to be shut down. The funny part? They’re having a hard time doing anything about it because….

The ABC’s investigation of the matter has been hampered by the fact that the promotional group’s Web site is “adult themed” and thus (according to the minutes of the ABC legal committee) “inappropriate for access via a government-owned computer.”

That’s just awesome. Oh, we can’t access the site from work! Whatever will we do??? The guys on this stupid committee are probably all 90+ years old and don’t own computers at home. They just try accessing the web with their humidors and wonder why it won’t work … let’s hope the Mexican maid will look it up like it they asked her to do. Although they’re not really sure if she even speaks american, or if she’s really Mexican or ‘something else’. Bah, this is confusing. Let’s just drink brandy and reminisce about better times when white men ruled boxing.

Old fucks.

Also worth noting is the ESPN reporter’s opinion that no such evil website could ever actually exist:

Hey, guys! Have you considered the likelihood that the fights don’t exist and this is just a scam to promote a pornographic Web site?

Of course, like most vile things on the net, it really does exists. The guys behind it were just too cheap to give any of it away for free and pay all the MMA sites out there to peddle it like Rio Heroes did. And that’s why I’m here working on this site when I could be watching more Bang the Champ

Here’s a bit of a mindblowing quote from Lorenzo Fertitta in an interview with Kevin Iole*:

One of the greatest successes that we’ve had, for instance, is the last show we did in New Jersey (UFC 78 on Nov. 17). We had a fight being headlined by two guys who had never fought for a championship and, relatively, had never been proven to be pay-per-view draws. But we basically sold out the arena in New Jersey and we did very strong, above average, pay-per-view. So to me, while it wasn’t Liddell-Ortiz, that said more to me than one of what you might call one of our bigger fights did. It showed that our UFC brand can carry a whole show.

Correction: the UFC brand SOLD the show, it didn’t carry it. Lorenzo is basically bragging that they had a shitty show and it sold like hotcakes. Maybe if 78 had been a sleeper event like past Ultimate Fight Nights have been, it would be okay to be proud that the New Jersey show did well. As it stands, the kind of exposure garnered by 78 probably resulted in a lot of people saying the same thing they said after De La Hoya / Mayweather : “Well, that was fucking awful. I’m not gonna buy another one of these things again.”

*WARNING: Kevin Iole is at best an irresponsible source with clear conflict of interest issues, and at worse an incompetent no fact checking douche. Take whatever he covers with the world’s largest grain of salt.

I’m low on creative juices today so I thought I’d take a look at Steve Seivert’s list of predictions for 2008 and give my thoughts on them:

Henderson ends Silva’s title reign : While I agree that this is probably the most competitive opponent Silva has faced, I just don’t see Henderson going in with the firepower to defeat Anderson Silva. A judge’s decision is a possibility, but I’d say it’s more likely that Hendo is dumb enough to try and trade with Silva like he did with Wanderlei. From there it’ll be interesting to see how his wrestling holds up with his brain-egg scrambled.

Couture remains sidelined : Yeah, I laugh at anyone who thinks Couture is getting out of his contract easy. The UFC is gearing up to go to war in the courts and while it’s 50/50 on who’ll win, I don’t see anything being resolved until 2009 at the earliest. Of course, there’s a small chance Couture will work things out with the UFC … if Fedor somehow drops a win against Pedro Rizzo in the spring, perhaps a bout with Big Nog would sound like a better way for Randy to cement his legacy.

HDNet Fights becomes No. 2 : Maybe in 2009 or 2010, but not any time soon. The channel simply doesn’t have the exposure and HDNet Fights is still in a major development phase of it’s existance. EliteXC is already throwing bigger and better shows, and considering the cross promotion that went on in Japan over New Years, who knows how HERO’s will do in 2008.

Hughes shuts it down : Steve says he thinks Matt Hughes has one more fight in him, most likely against Matt Serra. I think that the drive to compete will keep Matt Hughes in the UFC for at least a few more slow-paced years against specific hand-picked opponents. It would be really nice if Hughes moved up a class and went after the middleweight strap, but I don’t think he’s delusional enough to think he could pull it off.

WEC takes show on the road : Yeah, they’ve already said they’re going to do this. Too bad they have no plans of straying far from the west coast. Fuck you, California!

Penn makes history : Steve thinks Penn’s going to win the LW strap, defend against Sherk, and then take on GSP at WW. I speculated in the past that BJ Penn only agreed to coach TUF and return to lightweight if he was promised a shot at the welterweight belt too, but now I think that Zuffa would be INSANE to agree to that. Besides, by the time Penn is done with Sherk, the LW division will have another 2 or 3 contenders waiting for their turn.

Griffin upsets Jackson to win UFC LHW title : Will Rampage suffer the same fate as Chuck Liddell? Fame is a fucked up thing, and it’s hard to stay motivated and hungry when you’re already at the top. Would people doubt Rampage’s determination if he wasn’t always joking around? Probably not as much … but things are what they are. Rampage has a rep as a joker and a party animal. Forrest has a reputation for living in the gym. I’m not gonna say it’s a shoe in, but there’s definately a good chance this could happen.

Fedor loses: Steve thinks that a case of skill rust contracted from fighting cans will cause Fedor to drop the first fight against top tier talent, namely Josh Barnett. I’d say M-1 Global doesn’t seem to be in any rush to book that particular fight, and past Josh there’s no one else in free agency that’ll put up a real fight. Look for Fedor to fight Pedro Rizzo, Ben Rothwell, and another Japanese freakshow for December 31st 2008. And then in 2009, no one will bother to put him in their list of predictions because no one will give a shit about him any more.

The latest news regarding Matt Lindland that’s not false is the following update on his status with the UFC, as per Dana White:

“I’ve had some issues with Lindland in the past. I have talked to him, and they want to continue to talk,” he said. “I am still on the fence with Lindland. I want someone that wants to be a team player. I don’t need a promotion full of Titos (Ortiz).”

So basically in order to fight in the UFC, you have to drink the Kool-Aid. If you’re not willing to drink the Kool-Aid, then get the fuck outta Jonestown. Great.

I also love how Dana White “doesn’t want a promotion full of Titos”. Yeah, because Tito Ortiz didn’t carry the UFC through the dark ages of MMA and isn’t still one of the biggest stars in the promotion. Why would you ever want more guys like him? Because he expects to be paid what he’s worth? Because he’s got a spine and doesn’t just take it up the ass?

The real question is “Who’s really the one that’s hard to work with?” Are Matt Lindland, Tito Ortiz, Josh Barnett, Fedor, Randy, Ken and Frank Shamrock really hard to work with, or is it Dana White that’s a fucking dope?

To me, the situation is obvious. When upper management talks about being a ‘team player’, that just means they want you to ‘take one for the team’. If that means fighting injured or fighting for a lot less money than you should or being sacrificed as a rebound, then hey … that’s what being a team player is all about! But just remember that when you’re all used up, Team UFC will toss you aside and move on to find more ‘team players’. Because there’s no “I” in “Team”, and that means “U” are not important.

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