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You’d imagine with all of the hard work the UFC has done to repair their shitty heavyweight division over the past year, they’d have a better bout for #1 contender than Brandon Vera vs Tim Sylvia. However, the guys at MMAJunkie normally won’t give you their opinion on the fucking weather, but they ARE saying that’s what it looks like:

Current champ Couture will likely return to action Feb. 2 for a SuperBowl weekend card in Las Vegas. There’s been speculation that he would face Fedor Emelianenko, but the PRIDE heavyweight champion seems to be in no hurry to sign with the UFC. And, as of now, no Plan B has been mentioned.

Additionally, a bout between top contenders Cheick Kongo and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira has been pushed back until early 2008, so the fight’s winner wouldn’t be ready for Couture in February.

As for other possible opponents, a rematch with Gabriel Gonzaga seems unlikely, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic has lost two in a row (and reportedly isn’t returning phone calls from the UFC), Andrei Arlovski still hasn’t gotten a new deal (and would probably need a tune-up fight anyway), and Fabricio Werdum seems to have fallen off the face of the earth since a lackluster loss to Arlovski in April.

Okay, so lets ignore for the moment that I’m about two days behind on the news and that Couture has quit the UFC. It doesn’t really change the fact that all the dudes the UFC brought in to pad the weight class have fucked things up a la Three Stooges. Mirko’s had two chances to get himself into the title running, and the UFC is pacing Big Nog’s performances at glacial speed.

The UFC’s refusal to sign Josh Barnett, re-sign Andrei Arlovski, ignore Werdum, and of course land Fedor have added up to create quite the quagmire. I’m sure no one expected us to come full circle the way we have with no better contenders than ballroom dancer Tim Sylvia and overhyped Brandon Vera.

Fuck I’m sick of writing about the IFL. There’s three kinds of stories I can write about them:

  • The IFL is doing something stupid to try and make money
  • The IFL is fucking up a good idea that could actually make them money
  • The IFL is cutting costs in all the wrong ways to try and save money

This one here is a cutting cost story, and the person on the chopping block is Frank Shamrock and his lame ass Razorclaws. The official reason is that his team hasn’t been performing up to par. My bet is that the IFL is sick of paying Frank a retarded amount of money to be a coach when they can’t seem to convert his popularity into any money or attention for the league. Fuck, I’d practically forgotten that Frank even had an IFL team. Doesn’t his brother also have one of those things or something?

This just goes to show you that the IFL sucks at marketing. There’s no one in the universe that’s better at stirring shit and causing drama than the Shamrock brothers. The fact that the IFL hasn’t been able to do anything with these two (while Frank has been in the middle of a comeback no less) boggles my mind. Either the people running the IFL are incompetent or there’s something rotten with the structure of their system where they can’t get their coaches to lift a finger to help out.

Either way it doesn’t bode well that they’ve had to fire Frank Shamrock because they can’t seem to make him profitable for their company. I don’t buy the whole team record shit … Don Frye and Igor Zinioviev’s teams are doing about as well as a bunch of 9 year old Taekwondo blackbelts would in the IFL.

As a general rule I try to ignore all stories mixing MMA and pro wrestling, but I’ve ignored this story for as long as I can. You guys know my thoughts on pro wrestling. You also know my opinion on pro wrestlers in MMA. And finally you know that the IFL can’t implement a good idea well, let alone a bad one.

The bad idea in this case: Kurt Angle fighting for the IFL.

On the surface, it doesn’t seem like a bad idea. Kurt would pop the ratings for the IFL and draw in hokey pro wrestling fans who are already hooked to a sub-par product. But the devil is in the detail, and that’s where you start to realize that this deal would suck for the IFL. The amount of cheddar they would have to pony up for one fight from Angle would be vast indeed, and I doubt you’re going to be getting more than two fights a year out of the guy. That’s assuming the IFL is even around for another year.

Despite all his yapping about MMA domination, I doubt Kurt Angle is deluded enough to step into the ring with a real name in the MMA world. So you are basically going to have Kurt Angle vs some random guy (which is lame). Add in the fact that the IFL has never been good at marketing it’s existing talents, and there’s no way Kurt Angle is the answer to the IFL’s problems. Although he would be an interesting distraction to watch as the IFL sinks into bankruptcy.

In what has to be the most shocking and surprising news I’ve ever heard in my life, the stuffy old blowhard morons at HBO have announced that talks with the UFC are dead in the water and not to expect a deal any time soon.

You may remember Dana White saying about a million times that the deal was as close to being done as possible … the UFC even started to roll out their UK shows with the plan to air them on HBO. So all in all I have to say this makes the UFC look pretty dumb. No, not regarding getting the deal done – personally I couldn’t give a fuck if the UFC is on HBO or not. I’m talking about how dumb Dana White sounded saying over and over that the deal would be done any minute, when anyone with half a brain knew the deal was toast the second former HBO CEO Chris Albrecht decided to get slap happy with his girlfriend.

The primary reason behind the dead deal has been known for a while … HBO wanted the hot product, but they wanted to show it their way. Basically they wanted the UFC to throw the show and leave the filming, production, commentary, etc to them. Dana White is such a control freak he shut the company down for a month when he went on vacation. Do you think he’s going to let the fogeys at HBO control the public face of his events? No fucking way.

And thank God for that … I watched Pavlick vs Taylor last night (thanks for pointing me to it, guys), and while the fight was great the production values felt dated for the most part and the announcers made Frank Trigg seem like Al Michaels. On the other hand I’d give both my testicles to see some UFC highlights with that crazy 120 frames per second camera HBO uses. But how much can one of those cameras really cost? I’d rather the UFC keep it’s independence, rent the camera, and we all keep our testicles (me in my pants and the UFC in their commenting booth).

The last time Tony DeSouza showed his cro-magnon face in the Octagon, he got beaten back to the stone age by the lean mean diuretic machine known as Thiago Alves. That was a hella long time ago, and I was starting to worry that we’d seen the last of our bearded compadre. Fortunately it seems he was just waiting for the UFC to match him against someone with less brutal striking. Now Tony will be fighting against Roan Carneiro, who we like to call Mr Choke.

Mr Choke was Jon Fitch’s victim number 13 as part of the awesome UFN10 card … he put up a good game until Jon Fitch’s corner noticed a weakness for defending combos and sent Fitch in for the kill. That was probably the best example of effective cornering I’ve ever seen, but we’ll talk about that some other day. For now all I’ll say is Roan is a game competitor and a fight between him and DeSouza is gonna be an awesome ground clinic.

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