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I remember a simple time when men were men, women were women, and fighters were fighters. Now you’ve got women dressing up like men, men dressing up like women, and fighters trying to be celebrities. At this point I’ve lost count of the number of MMA fighters who are trying to transition from the Octagon to the O.C.

Latest up to bat is Rich Franklin, who’s trying to get an ‘overcome your adversity through the power of Jesus Christ’ show onto basic cable:

Franklin, 32, a former Oak Hills High School math teacher, will tell inspirational stories about people fighting against the odds, says J.T. Stewart, his publicist. The pilot features Joe Garvey, 21, of Bright, Ind., learning to walk after a crippling ATV accident seven years ago.

Despite the title, “the show has nothing really to do with fighting. But we all fight for something every day,” Stewart says.

Eugh, shoot me in the head. You know, I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen Rich Franklin doing anything UFC-related without a big shiner under his eye and a grouchy look on his face. He’s got the talent and the ability to beat anyone on any day, but honestly I don’t know if his heart is really into mixed martial arts any more.

You would think that he’d be 100% invested in his rematch with Anderson Silva, but instead he’s off doing shows about people ‘beating the odds’. Honestly, the only person Franklin should be concerned about beating the odds is himself against Silva. I’m not dumb enough to think that a fighter can’t manage a few things at once, but this could literally be the biggest fight of Rich Franklin’s life and I think he’s coming into it with a general malaise for the sport.

Consider for a moment this: Rich Franklin loses another bout to Anderson Silva. That’s two losses, the magic number for no more rematches. If Rich Franklin loses this one, there goes his chances of getting another shot for the belt so long as Silva retains. And really, who else is gonna challenge Silva in the anemic middleweight division? Things are so bad the UFC seems to be fast tracking Evan Tanner back into the title mix against Dean Listen. Off the top of my head, he’s the only one with the striking ability to really hang with Silva.

So does Rich Franklin really want to rely on a washed up Evan Tanner making a remarkable comeback and knocking Anderson Silva out? Better to take the bull by the horns now while you have a chance … get your head out of the fucking clouds and back into the ring where it belongs. Because no one in Hollywood gives a shit about a washed up former champion.

Okay, I couldn’t resist getting in on all the retard action by making a stupid Babapun. And hey, why not? What’s funnier than a guy getting fired for a momentary lapse of judgement? Of course I’m sure most of the MMA community has family and friends who are in jail for ‘momentary lapeses of judgement’ too, so maybe you see it as fair game.

I’ve already said about as much as I want to say about the whole choke thing, but in regards to Babalu’s statement there’s a few things worth noting: He does everything right in it … except admit that what he did was on purpose. And boy, doesn’t that just sink the rest of the good work in his statement. Let’s take a look at where this letter self-destructs:

I did not intentionally choke out David Heath. The first that I realized that David had tapped was when people told me that he did after the fight. When I finally had the chance to view the tape, I see that he did. When David tapped, I did not feel it. I wish I did for I would have let it go. Instead, I continued to hold it. Not because I was upset or wanted him to lose consciousness. I held it because I didn’t know he tapped and I was intent on winning the fight. Holding on to a choke a little long is not an uncommon mistake made in training, and never in my career have I witnessed or heard of an injury resulting from it.

When I had the choke, I was not looking the referee in the eyes as one commentator erroneously observed. Nor did I hear the referee issue any verbal command to release the hold. Instead, my head was down to strengthen the move and my eyes closed with focus. As a result, I did not feel the referee tap me the first time either. It was not until he put his hands on my right shoulder that I felt him trying to separate us. When I felt this, I immediately released the choke.

Jeez, it’s really too bad that there were all those pesky cameras around during the fight to contradict what Babalu said. I can believe the idea of a miscommunication in the post-fight talk, but Babalu not realizing the fight was over? The only way Renato could have missed Heath’s tap, missed the verbal commands, and miss the ref’s subsequent tap is if he’d lost control of himself.

And in the end, that’s really what Babalu should have said. “Sorry, I lost control.” Not “Sorry, it wasn’t intentional” because yes, it was intentional. But framed in the context of losing control, at least it becomes more understandable. And respectable than denying it.

 

Yeah, I know it’s really UFN11, but the MMA gods have been hammering this event almost as hard as UFC67. Originally this card featured Spencer Fisher vs Din Thomas and Mike Swick vs Jonathan Goulet. Spencer got canned with a bad case of mat rot, and now Mike Swick is out with a rib injury. UFC brass managed to pull things out of the fire a bit, replacing Fisher with feisty contender Kenny Florian, but Mike Swick’s replacement is much less impressive: Dustin Hazelett.

Who? Yeah, I know how you feel. Hazelett’s biggest accomplishment in the octagon was getting kimura’d by the Tony the Geiko Caveman DeSouza. Past that he’s beaten two undercard opponents who are even more obscure than he is.

Of course, it’s not surprising … Mike Swick was fucking stupid to accept a fight against Jonathan Goulet to begin with, and it’s just as bad of an idea for any other prominent welterweight. Despite some goofy losses (and even goofier haircuts), Goulet has some serious skills. But he’s not good enough that you’d actually get much glory for beating the guy. In fact, a loss to Goulet (who’s just returning to the Octagon after a 13 month exodus) would dump you back at the bottom of the totem pole with TUF noobs and undercard rejects.

Anyways, it’s too bad Swick/Goulet has been canned … their fighting styles made for fight of the night material. I don’t know enough about Dustin Hazelett to say much about the match now, except that I’m not really excited to see this fight any more. At least I’m no longer conflicted about wanting Goulet to win.

Oh, woe was me when his imperial highness Dave Meltzer reported that Evan Tanner was not under contract to the UFC anymore. And now, do I dare to open my heart up to the possibility that our favorite character in MMA is going to step back in the ring? Yes, I do!

According to Jorge Oliviera (a training partner with Evan), Tanner will be returning to the octagon at UFC79 against Dean Lister. Of course, this is friend of a friend type information, but I’m sure by Tuesday the information will be repeated so much that it will magically become true. As Luke Thomas has taught me, if you don’t shake the tree then how you gonna get the coconuts out?

Remember a few days ago when Luke Thomas personally swore to me that Matt Hughes was leaving Miletich Fighting Systems and starting his own camp? Well it looks like that’s exactly what he did! Good on you Luke for popping the cherry on this story. Now the details are flowing from all those other sites who are jumping in for sloppy seconds.

The gym, which is named H.I.T. Squad (Hughes Intensive Training), will be a launching pad for new fighters, as well as veteran mixed-martial artists looking for a new training center. Additionally, Fiore said the elite fighters will be asked to join the gym’s official fight team: Team Hughes.

In addition to the school’s namesake, Team Hughes initially will include three other fighters: former UFC contender and current Icon middleweight champion Robbie Lawler, Greco-Roman wrestling champion and MMA newcomer Jacob Hey, and “The Ultimate Fighter 5″ standout Corey Hill.

Okay first off I have to say that HIT Squad has to be the worst name for a gym ever. Off the top of my head I’ve got several better names, and I’m tempted to post them on Matt Hughes’ message board to see if he likes them:

  • Hughes Excercise Regiment Program for Extreme Strength (H.E.R.P.E.S Squad)
  • Hughes Original Muscle Organization Squad (H.O.M.O Squad)
  • Hughes Impressive Cardio Kamp (H.I.C.K Squad)
  • Hughes Awesome God Squad (H.A.G Squad)

Secondly, you would imagine Matt Hughes being able to pull a starting lineup that’s better than unkown Jacob Hey and ‘the tall black dude’ from TUF5. I don’t doubt the gym will grow to include some decent names … hey, if Jorge Gurgel can pull it off, why not Hughes too? But I am somewhat surprised that there haven’t been a couple other really big names to start this whole thing off with a bang.

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