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Let’s ignore for a moment that M-1’s main financial backer Michael Baybak is part of a religion that has a reputation for bilking it’s members of all their money. I’m not the religion expert, so I’ll let Jake deal with that specific issue. What I do want to talk about is how this guy also has a reputation for artificially boosting his stocks and then selling as soon as they’re high:

Neither man agreed to be interviewed for this story, yet both threatened legal action through attorneys. “What these guys do is take over companies, hype the stock, sell their shares, and then there’s nothing left,” says John Campbell, a former securities lawyer who was a director of mining company Athena Gold until Baybak and Gerbino took it over.

The article this came from goes on in detail regarding many of the operations Baybak has been in that have collapsed and deals that have fallen through as a result of misrepresentation. Baybak actually sued Time regarding the article and as a result Time added the following caveat to the article: that they were not accusing Baybak of illegal activity or of being a “Scientology front.”

I’m not about to put my ass on the line with lawsuit-happy Scientologists … as with everything on this site, it’s my uneducated opinion and I provide links to facts that should be taken with a grain of salt based on their origins. All I’m going to say for sure is that at first glimpse M-1 seemed pretty shaky and at second glimpse it’s starting to look downright sketchy. If it wasn’t for Monte Cox at the helm I’d have already written this organization off as complete trash. As it is, I’m still damn skeptical that they’ll even manage to pull off a single event.

Hmmm. This whole M-1 thing sounds kinda familiar. Oh yeah:

Former UFC champion Frank Shamrock (Pictures) has signed a one-year, multi-million dollar contract with “The World Fighter,” a new mixed martial arts promotion set to debut January 2007, Shamrock confirmed to Thursday morning.

Shamrock, who called the agreement with The World Fighter a “deal of a lifetime,” is slated to fight in Las Vegas on the January pay-per-view card versus a yet-to-be announced opponent.

In addition to main event “super fights,” The World Fighter intends to promote tournament-style events pitting 16 fighters per weight class.

Cesar Gracie (Pictures) has been tabbed as the event’s matchmaker and he’s already signed several fighters, including brothers Nick and Nathan Diaz (Pictures) as well as Jake Shields (Pictures).

If you ask me, the new M-1 is gonna be “The World Fighter” for 2007. Expect the wheels to come off this thing before the end of the year.

When Sam Caplan said the company who bought M-1 was pretty underwhelming, I never thought it would be this tame. It’s now official that the big scary threat to the UFC’s domination comes from ‘Sibling Entertainment’, a company that up until now is involved with the theatre and a little bit of independant film.

About the only thing these people have done right so far is bring Monte Cox on to head their company, and even that opens up a huge can of worms regarding conflict of interest and what happens to all of Monte’s fighters in the UFC. Past Monte, the only other obvious ace up M1’s sleeve is Fedor, and I’m not too impressed by that ace.

It’s really not that hard to sign a guy when you just go ahead and offer him everything he wants. The 1001 conditions Sibling had to agree to may not seem like a big deal now, but just wait and see how it works out for them in the long run. A good deal is one that takes care of both parties. I have a feeling this deal gives everything to Fedor and nothing for the new M-1.

Past that point, the main thing that amazes me is there’s no obvious money behind this organization. The names already in the mix don’t have the deep pockets to sustain the kind of money pit this company will have to be for the 5 years it takes to really break into the market. If they don’t name a serious moneybags investor soon, there’s no fucking way I’m gonna take them seriously. If they think they’re gonna ride this out using the stock market, someone should show them how that’s working out for the IFL.

Oh boy and goodie goodie. What exciting news – the UFC has signed WWE and pro football wash up Brock Lesnar to a contract. I’m not exactly against pro wrestlers coming into mixed martial arts, but I’m not exactly thrilled either. The last thing the UFC needs is to have people associating the WWE with their product – there’s enough retards doing that as it is.

My favorite angle on this story though is how people are saying “Signing Brock Lesnar is a big step in removing the sting from Randy Couture’s departure”.

What? Excuse me? Have I fallen into some weird alternate reality where Nazis aren’t considered evil and pro wrestlers are on par with MMA legends? Is the UFC sending out gamma rays from the TV during The Ultimate Fighter to turn MMA fans’ brains into hotdog mulch? Because it certainly fucking seems so lately.

Let’s get something straight: saying that Brock Lesnar is going to fill the hole left by Randy Couture is like saying Steven Seagal could fill in for Rich Franklin. Yeah, Lesnar will sell pay per views. Lesnar might even manage to become a contender down the road. But in ten years time he’s going to be little more than a penis-chested footnote in the history of MMA. All the while, Randy Couture will still be considered one of the founding fathers of MMA.

I’m gonna sit back and be entertained by Mr Penis Chest as he experiences what big league MMA is like. It’s going to be great. I’ll even cheer as he works his way up past the Brad Imes and the Heath Herrings of the heavyweight division. But it’s all building to that point where he runs into a real MMA fighter who’s going to stuff his wrestling, kick his legs out from underneath him, and pound the shit out of his big HGH-inflated head.

So in that way, yeah … signing Mr Penis Chest is a good thing. It’s good money, and it’s good entertainment, and therefore it’s good for the sport … barring of course any steroids or hormone treatment scandals that may pop up. That being said, anyone who trumpets Lesnar’s signing as the beginning of a new era needs to pull the WWE action figure out of their ass and smarten up.

(as mentioned, our journey home is being covered by Jake since I’m way too scarred from the experience to think about it again. Warning … there’s only about 2% MMA content here.)  

It’s Monday, and Ryan and I are exhausted. We’ve had a hell of an experience, and our experience in Cincinnati was fantastic. We met so many great people, texted several great people who we never managed to meet up with (Adam, we’re looking at YOU), downed several gallons of beer, and even got to see a quaint “mixed martial arts” show, where a plucky young hometown native got hit so hard in the face by knees, I’m pretty sure he saw God.

Now, on Sunday, we have one last goal: getting the fuck out of Dodge. With our bus tickets prepped, and our drugs ready for ingestion, we round up all unfinished business, rub one out to prevent blue ball bus syndrome, and look forward to saying goodbye USA, and thanks for the fish. The schedule couldn’t be easier: the bus leaves Sunday night at 6:30. All we have to do is show up, and we’re off.

Of course, little did we know that Cincinnati is not the kind of city you can leave so easily; actually, this place is like fucking Hotel California. All of a sudden, everything starts going to hell, and we can’t get out. Our bus is late. So late, in fact that any hope of catching our layovers is as likely as Ryan finally sporting a full beard (if you’ve seen his photos, you’ll understand why I call him “Patches”). We try to transfer to another route, and despite the chilling prospect of rotting in the bus terminal for another 3 hours, we take it.

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4 hours later, the stupid fucking whore bus is nowhere in sight. The bus lady is nice enough; she changes our tickets one more fucking time, so we can catch a goddamn layover. The new schedule tacks on a depressing 4 hours more waiting time. By now, had the cursed 6:30 bus actually come on time, we’d be a third of the way home. Instead, we’re stuck holding our dicks at the bus terminal. We’re trying to remain calm, but emotions are running pretty high all around the terminal; so high in fact that the bus company calls in a police officer just to make sure that people don’t riot and burn the place down Malibu-stylez.

So with 4 hours to kill, we decide to hit the town, grab a beer and get fucked up; anything to kill the time. We’re fucking morons, so upon leaving the station, we decide to walk through the ghetto in search of a cab. That’s when some crazy crackhead finds us, and zeros in for the kill. He looks like he’s about to mug us, but fortunately the bus station is still in sight and a cop is standing by the doors within shouting range.

Crackhead Billy wants us to follow him down the darkest fucking road I’ve ever seen. We’d be lucky if we only got raped down there. We give him a dollar each, tell him good luck, and make a quick escape back to the bus station, ignoring his angry growls until the cop sees him and he books it in the other direction.

Back in the bus station, we ask the ticket lady to call us a cab, since the Cincinnati bus station is apparently too scary for them to hang out near. While we sit outside and try to laugh at what was probably one of the more scary moments of our lives, a guy with a thick southern accent comes off a bus and tries to bum cigarettes off us. He then sticks around and tells us all about those “fucking ethnics” on the bus with him and how they were “pissin’ him off”. He told us they “didn’t know who they were fucking with”, pulled out a tiny fake looking police badge and said “they’re lucky I didn’t kick them off the bus to die by the side of the road.”

A taxi finally shows up, and we say so long to Officer Mark Harmond (or maybe his even stupider cousin). Our cab takes us to Kentucky, which is just on the other side of the bridge, but a world apart. We suddenly feel a lot safer, and take the opportunity to see a shitty movie, eat a total of 12 White Castle Burgers, and drink a quick pint before finally getting on the bus at 1:50 in the morning. We’ve got a long ride ahead of us, and Ryan curls up like a fat baby and falls asleep. With Cincinnati fading quickly behind us, I can only think of two things: (1) That I’m all “fun’d” out and need a break, and (2) that I forgot my fucking Mickey’s hat at the movie theatre. Fuck me. I had to suck some major dick to get that merch.

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