MMA writing: 2008-2015

Selected pieces on mixed martial arts — all USA TODAY except as noted: Issues Aug. 4, 2015: Is the UFC turning into Rollerball? (The Guardian) July 12, 2015: Huge night for McGregor, Lawler and UFC 3.0(SportsMyriad) May 25, 2012: UFC, MMA wrestling with testosterone issues March 28, 2010: State of New York still not submitting to MMA advances March 10, 2010: In mixed martial arts, hitting the head can hurt the fist Sept. 15, 2009: UFC president tries out softer stance in business matters July 7, 2009: UFC’s early beginnings packed more than punch May 7, 2009: New York still fighting … Continue reading MMA writing: 2008-2015

Covering MMA: Fascinating, frustrating, never dull

One of my projects for this year is to wrap up a book on my experiences covering mixed martial arts. I promise it’ll be a fun read. So I was happy to see SI’s terrific media reporter, Richard Deitsch, hosting a roundtable of MMA journalists. He got a good cross-section — people are very much “in” the UFC orbit (Heidi Fang, Ariel Helwani) and those who are “out” (Josh Gross). It’s a unique environment. I’ve never covered another sport that handed out copies of Playboy featuring an employee. I’ve rarely found athletes in other sports who’ll just chat, though that’s … Continue reading Covering MMA: Fascinating, frustrating, never dull

MMA fighters: Please don’t fight for your family

Marion Reneau is just the latest MMA fighter who says she’s fighting to support her family / give her family a better life: UFC women’s bantamweight contender Marion Reneau, who is pushing 40, started MMA in her early 30s to help finance her son’s college fund.(From MMA FIghting) Let’s take a look at the money available in the UFC … UFC 189, one of the biggest cards in history, paid most of its fighters $10-15K to fight, plus the same amount as a win bonus. (Conor McGregor made a bit more. Just a bit.) Reneau was actually on a lower … Continue reading MMA fighters: Please don’t fight for your family

The Ultimate Fighter 21, Episode 3: Please, please throw a punch

A few observations on this week’s episode of the biggest fight series in South Florida since Kimbo beat Afropuff and Big Mac on the same day in the boat yard. – The new theme song is as lame as it gets. The credits tell us nothing. No idea why they did this. – Is American Top Team saving its best fighters for when the point values increase? But then the best fighters don’t get to fight twice. Are they just not that good? – Was Valdir “Baby Monster” Araujo motivated by ATT’s Michael Graves stealing his wine? – Does the … Continue reading The Ultimate Fighter 21, Episode 3: Please, please throw a punch

UFC champions’ declining star power

On July 3, 2010, Brock Lesnar defeated Shane Carwin to unify the UFC heavyweight belt, completing Lesnar’s comeback from diverticulitis. As compiled by Dave Meltzer, the authority on such matters, the pay-per-view buyrate for that event was more than 1 million — the sixth time that had happened in UFC history, the third involving Lesnar. That has happened only once since then. The champions as of that date: Heavyweight: Lesnar Light heavyweight: Mauricio “Shogun” Rua Middleweight: Anderson Silva Welterweight: Georges St. Pierre Lightweight: Frankie Edgar Edgar had recently upset BJ Penn for the lightweight belt, then showed later in the … Continue reading UFC champions’ declining star power

The Ultimate Fighter 21, Episode 1: These teams matter

How do you keep The Ultimate Fighter fresh after 10 years? Give the UFC credit for trying. In 2011, they used it to introduce their bantamweight and featherweight divisions. T.J. Dillashaw has gone on to do pretty well for himself, and John Dodson isn’t bad, either. In 2012, they tried a live season. They decided it didn’t work, so they backed away. Then — women! First as coaches and half the cast as Ronda Rousey yelled at Miesha Tate for a while. Then as the whole cast last season, with the winner getting the belt. (And, sadly, not successfully defending it.) This … Continue reading The Ultimate Fighter 21, Episode 1: These teams matter