Zach Hughs vs Spencer Risch – In this weeks fight of the week we bring you a fight between Zach Hughes and Spencer Risch, this was a #1 contender fight for the DC 170 Amateur Title. Many thought this fight was done in the 1st round but a great turn around in the second makes it go the other direction. Enjoy.
Lets be honest MMA isn’t what it once was. I would say it’s evolved for the better. We have sanctioning bodies who’s primary goal is to make sure fighters are safe. Many new weight classes have evolved from the old days. Women are getting in the cage. All in all the sport has grown for the better. But when a sport evolves so does the money wrapped up in it and the business surrounding the sport comes out.
Fighters get managers, agents and PR people these days to help them steer their career in the right direction. That being said, managers have a lot to lose if a fighter they represent, takes a loss in the professional ranks. A single loss can set a fighter back months if not longer. So fighters, a manager truly believes in, are set up to never take a loss. This takes away from the fans. This also takes away from the sport, because if you enjoy going to local fights you will never see the elite fighters put to the test or even fight top notch competition because they are set up to win. A lot of promotions aren’t going to want you to know this, but it’s true. I have had promoters tell me they know who is going to win every fight before the fights take place. [pullquote align=left]
This really makes a fighters’ record irrelevant, you’ve got to go through and look closely at who all they have fought.
[/pullquote] Now, there are some exceptions. There are a few organizations that are able to control matchups a little better because for the most part the fighters are contracted with them and the promotion has control.
The list of fighters that have made it to the UFC that weren’t ready for one reason or another is an ever growing list. Now not every fighter cut from the UFC is cut because the fighter isn’t ready, many are because a fighter is on the decline, or just can’t cut it with the new up and coming talent. But for this article I want to focus on the guys that weren’t ready. The guys that have had the road paved for them to get there. Well they get there and then what? I will say that promotions like RFA, Titan and, and other large regional shows are turning out to be the way for these guys to get there and know they are ready. The promoters take more control over the fights, have access to a greater amount of fights and more skilled fighters.
Now let me throw in another twist. Bellator. With them letting Eddie Alverez out of his contract this may change, but from what I am told the way the Bellator contract is set up they have complete control. And it’s because of this that they will never be able to compete with the UFC. The UFC at this point, is the sport! The UFC is the dream of every fighter out there. And any fighter that has aspirations to fight in the UFC will avoid Bellator because once they commit they are stuck. Is this good to grow the sport? In my opinion not really, they won’t be able to become competitive by growing with the younger kid so in order for Bellator to make a big swing at the UFC they would have to sign away several top athletes from the UFC and lets be honest that’s not going to happen.
So how do we as fans encourage a change? Step 1- I think it starts in the amateur ranks, I see way too many kids customizing fights in the amateur ranks and making the jump before they are ready. In my opinion I don’t think an amateur should ever go pro after a loss, there is a reason they lost, and it means they aren’t ready, the competition is only going to be more difficult at the pro level. Step 2 – These pro’s need to be taking tough fights, there is a difference between a bad matchup and a tough fight. Step 3 Up and coming fighters, guys and gals, need to be fighting in the “Minor leagues” those smaller regional promotions we spoke about earlier. This is the best way for these fighters to know they are ready, and the best way to rate their readiness, because now you can trust their record.
So, is the business of MMA destroying the sport? No, but it is changing the direction the sport is heading. The sport will evolve and the fans that love it will follow. Whether it be putting fighters in uniforms or which fighters make it all the way, it is and always will be a business. I’m sure many more “business” decisions in the future will alter the path of Mixed Martial Arts again. But only time will tell.
Okay, lets be honest. I didn’t go into making the cut thinking it would be easy, and honestly I haven’t started training yet, so it’s only going to get harder. But let me put this out there, my “friends” and co-workers suck! Okay let me explain. My roommate thinks it’s cool to keep ice cream in the freezer, which makes me want some, but I can deal with that. I get worse when last week I think a co-worker had a birthday everyday, and for some reason BIRTHDAY= shit I can’t eat, whether it be cookies or cupcakes or ice cream. Then to pile on I got invited to my friends party over the weekend, I told her I would show with one caveat, she had to have something there I could eat, that turned out to be a cheese tray with some salami on it. SALAMI! that’s the best you could do? But I will say she did have some bomb bacon wrapped asparagus that was nearly gone when I got there. Needless to say I spent my evening drinking diet soda, yeah I know but this low carb thing makes me tires all the time, and eating the salami she so generously left for me. She’ll probably read this and I hope she knows I’m just kidding, but honestly this I have found is what I see everywhere I go.
This week has really been a week of making good decisions, order the widow maker burger with no bun but cheat and not take the cheese off, or go with the salmon and steamed green beans. I believe I made the harder, more healthy choice, each and every time. Cooking at home has become easier, as I’ve found a few things that I can eat regularly that aren’t terrible for me. I’ve been throwing away a ton of egg yolks though, even though my roommate gives me crap about it. But I do it because nothing scares me more about this challenge than failing, and that is not something I am willing to do. I will admit I think I went over on carbs and calories once last week, those damn nuts get me every time. But I made up for it, I didn’t eat for like 48hrs while I was sick.
The end of week 2 is almost upon me. I will say having this one day every couple of weeks to indulge makes it easier to stay clean in the meantime. Saturday I will be having a Large Reese’s Blizzard and maybe a slice or 2 of pizza. I’m going to try not to over indulge, but I’m really looking forward to it. I’m hoping week three to start some strength training, and upping my cardio but I’ll leave that up to the boss Grey Hat Justin Weaver.
I’m also thinking of tossing a recipe that I like each week, onto the blog, maybe help you find some new joys, I would love you guys and gals to send me some too.
Until Next time – Nate
PS below are my week 2 pics, for some reason people seem to want to see the progress 😉
This weeks meet a fighter we bring you Deron Carlis or “The Pharoah”. He fights out of Jason High and L.C. Davis’s American Top Team HD, in Lenexa, KS a suburb of Kansas City. Deron is 2-0 as a professional fighter after going 6-3 as an amateur. We talk to him about what it means to have the new affiliation with American Top Team, what it’s like to transition to the pro ranks, what the state of pro fighting in KC is like, what it means to train under great athletes like L.C. Davis and Jason High, and he also gives us a little insight on his first weight cut, hopefully Jason High doesn’t follow us too closely.
The lightweight division in MMA has long been heralded as the deepest and most talent rich. One of the best prospects in that division is Mansour Barnaoui. The French fighter is just 21-years old, but has managed to put together an impressive resume that is certainly piquing the interest of the top MMA promotions in the world. Holding a career mark of 11-2, his lone losses have come at the hands of current UFC fighter Kevin Lee and MMA Sun another elite lightweight prospect, Islam Makhachev. In his last two fights he finished UFC veterans Curt Warburton and Colin Fletcher en route to the BAMMA lightweight title. He has championship belts in both France and England. Yes, he is young, but this skateboarding enthusiast is perhaps one of the best prospects in MMA.
Barnaoui is a fighter that really is worth paying attention to as he has the potential to be a force in the MMA world for years to come. Mansour does not have a traditional martial arts background, but did start training in MMA at 15-years old. We put a lot of stock into fighter’s age in correlation to their potential. While Mansour did not begin training wrestling of BJJ at infancy, he began training in aspects of the sport at 15, which means his MMA base is MMA. Mansour has shown a very solid all around game. His striking is really good, and he throws a solid flying knee with accuracy. He has shown a willingness to stand and trade, and when he does he really seems to get the best of the exchanges. He has good power in his punches. He has also shown good submissions ability. Seven of his eleven wins have come via submission. When he fought Colin Fletcher he not only showed good submission defense, but he showed great transitions. He transitions from side control, to the back with ease. He also locked up a very nice body triangle, trapping the leg of Fletcher a la B.J. Penn. He is big and strong for the lightweight category and will continue to get bigger as well. Another thing I like about “Tarzan” is that he throws very powerful punches from over top of the clinch position. I think he still has a lot of room to improve in the wrestling department. In order to improve that aspect of his game he may need to train some in the U.S. or even in Russia. He also puts himself in a bad position too often. Opponents haven’t been able to really capitalize on this, but they might be able to at a higher level, so he needs to watch himself with submissions. He does great in most exchanges, but we have seen him get clipped a few times too. He will need to be a little more guarded against higher level competition.
I would expect the UFC to target someone like Barnaoui very soon. UFC has shown desire to break into mainland Europe, and Mansour may be the best prospect in Western Europe. Also, UFC has talked much about it’s global plans. Barnoui is not only fighting out of France, but he is of Tunisian decent. One would think that would add to his appeal from the UFC. This is a guy that if you watch, you will become a fan of. I think the UFC would make a mistake not signing this guy sooner rather than later. Barnoui is scheduled to fight Michael Brightmon at BAMMA 16 on Spetember 13th. The rumor is, a win there could get the BAMMA lightweight champion a UFC offer. Could we see Barnaoui become the first European UFC champion? Well, we are a long way from that, but he is certainly one to watch.