Vintage TUF – The Ultimate Fighter Season 10: Heavyweights – Week 2

Reliving The Season That Cardio Forgot

 Week 2

Punisher Bass: We open up with a brief recap of the previous episode. The coaches don’t like each other and lots and lots of blood. On the off chance that you forgot who the centerpiece of this season is, the UFC happily reminds you that it’s Kimbo Slice.

Oh dear god this theme song… NC, please tell me they’re not still using this thing? It’s a good thing I can fast forward through it, otherwise I’d be in search of a knitting needle to shove through my ears right now.

NewChallenger: How dare you criticize that classic theme. No, they are no longer using it…and we are all the worse off for it.

PB: Hmmm, the opening shot is of a wooden cross on a hill overlooking the city below and Mike Rowe is narrating… Gee I wonder where the production crew got the idea for that? Add a little water and snow, both things not normally found in Vegas, and this is a carbon copy of Deadliest Catch.

NC: As we get a look at the cast in the house, Kimbo says that the first thing he noticed was that there was “a lot of meat in there”. Phrasing.

PB: “I’m sure I’m gonna fight next” Kimbo says. Not yet big guy, not just yet…

Justin Wren and Roy Nelson are in the kitchen talking about our favorite nipple head and how they think they match up against him.

NC: They are licking their chops at the prospect of getting their hands on Kimbo (I know, phrasing). In retrospect, it’s insane that Kimbo would be considered anywhere near the level of a top ten heavyweight like Big Country. This is the world that some of us were living in back in 2009.

PB: Team Silver starts their training session and the camera focuses almost exclusively on Kimbo.

NC: Nothing endears you more to a group of guys who want to beat your ass than getting preferential treatment from the show and the coaches.

PB: We have the first Tiki sighting on the episode! And he’s bringing less wisdom than what you’d find inside a fortune cookie. Take two shots, one because he’s on camera and another for saying something stupid.

I’m not a grappler, but to my very untrained eye, this looks like the grappling equivalent of a pity f**k for Slice.

Street Thug JitsuWhat exactly is Kimbo going to do from this position?

NC: One thing I’ll say about Rampage is that he could have gone the opposite way with this whole thing and been envious of all the attention that Kimbo has received. It’s nice to see him take him under his wing, for better or for worse.

PB: Team Gold takes to the mat for their training session, and Nelson seems to be giving his coaches a bit of a hard time. Roy is a seasoned fighter, and former champion, and doesn’t feel like he needs to be in the Guppy class like everyone else. So Rashad and company sit him down for a little chit-chat in the back room.

“You got knocked out by Arlovski, do you want that to happen again?” Trevor Wittman says to him.

Roy replies with a sigh and low key “No, I don’t”.

“If you’re not going to take this seriously, I’ll ask Rampage if he needs another guy.” Damn man, that’s cold!

Nelson ShockedTell me…he did not just say that.

It’s time to announce the next fight, and Quinton pretends he doesn’t remember Nelson’s name. We’re not even 10 minutes into the second episode and I think this is the third time he’s used this joke this season. Stuff like this is one of the reasons why I never tuned into another TUF after this.

Jackson selects Rashad’s #1 pick James McSweeney (after flubbing his name) to face off with his #4 pick Wes Shivers. There’s A LOT I have to say about these guys, but it’s going to have to wait for a bit, but trust me their day is coming.

NC: It should be mentioned that McSweeney is a natural 205er and Shivers dwarfs him. The man is enormous.

PB: Quinton is very confident that Wes is going to demolish McSweeney in short order, saying he’s just doing it “to be mean”. Yeah, get back to me on how that works out for ya.

I’m going to listen to some ZZ Top here instead of whatever James has to say, I don’t like the guy and I find him to be very irritating, so trying to recap his thoughts would just push me into snark overload. I need to save that up for later. Sorry NC, but you’re on your own here.

NC: Don’t apologize, we must preserve our snark as we get older lest we resort to SRT (Snark Replacement Therapy). And that’s not a line I’m willing to cross!

McSweeney is a teammate of Rashad’s with Greg Jackson, originally from the UK. This whole season kind of becomes an extended advertisement for the Jackson camp.

PB: But my head’s in Mississippi… oh we’re back? Team Gold is sitting on the mat in what my pre-school teacher called an “Indian Circle” (don’t look at me like that, she said it, not me!). Apparently they’re running a bit long since Quinton marches in and shoos them out so his band of misfits can put their time in, and they’re going to need every single second of it.

NC: Thankfully, he’s prepared to handle the situation with his trademark class and aplomb.

PB: “I’m thinking about just pulling my pants down, goin’ over there and just fartin’ right on their heads, just ghetto blast em’”. Congrats Quinton, that actually gave me a good chuckle.

There is some cordial banter back and forth between him and Rashad, which boils down to “get the hell out of here… please”.

Another Tiki sighting! Take a shot.

NC: *glug, glug, glug*

I actually like that everyone this season seems to be in on the joke. They’re always laughing and smiling and having a good time. Manufactured beef or not, I could watch Rampage and Rashad all day.

PB: The next montage focuses on Shivers instead of Kimbo, but there are still shots of him peppered throughout. Shivers was with the NFL for a very brief time before getting cut and eventually moving onto MMA. He’s a big boy who hits hard and… that’s about all he’s got.

Mike Van Arsdale looks like the world’s toughest Telly Savalas impersonator.

NC: Rashad calls TUF the “hardest road to getting to the UFC”. I don’t know about that.

Nice HouseThe struggle is real.

PB: Back at the house, the Silver team talks about the upcoming fight, and Marcus Jones says “You know, James has had over 100 something kickboxing matches…”

Wait one hot sh**ting minute here, what the hell did he just say? Did that include games of Mortal Kombat II at his local arcade? Wiki says his kickboxing record is 2-3 and his current MMA record is an abysmal 14-13, which includes a recent knockout loss to Roger Gracie. I wish I was making that up.

I notice that everyone is wearing the same goofy octagon necklace, as of this writing Amazon has two of them left in stock for $19.99 each. They’re practically giving them away!

NC: I know what someone is getting for Christmas.

Team Rampage’s Wes Shivers (7-1) v. Team Rashad’s James McSweeney (3-4)*

(* Records according to Sherdog, not the records listed on the show)

PB: It’s fight time. Let’s hope this one isn’t as messy as the last one, and I mean that literally as well as metaphorically.

McSweeney shuffles back and forth trying to psyche himself up for the battle ahead, it looks more like he’s about to do one of those “Eat a five pound burrito in 30 minutes or less” challenge videos you see on YouTube.

As James takes his shirt off I laugh at his choice of ink. At first glance it looks like he’s had a piece of barbed wire tattooed around his torso instead of just the typical one around the bicep.

NC: Much like Abe’s head wound last episode, I’m not going to cap this in the name of good taste.

PB: James offers his hand out for the customary glove tap and it’s ignored by Wes. Remember last week Quinton ordered that no one touch gloves from then on.

NC: He just doesn’t want his whole team to get Madsen’d.

PB: Wes looks like a high school senior taking on a 6th grader who hasn’t hit puberty yet.

Being the much bigger and stronger fighter, after some wild punches, Wes gets James in the clinch and eventually gets him to the ground, and then has no idea what to do with him now that he has him there. He just kinda holds him there and isn’t sure what he should do next.

NC: I actually like how Wes started this one. His rush was hard to stop and he used a nice trip to get McSweeney down. Even with McSweeney being the better grappler, it had to be a good sign that the much larger Shivers was on top.

PB: He wants to go for a kimura but apparently doesn’t know that both of his hands are required to pull it off. Ah, he finally remembers that important fact but it’s too late and McSweeney slips out and they’re both back on their feet.

NC: It didn’t help that he hadn’t taken the time to move past half guard either. That’s not going to fly against someone with McSweeney’s training.

PB: What. The. Hell.

We’re less than two minutes into this fight, where most of it has been spent with Shivers in top control, and he’s already out of gas as his hands drop to his side. He’s exhausted and throws a sloppy kick that catches McSweeney in the cup and he goes down.

Right In The McSweeneysMaybe he can make it back to the NFL as a punter.

As the ref calls for a time out and the fighters separate, Quinton yells at Wes “Deep breaths, in through the nose out through the mouth”. If this was a lamaze class it’d be exactly what Shivers needs to hear, but sadly this is a fight he’s in and should be getting something a little more constructive right now.

Shivers turns around to grab the top of the fence and catch his breath, but when the fight restarts I think he’s even more tired than he was before the break.

James offers another glove tap, if only to say “It’s cool bro, accidents happen”, and it gets ignored. Never let it be said that Jackson’s fighters don’t obey every order to the best of their abilities.

NC: As much as I’m against tapping gloves at the beginning and during a fight, the post-groin kick tap is a matter of respect. Then again, it’s entirely possible that Shivers was too tired at this point to raise his hand that high.

PB: I can’t even begin to describe the next 15 seconds of the fight…

Veteran SkillsMcSweeney sure doesn’t look like the veteran of 100+ fights.

Just a hair over two minutes left and James’ tank isn’t proving to be much better than Shivers’, both guys start dropping their hands to their sides. As the seconds tick by, it just gets worse and worse, this is like late round five of a heavyweight fight at high altitude.

NC: I can at least say that McSweeney is getting the better of Shivers in the stand-up as bad as that sounds. Shivers lunges in and looks like he might fall over if the cage wasn’t there to catch him.

Powerful LungeSlick.

I got the first round 10-9 McSweeney on my scorecard.

PB: At the start of round two, they’re sucking so much wind I think my TV is in danger of imploding.

NC: You’re going to think I’m nuts, but Shivers actually had some potential, no? He manages to catch a McSweeney kick (okay, we probably could have caught one of McSweeney’s kicks in this fight) and put him on his back again. There was some talent there. If he’d taken up martial arts when he was younger, maybe he could have had a decent UFC career.

PB: Yes, you’re nuts because that’s a mighty big “IF” there. If he was 10 years younger, if rounds were only one minute long with a five minute break between them, and if he was allowed use of an oxygen mask during that time, then maybe.

NC: Alas, his glaring lack of submission training rears its ugly head once more. His rear naked choke attempt is easily countered and soon they’re back up on their feet. Neither man is looking particularly spry, and that’s being kind.

PB: That RNC was so bad, Ken Shamrock would be shaking his head while muttering “Amateurs”.

NC: Shivers gives us a preview of Slice/Alexander and McSweeney keeps resetting himself as his corner shrieks at him to get in there!

Hunched OverMcSweeney searches for an opening against the cat-like Shivers.

Rashad is actually losing his voice screaming at McSweeney. It is hilarious.

Rashad Screaming“JAMES DON’T WAIT DON’T WAIT!!!”

PB: “Can we just take five, please? Please!? Come on! I’m really tired here and this fighting s**t can really take it out of you!”

“Yeah that’s cool, I could use a breather myself, maybe I should use this time to think about how I really need to quit smoking 5 ½ packs a day.”

“Oh dude, I’m down to just four a day and it’s done WONDERS for me! I can actually walk to and from the fridge without having to pause and hold onto the wall.”

“I have an idea! You throw a real half hearted punch and kick, then I’ll come back with a slightly firmer kick of my own but totally whiff on the punches. Only 60 more seconds of this and then we can both go lay down and beg God to live for a while.”

“Oh man, if I could lift my arms right now, I’d give you such a big hug!”

I really hope those of you reading this will appreciate how much we’re suffering just for your entertainment.

NC: I don’t know what you’re talking about. Prior to the decision, Steve Mazzagatti congratulated both guys and called the fight “awesome”. Another hit to the much maligned official’s credibility.

PB: Mayor McCheesey wins by majority decision, and I’ve now spent 22 minutes of my life watching this fight, which is 22 minutes that I’ll never get back.

NC: When you write it out like that, I really have to question what I’m doing with these recaps and my life in general.

PB: And this is why I drink.

NC: Rashad says Rampage did him a favour with those first two fight picks. With that, Team Rampage completely squandered their side of the opening coin flip. Rashad got the first pick and he won both of Rampage’s fight selections. Yee-ikes.

Rampage DisapprovalThat about sums it up.

PB: Since his team has won two in a row, Rashad takes control over the matchups, and he picks Roy Nelson to take on… drum roll please… Kimbo Slice. Goodie gum drops.

NC: So much for the foreplay, eh?

McSweeney VictoriousNext week, the most watched episode in TUF history!

Vintage TUF – The Ultimate Fighter Season 10: Heavyweights – Week 1

Reliving The Season That Cardio Forgot

Punisher Bass: The year was 2009 and Dana White was adamant that the UFC’s heavyweight division was more exciting than it had ever been before. The PPV monster Brock Lesnar had just unified the heavyweight title by beating Frank Mir at the wildly successful UFC 100 event, knockout artist Shane Carwin would be getting his chance later in the fall, and White was proud to announce that they had signed famed backyard brawler turned MMA fighter Kimbo Slice for the next season of The Ultimate Fighter.

But I was still a neophyte MMA fan at the time. I had been following the sport for less than a year, UFC 100 was the first event I watched live instead of reading a live blog, and I only haunted Cage Potato instead of Bloody Elbow. I knew what TUF was about, but because I hate reality shows I had never watched any of it, so I figured the upcoming 10th season would be a good jumping on point.

I was wrong, I was so so so wrong.

Honestly, the entire season could be best summed up with this simple GIF:

Slice-AlexanderI really could just end this right here and be done with it. It’s not only that Houston Alexander and Slice are sucking wind so bad the first five rows of the audience are in danger of passing out from oxygen deprivation, but take a look at poor Josh Rosenthal, he’s so embarrassed by what he’s seeing he involuntary facepalms. That was TUF 10 in a nutshell.

But that would be taking the easy way out, and I don’t want to take the path of least resistance here, so over the next several weeks I’m going to be rewatching and recapping the season that was TUF 10. But there’s a twist… I won’t be doing it on my own.

I’m going to be teaming up with Bloody Elbow’s unofficial TUF guru NewChallenger for this series. We’ll be working together over the next while because misery loves company.

So I need to go warm up the time circuits and fill Mr. Fusion, that means NewChallenger will take over from here.

NewChallenger: 1.21 GIGAWATTS!!!

How do I follow up that glamorous introduction. I am not worthy. And I’m not just saying that because I never finished the TUF: Brazil 4 recaps.

The truth is that like so many others, I finally succumbed to TUF burnout. Blame it on the contestants, blame Dana White, blame it on the inane and outdated premise of the show…for whatever reason, I could no longer get my blood up when it time to write about the long running reality series.

So when Punisher Bass came to me with the idea of recapping a “classic” season, I was reluctant at first. But I thought about how fun it would be to work on something that’s already finished, alleviating the pressure of hard deadlines (my only weakness) and I started to consider it. Then he suggested recapping TUF 10 aka TUF: The Heavyweights and..

PB: Actually, you were the one who first proposed the idea of working together on something, and that was well over a year ago. I put you off for all that time before this idea came to me, so just remember that you brought this on yourself.

NC: And that’s what really hurts.

I was mentioning TUF burnout and one of the big reasons is that people are tired of seeing the same weight classes. Like clockwork, a season will be announced and you’ll hear “Gawwwwwd, lightweights and welterweights again?!?

Look, the UFC can be held accountable for a lot of things but it’s not their fault that the majority of mixed martial artists’ body types happen to fall into the 145-170 range. Alas, we do not live in a world of super agile mythical beasts and monsters.

PB: There is where I get to humblebrag that I’m actually one of those giants and monsters. In real life I stand 6’6″ and weigh around 300 lbs, in fact there are only two heavyweights on the current roster who are larger than me, Stefan Struve and Travis Browne. I live in a world surrounded by dwarfs and hobbits.

NC: If you’re wondering, in the 29 combined domestic and international editions of TUF, heavyweights have only been featured three times and TUF 10 was the first to feature them exclusively. If you’ve watched any of these seasons, you’ll understand why. Here are some notes on the other two:

  • TUF 2
    • Split cast with welterweights
    • Season 10 coach Rashad Evans would go on to defeat the massive Brad Imes in the finale, then immediately drop back down to light heavyweight
    • No fighters in the heavyweight bracket would have significant heavyweight careers, though Imes once recorded two straight gogoplata finishes, so there’s something
    • Other notables: Keith Jardine (LHW, MW), Seth Petruzelli (LHW)
  • TUF: Brazil 3
    • Split cast with middleweights
    • Antônio Carlos Jr. beat Vitor Miranda in the finale, both would drop to middleweight within a year

So even when the show has featured heavyweights, it hasn’t really featured heavyweights, ya dig? If there’s one thing we can say for sure about TUF 10, it’s that most of these dudes are heavyweights.

PB: During the opening montage, I catch a brief glimpse of my favorite heavyweight ever, Shane Carwin, knocking Gabriel Gonzaga the f**k out. I involuntarily smile while thinking of UFC 116 where he knocked Brock Lesnar out in the first round to unify the HW title. Then I’m saddened when I remember he was eventually forced to retire without ever defending it due to injuries.

NC: Um…

PB: Then Dana White informs me that their heavyweight division has never been more exciting and this new crop of fighters will only make it better. Mmmhmm….

I think you’d be hard pressed to provide evidence that the 2015 roster of heavyweights is any better or worse than the 2009 incarnation.

Mike Rowe says that this season will feature 4 former NFL players, 3 UFC vets, and my UFC avatar Roy Nelson. There’s also going to be none other than Kimbo Slice joining in on the fun. Just for s**ts and giggles, here’s what happened to Kimbo about a year before this episode aired.

Slice-PetruzelliNC: In regards to the coaches, here’s a quick rundown of where their careers were going into the season.

  • Rashad Evans (14-1-1) had just lost the LHW title to Lyoto Machida and fighting Rampage at the end of this season was meant to put him on the fast track to a rematch.
  • Rampage Jackson (30-7) was on a two fight-win streak, having finally avenged a pair of losses by knocking Wanderlei Silva’s soul out and then taking a convincing decision from Rashad’s buddy Jardine.

PB: I don’t know, maybe it’s because I’m the suburbanite white boy from the midwest, but I really wish I could turn on subtitles when Quinton is talking here. I’m having a lot of trouble keeping up with him.

NC: I actually like how this season starts with the two of them talking trash like a couple of old men in the park. It’s a big comedown from the intense intro.

Rashad says that Rampage is “too slow” and that his head is “too big”. Both true. Rampage counters by saying that Rashad “ain’t fought nobody” (except, you know, Tito Ortiz, Chuck Liddell, Forrest Griffin, Machida…)

The LookSonny, back in my day…

PB: He and Rashad trade insults back and forth until the cast starts making their way through the (cardboard) door. And they sure are binguns, I think it’s fair to say that none of these guys will be dropping to light heavyweight when the season is over.

NC: Rampage is blown away by the 6’6” Marcus Jones aka “The Darkness”.

PB: As they file in, we’re shown a few interview clips with a few of them answering questions about their background and why they’re here, that kind of thing.

NC: “Big Country” Nelson is far and away the most experienced and accomplished fighter in the cast. No surprise, he’s one of three contestants still competing in the UFC today. We also hear from two of the NFL players, Marcus and Wes Shivers.

PB: Quinton starts razzing Rashad about his (then) recent loss to Lyoto Machida which also cost him his LHW title. So Rashad counters by reminding Quinton about getting KO’d by Shogun Rua, too bad he didn’t bring up the times Silva left him in a heap in PRIDE.

NC: Even more insulting, Rashad actually accuses Rampage of quitting against Shogun, which results in a game of “you quit”/“I never quit”. It’s safe to assume that this riveting exchange lasted about ten minutes before it was edited down for our sakes.

PB: Dana makes a special introduction for Kimbo Slice, and I swear I can hear him go “ka-ching!”, meanwhile Brendan Schaub says “F**k him. F**k that guy”.

I’m inclined to agree with him here and would probably do the same if I was just basically told “None of you guys are worth half a s**t as much as this guy right here”.

It dawns on me that whatever the hell Slice is wearing on top of his head looks like a giant rubber nipple.

Kimbo's HereRATINGS

NC: I feel compelled to remind people how just how famous Kimbo was when this season aired. He had little more than an illustrious street fighting career, a 3-1 professional MMA record, and an appearance on the Drake & Josh Christmas special under his belt, and he was arguably one of the five most famous fighters in the world!

Sound crazy? When now deceased promotion EliteXC had to pick a headliner for their CBS debut (the first primetime MMA event to air on a major American network), they chose Slice’s match with journeyman James Thompson. An estimated 6.51 million people tuned in to the main event, a record that would stand until the UFC debuted on FOX in 2011.

Dana had been dogging Kimbo for years (more so when he was signed with competing leagues, obviously) and he’s happy to put his money where his mouth is.

PB: “I got Kimbo Slice. Don’t even be thinkin’ about him, he my first pick, he ain’t even gotta train.” Quinton says (I think). Clearly he’s showing his world class coaching ability right out of the gate and putting his years of experience as a fighter to good use.

NC: Say what you want about Rampage, he knows what this show is really about.

PB: Fighter evaluations start. Is it just me, or does Matt Mitrione look a lot like Chris Pratt?

NC: White guy with short hair and a beard? Checks out in my book.

Rashad has got Greg Jackson and Trevor Wittman in his corner, not to mention two Jackson’s MMA fighters on the show in Schaub and James McSweeney. Rampage has Tiki Ghosn and his brutal facial hair.

UghThis man once dated Arianny Celeste.

PB: And we have our first Tiki sighting! Take a shot!

Quinton’s method of evaluation is for the guys to spar and spar hard, which apparently isn’t sitting well with all of the fighters.

NC: Especially when you consider that these guys can all kill each other with one punch. This doesn’t seem like a great idea.

PB: “Roy Nelson got a big ass belly, he was fat”. Keen observation there Quinton.

This is followed up by him yelling “We got titties! We got titties!” in reference to Darrill Schoonover walking by. He then makes kissy faces to the camera and drives this unfunny joke into the ground by repeatedly saying “titties” about 4,000 times.

Very Mature 1“We noticed that one of fighters, he was kind of a fat, pudgy guy, like a heavyweight…and he had some titties.” Very Mature 2“Go ahead and shake them titties. Do a little dance like this with them titties. Be happy you got titties!”

This is going to be a long f**king season…

Jackson says “Kimbo Slice’s standup was really impressive”, I’m not sure if he was being serious or sarcastic. He then describes Kimbo’s ground game as simply “lacking” all while we’re shown footage of him being outgrappled by Meathead. I repeat, he’s being schooled on the ground by Meathead.

NC: We probably won’t be seeing Slice/Mitrione at Metamoris anytime soon.

PB: It’s time for the coin flip, which Rashad wins. He opts to get first pick and he uses to draft…James McSweeney? I swear I burst out in laughter and surprise when I saw this, my memory was of him selecting Roy Nelson first, so this was a shock to me.

NC: Nelson goes ninth overall!!! Unreal.

PB: Jackson makes the 4,001st “titties” joke of the episode and then promptly selects Kimbo as his first pick. If any of his coaches voiced any sort of objection, then we weren’t shown it, and if they didn’t then they should be fucking ashamed of themselves.

NC: Wes Sims makes a big scene when he’s picked and Dana has this wry smile on his face like, “I’m remembering now why I cut this guy in the first place.” Wes jokingly claims that he’s the only man to beat Frank Mir twice (in reality, he was disqualified in their first bout and then KO’d in the rematch).

When it’s down to Zak Jensen, Rampage jokes that he’s picking the camera guy instead. Cold.

Team Rashad (Gold)

  1. James McSweeney
  2. Brendan Schaub
  3. Justin Wren
  4. Jon Madsen
  5. Roy Nelson
  6. Darrill Schoonover
  7. Matt Mitrione
  8. Mike Wessel

Team Rampage (Silver)

  1. Kimbo Slice
  2. Abe Wagner
  3. Demico Rogers
  4. Wes Sims
  5. Scott Junk
  6. Wes Shivers
  7. Marcus Jones
  8. Zak Jensen

In retrospect, you can see that Rashad’s team is leaps and bounds better than Rampage’s team. Almost everyone there would go on to either have multiple UFC fights or capture titles for smaller promotions.

They establish early on that everyone is gunning for Kimbo. This is what the recent iterations have been missing. Not just a famous name like Kimbo, but long term storylines for viewers to get invested in. Every episode these days feels so slapped together.

PB: Team Gold have their training session followed by Team Silver, with Quinton wanting to see what kind of cardio everyone has. “I was pretty impressed with most of ‘em”, either Jackson has very, very low standards or he needs to get his eyes checked.

NC: In the words of Rampage himself, at one point it looks like Marcus might puke his heart out onto the mat.

PB: Quinton decides the first fight of the season will be between Abe Wagner and Jon Madsen. Evans thanks Quinton because he believes Madsen’s wrestling background will provide the perfect path for an easy win.

I noticed that they didn’t show anyone stepping on the scales before the fight. Isn’t that something they normally do on TUF, or are they just figuring none of these guys are going to crack the 265 lb limit?

NC: The parade of flabby bodies didn’t make it past the first focus group testing.

Abe is a director of finance and operations at a large company with a background in mechanical engineering. Presented with this information, Rampage tries to stump him by asking “what’s 10 times 2”, which Abe quickly answers. I’m not sure Rampage would even know if he was right or not.

In the locker room, Rampage tells Abe to stay relaxed, which is promptly followed by Abe puking into a bucket.

Prefight RitualGSP style.

Team Rampage’s Abe Wagner (7-2) v. Team Rashad’s Jon Madsen (3-0)*

(* Records according to Sherdog, not the records listed on the show)

PB: It’s time for the fight. After a quick glove tap, Madsen scores a takedown about 10 seconds in and spends the next three minutes stuck to Wagner like s**t to a blanket.

NC: Gross.

PB: Yeah I have a real way with words, don’t I?

With roughly two minutes left an elbow from above cuts Abe wide open and he starts bleeding like a stuck pig.

La Magra gets a hard-on.

Abe's BloodI’m not a doctor, but…

At 20 seconds left to go the cage is starting to look like the aftermath of the elevator scene in The Shining.

NC: Let’s not forget that round allowed us to get a glimpse of the infamous Rampage corner work. He never stops shouting helpful advice like “let’s go!” and “do what you gotta do”. Tiki one-ups him by asking the referee to “stand ‘em up!” and telling Abe to improve his position without actually offering any tips on how to do that.

Not to be outdone, Rampage reaches deep down for a “You gotta do something, Abe!”

PB: That is a really really big watch Stitch is wearing there.

NC: Well he earned his money in this one.

PB: Quinton just tells Abe he needs to win, that he needs to knock Madsen out. On the other side of the cage Evans tells his fighter he’s doing well and he needs to mix things up to keep Abe off balance.

A pseudo glove tap from Madsen leads right into another takedown just five seconds in and Quinton scolds Abe for trying to be a sportsman. They were both already huffing and puffing before the bell, and it’s only going to get worse from here. After a minute of stalling on the ground, the ref puts them back on their feet.

And another takedown from Madsen, and Quinton just keeps yelling “You gotta finish him Abe! Work to get up! Get up! GET UP!”. Sage advice there Quinton. After another standup and another takedown, we hear him continue to order Abe to simply “Get up”.

With 20 seconds left and yet another standup, Jackson yells that Madsen is just going to do the same thing again, and when he’s right he gets pissed off and storms away. Tiki follows right behind him like a loyal dog.

Thank God this episode is almost over, that fight was terrible. To paraphrase George Carlin, “This was like watching old people f**k, sloppy and slow”. Both fighters are so spent, if you asked them to blow up a balloon they’d probably die.

Shockingly, Madsen gets the UD making it the first victory for Team Gold this season. Rashad praises his guy while others tell him that Quinton walked away he was so pissed off.

Quinton orders his team to never touch gloves again, because I’m sure that’s the only reason Abe got cracked open like a rusty pipe. Speaking of poor Abe, as the doctor is taking care of it, it’s clear that he got fucked the fuck up, a huge gash on his head deep enough to where you can see his skull. Dude got Sanchezed.

Sanchez GashNC: You can actually see the bone and for all of our sakes, I’m going to strategically cap this so as to avoid that image.

TreatmentAbe: “Is this going to hurt?”

Doctor: “Yeah, it’s going to hurt.”

Abe: “A lot?”

Doctor: “Uhh…”

PB: I have to say, hiring Mike Rowe to be their narrator was a brilliant (if predictable) move, his voice makes even the silliest ideas sound legit and exciting.

NC: Rowe is great. Sadly, I think this was one of the last seasons he would do.

And so we come to the end of the first, er, thrilling (?) episode. As snarky as we can be, I actually recall greatly enjoying this season and this first episode was intriguing if nothing else. They got a good mix of personalities, the heat between Rashad and Rampage was ever present without being grating (yet), and KIMBO!

Come on Punisher Bass, let’s turn that frown upside down.

PB: Easier said than done my friend. I forget, did we already know at this point that Quinton was “retiring” to go shoot The A-Team remake, or did that news break part way through the season? I do remember it basically killing all of the heat between them since we knew there wouldn’t actually be a fight at the end. Yeah they did eventually square off, only it was about 6 months too late.

NC: No, the movie was a surprise to DW and let me tell you, he was not happy.

Madsen VictoriousPB: Anyway, next week the “Will Kimbo get attacked by a pack of rabid weasels!?” show will continue.

The UFC Comes To Winnipeg – Part 2: Two Trees Falling In A Forest

The prevailing sentiment after the show was that this was a card on par with last July’s disappointing Calgary show.  That card was chock full of inaction, stalling and questionable decisions.  There was no punch to it (pardon the pun).  Because Calgary and Winnipeg are cities eager for UFC action, there is the sense that they are being exploited.  After all, if people will buy tickets no matter what then why should you give them anything of substance?

One thing that people shouldn’t do is compare these events with the UFC’s excursions into Brazil.  I love an exciting finish as much as the next guy, but the matchmaking for the last UFC on Fuel TV card in Fortaleza was farcical.  It wasn’t that Brazilians won every fight or even the record number of submissions.  The problem was that the fighters who ended up losing were set up as glorified jobbers.  Add in the hostile home crowd and you may as well have basted them in steak sauce and thrown them to actual wolves.  This is not to take anything away from the Brazilian fighters that night, several of whom project as future contenders.  I’d go as far to say that those Brazilians are superior to the Canadians that I saw on Saturday.

Even if they failed to elevate heart rates, the UFC 161 participants should be applauded for their gritty performances.  Not every fight is going to be a jiu-jitsu clinic or an electrifying slugfest.  There were only two true stinkers on the card with the other fights being close, compelling contests.  Decisions happen, especially with intelligent matchmaking that leads to fair competition and not pro wrestling style squash matches.

Judging, on the other hand, continues to be a sore spot and there was some definite home cooking going on.  Let’s take a closer look at each match:

Bantamweight Bout: Yves Jabouin d. Dustin Pague via Split Decision (29-28 x2, 28-29)

Music:

Pague comes out to a remix of Return of the Mack.  That’s pretty dope.

“Tiger” Jabouin counters with Techno Syndrome.


MORTAL KOMBAAAAAAAT

Tiger wins.

Analysis:

The diverse striking of Jabouin served him well.  He worked his way past Pague’s long arms, put points on the board and set up his takedowns.  It was the latter maneuver that led to trouble.  Pague has an extremely active guard and Jabouin spent much of the first round fighting off submissions attempts.  Were it not for some late ground and pound, he might have actually lost the first round.

The disparity on the ground was even more obvious in the second.  Pague worked to full mount, landed a ton of punches and threatened with a rear naked choke.  To Tiger’s credit, he never panicked even when it looked like Pague had the submission locked in.

In the third, Tiger was doing fine until he threw a crazy ass (that’s a technical term) spin kick and fell down in a heap.  Pague pounced, but couldn’t capitalize and after a scramble Jabouin was able to get back on top.  It was another close one, but I gave Tiger that one in addition to the first.

I had the good fortune of running into Pague at the airport later that night and I congratulated him on a great fight.  The funny thing is that Pague came much closer to finishing the fight than Jabouin ever did.  Jabouin was just able to score more consistently.  It’s a shame that Pague might get released after this as both men put forth a good effort.

Lightweight Bout: Mitch Clarke d. John Maguire via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

Music:

Maguire promised a special entrance if he got 10,000 Twitter followers.  True to his word, he entered wearing a belly shirt whilst dancing to the ‘80s classic, Maniac.

Some things you can’t unsee, bro.

Analysis:

This was built up as a battle between two accomplished grapplers and you know what that means: mediocre kickboxing time!  Neither guy is going to sign up for a K1 tournament anytime soon, but Clarke was slightly better on the feet and that was enough to get him his first UFC win.

Bantamweight Bout: Roland Delorme d. Edwin Figueroa via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x3)

Music:

Delorme comes out to We Own It, a song from the modern cinema masterpiece “Fast and Furious 6”.  Point: Delorme.

Analysis:

I’m a huge fan of Delorme and his ground work is truly a pleasure to watch, but he took so much damage searching for submissions that I thought Figueroa might have eked this one out.  Happy to be wrong.  With the victory, Delorme is undefeated (not counting a loss to Francisco Rivera that was overturned), but he still needs more seasoning before facing top competition.  This was the third straight fight to go to a decision and the third straight win for a Canadian.  This is the point where the judging was starting to look fishy.

Welterweight Bout: Sean Pierson d. Kenny Robertson via Majority Decision (29-28 x2, 28-28)

Analysis:

Pierson looked a lot bigger than Robertson and he used his size to avoid any bad positions.  His striking has always been a strength and even though he got taken down, he had a massive advantage on the feet through the first two rounds.  In the final period, Robertson cracked Pierson with an unorthodox upward elbow but he couldn’t put him away.  It was so damaging that I would have given Robertson a 10-8 round and scored the fight a draw as one of the judges did.

In interviews leading up to the show, Pierson uttered the dreaded “R word” (retirement) and that, for me, is a red flag.  I was rooting for him, but I thought that Robertson would win.  I swear I’m not a self-hating Canuck.  It was good to see Pierson get his hand raised even if it wasn’t in the most impressive fashion.

Lightweight Bout: James Krause d. Sam Stout via Submission (4:47, R3)

Music:

Krause comes out to B.o.B. and Stout to Lil Wayne.  Why is the entrance music getting progressively less interesting?

Analysis:

Stout was the obvious pick here, with 15 UFC appearances under his belt compared to Krause’s 0.  Then again, this is why they play the games.

I couldn’t believe my eyes in the first round.  Stout was being out-struck!  Conventional wisdom suggested that Krause should be doing everything in his power to get the fight down to the mat, but it was Stout who initiated the grappling.  It was a tactic he had used in the past to “steal” close rounds.  That tactic would come back to haunt him later.

Also, Krause broke out a cartwheel kick:

Krause stayed calm, cool and collected when Stout started to build momentum in the second round.  From what I’d read and seen, Krause was more than prepared for the UFC (he’d previously competed in the WEC).  I’m not sure even his most hardcore followers could have predicted he would make such an impact in his first night out.  He was so comfortable that he threw out a jumping knee, a Superman uppercut (!) and a stepping elbow.  His corner warned him about a late takedown from Stout and when it happened, Krause was able to turn it into a guillotine submission with just seconds to go.  He would end up earning the bonus money for best fight and best submission, totalling $100,000.  Not a bad way to debut.

Welterweight Bout: Jake Shields d. Tyron Woodley via Split Decision (29-28 x2, 30-27)

Music:

Shields comes out to Seven Nation Army, the only time you’ll see the crowd excited for him.  Woodley wins me over by coming out to Started From The Bottom.

Analysis:

Let me just refer to my notes here…

  • Round 1: Zzzzz…10-9 Shields
  • Round 2: Zzzzz…10-9 Shields
  • Round 3: Zzzzz…oh, spinning back fist!  Zzzzz…10-9 Shields

I thought this fight had reasonable star power, but I somehow forgot that both men have a reputation for grueling, grind it out victories.  Woodley fooled us all with a decent showing against Nate Marquardt (though it should say something that what I remember most is Woodley getting brutally knocked out) and an awesome finish of Jay Hieron.

Shields…is Shields.

Even though I think Shields won every round with pitter patter strikes and leg kicks that would best be described as “gentle”, he also failed 18 takedown attempts.  18!  The fact that Woodley was even less effective should tell you everything you need to know about this fight (I “LOL’d” at the announcement of the 30-27 score for Woodley and I hate typing LOL).

To quote the Winnipeg faithful: “Boo.”

Heavyweight Bout: Shawn Jordan d. Pat Barry via TKO (:59, R1)

Music:

Jordan comes out to Johnny Cash’s rendition of Hurt.  That’s kind of a bummer.

Analysis:

I’m comfortable absolving Jordan of his sins for the Cheick Kongo fight in Calgary after witnessing this demolition of Barry.  The “striker vs. grappler” storyline never materialized as Jordan came forward with some straight punches down the middle that stunned Barry.  Pinned against the cage, Barry ate at least a dozen unanswered shots before the referee was forced to stop the fight.  It was the quickest loss of Barry’s career.  The only thing more impressive was Jordan’s picture perfect celebratory back flip.

Women’s Bantamweight Bout: Alexis Davis d. Rosi Sexton via Unanimous Decision (29-28 x2, 29-27)

Music:

Davis comes out to It’s Tricky, which never fails to put a smile on my face.  She seems super excited.  Can you blame her?

Analysis:

The first round was the definition of mixed martial arts.  Davis, a gifted jiu-jitsu practitioner, was super aggressive in looking to finish with a triangle choke.  Sexton fought it off while raining down punches square in Davis’ face.  Looking at the scores now, I suspect Davis was rewarded the first round for essentially being on the offensive the whole time, but I saw Sexton doing most of the damage.

For me, this should have been the second draw of the night.  I had Sexton taking the first and third, with Davis nearly finishing the fight in the second (I gave her a 10-8).  Herb Dean seemed to be doing his best Steve Mazzagatti impression, letting Davis pound away on Sexton from mount.  In his defence, Davis needed more “oomph” behind her punches to force a definitive stoppage.  Sexton came in with a “never say die” reputation and she lived up to it.  Davis who has all the makings of a contender.

Light Heavyweight Bout: Ryan Jimmo d. Igor Pokrajac via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

Analysis:

See Woodley/Shields above.

Okay, I’ll do my best here.

The most entertaining part of this bout was Yves Lavigne frantically resetting the action, desperate to avoid a repeat of the snoozer he had officiated earlier in the evening.  Donnie Yen couldn’t have produced any action with these two.

I don’t blame Jimmo entirely, since Pokrajac was completely helpless as Jimmo secured double underhooks and picked him up and planted him against the fence.  Still, it would have been nice to see Jimmo do something to try and finish.  He apologized afterwards for putting on a bad fight, but he’s had a bad reputation for stalling and boring audiences since his days as a Maximum Fighting Championship title holder.

To quote the Winnipeg faithful: “LET’S GO JETS!  LET’S GO JETS!  LET’S GO JETS!”

Heavyweight Bout: Stipe Miocic d. Roy Nelson via Unanimous Decision (30-27 x3)

Music:

Big Country comes out to We Will Rock You.  But of course.

Analysis:

Based on the audience’s boisterous approval, I’d swear that Nelson was born and raised in the Prairies.  It’s a shame that he couldn’t match their enthusiasm.

Nelson’s highlight reel preceding the fight told you everything you needed to know about Miocic’s gameplan: Stay away from that overhand right and box, don’t brawl.  The crowd was waiting for Big Country all night and he was needed more than ever after the Jimmo/Pokrajac tranquilizer.  The bloodthirsty denizens all expected him to go out there and dust Miocic just like he had everyone else in his last three fights, but Miocic never fell into that trap.  He danced around, using immaculate footwork to set up combinations that Nelson walked right into.  In person, it looked like Miocic was landing 4 out of every 5 punches.  If Nelson were human, he wouldn’t have made it past the first three minutes.  Miocic was juking and jiving like Manny Pacquiao.

The UFC put Nelson in a strange position here, booking him as a late addition to bolster an injury ravaged card.  That decision coincided with this being the last fight on Nelson’s current contract.  He’s a proven draw with a contentious relationship with management so a return is by no means guaranteed.  I think he’ll come back, but it’s possible that you won’t see him rubbing his belly atop the octagon for a while.

Light Heavyweight Bout: Rashad Evans d. Dan Henderson via Split Decision (29-28 x2, 28-29)

Music:

That’s right.

Step Into A World is BACK!  My friend Paolo always says Evans hasn’t been the same since he stopped using this music, so now that it’s back I’m feeling even more confident about picking him to win.

Analysis:

If two legends fight in Manitoba and they’re both closer to retirement than a shot at Jon Jones…does anybody hear it?

Don’t get me wrong, the crowd at the MTS Centre was heavily invested.  Based on their reaction, you’d think Suga and Hendo were battling over UFC gold.  Yet one cannot ignore how the loss of two major fights (Eddie Wineland/Renan Barão, Antônio Rogério Nogueira/Shogun Rua) relegated this to “default” main event status.  We weren’t even going to get five rounds out of them.

By the time the lights dimmed, I couldn’t help but get caught up in it.  Between the two of them, they’d done it all.  The Olympics.  PRIDE.  Strikeforce.  The Ultimate FighterWanderlei SilvaChuck LiddellFedor EmelianenkoForrest Griffin.  Shogun.  Rampage Jackson.  And now, Winnipeg.

The fight itself was forgettable.  Like Nelson, Henderson has become too dependent on one weapon: his mythical right hand, the “H-bomb”.  For fighters like Lyoto Machida and Evans, it’s child’s play to stay out of the way of your strengths while attacking your weaknesses.  It wasn’t exactly vintage Suga, but he looked much improved from his last couple of contests.  He didn’t seem afraid to come forward and pull the trigger, though he doesn’t pack the heat that he once did.  Both men scored knockdowns, but it was Evans who consistently avoided the big shots.  There was a look of sheer joy on his face after the split decision win, though the pro-Hendo crowd was disappointed.

Regardless of the outcome, I know I’ll never forget seeing this match.  Having not grown up with boxing, I can only listen and learn about the mystique and the aura associated with the greatest of pugilists like Ali, Frazier, and Robinson.  Even from the nosebleeds, I got some sense of what that was like when Evans and Henderson strode down to the cage.  Fifty years from now, we’ll remember them.

*****

In addition to meeting Pague at the airport, I also saw Michael Johnson on my flight and recently retired Mark Hominick at another gate.  I’m not a fan boy by any means, so it never occurred to me to ask for pictures or autographs or any of that jazz.  That wasn’t what was cool about it.  It was more important to me that I felt like I was walking in their world.  There were no microphones, no cage, no arena.  Just a group of people on their way home.  I’m an outsider looking in, one step closer to kicking that door down.

UFC 161 “Evans vs. Henderson″ preliminary and main card breakdown

Barring any last minute surprises, I will be heading to glamorous Winnipeg, Manitoba to attend my first UFC event.  I’m a firm believer in watching sporting events in the comfort of your own home or with friends at a bar somewhere, but somehow this feels important.  Something I have to do.

I’ve broken down the preliminaries and main card for MMACanada:

Preliminaries

Main Card

I’ll wait until the day of the card to make my picks, so look out for them on my twitter account @AlexanderKLee.  Go forth and watch violence, my friends!

Cash Rules Everything Around Me: UFC 145 Salary Report

For sports nerds, there are two subjects that always come up when evaluating an athlete: One, pertinent statistics and two, how much money does this guy make?  An athlete’s salary is fascinating for a number of reasons.  Is a player worth what he’s getting paid?  How much is his contract potentially hurting my team’s chances to succeed?  What kind of lifestyle does this person have?  A few digits on a piece of paper have a dramatic effect on our perception of a human being.

The physicality of mixed martial arts provides some resistance against this kind of scrutiny.  As long as someone isn’t making Mayweather money, even the biggest critics of athlete compensation would be hard pressed to call someone overpaid when their job description includes “getting the piss beaten out of them”.  Even at the highest levels, fighter income can seem absurdly low, assuring fans that the competitors they’re watching are truly doing it for the proverbial love of the game.  The problem is that MMA is frequently touted as the fastest growing sport in the world.  So what is proper compensation for a UFC fighter?

The second fastest growing sport.

 There are many things to consider beyond wins and losses.  I want to analyze the salaries for every future UFC card as the information is made available (some commissions choose not to disclose this information) in an attempt to better understand the sometimes bewildering accounting of combat sports.  Let’s take a look at a selection of payouts from UFC 145:

(source: MMAJunkie.com)

Total payroll: $1, 241, 000

The Breakdown

Starting at the top with the biggest earners…

Jon Jones – $400,000 (no win bonus)
Rashad Evans – $300,000

The standard fighter payout is broken down into show money and a win bonus.  You get paid just for stepping into the cage and winning the fight doubles your salary.  Once you get to the main event, the win bonus is usually a little different.  Jon Jones doesn’t have one (he’s guaranteed a larger show fee) and Rashad Evans’ is modified ($225,000 to show, $185,000 to win at UFC 114, May 29, 2010).

More importantly, Jones and Evans’ are both entitled to a cut of the pay-per-view profits.  To provide some reference, Alistair Overeem made $2 per PPV buy for his fight against Brock Lesnar.  Lesnar himself was rumoured to make at least $5 per buy.  That event did about 800,000 buys, meaning that made an extra 1.6 million and Lesnar an extra 4 million.

How did Jones and Evans do?  I don’t have exact numbers, but there are some safe assumptions we can make here.  Overeem is an established international star so it’s understandable that the UFC would have to open up the wallet to get him.  Jones is not a proven PPV draw, but I have to think he’d be similarly valued.  As a main eventer (UFC 128 v. Shogun Rua, UFC 135 v. Rampage Jackson, UFC 140 v. Lyoto Machida) he’s produced strong, but unspectacular returns (around 400,000 to 500,000).  That said, the UFC is heavily invested in him and I’d be amazed if he wasn’t also making at least $4 per buy, possibly more.

Evans is a proven PPV draw as he has been in the main event of three pay per views that topped 950,000 buys (UFC 92 v. Forrest Griffin, UFC 98 v. Lyoto Machida, UFC 114 v. Rampage Jackson).  However, even after winning the title back in ’08, it’s unlikely that he had the contract leverage that an established name like Lesnar would have.  Let’s say he’s due about $4 per buy.

According to MMAMania, UFC 145 did around 700,000 buys.  That’s over 2 million dollars in PPV bonuses for Messieurs Bones and Suga.  Evans and Jones undoubtedly benefited from the UFC’s recent sabbatical and their deeply personal feud.  Still, that’s a great number and the UFC should feel good about Jones as their leading man if he’s going to be bringing in those numbers on a regular basis.

One more thing to consider is that Dana White has stated on several occasions that there are always undisclosed discretionary bonuses paid out to the fighters.  He’s been known to reward exciting undercard fights, so I’m sure he takes care of his marquee talents as well.  Add in sponsorships, and a conservative estimate would be that both fighters cashed in around the $3,000,000 dollar mark.  That’s about ten times their reported salary.

On the flip side…

Chris Clements – $12,000 (includes $6,000 win bonus)
Keith Wisniewski – $10,000

It should be mentioned that there were a ton of Canadian fighters on this card as it was originally scheduled to take place in Montreal.  Clements hails from Chatham, Ontario.

Even taking into account the aforementioned discretionary bonuses and sponsors and the fact that the UFC handles most of the accommodations and medical considerations, $12,000 is not a large chunk of change.  Let’s not forget that the fighter has to pay their manager, training staff and that a lot of these men have families to take care of.  Swingin’ bachelors like myself might think ten grand for a night’s work sounds pretty good, but it’s really not much in the grand scheme of things.  Clements would have only made $6,000 if he hadn’t won.  Now that’s fighting out of passion.

$6,000 for 15 minutes of work?  I’m RICH, BITCH!

 How about those Ultimate Fighter winners…

Mac Danzig – $54,000 (includes $27,000 win bonus)
Efrain Escudero – $10,000

Danzig was the TUF 6 Welterweight Division winner.  Escudero was the TUF 8 Lightweight Division winner.  The Ultimate Fighter prize works like this:

  • Three year contract
  • Three fights a year
  • Only the first year is guaranteed
  • Year one salary (show/win): 12K/12K
  • Year two salary: 16K/16K
  • Year three salary: 22K/22K

This was actually Escudero’s second fight since returning from a 2010 release.  Thus, his base salary is akin to that of a fighter making their UFC debut.  The Ultimate Fighter is not a guaranteed path to fame and riches.

Danzig, despite having a middling record (5-5 in the UFC after Saturday), has carved a nice niche for himself as a considerable challenge for any opponent.  UFC 145 marked Danzig’s tenth fight with the UFC, meaning he just passed the nine fight mark on his original contract.  While I’m sure he’s renegotiated before, it’s still an impressive milestone.  Congratulations, Little Mac.

Ben Rothwell – $104,000 (includes $52,000 win bonus)
Brendan Schaub – $14,000

Coming in with the third highest pay, “Big” Ben Rothwell!  This has to be surprising considering that your average MMA fan has no idea who Rothwell is.  Throw in the fact that he earned the Knockout of the Night ($65,000) and he made off with a couple hundred grand for about a minute of work.  How does someone with a 2-2 UFC record pull that off?

Heavyweights are always going to be the highest earners.  Just like NBA centers, quality size is hard to come by.  You might be able to find a legion of tall, chubby dudes out there, but it’s hard as hell to find one who can move without tripping over his own ankle fat much less compete in a high level martial arts contest.

I got nothing but love for the immortal Butterbean.

Rothwell actually entered the UFC with considerable hype, having competed in the ill-fated but respectable International Fight League.  He also fought Andrei Arlovski at the first Affliction event.  Both the IFL and Affliction had to hand out bloated contracts to convince talent to sign with them instead of the UFC, which is how Rothwell ended up getting $250,000 to face Arlovski (who got $750,000!).  He actually took a pay cut under Zuffa employment!

One last tidbit: Big Ben had a higher base salary than fellow heavyweight Travis Browne (undefeated in five UFC contests), Miguel Torres (former no. 1 ranked bantamweight) and Mark Hominick (one half of the main event of UFC 127) combined.  Speaking of Browne…

Travis Browne – $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
Chad Griggs – $27,000

Yep, Griggs made more money than his opponent by getting subbed in two and a half minutes.  (Browne won the Submission of the Night bonus, but that ruins the gag).  It might seem unfair, but Griggs was a holdover from Strikeforce (yet another organization forced to overpay its roster) and Zuffa has to honour that contract.  Hopefully, they won’t hold this drubbing against him at his next performance review.