After the historic match between Gina “Conviction” Carano and Cris Cyborg Santos, there has been a buzz about how women’s MMA will start to take shape. Well it will come to know ones surprise that a female pro-wrestler has decided to throw her hat into the ring. Lisa Marie Varon aka Victoria (WWE) & Tara (TNA) has recently expressed an interest in entering the cage. Already comparisons to Brock Lesnar and Bobby Lashley have been attached to her and her desire to fight Kim Couture has been made known. Since her retirement from the WWE Lisa has been training in MMA and has been training in Brazilian Ju Jitsu for some time now before that and although she has not officially named her school in a blog she does have pictures with Helio Soneca and has mentioned that her coach also trains Rafael dos Anjos, which leads one to believe her school is affiliated with Gracie Barra. Also featured on her myspace pictures are her and Terri Blair who is a professional female boxer, whom she calls her “workout partner.” On top of all of that she has recently hired J.T. Stewart as her manager who also manages the former UFC Middleweight Champion and current Light-Heavyweight fighter Rich “Ace” Franklin. Given these connections, or at least apparent ones, Lisa’s journey into MMA maybe a promising one, especially with the recent Santos vs. Carano fight. There are both positive and negative aspects to her journey that may come into play that will either benefit her career or cause it to be a relative “flash in the pan.”
Lisa Marie’s background as an athlete is well documented. She started out as a cheerleader earning an NCA All-American while in high school. She also won numerous Fitness and Bodybuilding titles while she was a personal trainer, before making the jump into professional wrestling in 2000. How does this all translate into a positive for an MMA career? Well as a professional fitness competitor she is used to not only training extremely hard, but also is used to cutting weight for competitions. She is listed as being five foot eight inches and one hundred and fifty-five pounds, which would put her into the largest and most competitive division in women’s mma. A self-described workout addict Lisa Marie also displayed great power and athleticism in professional wrestling. Never as big as some of the larger women wrestlers her strength seemed to be equal or only slightly less than her larger counterparts. If one were to look into her signature and finishing moves it becomes apparent that she was seen as a powerhouse type of wrestler. In addition to power moves she also did moonsaults or a backwards flip “splash” into a pinning move. She sometimes did this from a standing position. After watching a few videos of her matches and having seen some on tv no one would argue that the women is athletic. It is obvious that athleticism is in her genetics as her older brother Bobby Sole was a gold medal wrestler at the Pan- American games in 1983. Finally she has appeared on some of the biggest events in pro-wrestling so that should translate well into not being “nervous” because of a large audience. Pro-wrestlers are known to be tremendous athletes often working grueling schedules, so the work ethic and atmosphere of MMA should not be hard for her to adapt to.
But there are some proverbial roadblocks in Ms. Varon’s attempt to jump into the cage and perform at a high level. First and foremost, despite the pro-wrestling career, she has only recently started training in MMA. While most fighters come from some sort of combat sport background she does not, but instead comes from an athletic and sports entertainment one. While pro-wrestling is a grueling and demanding athletic occupation it is not a true combat sport and does not prepare its competitors for the nuances of fighting. Sure there may be some areas that translate well, but without a true striking element or real submission and grappling technique it is hard to say that its craft will prepare her well. In addition pro-wrestling has been known to take a grueling toll on its participants bodies and has been documented by many ex-wrestlers and active ones of the injuries that they accumulated throughout there tenure. Only Lisa Marie knows how much damage has been done to her body, but it is not like she is entering MMA with “limited wear and tear.” Finally, she was born Feb. 10, 1971 which means that at the time of this post she is 38 years old. At this stage in their careers many fighters are exiting the sport or on their way out. Sure certain ones remain on longer, like Randy Couture or Mark Coleman, and have had success, but there are many who have not. Chuck Liddell may serve as an example as he is will be forty in December. Granted he has fought longer than her and therefore been subject to many more strikes and such, but both began their respective careers within two years of each other. One has to wonder if her reflexes and “chin” are up to facing younger fighters with more experience.
With the enormous success of Brock Lesnar and to a lesser extent Bobby Lashley it was only a matter of time that more professional wrestlers would seek to make the transition to MMA, although this is not a new trend. But as the fighters pay increases and a less “demanding” schedule there are those who may consider the move. The fact that Lisa Marie Varon is attempting this should be no surprise given her background. The major question is that at this stage can she be successful? If she can make the transition quickly and with success, women’s MMA gains a viable star to add to the already growing roster. If she fights at 145 it adds another name into the mix to help build a following. If not does it really impact the sport? Only if she is rushed into the spotlight it would appear. But given her athleticism, strength, intelligence (she was on track to be a physician), and drive those who would bet against her or say definetly not might be in for a surprise.
To an MMA fan the “Heyday” of the sport was back during the PRIDE! vs. UFC days as far having the most drama. Who could forget the debates over Liddell vs. Wanderlai Silva, which was better the Octagon or the Ring, or elbows vs. knees/ kicks to a downed opponent, just to name a few. But what it always came down to was who had the better fighters and in both organizations there always seemed to be someone who could lay claim to the best in their division or best pound for pound fighter. This debate seemed to make the sport stronger and more intriguing to the fans because it did not offer an actual solution to the argument until PRIDE! was bought out by the UFC, and even then not every fighter came with the purchase. Also by this time some of the biggest names in both organizations just seemed to lack the match up potentials, like Liddell and Silva, because neither was seen as being at the top levels anymore. So the debate about PRIDE! vs. the UFC truly went unanswered for the most part, and the UFC seemed to be the only legitimate game in MMA.
But while there were other promotions who tried to come in to challenge the UFC, like Bodog, the IFL, and Elitexc, these organizations just seemed to always lack a single fighter let alone a division that could be seen as a threat to the UFC dominance of the sport, one did emerge that did have the potential to challenge the all powerful entity that closed the doors on their chief rival, as well as buying up another rising challenger (WEC). But in 2008 Affliction Clothing created Affliction Entertainment and began a rivalry with the UFC that had not been seen in a year. As the organization started to take shape it became apparent that they were concentrating on the fan favored heavyweight division as UFC stars like Tim Sylvia and Andrei Arlovski signed with the company, as did former PRIDE FC stars Josh Barnett and Pedro Rizzo giving the organization instant credibility as having the deepest heavyweight division in MMA. But the icing on the cake was the signing of Fedor Emelianenko, arguably the best heavyweight and considered the best pound for pound fighter in the world by many fans and magazines. In one swoop Affliction Entertainment had made an organization that could challenge the UFC’s dominance right off the bat.
Affliction seemed to do the right things on paper: cross promotions with other organizations, bring in investors from sports and the business world, have fighters who could be seen as legitimate threats to the UFC’s, and get on a network or cable channel. The big bomb had already come before Affliction’s first event when UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture “severed ties” with the UFC, one of the reasons being his desire to fight Fedor, a contest that would not take place in a UFC Octagon. At the first event Affliction Banned, Couture was present immediately after Fedor’s thirty second dismantling of Tim Sylvia, again stating his desire to fight the Last Emperor. And despite the attempts of ZUFFA to block it people believed that Couture, Affliction, and especially Mark Cuban and the Donald Trump’s money would make this fight of fights happen.
But even at the first event the seams were coming undone. While the fights were entertaining the production quality of the show seemed lacking. There was a failure to sell out the arena where the event was being held and paid attendance was relatively low. Pay per view buys also seemed a little low after wards, which when the fighter salaries were figured in made the company’s first show a financial loss. But despite all of that management remained positive. They should have looked at something else, the fact that at the moment they declared Fedor the WAMMA Champion, the strength of their organization was getting ready to crumble. And the enemies were not really just at the gate in the form of ZUFFA, but they were from within and unknown.
Affliction was not done in because the mighty Evil Empire of ZUFFA and Dana “Lord of the Sith” White destroyed the Rebel Alliance (or any other movie scenario or conspiracy theory) it is because they built the organization around Fedor Emalianenko. It is not to be compared to EliteXc’s basing their whole organization around an unproven commodity in Kimbo Slice, but rather the problem was that they took a man unequalled at the time and stuck him in a notoriously weak division. It was the proverbial perfect storm coming true: a fighter unparalleled without a true adversary out there, sitting a top of a throne that could not support his greatness. The roster in Affliction proved to be not worthy of Fedor as he dispatched of Sylvia in thirty six seconds, the next challenger Andrei Arlovski faired better for three minutes and fourteen seconds and until Fedor threw a punch. Barnett was the last really legitimate threat left for him, Couture having gone back to the UFC in September 2, 2008 with a three fight deal at the age of forty-five, destroying any hope of a fight with Fedor. The final nails in the coffin were driven in the month of July 2009, with Josh Barnett testing positive for a banned substance leaving no opponent for the August 1st Trilogy card. On July 24 Affliction Entertainment folded and announced a deal to partner with the UFC, mostly to sell their shirts there.
The company was promoted to be rebellious, but really was not anything of the sort as its shirts and organization are more mainstream than even the UFC is. But despite its business mismanagement it was not that which caused the downfall, but rather the opposite in terms of EliteXc. Unlike the limited skills of Kimbo, Fedor possessed too many skills and is perhaps the most well rounded fighter in the heavyweight division in all MMA. There is now Lesnar vs. Fedor hype, but it lacks the depth of the old Liddell vs. Silva days as Lesnar still needs to win a few fights and defend his belt (remember both of these fighters were cleaning out their respective divisions during this talk). But for a brief time Affliction held our attention and had a man that is one of the most dominant fighters on the planet who could walk into the UFC octagon and claim a title at anytime. Maybe Strikeforce will someday be a force to rival the UFC, but that seems to be in the distant future, if ever. But for now, as much as many fans may wish for the old rivalry days, there is only one game in town, and that is the UFC. Is this good for the sport? Opinions differ on that point. But it is reality, and that is sad. Because it limits the number of fighters and fights out there, but more importantly it takes away anticipation of the biggest match ups possible. And like the first hill on a roller coaster, sometimes the anticipation of that hill is better than the ride itself.
Remember that awesome fight that all the sites were saying was official between Vitor Belfort and Gegard Mousasi? Turns out it can possibly not happen if Belfort does not agree to fight at a catch weight. Belfort wants the fight at 185 while Mousasi rather not cut weight anymore. If this fight doesn’t happen it will be a loss for the now un-rumored Affliction III event August 5th. The event will still have the headline fight of Fedor vs. Barnett, but the rest of the show could be BS if things don’t work out between the two. Not only is this an awesome match up, it also will be a very entertaining fight with someone getting stopped.
Someone needs to go back in time and fix this, Terminator style.
Seems like all MMAmania does is scavenger hunt down quotes. Here’s another awesome one from Jason Miller:
[The illegal kick] was a mistake. Jacare calls me a clown and disrespects me all the time, headbutted me and opened a cut on my eye. If he could’ve done it to me, he would have. I’ll beat the shit out of him legally next time. What’s he gonna do? Submit me? LOL Kayo me? LMMFAO. (more…)
Affliction will not be going head to head with UFC 100 with a new rumored date of August 1st for their third show. Fedor and Josh Barnett has finally stopped being buddies for the moment and rumors are that they finally verbally agreed to fight each other.
This has taken a lot longer than it probably should have, with about 300 different rumors on who Fedor is going to fight, the actual day of Affliction 3, and a new rumor I just made up that Tom Atencio only is bald so he can be a little more like Dana White. The only regret Tom has is that he doesn’t have a chicks name like the UFC President. (more…)
Tom Atencio wants to be a fighter…Maybe more than he wants to be a promoter?
“I’m not saying I could beat the guy, but let’s fight, let’s do it. I mean, I think it would be huge for both of us.”
Atencio can’t honestly believe that a fight between him and UFC President Dana White will be huge for BOTH of them. He’s talking to keep his name in the news while Affliction is holding ZERO shows right now. All Atencio has going for him right now is the speculation about who Fedor will fight. He needs to talk about fighting Dana White, just to keep his name in the headlines. I’m not saying keeping your name in the headlines is a bad thing, but it’s clear he wants to stay in the news only to stay in the news just in case we forget about Affliction as a fight company.
Dana White doesn’t need to fight anyone, with his fists at least. His fighting is done with UFC 100. UFC 101. UFC 102. The Ultimate Fighter show. Press Releases. Kevin Iole. Etc.
Tom Atencio wants to fight Dana White for attention. That’s as clear as day and it feels like I’m stating the obvious. The only fight promoter I see Atencio getting to fight is one of those Japanese people who run Dream. Call it Super Boss Showdown 2009: Year of the Destruction Techno Dragon.
I’m not going to waste any time on this. Take it for what it is, even coming from M-1 because anything can change. I say this only because you can fool me once, but you can’t fool me a few times. At least Fedor is still destroying houses with his Indiana Jones lunch pale. The yellow hard hat really makes Fedor look like a man, otherwise, he’d be just another vodka intoxicated Russian smashin’ houses for smashin’ houses sake.
I’ve only destroyed a house once, and that was because I lost a bet, which explains why I’m writing from a homeless shelter. How many homeless people do you know with an internet connection and a computer. Now I’m not counting the ones who hang out at the library and check their email accounts. Why would homeless people need email accounts for?
By Garrett Bailey
Stupid rumors. Affliction and Tom Atencio won’t be counter-programming UFC 100 on July 11 after all.
Speaking to MMAjunkie.com Tom Atencio says: (more…)
By Garrett Bailey
Gegard Mousasi could make his 205lb debut against Thierry Sokoudjou for Dream 9. Fiveouncesofpain is reporting that the fight is still rumored after previously claming it was confirmed for Dream 9.
Sokoudjou is on a 2 fight losing streak, which makes for a perfect tune up fight for the highly regarded Mousasi. Winning the Dream Middleweight championship back in September 08, it was rumored he could move on to the UFC but it looks like he will be sticking with the Japan for now.
By Garrett Bailey
If you live in or around Lombard IIlinois and want to see some MMA fighters, head over to MMASTOP on Main Street April 3rd to get an autograph and pictures. Maybe Jason Guida will be there to make fun of.