May 24, 2013
After retiring Saturday, John Cholish has become a controversial figure as he’s spoken out for fighter wages. Jacob Volkmann has joined Cholish in voicing his opinion about the UFC in speaking out about UFC insurance.
Cholish stated in an interview on The MMA Hour that he lost money in his last fight and would like to see something done so that fighters get a fair wage. According to an interview on Bleacher Report, Cholish stated that he paid for two of his coaches to travel to Brazil with him as well as for their food bill while they were there. His contract only allowed travel for one coach.
Also, he stated that his insurance covered his “pre-fight medicals.” Its interesting that the UFC insurance does not cover this. Cholish indicated that his own insurance at his day job at a commodities firm on Wall Street picked these up. Jacob Volkmann, a former UFC fighter, stated that the insurance with the UFC includes a $1,500 deductible. (Bloody Elbow via Above and Beyond MMA)
One thing not addressed by Cholish is how much he gets from sponsors. Cholish was sponsored by Alienware and MusclePharm on Saturday night among others. This compensation could assist some of the expenses discussed by Cholish.
When asked about Cholish and Volkmann’s comments, White called them “washouts.” Cholish has since responded to White’s criticism.
. @danawhite I was speaking out in support of how the majority of fighters feel. If you’d like to question my intelligence I’m in Vegas
— John Cholish (@JohnCholish) May 23, 2013
. @danawhite and would happy to sit down and discuss the matter with you.I think it’s in the best interest of your fighters
— John Cholish (@JohnCholish) May 23, 2013
Although he initially indicated he had not been paid as of Monday, he has since received his payment from Zuffa and promptly donated to the relief efforts in Oklahoma.
To update I just received my fight purse payment of $2,014 from Zuffa. I will be donating 100% of it to charity-Oklahoma Tornado Victims
— John Cholish (@JohnCholish) May 23, 2013
A very good move for Cholish from a PR perspective.
The first takeaway is that Cholish only received slightly over $2K for his fight last Saturday. This is sobering considering he was scheduled to make $8,000 to show.
Cholish’s breakdown of costs is an interesting look at what a fighter must go through to prepare for a fight. Obviously, the one variable left out (which was noted by Bleacher Report), is the compensation from sponsors. This could be just a lump sum payment, a payment after the fight or a monthly stipend depending on the relationship between fighter and sponsor. This could offset some of the pre-fight expenses. Moreover, there could be some sort of deal if the gym the fighter trains at is the same place he has his coaches (which seems to be the standard). Cholish also points out the taxes and licensing fees he had to pay for his Brazil fight.
It is hard to blame Cholish for choosing to pay for two additional coaches to go to Brazil with him. If he believed that he needed the coaches to win, it was necessary. The fact that he paid out of pocket for their expenses shows the kind of person he is. Notably, even in Eddie Alvarez’s proposed contract he’s only allowed travel expenses for one coach unless the fight is a Championship fight.
Volkmann also chimed in about the hefty deductible if you make a claim on the UFC insurance. While insurance is definitely a plus, the deductible is an out of pocket expense that must be paid by the insured. Its another side of the insurance coverage that has not been discussed by anyone.
Volkmann’s issues are different than Cholish and it might not be fair to lump them into the same boat. Volkmann has been consistent about speaking out about issues with taxes stemming back from his criticism of President Obama, which got him some notoriety. The insurance issue is interesting to note and may be something to be on the lookout for in the future.
Its interesting to see the different responses to Cholish’s remarks. While some applaud him for speaking up about fighter pay, others see him as a malcontent. The fact is that Cholish has a career, makes enough money at his day job and is therefore not concerned about what his comments may have on him with Zuffa. This allows him the freedom to express himself without concern about retribution. He’s also is willing to discuss the issue with White, something I’d be surprised White would do. From a PR standpoint, Zuffa should at least take the meeting to show its willing to listen. When people love Chael Sonnen for speaking his mind, remember that Cholish is doing the same. Cholish is telling it like it is (from his standpoint) and it seems like he’s doing this for the greater good of the sport and not just to get some publicity.
May 24, 2013
With UFC 160 in less than two days, it's time to make picks. Thank you to all the Cagereaders who made picks and voted in polls on Cagewriter's Facebook page. If you want to join in the fun, check out Cagewriter on Facebook here.
Kevin Iole: Cain Velasquez TKO3 Big Foot Silva -- I believe Silva will be more competitive and won't make the mistake he made last time. But as the fight goes on, it swings even more in Velasquez's favor, given his vastly superior cardio. I expect him to slowly wear Silva down and stop him around the fight's midpoint.
Maggie Hendricks: Cain Velasquez W5 Antonio Silva --Velasquez has better wrestling and better cardio than Silva, and it will pay off as he defends his belt.
Cagereader: 92 percent of Cagereaders said Cain Velasquez will win.
Cain has to much heart unless you knock him out he's not going! And Big Foot doesn't deserve another shot yet anyway!! -- Michael Gabbard
Kevin Iole: Junior dos Santos Sub1 Mark Hunt -- Junior would be a fool to stand and trade with Hunt. I think he'll look to get it to the ground and finish it there.
Maggie Hendricks: Junior dos Santos W3 Mark Hunt -- JDS has the footwork to exhaust Hunt and wear him down.
Cagereader: 68 percent of Cagereaders said Junior dos Santos will win.
Dos Santos will use superior speed and footwork to outclass Hunt. Too much credibility is given to Hunts striking because of the mythological "K1 Striker" label. Truth be told, he won that title with technically sound striking with a lot of power, not exceptionally good striking. Most of his wins in MMA have had nothing to do with his savvy striking but his chin and insane power. Honestly thought those who don't think Dos Santos is on another level with his speed and footwork are lying to themselves aside from Cain who has touched him? I know this logic isn't very sound but it took Hunt a while to put away Struve, and JDS took less than a minute and the logic truly is his speed, timing, and explosive nature outweigh the punchers chance Hunt brings to the table. It will be a pick apart clinic Hunt swinging at air getting battered by a fighter who will dart in and out like a heavyweight Machida. -- John Hensley
Kevin Iole: T.J. Grant W3 Gray Maynard -- More of a hunch than anything, but Grant has been on a roll and he might catch Maynard looking past him.
Maggie Hendricks: Gray Maynard W3 T.J. Grant -- Maynard is very good at neutralizing his opponents' skill.
Cagereaders: 83 percent of Cagereaders think Maynard will win.
Maynard is going to use lay and pray to get his title shot. I see a boring fight ahead. Maynard via decision. -- Christopher Walder
Kevin Iole: Glover Teixeira TKO3 James Te Huna -- It will be tougher than expecrted, but Teixeira's varied game will win out in the end.
Maggie Hendricks: Glover Teixeira TKO2 James Te Huna -- It's been an impressive start in the UFC for Teixeira, and that won't stop on Saturday. His power will be on display.
Cagereaders: 76 percent of Cagereaders think Teixeira will take it.
The well-rounded skill set and chin will allow him to weather the storm, get Te Huna to the ground and grind him out. -- John Hensley
Kevin Iole: Donald Cerrone W3 K.J. Noons -- It should be an explosive fight, but if Cerrone remains under control, he'll handle Noons.
Maggie Hendricks: Donald Cerrone W3 KJ Noons -- Cerrone will be looking to come back after his loss to Anthony Pettis.
Cagereaders: 87 percent of Cagereaders say Donald Cerrone will win.
May 24, 2013
Welcome to another edition of The Wrestling Post. In this post, we take a look at Hulk Hogan’s ongoing battle with Gawker, the WWE donates money to head trauma research and a Court denies a WWE Motion to Dismiss in a Copyright Infringement lawsuit.
Hogan versus Gawker continues
Hulk Hogan is seeking to eliminate all semblance of his sex tape from the internet according to TMZ. The professional wrestler is embroiled in a lawsuit with the Gawker web site over the sex tape which Gawker had posted on its site.
Hogan successfully filed a temporary restraining order requiring that Gawker take down the video and the accompanying post describing Hogan’s tape. Gawker took down the video but left the post describing the video citing the Judge’s decision to grant the TRO as “unconstitutional.” Gawker also left on its site links to other web sites where one could obtain the video.
Hogan’s lawyers have filed a Motion an Order to Show Cause to determine why Gawker should not be held in contempt of Court for disobeying an Order from the Court. On the other hand, Gawker has filed a Motion for Stay of Hogan’s Temporary Injunction. In its briefing, it cites a list of reasons why the Judge’s granting of the TRO was incorrect. Two of the more interesting arguments is that the state court judge was “collaterally estopped” from its ruling as Hogan’s TRO was already ruled on in Federal Court in October. In addition, Gawker argues that the state court judge admitted (which she did) that she did not look at the video or plan to do so, yet ruled on the content.
Payout Take: This lawsuit will be interesting from the perspective of whether Hogan can rid the internet of the offensive tape. Gawker’s stance on the state ordered TRO is noteworthy considering that Hogan’s legal strategy may have doomed him (i.e., he filed his lawsuit in federal court first and then voluntarily dismissed the case but not before that Court ruled on this same injunction.) We will see how this legal case plays out to see whether a Court will overturn the injunction based on the prior ruling or whether the issue is moot due to the ruling in the present forum.
WWE donates $1.2 million to head trauma research
USA Today reports that the WWE has donated $1.2 million to head trauma research.
Via USA Today:
World Wrestling Entertainment, known for past stars such as Hulk Hogan and current champ John Cena, says it is making a gift of $1.2 million over three years to further research aimed at developing a treatment for Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. The brain disease, associated with repeated concussions, has come under scrutiny amid concussion-related lawsuits by more than 4,000 former NFL players against the league. CTE has been linked to depression and dementia.
The donation is being made to the Sports Legacy Institute in Boston, a non profit run by former WWE Wrestler and one time Tough Enough competitor Christopher Nowinski. Nowinski, a Harvard graduate, whose wrestling career was cut short due to a concussion.
Payout Take: The donation is a step in the right direction in the continued evolution of the the WWE that recognizes its newfound duties as a publicly traded company and the importance of corporate social responsibility. While many skeptics may think that the donation is “after the fact” for many wrestlers and/or preventative PR in light of the NFL concussion litigation, it shows that the WWE is taking steps to ensure that it does not make any further mistakes with the treatment of its talent.
WWE’s Motion to Dismiss Copyright Lawsuit Denied
The Hollywood Report reports that a Texas music composer has won an initial round in the legal battle over the rights to entrance music he composed for wrestlers. While Papa Berg, the composer that is suing the WWE, had portions of his lawsuit dismissed, the Court allowed him to proceed with his copyright infringement lawsuit. The WWE attempted to dismiss the lawsuit in its entirety or in the alternative, have the lawsuit moved to Connecticut (the WWE’s headquarters).
The bulk of the ruling by the Texas Court was based on jurisdictional issues, the lawsuit alleging that the WWE “misappropriated his songs, caused royalties to be misdirected and interfered with a video game deal.” In the latter claim, Berg did not discover that the WWE had the rights to his songs until video game maker (pre-Bankruptcy) THQ contacted him about the right to use a song in one of its WWE video games.
Notably, for those old enough to recall the AWA and NWA, Berg composed the Freebirds’ “Badstreet USA” entrance song and Sting’s “A Man Called Sting”
Payout Take: Although the issue at hand was a civil procedure question concerning jurisdiction, once the lawsuit gets to the merits of whether or not the WWE infringed Berg’s copyright will it get interesting.
May 23, 2013
UFC 160 is just days away. What questions will be answered by Saturday's fights?
Who is the greatest heavyweight in all of the land? Cain Velasquez dominated Antonio Silva in their first bout, but that was a Silva who had just lost to Daniel Cormier. Now, coming off the shocking knockout of Alistair Overeem, will we see an improved Silva or will Velasquez hold onto his belt?
Will Benson Henderson's next opponent impress? The winner of T.J. Grant's bout with Gray Maynard is supposed to get a title bout with Benson Henderson. But as we know from experience, title shots can be taken away if Maynard and Grant don't deliver on Saturday night.
Can Donald Cerrone get past the mental problems he has had in the cage? There's no questioning Cerrone's talent. He has the skill to be a force in the cage, but then why did he lose to Anthony Pettis? He visited a sports psychologist after that January loss.
"It's trying to figure out, what do I do in the cage that I don't do in training?" Cerrone said to MMA Junkie. "Because in training, I don't lose a round."
Since he trains at Jackson's MMA, this is no small feat. Can he translate that training into performance in the cage against Strikeforce import K.J. Noons?
Which up-and-coming lightweight will win? Khabib Nurmagomedov is 19-0 and needed just two minutes to take out Thiago Tavares in January. Abel Trujillo is 10-4, but won his last five fights. His TKO of Marcu Levesseur was one of the more memorable finishes of late last year. Which of these lightweight up-and-comers will come out with a win?
May 23, 2013
When interviewing UFC president Dana White after fights, media usually want to know about title fight opportunities, implications of wins or losses, and where the UFC is headed next. Press conferences rarely present opportunities to get White to talk about who would win in a fight between him and UFC chairman Lorenzo Fertitta or White's music preferences. On "UFC Tonight," Kenny Florian and Chael Sonnen asked White those very questions. They even got him to sing on what White called "the most embarrassing interview ever."
May 22, 2013
MMA Fighting reports ratings for UFC on FX 8 were down from last event’s high as Saturday’s event from Brazil scored 1.3 million viewers. The 1.3M figure is on average with ratings for UFC on FX shows.
Saturday’s main event on FX saw Vitor Belfort KO Luke Rockhold with a highlight reel reverse head kick.
In addition, the Prelims on Fuel TV received 156,000 viewers for a 0.35 rating. It was down from January’s UFC on FX 7 Prelims on Fuel TV. But, it was up from the 132,000 viewer average.
Average numbers for a card that did not have too many popular fighters known to many in the United States. The event is the last of its kind on FX as the bulk of UFC programming moves to the new Fox Sports 1 network in August.
May 22, 2013
In an interview with Newsday, former UFC champ Matt Serra said he is walking away from fighting. He wouldn't quite say the retirement word, but his last fight was in September of 2010. Blood clots have affected his health, and he doesn't want to be an aging fighter.
"An aging fighter?" Serra said. "You know, it's like an aging stripper, but not as funny. Not a lot of people want to see that."
He should also consider walking away from interviews after delivering that choice line. How will he ever top it? His candor in interviews always made Serra a fun person to cover.
Serra finishes with a record of 11-7, but will be most remembered for being one of the two men who beat UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre. At UFC 69, Serra fought the perfect fight against GSP. He was aggressive and won with a TKO in the first round. Serra surrendered the belt back to GSP in their next bout, but his legacy was set. He had taken out the king.
Outside of his own fight career, Serra has touched the MMA world by being one of its teachers and advocates. He has two BJJ schools on Long Island, and has coached several UFC fighters, including UFC middleweight contender Chris Weidman.
Thanks for the memories, Matt.
Related coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
• There's no quit in UFC heavyweight Junior dos Santos
• Photos: Junior dos Santos eyes comeback
• Antonio Silva out to prove his loss to Cain Velasquez was a fluke
May 22, 2013
Early Wednesday morning, an FBI agent shot and killed someone they were questioning for his connections with the Boston Marathon bombers. Ibragim Todashev, the suspect, was an MMA fighter with a 1-0 professional record.
Todashev, who was reportedly a friend of deceased bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, fought in July of 2012. He submitted Bradford May with a guillotine in the first round of their bout at Real Fighting Championships in Florida.
Khusen Taramov, a friend of Todashev's, said that Tsarnaev and Todashev trained together in Boston. Tsarnaev trained and competed as a boxer.
"He used to talk on the phone with him (Tsarnaev)," said Taramov. "They talked last time a month ago. After the bombing, I couldn't believe it."
Todashev was reportedly being questioned about a triple-murder in Massachusetts in September of 2011. The FBI said in a statement Todashev posed an imminent threat to the agent.
May 22, 2013
Romance isn't normally what you think of when you think of Brazilian jiu-jitsu, but it happened for Justin Saikaley, a BJJ student in Canada. He was grappling with his girlfriend when he found the perfect time to pop the question with the help of some friends. Most men don't propose from the triangle choke, but it clearly works for these two. Best wishes to them both.
Thanks, MMA Fighting.
May 22, 2013
The UFC announced that Nate Diaz was fined $20,000 and suspended three months for his anti-gay tweet in reference to Bryan Caraway. The UFC announced that the fine would be donated to charity.
Diaz’s manager, Mike Kogan, went on The MMA Hour to defend Diaz’s choice of words. Kogan’s defense made news as it was featured on Deadspin. Despite what most saw as a losing battle, Kogan said Diaz felt no remorse for the comment. Kogan felt the same. The logic was the fact they believe the word Diaz tweeted was not a homophobic slur.
(H/t: MMA Fighting)
Anyone else think Cesar Gracie could do as good as job as Kogan with this damage control? While I understand Kogan’s need to defend his client, there is no use in remaining unrepentant about what happened. It only makes it look worse. Diaz made only $15,000 for the Josh Thomson fight at was fined $20,000. A $5,000 loss. All of this happened after switching managers.