My Promise to MMA Fighters and Fans Alike…

There seems to be a little confusion about what you people expect from me.

The idea of a writer/report used to be this:

Jesus, you don’t know who that is, do you? It’s Walter Cronkite, but I’ll save you the wikipedia definition and just move on…

From that we have taken a strange turn to the MMA reporter, which many people think of as this:

Oh, but you all know Ariel Helwani? Nice.

Note the suit and tie, very professional. Very well known.

The problem is that the average MMA reporter/writer/blogger/forum troll is actually this:

Or this:

Now, I like to think of myself as this:

When in reality I’m closer to this:

Here’s the thing: shut the f*** up. I don’t care about you. Really. I don’t. I’ve pretty much accepted my place on the lower end of the socio-economic spectrum.

Any money I do make goes back to paying student loans that did me no good.

And on top of it, I’m sick and tired of how MMA gets covered.

You get two kinds: kiss asses and douchebags.

I admit, I am closer to the douchebag side and I spent time on the kiss a** side, but now I just write.

I don’t do interviews because fighters don’t want to answer the questions I have.

I don’t blow smoke because fighters have way too many people doing that for them already.

If I rag on you it is because you are seriously lacking skills (usually boxing). It’s not because of my shortcomings or feelings of inadequacy.

No, for those I drink.

There are too many fighters around that don’t do it right. They don’t want to spend the time or the money to get the kind of training it actually takes to be a fighter. They want the money and glory without the work. This game is f***ing hard.

You can slam boxing and the big paydays all you want, but do you think that Mayweather and Pacquiao just wandered into a 2nd rate gym and trained for a couple months before turning pro?

Get your head out of your a**.

So they get the guy that charges $50 a month to be his grappling/striking coach, his manager and his best friend. The guy has no resume and no business being in the fight game, but he is cheap, available and more than willing to take the roll of Yoda for impressionable and often stupid kids. It’s not his permanent injuries on the line.

And then they get in the cage. Maybe as an ammy, sometimes as a pro *sigh* and they look like just about the most pathetic piece of s*** I have ever seen.

I’m supposed to just do a play-by-play for that f***ing s***? No, go to hell. Obviously you don’t have anyone in your life telling you what is wrong with what you are doing and I’m be damned if I pretend that a fighter is better than they are in the chance that they actually make something of themselves and can offer me an interview in the future.

You think that I talk s*** about your hands for the heck of it? No, they suck, accept it. Get better. Come back and win. Prove me wrong, as if that is why I am doing this in the first place.

Stop coddling fighters as if it will help them. I’ve seen the look of a fighter that thought he was ready and I’ve seen that look melt away when he realizes he is about to get his ass kicked.

Is that what you want for your son, friend, student?

And for those of you that think that I do this because I am just making up for my own failed dreams of glory…OBVIOUSLY!!!

Oh, and for the record, I could totally last 10 seconds in the cage…against a girl…as long as that girl isn’t Cyborg, Gina Carano, Rhonda, Kelly Kobald, Kaitlyn Young…or any girl that takes boxing, muay thai, karate, TKD, Tao Bo, cardio-kick or that has just had a really bad day “because of that b**** at work”…

But besides all them, yeah, I could totally make it 10 seconds.

Downtown Showdown 5 Results (05/18/2012)

It’s Friday. It’s been a s***y week. I need this.
I need beer. I need to watch two men assert their masculinity upon one another in a Gladiatorial throwback.
I need more beer.
PBR me ASAP!
You know what, we should probably keep a running total. It’s gonna be one of those nights. I kind of like reporting this stuff in real time, so I might as well keep a real time beer count, too.
It will help to explain my quickly deteriorating grammar, punctuation and overall view of reality.
7:35pm: PBR #1…
oh, it’s so cold, but I’m cage side and the skeletons…I mean gentlemen at the boxing commission don’t allow me to booze this close to the fence.
And now that I have spill about a quarter of the can on myself, perhaps they have a point.
Time for some fights. Let’s go Ammy’s!
Sam Baisley (0-0) vs. Eulisses Sanchez (1-1)- 190 pound catchweight
Round 1) Baisley tries to overpower the smaller Sanchez early, but Sanchez is able to snag a single leg and get the take down, securing cross sides against the side of the cage. Baisley calls for a nut shot, but to no avail. 
Sanchez’s ear looks torn as he works to mount. Baisley turns to escape and briefly stands before Sanchez gets another takedown and quickly moves to mount. He is raining down some hard shots and spins to an armbar, but it is loose. Baisley gives the thumbs up that he is okay and is saved by the bell.
Baisley must have felt something wrong during the fight because he looks clear eyed, but calls off the fight.
Winner: Eulisses Sanchez at 5:00 of the 1st round by TKO
Note: MMA isn’t as easy as it looks on TV is it? Can you keep going when someone is punching you in the face? The crowd seems to think they could have, I have my doubts.
Jesse Wannemacher (2-1) vs. Nick Jessen (7-5)- 145 pounds
Round 1: The two men meet in the middle of the cage and trade blows. It is Wannemacher that gets the better shot that puts Jessen down, he dives for a rear naked but Jessen escapes and is able to eventually work around to guard. He throws up his lets and locks in a triangle, but he must have missed the BJJ class on how to tighten them, because it is in for about 60 seconds until Wannemacher finally escapes. The round ends with Wannemacher in top cross side control.
Round 2: Again the two meet in the middle of the cage and trade, again Wannemacher is the one that lands the shot, this time it puts Jessen to sleep on his feet. It is a flash knockout and Jessen is awake as soon as he hits the mat, but it’s over. The ref makes the right call and waves the match off immediately.
Winner: Jesse Wannemacher by KO at :19 of the 2nd round
Nick Schmidtke (2-2) vs. Marcel Anderson (2-2)- 145 pounds
Round 1) Anderson looks patient, almost bored as Schmidtke stalks around finally getting a body lock takedown. He falls into Anderson’s guard and looks spazzy trying to work. Anderson barely looks ready to sweat as he eats shots and works angles,  and actually gets an armbar/omoplata sweep, but Schmidtke immediately turns and gets another takedown. The rounds ends as it started: slowly.
Round 2) Marcel lands strong shots early as he seems to have found some fire, but Schmidtke goes on the defense and gets another takedown, again landing in Anderson’s guard. 
They work to their feet and Anderson catches a kick, putting Schmidtke down, but he can’t get anything from it and once again ends the round with his back on the mat. Anderson is going to need to pull something out of his a** to win this one.
Round 3) Anderson lands a solid kick to Schmidtke that forces a grin. The two bump gloves as a show of respect and Schmidtke quickly gets another takedown. Holy s***, where did that come from?! Anderson locks up a triangle and Schmidtke can’t roll out of it! The fight is called.
Winner: Marcel Anderson via Triangle Choke at 1:30 of the 3rd round.
Note: Anderson celebrates like Nate Quarry. Tears and a lot of emotion from this one. Schmidtke throws an adult temper tantrum at himself.
 
8:20pm PBR #2 (thanks Jeremy!): 
The fights are on hold for some reason. I’m thirsty. Ooo, that first drink went down so nice. A friend in the crowd has a whiskey hook up, a chaser is much needed and much appreciated. PBR, the Cristal of Beers! What!
Joel Snyder (1-0) vs Dave Zinda (0-0)- 165 pounds
Round 1)  Zinda is standing like he is filled with rage, and possible a lot of gas. Whoa, these two have HORRIBLE striking. Eyes closed, off balance, Snyder lands a kitty-cat paw to Zinda’s neck. Zinda gets the takedown.
Well, this is new. Zinda is grunting and yelling with every body shot. What the f*** is that? The rounds ends pretty poorly.
Round 2) The two smirk at each other for absolutely no reason. They seem to think that each other has good striking. They don’t. Zinda gets another double  and Snyder wants an omoplata. Zinda gets a huge slam for the attempt.
The round ends with me laughing my a** off thanks to Snyder’s corner yelling “The guy can’t wrestle, he’s from f***ing Wisconsin!” It is the most entertaining thing so far this fight.
Round 3) …..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz………zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…………….zzzzzzzzzz……..huh? There’s a fight going on? Oh, it’s on the ground. Snyder is on the bottom for about a minute too long due to inactivity. The ref stands the fight way too late, it’s the 3rd round after all. The fight ends. Gee, I wonder who won?
Winner: Dave Zinda by Unanimous Decision (30-27 on all cards)
Note: I predicted before the fight that Zinda is a crier. “The Polish Mongoose” takes the opportunity post-fight to say how great America is. Cool. Original…why are you talking? You are not a good fighter. What garage do you train out of?
Fikret Saric (0-0) vs Randy Lene (5-2)- 135 pounds
Round 1) The fight starts quickly. Saric throws all kinds of kicks from all kinds of angles. Lene tries his own, but no one really lands anything. Lene drives for the takedown and Saric pulls guard.
It looks like Saric got cut. Lene eventually decides to stand and the ref puts the fight on hold while the doc checks him out. He’s okay and the two end the round throwing flurries. Saric’s eye is dripping blood.
Round 2) Saric starts with a big flurry, but it is Lene that gets the big slam. The two work a little but eventually stand.
Lene lands a beautiful kick and a follow up cross that spins Saric and another cross for good measure, but Saric is still standing. The kid has a chin of granite. Saric dives for the takedown, but Lene gets mount out of it. Saric turns and Lene immediately sinks the RNC.
Winner: Randy Lene via rear naked choke at 1:36 of the 2nd round.
Break time between pro and ammy fights. Maybe I’m going out to a friend’s trunk, maybe I’m not say. I’m not sayin… yeah, I’m going out to the trunk. Oh jesus, no I’m not…is that apple juice? No? Why is there so much of it?…whoa…nice…nice…
Pro Fight time, baby!
Shane Cadotte (1-1) vs Erik Vo (4-5)- 135 pounds
Round 1) Cadotta looks intense and the two trade a lot of misses. Cadotte twists for a judo-ish takedown and Vo turns to guard. Vo keeps his hips moving and turns guard into a belly-down armbar. Strangely enough, even though Cadotte’s corner yells out “he’s doing that jiu-jitsu stuff” he doesn’t know how to defend. Madness!
Winner: Erik Vo at 1:47 of the 1st round via belly down armbar
9:45pm, PBR #3:
I think I deserve to be sponsored by PBR. If for no other reason than to help change the image of a PBR drinker from some douchebag in horn rimmed glasses, plaid shorts and some dumb little hat to my own personal personification of the jeans and t-shirt wearin’ temple of All That Is Man that I embody on a day to day basis.
Okay, with this except of my wardrobe that’s a flat out lie, but at least I don’t hang out in Uptown and rave about bistros, talk politics and smell of patchouli. 
Bruce Johnson (20-36) vs Mark Bascovsky (9-2)
Round 1) Believe it or not, this isn’t really a mismatch. Johnson gets the power double almost immediately and starts throwing jackhammer shots. No power, he’s just trying to get the fight over with.
Bascovsky works his hips and gets to Johnson’s back. Johnson tries to stand and even flip to shake him, but Bascovsky isn’t going anywhere and keeps hunting for the rear naked choke. Eventually it looks like Johnson just gives up and Bascovsky gets the tap.
Winner: Mark Bascovsky at some point in the 1st round via rear naked choke.
Dan Wales (3-4) vs. Pat Magdaleno (0-0)
Round 1) Wales throws a hard kick to the body, but Magdaleno stands in the pocket without flinching, getting a huge takedown for his toughness/stupidity. Wales works back to his feet eventually and starts using his muay thai with knees to the legs of Magdaleno.
Magdaleno reverses the control and throws Wales to the mat. He gets an arm control and turns Wales over. He throws two hard punches and the ref stops the fight. Some aren’t happy, but Magdaleno has a lot of people with him and the crowd explodes with celebration.
Winner: Pat Magdaleno via TKO due to ref stoppage at 1:50 of the 1st round.
Explanation: Yes, it was a fast stop. Too fast. When Dan was on his stomach, he arched up, as he dropped to defend his hands slammed the mat like he was tapping. The ref double clutched and when the strikes landed he ended it. It was a tough stoppage, but sometimes being a ref is really f***ing hard.
Caleb Wolff (11-8) vs. Ben Locken (2-1)
Round 1) Locken abandons what I expected to be early muay thai for a double. Wolff gets a good sprawl and locks a keylock grip. He wants the kimura and it is solid. Locken keeps driving for the takedown.
Are you f***ing kidding me! Look at this!!! 
Yeah, I’m covered in blood. It’s on my laptop, my fight sheet, my jeans and my shirt. Nice. Thank God for pre-fight testing. And whiskey. I’ll take this harder when my buzz is gone.
Wolff is landing vicious elbows that have cut Locken wide open. Blood is everywhere. This fight is over. But not before I get douched with someone else’s DNA.
Winner: Caleb Wolff at 1:40 of the 1st round due to TKO via exsanguination. Look it up, it’s funny that way.
Crow (3-7) vs. Dan Kiser (6-3)
Round 1) A lot of feeling out early. A lot. A LOT. Slowly Kiser is finding his range with kicks and Crow isn’t doing much in return (you’d think he’d have more energy now that he is off suspension). 
Kiser lands a crisp snapping head kick and Crow turns away…wait…he is shaking his head to the ref. It’s over. It’s over? Crow quit? *sigh*
Winner: Dan Kiser at 3:43 of the 1st round due to Crow being a *****. Yeah, that’s official.
10:30pm PBR #4: okay, now I’m seeing why I’m not allowed to drink cage side. I can’t even take a picture of this one. I just heard someone say the name Jake. My mind then went to Elwood, then the Blues Brothers, then:
Then
Now I get it. I’m going to need another beer soon to help me cope with this self-realization.
Hmmm…I just said the word realization out loud and it sounds more like realalishashason. Perhaps instead of a sponsorship deal, I could just get them to cover my cab fare home.
Jon Barker (7-3) vs. Lloyd McKinney (6-2)- 125 pounds
Round 1) Barker looks to have flat feet and McKinney score the early takedown. Barker turns his hips and gets open guard. McKinney moves to mount, but Barker keeps him tight. Eventually, Barker gets back to half-guard. 
McKinney throws the leg for a pass and lands a left cross on the way down to cross sides. Again Barker stays mobile .
McKinney repeats the above.
So does Barker.
McKinney lands a solid cross as the round ends.
Round 2) Barker shoots for the takedown early and McKinney defends well. Barker ties up and McKinney lands a crisp knee to the head. Now McKinney is finding his rhythm. He gets Barker with a bear hug takedown and lands solid shots from top half guard. Still Barker stays mobile and moves away. He looks exhausted in the corner as the round ends. 
(between rounds) Damn, I love a ring girl that likes her job. Thanks Amy Krog (by the way, awesome name!) for shakin’ what yer momma gave ya! Yup, gonna have to friend you on facebook. Wow.
Round 3) McKinney looks composed. Barker is hurting and cut wide open under his eye…are you kidding? More blood on my card…crap, anyway…this is just short of amazing. What the last guy lacked in heart, Barker makes up for. Every shot is answered with movement away. The kid just won’t give up. I love this stuff!! 
Words can’t describe so I won’t do the injustice of trying. Barker’s heart is unbelievable!
Winner: Lloyd McKinney wins via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
Note: Amazing fight. Amazing heart. Does this get better?
Billy Christianson (6-1) vs Nick Compton (4-2)
Round 1) A lot of back and forth before Christianson finally gets the takedown. Compton immediately gets to guard and goes for a belly down armbar. It is deep and Christianson’s arm looks bad, but he won’t give up. He escapes! Compton again sets up another armbar and Christianson slams his way out of it!
A punk sweep by Compton! And Christianson, from turtle, drags him over the top for a takedown! Compton gets to his feet, goes for a takedown and ends up in Christianson’s guard. The pace is incredible as the round ends with Compton landing unanswered strikes.
Round 2) Christianson is stunned from an early left hook, but doesn’t fall, this kid is tough. He reverses the clinch and is able to pull the takedown then works to north/south. Compton is mobile and works for yet another armbar. Again Christianson escapes!
Christianson dives for an RNC it looks good, but too shallow. Compton backdoors and controls the turtled-up Christianson. I can’t believe this fight. Nothing short of incredible! The round ends with Christianson surviving at least 60 seconds of unanswered strikes from turtle.
Round 3) I can’t write. I need to watch this. This is crazy. Each fighter is putting more effort into this than almost any UFC, WEC, Strikeforce or any other fighter out there. The back and forth is sick. Compton looks to be getting the better of the control.
Oh, Christianson is hurt. It is purely defensive now, but he won’t fall. He’s against the cage and just trying to avoid knees and punches. Again he works out of it, but Compton is still throwing. Finally, mercifully, the ref stops in. This fight is amazing, and it is over.
Winner: Nick Compton via TKO at who-gives-a-s*** of the 3rd round.
Fight of the night, knock out of the night and I wish I could give it submission of the night. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.
How am I supposed to get to sleep after this…oh yeah, PBR #5, here I come baby!
I would also like to thank Bobby Brunette of the Minnesota State Boxing & Combative Sports Commission and Golden Gloves President for some great cage side conversations. It is always great to talk with someone who appreciates both MMA and The Sweet Science!

Knockout Merchandise: Local, Cheap, Pretty F***ing Sweet

Please allow me to introduce myself: I’m a whore.

It’s just the way it is. Kind of the nature of the business. There is no money or glory in writing about MMA/BJJ. The sport is in it’s infancy so any douchebag that can rent a movie has watched old UFC events and proclaimed themselves experts.

They also claim to have been fans from the start.

Newsflash: if everyone that claimed to be fans from the first UFC was telling the truth, the company wouldn’t have all but folded once and been to the brink of bankruptcy as recently as TUF 1.

I hate you people.

So, as a man of modest tastes and a bank account that doesn’t need four digits, my time can be bought.

Pretty cheaply as it turns out.

You want to pimp your seminar? Sure, just let me go.

Want me to prostitute myself for your event? Sure, let me watch.

Want me to sell whatever strange idea of professionalism you may think I actually have just to talk about your product? Sure, just gimme gimme gimme.

Of course, as the Bard says, there in lie the rub.

I don’t make s*** for this stuff. I don’t ask for money because I hate taxes. I want swag. Shirts, rashguards, sweats, hats, whatever. I’m a scrub and I spill beer on myself a lot.

So I don’t have a lot of patience nor a need to kiss anyone’s a**. You don’t want me at your event? Boo hoo! How will I go on?

Oh, I got it: in the same drunken haze I would have been even if you didn’t fancy yourself a junior Dana White.

So when people want me to talk about products, there is risk.

The truth. And my truth is always a risk.

So when the local MMA product company Knockout Merchandise contacted me and asked about doing a product review/plug, I said sure, just gimme stuff.

And they did, so here’s my review.

It’s only f***ing $28!

What? That’s not good enough for you? It was pretty f***ing convincing for me. I’ve spend the $60 or $70 on the name brand BJJ rashguards only to stop and wonder “how much beer money did I just waste to look like some guy who just wishes he was sponsored?”

The Knockout brand rashguard is a simple black with the logo on the breast. It is a compression fit so it is a snug fit around the chest and the neck (though the neck did loosen nicely as I rolled).

Perhaps it is because of my hourglass figure, but it was a bit looser around my tummy (yeah, I call it a tummy, get over it), but overall it offered a secure fit.

I hate loose rashguards. I’m self-conscious of my body and feel vulnerable when people can see my belly button. I need this kind of fit.

It is a thicker, more durable material. And when it comes to rashguards, particularly ones that I am wearing in contest prep, I follow the advice of my buddy Boris The Blade:

Much like my ring card girls, I likes ’em a little thick.

Some might complain that they want them thinner and easier to move in, but when I am getting ready for competitions I want them sturdy, up for a lot of rolling and good for working up a sweat.

Yeah, heavy is reliable. When you roll hard, the last thing you want is thin material to get worn down, snag and just fall apart. I don’t want it to happen on $10 dry-fits or $70 overpriced wastes of money.

The heavy stitching around the seams provides extra durability and reenforces a garment that is traditionally a bit questionable.

And again, it’s only 28 f***ing dollars!

I would like to see it in other colors, but besides that I have no question in my mind that I’ve found a new rashguard for my comp prep training sessions.

The website says that these have gotten very popular with the ladies, but screw it, I’ve largely given up on life, so I needs my sweats. 

$24.99 when similar products from other brands run almost double that. Again, pretty tough to do wrong.

Listen, the bottom line is that these guys are local, cheap and they sell good products. It’s the same reason I drink Schell’s and Schmidtz.

They are small fish for now trying to exist in a world of people with champagne dreams. They keep their products inexpensive and reliable and I for one want to take advantage of their deals before people realize how good their products are and supply and demand f***s me in the a** once again.

These are good products and God forbid you blow a stitch, reinvesting doesn’t cost you a month’s worth of gym dues. This game can get expensive as is. You might as well do it right.

These guys also sponsor local fighters such as Ben Neumann and Damion Hill.

So, to close it out, some words and promotions straight from co-owner Jeff Swanson’s fingers…that sounds weird…

$5 shirt promotion
We have several shirts that are currently at $10.  Starting the week of May 14th, we are going to start discounting these $1 each week until they get down to $5.  Then they are going to remain at $5 until the inventory is gone.  Then we are going to replace them with some new items.  Let’s just say we are going to deviate from the Black and White shirts in our lineup and add a little color… and also add a couple items for the ladies in out “Knockout Girl” line.
Our product line is going 3 different directions right now.

1.      Your standard MMA t-shirts, hats, sweats and hoodies.

2.      Workout / Fight wear…  MMA board and vale tudo shorts, long and short sleeve rash guards.  We are also looking into glove and duffle bags.

3.      Knockout Girl line.  This is our fastest growing area and looks like it will soon be our top line.

Jeremy Tebay (my business partner and majority owner) and I struggle against full time jobs, kids in sports, long commutes and everyday obstacles to keep the business growing.  What keeps us going is the love for MMA and the satisfaction you get from building a business from nothing.  

The thing I enjoy the most… and it took me by surprise… is the people you meet…  the fighters, coaches, promoters, photographers, ring card girls, personalities on Facebook (Choking Minnesota)… and even the competitors in the t-shirt booth next to you.  I think we all love MMA and want to see it grow.

Couldn’t have said it any better myself Jeff…mainly because I’m pretty f***ing lit up.

These guys are good s*** so if you see them at a comp or a show, stop by any talk. Keep it local, because MMA in Minnesota grows with the help and support of local businesses.
Looks like I’m in that introspective and emotion stage of drunk. I need to move passed into the less weepy stages. Bartender!

It’s Friday! Stop judging me!