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Oh big surprise of surprises! Xyience continues to slide down the slippy slopes of financial ruin and has just filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which sounds much more serious that Chapter 10 or 9. At least it’s not CHAPTER 13. I’m not actually sure what the different chapters entail but 13 is a bad ass number. Those familiar with the case, either through Rich Bergeron’s insane but probably true rantings or Adam Swift’s Payout site, know that Xyience has been in trouble for a while.

Without going into conspiracy land, the general gist of the story is that Lorenzo Fertitta and Dana White are highschool buddies with the original owners of Xyience, Russel and Jennifer Pikes. Lorenzo bailed Xyience out several times over the years, most recently to allegedly cover overdue sponsorship money owed to UFC fighters.

But a small product line, insane advertising budget, and a whole lot of alleged embezzling sunk the company into debt, and a few months ago they fired their entire sales staff. From there the company’s been coasting on fumes, and now here we are: Bankruptcy land.

To me, I don’t really give a shit. I’m just glad to see Xyience off the center of the Octagon canvas and out of the hands of every UFC fighter who wins a bout. What about the loser? Why doesn’t the loser get to sip from a closed can of delicious Sour Apple Xenergy too?

I try not to say “I told you so” a lot, because I know that the majority of you guys agree with most of what I post. But to all those people who said Tito would never leave the UFC no matter how balls they treated him … I told you so. I also look forward to another “I told you so” in six to twelve months when Tito signs with another major organization and helps them to become the first real competition the UFC has faced since Pride. Gotta love it when the UFC shoots itself in the foot.

Lots of people don’t like Tito, not so much because of his talk but because his walk hasn’t backed it up since … hmm. 2002, let’s say. I, on the other hand, choose to love Tito Ortiz because he’s one of the biggest names in mixed martial arts and the sport needs guys like him to help it grow. The bigger the sport grows, the more events we get to see, and the more everyone in the sport gets paid. Eventually the sport will grow big enough that a little blogga’ like me will get a few crumbs from the table, and we can rejoice, slap a salary cap on the fighters, and all live happily ever after.

Here’s what I want to do: can everyone put aside their opinion of Tito Ortiz for a second and look at the hard fact: Tito Ortiz makes the UFC lots of money. Let’s even ignore all the money he made them through the dark ages of the sport, where he basically carried the promotion on his young and unbusted back. Lets just look at now. Put Tito against a decent name, and you’ll have awesome PPV numbers and sold out venues. It’s that simple.

Even if you decide that Tito Ortiz ain’t worth the time or trouble, you can’t ignore the growing trend of insanity that’s developing: the UFC sure seems to be losing a lot of guys lately. Randy Couture is gone, Tito’s come out and straight up said he’s going. Andrei Arlovski is playing his cards close, but leaks have shown he’s ready to fuck off too. And the fishy silence between the UFC and Mirko Crocop points to the UFC trying to wrangle a cheaper fight out of the Croatian due to his past performances.

Oh, and let’s not forget that the UFC tossed Ken Shamrock out on his ass to boot. I don’t care how old Ken is, how shitty Tito is, how boring Arlovski’s been, or what Crocop’s shown in his last two fights. The UFC is losing marquee fighters who should be in the ring fighting, not on the sidelines over contractual disputes. In fact, if they keep this pace up they’ll have lost more cornerstone fighters than most other promotions have combined.

I don’t think the solution to these problems is to throw money at the fighters. But I also don’t think crazy hardball tactics are the way to go either. Zuffa should be smart enough to figure out a way to solve these problems without reading the riot act and burning bridges every time a fighter wants to be paid more.

Here’s the wrapup of yesterday’s news for you guys. Posting today will be spotty as I’m sick as a dog and going to the doctor’s this afternoon. Trust me when I say it’s killing me not being able to give you the coverage I’d like to. Now I know how Luke Thomas felt when he kept saying “I suck, sorry”. I suck … sorry.

Frank Shamrock’s running the show
Looks like Frank will be in charge of throwing the Ken vs Frank Shamrock fight. Word is he’s selling off pieces of the pie the same way boxing promoters often do with their shows. No word yet on how much of a disaster this will be if he can’t get anyone with any decent MMA experience to put together the production end of things. If I were another MMA company like EliteXC and Strikeforce, I’d shun this thing and not help a bit. It’s just not the kind of system you want being set up.

Big John poops on the UFC
A while back I tried to drum up support for the idea that Big John didn’t like the way the UFC was running things. Now he basically says that himself.

Jason MacDonald doesn’t like Joe Doerkson
Or rather, he doesn’t like the fact that he has to fight Joe again. Jason’s a cocky guy so I guess he doesn’t really understand the point of a rebound match. Losing three in a row is pretty much game over for Jason, so I’d say an easy fight is just what he needs right now. In the meantime, learn some goddamn standup skills, buddy.

Lambert’s loss was not a fluke
The guys at Bloody Elbow break down the end of Gouveia / Lambert and explain how Lambert threw away the fight with sloppy striking and posture. Somebody get this guy a boxing coach!

Mirko CroCop training
Here’s pictures of Mirko Crocop training hard. But I’m confused. Didn’t Dana White say that Crocop isn’t sure he still wants to fight?

Care of our very informed buddies at TKO Extreme:

According to ultimefanatic.com, tickets for the upcoming UFC 84 to be held in Montreal, will be available for sale starting Feb10th. This may be pre-sale which is available to UFC Fight Club members, and newsletter members only.

This would make sense as reported earlier, the UFC is to Host a Press Conference on Feb. 4 at the Bell Centre to confirm the date and venue.

Note that if the 10th is the UFC Fight Club date, the general release date is typically 4-5 days later. So if you’re planning on coming to UFC 84 in Montreal, you now know when to smash open your piggy banks.

On a side note, we’ve been relatively silent about the situation with the conference we plan on holding on the same weekend. We’ve been balls deep in logistics and are just finishing our general research. We should be ready to announce everything next week.

Let’s play good news / bad news. Good news: Evan Tanner is fighting in Montreal. Bad news: Evan Tanner is fighting Yushin Okami in Montreal. After watching all of Yushin’s fights in the UFC, we pretty much know what to expect from him: agressive wrestling, gradual damage over the course of three rounds, and maybe a few armlock attempts for good measure.

On the other hand, what the fuck are we to expect from Evan Tanner? According to Tanner, this is the first time he’s actually been training fulltime. Plus you can’t discount the fact that he’s off the sauce. On the other hand, who knows where his head is really at right now?

All of these question marks make me worry for Evan. The UFC seems to have decided they’ll throw Tanner into the deep end to see if he’ll swim. They certainly don’t need another so-so middleweight who can’t beat top competition, so it does make sense that they aren’t gonna waste time. Tanner also represents the best threat at middleweight for Okami past Hendo and Anderson. You know the UFC is freaking out at the prospect of Okami landing a belt – he must be stopped at all costs! So if that means putting Tanner to the test, then so be it. I just hope he’s up for it.

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