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The Weekly Rundown

The last week in mixed martial arts was filled with women’s championships, firings/re-hirings/re-firnings, new hirings and card changes. If you just arrived from the year 2029 A.D., Fightlinker is here to keep you in the loop.

Cyborg vs. Carano
The most high profile women’s match in U.S. history went down on Saturday in the main event of Strikeforce. In a fight that was in jeopardy after the collapse of Elite XC, Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos unleashed a flurry on a grounded Gina Carano to call a halt to the contest with one second left in the first round. It appeared that the Chute Boxe pressure-fighting couldn’t be withstood by Carano, keeping questions of her abilities alive. Both her and Cyborg were under intense scrutiny leading up to the fight because of their past weigh-in follies. Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker went as far as to make weekly and then daily calls to their gyms to check their weight. Each made the 145 pound weight limit with no issues, ensuring the first women’s main event in a major promotion would go on as scheduled. The borderline “Flawless Victory” crowned Santos the first Strikeforce Women’s champion in the Lightweight division.

Ricco Rodriguez to take on Fedor?
The tentative first opponent for Fedor’s Strikeforce debut is none other than Ricco Rodriguez. The almost 32 year old Rodriguez has confirmed that he is on the shortlist of those contacted for a fall match-up with the former PRIDE Heavyweight champion. It’s clear that if a matchup between Ricco and Fedor does occur, it’s because it would be another chance for the Russian to defeat a former UFC Heavyweight champion. (Rodriguez and Barnett are the only active former holders of the belt outside of Zuffa.) The promotionally logical matchmaking upset internet fans; the rumor fanned the flames of those upset with the quality of Fedor’s opponents and disappointed some still expecting a fight with Josh Barnett. Still, Rodriguez has gone 22-7 since leaving the UFC in 2003 (38-11 overall) and isn’t as bad of an opponent as some may think. Would he have higher caliber opponents in the UFC? Obviously, but Ricco is far from a Zulu or Ogawa.

McCrory/Leites confusion
It was incorrectly reported earlier this week that twenty-two year old Welterweight Tamden McCrory and former Middleweight challenger Thales Leites were released from the UFC. Both had been on the losing end of contentious split decisions on the preliminary portion of UFC 101. Word of the cuts came from multiple sources early on Monday, with Dan Cramer mentioned as another gone. There seemed to be a divide among the story’s reactions, with some being accepting and others angry. The decision to drop Leites was especially criticized by a vocal portion of internet fans, as, they argue, he was in the main event of a pay-per-view fighting for a championship less than four months ago. Kevin Iole brought up the issue to Dana White, who claimed he was unaware of their firings and was going to keep them under contract. He soon after confirmed that they would indeed be let go. While releasing fighters isn’t an issue per se, the false re-hiring and White’s “unaware”ness make the organization look ignorant of it’s mid-level fighters at best and mean spirited to them at worst. Putting these guys employment on a roller coaster ride had to make them unnecessarily run an emotional gauntlet.

Diaz removed from Strikeforce card
Nick Diaz’s marijuana use negatively affected his career once again. The missing of a scheduled urinalysis prevented the California state athletic commission from granting him a license to compete. Cesar Gracie blamed a scheduling conflict for the missed test, but later said there was not enough time to flush his system on such short notice. He also claimed a handshake deal with former CSAC suits allowed Diaz to use his prescribed cannabis before fights with no consequences. There were major consequences for him and others as a result of his drug use this time, though: Nick wasn’t able to compete for a championship on a high profile card, while Jay Hieron also lost the same opportunity and was moved to the untelevised portion of the show.

CSAC allows positive Hep-C and untested for HIV fighter to compete

The promoter of a mixed martial arts card March 7 in Tulare, Calif., confirmed Friday that one of the competitors was allowed to fight despite testing positive for Hepatitis C and having no test results on file for HIV. Al Joslin, who has promoted nine cards in California, said he learned of the situation about a week ago, when he was leaked a copy of a memo from the California State Athletic Commission. The commission is responsible for medical clearance of all MMA and boxing shows in the state.

The Times also received an electronic copy of the memo, and confirmed its authenticity with a source who has knowledge of the situation but was not authorized to speak publicly. “I am aware of it, and I’m very troubled by it,” Joslin said. “I’m very concerned the commission never contacted us. When we found out, we hit the ceiling.

Commissions making errors like this are extremely upsetting. The health of the fighters competing in their jurisdiction should be priority number one since you can argue safety is the reason commissions exist. Not only that, but oversights like this could really be the nail in the coffin for sanctioning in New York. Not only will bureaucrats paint pictures of “human dogfighting”, but they’ll be able to say the competitors are diseased as well.

Strikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg (8/15/2009)
Alexander Trevino def. Isaiah Hill via Submission at 3:56 of round 1
James Terry def. Zak Bucia via TKO at 1:23 of round 1
Justin Wilcox def. David Douglas via Submission at 3:16 of round 3
Scott Lighty def. Mike Cook via TKO at 2:05 of round 1
Jay Hieron def. Jesse Taylor via Unanimous Decision
Fabricio Werdum def. Mike Kyle via Submission at 1:24 of round 1
Gilbert Melendez def. Mitsuhiro Ishida via TKO at 3:56 of round 3 to defend the Striikeforce Interim Lightweight championship
Gegard Mousasi def. Renato Sobral via TKO at 1:00 of round 1 to win the Strikeforce Light-Heavyweight championship
Cristiane Santos def. Gina Carano via TKO at 4:59 of round 1 to become the Strikeforce Lightweight Women’s champion

Anderson Silva not permanently moving to 205
Despite reports of Silva’s manager presenting the offer, UFC Middleweight champion Anderson Silva will not vacate his belt for the financially greener pastures of the Light-Heavyweight division. The fact that Silva has kept the door to 185 open means there are double the opportunities to see the number one pound-for-pound compete against top competition.

Phil Baroni back in the UFC
“The NYBA” will finally compete in the Octagon once again: Phil Baroni has finally been re-signed to Zuffa after leaving in early 2005. His recent release from Strikeforce allowed him to return to the company he essentially began his career with. Baroni made sure to burn no bridges with the San Jose-based promotion he says treated him well. Rumors of his return to the UFC swirled in the summer of 2006 when he, Wanderlei Silva and Kazayuki Fujita were in talks to represent PRIDE FC on a co-promoted card in November of that year. Dana White also made it clear that he intended to sign Baroni if he were to defeat Frank Shamrock the following summer. Phil is always the kind of person to fight with everything he has, and matches with Welterweight strikers like Matt Brown, Chris Lytle, Marcus Davis, Ben Saunders and Paul Daley are fireworks waiting to happen.

Marloes Coenen next for Cyborg
16-3 Marloes Coenen was announced to likely be the next opponent for Cris Cyborg during the Carano vs. Cyborg post-fight press conference. The push to develop North America’s women’s division gains credibility every time Strikeforce signs experienced, internationally well known fighters. The female side of the entire sport will only continue to grow if the promotion’s talent pool consistently gets deeper and deeper like this.

Dan Mirgliotta attempts to defend Sadollah/Hendricks stoppage

“What made me stop the fight was the fact that, after the multiple uppercuts by Hendricks, I felt that Sadollah was out and went limp. He fell down to his hands and knees and just stayed there. From where I was, I could not see his eyes to see if he was out, but I felt that he was not defending himself and, after several more punches that went unanswered, I stopped the fight.”

It’s painfully obvious that he made a bad call, yet he still tried to defend himself. He literally positioned himself to have the worst vantage point possible and he doesn’t even mention all of the strikes to the back of Sadollah’s head. He probably didn’t see them because all he saw was Hendricks’ back. Absolutely embarrassing. There has to be accountability for stuff like this; people need to make sure this amount of incompetence doesn’t go unnoticed.

Lots of bad guys keeping MMA out of Vancouver
I’m not familiar with the politics of Canada’s regional MMA, but apparently there is a trend of organized crime that is suppressing the sport’s regulation in British Columbia – a place the UFC wants to visit very badly. Sounds alarming, right? It does until you read between the lies:

“It’s a fact,” said Sgt. Bill Whalen, spokesman for the combined forces special enforcement unit. “We’ve seen that UFC events attract some … gang or organized crime members. It’s popular with them.”

The UFC has never visited Vancouver, so logic says Whalen refers to all the province’s local MMA as “that UFC”. Nothing to see here but more ignorance keeping the sport from expanding.

WEC salaries too low
Here are some fun facts Ryan dug up:

* The UFC gives out more in bonuses per event (240k) than the combined amount fighters at WEC 42 made (234k).
* Miguel Torres gets paid the same amount of money as Stephan Bonnar (25k). Actually Bonnar might make more if he wins, but it’s been over two and a half years since Bonnar won so I’m not sure.
* Former WEC fighter Chael Sonnen made more against Dan Miller at UFC 98 (50k) than both fighters in the WEC 42 headlining bout combined (43k)
* Mark Coleman made twice as much at UFC 100 (100k) than Urijah Faber makes (48k)

It’s mind-boggling how the pay of fighters is proportional to their weight. For those who oppose a merger to the UFC and WEC: Why do you want to keep these lighter guys from making more money? Do they not fight in the same sport heavier competitors do? The glass ceiling has to be broken, and a merger would do exactly that.

Zuffa counters Carano vs. Cyborg with UFC 100
The first shot in the domestic MMA Strikeforce/UFC war has been fired by Dana White, and it won’t be the last…

Josh Barnett wrestles again
PRIDE veterans Naoya Ogawa, Bob Sapp, Teh Hawtness work a match with Josh Barnett in Japan.

Thank Superman that GSP is there should it get out of control.

“The Juggalo” Shoulders Tourelli
Rodney King: PAYBACK(?)
Esther’s fantastic Strikeforce pictures
Carano vs. Cyborg finish through the ref cam

What was the catch phrase for the original incarnation of the WFA?

Gina Carano > Cyborg
Gina Carano > Rosi Sexton > Dina Van den Hooven > Erica Paes > Cris Cyborg