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Thursday, Jul 29, 2004

Ortiz-mezger Iii In The Works For Ufc 50

Ortiz-Mezger III in the Works for UFC 50
By Loretta Hunt

Guy Mezger
Guy Mezger

Care for a good ol’ rubber match? It’s looking highly likely that October 22nd’s UFC 50 will be serving one up between light-heavyweight fighters Tito Ortiz and Guy Mezger. Both fighters have confirmed receiving contracts from the UFC for the proposed bout, and although neither has yet to sign and return them, both have expressed their intentions to do so shortly.

Mezger and Ortiz first met in the Octagon seven years ago at UFC 13, where the Lion’s Den fighter submitted the young alternate in its tournament finals with a guillotine choke 3:00 in. Ortiz got the opportunity to avenge that loss twenty-two months later at UFC 19 with a TKO referee stoppage via strikes some ten minutes into the match. Following the victory, Ortiz donned what would become one of his calling cards in the sport, a derogatory T-shirt that read, "Gay Mezger is my bitch." The bold move put Ortiz on the fast track to stardom, and he would later go on to become a UFC champion.

While Lion’s Den patriarch Ken Shamrock was less than amused by Ortiz’s theatrics, Mezger, who made his fighting debut at UFC 4, says he’s moved on from those days and is just looking forward to returning to his roots. "To me, this is just a fight between me and a guy who beat me. It’s not even personal. What he did with the whole T-shirt thing, that was a stupid thing and I’ve learned to forgive him about it. It was kind of asinine on his part." Instead, Mezger has placed a wholly different importance on this match-up. Win, lose, or draw- the 36-year old Texan has expressed unequivocally that this will be the very last fight of a relatively fruitful 30-13-2 career spanning ten years.

"Cool, I get to retire him," replied an upbeat Ortiz to the news. It was a mere twenty-four months ago that Ortiz had told FCF pointblank that he had no interest in ever re-matching Mezger again. But, two years and two crucial career losses later, it seems that the Huntington Beach Bad Boy has changed his tune somewhat. "I guess I’m becoming excited now, you know?" the bleached blonde bomber commented. "It’s time to get my head back into it. If Guy Mezger’s the guy they want me to fight, then eh, he’ll be that guy. It’s just one of those matches I need to take for the UFC and for some of the fans, and at the same time, I guess they want to kind of build me up again. There’s no one else to fight. Either I fight a no name or do I just do the best of three kind of match. This is what they came up with."

More so than his potential opponent, it seems that Ortiz is drawing his inspiration from getting the opportunity to fight again after a six month layoff. "I just want to get back in the Octagon. I’m just sick of waiting. I’m sick of sitting in the stands and watching."

For Mezger, the trailblazer is simply hoping his swan song does not disappoint. "I’ll never go down as being the Mohammed Ali of mixed martial arts," he remarked, "but I wanna go down as a true warrior who fought anybody they put in front of him and was scared of no man. Some days he was the champion and some days he wasn’t, but he never put up an excuse and he never backed down from a fight. Being known as a consummate competitor and warrior will be satisfying enough for me."

7 Things to Take Away from Bushido 4
By Joe Hall

  1. Either Pride wants action in their fights or they’ve found a sneaky way to cut costs

    Red penalty cards for stalling, which apparently result in a 10% reduction in a fighter’s pay, were generously distributed at Bushido 4. Dean Lister and Amar Suloev received two each, sparking speculation that they would’ve made minimum wage had their fight been scheduled for three rounds instead of two.

    Brady Fink also got one, Akira Shoji got one, Paulo Filho got one, Fabio Mello got one, Kazuhiro Nakamura got one, Rogerio Nogueira got one. Even I got one, presumably for falling asleep during the Filho-Shoji fight, which resulted in a lack of action on my behalf that warranted the card.

  2. Oyama is a hired punching bag

    Shungo Oyama has a death wish, and I’m beginning to think Pride can’t grant it. They matched the Japanese fighter, a natural middleweight, against Wanderlei Silva, but the Axe Murderer didn’t get the job done. Then they paired him against Dan Henderson, who came fairly close in a bout last year. The grand finale came at Bushido 4, when they lured him into the ring with the most feared striker in the sport, heavyweight Mirko Filipovic.

    The odds were fair that Oyama would at least be knocked into a slobbering fit and maybe even suffer some permanent damage. Still, with a 38-pound weight advantage and an infinite skill advantage, "Cro Cop" didn’t so much as send Oyama out on a stretcher. The suits at Pride must be dismayed; if Cro Cop can’t hammer a nail in Oyama’s coffin and Bob Sapp is contracted to K-1, where do they turn next?

    In all seriousness, Oyama gets hit and goes down pretty quick, typically limiting his pain and suffering to about a minute or so. Regardless, throwing him in there against Cro Cop is a heinous act. I realize the Croatian’s image suffered to some degree in his knockout loss to Randleman and then-when he came back too early and they let him-against Kanehara, who took him the distance.

    The reality, however, is that a healthy and recharged Cro Cop is every bit as dangerous as the fighter that kicked Igor Vovchanchyn in the head. If the intention is to reassert his appeal as a lethal striker before his next marquee matchup in August, then at least find another heavyweight for him to stomp. There are plenty of 220-plus-pound opponents that Cro Cop would have mowed down just as quickly and without the level of risk that comes with shoving a grossly undersized and under skilled foe into the fire.

    On a similar note, I don’t have a problem with Hayato Sakurai being matched against Brady Fink. The match was, I’m assuming, put together on the same principle as Cro Cop-Oyama: to reestablish a fighter. Sakurai could use a few wins, and he was given a young opponent, about his size, who had some decent skills but would very likely lose. I would have rather seen Sakurai against Chris Leben, but I understand why we saw Fink instead. The methods by which Pride chose to rebuild Cro Cop and Sakurai were not entirely different; one way was ethical, however, and legitimate while the other was not.

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Penn vs. Zuffa:
Temporary Fate of UFC Welterweight Title is of First Concern

By Loretta Hunt

BJ Penn
BJ Penn

Fans could know in as early as three to four weeks if they will or won’t be seeing a UFC welterweight title fight anytime in the near future. That is when BJ Penn’s legal counsel anticipates it will get its first hearing in front of the Clark County District Court of Nevada to consider its request for an immediate injunction barring UFC owners Zuffa Sports Entertainment from conducting a welterweight championship bout without its client.

The appeal is the most timely one made in a 21-page civil action lawsuit Penn and his reps filed against Zuffa on June 8, 2004, in response to the fight promotion’s decision to strip Penn of the title he had procured on January 31, 2004 following his victory over Matt Hughes, when the Hawaiian took a separate offer to fight in the rival K-1 promotion in May. In Penn’s complaint, the fighter claims he was unlawfully stripped of his title since Zuffa’s promotional exclusivity over him had run out on September 27, 2003, as per his contract. Penn’s attorneys also argue that no extension of exclusivity ever legally kicked in since the fighter was not a UFC champion at the time of the term’s expiration, nor could these exclusive rights be legally imported into a separate bout agreement Penn signed thereafter, according Nevada State Athletic Commission Administrative Code. Following NSAC statutes, Penn’s attorneys also contest Zuffa’s legal right to declare fighter exclusivity in its bout agreements, as well as question the manner in which the fight promotion drafted its own contracts and bout agreements. Current NSAC regulations state that it "shall prepare all forms of contracts between sponsors, licensees, promoters, and contestants."

According to Penn’s representation, the fighter is seeking reinstatement of his title, as well as the right to defend it at the earliest possible opportunity. Penn is also seeking monetary judgment for both legal fees and damages; however Nevada protocol dictates that an actual figure can not be named at this time. Zuffa has refrained from commenting on the case with FCF, however, a formal statement released two days ago on their official website declares they will "aggressively defend" their stance.

Of immediate consideration, Penn’s lead counsel, Steven Strauss, is asking the courts to consider the request for injunctive relief in regards the UFC welterweight title till such time that this action suit has played itself out. Strauss anticipates a hearing in front of the Nevada court in as early as three to four weeks, where he says a decision could be reached as early as that day. "It depends on the judge," says Strauss. "A judge can rule from the bench, which is at the time of the hearing, or they can take an issue under submission and they can think about it or require additional briefing, and then they can rule sometime later. On injunctive relief matters, they typically rule within a relatively short period of time of it being presented, whether it be on the bench, or within ten days to two weeks afterwards, depending on the urgency on the matter." Although Zuffa had made no official announcements, news sources have reported a proposed match-up between Hughes and Georges St. Pierre for the welterweight title at UFC 50, scheduled for October 22nd in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Strauss is confident that at least a preliminary ruling will be made prior to that time.

Kimo Contacts Commission on Steroid Charges;
Hearing Is Forthcoming

By Loretta Hunt

Kimo Leoplodo at UFC 48

Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) Senior Deputy Attorney General Michael Mersch has been contacted by UFC 48 contestant Kimo Leopoldo, regarding a formal complaint the sanctioning body had filed against him for alleged steroid use. "All I can really say is that he indicated that he is willing to cooperate with the Commission fully," Mersch comments of his brief conversation with the veteran fighter this past Tuesday. At this time, Mersch confirms that Leopoldo has not entered any affirmation or denial to the charges presented against him, nor did he offer any type of explanation. "He wanted to have some time to go over the matter with his manager and I encouraged him to do that and have his manager get back in touch with me as soon as possible." Mersch says he has not heard anything from Leopoldo or his management since then.

Leopoldo faces allegations of steroid and stimulant use following his participation at June 19th’s UFC 48 in Las Vegas, Nevada, where a post-fight urinalysis revealed the presence of Stanzolol metabolite, as well as three separate stimulants not approved for use by the NSAC. Leopoldo was given a requisite twenty days to file a non-mandatory reply from the date of being served, but failed to make a July 23rd deadline in which to do so. Mersch says, however, that he is still willing to offer the heavyweight fighter a bit of leniency. "Even though the timeline has run for him to do so, I will encourage both he and his manager to try and reduce their position on the matter to writing in some form prior to the hearing. I think that’s in their best interest. Whether they choose to do that or not, is up to them. I’ve never seen the Commission not consider a written reply, even though at this point it is late."

Mersch estimates Leopoldo’s formal hearing in front of the five-member board to take place sometime between August 15th and 30th. "Certainly, the Commissioners, at this point, are going to more than likely have questions for him as to what were the circumstances that led to this, why did it happen, how can we be assured it’s not going to be a recurring problem- things of that nature. All those will certainly be factors in the level and amount of discipline that is imposed on Mr. Leopoldo."

FCF spoke with Kimo on Monday, prior to his contacting the NSAC, where he expressed his intentions on making a public statement on the matter. FCF has been unable to connect with the fighter since.

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posted by Full Contact Fighter @ 8:00 pm
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