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Wednesday, Jan 08, 2003

Pride President Found Dead

PRIDE President Found Dead

Late last night, we received some sad news. DSE President Naoto Morishita was found dead Wednesday night, shortly after midnight, the victim of an apparent suicide. He was reportedly found hanged with an obi (sash/belt) in a hotel room in the Shinjuku District of Tokyo, Japan. According to police, no suicide note was found.

Earlier in the day, Morishita reportedly announced future plans for PRIDE, including the announcement of the scheduling of PRIDE 25 (March 16), 26 (May 25), 27 (November) & the long-awaited 2nd PRIDE Grand Prix (opening round to be held in August and the Finals in October, both shows in the Tokyo Dome). He also reportedly reaffirmed the intentions to hold a PRIDE show in the U.S. in the future.

Our deepest condolences go out to Mr. Morishita’s family and friends.

MMA In Prime Time Again:
"The Smashing Machine"
Set To Debut January 12th On HBO

By Loretta Hunt

Smashing Machine poster
Tuesday, January 7th marked another milestone for mixed martial arts, as Home Box Office (HBO) hosted a private screening of "The Smashing Machine" at its headquarters in New York City. A ninety-three minute documentary focusing on the life and times of mixed martial artist Mark Kerr, the provocative piece is set to air this Sunday. Both Mark Kerr and Mark Coleman, the stars of the film, were on hand with wives Dawn and Kelly (also appearing in the film) to celebrate the documentary’s success. The film has already appeared at the Tribeca Film Festival and CineVegas.

Directed by John Hyams and produced by Jon Greenhalgh, a former college roommate and wrestling teammate of Kerr’s at Syracuse University, the film originally set out to record the journey of one of the toughest men in the world in his quest to be a champion. However, in the 3-year process (and over 500 hours of footage) that was to follow, "The Smashing Machine" became so much more. In addition to capturing the meteoric rise of wrestler Kerr through the ranks of such promotions as the WVC, UFC, and PRIDE– the documentary expertly delves into Kerr’s personal struggles as an opiate addict trying to stay on top and the toll his addiction eventually took on the relationships in his life. Behind-the-scenes footage reveals Kerr’s home life to training sessions to inner thoughts pre and post-fight. The film also captures some of the inner workings of Japan’s most celebrated MMA event, the unadulterated love its fans display and the incredible pressure its competitors experience. Honest appearances by both Mark Coleman and Bas Rutten only elevate the film’s grit and specificity. Coleman is especially poignant in a scene at his home in Ohio, playfully interacting with his young fidgety daughter in his lap as she explains to the camera what her daddy does for a living.

To the credit of John Hyams (currently directing episodes of NYPD Blue in Los Angeles), who admits he knew little of the sport before being approached by Greenhalgh, the finished product is staggeringly vivid and telling. "It was good for me to come in knowing not much about it and sort of discovering it as I went to bring a fresh approach to it. I certainly had no agenda going in-I wasn’t against it or for it. I wanted to make a movie that you could watch and feel like you’re watching a great movie- not just an educational or expose type of story. I really wanted the viewer to get to know these guys and go through the process of fighting and training and recovering and everything it entails." For producer Jon Greenhalgh, who has followed the fight scene and Kerr’s career from its beginnings, the demise of the film’s leading character into personal turmoil came as somewhat of a surprise. "Mark’s always been a very dynamic person and I didn’t know what we were going to encounter, but I kinda figured we’d encounter something. I was surprised to the degree and severity of his problem, but like I’ve said, I’ve seen Mark get into trouble before and he always has a way of pulling himself out of it."

As for the centerpiece of the film, star Kerr seemed to have no reservations about the details of his personal life being broadcast to millions of homes this Sunday. "The reactions that I have gotten [thus far] were totally contrary to what I’d thought they’d be. People were inspired by it." Added co-star Coleman, "For Mark to open up his life like that takes a lot of courage. I hope he keeps it together and keeps pulling it together and I’ll always be there for him."

From its opening scenes in which Kerr visits his local doctor’s office after a fight to his uncomfortable back-and-forth disputes with then-girlfriend Dawn Staples to some of the most innovative fight footage ever captured on celluloid, this film delivers a plethora of riveting viewing moments.

Brutal, heartwrenching, and witty all at the same time, "The Smashing Machine" marks another highpoint for MMA with the sheer sensitivity and artistry it utilizes in conveying the oft-misunderstood sport. Although the gruesome fight footage (all dating back at least three years) will do little to soften the general public’s impression of MMA, the film actually succeeds in going beyond the facade of fighter to the man that lies behind it.

A must-see for true MMA fans, "The Smashing Machine" debuts Sunday, January 12th at 10pm EST on HBO. It will re-air Monday, Jan. 13th at 11pm on HBO2; Wednesday, Jan. 15th at 12am and 10pm; Friday, Jan. 17th at 10pm on HBO2; Tuesday, Feb. 4th at 9:45 pm on HBO2; and Sunday, Feb. 9th at 2:30am on HBO2. (All time are EST.)

From Josh Hedges/Zuffa:

UFC Logo

Live Event Tickets Now On Sale!

      LAS VEGAS, NEV., January 8, 2003…The Ultimate Fighting Championship’s (UFC) new Heavyweight Champion Ricco Rodriguez will defend his title for the first time against undefeated contender Tim Sylvia at UFC 41: Onslaught live on pay-per-view Friday, Feb. 28, at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J. An eight-fight, all-star card also will feature the return to the UFC of legendary Heavyweight Tank Abbott, who will meet jiu jitsu submission specialist Frank Mir. In the co-main event, lightweight top contenders BJ Penn and Caol Uno will meet for the lightweight title.
      Live event tickets, $300, $200, $100, $60 and $30, are now on sale at the Boardwalk Hall box office in Atlantic City, at all Ticketmaster locations and at www.ticketmaster.com. Tickets also may be ordered by telephone at 1-800-736-1420. Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino, Trump Marina and Trump Taj Mahal are the hosts of the event.
      UFC 41: Onslaught will be available live on pay-per-view at 10 p.m. EST/7 p.m. PST on iN DEMAND, DIRECTV, Dish Network, Bell ExpressVu and Viewers Choice Canada. The suggested retail price is $29.95.
      Rodriguez (10-1-0 in mixed martial arts) is a native of Staten Island, New York, and a former resident of Patterson, N.J., who now fights out of Las Vegas. He has won 10 consecutive fights and captured the heavyweight crown September 27 with a fifth-round, technical knockout submission of former two-time champion Randy Couture at UFC 39: Warriors Return at The Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. Rodriguez has combined an always-improving standup game with a relentless ground and pound attack to win his last five fights by TKO over top heavyweights including Andre Arlovski, Pete Williams, Jeff Monson, Tsuyoshi Kosaka and Couture.
      Sylvia (16-0-0), a native of Ellsworth, ME, who fights out of Davenport, Iowa, is a strong striker and grappler who won a second round TKO September 27 over "Cabbage" Correira at The Mohegan Sun. Previously, he won an eight-man tournament and earlier this year, won the Superbrawl "Return of the Heavyweights" 16-man tournament with four victories by either knockout or TKO. At 6’8," 260 lbs., Sylvia is one of the biggest heavyweights in the UFC and trains with one of the top teams in mixed martial arts, Miletich Fighting Systems.
      "Tim is a phenomenal athlete who is undefeated. So, his record speaks for itself. He will be tough and will come after me because Miletich fighters always prepare very well for fights," Rodriguez said.
      "This is a big opportunity for Tim and I’m comparing this fight to the first "Rocky" movie where Apollo Creed gave Rocky a title shot, except there won’t be any split decision. I’m gonna take him out. Personally, it’s really exciting for me to defend my title for the first time in Atlantic City, which is close to Staten Island, New York, and Patterson, N.J., where I grew up. I will definitely have a lot of fans and family members in my corner," Rodriguez added.
      Tank (8-7-0), from Huntington Beach, Calif., is returning from World Championship Wrestling (WCW) to re-claim a top spot in the heavyweight division. He is renown for his knockout power and during his UFC career has recorded some of its most memorable KOs, including John Matua and Paul Varelans at UFC 6: Clash of the Titans; Steve Nelmark at Ultimate Ultimate ’96 and Hugo Duarte at UFC 17: Redemption. In Mir (4-1) of Las Vegas, he will be facing one of the UFC’s most promising young heavyweights. A Brazilian jiu jitsu specialist, Mir exploded on the scene at UFC 34: High Voltage with an armbar submission of veteran Roberto Traven in 1:05. He followed that with another armbar submission of Pete Williams in just 46 seconds at UFC 36: Worlds Collide.
      "From what I’ve seen, he’s a tough fighter. He is really skilled. Right now, I may be the only fighter who can beat him. His techniques all look real solid and I look forward to going to war with him," Tank said.
      "Fighting Tank will be good for me and my career. He is truly one of the legends of our sport and is still recognized as one of the top heavyweights. I don’t know if there are any fighters in the heavyweight division who punch harder and I know he has an excellent take down defense. But, I’ll be ready," Mir said.
      Penn (6-1-0) from Hilo, Hawaii, and Uno (13-4-2) of Kanagawa, Japan, earned the right to meet for the lightweight title with unanimous decision victories over Matt Serra and Din Thomas respectively September 27 at The Mohegan Sun. They fought each other once previously at UFC 34: High Voltage at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Penn won that match by knockout, so Uno will be seeking some payback.
Penn, known as "The Prodigy," is a powerful striker and grappler who was the first non-Brazilian black belt world champion in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Uno is a highly technical grappler and striker who also utilizes his extensive wrestling experience to submit opponents.
      The Ultimate Fighting Championship, headquartered in Las Vegas, Nev., is the world’s leading mixed martial arts sports association. Owned and operated by Zuffa LLC, the UFC programs six live pay-per-view events yearly through cable and satellite providers. In addition to its U.S. distribution on iN DEMAND, DIRECTV and TVN, UFC events are distributed internationally through British Sky Broadcasting, WOWOW, Inc., in Japan, Globosat in Brazil and Modern Sports and Entertainment in Scandinavia.
UFC licenses video games for all major playing platforms through Crave Entertainment.
      The UFC’s next pay-per-view event is Ultimate Knockouts 2, which premieres at 10 p.m. EST/7 p.m PST, Friday, January 17 on iN DEMAND, DIRECTV, TVN and Bell ExpressVu. It will re-capture the UFC’s most memorable knockouts. The suggested retail price is $9.95. Its next live PPV event is UFC 41: Onslaught at 10 p.m. EST/7 p.m. PST Friday, February 28, from Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.

From Lee Coates:

FFC Logo

The FFC in association with the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi present the FFC IV. January 31st 2003 at 8:00 p.m. in the Ballroom.

"The Beau Rivage is the South’s premiere vacation destination and has a reputation for having only the finest in entertainment. It is gratifying to have the opportunity to bring the FFC to a "five star" venue. As an organization we have identified a niche in the local fight market and bring a combination of local fighters with whom the fans enjoy an affinity along with some of the top names in the business. My partner Rob Braniff has done an outstanding job putting this card together. I think there will be a lot of industry insiders watching the outcome of our main event," said SportfightingUSA President Lee Coates.

"The old clich

posted by Full Contact Fighter @ 8:00 pm
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