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Monday, Aug 09, 2004

Women In Mma

Women in MMA
Jeff Osborne on the state of women’s MMA and his Nov. 6 women’s HOOKnSHOOT event
By Joe Hall

Jeff Osborne has faith in women’s MMA. He was told women couldn’t carry their own event, but in April 2002 he hosted the first all-women’s MMA card in the U.S. anyway. The DVDs are still selling.

Now, Osborne will tell you female fighters have a better shot of attracting new fans than male fighters do. That’s right: He says it’s the women and not the men who are more capable of catching the eye of a new audience, who are more able to turn first-time viewers of MMA into permanent fans. Just look at the outside interest in his show that’s three months away, says Osborne. Playboy, Femme Fatale and MTV have already contacted him regarding his next women’s event.

You may disagree with his views on women’s MMA … but what if he’s right? Is women’s MMA really capable of broadening the fan base? And is it ready to push in that direction? Osborne is cultivating the women’s product with such plans in mind. His next female-dominated lineup is scheduled for Nov. 6 in Evansville, Indiana, and he’s promising it will be the best to-date. FCF caught up with Osborne to get his thoughts on the state of women’s MMA and his plans for the upcoming women’s HOOKnSHOOT.

FCF:   When did you first see women fighting in MMA and what was your immediate impression of it?
Jeff Osborne:   I’d say towards the end of the 90’s. They had a skilled girl against a nobody. I was never interested in that, until I saw the Remix, which I believe was 2000. You had some very, very skilled women in that, but again you had some women who didn’t belong there. Just straight pro wrestlers or whatever. But I thought if I could take that and combine that with more skilled women, it would be a better product.

FCF:   When fans first hear about women’s MMA, but they haven’t seen it, what is their general impression of it?
JO:     Slap-fight. You can watch some new fans on the HOOKnSHOOT "Revolution" DVD. We asked some of the random fans coming in who had never been to fights before, and they were expecting catfights. They said that on the DVD. … We had sold 3,000 tickets (for the previous men’s show), and then when the women’s show rolled around, we only sold about 1,800. Then the fans who didn’t come got wind of how good the show was and that the women actually were skilled, and they regretted not going to the show.

FCF:   There are skilled women out there, but it also seems like you see a lot of mismatches in women’s MMA. Maybe the scarcity of women fighters is just magnifying the skill gap, but is it being promoted and matched poorly in some places too?
JO:     Yeah, I think most people are using it as a sideshow, maybe just thinking they’re going to sell a lot of tickets. If it’s not a show strictly for women, you’re going to run into people pulling out or not finding opponents. There are a lot of bad ones out there, but there are also a lot of good women fighters.

FCF:   Do women’s fights pull people in? Do they sell tickets?
JO:     I think just out of curiosity people would go see a "chick fight" just to see what it’s like. I did a women’s bout at an Illinois show, and people were skeptical about that. I said give it a try, and I put two pretty skilled girls in there, Kelly Kobold and Ginelle Marquez, and they were one of the better fights on the show. I think it turned heads there. I don’t know, it may work for some people and it may not.

FCF:   What is the state of women’s MMA right now, if you had to say, Jeff? Is it poor, promising, very good already?
JO:     Very promising. A year ago I would’ve said I can never do another women’s show again. I think for the first show I had a pool of maybe 18 women to put a show together with. And this time … I’m up to almost 70 women wanting in on this show. That’s a very large increase, and that’s what I was hoping to achieve with the first show-to bring the women out of the gyms and into the ring. And it’s working. It makes me feel really good. The other night I met Adrienna Jenkins, who is Jens Pulver’s girlfriend. She’s also a very accomplished Jiu-Jitsu practitioner and she’s had a fight or two. She said she watches "Revolution" all the time. It makes me feel good that people are inspired to train and to want to fight.

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Minotauro already in Japan, Wanderlei departuring, Sperry going to be father, Storm Samurai results and more!

The Brazilian Beat:
      With the Pride Heavyweight Grand Prix finals an UFC 49 coming up later in August, what else could a fighting fan ask for? Needless to say, as anywhere in the globe right now, most of the Brazilian MMA fan attention has been focused on those two great shows coming up, as expectations are high with Brazilian fighters such as Wanderlei Silva, Rodrigo Minotauro and Vitor Belfort involved in the most crucial match-ups of those events. But as I usually say in this space, this is not all by any means and there’s always much more going on this country’s mixed martial arts scene. Two interesting shows took place recently in Brazil, with Carlson Gracie presenting his new venture Real Fight, and the already traditional Storm Samurai promotion brining what many thought was their best show ever. Besides that rumors and news continue to appear all the time regarding fighter’s next moves, training sessions and even the now so usuall team’s changing. While the big time shows are still a bit distant, allow FCF to bring you the news straight from Brazil as we lay down the beat once again! Enjoy!

  • UFC light heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort is ready for the big time task of rematching Randy "the Natural" Couture at the next UFC. Training in California for a good while already, "The Phenom" told FCF he is feeling great and training has been tough, as he is already anxious for fight time. Meanwhile, nothing was found yet about his missing sister, Priscila Belfort, here in Brazil. It has been a while since any news were heard on TV and FCF still hopes for the best.
  • The finals of the Pride Heavyweight Grand Prix are coming up, and Rodrigo Minotauro Nogueira left Brazil this past Wednesday, going to Japan along with the rest of the Brazilian Top Team crew to take care of the final details of his preparation on the land of the rising sun, making sure everything will be perfect in the night of fights. According to Mario Sperry training went great and Nogueira is ready for both Kharitonov and whomever makes it to the final. Murilo Bustamante, who turned 38 years old recently, is also happy to be coming back to Pride facing Kazuhiro Nakamura, and is still wanting a rematch against Dan Henderson in a future Pride edition.
  • Another fighting icon who’s returning to the rings in this Pride show is the one and only Wanderlei Silva. "The Axe Murderer" will be departing for Japan this Monday, and is feeling more than ready to face Japanese idol Yuki Kondo. Training sessions for the fight at Chute Boxe were truly insane in the past weeks, to make sure Silva gets to the fight in great shape. Word has that Wanderlei and his teammate Murilo Ninja Rua have been training very hard with one another, with Ninja being also in great shape and eager to fight.

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Battle at Bellagio III:
Mo Delivers a Mighty Message

By Michael Afromowitz

American powerhouse "Mighty Mo" Siligia unleashed his wrath on three opponents, including championship round adversary Brecht Walis, to take hold of the "Battle at Bellagio III" tournament crown at Las Vegas, Nevada’s Bellagio Hotel and Casino on Saturday, August 7th.

"I felt some pain from the kicks to my legs, but when I feel those kicks, I’m gonna snap out of it and take care of business," said the 33-year-old Siligia of his final "Battle at Bellagio III" fight with Walis. Siligia, who joined the ranks of K-1 earlier this year after enjoying a lengthy career in the sport of professional boxing, has since been adjusting to the rules of K-1 that allow kicks above and below the waist as well as knee strikes. "I snapped out of it and every time he hurt me, I wanted to hurt him even more. I felt the kicks he was giving me and, in my heart, I wanted him to feel the same thing – if not from the leg kicks, then on his chin,"

Looking impressively fit after tipping the scales at a muscular 281 pounds one day earlier, Siligia came out of the gates in similar swing for the fences fashion as he did during the second Battle at Bellagio installment on April 30th. Standing toe to toe with Belarus’s Sergei Gur, Siligia dropped his opponent in the second round with a hard overhand right to the head. Gur beat the count and made it out of the round on his feet, but was constantly pressured by the unyielding Siligia in the third round. After the final bell, Siligia was awarded a unanimous judges’ decision victory.

In the semifinal round of battle, Siligia was faced by fellow American Scott Lighty. Lighty, a prodigy of famed California training center, The Pit, had scored an impressive second round knockout on Frank Cota during the event’s reserve tournament bout. After Siligia’s scheduled semifinal round opponent, Alexander Ustinov, withdrew from the tournament due to a battered leg that he suffered en route to his quarterfinal round victory, Lighty was called in to take his place.

At the 1:29 mark of the opening round, Siligia, who outweighed Lighty by 63 pounds, connected with a looping overhand right that snapped the receiver’s head back and sent him to the mat on his back. Lighty was able to beat the referee’s count, but the third man in charge quickly called a stoppage after

The championship round of action saw a showdown between Siligia and Walis, who had earlier staged a remarkable comeback against American superstar Carter Williams and, later, coasted to a unanimous judges’ decision win over Sweden’s Jorgen Kruth.

During the first three minutes of battle, both fighters were cautious while attempting to find their range. While he struggled to overcome the three inch height disadvantage that he faced in the 6 foot 4 inch Walis, Siligia managed to connect with a couple of overhand rights that left an impression on his opponent.

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Controversy Reigns In Sefo/Eastman Superfight
Roufus and Goodridge Victorious In Superfight Action
By Michael Afromowitz

In what was expected to be a contest filled with heroic action, the headlining "Battle at Bellagio III" Superfight between K-1 superstar Ray Sefo and American martial arts fighting star Marvin Eastman produced heart-throbbing, controversial warfare both during and after the bout that saw Sefo earn a controversial, first round technical knockout win. Six-time world kickboxing champion Rick "The Jet" Roufus and "Big Daddy" Gary Goodridge were victorious in their respective Superfight matchups.

Eastman, whose role in the event was switched from that of tournament fighter to Superfight competitor after Sefo’s originally scheduled opponent withdrew from the event earlier this week, did not hesitate to pursue Sefo from the outset of their matchup. Likewise, Sefo was willing to trade blows immediately and sent the 35-year-old Eastman reeling back with a right hook to the body in the opening seconds of the bout.

After an exchange of punches left Sefo the worse for wear, the New Zealand native quickly retaliated with a roundhouse kick that caught Eastman and opened a cut around the area of his left eye. The ringside physician momentarily stopped the bout to examine the damage and, moments later, ordered the action to resume.

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From the event’s promoter:

EVT ‘Gladiators’ New Main Event

The European Vale Tudo crew is proud to present the main event fight for European Vale Tudo ‘Gladiators’, which will take place in Stockholm Sweden on the 26th of September:

Pierre Guillet
Tsunami Gym/Shooters, UK
Allan Goes Brazilian Top Team, Brazil

Pierre Guillet has a record of 8-2-0 and is the current Ultimate Combat Champion. Allan Goes is a Pride and UFC veteran, with a fight record of 6-4-2.

Further the show will present more than 10 quality fights with some of Europe’s best fighters.

From the event’s promoter:

Held August 7, 2004 at Arena Trier – Germany

Paul Jenkins (UK) v.s. Miomir Vujovic (LUX)
Winner: Miomir Vujovic after 3:07 in the first Round – Choke!

Lars Besand (DK) v.s. Harald Schieb (GER)
Winner: Lars Besand after 4:18 in the first Round – Strikes!

Ulf Fritzmann (GER) v.s. Chris Rackley (USA)
Winner: Ulf Fritzmann after 4:29 in the first Round – Guilliotine Choke!

Mark Wisniewski (GER) v.s. Sonny Nielsen (DK)
Winner: Mark Wisniewski after 3:11 in the first Round – Triangle Choke!

Raouf Omar (GER) v.s. Nelson Siegert (GER)
Winner: Raouf Omar after 3 Rounds – Decision!

Mohamed Omar (GER) v.s. Dennis Siver (GER)
Winner: Dennis Siver after 3 Rounds – Decision!

Alex Wiebe (GER) v.s. Tomas Schwegler (CH)
Winner: Alex Wiebe after O:10 – Strikes!

Sebastian Korschilgen (GER) v.s. Jesse-Bj

posted by Full Contact Fighter @ 8:00 pm
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