UFC light heavyweight Forrest Griffin and I are only about three months apart in age, so you can understand why I was concerned recently when I heard that the 33-year-old fighter had been granted a therapeutic-use exemption (TUE) for testosterone prior to his UFC 148 bout in Nevada earlier this month. We all know testosterone levels decline naturally as we get older, but I didn't think guys our age had to worry about it yet. I mean, I feel fine. Maybe the workouts (and, okay, the hangovers) are a little tougher to recover from than they were 10 years ago, but come on, Forrest. We're still young men, are we not?
A rematch is about making adjustments. If it weren't, we wouldn't bother putting the fighters through the toil and anguish of another training camp, another weight cut, another choice of walkout music. We'd just buy a DVD of their first fight and watch it again.
PHILADELPHIA -- Four hundred thirty-four days is a long time to be out of work. In today's ghastly economy, a lot of people can attest to the horrors. For Rashad Evans, though, any trepidation was not over landing a job but rather landing punches, kicks and takedowns and performing all job functions at the requisite high level. In his business, rustiness can be dangerous.
On the eve of the WEC's first and only foray into pay-per-view at WEC 48, I asked Urijah Faber what was at stake on a potentially bigger platform with the full weight of the UFC's promotional muscle at work behind him.
The main event features a seasoned fighter from Brazil with prodigious striking skills and a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu against a long, lean, athletic, young African-American with a decorated background in wrestling. Why am I having a déjà vu experience right now?
A good fighter doesn't enter the cage looking to win: A win is an abstract concept, and winning isn't under his control. What he wants to do instead is break his opponent, which fighters say you can feel, physically, when it happens, like something dying in your hands. Do that and the rest will follow, unless it doesn't, in which case what can you do.
Dana White has always nurtured the vigorous growth of the UFC as if he were the manager of a rising rock band loath to rush the act from nightclubs to theaters to arenas to stadiums for fear of muddying its hit sound.
Some of the smartest fight people I know claim to have been unsurprised when Antonio Silva broke Fedor Emelianenko this past weekend and sent him out of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix and into a thankfully brief retirement. This is the sort of thing you might dismiss lightly until you run through the numbers.
John Hackleman, the bald, goateed trainer most closely associated with Chuck Liddell, considers himself somewhat of an authority on punch-drunk fighters. After more than 30 years in martial arts as a student, boxer, top-ranked kickboxer and coach, the proud registered nurse claims an ability to recognize early signs of dementia pugilistica.
FIGHTER OF THE DECADE: Fedor Emelianenko Emelianenko isn't the only fighter to ply his trade exclusively during the first decade of the 2000s, but he is the best. Competing in a wholly unforgiving sport, the 33-year-old Russian boasts -- not that he would -- an unparalleled resume featuring 31 victories in 33 fights. The other two? A dismissed loss in 2000 (that he violently avenged) and a no-contest against the second best heavyweight in MMA history, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, who Emelianenko has beaten twice.
Another The Ultimate Fighter season is in the books, and for some it proved entertaining. If you were a fan of quality mixed martial arts, however, maybe not so much. But as we've learned over the years, the central appeal of TUF isn't always about good fights. There was plenty to glean as fighters stepped in the cage Saturday night in Las Vegas.
UFC 106 may not have turned in the blockbuster heavyweight clash that it originally promised, but the UFC dug deep into its roster and made the best of a difficult situation in Las Vegas on Saturday night. The result was entertaining, if not earth-shattering, and there are a few lessons we can take with us as we leave the Mandalay Bay and head out into that glittering desert night:
Tito Ortiz thought he was getting tune-up fight against an aging legend for his first trip back into the Octagon in more than a year. But after a torn MCL forced Mark Coleman out of their planned UFC 106 bout, Ortiz will now face a tough rematch against fellow former light heavyweight champ: Forrest Griffin. Suddenly, things just got a lot more competitive, and it's Ortiz who's the senior party in the proceedings.
UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva isn't bored. Nor is he frustrated. About his decision win over Thales Leites at UFC 97 on Saturday, Silva is said to be satisfied. And criticism following the contest, in which Leites refused to engage while trying anything he could to avoid the champion's infrequent attacks, has fallen on deaf ears.
Two-thirds of the way through a great stretch of fights, we're now onto the decadent dessert. If Rich Franklin-Dan Henderson was the appetizer and Fedor Emelianenko-Andrei Arlovski the main course, Zuffa is coming strong Saturday with one of the most anticipated rematches in years: Georges St. Pierre vs. B.J. Penn.
Randy Couture isn't used to having people root against him. During his 10-year career in the UFC the man nicknamed "The Natural" and "Captain America" has been one of the biggest fan favorites in mixed martial arts. It's one of the reasons Couture took on the role of Sargon, the villain in The Scorpion King 2: Rise Of A Warrior, which is being released on DVD Aug. 19 and is the prequel to the 2002 film The Scorpian King starring Dwyane "The Rock" Johnson.
Tito Ortiz believes he is in line to become the highest paid MMA fighter in history when a "ground-breaking" deal between the free-agent fighter and Affliction is announced as early as Wednesday during a press conference for Affliction's next card, which will be held Oct. 11 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
We gave you the legitimate awards. Now it's time for the fun stuff. Who boosted your self-esteem with their crazy antics? Who made your rags-for-a-wardrobe look like designer duds? Welcome to SI.com's mid-year Razzies, where the worst-of-the-worst are showcased for all to enjoy ... yet again.
LAS VEGAS -- The final chapter in the Tito Ortiz-Dana White feud was completed at the MGM Grand Garden Arena Saturday night. Yet as I close the book on one of the most interesting feuds in MMA history, I can't help but feel cheated.
With or without Tito Ortiz, the light-heavyweight division will remain The Ultimate Fighting Championship's marquee class. Though stars have emerged in each of the organization's five active weight categories, none have delivered bigger fights -- at the gate or on pay-per-view -- than the light heavies.
Memorial Day weekend: time off, the chance to get away and, of course, the unavoidable high-cost of gasoline that has put a damper on travel plans. For UFC lightweight champion B.J. Penn, reminders of the price to gas up have been just as pervasive.
UFC returns to New Jersey -- a place the promotion hasn't been for over two years -- this Saturday for UFC 78. It's fitting that the event is being held in Newark, just off I-95, because it could easily be called "UFC 78: E-ZPass." As in, one could see casual fans easily passing on paying pay-per-view dollar for a card that is noticeably lacking in star power.
If it wasn't for the chiseled physique or the nicknames like Captain America and The Natural, Randy Couture wouldn't be the most convincing UFC Heavyweight Champion before entering the ring. But behind the warm smile and polite demeanor, the 44-year-old is one of the sports toughest champs. Saturday night at UFC 74, Couture will look to pull off yet another improbable victory.
There is a unique nervousness that comes with hopping over the black gate surrounding the massive Big Bear estate of Tito Ortiz. The feelings come at you in waves, pounding against your chest almost as quickly as your heart. It's no doubt the same range of emotions his opponents must feel when they step into the Octagon with "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy."
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The billboards outside of the Arco Arena are advertising the much-hyped fight between Tito Ortiz and Rashad Evans on Saturday night but the most intriguing rivalry in the sport today might be between Ortiz and Dana White, the president of the UFC.
LAS VEGAS -- Like it or not the Ultimate Fighting Championship has officially gone "mainstream." It's gracing magazine covers, popping up on television shows and putting a stranglehold on conversations among hipsters who know more about the inner workings of The Octagon than The Pentagon.
Paris Hilton is looking for her bunnies. It's really not as crazy at it sounds. Saturday night just turned into Easter Sunday morning and she's walking around her Tuscan-style home in the Hollywood Hills looking for her furry friends. "Where are they?" she asks her sister, Nicky, whose lounging by the pool and talking to their friend Brandon Davis. "They're not in the cage."