ESPN

Video Hype: Grove Talks “Must-Win” Bout

In the above video, Kendall Grove, the middleweight winner of the third season of “The Ultimate Fighter”, discusses his upcoming bout against former UFC middleweight champion Evan Tanner, which will take place this Saturday night at The Ultimate Fighter: Team Rampage vs. Team Forrest Finale in Las Vegas, courtesy of ESPN. Grove also talks about his last two devastating losses at the hands of Patrick Cote and Jorge Rivera respectively, as well as his decision to move back to his native state of Hawaii in order to train with current UFC lightweight champion B.J. Penn.

Video Hype: Tanner Talks Showdown With Grove

In the above video, former UFC middleweight champion Evan Tanner discusses his upcoming fight against Kendall Grove, the middleweight winner of the third season of “The Ultimate Fighter”, courtesy of ESPN. Among the topic Tanner elaborates on was the reasoning behind his most recent loss to Yushin Okami in March, his training leading up to the fight, and why the loser of the fight might actually find their way out of the UFC.

Alessio-Spratt to Headline Boxing/MMA Card in Vegas


John Alessio. Photo property of World Extreme Cagefighting.

Longtime veterans John Alessio and Pete Spratt will meet for the first time in their respective careers in a main event showdown that will headline an ESPN-promoted boxing and mixed martial arts card, which will take place on June 20th at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

Alessio had a three-fight winning streak snapped in March when he lost to Brock Larson via disqualification after an illegal knee left Larson unable to continue. Following the loss, World Extreme Cagefighting opted not to re-sign Alessio, who is currently training with Xtreme Couture.

Spratt most recently bounced back from a controversial loss to Canadian welterweight prospect Ryan Ford at a Maximum Fighting Championship event in February to score a first-round knockout of former fellow “Ultimate Fighter” cast member Jason Von Flue in April.

Two fights from the boxing portion of the card will be televised live on ESPN’s “Friday Night Fights”. The MMA portion of the event will begin following the conclusion of the broadcast and will air live on HDNet. The event is free to the public.

Additional MMA bouts scheduled to take place include a co-main event featuring Kim Couture, the wife of former UFC heavyweight and light heavyweight champion Randy Couture, who will be making her professional debut against Kim Rose. Dennis Davis also takes on Team Quest product Dave Jansen in a catch-weight bout at 150 lbs.

UFC 85: Bedlam Post-Fight Videos

Former UFC welterweight champion Matt Hughes and the man who defeated him over the weekend, American Top Team product Thiago Alves, discuss their main event battle at the post-fight press conference for UFC 85: Bedlam in the above video courtesy of ESPN.

After the jump, England native Michael Bisping talks about his win over Canadian middleweight Jason Day and the signings of more mixed martial artists from his home country by the UFC in recent months. Mike Swick, Kevin Burns, and Nate Marquardt also discuss their respective fights at the event as well.

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ESPN Releases Kimbo Slice Feature


Courtesy of ESPN.com

ESPN The Magazine’s anticipated cover story on EliteXC heavyweight sensation Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson hit newsstands nationwide on Wednesday and is now available for public viewing on at The Mag’s official website. (Cover picture here)

The story, entitled “Not Quite What You Were Thinking” and written by Miami Herald reporter and frequent ESPN contributor, Dan Le Batard, chronicles Ferguson’s journey from being homeless in 1994 all the way to becoming one of mixed martial arts hottest prospects today.

An excerpt from the piece:

Let’s rewind to the most desperate time in the desperate life of a desperate man. Before he traveled by stretch Navigator limo and private jet. Before rap stars requested his menace in their videos. Before Randy Moss approached him like an awestruck teen. Or Jason Taylor wanted the best seats to watch him fight. Or Lamar Odom said, “Manny Ramirez was born to swing a bat. Peyton Manning was born to throw a football. And Kimbo Slice was born to kick ass.” You know, before he made that clichéd climb from strip-club bouncer to porn bodyguard to street-brawling Internet legend to broadcast-TV star, ho-hum.

Kimbo Slice—real name Kevin Ferguson—was homeless 14 years ago. He lived out of a green, 1987 Pathfinder that had four mismatched tires. He taped plastic bags to the shattered window to keep most of the rain out. He bathed in the ocean and pools and went to the bathroom wherever he could. He was too proud to live with his mother but not too proud to wash the cars of strangers when he got turned down for menial jobs. And that mind of his—the one that has surprised the CBS suits trying to morph him into an MMA star, that convinced them to sign him for MMA’s network debut on May 31—drowned in shame.

In my opinion, the article was extremely well done and is a must-read for anyone that has a one-sided opinion of Slice.

Just one week from Saturday, Slice will be headlining the first-ever live MMA event on CBS as he takes on PRIDE veteran and fellow heavy-hitter James Thompson in the main event of EliteXC’s “Primetime” event, which emanates from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey on May 31st.

Video Hype: Sherk Wants Redemption

Former UFC lightweight champion Sean Sherk discusses his upcoming title fight against current champion B.J. Penn at UFC 84: Ill Will this Saturday as well as his positive test for steroids under the watch of the California State Athletic Commission, why this fight has become so personal, how he plans to make Penn quit and much more with ESPN.

Video Hype: Silva Looks to Get on Track

Former longtime PRIDE light heavyweight champion Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva discusses his upcoming fight against UFC title contender Keith Jardine at UFC 84: Ill Will this Saturday and the pressure behind trying to snap his current three-fight losing streak, the first such sequence in his storied career with ESPN.

Video Hype: Jardine Wants to Make History

UFC light heavyweight contender Keith Jardine discusses his upcoming fight with Wanderlei Silva at UFC 84: Ill Will this Saturday and his desire to become the first fighter in the history of mixed martial arts to defeat both Silva and former UFC champion Chuck Liddell with ESPN.

More Details on ESPN.com’s “MMA Live”


Kenny Florian. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

As we reported yesterday, UFC lightweight title contender Kenny Florian will serve as the host of ESPN’s newly-planned online mixed martial arts magazine show that will appear exclusively on the company’s official website and on mobile phones.

“MMA Live” will be a half-hour program covering all aspects of the sport, including news concerning various organizations around the world and upcoming events among other things. Florian will work alongside Jon Anik, who has already done some online MMA work for ESPN and Franklin McNeil, a reporter for the Newark Star-Ledger and a regular contributor to the UFC’s “Countdown” shows.

“It’s kind of a fast-paced show on the current news and events going on in the sport,” Florian told MMA Weekly. “There’s a whole lot of guys at ESPN that have been trying to get this done I guess for two years. Basically, I was contacted by ESPN about two weeks before my fight against Joe Lauzon and there was some interest. They finally got the okay to do an MMA show, and they were interested in using me for this show.”

“It’s strictly going to be on ESPN.com. It’s not going to be on TV as of right now,” Florian added. “Basically they’re going to do a run for three shows on ESPN.com and see what the response is, see how it does. Then if it goes well, we’ll do a regular thing on the Internet, and if it does even better, then possibly you’ll see it on TV.”

The show is slated to debut tonight on ESPN.com at 7:00 PM ET. MMA on Tap will have the video up if and when it becomes available.

Serious Crush: E:60 Profiles Gina Carano

Above is the segment that aired on last night’s episode of ESPN’s E:60 profiling EliteXC women’s star Gina Carano. The six-minute piece features comments from Carano’s mother and father, Shayna Bazler, and Tara LaRosa among others and also chronicles her entrance into the sport after competing in Muay-Thai competitions.

After the jump is the discussion that takes place after the profile piece. It’s ten-minutes long and basically rehashes the same points over and over. Jeremy Schaap talks until the last three minutes or so. The talk starts out well. Some valid questions are brought up and some legit issues discussed but eventually it just degenerates into the lame comparison of MMA to professional wrestling. Watch if you wish.

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