Cagewriter

  • Former Kansas City Chiefs cheerleader now working towards MMA career

    Rachel Wray has thrown aside her pom-pons for four-ounce gloves. The former Kansas City Chiefs cheerleader is trying MMA.

    Wray was a cheerleader and dancer through high school and at Arkansas before heading to Kansas City to cheer for the Chiefs. She originally started working out at Title Boxing as a way to keep in shape for dancing, then started training at High-Davis MMA. There, she worked with WEC veteran L.C. Davis and Strikeforce fighter Jason High.

    Wray says she knows people are surprised that she would give up cheerleading for fighting, but she loves it.

    Everyone says "I would never expect you to be a fighter. Being a cheerleader fits you more," or "Why would you give up cheerleading to roll around with sweaty boys?" Well, I have never enjoyed working out so much in my life. I love fighting and am having so much fun with it.  I want to be an inspiration to other girls out there that want to fight but don't
    think they can.

    Wray won her amateur debut with a second-round TKO. As the UFC's women's bantamweight division shows, opportunities for female athletes are growing. MMA will continue to see more unexpected women get in the cage.

    Read More »from Former Kansas City Chiefs cheerleader now working towards MMA career
  • MMA Marketplace: The perfect gift for the old-school MMA fan

    Do you know an MMA fan who proudly reminds you at every opportunity that he's been watching since UFC 1? Who complains about the rules and time limits "ruining everything?" Who rewatches PRIDE fights every weekend? Well, if you drew this person in Secret Santa, Cagewriter has the perfect gift.

    Lenne Hardt, the woman who melodically and memorably announced fighters during introductions during PRIDE bouts, will record your voicemail message or ringtone. Here she is introducing Wanderlei Silva at PRIDE 33.

    That's pretty awesome, and it can be your name that she's saying. Voicemails and ring tones start at $50, and she'll also do wedding announcements. Check it all out here.

    Read More »from MMA Marketplace: The perfect gift for the old-school MMA fan
  • Mark Hominick announces retirement from MMA

    (Getty)After Mark Hominick lost to Pablo Garza at UFC 154, his UFC career appeared to be in jeopardy. It was his fourth straight loss, and it's hard to stay on the UFC's payroll after a skid like that. Hominick announced on "UFC Tonight" that his career was over, but it was his own choice. Hominick has decided to retire.

    "Over the last 11 years, I've followed my passion in the UFC. Now, I'll say UFC 154 was my last fight in the Octagon as I'm retiring and moving on to next phase of my career. I have a young daughter at home and another on the way. I'll always be involved in the sport. But I know the commitment I have to make. I have to make a commitment to this as I have to fighting in the past."

    In fighting for the UFC and WEC, Hominick had an impressive run as a featherweight. His most memorable moments came in a loss to champion Jose Aldo. Though Hominick had an orange-sized hematoma on his head, he hung in there and came close to coming back for a win in the final round.

    A few months

    Read More »from Mark Hominick announces retirement from MMA
  • Ratings wins in key demographics at UFC on Fox 5 thrills Dana White

    Nate Diaz (L) and Benson Henderson fight Saturday during UFC on Fox 5 (Getty Images)UFC president Dana White was in an extraordinary mood Tuesday thanks to the ratings his fight card on Fox delivered.

    The UFC on Fox 5 card from Key Arena in Seattle improved the performance of UFC on Fox 4 by 83 percent and won all key male demographics in its time slot. The show attracted an average of 4.4 million viewers, doing a 2.5 household rating and a 4 share overall.

    White pointed out that the UFC show trailed the Heisman Trophy ceremony and 48 Hours Mystery in its time slot in terms of total viewers, but UFC on Fox 5 finished as the No. 3 show for the week among males 18-49. In addition, it won the night among males 18-34, males 18-49, adults 18-34 and adults 18-49.

    That younger demographic is what the UFC targets and is coveted by advertisers.

    UFC president Dana White puts the lightweight belt on champion Benson Henderson (Getty Images)"We just killed it," an ebullient White told Yahoo! Sports. "We killed it in every demo."

    The ratings increased during every fight. Matt Brown's knockout of Mike Swick in the opener drew an average of 3.6 million viewers. That number

    Read More »from Ratings wins in key demographics at UFC on Fox 5 thrills Dana White
  • Zoila Gurgel has a good sense of humor about being choked out (VIDEO)

    Bellator champion Zoila Gurgel lost by technical submission in a non-title fight to Jessica Eye over the weekend. It was an impressive showing by Eye, who is 9-1.

    A standing arm triangle isn't a submission you see everyday. Gurgel even had a good sense of humor about it. She posted this picture on her Twitter account.

    (Twitter)Gurgel's caption? "Too soon? Nah. [expletive] happens."

    Read More »from Zoila Gurgel has a good sense of humor about being choked out (VIDEO)
  • Nick Newell wins XFC championship with one hand (VIDEO)

    Lost in the hubbub of UFC on Fox 5 was the historic win by Nick Newell. He won XFC's lightweight championship over the weekend despite having just one hand. He was born with an arm that goes just to the elbow because of congenital amputation. As commentator Pat Miletich points out, Newell used his disability to his advantage in locking in a rear-naked choke.

    The best part of the video is seeing the young fan who also has a congenital amputation go into cage to congratulate Newell. He is now 9-0, with only one win coming by decision.

    Read More »from Nick Newell wins XFC championship with one hand (VIDEO)
  • Benson Henderson and the case of the missing toothpick

    (www.twitter.com/vthind)

    Immediately after UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson was declared the winner of his UFC on Fox 5 bout with Nate Diaz, UFC commentator Joe Rogan asked about a toothpick. Henderson is known for having a toothpick hanging from his mouth outside the cage -- it's been in his mouth every time I've interviewed him -- but he wouldn't fight with a toothpick in his mouth, right? Henderson was elusive and wouldn't really answer Rogan's question.

    He wasn't any more forthcoming in the post-fight press conference.

    "I cannot confirm or deny that," Henderson said. "I normally do, yeah. I have it in through practices, and when I spar, when I fight. It's a bad habit, but whatever. I've gotten away with it so far."

    [Related: Benson Henderson leaves little doubt in win over Nate Diaz | Photos]

    At least he admits that it's a bad habit. It's not illegal, but it is a bad idea. Fighting with a small piece of wood in your mouth opens the door for all kinds of silly injuries. The broken arms and head contusions we're used to in MMA will look like scrapes and bruises if we see a toothpick lodge itself in Henderson or his opponent.

    But maybe it won't ever bother him. When Michael Jordan played basketball, he always had a piece of gum in his mouth. He would chomp, chomp, chomp when at the free-throw line, when bringing the ball up the court, or when trash-talking his opponent. I always was convinced he would choke when going for the ball, but it didn't happen. Hopefully, Henderson's toothpick will be just a nasty habit, and not a nasty injury we can never forget.

    Read More »from Benson Henderson and the case of the missing toothpick
  • Check out pictures from UFC on Fox 5

    Check out Tracy Lee's pictures from UFC on Fox 5, including Benson Henderson celebrating with his mother, Yves' Edwards' knockout punch, and B.J. Penn staring into the Octagon before a fight, perhaps for the final time.

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    Read More »from Check out pictures from UFC on Fox 5
  • UFC on Fox 5′s Three Stars: Matt Brown, Abel Trujillo and Daron Cruickshank

    (Getty)

    Heading into UFC on Fox 5, the UFC appeared to have put together their best card yet to appear on the network. But with such high expectations, there's no way it could deliver, right? Wrong. From the Fight of the Night, that aired on Facebook, to the main event, the UFC showed the best of the promotion. But who really stood out?

    No. 1 star -- Matt Brown: It is really, really fun to watch Matt Brown fight, so it makes sense the UFC would put his bout with Mike Swick at the start of their Fox broadcast. Brown rewarded that faith by knocking out Swick hah

    No. 2 star -- Abel Trujillo: In his first UFC fight, Trujillo dealt with a last-minute opponent change after Tim Means slipped in the sauna. Trujillo then dealt Marcus LeVesseur a beating that ended with a second-round TKO.

    No. 3 star -- Daron Cruickshank: In his first post-TUF fight, Cruickshank impressed. In the first round, he hit Henry Martinez so hard that you were bound to wonder if Martinez's chin was literally made of stone. In

    Read More »from UFC on Fox 5′s Three Stars: Matt Brown, Abel Trujillo and Daron Cruickshank
  • (Getty)Early in Benson Henderson's decision over Nate Diaz, questions began to pop up on Twitter.

    "Did Henderson just punch Diaz in the thigh?"

    And then he did it again and again. The thigh jab ended up being one of Henderson's effective moves. It turns out he borrowed the move from UFC bantamweight Alex Caceres. Henderson talked about it on Fuel's post-fight show.

    "I actually planned that. I've got to thank Alex Caceres on that one — he came up to the MMA Lab and he did it to me and it actually hurt. He's a 135-pounder, he weighs 150 pounds soaking wet, and he did it to me and it hurt me. I started using it and did it to my sparring partners and it hurt them. They asked me to stop because it hurt too much. It worked; I stole it from Alex and thank him very much. It was effective. You saw it against Nate Diaz and it was pretty effective. I'm always trying to add new tricks, work on my fundamentals, and get better and improve."

    And that's what the best fighters always do. Georges St-Pierre

    Read More »from Alex Caceres’ thigh punch played a key role in Benson Henderson’s UFC on Fox 5 win
  • During Benson Henderson's win over Nate Diaz at UFC on Fox 5, the Fox broadcast repeatedly cut away to a shot of the empty octagon. Was it a technical difficulty? Did someone on Fox's broadcast truck hit the wrong button?

    No. Diaz threw up the middle finger at his opponent, and the network cut away instead of risking a fine from the Federal Communications Commission.

    We've hidden Diaz's objectionable gesture, but you get the point.

    This isn't the first time Diaz has caused a stir on network television. After a Strikeforce fight in 2010 on CBS, Diaz, his brother Nick and their teammates got into a postfight melee when Jason "Mayhem" Miller jumped into the cage after a Jake Shields win.

    Diaz is known for using trash talk and throwing up the middle finger during fights. He famously locked in a triangle choke with his legs on Kurt Pellegrino and put up both fingers as he finished the submission. Henderson knew this and prepared for Diaz's game.

    "It's something I actually had a little bit of a hard time with, but once my training partners got together, they all started talking crap to me in the middle of sparring and I'd get angry," Henderson said on Fuel TV's postfight show. "They helped control it and I did a pretty good job of being very focused and not letting that affect my emotional state in the middle of the fight."

    Read More »from Nate Diaz’s middle finger gesture during fight rattled Fox broadcast, but not Benson Henderson
  • What Nate Diaz looked like after his loss to Benson Henderson (PHOTO)

    On the left, you can see what Nate Diaz's face looked like before his UFC on Fox 5 main event bout against Benson Henderson. In the poster for the event, Diaz is sporting a perfect pre-fight mean mug. On the right is Diaz after the fight. That's what he looks like after five rounds in the cage with the champion. He's smiling but his face is swollen and beat up. If you're considering trying MMA, take a look at the two faces of Diaz. You have to be ready for your face to make this kind of change.

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    Read More »from What Nate Diaz looked like after his loss to Benson Henderson (PHOTO)
  • Loss for overmatched BJ Penn doesn’t take away from career

    (Getty)

    B.J. Penn will turn 34 on Thursday. The man who is nicknamed "Prodigy" and "Baby Jay" is up against his mid-30s. In his loss to Rory MacDonald, he looked downright ... old.

    Gone was the man who frantically paced while waiting to fight Diego Sanchez before the fifth round of their championship bout. The Penn who choked out Kenny Florian and Joe Stevenson and Jens Pulver was nowhere to be found. The "Prodigy" who burst onto the MMA scene in 2001 by with three straight knockout wins was not in the Octagon.

    Instead, it was a Penn who looked overmatched and small next to the young and strong MacDonald, who represents the next wave of MMA. Unlike most of the fighters in the UFC, MacDonald didn't start with one discipline -- like wrestling, jiu-jitsu or kickboxing -- and then add in others to try MMA. MacDonald trained in mixed martial arts since he was 14. MacDonald looked like the next big thing. Penn looked like an also-ran.

    But this is the way things go in combat sports. Fighters always think they have one more win in them. Heading into Saturday night, Penn was 1-3-1 in his last five bouts. Still, fighters are convinced they're just one good punch away from staging a comeback. Against MacDonald, if that was true, Penn couldn't find that punch.

    [Also: Benson Henderson beats up on Nate Diaz, retains lightweight title]

    Penn, a legend in MMA whose first fight was at UFC 31 in 2001, had no answers for MacDonald. Penn was wobbled by a left late in the first round. He survived just to take such a beating in the second round that the fight doctor came in between the second and third to check and see if Penn could continue.

    In the third round, MacDonald continued to land strikes, but added taunting to his arsenal. He dropped his hands and made faces at Penn, which the crowd in Seattle didn't appreciate. After the bout, MacDonald said he Penn was his hero, but he had to treat him like every opponent.

    "Like I said to BJ after the fight, he was the one guy I really really looked up to growing up. He's a hero to me," MacDonald said to UFC commentator Joe Rogan.

    During the post-fight press conference, UFC president Dana White said he would like to see Penn retire. After his showing on Saturday night, it's likely White isn't alone in these wishes. While Penn's had a rough showing of late, the disappointing end to his career doesn't take away what he did throughout it. If, like all legends, he fades away, his career will be remembered for the brilliance at its height, not the fizzling at the end.

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    Read More »from Loss for overmatched BJ Penn doesn’t take away from career
  • The UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson held on to his belt with a dominating performance over Nate Diaz at the Key Arena in Seattle on Saturday night. Henderson took the five-round bout 50-43, 50-45, 50-45. Henderson landed 133 significant strikes throughout the bout.

    Henderson set the tone early when he got a takedown and stood over Diaz before landing shots. Throughout the round, Henderson peppered Diaz with leg kicks. It caused damage early and throughout the bout.

    Diaz showed signs of life in the third round with leg lock and heel hook submission attempts. Both  times Henderson was able to get out. Late in the round, he dropped Diaz, who continued to try for leg submissions.

    At the end of the fourth round, Henderson jumped around and showed how fresh he was while Diaz had to get his eyes checked by the fight doctor. Henderson had a big takedown in the fifth, and continued to control Diaz throughout the round.

    When the fight was over, Henderson reportedly walked over towards the media on press row and shouted to them:

    "I don't talk, it's in here. Do you guys get it?"

    This was Henderson's second title defense. He is undefeated since joining the UFC and has a record of 17-2. His last two bouts were razor-close decisions, but with this fight, Henderson has a signature performance to show he is deserving of the UFC's shiny, gold belt.

    Going into this fight, Diaz had three wins at lightweight. Two were by submission, but his submission skills didn't work on Henderson. Diaz falls to an overall record of 16-8.

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    Read More »from Benson Henderson holds on to UFC lightweight belt with controlling win over Nate Diaz
  • Young fighters made some noise on UFC on Fox 5 in Seattle on Saturday night. Rory MacDonald, Mike Brown and Alexander Gustaffson all scored big wins.

    The torch was passed among welterweights as B.J. Penn was beat down for three rounds by the bigger, faster and younger Rory MacDonald, who took the decision 30-26, 30-26, 30-27.

    Penn, a legend in MMA whose first fight was at UFC 31 in 2001, had no answers for 23-year-old MacDonald. Penn was wobbled by a left late in the first round. He survived just to take such a beating in the second round that the fight doctor came in between the second and third to check and see if Penn could continue.

    In the third round, MacDonald continued to land strikes, but added taunting to his arsenal. He dropped his hands and made faces at Penn, which the crowd in Seattle didn't appreciate. After the bout, MacDonald said he Penn was his hero, but he had to treat him like every opponent.

    "Like I said to BJ after the fight, he was the one guy I really really looked up to growing up. He's a hero to me," MacDonald said to UFC commentator Joe Rogan.

    MacDonald also asked to fight Carlos Condit, the one fighter who has beaten MacDonald in his 15-fight career.

    Read More »from Rory MacDonald, Alexander Gustafsson and Matt Brown big winners at UFC on Fox 5
  • Yves Edwards topped off the preliminary card of the UFC on Fox 5 in Seattle on Saturday night with a bang. He gave Jeremy Stephens his third straight loss -- and first loss by knockout -- with a perfectly placed right hook. Edwards followed with elbows on the ground, and it didn't take long. Edwards won by knockout at 1:55 in the first.

    Raphael Assuncao and Ramsey Nijem both walked away with decision wins. Nijem took a bloody decision 30-27, 29-28, 29-28 unanimous decision from Joe Procter, while Assuncao won 29-28, 30-27, 30-27 over Mike Easton.

    Read More »from Yves Edwards, Daron Cruickshank, Abel Trujilo shine on UFC on Fox 5 preliminaries
  • It's been a rough run of bad luck for UFC president Dana White. (Getty)

    Just over 24 hours from the start of UFC on Fox 5, the card had one more change due to an accident that puts some stock in the theory the UFC is cursed in 2012.

    Lightweight Tim Means was supposed to face Abel Trujilo in the preliminary fights that will air on FX on Saturday. While cutting weight for Friday's weigh-in, Means slipped and fell in the sauna. UFC president Dana White tweeted Means knocked himself out.

    LeVesseur had been scheduled to fight Michael Chiesa, but he scratched late last week due to illness. Now, he's back on the card and preparing for the next day for his opponent. Most fighters prepare for an opponent for at least six weeks.

    The UFC has had a run of injuries in 2012 that bordered on unbelievable. Champions Dominick Cruz, Jose Aldo and Georges St-Pierre all took extended breaks from fighting because of injury. Dan Henderson's knee injury before his scheduled UFC 151 bout with light heavyweight champ Jon Jones led to the cancellation of the Labor Day weekend event. In May, the all-heavyweight main card of UFC 146 had to be reworked several times because of injury.

    And now, even as the end of 2012 nears, Forrest Griffin and Chris Weidman both had to pull out of the year-end UFC 155 event. This is all topped off by a fighter slipping and falling the day before an event. 2013 can't come quickly enough for the UFC.

    Read More »from Tim Means off UFC on Fox 5 after he slipped in the sauna when cutting weight
  • Five questions that will be answered by UFC on Fox 5

    (Getty)The UFC's fifth appearance on Fox goes down on Saturday night, with one of the more stacked cards to air on the network since. What will come from the card? Read on.

    Who will walk away with the lightweight belt? The biggest question of the evening goes to the main event. Benson Henderson will have the chance to show off his skills against someone other than Frankie Edgar. Diaz thinks he can't win a judges' decision, so will he be able to stop Henderson, who hasn't loss by a stoppage since 2007? Or will Henderson hold onto the championship?

    Is this B.J. Penn's last stand? Penn is a legend in the UFC. His first fight was was in 2001 at UFC 31. He even dabbled with retirement until young buck Rory MacDonald called him out. Will Penn be able to stop the 13-1 MacDonald, or will the young fighter's star continue to rise?

    Read More »from Five questions that will be answered by UFC on Fox 5
  • (Getty)

    Though the UFC had focused on making a superfight between welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre and middleweight champ Anderson Silva, and Johny Hendricks was supposed to be the next welterweight contender, another fighter will get a shot at GSP before Silva or Hendricks. At the UFC on Fox 5 press conference, UFC president Dana White said Nick Diaz will get the next shot at St-Pierre.

    Diaz is coming off of a close decision loss to Carlos Condit. He is also suspended because the Nevada Athletic Commission found marijuana metabolites during his drug test. Still, he's seen as the ideal candidate over Hendricks, who won his last five fights. Two of his last three wins were knockouts in under a minute.

    Hendricks immediately took to Twitter after he heard the news:

    He has a point. Hendricks has the credentials for the title shot, and White said Hendricks was the no. 1 contender after he knocked out Martin Kampmann at UFC 154.

    "He looked damn good tonight," White said. "It was a replica of the Jon Fitch fight. He even landed it in the same spot (as the Jon Fitch fight). It was impressive, so I would say yes, he is (the No. 1 contender)."

    Diaz jumping to the front of the line is yet another reminder that the UFC is a business first. It's their job to sell pay-per-views and attract viewers to fights on Fox, FX and Fuel. The fighter who has earned his way to the top isn't always the best one to attract viewers.

    Read More »from Nick Diaz, not Johny Hendricks, to get next shot at Georges St-Pierre and welterweight belt
  • Ronda Rousey now has championship belt, first UFC opponent

    (Tracy Lee)It's official: Ronda Rousey is the UFC's first female champion. The one-time Strikeforce bantamweight champion is the first female champ in the UFC, and received her belt on Thursday to prove it.

    Rousey also has her first opponent. Rousey will fight Liz Carmouche at UFC 157 in Anaheim.

    "It means a lot," said Rousey at the UFC on Fox 5 press conference. "I feel like we have a lot to prove at this event and no one's going to be disappointed. The women are here to stay and we're gonna prove it."

    [Also: Rising UFC star Rory MacDonald can only go so far]

    The UFC will break two barriers with this fight. Not only will it be the first time two women fight for the UFC, but it's also the first time an openly gay fighter will take to the Octagon. Carmouche is a lesbian who served under Marines "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, which is no longer in place. She has been out for much of her MMA career.

    It's a career with a record of 7-2. Her losses are to former Strikeforce bantamweight champions Marloes Coenen and Sarah Kaufman. Rousey is undefeated, with all six wins coming in the first round.

    Read More »from Ronda Rousey now has championship belt, first UFC opponent