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Jeff Blatnick, the 1984 Olympic gold medalist in wrestling and MMA pioneer, died yesterday from complications after heart surgery.  Jeff was a long time commentator for the UFC, and he was instrumental in helping to establish the unified rules of MMA, which enabled the sport to become sanctioned in most states.  Jeff was also a licensed judge and referee in New Jersey, and it was always a pleasure to work with him at shows there.

Amazingly, Jeff won his Olympic gold medal, after having his spleen and appendix removed due to cancer, which shows you how determined and talented he was.  He went on to commentate the 1988 Olympic games for NBC before becoming a major figure in the new sport of MMA.

I first met Jeff at the Kimbo-Mercer event in 2007, where I interviewed him using a loaf of French bread as microphone.  He looked at me like I was crazy, but graciously allowed the interview to take place.  After that, every time I'd see him, he'd ask me where my loaf of bread was.  He was a good sport and a good friend and will be sorely missed.

Rest in Peace, Jeff Blatnick.

Tom DeBlass made his UFC debut in Sweden recently, taking on Cyrille Diabate at UFC on Fuel 2.  Tom took the fight on very short notice, and he was coming off an injury, but the former ROC HW and LHW champion made no excuses for the majority decision loss.  He learned a lot from the experience, and I have no doubt he'll come roaring back in his next UFC fight.

I ran into DeBlass, as I often do, at the Ring of Combat last week, and he was kind enough to grant an interview.   Since I had forgotten the mic (as usual), this interview can be described as "in your face."  We talk about the Diabate fight, and also about Tom moving to the UFC's middleweight division.  Nothing is scheduled as yet, but UFC middleweights are on notice: Tom DeBlass is coming!

Here's the video:

Alistair Overeem had his hearing with the NSAC yesterday, and he is now suspended for 9 months as penalty for failing a drug test.  His expected fight for the UFC HW title against Junior Dos Santos is obviously not going to happen now, which is a huge blow to that card.  In his place, Frank Mir will step up to face JDS.  Mir was originally slated to fight Cain Velasquez, who will now take on Antonio Big Foot Silva.

Actually, a nine month suspension is not really all that harsh a punishment.  It basically means forfeiting one fight--albeit a title fight--but it allows for the possibility that Overeem could fight on a UFC year end card.

Overeem's excuse for the high testosterone levels was that his doctor prescribed an anti-inflammatory medication for a rib injury, and unbeknownst to Alistair the med contained testosterone.  That story did not really go over that well with the NSAC, and it does sound a bit far fetched.

Either way, it scuttles one of the most anticipated fights in years.  The UFC suffers as a result, and so do the fans.  But the biggest loser in all this is Alistair Overeem.  He loses a big payday, and all his past wins are now tainted.

PEDs are a big problem for the UFC, and things only seem to be getting worse.  There are no easy solutions, but the commissions and the UFC need to work together to keep illegal drugs out of the bodies of fighters.  Drugs may help athletes perform better, but until they are legalized they are making the sport quite sick.

 

 

Ashley Rollo is a fighter.  She trains and competes in BJJ and MMA, but she is facing her toughest challenge yet...an unknown disease that is ravaging her body.  She needs all of us in her corner right now, and her family is raising money for treatment not covered by her insurance.

Please visit this link for more details about Ashely and how to help. Thank you.  A Cure for Ashley Rollow.

Excerpt from Ashley's website:

On September 17th, 2007, Ashley was diagnosed with an unknown blood disease after an accidental trip to the hospital. Ashley has since endured over 4 years of medical interventions, which included over 12 surgeries, that have wrecked havoc on her body. In September 2010 Ashley received chemotherapy with a drug called Rituxamb that made her disease go into remission, but 8 short months later, her disease returned in the summer of 2011 and it came back and worse than ever.

Her PET scan in December 2011 showed that the masses were back and were all over her body. Now, after her most recent trip to Robert Wood Johnson after a thymectomy gone wrong, (a painful surgery that doctors decided to do to see what would happen) there were several complications, and her lungs and heart took a beating and needed several surgeries as well as a 5 week stay in the hospital. She put her hope in her new doctors at Robert wood Johnson- The Cancer Institute of New Jersey, and still has no answers. She has been seen at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD, as well as NYU, The Children’s hospital of Philadelphia, Long Island College Hospital, Centre State Medical Center, Winthrop University hospital, an North Shore Long Island Jewish Hospital.

No doctor has yet to find out what is wrong with Ashley. She has had dozens of surgeries, bone marrow biopsies, blood transfusions, and has tried a lot of different medications to see if they help. Ashley is in chronic pain all over her body, chronic fatigue, masses growing in different parts of her body, and is getting worse as time goes on. Her current doctors have ran out of treatment ideas, and Ashley is suffering. Prior to 2007, Ashley was a normal 21 year old and in perfect health.

Read the rest here:  Ashley Rollo

Author looking to interview amateur and pro fighters for upcoming MMA book titled Unlocking the Cage.

Why does a fighter fight?

It’s a question that has probably been considered from the first time two warriors squared off with their fists up.

Fighters -- both professional and amateur, male and female -- are being sought to answer this question, in their own words, from their own experiences, for possible inclusion in the forthcoming book, Unlocking the Cage.

Former pro fighter-turned-author Mark Tullius is planning three nationwide tours in the spring and summer to interview fighters for the book, which delves into what motivates someone to step into a steel cage, ready to dish out a healthy dose of punches, kicks, take downs and submissions.

“I’m trying to get at who they are as fighters and people, to find out what makes them get in there and do it,” he said. “We’ll only go as deep as people want, but I hope that people will be honest.”

Tullius, 39, a Brown University grad, began fighting in the dark ages of the sport -- back when it was known as No Holds Barred -- and trained with such MMA superstars as Bas Rutten, Marco Ruas, and Frank Mir. Tullius, who went 3-5 as a heavyweight, journeyed to Mexico and Hawaii to fight, and even fought in a warehouse in California, where Tito Ortiz and Ricco Rodriguez were also on the card.

Now a professional writer and a father, Tullius often has looked back on his days as a fighter and wondered what made him step into the cage, “because it’s not something that normal people do,” he said. “Stepping into a cage and risking bodily harm for little or no money, that’s a serious risk.”

Fighters will be asked to fill out a survey and may also be interviewed. The interviews will be taped and some will be shown on Tullius’ blog at marktullius.com. Interviewed fighters may also submit a highlight reel that can be used on the blog and e-book. In addition, on each of Tullius’ three regional trips to conduct interviews, he will be giving away one Body Action System Deluxe by Bas Rutten, a kickboxing workout system. A fourth BAS will be given away to a randomly-selected fighter who has completed the written survey.

Those who are interested can contact Tullius at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , and tell him how you would like to be included: written survey, filmed one-on-one interview, or a phone interview, and/or if Tullius can visit your academy to train and conduct interviews.

We all knew it was just a matter of time before undefeated New Jersey fighter Tom DeBlass hit the big time. Tom will make his UFC debut on April 14 on the UFC on Fuel 2 show, which takes place in Sweden.  His opponent is Cyrille Diabate, who was originally scheduled to fight Jorgen Kruth.  Kruth had to drop out of the fight, however, which opened the door for DeBlass to make his UFC debut--on just 1 week's notice.

Tom is definitely deserving of this shot, and I believe he'll make the most of it.  He's got a four fight deal with the UFC, and Diabate makes a great first opponent.  Cyrille is a striker, and will have his hands full against Tom, who is a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Ricardo Almeida.  DeBlass also hits very hard--he trains with boxing coach Mark Henry--and is an excellent wrestlter, so I expect him to take the fight wherever  he wants it.

DeBlass is 7-0, with all of his fights taking place at Lou Neglia's Ring of Combat.  His last fight, a stunning 41 second submission victory over tough Randy Smith, took place last February.  Tom now joins a long list of ROC fighters who have gone on to the UFC, including former UFC champions Matt Serra and Frankie Edgar.

Hopefully, he eventually be the third UFC champion to emerge from the ROC.  He's got all the tools and the right attitude, so the sky is the limit for Tom DeBlass.

Follow Tom Deblass on Twitter for updates from the man himself:

DS-III

Time to get serious, people!  And I mean Dead Serious!  Dead Serious MMA returns to the Rahway Rec Center this Saturday, April 7.  The card is stacked and as of right now, we've got 15 fights scheduled, including a 154 pound title tilt featuring Chris Sladky vs. Mark Cugliari.  The last Dead Serious show was a sell out, so get your tickets ASAP by clicking on the poster above or hitting the Dead Serious MMA website.

I will once again be doing my thing in the cage, and will also be sitting in at the GoFightLive commentary booth.  My partner for this show in none other than my MMA coach Anthony Sansonetti.  He will wow you with his knowledge, believe me.  It's going to be a great show.

Check out the complete card after the jump.  See you at the show!

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There is only one thing worse than being put in the "friend zone" by a hot chick, and that's being put in the friend zone in a very public way.  Which is exactly what happened to a drunk Dana White last night.  Dana was apparently drowning his sorrows over the main event of UFC 146 falling apart, and he wanted the world to know how wasted he was. He posted this rather pathetic pic of himself (above) clinging to Olivia Munn's bosom, and said that he's "dr#*¥ and don't give a Fu@# :)"

So far so good, right?  Well, here's where it gets really sad.  After seeing the pic, Olivia commented on it via her own Twitter.  She said:  "dude, this pic makes it look like I'm breast-feeding you. Its misleading, I admit... Ur my big brother & I love you."

Ouch! That's gotta hurt.

Two things are troubling about this incident, the public humiliation of being friend-zoned by a hottie notwithstanding. One is that Dana is married with children, and it's pretty disrespectful of him to be proudly posting a pic of him burying his drunken red face into Munn's chest.  The other is that White is supposed to be a recovering alcoholic.  In an ESPN article, since removed from the Internet but archived by MMAPayout, Dana's penchant for booze and food was addressed:

"A few months ago, Rolling Stone sent a reporter to spend time with White, and got the full Dana-White-in- Vegas treatment. He’s been very candid about his alcohol troubles and going sober 15 years ago, but he’s also been candid about flopping off the wagon now and then. And Rolling Stone caught him in the midst of a four-month bender of drinking and over-eating.

“'I was a real slob,” White says.'"

Dana, here's a newsflash for you: You still are a real slob. Get help.


According to the NSAC, Alistair Overeem has been cycling something a bit stronger than horse meat.  The UFC number 1 heavyweight contender has just tested positive for an increased T/E ratio, which means that his testosterone levels were higher than what the body normally produces.  This pretty much scuttles the planed Junior Dos Santos vs. Overeem fight that was scheduled for next month.  Before Overeem can fight, he needs to go before the commission in Nevada.

The official notice for the failed test came from NSAC's Keith Kizer:

"The following athletes were tested on March 27:  Alistair Overeem, Junior dos Santos, Frank Mir, Cain Velasquez, Roy Nelson and Antonio Silva.  All test results were negative, except Mr. Overeem tested positive for an increased T/E ratio (> 10).  Mr. Overeem will need to appear before the Commission if he seeks licensure"

Dana White, on a conference call said that he is "beyond pissed" about the results.

This is yet another blow for the UFC, and another black eye for the sport of mixed martial arts.  I'll have more on the failed test and what it means for the UFC in the near future.

 

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