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May 21, 2009

UFC Undisputed lives up to the hype

I recent played an advance copy of THQ’s UFC Undisputed, and I have to say it’s an incredible video game. I really thought this game couldn’t live up to the hype because mixed martial arts seems like such a complex video game topic. It’s not hike the ball and throw it to the open guy, it’s not press A for punch and B for submissions. Being able to utilize different attacks and disciplines is impressive.

The gameplay is great, it was far above and beyond what I expected. The Career mode is also fantastic and it’s fairly challenging. I wish fighters could have longer careers though, I suppose that would be one gripe of mine.

This game should be a big hit, even for casual fans. The gameplay isn’t hard to pick up and the game is simply a blast. At one point, I cleaned out the entire light heavyweight division using Anderson Silva’s clinch. I also replayed some of the classic matches, including Rich Franklin vs. Anderson Silva II. I wanted to have Franklin come through and take down The Spider but instead he gained mount and just pounded away at my face. It ended quicker than the real fight.

I’m a sports fan and I’ve played my fair share of video games, but this is easily in my top five. Much better than anticipated, especially since it would’ve been easy for THQ to mail it in.

* Editorial note: I'll be out of town getting married for the next week, so I won't have any updates until after UFC 98.

Posted by Mark Chalifoux at 10:39 AM | | Comments (3)
        

Should Dana White get to make the call on Chuck Liddell's retirement?

Dave Meltzer has an interesting column on Yahoo about Chuck Liddell’s retirement saga. Basically, Dana White says you will never see Chuck fight again. Liddell’s trainer is saying that should be Chuck’s decision. I have to think I side with his trainer, John Hackleman, on this.

White claims he doesn’t want to have guys fighting past their prime and getting embarrassed, but Liddell’s losses have been to good fighters. White’s comment that “he’s 40 ... you want me to put him in with a 26-year-old?” makes a lot of sense. MMA is a young man’s game, especially with how the sport is advancing and how versatile younger fighters are these days.

Still, how can White make that argument while he gives a three-fight deal to a 45-year-old Randy Couture? What does Couture have left to prove? He came out of retirement because he saw an opportunity to win the championship in a weak heavyweight division. I’m not saying I don’t want to see Couture fight anymore because I think he still can. But it’s hard to say guys like Couture and Mark Coleman aren’t past their primes.

Chuck Liddell is the biggest star in mixed martial arts history. Shouldn’t he be allowed to go out on his own terms? Shouldn’t he be afforded the luxury of calling it quits? If he still wants to fight and people still want to pay him to fight, I think White should let him.

Obviously, his next contract shouldn’t be as lucrative and he shouldn’t be headlining any pay-per-views, but I think there’s still a role for Chuck Liddell as an active fighter in the UFC. And if not, that should be his call, not White’s.

Still, you have to respect White’s standpoint. When you look at some of the MMA promotions that failed and used quick cash grabs like Kimbo Slice, you know they wouldn’t hesitate to keep putting Liddell in big fights. Liddell is still a big draw; he’s still a moneymaker. It takes guts to retire someone that can still be good for business. Even if you don’t agree with him, you have to respect Dana White for that.

Posted by Mark Chalifoux at 6:09 AM | | Comments (1)
        

May 20, 2009

Does MMA need a Hall of Fame?

Mike Fagan from bloodyelbow.com had an interesting take on the news last week that there will be two new editions to the UFC’s Hall of Fame at UFC 100. He has a problem with the Hall of Fame because there’s no transparency in who gets selected, unlike baseball, which admits members through a vote.

I guess it begs the question -- how many MMA fighters deserve the “Hall of Fame” classification? And, is this even something sports fans today still care about? Hall of Fame ceremonies are great to honor past stars and to give them one final sendoff. But Hall of Fames don’t generate nearly the number of heated debates used to among sports fans.

Would anyone be truly heartbroken if someone like a Matt Hughes wasn’t included in the UFC Hall of Fame? While Hughes may be a likely choice someday, what about someone who ended up on the wrong side from the UFC brass, like Tito Ortiz? You can debate whether or not there would be merit for Ortiz but there’s no question he’d never be considered.

And, if it’s something fans wanted to take seriously, what criteria would fighters be judged on? The sport is still in its infancy so would you hold that against fighters who have been retired for several years? They didn’t have to deal with fighters as athletic and versatile as Georges St. Pierre. Then again, Babe Ruth didn’t have to play against African-American pitchers.

And what about performance enhancers? Does that automatically make someone ineligible for the Hall of Fame?

There are some interesting dilemmas that would present themselves if the UFC wanted to legitimize its Hall of Fame but at the end of the day, does anyone really care? Currently, it’s a way for the UFC to give a nod to the fighters that helped get the promotion to where its at today and I think it’s just fine that way.

Posted by Mark Chalifoux at 6:44 PM | | Comments (0)
        

May 4, 2009

Chuck Liddell and Anderson Silva

The remnants from UFC 97 seem to be falling into place. UFC president Dana White claims there will be “war” if Chuck Liddell won’t retire gracefully, all but ensuring we’ve seen the last of Liddell in the Octagon. Is everyone cool with this? Anyone still want to see Liddell fight?

I may be in the minority, but I feel like the guy has earned the right to go out any way he wants. He’s already a legend in the sport and sticking around too long left fans with unpleasant memories of Michael Jordan and Muhammad Ali, but hasn’t he earned that? If White is going to let Mark Coleman come back in his mid-40s, he should at least let Liddell have another fight or two so he doesn’t go out on a loss.

I think the guy can still fight and while he will never be a contender anymore, I’d still be interested to see him have a few more fights (maybe a rematch with Randy Couture and a shot at former TUF student Forrest Griffin?).

As for Anderson Silva, he’s been paired with Griffin for UFC 101. Finally, the UFC is giving Silva a legitimate challenge. This is a huge fight for both guys and it was just a matter of time before we saw Silva at 205. Although he won’t fight Lyoto Machida, if Machida doesn’t beat Rashad Evans, Silva’s last four fights could be memorable in the UFC.

That’s the best fight for Silva since he took on Dan Henderson at UFC 82. It’s been far too long since we’ve seen him against a worthy opponent.

Posted by Mark Chalifoux at 12:44 PM | | Comments (1)
        
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Kevin Richardson has been a fan of mixed martial arts competition ever since UFC 3, when 600-pound sumo wrestler Emmanuel Yarborough was beaten by Keith Hackney. Kevin will cover the world of MMA — in Baltimore, nationally and internationally. He plans to take readers into the locker rooms and MMA schools, where they'll hear from local fighters and trainers. If you have a news tip or suggestions for the blog, please e-mail him.

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