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From The Hip: Rampage, Cung Le, the Lee Murray movie and Phillipe Nover’s unexpected good fortune

Lee Murray

Lee Murray

Is Rampage retiring just a publicity stunt for him to “un-retire” and fight Rashad in 2010 as planned? That was one of the first things that ran through my mind when I first read his now infamous blog yesterday.

Now, after further contemplating my initial reaction to the situation I have come to the conclusion that this is anything but a publicity stunt.

First of all, that’s never been the promotion’s style of doing things. You’d have to be a real head-case conspiracy theorist to believe the that the UFC brass had anything to do with Quinton “Rampaging” all over the streets of Orange County in July of 2008.

No, that was all Quinton Jackson. Not some chain wearing alter-ego. His notorious California cruise that splashed across headlines just over a year ago was, as the UFC’s slogan goes, as real as it gets.

I’m absolutely not bringing this up to sling mud at Rampage whatsoever; Just trying to bring to light the fact that Rampage is a big boy. He makes his own decisions and walks his own path. Has for as long as I can remember. When he made this decision, he absolutely meant it.

Now, whether he stays away from the sport for good or not remains to be seen. I find the prospect extremely unlikely. I just really hope we don’t see an old and unfit Rampage come back five years from now and take a final nail in the coffin, Larry Holmes vs. Muhammad Ali beatdown that he can’t come back from.

I personally hope to see Quinton fight one or two last superfights before the end of 2010. If he waits much longer than that to make a come back he could easily lose that edge that is so important in this day and age of the constantly evolving world of mixed martial arts.

Major respect to Dana White and Joe Silva for the the way they decided to handle the Phillipe Nover situation. Anyone familiar with the lives of the majority of these fighters know that they’re not exactly getting rich doing this when they first get their jump in the UFC. You HAVE to fight at least two or three times a year to make any kind of living.

So not only is Phillipe freaking out about the fact that he may not be able to fight again in the UFC, or ever for that matter, and the fact that he’s not getting paid, and an angel appears on his shoulder in the form of the Octagon brass.

Below is Nover’s own account of the events that unfolded following his removal from his anticipated match-up with Sam Stout due to suffering a seizure just prior to the fight. You can read the blog in it’s entirety right here.

In this blog I’d like to thank a lot of people. Dana White and Joe Silva are at the top of my list for being so generous and providing me with the show money and win money. They didn’t need to provide me with a single penny.. When I found this out I literally broke down in tears of joy. Every up and coming full time professional fighter knows that each check counts! When I approach Dana to thank him his exact words were “We only care about your health. Get better and so we can get you back in that cage!” When I approach Joe to thank him later that evening. He said “Don’t you worry Phillipe. We take care of our guys. It wasn’t your fault.” My hat goes off to the UFC. Thanks for taking care of me.

Obviously controversy sells. It’s always been that way, but often too little is made of many of the charitable and compassionate acts on the UFC’s part. This is just one example.

I sincerely hope everything works out for Phillipe. God knows he has a fighters spirit, but that same god should also know if this is the direction the talented Filipino athlete/nurse should be taking with his life. Time will tell.

I was going to write a little something on Huerta recently coming out of “retirement”, but a good friend and colleague of mine beat me to it. I agree on all points in Mr. Andrest’s summary of the situation. Some guys just need a break to help them realize what they fell in love with about fighting to begin with. I feel confident that’s all Rampage will need as well.

If any of you guys haven’t had the opportunity to watch the lightweight throwdown during UFC  103 between Jeremy Stephens and Justin Buchholz, get the opportunity. You can check it out at UFC.com.

I never took much notice of Buchholz in the past. Outside of his rear-naked choke over Corey Hill during UFC 86, the twenty-six year old from Fairbanks, Alaska had suffered prior submission defeats at the hands of Terry Etim and Matt Wiman.

However, even in a losing performance Justin really impressed me at UFC 103. When you watch the fight you’ll see Buchholz throw a right high kick that Stephens blocks, then follows up immediately with a straight right hand, staggering Stephens in the early moments of round one. The timing and skill level of that specific technique, albeit one technique, was enough for me to want to see Justin given one more chance in the Octagon.

From beginning to end Buchholz brought it in what ended up being a toe to toe war before Justin ended up on the receiving end of one of the gnarliest cuts ever, of all time, bringing a halt to the contest, but hopefully not to the 1-3 UFC career of the former ICON Sport lightweight champion.

Much like my previous assessment of Quinton Jackson’s recent retirement announcement, I had to question Rampage’s thought process when making his team selection for TUF 10. When he picked Kimbo first off I thought something had to be wrong with the water. Then he proceeded to pick Wes Sims as one of his top picks and went on to comment that he had the “bigger” team. The bigger team? Really? Size may spell success in your average night club brawl, but this is the UFC. I thought this outdated process of thought died after Royce Gracie won his third UFC tournament back in 1994.

It wasn’t until later during the show when he acted as if he had no clue who Roy Nelson was. “Big Country” is hands down the most experienced fighter on the show, and one would truly have to be living under a rock in the mixed martial arts community have not noticed the ever-noticeable pot-bellied heavyweight.

So maybe Rampage really is that clueless. He may very well have thought that Kimbo Slice was the best fighter in the house based on his Youtube beatdowns. If he did, it tells me all I need know about Jackson. If the first episode of TUF was nothing more than an early A-Team audition gone wrong, I’m not impressed.

Anyone familiar with some of my past work know that, as a longtime Cung Le fan, I have also been one of his biggest critics when it came to what seemed like his unwillingness to defend his Strikeforce middleweight championship.

After speaking with Cung recently at great length I’ll be the first to admit that I may have rushed to judgement in his case. There’s always two sides to a story and Le’s perspective on things helped to open my eyes to the reality of the situation.

Nevermind the fact that he went into the fight with Frank Shamrock fresh out of elbow surgery and fought a fight he had no business fighting. But taking into account the fact that Cung had been forced to readdress the long rehabilitation process following the bout with Shamrock made his move to show business seem more sensible than ever before.

The bottom line is that Cung Le has to make the right decisions for the future of his family and himself. I don’t think that there’s a man living that can’t relate to that.

Darren Aronofsky, director of the critically acclaimed films “The Wrestler” and “The Fountain”, will be directing the so very necessary biopic of the Securitas depot robbery. Of course this was the heist that took place in 2006. The largest robbery in UK history. It was believed to be masterminded by none other than UFC and Cage Rage veteran Lee Murray.

The fighter’s life reads like a Guy Ritchie movie script, and although this drama appears to be focusing on the crime itself, a film focusing solely on the life of Murray is sure to follow in the coming months and years.

14 COMMENTS
  • Angry Mike says:

    Nice story about Nover. I hope he’s alright and can fight another day. Hopefully the seizure was a fluke, but that’s not usually how it works. The story also tends to refute the “Dana White is the antichrist” theory that’s been especially prevalent in the comments today.

  • Niv says:

    I think that Dana White at times can be a complete ass and is detrimental to his business interests when he trash talks about fighters and the competition. But I have to give credit where it’s due and that move is a class move by Dana White and the UFC. These type of events only make me question if he’s crazy, brilliant, bi-polar or a combination all.

  • xtreme_machine says:

    i know Dana likes to play that cool boss i don’t give a F*ck about the world mentality

    but at one point it is really going to hurt him whether it intentional or if it is truly him

    i am not saying that it is now with Rampage or when Tito left but sometime in the future

    i just hope it does not HURT mma or the other fighters

  • Makington says:

    Always my favourite posts to read.

    Nice article Cory

  • edub says:

    Holy crap. I never knew the robbery was at a securitas depot. Im a goddamn Securitas employee..

    I guess not that big of a deal but i thought it was cool.

  • fanoftna33 says:

    No way EDUB so am I, in Northern CA. I read that and was surprised by the name, acually I was with the company way back when they were still Pinkerton

  • edub says:

    Yea fan thats who i work for now. Its still pinkerton here just a part of Securitas over in VA.

  • metalmulisha says:

    You know what’s sad?
    Tito Ortiz has always claimed that the alleged street fight with Lee Murray never happened and Lee never knocked him out even with Matt Hughes and Pat Miletich both saying they saw it happen, but if the studio making this movie offered Tito a shit load of money to play himself in that scene in the movie with him getting knocked out he’d do it.

    Also you guys mentioned The Wrestler and the Fountain, but left out Aronofsky’s best movie by far, Requiem for a Dream. If you haven’t seen it. Rent it.

  • moosebaby02 says:

    great read

  • submit662266 says:

    I’m a professed Dana hater, but have to admit it was a kind and generous move to back Nover when he was down. I thought the Cung Le portion was interesting.

  • edub says:

    Metal that is a good movie and all but, unless you wanna be depressed and sad for a day after you watch it… don’t watch it. Requeim for a dream that is.

  • G-DUB says:

    Cory …. I think you’ve become a bit swayed by your interview with Cung Lee. He might be a swell guy and a captive interviewee, but the fact remains that he held the championship belt hostage for WAY too long. You talk about him making the right decisions for his family and himself ….. but what about his fans and the fans of the sport?? There has to be some balance there between the 2 sides and, in this particular case, Cung was being selfish and putting Cung first for a long time. That is not the kind of athlete that I want to be a fan of.

  • edub says:

    G-DUB: I kinda agree where your coming from, however I think you have to put a little more of the blame on Coker and Strikeforce. THey knew about his situation and they could very easily have stripped Cung 3 or even 6 months ago.

    IMO it shouldnt even have come down to Cung making a decision. Coker should have should have acted sooner.

  • G-DUB says:

    edub ….. if Coker had more leverage (like Dana) and more money-generating stars under contract, I think they would’ve done just that ….. strip him much sooner. However, I have to assume that Cung was keeping their hopes up (to some extent) that he may soon return to action, as he weighed his options on what was best “for his family and himself”. If I was in Coker’s situation, I would’ve given him more leeway than I was comfortable with too. Therefore, IMO you have to put this one on Cung Lee. He’s lost me as a potential fan. I’m sure that upsets him terribly 😉

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