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Old 02-16-2008, 02:34 PM
drunkguy drunkguy is offline
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Default Pit Bosses: Premature Thoughts on YAMMA Fighting

Pit Bosses: Premature Thoughts on YAMMA Fighting

Pit Bosses: Premature Thoughts on YAMMA Fighting
February 11, 2008
by Jake Rossen (

Not since the progeny of singer David Bowie was christened Zowie -- swear to God -- has popular culture suffered a name as patently offensive to good taste as YAMMA Pit Fighting, the latest in the me-too march of MMA offerings.

Too harsh by half? Perhaps, but with two months to go before YAMMA makes its official debut at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, N.J., there's precious little else about the promotion to comment on.

Pit Fighting founder Bob Meyrowitz -- there's one for the résumé -- has been evasive in questions pertaining to the YAMMA fighting surface, alleged to revolutionize how we view the combat sports. No participants have been officially announced, though it's known that Meyrowitz plans on dusting off combatants from the UFC's heyday for a series of "Master" class super fights. The event will also use a single-night tournament to crown champions, a dubious honor awarded more for luck than skill.

Couple this with the rumored reunion tour of New Kids on the Block, and you'll forgive anyone who mistakes 2008 for 1994.

I don't mean to indict Meyrowitz without a fair hearing: YAMMA could indeed be a spectacle worthy of admission, and I'm as big a sucker for MMA nostalgia as the next guy. But the rational part of my frontal lobe has to express concern that Meyrowitz -- who participated in both the UFC's staggering early success and its later, dismal failure -- is in danger of pandering to a market that no longer exists.

Consider the tournament format. Once a staple of pay-per-view, the conceit is virtually extinct, a Darwinian victim of combat evolution. While having an athlete compete three times in an evening expedites the emotional investment for fans, the downtime between bouts often acts as a black hole for second thoughts and injuries. If a fighter breaks his hand in the first minute of a three-round bout, he's likely to fight through it. Given the opportunity to consult with a physician and his corner for an hour, though, he's likely to decline advancing to a second round contest.

Presuming the fighter makes it through a truncated tournament (Meyrowitz plans on single-round quarterfinal and semifinal bouts, with nine minutes allotted in the finals) … so what? The prestige of being a violent marathoner is going to remain in the shadows of what the public perceives as the true mark of martial arts perfection: being a UFC titleholder.

It's rumored that two of those former champions, Oleg Taktarov and Don Frye (Pictures), will meet during one of the Masters bouts on April 11. Having worn out several previously viewed VHS copies of their career primes, I'll watch -- I'll even be appreciative of Meyrowitz recognizing that fights should be between contemporaries. (Tito Ortiz (Pictures)-Ken Shamrock (Pictures) III depressed me more than a recent reduction in my Zoloft dosage.)

Unfortunately, I'm one of a micro-percentage of observers who even remember Taktarov and Frye. Today's MMA fan has synapses that fire up only when exposed to the UFC brand and its stable of basic-cable draws. The IFL attempted to peddle the creaky musculature of Maurice Smith (Pictures), Marco Ruas (Pictures) and other mid-‘90s talent. No one really cared. "Tank" Abbott will be tackling Kimbo Slice on Saturday. Notice that it's not on pay-per-view.

Meyrowitz still has an interest in the stories of these formative athletes. To some extent, so do I. But our demographic is painfully threadbare in an era where Michael Bisping (Pictures) and Rashad Evans (Pictures) can headline a card and pull in several hundred thousand buys.

Finally, there's the arena itself, a slice of canvas shrouded in mystery. Will it sport piles of broken glass and inebriated buddies hurling bricks at opponents? Athletes on bungee cords? Or will it resemble nothing more than an oversized mat with sloped walls? (My money's on the latter, though I'd probably pay double for the former.)

I don't begrudge Meyrowitz his ambitions, and anything that eliminates the perpetual eyesore that is the Octagon has my instant gratitude. But if recent history has taught us anything, it's that any kind of martial arts attraction not emblazoned with "UFC" across its banner is doomed to bankruptcy.

My advice for Meyrowitz, Gary Shaw and anyone else looking to chip away at Zuffa's market share: Instead of losing millions over the course of three or four ulcerous years, take a big pile of cash and throw it at two high-profile athletes or cultural stars. Use their recognition to offset consumer apathy over your debuting promotion. Have Mike Tyson fight Kimbo Slice or Tank in a bare-knuckle street match; have Jean-Claude Van Damme fight Wesley Snipes; have Danny Bonaduce fight a tranquilized grizzly. Be as shameless as you can -- people paid millions to watch Tyson and the early UFCs for the sheer spectacle of it. While you're at it, throw a few million more at a cable network to run barker ads.

Whatever you decide, YAMMA folks, don't try and promote a legitimate sports contest. It didn't work for the XFL, it didn't work for the IFL and it didn't work for the ABA; their bigger brothers have insurmountable leverage. Challenging them has become as foolish a notion as believing your kung fu is finally going to ace jiu-jitsu.

Oh, and Zowie waited until he was 12 to change his name. I wouldn't take that long.
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Old 03-11-2008, 07:11 PM
flickfan82x flickfan82x is offline
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it will be interesting to see how yamma works out. sending a bunch of out of their prime fighters into the "pit" might work for a couple ppv's but after that, the money runs out and the business shuts down.
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Old 04-02-2008, 01:17 AM
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Mark Kerr and Ricco Rodriguez added to YAMMA card -
by Staff [mmajunkie-staff] on Apr 01, 2008 at 1:30 pm in - News -

Former UFC heavyweight champion Ricco Rodriguez (27-8) has been added to YAMMA Pit Fighting's eight-man heavyweight tournament, and two-time UFC tournament winner Mark Kerr (15-6) will fight in a "Masters Superfight" YAMMA bout vs. Oleg Taktarov (15-5-2).

The news was released today by YAMMA Pit Fighting. Additionally, the organization confirmed details of its new fighting surface.

The event, which features the eight-man tournament and two "Superights," takes place April 11 at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, N.J. The event will air on pay-per-view.

The fight card for the event is now complete.

Rodriguez, who recently appeared on VH1's hit "Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew," is now a favorite among the tournament competitors, which include former UFC and PRIDE fighters. Each opening-round fight in the tournament consists of one five-minute round, and the championship bout will feature three five-minute rounds.

In addition to the roster changes, YAMMA finally confirmed the details of its fighting surface -- one that YAMMA executives initially promised to "revolutionize" the sport.

"There has been a lot of speculation about the Yamma; some people thought it would have a moving floor, spikes or even live alligators," said Bob Meyrowitz of Rope Partners, the event's promoter. "But the Yamma isn’t about flashy gimmicks; it's about the evolution of a sport and how the traditional ring can be altered to accelerate that evolution."

According to lead designer Scott Nagel, "the Yamma" will feature a pit surface in which the edges of the ring are sloped. If a fighter pushes his opponent to the edges of the pit, the opponent actually gets a height advantage because of the incline.

"What goes up is coming back down, probably in a way that causes the opponent a great deal of pain," Nagel said. "It's going to be much more exciting, much more continuous and have much more action."

The full card for the event now includes:


* Mark Kerr vs. Oleg Taktarov
* Eric "Butterbean" Esch vs. Gary Goodridge


* George Bush
* Alexey Oleynik
* Sherman Pendergarst
* Marcelo Pereira
* Ricco Rodrigiez
* Tony Sylvester
* Chris Tuscherer
* Travis Wiuff
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Old 04-03-2008, 12:52 PM
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Patrick Smith back on YAMMA card
Patrick Smith back on YAMMA card -
by Dann Stupp [mmajunkie] on Apr 03, 2008 at 10:53 am

Patrick Smith will replace Gary Goodridge, who suffered a knockout over the weekend in South Korea, and will fight Eric "Butterbean" Esch in a "Masters Superfight" at YAMMA Pit Fighting's debut show next weekend.

YAMMA executives today released a statement about the change, one of many that have plagued the fight card over the past month.

Smith was originally slated to face Oleg Taktarov in the night's main event, but as reported last month, he was arrested after a high-speed police chase in which he was clocked at speeds of up 130 mph on his sports motorcycle.
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