Friday, November 27, 2009

A story told in six sentences (6S)

By Joseph Lupoli

Maybe I should have known then that my Uncle Frank wasn’t on the level when he told my unbelieving father that his only source of income were profits made from his small dress shop in Jersey City.

Uncle Frank had an enormous built-in pool in his back yard complete with Italian marble statues of angels and of little cherub boys peeing in the pool, and his posh apartment – though modest in appearance from the outside, the interior was loaded with expensive furniture and tacky trappings, all gold and red d├ęcor, and his walls boasted original oil paintings, including a Picasso.

Uncle Frank drove a brand new Lincoln and a Cadillac, and he went on twice-a-year mystery trips to Italy “to see family” –minus his wife and kids, of course.

“You can make good money working for me here at the store”, cracked Uncle Frank as he opened the back room door where five or six gigantic no-neck heavyweight mafia caricatures with stinky cigar stubs dangling from their mouths, and garish gold jewelry glinting off their bodies like little fishing lures, were sitting around a poker table sipping anisette and espresso while yakking and cursing loudly in Italian, and when Uncle Frank introduced me to “his friends,” I suspected that my own uncle was trying to ease me into La Cosa Nostra, (even though we all know there’s no such thing).

So I shot a nervous glance at the crew of repulsive, fat-bellied no-necks, and with a quiver in my voice, I turned to Uncle Frank and stammered, “ …umm, my parents won’t let me quit my paper-boy job, b-b-but maybe after I finish the 8th grade?”

Good thing I declined the job offer because two days later the Feds raided Uncle Frank’s borgata, and the whole lot of them wound up in jail on charges including murder, income tax evasion, racketeering, and extortion.

Monday, November 23, 2009

By MMA analyst Joseph Lupoli

MMA is the best sport I have ever come across. Not the UFC, not Dana White—just MMA.

It seems to me, however, that Dana White is becoming a big problem to this great sport. Or shall I say a bigger problem than before. For instance, when a few months ago, he went on an out of control public rampage against the popular and well respected MMA journalist, Loretta Hunt, it was simply inexcusable and unbecoming of an MMA organization’s president and front man.

I believe that some UFC fans are unaware, or wishing they were unaware that the Fertitta brothers and Dana White neither created the UFC, nor have they enhanced it for the better by their attempts to self-police and revise their new purchase.

The fact is: in 1993, Art Davie and Rorion Gracie created the UFC—from its octagon design on up. The Fertitta's merely bought the UFC from Davies. From my vantage point, the new owners had little to do with "improving" the sport.

If anything, they slowly watered it down to draw in the white-collar and 14 to 28-year old consumer market to make a ton of money. And all this happened after the States Athletic Commissions had already diluted the sport nearly to the point of homogenization.

Now, don't get me wrong. Making changes to a business for financial gain is hardly the worst thing in the world—businesses are built and bought to make money, as well they should.

It was the Nevada State Athletic Commission who forced its ill-conceived 31-rules and numerous regulations onto the UFC "for the sake of the fighters’ safety"—most of which do not improve safety at all, and some of which actually increase the risk of injury.

Also, many of the rules don't work because although the Commission may be well versed on boxing, MMA with all of its subtleties is obviously not their forte.

Otherwise, why is the ludicrous 10-point-must boxing scoring system in effect? And why are there boxing judges—like Cecil Peoples in MMA, for heaven sake?

I believe that if anything, Dana made a bad situation worse. He and his marketing team turned the UFC into what I feel is a negative image. What with all that loud, false bravado nonsense, and not just by Dana—many of his fighters are talking post fight trash as well.

Additionally, the UFC marketing team quickly implemented a very hostile and overly serious tone (bordering on hate themed), visual and audio design of the entire UFC package.

These 'in-your-face, chump!' marketing tactics which once conned the 14-to-28-year-old consumer base into buying is beginning to overstay its welcome. Dana wanted the UFC age-bracket to broaden. And it did.

What Dana didn't anticipate is: fans are slowly but surely defecting over to other once fledgling, MMA venues, particularly events in Japan, Brazil, and Europe. And some of the disenfranchised UFC fans are keeping many those venues alive and growing.

Let’s face it: MMA fans are getting savvy. Big names are great, but many fans would just as well supplement or pass up a UFC event (they can always YouTube it down the road) in favor of spending nine or ten-bucks—or simply NetFlix a relaxing MMA show with few current stars, but with compelling match-ups and exciting fights.

Dana White reminds me of a weaponless Kim Jong IL. Dana is the under qualified UFC President and ten percent owner solely because he is Lorenzo Fertitta's boyhood chum. Dana is and has been unraveling at the seams into a serious public relations liability for some time now.

And an increasingly unstable President of a corporation is not exactly ideal, especially in these financially recessed times.

Soon fewer and fewer MMA fans will want to shell out 50-bucks to watch UFC shows, what with its shameless and constant product-plugging, and knowledgeable but screechy and grating announcers, its booing fans, and that heavy metal theme that goes with the whole package.

Given Dana's latest tirade, along with his lengthy "rap-sheet" of other outbursts, including his embarrassing bridge-burning of a perfectly good fighter, Jon Fitch, causing Dana a wrist-slapping by the Fertitta's, I believe it's time the two brothers wake up and make an executive decision.

From The Apex Man told in six sentences (6S)

By Joseph Lupoli

So—you call yourself a writer…when all you know is how to compose and present beautifully written and captivating novels and short stories? Are you perplexed when agents and publishers turn you down time and time again, especially when many of the best-selling authors you read write nothing but flat, generic, easily forgettable beach book blather?

Well, here at the Apex Technical School of Bogus Creative Writing, we’ll teach how to pen and submit smut, junk, basic blood-and-gore-trash, and even children’s books by accident! But that’s not all! If you act now, we’ll get you started in our comprehensive workshop that will teach you how to downgrade your talent to the point where you’ll be able to write in a typo laden, loathsome, threadbare, shock-value-only style that will cause agents and publishers to say YES! But remember, we can’t call you—you must CALL US!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A story told in six sentences (6S)

By Joseph Lupoli

I was three years old and I trailed close behind Aunt Nancy as she commenced up the snowy walkway with purpose and finality, as though she sought to once and for all remove the inconvenience of unraveling herself from me.

So that’s the place, I thought, when an enormous dark stone house came into view. It had stained-glass windows, but unlike the church next to it, not all the windows were stained glass. The house property was bordered by a tall, thick, black wrought-iron gate; each foreboding spike topped with a pointy arrow.

Above the framed entrance there hung a large black rectangular sign with indented and eerie words painted in gold:


I was not pleased, and judging by the suitcases waiting at the door, this was to be my home…for a long time.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A story told in six sentences (6S)

By Joseph Lupoli

After spending yet another weekend day getting drunk at the local watering hole, I stood up from my wobbly stool and grabbed my cold, dripping 12-pack of Heineken off the ancient mahogany bar to finish the job at home.

"You have a good day, Joe," stoically waved George the bartender. "And watch out, there's ice everywhere...and merry Christmas."

Well I'll be damned, I forgot it was the 25th; but who in their right mind forgets when it's Christmas Day?

Well I do...because when I was a little kid, my parents and even my grandparents on my father's side couldn't resist killing each other or somebody else, separating me from them and my and siblings forever. So why should I give up my weekend "job" just to celebrate Christmas with people who don't breathe anymore?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A True Story Told in Six Sentences (6S)

By Joseph Lupoli

They say that back in the day, aged American Indians hobbled off alone to a sacred hill or valley and they sat and waited until their bodies mercifully expired and their souls shot up into the heavens. We alcoholic fuck-ups who crossed the invisible line of no return lumbered off to revered places too; mangy morgue-like holding tanks called bars for big-league drinkers who needed a no-frills sanctuary secluded from milk-sops, gossipy fancy-drink dabblers, yarn spinning weekend warriors, the "I have to be home by six or my will kill me" types, and anyone else who still had hope; whose dreams tomorrow outweighed the regrets of yesteryear.

Well, I selected my sacred spot and I waited--and waited, but to me, Death said 'No' and I wondered why. Maybe there was no answer; just a bunch of crazy questions like those asked by intake doctors during my three separate stays locked up a detox ward, slow-dancing the Librium shuffle with the other bloated red-faced alkies, tract-marked stick-armed heroin addicts, and wide-eyed, coke-slamming, emaciated Charles Manson look-alikes.

It took my drunken soul 25-plus-years of involuntary self-induced pain, guilt, and shame of living the rum-hound lifestyle until somebody finally whispered these life-saving words in my ear: "If you really want out, find somebody you can trust and tell them the worst things you've ever done because you're only as sick as your secrets. Then hit AA meetings as often as you used to hit the bars, and make sure you don't drink today because you may be strong, but booze is stronger. Do these things and before you know it, you'll run out of reasons to drink because, after all, there'll be nothing left to escape from."

Saturday, November 14, 2009

By MMA analyst Joseph Lupoli

Virtually all MMA fans know who Dana White is—and the controversy which follows him everywhere.

Like him or loathe him, it appears that Dana is here to stay...maybe. And while most MMA followers are aware that Dana played a big part in salvaging the UFC organization from bankruptcy, thus turning it into a mega-million-dollar industry, many MMA fans avoid paying to watch UFC PPV events in favor viewing other less expensive MMA organizations.

One thing is for sure: The UFC is the most recognized Mixed Martial Arts title in the world. And, for the most part, they have the best fighters in the world.

But the UFC is far from being glitch-free. And I wonder whether or not Dana is aware of the problems regarding regulations and business ethics - or if he even cares.

Here are five MMA questions I would ask Dana White.

(1) Will you ever relax the contractual obligations of your fighters?

The UFC fans have been denied intriguing match-ups between UFC fighters and those from other top-tier MMA organizations.

For instance, the UFC has some sure-bet monster heavyweight new-comers who, after a few more fights, might be serious contenders to defeat Fedor Emelianenko. I see huge PPV windfalls for the UFC, but only if Joe Silva can bring championship match-ups that the fans really want to see.

Why not permit limited and structured cross promoting, especially in leu of the rash of injuries suffered by his top cash-cows? Does Dana White really want his organization to lose credibility by hyping a main event consisting of a 46-year-old Randy Couture, who has lost one-third of his fights, vs. an often defeated, 45-year-old Mark Coleman?

(2) You’ve taken a position that women won’t ever fight in the UFC – what will it take to alter that position?

Creative marketing ploys and investments would make female MMA fighters UFC-worthy, make no mistake. Look at it this way: Dana can market a 39-year-old guy (Chuck Liddell) who lost four out of his last five fights to headline a UFC event, yet he denies women even the chance to showcase their skills in the octagon.

Does continuously tapping the till of the UFC's stable of washed up fighters, but denying spots for highly motivated & well-trained MMA female athletes represent Dana's idea of long-term success?

The thing is, while MMA is gaining mainstream popularity, its fans are becoming more sophisticated and demographically broader.

(3) As front man and part owner of the UFC, every move you make is scrutinized by the media. Are you comfortable with the image you’ve created?

Whether Dana's public outbursts and expletive-laden tirades are part of a “tell it like it is” persona he continues to cultivate as a deliberate marketing ploy, his behavior will be the moving force for the 30-and over consumer bracket to turn their collective back on the UFC product. Most younger UFC fans seem to have no problem with Dana's now-signature controversial rantings. In fact, many actually embrace and justify his foul language and attitude. But I wonder...when social activist groups publicly object to bald-faced verbal abuse aimed directly at them, are they are being overly sensitive? Are they even entitled to challenge Dana's right to freedom of speech, or in many cases, slander?

(4) Which MMA rules and regulations would you change… which would you eliminate?

I wonder what, if anything, Dana would change to benefit the UFC as a whole. He seems satisfied that the UFC rules are effective regarding the fighters’ safety. And even though marred by the States Athletic Commissions inaccurate scoring system, Dana is probably too rigid to consider adjusting the UFC round structure similar to that of former Pride FC.

I’ll bet a ten-minute first round and a five-minute second round would spruce things up. And, what the hell—toss in a third five-minute round for championship fights. Here’s a regulation change: An occasional UFC tournament format, instead of the same stale fight-card structure? Get creative, man!

(5) Many MMA fans think the UFC is becoming too boxing-like in both atmosphere and guiding principle. Why do you think that is?

Some UFC fans think it’s time for a super heavyweight class. Brock Lesnar’s size pretty much started the ball rolling on that one. I believe that the UFC already has too many weight classes—that the game is watered down enough as it is. As a whole, UFC fighters feel less inclined to work the ground game than they used to. And since the fans are paying to see slugfests and knockouts, of course Dana, the referees, and the ringside judges want the same thing as well.

The problem is, MMA stands for Mixed Martial Arts, not pro boxing.

Monday, November 9, 2009

By MMA analyst Joseph Lupoli

George St-Pierre and Anderson Silva will probably never fight each other (at least not in the UFC), because there are two weight divisions separating them (that means three by fight time).

Thank you once again, UFC, for allowing yet another fight that fans want to see not happen because you have too many weight classes…or there’s a contractual problem, or somebody has a hangnail, or some banana cut himself shaving, or somebody’s Visa has expired.

So, how can we circumvent Dana White’s ass-dragging and get those two to fight each other despite all that? It’s simple. We don’t need the UFC! We’ll simply out bid them without them knowing it and make our own fight card! Just remember the code of omerta! (Silence!)

How about PPV YouTube? Think about it. Many of you hardcore MMA fans around the U.S. and Canada shell out about $50.00 to watch a UFC event. Well, why not just *invest* $25.00 each to pick our own match-ups instead of the slop that Joe Silva and Dana want to feed us?

It’s simple. All you have to do is ship me your money orders. And to avoid nosy IRS agents, I have honest relatives up in North Jersey with a lot of vowels in their last names. They’ll cash us in and then launder the money.

The hook here is that all the fighters get paid immediately after the fight. Let’s say we offer the main event guys a million apiece. I’ll bet George St-Pierre and Anderson Silva will take a tax free cool million on the spot (in small unmarked bills, of course).

Now for the setup: I know upstanding church-going people in the Bloomfield area with a backyard in a “connected neighborhood.” We get Kimbo Slice to referee. (Who knows more about YouTube fighting than Kimbo)? Then I’ll hit a local strip-joint and grab about eight drunken construction workers to fill the under-card.

Now, I believe in fighters’ safety first. So I’ll hand-pick an honest neighborhood crack dealer who’s working his way through medical school. He can be the cut man/fight doctor.

And ring girls…what’s a fight card without ring girls? A half-dozen or so local hookers should do.

Now for the fight structure: Since the whole operation is illegal, must we really have rules? Of course we don’t. And do we need the extra expense of fight judges? Hell no; the spectators would only pay them off to win bets anyway.

How about a one-hour time limit with a 10-minute overtime for the championship fight and a thirty-minute time limit for the construction workers? To save money, we’ll have a *drunken fighter* round-robin tournament using random draws, and the winner gets 10K.

The losers get free beer all night at the No-tell Motel, and the “ring girls” can help nurse their wounds. See? Everybody comes out a winner!


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

By MMA analyst Joseph Lupoli

What’s that you say? Boys don’t play with dolls? Banana oil!

I, myself, played with dol… err…action figures when I was a kid. GI Joe, Batman, Superman, and of course, those little green army men all crowded my toy-chest. Frequently, my action figures needed to be interrogated. And, as my boss is fond of saying, “Heads will roll!”

And now the UFC sells dolls. They are caricatures of Top UFC Fighters. Some of the dolls have oversized heads. Tito Ortiz’s head is already oversized. He stood out amongst the other dolls. It looks to me that Tito Ortiz needs some harsh interrogation.

In fact, I might buy a Tito doll just to voodoo him with darts. After all, any MMA fighter who walks into the octagon wearing a t-shirt lettered with disgusting words berating his opponent should not go unpunished. I’m sure Jerry Bohlander would agree.

From what I understand, fighters are required to sign a contract of permission before the UFC can have their doll manufactured. And not all UFC fighters want games and dolls made in their image. Wasn’t Jon Fitch temporarily fired for refusing to sign a merchandising contract?

Personally, I think that past UFC legends and non-UFC fighters and color commentators should be rewarded with action figure contracts, too.

But that might create a problem. For instance, imagine a 6’1”, 176-pound toothpick, Royce Gracie, and that 6’8”, 700-pound Buddha by the name of Emmanuel Yarborough, as the same sized dolls. They wouldn’t look right on my office desk. How could any MMA fan seeing Emmanuel Yarburough and Royce Gracie dolls standing next to each other keep a straight face?

And, with today’s technology, what good is a man’s doll unless it can talk? Those UFC dolls should be able to say something—even if only a few words. Maybe just a catch-phrase would be perfect for this man's doll. Surely, every MMA personality has something to verbally offer. So, there should be a button on the back of every doll. Pull-strings are long obsolete, although they’d come in handy during a good side choke attempt.

Push the button and the doll speaks. But what should the dolls say? Well, let’s take ten random MMA personalities and give them a catch-phrase. Feel free to add your own quotes.

Fedor Emelianenko:You’ll have to ask my manager that.”

Chuck Liddell:I’m ready to go!

Joe Rogan:Wow! That was a Superman punch! And that UFC punch was brought to you by Bud Light... pure drinkability…Wow!

George St. Pierre:I was not impressed by your performance.”

Bas Rutten:I’m the most handsome man in MMA.”

Matt Hughes:I tried to instill my Christian faith in my team.”

Tito Ortiz:Dana knows he’s my bi**h!

Ken Shamrock:That’s bulls**t! I was robbed!

Royce Gracie:He’s a liar. I did NOT tap out!

Don Frye:Settle down, Gilbert. We can do it again.”

There. Now isn’t that better? MMA dolls are so much cooler to have if they can talk. Now, us men can come out and proudly boast, “We play with dolls!”

Support your local fighter! Buy a doll right now and become cool again!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Movie revue by Joseph Lupoli

Hello fellow film buffs. Tonight's feature is:
Woman in the Dunes, directed by Hiroshi Teshigahara 1964

When a school teacher and entomologist (Eiji Okada) leaves Tokyo to collect an unclassified species of beetle in a remote vast desert in Japan, he misses his bus back to civilization. He is persuaded by villagers to spend the night in the home of a young widow. To get there he must climb down a rope ladder into a giant hole in the sand. At the bottom of the hole sits her dilapidated shack. The following morning, he realizes that he is trapped when he discovers the rope ladder is missing and that his shouts for help go unheeded.

What transpires is one of cinema's most hellish and unnerving battle of the sexes, including a nightmarish depiction of the daily struggle to maintain existence by manually removing mass quantities of sand from inside the hole to keep from being crushed by rapid sand erosion. To explain why the villagers pull the buckets of sand up to the surface... and what they do with it would be the spoiler.

Director, Hiroshi teshigahara received an Academy Award nomination for best director.

Netflix this gem at once! This is a uniquely surrealistic film that will hold you captive from beginning to end!
By MMA analyst Joseph Lupoli

So,'s life in UFC land?

It seems the Floyd Mayweather, Jr. vs. Manuel Marquez Championship fight exceeded UFC 103 PPV numbers. Are you surprised? Of course you aren’t. And why should you be?

After all, UFC 103 featured no title fights, plus the card was on the tail-end of a barrage of UFC events that you packed in over the course of the last several months. But I’m aware of your competitive fire, and I know what you’re thinking.

Both you and I are disgusted over the fact that Floyd Mayweather can publicly disrespect MMA, and then go out and make millions by turning his fights into track meets—jabbing and running his way to boring 12-round decisions. Meanwhile, we MMA fans know that even the most lackluster MMA matches in UFC history were far more compelling and entertaining than nearly all of Floyd’s fights.

My question is: would you like to see the UFC outdo boxing for good and propel its way into the casual MMA fan’s living room? The UFC has most of the best fighters in the world. And the fact is I truly admire your work ethic and what you’ve done for the sport of MMA. Because of that, I’m going to offer you a possible solution—a counter attack that’s not complicated. Let’s take a look.

In January of 2001, the Fertitta brothers, along with you, the organization’s president, purchased the UFC. Almost immediately, the three of you collectively aimed the UFC toward mainstream recognition, partly by reconstructing the organization’s production design. Naturally, your marketing team researched until they found where the real money was, and then zeroed in on it: the 18 to 34-year-old demographic fan base.

And now that the UFC’s target audience has proven itself to be dependable and secure, your organization is faced with yet another obstacle: pro boxing. Yes, pro boxing is pinching the UFC PPV numbers—by how much is anyone’s guess. Who can say how many more boxing fans that also follow MMA would tune into a UFC event if a pro boxing championship fight was aired on the same evening.

Of course, we are both aware that the disparity in media coverage between pro boxing and MMA is one the UFC's biggest setbacks. And this is exactly why MMA needs more big time organizations, especially here in North America. Why?

This isn’t Japan. MMA in America has major sports competition, including pro boxing. Thus, it’s important to note that there's growth and stability in numbers, not in isolation. Sure, cross-promoting might sound like a bad idea now, but just think: what happened when the NFL took the risk and merged with the AFL? Answer: the NFL became richer! And did the NBA lose money when they fused with the ABA?

Unfortunately, the UFC’s aggressive advertising—not to mention your own media tirades, is what’s holding you back. Another problem is that you would rather squash what you perceive as potential MMA rivals. Well, instead of sabotaging other MMA organizations, why not allow some of them to help push the sport as a whole toward mainstream Utopia?

Riddle me this: Why shouldn’t Brock Lesnar fight Fedor Emelianenko? I’ll bet if those two locked horns, the UFC PPV numbers would make Bob Arum choke on his pheasant under glass! I mean, look at the big picture here!

Why can’t you work out a one-fight revenue sharing contract with Scott Coker? So what if you insulted him and his MMA organization. Scott doesn’t care. He’s is too busy allowing the Fedor vs. Rogers match hype itself! Come on, Dana, Brock vs. Fedor is a gold mine waiting to happen!
Okay, maybe you’re not sure about that proposal. Then here’s another suggestion to digest. Have you considered widening your UFC target consumer base in order to augment your PPV numbers…but you quite weren’t sure how to effectively achieve this?

It’s simple—almost too easy. Just tell your marketing personnel to tone down its caustic heavy metal music theme that encases the UFC’s garish laser-light production theatrics, and screaming fight announcers, to a more mainstream-friendly presentation.
Why not let only the fighters in the octagon display the sport’s violent aspects to the fans? Do you really need to have your graphic artists and media advertising personnel manufacturing a hostile atmosphere? Isn’t there enough testosterone-laden aggression within the octagon? MMA isn’t Pro Boxing or Pro Wrestling. There’s no need to demonstrate an abrasive, "in your face" approach to this sport.

Remember those original, UFC tournament events? Back then the fights were far more violent than they are now, and that’s why the UFC was banned by Congress. Yet, I found calmness in the UFC’s production lure. I also noticed that the fight announcers and color commentator’s (Jeff Blatnick and Jim Brown), lack of aggression to be more appealing in comparison to what the organization offers now.

You know what they say, Dana, “Life is simple. It’s people who complicate it.” The quickest way to move the UFC forward is by taking the high road. Lay off the hard-sell fight hyping, your cursing tirades, the cheesy advertising gimmicks, and think, "The Martial Arts mean respect." Then people outside the current UFC age bracket might want to take a closer look.

...In other words; reel in more fans by introducing some sophistication and superiority to your product.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

By MMA analyst Joseph Lupoli

I wonder if a creative MMA entrepreneur would want to make something of this idea...

The time has come to form a new organization that will actually represent and respect the martial arts and all who are involved. That’s right, a brutal competition which will not abide trash-talking by the fighters or organization CEOs.

There will be no greed, no backbiting, or crooked business ethics. And demonstrations of poor sportsmanship by the athletes or their corners will not be tolerated.

This new organization shall be called simply, The World Martial Arts Championships (WMAC). It will welcome both men and women competitors. All WMAC applicants must hold a first degree black belt or higher (or a red sash for Kung Fu) in at least one recognized martial arts discipline.

In order to compete, the athletes would be obliged to be sponsored by their dojo. The WMAC head referee must hold a master’s rank in at least one recognized martial arts discipline and all mat officials must hold a first-degree black belt or higher in one or more disciplines.

The athletes shall not be paid. They will compete to win the prestigious World Martial Arts Championships. Additional motivation may include competing for themselves, for support of their dojo, their students or instructors, and will be to show that their style of Martial Arts is the best—perhaps they'll want to test their skills for all of those reasons.

The WMAC will absorb the cost of the athlete’s transportation (from anywhere in the world), lodging and medical examinations. Here’s how the WMAC would work:

The WMAC shall be self-governed and detached from interference from the State Athletic Commissions. Similar to the original UFC's inception, its event format will consist of an open weight class, eight-man tournament. A random draw will determine the contestants initial match-ups.

To be declared champion, an athlete must win three consecutive single elimination fights in one event: the quarterfinal, semifinal, and final match. Alternates will be available to replace competitors in the event of injury. And that is where the parallel between the UFC and the WMAC ends.

Unlike the UFC's early regulation, alternates cannot be declared champions unless they are called to step in from the very beginning. However, they will receive an automatic bid to compete in the next event.

Also, if an athlete wins a fight but cannot continue to the next round due to injury, a "loss" will not be entered in his or her record. Instead, a "no contest" will be recorded. Should a match go the distance, five judges decide on the winner.

The WMAC regulations:

Fighting Surface

Different from the current MMA format, the World Martial Arts Championships won’t take place in a cage or a ring. They'll be no ropes to get tangled up in or a cage to be squished up against. Instead, the WMAC will use a circular mat, similar in looks to a freestyle wrestling mat—only much larger.

Ten feet inside the outer edge of the mat will be a circular blue line, and five feet closer to the edge will be a circular red line. These circles will act as borders. The fighters are not permitted outside of the blue line while engaging in stand-up, and they must stay within the red line while grappling.

Any competitor who crosses either line as a means of escape is subject to a yellow card. Two short black lines in the center of the mat are where the fighters stand behind to receive pre-fight instructions.

Athlete and Referee Attire

Each athlete must wear the full uniform representing the discipline in which they were trained. In the event a fighter holds black belts in multiple disciplines, they must select one on the same day as their pre-fight physical.

The head referee and the mat officials must also wear the uniform of their respective disciplines. The fighters are not permitted to wear gloves or hand-wraps, and shoes, pads or foot-wraps are not allowed. A mouthpiece and a cup are mandatory.

The WMAC rules are what will separate it from other Martial Arts Events. For instance, no hand strikes to the head achieve two things: This rule is necessary if interference by the States Athletic Commissions is to be prevented. The rule also avoids the need for gloves. It's not a tough-man contest.

However, knees to the head are permitted when both fighters are standing, and knees to the body are permitted from any position. Elbows to the head or body are permitted from any position.

(1) Each match shall be 20 minutes in length.

(2) No groin strikes, head-butting, biting, fish-hooking, or eye-gouging.

(3) No hand-strikes to the head, face, or neck, and no hand grips of any kind to the face or throat.

(4) Kicking to the head is permitted only when both fighters are standing. However, up-kicks are permitted from a downed fighter only if the opponent is standing and with no other limbs on the mat.

(5) Knee-strikes to the head or neck are not permitted when one or both fighters are in the down position.

(6) A yellow card will be given at the discretion of the referee as a warning for stalling or fouling. Three yellow cards result in immediate disqualification.

(7) A red card will be issued at the discretion of the referee for a flagrant foul that injures an opponent. A red card results in immediate disqualification.

Ways to end the match:

(1) Decision

(2) Knockout

(3) Referee stops the fight

(4) A fighter submits by tapping out on the mat or on his opponent, or verbally submits

(5) Disqualification

(6) Corner throws in the towel

(7) Doctor stops the fight

A big part of the WMAC is its simplicity. In comparison to the amount of rules and regulations incorporated by some mainstream MMA organizations, such as the UFC, (which has 31 rules and regulations), the WMAC would have less than half that number.

And since the athletes won't be paid or be forced to sign locked in contracts, the financial and commercial pressure to win will be virtually non-existent. Consequently, athlete steroid use loses its motive and appeal.

Naturally, mainstream MMA fighters would be welcome to try the WMAC. Of course, they would have to abide by the same rules and regulations as everyone else. And if an MMA fighter should be defeated, the loss will will not go on their record because the fight would be classified as an "exhibition match."

We know that the UFC won't permit their guys to compete elsewhere, but many other MMA organizations have no such restrictions. Who knows? Adventurous MMA fighters such as Fedor Emelianenko, Gabriel Gonzaga, Anderson Silva, Gegard Mousasi, or Alistair Overeem might find the lure of the WMAC just too intriguing to pass up.

Now, wouldn't that be compelling.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

By MMA analyst Joseph Lupoli

MMA isn’t boxing.

But American MMA matches, particularly the UFC, seem to be heading in a boxing-like direction. Why is that? Has anyone noticed that a higher percentage of MMA fights have been less than exciting, especially lately?

I believe that multiple rounds encourage the stand-up game. Of course, the grease, the sweat, and the gloves also discourage many fighters from pulling guard or shooting in—and possibly squandering valuable energy by going for submissions, only to get tangled up.

A lot of MMA fighters prefer to take their chances bouncing around the cage striking. They know the bell will ring... and when. They can take a breather and drink some water, so what’s the rush? They might as well feel each other out and see if they can exploit something from each other.

Besides, most casual MMA fans prefer to watch a striking match anyway. It resembles what they feel comfortable with, boxing or kick boxing. And because boxers are greatly restricted as to what they can do, rounds are required.

In boxing fighters can only punch pre-determined target zones. They must use a specific portion of the glove to punch—and the ridge hand and back fist are prohibited.

MMA has no such restrictions, and yet they still have rounds. (I know…it’s the States Athletic Commissions). Then, to add insult to injury, the UFC, among other MMA organizations are forced to use boxing judges! Ask fighters like Matt Hamil and Shogun Rua how the boxing judges worked for them.

Also, just like in boxing, the corner men of MMA fighters start pounding on the canvas ten or so seconds before each round ends—they want their fighters to pour it on so that the judges will have that last impression in their minds when they score the round.

Most MMA non-title fights are 3 rounds of five minutes per round. Many fighters adjust their game plans according to the rounds. And so do the male fans in the arena. Those round girls have more jiggle than hospital jello—except for their breasts. Silicone tends to keep things overly firm.

Okay, my mind wandered for a second. That’s enough about the laws of physics for the time being.

The question is: Are MMA rounds really necessary? Yes—according to the vast majority.

They want the fighters refreshed between rounds in order to regain that essential energy to go back out slugging. And so long as those fighters can jump back into the fray reasonably energized, the fans are happy.

But, I believe, depending on how any given MMA match unfolds, those round breaks can actually increase the chance of serious injury to a fighter—or worse.

Suppose a couple of fighters who are known as heavy hitters (and there are plenty), turn their MMA match into a stand-up slug-fest. Picture their four-ounce gloves repeatedly crashing upon each others noggins. The bell rings to end round 1 and their corners ice their fighters up and close the cuts.

They drink some water and the bell rings again. The fighters bound off of their stools, and they land punches at nearly equal speed and force as in the previous round. With all that punching, they soon tire. So they eat up the clock by clinching until the bell rings to end the round.

Then the same drill again. The fighters rest. They get corner advice while being cooled off. The third and final round starts and both fighters are exhausted. But they are still looking to end it. Maybe they do, or maybe it goes to the judges.

Ten minutes after the match, one of the fighters is feels little nauseous as he sits in the dressing room. That was a lot of head trauma for three rounds of fighting. The fighter recovers, but a month later, he's at it again in some other arena. After a while, things can become risky, medically speaking.

And that leads me to wonder what direction this example fight would have taken if the match had just one 15-minute round (and one 20-minute round for championship fights). My guess is that the fight would have ended between the five to ten minute mark.

Why? Because a one-round, 15-minute MMA fight now becomes a battle of attrition in a purer sense—a contest of cardio, of will, of heart. No rest for the weary. This is Mixed Martial Arts—less boxing like.

And when the fighters’ limbs get heavy from striking, they might be more inclined to think take-down. And when MMA fighters go to the ground, they generally take a short breather before they begin jockeying for side mount; half mount, or full mount.

Then, whoever has more talent, or whoever wants it more will either end the fight via ground strikes, or by submission—there's much less chance of the match going to the judges.

In all likelihood the matches would be faster paced because the fighters know there is no break to rehydrate and regroup until the final bell (unless a cut warrants a doctor’s examination). It seems logical that most fighters will do anything not to hear that bell.

And that’s all the incentive MMA fighters would need to get the job done as quickly as possible. They'll take more risks. No more endless clinching or lying on the ground doing next to nothing. The referee will be instructed to quickly restart the fight.

Result? Fast paced, shorter, more exciting fights, more fights per card, and improved fighter safety—and all because of the single 15-minute round.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Movie review by Joseph Lupoli

Hello, film buffs. Welcome to my first installment of Fri
day Night at the Movies!

Okay, so my own wife accuses me of being a "film snob."

Maybe it's not an endearing term, but she's probably right. I'm always looking for realistic and thought provoking international films, including American. My DVD home library is loaded with some of the best movies ever made. Mrs. Lupoli prefers fluffy American "Dramedy" chick flicks and movies made from those Jane Austen English classics.

And Joseph? Well, for a "manly man", as my wife describes me, my film genre preference doesn't include the usual testosterone laden, force-fed formula action flicks. I go for 'minimalist drama', a term often used by film insiders. The fewer characters, the better... and I want gut wrenching subject matter and plenty of dialogue. For whatever reason, Hollywood has never been a hotbed for that sort of film making, although a few gems did manage to worm their way through the Tinseltown cracks.

For the most part, regions such as The Far East and Europe have been cranking out top quality cinema since the 'silent era.'

Tonight's film feature is: Krzysztof Kielowski's, The Decalogue 1987-1989. Actually, it's not a move... it's a ten-part series from Poland. The Decalogue is loosely based on each the Ten Commandments. Each episode is titled after a Commandment and they all tackle Commandment related issues. The individual films are about 55 minutes in length.

Stark realism and very heavy subject matter is rule here. The stories revolve around the intertwining lives of people who live in or near a bleak apartment high rise complex in a Polish industrial city. Every episode delves deeply into the consequences of moral choices stemming from life problems involving relationships, per chance encounters, and the dynamics of various family units. Mainstream dilemmas such as infidelity, child custody, guilt, deaths of loved one's due to accidents, financial disputes, and even murder are carefully examined from from several points of view. you will notice that many of the lead characters in any particular series episode may be mere passerby's in other Decalogue films.

The Decalogue is an internationally critically acclaimed film series the world over. It's a must-see for anyone who likes pure and cerebral drama with great writing, and understated yet powerful acting, sans unnecessary special effects, gratuitous violence, or over-the-top soundtrack scores... and, of course, for those who don't mind subtitles.
Netflix this gem at once!


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