MMA Underground

A site for MMA Fans and fighters
by MMA Fans and Fighters.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

BJ to GSP: “Don’t take this thing light. This isn’t a joke. I’m going to come full blast and say, I’m ready to die. I am going to beat you.”

Written by Penny Buffington

BJ Penn is pumped and ready to take on UFC welterweight title holder George St. Pierre. “I’m coming in, in great shape. I’m going to be real strong and real fast and great condition. I have got allot of stuff I am going to come after him with. I’m going to try to knock him out. I’m going to try to slam him on his head. I’ve got no secrets. I’m just going to go out there and grind this thing out and I’m going to win this fight.” The event will take place Jan-31-2009 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event will also air live on PPV.

Last time the two fought each other was in March of 2006. BJ lost to a very close decision. I ask BJ what his best attribute was as far as fighting goes. He said, “My technique, George is a real athletic guy so you have got to be smart out there. You have got to be thinking, weighing everything out as the fight is going.”

With only 1 month left before the fight, I asked “The Prodigy” to explain what his training consists of. “I’m training 5 hours a day. I’m training really hard for 3 hours in the morning, 2 hours at night. I’m just going full blast. I do 12 rounds a day. I do calisthenics, running and sprints, eating healthy food and honest I could fight right now. I could fight right now, today, I’m ready to go!”

Growing up in Hawaii BJ explains, “I was born in Honolulu, Hawaii moved to Hilo when I was 4 or 5 years old. I have 5 siblings, 4 brothers, 1 sister. I grew up in Hilo. I went to Hilo high school. Somebody moved down the road by my house when I was a kid, like 16 years old, and showed me what Jiu-Jitsu was. They weren’t very good at it but they showed me what Jiu Jitsu was and the rest is history I guess.”

BJ tells us his family is behind him all the way. “Defiantly allot of family support from my parents, brothers, we all kind of work together and kind of do everything as one unit.”

When I asked BJ where his nickname came from he told me, “ On the Mat was my first sponsor when I was just doing Jiu Jitsu and they kept calling me the Hawaiian prodigy and then next thing I was just BJ “The Prodigy” Penn.”

BJ preferred training center is at his own Gym where he is surrounded by those who help him prepare for combat, “Rudy Valentino, Jason Perillo, Adam Disabato, kickboxing coaches, wresting coaches, Jiu-Jitsu coaches and has got everything going full blast right now. I mostly train here. I don’t really go elsewhere to often.” The training center is BJ Penn Mixed Martial Arts Academy in Hilo Hawaii.

Penn’s official mixed martial arts record stands at 13 wins, 4 losses and 1 draw. He is the current UFC World Lightweight Champion. He is going up in weight to take on Georges "Rush" St. Pierre, the current UFC World Welterweight Champion to see if he can obtain that belt as well to become the first UFC fighter to hold 2 weight class titles at the same time. George has won 17 fights and lost 2. If BJ were speaking to George he would say, “Don’t take this thing light. This isn’t a joke. I’m going to come full blast and say, I’m ready to die. I am going to beat you.”

BJ says what he thinks has George the most worried when he thinks about the fight, “I don’t know if he is worried. Everybody is talking about him; he is not that nervous for this fight or if he is taking it light or what. I’m sure he knows that I’ve got some skills that I’m brining to the table. But you never know, fighters, they get too confident sometimes.”

I asked BJ if there was any truth to the rumor I heard that he plans to also move up to the middleweight division to try and sang that tile from Anderson Silva as well to which he replied, “That is not even in my mind right now. I said a few years ago it would be great if I could be the 155 pound champ, 175 pound champ and 185 pound champion, but, I’m just concentrating right now on this fight.”

“I just want to thank all the fans for supporting me and just all the fans that support the sport period. Thank you very. I want to thank and thank RVCA and Cage Fighter and Troy Mandaloniz -“Rude Boy’.

If you would like to show BJ Penn your support you can go to the following web sites:

To hear the audio from this interview:

UFC lightweight World Champion - BJ Penn takes time out of his Xmas shopping on Xmas Eve to tell us Merry Xmas and to talk about his upcoming UFC Welterweight title fight against George St. Pierre

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Written by Jen Leigh
Tuesday, 23 December 2008

When Elite XC folded back in October, many believed it to be the end of mainstream exposure for women’s MMA. No other mixed martial arts organization boasted a roster that full of female talent, nor gave them the platform on which to shine. There has been much speculation as of late over which organization, if any, would take over where Elite left off. Where would all the fighters go? Where and whom would they now fight? How will they be seen on television? For years I have heard talk about all women MMA reality shows happening, but they never did…until now. And as they say in life, timing is everything

A spectacular all women’s MMA reality show is currently in development for 2009, with plans to begin shooting at an undisclosed, exotic location by early February. “Ultimate Women Combat” will feature #1 ranked Tara LaRosa and U.K. fighting sensation Rosi Sexton as coaches, alongside jiu-jitsu legend Cesar Gracie. Model/actress Joanna Krupa and “Outside The Ring” presenter Marika Taylor will be the show’s hosts. Up to sixteen contestants will live and train together, fighting their way to become the UWC champion, with the final fight taking place back on U.S. soil. Although the format may sound familiar to other MMA reality shows, UWC has no intention of being a carbon copy of shows past. The level of female fighters showing interest in the show range from those with no professional experience, to established well-known fighters. With LaRosa, Gracie, and Sexton signed on, and the possibility of some big names being cast as contestants, this show could easily help propel women’s MMA to new heights.

On December 19th, I attended the U.S. auditions at Bas Rutten’s “Elite MMA Gym” in Thousand Oaks, CA. Eight Los Angeles area based fighters came to vie for a spot on the show. U.K. auditions had already taken place earlier in the month, with approximately twenty hopefuls trying out. There will be either one or two weight classes employed on the show, depending on the number of competitors cast. They will also be split into two teams, most likely based on professional experience. And for the very first time, five-minute rounds will replace the formerly used three-minute rounds found in women’s MMA matches, something the show’s producers are adamant about

The girls warming up for Cesar Gracie:


V. Mariscal, M. Vera, K. Vera, R. Balboa, K. McGray, M. Benavides, S. Camacho, P. Garcia:


Darwin Nercesian and Lyle Howry, whose production company is based out of Los Angeles, have no interest in portraying the fighters as mere sex objects. Unfortunately that is often the case with female-based reality TV. Yes, this is television, and the visual aspect is important, but the focus will be on fighting rather than sex appeal. What you will see is the commitment and drive that female fighters have to succeed in a male dominated sport. The producers’ passion and intent on making the show a true showcase of women’s talent and athletic ability is evident upon speaking with them. Fans themselves, they truly want to see women at the forefront of mixed martial arts, right alongside the men. With major global distribution behind them, they plan to announce which network the show will air on very soon.

Gracie coaching Kate McGray & Michelle Vera:


Martha Benavides displayed some serious kicks:


At Friday’s tryouts, Gracie put the women through grueling drills, while everyone else looked on in amazement. They did everything from cardio and strength exercises, to pad work and sparring. Watching Cesar coach, it is no wonder why he is considered one of the best in the world. Among the women auditioning were Roxy Balboa (below), and Kerry & Michelle Vera. (The UFC’s Brandon Vera’s wife and sister, respectively, who proudly watched and offered support.) Rounding out the fighters were Vanessa Mariscal, Pearl Garcia, Kate McGray, Martha Benavides, and Samantha Camacho. The overall encouragement the fighters gave one another was testament to the camaraderie and respect found in mixed martial arts.

Roxy Balboa, who trains with Josh Barnett:


I also had the pleasure of speaking with Marika Taylor, who was on hand to film interviews with the women trying out. Both long time supporters of women’s MMA, Marika and I had a great time chatting about the importance of a show like this getting mainstream exposure. With a growing list of “who’s who” in MMA signing on for involvement with the show, its potential to reach a wide audience has no boundaries. There will always be naysayers when it comes to women in MMA, but this show will undoubtedly attract both male and female viewers, offering up a never before seen side of what it takes to be a fighter.
As we speak, the final stages of development are being planned out to make this a one of a kind series…and for the women who live and breathe MMA, it’s right on time.

For up to date info: (U.K. affiliate site)
Photos courtesy of Jen Leigh & Lyle Howry Productions

Tim Creduer says, “Right now, I just defiantly want to help Forrest get that win and defend his title."

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UFC middleweight fighter Tim Creduer’s mixed martial arts record is 11 wins with 2 losses. “I have about 20 or so more fights. I’ve been fighting since 95.They didn’t really have data bases and stuff. But, the records they have on Sherdog are the records they use for the UFC.” According to fight statistics, Tim Credeur, The Ultimate Fighter season 7 cast member has not lost a fight since 2006. For the other lose we would have to go all the way back to 2002. Fights from the reality show are not included in the record.

Fresh off his TKO win over Nate Loughran at the UFC Fight for The Troops event on December 10 Tim tells us, “I’m going to Vegas for about 3 weeks. It is the last week of Forrest’s preparation for Rashad. I went out there about a month ago and trained with him for about a week or so and I’m going back for his last week. Just to help him kind of be comfortable and be ready for his last week. We are friends and we train together so I try to support him, help him. My wife is coming with me. We will probably do Christmas after and start looking to the road ahead. But right now, I just defiantly want to help Forrest get that win and defend his title. I guess I’ll start thinking about me next. I’m really ready and able to fight anybody the UFC wants me to fight. My job is just showing up and having exciting performances. I don’t really care who it is against really.”

Tim began fighting Judo in the Navy in 1995. “There were still MMA fights going on back then, like in Mexico. Kind of some more underground stuff because it wasn’t necessarily legal back then. We were just trying to keep the sport alive. The UFC was going on but other than that the shows were very small. I started with the Navy Judo Team. My dad was a boxer I’ve been boxing and around boxing: well, combat sports all my life. I guess when I started with the Navy was really when I really started Judo training for real, I was about 18 years old.”

The 31 year old mixed martial arts fighter talks about his previous decision to quit the sport. “The show changed my life. There is no doubt about it. I was going to retire in September of 07. I had a fight in the largest coliseum I guess in the Louisiana area. It was at the Cajun Dome in Lafayette. I was the main event and that was going to be my last fight. I was finishing college in December. I got a job with a huge oil company making great money and I’m married. At that point I had been fighting over 10 years. It just kind of got to the point where I just wasn’t seeing any way with my age that I could convert it into something where I could have it as a career. It was kind of getting time where I was going to do this for a career or time to find something else to do. I decided I was going to go ahead and retire after that fight. But I guess a day or two before the fight my wife sat me down and told me it really wasn’t time for me to quit now. Even though it was difficult at times or tuff, she thought that it was going to come around. I thought she was ridiculous. But yeah, I took a couple of more fights and I rattled off a couple of more first round victory’s and then the next thing you know The Ultimate Fighter calls and I’m on the show. Now I am fighting regularly for the UFC. Looking back I was one little Cajun girl’s conversation away from quitting the sport. That is how life is sometimes, sometimes you have got to take a risk and you have to go out on a limb put yourself out there.”

Creduer says his experience on the Ultimate Fighter Season 7 was something he took very seriously, “When I went on the show I wasn’t trying to be cool, I wasn’t having fun, I wasn’t there for the girls. I was there for a career. Some people go to interviews for their career; I went to The Ultimate Fighter. That was really all that I cared about was having a good showing and showing them that I deserved to be there. Eventually making my way into the UFC and making my way up from there. To be at that point now is defiantly serial. To be going to Vegas and help train a World Champion you know it just doesn’t make any sense. You know, I don’t know what going on. A year ago I was working for an oil company.”

Professional athletes rely on sponsors to keep their careers going. As Tim explains, “There are many reasons why we have sponsors. To be a professional athlete is very expensive. For us to take the right amount of supplements, to eat the right amount of food, get the rest we need and be able to devote our lives to training. That requires money to pay our bills, to live our quality of life and at the same time be able to facilitate an environment that is conducive for a professional athlete in terms of nutrition and in terms of supplements. Maximum Nutrition helps me in a bunch of different ways. Of course financially they help me with my fights and my fighting. But more than that; they have a line of supplements that I take pretty much everything they have to offer. And man, it makes a huge difference in life, training. The ability for me to not be sore! I experience a much different level of intensity in my practices. I can go allot longer in training. The next day I can continue going allot longer in training. I don’t have as many injuries. I don’t have as much down time from just exhaustion. I have a lot better muscle content. My body has a lot lower fat percentage. It keeps me on that next level that I really need to be on to compete in a place like the UFC. I defiantly wasn’t the kind of fighter that I am now with the stuff I have got from Maximum Nutrition.”

“My management company is Denaro Sports: Robert Roveta is my manager.” Tim also has a MySpace page and an official web page: ,

“I’m a black belt under the Carlson Gracie System and now I have my own gym in Lousianna. We have 15 or 20 pro fighters that fight out of the gym. There is about 100 students who train here and I do go back and forth to Vegas to train at Extreme Couture with Forrest and them.”

Tim finished the interview saying, “Thanks for the support. I really appreciate everybody being behind me and believing in me. I will continue to pushing forward and hopefully get some big wins in the future.”

To Listen to the Audio from Tim Creduer Interview:

Friday, December 19, 2008

Gilbert Melendez says, “I’m coming back!”

Written by Penny Buffington

Strikeforce fighter Gilbert Melendez says, “I have been hanging out and re-grouping a little. I just opened the El Nino Training Center. I’ve been working on that a little bit and getting my training situated. I’m getting the itch. I’m ready to go. I’ll be fighting early next year.” Gilbert’s last fight, (6 months ago) resulted in a loss of his Strikeforce lightweight title to Josh Thomson. The only other loss Gilbert has was against Mitsuhiro Ishida at Yarennoka - New Years Eve 2007.

Having only 1 fight left on his Strikeforce contract Melendez explains, “I have one fight left with Strikeforce. Right now, I’m really happy with them. I’m feeling pretty confident right now. My next fight, I’m planning on winning and I’m planning on looking great. That is what I want to do and then maybe just weigh out some options. But I’m really happy with Strikeforce. There is the possibility I could stay there with them, but I don’t know, we will see how it goes.”

Ishida Yarennoka has recently joined Strikeforce so a possibility of a rematch is very real. “That is the one I am looking for, for my next fight. I’ve been asking for Ishida; give me Ishida. I want to fight him again.”

Gilbert has an entire network of training partners. He told me, “I’m training here at my gym. I still train with Jack Shields all the time. He has his own gym now and Nick and Nate Diaz they have their gym in Stockton. I train with them. We all rotate with each other, jumping from gym to gym. We meet up. Our boys against their boys: their boys against my boys. We all go at it together. It’s really great and the Cesar Gracie gym as well. I’ve got a good squad of boys.”

Gilbert takes pride in the sport and chooses his sponsors wisely. “I’m always up for sponsors. I always like to help. I like to build a good relationship with my sponsors. I don’t want to take their money and say, hey I’ll see you at my next fight. I like to meet someone and see if we are on the same page. If we have the same kind of vision, same beliefs and stuff. We try to work out some sort of deal. They contact me or my buddy Erik helps me out and my dad is my other manager, he helps me out.”

Mixed martial arts are a family deal according to Gilbert. He says about his father, “He’s been managing me right now. He does a great job. He has kind of been my guidance guy for now. He is, not to say, forever. When the sport is big sometimes you have to change it. But right now he has been doing a great job helping me. If we need more help we will get it. We are a strong family. Those are my buddies, you know, my friends are my family and my family are my friends it’s great.”

After reconsidering his goals “El Nino” tells me, “I had to reset my goals a little. For a minute I reached my goals. For a minute I was ranked number 2 in the world. I was top 10. I made it up there. I could say it got easy for a minute but I caught myself. I reset my goals and basically I want to be a winner. But I want to make sure every time I go out there I perform 100%. I go balls to the walls. I make it exciting and I do what I do best, go for the kill. My goals for next year: to just have some memorable wars and just take it to some guys next year. I want a big Title again.”

What can we expect from Gilbert in the year 2009? “The UFC has always been a big dream of mine. The UFC is a great organization. I love that show. But MMA is a business now and I have got to make sure things are in my best interest. The fighter in me wants to just go to the UFC and just go test myself with everyone. I’m under contract right now part of my contract is we cannot discuss it so I wouldn’t do that. But I hope and believe they are interested. It’s something I would consider. At the end of the day I’m a fighter and I have a life so I have to do what is in the best interest for me.”

The more than competent, popular, 26 year old mixed martial arts fighter ended the interview by saying, “Thank you so much for supporting me. I’m coming back. To everyone all over: Thanks!”

Nor Cal Fight Factory partnership with the Police Athletic League in San Jose California

The San Jose Police Department PAL's mission is to reduce juvenile crime in San Jose through proactive community policing, sports and recreational activities for the youth of the city.

The Police Activities League is a youth crime prevention program that relies on educational, athletic and other recreational activities to cement a bond between police officers and the youth in our community. SJPD's PAL is one of the oldest citizen building youth programs in the nation. It is based on the conviction that young people - if they are reached early enough - can develop strong, positive attitudes towards police officers and the law.

Nor Cal Fight Factory is pleased to announce a newly formed partnership with the Police Athletic League in San Jose California. This partnership is the first of it's kind. Through this partnership, the first MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) program has been established in conjunction with PAL San Jose. The program will be kicked off under the direction of Dave Velasquez , Gladiator Champion and UFC Veteran owner and coach of Nor Cal Fight Factory

The PAL program has produced many champions in the sport of boxing throughout the years, it is our hope to use the PAL program not only to attract more young people to the sport of MMA, but we will hopefully find us a MMA Champion as well.

Since 1967, the San Jose Police Activities League has delivered sports, educational and recreational program to the youth of San Jose. San Jose PAL is a non-profit organization, recognized by the Federal Government under section 501(c)(3), tax identification number 94-1681065. All donations to San Jose PAL are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.

Please help our gym by donating some of the following:

MMA Cage: 20' x 24' feet in diameter/Cage Panel Wall

Youth/Adults protective gear – Head Gear/Mouthguards

Punch Mitts and Thai Pads

Youth/adult - Boxing gloves/MMA training gloves/Bag gloves

Trainer supplies – Boxing tape/gauze/Cleaning & Sanitizing Products

Strength & Conditioning - Medicine balls, Shadow Boxing & Resistance Tubing

- Kettle Bell Weights

Bags - Speed bags/Double end bags/Heavy bag/Youth Bag

Anything that can help provides the necessary training for theses young individuals.

Thank You
Please Contact:

408 221 1835
David Valasquez
47 Smithwood ave
Milpitas Ca 95035

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Kimberli Smith 13: Combative Sports Future Superstar

Written by The Shiznit Robert Visnick

Ever heard the name Kimberli Smith? How about Killer K or Krossface Killer? If you're a fan of combat sports, give it a few years and I promise you will. Kimberli Smith is a 13 year old girl who is dominating the mat in Florida and Georgia tournaments. In addition to competing in the advanced kids/teen division, she is taking part in the advanced women's division. And what's really scary is: she is winning!

At just 97 pounds, Kimberli is taking on opponents up to 165 pounds. She is currently nationally ranked #1 in Gi and No-Gi. She has won events put on by Grapplers Quest and North American Grappling Association. Kimberli first started training at the age 5, since then she has changed schools but never really left the gym. She has recently found her home at the Armory of Daytona Beach, where she's training under familiar names such as, Rich Crunkilton, a veteran of the UFC/WEC, and Ricardo "Chita" Barros, a 2x BJJ World Champion. She has attended camps with BJJ superstar Robson Moura. She trains BJJ, wrestling, Muay Thai, and boxing.

Kimberli and her father Steve found the Armory in March of 2007. Two weeks later she won her first competition. Every morning before school you won't find her watching cartoons. She is out putting in road work, pounding the pavement with her supportive father Steve close by on his bike. Kimberli trains 5 days a week, conditions 7 and there is rarely a weekend when she isn't competing somewhere. Steve Smith, Kimberli's father, plays the role of single dad and is more than happy to dedicate his time in order for his daughter to pursue her dream. Steve, a tattoo artist, was a semi-pro surfer in his younger days and remembers what it was like not having the support of his parents. He will never let his daughter know what that feeling is like.

You may wonder if all of this training effects Kimberli's grades or her time to be a kid. Well, the answer is no. She is in advanced classes at school and when asked if she would rather be out with her friends or at a competition, Kimberli quickly responds by saying she would much rather be competing. As of now, Kimberli only competes in BJJ and grappling but, her goal and motivation is definitely to compete in MMA once she is old enough. When she becomes a freshman in high school, Kimberli also has been guaranteed a spot on the Boys Varsity Wrestling Team next year. If she continues on her current path, this young woman will explode on the scene in a dominating fashion, which is fitting. One of her favorite fighters is B.J. Penn, who was once a young "Prodigy" himself.

Kimberli will soon be venturing out of the Southeast area to compete in more tournaments thanks to sponsors, such as, Fight Durty and 40 Degrees BJJ Camps. In the mean time, the tattoo shop Steve works for: Subculturez Studio’s, is picking up the tab for her tournament fees.

What's in Kimberli Smith's future? Well, I'm not sure, but my guess is big things. With the support of family and friends, her options in the world of combat sports are endless if she continues with her level of drive and determination.

If you would like to find out more about Kimberli Smith, check out the following: