Tag Archive for ‘Judo’

RECAP! ‘Judo Thunder’ Strikes In Texas!

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight knockout artists Abdul Razak Alhassan and Niko Price battled last night (Sept. 8, 2018) at UFC 228 inside American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.

A battle between wild men took place last night in Dallas. Price is an oddball of a fighter; he moves in different rhythms, strikes with shifting punches often, and last time out managed to knock an opponent out with a hammer fist from his back. Alhassan is a more straight forward ball of violence: a heavily muscled Judoka who largely abandoned hip tosses in favor of bludgeoning hapless fools with his right hand. Which man would win was anyone’s guess leading into the fight last night, but violence was damn near a guarantee.

This one didn’t last long at all.

Price struck early with a nice counter right hand, but Alhassan was the man moving forward and backing Price into the fence. The second Price hit the fence, Alhassan unleashed a flurry of overhands. Price was aware of this strategy, keeping his left hand high and trying to counter back by blocking and firing back with a right hand.

At first, both men got their licks in. However, Price began attempting to throw left kicks while Alhassan was mid-punch — not a bad strategy on paper, but Alhassan was far too close already. The result was Price getting knocked off-balance. Once Price’s feet were no longer beneath him, Alhassan’s advantage of hand speed and punching power amplified in a big way.

Another overhand was partially blocked, but the follow up left hook landed flush and sent Price crumpling to the mat. There was really no follow up needed.

What’s there to say for Alhassan? The man destroys people with his fists; he’s an immensely powerful athlete with ferocious punching power. Now on a three-fight win streak with a trio of knockout wins — in which he fought about the same way all three times — Alhassan has earned another step up in competition.

If he truly has solved his takedown defense issues (something we didn’t really learn about in this fight), Alhassan could just be a contender.

As for Price, this is a great example of terrible decision making. Where did Price hold an advantage on paper? Plenty of places, like distance striking, transitions between strikes and grappling, and on the mat. Instead, he found himself placed on the fence almost immediately and tried to trade right hands with the man known for murdering people with right hands.

Predictably, it did not work.

Just about every other possible game plan was better, and Price decreased his odds of winning exponentially by choosing to trade with Alhassan on the fence. The fact that he did a nice job of mostly blocking the right hands from Alhassan is really evidence of that fact: a well-executed game plan won’t work if the initial plan is awful.

Last night, Abdul Razak Alhassan flattened another opponent. Who should Alhassan face next?

For complete UFC 228: “Woodley vs. Till” results and play-by-play, click HERE!

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Olympic Judo Champ Kayla Harrison Rolls in MMA Debut; Will Brooks Back on Track at PFL 2

She wasn’t in the main event, but in her much-anticipated MMA debut, two-time Olympic judo champion Kayla Harrison was positively golden on Thursday night at Professional Fight League 2 in Chicago.
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Olympic Judo Champ Kayla Harrison Rolls in MMA Debut; Will Brooks Back on Track at PFL 2

She wasn’t in the main event, but in her much-anticipated MMA debut, two-time Olympic judo champion Kayla Harrison was positively golden on Thursday night at Professional Fight League 2 in Chicago.
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PFL 2 Results: Judo Olympian Kayla Harrison Wins via Armbar

We love it when Olympic judo medalists compete in MMA, because, well… Ronda Rousey. Because of her. So it was a bit of a coup when PFL signed two-time gold medalist Kayla Harrison. Never mind that Harrison is a 155-pounder and you can count the number of 155-pound female fighters out there on one hand, she’s going to be the next Rousey dammit!

PFL 2 Brittney Elkin is some sort of jiu-jitsu specialist, but in her lone appearance in Bellator she lost, so you can bet she’s here to serve as Harrison’s dinner.

And guess what? When the referee says go, Harrison lumbers in, latches on, reaps out one of Elkin’s legs for the takedown, and just brutalizes her. Eventually she takes Elkin’s back, and the armbar is slower than molasses but utterly unavoidable.

Kayla Harrison Brittney Elkin PFL 2
PFL 2 from the Chicago Theatre, June 21 2018

So yeah, Harrison wins her MMA debut by tap out. She’s got a ways before she starts captivating the world (if she ever does), but this was a good first fight.

Results: Kayla Harrison def. Brittney Elkin via Submission (Armbar) at 3:18, R1

The post PFL 2 Results: Judo Olympian Kayla Harrison Wins via Armbar appeared first on Caged Insider.

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Olympic Judo Gold Medalist Kayla Harrison to Make MMA Debut at PFL 2 in Chicago

Two-time Olympic judo gold medalist Kayla Harrison will make her mixed martial arts debut this summer.
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Ronda Rousey: UFC Return ‘As Likely As Me Going Back to Another Olympics for Judo’

Ronda Rousey has never officially announced her retirement from mixed martial arts, but she came pretty close during a recent appearance on “The Ellen Degeneres Show.”
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Technique Talk: Dave Camarillo explains judo success of Kayla Harrison, Travis Stevens

At the Rio Olympic Games, two Americans – Travis Stevens and Kayla Harrison – will walk home with medals in judo. Stevens adds a silver medal to his resume while Harrison, who became the first American judoka to earn a gold medal at the London Games in 2012, earned a consecutive gold medal.

The United States may earn more medals aggregately than other countries at the Summer Games, but it has historically not been strong performers in judo. Instead, nations like Russia, Cuba, France and Japan have dominated the sport across both genders and multiple weight classes.

Now, however, the tide might be turning, if perhaps just a little bit. Dave Camarillo – a decorated grappler, black belt in both judo and jiu-jitsu and MMA coach – observed the success of Harrison and Stevens in Brazil and believes their success is not accidental, but the product of more modern, adaptive thinking about grappling success. The Americans, he argues, are winning in judo not by trying to beat the judo world at its game, but thinking about what it means to be well-rounded, borrowing from jiu-jitsu and creating a winning style despite long odds against the American’s program’s chances of success.

Full audio and partial transcript is available below:

If someone asked you describe Travis Stevens’ style of judo and the way he wins matches, what would you say?

He’s kind of a brute, to be honest. He walks forward. He’s very strong on gripping. Especially at that weight category, a lot of those guys are like that. A lot of times when you see judo, the weight category kind of defines the style.

Just underneath his weight category is 73kg, which is what I competed at. Those guys are much faster, more dynamic and then the smaller you get, the faster [they are]. 81kg is a division where guys are imposing their will and kind of grinding grips, bullying their way into throw opportunities.

He’s kind of that guy, but at the same time, he differs because he’s a two-sport animal. He’s two dimensional, he’s not one dimensional. Most judoka, even today, are one dimensional.

He was able to win in a number of ways. One way was with a yuko into what appeared to be an over-under pass. How often do you see something like that at the elite level?

I don’t think it happens much in terms of the outcome. You might see little spurts of passing, but most people that pass guard in judo don’t do a good enough job controlling the upper body, therefore, allowing their opponent to turn on them. He did an amazing job of controlling the collar, near the neck, as he’s passing; perfect timing to pull him back down to a flat position. There’s no points at all for getting the back.

Again, I’m talking as if most people understand jiu-jitsu rules and MMA, those are very vulnerable positions. In MMA, they’re not. They allow for a halt in the match. If you take my back, I can stall things out.

Well, he’s a really good passer because he doesn’t let you get out that easy. He doesn’t let you turn your body away from the pass, giving all fours. He just pulls you down and pins both shoulders to the mat.

You can say that’s a mixture of his BJJ knowledge and training with jiu-jitsu stylists, but also, using that knowledge to fit the rules of judo. It was brilliant.

One of his wins came from bow and arrow choke, but from turtle in a rolling movement, where judoka seem to have so many attacks. Is that the kind of thing you’re talking about where he’s blending the two arts?

The bow and arrow choke is something I used a lot. You see it in jiu-jitsu, but not as much as in judo. The reason why is there’s a sense of urgency in judo that doesn’t exist in BJJ. It’s not as evident, meaning, I don’t have a lot of time on the ground. Some referees don’t even like ground work. All those variables are kind of the culture that force you to move. You don’t have time. You have a sense of urgency.

If I grab your collar and we’re standing, which is the tachi waza, and then we go on the ground, I’m going to use that initial collar grip to try to choke you. So, your submission setups are actually standing. That wasn’t maybe exactly what happened, I gotta really look at the video, but your transitions are from what happened previously, which is the standing technique.

He avoided a throw on that no.1-ranked judoka on the semifinal. He wasn’t supposed to beat that guy. Well, he transitioned from the grip into the choke. So, the guy didn’t have time – and I think this is an ignorance on his part – to understand that tachi waza can easily turn into newaza and those transitions are there.

When you talk about the difference between judo and jiu-jitsu, you don’t see the bow and arrow a whole lot in jiu-jitsu. You see it, but you see it more in judo because I don’t have time to put my hooks in, to score four points because those four points don’t exist in judo. The way we approach attacking the back differs depending on what rule sets we’re up against, IBJJF or International Judo Federation (IJF).

For example, you’re going to see a lot more clock [choke], bow and arrow and juji-gatame roll, which is cross body where I have your back. I put a belt line hook in, I trap one arm, I flip you over and I armbar you. Those are the three main attacks you’re going to see in judo that you don’t see a whole lot in jiu-jitsu. They still exist, but in terms of ratio, those are the top three you’re going to see in a judo competition because I don’t have time to set up all those nifty back attacks.

We’ve discussed previously the gap on the ground between elite BJJ practitioners and judoka. However, we’ve also noted black belts like Flavio Canto are as good as any on the ground. Why is what Stevens is doing unique and exciting?

Because he understands the full spectrum of ground work, whereas a judoka only understands one side of the spectrum and a BJJ stylist only understands the opposite side of the spectrum. When you’re blending the two and you take the time to be technical, which a lot of judoka don’t. Even the high-level newaza guys, I wouldn’t even call them super technical. They’re definitely good and they’re definitely technical, but they’re not like a Rafa Mendes.

You grab Travis Stevens, who’s got the heart of a lion and he’s very disciplined, and he’s only there to win. You get that kind of student and give him an opportunity to study Brazilian jiu-jitsu, put him in an academy like Renzo Gracie, he’s going to understand the full spectrum.

When you talk about transitional ability, you can transition between tempos, between arts – even though you’re not looking at it that, it’s all grappling – but he moves appropriately for the situation at hand. That’s what makes him so dangerous and that’s why he has blended the two so well and he’s the best in the world at it.

He’s taking advantage of the ignorance that still exists on the ground in judo competitions. For example, I don’t know his name, but there was a judoka ranked 125th in the world, he fought a guy that’s ranked fifth in the world. That’s a 120-degree difference, right? And he pins the guy who was ranked fifth. It was the biggest upset in this year’s Olympics. He pins him. That can happen when you have an art like judo where some people say there’s not a big payoff to spend the energy it takes to learn proper ground work. A lot of people are not very good on the ground, so they ignore it. They just defend on the ground.

Well, this guy got caught in a pin, had no idea how to get out against someone who is ranked way lower than he is and, therefore, you have an upset. That’s a perfect example. That guy took advantage of the ignorance of his opponent and Travis Stevens did that in Rio.

What about Jimmy Pedro, Jr.? He’s a decorated competitor, Ronda Rousey came from his school and now this. What is it about what he’s doing and teaching that is so successful?

There’s a lot of elements to this, but he was a very good competitor, therefore, he understands his…I wouldn’t even call them his students. He’s the coach of the international team, so he gets to work with them on occasion, but he understands the competitor. He understands the competitors mind. On the other end, he’s another guy that had really good ground work. I actually competed against him. He was really good on the ground.

Like with Harrison and the armbar in the final for the Olympic gold, her transitions were amazing. There was a throw that got the girl on the ground, a transition to the bow and arrow then the arm. It was absolutely amazing, but you have someone in your corner that was able to do things like that in his competition career. I think things are shifting and jiu-jitsu is starting change the world. It really influenced MMA and now, hopefully, it’s starting to influence judo.

People are watching YouTube and seeing all of these amazing world champions in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and they’re understanding, ‘Wow, that is possible. It is possible to reach an amazing level on the ground.’ Anyone who is smart, and this is just me talking, understands that if they increase their options, they have more options to win. So, if I’m good at tachi waza, which is the standing throwing of judo, and I ignore newaza, then I better be better than everyone in my category in tachi waza. That’s essentially what I’m saying. If you look at it mathematically, I’m kind of shooting myself in the foot by not increasing my options.

With BJJ, you need good schools. I went to San Jose State [University]. I had a chance to go to the Olympic Training Center of San Jose State. I chose San Jose State because it was near Ralph Gracie jiu-jitsu. Then when I did international competitions, I was flying armbarring people. I understood that I want more options to win and if I got a guy who is better at tachi waza than me, I’m going to threaten my newaza, which is going to get me to throw him because he’s going to be so afraid of me on the ground – and this is the mentality I think Stevens has and Harrison has – that I’m going to disrupt their confidence and force them to make mistakes in the standup. You’re going to start beating people in the standup, which I did in my career, where I should’ve never touched them on the standup. They were far better than me, but they were so afraid to go on the ground with me, that it made them nervous. It made them not react appropriately.

That’s the same thing that’s happening to Travis, the same thing that’s happening with Kayla. They are threatening their opponents everywhere. This is more of a MMA kind of mentality. Before MMA, we thought it was styles versus styles. That’s no longer the case. It’s fighters vs. fighters, who understand that to beat an opponent, they need to be good everywhere and force their opponent where they are better than their opponent.

You can’t do MMA ignoring wrestling sprawls. If I do MMA now, I have to stop a takedown. If I’m the greatest striker in the world, but I can’t stop a takedown, it doesn’t matter. So, my point is, in judo, you have these cultures that develop that are very restrictive. When I was growing up, I was one of the only guys that was mixing the two. People kind of looked down on me. I was not a purist. I was traditional only judo. Well, now you can’t ignore it anymore because it’s in your face every single day. You turn on MMA, you see people who are good everywhere. That mentality was old school, medieval mentality. It’s almost an insult to, ‘There’s only 24 hours in a day, so we better just focus on tachi waza because there’s not enough time for us to focus on newaza.’ No, there’s plenty of time. There’s only a few moves in tachi waza that people use, anyway. There’s plenty of time to be well rounded and I think it’s finally starting to take hold in judo.

Is there anything to the way Americans approaching gripping? Is there an ‘American style’?

Since they changed the rules, the styles are not as definitive as they were before, meaning before you used to be able to grab the legs. In Europe and Russia, people were doing a lot of wrestling in their judo and you can’t do that anymore.

I don’t think there’s a traditional U.S.A. gripping style because many times U.S.A. looks up to other countries that are a little bit further along than they are in terms of influence.

That’s what we did. I went to Japan for three months to train because that was the best training for me. It wasn’t in the United States. Even Travis, he travels everywhere.

This is one thing jiu-jitsu traditionally doesn’t do because it’s very restrictive between academies. We do we call it Brazilian jiu-jitsu. It doesn’t make any sense. If we’re thinking on the world level, it’s jiu-jitsu. It’s not Brazilian jiu-jitsu. It’s not Japanese judo. That mentality restricts you. For example, if I train outside of my academy, I’m a traitor. In judo, you train outside of your country, you’re just doing what you should be doing to elevate your status as an American. A lot of this is cultural, the way things are.

Kayla Harrison has said she doesn’t have ‘beautiful judo’, but that it’s very effective. What does that mean, exactly?

We have the same thing in jiu-jitsu. People say, ‘Oh, but his technique is so beautiful and everyone likes it’ or there’s this smasher who just out paces everybody like Buchehca. Buchecha’s one of the greatest jiu-jitsu fighters ever, but he doesn’t have Rafa Mendes jiu-jitsu. I know they’re different weight categories, but that’s a good example. Buchecha is super athletic whereas Rafa Mendes is small and has to be technical.

What Kayla is saying is she gets the job done. To me, that’s all that matters because, again, it’s cultural. We learn through martial arts, especially jiu-jitsu, to love the beauty of the art. There’s also beauty and grace in being the most powerful individual in your category and smashing people. Don’t forget, even in jiu-jitsu and judo especially, it is a knockdown, drag out martial art. It is probably one of the toughest martial arts in existence. To be super pretty, is one thing and that’s great, but to get the job done, that’s another whole end of the spectrum that a lot of people ignore.

I think that’s her point: ‘I’m not here to be pretty with my judo. I’m not here to do things maybe the way you want me to do them, but I’m a two-time Olympic gold medalist. I get the job done.’

That’s what I see even in her newaza. It’s not the prettiest stuff in the world, but I can appreciate it because some of the stuff I do is not pretty, but I get the job done in my own game.

For the average MMA viewer, what makes Harrison’s achievement so special? In the greater context of world judo, what does her second gold medal mean?

Obviously, she’s the first gold medalist. We’ve had some great talent – Jason Morris, Jimmy Pedro, now Travis Stevens – who have been really, really close. They haven’t really put it together. She was the first and I think it’s actually really cool she’s a female being the first. That’s also pretty amazing.

Doing it two times is another thing. If you look in between the four years, they’re competing all the time. She hasn’t won every single tournament between 2012 and now. Sometimes you show up and you’re the best, but you weren’t the best that day. You got to be the best the day you compete in Rio and that’s what she did.

To the average American, do a little research on it. Now you can’t ignore it, but judo’s always been there. It’s just been ignored because we haven’t done that well and we finally are. I think if you look at it, it’s the greatest combative sport in the Olympics (I’m biased; wrestling’s in there, too). It’s the most dynamic. You have submission holds. You have throws. You have everything you could ever want in a grappling sport, which wrestling doesn’t have. Now, we’re finally finding some success. The average American should pay attention to it, watch it and love it. It’s brutally awesome.

The head of USA judo essentially argued the U.S. would “control world judo” if they had the same budget other countries allocate for their judo programs. Do you agree with that?

Judo, it’s cultural, man. I don’t know if I agree with that. I’m not Russian. I’m not in Russia, maybe part of this is ignorance, but that’s a pretty tough breed of people. Americans are tough, too, but things are kind of changing. More people play soccer than judo. There’s not a lot of judo competitors in the United States versus the European countries or Japan.

Now, if you had the budget, are you going to use that budget to change the culture, meaning more participants? You’re looking at it in terms of ratio. I think it’s a possibility, but it needs to be cultural.

Owning a school, I see some of this where people are allowed to quit. That’s a very foreign concept to me because I was forced into judo and I was never allowed to quit. I wanted to quit maybe over 100 times because it was rough and I didn’t have a good practice and I didn’t perform the way I wanted to. My father just never let me. That’s the culture that needs to exist to get more gold medals.

You have to have a hardcore culture. Not an overbearing culture, but a culture that just doesn’t allow people to quit once you start something. That’s how I feel. Champions, they don’t love going to work everyday. It’s the same with the MMA. That’s not fun. I think you need the mentality of ‘This isn’t fun and that’s not what we’re here for. We’re here to see when you stop talking, show up to practice every single day and give it your all, how far you can go.’

That’s what’s in the mentality of, say, Travis. Every day he wakes up and goes, ‘How far can I go today?’ You have that kind of culture and you raise that bar and you have that crop of individuals to choose from, then you’re going to start getting more gold medals.


Hans van Essen, owner and Editor-in-Chief of Judo Inside, provides context for Harrison’s remarkable success. She is one of only eight judoka to have ever won Olympic gold twice:

“Hitoshi Saito (JPN) – Hitoshi Saito was a greatness and double Olympic Champion in 1984 and 1988. Saito won the Asian Games in 1986 in Seoul.

Peter Seisenbacher (AUT) – Peter Seisenbacher is the most famous Austrian judoka ever who became double Olympic Champion in 1984 and 1988. Seisenbacher was world champion in 1985, coached by George Kerr. He won 8 European medals and the title in 1986. Peter became coach and won the Olympic title with Georgia and world title.

Ayumi Tanimoto (JPN) – Ayumi Tanimoto is the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Champion from Japan. She is coach of the Japanese women. She won the Asian Games in 2002 in Busan and won two world Championships medals in 2001 and 2007 and silver in 2005 in Cairo against Lucie Decosse. World Team champion in 2002 and 2008 with Japan.

Waldemar Legien (POL) – Waldemar Legien is one of the most legendary judoka for Poland and one of the few who won two Olympic title. In won in 1988 in Seoul (U78) and 1992 (U86kg) in Barcelona. He collected three world championships medals was European Champion in 1990.

Masato Uchishiba (JPN) – Masato Uchishiba is 2004 and 2008 Olympic Champion from Japan. He was 2005 World Championships finalist. He won the world team title in 2007 with Japan. From Kokushikan University. He won the 2009 Grand Slam of Paris.

Dongmei Xian (CHN) – Dongmei Xian 2004 and 2008 Olympic Champion from China. She is 2008 Tournoi de Paris winner and former no. 1 in the world in 2009 U52kg. The Chinese judoka won four world cups and multiple Asian championships.

Kayla Harrison (USA) – Kayla Harrison is world and Olympic judo champion. Harrison won the Olympic final in 2012 in London and 2016 in Rio and won the world title in 2010 in Tokyo. She won bronze in 2011 and 2014. Panam Championships and Games Champion in 2011 and 2015.

Teddy Riner (FRA) – Riner is the most successful judoka ever on the planet. The French heavyweight won eight world titles, more than anyone. He is 2.05m and very athletic. He won 5 European titles and the 2012 and 2016 Olympic titles. He was double junior world champion, athlete of the year and honoured worldwide.”

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Two-Time Judo Gold Medalist Kayla Harrison Says No To MMA Career For Now

Kayla Harrison doesn’t seem quite ready to follow in the footsteps of fellow Olympic judoka Ronda Rousey.
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Kayla Harrison wins second straight Olympic gold medal in judo

Kayla Harrison became the first U.S. judoka to win a gold medal in the Olympics back in 2012. On Thursday in Rio, she made history again.

Harrison, an American, defeated Audrey Tcheumeo of France via ippon (armbar) to win her second straight gold medal at 78 kg (172 pounds). There was just seven seconds remaining when Harrison locked in the armbar. She was ahead on penalties at the time.

Harrison, 26, also beat her semifinal opponent Anamari Velensek of Slovenia by armbar and won every match in Rio by finish. Harrison’s chief rival Mayra Aguilar of Brazil fell in the semifinals to Tcheumeo and ended up winning the bronze medal. Tcheumeo had to settle for silver. Harrison said after the victory that she is officially retiring from judo competition and will not participate in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

There is a chance Harrison could pursue MMA following this historic victory, much like Ronda Rousey did after winning bronze in judo at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

“I know you all wanna know if I’m gonna do MMA or not, but tonight I’m just gonna live in the moment, be an Olympic champion, and tomorrow I’ll decide what my future holds. Maybe a month for now [laughs],” Harrison said after the match Thursday.

Harrison has hired an agent and is already fielding offers, she told SB Nation’s Guilherme Cruz last week in Rio.

“Several contracts have been sent to my agent,” Harrison said. “He’s looked at it, and he’s said ‘no’ to all of them. He said there’s not enough money. And I trust him. But, again, we’re not making any decisions right now. We have had offers, we had contracts sent, but I think once the Olympics are over, and everything sorts of settles down, I can decide whether or not I like to punch people in the face.”

Harrison, an Ohio native and Massachusetts resident, took up boxing while healing from knee surgery after the 2012 Olympics and liked it.

“For me, it was fun because it was something I’ve never done before,” Harrison said. “And I was pretty good at it. And it was completely different from judo. Like, every day in judo practice I do the same things over and over and over again, and I’ve been doing them for 10 years. My whole life, this is what I’ve done. I have mastered the art of basics. I have no pretty judo, I have no flashy judo, but I’m really, really good at the basics. So, the fact that boxing was so different and unique, and something that I’ve never done before, but was still really hard for me and pushing me, was fun.”

Since she competes now at 172 pounds in judo, it’s likely Harrison would only be able to drop to 145 in MMA, the class ruled over by Cris Cyborg. But Rousey, who competed in judo at 70kg (154 pounds), has always been an inspiration to her. The two are former training partners and Harrison has always strived to exceed Rousey’s achievements.

Rousey was the first U.S. female judoka to ever medal in the Olympics and then went on to become a supernova in MMA, becoming the UFC women’s bantamweight champion and the most recognizable MMA fighter in the world. Rousey is in the midst of a Hollywood career and is a multi-millionaire, not something enjoyed by most Olympians.

“I used to train with Ronda Rousey, and I guess I always had a little bit of a Ronda complex, you could say. Anything she does, I wanna do -€” and I wanna do it better,” Harrison told Cruz. “You know, I always tried to be the best at whatever it is I do, and at some point in your life I think everyone has that goal of being rich, being famous, and being a superstar. Who doesn’t want that? I think everybody does, and, at the end of the day, I’m a fighter. I love to fight. I love judo because it’s a battle of wills, and what is a bigger battle of wills than stepping in a cage with someone and forcing them to your will? Bending them to your will?

“So that part of it intrigues me, and excites me, but on the other hand, do I really wanna start it all over with my athletic career at 26? Do I really want to get in a cage and try to hurt someone? You know, judo is meant to keep people safe from harm’s way, but MMA is kind of like… there are some rules, but not many. So, we’ll see.”

MMA Fighting’s Guilherme Cruz contributed to this report.

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Morning Report: Former Judo coach slams Ronda Rousey, says ‘She owes her entire existence to our sport’

We all know the story of UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey.

About how the daughter of a World Champion hooked up with the famed ‘Judo’ Gene LeBell to train alongside future UFC stars before competing at two Olympic games, taking a bronze medal in the latter.

One Rousey coach we don’t hear too much about is former Olympic silver medalist Jason Morris. In 2005, Rousey spent about eight months training under Morris in New York state, sleeping on a futon in his living room.

Morris has largely been left out of the narrative of Rousey’s Judo career, but she found some space to profile him in her newly released autobiography.

According to Rousey, it wasn’t the best of times.

“I was training under a coach I couldn’t stand and who was taking my money,” Rousey wrote in ‘My Fight/ Your Fight.’ “I was starving. I was not improving. ‘What the (expletive) am I doing here?’ I asked myself out loud.”

Well, Morris hasn’t read the book, but tells the Times Union ‘he’ll take the free advertising for his school, good or bad.’

“I was happy to be mentioned,” Morris said. “(Rousey) acknowledges that we were part of her rise, and anybody with a brain can say, ‘These people must have something going for them.’”

Morris also served as Rousey’s national team coach for the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing.

“I’m a judo coach,” said Morris. “I do the best I can, and (Rousey) came to me. I didn’t seek her out. She wanted expert training, and I did the best I could at that time.”

When Rousey arrived at his academy, Morris says ‘There was nothing remarkable about her,’ calling her ‘an average teenage kid, kind of sloppy.’

“She was already an exceptional competitor, which she still is today,” said Morris. “But she was raw, and there was a lot of room for technical advances. And that’s basically where I filled in a lot of things that she does today, among other coaches. I’m just a small blip in her existence.”

While Rousey credits her success to constant self improvement through tireless hard work, Morris says it wouldn’t have been possible if not for her coaches.

“The reality is she owes her entire existence to our sport,” Morris said. “Not to me or any one person. … The judo community raised her, and this is why she’s so successful.”



Re. Match. Bellator breaks ratings record by 27 percent with Kimbo Slice vs. Ken Shamrock.

‘I wish.’ Gilbert Melendez says getting to Mexico City weeks early ‘didn’t make sense’ financially.

No easy fight. Joanna Jedrzejczyk broke her thumb badly against Jessica Penne and could need surgery.

‘I don’t even think it’s worth doing.’ Dan Henderson is not interested in fights against Michael Bisping or Tim Kennedy.

Thank you. Tito Ortiz talks facing Liam McGeary for the Bellator light heavyweight title and why he turned down a rematch with Frank Shamrock.

Watch The MMA Hour with Dan Henderson, Gilbert Melendez, Makwan Amirkhani, Rafael Cordeiro, Michael Chandler, Joe Schilling and John Pollock.




Free Fight: Yoel Romero vs Clifford Starks.


Chael Sonnen breaks down Lyoto Machida vs. Yoel Romero.


Jonas Bilharinho talks imitating Conor McGregor for Jose Aldo and responds to Joe Rogan’s compliments.


Robin Black talking about the Kimbo-Shamrock conspiracy talk.


More Jose Aldo promos.


Purple belt MMA journo rolling with blue belt Johny Hendricks.


Long watches.

Knuckle Up #360: Bellator 138, the magnitude of suck

UFC Octagonside Fight Night Berlin Reaction






Hang in there.








Looking good.


Get well soon.


We made it.



Announced yesterday (June 22 2015)

Rustam Khabilov out, Danny Castillo vs. Jim Miller at UFC on FOX 16



Today’s Fanpost of the Day comes via zerkitty.

JJ & Ronda alike? WMMA talent base says yes.

Big for the division, Finishers, Charismatic, very experienced internationally at the highest levels in their base arts. It is often forgotten that both are not just successful in their base arts and WMMA because of technique. They are superior physical and mental athletes that could be good at most any sport they chose to do.

If the UFC added 125lbs and either 105lbs (more likely) or 145lbs (hope not) and had 4 weight classes instead of two, we would see little in added talent except maybe at 105lb, instead we’d get a split of the current talent within the weight classes. JJ just beat a former 105, Waterson is coming for the money not the weight class. Let’s not kid ourselves about JJ or Ronda being big. 145lbs is so shallow you can watch it evaporate. It’s a real shame that the 125lb class hasn’t been added yet, allowing the women to settle into their proper weight classes.

Check out the rest of the post here.


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