Combat Sports Insider: Randomly Ranting Once Again

Sam Caplan is back with another self-serving look into his less-than ordinary life, which includes his wife just having got back from Thailand in preparation for her Aug. 28 pro MMA debut.

Sam Caplan is back with another self-serving look into his less-than ordinary life, which includes his wife just having got back from Thailand in preparation for her Aug. 28 pro MMA debut.

It’s never a good idea to write when you’re sleep deprived. There’s a tendency to sometimes say things you shouldn’t say. Then again, that might make for an interesting read for everyone?

As some of you may or may not know, I am no longer an active editorial influence in regards to FiveOuncesOfPain.com. I started a new company called Combat Sports Media and our business model is to work with mixed martial arts companies in the industry as a third-party provider of services. We do public relations for M-1 and other clients; operate M-1Global.com; provide production notes and research to Showtime; work with a small but growing group of fighters to help find them exposure and sponsorship; and more.

Combat Sports Media is still the parent owner of FiveOuncesOfPain.com and thanks to CSM Chief Technical Officer David Andrest and 5 Oz. manager editor Cory Brady, we’re not only pulling all of this off but we’re moving forward on some big things for the future. Stay tuned.

So yeah, I’ve turned to the dark side. I went from being on the outside to the inside. For now, my days of being an objective journalist are over. But as a friend recently told me, “At least you’re up front about it and not one of the many MMA writers these days trying to masquerade as bastions of journalistic integrity.”

As such, this column is about trying to inform and entertain. If I miss the mark, sorry, but I’ve slepped a total of four hours in the past 36 hours.

Pursuing a full-time career in MMA is truly a roller coaster ride. It’s a metaphor that gets used a lot but I don’t think people realize just how crazy this business is. My job these days consist of putting out fires and as soon as those fires are put out, a new blaze has started. My job is stressful and chaotic… but you know what? I wouldn’t change it for the world. Stable companies in MMA are few and far between and I’ve met a lot of talented people in my time who have worked for companies and when those companies went away, they never got a second chance. Everybody wants to work in MMA but there are only so many slots available.

Every day I wake up to a new set of problems that have to be solved and that’s the life of anyone in MMA who is a fighter, manager, matchmaker, executive, regulator, etc. I’ve been involved in quite a few different endeavors and none are as stressful as what I am doing now. But while I’ve never had a job as stressful as this one, I’ve never had as much fun.

I’ve got a lot of things going on right now. Some I can discuss publicly, some I cannot. Much of my lack of sleep is due to assisting M-1 during the Affliction “Trilogy” cancellation as well as the decision to move “Breakthrough” to Kansas City; working with Cory in providing Showtime with new production notes as changes are made to the Aug. 15 show; organizing a group of three fighters to represent USA East in the M-1 Challenge this weekend in Amsterdam; and managing my wife’s fighting career.

The changes to “Breakthrough” have generated some negative feedback but nothing is ever for certain in the MMA business. M-1 had an issue with a partner in LA and then had an issue with a main event. Some promotions would have folded their tents and went home and told the fighters they were SOL. But M-1 is honoring its word to the fighters, sponsors, and TV partner by working day and night to make sure “Breakthrough” goes off. You think the company would get some credit for saving the event instead of bailing but I guess there are just a lot of UFC-loyalists who can’t get over the fact that Fedor Emelianenko signed with Strikeforce instead of the UFC.

For those who don’t intend to watch “Breakthrough” free of charge on HDNet, that’s a shame. You’re going to miss out on the U.S. debut of Mo Lawal — a man who will be a top five pound-for-pound fighter in the world within the next 16-24 months. You also won’t get to see two of the best fighters you may have never heard of: Karl “Psycho” Amoussou and Lucio Linhares.

Karl is the next Wanderlei Silva and if you don’t believe me, watch this higlight video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWSXhIgZ294. And Lucio? Man, he’s proof that it isn’t about how good you are, it’s about how visible you are. Believe me when I tell you this, Linhares is capable of beating 70% of the fighters in the UFC and that’s no joke.

Anyway, I am looking forward to “Breakthrough” and I will actually be going out to Kansas City to help with the event as soon as I get back from Amsterdam and the M-1 Challenge. I’ve met some major scumbags in this business and I’ve also met some awesome people as well. Titan Entertainment President Joe Kelly, who is also M-1 Global’s Vice President of Live Events is one of those people. It’ll be great getting to work under Joe for 11 days leading up to the event.

Ensuring “Breakthrough” is a success will be no easy task. We’re not doubt behind the eight-ball but despite what some people would like you to believe, there are a lot of talented people in M-1 who are working around the clock right now. But because M-1 isn’t the UFC, people simply want to write the company off. There’s just so much stuff out there that simply isn’t true. The thing that I don’t quite understand are the bloggers who question why M-1 doesn’t have a promoter’s license.

First, Joe Kelly, a Vice President with M-1, is a licensed promoter in the state of Kansas and has been promoting boxing and MMA shows for over 10 years. But regardless, people fail to understand the M-1 business model. M-1 is truly a global company running shows all over the world. Because of this, M-1 finds local partners to help assist in promoting events. In Brazil, we worked with an awesome Gi company called Naja; in South Korea we work with one of the most respected businessmen in the community; when we did a show in England last year, we worked with the lads from Cage Warriors; so on and so forth.

Regarding “Breakthrough” in LA, we never applied for a license because we work with Roy Engelbrecht, one of the most experienced promoters you’ll find in the U.S. Roy was the promoter of record for both Affliction shows. Did anyone ever question why Affliction never applied for a promoter’s license? Do people realize that there are major promotions in the U.S. right now that also partner with local promoters?

M-1 wasn’t turned away in Oklahoma or Nevada. When we lost LA, we explored multiple options. We never fully decided on what option we were going to go with, so why would we pay for a promoter’s license? As someone who is familiar with the licensing process, you don’t just throw large sums of money down for a license unless you know you will be putting it to use.

But enough with the negative and onto he positive. One of the cool things about “Breakthrough” is that Joe is adding local ticket sellers to the non-televised undercard. There are a couple of local Kansas City female fighters he wants on the show. And guess who has been asked to compete? My wife. New readers have no idea about my wife’s fighting background but long-time readers remember by blogs last year about her daily trials and tribulations of being a full-time fighter. A lot of people really enjoyed the candid writing I did while others just wanted me to shut up and slave away on the phones all day and break stories for their amusement.

But for those that care, my wife is not only back from ACL surgery but she’s better than before. Her and her striking coach at Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu United just got back from the Simbi Muay Thai training center in Phukett and my wife is ready to kill someone. For her, Aug. 28 can’t come soon enough. Because she was gone for three weeks, she will be coming to Amsterdam with me and USA East fighters John Doyle and Shamar Bailey (by the way, special thanks to Choke Out Poker for sponsoring John and Shamar). Holland is just an amazing country and I can’t wait to go and watch 30 fights in one weekend. The only downside is that by being in Amsterdam, I can’t be in San Jose to watch Gina Carano vs. Cris Cyborg. But you damn well better believe I’ll be watching that early Sunday morning thanks to Showtime’s premium web stream.

Another downside is that I will be working most of the time and won’t get to see much of my wife even though she’ll be on the trip. But being married to a fighter has its perks because she’s quite okay with not getting to spend much time with me on the trip. Some of the greatest kickboxers in the world call Holland home and my wife is planning on getting some good training in at the M-1 training center. M-1 has been super cool and is trying to arrange things so that my wife can train with one of her favorite fighters, Cindy Dandois.

A lot of people feel when I speak about my wife that I am going into self-promotion mode… and you know what? Those people are right. But my wife has made so many sacrifices in allowing me to pursue my dream of having a full-time career in MMA and I am going to do the same for her. It would be one thing if she was a tomato can who couldn’t fight — but my wife is a legitimate fighter who will be breaking into the big-time before you know it. Aug. 28 is just the beginning, as we have a lot of fight offers coming in. We’ve got an awesome gym behind us with BJJ United and an amazing trainer in Jared Weiner so Andria is ready for whatever is going to come her way.

So much is going on that I barely even have time to write about UFC 101. One cool thing about not being a reporter/columnist anymore is that I don’t have to always work an event. I can go back to the old days and kick back and drink a few adult beverages while watching some fights! I’m a Philly person true and true and I never thought I would live to see the day in which the UFC would promote an event in Philadelphia. But this Saturday I got to experience it with my wife and son and it was surreal seeing legalized fighting inside Philly city limits.

Despite some lackluster fights, I still had an amazing time. The UFC simply knows how to do MMA right and the last two fights made up for some of the slower-paced fights earlier in the night. What can I possibly say about Anderson Silva and B.J. Penn that hasn’t already been said? But in typical Philly fashion, one of the best fights of the night didn’t take place inside the cage, but outside of it. You might have heard some loud cheering during the Kendall Grove vs. Ricardo Almeida fight but the cheers weren’t for the fight but rather a huge brawl that seemingly went on for 5-7 minutes. I was up in a luxury suite but I still someone get dropped with a major haymaker. It was so good that I felt Dana should have awarded the guy the UFC “Knockout of the Night” bonus. But Philly is a crazy town and we sure do enjoy fighting. Whether it is boxing, pro wrestling, or MMA, Philadelphians support violence. And no, I am not particularly proud of it but this is my home.

I’ve ranted for quite some time in this piece and I am trying to find a cute to wrap this entry up and tie it into a neat bow but I’ve got another crazy day ahead of me tomorrow (lots of production note writing and need to work out with John Doyle at BJJ United before we head to Amsterdam) and it’s time to get some sleep. I might be working like a mad man but all I can say is right now, my life doesn’t suck.

18 COMMENTS
  • ekc says:

    nice shout out for King Mo… glad you know what the world will know soon enough!

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  • edub says:

    Good luck to Andria man.

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  • fraz says:

    “I am not no longer an active editorial influence…”

    Wait a second. So does that mean that you ARE still active?

    Haha – Just kidding. I don’t normally play grammar-cop, but that sentence was a nice set-up for it.

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  • fraz says:

    “Whether it is boxing, pro wrestling, or MMA, Philadelphians support violence. And no, I am not particularly proud of it but this is my home.”

    Don’t forget the Philadelphia Flyers. The 1970s Flyers (The Broad Street Bullies) were the most violent players in the history of hockey — and the fans idolized them for it.

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  • submit662266 says:

    Your article suggests that UFC loyalists need to get over Fedor signing with Strikeforce. Fedor and M1 are terrified that he will lose. If Fedor were to lose, they lose a lot of $$$. At the end of the day, this is a business. Since Fedor is a partner in M-1, it is too dangerous for him to fight top-level talent. Will this strategy hurt his earning potential in the long run? If he loses to anyone in SF, his mystique will be shattered, along with the $$$ potential. Fighting lesser competition will further tarnish his rep.

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  • Rich S. says:

    Your wife still hasn’t had her pro debut?

    You were posting those articles about her struggles in getting and keeping a fight almost a full year ago now, right? Sheesh.. Well, it looks like things are finally turning out for her and I’m glad.. I’ll wish her luck once again: Here’s to a 1st round knockout!!

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  • Sam Caplan says:

    Franz, it doesn’t say that now. Either you mis-read it or I made a typo and our fine editor Cory Brady took care of it. Like I said man, I was tired.

    Rich, yeah, man. It’s been a long hard road. We have two opponents agree last year to fight my wife and then they backed out. One even came to our gym to spy on her. Then, we finally found an opponent named Shannon Schaide who had the stones to fight my wife. They were supposed to fight in June in Delaware last year and then it got shut down. We re-scheduled it for last August at the Combat Sports Challenge in Virginia but my wife tore he ACL a few weeks before the fight. She still tried to fight, but thankfully, our trainer stepped in and told her no way. She went to the former official surgeon for the Philadelphia Eagles, Dr. Arthur Bartolozzi and she opted to have a cadaver transplant because they said it would be best option for her as an athlete. It’s taken her a long time to come back but she is 100%.

    That’s why I have so much respect for Mo. My wife had the same injury as he had and it look her a long time to make her way back. Mo is coming back after only a few short months. Ryan Parsons must have special healing powers because he’s got Mo on a great program right now.

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  • ozz_the_powerful says:

    Sam,

    Glad to hear from you! It’s been a while. I wish you and the wife the greatest of luck in your future endeavors.

    On a side note, what’s the truth between Mo & Rampage? Was is a publicity stunt, or do you see them going at at? What’s Mo’s contract? How much longer till he’s a “free agent?”

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  • Nick Travaglini says:

    Sam, always glad to hear things are picking up for your wife. Hope your happy with the new career path. Wish you good luck in future endeavors.

    P.S. Thanks for the email back about the Philly show(sarcasm)…I had an awesome time as well. And I think that fight in the crowd was actually during the Riley- Nelson bout.

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  • s00nertp says:

    wwo, nice highlight video… Karl AMoussou looks pretty good. dang.

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  • Sam Caplan says:

    Nick, sorry if I missed your e-mail. It’s been very hectic and admittedly, I have not gotten back to everyone that I should. I apologize. We will meet in person one of these days! :) And yes, you are right about Riley vs. Nelson. I got the fight mixed up.

    Ozz, thanks for the kind words. I don’t think Mo vs. Rampage is a PR stunt at all. At the same time, both are smart guys who understand how the game works. If someone postures, the other guy knows that it isn’t going to hurt to talk smack back. The reason why I think it is legit is because Mo isn’t under UFC contract. As of now, it makes no sense for them to manufacture a feud that isn’t guaranteed to have a payoff.

    Regarding Mo’s contractual status, a lot of that is Ryan Parson’s business and I don’t want to get sideways with Ryan by divulging his personal business info. I will say this, Mo has no long-term contractual commitment to any organization and there isn’t a fight promotion on the planet not talking to him right now. M-1 is lucky to have Mo do his first fight on U.S. soil for us. I can’t say enough good things about him. Long-time readers know I was writing about him before he ever made his MMA debut. I just think he’s going to be one of the biggest stars in this sport.

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  • fanoftna33 says:

    Its to bad don frye bailed on the show but Kerr is a name most long time mma fans will like to see. If Frye was still fighting I wonder what the weight class would have been?

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  • Sam Caplan says:

    FanOfTNA, Frye vs. Mo was scheduled to be heavyweight. Mo vs. Kerr will also be heavyweight.

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  • ultmma says:

    Great to see you back Sam, sounds like your very, very busy but its good to se you take time out to post something on 5 oz.

    “A lot of people really enjoyed the candid writing I did while others just wanted me to shut up and slave away on the phones all day and break stories for their amusement.” that made me lol

    we’re not only pulling all of this off but we’re moving forward on some big things for the future. Stay tuned…….can the loyal 5oz users get a little clue about this??

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  • Rich S. says:

    Sam, obviously it’s not in a good way, but the amount of problems your wife has had in keeping these fights, the amount of fighters who backed out, the amount of bouts that were canceled, and the amount of time all this took up really amazes me.. And then the ACL injury to top it all off? Good Lord.

    Now, I know I wasn’t there through all this, and I couldn’t possibly imagine the extent of the pain/stress this has caused you guys, but I really think this will have a positive effect on you and your wife..

    For starters, I’m willing to guarantee that she’s got an immense amount of rage brewing in her, the likes of which will last throughout her first couple fights.. It’s never really good to fight off anger, but this probably fuels her in training, and makes her hunger THAT MUCH STRONGER..

    Secondly, all these things that she’s gone through are trials and tests that are extremely important in a fighter’s career.. These are the tests that build champions.. The fact that Andria has not only survived through these tests, but has kept pushing, and finally reached her goal, shows her tremendous amount of heart and drive.. And as far as I’m concerned, that’s the most important ‘skill’ a fighter can have..

    Let’s be honest, how many other up and coming fighters would keep trying after 2 years of opponents backing out, or promotions canceling fights/cards? Honestly, I think most people would lose hope and seek another profession.

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  • Scott H. says:

    Hi Sam. Good to be reading you again!

    I’m glad you are keeping busy, and doing work you love. I’m not sure if given your position you can comment on this, but I’ll throw it out there anyway.

    My negative feedback on M-1 may be a little differn’t then some. While it’s great that Mo Lawal is fighting here, Mark Kerr as an opponent? 2 wins and 6 losses in the last three years? While there is no shame in lossing to Jeff Monson, I think it would be fair to say that some of his opponents during this period are not well know fighters in thier prime. My knock on M-1 is that Mo Lawal should be signing with a bigger organisation, and fighting better opponents.

    For the sport of MMA, should we be matching genuine up and coming fighters against fighters that can be viewed as… I don’t want to say washed up, but that is what I keep thinking. I just don’t see that as the best way to grow the sport.

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  • Sam Caplan says:

    I can definitely understand your disappointment in Kerr. As a company, M-1 was really excited to be working with Don. It really hurt for him to drop off. In the end, Mo was a trooper but Don apparently had his heart set on LA (I’ve never spoken to him directly on it, but that’s what we were told). As a company, M-1 was excited about LA and the media opportunities and equally disappointed. But they didn’t want to cancel. There was a LONG and THOROUGH search for a replacement and in the end, Kerr was the candidate that worked for all parties.

    People can knock Mo’s competition level, but fighting Travis Wiuff in your debut is pretty ambitious. I mean, the kid has only had four fights. As much as I know he’s willing to step in with anyone, Ryan Parsons is a good manager and wants Mo to develop his overall skills gradually. He’ll be facing top ten contenders in no time flat.

    I would like to see people be open minded about Mark. He actually was already in training and reports are that he’s in the best shape he’s been in in quite some time. And if Mo vs. Kerr doesn’t excite you, M-1 and HDNet are giving you a Mousasi vs. Fedor exhibition, Amoussou vs. Thompson, and Zayats vs. Linhares all for FREE. “Breakthrough” is going to have a little something for everyone.

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  • MMAMoneyLine says:

    Good to hear from you. I’ve destroyed both ACLs…wish your wife the best for me! She’ll come back stronger. Good luck with everything, Sam.

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