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From The Hip: Rampage, Cung Le, the Lee Murray movie and Phillipe Nover’s unexpected good fortune

Lee Murray

Lee Murray

Is Rampage retiring just a publicity stunt for him to “un-retire” and fight Rashad in 2010 as planned? That was one of the first things that ran through my mind when I first read his now infamous blog yesterday.

Now, after further contemplating my initial reaction to the situation I have come to the conclusion that this is anything but a publicity stunt.

First of all, that’s never been the promotion’s style of doing things. You’d have to be a real head-case conspiracy theorist to believe the that the UFC brass had anything to do with Quinton “Rampaging” all over the streets of Orange County in July of 2008.

No, that was all Quinton Jackson. Not some chain wearing alter-ego. His notorious California cruise that splashed across headlines just over a year ago was, as the UFC’s slogan goes, as real as it gets.

I’m absolutely not bringing this up to sling mud at Rampage whatsoever; Just trying to bring to light the fact that Rampage is a big boy. He makes his own decisions and walks his own path. Has for as long as I can remember. When he made this decision, he absolutely meant it.

Now, whether he stays away from the sport for good or not remains to be seen. I find the prospect extremely unlikely. I just really hope we don’t see an old and unfit Rampage come back five years from now and take a final nail in the coffin, Larry Holmes vs. Muhammad Ali beatdown that he can’t come back from.

I personally hope to see Quinton fight one or two last superfights before the end of 2010. If he waits much longer than that to make a come back he could easily lose that edge that is so important in this day and age of the constantly evolving world of mixed martial arts.

Major respect to Dana White and Joe Silva for the the way they decided to handle the Phillipe Nover situation. Anyone familiar with the lives of the majority of these fighters know that they’re not exactly getting rich doing this when they first get their jump in the UFC. You HAVE to fight at least two or three times a year to make any kind of living.

So not only is Phillipe freaking out about the fact that he may not be able to fight again in the UFC, or ever for that matter, and the fact that he’s not getting paid, and an angel appears on his shoulder in the form of the Octagon brass.

Below is Nover’s own account of the events that unfolded following his removal from his anticipated match-up with Sam Stout due to suffering a seizure just prior to the fight. You can read the blog in it’s entirety right here.

In this blog I’d like to thank a lot of people. Dana White and Joe Silva are at the top of my list for being so generous and providing me with the show money and win money. They didn’t need to provide me with a single penny.. When I found this out I literally broke down in tears of joy. Every up and coming full time professional fighter knows that each check counts! When I approach Dana to thank him his exact words were “We only care about your health. Get better and so we can get you back in that cage!” When I approach Joe to thank him later that evening. He said “Don’t you worry Phillipe. We take care of our guys. It wasn’t your fault.” My hat goes off to the UFC. Thanks for taking care of me.

Obviously controversy sells. It’s always been that way, but often too little is made of many of the charitable and compassionate acts on the UFC’s part. This is just one example.

I sincerely hope everything works out for Phillipe. God knows he has a fighters spirit, but that same god should also know if this is the direction the talented Filipino athlete/nurse should be taking with his life. Time will tell.

I was going to write a little something on Huerta recently coming out of “retirement”, but a good friend and colleague of mine beat me to it. I agree on all points in Mr. Andrest’s summary of the situation. Some guys just need a break to help them realize what they fell in love with about fighting to begin with. I feel confident that’s all Rampage will need as well.

If any of you guys haven’t had the opportunity to watch the lightweight throwdown during UFC  103 between Jeremy Stephens and Justin Buchholz, get the opportunity. You can check it out at

I never took much notice of Buchholz in the past. Outside of his rear-naked choke over Corey Hill during UFC 86, the twenty-six year old from Fairbanks, Alaska had suffered prior submission defeats at the hands of Terry Etim and Matt Wiman.

However, even in a losing performance Justin really impressed me at UFC 103. When you watch the fight you’ll see Buchholz throw a right high kick that Stephens blocks, then follows up immediately with a straight right hand, staggering Stephens in the early moments of round one. The timing and skill level of that specific technique, albeit one technique, was enough for me to want to see Justin given one more chance in the Octagon.

From beginning to end Buchholz brought it in what ended up being a toe to toe war before Justin ended up on the receiving end of one of the gnarliest cuts ever, of all time, bringing a halt to the contest, but hopefully not to the 1-3 UFC career of the former ICON Sport lightweight champion.

Much like my previous assessment of Quinton Jackson’s recent retirement announcement, I had to question Rampage’s thought process when making his team selection for TUF 10. When he picked Kimbo first off I thought something had to be wrong with the water. Then he proceeded to pick Wes Sims as one of his top picks and went on to comment that he had the “bigger” team. The bigger team? Really? Size may spell success in your average night club brawl, but this is the UFC. I thought this outdated process of thought died after Royce Gracie won his third UFC tournament back in 1994.

It wasn’t until later during the show when he acted as if he had no clue who Roy Nelson was. “Big Country” is hands down the most experienced fighter on the show, and one would truly have to be living under a rock in the mixed martial arts community have not noticed the ever-noticeable pot-bellied heavyweight.

So maybe Rampage really is that clueless. He may very well have thought that Kimbo Slice was the best fighter in the house based on his Youtube beatdowns. If he did, it tells me all I need know about Jackson. If the first episode of TUF was nothing more than an early A-Team audition gone wrong, I’m not impressed.

Anyone familiar with some of my past work know that, as a longtime Cung Le fan, I have also been one of his biggest critics when it came to what seemed like his unwillingness to defend his Strikeforce middleweight championship.

After speaking with Cung recently at great length I’ll be the first to admit that I may have rushed to judgement in his case. There’s always two sides to a story and Le’s perspective on things helped to open my eyes to the reality of the situation.

Nevermind the fact that he went into the fight with Frank Shamrock fresh out of elbow surgery and fought a fight he had no business fighting. But taking into account the fact that Cung had been forced to readdress the long rehabilitation process following the bout with Shamrock made his move to show business seem more sensible than ever before.

The bottom line is that Cung Le has to make the right decisions for the future of his family and himself. I don’t think that there’s a man living that can’t relate to that.

Darren Aronofsky, director of the critically acclaimed films “The Wrestler” and “The Fountain”, will be directing the so very necessary biopic of the Securitas depot robbery. Of course this was the heist that took place in 2006. The largest robbery in UK history. It was believed to be masterminded by none other than UFC and Cage Rage veteran Lee Murray.

The fighter’s life reads like a Guy Ritchie movie script, and although this drama appears to be focusing on the crime itself, a film focusing solely on the life of Murray is sure to follow in the coming months and years.

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