Sarah Spain Learns Some MMA from UFC Champ Chris Weidman

October 1, 2013 by  

Sarah Spain and Chris Weidman

ESPN Chicago’s Sarah Spain learns the Thai Plum and a guillotine choke from UFC middleweight champ Chris Weidman in this video for ESPN W.

You can hear Sarah doing SportsCenter updates during the Carmen & Jurko show, weekdays on ESPN 1000.

Mike Russow: UFC Fighter, Chicago Cop

January 25, 2012 by  

Mike Russow UFC

It will be a battle of two former PRIDE fighters when Chicago’s Mike Russow takes on Norway’s Jon Olav Einemo Saturday night at the United Center for the UFC on FOX event.

Russow is 14-1 as a pro fighter, suffering his only loss back in 2007 from a Sergei Kharitonov armbar at PRIDE 33. He has won all three of his UFC fights, including one of the all-time comebacks in UFC history when he knocked out Todd Duffee at UFC 114.

Chicago fight fans remember Russow crushing opponents in local promotions like Adrenaline, XFO and the Combat-Do Fighting Challenge. He’s also well-known around the area for his work as a Chicago police officer. ESPN did a nice feature on Russow, also interviewing Comprido, his Jiu-Jitsu coach.

“This is the biggest fight of my career, without a doubt,” Russow told ESPN. “I’m pumped I finally get to do it in front of my hometown on national television. I’m in the best shape of my life, and I’m ready.”

The matchup with Einemo definitely favors Russow. Russow has power in his hands, an excellent chin and a much better ground game than Einemo. All signs point to Russow getting his hand raised on Saturday night, something that is sure to make the United Center roar.

You can watch Russow’s fight, as well as the rest of the preliminary bouts on Fuel TV.

MMA Fighters and the ESPY Awards

July 10, 2011 by  

Anthony Pettis

by Tim Stroud

The 2011 ESPYS, hosted by Seth Meyers, will air live on ESPN this Wednesday, July 13th at 8pm CT. The ESPYS are always fun to watch and this year should be no different. It’s always great to see which player, team, coach or moment will win each award, but it’s even better that mixed martial artists are nominated.

This year, five different mixed martial artists are nominated for three different awards. Anthony Pettis was placed in a bracket of 16 plays to determine the award for Best Play. Pettis is listed as the 11th seed against the 6th seeded Oklahoma State football team. Pettis’ “Showtime Kick” against Ben Henderson was one of the best moves ever pulled off in MMA. However, the fans voted for Oklahoma State for its “Tag Team Interception”. Yes, the interception was great, but Pettis deserved to move on to the Elite Eight.

Fabricio Werdum vs. Fedor Emelianenko is nominated for the Best Upset award. I’m sure the Fedor will be there with a big smile on his face. Werdum & Fedor are up against the VCU run in the NCAA Tournament, Blame beating Zenyatta at the Breeders’ Cup and the Seahawks win over the Saints in the NFL Playoffs. As big of an upset that Werdum had over Fedor, I don’t see them winning this award. I feel that VCU or the Seahawks are the favorites.

Finally, we have the Best Fighter award. If there is any category that fits MMA, this is the one. The UFC have two fighters, Jon Jones and Georges St. Pierre, up for this award, so one or both will go home unhappy. Jones and GSP have some tough competition with Bernard Hopkins, Sergio Martinez and Manny Pacquiao. I hope that MMA fans took to their computers and voted for Jones or GSP, but I think Pacquiao will be the victor.

It will be upsetting if none of these great fighters go home a winner on Wednesday, but it’s great that MMA guys are involved in such a high-profile, mainstream event. MMA is growing each year and ESPN and other networks are certainly taking notice.

Affliction Retrospect Tee


April 1, 2011 by  

Brock Lesnar and Colin CowherdBrock Lesnar may be 0-1 in the new season of “The Ultimate Fighter”, but he totally wins here in this prank of ESPN’s Colin Cowherd. Cowherd gets no help from his co-host, who is in on the gag. Wardrobe — Mr. Cowherd is going to need a change of pants!

Great job by the former champ. He pulls it off brilliantly.


January 3, 2011 by  

ESPN did this feature on UFC fighter and Chicago Police officer Mike Russow before his UFC 114 fight against Todd Duffee. Russow will be fighting Ultimate Fighter contestant Jon Madsen at Ultimate Fight Night 24.


July 22, 2010 by  

A special one hour broadcast of the 2010 US OPEN ISKA World Martial Arts Championships will be aired on ESPN2 this Friday night, July 23rd at 8pm central time.

The event, held on July 9th-10th at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando, Florida drew more than 2,500 competitors from 37 countries.

Participants competed in nearly 600 divisions contesting more than 20 disciplines of martial arts competition.

The ESPN2 broadcast will feature some of the world’s elite martial arts performers vying for ISKA World Titles in Extreme Weapons and Forms, Power, Speed and Creative Breaking, Demonstration Team, Synchronized Forms, and Self Defense competition. The spectacular Night of Champions show, from which much of the material for the broadcast was drawn, also included submission grappling, continuous fighting, sport jujitsu, and a special team fighting event.

Tune in this Friday night to ESPN2 for a dynamic presentation of unprecedented talent by these extraordinary martial arts athletes!


May 13, 2009 by  

Do you think Shaq could take Chuck Liddell?


April 23, 2009 by  


Bellator Fighting Championships is making its way to Chicago. They are putting on an event at the Aragon Ballroom on May 15th. Chicagoans know that the nickname for the Aragon is “The Brawlroom”, so perhaps it’s the perfect place to stage an MMA event.

We will have interviews with fighters Eddie Alvarez and Jorge Masvidal within the next day or so here at Chicago’s MMA, as well as more details and the full card.

Bellator Fighting Championships’ is in their premiere season. They are featuring 12 two-hour events broadcast Saturday nights on ESPN Deportes. The English-language broadcast is available on their website each Wednesday. The events feature both tournament and non-tournament bouts. There are four simultaneous tournaments taking place in season one over a three month period: one in each of the Featherweight (145 lb.), Lightweight (155 lb.), Welterweight (170 lb.) and Middleweight (185 lb.) divisions. Check out their fighter roster.

*Chicago’s MMA also learned local MTC welterweights Ryan Williams and Kevin Knabjian both will participate on the card.  Williams faces Anthony Lapsley, while Knabjian will take on Jacob Volkman.*


April 14, 2009 by  

espn-mma-live-2I just read 2 columns about ESPN’s MMA Live. The first, over at MMA Junkie, seems to think the show is clicking. The other, over at Bloody Elbow, says it’s overrated.

And me? I’m in the middle. Part of me is thankful that I can watch an MMA news show and watch it whenever I please on my laptop. That being said, I do not watch it every week. After reading the 2 articles I got to thinking if I would be a weekly viewer if it was on TV. The answer is yes. I would definitely set a series recording for it, and navigating back and forth or through a show is much easier on a DVR. And while the production values are excellent, web video simply can’t compare to TV, especially HD.

I think Anik is fantastic in his role and he gets the most out of whatever talent is beside him on any given show. Bloody Elbow thinks that the analysis is woeful, save for Florian and the occasional piece with Mir. I agree to an extent — the 2-3 word answers after an Anik question are awkward and sore-thumby — but I still get something out of the show and its analysis.

Bloody Elbow also thinks part of the problem is money and location. “The problem is that the number of folks capable of offering entertaining and meaningful on air analysis in MMA can be counted on one hand, so by recruiting regionally ESPN unfortunately narrows the scope of an already shallow talent pool.”

I would think that if they did talkbacks with analysts in other cities it would work out well. What they would have to pay other people, as well as other production costs and satellite time fees, etc. is probably negligible. Especially considering the big numbers MMA Live is pulling. Or perhaps they are just content with McNeil, Florian and the like.

So would a talkback like the recent one with Loretta Hunt and more like them add to the content and quality of the show? A bit. It probably wouldn’t alter my viewing habits. I suspect the same of other viewers.

I found this note about Ken-Flo especially funny from the MMA Junkie article:

Poise, however, wasn’t one of Florian’s stronger assets in those frantic moments when a studio director’s countdown is down to a single hand. Butterflies may be swarming when the referee asks him if he’s ready for battle. Bats were seething seconds before the red light went on and Florian received the cue he’s on the air – not wearing gloves, trunks and Vaseline, but in jacket, tie and makeup.

I hope he knows it’s not really live. And if he screws up they can pretty easily cut and do it over. I’m kidding of course, but it’s interesting to hear how nervous it makes Florian.

I don’t think MMA Live is overrated. I also don’t think it’s the greatest thing ever in the history of MMA coverage. But I like it and think it’s well done. It serves its purpose. I think I’ll go watch it right now…