UFC 118 Pre Fight Thoughts...Predictions and a Monsoon/Heenan Story from the Old, Boston Garden

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Whenever I think of Boston, I always think of the time that I shared a tiny dressing room that had no air conditioning with Gorilla Monsoon, Bobby Heenan and a couple of referees as we all used the closet-like space to prepare for our respective duties before a WWE TV event. 

It was brutally hot that day in the Northeast and as many sports fans remember the Boston Garden wasn't air conditioned. The locker room, too small for the inhabitants, was stifling hot. Gorilla was large and miserable due to the heat and the fact that he couldn't find his cuff links for his tuxedo shirt not to mention that he was perspiring profusely. Of course , Heenan did not make matters any better. Bobby sat down beside me, in obvious ear shot of Gorilla, and commenced to telling me that Bobby thought he was going to faint due to the heat. He wanted to know that if he did faint due to heat exhaustion or whatever heat related ailment that he was professing to have if I would revive him by giving him mouth to mouth resuscitation. 

Before I could answer, 'the Big Ape,' as Heenan often called Monsoon, nailed Heenan righ in the head with one of Gorilla's giant sized shoes and then yelled to the 'Wease' to "SHUT UP AND GET OUT! NO ONE IS GIVING YOU MOUTH TO MOUTH IN THIS ROOM! YOU'RE ON YOUR OWN!"  This would have made for some great TV as the two WWE HOFer's had amazing, comedic chemistry even when 'the Big Ape' was angry. 

I really embrace those moments when they pop into my mind as I cherish the opportunities to have broadcast an event or two in the historic Boston Garden where Boston Celtics, radio announcer Johnny Most made broadcasting memories that will last a lifetime for many fans of the Celts. Johnny Most was an amazing storyteller who was a 'homer' and I say, why not?  

My pal Sean Grande has the distinction of being today's Jversion of ohnny Most as Sean is the radio voice of one of my all time favorite sports franchises, the Boston Celtics. 

However, I digress. 

For the first time ever, a well worn, often used, pro wrestling cliché, the UFC is emanating one of their Pay Per View broadcasts this Saturday night from Boston.

The Boston crowd should be electric. Any thing less will be disappointing to this viewer. I've broadcast dozens upon dozens of WWE events in Boston over the years and the fans there never disappoint. If the live crowd is hot, then it helps the PPV consumer better able to emotionally invest in the broadcast and isn't that the proverbial bottom line?

If the crowd is hot and the show is produced with the crowd's passion in mind it allows announcers Rogan and Goldberg to be able to lay out occasionally and let us sitting at home enjoy the select moments. No announcer, no matter great they might be, can replicate the enthusiasm of thousands of fans raising hell. Mic 'em and let us hear 'em.

On paper this PPV event looks to be a good one. 

BJ Penn will look to rebound from a shocking loss a few months ago along with the loss of Penn's title to Frankie Edgar in the Dubai Disaster for BJ. 

Will Penn be content to simply regain his title or does the Hawaiian have a more physically demanding agenda IE nothing but a submission or a knockout will do? 

BJ Penn is one of my favorite fighters, without question, so on this one I am not too unbiased. I want Penn to win and win definitively. 

However, something tells me that this one isn't a layup. Edgar is a tough, proud guy who wins the title and seemingly gets little respect for doing so. That mindset, if my assumption is accurate, could propel the champion to a successful, first title defense and once again shock the MMA world. 

Pride and perceived disrespect are powerful motivators. Of course so is losing one's title. Which emotion runs deeper? We'll find out Saturday night but the Penn-Edgar match could likely be much closer then the odds makers are predicting.

BTW...if Edgar does lose he will have to wait for his rematch as the Maynard-Florian winner would get the next shot at Penn. Now that's some cruel irony right there.  

James Toney weighed in Friday at 237 which means he will likely weigh in a croissant or two shy of 245, or more, come fight time. 

That could be a big problem. Or perhaps not. 

By that I mean that this fight shouldn't go past the first, 5 minute round. Randy Couture, unless he's caught by some out of body, frenzied flurry by Toney's trained fists, should be able to take Toney down quickly and with the little MMA training Toney has had one can expect Randy to submit the former boxing champ. 

Couture weighed in at 220, looked great, and one knows Randy is taking this fight seriously as a loss to JMMA newcomer James Toney by 'The Natural' would not be easy to live down for the proud, MMA legend. 

I think Toney will be lucky to get to round two. Couture wins quickly and decisively inside 5 minutes. 

If Toney does win, I'll ship him a case of each of all our sauces at no charge as I make this  somewhat gratuitous sales plug. 

Gray Maynard, who was an amateur teammate as WWE's Dolph Ziggler, could have the fight of the night against the talented Kenny Florian. The winner earns a title shot with the Penn-Edgar winner so the stakes are particularly high. Both men are smart, tough and enjoy acts of aggression. This one might have a touch of Slobber Knocker written on it when all is said and done. 

Damien Maia is a talented fighter who I enjoy watching battle and is favored to beat Mario Miranda Saturday night. However, insiders think that Maia is in for a much tougher fight than some expect. This sort of conjecture just makes for a more interesting night of combat. 

If you watch the PPV, I hope that you enjoy the presentation as will I. During the fight I will be Tweeting throughout so check those out @JRsBBQ. 

I've also updated the Q&A Section of our site as of Friday afternoon. Lots of pro wrestling and other questions.  

Thanks for stopping by as I'm preparing to catch Friday Night Smackdown on DVR. BTW Friday Night Smackdown will emanate live from OKC's Ford Center when it has it's premier on Syfy on Friday night October 1 which is the night before the Oklahoma vs. Texas college football showdown known as the Red River Rivalry in Big D and two days before the Hell in a Cell PPV in Dallas. 

Boomer Sooner!

J.R.           

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I remember the old WWF, at the time anyway that ran on USA.  it involved Vince, Gorilla, Mr. Perfect and The Brain.  The exchanges between the Brain and Gorilla would crack me up. The Brain is greatness.

Today is my 30th birthday JR. Can I get a shout out?

BJ made the mistake to not take Edgar to the ground last time. I guess his pride and the fact that he's labeled as the best striker in MMA, didn't allow him to do it.... I doubt that he'll be smarter this time around.

Also interesting to hear the BJ doesn't seem to be a fan of Brock Lesnar as he said that having a box legend like James Toney in MMA is not as bad as having a former WWE wrestler as their heavyweight champion.

@ Adam- Happy birthday. My guess would've been 12th.

Personally, I wish the UFC had cancelled the Toney fight when he weighed in at the ridiculous 237 lbs.  Did the guy train at all?  Or did he think running his mouth was the only training that he needed to do.  It seems to me that promoters should be setting an upper limit on weight in fights and, for the sake of the future well-being of the athletes, cancelling the dang things if a fighter comes in above that upper limit.

This Toney/Couture fight is dangerous because, if Toney is truly as un-trained and unprepared as he looked at the weigh-in, he's liable to have a heart attack.  At lower weight classes, fights with well-trained fighters coming in well above the upper limit, as Chris Cyborg Santos did a couple of fights back, are dangerous to their opponent who are suddenly muliple weigh classes removed from their opponent.

Take care of the fighters - cancel the dang fights in these situations.  I'm not paying money to see fighters get killed either way.  Even if I were planning to buy this PPV, I'd change my mind in this situation.

I'm saddened to hear of another passing yesterday, "Tough" Tony Borne died at his home in Portland, OR of heart failure at age 84.  I'm sure most of the younger fans have no idea who he is but I guess that's okay, his heyday was a long time ago.  Tony Osborne was a tough guy, he earned his nickname and then some, working the territories from the 50s until the late 70s, mostly Texas and the Pacific Northwest (where he was 9 time heavyweight champion and 20 time tag champion).  Those he fought and worked with include a Who's Who of Wrestling Greatness, among them Blue Demon, Dory Funk Sr, Shag Thomas, Pat Patterson, Lonny Mayne, Mr. Fuji.... Though he was never World Champion he fought them regularly in the 60s: Pat O'Connor, Lou Thesz, Gene Kiniski, Verne Gagne.  He inspired and worked with many of the top talents of the 70s and 80s that came through the Northwest and after he hung up his trunks his son, "Maniac" Matt Borne, took up the calling and had a hell of a good career too.  My condolences to Matt and the rest of his family.  The word Legend gets passed around a bit too much these days, every retired wrestler being called that now, but Tony was the genuine article.  He will be missed.