Posts Tagged ‘looks’


According to those mixed martial arts (MMA) experts in the know, both of these lovely ladies should have no problem competing at 135 pounds.

Ahem, Skeletor … if you would please.

That might come as a surprise when you look at the photo above, which has former Strikeforce featherweight champion Cristiane Justino staring down former Strikeforce bantamweight queenpin Miesha Tate. The former is hoping to fight for UFC in 2016, while the latter has done so since 2013.

Until then, the closest they’ll get to throwing down is the upcoming “Fight Valley” movie (details), also starring UFC women’s bantamweight No. 1 contender Holly Holm, who will move on to fight Ronda Rousey at UFC 193 in November (more on that fight here).

And if “The Preacher’s Daughter” should fall, expect renewed cries for “Cyborg” to get the next crack at the 135-pound crown, even if she has to cut off a leg to make weight.

Sorry, “Cupcake.”

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The first time he stepped into a ring, Melvin Guillard was just 13 years old. That’s not unusual on the surface. Plenty of young men get their starts in the fistic arts well before that, competing in martial arts or boxing tournaments, with comical amounts of padding preventing, in theory at least, serious injury. 

The difference for Guillard, who fights journeyman Brandon Girtz Friday on Spike TV at Bellator 141, was the venue, a bar, and the opponent, a grown man.  

“The gym I trained at was called Main Event. The gym was upstairs and the bar was downstairs. I started going at the age of 13,” Guillard told Bleacher Report. “My dad went to all my fights with me, mostly at bars in New Orleans. … S–t, I loved it. That’s how I came up with my nickname ‘the Young Assassin.’ I was young and I was just assassinating all these grown men. Life was good. It wasn’t as complicated.”

Dozens of fights followed. More than 150 by Guillard’s count, though almost none of them can be documented. By 16 he was a professional or at least what passed for one in Louisiana before mixed martial arts began its long journey toward respectability. 

“I had 40-something fights and was undefeated as an amateur,” Guillard recalled. “My coach was the owner of the place and told me, ‘Hey, a guy pulled out, you want to take a fight tonight?’ It was a Friday night and I was upstairs in the gym just working out. I went downstairs in my workout clothes—I was already sweating. I went down to the bar, got in the ring and knocked the guy out in the first round.

“I seen afterwards the guy went upstairs and got paid like $1,300. And I said, ‘How the hell did he get $1,300 and I only got $200? And I just knocked him out?’ That’s all I was making under the table. The owner said, “He’s a pro, you’re not.’ I said, ‘What do I need to do to be one?’ He said, ‘You’re a minor, you’ll need a parent to sign.’ I said, ‘Cool, my dad’s downstairs at the bar.’ Grabbed my dad, me and my dad walked back upstairs. I signed on the first line, my dad signed right up underneath. And that’s how I became a pro fighter.”

On the path to UFC greatness, roadblocks emerged—fame, cocaine and ego. Now 32, the Young Assassin has his head on straight, is back in the gym and is ready to make his Bellator debut. Is this a redemption song? Or a sad case of too little, too late? 


The Rise

One word dogged Guillard from that day forward—potential. He had it with some to spare. A champion wrestler in high school, Guillard was also blessed with fast, powerful hands. It was enough, it seemed, to guarantee a long future in the growing sport.

“He’s a freak of nature,” Guillard’s teammate “King” Mo Lawal said. “A great athlete. Great reflexes. Great intuition. Great body awareness. He’s a natural fighter. He has the tools for it.” 

Potential is great. Trying to live up to isn’t always great, even when things come so easy. Maybe especially when things come so easy. 

They’ve got all these guys in the f–king UFC and Bellator just walking in from college or whatever job they do, cutting grass or building houses, whatever the f–k they do for a real living. This has been my only job, my real living. I am a fighter,” Guillard said. “I don’t take nothing from these guys. They’re in the gym busting their asses, working hard to get to that level.

“Me? I’m born with this s–t. … I can wake up and do everything they can do. I’m gifted like that.”

In a sport mostly made up of former amateur wrestlers, who are proud of the grind Guillard dismisses out of hand, and traditional martial artists, who are looking for camaraderie to go with their combat, that’s an attitude that doesn’t always sit well.

“Melvin can be a nice guy,” one former trainer told Bleacher Report. “He’s also a headache.”

Guillard, as a result, has run into trouble at every stop, eventually alienating teammates and coaches alike. He tested positive for cocaine after a 2007 fight and brawled with fellow fighter Rich Clementi outside the cage. Warning signs of what was to come were everywhere.


The Downfall

Guillard’s fall from grace started at the Green Valley Ranch in Las Vegas, almost before his career had truly gotten started. A clandestine pool party, one he attended on the lam from filming The Ultimate Fighter, turned into a night of debauchery. It was the first time he used drugs and the first time a drop of alcohol touched his lips. 

It wouldn’t be the last.

“It was in a hotel suite,” Guillard said. “I was hanging out with a couple of football players. We had snuck out to a pool party and I was having fun, flirting with all the girls.

“They didn’t know who we were but they said, ‘You’re a cool-ass little dude, you should come hang out with us.’ Went back to their suite. There was drugs and b—hes everywhere. They said, ‘It’s yours. Anything you want. Have fun.’ That was how it all started for me. That first time, it was so much fun.”   

Drugs and alcohol have shortened many athletic careers. But success came so easily for Guillard that he almost made it work.

“Can I really be great at fighting and do this at the same time? I started telling myself, ‘Yeah, I can work it into my schedule. I can have fun and party with b—hes and focus on my fight career.’ And for a long time I did,” Guillard said. “But then I wasn’t training as much and started getting lazy. And I realized ‘this s–t ain’t working now. It ain’t as fun as it used to be.’ And that’s when I made the conscious decision to change my life around.” 

The UFC never gave up on its promising prospect. His potential was just too tantalizing, his ceiling incalculably high.

“I’ve known Melvin for a long time, since The Ultimate Fighter, and I always thought he was a very talented guy and just never lived up to his potential,” UFC President Dana White told MMA Junkie. “He was out there not doing all the right things to become the great fighter that he had the potential to be.”

An up-and-down career peaked in 2011 with Guillard seemingly poised to earn a shot at UFC gold after running off  five straight wins under the tutelage of new coach Greg Jackson. Things fell apart just as quickly.

“Back then, five years ago, I was an adolescent childish-ass kid who made good money and didn’t take s–t from anyone because I could whoop everybody’s ass,” Guillard said. “That’s who I was five years ago. If I was champion then I would have ruined my life. I’d probably be sitting in jail like War Machine for doing something f–king stupid.

“I definitely would have ruined my career. Because, at that time, I was partying really hard and I would have really thought I was untouchable. I would have really had a f–king attitude. I really wouldn’t have wanted to put up with people and people would have really started hating me.” 

Even without that level of success, Guillard struggled to maintain professional relationships. Disputes at the gym and extracurricular fights created turmoil. Consecutive losses, to Joe Lauzon and Jim Miller, exacerbated it, so Guillard departed for Florida and a new home with former teammate Rashad Evans.

Once there, away from the strict standards of Jackson, whose carefully structured organization was built to corral impulsive talents, Guillard stumbled. He went just 2-3-1 over the next two years, eventually departing his new team at the Blackzilians for a return to Jackson, only to be barred from the facility by popular vote

“People have this idea that ‘Melvin is hard to work with. Melvin is this. Melvin is that.’ Nah,” he said. “I come from a family where I was raised to speak my mind. That’s who I am. I wear my feelings on my sleeves. I say what I mean and I mean what I say. A lot of places people don’t like it when you’re voicing an opinion. And I’m a strong, opinionated person. I get along with almost anybody. I’m a nice guy. I just don’t take s–t from people. 

“There are times I do think the best way is my way. I do things that work with my style of fighting. I already know how to fight. I’m not in the gym trying to learn how to fight all over again. I’ve been doing this longer than past teammates, current teammates, future teammates. I was doing this back when it was crazy—when there were no rules. I’ve been doing this a long time.”

If you’re looking for repentance, you’ve come to the wrong place. Guillard is is not that kind of easy comeback story. Now training at American Top Team alongside many of the sport’s top fighters, he is still doing things his way. He’s just more careful to keep the line between his work and personal lives more firmly drawn.

“I think his experience at (Jackson’s) and the Blackzilians taught him hey man, the bulls–t has to stop,” Lawal said. “‘I got to get my act together and, you know what? These people are here to help me.’ Everybody is cool with him. The coaches too. He doesn’t talk back. Maturity kicked in. He realized he was just hurting himself.” 

“People are quick to judge me,” Guillard said. “Even teammates and s–t. That’s a business. It’s a job. You don’t go to work and like everybody you work with. A gym is no different. That’s our office. I’m not there to make friends with everybody.

“I’m there to do my job and train and make my money. I know some things I do or say don’t sit right with people. But I’m only being honest. That’s the person that I am. My family raised me to be a man. They raised me to stand on my own two feet.” 

Reinventing himself, as a fighter with potential instead of a cautionary tale, hasn’t been easy. Cut by the UFC after a lethargic fight with former teammate Michael Johnson, Guillard had a disastrous and acrimonious run in World Series of Fighting that did little to repair his battered reputation. 

“He got a little jaded for a little bit. But now he’s with Bellator and rejuvenated,” Lawal said. “…I used to tease him ‘Melvin, when was the last time you trained for a month straight?’ He could never answer. I could tell you when. Three or four years ago. 

“Last year I saw Melvin at the gym, and this is generous, a total of seven times. Even when he was fighting for the belt, I saw him the week before the fight. He might have hit mitts once or twice, then went out to fight. Literally. He’d break a little sweat and he’d be gone. We wouldn’t see him until the week of the next fight.”


The Return 

After missing weight for his last two fights and being released from his second promotion in just a year, Guillard, finally, has his head together, ready and willing to put in the work needed to be great. 

“I think Melvin’s realized ‘it’s about my career.’ It’s about being champion and making money,'” Lawal said. “The attention? Been there and done that. It took him some time to phase out of that. That’s just being young. Now he’s a little older and a little wiser. 

“I started seeing him at the gym. I said, ‘Damn, three days in a row, Melvin? Give me a high-five, dog. Damn Melvin, a week? What the hell is going on here? The f–k? Two weeks? A month? Hell naw, this ain’t the real Melvin.

“He’s in the gym pretty much every day. Hitting the mitts. Wrestling. Sparring. He’s always doing something. It’s good to see it. This is a more serious, better conditioned, more motivated, more focused Melvin. That Melvin is going to be hard to beat. Anybody. Any weight class. Any organization. Any planet.”

Guillard realizes, after copious chances come and gone, that it’s time to buckle down and prove what he’s known all along—that he’s one of the best in the world. Still just 32 years old, he isn’t convinced that he’s a fighter on the downward arc of his career.

“Right now it’s my time to be champion. So, all those people saying ‘you’re dwindling all your talent away’ no I’m not. I’ve been saving all that s–t for when I mature,” Guillard said. “I have the opportunity to do a lot of great things. And to become a Bellator champion. I want to become a world champion. That’s the only thing on my resume that’s not there yet. 

“I could have been a champion 10 years ago. I could have whipped anybody in the UFC 10 years ago. I could still whip anybody right now. When I’m in shape, nobody can touch me. When my mind is focused on the task ahead? Nobody can touch me. And everybody at 155 and 170 knows that. Guys aren’t eager to line up and fight me.” 

The road to redemption goes through Girtz, a Division II wrestling All-American who’s racked up a 4-2 record in Bellator. From there, Guillard is already looking forward to his next fight, hopefully October 23, and then the one after that. In Bellator, he explains, he’ll call the shots on when he fights and who. His destiny, once again, is back in his own hands, and he’s ready to make the most of it.

“Things are still a little rough right now,” Guillard admitted. “I haven’t fought since last November. Financially things have been a bit of a struggle. But that’s what makes me the strong person that I am. When I get in this cage, that’s why I’m going to knock this guy out.

“I know what’s on the line. I know what paycheck I’m going to take home once I knock him out. I know what I won’t take home if I don’t get the job done. I’m a prize fighter. I want to be rich. I want to make a lot of money in this sport. And right now this dude is standing in my way.”


Jonathan Snowden covers combat sports for Bleacher Report.

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Raphael Butler is a man looking for consistency in Bellator’s Heavyweight division, but the debut of “The Dream Killer” Lorenzo Hood won’t make that quest easy.

Former professional boxer Raphael Butler came into Bellator MMA back in 2013 with 28 knockouts in 35 wins in the squared circle, as well as an undefeated (5-0) record inside the mixed martial arts (MMA) cage. He seemed poised to be a world killer in the Heavyweight division.

However, a promising start went awry at Bellator 119 when he fought journeymen Nick Rossborough to a draw, then found himself choked out by Javy Ayala in the first round at Bellator 125.

It’s an old cliche in MMA that you learn more from a loss than a win, but the Ayala fight was the first official loss on Butler’s record in mMMAs, which gave him a chance to regroup and improve on his submission defense.

Butler spoke with about the evolving skill set that he showcased against Josh Diekmann at Bellator 134 and about the difficult challenge ahead poised by “The Dream Killer” Lorenzo Hood, who he collides with this Friday night (Aug. 28, 2015) at Bellator 141 inside Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, Florida.

“Training is going real good man. I’m firing on all cylinders, I’m pushing myself in workouts, and I’m just out here busting my buns for this fight.”

Each man comes in 6’3,” just over 260 pounds, and with nine wins as professionals. To Butler’s way of thinking this makes the training and strategy he picked up at Alliance MMA a key advantage.

“When those factors cancel each other out it’s all about who’s gonna be more technical. We’re both really big really athletic guys, we both have a 100 percent finishing record in our fights, so I think this fight is gonna come down to who has the better game plan and who can apply the better game plan.”

With this being being Butler’s seventh fight for the promotion and Hood’s first, it’s seemingly a more crucial fight for Hood to do well and prove that he belongs.

“I kinda hope that’s the way he’s taking the fight, because if he’s taking the fight that way, he’s going to be more open for mistakes if he’s gonna try to apply too much (pressure) at a place where he shouldn’t. I guarantee if he does that I will capitalize on it.”

For a man known for his hand speed and power, the guillotine choke of Diekmann last time out was something of a surprise … even to Butler himself.

“Truth be told I didn’t even work on that submission during camp. I just think I’m finally getting to a point where I’m starting to get slightly comfortable with this MMA thing. I’m starting to see things and capitalize on stuff that I wouldn’t before I started training at Alliance. For me to pull off something that I didn’t even train in camp just goes to show off my progression in the sport.”

Butler and Hood are not the only heavyweights on the main card for Bellator 141, and Butler is curious to see how Justin Wren fares after a five-year layoff, facing an opponent in Josh Burns he once did himself.

“When I first heard that Bellator had signed the guy I was like ‘Why does that name sound familiar?’ Then I remembered where I heard it from — and that dude’s a banger man! I’m actually pretty excited to see him myself, just to see how his mindset is from him being gone doing what he was doing for the last five to six years out there (in the Congo). I fought Josh Burns and I know what he has to offer but it’s interesting to see Wren and what he has now.”

A pair of intriguing Heavyweight fights to be sure on this Friday night, but we couldn’t let Butler go without hearing a funny story about how he became “The Silencer.”

“My old boxing manager Steve Munisteri, he was really big into boxing nicknames and I never wanted one, but he kept pressing the issue. He calls me one random day and tells me ‘Well hey Raphael my girlfriend was thinking about you while she was in the shower – she came up with a couple of nicknames.’ My first reaction was ‘Why was she thinking about me in the shower?’ {*laughter*} And so she came up with ‘The Bomber’ or ‘The Silencer.’ I took ‘The Silencer’ because ‘The Bomber’ just seemed kind of cheap.”

Whether he hits hard with the hands or finds necks with the choke, “The Silencer” lives to put opponents to sleep.

Check out the complete audio of our interview with Butler below and complete Bellator 141 coverage is right here at


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Feminists, meet your new queen

UFC superstar Ronda Rousey wants to monetize a catchphrase she created during an episode of “UFC Embedded” and has filed a trademark to use it exclusively.

According to ESPN, earlier this month Rousey filed for a trademark of the phrase “do nothing bitch” along with the shortened “DNB” for her company, Rowdy Ronda Inc.

Rousey has already trademarked her name along with other words including “Armbarnation” for use on apparel and sportswear.

Her DNB comments quickly went viral just prior to her destruction of Bethe Correia at UFC 190:

“Being put in a position of being a role model, I don’t think I’m infallible enough for that. I have this one term for the kind of woman that my mother raised me to not be. I call it a ‘do nothing bitch.’ The kind of chick that just tries to be pretty and get taken care of by somebody else. That’s why I think it’s hilarious when people say my body looks masculine. I’m like, ‘listen, just because my body was developed for a purpose other than fucking millionaires, doesn’t mean it’s masculine.’ I think it’s femininely badass as fuck because there isn’t a single muscle in my body that isn’t for a purpose. Because I’m not a do-nothing bitch.”

It didn’t take long for the catchphrase to become branded on t-shirts, endorsed fully by the champion on Twitter:

The catchphrase seems to have blended quite nicely in the middle of the counter-culture war against political correctness while continuing in the vein of traditional feminism. However, not everybody is happy with the shtick.

That includes strawweight contender Rose Namajunas, who said recently that it’s wrong to start judging people and that doing nothing doesn’t necessarily make you a bitch.

“To this whole dnb craze, I don’t care if you do something or do nothing, just don’t be a bitch,” Namajunas said on Instagram. “Let’s be nice and not judge other lifestyles. Or don’t and just be an unhappy person over there lol.”

Regardless of the thoughts of some people, that hasn’t stopped “DNB” from becoming an overnight success. To date, Rousey’s shirt has sold over 50,000 units in less than two weeks time.

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LowKick MMA
Joe Rogan looks at 'worst-case scenarios' for UFC-Reebok deal
Bloody Elbow
Since the UFC's Reebok uniform deal went into effect, the UFC's most notable voice in the booth has been somewhat firm if understated in his rhetoric about the new fighter sponsorship model. On a recent episode of the Joe Rogan Experience (about 54 …
Joe Rogan: UFC will probably add more weight classes, starting with 195
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