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UFC 2001 - The ZUFFA Takeover

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UFC 2001: The ZUFFA Takeover


- This diary will be played with the Old School Rules mod, I have played up to January 2001, and the game will officially be documented from the first ever ZUFFA event and onward (UFC 30)


- This diary will also follow a semi-schedule of posting, in terms of the order of events (purely to keep myself on task and in order for the diary to maintain somewhat of a flow):


0. r/MMA (ongoing): Every in-game month I will be posting a r/MMA-style front page with all the major news for the month. Naturally, major news is subjective and there is no precedent for what is featured in these posts. What that goes to say is that not every fighter signing or firing will be featured, and most of the news that is included will be based on the major players in the game world.


1. Announcement: Every event will be announced at a "season opener" press conference, much like the UFC has been doing as of late. Naturally, given the lesser amount of top-tier talent to work with in the earlier years, these pressers will be somewhat brief at first but will hopefully develop into more interesting reads. Multiple events will be announced at each conference, beginning each event's story arc into the second stage.


2. Countdown: Something I've always toyed with doing was writing my own countdowns in order to create a real story and make the game less of just putting numbers on paper and following along, essentially trying to combine the story and character development of a TEW dynasty without necessarily having the full span of control over the events that occur. In order to flesh out the characters a bit, there will be small countdown style posts (much-like the television series) which will provide the context for the fight (fighter improvements, major events during the lead-up, etc...). Essentially, these will serve as a small recap for those who don't want to follow every post and just get the important parts.


3. Pre-Fight Press Conference: Any last minute details about the fights, contender announcements, and if anyone is interested in sending in questions to be asked, they will be answered in either this conference or the post-fight conference (depending on the question, of course)


4. The Fights: Self-Explanatory


5. Post-Fight Press Conference: Similar to the pre-fight conference, however, the news revealed in this conference is strictly based on my booking plans and such, giving the reader an inside look into the promotion and how things look moving forward.


So, without further ado, let's get it on!

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r/MMA top posts: January 2001


PRIDE FC sign SuperBrawl LHW Champion Shannon Ritch (6-0)


UFC announces grand opening press conference for January 19th


Heath Herring on PRIDE FC 18: "I will knock Gregory Smit out; I will get that loss back"


Evan Tanner injures rib, out of fight with Joe Pardo

-- UFC in the market for short notice replacement


Dan Theodore (8-2) in for Evan Tanner at UFC 30 against Joe Pardo


Josh Barnett on leaving Gracie Tampa: "A lot of big egos, you know, guys like John Lober who just talk too much"

-- Lober responds: "Good riddance, one less cheat in our camp"


Evan Tanner eyes drop to 185, will face Floyd Sword (3-1) at UFC 31


UFC President: "We've got tons of big match-ups planned but we're keeping those under wraps right now.

-- White adds that with the exception of the February card, which will fully be announced in the coming days to begin selling tickets, the main events for the remaining four cards will remain a secret to be announced at the grand opening press conference


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UFC Grand Opening Press Conference


Opening Comments:

-- The UFC has five events planned for 2001, the first taking place in February, the last taking place in November.

-- So far, the UFC has three title fights booked for the year, but will be looking to book at least two more.

-- Dana White: "Dan Henderson just won his middleweight belt and look, these guys aren't gonna' go through 9-month fight camps, we've still got plenty of time to find contenders. We're gonna' let him take some time to relax."

-- Dana White on the Lightweight Division: "We're gonna' start building it. We've just hired Jens Pulver, a very talented 155-pounder and the plan right now is to just build it up from there."


UFC 30 Related Announcements:

-- The main event for the February card will be Randy Couture (11-0) vs Jeff Monson (8-0) for Couture's Heavyweight championship

-- Mark Kerr (7-1) and Josh Barnett (6-1 [1 NC]) will face off in what is "basically" a number one contender's match

-- White announces that Dan Severn will face Bas Rutten as well, on a card that should be "full of knockouts"

-- Jeff Monson on his title shot: "People say that I've only won two fights in the UFC, look who I beat, Shamrock & Coleman, I know I'm a legitimate contender and at UFC 30, you will all see"

-- Randy Couture on Jeff Monson: "He's a contender like everyone else, I'm not looking past him, I'm trying to stay on top"

-- Josh Barnett on failed drug test: "It's a bit embarrassing, yeah, but at the end of the day what's in the past is in the past and it's not going to happen again, and from this point on, nobody will be able to use that excuse when I beat them; that was the last time"

-- Mark Kerr on number one contender spot: "I think this is the fight where I put the stamp on my claim. This is the one where everybody gets together and goes: that guy needs to fight for the belt now"


UFC 31 Related Announcements:

-- No main event yet, "hopefully" will be a middleweight title defense.

-- Pat Miletich (8-3) will face Frank Trigg (9-0) on the main card, in a match that is "definitely a can't miss match-up"

-- Mark Coleman (10-3) will look to stay around the title picture after his loss to Jeff Monson, as he will take on Tom Erikson (11-2) who will look to bounce back after his failed title shot.

-- Dana White: "We announced last week that [Evan] Tanner was gonna be on the card, Matheu Nicourt, who just fought for the welterweight belt is gonna' be on the card, yeah, it's gonna' be a good one"

-- Coleman on his place in the division: "You know I definitely think I've under-performed and been pretty disappointing since coming back to the UFC. I think this is the fight where I need to prove to, not just the fans and the boss and stuff, but to myself that I'm a real threat in this division and I think Tom Erikson is the kind of guy that really plays into my style. I think I'll be able to perform to my standards in this one"

-- Tom Erikson on Coleman: "He's a tough guy but I don't think he's any tougher than anyone else I've gone up against"

-- Pat Miletich on his spot in the division: "I still think I can get that belt. I look at these guys around me and I still know I can hang with them"

-- Frank Trigg on his main card spot: "Everyone's gonna' know me now, nobody's gonna' have an excuse. After this one I want that belt"


UFC 32 Related Announcements

-- Frank Shamrock (14-2) will face Vladimir Matyushenko (6-0) in the tentative main event, but White says "we are always trying to put together big fights, there's still time"

-- Former light-heavyweight champion Murilo Bustamante (10-4) will face Jeremy Horn (9-3) on the main card

-- Frank Shamrock: "I want my belt back and the quickest way back there is to fight guys like Matyushenko. I want to fight top competition"

-- Jeremy Horn: "I'm trying to put my name back into the discussion. Me and Murilo are in a similar situation, we both need to win here to stay in the conversation"


UFC 33 Related Announcements

-- Matt Hughes (6-0) will get his title shot against longtime welterweight champion Royce Gracie (15-0) in the main event

-- Renato Sobral (5-1) will face Matt Lindland (6-2) in the co-main event

-- Matt Hughes: "Royce hasn't faced someone that's gonna' put him on his ass like I will. He's not going to submit me, he's not going to knock me out. I'm gonna' take him down and beat him up"

-- Royce Gracie on his opponent's claims: "If he seriously thinks he's going to take me down and beat me there, he is in for a big surprise"

-- Renato Sobral: "I think the winner of this fight gets the next title shot, I think that's pretty much how it is going to go and that is how I am treating this fight"


UFC 34 Related Announcements

-- Vitor Belfort (8-0) will take on Tito Ortiz (9-1) for Ortiz' newly won light-heavyweight championship.

-- Vitor Belfort: "I will win this fight. I've been here for so long and I don't plan on losing"

-- Tito Ortiz: "If he thinks I'm just gonna' let this belt go, he's wrong. He's so, so wrong"

-- White: "This is our last card of the year, and believe me, we're gonna' stack it. We've just gotta' get some papers signed but believe me, it's gonna' be worth the wait.


UFC 30 Full Card

HW: Randy Couture (11-0) [c] vs Jeff Monson (8-0)

HW: Mark Kerr (7-1) vs Josh Barnett (6-1 [1 NC])

HW: Bas Rutten (13-2) vs Dan Severn (9-2)

LHW: Chuck Liddell (5-0) vs Jeff Massagli (7-6)

HW: Pete Williams (10-2) vs Paul Lazenby (10-1)

LHW: Joe Pardo (7-2) vs Dan Theodore (8-2)

HW: Harry Moskowitz (8-2) vs Semmy Schilt (13-1)

HW: Kevin Randleman (6-3) vs Chris Condo (6-1)

HW: Maurice Smith (11-6) vs Gary Myers (8-4)

MW: Melvin Manhoef (9-7) vs Trent Jenkins (12-9)
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r/MMA top posts: February 2001


Randy Couture: "I'm gonna' try and stop Monson by the third round, I'll be impressed if he makes it out of there"


Mikey Burnett re-signs with the UFC!


Evan Tanner signs three-fight extension with the UFC


Jeremy Horn on Fighting Talk: "Former champ or not, Bustamante isn't on my level"


Japanese fighter Kinichi Sato (1-0 [1 NC]) tests positive for PEDs; receives one-year suspension
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Countdown to UFC 30: Battle on the Boardwalk


Randy Couture is a special kind of competitor. Undefeated, his entire career taking place in the UFC; facing the upper echelon of the sport since his debut. By his fifth professional fight, he was fighting for the heavyweight championship, and ever since, he's been fighting the best the company has had to offer, turning them away one by one. With submission victories in 10 out of his 11 professional bouts, Couture is most dangerous on the mat.


Couture: "When I started in the sport, all I knew was the ground game. I was there to take you down and beat you up. My first couple wins were wrestling style submissions, you know, arm-triangles and stuff like that. The simple things. But most of it came from me taking them down and beating them up.


Couture won his first three fights, including a victory over Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt Roberto Traven, by submission, and earned a title shot following his lone decision victory over Tsuyoshi Kohsaka. With an insane finishing rate of 100% in championship bouts, including victories over Dan Severn, Bas Rutten, Don Frye & Semmy Schilt. Most recently, he would grind his way through Tom Erikson in a third-round victory.


Couture: "Beating Tom Erikson was a big win for me because I felt like that was one of the tougher competitors that I would've eventually had to fight and I was glad to get it out of the way on the front end"


Jeff Monson, however, might be his toughest challenge yet. Two victories, two dominant victories, over Ken Shamrock & Mark Coleman, both finishes. Monson took Shamrock down at will and beat on him until the referee had to stop it. Coleman, a fantastic wrestler, found himself stopped at ever turn and was quickly submit by Monson.


Monson: "I think they're underestimating me and I'm cool with that. That means no pressure. That means I can go out there and do my thing without any fear of the outcome"


Monson has the luxury of training with Don Frye, a former title challenger himself who has previously fought Couture. Frye was dropped and submit by Couture, but was never taken down, and that gives him the confidence that Monson will be able to exploit Couture's lackluster stand-up.


Frye: "I know what Randy fights like, and that gives us a huge advantage in that we can train specifically for Randy. We have that first hand experience. Randy's never fought two guys from the same camp before, and we're confident that we hold the key to beating him. Jeff is a strong, submission fighter who's good off his back. Randy isn't gonna' be able to just hold him down and do what he wants. He's gonna' be in a fight.


Couture is currently working on expanding his knowledge of the ground game, linking up with Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu in order to train for this defense.


Gracie: "Randy is a true student of the game. He's here to learn and he wants to distance himself from the rest of the pack and extend his lead. We're working on some stuff that's going to make him even more dangerous on the mat now"


Mark Kerr was in this same position once before. He was set to face Pete Williams for a number one contender spot at UFC 21. It was a fight he would lose by submission.


Kerr: "You know, that loss was heartbreaking. I was so close but so far and it was just back to the drawing board. I couldn't stop there, I had to get up and bounce back"


And bounce back he did, beating Gary Goodridge and Pedro Rizzo in back to back stellar performances in order to place himself in line for the title shot. Kerr was then booked for another contender fight against Jeff Monson, but he would injure himself before the event.


Kerr: "It sucked, I was so close again. But at least I wasn't back at the bottom. It's kind of hard watching Jeff get the shot now, but I'll get mine. And when I get mine, maybe I'll get to fight him"


Josh Barnett will look to pick up where he left off. After two back-to-back submission victories, he was looking to make a claim for a title shot with a victory over undefeated Hans Nijman. Barnett would knock Nijman out in the first round, but would then fail a drug test rendering the match a no-contest.


Barnett: "It was horrifying, I went from being at the top of the ladder to not even being on it. I couldn't fight. I could only train, and so I lost a lot of motivation. I had no income, you know. I had to go find something to keep me busy and keep the food on my table. That won't happen again"


Barnett trains at the Integrated Fight Academy, a team of four heavyweights dedicated to getting good sparring in with big partners. He trains with UFC veterans Scott Fiedler, and Scott Bessac, who is scheduled to face Pedro Rizzo later this year, as well as upcoming heavyweight prospect Andrei Arlovski.


Barnett: "We're a team of UFC level heavyweights, we're all under contract so we know what the division brings. That's a big advantage, talented big guys are hard to find"


Kerr: "I'm going to beat Josh Barnett and get what's mine. I want my shot at that belt. I'm not gonna' let it get away from me this time"


Barnett: "I'm coming back to reclaim my spot and pick up where I left off"


Monson: "That belt is mine. I already know it, now I just have to go and get it"


Couture: "I'll finish him by the third round, he'll be lucky to make it out of there. I'm just going to be better than him, that's it"

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  • 2 weeks later...

<p>If you're taking picks:</p><p> </p><p>

HW: <strong>Randy Couture (11-0)</strong> [c] vs Jeff Monson (8-0)</p><p>

HW: Mark Kerr (7-1) vs <strong>Josh Barnett (6-1 [1 NC])</strong></p><p>

HW: <strong>Bas Rutten (13-2)</strong> vs Dan Severn (9-2)</p><p>

LHW: <strong>Chuck Liddell (5-0)</strong> vs Jeff Massagli (7-6)</p><p>

HW: <strong>Pete Williams (10-2)</strong> vs Paul Lazenby (10-1)</p><p>

LHW: <strong>Joe Pardo (7-2)</strong> vs Dan Theodore (8-2)</p><p>

HW: Harry Moskowitz (8-2) vs <strong>Semmy Schilt (13-1)</strong></p><p>

HW: <strong>Kevin Randleman (6-3)</strong> vs Chris Condo (6-1)</p><p>

HW: <strong>Maurice Smith (11-6)</strong> vs Gary Myers (8-4)</p><p>

MW: <strong>Melvin Manhoef (9-7)</strong> vs Trent Jenkins (12-9)</p>

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<p>HW: <strong>Randy Couture</strong> (11-0) [c] vs Jeff Monson (8-0)</p><p>

HW: Mark Kerr (7-1) vs<strong> Josh Barnett (6-1 [1 NC])</strong></p><p>

HW: Bas Rutten (13-2) vs <strong>Dan Severn (9-2)</strong></p><p>

LHW: <strong>Chuck Liddell (5-0)</strong> vs Jeff Massagli (7-6)</p><p>

HW: <strong>Pete Williams (10-2)</strong> vs Paul Lazenby (10-1)</p><p>

LHW: <strong>Joe Pardo (7-2)</strong> vs Dan Theodore (8-2)</p><p>

HW: Harry Moskowitz (8-2) vs<strong> Semmy Schilt (13-1)</strong></p><p>

HW: <strong>Kevin Randleman (6-3)</strong> vs Chris Condo (6-1)</p><p>

HW: <strong>Maurice Smith (11-6)</strong> vs Gary Myers (8-4)</p><p>

MW: <strong>Melvin Manhoef (9-7)</strong> vs Trent Jenkins (12-9)</p>

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