Allow me to preface this post with saying I don't have a dog in this fight, I’m just going to simply state what both sides have said in the best, most unbiased way I can. Which usually ends up being pretty shitty and one-sided (AKA biased) but here we go (that was a joke).
Old school MMA fighter and current BJJ competitor Dan Swift took to Facebook today to more or less call bullshit on not only regional MMA star Dom Mazzotta's recently awarded black belt but his home gym's credibility in issuing it. The Mat Factory's head instructors are BJJ Black belt Eddie Vincent and former wrestling stand out Isaac Greeley.
Swift has a knack for slingin some internet criticisms, I’ll give him that and his post about Dom has attracted 90+ comments of internet fuckery which includes memes taking shots at Vincent, Greeley and Mazzotta himself. Swift is like the Chael Sonnen of cyber bullying - I had to crowbar that in somewhere.
Well in true half-assed journalistic fashion I reached out to Mazzotta to see what his thoughts were on this whole debacle. But before we talk about that, let’s recap.
To sum up Dan's accusations, he is saying that Dom started training BJJ at 21 and recently received his black belt now at the age of 24, he is questioning the authenticity of Vincent’s black belt and citing that he has never seen or heard of either at any local BJJ tournaments in recent history. A quick search of the interwebs doesn’t pull up much information about Vincent’s back ground other than some basic information from the Mat Factory site and other pages “directly related” to Vincent’s interests.
With just this information alone, things look a little sketchy however, I know Mazzotta and Greeley personally and figured that there was way more to this outfit than what would classify as the typical McDojo so I figured I would see whats up.
After talking with Mazzotta I was able to clear up a couple things:
- Mazotta is 27 (this is confirmed) not 24 so the time frame to achieve his black belt would be 6 years and not 3 or 4 which is obviously more along the traditional time lines of earning a black belt.
- Dom has competed in more than a few grappling tournaments, including one that I filmed where he beat Cody Grabrandt which actually was the primer to their showdown last year.
- Greeley and Swift have apparently faced off in grappling tournaments in the past and supposedly Swift is 0-3 against Mat Factory grapplers.
- Eddie Vincent is a black belt under Walt Bayless who happens to be one of the more highly regarded BJJ practitioners in the world. There isn’t a great paper trail linking the two but you can find a decent amount of information on Bayless through google and here are some quick responses I found:
http://www.global-training-report.com/walt.htm (this one specifically mentions Bayless and his opinion that receiving a black belt in BJJ shouldn’t take 6-7 years)
You get the idea.
So with that said, you bros can draw your own conclusions but if you want my totally unsolicited opinion based on my experience and what I’ve seen in the game, I am leaning towards the Mat Factory being a legit facility. Is there a verifiable website where I can find out which black belt trained with whom and how long they trained for, along with a list of accomplishments and merits?
That would obviously make this much easier. Unfortunately that is not currently in existence (that I am aware of anyway) so I guess this is all somewhat based on the honor system, however I will say that most fake black belts don’t receive the accolades that Vincent and Greeley have over the years.
In other words, if Greeley and Vincent were bullshitting, enough good people have gone through the gym by now that something would have probably have come out about them not being up to par.
Here is the fun part, Mazzotta told me flat out that he will fight or grapple Swift any time he wants to come and test his theory out. So I am authorized to extend this official response: Dom Mazzotta told me he will gladly fight Dan Swift anytime, anywhere.
Interesting stuff this Facebook beef bros.
So obviously the invitation has been extended, I guess we will see where this thing goes from here. Check back for more as it develops or dies, which ever comes first I guess.
Clay Vs. Salka Preview Show: Reckoning Day
This video is takes an up close and personal look at the upcoming fight this Friday between Monty Meza Clay and Rod Salka on the under card of Sammy Vasuqez vs. Alberto Mosquera. This 30 minute spots takes you inside both camps and features interviews with both trainers and some nice shots of their camps in full swing.
Yours truly will be ringside so if you're coming to the show stop down and say hi or correct on me some article I wrote like two years ago that I don't even remember now.
Either way I will be there and you should be too.
This Friday Iron Mike Productions comes to the Consol Energy center and with it brings one of the most dynamic and interesting fights of the year. Monty Meza Clay (36-3) and Rod Salka (19-3) have been two Pittsburgh mainstays for as long as I can remember and now they will square off for your entertainment and a little glory this weekend on the under card of Sammy Vasquez/Alberto Mosquera. Below I have listed the top 5 reasons why you should care Monty Meza Clay Vs. Rod Salka.
This is the first time Two Pittsburgh based fighters have squared off in awhile.
The last fight I can remember that featured two local guys matched up against one another is when Bill Hutchinson routed Jose Caraballo in West Virginia a few years back. But this fight is on a whole other level. Monty Clay has laid claim to the 130 pound professional division around here for a long, long time and rightfully so, he's beaten everyone they have brought in for him and then even a few outside the region. Salka has been having similar success beating everyone on a regional level pretty soundly. Both have suffered pretty substantial losses on a national scale, Monty to Jorge Solis back in 2009 and more recently Salka to Danny Garcia via KO last August.
Both Clay and Salka need a win here to stay relevant, especially now that it will be nationally televised:
Let's face it, both of these guys can sell some tickets locally so you unless they retire after a loss, you will still see them on local cards until they decide to hang it up. But if they want to be considered in the national picture, they need this win big time. Boxing is looking for some new stars and a dramatic stoppage on national TV should be considered damn good job protection these days. These type of must-win situations always make for the best match ups.
Monty Clay has never been in a boring fight:
Monty has the style to keep things interesting. He walks forward and throws intelligent heaters for 12 rounds whether you are breaking under his seemingly endless pressure or not. As a boxing fan you can't really ask for more. His last fight with Alan Herrara is already being touted as fight of the year for 2014 and to be perfectly honest, it looked very similar to the last 3 wars I have seen Clay engage in over the years. The kid brings the heat and shows up in shape and looking for the kill every time out; that's what it's all about bros.
Salka is the literal opposite of Clay:
Clays a puncher/brawler and Salka is a defensive boxer with good movement and intelligent footwork. Thats not to say that Clay doesnt have these attributes, but their application of these techniques are on opposite ends of the spectrum. Salka will circle and box while Clay presses forward. I am going to guess that Salka has the slight speed advantage here, which he will need to use to beat Monty to the punch (Yes, very cliche advice I know). Rod's not a huge puncher but can move well enough to confuse and disrupt Clay's forward progress. He's got some speed too, which he's going to need to keep on the outside of the exchanges where he has a better chance of winning. Salka prefers circling and jabbing over standing and banging but can do both if the time calls for it. His game here is to keep Clay outside and open up potshot exchanges while keeping himself off the ropes and in center ring where he has a better chance to take advantage of his height and speed.
I have watched both guys come up over the years and gun to my head; I think Monty's strategy will be more effective here. I can't see Salka keeping Monty outside for all 10-12 rounds (will someone please tell me how many fucking rounds this fight is already?). Once the fight settles and both have landed some shots, I see Monty walking Salka down round after round. I have seen clay get hit with big, nasty punches and keep applying steady pressure round after round. You basically have to "stop him" to well.. stop him. Salka will have some moments and the deciding rounds will be the first 5 (give or take) but I can see Monty breaking him down over the course of the fight and getting the nod. Salka would need to land something substantial during an exchange and make sure mostly none of Clay's busy/active style shots land to indicate he's winning in what will probably turn into a tactical brawl half way in.
If the fight is close the judges have a tendency to pick the guy moving forward which in this situation is more than likely going to be Clay. Also they tend to lean towards the busier fighter in most circumstances, this will be a determining factor in the outcome and Clay always puts out a higher than normal punch count. To combat this, Salka is going to have match Clay's output without engaging on his terms. Not too mention the elephant in the room which is Salka's last fight that ended in a brutal KO just 3 months ago. When Clay and Salka meet Friday, Rod will only be 5 days outside of his 90 day suspension which means he was sparring and taking repeated shots during camp and has not -in my "bro science" laden opinion- have had even close to enough time to fully recover. With that being said, I feel like Clay's risk margins are lower here and therefore I believe he will pull out the decision in a close and probably grueling affair.
It's always more fun when guys talk a little shit on each other before the fight. Don't believe me, just ask Connor Mcgregor or Chael Sonnen how its helped their respective careers.
Interestingly enough, this time the talk was lead off by Pinnacle main event contestant Brian Kelleher after his interview with STU scribe David Mckinney on Friday. The talk started off between Kelleher and some Cherico supporters who were basically implying that this was a walk through fight for "The Pride". The next thing you know, Kelleher is now challenging Cody "No Love" Garbrandt to an immediate follow up match with the stipulation that the loser is subjected to either tattoo removal or permanently inking a design of the winner's choice. It always starts off with the journeyman hashtags and ends in a strategically placed my little pony tattoo; always.
Pretty high stakes even though the ground work for "No gay shit" has already been established.
Even Donnie Walker took some shrapnel, I'm telling you bros the book was hot yesterday. Now Cherico is not really the type to talk much but has assured me that he's ready to "fuck this kid up". Which obviously means things are starting to heat up and the new talk, which struck Cherico as "disrespectful", has gotta help provide that last bit of motivation needed to push through the last few weeks of camp. Kelleher is not a walk through for anyone and with names like Scott Heckman, Andy Main, Jimmie Rivera, and Jeff Smith on your resume (cue the casual fan "so what I've never heard of them" comments) you can guarantee his confidence coming into this fight is high.
Check back for more as this one continues to heat up. I have posted the comments after the jump: Get your tickets here while they last.
STU author and Pinnacle FC talker David McKinney talks about one half of our main event for Pinnacle FC 9, Brian Kelleher as he prepares to take on the undefeated pride of Bloomfield Mark Cherico. Check that out below:
It's not a secret, Mark Cherico (7-0) is headed to the UFC. That's right, folks, "The Pride of Bloomfield" will one day grace the Octagon, and he's actually already so close he can almost sniff it.
It has never been easy to find opponents for Cherico for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to the fact that he has never even come close to losing and that he's as strong as an ox.
But the guy who has stepped up to face Cherico on November 26th is a fighter who has made a career of fighting the absolute toughest guys he could find. Brian Kelleher (10-7) may not have the prettiest record, but he isn't afraid to pick out the toughest guy on the block and challenge him to a fist fight inside of a cage, and that says more about him than those two numbers ever could.
"I’ve definitely fought a lot of tough guys out on the East Coast," the New York native Kelleher told me when he appeared on The Kyote Ugly Show earlier this week.
"I just think I have the mentality to take any fight that is in front of me, no matter who it is. I’m not trying to get easy fights or anything like that, it’s worthless. I think it’s good to know you can beat the top guys. If you can’t, then you’re never going to be in the UFC."
Ah, there's those magical three letters again. For just about every fighter who has ever put on the fingerless grappling gloves, that's their Holy Grail. And Kelleher doesn't want to get there by taking the easy road.
Check out the rest after the break: