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jimufctna24

Cage Rage

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Let's av a propa tear up then!

Since the Cage Rage promotion has been talked about a bit over a few threads lately, I thought I would start a thread dedicated to it. It was fucking barmy wasn't it? They promoted some legendary fighters in their time. They homed Anderson Silva during his rebuilding phase, they gave Michael Bisping and Brad Pickett their first real exposure, and they also gave countless legends a place to fight in their winter years (Ken Shamrock, Tank Abbot, Dan Severn, etc). The Manheof vs Cyborg brawl is also an underground classic. 

Yet the promotion is probably best known for its blunders. Some of their pre-fight hype packages were cringe-worthy at the time, and are even worse in retrospect. There were strong rumours that some of Dave Legeno's fights were fixed. Cabbage Correria had to pull out of Cage Rage 19 just hours before he was set to fight after being assaulted and robbed at the fighter's hotel. They also got kicked off Sky Sports due to Paul Daley calling someone a "cunt". There was also the "someone just nutted Phil Baroni" incident. It was almost like the "Nashville Brawl" incident or something equally as farcical happened at every Cage Rage event. 

I have to admit, I do miss it in a way. It probably did the sport's image in the UK more harm than good. Its presentation painted MMA in a terrible light. Also, I couldn't go back and watch an event of theirs in its entirety. It is a promotion that is more fun to discuss in retrospect than re-visit in visual form. However, for its time, it was an entertaining promotion to follow. Like I alluded to, there was usually a buzz around Cage Rage, and you couldn't really take your eyes off it, even if it was usually for the wrong reasons. 

Oh, and who could forget this goon:

method=get&s=dave-odonnell.JPG

 

 

Edited by jimufctna24

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Good post Jim. 

When I think of Cage Rage I think of 3 things. Dave O'Donnell, the Manhoef vs Cyborg slugfest and Anderson Silva's mad elbow KO on Tony Fryklund. So O'Donnell aside, my memory is more positive than I'd have expected. 

It was a clusterfuck of a promotion but it had a certain charm to it as you say. It was saved by the talent they had go through there, home-grown and international. And it had a bit of that freakshow element that Pride had, only not as good. It was the timing of it that gave it a negative spin really though. In the mid 2000s MMA wasn't nearly as accepted in the UK as it is now. The UFC only started running shows regularly over here from 2007. And right when Dana and co were trying to show that MMA was a professional sport and wasn't a meathead barbaric sideshow, you had Cage Rage with their caricature cockney plastic gangster promoter, people getting called cunts on air and headbutted post-fight and all sorts. 

A little bit before that, I always remember in the early 2000s, there was a piece on Richard & Judy of all shows, about MMA. Pretty sure it was 2002 when the UFC were set to come over to do their first UK show at the Royal Albert Hall. Richard & Judy mustn't have been able to get anyone from the UFC so instead we got Dave O'Donnell and 2 UK fighters on there carrying the flag for MMA. Think one of them was Rosi Sexton, who was a great choice to rep MMA and show it wasn't all thick Neanderthals. Anyway, for once O'Donnell wasn't the biggest dickhead in the room. Richard (Dick for short, appropriately) sat there basically saying the sport was a joke and was actually ridiculing fighters for being wimps and tapping out in submissions. Richard Madely! I wish I could find the video of it now but I don't think many people were watching R & J, and I really doubt anyone was recording it to post on something called YouTube that didn't yet exist in 2002. 

Edited by wandshogun09

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Great topic!

I really do miss Cage Rage and those days of UK MMA. The sport is technically better now and the presentation has improved massively but those mid-late Cage Rage years are the glory years of UK MMA for me. I mentioned it in another thread but the sheer amount of UFC events these days has really drowned the market and stopped promotions like Cage Warriors really creating their own established stable and recognisable stars, it doesn't have the same vibe and sense of unpredictability anymore and I think it hurts the UK scene from a pure fans point of view, Cage Rage was a lot of fun.

I actually attended two shows, 22 & 23 and looking back on those cards i got to see a crazy range of fighters (Belfort, Sperry, Sentex, Butterbean, Julius Francis, Herb fucking Dean) the shows were clusterfucks in the best possible way.

Simpler times. It just felt like everything had more time to breathe back then. 

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7 hours ago, Egg Shen said:

I mentioned it in another thread but the sheer amount of UFC events these days has really drowned the market and stopped promotions like Cage Warriors really creating their own established stable and recognisable stars

This is a good point. And linked to the amount of shows, I think the size of the UFC's roster has hurt the smaller promotions as well, and not just in the UK either.

Back in the Cage Rage days the UFC roster was a lot smaller. You still had Pride for some of that period as well but both companies didn't put on a non-stop schedule of shows like we have now and they were only hiring so many fighters. Which meant smaller companies like Cage Rage could snap up the rest and got the guys who either hadn't yet made it to the Big 2 or had already been there, were between runs and trying to get back there by getting some fights elsewhere.

These days it seems like as soon as a fighter becomes champion in Cage Warriors or Invicta or wherever, the UFC swoop in and sign them because they need all the fighters they can get to fill out their rammed schedule. I have mixed feelings on it because I like having as many top fighters under one promotion as possible because that means we get to see more good fights. But the other side of that coin is that, aside from Bellator, all the other smaller feds never seem to keep their core group of top guys they can build their shows around, so they really have non identity. We saw this with WSOF as well. Every time they started building someone as 'their guy' they were off to the UFC. They kept Gaethje and Moraes for a little bit but it always felt like a matter of time.

Back when you had the UFC, Pride then later EliteXC, IFL, Strikeforce, WEC, Affliction and DREAM...we'd often be moaning about the dream fights we couldn't see because fighters were signed to rival promotions. I used to wish for one big company so we could see all these matches made. We've pretty much got that now and now we all miss the days of a variety of feds :rolleyes: you always want what you can't have. 

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Did someone mention FACKIN' CAGE RAGE? Decent card, great fighters, let's main event it with a heavyweight fight. 1-5 record from London Shootfighters vs Someone undefeated in 200 bare knuckle challenge matches on the island, or even worse - Buzz Berry. Or a work involving Dave Legeno. Gotta be a HW though. Lord knows anything lighter can't headline a show.

 

There's some old cracking threads on here about it. But Fuck Dave O'Fackin'Donnell, Andy Geer was the real class owner.

 

http://www.ppconstructionsafety.com/newsdesk/2013/09/06/bankrupt-directors-escape-high-fines-over-death/

 

#PROPANAWTY

 

(For the record though, I've met Grant Waterman [while not an owner, he's one of the first thoughts when you hear CAGE FACKKIN' RAGE] a couple of times and he's an absolute gent)

Edited by PowerButchi

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Fuck, just remembered when Phil Baroni got nutted by his opponents mate or relative!!!!! First ever show they had on Freeview TV too. Pure class.

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7 hours ago, Egg Shen said:

Great topic!

I really do miss Cage Rage and those days of UK MMA. The sport is technically better now and the presentation has improved massively but those mid-late Cage Rage years are the glory years of UK MMA for me. I mentioned it in another thread but the sheer amount of UFC events these days has really drowned the market and stopped promotions like Cage Warriors really creating their own established stable and recognisable stars, it doesn't have the same vibe and sense of unpredictability anymore and I think it hurts the UK scene from a pure fans point of view, Cage Rage was a lot of fun.

I actually attended two shows, 22 & 23 and looking back on those cards i got to see a crazy range of fighters (Belfort, Sperry, Sentex, Butterbean, Julius Francis, Herb fucking Dean) the shows were clusterfucks in the best possible way.

Simpler times. It just felt like everything had more time to breathe back then. 

Used to watch all the Cage Rage shows on Sky Sports. Remember Herb fighting on one card. Once they lost the deal I used to catch the shows still but some I forgot they were on.

They are all up on Fight Pass though 

https://www.ufc.tv/category/cage-rage-replays

Definitely agree about what you said. I've also mentioned there's too many UFC shows, especially the multiple hour ones with prelims and main card. In one month they had like 5 cards which is overkill.

Plus they pick off the best talent from Cage Warriors etc. Surprised Paddys not fighting on UFC cards yet. I guess because they own the minor leagues so to speak they can sign anyone up at anytime. 

What I liked about Cage Rage was the Britishness of it all and whilst it only had a few really memorable fights they were fun cards for the most part. Andy and Dave were not polished presenters like a Mike Goldberg etc but their enthusiasm for the fights really showed and that made it entertaining. 

Interesting bit about Cage Rage in the Total MMA book where Andy says they were going for the "Pride" type events instead of copying the UFC. 

Edited by Really Big Shoe

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Aye, good point about the UFC dominating the market these days. 2006 was one of my favourite years of being an MMA fan. Given that I had only become a proper fan the previous year, everything was fresh to me. Not only that, but the sport was getting bigger and bigger with each passing month. It was an exciting time to follow the sport. Pride was my favourite promotion. I became attached to it very quickly. I was also massively into the GSP-Hughes rivalry and TUF 3. I enjoyed hunting down WFA and Strikeforce events as well. 

Cage Rage was a bit of light relief in between it all, which wasn't necessarily a bad thing. When the UFC churned out shite shows like UFC 61, I would come away a bit disappointed. In contrast, I would watch with few expectations or emotional investment. All it would take to satisfy me from a Cage Rage show would be the odd good fight a bit of a laugh. Even if they produced an absolute clunker, I wouldn't be arsed. 

I'm not going to pretend I was arsed when they shut up shop. By 2008, they had a terrible reputation. I remember the fallout to the Baroni incident. But it says something that I haven't followed the UK MMA scene since. 

 

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did the Baroni incident cause that much damage? i distinctively remember where i was when i watched that, it was a shocking moment. Stuff like the Strikeforce brawl was like a mutual almost WWE type pull apart brawl, the Baroni headbutt was just some pure thuggery.

Didnt Scott Jansen end up in prison for something as well? Cage Rage was full of right unsavoury characters. These days MMA really is full of young guys who have grown specifically to be MMA fighters. Cage Rage had those type fighters but it was also full of meatheads who came from streetfighting/criminal backgrounds.

There's a brilliant warts an' all book about Cage Rage waiting to be written.

on the subject of Phil Baroni, he had and won his first fight in 4 years this past weekend.

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20 minutes ago, Egg Shen said:

did the Baroni incident cause that much damage? i distinctively remember where i was when i watched that, it was a shocking moment. Stuff like the Strikeforce brawl was like a mutual almost WWE type pull apart brawl, the Baroni headbutt was just some pure thuggery

I don't think it did on a commercial level. If Wiki is anything to go by, Nuts TV continued showing repeats of Cage Rage long after that incident. I think what fucked them was that Elite XC pulling the plug later that year. O'Donnell then formed UCMMA or whatever it's called. As much as we laugh about it now, a lot of people didn't see the funny side of it at the time. As Wand alluded to, there was a feeling that they were creating the wrong image for MMA. The Baroni incident was the final straw for a lot of fans. 

On another note, I recall they brought in a brass band to play at one event, headlined by Rob Broughton and Butterbean. Members of the band were seated ringside and looked embarrassed to be there as Broughton and Butterbean were rolling around. It was hilarious.

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I misread that then and thought you meant Broughton and Butterbean were fronting the brass band. Now I'm disappointed that's not the case. 

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I remember Gary Shaw milling around at the shows i was at. Shaw at the time was one of the biggest promoters in boxing so it felt like a big deal for him to be there.

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21 minutes ago, wandshogun09 said:

I misread that then and thought you meant Broughton and Butterbean were fronting the brass band. Now I'm disappointed that's not the case. 

:D

10 minutes ago, Egg Shen said:

I remember Gary Shaw milling around at the shows i was at. Shaw at the time was one of the biggest promoters in boxing so it felt like a big deal for him to be there.

Shaw and EliteXc fucked up when they sent Ken Shamrock over to fight in Cage Rage. It was a risk they didn't really need to take. They had plans to do a Ken vs Frank PPV, which some expected to do good business. In retrospect, I suspect that the fight wasn't quite as big as some (in particular Frank), thought it was. Regardless, those plans went up in smoke after Ken got lamped by Buzz Berry. 

If you look at Cage Rage's final year where Elite XC owned them, they didn't slow down until the very end. It was a bit like the final year of Pride in that regard. In the final year or so they promoted Shamrock, Belfort, Baroni, Pickett and the return of Ian Freeman. Despite their terrible reputation, they managed to remain relevant right up until the final two shows. 

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That Buzz Berry/Shamrock always felt fishy too, Shamrock went down way too easy.

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