Posts Tagged ‘mma’

The crimes of Lee “Lightning” Murray

June 25, 2009

Lee Murray may go down in the books as the most successful bank robber in mixed martial arts history.

I'm sorry, what $40 million are you referring to?

"Right. Do you think if I had $40 million hidden away I'd be here talking to you?"

A middleweight with an 8-2 record, “Lightning” Lee was arrested in June 2006 in the Morroccan capital, Rabat, for allegedly master-minding a $92-million cash heist — there’s no other word for it — from a Securitas depot in Tonbridge, Kent. (I don’t know what that means either.)

Seven masked men with automatic weapons were involved in the 2006 heist, which began when two of the robbers abducted the bank’s manager. After the assailants forced their way into the high-security warehouse, they loaded the cash into three waiting trucks. Much of the loot was recovered, but approximately $40 million is still missing. [ESPN The Magazine]

News accounts say it was the biggest cash robbery in history.

Murray’s arrest, on charges of cocaine possession, came after he fled to Morrocco to escape extradition for his suspected role the Securitas job. His father was Morroccan (his mom’s English), so he had citizenship, and apparently Morrocco don’t extradite for nuthin.

I am telling you all this because yesterday Lightning Lee was unexpectedly released from prison and then arrested again! Methinks Scotland Yard has worked out a deal with the Morroccans.

Time Inc. has optioned a movie based on a 2008 Sports Illustrated story chronicling Murray’s exploits. Guy Ritchie* is going to have a hell of a time in the editing room:

  • Supposedly Murray TKO’d and punted the head of Tito Ortiz (the one married to Jenna Jameson) outside of a London nightclub in July 2002.
  • Three years later, in September 2005, he was stabbed in a brawl outside of what I assume was a different London nightclub. Doctors had to resuscitate him multiple times.
  • He was planning to break out of prison — with tiny saws:

Last month, the Wrestling Observer newsletter reported that the fighter tried to break out of his cell by using tiny saws that were hidden in his food. According to the publication, [he] was thwarted when another prisoner broke into his cell, found the saws and informed prison officials.

Oh yeah, he also did some MMA fighting, including an interesting 2004 bout with Anderson Silva, the dominant UFC middleweight champ, where the English commentators want their boy to win so bad you wouldn’t believe it. Watch the second round:

I like to imagine that when Murray and Silva are clinched together, heads side by side, Murray is secretly whispering his criminal plans to Anderson, who’s like, “Whatever, Lee. As soon as we stand up, I’m going to kick you in the head again.” Except in Portuguese.

*Guy Ritchie was Jake Rossen’s joke. (I also ganked Sherdog’s head shot.)


MMA’s newest badass rebirths karate

May 29, 2009

Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida:


Is he a truth serum? A puzzle box? The Wayne Gretzsky of mixed martial arts? Unclear. We know he’s an unbeaten 31-year-old mixed martial artist (as of tomorrow) who cut his teeth on Shotokan karate and dismantled Rashad Evans last Saturday night to take the UFC’s light heavyweight championship. We know he darts in and out of range to punish fighters without taking damage himself [links to video below]. And we know he’s already being spoken of in the same breath as Fedor Emelianenko, Anderson Silva and George St. Pierre.

Here’s Jake Rossen, MMA’s smartest writer:

Lyoto Machida made history Saturday night by becoming the first mixed martial artist to win a major title by wielding an art perceived as primitive and nearing extinction. He didn’t outwrestle Rashad Evans, he didn’t submit him and he didn’t gorilla-press him. He feinted, floated out of the way of hammering strikes and applied the principles of Shotokan karate he established while still in diapers to send Evans down and thinking of his sleep number.

Jordan Breen reviews the tape:

Machida being technically dominant is nothing new, but it was the first time I took note of how glaring he made his opponent’s faults look. Upon opening up the library, I realized this was absolutely nothing new. It took him about two minutes to realize Thiago Silva didn’t tuck his chin or bring his hands back after engaging, which led directly to two brutal knockdowns and set the table for a first-round stoppage. Tito Ortiz’s reaction to Machida’s feints — an incredibly high guard, shielding his own face — made it easy for the karateka to smash up his legs and body, allowing for the brutal knee to the body that nearly ended the bout.

Here’s Machida quoted in ESPN:

“In my karate, there is a time which is called the Kyo, which means the fighter has no defense,” said Machida, 30, who improved to 15-0-0 and still hasn’t lost a round in UFC competition. “I study to make sure I attack right at the correct Kyo, and that’s what I did.”

Bloody Elbow contextualizes:

[A]ll good boxers know there is a time when an opponent can be attacked and they cannot defend, it is a moment when the mind is in reset mode so to speak, and in Shotokan there is a name for that moment. In boxing there is not. I remember training zanshin, and training how to measure and time a strike or counter strike not just based on physical moments, but by your opponent’s breathing, his eyes even would tell you when they are ‘blanked out’ or in ‘reset mode’ and can be attacked.

Maybe I’ll torrent Machida’s 4-DVD set:

First, the footwork translated from his karate background is extremely quick and efficient.  Each movement serves a purpose and no energy is wasted.  Second, like a good poker player, Machida offers no visual clues to what he will do next.  During several techniques, Machida takes great strides in stressing the importance of maintaining and returning to your base stance before, during, and after each technique.  By doing so, Machida masks his intent for as long as possible, reducing his opponent’s window to react in time.

But I’d better get started:

The problem with Shotokan Karate in MMA is that it is a style of fighting that takes a lifetime of training to master.  The use of fixed stances, kata, 5 step sparring etc… are training techniques designed to develop a fighter over millions of repetitions and decades of time. And, there are no shortcuts.

Hmm, is anybody else thinking brain downloads?

Post script on video: 

By now the UFC will have forced down most videos of the Machida-Evans fight [oops — they missed one], although if you poke around you might be able to download or torrent it.

Here’s Machida taking out Thiago Silva. (Listen for Joe Rogan talking about Machida’s “great package.”)

Here are highlights from Machida’s first 12 fights.

These highlights start off slow — the beginning shows him doing kata on the beach at sunset — but they include his 13th fight, against former l.h.w. champ Tito Ortiz.