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Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Lashley-Sapp may be least interesting Biloxi bout


Lashley & Sapp
Two biggie-size fighters with personalities to match probably can't prop up a small-fry event.

There are few guarantees in the fight business, but one trend remains consistent: Any non-UFC pay-per-view event is destined to be a dismal financial failure. Fans trust a brand name, and with the sport's leading promotion holding events every month -- sometimes more often -- there's simply no breathing room for an unproven commodity.

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In an effort to turn that tide, "Ultimate Chaos," a Biloxi, Miss., card airing June 27, will attempt to make use of a semi-recognizable Bobby Lashley as the headlining draw in a bout against Bob Sapp. Lashley was last seen in March in a turgid win over Jason Guida; he's also expected to fight Mike Cook on May 15, which would seemingly jeopardize his participation here.

Sapp, meanwhile, is known primarily for his outsized personality, which brought him incredible levels of fame in Japan but appears out of place in the less cartoonish MMA climate of the U.S. His bulk is more suited for grappling than striking -- try removing a 350-pound athlete from your body sometime -- but a preoccupation with overseas celebrity and a thimble-sized gas tank hasn't taken him far in actual competition.

Far more intriguing is a bout between Gilbert Yvel and Pedro Rizzo, two lead-legged hitmen who can end a fight more abruptly than tear gas. Rizzo annoyed fans in his UFC prime with a shuffling counterattack style, but Yvel isn't the type to sit around and wait for an opening -- he'll rip himself one. Fun while it lasts.

As for "Ultimate Chaos" on the whole: Last time I checked, iN DEMAND -- the pay-per-view content funnel for most of the nation's cable operators -- demanded a hefty up-front fee for participation, along with an uneven revenue split for burgeoning events.

As far as promoters are concerned, "Risky Business" might have been a better title.