The Rise of MMA & Its Leading Femme Fatale

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The world of mixed martial arts (MMA) has exploded over the last few years and while the majority of highly dextrous fighters remain largely unknown to the general public, there is an increasing number of crossover stars entering the mainstream.

One of the biggest stars over the last two years and a veritable pioneer in the sport is Ronda Rousey. An Olympic level judoka before she entered MMA, Rousey has not only established herself as one of the most dominant fighters in world, but as the poster girl for the sport. Featured in numerous ad campaigns, TV shows and now films, Rousey’s fame has reached levels previously unheard of by an MMA fighter.

A Document of Success

In fact, this level of fame is set to reach more highs in the coming months thanks to the recent release of her new biography: My Fight / Your Fight. Written in conjunction with her sister, Maria Burns Ortiz, a highly regarded sports journalist in her own right, the book details Rousey’s transition from a world-class judo player (following in the footsteps of her mother, Ann-Maria De Mars) into a global star.

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Despite being released in May 2015, the book has already received high praise from both critics and fans which has further cemented Rousey’s reputation as one of the most influential people in MMA. However, were it not for Rousey, would MMA be as prominent a sport as it is today?

For the last 60 years, boxing has been the dominant combat sport in the world. However, in recent years its lack of stars and frustrating politics has left many fans disenchanted with the sport and searching for a new form of entertainment. MMA, more specifically the UFC, has been on hand to fill this void over the last decade with a brand of fighting that’s infinitely more dynamic and, therefore, entertaining.

MMA Beats Boxing

Although high-profile boxing matches such as the recent one bout between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao can still draw huge crowds at the box office and on the betting floor, there’s now a greater interest in MMA as a sport.

This recent rise to prominence has given MMA stars such as Rousey a chance to court the attention of sponsors and explore opportunities outside of the octagon. Of course, Rousey’s record is another important factor in her crossover appeal. As it stands, Rousey has never lost an MMA fight and holds multiple records in the women’s bantamweight division.

Before her recent fight against Cat Zingano, Rousey was more than a 3/1 favourite with many online bookmakers. Despite Zingano being one of Rousey’s toughest tests to-date, she proved the odds makers at sites such as Betfair right by demolishing her challenger in under 20 seconds.

Reebok Cements UFC’s Appeal

It’s this unparalleled skill, combined with the recent rise of MMA, that’s allowed Rousey to star in TV shows such as Entourage and films such as The Expendables. These acting roles have been complemented by a recent sponsorship deal with Reebok. Owing to the UFC’s growth as the premier MMA organisation, Reebok recently agreed a $70 million apparel deal. As well as giving every fighter a cut of the proceeds, the new deal has given Rousey, along with the likes of Conor McGregor and Paige VanZant, a sponsorship worth $1million+ per year with a respected brand such as Reebok.

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MMA Moves into a New Era

Although there have been complaints from some fighters about the deal, the overall impact of having a brand such as Reebok in the mix is fantastic news for the sport. Although some people still have jaded opinions of MMA, the reality of the situation is that it is a highly entertaining sport with mass market appeal. Through a combination of highly-tuned athletes, fatalistically entertaining fights and breakout stars such as Rousey, MMA is a sport on the rise in all senses.

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As well as more fans tuning in to watch the latest fights, more sports bettors are looking towards MMA markets at the leading online bookmaking sites. With fighters such as Rousey offering fantastic options for any punter, there’s now a lot of value in the MMA betting market and that’s another reason why the sport is one of the best spectacles in the world.

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MMA is a sport on the up, but without stars such as Rousey it may still be struggling to surpass boxing as the world’s leading combat sport. Fortunately, Rousey has hit the headlines in a big way in recent years and that’s propelled the sport into a new, more fruitful, era.

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Cover Reveal For Stephen King’s The Bazaar of Bad Dreams

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A master storyteller at his best—the O. Henry Prize winner Stephen King delivers a generous collection of stories in his upcoming book The Bazaar of Bad Dreams. Several of the stories are brand-new, featuring revelatory autobiographical comments on when, why, and how he came to write (or rewrite) each story.

Since his first collection, Nightshift, published thirty-five years ago, Stephen King has dazzled readers with his genius as a writer of short fiction. In this new collection he assembles, for the first time, recent stories that have never been published in a book. He introduces each with a passage about its origins or his motivations for writing it.

There are thrilling connections between stories; themes of morality, the afterlife, guilt, what we would do differently if we could see into the future or correct the mistakes of the past. “Afterlife” is about a man who died of colon cancer and keeps reliving the same life, repeating his mistakes over and over again. Several stories feature characters at the end of life, revisiting their crimes and misdemeanors. Other stories address what happens when someone discovers that he has supernatural powers—the columnist who kills people by writing their obituaries in “Obits;” the old judge in “The Dune” who, as a boy, canoed to a deserted island and saw names written in the sand, the names of people who then died in freak accidents. In “Morality,” King looks at how a marriage and two lives fall apart after the wife and husband enter into what seems, at first, a devil’s pact they can win.

Magnificent, eerie, utterly compelling, these stories comprise one of King’s finest gifts to his constant reader—“I made them especially for you,” says King. “Feel free to examine them, but please be careful. The best of them have teeth.”

The 512 page hardcover will be released on November 3, 2015.

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X-Men: Days of Future Past Rogue Cut Available On Blu-ray, DVD & Digital HD July 14, 2015

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment will take you back in time for an all new experience as the X-Men: Days of Future Past Rogue Cut hits Blu-ray and DVD July 14, 2015. Fan-favorite mutant Rogue, played by Anna Paquin, finally joins the all-star cast, including Hugh Jackman, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Halle Berry, Jennifer Lawrence, Ellen Page, Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, as they prepare to battle the Sentinels!

With a never-before-seen, alternate cut of the film—plus nearly 90 minutes of all-new, immersive special features, The X-Men: Days of Future Past Rogue Cut takes you deeper into the X-Men universe than ever before. Rogue makes her return as the all-star characters from the original X-Men film trilogy join forces with their younger selves and unite to battle armies of murderous Sentinel robots who are hunting down mutants and humans alike!

Packed with an all new cut of X-Men: Days of Future Past and nearly 90 minutes of new content, the Rogue Cut is the ultimate fan collectible! Go behind-the-battle for Earth with the definitive documentary “Mutant vs Machine” or look into the future with a sneak peek of the new Fantastic Four film.

X-Men: Days of Future Past Rogue Cut Blu-ray Special Features

– Rogue Cut 
– Audio Commentary by Bryan Singer and John Ottman 
– Theatrical Version of the Film 
– Audio Commentary by Bryan Singer and Simon Kinberg 
– Mutant vs Machine 
– X-Men: Unguarded 
– Gallery 
– Second Screen App 
– Fantastic Four Sneak Peek

X-Men: Days of Future Past Rogue Cut DVD Special Features

– Rogue Cut 
– Audio Commentary by Bryan Singer and John Ottman 
– Theatrical Version of the Film 
– Audio Commentary by Bryan Singer and Simon Kinberg 
– Mutant vs Machine 
– X-Men: Unguarded 
– Gallery 
– Fantastic Four Sneak Peek

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Alternative Movie Posters II: More Film Art From The Underground Book By Matthew Chojnacki To Be Released On November 28, 2015

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Matthew Chojnacki’s Alternative Movie Posters II: More Film Art From The Underground, the sequel to his popular 2013 art book Alternative Movie Posters will be released on November 28, 2015.

This second volume of cinematic eye candy further documents the quickly burgeoning underground film poster movement, a group of artists who challenge Hollywood’s marketing machine by bringing clever artwork and design back to movie posters.

Nearly 100 emerging artists, with a dozen returning favorites, present their newly produced images. Cinematic visual masters Jason Edmiston, Gary Pullin, Akiko Stehrenberger, Randy Ortiz, Brandon Schaefer, Gabz, Dave Perillo, Chris Garofalo, Anthony Petrie, Godmachine, Tracie Ching, Clark Orr, Orlando Arocena, Steve Dressler, Paul Shipper, Tom Hodge, Luke Insect, and more additionally provide commentary and behind-the-scenes information.

Movies illustrated include classics like Vertigo, Rosemary’s Baby, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, more recent hits such as Her and Drive, cult favorites Dazed and Confused and Donnie Darko, and childhood staples Ghostbusters, Back to the Future, and Labyrinth.

Pre-ordering is now underway and you can follow the project on Facebook and Twitter.

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Announcing DC Collectibles 2015 San Diego Comic Con Exclusives

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DC Collectibles, the exclusive line of toy and collector items from DC Entertainment, revealed today three “con exclusive” products only available to those attending Comic Con International: San Diego on July 8-12 2015.

DC Super Pets Krypto Plush Toy – Based on the artistic style of legendary comic book artist, Art Baltazar, DC Collectibles’ all-new DC Super Pets plush line will release an exclusive 6” Krypto Plush Toy at SDCC.  Priced at $9.95, this cute and cuddly item is sure to impress fans – both young and old!

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DC Comics BlueLine Edition – Jim Lee action figure (Limited Edition) – World renowned comic book artist, Jim Lee, brings his extraordinary vision of Batman to life in this exclusive pencil deco Batman action figure sculpted by Jack Mathews. Encased in an intricately designed package, each Batman figure includes an original sketch drawn and signed by Jim Lee. The sketches feature one of three iconic characters from the Batman Mythology – Batman, The Joker or Harley Quinn – and are divided equally among the limited 150 figure quantity. This rare Batman action figure is priced at $300.00.

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DC Comics BlueLine Edition – Jim Lee action figure (Standard Edition) – Similar to the Limited Edition, the Standard BlueLine Edition features the same remarkable pencil deco Batman action figure designed by Jim Lee and sculpted by Jack Mathews. Produced in a larger quantity, each standard figure is enclosed in the same artistic packaging and includes an exclusive Jim Lee print. The standard BlueLine figure is priced at $40.00.

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Watch a special video featuring Jim Lee and the BlueLine Edition Batman action figure below:

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MONDO Announces Pulp Menagerie, A Gallery Show By Tom Whalen Opening On May 22, 2015

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MONDO is thrilled to announce their next gallery show, Pulp Menagerie, featuring screen prints by the incredibly talented Tom Whalen. The exhibit, which opens up May 22, 2015 will feature titles including Godzilla, Mad Monster Party & Batman.

The opening reception will take place on May 22nd from 7-10 PM at the MONDO Gallery. The exhibit will be on display until June 6, 2015.

According to Tom, this is how he describes the show:

“The term “Pulp Menagerie” speaks to the varied subject matter on exhibit. The pieces are akin to the diverse, exotic creatures and curiosities that were captured, groomed and showcased in the royal menageries of the middle ages. Also featured will be some truly unique in-gallery visuals that ascend the theme to a new dimension, so stay tuned.”

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Godzilla, 24″x36″, Edition of 250

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Godzilla (Variant), 24″x36″, Edition of 125

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Mad Monster Party, 18″x24″, Edition of 250

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Mad Monster Party, 18″x24″, Edition of 125

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Batman (1940s Era), 12″x36″, Edition of 275

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Daredevil Regular Print, 36″ x 24″ Edition of 275

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Daredevil Variant Print, 36″ x 24″ Edition of 125

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Back To The Future , Edition of 325

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Dark Hall Mansion To Release Beatles Inspired Print, “The Record Store” By Dave Perillo On May 22, 2015

Dark Hall Mansion  is most pleased to reveal its latest officially licensed Beatles limited edition print release: “The Record Store” by contemporary artist, Dave Perillo, on sale this Friday, May 22nd, 2015!

Dark Hall Mansion, working with Apple Corps Ltd and Bravado International, their North American licensing agent, will release Dave Perillo’s unique take on a very special moment at a most everyday record store. An unusual and quietly meditative piece that catches the Beatles pausing before a record store window, a reflection on all accomplished and all that’s yet to come, it’s as much a meditation on artistry and artistic achievement as it is on fame and identity. Are the Beatles pausing in some “Hard Day’s Night”-like run from their oncoming swarm of fans, or were they already there, quietly taking in the moment, alone and contemplative as only they knew this singular experience? The print is a special one, having required select clearances so Dave might be able to include actual Beatles record covers, tour posters, television performance imagery and related, all in creating his piece. What we see is at once so very public and yet so intimate and private, only the public visage of the Beatles gazes back at the viewer, while Dave’s rendering of nuances such as slight head tilts and telling body language allow us to also stand quietly with the Beatles, sharing this moment with them. A charming piece no doubt, but a poignant one as well.

DHM’s officially licensed Beatles Dave Perillo “The Record Store” limited edition Standard print measures 20″ x 28,” is a 6-color screen print, hand numbered and limited to a worldwide run of only 280 pieces at $65. The Variant edition is a 20″ x 28″ 6-color screen print, 3 colors being metallic ink highlights, hand numbered and limited to only 50 pieces worldwide at $100. The select Foil edition (based on Std colorway) measures 20″ x 28,” a 6-color screen print, on foil, hand numbered and limited to only 10 editions worldwide at $150. The select Foil edition (based on Variant colorway) measures 20″ x 28,” is a 6-color (3 being metallic ink highlights) screen print, on foil, hand numbered and limited to only 10 editions worldwide at $150.

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“The Record Store” 20″ x 28″ Standard paper edition of 280: $65

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“The Record Store” 20″ x 28″ Variant paper edition of 50 (with metallic ink highlights): $100

“The Record Store” 20″ x 28″ Foil edition of 10 (based on Standard colorway): $150

“The Record Store” 20″ x 28″ Foil edition of 10 (based on Variant colorway/with metallic ink highlights): $150

All editions go on sale this Friday, May 22nd, 2015 at Dark Hall Mansion. They’ll go on sale on our dedicated Store page at 9:30 AM PST here: http://www.darkhallmansionstore.com/

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David Letterman’s Final Top 10 List

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It was an all-star lineup that marked the only guest appearances on the final Late Show with David Letterman. Here, in his final list, are the “Top 10 things I’ve always wanted to say to Dave:”

10. Alec Baldwin: “Of all the talk shows, yours is the most geographically convenient to my home.”

9. Barbara Walters: “Did you know you wear the same cologne as Muammar Qaddafi?”

8. Steve Martin: Your extensive plastic surgery was a necessity…and a mistake.”

7. Jerry Seinfeld: “I have no idea what I’ll do when you go off the air. You know what, I just thought of something: I’ll be fine.”

6. Jim Carrey: “Honestly Dave, I’ve always found you to be a bit of an over-actor.” (He gesticulated wildly).

5. Chris Rock: “I’m just glad your show is being given to another white guy.” (Dave: “You know, I had nothing to do with that.”)

4. Julia Louis-Dreyfus: “Thanks for letting me take part in another hugely disappointing series finale.” (Seinfeld smirks). (Dave: “I had nothing to do with that either.”)

3. Peyton Manning: “Dave, you are to comedy what I am to comedy.”

2. Tina Fey: “Thanks for finally proving men can be funny.”

1. Bill Murray: “Dave, I’ll never have the money I owe you.”

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Wired Magazine Features Industrial Light & Magic Cover Story

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Wired Magazine has debuted an extensive oral history of visual effects company Industrial Light & Magic featuring interviews with George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Michael Bay, Guillermo del Toro, Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, and more.

With it comes an expansive cover photo showcasing the legacy of the company and their countless creations, ranging from Davy Jones to Yoda and Bumblebee to Ant-Man.

In 1975 George Lucas formed Industrial Light & Magic(ILM) to create the special effects for his space opera Star Wars. Since that time, ILM has contributed to over 300 films in the process earning 15 Academy Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Visual Effects and 28 Scientific and Technical Achievement from the Academy.

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Gallery 1998 Announces Fictional Food Gallery Show By Joshua Budich Opening On May 22, 2015

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On May 22, 2015 please join Gallery1988 (West) for a massively impressive art show from artist Joshua Budich as he takes us on a trip through some of pop culture’s most memorable fictional foods.

Joshua’s huge new collection depicts your favorite fictitious foodstuffs like the Wonka Bar, Popeye’s Spinach and Lone Star Beer. The comprehensive exhibit will open with a reception from 7-10 PM at G1988 (West) May 22nd. Come meet the artist in person and check out his incredible new work. He will debut 42 new screenprints at this must-see gallery show!

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