Jamie Varner: ‘I want to apologize to Donald Cerrone for every ill word I ever said about him’
What was fast-becoming one of the most heated feuds in Mixed Martial Arts could be simmering down now thanks to an apology issued by current WEC Lightweight Champion Jamie Varner on the popular Underground forum.
His statement comes on the heels of a hard-fought bout between personal rival Donald Cerrone and newly crowned interim champ Ben Henderson this past Saturday night. It reads as follows:
First of all I want to apologize to Donald Cerrone for every ill word I ever said about him. I’d also like to apologize to all his fans and anyone else I may have pissed off by my actions. Donald is a great fighter that fights with all heart and he’s my toughest fight to date. I wish him nothing but the best and it was an honor to fight a fighter with such heart and skill.
I have a tough test ahead. I’m really looking forward to getting back in there and proving to all of you why I am the WEC lightweight champ. I know there are always gonna be haters. I hope most of you accept my apology because you guys are the reason why I’m able to do what I love for a living. Thanks for taking the time to read this and its time to go train.
Gonzaga vs. Dos Santos targeted for UFC 108
Heavyweights Junior Dos Santos and Gabriel Gonzaga are expected to meet at UFC 108 on Jan. 2 in Las Vegas.
Multiple sources on Monday told MMAWeekly.com that the fight has been agreed to and contracts are expected to be signed shortly. Fiveknuckles.com was first to report the pairing on Sunday. The bout has yet to be officially announced by the UFC.
Sources tell MMAWeekly.com that the match-up is expected to groom the next contender for the heavyweight title.
Ben Henderson says WEC 43 "Fight of the Year" just next step on path to greatness
New WEC interim lightweight champion Benson Henderson (10-1 MMA, 3-0 WEC) defeated Donald Cerrone in what is being widely referred to as 2009's "Fight of the Year" in the main event of this past Saturday's WEC 43 event.
Henderson, who claimed the organization's interim lightweight title with the win, isn't sure his win qualifies as the best scrap of the year, but he today told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio) that the bout was a step toward establishing him as one of the sport's great fighters.
"I think you have to have those fights where you're just dominant and you show the world that you're that much better than your opponent," Henderson said. "But you have to have those fights where the fans, the crowd knows that you were pushed to your limit, and you went out there and you showed your heart and soul – you gave it everything you had.
"To be a great champ, to be known as one of the greatest fighters, you have to have both of those."
Officiating & Sunlight’s Disinfecting Properties
For their Saturday night theatrics, Benson Henderson and Donald Cerrone may well take "Fight of the Year" honors when Sherdog staffers convene in January to talk about awards hardware for 2009. It will likely get my vote. But it's not the lightweight fight from the night I want to talk about.
Lost in the post-event excitement that a truly great fight breeds -- never mind the upset special delivered by Mackens Semerzier -- is the horrific job that referee Jon Schorle did in officiating the Dave Jansen-Rich Crunkilton fight. Completely missing a blatant (albeit inadvertent) knee to Crunkilton's groin -- to which he reacted visually and audibly -- was bad enough on its own. However, with the fight on the line in the third round, Schorle saw fit to repeatedly stand Jansen up from top control instantaneously, as the unbeaten lightweight prospect was trying to steal the round and the fight. For the last half of the final stanza, the eventually victorious Jansen fought both Crunkilton and the inane whims of Schorle.
But this is not an op-ed about an isolated incident in which Referee X did his unwitting best to ruin a fight. It's not even just about the act of refereeing itself. People reacted to Schorle's mishandling as if he were a local misfit referee who just cropped up that evening. Media reports used the name "Jon Schorle" without a sense of context. The commentary booth, including an increasingly agitated Frank Mir, referred to him only by the disparaging title of "this referee."
If you're a boxing fan, you'll be dismayed to find out that Schorle, a Californian-based official now splitting time in Texas, was the referee who stood by while Vic Darchinyan beat Victor Burgos until he had a blood clot in his brain, resulting in emergency surgery and an induced coma following the bout. He was the third man in the ring for Vitali Klitschko beating hapless Corrie Sanders to a pulp. He oversaw the Erik Morales-Zahir Raheem bout -- which he allowed to devolve into a clinch-filled slip-and-slide on a soaked canvas -- as well as Joel Casamayor-Michael Katsidis, in which a thrilling bout was compromised by Schorle's all-around inattentiveness. Schorle's reputation is such that before the rubber match in his epic trilogy with Rafael Marquez, Israel Vazquez's camp fought viciously and successfully to have Schorle removed as the bout's referee and replaced with Pat Russell. These are just a few recent examples.
Spike TV to air UFC 104 prelim fights of Bader vs. Schafer, Hardonk vs. Barry on Oct. 24
In what MMA fans will surely hope is sign of things to come, Spike TV today announced it'll air two fights from the UFC 104 preliminary card before the event's main card goes live on pay-per-view.
The two bouts chosen for free viewing are "The Ultimate Fighter 8" light heavyweight winner Ryan Bader (9-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) vs. Eric Schafer (11-3-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) and Antoni Hardonk (8-5 MMA, 4-3 UFC) vs. fellow heavyweight Patrick Barry (4-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC).
UFC 104, headlined by UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida vs. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, takes place Oct. 24 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, and the one-hour Spike TV broadcast kicks off at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
Strangely, though, while Bader vs. Schafer and Hardonk vs. Barry were chosen for the broadcast, a fight between Yushin Okami (23-4 MMA, 7-1 UFC) and Chael Sonnen (23-10-1 MMA, 2-3 UFC) remains on the un-aired portion of the card. Okami is a longtime middleweight contender who's only career UFC loss came via close decision to former champ Rich Franklin in 2007. However, many criticize the fighter for a lackluster fighting style that often leads to decisions.
Bader most recently fought in an April win over Carmelo Marrero at UFC Fight Night 18. The Arizona Combat Sports-trained fighter injured his knee in the contest, tearing both his MCL and PCL. It was the "TUF" champion's first bout since defeating Vinicius Magalhaes at The Ultimate Fighter 8 Finale in December 2008, Bader's first official contest in the UFC. Bader has won all nine of his professional fights, seven of them by stoppage.
His opponent, Schafer, is in his second stint with the UFC. After back-to-back losses to Stephan Bonnar and Michael Bisping in 2006 and 2007, "Red" earned two wins in the Wisconsin-based Gladiators Cage Fighting organization. Now back in the UFC, he has since defeated Antonio Mendes and Houston Alexander to run his current win streak to four bouts.
Hardonk, meanwhile, most recently suffered a defeat via TKO to Cheick Kongo at UFC 97 in April. The loss snapped a three-fight win streak for the Dutch striker, a run that included victories over Mike Wessel, Eddie Sanchez and Colin Robinson.
Barry also looks to bounce back from a loss, which was the first of the former kickboxer's MMA career. After earning four-straight wins to open his career, which included a first-round TKO of Dan Evensen, Barry suffered a submission loss to Tim Hague in May at UFC 98.
The UFC and Spike TV first used the teaser-fight setup last month for UFC 103 in Dallas. The Sept. 19 broadcast, which featured Efrain Escudero vs. Cole Miller and Tomasz Drwal vs Drew McFedries, drew 1.4 million viewers (1.0 rating) and was the No. 2 rated program in the coveted 18-to-34 year old male demographic.
Following UFC 103, UFC president Dana White told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) he wasn't sure if the organization would use other Spike TV/PPV tandem cards in the future. However, the organization apparently will do so with its first opportunity. Still, it's not known if this will be a standard setup for future cards or simply a matter of the UFC again gathering data.
Regardless, Spike TV officials said the broadcast will air commercial-free.
The full UFC 103 card includes:
MAIN CARD (Pay-per-view)
•Champ Lyoto Machida vs. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua (for light-heavyweight title)
•Ben Rothwell vs. Cain Velasquez
•Josh Neer vs. Gleison Tibau
•Spencer Fisher vs. Joe Stevenson
•Anthony Johnson vs. Yoshiyuki Yoshida
PRELIMINARY CARD (Spike TV)
•Ryan Bader vs. Eric Schafer
•Patrick Barry vs. Antoni Hardonk
PRELIMINARY CARD (Not televised)
•Yushin Okami vs. Chael Sonnen
•Rob Kimmons vs. Jorge Rivera
•Razak Al-Hassan vs. Kyle Kingsbury
•Stefan Struve vs. Chase Gormley
For complete coverage of UFC 104, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of MMAjunkie.com.
Yves Edwards TKOs fellow 50-fight vet Kyle Jensen at weekend Raging Wolf event
After back-to-back losses and a 4-7 record from 2005 to mid-2008, UFC and PRIDE veteran Yves Edwards was worried that his once-dominant reputation would be spoiled upon his exit from the fight game.
This past weekend, though, the 33-year-old Edwards (36-15-1) continued his comeback and picked up his second straight victory with a first-round TKO win over fellow 50-fight veteran and former WEC fighter Kyle Jensen (39-11-2).
The bout headlined Raging Wolf's fifth event, "Mayhem in the Mist," a pro-am card at the Seneca Niagara Casino Events Center, which is part of the Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel in New York.
Vince McMahon says WWE a "more sophisticated" product than MMA
During the peak of what the company refers to as its "attitude era" a decade ago, the WWE's audience was dominated by young men. While its popularity has waned, the fan base has simultaneously grown older and younger with new constituencies, according to audience research. A little more than a third of its audience is female. The audience is ethnically more diverse that most shows: 62 percent of audience is white; 20 percent of the viewership is black and 23 percent is Hispanic — Hispanics were counted as both white and Hispanic. It's the most-watched English-language show on cable among Hispanics, the company said.
With the Ultimate Fighting Championship and mixed martial arts becoming more popular as competitors, it made little sense for the WWE to ramp up the attitude with violence and sexuality, McMahon said.
"You really can't compete with that," he said. "Why not deliver a more sophisticated product and not go to those extremes? If the audience wants those extremes, they know where to go and how to get it."
Going PG has helped the company draw advertisers who might have looked away before. Pepsi, 7-Eleven stores, Mattel toys and the Army National Guard are among the sponsors that have signed up since the shift, the company said.
Ben Henderson ‘definitely’ beat Donald Cerrone
“No excuses. I take my hat off to the guy. He did what he had to do. No excuses. It was a great fight and I’m ready to do it again anytime … I think he won the fight. Some people say it might not have gone that way, but he definitely won the fight.”
UFC planning to make Australian debut in February at Sydney's Acer Arena
The Ultimate Fighting Championship will soon head to Australia.
The UFC, which has never previously previously hosted an event on the continent nation, has contacted the Combat Sports Authority about holding a show at Acer Arena in Sydney Olympic Park, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
Frank Trigg actually first told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) about the possibility of the Australia event last month and said he hoped to compete on the card.
No date has been nailed down for the show.
Henderson-Varner WEC Title Fight Will Be in Early 2010; Arizona Targeted
"Jamie Varner's comeback will have to wait a little longer.
While the WEC had hoped to stage a matchup between lightweight champion Varner and new interim champion Ben Henderson in December, such a scenario has essentially been ruled out by Henderson's camp after the five-round thriller that took place this weekend.
After the grueling 25-minute struggle, Henderson will need some time off before jumping back into a new training camp, and the title fight will take place in the early months of 2010, Henderson's manager Jason Genet told FanHouse."
Cowboy Takes a Step Back, Will Earn His Return
"Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone came up short against Ben Henderson at WEC 43, but gave the fans a true show.
The lightweights went toe-to-toe in an immediate Fight of the Year candidate, with Henderson emerging as the new interim lightweight champion. Undisputed champion Jamie Varner waited cageside, ready to take on the new challenger."
Jorge Santiago on life in the USA and getting back to the UFC
American Top Team fighter Jorge Santiago has been preparing for his upcoming fight on November 7th, however, none opponent is announced untill today. Santiago denied a rumour about a fight versus veteran Kevin Randleman saying that was a lie and also says he won’t face King Mo Lawal at all.
“We’re friends and there’s no chance of this bout take place. He even came to help me with wrestling for my last fight” Santiago said to Brasil Combate today.
Jorginho – as he is called by his friends – is totally adapted to the American way of life and has been living in USA for eight years with his wife and daughter.
Junior Dos Santos Versus Gabriel Gonzaga in UFC Heavyweight Matchup
A matchup between Fighters.com’s seventh-ranked heavyweight “Cigano” Junior dos Santos (9-1) and former UFC title challenger “Napão” Gabriel Gonzaga (11-4) is in the works, Fighters.com has confirmed with a source close to one of the fighters.
Fighters.com hasn’t confirmed the date of the fight and no contracts are signed. If the matchup is in December, it’s likely to occur at UFC 107 at the FedExForum in Memphis December 12. However, according to unconfirmed reports, that card is already stacked with pay-per-view quality matchups. UFC 108 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas January 2 and is also a likely event for the matchup.
Comedian John Heffron to host 2009 World MMA Awards ceremony
John Heffron has been tapped as host of the Dec. 30 ceremony for the 2009 World MMA Awards, the comedian today announced via Twitter.
Heffron, a Michigan native who won the second season of NBC's "Last Comic Standing" reality-show competition, has been featured in many televised comedy specials and a guest star on a variety of TV shows. He's also toured with UFC broadcaster and fellow comedian Joe Rogan.
The 2009 World MMA Awards, a Dec. 30 red-carpet event, takes place at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas and airs on Versus.
A live broadcast streams on Versus.com, and a taped version of the ceremony airs on the regular Versus cable station throughout January.
Mir "extremely interested" in fight with "The Spider," open to rematch with Nogueira
SAN ANTONIO – Frank Mir (12-4 MMA, 10-4 UFC) may be currently planning to fight Cheick Kongo at UFC 107 in December, but the French striker isn't the only opponent on the former UFC champ's mind.
In fact, lessons learned in his UFC 100 loss to Brock Lesnar have led Mir to express his desire to face middleweight champ Anderson Silva in a previously rumored heavyweight superfight.
"I'm extremely interested in the fight," Mir said at Friday's post-WEC 43 weigh-in Q&A session. "I've learned that size helps people win fights. It would be nice to be on the other end of that."
Mir didn't discount the danger that Silva presents to any opponent, but he did consider himself a pretty clear-cut favorite should the bout materialize.
For WEC's Dave Jansen, proof is in the pudding (that he no longer has to serve)
SAN ANTONIO – Mixed martial arts wins often mean very different things to different people.
For lightweight Dave Jansen (13-0 MMA, 1-0 WEC), his WEC 43 victory over Rich Crunkilton (16-3 MMA, 8-2 WEC) on Saturday night means he doesn't have to bring you a sandwich.
"I made it," Jansen told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) after the bout. "I get to do what I love. I quit cooking, serving, bartending and waiting tables for unhappy patrons. Now I get to scrap for a living."
UFC 108 - Rashad Evans vs. Thiago Silva signed for Vegas
UFC light heavyweight champion, Rashad Evans and Brazilian bad boy, Thiago Silva have put pen to paper and made official their fight at UFC 108.
Evans will look to rebound from a loss for the first time in his mixed martial arts career after dropping the title to Lyoto Machida at UFC 98 back in May. As for Silva, he managed to bounce back from his own loss to Machida in January to knockout Keith Jardine in August.
UFC 108 is set to be headlined by the middleweight clash between UFC champion, Anderson “The Spider” Silva and “The Phenom” Vitor Belfort.
WEC 43 draws 5,176 spectators; Harris says he's "sure" promotion will return to Texas
SAN ANTONIO – The WEC's second trip to Texas drew less attendees than the first visit, but promotion officials insisted they were still pleased with the result.
At Saturday night's "WEC 43: Cerrone vs. Henderson" post-event press conference, WEC officials announced the card drew a total of 5,176 spectators to AT&T Center in San Antonio.
A live gate figure was not immediately available.
"The attendance was good," WEC general manager Reed Harris said. "You saw we had a pretty full house."