Fight Biz: UFC conquers North America, but education top priority overseas
The crowd of 21,451 that turned out for UFC 97 in April not only set a North American attendance record for MMA, it also topped this year's average home attendance of four Major League Baseball teams.
The Washington Nationals, Florida Marlins, Pittsburgh Pirates and Oakland Athletics are each averaging less than 21,400 fans for their home games through this past Saturday.
Welcome to the new normal in sports, where MLB is struggling to draw fans amid the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, yet the UFC is playing to large, raucous crowds wherever it travels. As recently as earlier this decade, no one in sports would have fathomed the possibility that an MMA event could draw a crowd larger than the average home attendance of one big-league baseball team, let alone four.
Ricardo Arona Returns to MMA Competition in Brazil on Sept. 12
From Fightbomb's translation of a Portugese interview:
Ricardo Arona: Well, what I have confirmed by now is the ADCC in Barcelona, Spain. I'm confirmed to fight in there. It's gonna happen in September 24th. Also I've spoken with Amaury Bitteti who is promoting a large MMA event in Rio de Janeiro, Bitteti Combat. I'm signed with this event, it'll be in September 12nd.
Will Ultimate Fighter Winners Ross Pearson & James Wilks be Able to Compete in the UFC?
Saturday night's Ultimate Fighter Season 9 Finale from the Palms Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada was a final chance for the participants of the show to prove they have what it takes to compete in the UFC. Throughout the last few weeks, many fans had regarded this season's roster as less than stellar. In fact, most fans believe that the eventual winners of the show would probably have a tough time breaking into the mid-echelon of their respective divisions. Did Ross Pearson and James Wilks prove on Saturday night that they could hang in their divisions?
Carano On Couture: 'He's A Master Game Planner'
When it came time for Gina Carano to assemble a fight camp that would prepare her for her toughest career challenge, Randy Couture was a no-brainer.
“There’s not a lot of people that can put it straight and organize you like Randy,” she said during a Thursday teleconference promoting her headlining fight with Cris “Cyborg” Santos on Aug. 15 at Strikeforce.
UFC Possibly Back To Germany In 2010
Marek Lieberberg, who served as co-promoter for UFC 99 in Cologne, is looking into the possibilities of returning to Germany as early as April 2010. Nothing's set but he's suggesting a possible April event in Oberhausen, which seats 13,000 and is in a city well-positioned to draw foreign (non-Germany) fans.
Bas Rutten Has Zero Respect For Kimbo Slice
At least now he does. In a recent interview, Rutten says that he "misjudged" Kimbo and that he "can't train people that he has no respect for", among other things. Rutten also discussed preparations for the Seth Petruzelli fight that saw Kimbo go down and take EliteXC with him.
Vengeance is his: Fedor's brother to face family rival in MMA
It wasn't MMA, but Blagoi Ivanov scored plenty of bleeding ink last fall when he defeated Fedor Emelianenko in a Combat Sambo competition. According to Nightmare of Battle, Ivanov will now face Fedor's brother, Aleksander, in a Korean mixed martial arts contest on Sept. 29.
Pretty easy story to follow, though Ivanov is jumping into the deep end of the pool fairly quickly.
If he wins -- which would be a feat considering Aleksander's experience -- a rematch with Fedor seems inevitable.
UFC Quick Quote: Stephan Bonnar is not going to be an idiot on July 11
You can’t just look at one fight from a guy and say, “I’m going to bank on him not showing up in shape.” You just can’t do that … In that Shogun fight, (Mark Coleman) got tired — so did Shogun — and I think he’ll work on that. He’ll try to fix that for this fight … You’ve got to prepare like he’s going to be in the best shape of his life. He’s fought in Pride in 10-minute rounds and been in shape before, so I’d be an idiot to just bank on him not going to show up in good shape.
The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) season one light heavyweight finalist Stephan Bonnar tells USA Today that he won’t make the mental mistakes he made during his lopsided unanimous decision loss to undefeated up-and-comer Jon Jones at UFC 94: “St. Pierre vs. Penn 2? last January. “The American Psycho” will attempt to put aging UFC veteran Mark Coleman into retirement at UFC 100 from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, on July 11. The question is, where does a win over “The Hammer” put Bonnar in a crowded UFC light heavyweight division?
If the UFC brass calls, Diego Sanchez is ready for his lightweight title shot
LAS VEGAS – Even before his already epic fight with Clay Guida at The Ultimate Fighter 9 Finale, Diego Sanchez stumped for a lightweight title shot and declared himself the No. 1 contender at 155 pounds.
And now, following Saturday's main event victory at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Sanchez hasn't wavered in his belief.
With his split-decision win over Guida, a bout that earned both competitors $25,000 "Fight of the Night" awards, Sanchez said his future is in the hands of the UFC brass. And if UFC President Dana White declares Sanchez title worthy, "Nightmare" is ready for the task at hand.
As Clay Guida heads back to drawing board, "The Carpenter" hopes to build on narrow loss
LAS VEGAS - After coming up on the wrong end of yet another split-decision result, UFC lightweight Clay Guida (25-10 MMA, 5-4 UFC) knows he must go back to the drawing board.
But with Saturday's loss to Diego Sanchez at The Ultimate Fighter 9 Finale in Las Vegas, Guida delivered his second "Fight of the Year" nominee in just 18 months. And for a fighter who's just 4-4 over his past eight fights, "The Carpenter" once again showed why he's welcome on any major fight card the UFC puts together.
With nine seasons of "The Ultimate Fighter" in the books, what does the future hold?
LAS VEGAS – The Ultimate Fighter 9 Finale Saturday at The Pearl at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas was a microcosm of what the reality show has been since its debut on Spike TV in 2005.
There was drama and unforgettable moments, but there were also some moments that were hard to take and difficult to understand.
The 10th season of the show that essentially saved the UFC from extinction is almost guaranteed to be a ratings bonanza, largely because of the presence on the cast of one-time street fighter Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson.
White Backs Off On Liddell Retirement Talk...
Sort of. After his UFC 97 loss Dana White said we would never see Chuck Liddell fighting in UFC again. But during the TUF 9 Finale the topic came up again, to which Dana said "I'm not his father, he can do whatever the hell he wants to do. I'm his friend and I care about him a lot, and I'd never like to see him fight again." Still no official comment either way from Liddell.
Gesias Cavalcante May Face Eddie Alvarez At DREAM 11
According to his manager, Gesias "JZ" Cavalcante will return to DREAM in September to face newly crowned Bellator Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez at DREAM 11. Cavalcante takes a 3-fight winless streak into this matchup (2 losses and a No Contest against Shinya Aoki) while Alvarez is also coming off a loss in his last DREAM fight, that also against Aoki.
Kim Winslow Becomes First Female Referee in UFC History
A significant moment in mixed martial arts history seems to have passed with little notice Saturday night: Kim Winslow became the first woman ever to be in the Octagon during a UFC fight when she refereed the undercard bout between Nick Osipczak and Frank Lester at the Ultimate Fighter Finale.
With U.K.'s sweep of TUF 9 Finale, can European "Fight Night" events be far behind?
With James Wilks' impressive submission win over DaMarques Johnson and Ross Pearson's gutsy decision victory over countryman Andre Winner, Michael Bisping's Team U.K. swept the "six-figure contracts" up for grabs in the ninth season of "The Ultimate Fighter."
Now it's up to UFC president Dana White to figure out how best to use his two new European commodities.
With neither fighter ready to challenge their respective division's top contenders, could the UFC be eyeing its first-ever European-based "Fight Night" event?
Griffin’s Got Fight? Makes NY Times Bestseller List
Got Fight? by Forrest Griffin and Erich Krauss, a self described guide to the Zen principles of combat, made its’ mark at the cash register recently. The book debuted on the New York Times Best Seller list for hardcover advice books, coming in at number 8. Griffin has recently been balancing a book tour to promote the tome with his training for an August showdown with middleweight kingpin Anderson Silva.
The Ultimate Fighter 9 Finale draws soldout crowd of 1,800 for $500,000 gate
Saturday's latest UFC event, The Ultimate Fighter 9 Finale, drew a crowd of "just over 1,800," which produced a live gate of approximately $500,000, a UFC spokesperson confirmed at the post-event press conference.
The finale, which was announced as a sellout, took place at The Pearl, an intimate venue at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas.
The 10-bout event concluded the latest season of the UFC's reality series, "The Ultimate Fighter: U.S. vs. U.K.," and aired on Spike TV.
Diego Sanchez has ‘tremendous respect’ for Clay Guida and his many hearts
“I’ve got tremendous respect for Clay after tonight because I haven’t been in a blood barnburner like that since Nick Diaz and you know, I hit him with some knees, some kicks and some uppercuts that were right on the button and he just kept on coming. I was surprised, the guy’s got heart. He’s got a couple of hearts because he kept coming in the striking too even though I was landing the more effective strikes and picking my shots. He’s a little Tasmanian Devil to take on. He was in a position to fight me for a reason: He earned his shot with wins against Danzig and Diaz. He put himself in that place but I was just the more technical fighter that executed the gameplan right. I went in there and was ‘The Nightmare.’”