Economic Factors Affect MMA, UFC
As reported earlier on MMAPayout.com, the Fertitta’s Station Casinos bond rating recently placed on CreditWatch with negative implications. The company is being monitored due to it’s increasing level of leverage that violates certain covenants of its’ bonds. The leverage covenants aren’t being met due to more recent turmoil in the financial markets and continued weakening of economy, which is bringing down performance in the Las Vegas locals market more than previously thought.
The Station Casinos stake may not be the only portion of the Fertitta empire to be hitting on hard times. MMAPayout.com has learned that the UFC has recently went through a round of layoffs in their operations. The UFC looks to be cutting away the fat to make itself lean and mean and capable of weathering an extended time period of financial stress and lowered performance.
Jake Shields Wants in With UFC
Almost immediately after the news broke that EliteXC would be shutting down, just about everyone began to speculate what would happen to its fighters. On the top of that list is Jake Shields, likely to be one of the most sought after fighters from the roster. MMAWeekly.com spoke to the first and only EliteXC welterweight champion about his future
"The UFC's the most likely option," he said. "That's where I'm certainly leaning. I haven't had any talks with them yet; I have to get my contract released. That's definitely the number one option I'm looking at. I was on good terms with them before I signed this last contract, so I don't think there should be any problem."
While he won't rule out other promotions as viable contenders, it seems clear where Shields wants to go.
"The UFC's where I've wanted to fight for years, and also the guys ranked above me in the world are there so that's certainly the most logical show to go to."
Random drug testing Implemented in the UFC
Six UFC 91 fighters, including the event's headliners, have passed pre-event drug tests administered by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
The commission recently enacted year-round drug testing, and the NSAC has been testing fighters approximately a month before fight time.
In an email sent to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com), NSAC Executive Director Keith Kizer confirmed main-event fighters Randy Couture and Brock Lesnar were tested, as were undercard fighters Amir Sadollah, Nick Catone, Jorge Gurgel and Aaron Riley.
UFC 91 takes place Nov. 15 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. It airs on pay per view.
The NSAC's year-round testing was implemented earlier this year. MMA fighters are subject to drug testing at any time -- for just about any reason -- throughout the year, regardless of whether or not the fighter is scheduled for an upcoming event. However, the testing is usually reserved for scheduled fighters.
For more on the NSAC's new procedures, check out our interview with Kizer that followed the commission's official announcement.
Additionally, for the latest on UFC 91, including the latest fight card and interviews with the night's competitors, check out the UFC Rumors section of MMAjunkie.com.
I don't know how many fans realize how big this is or the potential impact but if HGH and others are as rampant as a few fighters have came out and stated they are this could change the balance of fighters in the UFC, Im just glad Randy came back clean! Now all the people that assumed Couture was juicing can shut it.
Jake Shields to UFC ‘has now become a real possibility’
“Jake Shields in the UFC has now become a real possibility.”
GracieFighter.com posted this statement mere hours after Elite XC was pronounced dead. Shields is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt under Cesar Gracie who runs the Web site, so even as vague as this comment is, it’s still coming from a very close and reliable source in regard to Jake.
Shields — the first and only Elite XC welterweight champion — was pretty vocal over the last few months about wanting to prove himself against the best in the sport. In fact, after defeating Nick “The Goat” Thompson in little more than a minute at “Unfinished Business” in July, he called out the winner of the George St. Pierre and Jon Fitch UFC title fight scheduled for a couple weeks later, saying he wanted a super fight against the UFC champion.
At the time it seemed like a pipe dream since the UFC obviously doesn’t believe in cross-promoting and Elite XC had Shields locked up under contract for another year or so. But, now that Elite XC is no more, it appears Jake is a free agent, and would like to be the first — and possibly the best — former Elite XC fighter to join the UFC ranks.
Of course, if Shields does end up in the Octagon, he’ll have to work his way up a very long ladder of title contenders that include Thiago Alves, Josh Koshcheck, Diego Sanchez, Karo Parysian, Jon Fitch and many more.
Karo Parisyan to Return at UFC 94
Former UFC welterweight title contender Karo Parisyan will reportedly return to action against a yet-to-be-determined opponent at UFC 94 on January 31 in Las Vegas according to MMA Weekly’s MMA Insider Blog. The fight will be the first on a new eight-fight deal Parisyan recently signed with the UFC.
Parisyan was scheduled to take on Japanese sensation Yoshiyuki Yoshida in a welterweight bout at UFC 88 in September, but was forced to withdraw at the last minute after aggravating the sciatic nerve in one of his legs during a pre-fight training session. He has not fought since.
The 26-year-old judo black belt earned a title shot against former UFC welterweight champion Matt Hughes in the fall of 2005 before a separate injury forced him out of the running. Parisyan’s then five-fight winning streak was snapped after the Armenian dropped an unanimous decision to Diego Sanchez at UFC Fight Night 6.
Following the loss, Parisyan bounced back and racked up three more victorious before being stopped for the first time in his career at the hands of Thiago Alves, who knocked out Parisyan with a knee during the second round of their bout at UFC Fight Night 13.
Shannon Gugerty: You will know me after UFC 90 win
Some fighters are built up slowly, crafting a winning record through carefully selected opponents.
UFC lightweight Shannon Gugerty (11-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) will apparently not be that guy.
But on the verge of a "UFC 90: Silva vs. Cote" showdown with perennial contender Spencer Fisher -- in just his second bout for the organization -- Gugerty recently told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that he welcomes the challenge.
"Spencer Fisher is almost like a household name," Gugerty said. "Everyone who follows the sport knows who he is. A win over him would definitely be huge for my career."
Gugerty debuted for the UFC in July, defeating fellow newcomer Dale Hartt at "UFC Fight Night 14." Gugerty said the joy of earning a win in the sport's premier organization is a feeling he won't soon forget.
"It was like my first win all over again," Gugerty said. "I was really excited. It was like a real surreal feeling. I was really stoked."
Hermes Franca predicts knockout win over Marcus Aurelio at UFC 90
“If he’s awake, I’ll shake his hand.”
– Hermes Franca shares his prediction with InsideFighting.com on his upcoming fight against Marcus Aurelio at UFC 90: “Silva vs. Cote” at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill., on October 25. He intends to finish his former Brazilian jiu-jitsu instructor and camp member at American Top team (ATT) — a good back story that most of you should check out prior to the lightweight showdown if you haven’t already. Despite the bad intentions, both fighters insist that bad blood is not boiling over after their shared and spotty past. In fact, Franca and Aurelio intend to go about this as professionals, indicating that it is not personal. Uh-huh …
Matt Hughes vs Matt Serra UFC fight likely in April 2009
Arch enemies Matt Hughes and Matt Serra will more than likely finally face off in the Octagon to settle their bitter score sometime in April 2009, according to Matt-Hughes.com.
Here’s a snip from Hughes’ most recent blog entry:
“This week, I talked to Joe Silva at the UFC and a possible date for Serra and I is in April. I don’t know the exact date right now or venue. So, that is something that I can look forward to and I can set my training up for that schedule.”
Both former welterweight champions have been sidelined with injuries — Serra sustained an elbow injury in his loss to Georges St. Pierre at UFC 83: “Serra vs. St. Pierre 2? back in April and Hughes has been nursing a knee injury that he suffered in his loss to Thiago Alves at UFC 85: “Bedlam? back in June.
Serra and Hughes — who are about as opposite as two people can get — were opposing coaches in The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 6 and were supposed to fight at UFC 79: “Nemesis” in December 2007. However, Serra had to withdraw because of a serious back injury.
The trash-talking has heated up ever since.
Luke Cummo arrested in New York under suspicion of DWI
“Luke Cummo of Lynbrook was charged with DWI. Nassau County releases the photos of individuals charged with DWI. The gallery represents the charge at the time of the photo. All are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.”
The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 2 welterweight finalist Luke Cummo was recently arrested and charged for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) in New York. He was penciled in to fight next against Steve Bruno at UFC Fight Night 16: “Fight for the Troops” in Fayetteville, N.C., on December 10 before being forced to withdraw with an injury. He is on a back-to-back losing skid and has dropped four of seven bouts all-time inside the Octagon.
Some Upside From ProElite's, EliteXC's Demise
Sam Caplan identifies it:
Another thing you will see with the fall of ProElite is the rise of regional MMA. With MMA on the downturn in Japan, a lot of talented fighters could be stuck in a state of purgatory. Granted, Strikeforce will be very interested in a lot of the aforementioned names, but the reality is that the WEC, UFC (which will likely have to purge some of its roster if it pursues a significant amount of ex-EliteXC fighters), and Strikeforce can only have so many fighters under contract. A lot of fighters who were fighting and winning on the national level are suddenly going to find that their only options will be to fight for less for U.S.-based regional promotions and improve their market value with the major national promotions that remain, or retire.
Existing regional promotions will look to secure talent that falls through the cracks while several promotions will form out of the void that has been created by the collapse of so many national promotions. A fight such as Rogers vs. Herman, which had been discussed as a strong possibility of taking place for EliteXC in 2009 for the promotion’s heavyweight title, might now be contested on a regional show. And once these regional promotions sign a few significant names, they will become immediate candidates to land a broadcast deal with HDNet.
What's Next for Kimbo Slice, Gina Carano and Jake Shields?
Dave Meltzer ponders what's next for the three biggest players in EliteXC's roster:
Elite XC’s two biggest attractions, Slice and Carano, are unlikely to be moving to the sport’s highest-profile group. UFC president Dana White has repeatedly said he won’t use Slice, who made his reputation as a backyard streetfighter on YouTube videos but is not the caliber of even a mid-level MMA pro. White also has said he’s not interested in promoting women’s fighting, although Carano’s success as a draw may cause him to reconsider. Her match with Kelly Kobold two weeks ago ended up adding more new viewers than any MMA match on television in the U.S.
Several agents for fighters have been in contact all day with the UFC. Some, like welterweight champion Jake Shields, would be welcomed into the promotion.
Carano will likely be fighting in an ad hoc basis. She is too marketable and popular to never be used, but without a strong financial backer to build women's MMA or divisions she'll be forced to fight opponents in a one-off basis. Luckily for her, she doesn't have all of her eggs in one basket with her various ventures. She'll still have a public profile with or without MMA.
Shields is in an excellent spot and I would be surprised if he didn't go to the WEC or UFC (more likely the latter).
As for Slice, that's tougher to predict. He is exceptionally popular, but do major promotions like Strikeforce or Affliction - who realize how limited his talent actually is - want to follow in EliteXC's footsteps with meaningless match-making? Part of the impetus to put those matches together was simply to keep EliteXC afloat on the back of their most popular star. Does Strikeforce want to follow that precedent? I seriously doubt it, although I could imagine a world where Affliction tries that. While it's impossible to dismiss Slice's appeal, EliteXC offered the perfect hand-in-glove scenario for him to thrive. Unless promoters are willing to make the same accomodations, where does he go?
New Rashad Evans Interview!
Rashad Evans ‘Almost Undisputed’
#1 UFC Lightheavyweight Contender ‘Sugar’ Rashad Evans took some time to talk with PDG about his victory over the ‘Iceman’, training for his title shot against Forrest Griffin, his mixed martial arts career and ‘Devil May Cry’.
PDG: Another big UFC fight in your division that is coming up is Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson vs. ‘The Axe Murderer’ Wanderlei Silva version 3.0; what do you think of that match-up and possibly facing the winner of that fight sometime down the road? Evans: I think it's great and I would love to be in a position to fight the winner of that match. It would be an honor in itself to fight either one of those two guys since I've been a fan of both of them for a very long time. ‘Rampage’ nearly got killed though the last time that he fought Wanderlei, Wanderlei could have got arrested for what he did to him in their last fight [laughs]. But in all seriousness if ‘Rampage’ goes into the fight like a quarterback who had a really bad game the last time he faced that opponent and has a short memory. Then just like the quarterback who bounces back and has a great game, so can ‘Rampage’. It is going to be tough though because of the blows that he was dealt in their last fight. Sometimes a fighter just has your number and if Wanderlei stays true to him self....
Brock Lesnar on ESPN's "E:60" today
Former World Wrestling Entertainment champion turned UFC heavyweight contender Brock Lesnar will be featured during tonight's "E:60" episode on ESPN.
The newsmagazine show premieres at 7 p.m. ET.
Lesnar, who debuted earlier this year with a loss to former UFC champion Frank Mir, meets current heavyweight title-holder Randy Couture next month at UFC 91 -- an event UFC President Dana White predicts could be one of the organization's biggest ever.
The "E:60" piece will look at Lesnar's path from a high school state wrestling champion to a WWE superstar to an NFL hopeful to UFC contender. Lesnar also talks to E:60 correspondent Tom Farrey about his battle with alcohol and painkiller addiction.
Lesnar (2-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC), 31, made his UFC debut in February at UFC 81. Although he dominated the fight for all but a few seconds, he suffered a first-round submission loss (via kneebar) to Mir. However, he rebounded in August and scored a dominating unanimous-decision victory over Heath Herring at UFC 87 in August. Next month he fights for the title against Couture, the 45-year-old UFC hall-of-famer who returns from a 13-month layoff due to a contract dispute.
Affliction signs Canadian featherweight Dave Pariseau
Five Ounces of Pain has learned that Affliction has signed Canadian featherweight Dave Pariseau to a three-fight contract. No date or opponent was announced for his debut.
Pariseau is a veteran of TKO, XMMA, and Ultimate Cage Wars who possesses a mixed martial arts record of 7-6-1. Pariseau holds victories over the likes of Jason St. Louis, Jacob MacDonald, and Alex Popov. Pariseau has also been in the cage with the likes of Chris Horodecki, Martin Grandmont, and Kajan Johnson, all in a losing effort.
Pariseau was last in action at XMMA 3 where he scored an impressive 19 second rear naked choke over his foe, Justin Doyon.
ELITEXC INSIDER DETAILS COMPANY'S DOWNFALL
In an interview with MMAWeekly.com Monday evening, Icon Sport founder T.J. Thompson said crisis management, or lack thereof, brought Pro Elite down.
Thompson history with Elite began in August of 2007 when he sold his Hawaiian MMA promotion Icon Sport to the then-expanding company. As part of his deal, he entered into a five-year consulting deal with the Los Angeles-based company and participated in many strategic talks with its executives.
A 15-year industry veteran who got his start promoting fights in the backrooms of bars to a couple hundred fans, Thompson got a call Monday morning from EliteXC Head of Fight Operations Jeremy Lappen, who informed him that the company had filed for bankruptcy and everyone in the company would be let go.
Thompson said it was CBS, not Showtime, who backed out of an impending deal to purchase the ailing fight promotion. Last Tuesday, he spoke with Elite CEO Chuck Champion, who said the company had a fifty-fifty shot of surviving.
“His opinion was that the deal was either going to close in the next two to four weeks, or it was going to crash a lot faster than that,” Thompson said.
Fabricio Werdum: Odd Man Out in the UFC Heavyweight Title Picture
Sherdog has a good piece about Fabricio Werdum and his plight outside the four man heavy weight title tournament looking in:
“I didn’t like that they put Brock Lesnar against Randy Couture,” Werdum said. “I think that it would be fair to put ‘Minotauro’ Nogueira against Couture -- it had to be a fight between these two. Despite having been champion once, I’ve not found it fair that Frank Mir is fighting for the belt. I had two great victories where I was very superior to my opponents, Gabriel Gonzaga and Brandon Vera. I’ve won by myself -- not the judges.
“So I think I would be the one to fight against ‘Minotauro’ or Couture, the winner between the two of them, for the belt. I’ve imagined that I would fight for the title in March. Let’s see what will happen. I hope to do my part fighting against ‘Cigano.’ I won’t underestimate him. I will win. It will be by knockout or a finish. I won’t give any opportunity for bad luck.”
BJ Penn vs. GSP is a Title Fight
According to Dave Meltzer, the January BJ Penn vs. Georges St. Pierre fight will be for the welterweight title:
St. Pierre vs. Penn will be for the welterweight title, giving Penn the chance to become the first person in UFC history to hold championships in two weight divisions at the same time.
This is great news from my perspective, I really hated the idea of another three round fight between these two. It's hard to imagine this going to decision now, so we should get a real answer as to who is the better fighter at 170 pounds. This also has to favor St. Pierre, who is in far better condition than Penn, and pushes a tougher pace than any other fighter in the UFC.