Melendez ready for a friendly defense
One of the top lightweights in the world and the current Strikeforce lightweight champion, Gilbert Melendez has been wreaking havoc on the 155-pound division in the states and overseas. We caught up with Melendez to talk about his upcoming fight with Josh Thomson, the No. 1 contender to his Strikeforce lightweight title and good friend. Melendez gives his take on this fight and other things pertaining to MMA’s lightweight division around the world.
MMAWeekly - Gilbert, thanks for taking some time out for us. You have a tough fight this Friday, not only physically, but I would also assume mentally as you face someone you have been good friends with for the last couple of years. First, tell us your thoughts on how your training is going and whom you’re working with.
GM - No problem. My training has been going great, nothing really different. I always pushed myself hard and to the limit. I was working for five five-minute rounds for my last fight, so it made it easier to jump into the five and five for this fight. So that’s good and I had good training partners in Nick and Nate Diaz, and of course Jake Shields. He (Jake) is the biggest nightmare ever. He’s really discouraging when he’s whooping my ass, but I know when I tangled with someone else they’re not as tough or as strong as him so it’s been going really good. I also drove out to San Diego and trained with Diego Sanchez a little bit, so it was really cool out there.
First Sengoku 4 Bout Announced
The first bout has been announced for Sengoku 4, which takes place on Aug. 24 at the Saitama Super Arena.
K-1 veteran Peter Graham gives MMA a second shot when he takes on French fighter Moise Rimbon in a heavyweight bout. Graham comes off a quick submission loss to Japanese heavyweight Kazuyuki Fujita at the first Sengoku, while Rimbon recently knocked out UFC veteran Anthony Perosh at Cage Fighting Championships 3.
Already announced for Sengoku 4 is an eight-man lightweight tournament to determine a challenger for Takanori Gomi with the winner facing Gomi for the vacant Sengoku lightweight title. Announced participants include Satoru Kitaoka, Eiji Mitsuoka, Kazunori Yokota, Duane “Bang” Ludwig, and Rodrigo Damn. Rumored, but not confirmed, participants include Clay French and Cristiano Marcello.
Former Pride lightweight champion Gomi is also rumored to be facing off with International Fight League lightweight sensation Chris Horodecki, who would be making his Japanese MMA debut.
UFC's merchandise agreement: good in theory, not on paper
Mixed martial arts is in the business of overnight money-making -- raking in hundreds of millions in its opening years while many (ethically and legally) still push it away. And the biggest player behind the sport's chart-defying growth: the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Revitalized in 2001 by Zuffa, LLC, the UFC has emphasized its "strong ownership and depth of management" as the brand enhanced the sport's international and national presence, helped it ride the wave of reality TV, put it near the top of premium and network television ratings and guided it into the arena of merchandising and sponsorship to make it a force to be reckoned with in sports business.
Loiseau Victorious At Raw Combat: Resurrection
David Loiseau vs. Andrew Buckland
Both fighters touch gloves and back away. Buckland lands a nice leg kick before being FLOORED by a Loiseau right hand. He gets up to his hand and knees and another shot puts him back out. The official time is 0:20 of round 1. Impressive win by Loiseau.
Cung Le is ‘at a crossroads’ in his career
“I just landed a big movie role with Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster. It’s been pretty exciting for me. I didn’t even get the role for my fighting abilities. I actually auditioned and I got it off straight acting. (It’s not based on martial arts) it’s science fiction. So far, the two movies that I did had fighting. They were saying that’s the best fight scene and they’re actually going to send it in to see if that fight scene gets best fight scene of the year with me and Channing Tatum. I feel like I still got a couple more good fights in me but at the same time I have to be smart. I’m at a crossroads. There’s a lot of great fighters out there. Of course, there’s the great Anderson Silva but that matchup doesn’t seem like it’s ever going to happen.
AFL: VooDoo Economics?
Knowing the financial straits that most MMA start-ups are hindered by, it was a bit surprising to see the big numbers being thrown around recently by the American Fight League. Especially eye opening were the figures that were reported for the signing of female fighter Tara Larosa. Sherdog reported the terms recently:
The deal - which will reportedly pay Larosa a minimum of $500,000 and could reach $750,000 over the course of its 18-month term -
PS. The AFL is expecting to achieve 150,000 PPV buys each event when they start holding them later this year!
ProElite Gets Cash Infusion From Showtime
The latest SEC filings by ProElite indicate that the company recently received a cash infusion from CBS/Showtime Networks. Showtime funded a note payable by ProElite and ProElite in return issued warrants to Showtime. The note is payable for $3.5 million but ProElite looks to have received proceeds of $3 million.
ProElite looks to be in a cash crunch with cashflow needed to fund the run up to the July 26th card on CBS.
CBS Seeking To Influence Match-Making
With their increasing financial stake in EliteXC, CBS are exerting their power in the board room, but word is that the Tiffany Network is also trying to influence match-making and booking decisions. Sources indicate to MMAPayout.com that there was significant internal pressure by the network to have Gina Carano appear on the July 26th card with just over a month's notice.
Jared Shaw Responds to Reports
MMAPayout.com recently reported information gleaned from industry insiders about Gary Shaw's possible departure from EliteXC as well as CBS's pressure to book Gina Carano for the July 26th card. EliteXC VP Jared Shaw addressed those reports in an interview with MMARated's Ariel Helwani.
While Jared Shaw denied the reports, he did acknowledge that Gary Shaw's role was evolving.
Shonie Carter: Interview With Mr International
An injury forced Shonie Carter (Pictures) out of the upcoming Strikeforce card, but it could not keep "Mr. International" from speaking his mind about "Iron Ring," Kimbo Slice and his own intriguing tenure in MMA. TJ De Santis spoke with Carter in this exclusive interview.
Affliction VP says Edwin Dewees could replace "Tiger" White
The July 19 "Affliction: Banned" event recently suffered its first card casualty, as K.O. Dynasty Management confirmed that Vernon "Tiger" White had been pulled from the event.
Affliction Vice President Tom Atencio today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that the organization now has its sights set on UFC veteran Edwin Dewees (35-12-0) as a possible replacement to face Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (13-3).
"We're interested in Edwin Dewees," Atencio said. "I haven't had a chance to talk to him, but I know somebody's reaching out to him, and hopefully that will work out. But we're in talks right now."
As we reported earlier today, White was pulled from the card after testing positive for a banned diuretic after a May 31 Xtreme Fighting Association event in Las Vegas. Atencio said no sanctions have yet been levied on White, but he also said that Affliction could not wait until a decision was issued by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
"I haven't talked to [White], but I know that he has a hearing on the ninth of July," Atencio said. "We just can't wait that long to find out what's going to happen to him."
Denny excited about matchup with Nick Diaz
It’s a fight I’ve been waiting for, for a long time,” said Denny about the fight with Diaz.
EliteXC on Wednesday announced that the CBS-EliteXC Saturday Night Fights event will emulate from Stockton, Calif., the hometown of Diaz.
Stepping into hostile territory as the underdog is nothing new to Denny and he looks forward to proving the critics wrong.
“I’ve been the underdog in a lot of things,” he commented. “I mean a lot of people down play me a lot. A lot of people hate on me, tell me how bad I suck, that I shouldn’t be there, but you know what, come July 26th when I’m on CBS, everybody’s going to see what Thomas Denny’s really about and that’s whooping ass.”
Elite XC makes ‘Unfinished Business’ official for CBS on July 26
We all knew it was coming, but today Elite XC officially announced its second installment of “Saturday Night Fights” on CBS — “Unfinished Business” is set to take place at the Stockton Arena in Stockton, Calif., on Saturday, July 26.
In addition, as earlier reported the promotion will indeed split the event into a co-telecast between CBS and Showtime. Therefore, Showtime will air three high profile fights from 8:00 to 9:00 p.m ET, culminating with the first ever Elite XC heavyweight championship title bout between Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva and an unnamed opponent.
When pressed for the possible challenger, Elite XC officials would not budge on Silva’s potential opponent at this time. However, International Fight League (IFL) champ Roy “Big Country” Nelson and Dave “Pee Wee” Herman have both been mentioned in the past couple weeks as possibilities.
In addition, 145-pound standout and Brazilian jiu-jitsu stud Wilson Reis is also rumored to be a part of the Showtime portion of the event.
MILLER VS GRISPI, PAGE VS BOWLES AT WEC 35
World Extreme Cagefighting officially announced a pair of bouts for WEC 35, which takes place on Aug. 3 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
In an exciting bantamweight match-up, undefeated Georgian fighter Brian Bowles faces off with Jackson’s Submission Fighting representative Damacio Page. Bowles impressively knocked out highly regarded Shooto veteran Marcos Galvao at WEC 31, while Page won a close decision over Scott Jorgensen on short notice at WEC 32.
Lanky featherweight Micah Miller takes on east coast wunderkind Josh Grispi in an intriguing featherweight bout. Both fighters come off victories at WEC 32 with Miller knocking out former title challenger Chance Farrar and Grispi choking out UFC veteran Mark Hominick.
WEC 35 is headlined by three title bouts. Welterweight champion Carlos Condit defends his title against Japanese fighter Hiromitsu Miura; light heavyweight champion Brian Stann, in his first title defense, rematches with Steve Cantwell; and lightweight champion Jamie Varner defends for the first time, against Texan Marcus Hicks.
WEC 35 Bouts (officially announced):
-Carlos Condit vs. Hiromitsu Miura
-Brian Stann vs. Steve Cantwell
-Jamie Varner vs. Marcus Hicks
-Damacio Page vs. Brian Bowles
-Micah Miller vs. Josh Grispi
WEC 35 Bouts (unannounced):
-Cub Swanson vs. Hiroyuki Takaya
-Carlo Prater vs. Brock Larson
-Todd Moore vs. Alex Karalexis
-Kenji Osawa vs. Scott Jorgensen
AFL Sstill interested in Kim Couture
LEXINGTON, KY – Kim Couture’s defeat in her professional MMA debut may have some wondering about her future as a professional fighter, but the American Fight League has no doubt at all. The organization wants to sign Couture to be part of its ever-developing female fighting platform.
“The AFL is still very much interested in signing Kim Couture,” said AFL CEO, BJ Santiago. “We would be honored to have her on board.”
“Kim had a tough loss in Las Vegas, but she proved to the world that she’s got a fighter’s heart,” said Santiago. “Despite suffering a broken jaw on the first punch in the first round she fought like a lion and just kept going. The tenacity she displayed in the ring was unbelievable. I’ve never seen anything like it.”