Brad Pickett Heading To WEC
Top UK featherweight Brad Pickett is likely to be picked up by the WEC in the near future, according to industry sources.
Pickett himself was tight-lipped when contacted by Fighters Only today as he prepared to fly out to the USA for WEC 36 next week.
“All I know is, the roster might be trimmed after this event and if a place comes up, I’m pretty confident I would get one,” he said.
“I really want to fight in Las Vegas. And Zuffa have been talking about bringing the WEC to the UK next year, so I could be their poster-boy,” he laughed.
Pickett is heading to WEC 36 to watch American Top Team colleague Mike Brown fight Urijah Faber for the featherweight title.
Dana White ‘lukewarm’ to Anderson Silva vs Chuck Liddell
“I think the fight for Silva is one against Liddell on Jan. 31 at UFC 94 in Las Vegas. UFC president Dana White has been lukewarm on it so far, but it would be a fun battle and it certainly would be a fight that would have Silva motivated…. [White] didn’t seem all that interested. I had talked with him about it in a private phone conversation about 10 days earlier and he was no more interested in it then. I’m not saying it won’t happen, just that Dana doesn’t seem enthused by the idea”
Yahoo!Sports reporter Kevin Iole talks about Dana White’s reaction to a potential showdown between UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva and Chuck Liddell in a 205-pound showdown. “The Spider” has just five fights left possibly in his career, which means that the promotion will likely try and get the most out of its most talented fighter before he exits stage left. He recently topped Patrick Cote at UFC 90: “Silva vs. Cote” on October 25 because of a freak knee injury that prevented the Canadian from continuing; however, Silva’s performance was puzzling and received an avalanche of criticism. As a result, he is eager to return to competition as soon as possible to prove that it was just an aberration and not an indication of his ability or representative of his respect for his opponents and the sport. Liddell has lost three of his last four fights, but is still perhaps the most recognized fighter on the roster, making a fight between Silva and Liddell more than likely a huge money maker. “The Iceman” is really the only high profile 205-pound fighter who is available to compete anytime soon besides maybe Keith Jardine.
Cooperation or Competition Between Affliction and Golden Boy Promotions?
A few months ago, Affliction announced its deal with Golden Boy Promotions and crowed that this would be a major challenge to the UFC. A few weeks ago, we heard that it would no longer be a mixed show, and instead would be a pure MMA show. Now it appears that Golden Boy is putting a boxing show on HBO on January 24, the same night as Affliction's PPV.
Dave Meltzer reports in the November 5 Wrestling Observer Newsletter that Golden Boy Promotions will feature Antonio Margarito vs. Shane Mosley on HBO on January 24, 2008. That is a pretty big fight and it will air opposite of Affliction, on (almost) free TV.
Here's the rub: I don't think there is any joint promotional deal between Affliction and Golden Boy. I heard a few weeks ago that nothing was signed, and it looks like all they have is a t-shirt deal, or a production deal at most. They announced it prematurely to distract people from the fact that they cancelled their October show because it sold about 700 tickets.
Mark Cuban's HDNet Purchases IFL Assets
For the $650,000 price tag, HDNet will be entitled to all intellectual property, including the IFL’s film, video, and image library; its five-roped competition ring and team trademarks; and proprietary rights, including its Web site. The transaction also includes any remaining broadcast contracts the IFL acquired during its two-year tenure, which includes a deal with FOX Sports Network.
An article up at Cage Potato provides speculation as to what this acquisition could mean in terms of HDNet's desire to promote MMA:
Not that the IFL didn’t put on some good fights, but how much is old fight footage really worth? With the exception of the really good bouts, watching old fights can be a lot like watching old college football games on ESPN Classic, which is to say it appeals to a very select audience, mostly the unemployed and the very, very drunk, either of whom are likely to think they’re watching live TV.
But HDNet seems too savvy to pay that much for a bunch of old fights that have already been aired on Fox Sports Net and MyNetwork, not to mention spread around the internet. So what do you have up your sleeve, HDNet? Don’t tell me you paid more than half a million dollars just to air Chris Horodecki highlights in between old episodes of Hogan’s Heroes. All right, I admit I’d watch that.
Matt Riddle Out of UFC 91 Bout Due To Injury
The welterweight debut of former “Ultimate Fighter” 185-pound cast member Matt Riddle will have to wait. He has suffered a knee injury that will force him out of his upcoming bout against Ryan Thomas on the undercard of UFC 91 on Nov. 15.
Riddle’s injury was confirmed to MMAWeekly.com by sources close to the situation.
Riddle made a great impression on fans during his time on The Ultimate Fighter and after the show wrapped up filming, he relocated to Arizona to train alongside former housemate C.B. Dollaway at Arizona Combat Sports.
In his first official fight in the UFC, Riddle won a decisive unanimous decision over Dante Rivera at The Ultimate Fighter finale show in June.
For the fight in November, Riddle was cutting weight and making his 170-pound debut, but during training for the bout the young fighter fell victim to a knee injury that will likely require surgery and could keep him on the shelf for the better part of six to eight weeks.
No word has come down from the UFC about a possible replacement to step in for Riddle to take on Ryan Thomas at this time.
Stay tuned to MMAWeekly.com for more information on this fight as it becomes available.
The WEC and Urijah Faber headed to pay per view in 2009
World Extreme Cagefighting and the organization's biggest star, featherweight champion Urijah Faber, will test the pay-per-view waters in 2009.
The organization, which was acquired by the UFC's parent company in December 2006, went from a regional hit to arguably the world's current No. 2 fight promotion with the UFC's backing. And now, after building a solid audience on the cable channel Versus, the WEC will make its PPV debut next year.
Cheick Kongo and C.B. Dollaway part of finalized UFC 92 main card
The UFC 92 card now includes:
Champ Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Frank Mir (for interim UFC heavyweight title)
Champ Forrest Griffin vs. Rashad Evans (for UFC light heavyweight title)
C.B. Dollaway vs. Mike Massenzio
Quinton Jackson vs. Wanderlei Silva
Mustafa Al-Turk vs. Cheick Kongo
Dean Lister vs. Yushin Okami
Mark Burch vs. Antoni Hardonk
Reese Andy vs. Matt Hamill
Brad Blackburn vs. Ryo Chonan
Pat Berry vs. Dan Evensen
Mike Whitehead returns to win column with M-1 Challenge victory
Former UFC fighter and "The Ultimate Fighter 2" cast member Mike Whitehead (23-6) rebounded from a July loss to Renato "Babalu" Sobral and picked up his 14th victory in his past 15 fights with a first-round submission victory over Leo Pla (4-2) on Wednesday.
The fight capped off the M-1 Challenge 8th Edition, which took place in conjunction with the Affliction Entertainment at Harrah's North Kansas City Casino.
The M-1 Challenge, which recently partnered with Affliction, is a team-based international competition designed for young fighters who want fight experience. The top fighters can win spots on major M-1 fight cards.
Whitehead, a three-time All-American wrestler at the University of Missouri, competed in one of the night's two superfights, which showcase established stars. He submitted Pla with a guillotine choke just 80 seconds into the fight. It was his 12th submission victory in 23 pro wins.
Women's MMA Finding New Life in Japan?
GCM's Valkyrie, which will hold its first card on Nov. 8, will not be the only all-female fight promotion in Japan, as from the ashes of Smackgirl, newly formed parent company Marvelous Japan has announced its own upstart organization, Jewels.
Yuichi Ozono, an executive from Japanese event production company Archery Inc. will lead Marvelous Japan. After learning of the languishing Smackgirl and its business woes, Ozono formed Marvelous Japan and acquired the assets and rights formerly belonging to Smackgirl parent company Kilgore.
"I always liked the martial arts, especially Smackgirl, and when I read that they were in trouble, I wanted to find out the truth," Ozono said. "I met with [former Smackgirl President Motoki] Shino and heard that it was impossible for the promotion to continue, so I proposed to him to let me take over the promotion. After several discussions, we reached an agreement, and he gave me the management team of Smackgirl."
Prospects fill out Nov. 21 "Strikeforce: Destruction" fight card
With Strikeforce champions Josh Thomson and Bobby Southworth ready to contend, and with Joe Riggs set to face Luke Stewart, in main-card bouts, Strikeforce has filled out the rest of its "Destruction" fight card with prospects and up-and-comers.
The rest of the card includes:
Champ Josh Thomson vs. Yves Edwards (for lightweight title)
Champ Bobby Southworth vs. Renato "Babalu" Sobral (for light heavyweight title)
Luke Stewart vs. Joe Riggs
Lemont Davis vs. Brian Schwartz
Tony Johnson vs. Eric Lawson
Darren Uyenoyama vs. Brad Royster
Alvin Cacdac vs. Jose Palacios
Cyrillo Padilha vs. Bobby Stack
Zakary Bucia vs. Jaime Rodriguez
Raul Castillo vs. Kurt Osiander
Nik Theotikos vs. Luke Rockhold
BACK IN UFC; COUTURE QUESTIONS AFFLICTION CEO
Spending more than a year away from the sport, UFC heavyweight champion Randy “The Natural” Couture is ready to return on Nov. 15 to face Brock Lesnar at UFC 91. It was a long, strange trip through lawsuits, courtrooms, and other various legal battles, but the champ is ready to get back to his office in the Octagon.
“Fighting in the cage is what I do best. Courtrooms and depositions and crap like that, it’s not really up my alley,” Couture said during a recent appearance on MMAWeekly Radio. “Realistically, I’ve got a short window of opportunity to continue to compete at this level, so I need to take advantage of that while the window’s still open.”
During his time away from the UFC, Couture was focused on making a fight happen with top heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko, and the Affliction promotion seemed to be the place leading the charge to make it happen.
JUNIE BROWNING REFORMS AT XTREME COUTURE
Junie Browning, who has become this season’s public enemy No. 1 on "The Ultimate Fighter” reality show, has decided to pick up his training schedule and work with Xtreme Couture. Representatives of the gym confirmed the news to MMAWeekly.com on Wednesday.
Kimbo/Petruzelli II Rumored for K-1 NYE Show
So, the South Florida Sun Suntinel has this story about how EliteXC’s collapse affects South Floridians (thanks for the tip, Fight Opinion), and it contains this rather amazing quote:
Rookie MMA fighter Kimbo Slice is already back in a local gym after his 14-second loss to last-minute replacement and UFC light heavyweight washout Seth Petruzelli in Sunrise.
Slice, who spent Thursday at one of his children’s school career day, is weighing his options with his agent Mike Imber. He may fight on the DREAM K-1 New Year’s Eve show in Japan, possibly a rematch with Petruzelli.
Rodriguez and Fickett part of RITC's 10-year anniversary event
Former UFC heavyweight champion Ricco Rodriguez and UFC veteran Drew Fickett will both compete at Rage in the Cage's RITC 117 event, a special 10-year anniversary show for the Arizona-based competition.
In the Nov. 8 event's headline bout, Rodriguez (33-9) takes on Robert Beraun (7-5) in a rematch from their initial meeting at RITC 78, and Fickett (35-7) meets Jose Cortez (4-1) in a co-main event scheduled for a catch-weight of 175 pounds.
RITC 117 takes place at Phoenix's US Airways Center, a 22,000-seat arena that's home to the NBA's Phoenix Suns.
The Rodriguez-Beraun fight will give Rodriguez the chance to avenge one of the four losses he's suffered in his past 19 fights. From May 2003 to January 2006, Beraun went 7-1 and ended the remarkable stretch with a unanimous-decision win over Rodriguez at RITC 78.
Olympic Judo gold medalist Satoshi Ishii signs with FEG
Olympic Judo gold medalist Satoshi Ishii was set to make his mixed martial arts debut on New Year’s Eve at the FieLDS Dynamite show at the end of this year. However it now looks as though he will just be making a brief cameo appearance like Fedor Emelianenko did back at DREAM 6 in September according to our friends at Nightmare of Battle.
While fans may be disappointed that he won’t be competing, the good news is he’s officially signed with Japan’s Fighting & Entertainment Group (FEG) and is expected to compete in an upcoming DREAM event sometime in Spring 2009.
I’m sure he’ll elaborate when his fan club holds a celebration party on November 3, but for now he is remaining tight-lipped about the details.
The December 31 Dynamite card features a plethora of top-tier fighters and fan favorites such as Kazushi Sakuraba, Shinya Aoki, Hayato Sakurai, Joachim Hansen, Yoshihiro Sato and many more.
One of the names being kicked around for Ishii’s debut according to Tokyo-Sports is fellow Judo gold medalist Hidehiko Yoshida (8-6-1). Nothing is certain yet, but both athletes rank very high in the court of public opinion and a fight between them would no doubt be a huge draw.