Welterweight Phil Baroni released by Strikeforce; reportedly "likely" to sign with UFC
Following a June defeat at the hands of Joe Riggs, welterweight slugger Phil Baroni (13-11) was today officially released from his contract with Strikeforce.
Baroni fought just twice for the organization, compiling an 0-2 record.
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker said he wasn't ruling out a future relationship with the "New York Bad Ass," providing Baroni can put together a win streak in the welterweight division.
"We wish Phil the best of luck and hope he can revive his career," Coker said. "If he can, maybe one day he can return and fight for us."
A former middleweight, Baroni made his Strikeforce debut in June 2007. Facing MMA pioneer Frank Shamrock for Strikeforce's first-ever middleweight title, Baroni was choked unconscious in the second round.
The loss to Shamrock started a three-fight skid for the hard-hitting Baroni, a run that ultimately inspired the 33-year-old to drop to the welterweight division, where he put together a three-fight win streak before the loss to Riggs.
A report from Sherdog.com cites the UFC as Baroni's likely new employer. Baroni's agent, Ken Pavia of MMAAgents.com, was unable to comment on the matter when contacted by MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
Would MMA fans ‘love to see’ Chuck Liddell vs Tito Ortiz III?
According to the “Huntington Beach Bad Boy” they would:
“I have no more pain, no more soreness, no more numbness going down my legs; I’m back in to fighting shape again. I just started working with Freddie Roach out of Los Angeles, the ‘Wild Card,’ and I’m excited. For once I’m gonna be 100 percent, and hopefully the fans get to the see the champion I was before, ’cause the last time I was 100 percent, when I was the world champion, and I defended my world title five consecutive times … I gotta give the respect to Chuck Liddell, he was a great champion. Too bad he retired, a rematch with him would be nice, and I think the fans would love to see that.”
The former light heavyweight champ talks via SportsRadioInterviews.com about his ‘comeback’ under the tutelage of famed boxing coach Freddie Roach. Ortiz is coming off major spinal fusion surgery to correct a back problem that plagued him in his most recent bouts. His last appearance was in May 2008 — a unanimous decision loss to now 205-pound champion, Lyoto Machida. Speculation has swirled that Ortiz could return to competition at UFC 106 opposite Mark Coleman, but nothing is official at this time. Is a win over the aging wrestler going to propel him back into the mix? Or would any fans out there rather see him tangle with “The Iceman” for a third time instead?
Randy Couture expresses interest in a possible fight with current UFC Middleweight Champion
Chad Dukes: Would you ever consider [dropping to light heavyweight] and facing [Silva]?
Randy Couture: Yeah, are you kidding? I think he's one of the best fighters in the world. Those are the kinds of guys I want to fight. That would be an interesting fight.
I think the guy with a wrestling background that can get their hands on him, tie him up and smother him is definitely a guy that's going to give him fits and make him have a rough night.
Le Hints at CBS Return
It’s gone past passé to say that Strikeforce middleweight champion Cung Le has been conspicuously absent from the promotion’s expanding rotation.
Le (6-0) earned the title after defeating Frank Shamrock almost a year and a half ago but has yet to defend it. Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker has even relented in announcing that he’ll put an interim title up for grabs before the end of the year. Hopefully, the splintered lineage will be unified sooner than later.
Le, 37, said he’s spent his time away from the cage nursing injuries and surgeries, as well as acting in five films (including a co-starring turn with Dennis Quaid in the sci-fi flick “Pandorum” due out Sept. 18). Le hinted the promotion has bigger plans for him anyway.
Houston Alexander Possible For Adrenaline 4
In the rather rare case of a fighter still under contract to Zuffa yet fighting elsewhere, UFC star Houston Alexander, coming off a recent injury, is tentatively set for the 4th Adrenaline event to be held September 18. He's scheduled to face Sherman Pendergarst in the co-main event.
Nick Diaz To Try Boxing Again
MMA veteran Nick Diaz will apparently dabble in professional boxing again. Longtime promoter, matchmaker and manager Don Chagrin today announced he has signed the 26-year-old southpaw and that Diaz has received permission from Strikeforce to compete in both sports. No date or opponent were determined for Diaz, who was recently scratched from this weekend's Strikeforce card and a title fight with Jay Hieron after skipping a mandatory drug test.
Jake Shields: ‘Frank Shamrock always has some [expletive] excuse not to fight me’
Jake Shields could easily make the claim as being the most talented fighter currently competing in the sport that gets the least amount of respect and recognition for his caliber of skill level.
The thirty year old Cesar Gracie trained Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt has gone undefeated in the past four years, racking up a dozen consecutive victories over the likes of Yushin Okami, Carlos Condit and Paul Daley.
Anderson Silva Set to Draw Big on His "Final Run"
Throughout his dominant UFC career, the knock on Anderson Silva has been his drawing ability, or lack thereof. His two fights with Rich Frankin did buyrates in the 300,000 range, and his fight with Dan Henderson did only slightly better. Then in July 2008, the UFC put together a monster campaign on his behalf leading into his fight with James Irvin, and Silva came through with a memorable highlight knockout. The show did a big rating for Spike TV, and everyone thought Silva was on the path to being a big draw. Then Patrick Cote happened.
Mitsuhiro Ishida: Gilbert Melendez Better Get Ready for 'Something Special'
Mitsuhiro Ishida will be stepping in on two weeks' notice this Saturday at Strikeforce as he attempts to repeat the biggest win of his career in a lightweight title bout against interim champion Gilbert Melendez.
Ishida (18-5-1), who handed Melendez (15-2) the first loss of his career at "Yarennoka!" on New Year's Eve 2007, accepted the rematch in place of the only other person to hand Melendez a loss, the injured champ Josh Thomson.
Chuck Liddell: 'Hard for an Athlete to Quit What He's Done His Whole Life'
Four months after his most recent fight, a loss to Shogun Rua at UFC 97, Chuck Liddell is relaxing and enjoying life. But he's not ready to say he's retired.
In an interview Wednesday with FanHouse, Liddell said that he doesn't know if he'll fight again, and he doesn't know when he'll be ready to retire. Liddell wants to determine the future of his career on his own schedule, and he's only going to decide for sure after he gets back in the gym and tests himself again.
Liddell also talked about connecting with the fans, dealing with a Twitter imposter, and his acting career. The full interview is below.
EXCITED FOR WIN, BOWLES EXPECTS REMATCH SOON
With Nevada State Athletic Commission officials herding him to the exit door, new WEC bantamweight champion Brian Bowles looked a mixture of relieved, happy, and hurt. A sizable bump protruded from his left hand, the result of one of the many shots dealt to Miguel Torres in a title taking performance.
He was ready to let his hair down. The hospital would be first, but afterwards, he wanted to party.
“It’s been a long time preparing for this fight,” Bowles told MMAWeekly.com. “I’m ready to let loose a little bit.”
KURT PELLEGRINO SCORES A UFC TRIFECTA
Over a brief period of time it looked like UFC lightweight Kurt Pellegrino may be on his way down the 155-pound ladder, or worse yet, out of the company.
Losses in two out of three fights, to Joe Stevenson and Nate Diaz, had Pellegrino reeling, looking for a way to rebound and get his career back on track.
Enter fellow UFC lightweight contender Kenny Florian.
After moving back to his native New Jersey and making a decision to join Florian’s camp in Boston, Pellegrino has flourished, winning three straight fights, including this past Saturday’s win at UFC 101 over Josh Neer.
UFC 1 COMMENTATOR KATHY LONG MAKES MMA DEBUT
The breakout mainstream success that has been achieved by Gina Carano may seem like a new phenomenon, but in truth she is simply the latest in a line of women to achieve such things.
In the 90’s it was Kathy “The Punisher” Long who parlayed her success in the kickboxing and boxing ring to movie roles in such films as Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers and Tim Burton's Batman Returns to even making an appearance as a commentator at UFC 1.
GINA CARANO IS BRINGING THE PASSION BACK
For Gina Carano, it’s a good thing that her next opponent, Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos, is the scariest fighter south of the equator. If she wasn’t, Carano would have a hard time getting into the gym.
On Saturday, history will be made in San Jose, Calif., when the two face off as headliners of a major MMA card in the midst of a headline-filled summer. Strikeforce, the sole second of the UFC, booked the fight for five, five-minute rounds to the objections of some of its fighters. The logic was that female fighters always steal the show, especially when one of those fighters is the first and only female to crossover on the mainstream radar.
UFC Gives Thales Leites His Walking Papers
Thales Leites, who less than four months ago competed for the UFC middleweight title, was given his walking papers in a meeting Wednesday afternoon with the UFC, FanHouse confirmed with a source close to Leites.
Leites (14-3) had exclusively fought for the UFC since The Ultimate Fighter 4 Finale in November 2006, where he lost his promotional debut to Martin Kampmann, but would bounce back with five straight wins to earn a shot against champion Anderson Silva. However, after the two turned out a lackluster and tentative five-round performance, both faced heavy criticism and required a strong follow-up outing to restore their reputation.