Spike TV Releases 'TUF 8' Cast
Spike TV executives on Monday made public the cast for season eight of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series, set to premiere on Sept. 17 at 10 p.m. EST. The show served as a launching pad for current UFC stars Forrest Griffin (Pictures), Kenny Florian (Pictures) and Michael Bisping (Pictures), among others.
Former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir (Pictures) and reigning interim heavyweight titleholder Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (Pictures) will coach hopefuls on the eighth season, which will feature fighters from the lightweight and light heavyweight divisions. Mir will then challenge Nogueira for the interim belt at a pay-per-view event in December.
The 32-member cast includes Shane Nelson (Pictures) -- a 24-year-old B.J. Penn (Pictures) protégé who will enter the competition on a five-fight winning streak -- and John Polakowski (Pictures), 26, a World Extreme Cagefighting veteran who trains alongside former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell (Pictures) at The Pit in San Luis Obispo, Calif. They are among the 16 lightweights who will vie for the UFC contract.
Efrain Escudero and Brandon Garner are among other notables who made the lightweight cut. Escudero, an unbeaten Rage in the Cage mainstay, has secured his last nine wins by submission. Garner, meanwhile, remains the only man to submit UFC veteran Jason Dent (Pictures).
Undefeated UFC light heavyweight contender Rashad Evans (Pictures), himself a product of “The Ultimate Fighter,” will have a rooting interest in the eighth installment of the reality series. His brother, Lance Evans (Pictures), will compete as a light heavyweight on the show.
Other notables who made the light heavyweight cut include Ryan Bader (Pictures), a former All-American wrestler at Arizona State University, rising Canadian prospect Ryan Jimmo (Pictures) and Jason Guida (Pictures) -- the 30-year-old brother of UFC lightweight contender Clay Guida (Pictures). International Fight League veteran Krzysztof Soszynski (Pictures) and American Top Team product Tom Lawlor are also in the mix at 205 pounds, along with Team Quest’s Vinicius Magalhaes (Pictures), a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt under Royler Gracie (Pictures).
As with last season, preliminary bouts will be held during the first two episodes to pair down the field from 32 to 16. The two finalists in each weight class will meet in “The Ultimate Fighter 8” Live Finale on Dec. 13 in Las Vegas live on Spike TV.
Tito Ortiz back on the open market
Despite proclaiming earlier this month that he had signed a “record breaking” contract with Affliction Entertainment, former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz is once again negotiating with multiple MMA promotions, reports MMAjunkie.com’s Dann Stupp in his latest column for the Dayton Daily News.
Stupp reports that Ortiz is talking to the usual suspects such as Affliction and EliteXC but also adds that the Kentucky-based American Fight League is making a play for his services and that even talks are taking place between Ortiz and the UFC.
UFC's NYE Rumors - Anderson Silva vs Chuck Liddell, and Kenny Florian vs Joe Stevenson ?
One possibility if St. Pierre decides he can't go is Chuck Liddell vs. Anderson Silva. That, fight, however, also has a few obstacles in its path. Liddell is fighting in September, so assuming he wins, he’d have enough time to recover. But Silva is competing on Oct. 25 against Patrick Cote. He’d have to come out of that match unscathed and take a fight with only two months to prepare against Liddell.
It might seem far-fetched, but Silva has voiced a hope to fight more frequently, and mentioned back in June that he hoped to have three more matches in ’08.
For those of you who may have not heard these fights are being considered as back up plans if Georges St.Pierre does not fight BJ Penn.
One other interesting little rumbling that we have heard are that Cain Velasquez may also fight on this card, the problem is not many people are stepping up to fight the former Arizona State wrestling sensation. There have also been rumors of Brock Lesnar's next opponent who may either be Gabriel Gonzaga or Cheick Kongo. We will bet on Kongo as Gonzaga seems as the more legitimate threat to a Lesnar title run that the UFC could profit heavily from.
We have also heard Kenny Florian vs Joe Stevenson, which would be a clash of titans at lightweight. Now keep in mind none of these rumors or speculations are confirmed and are to be considered loose talk at the most. We will keep you up to date on anything we do hear as time goes on.
Irvin Confirms Painkiller Use
Light heavyweight James Irvin (Pictures) admitted to allegations of painkiller use prior to his July 19 UFC bout with Anderson Silva (Pictures) in a letter received by the Nevada State Athletic Commission Monday. Irvin said he took the medication without a prescription.
The Sacramento native tested positive for the non-approved analgesic painkillers methadone and oxymorphone, according to a post-fight urinalysis collected after his TKO loss to UFC middleweight champion Silva.
Irvin lasted just over a minute with the stealth Brazilian fighter during their 205-pound contest broadcasted live on Spike TV.
“In the days leading up to my fight with Anderson Silva (Pictures), I experienced some residual pain in my foot from a previous injury,” wrote Irvin in an Aug. 14 letter. “I made the extremely poor choice to take some pain medications that I did not have a prescription for. I realize this was an ignorant and dangerous decision.”
UFC 90 Press Conference Report
* Dana White announced that Mike Swick will be added to the card but stopped short at saying who his opponent will be.
* Chicago is the UFC's #1 market for pay-per-view revenue.
* When all is said and done, UFC 90 will be the highest-grossing event in the 28-year history of the Allstate Arena, smashing Wrestlemania 22's record of 2.4 million dollars.
* As of Noon today, UFC 90's gate has already reached the two million dollar mark.
* White said Anderson Silva could potentially move up to light heavyweight again if he defeats Patrick Cote on October 25th.
* Furthermore, he even hinted at a possible GSP vs. Silva bout at an undetermined catch weight.
* The winner of the Diego Sanchez vs. Thiago Alves bout will receive a welterweight title shot.
* Speaking of Alves, he vowed to have no more issues making weight at 170 lbs.
UFC veteran Ivan Salaverry: Retirement comes with no regrets
When famous athletes retire, they get interviewed by Bob Costas in a luxurious hotel room with big lights, multiple camera angles, and complementary Fiji water at the ready.
They reminisce about their bygone glories as woeful fans abuse the Kleenex box and beg their hero not to fade away just yet.
Ivan Salaverry got me, Kelly Crigger, a part-time writer who happened to be in Seattle just days after the announcement that he would no longer grace the octagon. Salaverry has voluntarily bowed out of competition to pursue other interests and give his time back to the people who matter in his life -- his family and students.
Tim Boetsch knows he’s a work in progress
The awe was evident in Joe Rogan's voice as he tried to describe what he had just seen in the cage at UFC 81.
Tim Boetsch had just used David Heath's head like a soccer ball, bouncing it off his knees five or six times before he grabbed Heath around the shoulders and spiked him into the canvas.
Rogan, a color analyst on the UFC's television broadcast and a standup comedian who is quick with a barb, sounded stunned by what he'd seen.
"Look at this," Rogan exclaimed. "He just ... rag-dolls him to the ground. David Heath was stunned just from that."
Indeed, Heath was all but out from the spike, which caused spectators sitting on that side of the cage to wince. Terrell Owens hasn't spiked a football with as much force after an important touchdown.
Boetsch's victory over Heath stunned many veteran mixed martial arts observers, who had never heard of him previously. He'd only begun fighting slightly more than a year earlier and was suddenly pummeling an experienced fighter with ease.
None of what he did, though, surprised Wade Fatool. Boetsch's father-in-law is 50 and described by his son-in-law as a freak of nature. He still dominates many of those who are willing to get on the mat and wrestle with him in his hometown of Sunbury, Penn.
The Ultimate Fighter cast officially revealed for season 8
With less than one month until its debut on Spike TV on September 17 at 10 p.m. ET, the full 32-member cast of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 8 has been revealed via SI.com.
This season will feature a mix of light heavyweight and lightweight prospects who will compete in a tournament-style format until one man from each weight class is left standing at the TUF 8 Finale on December 13.
Similar to last season, the contestants will be expected to fight their way into the house in the first episode of the show. UFC Heavyweight Champion Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira and Frank Mir will serve as opposing coaches.
Check out the full TUF 8 cast after the jump.
* Ryan Bader
* Antwain Britt
* Jules Bruchez
* Lance Evans
* Karen Grigoryan
* Jason Guida
* Ryan Jimmo
* Kyle Kingsbury
* Tom Lawlor
* Ryan Lopez
* Vinicius Magalhaes
* Eric Magee
* Eliot Marshall
* Sean O’Connell
* Shane Primm
* Krzysztof Soszynski
* Jose Aguilar
* Fernando Bernstein
* Junie Allen Browning
* Rolando Delgado
* Joseph Duarte
* Charles Diaz
* Efrain Escudero
* Brandon Garner
* David Kaplan
* Brian McLaughlin
* Wesley Murch
* Shane Nelson
* Phillipe Nover
* Ido Pariente
* John Polakowski
* George Roop
Why WAMMA Won't Work
"Big" John McCarthy explains:
First, if a titleholder from the UFC fights either in the UFC or in another promotion and loses to a fighter not under contract to the UFC, then the UFC just devalued itself and its championship belt. They will not have control of the person who is now considered the top fighter in the world and their belt will be viewed by many people as just another promotional belt instead of the belt that signifies the best fighter in the world at that weight class. People will realize that maybe not all of the greatest fighters in the world fight for the UFC, but that there are other promotions out there that have very good fighters who can fight as good or better than the more popular fighters under contract to Zuffa.
None of this helps the UFC so you can see why they will not be jumping on the WAMMA bandwagon. I can't blame Zuffa at all for looking at this the way it does. They have worked very hard to get where they are. They have their matchmaker in Joe Silva who sets up the matches that Dana White, the president of the UFC, wants to promote. They are a very successful self-contained promotion that has no outside influences telling them what to do. Why would they want to let someone in that can now influence their promotion in anyway?
This is the problem that confronts Dave Szade and Michael Lynch, the chief executive officer and chief operating officer, respectively, of WAMMA. They have a pretty good idea, and I want to see the best fighters in the world fighting each other no matter what promotion they are signed to. Politics and money have a huge influence over all of the combative sports and since that is not going to change, it is going to take a "hell freezing over" moment or a shift in the political power of the sport before you see the UFC and WAMMA working together.
Evan Tanner Could Die In The Desert
Seriously. For his latest adventure, Tanner plans, in his own words, "on going so deep into the desert, that any failure of my equipment, could cost me my life." He still needs to address some medical issues before returning to UFC, which he'll probably do upon his return from the desert...if he returns.
Grove Puts Fatherhood, Business Ahead Of Fighting For Now
Coming off a "must-win" fight against Evan Tanner to poteneitally save his UFC career, Kendall Grove now plans to take time off until early 2009. He plans to be home with his wife and newborn daughter and to open a new school/training facility in Hawaii with fellow Hawaiian fighter Troy Mandaloniz.
Jorge Rivera Daughter Memorial Fund Created
Over the past weekend UFC fighter Kenny Florian announced details of a memorial fund set up in honor of Jorge Rivera's daughter Jessica, who died unexpectedly earlier this month. The address to send donations to is below:
316 Hartford Ave.
Bellingham, MA 02019
Checks should be made out to Jorge Rivera.
Anthony Johnson Targeting October Return
Seeming to have put the controversial TKO "eye poke loss" behind him, Anthony Johnson recently noted that while he wasn't happy with the fight's outcome, he's put it behind him and is planning to return to UFC in October. He could be cleared for a September return but Johnson plans to play it safe and wait a little longer.
Sean Sherk: I Want To Fight The Best Of The Rest
Not content with facing just anyone in the UFC Lightweight Division, former champion Sean Sherk says he wants to face the toughest competition around, the guys that, if he defeats them, will leave no one doubting that he should be back in the mix, fighting for a UFC championship.
Strikeforce October Event On HDNet
Strikeforce VP Mike Aframowitz announced over the weekend that the promotion's Denver debut event in October wil air live on HDNet. This will be the 2nd event of at least 4 this year HDNet will air per an agreement with Strikeforce.
Nate Quarry Injured in Freak Acciedent
This might be old news, but I hadn't really heard much about Nate's injury.
Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight Nate Quarry, who secured a place in the highlight reel of 2008 by chasing Kalib Starnes across the Octagon, is recovering from a freak accident a little over a month ago.
Quarry was at a party in Albany, Oregon, where guests were hitting golf balls into a wooded area. Quarry walked straight into the backswing of a young woman, sending the club directly into his left eye. The force of the blow broke Quarry's Orbital Floor, a bone that keeps the eye in place. Doctors estimate the original cast member of “The Ultimate Fighter” will not be able to compete until November or December at the earliest. Despite the bad turn of luck, Quarry has been a good sport about the whole incident.
“I’m just glad it was me and not some kid or other woman,” Quarry says. “We had grown men swinging these clubs. If it would have hit a kid or a woman, it would have smashed their face.”
Quarry says the injury has stalled a search for a new opponent. A rumored UFC card in Portland is in the window of his recovery period, but he is not aware of any proposed match-ups.
“It would be great to fight in Portland,” he says. “First, I have to heal up from this though.”
Heath Herring Contradicts Himself
There have been conflicting reports since the evening of weigh-ins for UFC 87 regarding whether or not Heath Herring or his team made disparaging remarks towards Brock Lesnar prior to their fight. Lesnar and UFC prez Dana White say there were, while Herring has denied saying anything derogatory about the former wrestler (or any of his previous opponents, for that matter).
One thing which neither side has disputed to this point was the fact that Herring refused to walk out to the cage before Lesnar when asked by UFC execs. Herring even said as much on the August 12th episode of Sherdog's "Beatdown" radio show.
Quinton Jackson's arraignment delayed as investigation continues
Quinton Jackson's scheduled arraignment last Friday on charges following his July arrest was postponed, as police and the Orange County District Attorney's office continue their investigation.
The 30-year-old former UFC light heavyweight champion was arrested on July 15 on suspicion of hit-and-run driving, felony evading and reckless driving. A new arraignment date has not been scheduled.
The delay could put a crimp in the UFC's plans to bring Jackson back to the Octagon as early as November, which, even in our lenient, second-chance society might be premature.