Dana White: "Yes," some WEC weight classes will be folded into the UFC
After months of openly considering the move, Zuffa LLC is now committed to folding some of the WEC's heavier weight classes into the UFC, and UFC President Dana White today said the process is already underway.
White confirmed the partial WEC-UFC merger while a guest on today's edition of TAGG Radio (www.taggradio.com), the official radio partner of MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
"We're working on that now," White said of the merger.
Ever since Zuffa LLC (the UFC's parent company) purchased the organization in December 2006, White has maintained that the WEC would be run as a separate entity -- not a feeder system for the UFC -- with a focus on the sport's lighter weight classes.
Although some fighters -- including current WEC lightweight champion Jamie Varner, former UFC title-holder Jens Pulver and featherweight prospect Leonard Garcia -- went from the UFC to the WEC, they weren't necessarily demotions. In fact, Pulver and Garcia made the moves so they could fight at 145 pounds (a weight class not offered in the UFC), and Varner joined the WEC with the promise of a title shot.
However, the organization has struggled to stock its middleweight and light heavyweight divisions, and rather than pull talent from the UFC, White said the WEC's 205-pound and 185-pound divisions will be folded into the UFC.
"The answer is yes, and we're working on that right now," White said.
Herring won't hesitate to take out Lesnar...
MINNEAPOLIS – Heath Herring chuckled at the mention of what undoubtedly is the biggest mistake of his professional life.
For the last 13 months, rarely has a day gone by where someone hasn’t asked the fighter known as “The Texas Crazy Horse” about the events of UFC 73.
A career-defining and, perhaps, career-changing victory was in his grasp and he hesitated. He looked at a fallen Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and hesitated. Herring didn’t pounce on Nogueira and finish him after a kick to the head nearly knocked Nogueira out.
No flash, just fights for Fitch...
By Kevin Iole, Yahoo! Sports
Jon Fitch jokes that a family photo which includes his brother, cousins, and father could be mistaken for a semi-pro football team. There are a lot of big men in that shot.
And, indeed, Fitch spent much of his life believing he was destined for the NFL.
“Little problem with that way of thinking,” Fitch says. “I am way too slow and turns out I’m at least four inches shorter than I thought I’d be.”
MINNEAPOLIS – Former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson spoke publicly Thursday for the first time since his July 15 arrest in Costa Mesa, Calif.
The highly popular mixed martial arts fighter was arrested by Costa Mesa police following a chase and booked into the Orange County jail on suspicion of felony evading, hit and run and reckless driving.
One of the persons Jackson allegedly sideswiped on the 55 Freeway was 38-year-old Holli Griggs of Huntington Beach, Calif. On Aug. 1, her fiance, Bill Krebs, told the Newport Beach Daily Pilot that Griggs, who was 16 weeks pregnant with a boy, suffered a miscarriage.
Thales Leites vs. Goran Reljic signed for UFC 90
Thales Leites (13-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) and Goran Reljic (8-0 MMA, 1-0) have agreed to meet in a middleweight bout at October's UFC 90 pay-per-view eveent.
A source close to Leites said bout agreements were recently signed and that fight is now official.
Leites was expected to fight in September at UFC Fight Night 15 but will instead return at UFC 90, which takes place Oct. 25 at Allstate Arena just outside Chicago.
Leites will go for his fith straight victory in the UFC since suffering a unanimous-decision loss to Martin Kampmann at his 2006 octagon debut. The 27-year-old Brazilian most recently scored a split-decision victory over Nate Marquardt at UFC 85, though the win was aided by Marquardt's two costly point deductions.
Leites will now meet undefeated Crotian Reljic, who will drop to middleweight for the fight. The fighter, who competed throughout Eastern Europe before signing with the UFC, scored a second-round TKO of Wilson Gouveia at UFC 84. It was his eighth straight victory -- and the seventh to come via stoppage.
Jorge Rivera's daughter dies suddenly
My heart goes out to the family.
Janessa M. Rivera
Janessa M. Rivera CRANSTON, R.I. Janessa Marie Rivera, 17, passed suddenly at Kent County Hospital, Warwick, R.I., on Aug. 5, 2008, after being stricken.
Alessio Sakara vs. Joe Vedepo likely for UFC Fight Night 15
Another Midwest-based fighter could make his UFC debut when the organization heads to Omaha next month.
A source close to UFC newcomer Joe Vedepo (7-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that the middleweight fighter has verbally agreed to meet Alessio Sakara (12-7 MMA, 3-4 UFC) at next month's UFC Fight Night 15 event.
The bout has not been signed, but bout agreements should be distributed shortly, the source said.
UFC Fight Night 15 takes place Sept. 17 at the Omaha Civic Auditorium and airs on Spike TV. The event, co-headlined by Nate Diaz vs. Josh Neer and Mac Danzig vs. Clay Guida, precedes the debut episode of "The Ultimate Fighter: Team Nogueira vs. Team Mir."
Vedepo, a part of the Cedar Rapids-based Team Hardrive MMA, won the Midwest Cage Championship middleweight belt with a June victory over Brian Green (15-10). Both fighters entered the bout knowing that a major-league contract offer could be on the line. The bloody, back-and-forth main-event fight ultimately ended via a third-round verbal submission in favor of Vedepo.
The 25-year-old former light heavyweight and stand-out high school wrestler has never gone to decision; he's won four fights via knockout and three by submission.
Sakara, meanwhile, will look to push his UFC record to .500. He most recently suffered a loss to Chris Leben at UFC 82 in March. The hard-hitting Italian's other losses have come to Houston Alexander, Drew McFedries and Dean Lister; victories have come over James Lee and Victor Valimaki via knockout, and Elvis Sinosic via unanimous decision.
The American Top Team fighter has lost four of his past six fights.
Jason Lambert vs Jason Day UFC 88 fight set
Jason Lambert (23-8) and Jason Day (17-7) will meet inside the Octagon at UFC 88: “Breakthrough” at the Philips Arena in Atlanta, Ga., on September 6.
MMAmania.com was able to independently confirm the booking, which was originally posted over at FiveOuncesOfPain.com.
“The Punisher” appears to be making the drop to middleweight after competing most of his career in the heavyweight and light heavyweight divisions. Perhaps back-to-back losses to 205-pounders Wilson Gouveia and Luis Arthur Cane, respectively, convinced Lambert to try his luck in the 185-pound division.
Lambert has three losses in his last five attempts within the eight-sided cage.
Day was victorious in his debut for the promotion against Alan Belcher at UFC 83: “Serra vs. St. Pierre 2? in April, upending Alan Belcher via first round technical knockout. The Canadian product was then stopped himself in the same fashion less than two months later when he locked horns with Michael Bisping at UFC 85: “Bedlam.”
Dream 6 Tourny Announced: Zelg vs Jacare!
Dream has today officially announced the line-up for their 4-man Middleweight World Championship Tournament, which will take place on September 23rd at Dream 6: Middle Weight Grand Prix 2008 Final.
Zelg "Benkei" Galesic, who has carved himself a fearsome reputation in Japan by winning both of his previous fights at Dream, will be facing the slightly less experienced but just as deadly BJJ Specialist Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza, who has likewise won both of his previous outings at Dream and holds a 7-1-0 MMA record.
This could be a classic striker vs grappler match-up, with Zelg holding a clear advantage in the striking department, and Jacare being super-slick on the ground. However, Zelg has been working extremely hard on his ground game of late and has pulled off some surprises of his own from the ground, including knocking out Mark Weir from within his guard, and then going on to win several fights by submission, including two armbars and a Kimura. This could well be one of the best fights of the event!
Tim Sylvia and Ben Rothwell not expected to fight at second Affliction show
Despite public comments that he would return for Affliction’s second-ever MMA event on Oct. 11 in Las Vegas, former UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia currently has not been scheduled for the show and is unlikely to be added, his manager Monte Cox relayed to FiveOuncesOfPain.com on Wednesday.
And in spite of a report in the Aug. 4 print edition of the Wrestling Observer that indicated Ben Rothwell (also managed by Cox) was looking for a possible fight against Paul Buentello, Cox also stated that Rothwell is not scheduled for the card and is unlikely to be added as well.
Cox did indicate that the two Miletich Fighting Systems heavyweights could be involved with the promotion’s third-ever MMA event.
Jacare Dismisses 'Mayhem Miller' As A ''Jackass''
Brazilian jiu jitsu phenomenon Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza has set his sights on winning the DREAM middleweight belt.
He progressed to the semi-finals of the middleweight grand prix after earning a decision win over Jason ‘Mayhem’ Miller.
But earlier this week, Miller had some choice words to say about Jacare – which means Alligator – when he appeared on the Lights Out show.
“He punches like a girl, he kicks like a girl,” said Miller, before adding graciously: “He’s good at jiu-jitsu…that’s it.
“I was stupid enough to grapple with him. That was my fault. I’m retarded.” But I showed the world that he don’t know how to box.”
Jacare was dismissive of the comments, calling Miller “a jackass with a mouth”.
Fighter Salaries: A Fair Share of Revenues (Part 4)
Meeting Fighter Interests
Unfortunately, for the fighters and the public that love to loathe the UFC, a lack of information and the problematic complexities of a definitive revenue splitting scheme means that they may have no other choice than to cooperate with the UFC and trust that Dana White “takes care of his guys”.
Most are going to scoff at this idea, especially after having read Fight! Magazine’s latest interview with Roger Huerta. Yet, it appears as though a confluence of events is currently taking shape to help guarantee that Dana White begins taking better care of his fighters.
I see the emergence of legitimate competition, Zuffa mis-steps such as the merchandising contract and Randy Couture incident, in addition to the evident success and continued growth of the MMA industry all putting pressure on Zuffa to bend its standard operating procedures in favour of the fighters.
Dana White impressed with Heath Herring 2.0
“The thing about Heath Herring is that he not only says he’ll fight anyone, he proves it because he gets in there and does it. But he kind of always teetered between being a success and mediocrity. He’d win one, he’d lose one, and he just sometimes struck you as a flabby guy who wasn’t particularly dedicated. He’s all of a sudden changed his tune, and he’s much more serious and focused and dedicated. And when Heath Herring is focused and in shape, he’s a tough guy for anyone to beat.”
– UFC President Dana White tells Yahoo!Sports.com that he likes what he sees with the improved Heath Herring, who has adopted a new nutritional program and re-dedicated himself to training. Perhaps the massive man who will stand across from him inside the Octagon, Brock Lesnar, at UFC 87: “Seek and Destroy” this weekend has lit a fire under the “Texas Crazy Horse.” It should be real interesting to see how this unfolds on Saturday night.
Steve Cantwell Recounts WEC 35 Title Win
When Steve Cantwell and Brian Stann first met in World Extreme Cagefighting at WEC 26, Stann finished Cantwell by TKO in just 41 seconds. At WEC 35, Cantwell returned the favor by finishing the former WEC light heavyweight titleholder by TKO at 4:01 of the first round.
It was Stann's first title defense and Cantwell's opportunity to avenge the previous loss and win the WEC light heavyweight belt that Stann obtained by knocking out Doug Marshall at WEC 33.
"He did exactly what I thought he'd do," the newly crowned champ told MMAWeekly.com. "It was exactly what I expected. The only problem was it was my first title fight and my nerves kind of got the best of me a little bit."
BJ Penn On Future, Plans For DEC 27 Showdown
In an exclusive video interview with MMAWeekly.com at last weekend’s International Mixed Martial Arts Expo, Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight champion B.J. Penn spoke about his future plans.
In a meeting with UFC president Dana White last week, Penn extended his UFC contract for “a couple more years,” and said a Dec. 27 return to the Octagon is imminent.
Penn returned to the gym recently after a two-month layoff. After realizing a gap between his talents and ambition, Penn poured himself into training over the last year and a half, delivering stellar performances against Jens Pulver, Joe Stevenson, and Sean Sherk in the process. Now the undisputed champion, Penn needed to take a break before his intensity compromised his health.
“It came to the point where it was like, if you don’t do this it’s going to hurt you really bad down the road,” he said.
Healed up from nagging injuries, Penn is again eyeing the welterweight and lightweight divisions for December. Two benchmark fights happen at this weekend’s UFC 87 event in Minnesota: Georges St. Pierre vs. Jon Fitch and Kenny Florian vs. Roger Huerta. The result of those contests could very well determine Penn’s next two opponents. He made it clear that his preference is for the 170-pound division, which means that he is watching the main event of UFC 87 very closely.
‘Rush’ to judgement: An exclusive interview with UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre
It’s impossible for mixed martial arts fans to agree on who is the best fighter in the world. But one thing they can agree on is that UFC welterweight champion Georges “Rush” St. Pierre is on the very short list of names for consideration.
At 16-2 and just 27 years of age, the Canadian phenom has already been through a meteoric rise and fall - and subsequent rise in the annals of UFC superstardom.
“There were problems” the champ tells me when I ask him about the difficulties in his past, including his loss to Matt Serra. “But part of growing up is recognizing what is wrong and then doing what is right”.
St. Pierre had the unenviable task of growing up in the public spotlight. And in that spotlight, sometimes you’re only as good as your last fight.
Yet that seems to be an approach that ‘Rush’ has embraced heading into his fight against Jon Fitch at UFC 87. No more looking back on what he’s done. Conversely, no more looking ahead to what he might do.
“Jon Fitch is my focus right now. Nothing else.”
I spoke to the St. Pierre at 35,000 feet, en route to Minneapolis for his August 9 showdown with Jon Fitch at UFC 87: ‘Seek and Destroy’. We covered everything from training in Brazil to a possible showdown with Anderson Silva.
And what about all that talk from BJ Penn about gunning for a rematch?
Check it out.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): Georges, first and foremost thank you for taking the time to talk with us again at MMAmania. Let’s get the requisite health question out of the way. How are you feeling physically?
Georges St. Pierre: I am 110%. I am in the best shape of my life.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): How good does it feel to have the two Matt’s (Serra and Hughes) finally behind you?
Georges St. Pierre: It is a relief and it is good for my health, but I cannot relax because there are still so many challenges ahead of me. There is no resting anymore.
Jesse Holland (MMAmania.com): On Saturday you’ll be facing Jon Fitch who trains with Josh Koscheck - one of the few fighters that took you to a decision. Does that put you at a disadvantage coming into this fight?
Larson Wants Rematch with Condit Next
At this past weekend’s WEC event, Minnesota native Brock Larson made his case for getting a rematch with current promotion 170-pound champion Carlos Condit by scoring an impressive win.
In what was supposed to be a tough test against highly regarded Carlo Prater, Larson came out aggressively and put Prater down and out for the count in just 30 seconds.
“It went better than I assumed it would,” he admitted. “I thought it would be a little tougher than that.
“Prater’s the real deal, it just worked out that I caught him with the first shot that I threw and I followed up with many more.”
To be sure, it was the kind of win that Larson needed, especially after his last fight – against John Alessio in March – ended in controversy.
“That was my goal; to go out there and do it quick and make everyone open their eyes again and let them know that I’m back and that the last two fights were kind of flukes,” he said.
“I’m the real deal and I’m ready for Condit.”
According to Larson, the rematch of his title fight with Condit from August of last year appears to be what’s on the horizon next, as long as a deal can be worked out between everyone involved.
“I’m ready for it, so it’s just a matter of getting (Condit) to agree, but (the WEC) definitely wants it to happen,” he commented. “It’s up to Condit’s camp to figure out what it wants.”
Normally Larson would look to stay active, but he explains that he’s not willing to put his title shot on the line should it take longer for a fight with Condit to get worked out and scheduled.
“I’d like to fight as often as possible, but the way it’s looking, this is the fight I want to wait for,” he said. “I don’t want to risk anything like I did before fighting Condit the first time.
“I was supposed to fight him when I fought Kevin Knabjan two months before, and I think I peaked too early for that. It’s hard to peak twice in two months, so if it comes out that way, that’s the way I’m going to have to take it.”
When the rematch does take place, Larson feels that it will be a much different fight the second time around.
“My confidence level is as high as it can be,” he exclaimed. “I’ve always been really confident in my ground game, but now with my hands I’ve been doing a lot of sparring, and I’m confident everywhere now.
“I don’t feel like I have a huge hole anywhere. It’s going to take a pretty tough dude to bury me. I think that right now I’m doing the best that I’ve ever done and I’m ready for it.”
With a three-fight winning streak in tow and only two losses in 26 fights, it would be hard to imagine anyone in the WEC other than Brock Larson getting a title shot against Carlos Condit any time soon.
“I want to thank Warrior Wear and Bowtech for taking care of me,” he closed out. “Everybody out there, fans of mine, I appreciate the support.
“Keep watching and you’re going to see more explosiveness from me and that belt around my waist.”