Rich Franklin vs. Chuck Liddell not happening at UFC 103; Franklin still a main-event option
September's UFC 103 card is in need of a main event, but the Dallas event won't feature a rumored (and heavily speculated) bout between Rich Franklin and recently retired former UFC light heavyweight Chuck Liddell.
That's the word from MMAjunkie.com's Dann Stupp, who gives an update on Franklin in today's "MMA Insider" column in the Dayton Daily News.
According to the report, UFC officials have contacted Franklin with a handful of potential opponents' names for the Sept. 19 card, but Liddell isn't one of them.
Takanori Gomi comes stateside to fight Rafaello Oliveira at "Affliction: Trilogy"
After negotiations with a variety of U.S.-based organizations, popular Japanese fighter Takanori Gomi (30-5) has signed with Affliction and will take on Rafaello Oliveira (8-1) at the organization's Aug. 1 "Trilogy" card.
Affliction recently added the bout to its pay-per-view main card.
The event, including the five-round headliner between Fedor Emelianenko and Josh Barnett, takes place at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.
In addition to the five-fight pay-per-view main card, the event also features an HDNet-televised preliminary card with Paul Daley vs. Jay Hieron in the featured bout.
Gomi fights in the U.S. for the first time since his submission loss to Nick Diaz at PRIDE 33, an event that took place in Las Vegas. (The loss, though, was later ruled a no-contest when Diaz's drug test came back positive for marijuana.)
Gomi, once one of the world's top lightweights, is just 3-2 since that February 2007 no-contest with losses to Sergey Golyaev (split decision) and Satoru Kitaoka (submission), both in World Victory Road's Sengoku event series. Gomi most recently rebounded for a first-round TKO victory over Takashi Nakakura at a May Shooto event.
Wilson vs. Pyle Booked for UFN 19
A welterweight fight between Chris Wilson and Mike Pyle has been scheduled for UFC Fight Night 19 in Oklahoma City. Sources confirmed with FanHouse Sunday evening that the bout will be made official later this week.
UFC Fight Night 19 is scheduled for Sept. 16 at the Cox Convention Center. Gray Maynard will reportedly face Roger Huerta on the same card.
Frank Mir, Brock Lesnar Say They Don't Dislike Each Other
A few months ago, it seemed like we couldn't go a week without hearing Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir talk trash about each other. Mir compared Lesnar to Junie Browning, which from Mir's perspective is about as harsh as an insult can get. Lesnar called Mir's interim heavyweight championship a "make-believe belt."
But as their UFC 100 fight approaches, Lesnar and Mir are toning down the rhetoric.
"I don't dislike Frank in any way other than he's got a win over me," Lesnar said on a call to promote UFC 100. "This is a sport. I consider myself a gentleman, and sportsmanlike conduct takes precedence in this."
LAWLOR READY FOR MIDDLEWEIGHT MOVE AT UFC 100
A natural athlete, Tom Lawlor first made himself known to mixed martial arts fans around the world with his stint on Season 8 of The Ultimate Fighter. Part of Team Mir, Lawlor won his preliminary fight against Ryan Lopez via rear naked choke, allowing him to continue in the competition and make his way into one of the most controversial seasons of said show.
Though he would eventually lose in the quarterfinals to light heavyweight winner Ryan Bader, Lawlor left a lot to be remembered.
FABER HEALING, MAKING PUSH FOR WEC & NEW DEAL
In his rematch last month with Mike Brown, Urijah Faber once again ended up on the wrong end of the fight with American Top Team fighter. The two went five rounds with Faber losing a unanimous decision.
That doesn't sound so out of the ordinary, until you realize that Faber broke his right hand in the first round then injured his left in the third, yet he still managed to finish the fight.
COLE MILLER PLANS TO BUILD OFF ESCUDERO'S BACK
Cole Miller has had five fights in the UFC since stepping off of the cast of the fifth season of The Ultimate Fighter. His only misstep has been late second-round TKO loss to Jeremy Stephens, outside of that he has won all four of his other UFC bouts, including Andy Wang, Leonard Garcia, Jorge Gurgel, and, most recently, attention magnet Junie Browning.
ST. PIERRE NOT AFRAID OF ANYTHING ALVES OFFERS
For any fighter that is currently aspiring to hit the heights in the sport of MMA, the model to follow is undoubtedly current UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre, who has molded himself into the most complete fighter in the sport, while continuously evolving with each and every fight.
Coming off of possibly the biggest win of his career, a fourth round TKO over arch rival B.J. Penn, it was St. Pierre who opted for only a week off before heading right back into the gym to train, which he says he does because he loves it, not because he has to.
Report: While Eddie Alvarez out, Gesias "JZ" Cavalcante still in for DREAM.11
With rumored opponent Eddie Alvarez (18-2) making it clear a DREAM appearance wasn't in his immediate plans, American Top Team's Gesias "JZ" Cavalacante (14-3-1) said he's still in for the as-yet-unannounced DREAM.11 event.
Cavalcante recently told Tatame.com that he still plans on fighting at the event, which is expected to take place in September.
"They offered me Eddie Alvarez and I was excited, but it seems that he's injured or had some other problem and won't be able to fight in the event," Cavalcante told Tatame.com. "I'm confirmed in DREAM.11, but I still have no opponent."
While DREAM had hoped to arrange the matchup for Cavalcante, Alvarez's agent, Monte Cox, recently told MMAjunkie.com his client's recent championship run with Bellator, coupled with a need for some much-deserved time off, would prevent the American from competing at DREAM.11.
Cavalcante will bee seeking his first win since September 2007. The Brazilian slugger has gone 0-2 with one no-contest in three appearances for DREAM. That difficult stretch followed a string of 13-straight bouts without a defeat for Cavalcante between 2004 and 2007.
DREAM.11 will also feature the semifinals of DREAM's "Super Hulk" tournament and featherweight grand prix.
Marc Ratner: UFC aiming to increase quality of MMA officiating nationwide
Marc Ratner: UFC aiming to increase quality of MMA officiating nationwide
by John Morgan on Jul 05, 2009 at 12:55 pm ET
With power comes responsibility, and the heads of the UFC understand that as well as anyone.
While the UFC is clearly the sport's largest – and most profitable – organization, much of the growth in regulation and acceptance of the sport of mixed martial arts is thanks to the Las Vegas-based promotion.
With nationwide regulation nearing completion, UFC exec Marc Ratner recently told the MMAjunkie.com Radio Network (www.mmajunkie.com/radio) that increasing the quality of officiating was one of his next big projects.
"That's one of my other charges, is trying to make the officials better – get better referees, teaching more and doing more seminars," Ratner said. "We're going to do more of that, hopefully, next year."
Ratner said the first step is getting all 50 states to ratify regulation of mixed martial arts. Once complete, the UFC can work with the commissions to assist them in training both referees and judges.
"The first thing we want to do is get all the states to regulate [MMA]," Ratner said. "Once all the states regulate it, we can try to put some national seminars together. The Association of Boxing Commissions, which should now be called the Association of Combat Commissions, they're going to start doing some of that stuff."
While UFC president Dana White has often been openly critical of officials, Ratner offered a more understanding view of the state of MMA judging and refereeing.
"We need to keep on trying to make it better, trying to get a commonality of philosophy," Ratner said. "But some of the things I've read about – 'Oh, these decisions were horrible' – these fights are close fights. The Clay Guida fight with Diego (Sanchez at The Ultimate Fighter 9 Finale), that's a tough fight to score. Some of those rounds were real close.
"The first round, some people scored that round 10-8. That was as dominant of a round as you're going to see. That's one of the problems whether it's boxing or MMA. not all 10-9 rounds are equal, but they're scored equal. Certainly a wide round like the first round in that fight compared to the third round which was razor-thin depending on who you give it to, it gives the appearance that the judging isn't that consistent. But when you have a 10-9 system, that's what happens."
Despite the challenges a 10-point-must system can create in a three-round contest, Ratner does not see a need to change the process. Instead, he hopes increased experience, coupled with education, can help to improve officiating.
"We as a company will help [the commissions] try to get more certification for officials," Ratner said. "But you still have to learn on the job. You can take all these tests – I was a Division I football official for 20 years. You can do everything, you can pass a test, you can get a 100, but until you're in that game situation and have to make a (call), there's nothing like experience and watching yourself on film.
"We go to some of these states and these officials have never worked in front of a big crowd before and they freeze a little bit. You have to get over that. It's a learning curve."
Ratner believes a system that provides for regional training seminar, in addition to a national certification process, could help improve performance.
"I think that's a possibility," Ratner said. "(But) it would be a little bit tough. I think you're better off with regional seminars to start with.
"A lot of these guys aren't going to have the money to travel, and you have to pay for the course. But I'd like to see it regionally and then possibly have some kind of a final certification here."
It's an ambitious idea, and one Ratner hopes to commence after the sport's current struggle for nationwide regulation ends. No rest for the weary, and that certainly includes the former Nevada State Athletic Commission executive director.
"It's so busy, my best analogy is like if you climb this mountain for UFC 100, you're trying to get to the top of the mountain and look down, but there's no down," Ratner said. "There's another mountain right behind it. You're constantly moving, constantly climbing, but that's the exciting part of being at the UFC. You're constantly in action. You're busy, and it's exciting."
Heavyweight prospect Lavar Johnson reportedly fighting for life after suffering gunshot wound
Strikeforce, WEC and Palace Fighting Championship veteran Lavar Johnson (12-3) is reportedly battling for his life after suffering a gun shot wound early Sunday morning.
Johnson and three others were injured in Bakersfield, Calif., just after 12 a.m. PT Sunday morning when an unidentified assailant opened fire with a semi-automatic handgun at a gathering that the fighter was attending.
A fifth victim, Anthony Mack Johnson, 37, was pronounced dead at the scene.
While MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) has learned that Johnson is currently under medical supervision, Bakersfield police representatives were unsure of which hospital was currently treating the heavyweight fighter.
Retirement update: Chuck Liddell to sit out until at least April 2010 to heal his brain
“I haven’t personally made a decision one way or the other. Hopefully my brain can heal over time. The shot last fight is something that normally wouldn’t hurt me. I think I need at least some time off from getting hit. I’m going to take time off sparring then. I’ll train still. Still gonna roll. I’ll probably do a little more jiu-jitsu than normal because I like it. It’s fun.”
Former light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell plans to take a year off to unscramble his brains before making a decision on retirement. “The Iceman” is coming off a technical knockout loss to Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC 97: “Redemption” from the Bell Center in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, back in April. It marked the fourth loss in his last five fights. Company president Dana White has pressed his good friend and big time money-making machine to hang up the gloves, saying he has made a ton of cash and has nothing left to prove. Liddell — who will be forty years old by the time April 2010 rolls around — clearly needs more time. Sit tight, Maniacs, this one is far from over.
Gesias JZ Cavalcante to Compete at DREAM.11 but not Against Eddie Alvarez
There were rumors of Gesias JZ Cavalcante taking on the Eddie Alvarez at DREAM.11, but now JZ told Tatame he will still fight on the card, but not against the Lightweight Bellator Champ:
They offered me Eddie Alvarez and I was excited, but it seems that he’s injured or had some other problem and won’t be able to fight in the event. I’m confirmed in Dream 11, but I still have no opponent
Henderson Plans To Silence Critics And Bisping
One of the living legends of mixed martial arts, Dan Henderson, will do battle once again on July 11 on a UFC 100 fight card that is truly of historic origins, much like “Hendo” himself.
Making a name overseas, the Team Quest co-founder has accomplished things that most fighters could only dream of.
The UFC, Walking a Fine Line between Business and Sport
It would seem that Zuffa, owner of the UFC, is in the middle of operation clampdown. I’m referring to the banning of numerous apparel companies (or charging them a fee of $100,000) and now the alleged threat regarding the Electronic Arts (EA) MMA game.
In most cases I’m a supporter of the UFC when it comes to business decisions. Even if I think they are harsh or delivered in a not so couth manner, they still seem to work and whether we like it or not, the running of a promotion is a business. It doesn’t take a genius to see that the UFC has done a great deal for the sport and continues to do so.
Every now and then however, an issue arises that I just can’t comprehend. The threat of banning fighters from the UFC for life if they sign on with EA’s MMA game (a game that would compete against THQ’s UFC Undisputed), even if they don’t currently fight for the promotion, is simply outrageous and bordering on tyrannical.
Brock Lesnar: 'I've Improved Dramatically' Since First Frank Mir Fight
UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar is hoping to avenge his only loss and unify the heavyweight title against interim champion Frank Mir at UFC 100. And Lesnar says Mir is going to find out when they fight that Lesnar is a much better fighter than he was when they first met a year and a half ago.
"I've improved dramatically," Lesnar said on a call this week to promote their main event bout at UFC 100.
Pittsburgh's first MMA event draws the attention of UFC, though perhaps not as intended
While Still Standing Productions, LLC recently conducted Pittsburgh's first MMA event, the organization may find itself needing to make a few changes before a announcing a second card.
The Ultimate Cage Fighting Challenge has drawn the attention of the sport's biggest organization, the UFC, and a copyright infringement claim may be forthcoming.
UFC Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner recently told the MMAjunkie.com Radio Network that the UFC was currently looking at potential action against the upstart organization.
"We're always happy to see fans, and we love competition," Ratner told MMAjunkie.com. "There's nothing wrong with it. But there's some copyright infringement problems when they call themselves the UCFC.
Minnesota MAA's Greg Nelson happy in background as Brock Lesnar moves to forefront
As the athletes of the UFC continue to gain attention, so, too, do the teams that help them prepare for each bout.
While most hardcore fans can run off a quick list of the best trainers and academies in the sport, Minnesota Martial Arts Academy Head Instructor and Owner Greg Nelson's name doesn't always come directly to mind.
And though UFC stalwarts Brock Lesnar, Sean Sherk and Brock Larson, among others, call the academy home, Nelson doesn't mind staying in the background.