Fedor's Free Agency Fallout
Confirmation Thursday of a rumor that circulated for weeks has made Fedor Emelianenko the most sought-after free agent in mixed martial arts … again.
The move by Emelianenko, first reported by ESPN, immediately rekindled talk of the Russian heavyweight fighting in the UFC, perhaps even against Randy Couture.
Apy Echteld, who was hired as part of the European branch of M-1 Global and is a longtime manager of the 31-year-old Russian, told ESPN's Ryan Hockensmith that Emelianenko would be willing to restart contract negotiations with the UFC once the "divorce" is finalized.
Fedor a free agent? Not so fast.
On Thursday, new cracks appeared in M-1 Global’s façade. Apy Echteld, a co-manager of Fedor Emelianenko and development executive in the upstart promotion, confirmed to ESPN’s Ryan Hockensmith that the top-ranked fighter and M-1 would be separating next week.
Emelianenko was M-1’s first talent acquisition when the consortium of Russian and American promoters came together in October of 2007.
The report on ESPN.com also stated that both Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White and Echteld would be open to discussions concerning the possibility of having Emelianenko face UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture in the Octagon.
M-1 President and CEO Monte Cox, however, was adamant that the Russian superstar is still a part of his promotion. “As of right now, M-1 Global and Fedor are still working together,” he told MMAWeekly.com.
Cox declined to comment about the ESPN article, but said M-1’s plans were still underway for its first event on American soil, a June 14 card at the Sears Center in the Chicago area, still expected to feature Emelianenko. The show has been rescheduled from a May 3 date at the Allstate Arena, also in the Chicago area.
M-1’s first venture with Emelianenko, a co-promotion with Fight Entertainment Group and other Japanese promoters on New Year’s Eve, was a success according to Cox. Since then, rumors of difficulties between the American and Russian factions of the partnership have persisted.
“But as of now, Fedor still belongs to M-1 Global,” stated Cox.
All 32 cast members for The Ultimate Fighter 7
In a recent article for Yahoo! Sports, Dave Meltzer takes a look at the upcoming 7th season of the Ultimate Fighter.
In the article Meltzer discusses the impact the Ultimate Fighter has had on Mixed Martial Arts and to a greater extent, the UFC. He also has quotes from TUF 7 coaches, Quinton Jackson and Forrest Griffin regarding the skill set of the 32 cast members.
More than any season to date, the 32 names are largely unknowns, with nobody even at Danzig’s experience level. “A lot of guys came from good camps and were at a good level,” said Griffin, who estimated five or six of the 16 who made the house would survive on the UFC roster. “There wasn’t anybody I would call a standout. The show did a good job of evenly matching the fighters but there’s nobody who is going to upset Anderson Silva.”
Interestingly, Meltzer also reveals that the usually light hearted ‘Rampage’ and Griffin don’t get along very well.
The pairing of Griffin and Jackson makes you think there will be a lot of comedy, given the duo’s vibrant personalities. And according to UFC president Dana White, some does exist. But White said one of the episodes saw the problems between the two get so heated that it nearly turned into a coaches’ fight. Similar confrontations in Season 3 with Ken Shamrock and Tito Ortiz in 2006 led to two matches, which took the popularity of the sport to a new level.
In addition to all of that Meltzer named all 32 cast members. The list is as follows:
David Baggett (4-2)
Matt Brown (4-2)
Erik Charles (0-0)
John Clarke (5-2)
Daniel Cramer (0-0)
Tim Credeur (9-2)
Clarence Dollaway (0-0)
John Hall (3-3)
Nick Klein (3-0)
David Mewborn (0-0)
Mike Marrello (7-1-1)
Jeremy May (5-5)
Prince LaDonas Mclean (4-5)
Aaron Meisner (2-0)
Reggie Orr (4-5-1)
Matthew Riddle (0-0)
Jeremiah Riggs (1-0)
David Roberts (5-7)
Nick Rossborough (0-0)
Amir Sadollah (0-0)
Patrick Schultz (0-3)
Brandon Sene (2-0)
Dan Simmler (0-0)
Jesse Taylor (6-2)
Cale Yarbrough (0-0)
John Wood (6-3)
Luke Zachrich (7-1)
Paul Bradley (5-0)
Steve Byrnes (6-1)
Mike Dolce (3-4)
Gerald Harris (6-2)
Dante Rivera (10-2)
Emelianenko and M-1 part ways??
Don't consider a UFC fight between Fedor Emelianenko and Randy Couture dead just yet.
With Couture embroiled in a nasty legal dispute with the UFC and Emelianenko tied to M-1 Global's MMA franchise, the heavyweight dream matchup has long seemed to be the world's best bout that would never happen.
Now it could. Apy Echteld, one of Emelianenko's agents, confirmed what a source close to the situation previously told The Magazine: M-1 Global and Emelianenko will part ways some time in the next week, making the Russian a free agent. Divorce negotiations are ongoing right now, with a formal announcement likely for in the next few days. "Officially, yes, Fedor will be a free agent," Echteld says.
Of course, the UFC would have to be willing to re-open negotiations with Emelianenko's management. Previous talks dragged on for almost a year before falling apart amid plenty of name-calling and finger-pointing from both sides. UFC president Dana White was vocal in pinning the blame on Emelianenko's team, saying he never once spoke or met with the fighter. Would the head of the UFC be willing to enter the Fedor fray again? "Absolutely, 100 percent, in a heartbeat," says White. "People think he's the best—I don't, not even close. But if it's somehow possible, I would make it happen."
Reached on Thursday, Echteld was caught off-guard when told that White would be willing to revisit last year's stalemate. But he echoed the UFC's willingness to talk and vowed to speak with White as soon as possible. "We're open to a discussion," says Echteld. "If everybody is willing to put a little wine in the water, then we have something to work with. There is space for this to happen."
A fight involving Emelianenko and Couture would also require considerable fence-mending between Couture and the UFC. Couture has cited the UFC's inability to sign Emelianenko as a key reason for his sudden retirement. And now the two sides are locked in a bitter, months-long battle about the duration and terms of Couture's UFC deal. Over the past month, the situation has seemed to only be deteriorating. That could change if Emelianenko becomes available.
"I like Randy, I genuinely like to think he's a good guy," White says. "As much as we've gone back and forth on this, I would sign Fedor and do everything possible to get Randy in the octagon with
him. I'd do anything, because a., it's a great fight and b., I think Randy would smash Fedor."
Through his spokesman, Couture declined to comment.
Filho Will Defend Against Sonnen
Despite announcing this week that he was pulling out of a March 26 WEC middleweight title defense versus Chael Sonnen (Pictures), Paulo Filho (Pictures) will put the belt up after all, the Brazilian's manager, Ed Soares, informed Sherdog.com Thursday afternoon.
"He went through some personal issues, and he basically pulled everything together," Soares said.
Heath Herring Staying with UFC, Wants Title Shot
"He (Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira) just got that title," Herring said. "Let the poor guy enjoy his title a few times before he has to have another battle with me."
Herring has already faced Nogueira three times in his career, coming up short each time (two via decision and one by submission). But those three losses have not deterred Herring from wanting another shot at the UFC's interim heavyweight belt.
"It's starting to get like a bad 'Rocky' movie," Herring joked. "I'd love to take that one, though... I would love to fight (Nogueira) again. I want that belt, I do. I'll be honest. We'll just see what happens."
Herring, who turned 30 the day after his victory over Kongo, feels a change in training practices will propel him to further success in the octagon.
UFC 85 - Rashad Evans vs. Chuck Liddell CONFIRMED
It’s the fight he’s waited for since he arrived in the UFC back in 2005. On June 7, at the O2 Arena in London, England, unbeaten light heavyweight contender “Sugar” Rashad Evans gets his wish granted as he takes on former UFC 205-pound champion Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell in the main event of UFC 85: London.
Cro Cop, Sakurai Get New DREAM Opponents; Gomi/Ludwig to Rematch (comments on BJ fight.)
Im sure most already know what Cro Cop's opponent will be, its the guy that Kissed herring. there are multiple threads on it so i wont bother to paste the story here, however, if you want follow the link and there will be more insight.
— Hayato “Mach” Sakurai has also locked down an opponent for the DREAM show. As SukiMMA translates from his blog: “I fight Hidetaka Monma from Keisyukai. One foreign fighter and one Japanese fighter canceled and finally I got an opponent!” Monma has a 14-7-3 record, with notable wins over…well, basically nobody. The Sakurai/Monma fight doesn’t seem to be a part of the lightweight Grand Prix that’s also going down at DREAM1, but it should be an ugly rout just like the Cro Cop/Nakao feature.
— SukiMMA also reports that Takanori Gomi wants another fight with Duane Ludwig after their bout at Sengoku was stopped prematurely due to face-explosion Suki:
After the fight, Gomi said, Ludwig was a very good fighter. This victory was brought by an accident and I will fight him again. Thank you for coming to see my fight held on a weekday. I have good company to work with and….
He was in tears and couldn’t continue. He got the applause of fans and said, I will train hard and continue fighting. Thank you for supporting me.
— Though Gomi seemed to be in top form at Sengoku, The Fireball Kid doesn’t think he’d be ready for a re-match with BJ Penn. Of course, that match is totally hypothetical at this point, considering the UFC cocked up negotiations with him, but Gomi said this at the post-fight press conference:
“I just came back to fight after a long layoff and I’d like to make myself more fit and more of a complete fighter before fighting B.J. Penn. For this fight [with Ludwig], I sparred and did weight training. I was concerned about the physical aspects of my body. I want to perfect [it] before a fight with B.J. Penn.”
In the same article, Gomi asks WVR if he can have New Year’s Eve off, while Josh Barnett says he’d prefer not to fight Kevin Randleman and takes the time to plug his April 12th pro-wrestling gig in Osaka.
Melendez vs. Marcello
Masvidal injured, Chute Box Jits coach steps in...
Cro Cop Has opponent!
A little over an hour ago I was contacted by DREAM officials. They informed me that my opponent on March 15 will be Yoshihiro Nakao from Japan. It was very important for me to fight as soon as possible and I'm happy that DREAM was able to find the opponent for me.
For those of you who don't know, Nakao is the guy who kissed Herring.
Xyience Auction Set For April 1
Xyience, the former UFC sponsor, will go on the auction block April 1. Although a buyer has been found, the agreement is subject to a competitive bidding process that will culminate in a court auction on April 1, provided other qualified bidders express interest in purchasing Xyience. The favorite is believed to be Zyen, a company controlled by the Fertittas, owners of UFC.
Evans tabbed to replace Rua at UFC 85
Rashad Evans (Pictures) is expected to fight Chuck Liddell (Pictures) June 7 in London, England, Sherdog.com confirmed Wednesday.
The light heavyweight bout came together just one day after the UFC announced Mauricio Rua (Pictures) pulled out of the fight against Liddell (21-5) because of a ruptured ACL in his left knee.
Kevin Randleman to make MMA return and could fight Jeff Monson
Former UFC heavyweight champion, Kevin Randleman, is in negotiations to ink a deal with the Japanese-based World Victory Road promotion to make a return to mixed martial arts action on May 18, according to MMAWeekly.com.
In addition, “The Monster” revealed during the interview that it’s also possible that he will take on Jeff Monson one month later during a Global Fighting Championships (GFC) event penciled in for sometime in June.
That’s an ambitious schedule for a fighter who has not competed since 2006 — a submission loss to Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at Pride 32: “The Real Deal.” Not to mention Randleman recently survived a SERIOUS staph infection that could have killed him if went untreated.
Randleman — who is now training with XTreme Couture out of Las Vegas — was also recently stopped for Driving Under the Influence (DUI), intimidating a public officer and other charges in Sin City.
He has satisfied a one-year suspension from the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) for providing a non-human urine sample following his loss to Rua.
The two-time NCAA Division I Wrestling Champion from Ohio State University defeated Pete Williams at UFC 23 in 1999 to capture the vacant heavyweight title. Randleman’s title reign was brief, however, when Randy Couture stopped him the following year via technical knockout (strikes) at UFC 28 in round three of their championship bout.
Best of luck on the comeback, Kevin. These last two years have been rough … it’d be nice to see you enjoy some success.
HEATH HERRING DISCUSSES KONGO, FUTURE
Even Herring, with nearly 60 professional fights, was surprised at the game plan of Kongo, who seemed to be primed for a striking war.
“It actually took me towards the end of the first round to even figure out what was happening at that time,” said Herring in an interview with MMAWeekly Radio. “I had trained pretty much exclusively for a stand-up fight and we were in the middle of a wrestling match. It was pretty shocking.”
Kongo’s strategy made Herring dig deep to find new ways to win the fight and he complimented the game plan, but says that his own power at the beginning of the first round may have played into the ground attack also.
“I think maybe a lot of it had to do to with the fact that we landed that straight right early on and it might have just kind of taken the wind out of him,” he stated.
In both the second and third rounds, Herring was able to take side control on Kongo and began reigning down knee strikes to the body, but the Texas native admitted after the fight that he wished he had a different set of rules while working in that position.
“The crowd seemed to get really, really excited when I would raise that one knee above his head, and I was kind of playing to the crowd a little bit on that,” he admitted. “I’m really missing those Pride rules. It would have been awesome to finish that fight in the second round with knees to the head.”
Tito Ortiz Casting for "Anytown Throwdown" Reality Show
UFC light heavyweight Tito Ortiz will give reality television a second chance.
Ortiz, who was eliminated during this past week's episode of "The Celebrity Apprentice," is currently casting for a new reality show entitled "Anytown Throwdown" for the G4 cable station.
One of the show's casting consultants today revealed some details of the show exclusively to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
The reality series allows contestants to settle a dispute in the most basic of ways: they duke it up. Ortiz, who serves as the show's host, will train the participants during the build-up for each show-ending bout. However, the show's producers are still figuring out the exact details of how the fights will be structured.
Swoosh ... Hello Mainstream Rampage doing an add for Nike.
If there were any lingering doubts as to whether mixed martial arts had hit mainstream America, that issue has been decided in the past seven days.
Quinton Jackson (Pictures) will join LeBron James and other star athletes this weekend in Los Angeles to film a Nike commercial dubbed "Human Chain," Sherdog.com has learned.
The spot, featuring a premise of "overachieving with victory, getting knocked down and getting back up," said Jackson's trainer Juanito Ibarra, will be the second Nike ad to showcase a mixed martial artist. Randy Couture (Pictures) became the first in a 1996 spot called "Scars" that featured close-ups of his famously cauliflowered ears.
Mark Coleman Signs 4 Fight Deal with UFC
UFC Hall-of-Famer Mark Coleman has agreed to a four-fight contract with the Las Vegas-based promotion, The Fight Network has learned. His deal begins with a UFC 87 match against former World Wrestling Entertainment superstar Brock Lesnar in August. Coleman, 43, informed Fight Network Radio of his agreement, which guarantees him no fewer than two fights
i doubt he will get trough all four fights, the most i see him having is 3, and that is considering he wins his 2nd match...........
Diego Sanchez wants Josh Koscheck next in June or July
“One that would be big for my heart and soul would be Josh Koscheck. The number one question that everyone always asks me is, ‘When are you going to kick that Josh Koscheck’s ass?’ So hopefully, maybe in June or July, we can go ahead and set that fight up.”
“The Nightmare,” unsurprisingly, wants to avenge his miserable-looking, staph infection-induced unanimous decision loss to Josh Koscheck at UFC 69: “Shootout” back in April 2007 now that he’s snapped a two-fight losing skid. Sanchez recently defeated David Bielkheden via technical knockout at UFC 82: “Pride of a Champion.” For “Kos” and Sanchez this would be their third encounter if it happens — Sanchez topped Koscheck in an exhibition match on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF). However, Koscheck’s contract is up and he will need to sign an extension before any bouts including him are booked inside the Octagon.
YAMMA Pit Fighting Finalizes April 11 Card
The full card for the event includes:
Don Frye (19-6-1) vs. Oleg Taktarov (15-5-2)
Eric "Butterbean" Esch (10-5-1) vs. Gary Goodridge (23-15-1)
George Bush (5-0)
Alexey Oleynik (6-3)
Sherman Pendergarst (10-8)
Marcelo Pereira (5-0)
Rex Richards (4-1)
Tony Sylvester (10-1)
Chris Tuscherer (10-0)
Travis Wiuff (47-11)