Jake Shields Officially A Free Agent, As Of Today
Former EliteXC welterweight champion Jake Shields (22-4-1) has officially reached free agent status after the collapse of his former organization.
Now 30 days after filing a breach of contract against his former employer, Shields told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that the company is in breach of contract and that he's excited to test the open market in search of a new home.
"My 30 days is up today," Shields said on Thursday. "Today I consider myself a free agent. EliteXC still has no reply, but as far as the contract goes, I'm a free agent today."
With recent wins over world-class competition in Paul Daley, Nick Thompson, Mike Pyle, Carlos Condit and Yushin Okami, among others, to his credit, Shields will certainly be in immediate demand.
DREAM again slow to pay fighters
Following a recent five-month delay in payment to lightweight contender Nick Diaz, the Japanese-based DREAM promotion has again run behind on compensating its fighters.
The participants in question this time are heavyweight Jimmy Ambriz (13-11-1) and lightweight Todd Moore (9-3). Both U.S.-based fighters participated in September's DREAM.6 event.
"As far as I'm concerned, they pretty much have stiffed us," Moore told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "The fight was Sept. 23, and we're going on into [late November] and they still haven't paid. That's two months. That sucks, man."
Strikeforce Destruction Weigh-In Results
Strikeforce held the weigh-ins last night for it's "Destruction" event airing on Showtime tonight. With the exceptions of Kim Couture and Kina Kvokov, everyone else made weight. Couture agreed to the fight knowing in advance Kvokov wouldn't make weight, which was missed by 3 pounds. Couture missed by 2 pounds.
Jon Fitch back in the UFC and will fight at UFC 94
MMARated.com has the scoop:
“Communication kind of broke down with Dana (White) so we talked with Lorenzo. (I) just got off the phone with him and we came to an agreement. We’re going to move ahead and I’ll be back in the UFC. We’re going to sign off on the video game and I’m back. It was never even about the agreement or the contract. It was the approach that we felt Dana was being a little bit hot-headed and was threatening us right off the bat. It didn’t seem like a professional way of doing things.”
Update: UFC Talking with Fitch’s Management
Jon Fitch was released from the UFC on Wednesday, but a discussion has reopened with the promotion.
Bob Cook and Zinkin Entertainment, who manage Fitch and other fighters from the American Kickboxing Academy, told Sherdog.com on Thursday afternoon that talk has resumed with the UFC, but they would not comment on the exact nature of the discussion.
Dana White: Anderson Silva Is Far Above Georges St. Pierre and B.J. Penn
Asked whether the winner of the fight between B.J. Penn and Georges St. Pierre could vault to the top of the pound-for-pound rankings, White said no.
"I don't think they change at all," White said. "Anderson Silva is far and above the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world. The fighter who wins this fight between B.J. and St. Pierre is on their way. They've got to do a couple more big things in their career to challenge Anderson Silva, or something happens to Anderson. But Anderson Silva is way above pound-for-pound the best fighter."
Scott Smith ready to let his hands fly in Strikeforce debut
Scott Smith (13-5) knows the challenges that await him Friday night.
The UFC, EliteXC and WEC veteran will make his debut for Strikeforce against fellow slugger Terry Martin (18-5). And despite taking the fight on just a week's notice, Smith recently told TAGG Radio (www.taggradio.com), the official radio partner of MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com), that he'll be ready.
"Its real risky to take a fight on short notice, especially a guy like Terry Martin," Smith said. "But about three weeks ago I was supposed to fight on that EliteXC card for the Showtime / EliteXC card. I think it was Nov. 8. I was getting prepared for that. So I just kept on training through, hoping something would come up. And this came up. So I'm ready to go."
Despite late opponent change, Yves Edwards confident for Strikeforce bout
After 11 years and almost 50 bouts as pro fighter, very little can rattle Yves Edwards (34-14-1).
So while an opponent change less than two weeks before a headlining bout may bother your typical fighter, Edwards can't wait to face Duane "Bang" Ludwig (17-8) at Friday's "Strikeforce: Destruction" in San Jose, Calif.
"It's going to be a slightly different fight than I planned," Edwards recently told TAGG Radio (www.taggradio.com), the official radio partner of MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "But I don't think it changes too much. Just because we've got so many guys in the gym. And I love to spar. We're always sparring. I've seen every look that there is to see, and I see it every day."
Edwards was originally scheduled to face Strikeforce lightweight world champion Josh Thomson. An broken toe suffered in training forced the champion out of the bout, and Ludwig stepped in with less than two weeks notice.
Josh Hendricks released by the UFC
Josh Hendricks’ tenure with the UFC has ended after just one fight, as the heavyweight fighter has been released in the wake of his first round knockout loss against former UFC heavyweight title contender Gabriel Gonzaga.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com confirmed the news early Thursday morning with Hendricks’ agent, Ken Pavia of MMA Agents.
“By mutual decree, we decided it was best for Josh to get additional fights outside of the UFC,” Pavia informed Five Ounces of Pain during an interview. “Fighting in front of 15,000 people was overwhelming. As much as we tried to prepare Josh, there was nothing we could do to replicate it. Josh will get bigger and stronger and learn from the experience.”
Hendricks, who is 15-5 in 20 professional fights, landed a UFC contract after putting together a streak of 10 consecutive fights without sustaining a loss.
Goran Reljic saves two men from drowning in Croatia
“A crash that almost killed two young men on the 15th of October at around 3 a.m. could have had disastrous consequences when the two young men, both from Privlaka, spun and crashed into the sea. Thankfully both men survived, due to the brave actions of Goran Reljic, the Croatian ultimate fighter, who resides in the immediate vicinity of the town in question. When he heard the crash, Goran jumped out of bed, still in his underwear and jumped into the sea. He swam to the car, proceeded to break the windshield of the vehicle and pull both men to land. Several eyewitness accounts confirm the story and so does Goran, who doesn’t want any praise or recognition for the good deed.”
With Win At UFC 91, Gonzaga Working For Title Shot
Former Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight No. 1 contender Gabriel "Napao" Gonzaga made short work of his UFC 91 opponent, Josh Hendricks, finishing the UFC newcomer by technical knockout in 61 seconds. Gonzaga hopes his recent back-to-back wins in the Octagon are the first steps on the journey back to another title shot.
"I'm here to do well, to get my title shot again," the Brazilian told MMAWeekly.com. "If you keep on winning, someday I'm going to have the opportunity again."
Gonzaga was highly regarded when he made his Octagon debut at UFC 56 three years ago on Nov. 19, 2005, knocking out Kevin Jordan with a superman punch. He finished Fabiano Scherner with strikes and submitted Carmelo Marrero in his next two performances in the cage. But it was his devastating knockout of Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic at UFC 70 that put Gonzaga on the MMA map.
UFC drops Jon Fitch, other American Kickboxing Academy fighters (interviews with Dana and Fitch)
A bitterly angry Dana White said Wednesday the Ultimate Fighting Championship has cut highly regarded welterweight contender Jon Fitch and is not going to do business with any fighters who are part of the American Kickboxing Academy team in San Jose, Calif.
White said he excepted AKA welterweight Mike Swick from that group because he said Swick called him and told him he wants to fight for the UFC. But Fitch and heavyweight Christian Wellisch were cut on Wednesday, and heavyweight prospect Cain Velasquez and welterweight Josh Koscheck could be next.
"We're looking for guys who want to work with us and not against us, and frankly I'm just so [expletive] sick of this [expletive] it's not even funny," White said from Honolulu, where he flew Wednesday from Toronto to hold a news conference to announce the B.J. Penn-Georges St. Pierre fight for UFC 94 on Jan. 31 in Las Vegas.
"Affliction is still out there trying to build its company. Let [Fitch] go work with them. Let him see what he thinks of those [expletives]. [Expletive] him. These guys aren't partners with us. [Expletive] them. All of them, every last [expletive] one of them."
Fitch said Wednesday the dispute was over his reluctance to sign a lifetime contract to allow his name and likeness to be used in a video game the UFC is planning with THQ. He said the dispute has nothing to do with money and that he never caused a problem during his time in the UFC.
Working for free and selling our rights away for lifetime, that's a little different," said Fitch, who said he hasn't spoken with White but plans to call him. "We tried to negotiate five- or 10-year deals with them, but it wasn't good enough. It was all or nothing. He wanted our lifetime. He wanted our souls forever."
White complained that he has to make frequent sacrifices in his personal life and is away from his family for long stretches because of his commitment to growing the UFC. He said the AKA fighters don't understand the things UFC management is trying to do and said they'll learn how tough things are in the poor economy.
Ninja Rua: “Shogun will tear Coleman up”
he’s training all the time and certainly will take the light-heavyweight belt. He’s a great fighter, he is 100% recovered (from knee surgery) and will tear Coleman up…He wanted this fight a long time ago and now it’s only reduce the weight and fight”
John Fitch Cut By UFC
Former number one UFC welterweight contender Jon Fitch was today handed his walking papers for refusing to sign an agreement that would give the promotion exclusive lifetime video game rights to his name and likeness, MMAmania.com can exclusively confirm.