UFC worldwide: Dana White talks expansion
The road show that’s been the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s strategy as of late will continue to cross borders, according to UFC president Dana White.
At the post-fight press conference for UFC 87 in Minneapolis, White made some broad sketches of the future pins in the UFC’s travel map.
First on that list was a stop in the Philippines, which currently airs UFC fights. It’s also the native land of newly minted light heavyweight Brandon Vera, who counts president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo among his fans.
White also re-affirmed an anticipated trip to Mexico, in which several UFC fighters, including Roger Huerta, Eddie Sanchez, and Diego Sanchez, have ethnic roots.
"When I say we're going everywhere, I mean we're going everywhere,” White said.
Canada is also a high priority for Zuffa, LLC. Georges St. Pierre’s rematch with Matt Serra at UFC 83 was a smashing success, drawing the largest MMA crowd ever in North America. Since then, White said the company wants to expand its reach in the U.S.’s northern neighbor. “We're really focusing on opening up Canada,” he continued. “Canada has become a really big market for us. We didn't expect that.”
On the home front, White says the UFC is still focusing on getting sanctioning in Massachusetts and New York. As of yet, neither state regulates MMA.
Bull Ropes and BS: 'Respect' and Other Fan Foolery
After a 15-minute emasculation of Heath Herring (Pictures), even in the face of other notable Saturday night happenings, I was fully aware Brock Lesnar (Pictures) was going to dominate my inbox come Sunday morning. However, I expected most of the discussion to be centered on his obvious potential as a heavyweight, with requests for me to impersonate Joe Silva by forecasting Lesnar's future fighting engagements.
Instead, I have been swarmed with and puzzled by dozens and dozens of choleric and venomous messages from incensed fans who have apparently suffered damaged psyches at the hands of Brock Lesnar's in-cage antics.
Jordan Breen talking sense once again...
UFC 87 Medical Suspensions
The Minnesota Combative Sports Commission today confirmed the medical suspensions from UFC 87. Only a handful were issued, none expected to be longer than 30 days. Also, they announced they won't be releasing the fighter payouts.
Palaszewski to WEC; Curran drops to 135
Bart Palaszewski will be the latest talent to join the WEC’s ranks on the heels of the demise of the rival International Fight League promotion. Palaszewski (29-11) has been offered a six-fight deal with the Zuffa-owned organization and said he will be ready to compete as early as its Sept. 10 event in Hollywood, Fla.
Jeff Curran, Palaszewski’s longtime friend and coach, made the announcement Sunday at the opening of his new training facility in Crystal Lake, Ill., unbeknownst to the Polish-born lightweight.
Curran, who unsuccessfully challenged champion Urijah Faber for the WEC featherweight crown last December, also announced his own intentions to move down to the promotion’s bantamweight division.
Hosman, Curran Victorious at XFO 25
Despite main eventer Bart Palaszewski being scratched from the card after opponent Eric Wisely failed pre-fight blood tests, Xtreme Fighting Organization’s latest offering went on without much of a hitch Saturday night at the Sideouts Bar And Eatery in Crystal Lake, Illinois.
XFO bantamweight champion John Hosman successfully defend his title against Shawn Tompkins-trained James Haourt in the night’s new main attraction. After controlling Haourt on the ground throughout the first three minutes or so of the fight, Hosman stunned Haourt with a trio of elbows, allowing him to sink in a fight-ending rear naked choke that ultimately put Haourt to sleep.
Misaki, Riggs Collide at Strikeforce at the Mansion
Former PRIDE Middleweight Grand Prix runner-up Kazuo Misaki will make his Strikeforce debut against UFC veteran Joe Riggs when the organization returns to the famous Playboy Mansion in California for their second “Strikeforce at the Mansion” show on September 20th.
Strikeforce Vice President Mike Afromowitz officially announced the bout in a press release sent out to the media last night. After spending his entire career fighting for Japanese-based promotions, Misaki signed a two-fight deal with Strikeforce in March.
“I am looking forward to making my debut for Strikeforce at the Playboy Mansion, an incredible venue that is well-known throughout the world,” Misaki said. “Joe Riggs is a tremendous competitor. His style is aggressive like mine so I have no doubt that our fight will be an exciting and memorable one.”
UFC 87 Gate and Attendance Figures
The gate was $2.2 million, a new record for the Target Center. The attendance was 15,082.
A week out from the event the gate was at $2.2 million on just over 13,000 tickets sold, so the last couple of thousand seemed to be mostly comped/papered tickets.
Miguel Torres ‘itching’ for next WEC fight in December
“I’m itching real bad. I want to get down. I hate going to fights and sitting in the stands. I would have loved to have stepped in the cage on Sunday. I guess I just have to wait my turn…. I think [Manny] Tapia is at the front of the line, but he just messed up his knee. So I don’t know. I’ll fight [Brian] Bowles — he looks good. And if he doesn’t get the next shot I’m sure we’ll cross paths one of these days if he keeps winning. I don’t really care. I’ll fight anybody, anywhere. He doesn’t even have to be 135 pounds.”
WEC Bantamweight Champion Miguel Torres talks about his eagerness to return to action in a recent interview against possibly Manny Tapia or Brian Bowles. Torres appears to indicate that Tapia has the inside track to challenge for his 135-pound belt next if he’s fit. Otherwise, we could see Bowles — who recently stopped Damacio Page — get the nod. Either way it should be a tough fight for either fighter — Torres sounds fired up.
Brock Lesnar: ‘Can you see me now?’
Brock Lesnar is a God … in Minnestota.
It’s hard to explain the unbelievable (and deafening) reception that Lesnar received last night from the hometown crowd that packed the Target Center to watch him take on Heath Herring at UFC 87: “Seek and Destroy.”
We were seated in section 100 and could not hear anything besides the roar of the crowd, which totally drowned out the voice of Bruce Buffer during the pre-fight introductions. In fact, my ears were ringing well after the lights came down to signal the end of the show.
To his credit Lesnar did an amazing job of whipping the crowd into a frenzy, hoisting his massive limbs in the air if he wanted to raise the volume inside the venue, throwing gloves and shirts into the stands and hijacking the microphone to deliver a dramatic speech.
BJ Penn vs. G. St. Pierre Confirmed
White said, “BJ was here tonight all fired up cheering for GSP; they both really want that fight. I’m gonna let that fight happen."
Also from the article : "A source close to the situation has informed Fightline.com that the fight will take place on December 27 of this year, corroborating a previous report that the two would meet for the UFC's New Years Eve show so that date looks likely at this point. "
UFC 87 bonuses: St. Pierre, Fitch, Maia and Emerson earn $60,000 each
Georges St. Pierre, Jon Fitch, Demian Maia and Rob Emerson each won $60,000 "fight night" bonuses stemming from Saturday's UFC 87 event at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minn.
The bonuses were announced in a post-event press conference and confirmed by MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) soon after the pay-per-view event.
Although the majority of the night's fights ended via decision, only one -- the night's main event -- earned bonus honors.
St. Pierre, who made his first successful title defense with a shutout unanimous-decision victory over Fitch, split "Fight of the Night" honors with the former top contender. The five-round fight was clearly dominated by St. Pierre, though Fitch's resiliency kept him in the game. For their efforts, each headliner earned a $60,000 bonus check in addition to their base salaries.
Ground wizard Demian Maia, who took another step toward title contention with his third consecutive UFC victory, earned a Submission of the Night award with his win over gatekeeper Jason MacDonald. Although his opponent fended off a multiple attempts, Maia eventually secured a rear-naked choke and forced MacDonald to tap out at 2:44 of the third round.
Georges St. Pierre: I almost had to kill Jon Fitch to win
I was trying to pace myself, because after the first time I rock him and I couldn’t finish him I was like ‘Man, this guy, I’m gonna have to almost kill him to win’. He’s very tough, I give him a lot of props. A big heart, good , amazing guy, very big heart, [I have] a lot of respect for this guy.
-UFC welterweight champion Georges “Rush” St. Pierre talks about trying to finish challenger Jon Fitch during a UFC 87 post fight interview. GSP successfully defended his title after fighting off a very game Fitch for 25 minutes.