FEDOR LOOKING TO RE-ESTABLISH DOMINANCE
op ranked heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko returns to the States and returns to fighting top competition July 19 when he takes on former UFC heavyweight titleholder Tim Sylvia in the main event of Affliction “Banned” at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.
Widely regarded as the best fighter in the world, Emelianenko solidified his place in the Japanese Rings and Pride organizations, obtaining the Pride belt by defeating current UFC heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at Pride 25 in March of 2003. But since defeating Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic at Pride: Final Conflict 2005, Emelianenko has received criticism for not competing against top tier talent.
Although ranked No. 1 in the world, Emelianenko in a lot of ways has to re-establish himself in the heavyweight division. In his second appearance in the U.S., he seeks to silence the critics when he squares off against Top 5 ranked Tim Sylvia for the WAMMA heavyweight title.
"How can you say that the guy is the number one fighter in the world if there's different organizations not willing to work with each other?" said Affliction vice president Tom Atencio. "If there is even a shadow of a doubt that this guy is not the best, how can you say he's the best in the world worthy of a belt of even the title if he's not fighting everybody?"
"Fedor’s willing to come over here and put his title on the line," added Atencio. "Everybody says he's the number one fighter in the world. Well here's one step closer to being it if he beats Tim Sylvia."
Tim Sylvia, Michael Bisping, Chuck Liddell, Dana White and Marc Ratner comment on Rampage Jackson situation
In a chat with the Las Vegas Sun today UFC Vice President of Government and Regulatory Affairs, Marc Ratner, said the company was “still gathering information” on Quinton “Rampage” Jackson’s strange behavior over the past several days.
In the two days since the 30-year-old fighter was arrested following a hit and run accident in California the UFC has been virtually mum. However, several media outlets reported that UFC President Dana White flew to California to bail out the former champ.
Exclusive: Affliction to broadcast entire "Banned" fight card
In Saturday's upcoming battle of counter-programming with the UFC, Affliction has again raised the stakes with its debut "Banned" card.
Affliction Vice President Tom Atencio today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that Saturday night's pay-per-view broadcast will run a full four hours and will feature eight bouts. Additionally, FSN will air three bouts, rather than the previously reported two fights.
In other words, between FSN and PPV, the entire "Banned" fight card will be televised.
Alves-Sanchez Fight Off
The Thiago Alves vs. Diego Sanchez match earmarked for 10/18 in Birmingham, England is now off. The Thiago Silva vs. Ryoto (Lyoto) Machida match announced yesterday was to take its place.
Horn vs. Gouveia at UFN 15
Jeremy Horn vs. Wilson Gouveia has been booked for UFN 15. The only question is at which weight class: Horn usually fights at middleweight, Gouveia at light heavyweight. That should be decided fairly soon.
Dana White Did Not Help Affliction
There's a narrative going around that by booking a free show opposite Affliction's debut, Dana White did Affliction some kind of favor. The people making the argument say that the UFC opposition created more interest in the weekend than there would have been otherwise. I don't buy this at all.
If Affliction was running unopposed this weekend, their ads might actually reach and have some effect on the millions of fans who watch UFC. Instead, those fans have been saturated with ads for Anderson Silva and a free show, and I haven't spoken to one casual fan even considering buying Affliction over the UFC show. Whereas these fans may have considered buying a fight on Saturday night just because they like fights, they now have a free option, and the idea of buying Affliction and weighing cards against each other isn't even a consideration.
Second, the narrative of competition is not a good one for Affliction. If they were running unopposed, all the hype would be on seeing Fedor fight again. Instead, three days out, the narrative is about the competition, and it's a contest Affliction can't win. People have pointed to the story on ESPN weighing the Affliction and UFC cards as proof that this has been a good thing for Affliction. Realistically, it probably did nothing to hurt or help, but certainly helped less than a major ESPN article on Fedor Emelianenko would have.
Report: UFC to Buy the IFL
So says Adam Swift:
A Senior Producer at HDNet's Inside MMA tells MMAPayout.com that the IFL will be bought by the UFC.
MMAPayout.com has confirmed talks between the IFL and UFC. More details as they become available.
They've already signed a ton of their talent, so this would be a very smart move to keep EliteXC and Affliction from building their divisions. I doubt the UFC will keep everyone, but this allows them to get first dibs on who they want to keep and give the leftovers to the competitors.
Say what you want about the IFL, but they had a lot of very talented competitors on their rosters. And I'm guessing the asking price at this point is pretty low. Well done, Dana.
UFC Counter-Programs Affliction to Death
What a FANTASTIC day for US MMA fans!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Check out SpikeTV's schedule for July 19th:
4:00 PM EST / 1:00 PM PST
Martin Kampmann vs. Drew McFedries (UFC 68)
Marcus Davis vs. Jason Tan (UFC 72)
Rich Franklin vs. Jason McDonald (UFC 68)
Anderson Silva vs. Travis Lutter (UFC 67)
5:00 PM EST / 2:00 PM PST
Jason Lambert vs. Renato "Babalu" Sobral (UFC 68)
Houston Alexander vs. Keith Jardine (UFC 71)
Brandon Vera vs. Justin Eilers (UFC 57)
Assuerio Silva vs. Frank Mir (???)
6:00 PM EST / 3:00 PM PST
Frank Edgar vs. Tyson Griffin (UFC 67)
Dave Terrell vs. Matt Lindland (UFC 49)
Spencer Fisher vs. Thiago Alves (UFN 2)
7:00 PM EST / 4:00 PM PST
UFC Countdown: Silva vs. Irvin
8:00 PM EST / 5:00 PM PST
UFC: Ultimate Knockouts 5
9:00 PM EST / 6:00 PM PST
UFC: Silva vs. Irvin
Anderson Silva vs. James Irvin
Brandon Vera vs. Reese Andy
Hermes Franca vs. Frank Edgar
Cain Velasquez vs. Jake O'Brien
Anthony Johnson vs. Kevin Burns
Jesse Taylor vs. C.B. Dollaway
Hideo Tokoro Involved in Car Accident
Not a good week for mixed martial artists and automobiles. Thankfully, Hideo Tokoro's incident yesterday didn't result in his arrest and, according to Kamipro, was only a minor fender bender. Unfortunately, it sounds like it may keep him out of his upcoming bout with Takeshi Yamazaki. Translation from SukiMMA:
Hideo Tokoro, who was recently announced his participation to DREAM 5 on July 21, had an car accident on July 16. He was on the way going to see his doctor for check-up. He was ran into from behind and suffered an injury on his back that would take a week to heal completely.
Great new Alexander Emelianenko interview.
"I'm ready. It doesn't matter with who or where. On foot or on horseback. With maces or poleaxes. To fight. To first blood or to death. It doesn't matter, I'm ready to fight." -- Aleksander Emelianenko (Pictures)
Living in the shadow of a big brother isn't easy.
When you are in the same profession and he's more accomplished and better known, it's hard to stand in the spotlight unobstructed, as your own man. Side by side, the achievements that you've worked your whole life for, that you've gone through hell for in order to become a better person are less dazzling, less impressive when compared to his. You have less say in your fighting future, less media attention when he's caught in a perpetual avalanche of flash bulbs and microphones. You're fighting on the televised undercard when he's headlining the pay-per-view.
New BABALU write up (Guy has had a rough year)
Renato “Babalu” Sobral will step into the Affliction ring Saturday night looking to get a big win over Mike Whitehead. Over the last year, controversy has surrounded Sobral, but the former UFC title contender looks to put that all behind him Saturday night and come away with a huge victory.
In 2002 Babula lost by a Head Kick KO to Chuck Liddell at UFC 40, but would go on to win the next 10 in a row. His win stream would set up a title shot rematch with the “Iceman” in 2006. Babula was beaten once again. Liddell was running through everyone, so the loss did nothing to hurt his career.
Rampage Hospitalized by Police 24 Hours Later
Quinton "Rampage" Jackson has been picked up by police again.
Sources say last night an Irvine police car was waved down by people near the place Rampage was staying who said he was acting weird. This, of course, following the insane chase the day before in which the UFC fighter hit several cars in his monster truck and was arrested at gunpoint.
We're told Irvine cops saw Rampage, deemed him a danger to himself and others, and took him to a hospital for observation.
Cops won't officially confirm if it's a psychiatric hold.
UFC ‘Countdown’ to ‘Silva vs. Irvin’ on Spike tonight at 11 p.m. ET
“Watch Anderson Silva and James Irvin as they train in their home towns for their clash at The Pearl in Las Vegas on July 19 2008.”
The hype machine continues to roll tonight for UFC Fight Night 14: “Silva vs. Irvin” from “The Pearl” at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Saturday, July 19. The hour-long Spike TV “Countdown” special will re-air on Friday, July 18 at 11 a.m. 7 p.m. ET for those who miss it tonight.
Urijah Faber vs. Mike Brown set for Sept. 10 WEC
After an impressive unanimous-decision victory over Jens Pulver in perhaps the biggest WEC event to date, featherweight champion Urijah Faber (21-1) will return to action and defend his belt Sept. 10 against Mike Brown (15-4).
A source close to Brown told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that bout agreements were distributed and finalized in the past week.
The WEC 36 bout, which is expected to take place at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla., was first reported by Sherdog.com.
Faber, who made his fifth successful title defense since winning the WEC belt in March 2006, also picked up his 13th consecutive win with the victory over former UFC champ Pulver. His only career loss came to Tyson Griffin in 2005.
ROBERT "BUZZ" BERRY HANGS UP THE GLOVES
Following his recent loss to Neil Grove at Cage Rage 27, Robert "Buzz" Berry steps out of the limelight and into retirement. It marks a sad day for British MMA when one of the most prominent heavyweights on the scene decides that they have had enough.
Berry amassed a professional record of 13-8-0 since breaking onto the scene in 2001 with a win in the Total Combat show. Since that time he has been one of the most regular competitors on the scene with six fights apiece in 2005 and 2006, three in 2007, and twice already this year.
Berry will forever be remembered for exposing Ken Shamrock's total lack of game plan with a devastating knockout in March of this year. At the time, the fight may have appeared to be a steppingstone for Shamrock to rebuild his career, but Berry had other plans and fought arguably the most mature and complete fight of his career.
On Wednesday night, Berry announced on the Cage Warriors forum his retirement from the U.K. Scene with the following post:
"Just to let you all know I have had to retire. After my fight with Neil Grove I was taken to the hospital and had to have surgery on my face. They have had to put two plates in, one in my cheek bone and one on my eye socket. So that is it, over for me.