Dana White Talks Josh Neer, Anthony Johnson, Ultimate Fight Night 17
The Ultimate Fighting Championship is on a roll on pay-per-view, with events that did in the neighborhood of 1 million pay-per-view buys in each of the last three months -- an unprecedented level of pay-per-view success for any organization in any sport.
But when I talked to UFC President Dana White on Wednesday, he sounded more excited discussing the fights that the UFC is putting on for free on basic cable, starting with this Saturday night's UFC Fight Night on Spike TV.
Why Isn't Rampage Jackson Fighting Rashad Evans First?
After some speculation that turned out wrong, here's the answer from Dana White:
When do you think we'll see Lyoto Machida again and who might his opponent be?
That's a good question. That's going to depend on how the light heavyweight fights shake out in the next couple of fights. Obviously, Keith Jardine and Rampage Jackson are fighting (at UFC 96). Rampage is next in line for a title shot.
Dana White: Expect big fights this year including BJ Penn vs Kenny Florian
We’ve got Mir and Lesnar coming up, we’ve got possibly Rashad and Rampage, or if it’s not Rashad and Rampage it’ll be Rashad and Lyoto, which I think will be a very good card too. We’ve got all big fights — Randy Couture’s gonna fight again this year. We’ve got a lot of big cards this year … Also, Kenny Florian and BJ is going to be a big fight … I can’t see — BJ, to me, is not the type of person who’s going to have a fight like he just had and walk away from his belt at 155. I can’t see that happening … I wouldn’t have been shocked if BJ had won both titles and then retired. That wouldn’t have shocked me. But after the way that went down, I can’t see him retiring.
-UFC President Dana White looks forward to a year of big fights including BJ Penn’s return to the lightweight division to battle number one contender Kenny Florian. Penn is currently mired in “Greasegate” after a Vaseline-happy cornerman back-lubed St. Pierre between rounds during their welterweight title fight at UFC 94 on January 31. Penn filed a formal request to the Nevada State Athletic Commission earlier today to have the incident reviewed. Hopefully it’s dealt with in a timely manner so we can put the fighting back in the Octagon where it belongs.
BJ Penn sends NSAC formal request to investigate Georges St. Pierre at UFC 94
The legal team that represents lightweight champion BJ Penn — four days removed from a technical knockout loss to welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre at UFC 94 on Jan. 31 — today sent a formal request (not a complaint) to the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC).
The three-page letter is designed to ensure that the sanctioning body engages “in a comprehensive investigation and review of the activities involving and relating to Georges St. Pierre prior to and during the bout.”
St. Pierre’s cornermen during the fight applied Vaseline to his back and shoulders, which is illegal under the rules of the sport. Ringside officials noticed the generous helping of petroleum jelly on the backside of the Canadian and sprung into action, wiping him down with towels after rounds two and three.
“Rush” isn’t giving excuses for the incident, saying it was just a minor mistake caused by the between-round frenzy. UFC President Dana White — who is taking the issue very seriously — has since blamed “stupid” cornermen (Greg Jackson and Phil Nurse) for the infraction.
The letter to the NSAC indicates that not only is greasing illegal, but it taints the reputation of the sport and jeopardizes the health and safety of those who participate in it.
Furthermore, it states the application of Vaseline put Penn at a serious disadvantage during the fight because as a Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist, “The Prodigy” relies on his ability to apply techniques and strategies designed to immobilize or cause potential injury to his opponent.
With that ability neutralized, Penn’s attorney contends that his client was put in an environment that was both “life threatening” and “career ending.”
ProElite Sold or Nearly Sold
After a number of deals falling through at the last minute, it appears Pro Elite has either been sold or is in the very final stages of being sold as of this morning. Under the terms of the sale, the buyer would likely return to CBS television with live events this year.The most likely buyer is Strikeforce.
Dana: 1.3 Million Buys For UFC 94
Dana White today told the Las Vegas Sun that he expects the PPV buyrate for UFC 94 to be 1.3 million. Although the UFC doesn't officially release PPV figures, UFC 66 in 2006 is believed to own the current record with 1.05 million buys.
Andrei Arlovski signs with Golden Boy Promotions
Sources have informed FiveOuncesOfPain.com that Andrei Arlovski has signed an agreement with Golden Boy Promotions.
Full details of the deal are not known at this time, but Arlovski had been rumored to enter the boxing world since early in 2008. Recently, trainer Freddie Roach confirmed that Arlovski was going to start boxing following the fight with Fedor Emelianenko. At the time, Roach stated that he wanted to Arlovski to challenge WBA heavyweight champion Nikolay Valuev.
MMA IS Sacred: There Is a Reason For The Scrutiny of Georges St Pierre
I want to come clean about greasegate. I'm making this a bit of a crusade and here's why: I love MMA. Its the only sport I care about at all and in these dark economic times it actually gives my life a little bit of meaning and pleasure.
I've been meaning to write a series of essays called "MMA IS Sacred" for a little while now and I guess this incident will finally get me off my ass.
This is quite a long read, but well worth taking a look at imo.
Exclusive Interview: Cain Velasquez
Cain Velasquez is a former All-American wrestler and undefeated MMA fighter who has yet to see what the second round looks like in his pro career. This Saturday at UFC Fight Night 17 he faces Octagon newbie Denis Stojnic, and all indications are that Velasquez’s undefeated streak will still be intact on Sunday morning.
In this exclusive interview, Velasquez talks with us about the choice of opponents, his transition from wrestling to MMA, and his thoughts on AKA’s recent dust-up with the UFC over the video game licensing deal.
CagePotato.com: You’re facing a guy who’s making his UFC debut in Denis Stojnic. What do you know about him and how have you been preparing for him?
The only thing I know about him is from watching YouTube videos of him. He’s an aggressive fighter, he throws some wild punches, and he’s an extremely tough dude. I’m working on turning the corner, not really standing there and banging with him, but looking for shots from there for the takedown.
You’re 4-0 and beat a fairly established UFC fighter in Jake O’Brien your last time out. Why do you think the UFC decided to put you up against a guy stepping into the Octagon for the first time?
I’m not really sure, but they did. I’m glad they did because that’s just more ring time for me. When I get up to the big guys, the big names, I’ll be more ready.
UFC Quick Quote: Thiago Alves is going to knock Georges St. Pierre out
“It’ll be a great fight. I’m very excited, I can’t wait … It’s going to be great. I saw what he did with BJ Penn and I’ll have to beat him a lot, do my game. I expected and didn’t expect [St. Pierre to dominate Penn] understood? (laughs). I knew he would win, but not this way. He’s much bigger than the BJ, a better athlete, and the sport today, in that level, you have to be the best athlete. I’ll go there to knock him out.”
– Number one welterweight contender Thiago Alves shares his hopes with Tatame.com regarding the outcome of his pending title fight with 170-pound champion Georges St. Pierre. “Rush” recently restored order to a division on the brink of chaos by pummeling BJ Penn at UFC 94 on January 31. Now St. Pierre can focus on business in the welterweight division - most notably Thiago Alves. “Pitbull” has been on a two-year tear, with five of his last seven wins ending by way of (T)KO, including stoppages over ranked opponents Matt Hughes and Karo Parisyan. This one’s going to be fireworks indeed.
Dana: GSP Victim Of A Stupid Cornerman At UFC 94
In the latest chapter today of "Vaseline-Gate", Dana White today appeared on a Boston-area radio station to further discuss the incident. White said he thought GSP didn't cheat, was the victim of a bad cornerman, and also said he wants to make BJ Penn-Kenny Florian ASAP, and in Massachusetts if laws permit.
Ian Freeman Faces Jail Over Tax Evasion
Cage fighter Ian "The Machine" Freeman faced jail last night after failing to pay tax for nearly 12 years.
The 41-year-old won the Cage Rage British Light-Heavyweight Championship last year, has a website where fans can buy his merchandise and has written a book.
Freeman also ran a company promoting cage fights, where rivals are allowed to punch, kick, elbow and wrestle.
But he told the taxman he and his wife lived off her £11,000-a-year wage as a pharmacy assistant.
Rashad Not Worried About Machida
"I'm not scared," Evans chuckled when asked if he was afraid of the No. 1 contender for his title. "Machida is tough. I gotta lot of respect for him but I'm gonna win."
But what about the fact that "The Dragon" just took out previously unbeaten Thiago Silva inside of a minute?
"His strategy going into that fight was all wrong," said Evans. "He probably just didn't have the tools to match Machida. Machida is clever man, that dude is tough."
Fedor Wanted Dana To Build Him An Arena!
You’ll remember a few weeks back, Five Ounces of Pain had an interview with Fedor manager Vadim Finkelstein where Vadim claimed there were no crazy demands for Russian events or Russian fighters bundled into a Fedor contract. Now here’s Dana directly contradicting him:
“When I first met with these guys, I was with them in the U.K.,” said White. “They said to me, ‘Here’s what we want to do. My brother is the biggest rock concert promoter over there so here’s what we want. We want you to build an arena in Russia.’ I said, ‘Time out. I’m not looking to build arenas.’”
Bobby Green, Carl Seumanutafa join Team USA West for M-1 challenge
"Affliction: Day of Reckoning" late replacement Bobby Green (7-2) and EliteXC veteran Carl Seumanutafa (4-1) will fight for the debuting Team USA West in the 2009 season of the "M-1 Challenge Presented by Affliction."
M-1 Global today released the lineups for the new team, managed by M-1's Steve Bash and California-based promoter Roy Engelbrecht.
The 2009 M-1 Challenge season opener is set for Feb. 21 at the Emerald Queen Casino in Seattle.