EliteXC fighter faces toughest test yet: unemployment
The past few weeks were exciting for middleweight Joey Villasenor. He had prepared vigorously for his rematch with Robbie Lawler.
Though Villasenor was stopped in 22 seconds the first time they met, he was confident things would end differently Nov. 8 in Reno, Nev. Villasenor, who turned 33 on Friday, was feeling good.
Where to now? Joey Villasenor founds himself without a job after EliteXC closed its doors.
In a little more than two weeks, he planned to enter the cage and exact revenge on one of mixed martial arts' top middleweights. Plus, he could earn a much-needed $60,000 -- $30,000 for the fight and $30,000 to win.
Just two more weeks and Villasenor would put a few bucks into his savings account that serves as a retirement fund. But two weeks is a long time when the event's promoter is struggling to make ends meet.
Brock Lesnar does not want Mazzagatti as referee at UFC 91
Lesnar’s reps claim he was “involved in what we believe was a controversial ruling in connection with the Mir-Lesnar fight.” Lesnar’s reps told Sherdog. ”They asked that Mazzagatti be removed from consideration for the UFC 91 main event to avoid “distraction” and “any further controversy.”
Fedor's Manager Vadim Finklestein Addresses Dana White
Dana says UFC’s doors are wide open. Maybe they are. But these doors also shut tightly once the fighter signs with the organization. Randy Couture came back to the UFC and what now?
Instead of fighting the best in the promotion he has to fight a young upstart with 2-1 pro-record. Couture might not survive all the three contractual fights. I’m afraid that’s being made in order to finish the star which is Randy and not let him fight Fedor.
EliteXC’s Top 10 Moments
News of EliteXC’s demise shook the mixed martial arts world on Monday, as an entire stable of fighters suddenly found themselves without a place to work. Any number of reasons behind the 2-year-old promotion’s downfall could be chiseled into its tombstone:
Foray into mixed martial arts failed for boxing promoters.
Organization walked down the same green mile as the World Fighting Alliance, the International Fight League and Bodog Fight.
Promotion unraveled after scandal involving street fighter and UFC retread.
While EliteXC offered just as much controversy as excitement, it enjoyed many bright spots during its 20-month run.
- UFC 90: KOSCHECK GOES BACK TO HIS ROOTS
The roots of Josh Koscheck’s resurgence in the UFC welterweight division lie in the moments after his loss to Georges St. Pierre at UFC 69.
The American Kickboxing Academy regular hadn’t put much energy to his wrestling game to prepare for St. Pierre. He was an NCAA Division I champion; wrestling was in his blood. But after spending most his time under the weight of the then-fallen champion, Koscheck realized he could’ve changed the course of the fight by working on his first stock and trade.
“He gave St. Pierre a lot of credit,” longtime training partner Mike Swick says. “I don’t think he fought (St. Pierre) how he really wanted to. The second that fight was over, Josh’s confidence grew as a fighter. He realized that he could have done so much better.”
Koscheck admits that his respect for St. Pierre clouded his judgment about how to face fighters in the upper echelon of the division.
Jake O'Brien vs. Christian Wellisch in works for UFC 94
After suffering the first two losses of his professional career, heavyweight Jake O'Brien (10-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) will look for a return to the win column when he meets Christian Wellisch (8-4 MMA, 2-2 UFC) at UFC 94.
Sources close to the fighters told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that the bout is close to being finalized.
UFC 94, which features a UFC welterweight title fight between current 170-pound champ Georges St. Pierre and 155-pound champ B.J. Penn, takes place Jan. 31 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
O'Brien, a former Purdue University wrestler, began his career with 10 consecutive wins, which included a 3-0 mark in the UFC. The 10th win came in a stunning unanimous-decision upset of Heath Herring in the PRIDE veteran's January 2007 UFC debut.
Dana backs Brock to be No1
DANA WHITE reckons Brock Lesnar has all the credentials to become the world's No1 heavyweight fighter.
The UFC president has tipped the former WWE superstar to put on a great performance against the legendary Randy Couture when the pair collide at UFC 91.
And White reckons 31-year-old Lesnar has what it takes to beat The Natural next month.
He said: "It's such an interesting fight because Couture is so good at coming up with plans for finding weaknesses in guys' games and exposing them.
"But Lesnar's such a different animal, this guy is so big, so strong and so fast at that weight it's just phenomenal.
Sherk’s shifting fortunes
Sean Sherk has won 32 mixed martial arts fights. He’s lost three: to Georges St. Pierre, Matt Hughes and B.J. Penn, each an all-time great in the sport.
“The best of the best of the best,” Sherk said.
At 35 he is an MMA stalwart himself, one of the pioneers of the game who first joined the Ultimate Fighting Championship for UFC 30, when he was “just some farm kid from Minnesota.”
Yet he enters UFC 90 in nearby Rosemont on Saturday at the crossroads of his career, dealing with questions about his past successes as much as his potential for future ones.
On the humble undercard this time, he’ll fight up-and-coming Tyson Griffin, 24, a guy who could rightfully be called a young Sean Sherk. Griffin even modeled some of his wrestling game from watching Sherk fights back when he was just a fan.
Sherk is well aware of the stakes. He was on top of the world 15 months ago, when he outlasted Hermes Franca in a 25-minute test of wills to defend his UFC lightweight championship.
Davis Predicts Bright Future For Paul Kelly
Marcus Davis has offered British welterweight Paul Kelly some words of encouragement after submitting him in their UFC 89 fight last weekend.
Davis believes that Kelly, 23, has a bright future in the sport and says he told him so right after their bout.
"I told him, you're a young kid and you've got a long future in this. You're tough and you're already in the big show, don't let it get you down," he revealed to Fighters Only this week.
He praised Kelly's strength and aggression, which he said had forced him to come up with a different gameplan to the one he used against other British fighters such as Paul Taylor and Jason Tan.
"My trainer's plan, that he set out after watching tape on Kelly, was to use the same plan that Bisping did that night against Leben," Davis explained.
Fisticuffs: Spencer Fisher UFC 90 interview
With 25 professional fights under his belt, Spencer “The King” Fisher (21-4) has been around the block a time or two.
The three-year UFC veteran has gone toe-to-toe with the likes of Frankie Edgar and Hermes Franca and holds wins over Thiago Alves, Josh Neer, Sam Stout, Matt Wiman and most recently Jeremy Stephens at The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 7 Finale in June.
And if all goes according to plan, Fisher could be adding one more name to that list. He faces Shannon Gugerty (11-2) at UFC 90: “Silva vs. Cote” this Saturday, October 25 at the Allstate Arena in Chicago, Ill.
Although Fisher was originally slated to face slugger Melvin Guillard (21-7-2), the Team Miletich member will face a significantly different test in Gugerty, who has eight submission victories to his credit, the last of which came via rear naked choke in round one over previously undefeated Dale Hartt at UFC Fight Night 14 in July. It was both fighters’ UFC debut.
ALVES PLANS TO KO KOSCHECK & GO FOR THE TITLE
While many fighters coming off of back to back wins over top ranked opponents wouldn't be willing to wait for their chance at a title shot, Thiago Alves is more than happy to continue his climb up the ladder towards an opportunity to compete for welterweight championship.
In his last two fighters, Alves has knocked out two impossibly tough opponents in former champion Matt Hughes and top contender Karo Parisyan.
It looked like he was primed for a title shot, but instead of waiting around for that chance he took another fight against another top ranked opponent in Diego Sanchez.
Just over a week ago, Sanchez fell out of the scheduled bout with a rib injury. He was quickly replaced with another top fighter in Josh Koscheck, who stepped in at the last minute.
Many fighters would be hesitant to give up the chance to compete for a title in their next fight, but Thiago Alves is even willing to fight another top ranked welterweight on short notice.
CageFighter Banned From The Octagon
MMAPayout.com has confirmed a rift between the UFC and MMA apparel and collectible company MMA Authentic, best known for its CageFighter brand. MMAPayout.com has learned through multiple sources that CageFighter and other MMA Authentics brands have been banned from the Octagon and any UFC event.
The dispute is rumored to have arisen from a conflict over shelf space in Wal-mart stores. Sources told MMAPayout.com that CageFighter/MMA Authentics beat out the UFC for the valuable real estate in the nation’s top retailer. As a result Zuffa pulled the plug on MMA Authentics’ access to the Octagon in retaliation.
The UFC is able to take such measures by exercising Article 22.1 of the Zuffa Standard Contract, which states that “Fighter covenants and agrees that no wording, symbols, pictures, designs, names or other advertising or informational material… ii. of any sponsor in conflict or competition with Zuffa or any of Zuffa’s sponsors.”
According to the UFC Sponsor Request form sent out to all fighters and obtained by MMAPayout.com, “in addition to Affliction and the Xtreme Couture t-shirt brand, Cage Fighter, MMA Authentic, Familia Gladitoria and MMA Elite will also not be permitted. The Xtreme Couture Training Center is permitted provided, however, the logo must clearly refer to the mixed martial arts training centers and gyms.”
CageFighter and MMA Authentics has a impressive list of fighters who will be adversely affected by the ban. BJ Penn, Michael Bisping, Forrest Griffin, Marcus Davis, Brandon Vera, Urijah Faber, Sam Stout, Roger Huerta, and Chuck Liddell all have signature shirts available for purchase through one or more of the MMA Authentics brands.
ALBERTO CRANE WINS AGAIN, EYES BIG STAGE
Alberto Crane knows he did poorly in his first shot at MMA’s biggest stage. Two losses in the Ultimate Fighting Championship followed by yet another outside the promotion placed him on the rebuilding track.
Wanting to prove that he is more than the sum of three fights, Crane took a hard look at himself and made the decision to dedicate all resources towards having the kind of success at the higher levels of the sport that he did when he initially started out undefeated in his first nine fights.
A move to Los Angeles and an expanded training regime have begun to pay dividends, as he has won two fights in a row, including this past weekend’s quick dismantling of Richard Villes for the new Eminent Domain Productions show.
“It was awesome fighting back in New Mexico again,” said Crane of Saturday’s bout. “I think it would have been better if (the fight) had gone a little longer, just for the experience of it, but I was happy to get the win.”
The Case for Women in the UFC
Years ago, when the UFC was trying to get sanctioned across the country, Dana White decided that having women fight on his show would just create PR nightmares that he didn't need. He may have been right. It's easy to imagine legislators showing pictures of bloody girls in order to fight regulation efforts. Now that the sport is regulated in almost every state, that concern is gone for the most part, but it made no sense until this week for the UFC to even consider a women's division. All of the top and marketable talent was signed elsewhere, and there'd really be no point to starting a women's division that was inferior to the one over at EliteXC.
Over the course of two major CBS shows, Gina Carano established herself as an elite-level draw. Her fights drew over a million new viewers each show, and she does incredible search numbers online. Nobody in the UFC has drawn those kind of TV ratings all year besides Anderson Silva in July.
Are CBS and Showtime Planning on Staying in MMA?
Yesterday, MMA Payout noticed something important in the SEC report by EliteXC CBS/Showtime had declared ProElite in violation of the terms of their $6.3million loan. This creates a possibility that CBS/Showtime will seize all the assets of the company, including the fighter contracts.
Now Josh Gross is hearing a bit more talk along those lines:
Perhaps the most interesting bit of information from this mess deals with the contracts of ProElite's fighters. One of the managers I talked to said Elite might not be able to free fighters right away as CBS might have a right to the contracts. The network had a promissory note with Elite which didn't get paid. Like a lien on property, their only assets to collect are the fight contracts. This contradicts suggestions on Tuesday that fighters under contract to ProElite before it went belly up would likely be free and clear to negotiate with other promoters.
There's no evidence that the suits at CBS can run an MMA organization but maybe they'd let someone competent from within the EliteXC ranks rise up and run the show.