Sean Sherk looking in the mirror against Tyson Griffin at UFC 90
“Stylistically, I think we’re a lot the same. Obviously, physically, we look a lot the same. I see a lot of same attributes in myself that he has as well. To be honest with you, I just don’t think he’s seasoned enough yet. We’re talking about a guy with 13 fights who hasn’t fought an A-level fighter yet, versus a guy who’s got 40 fights who’s been fighting A-level fighters for six years. So there’s a lot of experience coming into this that I have.”
Marcus Aurelio vs Hermes Franca: The Feud
American Top Team member Marcus Aurelio is facing off against his former student Hermes Franca who left ATT a while back. To say its not pretty is an understatement.
Aurelio's side of the story from :
"I think it will be awesome, because there will be both guys trying to kill each other," Aurelio said. "He’s got to hate me, and I got to hate him. He’s not my teammate anymore. He’s not my student anymore. He’s not with us anymore. He got kicked out of ATT."
Hermes has a different take:
"I think my weakness is I’m so nice with everybody. For this fight, I’m not going to be nice. I can say we have [a] beef. I’m angry. I’m pissed. I want to kick his ass."
has more background on the feud:
Both fighters grew up in the city Fortaleza, Brazil. The two became acquainted through Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with Aurelio teaching Franca - is his junior by one year.
Eventually, both moved to the U.S. and found a home at American Top Team in Florida. The nature of this move, however, is disputed as Aurelio has said that he brought Franca over while Franca contends that he came by himself and that it was fellow UFC fighter Wilson Gouveia who gave him the idea.
Whatever the truth is, the two remained in close contact with Aurelio being one of the four Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belts present when Franca was awarded his own black belt.
It was the awarding of another black belt, however, that helped lead to the end of their relationship.
While still with ATT, Hermes awarded current UFC fighter Kurt Pellegrino his black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Some of Franca’s ATT teammates did not feel the promotion was deserved. The divide was wide enough that Franca left to form his own team with Pellegrino at The Armory in Jupiter Florida.
“When I gave Kurt his black belt I was four years into my black belt,” Franca tells Inside Fighting.
“And I know exactly when a guy deserves a black belt. He wasn’t just a good fighter but Kurt’s a good teacher and a great fighter.”
Where Elite XC fighters may go via 5 oz of Pain/Sam Caplan
Both 5 oz of pain have made articles. 5 oz of pain's Sam Caplan has a close relationship with Pro Elite and their fighters so I put more weight into his article also it is a much better read.
What’s Next: Predicting where EliteXC’s top fighters will go October 21, 2008 by Sam Caplan Leave a comment While EliteXC did not have a roster as deep in talent as its primary competitor, the UFC, the promotion was not without its share fair of good fighters. Some might say that EliteXC suffered from a lack of stars, but one could also counter that the company failed in being able to generate more interest in many of its talented fighters.
With the promotion set to formally file for bankruptcy later this week, it means that a great deal of fighters contracted to EliteXC are about to become unemployed. However, a lot of those fighters will not remain unemployed for long, as they will draw a great deal of interest from other fight promotions. With that in mind, I decided to formulate a list of the promotion’s top fighters and break down who I think will end up where and why. Kimbo Slice - This is a real tricky one. First, you can completely rule out the UFC. Let’s say UFC President Dana White was merely posturing with all of his recent anti-Kimbo statements, it still means he’s boxed himself into a corner. If he were to sign Slice now, he would take a ton of flack for it. But I believe he was sincere in his remarks and that there is no way we’d see Slice in the UFC. Maybe White actually would consider extending an invite for Slice to compete on The Ultimate Fighter, but season nine will not involve heavyweights and Slice may not want to sit on the sidelines until season ten. Oh yeah, there’s also the fact that there’s ZERO CHANCE he will compete for free on a reality television show. He’d probably do a YouTube street fighting reunion tour before he’d fight for free. The options left for him really aren’t all that appealing. Slice could be an even bigger star in Japan than he is in the U.S. DREAM wants to do something big for its “Dynamite!!” show with K-1 on New Year’s Eve and Slice could be the next Bob Sapp. Sengoku is also apparently looking to make a splash for its live network show in Japan on Jan. 4 and they might have interest as well. But how viable of an MMA market is Japan right now? Before competing for EliteXC, Slice fought an exhibition fight against former boxing champion Ray Mercer in Atlantic City for the now-defunct Cage Fury Fighting Championships. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Slice takes a step backward so he can take a step forward. If an up and coming promotion wants to make a splash, they could do so with Slice — so long as they are willing to show the money. Also, don’t rule out Shane McMahon going to father Vince and trying to convince him that a Slice crossover to pro wrestling could be huge. Even if Slice has no interest in doing pro wrestling long-term, he’d have to think twice about a $1.5 million-to-$2 million payday for being involved in a short-term, high-profile feud that would culminate at Wrestlemania. Affliction can’t be ruled out but matching him up would be very tough in a heavyweight division that includes Fedor, Josh Barnett, Tim Sylvia, Ben Rothwell, Roy Nelson, Pedro Rizzo, and Pau Buentello. Slice vs. any of those fighters would do well at the box office, but he’d be nothing more than a short-term fix. I don’t think his management will want to enter into a situation where Slice is viewed as disposable. One thing that I would throw out of left field is for M-1 and whatever channel picks up Fighting Fedor to pay Slice to be one of the cast members of the forthcoming reality show. Paying a fighter to appear on a reality show probably has never been done, but attaching Slice’s name to the project might make it an easier sell to bigger television platforms. As of now, the star of the vehicle, Fedor, is largely unknown to the American mainstream. In Slice, they’d have a pretty recognizable co-star. They could hold Slice out until episode eight and match him with a total tomato can to ensure he remains on the show for an optimum amount of time. Gina Carano - I read an article where a writer said “Poor Gina Carano.” Poor Gina? I don’t think so. The reality is that Carano was grossly underpaid and by becoming an unrestricted free agent, she’ll have much more leverage when negotiating a new contract. Affliction has said it has no immediate plans to promote a female fight. However, Affliction Entertainment Vice President Tom Atencio is a big fan of Carano’s and Affliction has a female-clothing brand “Sinful” that it would like to grow. What better way than to do it with Carano? Before competing for EliteXC, Carano fought for Strikeforce, which still promotes female fights. I know that Strikeforce officials were none too happy with Carano when she left for EliteXC but the promotion needs more nationally-recognizable drawing cards. Carano’s quarter-hour ratings during her two CBS appearances clearly demonstrate she’s a national star. Strikeforce owner/promoter Scott Coker is a smart businessman and he’s not going to cut off his nose to spite his face. I don’t know for a fact, but I’d be willing to wager a lot of money that they’ll look at signing Carano. And if CBS and SHOWTIME start their own promotion, Carano could be at the top of their list. Frank Shamrock - What if ProElite and EliteXC had taken Frank Shamrock up on his offer to fight Kimbo as a replacement for his brother Ken? Granted, Kimbo’s camp ruled it out, but they also initially said they weren’t going to fight anyone other than Ken Shamrock the night of Oct. 4 until it became a financial no-brainer. What if they had offered an additional $250,000-300,000 to make Slice vs. Frank Shamrock happen? Sure, that’s a lot of additional money, but Shamrock beating Kimbo wouldn’t have looked as bad as Seth Petruzelli beating Kimbo and you know Shamrock wouldn’t have made the mistake of letting everyone it was in his financial best interest not to take the fight to the ground (which is not something we support, but loose lips sunk EliteXC’s ship). If Frank Shamrock had fought Kimbo, EliteXC would still be in business. Shamrock owed two more fights to EliteXC and now is only contracted for one more fight with Strikeforce. You’ll never see Shamrock in the UFC again but I don’t think he’s done competing. Shamrock is unique in that he doesn’t need a promotion behind him in order to survive. He’ll likely freelance and take fights next year vs. Ken Shamrock, Cung Le, and Tito Ortiz and make anywhere from $6-10 million doing so. Much like Carano, Shamrock will do just fine following EliteXC’s collapse. Jake Shields - I’d be surprised if he wasn’t signed by the UFC by week’s end. I am dead serious. This is as about as big of a no-brainer as there is on this list. Shields will likely have to take a cut in pay, but his only other options are Strikeforce and Affliction. But long-term, it makes sense Shields to try and create leverage for himself towards a second UFC contract. His second deal will be far more lucrative than his first once he gets wins over some of the best in the world at 170 pounds. Now is the time to go after Georges St. Pierre, Jon Fitch, Josh Koscheck, and Thiago Alves while he’s still in his athletic prime. The only other option is to keep feasting on b-level competition in second-tier promotions due to the UFC’s monopoly at welterweight. Shields is a true athlete and I think he’ll take the cut in pay just for the opportunity to compete in the Octagon. Robbie Lawler - Lawler is not the lock to go to the UFC that some people think he is. He is managed by Monte Cox and Cox is pretty creative when it comes to finding multiple opportunities for his fighters. He’s not going to allow his client to be put in a situation where the only company he can negotiate with is the UFC. Let’s remember, Lawler was not with EliteXC from day one and despite showing significant improvement competing for ICON Sport, the UFC still didn’t make a strong attempt to bring him back. Anderson Silva vs. Lawler in an unofficial UFC middleweight champion vs. EliteXC middleweight champion bout is intriguing, but far from likely. It would not surprise me to see Lawler competing for Affliction. Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante - Feijao is managed by Ed Soares, the same manager for Anderson Silva and Lyoto Machida. Feijao not only trains under Silva, but also interim UFC heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. He’s completely destroyed his competition since moving to light heavyweight. The UFC is without question the odds-on favorite to be Feijao’s new home. It’s just a question of both sides agreeing on the money. If Feijao is unwilling to take a slight cut in pay, things could get tricky. But I see Feijao taking a step back for a three-fight deal so that he can improve his negotiation leverage following a couple of wins over name opponents. Antonio Silva - Normally he’d be a no-brainer to go to the UFC but normal circumstances no longer apply to Silva. UFC Vice President of Talent Relations Joe Silva has already been quoted in the past as having an interest in Silva. However, he remains under suspension by the Nevada State Athletic Commision. He will get his day in front of the commission by month’s end and in the unlikely event that the suspension is completely overturned, Silva will be able to advance directly to the UFC and collect much more than $200. If the suspension is upheld and he’s out for the year, he might have to fight a few times outside of the UFC before he receives an offer. However, if it’s reduced to six months, he’ll still likely receive an offer as he’ll only have three months left on the suspension to serve. Eddie Alvarez - If B.J. Penn defeats George St. Pierre on Jan. 31 for the UFC welterweight title, chances are you won’t see him back in the UFC lightweight division. Without Penn at 155 pounds, the division will lack a big-time draw. While Alvarez is not yet a drawing card in the States, he has all the tools needed to be one of the cornerstones of the UFC’s lightweight division. However, Alvarez is managed by Monte Cox so Zuffa will not be able to get him on the cheap. Even if DREAM folds, parent company FEG is still expected to promote MMA matches on its K-1 shows. Alvarez created a lot of momentum for himself during DREAM’s lightweight Grand Prix and apparently loves competing in Japan. K-1 will reduce the number of MMA fighters it has under contract, but Alvarez is definitely worth keeping around. He also has a contract with Adrenaline MMA and Cox could certainly explore other opportunities for Alvarez in the States. As much as I would love to see him in the UFC, I believe that you’ll see him compete 3-4 times a year in Japan and 1-2 times a year in the U.S. for a promotion such as Affliction or Strikeforce. Another option to consider is Philadelphia. With MMA having failed so many times as a national business-model, we’re going to see a shift towards regional-based promotions. A lot of people talk about the Strikeforce model but they are successful because they have hometown heros in Cung Le and Frank Shamrock. Well, Alvarez could easily be the Le and Shamrock of Philadelphia. MMA is technically legal in PA but shows aren’t taking place because the rules haven’t been voted on by the House of the Senate yet. As of now, it’s possible the first MMA show in Philly could take place in early-2009 and if that’s the case, a local promotion could build a cottage industry around Alvarez. Nick Diaz - Personally, I’d love to see Diaz in the WEC so we could see Carlos Condit pushed, but I just don’t see that happening. Diaz is good enough to compete for the UFC at welterweight. However, one Diaz brother might be enough for Zuffa. Considering they were so down on Nick Diaz that they let him walk after he won a UFC fight tells us all we need to know. Zuffa is likely out, and so is Japan, unless Sengoku makes a bid because Diaz has already competed for DREAM and is believed to be owed a significant amount of money. If I was a betting man, I say he ends up competing for Affliction. I think Diaz’s persona will mesh well with a brand that is trying to market edgy clothing. Wilson Reis - There’s a lot of negative things that can be said about EliteXC, but not everything they did was bad. They missed out on some talent but also brought a lot of new fighters to the forefront such as Feijao, Dave Herman, Brett Rogers, Fabricio Camoes, and of course, Wilson Reis. Reis has exploded from a highly-regarded prospect on the Philly and Jersey MMA scene to a highly-regarded featherweight competitor on the national scene in just little over a year. He’s gained a lot of momentum in a short amount of time but the best is still yet come from the 23-year old jiu-jitsu black belt. Is he ready for Urijah Faber? Not yet, but give him 12-16 months and he will be. And while he’s not ready for Faber, he’s most definitely ready for the WEC’s 145 lbs. division and I believe he’ll end up there sooner rather than later. Joey Villasenor - I actually believe we will see Villasenor end up in the UFC some point within the next 6-to-8 months. He has the Greg Jackson association and the UFC went after a lot of secondary guys that were on the IFL roster because they were good fighters who could be acquired at an affordable price. I see the UFC finding itself in a situation in the next six months where they need a late-replacement for a PPV fight at 185 and for them to turn to Villasenor. Murilo “Ninja” Rua - Rua is coming off a loss and the UFC rarely signs fighters in those situations. He also will likely command more money than the UFC is willing to pay. I see Strikeforce as a great option because they aren’t averse to spending money on International talent and he would be an interesting opponent for Cung Le. Scott Smith - Smith may not have the best record in the world but he’s a great television fighter and has gained a lot of exposure thanks to a stint during the fourth season of TUF, his highlight-reel knockout over Pete Sell during the show’s live finale, and his two CBS appearances against Lawler. The UFC likely will take a pass but Affliction and Strikeforce should both make a play for Smith. Strikeforce likes fighters with California ties because it promotes so many shows in its home base of San Jose, so it appears to be a great fit for Smith. Paul Daley - I think he’s another lock for the UFC. The UFC wants more starpower in the UK and Daley has the potential to be every bit as big as Michael Bisping, thanks to his outspoken nature and exciting fighting style. With Bisping, Dan Hardy, and Daley all onboard, the UFC would have a nice trio of UK-based fighters to spearhead their European aspirations. K.J. Noons - The argument as to whether Noons is free to leave EliteXC with two fights left on his contract is a moot point. He can now go wherever he wants. The WEC’s lightweight division is the best place for Noons but Zuffa won’t be an option as long as he is represented by Mark Dion, who is believed to be involved in litigation against the company as a result of the whole Brandon Vera situation. Sengoku is a possibility but I think Noons would also be an ideal fit for either Affliction or Strikeforce. Dave Herman - Herman is quite the enigma but he’s 11-0 as a fighter with a solid wrestling pedigree. When I saw him compete live for the first time against Mario Rinaldi on the Feb. 16 undercard for “Street Certified,” I thought to myself “How did the UFC not get this guy?” He’s competed twice for EliteXC since the Rinaldi fight and has been totally dominant. He is young and athletic with the potential to be a star and the UFC should sign him immediately. Brett Rogers - Rogers is another fighter I am surprised EliteXC beat the UFC to the punch on. As with Herman, the UFC should sign Rogers for its heavyweight division because you can never have too many undefeated heavyweight prospects on your roster. A future heavyweight division of Brock Lesnar, Cain Velasquez, Shane Carwin, Herman, and Rogers would look pretty nice. But whether or not Herman and Rogers sign with the UFC will come down to money. Being that they don’t have any wins over top fighters, the UFC may feel like they are unproven and that they should signed to entry-level contracts. Meanwhile, their management might see them as undefeated fighters who have received national exposure via CBS and SHOWTIME. It behooves the UFC to lock them up but I could see them falling through the cracks and ending up with Affliction. Benji Radach - Radach has a crowd-pleasing style and is 6-1 since ending a three-year hiatus from the sport. The UFC told him he needed to win a fight outside of the organization to garner an offer, and he not only got a victory, but he got it on national television. The thing is, he made at least $40,000 for his last EliteXC fight and with a virtual monoply on the industry, I don’t see the UFC coming close to offering him that. Affliction and Strikeforce are likely his best options. Cris Cyborg - Whevere Gina Carano goes, Cyborg, and all of EliteXC’s division should follow. Then again, if I had millions of dollars to invest, I’d look at the possibility of going out and signing Carano, Cyborg, Tara LaRosa, Sarah Kaufman, Kaitlin Young, Julie Kedzie, Shayna Baszler, Tonya Evinger, Marloes Coenen, Amanda Buckner, Roxanne Modaferri, Rosi Sexton, Michelle Watterson, Elena Reid and do an all-female promotion with divisions at 115, 125, 135, and 145. Female-only promotions have been done before and failed but one has never been done with all of the top females competing under the same promotional banner. I think there’s a business-opportunity there for someone to capitalize on. Yves Edwards - Edwards is already scheduled to compete for Strikeforce later this month against the promotion’s current lightweight champion, Josh Thomson. Edwards has beat him once before so a win isn’t out of the realm of possibilities. If Edwards holds the Strikeforce lightweight title, the promotion will probably be able to keep him very active. A loss could mean that he’ll need to return to the regional circuit to fill out his dance card. These are just some of the more notable names. But much like with the IFL and BodogFIGHT, I didn’t realize just how good of a roster of talent EliteXC had until it was gone. So much like the IFL and BodogFIGHT, EliteXC was guilty of not being able to properly market its fighters and bulld more stars. There’s a whole list of talented fighters that we will see end up competing on the regional level with quite a few of them only needing a win or two before getting another shot with a major national promotion. The names are many and include Fabricio Camoes, Phil Baroni, Nick Thompson, Hector Lombard, Bao Quach, Cyrille Diabate, John Alessio, Jon Murphy, Conor Heun, Edson Berto, Giva Santana, Seth Petruzelli, Matt Makowski, Mamed Khalidov, Shane Del Rosario, Jared Hamman, Po’ai Suganuma, Aaron Rosa, Lyman Good, Paul Bradley, Torrance Taylor, Malaipet, David Douglas, Bryan Caraway, Abel Cullum, Zach Makovsky, Thomas Denny, and Jesse Brock.
Brock Lesnar Storms Out of ESPN Interview
From AOL Fanhouse:
ESPN correspondent Tom Farrey started to ask about performance-enhancing drugs, prompting Lesnar to storm out of their interview.
Farrey said in the voiceover, "Lesnar's physique also raised big questions about steroids."
The viewers then saw a portion of Farrey's interview with Lesnar in which Farrey said, "You're just so big and you come out of pro wrestling," and was then cut off by Lesnar saying, "That's it. We're done. Thanks, guys," and walking off.
Cowboy Bebop: Donald Cerrone branding the WEC lightweight division
Donald “The Cowboy” Cerrone (8-0) is set to face “Razor” Rob McCullough (16-4) at WEC 36 at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida on November 5, airing live on the Versus Network at 9 p.m. ET.
It will be Cerrone’s third fight for the Zuffa-owned promotion, after making a mockery of the lightweight division in Ring of Fire.
In addition to being undefeated in eight fights, he’s finished all eight of his opponents by submission.
Not bad for a U.S. Muay Thai Champion that went 28-0 in his Muay Thai career. In fact, Cerrone admits to being bit of a late bloomer in the grappling department.
“I remember when I first started training I was like ‘Man, I don’t know why people always submit people, that’s gay, I just want to stand on my feet’. Then I started learning jiu-jitsu and now here I am submitting people, it’s funny.”
What isn’t funny is the $3,000 fine and eight month suspension he served after testing positive for diuretics following his match against Kenneth Alexander at WEC 30 - a match he won via armbar in just 56 seconds.
Anytime, anywhere: Josh Koscheck UFC 90 interview
Disaster nearly struck last week when Diego Sanchez suffered torn rib cartilage while training for his co-main event fight against Thiago Alves at UFC 90: “Silva vs. Cote” at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill., on October 25, forcing him off the card with less than two weeks until showtime.
“The Nightmare,” fortunately, was short lived.
With one quick phone call to the management team of Josh Koscheck, the promotion had secured a worthy replacement — a top contender who could keep the 170-pound title implications intact and would no doubt present another stiff test for the powerful Brazilian Muay Thai specialist.
Alves has been on a tear, leveling — not just winning against — the opponents put in front of him, including division stalwart Karo Parisyan and former welterweight champion Matt Hughes. In fact, “The Pitbull” has not tasted defeat in more than two years and is riding a six-fight win streak, finishing all but one of the bouts during that span.
Not the caliber of fighter anyone wants to take on with just 12 days notice. Unless, of course, your name is Josh Koscheck.
UFC 90: CLEMENTI HAS "NO LOVE" FOR MAYNARD
In mixed martial arts, it's hard to find a 31-year-old fighter who has over 30 fights, but Rich “No Love” Clementi has more than 40. Clementi has been in the sport of MMA for nine years and has fought in many different shows against some of the best fighters in the world. He's been on an impressive six-fight winning streak and looks to extend that streak to seven at UFC 90 in Chicago against Xtreme Couture fighter Gray Maynard.
Clementi's last fight came at UFC 84 against Terry Etim where he won a decision over the tough Englishman. Self-admittedly taking the fight lightly, Etim pushed Clementi hard in that fight and it taught him a valuable lesson.
“It made me really hungry,” Clementi said recently in an interview with MMAWeekly Radio. “That was one of my toughest fights all year and totally didn't think it was going to be. I don't know if it was cutting weight for that long. I had a little bit of a tough time with that fight. I'm hungry and put some size back on. I'm feeling really strong, right where I'm usually am.”
The Gray Maynard and Rich Clementi fight has been moved to the main card, which was very exciting news for the Louisiana native. “I'm stoked. Any time you get put on a main card like this, it's a lot of recognition and I've been working my ass off this year. A lot of people didn't get to see some of my fights. I thought my fight with Stout was really entertaining."
COTE WILL NOT BE INTIMIDATED BY ANDERSON SILVA
Some of the greatest stories that have ever happened in the sport of mixed martial arts have been the upsets when underdogs overcome the odds and take out the heavy favorite. From Matt Serra finishing Georges St. Pierre to Gabriel Gonzaga knocking out Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic, the upset has become a staple of great MMA action.
The next fighter who will hope to add his name to the list of upset victors is Canadian heavy hitter Patrick Cote, who faces middleweight and widely regarded pound-for-pound king Anderson Silva this Saturday night in Chicago for the UFC 185-pound divisional title.
While the odds are stacked against Cote going into the fight, he remains calm and doesn't care what the "experts" say only what he will do in the Octagon.
"I don't care about the odds," Cote said recently on MMAWeekly Radio. "It's just better for my friends, and everybody who believes in me will put money on me and they will be a lot richer after the fight."
DENIS KANG TESTING FREE AGENCY WATERS AGAIN
Considered a top free agent just over a year ago, former Pride fighter Denis Kang is back on the market after his most recent deal with Dream expired and he is looking for a new home.
The Canadian based fighter will next compete on the Raw Combat card this weekend against Marvin Eastman, but soon after he hopes to sign on with a new organization to call home.
"The Dream contract actually expired," Kang said on MMAWeekly Radio Monday. "I got one fight left, but it expired in September and we're negotiating with a few different parties right now."
While Kang could not name any of his potential suitors he did verify that "several" of them are based out of North America.
During Kang's last free agency period he was adamant about being able to fight in Korea as a part of any contract. While it is sure to still be a point of order, Kang did talk about the possibility of landing with an exclusive contract if the right promotion came along.
VILLASENOR TALKS ELITEXC AND WHAT COMES NEXT
As the fallout from the shutdown of EliteXC continues, some of the fighters hardest hit by this news were the competitors for the upcoming Nov. 8 show in Nevada. None may have taken a bigger hit than top middleweight contender Joey Villasenor, who for the second time in just three months had the rug pulled out from under his fight schedule.
Originally set to be a part of the Sept. 20 show that was eventually canceled as well, Villasenor was gearing up for a rematch against Robbie Lawler on Nov. 8, but now that fight has been scrapped as well.
"Yesterday my manager called me and he said I have some bad news for you and I said, 'Robbie Lawler got hurt?' and he said, 'No, it's worse than that, Elite folded,'" Villasenor told MMAWeekly.com in an exclusive interview. "I knew that they were in turmoil, but I was really banking on Nov. 8 happening.
"I felt good going into the fight that I would beat the No. 3 ranked middleweight in the world and have a great plan for my future, but these things happen and now we just have to prepare for what's next."
Spike TV: UFC 89 Draws 2.6 Million Viewers
Anchored by a middleweight bout between Michael Bisping and Chris Leben, UFC 89 on Saturday drew an average of 2.6 million viewers, according to Spike TV representatives. The telecast -- which aired on tape delay from the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham, England -- peaked with 3.4 million viewers during the 11:30 p.m. to 11:45 p.m. quarter hour.
Despite stiff competition from Game 6 of the American League Championship Series on TBS and regional college football coverage on ESPN and ESPN2, the UFC 89 telecast ranked second with 18- to 49-year-old males, 18- to 34-year-old males and 25- to 34-year-old males among ad-supported cable for its time period.
Bisping (17-1) defeated Leben by unanimous decision in a competitive main event, as the UFC made its final stop in the UK this year. The popular 29-year-old Brit extended his winning streak to three fights and continued his rapid ascent up the 185-pound ladder. Scheduled to coach on the ninth season of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series, Bisping will face the winner of the UFC 93 match pairing Rich Franklin with Dan Henderson sometime in 2009.
Wanderlei Silva training to score a hat-trick
Getting ready to face Quinton “Rampage” Jackson for the third time in career, Wanderlei Silva isn’t resting in Las Vegas. The man behind Wandy’s preparation, Rafael Alejarra seeks a hat-trick over Rampage. “I want another victory, it doesn’t matter if it comes with a knockout, submission or decision. Score is a score, we want the victory and go after the belt. The most important is the victory, and we wanna a great one. We have the goal and we’ll fight smart to win”, said Alejarra, commenting Wanderlei’s training.
Aleks Emelianenko Still Claims to Be Healthy, and He Doesn’t Care What You’ve Heard
You might be wondering to yourself, what ever became of Aleks after he was kicked off the Affliction event amid rumors that he may or may not have Hepatitis B? Well don’t worry. According to Aleks, it was all just a paperwork issue, as he explains to The Fight Network:
“I came late, couldn’t get my Visa in time and I was not allowed to fight. I’m healthy.”
That’s weird, because just last week M-1’s Raimond Joost said you had “medical issues.” Granted, he also expressed optimism that they could be resolved, but he sure as hell didn’t try and chalk the whole thing up to Visa troubles. Not to mention, if it was just a paperwork snafu, why would the CSAC’s Bill Douglas say this:
“The one thing that I can absolutely say is that he (Emelianenko) was not and will not be cleared to fight in California. He is officially denied a license and that will stand for all of the United States of America.”
Aleks, I’m getting the sneaking suspicion that you are lying to us, and doing a really bad job of it. Couldn’t you at least think of something more plausible? The strangest comment of the interview, however, was this one:
“I have never taken painkillers, I am healthy, and I am preparing for my next fight.”
We have no idea what question he is answering here, because The Fight Network doesn’t tell us, but I’d like to assume it was something along the lines of, ‘how are you doing?’ I know that’s how I usually answer that question. I start by denying accusations that have not yet been made, then launch right into what I’ve been up to. You should try it. Really puts you on a whole new level of intimacy with the checker at the supermarket.
CAGE RAGE TO FORGE AHEAD
And so the fallout begins… as EliteXC hit the wall, there will understandably be a massive scurry for top tier talent as well as speculation on the future of all the other brands that were held under the umbrella. One such brand cut its teeth in the U.K. and tittered on the edge of international expansion before being amalgamated into the behemoth that was ProElite.
Originally founded by Dave O’Donnell and Andy Geer as a small regional show before taking onboard once silent partner John Faraday, the company started to grow and attract talent from Brazil, the U.S., and Japan; and in turn relocate from venue to venue before settling on Wembley Arena and crowds that varied between 4,500 and 8,000 depending on the card. High times indeed, but since ProElite came onboard there has been a significant cost-cutting and business streamlining process that lead to a date for Cage Rage 28 at the smaller Troxy venue in East London and a trimming of staff, some left, others had their roles reduced and pursued other business endeavours.
Dave O’Donnell, the one constant since its inception, told MMAWeekly.com of the demise of the brand’s parent company, “For Cage Rage it is business as usual. The next show is Contenders. It’s still going ahead. I can tell you that much.”
Economic Factors Affect MMA, UFC
As reported earlier on MMAPayout.com, the Fertitta’s Station Casinos bond rating recently placed on CreditWatch with negative implications. The company is being monitored due to it’s increasing level of leverage that violates certain covenants of its’ bonds. The leverage covenants aren’t being met due to more recent turmoil in the financial markets and continued weakening of economy, which is bringing down performance in the Las Vegas locals market more than previously thought.
The Station Casinos stake may not be the only portion of the Fertitta empire to be hitting on hard times. MMAPayout.com has learned that the UFC has recently went through a round of layoffs in their operations. The UFC looks to be cutting away the fat to make itself lean and mean and capable of weathering an extended time period of financial stress and lowered performance.
Jake Shields Wants in With UFC
Almost immediately after the news broke that EliteXC would be shutting down, just about everyone began to speculate what would happen to its fighters. On the top of that list is Jake Shields, likely to be one of the most sought after fighters from the roster. MMAWeekly.com spoke to the first and only EliteXC welterweight champion about his future
"The UFC's the most likely option," he said. "That's where I'm certainly leaning. I haven't had any talks with them yet; I have to get my contract released. That's definitely the number one option I'm looking at. I was on good terms with them before I signed this last contract, so I don't think there should be any problem."
While he won't rule out other promotions as viable contenders, it seems clear where Shields wants to go.
"The UFC's where I've wanted to fight for years, and also the guys ranked above me in the world are there so that's certainly the most logical show to go to."
Random drug testing Implemented in the UFC
Six UFC 91 fighters, including the event's headliners, have passed pre-event drug tests administered by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
The commission recently enacted year-round drug testing, and the NSAC has been testing fighters approximately a month before fight time.
In an email sent to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com), NSAC Executive Director Keith Kizer confirmed main-event fighters Randy Couture and Brock Lesnar were tested, as were undercard fighters Amir Sadollah, Nick Catone, Jorge Gurgel and Aaron Riley.
UFC 91 takes place Nov. 15 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. It airs on pay per view.
The NSAC's year-round testing was implemented earlier this year. MMA fighters are subject to drug testing at any time -- for just about any reason -- throughout the year, regardless of whether or not the fighter is scheduled for an upcoming event. However, the testing is usually reserved for scheduled fighters.
For more on the NSAC's new procedures, check out our interview with Kizer that followed the commission's official announcement.
Additionally, for the latest on UFC 91, including the latest fight card and interviews with the night's competitors, check out the UFC Rumors section of MMAjunkie.com.
I don't know how many fans realize how big this is or the potential impact but if HGH and others are as rampant as a few fighters have came out and stated they are this could change the balance of fighters in the UFC, Im just glad Randy came back clean! Now all the people that assumed Couture was juicing can shut it.