Doug Marshall vs Phil Collins PFC fight on July 18
Former WEC light heavyweight champion Doug Marshall (7-3) — who just lost his 205-pound belt to Brian Stann at WEC 33 via technical knockout in March — will return to action since on July 19.
The only difference is that he will now compete under the Palace Fighting Championship (PFC) banner, taking on Phil Collins. No, not the musician, but a worthy fighter who sports a 6-3 record. In fact, he relinquished his opportunity for the organization’s middleweight title to take on the “Rhino.”
I didn't even realize he wasn't fighting for the WEC anymore.
Jason Guida replaces injured Adrenaline MMA headliner Jeff Monson
Jeff Monson's (24-8) previously broken hand has forced the heavyweight fighter out of this weekend's Adrenaline MMA main event fight with Mike Russow (9-1)
However, the organization was able to fight a late replacement with local ties. In Monson's place steps veteran Chicago-area fighter Jason Guida (17-15).
Adrenaline MMA, which hosts its first-ever show on Saturday at the Sears Centre Arena near Chicago, made the announcement today.
Monson, a former UFC heavyweight contender, injured his hand during a May 18 fight with Josh Barnett. The heavyweight tilt was part of the "Sengoku II" event in Japan. Unfortunately for the veteran fighter, the hand didn't heal as quickly as Monson expected.
Guida, a Chicago police officer and the older brother of UFC fighter Clay Guida (who will be in his corner), has averaged a fight nearly every six weeks during his five-year career. He'll go for his third consecutive victory -- and his eighth win in his past 11 fights.
DARK DAYS AS IFL CANCELS SHOW, FUTURE IN DOUBT
The International Fight League on Tuesday announced that it has canceled its planned August 15 event at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J., signaling what seems to be the inevitable conclusion to the imploding fight promotion.
In a prepared statement, the IFL said that it continues to explore options for maximizing shareholder value in the publicly traded company, but if the IFL is unable to leverage any of those options, the company may seek protection from its creditors through a court proceeding, otherwise known as bankruptcy.
KJ Noons Blasts Nick Diaz, Expletives Follow
In a media conference call today Noons did his best to dispel reports that he has been avoiding a rematch with Nick Diaz, who he defeated in order to claim the Elite XC lightweight title back in November.
“I’ve won a lot of titles, but winning the EliteXC title was one of the most powerful things to happen to me,’’ said Noons. “I’m just proud that I keep trying to get better and just follow my dreams.
“But I don’t dodge anybody. As a champion, you can’t duck anyone. You only have one option. You fight the best. Whoever that is, that’s who I fight. Unfortunately, Nick’s not the best now. I have to fight the top guy as the champion. Right now that guy is Yves Edwards.
“Of course, it would be great to fight Nick in the future. It would be a great payday for me. (But) Nick is such a big crybaby. Let him rebuild himself and then we’ll fight again. I’d love an easy payday.
“It’s ridiculous what Diaz’ camp was saying. Why would they think I’m dodging him? I gave him plastic surgery on his face. That’s a fact. As long as he can get a doctor’s note, (I’m all for) round two.’’
Uh-oh. You know who’s not going to like that? World-famous hothead Nick Diaz. And here it comes:
“Noons is a little (expletive) and it doesn’t even matter what I am thinking about him because we are not fighting. Noons won on a cut. He is only a paper champion. His days are numbered.’’
Rich Franklin reflects on recent visits with wounded soldiers
UFC middleweight star Rich "Ace" Franklin has long been an adamant supporter of the troops serving in the U.S. military.
And while professional athletes from all sports often schedule PR-friendly visits to various military outposts, Franklin recently visited two military hospitals in the Washington, D.C. area completely on his own accord.
MMAjunkie.com recently spoke with Franklin about the trip, which included a stop at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center late last month.
JAKKS Pacific® Secures Ultimate Master Toy License For Ultimate Fighting Championship®
MALIBU, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The world leader in fighting action figure toys, JAKKS Pacific, Inc. (Nasdaq:JAKK), announced today that it has signed an exclusive, four year worldwide Master Toy license agreement with the Ultimate Fighting Championship® (UFC®) organization, with a planned product launch expected to commence in 2009.
The new UFC product line from JAKKSTM will be collector-focused, and the license covers UFC legend Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell, Brock Lesnar, Antonio "Minotauro" Nogueira, Michael "The Count" Bisping and UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson "The Spider" Silva, among others. The license also includes the famed UFC Octagon™, and role-play items based on the UFC brand and its classic and current roster of star fighters.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship organization is the world's leading professional mixed martial arts group, regulated by the most prestigious sports regulatory bodies in the United States. UFC live pay-per-view events take place at preeminent destinations including MGM Grand®, MEN Arena, Mandalay Bay® and O2 Arena, and they consistently draw sell-out crowds with record-breaking gates. Presenting more than twelve pay-per-view events per year, the UFC stands as the largest pay-per-view content provider in the country.
The UFC also dominates television with its reality series, The Ultimate Fighter®, now heading into its eighth season. The Ultimate Fighter has reigned supreme for years in the coveted 18-34 male ratings demographic, and it regularly enjoys higher ratings than traditional franchise sports such as the NBA®, NHL® and NASCAR®, as well as NCAA® football and basketball. In partnership with Spike TV® cable network, the UFC also presents ten live UFC® Fight Night™ events and 26 taped programs of the popular program UFC® Unleashed™.
“The UFC is a perfect match for JAKKS, given our extensive expertise in developing and marketing collector driven sports action figures,” said Stephen Berman, President and COO, JAKKS Pacific. “UFC’s enormous and growing popularity amongst adults, coupled with the extensive roster of physically powerful star fighters, gives JAKKS a substantial base to work with, and should be a powerhouse combination for the line. Our objective is to give collectors an authentic UFC experience.”
“We are thrilled to have JAKKS on board as our first official UFC action figure partner,” said Dana White, UFC President. “The demand for UFC is tremendous, and through this relationship with JAKKS, we can present authentic UFC products and have them available to our loyal UFC fans all around the world.”
UFC Could Crush Affliction, Put Brock Lesnar on Spike vs. Fedor Emelianenko on PPV
UFC is the undisputed champion of mixed martial arts promotions, but there are a few organizations that are trying to put some chinks in UFC's armor. EliteXC got a prime time network TV deal, and Affliction has a pay-per-view show next month -- headlined by Fedor Emelianenko -- that will have every bit as much MMA talent on display as a typical UFC pay-per-view show.
But UFC President Dana White could take a huge step to undercut Affliction and show that UFC is still the dominant dog: He could take the Brock Lesnar-Heath Herring fight, which is currently scheduled for UFC 87, August 9 on pay-per-view, and move it to July 19 on free TV or basic cable (most likely Spike), head to head with Affliction's pay-per-view show.
That would crush Affliction. Although I was skeptical about Lesnar when he first signed with UFC, he's undeniably a big draw. He's well-known from his days in the WWE, and MMA fans respect his background as an NCAA wrestling champion. Emelianenko is a much more accomplished MMA fighter than Lesnar, but among American fans, Lesnar's name is bigger than Fedor's, and if the choice is between watching Lesnar on basic cable or paying $50 to watch Fedor, for most fans, that's an easy choice to make.
White and Lesnar on CNBC Today
Dana White and heavyweight sensation Brock Lesnar will appear live on CNBC's "Power Lunch" today to announce an exciting new UFC deal. The show airs at 12:40pm ET.
McCarthy, ABC to Review ‘Grounded Knees'
"Big" John McCarthy will propose legalizing knees to the head of a grounded opponent when the Association of Boxing Commissions meets for its annual convention July 2-5 in Montreal. McCarthy, who retired from officiating in December, made the revelation during Sherdog.com's Beatdown radio show on Monday.
"It's a good technique," said McCarthy, who refereed 535 matches during his 15-year career. "It's a very effective tool, and it opens fights up."
The most recognized referee in the game has met privately with ABC representatives in the last few months to discuss amendments to the sport's Unified Rules of Combat. The ABC will unveil their efforts at its annual gathering, where its membership of nearly 80 state and tribal athletic commissions throughout North America will review them.
McCarthy also addressed the controversy surrounding referee Dan Miragliotta, who was criticized for his officiating in the Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson-James Thompson main event at EliteXC "Primetime" on May 31 in Newark, N.J., and the Brandon Vera-Fabricio Werdum heavyweight matchup at UFC 85 on Saturday in London.
"A lot of people are all over Dan," McCarthy said. "Refereeing - it's opinion. Some people are going to look at you and say, ‘You're right,' and some people are going to look at you and say, ‘You're wrong.' We're all human."
Miragliotta made what many viewed as a crucial error in judgment in the Ferguson-Thompson bout on CBS, when he forced the fighters to stand after Thompson had passed Ferguson's guard and secured side control on the ground in the second round.
"When your opponent gets to side control, there are very few things you can do," said McCarthy, who was offered the chance to officiate the Ferguson-Thompson fight. "When you take a fighter out of side control, you're giving the advantage to one fighter over another. James was in a dominant position, and Dan stood them up."
Shooto To Change Rules
Once again, Jordan Breen has the scoop:
In a move that will assuredly garner praise from the MMA world, the International Shooto Commission has announced that in the coming months all Shooto events worldwide will abandon two of its most contentious rules: strikes to the back of the head and the much-maligned knockdown count.
Because of Shooto's ongoing rookie tournament series already having its rules defined at the year's onset, the knockdown rule will be abolished officially on Jan. 1, 2009. However, strikes to the back of the head will be outlawed as of Sept. 1, due to a more pressing medical necessity.
EliteXC exec confirms interest in Tito Ortiz
EliteXC today confirmed its on the growing list of organizations that will compete for free agent Tito Ortiz's services.
EliteXC Head of Operations Jeremy Lappen confirmed the organization's interest today in a conference call for this Saturday's "EliteXC: Return of the King" event, which airs on Showtime and features a main event between lightweight champ KJ Noons and Yves Edwards.
"We're interested," Lapin said. "We'd love to have Tito as part of our organization."
EliteXC is the second organization publicly to announce its interest in the perhaps soon-to-be-ex UFC star. New Affliction partner Donald Trump, with whom Ortiz has developed a budding relationship after "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" appeared on Trump's reality show, "Celebrity Apprentice," announced last week that his organization would also like to sign Ortiz to a contract.
Frank Trigg and Takanori Gomi scheduled for "Sengoku 4"
Middleweight fighter Frank Trigg (16-6) has agreed to fight in August for World Victory Road.
The upcoming bout means the former UFC fighter and ex-ICON Sport middleweight title-holder will return to action for the first time since a December 2007 first-round submission victory over Edwin Dewees.
Trigg today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that he recently agreed to the Aug. 24 "Sengoku 4" fight, though an opponent has not been determined.
Trigg, 36, has won three of his past four fights. His only loss was a fourth-round knockout defeat to Robbie Lawler for the ICON title in March 2007. In addition to Dewees, Trigg also defeated Jason "Mayhem" Miller and Kazuo Misaki during the recent span.
In addition to Trigg, WVR recently announced that highly ranked lightweight Takanori Gomi (28-3) has been booked for the Sengoku 4 card, which takes place at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. Gomi is expected to headline the event, though his opponent has not been determined.
Elite XC announces full card for Hawaii
Elite Xtreme Combat today released the full fight card for its upcoming Saturday event, which features a headline bout between EliteXC lightweight champ KJ Noons (6-2) and challenger Yves Edwards (33-13-1).
The event, dubbed "EliteXC: Return of the King," takes place at the Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu. The main card airs on Showtime beginning at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
The full card features a total of 12 fights, five of which air on Showtime and additional five that air on ProElite.com.
MMA doesn't need more rules, it needs the right interpretation
Moments after being stopped by Fabricio Werdum with only a few seconds left in the first round at Ultimate Fighting Championship 85, heavyweight Brandon Vera did what most conscious fighters would do in such a situation: complain.
He jumped to his feet, got in the referee's face, milked the crowd's sympathy -- all for nothing. Arguing an early stoppage in mixed martial arts is like arguing a pitch's location in baseball. An umpire will never change a strike to a ball, and a batter just looks like a fool for even trying.
But Vera had a legitimate gripe Saturday. His fight was stopped too soon, even if the call did adhere to a hazy refereeing standard regarding unanswered blows.
Per the vague rule, a fighter's failure to intelligently defend himself is cause for stoppage; a fighter's covering up to protect his face from a flood of punches is not. Most of the time the standard is fair. But it caters to a specific situation -- one of many in a sport with numerous fight permutations. One that didn't occur in the Werdum-Vera bout.
Everlast to start MMA equipment line in September
Everlast is best known as a century-old boxing gear and equipment company. However, in recent months, the company has ventured into MMA, signing a deal with Randy Couture's Xtreme Couture gym to be their exclusive apparel and equipment sponsor.
Now, in an interview with Brandweek.com, Everlast President Adam Geisler says the company will be coming out with a retail MMA equipment line this september.
Geisler explains why in the interview:
"Everlast is the exclusive apparel and equipment sponsor of Randy's Xtreme Couture Gyms. In September we will launch Everlast's MMA equipment line at retail. We are doing a photo shoot with him [this week] for a print campaign that will run in men's and sports magazines. Randy has left UFC and Mark Cuban's HDNet Fights is trying to set up a match between him and [MMA world-class heavyweight] Fedor Emelianenko. If they fight on pay-per-view it could generate [incredible] numbers. Our brand is strong with consumers 30 and older. With Randy and MMA, we will attract 16-22-year olds, a demo we have had trouble attracting. So the opportunity to speak to these younger consumers is key for us. It's a major opportunity to grow our business."
Live shows likely next round for NBC, Strikeforce
The programming suits at NBC have a decision to make.
EliteXC's Saturday Night Fights debut on CBS May 31 proved that live mixed martial arts is more than viable on network television. Despite the fact that most MMA fans jeered the show, ripping into everything from the production to the officiating, SNF was the most-watched MMA event in U.S. television history. The broadcast drew a peak audience of more than 6.5 million viewers – and 4.85 million viewers in total – to top the 5.9 million who tuned into the Quinton Jackson-Dan Henderson match at UFC 75.
Those are game-changing numbers that TV executives simply can't ignore, especially when it comes to delivering the male, 18-to-34 audience that advertisers crave. That demographic comprised a sizeable portion of the viewers who tuned into SNF.
NBC already carries MMA, albeit in a time slot far removed from the bright lights of primetime. Strikeforce launched its weekly 30-minute taped series on the Peacock Network April 12. The promotion, which those familiar with the deal say purchased the airtime from the network, hoped the series would be the catalyst that leads to live shows on NBC.
"Periodically, we're in talks (with NBC)," said Strikeforce's Mike Afromowitz. "Of course, we want to be live on the network. That's always been part of our long-term objective. People want to see live events. The show's been a good way to introduce the brand and the product to people, but moving forward, we want to be live. That's the next step."
Not only do the ratings generated on CBS suggest that the next step might be imminent for NBC, programming brass at the network need to look no further than their own ratings to see that MMA draws a crowd. Viewership of "Strikeforce on NBC," which follows "Poker After Dark" every Saturday night/early Sunday morning, has increased nearly 200 percent from its first show to one of its recent airings.
The fifth episode, during the week of May 5, drew an audience of 949,000 viewers. That topped the average ratings for other late-night fare, including "Jimmy Kimmel Live" and "The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson."
"The show has exceeded our expectations," said Afromowitz, who oversees selection of fights featured in the production. "We're only several weeks into the series. We got the production together very quickly with minimal promotion. We didn't have a big, big campaign to promote it, but word spread from the first week we were on."
It seems only a matter of time before NBC makes a more significant commitment to MMA programming.