UPDATE: Frank Mir will *STILL* fight Brock Lesnar...
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The heavyweight title unification bout between champion Brock Lesnar and interim champ Frank Mir at UFC 98 on May 23 remains on despite arthroscopic surgery performed on Mir’s right knee earlier this week.
Fiveouncesofpain.com initially reported Friday that the bout was off because of a back injury sustained by Mir. It later corrected that to say it was a knee injury. And then MMAWeekly.com reported Mir had knee surgery.
Injury forces Frank Mir out of UFC 98
A planned rematch between Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir for UFC 98 on May 23 that would have unified Lesnar’s UFC heavyweight title and Mir’s interim UFC heavyweight has been canceled.
Multiple sources have confirmed to FiveOuncesOfPain.com that the UFC was recently informed by Mir’s camp that he has been unable to train recently due to a back injury that could require surgery.
There is no word as to whether Lesnar will remain on the card against a new opponent or if he will be taken off the card entirely.
UFC 96 Weigh-In Results
The Ultimate Fighting Championship on Saturday night returns to Columbus, Ohio for the third straight year on the same weekend as the Arnold Classic. Former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton Jackson faces Keith Jardine in the main event of UFC 96 at the Nationwide Arena.
The UFC 96 fighters weighed in at the arena on Friday afternoon. With all 20 fighters making weight, all 10 bouts are now officially on the docket.
A lot of attention has focused on Keith Jardine and the possibility of him fighting teammate and current light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans in the future. He says he doesn't plan on it, while UFC president Dana White says it is inevitable if both continue winning. Of course, with Jardine facing Jackson on Saturday night, such talk is a bit premature.
"I like Jardine and I like Rashad. But Dana’s right, this is mixed martial arts, and it’s a business. So I’m gonna try and help you out. I got your back,” quipped Jackson to Jardine, planning to defeat the Jackson's MMA fighter so that it becomes a moot point.
“Thanks for looking out for me, man,” responded Jardine. “I couldn’t say yes to this fight fast enough, because I could match myself up against one of the greatest of all time.”
Aside from the main event, there are several other pivotal bouts on tap for UFC 96, but none as telling as a heavyweight showdown between Gabriel Gonzaga and Shane Carwin. Gonzaga is trying to work his way back into the title picture, while Carwin – undefeated in 10 professional bouts – looks to prove himself as a contender in the UFC heavyweight division.
(All weights in pounds.)
UFC 96 Main Card Bouts:
-Quinton Jackson (205) vs. Keith Jardine (204)
-Gabriel Gonzaga (257.5) vs. Shane Carwin (259.5)
-Matt Brown (170.5) vs. Pete Sell (170)
-Matt Hamill (205) vs. Mark Munoz (204.5)
-Gray Maynard (155) vs. Jim Miller (154.5)
UFC 96 Preliminary Bouts:
-Tamdan McCrory (170) vs. Ryan Madigan (169)
-Kendall Grove (185) vs. Jason Day (184.5)
-Tim Boetsch (205) vs. Jason Brilz (204)
-Brandon Vera (205) vs. Mike Patt (204.5)
-Aaron Riley (155) vs. Shane Nelson (155)
Hughes-Serra Set; Other UFC 98 Bouts Announced
Matt Hughes and Matt Serra will meet May 23 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, the UFC announced Wednesday.
The welterweight grudge match will be featured on a UFC 98 card headlined by the Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir heavyweight title fight.
The UFC also announced that middleweight title contender Yushin Okami will fight Dan Miller. Okami, the last man to get a win over Anderson Silva (it came via disqualification), is 7-1 in the UFC. Miller is 3-0 in the Octagon and most recently scored an impressive submission of Jake Rosholt in February.
Former lightweight champion Sean Sherk will battle Frankie Edgar in another main card bout.
In light heavyweight prelim action, James Irvin will fight Drew McFedries, and Houston Alexander will fight Andre Gusmao. Patrick Barry, a dangerous kickboxing crossover who easily chopped down Dan Evensen in December, will take on Tim Hague in a heavyweight bout.
Yoshiyuki Yoshida will look to bounce back from his knockout loss to Josh Koscheck when he meets Brandon Wolff at 170 pounds. At 155, “The Ultimate Fighter” finalist Phillipe Nover will fight Kyle Bradley, and David Kaplan will tangle with George Roop.
Gonzaga-Carwin important to heavyweight future
Last year, the UFC heavyweight division appeared decimated.
Former champions Tim Sylvia and Andrei Arlovski left for far bigger money offers from Affliction. Mirko Cro Cop, the most publicized PRIDE signing, looked unimpressive in losing two of three UFC fights and was let go with the feeling he wasn’t worth his enormous paycheck. Randy Couture, the company’s top heavyweight star, had a bitter divorce with UFC. And the biggest star of the PRIDE roster, Fedor Emelianenko, never came to terms with the company.
UFC’s reaction was to build for the future, taking three huge wrestlers who were all unproven in the sport. Just one year after the divisional low point, that influx of talent led to the division’s rehabilitation.
Wilson Reis to headline second Bellator event at Mohegan Sun on April 10
Bellator Fighting Championships announced today that Bellator II (the second event of the highly anticipated 12-week tournament series airing on ESPN Deportes) will be hosted by Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn., on April 10, 2009. The second nationally and internationally-televised event hosted by Mohegan Sun will occur Friday, June 12, 2009 and will feature a Bellator World Championship bout.
The fight card is detailed below:
145 lbs. — Wilson Reis (6-0) vs. Henry Martinez (5-1)
155 lbs. — Thomas Schulte (18-6) vs. Ivan Iberico (7-1/27-1)
170 lbs. — Lyman Good (7-0) vs. Hector Urbina (12-4)
170 lbs. — Jorge Ortiz (15-4) vs. Aaron Romero (5-2)
170 lbs. — Dave Menne (42-15) vs. Norman Paraisy (5-0)
170 lbs. — Omar De La Cruz (3-1) vs. Victor Meza (9-0)
Mark Munoz interview: Work with Roach may push him past Hamill
Mark Munoz was one of four fighters who attended the final UFC 96 press conference. Much of the media covering UFC for the first time had to be asking, who is this guy? Afterall, he's making his UFC debut yet he's one of the top four fighters featured? Maybe that says a lot about the promotion's regard for the guy. The 2001 NCAA wrestling champ at 197 pounds is getting rave reviews from fighters in Southern California as he makes the move over from WEC.
UFC president was ready to brawl with former Jackson manager Ibarra
UFC president Dana White isn't quite as guarded saying that Jackson's manager/trainer Juanito Ibarra was the issue and he could see it coming from a mile away:
"You know when you're around bad guys. You don't have to be a (expletive) rocket scientist," White said as he spoke about the day he had to fly to Southern California to get Jackson out of jail. "I knew (Ibarra) was the problem. I actually got into a huge fight with him in the parking lot of the police department."
KJ Noons Turned Down Strikeforce Title Shot
Former EliteXC lightweight champion Karl James Noons was offered a title shot against Strikeforce lightweight champion Josh Thomson at StrikeForce: Shamrock vs Diaz on April 11 but turned down the fight to concentrate on his boxing career.
UFC UK TV Partner Setanta Sports in Turmoil
DUBLIN-BASED pay TV broadcaster Setanta Sports is believed to have missed a £10 million installment payment to the Football Association in England, potentially jeopardising its rights to live FA Cup and England internationals and raising concerns about its future viability.
Aleksander Emelianenko and the Red Devil fight team part ways
According to published reports, Aleksander Emelianenko and the Red Devil fight team in St. Petersburg, Russia have parted ways. The separate appears to be mutual, as both the team website and Emelianenko’s own personal website indicated that there are no hard feelings towards either side.
Emelianenko commented on his site that he was looking forward to the next chapter in his life and that he would defend his name and prove that he was the best. He also added that his first priority was to defend the honor of Russia in international tournaments.
An official statement by M-1 Global has yet to be issued and while Emelianenko’s separation from Red Devil has been confirmed, it is unclear if he is still contractual aligned with M-1.
With UFC 96 nearly sold out, UFC vows return trips to Columbus
On the eve of what will be the UFC's third blockbuster event in Columbus, Ohio, UFC 96 is nearly sold out with fewer than one thousand tickets remaining for the 19,000-seat Nationwide Arena.
Dana White discussed the sales figures during Thursday's pre-UFC 96 press conference, and the UFC President promised the UFC will return to Columbus for future shows.
As detailed in today's Dayton Daily News, Ohio Athletic Commission Executive Director Bernie Profato certainly approves of the plans and on Thursday presented White with a lifetime matchmaker's license in Ohio.
Heading into UFC 96, the bite is back in Quinton Jackson's bark
Nightfall, a black sky lightly whitewashed by clouds and glazed by the light of a full moon. That's when it's Quinton "Rampage" Jackson's time to play. He borrows that old World Wrestling Federation Junkyard Dog gimmick by adorning not a collar, but a heavy chain. He looks up, and under nature's spotlight, he howls.
Feeling it: A UFC 96 interview with Tim Boetsch
UFC light heavyweight Tim Boetsch is set to make his third straight appearance inside the Octagon when he takes on the well-rounded Jason Brilz at UFC 96 “Jackson vs. Jardine” this Saturday, March 7, from the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
“The Barbarian” made his debut against David Heath at UFC 81: “Breaking Point” last February in which he had less than two weeks to prepare after Tomasz Drwal went down with a knee injury at the last minute.
Mauricio Rua Not Looking Past Chuck Liddell At UFC 97
In recent comments made to the TATAME website, Mauricio Rua says he wasn't happy with his performance against Mark Coleman in his last fight, and is now focusing on Chuck Liddell and not the UFC Light Heavyweight TItle. Rua says that Wanderlei Silva told him if he goes into the Chuck fight "focused and with gas", he wins.
Dana: Nogueira Had Staph Infection Going Into 92
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira apparently wasn't the fighter he usually is against Frank Mir at UFC 92, and now Dana White is telling us why. Though he didn't have blood tests to prove this, Dana said he could tell just by looking at Nog that the fighter had a "real bad" staph infection going into the fight.