Mickey's signs Tito Ortiz, set to release limited-edition cans
Despite being a free agent with no MMA home of which to speak, former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz remains a popular pick with sponsors.
In fact, Mickey's Fine Malt Liquor has signed Ortiz to a sponsorship deal, and this week, the company will roll out commemorative Mickey's cans that feature Ortiz's likeness.
Mickey's has provided MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) an exclusive first look at the cans.
"Tito is one of the most talented and popular athletes in the world of mixed martial arts, and Mickey's is thrilled to bring the partnership to life for our fans with this limited-edition can," Mickey's Brand Manager Mike Davitt stated. "Many people have wanted to get their hands on Tito over the years. Well, this is their chance."
Financial terms of the sponsorship deal were not revealed.
"Can" jokes aside, Ortiz (15-6-1) remains one of the sport's most recognizable stars and one of the very top pay-per-view draws in MMA history. However, he's winless in his past three fights, and despite announcing he agreed to a "record-breaking" contract with Affliction earlier this month, Ortiz currently remains a free agent.
The Ortiz cans hit stores this week and will be available through the end of the year.
Exclusive KJ Noons: I'm Not Ducking Nick Diaz
"I'm not ducking Nick Diaz at all" Noons told MMANews.com "anybody with half a brain knows how big a fight that could be for me."
This fight could be the biggest fight of my career." said Noons of the fight with Diaz "Taking a fight with Nick Diaz is not the problem at all, the problem is the fight with EliteXC."
Unwilling to go further in terms of what the problem is with the company and when asked if it had anything to do with contract negoiations, Noons would only say that the problem goes deeper than just contract negoiations.
Noons again told MMANews.com that he would hold a conference call when the time was right to tell his side of the story.
What is going on behind the scenes can only be left to speculation but there is obviously a stand still between EliteXC and their Lightweight Champ, KJ Noons.
Affliction Goes Nascar Racing This Weekend
Affliction Entertainment teams up with NASCAR's Michael Waltrip Racing for this weekend's Pepsi 500 at the Auto Club Speedway in San Bernardino County, Calif. for a one-race deal to sponsor the No. 00 car driven by Mike Skinner.
The Affliction "Day of Reckoning" sponsored Toyota will be "fully wrapped" with graphics promoting the upcoming Oct. 11 pay-per-view event at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. Top 5 ranked heavyweights and former Ultimate Fighting Championship titleholders Josh Barnett and Andrei Arlovski headline Affliction’s sophomore effort.
"Affliction is proud to make racing history as the first MMA organization to sponsor a car in NASCAR," said Tom Atencio, vice president of Affliction Entertainment. "NASCAR fans are huge supporters of MMA and this is a great collaboration for both sports."
"It's great to have Affliction Entertainment as a Michael Waltrip Racing partner," said Michael Waltrip, driver of the No. 55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota and founder of Michael Waltrip Racing. "Our partnership with Affliction and MMA allows us to connect with millions of fans in a unique way."
In addition to Affliction's sponsorship of the Michael Waltrip Racing No. 00 entry, the company will work with Auto Club Speedway to promote "Day of Reckoning" to the multitude of fans who attend the events planned at the speedway this Labor Day weekend. Utilizing the venue's multiple promotional opportunities, Affliction and Auto Club Speedway have packaged a mixture of promotional opportunities to make the fans aware of Affliction's upcoming event.
The No. 00 Toyota is 37th in owner points in stockcar racing's premier division, the Sprint Cup Series. The top 35 in owner points are guaranteed a starting position in the race, although only 44 cars are attempting to make the 43-car field.
If qualifying is canceled due to rain, the Affliction sponsored car will be on the starting grid. The only way it will not make the race is if Johnny Sauter, Patrick Carpentier, Marcos Ambrose, Kyle Petty, Tony Raines, Joe Nemecheck, A.J. Almendinger and Brad Coleman all post faster qualifying speeds.
No SF Title Fight For Babalu On 9/20
Although Renato "Babalu" Sobral is still on for Strikeforce At The Playboy Mansion next month, his title shot isn't. SF Light Heavyweight Champion Bobby Southworth, who was to have defended against Sobral, is now off due to injury. Sobral will now face Anthony Ruiz.
Jared Shaw: Diaz Back In November, Noons Not?
EliteXC VP Jared Shaw confirmed yesterday that Nick Diaz will next fight for the promotion on their November Showtime event with an opponent TBA and that Diaz-KJ Noons is not happening anytime soon. Shaw doesn't even know what's next for Noons.
UFC 1: A Look Back
Cool 15th Anniversary article with lots of behind the scenes info and interviews.
Like the fact that Big John applied but Rorion wouldn't let him in.
Or that Zane Frasier got in Rorion's face and then challenged Rickson on the spot.
Or that besides the original alligator moat around the ring, Art Davie wanted to add an electrified copper fence!!
Robert Drysdale to make MMA debut
PRO MMA has just learned that the Xtreme Couture BJJ instructor and grappling phenom, Robert Drysdale is set to make his amateur MMA debut at Tuff-N-Uff’s Future Stars of MMA on October 17 at the Orleans Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
Whenever we speak to fighters from the Xtreme Couture gym in Vegas, one name always comes up when the subject of grappling is raised, and that is Robert Drysdale. His name seems to have reached almost mythical proportions and this has stemmed from the way top level professional fighters describe his grappling abilities.
Now while MMA is a different ballgame than straight jiu-jitsu, Drysdale is certainly surrounded by some of the best fighters in the game at Couture’s that can help round out his skills. I certainly would not want to learn that one of the first fights in my amateur career would be against Robert Drysdale. No opponent has been named yet. Hopefully Tuff-N-Uff can find an amateur willing to get in there with him.
Exclusive Interview: Renato ‘Babalu’ Sobral
One of the most unfortunate aspects of Tito Ortiz’s bizarre negotiation cock-up with Affliction is that it’s jeopardizing his grudge match with Renato “Babalu” Sobral, the Brazilian UFC vet who would love, love, love to kick the crap out of him. After Sobral’s impressive unanimous decision over Mike Whitehead last month at “Affliction: Banned,” a meeting between Babalu and the Huntington Beach Bad Boy seemed inevitable. Right now, the only thing that’s certain is that Sobral will be fighting Bobby Southworth on September 20th for Strikeforce’s light-heavyweight championship, and he’s currently training hard to be worthy of the belt. Our own Luiz De Souza chatted with Sobral recently about Ortiz, Strikeforce, and the real story behind his unique nickname.
CAGEPOTATO.COM: First of all, how likely is it that we’ll see you face Tito Ortiz in Affliction?
RENATO SOBRAL: I don’t know when that fight will happen. It’s not up to me — if it was, I would have beaten his ass yesterday.
You’ve said that facing Tito would be your “dream fight.” Why is that, exactly?
First of all because he said that I am a “C-class fighter,” then he went on to say that I am a third-world country fighter. It would be a pleasure for me to kick his ass.
What do you think of him as a person?
Well…he is a good fighter. But it would be my pleasure to send him to hell.
If you two fought, how do you think the fight would end?
Whatever way in which the ending is me sending him to hell.
The salaries for some of the fighters at the first Afflicton show were incredibly high — do you feel like you were underpaid compared to guys like Ben Rothwell, Matt Lindland, or some of the other headliners?
I don’t really comment on money. Some make more money; others who are just starting make less. I have nothing to complain about.
MMA Quick Quote: Takanori Gomi dissatisfied with Sengoku performance
My performance wasn’t good enough as the main event. I felt the pressure since the other lightweight fighters did a great job [in the grand prix]. It was the last fight in my twenties and I was very motivated to KO him. I didn’t have chance to KO him despite giving him pressure and I changed my game plan and focused on the win rather than the KO. In my next fight, I want to show that I can do better.
-Lightweight sensation Takanori Gomi (29-3) discusses his less-than-dazzling performance at Sengoku 4 on August 24 against former DEEP champion Seung Hwan Bang (5-2). Gomi is expected to face the winner of the Sengoku lightweight grand prix later this year to determine the first-ever Sengoku lightweight champion.
Quinton Jackson Charged With Two Felonies
The Orange County District Attorney’s office has formally charged former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson for a July 15 hit-and-run melee that landed the popular fighter in jail.
In a press release issued on Monday, Jackson is accused of sideswiping two cars and subsequently fleeing Costa Mesa police officers as they attempted to stop him. In the short chase, Jackson allegedly damaged another car and nearly hit several pedestrians at a bus stop. His left front tire shredded, he eventually surrendered to police officers in nearby Newport Beach.
The 30-year-old Jackson has been charged with one felony count of evading while driving recklessly, one felony count of evading a peace officer and driving against traffic, three misdemeanor counts of hit and run with property damage, and one misdemeanor count of reckless driving.
His arraignment is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 28. Deputy District Attorney Keith Bogardus will request a $25,000 bail for the fighter.
Notably absent were charges related to Holli Griggs, a passenger in one of the cars that Jackson sideswiped. Griggs was 16 weeks pregnant with a boy when she miscarried two weeks after the incident. Orange County DA spokeswoman Farrah Emami told MMAWeekly.com that a subsequent investigation of the miscarriage did not implicate Jackson.
“We reviewed all the medical records and spoke with the victim’s physician, and the evidence showed that the loss of the fetus was not related to or a result of the crash caused by the defendant,” Emami said.
Gan "The Giant" McGee will launch his long-awaited MMA comeback
Gan "The Giant" McGee will launch his long-awaited MMA comeback on September 13, headlining Xtreme Fighting Championships (XFC)'s "Salute to Our Armed Forces 5" at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Florida against veteran Johnathan Ivey. Live web-streaming of the fight card will be available at www.mmaxfc.com. McGee revealed the ten fighters he's most looking forward to facing in the cage.
Kevin Randleman talks top p4p fighters and his take on Shogun vs Coleman 2
The ‘Monster’ Kevin Randleman recently took some time to talk with PDG about his recovery, Mark Coleman, the best pound for Pound fighters in the world and when his next fight for Sengoku – World Victory Road will take place.
PDG: How is the shoulder and the rehab coming along?
Kevin: The shoulder is doing really good and I'm starting to add weight, I am walking around at about 220 lbs now. I have a couple more weeks of rehab and therapy and then I should be back in the gym full time getting ready for my next fight. Some people have asked me if I wanted to drop down to 185 lbs but Anderson Silva is no chump and the guys that I have wanted to fight for the last five years are at 205 lbs.
PDG: What kind of training are you doing right now?
Kevin: I am taking it slow and working a lot on my strength and conditioning. It just takes time and you can't rush these things but I will be ready for my fight in November. I am training about four to five hours a day and I am also doing some teaching seminars for kids and youth groups.
PDG: So barring any setbacks, you will be fighting on the Sengoku – WVR VI card?
Kevin: Yes, that sounds right and I should find out who my opponent is going to be about a month before the fight.
PDG: During your downtime, have you been watching any fights?
Kevin: Yes, I watched UFC 87 and I would have to say that I was very impressed with Brock Lesnar's performance considering it was only his third professional fight. Any heavyweight that he fights in the UFC is going to have their hands full. He controlled the whole fight and made it look easy, just like any accomplished wrestler should be able to do.
PDG: What did you think of the Georges St. Pierre vs. Jon Fitch fight?
Kevin: Fitch is tough as hell but you saw why GSP is the champion. Fitch fought a very good fight but what it comes down to is that he was overmatched. GSP has so many weapons that he makes it look too easy sometimes.
PDG: I talked with your old buddy Mark Coleman a couple of weeks ago and he said if the UFC wants him to fight ‘Shogun’ Rua again, he'll be ready. How do you think that rematch would go?
Kevin: Same as the first fight but probably worse for Shogun. No question in my mind that Coleman would punish him. What else did he have to say?
PDG: He was talking about how Tim Sylvia made so much money for his fight against Fedor:
"Why did Tim make so much money and just open his legs and get submitted?”
Kevin: Tim Sylvia is not that ******* good. People can take that comment for what they want and get mad at me, I don't care. When you agree to a fight, you better go in there and give it everything you've got. He may have a better record than mine but when I go in the ring I am going full ******* bore until either I get knocked out or I knock my opponent out! That's how I roll!
PDG: Okay then, who are the top five best pound for pound fighter's out there?
Kevin: I would say Anderson Silva, followed by BJ Penn then Georges St. Peirre. Number four would be Fedor and Urijah Faber is fifth. Also, in my opinion Wanderlei Silva is close to being in that top five.
PDG: Are there any upcoming fights the year to be looked in to watch while you finish up your shoulder rehab?
Kevin: Any fight that comes down the line I will probably keep an eye on.
PDG: What about the Chuck Liddell vs Rashad Evans fight next month?
Kevin: Chuck Liddell all the way. He is still the same fighter he used to be and Evans has not fought a former champion two fights removed from being the titleholder. I'll say Liddell by decision but I am expecting a knockout.
PDG: Cool are you going to be traveling and doing any seminars in the upcoming months?
Kevin: I have a few scheduled for this fall on the East Coast and I should have all the details available in the coming weeks. I know for sure that one is going to be in upstate New York. I am also going to have some appearances coming up that I am doing with the Army, seminars and some public speaking. I am looking to fill my schedule up as much as possible so that I am constantly staying busy.
PDG: How is your gym in Columbus, Ohio coming?
Kevin: Great, we are just putting all the final details together and we should have a proposed opening day very soon. Right now it's looking like it will be sometime between December and February.
PDG: Did you pick up Madden NFL 2009?
Kevin: Yes but I haven't had much time to play it yet. My son is out here in Vegas getting ready to start school at UNLV, so we have been pretty busy with that stuff. Since he is a transfer student, he has to sit out this year but he'll be playing on the football team next fall. So be on the lookout for Calvin Randleman! He is a 6’1”, 205 lb cornerback that runs a 4.35 40 – yard dash.
PDG: Thanks again Kevin, is there anything else you wanted to add?
Kevin: Not much but thanks to the fans and hopefully they’ll tune in this fall when the ‘Monster’ hits the ring again!
Upper Deck has an MMA trading card set on the way in October
Upper Deck has a mixed martial arts, MMA, trading card set on the way in October. The Art of Fighting would be the first standalone MMA trading card product, including 100 basic cards in the basic set and two autographed cards per 24-pack box.
While there's no doubting MMA's growing popularity, its mainstreaming reminds me a bit of the professional poker wave from a few years ago. Upper Deck had planned to produce a professional poker set, but those plans were scrapped. (Same for a professional fishing set around that time.)
I'm sure the MMA set will do well -- Donruss' Ring Kings insert cards have been pretty popular from the Americana set -- but I think I might rather have the poker/fishing boxes.
I'll decide for sure, though, when I rip into a box in October.
EliteXC Likely To Make Carano Vs. Cyborg Fight
Next year. The company announced that it plans to have the female dream matchup of Gina Carano vs. Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos on EXC's first PPV early next year, and not on CBS. Said another way, the company needs these two to meet when EliteXC, not CBS, can reap the greatest reward.
Shamrock Gets Next Shot at ‘Slice’
Ken Shamrock (Pictures) will be the fourth man to face Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson (Pictures) when the two icons clash at EliteXC’s third installment of “Saturday Night Fights” Oct. 4 at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla. The headlining bout will anchor a live broadcast on CBS.
Sherdog.com confirmed the bout’s signing with multiple parties aware of the fight, while a press release is expected to circulate later today with the news.
The 44-year-old Shamrock (26-13-2) beat out fellow candidates Sean Gannon and Brett Rogers (Pictures), who called out Slice in May, for the coveted slot.
Shamrock, a 15-year veteran of the game who made his storied Octagon debut at UFC 1 in November 1993, has dropped his last five bouts in a row since 2005, including a lackluster showing against brawler Robert Berry (Pictures) at Cage Rage 25 last March.
However, “The World’s Most Dangerous Man” exudes substantial selling power for a match now only five and a half weeks away. A strong personality in and out of the cage, Shamrock’s 15 appearances in the UFC earned him international recognition alongside his original nemesis Royce Gracie (Pictures).
Slice (3-0) earned a third-round victory against Brit James Thompson (Pictures) in his last foray for EliteXC in May. The bout was much criticized for its questionable officiating, placing Ferguson’s skill set in doubt after Thompson held the advantage for sizable stretches of the 11-minute contest. Ferguson holds previous wins over David "Tank" Abbott (Pictures) and Bo Cantrell (Pictures).
Affliction Lightens Up October Card
Although Affliction has been best known for its Heavyweights so far, the promotion has decided to go a little lighter with one fight on its October 11 card, making an Albert Rios vs. Antonio Duarte fight. The Featherweight fight reflects Affliction's plans to expand into lighter weight classes.