Varner Expects To Fight Razor/Cowboy In February
It appears World Extreme Cagefighting lightweight champion, Jamie Varner, will return to action in January to face the winner of “Razor” Rob McCullough and Donald Cerrone as announced by the champ himself at a public Q&A session with fans at the WEC event in Florida on Tuesday.
Varner last fought in August when he defeated Marcus Hicks, but the defending title holder has been waiting for a new opponent since that time and it was originally thought that he would fight in December, but the cancellation of the WEC event in September forced everything to be pushed back.
Now A Non-Title Bout, Filho's Belt Still At Risk
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – World Extreme Cagefighting middleweight champion and No. 2 ranked 185-pounder Paulo Filho on Tuesday missed weight at the WEC 36 weigh-ins. Not only did he miss weight, he was over by an astonishing seven pounds, weighing in at 192 pounds.
Filho will now go down as the final WEC middleweight champion. He will fight Sonnen on Wednesday night, but it will not be for the title.
MMAWeekly.com on Tuesday evening confirmed with WEC officials that Filho got down to 189 pounds on his second attempt, therefore making the bout ineligible for championship designation. The two camps did come to terms, allowing the fight to go on as a three-round non-title bout.
Sonnen's cornerman, Matt Lindland, said that Filho was penalized a percentage of his purse and that Sonnen would receive some monetary compensation for Filho missing weight and it being changed to a non-title bout.
(The WEC later reported on its website that Filho gave up 25% of his purse to Sonnen.)
Perhaps more interesting is that Filho's cornerman indicated to Lindland that they would give up the title belt if Sonnen wins. "His cornermen told us that they would walk across the cage and hand Chael the belt if he wins. When Chael whoops his ass, I expect them to live up to their word.
UFC Cementing Place as Industry Leader
A recent article in the Sports Business Journal emphasizes how the UFC continues to build on its success while many would-be competitors are struggling to survive. Notable excerpt:
Zuffa LLC, the UFC’s parent company, says it is turning a profit on $300 million in annual revenue. Pay-per-view accounts for more than half of that number, followed by television money generated from a deal with Spike TV, and event operations.
Gate receipts for PPV events are averaging $3.25 million this year, up nearly half a million from 2007. PPV buys were up approximately 8 percent in 2007, and another year-over-year increase is expected in 2008.
The UFC has steadily grown in the last few years by living off money generated by television and live events and using that cash to acquire competitors such as PRIDE and World Extreme Cagefighting. PRIDE was shuttered and absorbed into the UFC; WEC features lighter-weight fighters.
PRO ELITE FOR SALE AT PUBLIC AUCTION
The pieces of fallen mixed martial arts promotion Pro Elite, Inc. are on sale.
In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing dated Nov. 4, executives from Showtime Networks and parent company CBS Corporation announced that the assets of Pro Elite, Inc. would be sold to the highest bidder in a public auction scheduled for Nov. 17.
“Showtime gave the Issuer a notice pursuant to the Security Agreement, as amended, that it intends to sell all of the Issuer’s personal property, whether tangible or intangible, to the highest bidder at a public sale,” the filing states. “Showtime reserves its rights under the Security Agreement, as amended, and applicable lawto adjourn or cancel the sale and thereafter dispose of such property in a public or private sale or in any other manner provided by applicable law.”
The filing comes only days after Pro Elite sent a letter to fighter managers stating the company was in the process of downsizing and planned to put on another card in early 2009.
Kelly Kahl, Senior Executive Vice President for CBS Primetime Television, had no comment on the sale.
Jay Hieron vs. Jason High at Affliction’s “Day of Reckoning”
While yet to be officially announced, a welterweight encounter between Jay Hieron vs. Jason High is believed to be finalized for Affliction’s second-ever event on Jan. 24 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com confirmed the news early Tuesday morning with a source close to one of the fighters.
Hieron is the former welterweight champion of the now-defunct IFL and is a former UFC veteran. He is 16-4 lifetime in an MMA career that began in 2003 and holds notable victories over Mark Miller, Delson Heleno, Pat Healy, and Jake Ellenberger.
Martin Kampmann signs new four-fight contract with the UFC
FiveOuncesOfPain.com has learned that the UFC has signed Martin Kampmann to a new four-fight contract.
The news was confirmed with Kampmann’s agent, Ken Pavia.
Kampmann is 13-2 in his professional mixed martial arts career and is 4-1 lifetime inside of the Octagon. His most recent fight was a first round TKO loss to Nathan Marquardt at UFC 88 in September but prior to that he was 4-0 with victories over Crafton Wallace, Thales Leites, Drew McFedries, and Jorge Rivera.
A standout kickboxer prior to crossing over into MMA, Kampmann has become a respected grappler and had won nine consecutive fights prior to the loss to Marquardt.
According to Pavia, Kampmann is planning to drop to welterweight for his next bout and has also signed a sponsorship agreement with Hitman Fight Gear.
Chael Sonnen and Team Quest Game Plans
Tomorrow. Chael Sonnen will step into the World Extreme Cagefighting cage to face title holder, Paulo Filho for a second time.
As we all know, the first encounter ended semi-controversially when Filho locked up an arm bar on Sonnen. The controversy lay in the fact the fight was stopped before Sonnen tapped.
Justifiably so, the ending of the bout is all that anyone seems to remembers. What many forget is just how dominant Sonnen was before the fight ended. Sonnen was doing serious damage on the feet while his vastly superior wrestling enabled him to to keep the fight wherever he wanted.
In the end it was the Team Quest fighter's decision to take Filho down late into the second round that proved costly.
I guess what I am trying to say with all of this is, why was Sonnen taking Filho down in the first place?
2008 OLYMPIAN BEN ASKREN JOINS ATT
2008 Olympic wrestler Ben Askren has decided to take a shot at mixed martial arts and officially joined the American Top Team, as confirmed to MMAWeekly.com on Monday.
Askren, who wrestled at 163 pounds while competing in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, has considered the move to MMA for quite some time now.
Just after returning from China, Askren spoke to MMAWeekly Radio about his pending decision to move into MMA and how working his way up to the top is very important to him.
Nevada Drug Tests More UFC 91 Fighters
Following a three month dry spell in which no mixed martial artists were tested under the Nevada State Athletic Commission's new out-of-competition drug testing process, there have been a number of athletes from the upcoming UFC 91 fight card tested recently. The latest, according to the NSAC's Keith Kizer, were Mark Bocek and Alvin Robinson-both returned negative test results.
Rosholt ready for next big step
The first thing you learn when talking to three-time NCAA wrestling champion Jake Rosholt is that he hates losing.
In a sport filled with All-American wrestlers, Rosholt has the best collegiate credentials in the Zuffa organization, which includes the WEC and the industry-leading Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Rosholt, who makes his WEC debut Wednesday, when he faces unbeaten submission specialist Nissen Osterneck, was the NCAA champion at powerhouse Oklahoma State in 2003, 2005 and 2006, and is considered one of the best clutch college wrestlers of the past decade.
Alessio-Daley to Collide at MFC 19 (**Now Confirmed**)
Former UFC and WEC welterweight title challenger John Alessio will reportedly take on rising British striker Paul Daley in a bout that will take place inside Mark Pavelich’s Maximum Fighting Championship on December 5 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada according to Sherdog.com.
Both Alessio and Daley were connected to the demise of ProElite’s EliteXC brand earlier this month. Daley had fought on four separate occasions in different promotions under the ProElite banner while Alessio was in talks to sign with the company before opting to twice fight at Las Vegas-based “Night of Combat” events following his release from the WEC earlier this year.
Alessio has won his last two fights since being disqualified for illegally kneeing Brock Larson at WEC 33 back in March. The Canadian submitted Pete Spratt in early summer and followed up by stopping fellow UFC veteran Gideon Ray with strikes on October 11.
Unheralded Mike Brown views Urijah Faber as best path to top
Less than 48 hours before facing WEC featherweight champion Urijah Faber, your average fighter would generally share how he expects the bout to be his toughest ever
But American Top Team's Mike Brown (19-4 MMA, 1-0 WEC) told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) he simply views his upcoming bout as the final step on his path to the top of the division.
"It's huge," Brown said of his main-event bout with Faber at "WEC 36: Faber vs. Brown" on Wednesday night. "It will be the final piece to the puzzle."
While Faber's 13-fight win streak and boyish good looks have landed him at the front of the WEC's marketing campaigns, Brown is a far less-known commodity. But while his confidence and approach to the bout may surprise you, Brown knows he has made great strides in his seven-year career in preparation for this fight.
ESPN Deportes to Broadcast MMA in April
Promotional newcomer Bellator Fighting Championships has secured a broadcast deal with ESPN Deportes to begin airing MMA events as early as April 2009, numerous sources have confirmed to Sherdog.com.
Santa Brito, Communications Manager for ESPN Deportes, confirmed on Monday that the Spanish-language channel is in “the early developmental stages of an MMA program.” Brito would not divulge further information, but clarified that ESPN was currently not developing any MMA programming on its English-language networks.
ESPN Deportes has more than four million subscribers out of the nine million recognized Hispanic cable homes, said Brito.
Sources have told Sherdog.com that the proposed 12-week fight series will center around four eight-man tournaments utilizing the 145-, 155-, 170- and 185-pound divisions. Non-tournament bouts will also be featured. It is not clear if the events will run live or on tape delay. Multiple locations across the nation are being considered for the 12-week shoot, sources have told Sherdog.com.
American Top Team’s Jorge Masvidal and Dream standout Eddie Alvarez have been two of the better-known candidates approached to participate on the Hispanic-focused roster.
Bellator -- which translates to “warrior” in Latin -- is helmed by Bjorn Rebney, former CEO and president of Sugar Ray Leonard Boxing. Rebney and Leonard aired live boxing events on ESPN 2 the first Friday of every month under the “Friday Night Fights” moniker from 2001-2004. The relationship reportedly soured when Leonard departed to join NBC’s “The Contender” series.
Chris Leben test postitive for Stanzanol
Dave Meltzer is reporting...
Chris Leben became the first high-profile fighter suspended by the Ultimate Fighting Championships for failing a drug test, when results came back positive on Monday for the steroid Stanazolol in a test administered after his three-round loss to Michael Bisping on Oct. 18 in Birmingham, England.
The UFC suspended Leben for nine months and fined him one-third of his undisclosed fight purse.
Several UFC fighters, including champions like Tim Sylvia, Sean Sherk and Josh Barnett, had been suspended and forced to relinquish their championships after positive tests administered by both the Nevada and California State Athletic Commissions.
Because UFC events held in the United Kingdom are not under the auspices of a commission, the UFC’s vice president of regulatory affairs, Marc Ratner, who for years headed the Nevada commission, performs many of the duties normally associated with an athletic commission for those events.
“I am obviously disappointed with Chris, who has made great strides getting his life back on track,” said UFC president Dana White. “To his credit, he has taken responsibility for his actions and is accepting the punishment that has been handed down. But as always, the UFC puts the safety of its athletes first and foremost, and we won’t tolerate anyone using performance enhancing drugs in our organization.”
“I’ve really done everything I can to turn my life around,” said Leben.
“And this is a huge setback for me. But it’s something I will have to deal with. During my time off from fighting, I want to speak to kids about the dangers of using performance enhancing agents and let them know it just doesn’t get you ahead in life. Of course, this is a hard hit for me monetarily, but more so this is embarrassing for me and for all my fans.”
UFC tested all 22 fighters at UFC 89 both before and after their matches.
White said that Leben admitted to him using the drug, also known as Winstrol V, but believed it had enough time to clear his system. Leben, 18-5, one of the company’s most well-known fighters stemming from his appearance on the first season of Ultimate Fighter, said he used the drug shortly after his win over Alessio Sakara in March. While usually clearing your system in about three weeks, Stanazolol can show up in tests for several months.
Marcus Davis vs. Chris Lytle on tap for UFC 93
The worst kept secret of a fight now has a date.
UFC welterweights Marcus Davis (15-4 MMA, 7-2 UFC) and Chris Lytle (26-16-5 MMA, 5-8 UFC) have agreed to meet at UFC 93, and bout agreements for the fight have been distributed, sources close to both fighters told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
The fight is expected to air on UFC 93's televised main card, which takes place Jan. 17 at The O2 in Dublin, Ireland.
The event airs on pay per view.
Davis and Lytle both spoke openly about wanting to fight each other even before they both competed last month at UFC 89. With victories from each fighter -- Davis submitted Paul Kelly, and Lytle stopped Paul Taylor with a unanimous-decision win -- the pieces fell in place for the bout.
As Davis first told TAGG Radio, MMAjunkie.com's official radio partner, in July, he and Lytle first discussed the fight earlier this year.
"Chris Lytle and I want to fight each other," Davis said at the time. "He's expressed that he wants to fight me. I've expressed that I want to fight him.
"We like each other, we respect each other, but we want to have that fight. And my pitch to Chris is, 'The first guy that starts grappling is a pussy, so let's not do that. Let's just stand up and just beat the hell out of each other. If we get in a clinching scenario, and somebody wants to throw somebody or whatever, go ahead and do it. But let's not try to finish it on the ground. Let's stand up, and let's bang it out.'"
Former IFL heavyweight Shane Ott fighting for life in hospital
Former IFL heavyweight fighter Shane Ott is fighting for his life in a Philadelphia-area hospital following a severe motorcycle accident early Sunday morning, sources have confirmed to FiveOuncesOfPain.com.
Word initially spread Sunday afternoon that the 37-year old had died from the injuries, but that is not the case. However, indications are that Ott has sustained devastating injuries and his recovery is less than certain.
Ott has been affiliated with the Anthracite Combat Club in Minersville, Pennsylvania, where he trained under Jeff Wolcott. The camp has also produced former EliteXC fighters Jon Murphy and Jim Bova.
According to friends, Ott was a natural wrestler who had an extensive history of street fighting. He was able to turn his life around after getting involved in MMA and was considered one of the top heavyweights on the Northeastern regional circuit.
Making his pro debut on March 23, 2007, Ott recorded a TKO over Allen Royster at 1:06 of round 1 during Extreme Challenge 75. The win over Royster allowed him to compete for the IFL in just his second fight, as Ott was tapped as a last-minute injury replacement to compete against Chad Griggs. Ott once again finished his opponent in the first round, submitting Griggs with a Kimura just 1:09 into the fight.
Ott improved his record to 3-0 following another first round finish, this time against TUF 2 veteran Kerry Schall during Extreme Challenge 77. Despite giving up a great deal of experience, Ott was able to TKO Schall at just 1:23 of round 1.
Ott then suffered back-to-back losses in the IFL against Antoine Jaoude and Roy Nelson, however, he was able to take the eventual-IFL heavyweight champion Nelson to a decision in their June 16, 2007 encounter.
His most recent fight was on April 19 of this year against former Pittsburgh Steelers All-Pro offensive lineman Carlton Haselrig. Haselrig, a former six-time NCAA champion in freestyle wrestling, recorded an upset victory over Ott following a TKO at 4:09 of round 1 at Battle Cage Xtreme 4 in Atlantic City, N.J.
We’re monitoring this story closely and will have more details as they become available.