Wanderlei Silva both a fighter and a fan
LAS VEGAS – For many years, Wanderlei Silva was regarded the same way at Zuffa headquarters that Derek Jeter is at Fenway Park.
UFC president Dana White, who for years had been eager to see Chuck Liddell knock Silva unconscious, makes no bones about his feelings toward the man who was the face of the rival PRIDE Fighting Championship.
"He was my enemy," White says unhesitatingly.
No longer is that true, however. Because on any given day, White will saunter downstairs from his office into the tiny gym located in the bowels of UFC headquarters to find Silva preparing for his fight with Keith Jardine at UFC 84 on May 24.
They greet each other with an embrace and a smile and while away the time discussing their mutual passion for mixed martial arts.
Silva is such a fan of the sport, he said he's pleading with White to make a match between middleweight champion Anderson Silva and welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre, who currently are ranked Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, on the Yahoo! Sports poll of the world's best fighters.
"If Dana can make that fight, I'll be in the line to buy a ticket," Silva said, beaming. "What a great fight. I am a fighter, yes. It is my job, and it is a job I love. But before I'm a fighter, I am a fan. I love this sport."
And that's why White has fallen for Silva the way a high school football star might for a sultry cheerleader.
White is making money, and lots of it, in the UFC, but it's a double bonus to him because he's indulging his passion.
"The reason I got into this (expletive) in the first place is because I love it so (expletive) much," White said. "Part of the way I run the company is from a fan's perspective. If I want to see a fight as a fan, then I know it's a fight that we should make and that's what I do.
"Well, Wanderlei is the same way. You see the passion he has for this sport. He told me once that he'd rather lose a fight and have the fans going crazy instead of winning a fight where the people are booing. That's the kind of guy I want in my company fighting on my shows."
Affliction Card - Incredible Fight Card and will take place in the ring
Profile - USATODAY.com
Big names, big gamble: Don't accuse Affliction of lacking ambition.
The clothing company made a splash in mixed martial arts by sponsoring several MMA stars, including at least six current or former major champions. But the company wants to go beyond just selling T-shirts and jewelry to MMA and heavy ****l fans.
Affliction made waves last month when it announced a July 19 show, to be headlined by Pride FC's last heavyweight champion, Fedor Emelianenko, against two-time UFC title-holder Tim Sylvia. Affliction has since signed several more fights, bringing the tally of confirmed bouts to eight:
• Fedor Emelianenko - Sylvia
• Josh Barnett - Pedro Rizzo
• Renato Sobral - Mike Whitehead
• Matt Lindland - Fabio Nascimento
• Savant Young - Mark Hominick
• Justin Levens - Ray Lazama
• J.J. Ambrose - Patrick Speight
• Mike Pyle - Brett Cooper
Ben Rothwell, who became a star in the International Fight League before signing with Adrenaline MMA, is also scheduled to fight on the pay-per-view card, though an opponent hasn't been found yet, Affliction Vice President Tom Atencio told me Friday.
The event also reportedly includes Strikeforce heavyweight contender and UFC veteran Paul Buentello against Fedor's brother, Alexander Emelianenko. But Affliction is still waiting to get back signed contracts from them, Atencio said.
If everything comes through, Affliction's inaugural show can boast of a heavyweight card whose depth rivals the best Pride FC tournaments of yesteryear.
Adding to the Pride echoes will be the fighting surface itself. Instead of a cage, Affliction will use a traditional ring, which should suit both competitors in the main event — Fedor has spent most of his career fighting in rings; Sylvia could welcome a chance to pin someone in a corner and tee off with his long jabs and heavy hands.
All things considered, the July a show that could leave longtime fans of mixed martial arts drooling, but it remains an enormous risk for a newcomer to MMA promotion.
The decision to stage its own shows has alienated UFC and EliteXC, effectively shutting off the biggest TV marketing vehicles for Affliction's core products. Affliction has responded by using the titled "Banned" for the July 19 show, but Atencio insists he doesn't threaten other fight promoters.
"We're not looking to compete with anybody," he said. "We're in the entertainment business. ... It's a lifestyle, it's a culture with us."
But it's hard to see how Affliction isn't competition for other MMA promoters, because few people can afford to buy every event. Most fans have to be selective, and it's still an open question whether they will choose Affliction.
Despite the talent-laden roster, Sylvia remains the only fighter on the card who has been in the main event for a pay-per-view that hit a six-figure buy rate. Fedor didn't draw well last year for BodogFight — another company that portrayed MMA promotion as part of its "lifestyle" business — and many casual U.S. fans wouldn't even know his name if not for Randy Couture's dogged pursuit of a fight with the Russian star. Meanwhile, Barnett and Rizzo have had great fights, but their UFC primes came before Zuffa's glory days.
And their drawing power could be moot point if Affliction doesn't settle its TV situation.
The company is still negotiating with HDNet, Atencio said, despite earlier reports that talks have collapsed. The marquee fights will be on pay-per-view, for about the same price that UFC costs — typically $45 to $50 in the United States, depending on the cable or satellite provider — but Affliction wants to air the undercard live on a non-PPV outlet as a teaser. The entire show would be replayed several days later on a non-pay outlet.
Atencio did confirm reports that the show will take place at The Pond, in Anaheim, Calif., though the company also considered San Jose or Chicago. Tickets go on sale May 20.
Affliction has plans for at least three shows, Atencio said. The next one would be in October, with the winners of Fedor-Sylvia and Barnett-Rizzo meeting in the main event, he said.
JZ with torn ACL, out rest of year
Dream lightweight superstar Gesias "JZ Calvan" Calvancante was a recent guest on the Savage Dog Radio Show on Sherdog.com. During the interview Calvan confirmed he had a torn meniscus that was scoped before the Aoki fight. After the fight he was examined and a completely torn ACL was diagnosed. Surgery has been scheduled for May 16th and Calvan stated that there will be at least a four month rehab, and he is most likely out until the end the year.
With an an extended lay off due to the injury and rehab, JZ will probably be groomed to face the Dream Lightweight Grand Prix winner sometime in mid-2009, and Calvan stated he wants to fight for the title.
Alvarez Earns International Recognition in Japan
Eddie Alvarez (Pictures)'s gutsy victory in the inaugural Dream lightweight grand prix left an indelible impression on fight fans around the world. But ask the kid from Philly if it was a breakthrough performance and he'll curtly reply, "No. Not really."
It's neither hubris nor modesty that motivates this response; rather, it's quiet confidence in his abilities.
"Going into the tournament, I had to convince myself that I was among the top and elite lightweights in the world, and I'm already past that point. I'm above and beyond that point," Alvarez said. "I know I belong in the tournament. Not only do I belong, but I want to prove to people that I'm the best in this tournament."
He proved his point all right -- by bludgeoning Andre "Dida" Amade, a tough striker from Chute Boxe who had made it to the finals of the K-1 Hero's lightweight tournament last year.
afflication is official july 19th in anaheim!!!
the fedor vs slyvia fight will be at the honda center, according to mmaweekly.com
glad to see the fights back in anaheim which might actually push the ufc return to anaheim go bye bye.. i would rather see the ufc fights in anaheim than afflication fights, i am hoping both come to the honda center, but i guess time will tell if the ufc will still return to anaheim like they have the previous years in sept not to mention if they don't with hockey and basketball yearly the ufc wouldn't return to so cal till earliest summer of 09"
Leben Out, Day In For Bisping at UFC 85
With legal issues preventing middleweight contender Chris Leben from being able to prepare sufficiently for a June 7th bout with Michael Bisping in London, England, Canada’s Jason ‘Dooms’ Day has stepped in to face ‘The Count’ in a featured bout on the UFC 85: Bedlam card at the O2 Arena.
Shonie Carter: "This Is Why I Don't Bet On Mma
I just couldn't understand why he was playing kickboxer. It was ridiculous. Only Frank could tell you what Frank was thinking. I'm not going to make any disparaging remarks towards him because he flew me out there and everything to train with him, but honestly, I didn't see that being what the gameplan was initially," stated MMA veteran Shonie Carter as he weighed in on Frank Shamrock's loss to Cung Le. Check out what else he had to say as Carter, who helped Shamrock train for the fight, talks about a potential rematch between the two and shares some advice for any young fighter who may be cut by or looking to get in with the UFC.
Cage Rage 26 Weigh-Ins Freeman V Cahoon
BIRMINGHAM, England – All fighters have made weight for Cage Rage 26: Extreme, the first venture outside of London for the venerable British promotion.
Ian Freeman appears in amazing shape that belies his 41 years, looking like a fighter of half his age. He squares off with Paul Cahoon in Saturday night’s main event.
Ross Pointon stepped on the scales looking fresh and ready to go by virtue of correct diet and heavy cardio work leading up to the event. Ross Mason by contrast, undertook his usual heavy sauna routine to step on the scales on weight.
-Ian Freeman (205lbs/93kg) vs. Paul Cahoon (200.6lbs/91kg)
-Che Mills (169.7lbs/77kg) vs. Marios Zaromskis (169lbs/76.7kg)
-Rodney Faverus (204.1lbs/92.7kg) vs. James Zikic (202.7lbs/92kg)
-Ross Mason (169.7lbs/77kg) vs. Ross Pointon (169.7lbs/77kg)
-Mark Epstein (185lbs/84kg) vs. Matt Ewin (184.2lbs/83.6kg)
-Henrique Nogueira (200.6lbs/91kg) vs. Marc Goddard (205lbs/93kg)
-Paul Reed (145lbs/65.8kg) vs. Brad Pickett (145lbs/65.8kg)
-Kev Simms (240.2lbs/109kg) vs. Popek Rak (228.1lbs/103.5kg)
-Chris Rice (184.5lbs/83.7kg) vs. Edgelson Lue (180.7lbs/82kg)
-Harvey Harra (154.3lbs/70kg) vs. Garry Kelly (154.3lbs/70kg)
Lytle On Kos At UFC 86: Don't Pull A Matt Hughes
Chris Lytle recently shared his thoughts on his next fight, to be against Josh Koscheck at UFC 86. Lytle hopes that Kos doesn't fight like Matt Hughes did against Lytle in their last fight, where Lytle was on his back defending against submissions the whole fight.
Dana White Wants 250 Wanderlei Silvas
Or guys like him, at least. In a recent interview, Dana put "The Axe Murderer" over and indicated that it won't matter if he keeps losing (Wandy's lost 3 straight overall) because he always puts on a show for the fans.
Pulver: June 1 Is "Biggest Fight Of My Career"
On Thursday's edition of the TAGG Radio program, Jens Pulver, facing WEC Featherweight Champion Urijah Faber on June 1 in perhaps the promotion's biggest fight ever, says it's no doubt "the biggest fight of my career". He also expects over 10,000 fans to be solidly against him and behind Faber.
Tommy Speer Returns...Sort Of
After being released from his UFC contract following 2 straight losses, Zuffa has now re-signed TUF 6 runner-up Tommy Speer and will send him to WEC. Speer says the current plan is for his WEC debut to be in August.
Kimbo Slice: Pro, Scapegoat, or Hype Job?
It's getting harder and harder to talk about Kimbo Slice, though it's not from a lack of trying. It seems like everybody has an opinion on the Internet-brawler-turned-pro-fighter.
Either he's the worst thing to happen to the sport of mixed martial arts, or he's the next big superstar.
Hardcore Championship Fighting Done
Hardcore Championship Fighting is officially out of business, CEO Keith Crawford has informed Sherdog.com.
The news comes after a period of great optimism for the Canadian organization. HCF was expected to announce this week that it had been purchased -- a move that Crawford hoped would put the promotion among the few legitimately vying for the No. 2 spot behind the UFC.
THE GREAT FIGHT NORTH
THE GREAT FIGHT NORTH
News and Notes from Canada
John Alessio may have lost more than a match when he was disqualified against Brock Larson at WEC 33 in March.
The fight with Larson was the last on Alessio’s contract, and, according to the Canadian veteran, negotiations with the Zuffa LLC-owned organization have stalled, prompting him to consider offers from other promotions.
“I’m actually wondering myself what’s going on,” Alessio said. “I figured I would have heard something by now. They offered me the rematch with Larson, but it’s now up to my manager to negotiate. It’s going to come down to money and if they want to sign me long-term or not.”
Also features The Crow, Sam Stout & others
Tito's Last Stand
TITO’S LAST STAND
Former Champion Ortiz Blames UFC President for Pending Separation
By Brian Knapp (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The rift between UFC president Dana White and former light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz appears to have passed the point of no return.
The 33-year-old Ortiz will fulfill the final bout on his current contract with the Las Vegas-based promotion when he faces unbeaten Lyoto Machida at UFC 84: Ill Will on Saturday, May 24 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Afterwards, he plans to walk away from the organization that gave rise to his stardom. The blame for the pending separation, he says, rests at White’s feet.
“I think just about 90 percent of this is me just wanting to get away from Dana White,” Ortiz told Live Audio Wrestling’s Dan Lovranski. “He has a vengeance for me. He’s a person who’s very hateful towards me, and he doesn’t want to see me grow as a superstar. He’s always been like that. He’s always been trying to hold me down and not let me go further, and it’s just really sad to see.”
- IFL LOOKING FOR NEW PARTNERS OR BUYER
During a media conference call on Thursday, International Fight League CEO Jay Larkin confirmed rumors that the organization is actively shopping the promotion for new investors and could even possibly sell the company.
“Are we actively looking for a partner or a sale? The answer is, yes,” Larkin stated on the call. “We entertain phone calls and questions almost on a daily basis from potential investors, potential buyers, people who want to get in the MMA business, people who are already in the MMA business.”
The news comes just prior to the organization’s May 16 event, which will take place at the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. The promotion will then go on a brief hiatus until its August 15 event, which will feature a newly designed hexagon-shaped ring dubbed “The Hex.”