Chonan vs. Blackburn and Evensen vs. Barry added to finalized UFC 92 card
The Ultimate Fighting Championship has finalized its 10-bout card for UFC 92: The Ultimate 2008 on Dec. 27 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Already announced had been featured fights involving Forrest Griffin defending his UFC light heavyweight title vs. Rashad Evans, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira defending his interim UFC heavyweight title vs. Frank Mir, and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson facing off against Wanderlei Silva.
Two previously unannounced matchups for the non-televised preliminary portion of the card have been revealed, with Ryo Chonan taking on Brad Blackburn in a welterweight title and a clash of heavyweights between the returning Dan Evensen and debuting Pat Barry.
Also confirmed is a bout expected to air during the five-bout pay-per-view telecast between heavyweights Cheick Kongo and Mustapha Al-Turk.
The rest of the card will be filled out my matchups between C.B. Dollaway vs. Mike Massenzio, Yushin Okami vs. Dean Lister, Matt Hamill vs. Reese Andy, and Antoni Hardrock vs. Mark Burch.
LEONARD GARCIA READY TO MOVE FORWARD
Wrong place, wrong time – it’s a thought Leonard Garcia knows well. Misfortune seems to follow him wherever he goes. Fighting in the cage is one of the only times he feels right.
“When it comes time to fight, no matter what happens, for 15 minutes, you’re going to see red, so the doubts to me aren’t in the cage at all,” Garcia said in a recent teleconference for his upcoming fight against Jens Pulver at WEC 36.
Garcia traces his bad luck to an incident when he was 18. He was at a late night diner when an apparently intoxicated man entered the restaurant and tried to shove the food his girlfriend was eating down her throat. At the time, Garcia was a football player at Plainview High in Lubbock, Texas, and wanted to play for Texas Tech University. Garcia confronted the man, who shoved him back.
Anthony Johnson on Kevin Burns, Steve Mazzagatti
Fighthype has an article up with Anthony Johnson in which he discusses his upcoming, and controversial previous, fight with Kevin Burns.
On the previous fight eye pokage outcome:
I was very surprised that they didn't overturn it. I don't know what they were thinking for not overturning it. If I was on steroids or some kind of illegal supplements or something like that, they would have been all over it, but the fact that I had surgery and my vision is clear and I didn't lose my eye, they're fine with that. Nothing seriously really happened. If I would've lost my vision, they would would've made something happen, but right now, they’re not worrying about nothing. They're trying to catch people that's on illegal stuff. They are thinking this is part of the sport and you get hurt like that, but it's more than just a sport. This is my life; this is my career. If something like that would've happened to Chuck Liddel, I guarantee you they would've been all over it, but it's me and, not saying that I'm a nobody, but you know what I'm saying. It is what it is and I'm not tripping.
TKO (Canada) President Steps Down
Stephane Patry-the founder of Canada’s original and most successful professional mixed martial arts organization-has resigned his position as president of TKO Championship Fighting. Patry was instrumental in bringing 44 shows to the Montreal region under the banner. However, according to a report on Sportsnet.ca, the Montreal native has decided to call it quits and will pursue new challenges.
On a related note, the promotion's December 5 show is now off as a result of this.
Alvarez Back in January
Eddie Alvarez has been down this road before.
As Alvarez was preparing to fight Nick Diaz for the vacant EliteXC 160-pound title on Nov. 8, he received word that the event had been cancelled and the promotion was no more.
Alvarez, who is ranked second at 155 pounds in the latest Sherdog.com rankings, said while he was disappointed by the cancellation of the fight, he wasn’t surprised by Pro Elite’s demise.
KJ Noons Now Wants Nick Diaz Rematch
First KJ Noons said he didn't want a rematch with Nick Diaz after their first fight was stopped after round 1 (Diaz couldn't continue-cuts). Now in a recent radio appearance Noons says that since the fall of EliteXC he would be up for a rematch. As long as it makes sense.
Brad Pickett Heading To WEC
Top UK featherweight Brad Pickett is likely to be picked up by the WEC in the near future, according to industry sources.
Pickett himself was tight-lipped when contacted by Fighters Only today as he prepared to fly out to the USA for WEC 36 next week.
“All I know is, the roster might be trimmed after this event and if a place comes up, I’m pretty confident I would get one,” he said.
“I really want to fight in Las Vegas. And Zuffa have been talking about bringing the WEC to the UK next year, so I could be their poster-boy,” he laughed.
Pickett is heading to WEC 36 to watch American Top Team colleague Mike Brown fight Urijah Faber for the featherweight title.
Dana White ‘lukewarm’ to Anderson Silva vs Chuck Liddell
“I think the fight for Silva is one against Liddell on Jan. 31 at UFC 94 in Las Vegas. UFC president Dana White has been lukewarm on it so far, but it would be a fun battle and it certainly would be a fight that would have Silva motivated…. [White] didn’t seem all that interested. I had talked with him about it in a private phone conversation about 10 days earlier and he was no more interested in it then. I’m not saying it won’t happen, just that Dana doesn’t seem enthused by the idea”
Yahoo!Sports reporter Kevin Iole talks about Dana White’s reaction to a potential showdown between UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva and Chuck Liddell in a 205-pound showdown. “The Spider” has just five fights left possibly in his career, which means that the promotion will likely try and get the most out of its most talented fighter before he exits stage left. He recently topped Patrick Cote at UFC 90: “Silva vs. Cote” on October 25 because of a freak knee injury that prevented the Canadian from continuing; however, Silva’s performance was puzzling and received an avalanche of criticism. As a result, he is eager to return to competition as soon as possible to prove that it was just an aberration and not an indication of his ability or representative of his respect for his opponents and the sport. Liddell has lost three of his last four fights, but is still perhaps the most recognized fighter on the roster, making a fight between Silva and Liddell more than likely a huge money maker. “The Iceman” is really the only high profile 205-pound fighter who is available to compete anytime soon besides maybe Keith Jardine.
Cooperation or Competition Between Affliction and Golden Boy Promotions?
A few months ago, Affliction announced its deal with Golden Boy Promotions and crowed that this would be a major challenge to the UFC. A few weeks ago, we heard that it would no longer be a mixed show, and instead would be a pure MMA show. Now it appears that Golden Boy is putting a boxing show on HBO on January 24, the same night as Affliction's PPV.
Dave Meltzer reports in the November 5 Wrestling Observer Newsletter that Golden Boy Promotions will feature Antonio Margarito vs. Shane Mosley on HBO on January 24, 2008. That is a pretty big fight and it will air opposite of Affliction, on (almost) free TV.
Here's the rub: I don't think there is any joint promotional deal between Affliction and Golden Boy. I heard a few weeks ago that nothing was signed, and it looks like all they have is a t-shirt deal, or a production deal at most. They announced it prematurely to distract people from the fact that they cancelled their October show because it sold about 700 tickets.
Mark Cuban's HDNet Purchases IFL Assets
For the $650,000 price tag, HDNet will be entitled to all intellectual property, including the IFL’s film, video, and image library; its five-roped competition ring and team trademarks; and proprietary rights, including its Web site. The transaction also includes any remaining broadcast contracts the IFL acquired during its two-year tenure, which includes a deal with FOX Sports Network.
An article up at Cage Potato provides speculation as to what this acquisition could mean in terms of HDNet's desire to promote MMA:
Not that the IFL didn’t put on some good fights, but how much is old fight footage really worth? With the exception of the really good bouts, watching old fights can be a lot like watching old college football games on ESPN Classic, which is to say it appeals to a very select audience, mostly the unemployed and the very, very drunk, either of whom are likely to think they’re watching live TV.
But HDNet seems too savvy to pay that much for a bunch of old fights that have already been aired on Fox Sports Net and MyNetwork, not to mention spread around the internet. So what do you have up your sleeve, HDNet? Don’t tell me you paid more than half a million dollars just to air Chris Horodecki highlights in between old episodes of Hogan’s Heroes. All right, I admit I’d watch that.
Matt Riddle Out of UFC 91 Bout Due To Injury
The welterweight debut of former “Ultimate Fighter” 185-pound cast member Matt Riddle will have to wait. He has suffered a knee injury that will force him out of his upcoming bout against Ryan Thomas on the undercard of UFC 91 on Nov. 15.
Riddle’s injury was confirmed to MMAWeekly.com by sources close to the situation.
Riddle made a great impression on fans during his time on The Ultimate Fighter and after the show wrapped up filming, he relocated to Arizona to train alongside former housemate C.B. Dollaway at Arizona Combat Sports.
In his first official fight in the UFC, Riddle won a decisive unanimous decision over Dante Rivera at The Ultimate Fighter finale show in June.
For the fight in November, Riddle was cutting weight and making his 170-pound debut, but during training for the bout the young fighter fell victim to a knee injury that will likely require surgery and could keep him on the shelf for the better part of six to eight weeks.
No word has come down from the UFC about a possible replacement to step in for Riddle to take on Ryan Thomas at this time.
Stay tuned to MMAWeekly.com for more information on this fight as it becomes available.
The WEC and Urijah Faber headed to pay per view in 2009
World Extreme Cagefighting and the organization's biggest star, featherweight champion Urijah Faber, will test the pay-per-view waters in 2009.
The organization, which was acquired by the UFC's parent company in December 2006, went from a regional hit to arguably the world's current No. 2 fight promotion with the UFC's backing. And now, after building a solid audience on the cable channel Versus, the WEC will make its PPV debut next year.
Cheick Kongo and C.B. Dollaway part of finalized UFC 92 main card
The UFC 92 card now includes:
Champ Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Frank Mir (for interim UFC heavyweight title)
Champ Forrest Griffin vs. Rashad Evans (for UFC light heavyweight title)
C.B. Dollaway vs. Mike Massenzio
Quinton Jackson vs. Wanderlei Silva
Mustafa Al-Turk vs. Cheick Kongo
Dean Lister vs. Yushin Okami
Mark Burch vs. Antoni Hardonk
Reese Andy vs. Matt Hamill
Brad Blackburn vs. Ryo Chonan
Pat Berry vs. Dan Evensen
Mike Whitehead returns to win column with M-1 Challenge victory
Former UFC fighter and "The Ultimate Fighter 2" cast member Mike Whitehead (23-6) rebounded from a July loss to Renato "Babalu" Sobral and picked up his 14th victory in his past 15 fights with a first-round submission victory over Leo Pla (4-2) on Wednesday.
The fight capped off the M-1 Challenge 8th Edition, which took place in conjunction with the Affliction Entertainment at Harrah's North Kansas City Casino.
The M-1 Challenge, which recently partnered with Affliction, is a team-based international competition designed for young fighters who want fight experience. The top fighters can win spots on major M-1 fight cards.
Whitehead, a three-time All-American wrestler at the University of Missouri, competed in one of the night's two superfights, which showcase established stars. He submitted Pla with a guillotine choke just 80 seconds into the fight. It was his 12th submission victory in 23 pro wins.
Women's MMA Finding New Life in Japan?
GCM's Valkyrie, which will hold its first card on Nov. 8, will not be the only all-female fight promotion in Japan, as from the ashes of Smackgirl, newly formed parent company Marvelous Japan has announced its own upstart organization, Jewels.
Yuichi Ozono, an executive from Japanese event production company Archery Inc. will lead Marvelous Japan. After learning of the languishing Smackgirl and its business woes, Ozono formed Marvelous Japan and acquired the assets and rights formerly belonging to Smackgirl parent company Kilgore.
"I always liked the martial arts, especially Smackgirl, and when I read that they were in trouble, I wanted to find out the truth," Ozono said. "I met with [former Smackgirl President Motoki] Shino and heard that it was impossible for the promotion to continue, so I proposed to him to let me take over the promotion. After several discussions, we reached an agreement, and he gave me the management team of Smackgirl."
Prospects fill out Nov. 21 "Strikeforce: Destruction" fight card
With Strikeforce champions Josh Thomson and Bobby Southworth ready to contend, and with Joe Riggs set to face Luke Stewart, in main-card bouts, Strikeforce has filled out the rest of its "Destruction" fight card with prospects and up-and-comers.
The rest of the card includes:
Champ Josh Thomson vs. Yves Edwards (for lightweight title)
Champ Bobby Southworth vs. Renato "Babalu" Sobral (for light heavyweight title)
Luke Stewart vs. Joe Riggs
Lemont Davis vs. Brian Schwartz
Tony Johnson vs. Eric Lawson
Darren Uyenoyama vs. Brad Royster
Alvin Cacdac vs. Jose Palacios
Cyrillo Padilha vs. Bobby Stack
Zakary Bucia vs. Jaime Rodriguez
Raul Castillo vs. Kurt Osiander
Nik Theotikos vs. Luke Rockhold
BACK IN UFC; COUTURE QUESTIONS AFFLICTION CEO
Spending more than a year away from the sport, UFC heavyweight champion Randy “The Natural” Couture is ready to return on Nov. 15 to face Brock Lesnar at UFC 91. It was a long, strange trip through lawsuits, courtrooms, and other various legal battles, but the champ is ready to get back to his office in the Octagon.
“Fighting in the cage is what I do best. Courtrooms and depositions and crap like that, it’s not really up my alley,” Couture said during a recent appearance on MMAWeekly Radio. “Realistically, I’ve got a short window of opportunity to continue to compete at this level, so I need to take advantage of that while the window’s still open.”
During his time away from the UFC, Couture was focused on making a fight happen with top heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko, and the Affliction promotion seemed to be the place leading the charge to make it happen.