DREAM Elite: Dream & ProElite Announce Partnership
At today's DREAM 3 pre-fight press conference in Japan, DREAM and ProElite announced a working relationship between the two promotions that will include sharing of fighters and referees, as well as co-promoted shows in the future. This could also result in both promotions running more shows in Europe, Korea, and elsewhere.
Affliction: Banned" July 19 debut card
As we mentioned in Friday's "Inside MMA"/MMAjunkie.com preview clip, Affliction Clothing has officially released details of its debut card, which takes place July 19.
The event is set for the Honda Center ("The Pond") in Anaheim, Calif., and features a previously announced main event between Fedor Emelianenko and Tim Sylvia. The main card airs live on pay per view.
The organization has also confirmed a number of former UFC and PRIDE veterans for its event, entitled "Banned," which is a knock at the clothing company recently being banned as a sponsor of UFC and EliteXC fighters.
Company executives report the following line-up:
MAIN CARD (PAY PER VIEW)
Fedor Emelianenko vs. Tim Sylvia
Josh Barnett vs. Pedro Rizzo
Ben Rothwell vs. TBA
Paul Buentello vs. Aleksander Emelianenko*
Matt Lindland vs. Fabio Nascimento
Renato "Babalu" Sobral vs. Mike Whitehead
Ray Lazama vs. Justin Levens
Mark Hominick vs. Savant Young
J.J. Ambrose vs. Patrick Speight
Brett Cooper vs. Mike Pyle
* - not signed
Tickets for the event go on sale May 20.
Jason Day’s Whirlwind UFC Ride Continues
A Canadian veteran who had finally started to find his groove in the fight game after a rocky start that saw him lose three of his first five pro bouts, Jason Day was on the fringes of the UFC in 2007, with all but one of the four opponents he faced that year current or former UFC fighters.
He won two of those fights, submitting Jonathan Goulet and stopping Ron Faircloth, with the only loss coming in June of last year to Patrick Cote. It got the buzz going about the Lethbridge, Alberta native, and when he kicked off 2008 with a hard-fought decision win over former world title challenger David Loiseau, it was clear that the next stop for Day would be the UFC.
First test? A bout against up and comer Alan Belcher in front of close to 22,000 Canadian fans on April 19th. If there was going to be a case of the first-time UFC jitters, this was it. Surprisingly though, Day wasn’t affected by the atmosphere surrounding the biggest fight of his career.
Bisping ready to take on any opponent
Michael Bisping, the biggest British name in the UFC, will now face Canadian submission expert Jason Day at the UFC 85 super show at London's O2 Arena, June 7.
Middleweight striker Michael Bisping is ready for any opponent
UK's best: Michael Bisping will be tested by submission expert Jason Day
Middleweight striker Bisping was due to face Chris Leben, but on Thursday the American was handed a 35-day prison term for violating the terms of a 2005 probation order. Leben was expected to be fined for no-showing several mandated drink education classes three years ago but, instead, he was sentenced to 35 days in jail by Clackamas County Circuit Court in Oregon.
Bisping, 16-1, told me on Friday evening: "Obviously I had heard about Chris's legal issues and knew there was a chance the court would want to make an example of him. I know he must be gutted to miss out on this fight, as am I, but I've already switched my focus to Jason Day.
Gina Carano on Tuesday's "E:60"
ESPN's "E:60" program will feature Gina Carano, one of MMA's most recognizable female fighters, this coming Tuesday, May 13. The program airs at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT.
Carano, who moonlights as "Crush" on NBC's "American Gladiators," next fights May 31 at "EliteXC: PRIMETIME," the first-ever live MMA event to air on major U.S. network television.
HANSEN & ALVAREZ PRE-FIGHT COMMENTS
Joachim Hansen takes on Eddie Alvarez in the second round of the DREAM Lightweight Grand Prix. MMAWeekly caught up with both competitors before they face off May 11 in Saitama, Japan.
Joachim Hansen is coming off back-to-back wins, entering this fight as the favorite, but many feel Eddie Alvarez is the dark-horse to win the tournament.
"We have similar styles and it's going to be a good fight," Hansen told MMAWeekly.com.
Alvarez respects Hansen's abilities and agrees with his assessment of their fighting styles. "Even before this tournament, I was a big fan of Joachim," said Alvarez. "I like the way Joachim fights. He's much like myself. He fights to finish the fight, not to win the fight, and I think the two of our styles, the way we clash, it can only make for the most exciting fight of the tournament."
This is the biggest fight of Alvarez' career and the American fighter recognizes the opportunity before him. "I realize the opportunity that's ahead of me, and it's allowed myself to push myself beyond barriers that I've ever pushed myself," said Alvarez.
"I believe this is the finals match. It's unfortunate that it has to happen so soon, but if we didn't get to fight, it would also be unfortunate. If we're going to fight, we might as well do it now and give the fans what they want to see. I think it's a great match up."
Hansen is a natural lightweight and has competed in that division his entire career. Alvarez recently moved down to the lightweight division from the 170-pound welterweight class. "I've been training very hard this time, so I'm a little bit under weight," commented Hansen. "I'm eating a lot to make the weight."
Alvarez will have a size advantage over Hansen, and expects to enter the ring well above the 154 weight limit after re-hydrating following stepping on the scales for the weigh-ins.
"I usually start my cut around 176, something like that, 176 pounds and I cut my weight down to 154 ," stated Alvarez.
Old School Beatdown: MMAmania.com exclusive interview with Tito Ortiz
Adam Wagner (MMAmania.com): You’ll be fighting Lyoto Machida at UFC 84 on May 24 for your last contracted fight in the UFC. Machida’s undefeated and is a noted counter striker. How have you been preparing for this fight, particular in preparation for his style?
Tito Ortiz: I really just think about being a great champ, you know. I don’t think Machida’s ever fought anyone like me — someone who’s aggressive, someone who pushes the pace, and I’m going to be that person.
He’s had some tough guys that he’s fought, but it was a B.J. Penn at 175 pounds or a Rich Franklin who was a 185 pounder who was maybe 202, 203. So when he has someone on him who’s 220 fight time — I mean, I’ll make weight at 205 without a problem at all, you know, coming from a wrestling background, but I’ll be 220 fight time — so let’s see if he can handle a bigger man on top of him. Let’s see if he can be as elusive as he has in his fights.
I have a lot of guys up here who are great wrestlers, great strikers — southpaw guys too — who really mimic what Machida’s fight style is — elusive, always circling out, always running away. I’m going to push the pace, man, like all my fights. I bring the fight when it’s fight time. That’s why so many fans watch pay-per-view (PPV) of Tito Ortiz, because they want to see a fight, and I bring the fight every time I fight.
BJ Penn: ‘You cant confuse steroids with heart,’ Sean Sherk
“… I know there are a lot of people out there doing steroids, cheating and every time I run into one of them, I’m going to call them on it and then I’m going to beat the shit out of them.… It’s going to be a historic night because all the kids out there will realize that you can do it with just hard work alone … he wants to say he has heart and all this different shit, but you can’t confuse steroids with heart…. It’s two different things, a guy with heart is a guy doing it with blood, sweat and tears, waking up with the sore back, the sore body.… What would happen in the old days when you get caught with a couple of aces up your sleeve, they kill the guy right there and that’s why I say Sean Sherk is dead….”
A fired up UFC Lightweight Champion, BJ Penn, talks about his upcoming title defense against Sean Sherk at UFC 84: “Ill Will” at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, on May 24. “The Muscle Shark” tested positive for steroids after his win against Hermes Franca at UFC 73: “Stacked” in July 2007 and has not competed since because of a six-month suspension. Penn doesn’t like steroids or steroid users very much … this one is personal.
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.