EliteXC’s ‘Impending Doom’ Averted for Now
Though its coveted spots on CBS and Showtime rival any other broadcast deals currently enjoyed in the sport, it’s unlikely any promotion is envious of EliteXC this week.
Nearly nineteen months into operation, Pro Elite -- the parent organization to EliteXC, ShoXC, King of the Cage, Cage Rage, and ICON events –- has found itself centerstage following a recent succession of incidents that have put the company’s ability to get the job done in question.
Last week, EliteXC’s welterweight champion Jake Shields, who’s clocked in under nine minutes for his trio of victories in the cage, went public with his intentions to accept a more challenging bout with a top-five middleweight through another promotion.
Just a few days later, news prematurely leaked out that a scheduled Sept. 20 event at the Pit in Albuquerque would be cancelled –- this before main event draw Joey Villasenor had even been notified.
On its heels, private negotiations between Mark Dion, manager to EliteXC lightweight champion Karl James Noons, and the promotion have gone public and seem to get uglier by the day.
The icing on the cake came with Thursday’s announcement that EliteXC heavyweight champion Antonio Silva had tested positive for the steroid Boldenone following his July 26 title victory.
SEC filings this week show Pro Elite is almost $55 million in the red, largely due to operating expenses incurred from its 15 flagship events to date, as well as its investments in other organizations (still running events themselves) that the company purchased to bolster its stable of fighters. In comparison, the UFC spent $44 million in four years before it struck oil with “The Ultimate Fighter” reality TV series.
EliteXC has certainly seen better weeks, and the memory of their May 31 debut of “Saturday Night Fights” on CBS in primetime -- which garnered heaping amounts of press and the most eyeballs of any live MMA event ever broadcasted with an average 4.9 million viewers –- seems to be fast fading.
However, there is light at the end of the tunnel, if Pro Elite can get to it in time. If changes were ever needed in the organization it would be now, and changes are being made.
Chris Horodecki vs. Dan Lauzon Affliction fight likely October 11
Up-and-coming lightweights Chris Horodecki (12-1) and Dan Lauzon (10–2) are expected to tangle at Affliction: “Day of Reckoning” at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, on October 11.
Sherdog.com was today able to confirm that the long-rumored has been agreed to by both fighters and is just awaiting signatures on the bout agreements.
Cheick Kongo: ‘Nothing worries me too much with Brock Lesnar’ if UFC 91 fight is booked
“…. If the UFC wants me to fight Lesnar, I’ll do it for sure…. Lesnar was impressive [against Heath Herring at UFC 87]. He showed confidence in his standup striking and completely dominated Heath Herring…. I try to never underestimate any of my opponents but there’s really nothing that worries me too much with Brock Lesnar. I know it could be a tough fight, but, you know, I train hard and I will be ready for this one too. I am hungry.”
Cheick Kongo talks about a potential heavyweight showdown with Brock Lesnar at UFC 91 in Portland, Ore., at the Rose Garden Arena on November 15. In short, he’s not scared of the mammoth former highly decorated collegiate national wrestling champion. Let’s just hope the “French Sensation” has polished his takedown defense since the loss to Carmelo Marrero at UFC 64: “Unstoppable” back in 2006.
UFC Quick Quote: Dan Henderson is pissed
“I think this is a good match up for me. I’m going to be the guy that’s a lot more dangerous on my feet and it’s somewhere he doesn’t want to be with me. So it’s going to be his task to get me into his world on the ground. I’m not the easiest guy to take down, you know—so the determining factor of the fight is who can defend takedowns, who can get their takedown and if I can knock him out coming in or whatever. [Pretty] much all Palhares has is submissions. I try to come up with a game plan not to fight right in the guy’s strengths, so obviously I’m going to be trying to stay up on my feet with him. I just see myself knocking him out. I was pretty pissed at my last performance and I’m probably going to be a little bit pissed when I go out there and fight this guy. I’m ready to do a 15-minute grappling match with him if I have to, but I’m not going to lose.”
– Former PRIDE champion Dan “Hollywood” Henderson talks to UFC.com about fighting grappling phenom Rousimar “Toquinho” Palhares at UFC 88 in Atlanta, Georgia on September 6. “Hendo” has his back against the wall after dropping his first two UFC matches (against Quinton “Rampage” Jackson at UFC 75 and Anderson Silva at UFC 82). Has time run out on the 37 year-old superstar? Or is he going to wreak havoc on the up-and-coming Palhares? We’ll know soon enough.
Fedor's New Year's Eve Freak Show Fight
Satoshi Ishii, the 21 year old judoka who just took home the gold medal in Judo is calling out Fedor Emelianenko. From Dave Meltzer:
In Beijing, China, after winning the gold medal in the superheavyweight division in judo this past week, Japan’s Satoshi Ishii said he wanted to fight "Emelianenko Fedor," as the legendary Russian fighter is known in Japan.
Ishii, 21, has never fought MMA style. The idea of the match may sound laughable to MMA aficionados, but New Year’s Eve in Japan is traditional for gimmick performers, whether they be Japanese entertainment personalities, giants, or athletes who were successful in other sports, doing fights. With Ishii becoming a national hero in Japan and the sport fading in popularity, such a match would draw the kind of interest that Emelianenko against a top fighter could never do.
Shields Ready for Daley, says Aoki Declinded
EliteXC welterweight champion Jake Shields is ready to defend his title for the first time, as he steps into the cage to face British heavy hitter Paul “Semtex” Daley on Oct. 4 as a part of the latest edition of CBS-EliteXC Saturday Night Fights.
Shields’ list of potential opponents has bounced around from everyone including John Alessio to Shinya Aoki and now finally settling on Daley.
“I think it’s a good fight,” he said in an interview with MMAWeekly.com. “He’s got great stand-up. I actually haven’t seen that many of his fights. I’ve got to start watching him fight. He’s a young kid, tough, so obviously I’m going to take him serious, start watching tapes and figure it out from there.”
Previous to this announcement, Shields had been waiting on an answer from EliteXC to take a fight at 185 pounds for Affliction, but that option was declined and he was brought on board for the Oct. 4 card instead.
“I really wanted to fight (Matt) Lindland, but maybe that one can be put on in the future,” Shields commented. “Right now, I’m looking at Daley, getting this win… He’s a legit opponent.”
Daley is the current Cage Rage world welterweight champion. Cage Rage is EliteXC’s sister promotion in the U.K. ProElite, Inc. owns both promotions.
“I was very disappointed, but at this point all you can do is move on and get through the fight in front of you. I was a little disappointed I didn’t get to do the (Lindland) fight, but at least Elite is treating me really good and you know, they didn’t give me that fight, but they put me on CBS, gave me another good fight and I hear they’re trying to get me (Shinya) Aoki.”
Hearing Shinya Aoki’s name will likely spark up matchmaking conversation for every fan of the colorful Japanese fighter, but according to Shields, he doesn’t think the current Dream lightweight will accept the bout.
“I guess they were trying to get Aoki, but he’s got no bushido,” Shields said. “I don’t think Aoki wants to fight me. He’s got no warrior spirit. He’s from Japan, who’d have thought?”
With all the other potential opponents now behind him, Shields will focus solely on Daley. While many fighters love to try and match their opponent’s strengths going into a big fight, Shields will keep things simple.
“I’d like to take him down and submit him,” he commented. “I’m definitely not going to try and knock him out, but anything’s possible. I’m going to throw some punches.”
UFC newcomer Mike Patt discusses "Breakthrough" opportunity
"Breakthrough" is the name given to UFC 88, and for veteran fighter Michael Patt (12-2), it couldn't be more appropriate.
The veteran fighter recently stepped up as a late replacement for James Lee, who was forced to withdraw from the event due to an arm injury, and will make his long-awaited octagon debut next month at the event.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) spoke to Patt as he prepares to fight fellow light heavyweight Tim Boetsch (7-2) at the Sept. 6 event in Atlanta's Philips Arena.
Patt discussed a number of topics, including taking the fight on short notice, his fighting style, training with Team Jorge Gurgel and the choices a fighter faces when the UFC calls with an opportunity.
MMAjunkie.com: You fought just one week ago on Aug. 15. Are there any lingering injuries that you'll take into your fight with Tim Boetsch ?
Michael Patt: No, I didn't take any damage in that fight. I took the fight to get some ring work in. It was a really quick fight. It lasted about two minutes. I thought I'd signed up for three five-minute rounds, but when I got to Texas, I found out they were only three three-minute rounds. I decided I didn't want to let my opponent out of the first round, so it ended quickly.
MMAjunkie.com: When you take a fight on short notice, and you are coming off such a recent fight, is it easier or harder on your body and state of mind?
Michael Patt: After a fight your body goes through what I call a "full-body hangover." It just wants a chance to recoup. My management called me at 2 a.m. and told me that I would be fighting in the UFC. Quite honestly at that point, you have two choices: take the fight, or probably never get called again. Fortunately, the full-body hangover only lasted a few days. I've been back training hard and have a few weeks left. I'll be ready.
MMAjunkie.com: You've been fighting for a while and have a pretty good record. But were you surprised by the call?
Michael Patt: I don't know. I thought I was close a few times and felt like I was knocking on the door. Things in the business have changed so much over the years, and getting noticed is more than just a good record. Being in the right place at the right time and having great management with good relationships with the UFC helps a lot.
MMAjunkie.com: You train out of Ohio with Team Jorge Gurgel, correct?
Michael Patt: Yeah, I've been training with Jorge Gurgel for a long time -- since he was a blue belt, in fact. Back when I started training, if you could find someone who was a blue belt or a purple, you had struck gold. It's a strong team and has been very good for a long time.
MMAjunkie.com: You were only recently notified about the fight, but what do you know about your opponent Tim Boetsch?
Michael Patt: He's a good wrestler, aggressive, OK stand up, not really a [Brazilian jiu-jitsu] guy, and I expect he'll want to keep it standing.
MMAjunkie.com: For people who may be unfamiliar with you and your fighting style, how would you describe yourself.
Michael Patt: Patient. I'm all over the board. I'll stand, work in the clinch, use knees and work on the ground. A lot of people enter a fight saying, "I'm going to keep it standing, or I'll take it to the ground." And when their gameplan doesn't work, they are mentally ruined. I want to hit you in the face and work from there and be comfortable wherever the fight goes.
MMAjunkie.com: You have been a free agent for a while. Do you prefer that as opposed to signing a longer-term deal with a single organization?
Michael Patt: There are plenty of places to fight, and some guys will tell you how they want to fight here or there. But given the chance, they would all fight for the UFC regardless of what they might say. It validates everything you do as a fighter. I would be very happy to call the UFC home.
MMAjunkie.com: Let's talk about the contract that brought you in for the Boetsch fight.
Michael Patt: I believe it is a standard four-fight deal, but like any contract, the company reserves the right to terminate it if I stink the place up.
MMAjunkie.com: Do you have any shout-outs or thank yous for your supporters or sponsors?
Michael Patt: Yes, I have to thank the guys at Denaro Sports Marketing, Wade Hampel at Rumble Sports Management, and Biva Advisor Group. Also I'd like to thank Pete MacCallum at Line Handlers, my strength and conditioning coach Eric Ramsey, and all the guys at Team Jorge Gurgel.
MMAjunkie.com: Do you have a website where fans and supporters can contact you?
Michael Patt: Yes, they can visit www.mikepatt.com.
MMA Quick Quote: Elite XC issues official response to Antonio Silva positive steroids results
Head of EliteXC Fight Operations, Jeremy Lappen, issues a formal response on behalf of the organization regarding the news today that its heavyweight champion, Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, tested positive for steroids following his win over Justin Eilers to capture the vacant heavyweight strap on July 19. Silva and his management declared his innocence earlier today via the UnderGround forum. It looks like this is Déjà vu all over again for the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) — the UFC has recently been down a similar path with one of its champions, Sean Sherk.
Silva Pleads Innocence to Steroid Allegations
EliteXC heavyweight champion Antonio Silva and his representatives have denied allegations that the 28-year-old Brazilian took steroids prior to his July 26 contest against Justin Eilers, and they’re willing to fight to prove it.
On Thursday, the California State Athletic Commission released urinalysis results pointing the finger at the 6-foot-4, nearly 300-pound Brasilia native for Boldenone, an anabolic agent. Silva was immediately suspended for one year and fined $2,500, but may protest the disciplinary action and request a hearing before the commission –- something Silva’s manager, Alex Davis, plans to pursue without hesitation.
“It’s a false positive. He got tested positive for something he didn’t take,” said Davis from his home outside Rio de Janeiro. “I will not let my fighter sit back and be wronged like this. I just won’t.”
Silva was notified of the positive test result Wednesday via a phone call from the CSAC, though Davis said rumors of his fighter’s results had been circulating during a prolonged testing period, which included independent tests of two separate samples conducted by Quest Diagnostics and the World Anti-Doping Agency-approved Laboratoire De Controle Du Dopage in Montreal.
“I did not use the steroid Boldenone, or any other steroid of prohibited substance,” Silva wrote in a prepared statement distributed to Sherdog.com. “I don’t agree and never have agreed with the use of this kind of product in order to win, for this is cheating. I will go to the full extent of my power and the law to prove my innocence in this matter.”
What does the future hold for MMA?
Modern mixed martial arts is not quite 15 years old, so it’s still a relatively young sport in terms of its development.
That may seem like a long time to someone who fits into the sport’s leading demographic age of 18-34, so it requires a little perspective to understand that MMA is really still in its infancy.
Fifteen years after the 1920 founding of the NFL, the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins were each less than three years old. The Chicago Bears’ Bronko Nagurski was the sport’s biggest star and Vince Lombardi was still a college student, more two decades before he became Green Bay Packers coach.
The game has changed dramatically in the 74 years since.
Greased lightning: Kenny Florian ‘A little suspicious’ of Roger Huerta at UFC 87
To be honest he was really slippery and I don’t mean that like technically-wise, he was really slippery. I don’t know, I don’t want to speculate and say that something was used or whatever but he was just hard to hang on to and that was from all the positions. Even when I had him in like a headlock or a guillotine everything was just really slippery. When I get the position, when I get mount, when I get back-mount, I’ve fought and I’ve wrestled some of the best guys on the ground from Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and submission wrestling to MMA and when I get those positions you’re not getting out and Roger was able to get out. It was pretty slippery so I was a little surprised. Just the first time I was mounted on him and he gave his back I was a little suspicious, I knew something was up. Who knows, all I know is I’m good at keeping those positions and I know the difference between sweat and something else and it felt like something else but who knows. (Jokingly) Maybe it’s Albolene left over from the day before from the weight cut!
-UFC lightweight contender Kenny Florian tells The Fight Card radio show that something didn’t feel quite right in his decision win over Roger Huerta at UFC 87: “Seek and Destroy” on August 9.
Mike Van Arsdale plans comeback, signs with American Fight League
Veteran light heavyweight and former UFC fighter Mike Van Arsdale (8-5) will return from a two-year layoff and make his comeback with the upstart American Fight League.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) today confirmed the signing with AFL officials, who said Van Arsdale will be part of the organization's pay-per-view debut, which takes place sometime in November.
Van Arsdale, 43, could be an opponent for another 205-pounder the AFL hopes to land: former UFC champion and current free agent Tito Ortiz.
Van Arsdale, a stand-out high school and collegiate wrestler at Iowa State University, began his career with an 8-1 record and earned a spot on the UFC's roster. However, after suffering four consecutive losses (to notables such as Randy Couture, Renato "Babalu" Sobral and Matt Lindland), Van Arsdale walked away from competition.
He hasn't competed since April 2006 and has been healing from an array of injuries.
"This is huge for us," said AFL CEO BJ Santiago, who recently signed top female fighter Tara LaRosa, former WWE star Bobby Lashley and a host of UFC veterans. "Van is a scary, freak-of-nature-type athlete who has a terrific wrestling and MMA pedigree. He is a class-A fighter with unbelievable potential. ... This is big for us and I think MMA in the long run."
The AFL is one of many organizations currently vying for the services of Ortiz, who recently became a free agent after fulfilling the terms of his UFC contract. As MMAjunkie.com reported earlier this week, despite claims he had agreed to a record-breaking contract with Affliction, Ortiz is again negotiating with all the sport's top players.
Not surprisingly AFL Director of Public Relations Sean McClure has an opponent in mind for Van Arsdale.
"Tito Ortiz," McClure stated. "Our operations director and one of the owners Jon Hatton has wanted to see that fight for years. Mike's wrestling is sick, and Tito is a really tough guy. It would be a good fight for Mike."
He also didn't rule out a move to middleweight for Van Arsdale.
"I would also love to see Mike fight a guy like Trevor Prangley or maybe even drop down to 185 to fight, say, a Renzo Gracie or someone like that," McClure said. "I know Mike could make 185 pounds if he wanted to. It would be up to him, and if he did want to do it, we would support it."
AFL officials said the date of their PPV debut will be announced soon. In addition to Van Arsdale, LaRosa and Lashley are also booked for the event.
Dana Confirms UFC schedule-> No Canada in remainder of 08', GSP vs Penn in Jan.31
UFC President Dana White, speaking to Yahoo! Sports’ Kevin Iole, has confirmed the UFC’s plans for the remainder of the calendar year.
After getting Montreal fans’ hopes up about a possible return before the end of the year, White revealed to Iole that they won’t be able to hold a second show this year after all. Instead, UFC 91 is planned for Nov. 15 at the Rose Garden in Portland, Ore. and UFC 92 is planned for Dec. 27 in Las Vegas.
White also stated that a planned Georges St. Pierre vs. B.J. Penn fight will not take place at UFC 92 and will instead happen on Jan. 31 during the promotion’s annual Super Bowl weekend show.
The UFC’s calendar for the remainder of the year is as follows:
* Sept. 6 in Atlanta: UFC 88 featuring Chuck Liddell vs. Rashad Evans
* Sept. 17 in Omaha: UFC Fight Night 15 featuring Nate Diaz vs. Josh Neer
* Oct. 18 in Birmingham, England: UFC 89 featuring Michael Bisping vs. Chris Leben
* Oct. 25 in Rosemont, Ill.: UFC 90 featuring Anderson Silva vs. Patrick Cote
* Nov. 15 in Portland: UFC 91 with Kenny Florian vs. Joe Stevenson
* Dec. 13 in Las Vegas: LIVE Finale for the eighth season of “The Ultimate Fighter”
* Dec. 27 in Las Vegas: UFC 92 with Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Frank Mir
* Jan. 31 (2009): UFC’s annual Super Bowl weekend event
Dana White: UFC to Portland on Nov. 15, Las Vegas on Jan. 31
The UFC will, in fact, head to Portland, Ore., for a UFC 91 event on Nov. 15, and UFC President Dana White also confirmed the organization's traditional SuperBowl weekend card will take place on Jan. 31 in Las Vegas.
As reported earlier this week, the UFC had been in talks with the Oregon State Athletic Commission to host an event at Portland's Rose Garden Arena. It'll be the UFC's first event in the state.
White confirmed that the upcoming event will feature a lightweight bout between contender Kenny Florian and Joe Stevenson. He also gave an update on Wanderlei Silva.
Although Silva previously stated that he expected to return at the organization's year-end Dec. 27 card, White said the booking isn't a done deal and that he's "thinking [Silva's] not going to be on that (card) at this point."
Kang vs Eastman at Raw Combat
Las Vegas’ own Marvin Eastman (Pictures) is finally set to return to action. The veteran of King of the Cage, the WFA and the UFC, as well as dozens of muay Thai and K-1 fights is scheduled to tackle Denis Kang (Pictures) at RAW Combat on Oct. 25 in Alberta, Canada.