Dana White: Tito Ortiz, BJ Penn Deserve to Be in UFC Hall of Fame
The UFC hasn’t set a time or date for its next set of inductions into the company’s Hall of Fame. But when they get around to it, said company president Dana White, two former champions will likely get a call.
During a lunch gathering at The Palm restaurant, White said two fighters coming close to the end of the line, former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz and multi-weight class champ B.J. Penn, belong in the Hall of Fame.
"Despite my personal problems with Tito, he belongs in," said White. "He was the champion when we first bought this thing. The fact that Tito is still here, Tito and I have had our moments, but it doesn’t change what he did for the company."
Penn is one of just two fighters to win titles in multiple weight classes. In 2004, the natural lightweight went up to welterweight and submitted Matt Hughes to claim the crown, ending Hughes’ 13-fight win streak. In 2008, he defeated Joe Stevenson for the vacant UFC lightweight title and held the belt for two years.
"Definitely," White said when asked if Penn belongs in the Hall. "The thing about B.J. Penn is that what he brought to the lightweight division, there was a point in time when we first bought this company when people thought guys in the lighter weight divisions couldn’t be stars and couldn’t see pay-per-views and couldn’t cross over. B.J. Penn was definitely that first crossover guy for us."
Rebney: Falcao vs. Spang winner meets Shlemenko for Bellator's vacant middleweight title
Maiquel Falcao (30-4 MMA, 2-0 BFC) and Andreas Spang (8-1 MMA, 1-0 BFC) already knew a win in their season-six tournament final would lead to a championship fight.
They just didn't know who would be on the other side of the cage.
As it turns out, with reigning champion Hector Lombard departing for the UFC, Alexander Shlemenko (45-7 MMA, 7-1 BFC) will face the Falcao vs. Spang winner with the vacant middleweight belt on the line.
Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney today announced the plans via Twitter.
Hatsu Hioki vs. Ricardo Lamas added to UFC on FX 4 in New Jersey
UFC officials today confirmed Hioki will meet Ricardo Lamas (11-2 MMA, 2-0 UFC) at UFC in FX 4, which takes place takes place June 22 at Revel Atlantic City in Atlantic City, N.J. The night's main card airs on FX, and FUEL TV is expected to carry the prelims.
"Many pegged Hioki as the next possible challenger for Jose Aldo's title, but he wants one more test before going for the belt," White said. "In his way is Lamas, who has proven to be a tough competitor for anyone to deal with, especially since moving down to featherweight and finishing both opponents at 145 pounds. Both guys have verbally agreed to the match."
Tim Sylvia To Headline NEF II Event Versus Randy Smith On June 16th
When former two-time UFC World Heavyweight Champion Tim “The Maine-iac” Sylvia (30-7, 19 KO’s, 4 submissions) fights in his home state for the first time, he will be faced with a tough challenge in Randy “The Wolf” Smith (14-10-1). The Sylvia-Smith heavyweight battle has been officially signed to headline New England Fights’ (NEF) Fight Night III on June 16th at The Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston, Maine
Dana White says Alistair Overeem lied to him, could decide to cut him after NSAC's suspension ruling
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White, who was airborne for most of the day on Tuesday (April 24, 2012) after rearranging the UFC 148 fight card in Brazil, was unable to keep score in the Alistair Overeem vs. Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) hearing.
Until he appeared on The Jim Rome Show later in the day.
That's where the Las Vegas fight boss first learned that "Demolition Man" had been denied a license to fight in "Sin City" for nine months, keeping him out of action until (at least) Dec. 27 of this year.
As you can imagine, it went over like a lead balloon.
"I wasn't very optimistic about his chances. I didn't think things were gonna turn out very well for him, as expected. Nine months? That's not as bad as I thought it was gonna be. I thought he'd get a year, easily a year. Here's the rules: If he was on anti-inflammatory meds and whatever the deal was, you're supposed to disclose that to the commission before you get any drug tests. Whatever medicine you're on, you're supposed to tell them before you test, not after you test. I'm not a fan. I'm not a fan at all. You're not going to hear me defending Alistair Overeem on your radio show. We'll see what happens. He claimed he was on anti-inflammatories which he should have told them before he tested. I know he lied to me. I don't like it. If they'll sit in front of you and lie to your face, I don't know, not the type of guys I wanna do business with."
Legacy Fighting Championship signs UFC vet Junior Assuncao
Two-time UFC veteran Junior Assuncao (13-5) has signed a multi-fight deal with the Texas-based Legacy Fighting Championship organization.
Assuncao is expected to make his promotional debut at Legacy Fighting Championship 12 on July 13 against an opponent yet to be determined.
Legacy Fighting Championships 12, which is also expected to feature Robert Drysdale vs. Isaac "Ike" Villanueva, takes place at Houston's Arena Theater. Longtime vet Jay Hieron is also expected to compete at the event, which airs live on HDNet
UFC 145 salaries: Headliners Jones ($400K), Evans ($300K) earn top paydays
UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones ($400,000) and fellow headliner Rashad Evans ($300,000) were the top earners at this past weekend's UFC 145 event.
They accounted for 56 percent of the event's $1,241,000 payroll.
Champ Jon Jones: $400,000 (no win bonus)
def. Rashad Evans: $300,000
Rory MacDonald: $36,000 (includes $18,000 win bonus)
def. Che Mills: $8,000
Ben Rothwell: $104,000 (includes $52,000 win bonus)
def. Brendan Schaub: $14,000
Michael McDonald: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. Miguel Torres: $32,000
Eddie Yagin: $12,000 (includes $6,000 win bonus)
def. Mark Hominick: $17,000
Mark Bocek: $46,000 (includes $23,000 win bonus)
def. John Alessio: $10,000
Travis Browne: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Chad Griggs: $27,000
Matt Brown: $36,000 (includes $18,000 win bonus)
def. Stephen Thompson: $8,000
Anthony Njokuani: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. John Makdessi: $12,000
Mac Danzig: $54,000 (includes $27,000 win bonus)
def. Efrain Escudero: $10,000
Chris Clements: $12,000 (includes $6,000 win bonus)
def. Keith Wisniewski: $10,000
Marcus Brimage: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. Maximo Blanco: $13,000
Chuck Liddell would entertain Octagon return for title fight versus Jon Jones
Chuck Liddell was one of the greatest champions in the history of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). As the 205-pound strap owner, he defended his belt four consecutive times, during a two-plus year period where he went undefeated.
"The Iceman" was a pioneer, who held a cult-like following of mixed martial arts (MMA) fans who swore by his legend. Some of them even cut their hair like him, mimicking his trademark mohawk.
But "Father Time" caught up with Liddell, as he does, ever so cruelly, with us all.
During a three-year stretch, Liddell painfully dropped five of his last six fights; four of which came by way of (technical) knockout. It was hard to watch, and when UFC President Dana White finally forced him to hang up the eight-ounce gloves, there were few who objected to the decision.
Liddell recently did an interview with "UFC Tonight," where he discussed that decision, as well as what life is like for him after professional fighting. He's comfortable being a father, a businessman and a fight fan. He's in no hurry to step back into the Octagon, but there is one fight he'd seriously consider coming out of retirement for.
The answer may surprise you:
"The only thing that would even make me think about it is if they gave me a shot at the title. So, we'll see. For now? Yeah. Jon Jones. I don't wanna come back as a sideshow. It's just one of those things. It's not something I wanna do."
Liddell went on to comment about "Bones" and the current tear he's been on, as he continues to carve notches into his belt for every big name he puts down in the Light Heavyweight division.
Chuck was highly complimentary, but he was honest about the possibility of Jones eventually meeting his match:
"I'll never say never. Not in this sport. Anybody can lose at any time. If he keeps doing what he does, he's gonna be hard to beat if he keeps doing what he's doing. He follows his game plan. He trains hard. He keeps learning. He's young and he's athletic and a great athlete. He's a great guy. He's gonna be hard to beat, but I'm never gonna say no one's gonna beat him."
Jamie Varner vs. Lee King added to Legacy Fighting Championship 11 on HDNet
Former WEC champion Jamie Varner (19-6-1) has replaced Alex Morono (4-1) and now meets Lee King (16-16-1) at next month's Legacy Fighting Championships 11 event.
LFC promoter Mick Maynard today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) about the 160-pound catchweight fight, which will be part of the night's HDNet-televised main card.
Legacy Fighting Championship 11 takes place May 11 at Houston's Arena Theater.
Varner vs. King is one of seven bouts airing on HDNet.
Doctor who prescribed Alistair Overeem medication popped in 2004 for dealing 'controlled substances'
And the plot thickens...
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight Alistair Overeem, who appeared in front of the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) today (April 24, 2012), has attributed the results of his failed drug test back on March 27 to anti-inflammatory medication he received out of competition to help with his recovery from a rib injury.
That medication, which included self-injections containing testosterone, was prescribed by performance-enhancement doctor Hector Oscar Molina, who was referred to "The Reem" by former UFC fighter Tra Telligman.
The same Dr. Hector Oscar Molina that was fined $25,000 and slapped with restrictions on his practice for three years for "prescribing controlled substances and dangerous drugs over the Internet without establishing a proper physician-patient relationship."
UFC's Dan Henderson On Jon Jones Failure To Connect With Fans
UFC Light Heavyweight champion Jon Jones is the undisputed #1 LHW in the world according to the USA TODAY/MMA Nation Consensus Rankings. He's also the most dominant LHW UFC champ since Chuck Liddell's reign ended in 2007 and yet fans are not flocking to the 24-year-old champ to the degree his accomplishments would seem to merit.
MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani asked Jones' next challenger, UFC, Pride and Strikeforce veteran Dan Henderson for his take on why Jones isn't clicking with fans. Henderson's reply was characteristically direct:
Mo Lawal Says He Has What It Takes To Beat Jon Jones
After Saturday night's UFC 145 card, there are many left wondering who will be the one to dethrone Jon Jones. With an incredible reach advantage, and a very well rounded, complete game, the list is relatively short. I spoke with Muhammed Lawal recently, to get his take on the situation, and find out what's on the horizon for "King" Mo.
UFC 145 ratings: FX's prelims broadcast scores record 1.6 million viewers
This past weekend's UFC 145 preliminary-card broadcast scored a record 1.6 million viewers on FX.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) today confirmed the ratings information with industry sources.
The April 21 broadcast, which preceded the night's pay-per-view main card, bested every UFC on FX main-card broadcast and PPV preliminary-card special since the UFC moved from Spike TV to the FOX family of channels earlier this year.
UFC 145 took place at Atlanta's Phillips Arena, and in the headliner, UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones defended his title with a unanimous-decision victory over Rashad Evans. On the two-hour FX-televised prelims, which followed earlier prelims on Facebook, notables such as Travis Browne, Matt Brown, Mac Danzig and Anthony Njokuani picked up victories.
Previously, Spike TV aired 27 "UFC Prelims" specials that averaged 1.5 million viewers. The UFC 145 prelims special is the first on FX to best that average.
Additionally, every FX-televised UFC prelims special has topped ratings for the previous one.
Bellator 66 ratings: Viewership plunges to just 109,000 MTV2 viewers
Despite what was arguably Bellator's biggest fight and biggest show of its sixth season, this past weekend's Bellator 66 event saw a ratings plunge.
The April 20 broadcast averaged just 109,000 MTV2 viewers, MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie,com) today confirmed with industry sources. That's down 33 percent from the 163,000 viewers who tuned in for Bellator 65 a week prior.
It's also the third-worst figure in Bellator and MTV2's 32-event history.
Bellator 66 took place at Cleveland's I-X Center. In addition to MTV2, many websites, including MMAjunkie.com, also carried the prelims and main-card fights, which could have put a dent in the ratings figure.
Still, it's bad news for Bellator, which boasted a big headliner and rematch between Eddie Alvarez and Shinya Aoki at Bellator 65. The event, which saw Alvarez earn a first-round victory, also featured four tournament-semifinal fights in the middleweight and welterweight divisions, as well as a loaded preliminary card. Middleweight-tourney finalists Andreas Spang and Maiquel Falcao had a brief post-fight scuffle at the event, though even that dustup didn't help ratings.
NSAC's Keith Kizer expects no licensing issues with UFC 148's Chael Sonnen
It may be a lot easier this time around for Chael Sonnen (27-11-1 MMA, 6-4 UFC) to get licensed in Nevada.
Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Keith Kizer today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that he sees no issues with granting the fighter a license to fight at UFC 148, though he will ultimately defer to NSAC Chairman Raymond "Skip" Avansino.
"He's done his time," Kizer told MMAjunkie.com. "He's come clean on his prior dishonesty, and that's all appreciated."
The UFC announced this morning that Sonnen's rematch with champ Anderson Silva (31-4 MMA, 14-0 UFC) is being moved to the July 7 pay-per-view event after venue problems scratched it from UFC 147.
The bout now serves as the pay-per-view headliner of UFC 148, which takes place July 7 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Earlier interactions between Sonnen and the Nevada commission weren't so friendly. Kizer said the fighter lied about receiving approval from him to use prescribed testosterone for a fight against Nate Marquardt at UFC 109. Kizer said Sonnen also disparaged referee Josh Rosenthal.
These issues were at the center of a closed-door meeting with Kizer, Sonnen and UFC officials to address the alleged lies and discuss what Sonnen should expect if he applied for a second's (cornerman's) license to serve as a coach on "The Ultimate Fighter 14" opposite Michael Bisping this past year. (Jason "Mayhem" Miller ultimately took Sonnen's spot.)
Kizer said the meeting did not go well and said Sonnen would be required to appear before the commission before being granted the license.
Big Nog vs. Kongo Agreed for UFC 149 in Calgary
The same day that UFC president Dana White announced that he is likely taking featherweight champion Jose Aldo off of the fight card in Calgary, the Calgary Sun reported that Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira would face Cheick Kongo at UFC 149.
Though the Calgary Sun cited anonymous sources pointing to the fight, the UFC’s Canadian contingent endorsed the report by re-tweeting it.
Invicta FC exec asks for one shot to prove women's MMA belongs in the spotlight
Shannon Knapp wants just one minute of MMA fans' time this Saturday night.
Once she has your eyeballs, Knapp is sure viewers will continue to watch the Invicta Fighting Championships debut event in Kansas City, Kan.
"The biggest thing is just encouraging everyone to have an open mind," Invicta Fighting Championships CEO Knapp told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio) in advance of the promotion's 11-bout, all-female card that takes place at Memorial Hall.
"If you love this sport, then how can you not embrace it whether it's male or female athletes competing? Give us a shot. I'm definitely sure you will not be disappointed. Even if you hate women's MMA, come on over and check it out for a minute — at least you'll have something to talk about on the forums."
Bellator Boss Bjorn Rebney Confirms Hector Lombard is UFC-Bound
World-ranked middleweight Hector Lombard will leave his longtime home at Bellator and sign with the UFC.
Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney confirmed the move to MMA Fighting on Tuesday afternoon.
Bellator had a right to match the UFC's offer to the man who was their reigning middleweight champion, but Rebney cited differences between the two organizational models as the obstacle that could not be overcome when it came to matching the UFC's deal.
"We have a business model where we make decisions based on analyzing data," he said. "Since the first day we came into being, we made decisions based on real models, not hypotheticals. The UFC model is largely based on pay-per-view, and the offer they made to Hector is going to be monetized via pay-per-view. While pay-per-view could play a role in our future, today it doesn't. So, we did our due diligence to review the UFC contract, analyze it in terms of charging our audience to see Hector vs. putting him on free TV, and we decided to allow the UFC to sign Hector, where I am extremely confident he will win the UFC middleweight title on pay-per-view."