'TUF 8' champ Escudero likely to return to UFC, meet Volkmann at UFC 141
After a high-profile split with the organization, "The Ultimate Fighter 8" champion Efrain Escudero (18-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC) is expected to return to the UFC.
Multiple sources close to the event today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that T.J. Grant (17-5 MMA, 4-3 UFC) has suffered an undisclosed injury and has been forced out of this month's UFC 141 event.
Now, Escudero is expected to take his place and fight fast-rising lightweight Jacob Volkmann (13-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC).
However, UFC officials have made no formal announcement about the likely UFC 141 fight, which takes place Dec. 30 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The event, which takes place on a Friday to avoid Sin City's usual New Year's Eve congestion, features a pay-per-view main card.
Escudero vs. Volkmann is slated for prelims that are expected to stream on Facebook.
TUF 14 Finale ratings: Event averages 2.5 million viewers, peaks with 3.4 million
The Ultimate Fighter 14 Finale averaged 2.5 million viewers and peaked with a solid 3.5 million on Spike TV.
Spike TV officials today emailed the ratings information to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
The Dec. 3 event, which crowned two new "TUF" champs, drew its peak audience for the headliner between "TUF 14" coaches Michael Bisping and Jason "Mayhem" Miller in the 10:30 p.m. slot.
Overall, the event, which took at The Pearl at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, scored a 1.7 household rating, and it was highest-rated finale since the TUF 10 Finale in 2009. It also was the day's No. 1 rated program on ad-supported cable among men 18-49 (2.4 rating) and men 18-34 (2.9 rating).
Strikeforce CEO on Showtime renewal: 'I'm optimistic at this point'
Despite persistent rumors, Strikeforce hasn't completed a broadcast deal to remain on Showtime.
But Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker today hinted at some progress with the premium-cable channel and suggested an announcement could be coming.
"That's something we'll just have to wait and see," Coker said. "But I think things are going well, and I think we'll have something to announce soon."
Coker today made the commitments as part of a medial call ahead of a Dec. 17 "Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal" event in San Diego. It's Strikeforce's final event of 2011, and a Jan. 7 event is slated to kick off 2012 in Las Vegas. However, the current two-year Strikeforce-Showtime deal expires in February, so barring a renewal, they could be the final ones on Showtime.
'TUF 15' tryouts attract 350 fighters, including Jamie Yager, Kultar Gill, to Las Vegas
"The Ultimate Fighter 11" veteran Jamie Yager and K-1 kickboxing vet Kultar Gill were among approximately 150 welterweights who attended Monday's open tryout session for "The Ultimate Fighter 15."
Additionally, more than 200 lightweight fighters also attended the all-day session, which aims to secure a cast for the upcoming edition of the reality series, set to begin filming in early 2012.
The prospective cast members gathered at the Fertitta family-owned Texas Station Hotel & Gambling Hall in Las Vegas.
iJudgeFights.com seeks beta testers, eyes fan education and interaction
If you're an MMA fan that's been enraged by a decision, chances are you've used Twitter to commiserate and argue with fellow fans.
iJudgeFights.com, a website currently in development, hopes to give would-be judges a place not only to vent, but to score fights and measure them against those who do it for a living.
"I wouldn't say people are outraged, but there are periods where people are disappointed with the outcome of fights, and we feel that not only are we going to be able to help, but create interaction that hasn't existed before," iJudgeFights co-founder Jonathan Wakrat today told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio).
Users of the site are invited to score each round of an MMA event such as the UFC and provide details on why they gave that score on elements such as striking, grappling and octagon control. The site is expected to go live in January, and beta-testers are currently being sought to use the program and help generate feedback for future improvements.
UFC 140 Still Not Sold Out A Week Out From The Event
Eight months ago the UFC packed 55,000 fans into the Rogers Centre to watch Georges St. Pierre defend his welterweight title against Jake Shields. The atmosphere was electric and the Canadian fans showed up in droves to support the national hero. This week there is a completely different story. Instead of an enormous sold out crowd, Jon Jones and Lyoto Machida may do battle in front of a partially filled Air Canada Centre.
The Toronto Sun was the first to report on the ticketing troubles surrounding the event. When the UFC rolled into town for UFC 129, the city was abuzz with excitement and expectations. The first event was a huge success with local media doing their part in building up the supercard. For UFC 140, it would appear that they just haven't gotten on board with the promotion. The city is all but dead with the event just a week away. From the Toronto Sun:
Despite the great line-up, there's been little hoopla over the city's second ever UFC event, which still has tickets available.
In reality, with so many cities around the world clamouring to host the UFC these days, Toronto should be counting its blessings. Only Montreal in 2010 and Las Vegas, where the UFC is headquartered, have ever held two events in the same year, Wright said.
The UFC will likely come to town at least once a year from now on, he said, adding the ACC show is more in line with a typical UFC event.
Melvin Guillard Finds Missing Pieces with Blackzilians
Sometimes, you just have to make a change to improve your situation. That’s pretty much the case with Melvin Guillard.
From Guillard’s perspective, there are things – important things – he’s missing by keeping 100 percent of his training within the walls of Jackson’s MMA. But that’s not to say he’s ready to up and leave the camp altogether. Guillard has teamed up with the “Blackzilian” crew down in Florida, but he plans on splitting his time with them, as well as Team Jackson.
This leaves one wondering: are things okay at Team Jackson and was there tension that caused Guillard’s departure?
According to “The Assassin,” people need to stop making an issue out of an non-issue and realize there are no problems with the camp. The problem, rather, lays within Guillard.
“I’m still part of Team Jackson,” he told MMAWeekly Radio Weekend Edition. “People need to not make everything so much more than it is because then it causes problems.
“There is no problem in any camp. The problem is with myself. I feel that I get certain things (with the Blackzilians) that I don’t get at Jackson’s. Just like I feel I get certain things at Jackson’s that I don’t get here.”
'TUF 14' runner-up Bermudez says ailing arm not broken, aims for quick return
The only tough break Dennis Bermudez suffered this past Saturday was his loss to Diego Brandao.
Bermudez today told MMAjunkie.com that he did not, as suggested, suffer a broken left arm when Brandao nabbed a come-from-behind armbar submission in the finals of "The Ultimate Fighter 14."
But the bantamweight finalist did admit that his arm was less than 100 percent leading up to the fight, and at one point, he contemplated withdrawing from the bout.
Dan Henderson: Anderson Silva's 'injuries' would 'heal real fast' for Michael Bisping fight
Move over Chael Sonnen, your old buddy Dan Henderson is taking over in the Slam-Silva campaign.
The former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion, who made a successful return to the Octagon in his bloody war against Mauricio Rua at UFC 139 earlier this month, has also been pining for a middleweight rematch against Anderson Silva.
One he felt he deserved after stiffening Michael Bisping at UFC 100 all the way back in 2009.
While the win over "Shogun" has likely put him in line to face the winner of Jon Jones vs. Lyoto Machida at UFC 140, he couldn't get another crack at "The Spider" even if he wanted to.
Silva has shipped himself back to Brazil for the next six months to rehab an injured shoulder.
One that would heal "real fast" if the UFC came calling with a title defense against Bisping, who "looked more like a TUF contestant than a TUF coach" in his Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 14 Finale headliner opposite Jason Miller.
"Looked like one guy hadn't fought in a long time & the other guy cut too much weight. Kinda like the JV team. Not hating. Just not a great night for either guy--weren't there physically so they looked more like TUF cast than coaches. All the 'injuries' that keep Anderson from a rematch w/ me or Chael will heal real fast if they offer Bisping to him."
The Ultimate Fighter 14 Finale salaries: Bisping ($425,000) earns top payday
Main-event winner and "The Ultimate Fighter 14" head coach Michael Bisping was the bigger winner at this past weekend's TUF 14 Finale event, and he earned $425,000 for his efforts.
The payday, which included a $150,000 win bonus, accounted for the majority of the event's $708,000 payroll.
The full TUF 14 Finale payouts includes:
Michael Bisping: $425,000 (includes $150,000 win bonus)
def. Jason "Mayhem" Miller: $45,000
Diego Brandao: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. Dennis Bermudez: $8,000
John Dodson: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. T.J. Dillashaw: $8,000
Tony Ferguson: $30,000 (includes $15,000 win bonus)
def. Yves Edwards: $16,000
Johnny Bedford: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. Louis Gaudinot: $8,000
Marcus Brimage: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. Stephen Bass: $8,000
John Albert: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. Dustin Pague: $8,000
Roland Delorme: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. Josh Ferguson: $8,000
Steven Siler: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. Josh Clopton: $8,000
Bryan Caraway: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. Dustin Neace: $8,000
Charlie Brenneman vs. Daniel Roberts targeted for UFC on FX 1
A welterweight bout between Charlie Brenneman (14-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC) and Daniel Roberts (12-3 MMA, 3-3 UFC) has been added to the UFC's first event broadcast on FOX affiliate FX.
Sources close to the event today confirmed the matchup to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). Roberts also confirmed the bout on his official Twitter account.
UFC on FX 1 takes place Jan. 20 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn. The event's main card airs live on FX while preliminary fights air on FUEL TV.
Muhammed 'King Mo' Lawal targeted for 'Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Jardine'
former strikeforce light-heavyweight champion muhammed "king mo" lawal (8-1 mma, 3-1 sf) is back on a regular schedule. after an on-again, off-again stretch of activity courtesy of a knee injury, lawal is expected to make his second appearance since returning from his layoff when he fights at "strikeforce: rockhold vs. jardine."
Former Strikeforce light-heavyweight champion Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal (8-1 MMA, 3-1 SF) is back on a regular schedule.
After an on-again, off-again stretch of activity courtesy of a knee injury, Lawal is expected to make his second appearance since returning from his layoff when he fights at "Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Jardine."
Bellator Moves to Fridays, Plans Five Spring Tournaments
Bellator Fighting Championships has decided that going head-to-head with the UFC is a losing battle.
The No. 2 MMA promotion in America announced that starting with its sixth season in the spring, Bellator's live fights will air on MTV2 on Friday nights. The first Bellator show of Season 6 will take place on March 2, and having the event on a Friday ensures that it won't take place simultaneously with a UFC pay-per-view, as Bellator often did this year.
However, the decision to move to Fridays may still mean going head-to-head with the UFC, as The Ultimate Fighter will move to a live format with fights on Friday nights on FX next year, and the UFC may also run some Fight Night-level shows on FX or Fuel TV on Friday nights.
Dana White Hints Mayhem Miller Might Get Cut Following TUF 14 Finale Loss to Michael Bisping
Dana White is definitely not impressed with the former host of MTV's Bully Beatdown. The UFC president says that the TUF 14 Finale main event bout between Jason Miller and Michael Bisping on last night was one of the most one-sided bouts he's ever seen.
He even hinted that Mayhem might get cut following that performance. He spoke to Heavy's Megan Olivi about it shortly after the show ended (transcription by MMA Mania):
"It's one of the most lopsided fights I've ever seen. I'm disagreeing with people. I didn't give 'Mayhem' Miller the first round. He had a quarter of a mount and didn't do a thing and actually, Bisping was landing punches. I think Bisping landed more shots, did more damage. I go for damage and I think Bisping did more damage in the first round than Mayhem did. I don't know (if we'll see Mayhem back in the UFC). We'll see. He didn't have a good performance against Georges St. Pierre and he definitely didn't have a good performance against Michael Bisping."
Featherweights Charles Oliveira vs. Eric Wisely targeted for UFC on FOX 2
Two lightweights are headed to the featherweight division.
Charles Oliveira (14-2 MMA, 2-2 UFC) and newcomer Eric Wisely (19-6 MMA, 0-0 UFC) have agreed to meet next in their new weight classes next month at UFC on FOX 2, event sources confirmed with MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
The event takes place Jan. 28 at United Center in Chicago, and at least three fights are expected to air as part of the night's FOX-televised main card.
Oliveira vs. Wisely, though, is expected to be part of a preliminary card that airs either on FX or FUEL TV.
The latest UFC on FOX 2 card includes:
Phil Davis vs. Rashad Evans
Mark Munoz vs. Chael Sonnen
Evan Dunham vs. Paul Sass*
Charles Oliveira vs. Eric Wisely*
Michael Johnson vs. Cody McKenzie*
Jon Olav Einemo vs. Mike Russow*
'TUF 14' champ Dodson says stoppage was just, eyes fights in three weight classes
John Dodson (12-5 MMA, 1-0 UFC) survived a field of 16 solid bantamweights, the craziness of reality TV, the nerves of a nationally televised event, and underdog status against odds-on favorite T.J. Dillashaw (4-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) to win "The Ultimate Fighter 14."
Not bad for a guy who still considers himself a flyweight.
But the 5-foot-3 fighter told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) he's willing to compete in three different weight classes if need be.
"I still consider myself to be a flyweight because I want to make sure I can fight in both weight classes," Dodson, who competed on Saturday's Spike TV-televised main card at The Pearl at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, told MMAjunkie.com. "I'd want to be a flyweight, bantamweight and featherweight if I could."
Micahel Bisping insists cardio no issue at TUF 14 Finale, eyes future title shot
UFC middleweight contender Michael Bisping (22-3 MMA, 12-3 UFC) doesn't think he gassed during his third-round TKO victory over Jason "Mayhem" Miller (24-8 MMA, 0-2 UFC) at Saturday night's The Ultimate Fighter 14 Finale, and he doesn't think his opponent gassed either.
Sure, opposing "The Ultimate Fighter 14" coach Miller looked like he had little left to offer as he wilted in the face of Bisping's offensive onslaught, but that doesn't mean his cardio was an issue.
According to Bisping, getting beat up will just do that to a fellow.
"I don't think the cardio was an issue," Bisping told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "I don't think anyone's cardio was the issue. Did you see the pace of the fight? You see how many punches I was throwing?
"My cardio wasn't an issue. Far from it. I feel it was a fast pace, and whilst I was tired, I was able to keep the pace up."
With 'TUF 14' mission complete, Diego Brandao now hoping to save Christmas
Brazilian brawler Diego Brandao (14-7 MMA, 1-0 UFC) is now the featherweight tournament winner of "The Ultimate Fighter 14," just as he promised he would be.
But with a cool $80,000 in "Fight Night" bonuses in his pocket following an impressive The Ultimate Fighter 14 Finals win on Saturday night, Brandao now has a new goal in place: It's time to save Christmas.
'TUF 14' fan-voted $25K awards go to Dodson, Bermudez, Gaudinot and Pague
Consider John Dodson the big winner from The Ultimate Fighter 14 Finale.
After claiming the "TUF 14" featherweight crown at Saturday's live finale in Las Vegas and earning a $40,000 fight-night bonus, he got some additional money to fill his pockets.
He was one of four fighters earning a $25,000 fan-voted award for a performance during the Spike TV reality show's regular season.
KOTN - Dodson over Bedford
SOTN - Bermudez over Akira
FOTN - Pague vs. Gaudinot