With Renan Barao hurt, Rashad Evans vs. Dan Henderson headlines UFC 161
As MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) previously reported, UFC interim champ Renan Barao is injured and out of next month's UFC 161 event. With little time to find a suitable replacement, the night's co-feature between Rashad Evans (17-3-1 MMA, 12-3-1 UFC) and Dan Henderson (29-9 MMA, 6-3 UFC) has been promoted to headlining status.
UFC officials today made the change. Evans vs. Henderson remains a three-round bout.
Bellator champ Ben Askren faces Andrey Koreshkov on July 31 in New Mexico
Bellator welterweight champ Ben Askren (11-0 MMA, 8-0 BFC) puts his title on the line against Andrey Koreshkov (13-0 MMA, 5-0 BFC) on Wednesday, July 31 as the promotion visits Albuquerque's Santa Ana Center.
The event, which is expected to serve as "Bellator 97: Askren vs. Koreshkov," is the second announced card for the company's upcoming Summer Series.
Chael dishes on Couture, Silva and Wrestling...
MMA H.E.A.T.'s Karyn Bryant caught up with UFC superstar light heavyweight Chael Sonnen at the United 4 Wrestling event in Los Angeles and talked to him about his desire to see wrestling continue as an Olympic sport. Chael also talks about how wrestling builds character, the celebrity match he was hoping to have against UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture and the possibility of fighting Wanderlei Silva in Boston on the 1st UFC on FOX Sports 1 show.
- - Another gem from yours truly....you are welcome - -
Sergio Moraes faces Neil Magny at UFC 163: Aldo vs. Pettis
Another 'American vs. Brazilian' matchup looks set for UFC 163: Aldo vs. Pettis as Sergio Moraes faces Neil Magny in a welterweight scrap. Headlined by a featherweight title fight between UFC champion Jose Aldo and Anthony Pettis, UFC 163 also boasts an exciting bout between welterweights Demian Maia and Josh Koscheck. UFC 163 takes place Aug. 3, 2013 from HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Mark Hunt gets visa, now cleared for UFC 160 co-main event vs. Junior dos Santos
Mark Hunt's short national nightmare apparently is over.
The heavyweight, slated for the co-main event this Saturday at UFC 160 in Las Vegas, had been stuck in Australia due to a visa issue, threatening his trip to the States to compete in what amounts to the biggest fight of his MMA career.
But on Sunday, Hunt posted on his Twitter account that he has obtained his visa, clearing the way for him to head to the other side of the world for Saturday's fight. Hunt also this past Friday received his license from the Nevada State Athletic Commission for the bout.
Vitor Belfort's latest win fuels testosterone debate, which may be a good thing
Right off we might as well talk about it.
Why not? We're thinking about it, whether we want to admit it or not. How could we not be, when it's right there staring us in the face?
Vitor Belfort pulls off an amazing spinning heel kick against Luke Rockhold at UFC on FX 8, then declares that he's "stronger than ever," and it's like he's begging us to talk about it. On the broadcast we hear references to his impressive career turnaround, and it feels like they're hinting at the things they can't or don't dare say.
Or maybe they aren't. At least not intentionally. Maybe it's a Freudian slip, or no slip at all. Maybe it's just that when you get an elephant this big in a room this small – and when that elephant keeps stomping on the heads of all who come near it – anything you say feels like it's either directed right at the damn thing or else conspicuously avoiding mention of it.
That's where we are with Belfort and his testosterone usage. Tucked away in Brazil, where the commission is brand new and therapeutic-use exemptions for former steroid cheats are apparently no problem, he faces a problem he doesn't seem to want to acknowledge. The more fights he wins and the more highlight-reel finishes he stacks up, the more he stokes a fire that he'd rather we just ignore.
The thing is, we probably would ignore it if we could. We'd rather watch and enjoy and be awed by these finishes that look like something out of a video game. But knowing what we know, it's impossible to come away from Belfort's recent performances without wondering how much of what we just saw came from him and how much came from a syringe.
And honestly, that's what really sucks about testosterone use in MMA – for the fans, anyway. The fighters, sure, they have to worry about the concussions and the competitive imbalance and all the rest of it. Those of us on the couch get stuck with the nagging doubt and bitter aftertaste. Guys like Belfort are making this sport hard for a thinking fan to relax and enjoy.
We see him pull off some fantastic move and we can't appreciate it for what it is. We just can't. Unless we want to become the willing marks in this little PED carnival, we have to ask whether he could have done that without a steady injection of steroids (and for the last time, while the testosterone that occurs naturally in your body is a hormone, the synthesized testosterone that MMA fighters are injecting is a steroid; let's stop dancing around it and call it what it is).
But testosterone doesn't kick people in the head, right? You need to skill to do that. And that's true. You also need skill to hit a baseball over a fence, but I think we've learned that it doesn't hurt to get an infusion of chemically-enhanced power and explosiveness to give that existing skill a little extra push. It also doesn't hurt to get that push all through training camp.
That's the thing about performance-enhancing drugs. They take what you already have and improve it with the help of some stuff you don't. That's why athletes use them. You think Belfort would be putting up with all the scrutiny from the media and the criticism from fans if this stuff didn't work?
It's worth noting how Belfort is handling that scrutiny, by the way. With the UFC's help, he's managed to avoid the prying eyes of the various U.S. state athletic commissions, many of which aren't exactly all that strict to begin with. But when John Morgan of MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) asked him about his testosterone use after his win over Rockhold, Belfort's response was to try to silence him as quickly as possible.
"Can somebody beat him up for me, please?" Belfort said of Morgan at the post-fight news conference. "Can somebody beat him up?"
Right, because nothing says "I'm using a totally legitimate medical treatment" quite like threatening those who ask questions about it. It's not just immediately after the fight that Belfort avoids these questions, either. Let's not forget, back before the UFC confirmed that he was using testosterone, Belfort refused to admit it, even when asked point blank about it by ESPN. It was only after the UFC outed him that he voiced his support for full public disclosure for all testosterone users. If the UFC hadn't put his business in the streets, he'd probably still be doing it in secret.
The sad part is, Belfort doesn't seem to realize how much the controversy is hurting him. He seems genuinely oblivious to the fact that, in the minds of many fans, there's an asterisk next to all these wins. Maybe he didn't need the testosterone to beat Rockhold. Maybe he could have pulled off that kick without it. But the thing is, we'll never know. Neither will he. He can tell us that it's all him, that the testosterone has nothing to do with his career resurgence. But if that's true then why doesn't he get off the juice? If it's not responsible for his success, then it shouldn't matter if he stops using it. And if he won't stop using it, then he can't be surprised when we won't quit talking about it.
Maybe that's the silver lining here, is the enduring force of the conversation. The more fights Belfort wins while on testosterone – and the more violent, spectacular finishes he reels off in the process – the more he fuels the debate. Looking at Twitter on Saturday night, the first response to his knockout of Rockhold was a kind of stunned amazement. The second response was skepticism and suspicion. By Sunday morning, it was the suspicion that lingered.
It'll keep lingering, too. Just ask all those power hitters from baseball's steroid era. Performance-enhancers like testosterone might be fast-acting, but the stain they leave behind is a stubborn one. The way Belfort's headed, he'll still be staring at it long after his fighting days are done.
World Anti-Doping Agency Raises Cannabis Threshold for Athletes
The World Anti-Doping Agency has increased the threshold required for an athlete to test positive for cannabis use.
During a May 11 meeting, WADA’s executive committee decided to increase the threshold level for cannabis from 15 ng/L to 150 ng/L, significantly reducing the chances of an athlete testing positive for out-of-competition use...
UFC on FX 8 bonuses: Belfort, Souza, Martins, Larsen earn $50,000
JARAGUA DO SUL, Brazil – Vitor Belfort, Ronaldo Souza, Lucas Martins and Jeremy Larsen each earned $50,000 bonuses for their performances at Saturday's UFC on FX 8 event.
Belfort earned the "Knockout of the Night," Souza won "Submission of the Night" and Martins and Larsen picked up "Fight of the Night" honors.
UFC officials announced the winners following Saturday's card.
Renan Barao Withdraws from UFC 161 Main Event (Injury)
It looks like UFC 161 is going to need a new main event.
According to Brazilian-based Tatame, interim bantamweight champion Renan Barao has been forced to withdraw from a scheduled bout with Eddie Wineland after suffering a foot injury.
Tatame reported that Barao injured his right foot and would not have enough time to recover for the June 15 bout in Winnepeg, Manitoba, Canada.