After surviving Iron Ring debacle, Bellator 54's Brian Rogers happy in new role
It only takes one Iron Ring to make you appreciate a Bellator.
Middleweight Brian Rogers (8-2 MMA, 1-0 BFC) passed the quarterfinals of the promotion's season-five tournament with flying colors, knocking out Victor O'Donnell to earn a spot in the semis opposite season-two champ Alexander Shlemenko (41-7 MMA, 5-1 BFC) at Saturday's Bellator 54, which takes place at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.
Sure, fighting three times in three months is a daunting task, as anyone competing in the promotion can attest. But at least you know what you're getting into, which is more than Rogers can say about the hip-hop flavored MMA reality show that aired in 2009 and almost immediately fizzled.
Then a grad student and part-time MMA fighter, Rogers was enticed by the $2,500 show/win purses offered to Iron Ring contestants. He got the feeling something was askew, though, when he showed up to UFC vet Roan Carneiro's gym in Atlanta, and the audition was an actual fight. A one-round fight, but still, there was no pay. Plus, the producers wanted him to fight at heavyweight. He was at 215 pounds, but only because he'd been given three days' notice and they didn't tell him to cut weight.
"I'm not fighting at heavyweight for no money in the middle of Atlanta," he told the show's producers.
Rogers got the call anyway to be on the show, which was taped on a Monday night in New Orleans. The dressing rooms were right next to the VIP rooms, and the smell of marijuana smoke wafted in as he warmed up. Referee Herb Dean oversaw his fight, in which he represented rapper Lil' Jon's team of fighters against a rep of Jim Jones' Dipset team.
"It was like a dogfight or something," Rogers said. "Everyone was standing around the ring. People were sticking their arms in the ring and yelling and screaming. My coach lost his voice, and he was yelling to Little Jon to footsweep him. Lil' Jon's like, 'Footsweep that mother[expletive]!'"
Brazilian Beat: Yan Cabral eyes UFC chance, hopes to lead European MMA charge
It's quite possible you've never actually heard of Yan Cabral (10-0).
A resident of Spain, the undefeated Nova Uniao black belt and Brazilian native began fighting professionally in 2007, and he's remarkably submitted each of his first 10 opponents, including Kazushi Sakuraba at September's DREAM.17 event.
But Cabral has yet to fight on U.S. soil. After his recent high-profile win, the 28-year-old is hoping to change all that and lead a charge of European talent to global prominence.
"It was very emotional for me to fight in Japan," Cabral recently told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) in his native Portuguese. "I grew up watching PRIDE, watching fights in Japan. Nowadays, the biggest organization is the UFC. I'm quite happy in DREAM, but let's see what happens in the future, if I end up in the UFC. That would be great. I train for that."
Prior to his DREAM win, Cabral didn't have any signature wins on his resume. Sure, he had dispatched of several overmatched opponents, but there wasn't a name that stood out from the pack. That changed with the Sakuraba victory.
UFC's 'Mayhem' Miller prepping Michael Bisping lullaby, wants shot at Anderson Silva
Recent Strikeforce import Jason "Mayhem" Miller (24-7 MMA, 0-1 UFC) hasn't set foot in the UFC octagon in more than six years, but with a win over rival "The Ultimate Fighter 14" coach Michael Bisping (21-3 MMA, 11-3 UFC), he's ready to challenge middleweight kingpin Anderson Silva.
"I've got another guy on the radar: the guy with the damn strap, Anderson Silva," Miller told the crowd at this past weekend's UFC Fan Expo Houston 2011. "He's the best fighter in the world, and I want to stick my nose right to his nose and see what happens."
First, though, the former "Bully Beatdown" has a bit of business to handle, and he's ready to put his British counterpart to sleep.
"I would prefer [the rear-naked choke] because it's just so intimate when you get a rear-naked choke on somebody," Miller said when asked how he'd like to finish the Dec. 3 contest, which headlines The Ultimate Fighter 14 Finale in Las Vegas. "You're behind them, and you're like, 'Yeah, I'm going to whisper a lullaby in your ear.' To me, that's awesome."
Glad Mayhem is talking about a RNC win. I've got him by RNC in round 3.
Anthony Pettis Wants a Major UFC Fight Before the End of the Year
Anthony Pettis won his fight with Jeremy Stephens at UFC 136, but he didn't win over too many new fans. Despite fighting a smart and safe fight, winning through the use primarily of wrestling, many fans were left wondering where the explosive and dynamic fighter who won the last ever WEC lightweight championship bout went. It's possible that Pettis just wanted to get back in the win column after losing a bout with Clay Guida in his UFC debut.
The Guida loss took Pettis out of his then position as the number one challenger to the UFC lightweight championship. As a result Pettis finds himself on the outside looking in with the near future arrival of Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez and the UFC on Fox bout between top contenders Guida and Ben Henderson.
That isn't discouraging Anthony though, as he tells Larry Pepe of Pro MMA Radio that he wants to fight a top five fighter before the year ends:
I'd love to get back in there by the end of the year. That'd be ideal. There's match ups going on right now and it doesn't seem too promising. But I'll be healthy and get ready and if anybody gets hurt or injured, I'll be ready.
Vinny Magalhaes to Help Train Fedor Emelianenko? Not Unless M-1 Pays
Earlier this week I shared the word that M-1 was planning to bring grappling champion Vinny Magalhaes in to help train Fedor Emelianenko for his bout with Jeff Monson. MMA Mania's Brian Hemminger recently sat down with Magalhaes and the subject came up. Vinny made it very clear that he has no intention of helping out unless the Russian's team pays him for his time.
From the interview:
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): There's a report that came out today and I've read rumors about this in the past as well that there's the possibility of you helping train Fedor for his fight with Jeff Monson. Is that something that you're planning on doing after your title defense? Are there plans in the works?
Vinny Magalhaes: I've been asked this question a couple times today, nothing actually came up to me yet, I've just heard rumors like the head of M-1 he talked about bringing me to Holland to train with Fedor. That happened before too. My manager tried to negotiate with them and at first they agreed to come, blah, blah, blah but then when it was time for me to go, they said, "A lot of guys will train with Fedor for free just because he's such a legend," but I was like, "I can't go three weeks, not working. I have to pay bills. My son was 2-3 months old at the time. I couldn't train there for free," so I ended up not going.
UFC's Dana White Has No Problem With Bellator...Yet
Dana White is a ruthless competitor and that's certainly not a bad thing. The world of combat sports promotion has always been cutthroat and always will be. Dana and the rest of the management at the UFC are competitive and they've used that drive to become the big winners in the MMA field.
Dana talks about his feelings on competitors and why he has no beef with Bellator in this MMA Weekly video.
MMAPlayground Interview Series - Vol. 8 (DaMarques "Darkness" Johnson)
As with any successful professional, mixed martial artists eat, sleep and breathe their craft. They put everything on the line when they wake up, hit the gym and pour their blood, sweat and tears into the sport we all love. When they enter that cage, for the fan, it's all about the entertainment, but these athletes go through the daily rigors with more in mind. For some fighters, it's a paycheck. For others, it's the glitz and glamour, but for some it's a lifestyle fueled by a deep passion and connection to the sport of mixed martial arts.
In our newest site feature, MMAPlayground would like to introduce you to some of these men and women of MMA that you may not know much about.
Our mission? To introduce. To educate. To spread the word.
TUF Veteran, DaMarques "Darkness" Johnson has been fighting professionally since 2005 and was recently scheduled to fight Clay Harvison at UFC Fight Night 25 before being pulled from the card due to injury. DaMarques recently agreed to participate in a Q&A with MMAPlayground. The transcript can be found below.
* * * * *
MMAPG: Thank you for agreeing to do this interview, DaMarques. How’s the injury rehab coming along?
JOHNSON: My back is getting better. There’s a lot of mileage on my back between my years of jumping out of planes in the military, but it’s coming along well.
MMAPG: Seth Baczynski recently stepped in as your replacement against Clay Harvison at Battle on the Bayou. Things didn’t go so well for your original opponent (Harvison) as Baczynski choked him out in the 2nd round. Is a fight with Harvison one that you’re still interested in or is there someone else you have in mind? Baczynski, perhaps?
JOHNSON: Seth is an awesome guy and I can’t think of a win in the UFC going to anyone more deserving. Picking my fights is Lerenzo’s and Monte's job. I would love to make good on the fight with Clay, though.
Brazilian Shooto champ Carlos Alexandre Pereira signs with Bellator
Brazilian prospect Carlos Alexandre Pereira, who has scored 22 of his 33 career wins via knockout, is heading to Bellator Fighting Championships.
MMAjunkie.com today confirmed that verbal agreements are in place between the Brazilian Shooto champ and Bellator brass.
The signing was first reported by Sherdog, who also suggested Pereira will make his promotional debut at November's Bellator 58 event against a yet-unnamed opponent.
Ed Soares: Anderson Silva Only Has Around Four Fights Left, Sonnen Should Be Back of the Line
Anderson Silva's manager, Ed Soares, recently spoke to SporTV in Brazil and made it clear that Silva is reaching the end of his career. He also stated that Chael Sonnen shouldn't get the next shot.
Here's a clip from the article, translated by Tom Mendes:
"Let's see what the big boss is going to do. My opinion is that he had his chance and tapped, he should go back to the end of the line. The same thing is true with Vitor Belfort. They're great fighters, but they had their chance. Sonnen would make a big fight, as would Dan Henderson and Georges St-Pierre, but we should recognize that Anderson only has around 4 fights left in his career."
Franklin expected to be out of action until late summer
According to a press release from Franklin’s representatives, “Ace” underwent surgery yesterday to repair the damage and things went successfully meaning the 37-year old is expected to make a full recovery. However, the rehabilitation process could take up to six months if not longer meaning Franklin won’t be ready to fight again until after the midway point of 2012.
“I spoke with Rich, he’s feeling great and as soon as the doctor gives him the go-ahead, he’s ready to start training again,” said manager JT Stewart. “If everything goes as expected, UFC fans could see (him) back in the Octagon in late summer.”
Fedor Emelianenko Planning to Train With Vinny Magalhaes to Prepare for Jeff Monson
It's been a long fall for Fedor Emelianenko. From a long reign as the best fighter on the planet and a position where he and his camp could afford to not bow to the UFC's demands in contract negotiation to now riding a three fight losing streak and a debate between retirement or bouts with the likes of Jeff Monson.
Fedor chose to go with the Monson option over the retirement option and now we're to the point where M-1 is talking the fight up.
First, Fedor talks his last three fights (via RT.com):
"In the three bouts I lost, I felt like I could've won. But the win somehow eluded me. I felt I could do it. I had chances, but God's will was different," says Fedor.
And on who they intend to bring in to prepare Fedor for Monson:
"Fedor will have a great training camp in the Netherlands with both strong wrestlers and stand-up fighters there. I'm going to invite Vinnie Magalhaesh. He's just won the world submission wrestling championships, and beat no less than Fabricio Werdum in the finals. So he can be considered the world's best wrestler at the moment," Fedor's promoter Vadim Finkelstein shared.
Dana White: Nick Diaz Will Get a Title Shot if He Beats B.J. Penn at UFC 137
Maybe we'll get to see Nick Diaz vs. Georges St. Pierre after all.
Dana White confirmed to MMA Weekly that, should Diaz defeat B.J. Penn at UFC 137, he will indeed get a shot at the Welterweight title against the winner of Georges St. Pierre vs. Carlos Condit.
Diaz was of course originally set to face St. Pierre in the main event of UFC 137, but after repeatedly no showing press conferences, White pulled him from the match, giving the title shot to Condit instead. Days later, Diaz was back in for the show, but this time facing B.J. Penn in the semi-main event.
For Diaz, this is a huge break, but still a tough challenge. Penn is a former Welterweight champion who is currently ranked #7 in the division in the USA Today / SB Nation Consensus Rankings. He's 1-0-1 at 170 since his return to the division, and is always a threat to anyone in the division. Diaz is currently ranked at #4, and is undefeated since 2007. But Penn represents a real step up from the competition former Strikeforce champion Diaz has faced as of late.
Michael Bisping: I'm the number one contender, not Chael Sonnen
"Chael Sonnen had his chance, put on a great performance but lost. Got tapped out, got finished, and then after that he failed a steroids test. As far as I can see he had his chance and he blew it. I feel I deserve a shot. I have got to beat Miller, he is tough, I am not looking past him. [But] it's me, I’m the contender. Belfort has just been beat, Yushin Okami has just been beat, Sonnen got beat. What are they going to do, all they all going to keep beating each other up and then having another shot at him? No, I’m the contender."
Gable vs. Tirloni promoted to Bellator 55 main card, Steinbeiss among prelim additions
Two-time EliteXC fighter Steve Gable (5-1 MMA, 0-0 BFC) and Brazilian lightweight prospect Ricardo Tirloni (13-1 MMA, 0-0 BFC) have been elevated to main-card status at next week's Bellator 55 event.
Bellator brass recently announced the change while also releasing a few changes to the evening's current nine-fight lineup.
With the changes, Bellator 55 now includes:
MAIN CARD (MTV2)
Marcos Galvao vs. Alexis Vila (bantamweight tourney semifinal)
Eduardo Dantas vs. Ed West (bantamweight tourney semifinal)
Champ Christian M'Pumbu vs. Travis Wiuff (non-title light-heavyweight fight)
Ricardo Tirloni vs. Steve Gable
PRELIMINARY CARD (Spike.com)
Carlos Flores vs. Richard Hale
Edgar Garcia vs. Jacob Ortiz
Erin Beach vs. Roscoe Jackson
Nick Piedmont vs. Jade Porter
Dano Moore vs. Steve Steinbeiss
DREAM Veteran Hong Man Choi Booked With Assaulting Female Customer
Seven-foot-two K-1 World GP in Seoul Champion and DREAM "Super Hulk" Hong Man Choi has been booked with assault following an October 8 altercation with a female customer at a bar he owns and operates in Seoul, South Korea.
The alleged assault occurred when a female customer refused to pay a tab at Choi's bar which turned out to be more expensive than she had anticipated. Following an argument, the female patron claims that Choi punched her in the face.
Champ Eddie Alvarez meets Michael Chandler at November's Bellator 58
While injury forced a short delay in Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez's planned title defense with season-four tournament winner Michael Chandler (8-0 MMA, 5-0 BFC), fans won't have to wait long for the contest.
Originally scheduled to take place at this weekend's Bellator 54 event, company brass recently announced the matchup has been moved back just five weeks and will take place at November's Bellator 58 card.
Already featuring middleweight champion Hector Lombard in a 195-pound non-title fight with Trevor Prangley, Bellator 58 takes place Nov. 19 at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla.
UFC 140's Jon Jones knows the only way to Rashad Evans is through Lyoto Machida
Rashad Evans is still hanging over Jon Jones' head.
Today during a press conference in support of UFC 140, Jones' eyes widened at UFC president Dana White's mention of Evans and a recent proclamation of having the champ's number.
But it's Lyoto Machida (17-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC) who is next, and Jones (14-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) said it would be unwise to take his eye off the immediate task ahead.
"I realize what I could lose in losing the fight that's in front of me now," he said of his headliner at the winter pay-per-view event, which takes place Dec. 10 at Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
Evans was targeted for the winter pay-per-view event before a hand injury he suffered at UFC 132 forced him out of the long-anticipated fight with Jones.
K.J. Noons vs. Billy Evangelista targeted for 'Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal'
A welterweight bout originally planned for "Strikeforce: Miami" has materialized again for the promotion's next major event.
Multiple sources today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that onetime welterweight title challenger K.J. Noons (10-4 MMA, 2-2 SF) is targeted to meet Billy Evangelista (11-1 MMA, 7-1 SF) at "Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal," which takes place Dec. 17 at Valley View Casino Center in San Diego. The event's main card airs on Showtime while preliminary action is broadcast on HDNet.
Verbal agreements are in place for the bout, though contracts have yet to be signed. It's not yet known whether the bout will air as part of the event's main card or reside on the preliminary roster.
Noons and Evangelista both look to rebound from recent setbacks.
With undefeated 2011, Aaron Simpson open to another UFC fight before year's end
By the end of 2010, Aaron Simpson was stuck in a two-fight losing skid, and his UFC career was in jeopardy.
Twelve months later, he's riding a three-fight win streak and even willing to take a late-notice booking before year's end.
Welcome to the up-and-down world of a professional MMA fighter.
Simpson (11-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) defeated resilient middleweight Eric Schafer (12-6-2 MMA, 3-5 UFC) at this past Saturday's UFC 136 event. In a Facebook-streamed preliminary-card bout at Houston's Toyota Center, he beat down Schafer for three rounds en route to a 30-27 unanimous-decision victory.
Although he didn't get the finish, Simpson wasn't about to ignore the lesson he learned from a teammate who fought the jiu-jitsu ace in 2009.