No UFC Events in the UK in 2011
For the first time since 2006, the UFC will not hold any events in the England, Great Britain or Ireland in 2011. As late as November of last year, UFC UK President Marshall Zelaznik was talking about hosting "4 to 6" UFC events in the British Isles this year. Now he's admitting that thanks to a schedule change by Spike TV that the UFC won't be returning to the UK at all in 2011.
Zelaznik asserts that he "had three good venue options" for an October 15th date but recent scheduling changes by the UFC's US TV partners made that date impossible.
From ESPN UK:
However, problems emerged in May when the UFC's US TV date was forced to change to a different, specific date, where misfortune would dictate no suitable venues in the UK were available. In one swift changing of the goalposts, the UFC went from having three venues to none.
As a result, Zelaznik admits the chances of a 2011 event now stand at "less than 20 per cent", but he is still looking into every possibility, in order to find a solution that is growing increasingly unlikely.
"We are left with trying to convince our [TV] partner to move the date or look to other locations. That is where we are now.
"There is, if I were to put a percentage on it, less than a 20 per cent chance that we will be able to bring an event to the UK this year. We are all gutted over it and the fans who are being so vocal should know we hear them and we will continue to work hard to satisfy them."
Aldo: UFC Would Have to Pay Good Money for Title Fight with Nunes
Jose Aldo is sidelined at the moment, but the UFC’s 145-pound ace will have no shortage of challengers lined up to meet him upon his return to the Octagon this fall.
Unbeaten wrestler Chad Mendes, previously announced as the company’s No. 1 featherweight contender, has opted not to wait out Aldo’s return and will instead face Rani Yahya in August. Then there’s Kenny Florian, the former lightweight title challenger who could jump to the front of the line with a win in his June 11 featherweight debut against Diego Nunes. A training partner of Aldo’s at Nova Uniao in Rio de Janeiro, Nunes could also find himself in title contention with a win.
Speaking exclusively with Sherdog.com after Shooto Brazil 23 on June 4, Aldo didn’t deny the possibility of fighting his teammate for the belt, but did say that the UFC would have to make it worth his while.
“I believe Diego will defeat Kenny Florian,” Aldo said. “Diego is well-prepared. He has ‘blood in his eyes’ for that fight and he’s ready to reach the top of the division. He has enough talent to fight for the title.
New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver Effectively Kills 2011 MMA Bill
With a few words from arguably the most powerful man in New York state politics, it appears that mixed martial arts in the Empire State will once again die in its 2011 bid for sanctioning.
State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Democrat and 34-year veteran of the Assembly who has held the most pivotal role in New York's legislature since 1994, effectively sealed the sport's fate with a single sentence.
"There does not appear to be widespread support in the Assembly for this legislation," Silver said on Tuesday, according to The New York Daily News.
To say the least, his words come as a curious statement just days after the bill to regulate the sport had easily sailed through the Assembly's Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development committee by a 16-3 vote. The bill had already been passed through the state senate as well, in a 42-18 vote.
Jeremy Stephens Pays Respect to Danny Downes, Wants To Face Takanori Gomi Next
With two wins in a row, UFC lightweight Jeremy Stephens wants to face a former Pride champion Takanori Gomi for his next match-up, and he knows it’s fight the fans would love to see.
With two wins in a row and four out of his last fight, UFC lightweight Jeremy Stephens has proven he is one of the most dangerous fighters in the world on his feet.
Proven technique and deadly power have made Stephens a force to be reckoned as seen in evidence with his highlight reel knockout of Rafael Dos Anjos or as he blasted through Marcus Davis at UFC 125.
Sarah Kaufman vs. Liz Carmouche Targeted for July 22 Strikeforce Event
A Strikeforce 135-pound match pitting two of MMA's top female stars is being targeted for a July 22 Challengers Series card, MMA Fighting has learned.
Sources with knowledge of the situation confirmed that a bout pitting former champion Sarah Kaufman against Liz Carmouche is in the works, and has been verbally agreed to.
The 25-year-old Kaufman hasn't fought in Strikeforce since losing the belt to Marloes Coenen back in October 2010. Afterward, she took a fight in a Canadian promotion to stay active, defeating Megumi Yabushita via TKO.
UFC 131's Vagner Rocha on Donald Cerrone: "It's a lose-lose fight for him"
Vagner Rocha (6-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) knows the odds are against him.
A little more than two years into his fighting career, he's facing a two-time WEC title-challenger on a three-fight streak. A bonus collector. A guy with almost three times his experience.
So it's no surprise to him that he's a 3-to-1 underdog against Donald Cerrone (14-3 MMA, 1-0 UFC). He's keeping track because he's bet on himself. Not the farm, but "somebody's rent money," as Rocha told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
The two meet Saturday on the first pay-per-view bout of UFC 131, which takes place Saturday at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Strikeforce's Overeem and Werdum hope grand-prix title leads to UFC title shot
With one crossover fight between a UFC champ and Strikeforce champ now in the books, it's not unreasonable to wonder what's in store for the champions of other weight divisions.
And with the second round of the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix around the corner – a tournament that several of its participants have previously said will crown the No. 1 heavyweight in the world – it's not a stretch to imagine the winner presenting a good case for another crossover.
Although Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem (34-11 MMA, 3-0 SF) and Fabricio Werdum (14-4-1 MMA, 3-0 SF) are focused on fighting each other in the quarterfinals of the tournament, they share the hope that winning the competition will open the door to a bout with current UFC heavyweight kingpin Cain Velasquez.
Although cleared by commission, Gina Carano's return date unknown, manager says
Everything was full steam ahead for Gina Carano until Monday.
According to her manager, the popular fighter had had a "phenomenal camp" in preparation for a fight with Sarah D'Alelio at "Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum" before an "unfortunate setback" prompted her doctor to advise against her participation in the event, which takes place June 18 at American Airlines Center in Dallas.
"She's bummed out and trained her ass off for this fight," Scott Karp today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) via text.
Diamonds are forever: An MMAmania interview exclusive with Dustin Poirier
Dustin Poirier has big plans.
After a 1-1 stint in the WEC, "Diamond" looked polished in his UFC debut, completely dismantling then number one featherweight contender Josh Grispi via dominant unanimous decision at UFC 125 on New Year's.
Having just turned 22 years old, he's got all the time in the world to continue to develop his skills.
The Louisiana fighter trains under Tim Credeur at the Gladiator academy in Lafayette, LA and as he stated in his exclusive interview with MMAmania.com, despite defeating the number one contender, he's in no rush for a title shot.
TUF 13 Finale Pulls in 1.8 Million Viewers on Average for Spike TV Broadcast
The ratings for the TUF 13 finale are in and the final average was 1.8 million viewers for the Spike TV broadcast.
The ‘Ultimate Fighter’ season 13 was an up and down season for ratings and overall appeal, and the finale for the show seemed to suffer the same fate.
The ratings for the TUF 13 finale show average 1.8 million viewers for the broadcast that took place Saturday night in Las Vegas.
YouTube also will stream five UFC 131 preliminary card bouts
In addition to streaming on Facebook, the first five preliminary-card bouts from Saturday's UFC 131 card also will stream for free on YouTube.
YouTube recently opened the event page with a countdown to the event, which takes place at Rogers Arena in Vancouver.
UFC executives couldn't be reached for official comment, but sources told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) the organization simply wanted to widen its audience, reach non-Facebook users, and provide another platform that's very mobile-device-friendly.
Cavalcante and St. Preux not fighting at "Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson"
A bout between former Strikeforce champion Rafael "Feijao" Cavalcante and fellow light heavyweight Ovince St. Preux won't be a part of July's "Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson" event after all.
A source close to the show told MMAjunkie.com that despite reports, the two fighters never agreed to the bout.
Both are expected to be booked for other upcoming fights.
Facebook to stream remaining UFC 131 preliminary fights
Sticking with recent tradition, all bouts from Saturday's UFC 131 event will air or stream in some form.
While the main card is slated for pay-per-view and two preliminary-card bouts air on a Spike TV "UFC Prelims" special, the remaining bouts now will be part of a free Facebook stream.
Facebook will stream five of the event's 12 fights.
UFC 131 takes place at Rogers Arena in Vancouver. Heavyweights Junior Dos Santos and Shane Carwin meet in the PPV headliner.
The bouts now scheduled for Facebook include light heavyweights Krzysztof Soszynski (25-11-1 MMA, 5-2 UFC) vs. Mike Massenzio (12-4 MMA, 1-2 UFC), middleweights Nick Ring (11-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) vs. James Head (7-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC), featherweights Dustin Poirier (9-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) vs. Jason Young (8-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC), heavyweights Joey Beltran (12-5 MMA, 2-2 UFC) vs. Aaron Rosa (16-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC), and featherweights Darren Elkins (12-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) vs. Michihiro Omigawa (12-9-1 MMA, 0-3 UFC).
Gina Carano doesn't get medical clearance - will not fight on June 18
Gina Carano won't make her comeback next week, after all.
Carano failed to get medical clearance from her doctor for the June 18 bout, Strikeforce executive Scott Coker said Tuesday. The popular female fighter, who has not competed since August 2009, was scheduled to face Sarah D'Alelio.
"It's an unfortunate situation," said Coker, who declined to provide further details about Carano's health issues.
UFC Vet Kurt Pellegrino Insists Retirement 'the Right Choice'
Kurt Pellegrino surprised many when he announced last week on his website that he was stepping away from MMA, effectively retiring as a fighter. But to those closest to him, it likely didn't come as a surprise at all.
"I've been thinking about retirement since (fighting) Josh Neer (at UFC 101 in August 2009)," Pellegrino told host Ariel Helwani on Monday's edition of "The MMA Hour." "I've been talking to my wife about it since then, anyway. When it was time to do it, I just said, 'Do it now.'"
Pellegrino said he wrote the post on his site, published it, and tried to not look back.
"I wrote this thing all out and pressed send," Pellegrino recalled. "I left my house and drove around for a bit. That was how I dealt with it, because it was a hard thing to do. Do I want to fight again? Right now, I kind of don't."
MMA Regulation Passes Another Hurdle In New York Vote
Mixed martial arts passed another hurdle in its quest to gain sanctioning in New York, as a bill to regulate the sport sailed through a vote in the state assembly's Tourism, Arts, Parks and Sport Development committee on Monday.
The vote overwhelmingly passed by a 16-3 margin, with two members absent.
Several obstacles, however, still stand in the way of regulated MMA coming to New York.
UFC 131's Joey Beltran: I'm employed to "put my fist on people's chins"
Joey Beltran's exciting style and never-say-die attitude have made him a fan favorite in the UFC.
However, following a January decision loss to Pat Barry, "The Mexicutioner" realizes he's in a must-win situation come this Saturday at UFC 131 in Vancouver.
Beltran (12-5 MMA, 2-2 UFC) faces Strikeforce and Bellator veteran Aaron Rosa (16-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC) in preliminary-card action, and the Mexican heavyweight knows he'll leave it all on the line to entertain his friends, family and fans. It's what he's paid to do.
Despite impressive TUF 13 Finale win, George Roop isn't fully happy with his career
Thanks to George Roop, Josh Grispi is no longer a red-hot prospect – and instead is a featherweight on the ropes of a deep division.
A body shot from "The Ultimate Fighter 8" veteran put Grispi (14-3 MMA, 0-2 UFC) on the canvas this past Saturday at The Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale and removed any illusions the youngster is ready for a shot at champ Jose Aldo, as the UFC believed he was at the end of this past year.
John Alessio vs. Josh Neer headlines Superior Cage Combat 2 on Aug. 20 in Vegas
UFC veterans John Alessio (31-14) and Josh Neer (29-10-1) will headline Superior Cage Combat's return to Las Vegas.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) has learned from sources close to the promotion that "The Natural" and "The Dentist" have agreed to headline "Superior Cage Combat 2: Alessio vs. Neer," which takes place Aug. 20 at Orleans Arena at the Orleans Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
Bout agreements are expected to be finalized shortly.