Report: Zuffa Not Intent On Signing Fedor to the UFC
Well it looks like Dana White is sending a message to fighters whose camps think they’re bigger than the UFC.
According to a report by LifeSports.ru, which cites “a source close to the fighter,” Zuffa has passed on a proposed deal with M-1 to sign the Russian management group’s biggest client, Fedor Emelianenko to a new UFC contract.
M-1's failed dealings with the UFC over the past few years have been well documented, which no doubt left a bad taste in White’s mouth and likely contributed to the UFC president’s decision to pass on locking in the former number one ranked pound-for-pound fighter.
The source from Fedor’s camp said that The Last Emperor’s back-to-back losses and the high salary demands led to the latest contract impasse with the UFC, who recently purchased Strikeforce.
Depending on how Emelianenko does in his next bout, the former PRIDE heavyweight champion may be reserved to finishing up the last three bouts on his current Strikeforce deal without ever setting foot in the UFC Octagon.
To clarify, Fedor still has a deal in place that was signed in Janary to ensure his participation in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, but it’s rumored that the UFC has already begun renegotiating new contracts with fighters in place of the promotion’s deals they had with fighters before the buyout.
Mike Kyle Withdraws From Gegard Mousasi Fight
Mike Kyle has been forced to pull out of next week's fight against Gegard Mousasi due to a broken hand suffered in training, Strikeforce director of communications Mike Afromowitz confirmed with MMA Fighting.
Strikeforce is currently looking for a replacement to fight Mousasi, but the organization has yet to sign anyone as of Thursday afternoon.
The Kyle-Mousasi fight was scheduled to be a part of April 9's four-fight card, co-headlined by Nick Diaz vs. Paul Daley and Gilbert Melendez vs. Tatsuya Kawajiri.
Randy Couture’s Next Retirement Tentatively Scheduled for April 30th
During his 14-year MMA career, Randy Couture has ditched the UFC no less than three times — once in 1998 to pursue opportunities in Japan, the second time due to a short-lived retirement in 2006 following his second knockout loss to Chuck Liddell, and finally in 2007 due to a money disputes and a perceived lack of respect. Each time, the lure of competition has brought him back to his home in the Octagon. But there’s only so much a 47-year-old can take, and after a series of vague hints in recent months, it seems like Randy is preparing us for his final departure, seriously, for real this time.
M-1 Global Denies Fedor Emelianenko Cut From Strikeforce Contract
Earlier today a rumor spread through the MMA community that Russian legend Fedor Emelianenko had been cut from his Strikeforce contract. The move would have likely ended Emelianenko's career on the sport's largest stage.The Russian website LifeSports.ru reported the news this morning saying:
Business owners UFC and Strikeforce have refused to renew the contract with the world champion in MMA heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko.
Phil Baroni, Frank Trigg targeted for BAMMA 6 appearances, but contracts not yet signed
UFC and PRIDE veterans Phil Baroni and Frank Trigg have each been targeted for an appearance at May's BAMMA 6 event, but neither has committed to the fight card.
The potential bookings were first reported by MMA Fighting.com, but MMAjunkie.com has subsequently confirmed with sources close to the fighters that neither has signed a bout agreement for the event.
BAMMA 6, which is expected to feature a middleweight title fight between current BAMMA champ Tom "Kong" Watson and Murilo "Ninja" Rua, is scheduled for May 21 at London's Wembley Arena.
Joey Beltran vs. Dave Herman added to UFC 131 in Vancouver
It's "The Mexicutioner" against "Pee Wee."
UFC executives today announced that Joey Beltran (12-5 MMA, 2-2 UFC) and Dave Herman (20-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) will meet at UFC 131.
While not yet officially announced by the promotion, UFC 131 is expected to take place June 11 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver.
Herman was originally expected to face British slugger Rob Broughton. No reason was given for the change in plans.
Dana White Supports Overtime to Take Draws Out of the UFC
The UFC has already had two pay-per-view main events end in draws this year, with neither fighter getting his hand raised in the Frankie Edgar vs Gray Maynard fight at UFC 125, or the B.J. Penn vs. Jon Fitch fight at UFC 127.
UFC President Dana White wasn't satisfied with those decisions, and he'd like to do something about it: Add overtime to UFC fights.
Jon Fitch Out of UFC 132 Rematch With BJ Penn
Still 13 weeks out from his rematch with BJ Penn at UFC 132, Jon Fitch has pulled out of the fight due to a training injury.
Sources close to the UFC confirmed the news to MMA Fighting on Wednesday. Word of Fitch's withdrawal from the bout was first reported by MMA Weekly.
There is no word yet on a possible replacement for Fitch. The fight was expected to determine the top contender for the UFC welterweight title currently held by Georges St-Pierre.
Fitch and Penn fought to a majority draw at UFC 127 in Sydney last month when two judges scored the fight 28-28, giving Penn the first and second rounds, and a 10-8 to Fitch in the third. One judge scored the fight 29-28 in favor of Fitch.
Karo Parisyan not fighting at Shark Fights 15
Recent rumors that Karo Parisyan is returning to action at an upcoming Shark Fights event are untrue, the former UFC welterweight today told MMAjunkie.com.
Parisyan was rumored to meet Strikeforce veteran Paul Bradley, and while the matchup was originally targeted for Shark Fights 15, it has since fallen by the wayside.
"There was some contractual stuff for us to go to California that we decided to pass on," Shark Fights president Brent Medley added.
UFC's Chris Lytle Answers Dan Hardy's Challenge; "Let's Do it!"
"I think it would be awesome. I know exactly how he feels. He wants to go out there and fight. Just get out there and bang. He didn't get to do that in his last fight and I'm all about it. Let's do it!"
UFC Welterweight scrap machine Chris Lytle tells Duane Finley that he accepts Dan Hardy's challenge with open arms. After Hardy lost a lopsided decision to Anthony Johnson he posted on his Twitter account that he was disappointed and wanted to face an opponent who was looking to actually fight him. He then went on to address "Mr. Lytle" directly and now "Lights Out" has answered back. Lytle has been vocal throughout his career that he is only interested in fighting opponents who come into the octagon with the intention to fight him and with Hardy having lost three straight, the British slugger's back is against the wall. A potential matchup between two of the division's most exciting stand-up fighters would certainly produce fireworks and now it is up to the UFC to make it happen.
April's UFC Fan Expo features training sessions with Liddell, Penn, Pettis
Mixed martial arts fans are invited to train with Chuck Liddell, B.J. Penn and Anthony Pettis.
UFC officials today announced that the three fighters will each host two-hour training and development sessions at April's UFC Fan Expo Toronto.
"This is the ultimate opportunity for fans to train alongside three of the UFC's biggest stars,” UFC president Dana White stated in an official release. "Liddell, Penn and Pettis are some of the most gifted athletes we've ever seen in the octagon, and we're really excited to give fans the chance to learn from them at the UFC Fan Expo."
AMA Fight Club owner steps behind the curtains for New Jersey-based fight promotion
Usually, you see Mike Constantino in the locker rooms holding a pair of Thai pads, following his fighters to the cage, or yelling at them at AMA Fight Club.
Next time you see him, he'll probably be all dressed up.
Constantino told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that he's accepted a new advisor position with the New Jersey-based Urban Conflict Championships for an event April 22 featuring the return of UFC vet Rolles Gracie.
The event, dubbed "UCC 4: Supremacy," takes place at the Mennen Sports Arena in Morristown, N.J., and streams live on the promotion's website. Headlining the card is a bout between "The Ultimate Fighter 11" cast member Andy Main (5-1) and Felipe Arantes (13-3). IFL veteran Jamal Patterson (5-3) is also featured.
Constantino will continue to train fighters such as UFC standouts and brothers Jim and Dan Miller, but he's now adding his expertise to the promotion side of the business.
That's allowed him to take what he's learned from the fighter's side of the game and apply it to the production side. He hopes that expertise will make both better.
"I've been a manager/trainer/fighter at every level, from your local rinky-dink show to the UFC," he said. "I see all angles of the game, and I feel like I'm in a unique position.
"There's trainers like Greg Jackson that are great trainers, there are guys like Malki Kawa, who's a great manager. Very few and far between are great trainers and managers. I eventually want to create my own category."
There is, of course, some crossover between those roles when it comes to shows on the regional scene. Gyms and trainers often hold events which feature fighters under their banner, and there are managers who employ fighters they represent in shows they promote.
Constantino is aware of the potential conflict of interest and said he is not a promoter of the April 22 event. Although AMA fighters are competing at the event, he will not corner them.
"Anybody that I spoke to knows I own AMA and that I'm a trainer, so they know the deal going into it," he said. "My guys are not getting any favorable matchups.
"Andy Main is the main event, and he's my guy, but he's fighting Felipe Arantes, who has seven victories in a row. So it's not like it's like, 'Hey, it's a lopsided fight and [the promoter] is training him to beat me.' Everybody knows who everybody is."
Gracie returns to the cage for the first time since an unsuccessful outing in the UFC. The grappling ace took on Joey Beltran at UFC 109 and was stopped with strikes in the second frame.
Main most recently picked up a submission win this past January in regional competition.
This time, Constantino won't be waiting for Main between rounds with a spit-bucket.
Thursday's "Strikeforce Challengers 15: Wilcox vs. Damm" weigh-ins open to the public
Fans are invited to Thursday's free Strikeforce Challengers 15 fighter weigh-ins.
Doors open to the public at 7:30 p.m. ET (4:30 p.m. PT local time) at the Lexington Plaza Waterfront Hotel in Stockton, Calif.
The fighters step on the scale shortly after.
Thursday's weigh-ins precede Friday's nine-fight event at Stockton Arena. The main cards airs on Showtime and marks the promotion's first event since being purchased by the UFC's parent company.
A lightweight contest between Justin Wilcox (10-3 MMA, 4-1 SF) and Rodrigo Damm (9-4 MMA, 0-1 SF) headlines Strikeforce Challengers 15.
The full card includes:
•Justin Wilcox vs. Rodrigo Damm
•Lorenz Larkin vs. Scott Lighty
•David Douglas vs. Caros Fodor
•James Terry vs. Josh Thornburg
•Damian Douglas vs. Wayne Phillips
•Anthony Avila vs. Rafael Rios
•Bobby Escalante vs. Raul Sandoval
•Tristan Arenal vs. Tommy Peterson
•Adam Antolin vs. Ronald Carillo
For more on Strikeforce Challengers 15, stay tuned to the MMA Rumors section of the site.
UFC releases "UFC: Ultimate Royce Gracie" for DVD and Blu-ray on May 10
The Ultimate Fighting Championship is paying tribute to its first star.
UFC officials recently announced the promotion is planning to release "UFC: Ultimate Royce Gracie" on May 10.
Available on DVD and Blu-ray, the two-disc tribute to the UFC Hall of Fame member includes nearly six hours of content.
Gracie (14-2-3 MMA, 12-1-1 UFC) ushered in a new era in martial arts with his performances in the early days of the UFC. The grappling ace rattled off 11 consecutive submissions to open his career, and an event expected to serve as a one-time jiu-jitsu showcase became a sporting phenomenon.
"He is the godfather," UFC president Dana White stated in an official release. "He is the man who started it all, and we all bow down and kiss the ring of Royce Gracie. He kick-started the entire sport of mixed martial arts."
"UFC: Ultimate Royce Gracie" includes his most memorable fights, as well as behind-the-scenes footage and interviews. Gracie's UFC bouts with Ken Shamrock and Kimo Leopoldo, as well as his incredible 90-minute PRIDE match with Kazushi Sakuraba, are included.
Gracie hasn't fought since a June 2007 win over Sakuraba, but he's currently pressing for a return bout at the UFC's August event in his native Brazil.
"UFC: Ultimate Royce Gracie" carries a suggested retail price of $24.98 on DVD and $34.99 on Blu-ray.
YouTube shuts down Gracie channel for use of copyrighted UFC video
Rener Gracie was both shocked and confused when YouTube shut down the channel of his father's academy and cited a third claim of copyright infringement.
But UFC president Dana White said there's a simple reason for the action, and it's the same one that's prompted the promotion to heavily invest in the protection of its product: the unauthorized use of copyrighted content.
"When you go out and you get on a YouTube or one of these huge portals where you can download content and show content – if you use copyrighted material, we've spent lots of money to make sure there are people out there that take that stuff down," White told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
Gracie, the son of UFC co-creator Rorian Gracie, produced a series of videos for YouTube with his brother Ryron that he said were meant to educate and entice MMA fans by demonstrating techniques used in the UFC. The videos, which he said drew between 50,000 and 100,000 views per episode, often included snippets of footage from UFC fights.
White, who was traveling to Chicago on Tuesday and caught wind of the situation when Gracie sent him a message on Twitter, appreciates the intention behind the videos, but he said the brothers erred in not gaining permission to use the footage.
"I've got nothing against these kids," he said. "I don't even know these kids. I reached out to [Rener] on Twitter and said, 'Give me your number and I'll give you a buzz. Maybe there's something we can work out.' But you can't just go use people's footage and make your own videos."
Although White said the UFC's Las Vegas office had no part in it, YouTube on Monday shut down the Gracie Academy channel as part of its policy on users with multiple copyright infringement claims against them. The channel had previously drawn two claims from 20th Century Fox for copyrighted music.
Gracie believed the length of the UFC clips used – no more than seven seconds – put them in the category of "fair use" in U.S. copyright law, which allows for limited use of copyrighted material in certain circumstances without prior permission from its owners.
What's more, Gracie said he'd received ample praise from UFC employees on the videos, and said several of them subscribed to the academy's channel. The shutdown, he felt, was a "contradiction."
"I was under the impression that it was OK and not a problem," Gracie said. "If I knew it was a problem with them, I would have never done it. I would have just shown clean breakdowns with nothing in it."
White, however, said the brothers should have known better. He said they only needed to look at their father to provide an example of how business gets done when using copyrighted footage.
"We just did a documentary called 'Ultimate Royce Gracie,' and we paid a lot of money to license that footage from Rorion," White said. "And he was very aggressive and very stern in how he wanted his footage to be used. 'You can show it X amount of times, and then you owe me more money. And if you do this, you owe me money for that, too.' Their father does the same exact thing with his footage of the Gracies.
"When you look at what's going on with Justin.tv and all these other sites, the responsible sites like a YouTube go through and police what's on their website. They're not going to let people go in there and infringe. It's not the UFC calling up and going, '[Expletive] the Gracies. Pull that [expletive] down.'"
Following his Twitter exchange with White, Gracie told MMAjunkie.com that he was working with a UFC staffer to reverse the claim so that the academy's channel could be reinstated. He was also re-editing a video breakdown of Chan Sung Jung's recent twister submission over Leonard Garcia to be released free of UFC footage on a separate "GracieBreakdown" channel.
But White balked at the idea that his staff had made any such deal and said he planned to directly address the issue with the young Gracie.
"They used the UFC footage and just like anybody does, it gets taken down," he said. "And believe me when I tell you I find it hard to believe that somebody from this office called and started trying to work out a deal with Rener without me knowing. I find that very hard to believe.
"This whole thing is ridiculous. It's a bunch of Internet goofballs on those [expletive] chat rooms saying, 'Oh God, look what they did,' and all this stupid talk of how we're policing everything we do. Of course we do. We're a major sports league just like any other sports league."
The UFC began an aggressive anti-piracy campaign in January 2010 and has pursued legal action against several individuals and websites alleged to have stolen its broadcasts using the Web.
The promotion very recently got some help from the federal government in its crackdown. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations unit arrested the operator of Channelsurfing.net, a website which the agencies said hosted several illegal streams of the UFC, NFL, NBA, WWE and other sports programming. The operator faces five years in jail.
As MMAjunkie.com reported in mid-2010, UFC officials announced they had reached "confidential settlements" with more than 500 businesses and individuals as a result of illegal broadcasts and viewing of UFC events.
The UFC's general legal counsel Lawrence Epstein said all cases involving the question of fair use are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. The fan who posts a highlight reel shouldn't be too worried. Unfortunately, though, issues such as the Gracie videos are a byproduct of the promotion's plight.
"If people weren't ripping us off all the time, a lot of these issues wouldn't pop up," Epstein said.
Imada-Freire Semifinal Joins Bellator 39, Completes 9-Fight Bill
The bill for Bellator Fighting Championships 39 is now set, as the promotion Tuesday announced the full nine-bout lineup for Saturday’s show.
While the majority of the card shaped up as expected, there was one late addition. Previously thought to go down at next week’s Bellator 40, a lightweight tournament semifinal between two-time runner-up Toby Imada and heavy-handed Brazilian Patricky “Pitbull” Freire has been shifted to this Saturday’s main draw.
Bellator 39 goes down April 2 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., and will be headlined by a lightweight title bout between champion Eddie Alvarez and second-season tournament winner Pat Curran. Also featured will be a welterweight tournament semifinal pitting unbeaten Olympic judoka Rick Hawn against former titleholder Lyman Good. Additionally, UFC veteran Ben Saunders will make his Bellator debut against Massachusetts-based veteran Matt Lee.
Highlighting the undercard will be a pair of lightweight tilts showcasing former Zuffa talent, as WEC veteran Dave Jansen meets Team Alpha Male product Scott McAfee, and one-time UFC competitor Matt Veach will lock horns with the undefeated Rene Nazare.
A product of the Philadelphia Fight Factory, Alvarez ranks among the best in the world at 155 pounds. A veteran of BodogFight, EliteXC and Dream competition, Alvarez has won six straight fights since succumbing to a Shinya Aoki heel hook on New Year’s Eve 2008.
“I need to live up to my own expectations. More than any fight in my career, I just want to completely dominate,” said Alvarez in a release. “It has nothing to do with Pat; it’s just what I feel like I have to do, regardless of whom I’m fighting, in order to earn my rank of No. 1 in the world. I won’t be happy with anything less than complete and total domination.”
Curran rides a four-fight win streak of his own into his confrontation with the champion. The 23-year-old has finished half of his career victims and owns notable victories over Roger Huerta and the aforementioned Imada.
“I’ve been dreaming every night about this Bellator world championship fight with Eddie Alvarez. I think about it in the morning, all day, when I go to bed, and in my dreams,” said Curran. “I’m coming out there to shock the world. I’m going to stand right in front of Eddie, and I’m going to let my hands fly. I have all the confidence in the world that I can beat Eddie Alvarez, so now it’s up to me to go out there and do it.”
Coach Thinks Wanderlei Should Fight Before Belfort Rematch
More than a year has passed since Wanderlei Silva last set foot inside the cage, and, despite outside pressures, “The Axe Murderer” has resisted the temptation to accept a rematch with Vitor Belfort upon his return. At least one person, longtime mentor Rafael Cordeiro, remains in his corner and steadfastly so.
Silva (Pictured), who underwent knee reconstructive knee surgery in July, has not fought since he earned a unanimous decision over “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 3 winner Michael Bisping at UFC 110 in February 2010. He wants a tune-up fight before he meets Belfort again.
“I think Wanderlei is coming off multiple injuries, but, at the same time, he has a desire to make this fight. There is a desire as an athlete and a fighter to make this rematch with Vitor,” said Cordeiro, who runs the Kings MMA camp in Huntington Beach, Calif. “I think, at this point, in my opinion as a friend and coach, he should have a fight with someone else before Vitor. When I say someone, I mean anyone who gets him back to being active.
“This fight with Vitor will become very important in his life, and he really wants it,” he added. “For Wanderlei to be 100 percent for the fight with Vitor, it’s important that he get another fight before it.”
Belfort challenged Anderson Silva for the middleweight crown at UFC 126 in February, losing by first-round knockout at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. Cordeiro believes participating in a fight of that magnitude would give Belfort a decided edge if the rematch were made now.
“Vitor just fought for the belt, and, thinking about the rhythm of the fight, he’s ahead of Wanderlei in that regard,” Cordeiro said. “I’m not saying that he’s better than Wanderlei, but Wanderlei needs to pick up his pace [before they fight].”
Belfort handed Silva arguably the worst defeat of his career in October 1998, as he blitzed his compatriot in a brilliant 44-second technical knockout. Silva went on to become one of the top stars in the Pride Fighting Championships promotion in Japan, winning the 205-pound title and defeating Japanese icon Kazushi Sakuraba (three times), former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton Jackson (twice) and two-time Olympian Dan Henderson in the process. Revered for his violent and aggressive style, Silva has lost five of his last seven fights. Fans have long yearned for a second bout between the now 34-year-old Brazilian and Belfort.
“I think he has the desire to fight with Vitor,” Cordeiro said. “Vitor already defeated him, and he has this desire to have revenge. However, the body says he stopped fighting a year ago and needs additional time to regenerate. He returned to training, with a focus on fighting, only 15 days ago. He was weight training, but he returned to fight training only recently. We’re still afraid to push him 100 percent. The most important thing is that the UFC wants him to fight, regardless of the time he’s been out.”
UFC Bantamweight Michael McDonald: “I’m 20 Years Old, I’ve Got a Long Ways to Go”
Already at this point in his UFC career even with only one fight, Michael McDonald may be the most grounded fighter in the promotion.
McDonald, who battled Edwin Figueroa at UFC Fight Night 24, walked out of his first UFC event with a $55,000 bonus check for “Fight of the Night” and a lot of people calling him the top prospect at 135lbs.
While he appreciates the accolades, McDonald isn’t ready to put the cart before the horse just yet. He likes the way his career is going, and doesn’t plan on calling out UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz tomorrow.
“I’m very real about realizing my age and I have a long way to go until I’m at my best. I think I’m definitely good enough to hang with the top level of competition in the world, but still in all reality, I’m 20 years old and I’ve got a long ways to go,” McDonald told MMAWeekly Radio.
It’s that very perspective that makes McDonald a rare breed in the sport. It’s hard for any athlete not to jump ahead after an impressive performance and everyone singing your praises after the job is done.
At only 20 years of age, McDonald knows he has a lot of room to grow in the sport, and he’s not trying to get ahead of himself before he’s ready for the challenge.
“I’m very content taking the slowest road possible to the top. Slowest road to the top means I’m going to be better when I get there,” said McDonald. “I’m definitely in no hurry, I just want to fight, get a few checks, make my name out there, just prepare my career. I’m not too focused on ‘oh I’ve got to get that title’ or anything. I’m very content with where I’m at.”
Following the fight against Figueroa at UFC Fight Night 24, McDonald also received the news via the internet that the Washington State Department of Licensing had issued him an indefinite medical suspension.
McDonald says medically he’s fine, and he’s not sure where that report came from.
“I don’t know what people are talking about with this ‘indefinite suspension’,” McDonald commented. “I didn’t sign anything for an indefinite suspension or anything like that. I really have no idea. My hand’s a little bit swollen, but it’s not broken. I really don’t know what people are talking about on that.”
Outside of a swollen hand, McDonald is already back teaching class and helping out other aspiring fighters. He won’t go full on into sparring until his hand is ready, but what he will do is wait for the UFC to call and offer him his next fight in a few months.
McDonald says it doesn’t matter who he fights, it’s always been a matter of when and where.
“My biggest thing isn’t really taking any time mentally off, I’m in the gym already, I’m teaching, I’m in there helping my teammates, this is what I love to do,” McDonald said. “It’s not a burden. I just can’t physically do anything yet cause my hand’s still a little bit swollen and I want to baby it.
“What the comfort zone for me is usually about 4 months for another fight.”
Look for McDonald to take his next step forward in the UFC’s bantamweight division this summer.
UFC Fight Night 24 Peaks at 2.4 Million Viewers During Johnson vs. Hardy Fight
The final numbers are in for UFC Fight Night 24 in Seattle. It is now the most watched UFC Fight Night telecast since September 2009.
The rating released on Tuesday revealed that the show reached a peak of 2.4 million viewers during the Anthony Johnson vs. Dan Hardy match-up. The welterweights promised to become the main event, and according to the numbers, they certainly fit the bill.
Overall the show averaged 2.2 million viewers for the Saturday night broadcast, and rated a 2.3 in males 18-34.
The card already pulled in some of the largest numbers ever for attendance and live gate, and now the ratings back it up with some strong pull from the television audience as well.