UFC on FOX's 'baddest man on planet' Velasquez looks to recapture Anaheim magic
When Cain Velasquez seized the UFC's heavyweight crown more than a year ago, the American Kickboxing Academy representative seized another title from Brock Lesnar that night too: "baddest man on the planet."
Velasquez (9-0 MMA, 7-0 UFC) returns to the octagon for his first title defense this Saturday at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. – the site where he captured the championship – to meet No. 1 contender Junior Dos Santos (13-1 MMA, 7-0 UFC).
The hype surrounding his bout with the Brazilian boxing specialist rolls off the former Arizona Sun Devil's back. Meeting the challenger, also undefeated in seven octagon appearances, in the UFC's debut on network TV on FOX is an honor. The distinctions, asserts Velasquez, are OK as long as they never become distractions.
"It feels good, but to me, the only thing that is in my head is the fight – not the stuff surrounding it, just what I have to do out there on that night," Velasquez told MMAjunkie.com
An inside look at Dana White
The face of the UFC is, quite literally, foaming at the mouth.
I am ushered into Dana White’s personal office by his charming public-relations guru, and before she can introduce us, he emerges: bald, beaming, suddenly and surprisingly charismatic, wearing hip-ripped jeans and a T-shirt and mumbling through the white madness, “Hi! Come in!”
All I see at first is white foam, bubbling at smiling lips, the kind of lather you might expect if you allow yourself to believe in the supernatural, particularly from a man crazy enough to go from hotel valet in Boston to instructor to, thanks to some nudging by the Boston ***** to get the hell out of dodge, a Vegas man.
And to, a few short years later, multimillionaire and face and force behind mixed martial arts, one of the country’s fastest rising sports.
I am too stunned to speak. And then I see the toothbrush. I exhale and realize the president of the UFC is, in fact, merely brushing his teeth.
Still, this candid look at a complicated man serves as the perfect introduction in a two-day blitz, on the verge of UFC 137, to Dana White and his fast-paced world. It will turn out that White, a 42-year-old mesh of controversy, cunning, charm, vision and intensity, is everything his newfangled PR machine wants you know about him — and everything they want you not to know.
Chael Sonnen... Ultimate Gentleman?
Most of the UFC fan base are familiar with his on-screen personality, as Sonnen and his sharp tongue slice and dice their way through pre-fight interviews and media appearances. In fact, outside of Brian Stann at UFC 136, you'd be hard-pressed to find the former NCAA Division I All-American wrestler having anything nice to say.
Or so we thought.
MMAPlayground partnering with MMATycoon
We're officially partnering up with to expose our audiences to each other's fun but different MMA games. If you are unfamiliar with their website, they have a sophisticated feature-filled MMA Simulation game that lets you "Create fighters, run companies, train at your local gyms, join alliances, work your way to global domination both in the cage and in the business world to become the Ultimate Mixed Martial Arts Tycoon!"
So if you haven't already checked our new friends out or if you've never played an online sim game then definitely stop by and show some love.
UFC 140: Rory MacDonald Injured, Claude Patrick To Fight Brian Ebersole
Canadian fans will have to wait a bit longer to cheer on one of their favorite sons as fast rising welterweight prospect Rory MacDonald is off UFC 140 due to an undisclosed injury.
Fellow Canadian Claude Patrick has got the call to battle Brian Ebersole in Toronto instead and has been pulled from his fight with Rich Attonito scheduled for the same night.
As a person going to this card, this really sucks. MacDonald vs. Ebersole would have most likely been a FOTN contender.
Hard-fighting UFC 139's Stephan Bonnar finally learning to slow things down
Things might be a lot easier for Stephan Bonnar (13-7 MMA, 7-6 UFC) if he didn't learn things the hard way.
"If I only had fighting, and my body never got hurt, then every three or four months I would fight," Bonnar told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio).
But Bonnar seems to get hurt a lot, and if there's one thing he's trying to learn, it's when to stop and when to go.
"Not knowing when to back off ... and then getting hurt," he said. "I've just got to be smarter about that."
After a nearly a year on the bench, Bonnar returns to the cage to fight Kyle Kingsbury (11-2 MMA, 4-1 UFC) at UFC 139, which takes place Nov. 19 at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. The bout takes place on the event's main card, which airs live on pay-per-view.
UFC 143's Nick Diaz tells 'Inside MMA' villain role effective, not necessarily comfortable
Nick Diaz, PR genius?
The outspoken and sometimes controversial former Strikeforce champion has both delighted and baffled MMA fans with his trashtalking and open challenges to MMA superstars such as UFC champ Georges St-Pierre.
And while his rants often seem a bit random in their focus, Diaz on Monday's new edition of HDNet's "Inside MMA" seemed to reveal that he's been following a master plan all along: To the villain goes the spoils.
Thiago Alves Discusses Possible Fight With Jake Ellenberger
Thiago Alves is coming off a very good win over a solid prospect, but he's not going to get much respect for it. That's the way it goes when you beat a fighter that is off most people's radar like Papy Abedi, no matter how good he is. But now that he has that win, he's looking at bigger and better things. When asked by ESPN UK about a possible fight with rising star Jake Ellenberger, Alves was diplomatic:
"That would be a great fight," he said to ESPN. "But like I said, whoever Joe Silva wants me to fight, I'm ready for it.
"I know I'm a few fights away from title contention, so whoever brings me closer - I'm ready."
Anderson Silva Reacts to Mark Munoz Challenge, Thought He Was a Friend
Mark Munoz came into UFC 138 ranked #4 in the world at middleweight in the USA TODAY / MMA Nation Consensus Rankings and did nothing to lower his ranking with a resounding drubbing of #12 Chris Leben. Following his win, Munoz made it known that he wanted a shot at UFC champ Anderson Silva.
Munoz has trained at Black House several times, increasing his own skills as well as providing men like Silva with a top shelf wrestler to train with. Silva was told by SporTV about the challenge from Munoz and didn't seem too thrilled (translation by Tom Mendes):
I hadn't even seen that (Munoz's challenge). I thought Munoz was a friend, but that's okay...
Terry Etim to fight Edson Barboza at UFC 142
Terry Etim did not waste any time in defeating Eddie Faaloloto at UFC 138, and the UFC has been similarly rapid in arranging the Brit's next contest, sealing a bout with Edson Barboza at UFC 142.
Etim walked away with $70,000 after securing Submission of the Night inside 17 seconds against Faaloloto, sparking the instant question: Who next?
Before Etim's 19-month layoff the lightweight had been heading for a clash with Joe Lauzon, and that is the level to which he wants to return as soon as possible.
Barboza represents a thrilling test. Like Etim the Brazilian loves to strike, and he is currently 9-0 in his MMA career and 3-0 for the UFC. Two of those wins have earned Fights of the Night honours, and he is credited with some of the nastiest leg kicks in the UFC...
Bellator considering more tournaments per season, elimination of non-title fights
Since winning his title two-and-a-half years ago, Bellator middleweight champion Hector Lombard has defended his belt just once.
The same goes for lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez.
But that could soon change. As Bellator CEO and chairman Bjorn Rebeny told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com), the addition of more tournaments, the elimination of non-title fights, and continued between-seasons events all could result in the champs defending their titles more often.
Bellator, of course, has carved out a niche in the MMA industry with its eight-man (and eight-woman) tournaments. The only way to win a Bellator belt or to get an opportunity to challenge for one is to win a tourney – which requires fighting three times in as little as 10 weeks.
Recent tourney winner Jay Hieron recently earned the right to fight welterweight champion Ben Askren, who squeaked by with a split-decision victory at Bellator 56. It was a good, competitive fight with plenty of pre-event buzz, and many feel a rematch is in order. But Rebney said his policy isn't going to change.
"Absolutely not," Rebney said. "It was a great fight ... but Jay would have to win another tournament to get another shot."
Thankfully for Askren, he'll have his next challenge soon enough; a season-five welterweight tourney wraps this weekend with Bellator 57's finale between Ben Saunders and Douglas Lima. But that hasn't been the case in other weight classes. Bellator currently boasts eight champions, but despite five seasons and 56 shows, no champion has had the opportunity to defend his title more than once.
Part of the reason is the infrequency of tournaments. Currently, Bellator hosts four tournaments per 12-week season (a tourney also was held during three monthly "Summer Series" events). So without top contenders continually churned out, Bellator has booked a number of "super fights" – non-title bouts pitting a champion vs. what's usually an underdog opponent. For a couple years, Bellator avoided any disasters, but this past month against veteran Travis Wiuff, light-heavyweight champion Christian M'Pumbu earned the dubious honor of becoming the first champ to lose a super fight...
MMAPlayground Interview Series - Vol. 13 ("Rowdy" Ronda Rousey)
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.
For anyone familiar with Women's MMA, you've likely heard the name "Rowdy" Ronda Rousey before. If not, you most certainly will. Rousey's MMA record stands at 3-0-0 with all 3 wins coming by way of submission (armbar). And get this...the total combined time of those three fights? 99 seconds - nearly the same amount of time it took me to do the math...
Rousey was kind enough to spare some of her personal time and agreed to participate in the MMAPlayground Interview Series with our own, Kyle Galvin (aka Kpro). The full interview is below.
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MMAPG: Ronda, thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions! You're scheduled to take on Julia Budd on the Strikeforce Challengers card on November 18th. How is your training going?
ROUSEY: Training is going great. I'm in the best shape of my life, and after competing in two Olympics, that's saying a lot.
MMAPG: For readers who may not know, you've won multiple Judo gold medals at the Pan American games and also became the first female American to medal in Judo at the Olympics. As you could have easily continued training for the 2012 Olympics, what made you decide to turn to MMA?
ROUSEY: I just wasn't happy with the lifestyle required to be a world class judoka. I reached a point where I knew what it would take to win the Olympics, and I just wasn't willing to be miserable for 4 years so I could be happy on one day. Doing MMA, I enjoy every day of training, love where I live, love the team of people working to help me win, and am just a more content person in general.
UFC on Fox: John McCarthy Likely to Referee Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos
According to a report that came out last week, Big John McCarthy was 99% likely to referee the UFC on Fox main event bout between Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos. MMA Mania spoke to George Dodd, the Executive Officer of the California State Athletic Commission and asked for an update today. And it still appears that BJM will be center stage on Fox on Saturday night:
"It's 99 percent still. There's always that last minute thing that could always change something. Obviously something could happen to John or whatever the case may be but for right now, until he steps in the cage, it's 99 percent sure."
With 'Pitbull' injured, Pat Curran gets Bellator champ Joe Warren in February
With Patricio "Pitbull" Freire (17-1 MMA, 5-1 BFC) recovering from a second hand surgery, fellow tournament winner Pat Curran (16-4 MMA, 6-1 BFC) will get the next shot at Bellator featherweight champion Joe Warren (7-2 MMA, 5-1 BFC).
Bellator CEO and chairman Bjorn Rebney today confirmed the plans with MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
According to Rebney, Curran has leapfrogged Freire in the division's pecking order. His title fight with Warren in now targeted for a currently unannounced February event – one that could also feature Bellator champ Eddie Alvarez (22-2 MMA, 7-0 BFC) vs. DREAM champ Shinya Aoki (29-5 MMA, 0-0 BFC).
Bobby Lashley now meets Mark Martinez in Shark Fights 21 headliner
Let's try this again. Again.
Mark Martinez (4-1) has stepped up to headline Shark Fights 21 opposite Bobby Lashley (6-1) in a bout for the promotion's heavyweight title.
Shark Fights CEO Bud Brutsman today confirmed the news to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com), saying, "As a Shark Fights veteran, we're happy that Mark is getting a shot at the title."
Shark Fights 21 takes place Nov. 11 at Fair Park Coliseum in Lubbock, Texas. The event airs via delay on FUEL TV on Dec. 23.
With injury woes behind him, UFC on FOX 1's Cub Swanson motivated for debut
It's a nice idea to Cub Swanson that he's fighting at the event where the UFC makes its network TV debut, even if he's not one of those who gets to bask in the spotlight (just like everyone else not named Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos).
But reality is staring Swanson in the face.
This is his first fight in the UFC after injuries delayed his debut. In fact, when he learned he will be in the newest version of the UFC's video game, he tweeted its developer and asked whether his character breaks his hands after every fight.
"I just wanted to know how realistic the game was," Swanson (15-4 MMA, 0-0 UFC), who fights Ricardo Lamas (10-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) at UFC on FOX 1, joked while on MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio).
UFC on FOX 1 takes place Saturday at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. Swanson's fight streams live on Facebook while the card's main event airs live on FOX.
Bellator looks for worldwide TV deals following FremantleMedia partnership
Bellator Fighting Championships has inked a deal to give FremantleMedia Enterprises a license to negotiate its international TV rights.
FremantleMedia will handle the licensing, digital and ancillary rights for the U.S. and international markets.
The company has operations in 22 countries and distributes nearly 100,000 hours of programming, including some of the highest-rated prime-time entertainment, drama, serial drama and factual entertainment programs.
Viacom recently purchased a majority interest in Bellator, which currently airs on MTV2 and is planning a move to Spike TV in 2013. MTV2 is available in approximately 80 million homes, and Spike TV is available in 100 million. Prelims currently stream worldwide on Spike.com.
"This deal further diversifies FME's third party slate and builds on our reputation as experts at identifying and exploiting the potential of emerging brands," FME Global CEO David Ellender stated. "The sport of mixed martial arts is gaining momentum with fans worldwide, and we can see huge potential for the Bellator brand across all platforms, both in the U.S. and internationally."