Though content with career, UFC 137's 'Cro Cop' says another loss would be a 'disaster'
A softer side – in fact, a jovial and even comedic side – has come out of Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic ahead of Saturday's UFC 137 fight with Roy Nelson.
The heavyweight fighter's UFC career long has been identified by unrivaled stoicism, but lately, the dangerous Croatian striker has loosened up.
Even with a two-fight losing streak staring him in the face, Filipovic told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) he's got every reason be proud of his once-illustrious career. But admittedly, another loss would be a personal disaster, he said.
Filipovic (27-9-2 MMA, 4-5 UFC) and Nelson (15-6 MMA, 2-2 UFC) clash on Saturday's pay-per-view main card at Las Vegas' Mandalay Bay Events Center. Both notables are stuck in two-fight losing skids, and Saturday's loser could be forced to pack his bags.
Jay Silva replaces injured Elvis Mutapcic in SCC 3 middleweight title fight
Jay Silva (7-4) has replaced injured Elvis Mutapcic (9-2) in a Super Cage Combat 3 middleweight title fight with Bristol Marunde (14-6).
Sources close to the event today confirmed the change with MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) and said Mutapcic suffered a knee injury.
SCC 3 takes place Nov. 4 event at Las Vegas' Orleans Arena.
The evening's full lineup includes:
John Alessio vs. Luiz Firmino
Bristol Marunde vs. Jay Silva (for first-ever SCC middleweight title)
James McSweeney vs. Emanuel Newton
Steve Lopez vs. William Sriyapai
Shane Nelson vs. Lance Wipf
Dave Terrel vs. Phil Dace
Cameron Diffley vs. Sidney Silva
Shawn Fitzsimmons vs. Blas Avena
Kui Gonsalves vs. Shorty Weikel
With cast removed, UFC's Diego Sanchez cleared to resume training
Diego Sanchez has been cleared to resume training.
The UFC veteran recently scratched from a UFC 135 fight with Matt Hughes earlier this month when he was sidelined by a broken right hand.
Doctors, though, have removed his cast and cleared the lightweight fighter to resume training, though no return bout has been booked.
"I feel great," Sanchez stated in a release. "In some senses, this injury has been a blessing because I've been forced to train in ways and on things that I never before had thought of or considered. I truly feel as going though this injury is going to make me a better fighter in the long run.
ONE FC Unveils Network; 'Very Close' to Deal With DREAM
As reported here earlier, ONE FC has partnerships with a few top promotions around Asia such as the URCC, Road FC, and DARE. Today, the promotion officially announced these deals in addition to a partnership with an Australian MMA promotion. From the press release:
ONE Fighting Championship™ has formed exclusive partnerships with the following organizations:
-Cage Fighting Championship (Australia)
-ROAD Fighting Championship (Korea)
-DARE Fightsports (Thailand)
They also announced partnerships with several of the top MMA camps in the region: Team Lakay Wushu (Philippines), Tiger Muay Thai (Thailand), Tigers Gym (India), Evolve MMA (Singapore), Legacy Gym (Thailand), Tough MMA (Taiwan), Synergy Jiu-Jitsu (Indonesia), Juggernaut FC (Singapore), Fightworks Asia (Singapore), PAK MMA (Pakistan), Team Force (Korea), MuayFit (Malaysia), Leverage MMA (Malaysia).
Aside from that laundry list of camps and promotions, the release also had this interesting statement from their CEO, Victor Cui, "Given our current discussions with various parties, we will be announcing another 23 additional MMA organizations and gyms to the ONE FC Network in the coming days and weeks."
BloodyElbow.com has been informed that among those deals in the works, is a partnership with Japanese promotion, DREAM. A high ranking official from the promotion has told us that ONE FC is currently in discussions with a few organizations from Japan, and that the deal with DREAM is 'very close' to being finalized.
Eric Reynolds vs. Jonatas Novaes headlines HDNet's XFC 15 on Dec. 2
Xtreme Fighting Championships has tapped a headliner for its next event.
"XFC 15: Tribute" takes place Dec. 2 at St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Fla., and the headliner features lightweights Eric Reynolds (13-5) vs. Jonatas Novaes (9-3), officials recently announced.
The night's main card airs live on HDNet.
"I’m really excited for the big lightweight showdown in Tampa," XFC president John Prisco stated. "This could be the fight of the night, or it could be a very quick fight with a memorable finish. Either way the fans are going to be treated to an exciting main event."
Illinois commission nixes Andreas Kraniotakes' participation in ProElite 2 main event
The same day Andreas Kraniotakes took to MMAjunkie.com Radio and discussed his long-awaited big-show opportunity at next month's ProElite 2 event, the heavyweight was scratched from the event.
On Wednesday, Kraniotakes (12-4) posted a video message saying he was forced out of his headliner with ex-UFC heavyweight champ Tim Sylvia (29-7).
According to a report from MMAFighting.com, an unidentified replacement fighter has been selected and awaits commission approval. MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) could not immediately reach commission or ProElite officials for comment.
In fact, it was the Illinois State Professional Athletic Commission that halted Kraniotakes' participation in the event. Officials denied the fighter a license due to the German's lack of sanctioned fights on his pro record.
ProElite 2 takes place Nov. 5 at iWireless Center in Moline, Ill. The main card airs on HDNet.
With UFC 137 main event looming, Nick Diaz laments choice not to box
Nick Diaz (25-7 MMA, 6-4 UFC) now says he regrets his decision to pass up a boxing contract for a return to the UFC.
Three days before his UFC 137 headliner opposite B.J. Penn (16-7-2 MMA, 12-6-2 UFC), Diaz said a trip to the square circle would have benefitted him more in the long term than the continuation of his MMA career.
"If I had my chance to do it over again, I would have gone back to the boxing contract," the former Strikeforce champion said today.
UFC 137's Donald Cerrone: After 'one-trick pony,' I want Nam Phan at 145 pounds
LAS VEGAS – UFC lightweight contender Donald Cerrone (16-3 MMA, 3-0 UFC) currently has his hands full with German striker Dennis Siver (19-7 MMA, 8-4 UFC), but that doesn't mean "Cowboy" isn't already planning out his next move.
He's giving up Milk Duds and Hot Tamales.
Cerrone said after his bout with Siver at this weekend's UFC 137 event in Las Vegas, he's making a drop down to 145 pounds for one specific reason: to silence Nam Phan.
"I'm about to go to 145 (pounds) after this fight," Cerrone today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "I'm going to go after Nam Phan. He's talking [expletive], and now I'm pissed off."
Cesar Gracie Says Gilbert Melendez is UFC-Bound After December Strikeforce Fight
Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez has recently been the subject of much speculation regarding how much longer he would remain with that organization. UFC president Dana White recently said that he wanted to bring him over to the UFC, but he was still booked in a title defense against Jorge Masvidal at a Strikeforce event on December 17th in San Diego. Gil's coach Cesar Gracie made it clear to Tatame that he's going to the UFC after that fight though:
"Absolutely it’ll be his last fight (in Strikeforce)", assures the coach, who didn’t have any doubts about Melendez’s situation on the lightweight division of Ultimate, which title holder is Frankie Edgar. "I believe Melendez is the best of the world in this division".
Caros Fodor vs. Justin Wilcox slated for 'Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal'
A lightweight bout between Strikeforce Challengers regulars Caros Fodor (6-1 MMA, 4-0 SF) and Justin Wilcox (11-3 MMA, 5-1 SF) will be part of December's "Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal" event.
Fodor today revealed the fight on "The MMA Show" with Mauro Ranallo.
The event takes place Dec. 17 at Valley View Casino Center in San Diego. The event's main card airs on Showtime.
It's not clear if Fodor vs. Wilcox will be part of the broadcast.
Legacy Fighting Championships signs 'TUF 14' prospect Carson Beebe
Legacy Fighting Championships has secured another solid prospect.
Company officials today confirmed with MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that the Texas-based promotion has signed "The Ultimate Fighter 14" fighter and top bantamweight prospect Carson Beebe to a multi-fight deal.
He's expected to debut in 2012 on an HDNet-televised card.
Beebe (8-1), who recently turned 23, made his pro debut in early 2010 and has suffered just one loss to date. The former Purdue University wrestler briefly appeared on the current season of "TUF" on Spike TV, but Johnny Bedford upset him with a submission victory and knocked him out of the competition in the 32-man elimination round.
Viacom buys Bellator, plans 2013 start on Spike
MTV Networks' Spike TV channel is getting out of the Ultimate Fighting Championship's business, but the broadcaster has increased its ties to mixed martial arts.
Viacom, parent of MTV Networks, bought a majority stake in Bellator Fighting Championships and will start airing the promotion's bouts on Spike in 2013, the companies told USA TODAY this week. They've had ongoing talks for about a year as they finished up various deals, and over the past month finally reached the point where they could announce the news, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney said.
Selling to Viacom's entertainment conglomerate guarantees a stable future for Bellator, said Rebney, who will remain in charge of the MMA organization.
"It puts all of those cornerstones of ownership in place for us," he said. "Which is something that's been so seriously lacking in the MMA space with so many different companies, including Strikeforce and the IFL and Affliction and all the different failures that have occurred. … It alleviates those issues."
Bellator is the No. 2 promotion in mixed martial arts behind market leader Zuffa, owner of UFC and Strikeforce...
Brendan Schaub and Fabricio Werdum Eye Potential Matchup
It started off with a simple statement from Brendan Schaub, and has blossomed into something more. It's well known that Fabricio Werdum is looking to return to the UFC and he's apparently willing to grasp at any olive branch that might lead him there, no matter how small. After Schaub said Werdum would be an interesting opponent in an interview last week, Werdum responded on twitter today with a challenge:
@BrendanSchaub I'm ready for you, anytime, anywhere! @SpiderAnderson @kings_mma @wandfc @graciemag_br @TATAMEMAGAZINE @marco_goncalves
Oct 25 via Twitter for iPhoneFavoriteRetweetReply
The fact that he included 67 other people in the tweet is a major indication that he's looking for some validation here.
One-armed Daniel Cormier already prepping for Strikeforce bout with Josh Barnett
Daniel Cormier can bounce back from a busted hand because he's the Wolverine.
If he was a mere mortal and not a (fictional) superhero character, he might have been forced to bow out of the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix finals in which he meets Josh Barnett (31-5 MMA, 2-0 SF).
"Because I am Wolverine, I was able to get the cast off," Cormier (9-0 MMA, 6-0 SF) joked during Monday's new edition of HDNet's "Inside MMA."
Until a few weeks ago, this cast sheathed Cormier's right hand, which he broke on the skull of Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva during their fight in the semifinals of the grand prix. In a stunning rout, he stopped the Brazilian in the first round to earn a spot in the tournament finals.
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker told the program that the finals are scheduled for the first quarter of 2012. A date and venue have yet to be finalized.
UFC 137 headliner B.J. Penn fueled by haters and those who would hold him down
Former UFC lightweight and welterweight champion B.J. Penn is too old for this you-know-what.
He's still a proud man and a fighter. But he's a father of two now, and has children to keep in check the flare-ups of emotion that would have landed him in hot water three years ago. He can't go flying off at the handle at any slight. He is measured because he is responsible.
In short, he's an adult. At 32, he ought to be.
Few of the haters that seem to follow him everywhere have undergone such transformation. Even after all these years, they still dole out criticism that attacks his motivation, his skills, his background. And it's those nice people that give him the motivation to do his best in the gym.
Jared Hamman vs. Constantinos Philippou added to UFC 140 in Toronto
A middleweight contest between Jared Hamman (13-3 MMA, 2-2 UFC) and Constantinos Philippou (8-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) is now official for the UFC's return to Canada.
UFC officials today announced the matchup as the "final" contest on the now 12-bout UFC 140 card.
Featuring a light heavyweight title fight between current champ Jon Jones and former titleholder Lyoto Machida, "UFC 140: Jones vs. Machida" takes place Dec. 10 at Toronto's Air Canada Centre.
The positioning of Hamman vs. Philippo bout on the evening's lineup was not confirmed, but it will likely take place on the evening's preliminary card.
12th and final bout. Very solid card. Can't wait to go.
Dave Huckaba tapped to meet Bobby Lashley at Shark Fights 21
Bobby Lashley's opponent merry-go-round has finally come to rest.
Manager Leland LaBarre today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that Lashley (6-1) has agreed to fight Dave Huckaba (16-4) at Shark Fights 21 for the promotion's heavyweight title. Contracts are expected to be finalized shortly. Champ Darrill Schoonover, who recently withdrew from the event, is expected to relinquish his belt.
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.
UFC middleweight contender Alan Belcher earns Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt
While UFC middleweight contender Alan Belcher generally enters the cage sporting a pair of Muay Thai trunks, he's also registered four submission wins in the octagon.
And now, he's a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt.
Belcher, who began training in the grappling art at just 14 years old, was recently granted the rank of black belt by his longtime instructor, Helio Soneca.
Josh Grispi Sidelined By Family Circumstances
UFC featherweight Josh Grispi hasn't had the best 2011 in the cage so far, but he's dealing with a lot more outside of it. After going 0-2 earlier in the year, he was scheduled to face Matt Grice at UFC 136 but withdrew from the fight. According to a Boston Herald article, it wasn't an injury that forced him out. There was a lot more to it than that:
On Aug.?12, Grispi's first child Josh Jr. was born. Two days later, Josh's father, Richard, was rushed to Tufts Medical Center for emergency surgery to remove a brain tumor the size of a hockey puck. Suffice to say, the two events didn't leave Josh much time to focus on fighting.