UFC 148 to set Nevada gate record
Saturday night's eagerly anticipated UFC middleweight championship rematch between Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen is expected to set a record gate for mixed martial arts in Nevada.
Nevada State Athletic Commission executive director Keith Kizer told ESPN.com that UFC 148 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena will earn near $6.5 million in gross ticket sales, besting a 2006 rematch in the same venue between Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz by $1.1 million.
The gate for Silva-Sonnen 2 will be barely more than half the $12.1 million record figure UFC established in 2011, when 55,724 fans packed Toronto's Rogers Centre to watch Georges St. Pierre defend the welterweight title against Jake Shields. However, UFC 148 is the first MMA event in Nevada that will register among the state's top 35 boxing gates. Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s split decision over Oscar De La Hoya in 2007 tops the list at nearly $18.5 million in gross sales.
Zuffa, which owns and operates UFC, maintains 33 of Nevada's top 35 MMA gates. Before being purchased by Zuffa in 2007, Pride, Japan's most successful MMA organization, delivered consecutive $2 million gates at the Thomas & Mack Center.
Under Zuffa ownership in 2001, UFC's first card in Nevada -- the first MMA event sanctioned by the NSAC -- featured a main event between Ortiz and Vladimir Matyushenko, which brought in a paltry $816,660.
Following win, flyweight Louis Gaudinot waiting for the UFC's call
There's no longer a question of how well flyweights fight into the UFC.
The answer? Pretty darn well.
It's only natural, then, for one of them, Louis Gaudinot (6-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC), to wonder why his phone isn't ringing at the moment. Still unbooked after his first octagon win at UFC on FOX 3, he wants a fight.
"I fought two months ago, and I still done have an opponent lined up," he today told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). "I want to get back in there."
Gaudinot fought at flyweight before bulking up to bantamweight for a stint on "The Ultimate Fighter 14." At the conclusion of the show, he dropped back to 125 pounds and earned a first-round submission win over John Lineker, which won him a $65,000 "Fight of the Night" at UFC on FX 3.
His next step, however, is unknown.
UFC 148 salaries: Tito Ortiz or Forrest Griffin will earn event's top disclosed payday
Tito Ortiz or fellow UFC 148 co-headliner Forrest Griffin will be the top earner at Saturday's event.
Ortiz is set to take home a flat $250,000 in his retirement fight. Rubber-match opponent Forrest Griffin, meanwhile, earns $125,000 to show and will earn an extra $150,000 as a win bonus if victorious.
MMAjunkie.com today confirmed the payouts with Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Keith Kizer.
Bart Palaszewski vs. Diego Nunes targeted for UFC on FX 5 in Indianapolis
The UFC's return to the Indiana state capital appears to have its first fight booking.
Featherweights Bart Palaszewski (36-15 MMA, 1-1 UFC) and Diego Nunes (17-3 MMA, 2-2 UFC) are being targeted for a bout at UFC on FX 5 in Indianapolis. Sources with knowledge of the booking on Thursday confirmed the plans with MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
UFC on FX 5 takes place Sept. 7 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Main-card fights will air on FX. Preliminary-card fights are likely to air on a combination of Facebook and FUEL TV.
Daniel Cormier knows that he may face Cain Velasquez, but he has a plan for it...
Ah, fight week. The time of the month when you are constantly reminded how out of shape you truly are when overly-fit men remove their shirts in front of a global audience of hundreds of thousands of people. You have to come to the realization that your abs will never look as good as your favorite fighter -- regardless of how many carbs you cut. You're just not built to be a fighter, bud. Yesterday, the UFC invited every member of the media to try their hands at training with a handful of MMA fighters and unfortunately LayzieTheSavage didn't participate in any of the strenuous physical activities. That Layzie, always being lazy -- and incorrectly spelling it. Someone needs to buy that guy a dictionary app for his smart phone -- or just tell him how to correctly spell 'lazy.'
Despite LayzieTheSavage's grammatical set backs, he did manage to get this interview of Daniel Cormier talking about eventually facing Cain Velasquez and what he plans to do when that time arrives.
Who Could Be the Next Tito Ortiz for the UFC?
In the realm of UFC history, Tito Ortiz certainly was original.
No he wasn’t around during the time of the first UFC events that Royce Gracie ruled with an iron grip, but Ortiz was without question the first “rock star” of the Octagon.
A fighter who knew how to combine his aggressive and attacking style in the cage with persona and charisma outside of it, Ortiz was the original star of mixed martial arts long before pay-per-views reached one million buys.
But now just days away from his final fight at UFC 148, Ortiz is about to step into the UFC Hall of Fame, retire and pass the torch he helped light on to the next generation of competitors.
Tim Tebow joins MMA craze
Tim Tebow has already gotten bigger. Now, according to TMZ, he's getting badder by taking up MMA training with the famed Gracie family.
New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow is among many NFL players to incorporate MMA workouts in their offseason routines. Gracie tweeted a welcome to the New York Jets quarterback and later added that "He's a natural!"
Tebow is among many NFL players to incorporate MMA workouts in their offseason routines.
The Gracie family is legendary for its Brazilian jiu-jitsu prowess. The martial art is a self-defense system that focuses on ground-fighting and is known for enabling smaller combatants to ward off bigger foes with savvy use of leverage and technique
After setbacks, UFC 148's Rafaello Oliveira plans to make good on second UFC stint
Rafaello Oliveira's record outside the UFC is good. Great, in fact. But in the UFC, he's staggered.
Although he's 0-2 in his second octagon stint and faces a likely pink slip with a loss to Yoislandy Izquierdo (6-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) at Saturday's UFC 148 event, Oliveira (14-5 MMA, 1-4 UFC) doesn't seem the least bit worried.
"I'm really grateful to be back in the UFC, and I plan to stay here," Oliveira told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). "I want to be champion in the UFC one day. That's my dream."
Oliveira vs. Izquierdo is part of the FX-televised prelims of UFC 148, which takes place Saturday at MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas. Main-card fights air on pay-per-view.
Oliveira's back has already been against the wall. He left the UFC with a lackluster 1-2 record that was capped by a unanimous-decision loss to Andre Winner at UFC Fight Night 21. But when he went back to the drawing board, he said he didn't panic about getting re-signed by the promotion.
D.J. Linderman vs. Dale Mitchell added to Legacy FC 12, Jay Hieron awaits new opponent
A heavyweight contest between D.J. Linderman (12-3) and Dale Mitchell (5-4) has been added to next week's Legacy Fighting Championship 12 event.
Additionally, Mike Bronzoulis has suffered an injury in training, leaving Jay Hieron (22-5) awaiting a new opponent.
Featuring a battle between Will Campuzano and Chad Robichaux for Legacy FC's vacant flyweight title, Legacy Fighting Championship 12 takes place July 13 at Houston's Arena Theater. The evening's main card airs on AXS TV (formerly HDNet).
Linderman looks to build on the strength of a two-fight win streak that includes a June victory over Mike Hayes for Cage Warriors Fighting Championship's heavyweight title. Linderman previously fought at light heavyweight and made it to the semifinals of Bellator Fighting Championships' season-four light heavyweight tournament before losing a split decision to Richard Hale.
Stephan Bonnar wants big-money Forrest Griffin trilogy regardless of UFC 148
Win or lose Saturday night at UFC 148 versus Tito Ortiz, Forrest Griffin is Stephan Bonnar's next opponent if "The American Psycho" gets his wish of a trilogy fight with the former UFC light-heavyweight champion.
The Las Vegas-based Bonnar understands UFC president Dana White recently shot down a recent Twitter campaign to have "The Ultimate Fighter 1" finalists coach prospective UFC fighters on the upcoming 16th season.
Still, the 35-year-old wants to meet again the man he battled for 15 minutes in April 2005. The instant classic earned the "greatest fight in UFC history" tag because – as White often points out – it's the most important. Those three rounds became the Bonnar-Griffin Boom, which ushered in the UFC's defining six years on Spike TV and pay-per-view leading to the octagon's arrival on FOX in November.
UFC 148's Patrick Cote back in UFC to go after another shot at middleweight belt
Patrick Cote was released from the UFC after three consecutive losses from 2008 to 2010.
But he never left the octagon, at least mentally.
"It wasn't like they fired me because they didn't like me or something," Cote (17-7 MMA, 4-7 UFC) said in advance of his bout with Cung Le (7-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) at UFC 148. "They fired me because they had a business to run and I lost three in a row. That's all.
"But I had to prove it – my place in the UFC – and that's what I did in my last four fights."
After racking up a five-fight win streak, the heavy-handed Cote fought champ Anderson Silva for the title at UFC 90 and lost when he blew his knee out in the third round. A submission loss to Alan Belcher at UFC 113 and decision loss to Tom Lawlor at UFC 121 preceded his pink slip.
Cote actually still had a job with the promotion after he was released from his fight contract. He served as a commentator for the French-language broadcast team. But as good as it was to be near the action, he couldn't be in it.
Retire from life? Maybe, but UFC 148's Griffin won't retire from fighting after Ortiz
If Forrest Griffin (18-7 MMA, 9-5 UFC) is anything, he's a creature of habit, whether that habit is self-loathing, sarcasm or training.
The former two have endeared the former light heavyweight champ to fans since his win on "The Ultimate Fighter 1." The latter has kept him going after setbacks, and will keep him going after he fights former champ Tito Ortiz (16-10-1 MMA, 15-10-1 UFC) at UFC 148.
"I like training camps," Griffin said today. "You've got to get out of bed and do something, and wrestling around with dudes is what I want to do."
The subject of retirement was in the air today during a Q&A session in support of UFC 148, which takes place Saturday at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas (main-card fights air on pay-per-view while prelims air on FX). The co-main event between Griffin and Ortiz serves not only as a rubber match but also as Ortiz's retirement fight.
UFC 148's Cung Le not thinking retirement without first getting a UFC victory
After turning 40 this past May, Cung Le feels the toll a long fighting career has taken on his body.
Does he feel them enough to think about hanging up the gloves to focus 100 percent on his other passion, movies? Le isn't sure – but he does know he sure would like his first UFC win before retirement.
"We'll see (about retirement)," Le told MMAjunkie.com. "I never look ahead. I'm one of those guys, I'm in the moment. Every day I wake up is a blessing. I have this day, and I'm going to live in this day. I can't look toward tomorrow because tomorrow's not promised."
UFC inks light heavyweight Jimi Manuwa for UFC on FUEL TV 5
Undefeated light-heavyweight prospect Jimi Manuwa (11-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) has signed a multi-fight deal with the UFC.
UFC officials and Manuwa today announced the signing, though exact terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The Nigerian-English fighter is expected to make his promotional debut at UFC on FUEL TV 5, which takes place in England in September.
UFC on FUEL TV 5 is set for Sept. 29 at Capital FM Arena in Nottingham, England. The main card airs live on FUEL TV (Saturday afternoon in the U.S.) following prelims on Facebook. It's not clear where Manuwa, who awaits an opponent, will end up on the lineup.
Manuwa launched his pro career in 2008 with just three weeks of training. However, he's breezed through competition with 11 stoppages victories (nine in the first round) in 11 career fights. All of the wins but one have come via knockout/TKO.
UFC on FUEL TV 5 adds Tom Watson-Brad Tavares, John Maguire-John Hathaway
The UFC has added two fights and three English fighters to September's UFC on FUEL TV 5 event.
Middleweight notable Tom Watson (15-4 MMA, 0-0 UFC) has signed a multi-fight deal and rides an 11-1 streak into his promotional debut against Brad Tavares (8-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC).
Additionally, welterweight John Maguire (18-3 MMA, 2-0 UFC) meets fellow English fighter John Hathaway (16-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC) at the event, officials today announced.
BAMMA Champion Tom Watson Joins UFC
BAMMA champion Tom Watson has joined the UFC.
The British middleweight was released from his BAMMA contract and allowed to answer the UFC call-up, with his debut likely to take place on the card in Nottingham this September.
Watson rides a three-fight win streak into the UFC with victories over Alex Reid, Murilo ‘Ninja’ Rua and Jack Marshman.
Another UFC 149 Matchup Change - Claude Patrick out, Brian Ebersole in vs James Head
Why can't I go to Calgary
UFC 149, schedule for July 21, 2012 in Calgary, has yet another change on the fight card due to injury. The UFC has announced Claude Patrick has suffered a knee injury and will not be competing against James Head in the welterweight division. Instead, Brian Ebersole and his “Hairrow” will be filling in.
For Ebersole, this will be only a month out from a hard fought unanimous decision win over TJ Waldburger on the UFC on FX 4 card that took place on June 22. He is now riding an 11 fight win streak, 4 of which are wins in the UFC.
Claude Patrick will be added to the long list of UFC 149 casualties. Jose Aldo, Thiago Alves, Yoshihiro Akiyama, Michael Bisping, Siyar Bahadurzada, Thiago Silva and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira all were scheduled for the card but are unable to compete due to injuries.
Massive fan of James, huge fan of Ebersole, painful match for me to watch
But a lot more of a winnable fight for James but still a massive step up in competition. I don't want to see a loser