Melendez-Kawajiri Expected For 4/9 SF, HWGP Likely Pushed Back To June
Although the second part of the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix's opening round likely will be delayed until June, some other participants are being slotted for the organization's April show. A lightweight title fight between champion Gilbert Melendez and Tatsuya Kawajiri is expected to be a featured bout at the April 9 event. According to ESPN.com's Josh Gross, the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix likely will conclude on June 18 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, not on April 9 as first planned. No host city or venue have been finalized for the April show, but Oakland's Oracle Arena is a leading candidate.
Paul Daley Apologizes for Missing Weight, Promises To Redeem Himself on Saturday
As BAMMA 5 approaches tomorrow, the main event hit a bump in the road when main event fighter Paul Daley missed weight turning his 5 round title fight against Yuya Shirai into a 3 round non-title fight.
The British heavy hitter was not happy with missing weight and issued the following statement following the BAMMA events on Friday. He also included a special message to Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz as well.
“I apologize to Shirai and the fans for missing weight,” Daley said. “Although the fight is 3 rounds now I only need 1 round to knock him out. The fans come to see me win the title but I promise them, title or not, I’ll win this fight and win it in style.
“Then I’m going after Diaz and I want to send him out the message that I mean business with my performance tomorrow night.”
The weight cutting bug also bit former UFC heavyweight champion Ricco Rodriguez, who failed to cut to the 215lb catchweight limit agreed to with his opponent James McSweeney.
NSAC budget cuts eliminate out-of-competition drug testing; Kizer seeks alternatives
A budget crunch has left the Nevada State Athletic Commission unable to employ one of the most significant deterrents to the use of performance enhancing drugs in professional competition.
Two years after the influential regulatory body announced it would conduct out-of-competition drug testing, legislators completely withdrew funding for the program.
The NSAC will soon decide whether to press legislators on a proposal to reinstate testing, possibly by diverting funds within the commission's budget.
"What we're trying to do is find alternative sources of revenue," NSAC Executive Director Keith Kizer told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
The NSAC began out-of-competition in the summer of 2008 after successfully petitioning the legislature to set aside money from the state's general fund. The commission received $18,000 for the 2008-2009 fiscal year (July 2008 to June 2009) and conducted between 40 and 50 tests, according to Kizer.
UFC 84 main-event fighters B.J. Penn and Sean Sherk, as well as co-main event fighters Lyoto Machida and Tito Ortiz, were among the first to be tested in the new program. Machida and Rashad Evans were the last MMA headliners to be tested out of competition at UFC 98. None of the out-of-competition tests came back positive for performance enhancers or drugs of abuse.
With state governments around the country tightening their belts amid a widening recession, the NSAC's budget for out-of-competition testing was reduced to $12,000 in fiscal year 2009-2010. Regulators then asked the commission to give back all of the money before the year's end, Kizer said.
Gegard Mousasi vs. Roger Gracie In Talks for April 9 Strikeforce Card
While the April 9 Strikeforce fight card is still up in the air in many ways, fighters are being contacted about appearing on the show.
The latest fight in talks for the card pits former light heavyweight champion Gegard Mousasi against multiple time grappling champion Roger Gracie.
While no bout agreements have been issued, sources have indicated to MMAWeekly.com that the fighters have at least verbally agreed to the match-up at this point.
Alan Jouban vs. Jamie Yager set for Tachi Palace Fights 9 on May 6
After a stunning 15-second knockout in his professional debut over prospect Kyle Griffin, 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu disciple Alan Jouban (1-0) now meets "The Ultimate Fighter 11" cast member Jamie Yager (3-2) in a welterweight contest.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) has learned from Tachi Palace Fights officials that Jouban and Yager have agreed to meet at Tachi Palace Fights 9.
Featuring a lightweight matchup between UFC veterans Fabricio Camoes and Efrain Escudero, Tachi Palace Fights 9 takes place May 6 at the Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino in Lemoore, Calif.
UFC On Versus 3 Official With 11 Fights, Koch Now Off
UFC today announced that UFC On Versus 3 is again official, but this time with only 11 fights. With UFC unable to find a short-notice replacement for injured Cub Swanson, original opponent Erik Koch is now off as a result. Koch is expected to be added to an upcoming card.
UFC fighter Te Huna donates to Earthquake Appeal
Sydney based New Zealander James Te Huna will return to the cage this weekend and has generously offered all of his match earnings to go to victims of the New Zealand earthquake.
At UFC 110, Te Huna made his octagon debut in front of a parochial hometown crowd. After breaking his arm in the first round, blocking a head kick by opponent Igor Pokrajac, Te Huna powered on to win via TKO in the third round. That brave performance was followed by 12 months of arduous rehabilitation and this weekend he finally returns to the cage.
Outside of his generous sponsors that include PC Group and Boost Mobile, his fight against dangerous striker Alexander Gustaffson at UFC 127 also presents his first pay cheque for fighting in a year. Te Huna did not need to look to far on where to spend it.
Vinny Magalhaes vs. Jake Doerr in the works for M-1 Challenge on Showtime
Two-time UFC veteran Vinny Magalhaes has already been announced as a participant at March's "M-1 Challenge: Damkovsky vs. Figueroa," and now his opponent is all but official.
MMAjunkie.com has learned from sources close to the organization that Magalhaes and undefeated Wisconsin native Jake Doerr have verbally agreed to meet in the evening's co-main event, though bout agreements have yet to be finalized.
Shark Fights Partners with HDNet, Debuts March 11
Texas-based MMA promotion Shark Fights has signed a broadcast deal with HDNet and will make its network debut on March 11. The network confirmed rumors of the HDNet-Shark Fights partnership via Twitter on Friday. Terms of the deal were not immediately known.
BAMMA 5: Paul Daley Misses Weight, Loses Title Shot
400 grams. That's the margin – 0.881849 pounds for you non-metric people – by which Paul Daley missed weight for his welterweight title fight against Yuya Shirai at BAMMA 5, according to manager Wad Alameddine. As a result, the fight is now a 3-round NON-TITLE fight and Daley will be fined an undisclosed percentage of his fight purse, which will go to Shirai. Daley was 2 pounds overweight on his first try.
Charlie Sheen Rants Leads Dana White To Invite Him To Fight Chuck Lorre At UFC 127
Seriously. "BJ Penn is fighting Jon Fitch on Saturday ... [Charlie and Chuck] are more than welcome to be the co-main event. I have Charlie Sheen by brutal knockout." For those who haven't heard yet, after Sheen's recent defamatory radio rant production on his top-rated sitcom "Two And A Half Men" was cancelled for the rest of the season. Supposedly there was a threat from one towards the other involving beating the guy up in the Octagon.
UFC 127: Kenny Florian Says Jon Fitch's New Vegan Diet Removed His Size Advantage Against BJ Penn
"I know you mentioned him walking around at 200lbs, that is definitely the case. However, I just was with him at the last UFC in Vegas [UFC 126] he's actually walking around at 176lbs," Florian stated. "He's a vegan now. He's 100 percent vegan. He's changed his whole lifestlye. And the first thing I said to him 'Man, you're looking pretty darn skinny' and he said, 'yeah, I'm a vegan now and I'm 176lbs right now'. That is actually I hear maybe even a concern with people in his own camp."
"Listen, I think B.J. Penn always has a chance. The guy's extremely dangerous on his feet. He's going to be a little bit tougher to take down than Jon Fitch thinks. I would give even more of a chance to Jon Fitch if it was a five-rounder. At three rounds, I give a little bit more of a chance to B.J [Penn] because I think a three-round B.J. [Penn] is different than a five-round B.J. [Penn]. A three-round B.J. [Penn] will go for it right from the outset. He'll be very aggressive. He'll kind of just let it loose for every single round. As soon as that bell starts. I noticed a five-round B.J. [Penn], he really paces himself, he's really unsure of the pace he needs to go at."
Featherweight Manny Gamburyan out at UFC 128 in New Jersey
Top featherweight contender Manny Gamburyan will have to wait a little longer to make his return to the octagon.
MMAjunkie.com has confirmed that a back injury has forced Gamburyan out of a planned UFC 128 contest with Raphael Assuncao.
Featuring a light heavyweight title fight between champion Mauricio "Shogun" Rua and rising star Jon Jones, UFC 128 takes place March 19 at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
New Jersey commission: Emelianenko will honor suspension, not fight in sambo tourney
Fedor Emelianenko (31-3 MMA, 1-2 SF) will pass on competing in combat sambo to honor a medical suspension issued to him by the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board.
NJSACB legal counsel Nick Lembo today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that Emelianenko's camp has assured him the heavyweight won't participate in a national sambo tournament to be held this weekend in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Sambo is a martial art system originally developed for the Russian military and bears many similarities to MMA in its emphasis on both striking and grappling. It's considered a national sport in Russia, and many competitions are held worldwide.
Emelianenko, a longtime sambo devotee, received two medical suspensions following a TKO loss to Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva in the quarterfinals of the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix, which was held Feb. 12 at IZOD Center in East Rutherford, N.J. He was suspended indefinitely pending a clear CT scan of his head and facial bones and also suspended 90 days for strikes to the head, as MMAjunkie.com previously reported.
Alexander-Irvin Rematch Ticketed for Shark Fights 14
Their first encounter lasted all of eight seconds.
UFC exiles Houston Alexander and James Irvin will meet for a second time in a featured light heavyweight tilt at Shark Fights 14 on March 11 at the Fair Park Coliseum in Lubbock, Texas. Alexander on Thursday announced the rematch via Twitter. Irvin knocked out “The Assassin” with a Superman punch at UFC Fight Night 13 in April 2008.
Alexander (Pictured), who turns 39 next month, will carry a two-fight winning streak into the rematch. He last appeared at Shark Fights 13 in September, when he stopped Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou on second-round punches at the Amarillo Civic Center in Amarillo, Texas. An East St. Louis, Ill., native, Alexander burst on the scene in 2007 with consecutive first-round finishes over Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts representative Keith Jardine and American Top Team’s Alessio Sakara. However, he lost each of his next four UFC fights and was cut by the promotion following his unanimous decision defeat to Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson at “The Ultimate Fighter 10” Finale in December 2009.
Fedor to Fight Again This Weekend
Fedor Emelianenko's participation in Combat Sambo ignores a 90-day medical suspension issued by the New Jersey Athletic Control Board for head strikes following the loss to Antonio Silva. ...The state regulatory agency also prohibited Emelianenko from fighting pending a CT scan of his head and facial bones.
Representatives for Emelianenko did not respond to questions about the heavyweight's decision to compete despite athletic commission medical suspensions.
'Barao' and Johnson Expected to Meet at UFC's TUF 13 Finale
Two of the UFC’s most exciting 135-pound prospects are set to collide, as “Mighty Mouse” Demetrious Johnson and once-beaten Brazilian Renan “Barao” Pegado have agreed to square off at the UFC’s “Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale” on June 4 in Las Vegas at the The Pearl at the Palms Casino Resort.
Sherdog.com confirmed the match-up with a source close to the fight on Thursday.
The 24-year-old Johnson notched the biggest win of his career in his Feb. 5 UFC debut, dominating Japanese star Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto in a one-sided unanimous decision at UFC 126. Prior to entering the Octagon, the Matt Hume pupil scored back-to-back wins in World Extreme Cagefighting, besting Damacio Page and Nick Pace. The lone defeat on Johnson’s 9-1 ledger came at the hands of Brad Pickett in his April 2010 WEC debut.
Cub Swanson Off UFC On Versus 3
The recent run of injuries continues to claim fighters on upcoming UFC events, the latest victim is Cub Swanson, who is now off UFC On Versus 3 due to an undisclosed injury suffered in training. He was to have faced Erik Koch. UFC is looking for a short-notice replacement.
Update: There will be no replacement.
Welterweight champ Nick Diaz at ready for April 9 Strikeforce event
Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz could defend his title a third time on short notice at an as-yet-unannounced event planned for April 9, though it's far too early to call it a done deal.
Diaz has been told to be ready for a fight on that date, according to manager Cesar Gracie, but has yet to receive an opponent.
"We don't have anybody that's set," Gracie today told MMAjunkie.com