Ex-Bellator champ Joe Soto cleared to fight, targeted for Tachi Palace 10
Although his career once was in jeopardy due to a detached retina, first-ever Bellator featherweight champion Joe Soto is returning to the cage.
Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmjaunkie.com) the fighter has been cleared by his doctor and the California State Athletic Commission.
While still under contract to Bellator, Soto is slated for a return at Tachi Palace Fights 10 on Aug. 4.
With Bellator's permission, Soto (9-1) is expected to meet Hawaiian fight veteran Eddie Yagin (13-4-1) at the event, possibly in the night's headliner. According to Tachi Fights promoter Jeremy Luchau, Soto replaces Isaac De Jesus at the event. Verbal agreements are in place for the fight.
Search Underway for Missing Arizona MMA Fighter Todd Whitzel
Search is currently underway for 27-year-old Arizona professional mixed martial arts fighter and Rage in the Cage veteran Todd M. Whitzel, who has been missing for 12 days.
Whitzel was last seen at a little neighborhood bar called “The Wagon Wheel” in Picture Rocks, Ariz., a subdivision on the outskirts of Tucson, late Thursday evening, May 12, 2011.
Whitzel’s aunt, Michelle Estala, contacted ProMMAnow.com (www.prommanow.com) with the news over the weekend in order to get the word out to the MMA community, hoping someone may come forward with information regarding Whitzel’s whereabouts.
According to Estala, Whitzel was involved in an altercation against two men outside the bar when a group of men from inside came out and joined in. At this point, apparently a gun was pulled by a friend of Whitzel’s to keep the crowd at bay, giving Whitzel time enough to escape on his Harley Davidson motorcycle with his friend on the back.
Estala stated, according to the friend, Whitzel dropped him off at his home about four minutes away. He asked Whitzel to stay but he declined and said he needed to go. That was the last anyone has seen or heard from Todd Whitzel.
Whitzel’s aunt said his girlfriend made a call to his mobile phone at 3:01 a.m. early Friday morning, May 13. The phone was answered and she stayed on the call for 23 minutes calling out for Whitzel but all she could hear was the motorcycle, until finally, the bike shut off and she heard a dog bark but there was still no response.
She hung up and repeatedly tried to call back to no avail until around 5:30 a.m. when either Whitzel’s phone was shut off or the battery went dead.
Estala said Whitzel is not the type of person to just take off somewhere and not let anyone know. Aside from being close with his family he is also the single father of two young sons, ages four and two. The two-year-old lives with his mother, but Magnus, the four-year-old, lives with Whitzel.
ProMMAnow.com spoke with Whitzel’s mother, Glenda Whitzel, this morning via phone while she was in the desert searching for any signs of her son, or his motorcycle which is still missing. This is something she has been doing for the last ten days.
“We’re in the desert looking for buzzards to see where they’re landing, to see if we can find his body,” said Ms. Whitzel.
She said the Marana and Pima County police were currently attempting to get a court order to find the location of the tower where her son’s mobile phone was last used, a process that could still take another day or two.
There have been complaints from the family regarding the local law enforcement’s seeming unwillingness to get involved. Our call to the Marana Police Department regarding the case has not been returned.
Todd Whitzel never won a UFC title. Most of you have never heard of Todd. But the fact he was a professional mixed martial arts fighter means he was still part of this family, and the fact he was willing to get inside that cage and stand toe-to-toe with another man gives us at least an inkling of the type of person he is.
Todd’s last professional fight on record took place at Rage in the Cage 119 in Nov. 2008 at the Desert Diamond Casino in Tucson, Ariz. He defeated Joshua Bossardet via kimura submission in the third round.
If anyone has any information relating to Todd Whitzel’s location or this case please contact Sgt. Alvarez at the Marana Police Department in Marana, Ariz., at 520-382-2000.
Name: Todd M. Whitzel
Height: 5' 10?
Weight: 165 lbs.
Recognizable features: Has an Ace of Spades tattoo on the back of head
Last seen: 5-11-11 on a 2007 Harley Davidson motorcycle near Tucson, Ariz.
Although "TUF 13" run ended in eye surgery, Zach Davis isn't set on retirement
Zach Davis wishes things would have turned out differently, but he feels proud of what he did on "The Ultimate Fighter 13."
As seen in Wednesday's new episode, Davis lost his fight to Chuck O'Neil in the quarterfinal round of the reality-show tournament.
But a far more devastating blow was dealt to his career when a UFC doctor discovered tears in both his retinas after the bout and opted to perform immediate corrective surgery. Afterward, the doctor said he'd never fight again.
"The Ultimate Fighter 13" ratings again hit season low for episode No. 9
Despite a solid two-fight episode and some of the season's best drama, ratings for the ninth episode of "The Ultimate Fighter 13: Team Lesnar vs. Team Dos Santos" matched a season-low 1.0 million viewers.
Spike TV officials today emailed the ratings information to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
Wednesday's episode scored an overall household rating of 0.9, as well as 1.0 among men 18-49 and a 0.9 among men 18-34.
Thiago Alves’ UFC 130 Message to Rick Story: “Be Careful What You Wish For”
Thiago Alves has never been in the business of calling other fighters out.
Sure, he’s asked for a title shot like any top ranked welterweight, but the Brazilian doesn’t believe in calling out anybody for a fight, he just fights the best in the world and whoever the UFC puts in the cage with him.
So it was a little surprising to Alves when he heard that Rick Story was calling him out for a fight. Sure, Story has gone 5-1 in the UFC, and is on the rise in the welterweight division, so in many ways Alves took the statement as a compliment.
MFC 30: Drew Fickett and Brian Cobb will get 'Up Close & Personal' on June 10
Maximum Fighting Championship (MFC) has signed world-ranked lightweight Brian "The Bandit" Cobb to a multi-fight contract that will include his debut bout in the main event at MFC 30: Up Close & Personal.
Cobb (18-6) will meet top title contender Drew "Night Rider" Fickett (41-13) in a three-round, non-title affair on Friday, June 10 at the Mayfield Conference Centre in Edmonton, Alberta. HDNet Fights will air the event live, including the evening's co-main event of Pete "The Secret Weapon" Spratt against "The Irish Hand Grenade" Marcus Davis, beginning at 10 p.m. ET/8 p.m. MT/7 p.m. PT (check local listings for channel designation).
"I am very excited about this matchup," said Mark Pavelich, MFC Owner/President. "Brian Cobb is someone who has been on our radar for some time, and I think this is the perfect time to bring him in.
Paulo Thiago vs. David Mitchell official for UFC 134 prelims
A welterweight matchup between Paulo Thiago (13-3 MMA, 3-3 UFC) and David Mitchell (11-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) is official for August's UFC 134 event.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) previously passed along news of the bout, and UFC executives since have made it official.
UFC 134 takes place Aug. 27 at HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro and marks the UFC's first Brazil event since 1998.
"Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum" main card set, prelims get "JZ"-Wilcox, Almeida-Heun
Gesias "JZ" Cavalcante finally has a fight.
After sitting in limbo for several months following a narrow decision loss to Josh Thomson this past October, Cavalcante (15-4-1 MMA, 0-1 SF) meets rising star Justin Wilcox (11-3 MMA, 5-1 SF) at "Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum."
The bout has joined a fellow fight of lightweights Conor Heun (8-4 MMA, 0-2 SF) vs. Magno Almeida (9-1 MMA, 0-0 SF) on the night's preliminary card.
Belcher vs. MacDonald, Yang vs. McGee added to UFC Fight Night 25
"UFC Fight Night 25: Battle on the Bayou" has its first two fights.
UFC officials today announced that verbal agreements are in place for middleweights Alan Belcher (16-6 MMA, 7-4 UFC) vs. Jason MacDonald (25-14 MMA, 6-6 UFC) and middleweights Court McGee (13-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) vs. Dongi Yang (10-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC).
UFC Fight Night 25 takes place Sept. 17 in New Orleans, and the night's main card airs on Spike TV.
The placement of Belcher vs. MacDonald and McGee vs. Yang on the card isn't currently known.
Mirko Cro Cop Decides Against Retirement, Will Fight One More Time for UFC
LAS VEGAS -- After Mirko Cro Cop's last fight in the octagon, it was thought he was headed for retirement.
Now it turns out, that was a bit premature.
UFC president Dana White on Wednesday said that Cro Cop asked for and will receive the final agreed-upon fight from his contract at a future date to be determined.
White stated that he and Cro Cop (27-9-2, 1 no decision) had made a deal, and he would "honor my deal." He offered no further details as to when or who he would face in the bout.
Over his last 11 fights, the once-feared heavyweight star is 5-5 with one no contest, and has been knocked unconscious three times in the last four years. Each of his last two fights -- one against Frank Mir, the other against Brendan Schaub -- have ended with Cro Cop KO'd.
UFC boss says discretionary bonuses sign of generosity, not devious business plans
LAS VEGAS – For many MMA fans, it has become a post-UFC-event tradition: Wait for the night's salaries to be made public and then dissect them like some high-school biology project.
But of course, there's always that little asterisk at the bottom of our reports. The salaries, while reflective of each fighter's contract, don't include the UFC's famed "discretionary bonuses."
The UFC's procedure of compensating fighters through non-contracted payments often has drawn the ire of critics who assume the promotion must be doing something sinister with the procedure. Not so, said UFC president Dana White. There's nothing to hide. His company just happens to believe in sharing the wealth.
HKL Exclusive with Jorge Santiago: Talks of His Return to the UFC and New Beginnings
I spoke with Jorge Santiago yesterday about his return to the UFC. He's been on a fantastic run in his career and is finally ready to make an impact in the UFC's Middleweight Division. However, this isn't the only new beginning in his life, Santiago also spoke about starting a new team called Imperial with JZ and Rashad Evans. His opponent in Brian Stann will be facing the best Jorge Santiago and one that has a new found maturity.
Follow him on twitter this week at @SantiagoMMA
Dana White: UFC open to pension program for retired fighters
LAS VEGAS – UFC parent company Zuffa LLC made headlines earlier this month when it announced a new accident-insurance policy for the 350 or so fighters under its umbrella.
The move was not only seen as measure of its commitment to protecting the health and safety of its fighters both in and of the cage, but a strong counter to talks of unionization that heated up in the wake of the company's purchase of rival promotion Strikeforce.
Today, UFC president Dana White took a cue from former light-heavyweight champion Quinton Jackson to express his openness to the idea of a pension fund for retired fighters.
Todd Moore vs. Mike Bronzoulis targeted for "Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum"
A bout between WEC veteran Todd Moore (13-4 MMA, 0-0 SF) and fellow promotional newcomer Mike Bronzoulis (12-2-1 MMA, 0-0 SF) is in the works for next month's "Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum" event.
Sources close to the event told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) the welterweight bout is in the process of being finalized.
Bronzoulis's management team at KO Dynasty said their fighter has signed a four-fight deal with the promotion.
Which Rounds Did GSP Lose at UFC 129? Official Scorecards Released
It was a few weeks ago when Georges St-Pierre defeated Jake Shields at UFC 129 in Toronto, but now the official scorecard has been released finally showing how the judges scored the fight.
The real relevance here is GSP had gone 30 rounds without losing a single round on a judge’s scorecard, but at UFC 129, according to two judges, the champion lost two rounds during the fight.
The final scorecard comes courtesy of the Ontario Athletics Commission.
Dana White: Georges St. Pierre and Nick Diaz Will Not Coach TUF 14
Dana White did an interview with HeavyMMA.com's Megan Olivi yesterday, and managed to pack a lot of info into a short amount of time. Earlier today, Mike Fagan covered the tail end of the interview that dealt with Dana's reaction to the Chael Sonnen saga. The beginning of the interview covers some pretty big news as well though - namely, Dana White is very firm about the fact that Georges St. Pierre vs. Nick Diaz is not close to happening, and they won't be on a certain reality show anytime soon:
Dana: "That fight is not a done deal, and I guarantee you that those two will not be coaches (on TUF 14). Not even close. All the stuff that's out there about that fight and the meeting we had here is all bulls--t."
Olivi: "Fair enough. So we won't be seeing that fight at UFC 140 in Montreal?"
Sonnen's attorney chews out Josh Gross
Chael Sonnen's Attorney Raffi Nahabedian takes issue with ESPN's Josh Gross for statements made on on MMA Live and Twitter
We have known each other for some time and I had an ongoing respect for you and your reporting. However, I think there is a growing disconnect with my beliefs.
I just watched your interview on MMA Live regarding Chael Sonnen and I respectfully disagree with the manner the information was presented and that crucial information that was purposely left out.
In regards to the testimony issue, there is a continued blatant oversight and disregard for Chael’s testimony/responses to Commissioner Zinkin that fully clarify, explain and vitiate his statement that “he [Chael] spoke to Kizer.” If you read the transcript of Chael’s responses to Commissioner Zinkin (and, perhaps, print them for the public to read), Chael made it unambiguously clear what he meant – “my management and/or my manager.” As someone who represents people/companies, it is not uncommon to hear clients who are represented by agents, managers and attorneys to speak in such a manner (i.e. that they s poke to so-n-so or handled “y” matter). While the initial tweet about Chael’s initial comment is plausibly understandable (solely from the perspective that people like to create controversy to increase readers/viewers), there would not have been such an over zealous and unfounded determination to crucify Chael if there was some responsible journalistic follow-up reporting clarifying Chael’s subsequent testimony. Specifically, what he testified to in response to Commissioner Zinkin (no different than the CSAC issuing a retraction of its incorrect press release and subsequent clarification of its decision). The person who made the initial tweet should have done this which would have eliminated a lot of problems for everyone – Sonnen, Kizer, CSAC, etc.