Chuck Liddell retires and becomes VP of business development for the UFC
LAS VEGAS – Chuck Liddell officially is retired from the UFC cage, but "The Iceman's" career isn't over.
The UFC Hall of Famer and former champion has turned in his fight gloves for a spot in the UFC's front office.
The 41-year-old MMA legend and business-school graduate today was named the UFC's executive vice president of business development.
"He's now on level and on par with all the top executives," UFC president Dana White said at today's pre-UFC 125 press conference at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
An emotional Liddell briefly addressed the media and fans. He thanked the UFC for a memorable career and said he looks forward to promoting a sport he helped put on the map.
"I love this sport, and I'm ready for a new chapter in my career," he said.
Urijah Faber vs Eddie Wineland at UFC 128
A battle between former WEC champs is brewing for the UFC's third trip to New Jersey.
Urijah Faber (24-4 MMA, 0-0 UFC), once tops in the featherweight class before his reinvention as a bantamweight, is expected to meet Eddie Wineland (18-6-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC), the first-ever 135-pound champion, at UFC 128.
Bart Palaszewski Headed to UFC
While lightweights Jamie Varner and Chris Horodecki's respective WEC contracts won't be carried over to the UFC, veteran 155-pounder Bart Palaszewski was fortunate enough to have his deal brought over to the organization.
MMA Fighting confirmed the news with Palaszewski's manager, Brian Butler of SuckerPunch Entertainment, Tuesday evening.
No word on when "Bartimus" will make his UFC debut just yet.
Overeem vs. Duffee (Finally) Official For Dynamite!!, Special Rules Detailed
A previously reported heavyweight bout between Alistair Overeem and recent UFC castoff Todd Duffee now is set for Friday's DREAM "Dynamite!! 2010" event. Before the recent booking of Duffee, DREAM officials talked about Overeem possibly fighting for the organization's first-ever heavyweight title. However, officials said it's currently slated as a regular fight with three five-minute rounds.
UFC Cuts Tyler Toner
After getting his big-time shot after the WEC-UFC merger, it's one and done in the main promotion for Tyler Toner, who has been released by UFC. Toner went 1-1 in WEC, then following the merger made his UFC debut at the TUF 12 Finale and lost to Ian Loveland.
Strikeforce champ Nick Diaz signs multi-year contract extension
Strikeforce welterweight champion and potential free agent Nick Diaz (23-7 MMA, 4-0 SF) will not test the open market.
Strikeforce officials today announced that the popular and sometimes controversial Diaz has signed a new multi-year agreement with Strikeforce.
"I'm looking forward to continuing my career with Strikeforce," Diaz stated in today's release.
Exact terms of the new contract were not revealed.
Diaz debuted for Strikeforce in the main event of the April 2009 event "Strikeforce: Shamrock vs. Diaz." Diaz earned a second-round TKO over Shamrock, and the California native hasn't looked back since.
Diaz has ripped through Strikeforce's welterweight division with one-sided wins over K.J. Noons and Scott Smith, and he's also handled a Lithuanian import in Marius Zaromskis, as well as a trip to Japan to face Hayato "Mach" Sakurai.
Jamie Varner released
Two-time UFC veteran Jamie Varner will have to wait to make his triumphant return to the octagon.
Following a recent four-fight winless streak, the former WEC champion was released by Zuffa officials.
News of the roster move was first reported by PunchDrunkGamer.com, and MMAjunkie.com subsequently confirmed Varner's release with his management.
Lightweight Chris Horodecki cut from Zuffa roster
Chris Horodecki (16-3 MMA, 2-2 WEC) is the latest fighter to be released from Zuffa's lightweight roster.
The 23-year-old London, Ontario, Canada, native was submitted by Donald Cerrone at WEC 53 in the promotion's final event before ceding its talent to the UFC.
"One door closes and another one opens," Horodecki today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "I'll be back sooner than later."
The baby-faced striker went 2-2 in his stint with the WEC with wins over Danny Downes and Ed Ratcliff and losses to Cerrone and Anthony Njokuani.
The loss to Njokuani was particularly devastating. Six months after returning to the cage, Horodecki wound up on the wrong side of a highlight reel when Nojuanki knocked him out with a head kick in the first round of his promotion debut at WEC 45. Horodecki had spent a year-plus on the bench in the wake of the International Fight League's late 2008 collapse.
Todd Duffee's New Year's Gamble
For a certain kind of MMA fighter, New Year's Eve in Japan represents a simple math problem. It's about risk versus reward, money versus pain and embarrassment, and, more often than not, overflowing optimism versus some very long odds.
Mostly though, it's about money.
That might not be the only reason Todd Duffee reportedly agreed to end a tumultuous 2010 with a fight against Alistair Overeem on this year's Dynamite!! New Year's Eve show, but it's definitely one of the reasons.
An interesting piece on one of the more hyped fights in this week's trio of events.
Volkmann Looks to Break McKee
“They trained us to break people.”
Those are the stark and intimidating words of Jacob “Christmas” Volkmann. The UFC lightweight is not referencing the mysterious Russian military doctors who trained Ivan Drago in Rocky IV. Volkmann is referring to the very real teachings of the Division I wrestling coaches at the University of Minnesota. A “Golden Gopher” sounds a lot less friendly now, doesn’t it?
“That is what I'm trying to carry over to the UFC - the idea of breaking somebody,” states the three-time All-American wrestler, who has shown dramatic improvement with each of his appearances in the Octagon. “It's getting closer. I still have to open it up more like I did back when I was at the U of M. I'm still holding back a little bit.”
Tito Ortiz Signs Bout Agreement to Face Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
Tito Ortiz has made a ritual out of signing his bout agreements on camera, and he did just that recently.
Ortiz shot a video last Wednesday while signing the agreement to fight Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and posted it online. In doing so, Ortiz confirmed that the fight will take place on March 26 in Seattle, Wash. The light heavyweight bout is expected to headline UFC Fight Night 24 on Spike TV.
Article includes video of Ortiz signing the agreement
Shane Roller vs. Thiago Tavares in the works for UFC on Versus 3
Former top WEC contender Shane Roller (9-3 MMA, 6-2 WEC) makes his octagon debut against nine-time UFC veteran Thiago Tavares (15-3-1 MMA, 6-3-1 UFC).
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) has learned both fighters have agreed to face each other at UFC on Versus 3, and bout agreements are expected to be finalized shortly.
While not yet officially announced by the promotion, UFC on Versus 3 is expected to take place March 3 in Louisville, Ky.
Sean McCorkle vs. Christian Morecraft Slated for UFN 24
Heavyweights Sean McCorkle and Christian Morecraft have agreed to fight at the upcoming UFC Fight Night 24 in Seattle, Wash., MMA Fighting has learned from sources close to the fight.
The event, which has yet to be officially announced by the UFC, is expected to air live on Spike TV. All signs point to the card being headlined by Tito Ortiz vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.
Mirko Cro Cop vs. Brendan Schaub in the Works for UFC 128
Mirko ‘CroCop’ Filipovic and Brendan Schaub are set to meet on March 19th and will air on the evening’s PPV main card, Fighters Only can exclusively reveal.
Verbal agreements are in place and paperwork is expected to be finalized soon. It had been reported that Schaub was to face Frank Mir, then Stefan Struve, but neither of those matches were contracted and have now been scrapped.
Edson Barboza vs. Anthony Njokuani targeted for UFC 128 in March
Undefeated Brazilian prospect Edson Barboza (7-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) will welcome former WEC contender Anthony Njokuani (13-4 MMA, 4-3 WEC) to the UFC.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) has learned from sources close to the promotion that the two lightweights have verbally agreed to meet at UFC 128, and bout agreements are expected to be finalized shortly.
The bout's placement on the card has yet to be determined.
Featuring a light heavyweight title fight between current champion Mauricio "Shogun" Rua and former title holder Rashad Evans, "UFC 128: Shogun vs. Evans" takes place March 19 at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
Ion Television lands UFC 125 prelims; Dana White promises three fights
The Ultimate Fighting Championship has a new home on cable television – at least for one night.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) has learned that Ion Television has secured the rights to broadcast preliminary bouts from the forthcoming "UFC 125: Resolution" event.
And while UFC fans are now used to a pair of octagon clashes during most "UFC Prelims" broadcasts, UFC president Dana White told MMAjunkie.com he's upping the ante for New Year's Day.
"The prelims we do air, there's only supposed to be two," White said. "Time-wise, it's impossible to pull off three if they all go to the distance. I'm going to roll the dice on this thing.
"Not only are we going to bring the prelims to the fans, but everybody has been hammering me for the Phil Baroni-Brad Tavares fight, so I'm going to do three fights. I'm going to give them that fight, too."
Dave Meltzer: 'Brock Lesnar is looking for a way out of the UFC'
According to Dave Meltzer of Yahoo! Sports/Wrestling Observer, Brock is currently looking for an "exit strategy" from the UFC.
Meltzer said on his radio show that the fight with Velasquez has changed Brock's attitude on fighting and he is at the stage in his life where he doesn't want to get injured. He's very well off financially and the business man in him apparently knows that it may be time to move on.
Meltzer also mentioned that Brock hasn't trained a single day since the Velasquez fight nor he has returned any phone calls to Dana or Zuffa about upcoming matches.
Wanderlei Silva Has Vitor Belfort Stuck In His Throat
Specifically his loss to the next challenger for Anderson Silva's UFC Middleweight Title. "The war has started. I’ll catch you, understand bro? I’ll catch him because our first fight did not prove anything really; it was a technical error and also a lucky moment. He knocked me out quickly. That loss is stuck in my throat and I will turn it over. I am a different fighter now and this time the one who is going to do the knocking out is me. I’ll beat him badly. I’m already preparing myself for this bout. I’m acting on his mindset. Everybody knows he is strong but is psychologically weak. Everybody knows he goes to bits before going in to fight, so I’m damaging his mind already." Said loss was at UFC 17.5, when Belfort KO'd SIlva in just 44 seconds.
Report: Schaub To Face Struve, Not Mir, At UFC On Versus 3
Brendan Schaub wanted to fight a former UFC champion after giving Gabriel Gonzaga his heavyweight pink slip back in October. Wish granted...almost. The incomparable "Showdown" Joe Ferraro is reporting that a previously rumored contest between "The Hybrid" and former division kingpin Frank Mir has been scrapped in favor of Schaub vs. Stefan Struve. The fight is expected to be part of UFC On Versus 3 on March 3.
No UFC Prelims On Spike Or Online For UFC 125
Despite a star-studded preliminary card and some intriguing matchups, Saturday's UFC 125 event appears it'll air solely on pay-per-view. There are no plans for a UFC Prelims special on Spike prior to the PPV and no plans for online streaming either. Barring a last-minute change, some solid preliminary-card fights won't get guaranteed air time. They include Marcus Davis vs. Jeremy Stephens, Josh Grispi vs. Dustin Poirier, and Mike Brown vs. Diego Nunes. Additionally, a Twitter campaign designed to get a welterweight bout between Phil Baroni and Brad Tavares on TV apparently will come up short. UFC & Spike reportedly are still working on a contract extension to bring back the UFC Prelims specials for 2011.