As Velasquez and dos Santos Prepare, Commercials Sell Out for UFC on FOX Debut
Tickets have yet to go on sale for the UFC's maiden voyage on broadcast television, but the promotion can already boast a sellout in perhaps its most important indicator: television ad sales.
Just one month after the UFC and FOX announced its seven-year deal will begin with a Nov. 12 event at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California, the network has already sold out all of its existing commercial slots for the show.
The quick sellout is a positive sign that blue-chip, corporate sponsors are willing to test the waters. In turn, that should mean new opportunities for fighters as well.
After Mayweather-Ortiz debacle, White says UFC on FOX 1 officiating is key
HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – Of the million things that concern UFC president Dana White in putting the best foot forward with UFC on FOX 1, the quality of the officiating is up there at the top.
White needs to look no further than the debacle of this past Saturday's mega-fight between boxers Floyd Mayweather and Victor Ortiz to put his nerves on edge.
"I don't care who they put in there as long as he doesn't blow a multi-million-dollar fight and a huge opportunity for the sport," White today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
An animated White launched into a minutes-long tirade on officiating when asked about Mayweather vs. Ortiz, which ended when Mayweather clocked Ortiz with a legal blow after a break in action due to a headbutt from Ortiz.
Although many called Mayweather's punch a cheap shot, there were questions raised by referee Joe Cortez's handling of the foul and subsequent restart of the fight.
White, for one, blasted the veteran referee's call that night.
"Cortez blew a multi-million-dollar fight," he said.
Eddie Alvarez injured, Bellator 54 title fight with Michael Chandler delayed
Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez and has suffered an undisclosed injury, officials today announced.
As a result, a planned Bellator 54 title fight between Alvarez and season-four tournament winner Michael Chandler has been delayed.
According to the announcement, the championship five-rounder is still possible for season five, which concludes in late November.
Ken Shamrock Vs. James Toney Fight Delayed Until 2012
While many believe Cain Velasquez vs. Junior dos Santos or Brock Lesnar vs. Alistair Overeem is the biggest heavyweight fight of the next four months, somewhere there is a small contingent who were secretly considering James Toney vs. Ken Shamrock as the end-all, be-all in heavyweight battles.
(C'mon...you're out there somewhere, aren't you?)
Unfortunately for those people, the battle between the boxing champion and former UFC Superfight Champion has been delayed until next year and may be off completely.
To show the level of interest in this fight, the following "press release" was posted on his site...over a week ago:
After training extremely hard in preparation, Toney was informed not long ago that his unified rules bout with MMA hall-of-famer Ken Shamrock would be delayed until early part of 2012. Already in terrific shape and weighing near the cruiserweight limit of 200 lbs. Toney has decided to instead re-focus on his boxing career and target the #1 cruiserweight contender Denis Ledbedev, who recently knocked out one of his old-time rivals, Roy Jones Jr."
The Ultimate Fighter: Philippines Edition Targeted for 2012
Several months ago, Dana White has announced that plans are in the workss for hosting international editions of the popular reality show, The Ultimate Fighter. Their global expansion has taken a bit longer than he expected, but it looks like it's finally pushing through.
Officials from ABS-CBN, the parent company of Balls Channel which handles UFC programming in the Philippines, have informed BloodyElbow.com that the first international edition of the reality show, The Ultimate Fighter, is close to being finalized. This has been in the works for quite some time now, and we have been told that it is expected to be launched on 2012.
Details from 'TUF Philippines' such as coaches, participants, weight divisions, and prizes, are still being ironed out, but it is expected to be officially announced soon. Jon Jones' trip to the country has been finalized, and is reportedly set-up to not only talk about the UFC and MMA in general, but to help promote TUF Philippines as well.
Shogun Rua Tabbed to Welcome Dan Henderson Back at UFC 139
Dan Henderson and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua have verbally agreed to face off at UFC 139 on Nov. 19, MMAWeekly.com has learned.
Independent sources confirmed the fight, which will stand as Henderson’s return to the organization after defeating Russian heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko in Strikeforce.
The bout will likely be the new main event for the card that saw its prior main event between heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez and no. 1 contender Junior dos Santos get moved to the main event of the Nov. 12 UFC on Fox fight card.
Henderson’s return will signal the start of his third tenure in the UFC after recently spending some time in Strikeforce, where he won the organization’s light heavyweight crown in March. At 41 years old, Henderson remains a viable competitor at both middleweight and light heavyweight, and will look to hold the same status in his return to the Las Vegas-based organization...
Dana White: Facebook Fights to End in January, All Fights Will Be Televised
Interviwer: One thing we've noticed recently is the Facebook fights. Is that going to continue with the ongoing Fox deal, or is that going to go away with the prelims and all that stuff?
Dana: Yeah it will go away when the Fox deal starts, which is in January. Because all that programming now, I mean the reason we did the Facebook fights was because nobody could see those fights. So we put them up on Facebook as an option for fans, because we always love to give more fights. But with the fact that Fox wants to pick up all these fights, they'll be on television now.
Facebook to stream three remaining UFC 135 preliminary bouts
Once again, the UFC will offer preliminary card matchups for free viewing via Facebook.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) has confirmed that in addition to the previously announced pay-per-view and Spike TV broadcast plans, the promotion also streams three fights from this weekend's "UFC 135: Jones vs. Rampage" event will stream live on the social-networking site.
UFC brass hasn't made an official announcement, but UFC 135 now serves as the 11th consecutive event in which the organization has made an entire lineup available for live viewing.
The streak began with April's historic "UFC 129: St-Pierre vs. Shields" event.
With final fight on contract set for UFC 135, Matt Hughes weighing career options
Josh Koscheck is the final obligation on the current contract of Matt Hughes.
Consequently, the former UFC welterweight champ is playing his future by ear after he fights the onetime title challenger Saturday at UFC 135.
"The outcome of this fight won't really matter, to be honest," he said today. "After this fight, win or lose, doesn't matter, I'll talk to the UFC and we'll figure out what we want to do."
UFC Fight Night 25: Shields out for a month, commission says verbal tap preceded TKO
All fighters who competed at "UFC Fight Night 25: Battle on the Bayou" received mandatory 7-day suspensions.
Those who lost by TKO got a bump to 30 days, as did Jake Shields, who was stopped by Jake Ellenberger in the event's headliner.
Alvin Topham, Chairman of the Louisiana Boxing and Wrestling Commission, today told MMAjunkie.com that a verbal submission occurred as the referee stepped in to stop Shields' bout.
Matt Mitrione fighting for UFC job security, ready to punch Cheick Kongo in the face
Undefeated UFC heavyweight contender Matt Mitrione (5-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) will soon face the stiffest test of his young career when he meets Check Kongo (16-6-2 MMA, 9-4-1 UFC) at October's UFC 137 event in Las Vegas.
But Mitrione, a former professional football player and the man who booted Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson from the octagon, isn't intimidated in the least.
In fact, Mitrione said challenges like Kongo are exactly what drew him to the sport in the first place. A win here, Mitrione says, would provide him exactly what he's currently seeking: job security.
"I want them to not fire me," Mitrione said when asked about his current goals in the UFC's heavyweight division. "That's what I'm most concerned about. I want to have job security. After I beat Cheick, cool, let me get one more fight on the contract, and I'll be good."
It's a typical Mitrione response – one veiled in humor but based firmly in reality.
Strikeforce vet, ex-WWE wrestler Bobby Lashley signs with Shark Fights
Bobby Lashley (6-1) has a new home.
The former WWE wrestler, who made a pro MMA debut in 2008 and fought two times under the Strikeforce banner, has signed a three-fight deal with the Texas-based Shark Fights promotion.
Officials formally announced the rumored deal on Saturday.
A debut date and opponent were not revealed. Financial terms of the deal also were not disclosed. Lashley, though, is expected to fight in November, possibly as part of a show in Missouri.
Since its inception in 2008, Shark Fights has become one of the sport's top regional promotions. It's expanded its reach with HDNet and FUEL TV broadcast deals, and its seventh show of 2011 is scheduled for later this month.
The Shark Fights signing comes a few months after Lashley pulled out of a Titan Fighting Championship 19 headliner with former UFC fighter Eddie Sanchez (12-5). Officials cited "personal reasons" for his scratch.
Bellator 54 adds Baker-Vianna, Shlemenko-Rogers middleweight-tourney semifinals
Following their victories at Saturday's Bellator 50 event, the organization's four middleweight-tournament winners have been slotted for their next fights.
Bellator 54 plays host to the tourney-semifinal matchups of Bryan Baker (16-2 MMA, 6-1 BFC) vs. Vitor Vianna (11-1-1 MMA, 1-0 BFC) and Alexander Shlemenko (41-7 MMA, 5-1 BFC) vs. Brian Rogers (8-2 MMA, 1-0 BFC).
Bellator chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney announced the pairings at the post-Bellator 50 press conference in Hollywood, Fla.
Bellator 54 takes place Oct. 15 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J. The evening's main card, which also includes a lightweight title fight between champion Eddie Alvarez and Michael Chandler, airs on MTV2.
UFC Fight Night 25's Court McGee says he's not the prettiest, but he has heart
Court McGee said he won't win any beauty contests.
And occasionally, he doesn't heed his corner's instructions, and he pays for it.
But when it comes to heart, "The Ultimate Fighter 11" winner said he has it in spades. And it's a big reason he pulled off a victory in the co-headliner of Saturday's UFC Fight Night 25 event.
McGee (14-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC), fighting for the first time in nearly a year because of a knee injury, topped tough welterweight Dongi Yang (9-2 MMA, 0-2 UFC) in the Spike TV-televised co-main event of Saturday's UFC Fight Night 25 event at New Orleans' Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.
"Luckily, I was born with heart," he told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) after the fight. "I feel you're either born with it or not. Thank goodness tonight I was.
UFC Fight Night 25 win fuels Alan Belcher to again consider middleweight title shot
On the surface, everything seemed to be fine.
After all, UFC Fight Night 25 competitor Alan Belcher (17-6 MMA, 8-4 UFC) was saying all the right things. The eye injury? A thing of the past. Lingering concerns? No way.
But in truth, Belcher admits there were a lot of question marks in his head. Was he really back to 100 percent? Did he still belong among the elite in the UFC's 185-pound division? All that was answered on Saturday night.
"Even up until [the fight], I was kind of uncertain of what I wanted to do," Belcher said following his win over Jason MacDonald, which aired on Spike TV from New Orleans' Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. "I gave my all in this training camp and everything, but I was nervous as hell going into this fight, coming back. I missed the feeling, and I feel like I can definitely continue down the path I was on, trying to go for a title shot. I think that's what I'm going to do now."
Despite UFC Fight Night 25 decision result, Erik Koch still wants division's best
Prior to his UFC Fight Night 25 bout with "The Ultimate Fighter 12" winner Jonathan Brookins, Roufusport fighter Erik Koch (13-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) made his intentions known.
Koch was seeking a knockout and a future matchup with either champion Jose Aldo, Kenny Florian or Chad Menders.
Koch came up short of his goal and was forced to settle for a decision win over Brookins on the Spike TV-televised main card of Saturday's event at New Orleans' Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. But the 22-year-old hasn't budged on whom he should next fight.
"I'm still on a streak," Koch told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "I still thought I performed good. Obviously, I think I could have done better, but I can't take it away from Brookins. He's a big 145er, and he's a tough dude. He ran through everybody on the show.
"Like I said, I'm going to improve. That's just how I am. I'm not going to take any time off. I'm going to be right back in the gym. I want to put on exciting fights."
Bonus winners Benoist, Waldburger thrilled with checks but more proud of UFC wins
For being a pair of relative unknowns in the UFC, Lance Benoist (6-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) and T.J. Waldburger (14-6 MMA, 2-1 UFC) provided two of the most memorable performances at Saturday's UFC Fight Night 25 event.
And while newcomer Benoist netted $55,000 for his "Fight of the Night" win over Matt Riddle and Waldburger the same amount for a "Submission of the Night" stoppage of Mike Stumpf, each believes the added income is secondary to the most important thing: an octagon win.