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.
UFC Fight Night 25 winner Ellenberger likes potential fights with St-Pierre, Condit
While fast-rising welterweight contender Jake Ellenberger (25-5 MMA, 5-1 UFC) needed just 53 seconds to dispatch of recent UFC title challenger Jake Shields (26-6-1 MMA, 1-2 UFC), it was hardly the easiest victory of his career.
In fact, Ellenberger said, it was quite difficult to put aside his compassion for Shields, whose father passed away just three weeks prior to Saturday's UFC Fight Night 25 meeting.
But Ellenberger did exactly that, netting his fifth-consecutive UFC win. Now the 26-year-old has his sights set on the top of the division and is confident he could provide a stern test for the winner of an upcoming UFC 137 title fight between current champion Georges St-Pierre and top contender Carlos Condit.
"I think I match-up well with Carlos and GSP," Ellenberger said following Saturday's event, which took place at New Orleans' Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. "I've gotten a lot better since [Condit and I] fought."
UFC Fight Night 25 draws 7,112 attendance and $685,000 live gate
UFC Fight Night 25 drew a top-10 attendance figure in the event series' history.
Overall, Saturday's show drew 7,112 attendees for a live gate of $685,000.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) learned of the figures from UFC executive Steve Keogh at UFC Fight Night 25's post-fight press conference.
UFC Fight Night 25 took place at New Orleans' Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. The night's main card aired on Spike TV while the prelims streamed on Facebook.
If the figure holds up, the attendance mark will rank 10th in UFC Fight Night history. Official figures will be available from the Louisiana State Boxing and Wrestling Commission next week.
UFC Fight Night 25 bonuses: Ellenberger, Waldburger, Benoist, Riddle earn $55K awards
Jake Ellenberger, T.J. Waldburger, Lance Benoist, Matt Riddle each earned $55,000 fight-night bonuses for their performances at Saturday's UFC Fight Night 25 event.
Ellenberger earned the night's "Knockout of the Night" award, Waldburger picked up the "Submission of the Night" bonus, and Benoist and Riddle took home "Fight of the Night" honors.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) learned of the bonus winners and award amounts at UFC Fight Night 25's post-fight press conference.
UFC Fight Night 25 took place at New Orleans' Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. The night's main card aired on Spike TV while the prelims streamed on Facebook.
Chan Sung Jung vs. Mark Hominick Targeted for UFC 140 in Toronto
A match up between UFC featherweights Chan Sung Jung and Mark Hominick is in the works for UFC 140 in Toronto. A source close to "The Korean Zombie" relayed that the fight was green lit and a source from Hominick's camp confirmed to Bloody Elbow that he will be fighting at the event.
Chan Sung Jung (11-3) debuted in North America with a bang against Leonard Garcia at WEC 48. Despite losing a split decision, the back and forth brawl was deemed Fight of the Century and Jung was a hit with fans. Disappointment would follow for the Korean Top Team fighter, as George Roop became the first fighter to knock him out, but he submitted Leonard Garcia with the Octagon's first Twister in their rematch at UFC Fight Night 24 in March.
Canadian Mark Hominick (20-9) is fresh off a gutsy title fight with champ Jose Aldo at UFC 129. The loss snapped a five-fight streak for the Team Tompkins kickboxer that included Yves Jabouin, Leonard Garcia and George Roop.
With work return looming, UFC Fight Night 25's MacDonald planning Lytle moment
NEW ORLEANS – Win, lose or draw, Canadian middleweight Jason MacDonald (25-14 MMA, 6-6 UFC) is facing a deadline.
You see, the clock strikes midnight for MacDonald in January, and "The Athlete" will have to decide whether or not to again become "The Correctional Officer."
"I was fortunate enough to be on a five-year leave of absence," MacDonald told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "So I'm coming to the end of my five-year leave of absence in January. ... To live the dream, to be a UFC fighter and just do that solely, it's going to come to an end."
MacDonald made his UFC debut in October 2006 and earned a Spike TV-televised submission win over Ed Herman. Before the year was out, he would add a "Submission of the Night" victory over Chris Leben. At the time, MacDonald was also working in his native country as a federal corrections officer. He took the leave of absence to become a full-time fighter, but he'll soon have another big decision to make as his time off expires.
"At the end of the five-year leave of absence, it's either you come back to work or you quit," MacDonald said. "Fortunately for me, over the past five years, fighting has been a little less stressful because I always had that cushion, something to fall back on."
UFC Fight Night 25 official weigh-in results
MAIN CARD (Spike TV)
Jake Ellenberger (170) vs. Jake Shields (171)
Court McGee (184.5) vs. Dongi Yang (186)
Jonathan Brookins (145.5) vs. Erik Koch (146)
Alan Belcher (186) vs. Jason MacDonald (185)
PRELIMINARY CARD (Facebook)
Cody McKenzie (155.5) vs. Vagner Rocha (155.5)
Shamar Bailey (156) vs. Evan Dunham (156)
Lance Benoist (170.5) vs. Matt Riddle (171)
Ken Stone (136) vs. Donny Walker (135.5)
Seth Baczynski (171) vs. Clay Harvison (170)
Mike Stumpf (171) vs. T.J. Waldburger (171)
Mike Lullo (146) vs. Robert Peralta (145.5)
Justin Edwards (171) vs. Jorge Lopez (171)
B.J Penn and Dana White Exchange Video Clips, Situation Gets Stranger
On Tuesday, BJPenn.com released a video blog interview of their titular fighter with the subtitle "Why are UFC interviewer's [sic] telling me what to say about Nick Diaz?" In it, B.J. Penn discusses having to film another round of interviews for the UFC Countdown show given the matchup switcheroo at the top of the card.
"One thing that was a trip about that whole thing," Penn said, "was that I gotta lot of respect for Diaz, I trained with him before that whole thing. And they forced me to say at the of the whole thing, they forced me to say-- You gotta say Nick Diaz's name now. You gotta say his name. ... They're like, 'Say you're gonna beat Nick Diaz. Say you're gonna beat Nick Diaz.'"
B.J. Penn's Preemptive Strike Causes Overblown Situation With the UFC
UFC President Dana White is at it again. This time, he's taking offense to criticism by former UFC lightweight champion B.J. Penn that the UFC forced him to fabricate the slightest bit of animosity toward his UFC 137 opponent, Nick Diaz, during a segment for the UFC Countdown show. Penn posted a video on Tuesday on his website explaining to viewers that he had no ill will toward Diaz. Dana White responded by posting a "raw & uncut" video of the interview, suggesting that nobody forced Penn to say what he said during the interview.
The interview is far from raw as White suggests, so there is still doubt whether White is telling the truth. What is apparent is that Penn was launching a preemptive strike against the idea that he had any animosity toward Diaz. Both men have trained together in the past, and Diaz has stated that there is a mutual respect between the two veteran fighters. Even if it is apparent that Penn wasn't forced to disrespect Diaz, I believe he thought there was enough of chance of Diaz taking it badly that he wanted to pass the blame somewhere else.
All Drug Tests Come Back Negative for 6 Fighters at UFC 134 in Brazil
Brazil may not have a standardized athletic commission overseeing MMA, but the UFC did their own drug testing for UFC 134, which took place in August.
According to a report by UFC vice president of regulatory affairs Marc Ratner, in an email to MMAWeekly.com, it was confirmed that six fighters were tested for the show, and all the athletes’ tests came back negative.
Main event fighters Anderson Silva and Yushin Okami along with four other random tests administered by UFC officials all came back negative.
Diego Sanchez Wants to be Next TUF Coach When UFC Lands on Fox
Throughout his career, Diego Sanchez has been tested in many facets of mixed martial arts. He’s been in three weight classes, fought for a title and even dealt with a lot of out-of-cage drama that might send the common man spinning out of control, never to return.
After getting his life together and returning the familiar surroundings of Jackson’s MMA in New Mexico, Sanchez feels he’s ready to test himself in a challenge that MMA and the UFC is yet to give him.
Diego Sanchez wants to be a coach on The Ultimate Fighter.
In speaking with MMAWeekly Radio Weekend Edition recently, Sanchez – who won the first season of the famed reality show as a middleweight, alongside light heavyweight winner Forrest Griffin – proclaimed he is a perfect candidate to coach TUF in an upcoming season. With the show finding a new home on the Fox network, Sanchez can gain a ton of exposure to a wide audience, and feels he’s deserving of such a honor.
UFC Fight Night 25's Cody McKenzie: If I lose, I should be done with the UFC
With 11 first-round submission victories in 12 career wins, Cody McKenzie – and his opponents – never really knew where his conditioning stood.
Over the years, his variations of the guillotine choke have wreaked havoc on them. But in his two career losses (one official and one in an exhibition match), including his most recent to Yves Edwards, McKenzie found himself struggling to keep up with the pace.
However, with "The Ultimate Fighter 12" alum knowing he had a hole in his game that needed filled, McKenzie (12-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) made the adjustments needed to ensure that he's performing at full speed against Vagner Rocha (6-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) at Saturday's UFC Fight Night 25 event.
"I've never had good wind," McKenzie recently told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). "Everybody who's watched me fight knows that. I've finished all my fights in the first (round), and when it's gone to the second, I got finished. The two times I've ever been beaten, I gassed (in) both of them. So, I knew that my cardio needed readjusting, so I have worked a lot more on my cardio for this fight.
"But yeah, I've never had the best wind, but definitely from now on out you won't see me gassing."