Bellator's Ben Askren vs. Jay Hieron title fight could take place at Mizzou
Bellator officials are close to naming a date and venue for a season-five title fight between welterweight champion Ben Askren (8-0 MMA, 5-0 BFC) and recent tournament winner Jay Hieron (22-4 MMA, 3-0 BFC).
And if officials get their way, it'll take place on the campus of the University of Missouri, where Askren won two NCAA Division I national wrestling championships.
But as Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney recently told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com), there could be some hurdles.
Anderson Silva Likely Out Until Early 2012 With Shoulder Injury
The news isn't exactly shocking, but it's still news - UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva will likely not be returning to the cage in 2011. Silva fought Yushin Okami at UFC 134 with a shoulder injury, and he needs time to let it heal. MMA Fighting has the news:
Anderson Silva's injured shoulder will most likely keep him out until early 2012, Silva's manager Ed Soares informed MMA Fighting on Saturday night.
Silva injured his shoulder in training for his UFC 134 fight against Yushin Okami last month, which he won via second-round TKO. There was some fear within his camp that he would have to undergo surgery, but Soares said Silva will simply need rehab to heal it.
Strikeforce's Pat Healy not surprised by Maximo Blanco's illegal kicks
Pat Healy can't say he's really all that surprised.
Before the lightweight fighter took a late-notice booking against Maximo Blanco, he looked up his opponent's past bouts in Japan and noticed a disturbing trend: He often fought dirty.
Healy's bout with Blanco at Saturday's "Strikeforce World Grand Prix: Barnett vs. Kharitonov" event nearly ended early due to his opponent's illegal kicks. But Healy was determined to earn his victory the old-fashioned way.
Instead, Healy shook off the affects of nearly a dozen illegal kicks and stormed back for a second-round submission victory on the Showtime-televised main card at Cincinnati's U.S. Bank Arena.
New Strikeforce champ Luke Rockhold never doubted AKA's ability to sweep
Prior to claiming the Strikeforce middleweight title, Luke Rockhold made a bold prediction.
A few days after Brazilian fighters swept their American counterparts at UFC 134 in Rio de Janeiro, Rockhold told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) he expected revenge.
In fact, he promised he and his American Kickboxing Academy teammates would sweep their Brazilian opponents at Saturday's "Strikeforce World Grand Prix: Barnett vs. Kharitonov" event. Following an AKA clean sweep, no one's doubting him now.
"I had confidence in my camp," Rockhold told MMAjunkie.com after Saturday's event at Cincinnati's U.S. Bank Arena. "Everyone was just rising to the occasion. We were just pushing each other really hard through this camp.
"Yeah, AKA. Don't step on our turf."
Rockhold (8-1 MMA, 7-0 SF), of course, did his part by upsetting champion Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza (14-3 MMA, 4-1 SF) via unanimous decision. The fighter, who's spent the majority of his career developing under the Strikeforce banner, fought in a featured bout on the night's Showtime-televised main card. While the media's cageside scoring ranged from 48-47 for Rockhold to MMAjunkie.com's 49-46 score for Souza, the judges saw it more clearly and awarded the new champ the victory, 50-45, 48-47 and 48-47.
Strikeforce grand-prix's conclusion determined by Daniel Cormier's hand recovery
What has five fingers and will determine the future of the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix?
It's the hand that led Daniel Cormier to a semifinal-round victory – and the same one that could keep him out the finale.
Cormier, who entered Saturday's semifinals as an injury replacement for tourney favorite Alistair Overeem, picked up an impressive victory at Cincinnati's U.S. Bank Arena. But it came at a cost.
In the night's Showtime-televised co-headliner, Cormier (9-0 MMA, 6-0 SF) blasted former EliteXC champ Antonio Silva (16-3 MMA, 3-2 SF) with a thunderous right hand early in the fight. Silva crashed to the mat and quickly regained his composure, but he was never the same fighter. And that proved to be a blessing for Cormier, who'd score additional knockdowns before a knockout stoppage late in the first round.
"I kind of hurt my hand on the very first right hand when he went down," said Cormier, who entered the night's post-fight press conference with his hand bandaged. "When he got up, I was like, 'How am I going to get through 15 minutes with my hand hurting like it was?' But I kept going. I kept throwing it."
After semifinal win, Strikeforce's Josh Barnett campaigns for shot at regular title
Alistair Overeem is gone from Strikeforce and part of the UFC, and his heavyweight title now sits vacant.
In the meantime, Josh Barnett and Daniel Cormier will fight in early 2012 for a heavyweight-grand-prix championship belt.
But following his main-event victory over Sergei Kharitonov (18-5 MMA, 1-1 SF) at Saturday's "Strikeforce World Grand Prix: Barnett vs. Kharitonov" event, Barnett (31-5 MMA, 2-0 SF) publicly stated his case for the tourney winner getting the regular title.
Bellator 53 gets Saunders-Santos, Lozano-Lima welterweight-tourney semifinals
Four fighters remain alive and well in Bellator's season-five welterweight tournament following Saturday's Bellator 49 event, which took place at Caesar's Atlantic City in New Jersey and aired on MTV2.
Following the event, which kicked off the eight-man tournament, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney confirmed the semifinal matchups with MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
They are set for Saturday, Oct. 8, at Bellator 53.
Both the location and venue of Bellator 53 still have yet to be finalized.
Ben Saunders (11-3-2 MMA, 2-0 BFC) squares off against Luis Santos (50-6-1 MMA, 2-0 BFC) in one semifinal while across the bracket, Chris Lozano (9-1 MMA, 2-1 BFC) meets Douglas Lima (19-4 MMA, 1-0 BFC).
Bellator's Kurt Pellegrino on short retirement: "I fell in love with the sport again"
Did you miss him yet?
After a brief hiatus from MMA, 12-time UFC veteran Kurt Pellegrino (16-6 MMA, 0-0 BFC) has announced his return to the sport. This time, however, he'll call Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney "boss."
The New Jersey native will make his promotional debut at Bellator 59 against Patricky Freire (9-2 MMA, 2-1 BFC). The event takes place Saturday, Nov. 26, at Caesar's Atlantic City in New Jersey.
The official announcement was made during Saturday's Bellator 49 broadcast on MTV2.
It's been just 103 days since Pellegrino announced his retirement to the world via his website.
Eric Schafer returns to UFC, meets Aaron Simpson at UFC 136
With Nick Catone (9-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) out of the fight due to injury, UFC veteran and jiu-jisu ace Eric "Red" Schafer (12-5-2 MMA, 3-4 UFC) is returning to the UFC.
Middleweight Aaron Simpson (10-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) recently announced Schafer as his new opponent.
Featuring a pair of title fights in the evening's headlining contests, UFC 136 takes place Oct. 8 at Houston's Toyota Center.
The evening's main card airs on pay-per-view. Simpson vs. Schafer takes place on the evening's preliminary card.
UFC officials have not formally announced the change...
Ortiz vs. Lil Nog added to UFC 140
A bout between light-heavyweight stars that was supposed to happen for the Ultimate Fighting Championship in March will take place in December instead, if everything goes as planned.
UFC 140 will include Antonio Rogerio Nogueira vs. Tito Ortiz, the organization announced Friday. The Dec. 10 show will take place in Toronto...
Joe Son Sentenced to Life in Prison for Felony Torture
Joseph Hyungmin Son, better known as Joe Son, on Friday was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole for the 1990 gang rape of a woman walking her dog on Christmas Eve.
According to a press release issued by the Orange County District Attorney, Son, 40, was convicted on one felony count of torture on Aug. 25. The former fighter had been charged with numerous felony counts of sexual offenses on Oct. 1, 2008, but the charges were not pursued, as the statute of limitations had run out.
Son was identified by a DNA sample he provided as part of a plea during a May 2008 arrest for felony vandalism. Son’s DNA sample was linked to a DNA sample collected from the victim in 1990, and Son was arrested on Oct. 7, 2008 by Huntington Beach Police Department detectives.
As outlined in the district attorney’s release, Son -- along with co-defendant Santiago Lopez Gaitan, 40, of San Antonio -- abducted the victim at approximately 12:30 a.m. on Dec. 24, 1990, forcing her into their vehicle and driving away. While holding the victim at gunpoint and threatening to kill her repeatedly, Son “repeatedly raped, sodomized and forced [the victim] to orally copulate him in the back of the car. He also penetrated her vagina with a firearm.” According to the release, Gaitlan also raped the victim and forced her to orally copulate him.
Cesar Gracie: 'No One Is Talking About the Carlos Condit Fight'
LayzieTheSavage of Middleeasy.com fame spoke with Cesar Gracie and got some choice quotes out of Nick Diaz's coach and manager. For those that haven't been paying attention, following the press conference on Wednesday, Cesar Gracie went on the defensive agreeing with the decision made by Dana White to pull Nick Diaz from the title fight with Georges St. Pierre at UFC 137. In a complete 180, Gracie's interview with LayzieTheSavage takes the side of his client and student.
On the current relationship with Nick:
"Nick is like family. People don't understand that you can get mad, you can get mad at your brother because it doesn't mean anything. Some people read into it like I kicked him off the team. I don't care what he does in the UFC. I mean I care but I'm not going to kick him off the team over it.
On the B.J. Penn fight:
"This is the better fighter of the two. Georges St. Pierre is the bigger fighter of the two. He can beat people by being bigger or whatever. But this is the better fighter of the two. He's more technical. He's got a better ground game. He's got a better stand up game."
On the title fight being cancelled:
"I talked to Dana after he pulled the fight. I explained why it was a mistake to pull the fight. I understood. I was as mad at Nick as anybody. When I calmed down a little bit and looked at the situation, I said not only am I Nick's trainer, manager...whatever, but I'm also a fan of the sport. And I'm thinking "why is Dana punishing the fans of the sport?" Punish Nick. Fine him a nice fat hefty fine. Do whatever you're gonna do and punish him. All he did was miss a press conference. Seriously? Did one fan in this world even care? It did not make sense to me. I told them this afterwards.
UFC Throws Curveball at Bellator's Plans to Move to Spike TV
Back in August after the UFC announced that it had inked an historic deal with Fox, one of the major questions rooted from the news was whether Bellator Fighting Championships, now the assumed #2 promotion in the landscape of MMA after Zuffa acquired Strikeforce, would replace the UFC on Spike TV. In the months leading up to the deal, rumors circulated that Spike TV executives were seen at Bellator's events, and those rumors were confirmed after the UFC/Fox deal by a number of media outlets. Bellator champions Joe Warren and Eddie Alvarez have been involved in promoting future Bellator events on Spike TV professional wrestling programs. The assumptions weren't without proof. Spike TV was toying with the idea all along.
Now, a report from MMAJunkie.com's Dann Stupp confirms what many of us already knew. Viacom, Spike TV and MTV2's parent company, is keen to the idea of moving Bellator to Spike TV. According to the report, a source stated, "It's going to happen. It's not 'if' but 'when.' Throw 'if' out the window. The only question is if it's next year or the year after."
A deal seems clear cut considering Viacom owns both MTV2 and Spike TV, but the UFC still has the ability to thwart Bellator's efforts to make the transition. It isn't without its own consequences however:
While Spike TV no longer will air live UFC events after this year, its existing contract allows it to air the UFC library (including past events, former "TUF" seasons, "UFC Unleashed" episodes and specialty programming) in 2012. However, as long as Spike TV has the rights to the content, it can't air programming - including live events - from other organizations, such as Bellator, until 2013.
However, the UFC could purchase and reclaim the library if it can reach a deal with Spike TV.
"If they made a decent offer, we'd probably sell," one Viacom source said. "Spike's preference next year is to have Bellator on air."
Despite BAMMA weight gaffe, Daley's manager says "Semtex" belongs at welterweight
Paul Daley today came in five pounds heavy for his co-headliner fight with Jordan Radev at BAMMA 7, but the fight will go on.
The onetime Strikeforce welterweight title challenger weighed in at 176 pounds and declined to cut any more weight. Radev weighed in at 171 and after initial negotiations decided to take the fight in spite of Daley's miss.
Daley was handed over a percentage of his purse for the infraction – his sixth in two-plus years – though his manager, Wad Alameddine, declined to disclose the amount docked.
Shark Fights 20 features Chris Camozzi vs. Matt Lucas, airs on FUEL TV via tape delay
The Texas-based Shark Fights organization returns to Nevada on Oct. 15.
Featuring a middleweight headliner between "The Ultimate Fighter 11" cast member Chris Camozzi and 12-time Rage in the Cage veteran Matt Lucas, "Shark Fights 20: Camozzi vs. Lucas" takes place at Laughlin's Edgewater Casino Resort and airs via three-week tape delay on FUEL TV.
Bellator Fighting Championships vet Georgi Karakhanyan and Xtreme Couture prospect Jimmy Jones are also featured on the card.
Dennis Hallman and John Makdessi agree to UFC 140 matchup in Toronto
Former welterweight Dennis Hallman (43-14-2 MMA, 3-5 UFC) is cutting down (his weight, not his shorts) and now meets lightweight John Makdessi (9-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) at UFC 140.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) confirmed verbal agreements are in place for the December fight, which MMADiehards.com first reported.
UFC officials have not formally announced the fight, which takes place Dec. 10 at Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
The night's main card airs live on pay-per-view, though Hallman vs. Makdessi likely will be part of the preliminary card.
Shocker: Nick Diaz rebooked to meet B.J. Penn in UFC 137 co-main event
Shortly after he booted Nick Diaz from a title fight with UFC welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre, UFC president Dana White told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that reporters would "flip out" if they knew whom he was putting opposite B.J. Penn, whose original opponent Carlos Condit was promoted to meet St-Pierre.
And considering the past 48 hours, White is not too far off the mark.
The UFC president today tweeted that Diaz (25-7 MMA, 6-4 UFC) has been re-booked to meet Penn (16-7-2 MMA, 12-6-2 UFC) in the co-main event of UFC 137, which takes place on Oct. 29 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.