Brandon Saling's appeal unsuccessful, license revocation stands in Ohio, NJ
In a 3-0 vote, the Ohio Athletic Commission today denied Brandon Saling's appeal of a license revocation that was handed down this past month after it was discovered he lied about his criminal background.
Saling's status as a sex offender and felon came to light when he fought Roger Bowling (11-2 MMA, 4-2 SF) at "Strikeforce: Tate vs. Rousey" on March 3. In 2004, a then-18-year-old Saling (8-6 MMA, 0-1 SF) was indicted in Ohio for gross sexual imposition following an incident in which he and friend had sexual relations with two underage girls. Four years later, he went to jail on a domestic violence charge.
On an application he filed prior to the Strikeforce fight, Saling marked "no" when asked about previous convictions beyond traffic offenses.
Ohio initially revoked Saling's license on March 6. He subsequently filed an appeal. Profato said a character witness testified on his behalf during today's appeal.
Strikeforce released Saling following the loss and subsequent controversy over his past. (UFC president Dana White said he'd never fight under the Zuffa umbrella again.) Now 26, the fighter admits he made grave mistakes earlier in his life, but he said he's since been trying to better himself. He also denied being a member of any white supremacist groups despite tattoos linked to Neo-Nazi culture that were visible to viewers of Strikeforce fight, which resulted in a TKO loss to welterweight Roger Bowling on the Showtime Extreme-televised preliminary card.
"Everyone thinks I'm this child predator, like I'm hiding out in the bushes being this sick [expletive] kind of person," Saling said. "That's not me by no means. The charges were because of the age difference between us. It's not like I held anyone down and made them do anything. I know what I did was wrong, and I wish I could go back, but I can't.
"I can get (my tattoos) covered up. If that's the problem with me fighting for anybody, I can get it covered up. Maybe I could change it."
Trio of Canadian MMA Promotions Merge to Create Aggression Fighting Championship
Three Canadian MMA organizations in Western Canada have merged to create the self proclaimed “single largest MMA organization in Canada”, named Aggression Fighting Championship.
Aggression MMA, Armageddon Fighting Championships, and AX Combat have now pooled their efforts in providing the best shows available to Canadian MMA fans under this new banner, which will now hold between nine and eleven fight events per year, with shows taking place in Edmonton and Calgary in Alberta, and Victoria, British Columbia – with expansion plans slated for the latter half of 2012.
The newly formed AFC will unveil its new branding shortly. Fight fans will get to see the new promotion in action at AFC 8 in Victoria on April 14th, AFC 9 in Edmonton June 8th, and AFC 10 in Calgary on June 15th. More details on these and upcoming events will be released shortly...
UFC on FUEL TV 2's Brian Stann says military past now staying private
Brian Stann has trotted out his Marine past for the benefit of his past two MMA employers on many occasions, including his upcoming fight with middleweight Alessio Sakara at Saturday's UFC on FUEL TV 2 event.
He's done it to the point where some fans have wondered if it's his only selling point.
Stann, of course, has always said he's trying to help the gears of promotion, not trying to exploit honor.
But a recent appearance FUEL TV's "UFC Ultimate Insider," which hyped his upcoming fight with Alessio Sakara at UFC on FUEL TV 2, proved too invasive even for him. Now, he's drawing boundaries as to what can and cannot be discussed.
"I don't have to go through those memories of my life with other people," Stann told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "Those are my private memories. I did it once. It's out there. I hope that it was for the better of the sport. I hope it was for the better of the men and women who served, and let it be that."
After latest injury, UFC on FUEL TV 2's Alessio Sakara considered retirement
After a series of grueling bouts and countless injuries that left his body a broken mess, Alessio Sakara considered calling it quits.
An ACL surgery this past July was nearly the final nail in the Italian fighter's MMA coffin.
But Sakara, who now meets fellow middleweight contender Brian Stann at Saturday's UFC on FUEL TV 2 event, told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) encouragement from friends and family made him realize he couldn't give up on his dream.
So Sakara (15-8 MMA, 6-5 UFC) and Stann (11-4 MMA, 5-3 UFC) now clash at Stockholm's Ericsson Globe Arena. Their bout is part of Saturday's FUEL TV-televised main card following prelims on Facebook.
Rolles Gracie In Consideration to Face Fedor Emelianenko in Russia
Fedor Emelianenko will next compete in June in his home country of Russia against an as of yet unnamed opponent, but a new contender has entered the fray.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and student of legendary trainer Renzo Gracie, Rolles Gracie is now under consideration for the bout with Emelianenko on June 21 in St. Petersburg.
While there is no deal in place at this time, Gracie is one of the leading candidates to potentially land the spot against the former pound-for-pound king later this year.
With a 6-1 record overall, Rolles Gracie may have far less experience in the cage than Emelianenko, it doesn’t mean he’s not a competitor who has show drastic improvements over the last year.
Numbers Never Lie: UFC 145 Jones vs. Evans
Jones comes from a strong Greco-Roman wrestling background and his skills have translated very well to MMA. His takedown accuracy of 63.6% is the very best in light heavyweight history. He’s already scored 21 takedowns, 4th most in division history, and his 3.32 takedowns per 15 minutes average is the 4th highest in division. Aside from winning takedown battles, Jones shows great control on the ground, spending only 12 seconds in the UFC on his back.
100% Takedown Defense
Jones has never been taken down, an impressive feat considering he’s fought high level wrestlers like Quinton Jackson, Ryan Bader, and Jake O’Brien. In the case of O’Brien, who holds the UFC record with 6.44 takedowns landed per 15 minutes, Jones defended all four attempts by O’Brien. Jones’ takedown defense should be one of his biggest weapons when he faces the takedown-hungry Rashad Evans.
Outlands Opponents by 2.4 Strikes per Minute
Jones is known for the unorthodox striking techniques that he displays in the Octagon, but what may surprise most is that he’s actually quite efficient in this area. Jones’ strike differential is 2.40, the fourth best total in UFC history. This means that Jones lands 2.4 more strikes every minute than he absorbs...
Bobby Lashley vs. James Thompson to headlined Super Fight League 3 on May 6
The headliner is set for Super Fight League 3: heavyweights Bobby Lashley (7-1) vs. James Thompson (17-14).
The Indian-based organization today announced the fight, which takes place May 6 at IGI Stadium in New Delhi. The entire lineup streams on YouTube.
Other announced SFL 3 bouts include light heavyweights Trevor Prangley (23-9-1) vs. Baga Agaev (26-11), middleweights Doug Marshall (14-5) vs. Zelg Galesic (10-6), and 125-pounders Lena Ovchynnikova (8-1) vs. Joanne Calderwood (1-0).
As MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) reported this past week, Lashley is in the running for a currently unannounced June 21 event in Russia for a fight with Fedor Emelianenko (33-4). The SFL booking makes that possibility a little less likely.
Nick Diaz, World Champion Braulio Estima Agree to Meet in BJJ Superfight
Braulio Estima, one of the best Jiu-Jitsu players in the world, will welcome Nick Diaz back to the world of BJJ.
The Diaz vs. Estima BJJ superfight, which will be contested at 180 pounds, will take place at the World Jiu-Jitsu Expo on May 12 in Long Beach, Calif., according to WJJE officials.
The 31-year-old Estima has won a plethora of BJJ competitions over the past decade. He most recently defeated Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza in a super-fight at the 2011 edition of the prestigious Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling Championship and won gold medals at the 2009 ADCC tournament in the 88kg and Absolute divisions. He is currently training with the Blackzilians in South Florida in preparation for his MMA debut later this year.
Gilbert Melendez wanted a big UFC name next, but doesn’t see the same eagerness from them
One of the best Lightweight fighters in the world of mixed martial arts (MMA) today, Gilbert Melendez, has long desired to get his chance to enter the world-famous Octagon and test his skills against the best of the best in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) ranks to prove that he is deserving of being called the best 155-pound fighter in the world.
Rumors ran rampant last year that "El Nino" was set to take his talents to the eight-walled cage, but were quickly shot down as he was matched up with Jorge Masvidal at Strikeforce: "Melendez vs. Masvidal" on Dec. 17, 2011.
Gilbert's training partners, Jake Shields and Nick Diaz, made the jump from Strikeforce to the UFC in 2010 and 2011, respectively, but he was left to hold the fort down with the San Jose based promotion as its poster boy Lightweight champion. Though a move over the world's largest MMA promotion to join his Cesar Gracie trained companions isn't in his near future, he would settle for Zuffa to send down some of the best Lightweights currently in the UFC to challenge him for his Strikforce throne.
Those pleas, unfortunately, have fallen on deaf ears and everyone, for the time being, is staying put with their respective organizations.
George Roop vs. Antonio Carvalho in the works for UFC 149 in Calgary
A featherweight bout between George Roop (12-9-1 MMA, 2-5) and Antonio "Pato" Carvalho (13-5 MMA, 0-1 UFC) is in the works for UFC 149.
A source close to the event today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) verbal agreements are in place for the fight. "Showdown" Joe Ferraro initially reported the matchup.
UFC 149 takes place July 21 at Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo headlines against an opponent to be announced.
Bellator 64 TV Ratings Match Season High, but Future on Spike Holds the Key
The TV ratings for Bellator 64 on Friday night tied the Season 6 high for the promotion, drawing 175,000 viewers on MTV2.
The season low to this point is 108,000 for Bellator 61, with the five weeks thus far averaging 153,400 viewers per episode.
Those numbers pale in comparison to the oft maligned TUF: Live TV ratings that just dipped below one million viewers for the first time in Ultimate Fighter history, but the comparison is a difficult one to make.
Just like UFC programming on Fuel TV doesn’t do as well as programming on FX, Bellator’s programming on MTV2 suffers from the lower availability of the network and MTV2 not being known for sports programming.
Bellator’s season average of viewers per episode has steadily declined over the past three seasons...
Thiago Alves vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama Targeted for July UFC Even
Yoshihiro Akiyama still has a job in the UFC, and now has his next opponent set, as well.
Despite losing four straight in the octagon, Akiyama's spirited performances have ensured him at least one more go, and it will come against Thiago Alves at a July event -- most likely UFC 149 -- according to sources with knowledge of the situation.
The two have both agreed to the matchup, sources told MMA Fighting.
Michael Schiavello: 'Everyone is crucifying Alistair Overeem, but he hasn't technically cheated'
By now, everyone in the mixed martial arts (MMA) community is aware of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight Alistair Overeem testing positive for high levels of testosterone during a random drug test by the NSAC, directly following a press conference for UFC 146.
But is Overeem being unfairly targeted?
That's the question "The Voice," Michael Schiavello, wants answered and is the question he was asking his colleagues on the panel of HDNet's "Inside MMA."
"You know, while we're talking about the subject, Kenny, I just wanna chime in here on a couple things that have been playing on my mind, the last week or so, since the news of Alistair (Overeem) broke. Alistair doesn't have a license with the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC), so how are they testing him in the first place when he doesn't have a license with them? By what jurisdiction are they testing him? And 'B,' everyone seems to be hanging Alistair out to dry. They've been nailing him to the cross and crucifying him, but it's still two months away from his fight. You know, he hasn't technically cheated. Because, unless he pisses hot on the fight night, how could he possibly have cheated? There's still an opportunity he can get from the 14:1 down to the allowed 6:1 level by fight time. But we're calling him out as a cheat, two months out from a fight?"
Champ Cole Konrad vs. Eric Prindle off Bellator 65, moved to Bellator 70
This week's Bellator 65 event has lost a title fight.
A fight between heavyweight champion Cole Konrad (8-0 MMA, 6-0 BFC) and de facto tournament winner Eric Prindle (7-1 MMA, 3-0 BFC) has been moved to Bellator 70 on May 25.
Prindle, who suffered a hand injury, today tweeted news of the change.
Bellator 65 takes place Friday at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. Konrad vs. Prindle was expected to join Bellator bantamweight champion Zach Makovsky (14-2 MMA, 6-0 BFC) and fellow headliner Eduardo Dantas (13-2 MMA, 3-0 BFC) on the MTV2-televised main card.
Instead, it'll take place next month at a currently unannounced Bellator 70.
Mark Hunt Rallies 'Army of Doom' in Quest for UFC 146 Title Shot
The UFC has always prided itself on keeping its ear to the pulse of the fans. In the coming weeks, we're about to see just how far that dedication goes.
Following the announcement of Alistair Overeem's failed drug test, a new surprise candidate for UFC 146's title shot has emerged. Led by a burgeoning #RallyForMarkHunt crusade that shows no sign of slowing, former K-1 champion Mark Hunt and his ‘Army of Doom' have besieged the MMA community, bombing the social networks of Dana White, Lorenzo Feritta, and anyone else with a say in the UFC's decision making process, in the hopes of awarding "Super Samoan" a shot at the UFC heavyweight strap.
Victor Conte Says There Are 'Simple Answers' for MMA's Drug Problem
When it comes to the use of performance-enhancing drugs, Victor Conte knows a thing or two about beating the system. He did it for years with his Bay-Area Laboratory Co-operative (BALCO), and he paid for it with a brief prison sentence and a scandal that made his name synonymous with doping in professional sports. These days he’s making it his mission to improve drug testing in sports, and as he told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour, he sees plenty of room for improvement in MMA.
Twitter Beef of the Day: Chael Sonnen Serves Mayhem Miller a Nice Glass of STFU
There is no truly no place on the Internet more hate stricken than that of the Twittersphere, other than Sputnikmusic or well…here, of course. I’ll be honest, I’ve had a Twitter account for a few months now and I’m still not truly sure as to what its purpose on this world is. Do I care if Kourtney Kardashian is currently releasing the contents of her latest trip to Moe’s in the second floor bathroom of a Versace outlet? Not really, but apparently there are nearly six million people on this planet that need to be made aware of this disturbing fact, right down to how many pieces of corn managed to find their way into the bowl. But I digress.
Perhaps the most ironic aspect of Twitter, at least in my mind, is its ability to make celebrities willingly trade away the last bit of privacy they so desperately ask for when bombarded by the media. In less than 150 characters, these public figures can run their names into the ground, yet even the UFC encourages it, handing out monetary awards for “creativity” and “growth percentage” for this “social” media network. Where, in times past, people wrote down their thoughts in journals, diaries, or simply let a thought go, nowadays everyone from Miguel Torres to King Mo have significantly screwed themselves by using this device as a platform to express their innermost feelings for the world to see, somehow unaware that it would bite them in the ass almost immediately. Such is the case for Jason “Mayhem” Miller.
Always the funnyman, Miller took to his Twitter yesterday and jotted down quite a zinger in light of Chael Sonnen’s recent Twitter remarks concerning Alistair Overeem:
Greg Jackson Explains Decision To Corner Jon Jones At UFC 145
Jon Jones had hoped to have his coach Greg Jackson alongside him for his UFC 145 Light Heavyweight Title defense against Rashad Evans but the fact Evans was a former student of Jackson's made things awkward for the sought after coach from New Mexico.
After time, Jackson decided to corner Jones in a few weeks when the title in on the line and explained his decision to MMAFighting.com> this week:
D.J. Linderman replaces Chris Barnett in Cage Warriors Fight Night 5 headliner
Officials today announced a late change to Thursday's Cage Warriors Fight Night 5 headliner.
Bellator veteran D.J. Linderman (10-3) has replaced injured Chris Barnett (7-1) and now meets fellow heavyweight Bobby Brents (12-2) in the show's main event.
Barnett was forced off the card with a foot injury, officials stated.
Cage Warriors Fight Night 5 takes place at New Boxing Arena in Amman, Jordan. The main card streams on Facebook following prelims on Cage Warriors' Facebook page.
Jessica Aguilar vs. Megumi Fujii confirmed for Bellator 69
A meeting between top-ranked fighters Megumi Fujii (25-1 MMA, 3-1 BFC) and Jessica Aguilar (13-4 MMA, 3-1 BFC) is now official.
Bellator officials today confirmed the 115-pound women's bout for the MTV2-televised main card of Bellator 59, which takes place May 18 at L'Auberge du Lac Casino Resort in Lake Charles, La. Prelims stream on Spike.com.
The event also features the finals of Bellator's season-six lightweight tournament and a heavyweight tournament qualifier pitting vet Ron Sparks (8-1 MMA, 3-1 BFC) against Kevin Asplund (15-1 MMA, 0-0 BFC).