Ramsey Nijem vs. Anthony Njokuani targeted for UFC 141 in Las Vegas
A lightweight bout between Ramsey Nijem (5-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) and Anthony Njokuani (14-5 MMA, 1-1 UFC) has been targeted for next month's UFC 142 event.
Sources close to the event told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) verbal agreements are in place for the fight.
Featuring a heavyweight headliner between former UFC champ Brock Lesnar and recent Strikeforce titleholder Alistair Overeem, UFC 141 takes place Dec. 30 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
The main card airs on pay-per-view, though Nijem vs. Njokuani likely will be part of the preliminary card.
Bobby Lashley thanks Josh Barnett for efficient Shark Fights 21 title win
The extensive work Bobby Lashley (7-1) did with Strikeforce heavyweight Josh Barnett paid off big time on Friday night.
The former WWE wrestler and ex-Strikeforce heavyweight cinched a first-round submission on Karl Knothe (20-6) in the main event of Shark Fights 21, which took place Friday at Fair Park Coliseum in Lubbock, Texas.
After a struggle, Lashley caught Knothe with a kimura, or – if you're a catch-wrestling type of person – a top-wrist lock.
Who drilled the sequence that led to the submission? One "Warmaster."
"It was exactly what we working on, from the transition to getting into it," Lashley told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "Step by step we went over that same series, like, maybe hundreds of times."
USA TODAY Sports Media Group acquires MMAjunkie.com
USA TODAY Sports Media Group announced today the acquisition of leading mixed-martial-arts site, MMAjunkie.com and its related editorial assets across all platforms, including its daily radio show.
The site's editor-in-chief, Dann Stupp, and its entire editorial staff, including award-winning lead staff reporter John Morgan, will remain in place and will report to Dave Morgan, the USA TODAY Sports Media Group's senior vice president of content and editor-in-chief.
"This is an exciting acquisition for us, and one that greatly enhances the editorial capabilities of the USA TODAY Sports Media Group in covering mixed martial arts across all platforms," said Tom Beusse, president of the USA TODAY Sports Media Group. "Since its inception, MMAjunkie.com has established itself by breaking stories on a regular basis and providing fans with the most relevant and complete coverage available for this evolving and fast-growing sport, and we will continue to strengthen and expand that coverage for our fans."
With more than one million unique visitors per month, MMAjunkie.com is one of the leading online news destinations for the sport, as well as a content partner for several print, online and TV outlets. It also produces the daily podcast/radio show "MMAjunkie.com Radio," with a TV simulcast syndicated through Fight Now TV...
Forrest Griffin Apologizes for Twitter Rape Joke, Donates to Rape Crisis Center
Forrest Griffin tweeting out a joke about rape became a big story given the timing of the UFC's Fox debut. The story of his tweet was picked up by major online media sources and it led to a questioning of the UFC's embrace of Twitter and associated reward system while refusing to hold fighters accountable for harmful tweets.
Forrest has now apologized to a local rape crisis center whose executive director said "The entire comment was disgusting and insensitive." Las Vegas ABC affiliate KTNV has Griffin's apology:
"I like to cause trouble, I like to stir the pot and I like to make a mess of things, but I really do not want to be mean or malicious to anyone. I feel bad, I want to apologize, I feel like a should be punished a little bit. Maybe other professional athletes or just guys in locker rooms can kind of be more sensitive towards the topic of rape. Once you take the comments in the light of day you feel disgusted by it, but at the time you don't think."
UFC on FOX's Guida vs. Henderson winner expected to face champ Edgar in Japan
Maybe fighting on Facebook isn't the worst thing in the world.
While many MMA fans and pundits have expressed their frustration that a key UFC on FOX lightweight matchup between Clay Guida (29-11 MMA, 9-5 UFC) and Ben Henderson (14-2 MMA, 2-0 UFC) has been relegated to the evening's Facebook-streamed undercard, it appears UFC brass is still dangling a rather large carrot in front of the winner.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) has learned from multiple sources close to the promotion that the winner of the Guida vs. Henderson matchup is expected to receive an immediate title shot against current lightweight champ Frankie Edgar (14-1-1 MMA, 9-1-1 UFC).
Guida and Henderson meet in the co-feature of Saturday night's UFC on FOX 1 event, which sees heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez defend his belt against Junior Dos Santos in Anaheim, Calif. The main event airs on FOX.
Rich Attonito meets newcomer Jake Hecht at UFC 140
Following a card shuffle brought by Rory MacDonald's recent injury, the UFC has patched a hole in the second event headed to Toronto.
Sources close to the event today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that Jake Hecht (10-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) will meet Rich Attonito (10-4 MMA, 3-1 UFC) on the preliminary card of UFC 140, which takes place Dec. 10 at Toronto's Air Canada Centre. Facebook-streamed prelims serve as a lead-in for a two-fight card broadcast on Spike TV, which then heads to the pay-per-view main card.
Attonito was originally scheduled to meet Claude Patrick, who was promoted to a main card bout against MacDonald's original opponent, Brian Ebersole.
Hecht, a product of Fiore MMA, brings a three-fight win streak into the octagon and has earned five of his 10 career wins via submission. Most notably, he holds a decision win over "The Ultimate Fighter 13" veteran Charlie Rader in regional competition.
As UFC on FOX headliner looms, champ Cain Velasquez envisions he's underdog
When he walked into the UFC's Rosemead, Calif. gym some 13 months ago, Cain Velasquez was the best challenger the promotion had to offer heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar.
Now Velasquez (9-0 MMA, 7-0 UFC) is the champ, and Junior Dos Santos (13-1 MMA, 7-0 UFC) sits on the horizon waiting to dethrone him.
Oddsmakers still see Velasquez as a slight favorite leading into his headliner with Dos Santos, which takes place Saturday at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., as the main event of UFC on FOX.
In so many words, the line says Velasquez is the champ and brings better wrestling to the fight and therefore has a greater ability to control where things go.
Velasquez, though, has the mentality of an underdog. Whether he's fighting for the title or defending it, as he is under the network lights, this is the part of him that never changes.
UFC 137 drug tests come back clean
All 17 fighters who underwent drug testing at this past month's UFC 137 event tested clean for performance-enhancing drugs and recreational/drugs of abuse.
Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Keith Kizer today e-mailed the drug-testing results to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
UFC 137 took place Oct. 29 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas with a Nick Diaz vs. B.J. Penn pay-per-view headliner.
The NSAC tested both of them, as well as Cheick Kongo, Roy Nelson, Scott Jorgensen, Hatsu Hioki, Donald Cerrone, Eliot Marshall, Brandon Vera, Chris Camozzi, Francis Carmont, Ramsey Nijem, Danny Downes, Bart Palaszewski, Tyson Griffin, Dustin Jacoby and Clifford Starks.
All tested negative for drugs of abuse (such as marijuana and cocaine), as well as anabolic steroids and other performance-enhancers.
UFC on FOX's Ben Henderson promises his fight will be on TV 'somehow, someway'
When UFC president Dana White says his company is focused solely on the promotion of Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos leading into this weekend's UFC on FOX event in Anaheim, Calif., he means it.
Unfortunately, that means a critical bout in the lightweight division between perennial contender Clay Guida (29-11 MMA, 9-5 UFC) and former WEC champ Ben Henderson (14-2 MMA, 2-0 UFC) has flown largely under the radar.
But if you listen to "Smooth," it won't stay that way for long. Henderson thinks his promotion will take place when the cage door shuts.
"Someway, somehow, this fight will make it to air," Henderson said at Thursday's pre-UFC on FOX media workouts in Rosemead, Calif. "If it is afterward or whatever, Dana White is going to want to put this one on primetime television. He's going to be like, 'Oh, wow. We need to get this on TV somehow, someway.' I'm going to make sure of that."
UFC and FOX officials, of course, elected to feature only the card's heavyweight title fight on the night's special one-hour "teaser" special. But hardcore fans will be forced to stream the fight via Facebook or FOXSports.com (or watch in Spanish on FOX Deportes).
UFC 137 officially draws 10,313 attendance and $3.9 million gate
This past month's UFC 137 event officially drew a 10,313 attendance figure and a $3,900,650 live gate.
UFC 137 took place Oct. 29 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas with a Nick Diaz vs. B.J. Penn pay-per-view headliner.
Of the 21 events the UFC has held to date at the Sin City venue, the gate figure ranks third all time.
Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Keith Kizer today emailed the officials figures to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
Of the 10,313 attendees, 8,179 paid for tickets, and 2,134 received complimentary admission. Additionally, 409 tickets went unsold, though UFC officials announced the show as a sellout. That produces an average paid ticket price of $476.91.
In addition to the actual event, Mandalay Bay hosted a closed-circuit feed of UFC 137. The event drew 723 attendees (523 paid) for a gate of $26,150.
The Mandalay Bay Events Center's all-time top UFC gates as compiled by MMAjunkie.com include:
UFC 100 (Lesnar vs. Mir II): $5,128,490 gate (10,871 attendance)
UFC 79 (St-Pierre vs. Hughes III): $4,994,000 (11,075)
UFC 137 (Penn vs. Diaz): $3,900,650 (10,313)
UFC 126 (Silva vs. Belfort): $3,600,000 (10,893)
UFC 57 (Liddell vs. Couture III): $3,382,400 (11,000)
Bellator 57's Ben Saunders to clash with 'teammate and neighbor' for tourney title
It's Florida vs. Georgia, but don't confuse it for the "World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party."
That doesn't mean there won't be plenty of cocktail consumption (albeit indoors around a cage) while a border war between Ben Saunders (12-3-2 MMA, 3-0 BFC) and Douglas Lima (20-4 MMA, 2-0 BFC) plays out inside it.
The two square off in the season-five welterweight tournament finale at Saturday's Bellator 57 event, which takes place on neutral ground at Casino Rama in Rama, Ontario, Canada.
The main card airs live on MTV2 (and in high-definition on EPIX) while Spike.com streams the prelims. Co-headlining the event, which airs at a special time of 7 p.m. ET/PT, is the middleweight tournament final between Alexander Shlemenko (42-7 MMA, 6-1 BFC) and Vitor Vianna (12-1-1 MMA, 2-0 BFC).
UFC boss suggests ex-ring girl Brittney Palmer is back with the promotion
It appears Brittney Palmer will be circling the cage once again.
A former WEC ring girl, Palmer took the same position with the UFC upon the January merger of promotions, but in July, she reportedly vacated her duties to pursue an art career.
But on Wednesday, White suggested Palmer will be back.
"Should we bring back [Brittney Palmer]? Vote now and let me know!" White tweeted late Wednesday night.
White, of course, already knew his answer. Palmer had a devoted following that long has campaigned for her return. So moments later, White announced his verdict.
"Done! The votes have been counted and [she] is back!" he stated.
White didn't state when she'll next don her UFC bikini, though as a Californian, she appears a possibility for this weekend's UFC on FOX event in Anaheim. Palmer hasn't worked an event since UFC 132 in July.
Anderson Silva Will Face Chael Sonnen Next
Anderson Silva has his next opponent.
On Wednesday, UFC President Dana White confirmed that the UFC’s reigning middleweight champion will indeed face heated rival Chael Sonnen in a rematch of their 2010 fight at UFC 117.
During an appearance on Jim Rome’s nationally syndicated radio show, White was asked point blank if Sonnen would indeed get the rematch he’s been seeking for months.
“It’s the fight that everybody wants to see, people want to see Chael vs. Anderson. Anderson is in this position where he feels like this guy is so disrespectful he doesn’t want to give him a shot, but Anderson will end up fighting Chael Sonnen,” White confirmed.
“The answer is yes.”
That puts any debate to rest about who will get the next crack at Anderson Silva, once he’s healthy enough to return to action...
Brock Lesnar to serve as analyst for debut UFC on FOX event
Brock Lesnar has intimate knowledge of Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos. Velasquez took his belt, and Dos Santos coached opposite him as a future opponent on "The Ultimate Fighter 13."
While the one-hour broadcast of UFC on FOX won't give out a teaser for next week's UFC 139, the show will talk about an upcoming heavyweight title eliminator.
That's where Lesnar comes in. The former heavyweight champ fights Alistair Overeem at UFC 140, and the winner gets a shot at the winner of the UFC on FOX main event. That's where champ Velasquez makes his first title defense against Dos Santos.
UFC on FOX takes place Saturday at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. The one-fight main card airs live on FOX while preliminary action streams on Facebook.
UFC boss complimentary of Spike TV but up for challenge of 'going to battle'
Saturday night's UFC on FOX debut signals the beginning of an intriguing period for the Ultimate Fighting Championship and its broadcast partners.
As one era begins with the FOX family of networks, another will slowly come to an end as UFC programming is eventually replaced with Bellator Fighting Championships events on Spike TV.
UFC president Dana White today said he maintains the utmost respect for the operations team at Spike TV and realizes they have been instrumental in the fight promotion's expansion. That said, White said the gloves will come quickly off.
"You'll never hear me say anything bad about Spike or about the guys over there," White said following today's UFC on FOX press conference in Los Angeles. "They're getting into this business, and they're going to be competitors and everything else. But without Spike, I wouldn't be sitting on this stage right now and having this conversation.
"We're going to battle now, I guess, and I look forward to it. I'm up for the challenge."
Report: Alistair Overeem Files Lawsuit Against Former Managers
Alistair Overeem is preparing for his first fight in the UFC, but he's reportedly preparing for a legal fight as well.
According to TMZ, the decorated mixed martial artist who will debut in the octagon against Brock Lesnar on December 30 has filed a lawsuit against his management team for their alleged refusal to pay him money owed from their deal.
It's no small amount, as the lawsuit alleges that they're holding out on paying him more than $150,000 he's owed. He's also seeking a court order to break his management contract.
On Monday's edition of The MMA Hour, Overeem revealed that he had left his longtime home, Golden Glory, due to a "major breach of trust," moving his training camp to Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas. Overeem also called Golden Glory "harmful management" in his interview, suggesting that he was taken advantage of.
The lawsuit claims that Overeem agreed to give managers 35 percent of his pre-tax earnings. You may recall that in July, the UFC parted ways with most of the Golden Glory fighters they had under contract, with UFC president Dana White alleging that they insisted on business practices that made it impossible to work with them. Among them was an insistence on the UFC directly paying Golden Glory rather than its fighters, as is required by most state athletic commissions...
Joe Lauzon vs. Anthony Pettis Verbally Agreed for UFC Super Bowl Card
It looks like Joe Lauzon is getting his wish.
All signs are pointing towards a Super Bowl weekend fight at UFC 143 between Lauzon and former WEC champion Anthony Pettis.
Sources close to the match-up confirmed to MMAWeekly.com that verbal agreements are in for the lightweight fights to place on the Feb. 4 show. Bout agreements have not been issued for the proposed fight yet however.
Every UFC Fight Will Be Televised in 2012, With FUEL Hosting 2,000 Program Hours
Since signing a deal to bring programming to FOX networks for seven years starting in 2012, UFC president Dana White has repeatedly said that if you're an MMA fan, you're going to want to make sure you have access to the FUEL cable station. Until now though, the scope of FUEL's devotion to the UFC has been somewhat unclear.
No longer. On a Wednesday teleconference featuring executives of both FOX Sports and the UFC, it was revealed that FUEL will broadcast over 2,000 hours of UFC programming in 2012, devoting about 25 percent of their entire schedule to all things octagon.
It was just one of several details released regarding the future plans between the new partners. Among the other major revelations is that starting in January, every UFC fight that takes place anywhere around the world will be televised. In the recent past, most undercard fights have only been available online on Facebook.com.