UFC 116's "UFC Prelims" broadcast peaks with 1.5 million viewers; weigh-ins draw 645K
After earning an impressive 1.6 million viewers for its UFC 114 broadcast, Spike TV's "UFC Prelims" broadcast for this past weekend's UFC 116 event dipped slightly for an average of 1.3 million viewers, MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) today confirmed with an industry source.
The three-fight July 3 broadcast, which featured Brendan Schuab vs. Chris Tuchscherer and Ricardo Romero vs. Seth Petruzelli, as well as a bonus fight of Gerald Harris vs. David Branch did peak with 1.5 million viewers in the final quarter hour.
Additionally, the July 2 broadcast of the UFC 116 weigh-in ceremonies, the first-ever such broadcast for Spike TV, drew 645,000 viewers.
Fedor Planning SF Return By November, M-1 Wants Werdum Rematch
And according to Vadim Finkelchtein, if SF wants to keep Fedor around they'll make that rematch happen. "We are ready to fight against anyone, but everyone agrees that the most interesting fight right now is the rematch against Fabricio Werdum. We have one fight left on our contract, so if Strikeforce want to extend it – they should listen to our opinion. Fedor will fight again sometime between October and November. I’ll repeat that again: the only thing fans want to see is Fedor vs Werdum II. Fabricio himself said that he would like to rematch Fedor in Russia. It’s great, but this fight will not happen in Russia ... I can really feel that the rating makers on the US websites really wanted Fedor Emelianenko to suffer from his first 'real' defeat. They now have Fedor in third Place, and the first is Brock Lesnar. Question: Who’s Brock Lesnar? He has only five professional fights, and one defeat. He is a marketable fighter because of his WWE past. They sell-out 60,000 stadiums for that crap, which no one would even consider watching in Russia. That’s why Brock Lesnar is popular. As for Fedor, he is not a marketable fighter – he’s just the best. He destroyed everyone during 10 years. He has 31 victories."
Jake Shields: Strikeforce Wants To Push "Has-Beens" Like Shamrock & Le-Not Great Young Fighters
Which seems to be one of the reasons that Jake Shields left the promotion for UFC. "I’m brand new to the UFC but they have treated me absolutely wonderful much better than Strikeforce to this point. They return my phone calls and I get seats unlike Strikeforce but so far things have been absolutely perfect. I don’t want to knock Strikeforce because that’s not my style even though they did treat me like **** which was unnecessary because I never talked bad about them. Honestly I would love to see Gilbert and Nick in the UFC. Even though Strikeforce is a good show, everyone knows it’s the number two show. They have a handful of good fighters but all the top competition is in the UFC and I feel that Nick and Gilbert are good enough to fight at the highest level. I just don’t see Strikeforce putting the marketing strength behind him as they didn’t for me. I feel like they (Strikeforce) want to go after the places that have already been built like Shamrock or Cung Le. They don’t seem really interested in building top young fighters in their prime. They had a great batch of young fighters like me, Nick, Gil and King Mo but they weren’t interested in great young fighters and instead all the push went to 'has beens' like Shamrock and Cung Le. It seemed like they wanted to push people who were no where near their prime."
Brock Lesnar vs. Cain Velasquez Won't Happen at UFC 119
UFC 119, the organization's first event in Indianapolis, IN, is still without a main event, and considering Brock Lesnar walked away from Saturday night's title defense relatively healthy, many were pushing the idea that his next title defense against Cain Velasquez, could occur as soon as September.
However, UFC president Dana White squashed those rumors Tuesday.
UFC 116 Medical Suspensions
The NSAC has posted the official UFC 116 results on its website, which also reveal the medical suspensions coming out of the event. Of note with regards to a potential UFC Heavyweight Title fight as soon as September is that Brock Lesnar is suspended due to cuts, but for only 45 days with no contact for 30 days.
UFC's Lyoto Machida primed for return; camp calls for interim shot with Rashad Evans
Former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida (16-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) has fully recovered from a knockout loss to Mauricio "Shogun" Rua in May, and "The Dragon" is primed for a return to action.
And if you think Machida is looking for some kind of warm-up fight to get the taste of his first professional loss out of his mouth, think again.
Instead, with Rua sidelined until the spring, Machida and his camp would like a shot at an interim title against Rashad Evans with the winner eventually taking on "Shogun."
TJ Grant vs. Julio Paulino In The Works For UFC 119
Following withdrawing from UFC 116 due to a back injury, Julio Paulino now appears set to return to action at UFC 119, where he likely will face TJ Grant. Verabl agreements are in place, paperwork pending. The fight will likely be a prelim but that hasn't been determined yet.
Nate Diaz Signs New 4 Fight Deal With UFC
TUF 5 winner Nate Diaz is expected to finalize a new deal with UFC today. Diaz' manager, Cesar Gracie, says it's a 4-fight deal. Additionally, Diaz is signed to face Marcus Davis on the first televised bout of Aug. 28's UFC 118 in Boston.
UFC 116 Official Fighter Payouts
The NSAC has revealed the official fighter payouts from Saturday's UFC 116 event. The total discloused payouts were $923,000 with the biggest share-as expected, $400,000-going to Brock Lesnar.
Evgeni Kogan Calls Report Of M-1 Global Collapse "Totally Made Up"
The mixed martial arts community has been waiting for the other shoe to drop after top ranked heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko suffered his first defeat in nine years at the hands of Fabricio Werdum on Showtime's June 26 Strikeforce card in San Jose. While the fighter will likely rebound, what about Strikeforce? Or M-1 Global -- who may have placed all their financial eggs in the Russian's basket? According to a report from MMA Fighting, "The Last Emperor's" promotional organization "is in disarray" after the former PRIDE champion's defeat, even closing its head office in the Netherlands as investors begin to jump ship at the prospect of M-1 losing their negotiating power. UFC President Dana White, who was obsessed with the acquisition of Emelianenko, has publicly stated he now has "zero interest" in signing the WAMMA kingpin, who lost some of his mystique following the Werdum loss. From blank checks to "no thanks" is a tough spot to be in from a bargaining standpoint, especially with just one fight remaining on Emelianenko's current Strikeforce contract. Yet M-1 Global's Director of Operations Evgeni Kogan is not giving the article much credence, telling Luke Thomas at Bloody Elbow the report is "100-percent made up."
Report: Collapse and "Panic" at M-1 Global, Head Office Allegedly Closed
I'd be willing to wager a healthy sum of money this news - if true - makes Scott Coker relieved:
Specifically, sources with knowledge of the situation say M-1 Global has closed its head office in the Netherlands, that some of M-1's investors have already cut ties with the organization, that officials within M-1 know they've lost most of their negotiating power, and that overall, according to one source, the people at M-1 are "panicking."
Netherlands office: Although M-1 Global was widely perceived in the United States as a Russian company because of its close ties to Fedor, it actually considered its office in the Netherlands to be the global headquarters. But that's not the case anymore, as the Netherlands office has ceased to exist. M-1 Global knows it can't count on as much income from Fedor in the future as it could in the past, and closing the Netherlands office was a cost-cutting move. As mixfight.nl first reported, the employees of M -1 Netherlands no longer work with the organization, although it's not clear what will happen to Dutch fighters with M-1 contracts.
Losing investors: During Fedor's reign as the sport's heavyweight king, M-1 Global had some wealthy businessmen it could count on when it needed an infusion of cash. Basically, these were businessmen who were willing to lose money on an investment in M-1 just because they liked being associated with the toughest man in the world. But Fedor no longer has that allure, and as a result those investors have signaled to M-1 that they won't be infusing any more cash in the promotion.
Leben will stay busy, but not against Wanderlei
In what would be guaranteed dynamite, Leben vs. Silva would seem like a lock, but UFC president Dana White had to let the air out of the balloon at the post-fight press conference saying that Silva will be out for several months.
"We talked about that, the problem is Wanderlei's having knee surgery. He's going to be out for a while," said White.
Leben will undoubtedly take some much needed time off now after two fights in two weeks, but White hopes to keep the former Team Quest fighter busy, because that's the best way to guarantee his performance.
Overeem & DREAM 15: No Arlovski, No Title, No "Demolition Man"
That's Alistair Overeem's explanation as to why he's not fighting on DREAM 15 despite rumors he was facing Ricco Rodriguez-he was originally offered Andrei Arlovski to crown the first DREAM Heavyweight Champion. Then things changed. "I knew Dream wanted me on the show, but I didn't want to go back in training preparation. Then, they offered me a fight against Andrei Arlovski for the Dream heavyweight title. As I have said on occasions, fighting for a belt means something more, and I wanted that Dream title so much that so as a result, I agreed to lay off my media and holiday plans, and went back to training. During my training I found out that Andrei Arlovski was not going to be my opponent, and they changed opponents numerous times. I've heard names like Tim Sylvia and Minowa. At one point, I received notice that they had found a opponent but that the Dream heavyweight title was not on the line anymore. With all the changes and the title fight no longer a possibility, I simply had to turn down the opportunity. I want to make it very clear that I never verbally agreed to fight (Ricco Rodriguez) and I never signed a contract with Dream to fight him. I feel very sorry for (the Rodriguez camp) if they still think the fight is on, and I apologize to my fans that have bought a ticket to see me compete. I hope this statement has shed some light on the unfortunate situation."
Cro Cop Could Not Refuse A Nogueira Rematch
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira recently stated his desire to face either Frank Mir or Mirko Cro Cop in his next fight, and if it's the latter then it's a match Cro Cop wouldn't turn down. “I am still thinking about what to do and right now I need some rest. I will talk with Lorenzo and we will see. I just need motivation right now… Since 2003, its inside of me to have a rematch with Nogueira, definitely. He is one of the true legends, a pioneer of the sport, former Pride champion and former UFC champion as well. It would be a very interesting rematch for me.” "Minotauro" & Cro Cop first fought at PRIDE Final Conflict 2003, with Nogueira winning by 2nd round submission.
Hardy Says Condit Likely Next, Welcomes Fight With Kos Or Kampmann
Coming off his most recent loss in his first title shot, Dan Hardy is next expected to be in action at UFC 120 in London. He can't say who he's fighting yet, but he adds speculation is Carlos Condit but Martin Kampmann is a possibility and Hardy is also looking towards a Josh Koscheck fight down the road. Hardy also thinks that if he does fight and beat Condit next, then he's 2 more wins from another title shot.
Cavalcante SF Debut Probably In 60-90 Days
t's been a rough couple of years for Gesias "JZ" Cavalcante. After running roughshod through much of the lightweight division in Japan, Cavalcante suffered some serious injuries that kept him on the shelf, and possibly cost him wins in a couple of fights. Now back and healthy Cavalcante looks to get back to the top of the lightweight division fighting for Strikeforce. The Brazilian and American Top Team fighter hopes to debut there in the coming months. Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker says Cavalcante was offered a fight against Josh Thomson for the show that took place on June 26, but the timing didn't work out. Coker now hopes he can debut in the next 60-90 days.
Couture Camp: Toney Fight Is Not Catchweight
Randy Couture and James Toney seem to be on different scales when it comes to their fight. Literally. This past Saturday Toney said his fight with Couture at UFC 118 is a catchweight fight, believed to be 215. But Couture's representatives said that they've heard no such thing, and the UFC Hall of Famer is expecting to fight at heavyweight. Sam Spira, Couture's lawyer, stressed that the bout is signed as a heavyweight fight. "The Toney camp couldn't agree to a catchweight, and there's been no discussion about it thereafter," Spira said. "I suggest James Toney stop playing with dolls and focus on the fight." Spira, of course, is referring to Toney's recent antics at UFC 116, where he showed up to a media luncheon with a Couture figurine adorned in a Barbie-like dress. UFC officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
Rich Franklin Autographing UFC 115 Cast For Breast Cancer Research
Want a unique piece of mixed-martial-arts memorabilia? Rich Franklin's Keep it in the Ring Foundation is raffling off the arm cast that the fighter currently is wearing after suffering a broken arm in a UFC 115 main-event win over Chuck Liddell. The cast will be autographed by both Franklin and Liddell, and proceeds benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a charity that supports breast-cancer research. Raffle tickets are $5 each and available at www.americanfighter.com. Franklin currently is wearing the pink cast, which was applied after he broke his arm in the first round of the June fight. Despite the broken bone, Franklin knocked out Liddell in the same round to earn the victory. The former champ meets with doctors this week to determine if surgery will be required on the arm. Once the cast is removed, Franklin will sign it. Liddell already signed it while both fighters were in attendance at The Ultimate Fighter 11 Finale in June. (Those two signatures will be the only ones on the cast.) In addition to the cast, seven other raffle participants will win prizes. They includes autographed mouthpieces, T-shirts and photos. Winners will be announced in September.