UFC vs. WEC superfights? Showcase fights? UFC exec finally admits possibility
LONDON – Jose Aldo vs. Frankie Edgar? Benson Henderson vs. B.J. Penn?
For more than a year, Zuffa officials have been adamant with decries that the Ultimate Fighting Championship and its sister promotion, World Extreme Cagefighting, will operate as independent organizations.
But for the first time, a company executive has suggested the WEC may get a promotional push by the UFC, and it could result in superfights between the two organizations' biggest stars.
Today during a UFC Fan Expo London 2010 Q&A session at the Earls Court Exhibition Centre in London, UFC co-owner and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta admitted the time likely has come for the UFC to help its smaller partner. After all, while the WEC has produced some of the best and most competitive events of the past few years, ratings have sunk, attendance figures have flat-lined (when WEC star Urijah Faber isn't on the card), and yet the company continues producing some of the sport's top lighter-weight fighters, including featherweight champ Aldo, lightweight title-holder Henderson, and a host of other notables in the 135-, 145- and 155-pound divisions.
Jon Jones Says Ryan Bader Fight Is Still On For UFC 126
If Jon Jones isn't fighting Ryan Bader in February at UFC 126, nobody's told him. The fast-rising light heavyweight today told a gathered crowd at the UFC Fan Expo London 2010 at London's Earls Court Exhibition Centre that his long-rumored fight with Bader at the as-yet-unannounced UFC 126 event was still a go despite UFC president Dana White's Friday comments that the contest was in jeopardy. "The Ryan Bader fight is well underway," Jones clarified. At a Friday Q&A session, White set the MMA world abuzz with a revelation that the Bader-Jones matchup, which was previously considered a virtual lock for the Feb. 5 event, was perhaps "in jeopardy." On Saturday, Jones calmed the nerves of the gathered crowd by informing them he had consulted with UFC matchmaker Joe Silva, who confirmed that the matchup was still planned for UFC 126. "I think [Bader] signed his contract," Jones said. "I've been really busy, so I haven't gotten a chance to sign my contract yet, but I think that fight will be set for Feb. 5. I'm really excited about this opportunity." The confusion may stemmed from the UFC's original plans of hosting the Jones-Bader matchup on Jan. 1 at UFC 125. Bader reportedly asked for the fight to be delayed due to personal commitments. Jones' team apparently was pushing for the New Year's Day contest but relented in favor of keeping the matchup intact.
Agent: Jones-Bader Still On For UFC 126
Fans hoping to see Jon Jones fight Ryan Bader at UFC 126 were disappointed when Dana White said at a Fan Expo question-and-answer session Friday that the fight might not happen after all. "I don't know if Jones is going to fight Bader," White said. "We tried to put that fight together, but Bader has some stuff going on. Jon Jones might be fighting somebody else, I don't know how that's going to go." But Jones' agent says he had already been sent a bout agreement for the Feb. 5 fight and had even talked about the fight to UFC officials as recently as Friday in London, and that Jones will sign the paperwork soon. UFC officials even confirmed this statement saying that the fight is still scheduled for the Super Bowl weekend show. The original plan was to have Jones-Bader at UFC 125 on Jan. 1, but Bader asked to have the fight pushed back due to it being scheduled too close to his upcoming wedding.
UFC expansion update: Abu Dhabi return planned for 2011, India and Brazil targeted
LONDON – Next to "can you get me tickets," UFC president Dana White is most often asked where the promotion is headed next.
Both questions were frequently posed today during a Q&A session with UFC Fight Club members at the Earls Court Exhibition Centre in London
Two new markets appear to have risen above White's usual response ("we're going everywhere"): Brazil and India.
White said UFC executive Lorenzo Fertitta is headed to India following Saturday's UFC 120 event, and he also said the promotion is seriously interested in Brazil following the South American country's successful bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics.
UFC boss: WEC champ Jose Aldo wants to test himself at lightweight
LONDON – WEC featherweight champion Jose Aldo may agree with observers who think he's running out of credible threats.
During a Q&A session with UFC Fight Club members at the Earls Court Exhibition Centre in London, UFC president Dana White said Aldo has expressed interest in moving up to the lightweight division.
"From what I'm hearing, Aldo's interested in testing himself," White said.
The UFC president did not present a timeline for a possible move other than to say it could happen "very soon."
Aldo, a member of powerhouse MMA team Blackhouse, decimated the most recent challenger to his WEC crown when he took out former UFC lightweight and "The Ultimate Fighter 5" runner-up Manny Gamburyan by second-round TKO at WEC 51. It was his eighth consecutive victory in the promotion.
UFC: Fight for the Troops 2 Developing for January 22nd At Fort Hood
News of a UFC event on January 22nd, featuring a lightweight bout between Melvin Guillard and Yves Edwards, started unfolding yesterday, although it was unclear where the event would be held or whether it would be designated as a UFC Fight Night or a UFC: Live on Versus event. Now, it appears that the promotion is planning a second installment of UFC: Fight for the Troops, with the card to be held at Fort Hood, outside of Killeen, Texas. As a Texas native, Edwards will most likely have the crowd behind him.
Fabio Maldonado: "See an Englishman get his teeth knocked out" at UFC 120
LONDON – UFC newcomer Fabio Maldonado (17-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC) admits he couldn't help but laugh when he first read the pre-fight comments from his UFC 120 opponent, James McSweeney (4-5 MMA, 1-1 UFC).
Earlier this month, the brash British striker, who welcomes Maldonado into the cage in the first bout of Saturday's Spike TV-broadcast fight card at The O2 in London, said he believes the Brazilian is tailor-made to his style and likely will be dispatched in "Knockout of the Night" fashion.
"James talks too much," Maldonado told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "Even a Macaw can talk. He's right about this fight being the 'Knockout of the Night,' but he will be on the receiving end, and I will get the money."
Wessel says wife faked cancer, starting at TUF 10 to create drama
“Just recently, around six months ago when I left (her), when I just finally said I’m done, it was after, I found out through her doctor it wasn’t cancer, it was just a normal check-up,” Wessel said on the show. “She just said that for drama, and she’s just a pretty manipulative person and it really sucked that I found that out.
“When I was talking to her doctor on the phone, because things were coming to a head and I just kind of investigated a little bit on my own, I just went silent. Literally, everything went in slow motion like my whole world stopped, because for 2 ½ years I have been dealing with this woman acting like she’s sick, acting like she was going to these doctors’ appointments, and really she never had anything wrong with her. It was almost disgusting.”
Cheick Kongo: 50 percent of MMA fighters take steroids
"50 percent [of MMA fighters take steroids], if not more.... What can I say, other than we need to stay away from all of that. It's not easy to put things into perspective, especially if you believe that you have a disadvantage from the get go. For some athletes, it's hard to hold up physically and mentally- the pressure, the obligation to stay on top - everything pushes you to take steroids. For me, PEDs aren't the solution. Taking PEDs jeopardizes your health and it's cheating. I am a fighter; I owe my victories to my hard work, my training, the fact that I push myself beyond the limit, the sacrifices I make to a life almost entirely dedicated to sports. Nothing else. Stay away from the needles. You can succeed without them."
Steve Cantwell Injured, Out of UFC 120
Steve Cantwell is off the UFC 120 card less than 48 hours before it is due to start, having ripped a knee ligament in a BJJ training session on Thursday night (UK time).
Fighters Only was told on Friday morning that Cantwell has consulted medical staff but is clearly in no condition to compete and has had to be pulled from the bout with UFC debutant Stanislav Nedkov.
He cannot be replaced at this late stage; as there would be no time for a replacement to pass medical checks.
Polish MMA prodigy Marcin Held joins Bellator's season-four lightweight tourney
Lightweight fighter Marcin Held, who's posted an impressive 10-1 professional MMA record despite being just 18 years old, is headed to the U.S.
The Polish MMA prodigy has signed a multi-fight deal with Bellator Fighting Championships.
He's joined the organization's season-four lightweight tournament, which commences with an eight-man field in early 2011.
"We have been watching Marcin for over a year and are thrilled to be able to welcome him to Bellator," Bellator Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney stated. "He is a prodigy in every sense of the word and a tremendous addition to our lightweight division."
Bellator inks ex-WEC champ "Razor" Rob McCullough for season-four tourney
Former World Extreme Cagefighting lightweight champion "Razor" Rob McCullough (19-6 MMA, 0-0 BFC) is Bellator bound.
The 33-year-old fighter has signed an exclusive deal with the organization and will compete in Bellator's season-four lightweight tournament, officials today announced.
The eight-man tourney kicks off in early 2011 and will determine a future title challenger.
McCullough, a nine-year pro from Huntington Beach, Calif., posted a 7-4 record with the WEC, which included a 13-month run as the organization's lightweight champ from 2007-2008.
Champ Brock Lesnar keeps revolving-door policy for UFC 121 fight camp
Brock Lesnar now feels like he's on more stable ground even as his camp expands and contracts.
He's emphatically answered questions of whether he could compete again after illness jeopardized his career, and he's now focused on getting the best help possible to keep his belt.
"Everything is in line," Lesnar (5-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) said of his preparation for his third title defense, which comes Oct. 23 at UFC 121 against Cain Velasquez (8-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC). "Guys say they have good camps, and I can go back and say every camp has been my best camp, but I really think ... that's the truth for everybody if they want to evolve."
Despite mixed results thus far, UFC 120's Yoshihiro plans to bring Sexyama back
LONDON – "I am Sexyama."
Those are the exact words, in English, Japanese superstar Yoshihiro Akiyama (13-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) used to open his address to the media at Thursday's "UFC 120: Bisping vs. Akiyama" pre-event press conference in London.
While that audacious tag once seemed shockingly accurate when describing the bronzed judoka with the impressive 11-fight win streak – and though Akiyama's performances thus far in the octagon have both been "Fight of the Night" affairs – he's earned just a split-decision win in two trips to the cage. Is that sexy enough to stick around in the UFC should he falter against UFC 120 opponent Michael Bisping?
While German expansion still rocky, Zelaznik promises broadcast, predicts success
LONDON – When the Ultimate Fighting Championship travels to Germany for just the second time in the promotion's history for November's "UFC 122: Marquardt vs. Okami" event, it will do so amid political backlash and without a TV contract in the country.
If it all sounds to you like a little bit of déjà vu for the company that struggled in the U.S. throughout the 1990s to overcome the label of "human cockfighting," you're not alone.
UFC U.K. president Marshall Zelaznik feels the same.
Phil Baroni vs. Brad Tavares targeted for UFC 125
"The Ultimate Fighter 11" semifinalist Brad Tavares (5-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) will put his perfect record on the line when he meets veteran fighter Phil Baroni (13-12 MMA, 3-6 UFC) at UFC 125.
Sources close to the event today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that verbal agreements are in place for the fight, which is expected to take place at middleweight.
UFC 125 takes place Jan. 1 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, and the night's main card airs on pay-per-view.
It's not known if Tavares vs. Baroni will make the broadcast.
Charlie Brenneman vs. Amilcar Alves Slated For 1/22
Shortly after Melvin Guillard vs. Yves Edwards was reported as beign planned for a as-yet-unannounced UFC event on January 23, it's now been revealed that Charlie Brenneman vs. Amilcar Alves is also planned for the event. There's no venue set for the event and it's not known if it'll be a UFN, UFC On Versus or something else.
Melvin Guillard & Yves Edwards Meet At UFC TBA On 1/22
Melvin Guillard & Yves Edwards are set to meet as an as-yet-unannounced UFC event on January 22, but the fight doesn't yet have a venue or even a card, and it's not known if it could be a UFN or UFC On Versus yet. That search is currently underway. As for the fight, verbal agreements are in place, paperwork pending.