UFC targeting 'TUF: Australia vs. U.K.' for 2012, eyes Brisbane for finale
While Brazil has been awarded the first-ever international edition of "The Ultimate Fighter," Australia may not be far behind.
At a Thursday press gathering Down Under, UFC managing director of international development Marshall Zelaznik said the company is "close" to securing a deal for "TUF: Australia vs. U.K."
If signed, the series would likely film in Australia later this year, and Brisbane's Brisbane Entertainment Center has been earmarked to host the finale.
"We are close to getting 'TUF: Australia vs. U.K.' done, and if we can close that, we will look to hold the finale in Brisbane," Zelznik today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
Current plans for "TUF: Australia vs. U.K." call for the series to be filmed and aired via tape delay in similar fashion to the U.S. version of "TUF" during its 15 seasons on Spike TV. Zelaznik did not reveal if the company has discussed potential coaches or when the series would likely tape/air.
Michael Bisping: Criticism of UFC Fighter Pay Makes Me Mad
"To be honest, it makes me mad, because people don't understand," said Bisping. "I've worked hard, and I get [the amount stipulated in the contract], but when Dana comes into the locker room and gives me a check afterwards, they don't have to do that. Far from it. I was already very happy with the money I was getting, but then they'll hand you another check on top of that and say, 'Well done...good job,' and there'll be another huge check inside the envelope."
"When I was an up-and-coming fighter I used to fight in these sh---y little shows and make no money," he said. "I used to sleep in my car. I couldn't pay my bills. I had to work on the weekends. So if I had to go out now [as an incoming UFC fighter] and I had to win a few fights, make six [thousand dollars to show] and six [thousand dollars to win], that's $12,000, plus maybe two or three thousand more in sponsors, and fight three or four times a way, that's not bad money. I'd be able to pay my bills and train full-time."
"If you win, and you start getting some notoriety with the fans and put on a good show, your pay's going to quickly go up. You start at six and six because the UFC is running a business. It's not, 'Oh, this guy's good enough to be in the UFC? Let's pay him a quarter of a million dollars.' It's not like that. They'll pay you a decent amount just for showing up, and even that's a big jump up from the regional show that you're used to. If you do well, they'll take care of you. They'll probably give you a bonus backstage and you'll quickly be in a new contract with a significant pay raise. If you put on good shows, you'll find success."
"From my initial involvement with the UFC on, the UFC has done nothing but take great care of me and my family," said Bisping. "They've always gone above and beyond the call of duty. They really have. With bonuses, with care, if I ever have injuries they give me access to the best doctors and then pay for everything. Myself and my family, we're living a great lifestyle. ...I'm making more money in one fight than I could have in 20 years of my old job. So you'll never hear a bad word come out of my mouth about the UFC's pay structure.
Rumoured bout: Mamed Khalidov vs. Hector Lombard for KSW 19
Translation from a polish article:
"TelewizjaOlsztyn.pl presented a video in which the issue is discussed for Mamed opponent. According to this material a new rival in the May gala Mamed NSS to be Hector Lombard who has an impressive record of 32-2-1. Lombard last battle fought on November 19, 2011 ceremony at which 58 Bellator defeated by TKO (strikes) Trevor Prangleya. If nothing changes and comes to this fight is a fight we will have the highest level. For Mamed but it will be the toughest opponent of what he fought so far."
I try my best to be a decent European Correspondent, but theres 23 languages in Europe so I can't promise all of them to be in English!
UFC Can't Host Event In Melbourne Due To Octagon
The UFC's plans to take the show back to Australia for an event in Melbourne look like they've come to an end. It appears that in the state of Victoria, it's illegal to hold MMA events in a cage rather than a ring.
Via the Sydney Morning Herald:
And while the UFC would like nothing better than to book a date for a Melbourne event, it is unable to while the government refuses to allow MMA bouts to be held in cages.
In the UFC, bouts are held inside the "Octagon" - an eight-side cage. In Victoria, MMA bouts can be sanctioned if held in a boxing ring, but are not allowed to take place in a cage.
Speaking in Melbourne yesterday during a promotional tour for the Sydney event, the UFC's Managing Director of International Development Marshall Zelaznik questioned whether the Victorian Government was more concerned about negative perceptions surrounding "cage fighting" than it was about the safety of the fighters themselves.
"The government has authorised that mixed martial arts can take place [in a ring] - the issue seems to be the Octagon," Mr Zelaznik said.
"The ropes [of a boxing ring] don't protect the fighters enough ... what you always have happen is a fighter will slip through the ropes - hopefully they don't fall - but we have video that we've submitted to the government about how unsafe it is when fighters are actually falling through these ropes and are hurting themselves.
Demian Maia Didn't Want To Fight Palhares Due To Lack Of Brazilian Middleweights
When Mark Munoz got injured it forced Michael Bisping into a match with Chael Sonnen and left Demian Maia without an opponent for the UFC on Fox 2 card. The immediate demand from fans was for the UFC to move Rousimar Palhares (who scored a quick win at UFC 142) into a fight with Maia. It turns out that Palhares turned down the short-notice no-rest fight (at least according to Dana White on Twitter) and the promotion settled on giving the fight to Chris Weidman.
For his part, Maia says that he didn't want to fight Palhares. Not because he was afraid, but because he thinks that Brazilian middleweights shouldn't face each other. Via SporTV (translated by Tom Mendes):
"It was rumored (a fight with Palhares), but I thought there would not be any possibilities (of it happening), because he just fought, it doesn't make sense for him to throw himself into another fight right now. "Toquinho" trained a few months for this fight. Just because it was fast doesn't mean there were no wear and tears. But I don't even think about that. To be honest, the Brazilian fans should be more worried about seeing us fighting foreigners. There are (only) a few Brazilian fighters in the division and I think that, aside of the title, since it's Anderson who is the champion, the Brazilians should not face each other."
Fear and Hope - One Tough Kid
There was always that reflexive twinge, the slight moment’s pause just before he turned the key in the ignition. Dan Miller could not pull out of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia without some pangs of guilt coursing through him. Sitting there alone in his car, he wondered aloud if taking the 120-minute trek up the New Jersey Turnpike to train was worth it. The same questions repeatedly stabbed at him: “Am I doing the right thing? Should I leave her alone? Should I leave him alone?”
Miller always found himself somewhere else during that time, never in the moment, never thinking of himself; whether it was alone in the car staring at the radio grill or bouncing his way toward the Octagon. His mind invariably wandered somewhere else, back to his son, back to little Danny and how he was doing.
Those terrible days were punctuated by constant uncertainty, as Miller tried convincing himself something better had to come; it was bound to come. However, the alone times were the most painful for him, the nadir of what is gradually turning into -- hopefully -- a remarkable, inspiring, uplifting situation.
Miller has experienced a tragedy no parent ever wants to endure: losing his day-old daughter, Alexis. A year after her passing, Miller found himself clutching strength again he never knew he had, when his son, Danny Jr., became gravely sick in March 2010 while battling Polycystic Kidney Disease, a life-threatening disorder which enlarges the kidneys and affects an estimated 12.5 million people worldwide. Miller was not about to bend, not to PKD or the physical demands of his job as a mixed martial artist.
It did not matter that he had fights coming up against Michael Bisping, Demian Maia or Chael Sonnen. Miller was not about to make excuses or let on about what he was going through. It did not matter that he was a late substitute to fight former middleweight King of Pancrase Nate Marquardt at UFC 128. He lost all four fights, yet you never heard a peep from Miller or his team. There was no way you would, no way he would even consider taking some time off, not when there were fights to be had and the constant pressure of paying for little Danny’s exorbitant medical costs looming over him, screaming at him.
Forget Instant Replay
Using video or instant replay to decide a critical element of a mixed martial arts fight is an interesting idea, but it’s not necessary. Let the referees make their decisions, rightly or wrongly, and live with it.
UFC president Dana White indicated following UFC 142 that video replay would be considered in the wake of the controversial decision made by referee Mario Yamasaki to disqualify Erick Silva following his apparent victory over Carlo Prater for illegal strikes to the back of the head.
Yamasaki, a veteran referee, made the decision on the spur of the moment, and afterward he was criticized by announcer Joe Rogan. White also tweeted that he thought Yamasaki made the wrong call and later paid Silva his win bonus.
Effectively, Yamasaki has been thrown under the bus for what he believed to be the right call.
If you use video replay, based on how it’s implemented in other sports, a call can only be overturned based on conclusive evidence. And it’s the referee who normally overturns it, although some sports go to a command central, which is an independent board that makes the final ruling.
In this case, a video replay would have to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Silva did not, in fact, hit Prater in the back of the head and thus overturn his disqualification. It appeared that Silva hit Prater at least once and possibly two or three times -- even Rogan, an educated and respected analyst in MMA, could not say for sure. So, based on that result, would the evidence have been conclusive enough to overturn Yamasaki’s decision? No.
Chael Sonnen Is A Huge Early Favorite Over Michael Bisping, Weidman Favored Over Maia
Yesterday was a busy day in the world of MMA, and one of the major stories was the UFC on Fox 2 card getting re-shuffled when Mark Munoz was forced out of his bout with Chael Sonnen. Sonnen now faces Michael Bisping, and Demian Maia will now face undefeated prospect Chris Weidman on the main card. Not long after the changes were made, the betting lines came out for the new matchups and the Sonnen/Bisping like is pretty crazy at first glance (line via Bodog.ca):
The third fight on the main card will feature prospect Chris Weidman taking Demian Maia, and while many are stating that it's too early for Weidman to take such a tough bout, the guys who set the lines (Bodog in this case) feel a bit differently:
Pat Curran to Face Joe Warren in Bellator Featherweight Title Bout on March 9
Pat Curran will get his second crack at Bellator gold on March 9 at Bellator 61.
That's when the fast-rising featherweight will face off with reigning champion Joe Warren at The Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Indiana, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney announced on Wednesday.
In 2011, Curran won a chance to fight for the lightweight crown but fell in a unanimous decision to Eddie Alvarez. Afterward, he dropped weight to move into the lower division and steamrolled the tournament field with finish wins over Luis Palomino and Marlon Sandro, as well as a decision over Ronnie Mann, to advance to a title bout.
Since then, Curran (16-4) has been waiting on the sidelines for his chance, as first, Warren (7-2) tried his hand at becoming a two-division champ but got knocked out by bantamweight Alexis Vila. And then, Curran was forced to wait as previous tournament winner Patricio "Pitbull" Freire was queued up to fight Warren first.
As it turns out, Freire suffered a hand injury that required surgery, allowing Curran to cash in his opportunity first.
Source: Cain Velasquez vs. Antonio Silva not happening
A heavily rumored matchup between former UFC heavyweight champ Cain Velasquez (9-1 MMA, 7-0 UFC) and Antonio Silva (16-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC) is not happening, a source today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
The bout was reportedly targeted for April, when the UFC is scheduled to return to Atlanta for UFC 146.
While Silva is still targeted to make his octagon debut on that month, his opponent is undetermined.
Strikeforce's Daniel Cormier still unsure of timetable for return
Seven months after he broke his right hand, Strikeforce heavyweight Daniel Cormier (9-0 MMA, 6-0 SF) is still unsure of when he'll be ready to fight Josh Barnett (31-5 MMA, 2-0 SF).
"I would imagine they would wait, and I think they should," Cormier told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "I think Strikeforce needs some closure to that division."
Cormier is today scheduled for an MRI, and he expects to get a final word on when and if he can fight. Until then, he can't commit to any timetable for return.
"I'm not sure if I re-hurt myself at some point, but when it is completely healed, we're ready to go," he said.
As finalists in the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix, Cormier and Barnett were expected to headline an event scheduled for March 3 in Columbus, Ohio. But on Tuesday, officials announced a women's bantamweight title fight between champ Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey as the top-billed fight.
With fighter pay in spotlight, UFC vets shed light on life in octagon's middle-class
For three of the UFC's rank and file, the bottom line rarely ends at "show" and "win."
Sponsorships, performance bonuses, and discretionary bonuses help to line the pockets of George Roop, Jacob Volkmann and Nam Phan.
They are not millionaires. But despite a wide disparity in pay with their headliner counterparts, figures disclosed by the fighters painted an upper-middle-class living.
Pay-per-view dollars are, for now, a faraway dream that Roop, Volkmann and Phan hope to realize. They have won and lost and are no strangers to the preliminary card. They draw hardcore interest but are known by a casual few.
Featherweight Roop, a veteran of "The Ultimate Fighter 8," has fought nine times in the now-defunct WEC and UFC and carries a record of 3-5-1 under the Zuffa-owned promotions. Lightweight Volkmann signed with the promotion in 2009 and has fought seven times in the UFC, where he's amassed a 5-2 record including five consecutive wins inside the octagon. Phan, a veteran of "The Ultimate Fighter 12," has fought four times in the UFC as a featherweight and carries a 1-3 record.
Thirty-nine millionaires have been created by the promotion, according to UFC executive Lorenzo Fertitta, who defended his company's pay structure in a controversial segment aired on Sunday for ESPN's "Outside the Lines." Responding to charges that top stars are compensated handsomely while lower-tier fighters risk life and limb for as low as $6,000 a fight, he said the company shares around 50 percent of its revenue with athletes under contract.
Roop, Volkmann and Phan's guaranteed pay leans toward the lower end of what fighters make in the promotion.
But they're not struggling...
ProElite to Partner With DREAM
ProElite and DREAM have entered into a partnership that will see fighter exchanges and possibly co-promoted shows.
T. Jay Thompson, the head of fighter operations for ProElite, leaked the news while stopping by Tuesday's installment of The MMA Hour.
"We will be partnering with DREAM not only with a fighter exchange program," Thompson told host Ariel Helwani. "But some serious talks about bringing DREAM to the U.S. and bring ProElite to Japan."
"With the brain power and relationship between (ProElite matchmaker) Rich Chou and I, we're going to put on high-quality MMA cards," Thompson said. "And the matchmaking styles leads into some of these great Japanese fighters."
Munoz Right Elbow Will Require Surgery - Recovery Time Unknown
Middleweight contender Mark Munoz has withdrawn from a No. 1 contender fight against Chael Sonnen at UFC on Fox 2 on Jan. 28 due to an injured right elbow.
Munoz (12-2) was flown to UFC headquarters in Las Vegas last week to meet with physicians. The injury will require the 33-year-old fighter to have surgery. His recovery time is currently unknown.
Fighter Pay Explained By Former UFC Fighter Sean McCorkle
Sean McCorkle's UFC career fits a somewhat standard UFC model. He was able to manage a win over Mark Hunt in his promotional debut, dropped back-to-back fights to Stefan Struve and Christian Morecraft and was released. He fits comfortably into that mid-tier fighter who couldn't quite make it in the UFC. In other words, he is very similar to the fighters in the range that the recent ESPN "Outside the Lines" feature focused on in terms of potentially being underpaid.
McCorkle hit up The Underground to defend the UFC's pay structure and to give some details about how he was paid during his time in the promotion:
During my 3 fight stint with the UFC the paid me exactly 150% what they were contractually obligated to pay me. That is without a KO/Sub/Fight of the night bonus of any kind. That is even though I lost 2 of my 3 fights.
I got a discretionary bonus after all 3 of my fights, even an amount equal to my what would have been my win bonus after my embarrassing performance against Stephan Struve. I was told that was given to me based strictly on the effort I put in to promoting the fight, and not because of how I performed.
I am currently unaware of any pro sports franchise that pays any player more money than they are obligated to do so.
Sponsorship wise during those 3 fights I made an average each fight of about 75% of what I was contracted to be paid by the UFC. So if my purse for fighting was $10,000 I made approximately $7,500 in sponsors on average.
Take an average fighter's reported pay for a televised fight, and double it, and you'll have a rough number of the amount he made on that fight. So if a guy is reported at $12,000 to show, and $12,000 to win, chances are he'll make around $50,000 by the time it's all said and done for that fight.
Sean McCorkle Thinks MMA Should Do Away With Drug Testing
UFC fighter Sean McCorkle, who has always been known for his blunt honesty, has another idea, though. If it were up to him, McCorkle would level the playing field by doing away with drug testing completely.
"What you end up with is a situation of where the guys who are beating the test, where the guys who can afford to get a doctor to prescribe whatever they want, where the guys who have access to stuff, they have an unfair advantage already," he said on Tuesday's edition of The MMA Hour. "I think we'd be pretty naive to think that every person who's ever taken anything was caught. So I think, to me, in all professional sports, I say, let guys do whatever they want to do and be done with it. I don't think anybody's going to make or break their career based on steroids unless you're talking about longevity, because to my understanding, the majority of them are used for recovery from injury."
"There's stuff at [nutrition store] GNC that will make you pee hot for a PED, and it's not necessarily something that's going to enhance your performance at all," he said. "It's just something that's banned."
UFC 145 - Montreal show postponed/fights moved to April
MONTREAL -- The UFC has postponed its March show in Montreal.
UFC 145 was scheduled for March 24 at the Bell Centre. But the UFC scrapped it for now, citing scheduling complications and a desire to deliver a "championship card."
UFC director of Canadian operations Tom Wright says he expects Montreal to stage a show later this year.
Most of the fights announced for the March show will be shifted to a card set for April in Atlanta.