Virgil Zwicker Pulled Himself Together, Now Relays a Message of Inspiration
Virgil Zwicker was once a man walking his own path of destruction.
The Strikeforce fighter spent as much time in trouble as a youth as he did in school, bouncing in and out of jail for much of his life growing up on an Indian reservation in California.
But Zwicker was able to pick himself up, dust himself off and not only pick up the pieces of what was quickly becoming a broken life, but he was able to put it all back together again.
Now with a growing family of his own, Zwicker’s tale is one that could be simply told for inspiration, but that’s not good enough for the 30-year-old mixed martial artist who now wants to serve as an example of somebody who grew up wrong, but made things right.
While Zwicker has been working as a youth coordinator at his Indian reservation, recently he got the opportunity to speak in front of a group of young people that could truly relate to everything he had gone through.
At the Alamansor Academy in California, kids routinely join the program due to similar upbringings as Zwicker and seemingly walking down the same destructive path. The school’s job is to help lead them back in the right direction and at their recent graduation they invited Zwicker to come be the keynote speaker.
“When I first looked them up and checked them out I thought it was going to be strictly troubled youths, gangs, kids being locked up, but I would say probably only 20 to 30 percent of the kids were like that. The rest of them, there was a lot that had physical disabilities, autism, and a lot of them were not in trouble or anything. They basically told me that 90 percent of those kids are the worst of the worst in that area,” Zwicker told MMAWeekly.com.
Anderson Silva Has No Plans of Retiring Any Time Soon
Fedor Emelianenko may have recently announced his retirement from MMA, but don’t worry, Anderson Silva isn’t going anywhere.
The UFC’s reigning and defending middleweight champion, who surpassed Emelianenko in most people’s minds as the greatest mixed martial artist ever, squashed any retirement rumors on Tuesday with a simple one word answer.
When asked about rumors that he might retire after his UFC 148 main event fight against Chael Sonnen – win, lose or draw – Silva was happy to put those to rumors to rest.
“Nope,” Silva answered with a sly look on his face.
Dana White: Anderson Silva-Chael Sonnen rivalry could be biggest in UFC history
The UFC has seen its fair share of rivalries over the years.
Randy Couture and Chuck Liddell. Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz. Rashad Evans and Rampage Jackson. And, of course, Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen.
But Saturday's Silva-Sonnen rematch at UFC 148 and the buildup behind it may have pushed it to the head of the pack in the eyes of Dana White.
The UFC president on Monday told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) the rivalry between Silva, his longtime middleweight champion, and Sonnen, the challenger who took him into the fifth round at UFC 117 nearly two years ago, has taken on a new life in part thanks to Silva believing Sonnen doesn't deserve a rematch.
"If not No. 1, it's up there," White said. "I've never been in a situation where a guy says, 'This guy's such a disrespectful punk, he doesn't deserve this shot – and I'm not gonna fight him.'"
Dana White's one Fedor Emelianenko regret? No UFC fight with Brock Lesnar
UFC president Dana White has nothing bad to say about Fedor Emelianenko. Still.
While the fighter's management team has drawn the scorn of White numerous times in recent years, he maintains he has no problem with the recently retired Emelianenko.
Still, White regrets he could never get Emelianenko booked for a fight with a certain ex-champion under the UFC banner.
Emelianenko, who retired with a 34-4 record (and three-fight win streak) following a June 21 knockout of Pedro Rizzo, began serious negotiations with the UFC in 2009. But they famously flopped, and Emelianenko later signed with Strikeforce (which the UFC acquired a little more than a year later).
At the time, White desperately wanted to book his reigning heavyweight champion – WWE crossover star Brock Lesnar – against Emelianenko for a pay-per-view blockbuster. White went as far as to say the Emelianenko signing and immediate title shot were "imminent" just prior to Lesnar's win over Frank Mir at UFC 100.
But it never happened. Emelianenko eventually flamed out of Strikeforce with three straight losses and returned to fight overseas this past year.
"Obviously, I would have loved to make that fight with him and Brock at that point in time," White told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "It would have been awesome. But it obviously didn't happen."
Ben Saunders vs. Brian Warren catchweight fight added to Bellator 72
Bellator veteran Ben Saunders (13-5-2 MMA, 4-2 BFC) will take a break from tournament competition to fight promotional newcomer Brian Warren (18-15-1 MMA, 0-0 BFC) later this month at Bellator 72.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) today confirmed the non-tournament bout with sources close to the event.
The fight will be contested at a catchweight of 178 pounds.
Bellator 72 takes place July 20 at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa, Fla. Main-card fights air on MTV2, and Spike.com streams the prelims.
Saunders vs. Warren is likely to be a preliminary-card or swing bout.
Saunders returns to the cage following a semifinal-round finish in Bellator's season-six eight-man tournament, which followed a runner-up finish in the season-five tournament. The losses came to notables Bryan Baker and Douglas Lima, respectively. The American Top Team fighter and UFC vet now fights in his current home state of Florida.
Brian Ebersole steps up to face James Head at UFC 149
Brian Ebersole (50-14, UFC 4-0) has stepped up to replace the injured Claude Patrick and will face American James Head (8-2, UFC 1-1) on the UFC 149 card scheduled to be held at Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Canada on July 21.
The news was confirmed by a source close to Ebersole.
Wow this is crazy! Has to be some sort of record for injuries on one card.
Ebersole is a good replacement but I wish he could fight guys that aren't mid-tier, seems like every fight is a step down in competition.
Georges St. Pierre: 'Chael Sonnen wants to get into Anderson Silva's head and he did it'
"He wants to get into Anderson Silva's head and he did it. That's what he wants, because when you fight with emotion, you don't fight smart. The crowd, they love it. (Silva) he's going to go crazy but he can make a mistake if you do that. It's a big mistake. You have to go back to the reason he's a champion. And the reason he's a champion is because he fights smart, he's skilled. More skilled than the other guys ... He brings the fight where he is the best. He doesn't go crazy. That's what Chael Sonnen wants from him."
Jon Jones releases statement; DWI sentencing delayed
The statement, released through a Binghamton-based law firm representing Jones:
“Mr. Jones wishes to express the following to his fans, friends, and, most of all, his family: By pleading guilty on May 29, Mr. Jones accepted responsibility for his actions,” the statement reads. “This process has been a learning experience for this young man. He is remorseful for his conduct, but thankful for the opportunity to accept responsibility and to grow as a person. This experience has motivated Mr. Jones to achieve his maximum potential both professionally and personally.”
Sentencing for Jones, a Union-Endicott High School graduate, was delayed again at the court appearance Tuesday morning as the Ithaca resident requested more time to complete his court-mandated drug and alcohol evaluation. His sentencing date has been rescheduled to July 31.
Chael Sonnen calls Wanderlei an invalid, Belfort a chicken
It's barely noon on Monday of the biggest week of his professional life, but Chael Sonnen is already clicking on all cylinders.
"Vitor Belfort pulls out of more fights than he agrees to," Sonnen said. "He's fantastic, but he's such a chicken and he's such a liar. To say you're going to fight, to sell tickets, to sign your name, to film the TV show, and then to pull out? Against an invalid? That's insane. It's shocking they're able to say that with a straight face. My opinion of Wanderlei is constantly evolving, because as atrocious as he is skills-wise, he shows up and fights. He goes hard in spite of the lack of talent and gives the fans his best."
"Brazil would have been a good neutral territory," Sonnen said. "Most of those fighters live here. Anderson lives in Beverly Hills, in a two-million-dollar mansion. He left those Brazilians just as soon as Wanderlei and Vitor did. They go back anytime they can reach into those guys' pockets, but the reality is they're Americans, they got rich in America, they pay taxes in America, they got famous in America, they're employed by an American company, those guys are Americans. His plane fight from Beverly Hills to Las Vegas is shorter than my ride from West Linn, Ore. So good for Anderson for getting it moved to his home turf."
Dana White says Wanderlei Silva not retired, 'but he's getting close'
Dana White did say though that Wanderlei Silva will have "the talk" about retirement.
"Wanderlei is a guy, yeah, I want to talk to," said White. "He looked good in that fight. He almost won, and it's not like he got knocked out. And Rich Franklin can crack. He just knocked Chuck out."
"I think Wanderlei is coming to the end. I think he knows that too. There's nothing wrong with that. We all get old, and this is a young man's game. We'll see what happens.
"I'm not saying he needs to retire, but he's getting close."
Report: Gunnar Nelson offered fight at UFC on Fuel TV 5
Multiple sources have told Fighters Only today that the Icelandic prodigy Gunnar Nelson has provisionally accepted an offer to join the ranks of the UFC.
Nelson is 23 years old and a black belt under Renzo Gracie. He has a professional MMA record of 9-0-1. Fans of ADCC grappling will know him from his win over Jeff Monson in the open-weight category last year.
Sources say he has been offered a spot on the UFC Nottingham card taking place on September 29 in Nottingham UK.
Fabio Maldonado vs. Jorgen Kruth added to UFC on Fuel TV 5
A light heavyweight bout has been added to UFC: Nottingham with Brazilian slugger Fabio Maldonado facing Swede Jorgen Kruth.
Kruth was one of the Swedish born fighters originally scheduled to fight on the UFC on Fuel TV 2 card that landed in the country in April, but he suffered an injury that forced him off the card.
The former Muay Thai and kickboxing champion will now face Maldonado in a bout between two very heavy hitters.
Miesha Tate Draws Julie Kedzie as Opponent at Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman
It appears former Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate will get to be on another card with rival Ronda Rousey.
This time however they will not be facing each other as Tate will return to action on the same card as Rousey when she faces long time MMA veteran Julie Kedzie in San Diego.
Strikeforce officials announced the new match-up on Monday.
Miesha Tate has been out of action since losing the Strikeforce women’s bantamweight title to Rousey in March.
Tito Ortiz: ‘I Did Everything I Wanted To Do in the UFC and Mixed Martial Arts’
When Tito Ortiz signed his bout agreement to face Forrest Griffin at UFC 148, he knew it was the last time he’d ever put pen to paper for a fight inside the Octagon.
The embattled former light heavyweight champion literally grew up in the UFC, first fighting there at the age of 22; but 15 years worth of fights, 15 years worth of injuries and 15 years worth of scars have led the man they once called “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” to call it a career.
Ortiz started talking about retirement a year ago, but now with one fight left on his current deal, it all seemed like the perfect storm for him to go out and have one last great fight in the UFC and then say goodbye.
NCAA champ Darrion Caldwell signs with Legacy FC, targeted for November debut
NCAA Division I national wrestling champion Darrion Caldwell is Legacy Fighting Championships' new addition.
The 24-year-old has signed a four-fight deal with the promotion, promoter Mick Maynard confirmed with MMAjunkie.com.
While not official, Caldwell is expected to make his professional and promotional debut in November at the nationally televised Legacy Fighting Championship 15 event in Texas.
No long waits between fights for Bellator champ Pat Curran
There were gripes from early Bellator champions that there wasn't enough to do between title defenses – and that what there was to do wasn't particularly attractive.
As the promotion's tournament schedule has picked up, however, the days of long waits and dubious non-title fights may be numbered.
Bellator featherweight Pat Curran now has two title defenses lined up, which could result in five total fights before year's end.
Charges dropped in UFC octagon girl Arianny Celeste's domestic-violence case
The Las Vegas District Attorney's office has decided not to file charges against UFC octagon girl Arianny Celeste following her arrest for battery domestic violence.
Tess Driver, executive assistant to Las Vegas district attorney Steve Wolfson, today confirmed the news with MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
"After our review of the case, we found that there was insufficient evidence to move forward," Driver said.
Celeste and a male companion, Praveen Chandra, were both arrested in the early hours of May 26 after an altercation at Wynn Las Vegas. Chandra accused Celeste of kicking him in the nose while Celestse indicated that Chandra choked her several times during the evening. The two were booked into the Clark County Detention Center and released on bail.
The district attorney's office also dropped charges on Chandra.
The 26-year-old Celeste, who's also a TV and online host for the UFC, missed most of UFC 146 due to the incident.
NSAC: Nick Diaz's UFC 143 fine officially amounted to $79,500
A full five months since his loss to Carlos Condit in the UFC 143 main event, Nick Diaz is still a point of discussion.
Initially, after Diaz failed a drug test due to marijuana metabolites, the Nevada State Athletic Commission suspended him one year and fined him 30 percent of his fight purse.
But NSAC Executive Director Keith Kizer today confirmed with MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) the fine was more than the originally reported $60,000.
Diaz (27-8 MMA, 7-5 UFC) who announced his retirement after the fight, was paid a disclosed flat sum of $200,000 for his interim title fight with Condit (28-5 MMA, 5-1 UFC). He lost the bout, which took place Feb. 4 in Las Vegas, via unanimous decision.
A 30 percent fine on his $200,000 purse would've added up to $60,000. But Kizer said the actual fine was $79,500.