Insurance-Less Joe Stevenson Heads To Mexico, Still Wants Gomi Fight
This past Friday, UFC lightweight Joe Stevenson postponed an interview with MMAjunkie.com about his career plans. Why? He was headed across the border to Tijuana, Mexico. No, he didn't get a good deal on prescriptions, hit the club scene, or pick up some kitsch. He went because he didn't have health insurance, and X-rays on his knee proved cheaper across the border. Stevenson was supposed to face Takanori Gomi this past Sunday in San Diego at UFC on Versus 2. However, he was forced to withdraw when he tweaked his knee in training five weeks prior to the bout. Gomi instead took on Tyson Griffin and knocked him out with a wicked right hand in the first round of the Versus-televised bout. Despite the cancellation, Stevenson still badly wants the Gomi fight and hopes both the UFC and fans want to see him take on the Japanese star. He plans to call matchmaker Joe Silva to throw his name in the hat of possible future opponents. However, Stevenson's X-ray technician in Tijuana said he may have a partial tear of his LCL (lateral collateral ligament) or PCL (posterior cruciate ligament). Regardless, he believes he doesn't need surgery. And if he doesn't need surgery, he wants to fight. Stevenson is just one of many fighters who doesn't have health insurance and meets his health needs by hook or by crook while often relying on a network of friends and sympathetic professionals to receive medical care.
No John McCarthy At UFC 117
Although he worked last night's UFC On Versus 2 in his return to the promotion, the CSAC has told "Big" John McCarthy "Let's Not Get It On" for this coming weekend. McCarthy has not been assigned to work UFC 117 but remains in the mix for future California events. Last night's event was McCarthy's first UFC event since late 2007. He's still not licensed in Nevada but NSAC executive director Keith Kizer said his application remains on file should an opening come up, which isn't too often.
Officials: Paul Daley Has Not Signed With Strikeforce
Former Cage Rage champion and recent UFC fighter Paul Daley has not signed with Strikeforce. Despite reports of a completed six-figure deal, Strikeforce spokesperson Mike Afromowitz today said no deal has been reached with the British fighter. Additionally, a representative for Daley said the fighter is weighing multiple options. Daley currently is slated to fight at next month's Shark Fights 13 event as part of a one-fight deal with the promotion.
UFC on Versus 2 draws reported attendance of 8,132 for $490K gate
SAN DIEGO – The UFC's second-ever event on Versus, "UFC on Versus 2: Jones vs. Matyushenko" drew an enthusiastic crowd of 8,132 attendees for a live gate of $489,685 according to UFC officials.
The Aug. 1 event, which featured a light heavyweight main event between blossoming contender Jon Jones and veteran stalwart Vladimir Matyushenko, took place at the San Diego Sports Arena in California.
The event was the UFC's second trip to San Diego, though the first visit in 2006 was a private function for the armed forces at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.
Following first UFC win, Takanori Gomi admits he even doubted himself
SAN DIEGO – Despite Takanori Gomi's relatively young age of just 31, many MMA observers had already declared the Japanese superstar's career as an elite fighter over.
Five years removed from his vintage form in PRIDE's glory days, Gomi (32-6 MMA, 1-1 UFC) looked downright sluggish in a March loss to Kenny Florian – "The Fireball Kid's" debut in the UFC.
But at Sunday night's UFC on Versus 2 event, Gomi needed just 64 seconds to silence the critics. Of course, if you were among those that counted Gomi out, fear not. He wasn't so sure either.
UFC's Jake Ellenberger wants top-10 opponent but open to John Howard rematch
SAN DIEGO – While Jake Ellenberger thinks his victory over John Howard opens the door to a fight with a top-10 welterweight, he's happy to run it back with Howard.
Ellenberger (23-5 MMA, 2-1 UFC) earned a TKO victory in San Diego on Sunday at UFC on Versus 2 after the cageside doctor ruled Howard (14-5 MMA, 4-1 UFC) unable to continue due to a swollen-shut left eye.
"I got the win, which is nice, obviously, but that's not the way you want to win – having the ref stop it like it was," Ellenberger said. "I'd love to do it again."
Jon Jones Wants Top 3 Opponent Next But Will Settle For Toney
While Vladimir Matyushenko, Brandon Vera and even Matt Hamill might disagree, Jon Jones has a shocking message for everyone in the UFC's light heavyweight division: "Bones" is just playing a game. Sure, that game generally involves the reconstruction of at least some part of his opponents' faces, but to Jones, it's all about fun. Oh, and guess what heavyweights – you're not off the hook either. So the sky now truly seems to be the limit, and Jones is beginning to – in typically humble fashion, of course – imagine himself as a two-division athlete. And after finding himself on the receiving end of some perhaps ill-placed trash talk in recent days, the admittedly sensitive Jones already has a target in mind for his first trip above the 205-pound limit. "Randy Couture, he bumps up to heavyweight all the time, and he always looks very impressive against the slower guy," Jones said. "And now I actually have a heavyweight that I wouldn't mind fighting. That's James Toney – 'Mr. I'm going to slap Jon in the face.' I'd bump up for that fight any day."
If Dana Comes Calling, Okami "Ready For The Challenge" Of Title Shot
Yushin Okami has been the bridesmaid for long enough. "Thunder" is ready to get his due. OK, so the always respectful Japanese contender didn't exactly issue a challenge to UFC brass following his UFC on Versus 2 victory over Mark Munoz, but Okami did say he's up for the task of a long-discussed title shot. "Obviously, we all fight to be champions," Okami told MMAjunkie.com through an interpreter. "I think that I'm ready to go." Dana White told Versus' "The Daily Line" this past week that a victory would go a long way toward putting the 29-year-old in the middleweight title mix. "Winning this fight would be big," White said. "I say it all the time, you know, Yushin Okami is one of the best 185-pounders in the world and has been for a while. This guy's due for a title shot." And with fellow top contender Belcher forced out of a planned September contest with recent title challenger Demian Maia due to injury, could Okami leapfrog "The Talent" for a spot behind Vitor Belfort in line for the middleweight title? Okami refused to play matchmaker, but after hearing of White's comments, he said he'd enjoy seeing what might happen. "I'm honored that [White] would say that, and I hope that I'm up to the challenge if I'm given the opportunity," Okami said. "It's nice that he thinks I am [ready], and if I'm given the opportunity, we shall see."
UFC on Versus 2 quick results
Jon Jones def. Vladimir Matyushenko via TKO (strikes) - Round 1, 1:52
Yushin Okami def. Mark Munoz via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Jake Ellenberger def. John Howard via TKO (eye injury) - Round 3, 2:21
Takanori Gomi def. Tyson Griffin via KO (punch) - Round 1, 1:04
Jacob Volkmann def. Paul Kelly via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Matt Riddle def. DaMarques Johnson via TKO - Round 2, 4:29
Igor Pokrajac def. James Irvin via submission (rear-naked choke) - Round 1, 2:29
Brian Stann def. Mike Massenzio via submission (triangle choke) - Round 3, 3:10
Charles Oliveira def. Darren Elkins via submission (armbar) - Round 1, 0:41
Rob Kimmons def. Steve Steinbeiss via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
UFC on Versus 2 fighter bonuses
SAN DIEGO – Takanori Gomi, Charles Oliveira, Brian Stann and Mike Massenzio each earned $40,000 fight-night bonuses for their performances at Sunday's UFC on Versus 2 event.
Gomi earned the "Knockout of the Night" award, Oliveira picked up the "Submission of the Night" bonus, and Stann and Massenzio earned "Fight of the Night" honors.
Alan Belcher Off UFN 22
Next month's UFC Fight Night 22 event has lost its headlining fight. Alan Belcher is now off due to a detached retina in his right eye. He was to have faced Demian Maia, who he campaigned for a fight against. A replacement search is underway. According to Belcher, he began losing vision in his right eye, consulted doctors and recently underwent surgery in Alabama. He's now prohibited from contact sparring for six weeks, though he said he hopes to attend UFN 22.
Jesse Taylor: I want to out strike Tom Watson as well as out wrestle him
There can be no doubt that some of the best fighters in MMA have graduated into the mainstream through The Ultimate Fighter. Jesse Taylor showed a great deal of promise while in the house and following on from the show has amassed an impressive 9-4 record, traveling to the corners of the globe to meet new challengers. Jesse took the time to chat with MMA Hit Pit about Tom Watson, fighting in Japan and the life of a fighter.
Carina Damm Secures Visa, Will Compete In SF Tourney
Carina Damm will be at Strikeforce Challengers 10 after all. Damm was able to secure a visa necessary for travel to the U.S., and she will compete in Strikeforce's upcoming four-woman tournament. Strikeforce officials had previously announced that a backup competitor was on standby, but Sherdog.com first reported that Damm's spot will not need to be filled. Strikeforce Challengers 10 takes place Aug. 13 at the Dodge Theatre in Phoenix, Ariz., and airs live on Showtime. Damm joins Hitomi Akano, Maiju Kujala and Miesha Tate in the single-night bracket. The tournament crowns a contender to the women's 135-pound title currently held by Sarah Kaufman, who next defends her belt against Marloes Coenen at a future Strikeforce event.
James Toney Plans To Slap Jon Jones
Well, this just keeps getting uglier. Professional boxer and UFC newcomer James Toney called out light heavyweight prospect Jon Jones in a recent interview with FightHype, resorting to juvenile name calling and hurling baseless allegations that likely won't make company president Dana White very happy. Toney is booked to battle Randy Couture at UFC 118 at the end of August, but he has called out just about everyone, including Brock Lesnar, who has been skeptical about his success inside the Octagon.
Bellator: Zuffa lawsuit "a big pile of nothing," company moving forward undistracted
They weren't, per se, confidential UFC documents that were being talked about," English said. "It was very simple. Bellator was interested in checking on forms that the UFC typically uses in order to see if it was missing anything in terms of its own forms. The types of forms that we're talking about, by and large – there's a form that the UFC uses making sure that the fighters don't use the same colored trunks. There's forms that notify them that they're not supposed to have sponsorship stuff on their attire. There was a form that dealt with termination of contracts. Those are not confidential documents, and the bulk of what we're talking about is that.
MC Hammer gets into the MMA business
Stanley Burrell, also known as MC Hammer, announced today that he's getting into the MMA business with Alchemist Management, a new management and "brand-building" firm based out of Los Angeles.
The firm has amassed several high-profile MMA names, including former UFC middleweight contender Nate Marquardt and veterans Vladimir Matyushenko, Jorge Rivera, Jared Hamman, Antoni Hardonk and James McSweeney. Current Strikeforce middleweight contender Tim Kennedy has also signed on.
Dana: There Is No Way Rua Returns In December
Apparently injured Mauricio Rua wants to return from knee surgery in December. Only one problem with that: Dana White, who said no to that...and perhaps to the dismay of Rashad Evans, also said no interim title. "This kid keeps pushing it to get out there faster and faster. I completely respect him for that. He's an animal. I love it. But there's no way he's going to be ready by December. People keep asking why he's had so many knee surgeries. That's exactly why he's had that many knee surgeries. I doubt [there will be an interim title]. When we did the belt for Brock Lesnar, we didn't know if Brock was ever going to come back or if he'd be out for a year or two. No interim title. We know this kid is coming back. He's already had the surgery. He knows exactly the date he can come back." Which could be as far out as June '11.
Dana: I Think It's Time Okami Got A Title Shot
Yes, Dana White actually is pulling a Lyoto Machida of sorts again with regards to perhaps his Middleweight counterpart. He made this comment recently on the Versus sports talk show The Daily Line: "I think it's time this guy gets a title shot; he's been here a long time." Okami is 8-2 in UFC with the only losses coming to Rich Franklin & Chael Sonnen. He next faces Mark Munoz Sunday at UFC On Versus 2, but the fight hasn't been confirmed as being a #1 contender's fight.