UFC Fight Night 24 officially draws record 13,741 attendance, $1.2 million gate
Although the attendance figured dipped a bit, UFC Fight Night 24 set an event-series record in that category, as well in live gate.
UFC officials initially announced estimated totals of 14,212 attendees and a $1,182,850 gate.
According to figures MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) obtained from the the Washington State Department of Licensing, the gate figure remained the same, though the official attendance came in a bit lower at 13,741.
UFC Fight Night 24 took place this past Saturday, March 26, at Seattle's KeyArena. The night's main card aired on Spike TV, and five preliminary-card fights streamed for free on Facebook. Phil Davis defeated Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in the headliner, and Anthony Johnson topped Dan Hardy in the co-headliner.
Of the 13,741 attendees, only 791 (5.8 percent) received complimentary tickets, and the average paid ticket price was $91.34. Given the strong ticket demand for a mid-level UFC card (officials initially configured the arena for 8,000 attendees but had to open additional seating sections to meet demand), a second trip to Washington is likely.
The UFC Fight Night 24 figures broke records set by UFC Fight Night 20 ($753,962 gate) and UFC Fight Night 18 (10,267 attendance).
The top 10 attendance marks in UFC Fight Night history, as compiled by MMAjunkie.com, include:
1."UFC Fight Night 24: Davis vs. Nogueira" – 13,741 attendance ($1,182,850 live gate)
2."UFC Fight Night 18: Condit vs. Kampmann" – 10,267 ($626,077)
3."UFC Fight Night 19: Diaz vs. Guillard" – 9,490 ($577,997)
4."UFC Fight Night 15: Diaz vs. Neer" – 9,103 ($700,00)
5."UFC Fight Night 16: UFC Fights for the Troops" – 8,500 (n/a)*6."UFC Fight Night 20: Maynard vs. Diaz" – 8,078 ($753,962)
7."UFC Fight Night 22: Marquardt vs. Palhares" – 7,724 ($595,500)
8."UFC Fight Night 21: Florian vs. Gomi" – 7,700 ($590,685)
9."UFC Fight Night 17: Lauzon vs. Stephens" – 7,596 ($304,000)
10."UFC Fight Night 13: Florian vs. Lauzon" – 6,742 ($753,429)
UFC's Brock Lesnar returning to the WWE? "Folks, it ain't happening very soon"
Despite persistent rumors that Brock Lesnar and the UFC may be organizing his return to the WWE, the former UFC champ said it's unlikely to happen anytime soon, if at all.
Lesnar, who's on a media tour ahead of Wednesday's debut of "The Ultimate Fighter 13," today appeared on ESPN's "SportsCenter" and shot down the possibility.
Lesnar said he's perfectly content with his current situation.
"This is my home," said Lesnar, who coaches opposite fellow contender Junior Dos Santos on "TUF 13," which airs on Spike TV at 9 p.m. ET/PT. "The octagon is where I feel it's meant to be. ... At the end of the day, I'm happy at doing what I'm doing, and that's being an ultimate fighter."
Since joining the UFC in early 2008, Lesnar's name has appeared with a handful of WWE rumors. Some have suggested a one-night return while others have talked about a full-time move to his former employer, where Lesnar was one of the pro-wrestling organization's biggest stars from 2002 to 2004. Many have suggested that Lesnar put the request into UFC officials himself.
UFC president Dana White, though, consistently has shot down the possibility.
"Not going to happen," White told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) in December. "He can't leave the UFC. He's under contract."
Lesnar has taken a similar stance. He today told "SportsCenter" host Hannah Storm he can't say he'll never make a return, but his UFC job takes priority.
"I should never say never," the 33-year-old said. "When my stint in the UFC is over, it's a possibility. But folks, it ain't happening very soon. That's for sure."
He said his focus remains on a June 11 No. 1 contender's bout at UFC 131 and a possible shot to reclaim his title from Cain Velasquez.
"At this moment in time, I've got Junior Dos Santos in front of me, and then I'm looking at the title shot against Cain," he said. "But Junios Dos Santos, look out; here I come."
Cordeiro: Kings MMA Doors Open to ‘Shogun’
Former Chute Boxe Academy coach Rafael Cordeiro found Mauricio “Shogun” Rua’s performance against Jon Jones in the UFC 128 main event on March 19 in Newark, N.J. deeply unsettling. Rua, a longtime Cordeiro pupil, succumbed to a third-round technical knockout against Jones, as he surrendered the UFC light heavyweight crown in a woefully one-sided affair.
The doors to Cordeiro’s Kings MMA academy in Huntington Beach, Calif., remain open to Rua, who now owns a 3-3 mark inside the Octagon.
“It just depends on him,” Cordeiro (Pictured) told Sherdog.com. “It would be very easy to say that Shogun coming to train at my gym would be the solution to his problems. I think it would be the first step to solving things. I think the first step to solving your problems is for you to seek good training. That’s not to say he hasn’t done that, because he has a good team, but I’ve seen some weaknesses in Shogun that I had not seen before.”
Jones wiped out Rua, standing and on the ground, and emerged from the bout virtually unscathed. Never before had the 2005 Pride Fighting Championships middleweight grand prix winner been so soundly defeated. For Cordeiro, it was particularly tough to stomach.
“I was very sad on one hand, and it was a very sad night for me because this is a guy I graduated from white belt to black belt. I have a lot of affection for him,” Cordeiro said. “Every time I saw him coming to the ring, whether I was there or not, I had a reason to be proud because it was a black belt of mine who was in there.
“Even though we didn’t train together, his defeat was a very big revelation to me,” he added. “It’s hard to see your student going through a situation so complicated in the ring. Nobody until then had put Shogun [in a situation like that].”
Widely regarded as one of the top light heavyweights of all-time, Rua entered the cage against Jones on the heels of his third reconstructive knee surgery since 2007. The 29-year-old Brazilian had not fought in almost a year. Cordeiro believes he has an ideal team in place to assist in Rua’s recovery.
“My gym is open to all the guys,” he said. “When I opened this gym, it was always my intention to bring together good things and new. I want to add value to these fighters, and, so far, nothing has changed.
“It would be very easy to say to you today that I have the cure for Shogun’s problems,” Cordeiro added. “The most important thing for me is that he knows that there is a group of competent people to help him here. Again, that’s not to say he didn’t have competent people at his side [leading up to the Jones fight]. I think going forward there are some things that happened that showed he needed some special people to work with him.”
Report: 205-Pound Tournament Semifinals Booked for Bellator 42
Richard Hale will reportedly take on D.J. Linderman, while Tim Carpenter will meet Christian M'Pumbu in the semifinals of Bellator Fighting Championships’ first-ever light heavyweight tournament.
Hale (Pictured) reported the pairings to MMAJunkie.com on Monday, along with the fact that both semifinals will take place April 23 at Bellator 42. The event airs live on MTV2 from the Lucky Star Casino in Concho, Okla.
The winners of the 205-pound matchups will square off later in Bellator’s ongoing fourth season for $100,000 in total pay and the mantle of inaugural Bellator light heavyweight titleholder.
All four competitors advanced to the semifinals with wins at last Saturday’s Bellator 38 at Harrah’s Tunica Hotel and Casino in Tunica, Miss.
Hale, 25, made the biggest splash in his Bellator debut with a stunning inverted triangle-choking of previously unbeaten Nik Fekete. On Monday afternoon, an official YouTube video of the technical submission had been viewed over 80,000 times.
Linderman also caused an upset in his first outing at 205 pounds, stopping tournament favorite Raphael Davis on third-round punches. The 27-year-old former SportFight heavyweight champ improved to 9-1 with his fourth consecutive victory.
Carpenter, a 30-year-old product of Philadelphia’s Balance Studios, upped his unbeaten record to 7-0 with a split decision over Daniel Gracie. It was Carpenter’s second win under the Bellator banner, his first coming last October against former International Fight League standout Jamal Patterson.
M’Pumbu punched out Chris Davis in the third round of their hard-fought quarterfinal scrap. It was the first fight for 33-year-old “Tonton” since his semifinal elimination from Deep’s light heavyweight grand prix in April 2010.
Jackson: Evans Said Jones Could Join Team
Rashad Evans has suggested trainer Greg Jackson is to blame for letting Jon Jones join their camp and set up a teammate-versus-teammate matchup, but Jackson (Pictured) has a different take.
“Rashad can say maybe he was uncomfortable with it, but when I asked him if [Jones] could come on the team, he said yes,” Jackson explained recently on the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show. “Everybody said yes. There’s a ton of people I’ve turned away because [team members] have said, ‘I’m not really comfortable with that person. I don’t want you to do it.’ I’ve got a list of those guys too. They’re very good fighters, and I’m not going to name names that I’ve had to turn away for that very reason. Everybody was all right with [Jones], and now they’re not.”
Jackson pointed out that Jones is one among many fighters who have been allowed to join the Jackson’s MMA team. Evans is another.
“I want talented people around talented people,” Jackson said. “Remember, these guys were really cool with each other until like a couple of weeks ago and then it all kind of went downhill because I guess Jon said something that hurt Rashad’s feelings and then it just kind of, I don’t know, it went out of control from there.”
Jones said he would be willing to fight Evans, and now Evans has said he’s willing to fight Jones, who won the UFC light heavyweight title March 19 from Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. Jackson will not be watching.
“If they choose to fight each other, it’s not like I’m their dad or I own them or anything like that,” he said. “If they’re making those choices, of course I’m disappointed, but if it’s what everybody wants, then I’m just going to stay out of it.”
One outcome Jackson wants to avoid is the feeling among his fighters that they should train with each other knowing they could meet one day in the cage.
“That’s part of the reason why we don’t want to fight each other,” he said. “That’s what people will never understand. Business people will never understand. … You want to keep that vibe of not having that around because everyone’s going to hold on to their own techniques and no one’s really going to grow. Why train with somebody in the first place if they’re not going to be showing you stuff, not helping you out?”
Rebney: MTV2 ‘Very Happy’ with Bellator
Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney (Pictured) joined the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Savage Dog Show” on March 25 to talk about his promotion’s current season.
Other topics of discussion included how Bellator’s television deal with MTV2 is working out, pay-per-view possibilities and the role of Bellator in the MMA marketplace after the UFC’s purchase of Strikeforce.
Rebney on MTV2’s reaction to Bellator’s ratings: “They were real happy with the first and second weeks. Last week of course we battled ‘March Madness’ and an earlier start time, so the numbers dipped a little bit, but that’s to be expected. … That’s just the nature of the game. Saturday nights have some great advantages to them, but there’s a lot of action going on Saturday nights, specifically during the March timeframe.
On the relationship with MTV2: “They’ve been great. They’re very excited about the programming. … They know the space. The MTV network guys have been in charge of and running Spike since its infancy. They get MMA better than anybody in television. They know how to shoot it, they know how to produce it, they know how to promo it. … They’re an awesome partner.”
On the importance of MTV2 and weekly shows for building Bellator: “That’s the catalyst. If you look at where the UFC was and where the UFC has gone, you can argue back and forth, but the single greatest catalyst they’ve had is ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ on Spike. … That week-in week-out same-time same-place channel development and partnership is the key to building a mixed martial arts organization.”
On how the Bellator-MTV2 partnership differs from UFC-SpikeTV: “We’re drawing a much different demographic on MTV2 than what the UFC is drawing both to the pay-per-views and to their Spike programming. And it’s a very attractive demo. It’s a socioeconomically impressive young male demographic that skews younger than the demographic watching ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ and tuning into pay-per-views.”
On whether Bellator can succeed in the UFC-dominated market: “When you have content, you have a show that can week-in and week-out deliver hundreds of thousands of young male consumers -- which is kind of your key, key, key consumer that advertisers are trying to reach in this country and across the world -- there’s not reason to believe that we couldn’t live in great harmony, leveraging the expertise of the people at MTV networks, who have helped build the UFC out to where it is, and build this brand out under the same corporate umbrella.”
On the status of Bellator: “We are in a spectacular position right now as a company, as a corporate entity because we’re not bleeding. We had great investors behind us when I launched this company in 2009. Those investors believed in the business model I put in front of them in terms of how long it would take to get to a cash flow break-even position where we wouldn’t require any more capital to continue putting on shows and putting on events. We got there. We actually got there literally about 60 days before I had projected we would get there.”
British Promotion Cage Warriors Inks Deal For Free TV in the UK
British fight promotion Cage Warriors Fighting Championship recently announced that it his inked a new television deal with Premier Sports in the U.K.
The deal means Cage Warriors will be available on a free-to-view and delayed basis on the channel following each of the eight events it has planned for the rest of 2011. Cage Warriors 41, which will be held on April 24, will become the first event to be broadcast free-to-view on Premier Sports that operates on the Sky platform, channel 433. Live streaming will continue to be available free through the Cage Warriors website.
This announcement follows the successful broadcast and worldwide live streaming of the Cage Warriors 40 show on the Cage Warriors website. That event comprised of six televised CWFC bouts, which included a successful CWFC bantamweight title defense by Paul McVeigh. The show was headlined by a women’s super-flyweight showdown between Bellator, EliteXC, and BodogFIGHT veteran Rosi Sexton and Japan-based American Strikeforce veteran Roxanne Modafferi.
“This is a great partnership for Cage Warriors Fighting Championship and a great opportunity for fighters worldwide to get the exposure they deserve as professional athletes,” commented Cage Warriors Director Graham Boylan. “The fighters put so much time and effort into this sport they deserve this exposure. I’m very excited for them.”
Premier Sports operates on the Sky platform, channel 433 and features NRL, NASCAR, South American Football and regular boxing from around the world.
Brock Lesnar’s Motive For Doing TUF 13 Was All About Fighting for the Title
There are a lot of reasons that someone would accept a slot as a coach on “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series. Maybe it’s a grudge that needs to be settled, like in the case of Rashad Evans and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, or maybe it’s just for the exposure the show provides.
For TUF 13 coach Brock Lesnar the motivation to go on the show was pure and simple.
It earned him a fight that will get him closer to regaining the UFC heavyweight title that he lost last year.
The former NCAA champion is already one of the most well known figures to ever compete in the UFC, but Lesnar admits that there are certain things that haunt him about the fight with now champion Cain Velasquez. He’s looking to exorcise those demons with the reality show and the fight with Junior Dos Santos.
“I was healthy physically, but mentally probably not so,” Lesnar said about his fight with Velasquez. “I don’t think it really registers to the general public on my year last year. From being sick and losing 42 pounds and just getting my ass to the gym to recover. Then have a title fight and on top of that, while I’m training for a title fight, a new baby boy, and then fighting Shane Carwin and I was expecting some time off.
“I really needed it mentally more than anything and physically. Then I booked the fight against Cain. If there was one thing that I could learn from that is to maybe spread title fights out a little farther than what I did.”
Hindsight is 20/20, but Lesnar is now focused on the goal of getting ready for the fight against Dos Santos in June at UFC 131, and then facing Velasquez with the title on the line.
The Minnesota resident admits that was the biggest reason for him to do “The Ultimate Fighter.” He hopes that motivation serves him well in June. He also knows that he would have had to fight Dos Santos eventually, so this all works out pretty well.
“Analyzing my loss against Cain, if I had won that fight I’d be fighting Junior, so I’m right back in the same position, but absolutely, it’s the closest thing to getting me a title fight, and getting my UFC heavyweight title back,” Lesnar commented.
One thing that won’t likely be showcased on this season of “The Ultimate Fighter” is a standing grudge between Lesnar and Dos Santos. In past seasons, with coaches like Evans and Jackson or even Dan Henderson and Michael Bisping, there always seemed to be a fuse just waiting to be lit any time the coaches interacted with each other.
Lesnar threw water on that idea right away because simply put, he didn’t spend enough time around Dos Santos to build a grudge during the show.
“I don’t know what them guys are referring to. I probably spent a total of 30 minutes with Junior on the show. I didn’t make it a point to run into him or anything of that nature. I saw very little of him other than what we were doing for television,” Lesnar disclosed.
Regardless of any pent up aggression boiling over from six weeks together on the show, Lesnar and Dos Santos are battling for a shot at the UFC heavyweight title when they meet in June, and that needs no extra build up.
“The Ultimate Fighter Season 13? debuts this Wednesday night at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Spike TV.
UFC Fight Night 24 Medical Suspensions
The Washington State Department of Licensing on Monday released the post-fight suspensions for UFC Fight Night 24: Nogueira vs. Davis.
Every fighter on the card received at least a seven-day precautionary suspension. Six of the fighters on the card received a lengthier layoff.
DaMarques Johnson, who submitted to an onslaught of strikes from Amir Sadollah, was handed a 30-day suspension. Jon Madsen, TJ Waldburger, and Mario Miranda were the other fighters tagged with a 30-day suspension following their losses.
Kris McCray received a 42-day suspension after a tough split decision loss to John Hathaway. Nik Lentz, one of two victorious fighters to receive lengthy suspensions, also received 42 days on the sidelines.
Michael McDonald, also victorious with a unanimous decision win over Edwin Figueroa, received an indefinite medical suspension.
Emmanuel Newton Out, Zak Cummings In Against Ryan Jimmo at MFC 29
The “Hardcore Kid” is broken.
Maximum Fighting Championship officials announced the news Tuesday morning.
Strikeforce veteran Zak Cummings (13-2) has agreed to take his place against Jimmo at MFC 29: Conquer on April 8 at Caesars Windsor in Windsor, Ontario, Canada.
It doesn’t leave Cummings much time to prepare, but he doesn’t care. He wasn’t about to pass up the opportunity.
“I’m a gamer. I don’t pick and choose easy fights. It would be amazing to come into the MFC and win the title,” said Cummings.
“I’m going to get in there and do my thing. I’m excited to be on HDNet and to get the opportunity to show the fans what I can do.”
Cummings enters the bout on a three-fight winning streak, including a one-fight stint for Bellator, where he defeated Rudy Bears.
Jimmo (14-1) won the belt in his last fight, against Dwayne Lewis at MFC 28 in February. His current streak sits at 14 straight, his only loss being his professional debut in early 2007.
The fight is the co-main event of MFC 29, where the promotion’s welterweight champion, Douglas Lima, will defend his belt against UFC veteran Terry Martin.
John Howard Responds to Anthony Johnson: “It’s About to Get Real Ugly”
After his win at UFC Fight Night 24, Anthony “Rumble” Johnson expressed his dislike for John “Doomsday” Howard in what bordered on genuine hatred for another human being. Simply put, Johnson despises Howard, but the only explanation he could give referenced Howard as a part of the female anatomy.
John Howard at UFC 94
The mystery remained as to why there is such a passionate beef, but MMAWeekly.com caught up with Doomsday to add some clarity to the situation. According to Howard, the source of the problem stems from a proposed fight that never happened.
The two welterweights were set to square off at the inaugural UFC on Versus show in March of 2010. Ultimately, Johnson had to pull out of the fight due to injury, but when the bout was originally offered, Howard had his reservations because he wanted to slowly work his way through the division before jumping into a big match-up.
“He started the beef about a year ago,” Howard explained. “What happened was, (the UFC) offered the fight to me for my second fight in the UFC. And I told them, ‘no, I don’t think it’s a good idea. I’m still new in the UFC and I still want to be making some money out of it, and don’t want to be fighting some of the top 20 guys already.’ He took it like, oh, I was scared, I’m a (expletive), I’m a (expletive) and all this. And then call me a ‘cotton picker.’
“I got really uptight about that.”
Johnson apparently thought that Howard’s reservations made Doomsday a coward, but it was the use of the term “cotton picker” that fueled Howard’s rage, blanketing him with the feeling of being disrespected in one of the worst ways he can think of.
It’s because of this, Howard now detests “Rumble” Johnson.
“The beef is real,” Howard confirmed. “I can’t stand that cat. I hate that kid. The feeling is mutual.”
Despite pulling out a win this past weekend in Seattle, Johnson has been criticised for not putting more emphasis on his stand-up striking ability, and instead choosing to utilize his wrestling attributes during the fight. One of those critics is Howard.
Apparently, Howard believes Johnson made a point to say he was going to trade shots on the feet with Hardy, but did nothing of the sort during the bout.
“He talks all this (expletive), ‘yo, I’m going to stand and bang,’” he said. “What’d he do? He (expletive) out and took him down. I’m not saying it wasn’t a smart strategy. Maybe it was, but don’t come up like, ‘oh, I’m going to stand and bang. I’m a hardcore mother (expletive).’ And then when push comes to shove, you take down and you go the (expletive) way out.
“At least, when I fought Thiago, yes, Thiago beat me, but I stood and banged with a mother (expletive).”
With so much beef and tension, Howard explains that he would welcome an opportunity to take on Johnson. He would prefer it happens in the Octagon, but made a notion that he would open the doors to his gym in Boston if necessary. It’s a fight that has little to do with making his way up the rankings, and more so to do with hurting Johnson. Win or lose, Howard just wants to make sure he gets his shots in.
“Yeah, I definitely want to shut that dude up, man,” he said. “It’s one of those fights where I don’t care about winning or losing. I just want to smash this dude. I think it’s better to (have it) happen in the UFC before it gets to the streets. That’s how bad it is between me and him. I don’t like this kid.
In addition, Howard feels Johnson’s determination to cut so much weight to fight at 170-pounds stems from wanting to pick on people smaller than him.
“I think he’s a big bully. That’s why he cuts so much weight,” Howard said of Johnson. “That’s why he fights guys five times smaller than him. Unfortunately, with me, I’m not that small. Where I come from, I don’t give a (expletive). The bigger they are, the harder they fall.”
Although there are no clear plans in the works for a Johnson-Howard showdown, it’s clear the two would like to fight each other. As days go by, tension will grow and attitudes will show, making the possibility of this match-up stronger and stronger. For now, Howard says he’s lifting weights and staying in shape, but knows that the more Johnson talks, the rougher the situation will become.
“It’s about to get real ugly.”
Strategic Call-Outs Alert: Hardy Wants Lytle; Johnson, Hendricks Would Also Like to Pick Their Next Opponents
Well, this is getting pretty goddamned transparent. First everybody and their dog wants a coin-flip fight against Wanderlei Silva, then Ryan Bader responds to the first loss of his career by calling out Tito Ortiz and now – fresh off his own third consecutive defeat in the Octagon — Dan Hardy is suddenly very interested in fighting Chris Lytle. You know, just for the purposes of putting on “an old school shootout with a guy that wants to throw down” and stuff like that. We’re sure it has nothing to do with Hardy desperately needing a win.
“Screw the rankings, records are for DJs,” Hardy tweeted on Sunday, as part of a Twitter barrage expressing his frustration with losing a “boring” fight to Anthony Johnson at UFN 24. Once again the whole “mixed” part of mixed martial arts bit another standup-oriented fighter in the ass as Johnson first toppled Hardy with a head kick, then dominated him with his wrestling skills en route to a unanimous decision. After the trio of losses, Hardy’s job was saved only by the fact Dana White “******* loves that kid” (his words) and now Hardy just so happens to fancy a matchup with one of the throw-downiest guys who ever threw down, yet doesn’t have a ton of knockout power. Must be coincidence.
Anyhow, after the jump we took the liberty of condensing Hardy’s irritation into one easily-digestible quote. Plus, find out what fights Johnson and Johny Hendricks also envision for themselves …
“Feeling very frustrated today,” Hardy tweeted. “No excuses, sometimes you just don’t win. I hate having boring fights though … I want to fight again. I feel like I’ve been robbed of the reward at the end of training camp … (I want to) win in a blaze of glory or go out on my shield (against) someone like Mr. Lytle …”
Speaking of DJs, we’re starting to feel like a broken record here ourselves: If you don’t like to be outwrestled, dudes, learn to be better wrestlers. ’Nuff said.
As Hardy was trying to cherrypick a sweet matchup for himself, the man who beat him still can’t get over his distaste for John Howard. Johnson told MMA Weekly on Monday that he would welcome a bout with Howard, despite that fact you’d think he should be on to bigger and better after his win over Hardy. Especially since Howard has now lost two straight. Who knows, maybe handing guys their third straight loss will become Johnson’s thing.
And finally: Hendricks, who rebounded from his first career loss with a TKO over Anthony Waldburger on Saturday, is requesting a leap forward in competition, with a fight against Diego Sanchez.
“I am wanting to fight Diego Sanchez next and need all my fans to help let the UFC know that is a fight you want to see,” Hendricks tweeted this week. “Please post on any MMA message boards and help me get that fight.”
Welterweights, man. They all want something …
Satoshi Ishii’s Strikeforce Debut Postponed Due to Visa Problems
Though he was slated to face Scott Lighty in a featured light-heavyweight matchup at this Friday’s Strikeforce Challengers event at the Stockton Arena in Sad City, Olympic gold-medalist judoka Satoshi Ishii has been forced to withdraw from the fight. Strikeforce announced this morning that due to the recent natural disasters in Japan, Ishii was unable to acquire a visa permitting him to leave his homeland in time for the event. Stepping in for him will be Lorenz Larkin, an undefeated knockout-artist who is currently 9-0 as a pro, following a 7-0 amateur career.
The Stockton Challengers show — headlined by a lightweight meeting between Justin Wilcox and Rodrigo Damm — would have been Ishii’s first MMA appearance in the United States. After losing his MMA debut in a decision to Hidehiko Yoshida on New Year’s Eve 2009, Ishii went 4-0 in 2010, with notable victories over Ikuhisa Minowa and Jerome Le Banner. Maybe when his visa issues are sorted out, a judoka vs. judoka bout between Ishii and fellow Strikeforce light-heavyweight Rhadi Ferguson is in order.
Strikeforce Women’s Middleweight Champ Cris Cyborg in Contract Limbo
Strikeforce hasn’t announced when Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos will next defend her belt, and according to the dominant women’s middleweight champion, it’s not because she isn’t ready. It’s because she doesn’t have a contract.
Cyborg told Tatame recently that her contract ran out after her last fight with Jan Finney last June and she hasn’t spoken with Scott Coker and company about re-signing with the recently Zuffa-acquired promotion in the nine months since the bout.
“Currently I don’t have a contract signed, but on my former contract there was something saying that for a year I’m connected to the [promotion] but we might sign a new one. I believe the fact that the UFC bought Strikeforce is a good thing for women, because we have two years to do a good job and prove them our value — to prove it to Dana White,” she explains. “I’m not anxious and I’m not worried. I’m happy and I keep on training.”
Cyborg’s agent, Ken Pavia, says that the “one-year term” Santos is referring to is a standard champions clause Strikeforce adds to its contracts to ensure its belt holders don’t fly the coop after winning a title. Former Strikeforce middleweight champion Jake Shields had a similar proviso on his expired deal with the San Jose organization, but was granted his full release by the promotion when the two sides realized they were unlikely to come to terms and that that Shields was willing to sit out the negotiation period so he could move on the the UFC. Although he says that there haven’t been any discussions about Santos’ future with the promotion, Pavia tells us that he’s confident that Cyborg will come to terms with Strikeforce in the coming weeks.
Cyborg isn’t the first female Strikeforce champion to have a contract expire. Former welterweight champ Sarah Kaufmann revealed prior to her July 2010 fight with Roxanne Modafferi that her contract expired after her win over Takayo Hashi five months earlier. Strikeforce director of communications, Mike Afromowitz told MMAFighting.com that by winning the title against Hashi, Kaufman was essentially locked into a deal via her contract’s champions clause.
Though she says she is letting Pavia and his MMAAgents team handle her contract negotiations, Santos points out that the key to securing a home for women’s MMA if and when Strikeforce’s anticipated merger with the UFC happens after its broadcasting deal with Showtime and current batch of fighter contracts expire in around 2013, will be to keep on putting on exciting fights, something she’s never had a problem doing.
“I believe we have to put on good shows. We need more women to come and fight. Our market is small when compared to men, but I believe we’ve been proving ourselves to be good at [fighting]. Lately Strikeforce has been supporting female MMA a lot,” Cyborg says. “My fight with Gina [Carano] was a good one, and there are lots of other good female fighters in MMA.
She also points to her former foe and ally, Carano as being a person who will play an important role in ensuring WMMA’s longevity.
“I believe it’s pretty important [for Gina to come back to the sport] because she’s always been there and people got to know it better because of her. There are many fans that enjoy watching her fighting and I believe that, for us to grow on the sport, we can’t think only about ourselves,” Santos says. “We have take one for the team. I cheer for her and for all women on the sport. I think we must get together and make the sport grow.”
Round 5 Releases Another Series of MMA Action Figures That *Vaguely* Resemble Fighters They’re Modeled After
Keeping with its tradition of producing head-scratchingly non-resembling miniature renditions of MMA fighters and personalities, Round 5 announced today the release of its sixth series of action figures.
Instead of posting a photo of the latest wave of figures, who, besides their hairstyles and accessories, really don’t capture the likenesses of the people they’re based on (at all), we figured we’d let you decide who they *really* look like.
Give us your best guesses.
SEE THE LINK FOR THE PICTURES
As far as we can discern, their catalogue includes: Ryan Gosling, Dexter, Gabriel Gonzaga, John Lithgow, Roger Lodge, Samuel Jackson from Black Snake Moan, Rick Dees, Marlon Brando, Kirby Puckett, Meatloaf, Miguel Torres, Brett Favre, Ray-J, Paulie from Rocky, Gabriel Gonzaga, Eddie Van Halen (or Jeff Cain), Chris Klein, Wesley “Cabbage” Correira, the dude from Avatar, Gabriel Gonzaga and a blow-up doll…
Johny Hendricks, Lil’ Nog Lead UFC Fight Night 24 Salary List
The competitors at Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 24: Nogueira vs. Davis card earned a total of $757,000 in disclosed salaries and bonuses, according to figures released by the Washington State Department of Licensing. Preliminary card fighter Johny Hendricks actually walked away with the biggest check of the night, earning $99,000 for 95 seconds of work against TJ Waldburger. Check out the full salary list below; keep in mind that the figures don’t include deductions for taxes, licensing fees, or insurance, or additional revenue from sponsorships and undisclosed “locker room bonuses.”
Phil Davis: $34,000 (includes $17,000 win bonus)
def. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira: $90,000
Anthony Johnson: $40,000 (includes $20,000 win bonus)
def. Dan Hardy: $25,000
Amir Sadollah: $40,000 (includes $20,000 win bonus)
def. DaMarques Johnson: $14,000
Chan Sung Jung: $65,000 (includes $5,000 win bonus, $55,000 Submission of the Night bonus)
def. Leonard Garcia: $18,000
Mike Russow: $28,000 (includes $14,000 win bonus)
def. Jon Madsen: $10,000
Mackens Semerzier: $12,000 (includes $6,000 win bonus)
def. Alex Caceres: $8,000
John Hathaway: $26,000 (includes $13,000 win bonus)
def. Kris McCray: $10,000
Michael McDonald: $65,000 (includes $5,000 win bonus, $55,000 Fight of the Night bonus)
def. Edwin Figueroa: $61,000 (includes $55,000 Fight of the Night bonus)
Christian Morecraft: $12,000 (includes $6,000 win bonus)
def. Sean McCorkle: $10,000
Johny Hendricks: $99,000 (includes $22,000 win bonus, $55,000 Knockout of the Night bonus)
def. T.J. Waldburger: $8,000
Aaron Simpson: $30,000 (includes $15,000 win bonus)
def. Mario Miranda: $10,000
Nik Lentz: $30,000 (includes $15,000 win bonus)
def. Waylon Lowe: $12,000
Underpaid: It’s nice that Chan Sung Jung has picked up bonuses in two of his three fights for Zuffa, but his $5,000 to-show salary seems almost exploitative, especially for a guy who has to travel halfway around the world to get paid. Mario Miranda, Kris McCray, and Sean McCorkle all get double the guaranteed money that Jung gets, and the Korean Zombie actually puts asses in seats. Go figure.
Overpaid: Antonio Rogerio Nogueira hasn’t performed like a star since his UFC debut against Luiz Cane, 16 months and four fights ago. The UFC may decide he’s not worth the cost. Also, I’m not sure what makes Waylon Lowe special enough to demand $12,000 in show money, which puts him ahead of guys like Jon Madsen and the aforementioned Korean Zombie.
UFC's Chael Sonnen receives new sentencing date in real-estate case
Chael Sonnen will have to wait a little bit longer before he can start his career anew.
A sentencing hearing expected to serve the UFC middleweight with two years of probation, a $10,000 fine and the revocation of his real-estate license has been rescheduled from today to April 8 at the U.S. District Court building in downtown Portland, Ore.
In January Sonnen pleaded guilty to a federal charge of money laundering stemming from a shady real estate deal in 2006. His UFC contract subsequently was frozen.
Government officials said Sonnen took part in a scheme to illegally net more than $69,000 in loan proceeds through the submission of a falsified repair order, according to a report from "The Oregonian."
Prior to Bellator 38, Richard Hale never even practiced an inverted triangle
Richard Hale drilled for months and months on the inverted-triangle choke, set up a game plan to use it, and then executed with precision the submission hold to put Nike Fekete to sleep this past Saturday at Bellator 38.
Actually, that's a lie. He saw the move the night before weigh-ins on YouTube and thought it would be cool to give it a go. (Watch Hale's inverted-triangle choke.)
"I've never even thrown an inverted triangle before," Hale (16-3 MMA, 1-0 BFC) today told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio).
Ironically, he's now in the company of the fighter he scoped that night, Toby Imada, as the video clip of his stunning submission makes Internet rounds.
To top it off, he gets a ticket to the semifinals of Bellator's season-four light heavyweight tournament, where he'll meet D.J. Linderman at Bellator 42.
Bellator 38's Inverted Triangle Courtesy Rich Hale
I'm late to the party on this in terms of posting this, but at Bellator 38 over the weekend lightning appeared to strike twice. First there was lightweight Toby Imada landing an inverted triangle on favorite Jorge Masvidal. Now there's light heavyweight Rich Hale doing the same to favorite Nik Fekete. To wit:
Jake Shields to Train With Chael Sonnen During UFC 129 Prep for GSP
As he prepares for his UFC 129 main-event fight with Georges St. Pierre, former EliteXC welterweight champion and former Strikeforce middleweight champion Jake Shields will spend some time training with Chael Sonnen. Jake Shields comments on Spike TV:
"So far things are going great, camp's going good. We just had Court Mcgee out here ... you've got Chael Sonnen coming out this week, things are going good. I'm pushing, in great shape. I'm just excited, I'm ready to go."