Chael Sonnen Completes Suspension; UFC Return Date Still Unknown
Former UFC No. 1 middleweight contender Chael Sonnen has completed a six-month California state athletic commission suspension and paid a $2,500 fine for banned substance use, moving him one step closer to a possible return to the active UFC roster pending the resolution of an ongoing federal money laundering case.
CSAC executive officer George Dodd confirmed to MMA Fighting that Sonnen has fulfilled the terms of his penalty in the state effective Thursday. According to Dodd, Sonnen still has at least one step to take before his license is reinstated in the state, however.
"If Mr. Sonnen wants to be licensed here in California, he will have to appear before the commission to regain his license," Dodd told MMA Fighting in an email. "Every other state will have to make a determination on their process for licensing Mr. Sonnen."
Dodd told MMA Fighting that Sonnen does not yet have a date scheduled to meet with the commission.
Gurgel and Rogers get new opponents for "Strikeforce: Henderson vs. Feijao"
Two "Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Henderson" fighters have new opponents for Saturday's event in Columbus, Ohio.
Dayton-area fighters Jorge Gurgel and Brian Rogers, who compete on the untelevised preliminary card, recently lost their initial opponents.
But lightweight Billy Vaughan (9-6 MMA, 0-0 SF) replaces Tyler Combs in the Gurgel (13-7 MMA, 1-2 SF) bout, and middleweight Ian Rammel (4-2 MMA, 0-0 SF) replaces Mojo Horne in the Rogers (6-2 MMA, 0-0 SF) fight, Strikeforce officials confirmed with MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
Former WWE Superstar Dave Batista May Make MMA Debut in UK
MMAWeekly.com has learned through independent sources that the rumored MMA debut of former WWE wrestler David Batista looks likely to take place in May… but not on U.S. soil.
It has come to light that the main delay in his debut has been aligning his desire to make a professional MMA debut ahead of September, which is when the aspirational heavyweight fighter will begin shooting an undisclosed film project.
Overeem’s Coach Martijn de Jong Says Alistair Will Wait for SF HWGP to Resume, Won’t Fight for DREAM or K-1 in the Meantime
When Strikeforce announced today that it was postponing the second half of the opening round bouts of its heavyweight grand prix tournament until June, critics quickly began hypothesizing that the promotion’s current heavyweight champion, Alistair Overeem would likely not sit out from competing elsewhere while the tournament brackets get sorted out.
According to Overeem’s trainer Martijn de Jong, “The Reem” will stay true to his proclamation that the grand prix is his number one priority this year and the K-1 and DREAM heavyweight champion will not fight for any other promotion until his tournament obligations are fulfilled, even if it takes all year.
Alvarez vs. Curran official as Bellator 39 headliner, Saunders vs. Lee added
A title fight between lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez and season-two tourney winner Pat Curran will headline Bellator 39 on April 2.
Bellator Fighting Championships brass today officially announced the matchup, which was previously reported by MMAjunkie.com, as well as a non-tournament bout between Ben Saunders and Matt Lee.
Bellator 39 takes place April 2 at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn., and airs on MTV2. The fight card will also feature two semifinal contests in Bellator's season-four welterweight tournament.
"The Ultimate Fighter 14" tryouts set for March 21 with featherweights, bantamweights
Recruiting is underway for the 14th season of "The Ultimate Fighter."
That season of the reality show, which begins production this summer and debuts in the fall on Spike TV, has yet to be officially announced, but may feature the promotion's first-ever lighter-weight contestants.
UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby today announced via Twitter that featherweight and bantamweight fighters are invited to an upcoming open tryout session.
Strikeforce to conduct independent drug testing for second tourney quarterfinal event
Strikeforce will for the second time conduct independent drug testing of its competitors at an event.
Several fighters appearing on an upcoming fight card slated for June 18 at American Airlines Center in Dallas will be tested for drugs of abuse and performance-enhancers drugs, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker confirmed to MMAjunkie.com via email.
Those included in the extra testing are all four of the participants scheduled to compete in the second quarterfinal round of the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix, which kicked off Feb. 12 and resumes at the June event.
UFC on Versus 3 live and official weigh-in results
The weigh-in results include:
MAIN CARD (Versus)
-Martin Kampmann (171) vs. Diego Sanchez (171)
-C.B. Dollaway (185) vs. Mark Munoz (186)
-Alessio Sakara (186) vs. Chris Weidman (186)
-Brian Bowles (135) vs. Damacio Page (136)+
PRELIMINARY CARD (Facebook)
-Cyrille Diabate (205) vs. Steve Cantwell (206)
-Danny Castillo (155) vs. Joe Stevenson (155)
-Shane Roller (156) vs. Thiago Tavares (156)
-Reuben Duran (136)* vs. Takeya Mizugaki (136)
-Rob Kimmons (185) and Dongi Yang (186)
-Dave Branch (186) vs. Rousimar Palhares (186)
-Todd Brown (205) vs. Igor Pokrajac (204)
Strikeforce Offered Chad Griggs Fights With Valentijn Overeem and Daniel Cormier For This Weekend’s Card
CagePotato has learned that immediately following his impressive heavyweight grand prix reserve bout win over Gian Villante at Strikeforce’s Fedor vs. Silva event two-and-a-half weeks ago, Chad Griggs was offered a slot on this weekend’s Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Henderson card. A source we spoke to revealed that “The Gravedigger” turned down both bouts he was offered with fellow tournament reservists Valentijn Overeem and former Olympic wrestler Daniel Cormier as there simply wasn’t adequate time for the full-time paramedic-firefighter to prepare for such a pivotal potential bout.
Coach Tells Evans He Should Be Willing to Fight Jones
Trevor Wittman has advised Rashad Evans to fight teammate Jon Jones if Jones wins the UFC light heavyweight title from Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC 128.
Evans had been scheduled to challenge Rua at the March 19 event. When Evans sprained a ligament in his knee, however, Jones filled in as his replacement.
“Mentally, I know it’s a little rough for [Evans] to see one of the guys he made a pact with to not fight go out there and take his position,” said Wittman, who is the head coach at the Grudge Training Center, a Jackson’s MMA affiliate gym where Evans has trained. “… I had the conversation with Rashad that I felt Rashad should fight Jon Jones if he wins.”
Wittman does in fact think Jones will beat Rua. He believes the 23-year-old could become one of the greatest fighters in MMA history. However, Wittman doesn’t feel Jones should have moved into Evans’ spot.
Top Prospect Derek Brunson Signs Multi-Fight Deal with Strikeforce
One of the top up and coming prospects in the sport, Derek Brunson, has signed a multi-fight deal with Strikeforce and looks to debut this spring.
Brunson’s manager Ali Abdel-Aziz confirmed the signing with MMAWeekly.com on Tuesday.
With an undefeated professional record, Brunson has been brutalizing opponents in regional shows for the past year. MMAWeekly did a profile on Brunson just over a month ago and he spoke about his aspirations to make it to one of the major organizations eventually.
It appears eventually became today.
Jorge Rivera’s Team Calls Bisping’s Claims “The Pot Calling the Kettle Black”
It’s pretty obvious at this point that Michael Bisping and Jorge Rivera won’t be exchanging holiday cards this year, but the back and forth between their camps isn’t slowing down either.
After a couple of days of silence from Bisping following the controversy that swirled at UFC 127, his team at Wolfslair MMA, specifically manager Anthony McGann, released a statement alleging unprofessional conduct by Rivera and his coach Matt Phinney.
It was that unprofessional attitude, according to the statement, that provoked Bisping during the week of the fight and not necessarily the videos Rivera and his sponsors at Ranger-Up produced mocking the former “Ultimate Fighter” winner.
Matt Hughes and Dana White Believe BJ Penn Beat Jon Fitch
"B.J. (Penn)’s fight is drawing a lot of controversy on my Forums. I only watched the fight once, during the PPV on Saturday night, so I haven’t rewatched any clips at all. This is my opinion based on what I remember."
"BJ started to execute the gameplan well as he went out and took (Jon) Fitch down. He did a little work on top and then got Fitch’s back. Fitch then reversed and BJ stood up. I think everybody scored the first round 10-9 for Penn."
UFC 127 "UFC Prelims" draws 714,000 viewers on ION Television
While UFC officials offered just one-week's notice that three fights from this past weekend's UFC 127 event would air live on ION Television, the broadcast still netted 714,000 viewers.
MMAjunkie.com today learned of the figures from industry sources. The ratings mark the lowest rating in the series' 17-month history.
This past weekend's one-hour program marked the UFC's second special on ION Television. Past editions of "UFC Prelims" have also aired on Spike TV and UFC.com.
Daley vs Diaz confirmed!!!
The Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix's second event will be delayed until early summer in order to capitalize properly on the success of its first event.
So says Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker, who ended weeks of speculation about the fate of a second tournament quarterfinal event originally targeted for April 9.
Coker stated the April 9 event instead features two title fights: welterweight champ Nick Diaz (24-7 MMA, 5-0 SF) defends his title against Paul Daley (27-9-2 MMA, 2-0 SF), and lightweight champ Gilbert Melendez (18-2 MMA, 8-1 SF) defends his belt against Tatsuya Kawajiri (27-6-2 MMA, 0-0 SF).
Zelaznik says UFC "very likely" to make Swedish debut in November
The Ultimate Fighting Championship continues to blaze new ground, and Sweden is apparently on the current "to do" list.
While UFC president Dana White in February confirmed to MMAjunkie.com that the organization was targeting Sweden for a 2011 event, UFC exec Marshall Zelaznik has a more defined target in mind.
Two UFC on Versus 3 prelimary-card fights to stream live on Facebook
Two preliminary-card fights from Thursday's UFC on Versus 3 event will stream for free on Facebook.
MMAjunkie.com today confirmed that lightweights Joe Stevenson vs. Danny Castillo and light heavyweights Steve Cantwell vs. Cyrille Diabate will be part of the live one-hour stream, which begins at 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. PT).
An hour later at 9 p.m., the event's main card airs live on Versus.
Ryan Bader Calls Out Tito Ortiz While Tito Ortiz is Busy Calling Out Forrest Griffin
Contrary to popular belief, the UFC middleweight division has not quite cornered the market on making strategically advantageous call-outs. While the world’s 185-pound fighters are lining up to let everybody know how much they’d all love to fight Michael Bisping – which is like so 2010 – their light heavyweight brethren are also making requests of UFC matchmaker Joe Silva. It seems that at least a couple of 205-pounders have been spending some time on the “Fighters” page over at UFC.com and thinking to themselves, “Let’s see here, who can I beat?”
Ryan Bader, for one, emerged this week from whatever dark room he’s been huddled in, rocking back and forth since UFC 126 to tell ESPN.com he’d very much like to fight Tito Ortiz. Cuz, why not? Sure, just a withered shell of his former self, Ortiz hasn’t won a fight since 2006, is barely clinging to his career and seemingly can’t make it to the cage without a serious back injury, cracked skull or giant laceration over his eye, but still … fighting him would mean A LOT to Bader. You know, on a personal level.
“I would want to fight Tito Ortiz,” Bader told Brett Okamoto. “Just because I grew up watching him. I want to have one of those guys on my résumé like a Randy Couture or Chuck Liddell. Purely out of respect, he’s one I’d like to fight before my career is over.”