Scott Coker Says No Bidding War For Shields, Tourney Possible
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker is "tossing around numbers" with the manager of his current middleweight champion, Jake Shields, but he will not get into a bidding war for the fighter's services. "If it works out (with Shields), great," Coker said. "If not, Strikeforce has a bunch of great middleweights, and we'll go into the tournament business. We're still fleshing out the details, but we're leaning toward that." Shields' manager and father, Jack Shields, today opened the door to non-exclusive negotiations – known as the "matching period" on a fight contract – after the fighter's exclusive negotiation period with Strikeforce expired earlier this week. If the two sides can't strike a deal on a new contract, said tournament could start on August 21 as an 8-man tournament with the winner becoming the new champion.
Fedor Nominated in Russian Primary, Will Continue Fighting
Fedor Emelianenko is one of 58 candidates named in a Russian internal election primary for the United Russian Party in the Belgorod region, according to M-1 Global officials. The June 25 primary elections are a first step to identifying one candidate to represent the party later in national elections against other party nominees for a seat in the country's regional Parliament.
The 33-year-old Emelianenko was nominated along with other notable politicians, including Belgorod Region Governor Yevgeny Savchenko and Belgorod Senator and State Duma Deputy Andrei Scotch. The world’s No. 1 heavyweight is among 24 new candidates added to the party’s primary ballot in that region this year.
Gerald Harris vs Dave Branch at UFC 116
Former TUF contestant Gerald Harris (15-2, 2-0 UFC) will look to continue his streak inside the octagon against Renzo Gracie standout Dave Branch. Branch, a Brooklyn, N.Y. native who's studied Brazilian jiu jitsu for nearly a decade with Gracie, turned pro in 2007 and his since posted a 6-0 record with six stoppage victories (three via knockout and three via submission). Most recently, he stopped Derrick Mehman (5-1 at the time) with a second-round rear-naked choke at Bellator 15 in April.
Lesnar vs Carwin
W. Silva vs Akiyama
Lytle vs Brown
Bonnar vs Soszynski II
Sotiropoulos vs Pellegrino
Schaub vs Tuchscherer
Reljic vs Grove
Petruzelli vs Romero
Harris vs Branch
Roberts vs Paulino
Madsen vs Vemola
SF Challengers 9 Set For 7/23, Kaufman vs. Modafferi Possible
The next installment of Strikeforce's prospects-driven "Challengers" series is slated for July 23, and a title fight could be part of the night's Showtime broadcast. Although it's not yet official, SF is working to make a title fight of Strikeforce Women's Welterweight Champion Sarah Kaufman vs. Roxanne Modafferi for the event.
Anthony Leone Signs With WEC, Replaces Godfrey At WEC 49
Anthony Leone has signed a 4-fight deal with WEC and won't have to wait long for his first fight. He's been tapped as a replacement on the card for the injured Clint Godfrey and will face Renan Berao in his WEC debut. Although the paperwork for the fight hasn't been completed, verbal agreements are in place.
Tavares Meets Friere At UFC On Versus 2
2 Brazilians are set to face off in a Lightweight matchup at UFC on Versus 2 as Thiago Tavares appears set to face newcomer Willamy Friere (Chequerim). Verbal agreements are in place, paperwork pending. Friere signed with UFC recently and vacated his Shooto Welterweight Championship after defending it in Japan this past weekend as a result. Tavares was to have faced Melvin Guillard at UFC 114 but withdrew due to injury.
Seth Petruzelli rejoins UFC, meets Ricardo Romero on UFC 116 preliminary card
Seth Petruzelli (12-4 MMA, 0-2 UFC), a former UFC fighter who rose to fame after famously knocking out Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson at an October 2008 EliteXC show, has rejoined the UFC and meets fellow light heavyweight Ricardo Romero (10-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) next month at UFC 116.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) today confirmed with Romero's manager, Mike Constantino, that verbal agreements are in place, though bout agreements have not been signed.
Petruzelli initially announced the July 3 bout via Twitter this afternoon.
Tom Lawlor Takes Training to Cuba in Hopes of Career Rejuvenation
Walking through the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas during the recent UFC 114 weekend, Tom Lawlor heard the familiar bassline of the David Bowie and Queen classic rock collaboration "Under Pressure."
Ever the showman, Lawlor filed it away in his mind, well aware that it could make for another entrance spectacular, hot on the heels of his Apollo Creed/"Rocky IV" homage at UFC 113.
But the underlying reason the song struck Lawlor is not lost on him. After two straight losses in the octagon, he's well aware that it's coming down to do-or-die for his UFC career.
"I just need to look at some things I did wrong in those fights and correct them so I don't make those mistakes again," Lawlor told MMA Fighting. "Because really I'm on the bubble right now as far as my career in the UFC goes. I can only come up with so many more entrances that keep my job. I've got to start winning fights."
Chuck Liddell Plans to KO Rich Franklin, Wants Tito Ortiz in Return From Surgery
After nearly 14 months away from fighting and a series of camps designed to bring him back in pristine condition, legendary UFC star Chuck Liddell is set to return to the octagon at UFC 115 in Vancouver.
Though Liddell (21-7) returned with the expectation of fighting Tito Ortiz at the conclusion of the currently airing season of The Ultimate Fighter, an injury knocked Ortiz out, leaving an opening filled by former middleweight champion Rich Franklin.
In an interview with MMA Fighting, the 40-year-old Liddell spoke about the Ortiz fallout, facing Franklin, changing his lifestyle and whether his June 12 fight is a must-win affair.
UFC 117 Prelims Announced, Wallace vs. Nedkov Among Additions
Following Thursday's official announcement of UFC 117 and three main-card bouts, including a headliner of UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen, UFC officials have unveiled the night's preliminary card. Most of the fights were already known but there was a new addition to the card today: Rodney Wallace vs. Stanislav Nedkov. Wallace is on the Losing Streak Of Doom and needs a win to keep his roster spot while Nedkov will be making his UFC debut after fighting internationally including a 2-0 mark in World Victory Road Sengoku events.
Fertitta On Fighter's Union: That's Up To Them
To unionize or not. Lorenzo Fertitta says it's up to fighters. This past Saturday at UFC Fan Expo 2010, the UFC executive said collective third-party representation – an issue that's long shadowed the sport's explosive rise to popularity – is not under his company's domain. "We have no role," Fertitta said. "So we're not in a position to say we support it, or we're against it. That's entirely up to [the fighters]."
Strikeforce champ Jake Shields' non-exclusive negotiations begin Friday
Strikeforce middleweight champion Jake Shields' exclusive negotiation period with the San Jose, Calif.-based promotion has expired, though negotiations with the company remain ongoing.
Shields' manager and father, Jack Shields, today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that he will begin non-exclusive negotiations tomorrow.
"The options are all good," Jack Shields said, though he did not confirm whether Strikeforce had yet offered a new contract.
Light heavyweight Ricardo Romero signs four-fight deal with UFC
Light heavyweight Ricardo Romero has signed a four-fight deal with the UFC according to his new manager, Mike Constantino, who announced the news today in a press release.
Romero (10-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) is a former light heavyweight and heavyweight champion of the New Jersey-based Ring of Combat promotion and carries a five-fight win streak into the octagon.
Yager Clears Up Twitter Controversy With Tito (No TUF Spoilers)
Jamie Yager may have had a rough night on Wednesday watching his elimination from “The Ultimate Fighter" Season 11, but nothing like the storm of controversy he was hit with first thing Thursday morning. An account on Twitter that was said to be Jamie Yager’s went on a hate filled tirade aimed at Tito Ortiz, and several media outlets picked up on the back and forth, reporting the heated exchange between the former coach and fighter. The only problem, Yager says it wasn’t him. "Basically, I woke up today about like 9 o'clock west coast time, and my phone's blowing up like 'dude, what's going on? What's up with you and Tito?’" he told MMAWeekly Radio on Thursday night. As the confusion washed over him, Yager hit the Internet and saw the barrage of messages and media outlets reporting on his "feud" with Tito Ortiz. Blindsided by the whole incident, Yager immediately alerted everyone involved that while he does have his own Twitter account (www.twitter.com/jamieyager) the person posing as him posting the messages was an imposter.
UFC 117 Official For 8/7
UFC officially announced UFC 117 yesterday for August 7 in Oakland, CA at Oracle Arena. Headlining the event is a long-rumored middleweight title fight between UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva and challenger Chael Sonnen. Also officially announced for the event were New UFC Hall Of Famer Matt Hughes vs. Ricardo Almeida and Clay Guida vs. Rafael Dos Anjos.
Bennett Off SF LA, Heun To Face Noons
KJ Noons won't get his Charles Bennett rematch after all. Noons has confirmed that Bennett is now off the 6/26 Strikeforce LA card for undisclosed reasons. Bennett was previously booked to appear opposite Luis Palomino at the "Rock-N-Rumble III" event tomorrow night (June 4) in Hollywood, FL; however, neither promotion was immediately available for comment on Bennett's status. Conor Heun is the replacement and there are reports the fight has now been moved up to the 6/16 event.
UFC 114 Early Estimate: 925K PPV Buys
It appears that in the over/under with regards to Dana White's prediction of 850,000 PPV buys for UFC 114, the over is going to win. While not yet official, the early estimate is Saturday's event did 925,000 PPV buys. The event was headlined by the grudge match of Rashad Evans vs. Quinton Jackson.
M-1 Global: Ron Keslar vs. Magomed Shikshabekov Added To Fedor vs. Werdum Event
Strikeforce and M-1 Global's co-promotion relationship won't end with just Fedor Emelianenko. M-1 Global officials announced late Wednesday night that six-time M-1 Challenge veteran Magomed Shikshabekov will fight in the U.S. for the first time when he meets Ron Keslar at "Strikeforce and M-1 Global: Fedor vs. Werdum." The bout is expected for the unaired preliminary portion of the card, though Strikeforce has yet to officially announce the matchup. Shikshabekov's six M-1 Global fights have all ended by first-round stoppage, including three bouts that have ended in the opening minute. More M-1 Global fighters likely will be added to the card soon.
Match-Ups Announced for July 5th K-1 WORLD MAX
FEG today announced the match-ups for the 2010 Under 63 kg Japan Tournament Finals and three matches for the Under 70 kg World Tournament to be held on July 5th at Yoyogi Stadium 1st, Tokyo, Japan.
The final of the 63 kg tournament is to be an 8 man, one night affair meaning that three of the 11 winners in the opening round have missed out on a finals slot and no reserve fights have been announced.
UFC Plans Return To Germany
Die UFC ist wieder nach Deutschland kommen. Translation: The UFC is coming back to Germany. After a successful first show in 2009, it appears the promotion will be heading back to Germany sooner rather than later. They aren't backing down from the challenge of the local government that wants to take the sport off of television there. Never one to back down from a potential challenge, UFC president Dana White was adamant when asked about returning to Germany, and he says this year is the plan in motion right now. "We are doing a show," White said about returning to Germany in 2010. "One thing we don't do, we don't back down, and we don't curl up and climb into the closet when things don't go (our way). We're going to come out, guns a-blazing, and we're going to keep going."