Former UFC Fighter Justin Wren Puts Career on Hold to Answer Divine Call
WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. -- When Justin Wren says that God told him to take a break from fighting and go to one of Africa's most dangerous war-torn nations with three other Christian missionaries, he knows how that's likely to come off.
"I hope I don't sound like a religious dude," Wren says, flashing an embarrassed grin from deep within his bushy blonde beard. "That used to be like a cuss word to me."
That was before, back when Wren was not only a non-believer, but openly hostile to religion. If you'd told him a year and a half ago that he'd be putting his MMA career on hold to travel the earth with a small band of hardcore Christians, he'd have asked you what you were smoking, and whether you could spare any. He didn't even want to attend a church service, much less rearrange his life altogether.
Alessio Sakara Releases Statement About Injury
UFC middleweight Alessio Sakara released a statement to MMA Fighting earlier today regarding his withdrawal from UFC 133 on August 6th. He had been scheduled to fight Jorge Rivera, but suffered a knee injury and was replaced in the bout by Constantinos Philippou. Here's what he had to say:
"I tried to ignore the pain until now, thinking I had just sprained the knee," he said. "I kept training without using my legs. I wanted to get to the fight in a good condition somehow, but the MRI diagnosed that I broke my ligaments, and now I can't fight!"
Pat Barry vs. Stefan Struve added to UFC on Versus 6 lineup
The UFC's tallest heavyweight has a date with the promotion's shortest one.
UFC officials today announced that verbal agreements are in place for 6-foot-11 Stefan Struve (21-5 MMA, 5-3 UFC) to meet 5-foot-11 Pat Barry (6-3 MMA, 3-3 UFC) at UFC on Versus 6.
UFC on Versus 6 takes place Oct. 1 at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. The evening's main card airs on Versus.
Struve vs. Barry likely will be part of the broadcast.
Jeff Curran signs multi-fight deal with UFC
"Big Frog" is returning to the UFC.
More than seven years and exactly 26 fights since his lone trip to the octagon, 33-year-old bantamweight Jeff Curran (33-13-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) has signed a multi-fight deal to return the UFC.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) today learned of the signing from sources close to the fighter.
He's expected to fight at a fall UFC event.
'Axe Murderer' coach: Wanderlei Silva still has the potential to become champion again
"Nobody said it directly to Wanderlei, that he won't fight anymore. Wanderlei is in Brazil now, he'll return to the United States this week, and he's coming to train here. He wants to fight again. He trained his whole life and suffered many injuries as any other athlete, but they're all healed. He's with a good body, stronger than ever. He's Wanderlei, he'll never give up. That's the main thing about him. And there's no reasons for him to do that. He's reached what every athlete wants to. I'm not saying this as his coach, I'm saying this as a guy who watched him growing in the sport. He has the potential to become champion again, it's all about timing."
- Rafael Cordeiro
"Strikeforce: Grand Prix Semifinals" tickets on sale this week for Cincinnati
Tickets for Strikeforce's Cincinnati debut go on sale this week.
The event, "Strikeforce: Heavyweight Grand Prix Semifinals," takes place Sept. 10 at U.S. Bank Arena, and the night's main card airs on Showtime.
Tickets range form $38 to $203, according to the venue's website.
The event features tournament semifinals of Daniel Cormier (8-0 MMA, 5-0 SF) vs. Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva (16-2 MMA, 3-1 SF) and Sergei Kharitonov (18-4 MMA, 1-0 SF) vs. Josh Barnett (30-5 MMA, 1-0 SF). Additionally, middleweight champ Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza (14-2 MMA, 4-0 SF) puts his belt on the line against Luke Rockhold (7-1 MMA, 6-0 SF).
Tickets go on sale to the general public this Friday, July 29, beginning at noon ET (9 a.m. PT).
Autograph signing raises $12,000 for Constantinides family memorial fund
The MMA community has come together in support of Dr. Alex Constantinides, but more can be done.
An autograph signing this past Saturday in Denver raised $12,083 for The Constantinides Family Fund, which arose in the wake of this past week's tragedy involving the beloved member of the MMA community, Constantinides' friend J.R. Gordon today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). The signing featured UFC vets Shane Carwin, Brendan Schaub, Duane Ludwig and Eliot Marshall.
Donations, however, can still be made to the fund, as well as to a charitable foundation that addresses the needs of orphaned children in China.
UFC Quick Quote: BJ Penn is the only guy in MMA who doesn't use TRT
"I think everyone is really of the same opinion as I am, if they want to admit it or not. Stuff like this is not easy to talk about. We're talking about friends and colleagues of mine. They look at me and they hear me say these things, and they're like, 'You know you're the only guy that doesn't do it, right?' And I'm like, I know. It's a catch-22 for me. I believe so strongly in fair play and all these things, and on the other side, it's people you know and people you look up to, legends of the sport. They've been involved with stuff like that. I guess I shouldn't be so outspoken because I have so many friends and colleagues and so many people I respect in this sport that have gotten involved with stuff like TRT and hormone replacement."
- BJ Penn
Tito Ortiz involved in car accident over the weekend, Rashad Evans fight still on
That's the bad news. The good news is that he's okay and the UFC 133 curse has not claimed another victim.
Over the weekend, Tito Ortiz, driving his coveted -- and ridiculously expensive -- Rolls Royce Phantom, was involved in a three-car collision in Costa Mesa, Calif., according to TMZ.com.
Thankfully, no one was injured; only the grill of that beautiful piece of machinery was damaged significantly. "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" also said the cash to pay for repairs will come out of his own pocket.
Zelg Galesic vs. Alexander Shlemenko in the works for Bellator 50
Russian striker Alexander Shlemenko (39-7 MMA, 4-1 BFC) will welcome Croatian banger Zelg Galesic (10-5 MMA, 0-0 BFC) to the Bellator Fighting Championships cage.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) has learned that Shlemenko and Galesic have verbally agreed to meet at Bellator 50. Bout agreements are expected to be finalized shortly.
Though Bellator officials have yet to announce any contests for the event, Bellator 50 takes place Sept. 17 at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood Florida.
The night's main card airs on MTV2. Galesic vs. Shlemenko is expected to feature on the broadcast.
Gerald Harris signs multi-fight deal with DREAM, could debut at September event
Gerald Harris (18-4 MMA, 0-0 DREAM) is bound for Japan.
The ex-UFC middleweight today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that he's signed a multi-fight with DREAM.
While Harris' debut for the promotion has yet to be determined, though DREAM representative Mike Kogan said today that there is "a very good chance" the fighter could appear on an as-yet-unannounced event, possibly DREAM.17, targeted for Sept. 25 at Saitama Arena in Saitama, Japan.
UFC 138 Leben vs Munoz to Air on Spike TV
The UFC returns to the United Kingdom on November 5th for UFC 138 at the LG Arena in Birmingham, England. The card is headlined by Chris Leben and Mark Munoz in what could be considered a title eliminator for the Middleweight belt. Chris Leben has bounced back from the devastating knockout loss at the hands of Brian Stann at UFC 125 with a sensational knockout of Wanderlei Silva at UFC 132. Mark Munoz is currently on a three fight win streak that includes wins over C.B. Dollaway and Demian Maia. Today, Spike TV made it official when they sent out a press release stating they'd be the outlet for airing the event.
Matt Riddle welcomes newcomer Lance Benoist at UFC Fight Night 25
It took a little while, but Lance Benoist finally has a date for his octagon debut.
After signing a multi-fight deal with the UFC this past month, Benoist (5-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) is scheduled to fight Matt Riddle (5-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) at "UFC Fight Night 25: Battle on the Bayou."
UFC officials today announced the bout, though its placement on the event's fight card was not made official.
Strikeforce Challengers 17 medical suspensions: Lanham heads minimal orders
This past weekend's "Strikeforce Challengers 17: Voelking vs. Bowler III" event featured a few highlight-reel finishes and toe-to-toe scraps, but the evening's competitor's got off relatively injury-free.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) today requested and received the list of medical suspensions from the Nevada State Athletic Commissions.
Just six of the evening's 18 fighters received suspensions, and most were of the minimal precautionary variety. However, Lionel Lanham was given a fairly lengthy order.
Paul Bradley steps in to fight Rafael Natal at UFC 133
Paul Bradley (16-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC), who made a brief appearance on "The Ultimate Fighter 7" before doctors pulled him from the show with a contagious skin condition, has verbally agreed to fight Rafael "Sapo" Natal (12-3-1 MMA, 0-1-1 UFC) at UFC 133.
Natal was today left without an opponent when his originally scheduled charge, Constantinos Phillippou, was promoted to a main card fight with Jorge Rivera in the wake of a doomed bout with Alessio Sakara.
Heading into Strikeforce Fight with Fedor, Dan Henderson Doesn’t Feel Outmatched or Small
Current Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Dan Henderson (27-8) heads into one of the biggest fights of his career when he meets former Pride heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko (31-3) at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson.
The former Olympian has spent much of his career between fighting at middleweight and light heavyweight, and has won the Pride welterweight (185-pound limit) and the Pride middleweight (205-pound limit) titles.