Strikeforce Releases Shields; Shields Wants Shot at Anderson Silva
Strikeforce released its middleweight champion, Jake Shields, from his contract with the organization on Wednesday, according to an industry source with direct knowledge of the negotiations.
The 31-year-old Shields had been in a final-phase “matching period” of his recently completed contract with the San Jose, Calif.-based promotion, which allowed him to receive bids from other organizations, including the UFC, that Strikeforce could review and match in order to keep his services. However, the source said Strikeforce waived that contractual right in its final 2-3 weeks and opted to release the Cesar Gracie fighter altogether before the period expired.
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Nogueira vs. Rampage Possible For September
Although it may not be more than a rumor at this point, the boxing coach for Antonio Rogerio Nogueira told the TATAME website today that "Minotoro" likely will be back in September against Quinton Jackson and a source says verbal agreements are in place. While no date is set for the fight, it could be at UFC 119 on September 25 as the only other September event right now is a UFN.
Brock Lesnar "Coming Home With The Belt Sunday Morning"
Shane Carwin made his prediction for Saturday earlier today, and now the UFC Heavyweight Champion has made his, and it's not a surprise. "I've prepared. This fight I see it going either way. We can stand and if either one of us, I of course have superior wrestling skill. More superior than his. I wanna be able to control this fight and take it wherever I want to. I'm a better ground-and-pound guy. That's where I've shown a lot of success. There's no secrets about my game. I'm a pretty blue collar, straightforward, let's get after it kind of fighter. My prediction is I'm coming home with the belt on Sunday morning."
Brad Blackburn Off Tachi Palace Fights, War Machine Replacement
That's right, War Machine fans-you've got one last chance to see your man fight before he's off to jail for a year. Brad Blackburn, who was to have faced John Alessio at next week's Tachi Palace Fights 5 event, is now off due to injury. Machine will be the replacement, and will go for his 7th win in his last 8 fights before he reportedly is off to San Diego for a year in jail because of suspiscion of assault with a deadly weapon.
Cung Le Wants to Fight...but Not in a Tournament
Coming off of a devastating victory over Scott Smith last weekend, Cung Le has some thoughts on his future with Strikeforce and MMA, but it's likely not a run in the rumored middleweight tournament to crown a new champion should Jake Shields leave the organization.
The 38-year-old San Jose, Calif., based fighter took several months away from a lucrative film career and other projects in Hollywood to focus on his fight camp to prepare for Smith. The work paid off. Le finished Smith with strikes in the second round of their rematch.
Still dedicated to fighting, Le also has offers coming in for more movie roles, as well as the chance to work as a choreographer for fight scenes in the film industry, and he knows that there is a time limit on how much he has left for MMA.
You're Going To See Brock Lesnar Knocked Out On The Canvas
That's the near-guarantee made by Shane Carwin on ESPN's SportsCenter earlier today ahead of UFC 116's main event. "I'm not concerned at all (about conditioning), we have a great training camp and my coaches have prepared me for an all-out war. The stand-up game has become my passion. [I know] Brock is gonna come back 100-percent and I'm excited to get in the cage against him. You're looking at the top two heavyweights in the world. He's got the real belt and I'm coming after it Saturday. You're going to see Brock Lesnar knocked out on the canvas."
UFN 22 Likely Headed To Austin
The UFC's third trip to Texas is nearly a done deal. The promotion is in the final stages of securing the 16,000-seat Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas, for the Spike TV-televised UFC Fight Night 22. UFC has requested the venue and a September 15 date for the event, which is expected to be headlined by Alan Belcher vs. Demian Maia. The Frank Erwin Center is located on the University of Texas campus and is home to the UT men's and women's basketball teams. As with all Texas shows, though, the UFC will have to get involved in one area the state athletic commission rarely does. Due to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation's limited use of drug testing among MMA competitors (the commission can test fighters but seldom does), UFC Vice President of Regulatory and Governmental Affairs Marc Ratner will likely oversee the testing at UFC Fight Night 22.
Dana White Makes Latest "Stunning Announcement" Today
And it's this: If you're going to UFC 116, leave your vuvuzelas at home. In what's likely more of a good-natured publicity stunt than a vital new policy, UFC officials today announced a ban of vuvuzelas at this weekend's UFC 116 event. Vuvuzelas are horn-shaped noisemakers popularized (and perhaps overused) during this year's FIFA World Cup. UFC president Dana White is credited with implementing the ban. "This decision was pretty simple for me," White stated. "Vuvuzelas make the most horrific sound I've ever heard. I'd rather let Brock punch me in the face than hear 15,000 people blow on those things."
With strong UFC 116 ratings, UFC weigh-in broadcasts could return to Spike TV
For the first time in three years, Spike TV will air a live UFC weigh-in special with the broadcast of Friday's UFC 116 official fighter weigh-ins.
And though this week's live coverage is a one-time deal for Spike TV, strong ratings could prompt future specials.
Spike TV officials declined to comment on the possibility. However, a source close to the UFC's longtime cable partner told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that Spike TV could air future UFC weigh-ins if the ratings are strong.
Keith Jardine: I Can't Help But To Feel A Bit Like I'm Losing A Family
That was the reaction of "The Dean Of Mean" to the news of his UFC release last week in comments made on his website, KeithJardine.net. "Last week I was let go by the UFC. I was sad to get the news but it was expected. I've always been proud to be a UFC fighter and they have been real good to me. I can't help but to feel a bit like I'm losing a family. As for now, I'm more motivated than ever. I'm going to take a vacation for a week then get back to work. Already, there are a lot of offers for fights coming I'm. Some are exciting. Starting over doesn't sound so bad to me. Although my career is at a crossroads my story is only half written. I have a lot of fight left in me and I continue to improve with every fight. Anyway, I'm best when the chips are stacked against me and I will make it to the top. Thanks to all of my fans."
Alistair Overeem vs. Ricco Rodriguez On Tap For DREAM 15
Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem's next title defense is currently uncertain, but his next opponent isn't. Overeem has verbally agreed to face Ricco Rodriguez at DREAM 15 on July 10. Paperwork pending, a formal announcement should soon follow. In related news, as a result of this Rodriguez is now likely off Impact FC 2 on July 18, where he was to have faced Jeff Monson.
Wiman vs. Danzig Rematch Possible For UFN 22
Matt Wiman and Mac Danzig are headed back to the future on Sept. 15. The lightweights have reportedly been booked to rematch immediately at UFC Fight Night 22, which is scheduled to take place at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas, according to Heavy.com. Wiman and Danzig first met on the undercard portion of UFC 115: "Liddell vs. Franklin" that aired on Spike TV on June 12 from the GM Place in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. It had all the ingredients to be an exciting contest; however, it ended in controversy as "Handsome" was awarded the submission (guillotine) victory in the first round even though Mac didn't, well, submit. There was a miscommunication between the referee, Yves Lavigne, as well the fighters, which caused the early stoppage. Wiman thought Danzig was choked unconscious, Danzig apparently didn't respond effectively enough when questioned about his condition, and the rest is history.
Following Death Of Michael Kirkham, Opponent's Trainer Says Nothing Seemed Afoul
Mark Greubel said Carlos Iraburo's knockout of Michael Kirkham at this past Saturday's "Confrontation at the Convocation Center" wasn't unlike thousands of fights he'd seen before. Greubel, who trained Iraburo and was in his corner during the fight, also said that the event, which took place at the USC Aiken Convocation Center in Aiken, S.C., was well-managed by its promoters and athletic commission officials. Greubel said Iraburo usually fights at 145 pounds and came up in weight to fight Kirkham. However, the 6-foot-9 Kirkham did not look he had cut weight for the 150-pound catchweight contest. "I saw him at the weigh-ins, and he looked skinny then," Greubel said. "But he looked exactly the same the next day. He didn't look like gained very much weight at all. I think that was just the way the guy was built." The knockout came after a "very short fight." "This wasn't a brutal beating," Greubel said. "Carlos shot in (and) took [Kirkham] down. They were scrambling on the ground. Kirkham was trying to get back up by wall-walking up the cage; he had his right hand on the ground. Carlos hit him with a few left hands in a row, and that was it. Michael was knocked out.
"The referee jumped in when he should have. Carlos immediately stopped. There were no punches after the referee stoppage. We figured for sure the guy would come to in a few seconds, and he just never did." Greubel said Kirkham was taken out of the cage in a gurney and did not see him afterward.
The South Carolina State Athletic Commission issued a press release today that stated it plans to launch an internal review of the incident, though it confirmed that Kirkham carried a professional fight license going into the event. "Because it is under investigation, the commission cannot release any further information at this time," the statement read. Greubel plans hold a fundraiser and set up a Paypal account to accept donations, which will go to Kirkham's family. He said Kirkham did not have life insurance and has five children. Greubel said Iraburo, who also works for a supplement company that caters to MMA fighters, is taking time off.
Zoila Frausto vs. Jessica Pene targeted for Bellator 25 on Aug. 19 in Chicago
Two weeks ago, budding female prospect Zoila Frausto wasn't even a part of Bellator Fighting Championships' upcoming 115-pound female tournament.
Now – courtesy of a devastating knockout of Rosi Sexton – Frausto is in the tournament and already training for a planned matchup on Aug. 19.
The "Warrior Princess" today told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio) that the promotion intends to match her up against Jessica Pene (7-0 MMA, 1-0 BFC) at Bellator 25.
TUF 11 Finale Drug Tests All Clean
Like many UFC events before it, The Ultimate Fighter 11 Finale was a drug-free zone. The NSAC revealed today that 13 fighters at the event, including main event winner Court McGee, were given drug tests at the event and all passed.
Shane Carwin, UFC Heavy-Fake Champion?
Don't laugh, it's a title the Interim UFC Heavyweight Champion takes seriously...but it seems he's taken some lessons from the "real" champ. "Beating Brock does not make you Brock. I will still need to insult most of the fighters in my division, flip off the fans, insult the biggest sponsors the UFC has and then and only then will I renegotiate with Zuffa. Dana and Lorenzo have taken good care of my family and I. They have given us more than they are obligated to and we are happy. My manager always says it is not about making money when you fight but to make money when you are not fighting. We really do not have our hands out for anything more – if it comes we will take it and smile. I love fighting for the UFC and for me I choose to do this, I do not have to fight to survive. I am honored to be working for the UFC and representing them in the 'fake' champions category."
Undefeated Korean middleweight Dong Yi Yang inks deal with UFC
Korean Top Team middleweight Dong Yi Yang (9-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) will soon make his debut for the UFC.
The world's biggest mixed martial arts promotion today announced that Yang is the newest member of its roster, and an announcement regarding the 27-year-old's debut first fight in the octagon will be announced at a later date.
Yang joins WEC featherweight Chan Sung Jung as Korean Top Team fighters currently under contract with Zuffa, LLC, the parent company for both the UFC and WEC.
UFC 113 Replay On Spike: 1.5 Million Viewers
Spike TV's Saturday night re-broadcastof May's "UFC 113: Machida vs. Shogun II" event drew an average audience of 1.5 million viewers, Spike TV officials today announced. The event was aired to counter this past weekend's "Strikeforce and M-1 Global: Fedor vs. Werdum" event, which reportedly earned approximately 500,000 viewers. Spike claims SF did 412,000 viewers based on Nielsen reports, but the SF number is an early estimate and could wind up around 550K when DVR viewing is later factored in.