Bellator 66 ratings: Viewership plunges to just 109,000 MTV2 viewers
Despite what was arguably Bellator's biggest fight and biggest show of its sixth season, this past weekend's Bellator 66 event saw a ratings plunge.
The April 20 broadcast averaged just 109,000 MTV2 viewers, MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie,com) today confirmed with industry sources. That's down 33 percent from the 163,000 viewers who tuned in for Bellator 65 a week prior.
It's also the third-worst figure in Bellator and MTV2's 32-event history.
Bellator 66 took place at Cleveland's I-X Center. In addition to MTV2, many websites, including MMAjunkie.com, also carried the prelims and main-card fights, which could have put a dent in the ratings figure.
Still, it's bad news for Bellator, which boasted a big headliner and rematch between Eddie Alvarez and Shinya Aoki at Bellator 65. The event, which saw Alvarez earn a first-round victory, also featured four tournament-semifinal fights in the middleweight and welterweight divisions, as well as a loaded preliminary card. Middleweight-tourney finalists Andreas Spang and Maiquel Falcao had a brief post-fight scuffle at the event, though even that dustup didn't help ratings.
NSAC's Keith Kizer expects no licensing issues with UFC 148's Chael Sonnen
It may be a lot easier this time around for Chael Sonnen (27-11-1 MMA, 6-4 UFC) to get licensed in Nevada.
Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Keith Kizer today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that he sees no issues with granting the fighter a license to fight at UFC 148, though he will ultimately defer to NSAC Chairman Raymond "Skip" Avansino.
"He's done his time," Kizer told MMAjunkie.com. "He's come clean on his prior dishonesty, and that's all appreciated."
The UFC announced this morning that Sonnen's rematch with champ Anderson Silva (31-4 MMA, 14-0 UFC) is being moved to the July 7 pay-per-view event after venue problems scratched it from UFC 147.
The bout now serves as the pay-per-view headliner of UFC 148, which takes place July 7 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Earlier interactions between Sonnen and the Nevada commission weren't so friendly. Kizer said the fighter lied about receiving approval from him to use prescribed testosterone for a fight against Nate Marquardt at UFC 109. Kizer said Sonnen also disparaged referee Josh Rosenthal.
These issues were at the center of a closed-door meeting with Kizer, Sonnen and UFC officials to address the alleged lies and discuss what Sonnen should expect if he applied for a second's (cornerman's) license to serve as a coach on "The Ultimate Fighter 14" opposite Michael Bisping this past year. (Jason "Mayhem" Miller ultimately took Sonnen's spot.)
Kizer said the meeting did not go well and said Sonnen would be required to appear before the commission before being granted the license.
Big Nog vs. Kongo Agreed for UFC 149 in Calgary
The same day that UFC president Dana White announced that he is likely taking featherweight champion Jose Aldo off of the fight card in Calgary, the Calgary Sun reported that Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira would face Cheick Kongo at UFC 149.
Though the Calgary Sun cited anonymous sources pointing to the fight, the UFC’s Canadian contingent endorsed the report by re-tweeting it.
Invicta FC exec asks for one shot to prove women's MMA belongs in the spotlight
Shannon Knapp wants just one minute of MMA fans' time this Saturday night.
Once she has your eyeballs, Knapp is sure viewers will continue to watch the Invicta Fighting Championships debut event in Kansas City, Kan.
"The biggest thing is just encouraging everyone to have an open mind," Invicta Fighting Championships CEO Knapp told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio) in advance of the promotion's 11-bout, all-female card that takes place at Memorial Hall.
"If you love this sport, then how can you not embrace it whether it's male or female athletes competing? Give us a shot. I'm definitely sure you will not be disappointed. Even if you hate women's MMA, come on over and check it out for a minute — at least you'll have something to talk about on the forums."
Bellator Boss Bjorn Rebney Confirms Hector Lombard is UFC-Bound
World-ranked middleweight Hector Lombard will leave his longtime home at Bellator and sign with the UFC.
Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney confirmed the move to MMA Fighting on Tuesday afternoon.
Bellator had a right to match the UFC's offer to the man who was their reigning middleweight champion, but Rebney cited differences between the two organizational models as the obstacle that could not be overcome when it came to matching the UFC's deal.
"We have a business model where we make decisions based on analyzing data," he said. "Since the first day we came into being, we made decisions based on real models, not hypotheticals. The UFC model is largely based on pay-per-view, and the offer they made to Hector is going to be monetized via pay-per-view. While pay-per-view could play a role in our future, today it doesn't. So, we did our due diligence to review the UFC contract, analyze it in terms of charging our audience to see Hector vs. putting him on free TV, and we decided to allow the UFC to sign Hector, where I am extremely confident he will win the UFC middleweight title on pay-per-view."
NSAC denies Alistair Overeem fight license for period of nine months
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight Alistair Overeem appeared in front of the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) today (April 24, 2012) to answer for a failed drug test administered back on March 27 in advance of the UFC 146 pay-per-view (PPV) event on May 26 in Las Vegas.
"Demolition Man" returned a testosterone-to-epitestosterone (T/E) level of 14:1, which he subsequently blamed on anti-inflammatory medication -- not performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) -- but it didn't stop the UFC from pulling him from his upcoming bout against Junior dos Santos and replacing him with former 265-pound champion Frank Mir.
It turned out to be the right call.
Overeem came into today's hearing saddled with the burden of proving that he was indeed the victim of bad medicine -- not bad intentions -- and requested a continuance from the NSAC to help his team prepare its case and "demonstrate Alistair's intent."
Cruz vs. Faber title fight remains on UFC 148, part of stacked PPV lineup
Although it'll no longer headline the event, a bantamweight title fight and rubber match between champion Dominick Cruz (19-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) and longtime rival Urijah Faber (26-5 MMA, 2-1 UFC) will remain a part of UFC 148.
UFC officials today announced it'll co-headline the July event, which now features a headlining title fight between middleweight champion Anderson Silva (31-4 MMA, 14-0 UFC) and Chael Sonnen (27-11-1 MMA, 6-4 UFC).
Silva vs. Sonnen was moved from UFC 147 to UFC 148 earlier today, which promoted concerns Cruz vs. Faber might also be moved to a different event.
Instead, it'll now be part of the one of the most stacked cards in UFC history.
The latest UFC 148 card now includes:
Champ Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen (for middleweight title)
Champ Dominick Cruz vs. Urijah Faber (for bantamweight title)
Rich Franklin vs. Cung Le
Forrest Griffin vs. Tito Ortiz
Michael Bisping vs. Tim Boetsch
Renan Barao vs. Ivan Menjivar
Fabricio Camoes vs. Melvin Guillard
Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Gleison Tibau
Dong Hyun Kim vs. Demian Maia
Riki Fukuda vs. Constantinos Philippou
Marcus LeVesseur replaces Aaron Riley, meets Cody McKenzie at UFC on FUEL TV 3
Newcomer Marcus LeVesseur (21-5 MMA, 0-0 UFC) has replaced Aaron Riley (30-13-1 MMA, 3-5 UFC) and now meets fellow lightweight Cody McKenzie (12-2 MMA, 1-2 UFC) at next month's UFC on FUEL TV 3 event.
Mickey Dubberly of KO Dnyasty today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that LeVesseur has signed a four-fight deal with the UFC and taken the open slot.
McKenzie initially tweeted news of the change.
The reason for Riley's scratch from the card wasn't immediately known.
Champ Jon Jones vs. Dan Henderson possible for UFC 149 in Calgary
With UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo likely off the card and headed to UFC 147 in Brazil, July's UFC 149 event in Calgary may still get a title fight.
At a press conference today in Rio de Janeiro, UFC president Dana White mentioned the possibility of light-heavyweight champ Jon Jones (16-1 MMA, 10-1 UFC) and Dan Henderson (29-8 MMA, 5-2 UFC) headlining UFC 149.
However, White said it'll depend on Jones' recovery following this past weekend's win over Rashad Evans.
"If we could make that fight happen (at UFC 149), that'd be great," White said.
UFC 149 takes place July 21 at Calgary's Scotiabank Saddledome. The night's main card airs on pay-per-view.
UFC 147 keeps Belfort vs. Silva 2, expected to get champ Aldo at date TBA
Although the event has lost its headliner, UFC 147 will soldier on.
At a press conference today in Rio de Janeiro, UFC president Dana White today announced UFC 147 will take place at a date to be determined with a Wanderlei Silva (34-11-1 MMA, 4-6 UFC) vs. Vitor Belfort (21-9 MMA, 10-5 UFC) bout. Additionally featherweight champion Jose Aldo also (21-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) is expected to fight at the event.
A previously announced headliner and rematch between middleweight champion Anderson Silva (31-4 MMA, 14-0 UFC) and challenger Chael Sonnen (27-11-1 MMA, 6-4 UFC) has been moved to July's UFC 148 event, as MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) reported earlier today.
Currently, White said, a date and venue have not been determined for UFC 147, though it'll remain in Brazil.
UFC officials initially announced UFC 147 as taking place June 23 at Joao Havelange Stadium (also known as Engenhao Stadium) in Rio. However, White recently said conflicts with the United Nations' "Rio +20" meeting, which is scheduled for June 20-22 in Rio, could prompt some changes. Instead of the stadium, which could have broken the UFC's all-time attendance record (55,724 attendees at UFC 129), UFC 147 now is searching for a new venue.
Del Rosario vs. Miocic added to UFC 146, main card remains all heavyweights
Next month's UFC 146 event will keep its all-heavyweights pay-per-view main card.
After Gabriel Gonzaga (13-6 MMA, 8-5 UFC) recently took a vacant slot against Roy Nelson (16-7 MMA, 3-3 UFC) on the card, Shane Del Rosario (11-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) was left without an opponent.
However, fellow unbeaten Stipe Miocic (8-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) has stepped in as a replacement, UFC president Dana White today announced via Twitter.
UFC 146 takes place May 26 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. In addition to the PPV main card, which features UFC heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos vs. Frank Mir, FX and Facebook carry the preliminary card.
UFC's Stephan Bonnar bitten by giant camel spider while detained by Bahrain airport security
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight Stephan Bonnar has a big personality, which can sometimes rub people the wrong way.
One such instance occurred last year, when "The American Psycho" got into it publicly with UFC Welterweight Josh Koscheck, regarding Bonnar using Koscheck's likeness on one of his "Trash Talking Kids" t-shirts.
Bonnar appeared on HDNet's "Inside MMA" earlier tonight (Apr. 23, 2012), discussing his recent trip to Bahrain where he, Rich Franklin and Keith Jardine visited with some U.S. troops who were serving overseas. Apparently, Bonnar and his shirts are back in the news, and you'll never guess what kind of trouble his clothing line got him into this time:
"We're getting ready to leave Bahrain, and I get detained at the airport. Jardine and Franklin get on the flight, and they take me in the room. They're asking me all these questions, and they're furious. One guy's comin' in the room and pointin' at me, all furious, like that. And, what I think is that, I had on the 'Young Assassin' shirt, with Melvin Guillard, and there's a guy with a turban with his brains spillin' out. I don't think they liked that too much."
UFC 145: Jones vs. Evans Medical Suspensions
Following this weekend’s UFC 145: Jones vs. Evans event, the Georgia Athletic and Entertainment Commission passed out suspensions to 20 of the 24 fighters. Three fighters were issued lengthy suspensions, while one was given an indefinite suspension.
Jon Jones: Suspended seven days for precautionary reasons
Rashad Evans: Suspended seven days for precautionary reasons
Rory MacDonald: Suspended seven days for precautionary reasons
Che Mills: Suspended 45 days for precautionary reasons
Ben Rothwell: Suspended seven days for precautionary reasons
Brendan Schaub: Suspended 45 days for precautionary reasons
Michael McDonald: Suspended seven days for precautionary reasons
Miguel Torres: Suspended 60 days; needs CT scan
Eddie Yagin: Suspended 30 days, including 21 days with no contact
Mark Hominick: Suspended 30 days, including 21 days with no contact
Mark Bocek: Suspended seven days for precautionary reasons
Travis Browne: Suspended seven days for precautionary reasons
Chad Griggs: Suspended 30 days, including 21 days with no contact
Matt Brown: Suspended 14 days for precautionary reasons
Stephen Thompson: Suspended 14 days for precautionary reasons
Anthony Njokuani: Suspended seven days for precautionary reasons
John Makdessi: Suspended seven days for precautionary reasons
Mac Danzig: Suspended indefinitely pending results of right-ankle X-ray
Efrain Escudero: Suspended seven days for precautionary reasons
Chris Clements: Suspended seven days for precautionary reasons
Keith Wisniewski: Suspended 14 days for precautionary reasons
Marcus Brimage: Suspended seven days for precautionary reasons
Maximo Blanco: Suspended seven days for precautionary reasons
Jay Hieron headed to Legacy Fighting Championships, debuts July 13 on HDNet
Recent Bellator title challenger Jay Hieron (22-5) is headed to Legacy Fighting Championships.
LFC promoter Mick Maynard today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) the fighter – who's also competed with the UFC, Strikeforce, WEC and IFL – has verbally agreed to a three-fight deal with the promotion.
The 35-year-old Hieron is expected to make his promotional debut at Legacy Fighting Championships 12, which airs live on HDNet on July 13.
Legacy Fighting Championships 12, which is also expected to feature Robert Drysdale vs. Isaac "Ike" Villanueva, takes place at Houston's Arena Theater. Hieron's opponent will be finalized in the coming weeks.
K-1 May 27 Card: Badr Hari, Cro Cop, And The 2012 K-1 MAX Grand Prix
More exciting news for Badr Hari fans. As we noted last week, Hari has officially been announced as returning to K-1 this May. Now, we have his fight officially announced. On May 27 in Madrid, Spain, Badr Hari will face Anderson Silva.
Now, before you get too excited, let's be clear that this is, of course, Anderson "Braddock" Silva, highly regarded kickboxing heavyweight. Not UFC Middleweight champion Anderson Silva. Though clearly that would be even more awesome.
Hari vs. Silva is one of four Heavyweight fights on the card. Also included is Daniel Ghita vs. Paul Slowinski, Rico Verhoeven vs. Sergei Lascenko, and the K-1 return of Mirko Cro Cop as he faces Loren Javier Jorge. Winners are expected to move on to the K-1 2012 Grand Prix Final 16.
King Mo Lawal returns to MMA at Invicta Fighting Championships on April 28 in Kansas
SHOWTIME Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) voice Mauro Ranallo, light heavyweight superstar "King Mo" Lawal and women's star Julie "Fireball" Kedzie will call the action cageside at the first-ever Invicta Fighting Championships all-women's professional MMA event, live on InvictaFC.com, from Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kan. on Saturday, April 28.
Ranallo, the lead commentator for Strikeforce on Showtime as well as for Canada's The Score Fighting Series and a former commentator for Japan's Pride Fighting Championships, will serve as the play-by-play announcer during the live stream of the event.