UFC boss hints door may be open for Muhammed 'King Mo' Lawal's return to Zuffa
Former Strikeforce champ Muhammed Lawal is still unemployed and unlicensed, but UFC president Dana White on Saturday seemed to suggest there may be a light at the end of the tunnel for "King Mo."
White praised Lawal for his recent dealings with the NSAC and suggested he would be willing to at least talk about a return to Zuffa umbrella.
"We'll see how this whole thing goes down," White said. "The fact that he called her and reached out to her, I mean that's what he should have done."
UFC on FUEL TV 2 draws 15,428 attendance and record $2.23 million live gate
Today's UFC on FUEL TV 2 event drew 15,428 attendees for a $2.23 million live gate.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) confirmed the attendance and gate figures at the night's post-event press conference.
The event, which took place at Stockholm's Ericsson Globe Arena, set a venue record for a live gate at a sporting event, UFC president Dana White said.
Without a local athletic commission working in Sweden, official figures won't be available for the show, which included a main card on FUEL TV and prelims on Facebook.
UFC on FUEL TV 2, which featured Swede Alexander Gustafsson's unanimous-decision victory over Thiago Silva in the headliner, produced one of the biggest non-pay-per-view events in UFC history.
Rally falls short, Mark Hunt 'ain't gonna' fight champ Junior Dos Santos at UFC 146
It was a valiant effort, Mark Hunt fans. But the rally will come up short.
Following a massive online campaign to get Mark Hunt under consideration for a potential title fight – complete with its own #RallyforMarkHunt hashtag – UFC president Dana White squelched the possibility.
If Alistair Overeem isn't cleared to fight heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos at UFC 146, Hunt won't be the replacement.
"They can keep rallying," White said on Saturday following UFC on FUEL TV 2 at Stockholm's Ericsson Globe Arena. "That ain't going to happen.
"Listen, Mark Hunt is going to have to fight one of the top guys. You don't just jump right into the title shot."
White suggests UFC could create regional fight circuits and champions
The way Dana White sees it, the organization needs more events, not fewer.
As the UFC president hits a grueling part of a ridiculously busy 2012 fight schedule, White sees a need to add even more shows to the lineup.
As White told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com), it's the only way to keep a consistent presence in key international markets while also giving new fighters – specifically those on the new international editions of "The Ultimate Fighter" reality series – a place to cut their teeth.
"The bottom line is as we start kicking off all these 'Ultimate Fighters' in other countries, it's going to open up the floodgates for a lot more fighters, and guys are going to need a lot more experience," White told MMAjunkie.com after Saturday's UFC on FUEL TV 2 event in Stockholm. "So, we're working on it."
Aaron Simpson To Make Welterweight Debut Against Jon Fitch
Aaron Simpson decided that he wanted to be a big welterweight instead of a smaller middleweight, and will make the drop to 170 pounds. He'll be in tough in his debut fight though, drawing one of the top welterweights in the world. MMA Weekly has the news:
Aaron Simpson’s first trip to welterweight will be a tough test for the former NCAA All-American, as he faces former title contender Jon Fitch.
Sources close to the fight confirmed the bout to MMA Weekly on Wednesday with bout agreements issued for the contest, but no date has been named yet for the event the welterweight showdown will take place at.
Rumors have placed the Fitch vs. Simpson bout’s likely landing pad at UFC 149 in Calgary, but again nothing is set in stone at this time.
UFC On fuel 2 Bonuses: Pickett, Page, Bahadurzada, Maguire cake in $50,000
Four men walked away with post-fight bonuses at UFC on Fuel TV 2, as Brad Pickett, Damacio Page, John Maguire and Siyar Bahadurzada each took home an extra $50,000 on Saturday.
Pickett and Page were awarded “Fight of the Night” for their two-round bantamweight affair, while Maguire and Bahadurzada pocketed “Submission of the Night” and “Knockout of the Night,” respectively. Headlined by a light heavyweight conflict between hometown favorite Alexander Gustafsson and American Top Team representative Thiago Silva, UFC on Fuel TV 2 marked the UFC’s inaugural trip to Sweden and took place at the Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm.
Anderson Silva-Chael Sonnen Rematch Date Could Be Changed
In March, the UFC officially announced the date and location of the Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen rematch, but now the timing of the fight appears to be up in the air.
At a press conference following Saturday's UFC on FUEL event, UFC president Dana White confirmed that the date is no sure thing. In trying to finalize the show -- originally scheduled for June 23 -- the UFC has come up against some resistance because Rio happens to be hosting a United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development during the same week.
"The problem is, they don't like the idea of us coming the same time this United Nations convention is going on," he said. "The other problem is hotel rooms. Most of the hotel rooms are being taken up. And we don't think, we know that the Anderson Silva-Chael Sonnen fight is one of the biggest sporting events this year, in the world."
Alistair Overeem breaks silence, confident he will fight Junior dos Santos at UFC 146
Embattled Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight number one contender Alistair Overeem, who put his UFC 146 headliner opposite Junior dos Santos in jeopardy after failing a pre-fight drug test, has finally broken his silence.
But "Demolition Man" has (still) refused to address his upcoming hearing with the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC), scheduled for April 24, 2012 in Las Vegas.
Instead, Overeem broke down his gameplan for his championship fight against "Cigano," (still) scheduled for May 26 at "Sin City's" MGM Grand Garden Casino (until we hear otherwise).
Perhaps "The Reem" knows something we don't?
Check out the transcript from the Dutch striker (via Caged Insider), who was a guest on last night's edition of Spike TV's "MMA Uncensored Live," after the jump.
"I am bigger, I am stronger, I am better in the stand-up and I'm better on the ground. So for me, I don't think about what he is going to do to me. I think about what I am going to do to him and I am only thinking about what I am going to do to him. I am going to be ready wherever the fight takes me. I do prefer to strike, I do prefer a knockout over a submission win but I'm going to be ready for anything ... I'm going to get this guy, I'm going to beat him. Nothing scares me about Junior dos Santos. Everything he's doing, I've seen it before. I'm not worried about it, I've experienced it all. There's no fear, there's only two things - trained and untrained and when I step into the Octagon on May 26 I'm going to be trained."
Tito Ortiz ponders future in the WWE
Former UFC light-heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz expects Forrest Griffin to be his final fight with the promotion on July 7, and he hinted his future could be in the WWE.
In his prime Ortiz defended the 205lb belt more times than any other before or after him. A devastating ground-and-pound exponent, the Huntington Beach Bad Boy became one of the most popular figures in the sport.
However, a run of injuries has led to him winning just one of his last eight fights, and it is widely expected that he will bow out against Griffin. The pair have won one fight each, so this settles the trilogy.
"It's my final hurrah, Forrest brings the best out of me and vice-versa, and on July 7 we're gonna get some late fireworks," Ortiz told ESPN.
"I've had some major surgeries but I took the fights anyway, and I've shown that I'm able to compete. A lot of athletes don't compete with injuries, but I have. Those fights with Forrest were tight, and a completion of the trilogy should be the right way to end my career...
Tito Ortiz content with upcoming retirement, hoping for UFC front-office job
Yes, Tito Ortiz is going through with his planned retirement. His UFC 148 bout with Forrest Griffin will be the final one of his illustrious career.
For real. Seriously. No joking, you guys.
While some fighters find retirement too uncomfortable and a return to the cage too enticing, the 37-year-old Ortiz told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) he's preparing himself mentally for the end of the line.
"It's my last fight after 15 years," Ortiz told MMAjunkie.com while in Stockholm for promotional duties and fan events at UFC on FUEL TV 2. "I don't know what it's going to feel like to walk out for the last time, step in the octagon for the last time, to walk out of the octagon for the last time. Honestly, man, I don't know what to expect."
In fact, Ortiz (16-10-1 MMA, 15-10-1 UFC) said he recently signed a contract for his bout with Griffin (18-7 MMA, 9-5 UFC), which is part of the pay-per-view main card of UFC 148. The bout takes place July 7 at Las Vegas' MGM Grand Garden Arena. As Ortiz put pen to paper for the fight, just that simple act put him in a nostalgic mood...
James Te Huna To Face Brandon Vera At UFC On Fuel 4 In July
Light heavyweight slugger James Te Huna will return to the octagon in July, and he'll be facing a veteran who will be making his comeback from injury. UFC on Fuel doesn't have a date or location yet, but it has a fight. The source? Te Huna himself tweeted about the fight a little while ago:
Jamie Te Huna
I'm fighting Brandon Vera, UFC on fuel 4
Apr 12 via Twitter for iPhone Favorite Retweet Reply
Te Huna (14-5) has competed four times in the UFC, picking up three wins. His only loss was to UFC on Fuel 2 main eventer Alexander Gustafsson by first-round submission at UFC 127. His last two bouts have lasted a total of two minutes and fifty-five seconds, with the New Zealand native winning by KO over Ricardo Romero and TKO over Aaron Rosa, respectively.
UFC Supports International MMA Federation With Olympic Aspirations
The Ultimate Fighting Championship on Thursday officially threw its support behind the creation of the new International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF).
The UFC statement said the promotion “wholeheartedly supports this new initiative as well as its leader, IMMAF President August Wallén, who will spearhead the initial growth of this Federation.”
Wallén is a mixed martial arts trainer, who also holds a 6-1 professional record in the sport, as well as a 4-1 amateur record.
IMMAF, through the organization of national mixed martial arts federations, hopes to enable the possibility of international amateur competitions with a common set of rules and regulations, furthering the growth and development of the sport on a worldwide level.
One of IMMAF’s primary goals is to help MMA become and Olympic sport...
Brandon Saling's appeal unsuccessful, license revocation stands in Ohio, NJ
In a 3-0 vote, the Ohio Athletic Commission today denied Brandon Saling's appeal of a license revocation that was handed down this past month after it was discovered he lied about his criminal background.
Saling's status as a sex offender and felon came to light when he fought Roger Bowling (11-2 MMA, 4-2 SF) at "Strikeforce: Tate vs. Rousey" on March 3. In 2004, a then-18-year-old Saling (8-6 MMA, 0-1 SF) was indicted in Ohio for gross sexual imposition following an incident in which he and friend had sexual relations with two underage girls. Four years later, he went to jail on a domestic violence charge.
On an application he filed prior to the Strikeforce fight, Saling marked "no" when asked about previous convictions beyond traffic offenses.
Ohio initially revoked Saling's license on March 6. He subsequently filed an appeal. Profato said a character witness testified on his behalf during today's appeal.
Strikeforce released Saling following the loss and subsequent controversy over his past. (UFC president Dana White said he'd never fight under the Zuffa umbrella again.) Now 26, the fighter admits he made grave mistakes earlier in his life, but he said he's since been trying to better himself. He also denied being a member of any white supremacist groups despite tattoos linked to Neo-Nazi culture that were visible to viewers of Strikeforce fight, which resulted in a TKO loss to welterweight Roger Bowling on the Showtime Extreme-televised preliminary card.
"Everyone thinks I'm this child predator, like I'm hiding out in the bushes being this sick [expletive] kind of person," Saling said. "That's not me by no means. The charges were because of the age difference between us. It's not like I held anyone down and made them do anything. I know what I did was wrong, and I wish I could go back, but I can't.
"I can get (my tattoos) covered up. If that's the problem with me fighting for anybody, I can get it covered up. Maybe I could change it."
Trio of Canadian MMA Promotions Merge to Create Aggression Fighting Championship
Three Canadian MMA organizations in Western Canada have merged to create the self proclaimed “single largest MMA organization in Canada”, named Aggression Fighting Championship.
Aggression MMA, Armageddon Fighting Championships, and AX Combat have now pooled their efforts in providing the best shows available to Canadian MMA fans under this new banner, which will now hold between nine and eleven fight events per year, with shows taking place in Edmonton and Calgary in Alberta, and Victoria, British Columbia – with expansion plans slated for the latter half of 2012.
The newly formed AFC will unveil its new branding shortly. Fight fans will get to see the new promotion in action at AFC 8 in Victoria on April 14th, AFC 9 in Edmonton June 8th, and AFC 10 in Calgary on June 15th. More details on these and upcoming events will be released shortly...
UFC on FUEL TV 2's Brian Stann says military past now staying private
Brian Stann has trotted out his Marine past for the benefit of his past two MMA employers on many occasions, including his upcoming fight with middleweight Alessio Sakara at Saturday's UFC on FUEL TV 2 event.
He's done it to the point where some fans have wondered if it's his only selling point.
Stann, of course, has always said he's trying to help the gears of promotion, not trying to exploit honor.
But a recent appearance FUEL TV's "UFC Ultimate Insider," which hyped his upcoming fight with Alessio Sakara at UFC on FUEL TV 2, proved too invasive even for him. Now, he's drawing boundaries as to what can and cannot be discussed.
"I don't have to go through those memories of my life with other people," Stann told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "Those are my private memories. I did it once. It's out there. I hope that it was for the better of the sport. I hope it was for the better of the men and women who served, and let it be that."
After latest injury, UFC on FUEL TV 2's Alessio Sakara considered retirement
After a series of grueling bouts and countless injuries that left his body a broken mess, Alessio Sakara considered calling it quits.
An ACL surgery this past July was nearly the final nail in the Italian fighter's MMA coffin.
But Sakara, who now meets fellow middleweight contender Brian Stann at Saturday's UFC on FUEL TV 2 event, told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) encouragement from friends and family made him realize he couldn't give up on his dream.
So Sakara (15-8 MMA, 6-5 UFC) and Stann (11-4 MMA, 5-3 UFC) now clash at Stockholm's Ericsson Globe Arena. Their bout is part of Saturday's FUEL TV-televised main card following prelims on Facebook.
Rolles Gracie In Consideration to Face Fedor Emelianenko in Russia
Fedor Emelianenko will next compete in June in his home country of Russia against an as of yet unnamed opponent, but a new contender has entered the fray.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and student of legendary trainer Renzo Gracie, Rolles Gracie is now under consideration for the bout with Emelianenko on June 21 in St. Petersburg.
While there is no deal in place at this time, Gracie is one of the leading candidates to potentially land the spot against the former pound-for-pound king later this year.
With a 6-1 record overall, Rolles Gracie may have far less experience in the cage than Emelianenko, it doesn’t mean he’s not a competitor who has show drastic improvements over the last year.
Numbers Never Lie: UFC 145 Jones vs. Evans
Jones comes from a strong Greco-Roman wrestling background and his skills have translated very well to MMA. His takedown accuracy of 63.6% is the very best in light heavyweight history. He’s already scored 21 takedowns, 4th most in division history, and his 3.32 takedowns per 15 minutes average is the 4th highest in division. Aside from winning takedown battles, Jones shows great control on the ground, spending only 12 seconds in the UFC on his back.
100% Takedown Defense
Jones has never been taken down, an impressive feat considering he’s fought high level wrestlers like Quinton Jackson, Ryan Bader, and Jake O’Brien. In the case of O’Brien, who holds the UFC record with 6.44 takedowns landed per 15 minutes, Jones defended all four attempts by O’Brien. Jones’ takedown defense should be one of his biggest weapons when he faces the takedown-hungry Rashad Evans.
Outlands Opponents by 2.4 Strikes per Minute
Jones is known for the unorthodox striking techniques that he displays in the Octagon, but what may surprise most is that he’s actually quite efficient in this area. Jones’ strike differential is 2.40, the fourth best total in UFC history. This means that Jones lands 2.4 more strikes every minute than he absorbs...
Bobby Lashley vs. James Thompson to headlined Super Fight League 3 on May 6
The headliner is set for Super Fight League 3: heavyweights Bobby Lashley (7-1) vs. James Thompson (17-14).
The Indian-based organization today announced the fight, which takes place May 6 at IGI Stadium in New Delhi. The entire lineup streams on YouTube.
Other announced SFL 3 bouts include light heavyweights Trevor Prangley (23-9-1) vs. Baga Agaev (26-11), middleweights Doug Marshall (14-5) vs. Zelg Galesic (10-6), and 125-pounders Lena Ovchynnikova (8-1) vs. Joanne Calderwood (1-0).
As MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) reported this past week, Lashley is in the running for a currently unannounced June 21 event in Russia for a fight with Fedor Emelianenko (33-4). The SFL booking makes that possibility a little less likely.