UFC 126 Drug Tests Come Back Clean
After an apparent failed test at UFC 125, UFC 126 was officially a drug-free zone. All 13 fighters who underwent drug testing at this month's UFC 126 event tested clean for performance-enhancing drugs and recreational/drugs of abuse. UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva topped Vitor Belfort in the headliner. The NSAC tested both of them, as well as Rich Franklin, Forrest Griffin, Jake Ellenberger, Jon Jones, Miguel Torres, Donald Cerrone, Chad Mendes, Paul Taylor, DaMarques Johnson, Mike Pierce and Kyle Kingsbury. All tests were negative. All tested negative for drugs of abuse (such as marijuana and cocaine), as well as anabolic steroids and other performance-enhancers.
Rafael Natal Off UFC On Versus 3 (Updated)
If Alessio Sakara is going to fight at UFC on Versus 3, it will be against a third opponent, since he was first slotted on the March 3 card. Renzo Gracie fighter Rafael Natal has been forced off the UFC on Versus 3 card against Sakara due to a knee injury suffered in training. No timetable set for his return. Natal himself was an injury replacement for Sakara's original foe, Maiquel Falcao. No word yet on yet another possible replacement.
Update: Chris Weidman is the expected replacement. Not yet final though.
What Might Have Been if Fedor went to the UFC
On July 28, 2009, the Los Angeles Times reported that Fedor Emelianenko and the UFC were finalizing a deal that would result in an announcement by the end of that week of the top heavyweight in mixed martial arts finally agreeing to step into the Octagon.
That report was wrong, Fedor went to Strikeforce instead of the UFC, and now Fedor has lost two fights and lost the mantle of Best Heavyweight in MMA. The heavyweight division in the UFC, meanwhile, has moved on and looks a lot different now than it did a year and a half ago.
But what if the report had been correct?
Josh Grispi vs. George Roop scheduled for June 4th
Josh Grispi will face George Roop on June 4, according to a UFC source. The fight will be on The Ultimate Fighter 13 finale card in Las Vegas.
Grispi, a 22-year-old featherweight from Plympton, lost his last fight to Dustin Poirier at UFC 125 on Jan. 1. The loss snapped a 10-fight winning streak for Grispi (14-2).
Jorge Santiago Confirms UFC Talks, But Says No Deal Is Official Yet
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ -- Free agent Jorge Santiago on Saturday night refuted reports that he has signed a contract with the UFC.
Santiago told MMA Fighting that he had not yet signed a contract with any promotion, but that he hoped to finalize a deal very soon. Santiago did confirm ongoing talks with the UFC.
Several MMA sites have reported that Santiago has agreed to a deal and will fight Brian Stann at UFC 130 in May, but he insisted that he has yet to ink his name to any contract.
"Maybe tomorrow," he said with a smile.
Santiago was the reigning Sengoku middleweight champion when he asked for and was granted his release. He holds a record of 23-8 after winning 11 of his last 12 fights.
Doctors Clear Fedor Emelianenko, Who Could Decide Future in Next Month
Fedor Emelianenko suffered no major facial damage from his loss at the hands of Antonio Silva.
Doctors checked Emelianenko's right eye, which was swollen shut in a dominant second-round offensive by Silva, and found no problems, M-1 Global director of operations Evgeni Kogan told MMA Fighting.
"Fedor was checked last night and seemed fine this morning, in good spirits and walking around in sunglasses like a Hollywood star," Kogan said.
Doctors had originally feared the possibility of a broken orbital bone.
UFC Cuts Paul Kelly
Not even winning "Fight of the Night" is enough to save UFC lightweights from the massive cuts still coming down after the merger with the WEC. Gareth Davies brings word that British striker Paul Kelly (11-4) has been released from the promotion after his second round submission loss to Donald Cerrone (14-3) at UFC 126: "Silva vs. Belfort" on Feb. 5. The "sucker punch" reportedly had nothing to do with the decision to let "Tellys" go.
Despite retirement talk, Strikeforce's Fedor Emelianenko could be top grand-prix alternate
Although the MMA legend hinted at retirement following a second-round TKO loss to Antonio Silva, Fedor Emelianenko's fighting career may not be over.
Both Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker and Emelianenko's agent, M-1 Global president Vadim Finkelchtein, want the 34-year-old to continue.
And Coker could dangle an intriguing opportunity should Emelianenko wish to continue fighting: first dibs on any alternate spots that open in the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix.
Emelianenko (31-3 MMA, 1-2 SF) and Silva (16-2 MMA, 3-1 SF) headlined Saturday's Showtime-televised "Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Silva" event at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, N.J. After a close first round, Silva unloaded a brutal ground-and-pound assault in the second. With the Russian's right eye swollen shut, the cageside physician halted the bout after before the start of the third round, which resulted in Emelianenko's second consecutive defeat since a legendary decade-long win streak.
The bout was part of the opening round of Strikeforce's eight-man, season-long heavyweight tournament. And though three tourney-reserve bouts populated Saturday's main card, any available alternate spots instead could go to Emelianenko.
"There's absolutely a possibility he could be a replacement," Coker told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) after the show. "That's the beauty of the tournament. You don't know what could happen in the next leg of the tournament. As this tournament unwinds over the year, there could be an injury, and you could see Fedor back in the tournament."
Decisions about injury replacements ultimately will be made by a Strikeforce committee, as Coker previously announced. And though Shane Del Rosario, Chad Griggs and Valentijn Overeem all won reserve bouts at Saturday's show, Emelianenko could cut to the front of the line.
"Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Silva" attendance reaches 11,287 in New Jersey
Strikeforce's debut in the state of New Jersey resulted in a solid attendance figure of 11,287.
A Strikeforce official confirmed the tentative tally with MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
If the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board verifies the number, Saturday's "Strikeforce and M-1 Global: Fedor vs. Silva" event will go down as the organization's second-highest attended show in its past 18 events.
It'll also mark just the seventh time in 44 events the organization has drawn at least 11,000 fans.
Rashad Evans Might Cut Down To Middleweight-If The Fans Want To See It
That's what he said on the latest episode of ESPN's MMA Live. "You know, I would never put going to any weight class out of the question because if a fight was there and it was going to be a fun and competitive fight and something that the fans wanted to see then I would try to do it. But I started my camp at 237, my last camp, and it's going to be really hard for me to make weight. I think the older I'm getting, my body is starting to settle in a little bit, besides the fact my biceps are growing every second of the day. I'm just kidding but I'm getting to be a little bit bigger now so it's harder for me to make 185. It would be a very hard cut but if the fans wanted to see it then I might do it, you know."
Francisco Rivera Off UFC On Versus 3
Former WEC bantamweight Francisco Rivera will have to wait a little longer to make his octagon debut. Rivera is now off of a planned UFC On Versus 3 fight due to an undisclosed injury suffered in training. He was to have faced Takeya Mizugaki. No replacement named yet, a search is underway for one before the 3/3 event.
UFC Applies For 6/4 Vegas Event Date, Likely TUF 13 Finale
As expected, the Ultimate Fighting Championship is planning to conduct a June 4 event in Las Vegas. The world's biggest mixed martial arts promotion has officially applied with the Nevada State Athletic Commission for permission to hold a card at the The Pearl at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. While the promotion has yet to officially announce the event, the date is expected to host The Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale and feature a lightweight main event between fan favorite Clay Guida and the WEC's final champion, Anthony Pettis, as well as the tournament final for "The Ultimate Fighter 13." The NSAC will vote on the application at its November meeting, which takes place Feb. 16 at the Grant Sawyer State Office Building in Las Vegas. The process is generally considered a mere formality for the UFC.
Brian Stann Likely To Meet Santiago, Not SIlva, At UFC 130
After recent reports of a potential return to the UFC, Sengoku middleweight champion Jorge Santiago appears to have an opponent: Brian Stann. Stann initially was slated to face Wanderlei Silva at the May 28 event, though Silva repeatedly has voiced a preference not to fight the fan favorite and military hero. Currently, bout agreements have not been signed. Additionally, Santiago's agent, Malki Kawa of Authentic Sports Management, said he couldn't confirm the fight or even if the veteran officially has signed with the UFC. Stann's rep also declined to comment. If the Santiago vs. Stann fight is signed, Silva likely will be shifted to another matchup, possibly against Vitor Belfort, whom he recently has been feuding via a series of interviews in the Brazilian media. Belfort recently lost a title fight with middleweight champion Anderson Silva at UFC 126.
UFC 129 sold out with 55,000 tickets, attendance and gate records will fall
For now, UFC 129 officially is sold out.
The small allotment of remaining tickets for today's public on-sale date have been depleted, and with pre-sale periods, the attendance for the event is expected to be approximately 55,000, a UFC official confirmed with MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
UFC 129 takes April 30 at Rogers Centre in Toronto.
The event, which is headlined by UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre vs. Jake Shields, airs on pay-per-view. The stadium show is expected to shatter both UFC and North American MMA attendance and gate records.
Approximately 42,000 tickets, which was the initial event allotment, were sold during the first day of sales this past Thursday, which were available only to members of the subscription-based UFC Fight Club. Today's initial estimate put the total figure at 52,000, though it went up to 55,000 after officials continued tallying today's sales.
The gate could top $11 million.
Rogers Centre previously has hosted events with up to 69,000 spectators. However, given the UFC's event-night layout, large video screens, and UFC president Dana White's commitment to maintain as much as the "intimate atmosphere" of a live UFC-show experience, officials initially expected 50,000 to be the absolute maximum capacity for UFC 129.
Montreal's UFC 124 event currently holds the organization's attendance record with 23,152. (The North American MMA attendance record has been in dispute; a FEG "Dynamite!! USA" event in 2007 reportedly drew 42,757 attendees, but more than 91 percent of the tickets were complimentary.) UFC 66 in 2006 set the UFC and North American gate records with $5.4 million.
Both records, though, will fall at UFC 129.
Miguel Torres vs. Brad Pickett at UFC 130 in Las Vegas
Fresh off a UFC-debut victory, Miguel Torres (39-3 MMA, 1-0 UFC) next meets fellow bantamweight Brad Pickett (20-5 MMA, 0-0 UFC) at UFC 130.
Torres overnight Tweeted that he was offered and accepted the fight, which HeavyMMA.com initially reported.
UFC 130 takes place May 28 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. It's the UFC's latest Memorial Day weekend show based in Sin City.
The night's main card, including a third fight between UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard, airs on pay-per-view. Torres vs. Pickett likely will be part of a preliminary card that will air or stream in some fashion.
Chael Sonnen: 'I Consider Myself 5-1 Against (Anderson Silva)'
Former UFC middleweight No. 1 contender Chael Sonnen made waves earlier this week when he spoke on Anderson Silva's UFC 126 win against Vitor Belfort, saying Silva "tipped [his] hand like a chump poker player at a $5 table in Atlantic City" to actor and former MMA fighter Paul Lazenby.
Now, Sonnen has followed up with even more comments to Lazenby. This is a doozy, folks.
Here's a little something for you "pocket protector/number cruncher" types: I hit Anderson Silva with more unanswered, undefended strikes than any fighter has landed on an opponent in the history of combat sports. Go count 'em up, Poindexters.
I struck him more times than Quasimodo struck the church bell at Notre Dame. I hit him so many times that I stopped fighting because my fists bouncing off his melon were ringing so loudly that it sounded like a bell, and I thought that the round, and the fight, were over. Actually, that's not true--I actually stopped out of mercy and boredom.
Matt Hamill replaces Thiago Silva, faces "Rampage" Jackson at UFC 130
With Thiago Silva's status in doubt, the UFC isn't taking any chances.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) has confirmed with sources close to the UFC that the promotion has pulled the Brazilian from a planned UFC 130 matchup with Quinton "Rampage" Jackson (31-8 MMA, 6-2 UFC), and Matt Hamill (10-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC) has stepped in to fill the void.
Verbal agreements for the contest are in place, and bout agreements are expected to be finalized shortly.
Hamill had been expected to face Phil Davis at April's UFC 129 event. It's currently unknown if Davis will receive a new opponent for the card or be shifted to a later date.
Wanderlei calls out Belfort for rematch
When UFC came to Brazil for the first time, in 1998, Wanderlei Silva debuted on the event, but was defeated by Vitor Belfort. After that fight, Wanderlei reached the top of the world on Pride, but never got his rematch.
With Vitor’s loss to Anderson Silva, on UFC 126, “The Axe Murderer” proposed the challenge, on a phone talk with TATAME. “And now, where are you running to?”, asked Wanderlei. “I’d give him the number one (place in line to fight me) easily, I’m challenging him … I want him”.
Thiago Silva Admits to Failing UFC 125 Drug Test
While NSAC executive director Keith Kizer wasn’t prepared to share who the mystery man was, Thiago Silva admitted to a popular Brazilian website one of his two urine samples registered a positive result. However, the light heavyweight claims he’s done nothing wrong.
“My blood is clean,” Silva told TATAME (Translated by USAToday). “I haven’t used anything.”