Darren Elkins Dropping To Featherweight
On the verge of returning from a knee injury that has kept him on the shelf, Darren Elkins will drop down a class when he comes back. Elkins, an Indiana-based lightweight who went 1-1 in his two UFC appearances last year, will drop to featherweight for his next bout in the promotion. Elkins said he recently was given clearance from a doctor to return, but does not yet have an opponent for his featherweight debut. He said making the drop is something he has been thinking about, though. "I've been wanting to make (the drop) for a while," Elkins said. "(At my size), 155 isn't much of a cut. I just feel like it's a better weight for me."
Luke Rockhold Off SF March Event, Kennedy Now Faces Manhoef
Citing a leg injury, Luke Rockhold has withdrawn from a planned matchup with Tim Kennedy at March's "Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Henderson" event. Melvin Manhoef will be the replacement. Manhoef actually is the third proposed opponent for Kennedy at Strikeforce's debut show in the Buckeye State. Prior to the Rockhold booking, officials initially targeted a rubber match between Kennedy and Jason "Mayhem" Miller that recently was scrapped. "I come to fight and give my very best," Manhoef stated in an official release. "I am very, very hungry. I need to win this fight. I am looking forward to fighting Tim Kennedy."
Robertson Released by UFC Following Loss in Debut
Welterweight Kenny Robertson has been released by the UFC after suffering a loss in his promotional debut to Mike Pierce at UFC 126 last week.
Robertson's release was first reported by Five Ounces of Pain on Thursday morning, and Robertson verified the news on his Facebook page shortly thereafter.
UFC 126 took place Feb. 5 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas and was headlined by a middleweight title tilt between longtime champion Anderson Silva and the resurgent Vitor Belfort. Silva knocked his fellow Brazilian out with a jaw-dropping front kick to the face in the first round to retain his title.
Brian Ebersole Replaces Injured Carlos Condit At UFC 127
UFC welterweight Chris Lytle will reportedly remain on the UFC 127: "Penn vs. Fitch" pay-per-view event on Feb. 26 in Sydney, Australia, now that Brian Ebersole has agreed to step in for the injured Carlos Condit. Fight News Australia brought word of the change in opponents earlier today. Ebersole (44-15) has racked up seven straight wins and is 11-1 since 2007 competing mostly "Down Under." His only loss during that span was a submission (strikes) defeat to Bellator big shot Hector Lombard under the Cage Fighting Championship (CFC) banner in September 2008. The "Bad Boy" will make his UFC debut on just over two weeks notice against one of the sport's most grizzled veterans.
Carlos Condit Injured, In Doubt for UFC 127
Welterweight contender Carlos "The Natural Born Killer" Condit is on the verge of withdrawing from his UFC 127 bout against Chris Lytle, sources tell Sportsnet.
Condit (26-5) has apparently suffered a knee injury and it looks as if it will hamper his performance in the bout.
Phil Collins Off Tachi Palace Fights 9 Event
"Against All Odds," Phil Collins has decided a pending matchup with Waachiim Spiritwolf just isn't "In the Air Tonight." Obligatory Collins jokes aside, he's withdrawn from the May fight at Tachi Place Fights 9, citing personal reasons. Wand Fight Team product Jorge Lopez is the replacement.
Most UFC 125 drug tests come back clean, though one sample "still processing"
Fourteen of the 15 fighters who underwent drug testing at January's UFC 125 event tested clean for performance-enhancing drugs and recreational/drugs of abuse.
However, one unnamed contestant's sample has yet to be cleared.
Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Keith Kizer today e-mailed the drug-testing results to MMAjunkie.com, and he noted that the commission is "still processing another athlete's urine sample from that event."
Thiago Silva Out of UFC 130 - Rashad Evans In (Update)
Hearing the news, we contacted Thiago Silva by phone, and the fighter was surprised. "Injured? Me? I’m very healthy and looking forward to fighting Rampage. That’s not true."
"Nobody called us about anything, the fight is on" said Conan Silveira, one of the leaders of American Top Team.
Multiple sources confirmed with MMAjunkie.com that preliminary discussions with Rashad Evans to replace Silva are underway.
Of significant potential interest, the Nevada State Athletic Commission has yet to release the drug screens from the night of Silva's most recent fight, a UFC 125 win over Brandon Vera that took place Jan. 1 in Las Vegas.
Nevada State Athletic Commision executive director Keith Kizer confirmed with MMAjunkie.com that the commission is still investigating at least one sample from the event. While Kizer could not confirm whether or not one of those samples belonged to Silva, the NSAC executive did confirm that Silva was among the UFC 125 fighters who submitted a pre-fight screen.
White Says Future Is Here With UFC.tv, Online Pirates Should Prep For Jail Time
While this past weekend's "UFC 126: Silva vs. Belfort" event will always be remembered for the front kick heard 'round the world, UFC president Dana White said the card might also be known as the launching point for the future of the company. In conjunction with the New York-based NeuLion, Inc., the UFC offered an enhanced pay-per-view broadcast at UFC.tv, and White believes the format is the wave of the future. While the UFC has long offered its pay-per-view broadcasts via online streams, the partnership with NeuLion includes options for fans to choose multiple camera angles from which to view the fight, as well as the option to listen to a variety of audio feeds, including direct feeds from each fighter's corners. The product will eventually feature additional interactive options such as live chatting with fellow UFC fans, as well as live scoring by viewers. "I think that's where everything is going," White said. "As technology grows, the world keeps getting smaller and smaller. As we go into all these countries, people all over the world love the UFC and love a fight. This thing always made sense to me."
This past weekend, White confirmed his commitment to fighting the uphill battle against online piracy. "The future is the Internet," White said. "That's why we're fighting. That's why we're taking such a strong stance. "You've got to understand, all this stuff is brand new. Even when the music thing happened with Napster and all that stuff, if I take your song and let people download the song, the song isn't ruined. People still want to hear that song or the album or whatever it is. When our event gets stolen, it's dead. It's over. You know the results. A live event is different than anything else." And while this past week's announcements focused on a handful of websites providing illegal streams, White confirmed his legal team will continue to press for enforcement at all levels of the piracy pipeline. "We're fighting it hard," White said. "Listen, I said it when we made this announcement, and I'll say it again, people are going to jail."
Relishing Underdog Status, Shields Plans to Spoil Silva-GSP Megafight
When Anderson Silva’s foot collided with Vitor Belfort’s face on Saturday at UFC 126, the long-running online chatter regarding a super-fight between the dominant Brazilian middleweight and welterweight kingpin Georges St. Pierre flared up again almost instantly. In the immediate aftermath, even UFC President Dana White expressed interest in promoting what he dubbed would be a “fantasy fight” and “the pound-for-pound championship.”
Before any of that can take place, St. Pierre will have to get through one of his sternest tests as a champion at UFC 129. His challenger, Jake Shields, has been pegged as a 6-to-1 underdog by the oddsmakers, but the former Strikeforce middleweight champion has designs on squashing the GSP-Silva dream matchup in Toronto on April 30.
“I love this role. I love getting looked past,” Shields said during a Tuesday press conference at Toronto’s Rogers Centre. “It’s exactly the same as [when I fought Dan] Henderson. Strikeforce was trying to throw me out on a loss, but I definitely had different plans. I went out there planning on spoiling it... and that’s exactly what I’m planning on doing here.”
Ask the Fight Doc: Did Jon Jones make a mistake taking UFC 128 title fight?
Just moments after his UFC 126 win, Jon Jones was rewarded with a UFC 128 title fight against light-heavyweight champion Mauricio "Shogun" Rua.
While certainly deserving of the shot, Jones now has just six weeks to prepare for a five-round title fight against a dangerous opponent – a proposition that first choice Quinton "Rampage" Jackson knew would be too much, too soon.
In our latest "Ask the Fight Doc" installment, MMAjunkie.com medical columnist Dr. Johnny Benjamin discusses, from a medical perspective, whether Jones made the right call to accept the bout.
* * * *
From a medical perspective, is it too soon for UFC 126 winner Jon Jones to fight six weeks later at UFC 128? – Anonymous
This is an intriguing question and a bit more complex than it may appear at first glance.
What is the minimum time necessary for fighter to recuperate between fights?
NSAC: No Vaseline-Gate At UFC 126 Main Event
Nevada State Athletic Commission officials who oversaw Saturday's Anderson Silva vs. Vitor Belfort headliner at UFC 126 did not see any behavior that suggested foul play. Silva set some forums abuzz when he wiped his forehead with his hand just prior to the fight and then briefly wiped his chest. It was easy fodder for conspiracy theorists who thought the champion might be trying to give himself an unfair edge by using Vaseline from his face to make his body slicker. But the NSAC head said that's not the case. "If they thought it was advantageous, they would wipe it off," NSAC Executive Director Keith Kizer said.
White: Despite stadium-show hesitation, UFC 129's going to "whole other level"
UFC president Dana White is acutely aware that he's straying into uncharted territory.
When UFC 129 hits Rogers Centre in Toronto, it will be the biggest venue the promotion ever has occupied for a live event.
Approximately 42,000 seats will be up for grabs – almost double the number available for three of the UFC's biggest gatebusters, which were all held in Canada.
The country is, as White often gushes, a second home for the promotion, and the demand appears to be there for a stadium event. But the sheer size of Rogers Centre will force him to confront an issue he thus has far tried to avoid: the fan who pays 50 bucks for a nosebleed to watch a pair of dancing ants.
White said today that he has a plan to combat the problem, though he is keeping details a secret for now.
"Nobody was more worried about that than me – believe me," he said at a press conference held today in Toronto in support of UFC 129, which is headlined by a welterweight title fight between champ and box-office goldmine Georges St-Pierre and challenger Jake Shields. "I've said for years that I don't know about doing stadiums. What I think has helped the UFC get as big as it has is the live-event experience. And the last guy on earth that wants to ruin that for anybody is me."
The UFC drew in excess of 20,000 fans in three out of four events it held in Montreal's Bell Centre. Two of those events – UFC 84 and UFC 124 – were headlined by champ St-Pierre and generated live gates in excess of $4 million. The venue is not unlike the arenas where UFC events are held; large video screens are placed throughout the upper decks to bring the action closer to fans seated there.
Still, it's a strain to see the fighters from upper decks, especially when they hit the mat. But when combined with the video screens, it's a fair deal.
White guarantees the live experience won't change for rafter-dwellers.
"I never want the fans to not only turn off their television and say, 'That sucked,' I don't want the fans to walk away who bought tickets to have a bad experience either," he said. "I'm actually pumped for the experience we're planning for you guys here in Toronto.
"We're going to do things in this arena that we've never done in any arena, ever before. People worrying the experience isn't going to be the same – it's not. It's going to be better. We're taking it to a whole other level, and I'm really excited about it."
UFC 126 sets "UFC Prelims" record with 2 million viewers on Spike TV
This past weekend's "UFC Prelims" broadcast on Spike TV, which coincided with the Feb. 5 "UFC 126: Silva vs. Belfort" event, scored a series-high 2 million viewers.
Spike TV officials today emailed the ratings information to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
The broadcast, which featured preliminary-card fights of Donald Cerrone vs. Paul Kelly and Chad Mendes vs. Michihiro Omigawa, topped the previous 13 "UFC Prelims" installments and the former record of 1.7 million viewers.
UFC 126 took place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. Prior to the Spike TV broadcast, the UFC streamed another prelim fight, Demetrious Johnson vs. Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto, for free on Facebook.
Overall, the Spike TV broadcast earned a 1.2 household rating, including an impressive 1.7 among men 18-49. The one-hour broadcast was the highest-rated program in its timeslot among men 18-49 and men 18-34.
The full list of "UFC Prelims" broadcasts and ratings, as compiled by MMAjunkie.com, includes:
* 1) UFC 125 (February 2011): 2.0 million viewers
* 2) UFC 109 (February 2010): 1.7 million viewers
* 3) UFC 114 (May 2010): 1.6 million viewers
* 4) UFC 108 (January 2010): 1.5 million viewers
* 4) UFC 121 (October 2010): 1.5 million viewers
* 4) UFC 123 (November 2010): 1.5 million viewers
* 7) UFC 104 (October 2009): 1.4 million viewers
* 7) UFC 103 (September 2009): 1.4 million viewers
* 9) UFC 119 (September 2010): 1.3 million viewers
* 9) UFC 116 (July 2010): 1.3 million viewers
* 9) UFC 115 (June 2010): 1.3 million viewers
* 9) UFC 106 (November 2009): 1.3 million viewers
* 13) UFC 111 (March 2010): 1.2 million viewers
* 14) UFC 118 (August 2010): 1.1 million viewers
Report: Sengoku Releases Jorge Santiago
Sengoku middleweight champion Jorge Santiago has been granted his release by the organization, MMA Fighting has learned from sources close to the promotion. Santiago's manager Malki Kawa of Authentic Sports Management wouldn't confirm or deny that Santiago is now a free agent when reached for comment, but additional sources say Santiago is looking to sign imminently with a major North American promotion. The 23-8 fighter won the Sengoku middleweight title in January 2009, defeating Kazuo Misaki via technical submission. In August, he defeated Misaki again in a fight many consider to be the best of 2010.
Phil Baroni vs. Nick Nolte (Not The Actor) Added To Titan FC 17
After a recent UFC release, veteran Phil Baroni returns to the cage on March 25 to take on Nick Nolte at Titan Fighting Championships 17. Officials today announced the middleweight fight. The event, which airs live on HDNet, takes place at Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kan., the usual home for Titan events. Baroni, whom the UFC release following a Jan. 1 loss to Brad Tavares, is stuck in a three-fight losing skid and his lost six of his past nine fights, which included stints with Strikeforce, EliteXC and Cage Rage. But in early January, Titan officials announced they had signed the notable to a multi-fight deal. Nolte (not the actor), a Kansas City-area fighter, went 7-3 as an amateur before making his pro MMA debut in early 2009. The one-time Strikeforce and Bellator fighter recently scored a second-round submission victory over Lee Werr at a regional event in Kansas.
Kenny Florian Moving To Featherweight
Looks like the rumors were true after all. Kenny Florian, having lost in two separate bids for the lightweight championship and coming off a loss in a number one contender fight against Gray Maynard at UFC 118, is officially making the drop down to featherweight. For now. "I started playing around with the idea: could I make 145? Originally, I didn't think it was possible. I spoke with a few nutritionists, got their opinions, told them what my body fat was, my walking-around weight, all that stuff and the general consensus was that it was very possible. I put a lot of thought into it, spoke with my coaches and everybody involved and decided that I am going to try it. I'm going to go for it."
"For me it's first things first. My goal is to get the 145-pound belt, and then go up to 155 and challenge for that belt as well." No plans to ask for an immediate title shot against the Jose Aldo-Mark Hominick winner though.
Alleged Theft Forces Cancellation of Immortal MMA Event in Hawaii
WAHIAWA, Hawaii -- Originally supposed to host a night a mixed martial arts fights, the Martinez Gym at Schofield Army Barracks was instead the scene of an alleged crime.
The event, which was being promoted by Immortal MMA and was to be headlined by a light heavyweight bout between Jason Guida and Tasi Edwards, was canceled on Saturday just moments before it was set to begin.
“I was notified that the purse money for the fighters had been stolen out of one of the inspector’s vehicles, so, obviously, we had to take the legal route and get the Military Police and [Honolulu Police Department] and all that involved,” said Jeremy Varney, the event’s promoter. “I brought all the fighters and their managers into the room and explained to them the situation; the state explained to them the situation. And then we gave them the option [that] if they wanted to fight, they could fight and I would pay them at a later date, or they could just walk if they wanted to.
“Ultimately, I made the decision [to cancel the event] because there were only six fighters that agreed to fight out of nine bouts,” he added. “The rest of them were just, you know, it was more ‘I want to get paid’ than it was a fight for the troops, which is completely understandable. You know, [the fighters] train their asses off and they want to get paid and I completely understand. That’s business.”
"Rampage" Jackson cites poor timing, weight for UFC 128 title-fight decline
Quinton "Rampage" Jackson wants to be well-prepared when he fights Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, and taking a fight with the UFC light-heavyweight champion on short notice runs contrary to that plan.
Jackson today responded to Rua's revelation that "Rampage" turned down a title shot that subsequently was given to Jon "Bones" Jones at UFC 126. The title-fight slot opened when Rashad Evans recently went down with a knee injury.
"I don't care who the opponent is," Jackson said in an exclusive interview with MMAjunkie.com. "I'm not taking a fight on four weeks' notice."