White: It's time to bring the big fights to the UK
UFC president Dana White has outlined his plan for the future of UK MMA, revealing he wants to stage events in the same venues at the same time and date every year.
White spoke confidently about the UFC's intention to drive the UK market forward on Wednesday, labelling EMEA CEO Garry Cook "a stud" who will deliver a higher volume of events in the near future.
This weekend's Wembley Arena card brings the UK's first UFC title fight for half a decade, and it comes earlier enough in the year to create the possibility for multiple visits in 2013. Certainly that is what White and Cook are hoping for.
"Here's what we are working on - dates in London, Manchester, Dublin and several other places in the UK," he told the media. "We do them every year, the same date every year, and we bring big fights over here.
"[The plan is] we work out a deal for three years - hopefully it would be 30 years - but we work out a deal and we see how it goes, and build big events in these places same time every year.
Riddle targets future as Maximus Deep Waters
Matt Riddle concedes there may not be a room big enough to contain the egos of he and Chael Sonnen, but the American insists he would love a future as "Maximus Deep Waters" in pro wrestling.
Riddle prepares to take on Che Mills at Wembley Arena this weekend, and he was in the mood to entertain at Wednesday's press conference, prompting ESPN to ask if he had met fellow enigma Sonnen before.
"Our egos would clash!" Riddle told ESPN. "He seems like he's nicer in person, we've only spoken once, but when he talks on camera he lets people have it! He's pretty intense."
McDonald: I have no strategy whatsoever
Interim bantamweight title contender Michael McDonald offered a fascinating insight into his mindset on Wednesday, telling ESPN he has no idea what he is going to do when he enters the Octagon.
McDonald takes on Renan Barao in Saturday's main event at London Arena, and he carries the tag of underdog due to Barao's impressive 29-fight win streak.
The 22-year-old, who can become the youngest UFC champion with victory, is not like most other fighters though, insisting he has no game plan. For McDonald, everything he does is natural instinct.
Mir turns to Greg Jackson for Cormier fight
A new face will appear in Frank Mir's corner when he takes on Daniel Cormier at a UFC on Fox event in April: Greg Jackson.
Mir, 33, plans to join Jackson in Albuquerque for an eight-week camp beginning later this month. It's the first time the Las Vegas native will train for a fight outside his hometown.
Following a second-round TKO loss to Junior Dos Santos for the UFC title in May, Mir says he felt a need to modify his standard routine.
"I've always felt I have great trainers so there was no reason to leave, but my wife and I were talking about how I needed to change things up," Mir told ESPN.com. "One of the things was maybe I should get out of town and get more focused.
Bellator 89 weigh-in results: Dantas-Galvao, middleweight tourney official
MAIN CARD (Spike TV, 10 p.m. ET)
-Champ Eduardo Dantas (134.6) vs. Marcos Galvao (134.7) - for BW title
-Dan Cramer (185.9) vs. Brian Rogers (186.0) - MW-tournament opening round
-Brett Cooper (185.2) vs. Norman Paraisy (185.8) - MW-tournament opening round
-Doug Marshall (185.5) vs. Andreas Spang (186) - MW-tournament opening round
-Sultan Aliev (185.5) vs. Mikkel Parlo (185.7) - MW-tournament opening round
PRELIMINARY CARD (Spike.com, 8 p.m. ET)
-Timothy Goodwin (135.9) vs. Mike Maldonaldo (135.9)
-Johnny Buck (170.5) vs. Chris Mierzwiak (170.5)
-Kyle Bolt (185.0) vs. Joe Pacehco (185.9)
-Aaron Johnson (185.5) vs. Brennan Ward (185.6)
-Mont McMullens (265.7) vs. David Mejia (264.3)
Phil Harris: A Pioneer of UK MMA Returns
Before there was Michael Bisping, there was Phil Harris. Before Dan Hardy introduced “The Outlaw” to UFC fans both at home and abroad, Phil Harris was plying his trade in an England that wasn’t exactly ready for mixed martial arts.
“No one really took much interest in it,” said Portsmouth’s Harris, a pro since 2003. “People just thought you were fighting and that it wasn’t really a sport. It wasn’t until a few years later when I already had 10-12 fights that people started recognizing it and knowing it wasn’t a thug’s game, but a proper sport.”
By the time that 12th fight rolled around, the UFC explosion that was kick started by the first season of The Ultimate Fighter was going on, and Harris was building a name for himself on the local circuit, submitting opponents left and right. He even opted to take on a young Brazilian that was rolling through town named Jose Aldo in September of 2005.
Jimi Manuwa: No Sleep 'Til Wembley
Jimi Manuwa’s world changed the second he left the Octagon after his UFC debut win over Kyle Kingsbury last September, but he hardly realized it.
“I haven’t really been out of the gym,” laughed Manuwa when asked about life after one of the most compelling UFC debuts seen last year. “Maybe on the internet I get a bit more recognition, and when I go to fight shows people congratulate me on being in the UFC and tell me that they watched the fight. But I just try to stay humble and stay grounded and just keep doing what I’m doing because I’m not satisfied with just getting to the UFC. That’s just the beginning for me.”
White hopes Cruz won't have to retire
UFC president Dana White expressed the serious scenario facing Dominick Cruz, admitting the bantamweight champion may have to retire if he suffers another bad injury.
Cruz is currently sidelined after he tore his anterior cruciate ligament last year. Since then Renan Barao has become interim champion and will fight Michael McDonald in London this weekend.
Cruz has not had much luck with injuries during his career, and White hopes he will be fit to return to action in the summer of 2013. However, that scenario is by no means a guarantee.
Jimmo in Search of Excellence and 18 Straight Wins
Five years and 16 consecutive wins after losing his MMA debut, Ryan Jimmo finally made his way into the Octagon.
Seven seconds later, the 31-year-old Canadian stood in the center of the cage, smiling as he broke out his patented celebratory dance, a rock-solid “robot” that ended with a full front split.
The journey to UFC 149 in Calgary, Alberta last summer was a circuitous one, as he threw hands across his home and native land in various organizations, ultimately settling in Edmonton for an extended run in the country’s premier organization, the Maximum Fighting Championship.
After racking up nine consecutive victories prior to his MFC return, Jimmo rattled off four more wins to arrive at a title shot, and then defeated fan favourite Dwayne Lewis to claim the vacant light heavyweight title. In his next two outings, “The Big Deal” defeated current Ultimate Fighter contestant Zak Cummings and former PRIDE and UFC competitor Sokoudjou by decision to run his winning streak to 16 straight.
Half of those 16 wins – including six out of seven following his return to the MFC – came by way of decision, earning Jimmo an unappealing reputation as a decision fighter; someone more interested in making sure he added another win to his resume than entertaining the fans.
Former UFC Fighter and Olympic Gold Medalist Kevin Jackson Talks About the IOC’s Decision to Drop Olympic Wrestling
In my opinion, the IOC can go fuck themselves!
Wrestling was left in a state of shock after the International Olympic Committee made a surprise recommendation on Tuesday morning to drop the sport from the 2020 Games. Contested in the first modern Olympics in 1896 and part of the ancient Games in Olympia, wrestling will now join seven other candidate sports battling for one spot in the games. In this exclusive interview from our partners at Takedown Radio, old school UFC veteran and Gold Medalist in Freestyle wrestling at the 1992 Summer Olympic Games, Kevin Jackson discusses the International Olympic Committee’s decision and the impact it could have on the sport of wrestling.