Willis declared unfit, fight with Tybura scrapped
UFC Heavyweight Justin Willis was deemed unfit to fight at UFC 208 by the New York State Athletic Commission. The fighter himself made the announcement, via his social network.
Hey everyone, I want you to hear from me first, I did everything I could to make weight for the fight this weekend but due to the short notice my body shut down during the weight cut and the UFC doctors wouldn’t clear me to fight. I will be back in the UFC with a full camp very soon. Thank you to everyone at the UFC, all of their staff have been great. I want the same opponent or anybody else will suffice. I will be ready. God Bless.
Spike TV to Become Paramount Network in Viacom Rebranding
There's a big change coming to Spike TV.
Viacom's male-focused cable network, home to Lip Sync Battle, is expected to be rebranded as the Paramount Network, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. A formal announcement will likely come Thursday morning when Viacom unveils its turnaround plan during its quarterly earnings call.
Sources tell THR that Spike chief Kevin Kay — who recently added oversight of CMT and TV Land to his purview of the Global Entertainment Group — is expected to remain in place. The rebranding could begin as early as 2018, sources say, and no personnel changes are expected to be made at this time. Representatives for Viacom and Spike declined comment, though a formal rollout strategy is expected to be part of Thursday's call.
Paul Daley vs. Rory MacDonald headlines Bellator 179 in London
Paul Daley called out Rory MacDonald after scoring a vicious knockout in his last appearance inside the Bellator cage, and he got the fight he was hoping for.
Bellator officially announced on Thursday that “Semtex" will battle “Red King” in the main event of Bellator 179. The event takes place May 19 at London’s SSE Arena.
Conor McGregor releases boxing training video
Could a mega-fight between Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather be far behind?
The UFC lightweight champion released a boxing training video at SBG Ireland on Instagram on Wednesday. McGregor recently said he will pass on returning to the Octagon in order to compete in a boxing ring next — preferably against Mayweather.
Jodie Esquibel vs. DeAnna Bennett, more added to Invicta FC 22
Jodie Esquibel had two opponents drop out for Invicta FC 21 and was left without a fight. The strawweight will try again next month.
Esquibel has been rebooked against previous planned opponent DeAnna Bennett for Invicta FC 22 on March 25 in Kansas City, sources told MMA Fighting on Wednesday. The two were supposed to meet last month at Invicta 21, but Bennett withdrew due to injury.
New Nevada athletic commissioner works for Fertitta-owned Station Casinos
The newest commissioner appointed to the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) works for the former owners of the UFC.
Staci Alonso, appointed to the commission by Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval in December, is an executive vice president at Station Casinos, the casino group owned by Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta, per her LinkedIn page. The Fertittas sold their majority stake in the UFC, which is regulated and sanctioned by the NAC in Nevada, to WME-IMG in July for more than $4 billion.
Former UFC fighters Joe Riggs & Cody Mckenzie are now bare knuckle boxing
When the bright lights of the UFC fade, MMA fighters have two options: hang up the gloves and call it a career, or press forward and ply their trade in less prestigious organizations.
MMA fighters have more options than ever these days as far as promotions go, from the well-known Bellator to countless regional promotions scattered across the country (and plenty of international promotions too).
Eduardo Dantas vs. Darrion Caldwell 135 title fight headlines Bellator 177 in Budapest
Bellator is returning to Hungary this spring, and the bantamweight title will be on the line in Budapest.
Bellator 177 is set for april 14 at Budapest Sports Arena. In the main event, bantamweight champion Eduardo Dantas (19-4 MMA, 9-1 BMMA) is set to take on challenger Darrion Caldwell (10-1 MMA, 7-1 BMMA).
In addition, the card will feature a featherweight fight between Hungary’s Adam Borics (5-0 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) and Anthony Taylor (1-2 MMA, 1-2 BMMA).
Promotion officials announced the card and headliner today. The main card will air on Spike at 9 p.m. ET. Immediately following the MMA card, Bellator Kickboxing 6 will air on Spike at 11 p.m. ET, headlined by a welterweight title rematch between Zoltan Laszak and Karim Ghajji.
Fabricio Werdum-Ben Rothwell will join champ Stipe Miocic vs. Junior Dos Santos at UFC 211
Everything’s bigger in Texas, they say. So the UFC’s return to the “Lone Star State” in May looks like it will have plenty of big men on the top of the bill.
According to a report from Brazilian news outlet Combate, UFC 211 in May will feature not only a heavyweight title fight in the main event, but what is likely to be a No. 1 contenders bout, as well.
Combate today reported former champion Fabricio Werdum (21-6-1 MMA, 9-3 UFC) will meet Ben Rothwell (36-10 MMA, 6-4 UFC) at the event, which is expected to be headlined by heavyweight champ Stipe Miocic (16-2 MMA, 10-2 UFC) against former champ Junior Dos Santos (18-4 MMA, 12-3 UFC).
ABC rules committee passes limited use of instant replay in MMA
Instant replay could be coming to mixed martial arts.
The Association of Boxing Commissions and Combative Sports (ABC) rules and regulations committee for MMA has passed the use of instant replay for fight-finishing sequences, committee chair Sean Wheelock confirmed Tuesday with MMA Fighting.
The proposed rule will be brought to the ABC body and voted on at its annual conference this summer in Connecticut.
Nate Diaz laughs at Dana White’s latest fight offer
It doesn’t appear Nate Diaz is too anxious to get back into action in the UFC.
Just recently, UFC president Dana White revealed that he had offered Diaz a fight to return for the first time since he lost a majority decision to Conor McGregor in one of the biggest fights in 2016. White didn’t give too many details about the fight at the time, but he commented that it’s been rather difficult to get Nate or his brother Nick into the Octagon recently.
“We just offered Nate Diaz a fight, and we’re waiting to hear back from him, so we’ll see,” White told USA Today ahead of the Super Bowl in Houston. “These guys say they want a fight. I offered Nick Diaz two fights. He turned down two fights. I offered him Robbie Lawler. Robbie Lawler accepted the fight. Then I offered him Demian Maia. Nick Diaz turned down two fights. And then we just offered Nate a fight.”
What the NFL could learn from the UFC about PED testing
The New England Patriots pulled off a comeback rivaling Cheick Kongo vs. Pat Barry at Super Bowl LI on Sunday. The next day CNN published an unusually in-depth piece by Roni Selig and Dr. Sanjay Gupta on what the NFL can learn from the UFC about anti-doping testing.
The penalty for a first-time offense in the UFC, like WADA and USADA, is a two-year suspension. The case is given a full and fair review; very often the punishment is less than two years. However, the punishment for a test failure in the NFL is four games.
Frankie Edgar has one fight left on UFC deal, wants Max Holloway or Ricardo Lamas next
Frankie Edgar has just one fight left on his UFC contract. Don’t expect him to be going anywhere, though.
Edgar told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour that the next fight on his UFC deal is his last, but he plans on re-upping with the UFC. Edgar said he was in contract talks with the promotion before having groin surgery recently and expects to come to terms before he steps in the Octagon again.
“I’d like to get a deal,” Edgar said. “That’s what I’d like to do. Who knows what’s really gonna happen. But I would like to get a deal. I don’t really want to go anywhere else. This has been my home since the beginning. I just don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t. It’s not like we’re that far apart.”
Invicta atomweight champ Ayaka Hamasaki moves up to strawweight to face Livia Renata Souza
Update: Jinh Yu Frey (5-2), who Hamasaki defeated via doctor stoppage in September, will face undefeated Janaisa Morandin (9-0) on the same card.
Ayaka Hamasaki wants to make a statement.
The Invicta FC women’s atomweight champion will move up to strawweight to face former champion Livia Renata Souza at Invicta 22 on March 25 in Kansas City, sources told MMA Fighting on Monday.
Invicta president Shannon Knapp confirmed the news and said it would be the co-main event of the card. It should be announced officially this week, she said.
Edgar: UFC getting a little silly with Interim belts
In boxing, sanctioning bodies only make money if there is a title at stake, so they recognize a lot of titles. The WBA sanctions Super, Undisputed, Unified, Regular, and Interim world championship bouts in 17 weight divisions (there used to be eight). Then throw in the WBC, IBF and WBO. And the IBO and WBF. And the World Underwear Association.
By contrast, the UFC recognizes eight weight divisions for men, and most fans can name all the champions. Not a single person alive can definitively name every “world” champion in boxing. This alphabet soup is one reason boxing is losing young fans to mixed martial arts.