HKL Exclusive with Jorge Santiago: Talks of His Return to the UFC and New Beginnings
I spoke with Jorge Santiago yesterday about his return to the UFC. He's been on a fantastic run in his career and is finally ready to make an impact in the UFC's Middleweight Division. However, this isn't the only new beginning in his life, Santiago also spoke about starting a new team called Imperial with JZ and Rashad Evans. His opponent in Brian Stann will be facing the best Jorge Santiago and one that has a new found maturity.
Follow him on twitter this week at @SantiagoMMA
Dana White: UFC open to pension program for retired fighters
LAS VEGAS – UFC parent company Zuffa LLC made headlines earlier this month when it announced a new accident-insurance policy for the 350 or so fighters under its umbrella.
The move was not only seen as measure of its commitment to protecting the health and safety of its fighters both in and of the cage, but a strong counter to talks of unionization that heated up in the wake of the company's purchase of rival promotion Strikeforce.
Today, UFC president Dana White took a cue from former light-heavyweight champion Quinton Jackson to express his openness to the idea of a pension fund for retired fighters.
Todd Moore vs. Mike Bronzoulis targeted for "Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum"
A bout between WEC veteran Todd Moore (13-4 MMA, 0-0 SF) and fellow promotional newcomer Mike Bronzoulis (12-2-1 MMA, 0-0 SF) is in the works for next month's "Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum" event.
Sources close to the event told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) the welterweight bout is in the process of being finalized.
Bronzoulis's management team at KO Dynasty said their fighter has signed a four-fight deal with the promotion.
Which Rounds Did GSP Lose at UFC 129? Official Scorecards Released
It was a few weeks ago when Georges St-Pierre defeated Jake Shields at UFC 129 in Toronto, but now the official scorecard has been released finally showing how the judges scored the fight.
The real relevance here is GSP had gone 30 rounds without losing a single round on a judge’s scorecard, but at UFC 129, according to two judges, the champion lost two rounds during the fight.
The final scorecard comes courtesy of the Ontario Athletics Commission.
Dana White: Georges St. Pierre and Nick Diaz Will Not Coach TUF 14
Dana White did an interview with HeavyMMA.com's Megan Olivi yesterday, and managed to pack a lot of info into a short amount of time. Earlier today, Mike Fagan covered the tail end of the interview that dealt with Dana's reaction to the Chael Sonnen saga. The beginning of the interview covers some pretty big news as well though - namely, Dana White is very firm about the fact that Georges St. Pierre vs. Nick Diaz is not close to happening, and they won't be on a certain reality show anytime soon:
Dana: "That fight is not a done deal, and I guarantee you that those two will not be coaches (on TUF 14). Not even close. All the stuff that's out there about that fight and the meeting we had here is all bulls--t."
Olivi: "Fair enough. So we won't be seeing that fight at UFC 140 in Montreal?"
Sonnen's attorney chews out Josh Gross
Chael Sonnen's Attorney Raffi Nahabedian takes issue with ESPN's Josh Gross for statements made on on MMA Live and Twitter
We have known each other for some time and I had an ongoing respect for you and your reporting. However, I think there is a growing disconnect with my beliefs.
I just watched your interview on MMA Live regarding Chael Sonnen and I respectfully disagree with the manner the information was presented and that crucial information that was purposely left out.
In regards to the testimony issue, there is a continued blatant oversight and disregard for Chael’s testimony/responses to Commissioner Zinkin that fully clarify, explain and vitiate his statement that “he [Chael] spoke to Kizer.” If you read the transcript of Chael’s responses to Commissioner Zinkin (and, perhaps, print them for the public to read), Chael made it unambiguously clear what he meant – “my management and/or my manager.” As someone who represents people/companies, it is not uncommon to hear clients who are represented by agents, managers and attorneys to speak in such a manner (i.e. that they s poke to so-n-so or handled “y” matter). While the initial tweet about Chael’s initial comment is plausibly understandable (solely from the perspective that people like to create controversy to increase readers/viewers), there would not have been such an over zealous and unfounded determination to crucify Chael if there was some responsible journalistic follow-up reporting clarifying Chael’s subsequent testimony. Specifically, what he testified to in response to Commissioner Zinkin (no different than the CSAC issuing a retraction of its incorrect press release and subsequent clarification of its decision). The person who made the initial tweet should have done this which would have eliminated a lot of problems for everyone – Sonnen, Kizer, CSAC, etc.
Benavidez vs. Wineland Set for UFC on Versus 5
Eddie Wineland will take one more crack at Team Alpha Male when he faces Joseph Benavidez at the UFC's show in Milwaukee, UFC on Versus 5, in August.
Wineland, the first bantamweight champion in WEC history, is coming off his first loss in nearly two years, a unanimous decision setback against Alpha Male kingpin Urijah Faber at UFC 128 in March. Now he'll take on Faber's training partner. The UFC announced the verbal agreement at its website late Tuesday night.
Benavidez (14-2, 1-0 UFC) has won two straight since a split decision loss to bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz at WEC 50 last August. He submitted Wagnney Fabiano at WEC 52 in November, and in March, also at UFC 128, he beat Ian Loveland by unanimous decision on the preliminary card.
Alex "Bruce Leroy" Caceres vs. Leonard Garcia slotted for UFC on Versus 5
An intriguing bout between Alex "Bruce Leroy" Caceres (4-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC) and fellow featherweight Leonard Garcia (15-7-1 MMA, 2-2 UFC) had been added to August's UFC on Versus 5 lineup.
UFC officials today announced that verbal agreements are in place for the fight.
UFC on Versus 5 takes place Aug. 14 at Bradley Center in Milwaukee as part of the UFC's Wisconsin debut. The night's main card airs live on Versus.
Caceres vs. Garcia likely will be part of the preliminary card.
Jon Jones Expects to Fight Lyoto Machida or Rampage Jackson, Not Rashad Evans
If you're like me, you expected Rashad Evans to receive the first crack against Jon Jones should he defeat Jones' injury-replacement Phil Davis. It's a grudge fight. It's a money fight. It makes sense. Now, strange news from Jones during an interview with 1260 The Score in Syracuse (transcript by Sports Radio Interviews):
I had to postpone my first title defense against Rashad Evans due to some torn tissues in my thumb. My last doctor's appointment they told me I should be able to get back to full out training within the next month. I'm excited about that. I'm expected to compete against Lyoto Machida or Rampage Jackson in maybe October, mid-October.
Joseph Benavidez vs. Eddie Wineland on Tap For UFC On Versus 5
Eddie Wineland gets another shot at Team Alpha Male. Joseph Benavidez, the # 2-ranked bantamweight on the USA Today/SB Nation Consensus Rankings, will look to continue his streak of beating everyone not named Dominick Cruz when he faces off with the # 12-ranked former WEC bantamweight champion Wineland at UFC on Versus 5 in Milwaukee on August 14th. UFC.com has it:
Two bantamweight powerhouses will go at it as Joseph Benavidez and Eddie Wineland have verbally agreed to face each other at the UFC on Versus show, confirmed Dana White today. Both WEC vets are coming off three-round battles at UFC 128 and recently sat next to one another at the UFC Fighter Summit.
Strikeforce's Silva apologizes for Lesnar comments, eyes Barnett for grudge match
Strikeforce contender Antonio Silva (16-2 MMA, 3-1 SF) recently made waves with a string of harsh comments toward some of his fellow heavyweights.
Now he wants to apologize for those remarks – well, some of them, anyway.
Silva admits he recently crossed a line when questioning the severity of former UFC champion Brock Lesnar's health. And his criticism of Josh Barnett (29-5 MMA, 0-0 SF)? Well, Silva insists some of his words were poorly translated, but he's not ready to make nice with "The Babyfaced Assassin" just yet.
Bellator Ends Season 4 Strong with Record TV Ratings for MTV2
Bellator’s fourth season has come to a close, but just as it did, the promotion started to garner some momentum with its new broadcast partner MTV2. The promotion on Saturday pulled in an average audience of 264,000 viewers for Bellator 45, it was the promotion’s second highest TV rating of the season.
Soares clarifies: Aldo's injuries aren't new, and he never bailed on Mendes fight
UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo's hands were tied.
That's what his manager, Ed Soares, today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) in an effort to set the record straight.
An injured Aldo (19-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC), of course, recently had to push back a targeted August title fight with top contender Chad Mendes (10-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC). But, Soares said, the injuries aren't new, and the champ never bailed on the Mendes fight.
Akihiro Gono Back to Kickboxing This Weekend
Akihiro Gono has signed for his next fight, and once again, it's not in MMA. The UFC and Pride veteran will take part in a Muay Thai event in Japan this weekend on May 29. The event is sponsored by Japan's NJKF organization. Gono's fight is part of a larger international Muay Thai tournament that concludes this fall. That tournament, called the Isuzu Thai Fight tournament, will feature top Muay Thai talent from all over the world competing in two different weight classes. This weekend's event is a 4 man tournament to determine Japan's Thai Fight representative at the 70kg level. If Gono wins, he'll move on to the main tournament, which begins in September.
Report: Jose Aldo Injured, Out of UFC 133 Bout With Chad Mendes
UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo has pulled out of his UFC 133 title fight against Chad Mendes according to Heavy.com. Aldo's injury is expected to keep him out of action until mid-September.
Aldo, the final WEC featherweight champion, was named the UFC's first 145lb champ at a special ceremony at UFC 123 last November. He was initially expected to make his first title defense against Josh Grispi at UFC 125. Aldo suffered a neck injury and had to pull out of that fight.