Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney says events could move to new night in sixth season
With Bellator Fighting Championships' fifth season in full swing, many things are going right for the promotion.
Bellator's tournament format continues to produce intrigue, some major title fights are just weeks away, and the organization is reaching more viewers thanks to broadcast/streaming deals with the high-definition EPIX channel and Spike.com.
But as CEO and chairman Bjorn Rebney recently told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com), those Saturday-night time slots remain a constant source of discussion.
Bellator, which has promoted 54 shows since its 2009 debut, now airs on MTV2 on Saturday nights. But those events frequently face competition from the UFC, Strikeforce and other weekend-loving promotions. And though it's hard to determine if it's solely that competition that's affecting ratings – season-five Bellator events have peaked with up to 269,000 viewers and recently bottomed out with 103,000 – MMA fans often are forced to make a choice.
Rebney, of course, knows that.
MMAPlayground Interview Series - Vol. 9 (Rich "The Raging Bull" Attonito)
As with any successful professional, mixed martial artists eat, sleep and breathe their craft. They put everything on the line when they wake up, hit the gym and pour their blood, sweat and tears into the sport we all love. When they enter that cage, for the fan, it's all about the entertainment, but these athletes go through the daily rigors with more in mind. For some fighters, it's a paycheck. For others, it's the glitz and glamour, but for some it's a lifestyle fueled by a deep passion and connection to the sport of mixed martial arts.
In our newest site feature, MMAPlayground would like to introduce you to some of these men and women of MMA that you may not know much about.
Our mission? To introduce. To educate. To spread the word.
UFC welterweight contender, Rich Attonito, is a seven year veteran of mixed martial arts. He’s best known for his stint on the eleventh season of the Ultimate Fighter. Attonito is coming off a successful welterweight debut against Daniel Roberts in June. He is currently scheduled to take on Claude Patrick at UFC 140. The Raging Bull took some time to answer some questions for us.
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MMAPG: First of all, thanks so much for taking time to answer some questions, Rich! I’m sure you have to be one busy man. I know it’s late, but congratulations on your victory over Daniel Roberts back in June. That marked your welterweight debut? What was your motivation to drop down, and how comfortable are you feeling at 170 lbs?
ATTONITO: Thanks, I still appreciate the congratulations. That was my first fight at welterweight and I felt great. It's the weight class I should be competing in. When I was fighting at middleweight I felt short and undersized compared to most of the guys in the division, so that's why I decided to drop down.
MMAPG: So you’re scheduled to take on Claude Patrick in December. How are you feeling right now?
ATTONITO: I feel good. After my last fight I only took a short rest and then was back in the gym working on getting better. I've had a lot of time to develop and improve my skills since a few months ago.
MMAPG: How do you feel about having to fight Claude in his hometown of Toronto, of all places? Is that something you think makes a big difference?
ATTONITO: It doesn't really make a difference to me who I fight and where I fight them. It's just him and I in the cage, that's all I need to concern myself with, everything else is secondary. I will say that being in his hometown I know I have to win the fight decisively, you can never leave anything up to those screwy judges. So I’m gonna do everything in my power to avoid letting them have anything to say about the outcome.
Bjorn Rebney: Anderson Silva is the only man on Earth that could beat Hector Lombard
"We have an incredibly dominant champion. It's not easy. I think, right now, when you look at Vitor Vianna and Alexander Shlemenko, we could provide a good test for Hector Lombard. I think he's one of the best two middleweights on earth. I think Hector is an absolute monster. I think there's one guy on earth right now that I would look at and say to myself, ‘He could beat Hector.' His name is Anderson Silva. I don't know that I would pick Anderson to beat Hector, but it would be one heck of a fight. We'll see what happens with Alexander and Vitor, and one of those guys is going to come out with a big win."
- Bjorn Rebney
Bellator ring girl Mercedes Terrell making name for herself in ascending promotion
Chances are if you've ever seen a Bellator Fighting Championships event you know who Mercedes Terrell is.
The striking 27-year-old is a cageside fixture as one of the promotion's ring girls and never seems to be too far out of frame each Saturday night for MTV2 television producers.
With the ascension of Bellator into the de facto No. 2 MMA promotion in the world (behind the UFC) over the past year, Terrell's own brand has grown considerably along with it over said span.
She's become synonymous with the Chicago-based promotion and one of a small handful of their public faces. No longer is she Jane Doe, cookie cutter ring girl like when she started prior to season two.
More than a year and a half later in season five, she's known and addressed by the mononym "Mercedes."
Back injury sidelines Shane Carwin again, heavyweight seeks 2012 return to UFC
Onetime UFC title challenger Shane Carwin (12-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC) will have to wait a little longer to return to the win column.
The injury bug has struck yet again, and an ailing back has forced Carwin to go under the knife and remain on the sidelines until spring or summer of 2012.
Carwin announced his condition on his official website, Shane-Carwin.com.
"I have spent my entire fighting career dealing with injuries from my football career," Carwin wrote. "I have done my best to get through my training, and I have been blessed to get through my fights with relatively little to no damage.
"As I ramped up my training for UFC 141, my body locked up during training. It wasn't like the (Brock) Lesnar fight, but my back just tightened up and I froze. I scheduled an MRI, and the results showed that my disc in my lower back is into the nerves. My doctor gave me two options: retire and I could probably go on for a few years without surgery or I could undergo surgery and continue my career.
"The decision was easy. I have unfinished business. The UFC had me lined up to face one of the best in the world and I am confident I have everything I need to be a champion. I am scheduling surgery and I hope to return to the octagon by spring or summer 2012."
Longtime UFC announcer Bruce Buffer to release autobiography in 2012
With mixed-martial-arts autobiographies currently among the most popular book titles in the sports category, the "Veteran Voice of the Octagon" is getting in on the action.
Bruce Buffer, the longtime emcee of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, recently announced his plans to pen an autobiography, which he says has already been purchased by Random House.
While the project has not yet been officially announced, Buffer said it's currently titled, "It's Time!" and will debut between sometime around Christmas 2012.
Buffer, the half-brother and manager of fellow famed announcer Michael Buffer, made his octagon debut way back in 1996 at UFC 8. It would be UFC 13 before he became a staple of the company's broadcasts, and even that came only after he was able to get the UFC featured in an episode of "Friends."
Alexander Shlemenko vs. Vitor Vianna meet in tourney final at Bellator 58
An already impressive Bellator 58 just got a little more stacked as the promotion's season-five middleweight tournament bout will also be contested on the card.
Bellator officials announced that Bellator 54 semifinal bout winners Alexander Shlemenko (42-7 MMA, 6-1 BFC) and Vitor Vianna (12-1-1 MMA, 2-0 BFC) will meet at the Nov. 19 event.
Already featuring a lightweight title fight between Eddie Alvarez and Michael Chandler, as well as a non-title fight with champ Hector Lombard and Trevor Prangley, Bellator 58 takes place at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
The evening's main card airs on MTV2 while the prelims stream on Spike.com.
Former UFC fighter Joe Stevenson signs with W-1, set to make debut in Feb.
After losing four fights in a row, Joe Stevenson was cut from the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) roster earlier this year.
Tonight (Oct. 15, 2011), during the W-1 MMA: "Reloaded" broadcast, it was announced that Stevenson would be making his return to the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA) by joining the Warrior MMA roster.
Stevenson was on hand in the broadcast booth to help with the color commentary, as well as to divulge that he plans to make his return sometime in February of 2012.
No word yet on who Stevenson's opponent will be.
Bellator announces signing of UFC veteran Maiquel Falcao
"Big Rig" is apparently trucking on back to the U.S.
Bellator Fighting Championships CEO Bjorn Rebney today announced that Brazilian middleweight slugger Maiquel Falcao will soon make his debut for the promotion.
Rebney made the announcement during the Spike.com-streamed prelims of Saturday's Bellator 54 event. Falcao and his management weren't immediately available for comment.
Gilbert Melendez Thinking About Eventual Jump to Welterweight
It would appear that Gilbert Melendez will be making the move to the UFC once he defends his Strikeforce lightweight championship against Jorge Masvidal. While there are plenty of intriguing fights for Melendez at 155, Gilbert is thinking about a big move down the road. That being an eventual long term goal of going up to Welterweight.
Antonio McKee: 'I'd Like to Vote Dana White Out of the UFC'
"I'm here for the sport. I've been getting a lot of static about the stuff I've been saying about the UFC, and how I've been blasting them, but, at the end of the day, everyone, whether they like me or dislike me, whether they are a UFC fan or not a UFC fan, one thing they will say, if they're honest, is that McKee is right. I've been bashing away at Dana White for the way he talks about fighters, calling them p*ssies, calling women c*nts, and F this and F that, calling unions a bunch of idiots. You're an icon of the sport. The last thing we need is an icon showing this type of behavior to people who are engaging in this sport and support it. We need somebody to step up, that has a little bit of integrity and a little bit of respect for fighters, whether they're good fighters or bad fighters, the fact that they're fighters, and just show a little bit more appreciation. I'd like to vote Dana White out of the UFC and bring in somebody that has a little bit more courtesy and common sense, because this guy's definitely smoking some dust."
- Antonio Mckee
VFC 36 results: Salas tops Ellenberger, begs for a UFC shot nex
Justin Salas and Joe Ellenberger are seen by many as the two best 155-pound fighters not yet signed to a major mixed martial arts (MMA) organization. That may have changed for one of them last night (Oct. 14, 2011) at Victory Fighting Championship (VFC) 36 at the Mid America Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
Salas earned a hard fought unanimous decision over Ellenberger in the main event of the evening. Both fighters knew that winning this fight could lead to more than the VFC title, which wasn't lost on Salas during the post fight interview, during which he called for a chance to compete in Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
When two fighters with such good wrestling backgrounds square off, it’s either a lay and pray snooze fest or non-stop action. This fight was definitely the latter. Both fighters showed what a true MMA fight looks like.
Salas and Ellenberger went from going for the knockout to ground-and-pound to submission attempts, with a good dose of "Holy Sh*t" moments thrown in on both sides. Whether it would be Salas’s big right hooks of Ellenberger’s flying knees, the crowd was on their feet for the entire five round affair.
Matt Lindland Says Anderson Silva Trying to Weasel Out of Chael Sonnen Rematch
When Chael Sonnen called out Anderson Silva for a rematch after Sonnen destroyed Brian Stann at UFC 136 it seemed like the only smart fight to make for Silva. In the days since we've seen Silva's manager Ed Soares talk about how Sonnen should be at the back of the line.
In an interview with MMA HQ, that didn't sit well with Matt Lindland:
Ok one last question if I may then; I'm sorry if it's a bit out of left field but I'd really like to get your take on this. Do you think Anderson Silva takes the Superbowl weekend fight with Chael Sonnen?
Haha. Anderson will to find a way to weasel out of that fight. I don't know what his contractual obligations are as far as who he has to fight as a champion but they're already laying the ground work; I mean look at the article that came out this morning on Bloody Elbow.
His manager Ed Soares is already making excuses for Anderson to not take that fight so yeah I think they're going to try to weasel out of it. I don't know what his obligations are contractually to the UFC but his obligations to the fans are that he needs to take that fight.
Everyone of the fans know that Chael's the number one contender and the guy that has a chance of beating him, can beat him and exposed his weaknesses in that fight. The fans want to see that fight and Anderson owes the fans that fight.
Vancouver is Unlikely to Host a UFC Event in 2012
And the disappointing thing for our sport is that after a two-year test period, they've had two tests -- ours," Wright said Wednesday. "Because no other promotion could afford the indemnification or the insurance costs or the other things -- or actually have the perseverance to get an event to be held there.
"Will we go back to Vancouver in time? Yeah. Will it be next year? I doubt it."
- Tom Wright
Public invited to Oct. 28 Las Vegas memorial for Shawn Tompkins
Noted MMA trainer Shawn Tompkins, who earlier this year passed away at just 37 years old, will be remembered at an Oct. 28 celebration in Las Vegas.
Longtime Team Tompkins fighters Sam Stout and Mark Hominick will be on hand, as will Tompkins' former mentor, Bas Rutten.
"Shawn loved life, and this evening is an opportunity for the MMA community to share those good memories and to keep his spirit alive," Stout, who is also Tompkins' brother-in-law, stated in an official release.
The event takes place from 6-8 p.m. PT local time at Tompkins' former office, the TapouT Training Center, which is located at 4040 E. Hacienda. The event includes guest speakers, as well as music, food and beverages and a silent auction to benefit the Shawn Tompkins Memorial Fund, which was established to assist Tompkins’ surviving family.
"Shawn touched a lot of people in a profound way, so it's important to celebrate having been a part of his life," Hominick stated.
After surviving Iron Ring debacle, Bellator 54's Brian Rogers happy in new role
It only takes one Iron Ring to make you appreciate a Bellator.
Middleweight Brian Rogers (8-2 MMA, 1-0 BFC) passed the quarterfinals of the promotion's season-five tournament with flying colors, knocking out Victor O'Donnell to earn a spot in the semis opposite season-two champ Alexander Shlemenko (41-7 MMA, 5-1 BFC) at Saturday's Bellator 54, which takes place at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.
Sure, fighting three times in three months is a daunting task, as anyone competing in the promotion can attest. But at least you know what you're getting into, which is more than Rogers can say about the hip-hop flavored MMA reality show that aired in 2009 and almost immediately fizzled.
Then a grad student and part-time MMA fighter, Rogers was enticed by the $2,500 show/win purses offered to Iron Ring contestants. He got the feeling something was askew, though, when he showed up to UFC vet Roan Carneiro's gym in Atlanta, and the audition was an actual fight. A one-round fight, but still, there was no pay. Plus, the producers wanted him to fight at heavyweight. He was at 215 pounds, but only because he'd been given three days' notice and they didn't tell him to cut weight.
"I'm not fighting at heavyweight for no money in the middle of Atlanta," he told the show's producers.
Rogers got the call anyway to be on the show, which was taped on a Monday night in New Orleans. The dressing rooms were right next to the VIP rooms, and the smell of marijuana smoke wafted in as he warmed up. Referee Herb Dean oversaw his fight, in which he represented rapper Lil' Jon's team of fighters against a rep of Jim Jones' Dipset team.
"It was like a dogfight or something," Rogers said. "Everyone was standing around the ring. People were sticking their arms in the ring and yelling and screaming. My coach lost his voice, and he was yelling to Little Jon to footsweep him. Lil' Jon's like, 'Footsweep that mother[expletive]!'"
Brazilian Beat: Yan Cabral eyes UFC chance, hopes to lead European MMA charge
It's quite possible you've never actually heard of Yan Cabral (10-0).
A resident of Spain, the undefeated Nova Uniao black belt and Brazilian native began fighting professionally in 2007, and he's remarkably submitted each of his first 10 opponents, including Kazushi Sakuraba at September's DREAM.17 event.
But Cabral has yet to fight on U.S. soil. After his recent high-profile win, the 28-year-old is hoping to change all that and lead a charge of European talent to global prominence.
"It was very emotional for me to fight in Japan," Cabral recently told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) in his native Portuguese. "I grew up watching PRIDE, watching fights in Japan. Nowadays, the biggest organization is the UFC. I'm quite happy in DREAM, but let's see what happens in the future, if I end up in the UFC. That would be great. I train for that."
Prior to his DREAM win, Cabral didn't have any signature wins on his resume. Sure, he had dispatched of several overmatched opponents, but there wasn't a name that stood out from the pack. That changed with the Sakuraba victory.
UFC's 'Mayhem' Miller prepping Michael Bisping lullaby, wants shot at Anderson Silva
Recent Strikeforce import Jason "Mayhem" Miller (24-7 MMA, 0-1 UFC) hasn't set foot in the UFC octagon in more than six years, but with a win over rival "The Ultimate Fighter 14" coach Michael Bisping (21-3 MMA, 11-3 UFC), he's ready to challenge middleweight kingpin Anderson Silva.
"I've got another guy on the radar: the guy with the damn strap, Anderson Silva," Miller told the crowd at this past weekend's UFC Fan Expo Houston 2011. "He's the best fighter in the world, and I want to stick my nose right to his nose and see what happens."
First, though, the former "Bully Beatdown" has a bit of business to handle, and he's ready to put his British counterpart to sleep.
"I would prefer [the rear-naked choke] because it's just so intimate when you get a rear-naked choke on somebody," Miller said when asked how he'd like to finish the Dec. 3 contest, which headlines The Ultimate Fighter 14 Finale in Las Vegas. "You're behind them, and you're like, 'Yeah, I'm going to whisper a lullaby in your ear.' To me, that's awesome."
Glad Mayhem is talking about a RNC win. I've got him by RNC in round 3.
Anthony Pettis Wants a Major UFC Fight Before the End of the Year
Anthony Pettis won his fight with Jeremy Stephens at UFC 136, but he didn't win over too many new fans. Despite fighting a smart and safe fight, winning through the use primarily of wrestling, many fans were left wondering where the explosive and dynamic fighter who won the last ever WEC lightweight championship bout went. It's possible that Pettis just wanted to get back in the win column after losing a bout with Clay Guida in his UFC debut.
The Guida loss took Pettis out of his then position as the number one challenger to the UFC lightweight championship. As a result Pettis finds himself on the outside looking in with the near future arrival of Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez and the UFC on Fox bout between top contenders Guida and Ben Henderson.
That isn't discouraging Anthony though, as he tells Larry Pepe of Pro MMA Radio that he wants to fight a top five fighter before the year ends:
I'd love to get back in there by the end of the year. That'd be ideal. There's match ups going on right now and it doesn't seem too promising. But I'll be healthy and get ready and if anybody gets hurt or injured, I'll be ready.