Scott Coker says free agent Rory MacDonald is 'somebody we'd definitely be interested in when he's free'
ST. LOUIS – On a night when former UFC heavyweight Matt Mitrione made his Bellator debut, and former UFC champion Benson Henderson was cageside at the Scottrade Center to see him do it, the idea of free agency loomed in the air at Bellator 157: Dynamite 2.
And as of last weekend, there's one notable free agent that could ignite a little bidding war.
Rory MacDonald, who trains at the Tristar Gym in Montreal, fought out his contract in Ottawa against Stephen Thompson. Though he lost to "Wonderboy" it what was thought to be a No. 1 contender's bout, MacDonald is only 26 years old and has gone 9-4 in the Octagon. Two of his losses — against Carlos Condit in 2010 and against current welterweight champion Robby Lawler in 2015 — he found himself winning heading into the final round.
It doesn't hurt that he's a key to the Canadian market.
Scary late stoppage at Legacy 56
Being a mixed martial arts ref is thankless. No fighter who ever won, ever, thought to himself "the ref gave me that win." But in a significant number of losses, fighters and camps point to ref incompetence as a factor. Fans too will offer criticism of decisions that must be made in far, far, far less than a second.
Further, there is a common misconception that promotions choose the ref. If a ref does not do well, it is not the promotion's fault. Responsibility for choosing and licensing fight refs falls to the relevant Athletic Commission.
All that said, what happened in the main event at Legacy FC 56 on Friday night was a little scary.
UFC 200's full 12-bout lineup now official for arguably most stacked card in UFC history
A pair of former UFC champ fighting on FOX Sports 1 prelims? Two of the most exciting fighters in UFC history in a featured fight on UFC Fight Pass? It must be UFC 200.
The 12-bout lineup, slated for July 9 at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena, was recently finalized with the addition of a heavyweight co-main event between former UFC champ Brock Lesnar (5-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC) and hard-hitting knockout artist Mark Hunt (12-10-1 MMA, 7-4-1 UFC), but now the full broadcast plans have been made official.
Sam Alvey Makes Quick Turnaround, Faces UFC Newcomer Eric Spicely on July 13
Just one week after a disappointing loss at UFC Fight Night Ottawa, middleweight Sam Alvey has been booked for a quick return to the Octagon.
Alvey will be back in the cage on July 13, when he is slated to face unbeaten newcomer Eric Spicely at a UFC Fight Night event in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The bout was recently added to the event’s fight card on UFC.com.
Matt Mitrione vs. Oli Thompson Targeted for Bellator 158 in London on July 16
Matt Mitrione could make a quick turnaround following his victory over Carl Seumanutafa on Friday night, as “The Ultimate Fighter 10” veteran has already been booked against Oli Thompson at Bellator 158 on July 16.
The heavyweight matchup was announced following Mitrione’s first-round knockout over Seumanutafa at Bellator 157. “Meathead” rallied from an early knockdown to put his foe away with a big standing-to-ground right hand 3:22 into the period. The triumph ended a two-fight skid for Mitrione, who signed a multi-bout deal with the California-based promotion earlier this year.
While the bout was announced in the cage following Mitrione's victory on Friday night, Bellator officials confirmed that his participation in the event is contingent upon receiving medical clearance to compete on July 16. For now, the matchup is not official. During a post-fight interview, Mitrione admitted that he did not remember being knocked down by Seumanutafa.
CES MMA 37 slated for Aug. 12 with championship triple-header on AXS TV
A trio of belts will be up for grabs in August at CES MMA 37.
Officials announced three title fights, two of which are for vacant belts, for the Aug. 12 event, which airs on AXS TV from Twin River Casino in Lincoln, R.I.
In the headliner, reigning bantamweight champion Andre Soukhamthath (10-3) rematches challenger Kin Moy (10-3). The fighters first met in January 2014 at CES MMA 21, and Moy earned a unanimous-decision victory.
Since then, Soukhamthath is 3-1, which included a recent title-winning flying-knee knockout of Kody Nordby. Moy, meanwhile, is on a 3-1 run of his own, and it included a pair of recent submission wins (over Blair Tugman and Walter Smith-Cotito) under the Bellator banner.
With Glover Teixeira out, Gilbert Melendez vs. Edson Barboza upgraded to UFC on FOX 20 co-main event
As expected, Glover Teixeira has been pulled from the co-main event of UFC on FOX 20.
MMA Fighting reported Thursday that Teixeira would be removed from the July 23 event following the withdrawal of his opponent, Anthony Johnson. On Friday, the UFC made that move official, adding that it intended to rebook the bout between light heavyweight sluggers at a later date.
With Teixeira off the card, a lightweight showdown between top-ranked contenders Gilbert Melendez and Edson Barboza has been pushed into the new co-main event. A heavyweight match-up between Bojan Mihajlovic and Francis Ngannou, and a strawweight bout between Kailin Curran and Felice Herrig round out the updated main card.
UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta just got a new job for $500k per year -- and it's not in MMA
Well, this is ... interesting.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) CEO Lorenzo Fertitta just took a new position outside the realm of mixed martial arts (MMA), and when you consider the timing, will undoubtedly renew the conversation about whether or not his combat sports promotion is for sale.
Or in this case, already sold.
Leave it to the boys at Unite Here, who have a long and unfriendly history with Fertitta (as well as his brother and co-owner Frank). That dates back to their battle for unionization at Station Casinos in Las Vegas, Nevada, which went private after a 2006 takeover.
Cody Garbrandt vs. Takeya Mizugaki targeted for UFC 202
A bantamweight bout between undefeated prospect Cody Garbrandt and Japanese veteran Takeya Mizugaki is nearly finalized for UFC 202: Diaz vs. McGregor 2 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
After notching the biggest win of his career, UFC bantamweight contender Cody Garbrandt's next fight is almost a done deal. MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani reported on Monday that the unbeaten Team Alpha Male product is targeted for a UFC 202 showdown with former WEC title challenger Takeya Mizugaki. The UFC has not officially announced the fight themselves, but you can probably expect an announcement in the coming days.
Garbrandt (9-0) knocked out Thomas Almeida in the 1st round of the UFC Fight Night 88 main event in Las Vegas on May 29th. It marked the first loss of Almeida's career, while furthering Garbrandt's status as a new contender in the 135 lbs division. "No Love" also holds UFC wins over Augusto Mendes, Henry Briones, and Marcus Brimage, with only Briones lasting the distance.
Glover Teixeira out of UFC on FOX 20
Glover Teixeira was willing to fight anyone after Anthony Johnson pulled out of UFC on FOX 20, but he will have to wait for a new date for his return. Sources told MMA Fighting that won't compete on July 23.
Initially scheduled to meet "Rumble" in a clash that could determine the next in line for a shot at the winner of Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier, Teixeira told MMA Fighting on Saturday that he’d rather fight a new opponent in Chicago.
Dennis Bermudez vs. Rony Jason added to UFC Fight Night 92
A featherweight bout pitting fan favorite fighters Dennis Bermudez and Rony Jason has been added to UFC Fight Night 92. The news was first reported by Newsday on Thursday.
Bermudez recently snapped a two-fight losing streak by outpointing veteran Japanese fighter Tatsuya Kawajiri at UFC Fight Night 83 back in February. Prior to his two-fight skid, Bermudez was on an impressive seven-fight wining streak over opponents such as Max Holloway, Clay Guida and Steven Siler.
Gesias Cavalcante defends title vs. Freddy Assuncao in Titan FC 40 main event
Gesias Cavalcante won't waste any time getting right back in there.
"JZ" will defend his newly won lightweight title against Freddy Assuncao in the main event of Titan FC 40 on Aug. 5 in Coral Gables, Fla., officials told MMA Fighting on Thursday. The card will take place at the Bank United Center and air on UFC Fight Pass.
Cavalcante (20-8-1, 2 NC) is coming off a first-round knockout of Pat Healy to win the Titan lightweight title earlier this month. The Strikeforce and Dream vet finished the fight in just 2:07. Cavalcante, 32, had not fought in nearly two years before the knockout of Healy.
Paige VanZant returns vs. Bec Rawlings at UFC on FOX 21 in Vancouver
A Strawweight bout between Paige VanZant and Bec Rawlings is the latest addition to August’s UFC on FOX 21 lineup.
UFC officials today announced the bout.
VanZant (6-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC) competes for the first time since being dominated en route to a submission loss against Rose Namajunas at UFC Fight Night 80 in December. Although she’s been out of fighting competition, “12 Gauge” has been plenty busy outside the octagon with a noteworthy appearance on “Dancing with the Stars.”
UFC 203 tickets on sale today; $300 gets you cageside for Stipe Miocic's homecoming
The UFC makes its first visit to Cleveland this September, and Ohio’s own UFC heavyweight champ Stipe Miocic headlines the card, taking on former DREAM and Strikeforce champion Alistair Overeem.
UFC 203 takes place Sept. 10 at Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena with a main card on pay-per-view following prelims on FOX Sports 1 and UFC Fight Pass.
Tickets for the event range from $50, plus fees, in the upper level to $300 plus fees for cageside seats. Additional ticket price levels include $200, $125, $90 and $75, plus fees.
Georges St-Pierre wants Michael Bisping title fight as ‘first choice' for his UFC comeback
Former UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre stunned the mixed martial arts world on Monday when he announced on The MMA Hour that he was "ready" to end his near three-year hiatus and return to the Octagon for one last good run. But not only did St-Pierre have comeback plans to share, he also had an opponent in mind for his first fight back -- a title challenge against the man currently tied with him for the most wins (19) in UFC history, middleweight beltholder Michael Bisping.
Welcome to the UFC, Dmitry Sosnovskiy
His 2014 stoppage win over Aleksander Emelianenko stands out as his best to date, and it’s not terrible. But it is 2014 Aleksander Emelianenko, his last pro fight before getting locked up following a series of troubling and eventually horrific incidents. It’d be fair to say, to date, that Sosnovskiy is relatively untested against good competition.