EliteXC Wants Tito Ortiz
To the surprise of probably few people, EliteXC President Gary Shaw is already displaying a bit of a man crush on soon-to-be-free agent Tito Ortiz. With Ortiz' final UFC fight just 8 days away, there is already speculation that EliteXC will make a push to sign Ortiz. Shaw's even going so far as to imagine Tito vs. Kimbo Slice one day.
Kimbo-Tyson More Than a Heartbeat Away
Though Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson still has British bomber James Thompson to contend with at EliteXC's debut with CBS on May 31, it hasn't stopped potential suitors from getting in line for a shot at the Internet legend.
Challengers like Strikeforce heavyweight contender Paul Buentello and boxing implant Eric "Butterbean" Esch have publicly voiced their interest in taking on the rising star.
But a rumored bout between "Slice" and 41-year-old former boxing champion Mike Tyson is not in the works, despite various Web site reports posted Thursday stating that the once-feared pugilist has verbally agreed to square off with Slice, 36, in the EliteXC cage.
Pro Elite On Demand to offer Elite XC, Cage Rage, Icon and other fights
Pro Elite — the parent company of MMA organizations such as Elite XC, King of the Cage, Cage Rage, Icon Sport and others — recently announced that its Web site (ProElite.com) will now feature a video On Demand section.
The upgrade will allow fans to access past fights from each of various promotions, which includes bouts that involve notables such as UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva, UFC Lightweight Champion BJ Penn and many other MMA superstars.
In addition, fans will be able to view under card bouts from Elite XC and other Pro Elite events that weren’t aired on the original broadcasts. Fans will have the option to view single fights starting at .99 cents or entire events for just $4.95.
That’s hard to beat.
Unlimited access will also be available in the form of a “Pro Elite Fight Pass,” which is normally $12.95 a month, but will be on sale for $7.95 a month at an introductory price.
Here’s a snip from Douglas Deluca, Pro Elite executive chairman:
“We have hand picked hours upon hours of high-quality MMA content and provided a compelling online product that is accessible to fans on a global scale. With more than 50 hours of combat currently available and 20 hours added monthly, our Fight Pass offering allows MMA fans to gain instant access to all of the MMA action they can handle.”
Head over to ProElite.com for more information and details.
EliteXC Plans Women's Title, All-Female Fight Card
During a conference call today, EliteXC president Gary Shaw announced plans to create a Women's Title for the promotion, and possibly an all-women fight card to air on TV in '09. The first women's title would be at 140 with other weight classes possibly getting titles later.
MMANews.com Interview With EliteXC Star Kimbo Slice
Chris Howie of MMANews.com: This is Chris Howie with MMANews.com and today I am speaking with the man who will face James Thompson on May 31st on CBS, Kimbo Slice. How are things Kimbo?
Kimbo Slice: Things are going good Chris.
MMANews.com: So you have a big fight coming up May 31st. What are your thoughts on that?
Kimbo Slice: May 31st? What do you want to know buddy?
MMANews.com: First and foremost how does it feel to be in the main event of the first MMA card ever on Network Television?
Kimbo Slice: I was born to do what I am doing and I am looking forward to this fight. I train hard. I make dedications and sacrifices and commitments because this is something I love to do Chris.
MMANews.com: What are your thoughts on your opponent that night, James Thompson?
Kimbo Slice: I never under estimate any of my opponents. James Thompson is a well rounded fighter. He has great ground work and he is not afraid to stand and bang. He has the ability to knock out his opponent and I’m prepared for that. If it goes to the ground I have a lot of tools that I’m dying to use so I’m also looking forward to a good ground game.
MMANews.com: How has your training been going for the fight?
Kimbo Slice: Training has been going great man. I can’t complain.
MMANews.com: You mentioned that you have some ground tools that you are dying to use. Are you training your ground techniques often?
Blaisdel Arena to host June 14 EliteXC
Blaisdel Arena, a 9,000-capacity venue located in downtown Honolulu, will host EliteXC's June 14 event in Hawaii.
The main card of the "EliteXC: Hawaii 2," currently headlined by a fight between EliteXC lightweight champion K.J. Noons (6-2) and Yves Edwards (34-13-1), airs on Showtime at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
EliteXC Vice President Jared Shaw today confirmed the event details, including the hosting venue and latest fight card, with MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
Noons will return to action for the first time since November, when he defeated Nick Diaz for the first-ever EliteXC lightweight title. Noons excelled as an underdog and battered his veteran opponent with a number of blows that caused multiple facial cuts. A doctor intervened after the first round, which prompted a TKO victory for Noons.
He puts his title on the line against Edwards, a former UFC and PRIDE fighter. Edwards had suffered three straight losses, with five defeats in six fights, before bouncing back for a current three-fight win streak in EliteXC and HDNet Fights. He most recently defeated James Edson Berto via flying knee. The first-round TKO came back in February at "EliteXC: Street Certified."
The latest confirmed card for the June 14 event now includes:
* Champ K.J. Noons vs. Yves Edwards (for EliteXC lightweight title)
* Nick Diaz vs. Muhsin Corbbrey
* Tony Bonello vs. Murilo "Ninja" Rua
* Dave Herman vs. Ron Waterman
* Wayne Cole vs. Rafael Feijao
Although unannounced and unconfirmed, "The Ultimate Fightert 7" cast member Paul Bradley, who was sent home in the season's third episode because of a contagious skin condition, could also be booked for the event. He recently inked a deal with ProElite, Inc., after the UFC declined to sign him to a contract.
Think American MMA Is Brutal? Check Japan
Mixed martial arts has a perception problem in the United States. From the guy who runs CBS saying it was a mistake to sign a deal with EliteXC to athletic commission officials saying there's more drug use in MMA than in boxing to negative stories in the Washington Post and Associated Press, a lot of casual American sports fans are left with the impression that the sport is savage and dangerous.
But the reality is that MMA in the United States is far more advanced than MMA in other countries in terms of taking the health of fighters seriously. Take this from Dave Meltzer's piece about this weekend's Dream.3 show:
Japanese MMA is still a completely different animal than the UFC, because the former has no governmental regulation. There is no steroid testing. Many of the matches are made at the last minute, and in one case, a fighter, Melvin Manhoef, was in the ring just two weeks after taking a knockout in a kickboxing match, something that would never be allowed in a major U.S. commission state.
ProElite.com Introduces MMA Video On Demand
ProElite.com, the world’s premier mixed martial arts (MMA) social networking and entertainment Web site, today unveiled its online offering of video-on-demand (VOD). Leveraging their industry-leading library of MMA events, ProElite.com’s VOD features high-quality streaming, top-notch competition, and world-class fight brands.
MMA fans will be able to purchase VOD at ProElite.com on a fight-by-fight and full-event basis starting as low as 99 cents and $4.95, respectively. Fighters include Kimbo Slice, Anderson Silva, BJ Penn, Gina Carano, Jake Shields and more going toe-to-toe in events produced by EliteXC, ShoXC, Cage Rage, ICON Sport and Rumble on the Rock. ShoXC’s undercard footage, featuring the up and comers of MMA, will be offered free of charge.
Additionally, ProElite is introducing the “ProElite Fight Pass,” which provides unlimited access to the entire VOD library and any future PPV event streams for an introductory price of $7.95 per month. Fight Pass is regularly priced at $12.95 per month.
Gina Carano on Tuesday's "E:60"
ESPN's "E:60" program will feature Gina Carano, one of MMA's most recognizable female fighters, this coming Tuesday, May 13. The program airs at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT.
Carano, who moonlights as "Crush" on NBC's "American Gladiators," next fights May 31 at "EliteXC: PRIMETIME," the first-ever live MMA event to air on major U.S. network television.
Kimbo Slice: Pro, Scapegoat, or Hype Job?
It's getting harder and harder to talk about Kimbo Slice, though it's not from a lack of trying. It seems like everybody has an opinion on the Internet-brawler-turned-pro-fighter.
Either he's the worst thing to happen to the sport of mixed martial arts, or he's the next big superstar.
MMANews.com Exclusive: Interview With Kimbo Slice
On May 31st EliteXC will do something that no other MMA company has done in North America when it airs the first ever live MMA card to be broadcast on network television. The main event of the evening will be Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson goes up against James Thompson in a heavyweight tilt. MMANews.com's own Chris Howie had the chance to speak with Kimbo in depth recently on a number of topics. Below is a transcript of that interview.
Debi Purcell Signs With EliteXC And Will Debut On June 27
Debi Purcell will return to mixed martial arts action against Carina Damm on June 27.
Purcell's Fightergirls.com website announced the fight and also revealed that she has signed a 3-fight deal with EliteXC.
Purcell (4-1) began her professional fight career in September 2001 and last competed in February 2006. She assisted Marco Ruas on the coaching staff of the Southern California Condors in the IFL.
Damm (9-3) of Brazil will enter the fight with a four-fight winning streak. The "Beauty But The Beast" appeared on three separate Bodog Fight events the last two years.
EliteXC pulls Nick Diaz from DREAM.3 card
EliteXC officials have pulled prized lightweight Nick Diaz from his DREAM.3 fight with Katsuya Inoue, which was set to take place on Saturday, May 11, at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
News of the fight cancellation appeared on GracieFighter.com, the website of Diaz's home at Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.
According to the bulletin, EliteXC officials were concerned that the May 11 fight could prohibit Diaz from being healthy enough to fight Muhsin Corbbrey at a June 14 EliteXC event in Hawaii.
DREAM fight in Jeopardy for Nick Diaz
Nick Diaz's DREAM bout is very much in jeopardy. Diaz was given the go ahead by EliteXC for a April 29th fight against Marcelo Garcia in Dream, however when that fight was scrapped, Dream decided to instead have Diaz fight on their May 11th show. Unfortunately no one at Dream shared this information with EliteXC and EliteXC President, Gary Shaw, only learned of the change via the internet 2 days ago.
With Diaz having been scheduled to fight in Hawaii on June 14th, Shaw finds the new May 11th date perilously close to the Showtime card and has therefore nixed Diaz's participation on the Dream card. Unless Shaw has a change of heart this fight will be a no go.
EliteXC VP On Affliction Ban: No Longer Clothing, Now Competition
EliteXC recently decided that Affliction will no longer be an approved sponsor for its fighters, and EXC VP Jared Shaw said its simply a matter of the clothing company getting involved in the fight-promotion business. Shaw said the only other stipulations that EliteXC fighters may encounter are from CBS, which will broadcast the organization's network-television debut on May 31.
While the UFC dodges worry, EliteXC isn't as lucky
Having quickly overcome Chuck Liddell's badly torn hamstring and the second lost main event for June 7 in London, the Ultimate Fighting Championship can sit back and await its next pay-per-view attraction, UFC 84, in Las Vegas, knowing it's booked solid back-to-back cards.
Other mixed martial arts promotions, however, are not as fortunate or able to plug in Matt Hughes and Thiago Alves on short notice when things go awry.
Last week it was revealed Drew Fickett, who was set to fight Jake Shields for the vacant EliteXC welterweight belt, had been forced out of the June 14 Showtime-televised clash with a badly injured knee. The question now for the Kimbo Slice-led promotion is what to do with Shields, who is coming off an injury that prevented a bout with Fickett on March 29.
Step one starts Monday, when Shields plans to test his bad back for the first time with hard training and sparring. If healthy, Shields said he'd like to remain on the upcoming Hawaii EliteXC card, even if it's not a title bout.
"I'm pretty sure I'll be fine," the 29-year-old Shields said. "I'm hoping they'll get me a fight in June. If not, they said September, and I don't want to go that long without fighting. That's just way too much ring rust."
According to EliteXC promoter Gary Shaw, the fighter's June wish has been noted.
"My plan right now, as you and I speak, is to fight him on June 14," Shaw said. "The question is, can we get him the right opponent?"
Murilo Ninja Rua vs Tony Bonello Elite XC fight slated for June 14
We hinted earlier that Murilo “Ninja” Rua (15-8-1) was rumored to be fighting on the Elite XC event being held in Honolulu, Hawaii, on June 14. It turns out he will indeed be in action that evening, taking on a potential superstar in the making, Tony “The Gun” Bonello (16-0-1).
Talk about a Brazilian jiu-jitsu war!
This card was in need of some excitement after losing the welterweight title fight between Jake Shields and Drew Fickett. And this fight — despite the relative anonymity of Bonello — is just the what the doctor ordered.
ESPN to Feature Carano
The "face of women's MMA" is getting a whole lot more familiar.
Gina Carano , the raven-haired heroine of EliteXC events on Showtime, will be featured on ESPN's "E:60" newsmagazine on Tuesday, May 13, at 7 p.m. ET. The segment will focus on the 26-year-old's preparations for her sixth career bout against Minnesota Martial Arts' Kaitlin Young (4-1) at EliteXC "Primetime," on Saturday, May 31, in Newark, N.J.
The bout will be broadcast on CBS at 9 p.m. ET, a first run for the sport on mainstream television. Both ladies boast backgrounds in muay Thai.
The photogenic Carano is currently in Los Angeles shooting episodes of the second season of NBC's "American Gladiators," which debuts Sunday, May 12, at 8 p.m. ET.