Religion, Not Management, Keeping Khalidov from Bellator
Recent remarks from Bellator Fighting Championships Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney regarding negotiations with middleweight Mamed Khalidov have caused a bit of a stir in the Polish fight scene.
Asked during a May 14 news conference why Bellator had not yet signed the highly regarded free agent, Rebney cited a “lack of willingness” on the part of Khalidov’s management to work with his promotion, as well as a need to “explain to them what the opportunity is.”
Speaking to Sherdog.com this week, Khalidov was quick to assert that the breakdown in negotiations was not due to the unwillingness of his management but rather Khalidov’s own priorities outside the cage.
Bellator Champion Ben Askren Knows He Is Eventually Headed to UFC
When Ben Askren was at the University of Missouri, he always dreamed of competing in the Olympics.
Take nothing away from his years spent as a Tiger competing with the best collegiate wrestlers there were, as well as Askren taking home two NCAA National Titles, he had goals that would take him beyond that.
Askren reached for the gold when he joined the U.S. Olympic wrestling team in 2008, competing in Beijing.
Now, Askren is reaching a similar dichotomy in his MMA career. Undefeated as a professional fighter, Askren sits at 8-0 with a fight pending this fall against former UFC and Strikeforce welterweight Jay Hieron.
With Bellator tourney win, lightweight Chandler now free to discuss his plan for Alvarez
When Michael Chandler's hand was raised following the main event of this past Saturday's Bellator 44 event, the newly-crowned season-four lightweight tourney winner felt relieved.
Finally, he could say what he'd been wanting to let the world know since his promotional debut in September 2010: Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez (22-2 MMA, 6-0 BFC) is a wanted man.
"I've been thinking about Eddie since I came to Bellator," Chandler (8-0 MMA, 5-0 BFC) today told MMAjunkie.com Radio
McKee out of fight with Aoki; search for replacement is on. (Jami Varner in?)
Initially, MMAJunkie.com reported on Monday that McKee (Pictured) had withdrawn from the bout due to visa issues. However, Dream official Mike Kogan asserted that visa problems were not the reason the fight fell apart.
According to Kogan, Monday’s report was how he found out that the fight was no longer a go.
“That’s actually why it upset me. I’ve got to read [on the Internet] that the guy who I fought for [to be on the card] is all of a sudden not fighting and making it sound like it’s beyond his control,” Kogan told Sherdog.com. “The visa issues were never a problem. I figure that part out first, before I book fighters. I have a very good travel agent that I’ve been working with forever on [acquiring] visas, even on last-minute notice. Here, we almost had three weeks, so it wasn’t an issue.”
...“He needs to come up with a better excuse as to why he isn’t fighting, because it isn’t the visa. As a matter of fact, I can get him his visa today. It’s still not too late. All he has to do is drive to [Los Angeles].”
Antonio 'Bigfoot' Silva Lashes Out At Josh Barnett, Brock Lesnar
Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix semi-finalist Antonio Silva did an interview with Sherdog today that led to some surprising statements. Bigfoot is normally a very humble individual who doesn't offer up a ton of negativity in interviews, but he certainly had some stuff to say about fellow HWGP fighter Josh Barnett and former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar. The man who last defeated Fedor Emelianenko minced no words about the controversial Barnett:
"I’ve been fighting since 2004 and have never had any issues with another athlete, even the most stuck-up," explained Silva. "Friendship, for me, is everything, but Josh is a weird guy, a guy who doesn’t greet you when you enter the elevator, doesn’t even say ‘good morning.’ It’s how he treats Brazilian fighters especially. It’s the same thing with [Barnett and] Werdum.
"But when [Barnett] sees Fedor, [UFC President] Dana White or [UFC Chairman and CEO Lorenzo] Fertitta, he runs to them and stays by their side all the time. He makes me sick. He’s the classic kiss-ass, a rude man …" added Silva. "I really want to face Barnett and I’ve already said I consider him a filthy person, even though he is a great fighter, and that I’ll beat him up and close both of his eyes."
Benson Henderson vs Jim Miller on top for next edition of UFC on Versus
Jim Miller's new lot in life may be testing the mettle of former WEC lightweights. After destroying Kamal Shalorus at UFC 128 many were calling for Miller to get a crack at the lightweight championship. After all, Miller had run off seven consecutive UFC wins and only Gray Maynard and Frankie Edgar hold wins over him.
With Edgar and Maynard injured and their third fight postponed, a title fight wasn't coming any time soon and it now appears that former WEC lightweight champion Ben Henderson is next.
Roger Gracie Injured, Possibly Out Of IBJJF World Jiu Jitsu Championships
We are less than a month away from Sport Brazilian Jiu Jitsu's most prestigious tournament and its biggest star's participation may be in jeopardy. Perhaps the world's best BJJ competitor, Roger Gracie has been recovering from an injury that has kept him from training for over a month according to the GracieMag blog:
"I'm not sure if I'll be able to compete this year yet," revealed the Gracie Barra athlete, from London.
"I suffered a leg injury and have been out of training for five weeks. I just started training again now. I'm already training hard and doing my best to be 100% by the Worlds. If I'm feeling well, I'll fight for sure," added the three-time absolute world champion.
Eddie Alvarez Talks About Having the Best Hands at LW, Frankie Edgar
Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez was a guest on Fight Corner Radio recently, and they conducted a pretty extensive interview with him. Alvarez is coming off a five round decision win over Pat Curran at Bellator 39, and his next opponent will be decided in two days at Bellator 44 when Patricky Friere meets Michael Chandler in the tournament final. This interview touches mostly on stuff outside the realm of Bellator. It leads off with how Eddie would fare as a professional boxer, and he was surprisingly frank with his thoughts (transcribed by fiveknuckles):
"I don't think I'd do well," Alvarez said. "Just because in boxing it would be hard for me to make 147. And I know boxers here in Philly at that weight and I spar with them, and I get my (expletive) whooped. They're not no world champions either, but these guys are seriously good. It would be really tough for me. I'd have to develop a whole different style of boxing to be successful.
"Actually Bernard (Hopkins) thinks that I would become a world champion; he said it out of his own mouth that he's never seen an MMA fighter box the way that I box. And I felt good about him saying that, but in the back of my head I'm thinking to myself, 'Nah.' Maybe I'm not as confident in myself as some other people are, but I'm not looking to go into pro boxing any time soon."
TapouT Accused Of Stealing, Possibly Selling Mask's Ashes
Of all the bizarre stories that pop up from time to time, this was not a subject I ever really expected to write about. TMZ is reporting that the late Charles "Mask" Lewis' ashes have been stolen and possibly resold by his fellow TapouT founders.
The story is that Mask's sister Carla, allowed Tim "SkySkrape" Katz and Dan "Punkass" Caldwell to take Lewis' ashes and urn for a memorial service. Upon arriving at the service, she found that they were either giving away or selling small vials containing portions of Lewis' ashes to a small group of people whose names were on "a list." From the TMZ report:
Carla believes somewhere between 50 to 100 vials were either "sold, given away, donated or otherwise distributed to several unknown persons."
Not only is Carla PISSED about the vials ... she claims TapouT still has possession of the urn and the remainder of Mask's ashes ... and the company refuses to return them.
Carla is suing for unspecified damages -- citing "overwhelming and severe emotional distress."
UFC vet Antoni Hardonk retires from MMA
Eight-time UFC fighter Antoni Hardonk has retired from professional MMA.
The Dutch striker confirmed the plans with UFC.com while saying he plans to focus on coaching at his new gym in California.
He retires with an 8-6 pro MMA record (4-4 in the UFC) and a 10-5 pro kickboxing record.
Jason Brilz Won’t Pull Any Punches at UFC 129, Even If It Costs His Job
UFC light-heavyweight fighter Jason Brilz refuses to let his loss last May to Antonio Rogerio Nogeuira get him down.
As he told MMAWeekly.com recently, “My thing is to go out and give everything I have, and I think I did that.
“I was happy with the performance. But other than that, a win or a loss is not that important. For me, it’s all about having a good show and seeing where I’m at.”
Pat Curran drops to featherweight, scores spot in Bellator's "Summer Series" tourney
After a failed attempt at stripping Eddie Alvarez of the Bellator Fighting Championships lightweight title, Pat Curran now will try his luck at 145 pounds.
Bellator brass today announced the season-two lightweight tournament winner will drop to his more natural featherweight division for the promotion's upcoming "Summer Series" 145-pound tournament.
"I've fought at featherweight for most of my career, so I'm really excited to get back to a weight class where I can really do some damage," Curran stated.
Chael Sonnen to appear before Nevada commission at April 27 meeting
Chael Sonnen will get a formal chance to clear the air with the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
The onetime UFC middleweight contender is expected to be placed on the agenda for the commission's next meeting, which takes place April 27 in Las Vegas, NSAC Executive Director Keith Kizer today confirmed with MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
The five members of the NSAC will decide whether or not to grant Sonnen both a fighter's license and a second's (cornerman's) license.