ESPN Deportes to Broadcast MMA in April
Promotional newcomer Bellator Fighting Championships has secured a broadcast deal with ESPN Deportes to begin airing MMA events as early as April 2009, numerous sources have confirmed to Sherdog.com.
Santa Brito, Communications Manager for ESPN Deportes, confirmed on Monday that the Spanish-language channel is in “the early developmental stages of an MMA program.” Brito would not divulge further information, but clarified that ESPN was currently not developing any MMA programming on its English-language networks.
ESPN Deportes has more than four million subscribers out of the nine million recognized Hispanic cable homes, said Brito.
Sources have told Sherdog.com that the proposed 12-week fight series will center around four eight-man tournaments utilizing the 145-, 155-, 170- and 185-pound divisions. Non-tournament bouts will also be featured. It is not clear if the events will run live or on tape delay. Multiple locations across the nation are being considered for the 12-week shoot, sources have told Sherdog.com.
American Top Team’s Jorge Masvidal and Dream standout Eddie Alvarez have been two of the better-known candidates approached to participate on the Hispanic-focused roster.
Bellator -- which translates to “warrior” in Latin -- is helmed by Bjorn Rebney, former CEO and president of Sugar Ray Leonard Boxing. Rebney and Leonard aired live boxing events on ESPN 2 the first Friday of every month under the “Friday Night Fights” moniker from 2001-2004. The relationship reportedly soured when Leonard departed to join NBC’s “The Contender” series.
TKO (Canada) President Steps Down
Stephane Patry-the founder of Canada’s original and most successful professional mixed martial arts organization-has resigned his position as president of TKO Championship Fighting. Patry was instrumental in bringing 44 shows to the Montreal region under the banner. However, according to a report on Sportsnet.ca, the Montreal native has decided to call it quits and will pursue new challenges.
On a related note, the promotion's December 5 show is now off as a result of this.
Mike Whitehead returns to win column with M-1 Challenge victory
Former UFC fighter and "The Ultimate Fighter 2" cast member Mike Whitehead (23-6) rebounded from a July loss to Renato "Babalu" Sobral and picked up his 14th victory in his past 15 fights with a first-round submission victory over Leo Pla (4-2) on Wednesday.
The fight capped off the M-1 Challenge 8th Edition, which took place in conjunction with the Affliction Entertainment at Harrah's North Kansas City Casino.
The M-1 Challenge, which recently partnered with Affliction, is a team-based international competition designed for young fighters who want fight experience. The top fighters can win spots on major M-1 fight cards.
Whitehead, a three-time All-American wrestler at the University of Missouri, competed in one of the night's two superfights, which showcase established stars. He submitted Pla with a guillotine choke just 80 seconds into the fight. It was his 12th submission victory in 23 pro wins.
Rodriguez and Fickett part of RITC's 10-year anniversary event
Former UFC heavyweight champion Ricco Rodriguez and UFC veteran Drew Fickett will both compete at Rage in the Cage's RITC 117 event, a special 10-year anniversary show for the Arizona-based competition.
In the Nov. 8 event's headline bout, Rodriguez (33-9) takes on Robert Beraun (7-5) in a rematch from their initial meeting at RITC 78, and Fickett (35-7) meets Jose Cortez (4-1) in a co-main event scheduled for a catch-weight of 175 pounds.
RITC 117 takes place at Phoenix's US Airways Center, a 22,000-seat arena that's home to the NBA's Phoenix Suns.
The Rodriguez-Beraun fight will give Rodriguez the chance to avenge one of the four losses he's suffered in his past 19 fights. From May 2003 to January 2006, Beraun went 7-1 and ended the remarkable stretch with a unanimous-decision win over Rodriguez at RITC 78.
Nick Diaz Heading Back To Japan For New Year
In the Chinese fire drill of EliteXC’s talent division since its closure last Monday, fighter managers are taking the legal reigns to free their clients.
Cesar Gracie, manager of EliteXC fighters Nick Diaz and Jake Shields, informed MMAWeekly.com he had sent EliteXC a notice on Friday stating that the company had breached their contracts with his clients.
The clause in EliteXC’s contract, as reported by Loretta Hunt of Sherdog.com, states that should the company not be able to fulfill the terms of its “promotional and payment obligations” – essentially, to keep its employees working – the fighters could seek to terminate the agreement. EliteXC had 30 days from the notice of breach to correct the situation.
Gracie said he is already making plans for Diaz’s next fight. The 25-year-old fighter has an existing clause in his contract allowing him to compete in Japan as long as it doesn't interfere with his EliteXC duties.
Renzo Gracie considering comeback as a lightweight
A return to active competition by one of MMA’s true legends may be on the horizon.
Renzo Gracie revealed this past weekend that not only does he consider himself not retired, but he has been contemplating returning to competitive fighting as a lightweight.
Gracie made the revelation during a panel discussion that proceeded the world premiere of the documentary Renzo Gracie: Legacy at the United States Film Festival in Philadelphia this past Saturday.
Gracie has not competed since EliteXC’s first-ever event in February of 2007 in Southaven, Miss. Facing fellow legend Frank Shamrock in a middleweight bout, Gracie was declared the winner after Shamrock was disqualified for delivering illegal knees to the head.
Denis Kang and Tim Hague earn victories at Raw Combat: Redemption
This past weekend, PRIDE and K-1 veteran Denis Kang got back on the winning track with an impressive 46 second knockout of UFC veteran Marvin “The Beastman” Eastman.
Both fighters spent the first twenty seconds of the bout feeling each other out with jabs before Kang moved in and landed a looping overhand right that put Eastman on the canvas. The victory is Kang’s second straight since he dropped consecutive bouts to Yoshihiro Akiyama and Gegard Mousasi. Kang currently has one bout remaining on his existing K-1 contract.
Also on Saturday’s card was a rematch between KOTC Canada heavyweight champion Tim Hague and Miodrag Petkovic. Hague gained his redemption as he earned a unanimous decision after three hard fought rounds.
Raw Combat: Redemption Results
Denis Kang def. Marvin Eastman – KO 1 0:46
Bibiano Fernandes def. Len Tam – Submission (Triangle Choke) 1 0:58
Trevor Stewardson def. Brendan Seguin – TKO 3 2:03
Tim Hague def. Miodrag Petkovic – Unanimous Decision
Ryan Ford def. Nabil Khatib – Unanimous Decision
Andrew Buckland def. Garett Davis – KO 1 1:43
Brad Cardinal def. Myles Merola – Submission (Triangle Choke) 1 4:15
Hardeep Singh def. Bernie Antle – TKO 1 2:29
Nathan Gunn def. Jaret Evans – Unanimous Decision
Matt Bagshaw def. Wes Jaya – Submission (Keylock) 1 4:13
Keto Allen def. Mike Rowbotham – Submission 2 1:40
Shooto ‘Gig Central Volume 16' results and quick recap
Kenichi Hattori (6-3-3) defeated Masato Fujiwara (5-11-5) by majority decision
Hiroharu Matsufuji (3-4) defeated Hiroshi Sakamoto (3-4) by unanimous decision
Kenichi Sawada (3-9-3) fought Teppei Masuda (1-2-1) to a draw
Mutsumi Kasai (3-0) defeated Kinuka Sasaki (2-7) via armbar (3:53-R2)
Pacific Rim Middleweight Title Fight:
Xavier Lucas (5-1-1) defeated Yoshitaro Niimi (4-2-1) by majority decision
Lightweight Rookie Tournament Semi-Final:
Naohiro Mizuno (4-1-1) defeated Mitsuru Kobayashi (2-1) by unanimous decision
Light Heavyweight Rookie Tournament 2nd Round:
Makoto Maeda (2-1-1) defeated Naoji Mikoshiba (2-1) via TKO (3:39-R2)
Eddie Alvarez seeking titles on two continents
After an impressive run in the Japanese-based DREAM organization's lightweight grand prix, Eddie Alvarez (15-1) will now look to return to the U.S. on Nov. 8 in search of the EliteXC 160-pound title.
And as Alvarez recently told TAGG Radio (www.taggradio.com), the official radio partner of MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com), if the 23-year-old can defeat Nick Diaz for the title recently stripped from KJ Noons, it won't be the only title he hopes to hold in 2009.
"I tell everyone I feel like the (DREAM) title is mine," Alvarez said. "I wear it on my sleeve."
Currently riding a five-fight win streak, Alvarez defeated Andre Amade, Joachim Hansen and Tatsuya Kawajiri in 2008 to earn a spot in the DREAM lightweight grand prix finals against Shinya Aoki. That bout was to take place the same night as the Kawajiri fight, but damage to Alvarez's eye forced him out of the contest.
"It was the most bittersweet night I could have had," Alvarez said. "I did take out one of the top Japanese guys (in Kawajiri). I felt great. I honestly can say I really don't feel like anybody could have beat me that night.
Injury forces War Machine out of first fight since UFC release
Despite being tabbed to headline an MMA event in Mobile, Ala., an injury has forced "The Ultimate Fighter 6" veteran War Machine (formerly known as Jon Koppenhaver) off of tonight's card.
Scheduled opponent Mike Dolce broke the news in "The Underground," a popular online MMA forum, earlier this week and MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) was able to confirm the news with War Machine.
"I just pulled by groin a little over a week ago," War Machine said. "Nothing serious, but (it) screwed up my training, and I can't do anything explosive. Sucks."
The bout would have been War Machine's first since a 56-second submission loss to Yoshiyuki Yoshida at UFC 84. The UFC released War Machine from his contract in September after the 26-year-old turned down a proposed bout with Brandon Wolff.
Bobby Lashley Set To Make MMA Debut December 13th
Waiting to make his MMA debut for quite some time now but with unforeseen circumstances standing in his way, Bobby Lashley is now set to make his Mixed Martial Arts debut.
“It’s looking like December 13th will be the date.” Lashley tells MMANews.com. “We have the contract in hand right now and we are just working out all the details but December 13th will be the date.”
Although Lashley could not go into detail about who the promotion is that he would be fighting with until the contract is officially signed, he did give a few details about the show.
“It will be in Miami, FL with one of the bigger MMA promotions there. Not one of the real big organizations like the UFC, EXC, or Strikeforce but it will be held at the American Airlines Arena so I can tell you that if it is being held at a venue like that it will be a big show.”
CONTRACT LOCKS FEDOR TO AFFLICTION, NIXES UFC
MMAWeekly.com on Wednesday learned that Affliction Entertainment has entered into a formal partnership with M-1 Global to promote mixed martial arts events around the globe.
The two entities had already been working together, but had no formal arrangement.
The partnership is bad news for fans that hope to see “The Last Emperor” tussle with Randy Couture in the UFC. The new agreement makes Emelianenko an exclusive client of Affliction and M-1 Global worldwide for the foreseeable future. Previously, Affliction’s deal with M-1 Global was exclusive only to the U.S.
so no more "Fedor to the UFC" rumor threads??????
Lindland-Sobral In Works for Affliction 2
A bout between Olympic wrestling silver medalist Matt Lindland and Renato "Babalu" Sobral are one of a few fresh bouts proposed for Affliction Entertainment’s return engagement to the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., on Jan. 24.
Sherdog.com confirmed the tentative tilt with both fighters’ camps.
The pair are said to have been offered and agreed upon a fight at 195 pounds to serve as a tryout point for the Brazilian as he makes his way down to middleweight. Lindland, 38, has competed at 185 pounds for the majority of his career, but has also dabbled among the light heavyweight and heavyweight ranks as well.
babalu dropping to MW!!!!
if this is successful, anyone see UFC trying to bring him in to fight Anderson?
NIGHT OF COMBAT 2 FIGHTER SALARIES & LIVE GATE
The total payout of fighter salaries for Night of Combat II was $160,500, which compares to total gate receipts of $32,405, according to the NSAC. There were 1,063 tickets sold to the event, 672 given away as comps, leaving 7,176 unsold tickets.
MAIN EVENT FIGHTERS
– Hector Ramirez ($20,000/win bonus was $5,000) def. Rick Roufus ($15,000/win bonus would have been $5,000)
MAIN CARD FIGHTERS
– Jay Hieron ($20,000) def. Chris Kennedy ($8,500)
– Mike Pyle ($20,000) def. Brian Gassaway ($15,000)
– John Alessio ($15,000) def. Gideon Ray ($15,000)
– Josh Haynes ($10,000/win bonus was $5,000) def. Sean Salmon ($7,000/win bonus would have been $5,000)
– Jonathan J.J. Mix ($3,000) def. John Halverson ($3,000)
– Patrick Gonsalves ($1,500) def. Shawn David ($1,500)
– Elena Reid ($1,500) def. Stephanie Palmer ($1,500)
– Ryan Hess ($1,500) def. Ian Omalza ($1,500)
NIGHT OF COMBAT 2 DISCLOSED FIGHTER PAYROLL: $160,500
The Success of DEEP
Sherdog has a nice article about DEEP and the man behind it,promoter Shigeru Saeki. The story is an interesting one as it ties in the success of a regional show like DEEP into the personality and ability of Saeki himself. As for what accounts for DEEP's success, it's essentially their ability be unorthodox while offering a consistently quality product. They play outside the boundries of the Tokyo-based large promotions and that's precisely why they thrive:
As a promoter who has found success where others have not -- with female fighters and nationwide touring -- one would be hard pressed to pinpoint why Saeki has flourished when many of his peers have failed. It’s difficult enough to survive as a regional fight show in Japan without accruing huge debt in the dark days that have followed the “kakutogi boom.” Still, Deep clings to its place in the local MMA scene.
“I wouldn't be able to comment because I never realized that there was [a boom],” Saeki says. “Maybe for K-1 and Pride there was, but for myself, Shooto, Pancrase, GCM and ZST, we didn't really feel one.”
So where then does the promotion’s success originate? Another ingredient in Deep’s triumphs comes from the time-honored tradition of spectacle, which appears to work well in Japan.
“This year will be Deep’s eighth, so Japanese fans probably know what we do best by now,” Saeki says. “We're an MMA promotion, but we're also an entertainment company.”
DEEP's Megaton tournament wasn't anything I cared about and not something I'd like to see replicated in America, but if it keeps the Japanese happy and MMA alive there is some upside to it after all.
Props to Bloody Elbow.