WWE's Bobby Lashley signs with American Fight League
Former World Wrestling Entertainment performer and decorated amateur wrestler Bobby Lashley is the latest signing for the Kentucky-based American Fight League.
A source close to the 31-year-old told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that Lashley will be introduced as an AFL signee -- perhaps the organization's biggest to date -- during tonight's "Bulletproof" show at Phillips Arena in Atlanta.
Rumors of Lashley's possible transition into MMA heated up over the past month, but few expected such a high-profile figure to sign with an organization so new to the national scene.
AFL officials declined to comment today, but one executive said some "major signings" will be announced at tonight's show, which features a main event between AFL lightweight champ and former UFC fighter Diego Saraiva.
Terms of Lashley's contract aren't known, but it's expected to be a non-exclusive deal.
Lashley, a two-time NAIA national wrestling champion while at Missouri Valley College, also won two armed-forces titles while serving in the U.S. Army. He signed with the WWE in 2003 and debuted with the organization in 2005. His character won titles in both the WWE and Extreme Championship Wrestling organizations.
HDNet to air three Adrenaline MMA events
Monte Cox's Adrenaline MMA will launch with a TV deal.
The all-high-definition cable station HDnet, which has partnered with many of MMA's top fight organizations, has struck a deal with upstart Adrenaline MMA and will air the promotion's first three shows.
The announcement was made during Friday's edition of "Inside MMA."
Arendaline MMA, formerly the restructured M-1 Global organization, recently severed ties with what was supposed to be its top fighter: former PRIDE heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko. Instead, Cox said the organization will now use a mix of up-and-coming talent and proven veterans signed to non-exclusive deals.
"Little Nog" meets veteran Vernon White at "Affliction: Banned"
Recently signed Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (13-3) will meet veteran fighter Vernon White (26-32-2) at the July 19 "Affliction: Banned" event.
White's management team at KO Dynasty today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that the bout has been finalized.
Nogueira, the twin brother of UFC interim heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and a longtime PRIDE fighter, was introduced as Affliction's latest signing during a Tuesday press conference in New York City.
Tim Sylvia talks about the fight with Fedor, the UFC and Kimbo
Tim Sylvia, the six foot eight former UFC heavyweight champion, will be taking on the great Fedor Emelianenko in July at Affliction Banned. I spoke to Tim at the Affliction Banned press conference in NYC today.
Hey Tim. Your split with the UFC, was it about money?
No, I'm not gonna say that. It's just we were both at crossroads in our career. I was at a crossroad in my career and they just didn't know what they wanted to do. I had no interest in fighting a prelim fight in my next fight. And the thing is if I won I would be back in title contention again. And how many people really want to see Tim Sylvia fighting for a heavyweight title in the UFC again. You know, I've done it like eight times. So they just had a different route they wanted to do with the UFC right now and I've got some different things that I'm wanting to do. So I'll do my thing for a couple of years and hopefully I'll have a home back in the UFC someday.
AFFLICTION MMA ANNOUNCES DEAL WITH FOX SPORTS
At a press conference held Tuesday in Los Angeles, the forces behind new fight promotion Affliction unveiled the stars of their “Banned” show to be held July 19th at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.
Fedor Emelianenko will clash with Tim Sylvia in the main event, and Josh Barnett and Pedro Rizzo will co-headline the event in a rematch of their 2001 fight. Ben Rothwell, Matt Lindland, Renato “Babalu” Sobral, and Aleksander Emelianenko are but a few of the fighters filling the card.
And according to Tim Ryan, president and CEO of the Honda Center, the stars are lining up for the show, with $250,000 in tickets sold within the first 30 minutes of going on sale Tuesday morning.
California State Athletic Commission executive director Armando Garcia confirmed that a 3.5 million dollar bond had already been posted for the show, clearing the way for ticket sales to the public. The bond ensures, among other things, that fighters are guaranteed their purses.
The amount of the bond further refutes the rumors that the fighters’ purses alone were expected to total six million dollars.
Also announced was a partnership with Fox Sports Net to air the evening’s hour long undercard live.
Making his way to the black stage at the trendy Century City shopping mall, Fedor Emelianenko received a raucous welcome from hundreds of fans – some of them waited five hours for an autograph – before speaking for the first time about his fight with Tim Sylvia. And not so subtly, he established the link between his services and Affliction, thanking M-1 Global – the defunct American/Russian MMA promotion now run by his manager Vadim Finkelstein – and Affliction for bringing him to California.
Emelianenko vs. Buentello added to July 19 Affliction card Officially
A once-rumored match between Aleksander Emelianenko (13-3) and Paul Buentello (25-10) is now official for the July 19 "Affliction: Banned" show.
The organization, which will air its main card on pay per view, made the announcement during today's media and fan events in Los Angeles and New York City.
The latest booking further bolsters a fight card that's full of familiar names, including main-event participants Fedor Emelianenko and Tim Sylvia.
Aleksander Emelianenko, the younger brother of Fedor, has bounced around the MMA circuit ever since the demise of PRIDE Fighting Championships, his former home. He's 4-0 in his past four fights, which included stops with BodogFIGHT, M-1 and Hardcore Championship Fighting. He most recently defeated Silvao Santos via first-round TKO at an April 3 M-1 event in Russia.
Buentello, a former UFC heavyweight contender, hasn't fought since a November 2007 loss to Alistair Overeem for the first-ever Strikeforce world heavyweight title. The second-round submission loss was his first defeat in five fights -- and just his second loss in his past 12 fights.
Expect fireworks with the the Emelianenko-Buentello clash. Of the two fighters' combined 38 victories, 24 have come via knockout or knockout.
Top Featherweight Loses Title At DEEP
Top 5 Featherweight Masakzau Imanari failed to live up to expectations at DEEP 35 Monday in Japan, as he lost both a decision and his DEEP Featherweight Title to former UFC fighter Dokonjonosuke Mishima. Mishima had been fighting at Lightweight before dropping down.
Wiuff-Fujita Added to Sengoku III
Travis Wiuff, who bested a field of 16 heavyweights in one night at Yamma Pit Fighting 1 on April 11, has been tapped to face Kazuyuki Fujita at World Victory Road's "Sengoku Battle III" on June 8. The seasoned Minnesota wrestler will square off with the popular Japanese heavyweight at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
HDNet Fights Planning Super-Fights
When Mark Cuban announced his intentions of promoting mixed martial arts, many people were excited about the possibilities the billionaire could bring to the sport.
Since the formation of HDNet Fights last year, the Dallas based organization has held two events. It's been five months since they've put on a show, but HDNet Fights CEO Andrew Simon told MMAWeekly they plan on putting together "super-fights" in the future.
HDNet started airing MMA with World Extreme Cagefighting, but has expanded their coverage to showing several regional events from around the country as well as Japanese promotions.
"We have the ability to partner with pretty much any organization out there," said Simon. "And when the timing is right, you're going to see us promote again some super-fights."
"We're going to be pretty opportunistic when we want to promote ourselves. We're in a little bit of a different position than everyone else. We have our own television network. We have our own arena in Dallas with the American Airlines Center, and we're not into it to just put on fights every month ourselves just because. I think you're going to see when we come back it will be a pretty big fight."
JOSH BARNETT JUST TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS
Former UFC heavyweight champion Josh Barnett is getting ready to take on his former training partner and friend Jeff Monson on Sunday. World Victory Road will be staging its second event at Sengoku II in Tokyo.
Barnett recently explained his preparation for his fight with Monson. “Things are going pretty well,” said the Babyface Assassin. “Here I am taking another fight. Not real close from the last one, as far as time goes, but it's pretty quickly. I'm feeling pretty good about it. I just pro wrestled recently. I'm in good shape. It's just right.”
In WVR’s first event, Sengoku, Barnett defeated Hidehiko Yoshida via heel hook. That fight was Barnett’s first fight in more than a year, so he naturally had some criticism about his performance. “I know there were things I could have been sharper at. Some of that had to do with the availability of sparring partners and what kind of workouts I was getting in prior.”
Most Americans prefer to fight in their native land; however, fighting in Japan does not bother Josh Barnett one bit. “I love working in Japan,” he commented in a recent interview on MMAWeekly Radio. “For me, it's like being at home. It's no big deal for me to go out there.”
One of the biggest reasons Barnett enjoys fighting in Japan is because of the differences in the rules as opposed to rules imposed in the United States. “You can't soccer kick, stomp or knee someone in America. They won't let you wear shoes anymore. If you want to go and fight under the more dynamic rule set, then you have to go out to Japan to get it done. I really like to have the freedom in the ring to do the techniques and kinds of things that are available to you as a martial artist.”