Drew Fickett vs. Jay Hieron Affliction fight likely October 11
It appears Drew Fickett may have finally been able to move ahead and put his personal problems behind him.
Sherdog.com has been able to confirm that former International Fight League welterweight champion Jay Hieron (15-4) has verbally accepted an offer to fight “The Master” on October 11 at Affliction: “Day of Reckoning”.
Fickett (35-6) has competed as recently as August 8, submitting Joe Manzello at Silver Crown Fights (SCF) in round one. He had aligned himself with EliteXC earlier this year, but his much ballyhooed bout with Jake Shields never materialized to due injuries and scheduling conflicts on both sides.
From there, Fickett was plagued with personal problems including a messy contract dispute with Canada’s Maximum Fighting Championship. After eventually parting ways with EliteXC, Fickett fought twice for Rage in the Cage, going 1-1 before his most recent match at SCF.
Now he has his stiffest test in quite some time against the venerable Hieron.
The former IFL warrior is coming off a first round drubbing of Mark Miller at IFL: ‘New Jersey’ last April. When the troubled company went belly-up shortly thereafter, Hieron settled on a three-fight contract with Affliction after being courted by the UFC, Elite XC and Strikeforce.
Affliction “Day of Reckoning” takes place on October 11 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, featuring the main event of Josh “The Babyface Assassin” Barnett (23-5) vs. Andrei “The Pitbull” Arlovski (13-5).
Hieron Agrees to Fickett at Affliction 2
Former International Fight League welterweight champion Jay Hieron (Pictures) has verbally accepted an offer to take on Drew Fickett (Pictures) at Affliction 2 “Day of Reckoning” on Oct. 11 at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas.
Fickett’s manager, Alexander Oxendine of 2 A-T Media, confirmed his client had been made an offer and negotiations are ongoing.
“We’re in discussion with a few organizations and Affliction is one of them,” said Oxendine. “They are at the top of our list. As far as Drew is concerned, he’s made a great turnaround with his life and training. He is ready to move forward.”
Since his last UFC bout in April 2007, Fickett’s career has seemed to be a rollercoaster ride outside of the cage.
An on-again off-again title bout against EliteXC welterweight champion Jake Shields (Pictures) never got off the ground due to injuries to both participants, which led to scheduling difficulties later down the road.
After a handful of failed attempts, EliteXC representatives said Fickett’s “personal problems” had taken a toll on their relationship with the wayward fighter, and they planned to release him from his contract.
In June, Fickett attempted to step in and fight Luke Stewart (Pictures) for a Strikeforce event in San Jose, Calif. However, a battle over Fickett’s contract obligations with Canada’s Maximum Fighting Championship and its owner Mark Pavelich spilled onto the Internet, as the fighter had supposedly already been booked for a July 25 MFC card.
“He’s ready to move forward and handle himself professionally,” says Oxendine of Fickett’s last few months. “He wants to take his fighting career seriously and to the next level.”
Mike Van Arsdale plans comeback, signs with American Fight League
Veteran light heavyweight and former UFC fighter Mike Van Arsdale (8-5) will return from a two-year layoff and make his comeback with the upstart American Fight League.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) today confirmed the signing with AFL officials, who said Van Arsdale will be part of the organization's pay-per-view debut, which takes place sometime in November.
Van Arsdale, 43, could be an opponent for another 205-pounder the AFL hopes to land: former UFC champion and current free agent Tito Ortiz.
Van Arsdale, a stand-out high school and collegiate wrestler at Iowa State University, began his career with an 8-1 record and earned a spot on the UFC's roster. However, after suffering four consecutive losses (to notables such as Randy Couture, Renato "Babalu" Sobral and Matt Lindland), Van Arsdale walked away from competition.
He hasn't competed since April 2006 and has been healing from an array of injuries.
"This is huge for us," said AFL CEO BJ Santiago, who recently signed top female fighter Tara LaRosa, former WWE star Bobby Lashley and a host of UFC veterans. "Van is a scary, freak-of-nature-type athlete who has a terrific wrestling and MMA pedigree. He is a class-A fighter with unbelievable potential. ... This is big for us and I think MMA in the long run."
The AFL is one of many organizations currently vying for the services of Ortiz, who recently became a free agent after fulfilling the terms of his UFC contract. As MMAjunkie.com reported earlier this week, despite claims he had agreed to a record-breaking contract with Affliction, Ortiz is again negotiating with all the sport's top players.
Not surprisingly AFL Director of Public Relations Sean McClure has an opponent in mind for Van Arsdale.
"Tito Ortiz," McClure stated. "Our operations director and one of the owners Jon Hatton has wanted to see that fight for years. Mike's wrestling is sick, and Tito is a really tough guy. It would be a good fight for Mike."
He also didn't rule out a move to middleweight for Van Arsdale.
"I would also love to see Mike fight a guy like Trevor Prangley or maybe even drop down to 185 to fight, say, a Renzo Gracie or someone like that," McClure said. "I know Mike could make 185 pounds if he wanted to. It would be up to him, and if he did want to do it, we would support it."
AFL officials said the date of their PPV debut will be announced soon. In addition to Van Arsdale, LaRosa and Lashley are also booked for the event.
Kang vs Eastman at Raw Combat
Las Vegas’ own Marvin Eastman (Pictures) is finally set to return to action. The veteran of King of the Cage, the WFA and the UFC, as well as dozens of muay Thai and K-1 fights is scheduled to tackle Denis Kang (Pictures) at RAW Combat on Oct. 25 in Alberta, Canada.
Hermes Franca 'Ready to Show My Full Potential'
Hermes Franca 'Ready to Show My Full Potential'
By Dave Carpinello
UFC Lightweight contender Hermes Franca took some time to talk with PDG after his trip to New York about his comeback, future opponents and his upcoming fight with Gleison Tibau at UFC 90 in Chicago.
PDG: All right, let's talk just a little bit about the past; did it bother you at all that you served a full one-year suspension and Sean Sherk only had to sit out six months?
Franca: It doesn't bother me because it was my problem and my fault. I told the commission the truth and it doesn't matter to me what Sherk told them. It is just great to be back and the commission has a lot of great guys that came up to me at my last fight and told me they were glad to have me back. They told me I was the man and I had balls because I told the truth which apparently a lot of people don't.
Rodrigo Damm Ready For Sengoku
Rodrigo Damm’s debut on MMA wasn’t like he was expecting, but since then everything is perfect. With eight straight wins, Damm will be at Sengoku’s lightweight GP, that starts at August 24th, against Eiji Matsuoka. Training at Minotauro Team (Rodrigo Nogueira and Anderson Silva’s team), Damm is focused on the title to earn a chance to fight Takanori Gomi. In an interview to TATAME, the athlete spoke about his beginning in MMA, his training at Nogueira’s team, about his sister (Carina Damm) and his preparation to the GP. Check below the complete interview.
Schoenauer, Gunderson to fight for PFC
The latest IFL fighters to find new homes are Alex Schoenauer and John Gunderson, who will compete for the Palace Fighting Championship promotion.
They'll continue their mixed martial arts career, at least for now, with the Lemoore, California-based promotion launched in Jan. 2007 to fill the void left at the Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino when Zuffa purchased the WEC and moved it to Las Vegas.
Schoenauer (14-9) and Gunderson (15-5) could see promotional debuts at PFC 11 on Nov. 20 in Lemoore, California.
Here's a list of where other IFL stars have ended up since the promotion closed its doors...
WVR Updates Sengoku Cards
World Victory Road today announced the official card and fight order for its Sengoku 4 show next week and also announced more details for Sengoku 5. Notable items were adding Yuki Sasaki to the Middleweight GP and confirming participation of Roger Gracie and Jorge Masvidal, among others.
Affliction Debut May Have Sold 100,000 PPV's After All
It would seem that Tom Atencio's early estimates of Afflictions PPV buy rates may have been accurate after all.
Atencio came under fire for allegedly inflating projections of Affliction: Banned PPV buys when he stated that the buys where over 100,000. Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer was the first to point out that the numbers looked a bit fishy.
Meltzer, at the time, estimated that the number was not over 100,000, stating that buy rate was likely closer to between 50,000 and 85,000.
Meltzer is now updating his original assessment:
It’s been hard to narrow down a buy rate for the Affliction show. Promoter Tom Atencio has claimed the figure was more than 100,000. Updated cable sources we’ve checked with have estimated from a low of 65,000 to a high of 100,000.
Kang Talks Upcoming Fights, Future Plans
Coming off back-to-back losses that have put him outside the Top 10 Middleweight rankings, Denis Kang plans on staying busy the rest of the year, with no fewer than 2 fights ahead and possibly returning to the US or Canada in the future.
Gabe Ruediger Returning To MMA
Former TUF 5 castoff Gabe Ruediger is preparing to return to MMA at a fundraiser event on August 30 in Santa Monica, California. Ruediger, coming off neck surgery earlier this year, will face Justin Wilson in a fight at 160 pounds.
Event poster for DREAM 6 on September 23 in Saitama, Japan
Official DREAM.6 event poster, featuring the four Middleweight GP finalists (Jacare, Galesic, Mousasi, Manhoef), Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic, Yoshihiro Akiyama, Jason "Mayhem" Miller, Ikuhisa Minowa, Sergei Kharitonov, Hayato "Mach" Sakurai (but no Nick Diaz) and Hideo Tokoro (who is scheduled to face Atsushi Yamamoto).
Can Lightning Strike Twice For Affliction?
It's been almost a month since Affliction's debut event and the buzz is still flying. Even though Affliction, on paper, spent a reported $3.3M on the roster for the first show, most fans believe it was a successful event. After all, Andrei Arlovski had possibly his best performance in years against Ben Rothwell. Josh Barnett was successful in his revenge victory against Pedro Rizzo. The main event, albeit short, grew Fedor Emelianenko's legacy even further with his 36-second demolition of former UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia.
With all of the success that Affliction had in its debut event, it needs to keep the momentum going. Pay-per-view buys will be crucial to the promotion's success. Affliction does have the backing of multi-billionaire Donald Trump to help its credibility. Affliction vice president Tom Atencio insisted that their debut event did over 100,000 pay-per-view buys, which would be considered a good start.
Von Flue, Lighty Win at PureCombat
Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran Jason Von Flue snapped a four-fight losing streak with a first-round submission of Bryson Kamaka at PureCombat’s “Hardcore” event, which took place Friday night at the Visalia Convention Center in California.
Even though Von Flue came away as the victor, it was Kamaka that looked to have the fight in hand from the start. Kamaka dropped Von Flue with a right halfway through round one and followed up with punches on the ground that prompted the referee to keep an extremely close eye on the action. However Von Flue survived the onslaught and dropped back for a kneebar, which forced Kamaka to tap out.
Minowa Subs Frye at DEEP’s “Gladiator”
Ikuhisa Minowa was victorious again in his quest to become Japan’s most successful open-weight fighter, submitting fellow longtime veteran and cult hero Don Frye with a first-round kneebar in the main event of DEEP’s “Gladiator” show this morning at the Momotaro Arena in Okayama, Japan.
After stuffing Minowa’s first takedown attempt, Frye quickly found himself on his back at the start of the bout. Minowa immediately dropped back for a heel hook and locked in the hold, but was unable to force Frye to tap. Minowa eventually switched to a kneebar, which after a few moments, finally forced Frye to give up.
In a team battle between fighters from Korea and Japan, it was Korea that came away with a 4-1 victory. Notable bouts saw UFC veteran Michihiro Omigawa drop a unanimous decsion to Chul Hyun Jung while Jutaro Nakao picked up the lone win for the Japanese, defeating Yong Fun Lee via second-round TKO.
Kirk Florian Poised For Amateur MMA Debut
As if jumping into the cage and fighting another human being in close combat for the first time wasn't pressure enough, when Kirk Florian makes his amateur debut at Full Force Productions: Untamed 22 show in Plymouth, Mass. against Colin Joyce (1-0), he'll have some big shoes to fill. He's the younger brother of UFC lightweight phenom Kenny Florian.
Shields Vs Lindland At Affliction 2
There are strong rumours that EliteXC welterweight champion Jake Shields is being lined up to face Matt Lindland at Affliction 2.
Lindland was supposed to be fighting Vitor Belfort on the October 11th show, but the Brazilian has pulled out citing a broken hand.
Last week, Shields told an interviewer from MMA Weekly that he was currently fielding “a really good offer to fight a top 185-pounder”.
He expressed hope that EliteXC would allow him to “go out there” and fight the unnamed opponent.
But Affliction vice-president Tom Atencio has been tight-lipped about the situation, refusing to acknowledge that it is his company which is looking at bringing Shields in for a middleweight fight.
Joe Riggs' plan: Move to 170 pounds, return to the UFC
With a September bout with highly regarded middleweight Kazuo Misaki (20-8-2) on the horizon, Joe Riggs (28-10) on Thursday told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) it will be his last in the division.
The Riggs vs. Misaki bout is one of a handful of matches that have been officially announced for "Strikeforce at the Mansion II," scheduled for Sept. 20 at the Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Riggs, who has fought from 170 pounds all the way up to heavyweight in his seven-year career, said the decision was made based on the way his 25-year-old body has developed.