Bellator hasn't forgotten West Coast, but Eastern markets to host 2010 shows
Hang tight, West Coast fans. Bellator Fighting Championships hasn't forgotten about you.
The promotion, which kicks off its second season next month with live shows on FOX Sports Net, is skipping West Coast markets for its 12-week run due to its 8 p.m. ET start times.
Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney recently told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio) that logistics forced the promotion to focus on Eastern markets for season two (and season three later this year) but that the West Coast markets could get some love beginning with season four in January 2011.
Pat Curran completes Bellator's season-two lightweight tourney field, debuts at Bellator 14
Chicago-area fighter Pat Curran (9-3 MMA, 0-0 BFC) is the eighth and final competitor booked for Bellator Fighting Championships' upcoming season-two lightweight tournament.
Bellator officials today announced the signing.
Curran competes in an opening-round tournament matchup on April 15 at Bellator 14, though his opponent and other tourney pairings – including recent signee Roger Huerta's promotional debut – won't be unveiled until later this week.
Enson Inoue Returns On 4/25 In Japan, Takimoto Retires
Next month's ASTRA event in Japan, which is expected to feature the retirement fight of Japanese star Hidehiko Yoshida, today had a couple significant changes. For the first time since April 2004, Enson Inoue, an early Shooto champion who owns a 1998 victory over Randy Couture, enters MMA and meets New Zealand kickboxer Antz Nansen. Also, PRIDE and World Victory Road veteran Makoto Takimoto, expected to compete on 4/25, instead retired and will not compete, completing his career with a 6-5 mark.
Bellator confirms signing of Roger Huerta for season-two lightweight tourney
Former Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight Roger Huerta officially has joined Bellator Fighting Championships.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) first reported the expected signing over the weekend, and during a press conference that today streamed live on www.bellator.com, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney made the official announcement.
Huerta (21-3-1), one of Bellator's highest-profile signings to date, joins the season-two eight-man lightweight tournament field. His first fight takes place at Bellator 13 on April 8 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla.
Ray Mercer vs. Ron Sparks set for April 16 King of the Cage event in Michigan
Olympic gold medalist and former world champion boxer Ray Mercer (1-0) will put on the four-ounce gloves once again on April 16 and face undefeated super heavyweight Ron Sparks (5-0) at a recently announced King of the Cage event at Cobo Arena in Detroit.
The matchup was announced on the most recent edition of HDNet's "Inside MMA," and the same network will air the event's main card.
Bellator calls Monday press conference, expected to announce signing of Roger Huerta
Former Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight Roger Huerta (20-3-1 MMA, 0-0 Bellator) is set to test his mettle in Bellator Fighting Championships' season two eight-man lightweight tournament.
Sources close to the situation confirmed to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that the popular lightweight received his formal release from the UFC this week, which opened the door to finalize a deal with the upstart promotion.
Bellator has called a video press conference for Monday at 3 p.m. ET that will stream live at Bellator.com.
Huerta is the seventh 155-pound competitor added to Bellator’s second season, which kicks off April 8 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. The twelve-week season airs live on FOX Sports Net affiliates on Thursday nights, and highlights packages air on NBC and Telemundo over the weekend. Tournament participants in the featherweight, lightweight, welterweight, and middleweight classes battle for the right to face season one's tournament champions.
Alessio Wins At Ring Of Fire, Steps Up For W-1
With his win at Ring of Fire last week, former UFC welterweight John Alessio has indeed put himself on the right path following his decision to make major life changes.
No longer part of the Las Vegas party scene and now a dedicated gym rat, Alessio has won three fights in a row and continues to look increasingly more impressive each time out.
Rumble At The Rock Disappoints With Suspect DaDa 5000 Win
FightScoops was in attendance at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Caisno in Hollywood, FL last night to witness Action Fight League’s ‘Rumble at the Rock 2‘, the sequel to their highly successful event late last year at the same venue. Headlining the night was a bout between Dhafir Harris, billed as a ‘Kimbo Slice protege’ and better known by the nickname DaDa 5000, taking on Cedric ‘The Killer Gorilla’ James which unfortunately turned into a despicable display of refereeing and sportsmanship that called into question the integrity of the entire event.
DaDa 5000 came out swinging in the first and was looking to finish early – literally – as he tried to take a shot at James before the referee officially started the contest. Once both fighters were separated and reset the brawl was on as wild hay-makers were thrown from every angle with such force that neither fighter was able to keep his balance or form. To call the action sloppy would be an understatement, but entertaining nonetheless as there was no doubt that each man was looking to shut this one down quickly.
James got the better of the first exchange and opened up a cut on DaDa 5000’s face early that seemed to surprise the much-hyped street fighter and left his shoulders drenched in blood. After attempting to retaliate with a psuedo-superman punch, DaDa 5000 missed his opponent completely and went sailing toward the cage, also slipping somewhat, which allowed James to take the bout down to the canvas where he gained top position – and then things got a little crazy.
James advanced to attain full mount after taking a brief pause to rest on top of his opponent. Seconds passed, then James began raining strikes down on DaDa 5000 which surely seemed to be the end of the fight until the referee stood both men up while James was still landing punches!
At first it appeared that James had won the fight due to referee stoppage, but after peeling the reluctant fighter off of a downed DaDa 5000 by his hand, the referee motioned for both men to get up and signaled for the bout to continue. James appeared confused and angry at being robbed of the dominant position he had just earned, but DaDa 5000 wasted no time in chopping down his dazed opponent with a few more big strikes that put ‘The Killer Gorilla’ out for the night.
There was absolutely no excuse or reason for the referee interference, and fighters who were in attendance such as Tom Lawlor have already commented on how atrocious the move was by the official as the fighter tweeted late last night:
“Sickening, just sickening. Da Da 5000 just won by ko after the ref stood the fighters up while he was mounted!Don’t know either guy but cmon”
Without having any hard evidence it would be totally inappropriate to say the fight was ‘rigged’ but how else could such an egregious error be explained? The entire event was hyped around DaDa 5000 being ‘the next Kimbo’ (as seen on the fight poster above) and Kimbo Slice himself was in attendance cage-side to support the young YouTube brawler. Quite a coincidence that the moment the poster boy got in serious trouble the referee managed to save him from being turned into mincemeat in front of the hometown crowd. Hopefully Cedric James was at least rewarded with a decent share of the loot for his part in this complete sham that felt more like a scene from the movie ‘Snake Eyes‘ than a professional mixed martial arts competition.
Seth Petruzelli vs. Houston Alexander Allegedly Set for April 23
A bout between Seth Petruzelli and Houston Alexander is reportedly set for the April 23 mixed martial arts card at the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts -- the same card on which former UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia is planning to fight former World's Strongest Man Mariusz Pudzianowski.
Before we go any further, I should note that I'm skeptical that this card is going to happen at all. I was unable to get in touch with the promoters and the bout is not listed at the DCU Center web site. But the Boston Herald has published multiple reports saying the fight card is going forward, so it's at least worth exploring what kind of card this would be.
Petruzelli vs. Alexander would certainly draw some interest, as the two of them have both fought Kimbo Slice, which means they have been involved in two of the most-watched fights in American MMA history. Petruzelli destroyed Kimbo with a 14-second knockout, while Alexander lost to Kimbo in a dull decision. Both guys are UFC washouts who don't have much going for them in their MMA careers right now, but I'd think Petruzelli would have to be considered the favorite if he fights Alexander.
Sylvia vs. Pudzianowski would draw a lot of attention, both in the United States and in Poland, where Pudzianowski is quite famous. But Pudzianowski is scheduled to fight in Poland on May 7, which serves as further evidence that this card isn't going to happen.
The promoters say they're going to put the card on pay-per-view, and I can't imagine that it would do much of a buyrate. In fact, I'm not even sure if the cable and satellite companies would carry it -- if it happens at all. But if they do, I'll be watching. It would be hard to look away.
Ben Askren: 'My wrestling and my grappling are good enough to beat anybody'
"I chose Bellator for a number of reasons. They offered me the best contract, I can get three fights done in three months, and on top of that I really think that they will do a good job of promoting me. I feel good about facing (Ryan) Thomas. I hear that he’s a good wrestler, and if that’s his strongest suit, obviously he’s not going to beat me there. I also hear that submissions are strong for him, but he’s not going to beat me there either. So for me this is a really good match-up."
Jeff Curran headed to Bellator
After announcing a pair of opening-round featherweight matchups, Bellator Fighting Championships officials have set three additional bouts for the second event of its upcoming second season, Bellator 14.
A featured attraction is an opening-round welterweight tournament matchup between NCAA Division I national wrestling champion and Olympian Ben Askren (3-0) and. former UFC and Strikeforce fighter Ryan Thomas (10-3).
Non-tourney matchups include veteran and Chicago-area fighter Jeff Curran (31-12-1) vs. Joe Doherty (8-3) and Felice Herrig (1-2) vs. Catia Vitoria (0-0).
This is actually really old news, especially for me as I train at Curran Martial Arts. But I hadn't seen it posted any where.
Unfortunately his opponent is a little outmatched so it's kind of a throw away fight.
B.J. Kojima Relinquishes Shooto Belt
Shooto Bantamweight (123 lbs.) Champion Shinichi "B.J." Kojima today announced his decision to vacate the title, citing a slowly-healing ACL in his right knee. Kojima - who has held the belt since October 2006 - suffered the injury in a non-title bout loss to Nova Uniao's rising star Jussier "Formiga" da Silva last July.
Mariusz Pudzianowski Announced For 5/7 KSW 13 Event
"The World's Strongest MMA Fighter" is ready for an encore performance. 5-time World's Strongest Man Mariusz Pudzianowski, coming off his successful MMA debut in December, will return to action on May 7 at KSW 13, though an opponent has not been revealed. The booking means a potential April 23 matchup with ex-UFC champ Tim Sylvia is now unlikely.