Olympic Wrestler Ben Askren Signs With Bellator
Ben Askren, the aspiring MMA fighter and former NCAA champion and Olympic wrestler, has signed with the Bellator Fighting Championships.
Askren will fight in Bellator's welterweight tournament, which begins in the spring as part of Bellator's new deal with Fox Sports Net. In a statement, Askren said he's excited about the Fox Sports deal.
"I like that my fights are going to broadcast nationally, I like the tournament-style format and I love the opportunity to be a part of something exciting and new," Askren said. "I plan on winning Bellator. My goal, as it always has been, is to be the best in the world."
Bellator Matchmaker Resigns
Matt Stansell, matchmaker for tournament-based fight promotion Bellator Fighting Championships, resigned his post on Monday.
Stansell and Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney said the split was amicable, though Rebney said Tuesday that Stansell stopped working with the company two weeks ago.
“The simplest way to put it is, as companies evolve and grow, sometimes that growth is best for certain parties to stay together and sometimes that growth requires that certain parties split,” Rebney said. “At this point, it wasn’t the right fit as we continue to grow and expand.”
Leites Wins in MFC Debut
ENOCH, Alta. -- Brazilian middleweight Thales Leites won a unanimous decision over Dean (The Boogeyman) Lister in a dreary main event at MFC 23 on Friday night.
Herschel Walker's MMA debut date set; no opponent yet
Strikeforce announced today that Herschel Walker will make his debut on Jan. 30 in Sunrise, Fla. Walker, who will be 47 at the time of the bout, recently started training mixed martial arts after winning the Heisman trophy, a career as an NFL running back, a stint as an Olympic bobsledder, and a fifth-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do.
Shine Fights Signs Todd Moore, Who Wants Mayorga
Shine Fights continues to spend like UFC might to sign fighters, their latest pickup is Todd Moore, who gets a 3-fight exclusive deal. The WEC & DREAM veteran even knows who he wants to fight first: Former boxing champion Ricardo Mayorga, who signed with the promotion in September.
Shine Fights Signs TUF Vet Jesse Forbes
Shine Fights continued it's pre-holiday signing spree today, inking Jesse Forbes to a 3-fight deal. Forbes appeared on season 3 of The Ultimate Fighter, losing early to Noah Inhofer but coming back when Inhofer famously left the show after getting a letter from home. He lost again but returned for the Finale, where he lost to Matt Hamill. But he's 7-1 in his last 8 fights with 4 wins in a row.
Shine Fights Signs Russian Alexander Shlemenko
No, it's not a typo. Shine Fights, just a day after adding Murilo Rua to it's roster, has signed Russian middleweight Alexander Shlemenko to a 3-fight exclusive deal. The native Russian is 24-4 career, with 15 wins by KO/TKO, and should debut in early '10.
Shine Fights Signs Murilo Rua
Sorry Rua fans, but Murilo won't be following brother Mauricio to UFC anytime soon, nor will he fight for Strikeforce. The older of the Ruas has signed an exclusive 3-fight deal with Shine Fights and should debut for them early next year, possibly against Falaniko Vitale.
Leites ready for anything against Dean Lister
“The expectation will be always good, even more now that I’m coming from two defeats, it’s a new start to me, actually. New event, new house... I’m training as if it were the most important fight of my life”, guarantees, preparing his game for a complete opponent. “I think that he may want to exchange a little bit, to surprise me. But, actually, both essences are Jiu-Jitsu, I think that this fight might go to the ground anyway, which is good for both of us”.
Overeem, Rizzo, "Ninja," Monson and Speer part of Bitetti Combat 5
A handful of notables, including former UFC heavyweight title challenger Pedro Rizzo, one-time top UFC heavyweight contender Jeff Monson and PRIDE veteran Murilo "Ninja" Rua, have been announced for the next installment of Bitetti Combat.
Bitetti Combat 5 takes place Dec. 12 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Rizzo (17-9), who defeated Monson via unanimous decision at Bitetti Combat 4 in September, meets Dutch PRIDE veteran Valentijn Overeem (26-24) in the night's headliner.
Overeem, who's defeated the likes of Renato "Babalu" Sobral (2000) and Randy Couture (2001) during his 14-year career, is the older brother of Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem.
Rua (17-10-1), who looks to build off a 39-second knockout of Alex Stiebling at the latest Bitetti Combat show, takes on M-1 Challenge vet Jason Jones (14-7).
In other bouts, Monson (31-9) meets WEC vet Glover Teixeira (7-2), veteran Travis Wiuff (57-13) looks for his fourth straight win when he meets Brazilian Fabio Maldonado (12-3), and "The Ultimate Fighter 6" runner-up Tommy Speer (13-4) meets Eduardo Pamplona (12-2), a winner of seven straight.
‘Ninja’ Rua back in December in Sao Paulo
After the quick knockout victory at Bitetty Combat 4, needing less than 40 seconds to knock Alex Stiebling out, Murilo “Ninja” Rua spoke with TATAME.com and revealed he’ll be back to the rings at December 12, at Bitetti Combtat’s fifth edition.
MFC Strips & Releases Champion Trevor Prangley
A surprise move was made Sunday night by Canada's Maximum Fighting Championships (MFC) promotion-their Light Heavyweight Champion, Trevor Prangley, was stripped of the title and released. Sunday night’s press release explained, “The move was required when Prangley violated his contract by signing with two smaller organizations while under contract with the MFC. Prangley’s management was informed of the violation after the first offense, but Prangley agreed to fight again outside of the MFC in blatant disregard of his signed exclusive contact.” Prangley claims he got a bit of a run-around from MFC management/ownership.
UFC vet Xavier Foupa-Pokam headlines Dec. 3 Tachi Palace Fights 2 event
Tachi Palace Fights, the reincarnation of the once-popular Palace Fighting Championships, returns for its second show on Dec. 3, and the organization has secured recent UFC fighter Xavier Foupa-Pokam for the night's main event.
The French kickboxer takes on Mike Moreno in a middleweight bout.
Other notables on the card, which takes place at the Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino in Lemoore, Calif., include Diego Saraiva, Cyrille Diabate and Kyle Pimentel.
Bellator strikes landmark broadcasting deal with FOX Sports Net, NBC and Telemundo
Bellator Fighting Championships will shift from its original home on Spanish-language ESPN Deportes to FOX Sports Net, NBC and Telemundo for the next two seasons, the U.S.-based mixed-martial-arts promotion today announced.
Live events will air Thursday nights on FOX Sports Net affiliates, and highlights packages will run Saturday nights on both NBC and the Spanish-language Telemundo.
"It was my dream scenario," Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney admitted to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) about the landmark broadcast alliance.
The deal with FOX Sports Net and NBC Universal (which owns both NBC and Telemundo) kicks off with the 12-week season two of Bellator, which commences April 8, and continues into season three, which begins Aug. 12.
Joe Warren vs. Rumina Sato at Vale Tudo Japan '09
At today's "GIG TOKYO" show in Shinjuku Face, Shooto promoter Sustain revealed the addition of a major fight to the rapidly approaching Vale Tudo Japan '09 (10/30). Previously announced participant Rumina Sato (24-14-2) has found an opponent in former DREAM Featherweight Grand Prix semifinalist Joe Warren (2-1). The bout will be contested at 63kg (~139 lbs.) under "VTJ Rules," which include legal stomps and knees to the head of a downed opponent.
Thales Leites joins Maximum Fighting Championships
The detractors have said their piece — now it’s time to prove them wrong.
That is the sentiment coming from the camp of Thales Leites, who has officially signed on to join the middleweight ranks in the Maximum Fighting Championship. In all likelihood, the standout Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace will make his debut with the organization at MFC 23: Unstoppable on Dec. 4 – quite possibly against another top-ranked title contender, Bryan Baker.
UFC Signs Another KOTC Champion
First Tim Hague, then Mike Guymon, and now UFC has signed a 3rd King Of The Cage Champion in just the last several months. The latest one to sign is Rory MacDonald, a 4-year-pro who's only 20 but is a perfect 9-0 and is the KOTC Lightweight Champion. Terms not disclosed and no debut date set, but he's expected to move up to Welterweight in UFC.
Yves Edwards TKOs fellow 50-fight vet Kyle Jensen at weekend Raging Wolf event
After back-to-back losses and a 4-7 record from 2005 to mid-2008, UFC and PRIDE veteran Yves Edwards was worried that his once-dominant reputation would be spoiled upon his exit from the fight game.
This past weekend, though, the 33-year-old Edwards (36-15-1) continued his comeback and picked up his second straight victory with a first-round TKO win over fellow 50-fight veteran and former WEC fighter Kyle Jensen (39-11-2).
The bout headlined Raging Wolf's fifth event, "Mayhem in the Mist," a pro-am card at the Seneca Niagara Casino Events Center, which is part of the Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel in New York.