ESPN Outside The Lines piece on Vitor Belfort
And the fighter prays. Vitor Belfort, UFC middleweight, cinches the prayer circle with his dangerous hands. Wife, children, cousin, pastor, reporter. It is nighttime in Rio de Janeiro, July, behind the secure gates of a Barra da Tijuca development, far from the events that have disordered the fighter's life into the shades of scattered memory. "Jesus, we love you," he says.
On Saturday, Sept. 22, in Toronto, Belfort will fight Jon Jones, the UFC light heavyweight champion. Belfort was a champion, a name of the '90s, relying on the knockout, his hands landing faster than any opponent could interpret them, scattering memory in his own way. Belfort is 35 years old now, a long shot.
Frank Mir injured, out of Strikeforce heavyweight fight against Daniel Cormier
Frank Mir (16-6 MMA, 14-6 UFC) will not fight Daniel Cormier (10-0 MMA, 7-0 SF), as it turns out.
An undisclosed injury has forced the ex-UFC champ to withdraw from "Strikeforce: Cormier vs. Mir," which takes place Nov. 3 at Chesapeake Energy Center in Oklahoma City, Okla., and airs live on Showtime and Showtime Extreme.
MMAjunkie.com (mmajunkie.com) confirmed the news on Tuesday night with a source close to the promotion following an initial report from news show Sports Rage. It's unknown whether a replacement for Mir has been found.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news guys. I think Mir realises its a lose/lose for him
Frank Mir gives me Frank Mir face
Not in joking mood, Bisping fires back at fellow UFC 152 fighter Benavidez
Things could get a little chilly in the locker rooms at UFC 152 – at least if Michael Bisping and Joseph Benavidez are sharing space.
Putting it mildly, Bisping didn't appreciate the UFC flyweight's off-the-cuff remark that he was a harder puncher.
"That smug-faced little t--- in a prepubescent boy's body needs to shut the f--- up because I'll take the Pepsi Challenge with that short-ass any day of the week," Bisping told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio).
Benavidez made his claim at the end of a recent video blog shot for the UFC. While watching a promo for UFC 152, his longtime training partner Urijah Faber asks him if he hits harder than "The Count."
"Yes, I hit harder than Bisping," Benavidez answers.
You'll Never Guess How They Chose The Location For UFC ON FX 5
As you would expect from the head of a billion-dollar business, Ultimate Fighting Championship CEO Lorenzo Fertitta does not take the future of his Las Vegas-based company for granted, and each decision that impacts his promotion is carefully considered while utilizing vast amounts of data, market research and historical perspective.
Of course, every now and then choices boil down to little more than a gut decision, or at least a decision dictated by the gut.
"It was kind of funny, because we do a lot of analysis and we're running numbers and doing all kinds of different things, and we said, 'Sometimes you just have to go literally by gut feel.
"I'm a huge fan of Guy Fieri's show, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, and I had actually downloaded the app on my iPhone. I said, 'You know what we're going to do? I'm going to go on my app right now, and whichever city has more Guy Fieri locations, that's where we're going to do the fight.' That's literally how it came down."
'Mayday' eyes December return, history
Michael McDonald won’t be 22 years old until January. There’s a chance -- if the cards fall in his favor, and his hand is healthy enough to chin-hunt, and UFC matchmakers throw him a bone -- that by the time “Mayday’s” birthday rolls around, he’ll be accessorizing with UFC gold.
It’s a lot of “ifs,” and a few asterisks -- but it’s possible, and the scenario isn’t all that hard to fathom.
Jon Jones was 23 years and 8 months old when he defeated Mauricio Rua for the light heavyweight belt. If Mayday gets a fight with bantamweight interim titleholder Renan Barao in December -- which is the month McDonald has circled for his return -- he could usurp Jones’ feat of becoming the youngest fighter to be a UFC champion. By a full year and a half, no less.
Yeah, yeah -- even if it’s a placeholder belt that is mostly illusion, while the genuine article remains off-limits until Dominick Cruz returns from his ACL injury.
But first things first. The only jones McDonald is dealing with is the one to crush a heavy bag without wincing.
Gold Coast Selected as Location for TUF: The Smashes Finale at UFC on FX 6
With the premiere episode of TUF: Australia vs. UK “The Smashes” right around the corner, the UFC on Monday announced that the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre in Broadbeach, Queensland, Australia, would host UFC on FX 6, which features TUF: The Smashes finale on Dec. 15 (Dec. 14 in the U.S.).
The main event will be a fight between the TUF: The Smashes coaches. Australia’s George Sotiropoulos and the U.K.’s Ross Pearson will meet in the lightweight division. The main card also features the fight between adopted Aussie Hector Lombard and submission specialist Rousimar “Toquinho” Palhares, as well as the TUF lightweight and welterweight finals.
UFC unveils online availability for 'The Ultimate Fighter: Australia vs. UK'
The season debut of "The Ultimate Fighter: Australia vs UK," which has also been dubbed "TUF: TheSmashes," will be available worldwide beginning this Thursday.
While FX holds the TV rights in Australia, and ESPN holds the rights in the U.K., the rest of the world can watch the show online.
A number of online outlets will make each episode of the competition-reality series available beginning Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET (7 p.m. PT).
Brunson, Osterneck, Silva, Hicks among 120 hopefuls at 'TUF 17' open tryouts
LAS VEGAS – Four-time Strikeforce veteran Derek Brunson, UFC veterans Nissen Osterneck and Jay Silva, and six-time WEC veteran Marcus Hicks were among more than 120 middleweight and light-heavyweight hopefuls who attended Monday's open tryout session for "The Ultimate Fighter 17."
The prospective cast members gathered at the Fertitta family-owned Palace Station Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
The tryouts started out with a bang – literally – as light-heavyweight hopefuls Diman Morris and Dan Charles went crashing through a folding table during their two-minute grappling session.
The pair was just the second set of fighters to step before UFC matchmakers Joe Silva and Sean Shelby for evaluation. Fortunately, neither fighter was injured, and cooler heads prevailed throughout the remainder of the day.
DaMarques Johnson, not Rich Attonito, meets Gunnar Nelson at UFC on FUEL TV 5
DaMarques Johnson (16-11 MMA, 4-5 UFC), not Rich Attonito (10-5 MMA, 3-2 UFC), will meet Gunnar Nelson (9-0-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) later this month at UFC on FUEL TVF 5, MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) today confirmed with sources close to the event.
As reported earlier today, Mjolnir fight team head Dean Nelson (who's also Gunnar's father) initially tweeted that Attonito had stepped in for injured welterweight Pascal Krauss (10-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC).
Instead, it'll be Johnson who takes the short-notice opportunity.
Rich Attonito to face Gunnar Nelson following injury to Pascal Krauss
Gunnar Nelson’s father has revealed via twitter that Pascal Krauss has been forced to withdraw from UFC in Nottingham later this month, and that Gunnar will now face Rich Attonito, who has agreed to step in on short notice
“Pascal Krauss out injured. Rich Attonito is Gunnar’s Nelson new opponent at UFC in Nottingham. Credit to him for stepping in.”
Attonito has gone 3-2 in the UFC since his debut back in June 2010 where he TKOed Jamie Yager. “The Raging Bull” lost his last fight against Jake Hecht by TKO back in December
Nick Ring vs. Constantinos Philippou Added to UFC 154: St-Pierre vs. Condit
The latest bout added to the Montreal event is a pivotal middleweight showdown between Canadian Nick Ring and American Constantinos Philippou.
Ring (13-1) is looking to build his momentum back up after a loss – the first of his career – to Tim Boetsch at UFC 135. He started back on the right track with a unanimous decision over Court McGee at UFC 149 in July.
He’ll face Philippou (11-2), who is already riding a wave towards title contention. After stumbling against Nick Catone in his UFC debut, Philippou has been on a tear, reeling off four consecutive victories.
Dana White Objects To Headline, Interacts With Fans Online
Since taking over as head of the promotion, UFC President Dana White has asserted himself as the face of the company. His abrasive and uncouth straight-talk is now a staple of the UFC package. Most recently, Dana's words made waves when he scathingly criticized Light Heavyweight champion Jon Jones and his coach Greg Jackson for turning down Chael Sonnen as an injury replacement for Dan Henderson at UFC 151. Without a strong draw to headline the card, White was forced to cancel the event.
MMA Junkie caught up with Dana to see if he ever considers stepping away from the UFC. White definitively says that it's not even a possibility for him at this point.
Krzysztof Soszynski Returns Against Ednaldo Oliveira At UFC On FX 6
The UFC's final FX card of 2012 has its first preliminary card addition to the December 15th Australian show. TUF alum and crowd-pleaser Krzysztof Soszynski is returning to action following an uncertain future, and he'll take on Ednaldo Oliveira, who is dropping to 205 lbs for the first time in his career. Tatame's Guilherme Cruz confirmed the matchup on Twitter:
Ednaldo Oliveira to make his LHW debut at UFC's next show in Australia, on December, against Krzysztof Soszynski
Bisping: Weidman undeserving of No. 1 status after beating 'an out-of-shape fat man'
LAS VEGAS – UFC middleweight contender isn't looking past his UFC 152 opponent, Brian Stann.
But with what appears to be a bit of a four-man tournament lining up in the UFC's middleweight division – and with UFC President Dana White on Thursday declaring Chris Weidman (9-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) the division's No. 1 contender – the question seems unavoidable.
For the record, no, Bisping does not believe Weidman deserves that type of recognition. And while he's not so sure Weidman will make it past Tim Boetsch in their December fight, Bisping likes his chances against the grappling stud.
Dana White Says Lyoto Machida Is Fighting Dan Henderson Next
It appears that two men who thought they had title shots in their back pocket could be facing each other next. At a UFC luncheon, Dana White was discussing Lyoto Machida, who earned a title shot at UFC on Fox 4 but turned down a short-notice fight with champion Jon Jones at UFC 152. He made it quite clear that because he turned down the shot, he's going to have to take another fight next. And the man across the octagon from him is going to be Dan Henderson (via MMA Fighting):
"[Machida] should have taken the fight. We've seen it, history always repeats itself. Look how long it took Rashad (Evans) to fight for the title again. So you wanted to fight Jon Jones, you climbed up to the title fight and you don't take it. Now you're fighting (expletive) Dan Henderson. Now you might not even get to the (expletive) title again. You lose to Dan Henderson you're not anywhere near Jon Jones," White said.
Dana White: Chael Sonnen in full camp, expecting UFC 152 fight with Jon Jones
LAS VEGAS – Chael Sonnen (28-12-1 MMA, 6-5 UFC) isn't giving up on the possibility of fighting Jon Jones (16-1 MMA, 10-1 UFC) just yet.
According to UFC President Dana White, Sonnen is anticipating another last-minute change to next week's UFC 152 event, and the two-time middleweight title challenger is expecting to replace Vitor Belfort and take his shot at Jones' light heavyweight belt.
"Chael Sonnen is in full training camp right now," White told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "He's been training since he got offered the Jones fight. He said, 'I'm in full camp right now because Vitor will get hurt and pull out, and it will be Jones vs. Sonnen, anyway."
Dana White’s Anger With Jones And Jackson Reignited
“The Jon Jones piece of meat (expletive) thing. When I see him in (expletive) Toronto, that’s the first (expletive) thing we’re going to talk about. Piece of meat? Give me a (expletive) break. That sounds like something a male supermodel would say: I feel like a piece of meat out here (White said in a mocking voice)."
(It's all a transcript of his interview. Worth a read, if for no other reason but to play the 'which swear word belongs in which expletives place' game)
People Who Complain About What Happened to UFC 153 Need to Understand the Big Picture
So after Wednesday, after UFC was dealt a hand of lemons the day before when the top two matches at UFC 153 fell apart within hours of each other, and came out of it with lemonade, I woke up to some surprising news.
After being blamed by many for his inability to save UFC 151, when he not only saved UFC 153, but made it more attractive to the majority of his consumers, Dana White was wrong again.
I'm not exactly sure what he was wrong about. Sure, if you asked me the 100 fights I would most be looking forward to seeing this year, Anderson Silva vs. Stephan Bonnar wouldn't be in the top 20.
And I was genuinely looking forward to Jose Aldo vs. Frankie Edgar, the previous main event, more than all but two fights for the rest of this year. To me, it had significance, because it means something, and may even be the most important fight, in determining who the best lighter weight fighter in the sport is. But there's another thing more important, that a lot of hardcore fans who would agree with these views are missing. If UFC markets to us, they would be playing in 2,000-seat casino halls, selling almost no tickets to the public, airing on ESPN2 with a $40,000 budget for the entire show, and nobody would know who the fighters are, except people like us...