Miragliotta stands behind stand-ups, rules out any UFC involvement in decisions
Dan Miragliotta hasn't yet sat down to watch the replay of this past Saturday's UFC 142 bout between Vitor Belfort and Anthony Johnson, but as the contest's referee, he remembers it vividly in his mind.
"If there's two guys on the ground that aren't doing anything or if they're in a takedown position and they're just very tired so they're leaning against each other and they're not going for a single-leg or they're not trying something different to change their position, I give them some time," Miragliotta today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "I warn them, and then I'll separate them."
Miragliotta's critics say his three restart calls, two that came with Johnson in top position and one with "Rumble" in a takedown position against the cage, were unfair and far too hasty, but the referee said he felt his decisions were all warranted.
"[Johnson] established position and then just held his wrist and laid on top of him," Miragliotta said. "He had that one real nice, heavy punch that kind of busted up Vitor's face in the very early beginning of the first round, and then after that his takedowns had just kind of stopped."
Some critics suggested the rowdy HSBC Arena crowd had something to do with Miragliotta's calls. After all, the arena was decidedly pro-Belfort and made it clear they weren't enjoying Johnson's time on top.
Miragliotta, a veteran of big fights all over the world, said that simply isn't true.
"Honestly, the way the fans were screaming and hollering for the fight, I don't think it would have mattered if it was up or down," Miragliotta said. "They were just into the fight. I don't listen to the crowd. They don't bother me."
All UFC/Strikeforce signees must undergo pre-contract drug screenings for PEDs
Zuffa is making it a bit more difficult to become a UFC or Strikeforce fighter.
Officials today announced that all potential UFC and Strikeforce fighters, including those who compete on "The Ultimate Fighter" reality series, must first pass a mandatory pre-contract screening for performance-enhancing drugs.
The policy has been put into immediate effect.
Once signed, fighters will undergo the normal event-related drug testing performed by state athletic commissions (or outside agencies Zuffa hires when no regulatory body is available in a specific region, such as Brazil and the U.K.).
Strikeforce's 'King Mo' Lawal tests positive for anabolic steroid, fighter denies use
Former Strikeforce light-heavyweight champion Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal tested positive for the anabolic steroid Drostanolone at the Jan. 7 "Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Jardine" event.
That's according to Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Keith Kizer, who today emailed the event's drug-testing results to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
When today contacted by MMAjunkie.com, Lawal denied using any banned substances.
Drostanolone (also known as Drolban or Masteron) often is used as a diuretic among weight-cutting athletes, according to various online sources.
PRIDE and Strikeforce vet Miltinho Vieira signs with UFC
Miltinho Vieira (13-7-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC), a veteran competitor who's credited with the invention of the anaconda choke, has signed a four-fight deal with the UFC.
The fighter's management team at Alchemist Management today announced the deal.
No debut date or opponent have been announced for the featherweight fighter.
However, Vieira, a native Brazilian, is certainly a possibility for the UFC's planned June return to Brazil, which takes place in Sao Paulo.
UFC champ St-Pierre anticipates November return, prefers to fight Diaz
Following knee surgery for a torn ACL and damaged meniscus, UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre currently is planning for a November return to the cage.
St-Pierre laid out the plans on Monday's new edition of "Inside MMA" on HDNet.
And upon his return, St-Pierre said he'd rather fight Nick Diaz than his upcoming UFC 143 opponent, Carlos Condit.
"Hard training will be in July, and fighting again – the timing to get back – I would say beginning of November," he said. "Late October or the beginning of November, that'd be great."
Now, upon his returned, St-Pierre (22-2 MMA, 16-2 UFC) hopes Diaz is the one holding the interim title.
"Carlos Condit is a very nice guy ... and I like him a lot, but the reason I wish for Nick Diaz to win that fight is because I want to fight Nick Diaz," he said. "I hope the best man will win, and if the best man is Nick Diaz, I will appreciate it more because it will be a better buildup for the fight."
After tough loss, UFC on FX 1 headliner Jim Miller hopes for quicker road to contention
Jim Miller kept secret the fact that he was suffering from mono and had developed a kidney infection cutting weight to fight Ben Henderson five months ago.
Still, he blames himself for not fighting better.
"I've never felt like that and hope to never feel like that again, inside or outside the octagon," Miller told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio).
Miller threw submission attempt after submission attempt at Henderson when they fought in the co-main event of UFC on Versus 5. He said a kneebar was his in the second round. But the strength to finish the joint lock wasn't there; he was tired after two rounds of warm-up backstage and too debilitated to hold on.
Any other night, and who knows?
"I stepped into the octagon, and there was never that tingle, that feeling of adrenaline," he said. "So I knew something was off, and I feel I should have adapted to it. I should have fought more conservatively and tried to get dominant positions and not expend so much energy hunting for that finish the whole fight."
Buddy Roberts vs. Sean Loeffler Confirmed For UFC on FUEL TV 1
Officials with the Ultimate Fighting Championship have confirmed a previously reported middleweight bout between newcomers Buddy Roberts (11-2) and Sean ‘The Destroyer’ Loeffler (25-5) for next months UFC on FUEL TV 1 event.
The promotion announced the news via Twitter (@ufc) on Monday.
- Middleweight matchup: @seanloeffler vs. @THEBUDDYROBERTS at UFC on @FUELTV in Omaha next month
Kenny Florian tapped color commentator for UFC broadcasting 'B team'
Kenny Florian has officially been tapped the color commentator for the UFC's second broadcast team.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) today confirmed the new position with UFC officials.
Florian, a current UFC fighter and three-time title challenger, debuts with play-by-plan man and fellow recent hire Jon Anik at Friday's UFC on FX 1 event.
Anik and Florian will handle all broadcast duties not taken by the primary team of Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan. Most of the "B team's" events will air on FX, such as Friday's show at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena, and FUEL TV. Both are FOX-owned channels that have taken over the smaller UFC events that previously aired on Spike TV and Versus.
Florian, 35, is no stranger to the broadcast booth. The fighter, who previously hosted "MMA Live" on ESPN (with Anik) and now anchors "UFC Tonight" on FUEL TV (with Todd Harris), previously has filled in for Rogan. For example, when "Fear Factor" taping prevented Rogan from attending this past August's UFC 134 event, Florian filled in as the night's color commentator.
Justin Salas vs. Anton Kuivanen added to UFC on FUEL TV 1
Next month's UFC on FUEL TV 2 event has a new addition to the lineup.
UFC officials today announced that lightweight newcomers Justin Salas (9-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC) and Anton Kuivanen (16-4 MMA, 0-0 UFC) will meet at the Feb. 15 event.
Originally, officials expected to book Kuivanen against fellow newcomer C.J. Keith (8-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC), but he was forced off the card due to a family emergency.
Tommy Hayden targeted for UFC on FX 1 slot against Fabricio Camoes
Promotional newcomer Tommy Hayden, an Ohio-based lightweight based out of Jorge Gurgel's JG MMA Academy, is expected to take Friday's open UFC on FX 1 slot against Fabricio Camoes.
Sources close to the fight confirmed the bout with MMAjunkie.com.
However, as of Monday morning, UFC officials hadn't formally announced the matchup.
UFC Owner Lorenzo Fertitta Hits Back at ESPN Over Fighter Pay
Hours after ESPN's Outside the Lines aired an investigation of the way the UFC pays its fighters, the UFC released its own video of a portion of UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta's interview with ESPN -- a portion that didn't make it on the air, in which Fertitta said UFC fighters make better money than boxers who fight on ESPN.
In that interview, Fertitta points out that ESPN is in a better financial position than the UFC, and yet boxers who appear on ESPN's Friday Night Fights make less money than fighters who appear on basic cable fight cards in the UFC.
"ESPN's gonna make $2.8 billion," Fertitta said. "ESPN -- do you know what fighters make on ESPN fights? There was a guy who walked away in this last fight here in Vegas. ... He walked away with $275 for a four-round fight."
Fertitta said that compared with what those boxers make, the UFC's typical entry-level fighter pay of $6,000 to show and another $6,000 if they win is a good contract.
Outside the Lines Investigates UFC Pay, But Questions Remain
Sunday morning marked the airing of an Outside the Lines segment on ESPN that was denounced by UFC President Dana White before he had even seen it -- a show that presented the UFC's pay model as one that richly rewards a handful of favorite stars while paying the majority of fighters as interchangeable drones.
White has already promised a response, and he'll surely say that ESPN's report contained incomplete information about how much the company pays its fighters. And he'll surely be right, for the simple reason that the UFC, like many private businesses, keeps what it pays its workers confidential. ESPN deserves credit for attempting to uncover the closely guarded secret of how much UFC fighters actually make, but specific dollar amounts were lacking in this report.
Rogan explains Yamasaki grilling after Silva call
UFC co-commentator Joe Rogan has explained the reason behind why he put Mario Yamasaki in a difficult position by asking him to explain his decision to disqualify Erick Silva at UFC 142.
Silva exploded into life on Saturday, finishing Carlo Prater in spectacular fashion after just 29 seconds. However, his joy was cut short when Yamasaki ruled that he had delivered blows to the back of Prater's head - resulting in disqualification.
Replays appeared to show only one blow connecting with the back of the head, with Silva seemingly doing all he could to stay within the legal confines of the sport. The judgement call by Yamasaki clearly angered Rogan, who forced the referee to explain his decision to 15,000 fans inside the stadium, something which has since drawn criticism for Rogan himself.
UFC boss open to lightweight move for 145-pound champ Jose Aldo
With his 14th-straight victory in the featherweight division, UFC champ Jose Aldo (21-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) is beginning to run out of possible opponents at 145 pounds.
Sure, there's a few names making their way up the ranks right now, but is it time for Aldo to make the move up to lightweight in search of greater challenges?
UFC president Dana White said he's just fine with Aldo staying put at featherweight, but he certainly won't stand in the way if the champ decides to move up in weight.
"People have been asking me about Jose Aldo moving up to 155 pounds to take on Frankie Edgar or some of the top guys there," White said at Saturday night's post-UFC 142 press conference at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro. "That's up to him. He's going to have to make that decision whether he wants to make that move or not.
"I would have no problem with him staying at his weight now and defending his title there or moving to 155 pounds – whatever he feels like he wants to do."
UFC open to Erick Silva appeal; Dana White points to need for instant replay
Welterweight Erick Silva may not have left Saturday night's UFC 142 event as a winner, but he'll be paid like one.
At the evening's post-event press conference at Rio de Janeiro's HSBC Arena, UFC president Dana White told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) Silva will receive his win bonus despite being saddled with a disqualification loss.
"We're going to pay him like he won the fight," White told MMAjunkie.com.
Silva (13-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) took on Carlo Prater (30-10-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) on the evening's main card and appeared to notch a 29-second TKO win after landing a powerful knee to the body and following up with punches on the floor. However, after referee Mario Yamasaki waved off the fight, he revealed he was ruling the contest a disqualification as Silva's blows were deemed to have illegally landed to the back of the head. While a referee could simply deduct a point for the infraction, Prater was in no shape to continue, forcing the DQ.
White said he disagreed with Yamasaki's assessment of the fight-ending sequence, prompting him to award the win bonus.
Anthony Johnson released from UFC
Anthony Johnson's third weighcutting mistake will be his last in the UFC, at least for now.
Following Saturday night's UFC 142 event at HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, UFC president Dana White terminated Johnson's contract.
"This is his third time," White said of Johnson's failure to make weight for the third time in his octagon career. "Three strikes and you're gone."
Johnson (10-4 MMA, 7-4 UFC), of course, missed weight for his co-feature fight with Vitor Belfort (21-9 MMA, 10-5 UFC). The UFC president said Johnson came within a pound-and-a-half of the 186-pound limit allowed for non-title middleweight fights but was forced by a doctor to rehydrate because the former welterweight contender "couldn't make it."
"That was one of the most unprofessional things I've ever seen," White said. "The guy was at 170 pounds. He moved up to 185 pounds so this wouldn't happen anymore, and this is the worst weightcutting disaster he's ever had. He almost ruined the co-main event here in Brazil. I don't know what else to say about that one. I'm not happy about it."
WWE Pulls Plug On CM Punk Walking Out With Chael Sonnen At UFC On Fox 2
WWE Champion CM Punk will no longer walk out with Chael Sonnen for his fight with Mark Munoz at UFC On Fox 2.
In early-January, news broke that longtime MMA fan Punk (Phil Brooks) would walk out with the former pro wrestling prospect and top middleweight contender Sonnen in Punk's hometown of Chicago, IL. Punk had previously received permission from WWE to skip a house show on Saturday, January 28 to be at the UFC event.
From Ariel Helwani's piece on MMA Fighting:
Punk confirmed with MMAFighting.com that WWE chairman Vince McMahon decided against allowing him to walk out to the cage with Sonnen later this month. MMA reporter FrontRowBrian first reported the news Friday afternoon.