UFC planning no PRIDE revival for Japan shows, will target existing UFC fans
Long before MMA hit the mainstream in North America, Japan was hosting historic shows with massive audiences and record TV ratings.
Most of it was the result of PRIDE Fighting Championships, a once-glorious fight promotion that mixed sport with unrivaled spectacle.
But as the UFC gears up for next week's UFC 144 event and a long-awaited return to Japan, officials are looking to the future, not the past.
Zuffa, the UFC's parent company, ultimately purchased and disbanded PRIDE in 2007. Officials planned to independently operate the promotion – which featured elaborate ring entrances, a different rules set, and a series of sometimes-comical open-weight matches – but ultimately disbanded it and moved key talent to the UFC. They cited numerous problems – from the internal workings of the company to issues with TV partners to financial discrepancies on the books. Rumored ties to the yakuza also dogged the promotion.
While many veteran MMA fans fondly remember PRIDE's once-dominant glory days, UFC president Dana White said UFC 144 marks a new era for MMA in Japan, and it'll include the UFC's brand of fighting.
"Do I think this is going to be a PRIDE event and 100,000 people are going to show up, and it's going to be (like that)?" White asked. "No, I don't think that. But I think that there is a fanbase there for the UFC.
"People keep asking me, 'Oh, will you play the PRIDE music? Will you do (this or that)?' No, this isn't PRIDE. It's the UFC. The UFC is coming to Japan, and what the people in Japan are going to see is what they see on television, if they're UFC fans."
Aaron Simpson nearly set on move to welterweight after UFC on FUEL TV 1 loss
If the docs say it's OK, count on seeing UFC vet Aaron Simpson at welterweight.
After a loss to Ronny Markes (13-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) on Wednesday at UFC on FUEL TV 1, Simpson (11-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) said he's tired of being undersized at middleweight.
"I've been thinking about it over the last year and a half," the 37-year-old today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "Everybody I fight is cutting from 220 (pounds)."
UFC on FUEL TV 1 took place at Omaha Civic Auditorium in Omaha, Neb. Simpson vs. Markes served as part of the event's main card, which aired on FUEL TV following prelims on Facebook.
The noticeably bulky Markes pinned Simpson on the cage several times during the three-round fight, which ended in a split decision for the Brazilian.
Simpson, who saw a three-fight win streak broken, said he never gets heavier than 200 pounds.
"There were times I couldn't budge," he said. "[Markes] had his shoulder buried in my chest, and I couldn't move him. And I can defend a lot of people's takedowns and everything, and it was just one of those deals where that really dwarfed me."
A positive Simpson took from the fight was the power in his punches, which dropped Markes in the first round. However, that advantage was muted by his size deficit...
Akira Corassani withdraws from his bout with Jason Young
Hard-hitting featherweight Akira Corassani has suffered an injury and will be unable to compete against Jason Young as originally expected at UFC on Fuel 2.
The promotion recently issued a press release to members of the Swedish media, revealing that Young will meet a to-be-announced replacement at the April 14 event, which marks the UFC’s inaugural trip to Sweden.
Headlined by a light heavyweight confrontation between top Swedish prospect Alexander Gustafsson and former Pride Fighting Championships star Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, UFC on Fuel 2 takes place at the Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm.
UFC boss: NSAC's handling of Mayweather, Diaz, Sonnen woefully inconsistent
OMAHA, Neb. – UFC president Dana White admits he doesn't know how the Nevada State Athletic Commission is going to handle the failed UFC 143 drug test of top welterweight Nick Diaz.
But after observing what White considers incomprehensibly inconsistent recent handling of boxer Floyd Mayweather and UFC middleweight Chael Sonnen, the UFC boss is praying for fair treatment.
"We'll see what happens," White told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) following Wednesday's UFC on FUEL TV 1 event in Omaha, Neb. "We'll see if inconsistency prevails again."
White's frustrations with the NSAC include his usual gripes: judges and referees that need better education and execution of their responsibilities. But more importantly, White points to the commission's recent directives for Mayweather and Sonnen as prime examples of how everything is certainly not equal.
"How about the Nevada State Athletic Commission royally kissed Floyd Mayweather's ass when he walked in there," White said. "This guy is going to jail. The judge is allowing him to not go to jail until he has his fight. Right?
UFC's heavyweight division unlikely to include Tim Sylvia, Herschel Walker
OMAHA, Neb. – All sorts of online campaigns have been launched to get fighters signed to the UFC, and many of them have worked.
For now, it looks like one former champion's won't.
"No," White told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) when asked whether Tim Sylvia could possibly be seen again inside the octagon. "I don't even know what Tim Sylvia's done. The last Tim Sylvia fight I saw, he got knocked out by a boxer. What has he done since then?"
Silvia (30-7) is 6-1 since the fight White referred to in which ex-boxing champ Ray Mercer knocked him out in nine seconds. Although most of his recent fights have been contested at super heavyweight, Sylvia slimmed to heavyweight and outpointed Andreas Kraniotakes this past November in the revamped ProElite.
After UFC on FUEL TV 1 classic, White says all future main events five rounds
If you were left begging for two more rounds after Jake Ellenberger's thrilling three-round victory over Diego Sanchez, you weren't alone.
Following Wednesday's UFC on FUEL TV 1 event in Omaha, Neb., UFC president Dana White admitted he "blew it," and all future main events will feature five rounds.
"Already thought and done," White told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "I'm actually pissed at myself about it, so yeah."
UFC on FUEL TV Weigh-In Results
Jake Ellenberger (170) vs. Diego Sanchez (170)
Dave Herman (234) vs. Stefan Struve (256)
Ronny Markes (185) vs. Aaron Simpson (186)
Philip De Fries (241) vs. Stipe Miocic (240)
T.J. Dillashaw (136) vs. Walel Watson (135)
John Albert (135) vs. Ivan Menjivar (135)
Jonathan Brookins (145) vs. Vagner Rocha (145)
Sean Loeffler (185) vs. Buddy Roberts (184)
Anton Kuivanen (156) vs. Justin Salas (155)
Bernardo Magalhaes (155) vs. Tim Means (155)
John Albert vs. Ivan Menjivar promoted to UFC on FUEL TV 1 main card
It looks like John Albert's wish to be a main-card fighter has come true sooner than expected.
A bout between Albert (7-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) and fellow bantamweight Ivan Menjivar (23-8 MMA, 2-1 UFC) has promoted from the preliminary card to the main card of Wednesday's UFC on FUEL TV 1 event.
FUEL TV officials today confirmed the addition, which brings the FUEL TV-televised main card to six bouts, with MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
UFC on FUEL TV 1 takes place at Omaha Civic Auditorium in Omaha, Neb. Albert vs. Menjivar initially was slated for the night's free preliminary-card Facebook stream, which precedes the night's televised main card. (As a reminder, FUEL TV is now available as part of a free-preview week on many cable platforms.)
The full UFC on FUEL TV 1 card now includes:
MAIN CARD (FUEL TV)
Jake Ellenberger vs. Diego Sanchez
Dave Herman vs. Stefan Struve
Ronny Markes vs. Aaron Simpson
Philip De Fries vs. Stipe Miocic
T.J. Dillashaw vs. Walel Watson
John Albert vs. Ivan Menjivar
PRELIMINARY CARD (Facebook)
Jonathan Brookins vs. Vagner Rocha
Sean Loeffler vs. Buddy Roberts
Anton Kuivanen vs. Justin Salas
Bernardo Magalhaes vs. Tim Means
Alistair Overeem Officially A Blackzilian
Amidst a long and public dispute with Golden Glory that has yet to be resolved, it appears that UFC Heavyweight #1 contender Alistair Overeem has signed with Authentic Sports Management, and will begin training in Florida alongside Anthony Johnson, Rashad Evans, and Melvin Guillard.
Mike Easton vs. Yves Jabouin added to UFC on FUEL TV 3
A bantamweight bout between Mike Easton (12-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) and Yves Jabouin (17-7 MMA, 2-1 UFC) has been added to the UFC on FUEL TV 3 fight card.
UFC-Canada officials today announced the fight.
UFC on FUEL TV 3 takes play May 15 in Fairfax, Va., likely at the city's Patriot Center. The event's main card airs live on FUEL TV, and Facebook is expected to stream the preliminary card.
It's not clear where Easton vs. Jabouin will be situated on the lineup.
The latest UFC on FUEL TV 3 card now includes:
Dustin Poirier vs. Chan Sung Jung
Igor Pokrajac vs. Thiago Silva
Donald Cerrone vs. Yves Edwards
Tom Lawlor vs. Jason MacDonald
Jorge Lopez vs. Amir Sadollah
Mike Easton vs. Yves Jabouin
Cody McKenzie vs. Aaron Riley
Brad Tavares vs. Dongi Yang
Alan Belcher vs. Rousimar Palhares added to UFC on FOX 3
A major middleweight bout between two of the division's most entertaining fighters has been added to the UFC on FOX 3 card.
UFC president Dana White today announced that well-rounded Alan Belcher (17-6 MMA, 8-4 UFC) meets submission specialist Rousimar Palhares (14-3 MMA, 7-2 UFC) at the upcoming event.
UFC on FOX 3 takes place May 5 at IZOD Center in East Rutherford, N.J. The main card, including a Jim Miller vs. Nate Diaz headliner, airs on FOX, and prelims are expected to air on FUEL TV.
Belcher vs. Palhares is likely to be part of the FOX-televised main card.
The latest UFC on FOX 3 card now includes:
Nate Diaz vs. Jim Miller
Johny Hendricks vs. Josh Koscheck
Alan Belcher vs. Rousimar Palhares
Pat Barry vs. Lavar Johnson
John Hathaway vs. Pascal Krauss
John Dodson vs. Darren Uyenoyama
Danny Castillo vs. John Cholish
Mike Massenzio vs. Karlos Vemola
Louis Gaudinot vs. John Lineker
Josh Koscheck vs. Johny Hendricks headed to UFC on Fox 3 in May
A major welterweight contender bout between Josh Koscheck and Johny Hendricks is headed to the UFC on Fox 3 card this May, UFC President Dana White announced on Sunday.
Koscheck picked up his second straight win last weekend, edging past Mike Pierce by decision at UFC 143. That was a follow up to his knockout win over Matt Hughes last September in his first fight since losing to Georges St-Pierre in a title bout at UFC 124.
With Leonard Garcia hurt, Tiequan Zhang meets newcomer Issei Tamura at UFC 144
With Leonard Garcia forced to withdraw from this month's UFC 144 event, Japanese newcomer Issei Tamura (6-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) will now face Tiequan Zhang (15-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC).
UFC officials on Saturday announced the change.
Featuring a lighteight title fight between current champ Frankie Edgar and former WEC titleholder Ben Henderson UFC 144 takes place Feb. 25 at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. The event's main card airs live stateside on pay-per-view. The preliminary card is expected to air on FX.
Tamura, a Krazy Bee product, fights for the first time outside of the Shooto promotion. At just 1-2 in his past three fights, Tamura isn't a typical UFC debutant, but he's forced to take the bout on just two weeks' notice. Seven of Tamura's eight career fights have gone to a decision.
Lopez vs. Sadollah, McKenzie vs. Riley, Tavares vs. Yang added to UFC on FUEL TV 3
Three more bouts have been added to May's UFC on FUEL TV 3 event, as Jorge Lopez vs. Amir Sadollah, Cody McKenzie vs. Aaron Riley and Brad Tavares vs. Dongi Yang have all been announced for the card.
UFC officials released the bookings late Saturday night.
Featuring a headliner between Dustin Poirier and Chan Sung Jung, UFC on FUEL TV 3 takes play May 15 at Patriot Center in Fairfax, Va. The event's main card airs live on FUEL TV, and Facebook is expected to stream the preliminary card.
Matt Brown vs. Stephen Thompson added to April's UFC 145 event in Atlanta
Ask, and you shall receive.
Days after UFC 143 winner Matt Brown (13-11 MMA, 6-5 UFC) told MMAjunkie.com Radio he wasn't going to call out his next opponent – and then indirectly calling out his next opponent – UFC officials have given "The Immortal" a fight with Stephen Thompson (6-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC).
The contest was first reported by GreenvilleOnline.com and later confirmed by UFC officials.
Featuring a main event between UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and former titleholder Rashad Evans, UFC 145 takes place April 21 at Atlanta's Philips Arena.
FUEL TV offers free preview week, UFC on FUEL TV 1 included
Still haven't made the commitment to adding FUEL TV to your cable lineup but looking for a way to watch next week's UFC on FUEL TV 1 event?
Don't worry, the new broadcast partner of the UFC has you covered.
FUEL TV officials recently announced that they are offering a free-preview week from Feb. 13 to Feb. 19, which means even non-subscribers can tune in to watch the Feb. 15 event.
Dustin Poirier vs. Chan Sung Jung headlines UFC on FX 3 in Virginia
A key featherweight matchup with real title implications is set for May 15, as Dustin Poirier (12-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC) meets Chan Sung Jung (12-3 MMA, 2-0 UFC) in the headlining bout of UFC on FX 3.
UFC officials today announced the three-round matchup, which takes place after the two fighters verbally jabbed at each other on Twitter.
As previously reported, UFC on FX 3 takes play May 15 at Patriot Center in Fairfax, Va. The event's main card airs live on FX, and FUEL TV is expected to air the preliminary card.