Yoshihiro Akiyama meets Jake Shields at UFC 144 in Japan
Japanese superstar Yoshihiro Akiyama will have plenty of support from his home country fans on February 26th, when he makes his welterweight debut in UFC 144 action against 170-pound contender Jake Shields at Saitama Super Arena in Japan.
"Verbal agreements are in for a welterweight matchup in Tokyo, Japan between former Strikeforce champion Jake Shields and Asian superstar 'Sexyama' Yoshihiro Akiyama February 26th," said UFC President Dana White.
Bob Arum: The UFC got buried Saturday night
UFC president Dana White loves boxing, but the promoters, not so much, 80-year-old Bob Arum especially. in the space of two minutes, White has called Arum an "idiot, moron, full of s---, big, fat, mouth shooting off, rich, lying, makes me sick, phony, two-faced pig, scumbag who destroyed the entire sport of boxing."
Arum has made similar comments, but reversed.
Arum admires the promoters of the UFC, saying "I love the way they have shown us, because of how well they’ have been doing, in certain aspects, to make us adapt, they do an unbelievable job on advertising on the Internet. They do an unbelievable job in the arena with music and so forth, and steaming up the crowd, we’re trying to duplicate it. They are great promoters ... and they are really good guys so I give them all the kudos, and all the credit for what they’ve done. Theres’ no knock on them, these are good class guys who really built a terrific business."
Arum however, hates the sport, and the fans. "For me MMA is garbage and junk, that’s how I feel and I would think that the majority of people of my generation would feel the same ... It’s fans are skinheads ... It’s horrible, guys rolling around like homosexuals on the ground. It is not a sport, the guys who throw punches can’t throw a punch to save their ass, when the punches land the guys have no chins."
Saturday night the UFC debuted on national television, immediately before the Arum promoted Pacquiao fight, and it offered Bob Arum another opportunity to go off on MMA, and the UFC.
"They thought they would hurt us,” Arum said of the UFC. “Instead they got hurt because they got buried. But I think the fact they’re just on for an hour helps us.”
5.7 Million Viewers Makes Cain vs JDS Most Watched UFC Event Ever
So if you have a twitter you'll already know that MMA media types are proclaiming the UFC's first foray onto Fox as a massive failure now that the initial ratings are released. Prior to the night, expectations ranged from the realistic (6.5 million) to the hilarious (10+ million). There was also some discussion regarding what would be an acceptable number for Fox and the UFC with hopes they would surpass Kimbo Slice vs James Thompson.
According to the people at TV by the Numbers, the hour long show did a 2.4 rating with a 7 share at the 18-49 range. Total viewers for the initial estimates are 4.65 million. Now, these are incredibly early and shouldn't be considered the final rating. TV by the Numbers included a disclaimer saying "Due to the nature of live coast-to-coast programming the ratings for ABC (College Football), CBS (Republican Debate) and Fox (UFC) are approximate and subject to more than the typical adjustments in the final numbers. See below for more information on these Fast Affiliate Ratings." This essentially means that there are a number of households that haven't yet been tallied.
After scouting champ Edgar, Henderson wants to pack on weight for UFC title shot (Edgar vs. Bendo Poll Inside)
If it's 24 hours before one of his fights, former WEC champ Ben Henderson (15-2 MMA, 3-0 UFC) is an octagon girl's worst nightmare.
You see, when "Smooth" is ready to weigh-in for his fights, you can be sure Burt Watson and Dana White will soon be holding a towel (sending the girls scurrying away), as Henderson always makes use of the full 156 pounds allowed in his lightweight contests.
But now, with a UFC title shot against a smaller Frankie Edgar looming on the horizon, Henderson said he wants to push the envelope even further.
"I'm sure [Edgar] is used to it, but it's definitely something I do want to take advantage of: my size," Henderson said following Saturday night's post-UFC on FOX press conference. "I want to get as big as possible, bulk up a little bit and do a good job of cutting weight, re-hydrating – do a very scientific job of that to be as big as possible, size-wise, shape-wise, to my advantage."
Henderson, of course, looked absolutely unstoppable in earning a unanimous-decision win over Clay Guida in the featured preliminary bout of Saturday night's UFC on FOX event in Anaheim, Calif. Following the win, UFC president White confirmed Henderson would get the next crack at Edgar. The two are now expected to meet in the UFC's February return to Japan.
UFC Quick Quote: Dana White wants you to shut up and stop bitching about not seeing more fights on FOX
"This fight was not part of the (FOX) deal. The deal is for seven years (and) so many fights on FOX. This time, that time, this was never part of the deal. After we signed the deal, FOX said, 'Why don't we do this, why don't we do a fight right away, lets put a great fight on TV, kick it off and let everybody know about the partnership?' That's what this thing was. For anybody to bitch about this fight and they didn't get to see that fight, shut up! You should have bought tickets then if you wanted to see all the fights and you don't like to watch it on Facebook. Seriously, shut up. I don't even want to hear it."
UFC on Fox ratings fail to dethrone Kimbo on CBS ratings
Despite White's nostalgia and best intentions, UFC on Fox 1 reeled in about 4.5 million viewers last night, which is about 2 million less than the sport's very first taste of terrestrial television three years ago (May 31, 2008) on CBS, when Miami bareknuckle brawler Kimbo Slice took on James Thompson in the Elite XC: "Primetime" main event.
Ben Henderson Earns Shot At Frankie Edgar In Japan
Yesterday at the UFC on Fox weigh ins Joe Rogan announced that the winner of Clay Guida and Ben Henderson would be the number one contender for Frankie Edgar's lightweight belt. With the fight of the year candidate in the books and Henderson as the victor, the fight was made official at the post fight press conference. It was rumored that the next Frankie Edgar fight would be at Zuffa's first attempt to break into the Japanese market in January. Dana White confirmed this rumor tonight.
Ramsey Nijem vs. Anthony Njokuani targeted for UFC 141 in Las Vegas
A lightweight bout between Ramsey Nijem (5-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) and Anthony Njokuani (14-5 MMA, 1-1 UFC) has been targeted for next month's UFC 142 event.
Sources close to the event told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) verbal agreements are in place for the fight.
Featuring a heavyweight headliner between former UFC champ Brock Lesnar and recent Strikeforce titleholder Alistair Overeem, UFC 141 takes place Dec. 30 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
The main card airs on pay-per-view, though Nijem vs. Njokuani likely will be part of the preliminary card.
Forrest Griffin Apologizes for Twitter Rape Joke, Donates to Rape Crisis Center
Forrest Griffin tweeting out a joke about rape became a big story given the timing of the UFC's Fox debut. The story of his tweet was picked up by major online media sources and it led to a questioning of the UFC's embrace of Twitter and associated reward system while refusing to hold fighters accountable for harmful tweets.
Forrest has now apologized to a local rape crisis center whose executive director said "The entire comment was disgusting and insensitive." Las Vegas ABC affiliate KTNV has Griffin's apology:
"I like to cause trouble, I like to stir the pot and I like to make a mess of things, but I really do not want to be mean or malicious to anyone. I feel bad, I want to apologize, I feel like a should be punished a little bit. Maybe other professional athletes or just guys in locker rooms can kind of be more sensitive towards the topic of rape. Once you take the comments in the light of day you feel disgusted by it, but at the time you don't think."
UFC on FOX's Guida vs. Henderson winner expected to face champ Edgar in Japan
Maybe fighting on Facebook isn't the worst thing in the world.
While many MMA fans and pundits have expressed their frustration that a key UFC on FOX lightweight matchup between Clay Guida (29-11 MMA, 9-5 UFC) and Ben Henderson (14-2 MMA, 2-0 UFC) has been relegated to the evening's Facebook-streamed undercard, it appears UFC brass is still dangling a rather large carrot in front of the winner.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) has learned from multiple sources close to the promotion that the winner of the Guida vs. Henderson matchup is expected to receive an immediate title shot against current lightweight champ Frankie Edgar (14-1-1 MMA, 9-1-1 UFC).
Guida and Henderson meet in the co-feature of Saturday night's UFC on FOX 1 event, which sees heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez defend his belt against Junior Dos Santos in Anaheim, Calif. The main event airs on FOX.
Rich Attonito meets newcomer Jake Hecht at UFC 140
Following a card shuffle brought by Rory MacDonald's recent injury, the UFC has patched a hole in the second event headed to Toronto.
Sources close to the event today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that Jake Hecht (10-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) will meet Rich Attonito (10-4 MMA, 3-1 UFC) on the preliminary card of UFC 140, which takes place Dec. 10 at Toronto's Air Canada Centre. Facebook-streamed prelims serve as a lead-in for a two-fight card broadcast on Spike TV, which then heads to the pay-per-view main card.
Attonito was originally scheduled to meet Claude Patrick, who was promoted to a main card bout against MacDonald's original opponent, Brian Ebersole.
Hecht, a product of Fiore MMA, brings a three-fight win streak into the octagon and has earned five of his 10 career wins via submission. Most notably, he holds a decision win over "The Ultimate Fighter 13" veteran Charlie Rader in regional competition.
As UFC on FOX headliner looms, champ Cain Velasquez envisions he's underdog
When he walked into the UFC's Rosemead, Calif. gym some 13 months ago, Cain Velasquez was the best challenger the promotion had to offer heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar.
Now Velasquez (9-0 MMA, 7-0 UFC) is the champ, and Junior Dos Santos (13-1 MMA, 7-0 UFC) sits on the horizon waiting to dethrone him.
Oddsmakers still see Velasquez as a slight favorite leading into his headliner with Dos Santos, which takes place Saturday at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., as the main event of UFC on FOX.
In so many words, the line says Velasquez is the champ and brings better wrestling to the fight and therefore has a greater ability to control where things go.
Velasquez, though, has the mentality of an underdog. Whether he's fighting for the title or defending it, as he is under the network lights, this is the part of him that never changes.
UFC 137 drug tests come back clean
All 17 fighters who underwent drug testing at this past month's UFC 137 event tested clean for performance-enhancing drugs and recreational/drugs of abuse.
Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Keith Kizer today e-mailed the drug-testing results to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
UFC 137 took place Oct. 29 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas with a Nick Diaz vs. B.J. Penn pay-per-view headliner.
The NSAC tested both of them, as well as Cheick Kongo, Roy Nelson, Scott Jorgensen, Hatsu Hioki, Donald Cerrone, Eliot Marshall, Brandon Vera, Chris Camozzi, Francis Carmont, Ramsey Nijem, Danny Downes, Bart Palaszewski, Tyson Griffin, Dustin Jacoby and Clifford Starks.
All tested negative for drugs of abuse (such as marijuana and cocaine), as well as anabolic steroids and other performance-enhancers.
UFC on FOX's Ben Henderson promises his fight will be on TV 'somehow, someway'
When UFC president Dana White says his company is focused solely on the promotion of Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos leading into this weekend's UFC on FOX event in Anaheim, Calif., he means it.
Unfortunately, that means a critical bout in the lightweight division between perennial contender Clay Guida (29-11 MMA, 9-5 UFC) and former WEC champ Ben Henderson (14-2 MMA, 2-0 UFC) has flown largely under the radar.
But if you listen to "Smooth," it won't stay that way for long. Henderson thinks his promotion will take place when the cage door shuts.
"Someway, somehow, this fight will make it to air," Henderson said at Thursday's pre-UFC on FOX media workouts in Rosemead, Calif. "If it is afterward or whatever, Dana White is going to want to put this one on primetime television. He's going to be like, 'Oh, wow. We need to get this on TV somehow, someway.' I'm going to make sure of that."
UFC and FOX officials, of course, elected to feature only the card's heavyweight title fight on the night's special one-hour "teaser" special. But hardcore fans will be forced to stream the fight via Facebook or FOXSports.com (or watch in Spanish on FOX Deportes).
UFC 137 officially draws 10,313 attendance and $3.9 million gate
This past month's UFC 137 event officially drew a 10,313 attendance figure and a $3,900,650 live gate.
UFC 137 took place Oct. 29 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas with a Nick Diaz vs. B.J. Penn pay-per-view headliner.
Of the 21 events the UFC has held to date at the Sin City venue, the gate figure ranks third all time.
Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Keith Kizer today emailed the officials figures to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
Of the 10,313 attendees, 8,179 paid for tickets, and 2,134 received complimentary admission. Additionally, 409 tickets went unsold, though UFC officials announced the show as a sellout. That produces an average paid ticket price of $476.91.
In addition to the actual event, Mandalay Bay hosted a closed-circuit feed of UFC 137. The event drew 723 attendees (523 paid) for a gate of $26,150.
The Mandalay Bay Events Center's all-time top UFC gates as compiled by MMAjunkie.com include:
UFC 100 (Lesnar vs. Mir II): $5,128,490 gate (10,871 attendance)
UFC 79 (St-Pierre vs. Hughes III): $4,994,000 (11,075)
UFC 137 (Penn vs. Diaz): $3,900,650 (10,313)
UFC 126 (Silva vs. Belfort): $3,600,000 (10,893)
UFC 57 (Liddell vs. Couture III): $3,382,400 (11,000)
UFC boss suggests ex-ring girl Brittney Palmer is back with the promotion
It appears Brittney Palmer will be circling the cage once again.
A former WEC ring girl, Palmer took the same position with the UFC upon the January merger of promotions, but in July, she reportedly vacated her duties to pursue an art career.
But on Wednesday, White suggested Palmer will be back.
"Should we bring back [Brittney Palmer]? Vote now and let me know!" White tweeted late Wednesday night.
White, of course, already knew his answer. Palmer had a devoted following that long has campaigned for her return. So moments later, White announced his verdict.
"Done! The votes have been counted and [she] is back!" he stated.
White didn't state when she'll next don her UFC bikini, though as a Californian, she appears a possibility for this weekend's UFC on FOX event in Anaheim. Palmer hasn't worked an event since UFC 132 in July.
Anderson Silva Will Face Chael Sonnen Next
Anderson Silva has his next opponent.
On Wednesday, UFC President Dana White confirmed that the UFC’s reigning middleweight champion will indeed face heated rival Chael Sonnen in a rematch of their 2010 fight at UFC 117.
During an appearance on Jim Rome’s nationally syndicated radio show, White was asked point blank if Sonnen would indeed get the rematch he’s been seeking for months.
“It’s the fight that everybody wants to see, people want to see Chael vs. Anderson. Anderson is in this position where he feels like this guy is so disrespectful he doesn’t want to give him a shot, but Anderson will end up fighting Chael Sonnen,” White confirmed.
“The answer is yes.”
That puts any debate to rest about who will get the next crack at Anderson Silva, once he’s healthy enough to return to action...
Brock Lesnar to serve as analyst for debut UFC on FOX event
Brock Lesnar has intimate knowledge of Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos. Velasquez took his belt, and Dos Santos coached opposite him as a future opponent on "The Ultimate Fighter 13."
While the one-hour broadcast of UFC on FOX won't give out a teaser for next week's UFC 139, the show will talk about an upcoming heavyweight title eliminator.
That's where Lesnar comes in. The former heavyweight champ fights Alistair Overeem at UFC 140, and the winner gets a shot at the winner of the UFC on FOX main event. That's where champ Velasquez makes his first title defense against Dos Santos.
UFC on FOX takes place Saturday at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. The one-fight main card airs live on FOX while preliminary action streams on Facebook.