UFC boss complimentary of Spike TV but up for challenge of 'going to battle'
Saturday night's UFC on FOX debut signals the beginning of an intriguing period for the Ultimate Fighting Championship and its broadcast partners.
As one era begins with the FOX family of networks, another will slowly come to an end as UFC programming is eventually replaced with Bellator Fighting Championships events on Spike TV.
UFC president Dana White today said he maintains the utmost respect for the operations team at Spike TV and realizes they have been instrumental in the fight promotion's expansion. That said, White said the gloves will come quickly off.
"You'll never hear me say anything bad about Spike or about the guys over there," White said following today's UFC on FOX press conference in Los Angeles. "They're getting into this business, and they're going to be competitors and everything else. But without Spike, I wouldn't be sitting on this stage right now and having this conversation.
"We're going to battle now, I guess, and I look forward to it. I'm up for the challenge."
Joe Lauzon vs. Anthony Pettis Verbally Agreed for UFC Super Bowl Card
It looks like Joe Lauzon is getting his wish.
All signs are pointing towards a Super Bowl weekend fight at UFC 143 between Lauzon and former WEC champion Anthony Pettis.
Sources close to the match-up confirmed to MMAWeekly.com that verbal agreements are in for the lightweight fights to place on the Feb. 4 show. Bout agreements have not been issued for the proposed fight yet however.
Every UFC Fight Will Be Televised in 2012, With FUEL Hosting 2,000 Program Hours
Since signing a deal to bring programming to FOX networks for seven years starting in 2012, UFC president Dana White has repeatedly said that if you're an MMA fan, you're going to want to make sure you have access to the FUEL cable station. Until now though, the scope of FUEL's devotion to the UFC has been somewhat unclear.
No longer. On a Wednesday teleconference featuring executives of both FOX Sports and the UFC, it was revealed that FUEL will broadcast over 2,000 hours of UFC programming in 2012, devoting about 25 percent of their entire schedule to all things octagon.
It was just one of several details released regarding the future plans between the new partners. Among the other major revelations is that starting in January, every UFC fight that takes place anywhere around the world will be televised. In the recent past, most undercard fights have only been available online on Facebook.com.
UK News: UFC Velasquez vs Dos Santos to Air on Premier Sports, Virgin Media Customers Lose Out
Back in August I reported that the ESPN network in the UK -- a premium subscription service that includes live UFC content -- would not be airing the Dan Hardy vs Chris Lytle UFC on Versus card. The reason being ESPN had only contractually agreed to show a certain number of UFC shows per year which included numbered Pay Per View events and Ultimate Fight Nights. Because the UFC's U.S. Versus deal was made after the UFC's U.K. ESPN deal, this additional content would not be included on the ESPN programming schedule which at one point showed the preliminary fights of certain cards as well as a season of The Ultimate Fighter before dropping this coverage.
A last minute deal with another subscription channel 'Premier Sports' to air the UFC event as a Free View show was made, and UK fans were able to watch after all. But only if they were a Sky Television customer.
This weekend Premier Sports is again filling in for ESPN by airing the 'UFC on Fox' event as a Free View broadcast but again Premier Sports is only available through Sky Television.
The UFC's new FOX Era will be defined by nationalism, globalism
It's fitting that on the 18th birthday of the Ultimate Fighting Championship this Saturday night, the UFC enters a new era: the FOX Era.
The octagon debuts on major network TV with a live one-hour special featuring a heavyweight title tilt between champion Cain Velasquez (9-0 MMA, 7-0 UFC) and No. 1 contender Junior Dos Santos (13-1 MMA, 7-0 UFC).
The fight teases an upcoming seven-year deal that showcases the UFC four-times-a-year on FOX – with additional content on affiliates FX and FUEL TV – to the tune of an estimated $90 million per year.
Newcomer Alex Soto meets Michael McDonald at next week's UFC 139 event
With Johnny Eduardo (25-9 MMA, 0-1 UFC) scratched due to a shoulder injury, undefeated promotional newcomer Alex Soto (6-0-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) has taken his spot on next week's UFC 139 card.
He now meets fast-rising bantamweight Michael McDonald (13-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC).
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) today confirmed the switch with event sources, though UFC officials haven't formally announced it. McDonald first hinted at the change via Twitter.
UFC 139 takes place Nov. 19 at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif.
The latest UFC 139 card now includes:
MAIN CARD (Pay-per-view)
Dan Henderson vs. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua
Cung Le vs. Wanderlei Silva
Brian Bowles vs. Urijah Faber
Martin Kampmann vs. Rick Story
Stephan Bonnar vs. Kyle Kingsbury
PRELIMINARY CARD (Spike TV)
Ryan Bader vs. Jason Brilz
Tom Lawlor vs. Chris Weidman
Nick Pace vs. Miguel Torres
Rafael dos Anjos vs. Gleison Tibau
Michael McDonald vs. Alex Soto*
Seth Baczynski vs. Matt Brown
Shamar Bailey vs. Danny Castillo
UFC on FOX's 'baddest man on planet' Velasquez looks to recapture Anaheim magic
When Cain Velasquez seized the UFC's heavyweight crown more than a year ago, the American Kickboxing Academy representative seized another title from Brock Lesnar that night too: "baddest man on the planet."
Velasquez (9-0 MMA, 7-0 UFC) returns to the octagon for his first title defense this Saturday at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. – the site where he captured the championship – to meet No. 1 contender Junior Dos Santos (13-1 MMA, 7-0 UFC).
The hype surrounding his bout with the Brazilian boxing specialist rolls off the former Arizona Sun Devil's back. Meeting the challenger, also undefeated in seven octagon appearances, in the UFC's debut on network TV on FOX is an honor. The distinctions, asserts Velasquez, are OK as long as they never become distractions.
"It feels good, but to me, the only thing that is in my head is the fight – not the stuff surrounding it, just what I have to do out there on that night," Velasquez told MMAjunkie.com
An inside look at Dana White
The face of the UFC is, quite literally, foaming at the mouth.
I am ushered into Dana White’s personal office by his charming public-relations guru, and before she can introduce us, he emerges: bald, beaming, suddenly and surprisingly charismatic, wearing hip-ripped jeans and a T-shirt and mumbling through the white madness, “Hi! Come in!”
All I see at first is white foam, bubbling at smiling lips, the kind of lather you might expect if you allow yourself to believe in the supernatural, particularly from a man crazy enough to go from hotel valet in Boston to instructor to, thanks to some nudging by the Boston ***** to get the hell out of dodge, a Vegas man.
And to, a few short years later, multimillionaire and face and force behind mixed martial arts, one of the country’s fastest rising sports.
I am too stunned to speak. And then I see the toothbrush. I exhale and realize the president of the UFC is, in fact, merely brushing his teeth.
Still, this candid look at a complicated man serves as the perfect introduction in a two-day blitz, on the verge of UFC 137, to Dana White and his fast-paced world. It will turn out that White, a 42-year-old mesh of controversy, cunning, charm, vision and intensity, is everything his newfangled PR machine wants you know about him — and everything they want you not to know.
Chael Sonnen... Ultimate Gentleman?
Most of the UFC fan base are familiar with his on-screen personality, as Sonnen and his sharp tongue slice and dice their way through pre-fight interviews and media appearances. In fact, outside of Brian Stann at UFC 136, you'd be hard-pressed to find the former NCAA Division I All-American wrestler having anything nice to say.
Or so we thought.
UFC 140: Rory MacDonald Injured, Claude Patrick To Fight Brian Ebersole
Canadian fans will have to wait a bit longer to cheer on one of their favorite sons as fast rising welterweight prospect Rory MacDonald is off UFC 140 due to an undisclosed injury.
Fellow Canadian Claude Patrick has got the call to battle Brian Ebersole in Toronto instead and has been pulled from his fight with Rich Attonito scheduled for the same night.
As a person going to this card, this really sucks. MacDonald vs. Ebersole would have most likely been a FOTN contender.
Hard-fighting UFC 139's Stephan Bonnar finally learning to slow things down
Things might be a lot easier for Stephan Bonnar (13-7 MMA, 7-6 UFC) if he didn't learn things the hard way.
"If I only had fighting, and my body never got hurt, then every three or four months I would fight," Bonnar told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio).
But Bonnar seems to get hurt a lot, and if there's one thing he's trying to learn, it's when to stop and when to go.
"Not knowing when to back off ... and then getting hurt," he said. "I've just got to be smarter about that."
After a nearly a year on the bench, Bonnar returns to the cage to fight Kyle Kingsbury (11-2 MMA, 4-1 UFC) at UFC 139, which takes place Nov. 19 at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. The bout takes place on the event's main card, which airs live on pay-per-view.
UFC 143's Nick Diaz tells 'Inside MMA' villain role effective, not necessarily comfortable
Nick Diaz, PR genius?
The outspoken and sometimes controversial former Strikeforce champion has both delighted and baffled MMA fans with his trashtalking and open challenges to MMA superstars such as UFC champ Georges St-Pierre.
And while his rants often seem a bit random in their focus, Diaz on Monday's new edition of HDNet's "Inside MMA" seemed to reveal that he's been following a master plan all along: To the villain goes the spoils.
Thiago Alves Discusses Possible Fight With Jake Ellenberger
Thiago Alves is coming off a very good win over a solid prospect, but he's not going to get much respect for it. That's the way it goes when you beat a fighter that is off most people's radar like Papy Abedi, no matter how good he is. But now that he has that win, he's looking at bigger and better things. When asked by ESPN UK about a possible fight with rising star Jake Ellenberger, Alves was diplomatic:
"That would be a great fight," he said to ESPN. "But like I said, whoever Joe Silva wants me to fight, I'm ready for it.
"I know I'm a few fights away from title contention, so whoever brings me closer - I'm ready."
Anderson Silva Reacts to Mark Munoz Challenge, Thought He Was a Friend
Mark Munoz came into UFC 138 ranked #4 in the world at middleweight in the USA TODAY / MMA Nation Consensus Rankings and did nothing to lower his ranking with a resounding drubbing of #12 Chris Leben. Following his win, Munoz made it known that he wanted a shot at UFC champ Anderson Silva.
Munoz has trained at Black House several times, increasing his own skills as well as providing men like Silva with a top shelf wrestler to train with. Silva was told by SporTV about the challenge from Munoz and didn't seem too thrilled (translation by Tom Mendes):
I hadn't even seen that (Munoz's challenge). I thought Munoz was a friend, but that's okay...
Terry Etim to fight Edson Barboza at UFC 142
Terry Etim did not waste any time in defeating Eddie Faaloloto at UFC 138, and the UFC has been similarly rapid in arranging the Brit's next contest, sealing a bout with Edson Barboza at UFC 142.
Etim walked away with $70,000 after securing Submission of the Night inside 17 seconds against Faaloloto, sparking the instant question: Who next?
Before Etim's 19-month layoff the lightweight had been heading for a clash with Joe Lauzon, and that is the level to which he wants to return as soon as possible.
Barboza represents a thrilling test. Like Etim the Brazilian loves to strike, and he is currently 9-0 in his MMA career and 3-0 for the UFC. Two of those wins have earned Fights of the Night honours, and he is credited with some of the nastiest leg kicks in the UFC...
UFC on Fox: John McCarthy Likely to Referee Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos
According to a report that came out last week, Big John McCarthy was 99% likely to referee the UFC on Fox main event bout between Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos. MMA Mania spoke to George Dodd, the Executive Officer of the California State Athletic Commission and asked for an update today. And it still appears that BJM will be center stage on Fox on Saturday night:
"It's 99 percent still. There's always that last minute thing that could always change something. Obviously something could happen to John or whatever the case may be but for right now, until he steps in the cage, it's 99 percent sure."
With injury woes behind him, UFC on FOX 1's Cub Swanson motivated for debut
It's a nice idea to Cub Swanson that he's fighting at the event where the UFC makes its network TV debut, even if he's not one of those who gets to bask in the spotlight (just like everyone else not named Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos).
But reality is staring Swanson in the face.
This is his first fight in the UFC after injuries delayed his debut. In fact, when he learned he will be in the newest version of the UFC's video game, he tweeted its developer and asked whether his character breaks his hands after every fight.
"I just wanted to know how realistic the game was," Swanson (15-4 MMA, 0-0 UFC), who fights Ricardo Lamas (10-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) at UFC on FOX 1, joked while on MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio).
UFC on FOX 1 takes place Saturday at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. Swanson's fight streams live on Facebook while the card's main event airs live on FOX.
UFC on Fox: Clay Guida Wants Title Shot After Ben Henderson Bout
Clay Guida may be getting shafted a bit by it being made clear that his fight with Ben Henderson is not going to make the Fox TV broadcast no matter how quickly the bout between Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos ends, but that isn't keeping him down. Guida knows that the Henderson fight is a huge moment in his career and he seems ready to pounce.