HKL Exclusive with Jorge Santiago: Talks of His Return to the UFC and New Beginnings
I spoke with Jorge Santiago yesterday about his return to the UFC. He's been on a fantastic run in his career and is finally ready to make an impact in the UFC's Middleweight Division. However, this isn't the only new beginning in his life, Santiago also spoke about starting a new team called Imperial with JZ and Rashad Evans. His opponent in Brian Stann will be facing the best Jorge Santiago and one that has a new found maturity.
Follow him on twitter this week at @SantiagoMMA
Dana White: UFC open to pension program for retired fighters
LAS VEGAS – UFC parent company Zuffa LLC made headlines earlier this month when it announced a new accident-insurance policy for the 350 or so fighters under its umbrella.
The move was not only seen as measure of its commitment to protecting the health and safety of its fighters both in and of the cage, but a strong counter to talks of unionization that heated up in the wake of the company's purchase of rival promotion Strikeforce.
Today, UFC president Dana White took a cue from former light-heavyweight champion Quinton Jackson to express his openness to the idea of a pension fund for retired fighters.
Which Rounds Did GSP Lose at UFC 129? Official Scorecards Released
It was a few weeks ago when Georges St-Pierre defeated Jake Shields at UFC 129 in Toronto, but now the official scorecard has been released finally showing how the judges scored the fight.
The real relevance here is GSP had gone 30 rounds without losing a single round on a judge’s scorecard, but at UFC 129, according to two judges, the champion lost two rounds during the fight.
The final scorecard comes courtesy of the Ontario Athletics Commission.
Dana White: Georges St. Pierre and Nick Diaz Will Not Coach TUF 14
Dana White did an interview with HeavyMMA.com's Megan Olivi yesterday, and managed to pack a lot of info into a short amount of time. Earlier today, Mike Fagan covered the tail end of the interview that dealt with Dana's reaction to the Chael Sonnen saga. The beginning of the interview covers some pretty big news as well though - namely, Dana White is very firm about the fact that Georges St. Pierre vs. Nick Diaz is not close to happening, and they won't be on a certain reality show anytime soon:
Dana: "That fight is not a done deal, and I guarantee you that those two will not be coaches (on TUF 14). Not even close. All the stuff that's out there about that fight and the meeting we had here is all bulls--t."
Olivi: "Fair enough. So we won't be seeing that fight at UFC 140 in Montreal?"
Sonnen's attorney chews out Josh Gross
Chael Sonnen's Attorney Raffi Nahabedian takes issue with ESPN's Josh Gross for statements made on on MMA Live and Twitter
We have known each other for some time and I had an ongoing respect for you and your reporting. However, I think there is a growing disconnect with my beliefs.
I just watched your interview on MMA Live regarding Chael Sonnen and I respectfully disagree with the manner the information was presented and that crucial information that was purposely left out.
In regards to the testimony issue, there is a continued blatant oversight and disregard for Chael’s testimony/responses to Commissioner Zinkin that fully clarify, explain and vitiate his statement that “he [Chael] spoke to Kizer.” If you read the transcript of Chael’s responses to Commissioner Zinkin (and, perhaps, print them for the public to read), Chael made it unambiguously clear what he meant – “my management and/or my manager.” As someone who represents people/companies, it is not uncommon to hear clients who are represented by agents, managers and attorneys to speak in such a manner (i.e. that they s poke to so-n-so or handled “y” matter). While the initial tweet about Chael’s initial comment is plausibly understandable (solely from the perspective that people like to create controversy to increase readers/viewers), there would not have been such an over zealous and unfounded determination to crucify Chael if there was some responsible journalistic follow-up reporting clarifying Chael’s subsequent testimony. Specifically, what he testified to in response to Commissioner Zinkin (no different than the CSAC issuing a retraction of its incorrect press release and subsequent clarification of its decision). The person who made the initial tweet should have done this which would have eliminated a lot of problems for everyone – Sonnen, Kizer, CSAC, etc.
Benavidez vs. Wineland Set for UFC on Versus 5
Eddie Wineland will take one more crack at Team Alpha Male when he faces Joseph Benavidez at the UFC's show in Milwaukee, UFC on Versus 5, in August.
Wineland, the first bantamweight champion in WEC history, is coming off his first loss in nearly two years, a unanimous decision setback against Alpha Male kingpin Urijah Faber at UFC 128 in March. Now he'll take on Faber's training partner. The UFC announced the verbal agreement at its website late Tuesday night.
Benavidez (14-2, 1-0 UFC) has won two straight since a split decision loss to bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz at WEC 50 last August. He submitted Wagnney Fabiano at WEC 52 in November, and in March, also at UFC 128, he beat Ian Loveland by unanimous decision on the preliminary card.
Alex "Bruce Leroy" Caceres vs. Leonard Garcia slotted for UFC on Versus 5
An intriguing bout between Alex "Bruce Leroy" Caceres (4-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC) and fellow featherweight Leonard Garcia (15-7-1 MMA, 2-2 UFC) had been added to August's UFC on Versus 5 lineup.
UFC officials today announced that verbal agreements are in place for the fight.
UFC on Versus 5 takes place Aug. 14 at Bradley Center in Milwaukee as part of the UFC's Wisconsin debut. The night's main card airs live on Versus.
Caceres vs. Garcia likely will be part of the preliminary card.
Jon Jones Expects to Fight Lyoto Machida or Rampage Jackson, Not Rashad Evans
If you're like me, you expected Rashad Evans to receive the first crack against Jon Jones should he defeat Jones' injury-replacement Phil Davis. It's a grudge fight. It's a money fight. It makes sense. Now, strange news from Jones during an interview with 1260 The Score in Syracuse (transcript by Sports Radio Interviews):
I had to postpone my first title defense against Rashad Evans due to some torn tissues in my thumb. My last doctor's appointment they told me I should be able to get back to full out training within the next month. I'm excited about that. I'm expected to compete against Lyoto Machida or Rampage Jackson in maybe October, mid-October.
Joseph Benavidez vs. Eddie Wineland on Tap For UFC On Versus 5
Eddie Wineland gets another shot at Team Alpha Male. Joseph Benavidez, the # 2-ranked bantamweight on the USA Today/SB Nation Consensus Rankings, will look to continue his streak of beating everyone not named Dominick Cruz when he faces off with the # 12-ranked former WEC bantamweight champion Wineland at UFC on Versus 5 in Milwaukee on August 14th. UFC.com has it:
Two bantamweight powerhouses will go at it as Joseph Benavidez and Eddie Wineland have verbally agreed to face each other at the UFC on Versus show, confirmed Dana White today. Both WEC vets are coming off three-round battles at UFC 128 and recently sat next to one another at the UFC Fighter Summit.
Soares clarifies: Aldo's injuries aren't new, and he never bailed on Mendes fight
UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo's hands were tied.
That's what his manager, Ed Soares, today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) in an effort to set the record straight.
An injured Aldo (19-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC), of course, recently had to push back a targeted August title fight with top contender Chad Mendes (10-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC). But, Soares said, the injuries aren't new, and the champ never bailed on the Mendes fight.
Report: Jose Aldo Injured, Out of UFC 133 Bout With Chad Mendes
UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo has pulled out of his UFC 133 title fight against Chad Mendes according to Heavy.com. Aldo's injury is expected to keep him out of action until mid-September.
Aldo, the final WEC featherweight champion, was named the UFC's first 145lb champ at a special ceremony at UFC 123 last November. He was initially expected to make his first title defense against Josh Grispi at UFC 125. Aldo suffered a neck injury and had to pull out of that fight.
State Senate Votes to Legalize MMA in NY
By a vote of 42-18, the New York State Senate on Monday voted to regulate the sport of mixed martial arts in The Empire State.
The passage of the bill was hailed as a breakthrough by UFC President Dana White, though it still must pass the State Assembly and receive the signature of Gov. Andrew Cuomo before it becomes law. Similar bills have passed twice before, only to stall elsewhere in the state legislature. New York remains one of six states that do not regulate MMA.
The UFC has had a full-court press on the state for quite some time. The promotion held a press conference at Madison Square Garden in January, promising the state two UFC events within the first year of legalization. If the bill is passed by lawmakers and signed by the governor, there will still be a 90-day waiting period before events can be sanctioned.
The vote in the state senate brings fighters like UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and former UFC welterweight champion Matt Serra one step closer to competing inside the Octagon in their home state.
Promoter says Nick Diaz no longer set to box, Dana White insists UFC bout not guaranteed
The man prepared to promote a Nick Diaz (25-7 MMA, 6-4 UFC) boxing contest now says the Strikeforce welterweight champion will not be entering the squared circle anytime soon.
Don Chargin today announced via press release that Diaz has determined it's in his "best interest to focus on his primary combat sport and profession."
Chargin also referenced a potential "opportunity of a lifetime" for Diaz, fueling further speculation of a pending matchup with UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre (22-2 MMA, 16-2 UFC). However, UFC president Dana White continues to insist Diaz is far from UFC-bound.
Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 14 to feature the return of the elimination round
Not happy with this season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF)? Neither is UFC President Dana White.
One of the early criticisms directed at TUF 13 was the decision to select 16 contestants for the Spike TV reality show without requiring them to fight for a final spot in the competition.
In seasons past, the premiere would feature 32 aspiring fighters slugging it out for the right to bunk at the TUF house. That, according to White, was a luxury they couldn't afford after the cable television network reduced the number of episodes for this season.
SportsPro Magazine includes Anderson Silva on list of 'World’s 50 Most Marketable Athletes'
And since Silva is the only mixed martial artist to make the list, that puts him ahead of combat sports' other marketing magnets like UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre and former UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar.
Athletes are ranked "according to their marketing potential over a three-year period" and the list "comprises the 50 athletes deemed by SportsPro to offer value for marketing money if signed today to a long-term global endorsement deal."