UFC 121 Prelims: 1.5 Million Viewers
After a couple of busts with their "UFC Prelims" specials, the Ultimate Fighting Championship and Spike TV posted a strong showing with this past weekend's UFC 121 broadcast. The one-hour special, which preceded the Oct. 23 event's pay-per-view broadcast, drew a 1.03 household rating, an average audience of 1.5 million viewers, and a peak of 1.64 million. The peak audience came during the broadcast's second preliminary-card fight, which saw "The Ultimate Fighter 11" winner Court McGee submit fellow middleweight Ryan Jensen. The show also did a 1.42 rating in both the men 18-34 and men 18-49 demos Spike targets.
Former TUF Fighter O'Brien To Replace Ruediger At UFC 123
T.J. O'Brien, who was chosen for season 12 of The Ultimate Fighter but was KO'd quickly by Marc Stevens in an elimination fight, just got another chance in UFC. He's been tapped as the replacement for an injured Gabe Ruediger and will face Paul Kelly at UFC 123. O'Brien has agreed to the fight, paperwork pending. O'Brien has an official 6-fight win streak (the loss on TUF was an exhibition and thus isn't on his official record) and 13-1 in his last 14 fights, all 13 wins by submission.
Matt Hughes: UFC Needs a Fighter to Balance Joe Rogan
In almost every television broadcast of almost every sport, one of the commentators is an athlete who has competed in the sport being shown. You never watch an NFL game without hearing analysis from a former football player, or a Major League Baseball game without hearing the voice of a former baseball player.
But in the UFC, the commentary role goes to Joe Rogan, who's undeniably knowledgeable about MMA but whose background is in comedy and acting, not in fighting.
Matt Hughes says it's time for the UFC to add a fighter to the broadcast.
Injured Anthony "T.J." Waldburger out of UFC 124 fight with Matt Riddle
An undisclosed injury has forced Anthony "T.J." Waldburger (13-5 MMA, 1-0 UFC) out of preliminary-card fight with fellow welterweight Matt Riddle (5-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC) at December's UFC 124 event.
Riddle's manager, Malki Kawa of First Round Management, today announced the news via Twitter.
He stated that a replacement fighter will be named shortly.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) could not immediately confirm the nature of the injury.
Shane Carwin Off UFC 125
Shane Carwin is now off UFC 125 on New Year's Day due to a back injury and expected surgery. After dealing with back pain, the former title challenger underwent an MRI on Monday that detected an injury that "may really require surgery," he wrote on his official website, shane-carwin.com. He was to have faced Roy Nelson. No replacement named yet and UFC has not announced his withdrawal yet.
Silva Says He's Fighting Leben In April In Toronto
UFC middleweight Wanderlei Silva is pretty sure his next opponent will be Chris Leben and that the fight will take place in Toronto in April. The Brazilian MMA icon revealed the news in a recent interview he did with Fighters Only. “I think I want to fight in April in Canada -- I want to fight in Toronto. I think against Chris Leben. I want to fight with him next,” Silva informed Fighters Only when asked about his eventual return to the Octagon. “I think he is interesting, he is my size, he is aggressive, he fights to the front (comes forward)," he explained. I think we are going to make an interesting fight.” It's a big if though mainly because of the status of Leben-he's scheduled to face DUI charges in Hawaii in November and Brian Stann at UFC 125, but it looks like UFC is making alternative arrangements, possibly in anticipation that he will likely have to do additional time behind bars for his latest infraction.
Dana White (Again) Hints At Network TV Deal In 2011
Although previously saying the "right deal" has never been presented to make the organization bite, Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White apparently has made some progress with U.S. network television. Ideally, a network-TV deal will accompany a UFC network similar to those offered by the NFL and MLB. And according to a recent interview with BroadcastingCable.com, the UFC may have a few options for network-TV partners. White was asked if the UFC – which currently broadcasts on pay-per-view, Spike TV and Versus – will be on network TV in 2011. "Yes, we will," he told the trade media outlet. "We are working on some things right now. I just can't talk about it at all because we are right in the middle of it." White dodged specifics about the possibility of airing on NBC or FOX, but he admitted that the outlets theoretically make sense. Recently, White has hinted at a "UFC network" that will debut in the next couple years. However, it's hard to tell if that's the same venture he discusses earlier this year that would bring the UFC to a worldwide online audience. "As technology keeps growing, what I believe is going to happen – and I better be right, or we're [expletive] – is all the world is eventually going to be watching television through the Internet." It also should be noted White promised UFC would already be on network TV in the past...but they weren't by his "guaranteed" date of September 15.
War of Words Between Frank Shamrock and Dana White Continues
Cain Velasquez and Brock Lesnar teamed up to give UFC 121 a huge box office boost at UFC 121 this past Saturday, but it wasn't the only war that earned headlines around the MMA world.
It may be a feud that will never lead to an in-ring conclusion, but the ongoing verbal fireworks between UFC president Dana White and MMA legend Frank Shamrock has continued on. Just days prior to UFC 121, White had some choice words for Shamrock, and now Shamrock has fired back.
UFC president defends pre-UFC 121 marketing of new champ Cain Velasquez
ANAHEIM, Calif. – UFC president Dana White said the promotion simply uses what's already there when it cuts a promo.
The executive blasted critics who said Cain Velasquez's Mexican heritage was exploited in the buildup to this past weekend's UFC 121 event.
"What we do is we take a storyline in what a guy's life is," White said.
Velasquez, who bears a "Brown Pride" tattoo on his chest, sent the 14,000-plus fans in attendance into a frenzy this past Saturday at Anaheim's Honda Center when he won the UFC heavyweight title from Brock Lesnar with a first-round TKO.
Gabe Ruediger Out of UFC 123 Fight
Gabe Ruediger has withdrawn from next month's lightweight bout against Paul Kelly at UFC 123 due to a groin injury.
"I've been training with injuries for this whole camp and I've been trying to just work around them," Ruediger explained Sunday evening on his official website. "One injury that has been giving me daily issues was a groin strain. This happened about three weeks ago wrestling. I was wrapping it and just enduring the pain, but Wednesday, I was back to wrestling and my groin tore all the way through. As I laid on the mat I knew it was bad, but it wasn't until Friday that I realized that it would be impossible to be ready for my upcoming bout."
Who's Next For Matt Hamil? Dana says Top 10 Opponent
Following a unanimous-decision victory over Tito Ortiz at this past weekend's UFC 121 event, Matt Hamill is set for another step up in competition. As detailed in today's "MMA Insider" column in the "Dayton Daily News," UFC president Dana White said Hamill will get a "top-10" opponent in his next fight. Hamill, a three-time NCAA Division III national wrestling champion who joined the UFC after competing on "The Ultimate Fighter 3" in 2006, now owns a five-fight win streak in the organization. "I think we've got to get Matt a fight in the top 10 in the 205-pound division, which is obviously the meanest and nastiest division, as always," White said after the night's pay-per-view event, which took place at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. "I'm sure his next fight will be a top-10 opponent."
UFC 121 winner Brendan Schaub welcomes fight with ex-champ Frank Mir
In fact, with three consecutive wins in the UFC, Schaub wants to sustain his momentum and continue moving up the heavyweight ladder. The division, of course, got a shakeup in UFC 121's main event when Cain Velasquez made quick work of champion Brock Lesnar and took the title.
Wanting to be in the best position possible when the dust settles, Schaub already has a next opponent in mind. And it's a veteran who once held the title himself.
"I'd love to match up with Frank Mir," said Schaub, a former football player once employed in the NFL and AFL. "He's one of the stars in the division, and I think I would give him a lot of problems."
With UFC 121 win, refocused Diego Sanchez may compete in two divisions
Following Sanchez's one-sided decision loss to British welterweight prospect John Hathaway at May's UFC 114 event, UFC president Dana White suggested "Nightmare" might be best served migrating back down to 155 pounds.
But after Sanchez turned in one of the grittiest performances of his career in a UFC 121 win over Paulo Thiago, White said the former winner of "The Ultimate Fighter" looks again like a monster at welterweight and should turn his focus there. Sanchez has a different perspective: Why not take them both on?
Tito Ortiz: "I still feel like I have a lot more in me" despite UFC 121 loss
"I'm going to hop on the horse, I'm going to get back in the gym in about two weeks, and I'm going to get to a college and start wresting again because I'm healthy," Ortiz said. "That hunger is there.
White refused to decide the former champion's future when pressed (though he did rule out a fourth meeting with Chuck Liddell), but the always-outspoken executive's silence when asked for comment on Ortiz's status was likely very telling.
After UFC 121 win, Jake Shields still next in line for UFC welterweight title shot
The UFC boss had suggested prior to Shields' win over Martin Kampmann (17-4 MMA, 8-3 UFC) that a victory would "probably" mean a title shot against the winner of December's Georges St-Pierre vs. Josh Koscheck matchup.
Following the win, White confirmed that probable contest is now a certainty.
"I think no less of him today than I did yesterday," White told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
UFC 121 draws reported 14,856 attendance for $2.15 million live gate
ANAHEIM, Calif. – "UFC 121: Lesnar vs. Velasquez" a reported 14,856 attendees for a $2.15 million gate, UFC president Dana White announced in the evening's post-fight press conference.
The event, which took place Saturday, was hosted by the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., and marked the UFC's third event in The Golden State in 2010.
Official figures will be verified by the California State Athletic Commission early next week, but it the preliminary numbers hold up, UFC 121 scored the eighth highest attendance of the UFC's 20 events so far this year and scored the biggest attendance of the three California-based events.
Incredible night for Velasquez
On Saturday in the main event of UFC 121 before a boisterous crowd at the Honda Center, a more mature and experienced Velasquez rewarded his coach’s faith in him by putting on one of the most impressive displays by an Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight in a long time.
UFC 121 bonuses: Velasquez, Roberts, Sanchez and Thiago claim $70K bonuses
ANAHEIM, Calif. – Cain Velasquez, Daniel Roberts, Diego Sanchez and Paulo Thaigo each earned $70,000 "Fight Night" bonuses for their performances at Saturday's "UFC 121: Lesnar vs. Velasquez" event.
Velasquez earned the night's "Knockout of the Night" award, Roberts picked up the "Submission of the Night" bonus, and Sanchez and Thiago shared "Fight of the Night" honors.