UFC president says U.K. and European expansion hinges on 'right TV deals'
A little more than a week ago at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, the venue was nearly empty for UFC 137's first preliminary-card fight.
A week later, a raucous crowd filled LG Arena in Birmingham, England, and gave every UFC 138 bout a main-event feel.
So why is the UFC much more likely to visit Sin City than other European locales?
UFC president Dana White said it's all about the TV deals. In the U.S., the UFC is wrapping up a seven-year live-events deal with Spike TV and will move to FOX (and FX and FUEL TV) in 2012. In Canada, Rogers Sportsnet has been a dependable home for the organization. The deals supplement and help promote the UFC's usual pay-per-view offerings, which is the promotion's real cash cow.
Chris Leben Reportedly Cut 21 Pounds in 24 Hours
Chris Leben gave it his best shot when he faced Mark Munoz at UFC 138. Leben scored with some punches, came close with a few submissions and even got a pair of takedowns over the much better wrester. In the end Munoz's skills were just too much though and Leben was forced to retire from the bout when he said he couldn't see due to vision problems stemming from a cut over his eye.
Now, Fighters Only Magazine is reporting that Leben had a terrible weight cut:
Chris Leben cut nearly 21 pounds in 24 hours to make weight for his fight with Mark Munoz, Fighters Only was told ahead of last night's bout.
The 31-year old middleweight had "a terrible weight cut" and was in such bad shape before the weigh ins that medical staff were keeping a very close eye on him.
A source close to Leben told Fighters Only on Friday that Leben had been left "shattered" by the amount of weight he had to cut on weigh-in day.
UFC 138's Renan Barao says he's ready for bantamweight title shot
Renan Barao believes he's ready for a title shot.
Of course, his 27 straight victories lend some credence to the argument.
After all, Barao, who scored a first-round submission victory over English fighter Brad Pickett in Saturday's UFC 138 co-headliner, said there's only one reason fighters come to the UFC: to fight for a championship.
Soon after his Spike TV-televised victory, which came via rear-naked choke at LG Arena in Birminghan, England, Barao answered the obvious question: Is he ready for a shot at bantamweight titleholder Dominick Cruz?
UFC boss won't rule out Paul Daley return but admits he's still 'not a fan'
BIRMINGHAM, England – British slugger Paul Daley may have potentially removed himself from UFC president Dana White's "pay no mind" list, but don't expect him to be stepping into the octagon anytime soon.
At Saturday night's UFC 138 post-event press conference in Birmingham, England, UFC president Dana White didn't necessarily uphold his "never again" stance on the banished welterweight but did say Daley wasn't exactly on his radar.
And while making the comment, White also seemed to suggest that the current Strikeforce-Showtime talks, of which he recently took charge, are at least currently ongoing.
Carlos Condit vs. Josh Koscheck in the works for UFC 143 in Las Vegas
BIRMINGHAM, England – After being bumped from a championship fight with Georges St-Pierre in favor of Nick Diaz, Carlos Condit has his new target.
MMAjunkie.com has learned from sources close to the promotion that Condit and Josh Koscheck have verbally agreed to meet at UFC 143 in February.
UFC president Dana White revealed the likelihood of the potential booking at Saturday night's UFC 138 post-event press conference in Birmingham, England.
UFC 138 bonuses(Spoilers Inside)
England – Che Mills, Terry Etim, Renan Barao and Brad Pickett each earned $70,000 fight-night bonuses for their performances at Saturday's UFC 138 event.
Mills earned the night's "Knockout of the Night" award, Etim picked up the "Submission of the Night" bonus, and Barao and Pickett took home "Fight of the Night" honours.
Johnny Eduardo scratched from UFC 139, replacement search underway
Brazilian bantamweight Johnny Eduardo (25-9 MMA, 0-1 UFC) has suffered a shoulder injury and has been forced out of this month's UFC 139 fight with Michael McDonald (13-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC).
UFC officials today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) a replacement search is underway. Tatame first reported the scratch.
UFC 139 takes place Nov. 19 at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif.
While the main card airs on pay-per-view, Eduardo vs. McDonald was slated for the portion of the preliminary card expected to stream on Facebook.
Title fight in the U.K.? UFC exec says Bisping and Pickett are good candidates
U.K. fans long have complained of fight cards light on significance. To date, just three belts have been put on the line in nine events held in the country.
On the eve of No. 10, otherwise known as UFC 138, it's only natural to wonder: Will another title fight ever make it to the U.K.?
"You've got to figure out – it's all an opportunity cost in some sense," UFC managing director of international development Marshall Zelaznik told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
Opportunity cost, in this case, means the potential loss of pay-per-view dollars. The UFC has cemented Saturday night as the destination for marquee events, and the promotion runs the risk of losing customers by shifting times.
UFC 138 official weigh-in results: Munoz and Leben on weight; Alves heavy on first try, makes it on the second
The official UFC 138 card includes:
MAIN CARD (Spike TV)
Chris Leben (186) vs. Mark Munoz (186)
Renan Barao (136) vs. Brad Pickett (134)
Papy Abedi (170) vs. Thiago Alves (171)*
Cyrille Diabate (206) vs. Anthony Perosh (205)
Terry Etim (156) vs. Edward Faaloloto (155)
PRELIMINARY CARD (Facebook)
Justin Edwards (170) vs. John Maguire (170)
Rob Broughton (258) vs. Philip De Fries (243)
Michihiro Omigawa (145) vs. Jason Young (145)
Chris Cope (170) vs. Che Mills (169)
Chris Cariaso (135) vs. Vaughan Lee (135)
*Alves makes weight on 2nd attempt
FOX Announces Loaded TV Lineup for UFC Debut
FOX has announced its full lineup of programming that will air before and after next Saturday's historic UFC telecast, and it's without a doubt the most impressive TV lineup served up to fans surrounding any UFC event.
In addition to the one-hour telecast on FOX, which will feature Cain Velasquez vs. Junior dos Santos for the UFC heavyweight title, UFC programming will air on FUEL TV and FOX Deportes.
Below is an easy to read schedule of everything you can expect to see:
Friday, Nov. 11:
7:00 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT -- Weigh-ins live on FUEL TV
7:00 P.M. ET -- Cain Velasquez: Brown Pride, episode 3 on FOX Deportes
Brad Pickett: I'm Not Worried About Renan Barao's Stand-Up
Say this for UFC bantamweight Brad Pickett: the guy's not kidding himself.
When asked by Ariel Helwani on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour if he thought his fight with Renan Barao would be so high up on the UFC 138 main card if the event wasn't in Pickett's home country, the British fighter initially replied, "Maybe, maybe not." Then came a more sober analysis.
"Probably not," he said. While he'd like to believe that he's main card material, he added, it sure doesn't hurt to have the Octagon in your own backyard for one night.
In addition to title fight, FOX Deportes to air Henderson-Guida and Poirier-Garza
Although the primary FOX network will air just one fight during next week's UFC on FOX 1 event, its sister channel, FOX Deportes, will air three.
In addition to the heavyweight headliner of champ Cain Velasquez (9-0 MMA, 7-0 UFC) vs. Junior Dos Santos (13-1 MMA, 7-0 UFC), FOX Deportes also will air lightweights Clay Guida (29-11 MMA, 9-5 UFC) vs. Ben Henderson (14-2 MMA, 2-0 UFC) and featherweights Dustin Poirer (10-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) vs. Pablo Garza (11-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC).
UFC on FOX 1 takes place Nov. 12 at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.
The event is a teaser of the landmark UFC-FOX deal that officially kicks off in 2012. As part of FOX's one-hour special, only Velasquez vs. Dos Santos will air live. (The entire undercard streams on FOX.com and Facebook.) FOX Deportes, though, starts two hours earlier and will air the three fights.
Jake Ellenberger: 'I Would Like to Fight Nick Diaz'
Jake Ellenberger is coming off the biggest win of his career over Jake Shields, and Nick Diaz is coming off the biggest win of his career over B.J. Penn. While Diaz is locked into a February title shot with Georges St. Pierre, Ellenberger has expressed some interest in fighting Diaz down the line. In fact, he wasn't very complimentary towards Diaz at all when talking to ESPN UK. He thinks GSP is going to walk through the pride of Stockton:
"He likes to run his mouth, I don't get him. He just likes to talk and he is what he is," Ellenberger told ESPN.
"He's gonna get his coming against GSP. GSP's motivated, I don't see what Nick's going to bring to the table. Jake Shields was a more difficult fight for GSP.
"GSP's a lot faster than Diaz, Diaz has no power, he's not going to knock him out. He should have finished BJ and he couldn't even do that."
Referee John McCarthy '99 percent' likely to ref UFC on FOX 1 main event
You can't always get what you want.
The California State Athletic Commission has earmarked "Big" John McCarthy as the referee for the main event of UFC on FOX 1, which features a heavyweight title fight between champ Cain Velasquez and challenger Junior Dos Santos.
It's the UFC's first event on major network television.
"The UFC has been informed that there is a 99 percent chance that John McCarthy will be in the cage for the main event," CSAC Executive Officer George Dodd today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
UFC on FOX 1 takes place Nov. 12 at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. The night's main event airs live on FOX as the showpiece of a one-hour broadcast.
Fabio Maldonado wants to 'hurt and smash American fighters'
"I talk to my manager like three times a week. You know I rather spank an American striker. Maybe Quinton Jackson. Despite coming from a loss, he fought the champion. If I could, I’d fight him or Dan Henderson. I can knock them out, I’m sure of it. If I could pick someone... But I can’t. If you wanna be a UFC champ, you can’t pick your opponents. You gotta fight whoever crosses your way. I’ll work so I win. I want to hurt, smash the Americans. In two weeks I believe Alex (Davis) tells me my next opponent ... Maybe I can fight Rich Frankin, who knows? That guy (Stanislav Nedkov) who defeated (Luis) Cane. I can fight anyone. I fight with five, six weeks in advance. I’m ready. If I fight in Brazil, it’s even better."
U mad? Brazilian light heavyweight boxer-turned-cagefighter Fabio Maldonado tells Tatame.com that he wants to kick some American ass in his next fight for the UFC. He also claims he's got the hands to knockout Dan Henderson and Quinton Jackson, two of the best 205-pounders in the game today. Anyone think he's trying the Chael Sonnen method of matchmaking? Or is he just bitter from his June 4 loss to Kyle Kingsbury, who trains at (wait for it ...) AMERICAN Kickboxing Academy?
Mark Munoz, Donkey Kong and Super Friends out to silence critics at UFC 138
To hear many MMA fans and pundits tell it, the UFC might as well scratch Saturday's UFC 138 altogether.
Despite boasting a 10-bout card that airs free around the globe, UFC 138 has come under fire from critics who are underwhelmed at the evening's lineup. Headliner Mark Munoz (11-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC), who meets slugger Chris Leben (22-7 MMA, 12-6 UFC), couldn't care less.
"They can say what they want," Munoz said at Wednesday's media workout session in Birmingham, England. "When they watch the fight, they're going to be like, 'Oh, I was wrong.' I love proving people wrong.
"It's going to be a great main event. People love to watch fireworks."
UFC 138's Jason Young 'no small fish,' ready to score upsets in UFC's deep end
If anyone in the UFC's featherweight division has a right to be mad at the company's matchmaking duo of Joe Silva and Sean Shelby, it might just be Jason "Shotgun" Young (8-4 MMA, 0-1 UFC).
Young made his UFC debut this past June against once-beaten contender Dustin Poirier and now fights at Saturday's UFC 138 event against gritty Japanese vet Michihiro Omigawa (12-10-1 MMA, 0-4 UFC). No matter, says Young.
"They're not easy fights for me," Young told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "I haven't been built up in any way. But I'm no small fish. I'm trapped in the deep end, but I'm no small fish."
Poirier and Omigawa compete on the live Facebook-streamed preliminary card of Saturday's event, which takes place at LG Arena in Birmingham, England. The main card airs via same-delay in the U.S. on Spike TV (and live in other countries).
Dana White: UFC on FOX 1 inspired by boxing's once-glorious past
Longtime boxing fan Dana White always envisioned an event like UFC on FOX 1.
The UFC's heavily anticipated and historic network-television debut is reminiscent of the UFC president's earliest boxing memories, when major fights were must-see events.
"This is a throwback to the old days of boxing," he today said.
UFC on FOX 1 takes place next Saturday, Nov. 12, at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. The main event (and only televised fight) features UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez (9-0 MMA, 7-0 UFC) vs. Junior Dos Santos (13-1 MMA, 7-0 UFC)..
The event is a precursor to the big-bucks UFC-FOX deal, which doesn't kick off officially until 2012. So next week's event is a sort of a teaser event of what's to come. That's why only the title fight makes it to air (and why the entire undercard streams on FOX.com and Facebook).
Top prospect Alexandre "Popo" Bezerra meets UFC vet Doug Evans at Bellator 57
A lightweight bout between top prospect Alexandre "Popo" Bezerra (11-1 MMA, 3-0 BFC) and UFC vet Doug Evans (13-9 MMA, 0-0 BFC) has been added to next week's Bellator 57 event.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) today confirmed the booking with event sources.
Bellator 57 takes place Nov. 12 at Casino Rama in Rama, Ontario, Canada.
Bellator 57's main card, which takes place the same day as UFC on FOX 1, begins at a special time of 7 p.m. ET/PT on MTV2. The prelims stream live on Spike.com.
Bezerra vs. Evans likely will be a featured preliminary-card bout.
Dana White: UFC Getting Closer to Producing Ultimate Fighter 'World Cup'
The UFC continues its expansion at a blistering pace, recently signing a major television deal with Brazil's Globo, and planning a February show in Japan, an event that will mark the first show there under Zuffa ownership. But according to UFC president Dana White, that's just the tip of the iceberg.
On a Wednesday teleconference to promote the UFC on FOX premiere, White discussed some other worldwide plans, including an Ultimate Fighter "World Cup" that would take the winners from several international editions and match them against each other to produce one champion.
The idea has been a long-held one for White, and though its production remains off in the future, steps towards making it a reality are in the here and now.
A deal to produce the UFC's first international edition has been struck, and the show will soon begin taping in Brazil, likely in the spring of 2012.