ESPN's Jon Anik joins UFC broadcasting team
Jon Anik has joined the UFC family.
UFC president Dana White today announced that the veteran broadcaster, who's been the longtime host and anchor of the weekly "MMA Live" show on ESPN2, has joined the UFC broadcasting team.
Anik will commentate UFC Fight Night and The Ultimate Fighter Finale events on FX, and he'll also call the action for the live "TUF" episodes that begin airing on the cable station in 2012.
"We're very happy to have Jon as part of the team," White said during today's UFC 137 pre-event press conference in Las Vegas.
Anik, 33, is taking a full-time position with the UFC. There's no word on his possible "MMA Live" replacement.
Nick Diaz Wishes He'd Stuck to Boxing Plans
Nick Diaz's chance to come to the UFC was a move made seemingly as much to provide Georges St. Pierre with a new, marketable challenger as it was to prevent him from following through on his Strikeforce contract which allowed him to take a pro boxing match. Diaz had a deal worked out with the well faded (and frankly never all that good) Jeff Lacy which was being shopped to different pay-per-view distributors but the UFC brought him in and gave him the shot at GSP's title.
Diaz no-showed press events and got bumped down to the co-main event to fight B.J. Penn.
Nick is now telling MMA Fighting that he regrets his decision to skip out on his boxing opportunity:
"I would have gone back to boxing," Diaz said. "If I had my chance to do it over again, I would go back to the boxing contract. It would have paid me more money, and I would have took my punches win or lose, and just do my job, fight and get paid."
Though content with career, UFC 137's 'Cro Cop' says another loss would be a 'disaster'
A softer side – in fact, a jovial and even comedic side – has come out of Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic ahead of Saturday's UFC 137 fight with Roy Nelson.
The heavyweight fighter's UFC career long has been identified by unrivaled stoicism, but lately, the dangerous Croatian striker has loosened up.
Even with a two-fight losing streak staring him in the face, Filipovic told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) he's got every reason be proud of his once-illustrious career. But admittedly, another loss would be a personal disaster, he said.
Filipovic (27-9-2 MMA, 4-5 UFC) and Nelson (15-6 MMA, 2-2 UFC) clash on Saturday's pay-per-view main card at Las Vegas' Mandalay Bay Events Center. Both notables are stuck in two-fight losing skids, and Saturday's loser could be forced to pack his bags.
With cast removed, UFC's Diego Sanchez cleared to resume training
Diego Sanchez has been cleared to resume training.
The UFC veteran recently scratched from a UFC 135 fight with Matt Hughes earlier this month when he was sidelined by a broken right hand.
Doctors, though, have removed his cast and cleared the lightweight fighter to resume training, though no return bout has been booked.
"I feel great," Sanchez stated in a release. "In some senses, this injury has been a blessing because I've been forced to train in ways and on things that I never before had thought of or considered. I truly feel as going though this injury is going to make me a better fighter in the long run.
With UFC 137 main event looming, Nick Diaz laments choice not to box
Nick Diaz (25-7 MMA, 6-4 UFC) now says he regrets his decision to pass up a boxing contract for a return to the UFC.
Three days before his UFC 137 headliner opposite B.J. Penn (16-7-2 MMA, 12-6-2 UFC), Diaz said a trip to the square circle would have benefitted him more in the long term than the continuation of his MMA career.
"If I had my chance to do it over again, I would have gone back to the boxing contract," the former Strikeforce champion said today.
UFC 137's Donald Cerrone: After 'one-trick pony,' I want Nam Phan at 145 pounds
LAS VEGAS – UFC lightweight contender Donald Cerrone (16-3 MMA, 3-0 UFC) currently has his hands full with German striker Dennis Siver (19-7 MMA, 8-4 UFC), but that doesn't mean "Cowboy" isn't already planning out his next move.
He's giving up Milk Duds and Hot Tamales.
Cerrone said after his bout with Siver at this weekend's UFC 137 event in Las Vegas, he's making a drop down to 145 pounds for one specific reason: to silence Nam Phan.
"I'm about to go to 145 (pounds) after this fight," Cerrone today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "I'm going to go after Nam Phan. He's talking [expletive], and now I'm pissed off."
Cesar Gracie Says Gilbert Melendez is UFC-Bound After December Strikeforce Fight
Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez has recently been the subject of much speculation regarding how much longer he would remain with that organization. UFC president Dana White recently said that he wanted to bring him over to the UFC, but he was still booked in a title defense against Jorge Masvidal at a Strikeforce event on December 17th in San Diego. Gil's coach Cesar Gracie made it clear to Tatame that he's going to the UFC after that fight though:
"Absolutely it’ll be his last fight (in Strikeforce)", assures the coach, who didn’t have any doubts about Melendez’s situation on the lightweight division of Ultimate, which title holder is Frankie Edgar. "I believe Melendez is the best of the world in this division".
Brendan Schaub and Fabricio Werdum Eye Potential Matchup
It started off with a simple statement from Brendan Schaub, and has blossomed into something more. It's well known that Fabricio Werdum is looking to return to the UFC and he's apparently willing to grasp at any olive branch that might lead him there, no matter how small. After Schaub said Werdum would be an interesting opponent in an interview last week, Werdum responded on twitter today with a challenge:
@BrendanSchaub I'm ready for you, anytime, anywhere! @SpiderAnderson @kings_mma @wandfc @graciemag_br @TATAMEMAGAZINE @marco_goncalves
Oct 25 via Twitter for iPhoneFavoriteRetweetReply
The fact that he included 67 other people in the tweet is a major indication that he's looking for some validation here.
UFC 137 headliner B.J. Penn fueled by haters and those who would hold him down
Former UFC lightweight and welterweight champion B.J. Penn is too old for this you-know-what.
He's still a proud man and a fighter. But he's a father of two now, and has children to keep in check the flare-ups of emotion that would have landed him in hot water three years ago. He can't go flying off at the handle at any slight. He is measured because he is responsible.
In short, he's an adult. At 32, he ought to be.
Few of the haters that seem to follow him everywhere have undergone such transformation. Even after all these years, they still dole out criticism that attacks his motivation, his skills, his background. And it's those nice people that give him the motivation to do his best in the gym.
Jared Hamman vs. Constantinos Philippou added to UFC 140 in Toronto
A middleweight contest between Jared Hamman (13-3 MMA, 2-2 UFC) and Constantinos Philippou (8-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) is now official for the UFC's return to Canada.
UFC officials today announced the matchup as the "final" contest on the now 12-bout UFC 140 card.
Featuring a light heavyweight title fight between current champ Jon Jones and former titleholder Lyoto Machida, "UFC 140: Jones vs. Machida" takes place Dec. 10 at Toronto's Air Canada Centre.
The positioning of Hamman vs. Philippo bout on the evening's lineup was not confirmed, but it will likely take place on the evening's preliminary card.
12th and final bout. Very solid card. Can't wait to go.
UFC middleweight contender Alan Belcher earns Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt
While UFC middleweight contender Alan Belcher generally enters the cage sporting a pair of Muay Thai trunks, he's also registered four submission wins in the octagon.
And now, he's a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt.
Belcher, who began training in the grappling art at just 14 years old, was recently granted the rank of black belt by his longtime instructor, Helio Soneca.
Josh Grispi Sidelined By Family Circumstances
UFC featherweight Josh Grispi hasn't had the best 2011 in the cage so far, but he's dealing with a lot more outside of it. After going 0-2 earlier in the year, he was scheduled to face Matt Grice at UFC 136 but withdrew from the fight. According to a Boston Herald article, it wasn't an injury that forced him out. There was a lot more to it than that:
On Aug.?12, Grispi's first child Josh Jr. was born. Two days later, Josh's father, Richard, was rushed to Tufts Medical Center for emergency surgery to remove a brain tumor the size of a hockey puck. Suffice to say, the two events didn't leave Josh much time to focus on fighting.
Firas Zahabi: 'I'd Want Georges St. Pierre to Move Down to 155'
Tri-Star trainer Firas Zahabi was a guest on Beatdown radio with T.J. De Santis and Jon Luther of Sherdog yesterday, and had some very interesting things regarding his star pupil Georges St. Pierre changing weight classes. They started off asking Firas about what would be required for GSP to move to middleweight, and he threw them for a loop with his answer. He said that he actually recommends that St. Pierre should move down to 155, not up to 185 (starts around the 88 minute mark):
"Well to be honest with you, I have recommended to Georges, you know...the only reason I don't recommend it now is because Frankie Edgar is the champion, but I'd want him to move down to 155 if Frankie was not the champion. Obviously we're part of the Renzo Gracie team and we'd never fight Frankie Edgar, because obviously we're all Renzo Gracie fighters. But if it wasn't the case, you know, I'd rather him go down to 155 because Georges is not a very big welterweight. People might think he is, he's actually not very big. And him making 170 is extremely easy for him.
MMAPlayground Interview Series - Vol. 11 (Pablo "The Scarecrow" Garza)
As with any successful professional, mixed martial artists eat, sleep and breathe their craft. They put everything on the line when they wake up, hit the gym and pour their blood, sweat and tears into the sport we all love. When they enter that cage, for the fan, it's all about the entertainment, but these athletes go through the daily rigors with more in mind. For some fighters, it's a paycheck. For others, it's the glitz and glamour, but for some it's a lifestyle fueled by a deep passion and connection to the sport of mixed martial arts.
In our newest site feature, MMAPlayground would like to introduce you to some of these men and women of MMA that you may not know much about.
Our mission? To introduce. To educate. To spread the word.
Pablo “The Scarecrow” Garza is a WEC and UFC veteran who has fought in both the lightweight and featherweight divisions. He was the first featherweight, along with Fredson Paixao, to compete under the UFC banner. He is also the first fighter in UFC history to pull off a flying triangle submission. He’s a versatile fighter, a humble man, and a closet nerd.
Garza is scheduled to take on fellow UFC featherweight Dustin Poirier on November 12 on UFC on Fox: Velasquez vs. Dos Santos.
* * * * *
MMAPG: Pablo, thanks so much for taking time to answer some questions. You’re scheduled to take on fellow featherweight Dustin Poirier at UFC on Fox 1. How are you feeling right now? How’s your training going?
GARZA: My training is going good and I’m feeling great!
MMAPG: You’re coming off two of the most spectacular finishes in the UFC in the past year. You’ve received submission of the night and knockout of the night in back-to-back fights. Which one did you find to be more rewarding?
GARZA: I think the flying triangle was more rewarding. Some people thought that I just got lucky in landing a flying knee against Paixao. A lot of people questioned whether I belonged in the UFC at all. So after I landed the flying triangle in UFC129, I felt like people finally saw that I actually hold my own in the UFC.
Jacob Volkmann vs. T.J. Grant booked for UFC 141 in Las Vegas
Looking for his fifth straight UFC victory, lightweight Jacob Volkmann will meet T.J. Grant later this year at UFC 141.
UFC officials today announced the bout.
UFC 141 takes place Dec. 30 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The event, which takes place on a Friday to avoid Sin City's usual New Year's Eve congestion, features a pay-per-view main card.
Winklejohn: GSP's injury maybe a 'blessing in disguise' for Condit
Carlos Condit was disappointed last week when Georges St. Pierre had to pull out of their UFC 137 welterweight title fight due to a knee injury, but the bout’s postponement could benefit him, according to trainer Mike Winkeljohn.
“Maybe it’s a blessing in disguise,” Winkeljohn told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show. “We had a game plan. We felt real good with it, but Chris Luttrell and I were talking about some things we’d like to see Carlos do, but we figured it was too late to even try to implement those things because the fight’s coming up and you can only fill your fighter’s head with so much information. In a way, now we can come up with a couple of more things to put us in a couple of better positions for this fight.”
Nelson: I've been working out in cemetery
Ask Roy Nelson how he's been preparing for his fight against Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic at UFC 137, and you'll find that "Big Country's" sense of humor is still very much intact after two straight losses.
"I've just been working out in the cemetery a lot," he told MMA Fighting recently. "I've got to get ready for the left kick. I want to see what it's like."
Sanchez expects early 2012 return
“Diego’s hand, I want to say, is about 75 to 80-percent healed up. He’s lifting weights on it, he’s taking really good care of it, he’s rehabbing it hard. He’s really trying to get back as soon as possible,” Kawa told MMAWeekly Radio.
“I estimate him coming back either the first part of February or the later part of February.”
Like any injury, Kawa wants to make sure that Sanchez is back to full health before booking him in any fights, but there appear to be plenty of opportunities awaiting “The Dream” when he’s ready to come back.
UFC to Show Four Live 3D Pay-Per-Views in Theaters in 2012
The UFC has tried to keep pace with technology when it comes to broadcasting their events. Whether it was offering HD broadcasts of their pay-per-views or using social networking sites to offer undercard fights, it's hard to fault them for the commitment to offering what fans want. They've apparently taken this to the next level starting with their annual Super Bowl weekend card next February, where they will offer a live 3D airing of the pay-per-view in select theaters across the United States.