Jon Fitch Out of UFC 132 Rematch With BJ Penn
Still 13 weeks out from his rematch with BJ Penn at UFC 132, Jon Fitch has pulled out of the fight due to a training injury.
Sources close to the UFC confirmed the news to MMA Fighting on Wednesday. Word of Fitch's withdrawal from the bout was first reported by MMA Weekly.
There is no word yet on a possible replacement for Fitch. The fight was expected to determine the top contender for the UFC welterweight title currently held by Georges St-Pierre.
Fitch and Penn fought to a majority draw at UFC 127 in Sydney last month when two judges scored the fight 28-28, giving Penn the first and second rounds, and a 10-8 to Fitch in the third. One judge scored the fight 29-28 in favor of Fitch.
UFC's Chris Lytle Answers Dan Hardy's Challenge; "Let's Do it!"
"I think it would be awesome. I know exactly how he feels. He wants to go out there and fight. Just get out there and bang. He didn't get to do that in his last fight and I'm all about it. Let's do it!"
UFC Welterweight scrap machine Chris Lytle tells Duane Finley that he accepts Dan Hardy's challenge with open arms. After Hardy lost a lopsided decision to Anthony Johnson he posted on his Twitter account that he was disappointed and wanted to face an opponent who was looking to actually fight him. He then went on to address "Mr. Lytle" directly and now "Lights Out" has answered back. Lytle has been vocal throughout his career that he is only interested in fighting opponents who come into the octagon with the intention to fight him and with Hardy having lost three straight, the British slugger's back is against the wall. A potential matchup between two of the division's most exciting stand-up fighters would certainly produce fireworks and now it is up to the UFC to make it happen.
April's UFC Fan Expo features training sessions with Liddell, Penn, Pettis
Mixed martial arts fans are invited to train with Chuck Liddell, B.J. Penn and Anthony Pettis.
UFC officials today announced that the three fighters will each host two-hour training and development sessions at April's UFC Fan Expo Toronto.
"This is the ultimate opportunity for fans to train alongside three of the UFC's biggest stars,” UFC president Dana White stated in an official release. "Liddell, Penn and Pettis are some of the most gifted athletes we've ever seen in the octagon, and we're really excited to give fans the chance to learn from them at the UFC Fan Expo."
UFC releases "UFC: Ultimate Royce Gracie" for DVD and Blu-ray on May 10
The Ultimate Fighting Championship is paying tribute to its first star.
UFC officials recently announced the promotion is planning to release "UFC: Ultimate Royce Gracie" on May 10.
Available on DVD and Blu-ray, the two-disc tribute to the UFC Hall of Fame member includes nearly six hours of content.
Gracie (14-2-3 MMA, 12-1-1 UFC) ushered in a new era in martial arts with his performances in the early days of the UFC. The grappling ace rattled off 11 consecutive submissions to open his career, and an event expected to serve as a one-time jiu-jitsu showcase became a sporting phenomenon.
"He is the godfather," UFC president Dana White stated in an official release. "He is the man who started it all, and we all bow down and kiss the ring of Royce Gracie. He kick-started the entire sport of mixed martial arts."
"UFC: Ultimate Royce Gracie" includes his most memorable fights, as well as behind-the-scenes footage and interviews. Gracie's UFC bouts with Ken Shamrock and Kimo Leopoldo, as well as his incredible 90-minute PRIDE match with Kazushi Sakuraba, are included.
Gracie hasn't fought since a June 2007 win over Sakuraba, but he's currently pressing for a return bout at the UFC's August event in his native Brazil.
"UFC: Ultimate Royce Gracie" carries a suggested retail price of $24.98 on DVD and $34.99 on Blu-ray.
Coach Thinks Wanderlei Should Fight Before Belfort Rematch
More than a year has passed since Wanderlei Silva last set foot inside the cage, and, despite outside pressures, “The Axe Murderer” has resisted the temptation to accept a rematch with Vitor Belfort upon his return. At least one person, longtime mentor Rafael Cordeiro, remains in his corner and steadfastly so.
Silva (Pictured), who underwent knee reconstructive knee surgery in July, has not fought since he earned a unanimous decision over “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 3 winner Michael Bisping at UFC 110 in February 2010. He wants a tune-up fight before he meets Belfort again.
“I think Wanderlei is coming off multiple injuries, but, at the same time, he has a desire to make this fight. There is a desire as an athlete and a fighter to make this rematch with Vitor,” said Cordeiro, who runs the Kings MMA camp in Huntington Beach, Calif. “I think, at this point, in my opinion as a friend and coach, he should have a fight with someone else before Vitor. When I say someone, I mean anyone who gets him back to being active.
“This fight with Vitor will become very important in his life, and he really wants it,” he added. “For Wanderlei to be 100 percent for the fight with Vitor, it’s important that he get another fight before it.”
Belfort challenged Anderson Silva for the middleweight crown at UFC 126 in February, losing by first-round knockout at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. Cordeiro believes participating in a fight of that magnitude would give Belfort a decided edge if the rematch were made now.
“Vitor just fought for the belt, and, thinking about the rhythm of the fight, he’s ahead of Wanderlei in that regard,” Cordeiro said. “I’m not saying that he’s better than Wanderlei, but Wanderlei needs to pick up his pace [before they fight].”
Belfort handed Silva arguably the worst defeat of his career in October 1998, as he blitzed his compatriot in a brilliant 44-second technical knockout. Silva went on to become one of the top stars in the Pride Fighting Championships promotion in Japan, winning the 205-pound title and defeating Japanese icon Kazushi Sakuraba (three times), former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton Jackson (twice) and two-time Olympian Dan Henderson in the process. Revered for his violent and aggressive style, Silva has lost five of his last seven fights. Fans have long yearned for a second bout between the now 34-year-old Brazilian and Belfort.
“I think he has the desire to fight with Vitor,” Cordeiro said. “Vitor already defeated him, and he has this desire to have revenge. However, the body says he stopped fighting a year ago and needs additional time to regenerate. He returned to training, with a focus on fighting, only 15 days ago. He was weight training, but he returned to fight training only recently. We’re still afraid to push him 100 percent. The most important thing is that the UFC wants him to fight, regardless of the time he’s been out.”
UFC Bantamweight Michael McDonald: “I’m 20 Years Old, I’ve Got a Long Ways to Go”
Already at this point in his UFC career even with only one fight, Michael McDonald may be the most grounded fighter in the promotion.
McDonald, who battled Edwin Figueroa at UFC Fight Night 24, walked out of his first UFC event with a $55,000 bonus check for “Fight of the Night” and a lot of people calling him the top prospect at 135lbs.
While he appreciates the accolades, McDonald isn’t ready to put the cart before the horse just yet. He likes the way his career is going, and doesn’t plan on calling out UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz tomorrow.
“I’m very real about realizing my age and I have a long way to go until I’m at my best. I think I’m definitely good enough to hang with the top level of competition in the world, but still in all reality, I’m 20 years old and I’ve got a long ways to go,” McDonald told MMAWeekly Radio.
It’s that very perspective that makes McDonald a rare breed in the sport. It’s hard for any athlete not to jump ahead after an impressive performance and everyone singing your praises after the job is done.
At only 20 years of age, McDonald knows he has a lot of room to grow in the sport, and he’s not trying to get ahead of himself before he’s ready for the challenge.
“I’m very content taking the slowest road possible to the top. Slowest road to the top means I’m going to be better when I get there,” said McDonald. “I’m definitely in no hurry, I just want to fight, get a few checks, make my name out there, just prepare my career. I’m not too focused on ‘oh I’ve got to get that title’ or anything. I’m very content with where I’m at.”
Following the fight against Figueroa at UFC Fight Night 24, McDonald also received the news via the internet that the Washington State Department of Licensing had issued him an indefinite medical suspension.
McDonald says medically he’s fine, and he’s not sure where that report came from.
“I don’t know what people are talking about with this ‘indefinite suspension’,” McDonald commented. “I didn’t sign anything for an indefinite suspension or anything like that. I really have no idea. My hand’s a little bit swollen, but it’s not broken. I really don’t know what people are talking about on that.”
Outside of a swollen hand, McDonald is already back teaching class and helping out other aspiring fighters. He won’t go full on into sparring until his hand is ready, but what he will do is wait for the UFC to call and offer him his next fight in a few months.
McDonald says it doesn’t matter who he fights, it’s always been a matter of when and where.
“My biggest thing isn’t really taking any time mentally off, I’m in the gym already, I’m teaching, I’m in there helping my teammates, this is what I love to do,” McDonald said. “It’s not a burden. I just can’t physically do anything yet cause my hand’s still a little bit swollen and I want to baby it.
“What the comfort zone for me is usually about 4 months for another fight.”
Look for McDonald to take his next step forward in the UFC’s bantamweight division this summer.
UFC Fight Night 24 Peaks at 2.4 Million Viewers During Johnson vs. Hardy Fight
The final numbers are in for UFC Fight Night 24 in Seattle. It is now the most watched UFC Fight Night telecast since September 2009.
The rating released on Tuesday revealed that the show reached a peak of 2.4 million viewers during the Anthony Johnson vs. Dan Hardy match-up. The welterweights promised to become the main event, and according to the numbers, they certainly fit the bill.
Overall the show averaged 2.2 million viewers for the Saturday night broadcast, and rated a 2.3 in males 18-34.
The card already pulled in some of the largest numbers ever for attendance and live gate, and now the ratings back it up with some strong pull from the television audience as well.
Javier Vazquez Makes His Long Awaited UFC Debut in June
It’s been a dream for a decade, but now Javier Vazquez will finally make his UFC debut. The featherweight fighter is expected to return to action in June.
While no date or opponent have been set, Vazquez confirmed to MMAWeekly Radio that he’s set to return in that time frame.
“I should be fighting hopefully sometime in June for the UFC,” Vazquez revealed. “I’m not sure who I’m going to be fighting yet, but that’s more or less the time frame that they gave me, sometime in June.”
There are three UFC events expected for June. First up is the TUF 13 Finale on June 4 in Las Vegas. UFC 131 is set to take place on June 11 and rumored for Vancouver. The other show taking place in June is UFC on Versus 4 on June 26, which may take place in Pittsburgh.
Vazquez says he was actually offered a fight before June, but a few nagging injuries forced him to stay out of action, but he is now healthy and ready to return.
“They offered me a fight back in March, but I was coming off of an injury. Nothing major, but just needed a little bit of time to heal, and so timeline wise it didn’t work out,” Vazquez said.
Prior to his time in the WEC, Vazquez had fought in several different organizations. He was originally set to come to the UFC around 2001, but the opportunity never materialized.
Before his fight happens in June, however, Vazquez will be offering young up-and-coming fighters a chance to experience his training camp firsthand with a new project he’s putting together starting in just over a week.
“We’re doing something new. I don’t know if anybody else has done it, but basically what I’m doing is an MMA camp,” said Vazquez. “Basically what we’re doing is five days of intensive training, guys come down from all over the country and they train with me, and they get to shadow my training for my fight.
“So we’ll go to the boxing gym I train at, going to the Bodyshop with Antonio McKee to train there, probably take them to Erik Paulson’s to train there. So basically they’re just going to shadow what I’m doing to see if they have what it takes to be an MMA fighter.”
The first camp will be from April 4-8, and then subsequent camps will take place May 2-6, and June 6-10.
MMAWeekly.com will have more information on Vazquez’s opponent when it becomes available
Thiago Silva admits use of "urine adulterant"
UFC light heavyweight contender Thiago Silva (15-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) was wrong, and he admits it.
In an era in which professional athletes have gone so far as to lie under oath in regard to their use of performance-enhancing substances, Silva is taking the exact opposite approach.
In a statement delivered to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com), Silva admits he cheated for his UFC 125 matchup with Brandon Vera, and he'll accept whatever punishment the Nevada State Athletic Commission recommends. After that, the Brazilian said he'll come back a changed man.
"We make decisions every day of our lives," Silva stated. "Some are good, and some are bad. When you make a bad decision, you can either make the situation worse by trying to cover it up or lie about it, or just stick your head in the sand and refuse to acknowledge it even happened. Or you can own up to it with an honest explanation, accept the consequences of your actions, apologize to the people affected by it, learn from it and move on. I'm choosing the second option.
"I used a urine adulterant when giving a sample following my fight with Brandon Vera. I did so in an attempt to alter the results of the test and knowingly broke the rules of the Nevada (State) Athletic Commission. This was a terrible decision on my part for which I will be punished. I am prepared to accept this punishment, learn from it and move on. I apologize to the commission, the UFC, Brandon Vera and the MMA fans."
UFC Fight Night 24 averages 2.2 Million viewers on Spike TV wins key demos
This past weekend's UFC Fight Night 24 event drew an average audience of 2.2 million viewers (1.5 household rating) and peaked with 2.4 million for a co-headliner between welterweights Anthony Johnson and Dan Hardy.
Spike TV officials today announced the figures.
The March 26 broadcast was the most watched program on cable for the entire day among men 18-34 and men 18-49.
Michael Bisping Calls Out Chael Sonnen, Slams Nate Marquardt
Chael Sonnen called out Michael "Spitsbing" after UFC 127 and Bisping has returned the favor. Michael Bisping [Num. 9] talks Chael Sonnen and Nate Marquardt on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani: (video)
"I want to fight Chael Sonnen [Num. 2] - he is without a doubt the guy that I want to fight next. I want to fight Chael Sonnen because he's an amazing fighter. When he fought last, he looked fantastic, and I want to challenge myself."
"He's the number two ranked middleweight in the world. Obviously I can't fight number one (Anderson Silva) because I’ve got to earn a title shot, so I want to fight the number two guy to do that."
"Regarding Nate Marquardt [Num. 4], he has been talking a lot of trash about me recently. That guy, he's quite a hypocrite. He's a steroid cheat, let's not forget that. He's had points taken away for illegally kneeing people himself, and then he goes out talking about me as if I'm Satan or something. The guy's an absolute hypocrite."
NSAC: Thiago Silva
UFC 125 fighter Thiago Silva's drug-testing sample was "inconsistent with human urine," Nevada State Athletic Commission executive director Keith Kizer today confirmed with MMAjunkie.com.
Silva's initial "A" test was flagged, and further testing on the "B" sample confirmed the original conclusion.
Kizer said Silva now essentially is temporarily suspended until an April 7 hearing.
After UFN 24 win, Johny Hendricks (respectfully) wants Diego Sanchez next
Following a UFC Fight Night 24 victory and $55,000 "Knockout of the Night" bonus, Johny Hendricks underwent his customary post-fight shave and now plans to take a few days off before he's back in the gym.
But as he today told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio), he knows whom he wants next.
"The guy I've been looking at and we've been talking about – and the guy is really tough and been around the block for a while and fought some of the toughest guys in the [welterweight and lightweight] classes – is Diego Sanchez," he said.
In a bout relegated to the untelevised preliminary card, Hendricks scored the UFC Fight Night 24's only knockout. He floored youngster T.J. Waldburger with a straight punch and then followed him to the mat with some fight-ending followup shots.
Once he left Seattle's KeyArena, Hendricks (10-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC), who successfully rebounded from his first career loss with the win, said he began thinking about Sanchez (23-4 MMA, 12-4 UFC).
"He's a tough fighter," Hendricks said. "He comes out there, he brings it every fight, and he's gone toe to toe with some of the best fighters at 170 and 155. Who better to go out there and compete against than him?"
So does he have a beef with the Team Jackson fighter, or is this a respectful call-out?
"It's respectful," he said. "Diego Sanchez is a nice guy. It's just that I know where I want to be, and he's right there where I want to be. He's a great fighter."
Hendricks wants to make a summer return. He thinks a fight with Sanchez, who recently earned a hotly contested split-decision victory over Martin Kampmann at UFC on Versus 3, would make a perfect addition to a July 2 UFC 132 card in Las Vegas. His Team Takedown teammate Shane Roller is on the card (and fighting Melvin Guillard), and he'd love for them to go through a fight camp together.
Additionally, he thinks he's better prepared for someone of Sanchez's caliber. Although a two-time NCAA Division I national wrestling champion and four-time All-American, he's always displayed solid striking. In fact, six of his 10 career wins now have come via knockout.
But after his December decision loss to Rick Story, he fixed a glitch in his style.
"I got away from setting my feet when I threw my punches," he said. "I got into the mode where I didn't want to try to get hit. And that was my whole goal in the (Story) fight. But I got back to, 'Hey, they're going to hit me, but I'm going to try to hit them back that much harder.'"
That willingness to stay in the pocket paid off against Waldburger, who was floored with a punch that Hendricks often drills.
"I actually do that in training where you post the head and throw that straight right down the middle because you sort of blind them, and they can't see the punch coming," he said. "That's when you knock people. It's not how hard you hit. It's (landing) the punch they don't see coming."
UFC Fight Night 24 officially draws record 13,741 attendance, $1.2 million gate
Although the attendance figured dipped a bit, UFC Fight Night 24 set an event-series record in that category, as well in live gate.
UFC officials initially announced estimated totals of 14,212 attendees and a $1,182,850 gate.
According to figures MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) obtained from the the Washington State Department of Licensing, the gate figure remained the same, though the official attendance came in a bit lower at 13,741.
UFC Fight Night 24 took place this past Saturday, March 26, at Seattle's KeyArena. The night's main card aired on Spike TV, and five preliminary-card fights streamed for free on Facebook. Phil Davis defeated Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in the headliner, and Anthony Johnson topped Dan Hardy in the co-headliner.
Of the 13,741 attendees, only 791 (5.8 percent) received complimentary tickets, and the average paid ticket price was $91.34. Given the strong ticket demand for a mid-level UFC card (officials initially configured the arena for 8,000 attendees but had to open additional seating sections to meet demand), a second trip to Washington is likely.
The UFC Fight Night 24 figures broke records set by UFC Fight Night 20 ($753,962 gate) and UFC Fight Night 18 (10,267 attendance).
The top 10 attendance marks in UFC Fight Night history, as compiled by MMAjunkie.com, include:
1."UFC Fight Night 24: Davis vs. Nogueira" – 13,741 attendance ($1,182,850 live gate)
2."UFC Fight Night 18: Condit vs. Kampmann" – 10,267 ($626,077)
3."UFC Fight Night 19: Diaz vs. Guillard" – 9,490 ($577,997)
4."UFC Fight Night 15: Diaz vs. Neer" – 9,103 ($700,00)
5."UFC Fight Night 16: UFC Fights for the Troops" – 8,500 (n/a)*6."UFC Fight Night 20: Maynard vs. Diaz" – 8,078 ($753,962)
7."UFC Fight Night 22: Marquardt vs. Palhares" – 7,724 ($595,500)
8."UFC Fight Night 21: Florian vs. Gomi" – 7,700 ($590,685)
9."UFC Fight Night 17: Lauzon vs. Stephens" – 7,596 ($304,000)
10."UFC Fight Night 13: Florian vs. Lauzon" – 6,742 ($753,429)
Cordeiro: Kings MMA Doors Open to ‘Shogun’
Former Chute Boxe Academy coach Rafael Cordeiro found Mauricio “Shogun” Rua’s performance against Jon Jones in the UFC 128 main event on March 19 in Newark, N.J. deeply unsettling. Rua, a longtime Cordeiro pupil, succumbed to a third-round technical knockout against Jones, as he surrendered the UFC light heavyweight crown in a woefully one-sided affair.
The doors to Cordeiro’s Kings MMA academy in Huntington Beach, Calif., remain open to Rua, who now owns a 3-3 mark inside the Octagon.
“It just depends on him,” Cordeiro (Pictured) told Sherdog.com. “It would be very easy to say that Shogun coming to train at my gym would be the solution to his problems. I think it would be the first step to solving things. I think the first step to solving your problems is for you to seek good training. That’s not to say he hasn’t done that, because he has a good team, but I’ve seen some weaknesses in Shogun that I had not seen before.”
Jones wiped out Rua, standing and on the ground, and emerged from the bout virtually unscathed. Never before had the 2005 Pride Fighting Championships middleweight grand prix winner been so soundly defeated. For Cordeiro, it was particularly tough to stomach.
“I was very sad on one hand, and it was a very sad night for me because this is a guy I graduated from white belt to black belt. I have a lot of affection for him,” Cordeiro said. “Every time I saw him coming to the ring, whether I was there or not, I had a reason to be proud because it was a black belt of mine who was in there.
“Even though we didn’t train together, his defeat was a very big revelation to me,” he added. “It’s hard to see your student going through a situation so complicated in the ring. Nobody until then had put Shogun [in a situation like that].”
Widely regarded as one of the top light heavyweights of all-time, Rua entered the cage against Jones on the heels of his third reconstructive knee surgery since 2007. The 29-year-old Brazilian had not fought in almost a year. Cordeiro believes he has an ideal team in place to assist in Rua’s recovery.
“My gym is open to all the guys,” he said. “When I opened this gym, it was always my intention to bring together good things and new. I want to add value to these fighters, and, so far, nothing has changed.
“It would be very easy to say to you today that I have the cure for Shogun’s problems,” Cordeiro added. “The most important thing for me is that he knows that there is a group of competent people to help him here. Again, that’s not to say he didn’t have competent people at his side [leading up to the Jones fight]. I think going forward there are some things that happened that showed he needed some special people to work with him.”
Jackson: Evans Said Jones Could Join Team
Rashad Evans has suggested trainer Greg Jackson is to blame for letting Jon Jones join their camp and set up a teammate-versus-teammate matchup, but Jackson (Pictured) has a different take.
“Rashad can say maybe he was uncomfortable with it, but when I asked him if [Jones] could come on the team, he said yes,” Jackson explained recently on the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show. “Everybody said yes. There’s a ton of people I’ve turned away because [team members] have said, ‘I’m not really comfortable with that person. I don’t want you to do it.’ I’ve got a list of those guys too. They’re very good fighters, and I’m not going to name names that I’ve had to turn away for that very reason. Everybody was all right with [Jones], and now they’re not.”
Jackson pointed out that Jones is one among many fighters who have been allowed to join the Jackson’s MMA team. Evans is another.
“I want talented people around talented people,” Jackson said. “Remember, these guys were really cool with each other until like a couple of weeks ago and then it all kind of went downhill because I guess Jon said something that hurt Rashad’s feelings and then it just kind of, I don’t know, it went out of control from there.”
Jones said he would be willing to fight Evans, and now Evans has said he’s willing to fight Jones, who won the UFC light heavyweight title March 19 from Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. Jackson will not be watching.
“If they choose to fight each other, it’s not like I’m their dad or I own them or anything like that,” he said. “If they’re making those choices, of course I’m disappointed, but if it’s what everybody wants, then I’m just going to stay out of it.”
One outcome Jackson wants to avoid is the feeling among his fighters that they should train with each other knowing they could meet one day in the cage.
“That’s part of the reason why we don’t want to fight each other,” he said. “That’s what people will never understand. Business people will never understand. … You want to keep that vibe of not having that around because everyone’s going to hold on to their own techniques and no one’s really going to grow. Why train with somebody in the first place if they’re not going to be showing you stuff, not helping you out?”