UFC Looking to Buy G4 Cable Channel, Spike Execs Prepare to Move On
In a blockbuster development, the UFC is in talks to buy an ownership stake in the G4 cable channel, according to published reports.
On Wednesday, New York Times TV reporter Brian Stelter tweeted that a source had confirmed that "Comcast is meeting with UFC today about possible sale of a stake in G4." Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal furthered the developing story, saying the UFC is in discussions to "buy control" of the network.
In recent days, sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity told MMA Fighting that Spike, which has been the home of the UFC since 2005, is essentially preparing for life without UFC, and that it will move the Bellator promotion on to the channel in 2012...
UFC 131 Tickets Not Moving Well in Vancouver
With just three days to go before UFC 131, things are not looking good in terms of ticket sales. A lot of it is out of the hands of the UFC though. They couldn't count on the Vancouver Canucks playing a Stanley Cup Final home game the night before in the same arena as UFC 131 is running (Rogers Arena); they obviously couldn't count on Brock Lesnar pulling out; and with no local fighters to root for, it's tougher for a Vancouver crowd to get into the spirit of things now that the novelty has worn off. The Vancouver Sun addressed this in an article this morning:
"It’s certainly not typical, this is one of the lowest-priced UFC events," said Glenn Lehrman, the head of communications for the popular ticket re-sale site StubHub. "It’s a great deal to go to a UFC fight."
No UFC Events in the UK in 2011
For the first time since 2006, the UFC will not hold any events in the England, Great Britain or Ireland in 2011. As late as November of last year, UFC UK President Marshall Zelaznik was talking about hosting "4 to 6" UFC events in the British Isles this year. Now he's admitting that thanks to a schedule change by Spike TV that the UFC won't be returning to the UK at all in 2011.
Zelaznik asserts that he "had three good venue options" for an October 15th date but recent scheduling changes by the UFC's US TV partners made that date impossible.
From ESPN UK:
However, problems emerged in May when the UFC's US TV date was forced to change to a different, specific date, where misfortune would dictate no suitable venues in the UK were available. In one swift changing of the goalposts, the UFC went from having three venues to none.
As a result, Zelaznik admits the chances of a 2011 event now stand at "less than 20 per cent", but he is still looking into every possibility, in order to find a solution that is growing increasingly unlikely.
"We are left with trying to convince our [TV] partner to move the date or look to other locations. That is where we are now.
"There is, if I were to put a percentage on it, less than a 20 per cent chance that we will be able to bring an event to the UK this year. We are all gutted over it and the fans who are being so vocal should know we hear them and we will continue to work hard to satisfy them."
Aldo: UFC Would Have to Pay Good Money for Title Fight with Nunes
Jose Aldo is sidelined at the moment, but the UFC’s 145-pound ace will have no shortage of challengers lined up to meet him upon his return to the Octagon this fall.
Unbeaten wrestler Chad Mendes, previously announced as the company’s No. 1 featherweight contender, has opted not to wait out Aldo’s return and will instead face Rani Yahya in August. Then there’s Kenny Florian, the former lightweight title challenger who could jump to the front of the line with a win in his June 11 featherweight debut against Diego Nunes. A training partner of Aldo’s at Nova Uniao in Rio de Janeiro, Nunes could also find himself in title contention with a win.
Speaking exclusively with Sherdog.com after Shooto Brazil 23 on June 4, Aldo didn’t deny the possibility of fighting his teammate for the belt, but did say that the UFC would have to make it worth his while.
“I believe Diego will defeat Kenny Florian,” Aldo said. “Diego is well-prepared. He has ‘blood in his eyes’ for that fight and he’s ready to reach the top of the division. He has enough talent to fight for the title.
Jeremy Stephens Pays Respect to Danny Downes, Wants To Face Takanori Gomi Next
With two wins in a row, UFC lightweight Jeremy Stephens wants to face a former Pride champion Takanori Gomi for his next match-up, and he knows it’s fight the fans would love to see.
With two wins in a row and four out of his last fight, UFC lightweight Jeremy Stephens has proven he is one of the most dangerous fighters in the world on his feet.
Proven technique and deadly power have made Stephens a force to be reckoned as seen in evidence with his highlight reel knockout of Rafael Dos Anjos or as he blasted through Marcus Davis at UFC 125.
UFC 131's Vagner Rocha on Donald Cerrone: "It's a lose-lose fight for him"
Vagner Rocha (6-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) knows the odds are against him.
A little more than two years into his fighting career, he's facing a two-time WEC title-challenger on a three-fight streak. A bonus collector. A guy with almost three times his experience.
So it's no surprise to him that he's a 3-to-1 underdog against Donald Cerrone (14-3 MMA, 1-0 UFC). He's keeping track because he's bet on himself. Not the farm, but "somebody's rent money," as Rocha told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
The two meet Saturday on the first pay-per-view bout of UFC 131, which takes place Saturday at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Diamonds are forever: An MMAmania interview exclusive with Dustin Poirier
Dustin Poirier has big plans.
After a 1-1 stint in the WEC, "Diamond" looked polished in his UFC debut, completely dismantling then number one featherweight contender Josh Grispi via dominant unanimous decision at UFC 125 on New Year's.
Having just turned 22 years old, he's got all the time in the world to continue to develop his skills.
The Louisiana fighter trains under Tim Credeur at the Gladiator academy in Lafayette, LA and as he stated in his exclusive interview with MMAmania.com, despite defeating the number one contender, he's in no rush for a title shot.
TUF 13 Finale Pulls in 1.8 Million Viewers on Average for Spike TV Broadcast
The ratings for the TUF 13 finale are in and the final average was 1.8 million viewers for the Spike TV broadcast.
The ‘Ultimate Fighter’ season 13 was an up and down season for ratings and overall appeal, and the finale for the show seemed to suffer the same fate.
The ratings for the TUF 13 finale show average 1.8 million viewers for the broadcast that took place Saturday night in Las Vegas.
YouTube also will stream five UFC 131 preliminary card bouts
In addition to streaming on Facebook, the first five preliminary-card bouts from Saturday's UFC 131 card also will stream for free on YouTube.
YouTube recently opened the event page with a countdown to the event, which takes place at Rogers Arena in Vancouver.
UFC executives couldn't be reached for official comment, but sources told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) the organization simply wanted to widen its audience, reach non-Facebook users, and provide another platform that's very mobile-device-friendly.
UFC Vet Kurt Pellegrino Insists Retirement 'the Right Choice'
Kurt Pellegrino surprised many when he announced last week on his website that he was stepping away from MMA, effectively retiring as a fighter. But to those closest to him, it likely didn't come as a surprise at all.
"I've been thinking about retirement since (fighting) Josh Neer (at UFC 101 in August 2009)," Pellegrino told host Ariel Helwani on Monday's edition of "The MMA Hour." "I've been talking to my wife about it since then, anyway. When it was time to do it, I just said, 'Do it now.'"
Pellegrino said he wrote the post on his site, published it, and tried to not look back.
"I wrote this thing all out and pressed send," Pellegrino recalled. "I left my house and drove around for a bit. That was how I dealt with it, because it was a hard thing to do. Do I want to fight again? Right now, I kind of don't."
MMA Regulation Passes Another Hurdle In New York Vote
Mixed martial arts passed another hurdle in its quest to gain sanctioning in New York, as a bill to regulate the sport sailed through a vote in the state assembly's Tourism, Arts, Parks and Sport Development committee on Monday.
The vote overwhelmingly passed by a 16-3 margin, with two members absent.
Several obstacles, however, still stand in the way of regulated MMA coming to New York.
UFC 131's Joey Beltran: I'm employed to "put my fist on people's chins"
Joey Beltran's exciting style and never-say-die attitude have made him a fan favorite in the UFC.
However, following a January decision loss to Pat Barry, "The Mexicutioner" realizes he's in a must-win situation come this Saturday at UFC 131 in Vancouver.
Beltran (12-5 MMA, 2-2 UFC) faces Strikeforce and Bellator veteran Aaron Rosa (16-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC) in preliminary-card action, and the Mexican heavyweight knows he'll leave it all on the line to entertain his friends, family and fans. It's what he's paid to do.
Despite impressive TUF 13 Finale win, George Roop isn't fully happy with his career
Thanks to George Roop, Josh Grispi is no longer a red-hot prospect – and instead is a featherweight on the ropes of a deep division.
A body shot from "The Ultimate Fighter 8" veteran put Grispi (14-3 MMA, 0-2 UFC) on the canvas this past Saturday at The Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale and removed any illusions the youngster is ready for a shot at champ Jose Aldo, as the UFC believed he was at the end of this past year.
John Alessio vs. Josh Neer headlines Superior Cage Combat 2 on Aug. 20 in Vegas
UFC veterans John Alessio (31-14) and Josh Neer (29-10-1) will headline Superior Cage Combat's return to Las Vegas.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) has learned from sources close to the promotion that "The Natural" and "The Dentist" have agreed to headline "Superior Cage Combat 2: Alessio vs. Neer," which takes place Aug. 20 at Orleans Arena at the Orleans Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
Bout agreements are expected to be finalized shortly.
Mike Massenzio replaces injured Igor Pokrajac at Saturday's UFC 131 event
Hopefully the third time's a charm for Krzysztof Soszynski (25-11-1 MMA, 5-2 UFC).
The Canadian fighter has a new opponent for UFC 131, Mike Massenzio (12-4 MMA, 1-2 UFC), following the loss of two previous opponents.
This past month, Soszynski lost initial opponent Anthony Perosh (11-6 MMA, 1-3 UFC) to injury. And as the UFC announced overnight, he also lost replacement Igor Pokrajac (23-8 MMA, 2-3 UFC) because of another undisclosed injury.
Kampmann injured; Brown vs. Howard, Attonito vs. Roberts set for UFC on Versus 4
Martin Kampmann's injury and subsequent withdrawal from this month's UFC on Versus 4 card has resulted in a lineup shakeup.
Kampmann's original opponent, John Howard (14-6 MMA, 4-2 UFC), now fights welterweight replacement Matt Brown (11-10 MMA, 4-4 UFC). And Brown's original opponent on the card, Rich Attonito (9-4 MMA, 2-1 UFC), instead fights welterweight Daniel Roberts (12-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC).
UFC officials announced the changes overnight.
Dana White Announces UFC Live Events Coming to XBox Live (Updated)
UFC live events are coming to Xbox Live through streaming on demand as announced by UFC President Dana White on Monday.
White appeared at the E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, making the announcement about the new platform.
According to White, the UFC live events will be available on the Xbox Live service in a new deal the promotion signed with Microsoft. White also stated other events like the UFC weigh-ins would be available through Xbox Live.
“There has never been a better time to be a UFC fan,” White said on Monday. “As you know we deliver the best fights in the world, and now Xbox will revolutionize live events on television. You’ll get all the best fights and compete against your friends, only on Xbox.”
The details of the deal regarding when the service would become available were not announced, but the UFC will be coming to Xbox Live likely during the holiday season.
Xbox Live subscriptions through the streaming service run users anywhere from $9.99 a month to $59.99 for an entire year.
The preview video shown at the E3 conference showcased the UFC 129 pay-per-view event including fighter profiles, training footage and the option to order the live pay-per-view.
The UFC has been stressing the importance of branching out into new avenues in regards to their programming onto different formats like over the internet and now through the Xbox Live service.
The UFC already offers pay-per-views through their website with additional content as well as multiple camera angles and other add-ons to enhance the viewing audience.
Jason 'Mayhem' Miller Talks TUF 14, Michael Bisping
We all know Mayhem has some experience in front of the cameras. As the host of Bully Beatdown on MTV for the past three seasons, Jason Miller has built up the necessary experience to make for a great choice as a coach on The Ultimate Fighter 14. And it didn't take long for him to get the trash-talk headed in the direction of opposing coach Michael Bisping (via HeavyMMA):
"I feel great getting the TUF spot. It’s a little early to start the smack talk but I’m going to beat the bangers and mash out of Bisping after my team smashes his team. Now that Osama is dead, Bisping is the most hated man in America. Everybody hates that guy. I wonder what it’s like to actually be hated that much. You would have to put a terrorist attack together to be hated any more than he is."