UFC champ Jon Jones scores "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" appearance
Where's Ed McMahon when you need him?
While the UFC's new light heavyweight champ won't get the experience of longtime announcer McMahon's signature, "Here's Johnny," introduction, Jon Jones is heading to "The Tonight Show."
UFC president Dana White today announced via Twitter that Jones will appear on Thursday night's edition of the 67-year-old NBC franchise.
"Congrats, Jon Jones," White wrote. "First UFC fighter to do the 'The Tonight Show' with Jay Leno.
"The hits keep on coming! Tune in Thursday on NBC!"
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) has since confirmed the booking with additional UFC executives. The official lineup for "The Tonight Show" does not yet reflect the appointment.
Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale Show Official; Pettis vs. Guida Headlines
The UFC has officially announced the “Ultimate Fighter” season 13 finale show taking place in Las Vegas on June 4 with Anthony “Showtime” Pettis taking on Clay Guida in the main event.
Pettis comes to the UFC after a successful WEC career that included the infamous “Showtime kick” to close out his time with the promotion, and leave as the last ever lightweight champion.
Pettis was expected to fight for the UFC lightweight title in his first bout in the Octagon, but a draw between champion Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard forced another fight and so Pettis will stay busy by facing Guida instead.
Zuffa Officials Meet With Showtime, Paul Daley Expected to Fight April 9
The changing climate in the world of MMA took another step towards the future on Saturday night when Strikeforce advertisements aired during the UFC 128 pay-per-view broadcast.
When Zuffa purchased the second largest MMA organization, everybody knew the crossover appeal would happen sooner rather than later, but it still caught a few people off guard when it happened.
In addition to the advertisements about the upcoming Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley event, middleweight Jason “Mayhem” Miller took over the UFC Twitter account during the pay-per-view to give his thoughts on the show, while Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Dan Henderson sat in the front row for the action.
Trainer: Jones vs. Evans matchup forcing "soul searching" at Jackson's, Grudge
When it comes to the impending fight between newly minted light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones and former champ Rashad Evans, trainer Greg Jackson is sticking to a long-held policy not to corner fighters against one another.
Other coaches are still figuring things out. It's admittedly an uncomfortable situation not only for Jackson but those who've worked with both fighters, or work with the Jackson team.
"Everybody's doing soul searching right now," Jackson today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
Not long ago, Evans and Jones were meeting on the mats of Jackson's MMA academy in Albuquerque, N.M., as Evans prepared to face light-heavyweight champion Mauricio "Shogun" Rua at UFC 128. When Evans hurt his knee in early February, Jones went in his place and dominated the Brazilian champion en route to a third-round TKO.
Tito Ortiz Takes on Ryan Bader at UFC 132 on July 2
Tito Ortiz is ready to step back in the Octagon. He will have a tough test ahead of him when he does, as he has agreed to face Ryan Bader at UFC 132 in July.
Sources close to the fight confirmed the bout to MMAWeekly.com on Monday.
Tito Ortiz (15-8-1) will not only be fighting Ryan Bader in July, he will literally be fighting for his UFC career. The former light heavyweight champion is currently on a three-fight losing streak, but UFC president Dana White said he would give him one more chance to prove himself, and this is it.
Rashad Evans: Disrespected by Jon Jones, Disappointed in Greg Jackson
This past Saturday at UFC 128 was supposed to be the culmination of two years of hard work for former champion Rashad Evans. He was set to face Mauricio "Shogun" Rua in a lightweight title bout that would give Evans the opportunity to finally reclaim the belt he once lost but instead of a moment of potential greatness, instead Evans has found himself in the midst of a bitter dispute. Several weeks from the fight Evans suffered an injury that forced him to withdraw and in his place the UFC tapped his teammate Jon Jones.
This created the potential confrontation between Evans and Jones, and while both men have publically stated this wasn't something they would take part in, after Jon Jones became the youngest light heavyweight champion in the history of the UFC, Evans was sitting right there in the number one contender's position. Now the reality of their matchup has forced a wedge between two men who were once considered close friends and training partners but Evans's frustration is not aimed at Jones alone. I caught up with Evans on the day after he agreed to face Jones later for the light heavyweight title and in his Bloody Elbow Exclusive interview, Evans spoke his mind. While Evans discussed the details of the situation between himself and Jon Jones, he perhaps showed more anger towards former Coach Greg Jackson's public declaration that he will take no part in the matchup.
UFC Wastes No Time Pitting Jones Against Evans, With Good Reason
NEWARK, N.J. – Call it the championship life cycle: one legend is barely out of his post-knockout haze, his facial tissue still in mid-swell, when the new champ is already confronting his next challenger on a canvas where the blood hasn't even dried yet.
It wasn't an unfamiliar encounter when former training partners Jon Jones and Rashad Evans shook hands in the middle of the Octagon before agreeing to beat each other up at some point in the near future. It also wasn't exactly an enthusiastic agreement on either man's part, though it was a decisive one.
UFC boss says new champ Jon Jones' biggest tests may lie outside of the cage
At just 23 years old, UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones (13-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) appears to have the mixed martial arts world in the palm of his hands.
But after "Bones" dismantled former champ Mauricio "Shogun" Rua at this past weekend's UFC 128 event, UFC president Dana White said it's not the palm of Jones' hands that need to be monitored right now.
It's his back.
UFC targets Belfort vs Silva II, the Axe Murderer holding out for Leben
For a guy who built a career on fighting anybody, anywhere, anytime, Wanderlei Silva (33-10-1 MMA, 3-4 UFC) is proving incredibly difficult to schedule.
UFC president Dana White said he's trying to book a rematch between Silva and Vitor Belfort (19-9 MMA, 8-5 UFC) – a fight "The Phenom" has verbally agreed to – but "The Axe Murderer" is holding out for a bout with Chris Leben (25-7 MMA, 11-6 UFC).
White admitted he's a little shocked by Silva's actions, especially considering he already turned down a UFC 130 fight with Brian Stann because he didn't want to face a U.S. military hero.
"We asked him to take [a fight with Stann], and he turned it down," White said. "He said, 'I don't like it because everybody likes this guy.' That's kind of a weird philosophy, but I'll accept that. Wanderlei's a warrior. He always goes out there. So we offered him the Vitor fight, and now he's on Twitter lobbying to fight Chris Leben."
Nate Marquardt Mulling Move Down to Welterweight
It's a surprising decree from a fighter that's never been considered small or outmuscled at the weight. Marquardt claimed that he walked around at a lighter weight during this camp, and felt like he could "go all day long" in the fight with Miller.
The most interesting bit of this info is that Marquardt reveals that he discussed the move with his coaches and a couple of teammates, including current UFC welterweight champ Georges St. Pierre. It makes one wonder if St. Pierre has resigned himself to a move up to middleweight should he defeat Jake Shields at UFC 129 in Toronto.
Champ Dominick Cruz gets Urijah Faber next, TUF 14 coaching slots possible
NEWARK, N.J. – UFC president Dana White isn't yet ready to dub UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber coaches for the upcoming 14th season of "The Ultimate Fighter."
But he told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) he's not closing the door on the possibility either.
Regardless of the possible reality-show duties, one thing is certain: the long-awaited Cruz (17-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) vs. Faber (25-4 MMA, 1-0 UFC) rematch is going to happen.
UFC Primetime returns to Spike TV for UFC 129
In anticipation of their historic UFC 129 main-event fight, UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar (21-2 MMA, 15-2 UFC) and top challenger Jake Shields (26-4-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) will be featured in the newest edition of Spike TV's three-part "UFC Primetime" special.
While broadcast plans for the specials have yet to be finalized, White confirmed the plans following Saturday's UFC 128 card in New Jersey.
"We're going to do a Primetime on those two," White said.
UFC 128 bonuses: Schaub, Koch, Barboza and Njokuani each earn $75K
NEWARK, N.J. – Brendan Scahub, Erik Koch, Edson Barboza and Anthony Njokuani each earned $75,000 "Fight Night" bonuses for their performances at Saturday's UFC 128 event.
With not one fight ending via submission, both Schaub and Koch were awarded "Knockout of the Night" bonuses, and Barboza and Njokuani combined for the "Fight of the Night" honors.
Dana White says UFC television channel "makes sense"
With the UFC and Strikeforce now residing under the same Zuffa, LLC umbrella, the world's leading mixed martial arts promoter now has a plethora of broadcast options at its disposal.
The UFC's deals with Spike TV, Versus and ION Television (not to mention Facebook.com) are now coupled with Strikeforce's Showtime and CBS partnerships, creating a widespread MMA presence across a variety of television platforms.
But could the purchase of Strikeforce, including its fighters and extensive tape library, signal the coming of the UFC's own television channel? UFC president Dana White admits it certainly make sense.
"It's a different world out there right now," White told Mike Straka on this week's new edition of HDNet's "Inside MMA." "Going out and starting your own channel isn't as easy it was six or seven years ago. It's a lot tougher than it used to be.
"But does it make sense? Yeah, it makes sense."
MMA fans have long salivated over the prospect of a 24-hour network dedicated to the broadcast of UFC programming. With the PRIDE, WEC, Strikeforce and EliteXC video libraries now under Zuffa's control, it would seem there is now more than enough stockpiled footage to make that dream a reality.
White, himself, even spoke on the potential for a UFC channel in an October 2010 interview with Broadcasting & Cable.
"SportsBusiness Journal just came out with a survey asking big names in the industry which sport could start its own network, and four out of five said us," White told Broadcasting & Cable. "They are right. I agree. That will happen within the next couple years."
Of course, exactly when that will happen remains a mystery. Some MMA pundits have suggested that while an all-UFC channel is certainly possible, the real crux behind the UFC's acquisitions of promotions like Strikeforce and the WEC is the access to their TV deals, thus allowing White to pit networks against each other in their bids for his programming.
White dismissed that notion.
"It makes me laugh sometimes when I'm cruising through the Internet and I read some of the stories that some of the reporters write," White told Straka. "Nobody knows what we're doing. We know what's going on. We're the ones that built this industry. We're the trailblazers that are out there making all these things happen.
"We know what we're doing. We know what the future is. We know what's going on, and it's funny to sit around and read some of the ideas that some of these websites throw out there. Trust me, we know exactly what we're doing for the next five years."
Instead, White stuck to his "business as usual" mantra in regards to current broadcasting plans. And as far as Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker is concerned, that means a continued presence on Showtime, as well as a return to network-television partner CBS for the first time since a post-fight brawl marred the April 2010 broadcast of "Strikeforce: Nashville."
"It's definitely still a possibility," Coker told HDNet's Bas Rutten. "We all know what happened last year, and we said we'll revisit it this year.
"Under the new regime, honestly, we haven't had a chance to sit down. It happened so fast. ... We really haven't had the time to sit down and create the overall master plan in detail."
The UFC's recent purchase of Strikeforce was unquestionably a game-changer in MMA, and the sport's most powerful promotion further distanced itself from any potential challengers for its market share. But what exactly that means for the sport's presence on television remains to be seen. White declined to reveal the company's current plan, but he admitted his promotion is an extremely enviable position.
"To be where we are right now in such a short amount of time?" White asked. "We bought the company literally 10 years ago, so to be sitting here now and talking about all this stuff and to be where we are today is pretty amazing in 10 years."
Dana White Says Rashad Evans Likely to Face Winner of Rua-Jones
It appears as though Rashad Evans will get a second chance to fight for the UFC light-heavyweight championship after all. Weeks after a knee injury forced his withdrawal from a title bout with Mauricio "Shogun Rua -- paving the way for teammate Jon Jones to compete for the belt -- Evans is likely to be offered the next chance to fight for the title, UFC president Dana White said on Thursday's night's edition of ESPN's MMA Live.
White stopped short of guaranteeing the title shot, saying that the man who emerged as champion would have to come out unscathed for him to be quickly matched up with Evans.
"If the guys are ready to roll again with no injuries, Rashad is definitely next in line," White said.
The statement reiterated one that White made earlier in the week to MMA Fighting. In an interview with Ariel Helwani, White confirmed Evans was still the No. 1 contender, saying, "If I was Rashad, I would say, 'Whoever wins this fight, I want to fight [him].'"
You won't see Jon Jones do the chicken dance against Shogun Rua
"For everyone who says I've never been hit and is wondering how I'll react to it, the reason why I haven't been hit is because I'm literally obsessed with what I'm doing and I'm in the gym every day, three times a day, six hours a day. And when you dedicate your life to it, hopefully you guys will never see me do the chicken dance. That's the way it works. But for people who are wondering how I'll react, I've been hit several times throughout practice and I react just fine. I've been dazed in wrestling - I remember a few times in high school I would throw people and land on my own head and almost knock myself out, but I kept wrestling through it. So I've seen those white flashes before and I've always fought through it. If it happens in this fight, I'm definitely prepared to fight through it and I know I can fight through it."