FOX Schedules Major Press Conference for Thursday, Several UFC Fighters Head to LA
On Tuesday, news reports first began to surface that the UFC had struck a deal with FOX on a new multiyear agreement to move over to the network in 2012.
It appears now the two companies are just about ready to announce the deal.
It was released on Wednesday by John Ourand from Sports Business Daily that FOX executives were in Los Angeles for a press conference currently scheduled for Thursday that would be ‘one of the biggest announcements in FOX Sports history’.
Kampmann versus Story on tap for UFC 139
A bout between welterweight contenders who are looking to get back in the win column is in the works for UFC 139.
UFC officials today announced Martin Kampmann (17-5 MMA, 8-4 UFC) and Rick Story (13-4 MMA, 6-2 UFC) have agreed to meet at the Nov. 19 event.
UFC 139 takes place in San Jose, Calif., likely at the HP Pavilion.
The night's main card, including an expected heavyweight title fight between champion Cain Velasquez and top contender Junior Dos Santos, airs on pay-per-view. Kampmann vs. Story likely will be part of the PPV broadcast or an expected "UFC Prelims" special on Spike TV.
Both fighters are coming off high-profile losses.
Dana White Calls Yushin Okami the Best Japanese Fighter Ever
UFC President Dana White is fond of saying that the only way to prove you're the best fighter in the world is to do it in the UFC. It's not that there aren't any good fighters in other promotions, White believes, it's just that the only fighters who consistently test themselves against the best in the world are the ones who do it inside the Octagon.
By that rationale, White says Yushin Okami -- who will fight Anderson Silva for the UFC middleweight title at UFC 134 -- is the greatest Japanese fighter in MMA history.
"In my opinion, Yushin Okami is the best fighter ever to come out of Japan," White said. "This guy didn't fight cans and get this built-up, mythological record."
John Howard Campaigning for Fight With Dan Hardy
There are quite a few people that aren't overly impressed with the fact that Dan Hardy still has a job despite four straight losses in the UFC. One of them is John "Doomsday" Howard. Howard, who was recently released after three straight losses, is understandably a little peeved.
UFC 139 confirmed for San Jose, adds Rafael dos Anjos vs. Gleison Tibau
As expected, UFC 139 will take place in San Jose, Calif.
UFC brass today officially announced the card will take place in San Jose. Although a venue was not named, the card is expected to take place at HP Pavilion, a longtime home to sister promotion Strikeforce.
Additionally, the promotion also announced Brazilians Rafael dos Anjos and Gleison Tibau will meet at the event.
UFC on Versus 5 ratings: Versus broadcast averages 766,000 viewers
"UFC on Versus 5: Hardy vs. Lytle," which aired this past Sunday night on Versus, drew an average audience of 768,000 viewers.
The number marks a minor increase from the 744,000 viewers who witnessed June's UFC on Versus 4 event.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) today obtained the figures from industry sources.
The number qualifies as third-highest in the series' history...
Jon Fitch cleared to fight, sources say UFC 139 appearance possible
Perennial welterweight contender Jon Fitch can now resume his career.
The American Kickboxing Academy product today Tweeted that his doctor has cleared him to begin training once again following a serious shoulder injury that scratched a rematch with B.J. Penn.
"I'm back!" Fitch wrote today. "Dr. Kavitne gave me the OK to fight."
UFC and FOX reportedly sign deal
UFC and Fox agreed to a deal for seven to eight years, starting in 2012, Sports Business Daily reports. While the agreement calls for up to four UFC shows a year on the Fox network, most of UFC's programming currently carried by Spike TV and Versus would move to Fox's FX and Fuel cable channels, the industry trade publication says.
Spike has been UFC's primary cable outlet since the 2005 debut of The Ultimate Fighter reality show.
Ratings for UFC's live programming -- Fight Night shows and preliminary cards before pay-per-views -- have remained relatively stable over the years. TUF ratings remain in the 1.0 range despite a time shift to accommodate Spike's new Coal program.
But the audience for UFC's taped shows has fallen, Sports Business Daily notes:
Sources said Spike ultimately passed over concern that its UFC shoulder programming stopped growing. Shows like Unleashed,Knockouts and Countdown averaged 1 million viewers in '05. This year, they are averaging 492,000.
Bidding for UFC's programs reportedly reached $90 million annually, Money has never been the only factor considered by Zuffa, which views free TV in North America as a vehicle for exposure and promotion for its core product, pay-per-view entertainment.
"We're never going to be in a situation where we're making money on those networks," UFC President Dana White said earlier this year. "We'll have to come out in a situation where we break even. That works."
Although Zuffa has negotiated with commercial networks before, as well as HBO, talks usually broke down over control issues. Zuffa has always insisted on keeping control of the broadcast, which is generally anthema to sports networks.
Sports Business Daily did not say whether the Fox deal was with the network's sports arm or its entertainment division.
Manny Gamburyan Injured and Out of UFC 135 Bout Against Diego Nunes
Manny Gamburyan has suffered a shoulder injury and has been forced out of his UFC 135 fight against Diego Nunes.
Gamburyan announced the news via his Twitter account on Monday.
“I’m off from the UFC 135 card, I hurt my shoulder and MRI is not looking good,” Gamburyan wrote. “I just wanna say sorry to all my friends and fans, I’ll be back!”
Dan Hardy in no hurry to return to UFC, will consider all options in and out of the cage
In the main event of Sunday's UFC on Versus 5 card, British slugger Dan Hardy finally got the fight for which he had long pined.
And yet somehow, even though fellow scrapper Chris Lytle stood in front of him for a little more than 14 minutes, Hardy still came up short.
UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta put an end to all speculation by tweeting post-fight that Hardy will get at least one more fight in the octagon. But "The Outlaw" isn't quite sure when he'll take the UFC co-owner up on the offer.
UFC on Versus 5 main-event winner gets new Harley motorcycle
The winner of tonight's UFC on Versus 5 main event will leave Milwaukee with more than just a victory and win bonus.
UFC officials today announced that either Chris Lytle or opponent Dan Hardy also will receive a 2012 Harley-Davidson Blackline motorcycle.
In the buildup to tonight's UFC on Versus 5 event, the UFC teamed up with Milwaukee's Harley-Davidson Museum to host pre-event festivities.
Report: Lyoto Machida vs Phil Davis fight possibly in the works
When Phil Davis went down with an injury just weeks before UFC 133, Lyoto Machida was initially tapped to replace him against Rashad Evans.
Then "The Dragon" decided he wanted "Anderson Silva money" and freshly minted company man Tito Ortiz stepped in to save the day. That left both Machida and Davis out in the cold with no dance partners.
Chris Lytle set to retire after UFC on Versus 5 main event
MILWAUKEE – Perhaps there's a reason UFC welterweight Chris Lytle said he's willing to stand and trade with British slugger Dan Hardy.
Apparently, it doesn't really matter where a win or loss puts him in the UFC's 170-pound division.
Lytle on Saturday informed his employers that Sunday's UFC on Versus 5 contest would be his last in the octagon
UFC on Versus 5 official weigh-in results
MAIN CARD (Versus)
•Dan Hardy (170)* vs. Chris Lytle (170.5)
•Ben Henderson (156) vs. Jim Miller (155.5)
•Donald Cerrone (156) vs. Charles Oliveira (155)
•Duane Ludwig (170.5) vs. Amir Sadollah (170)
PRELIMINARY CARD (Facebook)
•C.B. Dollaway (186) vs. Jared Hamman (185)
•Joseph Benavidez (135.5) vs. Eddie Wineland (136)
•Ed Herman (186) vs. Kyle Noke (185)
•Ronny Markes (205) vs. Karlos Vemola (205.5)
•Alex Caceres (146) vs. Jim Hettes (145.5)
•Cole Miller (155) vs. T.J. O'Brien (155.5)
•Danny Castillo (156) vs. Jacob Volkmann (156)
•Edwin Figueroa (136) vs. Jason Reinhardt (135)
* - Missed weight on first attempt (171.5 pounds); made weight on second attempt
Zhang Tie Quan vs. Darren Elkins at UFC 136
According to his coach from China Top Team, Chinese superstar, Zhang Tie Quan will be making his return to the Octagon against Darren Elkins this October. Tatame has the report:
Another fight is coming up to UFC 136 card. The event, headlined by two title fights (lightweights Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard and featherweights Jose Aldo vs. Kenny Florian), will mark the return of Zhang Tiequan to the octagon.
His coach at China Top Team, Ruy Menezes told TATAME that his protégé is set to fight Darren Elkins at UFC 136, on October 8th.
UFC on Versus 5's Lytle still eyes title, not "pulling an Anthony Johnson" to get it
MILWAUKEE – British welterweight scrapper Dan Hardy (23-9 MMA, 4-3 UFC) has been begging for someone to stand on the opposite side of the UFC's octagon and offer him a slugfest.
Despite the dangers in doing so, longtime veteran Chris Lytle (30-18-5 MMA, 9-10 UFC) promises he'll do exactly that in the main event of Sunday's UFC on Versus 5 card.
The five-time "Fight of the Night" winner insists it's not a suicide mission. At nearly 37 years old, "Lights Out" still has eyes on the UFC's welterweight title – he's just not "pulling an Anthony Johnson" to get there.
"I want the type of fight that everybody afterward says, 'That's the best fight I've seen in a long time,'" Lytle told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "So, there's no thought in my head of pulling an Anthony Johnson (because) I've got to get that 'W.' I'd rather lose a fight than get a win like that, to be honest with you.
If victorious, UFC on Versus 5's Ben Henderson plans GSP-like post-fight speech
MILWAUKEE – Former WEC lightweight champion Ben Henderson proved naysayers wrong when he successfully made his UFC debut in April.
Henderson outclassed Mark Bocek en route to a decision victory and proved WEC talent is on par with the UFC's. Henderson's next foe is tough veteran Jim Miller, who has only seen defeat once in his UFC career.
And if victorious in the UFC on Versus 5 headliner, Henderson has a Georges St-Pierre-inspired speech planned.
Cerrone says "cocky" Oliveira perfect recipe for fast start at UFC on Versus 5
MILWAUKEE – Three-time WEC title challenger Donald Cerrone is the type of explosive fighter who can capitalize on a single mistake made by any opponent.
And if Cerrone's predictions for his upcoming UFC on Versus 5 fight with Charles Oliveira hold true, the Brazilian youngster may have already made an unfortunate move: an errant smirk pointed "Cowboy's" way.
"I seen him looking at me the other day, smirking; that to me is cocky," Cerrone said. "Come Sunday night, it's on. I can't wait to peer across that ring and see his little cocky ass standing there. I'm excited."