Report: Fisher out, Ludwig faces newcomer Elkins at UFC on Versus 1 in March
While the UFC took a week off from conducting an event, matchmaker Joe Silva didn't get to enjoy the vacation.
According to The Wrestling Observer Spencer Fisher has been forced to withdraw from the UFC's upcoming debut on the Versus network.
And in an additional report from MMAWeekly.com, Fisher's original opponent, Duane "Bang" Ludwig (19-10 MMA, 2-1 UFC) will now face UFC newcomer Darren Elkins (9-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC).
DARREN ELKINS IN AFTER FISHER SUFFERS INJURY
Spencer Fisher has been forced out of the upcoming UFC on Versus 1 card in March due to an undisclosed injury. Octagon newcomer Darren Elkins has been tapped as a replacement to face hometown fighter Duane "Bang" Ludwig on the Denver-area card.
The change of opponents was confirmed to MMAWeekly.com by sources close to the fight on Friday. The injury to Fisher was first reported by F4Wonline.com.
Gilbert Yvel to meet Ben Rothwell, not Pat Barry, at UFC 115 in Vancouver
Although initially expected to fight Pat Barry (5-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC), heavyweight Gilbert Yvel (36-14-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) instead will fight Ben Rothwell (30-7 MMA, 0-1 UFC) in June at UFC 115.
Sources close to the event today confirmed the change with MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) and said verbal agreements are in place for the bout.
UFC 115 is expected to take place June 12 at GM Place in Vancouver, British Columbia. The night's main card airs on pay-per-view.
With Barry no longer facing Yvel, Barry vs. Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic is expected for UFC 115.
Heavyweights Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic and Pat Barry agree to UFC 115 meeting
A pair of heavyweight strikers collide in June at UFC 115 now that Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic (26-7-2 MMA, 3-3 UFC) and Pat Barry (5-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) have agreed to a matchup.
Sources close to the event today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) bout agreement should be distributed shortly and that the competitors were told it'll be part of the night's pay-per-view main card. MMAScrapsRadio.com first reported the fight earlier today.
Barry initially was expected to fight Gilbert Yvel (36-14-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) at the June 12 event.
Although not officially announced by the UFC, UFC 115 takes at GM Place in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Cole Miller vs. Andre Winner Off UFN 21
The curse just won't quit. The latest victim today is Cole Miller, who has an injury and now can't fight Andre Winner at UFC Fight Night 21. As a result, the fight is off. It's not known if they'll try to reschedule at a later date, but they won't try and find a replacement for Winner.
Joe Brammer vs Aaron Riley agree to UFC 114 meeting in Las Vegas
Joe Brammer (7-1-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) makes a second attempt at his first Ultimate Fighting Championship victory at UFC 114, where he's likely to meet veteran Aaron Riley (28-12-1 MMA, 2-4 UFC).
Both lightweights have agreed to the fight and are expected to sign shortly, a source close to one of the fighters told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
UFC 114 takes place May 29 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
The night's main card airs on pay-per-view, though Brammer vs. Riley is likely to be part of the night's un-aired preliminary card.
Brammer entered the UFC last year with an undefeated 7-0-1 record, which included a reign as a champion of the Iowa-based Midwest Cage Championship. However, he suffered his first career loss at The Ultimate Fighter 10 Finale in December when he was tagged with a submission loss to ground wizard Mark Bocek.
Brammer faces his most experienced opponent yet when he meets Riley, a 13-year vet currently in his third stint with the UFC. Riley went 0-2 during his previous two UFC runs, but since his return in late 2008, he's 2-2 with decision wins over Jorge Gurgel and Shane Nelson.
But even Riley's two recent losses (which are the only ones in his past six fights) come with a disclaimer. The first came to Nelson after what appeared to be a premature referee's stoppage, after which Riley immediately sprang to his feet to protest. (Riley avenged the loss five months later). And though he was suffering damage in a UFC 105 fight with Ross Pearson, the bout was stopped because of Riley's gushing bloody nose and not because he was knocked out.
Have a Difference in Opinion with Mir? Feel Free to Punch Him in the Face!
Never one to hold back on his opinion, Frank Mir has proven that getting in your opponent’s head can benefit you when it comes time to fight.
Before his UFC 107 match-up against Cheick Kongo, he quipped about the Frenchman’s lack of ground skills, and a few other barbs, which led to Kongo’s anger heading into the fight in Memphis last December.
Mir reversed the situation on Kongo, dropping him with a big punch early and then putting him away with a guillotine choke on the ground. The former UFC champion admits that maybe it got into Kongo’s head, but in reality he was just answering a question honestly and it shocked some people.
“Honestly it just kind of worked out that way. With Kongo I was being matter of fact about things,” said Mir in an exclusive interview with MMAWeekly Radio. “I said his ground skills aren’t that great, guys, and because the cameras are on, instead of just being like they aren’t that great, they’re not very good, really is it that far fetched to say that they’re probably the worst in the UFC?
“I don’t understand this whole mentality just because it’s true doesn’t mean you have to say it. I’m like, why not? I guess if I said it about someone’s wife or their kids, that’s kind of awful, but I’m saying it about another man who gets to lock himself in a cage with me and if he didn’t like what I said, he gets to punch me in the face and try to fix it.”
Putting the recent controversy about Brock Lesnar behind him, Mir is now 100-percent focused on Shane Carwin and their upcoming interim title fight on March 27 in Newark, N.J. With the fight just a month away is it too soon for Mir to pick at Carwin’s weaknesses?
“In the Shane Carwin fight, honestly it’s not that I’m down playing anything or not trying to get into his head. I’m looking for different angles and honestly to my disadvantage, he doesn’t have a lot of fight time on footage. He stays pretty reserved, and in a lot of ways he’s a likeable guy. He’s a tough competitor. He keeps himself kind of on the straight path. There’s really nothing bad for me to say about him,” Mir commented.
Being honest has put Mir in the crosshairs of the media that scrutinize his words. He says that ultimately he’s just telling it like it is, but he won’t be a guy that will just make up something to stir up controversy.
“At this point, I don’t want to be that fighter that just makes stuff up just to say something cause then it loses a lot of it’s legitimacy,” said Mir. “It’s like you just completely pulled that out of left field. I don’t mind exaggerating something, adding a little color to it to make it enticing for television or radio, but if I constantly just go ‘well Shane Carwin, he has no punching power.’ Well bro, that has no truth whatsoever or what are you talking about Frank?”
The former UFC heavyweight champion will continue his camp in Las Vegas before breaking for two days to head out to Columbus, Ohio, to fulfill his commentary duties with the WEC next weekend. He will then get back to training for the interim title fight.
Rampage Jackson Doesn't Love MMA
Quinton "Rampage" Jackson will return to the Octagon after more than a year away from mixed martial arts when he takes on Rashad Evans in May at UFC 114. But just because he's coming back doesn't mean he has a passion for his sport. In an interview with Fighters Only, Jackson said that he likes acting better than MMA, and he looks forward to leaving the UFC once he fulfills his contractual obligations.
"I don't know how much I ever loved the fight game, to be honest," Jackson said. "Most fighters these days join fighting because they became a fan of it. When I started I wasn't a fan of it -- I've been a fighter my whole life. I just thought it was a blessing that God could give me something I could make money doing. When I was a kid I got tired of fighting. I didn't want to be a fighter anymore. But I was just good at it. It was just something that was in my blood. Some people are fighters."
Jackson, who delayed his fight with Evans by six months so he could film The A-Team, said that the UFC's refusal to embrace his acting aspirations took away some of his enjoyment of being involved in the company.
"I like it a lot less than I used to," Jackson said. "It's no secret, everybody knows about the falling out I had with the UFC, and it's just unfortunate that they're trying to blame me for doing this movie."
Although the UFC steadfastly supported Jackson in 2008, when he was arrested on felony reckless driving charges, he said he doesn't believe the UFC has treated him particularly well. For example, he said he wanted to fight UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida and that UFC President Dana White first told him he could, then told him he couldn't.
"They've said some things and done some things I don't agree with -- that's not the way I do business," Jackson said. "I'm a loyal person so I take care of people who take care of me, but people who don't take care of me, I don't take care of them. So I'm done with the UFC. They can't ask me for anymore favors. Nothing. I just want to finish my contract and get out of there, do my own thing. Dana lied to me. He told me I didn't have to fight Rashad, I could fight Machida. I did the show and then after that he told me I had to fight Rashad."
Jackson is a great fighter, and MMA fans love watching him fight. But hearing him talk about how he doesn't love the sport and doesn't like the UFC, it's hard not to think his fighting days are numbered.
Frankie Edgar's UFC 112 prediction? Plenty of sweat...
"His flexibility, balance, all that stuff, he's going to be a tough nut to crack. I'm going to have my hands full for sure. I definitely watch video. I don't get too caught up in it though because I feel like that's almost psyching yourself out. I'd rather have my team, my coaches look at it, tell me what they think and I will sit down and watch it with them, but I'm not a big video guy...
Shane Carwin: 'Frank Mir is either a terrible human being or unfit to fight'
"I can tell you that ANY athlete wishing death upon a competitor is either a terrible human being or mentally unfit to fight. That type of talk and if it ever happened will take this sport backwards. Frank has been a part of the stone ages of MMA and it makes no sense why he would want or make comments that might damage a lot of the good HE has participated in adding to this sport over the years....
Silva suspended just 30 days, free for potential UFC 115 bout with Akiyama
While the New South Wales Combat Sports Authority (the commission in charge of regulating this past weekend's UFC 110 event) has yet to release an official list of medical suspensions from the UFC's first trip to Australia, MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) has confirmed the status of one high-profile competitor.
According to Marc Ratner, the UFC's Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, newly minted middleweight Wanderlei Silva (33-10-1 MMA, 3-5 UFC) will be free to return to action after a mere 30-day suspension.
The news clears the way for a recently reported potential fight between "The Axe Murderer" and Japanese middleweight star Yoshihiro Akiyama (13-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) at UFC 115 in June.
Lift The Ban Watch: MMA Now Legal In Alabama
Welcome to the club, Alabama. According to Dana White, Alabama is the latest state to adopt MMA legislation. The MMA regulation actually comes less than a year after Alabama passed a bill to create a state boxing commission to oversee MMA's sister sport. The recently created Alabama Boxing Commission will be renamed the Alabama Athletic Commission and will now oversee pro and amateur MMA events in the state. The MMA regulation opens the doors for organizations such as the UFC, WEC and Strikeforce to hold major shows in Alabama.
Keith Kizer Explains Legality of George Sotiropoulos' Fight Gear
During last weekend's UFC 110, George Sotiropoulos turned in a star-making performance in a win over Joe Stevenson, but the victory also caused a minor controversy by some who questioned Sotirpoulos' fight attire as flouting the rules.
Sotiropoulos wore fight shorts, compression shorts, knee sleeves and ankle sleeves that left little of his legs exposed, causing some to think he exposed a loophole in the rule prohibiting grappling pants.
Although the bout took place in Australia, MMA Fighting spoke with Nevada state athletic commission executive director Keith Kizer, who oversaw a previous UFC event in Nov. 2009 during which Sotiropoulos wore the same gear.
Stephan Bonnar to appeal UFC 110 loss, claims headbutt should lead to draw
UFC 110 competitor Stephan Bonnar, who suffered a TKO loss to Krzysztof Soszynsk at UFC 110i due to a deep facial cut, plans to appeal the loss and hopes to have it overturned to a draw.
Bonnar confirmed the plans to The Times of Northwest Indiana's Caged In MMA site, for which he also blogs.
Bonnar, who competed on the un-aired preliminary card of the Feb. 20 event, said the cut was caused by the first-round headbutt – an illegal blow – and that the referee should have gone to the scorecards after the third-round stoppage.
Instead, the referee determined the cut was caused by a punch, though multiple replays of the fighters bashing heads in the first round aired on the video screen at host site Acer Arena in Sydney, New South Whales, Australia.
Frank Mir Not the Only One to Talk Death in UFC
Frank Mir may have crossed the line when he said he'd like Brock Lesnar "to be the first person that dies due to Octagon-related injuries." But in fairness to Mir, it should be pointed out that he's far from the only person associated with the UFC who has talked about fighting to the death. In fact, before they fought at UFC 100, Lesnar said of Mir, "I'm gonna murder him. I count the days and nights before I get to do that."
That's far from the only example.
Prior to UFC 94 last year, B.J. Penn addressed Georges St. Pierre in a video shot and distributed by the UFC by saying, "Georges, I'm going to go to the death. I'm going to try to kill you and I'm not joking about this."
Just days before Mir made his comments about Lesnar, UFC President Dana White said, "You know what would happen to Herschel Walker over here? It would be the first death in MMA."
The same week that Mir made his comments about Lesnar, another UFC heavyweight, Cain Velasquez, said of his UFC 110 fight with Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, "He is going to have to kill me, and I will have to kill him to beat him out there, and that's what we'll do to each other."
Chuck Liddell told Ariel Helwani of his upcoming fight with Tito Ortiz, "I'm gonna try to kill him."
After earning a shot at Penn last year, Kenny Florian looked at Penn and said, "I consider you a master, and it's time to kill that master."
Mir is usually a model of sportsmanship and a fighter who embodies the best aspects of the martial arts mentality. If he went too far in explaining his motivation for a third fight with Lesnar, he was far from the first person affiliated with the UFC to do so.
Ed Soares praises Cain Velasquez, blasts critics who say "Big Nog" is done
While manager Ed Soares is heartbroken that his friend and client Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (32-6-1 MMA, 3-2 UFC) got knocked out at this past weekend's UFC 110, he has nothing but respect for Nogueira's opponent, Cain Velasquez (8-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC).
For fans and media who lit up message boards with posts about the former PRIDE heavyweight champion's apparent career end, Soares has no love.
"It's real easy to talk about people when you're sitting behind a computer with a bag over your face because nobody knows who you are," Soares told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) on Tuesday as he fought a case of jet lag.
Velasquez turned in a huge upset in the UFC's sold-out Australian debut when he beat Nogueira to the punch in early standup exchanges. A little more than two minutes into the bout, Velasquez landed a concussive right hand that put Nogueira down and out.
UFC president Dana White said the Hispanic heavyweight is now on standby for a title shot against champion Brock Lesnar in the event that the winner of an interim heavyweight title match between Shane Carwin and Frank Mir is injured.
Soares, who manages a host of top Brazilian UFC fighters, said Nogueira was in the best shape of his life for the contest. "Big Nog" simply guessed wrong on Velasquez's game plan.
"Everyone in [Nogueira's] camp really believed that Cain was going to shoot and ground and pound from the guard," Soares said.
Soares offered none of the bluster that often comes from a losing fighter's camp in the wake of defeat and instead praised the young contender's skills and poise.
"It's a breath of fresh air to see a guy like Cain moving up the ranks," Soares said. "I see a lot of similarities in him and Nogueira as far as their work ethic and how humble they are. He's a great guy, and congratulations to him. He fought a great fight and came in with a great strategy.
While the loss was understandably disappointing for Nogueira, there was no hesitation from Soares about his fighter's next step.
"He gets back on the horse and fights some more people," Soares said. "It could happen to anybody."
Soares blasted those who said the loss meant Nogueira's career was essentially over.
"What are you talking about?" Soares asked. "Six months ago, Nogueira's back, and now he's done again?
"It's really easy to talk about these people when you're not the one putting your ass on the line and stepping into the octagon. Anybody that steps into the octagon, that can happen to."
Soares also had some harsh words for some of the critical fans who have said the loss shows Nogueira's career may now be over.
"These fans love the sport so much," Soares said. "Well, they should really analyze the things that they say, because at the end of the day, these guys are human, too. I read some of the stuff that people put on the Underground and forums, and people need to realize—whether it's Nogueira, whether it's one of our fighters or not one of our fighters—that these people are human too and they have feelings and it's not cool.
"It's easy for you to sit being your computer with a fake name and write stuff about people and say that 'he's done.' These people, for as much as they love the sport, they should be a little more compassionate about the people that go in there and put their ass on their line."
The focus should be on respect for both competitors, he said.
"Nogueira is a legend and Cain is a legend in the making," Soares said. "I'm upset that Nogueira lost, but to see Cain beat him and the respect that Cain gave him, you've gotta take your hat off to both of those guys."
Frank Mir issues apology after Brock Lesnar death comments
Frank Mir today issued an apology following an interview in which he said he wanted rival and UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar to be "the first person that dies due to octagon-related injuries."
The comments, which were made over the weekend to WXDX-FM, caused quick condemnation from an industry still trying to win mainstream acceptance.
In today's UFC.com release, UFC president Dana White stated he is "disappointed" by Mir's comments and that "he won't be saying anything like that again."
Mir, a longtime UFC fighter and former champ, was Lesnar's first opponent after the former WWE star signed with the UFC. Lesnar battered his opponent at the February 2008 fight before Mir secured a submission for the come-from-behind win. The trash-talk was plentiful prior to their July 2009 rematch, and it continued even after Lesnar scored a lopsided TKO win.
Although Mir has never bitten his tongue when it comes to Lesnar, many understandably thought he crossed a line when wishing death upon the current title-holder.
"I would like to apologize to Brock Lesnar, his family, the UFC and UFC fans for the stupid remarks," Mir stated. "I respect Brock, all the other fighters, and the sport of mixed martial arts. I'm sorry that I stepped out of line."
White assured it won't happen again.
"Frank's been with the UFC a long time, he's a two-time heavyweight champion and a commentator for the WEC," White stated. "I think his emotions are running high right now, he has a big fight coming up next month, and he's still upset about his loss to Lesnar. He's been talked to, he regrets what he said, and he won't be saying anything like that again."
Mir next fights at UFC 111 on March 27, when he meets Shane Carwin for an interim heavyweight title. Lesnar, sidelined since the second Mir fight due to a severe case of diverticulitis, is likely to face the winner in a title-unification bout. As MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) recently reported, the fight is likely to take place at UFC 116 on July 3.