Chael Sonnen Completes Suspension; UFC Return Date Still Unknown
Former UFC No. 1 middleweight contender Chael Sonnen has completed a six-month California state athletic commission suspension and paid a $2,500 fine for banned substance use, moving him one step closer to a possible return to the active UFC roster pending the resolution of an ongoing federal money laundering case.
CSAC executive officer George Dodd confirmed to MMA Fighting that Sonnen has fulfilled the terms of his penalty in the state effective Thursday. According to Dodd, Sonnen still has at least one step to take before his license is reinstated in the state, however.
"If Mr. Sonnen wants to be licensed here in California, he will have to appear before the commission to regain his license," Dodd told MMA Fighting in an email. "Every other state will have to make a determination on their process for licensing Mr. Sonnen."
Dodd told MMA Fighting that Sonnen does not yet have a date scheduled to meet with the commission.
"The Ultimate Fighter 14" tryouts set for March 21 with featherweights, bantamweights
Recruiting is underway for the 14th season of "The Ultimate Fighter."
That season of the reality show, which begins production this summer and debuts in the fall on Spike TV, has yet to be officially announced, but may feature the promotion's first-ever lighter-weight contestants.
UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby today announced via Twitter that featherweight and bantamweight fighters are invited to an upcoming open tryout session.
UFC on Versus 3 live and official weigh-in results
The weigh-in results include:
MAIN CARD (Versus)
-Martin Kampmann (171) vs. Diego Sanchez (171)
-C.B. Dollaway (185) vs. Mark Munoz (186)
-Alessio Sakara (186) vs. Chris Weidman (186)
-Brian Bowles (135) vs. Damacio Page (136)+
PRELIMINARY CARD (Facebook)
-Cyrille Diabate (205) vs. Steve Cantwell (206)
-Danny Castillo (155) vs. Joe Stevenson (155)
-Shane Roller (156) vs. Thiago Tavares (156)
-Reuben Duran (136)* vs. Takeya Mizugaki (136)
-Rob Kimmons (185) and Dongi Yang (186)
-Dave Branch (186) vs. Rousimar Palhares (186)
-Todd Brown (205) vs. Igor Pokrajac (204)
Coach Tells Evans He Should Be Willing to Fight Jones
Trevor Wittman has advised Rashad Evans to fight teammate Jon Jones if Jones wins the UFC light heavyweight title from Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC 128.
Evans had been scheduled to challenge Rua at the March 19 event. When Evans sprained a ligament in his knee, however, Jones filled in as his replacement.
“Mentally, I know it’s a little rough for [Evans] to see one of the guys he made a pact with to not fight go out there and take his position,” said Wittman, who is the head coach at the Grudge Training Center, a Jackson’s MMA affiliate gym where Evans has trained. “… I had the conversation with Rashad that I felt Rashad should fight Jon Jones if he wins.”
Wittman does in fact think Jones will beat Rua. He believes the 23-year-old could become one of the greatest fighters in MMA history. However, Wittman doesn’t feel Jones should have moved into Evans’ spot.
Jorge Rivera’s Team Calls Bisping’s Claims “The Pot Calling the Kettle Black”
It’s pretty obvious at this point that Michael Bisping and Jorge Rivera won’t be exchanging holiday cards this year, but the back and forth between their camps isn’t slowing down either.
After a couple of days of silence from Bisping following the controversy that swirled at UFC 127, his team at Wolfslair MMA, specifically manager Anthony McGann, released a statement alleging unprofessional conduct by Rivera and his coach Matt Phinney.
It was that unprofessional attitude, according to the statement, that provoked Bisping during the week of the fight and not necessarily the videos Rivera and his sponsors at Ranger-Up produced mocking the former “Ultimate Fighter” winner.
Matt Hughes and Dana White Believe BJ Penn Beat Jon Fitch
"B.J. (Penn)’s fight is drawing a lot of controversy on my Forums. I only watched the fight once, during the PPV on Saturday night, so I haven’t rewatched any clips at all. This is my opinion based on what I remember."
"BJ started to execute the gameplan well as he went out and took (Jon) Fitch down. He did a little work on top and then got Fitch’s back. Fitch then reversed and BJ stood up. I think everybody scored the first round 10-9 for Penn."
UFC 127 "UFC Prelims" draws 714,000 viewers on ION Television
While UFC officials offered just one-week's notice that three fights from this past weekend's UFC 127 event would air live on ION Television, the broadcast still netted 714,000 viewers.
MMAjunkie.com today learned of the figures from industry sources. The ratings mark the lowest rating in the series' 17-month history.
This past weekend's one-hour program marked the UFC's second special on ION Television. Past editions of "UFC Prelims" have also aired on Spike TV and UFC.com.
Zelaznik says UFC "very likely" to make Swedish debut in November
The Ultimate Fighting Championship continues to blaze new ground, and Sweden is apparently on the current "to do" list.
While UFC president Dana White in February confirmed to MMAjunkie.com that the organization was targeting Sweden for a 2011 event, UFC exec Marshall Zelaznik has a more defined target in mind.
Two UFC on Versus 3 prelimary-card fights to stream live on Facebook
Two preliminary-card fights from Thursday's UFC on Versus 3 event will stream for free on Facebook.
MMAjunkie.com today confirmed that lightweights Joe Stevenson vs. Danny Castillo and light heavyweights Steve Cantwell vs. Cyrille Diabate will be part of the live one-hour stream, which begins at 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. PT).
An hour later at 9 p.m., the event's main card airs live on Versus.
Ryan Bader Calls Out Tito Ortiz While Tito Ortiz is Busy Calling Out Forrest Griffin
Contrary to popular belief, the UFC middleweight division has not quite cornered the market on making strategically advantageous call-outs. While the world’s 185-pound fighters are lining up to let everybody know how much they’d all love to fight Michael Bisping – which is like so 2010 – their light heavyweight brethren are also making requests of UFC matchmaker Joe Silva. It seems that at least a couple of 205-pounders have been spending some time on the “Fighters” page over at UFC.com and thinking to themselves, “Let’s see here, who can I beat?”
Ryan Bader, for one, emerged this week from whatever dark room he’s been huddled in, rocking back and forth since UFC 126 to tell ESPN.com he’d very much like to fight Tito Ortiz. Cuz, why not? Sure, just a withered shell of his former self, Ortiz hasn’t won a fight since 2006, is barely clinging to his career and seemingly can’t make it to the cage without a serious back injury, cracked skull or giant laceration over his eye, but still … fighting him would mean A LOT to Bader. You know, on a personal level.
“I would want to fight Tito Ortiz,” Bader told Brett Okamoto. “Just because I grew up watching him. I want to have one of those guys on my résumé like a Randy Couture or Chuck Liddell. Purely out of respect, he’s one I’d like to fight before my career is over.”
Team Wolfslair fires back at Rivera and camp following incident at UFC 127
Michael Bisping's team has issued a statement in response to the controversy following his UFC 127 fight with Jorge Rivera.
The team believes Rivera's cornerman was the primary catalyst for the bad blood that boiled over before, during and after the fight, which took place this past Sunday at Acer Arena in Sydney.
The statement comes one day after UFC president Dana White told MMA Fighting that Bisping is to be disciplined for his behavior following the co-main event fight.
Chris Lytle to Consider Retirement After Secret Surgery, UFC 127 Loss
Because he's a pro's pro, Chris Lytle wouldn't admit it, but he was far from fighting at full strength in his UFC 127 loss to Brian Ebersole. In fact, just four weeks before his fight, he had the injured meniscus in his right knee removed, MMA Fighting has learned.
Lytle chose to keep the procedure quiet to deflect attention and avoid devaluing Ebersole's win. But after MMA Fighting learned of the injury from two separate sources, Lytle's manager Ken Pavia finally confirmed the surgery, which he said began as an exploratory procedure before the doctor removed the meniscus due to the damage.
Lytle chose to fight, and the ensuing unanimous decision loss to Ebersole marked the end of a four-fight win streak. It could also possibly bring a close to his career.
Chael Sonnen calls out Michael “Spitsbing” Bisping.......
now im not Chael fan but i would root for him! he would be my favorite 4 one night!
To: Joe Silva, Matchmaker Extraordinaire, Ultimate Fighting Championship Re: Spitsbing & his tainted victory Joe: If you get a chance to talk with him, please mention to your idiot-in-residence Michael Spitsbing it’ll be a little tougher to knee ME in the head when I’m charging at him like a runaway train and mincing him through the fence like a boiled potato, should we ever have the pleasure of each other’s company for a few (VERY few) moments in the Octagon. Oh; and I’d suggest to him being a little careful about spitting on any of MY cornermen, since any one of them can beat him up as badly as I can. Thanks ever so much. Hope all is well. -Chael Sonnen
UFC Will Match James Te Huna's UFC 127 Fight Purse Donation
Despite his loss at this past weekend's UFC 127 event, light heavyweight James Te Huna donated his entire fight purse to victims of Australia and New Zealand's recent flooding. Following the show, Marshall Zelaznik, the UFC's managing director of international development, announced that the organization is matching the Kiwi's donation. Additional thousands will be raised by a UFC 127 memorabilia auction, which runs through Wednesday. "Jamie Te Huna donated his fight purse," Zelaznik said after the show, which took place at Acer Arena in Sydney, Australia. "The UFC is actually matching that for the relief in New Zealand. We're also still taking bids for UFC 127 memorabilia. We expect to approach $30,000 as part of a donation for the Queensland flood relief." Auction items include the UFC 127 octagon canvas, Jon Fitch's event shorts, Michael Bisping's gloves and walk-out shirt, Jorge Rivera's full walk-out gear, and Kyle Noke's shorts and shirt. Bids as of Monday afternoon ranged from $500 to $1,550. A UFC 127 VIP experience brought in $10,000, according to the auction site, ufc.thegivingbridge.com. Tropical Cyclone Yasi ravaged large parts of Australia and New Zealand in late January and early February. The storm and subsequent flooding caused more than $800 million in damages. Thousands were left homeless, and hundreds of thousands were left without power for extended periods of time.
UFC's Dana White Says Michael Bisping Will Be Punished
UFC middleweight contender Michael Bisping landed an illegal knee to the face of opponent Jorge Rivera during their UFC 127 co-headliner bout. That blow possibly decided the outcome of the fight as Rivera was visibly diminished after getting a very brief pause to recover.
But it's Bisping's actions after the fight which included spitting at Rivera's cornerman that have him in hot water with UFC boss Dana White. Mike Chiappetta reports:
UFC middleweight contender Michael Bisping will face disciplinary action for his behavior following his UFC 127 win, UFC president Dana White told MMA Fighting.
White said he has yet to make a decision on whether Bisping will be fined and/or suspended for his actions, but confirmed that he will be subject to some punishment.
UFC's Cub Swanson sidelined by tooth infection, hoping for quick return
Former WEC competitor Cub Swanson's UFC debut was put on ice this past week.
The veteran fighter was forced out of a scheduled UFC on Versus 3 bout with Erik Koch, who now meets fellow featherweight Raphael Assuncao next month UFC 128.
Swanson today told MMAjunkie.com Radio about the reason for his scratch from the card, and it was a mouthful.
Tito Ortiz Talks About His Injury, Calls Out Forrest Griffin
"I did it about three and a half months into training, I was at Rafael Cordeiro’s training doing my Muay Thai, I think we went into the 10th round about 10 seconds left in the 10th round and one of my training partners went to go throw a right hand (and) he was southpaw, I was orthodox, I was throwing a right hand at the same time. His head was a little lower than mine and it caught me right above the bridge of my eyebrow and went straight to the bone in my skull and gave me 22 stitches."
Vitor Belfort campaigns for fight with UFC 127 winner Michael Bisping
With a controversial victory over Jorge Rivera at this past weekend's UFC 127 event, co-headliner Michael Bisping owns three consecutive wins and a 4-1 record over his past five fights.
Contenders such as Chael Sonnen, Yushin Okami and Alan Belcher seem logical next opponents for the Brit, but another notable has throw his hat into the ring.
And it's recent title challenger Vitor Belfort.
Thursday's UFC on Versus 3 event airs in 3D, Harris and Florian to commentate
Thursday's UFC on Versus 3 event will be the organization's first to air in 3D, officials today announced.
The event takes place March 3 at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville with a Diego Sanchez vs. Martin Kampmann headliner.
The 3D telecast will be made available live to those with 3D-capable TV sets through dedicated 3D channels on affiliates across the country, including Comcast XFINITY.
The event also airs in its normal 2D format on Versus and Versus HD (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) with UFC commentators Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg.