Mario Yamasaki To Referee UFC 126 Main Event
Veteran official Mario Yamasaki will serve as the referee for next weekend's UFC 126 main event between middleweight champion Anderson Silva and Vitor Belfort. Judging the five-round fight will be Adalaide Byrd, Sal D'Amato and Glenn Trowbridge. NASC Executive DIrector Keith Kizer confirmed the assignments today.
Paulo Thiago scratched from UFC on Versus 3, Johny Hendricks in limbo
An undisclosed injury has forced welterweight Paulo Thiago (13-3, 3-3 UFC) to withdraw from a bout with Johny Hendricks (9-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) at UFC on Versus 3.
A source close to the event told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that Hendricks may get another opponent or be shifted to another card. Hendricks' camp, Team Takedown, also confirmed the news via Twitter.
UFC on Versus 3 takes place March 3 at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Ky., and its main card airs on Versus.
The news comes just six days after MMAjunkie.com reported that Thiago vs. Hendricks had verbally agreed to the bout, which was targeted for the event's preliminary card. UFC executives officially announced the fight a few days later...
UFC 129: 42,000 Seats, Tickets Range From $50-800
A little more than two weeks before tickets are set to go on sale for April's highly anticipated "UFC 129: St-Pierre vs. Shields" event, the world's largest mixed martial arts promotion has released more details about what's up for sale. In short, approximately 42,000 tickets that will sell from just $50 to a luxurious $800 for a cageside seat to the potentially historic affair. According to UFC officials, nearly one quarter of the available tickets will cost $100 or less. UFC 129 takes place April 30 at Toronto's Rogers Centre, home to Major League Baseball's Toronto Blue Jays, and features a pay-per-view welterweight title fight between current champion Georges St-Pierre and top contender Jake Shields. "We are really excited to bring a UFC event to Rogers Centre and want to create the ultimate experience for fans," the UFC's director of Canadian operations, Tom Wright, stated in today's release. "We are working on specialized fan zones and other unique features that will make this a can't-miss event. With this card and the level of energy we expect inside Rogers Centre on April 30, UFC 129 is going to be off the charts." Seats on the Rogers Centre floor range from $300 to $800, while seats in the stands run from $50 to $225. Tickets for UFC 129 go on sale to the general public on Saturday, Feb. 12. Members of the UFC Fight Club, the UFC's official fan club, will have first dibs to the tickets on Thursday, Feb. 10. UFC.com newsletter subscribers can purchase tickets on Friday, Feb. 11.
Despite quick UFN 23 win, DaMarques Johnson not celebrating
DaMarques Johnson (12-8 MMA, 3-2 UFC) says the body triangle he applied to Mike Guymon (12-5-1 MMA, 1-3 UFC) was simply a tool for freeing his hand so he could punch with it.
But when Guymon tapped to the hold and rolled onto his side in pain, Johnson was both surprised and disappointed. He didn't expect the fight the end that way, and he wanted to fight on. It just happened so fast.
He's also bummed that he hurt Guymon on his way to victory.
"Bumps and bruises and blood is cool and all, but spinal injuries and stuff like that are 'no bueno' for anybody in the sport," Johnson recently told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio).
The two fought this past Saturday at "UFC Fight Night 23: UFC Fight for the Troops 2," which was held at Fort Hood in Texas and served as a fundraiser for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.
"TUF 13" coach Junior Dos Santos: Weak-chinned Brock Lesnar can't take a punch
LAS VEGAS – Just a few short weeks ago, things really didn't seem to be working out for top UFC heavyweight contender Junior Dos Santos (12-1 MMA, 6-0 UFC).
Despite earning a shot at the UFC's heavyweight title, Dos Santos openly expressed his frustration at having that bout delayed when Cain Velasquez was forced to the sidelines following surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff.
But things have quickly changed, and Dos Santos is elated to take a role as coach on "The Ultimate Fighter 13," which debuts in on Spike TV in March. And in fact, he's downright salivating at the looming showdown with his opposing coach, Brock Lesnar (5-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC), a man he thinks provides a very favorable matchup.
"When they told me to come and make 'The Ultimate Fighter 13,' I was very happy," Dos Santos told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "It's a new opportunity for me. I was supposed to fight for the title, but Cain got hurt. When the UFC told me to come [to Las Vegas] and make this show with Brock, I was very happy."
Spike TV announces four-fight main card for "UFC Fight Night 24: Ortiz vs. Nogueira"
For the first time in more than four years, former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz will fight on Spike TV.
Now, his supporting cast is official, too.
In addition to the previously announced Ortiz vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira main event for March's "UFC Fight Night 24: Ortiz vs. Nogueira" event, Spike TV officials today announced the evening's main card will also feature Dan Hardy vs. Anthony Johnson, Duane "Bang" Ludwig vs. Amir Sadollah and Leonard Garcia vs. Nam Phan.
"UFC Fight Night 24: Ortiz vs. Nogueira" takes place March 29 at Seattle's KeyArena and airs on Spike TV.
All four main-card fights had been previously announced by UFC brass, but the evening's bout order had yet to be officially confirmed.
Joe Schmoe Is Faster Than Kid Yamamoto
The Joe Schmoe being, in this case, Demetrious Johnson, who gets to welcome the former #1 Featherweight to UFC at UFC 126. "He’s one of the biggest stars in Japan. He’s like the Manny Pacquiao of Japan. He’s a good striker, very athletic. Everybody sees him as a legend of the sport – which he is – and I want to test myself against him. I’ll probably be the quickest person he’s ever come up against because he usually fights up a weight class at 145 or 155. I think he’ll find that I can match him in speed or maybe even be faster than he is. We’re both explosive so it’ll be fireworks when we’re in there together. I’ll just go out there and do my best," he said. "I love to fight. When I fight I don’t go in there for a paycheck, I go in there to have fun and just do my thing. I’m still just Joe Schmoe out on the streets just like everybody else and I like it like that."
UFC Officially Adds 3 Fights To UFC On Versus 3
The fight schedule for the UFC's first-ever event in Kentucky is nearly complete. UFC brass today officially added three more contests – including Rafael Natal vs. Alessio Sakara, Johny Hendricks vs. Paulo Thiago and Steve Cantwell vs. Cyrille Diabate – to the UFC on Versus 3 fight card. Sakara is an injury replacement for Natal's original for, Maiquel Falcao.
Going Through Brock Lesnar Is A Better Path For Junior Dos Santos
At least according to his manager, the one & only Ed Soares. "Our first choice, and he rightfully deserves it, was to fight for the title, but considering that couldn’t happen, I think this is the next best thing that could have happened for his career. And in the long run, it might be a better path. To get the exposure that they’re going to get on ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ and then to fight a guy like Brock Lesnar, who is such a huge draw, I think it’s a pretty good solution to the problem.... You’ve got to fight to stay alive, he’s got to pay his bills. His last fight was in August and who knows when Cain would have been able to be back and fight. I think (Dos Santos) needs to stay sharp and he’s gotta not have any ring rust."
After Brock Lesnar Beats Junior Dos Santos He Plans On Taking His Title Back From Cain Velasquez
But he's also focused on his primary task ahead-TUF 13. "I have one thing in my mind for this whole thing, which is to help these kids and to improve their lives. More importantly, it's an opportunity for me to get down here and train and it's an opportunity for me to get my title back sooner rather than later. When I beat dos Santos, then I get a rematch with Velasquez and I get my f****n belt back. That's the way I'm looking at this."
Regardless of UFC Fight Night 24 outcome, Tito Ortiz not ready to retire
Tito Ortiz laughed it off at first. Then he realized they were serious.
Not long after Matt Hamill handed him his third consecutive loss at this past October's UFC 121 event, he got a call from UFC executive Lorenzo Fertitta and UFC president Dana White.
They told him he should retire. After the initial surprise, he pleaded with them.
"I said, 'You guys have got to give me a chance, man,'" Ortiz told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "Look at my last fights. I fought Forrest Griffin last year with a ruptured disk in my neck, and I still fought to a split decision. I come back a year later after neck surgery, and I fight a guy who's on a five-fight win streak, and I lost a couple of takedowns.
"You guys think I should retire? It's just crazy."
He eventually convinced them to give him one last shot. White later called him back, and Ortiz (15-8-1 MMA, 14-8-1 UFC) asked for a fight with Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (19-4 MMA, 2-1 UFC), the twin brother of former PRIDE and UFC champ Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. "Little Nog" had most recently lost a unanimous decision to blue-chip prospect Ryan Bader.
Mike Guymon Confirms Retirement, Will Continue As Trainer
UFC welterweight Mike Guymon is officially retired from the sport, and he's "at peace" with that decision. After a tough loss to DaMarques Johnson at this past weekend's "UFC Fight Night 23: UFC Fight for the Troops 2" event at Fort Hood in Texas, Guymon suggested in a UFC.com interview that his retirement was imminent. Today, Guymon, who's healing from rib and back injuries sustained in the fight, confirmed the decision but said he'll continue training other fighters. "It's too hard on my heart and mind," Guymon said. "That's when I knew it was time.
"I'm at peace with retirement. I accomplished all I wanted to accomplish in MMA." Guymon was 12-5-1 career but finished with a 1-3 mark in UFC over his last 4 fights.
UFC FFTT 2: 1.85 Million Viewers
This past weekend's "UFC Fight Night 23: UFC Fights for the Troops 2" event scored a 1.3 household rating and an average of 1.85 million viewers. The event also peaked with 2.5 million viewers. The most recent "Fight Night" event, "UFC Fight Night 22: Marquardt vs. Palhares," scored an average audience of just 1.2 million viewers in September.
Jon Jones Is "Pissed Off" At Aaron Simpson
Apparently Simpson started a Twitter war with comments about Jones' next fight at UFC 126 against Ryan Bader. Naturally, Jones' fuse was lit. "Didn't you lose your last 2 fights? Please don't piss me off, I actually have respect for ryan. Don't you have a fight scheduled? Focus on yourself instead of whether I'm ready or not. Are you familiar with the strike policy in baseball?"
Don't "Axe" Me: Wanderlei Silva Doesn't Want To Fight Brian Stann
At least that's what Dana White said recently. "We were actually trying to hook [Silva] up with Brian Stann. He doesn't want to fight Brian Stann. He's like, 'F*** that; everybody is going to hate me if I fight Brian Stann. Everybody loves Brian Stann.' But that's the fight we're trying to make right now." Stann spoiled a planned Silva-Chris Leben fight by beating Leben at UFC 125, then he called out Silva.
Kenny Florian: If Melvin Guillard Thinks He Deserves A Title Shot Over Me, He Should Fight & Beat Me
That's what KenFlo had to say on Pro MMA Radio last night in response to recent comments on the show by Guillard. "It doesn't make sense. There's a lot of guys working hard. It's who the best fighter is. If Melvin thinks he deserves a shot over me, he should fight me and beat me. It's always about who the best fighter is. Who has he beaten? What has he done? That's great he's finally considered a top contender. Losing to Joe Stevenson in the first round isn't gonna get you that shot. You have to be consistent. He has to separate himself from the pack. I would take that fight."
Sources: No TUF 13 Elmination Round, Only 14 Cast Members
While the past three seasons have featured an initial elimination round of fights, "The Ultimate Fighter 13" will kick off with just 14 cast members. Beginning with "TUF 11," the UFC expanded its initial fighter group from the usual 16 to 28. To get into the house and become an official cast member, fighters had to win an elimination-round bout on the first day of taping. With the upcoming 13th season, the elimination round has been eliminated. But the "wild card" selections still are in play. "TUF 13" began production today in Las Vegas, and the shows debuts March 30 on Spike TV. Former champ Brock Lesnar and fellow heavyweight contender Junior Dos Santos serve as head coaches and each oversees a team on the show. Although initially expected to feature both welterweight and middleweight fighters, producers recently chose to go with a cast of all 170-pounders this season. It's not clear why the UFC and Spike TV nixed the elimination round for "TUF 13."
UFC FFTT 2 Medical Suspensions
The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation has issued the medical suspensions from Saturday's UFC Fights For The Troops 2 event. As is commonplace in Texas all fighters received a mandatory suspension for precautionary reasons but most are only for 8-10 days. 3 fighters got 31 days and 2-Matt Mitrione and Willamy Friere (Chequerim)-are suspended indefinitely and must be cleared by doctors before they can return.
UFC Claims 3200 Attendance For FFTT 2
This past weekend's "UFC Fight Night 23: UFC Fights for the Troops 2" event drew an announced crowd of 3,200. There was no live gate for the event because the event was not only open to military personnel only (outside of some press) but all the tickets given out were free tickets. The totalproceeds raised for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund hasn't been announced yet, but will reportedly be in the millions once the totals are added up this week.
Spike Announced UFC Prelims For 2011, UFC 126 Next
As expected Spike TV will broadcast a dozen "UFC Prelims" broadcasts, which are one-hour preliminary-card specials that precede pay-per-view airings, this year. Spike announced the plans today, first up is UFC 126. The featured TV fights will be Donald Cerrone vs. Paul Kelly and Chad Mendes vs. Michihiro Omigawa. But the reported contract renewal to keep the specials going still hasn't been finalized, that would be needed for the specials to continue past 2011.