UFC 127: Penn-Fitch Winner Now Becomes Next #1 Contender
The main event of UFC 127: "Penn vs. Fitch" on Feb. 27 in Sydney, Australia just became a lot more interesting. That's because the winner will determine the next number one contender to the welterweight title, according to Dana White on a conference call today (via Twitter). Both fighters have previously fought for the coveted 170-pound strap. Penn, himself a former welterweight champion, last had his shot at UFC 94, a four round beating at the hands of current titleholder Georges St. Pierre.
UFC 126 Draws 9667 For $3.6 Million Gate
The NSAC today announced the official atttendance for UFC 126 was 9667 fans with a total live gate of $3,605,725. The attendance dropped from fight night estimates when UFC claimed 10,893. The gate is 3rd-highest for a UFC event at Mandalay Bay Events Center (#1 appears to be UFC 100). Additionally, a closed-circuit feed at Mandalay Bay drew 1,046 fans for a take of $45,100.
Dana White Details International Expansion in UFC 127/UFC 129 Joint Conference Call
Zuffa held a conference call today to promote both the upcoming UFC 127 show and April's UFC 129 show in Toronto, Ontario. UFC President Dana White, B.J. Penn, and Jon Fitch were on hand for the call. Highlights provided by Luke Thomas via Twitter and SB Nation MMA:
Dana says last set of international fights were sellouts. Goes over Rogers Centre UFC 129 records. Largest North American gate, a Rogers Centre record. Says the event will do $11 million gate.
Dana says 17,000 tickets sold for UFC 127, added 400 seats over the last Australia event.
Dana uses UFC 129's ticket sales to prove UFC will be biggest sport in the world. He also says when "new deals" get done, UFC will be in over a billion homes.
In terms of a show in Dallas, he says UFC 129 ticket sales motivates him. Says, however, as big as the stadium is there aren't enough hotel rooms.
WEC's former GM Reed Harris now UFC vice president of community relations
As expected former World Extreme Cagefighting General Manager Reed Harris is sticking around following the organization's recent merger with the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
And he now has a new job title: UFC vice president of community relations.
Harris today stopped by the MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio) studio with UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz and briefly discussed the position.
"I'll handle all the community work with the UFC," the longtime fight executive said. "I've been really busy trying to get this moving."
UFC site coordinator Burt Watson: "I like it when it's wacky, baby. It's what we do."
If you've ever attended a live UFC event or other pre-fight activities, you may recognize the man – but may not know his name.
He's most visible at the official weigh-ins. He's the first man on stage revving up the crowd before UFC commentator Joe Rogan grabs the microphone to introduce the UFC management, octagon girls, and shortly thereafter, the fighters.
He's Burt Watson – UFC site coordinator, part-time hype man, part-time counselor, part-time disciplinarian, jack of all trades.
Despite a laundry list of responsibilities, his main focus centers on monitoring the weight of fighters throughout any given fight week to ensure they are able to compete.
"Making weight is a part of what we do," Watson recently told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). "It's what these guys know they need to do. It's disrespectful if they don't. It shows me they're not trying.
Fedor Knew Better Than To Fight In UFC, Milked His Career To Get Paid
And Rome Is Burning about it-that would be Jim Rome on a recent episode of his ESPN program. "No matter how good you are, you will lose. Everybody does, there are so many different disciplines and everybody gets caught at some point. But, that's not what happened to Fedor Emelianenko Saturday against Antonio Silva. After going a decade without losing, he follows up last summer’s loss to Fabricio Werdum by getting his face beaten in Saturday. And that's no fluke, that's not a guy getting suckered into a savvy submission hold or just getting caught with one big shot in the chin. That was a bigger, stronger, better fighter on top of Fedor pounding him senseless. Silva said that he was surprised that the doctors stopped the fight. Surprised or disappointed? Did you bother to check that piece of meat that you were bludgeoning between shots. Trust me, he had enough. Fedor admitted enough afterwards, quote, 'Maybe it's time to leave … Maybe it's the last time, maybe it's high time.' No, maybe's about it, if anything it's probably past time. Now it's pretty obvious why he didn't want to sign with the UFC. While Strikeforce does have competitive heavyweights, he didn't want to fight the best of the best on the biggest stage, he knew better. He refused to take any chances; he milked it for all its worth and he got paid and then exposed and now it's over."
Newcomer Ruben Duran Signs With UFC, Faces Mizugaki At UFC On Versus 3
Takeya Mizugaki will get a chance to fight after all. The UFC has found a replacement opponent for the bantamweight standout three days after an undisclosed injury forced Francisco Rivera to withdraw from a bout with Mizugaki at UFC on Versus 3, which takes place March 3 at KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Ky. Reuben Duran (7-2-1) will step in on short notice to meet the one-time WEC contender. Duran's management at Iridium Sports Agency subsequently announced the fight via its official Facebook page. Duran has signed a five-fight deal with the UFC.
Scott Jorgensen vs. Ken Stone Added to TUF 13 Finale Show in June
Scott Jorgensen will look to get back on the path to the top of the bantamweight division when he faces Ken Stone at the upcoming “Ultimate Fighter” 13 finale show in June.
The bantamweight bout is the latest edition to the growing card taking place on June 4 in Las Vegas. Sources close to the negotiations confirmed the fight to MMAWeekly.com on Monday. Heavy.com initially reported the booking.
Martin Kampmann Expecting "Old School" Diego Sanchez at UFC Live on Versus 3
Danish striker Martin "The Hitman" Kampmann is looking to erase a previous setback against Jake Shields and make his way back to the top. Standing in his way is original TUF winner Diego "The Nightmare" Sanchez who is also fighting for a return to contention.
They are slated for a showdown at UFC Live on Versus 3 in Louisville Kentucky on March 5th and with the fight quickly approaching I caught up with "The Hitman". In his Bloody Elbow Exclusive interview we talked about squaring off with Sanchez and earning his shot at welterweight gold.
UFC 126 Drug Tests Come Back Clean
After an apparent failed test at UFC 125, UFC 126 was officially a drug-free zone. All 13 fighters who underwent drug testing at this month's UFC 126 event tested clean for performance-enhancing drugs and recreational/drugs of abuse. UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva topped Vitor Belfort in the headliner. The NSAC tested both of them, as well as Rich Franklin, Forrest Griffin, Jake Ellenberger, Jon Jones, Miguel Torres, Donald Cerrone, Chad Mendes, Paul Taylor, DaMarques Johnson, Mike Pierce and Kyle Kingsbury. All tests were negative. All tested negative for drugs of abuse (such as marijuana and cocaine), as well as anabolic steroids and other performance-enhancers.
Rafael Natal Off UFC On Versus 3 (Updated)
If Alessio Sakara is going to fight at UFC on Versus 3, it will be against a third opponent, since he was first slotted on the March 3 card. Renzo Gracie fighter Rafael Natal has been forced off the UFC on Versus 3 card against Sakara due to a knee injury suffered in training. No timetable set for his return. Natal himself was an injury replacement for Sakara's original foe, Maiquel Falcao. No word yet on yet another possible replacement.
Update: Chris Weidman is the expected replacement. Not yet final though.
What Might Have Been if Fedor went to the UFC
On July 28, 2009, the Los Angeles Times reported that Fedor Emelianenko and the UFC were finalizing a deal that would result in an announcement by the end of that week of the top heavyweight in mixed martial arts finally agreeing to step into the Octagon.
That report was wrong, Fedor went to Strikeforce instead of the UFC, and now Fedor has lost two fights and lost the mantle of Best Heavyweight in MMA. The heavyweight division in the UFC, meanwhile, has moved on and looks a lot different now than it did a year and a half ago.
But what if the report had been correct?
Josh Grispi vs. George Roop scheduled for June 4th
Josh Grispi will face George Roop on June 4, according to a UFC source. The fight will be on The Ultimate Fighter 13 finale card in Las Vegas.
Grispi, a 22-year-old featherweight from Plympton, lost his last fight to Dustin Poirier at UFC 125 on Jan. 1. The loss snapped a 10-fight winning streak for Grispi (14-2).
Jorge Santiago Confirms UFC Talks, But Says No Deal Is Official Yet
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ -- Free agent Jorge Santiago on Saturday night refuted reports that he has signed a contract with the UFC.
Santiago told MMA Fighting that he had not yet signed a contract with any promotion, but that he hoped to finalize a deal very soon. Santiago did confirm ongoing talks with the UFC.
Several MMA sites have reported that Santiago has agreed to a deal and will fight Brian Stann at UFC 130 in May, but he insisted that he has yet to ink his name to any contract.
"Maybe tomorrow," he said with a smile.
Santiago was the reigning Sengoku middleweight champion when he asked for and was granted his release. He holds a record of 23-8 after winning 11 of his last 12 fights.
UFC Cuts Paul Kelly
Not even winning "Fight of the Night" is enough to save UFC lightweights from the massive cuts still coming down after the merger with the WEC. Gareth Davies brings word that British striker Paul Kelly (11-4) has been released from the promotion after his second round submission loss to Donald Cerrone (14-3) at UFC 126: "Silva vs. Belfort" on Feb. 5. The "sucker punch" reportedly had nothing to do with the decision to let "Tellys" go.