Some Managers, Agents Lose Backstage Pass
Managers and agents are fast becoming an endangered species backstage at UFC and WEC events.
Zuffa, the company that owns and operates both promotions, has notified select fighter representatives that they will no longer receive credentials from the promotion to sit with their clients backstage on fight night.
The reasoning behind the UFC’s decision varies according to the source. Some say the move is yet another strike in a campaign to separate fighters from their business representatives. Others say Zuffa is making a reasonable attempt to control unnecessary backstage traffic and lighten overcrowded dressing rooms of freeloaders.
The latter explanation loses traction, however, when the promotion has not enacted a blanket policy across the board, which brings into question if the move is more personal than procedural.
Of five separate fighter representatives and their firms that spoke to Sherdog.com, two said they were told that credentials would no longer be doled out to them shortly after UFC 94 on Jan. 31. These firms were also denied backstage access in person at UFC Fight Night 17, UFC 95 and UFC 96, as well as WEC 39, which took place March 1 in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Both reps said Zuffa would give no reason for the change in policy when asked over the phone and in person.
“You don’t ask questions of them. You know how that goes,” said one manager, who, like multiple fighter representatives interviewed, would only speak on the condition of anonymity for fear of repercussions.
Zuffa’s public relations department did not respond to an e-mail requesting comment on the promotion’s sudden shift in policy after eight years.
Outraged managers and agents said the silent treatment speaks to a greater issue that Zuffa is trying to keep hidden behind closed locker room doors.
“They’re divisively trying to split management and fighters,” said one representative. “They’re trying to de-power the managers and agents to create a wedge between them. They give locker room bonuses and say, ‘This is from Dana [White] and the UFC -- nobody else.’ They’re telling fighters they can go directly to them. They’re telling fighters they’ll be doing sponsorships themselves in the near future that will put the managers and agents out of business. They’re trying to minimize the managers’ and agents’ role in the fighter’s life so they can better control salaries.”
Rousimar Palhares v. Alessio Sakara at ufc 99
The card continues to grow for UFC 99 in Germany, as Rousimar "Toquinho" Palhares will return for a middleweight match-up against American Top Team fighter Alessio Sakara. The bout was confirmed to MMAWeekly.com on Monday by sources close to the fight
Wand Breaks Down Liddell-Shogun
“… I told him: Liddell is not Coleman. He is an aggressive guy, has heavy hands and does not give up. If he hits you on the chin, probably a KO. Shogun has a very aggressive style and has to be in very good shape, with much cardio, because he doesn’t stop. He goes with punches, kicks, knees and takedowns. With him there’s no asking to stop. So he has to give good attention to the cardio because his style requires much cardio. He is a very talented guy, but age comes for everyone, including him. Then with time he will realize that nowadays we … must have a higher preparation. The guys are always getting better here. Shogun is a guy who can win the belt soon. He is in the front of the line. I believe in him. I think he’ll have a great performance against Liddell. I would not be surprised if he knocks him out or submits him. If he gets a takedown, I think it ends in the second round by submission.”
Wanderlei Silva has faith that his former Chute Box training partner and good friend, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, will finish former light heavyweight champion, Chuck Liddell, when the pair collide at UFC 97: “Redemption” from the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, on April 18. Shogun has battled injuries, as well as serious fatigue, in his two performances inside the Octagon since coming over from Pride FC to much fan fare in late 2007. He has certainly not lived up to the hype as the best 205-pound fighter in the world, losing to Forrest Griffin via submission in his debut and having trouble putting away what should have been a very overmatched Mark Coleman earlier this year. Rua needs to prove that he can hang with the big cats in the UFC. And an impressive win over “Iceman” would do just that.
MATT HAMILL VS BRANDON VERA SET FOR UFC 101
A light heavyweight match-up between Brandon Vera and Matt Hamill is in the works for UFC 101 on Aug. 8 in Philadelphia. A source close to the fight confirmed the news to MMAWeekly.com, with *********** first reporting its possibility.
While contracts have yet to be signed, the fighters have agreed to the bout and are expected to make it official in the coming days.
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According to sources close to Demian Maia, he is going to be next in line for a UFC Middleweight Title shot against the Anderson Silva-Thales Leites winner. No official date set but the date Maia's camp is expecting would likely put it at UFC 102.
UFC lightweight Roger Huerta waiting for the call to fight his "last fight"
Popular UFC lightweight Roger Huerta - the first mixed martial artist to ever grace the cover of Sports Illustrated - hasn't been mentioned much in recent months.
After declining to renew his contract with the UFC in January, Huerta said in the most recent episode of HDNet's "Inside MMA" that he's been stuck waiting by the phone.
"To be honest I'm just waiting for that phone call," Huerta said.
Is Mark Ecko In Serious Financial Trouble?
Possibly, and that's not good for a few notable UFC fighters. Ecko, founder and famed designed of Ecko clothing, is reportedly at least $170 million in debt and may be forced to sell off pieces of his businesses to help financial woes and pay off creditors. Ecko recently started sponsoring MMA fighters including Frank Mir, Michael Bisping, and Nate Diaz.
Royce wants GSP
Royce Gracie was on the Bubba the Love Sponge show yesterday and when asked about his plans to fight again, he said he wanted back into the UFC and was interested in a fight with Georges St Pierre. He even went so far as to tell Bubba to bring it up with Dana when he’s on next week.
Wanderlei Silva Will Show All His Heart On June 13
Despite being in a serious slump lately, Wanderlei Silva says he has no plans to retire soon and will keep fighting as long as people say they'll keep watching his fights because they will be good fights. He also says he will show all his heart on June 13 against Rich Franklin and will be there to KO or be KO'd.
Vancouver says not yet to MMA
Mixed martial arts isn't returning to Vancouver; at least not yet.
Council members voted against having the Vancouver Athletic Commission sanction MMA events Thursday. Instead it has asked the province to provide the sanctioning body for the sport just as it did in September 2007 when MMA became effectively banned in the city.
The mysterious stylings of Professor X—Xavier Foupa-Pokam
“I have a very violent style,” Professor X says from his compound with the Snake Team.
X is Xavier Foupa-Pokam by light of day, and this accounts for his cult following all over his native France, where mixed martial arts are still mostly sort of illegal but cage worship remains in full effect. Obviously, having a violent style doesn’t help assuage the French government’s concerns.
Vince McMahon: UFC Has Hurt Boxing, Not WWE
In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter in advance of WrestleMania XXV, McMahon talked about the UFC.
"Most people thought at one point that we would be competitors. But it turns out they are not competition to us at all, or hardly at all. They are sport, we are entertainment; it's a huge difference. The revenue they have cut into is that of boxing."