For Cain Velasquez, UFC Title Is the Goal, but Not Right Away
Cain Velasquez is an undefeated heavyweight who's preparing for the toughest test of his career when he faces Cheick Kongo on Saturday at UFC 99, and he says his goal is to win the UFC heavyweight title. But the 26-year-old Velasquez, who only got into MMA four years ago after his wrestling career at Arizona State ended, says he can be patient.
In an interview with FanHouse, Velasquez said that even if he beats Kongo on Saturday, he doesn't expect to get the next shot at the UFC title. He's just looking to add one more win to his fast growing resume. The full interview is below.
At UFC 99, Mirko Cro Cop Expects to Have the Fans on His Side
Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic is one of the most popular mixed martial arts fighters in the world, but his most devoted fans -- the ones in his native Croatia -- haven't had many opportunities to see him fight. Cro Cop has fought almost exclusively in Japan, so as he prepares to fight in Continental Europe for the first time ever at UFC 99 in Cologne, Germany, he says he expects to have a big contingent of fans with him when he takes on Mostapha Al Turk.
"Many friends of mine are traveling," Cro Cop told me Tuesday on a call to promote UFC 99. "My brothers, my brothers-in-law, my father-in-law, my family will be taking their own cars to Cologne. Many, many people are going in their cars. It's only about 10 hours of driving to get there. Many, many, many people are coming, people are organizing trips, and definitely, many Croatian fans will be there."
Carwin Cleared To Spar, Targeting Fall Return
Coming off a badly broken nose suffered in his huge victory over Gabriel Gonzaga, Shane Carwin recently said he was cleared to resume sparring last week and, while he doesn't have an opponent in mind, is targeting a September or October return to UFC. He says he likes 3 months' notice before a fight but will be ready when UFC calls.
UFC Signs Cro Cop For UFC 99 On Verbal Agreement, No Contract
When asked on a conference call Tuesday how many fights Cro Cop had on his new UFC contract, White said it was up in the air.
"Mirko and I are working on that still," White said. "Mirko Cro Cop ended up on this card last minute, weeks before the event, and this whole deal was done verbally over the phone with me and him."
Something To Prove, CroCop Returns To The UFC
For Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic motivation is the sole reason he fights at an elite level.
The Croatian kickboxer turned MMA fighter Tuesday spoke to the media of his return to the UFC after a 21-month absence. He faces British fighter Mustapha Al-Turk at UFC 99 in Cologne, Germany on Saturday.
Filipovic lost two of his three appearances in the Octagon after winning the Pride Absolute Grand Prix in dominating fashion almost three years ago. There were physical problems to contend with, Cro Cop said, like his knee and foot, but mostly, his mind wasn't right after the tournament.
Despite Headaches, UFC 99 & 101 Nearly Sold Out
Resistance be damned, UFC president Dana White says UFC 99 will go on.
The promotion’s first trip to Germany hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing.
Front page news decrying mixed martial arts as a bloodsport was the first harbinger of trouble. Now, television partner Setanta Sports could go under before it gets a chance to televise the event for British audiences.
All in a day’s work, says White.
UFC 99 IS AT 195, BUT 205 IS FRANKLIN'S HOME
Rich Franklin has caught the catchweight fever, but don’t expect him to fall below 205 pounds for the foreseeable future.
This Saturday, the former middleweight champion headlines UFC 99 with Wanderlei Silva at 195 pounds, 10 lighter than his previous two outings. For the third time, he’s crossing time zones for a big fight, this one at the Lanxess Arena in Cologne, Germany.
Silva walks around between 210 and 220 pounds and is on his way down to middleweight.
UFC 99: MUSTAPHA AL-TURK READY FOR CRO COP
If a man is less than fazed about the return of Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic to the UFC, it is British heavyweight Mustapha Al-Turk.
“I was initially taken aback at the announcement, but hey, it’s a big opportunity for me and since then I have just immersed myself in training. He is an opponent like any other. I take all of them seriously.”
The encounter – which is slated to kick off the main card of UFC 99 in Cologne, Germany, on the June 13 – will mark Al-Turk’s second venture into the promotion’s heavyweight ranks following a disappointing debut against Wolfslair product Cheick Kongo. He is keen to make a different impression this time round.
UFC 99: Mike Swick Looking for Impressive Win, Seeks "Big Fight"
Mike Swick (13-2) vs. Ben Saunders (7-0-2) could easily be considered one of the best matchups at UFC 99. The welterweight tilt will pit two Ultimate Fighter alums in what could be deemed a situation in which Swick has much to lose while Saunders could gain considerable momentum in the divisional picture. Saunders will see a substantial step up in competition against Swick after defeating Dan Barrera, Ryan Thomas, and Brandon Wolff while Swick rides a three-fight win streak with wins Josh Burkman, Marcus Davis, and Jonathan Goulet.
UFC Fighters Weigh In On Kimbo
Four top UFC fighters have given their opinion on Kevin 'Kimbo Slice' Ferguson joining the cast of The Ultimate Fighter season ten.
Rich Franklin, Wanderlei Silva, Marcus Davis and Dan Hardy gave their take on the controversial former streetfighter ahead of their fights at UFC 99 this weekend.
UFC announcer Bruce Buffer cashes for first time in a World Series of Poker event
Ring announcer Bruce Buffer, a 12-year veteran of the Ultimate Fighting Championship and a longtime poker enthusiast, cashed for the first time in an official World Series of Poker event on Friday.
Buffer, a semi-professional poker player, survived the bubble and placed 158th out of 1,646 entrants in Event 11 ($2,000-buy-in No-Limit Texas Hold'em) of the 2009 World Series of Poker event. Payouts went to the top 171 finishers.
MusclePharm in hot water after using Shane Carwin image.
Fighters lend their image to companies all of the time. Many of them depend on endorsements to supplement their fight purses. However, when a company uses a fighters image to endorse their products without his permission, they could find themselves in a lot of trouble.
During last night’s presentation of WEC 41,the sports nutrition company MUSCLEPHARM did just that, running an ad featuring images of UFC Heavyweight Shane Carwin, without the fighters permission.
How Cain Velasquez seemingly came out of nowhere to become a top UFC heavyweight
"He has to be part of a gang."
Marquee-sized letters scripted in calligraphy were stitched onto an alley-wide chest of a 6-foot-1, 240-pound mountain of an individual. The stereotypes are, unfortunately, quick to populate. The person's last name ends with a Z. He's dark-skinned with a trace of a Latino accent. Body art is most often associated with personal tributes, though at times it could be linked to representation and subliminal messages to one's posse or – much worse – rivals.
Kenny Florian the artist (not the fighter) will have physical advantage on August 8
“I have never said I was a fighter. I am a martial artist and that is an important distinction for me. There is a lot of beauty and art in what we do … It is important to respect the art. That’s the reason I am here, because of the art and those who taught me. I will have the advantage physically (at UFC 101) but BJ (Penn) has great natural talent and balance. Winning the title would be an honor. But the real challenge for me is BJ and beating a guy with the skills he possesses.”
At UFC 99, Etim Has 6 Months To Unleash
Terry Etim has lived, breathed, shed blood and hammered his training for well over six months with Justin Buchholz in mind. Originally slated to fight at UFC 95, the bout was scratched when his opponent pulled out due to an undisclosed injury, only to be replaced with Brian Cobb.
Another win later and the fight is back on for UFC 99 on Saturday night in Germany. Etim is pumped.
“I have been training for this guy for two long grueling camps now, both of them 10 weeks long. So I am really looking forward to finally making this happen,” explains the Liverpudlian.
UFC Signs Content Deal With Heavy.com
MediaPost.com has the lowdown on the UFC partnering with Heavy.com to offer programming for the popular pop culture website:
Men’s media network Heavy.com has struck a content distribution partnership with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Online Media Daily has learned. Heavy will now host a video channel containing content from the professional mixed martial arts organization’s library, including fight highlights, interviews and analyses, backstage footage and previews of upcoming fights.
All UFC videos will employ Heavy’s video ad units throughout — known as “video skins” — monetizing the video by wrapping it with a premium, high-CPM ad unit specifically designed for brand advertisers.
While UFC.com is hugely popular, it is encouraging to see the UFC in not looking at that as the sole distribution point online and source of revenues. The deal with Yahoo to sell PPV’s online is massively troubling from a journalistic viewpoint, but it is a smart for the UFC move in that they are dispersing their distribution. The Heavy.com deal has ad-based elements that will generate additional passive income. Dana white has stated in the past that he sees everythign eventually moving online, so staying aggressive in the new media realm will be key to this vision.
The deal also signals the UFC entrenching further in their 18 to 34 male demo. That is the target market for Heavy, and the UFC programming will complement the action sports programming that now plays a big role at Heavy. The UFC continues to increase its positioning with “action sports.” A similar move was made recently with the signing of the UFC to Fuel TV in Australia.
MMAjunkie.com Fight Biz: On cusp of historic show, what's in store for UFC's next 100?
UFC 100 – it is a milestone few thought possible when the organization was fighting for its survival in the mid-1990s.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship was deemed too heinous for even pay-per-view and on its way to becoming but a footnote in American sports.
"I knew they were going to shut it down," said Guy Mezger, one of the early "ultimate fighters," who competed at UFC 4 and 5. "The reason that I fought in UFC 4 in the first place, I wanted to see how I would do in such a challenge because I thought they were going to shut this down, with it being a no-rules contest. And, we were right. The original Semaphore Entertainment Group held on for as long as they could, but they weren't willing to change with the times and the flow of, let's say, the politics, and they became nonexistent and Zuffa took over."
It's largely because of the change in ownership that the UFC will celebrate a seminal moment in its history on July 11 in Las Vegas with its 100th show. With the "UFC Fight Night" series added to the count, the promotion topped the century mark some time ago, but that's beside the point. UFC 100 takes on special significance because of what the organization – and the sport – has endured to get here.
"The sport had to shake its old renegade image, back in the head-butts and groin-shot days," Showtime MMA analyst Stephen Quadros, who served as a judge at UFC 8, told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "It had to clean itself up, but I've always believed in the athletes and the sport. It's already rivaling primetime sports like NASCAR and the NBA, and people know what mixed martial arts are today and what the UFC is."
It took 16 years to get to this point, and with the pace the UFC now schedules major shows, UFC 200 will arrive on a much faster timeline. So what will the UFC look like then, nine to 10 years from now? Will the promotion and MMA truly be mainstream, as much a part of the American sports lexicon as the NFL, college football or the NBA finals?
For all its strides thus far, MMA isn't there yet.
"It's not mainstream," Mezger said. "We get a lot of attention, it gets a lot of hype, but I don't think we're mainstream, mainly because you don't see GSP (Georges St. Pierre) with the multimillion dollar Nike contract, the Gatorade contract and selling Cadillacs."
The UFC's lack of a network TV deal is one of the main reasons that MMA still sits on the sporting fringe in the U.S. For hordes of casual fans, the UFC is MMA. The organization has the most recognized fighters, the biggest marketing budget and the promotional edge over its rivals. Most casual fans can't even spell Sengoku, much less articulate what it is. The UFC has a significant advantage over all competing promotions, enabling the UFC to draw more new fans to MMA than even EliteXC could with its breakthrough exposure on CBS. However, until the UFC establishes a consistent presence on national network TV, its growth will be tempered.