Bisping & Leben Both Want Title Shot
Michael Bisping and Chris Leben both agree that the winner of their fight should be the next middleweight title challenger.
Speaking ahead of their headline clash at UFC 89 in England next week, the pair were frank about the potential ranking implications.
“I’ve said it before, I think this fight will be a deciding factor in who will be at that top tier in the middleweight division,” said Leben. “Who’s going to be in line for a title shot and who is going to fall back down into the middle of the pack?”
Bisping agreed: “Whoever wins this fight moves onwards and upwards to title contention, while its back to the middle of the pack for the loser. So obviously there is a lot riding on it.”
Fans of the TUF3 winner have long cited him as a potential champion, but he has not yet had a title shot in his time with the UFC.
However, Leben has fought middleweight boss Anderson Silva once before – and was stopped with a knee strike just 43 seconds into the first round.
“I can’t say how Michael is going to perform if he fights Anderson Silva, obviously I’ve fought him once and it didn’t go that well,” Leben laughed. But “I’m a much better fighter now and the Chris Leben of today wouldn’t make the same mistakes.”
UFC Quick Quote: Dana White ‘disgusted’ with Elite XC and alleged fight influencing
“It disgusts me. I’ve been busting my (expletive) for 10 years flying all over the planet to show everybody what a great sport this is and what amazing people are involved in it. Then CBS throws this guy who fights at people’s barbecues on the main event because they’re trying to compete with us, and he gets knocked out in (14) seconds by a guy who didn’t win ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ and couldn’t fight in the UFC. Then the guy turns around the next day and says, ‘The promoters actually paid me to not go to the ground with this guy. They paid me to stand up,’ which I’m pretty sure is illegal…. (Slice is) a joke. It was bound to happen. These guys have lost $60 million trying to get this thing off the ground. They’re building their promotion around a guy who can’t fight. It’s kind of (expletive) stupid, isn’t it? You’re in the fight business and you’re building your business around a guy who can’t fight…. When dirty people go out and do stuff like that, it hurts. Promoters have a bad rap as it is because of the last 100 years of boxing. We actually started to turn that around and were doing the right things and then you have these guys coming out and doing (expletive) like that. It hurts us.”
Houston Alexander Denies UFC Firing Rumors and Says He’s Sticking by His Coaches
Houston Alexander has apparently heard internet rumors to the effect that he’s been dropped from the UFC or has fired his entire coaching staff or desperately needs to learn the ground game. Oh, wait. That last part’s not a rumor. Anyway, the point is, he’s sick of it. So to clear the air and talk directly to fans without the filter of the MMA media, he turned to the Fight Magazine MMA blog:
People keep asking me what my plans are, they have read things all over the internet about my future with the UFC and how I am firing my coaching staff. So I thought I would address the rumors and my upcoming plans.
NO – I have not lost my UFC contract.
NO – I have not fired my coaching staff.
NO – I am not going to step down and fight for smaller organizations.
The loss last month was tough, but life goes on. People need to remember that I have only been fighting professionally for a year and a half. I have made great strides during that time, as well as faced some setbacks. My training will continue and we are looking at visiting some of the larger camps for additional training and strategy for my next fight. I have a lot to learn and am hoping to have everything straightened out before I enter the cage next time.
UFC Coming To Scotland........If Anywhere is Big Enough
Scotland is proving to be a difficult nut to crack for the UFC as it continues its European expansion - because there are no venues in the country big enough.
Glasgow is the most likely prospect to host a show if the UFC does travel there, even though its arena holds less than 6,000 people.
"Scotland is a region that we'd love to be in," UFC UK division president Marshall Zelaznik told Tough Talk
"The venues are a little small there for us so we're trying to figure out if we can bring one there even if it doesn't offer the 9,000, 12,000 or 15,000 seats.
"There's a 5400 seat arena in Glasgow at Braehead, which is probably the best venue for us now, so we'd love to be there."
Scotland is home to a significant UFC fanbase and the organisation has noted that many fans at UK shows have travelled from there.
Such ticket-buyer analysis was the reason that the UFC went to Newcastle in January, as UK ticket sales have been particularly consistent in the north-east of England.
In January, the UFC will make its Republic of Ireland debut when it stages a show at the newly-expanded O2 Arena in Dublin.
The show will be headlined by Rich Franklin and Dan Henderson, while Mauricio ‘Shogun' Rua and Mark Coleman will clash in a co-main event.
UFC CLARIFIES MEDICAL INSURANCE CLAIMS BY TITO
In a statement released to MMAWeekly.com on Tuesday night, former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz openly discussed his ongoing bout with back problems and his decision to have surgery to repair his back.
“I have made it though the last eight fights by physical therapy, methylprednisolone pills, and spinal injections for my last three fights,” he recounted. “I took it upon myself to get surgery in hopes that my fight career will jump back on track and I will be back to the explosive monster I always have been.”
He didn’t stop there, however. In his statement, Tito went on to claim that his former employer, the Ultimate Fighting Championship, denied the claims for medical coverage for his back.
“The kicker to this whole story is that the UFC denied my claim for coverage of my debilitating back injury obviously acquired in the Octagon,” he said. “After all of the battling, and allegiance I pledged to them, they now have stooped so low as to not give me the medical care I so desperately needed.”
Sokoudjou Contemplates Career In Porn And (Hopefully) Luis Cane
With just two years of professional experience, Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou has quickly become one of the more successful and likable new figures in MMA. At 24 years old, early signs indicate Sokoudjou will have a bright future in the Octagon … as long as the UFC doesn’t lose him to the pornography industry first.
In this short Q&A published in advance of his upcoming bout with Luis Cane at next Saturday’s UFC 89, the Cameroonian judo practitioner says if he hadn’t gotten into MMA, he’d be a porn star. We assume he was joking, but with Sokoudjou you never can tell.
Remember, this is the same guy who once famously played up his nickname as the “African Assassin” by telling Japanese reporters that he trains with “animals in the jungle.” This is the same guy who responded to a glut of Photoshopped pictures of him on the Internet by showing up for his UFC debut wearing a Predator mask. The same guy who claims that he got “beat down by a girl” the first time he trained in Muay Thai.
Cordeiro: “Quinton wanted to train with me”
Considered one of the best MMA coaches of the world, Rafael Cordeiro is running the Chute Boxe branch in USA, and celebrates the good moments of the team. With more than 70 athletes and training in it’s own training center, Rafael believes that now Chute Boxe will show her work in America. In an exclusive chat with TATAME, Cordeiro revealed that one of the biggest opponents of the team in the past, Quinton Jackson, that fought Wanderlei Silva, Maurício Shogun and Murilo Ninja, wanted to train with him to face Wanderlei again, at UFC 92.
“I heard something that he wanted to train with me and, when I knew it was his reparation to fight Wanderlei, I didn’t accept.
Chris Leben is older, wiser and … better?
“They say as we get older, we get smarter. I guess I’ve kind of got to agree a little bit. I still like to have fun, I still like to get my heart rate up, do exciting things. After my last little stint in jail, a lot of things that have happened to me in my life, I’ve realized there’s a lot of situations that are good fun, safe fun, beneficial fun - and then there’s other kinds of fun and situations that I now choose to abstain from…. Believe or not, moving to Hawaii definitely is not a difficult move. For me or for anybody for that matter. I had just an awesome opportunity. (Icon’s) T.J. Thompson offered me a job out here, being the head coach at Icon Sport. I came out to check it out. Everything clicked great and just things started falling into place and I tell you what I couldn’t be happier. I can’t tell you the future but I can tell you I’m definitely happy right now…. More than anything, a gradual progress. I think obviously maturing as a person and again as a fighter and being a coach, now I can’t tell the guys I’m training with, do this, don’t do that - when I’m doing something different. To some extent, I’ve got to walk the line.”
Gabriel Gonzaga interested in Brock Lesnar clash of monsters
“[Brock Lesnar] was never proposed to us, but Gabriel Gonzaga would love to fight him because he’s a big name and I think it would be a clash of two monsters. I think it would be a huge fight so if the UFC gave Gonzaga that honor he would be happy to fight Brock Lesnar.”
– Marco Alvan — the head trainer for former UFC heavyweight number one contender Gabriel Gonazaga — tells BostonHerald.com that he and his fighter would be interested in a fight with Brock Lesnar in the near future. “Napao” is among the larger fighters in the division (like Lesnar) who also has a tight submission game (unlike Lesnar), which would more than likely be another dangerous test for the former professional wrestling star. Lesnar takes on Randy Couture — who beat down Gonzaga last year — at UFC 91 on November 15. Gonzaga will also compete on that same card against Octagon newcomer Josh Hendricks. If Couture defeats Lesnar and Gonzaga defeats Hendricks it would be real interesting to see if the promotion would book a fight like this, which would once again put a big pay-per-view (PPV) money machine at risk of losing to a much more experienced fighter.
Cage fighters 'behind £53m raid'
I know Lee Murray has long been rumoured to be involved in this robbery, but this is the first time to my knowledge that he has been formally named/accused:
Two cage fighters masterminded the £53m raid on a Securitas depot in Kent and then fled to Morocco, a jury was told.
Paul Allen and Lee Murray, 29, were at the heart of the raid in Tonbridge in February 2006, the Old Bailey heard.
Mr Allen, 30, of Chatham, was extradited to the UK while Mr Murray remains in a Moroccan jail.
Mr Allen is on trial along with Michael Demetris, 32, of Bromley Common, south London. Both deny conspiracy to rob, to kidnap, and to possess a firearm.
Mr Allen and Mr Demetris, a hairdresser, are accused of conspiring with five other men who were jailed in January after being found guilty of kidnap, robbery and firearms charges in connection with Britain's biggest cash raid.
During the raid, depot manager Colin Dixon and his family were kidnapped at gunpoint by men posing as police officers.
After "depressing" July loss, Jorge Gurgel next meets Aaron Riley at UFC 91
After dealing with the first bout of depression in his entire life, submission specialist Jorge Gurgel (12-4 MMA, 3-3 UFC) will next fight at UFC 91 against Aaron Riley (26-10-1 MMA, 0-2 UFC), who returns to the UFC for the first time in nearly three years.
Gurgel today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that bout agreements have been signed for the Nov. 15 fight, which takes place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Gurgel, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, looks to rebound from his disappointing submission loss to Cole Miller at UFC 86.
Although seemingly on his way to a tough-fought unanimous-decision victory in the July bout, Gurgel ran into disaster in the fight's final moments. While scrambling for position after securing a trip-takedown, Gurgel was trapped by Miller's triangle choke and forced to tap out with just 12 seconds remaining in the fight.
It would have been Gurgel's fourth UFC victory in a five-fight span. Instead, he suffered just the second submission loss of his career -- and his first in nearly five years.
"It was extremely difficult for me," Gurgel said. "I never in my life -- never in any circumstance -- I've never been depressed. Depression can't get to me. I'm always happy. I don't get depressed. But, I got to the point where I couldn't sleep.
"My parents were disappointed. My family was very hurt, and the first words out of my step-dad's mouth, as soon as he walked down the aisle in the arena (at UFC 86) and saw me -- he goes, 'This is the first time in my life, Jorge, that I saw a fighter win and lose a fight in the same fight.' And that quote has never left my head because that's exactly what happened. ... I lost my focus for one second, and it cost me 14 minutes and 30 seconds of beating [Miller] up. It was my best fight yet. I didn't even have a black eye, but I just lost focus for that split second."
After such a stunning and stinging loss, Gurgel heard the same thing over and over from friends, family and fans.
"It was either 'tough break' or '[expletive] happens,'" Gurgel said. "I'm just ready to get in there and put it behind me."
Standing in his way is Riley, who returns to the octagon for the first time since a first-round TKO loss to Spencer Fisher at UFC Fight Night 3. Ten fights and four years earlier, the former PRIDE and BodogFIGHT veteran made his UFC debut with a unanimous-decision loss to Robbie Lawler.
Since his latest UFC appearance, Riley has posted a 3-2 record in a variety of organizations; the losses came to notables Eddie Alvarez and Ryan Schultz.
Riley, a former Golden Gloves champion who made his professional MMA debut as a 16-year-old in 1997, has won seven of his past 10 fights.
St. Pierre Snagged by CAA
While the fight world awaits confirmation of a rematch with UFC lightweight champion B.J. Penn on Jan. 31, Georges St. Pierre has signed on another dotted line.
St. Pierre, 26, has joined the ranks of Derek Jeter, LeBron James and Tony Hawk, as the UFC welterweight champion has been picked up by CAA Sports, a division of the Creative Artists Agency.
Looks like we'll be seeing a lot more of GSP in the public.
This is another sign that MMA has almost entirely "made it"
Brian Stann Off UFC Fight Night 16 Due To Injury
Former WEC Light Heavyweight Champion Brian Stann will not be able to fight on the December 10th UFC FIGHT FOR THE TROOPS show which is to be held at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Sources close to the fighter today confirmed to Fiveouncesofpain.com that an injury to the fighter’s foot would not allow him to fight in his scheduled bout with Steve Cantwell.
Abdul Muhamed Signs With The UFC
The Ultimate Fighting Championship has further added to its growing roster of European talent by inking a deal with top U.K. lightweight Abdul Mohamed (16-6-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC).
Sources close to Mohamed told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) of the signing on Monday, though terms of the contract were not undisclosed.
Mohamed is expected to make his debut at UFC 93, which takes place Jan. 17 in Dublin, Ireland.
No opponent has been determined.
Quote of the Day: Anderson Silva
I think it's going to be real fun." "Cote is going to come out and stand up with me and it will be exciting and entertaining. He's going to hit me and I'm going to hit him a few times and we'll see what happens."
"I believe in every opponent there are some weak points that I can capitalize on." "He may find some weak points in my game where he can capitalize on me, but I am very confident and I'm training very hard. I think Patrick Cote is right: I am beatable."
"I believe the confidence that Patrick Cote has is a good thing." "Every fighter should be confident and the same way he's confident I'm confident. If Cote thinks he's going to knock me out or submit me in the third round that's a good thing to think that. But there is an opportunity that he might get knocked out or submitted. I believe everybody is beatable and that's what makes this sport so interesting."
Eddie Bravo: Joe Rogan Is One Bad Mofo
While it's not clear if he'll ever trade punchlines for real punches, Joe Rogan apparently is pretty good when it comes to jiu-jitsu...so much that his teacher, Eddie Bravo, thinks Rogan could go straight to Welterweight if he ever wanted to do MMA and do quite well.
Ivan Serati Debuts At UFC 93
UFC has announced that new acquisition Ivan Serati will make his debut at UFC 93 in Ireland. He'll be the second Italian to compete in the Octagon (Alessio Sakara). No opponent has been named yet.
Leben’s path comes full circle
Even three years later, Chris Leben can’t bring himself to sit down in front of a television sit and watch the inaugural season of The Ultimate Fighter.
He cringes at what little he does see, unhappy and unimpressed with the desperate character seemingly crying out for help.
Chris Leben was one of an odd assortment of fighters cobbled together by UFC president Dana White and owner Lorenzo Fertitta to compete on the first season of the reality series on Spike TV, which wound up fueling the UFC’s current success.
Leben’s wild, drunken behavior, unpredictable mood swings and overbearing attitude on the show makes it difficult for him to even speak about it now.