DirecTV and Versus strike deal just in time for UFC on Versus 1
Versus, home to World Extreme Cagefighting and now the Ultimate Fighting Championship, was dropped from the satellite-cable company's lineup on Sept. 1, 2009, after a dispute over carrier fees.
DirecTV boasts approximately 18 million subscribers and – thanks to some exclusive offerings such as the NFL Sunday Ticket – is popular with sports fans.
Terms of the new deal were not disclosed, though Versus has already been reinstated on the channel lineup.
"We are pleased that both sides were able to work out a satisfactory deal to bring this programming back to our customers," DirecTV executive Derek Chang stated.
A Versus executive echoed that sentiment while playing up the cable station's upcoming UFC on Versus 1 event, which airs this coming Sunday (March 21) live from Broomfield, Colo.
"We're excited that we were able to come to a fair agreement that puts Versus back in millions of homes with DirecTV in time for our busy spring programming schedule," Versus president Jamie Davis stated. "We look forward to super-serving these fans with NHL regular-season and playoff coverage, our first live UFC event and much more."
Gray Maynard Calls Out Florian-Gomi Winner
The UFC's lightweight division basically comes down to B.J. Penn and everyone else, but Gray Maynard has a plan for getting to the top of the "everyone else" pile: He wants to fight the winner of the Kenny Florian-Takanori Gomi bout that will serve as the main event of UFC Fight Night 21 on March 31.
Maynard made his statement on Twitter Monday morning, tweeting, "florian vs gomi. I want to fight the winner!!" Maynard later told a fan that he's picking Florian to win.
Maynard is a logical next opponent for the Florian-Gomi winner, and it's a fight that I would like a lot. I also agree with Maynard that Florian will win.
Nate Quarry promises barnburner at UFC Fight Night 21, eyes contender status
The month of March is loaded with high-quality MMA fight cards, and with a number of exciting matchups planned, it's difficult to look forward to just one.
UFC middleweight contender Nate Quarry (12-3 MMA, 7-2 UFC) thinks you'd best not sleep on his bout with Jorge Rivera (17-7 MMA, 7-5 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 21 on March 31.
"I think this is really just a fan-favorite kind of fight," Quarry recently told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). "Both of us just go in there and throw."
Quarry and Rivera meet on the Spike TV broadcast portion of the North Carolina card, and with 18 knockouts or TKO wins between them, fireworks seem imminent.
"Every fight I've had in the UFC, no matter what it is, I come to fight," Quarry said. "I come to win every minute of every round. I've had two 'Fights of the Night.' The last fight against Tim Credeur, we were ranked No. 3 best fight of the year for two guys just going out there and beating on each other for 15 minutes. We're going to get the same thing with Rivera.
"[Rivera and I] just move forward and like to throw and like to finish fights. He's been fighting a long time for the UFC. This is a great opportunity, and I'm really looking forward to it."
Quarry comes into the fight on a two-bout win streak. In addition to the win over Credeur, Quarry also had a first-round win over Jason MacDonald at UFC 97.
But despite the recent success, "Rock" said he's still adding to his game.
"It's funny, I'll be talking with my coaches – and this was as recent as a few months ago – and he'll be telling me to feint the jab and throw a hook or something," Quarry said. "I said, 'Coach, why would I throw a jab that I wasn't looking to land and knock him out with?' He looks at me and says, 'So you can knock him out with the next punch.'
"It was like there was this huge light bulb over my head – like, 'What? Throw something to distract him so I can knock him out with the next one? Wow.' I've only been doing this for like 14 years now. You think I might pick this stuff up, but no. It's still brand new for me."
At nearly 38 years old, it might seem odd that Quarry is picking up such basic tactics. But the Team Quest fighter explained that the high-level training of mixed martial artist wasn't always quite as specialized as it is today.
"For most of my career, I really didn't have specialized coaches," Quarry said. "It was kind of the MMA training, which for the longest period of time was just watered-down jiu-jitsu, watered-down Muay Thai, watered-down boxing.
"Even back in the day when I would try to get specific training, I would go to a boxing gym, I would train there three or four times, the coaches would love me, and they'd see I was a hard worker that had potential. They'd come up to me and say, 'OK, we want to set you up with a fight.' I'd go, 'No, no, no. I'm doing this NHB stuff, this no holds barred where you fight in a cage.' They'd go, 'Oh, OK. Well, you're not welcome here anymore.'"
Of course, now that MMA has exploded in popularity, some of those coaches have changed their tune.
"Here we are years later, and those exact same coaches have come up to me and said, 'Hey, I'd love to work with you,'" Quarry said. "I'm like, 'You know what? My dance card is full. When I needed your help, you could have been there. You could have believed in me, but you missed the boat.'"
A popular cast member of the first-season of "The Ultimate Fighter," Quarry received a title shot against Rich Franklin in 2005. Things didn't go exactly well for him that night, but the slugger is 4-1 since that time.
The Oregonian hopes a win over Rivera will get his name once again mentioned among the 185-pound title contenders.
"My record in the UFC is 7-2," Quarry said. "I've had a lot of knockouts in the UFC. I've had a lot of exciting fights. I hope that my name stays in the mix for those type of things."
But regardless of where he's ranked in the division, Quarry promises to continue putting on exciting fights.
"Have you ever seen me get tired and lay in somebody's guard and not punch him?" Quarry asked. "It won't happen."
Brazilian lightweight Charles Oliveira offered multi-fight deal with UFC
Undefeated Brazilian lightweight Charles Oliveira (12-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) will soon be the UFC's newest commodity.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) today learned from sources close to the promotion that Oliveira has been offered an exclusive agreement and is expected to debut in the near future.
Though the contract has yet to be finalized, the process appears to be a mere formality at this point.
An exact date for the 20-year-old Oliveira's first UFC fight has not been determined, and an opponent has yet to be named.
Oliveira, who has fought predominantly in Brazil during his budding career, made his professional debut in March 2008 in an eight-man tournament under the Predador Fight Championship banner. Oliveira earned three victories on the night to take the tournament title, and all three wins came via stoppage.
Oliveira has since been able to earn two more tournament victories – a four-man Korea Fight title in December 2008, and a four-man Warriors Challenge bracket this past February.
Oliveira has earned 11 of his 12 victories by stoppage. Six of the wins have come by knockout or TKO, while five have come via submission. His lone U.S. appearance to date came in a first-round submission of Dom Stanco in a Ring of Combat fight in April 2009.
An announcement is expected shortly regarding Oliveira's first fight. In the meantime, he's expected to train in Houston alongside Jorge "Macaco" Patino and in Brazil with Ericson Cardoso.
Mir says Carwin more dangerous than Lesnar, OK if Velasquez gets first crack
After splitting a pair of bouts with UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar, former title holder Frank Mir has made little effort to hide his current motivation.
As such, some have labeled Mir a "stalker" because of his singular focus on a rubber match with the champ.
Nevertheless, Mir carries on in search of facing Lesnar once again. But standing in his way at UFC 111 is undefeated challenger Shane Carwin, who Mir says may actually be a tougher opponent.
"I think he's very similar to Brock Lesnar," Mir told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "He's somebody that's strong, and he's a good wrestler. But I think that Carwin, in a lot of ways, is actually more dangerous for me."
The similarities between Carwin and Lesnar are evident with just a cursory glance. The two massive wrestlers have changed the face of the heavyweight division in short order with their powerful builds and overwhelming strength.
But Mir believes Carwin possesses something extra.
"Brock and Carwin are both better wrestlers than I am," Mir said. "Most likely, they'll both be able to take me down. Most likely, they'll both be able to win the fight if I get stuck against the cage on my back with my head jammed up. But with that being said, with Lesnar, on my feet, I have no real anxiety about standing there and boxing. He's knocked people over because he clubs people with his hands, but he's not really a knockout artist. Carwin has actually knocked people out.
"In a fight with Lesnar, the goal is to keep it on the feet, and I'll win the fight. With Carwin, if I say just keep it on my feet and I fall asleep on him while looking for the shot, I can easily go to sleep if I get caught. He's shown the ability to knock people out. To me, he's a dual threat."
With the interim title on the line in the March 27 matchup, an eventual shot at the champ hangs in the balance. But UFC president Dana White has said that a fight between the winner and Lesnar isn't a guarantee.
Top contender Cain Velasquez, who turned in an impressive performance against MMA legend Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in February, could leapfrog the newly crowned interim champ if injuries prove a factor.
Mir once again stated his desire to face Lesnar but also said he would understand if he was forced to wait.
"The competitor in me wants to face Lesnar as soon as possible and be the first one in line," Mir said. "As far as if it worked out, I don't feel like holding the heavyweight division hostage. If after, if I'm victorious on March 27, and I had an injury that didn't allow me to fight, and Brock wants to take a risk to fight Cain first before he fights me, more power to him."
Mir admits he views Velasquez as a credible threat. In fact, he thinks Lesnar might feel the same way and should probably avoid that particular confrontation.
"I think [Velasquez] is a dangerous fight for [Lesnar]," Mir said. "I would be willing to bet that maybe he would be more comfortable waiting for me."
UFC on Versus 1's Paul Buentello talks "huge move" to Grudge Training Center
Heading into his UFC 107 contest with Stefan Struve, much of the talk surrounding Paul Buentello's training camp – or rather, his lack of one.
Forced out of his normal routine at California's American Kickboxing Academy, Buentello (27-11 MMA, 3-2 UFC) scrambled to find a suitable training home.
But as his UFC on Versus 1 bout with Cheick Kongo (14-6-1 MMA, 7-4 UFC) approaches, little word has escaped about where "The Headhunter" was getting ready. Buentello recently said there's a reason for that.
Chuck Liddell vs. Tito Ortiz still on for 115
Former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin (25-5) will not face Chuck Liddell (21-7) at UFC 115 on June 12 in Vancouver despite numerous reports that surfaced earlier today.
On the contrary, "Ace" will headline the show opposite former heavyweight and light heavyweight champion, Randy Couture, in a 205-pound showdown, according to UFC President Dana White.
In addition, White assured fans that "nothing happened to Tito" and the he and the "Huntington Beach Bad Boy" are still "cool," indicating that he is still set to battle nemesis Chuck Liddell as planned at the conclusion of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 11.
More on this breaking news as soon as possible.
In addition to Couture vs. Franklin, UFC 115 is expected to feature a heavyweight mash-up between Mirko Cro Cop and Pat Barry while welterweights Martin Kampmann and Paulo Thiago make their case for 170-pound contendership.
Stay tuned to MMAmania.com for future updates on this still-developing fight card.
UFC set to head back to the UK at some point in October
The Ultimate Fighting Championship is set to head back to UK shores at some point during the month of October after almost a year away spent concentrating on expanding into new territories.
The promotion was last in the UK in November when they visited the city of Manchester of the second time, an event headlined by Randy Couture and Brandon Vera. Although nothing is confirmed the O2 Arena in London is expected to play host this time around.
Ryan Bader, CB Dolloway and Aaron Simpson Leave Arizona Combat Sports
The move by the three UFC competitors and Arizona State alums comes at a curious time as all are coming off the biggest wins of their careers. Bader defeated Keith Jardine via third round TKO at UFC 110, Dolloway took home a unanimous decision that same night against Goran Reljic and Simpson defeated Tom Lawlor at UFC Fight Night 20 in January.
No longer a prospect, UFC on Versus 1's Vera predicts epic fight with Jones
Four years ago, Brandon Vera (11-4 MMA, 7-4 UFC) was the new kid on the block that everyone talked about.
But as his March 21 fight with Jon Jones (9-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC) at UFC on Versus 1 nears, Vera is now the veteran, and "Bones" is the new fast-rising hotshot.
At 32, Vera remembers being in that position and liked the pressure it brought. And while he knows can't get that time back, he's trying to go back to that mindset – in spirit if not in reality.
UFC 114 Likely Set For 5/29 In Vegas
Although not yet officially announced by UFC, the NSAC has approved an application from UFC for a May 29 event at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, which likely will be UFC 114. Set to occur during this year's UFC Fan Expo, 114 was also planned originally for Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, the Fan Expo's host, but MGM Mirage Group is spreading them out between the two properties it owns.
James Toney Wants Brock Lesnar
That's what he says on tonight's "Inside MMA" on HDNet. "I want Brock Lesnar. I'm the heavyweight champion of the world vs. the UFC champion. That'd be a hell of a match ... Chuck Liddell, Brock Lesnar, Randy Couture, Tito, Tito Ortiz-whatever his name is, it doesn't matter. I'm not a sideshow. This is the real deal right here."
Every Welterweight On The Planet Is The Underdog Against GSP
And according to Michael Bisping, that's a good thing for Dan Hardy. "Dan's in a great position. All the pressure is on GSP for this fight. I know Dan's a consummate professional and I know from the UK scene he's come up with a great game plan to bring the UFC welterweight title back to England. I will be up late, and cheering Dan on for sure. He knows he's the underdog, but every welterweight on the planet is the underdog against GSP right now. Dan is a very good striker, he has that edge over GSP, but Dan's best weapon is his belief in himself. He won't beat himself before the fight starts."
James Toney is a 'lose-lose' fight for Randy Couture
"Randy Couture, he respects my game like I respect his game. He's the best at what he do in his sport; I'm the best at what I do in my sport. We gonna see who has the better style and everybody know it's James Toney. If he tries to throw blow for blow with me, he definitely gonna get knocked out."
Mike Swick: Dan Hardy Deserves Title Shot Against GSP, Can 'Definitely Win'
Mike Swick and Dan Hardy have never appeared to be the best of friends. Of course, Hardy beat Swick to earn a welterweight title shot in November and then Swick talked publicly about how he didn't believe Hardy had done enough to truly earn that shot.
So with that in mind, you might be surprised to hear that Swick has changed his tune about Hardy's right to face Georges St-Pierre later this month at UFC 111 and his chances of pulling off the upset in Newark, NJ.
"Hardy can definitely win. Overall, GSP has the better chances to win, of course, but Hardy is getting better and better and, honestly, I am more excited to see this GSP fight versus Hardy than pretty much anyone else you could put GSP in with," Swick recently said.