Diaz and Stevenson to Clash on TUF9 Finale Card on June 20
For only the fourth time in UFC history, two winners of The Ultimate Fighter reality series will meet as combatants in the Octagon when season two’s Joe Stevenson clashes with season five’s Nate Diaz in what promises to be a memorable battle on The Ultimate Fighter: US vs UK season finale card at The Pearl at The Palms in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday, June 20.
UFC 96 Pegged At 350k Buys
Jack Encarnacao over at Sherdog relayed the Dave Meltzer scoop on the trending patterns for UFC 96 PPV buys:
The pay-per-view buy rate for UFC 96 on March 7th gives the best indication to date of the singular drawing power of Quinton Jackson, who headlined the event against Keith Jardine. The show drew about 350,000 buys, according to The Wrestling Observer. Unlike most of his other UFC bouts, Jackson’s fight against Jardine positioned him as the main draw on an entire card, which was low on star power.
The 350K number has to be looked on as somewhat of a disappointment. No one would expect Rampage to draw on the level of the company’s top PPV draws, like GSP, Randy Couture, Brock Lesnar, or Chuck Liddell, all of whom have shown the ability to do near or over 500k buys every time out. The other end of that range would be top card guys like Rich Franklin and Anderson Silva, who have drawn in the lower 300K range for most of their UFC tenure. A fair expectation would be for Rampage to fall somewhere in the middle, at about the 400 to lower 400K level, but Rampage as a draw on PPV would look to fall in the latter group, despite his being positioned by the UFC to do better numbers:
Rampage has been uniquely primed to be a stand alone draw for the UFC. He faced off against Chuck Liddell for the belt, a fight that drew over 600k PPV buys. That was followed up by a title defense on Spike TV that drew one of the largest US television audiences for a MMA fight. After a long-ish delay, his next fight, this time against Forrest Griffin, was given the benefit of an entire season of build on TUF and drew over 500k buys. Rampage had his noted indiscretions after his loss to Forrest, but it didn’t seem to affect folk’s appetite for watching him perform. His face-off vs Wanderlei Silva for a third time was part of a tripleheader PPV that as of this writing has came in at approximately a million buys. Few on the roster of the UFC have such a strong mix of high profile PPV match-ups and cable television exposure via Spike. While Rampage hasn’t had to carry the entire weight of the PPV on his shoulders, he has certainly been put in the best possible position to succeed. UFC 96 will let us know if Quinton is up to the task.
Michael Bisping ‘too quick’ and ‘too fast’ for Dan Henderson at UFC 100
Spending so much time around him has given me confidence. Obviously I grew up in MMA watching Dan Henderson fight and he was a hero for me. I watched him win two belts in two weight divisions [in Pride FC]. I am looking forward to the fight and I’m going in really confident that he is going to lose … in fact I know he is going to lose. I am going to win every minute of every round for the whole fight. I am going to be too quick for him, too fast. His striking is no where near my level. All I’ve got to watch out for is a big right hand and the clinch. As long as I avoid that I think it’s my fight to lose.”
The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 3 light heavyweight winner, Michael Bisping, keeps up the confidence as his showdown with Dan Henderson at UFC 100 on July 11 draws closer. “The Count” has been talking a good game to promote the middlweight showdown, saying previously that Henderson is “nowhere near his level.” In this interview, Bisping once again takes a shot at another top contender, Demian Maia, calling him a “one-trick” pony who he would “stuff like a Christmas Turkey” is the two ever met inside the Octagon. The winner of the match up between Bisping and Henderson, as well as Maia, are the front runners to challenge for the 185-pound title next. The next few months should be very interesting for the suddenly crowded middleweight class.
to the mania page.
Diego Sanchez: One win away from UFC title shot at 155 pounds?
Currently on a three-fight win streak, UFC welterweight-turned-lightweight Diego Sanchez (20-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC) believes he's one solid win away from a shot at the UFC's lightweight 155-pound title.
And on the most recent episode of HDNet's "Inside MMA," Sanchez said the UFC feels the same way.
"I have been given word that a dominating victory over Clay Guida, which I intend to do, will be put me right in my spot for the title shot," Sanchez said.
Sanchez meets Guida at the Ultimate Fighter 9 Finale on June 20 in Las Vegas.
Sanchez, winner of season one of "The Ultimate Fighter," went through a rough stretch in 2007 with back-to-back decision losses to Jon Fitch and Josh Koscheck - the first two losses of his then-five-year-old career.
Sanchez believes his first-round TKO win over Florian in 2005's original Ultimate Fighter Finale, and his size advantage in his new division, prove he's ready for the challenge.
"Being one of the biggest 155-pounders is going to give me a great edge," Sanchez said. "I've beat Kenny Florian in a decisive fashion, so I put myself as a No. 1 contender - and I'm here to prove that."
Brock Lesnar on UFC 100: "Is Frank really hurt, or is he just scared?"
A knee surgery Mir deemed necessary forced the rescheduling of the bout, but in the most recent episode of HDNet's "Inside MMA," Lesnar said he's not sure the move was made for the right reasons.
"I'm a little disappointed that it got pushed back," Lesnar said. "In my mind, is Frank really hurt, or is he just scared?"
Mir submitted Lesnar with a knee bar at UFC 81 in February 2008. Lesnar's first trip to the octagon - and his just his second career fight - Mir found himself in trouble early in the contest, but took advantage of a restart by referee Steve Mazagatti to lock in the fight-ending maneuver.
Lesnar said he's learned his lesson regarding the over-aggressive approach that cost him the bout.
"The biggest thing was that you've got 15 minutes," Lesnar said. "As soon as I entered the octagon, there were a few other key factors that played into why I rushed the fight. But those would be just plain old excuses.
Bobby Lashley Willing To Compete On The Ultimate Fighter
While he hasn't shot up the ranks from out of nowhere like fellow ex-WWE Champion Brock Lesnar, Bobby Lashley still has his sights set on making it to UFC, albeit perhaps along a different path. With tryouts for season 10 of The Ultimate Fighter coming up next week, and Heavyweights invited, Lashley is considering trying out for the show and try that path to UFC.
TUF 9 Debut Draws 1.8 Million Viewers
Spike TV has announced that the premiere of The Ultimate Fighter 9 this past Wednesday drew a total of 1.8 million viewers. This makes it the highest-rated premiere for the show since season 5 and the top-rated key men 18-49 demo premiere since season 4.
Koscheck Injured, Off UFC 98
The injury bug is again biting UFC big-time. The latest victim is Josh Koscheck-Kos is now off UFC 98 due to a foot injury. He was to have faced Chris Wilson. No replacement named yet and no word on how long Kos may be out.
Dana White to issue apology for angry tirade
UFC president Dana White is expected to release shortly a new video on the UFC's YouTube page to apologize for his angry tirade against journalist Loretta Hunt.
White was asked by a blogger for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) to apologize for misogynistic and anti-gay slurs. According tothe glaadBLOG, White has said he has "never intended to hurt the gay community."
All this came from yesterday's UFC Fight Night 18 blog, which was pulled earlier today.
It was business as usual at first for the blog, a popular video series for behind-the-scene access into UFC events, until the final three minutes of the seven-and-a-half-minute blog. That's when White chews out Hunt, a longtime mixed martial arts writer who co-wrote Randy Couture's autobiography and currently writes for Sherdog.com.
Hunt's article "Some Managers, Agents Lose Backstage Pass" published the same day on Sherdog.com obviously struck a nerve with White.
"So I just heard that there was another absolutely f--kin' retarded story written by Loretta Hunt," White said in the video.
"Loretta, you f--kin' moron. It has always been the policy at the UFC that the fighters get so many credentials, and they can credential whoever the f--k they want. It can be their manager... whoever they want to have in the back with them, they can credential.
"And you are such a f--kin' genious, I actually -- totally off track here. I heard your interview that you did too where you said Rich Frankin was our posterboy and we were trying not to get him beat by Matt Lindland and all that f--kin' s--t too. And that's why he fought Anderson f--kin' Silva twice, because we were trying to protect f--kin' Rich Franklin to save him. Rich Franklin has fought the best fighters in the world, and the only reason why I'm talking about this [is] just to show how f--kin' dumb you are, number one. And it's always been our policy. Always, since f--kin' day one.
"And you also put in the article apparently that, you know, I used to manage Tito [Ortiz and Chuck [Liddell]. Yeah, you want to know what happened when I managed Tito and Chuck? When I went to their UFC fights, I bought my own tickets. I paid for my tickets to go to the UFC and never was I allowed to go back there -- why the f--k do I need to be in the back for if I'm his manager? What am I back there holding mitts for them while they're warming up? Am I back there talking strategy? No I've done all the f--king business deals before they go there and my work is done. I go there and I watch the f--kin' fight. Okay, I don't need to be in the f--kin' back. And if I needed to be in the back that bad, then one of those guys would have credentialed me to get in the back. They would have used me as one of the credentials that they would get.
"Okay? 90 percent of the time these fighters don't want their f--kin' managers in the back. You don't even know what the f--k you're talking about, and to write a story and say 'here's a quote from a guy who wanted to remain anonymous because of fear of reperussions from the'...Shut the f--k up. Any ******' guy that won't put his name on the -- first of all. Whoever gave you that quote is a p-ssy, and a f--kin' f----t, and a f--kin' liar and everything else whoever gave you that quote. Or maybe it's you Loretta, maybe you're the liar, writing bulls--t f--kin' stories. Everything that comes out of your mouth is f--kin' stupid. Okay? What else?
"Why would I give a s--t who represents who? Yeah there's no doubt, there are some guys out there, that are managers who are absolute sleezy, dirty f--kin' scumbags. Absolutely, there's a lot of them. But there's a lot of guys out there that are a lot of good guys who manage them too, who I have no problem with. Who you f--kin' ask to manage you doesn't bother me one bit. Ask f--kin' 'Rampage' Jackson, okay? Ask 'Rampage' Jackson if I ever said anything about his f--kin' managers or anybody who represented him.
"Hey Loretta, if you're going to write a story, you f--kin' moron, at least make sure it's f--kin' true and you have some facts. And if you're going to put some f--kin' quotes in there? Get some f--kin' quotes from someone who have at least the f--kin' balls to put their f--kin' name on it. I mean how do you write a story from a guy who f--kin' -- it's like hey, like those interviews when they f--kin' put a black thing over the guy's face and changed his voice and s--t. You f--kin' dumb b--ch. F--k you Loretta Hunt."
In an interview with FoxSports.com, Hunt said she does not take any of White's attacks personally, as "whenever a journalist does a story, there's a chance the subject is not going to like it."
However, Hunt will stand by the accuracy of the story.
"It's accurate," Hunt told FoxSports.com. "I'm not going to deny he made a personal attack against me and my credibility. But more than anything, I think it's an attempt to create a distraction from the story I wrote."
The media focuses on Dana White’s comments on Loretta Hunt
Fox Sports: UFC boss curses out female reporter in tirade
Alex Marvez: Dana White’s rant sends UFC down dangerous path
Note what Alex Marvez said in his Fox Sports article — it’s the same point I’ve been making on here for the last 24 hours, and it’s a point that has fallen on deaf ears for most of White’s defenders:
In other pro sports leagues — the ones that White wants to have the UFC mentioned along with — these are the kinds of comments that would get a commissioner fired. I don’t expect the promotion to take that step with White, who is a part-owner of UFC’s parent company.
Right now, there seems to be happiness that MMA is a business that gets a little mainstream media attention but not enough to actually justify criticism of some of the things that happens in the industry. The American sports media has never treated the MMA scene like the Japanese media has.
You probably won’t be surprised to find out about this item from USA Today:
“Even his use of anti-gay langauge has precedent; Randy Couture’s autobiography Becoming the Natural — which was co-written with Hunt — claims that White used similiar terminology to describe Couture’s agents.”
However, as I heard from a few sports media writers today, what really stirred the pots in terms of attention towards this story was the fact that Deadspin picked it up.
Apparently, Dana White will now issue an apology on YouTube.
Given that I try to look at issues from a different perspective, there is one perspective about this incident that has given me some pause — the reaction from those defending Dana White.
I’ve followed and written about MMA since the early 90s. It’s a business that I’ve always had a passion for. From its stone age to the current UFC-dominated period now, I’ve witnessed the changes in the MMA audience as far as who’s following the business and who isn’t anymore. I now have to ask myself, after witnessing such vociferous and strong defenders of Dana White’s comments, the following questions:
Am I out of touch with the current MMA fan base?
Am I not serving this audience what they want?
Is this audience truly a reflection of what the bigger picture looks like?
If the answer to those questions is yes, then I have to re-assess the business and what topics I write about. After all, it is my job is to understand what the audience is and give them what they want. I have to think about issues like these sometimes.
Almeida Plans Move to 170, Browning fearful of being cut
“My plans are to drop to 170 pounds,” Almeida told UFC.com. “My team has been saying that I’m too small to fight these big guys at 185.
“With as many lightweights as there are in the UFC, that was probably my last fight, so I don’t think I have to worry about that anymore,” Browning told UFC.com.
Bader injured at UFN 18
TUF 8 LHW winner Ryan Bader injured his left knee in the first round of his unanimous decision victory over Carmelo Marrero tonight at UFC Fight Night 18, according to CageWriter...
move to UFC forum if you will, i wasn't sure which one to put this in
UFC Fight Night 18 bonuses
Following the UFC's first appearance in Tennessee, the promotion handed down $30,000 bonuses to the best and the brightest of the night. A UFC official confirmed the awards and bonuses to MMAWeekly.com late Wednesday night.
Guillard v. Tavares at TUF Finale
A lightweight contest between Melvin Guillard (21-7-2 MMA, 5-3 UFC) and Thiago Tavares (14-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC) has been added to The Ultimate Fighter 9 Finale fight card.
While the bout was originally reported as a possibility for UFC 101 in August, sources close to Guillard today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) the fight will actually take place at The Ultimate Fighter 9 Finale in June.
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.”