HERMES FRANCA CLEAR TO FIGHT, PENDING DRUG TEST
The Nevada State Athletic Commission today cleared lightweight Hermes Franca for the UFC’s hastily assembled July 19 card at the Pearl in Las Vegas.
Franca was originally suspended last July by the California State Athletic Commission after a positive test for the steroid Drostanolone following UFC 73 in Sacramento, Calif. His suspension in that state – effectively a suspension from fighting in all states with major athletic commissions – ended on the 5th of this month.
Franca now must prove he is drug free in a test for performance enhancers to be administered this Friday. The test was originally scheduled for next Monday, but according to NSAC executive director Keith Kizer, that makes it more unlikely that he will be cleared in time for his fight.
“We should be able to get it in on time,” Kizer said. “If not, he won’t be fighting.”
The administrative procedure is similar to the one undergone by his former opponent, Sean Sherk, who was recently re-licensed for his fight against BJ Penn in May.
UFC Quick Quote: Brandon Vera could stay at 205 after UFN 14 Reese Andy fight
everybody’s saying that my power looks and good and actually my kicks look faster and harder now. I was 212 (pounds) today at the end of practice … I think it’s working to an advantage. It’s making me hungry and meaner…. I wouldn’t mind staying at 205. It’s all up to UFC in their grand scheme of things. We’ll see what’s going on and what they have in mind…. Talent-wise, man, the who’s who of 205 in the world is in the UFC right now. It’s ridiculous, it’s a whole long laundry list of who’s who. And the heavyweight division — you can pull, I think, maybe six guys out of the heavyweights. So yeah, I would say that 205 is way more stacked.”
– Former heavyweight contender Brandon Vera — who will make his light heavyweight debut against Reese Andy at UFC Fight Night 14 on July 19 — tells the USA Today that he could remain in the 205-pound division if the organization sees fit. However, “The Truth” is still bitter about his loss to Fabricio Werdum at UFC 85: “Bedlam” last month, which he and many others feel was stopped prematurely. He would like to avenge the loss at some point … especially if Werdum is able to one day soon capture the heavyweight strap.
The Highly Unofficial Half-Year UFC Awards - The Knockouts
When it comes to award time, whether it’s the half-year awards
or the end of year honors there are always categories that will give you fits when trying to narrow things down to the five or ten best. Not the knockout category though; whenever it’s time to choose the best KOs or TKOs, there are always more than enough candidates to pick from, and the winner is almost always clear-cut. So far, 2008 is no exception.
"Shogun" Rua Targeting A December Return
Maurício "Shogun" Rua hasn't fought since he was defeated by current UFC light heavyweight Champion, Forrest Griffin, last September.
Shogun is returning to the trainings step by step. He started the Boxing and Conditioning preparation and his knee is OK. Probably in a week he will come back to Jiu Jitsu practice.
Rua is not worried about a revenge versus Forrest Griffin and knows he have to get ready to face any one after his defeat for Griffin. He is planning on to come back in December.
Brandon Vera could stay at 205 after UFCFN 14
” …everybody’s saying that my power looks and good and actually my kicks look faster and harder now. I was 212 (pounds) today at the end of practice … I think it’s working to an advantage. It’s making me hungry and meaner…. I wouldn’t mind staying at 205. It’s all up to UFC in their grand scheme of things. We’ll see what’s going on and what they have in mind…. Talent-wise, man, the who’s who of 205 in the world is in the UFC right now. It’s ridiculous, it’s a whole long laundry list of who’s who. And the heavyweight division — you can pull, I think, maybe six guys out of the heavyweights. So yeah, I would say that 205 is way more stacked.”
Tito Ortiz To Re-Sign With UFC?
Don't be surprised if Tito Ortiz's last fight is with the UFC. Sources close to the situation have informed us that despite being courted by several other organizations, Ortiz apparently prefers to finish his career with the organization he started it with and is currently considering possible fight offers from the UFC. Although no contract agreement has been reached, Ortiz has been in negotiations and was offered potential fights with UFC light heavyweights Houston Alexander, Thierry Sokoudjou and Stephan Bonnar to name a few.
As evidenced by the standing ovation he received from the crowd in attendance during his unanimous decision loss to Lyoto Machida, Ortiz is still a big draw amongst fans. The overwhelming support he received could be one of the reasons why Ortiz, who's grown accustomed to his superstar status and fighting in front of 10,000+ fans, would prefer to stay with the UFC, undeniably the biggest and most popular MMA organization in the world.
Another reason could be that despite going winless in his last three fights, Ortiz is still only one or two fights away from a title shot. Ironically, he holds a controversial split-decision win over newly crowned UFC light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin and he also has a draw with Rashad Evans, who will be facing Chuck Liddell later this year at UFC 88 to determine the next challenger for the UFC light heavyweight title.
The Ultimate Fighter series may come to UK
The Ultimate Fighter series, with British mixed martial artists trying to get a UFC deal, on terrestrial TV? Sounds far-fetched.
It may not be. The Ultimate Fighter series could soon be in the UK, and be shown on terrestrial television, with Michael Bisping as one of the team coaches. Bisping, of course, went from Clitheroe in Lancashire to Las Vegas and won Series 3 of the Ultimate Fighter.
Those are the whispers - not confirmed - that talks are underway to create a first TUF series in the UK, given its success in the US. It follows the success of Forrest Griffin last weekend.
Roy Jones Jr.’s future plans don’t include Anderson Silva
Various media outlets are reporting that a light heavyweight title fight between Joe Calzaghe and Roy Jones Jr. has been signed for Sept. 20. The bout is expected to take place at Madison Square Garden and will be televised on HBO pay-per-view.
The 36-year old Calzaghe, who is considered by many pundits to be the number two pound-for-pound boxer in the world behind Manny Pacquiao, fought in the U.S. for the first-time ever this past April in Las Vegas. In that bout, Calzaghe defeated Bernard Hopkins at the Thomas & Mack Center to claim the light heavyweight title he currently holds.
Jason Day regroups and refocuses for UFC return
The Cinderella story of Jason Day came to an abrupt end when he collided with Michael Bisping at UFC 85: “Bedlam” last month at the O2 Arena in London, England.
“Dooms” scored one of the early upsets of the 2008 fight season when he stopped the super tough Alan Belcher in the first round of his Octagon debut during their 185-pound scrap at UFC 83: “Serra vs. St. Pierre 2? back in April.
Of course, in the UFC no good deed goes unpunished. So when Chris Leben was jailed for a probation violation just weeks before his fight with “The Count,” the promotion turned to Day on relative short notice and offered him the biggest fight of his career.
It didn’t go his way. However, Day is determined now more than ever to prove that he was not a one-hit wonder.
UFC Going On Tour
The Las Vegas Review-Journal's Adam Hill brings up an interesting note on the next group of shows for the UFC:
-- After the July 19 card, it might be awhile until the UFC returns to its home city.
The next three pay-per-view events in the United States will be in Minneapolis, Atlanta and Chicago. A return to Great Britain is also scheduled for October in Birmingham, England.
The organization also will host a Fight Night card in Omaha, Neb., on Sept. 17, and is eyeing a card in the Pacific Northwest, likely Portland, Ore., in November.
New York Times On UFC's International Expansion
Ross Schneiderman has a piece detailing the UFC's international expansion efforts in today's New York Times. The piece does a good job of succinctly explaining the company's international expansion strategy and the challenges it faces in introducing MMA to a new audience. Most of the ground covered is familiar to devoted followers of the industry, but the piece was well researched with interviews of Dana White, Dave Meltzer, and myself, as well as Tim Leidecker and Oliver Copp for a prospective on the ground in Europe.
Press Release: Xyience Out, BSN In
Bio-Engineered Supplements & Nutrition Inc. (BSN), the world leader in cutting-edge sports nutrition products and makers of N.O.-XPLODE™, the #1 selling extreme pre-training energy and performance igniter, is proud to announce a multi-year partnership agreement with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), the premier Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) organization in the world today.
MMA is an intense combat sport where high level professional fighters use interdisciplinary forms of fighting that include Jiu-Jitsu, Taekwondo, Karate, Boxing, Muay Thai, Wrestling and other disciplines to their strategic and tactical advantage in a sanctioned match. UFC® fighters are among the best-trained and most conditioned athletes in the world, making BSN’s association with the sport of MMA and the UFC® a perfect fit. What BSN is to the world of sports nutrition with their leading line of physique, performance and energy products, the UFC® is to Mixed Martial Arts, true innovators and world leaders.
“I’m excited to announce that BSN is the ‘Official Nutritional Supplement Provider’ of the Ultimate Fighting Championship,” said Dana White, UFC® President. “As the world leader in physique and performance supplements, they are a perfect fit for the UFC – we look forward to working with BSN as we take this sport to a whole new level.”
The Ultimate Fighting Championship® is regulated by the most prestigious sports regulatory bodies in the United States. UFC live pay-per-view events take place at preeminent destinations including MGM Grand, MEN Arena, Mandalay Bay and 02 Arena, and consistently draw sell-out crowds with record-breaking gates. Presenting over twelve pay-per-view events per year, the UFC stands as the largest pay-per-view content provider in the United States.
The UFC also dominates television with its reality series The Ultimate Fighter, now heading into its eighth season. The Ultimate Fighter has reigned supreme for years in the coveted 18-34 male ratings demographic, and regularly enjoying higher ratings than traditional franchise sports such as the NBA, NHL, NASCAR as well as NCAA football and basketball. In partnership with Spike TV cable network,
the UFC also presents ten live UFC Fight Night events and the popular program UFC: Unleashed.
BSN’s President and CEO Chris Ferguson comments on the partnership, “I’m proud to announce that BSN is now the 'Official Nutritional Supplement Provider' of the UFC. MMA is the fastest growing sport in the world today. We are excited to be aligned with an organization as prestigious as the UFC and are eager to stretch our brand with this partnership by showcasing our product line, which includes N.O.-XPLODE, the foremost pre-training igniter in the world today. BSN is a dominate force in over 75 countries and climbing. We have entered into this strategic partnership with the UFC to solidify our combined global presence. I want to thank everybody at the UF for their efforts and for their continued commitment.”
Joe Stevenson talks UFC 86 win, second title shot
New light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin wasn't the only "Ultimate Fighter" alumnus looking to improve his stock at this past Saturday's UFC 86 event. Season two winner Joe "Daddy" Stevenson (29-8 MMA, 6-2 UFC), who had previously lost a lightweight title bout to B.J. Penn, defeated Gleison Tibau (15-6 MMA, 3-3 UFC) to get back on the winning track.
"Joe Daddy" was a recent guest on TAGG Radio (www.taggradio.com), the official radio partner of MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com), where he discussed his big submission win over the ATT standout.
"I really didn't want to finish this fight with a guillotine," Stevenson said. "I wanted to drop him. It just didn't work out for me this time."
However, Stevenson nearly found himself on the wrong side of a submission attempt, spending much of the first round fighting off an omoplata. Midway through the second round, however, a frustrated Stevenson came back to lock in a deep guillotine choke during a Tibau takedown attempt.
"I think he was really caught off guard," said Stevenson, who's the first fighter ever to submit Tibau. "I don't think he expected my guillotine to be as good as it was."
The Victorville, Calif. native hadn't fought since his January title loss to BJ Penn, and Stevenson said he needed to shake off some ring rust before he could figure out his opponent.
"I guess it was good to get some of the cobwebs off," Stevenson said. "I figured out [Tibau] is incredibly strong. (However), he doesn't want to peter out so he uses it in bursts. If you can catch him when he is trying to rest, that is when you are going to do your big damage."
Looking back now, the 26-year-old feels he should have capitalized more on Tibau's rhythm so he could secure a stoppage earlier in the fight.
"I made the mistake of not just following up when I knocked him down with my right hand," Stevenson said. "(Also), when I took him down, I should have just exploded with forearms on him. I was thinking, 'I've got to be careful. This guy is super strong and (has) a black belt.' Honestly, I think I didn't fight him to my best ability."
So, regardless of the fact that he walked away a victor, the always-modest Stevenson still believes his outing was sub-par.
"I was pretty upset with my performance; I thought I could have done 10 times better," said Stevenson, who's now 6-2 since winning "The Ultimate Fighter" season two. "I am really critical of myself."
One factor that may have hampered Stevenson's performance was an assortment of injuries he sustained prior to the fight.
"I came into that fight not even 100 percent. ... I was really hurt," Stevenson said. "I had a bruised femur and a hurt elbow."
However, the 10-year-veteran joked that he may never fight at full capacity since injuries are a common part of the fight game.
"Honestly, with the right camp, I'm sure you can come in 100 percent," Stevenson joked. "I just haven't done it yet."
Now that he is back in the win column, Stevenson plans to commemorate the official grand opening of his new gym, Joe Stevenson's Cobra Kai, as well as allow his injuries to heal. Stevenson is also looking forward to getting another shot at the UFC lightweight title, a chance that may come sooner rather than later if he continues to win.
"Joe (Silva) was telling me two or three wins," he said.
For the entire interview with Stevenson, download Monday's edition of TAGG Radio, available for free in the TAGG Radio archives.
UFC To Counter-Program EliteXC - Will Air UFC 84 For Free
Dana White mentioned recently that he was planning something special on July 26; the same night that CBS/EliteXC airs it's second event. If you guessed that something special was counter-programing then you were correct.
The UFC has just announced that they will be airing back-to-back showings of UFC 84. For those that missed it the first time, it was likely the best MMA event of the first half of this year.
The card was stacked with great fights that lived up to the billing. Even the under card was fantastic.
Below is a look at the card:
- B.J. Penn vs. Sean Sherk
- Keith Jardine vs. Wanderlei Silva
- Wilson Gouveia vs. Goran Reljic
- Lyoto Machida vs. Tito Ortiz
- Thiago Silva vs. Antonio Mendes
Lyoto Machida: "They Prefer Chuck With The Belt"
After watching UFC 86 this past weekend, Light Heavyweight contender Lyoto Machida had some opinions of his own. “Quinton defeated Forrest, but they give it to Forrest.” Machida told Brazilian magazine Tatame. He went on to say that he believes the UFC prefers to have Chuck Liddell as the Light Heavyweight champion because of his marketability.
Spot on Lyoto, spot on