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.
Lyoto Machida vs Mauricio Rua confirmed for UFC 104 on October 24
It’s time for some Brazilian-on-Brazilian crime.
MMAmania.com has learned that bout agreements have been signed for the light heavyweight title fight between newly-minted champion Lyoto Machida (15-0) and 2005 Pride FC Middleweight Grand Prix winner Mauricio Rua (18-3) for UFC 104 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, on October 24.
Machida Receives Hometwon Hero Welcome
Newly minted UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida got a hero’s welcome from more than 100 fans that greeted him at Belém International airport this week. The 31-year-old Machida knocked out Rashad Evans in the second round of their UFC 98 title tilt on May 23 in Las Vegas.
“I knew they would have a party for me, but I didn’t expect that much,” said the clearly moved Machida.
Quinton "Rampage" Jackson Says Money is the Reason He Ducked Lyoto Machida to Coach TUF Against Rashad Evans
Who says Quinton Jackson is afraid of Lyoto Machida? If that’s what you’re thinking, Rampage says you’re probably 12 years old and you know nothing about the fight business. Sure, Jackson respects the title belt. But he’s also trying to make a living and a Machida fight is small potatoes compared to the gains from a successful season on "The Ultimate Fighter." And now that crossover star Kimbo Slice is part of the show, Jackson has dollar signs in his eyes.
"Those people don’t walk in my shoes," Jackson said in response to claims that he fears Machida. "They don’t put food on my table. They don’t set up college funds for my kids. I’m not afraid of nobody. If they use their common sense, they can see what my game plan is."
Fedor Emelianenko Wants One Fight Deal With UFC
From the LA Times blog:
Joost Raimond, the operations manager of Emelianenko's global promotion company M-1, invited the winner of the July 11 UFC heavyweight championship fight between Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir to attend the Emelianenko-Barnett bout, and pushed for the UFC to allow Emelianenko to fight that man as part of a one-fight contract on a card that could be fully promoted by UFC.
Late 2009 UFC schedule is close to being finalized
The September slate is now set with Ultimate Fight Night 19 in Oklahoma City on September 16 and MMAJunkie is reporting that there will a UFC pay-per-view event the same week 200 miles to the south in Dallas.
At the UFC 98 postfight press conference, Marc Ratner and Dana White confirmed that there will be a UFC event at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on October 24.
You may see the UFC in the U.K. in early October and then again in late November. The U.K. gets at least one more date if not two to close the year. Manchester's MEN Arena is almost a certainty in November. The arena is open on November 14 and 21. Liverpool and Newcastle are under consideration for an October event.
In December, TUF 10 will finish up will up on December 5 and it's still up in there whether the year-end pay-per-view will be on Dec. 19 or Jan, 2, 2010. It's most likely the 19th in Las Vegas. The UFC can't hold an event Christmas week with a weigh-in on Christmas Day, plus the whole event would be a logistical nightmare.
Rampage Could "Definitely" Beat Machida
So says, of course, Michael Bisping. And he thinks current Wolfslair training partner Quinton Jackson is the man who will beat Lyoto Machida first. Bisping also mentions that he actually asked UFC for a Machida fight a couple years ago, but wound up getting Elvis Sinosic instead.
Bisping NOT Guaranteed Title Shot For Beating Henderson
Michael Bisping is not certain to get a title shot should he get past Dan Henderson at UFC 100, contrary to numerous reports circulated yesterday.
Several UK newspapers reported on Tuesday that Bisping was "guaranteed" a middleweight title shot on a British UFC show late 2007, should he beat Henderson.
But a source close to Bisping tells Fighters Only that the reports had "taken 2 + 2 and made 5".
Josh Koscheck and Frank Trigg meet Sept. 19 at UFC 103 in Dallas
Top UFC welterweight contender Josh Koscheck (12-4 MMA, 10-4 UFC) will indeed meet returning UFC veteran Frank Trigg (19-6 MMA, 2-3 UFC) at UFC 103 in Dallas.
While initial reports suggested the bout would take place on Sept. 26, and possibly in the U.K., the event will now be held on Sept. 19, just three days after UFC Fight Night 19 takes place in Oklahoma City.
Paul Kelly Has No Fear Heading Into UFC 99
Paul Kelly has just come out of a grueling training session with guys at the opposite end of the MMA weight class and although sore and full of bumps, he is chipper about his scheduled fight against Roli Delgado at the inaugural Bavarian UFC event.
“Things are tough here at the Wolfslair, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am getting thrown around by people like Zach Light, Sean Salmon, Ricco Rodriguez, and Tommy Rowlands – who is the best wrestler I have ever seen,” explains the Scouse terror.
Yushin Okami Vs. Patrick Cote possibly in the works for UFC 103
We have recieved word from both, Patrick Cote’s camp as well as Yushin Okami’s camp that this fight has been brought to their attention, and that they both have verbally agreed. While it is a little bit early to hand out any type of fight contract, expect the fight to be signed by the middle of June. The fight is being aimed for UFC 103, with the venue un announced, but it goes with a rumored bout between Frank Trigg and Josh Koscheck.
Yushin Okami, who is coming off a win over Dean Lister really needs a win if he wants to recieve a title shot in the future. The same goes for Patrick Cote, who is coming off a loss to Anderson Silva. Cote, who has been on the record stating that he would like to fight a top 5 middleweight to possibly get him a title shot, and a win over Okami will most likely put him in that scenario. Also interesting to note that both of these fighters are coming off injuries, so it will be interesting to see how both of these fighters rebound.
Quartet of NFL vets to join Kimbo Slice on UFC's "The Ultimate Fighter 10" cast
I'm assuming that if the Kimbo news isn't a spoiler than this isn't either.
The article goes into further detail on the four fighters.
At least four former NFL players have been selected to compete on "The Ultimate Fighter 10," a heavyweights-only season of the UFC's reality series that debuts Sept. 16 on Spike TV.
The list includes Marcus Jones, Matt Mitrione, Brendan Schaub and Wes Shivers.
Barring injury or any last-minute replacements, all are expected to join Ferguson, a former bare-knuckle brawler and YouTube legend who became the biggest star of the now-defunct EliteXC promotion, in the UFC's 16-man tournament.
Al-Turk Offers CroCop 'One Of Three Options'
Where lesser men would still be looking at the phone in slack-jawed horror and hoping never to receive a similar call from the UFC again, Al-Turk's confidence is bounding. In fact so confident is he that he offers a succinct prediction for the June 13th fight.
"One of three things," he says. "Either I bang him out, I submit him or I ground and pound him."
Marcus Davis vs. Dan Hardy bad blood boils over during UFC 99 conference call
And that’s when it snowballed out of control:
Hardy: “I didn’t ask for anybody to post it anywhere. That was just the fans having fun. And if a 35 year old man can’t laugh that off — ”
Davis interrupted: “That’s not true, you’re a liar.”
Hardy: “No, I’m not a liar.”
Davis: “I saw the form when you put it on there.”
Hardy: “No, I did — ”
Davis: “You’re a liar, ‘cause I saw the form, and then I saw after the pictures went on, I saw you go on there. I saw what you wrote. You wrote, ‘Hey guys, go put them on Sherdog and MMA.tv.’ That was your friggin’ picture by it, and you’re the one that put it on there.”
Hardy: “That’s a lie.”
Davis: “So don’t say that you’re not the one that asked them to go do that, ‘cause you did ask them to go do that.”
Hardy: “No, I didn’t. No, I genuinely did not.”
Davis: “Well then somebody’s using your picture and using your name, Dan Hardy, on that U.K. forum that other U.K. fans emailed me — that’s how I found the forum, they emailed me and said, ‘You have to go to this forum and see what he’s doing.’”
UFC Fight Night 19 confirmed for Oklahoma City on September 16
UFC Fight Night 19, which will serve as the lead-in for the upcoming tenth season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 10, will be held at the Cox Convention Center on September 16, according to Tulsa World.
The promotion last visited “The Sooner State” way back in December of 1994 with UFC 4 from the Expo Square Pavilion in Tulsa. Royce Gracie cruised to victory that night in “Revenge of the Warriors.”
Mixed martial arts has come a long way in 15 years.
The Cox Convention Center has a capacity of 15,000 and will join Colorado, Nebraska, Florida and Tennessee as recent additions for the “Fight Night” series.
Gary Shaw Reacts to Kimbo Slice's Inclusion on TUF10 + Dana Says There's A Special Contract Waiting If He Wins
Michael David Smith of AOL FanHouse gets the first crack at him and most notably (and he's probably on to something), Shaw thinks Slice is likely being handsomely compensated:
Michael David Smith: What's your reaction to Kimbo going on The Ultimate Fighter? Gary Shaw: It shocked me when I heard, especially after Dana dissing him for two years and saying the nastiest things about him. So it surprised me, knowing who Kimbo is, that he would succumb to working with Dana. It shows that whatever comes out of Dana's mouth is not always the truth.
Are you disappointed on a personal level? You put a lot into promoting and marketing Kimbo. Sure. I just don't think it's a big enough platform for him. I think it's a step back. I think he's bigger than that.
UFC 98 Official Live Gate, Attendance Figures Released
The main man at the NSAC, Keith Kizer, today announced the official attendance and live gate figures for UFC 98. He says UFC drew 12,606 total fans, but not that number paid as UFC claimed, and live gate was just over $3.25 million, a little short of UFC's claimed $3.4 million gate.