UFC Quick Quote: Rich Franklin didn’t want to be a middleweight gatekeeper
“I was talking to the UFC after the second [Anderson] Silva loss and they encouraged me to move up to 205. They told me my position there would be more appealing to them from a business perspective. They weren’t interested in a third match between me and Silva and they didn’t want me fighting contenders because I could eliminate possible title fights, so I was stuck in that I was going to be fighting people on the back end of their losses to Silva and I didn’t care for that gatekeeper position. After the Travis Lutter fight, I said I would try my hand at 205 again.”
– Former middleweight champion Rich Franklin reveals to the his reasons for moving back up to the light heavyweight division for his upcoming fight against Matt Hamill at UFC 88: “Breakthrough” at the Philips Arena in Atlanta, Ga., on September 6. “Ace” was soundly defeated twice by UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva, which essentially meant that he’d be relegated to fighting — and possibly knocking off — new contenders.
(If you have the time click the Baltimore Sun interview. Its longer but a good read)
Win and he’s back in?: MMAmania.com exclusive UFC 88 interview with Nate Marquardt
Ever since losing a title shot to Anderson Silva at UFC 73 back in July of last year, Nate “The Great” Marquardt (26-8-2) has been looking to get back into title contention. He welcomed Jeremy Horn back to the UFC with a guillotine choke submission at UFC 81 in February.
And he looked … um, “Great” in a well-publicized UFC 85 bout with Thales Leites.
Adam Wagner (MMAmania.com): Your split decision loss to Thales Leites has got to be a bitter pill to swallow. How do you feel about the two points that you were docked, the second of which looked unjustified?
Nate Marquardt: Yeah, you know, it’s not as bad as it seems to be honest. That fight got me a lot of publicity. Everyone who saw the fight said that I won. So it’s not really like I really lost that fight.
Yeah, I thought the second point deduction … I don’t feel like what I did was illegal, but sometimes that happens in fights. To be honest, I think I could have finished Thales, and that was my fault for not keeping on him at a couple of points in that fight.
Adam Wagner (MMAmania.com): I read that after the fight, Leites didn’t want to grant you an immediate rematch. Is that true?
Nate Marquardt: Yes. We asked Joe Silva immediately after, and he said that Thales didn’t want a rematch.
Adam Wagner (MMAmania.com): Do you think he was trying to dodge you?
Nate Marquardt: I don’t know. It’s the smarter decision on his part. He ran away with the win on his record. And he’s looking to get a title shot, so it would be a smart choice on his part.
Adam Wagner (MMAmania.com): So is it difficult to bounce back from something like this, or are you looking at it as a win … or at least not a loss?
Nate Marquardt: Yeah, exactly. I see some mistakes I made during that fight, and I always try to work on that. I just try to get better after every fight. I’m not trying to look at it as a win or as a loss. I’m just trying to look at it and see what I did right, and try to copy that, and see what I did wrong and try to fix it.
Jeremy Stephens vs. newcomer Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 91
Youngster Jeremy "Lil Heathen" Stephens (13-3 MMA, 2-2 UFC), whose three-fight win streak was snapped with a recent unanimous-decision loss to Spencer Fisher, will meet UFC newcomer and Brazilian fight veteran Rafael dos Anjos (11-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) in November at UFC 91.
The lightweights have agreed to the fight, and bout agreements are expected to be signed shortly, according to a source close to one of the fighters.
The bout is the latest addition to UFC 91, which takes place Nov. 15 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
UFC 88: IS PALHARES UFC CHAMP'S NEXT CHALLENGE?
Heading into this weekend’s UFC 88 in Atlanta, there will be an intriguing match-up in the middleweight division of two fighters headed in different directions at this point in their careers.
On one hand, you have former Pride dual titleholder Dan Henderson, nearing the twilight of his career and currently on a two-fight skid. On the other, you have Rousimar Palhares, in just his second year of fighting and on an impressive six-fight winning streak.
UFC 88: MARQUARDT SEES KAMPMANN AS UPGRADE
“You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.”
When Mick Jagger wrote the classic song “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” he obviously had no idea that it would one day relate to the sport of mixed martial arts, but for Nate Marquardt there may not be a more perfect theme song.
MacDonald Plans to Wear Lambert Down
“I think at this point in my UFC career all the fights I face are tough, and I don’t think Lambert will be any different. What I do think is that the first time you cut the weight down to a level you haven’t before it’s tough. With Lambert, we’re talking about a guy who has fought at heavyweight, then was down to light-heavyweight, and now he’ll have his first fight at 185. I think that’s definitely to my advantage. As the rounds go on, I think the weight cut will wear on him.”
INEXPERIENCE ASIDE, BROCK LESNAR EYES UFC GOLD
When Brock Lesnar signed with the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the former collegiate wrestling champion and former professional wrestling superstar said he wanted to fight the top heavyweights. He was serious.
At UFC 91 on Nov. 15 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Lesnar will face Randy "The Natural" Couture for the UFC heavyweight belt in only his fourth mixed martial arts bout and third time in the Octagon.
"I've wanted a fight with Randy since before I signed a contract with the UFC," Lesnar told the media on Tuesday.
Despite his inexperience and Couture's year-long layoff from competition, expectations are high that the match-up will generate record numbers. "We actually do research on these things if you can believe it or not," said UFC president Dana White.
UFC’s upcoming big-money run
If Chuck Liddell is able to defeat Rashad Evans this Saturday night in Atlanta, Georgia at UFC 88, UFC could well be on its way to the company’s biggest three-month run in PPV business — ever.
That’s a bold statement to make, especially given how much of a party crasher Rashad Evans could be to the proceedings if he is able to pull off the upset against Chuck Liddell.
If Liddell is able to defeat Evans, UFC will have three major blockbuster events in four months. UFC 91 on November 15th will be headlined by Randy Couture vs. Brock Lesnar. UFC 92 on December 27th could feature Chuck Liddell vs. Forrest Griffin for the UFC Light Heavyweight title and Wanderlei Silva vs. Quinton Jackson on the undercard. UFC’s ‘Super Bowl’ event will feature Georges St. Pierre vs. BJ Penn in a clash between the UFC’s 170-pound champion and UFC’s 155-pound champion. That’s a lot of PPV buys at stake for a company that continues to get richer while everyone else (outside of Strikeforce) continues to lose a lot of money financially in MMA.
Hughes: ''I'll fight Serra In January''
Matt Hughes expects to fight long-time rival and fellow former welterweight champion Matt Serra in January.
He expects his knee to be healed and able to withstand competing by then, according to an interview with Ohio newspaper The People's Defender.
Having participated in nine successful title fights, Hughes admits that he sometimes finds it hard to motivate himself for bouts.
"I have a harder time motivating myself... I'm not sure if it's my Christianity, my kids, or the fact I'm just getting older," he said.
But he will "definitely" be firing on all cylinders for the Serra fight because there are "a lot of things" that irritate him about the New Yorker.
"I am just different than him. I was raised to be courteous, respectful, and kind to people. He obviously wasn't raised that way," Hughes explained.
The Zuffa End Around
It is often said that business ethics is an oxymoron, but that is the case only if you conduct yourself in such a manner. Rob Maysey details the increasingly questionable nature of the UFC’s push for merchandising agreements with it’s fighters:
Multiple sources have indicated that UFC officials are now sending letters to fighters who have not yet signed the Merchandising Rights Agreement. The letter warns fighters that if they do not return the executed Merchandising Rights Agreement by the end of the week, the offer will be rescinded, and the fighter will not be included in the UFC’s licensing program.
Even more outrageous, UFC officials are directly contacting fighters, instead of the fighters’ selected agents. Fighters are told that they are hearing only one side of the story from their selected representatives, and that the UFC’s Merchandising Rights program really is a great deal. By not signing the Merchandising Rights Agreement, fighters are told they are leaving money on the table.
The old saw “he signed the contract, he should honor it” line of thinking is a bit of a dodge and hard to defend if the signature is attained by subverting the fighter-agent relationship and without the advise and consent of legal representation, in effect, duping the fighter. Moves of this nature are more at home in the moral morass that is the boxing scene, and not something that MMA promoters should be mimicking.
UFC 88: YOSHIDA WANTS TO BUILD ON PARISYAN
The influx of international talent into the Ultimate Fighting Championship continues to grow with almost every event. One of the most recent additions to the ever-growing welterweight division is Japanese standout Yoshiyuki Yoshida, who made his debut at UFC 84 picking up a quick submission win over Jon Koppenhaver.
Now the Judoka returns against one of the toughest tests in his career as he faces Karo Parisyan at UFC 88 in Atlanta, but it won’t be the first time he steps in as the underdog not expected to win.
Making his way through Japanese promotions such as Shooto, Yoshida worked his way into the GCM: Cage Force welterweight tournament as one of eight fighters vying for the championship title.
Brock Lesnar's Wrestling Coach Goes Full Time
Minnesota assistant wrestling coach Marty Morgan is leaving the program, to focus full time on former Gophers star Brock Lesnar's fledgling fighting career.
Lesnar is on the rise in the Ultimate Fighting Championship ranks. He was once an NCAA champion heavyweight at the school.
Morgan spent 16 years coaching at Minnesota after wrestling for the school himself. He says he will take the next year to concentrate on helping Lesnar train in the field of mixed martial arts before evaluating his career then.
To what extent Morgan understands the specificities of the MMA game is an open question, but adding his knowledge and oversight to the existing squad at the Minnesota Martial Arts Academy can only be a good thing. And while Lesnar is a self motivated fighter, having someone on the coaching staff who knows Brock Lesnar is a major plus for the budding heavyweight.
This is also a demonstration that MMA is offering financial opportunities beyond the wrestling mat...even to wrestlers who don't fight. Lesnar is a bit of an aberrant case, but his participation in the sport could be the tide that helps lift all boats.
Brock Lesnar: I'm tired of hearing about Fedor Emelianenko
For UFC newcomer Brock Lesnar (2-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC), the frustration was evident.
UFC President Dana White yesterday announced Lesnar would face a returning Randy Couture at UFC 91 for Couture's heavyweight title. And despite being part of what White referred to as "the biggest fight in UFC history," Lesnar was largely ignored for most of the hour-long media conference call.
The majority of questions focused on Couture's return and how it would impact a possible bout between Couture and current WAMMA heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko. Lesnar quickly grew tired of the hypothetical discussion.
"I'm hearing all this talk about Fedor Emelianenko," Lesnar said. "Who gives a [expletive] about Fedor? I don't care. I'm fighting Randy Couture. That's what this press conference is about."
Lesnar said he was not alone in his disdain for the discussions of Emelianenko.
"I don't give a damn about Fedor," Lesnar said. "I'm tired of hearing about [expletive] Fedor. Randy Couture is fighting Brock Lesnar Nov. 15. His No. 1 concern should be Brock Lesnar. And Dana White could care less about Fedor.
Johnson Recovered, Ready For October Return
During an appearance yesterday on TAGG Radio, Anthony Johnson talked about the controversial TKO loss to Kevin Burns, the fight's aftermath, and his recovery from eye surgery. Johnson said he is cleared to return now but will likely next fight in October.
Couture and Lesnar on ESPN television shows Mike and Mike in the Morning and ESPN First Take Today
This just goes to show how far the sport of MMA has come. To have two of it's stars on ESPN (the biggest name in sports) is just incredible. Randy Couture and Brock Lesnar were actually just on Mike and Mike in the Morning (which actually airs on ESPN 2) around 9:30 A.M. EST, discussing their upcoming bout at UFC 91and just MMA in general. The pair of UFC stars will also be joining the cast of ESPN First Take, which starts at 10:00 AM EST. What wonderful news for the UFC and MMA in general as a sport, this will only help to turn more people on to MMA and help the sport to grow even more.
Dollars and sense: No choice but Lesnar vs Couture at UFC 91
“Well I had hoped to entice you into taking a personal interest in things.”
“That’s an insult to both of us. It makes me stupid, and you a whore.”
While that might sound like the negotiations between Randy Couture and Dana White, it’s actually dialog from a movie about a martial arts warrior trying to bring down an evil syndicate known as “The Octagon.”
Talk about life imitating art.
Randy Couture is back in the UFC … and on Dana’s terms. For those of you who are furiously typing your dissent, don’t bother. Anything less than Couture vs. Emelianenko should be seen as a total failure for “The Natural” and all of his crusaders.
That’s not to say that Couture doesn’t benefit because he obviously does. I’m sure the financials of his three-fight contract are quite lucrative and he now gets to participate in the biggest pay-per-view (PPV) of all time.
Those aren’t my words, they’re Dana’s.
NOG VS MIR FOR (Interim) TITLE DESPITE COUTURE'S RETURN
“We have two heavyweights on the phone. We have scheduled a mega-fight between these two on Saturday, Nov. 15 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena here in Las Vegas. It will be Randy ‘The Natural’ Couture, the heavyweight champion of the UFC, versus Brock Lesnar.”
Those were the words from Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White on Tuesday as he announced the return of the promotion’s embattled champion to the Octagon.
He also confirmed that the fight would be a five-round title bout, leaving many to wonder what is to become of the planned interim title bout between The Ultimate Fighter Season 8 coaches Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, who currently holds the interim designation, and challenger Frank Mir.
People didn’t have to wonder long.