Contract talks between Josh Barnett, UFC at a stalemate

Negotiations between Josh Barnett and UFC hit a sticking point
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Josh Barnett (32-6) and UFC parent Zuffa still haven’t reached a deal.

The top free agent’s rep said the two sides have reached “a sticking point” despite agreeing on guaranteed compensation.

“Once we have an acceptable deal with someone, we will close, sign and hopefully fight within a few months,” manager Leland LaBarre today told MMAjunkie.com.

Sources close to the promotion confirmed that Barnett’s offer was still on the table, though talks had recently deteriorated.

Another quote from Barnett's manager here telling Ariel Helwani that money is not the issue.

The first thing that came to my mind when I read this was professional wrestling. Barnett has been wrestling over in Japan for a decade now and has become a top draw over in Japan, performing for Antonio Inoki's IGF for the last few years. 

I know Barnett has said that his ability to work has been limited by Zuffa in the past, but I honestly don't see any good reason to not let him compete. He's a trained professional. Injuries happen, but they can also occur in BJJ meets too.

Whatever it may be, I hope Barnett and the UFC work it out because I know I'm not the only one who would love to see him back in there.

Pat Curran vs. Daniel Straus title fight headlines Bellator 95 on April 4

Pat Curran and Daniel Straus. Image courtesy of Bellator MMA.

Newport Beach, CA. – After nearly five years in the making, Bellator MMA made its long awaited debut on Spike TV in January as  Bellator Featherweight Champion Pat Curran opened the night with a dominant win over star Brazilian striker Patricio Pitbull, reaching over 1.2 million viewers in the process. On April 4th, Bellator will close out its eighth season from Ovation Hall at Revel in Atlantic City, NJ as Curran once again puts his Bellator Featherweight Title on the line against relentless Daniel Straus live on Spike TV. The night will also feature the return of Tiger Schulmann products Lyman Good and Munah Holland, as well as the Bellator debut of New Jersey fan favorite Tom DeBlass.

Widely regarded as one of the top two  featherweights in the world, Curran brings a dominating 18-4 record into his latest title defense, including victories over Marlon Sandro, Roger Huerta, Mike Ricci, and Straus himself, as Curran collected a knock out win over Straus early in both of their careers. Even with the victory over Straus in his back pocket, Curran is well aware both fighters have grown tremendously over the last four years.

“This may end up being the most challenging fight I’ve faced up this point,” Curran said. “Daniel is going to make for a very tough challenge, but I know what I’m capable of. I feel like I’m always growing as a fighter, and the sky is really the limit for me. I’ve got the belt, and I’m not letting anyone take it away from me.”

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Thiago Tavares tests positive for steroids; UFC announces Vitor Belfort medically approved for TRT

Thiago Tavares. Photo property of the UFC.

UFC lightweight Thiago Tavares has tested positive for the anabolic steroid Drostanolone following his first-round TKO loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC on FX 7 on January 19 in Brazil.

The UFC announced the result this afternoon. Tatame was the first to report the news. Tavares will receive a nine-month suspension and will also have to pass a drug test following the suspension in order to be cleared to fight again.

An official statement from the UFC regarding the matter is after the jump. The most interesting tidbit includes clarification about rumors circulating that Vitor Belfort had tested positive for a banned substance. It also mentions that Belfort has been approved for testosterone replacement therapy.

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Bellator PPV debut would be “fast tracked” if Eddie Alvarez returns according to Bjorn Rebney

Bjorn Rebney says Bellator pay-per-view on 'fast track' if Alvarez dispute ended
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Bellator’s first pay-per-view event will happen sooner rather than later if Eddie Alvarez returns to the promotion’s fold.

“If we can figure that out, I think we’d be on a fast track to being able to put [a pay-per-view card] in motion,” Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney on Tuesday told MMAjunkie.com.

...

Now, Alvarez will ultimately decide whether to return to Bellator or fight further to free himself. Rebney remains optimistic he’ll do the former. The promoter wants to see Chandler vs. Alvarez II.

“It’s the best fight I’ve ever seen live, pay-per-view or free,” Rebney said. “I think the rematch of that fight would be epic.”

Rebney's words only further the debate regarding the PPV issue in the ongoing dispute between Eddie Alvarez and Bellator in my opinion. It's becoming more and more clear that the promise of matching the UFC's offer of dollars per PPV buys is based off of the idea that Bellator could put on a PPV if need be and not like the UFC, which offers multiple PPV's monthly without fail.

Wiith that said, I think that Bellator will eventually move to PPV and do quite well. The deeper the relationship with Spike goes, the better the result will be. I just don't think it's feasible within the next few months if the Alvarez mess gets squared away.

Video: Cain Velasquez shooting for summer return, still won’t fight Daniel Cormier

In the above video from last night's "UFC Tonight" broadcast, UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez talks to Ariel Helwani about a host of topics including when he would like to return to action, fighting training partner Daniel Cormier, and rematches with Antonio Silva and Junior dos Santos among other things.

Three things to watch for: Bellator 88

Maiquel Falcao. Photo courtesy of Bellator MMA.

Another week gone by and another offering from Bellator is on the docket for this Thursday night as the promotion will feature a middleweight championship bout as well as the start of the season eight featherweight tournament.

Maiquel Falcao and Alexander Shlemenko, the last two fighters to win a middleweight tournament, will clash for the vacant Bellator middleweight title, left behind by Hector Lombard after signing with the UFC. In addition, Marlon Sandro and Mike Richman will headline an eight-man field vying for a shot at the belt at 145 pounds.

After the jump, check out three things that you should watch for during tomorrow night's telecast.

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Video: Anthony Pettis thinks Jose Aldo is a tougher challenge than Ben Henderson

UFC lightweight and now featherweight contender Anthony Pettis discusses his decision to drop down to 145 pounds and challenge Jose Aldo for the UFC featherweight title this summer with Chael Sonnen and Kenny Florian on last night's episode of "UFC Tonight". 

Video: Uriah Hall’s epic TUF 17 KO of Adam Cella

If you didn't see it yet, be sure to check out Uriah Hall's ridiculous KO of Adam Cella from last night's TUF 17 episode on FX. The above video has multiple replays of the finishing blow as well as Hall's comments on his performance.

It also raises an interesting question: Can a fight from TUF be nominated for KO of the year?

Quote of the Day: Gina Carano would love to be a part of women’s MMA these days

Gina Carano. Photo by Esther Lin/AllElbows.com.

"I love what's happening now. I love that Ronda came along and revamped the sport, and she brought it back. It broke my heart when it fell apart a few years ago. It was kind of hard when I was fighting, because people were saying, 'Who are you going to fight now? What are you going to do now?' I would love to be a part of it now. When I watch UFC, it's still my dream to fight. I'm so happy that it's happening for the women. I feel like I was a part of the beginning of it."

— Gina Carano, the former face of female MMA, tells ESPN her thoughts on the current state of her side of the sport and leaves the door open for a potential return.

Bryan Baker to replace injured Brent Weedman at Bellator 90

Bryan Baker. Photo courtesy of Maximum Fighting Championship.

Former welterweight tournament runner-up Bryan Baker has been tapped to replace an injured Brent Weedman in Bellator's season eight welterweight tournament.

Bellator officials announced the change on Tuesday. Baker will now step in and face Douglas Lima at Bellator 90 on February 21 at the Maverik Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.

“When I got the call, I was ready to rock & roll,” Baker said in a press release. “I look at this opportunity as an absolute blessing. With our new child in the picture, this is an opportunity to make my family proud, show everyone what I’ve been working on, and let 'The Beast' go at it like he always does. Douglas is a strong, powerful guy but I’m going to use my reach advantage and show my strength. This is my destiny.”

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