UFC Executive Lawrence Epstein explained the new code of conduct at the beginning of today’s UFC on FOX 6 pre-fight press conference:
“It’s really two announcements….(Hughes’ new job) and the second thing is the implementation of a written code of conduct for UFC athletes. As you think about these two announcements, you have to think about them as one. There’s gonna be a huge connection with what Matt does and our new code of conduct. One comment on the code of conduct just to take care of that, it really isn’t something that’s new, just something that frankly for the first time has been put in writing. We’ve always felt that our athletes need to live up to a high level of conduct and make sure everything they’re doing obviously both inside the Octagon and outside is in compliance with the high standards of the UFC.”
Something like this has been a long time coming for the UFC. From Miguel Torres' controversial tweets, to Rampage Jackson's police chase to the backlash over Ronda Rousey's recent tweet of a Sandy Hook shooting conspiracy video, the UFC has been dealing with issues for a while without any sort of set standard or system to measure insistences by.
Now they do, and it brings them up to par wih the four major professional sports leagues in that regard. It'll help that FOX is likely pleased as well.
Demetrious Johnson and John Dodson. Image courtesy of UFC.com.
Here are the staredowns from this afternoon's UFC on FOX 6 pre-fight press conference, which just ended moments ago in Chicago. UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson and challenger John Dodson are above. The rest of the main card is after the jump.
Bellator's coming out party on Spike's airwaves resumes tonight with Bellator 86, emanating from the WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma and headlined by a welterweight world title tilt between champion Ben Askren and challenger Karl Amoussou.
The return of Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal tops the undercard which will complete the light heavyweight tournament quarterfinals and kick off the welterweight pairings as well. The main card festivities begin at 10 PM ET on Spike. You can also watch all of the preliminary bouts starting at 8 PM ET right here on MMA on Tap.
After the jump, check out five things that you should watch for during tonight's telecast.
“What can Askren do to me, actually?” Amoussou asked MMAjunkie.com this past fall while in Orlando, Fla., shooting promotional spots for Bellator’s current eighth season. “He cannot punch, and he cannot kick – so there’s no way he can knock me out. He can’t submit me. So the only thing he can maybe do is lay and pray. That’s it.
“But even if he manages to do it for one round, I’m going to kick his ass in the next. There are five rounds, and I’ll be ready for five rounds.”
And when Askren says he believes Amoussou’s chance to win comes in the first 90 seconds, and after that drops pretty much to zero, Amoussou is comfortable with the assessment.
“At least he’s aware he’s going to lose the fight in the first 90 seconds,” he said. “He’s aware of the situation, and I think it’s good for him.”
I can totally understand Amoussou's decision to go for broke whenever he and Askren are on the feet together, but that sort of style is going to lend its hand into a chance for an easy takedown for Askren.
If I were Amoussou, I would absolutely be concentrated on going for the KO, but also be prepared for the fact that this bout is going to take place primarily on the ground, where a full training camp of nothing but wrestling and BJJ would have one at least prepared to the best of their ability.
Check back here at 2 PM ET for the live pre-fight press conference for Saturday's UFC on FOX 6 event. UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson and challenger John Dodson will join Rampage Jackson, Glover Teixeira, Anthony Pettis and Donald Cerrone on the podium.
Today the Nevada State Athletic Commission voted unanimously to reinstate Alistair Overeem’s license. The approval opens the door for Overeem’s scheduled bout with Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva at UFC 156.
According to MMA Fighting, Overeem provided the NSAC with five self-administered tests between June and December that were all clean. Along with those, he faced tests on November 16 and December 21, both of which he passed.
Nate Marquardt defends his Strikeforce welterweight title January 12 against Tarec Saffiedine at Strikeforce’s final event. If victorious, Marquardt told Ariel Helwani he’s open to a unification bout with Georges St. Pierre. Marquardt and St. Pierre have been training together since Marquardt’s first UFC stint. [MMA Fighting]
According to Alvarez in a Monday interview on The MMA Hour, Bellator didn’t match the deal. Speaking metaphorically to avoid exact contract language, he likened the UFC’s deal to “fine dining” and Bellator’s to “McDonald’s,” saying all dinners are not created equal.
Rebney vehemently disagrees. In fact, he told MMA Fighting in a Monday interview, Bellator’s matching offer was literally a mirror image of the contract the UFC offered Alvarez.
“I will tell you point blank, no questions asked, we matched it dollar for dollar, term for term and section for section,” he said. “To avoid any kind of ambiguity, let me make clear, we took the UFC contract, we took it out of the PDF format, we changed the name ‘UFC’ to ‘Bellator’ and we signed it. We didn’t alter a word, we didn’t alter a phrase, we didn’t alter a section, we didn’t alter a dollar figure.”
The article goes on to say that the dispute lies in the UFC's offer of a share of pay-per-view revenue, which Bellator obviously could not match since they only air shows on cable television. Rebney claims that the UFC's PPV offer point is only a "projection", since there is no guarantee that Alvarez would co-headline a PPV event, and that Bellator could conceivably make a move to PPV with "the right fight".
So basically if this makes it to court, it's going to be a judge's take on what would constitute a direct match in this case. In reality, a judge unfamiliar with the sport and its inner workings could easily make an uneducated judgement. It'll be interesting to see what happens.
“We went to settlement maybe a couple days ago,” Alvarez said. “We had a settlement meeting to where we were supposed to settle our differences and everything was supposed to get worked out. Long story short, I was sued 30 minutes after our settlement agreement was over.”
At the heart of the dispute is Bellator’s matching clause in Alvarez’s contract. After the final fight of Alvarez’s contract, Bellator first had a window of exclusivity in contract negotiation, then another period of time in which it could match any contract offers Alvarez received.
Here’s where Alvarez and Bellator’s opinions differ: Bellator believes they’ve matched the deal Alvarez received from the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Alvarez and his team disagree.
“We don’t believe it was matched at all,” Alvarez said. “I want to be able to give the details to you guys, but I’m not allowed because we’re in the middle of a pending lawsuit. What I can say is what I said on Twitter the other day. If I wanted to go to dinner with one guy who asked me to dinner, and another guy asks me to do dinner, and the intentions of guy number one is to take me into a fine dining restaurant and to eat lobster, and the intention of the second guy is to maybe take me to McDonald’s, guy number two just believes that dinner is dinner. Dinner isn’t dinner, there’s a huge difference when you’re talking McDonald’s or some fine dining, the two we don’t believe are comparable.”
Dana White did say that he thought things were going to get ugly, and here we go. We all know this isn't the first time that Bellator has been involved in a mess like this. An attempt to lock down Tyson Nam took place just a few months ago. A similar attempt happened after Jonathan Brookins won "TUF" a couple years past as well.
At this point, we can only hope that things can settled as quickly as possible so Alvarez can get back to fighting. It also has to make you wonder if fighters are going to start becoming disinterested in joining the Bellator ranks out of fear of repercussions.
I have to admit that I'm a little late to the Invicta FC party.
I've read all of the hype surrounding MMA's first mainstream all-female promotion. I've been following it somewhat closely, even the controversy regarding Shannon Knapp's insistence that her product's first-ever show drew 230,000+ unique visitors to a stream on Invicta's website. Yet I wasn't able to sit down and a catch event, until now.
Sick as a dog, I was able to spend Saturday night watching Invicta's fourth card, headlined by a clash for the vacant Invicta strawweight title between Carla Esparza and last-minute replacement Bec Hyatt. I was impressed to say the least.