It seems that former UFC Middleweight Champion Evan Tanner won’t be returning to action in the near future after all according to a post today on his official website:
I have not been training at all, despite what the rumors say. I’ve signed no fights. I’m so far gone, living on the road, drinking myself into oblivion, that in moments of weakness, I wonder if I can make it back. It’s going to be a long road. I started drinking heavily, long before fighting was even a thought in my head. There was a definite reason I began. There was a method to my madness with good purpose. I’ll tell that story later.
We originally reported that Tanner had been offered the opportunity to take on Dean Lister at UFC 79 but it seems that he neglected to take up on the offer, for good reason if he hasn’t been training with Chute Boxe USA like we all assumed.
Tanner is once again fighting with the demons inside of him. Yet despite all of the setbacks, he still apparently wants to return to the Octagon:
I’ve been on the road for almost two years. I’m tired. I’m tired of drinking, I’m tired of living out of bags, I’m tired of not feeling home. And where is home? I imagine being in the gym again. I imagine stepping into the Octagon again, and in some strange way, those thoughts bring me comfort. That is my home. I know it’s time to come home.
I never wanted to be a fighter. I never dreamed of it. Those I most respected were men of peace. Despite what the general public thinks, I don’t train full time or year round. I never have. Throughout my career, if you wish to call it that, I have been a heavy drinker. I’ve only trained for a month or two at a time when I sign a fight. Sometimes I’ve put down the alchohol, sometimes I haven’t. I think the fights where I haven’t are obvious.
I keep having this idea of what I could do, what I could be if I put put the vices aside and dedicated myself to the sport. I’ve been obsessed with the idea lately. It’s funny. A friend told me I was doing Wing Chun in my sleep, lying there, working techniques. The next night I was throwing elbows and knees. I take it as a sign.
All that has been on my mind is getting back in the gym. As soon as I can take care of the boat, that is where I will be.
It’s interesting when he says that he has never trained on a regular basis. What could have happened if he became a mainstay at Team Quest and actually focused on MMA full-time? It’s a good question.
I’m the biggest Tanner fan I know. I’ve spoken to him on many occasions. I believe in him. However I’m feeling more and more as the rumors are killed that he might not ever get the chance to make one more run for the UFC Middleweight Title. The man that many believe has the style to defeat Anderson Silva might not ever get that chance at this point.
History will be made this weekend. It doesn’t even seem like it right? Where the hell is the hype for UFC 75? I wish I knew…
Anyway, the UFC has been gracious enough to at least promote this event as part of the UFC vs PRIDE battle that we were all promised back in March. UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Quinton Jackson and PRIDE Middleweight Champion Dan Henderson are to fight to unify the titles this Saturday.
Now let’s all be honest here. Even if Henderson wins, which I think he will, the UFC title is still going to remain just that. The PRIDE belt will most likely be absorbed into it unless the UFC has some kind of plan that we don’t know about.
So is UFC 75 the last we are going to see or hear about PRIDE? I’m not so sure. There’s always that remote chance that White and company somehow find a way to salvage the company and strike a TV deal over in Japan. My point is about the three other PRIDE belts that fighters still hold. It seems that PRIDE Lightweight Champion Takanori Gomi is going to stay in Japan and sign with K-1 Hero’s. The UFC could always vacate the title or they could give it to another former PRIDE fighter and then unify it that way.
Henderson still has PRIDE’s Welterweight Title as well. White has already said that he’s not sure if Henderson would get an immediate shot at Anderson Silva or Rich Franklin after the Jackson fight, making it seem like he is going to have to put the welterweight strap on the line too.
Then there’s always Fedor. Has he signed with the UFC or not? You know as much I do right now. I guess we’ll find out Saturday. If so, that’s yet another PRIDE belt that needs to be unified.
My guess is that the PRIDE label isn’t going anywhere, at least for the next few months…
UFC President Dana White hosted a conference call earlier today in preparation for the upcoming UFC 75: Champion vs Champion event set to take place on September 8th from London, England. The fighters featured on the call were UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Quinton Jackson, PRIDE Middleweight and Welterweight Champion Dan Henderson, Michael Bisping, and Matt Hamill through the use of an interpreter.
The trend of future UFC matchups being revealed is continuing this week and UFC President Dana White is a big part of it.
White announced a trio of possible future matchups at the post-fight press conference for UFC 73:
- Anderson Silva will meet Rich Franklin for the second time in a UFC Middleweight Championship bout on October 20th in Franklin’s hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio. It was announced that Franklin would face the winner of last night’s bout between Silva and Nate Marquardt after UFC 72 and White confirmed the situation last night.
- White also announced that BJ Penn has decided to stay in the lightweight division and will challenge Sean Sherk for his UFC Lightweight Title in November.
- Mirko Cro Cop will take on Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira later this year provided that he is victorious over Cheick Kongo at UFC 75 according to White.
White also stated that Chuck Liddell will most likely fight again in September during an interview yesterday on the Scott Ferrall Show:
“Chuck is probably going to fight again in September,” White said yesterday on the radio program. “We’re working on a big fight for him. We don’t have it done yet, but Chuck is chomping at the bit to jump back in there and fight again.“
This contradicts previous reports that had White saying that Liddell now wouldn’t be able to fight again until November.
White made clear about yet another possible matchup during an interview with The Gainesville Sun that would take place at UFC 76: Maurico Rua would make his UFC debut against Ryoto Machida.
Rua, a 205-pound Muay Thai specialist, is scheduled to start at UFC 76 on Sept. 22. White said Rua’s most likely first opponent will be Ryoto Machida (10-0), though Forrest Griffin said he would like the fight.
Screens from ESPN’s recap of UFC 73
In order to remain a champion, one has to beat the best the opposition has to offer. Both Anderson Silva and Sean Sherk did just that on Saturday night, winning their fights in convincing fashion. With their respective roads now temporarily cleared, both fighters seem like they may stay on top for quite a while: a trend that we haven’t seen recently, at least in this upset-filled year.
UFC 73 turned out to certainly be ‘Stacked’ with action-packed fights from beginning to end. While the show’s production moved a bit faster than usual because of time constraints, each fight on the card equaled the pace. The majority of those in attendance at the ARCO Arena in Sacramento, California might not have agreed according to their unusual reactions throughout the night, but the event definitely lived up to the hype.
Anderson Silva successfully defended his UFC Middleweight Title with a first round TKO victory over Nate Marquardt. The fight was back and forth until Silva (19-4) connected with a straight left hand that dropped Marquardt (25-7-2) to the mat. Silva then got on top of Marquardt and rained down unanswered right hands until referee John McCarthy stepped in to halt the bout.
Marquardt stayed down on the mat for a few moments afterwards, obviously shaken up. Silva thanked all of his trainers and coaches during a post-fight interview with Joe Rogan. He also continued his growing love affair with American fans with praise and thanks as well.
“I love fighting for these fans,” Silva said. “I enjoy fighting in front of these fans fight after fight. They are always gracious.” Silva will now most likely go on to rematch former champion Rich Franklin this fall.
Sean Sherk won yet another five round unanimous decision and was able to keep his UFC Lightweight Title after defeating top contender Hermes Franca. Sherk (32-2-1) was able to control Franca (18-6) throughout the course of the fight, pressing the action and not letting Franca get up from the ground.
Franca landed multiple big knees to the chin of Sherk but was unable to generate any more offense than that. After the fight, Sherk stated that he was very impressed with Franca’s skills on the ground and his defense as well.
“Hermes was great on the ground. Definitely an awesome Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu guy.” said Sherk. “He did a good job of keeping his face from getting hit and kept me close the entire fight.”
Tonight we will be going live at 10 PM EST, covering UFC 73: Stacked with one of our patented live blogs. Be sure to leave some comments throughout the night…
While you are waiting for the event to start, feel free to check out our coverage of the event which includes predictions, media coverage, and much more:
UFC 73: Stacked
Tito Ortiz vs. Rashad Evans
Anderson Silva vs. Nathan Marquardt - UFC Middleweight Title
Sean Sherk vs. Hermes Franca - UFC Lightweight Title
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Heath Herring
Kenny Florian vs. Alvin Robinson
Stephan Bonnar vs. Mike Nickels
Chris Lytle vs. Jason Gilliam
Frankie Edgar vs. Mark Bocek
Jorge Gurgel vs. Diego Saraiva
Here’s a collection of media links focusing on UFC 73: Stacked:
Sherdog: Evans Confident for the Ortiz Test; Franca Ready to Make His Dream a Reality; “Stacked” UFC Offers Two Title Fights; Sherk to Offer Franca “Eye Opening” Experience; Great Sherdog Debate: UFC 73
MMAWeekly: Sherk Looks to Defend, Franca to Conquer; Fight-by-Fight: UFC 73; Alvin Robinson Wants to Prove He Belongs; Wanting to Show Fans the Real Jorge Gurgel; Tito Isn’t Looking Past Rashad Evans
The Fight Network: Bocek Makes Fighting a Family Affair; Not Just a Match; An Unlikely Champion
InsideFighting: Rashad Evans is Ready to Take on the Best; Kenny Florian: “I am very, very hungry to fight”; Tito Ortiz “Speaks against”; Hermes Franca: “If my heart is still pumping I can win.”; Sherk Enjoys Finally Being at the Top of the Mountain
UFC: Rashad Evans - His Time Has Come; Tito Ortiz - Last Stand or a Rebirth?; Nate Marquardt - The Challenger; Hermes Franca’s ‘Rocky’ American Dream; Losing is not an option for Frankie Edgar; Marquardt to test Silva’s Mettle as Champion
MMANews: Interview with Hermes Franca
CBS Sportsline: Q & A with Sean “Muscle Shark” Sherk
Denver Westword: A Denver fighter takes on the ultimate challenge
Philadelphia Inquirer: N.J. fighter taking talent to the big cage
OC Register: UFC 73: Stacked preview (with Tito Ortiz video); UFC president Dana White: Meet the Press
Yahoo! Sports: In Hot Pursuit; No pushover; Matchup Breakdown: Silva-Marquardt; Matchup Breakdown: Sherk-Franca
NBC Sports: Word War I: Ortiz, Evans set to rumble
TSN: Herring ready for 3rd bout with Nogueira; Ready to Fight; Bonnar looks to make a fresh start; Bocek prepares for UFC debut
Sportsnet: No backing down for Sherk; ‘Two cats in a burlap sack’; Sherk’s a workout machine; Stacked fight predictions
Las Vegas, NV (USA) – Tired of paying your hard-earned cash for events packed with hype and little else? Sick of sitting down
for a pay-per-view event and finding out that you’re paying over $50 for just three fights that include a showcase and a mismatch? The Ultimate Fighting Championship® has the cure for what is ailing fight fans, and in a continuing effort to provide what the world is truly waiting for, it is announcing yet another UFC card stacked with at least five fights that include two intense championship bouts and a heated grudge match between two light heavyweight rivals. UFC 73: STACKED features UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson “The Spider” Silva in his first title defense vs. Nate “The Great” Marquardt. UFC Lightweight Champion Sean “The Muscle Shark” Sherk puts his newly-won belt on the line vs. Brazil’s Hermes Franca. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira steps into the Octagon™ for the first time for a heavyweight war with Heath Herring – and Tito Ortiz intends to put a painful end to Rashad Evans’ perfect 15-0 record. Let the fireworks begin. UFC 73, loaded with UFC superstars, takes place LIVE from ARCO Arena in Sacramento, Calif. Saturday, July 7, 2007.
“We have five UFC events lined up now through July in the US and UK, and every one of them is stacked with great fights,” said UFC President Dana White. “No matter where we have a UFC, our goal is always the same – to deliver the best fights between the best mixed martial arts fighters. Our fans know they will always see a good fight, and that’s why the UFC reigns supreme in live sports today.”
White continues, “UFC 73 is one of the best cards we’ve put together this year. It’s going to deliver the one-two punch fight fans want – it has Tito Ortiz and Rashad Evans, two all-state college wrestlers, both who dislike each other, settling their differences in the Octagon, as well as title defenses by our two champions Anderson Silva and Sean Sherk. We’re working on more fights right now to pack this card even heavier from top to bottom.”
UFC President Dana White and heavyweight title contender Mirko Cro Cop held a conference call with the media earlier today discussing this weekend’s event. Many topics were covered over the hour session including Cro Cop’s thoughts on Gabriel Gonzaga, the immediate plans for PRIDE’s future, the contract status of Mauricio Rua and Fedor Emelianenko, and much more.
Let’s just say that we have everything covered. Read and enjoy…
Cro Cop’s Thoughts on Gabriel Gonzaga:
Cro Cop was very straight forward in answering questions about Gonzaga. He stated that Gonzaga will not have an answer for everything that Cro Cop is going to bring to the Octagon on Saturday. He said that he is at full health for this weekend. He will not being using PRIDE’s theme music when he walks to the Octagon. Instead he will use his usual “Wild Boyz” song.
Cro Cop also said that he isn’t worried about Gonzaga’s ground skills and that it is his all-around game that presents the biggest problems matchup-wise:
“I have trained Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu a lot, have experts in my gym. I feel comfortable even on the ground. I am aware he is a jiu-jitsu world champion, but I am pretty versed in ground fighting now. Of course my basis is stand up, but even if we go to the ground, I am not scared.
Gonzaga is a solid, good fighter. He is a tough guy. He won’t hesitate to fight toe to toe. He is a first class fighter. I will try to keep it in a stand up position. I don’t want to underestimate him” stated Cro Cop.
Cro Cop on Couture, Liddell, Fedor, and Big Nog:
Cro Cop said that he would love for to have a rematch with Fedor Emelianenko in the near future but he is currently focused on his fight with Gonzaga and then winning the UFC Heavyweight Title before that can happen. He said that Randy Couture’s age will not be a factor if and when they fight because he has already shown that it hasn’t been a factor in past fights. He stated that while he doesn’t have any preference on his opponents in the UFC, he has a feeling that he will be fighting Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira very soon.
Cro Cop also made it known that he will be unable to cut enough weight to make it down to the 205 lb weight class, meaning that if a dream match with Chuck Liddell is to happen, that Liddell will have to come up to heavyweight and fight…
“I have no space to go down, maybe if I chop off my hand or something. I definitely can’t go down” said Cro Cop.
Dana White on Big Nog, Fedor, Wanderlei Silva, Sakuraba, and Liddell:
White stated that Nogueira was signed by the UFC as a free agent and that talks began about a month ago. He also stated that there is currently no timetable for his first fight nor any ideas on who his first opponent may be.
White said that at the time he originally made that Wanderlei Silva-Chuck Liddell announcement for UFC 65, it was going to be the biggest fight in MMA history. He now says that it isn’t the case until Silva wins a few more fights to make up for his KO losses to Cro Cop and Dan Henderson. Silva currently has four fights left on his six fight contract to do so.
According to White, the UFC is currently trying to figure out the status of Fedor. Fedor’s contract isn’t exclusive to PRIDE and that Zuffa and PRIDE FC Worldwide will not accept non-exclusive contracts for their fighters. White did say however that Fedor is under contract to the company and that if another rival promotion tried to sign him, he would slap them with an injunction immediately.
Despite the heavy rumors that Mauricio Rua has signed a contract that will allow him two fights in PRIDE and two fights in the UFC, White says that the rumors are not true. Also Kazushi Sakuraba is not under contract with PRIDE and White isn’t aware of the reasoning behind him being brought out to address the crowd during PRIDE 34.
White Talks About Changes to PRIDE and the Lightweight Grand-Prix:
White has confirmed once again that PRIDE will be changing to the unified rules of mixed martial arts (the rule set that the UFC uses) as well as the same round structures and weight classes. PRIDE will continue to use a ring instead of a cage. Also fight cards will be announced weeks in advance of an event, just like the UFC does now. Does everyone recall the PRIDE 34 mess?
PRIDE will not have a super heavyweight division and the crazy matchups the promotion used to hold including Butterbean, Giant Silva, and Bob Sapp will not take place anymore. White stated that all employees currently with PRIDE will keep their jobs with the exception of Gary Millen and Frank Trigg. They have been fired and will be replaced with a completely new announce team.
White said that it is still undecided in terms of whether or not the Lightweight Grand-Prix will take place at 155 lbs or 170 lbs. White denied all rumors about Diego Sanchez and Matt Hughes taking place in the tourney as there will not be any UFC fighters participating:
“There will be no UFC fighters in the tournament. The UFC and PRIDE are completely separate companies. You won’t see UFC vs PRIDE until we do the big event” said White.
White Discusses UFC’s status with HBO and ESPN:
The UFC will debut on HBO as soon as this summer according to White. The deal actually isn’t complete but is in the final stages of being finalized. White didn’t say much about things but did mention that the HBO will be doing their own production and announcing of events rather than having the UFC do things along with Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan. White said that it wasn’t easy for him to agree to that…
The UFC will still broadcast shows on HBO, Spike TV, and PPV. Spike TV will be made up mostly of guys from The Ultimate Fighter television shows. Shows on HBO will be mixture of TUF guys, international stars, and other UFC fighters. PPV shows would then have the best of the best.
ESPN will now be covering the UFC on a regular basis according to White. The coverage will include both weigh-in and fight results…
White Talks About Possible UFC Fights and Events in the Near Future:
White said that UFC 72 will either be on PPV or Spike TV. He mentioned Chicago, Washington DC, Boston, Atlanta, and Philadelphia all as possible sites that may hold future UFC events. Florida will also hold another UFC event in the near future according to White.
White said that the “Inside the UFC” TV show wasn’t scrapped and that the company is currently working on a date to bring the show back to the air.
White announced a slew of possible matchups - If Andrei Arlovski defeats Fabricio Werdum on Saturday, he will most likely fight the winner of Mirko Cro Cop and Randy Couture should Cro Cop get poast Gabriel Gonzaga as well. Sean Sherk will defend his lightweight title in Sacramento, California against Hermes Franca. Tito Ortiz vs Rashad Evans and Anderson Silva vs Nate Marquardt will also take place on that card. Georges St. Pierre will most likely be fighting next in August against an opponent that has yet to be determined…
White on Tito Ortiz:
White’s comments were short and sweet when asked about the current situation between himself and Tito Ortiz:
“Tito is living in a fucking bubble right now” said White “You saw what happened. I showed up and he didn’t. He’s not afraid of me, but he has people around him telling him it was a bad idea. He is out there making himself look like a jackass. He should shut his mouth and worry about Rashad Evans.”