News and Notes
- The updated MMA on Tap Top 10 will now be posted after the results of UFC 70…
- Our rumors section has been updated…
- Be sure to check out our summary of the UFC 70 conference call which took place yesterday and left us with a load of new information from the mouths of Mirko Cro Cop and Dana White.
- Here is the updated fight card for the 2007 K-1 World Grand Prix in Hawaii on April 28th:
Gary Goodridge vs Patrick Barry
Remy Bonjasky vs Glaube Feitosa
Hong-Man Choi vs Mike Malone
Junichi Sawayashiki vs Randy Kim
Mighty Mo vs Kyoung Suk Kim
Jan Nortje vs Julius Long
Alexandre Pitchkounov vs Tatsufumi Tomihira
Badr Hari vs Yusuke Fujimoto
Jerrel Venetiaan vs Peter Graham
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.”
The Fight Network is reporting that Pride veteran Fabricio Werdum is the latest fighter to jump ship to the UFC. And he’s being put in a very competitive fight to debut against former UFC heavyweight champ Andrei Arlovski. Dana White made the announcement at a press conference in Manchester, England to promote the upcoming UFC 70 and the return of the promotion to Europe. In addition to the Werdum-Arlovski match, White also announced that Ryota Machida will be on the card fighting Forrest Griffin. These are two extremely competitive matches, perhaps answering some of the recent complaints that the UFC was putting on too many mismatches.
According to the Fight Network…
Fabricio Werdum was today announced as the latest PRIDE fighter to jump to the Ultimate Fighting Championship – and Dana White warned “I’m not done yet.”
The announcement came at a press conference to formally introduce the Las Vegas-based promotion’s April 21 event in Manchester, England, at which Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Werdum (9-2-1) will fight former UFC Heavyweight Champion Andrei Arlovski (10-5). The show, set for the Manchester Evening News Arena, will feature Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic (22-4-2) vs. Gabriel Gonzaga (7-1) in the headline slot, with Clitheroe native Michael Bisping (12-0) vs. Elvis Sinosic (8-9-2) and Forrest Griffin (13-4) vs. Ryoto Machida (9-0) also signed. Dana White confirmed that should Cro Cop defeat Gonzaga, he will receive a heavyweight title match against either Tim Sylvia or Randy Couture, who fight at March 3’s UFC in Columbus, Ohio.
Nate from South Jersey writes:
Great page guys…
What are your thoughts on the UFC’s heavyweight division? The last few fights with Sylvia have been really lackluster at best, obviously Arlovski is still one of the better heavyweights, but we’ve seen enough of Sylvia vs. Arlovski. Is the fight between Sylvia and Couture just a publicity stunt/sign of despiration by the UFC similar to the Hughes - Gracie fight last year? What can the UFC do to bring fans to the table to watch heavyweight fights, or as they just gonna continue to be semi-undercards?
Thanks for the props Nate…
The UFC’s heavyweight division has improved greatly since last year. The reason why Tim Sylvia’s recent fights have been so lackluster is best stated by Randy Couture himself in that he believes Sylvia is not fighting to win, but fighting not to lose. You can tell that Sylvia is thinking defense first in his fights - He’s trying to avoid getting hit, only taking opening when they are given to him instead of being aggressive and creating them himself. Sylvia has denied that this is his mindset but it’s obvious that he isn’t the same Sylvia we have seen when he was moving up the ranks at the start of his career and when he was trying to win his belt back at UFC 59.
The Sylvia-Couture fight isn’t a publicity stunt of any means. Anyone who has seen Couture fight knows that he is just as dangerous at heavyweight as he is at 205 lbs. Couture has made it known that he was itching to step back into the Octagon ever since he announced his retirement. Moving up to heavyweight is good for him as he has bulked back up to his natural weight of 225 lbs since he retired. At Randy’s age, it’s best that he doesn’t go through the rigors of cutting weight as it takes a strong physical toll on one’s body, especially at his age, when the chance that he might not be able to fully recover in the 24 hour period before the fight is so strong.
As far as the UFC trying to improve the division, aren’t we seeing now that with the additions of Mirko Cro Cop and Heath Herring? Dana White has made it known that he is trying to sign as much top talent as possible this year so I’m certain that those two won’t be the only big additions to the UFC’s heavyweight division this year. I think the UFC should go ahead and build up multiple contenders just like they did at welterweight. This way contract disputes, injuries, and things that would prevent a fight from happening can be worked around. Andrei Arlovski, Gabriel Gonzaga, and Brandon Vera (if he realizes that he needs to actually been an elite fighter before he gets paid top money) are already in line for a title shot if they win another fight or two. Having multiple fighters like them in the division would bring a lot of the excitement back…
Here’s a few links to fill you in on what sports writers around the country are saying about UFC 66: Liddell vs. Ortiz II…
LA Daily Times: UFC finds ultimate success
St.Petersburg Times: It’s not all fun and games
UFC: Chuck Liddell: the Last of the Mohicans
Globe and Mail: Liddell, Ortiz meet the media
UFC: Liddell lingers as the Last Piece in the Ortiz Puzzle
OC Register: UFC 66: Liddell vs. Ortiz preview
LA Times: Liddell confident he’ll beat Ortiz
LV Review Journal: Trainer on top with Liddell
UFC: Jardine Ready for A Blue Collar Battle on Saturday
ESPN: UFC 66 Makes ESPN’s Top 100 Sports Events for 2006
UFC: The MMA Resurrection of Jason MacDonald
UFC: Chris Leben – Revenge Now, Redemption Later
FOX: Does Ortiz Believe He Will Win?
Keith Jardine and Forrest Griffin
Carmelo Marrero and Gabriel Gonzaga
Jason MacDonald and Chris Leben
Thiago Alves and Tony DeSouza
Christian Wellisch and Anthony Perosh
Marcio Cruz and Andrei Arlovski
Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell
Eric Schafer and Michael Bisping
UFC 66 Press Conference - Ortiz and Liddell
UFC 66 Press Conference - Jardine, Griffin, Schafer, Bisping
Liddell vs. Ortiz II Predictions
It is being reported that former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei “The Pitbull” Arlovski will be making his return to the octagon in December against Marcio “Pe De Pano” Cruz.
Arlovski will be looking to send a message after losing two straight fights to the current UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia. Arlovski’s opponent, Marcio Cruz is coming off of a tough decision loss to Jeff Monson.
After losing a unanimous decision to Tim Sylvia on Saturday it has been announced that Andrei Arlovski will undergo an MRI on his left leg. Arlovski injured the leg in the second round of his five round title bout against Sylvia. Arlovski attempted to check a kick from Sylvia but it snuck its way through and did damage to the leg. Arlovski was left unable to throw kicks or mount takedowns.