In a recent interview with The Honolulu Advertiser, B.J. Penn states that he only wants to fight UFC Lightweight Champion Sean Sherk if the CSAC decides to clear him of his positive steroids test:
The bout is being called an interim championship fight because current UFC lightweight champion Sean Sherk is inactive while protesting a one-year suspension for testing positive for steroids in July. Penn was supposed to challenge Sherk for the title, but delays in the investigation apparently prompted the UFC to create the interim title bout.
“I was told four different times that it was going to be on with Sherk, and it got pushed back every time,” Penn said. “I’m just happy they set something else up. I was getting tired of waiting.”
Penn said he would still like to fight Sherk, but only if Sherk is cleared of the steroids charge.
“If he did win the belt by cheating, that’s ridiculous,” Penn said. “But he’s the one who has to live with it.”
Penn also joked that his bout with Stevenson would be for the “natural” lightweight championship.
“Just like bodybuilding,” Penn said. “If guys are cheating, maybe there should be two divisions.”
Pretty strong words from B.J. right there. As if the lightweight division title situation wasn’t already a mess, it might have just gotten even worse…
Touch of gloves to MMA Mania.
Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports is reporting that Sean Sherk will not be stripped of his UFC lightweight title and B.J. Penn and Joe Stevenson will face off for an interim title at UFC 80 in January in Newcastle, England. UFC president Dana White stated that he was fed up with the way the California State Athletic Commission has handled the Sherk case and because of that he has opted not to strip Sherk.
White had vowed to strip Sherk of the title, but said Friday that he no longer plans to do so.
“The way this whole thing has been handled has been a mess,” White said.
He said Penn and Stevenson, who said he learned on Tuesday that he and his wife will have another son, will fight for the interim title as the main event of UFC 80 in Newcastle, England, likely on Jan. 19.
The winner of that bout would then presumably face Sherk once Sherk’s status is defined by the commission.
Sean Sherk appeared before the CSAC on Oct. 31 but his case was postponed to Nov. 13 after the commission released they had not received the 17-page brief from Sherk’s attorney Howard Jacobs.
The UFC held a conference call with the media earlier today to announce a new television deal with Spike TV and to discuss the UFC’s recent acquisition of former pro wrestler Brock Lesnar and the much anticipated bout between Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva at UFC 79 in December.
Jennifer Wenk, the UFC’s head of public relations was the host of the call. Participants on the call included UFC President Dana White, former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Chuck Liddell, former PRIDE Middleweight Champion Wanderlei Silva, Brock Lesnar, and Spike TV officials Brian Diamond and Kevin Kay.
Right off the bat Dana was asked if he purposely planned a conference call at the same time Randy Couture was slated to hold his press conference.
“Am I putting on a press conference to fuck with Randy Couture right now?” asked White. “Is that what you’re asking me? No, it’s not intentional. I’m here to announce the Spike deal and discuss the Lesnar signing as well as talk about Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva and their fight, that’s it. Is it a coincidence that we got this deal done the same week that Randy decided to speak out? No.”
White let everyone know that he still likes Couture as a person and would love to have him back. He was also confident that Couture would return in the near future.
“He’s mine,” claimed White “He’s under contract to me and he can’t fight anywhere else. I don’t know what his people are telling him but resignation or not he won’t be permitted to fight anywhere else. Besides that I love Randy. Randy is pissed at me. We’re friends and friends get pissed at each other. However I’m real confident that we’re going to kiss and make up real soon.”
The details of the UFC’s new deal with Spike TV are as follows:
The contract is a four year deal. There will be five more seasons of The Ultimate Fighter. Two seasons will take place in 2008, two in 2009, and only one season in 2010. The UFC and Spike TV are also developing a new television show that will premiere in 2010. The show will feature live fights and fighters of a “higher caliber” than those currently featured on TUF according to White.
White also stated that the UFC will produce 12 live events on Spike TV for next year.
“We’re going to do 12 live fight cards for next year,” said White. “We’ll continue to do UFC Fight Nights. We’re back in bed with these guys. They’ve been so good to us over the years and we’re going to do a lot of good programs.”
I give this guy an A for effort. Hopefully the UFC considers him at least.
News and Notes
Everyone is excited about the return of Gilbert Melendez…
Sherdog: Melendez Makes 2007 Debut in Strikeforce
MMA Weekly: Melendez Returns More Determined Than Ever
Yahoo! Sports: Melendez the best fighter you might not know
Bloody Elbow: The World’s #1 Lightweight Fights Saturday at the Playboy Mansion
CBS Sports: Q&A with Strikeforce lightweight champ Gilbert Melendez
- Jordan Breen says that the UFC is trying to secure another TV deal in Japan with WOWOW:
In the most recent issue of the Japanese combat sports periodical Gonkaku, Zuffa co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta said he hoped to ink a new deal with Japanese satellite channel WOWOW next year. He added that an agreement could be accomplished sooner rather than later.
While a deal is far from complete, this is good news for Japanese MMA fans. As of March 2007, WOWOW has just over 2.43 million subscriptions in Japan. After the channel’s UFC 70 telecast in April, network executives had officially announced that they could not reach a contractual agreement with Zuffa to continue broadcasting UFC events.
- Din Thomas will most likely be out for at least four months according to MMA Weekly.
You may remember that Thomas injured his knee while attempting to take Kenny Florian down in their fight at UFC Fight Night 11. It turns out that Thomas suffered a torn meniscus, stretched anterior cruciate ligament, bruised femur, and a damaged tibia and will be required to undergo arthroscopic surgery within the next two weeks.
- Falaniko Vitale has been added to the Strikeforce card for this Saturday and will make his Strikeforce debut against Ron Fields.
- 411 Mania has confirmed with B.J. Penn’s camp that he is booked for UFC 79 in December.
- Tonight’s episode of Human Weapon on The History Channel will feature Strikeforce welterweight Cung Le.
- The second installment of Inside MMA will be broadcasted tonight at 9:30 PM EST on HDNet. Tonight’s episode will feature a segment on Shane Carwin, a visit to Duke Roufus’ MMA school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, highlights, and rankings. Hosts Kenny Rice and Bas Rutten will be joined by guests UFC referee “Big” John McCarthy, Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson, and Chris Bruno.
- Still looking for something else to watch? Spike TV will be airing a replay of UFC Fight Night 11 tonight starting at 9 PM EST.
- Zach Arnold is reporting that Kazuhiro Nakamura and his management team, J-Rock, plan to file an appeal with the CSAC:
J-ROCK, the management team of Kazuhiro Nakamura, fired back at the California State Athletic Commission in the Japanese press on Thursday. The company released a statement on behalf of Nakamura, denying that he was guilty of using marijuana and that they are appealing the ruling. They want a drug test re-examination and are considering the current ruling a mistake. (In the statement, J-ROCK claims that they talked to Nakamura after the news of the failed drug test came out. Nakamura stated that he had no motive whatsoever for using marijuana and has not used marijuana.)
- Sam Caplan has an excellent interview with UFC light heavyweight contender Houston Alexander at Five Ounces of Pain. A single father taking care of six kids while fighting in the UFC, hosting his own radio show, and traveling the country to lecture on the culture of hip hop. Holy shit.
Joe Stevenson may very well be taking on B.J. Penn for the UFC Lightweight Title if current champion Sean Sherk’s October 31st appeal isn’t heard in a positive way according to The Fight Network:
The one-year suspension of champion Sean Sherk for alleged steroid use following his July 7 title defense to Hermes Franca at UFC 73 in Sacramento, Calif., has stalled plans to have the Minnesotan wrestler face number-one contender B.J. Penn at Nov. 17’s UFC 78 in Newark, N.J.
And while it appeared that Penn has been patiently awaiting a new opponent for Nov. in the interim, the popular Hawaiian’s camp has confirmed their leader is now preparing for a Dec. 29 match-up at UFC 79 in Las Vegas, Nev. Sherk faces the California State Athletic Commission on Oct. 31 to appeal his case, but if he cannot shake the suspension and is stripped of his title by Zuffa LLC, Penn (11-4-1) could face UFC 74 standout Joe Stevenson (28-7).
“I was told I was definitely fighting in December or January,” said Stevenson Thursday. “I think there’s a strong possibility I’ll face B.J. Penn.”
So it seems that the UFC has a backup plan already set just in case Sherk’s positive test isn’t overturned. However, what happens if Sherk is permitted to remain champion? It’s obvious that Penn is the number one contender and would take on Sherk. So what about Stevenson? With Guida-Huerta and Fisher-Edgar already unofficially locked up, Kenny Florian may be the only other option for a Stevenson opponent.
Kevin from Jersey writes:
I would like to know when we are going to find out about the state of the UFC Lightweight Champion Title. If Sherk just so happens to keep his title, Roger Huerta shoule get the next title shot for the lightweight belt. If Sherk’s appeal is denied and the title is revoked, Huerta and Stevenson should battle it out for the belt. Just the opinion of an everyday fight fan.
Well Kevin, it seems that we are going to know a lot more after Sherk’s meeting with the CSAC scheduled on October 31st. That will be when the commission decides whether or not they are going to reverse Sherk’s positive test for steroids. If they do, expect Sherk to keep his title and fight before the year is over. If they decide to stay with their claim that Sherk tested positive, UFC President Dana White has already said that Sherk will be stripped of the title.
I haven’t heard anything about Huerta getting a possible title shot. I think that he needs to go up against some of the better competition in the division before he will be ready to go up against a fighter the caliber of Sherk or Stevenson. I’ve heard that the winner of the Din Thomas-Kenny Florian fight in September may go up against B.J. Penn in November for the title now that Stevenson has a broken nose and is medically suspended for two months.
Basically nothing is set in stone right now and we aren’t going to learn about the state of the UFC Lightweight Title until after Sherk’s date with the CSAC on Halloween.
Former UFC Welterweight Champion BJ Penn pleaded no contest on charges that he allegedly assaulted a police officer outside a Hawaii nightclub in 2005.
KITV 4 News out of Honolulu reported that a police officer claimed he was punched in the face by Penn during an altercation outside of the club two years ago. The station also reported that Penn was originally charged with felony assault but is now only being charged with a third degree misdemeanor.
Penn will be sentenced in December. His lawyer has stated that he does not believe Penn will be required to serve any time in jail.
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.”
Sherdog is reporting that B.J. Penn and Diego Sanchez have agreed to fight at UFC 74: Respect which is currently headlined by a heavyweight title fight between Randy Couture and Gabriel Gonzaga.
B.J. Penn and Diego Sanchez have agreed to fight on the undercard of the heavyweight title fight between UFC champion Randy Couture and challenger Gabriel Gonzaga, Aug. 25 at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, a source speaking on the condition of anonymity told Sherdog.com.
Penn’s most recent victory came on the finale at TUF 5 when he submitted his rival Jens Pulver partway through the second round. Diego Sanchez is coming off of a decision loss to Josh Koscheck at UFC 69: Shootout.
Update: 7:30 PM: Sherdog is now reporting that B.J. Penn’s camp has denied the report of an August fight.
Penn’s camp said the fight with Sanchez had not been offered by the UFC for August, and indicated many options are being discussed as far the fighter’s future inside the octagon, which includes the possibility of him remaining at lightweight.