Photo courtesy of Affliction Entertainment.
The official-weigh in results for tomorrow night’s Affliction: Banned event, which takes place at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California, are below. All fighters successfully made weight with the exception of Justin Levens, who weighed-in four pounds over the middleweight limit. However it’s unknown whether or not his bout against Ray Lazama is being fought a catch-weight or not.
In more unfortunate news, the scheduled bout between PRIDE veteran Aleksander Emelianenko and one-time UFC heavyweight title challenger Paul Buentello has been scrapped. According to the California State Athletic Commission, Emelianenko failed to meet the necessary licensing requirements. A replacement opponent for Buentello will not be able to be found in time.
Tickets still remain on sale for the event. The pay-per-view portion of the card will begin at 10 PM ET and FOX Sports Net will be airing three preliminary bouts tomorrow night as well. The promotion intends to televise as many fights as possible, including those prelims that will not be featured on FSN, which will act as swing bouts for the PPV.
Fedor Emelianenko (230 lbs) vs. Tim Sylvia (263 lbs)
Andre Arlovski (241 lbs) vs. Ben Rothwell (264 lbs)
Josh Barnett (256 lbs) vs. Pedro Rizzo (242 lbs)
Matt Lindland (185 lbs) vs. Fabio Negao (185 lbs)
Renato “Babalu” Sobral (201 lbs) vs. Mike Whitehead (206 lbs)
Vitor Belfort (185 lbs) vs. Terry Martin (185 lbs)
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (205 lbs) vs. Edwin Dewees (205 lbs)
Mike Pyle (171 lbs) vs. J.J. Ambrose (170 lbs)
Savant Young (145 lbs) vs. Mark Hominick (144 lbs)
Justin Levens (189 lbs) vs. Ray Lazama (186 lbs)
Former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski discusses his upcoming bout against one-time IFL standout and Miletich Fighting Systems product Ben Rothwell at Affliction Entertainment’s upcoming “Banned” event this Saturday night in Anaheim, California in the above video courtesy of MMARated.com. Arlovski also touches on life after the UFC and whether or not he intends on entering the world of professional boxing.
However the highlight of the interview has to be Arlovski’s response after being asked about a possible relationship between rival Tim Sylvia and Arlovski’s ex-girlfriend Patrycja Mikula. (It’s the last question of the interview and the answer is hysterical. Arlovski 1, Sylvia 0)
Andrei Arlovski. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Despite various rumors circulating that Andrei Arlovski could very well be International Fight League veteran Ben Rothwell’s opponent at Affliction’s “Banned” show on July 19th at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California, it seems that the Belarusian may not be able to sign with the popular California-based clothing company until May 19th.
The news comes from Josh Gross of Sports Illustrated. Gross speculates that Arlovski will not be able to officially get out of his contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship until next week when he successfully completes all remaining fights on his contract and waits out an exclusive negotiating period.
At the same time, the UFC will still have the ability to match whatever Affliction offers Arlovski. However, with the offer reported to be somewhere in the six-figure, three non-exclusive bout range, it seems very unlikely that Dana White will do so, especially after his comments to Yahoo! Sports Kevin Iole earlier this week.
“It’s funny you should ask me that,” White said when asked about Arlovski by Iole. “We were just talking about Arlovski. We want to sign him. It’s our intention to sign him. But I don’t know. We’re, well, I don’t know. We want to. Whether we will or not, I have no idea. We like Andrei and I know the fans like Andrei. I hope we can do something.”
Arlovski’s camp has offered no comment except to say that they are still in ongoing negotiations with the UFC, but all signs as of right now point to Arlovski being introduced at Affliction’s first-ever event-related press conference next Tuesday in Los Angeles.
Another thing interesting of note that Gross brought up in his column today - FOX Sports’ George Greenberg is expected to be in attendance at the press conference as well, potentially signaling that at least part of Affliction’s inaugural event may be televised on FSN in some capacity, also further confirming that any kind of relationship between the promotion and HDNet is rocky to say the least at this point.
HT: Cage Potato
Savant Young. Photo by Tracy Lee. Courtesy of CombatLifestyle.com
On the same day that Affliction Clothing makes it’s official entrance into the world of promoting mixed martial arts events, details regarding four signed preliminary bouts for it’s upcoming planned “Banned” show on July 19th at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California have come to light.
The news comes from Sergio Non of USA Today, who confirmed the fights with Affliction VP Tom Atencio.
IFL veteran Savant Young, who recently earned a huge upset win over former Shooto featherweight title contender Takeshi Inoue last weekend, will take on WEC and TKO veteran Mark Hominick in the most high-profile preliminary bout.
Additional dark matches include UFC veteran Justin Levens vs. Ray Lazama, Mike Pyle vs. Brett Cooper, and J.J. Ambrose vs. Patrick Speight.
Atencio also informed Non that Ben Rothwell will indeed fight at the event but an opponent for the Miletich Fighting Systems product has yet to have been determined. Various sources have been reporting that former UFC heavweight champion Andrei Arlovski may very well be Rothwell’s counterpart in the cage but it’s still unknown whether or not he will continue to free agency after finishing out the remainder of his deal with the UFC two months ago.
Contracts for a heavyweight clash between Aleksander Emelianenko and Paul Buentello have also reportedly been sent out to both fighters but have not yet been returned signed.
The potential fight card for the event now looks like this:
Fedor Emelianenko vs. Tim Sylvia
Josh Barnett vs. Pedro Rizzo
Matt Lindland vs. Fabio Negao
Mike Whitehead vs. Renato Sobral
Aleksander Emelianenko vs. Paul Buentello
Ben Rothwell vs. TBA
Mark Hominick vs. Savant Young
Justin Levens vs. Ray Lazama
Mike Pyle vs. Brett Cooper
J.J. Ambrose vs. Patrick Speight
Tim Sylvia weighs-in for UFC 77: Hostile Territory. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Monte Cox promised a new promotion to come out of the now defunct M-1 Global project and he delivered by signing former UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia and IFL star Ben Rothwelll to multi-fight deals with Cox’s recently created Adrenaline MMA organization.
The news comes one day after rumors started to circulate concerning Sylvia’s potential departure from the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The Miletich Fighting Systems product made it official on last night’s episode of HDNet’s Inside MMA.
“Adrenaline is a new promotion, but it allows fighters to fight for other organizations… that’s huge,” Sylvia said. “I’ve got 3 to 4 years left and want to fight as much as possible, so this is the perfect choice for me at this time.”
Sylvia’s parting ways with the UFC, the organization in which he fought exclusively in since 2002, was mutual on both sides according to the Maine native, who still had one fight remaining on his current contract with the promotion. However Sylvia has maintained that he would like to return to the UFC to finish out his career.
Sylvia is coming off of his second straight loss in yet another bid to regain his heavyweight title. He was submitted by interim champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC 81: Breaking Point in February.
Rothwell, who has not fought since winning a unanimous decision over Ricco Rodriguez in September of last year, was most recently embroiled in a controversial end of his relationship with the International Fight League, where Rothwell has won his last nine fights.
“Adrenaline will give me the chance to take things to the next level,” Rothwell said. “I’m ready to see how I fare against the best heavyweights in the world.”
Cox and company will hold their first show on June 14th at the Sears Centre in Chicago. One bout has been made official already: Jeff Monson and Mike Russow will clash in a heavyweight bout.
The IFL will be changing in many ways in 2008 and we’re here to tell you all about it…
The promotion held a conference call yesterday afternoon to announce the new changes and answer any questions that the press might have had. IFL Commissioner Kurt Otto and IFL Manager of Public Relations Jerry Milani were both on hand during the call.
Teams, Titles, and TV
The IFL will be switching from a team to a camp format meaning that instead of the Quad City Silverbacks and Portland Wolfpack, Miletich Fighting Systems and Team Quest will now be represented. Events will now feature teams putting three fighters in place to compete instead of five like in the past. This was done in order to create easier injury replacement situations.
Camps that are not under contract with the IFL will be permitted to compete. Team Punishment and Xtreme Couture are examples of this. Fighters from those camps can also compete for a title. Speaking of titles, each event will feature a minimum of eight fights - two title defenses and two matches between teams. Preliminary bouts are an option for each event also, especially for those that will be entering via the IFL Draft.
The IFL’s next event will take place at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas on February 29th. They currently have a deal in place with FOX Sports Net and are currently in discussions with MyNetworkTV. They are also in talks with other networks as well.
Updates on Frye, Rothwell, Rutten, Angle, and Gusmao
Don Frye will no longer be coaching with the IFL but will continue to do his “Dear Don” episodes as well as visiting with US troops overseas in conjunction with the IFL. Ben Rothwell is currently not with the IFL and is a free agent. Otto stated that while he’s sure that Rothwell will end up somewhere else, he hopes that he would consider a return in the future.
Bas Rutten will not be coaching in 2008 and will remain as the color commentator on broadcasts. There is no real news involving Kurt Angle except that Angle’s manager formally expressed his client’s interest in competing inside the confines of the IFL.
As far the Andre Gusmao situation goes, Gusmao and his agent misinterpreted his contract and attempted to strike a deal with the IFL. The IFL let the UFC know that they still had his rights and they retracted their offer. Otto and company are currently in talks with Gusmao and his representation during an exclusive negotiation period.
There was no official mention of plans to have another IFL Grand Prix. Both fighters with multi-fight deals and single-fight deals will be busy. No intent to include women in the fold anytime soon. The old IFL teams and logos will be done away with. Rosters will be announced after the new year. No indication of a formal set of standings for next season. Plans are currently to tame the travel schedule. Shorts will have an IFL logo and the logo of the camp on them. The IFL’s official “road map” is here. Sam Caplan has another excellent breakdown of everything here. Jarry Park has audio of the call here.
The IFL held a conference call with the media earlier this afternoon to promote this weekend’s opening round of the IFL Grand Prix, which will take place at at the Sears Center in Chicago. A portion of the event will be televised live on MyNetworkTV at 9 PM EST.
IFL President and Chief Operating Officer Jay Larkin was on hand to answer the media’s questions.
Larkin noted that the IFL will do away with the teams being attached to cities, citing that putting on events between two teams in neutral cities didn’t make much sense. The teams will now focus more on their name and head coach as well the gym the coach runs, if he has one. Larkin stated that the look of the league will look dramatically different compared to this past season.
The IFL is still in talks with MyNetworkTV about a television deal in 2008 but those negotiations are nearly complete. There aren’t currently any plans to have the final round of the Grand Prix televised live. Larkin also said that the IFL will announce a new television deal with a Canadian network tomorrow. The network will televise two hours of the Grand Prix. Larkin is also currently in talks with HBO concerning a television deal in the future.
Larkin said that he will not be at the Grand Prix because he is required to attend an HBO boxing event taking place overseas this weekend. He also said that he did not understand UFC President Dana White’s criticism of boxing officials even though he hired, Marc Ratner, a long-time boxing official, to be the UFC’s vice president.
There were no remarks made in terms of new coaches being hired or coaches being replaced. Larkin said those announcements will come at a later date. When asked about the possibility of hiring Randy Couture as a coach in the IFL, Larkin said that he would be interested but wouldn’t approach anything until all of the “dust” settles concerning Couture’s situation right now. Larkin also said that Couture is still under contract with the UFC so it wouldn’t be possible anyway.
The IFL will stay with a ring for next season, no plans to use a cage. The idea of eliminating the heavyweight division and adding a featherweight division is being discussed. No new news in terms of Kurt Angle signing with the IFL. Ben Rothwell is still with the IFL and will be ringside at the Grand Prix. Several IFL stars will be on hand at various locations throughout the city of Chicago to sign autographs today and tomorrow. Televised matchups for Saturday night will include Benji Radach vs Brent Beauparlant, Chris Horodecki vs Bart Palaszewski, Vladimir Matyushenko vs Alex Schoenauer.
Monte Cox, manager of many MMA stars including Mike Whitehead, Ben Rothwell, and Jay Hieron, had public phone sessions with many members of the MMA media yesterday to discuss the curreny situation involving the IFL removing Rothwell and Whitehead from the IFL Grand Prix in November.
Sam Caplan’s conversation with Cox is a must read. Here’s my favorite quote from the interview:
Monte Cox: A lot of times if you’re looking to go to a place like the IFL, there’s a lot of things that could change your mind. Ben started kind of souring on the IFL before the season even ended. And one of the things that he was upset with was during his fight with Ricco Rodriguez, Ricco spit on him and nobody did anything. The commission didn’t do anything (and) the IFL didn’t do anything.
When his own mom asked Kurt Otto about it, she said something like “That kid spit on my son.” Kurt’s response was “Maybe Ben should have hit him harder?” And that left a bad taste in Ben’s mouth. He’s supposed to be one of their biggest stars and this is the way he’s getting treated?
Sounds like Kurt Otto is a great guy.
To summarize everything that is going on: Both Rothwell and Whitehead are still under contract with the IFL until January 1st, 2008. Neither of them will be fighting for the IFL again this year. Cox plans to entertain offers from other promotions on that date which the IFL will have the opportunity to match.
Sam Caplan is reporting that both Ben Rothwell and Mike Whitehead have been pulled from next month’s IFL Grand Prix because of contract problems:
The IFL made a decision to pull both Rothwell and Whitehead from their respective brackets after the promotion was unable to secure signed commitments from each fighter for the 2007 season. Rather than risk having one or both of the fighters winning a title only possibly to see them never defend it within the IFL, a decision was made to change directions.
The IFL’s policy in this regard is similar to the UFC’s of not allowing fighters with only one fight remaining on their contract to challenge for a title. The IFL felt it had secured verbal commitments in regard to 2008 from Rothwell and Whitehead’s camp. Both are managed by Monte Cox.
However, when the IFL tried to finalize the 2008 contracts for Rothwell and Whitehead they felt as though their management was being unresponsive. After a deadline passed, the team-oriented fight promotion was left with the feeling that the two might be considering offers from outside the organization.
Huge blow to the Grand Prix right there, especially since Rothwell is the company’s star.
So what happens now?
Caplan says that Bryan Vetell will serve as Rothwell’s replacement take on Antoine Jaoude. Roy Nelson will face Reese Andy in the other. As for the light heavyweights, Andre Gusmao has been forced to pull out with a foot injury so Vladimir Matyushenko will be fighting Alex Schoenauer for the title instead of having a tournament take place.
Caplan also mentioned that Jay Hieron was almost pulled from the event but agreed to a contract extension at the last minute. I find this odd because I spoke with Hieron last week and he didn’t mention anything concerning that.
IFL heavyweight Reese Andy will still be competing at the IFL Grand Prix against Antoine Jaoude on November 3rd after all.
Yesterday MMA Weekly reported that Andy was forced to pull out of his scheduled bout against Rothwell after aggravating lingering leg and hand injuries during a recent training session and would be replaced by Bryan Vetell.
That turned out to be untrue according to IFL President Kurt Otto.