Kenny Florian. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Kenny Florian will reportedly serve as the temporary host of ESPN’s newly-planned online mixed martial arts magazine show that will appear exclusively on the company’s official website and on mobile phones according to Adam Swift of MMA Payout.
According to Swift, Florian will serve as the show’s host at least for the first two weeks of tapings. However it’s unknown whether the show will be UFC-based, something that apparently delayed the launch of the program, or if it will cover the entire world of the sport.
Affliction-HDNet Deal Still Possible
While it was previously reported that a potential deal between Affliction and HDNet that would have the clothing brand hold it’s first MMA show at the Dallas-based American Airlines Center fell apart, HDNet Fights CEO Andrew Simon says that the event could still possibly be televised on the digital cable network.
According to MMA Weekly, the event would not be permitted to take place at the home of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks due to a lack of time to substantially promote the show. However the potential of at least part of the event airing live or on tape-delay on HDNet is not out of the realm of possibility.
“We talk to everybody and I wouldn’t say that any conversation is dead yet,” Simon said in the report. “You just never know. You know how this sport works, one day you think you’re not working together and the next day you might announce something. Affliction… I would say, never say never.
ASU Shuts Down Storied Wrestling Program
Arizona State University has decided to shut down it’s storied wrestling program along with men’s swimming and men’s tennis as part of a financial cutback at the school according to MMA Weekly.
Normally this wouldn’t be the type of news to be reported on this site, but the school’s wrestling program has produced a slew of highly-touted MMA prospects in recent years, including current UFC fighters Cain Velasquez and C.B. Dollaway. Shoe-in hall-of-famers Dan Severn, Don Frye, and Dan Henderson all competed for the school as well in the past.
There may still be hope for the program. NCAA President Myles Brand is expected to hold a meeting later this month to discuss the possibility of protecting school sports that also take place in the Olympics, wrestling being one of them.
Bush Tests Positive for Marijuana
Heavyweight prospect George Bush has reportedly tested positive for marijuana following his first-round tournament loss to former UFC heavyweight champion Ricco Rodriguez at YAMMA Pit Fighting’s inaugural show last month in Atlantic City, New Jersey according to Sherdog.com.
“I just found out a few days ago, and needless to say, I’m very surprised and disappointed,” Bush said in the report. “I accept full responsibility for my actions, and I assure the fans that this will never happen again.”
While there won’t be any official announcement from the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board, (they don’t release drug-testing information to the media) Bush has confirmed that he has not been fined but has been suspended by the commission for 90 days.
Jake Shields. Photo courtesy of ProElite.
Shields vs Fickett Delayed Again
EliteXC has announced that the Welterweight Title fight between Jake Shield and Drew Fickett has been delayed once again. Originally scheduled for the undercard of the Frank Shamrock vs Cung Le event, the bout was put off due to Shields suffering a back injury. It had been rescheduled for EliteXC’s June 14th card in Hawaii, but now word comes that Drew Fickett suffered a knee injury.
Just last week, Shields was quoted as saying he was not sure whether he’d be physically ready by June 14th. Now this announcement. Considering the need for EliteXC to start filling their second US network primetime show in late July, this is pretty convenient. It would look bad for Shields to be the one who is injured again, so maybe EliteXC “encouraged” Fickett to ask for the delay. It would certainly not be below EliteXC’s Gary Shaw to do something of that nature.
At this point, the June 14th EliteXC show is still scheduled and will include a lightweight title fight between Yves Edwards and champion KJ Noons, as well as Nick Diaz.
Aoki? JZ? Anyone?
Fresh off his victory over JZ Calcavante in Tokyo on Tuesday at the Dream 2 show, Shinya Aoki’s further participation in the Lightweight Grand Prix is once again clouded. Before the rematch with JZ ever occurred, Aoki has expressed concerns over whether he would be able to fight in the 2nd round of the GP just two weeks after the JZ rematch. Now rumor has it that he suffered some facial injuries and will not be allowed to continue whether he wants to or not. Originally this rumor of the injury was spread by Calcavante’s ATT team. But it was confirmed by the FEG USA head, Mike Jogan, to USA Today.
Aoki “wants to go on, but it’s up to the doctors,” said Mike Kogan, head of U.S. promotion for Dream’s owner, Fight Entertainment Group. The examination is scheduled for later on Friday — keep in mind that Japan is 13 to 18 hours ahead of North America — so Aoki’s fate could be known several hours from now.
American Top Team made it known that JZ was asked to continue into the next round in place of Aoki but that the fighter and FEG could not come to a financial agreement.
Terry Martin. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Terry Martin was victorious in his professional boxing debut this past weekend, knocking out opponent Ricardo Upchurch in the first round. Martin revealed last week that he would be trying his hand at boxing before his participation at Combat Fighting Championships’ May 17th event at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle, England.
TUF 8 Hopefuls Move On
This time around it’s the mainstream media that is breaking news when it comes to possible participants for the eighth season of “The Ultimate Fighter”.
According to the Winnipeg Sun, current TKO heavyweight champion Krzysztof Soszynski was informed over the weekend that he was one of 50 finalists picked to fly out to Las Vegas for a four-day training camp at the UFC’s training facility. The Boston Herald reports that Woody Weatherby will also be attending the camp.
Couture Won’t Rule Out Return to UFC
MMARated.com‘s Ariel Helwani conducted a must-read interview with UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture recently. Couture touches on a bunch of different questions that MMA media and fans alike have been curious about since the whole ordeal between him and Dana White and company began.
Most interesting is the fact that despite all of the lawsuits and harsh words, Couture still won’t rule out the possibility of returning to the UFC one day:
I think if this whole thing has pointed out one thing to me it’s that I have an opportunity to control my own destiny a little bit and, potentially, through this process, change the way the fighters are paid and the way things are done in MMA and those are important things for me as a fighter. There are a lot of guys that are still scratching out a living and all the cards are held by the promotions. And, certainly, the most powerful promotion in the landscape is the UFC. So, would I say “never will I fight for the UFC,” well, I am not going to say “never” because there are circumstances where things could change but that’s the way I feel right now.
Hong-Man Choi Headed to the Army
According to Zach Arnold of Fight Opinion, Hong-Man Choi will head to the South Korean army training center later this month due to a mandatory requirement to serve his country. Because of his size, Choi won’t serve in battle, but is expected to be out of MMA action for at least three years. More here.
Forrest Griffin was always crazy, even in high school.
Props to frankiscool at the UG for the find.
Sakakibara, DSE Sue Fertittas, Zuffa
Two months after Zuffa, under the name PRIDE FC Worldwide, filed a lawsuit against former PRIDE parent company Dream Stage Entertainment claiming that they were defrauded during their purchase of PRIDE in March of last year, DSE and Nobuyuki Sakakibara have countered with a lawsuit of their own.
More from Swift:
The suit filed by the former owners of Pride in federal court, under diversity jurisdiction, seeks damages for breach of the asset purchase and consulting agreements that were part of the Pride transaction, as well as fraudulent and negligent misrepresentation and breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing.
The complaint alleges that Pride was sold to the owners of the UFC with the promise that the Pride brand would be maintained as a “global top-level brand.” This promise allegedly resulted in the former owners’ decision to sell to the Fertittas despite more lucrative financial offers from other suitors.
DREAM Planning Events on U.S. Soil?
DREAM could potentially hold shows in the United States if the promotion eventually gains the popularity that PRIDE once had as well as a television deal according to Fight Entertainment Group figurehead Sadaharu Tanikawa.
From MMA Weekly:
FEG executive, Sadaharu Tanikawa stated that their hopes are to first establish a brand name in Japan before trying their hand in the United States. Tanikawa went on the record saying that it would take “maybe a year or two” for the new Dream promotion to gain the same strength among fans that the former Pride brand did before their demise.
With DREAM and HDNet already in talks about a possible deal, Tanikawa’s idea could become a reality sooner than later, especially if they could come to some sort of a deal with EliteXC or HDNet Fights to get some notable American names on the card.
Sakurai-Baron Set for Shooto Fight in May
Hayato “Mach” Sakurai will attempt to keep his current five-fight winning streak intact when he takes on fellow PRIDE veteran David Baron at a Shooto event in May according to a report from Sports Navi.
Sakurai stopped Hidetaka Monma with strikes at DREAM’s inaugural event last month. Baron, who is mostly known for his loss to Takanori Gomi at PRIDE Bushido 12 in the summer of 2006, has won his last three fights since then.
Touch of gloves to Fight Opinion for the find.
Emerson Replaces Stephens at UFC 84
Update 2:30 PM ET: Our friends at MMA Junkie have learned that a possible “minor legal situation” may be preventing Stephens from fighting on the card but he expects to return to action this summer.
Sam Cupitt over at Five Ounces of Pain has noticed that Rob Emerson, a contestant on the fifth season of “The Ultimate Fighter”, has replaced Iowa native Jeremy Stephens in a scheduled lightweight bout against Terry Etim at UFC 84: Ill Will according to the UFC’s official website.
It was reported back in February that Etim and Stephens had signed bout agreements, making the fight good to go. No word as of yet on why Stephens was forced out of the bout.
Above Showtime Sports asks away with Frank Shamrock. A total of 42 questions in all, rapid fire.
For those who don’t have Showtime and are still interested in seeing Shamrock vs Cung Le this Saturday night, Sho.com will be streaming the fight live at approximately 10:15 PM ET using the Showtime Cage Cam.
Diaz, Cesar Gracie Plan Legal Action Against CSAC
One day after the California State Athletic Commission surprisingly ruled that Nick Diaz will not be permitted to fight at this weekend’s Elite Xtreme Combat and Strikeforce co-promoted “Shamrock vs Cung Le” show, because he owns a medical marijuana card, Diaz and manager Cesar Gracie are now reportedly planning to take legal action.
Gracie told MMA Weekly that he plans to take the matter to court after CSAC Executive Director Armando Garcia stated that Diaz’s participation was denied because of late filing of medical papers.
“That’s absolutely not true,” Gracie said in the report. “Because if he didn’t turn his medicals in, how did Garcia know Nick has a mariijuana card? He found out when the medicals were turned in. For some reason, Armando’s finding every excuse in the book to not let this guy fight. That’s exactly why we’re going to move forward with legal action after this. We’re going to go ahead and get our lawyers and we’re going to sit down and go forward with the proceedings. This is just discrimination, you can’t do that.”
Spratt-Von Flue Signed for April 26
Pete Spratt and Jason Von Flue, both veterans of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, will collide in a welterweight bout that will headline the Ultimate Warrior Challenge’s upcoming show on April 26th at George Mason University’s Patriot Center in Washington D.C.
Spratt is coming off of a controversial loss to Ryan Ford in February while Von Flue has dropped his last three fights. Notable fighters also on the card include Thomas Schulte, Carlo Prater, Aaron Riley, Marcelo Brito, and Zach Light.
Two Lightweights Fights Added to Sengoku II
A pair of lightweights bout have been added to World Victory Road’s next Sengoku show on May 18th: Satoru Kitaoka vs Ian James Schaffa and Eiji Mitsuoka vs Kwang Hee Lee.
Roger Gracie, Yuki Sasaki, and Yoshihiro Nakao, who was originally reported as facing Mirko Cro Cop at the recent DREAM event, are all expected to be in action. Even though his name was not mentioned, former UFC heavyweight champion Kevin Randleman has stated that he will be fighting at the show as well.
Evangelista, Sims, and Lennox In; Black Out
MMA Mania is reporting that Marlon Sims and Billy Evangelista will clash in a lightweight preliminary bout at tomorrow’s Elite Xtreme Combat and Strikeforce co-promoted “Shamrock vs Cung Le” show. However neither Strikeforce, EliteXC, or ProElite have made any sort of announcement of the fight at this hour.
It seems that Jason Black will not be fighting in the IFL after all just yet. Five Ounces of Pain reports through Nick Lembo, legal counsel for the New Jersey Athletic Control Board, that Black will not be on the card for undisclosed reasons. He will reportedly be replaced by Jesse Lennox.
Former “Ultimate Fighter” cast member Mike Whitehead talks his XFA debut this weekend, the fighter payscale, Randy-Fedor, the new mystery promotion involving Affliction clothing, and even teaches host Dave Farra some striking techniques in the latest video from RawVegas.
Smith Replaces Frye in YAMMA Main Event
Don Frye has reportedly pulled out of his scheduled main event bout against Oleg Taktarov at YAMMA Pit Fighting’s debut show on April 11th in Atlantic City.
The news comes from Sherdog.com and an official reason as to why Frye pulled out of the fight remains unknown.
Frye will be replaced by another longtime veteran in the form of Patrick Smith, who competed at the first two Ultimate Fighting Championship events. Since returning to active competition in 2006, Smith has been victorious in four out of his five fights.
Palace Fighting Championship 7 Weigh-In Results
The only hitch at yesterday’s weigh-ins for Palace Fighting Championship’s latest event tonight at Lemoore, California’s Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino didn’t involving a fighter failing to make weight.
Former “Ultimate Fighter” contestant Richie Hightower fell ill and will be unable to meet Bryan Travers in a PFC welterweight title match. Hightower will be replaced by Gladiator Challenge veteran Joel “Bulldog” Crawford according to Sherdog.com. Crawford has failed to earn his first career victory in four attempts thus far.
Jorge Oliveira (202 lbs) vs. Jeremy Freitag (204 lbs)
Glover Teixeira (204 lbs) vs. Buckley Acosta (204 lbs)
Bryan Travers (167 lbs) vs. Joel Crawford*
Jorge Evangelista (145 lbs) vs. Enoch Wilson (145 lbs)
Robert Breslin (155 lbs) vs. Brandon Jinnies (150 lbs)
Phil Collins (189 lbs) vs. Mike Martinez (189 lbs)
Jeremiah Metcalf (184 lbs) vs. Jimmy Dexter (184 lbs)
Ulysses Gomez (125 lbs) vs. Greg McDowell (119 lbs)
Manuel Quezada (229 lbs) vs. Charles Hodges (380 lbs)
Daniel Pinedo (126 lbs) vs. David Mitchell (125 lbs)
Carlton Jones (239 lbs) vs. Rafael Real (227 lbs)
Danny Castillo (155 lbs) vs. Andy Salazar (152 lbs)
*Crawford did not weigh-in.
Report: Saunders Targeted for UFC 86 Return
“The Ultimate Fighter 6” cast member Ben Saunders will likely return to action at UFC 86 in July according to our friends from MMA Junkie.
After being bounced out of the popular reality show’s tournament by eventual runner-up Tommy Speer in the quarterfinals, Saunders bounced back and kept his undefeated professional streak alive in earning an unanimous decision over Dan Barrera at The Ultimate Fighter 6 Finale in December.
Strap yourselves in, we have a lot of news to report on this morning…
If you haven’t seen Friday night’s episode of Inside MMA on HDNet yet, go ahead and check it out above.
UFC 82 Fighters Test Clean
All of the fighters that were tested following UFC 82: Pride of a Champion on March 1st came back negative for performance enhancing drugs and drugs of abuse.
The ten fighters that were tested are as follows: Andrei Arlovski, Anderson Silva, Heath Herring, Chris Leben, Josh Koscheck, Diego Sanchez, Yushin Okami, Jon Fitch, Luigi Fioravanti, and Jorge Gurgel.
Clark-Harper Finalizes Next Week’s WEC Show
After opponent Bryan Baker was tapped to replace WEC middleweight champion Paulo Filho against Team Quest product Chael Sonnen, Logan Clark will now take on American Top Team’s Scott Harper in a middleweight preliminary bout.
Clark revealed the news on his official website yesterday.
“Scott may have a few losses but hasn’t dropped a fight since joining American Top Team this last year,” Clark said in the post. “He is on a three fight win streak with three submission stoppages. He looks to have a good ground game but not exceptional stand-up. This means that I will be able to stick with my previous gameplan and look for the knockout standing.”
Two More EliteXC Bouts in March
Light heavyweights Aaron Rosa and Jaime Fletcher will now clash on the televised main card portion of this Friday’s ShoXC: Elite Challenger Series event.
The news comes from ProElite.com, which also reports that a women’s bout between Jen Case and Cristiane Cyborg was scrapped after it was learned that Cyborg would be unable to enter the United States in time for the event due to visa issues.
Luke Stewart will also meet veteran Tiki Ghosn at the upcoming Elite Xtreme Combat and Strikeforce co-promoted “Shamrock vs Cung Le”, which take place on March 29th at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California, according to MMA Junkie.
Report: Lytle Tapped for July UFC Return
The Fight Network is reporting that popular welterweight Chris Lytle will likely return to action at UFC 86 in July against an opponent yet to be named.
Lytle has now won two out of his last three bouts inside the UFC. A loss to Thiago Alves because of a cut is currently sandwiched in between wins over Jason Gilliam and Kyle Bradley.
World Victory Road Announces Fighter for Next Event
WVR officials have announced four confirmed participants for their next event on May 18th at the at the Ariake Coliseum in Tokyo, Japan.
Roger Gracie, Satoru Kitaoka, Yuki Sasaki, and Yoshihiro Nakao, who was originally reported as facing Mirko Cro Cop at this past weekend’s DREAM event, are all expected to be in action. Even though his name was not mentioned, former UFC heavyweight champion Kevin Randleman has stated that he will be fighting at the show as well.
Highlights of Kim Couture’s Muay-Thai match at an Xtreme Couture smoker last weekend courtesy of RawVegas above.
Who’s Your Favorite UFC Ring Girl?
Go ahead and vote for who you think is the hottest of the trio. Rachelle Leah, Arianny Celeste, and Edith Larente are all ready to receive your vote. I went with Arianny but that’s just me. Make sure you hurry up and get your picks in. It is the end of the week you know.
Jordan Replaces Richards in YAMMA Tournament
UFC veteran Kevin Jordan has replaced Rex Richards in YAMMA Pit Fighting’s upcoming eight-man heavyweight tournament next month according to the latest fight card on the organization’s official website.
Jordan was submitted by Paul Buentello and knocked out by Gabriel Gonzaga before being released from the UFC. Since then Jordan has gone 2-1. His last fight was a submission win over Carlos Morena at a Battle Cage Xtreme show last October.
AFL: Erupption Filled With UFC Veterans
The American Fight League will hold an event titled “Erupption” tonight at the Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky that will feature four veterans of the Ultimate Fighting Championship competing on the card. Junior Assuncao, Rory Singer and Dan Christison will all be in action in separate fights.
Diego Saraiva will go up against Joe Ammerman for the AFL lightweight title in the night’s main event.
Vigneault to Travel to Aruba for TKO 33
TKO Championship Fighting veteran Stephane Vigneault will be fighting on the organization’s next card in Aruba according to a report from our friends at TKO Xtreme.
After a near two-year hiatus from active competition, Vigneault made his return at TKO 31: Young Guns in December but ended up being submitted by lightweight prospect Ben Greer. Vigneault bounced back with a TKO win over Daniel Ferguson last weekend.
Just as he did before his fight with Phil Baroni, Frank Shamrock is at it again, this time mocking Cung Le with the help of Shonie Carter.
Touch of gloves to Bloody Elbow for the find.
Herman Confirms Fight With Maia
While Demian Maia himself revealed that he would be fighting Ed Herman at UFC 83 in April back in January, questions about the fight have started popping up recently since the UFC has yet to officially announce the bout nor add it to the list of fights on their official website.
Well Ed Herman has now confirmed the bout in a recent interview with MMA Opinion:
CC. Rumors around the internet are that you are fighting Demian Maia at UFC 83, are these rumors true?
EH. Yes that’s true.
Rampage and Nike Pair Up
UFC light heavyweight Champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson will star alongside Cleveland Cavaliers guard LeBron James and various other athletes for the filming of a new Nike commercial entitled “Human Chain” this weekend according to Josh Gross of Sherdog.
Jackson becomes the second mixed martial artist in history to be featured in a Nike ad. Randy Couture and his infamous cauliflower ears were shown on TV in 1996, via a commercial called “Scars”.
MMA About to Get “Nasty”
Former professional wrestler and member of the WWF and WCW tag team champion “Nasty Boys” Jerry Sags is set to enter the world of MMA, where he will take on Alabama Fight Night veteran Jason Pharro in the near future.
The news comes from our friends at Koco Sports, who have confirmed that Sags will start in a reality television series titled “Lesson in Respect”. The show will document Sags’ training in the weeks and months leading up to his fight against Pharro.
So how did this whole idea get started? Apparently Pharro had some choice words to say about pro wrestling and Sags took exception.
“I respect MMA,” Sags told Koco Sports. “But I don’t get where this guy gets off disrespecting our business, I have friends who have died doing what we do, families missing husbands, fathers & brothers and this guy is going to disrespect them, who they were and how they earned their living. Well that pisses me off and I’m ready to rip this guy’s face off.”
If you have some free time on your hands, be sure to check out one of the more exciting fights from the IFL’s first show of 2008 this past weekend, Matt Horwich going up against Ryan McGivern for the IFL middleweight belt.
As always major props go out to the IFL for actually going out of there way to make their fights available for everyone to see.
“Iron Ring” Debuts March 18th on BET
Remember that mixed martial arts project BET was discussing a while back? Well it finally premieres tonight.
From a press release we received:
BET introduces Iron Ring, a half hour weekly series that showcases mixed martial arts, the fastest growing new sports format in entertainment. With $100,000 in prize money up for grabs, these skilled competitors go toe-to-toe using the combined fighting techniques of jiu-jitsu, judo, karate, boxing, kickboxing, and wrestling in teams owned and managed by Ludacris, Nelly, Floyd Mayweather, T.I., Lil Jon and Dipset.
CSAC Suspends Four
The California State Athletic Commission announced the suspension of four different fighters yesterday.
Three fighters who were slated to compete on World Cagefighting Organization’s disastrous San Diego show have all been suspended after testing positive for the steroid Nandrolone, the same steroid reportedly found in Sean Sherk’s system. Carlos Fuentes, Kyacey Uscola, and Gustavo Machado have all been suspended for a year and fined $2,500.
Fabio Costa, who last competed at Fist Series’ WinterFist 2008 last month, tested positive for marijuana. He’s been suspended until May and fined $500.
Jae Suk Lim Wins SpiritMC Middleweight Title
Jae Suk Lim regained his SpiritMC middleweight title with a decisive win over top prospect Yoon Young Kim Sunday night. After the event, Lim announced that he will now be headed to Hawaii to compete under the ICON Sport banner.
Complete results below courtesy of MMA Weekly:
Jae Suk Lim def. Yoon Young Kim - TKO (Strikes)
A Sol Kwan def. Takaaki Aoki - Unanimous Decision
Jae Young Kim def. Soichi Nishida - TKO (Strikes)
Jung Hwan Cha vs. Dong Hyun Kim - Draw
Hans Olson def. Chang Seob Lee - Unanimous Decision
San An def. Dong Yoon Shin - KO (Punch)
Ye Won Nam def. Seung Hwan Kim - Submission (Triangle)
Dae Gun Kim def. Ok Myoung Kim - Submission (Heel Hook)
Kang Still Without Opponent for DREAM Debut
Denis Kang, who is currently training in Montreal, Quebec, Canada along with Georges St. Pierre and Jackson’s Submission Fighting, has informed The Fight Network that he still without an opponent for his first fight inside the confines of DREAM in April:
“I’m just going to go to Montreal, do my thing and get ready for whoever I’m going to face,” Kang said. “I think the Japanese MMA promotions like to keep their fans in suspense, whereas with the UFC, they really saturate the market with advertising well ahead of their events. DREAM has not even finalized the March 15 card. They’ve only announced like five of the fights.”
Touch of gloves to TKO Xtreme for the find.