The Wrestling Observer has posted some interesting tidbits of information from yesterdays post-fight press conference for UFC 72: Victory.
Tap-out of the Night – Ed Herman
Knockout of the Night – Marcus Davis
Fight of the Night - Clay Guida vs Tyson Griffin
I asked Dana whether the Quentin Jackson vs Dan Henderson match will be for both titles and he confirmed that that would be the case. Champion vs Champion.
Dana confirmed that Phil Baroni could be in the UFC if he defeats Frank Shamrock. He didn’t call him Frank Shamrock though. ‘Goofball’ was mentioned.
Dana commented that Dan Henderson will fight at 205 and that’s the way Dana likes it. He’s not too keen on a guy holding two weight classes.
Confirmed that Rich Franklin will fight against the winner of Silva vs Marquardt
I asked if there were any further negotiations between UFC and both Brock Lesnar and Kurt Angle. He said they hadn’t spoken to Lesnar but just that they had been speaking to Angle. White said Angle would be destroyed in MMA if he didn’t learn the skills needed. He couldn’t go right from ‘WWE’ to UFC and expect to be successful. Someone commented that Ken Shamrock did to which Dana replied ‘exactly’.
I asked also if there would be a Forrest Griffin vs Tito Ortiz rematch happening in the near future to which both Forrest and Dana agreed they would like to see.
Dana said that the Pride situation was a mess right now and that the ‘Superbowl of MMA’ was still scheduled for sometime in the future.
Steve Sievert of The Houston Chronicle is reporting that contrary to a press release Spike TV sent out about Marlon Sims and Noah Thomas fighting on the finale of The Ultimate Fighter 5 on June 23, the two will not be fighting on the card. In fact, they will never fight in the UFC according to a recent interview Sievert had with UFC President Dana White.
“They’re not fighting on the finale,” said UFC President Dana White. “Not only are they not fighting in the finale, they’ll never fight in the UFC. Spike wanted that fight. It ain’t gonna happen. No fucking way is that fight going to happen. Those guys will never fight in the UFC…ever.”
Sims and Thomas seem to be the newest members of a group of fighters blacklisted by the UFC after doing wrong on the reality show:
Eli Joslin - quit TUF 2 after “not being able to handle the camera environment around the house”
Kenny Stevens - failed to make weight for first fight on TUF 2
Noah Inhofer - quit TUF 3 after receiving a letter from his girlfriend claiming that she thinks he has cheated on her
Gabe Ruediger - no explanation necessary
White told Sievert that the press release sent out by Spike TV on May 29th should have never went out and that it was a complete mistake:
“Mistakes happen. I didn’t find out about it until yesterday. We make mistakes over here ... it’s unfortunate.”
News and Notes
- In a interview with the Boston Herald that was printed Sunday, Chuck Liddell has confirmed that his next UFC fight will be against former PRIDE Middleweight Champion Wanderlei Silva:
The road back to the belt will not be easy. It will begin with a long-awaited fight against Wanderlei Silva, probably sometime toward the end of the year. Silva, like Liddell, recently lost his Pride light heavyweight belt to Dan Henderson, in a fight staged in Las Vegas, shortly before the UFC bought the Japanese-based organization.
Liddell-Silva is a fight that UFC president Dana White has been trying to make for a while, going to the extreme of bringing Silva into the ring during a UFC card, asking him who he wanted to fight, and Silva responding that he wanted Liddell.
“It’s going to be a striking battle,” Liddell said of the matchup with Silva. “Who’s going to hit harder and throw more punches. I think from the things I’ve seen (of him) that’s what it will be.”
- Chute Boxe USA has stated that former UFC Middleweight Champion Evan Tanner will make his return to the Octagon in September.
Evan Tanner has been training hard and is determined to win the title from Anderson Silva. According to Coach Roberto, he will be fighting at UFC in September under the Chute Boxe USA banner. His opponent is still unknown.
- UFC Mania has posted an exclusive interview with Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou over at their site…
Video of the Day
UFC 75: Mathis vs Boucher
It’s a legitimate question: Is PRIDE officially dead?
You only have to step back and take a look at the recent events that have taken place in the past few weeks to see that PRIDE’s future isn’t looking very promising. Well if there’s a future for the promotion at all…
PRIDE hasn’t held an event since April. It also hasn’t done much of anything except release their 10th anniversary documentary since then. One would think that the company will now get back on track since it’s acquisition by UFC parent company Zuffa is now complete according to UFC President Dana White. However that might not be the case.
The scheduled opening round for the company’s Lightweight Grand Prix on July 16th now seems that it’s not going to happen. Why? Nippon Gaishi Hall, the arena where the event was supposed to be held has now taken the show off of it’s event calendar. Couple that with White’s recent comments concerning all of PRIDE’s top fighters coming over to the UFC and it seems more and more likely that PRIDE’s run in the world of MMA is just about finished.
So what did you say about White’s comments? Well in that same interview with MMA Weekly where he stated that Zuffa now owned PRIDE, he also said that all of the promotion’s top fighters will be coming to the UFC:
“We’re going to have them all. We’re going to have them all. At the end of the day, if you want to fight the best fighters in the world, if you want to cement your place in history… and at the end of the day, the money is great, all that stuff is good, but for me I’m one of those types of people… it’s all about cementing your place in history. Who is the greatest fighter in every weight division? It’s here. It’s in the UFC. They’re all going to be here.”
Well so much for the original plan of keeping all of PRIDE’s top fighters with the company. Since the March announcement of that plan, the UFC has brought over Fabricio Werdum, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Mauricio Rua, and now Dan Henderson. Apparently they aren’t even close to being done either since Chuck Liddell’s next opponent is Wanderlei Silva…
When asked about one of Pride’s biggest stars, Wanderlei Silva, White said, “We’re going to have them all here. He [Silva] is going to be here. They’re all going to fight… they’re all under contract.” White also said that Silva would likely be Chuck Liddell’s next opponent.
With all of PRIDE’s biggest stars, including Henderson who currently holds two PRIDE belts and will challenge Quinton Jackson for the UFC Light Heavyweight title later this year, coming over to the UFC, I think it’s safe to say that they have decided to just let PRIDE wither away…
In a recent interview with MMA Weekly, UFC President Dana White revealed some interesting information concerning the state of the PRIDE sale to Zuffa. What did he reveal? Well apparently Zuffa has now owned PRIDE for the past two days...
“We’re still trying to figure out this whole Pride and UFC thing. The deal is done. We acquired the company yesterday or the day before,” White told the media at the UFC 71 post-fight press conference.
White continued, “Talking about all the Pride stuff, we’re going to work on that stuff over the next [weeks] now that the deal is officially closed. You can’t start running a business when you don’t own it yet. We’ve owned it for two days. I know we made the big announcement [on March 27], but it might have been a little premature. The deal wasn’t done yet. The deal was pending, but we were far enough along where we felt comfortable announcing the deal. Now that it’s closed two days ago, we’ll get that straightened out.”
I guess that makes it official…
Dana White talks about the present and future of the UFC on ESPN Motion.
Earlier today UFC President Dana White held a conference call with various members of the media in order to discuss this weekend’s UFC 71 event. Many other topics were touched upon and just like our recap of the UFC 70 conference call, we’ve got everything covered…
White’s Thoughts on UFC 71’s main event: Chuck Liddell vs Quinton Jackson:
White came right out and said that he was very excited for the fight as is everyone. He said that the mentality of both fighters are going to make it an exciting fight. He said that Chuck’s striking is obviously going to give Jackson trouble but so will Jackson’s athletic ability for Liddell. White stated that style-wise, it’s a bad matchup for Liddell and that we were able to see that in the first fight between the two.
White pressed on the fact that Liddell has the opportunity in front of him to finally avenge every loss that he’s ever suffered. One of the most interesting things that White said was that Jackson usually “fights to the level of his competition”. He noted that Jackson beat Marvin Eastman but he did it in a fashion that nobody was really impressed by. White said that because Liddell is such a high-caliber fighter, Jackson’s game will be on that same level and he will look much better in this fight then when he fought Eastman at UFC 67.
White briefly touched on Liddell’s controversial segment on Good Morning Dallas a few months back where he appeared to be under the influence of something. White attributed Liddell’s state to the lifestyle that he lives due to being famous. White said that he and other UFC officials promptly took care of the matter when it arose and that everything is fine now concerning that situtation.
White Discusses Potential Signing of Mauricio Rua; Possible Addition of Wanderlei Silva:
It’s been rumored for about a week now that the UFC has signed Mauricio Rua. Well White went ahead and all but confirmed that Rua will be part of the UFC when he said that the winner of Saturday night’s Liddell-Jackson bout will then have to face a challenger that the UFC is bringing in. White also said that the challenger will be revealed during the UFC 71 broadcast.
When asked who that challenger could be, White said that it could be one of two people - Mauricio Rua and Wanderlei Silva. However White then talked into detail about Rua and how he will most likely be fighting Liddell within the next year, all but confirming that the UFC has come to terms with him. White also made the surprising announcement that the UFC “has to bring in Wanderlei Silva”. White said that the winner of Saturday’s fight could also possibly be facing Silva in their next fight as well.
White Gives an Update on PRIDE Sale:
The whole PRIDE ordeal was definitely the most asked question during the conference call but it was also the one topic that White couldn’t really give any definitive answers to. White blamed the reason behind his lack of a definite answer on his busy travel schedule - That doesn’t make any sense, I know but he said it. White assured everyone that the fans would still be able to see the marquee matchups between fighters of both organizations at some point this year.
White Talks Huerta Sports Illustrated Cover, Sanchez’s Thoughts on Retirement, Vera’s Status, and St.Pierre-Koscheck at UFC 74:
White praised Roger Huerta for making the cover of Sports Illustrated and went on to talk about how the sport of MMA is finally becoming mainstream and achieving the dream that White and the Fertitta Brothers had for it. He also made a mention of Chuck Liddell’s appearance on the cover of ESPN the Magazine.
The most shocking thing that was discussed during the press conference was White’s confession that Diego Sanchez nearly announced his retirement one day before UFC 69 because doctor’s thought that he had contracted Hepatitis C. Doctors ran multiple tests on Sanchez after that and they kept on coming up negative so they then ruled that he in fact did not have Hepatitis C and the test where he tested positive was faulty. According to White, the doctors still thought that something was wrong with Sanchez, but because they couldn’t figure it out, they let him fight anyway. The next day, Sanchez was diagnosed with a staph infection after an enormous hole developed on his leg.
White assured everyone that Brandon Vera was still with the company and will remain with the company for a long time to come. Vera is currently figuring out personal matters between him and his former manager before he starts actively fighting again. White stated that the winner of the fight between Josh Koscheck and Georges St. Pierre at UFC 74 would get the winner of the Matt Serra-Matt Hughes welterweight title bout at some point in the winter.
White Bashes the NJSAC, K-1, IFL, and Tito Ortiz:
White openly bashed the New Jersey State Athletic Commission for deciding to sanction the upcoming June bout between underground fighting legend Kimbo Slice and former heavyweight champion Ray Mercer. Despite the criticism, White mentioned that the UFC would most likely be returning to the state later this year. K-1 got just as much of White’s wrath for the strong possibility that their Dynamite!! USA show scheduled for June 2nd may be cancelled. White said that the promotion was insane for thinking that could fill up the Los Angeles Coliseum when in fact they have trouble filling up small ballrooms in Las Vegas for their kickboxing tournaments.
White’s bashing of the IFL and Tito Ortiz was pretty much the same as always: The IFL is “retarded” and Ortiz is a baby…
Sherdog is reporting that via two different sources, the purchase of PRIDE by Zuffa has been completed. This goes against earlier reports from a few weeks back that said the sale was not going to happen after Jamie Pollack, the future president of PRIDE quickly came back to Las Vegas after moving him and his family over to Tokyo.
On March 27, Station Casinos Vice Chairman Lorenzo Fertitta and UFC President Dana White announced in a Tokyo press conference that the sale of the PRIDE Fighting Championships to Zuffa had been agreed upon, and that the deal would be consummated on May 1.
Yet three weeks after the consummation date, the deal was slow to close, as Zuffa attorneys did their due diligence on PRIDE assets. In a conference call with the media on Thursday,White denied that the deal had been closed.
However, two sources tell Sherdog.com that the deal has in fact been finalized, and that former PRIDE CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara has said as much too former DSE employees in the last 48-hours.
Another interesting point made in the report is that Dana White is unaware of the possibility of a class action lawsuit being filed against PRIDE and DreamStage Entertainment by various former PRIDE fighters and employees.
Citing Issues with several PRIDE fighter contracts, on Wednesday MMAWeekly.com reported that there is a class action lawsuit on behalf of PRIDE fighters looking to get out of their contracts. White, in a conversation with the media on Thursday afternoon, denied any knowledge of the dispute.
Be sure to stay with us for continuing coverage on this matter…
The Ultimate Fighting Championship has announced the hiring of Turner Broadcasting veteran Michael Pine as the Vice President of Ad Sales and Sponsorships for Zuffa, LLC.
“I’m pleased that Michael has joined Zuffa, LLC to lead our sales and sponsorships division for the Ultimate Fighting Championship,” said Dana White, UFC President in a prepared statement. “His experience and depth of knowledge will be a major contribution to making the UFC a dominant sports brand in the US, UK and Europe.”
“I am thrilled to join Zuffa, and I look forward to helping the UFC achieve worldwide recognition not only as a mainstream sport, but also as a coveted leader in the advertising and sponsorships business,” said Pine. “Over the past several years, the UFC owners have executed a tactical business plan, and I am excited about working with them and helping the UFC to grow into the most omnipotent brand in the world of sports.”
The Minneapolis/St. Paul City Pages has posted an excellent article titled “The Ballad of the Muscle Shark”. The article documents the career of UFC lightweight champion Sean Sherk who went from outcast to champion.
Sherk was left with a dilemma. He could bide his time with Cox and hope to eventually get a title fight. Or he could drop his manager and take his shot at the belt. Ultimately, his desire to fight Hughes won out.
“It was really disappointing,” Cox says. “He was the first fighter that I had managed that ever left. I traveled all over the world with Sean.”
Sean Sherk has been on the shelf for the past 9 months after he underwent surgery to mend his torn rotator cuff. Sherk’s first title defense will come July 7th at UFC 73: Stacked when he steps into the octagon with Hermes Franca.
On a recent Tuesday morning at the Minnesota Martial Arts Academy, Sherk spars for the first time in nearly six months. He’s 11 weeks out from the fight and ramping into full training mode. Over the next 10 days, he’ll shed 25 pounds, a trial run for the July weigh-in. The goal is to get his body acclimated to 155 pounds. “You’ve got to get used to it so your body’s not going to go into shock,” Sherk explains.
The first 20 pounds he’ll shed through dieting and hard work. The final five he’ll sweat off in the sauna. After the July weigh-in, he’ll have 30 hours to rebuild his strength. By the time the bout begins, he’ll be back up to 175 pounds.