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.”
Tonight we will be going live at 10 PM EST, covering UFC 69: Shootout with one of our patented live blogs. Be sure to leave comments throughout the night…
Check out our official predictions as well: UFC 69: Shootout Predictions
UFC 69: Shootout
Main Card Bouts:
Georges St. Pierre vs. Matt Serra
Diego Sanchez vs. Josh Koscheck
Roger Huerta vs. Leonard Garcia
Mike Swick vs. Yushin Okami
Kendall Grove vs. Alan Belcher
Marcus Davis vs. Pete Spratt
Thales Leites vs. Pete Sell
Luke Cummo vs. Josh Haynes
Heath Herring vs. Brad Imes
Also check back at 3 AM EST as we’ll be covering PRIDE 34: Kamikaze.
News and Notes
- There’s not much in the form of MMA news this morning but there certainly is concerning this site…
- We will be live blogging UFC 69: Shootout starting at 10 PM EST. We also will be live blogging PRIDE 34: Kamikaze as well at 3:00 AM EST. Grab some energy drinks and be sure to stay with us for a huge night of MMA action.
- PRIDE will be broadcasting PRIDE 34: Kamikaze tonight for the first time ever live from Japan. The event will start at 3:00 AM EST and is available on PPV.
- Be sure to check back later today for our predictions on both events…
- Our already popular MMA on Tap Top 10 will be updated at some point next week with the results from this weekend…
- For those IFL fans out there, the promotion is holding an event in Moline, Illinois tonight. The Quad City Silverbacks and Nevada Lions will square off. The other team matchup will be the Seattle Tiger Sharks vs Chicago Red Bears. The event’s superfight will be Jeff Curran vs Kevin English.
- I don’t want to be a hater but part of me is kind of glad this is DSE’s last show. At least Zuffa will have things organized better…
Video of the Day
Here are the weigh-in results for UFC 69: Shootout.
Georges St. Pierre (169.5 lbs) vs. Matt Serra (169.5 lbs)
Diego Sanchez (168.5 lbs) vs. Josh Koscheck (170.5 lbs)
Yushin Okami (184 lbs) vs. Mike Swick (184 lbs)
Alan Belcher (184 lbs) vs. Kendall Grove (185.5 lbs)
Roger Huerta (155.0 lbs) vs. Leonard Garcia (154.5 lbs)
Brad Imes (260.5 lbs) vs. Heath Herring (245 lbs)
Thales Leites (186 lbs) vs. Pete Sell (186 lbs)
Marcus Davis (169.5 lbs) vs. Pete Spratt (170.5 lbs)
Josh Haynes (171 lbs) vs. Luke Cummo (170 lbs)
Diego Sanchez and Josh Koscheck exchanged some choice words which were followed by a shove from Mr. Sanchez. UFC officials immediately stepped between the two fighters to prevent any further action. Besides the little Koscheck-Sanchez scuffle, the weigh-ins were rather tame.
News and Notes
- Check back later this morning for our predictions on tonight’s UFC Fight Night 9. As always we will be going live at 8 PM EST with one of our patented live blogs…
- Also video of Josh Koscheck fighting a fan is coming your way around 8:30 AM…
- So what are you doing today from 6 PM on? Watching Spike TV, duh. Remember there will be two episodes of UFC Unleashed between 6-8 PM. 8 PM of course is UFC Fight Night 9 and following that will be the season premiere of The Ultimate Fighter 5 at 10 PM. Going to be a big day.
- A Japanese news report is speculating that Diego Sanchez may participate in the PRIDE Lightweight Grand Prix starting in May.
- Brazilian MMA news site World Fight posted a recent interview with Mauricio Rua where he stated that he would be interested in taking on Renato Sobral and Tito Ortiz in the near future.
UFC Junkie gives the English translation:
WF: Tito Ortiz declared recently that he would like to fight with you…
Rua: He is a very good athlete and strong, I would like to face him yes, with certainty I would like that fight.
WF: Does the possibility of a rematch with Renato Sobral motivate you to fight in the UFC?
Rua: Definitely! It is a fight that now can happen and I would like it very much it if did.
- Cage Warriors President Doug Truman was arrested yesterday on charges of an alleged connection to a convicted drug dealer in Hampshire, England. Truman is still in jail but is expected to post bail in the next 24 hours.
- The schedule for Versus’ coverage of the WEC starting in June is now up on it’s official website.
Video of the Day
Rock the Vote Results
Diego Sanchez - 68%
Rashad Evans - 13%
Mike Swick - 11%
Josh Koscheck - 7%
Joe Stevenson - 4%
Other - 1%
Houston Chronicle: Ultimate Fighting battles for a mainstream role
Sherdog: Diego Sanchez - This Time It’s Personal
UFC: Sanchez vs Koscheck II - Bad Blood Boiling
The Fight Network: The Second Go-Around
Just over a week ago news broke that UFC welterweight Diego Sanchez had tested positive for marijuana after his win over Joe Riggs on December 13th at UFC Fight Night 7. Many people were surprised to hear about the suspension due to the fact that is was reported 3 months after the fight took place. MMAWeekly has obtained information on a number of other suspensions that went unreported. Here are some of the bigger names that failed their drug tests:
- March 10, 2006: Strikeforce; Cesar Gracie tested positive for Delta 9 THC (active ingredient in marijuana); suspended for 3 months.
- July 22, 2006: World Fighting Alliance; Bas Rutten tested positive for Hydrocodone (prescription painkiller), Morphine (prescription painkiller), and Diphenhydramine (antihistamine with common brand name Benadryl); suspended for 6 months.
- July 22, 2006: World Fighting Alliance; Lodune Sincaid tested positive for Cannabinoids/Marijuana Metabolite; suspended for 3 months.
- November 17, 2006: Beatdown in Bakersfield; Ricco Rodriguez tested positive for Benzoylecgonine (major metabolite of cocaine) and Delta 9 THC (active ingredient in marijuana); suspended for 6 months.
News and Notes
- Last night Robbie Lawler KO’d Frank Trigg to become the Icon Sport middleweight champion for the second time in his career. Be sure to check out our ‘Live Blog’ for the evenings event.
- Mike Brown has been forced to withdraw from his upcoming fight at BodogFight: Clash of the Nations due to a torn bicep.
- PRIDE veteran Wanderlei Silva is still awaiting medical clearance in order to compete on the upcoming PRIDE 34 card. No opponent has been named for Silva and the card is only one week away.
- According the The Fight Network, Zuffa is strongly considering moving Mark Hominick’s contract to the WEC so he can compete in their 145 lbs. division.
- Be sure to check us out on MySpace at http://www.myspace.com/mmaontap.
UFC Junkie: Interview with Josh Koscheck
If you have any good links feel free to leave them in the comments section.
News and Notes
- The WEC has announced their next card will be headlined by a lightweight title bout between “Razor” Rob McCullough and Rich “Cleat” Crunkilton.
- Quinton “Rampage” Jackson has signed a new four-fight deal with the UFC. His first fight will be a match for the UFC light heavyweight belt with Chuck Liddell.
- Diego Sanchez recently spoke with Houston Chronicle and during the interview he stressed the fact that he is looking to fight Matt Hughes.
“I’ve been calling out Matt Hughes. The man that I want is Matt Hughes. They gave him Chris Lytle (at UFC 68), and I think, honestly, it should have been me and Matt Hughes right now, instead of me and (Josh) Koscheck.”
“Me and Dana talked about this, and he said he needs contenders. And, if me and Matt fight, there’s only going to be one contender, but I’m still going to work hard after this fight to call him out and say, ‘Hey, man, let’s do this; let’s make it happen.’ I’ve worked my way up and ever since I started in this fight game, I’ve wanted to fight Matt Hughes. I believe I can submit him. I believe I can stop him from taking me down and outbox and outmuscle him.”
- Wensday April 4th Spike TV will be televising Countdown to UFC 69 and UFC All Access with Georges St. Pierre.
- UFC veteran Sam Hoger will make his IFL debut April 7th when he faces the experienced veteran and Lion’s Den fighter Vernon “Tiger” White.
Video of the Day
Rock the Vote Results
Who is currently the best striker in the UFC?
Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic - 44%
Chuck Liddell - 37%
Anderson Silva - 12%
Brandon Vera - 6%
Other - 1%
Be sure to vote on our newest poll.
Tatame: Fabricio Werdum Interview
How was that change from the Pride to the UFC?
My manager Ken May said that I was going to fight at the Pride 33, but it seems that they didn’t accept the purse we asked them, so he tough that was better to me to go fighting at UFC. He didn’t explained to me very well, but I know they will pay me much better there, I think almost the double that I am receiving at the Pride organization.
But didn’t you have a contract with the Pride?
No, my contract is with Ken May, my contract finishes on December and I want to renovate. I want to be the champion this year. I am at UFC now so I want to be the champion there. I did a contract of four bouts with the UFC and I want to dispute the belt on the third or on the fourth bout of my contract.
Fight Opinion Radio #43: Ed Fishman
In this 70-minute interview, Ed discusses the Fishman Companies lawsuit versus Dream Stage Entertainment. There are some very intriguing facts coming out of this interview that you have not heard anywhere else.
How does Diego Sanchez test positive for marijuana and no one finds out about it until now?
According to the OC Register, Sanchez tested positive after his win over Joe Riggs on December 13th at UFC Fight Night 7:
UFC welterweight contender Diego Sanchez tested positive for marijuana after his first-round KO over Joe Riggs on Dec. 13 at Miramar Marine Corps Air Station. Armando Garcia, the executive officer of the California State Athletic Commission, said Sanchez paid a $500 fine and served a three-month suspension, so he has been cleared to fight Josh Koscheck at UFC 69 on April 7 in Houston.