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.
Don Frye connects with a right hand against Min Soo Kim in October 2006. Photo courtesy of Fight Entertainment Group.
YAMMA Pit Fighting, a new mixed martial arts organization created by Ultimate Fighting Championship founder Bob Meyrowitz, has announced the complete card for it’s upcoming inaugural event in April.
The event is scheduled to take place on April 11th at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, NJ. It will be highlighted by two “masters division” fights and an eight-man heavyweight tournament.
Longtime veterans Don Frye and Oleg Taktarov will fight for the first time in the night’s main event. A bout between kickboxing veteran Gary Goodridge and infamous professional boxer Eric “Butterbean” Esch will also take place. An eight-man heavyweight tournament featuring Travis Wiuff and Sherman Pendergarst will proceed the fights.
The complete lineup for the event is below:
Masters Division Fights
Don Frye vs. Oleg Taktarov
Gary Goodridge vs. Eric Esch
Eight-Man Heavyweight Tournament
A wealth of news and events have developed over the four days that we were sidelined due to those damn server gremlins. Here’s a little recap of everything that has gone on since then. The majority of the news is displayed after the jump.
Frye-Taktarov Booked for YAMMA Pit Fighting
Longtime mixed martial arts veterans Don Frye and Oleg Taktarov will headline the main event at YAMMA Pit Fighting’s inaugural show, which is slated to take place at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, NJ on April 11th.
Frye revealed the news during his weekly appearance on TAGG Radio.
“I hope (YAMMA) made the announcement because I just signed to fight Oleg Taktarov,” Frye said.
Quote courtesy of MMA Junkie.
EliteXC Reveals Complete Card for “Street Certified”
Elite Xtreme Combat has announced the complete card for their upcoming “Street Certified” event, which will take place this Saturday night at the University of Miami’s BankUnited Center. The event will be airing on Showtime.
The full card is below:
Tank Abbott vs. Kimbo Slice
Ricco Rodriguez vs. Antonio Silva
Kyle Noke vs. Scott Smith
Yves Edwards vs. Edson Berto
Brett Roges vs. James Thompson
Rafael Feijao vs. John Doyle
Jon Kirk vs. Yosmany Cabezas
Dave Herman vs. Mario Rinaldi
Eric Bradley vs. Mikey Gomez
Mike Berhard vs. Lorenzo Borgameo
After watching UFC 79 and hearing all of the discussion about how Matt Hughes and Matt Serra were originally supposed to fight but Serra pulled out with an injury, I got to thinking. It wasn’t the first time that a situation like that occurred.
So I sat down and did some research. There were actually a good number of fights in the UFC that were signed and slated to happen but ended up not taking place for one reason or another. The final number was a lot higher than I expected so I went ahead and narrowed the list down to the fights that would have been the best if they were to happen at the time.
So here they are. I’ve sorted them starting with the most recent and excluding Hughes-Serra. Each instance is pretty interesting.
Evan Tanner vs Jeremy Horn (UFC 59): The two long-time MMA veterans were set to clash at UFC 59 in what was unofficially an “elimination” bout for the two of them. Horn had split his two return bouts in the UFC while Tanner had lost two straight, including his middleweight title. The bout would have been an interesting chess match between two slick grapplers but Horn ended up pulling out after injuring his back during training. Justin Levens replaced Horn and Tanner went on to submit Levens in the first round of their bout. Horn was released shortly after defeating Chael Sonnen at UFC 60.
Matt Hughes vs Karo Parisyan (UFC 56): After losing to Georges St. Pierre at UFC 46, Parisyan went ahead and racked up three straight wins over Nick Diaz, Chris Lytle, and Matt Serra to earn a title shot against then-champion Matt Hughes. The anticipated welterweight showdown was set to headline the event until Parisyan was forced to pull out of the fight after suffering an elbow injury during training. Joe Riggs stepped in for Parisyan and ended up failing to make weight, costing him his shot at the title. Hughes would go on to submit Riggs in a non-title bout and wouldn’t defend his belt again until UFC 63, making it over a full year since the welterweight title was contested. To this day, Parisyan is still yearning for another shot at the title.
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.
Sam Caplan of Five Ounces of Pain is reporting that Don Frye will not return as head coach of the Tucson Scorpions of the IFL for the 2008 season.
Frye’s Scorpions finished the regular season with an 0-3 record. The team only won 4 of it’s 11 bouts.
Caplan says that Frye won’t be leaving the IFL completely however:
Frye, a legendary competitor who holds a pro MMA record of 17-6-1 with matches for the UFC and PRIDE, is expected to remain with the league in various capacities. He’s expected to stay with the league in an instructional role while also representing the company during functions with the military and continuing his highly-popular “Dear Don” column on the IFL website.
News and Notes
- Strikeforce announced the four participants for their first ever one-night tournament set to take place at their next event on November 16th at the HP Pavilion in San Jose.
The four middleweights that will participate are Falaniko Vitale, Trevor Prangley, Yuki Sasaki and Jorge Santiago.
Each tournament bout will consist of two, two-minute rounds. If a draw is declared following the second round of a fight, an overtime round will be added to the bout to determine a victor. The winner of the tournament may earn the opportunity to face Frank Shamrock in the near future.
- Rich Franklin’s publicity manager has stated that reports about a possible early retirement for Franklin are not true:
“Rich still has a lot left to accomplish in this sport,” said J.T. Stewart, Franklin’s publicity manager. “It’s too early for him to even consider retirement at this point.”
- Paul Buentello will face Alistair Overeem or the vacant Strikeforce Heavyweight Title on November 16th as well.
- Dave Meltzer has another description of Don Frye’s apparent street fight with the bodyguard of Leland Chapman:
The fight with Don Frye and “Sonny,” who was Leland Chapman’s bodyguard, started when promoter Chris Salsbury told Scott Steiner that MMA promoter Phil Flathres would be in charge of paying the wrestlers. The wrestlers came to Flathers for their money. Somehow the MMA people and wrestling people were played against each other and tension developed. “Sonny” started making remarks about pro wrestling, which saw an MMA fighter/pro wrestler, Frye, telling him to shut up. Frye had been drinking and was loaded. It wound up with them going outside.
“Sonny” allegedly sucker punched Frye, bloodying him up. Frye then allegedly single legged Sonny and was punching him hard from the mount when it was pulled apart. The second confrontation in the parking lot saw Sonny knock down Frye and Sonny and Leland Chapman ran off as Scott Norton came and Frye got up. It should be noted that we’ve gotten many different versions and all are slightly different but this seems to be the best detailed version.
- Meltzer is also reporting that a fight between Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva has not yet been signed, thus why there was no announcement of it on Saturday night.
No Limit Fighting’s Brawl 4 It All event was cancelled Saturday afternoon after CSAC officials had found that the official cage they were going to use for the event was not yet built. Since then, madness has apparently ensued.
Ken Pavia told Sherdog that Phil Flathers, the show’s promoter, promised 20% of their purses to the fighters even though the show was cancelled and to date, no one has received anything:
“The promoter called a meeting of a number of the fighters that had gathered at the event and during the course of negotiations an altercation ensued in the back of the room,” said Pavia, who declined to expound on the altercation. “During the altercation the promoter took advantage of the distraction to grab his briefcase and run out the side exit and sprint to his car. People chased him, he jumped in his car and took off. At this time, despite the fact that my fighters signed bout agreements, made weight, and complied with all their medical obligations, they have not been paid a dollar.”
The altercation in the back of the room may have involved Don Frye and the bodyguard of Leland Chapman (son of Dog the Bounty Hunter) according to Dave Meltzer:
There were problems between Phil Flathers, the MMA promoter whose show was canceled by the athletic commission because the cage wasn’t properly put together. Flathers said since there was no show, he wasn’t going to pay the fighters. Don Frye got into it with the bodyguard of Leland Chapman (the son of Dog the Bounty Hunter) and ended up sucker punched and came up bloody. The two had a second altercation later with Frye sucker punched again.
F4W Online has another take on what happened:
Frye apparently got into an altercation with a bodyguard while it was being explained by one of the MMA promoters to the other fighters that because the show was canceled, they weren’t being paid. According to a source, Frye, who had been trying to mediate the meeting, challenged the bodyguard to take it outside after the bodyguard had screamed at him and poked him repeatedly in the chest. When Frye turned around he was sucker-punched twice. They got into a brawl, the police were called, and then later Frye and the bodyguard happened to run into each other again and had another fight. There are reports that Don was knocked out, but he was in the hotel shortly afterwards signing autographs for people so that story is likely inaccurate. He did have a huge shiner.
Sounds to me like Frye may have gotten jumped by Dog’s crew. We’ll definitely have more on this later.
News and Notes
- The updated MMA on Tap Top 10 will be posted later today…
- Steve Bruno has been taken off the card for June 12’s UFC Fight Night 10 after sustaining an injury during a practice session last Friday. A replacement opponent for Chad Reiner, whom Bruno was slated to face, has not yet been announced.
- Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Keith Kizer shot down heavy rumors regarding the possibility that the NSAC denied Frank Mir the opportunity to take on Tim Sylvia at UFC 74. In fact, the bout was never even taken to the commission in the first place. That doesn’t mean that the bout would still be approved however based on what Kizer stated earlier today in an email sent to various MMA media outlets:
That fight has not been presented to me, and thus no ‘denial’ has been made. I was asked about the match-up by a reporter and said I would have a hard time approving that fight unless I see a quality win from Mr. Mir first. However, I will keep an open mind.
- Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Chuck Liddell will be on Late Night with David Letterman this Thursday on CBS…
- The Fight Network is reporting that the six fighters who were tested for performance enhancing drugs after UFC 71 all passed with flying colors:
The Nevada State Athletic Commission announced Friday that six fighters – Chuck Liddell, Quinton Jackson, Karo Parisyan, Josh Burkman, Alan Belcher and Sean Salmon – tested negative for steroids and stimulants prior to May 26’s UFC 71. Drugs of abuse tests results are still pending.
Video of the Day
PRIDE FC has officially announced two more fights set to take place on their upcoming April 8th show, PRIDE 34: Kamikaze. In a heavyweight bout fans will see Edson Drago (9-1) face off against Yoshihiro Nakao (5-1, 2 NC). Also on the card will be a battle between MMA legend Don Frye (17-5-1, 1 NC) and English brawler James Thompson (13-6).
Edson Drago made his PRIDE debut in 2006 when he fought Pawel Nastula at PRIDE: Critical Countdown Absolute. Drago was in tough in his debut losing to the Judoka fighter by armbar. Drago’s opponent, Yoshihiro Nakao, has a colorful past with two no contests on his record. Many fans will recognize Nakao from his infamous “kiss” incident with Heath Herring. Nakao is 1-1 in PRIDE with a victory over Eun Su Lee and a loss to Kazuhiro Nakamura.
James Thompson has a PRIDE record of 4-2. Thompson made his PRIDE debut in October 2004 when he was on the wrong end of a highlight reel knockout. Thompson shocked fans in his last PRIDE appearance when he beat Hidehiko Yoshida senseless leaving him motionless on the canvas. Though always dangerous Thompson has been a streaky fighter losing four of his last five. Don “The Predator” Frye has a record of 2-3 in PRIDE with victories over Ken Shamrock and Gilbert Yvel. Frye’s game has taken a hit with age as he has gone 3-4-1 (1 NC) in the last four years.