UFC Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture discusses his approach towards his bout this weekend against Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 74 as well as Gonzaga’s win over Mirko Cro Cop at UFC 70.
UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson talks to ESPN about the popularity of MMA and his upcoming unification bout with PRIDE champion Dan Henderson.
Former UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre talks to ESPN about the mental changes that he made after losing the belt to Matt Serra at UFC 69. He also discusses his training with Greg Jackson and his strategy going into his fight against Josh Koscheck at this weekend’s UFC 74.
Joe Stevenson talks with ESPN about his upcoming fight with Kurt Pellegrino at UFC 74. Stevenson discusses Pellegrino’s skills, what strategies he will try to use in the Octagon, and whether or not he will receive a title shot if victorious.
News and Notes
- Dana White and company held the official press conference for UFC 74 yesterday. The most interesting thing to come out of it? Probably something that many of us have known for a while now - When asked about Brandon Vera’s next opponent, White responded with “most likely Tim Sylvia.”
Some press conference coverage:
- UFC Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture will be featured on ESPN’s Rome is Burning later today at 4:30 PM EST. Couture is expected to discuss his preparation for his title defense against Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 74, his bout with former champ Tim Sylvia at UFC 68, and Gonzaga’s brutal knockout of Mirko Cro Cop at UFC 70.
- Wild Bill’s Fight Night has become the latest MMA promotion to earn a television deal:
Wild Bill’s Fight Night, the biggest and most successful MMA event series in the state of Georgia, recently acquired a television deal with Comcast On Demand. Past MMA events from Wild Bill’s Fight Night are available now through Comcast’s On Demand service. All future Wild Bill’s Fight Night cards will be televised on Comcast.
- ION Television has announced that it will no longer be broadcasting BodogFight programming beginning in February 2008. ION stated that MMA is no longer appropriate for the channel’s new style of family programming.
- Apparently George Foreman loves mixed martial arts:
“I love the UFC. I love it,” Foreman said. “If they had had that back when I was coming up, in 1966, it would have been my sport. Man, I love it. And you know what? Nobody would have pulled the rope-a-dope on me.”
- CBS Sportsline writer Sam Caplan has joined the ranks of UFC Junkie.
Roger Sportsnet: Gonzaga on my Mind
MMA Weekly: Randy Couture on Steroids in MMA
Sprawl ‘n Brawl: MMA History Lesson: The Fight That Almost Was
CBS Sportsline: Five Ounces of Pain: Fedor’s next destination should be the UFC
MSNBC: Soft-hearted ‘Rampage’ ready to bring the heat
Fight Opinion: Friday fight notes: A bad week just got worse for K-1
Today UFC heavyweight champion Randy “The Natural” Couture and his challenger Gabriel “Napao” Gonzaga appeared on ESPN News to discuss their upcoming title fight at UFC 74: Respect.
In a recent interview with ESPN.com UFC president Dana White stated that he plans on intensifying the punishments for guys who test positive for banned substances and drugs.
ESPN The Magazine: But what is the punishment? What are you going to do?
White: They’re not going to get paid. I take care of all of my guys. If you fight your ass off for me, you’ll get paid. But what I’m going to do is: I’m going to wait and see if they pass their drug tests. If they don’t, you’re going to get paid what’s in your contract and that’s it.
ESPN The Magazine: So you’re going to pay the guaranteed money but any fight bonuses would be withheld? That’s not a slap on the wrist.
White: No, that’s a kick in the nuts, and they know that.
UFC heavyweight champion Randy “The Natural” Couture joins Jim Rome on Rome is Burning to discuss his upcoming title bout with Gabriel Gonzaga as well as the issue of steriods in MMA.
News and Notes
- Our rumors section has been updated once again…
- Remember to cast your vote on our latest poll: Rock the Vote - Favorite UFC 73 Fight
- MMA on Tap would like to congratulate UFC Junkie’s Eric “Performify” Foster on being hired as a columnist for Fight! Magazine.
- For those of you that haven’t already heard, Wesley “Cabbage” Correira has been forced to withdraw from his scheduled bout with James Thompson at Cage Rage 22 this Saturday after suffering a broken ankle during a recent training session. Cage Rage has also announced that Correira will be replaced by Kimo Leopoldo in the bout.
- Full Contact Fighter is reporting that former UFC Heavyweight Champion Ricco Rodriguez has been forced to withdraw from his scheduled bout against Ron Waterman at HCF: Unfinished Business on July 21 because he has been denied admittance into the country of Canada:
Hardcore Championship Fighting promoter, Keith Crawford, informed FCF this afternoon that Ricco Rodriguez will not fight Ron Waterman on the July 21st, “Unfinished Business” card, in Edmonton, Alberta, as had been advertised. The fight was to be the card’s main event, which will take place at the River Cree Resort and Casino in Alberta’s capital city. According to Crawford, Canadian authorities have denied Rodriguez entrance into the country.
“Mr. Rodriguez’s bond to get into Canada has been revoked due to recent situations.” said Crawford, which was the extent to which he cared to comment. As of last week, Crawford had maintained in correspondence with FCF that he believed all American fighters that were scheduled to compete on the card would be granted entry into Canada.
Rodriguez’s lawyer and agent, James C. Gallo, told FCF this afternoon that “I’m not an expert in Canadian law, but I’m unaware of any reason as to why Rodriguez would be precluded from leaving the U.S. to enter Canada.”
- The Fight Network is reporting that Mirko Cro Cop has hired a talented group to be used as sparring partners in preparation for Cro Cop’s upcoming bout against Cheick Kongo at UFC 75. Sergei Kharitonov, Ricco Rodriguez and Zelg Galesic will all be participating in Cro Cop’s training camp.
- Randy Couture and Quinton Jackson fell short of their bid to become the first mixed martial artist to receive an ESPY for Fighter of the Year as Floyd Mayweather Jr took home the honor.
- Gracie Fighter is stating that Nick Diaz has been released of his contract with PRIDE and Zuffa because of his ties with Elite XC:
We will be running a series on a seldom seen look at the behind the scenes workings that ultimately lead to the ouster of Nick Diaz from the new Pride organization. In our opinion this ouster had everything to do with Nick’s participation in the EliteXC organization and nothing to do with Zuffa’s technical grounds. Everyday this week we will post corresponding emails and let you the reader be the ultimate judge.
MMA Weekly: This Thing is a Unification Bout
NBC Sports: Sport, not savagery
CBS Sportsline: A look ahead at UFC championship picture
Fight Opinion: Thursday trash talk: Trigg and Toughman
Bloody Elbow: California and Oversaturation
411 Mania: Where Do The UFC 73 Fighters Go From Here
Since we didn’t get a CKA up this morning and there is a ton of news to report, I thought we would do a little catching up on things…
Couture, Jackson Nominated for ‘Best Fighter’ ESPY
UFC Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture and UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Quinton Jackson were announced as nominees yesterday for the Best Fighter category in the 15th annual ESPY Awards.
Couture and Jackson are joined by boxers Miguel Cotto, Floyd Mayweather Jr, and Manny Pacquiao as finalists. Fans will be able to vote at the ESPY’s official site until July 7th for the winner. The awards will be televised on July 15th.
Dana White: Shamrock Rumors False; Set to Release Him From Contract
UFC President Dana White stated to Yahoo! Sports Kevin Iole that he never even thought about having Ken Shamrock take on Michael Bisping at UFC 75 in England. He also said that he is considering releasing Shamrock from the remainder of his contract.
“I don’t know if he wants to fight, but we haven’t spoken to him and I’m not planning to use him,” White said.
UFC Officially Announces UFC 74: Respect
The UFC officially announced UFC 74: Respect set for August 25th at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. Two bouts were announced: Randy Couture will defend his UFC Heavyweight Title against Gabriel Gonzaga. Also former UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre will take on top-rated contender Josh Koscheck.
Tickets for the event will go on sale Sunday, July 8th.
Cote Meets Grove at UFC 74
Patrick Cote has announced via a post on The Underground forum that he will face Kendall Grove at UFC 74.
ESPN’s LeBetard Talks MMA on The Sports Reporters
ESPN commentator Dan LeBetard declared MMA as ‘the sport of tomorrow’ during ESPN’s annual Sunday morning show, The Sports Reporters.
LeBetard’s comments were as follows:
“Tomorrow’s sports fans, ages 18 to 34, have spoken,” LeBetard said. “Generation YouTube wants fights in a cage and submission holds and a bloody sport that appeals to the short attention span more than the ponderous 12 rounds of De la Hoya-Mayweather. Dying hockey would kill for the kind of future and attention and pub MMA has. Boxing is yesterday’s sport; MMA is tomorrow’s.”
You can watch the clip of the segment here via ESPN Motion.
IFL: Las Vegas, CFFC 5 Attendance Numbers
The Nevada State Athletic Commission released the attendance numbers for IFL’s Las Vegas event earlier this week. According to the NSAC, the event only brought in $93,270 at the gate. The number seems a bit low, especially when the IFL reported that the arena was sold out with a crowd of 3,200. Well apparently the IFL fibbed a little bit. It turns out that only 996 tickets were sold for the event and the IFL gave out 1,842 complimentary tix.
The New Jersey State Athletic Control Board announced that CFFC 5: Kimbo vs Mercer rang up a paid crowd of 7,286, not counting any complimentary tickets that the promotion may have given away.
Burnett, ProElite Developing Reality MMA Series
Reality TV producer Mark Burnett is planning on producing a series based on MMA in conjunction with ProElite, the parent company of Elite XC.
The most interesting thing about all of this is that Burnett now owns part of ProElite according to Loretta Hunt of The Fight Network:
As part of the agreement between Mark Burnett Productions and ProElite, Burnett was afforded the right to buy up to 17 million shares of ProElite stock at $3 a share in eight portions tied to the success of the joint venture. The format for the planned MMA series is still in the “exploration stage,” according to the report.