Officials running the Yarennoka! show on New Year’s Eve held a press conference earlier today to announce the addition of three more bouts to the event’s card.
Fedor Emelianenko will make his long awaited return to action when he faces Hong Man Choi, who is coming off of a first-round defeat to Jerome LeBanner at K-1’s World Kickboxing Grand Prix last weekend.
Emelianenko was victorious in his only fight of 2007 when he submitted Matt Lindland with an armbar in the first round. Choi has not fought since stopping Bobby Ologun with strikes in just 16 seconds at last year’s K-1 Premium Dynamite!! A previously scheduled bout with Brock Lesnar earlier in the year fell apart when Choi was not cleared to participate by doctors.
Middleweights Kazuo Misaki and Yoshihiro Akiyama will clash on the card and Bob Sapp will fight for the first time in over two years when he takes on Bobby Ologun.
DALLAS - Andrew Simon, CEO of HDNet Fights, announced today that HDNet will feature the man considered by many to be the greatest fighter in any weight-class, Fedor Emelianenko in a LIVE bout from Japan only available in the United States on HDNet.
“HDNet Fights: Fedor Returns” will air LIVE on Monday, December 31 on HDNet.
This LIVE broadcast is made possible by a partnership between M-1 Global and HDNet Fights.
Officials running the Yarennoka! show scheduled to take place at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan held a press conference earlier today to announce two additional bouts for the event.
Reigning K-1 lightweight tournament champion Gesias Calvancanti will face Shinya Aoki for the first time in their respective careers.
Calvancanti had a monster year in 2007, stopping Nam Phan, Vitor Ribeiro, and Andre Amade in consecutive fights to win the K-1 Hero’s lightweight tourney for the second straight year. Calvancanti’s lone career loss came at the hands of Joachim Hansen at a Shooto event in 2004.
Aoki is 2-1 so far in 2007, submitting Brian Lo-A-Njoe at PRIDE 34 in April and earning a close split decision win over highly touted welterweight Akira Kikuchi at Shooto’s first “Back to our Roots” show in February.
The second bout announced at the press conference was Hayato “Mach” Sakurai returning to action against Hidehiko Hasegawa.
Sakurai last fought at PRIDE 33 where he knocked out current Ultimate Fighter contestant Mac Danzig.
Sakurai’s confirmed participation as this event should dispel the rumor that he had signed with the UFC to compete at welterweight. The UFC even showed him as a UFC welterweight during a PPV broadcast earlier this year but I’m assuming that contract talks thought to be a done deal may have fell apart. Either that or Sakurai is being lent to the show by Zuffa.
Hasegawa has been fairly active in 2007, earning a majority decision win over Jutaro Nakao in his first bout of the year. Hasegawa then faced Dong Hyun Kim in consecutive fights; Kim defeated Hasegawa in August by TKO before the two fought to a draw last month.
An official opponent for Fedor Emelianenko was not announced at the press conference. Officials present included M-1 Global CEO Monte Cox, FEG president Sadaharu Tanigawa, former PRIDE official Nobuhiko Takada and DEEP president Shigeru Saeki.
A press conference was held earlier today in Japan to officially announce a New Year’s Eve MMA event that will take place at the Saitama Super Arena, in Saitama, Japan.
Now I can’t speak a lick of Japanese so I can’t tell you who exactly the promoter is behind this whole thing but I’ll be able to find out later today.
The press conference was attended by a load of former PRIDE and DSE officials, including Nobuhiko Takada. Many of them will be involved in the running and production of the event. The event will be broadcast on SkyPerfecTV PPV and as of right now, there are no plans to have anything other than a Japanese-only broadcast.
Fighters that have been announced as officially competing at the event are Fedor Emelianenko, Hayato Sakurai, Shinya Aoki, Tatsuya Kawajiri, and Mitsuhiro Ishida. Other fighters that were mentioned as possibly competing at the event were Kazuo Misaki, Joachim Hansen, Ricardo Arona, Gilbert Melendez, Luiz Azevedo, and Hidehiko Hasegawa.
There was no mention of Hong Man Choi in any forum, leading more credibility to The Fight Network’s Brian Knapp and his report via Monte Cox that Hong Man Choi is not signed to fight Fedor and is nothing more than an option as of right now.
Cox mentioned a few details in terms of the lending out of Fedor by M-1. Fedor is set to be paid $1.5 million by the Japanese promotion and they are also responsible for choosing Fedor’s opponent:
“Part of the deal is that they choose the opponent,” Cox said. “They’re choosing an opponent that makes sense for the Japanese market.”
I’ll update this post whenever I receive more information on the press conference.
Sherdog’s Greg Savage is reporting that Fedor Emelianenko will return to action on New Year’s Eve against K-1 veteran Hong Man Choi.
Savage made the statement on his radio show along with Jeff Sherwood.
According to the report, Emelianenko and Choi will fight on a card being promoted by Hustle, a Japanese professional wrestling organization. The event is currently slated to take place at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan.
Choi is also scheduled to compete at the K-1 World Kickboxing Grand Prix on December 8th, so Choi will have to come out of the tournament relatively unscathed in order to stand at least a chance against the former PRIDE heavyweight champion.
We will have more information on this when we receive it…
Catching up on the day…
- Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson announced today on The Fight Network’s radio show that he will be fighting in EliteXC’s next event set to take place in February. An opponent for Slice has not yet been named.
- According to M-1’s official Russian site, the company will hold it’s first event under the M-1 Global banner on New Year’s Eve in Japan and Fedor will fight on the card as well:
The first M-1 Global event will take place in Japan, Saitama Super Arena on December, 31!
No one other than four time Pride Heavyweight Champion Fedor Emelianenko will fight in the main event.
- MMA Mania is reporting about a possible heavyweight showdown at UFC 79 between Eddie Sanchez and Soa Palalei.
- Joe Hall of Sherdog put together a great summary on yesterday’s public annoucement of the forming of the World Alliance of Mixed Martial Arts (WAMMA).
I don’t want to bad mouth the idea since a few fellow writers out there are involved with the the sanctioning body but something like this may end up bringing MMA closer to the way the world of boxing is run. That’s a place where a lot of fans don’t want the sport to go…
- Kurt Angle will appear on Inside MMA this Friday night on HDNet at 9:30 PM EST.
From the official press release:
Angle, who is the only wrestler in history to hold the distinction of winning four different world heavyweight championships throughout his career, sits down with Bas Rutten and Kenny Rice to discuss his thoughts on all of this week’s MMA action.
Angle also discusses his potential career change from pro-wrestling to MMA - and talks bluntly about which MMA organization he is NOT going to join and why!
- Let’s start talking about suspension shall we…
Bill Mahood plans to appeal his fine and suspension for a positive test for Drostanolone even after he openly admitted that he took the drug.
- The Nevada State Athletic Commission announced that they have suspended Josh Diekman, Anthony Lapsley, and Adam Torres.
Diekman has been suspended for nine months and fined $1000 after testing positive for Nandrolone, Hydrochlorothiazide, and Marijuana. Both Lapsley and Torres have been temporarily suspended for suspected use of illegal substances. Lapsley tested positive for the suspected use of Marijuana while Torres tested for Stanozolol and Methenolone
- The California State Athletic Commission has announced that they have suspended Jermaine Wilson until February 2 of next year and fined him $500 after testing positive for Marijuana.
MMA Weekly is reporting that Fedor Emelianenko will not be fighting in Japan on New Year’s Eve despite heavily circulating rumors.
M-1 CEO Monte Cox said that Fedor had been offered a fight but his management team turned down the offer because of a lack of time:
“No. It’s not going to happen,” said M-1’s president and CEO, Monte Cox, of the proposed fight. There was an offer. We looked at it. We tried to see if it was possible, but in the end, there just wasn’t enough time to pull it off. It wasn’t a bad idea. It was kind of planned to be a sort of goodbye to Pride fans for Fedor.”
Brazilian online magazine Tatame had a quote from the manager of Pedro Rizzo who stated that his client received an offer to fight Fedor”
“Actually, we received a proposal, but we can´t say from whom. Now it´s too early to speak”, said Jorge Guimarães, Rizzo´s manager.
The UFC held a press conference earlier today with the media to in order to “protect” themselves from any false claims that UFC Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture made during his own press conference last week.
UFC President Dana White, UFC Co-Owner Lorenzo Fertitta, and the UFC’s Chief Financial Officer John Mulkey were all on hand to share their thoughts on the situation involving Couture, to challenge some of the claims that Couture made, and to answer any other questions that the media had.
White started off the press conference by mentioning that he hated that the whole situation was going on that the UFC never wants to have to do anything like this again, but they felt as a company that they wanted to protect themselves. White said that he still considers Couture a friend and that the UFC wasn’t holding the press conference to belittle him.
One of the first counters that White made was to a statement made by Couture’s wife Kim, who said that the UFC did not market her husband. White reminded everyone that Couture was one of the first coaches on The Ultimate Fighter, was involved in the 2nd and 4th seasons of the show, and also had his own day of programming on Spike TV, an idea created by White himself.
White said that he was proud of the fact that Randy claims he makes just as much money outside of the UFC as he does competing in the organization. White said that is the long-term goal for the fighters – that they can continue to profit from their success long after they stop fighting in the Octagon.
Fertitta, who was making a rare press conference appearance, revealed that he had negotiated Couture’s new contract that he signed in January with him. He said that after the talks were done, Couture seemed relatively happy with the results and what he had agreed to. Fertitta also noted that he was hurt by many of the comments that Randy made last week and feels that he put on that press conference in order to attempt to hurt the UFC.
We all wanted to know what the numbers were and here they are:
Couture made a base salary of $200,000 for his fights against Tim Sylvia and Gabriel Gonzaga. Couture also asked for and received a signing bonus of $500,000. $250,000 of that bonus was given to Couture up front and the final $250,000 was given to Couture following his fight against Sylvia at UFC 68. Couture received this check on January 15th and cashed it on January 30th.
On top of his salary, Couture was also paid a $200,000 employment fee, a commentating fee of $56,000, and the PPV bonus for UFC 68 was $936,000. Not counting the signing bonus, Couture made $1.186 million for fighting at UFC 68. Couture has received $936,000 to date from his UFC 68 earnings.
For UFC 74, Couture received a $35,000 bonus for fight of the night. He is also expected to earn $787,000 in PPV bonuses for UFC 74. He is expected to earn $1.072 million for UFC 74. The UFC has not yet been paid for UFC 74 but when they do, Couture will be paid 10 days after that. The UFC expects Couture to have grossed $2.9 million by years end.
All of the numbers were reported by Mulkey. Mulkey also stated that the discretionary fees Couture talked about are not just determined by Dana White but by all those involved in the management of the UFC. Mulkey said that Couture was off by $436,000 in his bonus claims.
- White says that the UFC is the only company he knows of that pays fighters more than what is stated in their contracts. White says that they do not pay guys under the table in reference to Couture’s multiple “off the book” claims from last week.
- White says that the UFC is not a monopoly, they just happen to be the best at what they do. White says that a monopoly is impossible because there are more opportunities now for fighters to be able to compete than ever before.
- Fertitta spoke to Randy the day before his press conference and said that he had a nice conversation with him, not knowing what he was about to say the next day.
- Both Fertitta and White sat down with Couture before UFC 76 and heard and discussed Couture’s problems that he had. White said that the meeting abruptly ended early after Fertitta was forced to leave but that he told Randy that they would finish talking at a later date. Couture claimed that two weeks went by and he didn’t hear an answer. White says that he didn’t know he had a time table of two weeks before Randy would resign.
- This is the last time that White or any other UFC officials will discuss the Randy Couture situation.
- White and Fertitta seemed to not have a definitive answer when asked if Couture’s contract would expire in nine months or if he was definitively locked in for his next two career fights. White responded with “We’ll find out”, “We expect Randy to honor his contract”, and “We aren’t going to discuss the contracts.”
- White says that he doesn’t consider Fedor Emelianenko the number one heavyweight in the world and that he considers Couture the number one heavyweight today. He mocked Fedor’s last four opponents and called him a “farce”. White also said that he wouldn’t even consider Fedor among the top five heavyweights in the division.
- Both White and Fertitta agreed that they don’t things to play out in court. However they did say that they would take any means necessary in order to protect themselves.
- There are no plans to report numbers for revenue or anything like that in the near future.
- White plans on offering Couture a fight most likely this week. He mentioned Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira as an opponent. He said that if Couture did not take the fight, he would take that as Randy retiring.
Former UFC heavyweight contender Jeff Monson is currently in New Zealand as a special guest for Hextreme Events: Carnage in the Cage set to take place later tonight (Saturday in New Zealand).
Rogue Magazine was able to sit down with the MMA veteran and ask him a few questions, including the prospects of him fighting Fedor Emelianenko in M-1 at some point next year.
Monson believes that the fight is nearly official:
“Yeah it looks like a go,” said Monson. “I can’t wait to have a shot at who most call the best guy out there. It’s a good possibility at the moment but hopefully we get this fight official soon enough. The first time that I was supposed to fight him it didn’t happen but this time the possibility is great so I’m very excited.”
M-1 officials stated at a press conference earlier in the year that they were currently in talks with Monson. They also noted they are looking at PRIDE veterans Josh Barnett and Mark Hunt as well.
All Randy Couture wants is the one thing he’s constantly earned over his 10 year MMA career: Respect.
Couture held a public press conference earlier today at his Xtreme Couture training facility in Las Vegas, Nevada to discuss his reasons behind resigning from the UFC just two weeks ago.
Couture was quick to point out that he doesn’t want to do any harm to the promotion that caused him to become one of the most recognizable athletes in the world.
“I talked to Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta on the phone yesterday and I told them both that I’m not trying to hurt the organization in any way,” said Couture. “I told them how I felt. There weren’t any shouting matches or anything like that. Dana made particular comments that he’d like me to come back but based on the responses that were put on the table I don’t see it happening right now.”
“I’m tired of swimming against the current,” continued Couture. “I just want to be treated the way that I deserve and I haven’t been treated that way in a long time. If I would have come out and made inflammatory statements about the UFC and how I was being treated then it would have made it worse while I was still fighting and talking about contracts. I didn’t try to create a big buzz and I didn’t want to start anything. I simply laid out my feelings about why I was resigning.”