MMA on Tap has learned that the father of former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin passed away yesterday due to a heart attack. All of us here would like to send our thoughts and prayers to Rich’s family and friends during this difficult time.
Diabate to Train with Team Quest
Cyrille “Snake” Diabate has announced that he will be spending some time in the United States to train with Dan Henderson and the rest of Team Quest’s Temecula, California franchise in preparation for his first fight on American soil.
Diabate is looking to improve his wrestling skills and takedown defense during his stay:
“This is exactly the kind of opportunity I need,” says Diabate. “America is where everything is happening right now, both fighting and training-wise. In the past I haven’t had to worry
about top level wrestlers trying to take me down. But now [with upcoming fights in American promotions], things will change.”
If Diabate is looking to improve his wrestling ten-fold, he certainly picked the right place…
Grove Fought High for First Six Fights
In a recent interview with Cage Potato, Kendall Grove admitted that he fought in his first six professional bouts high off of marijuana:
See, marijuana is a touchy subject. I’m a rock star — I’ve been smoking weed since I was in the 6th grade, I can openly say that. But I’m also clean when I fight. I cut that shit out — I’m a professional. Don’t get me wrong, my first six fights, I fought high, I fought stoned. But when you get to this level, you have to take responsibility. It’s your job. I stop doing that stuff three months out.
Thompson-Rogers, “Krazy Horse” Added to EliteXC Feb Card
ProElite’s Sam Caplan is reporting that a heavyweight bout between James Thompson and Brett Rogers has been added to the undercard of EliteXC’s next event on February 16th at the United Bank Arena in Miami, Florida.
Thompson will be making his EliteXC debut at the event. He was knocked out by Neil Grove in just 10 seconds at Cage Rage 22 in July. Rogers is coming off of a submission win over Ralph Kelly at EliteXC: Renegade.
Charles “Krazy Horse” Bennett will also apparently compete on the undercard as well. Bennett has not fought since submitting Donnie Martinez with a rear naked choke at a KOTC event in October.
Eric Bradley of Team Takedown fame is expected to sign with EliteXC according to Sam Caplan. Rick Roufus has not been cleared by the California State Athletic Commission and will not fight Mark Kerr at WCO: The Return. Roufus has been replaced by Kauai Kupihea.
NEW YORK - IFL titleholders Matt Horwich, Roy Nelson and Ryan Schultz will defend their belts when the International Fight League opens its 2008 schedule with an eight-bout card at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas on Friday, February 29.
In addition to the three Championship bouts, team competition will feature Matt Lindland?‘s Team Quest vs. Ken Shamrock?‘s Lions Den and Team Xtreme Couture vs. Mario Sperry?‘s MMA Top Team.
Horwich, who claimed the middleweight title with a victory over Benji Radach at the IFL World Grand Prix on December 29, will defend his crown against Tim Kennedy who won all three of his IFL matchups in 2007 with first or second-round finishes.
Nelson, who knocked out Antoine Jaoude to win the heavyweight crown, will take on IFL newcomer Fabiano Scherner, who trains with Lindland at Team Quest. Schultz, whose lightweight victory over Chris Horodecki raised eyebrows in the entire MMA community, makes the first defense of his lightweight belt against John Gunderson, who competes for the Lions Den.
?“This card is a good example of how the flexibility of our new format makes for great matchups,? said IFL Commissioner Kurt Otto. ?Fans will get to see three Championship bouts, plus some exciting team competition feeding some of our upcoming title fights.?”
This isn’t even close to the complete story, just bits and pieces that I was able to find here and there that may or may not be completely accurate, but what appears to be the best information out there.
I think everyone by now has heard how wearing a Sportsbook.com shirt at the UFC 54 weigh-ins ended up in the UFC releasing Matt Lindland from his contract at a time where he was widely known as the number one contender for Rich Franklin’s then-UFC middleweight title.
At the time those type of sponsor-fighter relationships were said to be prohibited by the UFC. Or was it just Sportsbook that was prohibited? Maybe just online gambling sites?
After all Dana White has called Calvin Ayre a criminal in the past for his dealings in online gambling. Sportsbook’s CEO Peter Dicks was arrested in 2006 on charges of racketeering, conspiracy and fraud, the same reasons why Ayre can not step foot inside the United States according to some.
Did Dana know something that made him think twice before allowing his fighters to be sponsored by online gambling sites? Did an event occur that made White change his mind about them? If something did, it may have been the Sportsbook/Team Quest scandal that occurred in the early months of 2005.
Above is the latest from The Garv who discusses the newly signed Kimbo Slice-Tank Abbott fight and how dangerous Miami is. I’m guessing that Will Smith is full of crap.
UFC Announces Nakamura-Emerson
The UFC has announced that a lightweight bout between Keita Nakamura and former Ultimate Fighter cast member Rob Emerson for UFC 81: Breaking Point next month.
Nakamura has not fought since losing a unanimous decision to Drew Fickett at UFC Fight Night 9 in April of last year. Nakamura also dropped a decision in his UFC debut against Brock Larson at UFC Fight Night 7.
Fresh off of his second stint in jail, Emerson will be making his first appearance inside the Octagon since his infamous fight against Gray Maynard at The Ultimate Fighter 5 Finale where he tapped out due to a rib injury and Maynard knocked himself out slamming Emerson to the ground.
While bout agreements have not yet been signed, both Cheick Kongo and Heath Herring are expected to face off in a heavyweight bout at UFC 82 in March according to a report from MMA Mania.
Juanito Ibarra, one of Kongo’s trainers, has stated that his client is already training in preparation for the bout:
“Kongo’s here at my house already getting ready for the fight,” said Ibarra. “This is going to be his year. Kongo’s got all the talent to be a heavyweight champion real soon, I truly believe that. Heath’s a tough opponent and this is going to be a big test.”
UFC Releases Radev and Hightower
No, there hasn’t been an official announcement by Dana White and company. Instead the news comes inadvertently from Ken Pavia’s journal about his dieting adventure with Luke Cummo via MMA Junkie:
The day needed a pick-me-up so I called UFC matchmaker Joe Silva to check the progress of my guys’ fights. He said he was still working on it but then informed me they would be releasing two of them, Jordan Radev and Richie Hightower.
Apparently Radev has already been booked to fight Hector Lombard at Cage Fighting Championship’s third event on February 15th in Sydney, Australia.
Ryan Bennett Memorial Fund Reminder
While there aren’t any items currently up for auction for the Ryan Bennett Memorial Fund, remember that you can always donate directly to the fund by visiting it’s official website.
Any fighters that are interested in donating items that can be auctioned off such as autographed pictures, shorts, gloves, or anything else should contact Randy Harris at email@example.com
Remember that all proceeds from the auctioned items go directly to the Ryan Bennett Memorial Fund.
Marcelo Garcia has joined American Top Team. MMA Junkie is reporting that UFC Fight Night 13 will most likely take place on April 2nd at a site yet to be determined in Colorado. The Nevada State Athletic Commission corrected the attendance and revenues stemming from UFC 79 yesterday. Scott White has a good piece on David Loiseau’s return. John Philapavage tries to revive Mirko Cro Cop’s career.
12-1 PM EST - TAGG Radio
1-3 PM EST - The Jordan Breen Show
2-3 PM EST - The Lights Out Show
3-5 PM EST - The Stephen Quadros Show
3-4 PM EST - The Fight Network Radio
9-10 PM EST - MMAWeekly’s Sound Off
11 PM EST - Knockout Radio
As you can see above, Chris Fries and The JDH of MMA News fame will premiere their “Lights Out Show” this afternoon on TAGG Radio at 2 PM EST.
Fightlinker also has the newest edition of The Low Blow out.
NBC has released a nice video introducing each of the women American Gladiators, including Gina Carano. She was pretty impressive last night in my opinion and I’m sure everyone got a kick out of her pulling guard during the “Pyramid” event. Another episode is on this evening in it’s normal time slot at 8:00 PM EST on NBC.
Cage Potato says that last night’s episode was terrible. I think it was bad but not that bad, with a few changes it’ll be better.
Here’s a little catch-up on some of the things that we may have missed over the weekend:
Bloody Elbow: Vince McMahon and the UFC
Houston Chronicle: Henderson supremely confident prepping for Silva
MMA Weekly: UFC Offers Machida Fight With Ortiz
TKO Xtreme: Xtreme Couture Coming to Toronto
Sherdog: Hardy Headed for U.S. in ‘08
MMA Junkie: Heath Herring Offered UFC 82 Fight with Cheick Kongo
Five Ounces of Pain: Xtreme Couture to field team at IFL opener on Feb. 29
Sam Caplan: Baroni talks career options and steroids
Fight Opinion: He’s back… Bob Meyrowitz
Our rumors page will be updated as soon as possible.
Matyushenko and Palaszewski Move to Chicago IFL Team
IFL light heavyweight champ Vladimir Matyushenko and popular lightweight Bart Palaszewski have opted to leave their respective teams and join the new Chicago franchise in the IFL according to The Fight Network:
According to Palaszewski, the team will be affiliated with former UFC champion Andrei Arlovski’s team and trainers, and will include former Chicago Red Bear Mark Miller (8-2), and IFL light heavyweight champion Vladimir Matyushenko (20-3). Matyushenko transferred from the now-defunct Los Angeles Sabres team.
Palaszewski said the team will train at Sean Bormet’s Overtime School of Wrestling in suburban Naperville, home of Arlovski and Team Pitbull. Overtime’s coaching staff is comprised of wrestling standouts Bormet, Kerry Boumans, and John Kading, along with boxing trainer Mike Garcia and jiu-jitsu specialist Dino Costeas.
I thought it was the Tokyo Sabres and the Los Angeles Anacondas but whatever…
Pancrase Releases Partial Card for Jan 30 Event
Panrcrase has announced four scheduled bouts for the first event on it’s 2008 Shining Tour. The main event will feature Katsuya Inoue defending his welterweight King of Pancrase title against Satoru Kitaoka in the third career fight between the two.
The remainder of the card:
Daisuke Hanazawa vs. Wataru Takahashi
Shinsuke Shoji vs. Yuichi Ikari
Yuki Yamasawa vs. Seiya Kawahara
Fightlinker is also still taking e-mailed questions until 6:00 PM EST today for their usual “mailbag” show that will go up later tonight.
Interested in owning a UFC championship belt like the one above? How about the exact one above? Got $30,000 to spare? Well former UFC heavyweight champ Ricco Rodriguez is selling the title he won from Randy Couture at UFC 39 on eBay in hopes of raising money for a school Rodriguez will be opening down south.
Tim Sylvia calls Fedor a bad word
Former UFC heavyweight champion had some choice words for Fedor Emelianenko during a post-UFC 79 interview with Gary Herman of CBS Sports. When asked about Emelianenko, Sylvia stated that he feels the former PRIDE champ is ducking top competition:
“I think he’s being a (expletive),” said Sylvia. “I think Fedor is very good, but you have to fight the top level competitors all the time to keep that status, and he is just not doing that.”
According to Five Ounces of Pain, the bad word had something to do with a pussy, whatever that is…
WCO Releases Complete Card for “The Return”
The World Cagefighting Organization has released the complete card for WCO: The Return, which is set to take place January 12th at the San Diego Sports Arena.
The event is headlined by a main event between former UFC light heavyweights Renato “Babalu” Sobral and Vernon White and includes many other notable fighters competing as well. The full card is below:
Renato Sobral vs. Vernon White
Ricco Rodriguez vs. Mike Kyle
Mark Kerr vs. Rick Roufus
Jimmy Ambriz vs. Wesley Correira
Joe Riggs vs. Gustavo Machado
Virgil Zwicker vs. David Mejia
Davis Loiseau vs. Leopoldo Serao
Tiki Ghosn vs. J.J. Ambrose
Fabio Costa vs. Carlos Fuentes
Georgi Karakahyan vs. Armando Sanchez
Tony Sylvestor vs. Cain Velasquez
Touch of gloves to MMA Junkie for that find.
Sakara Joins American Top Team
Alessio Sakara has joined the ranks of ATT according to a statement made on the team’s official website:
To start off the new year, American Top Team is pleased to announce UFC fighter Alessio “Legionarius” Sakara has joined our team!
We are excited to have the opportunity to work with Alessio, who is known for his explosive stand up style of fighting. We look forward to working with Alessio and help him improve his overall mma game and take him to the top!
Sakara returns at UFC 80: Rapid Fire later this month when he takes on newcomer James Lee. The fight is expected to be Sakara’s last at 205 lbs as he has expressed plans to move down to the middleweight division following the fight.
We will have a brand new MMA on Tap Top 10 posted later today. Our rumors page has been updated. Randy Couture will be hosting a charity poker tournament at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas on January 12th. Couture, Jamie Gold, and Dean Cain are all expected to participate. Leland Rolling takes a look at what’s next for Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva. A matchup between Jake Bostwick and John Phillips has been added to Cage Rage 25 according to The Fight Network.
It’s one thing to be a wrestler going into the sport of mixed martial arts. Throughout history it’s been shown that those with superior wrestling skills have been relatively successful. However it’s a different situation when you are a standout college wrestler and have been deemed by Pat Miletich himself to be the next great fighter in the featherweight division.
That’s the situation L.C. Davis finds himself in. It’s been a little more than a year since Davis quit his job as assistant wrestling coach at Pratt Community College in order to move to Bettendorf, Iowa and train at Miletich Fighting Systems full time. The move has paid off as three days from now, Davis will find himself fighting for a world title just 20 months into his professional career.
Davis is slated to take on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu standout Wagnney Fabiano for the IFL Featherweight Title at the promotion’s Grand Prix Finals this weekend at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT. The bout will be the first featherweight matchup in IFL history.
Sounds like a lot of pressure, right? Davis doesn’t think so.
“There’s no added pressure going into this bout,” Davis said during a recent interview session. “I’ve been trying not to think about the fact that it’s for a belt too much and it’s worked pretty good so far. I’m just taking this fight like it’s just like any other.”
While Davis may be the superior wrestler in this bout, more talented on the ground than his opponent he is not. Fabiano is widely considered to be one of the top ground specialists in MMA today - all four of his wins in the IFL have come by way of submission.
“My game plan is going to be sprawl and brawl,” said Davis. “I’d like to keep it on the feet. I believe that I’m a more well-rounded fighter than he is and that’s where I can expose him. I’m not worried if the fight goes to the ground though since I feel that I’ll be prepared to hang with him there.”
Regardless of the outcome of the fight, the two will automatically be established as anchors of the new featherweight division. If victorious, Davis can expect to have a chance to defend the championship gold a couple of times in ‘08 due to the IFL’s revamped schedule for next season. None of that matters right now of course, the fight against Fabiano comes first.
“The key to this fight is my ability to adapt to any position,” stated Davis. “I’m confident that I’ll be able to do that. As long as I stick to my strategy and make smart decisions, I don’t see any reason why I won’t come away from this fight victorious.”
Davis is being sponsored for this fight by Premier Fighter. You can check out their selection of shirts, shorts, and hoodies at their official website.
After earning a unanimous decision over Donnie Liles at the IFL World Grand Prix semifinals in November, Jay Hieron is now on the path to becoming the IFL’s first-ever welterweight champion.
However the only thing standing in Hieron’s way is Delson Heleno, who also was victorious at the Grand Prix semifinals last month and might be giving Hieron the biggest test of his MMA career thus far.
Hieron has acknowledged that quite he has quite the test coming up for him next weekend but it’s exactly the type of fight he wants to be in.
“I’ve fought a lot of tough fights,” Hieron said during a Monday teleconference. “He’s just another tough fight for me. I love these tough fights though. I’m really excited for this fight. After this it’s just about getting through this last hard week and then putting up game face on and getting out there.”
The matchup presents an interesting contrast of styles. Hieron has been a wrestling standout since high school while Heleno is widely known as one of the most talented jiu-jitsu practicioners out there today. While Hieron is more than capable of holding his own on the ground with Heleno, he’d like to try and keep the fight on the feet in this one.
“I think my striking is much better than his,” said Hieron. “That’s the plan, to keep it on the feet. If it goes to the ground I’ve been doing wrestling for years so I’ll be prepared for that as well. He’s a great fighter but I think he likes to force the takedown and I think that will play into my ability to keep things standing. Like I said, I’m more than prepared to go to the ground but I’d like to stay out of his element as much as possible.
Hieron’s standup is the one thing that many followers of MMA haven’t seen very much. An abnormally high percentage of Hieron’s fights have ended up going to the ground. Hieron hopes to break that trend on December 29th. As one of Hieron’s teammates at Xtreme Couture, Chris Horodecki attests that Hieron’s striking is a secret that will surprise a lot of people when he finally gets the opportunity to show it.
“I’ve been working on my striking constantly since I started doing mixed martial arts,” said Hieron. “That was the first thing that I worked on when I came into the sport. I feel my striking is just as good as anyone in the IFL, I just haven’t had a chance to show it since so many of my fights have ended up going to the ground.”
The IFL World Grand Prix Finals are scheduled to take place next Saturday at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The event will be broadcast in the United States on HDNet and in Canada on FOX Sports World Canada.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission announced this afternoon that Ariel Gandulla has tested positive for the anabolic steroid Nandrolone.
The positive test stems from post-fight testing for WEC 31: Faber vs Curran on December 12th. Gandulla was submitted by WEC Light Heavyweight Champion Doug Marshall in less than a minute into their bout at the event.
Gandulla will now have twenty days to respond to the commission in terms of whether or not he would like to appeal the positive test.
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.