Forrest Griffin weighs-in for UFC 76: Knockout. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Quinton “Rampage” Jackson will defend his UFC light heavyweight title against top contender Forrest Griffin at UFC 86 on Saturday, July 5th in Las Vegas.
The news comes from Dave Meltzer, who reported the date in the latest edition of his Wrestling Observer newsletter.
The two fighters will serve as coaches for the upcoming seventh season of “The Ultimate Fighter, which will begin airing on April 2nd, following a live broadcast of UFC Fight Night 13 on Spike TV. The show is rumored to be featuring a total of 32 fighters competing for a six-figure contract with the UFC.
Jackson successfully defended his title for the first time when he earned a hard-fought unanimous decision over Dan Henderson at UFC 75. July will mark ten months since the last time “Rampage” stepped into the cage.
Griffin, who will be the second ‘TUF’ alumnus to serve as a coach on the show, pulled off one of the biggest upsets of last year when he dominated former PRIDE superstar Mauricio “Shogun” Rua before submitting him with a rear naked choke late in the third round of their bout at UFC 76.
UFC President Dana White announced over the weekend that UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and the number-one contender for his title, Forrest Griffin, will serve as coaches for the seventh season of “The Ultimate Fighter.
White made separate announcements for Griffin and Jackson’s participation at The Ultimate Fighter 6 Finale and Spike TV’s 2007 Video Game Awards respectively.
The upcoming season of the show will feature 16 middleweights competing for a six-figure contract with the UFC. White stated multiple times over the weekend that the show would be completely revamped.
As part of the deal, Jackson will defend his title against Griffin when the show is finished airing, some time in the summer next year.
The UFC held a conference call with the media earlier today to announce a new television deal with Spike TV and to discuss the UFC’s recent acquisition of former pro wrestler Brock Lesnar and the much anticipated bout between Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva at UFC 79 in December.
Jennifer Wenk, the UFC’s head of public relations was the host of the call. Participants on the call included UFC President Dana White, former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Chuck Liddell, former PRIDE Middleweight Champion Wanderlei Silva, Brock Lesnar, and Spike TV officials Brian Diamond and Kevin Kay.
Right off the bat Dana was asked if he purposely planned a conference call at the same time Randy Couture was slated to hold his press conference.
“Am I putting on a press conference to fuck with Randy Couture right now?” asked White. “Is that what you’re asking me? No, it’s not intentional. I’m here to announce the Spike deal and discuss the Lesnar signing as well as talk about Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva and their fight, that’s it. Is it a coincidence that we got this deal done the same week that Randy decided to speak out? No.”
White let everyone know that he still likes Couture as a person and would love to have him back. He was also confident that Couture would return in the near future.
“He’s mine,” claimed White “He’s under contract to me and he can’t fight anywhere else. I don’t know what his people are telling him but resignation or not he won’t be permitted to fight anywhere else. Besides that I love Randy. Randy is pissed at me. We’re friends and friends get pissed at each other. However I’m real confident that we’re going to kiss and make up real soon.”
The details of the UFC’s new deal with Spike TV are as follows:
The contract is a four year deal. There will be five more seasons of The Ultimate Fighter. Two seasons will take place in 2008, two in 2009, and only one season in 2010. The UFC and Spike TV are also developing a new television show that will premiere in 2010. The show will feature live fights and fighters of a “higher caliber” than those currently featured on TUF according to White.
White also stated that the UFC will produce 12 live events on Spike TV for next year.
“We’re going to do 12 live fight cards for next year,” said White. “We’ll continue to do UFC Fight Nights. We’re back in bed with these guys. They’ve been so good to us over the years and we’re going to do a lot of good programs.”
I always knew that The Garv’s hands were deadly...
News and Notes
- Our rumors section has been updated.
- Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar will most “The Tuffest 25 Moments of The Ultimate Fighter” tonight at 8 PM EST on Spike TV. It will be a two-hour long special highlighting the most memorable, drama-filled, and controversial moments that have taken place during the six seasons of the reality show.
- An episode of UFC Unleashed will air at 7 PM EST on Spike TV, just before the TUF special. Three fights will be shown: Chuck Liddell vs Renato Sobral from UFC 62, Matt Hughes vs Georges St. Pierre from UFC 65, and Andrei Arlovski vs Tim Sylvia from UFC 51.
- Tickets for the first round of the IFL Grand Prix in Chicago apparently only cost $12:
In an attempt to actually fill a venue, it looks like the IFL is offering tickets to its World Grand Prix on November 3rd in Chicago for only $12. The semi-finals, held in Florida, supposedly pulled in over 7,000 attendees, but those numbers (from the IFL) can lie and it’s hard to believe they are selling these tickets if they are so cheap. But tt’s a great deal if you live in the area and there should be some exciting matchups on the card.
- MMA News is claiming that the UFC was advertising Chuck Liddell vs Wanderlei Silva on the front of the site yesterday and then removed the text later on.
- UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva has told Sherdog that he would love to fight Matt Hughes:
Prior to that loss, Hughes speculated on retiring with both the welterweight and middleweight titles. If he can get past Matt Serra (Pictures) in December, he would be primed for a middleweight showdown with Silva.
“I would love to fight Matt Hughes (Pictures) if the UFC asked me to,” the Brazilian said. “He is a great fighter, and those are the people I want to fight.”
When pressed for a breakdown of a proposed match with the former welterweight champion, Silva demurred. “I am not going to comment on that,” he said, “other than saying it would be a great fight.”
News and Notes
- The CSAC has announced that the following fighters have tested negative for performance enhancing drugs following post-fight testing for UFC 76: Thiago Tavares, Tyson Griffin, Ryoto Machida, Anthony Johnson, and Rich Clementi. The only test results from the event that haven’t been released yet are of Chuck Liddell, Mauricio Rua, Forrest Griffin, and Keith Jardine. The results for those fighters are expected to be released later in the week.
- Josh Thomson spoke with The Fight Network concerning a possible lawsuit Thomson may file against former UFC Middleweight Champion Frank Shamrock. Shamrock reportedly called Thomson “MMA’s first openly gay fighter” during this past weekend’s Strikeforce broadcast.
“I kind of snickered about it,” Thomson said, “but I also have had some big money sponsors coming up to me and asking me whether it was true or not. That potentially could cost me money, and that, to me, is basically what I’m getting at.”
I know that Thomson has some crazy hair and his appearance on “Blind Date” didn’t really go that well but I don’t believe Thomson is gay.
Thomson and Shamrock have had a feud going for well over a year now. Thomson attributes the tension due to the fact that Shamrock was angry that fighters from the American Kickboxing Academy decided against joining a new gym that Shamrock was opening. Shamrock has claimed in the past that Thomson has been bad mouthing him for years.
- Tonight’s episode of UFC Unleashed will feature Renato “Babalu” Sobral vs Jason Lambert from UFC 68 and Houston Alexander vs Keith Jardine from UFC 71. I’m not sure what the third fight on the broadcast will be. Don’t forget that The Ultimate Fighter is on right after that.
- Punch Drunk Gamer posted a recent interview with Josh Barnett where Barnett states that he would like to fight in Pancrase:
“I would like to be fighting in Pancrase. I would love to continue fighting there and hopefully I will get a chance to defend my belt this year. I have had some trouble with getting promoters to honor what they agreed to and cooperate with Pancrase to get a match set-up. So now that I am a free agent I would like to do it.”
Barnett has always noted in the past that he would like the chance to defend his belt in Pancrase as a stipulation in any contract he signs with an organization. However since talks haven’t gone anywhere with anyone, it seems that Barnett may do that before signing anywhere.
Touch of gloves to Five Ounces of Pain for the find.
- Ricco Rodriguez is going to headline Battle Cage Xtreme III in New Jersey on October 20th. He will take on Kauai Kupihiea for the USKBA Heavyweight Title.
- Speaking of Ricco, he’s apparently going to be a cast member of VH1’s newest reality show, Celebrity Rehab. The series debuts on January 10th.
- Fight Opinion wants you to help decide what they should discuss on their next radio show.
- In a recent interview with Sherdog’s John Lee, SpiritMC CEO Kwang Hyun Park stated that current SpiritMC Middleweight Champion Steve Bruno has signed with the UFC:
As for SpiritMC middleweight champion Steve Bruno, Park says, “As far as I know, Steve has signed with the UFC, but we have made it clear that he needs to defend his title.”
Forrest Griffin wishes you a good morning.
News and Notes
- Our rumors section has been updated…
- Luke Thomas of Bloody Elbow is reporting that the The Ultimate Fighter 7 will focus solely on the middleweight division:
UFC matchmaker Joe Silva made an appearance at the Combat Sports Challenge in Richmond, VA this past weekend where he announced to the crowd that the next season of The Ultimate Fighter will focus exclusively on the middleweight class. No further details are available at this time. However, if ultimately true, this would be a boon to a comparatively weak division. Stay tuned.
- Fight Opinion via MMA Movement is reporting that renowned grappler Rondalo “Jacare” Souza has announced that he has signed with the UFC.
Souza’s manager, Andre Cabral, apparently made the announcement at a recent Amazon Challenge event and was then later interviewed by a Brazilian news station.
Souza currently sports a professional MMA record of 5-1. He is a veteran of Jungle Fight, fighting in that promotion on four separate occasions. His lone loss came at the hands of Jorge Patino in 2003.
- Rafael Cordeiro of Chute Boxe has stated that Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos will fight at the next K-1 Hero’s event in October and then at Cage Rage 24 in December.
- MMA Junkie is reporting that Renato “Babalu” Sobral has signed Ken Pavia as his new agent:
Renato “Babalu” Sobral, who recently signed with Strikeforce after the UFC terminated his contract, has become the latest client of Ken Pavia’s MMA Agents sports agency.
Pavia told MMA Junkie of the signing late last night.
Other fighters that Pavia has recently added to his stable also include Cyrille Diabate, James Thompson, Carmelo Marerro, Todd Moore, and Carlo Prater according to the post.
- Fightlinker is passing along it’s own insider information concerning Tito Ortiz and his potential opponent at UFC 78:
I guess we’re at that size now where we start getting tips on stuff. On Saturday night, Tito Ortiz was at the Little Creek Casino in Shelton, WA. and got on the mic to say “Blah blah blah blah, my next fight will be against Wanderlei Silva or Rashad Evans”
Sherdog: PRIDE and Prejudice
MMA Weekly: Marines and Sailors use MMA as part of Training
Bloody Elbow: Rankings Roundup: Heavyweight
Five Ounces of Pain: Frank Shamrock to be sued?
FOX Sports: UFC’s light heavyweights carry the sport
Fight Opinion: A Look Behind the Curtain: Zuffa’s Finances Come Into Focus
Yahoo! Sports: Strikeforce proves it isn’t an all-UFC world
411 Mania: Punch Drunk Hangover
I only wish to be as cool as the Hammer House..
News and Notes
- The Fight Network is reporting that UFC veteran Drew Fickett has been added to the inaugural HDNetFights card on October 13th and will take on Anthony Lapsley. Lapsley was originally scheduled to face T.J. Waldburger. No word on why Waldburger is no longer set to compete at the event.
- If you haven’t already, don’t forget to place a bid on the shorts that UFC Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture wore while defeating Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 74. The shorts are also autographed and are being auctioned off as part of the Ryan Bennett Memorial Fund.
- MMA Junkie is reporting via Brazilian website RPC that Mauricio “Shogun” Rua fought against Forrest Griffin at UFC 76 with a torn ligament in his knee and will be out of action until early next year. MMA Junkie also pointed out at that no mention of the injury was made by the CSAC after a post-fight examination of Rua.
- We already know that MMA is banned in Vancouver, but so is MMA-related clothing too apparently.
- Sam Caplan has received word via Gilbert Melendez that Nick Diaz has been released from the hospital after receiving treatment for a staph infection and is currently recovering at his home in Stockton, CA.
- UFC Daily has learned that Heath Herring will be returning to the Octagon early next year according to manager Dean Albrecht:
UFC heavyweight Heath Herring will likely to return to the octagon in early 2008 according to his manager, Dean Albrecht, who confirmed the news with UFC Daily earlier today. According to Albrecht, Herring is taking some time off from fighting while continuing to train for his UFC return.
No definite plans have been established for Herring though there are several rumored UFC events in January and February which could host his return to the octagon from the extended break.
The Rock talks MMA:
“Well, I think that there is still great boxing out there, and there are fights coming up that I look forward to seeing. But mixed martial arts is just phenomenal. It is so hot, and it’s clear to me why it’s so popular. I have a ton of love and respect for those guys. I’ve become friends with a bunch of those guys and they have my support. I think mixed martial arts requires an amazing athleticism, and those guys must put together a strategy and a game plan every single time they go out and fight because it’s not one-dimensional, it’s not so predictable. On any given day, the greatest can go down. I think it’s really exciting to see the success that MMA is having right now. Everything that that sport provides and all the attention that people are diverting to that entity right now is well-deserved, and it’s—well, it’s a big deal and I’m excited about it.”
- Darren Rovell of CNBC ranks UFC President Dana White 80th out of 100
sports executives in terms of power.
Touch of gloves to Fight Opinion for that find.
- Speaking of Fight Opinion, Zack Arnold is wondering how the Japanese media is going to cover Kazuhiro Nakamura positive drug test.
- Ryan from Fightlinker is impressed with how well UFC 76 did compared to UFC 59 in California.
Forrest Griffin discusses his recent win over Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at the UFC 76 post-fight press conference.
News and Notes
- Forrest Griffin knows that Wanderlei Silva apparently wants to fight him. However Griffin isn’t sure if he would be medically cleared for UFC 79 in December:
“It kind of would, yeah,” said Griffin about a December date with Silva being too soon. “I’d love to fight him if I didn’t have a giant hole in my face right now. We were in the hotel lobby and I was doing an interview with someone and they’re like ‘Wanderlei just said he wants to fight you’ and I was like ‘Right now, really, right now? He wants to fight me? I know he’s a Chute Boxe guy, but right now?’ And they were like no, no, no … in December.”
“We’ll see medically,” Griffin stated about the December card. “[It’ll] take a couple of weeks to figure it out.”
The cut that Griffin sustained was pretty severe and I’m going to assume that the CSAC will medically suspend him for at least a month without contact. However UFC 79 isn’t until December 29th, which would still give Griffin a good two months to be able to train for the fight. I guess we’ll see what happens…
- Looking for an update on Dan Henderson? The Fight Network has one.
Apparently Henderson only has one fight left on his current contract with the UFC. He has also stated that he would be ready to fight by November but that he would like to stay at light heavyweight, despite the UFC’s efforts to attempt to get Henderson to move down to his natural weight of 185.
- Cage Rage has released part of the upcoming card for Cage Rage 24: Feel The Pain:
Evangelista Santos vs Paul Cahoon
Mark Epstein vs Tom Watson
Ross Pointon vs Marios Zaromskis
Brad Pickett vs Ronnie Mann
Abdul Mohammed vs Robbie Oliver
James McSweeney vs Robert Paczkow
Neil Grove vs Robert Berry
- Matt Hamill has set the story straight concerning his recent knee surgery and stated that he would like to rematch Michael Bisping in December on his official sitehttp://www.matthamill.com/.
- Entertaining PRIDE veteran Akihiro Gono announced at his own press conference yesterday that he has signed with the UFC and will be fighting welterweight Tamden McCrory at UFC 78 in November:
“I know his fight record,” Gono said of the 20-year-old McCrory. “I know that he’s tall, young and has a long reach.”
- The California State Athletic Commission has released the official attendance and gate for UFC 76:
The UFC 76 “Knockout” event on September 22nd in Anaheim, California had an official attendance of 13,770 - with 1,953 of those seats as comps (tickets given away for free to media, friends, celebrities, etc.) for a gate of $1,984,880.
- MMA Weekly has released their latest set of rankings.
Fightlinker: I loves me some Mac Danzig
Sherdog: Old-School Event Sparks Backlash in Brazil
Fight Opinion: Wednesday war room: Where’s my PRIDE?
Five Ounces of Pain: ShoXC to return on Oct. 26 featuring Javi Vazquez, Aaron Rosa, and Muhsin Corbbrey
MMA Analyst: Is the PRIDE vs. UFC debate over?
MMA HQ: “Minotauro” Nogueria vs Cheick Kongo at UFC 79?
The year of the upset continues…
Keith Jardine proved that those who participated in The Ultimate Fighter reality series can hang among the best in the world when he beat former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Chuck Liddell at his own game and earned a close split decision in front of the estimated 16,000 in attendance at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA.
Liddell looked to win the first round by sending Jardine scrambling away from flurries of punches. Jardine began to score with his first few of numerous leg and body kicks but it wasn’t enough to prevent the judges from scoring the round in Liddell’s favor.
The second and third rounds were a different story however. Jardine continued to press the action while his opponent looked to land one of his patented counter-punches. Jardine (13-3-1) even knocked Liddell (20-5) down with a right hand midway through the second round, a shot that Liddell was able to absorb as he sprang back up to his feet and right back into the fight.
A number of leg and body kicks bruised and battered Liddell’s body and Jardine’s unorthodox style continued to stifle any opportunities the former champ had to get into a rhythm on the feet. When the 15 minutes was up, it was known that the judges had to make a close decision but it was also obvious that Jardine had won the fight, based on the reaction the crowd gave when Liddell raised his hands in possible victory.
Marcos Rosales was the lone judge that scored the fight for Liddell, giving him the edge by a 29-28 margin. Cecil Peoples and Richard Bertrand scored it the same but gave the victory to Jardine and ruined any chances we had of seeing a Liddell-Wanderlei Silva showdown in December.
After the fight, Jardine tried to put his win into perspective.
“The win feels great,” Jardine said. “Chuck is the greatest fighter in the history of the UFC as far as I’m concerned.”
PRIDE veteran Mauricio “Shogun” Rua talks to ESPN about his upcoming bout with Forrest Griffin at UFC 76: Knockout.