Photo courtesy of TitoOrtiz.com.
It’s official: Former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz has signed with Affliction Entertainment. The 33-year-old has stated that the deal he signed with the promotion will be nothing short of “ground-breaking”, likely making one of, if not the, highest-paid fighter in mixed martial arts today.
“I guarantee you that my contract will be like no other,” Ortiz told Sports Illustrated’s Arash Markazi. “It will be a ground-breaking record contract for sure, without a doubt. There’s so much money to be made right now in mixed martial arts and it’s all about the fighters trying to make that money. It’s going to be a long-term deal where I put my heart and soul into the company and help build them. That’s something I’m interested in doing. They’re going to bring me on, not just as a fighter but also doing some of the back work also.”
Ortiz is set to be introduced at a press conference Affliction has slated for tomorrow in Las Vegas. His official defection from the UFC comes just over 24 hours after his non-compete clause with the organization expired at midnight on Monday. It also signals that Dana White and company opted not to match Affliction’s offer. Exact numbers in terms of the money he’s making with this deal have not yet been revealed.
Photo by Jon Swenson.
Former UFC and Strikeforce middleweight champion Frank Shamrock will serve as one of the color commentators during the television broadcast of Elite Xtreme Combat’s “Primetime” event on May 31st, which will become the first mixed martial arts show to air live on network TV. (CBS)
The news comes from Sherdog.com, which reports that CBS and EliteXC are expected to make the announcement this morning at a news conference held at the network’s studios in Los Angeles.
Gus Johnson, mostly known for his work during the NCAA Tournament and as the radio play-by-play voice of the NBA’s New York Knicks, will serve as the play-by-play broadcaster.
Mauro Ranallo, who has done play-by-play for every EliteXC broadcast since the promotion’s first show in February of last year, will work as a color commentator alongside Shamrock.
Photo courtesy of TitoOrtiz.com.
With his days as a featured fighter with the Ultimate Fighting Championship coming to an end, Tito Ortiz, the one-time face of the organization, has mentioned that he’d like to take his services elsewhere following his upcoming fight against Lyoto Machida on May 24th.
One of the organizations in which Ortiz has expressed interest in Elite Xtreme Combat, headed by former boxing promoter Gary Shaw. Brash and out-spoken, Shaw is no stranger to giving his opinion when asked by the media and didn’t shy away earlier today when the potential of Ortiz shifting his career to EliteXC was brought up.
“In all my years in the fight game, I can see, touch, feel a superstar,” Shaw said this afternoon on a conference call promoting EliteXC’s network television debut on CBS later this month. “Everytime I see Tito Ortiz, he reeks of stardom. I think when his days in the UFC are over, that I can reincarnate him. Could you imagine Tito and Kimbo Slice in the cage together? I hope when his contract with the UFC is up that he will not be sitting across the table with me, but sitting with me at that table.”
“Please tell Tito that our door is wide open for him,” Shaw continued. “When his deal with the UFC is up, I’d love to talk with him and figure things out.”
Ortiz’s falling out with the UFC stems from his rocky relationship with the promotion’s figurehead, Dana White. The two have been at each other’s throats for years but things took a major turn for the worst after a proposed exhibition boxing match between the two fell apart and White opted to begin his verbal bashing of Ortiz in the media.
Ortiz has since stated multiple times that his fight against Machida will be his last with the UFC. (His current contract with the promotion ends this summer) Reasons for his departure circulate solely around White and his negative treatment of Ortiz as well as other contracted fighters on the organization’s roster.
Shaw mentioned that Ortiz wouldn’t have to worry about any kind of lack of respect from himself or others in the organization if he decided to sign with EliteXC.
“All of our fighters can attest to this, but we here at EliteXC put the fighters first,” Shaw said. “Our fighters are of the utmost importance to us. They come before the organization. The spotlight should be put on them. We treat everyone with respect and like they are a champion, regardless of who they are. Tito wouldn’t have to worry about that sort of thing if he decided to take his services to our camp.”
Additional conference call notes from today are after the jump.
Photo by Jon Swenson.
SAN JOSE, Calif. - A crowd of 16,326 generated over $1.1 million of live gate revenue for the “Shamrock vs. Cung Le” mixed martial arts mega-event at San Jose’s HP Pavilion on Saturday, March 29th.
“It was an incredible night all around,” said Scott Coker, CEO, Strikeforce, which co-promoted the event with EliteXC. “Our main event between Frank Shamrock and Cung Le was an epic battle that lived up to, if not exceeded, everyone’s expectations. The energy in the arena was as electric and intense as that at a Superbowl. You could really sense the magnitude of the fight and what was at stake in it through the emotions each fighter’s thousands of fans were expressing.”
In the main event, Le was crowned the new Strikeforce world middleweight (185 lb. limit) champion after a broken right wrist forced Shamrock to retire between rounds three and four.
Prior to the stoppage, Le was imposing his will with repeated round kicks to the body and side of Shamrock’s head as well as quick hands that found their mark on Shamrock’s face.
In the second half of the third round, though, Shamrock made a bold stand, backing Le into one side of the cage and tagging him with several punch combinations that appeared to put Le in trouble.
Two days prior to the event, NBC and Strikeforce announced that their two entities had entered a partnership agreement to produce the first-ever 52 week mixed martial arts series for a major TV network. “Strikeforce on NBC” will air every Saturday from 2-2:30 am ET, beginning on April 12th. Each show will be comprised of fighter profiles as well as Strikeforce mixed martial arts fights and highlights.
Before the close of 2008, three Strikeforce events will be distributed live on the Mark Cuban-owned HDNet. Strikeforce programming is also available in 22.5 million homes across Europe, The Middle East, and parts of Africa courtesy of Extreme Sports Channel.
A highlight posted to Youtube by ShoSports:
Photo by Jon Swenson.
Maybe I’m just completely wrong here but I’m feeling the need to defend Frank Shamrock just two days after he had his arm broken courtesy of a Cung Le kick. I’ve done my usual reading this morning/afternoon and Shamrock has been getting eaten alive just about everywhere.
Let’s be honest: Frank Shamrock isn’t the most liked guy in the world. I don’t care for his inconsiderate side comments and continual trash-talking leading up to and in-between fights, but I do have the utmost respect for his skills, and that respect increased after Saturday night.
Shamrock lost the fight but he delivered on his promise to stand and trade with Le spare a pair of takedown attempts. Whether you want to admit it or not, Shamrock held his own with one of the most dangerous strikers in the sport and even came close to finishing the fight at one point. That’s the biggest thing I took out of this weekend.
Would it have been smarter to take Le down? Of course. He could have submitted him in seconds most likely. Is there a reason why Shamrock didn’t take him down? Who knows. Maybe only Frank does.
I can’t really expound on Shamrock’s “lack of an ACL” too much. His claim could be legit for all we know. To quote my partner-in-crime Bill Reger, the fact that Shamrock will not have his ACL reconstructed may be giving him the ability to use it as a crutch and further prove his arrogance. Then again, Frank’s claim could also be another part of his mystique.
In a fantastic third round to an exceptionally exciting, give-and-take slugfest Saturday on Showtime, Cung Le delivers the kick that may have broken Frank Shamrock’s arm. Le captured the Strikeforce middleweight title when defending champion Shamrock could not continue after the third round.
SAN JOSE – In a bruising battle of Bay Area rivals, undefeated Cung Le broke the right arm of defending champion Frank Shamrock en route to capturing the Strikeforce middleweight title with a thrilling, give-and-take, crowd-pleasing third-round TKO Saturday on Showtime.
The long-awaited, eagerly anticipated mixed martial arts event, presented by EliteXC and Strikeforce, attracted an enthusiastic, well-behaved crowd of 16,326 at the HP Pavilion that produced a gate of more than $1 million. Those in attendance included EliteXC standouts Kimbo Slice, Jake Shields, Nick Diaz and Phil Baroni.
The fight card aired on Showtime at 9 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the west coast).
Gilbert Melendez (14-1) of San Francisco successfully defended his Strikeforce lightweight belt with a second-round knockout over hard-trying but outclassed Gabe Lemley (11-7) of New London, Iowa, in a second world title match on a five-bout telecast.
In other televised scraps, Drew Fickett (32-5) of Tucson, Ariz., earned a shot at the vacant EliteXC welterweight crown against Jake Shields by submitting Korea’s Jae Suk Lim (9-4) in the first round; super heavyweight Wayne Cole (11-6) of Oklahoma City, Okla., submitted (armbar) Mike Kyle (9-6-1) of San Jose in the first round and EliteXC standout Joey Villasenor (25-6) of Albuquerque, N.M., knocked out Ryan Jensen (11-4) of Omaha, Neb., in the first round.
In the top non-televised fight, Tiki Ghosn (10-7) of Huntington Beach, Calif., registered an upset three-round decision over previously undefeated welter Luke Stewart (5-1) of San Francisco by the scores of 30-27 and 29-28 twice.
Photo by Jon Swenson, Sharkspage.
Here’s our take on the main event of Elite Xtreme Combat and Strikeforce’s co-promoted show later tonight where former UFC middleweight champion Frank Shamrock will defend his Strikeforce title against undefeated former Sanshou kickboxer Cung Le in a battle of supremacy between San Jose residents.
“Shamrock vs Cung Le” will take place at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California. Showtime will begin airing the televised portion of the card starting at 9 PM ET.
Bill Reger: For the last year plus, Cung Le has been calling out Frank Shamrock. For his part, Shamrock continually ducked him and said Cung was not ready for him. Well, Scott Coker got the signed names on the contract and here we go. During all the pre-fight hype, Shamrock has repeatedly said he sees a bunch of weaknesses in Le’s standup and he plans on exposing that standup.
Everyone is in agreement that Frank holds the decided advantage on the ground, so Shamrock may be taking a big chance keeping this fight on the feet. But if one watches the Shamrock’s fights over the last 8 years, he never goes for the takedown. He has even stated that he has done little wrestling training in preparation for this fight. This fight will remain standing and give Cung Le a legitimate chance at the upset.
Stylistically, Le’s striking is absolutely beautiful to watch. But up until this point, his opposition has been extremely weak. This is a huge step up in opposition. That being said, I’ll let the fan in me make a prediction and say Cung Le will win. Le is going to catch Frank with a nasty kick that stuns him and will go on to finish him. Cung Le by TKO in the 2nd round
Jamie Fitzgerald: Whenever you pick a guy using your heart rather than your head, it rarely works out. My heart is telling me that Shamrock will stand with Cung Le, and we’ll get to see Le display his diverse striking. My brain is telling me that Frank will take this fight to the ground and finally test Le’s ground game in an MMA event. Frank’s talking a big game about standing with Le. I really don’t believe him but if he does, we’ll see a game plan change.
Le’s stand-up will keep Shamrock guessing, but if Frank can stay calm, wait for his opportunities to take him down, he’ll win this with a late round submission. Otherwise, I think we’ll see Le with a 3rd round TKO. I’m pulling for Le, but think Frank will take it. This is a huge step up in competition for Le and there’s no doubt Shamrock experience will play a big part in the fight.
John Chandler: While Le’s unorthodox striking should be able to give Shamrock fits on the feet, I’m not seeing Frank keeping this fight standing for very long, despite what he has been continually saying about wanting to out-strike Le in the media. Shamrock can hold his own with almost anybody standing, but he’s definitely outclassed in this one. I’m sure he knows it too.
With that said, Shamrock should be able to dominate the fight if he’s able to take it to the ground. He’s been widely regarded as a submission wizard for years and he’s certainly going to look the part if he’s able to take Le out of his element and to the mat. I definitely don’t see this fight going the distance. Shamrock wins via armbar in the second round.
Above Showtime Sports asks away with Frank Shamrock. A total of 42 questions in all, rapid fire.
For those who don’t have Showtime and are still interested in seeing Shamrock vs Cung Le this Saturday night, Sho.com will be streaming the fight live at approximately 10:15 PM ET using the Showtime Cage Cam.
Diaz, Cesar Gracie Plan Legal Action Against CSAC
One day after the California State Athletic Commission surprisingly ruled that Nick Diaz will not be permitted to fight at this weekend’s Elite Xtreme Combat and Strikeforce co-promoted “Shamrock vs Cung Le” show, because he owns a medical marijuana card, Diaz and manager Cesar Gracie are now reportedly planning to take legal action.
Gracie told MMA Weekly that he plans to take the matter to court after CSAC Executive Director Armando Garcia stated that Diaz’s participation was denied because of late filing of medical papers.
“That’s absolutely not true,” Gracie said in the report. “Because if he didn’t turn his medicals in, how did Garcia know Nick has a mariijuana card? He found out when the medicals were turned in. For some reason, Armando’s finding every excuse in the book to not let this guy fight. That’s exactly why we’re going to move forward with legal action after this. We’re going to go ahead and get our lawyers and we’re going to sit down and go forward with the proceedings. This is just discrimination, you can’t do that.”
Spratt-Von Flue Signed for April 26
Pete Spratt and Jason Von Flue, both veterans of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, will collide in a welterweight bout that will headline the Ultimate Warrior Challenge’s upcoming show on April 26th at George Mason University’s Patriot Center in Washington D.C.
Spratt is coming off of a controversial loss to Ryan Ford in February while Von Flue has dropped his last three fights. Notable fighters also on the card include Thomas Schulte, Carlo Prater, Aaron Riley, Marcelo Brito, and Zach Light.
Two Lightweights Fights Added to Sengoku II
A pair of lightweights bout have been added to World Victory Road’s next Sengoku show on May 18th: Satoru Kitaoka vs Ian James Schaffa and Eiji Mitsuoka vs Kwang Hee Lee.
Roger Gracie, Yuki Sasaki, and Yoshihiro Nakao, who was originally reported as facing Mirko Cro Cop at the recent DREAM event, are all expected to be in action. Even though his name was not mentioned, former UFC heavyweight champion Kevin Randleman has stated that he will be fighting at the show as well.
Evangelista, Sims, and Lennox In; Black Out
MMA Mania is reporting that Marlon Sims and Billy Evangelista will clash in a lightweight preliminary bout at tomorrow’s Elite Xtreme Combat and Strikeforce co-promoted “Shamrock vs Cung Le” show. However neither Strikeforce, EliteXC, or ProElite have made any sort of announcement of the fight at this hour.
It seems that Jason Black will not be fighting in the IFL after all just yet. Five Ounces of Pain reports through Nick Lembo, legal counsel for the New Jersey Athletic Control Board, that Black will not be on the card for undisclosed reasons. He will reportedly be replaced by Jesse Lennox.
Photo by Esther Lin/ProElite.
LOS ANGELES - Legendary mixed martial arts fighter and one of the true ambassadors of the sport, EliteXC’s Frank Shamrock, will appear on popular late-night talk show “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” this Friday, March 28, as a prelude to the eagerly anticipated EliteXC-Strikeforce co-promoted MMA extravaganza one night later at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif.
“Jimmy Kimmel Live!” airs at 12:05 a.m. ET/PT and 11:05 p.m. CT on ABC.
The personable, always-entertaining Shamrock’s appearance on Kimmel will sizzle as the MMA icon will provide some hands-on MMA instruction to Kimmel cast member, Guillermo The Parking Lot Security Guard.
This Saturday, Shamrock will defend his Strikeforce middleweight title against Bay Area arch-rival and undefeated kickboxing champion-turned-MMA superstar, Cung Le. The eagerly awaited match will be the main event of a five-fight telecast on SHOWTIME that begins at 9 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the west coast). Doors open at 4:30 p.m. PT. First live fight is at 5.