Gabriel Gonzaga will look to get back to his winning ways when he takes on fellow heavyweight Fabricio Werdum at UFC 80: Rapid Fire this Saturday. Gonzaga discusses his loss to Randy Couture and his previous fight with Werdum earlier in his career with ESPN.
Happy Halloween bitches!
News and Notes
- Officials at Team Link have confirmed that Gabriel Gonzaga will indeed take on Fabricio Werdum at UFC 80 in Newcastle, England.
- Sean Sherk, Phil Baroni, Adam Smith, and Kazuhiro Nakamura will all go in front of the CSAC this afternoon to try and get their original positive tests overturned by the commission. We will have full coverage throughout the day.
- FIghtlinker has all of the documents that were handed out at yesterday’s UFC press conference. (PDF)
- Adam Swift has a new article up on Sherdog where he dives into a standard Zuffa contract. What he found may tell us that Randy Couture’s contract certainly isn’t up after nine months:
The most infamous clause is the so-called retirement provision, which is largely responsible for the war of words—retirement versus resignation—between the UFC and Couture since his Oct. 11 departure from the company.
“If at any time during the Term, Fighter decides to retire from mixed martial arts or other professional fighting competition,” the clause begins, “then ZUFFA may, at its election, (i) suspend the Term for the period of such retirement; (ii) declare that ZUFFA has satisfied its obligation to promote all future Bouts to be promoted by ZUFFA hereunder, without any compensation due to Fighter therefore; or (ii) elect to provide Fighter with notice of an Acceleration.”
For all practical purposes, sub clause (i) allows Zuffa to retain the rights to a retired fighter in perpetuity. Sherdog.com has confirmed that this clause does not appear in every Zuffa contract; it is believed to be reserved for top fighters. The term of the contract may also be extended indefinitely for any period when a fighter is “unable, unwilling or refuses to compete or train for a Bout for any reason whatsoever.”
- Jess Liaudin has announced that he will sign a new three-fight deal with the UFC after his bout against Marcus Davis takes place at UFC 80:
“I will keep fighting for the UFC,” Liaudin said. “I need to go slow and build myself up, work on my weak areas. Training with Team Quest [before UFC 75] really improved my game. I need to keep doing stuff like that.”
- The IFL has announced that Vladimir Matyushenko has signed a contract extension that will keep him in the IFL through the end of 2008.
Sherdog: Matyushenko Meets Schoenauer for IFL Grand Prix 205-Pound Title
Fightlinker: Dana White’s personal heavyweight rankings
Five Ounces of Pain: Round 5 MMA figures on my Christmas list
MMA News: Exclusive Interview With Kevin Randleman [Pt. 1]; Exclusive Interview With Kevin Randleman [Pt. 2]
Bloody Elbow: Trevor Prangley Talks Strikeforce Middleweight Tournament
Fight Opinion: Wednesday war room: UFC winning the PR battle?
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.
Gracie Mag is reporting that heavyweights Gabriel Gonzaga and Fabricio Werdum will fight for the second time in their respective careers in January at UFC 80 in Newcastle, England.
The two previously fought at the inaugural Jungle Fight show in September of 2003 where Werdum stopped Gonzaga with strikes in the third round. Since their careers have taken different turns.
Werdum went over to PRIDE where he racked up a 4-2 record with wins over the likes of Alistair Overeem and Roman Zentsov before signing with the UFC in early 2007. Werdrum dropped an unanimous decision to Andrei Arlovski his UFC debut at UFC 70.
It was also at UFC 70 that Gonzaga scored a career highlighting knockout of Mirko Cro Cop. The win over Cro Cop coupled with previous wins over Carmelo Marrero, Fabiano Scherner, and Kevin Jordan in the UFC earned Gonzaga a title shot against Randy Couture at UFC 74. Couture ended up stopping Gonzaga with strikes in the third round of their fight.
News and Notes
- Everyone and their mom is reporting that talks between Fedor and the UFC didn’t go so well:
Sherdog: Fedor Reps Say Long Way to Go on Deal with UFC
MMA Weekly: Fedor Still Has Not Signed to Fight
CBS Sportsline: White says Emelianenko meeting ‘didn’t go well’
Five Ounces of Pain: Rumor Killer: Fedor not close to signing with the UFC
Only a couple of links but you get the picture…
- The Fight Network is reporting that Randy Couture’s broken arm is healing well:
X-rays taken on the broken left arm of UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture Friday showed that the 44-year-old’s bone is aligning properly and healing as anticipated.
Doctors informed Couture (16-8) that he had suffered the break during his TKO stoppage of Brazilian Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 74 “Respect” Aug. 25 in Las Vegas, Nev. He sustained the injury blocking a right high kick with his left forearm in the opening seconds of the third round. The kick cleanly separated the ulna bone with a “nightstick fracture,” a break common in law enforcement circles. Couture’s arm will likely remain in a splint for at least five more weeks.
- UFC Junkie has found out through Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer that the UFC issued $35,000 bonuses for those fighters that won the UFC’s usual post-fight awards.
Fight of the Night - Randy Couture vs Gabriel Gonzaga
Knockout of the Night - Patrick Cote
Submission of the Night - Thales Leites
- The Sun Herald of Southern Mississippi is reporting that Alan Belcher has signed a new four-fight deal with the UFC:
Alan “the Talent” Belcher of Biloxi just signed another four- fight contract with the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship). His overall record is 10-3, two of which went to a decision). He has had four fights in the UFC within the last year.
- The legal dispute between Brandon Vera and his former manager Mark Dion will finally be settled by an arbiter for the CSAC on September 17th.
- Former UFC Middleweight Champion Rich Franklin has landed a role as host of a new TV series titled “American Fighter”:
Ultimate fighter Rich Franklin wants to bust out of the ring. The three-time Ultimate Fighting Championship title winner from West Chester Township has shot a half-hour pilot for a TV series, “American Fighter.”
Franklin, 32, a former Oak Hills High School math teacher, will tell inspirational stories about people fighting against the odds, says J.T. Stewart, his publicist. The pilot features Joe Garvey, 21, of Bright, Ind., learning to walk after a crippling ATV accident seven years ago.
I wonder if there is any connection between the show and Franklin’s sponsor of the same name…
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UFC: Michael Bisping: England Expects
UFC President Dana White hosted a conference call earlier today in preparation for the upcoming UFC 75: Champion vs Champion event set to take place on September 8th from London, England. The fighters featured on the call were UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Quinton Jackson, PRIDE Middleweight and Welterweight Champion Dan Henderson, Michael Bisping, and Matt Hamill through the use of an interpreter.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission has announced that all ten fighters tested for performance enhancing drugs after UFC 74 passed with flying colors. The results of the tests for drugs of abuse will be released in the coming weeks.
The ten fighters that were tested: Patrick Cote, Randy Couture, Alberto Crane, Gabriel Gonzaga, Kendall Grove, Antoni Hardonk, Roger Huerta, Josh Koscheck, Frank Mir, and Georges St. Pierre.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission has released the list of medical suspensions stemming from UFC 74.
Randy Couture’s broken arm is not on there due to the fact that the injury was found a day after the post-fight examination. Couture told NSAC doctors that his arm was only bruised but found out through x-rays on Sunday that he had suffered a broken arm at the expense of a blocked Gabriel Gonzaga high kick. Couture is expected to be on the sidelines for at least 4-6 weeks and most likely will not fight again in 2007.
Speaking of Gonzaga, he will be out of action for at least two months after suffering a broken nose in his bout with Couture. Gonzaga must be cleared by a nose specialist before he will be permitted to fight again.
Alberto Crane has been medically suspended for two months after suffering a fractured orbital bone during his fight with Roger Huerta. Crane must be cleared by an ophthalmologist before he is allowed to return to active competition.
Joe Stevenson will miss at least two months after learning that he suffered a broken nose. NSAC doctors originally ruled that Stevenson had a broken jaw but additional examinations found that Stevenson in fact had broken his nose and not his jaw.
Antoni Hardonk will be required to undergo an MRI on his right shoulder and must be given clearance by a doctor before he will be permitted to begin physical contact once again.
Both Kendall Grove and David Heath were each suspended for one month by the NSAC.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission has announced the official fighter salaries from UFC 74.
Half of Renato Sobral’s total purse has withheld by the NSAC pending an investigation and review of his extended submission held on opponent David Heath after Heath had already tapped out and referee Steve Mazzagatti ended the fight.
Randy Couture: $250,000
Georges St. Pierre: $140,000
Frank Mir: $66,000
Renato Sobral: $50,000
Gabriel Gonzaga: $45,000
Roger Huerta: $34,000
Joe Stevenson: $32,000
Marcus Aurelio: $30,000
Patrick Cote: $24,000
Thales Leites: $18,000
Clay Guida: $14,000
Kendall Grove: $12,000
Josh Koscheck: $10,000
Antoni Hardonk: $8,000
Kurt Pellegrino: $8,000
David Heath: $6,000
Ryan Jensen: $4,000
Alberto Crane: $4,000
Total Payroll: $755,000
Randy Couture did it again.
For the second time in as many fights, Couture shocked the world and defeated a challenger that was supposed to run him over. This is nothing new to Couture. He’s been an underdog for the majority of his career. However after two huge wins over two dominate heavyweights, can Couture be an underdog any longer?
Couture dominated challenger Gabriel Gonzaga over two rounds and an assault of strikes on the ground two minutes into the third forced referee Herb Dean to stop the fight, allowing Couture to retain his UFC Heavyweight Title. Gonzaga laid in the Octagon, bloodied and exhausted, in front of the 11,118 in attendance at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. It was a sight that many did not expect to see.
Gonzaga put himself on the map with a vicious knockout of Mirko Cro Cop this past April at UFC 70. A single headkick from Gonzaga left the supposed best striker in MMA unconscious on the mat. Couture said that he had developed the perfect strategy to beat Gonzaga during training. Gonzaga (8-2) stated that he found that Couture (16-8) had a fatal flaw in his game. It was Couture that ultimately won the chess match.