General

Is PRIDE Officially Dead?

It’s a legitimate question: Is PRIDE officially dead?

You only have to step back and take a look at the recent events that have taken place in the past few weeks to see that PRIDE’s future isn’t looking very promising. Well if there’s a future for the promotion at all…

PRIDE hasn’t held an event since April. It also hasn’t done much of anything except release their 10th anniversary documentary since then. One would think that the company will now get back on track since it’s acquisition by UFC parent company Zuffa is now complete according to UFC President Dana White. However that might not be the case.

The scheduled opening round for the company’s Lightweight Grand Prix on July 16th now seems that it’s not going to happen. Why? Nippon Gaishi Hall, the arena where the event was supposed to be held has now taken the show off of it’s event calendar. Couple that with White’s recent comments concerning all of PRIDE’s top fighters coming over to the UFC and it seems more and more likely that PRIDE’s run in the world of MMA is just about finished.

So what did you say about White’s comments? Well in that same interview with MMA Weekly where he stated that Zuffa now owned PRIDE, he also said that all of the promotion’s top fighters will be coming to the UFC:

Dana White: “We’re Going to Have Them All”

“We’re going to have them all. We’re going to have them all. At the end of the day, if you want to fight the best fighters in the world, if you want to cement your place in history… and at the end of the day, the money is great, all that stuff is good, but for me I’m one of those types of people… it’s all about cementing your place in history. Who is the greatest fighter in every weight division? It’s here. It’s in the UFC. They’re all going to be here.”

Well so much for the original plan of keeping all of PRIDE’s top fighters with the company. Since the March announcement of that plan, the UFC has brought over Fabricio Werdum, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Mauricio Rua, and now Dan Henderson. Apparently they aren’t even close to being done either since Chuck Liddell’s next opponent is Wanderlei Silva…

When asked about one of Pride’s biggest stars, Wanderlei Silva, White said, “We’re going to have them all here. He [Silva] is going to be here. They’re all going to fight… they’re all under contract.” White also said that Silva would likely be Chuck Liddell’s next opponent.

With all of PRIDE’s biggest stars, including Henderson who currently holds two PRIDE belts and will challenge Quinton Jackson for the UFC Light Heavyweight title later this year, coming over to the UFC, I think it’s safe to say that they have decided to just let PRIDE wither away…

IFL Announces Card for Seattle Event

The IFL announced the official fight card for it’s June 1st event at the Everett Events Center in Seattle, Washington. At the event, the Tokyo Sabres will battle the Portland Wolfpack and the Los Angeles Anacondas will take on the hometown Seattle Tiger Sharks.

Tokyo Sabres vs Portland Wolfpack

Lightweight: Savant Young vs Ryan Schultz
Welterweight: Antonio McKee vs Mike Dolce
Middleweight: Kazuhiro Hamanaka vs Matt Horwich
Light Heavyweight: Vladimir Matyushenko vs Aaron Stark
Heavyweight: Orville Palmer vs Devin Cole

Los Angeles Anacondas vs Seattle Tiger Sharks

Lightweight: Chris Horodecki vs Shad Lierley
Welterweight: Jay Hieron vs Brad Blackburn
Middleweight: Benji Radach vs Bristol Marunde
Light Heavyweight: Alex Schoenauer vs Allan Goes
Heavyweight: Kryzystof Soszynski vs Reese Andy

Green Means Go: K-1 Granted License by CSAC

The California State Athletic Commission granted FEG, K-1’s parent company, a temporary promotional license earlier today. What does that mean? Contrary to rumors that the show was on the brink of being cancelled, K-1 Dynamite!! USA will be held as scheduled…

From MMA Weekly:

California State Athletic Commision’s newly minted Executive Director, Armando Garcia, released word that Fighting Entertainment Group (FEG) had been granted a temporary promoter’s license.

As the parent company of the K-1 organization, FEG’s license ensures that the June 2nd event, held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, will take place without interference from the CSAC. Though the card has been dealt several blows, including the denial of a fight license to co-main event fighter Hong Man-Choi, the American and Japanese wings of the promotion are undoubtedly breathing easier.

CSAC executive director Armando Garcia commented on Kazushi Sakuraba and the status of his participation in the event. Garcia stated that Sakuraba is still required to undergo an additional slew of tests from doctors and the final decision on whether or not he will be able to fight won’t be made until sometime next week.

UFC 71 Mega Media Roundup

Everytime we do one of these I seem to say that the media coverage of UFC events gets bigger and bigger with each passing show. Well now I can definitely say that we’ve never seen anything like this before. When you see Joe Rogan debating with boxing analysts on ESPN, you know that MMA has hit the big time.

Here’s a collection of all of the media coverage outlets are putting out there, starting with the UFC’s own preview for tomorrow night…

MMA Media

Sherdog: Liddell: “Now it’s My Turn”; SportsCenter to Focus on Liddell-Jackson II; Liddell-Jackson II Headlines UFC 71 Card; Rampage looks to end ‘the Iceman’s’ streak
MMA Weekly: Rampage Ready to Melt The Iceman; Chris Leben Ready to Bounce Back; Fighters Make Their Picks on Liddell vs Jackson
The Fight Network: Iceman, Rampage Clocked in for UFC 71; Ultimate Adrenaline Rush; Stepping Outside the Box
Inside Fighting: “Rampage” coach Ibarra says his title promise will be kept; Chuck Liddell Ready to Avenge Loss to “Rampage”; Quinton “Rampage” Jackson knows what’s at stake May 26th; Jackson has “Fightin’ Words” for Liddell

US News

ESPN: Four years since the fury 
FOX Sports: Can The Iceman stop a Rampaging Jackson?; UFC 71 Undercard Preview
NBC: The Iceman wants cold revenge; Cool, calm and collected at UFC 71
Yahoo! Sports: Ready to Rampage; Liddell vs. Jackson: Keys to victory; Opportunity knocks for Alexander
USA Today: UFC superstar Liddell out to avenge loss to Jackson
CBS Sportsline: Five Ounces of Pain: UFC 71 Preview

Canadian News

TSN: Iceman hopes to add to his MMA legacy; Salaverry to make UFC return on Saturday
Sportsnet: Iceman set to add to legacy; Rampage ready to ‘whup ass’
CBC: Keith (The Dean of Mean) Jardine looks to avoid meeting close friend in UFC cage; Canadian fighter Kalib Starnes looks to finally showcase his talent in UFC
Slam! Sports: UFC champ is ready for ‘Rampage’; SLAM!‘s UFC 71 predictions

US Newspapers

Philadelphia Daily News: Liddell’s score to settle
St. Petersburg Times: Rampage: ‘I am the outsider’
Newark Star-Ledger: Liddell faces ultimate test
Long Beach Press-Telegram: White: A big surprise set for Saturday
Las Vegas Sun: Take 5: Chuck Liddell vs Quinton Jackson
The Oregonian: UFC cover boys prepare for biggest event

Other News

The Sweet Science: Can Chuck Beat ESPN Cover Jinx?; Rampage Jackson Vows To Down Liddell In 3
Buddy TV: Liddell set to fight Jackson at UFC 71 this weekend
Covers: Liddell the Heavy Favorite for UFC 71
Daily Breeze: Winner of Liddell-Jackson to receive surprise challenge

Blogs

AOL Fanhouse: Rua Next for Chuck Liddell-Rampage Jackson Winner?; Paths Diverged for Chuck Liddell, Rampage
UFC Junkie: Performify’s Picks for UFC 71: Liddell vs. JacksonSean Salmon’s UFC 71 Diary: Preparing for Today’s Weigh-insSean Salmon’s UFC 71 Diary: Photo Shoots and Interviews
Bodog Beat: Chuck Liddell Ready to Fight “Rampage” Jackson at UFC 71

Report: PRIDE Purchase Completed

Sherdog is reporting that via two different sources, the purchase of PRIDE by Zuffa has been completed. This goes against earlier reports from a few weeks back that said the sale was not going to happen after Jamie Pollack, the future president of PRIDE quickly came back to Las Vegas after moving him and his family over to Tokyo.

On March 27, Station Casinos Vice Chairman Lorenzo Fertitta and UFC President Dana White announced in a Tokyo press conference that the sale of the PRIDE Fighting Championships to Zuffa had been agreed upon, and that the deal would be consummated on May 1.

Yet three weeks after the consummation date, the deal was slow to close, as Zuffa attorneys did their due diligence on PRIDE assets. In a conference call with the media on Thursday,White denied that the deal had been closed.

However, two sources tell Sherdog.com that the deal has in fact been finalized, and that former PRIDE CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara has said as much too former DSE employees in the last 48-hours.

Another interesting point made in the report is that Dana White is unaware of the possibility of a class action lawsuit being filed against PRIDE and DreamStage Entertainment by various former PRIDE fighters and employees.

Citing Issues with several PRIDE fighter contracts, on Wednesday MMAWeekly.com reported that there is a class action lawsuit on behalf of PRIDE fighters looking to get out of their contracts. White, in a conversation with the media on Thursday afternoon, denied any knowledge of the dispute.

Be sure to stay with us for continuing coverage on this matter…

Report: PRIDE Fighters Plan to Sue DSE

MMA Weekly is reporting that multiple fighters under contract to PRIDE and it’s parent company, Dream Stage Entertainment, are planning to file a class action lawsuit against the company for an undisclosed amount of money.

According to sources that have spoken with MMA Weekly, DSE originally requested that fighters under contract with PRIDE at the same time of the proposed sale of the company to the Fertitta brothers transfer their contracts over to the newly created PRIDE FC Worldwide. Apparently most of the fighters refused to do so.

In order to counter this movement, DSE has supposedly been threatening to keep those fighters that refused to transfer their deals under contract until the organization officially is sold or collapses, which in reality could take up to 2-3 years.

Here’s where the whole court thing comes into play:

The class action lawsuit is intended to enable the Pride fighters to either be released from their current contracts and allow them to move on to compete in other MMA organizations; or to be paid for lost wages, training wages (many of the fighters were already preparing for upcoming bouts), and wages surrounding two cancelled Pride shows.

Those involved believe DSE has no intention of running anymore shows under the “Pride” label, but many of the fighters under contract were signed exclusively to Pride, with the only provision that would allow them out of the contracts being to show just cause as to why they should be released and allowed to pursue outside interests.

It sounds to me that the fighters have a case and that DSE is going to lose this one. Zach Arnold of Fight Opinion has been on top of this ordeal from the start and his thoughts also give shine light on the fact that the fighters may have a great chance to win because of the type of contracts they had…

If this information is accurate, it reflects positively upon what I have been arguing online for a couple of months now — that the deals PRIDE fighters had with DSE were personal service contracts. PSCs are deals that usually not transferrable to third parties in asset sales. Meaning, if DSE sold the PRIDE assets to UFC, the PRIDE fighters would technically be free agents because the PSCs are not enforceable in court.

Stay right here for the latest on this situation…

Tommy Morrison Talks MMA Debut, Boxing vs MMA, and Plans to Call Out Chuck Liddell

Yes, I’m talking about former heavyweight boxing champion, former co-star of Rocky V, and former contractor of HIV Tommy Morrison. What’s he doing opening his mouth?

We have to go back and remember Chuck Liddell’s original comment towards Morrison during his infamous interview with Good Morning Texas where Liddell was out of it after taking medicine. When asked who he would want to fight, Liddell responded with Morrison, obviously as a joke. Well it seems that Tommy boy isn’t taking it that way…

Similar to his boxing counterparts in the form of Kermit Cintron, Floyd Mayweather Jr, as well as HBO announcer Jim Lampley, Morrison has gone ahead and defended his sport against those who compete in MMA. He’s also expressed his interest in fighting Liddell and has even said that he plans to call him out at the UFC 71 press conference, which is scheduled for tomorrow by the way.

Let’s break down Morrison’s comments…

Morrison stated that he will be making his MMA debut on June 9th in Arizona against John Stover. The fight will use modified MMA rules where neither fighter is permitted to take the fight nor continue it on the ground. He also talked about his future plans which include a victory over Stover, another boxing match under the Top Rank banner, and then a “mega PPV fight against Liddell in Japan”...

“This guy’s like 350 pounds, so no, I’m not going to the ground. I saw a tape of him the other day, and he’s a big son of a bitch but he’s awkward and slow. But I’m just doing it to help Peter McKinn out, pick up a little money, and sharpen my skills. Then, 20 days later I’ll be back on a Top Rank card at the same place. This is a one time thing. I’m making money and sharpening my skills and it could possibly lead to a mega pay per view fight with Chuck Liddell in Japan down the line. I’ll go over there, make about ten million bucks, slap him out in three rounds…easiest ten million dollars you can make in your life.”

First off, I hope that Morrison is aware that he’s making himself look bad by having the rules modified in order to save himself. Morrison also better hope that the fight doesn’t turn out to be a complete war on the feet or else he won’t be fighting 20 days later like he expects.

Why would you want to fight Liddell over in Japan Tommy? There’s no reason to go over there when it’s obvious you would make the most money right here in the US. Are you afraid of testing positive since a fight against Liddell would most likely be held in Las Vegas or California, not Texas where testing is so lenient.

Here’s my favorite part of Morrison’s rant. According to Morrison’s logic, Butterbean is destroying everyone in the UFC:

“The thing people don’t understand is these UFC guys, if they’re going against another UFC guy, they’re probably pretty good, but a skilled boxer…Butterbean is putting guys in the f*cking hospital. And Butterbean in the boxing world is below mediocre, but in UFC he’s mowing through guys like a knife through hot butter. And (Ray) Mercer is making the transition, Mayweather’s talked about it, and I’m going to do it. Once fighters (boxers) start planting these f*ckers, that sport will go down the tubes in six months. You wait. It’s gonna happen, and we’re going to cash in on it before it happens and ride the waves and expose them.”

First off Tommy, it doesn’t pay to be ignorant. If you are going to try and intelligently discuss a topic, you should try and do a little research on it before running your mouth. Eric Esch has never fought in the UFC and most likely never will because of the 265 lb limit in the organization’s heavyweight division. Go check Butterbean’s record and fight card. He’s 10-3 but go ahead and look at who he’s fought. All of his losses have come against decent fighters. All of his wins with the exception of James Thompson and Cabbage Correira have come against former pro wrestlers, 400 pounders, and cans.

But the best part of this whole thing is Morrison’s plan to attend the UFC 71 pre-event press conference and call out Liddell. The press conference is actually scheduled to be held tomorrow so it should be interesting to hear about what happens.

“I’ll go back and forth between boxing and mixed martial arts if I have to, there’s possibly a lot of money to be made there. Maybe build something up with Chuck Liddell, I’m going to show up at his press conference in Vegas and I’m going to pop off to him and get some sh*t going.”

Two things are going to happen - Morrison isn’t even going to be allowed to attend the conference or he will be let in and then laughed at once he tries to start something with Liddell. Now I would continue with this rant but I’m afraid that Morrison is going to pay me a visit at my house for saying bad things about him. Hysterical…

As for this whole boxing vs MMA thing, here’s the deal. If you take a boxer and have him fight under MMA rules, he will most likely lose. If you take a mixed martial artist and put him in a ring with a pro boxer, he will most likely lose. It’s as simple as that…

Cross-posted on our sister site - KO Corner

Tanner Joins Chute Boxe

Lost in the mix today with Chute Boxe’s announcement about the UFC’s possible acquisition of Mauricio Rua was the team also stating that they have added Evan Tanner to the mix.

From Chute Boxe USA’s official site:

Evan Tanner is back in Los Angeles with Coach Roberto Piccinini. He is determined to take back the UFC title from Anderson Silva and will be fighting under the Chute Boxe USA banner.

For those that don’t remember, Tanner previously trained with Chute Boxe USA for his fight against Justin Levens at UFC 59.

IFL’s Jeremy Williams Passes Away

The IFL has confirmed the passing of California Condors fighter Jeremy Williams. The Orange County, Calif., Sheriff’s Department confirmed Williams’ passing and stated that an autopsy will be performed to determine cause of death.

“This is a very sad day for the Williams family, Jeremy’s teammates and all of the Mixed Martial Arts community,” IFL Co-founder and Commissioner Kurt Otto said.  “Jeremy was a tremendous competitor and teammate, as well as being a very strong person who lifted the spirits of everyone around him.  Our thoughts and prayers are with Jeremy’s wife, Lauren, their young daughter and the rest of his family, as well as his coaches Marco Ruas and Debi Purcell and all his teammates.  Everyone at the IFL, as well as the entire MMA community, will do everything we can to support them in their hour of need.”

Everyone at MMA on Tap would like to send their condolences to the friends and family of Jeremy Williams…

Ian Freeman Announces Retirement

Ian Freeman has announced his retirement once again from active fighting according to the Cage Rage official website and then confirmed by MMA Weekly.

Freeman had previously announced that he was stepping away in 2005 after he pulled out of a scheduled bout with Forrest Griffin at UFC 55 but returned to active competition the following year.

Freeman will continue to be involved in the fight game as coach of an IFL expansion team set to start up next year. He will also be involved in the day-to-day operations of Cage Rage as well as Fighter’s Only magazine.

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