General

Breaking News: Lindland, Fedor Agree in Principle to Fight

Both Matt Lindland and BodogFight have announced that Lindland has agreed in principle to face Pride Heavyweight Champion Fedor Emelianenko on April 6th at Bodog’s event in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Fedor was originally supposed to take on Jeff Monson at Bodog’s show in March but contract talks never went anywhere and we reported that the fight was officially cancelled yesterday.

American Top Team has stated however that Monson may still fight Fedor’s brother, Aleksander Emelianenko at the event instead.

Lindland is expected to sign an official contract with Bodog later tonight and says that he will come up from 185 lbs and weigh-in at about 210 lbs for the fight in April. 

I’ll be sure to give an update whenever more information becomes available…

IFL Announces Reno Event on June 16

The International Fight League, the world’s first team-based professional mixed martial arts league, announced today that its inaugural event in Nevada will take place on Saturday, June 16, with an 11-bout card at the Reno Events Center in Reno, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

The event is the final date to be announced as part of the full 11-event IFL 2007 schedule, the most comprehensive advance schedule in the history of fight sports. The first season begins this Friday, January 19, at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.

“The state of Nevada is the centerpiece of some of the greatest events not just in Mixed Martial Arts, but in all of fight sports, and we are very pleased to now join that group by hosting our first Nevada event,” said IFL Co-founder and Commissioner Kurt Otto.

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WEC Announces Complete Card for Event This Saturday

The World Extreme Cagefighting® (WEC™) organization has announced the complete card for the organization’s Las Vegas debut, which will take place live from the Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2007.

The WEC’s premiere Las Vegas event is already an action-packed, soon-to-be classic night of WEC fighting. Stacked with two WEC Championship bouts, the line-up features a main event matchup between Kit Cope and Razor “Rob” McCullough in a battle for the vacant WEC Lightweight crown. A second championship bout features WEC Featherweight Champion Urijah “California Kid” Faber in his first WEC Featherweight title defense against submission specialist Joe Pearson.

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IFL Reaches Deal with FSN and MyNetworkTV

FSN and MyNetworkTV have reached a strategic, three-tier television and new media programming alliance with the International Fight League (IFL).  The joint announcement was made today by FSN President Bob Thompson, Twentieth Television President Bob Cook, and IFL CEO Gareb Shamus.

Under terms of the alliance, FSN has multi-year rights to televise 22 one-hour late night event programs, produced by the IFL, beginning in the second quarter of 2007.  FSN also has the right to produce related ancillary programming, pay-per-view events and video-on-demand product.

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IFL Announces Card for Atlanta Event on February 23

The International Fight League, the world’s first team-based professional mixed martial arts league, today announced the 11-bout card for its first event in the Southeast, on Friday, February 23, at The Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Georgia, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

The matchups at The Arena at Gwinnett Center will include the Portland, Oregon-based Wolfpack, coached by Olympic silver medalist Matt Lindland, taking on the Dragons, based in Toronto, Ontario and coached by world champion Carlos Newton. The second team matchup will feature the New York-based Pitbulls, coached by world jiu-jitsu champion Renzo Gracie, taking on the Chicago-based Red Bears, a team of Russian athletes led by Igor Zinoviev.

In addition, UFC veteran Robbie Lawler will battle one of Brazil’s best in Eduardo Pamplona in a highly-anticipated Superfight following the team competition.

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Pride Officially Announces Silva-Henderson; Sakakibara Denies Purchase Rumors

Pride officially announced that Wanderlei Silva will defend his Pride Middleweight Title against Pride Welterweight Champion Dan Henderson at Pride 33: The Second Coming on February 24th at a press conference in Los Angeles yesterday.

The biggest surprise of the day: Tommy Lee was on hand to voice his support for the event.

Not the biggest surprise of the day: Lee screwed up the date of the event, saying that it was in January instead of February, confusing Motley Crue fans everywhere.

Pride CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara was very confident that his company would succeed in the UFC-dominated American market…

“2007 is the year of change and challenge for PRIDE,” Sakakibara told Sherdog.com. “We take the American market very seriously and also we have champions like Fedor and Wanderlei, strong fighters — they’re waiting for anyone to challenge them. We’re here to stay in America and those champions are here to stay in PRIDE.”

While he couldn’t say anything more about the matchups for Pride 33, Sakakibara did state that Takanori Gomi will be fighting on the card.

Sakakibara also quelled the rampant rumors that are circulating through some of MMA’s most popular message boards that Zuffa, the company that owns the UFC and WEC, has come to terms to purchase Pride:

“It’s just a rumor. I haven’t had any close conversation with (UFC president) Dana White so far. But since the Fertitta brothers bought the UFC we’ve had a very close relationship and we have had friendly conversation. We’re just trying to come up with the idea on how we can make this sport grow. That’s our main concern. I think that is where the rumors are coming from. We’re constantly having a conversation with the UFC.”

While an MMA monopoly might not be the best thing for the sport, it’s always good to know that the two superpowers are working together to try and better the sport and also constantly talking to each other.

If there ever comes a time when Pride has to be sold, I’d rather Zuffa acquire it than WWE or Showtime…

IFL Announces Card for Houston Event on February 2nd

The International Fight League announced today the 11-bout card for their February 2nd event at Houston’s Reliant Arena.  The event will pit Bas Rutten’s Los Angeles Anacondas against the 2006 World Champion Silverbacks, coached by Pat Miletich, as well as Antonio Inoki’s Tokyo Sabres squaring off against Don Frye’s newly-minted Tucson Scorpions.

In addition to the two team match ups, the event will include a much-anticipated superfight between top middleweights Matt “The Law” Lindland and Carlos “Ronin” Newton.  Lindland, who is considered by many to be the world’s best middleweight, is coming off a TKO victory over journeyman fighter Jeremy Horn in September. Newton is fresh off a controversial decision loss to Pitbulls coach Renzo Gracie at the World Team Championships in December.

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Controversy Strikes London, Ontario

The London Free Press is reporting that the Oneida First Nation Indian reserve held a controversial mixed martial arts event yesterday which has become a major topic in the local news.

The Ontario Provincial Police are currently in a situation where they are trying to decide whether or not they should investigate the controversial event. The OPP is unsure if the unsanctioned event falls under a grey spot in the Canadian judicial system. OPP Constable Doug Graham said “We will conduct an investigation and determine whether this event fits the definition of a prize fight and whether it would be in the public’s interest to prosecute. It’s a strange situation; we’ve never been faced with something like this.”

The event deemed ‘The Fighting Spirit Challenge’ hosted 15 cage fights at the Oneida community centre. According to event organizer Albert Doxtator, the event was sanctioned by the Oneida Athletic Commission. It is being reported that more that 400 people purchased tickets ranging from $40 to $100. Several fighters from London, along with others from North Carolina and Chicago attended the event.

The OPP feels that this is the first time an unsanctioned event has been held on a reserve in Ontario… I beg to differ. MMA is becoming a mainstream sport and it’s about time the Ontario Athletic Commission loosened its grip and began to allow the sport be sanctioned.  With the growth of the UFC it’s only a matter of time and not only is it entertaining but it will provide the commission with some great revenue. Doxtator ended the article by saying “For indigenous people in indigenous communities of sovereign nations, it gives them the opportunity to view this. This is just the first of many.”

In an interesting twist we were given an “About MMA Fighting” blurb at the end of the article. In a poor attempt, the writer listed the following things (word for word):

- A relatively new sport, mixed martial arts fighting has become a multi-million dollar business.

- Legal in Quebec, the sport is not sanctioned in Ontario even though there are fighters from the province.

- Last night’s cage fighting at Oneida - fighters go at it in an eight-side cage - is similar to the MMA fighting style.

- Early versions of MMA were wilder than now, the fighters governed by few rules, which may explain the ongoing resistance to it.

- Fans and fighters argue MMA combines otherwise legal fighting styles.

It’s Official: Showtime, Pro-Elite to Televise EliteXC, MMA Events Live


World-class boxing promoter Gary Shaw, president of EliteXC Live Events Division, watches on as MMA pioneers Renzo Gracie (L) and Frank Shamrock pose for the cameras at Thursday’s press conference in Hollywood. Photo: Tom Casino/EliteXC

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. - At a jam-packed press conference Thursday at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, Showtime and Pro-Elite, Inc., officially announced the formation of Elite Xtreme Combat (EliteXC). Beginning Feb. 10, 2007, Los Angeles-based EliteXC will exploit the growing phenomenon of mixed martial arts by staging world-class live events on Showtime.

Legends Frank Shamrock, regarded by many to be the first true mixed martial artist in combat sports, and Renzo Gracie, a prominent member of the most famous family in martial arts, will make history when they collide in the featured attraction on Showtime at the Desoto Civic Center in Mississippi. Their match will mark the first time an MMA event has aired live on premium television.

Among the speakers at Thursday’s historic press conference were Ken Hershman, Senior Vice President/General Manager Sports & Event Programming, Showtime Networks, Inc.; Doug DeLuca, Chief Executive Officer of Pro-Elite Inc.; Gary Shaw, President of EliteXC Live Events division and Kelly Perdew, the “Apprentice 2’’ winner who is President of EliteXC.com.

It was announced Thursday that former wrestling superstar, (Bill) Goldberg, and enormously popular television personality, Mario Lopez, would be part of the announcing team. It also was announced that Feb. 10 undercard bouts not televised on Showtime would be streamed live at http://www.EliteXC.com.

Below are selected quotes from Thursday’s press conference. To view the conference in its entirety, please go to EliteXC.com.

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Shamrock-Gracie Headlines Showtime’s Inaugural MMA Event

Showtime and Pro Elite Inc. announced today that Frank Shamrock will battle Renzo Gracie on February 10th at the inaugural event for Elite Xtreme Combat - the MMA creation of the two.

The event will take place at the Desoto Civic Center in Southaven, Mississippi and will be broadcast at 10 PM EST on Showtime of course.

No other bouts have been announced but fighters who are currently expected to participate in the event are David Loiseau, Antonio Silva, Edson Berto, KJ Noons, and Tim Persey.

As we found out earlier this year, former professional wrestler Bill Goldberg will serve as the color commentator during the show.

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