Heavyweight

Marcio Cruz Joins IFL’s New York Pitbulls

The IFL has announced that former UFC heavyweight Marcio Cruz has joined Renzo Gracie’s New York Pitbulls.

Cruz will make his debut with the team on June 16th when the Pitbulls face the Toronto Dragons in the IFL season finale. The winner of the match will receive one of the last playoff spots. Cruz will go up against Rafael Feijao in his first IFL fight.

Hong Man Choi Fails Physical; Lesnar Currently Without Opponent

The June 2nd K-1 USA show seems more and more likely to be cancelled in the coming days. What happened now? Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports is reporting that Hong Man Choi was denied a fighting license by the CSAC because of medical reasons, meaning he most likely failed his pre-fight physical examination.

Mike Kogan of FEG, K-1’s parent company confimed that Choi was indeed denied his license yesterday. Kogan has also stated that plans to have Choi undergo another physical at some point today and will ask the commission to reconsider their ruling if the doctor passes him.

As expected, Kogan was rather irked about the whole thing…

“I think they’ll understand this is not just another fight on the card,” Kogan said. “At this point, they have his medicals and they denied his license, but there are procedures in place for repudiating that.

“I don’t have time to be fucking around and wasting time if I know the guy can’t fight. I won’t put a guy in there who isn’t right to fight. I think he can fight, because he fought (in a kickboxing show) in Hawaii on April 28 and he’s all right. But if the second doctor comes to the same conclusion as the first, I have to deal with it.”

Choi’s inability to compete currently leaves Brock Lesnar without an opponent for the show’s main event. When asked about the situation, co-promoter Gary Shaw said that he wasn’t concerned about the fight being completely cancelled but also stressed that he hoped an opponent for Lesnar could be found:

“I’m not concerned about the thing actually coming off,” Shaw said. “Showtime will go with its card and I’m sure the pay-per-view card will go, but so many people were looking forward to that fight. If the giant can’t pass the medicals, and it sounds like he hasn’t, I hope they can find the right replacement because Brock Lesnar is a big part of the card and people want to see him fight.”

So what’s the status with the show? Choi not being able to compete is another huge blow to a show that already seems like it’s not going to happen. Dozens of sites reported and linked to The Fight Network’s original report of FEG failing to adhere to the requests of the CSAC. Kogan saw the report and decided to give his take on things:

“I know they have to get people to hit their website, but to me, that is insulting because I’m a professional promoter,” Kogan said. “Does the commission have certain things it wants from us? Yes. Have we been filing things with the commission? Yes. Will we be licensed? Yes.

“Why would I sell tickets to the largest venue in the country to hold a pay-per-view, sell the worldwide rights and then sit on my ass and not do what I need to do to be licensed? It’s crazy. This is a process and we’re going through that process and we will be licensed.”

UFC 70 Conference Call Reveals LWGP as PRIDE Exclusive, ESPN and HBO Updates, and More

UFC President Dana White and heavyweight title contender Mirko Cro Cop held a conference call with the media earlier today discussing this weekend’s event. Many topics were covered over the hour session including Cro Cop’s thoughts on Gabriel Gonzaga, the immediate plans for PRIDE’s future, the contract status of Mauricio Rua and Fedor Emelianenko, and much more.

Let’s just say that we have everything covered. Read and enjoy…

Cro Cop’s Thoughts on Gabriel Gonzaga:

Cro Cop was very straight forward in answering questions about Gonzaga. He stated that Gonzaga will not have an answer for everything that Cro Cop is going to bring to the Octagon on Saturday. He said that he is at full health for this weekend. He will not being using PRIDE’s theme music when he walks to the Octagon. Instead he will use his usual “Wild Boyz” song.

Cro Cop also said that he isn’t worried about Gonzaga’s ground skills and that it is his all-around game that presents the biggest problems matchup-wise:

“I have trained Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu a lot, have experts in my gym. I feel comfortable even on the ground. I am aware he is a jiu-jitsu world champion, but I am pretty versed in ground fighting now. Of course my basis is stand up, but even if we go to the ground, I am not scared.

Gonzaga is a solid, good fighter. He is a tough guy. He won’t hesitate to fight toe to toe. He is a first class fighter. I will try to keep it in a stand up position. I don’t want to underestimate him” stated Cro Cop.

Cro Cop on Couture, Liddell, Fedor, and Big Nog:

Cro Cop said that he would love for to have a rematch with Fedor Emelianenko in the near future but he is currently focused on his fight with Gonzaga and then winning the UFC Heavyweight Title before that can happen. He said that Randy Couture’s age will not be a factor if and when they fight because he has already shown that it hasn’t been a factor in past fights. He stated that while he doesn’t have any preference on his opponents in the UFC, he has a feeling that he will be fighting Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira very soon.

Cro Cop also made it known that he will be unable to cut enough weight to make it down to the 205 lb weight class, meaning that if a dream match with Chuck Liddell is to happen, that Liddell will have to come up to heavyweight and fight…

“I have no space to go down, maybe if I chop off my hand or something. I definitely can’t go down” said Cro Cop.

Dana White on Big Nog, Fedor, Wanderlei Silva, Sakuraba, and Liddell:

White stated that Nogueira was signed by the UFC as a free agent and that talks began about a month ago. He also stated that there is currently no timetable for his first fight nor any ideas on who his first opponent may be.

White said that at the time he originally made that Wanderlei Silva-Chuck Liddell announcement for UFC 65, it was going to be the biggest fight in MMA history. He now says that it isn’t the case until Silva wins a few more fights to make up for his KO losses to Cro Cop and Dan Henderson. Silva currently has four fights left on his six fight contract to do so.

According to White, the UFC is currently trying to figure out the status of Fedor. Fedor’s contract isn’t exclusive to PRIDE and that Zuffa and PRIDE FC Worldwide will not accept non-exclusive contracts for their fighters. White did say however that Fedor is under contract to the company and that if another rival promotion tried to sign him, he would slap them with an injunction immediately.

Despite the heavy rumors that Mauricio Rua has signed a contract that will allow him two fights in PRIDE and two fights in the UFC, White says that the rumors are not true. Also Kazushi Sakuraba is not under contract with PRIDE and White isn’t aware of the reasoning behind him being brought out to address the crowd during PRIDE 34.

White Talks About Changes to PRIDE and the Lightweight Grand-Prix:

White has confirmed once again that PRIDE will be changing to the unified rules of mixed martial arts (the rule set that the UFC uses) as well as the same round structures and weight classes. PRIDE will continue to use a ring instead of a cage. Also fight cards will be announced weeks in advance of an event, just like the UFC does now. Does everyone recall the PRIDE 34 mess?

PRIDE will not have a super heavyweight division and the crazy matchups the promotion used to hold including Butterbean, Giant Silva, and Bob Sapp will not take place anymore. White stated that all employees currently with PRIDE will keep their jobs with the exception of Gary Millen and Frank Trigg. They have been fired and will be replaced with a completely new announce team.

White said that it is still undecided in terms of whether or not the Lightweight Grand-Prix will take place at 155 lbs or 170 lbs. White denied all rumors about Diego Sanchez and Matt Hughes taking place in the tourney as there will not be any UFC fighters participating:

“There will be no UFC fighters in the tournament. The UFC and PRIDE are completely separate companies. You won’t see UFC vs PRIDE until we do the big event” said White.

White Discusses UFC’s status with HBO and ESPN:

The UFC will debut on HBO as soon as this summer according to White. The deal actually isn’t complete but is in the final stages of being finalized. White didn’t say much about things but did mention that the HBO will be doing their own production and announcing of events rather than having the UFC do things along with Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan. White said that it wasn’t easy for him to agree to that…

The UFC will still broadcast shows on HBO, Spike TV, and PPV. Spike TV will be made up mostly of guys from The Ultimate Fighter television shows. Shows on HBO will be mixture of TUF guys, international stars, and other UFC fighters. PPV shows would then have the best of the best.

ESPN will now be covering the UFC on a regular basis according to White. The coverage will include both weigh-in and fight results…

White Talks About Possible UFC Fights and Events in the Near Future:

White said that UFC 72 will either be on PPV or Spike TV. He mentioned Chicago, Washington DC, Boston, Atlanta, and Philadelphia all as possible sites that may hold future UFC events. Florida will also hold another UFC event in the near future according to White.

White said that the “Inside the UFC” TV show wasn’t scrapped and that the company is currently working on a date to bring the show back to the air.

White announced a slew of possible matchups - If Andrei Arlovski defeats Fabricio Werdum on Saturday, he will most likely fight the winner of Mirko Cro Cop and Randy Couture should Cro Cop get poast Gabriel Gonzaga as well. Sean Sherk will defend his lightweight title in Sacramento, California against Hermes Franca. Tito Ortiz vs Rashad Evans and Anderson Silva vs Nate Marquardt will also take place on that card. Georges St. Pierre will most likely be fighting next in August against an opponent that has yet to be determined…

White on Tito Ortiz:

White’s comments were short and sweet when asked about the current situation between himself and Tito Ortiz:

“Tito is living in a fucking bubble right now” said White “You saw what happened. I showed up and he didn’t. He’s not afraid of me, but he has people around him telling him it was a bad idea. He is out there making himself look like a jackass. He should shut his mouth and worry about Rashad Evans.”

Report: Sanchez and Robinson to Clash at UFC 72

The Fight Network is reporting that heavyweights Eddie Sanchez and Colin Robinson will collide at UFC 72: Victory on June 16th…

Officials from both of the fighter’s camps are confirming that the two will indeed meet. Sanchez is coming off a devastating TKO loss to Mirko Cro Cop at UFC 67.  Robinson was actually scheduled to meet Wes Sims at this Saturday’s Cage Wars event in Dublin, Ireland but has withdrawn from the bout to prepare for his UFC debut.

Robinson has also been rumored to be traveling to Holland in order to train with the Golden Glory team for this bout…

Tyson’s Brother to Make MMA Debut on May 12

Fightfest will present to Canton fans the cage fighting debut of Mike Tyson’s half-brother on May 12 at the Civic Center.

Cliff “The Black Bull” Couser has carved out a successful career as a boxer, and he will compete in mixed martial arts (MMA) for the first time in Canton.

In the boxing ring, Couser has defeated James “Quick” Tillis and Jorge Luis Gonzalez. He also portrayed Tyson in the HBO film “Don King: Only in America.”

Couser will face an Akron boxer who has already made a successful jump to MMA. Joe McCall debuted with a TKO win over Tim Coon in just over a minute.

In another featured fight, Hector “H-Train” Munoz will put his World lightweight title on the line against Corey Garner. Munoz has headlined Fightfest shows in his home state of Texas, and this title defense will mark his Canton debut. Garner has built a case for his title shot by winning five of his last seven fights.

Also, the band Saliva will play at 7 p.m. before the fights get underway at 8. Saliva is best known for their hits “Click Click Boom,” “Always” and “Your Disease.”

Fans who have been watching Fightfest on SportsTime Ohio will see the final matches of three weight-class tournaments.

At 185 pounds, Cleveland’s Matt Masterson will battle Rhomez Brower. Alonzo Martinez will face Waylon Lowe for the 155-pound title. Arman Loktev of Cleveland will try to win the 145-pound crown with a win over Brandon Garner.

Canton fans will also get to see some of their favorite local amateur fighters, including Terry Blackwell, John “The Bullet” Fields, Brian Hensley, John “Mongoose” Myers, Zach Sutek, and John and Justin Simms.

Bazigit Atajev Off PRIDE 34 Card

Bazigit Atajev has been taken off of the card for PRIDE 34 after contracting an internal disease according to an official statement by PRIDE that was released earlier today.

PRIDE also stated that Gilbert Yvel is currently without an opponent and that his position on the fight card, whether or not they will try to find a new opponent for him or just remove him from the event completely, is currently under consideration.

Two Fights Added to PRIDE 34: Kamikaze

PRIDE FC has officially announced two more fights set to take place on their upcoming April 8th show, PRIDE 34: Kamikaze. In a heavyweight bout fans will see Edson Drago (9-1) face off against Yoshihiro Nakao (5-1, 2 NC). Also on the card will be a battle between MMA legend Don Frye (17-5-1, 1 NC) and English brawler James Thompson (13-6).

Edson Drago made his PRIDE debut in 2006 when he fought Pawel Nastula at PRIDE: Critical Countdown Absolute. Drago was in tough in his debut losing to the Judoka fighter by armbar. Drago’s opponent, Yoshihiro Nakao, has a colorful past with two no contests on his record. Many fans will recognize Nakao from his infamous “kiss” incident with Heath Herring. Nakao is 1-1 in PRIDE with a victory over Eun Su Lee and a loss to Kazuhiro Nakamura.

James Thompson has a PRIDE record of 4-2. Thompson made his PRIDE debut in October 2004 when he was on the wrong end of a highlight reel knockout. Thompson shocked fans in his last PRIDE appearance when he beat Hidehiko Yoshida senseless leaving him motionless on the canvas. Though always dangerous Thompson has been a streaky fighter losing four of his last five. Don “The Predator” Frye has a record of 2-3 in PRIDE with victories over Ken Shamrock and Gilbert Yvel. Frye’s game has taken a hit with age as he has gone 3-4-1 (1 NC) in the last four years.

Vera Agrees to Contract Extension with UFC

Loretta Hunt of The Fight Network has reported that UFC heavyweight title contender Brandon Vera has signed a contract extension with the UFC with plans to negotiate a new deal after legal issues with Vera’s former manager are resolved.

Vera also plans on completing the last fight on his original contract with the UFC as soon as possible.

“I want to stay with the UFC,” the Virginia native said today. “They have some of the best fighters in the world. It’s an amazing stable of fighters and the who’s who of the MMA world. ‘Cro Cop’ [Mirko Filipovic] is a big factor for me wanting to stay. He’s the number-two guy in the world.”

Update 3/29 6:00 PM: There seems to be some confusion as what exactly Vera and the UFC agreed to. It’s partly because it’s such an odd situation because it isn’t exactly your normal contract extension. Vera and the UFC didn’t agree to add more fights to his contract. They only agreed to push the date back for his final fight to allow Vera to settle other matters at hand outside of the UFC. The agreement was also made with the stipulation that Vera would participate in talks for a brand new deal afterwards.

You can call it a contract extension, you can call it an extension, whatever. MMA contracts are set up completely different compared to those in other sports, thus the confusion…

Vera Staying With UFC?

Various rumors and reports have been floating around for the past few months concerning Brandon Vera’s status with the UFC. Vera was originally supposed to be given a title shot against Tim Sylvia at UFC 68. However Vera’s contract with the UFC only had one fight left on it and Dana White wasn’t about to set up a championship bout between his current title holder and a fighter that wasn’t locked up for multiple fights. To put it simply, he’s learned from the past…

The UFC and Vera tried to negotiate a new deal multiple times but talks never went anywhere since Vera apparently thought that he deserved more money. Reports surfaced stating that the the UFC and Elite XC both offered Vera upwards of $200,000 to $1 million per fight but were never confirmed by either side. Now the news coming to light is letting us know what is really going on.

Here is what we know:

Both Brandon Vera and Dean Lister are no longer associated with the City Boxing gym in San Diego, California. City Boxing founder Rob Kaman was also Vera’s manager and handled Vera’s contract including fielding offers from any organizations that wanted to sign him. A few other fighters/trainers/officials who helped out at the gym have also left in disgust over what has happened

Well what happened? Apparently Kaman turned down multiple counter offers from the UFC concerning a new multi-fight contract for Vera without even informing him that he was doing so. Vera eventually found out and left City Boxing, leaving his partnership as part-owner of the gym behind as well.

What makes this even more interesting is that Vera himself posted earlier this afternoon on Sherdog that he is currently in negotiations with the UFC on a contract extension. He is also finding a new manager for himself through the California State Athletic Commission. Vera stated that he has left City Boxing and will be fighting in the UFC very soon.

Kimbo Slice Makes MMA Debut on June 23rd Against Mercer

NEW YORK - Ray Mercer, a former WBO heavyweight boxing champ and gold medalist in the 1988 Olympics, will take on no-knuckle boxing and Internet legend Kimbo Slice in a three-round exhibition bout utilizing professional MMA rules at the Cage Fury Fighting Championship 5 show, said matchmaker Gary Marino today. Dubbed “Brawl at the Hall”, CFFC 5 will take place on June

16th

23rd at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey .

“I’m very, very excited,” said Marino. “I’ve been working on trying to get Kimbo a fight for the last year. He’s a great draw, and he’s got a huge following for his fights.” Marino added: “Ray Mercer was at the Cage Fury Fighting Championship 3 show and speculated that he’d like to try [MMA], and he called me a couple weeks ago asking me to get him a fight. It’s perfect for both guys, for their style and who they are. Kimbo’s a big banger and so is Mercer.”

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