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It’s been almost a month since Kurt Angle starting telling everyone that he was “fighting” Randy Couture and although we all know that the two are interested in a grappling match, Couture isn’t going to wait around for something that might not happen, kind of like Angle’s promised MMA debut.
From MMA Weekly:
“I’m not too worried about it either way,” said Couture. “When it is signed on the dotted line and it can really be a reality then I will definitely start training and getting myself into top grappling shape, sharpening all those tools for a match with him.”
Couture also went on to say that he’d likely have to wait for an official ruling on his contract with the UFC. Remember that the last submission-grappling match he competed in against “Jacare” in November 2006 was during his brief retirement from the sport.
However what is more concerning is Angle’s continual exaggeration of his status when it comes to MMA. Nevermind that he’s still saying that he’s actually fighting Couture in interviews, now he’s flat out stating a match with Couture is signed when it’s really not even close.
From Phil Sharp. on Flickr.
Mar 20 7:00 AM: The FightWorks Podcast has informed us that Professional Submission League is currently in talks with both fighters regarding a potential submission grappling match. The PSL is the same organization where Couture grappled Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza in November 2006. Like I said before, Angle was a little overzealous with his remarks.
I’m not making this up but I’d take it with a grain of salt.
During a recent audio interview with Between the Ropes, an affiliate of ESPN 1080 in Orlando, Kurt Angle revealed that has signed on to fight current UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture later this year.
“I’ve signed with an organization, I can’t tell you who it is, but we’ve both signed on to do it, me and Randy Couture,” Angle said during the interview. “It’s probably going to happen in late summer or late fall. I started my training for it last week.”
Angle also went to say that he would never go into a fight against Couture without being ready, attempting to dispel a rumor that started to float around earlier this week concerning recent comments he made according to the former Olympic wrestler.
He also discussed how the UFC was the only promotion to actually offer him enough money to fight but he didn’t take the deal since Dana White wanted him to quit wrestling with TNA.
I have to be honest, when I first started listening to the interview, I really didn’t think it was Angle. It sounds sort of like him, but not really. However after doing a little searching and finding that Angle sounds exactly the same in his interviews with our friends at Jarry Park, I’m assuming that it’s him.
Now as for whether or not his comments are legit remains to be seen. Angle has always been known to be a bit of an exaggerator and I highly doubt that Couture would have and will sign anything until his contract with the UFC is all figured out.
However if this turns out to actually be something, could it be Golden Boy Promotions that is making a bigger splash than we actually realize?
Something tells me that will probably turn out to be nothing more than a submission grappling match.
Turns out this news comes out the same day that Zach Arnold finds that Angle may also be fighting in a “mixed martial arts-type” of match against Naoya Ogawa and Josh Barnett. Sounds more like a pro wrestling shoot match courtesy of the brains of Antonio Inoki to me. Then again, this Angle-Couture thing could be something similar.
Touch of gloves to reader “Humpzilla” for the assist.
Well it seems that we won’t be seeing Kurt Angle competing in the IFL anytime soon now…
Jarry Park has a short, but must read interview with Angle where he clears up the rumors that he had pulled out of a scheduled fight against Ken Shamrock at an IFL event last September:
A couple of weeks ago on HDNet’s Inside MMA, Ken Shamrock and Kurt Otto had some not-so-flattering things to say about Jarry Parker (catchy, eh?) Kurt Angle’s interest in mixed martial arts. Basically, Otto said that after Angle sat in the front row at an IFL event in September 2007 he got cold feet and decided against fighting Shamrock at an IFL event. Shamrock then implied that Angle was scared to go toe-to-toe with “The World’s Most Dangerous Man.”
“That’s because they tried to force a fight with me and Ken in two and a half months. (It’s) not enough time to take off from TNA and train for a fight. They rushed it…I would have never been ready. They didn’t care. He just wanted PPV buys.”
At this point it seems that the possibility of Angle and the IFL hooking up are slim to none. I’m kind of wondering if we’ll see Angle ever fight MMA at all. From what he’s said in the past he wants to take at least a year to train and learn before he competes. Well his TNA schedule doesn’t seem to be slowing down at all and he’s not getting any older. Maybe Brock Lesnar being successful would be enough to entice him to throw his hat back into the ring.
The IFL will be changing in many ways in 2008 and we’re here to tell you all about it…
The promotion held a conference call yesterday afternoon to announce the new changes and answer any questions that the press might have had. IFL Commissioner Kurt Otto and IFL Manager of Public Relations Jerry Milani were both on hand during the call.
Teams, Titles, and TV
The IFL will be switching from a team to a camp format meaning that instead of the Quad City Silverbacks and Portland Wolfpack, Miletich Fighting Systems and Team Quest will now be represented. Events will now feature teams putting three fighters in place to compete instead of five like in the past. This was done in order to create easier injury replacement situations.
Camps that are not under contract with the IFL will be permitted to compete. Team Punishment and Xtreme Couture are examples of this. Fighters from those camps can also compete for a title. Speaking of titles, each event will feature a minimum of eight fights - two title defenses and two matches between teams. Preliminary bouts are an option for each event also, especially for those that will be entering via the IFL Draft.
The IFL’s next event will take place at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas on February 29th. They currently have a deal in place with FOX Sports Net and are currently in discussions with MyNetworkTV. They are also in talks with other networks as well.
Updates on Frye, Rothwell, Rutten, Angle, and Gusmao
Don Frye will no longer be coaching with the IFL but will continue to do his “Dear Don” episodes as well as visiting with US troops overseas in conjunction with the IFL. Ben Rothwell is currently not with the IFL and is a free agent. Otto stated that while he’s sure that Rothwell will end up somewhere else, he hopes that he would consider a return in the future.
Bas Rutten will not be coaching in 2008 and will remain as the color commentator on broadcasts. There is no real news involving Kurt Angle except that Angle’s manager formally expressed his client’s interest in competing inside the confines of the IFL.
As far the Andre Gusmao situation goes, Gusmao and his agent misinterpreted his contract and attempted to strike a deal with the IFL. The IFL let the UFC know that they still had his rights and they retracted their offer. Otto and company are currently in talks with Gusmao and his representation during an exclusive negotiation period.
There was no official mention of plans to have another IFL Grand Prix. Both fighters with multi-fight deals and single-fight deals will be busy. No intent to include women in the fold anytime soon. The old IFL teams and logos will be done away with. Rosters will be announced after the new year. No indication of a formal set of standings for next season. Plans are currently to tame the travel schedule. Shorts will have an IFL logo and the logo of the camp on them. The IFL’s official “road map” is here. Sam Caplan has another excellent breakdown of everything here. Jarry Park has audio of the call here.
Catching up on the day…
- Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson announced today on The Fight Network’s radio show that he will be fighting in EliteXC’s next event set to take place in February. An opponent for Slice has not yet been named.
- According to M-1’s official Russian site, the company will hold it’s first event under the M-1 Global banner on New Year’s Eve in Japan and Fedor will fight on the card as well:
The first M-1 Global event will take place in Japan, Saitama Super Arena on December, 31!
No one other than four time Pride Heavyweight Champion Fedor Emelianenko will fight in the main event.
- MMA Mania is reporting about a possible heavyweight showdown at UFC 79 between Eddie Sanchez and Soa Palalei.
- Joe Hall of Sherdog put together a great summary on yesterday’s public annoucement of the forming of the World Alliance of Mixed Martial Arts (WAMMA).
I don’t want to bad mouth the idea since a few fellow writers out there are involved with the the sanctioning body but something like this may end up bringing MMA closer to the way the world of boxing is run. That’s a place where a lot of fans don’t want the sport to go…
- Kurt Angle will appear on Inside MMA this Friday night on HDNet at 9:30 PM EST.
From the official press release:
Angle, who is the only wrestler in history to hold the distinction of winning four different world heavyweight championships throughout his career, sits down with Bas Rutten and Kenny Rice to discuss his thoughts on all of this week’s MMA action.
Angle also discusses his potential career change from pro-wrestling to MMA - and talks bluntly about which MMA organization he is NOT going to join and why!
- Let’s start talking about suspension shall we…
Bill Mahood plans to appeal his fine and suspension for a positive test for Drostanolone even after he openly admitted that he took the drug.
- The Nevada State Athletic Commission announced that they have suspended Josh Diekman, Anthony Lapsley, and Adam Torres.
Diekman has been suspended for nine months and fined $1000 after testing positive for Nandrolone, Hydrochlorothiazide, and Marijuana. Both Lapsley and Torres have been temporarily suspended for suspected use of illegal substances. Lapsley tested positive for the suspected use of Marijuana while Torres tested for Stanozolol and Methenolone
- The California State Athletic Commission has announced that they have suspended Jermaine Wilson until February 2 of next year and fined him $500 after testing positive for Marijuana.
The IFL held a conference call with the media earlier this afternoon to promote this weekend’s opening round of the IFL Grand Prix, which will take place at at the Sears Center in Chicago. A portion of the event will be televised live on MyNetworkTV at 9 PM EST.
IFL President and Chief Operating Officer Jay Larkin was on hand to answer the media’s questions.
Larkin noted that the IFL will do away with the teams being attached to cities, citing that putting on events between two teams in neutral cities didn’t make much sense. The teams will now focus more on their name and head coach as well the gym the coach runs, if he has one. Larkin stated that the look of the league will look dramatically different compared to this past season.
The IFL is still in talks with MyNetworkTV about a television deal in 2008 but those negotiations are nearly complete. There aren’t currently any plans to have the final round of the Grand Prix televised live. Larkin also said that the IFL will announce a new television deal with a Canadian network tomorrow. The network will televise two hours of the Grand Prix. Larkin is also currently in talks with HBO concerning a television deal in the future.
Larkin said that he will not be at the Grand Prix because he is required to attend an HBO boxing event taking place overseas this weekend. He also said that he did not understand UFC President Dana White’s criticism of boxing officials even though he hired, Marc Ratner, a long-time boxing official, to be the UFC’s vice president.
There were no remarks made in terms of new coaches being hired or coaches being replaced. Larkin said those announcements will come at a later date. When asked about the possibility of hiring Randy Couture as a coach in the IFL, Larkin said that he would be interested but wouldn’t approach anything until all of the “dust” settles concerning Couture’s situation right now. Larkin also said that Couture is still under contract with the UFC so it wouldn’t be possible anyway.
The IFL will stay with a ring for next season, no plans to use a cage. The idea of eliminating the heavyweight division and adding a featherweight division is being discussed. No new news in terms of Kurt Angle signing with the IFL. Ben Rothwell is still with the IFL and will be ringside at the Grand Prix. Several IFL stars will be on hand at various locations throughout the city of Chicago to sign autographs today and tomorrow. Televised matchups for Saturday night will include Benji Radach vs Brent Beauparlant, Chris Horodecki vs Bart Palaszewski, Vladimir Matyushenko vs Alex Schoenauer.
News and Notes
- Sam Caplan of Five Ounces of Pain is reporting that Ricardo Arona is not close to signing a deal with the UFC, or any organization for that matter:
While Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer has already said as much, FiveOuncesOfPain.com can confirm that there is very little validity to the rumors that Ricardo Arona is close to finalizing a deal with the UFC.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com contacted a source close to Arona via e-mail and that source has indicated that he will be in Europe for the next 40 days, making a deal almost impossible to complete. Furthermore, Arona has made no mention to the source about the possibility of signing with the UFC.
- Speaking of Caplan, it seems that he has added Adam Morgan to his team at Five Ounces. I that brings Adam’s total of websites written for to four. Adam is a monster.
- The Fight Network’s Great Fight North column has some good news inside:
Jonathan Goulet is hoping to fight next in November despite dislocating his elbow against Dustin Hazelett at UFC 76.
Bill Mahood’s fight against Bobby Southworth at this weekend’s Strikeforce event will not be for Southworth’s Strikeforce World Light Heavyweight Title.
Denis Kang is apparently training for a return at an October or November K-1 Hero’s event.
- MMA Junkie is reporting that Dean Lister may be taking on Jordan Radev at UFC 79 in December:
UFC rookie Jordan Radev (11-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) will likely face Dean Lister (9-5 MMA, 2-1 UFC) at UFC 79 in December.
MMAjunkie.com learned of the fight from a source close to the fighter, but Ken Pavia, Radev’s agent, said he couldn’t comment on the report or confirm that a deal was close to being signed.
- In a recent interview with FOX Sports, UFC President Dana White stated that he’s still confident he can sign Fedor and Brock Lesnar still isn’t officially with the UFC:
He also was very confident of signing Fedor Emelianenko, but felt it wouldn’t happen until after Emelianenko competes in a Russian sambo tournament in the fall. White said it was incorrect the story, claimed by Kurt Angle, that Brock Lesnar had signed with UFC. But he did hope to make the deal.
It seems that the IFL and Kurt Angle are currently in contract talks to bring the former Olympic gold medalist to the first team-based MMA league.
It’s interesting to note that Angle seems to actually want to sign with the promotion these days:
“God willing, the IFL and myself can make a deal,” Angle told FOXSports.com while attending the promotion’s team championship finale Thursday night at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. “The best fit for me right now as a pro wrestler who [works] about 120 times a year is the IFL.”
Angle stated that he would still need to acquire permission from TNA and train for about a year before being ready to step in the ring. Compared to the UFC and EliteXC, Angle has enjoyed the IFL’s different approach to things:
“The other organizations were pushing me for to fight right away for big money, bigger money than any other fighter has ever made,” Angle said. “But I think they were doing it for my name because I had a lot of exposure in WWE and TNA. When I talked to the IFL, it wasn’t like they came at me with the biggest contract, but they made a lot more sense.
“The IFL is giving me an opportunity to get my feet wet and train without affecting my job with TNA whatsoever. [The IFL] said they would be second priority and make sure TNA is happy all the time and they’ll take me when they can get me.”
One of Angle’s goals in going into the sport of MMA was to set up a fight with former pro wrestler Brock Lesnar. Angle now says that the chances of that happening are now almost gone since Lesnar has signed with the UFC:
“We figured we would make somebody a hell of a lot of money,” Angle said. “We were talking about it, but Brock jumped the gun and went to UFC right away and struck a deal. I don’t blame him. The kid honestly wants to do three or four fights and retire. He’s going to make that kind of money. I give him a lot of credit for that.
There’s always a healthy degree of skepticism when it comes to cross-over athletes. A few have enjoyed success, like Bo Jackson, Deion Sanders and Dennis Rodman (or was he a cross-dressing success?), but remember when Michael Jordan tried his hand at baseball? Yikes.
The world of mixed martial arts is no stranger to two-sport athletes, although the best examples have all left behind their former sports to pursue a full-time career in MMA. Boxers like Tommy Morrison and Ray Mercer, Olympic wrestlers like Bodog Fight’s own Matt Lindland, and pro wrestlers like Brock Lesnar and Daniel Puder.
The 25-year-old Puder won World Wrestling Entertainment’s first “Tough Enough Challenge” in 2004, but he drew the ire of Vince McMahon by straying from the promoter’s plan to have the popular Kurt Angle punish him during a WWE event. Instead, Puder humiliated Angle in front of a live audience by trapping the former Olympic Gold Medal wrestler in a “key lock”. Angle has vowed revenge ever since.
If he wants his reprisal, Angle will have to follow Puder to MMA, but it won’t be easy. Puder is undefeated in four fights heading into his heavyweight bout with Michael Alden on the next episode of Bodog Fight: Paradise Lost this Tuesday, July 3rd at 11 p.m. / 10 p.m. Central on ION television and in Canada on The Fight Network.
Usually, I would not make a post to highlight one specific interview, but this one is awfully informative. The UFC’s Dana White was interviewed on CBS Sportline and had a lot of things to say. Among them…
* Confirmed that UFC 70 will likely be on SpikeTV
* Confirmed that Rashad Evans is the expected opponent for Tito Ortiz at UFC 71.
* Reiterated that he wants Rampage Jackson to fight Chuck Liddell for the LHW title at UFC 71 in May.
* Was very candid once again about his interests in buying the Pride promotion, admitting to having been in negotiations with them.
* Mentioned guys like Wanderlei Silva, Fedor, and Dan Henderson as fighters he’d love to have fight under the UFC banner.
* Hinted at the possibility that they are negotiating with the Nogueira brothers since their contract is up soon with Pride.
* Clarified his position on the Kurt Angle rumors, yet was very complimentary to Angle as well as Brock Lesnar.
* Admitted he’d like to see Phil Baroni and Evan Tanner back in the UFC.
* Continued the war of words with Jerry Millen, Gary Shaw, and Frank Shamrock.