It’s a new season. It’s a new cast. We’re recapping each episode. Let’s get down to business.
What do you need to know? There are 16 welterweights fighting for one UFC contract, even though we all know they are going to get a shot anyway, provided they don’t fight on the show like Marlon Sims and Noah Thomas. The coaches for this season are current UFC Welterweight Champion Matt Serra and the former welterweight champ, Matt Hughes.
The first episode surprised me in that it jumped right into things. It didn’t focus on the fighters and the house as much compared to earlier seasons, maybe a change in strategy to get those who hate reality television and only watch for the fights to stay tuned.
One of Serra’s BJJ students, Joe Scarola happens to be on the show. Hughes joked with Scarola that he was going to pick him first if he had the chance, obviously starting the mind games. Serra won the coin toss, got the first pick, and selected his boy. Matt Hughes went ahead and picked Dan Barrera with his first pick. The teams ended up looking like this…
Team Serra: Joe Scarola, George Sotiropoulos, Matt Arroyo, John Kolosci, Ben Saunders, Roman Mitichyan, Troy Mandaloniz, Richie Hightower
Team Hughes: Dan Barrera, Mac Danzig, Tommy Speer, Billy Miles, Jared Rollins, Paul Georgieff, Dorian Price, Blake Bowman
Only two things of note happened during the course of the show.
Roman Mitichyan was forced to leave the show after fracturing his elbow during the fighter evaluations for Serra and Hughes. He was replaced by Jon Koppenhaver, who will join Team Serra. Mitichyan put up quite the fit and it’s kind of obvious that he isn’t that familiar with the way things go on in this country.
The other was the fight. Hughes showed no mercy and pairing up the experienced Mac Danzig against Serra’s protege in Scarola.
The fight started out on the feet but quickly went to the ground, exactly where Serra and Scarola wanted it to be. Danzig stayed on top and Scarola did a nice job of keeping Danzig in tight and preventing him from inflicting any damage. Scarola reversed position and wound up on top of Danzig but Danzig quickly locked in a triangle joke that forced Scarola to tap out with only seconds left in the first round.
Hughes’ plan worked like a charm. Next week looks pretty eventful as Scarola contemplates leaving the house and Serra has to “kick a bitch off the show”.
Showtime hosted a conference call earlier this afternoon in preparation for the upcoming EliteXC: Uprising event scheduled to take place on September 15th in Honolulu, Hawaii. The fighters featured on the call were ICON Middleweight Champion Robbie Lawler, EliteXC Middleweight Champion Murlio Rua through the use of an interpreter, Jake Shields, and Gina Carano. Other officials participating in the call were EliteXC President Gary Shaw and ICON Sport President T. Jay Thompson.
News and Notes
- Our rumors section has been updated.
- Spencer Fisher has stated that his next UFC fight will take place in November…
- UFC Junkie has now become MMA Junkie.
- It seems that TUF 5 alumnus Corey Hill has opted not to join Matt Hughes’ newly formed team after all:
Hill was supposed to be one of the four founding fighters, but according to Fiore, he has decided to explore other options.
“Cory is the type of fighter we are trying to bring to our gym,” Fiore said. “Nonetheless, we wish him the best of luck with his training and fighting career.“
- Yesterday’s Faber-Curran announcement was done in conjunction with the WEC’s new deal with Versus, which will bring 15 more live events and 20 more shows of Wrekcage to the network.
- UFC veteran Darrell Gholar has announced that he will be opening a training center in Austin, Texas.
- Showtime has hired sports producer David Dinkins to oversee the production of boxing and mixed martial arts telecasts for the network:
When asked about the future of MMA on the network, Dinkins said, “This is a tremendous opportunity for us to put our stamp on a new and growing sport. We plan to be innovative while maintaining the same high quality that viewers have come to expect from our boxing telecasts.”
- UFC middleweight Terry Martin is filing a lawsuit against the Chicago Police Department for false arrest:
Ultimate Fighting Championship rising star Terry Martin was falsely arrested as he was on his way into a police station to report police harassment, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday.
Martin, 26, is suing Mayor Daley and Chicago Police officials and officers for misconduct, alleging that corruption within the Chicago Police Department led to Martin being arrested and prosecuted. Martin was stopped by police Oct. 22, 2005, for alleged minor traffic offenses while driving with his girlfriend, a 911 operator. He claims the officers used racial slurs during the encounter and other disrespectful comments. The next evening, according to the suit, Martin went to the police station to report the incident and was spotted by the same two officers.
‘‘The police said Terry drove past the station, and when the officers turned on their sirens, he did a U-turn and fled,’’ Martin’s attorney, Blake Horowitz, said. ‘‘They said he got up to a half-mile away before they brought him back and arrested him for fleeing and eluding. During the trial, another officer said he saw Terry pull up to the station calmly and they arrested him. He would have been able to see if there was a chase.’‘
News and Notes
- According to his management team, it seems that Fedor is going to sign with a promotion very soon:
That situation isn’t likely to remain so for much longer though, as speculation has swirled around Fedor’s contract status, or lack thereof, as of late. The hot rumor over the past few days has been that he has inked a deal with the UFC.
Not so says Reed Wallace, President of White Chocolate Management, who represents Fedor Emelianenko in the United States.
“Fedor has not signed anything [as of Tuesday afternoon],” Wallace informed MMAWeekly. “He’s going to do something soon. They can’t negotiate forever.”
So Wallace and company are getting fed up with waiting, just like the rest of the MMA world. It’s nothing surprising, but Apy Echteld sayng that contract talks with the UFC are going well certainly is:
Fedor’s managers, Vadim Finkelstein and Apy Echteld, met with the UFC late last week, but a signed contract has yet to materialize. “UFC discussions went very well according to Apy,” said Wallace in reference to the meeting. Initially it seemed the UFC was unwilling to make any modifications to their contract, but it now appears there has been some movement.
“I can say that they are very close to a deal, but some last minute players have stepped up as well,” he said.
One of those players as we all now know is Mark Cuban. The other is assumed to be K-1 Hero’s.
- Sherdog is reporting that Rumina Sato will take on Hideki Kadowaki at Shooto’s Back to our Roots show on September 22nd:
Shooto charisma Rumina Sato (Pictures) will fight Wajyutsu Keisyukai grappling ace Hideki Kadowaki (Pictures) on the Sept. 22 installment of the “Back to Our Roots” series, a source confirmed to Sherdog.com.
Leading Shooto promoter Sustain is expected to officially announce the Sato-Kadowaki bout later this week. The match-up will be the ninth, and likely final bout added to Sept. 22’s fight card.
- MMA Weekly has released their latest set of rankings...
Sherdog: Dan Henderson Training Pictures
UFC Junkie: “Team Hughes” Fighters Debut Sept. 15
UFC Mania: UFC Quick Quote: Chris Leben ‘in the best shape’ ever for Terry Martin
Bloody Elbow: Lift the Ban Watch
Fight Opinion: Wednesday war room: BMA and Big Brother
Fightlinker: Dana White treats people like shit
Former UFC Welterweight Champion Matt Hughes and current ICON Sport Middleweight Champion Robbie Lawler are set to leave Miletich Fighting Systems in Iowa to start their own gym in Granite City, Illinois.
MFS founder Pat Miletich confirmed the news on The Fight Network’s radio show earlier today.
“Matt’s been with me for almost a decade,” said Miletich on Fight Network Radio today. “We’ve had a lot of great years together. This is a natural progression for guys to eventually go out on their own.”
“I’m sure he’s had a lot of offers to do something like this and he got one close to home,” said Miletich. “I know it’s been tough on him driving up to Iowa all these years, spending the week up here and going home on weekends year after year.”
The gym will be named H.I.T (Hughes Intensive Training) and will officially open to the public in January of next year. Matt Pena and Rob Fiore are said to be two of the members of the gym’s staff. Various reports also have TUF 5 alumnus Corey Hill switching gyms to train with Hughes and Lawler as well.
So once again, the UFC is attempting to go north of the border and put on an event in Canada.
Previous tries to book a show at the Bell Centre in April and November both failed earlier this year because of scheduling conflicts with the NHL. Yet UFC President Dana White is content to try again, quite possibly being fuled by Georges St. Pierre’s post-fight remark Saturday night, letting White know that an event in his hometown of Montreal would drive the fans crazy.
White made his intent to try again known at the post-fight press conference for UFC 74. There he stated that he would like to try and book an event in Montreal as early as February or March. He also said that the show would feature Georges St. Pierre challenging the winner of a December bout between Matt Hughes and Matt Serra for the UFC Welterweight Title.
Loretta Hunt of The Fight Network has mentioned a pretty good alternative solution for White’s Montreal arena troubles - the Colisée Pepsi, the former home of the now-defunct Quebec Nordiques:
An alternate location could be the Colisée Pepsi in Quebec City. The arena hosted the province’s other NHL team, the Quebec Nordiques, up until 1995 until they moved to Colorado. Colisée holds 15,750 spectators, not including floor seating. A popular concert location, the venue now plays host to some junior and senior hockey teams that have yet to finalize their home schedule, leaving a window of opportunity for White and company to lock in a date for 2008.
The capacity is certainly large enough to be a number that White is looking for and while it may not be the Bell Centre, it’s at least an opportunity to build a good foundation with the city of Quebec for future events.
Earlier today UFC President Dana White held a conference call with various members of the media in order to discuss this weekend’s UFC 71 event. Many other topics were touched upon and just like our recap of the UFC 70 conference call, we’ve got everything covered…
White’s Thoughts on UFC 71’s main event: Chuck Liddell vs Quinton Jackson:
White came right out and said that he was very excited for the fight as is everyone. He said that the mentality of both fighters are going to make it an exciting fight. He said that Chuck’s striking is obviously going to give Jackson trouble but so will Jackson’s athletic ability for Liddell. White stated that style-wise, it’s a bad matchup for Liddell and that we were able to see that in the first fight between the two.
White pressed on the fact that Liddell has the opportunity in front of him to finally avenge every loss that he’s ever suffered. One of the most interesting things that White said was that Jackson usually “fights to the level of his competition”. He noted that Jackson beat Marvin Eastman but he did it in a fashion that nobody was really impressed by. White said that because Liddell is such a high-caliber fighter, Jackson’s game will be on that same level and he will look much better in this fight then when he fought Eastman at UFC 67.
White briefly touched on Liddell’s controversial segment on Good Morning Dallas a few months back where he appeared to be under the influence of something. White attributed Liddell’s state to the lifestyle that he lives due to being famous. White said that he and other UFC officials promptly took care of the matter when it arose and that everything is fine now concerning that situtation.
White Discusses Potential Signing of Mauricio Rua; Possible Addition of Wanderlei Silva:
It’s been rumored for about a week now that the UFC has signed Mauricio Rua. Well White went ahead and all but confirmed that Rua will be part of the UFC when he said that the winner of Saturday night’s Liddell-Jackson bout will then have to face a challenger that the UFC is bringing in. White also said that the challenger will be revealed during the UFC 71 broadcast.
When asked who that challenger could be, White said that it could be one of two people - Mauricio Rua and Wanderlei Silva. However White then talked into detail about Rua and how he will most likely be fighting Liddell within the next year, all but confirming that the UFC has come to terms with him. White also made the surprising announcement that the UFC “has to bring in Wanderlei Silva”. White said that the winner of Saturday’s fight could also possibly be facing Silva in their next fight as well.
White Gives an Update on PRIDE Sale:
The whole PRIDE ordeal was definitely the most asked question during the conference call but it was also the one topic that White couldn’t really give any definitive answers to. White blamed the reason behind his lack of a definite answer on his busy travel schedule - That doesn’t make any sense, I know but he said it. White assured everyone that the fans would still be able to see the marquee matchups between fighters of both organizations at some point this year.
White Talks Huerta Sports Illustrated Cover, Sanchez’s Thoughts on Retirement, Vera’s Status, and St.Pierre-Koscheck at UFC 74:
White praised Roger Huerta for making the cover of Sports Illustrated and went on to talk about how the sport of MMA is finally becoming mainstream and achieving the dream that White and the Fertitta Brothers had for it. He also made a mention of Chuck Liddell’s appearance on the cover of ESPN the Magazine.
The most shocking thing that was discussed during the press conference was White’s confession that Diego Sanchez nearly announced his retirement one day before UFC 69 because doctor’s thought that he had contracted Hepatitis C. Doctors ran multiple tests on Sanchez after that and they kept on coming up negative so they then ruled that he in fact did not have Hepatitis C and the test where he tested positive was faulty. According to White, the doctors still thought that something was wrong with Sanchez, but because they couldn’t figure it out, they let him fight anyway. The next day, Sanchez was diagnosed with a staph infection after an enormous hole developed on his leg.
White assured everyone that Brandon Vera was still with the company and will remain with the company for a long time to come. Vera is currently figuring out personal matters between him and his former manager before he starts actively fighting again. White stated that the winner of the fight between Josh Koscheck and Georges St. Pierre at UFC 74 would get the winner of the Matt Serra-Matt Hughes welterweight title bout at some point in the winter.
White Bashes the NJSAC, K-1, IFL, and Tito Ortiz:
White openly bashed the New Jersey State Athletic Commission for deciding to sanction the upcoming June bout between underground fighting legend Kimbo Slice and former heavyweight champion Ray Mercer. Despite the criticism, White mentioned that the UFC would most likely be returning to the state later this year. K-1 got just as much of White’s wrath for the strong possibility that their Dynamite!! USA show scheduled for June 2nd may be cancelled. White said that the promotion was insane for thinking that could fill up the Los Angeles Coliseum when in fact they have trouble filling up small ballrooms in Las Vegas for their kickboxing tournaments.
White’s bashing of the IFL and Tito Ortiz was pretty much the same as always: The IFL is “retarded” and Ortiz is a baby…
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.”
Last night fans witnessed one of the biggest upsets ever as ‘The Ultimate Fighter 4’ winner Matt Serra defeated Georges St. Pierre to win the UFC welterweight title. During the post-fight press conference Dana White stated that Serra’s first title defense would likely come against former champion Matt Hughes.
During the event Dana White announced the signing of heavyweight ace Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira to a two-year contract.
The UFC gained a great deal of exposure last night as highlights of UFC 69: Shootout could be seen on ESPN, TSN, Rogers Sportsnet and many other major television stations across the country.
TATAME is reporting that undefeated light heavyweight Thiago Silva will make his UFC debut May 26th at UFC 71. Silva (9-0) is the under 93kg Fury FC Grand Prix Champion. Training with Chute Boxe, Silva has showcased excellent striking ending 7 of his 9 fights by knock out.
TATAME is also reporting Alexandre Franca “Pequeno” Nogueira has received an offer from the UFC. Pequeno is 12-4-2 with the majority of his victories coming by submission.
UFC on Spike TV:
Tuesday, April 10th: UFC Unleashed 9 PM EST
Thursday, April 12th: The Ultimate Fighter 5 10 PM EST
Thursday, April 12th: Countdown to Dana vs Tito 11 PM EST
Friday, April 13th: Countdown to Tito vs Dana Replay 12 AM EST
MMAWeekly has obtained the salaries for this past weekend’s UFC 68: The Uprising, held in Columbus, Ohio. As usual, these numbers represent only the actual money given to the fighters, both their salary and win bonuses. It does not include any PPV buy cuts or sponsorships.
UFC 68—- March 3, 2007
Title Match & Main Event Fighters
-Randy Couture: $250,000 (17th fight in UFC; defeated Tim Sylvia)
-Tim Sylvia: $100,000 (11th fight in UFC; lost to Randy Couture)
Main Card Fighters
-Matt Hughes: $150,000 (18th fight in UFC; defeated Chris Lytle)
-Rich Franklin: $42,000 (9th fight in UFC; defeated Jason MacDonald)
-Renato “Babalu” Sobral: $21,000 (9th fight in UFC; lost to Jason Lambert)
-Martin Kampmann: $20,000 (3rd fight in UFC; defeated Drew McFedries)
-Jason Lambert: $18,000 (5th fight in UFC; defeated Renato “Babalu” Sobral)
-Jason MacDonald: $14,000 (3rd fight in UFC; lost to Rich Franklin)
-Chris Lytle: $10,000 (8th fight in UFC; lost to Matt Hughes)
-Drew McFedries: $5,000 (2nd fight in UFC; lost to Martin Kampmann)
Preliminary Match Fighters
-Jon Fitch: $28,000 (5th fight in UFC; defeated Luigi Fioravanti)
-Matt Hamill: $10,000 (3rd fight in UFC; defeated Rex Holman)
-Luigi Fioravanti: $8,000 (4th fight in UFC; lost to Jon Fitch)
-Jamie Varner: $6,000 (2nd fight in UFC; defeated Jason Gilliam)
-Gleison Tibau: $6,000 (2nd fight in UFC; defeated Jason Dent)
-Rex Holman: $3,000 (1st fight in UFC; lost to Matt Hamill)
-Jason Gilliam: $3,000 (1st fight in UFC; lost to Jamie Varner)
-Jason Dent: $3,000 (2nd fight in UFC; lost to Gleison Tibau)
Disclosed Fighter Payroll: $697,000