News and Notes
- Be sure to tune in tonight at 10 PM EST as John and I will be doing one of our patented ‘live blogs’ for UFC 71: Liddell vs. Jackson.
- The CSAC has granted Fight Entertainment Group (FEG), K-1’s parent company, a temporary promoter’s license.
- In a recent interview with TATAME Chute Boxe’s Rafael Cordeiro talked about Wanderlei Silva, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Murilo “Ninja” Rua.
“Shogun fights into any category. At the Chute Boxe team we train into the rules of the Pride and of the UFC, as like in the Muay Thai that we train into different rules”, said Cordeiro, who also said that believes at the KO of Murilo Ninja inhis bout against the fighter from Cube Joey Villasenor for the Middleweight tilte of the Elite XC. “After the training that he did with Wanderlei last morning, I am waiting for the KO. Wanderlei left the traininh saying good things about him and he also said he has a heavy hand. When some athlete receives good words from some champion and from the professors, he feels himself more confident”, said Cordeiro.
The trainer of the Chute Boxe team also revelated that Wanderlei Silva may fight this year, only waiting the confirmation of the business. “I am sure he will be back to train this year. He and Rudimar are waiting an answer so he can be beck to the ring this year”, revelated Rafael, who was asked if Wanderlei would be back to fight up the ring and answered the question with the statement “back to fight this year”.
Fight Opinion Radio #50: Big UFC 71 event preview
Major UFC 71 Rampage vs. Liddell preview show this week on Fight Opinion Radio. Our special guests this week are: Ken Pishna of MMAWeekly.com, Steve Sievert of The Houston Chronicle, and Luke Thomas of BloodyElbow.com. All six show personalities this week are split 50/50 across the board on who will win the big UFC 71 main event. This week’s show is brought to you by Monster Wrestling Rings and Kakuto Store.
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…
According to ChuteBoxe.com, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, has signed with the UFC and his debut could come as early as UFC 72.
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua has signed a contract with the UFC and may participate in UFC 72.
For those of you unaware, Shogun has spent the majority of his career in Japan fighting for PRIDE and he is widely considered the top light heavyweight in the world aside from UFC champion Chuck Liddell.
Shogun (16-2) holds stunning victories over the likes of Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Alistair Overeem, Kevin Randleman, and Ricardo Arona. The Curitiba, Brazil native is considered the future of the LHW division as he possesses a devastating arsenal of strikes and submissions.
Shogun’s only losses have been to UFC veteran Renato “Babalu” Sobral at IFC: Global Domination in 2003 when he lost by guillotine and Mark Coleman at PRIDE 31 when he suffered a serious elbow injured which halted the bout.
Since returning from his injury Shogun has been on a tear racking up four straight victories with stoppages over Cyrille Diabate, Kevin Randleman and Alistair Overeem.
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.”
News and Notes
- Check back later this morning for our predictions on tonight’s UFC Fight Night 9. As always we will be going live at 8 PM EST with one of our patented live blogs…
- Also video of Josh Koscheck fighting a fan is coming your way around 8:30 AM…
- So what are you doing today from 6 PM on? Watching Spike TV, duh. Remember there will be two episodes of UFC Unleashed between 6-8 PM. 8 PM of course is UFC Fight Night 9 and following that will be the season premiere of The Ultimate Fighter 5 at 10 PM. Going to be a big day.
- A Japanese news report is speculating that Diego Sanchez may participate in the PRIDE Lightweight Grand Prix starting in May.
- Brazilian MMA news site World Fight posted a recent interview with Mauricio Rua where he stated that he would be interested in taking on Renato Sobral and Tito Ortiz in the near future.
UFC Junkie gives the English translation:
WF: Tito Ortiz declared recently that he would like to fight with you…
Rua: He is a very good athlete and strong, I would like to face him yes, with certainty I would like that fight.
WF: Does the possibility of a rematch with Renato Sobral motivate you to fight in the UFC?
Rua: Definitely! It is a fight that now can happen and I would like it very much it if did.
- Cage Warriors President Doug Truman was arrested yesterday on charges of an alleged connection to a convicted drug dealer in Hampshire, England. Truman is still in jail but is expected to post bail in the next 24 hours.
- The schedule for Versus’ coverage of the WEC starting in June is now up on it’s official website.
Video of the Day
Rock the Vote Results
Diego Sanchez - 68%
Rashad Evans - 13%
Mike Swick - 11%
Josh Koscheck - 7%
Joe Stevenson - 4%
Other - 1%
Houston Chronicle: Ultimate Fighting battles for a mainstream role
Sherdog: Diego Sanchez - This Time It’s Personal
UFC: Sanchez vs Koscheck II - Bad Blood Boiling
The Fight Network: The Second Go-Around
Just some random thoughts from this past weekend’s Pride 33: The Second Coming show.
It was a great show put on by DSE, which is great considering the amount of mismatches that most thought plagued the fight card. Stunning KO upsets (Lil’ Nog especially), an absolute war between Nick Diaz and the Fireball Kid Takanori Gomi that saw the UFC vet Diaz choke out Gomi with a gogoplata, and another highlight KO of Wanderlei Silva by Dan Henderson highlighted the event. While the production style of Pride may take some getting used to in the American market, the event was a much better representation of Pride than their first foray into the US this past October.
PRIDE 33 FULL RESULTS
Dan Henderson def. Wanderlei Silva by KO at 2:08, Round 3
Nick Diaz def. Takanori Gomi by Gogoplata at 1:46, Round 2
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua def. Alistair Overeem by TKO at 3:37, Round 1
Sergei Kharitonov def. Mike Russow by Armbar at 3:46, Round 1
Hayato “Mach” Sakurai def. Mac Danzig by TKO at 4:01, Round 2
Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou def. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira by TKO at 0:23, Round 1
James Lee def. Travis Wiuff by Guillotine Choke at 0:39, Round 1
Frank Trigg def. Kazuo Misaki by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Joachim Hansen def. Jason Ireland by Armbar at 2:33, Round 3
That being said, there are some stories out there that claim the results of Pride 33 will hurt the promotion in the long run. The first one by Zach Arnold was first printed on BoxingScene.com.
PRIDE 33 will go down as an event that, on paper, had a fight card line-up that looked like a turkey but produced some exciting fights. Short-term, the event was successful. Long-term, however, major damage was done to several of PRIDE’s key Japanese assets.
There is no turning back to Japan now for PRIDE. *Read More*
Arnold goes on to intricately detail how the surprising results will hurt Pride, especially in their stronghold of Japan itself.
A few days later, Al Yu, a Japanese columnist for MMAWeekly who specializies in covering the Far East MMA scene for the site, offered very similar setiments to Arnold. He even called it a disaster, the same as Arnold.
Operating under financial turmoil, DSE continued forward with their second U.S. show in hopes to make a further impact in a market currently dominated by the UFC. Pride 33: The Second Coming produced many exciting fights and was easily one of the best events of the year. Of the nine scheduled fights, only one went to a decision. So why was it a disaster?
What makes an organization is its stable of fighters. Pride’s large roster consists of some of the best fighters in the world. Any time a marquee fighter loses, it can have an adverse affect on an organization. In this case, four of Pride’s stars faltered on a crucial night for the Japanese organization.
There is no question that the event itself was a huge success, especially fight wise. The key will be where the PPV buy numbers end up, especially considering how poor the PPV numbers for the October event turned out. Let’s hope for the best.
Finally, for the first time ever, Pride CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara made a comment that did not deny that Pride may be up for sale. In the past, he has always firmly denied the sales rumors. From Loretta Hunt’s article on the Fight Network…
“Maybe,” PRIDE CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara answered of rumors that the PRIDE organization could go up for sale. “Today[‘s] show is very good [though].”
News and Notes
- The Fight Network will be televising the EliteXC debut show live at 10 PM EST on February 10th.
- UFC and PRIDE veteran Kevin “The Monster” Randleman has been released from the hospital after he suffered near kidney failure.
- Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Alistair Overeem will face off in the ring PRIDE 33: Second Coming.
- Canadian welterweight Jeff Joslin is scheduled to face Kuniyoshi Hironaka on April 5th live on Spike TV.
- Tonight on ‘Inside the UFC’, Joe Rogan will sit down and talk to UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva and his opponent Travis Lutter.
- Be sure to check out our newly created rumors page. We’ve updated the PRIDE 33 card with Overeem vs. Rua.
- Sherdog has announced that they will be going live 3 days a week starting February 12th. The show will run from 1PM - 5PM EST with 2 hour episodes of ‘The Beatdown’ and ‘The Savage Dog Show’. The show will also have updates at the top of every hour. For the users who cannot listen live, there will still be a podcast available through iTunes.
- Elvis Sinosic has signed a new deal with the UFC and it looks like his next fight will be in April. It also looks like Gonzaga will be fighting on one of the UFC cards in April.
It has been confirmed that Pride superstars Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Takanori Gomi have been added to the Pride Shockwave 2006 card.
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua is scheduled to face Kazuhiro Nakamura. Both fighters recently appeared on the Pride USA card entitled “The Real Deal” where fans saw both fighters pick up victories. “Shogun” defeated the very tough Hammer House product Kevin Randleman by submission and Nakamura stopped his opponent Travis Galbraith via strikes.
Pride Lightweight Champion Takanori Gomi will battle Shooto Pacific Rim Welterweight Champion Mitsuhiro Ishida in a non-title bout.
Russian heavyweight phenom Fedor Emelianenko continued his dominance of the PRIDE heavyweight division last night as steamrolled through Mark “The Hammer” Coleman earning himself the victory at 1:15 of the second round by armbar.
Fedor worked hard early to stuff the constant takedown attempts from “The Hammer”. From there he was able to work his strikes and by the end of the first, Coleman was showing a great deal of damage. The former UFC heavyweight champion’s eyes were both very swollen and a stream of blood trickled down the legend’s face. Surprisingly Coleman made it through the first round with one of mixed martial arts toughest combatants.
Early in the second round Coleman stuck to his game plan as he shot in early and finally for the first time in the fight he secured a double-leg takedown. Coleman tried to work his patented ground and pound but Fedor showed his superior skills as he rolled for an armbar and tapped out his counterpart at 1:15 of the second round.
Afterwards Fedor set his stone cold demeanor aside as he congratulated his opponent. Coleman was quickly embraced in the ring by his two young daughters who were very emotional after seeing their father get dominated by one of the world’s toughest mixed martial artists.
Coleman assured fans in his post-fight interview that he’d be back and he definitely plans on improving on a few things.
Fedor looked great in his return after spending the better part of a year on the shelf after undergoing hand surgery. With the win Fedor upped his PRIDE record to 13-0 and his mixed martial arts record to 24-1.
During the post-fight press conference while speaking through his interpreter, Fedor stated that he felt uncomfortable when Coleman came up to congratulate him while holding his two sobbing daughters. Fedor also stated that the next man he’d like to fight is Josh Barnett.
Also on the card was a light heavyweight battle between Kevin “The Monster” Randleman and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua.
Randleman came out early and secured a powerful double-leg takedown which put the Brazilian star on his back. Immediately “Shogun” began to work for an ankle lock which eventually ended up being a kneebar. Randleman tried desperately to withstand the onslaught from “Shogun” but it ended up being too much and Randleman was forced to tap at 2:35 of the first round.
Dream Stage Entertainment has announced two more fights for their Open Weight Grand Prix Final which is set to take place September 10th in Tokyo.
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua will be making his return to the ring for the first time since suffering a terrible injury to his arm in a fight against Mark “The Hammer” Coleman back in February. Shogun’s opponent will be Cyrille “The Snake” Diabate who sports a mixed martial arts record of 10-5-1.
Pride officials also announced a fight between Ricardo Arona and Alistair Overeem. Arona is on a two fight skid with losses to Shogun and Wanderlei Silva. Overeem is coming off of a loss Antonio Rogerio Nogueira so this fight should produce some fireworks.