The UFC has won battles in the past.
All we have to do is look no further than the tale of how Zuffa came in and saved the promotion that was nearly driven into the ground by Senator John McCain and the idea that mixed martial arts was nothing more than human cockfighting. Fast forward almost seven years later and the UFC has become the driving force behind MMA’s giant growth in popularity in recent years.
Now the UFC is seemingly on top of the world. Yet they have another battle to take on.
When news broke yesterday that Fedor has signed with M-1 and M-1 was recently purchase by an unknown American company, thoughts of Ed Fishman and this new PRIDE that everyone was talking about flashing through my head.
Now I’m not sure that’s the case.
Many rumors have been swirling around today varying from Nobuyuki Sakakibara to Shane McMahon being part of the group that purchased M-1. Who the hell knows at this point.
However the infamous Zach Arnold has revealed details on a new Japanese promotion forming as we speak:
A press release was sent out to members of the Japanese media today (not on a public scale, but specifically addressed to members of the Japanese press) for a new company called World Victory Road Inc. in Japan. The press release states that there will be a press conference on the 2nd floor of Tokyo’s Prince Hotel on the 15th (this Monday at 3 PM JST). The press release states that representatives from Don Quijote (one of PRIDE’s former sponsors and current sponsor of Kazuhiro Nakamura) and FILA are expected to be in attendance. The most interesting name listed as a guest for the press conference is Chairman Fukuda of the Japanese wrestling association. He was a figurehead that PRIDE tried to recruit before that organizaton hit troubled times. Also on the guest list is Mr. Kinoshita of the Kinoshita Group, a construction company.
Interestingly enough, the cell phone number at the bottom of the private press release belongs to an employee of J-ROCK, the management group of Hidehiko Yoshida. One media source claims that a top figurehead for the new organization is former UFC-Japan promoter, Akira Sakata.
Big news for Japanese fans right there.
As far as M-1 goes, Sherdog has some more information on the promotion and an official announcement:
Sherdog.com has learned the new organization will run under the M-1 Global moniker and plans to promote shows in Russia, Japan and the United States with the first event possibly coming to fruition as soon as New Year’s Eve.
A news conference has been tentatively scheduled for Oct. 23 in New York City to announce the signing as well as to introduce the new promotion to the media.
Loretta Hunt of The Fight Network is reporting through a source close to M-1 that Fedor Emelianenko has signed an exclusive deal with the promotion:
PRIDE heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko has committed exclusively to the new ownership of M-1 Mix-Fight Championship, which has been purchased outright by an undisclosed American entertainment-related company, according to a source close to the deal who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Established in 1997, the St. Petersburg-based M-1 held over 30 events under the ownership of Russian businessman Vadim Finkelstein, also the long-time manager of the much-sought-after Emelianenko. Finkelstein is also the proprietor of the Red Devil Sports Club, a facility and team that houses numerous Russian fighters, including PRIDE veteran Roman Zentsov and former UFC middleweight Andrei Semenov.
Now notice what was just quoted above - M-1 was purchased by an undisclosed American entertainment-related company.
I’m just going out on a limb here but with all the rumors floating around about a “new PRIDE” coming together, I have two questions to ask: Does this “undisclosed American company” have anything to do with Ed Fishman? Also, did Fedor decide to sign with M-1 instead of the UFC because this might be “the new PRIDE”?
Finkelstein is going to help with the running of the promotion, meaning that Fedor is obviously going to be the focal point of things.
Anything is possible at this point but we won’t have to wait very long to find out exactly what’s going on as a formal announcement of the purchase, the Fedor signing, and the promotion’s next event is expected before the end of October.
PRIDE FC Worldwide released an official statement earlier today concerning the firing of it’s employees and the closing of it’s offices in Tokyo.
Here are the details:
- The release was basically made to counter what are being referred to as “false reports” by the media. Those false reports included the employees not being compensated and that Zuffa had lied to PRIDE officials and it’s fans following the purchase back in March. Both things are apparently untrue. PRIDE FC Worldwide President Jamie Pollack stated that Zuffa tried to save the brand but were unable to because of the uncooperative staff from DSE, the company that Zuffa purchased PRIDE from. Their actions have apparently prevented Zuffa from putting on any PRIDE events in the future. Employees are also going to be paid their retirement allowance.
- Zuffa’s legal counsel advised them that Japanese law would prevent them from keeping employees on board without having the required office space.
- PRIDE FC Worldwide will continue to operate as a company and will promote itself in Japan and the United States. Future plans include the airing of past events, releasing previously unreleased content, and marketing DVD’s and other products.
- The chances of a future PRIDE event being held in the future are slim to none. All fighters are apparently being encouraged to talk with the UFC concerning their fighting careers.
News and Notes
- Tony Loiseleur of Sherdog sat down for an awesome three-page interview with PRIDE Lightweight Champion Takanori Gomi. Be sure to check it out.
- Sherdog is also reporting that Hector Lombard may still have a chance to fight at UFC 78 after all:
On Monday, the fighter’s American representatives told Sherdog.com that in spite of Lombard’s difficulties they remain hopeful he will be granted a P1 visa, which is available to athletes and entertainers coming to the U.S. to participate in internationally recognized events for a U.S. employer.
- The Fight Network is reporting that the IFL has signed Jay Hieron to a contract extension:
Welterweight contender Jay Hieron confirmed today he has re-signed with the International Fight League through the completion of its 2008 campaign. A product of Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, Hieron holds four victories in six fights with the promotion.
- Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer fame has left FOX Sports for Yahoo! Sports...
- I hate to force publicity out there but a few members of the gym I train out of as well as other members of Team Balance will be competing in grappling matches at the 40th Anniversary of Sports at the Spectrum. The event will be held on October 19th at 7:00 PM at the Wachovia Spectrum of course. Former UFC Heavyweight Champion Andrei Arlovski is set to be a guest at the event.
MMA News has more on the event...
- Adam Morgan looks back on Chris Horodecki’s fall through the ropes during his fight with Bart Palaszewski earlier this year.
News and Notes
- I would try and elaborate more on the closing of the PRIDE offices in Japan but instead I’ll leave it to the two that can do it best:
- The California State Athletic Commission has announced the all fighters that participated in last weekend’s Strikeforce event, with the exception of Adam Smith, have all tested negative for performance enhancing drugs and drugs of abuse.
- Both K-1 Hero’s and Pancrase have announced details about their upcoming events…
Denis Kang, Yoshihiro Akiyama, Dong Sik Yoon, and Taiei Kin are all said to be part of K-1 Hero’s October 28th event at the Jangchung Gymnasium in Seoul, South Korea.
Pancrase has officially announced three bouts for it’s October 14th show - Middleweight King of Pancrase Yuichi Nakanishi will defend his title against Izuru Takeuchi, heavyweights Tatsuya Mizunoa and Masayuki Kono will collide, and Wataru Takahash takes on Shinsuke Shoji.
Daiki Hata will also be on the card against an opponent that has not yet been announced.
- Matt Hamill made a post on his official website yesterday concerning the booking of the Rashad Evans-Michael Bisping matchup at UFC 78:
Wow! Let me just say… I am in shock. First, I get hosed by two judges in London and now the much anticipated rematch has evaporated in front of my eyes. I’m starting to feel like the deck is stacked against me. Duff, my trainer/manager told me he thought something like this would happen when he read Bisping’s statement on the internet. He said it looked like Bisping was looking for a way out of the rematch. I posted a statement about my knee surgery on 9/25 so everyone would know it was minor, and I would be ready by mid December. I didn’t think six weeks was that long of a wait, apparently, Bisping and the UFC did. I am so hungry to fight. I had surgery to add wrestling back to my arsenal. I fought Bisping’s fight at UFC 75 and I was looking forward to fighting my fight in the rematch. I feel honored that so many people have told me I won the fight in London. It makes the decision easier for me to accept. I want to fight… I want to fight ASAP! Hopefully the UFC will schedule a fight for me soon. I would like to fight in December or January and hopefully Bisping after that… If Bisping has the guts to do it again.
- Adam Swift of UFC Daily is reporting via Dave Meltzer that Sean Sherk has passed a lie detector test concerning his usage of steroids:
Sean Sherk passed a lie detector test saying that he did not knowingly use steroids. While certainly not conclusive, it can’t hurt his chances at getting his suspension over turned or at the very least reduced.
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua underwent successful surgery to repair a torn ACL in his left knee last Wednesday according to Rua’s publicist Julio Heller through MMA News.
The doctor that performed the surgery was Mario Namba. Namba has worked on former PRIDE Middleweight Champion Wanderlei Silva in the past.
According to Namba, Rua’s recovery should be fast and he will be ready to fight again soon enough:
“The surgery was a success, I’m following Mauricio for the last few months and this problem was identified before his last fight, as a professional he decided to keep his agreement to fight and I respect that, he’s young and very strong, I’m sure that his recovery will be fast and he will be ready to fight again very soon.”
I know we haven’t posted it but a lot of other sites have. Here’s a promo for UFC WiRED, a new show hosted by UFC color commentator Joe Rogan that debuts this weekend.
News and Notes
- Adam Smith, who competed on last weekend’s Strikeforce at the Mansion card against K-1 veteran Dewey Cooper, has tested positive for cocaine and marijuana according to the California State Athletic Commission. Smith will be suspended until June 25th of next year and fined $1,500.
- Anyone watch Dog The Bounty Hunter? Dog’s son Leland will be making his MMA debut on October 20th at No Limits Fighting’s Brawl for it All event.
- UFC vice president Marc Ratner told Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports yesterday that Anthony Torres tested positive for the anabolic steroid Boldenone through the post-fight tests done after UFC 75. Torres is the first fighter to test positive under the UFC’s testing done when events are held outside of the United States. Torres was released from his contract by the UFC, not because of the positive test, but because of a poor performance against his opponent at UFC 75, Jess Liaudin.
All of the other fighters tested at UFC 75 - Quinton Jackson, Dan Henderson, Dennis Siver, Michael Bisping, Terry Etim, Houston Alexander and Gleison Tibau all passed. All of the fighters who competed at UFC 76 passed their tests for performance enhancing drugs as well.
- Keith Jardine has told MMA Weekly that he plans on returning to the Octagon in January:
“I’m thinking January, the early part of the year would be a good time,” said Jardine about the ideal time for his next fight.
- SUN Sports & Entertainment has announced the complete fight card for Art of War 4: Mississippi Mayhem, scheduled to take place on October 27th:
Ron Faircloth vs Chris Hawk
Rex Richards vs Shane Carwin
Mike Wessel vs Matt Thomas
Andrew Chappelle vs Adriano Nasal
DJ Watkins vs Kyle Gibbons
David Hulett vs David Brown
Keith Bach vs Mark Wiggins
Andy Uhrich vs Chris Gates
- Sam Caplan is reporting through Dave Meltzer that Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Cheick Kongo may not be fighting at UFC 79 after all:
According to Dave Meltzer in his latest FoxSports.com column, a rumored match between Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Cheick Kongo may not take place at UFC 79 on Dec. 29 as had been previously reported. It now appears that Nogueira vs. Kongo could take place in either January or February.
- Zach Arnold is reporting that the PRIDE FC Worldwide office in Tokyo has been shut down and all of the workers have been fired.
Forrest Griffin wishes you a good morning.
News and Notes
- Our rumors section has been updated…
- Luke Thomas of Bloody Elbow is reporting that the The Ultimate Fighter 7 will focus solely on the middleweight division:
UFC matchmaker Joe Silva made an appearance at the Combat Sports Challenge in Richmond, VA this past weekend where he announced to the crowd that the next season of The Ultimate Fighter will focus exclusively on the middleweight class. No further details are available at this time. However, if ultimately true, this would be a boon to a comparatively weak division. Stay tuned.
- Fight Opinion via MMA Movement is reporting that renowned grappler Rondalo “Jacare” Souza has announced that he has signed with the UFC.
Souza’s manager, Andre Cabral, apparently made the announcement at a recent Amazon Challenge event and was then later interviewed by a Brazilian news station.
Souza currently sports a professional MMA record of 5-1. He is a veteran of Jungle Fight, fighting in that promotion on four separate occasions. His lone loss came at the hands of Jorge Patino in 2003.
- Rafael Cordeiro of Chute Boxe has stated that Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos will fight at the next K-1 Hero’s event in October and then at Cage Rage 24 in December.
- MMA Junkie is reporting that Renato “Babalu” Sobral has signed Ken Pavia as his new agent:
Renato “Babalu” Sobral, who recently signed with Strikeforce after the UFC terminated his contract, has become the latest client of Ken Pavia’s MMA Agents sports agency.
Pavia told MMA Junkie of the signing late last night.
Other fighters that Pavia has recently added to his stable also include Cyrille Diabate, James Thompson, Carmelo Marerro, Todd Moore, and Carlo Prater according to the post.
- Fightlinker is passing along it’s own insider information concerning Tito Ortiz and his potential opponent at UFC 78:
I guess we’re at that size now where we start getting tips on stuff. On Saturday night, Tito Ortiz was at the Little Creek Casino in Shelton, WA. and got on the mic to say “Blah blah blah blah, my next fight will be against Wanderlei Silva or Rashad Evans”
Sherdog: PRIDE and Prejudice
MMA Weekly: Marines and Sailors use MMA as part of Training
Bloody Elbow: Rankings Roundup: Heavyweight
Five Ounces of Pain: Frank Shamrock to be sued?
FOX Sports: UFC’s light heavyweights carry the sport
Fight Opinion: A Look Behind the Curtain: Zuffa’s Finances Come Into Focus
Yahoo! Sports: Strikeforce proves it isn’t an all-UFC world
411 Mania: Punch Drunk Hangover
Forrest Griffin discusses his recent win over Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at the UFC 76 post-fight press conference.
News and Notes
- Forrest Griffin knows that Wanderlei Silva apparently wants to fight him. However Griffin isn’t sure if he would be medically cleared for UFC 79 in December:
“It kind of would, yeah,” said Griffin about a December date with Silva being too soon. “I’d love to fight him if I didn’t have a giant hole in my face right now. We were in the hotel lobby and I was doing an interview with someone and they’re like ‘Wanderlei just said he wants to fight you’ and I was like ‘Right now, really, right now? He wants to fight me? I know he’s a Chute Boxe guy, but right now?’ And they were like no, no, no … in December.”
“We’ll see medically,” Griffin stated about the December card. “[It’ll] take a couple of weeks to figure it out.”
The cut that Griffin sustained was pretty severe and I’m going to assume that the CSAC will medically suspend him for at least a month without contact. However UFC 79 isn’t until December 29th, which would still give Griffin a good two months to be able to train for the fight. I guess we’ll see what happens…
- Looking for an update on Dan Henderson? The Fight Network has one.
Apparently Henderson only has one fight left on his current contract with the UFC. He has also stated that he would be ready to fight by November but that he would like to stay at light heavyweight, despite the UFC’s efforts to attempt to get Henderson to move down to his natural weight of 185.
- Cage Rage has released part of the upcoming card for Cage Rage 24: Feel The Pain:
Evangelista Santos vs Paul Cahoon
Mark Epstein vs Tom Watson
Ross Pointon vs Marios Zaromskis
Brad Pickett vs Ronnie Mann
Abdul Mohammed vs Robbie Oliver
James McSweeney vs Robert Paczkow
Neil Grove vs Robert Berry
- Matt Hamill has set the story straight concerning his recent knee surgery and stated that he would like to rematch Michael Bisping in December on his official sitehttp://www.matthamill.com/.
- Entertaining PRIDE veteran Akihiro Gono announced at his own press conference yesterday that he has signed with the UFC and will be fighting welterweight Tamden McCrory at UFC 78 in November:
“I know his fight record,” Gono said of the 20-year-old McCrory. “I know that he’s tall, young and has a long reach.”
- The California State Athletic Commission has released the official attendance and gate for UFC 76:
The UFC 76 “Knockout” event on September 22nd in Anaheim, California had an official attendance of 13,770 - with 1,953 of those seats as comps (tickets given away for free to media, friends, celebrities, etc.) for a gate of $1,984,880.
- MMA Weekly has released their latest set of rankings.
Fightlinker: I loves me some Mac Danzig
Sherdog: Old-School Event Sparks Backlash in Brazil
Fight Opinion: Wednesday war room: Where’s my PRIDE?
Five Ounces of Pain: ShoXC to return on Oct. 26 featuring Javi Vazquez, Aaron Rosa, and Muhsin Corbbrey
MMA Analyst: Is the PRIDE vs. UFC debate over?
MMA HQ: “Minotauro” Nogueria vs Cheick Kongo at UFC 79?