Personalities

Mario Yamasaki Will Referee Chuck Liddell vs. Tito Ortiz II

The Fight Network is reporting that referee Mario Yamasaki has been assigned by the NSAC to officiate the championship bout between Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz on December 30th at UFC 66: Liddell vs. Ortiz II.

Inside the UFC Premieres Tonight

Be sure to tune into Spike TV tonight at 12 AM EST as the UFC’s newest weekly series “Inside the UFC” will premiere.
The show will be a weekly half-hour magazine-style series that will feature interviews, up-to-the minute UFC news and much more.

The first episode will include an exclusive interview with UFC President Dana White as well as one on one interviews with UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre and his next opponent Matt Serra. Also the first episode will include an in-depth look at the UFC Octagon Girls.

PRIDE: Changes on the Horizon

Gong Magazine has issued a report stating that Pride Fighting Championships will be undergoing big changes in the near future.

Nobuyuki Sakakibara announced that the Pride Bushido series will be discontinued and instead the fights will be combined with regular Pride shows. Also Sakakibara broke news that the Pride Grand Prix for any given weight class will only be held once every four years.

One thing that was not mentioned was a TV deal. The company has yet to land a deal which would give them exposure after they were dropped by Fuji TV.

BodogFight Brings the Action to St. Petersburg, Russia

Delivering fight fans the most intense mixed martial arts (MMA) entertainment around, BodogFight, has secured the world’s top combatants for BodogFight: St. Petersburg. Scheduled for filming through mid-December in St. Petersburg, Russia, Season II of the groundbreaking smash-hit series will culminate in March 2007 with BodogFight’s second live pay-per-view event.

“MMA fans worldwide are eagerly anticipating BodogFight’s next television production,” says Bodog.com Entertainment Founder and billionaire media mogul Calvin Ayre, whose digital empire includes Bodog Music, the international record label responsible for BodogFight’s incredible soundtrack. “As BodogFight takes the sport further into mainstream media, we are unrelenting in our commitment to produce the world’s finest MMA attractions. Fans and fighters are reaping the reward of phenomenal events and associating with the most recognizable brand in digital entertainment.”

The American competitors who earn victories in St. Petersburg will whittle the field from 16 to the elite eight who will forge Team USA. Fans around the world await the battle between American lightweights Mike Brown and veteran Yves Edwards, whose striking accuracy has awed observers for years. Another highlight will be the bout featuring Season 1 standout “Ice Cold” Kyacey Uscola, who made it clear he’ll take on whoever dares step in front of him for his second bout in the BodogFight series. The middleweight brawler has a heavy-handed, lights-out fighting style that always means intense action in the ring. His opponent is yet to be named.

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Q & A: Jonathan Goulet

Jonathan “The Road Warrior” Goulet is a veteran of the UFC and TKO, holding a professional MMA record of 16-7. Some of Goulet’s more notable victories have come against Jeff Joslin, Travis Galbraith, Tony Fryklund, John Alessio, and Shonie Carter. Goulet is also currently the number one contender for the TKO Welterweight Title.

Goulet is a well rounded fighter who is versed in Karate and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and is a potent striker. His most recent fight was a loss to Josh Koscheck at UFC Fight Night 6. Goulet also recently signed a three fight deal with the UFC back in August.

Here is a short, recent question and answer set that we did with Jonathan discussing his fight with Koscheck and his plans for the near future…

Continue reading "Q & A: Jonathan Goulet"

Mauro Ranallo Resigns From PRIDE FC

Mauro Ranallo has stepped down from his post as the play-by-play commentator for PRIDE Fighting Championships. Ranallo joined the PRIDE broadcast team back in October of 2003 and he informed the promotion of his resignation just prior to his final event this past Sunday at PRIDE Bushido 13.

“I felt it was an untenable environment to work in. It was commonly known since day one that I’ve had difficulties with the American producer, Jerry Millen,” said Ranallo today.

“Apart from Millen, I loved working with all of my colleagues at PRIDE, especially the Japanese staff,” says Ranallo. “They treated me very well, but I think my future as a broadcaster lies elsewhere.”

IFL Announces Plans for Grand Prix

The IFL made a pretty big announcement on MMA Weekly Radio this week, laying out plans for a Grand Prix at the end of this season.

IFL President Gareb Shamus broke down the format in which the event would take place on the program:

“After the season, we’re going to have a Grand Prix tournament. We’re going to take the top four guys in each weight class and have one event that narrows it down to the top two guys in each weight class. Then we’ll have a finals where we’ll narrow it down to the top guy in each weight class. This way we will have our champion.”

That’s a pretty good way of handing out belts in my opinion…

Lindland Speaks Out About Possible UFC Return

In a recent interview with MMA Weekly, Matt Lindland was asked about his discussions with the UFC on possibly coming back and challenging Anderson Silva for the UFC Middleweight title.

What was his answer? I don’t think it’s something that Dana White will be happy to hear…

“There’s a lot on the horizon…I’m going to be the most active free agent out there. I’m not going to sign exclusive deals with any one organization, I just think that’s a bad move right now for any fighter that wants to move his career ahead.

I think you’ve got to have the flexibility to be able to fight in different organizations, and any organization that wants to lock you down for multiple agreements is only looking out for their best interests, and as a fighter you’ve got to look for your own best interests. You’ve got to be able to fight where the fights are. I’ll fight anybody and I’ll fight in any organization that doesn’t want to force somebody to sign long-term contracts.

Yes, we did talk to the UFC about the possibility of me fighting for them as well, and right now it’s not looking like that’s going to come to fruition, but it’s something that I’m definitely interested in exploring in the future months, or maybe even next year, who knows?”

With all of the other middleweight contenders in the UFC booked for fights later this year already, does this mean that Mike Swick is the number one contender?

While browsing the web, I came across an interesting post on a message board. The user was saying that the UFC is wrong in trying to bring in Lindland and that they are continuing to not go after foreign talent. He also said that they were trying to get rid of Silva.

I don’t think that’s the case…

If you haven’t noticed, the amount of foreign talent in the UFC is more than ever before. Granted it isn’t big name international talent like Pride and other organizations sport, it’s foreign guys nonetheless. Bottom line, why don’t they go after the big guys?

Has it occurred to anyone that they might want to develop their own guys inside their own organization? It’s exactly what Pride has done with Fedor, Wanderlei, Barnett, Shogun - They will forever be aligned with the company, bringing the organization a huge amount of recognition for years to come.

In my opinion, the UFC is making a good decision in the long run by signing rising, younger stars and developing them rather than going out and signing every big-name free agent out there.

As for the UFC talking with Lindland about returning - First off they should have never let him go in the first place. He was the number one contender for the title and they let him slip away by refusing to talk about a new contract - that’s why Nate Quarry fought Rich Franklin at UFC 56 - Lindland was supposed to be Franklin’s opponent, not Quarry who was probably the last person who deserved a title shot at that point.

The UFC isn’t trying to get rid of Silva, they are just trying to not make the same mistake twice. Swick isn’t ready for Silva, Dana already knows that, that’s why he wants him to fight at least one more time before he gets a title shot.

However with Lindland currently out of the picture, it seems like Silva’s next fight might be against just another Quarry…

Spike Set to Debut ‘Inside the UFC’

The UFC and Spike TV announced earlier this week that they will debuting a new show on November 9th called ‘Inside the UFC’, a magazine that will have a variety of features.

Some of the topics that will be covered will be fight results, fight previews, profiles on up-and-coming fighters, as well as a behind the scences look into some of the fighters’ lives away from the Octagon.

With the comments of UFC president Dana White at the recent UFC 64 post-fight press conference, it would seem that Inside The UFC is only a precursor of things to come from the UFC. “We have a magazine show that we’re doing in November… It’s just another way to help promote the fighters and get more people educated on the sport.” He continued, “There’s a ton of programming coming. We’re going to blow your mind again this year. Wait until you see what we’ve got coming.”

The Fight Network Update

The Fight Network president/COO and co-founder Mike Garrow recently spoke with the Toronto Sun about ‘The Fight Network’ which is Canada’s only 24 hour fight channel.

Garrow made it clear that he has accomplished everything he could in Canada and his next venture will be the States.

“For all intents and purposes, Canada is done, said Garrow, The Fight Network’s president/COO and co-founder. “We got Bell Express Vu this week, with Shaw still to come.

“What I’m focused on now is the United States ... we’ve got three different opportunities we’re looking at. I think you’ll see The Fight Network in the U.S. in 2007 in some capacity. It’ll be the first time a Canadian digital specialty channel goes to the U.S.”

All I can say to the American fans is be ready! I’ve had the pleasure of watching the fight network for the better part of a year now and it is awesome. On top of that ‘The Fight Network’ plans on introducing some new programming in the new year.

The Fight Zone, hosted by Mauro Ranallo, will provide a strong news element with an inside look at mixed martial arts, boxing and wrestling. A ticker is also on the way. Up soon is a TV version of radio’s weekly Live Audio Wrestling. And before and after major pay-per-views, Jason Agnew and Dan (The Mouth) Lovranski will have a 90-second segment done in a “shoot” style breaking down matches.

Along with the recent addition of Loretta Hunt, The Fight Network also announced the signing of “The Natural” Randy Couture.

Randy (The Natural) Couture was signed as the lead MMA analyst and company ambassador to add star power.

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