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…
Chuck Liddell talks to Jim Rome via ESPN Motion about defending his UFC Title this Saturday against Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.
News and Notes
- The WEC has announced their next card will be headlined by a lightweight title bout between “Razor” Rob McCullough and Rich “Cleat” Crunkilton.
- Quinton “Rampage” Jackson has signed a new four-fight deal with the UFC. His first fight will be a match for the UFC light heavyweight belt with Chuck Liddell.
- Diego Sanchez recently spoke with Houston Chronicle and during the interview he stressed the fact that he is looking to fight Matt Hughes.
“I’ve been calling out Matt Hughes. The man that I want is Matt Hughes. They gave him Chris Lytle (at UFC 68), and I think, honestly, it should have been me and Matt Hughes right now, instead of me and (Josh) Koscheck.”
“Me and Dana talked about this, and he said he needs contenders. And, if me and Matt fight, there’s only going to be one contender, but I’m still going to work hard after this fight to call him out and say, ‘Hey, man, let’s do this; let’s make it happen.’ I’ve worked my way up and ever since I started in this fight game, I’ve wanted to fight Matt Hughes. I believe I can submit him. I believe I can stop him from taking me down and outbox and outmuscle him.”
- Wensday April 4th Spike TV will be televising Countdown to UFC 69 and UFC All Access with Georges St. Pierre.
- UFC veteran Sam Hoger will make his IFL debut April 7th when he faces the experienced veteran and Lion’s Den fighter Vernon “Tiger” White.
Video of the Day
Rock the Vote Results
Who is currently the best striker in the UFC?
Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic - 44%
Chuck Liddell - 37%
Anderson Silva - 12%
Brandon Vera - 6%
Other - 1%
Be sure to vote on our newest poll.
Tatame: Fabricio Werdum Interview
How was that change from the Pride to the UFC?
My manager Ken May said that I was going to fight at the Pride 33, but it seems that they didn’t accept the purse we asked them, so he tough that was better to me to go fighting at UFC. He didn’t explained to me very well, but I know they will pay me much better there, I think almost the double that I am receiving at the Pride organization.
But didn’t you have a contract with the Pride?
No, my contract is with Ken May, my contract finishes on December and I want to renovate. I want to be the champion this year. I am at UFC now so I want to be the champion there. I did a contract of four bouts with the UFC and I want to dispute the belt on the third or on the fourth bout of my contract.
Fight Opinion Radio #43: Ed Fishman
In this 70-minute interview, Ed discusses the Fishman Companies lawsuit versus Dream Stage Entertainment. There are some very intriguing facts coming out of this interview that you have not heard anywhere else.
News and Notes
- UFC veteran Jonathan “Road Warrior” Goulet added to his winning streak this past weekend when he disposed of Jesse Bongfeldt early in the first at TKOMMA Tourney 2007. His next fight will come June 1st at TKO 29: Repercussion when he faces fellow UFC veteran Steve Vigneault for the vacant TKO welterweight title. Georges St. Pierre was foreced to vacate the title when he won the UFC welterweight belt.
- Yesterday Sherdog.com reported Chuck Liddell and Quinton Jackson will lock horns in the world famous octagon May 26th at UFC 71.
- This past weekend former UFC heavyweight champion and MMA legend, Bas Rutten, announced that he was stepping down as the coach of the Anacondas and Sean Tompkins would be taking his place as the head coach. Rutten will remain with the IFL but instead of coaching he will become the “Face of the IFL” working the broadcast booth and hosting “IFL Battleground”.
- The UFC has hired Mike Mersch who will be the organization’s chief operating officer. Originally Mersch was the Nevada deputy attorney general who represented the Nevada Athletic Commission.
- Hall of Fame play-by-play boxing announcer, Col. Bob Sheridan, will be ringside April 14th when Fedor Emelianenko and Matt Lindland fight in the BodogFight ring.
- Bob Sapp’s new opponent at the upcoming Cage Rage show will be Gary Turner.
- GracieMag.com is reporting that Ronaldo Jacaré will not compete at ADCC 2007.
- According to GracieFighter.com UFC lightweight Tyson Griffin has parted ways with David Terrell and the Nor-Cal Fighting Alliance. Terrell said, ““He didn’t train at all with us for that fight so why would we corner him. Win or lose we wouldn’t have been responsible.”
Clip of the Day
Does anyone remember this man? He was at the very first show of the IFL, and before everyone noticed, he had some ex-body builder running his team Tokyo Sabres. On March 14th, Inoki officially announced that as of April 1st, he is starting a new martial arts promotion called Inoki Genome Federation. (IGF) The head of organization is none other than Anotonio Inoki but other executives and staff are still unknown till this date. The only prediction we can make at this point is that his son-law, Simon Kelly Inoki, just revealed his resignation from New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s president post, probably to join his father in-law’s new promotion. Besides this, no one knows what is going to take place with this new project by Mr. Inoki. All we can tell at this point, is that everyone is making big announcements in April.
Sherdog.com is reporting that Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell will defend his title at UFC 71 May 26th when he locks horns with Quinton Jackson.
Ibarra indicated the Liddell bout should be officially announced by Tuesday of this week.
Their initial encounter took place in November 2003 at PRIDE Final Conflict when Jackson TKO’d Liddell early in the second round.
Since that time Liddell has gone 7-0 defeating Tito Ortiz twice, Randy Couture twice, Renato Sobral, Jeremy Horn, and Vernon White.
Jackson on the other hand has gone 7-3 suffering knockout losses to Wanderlei Silva twice and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. Rampage’s victories came over Ikuhisa Minowa, Ricardo Arona (devastating slam), Murilo Rua, Hirotaka Yokoi, Dong Sik Yoon, Matt Lindland and Marvin Eastman.
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.
News and Notes
- UFC President Dana White fielded a series of questions concerning Chuck Liddell yesterday mainly concerning the status of Liddell’s health and the date of his next fight.
White said that Liddell is now out of the hospital and is now the road to recovery from a bout pneumonia. White also stated that Liddell will be fighting on May 26th in Las Vegas against an opponent that has yet to be named. The big rumor floating around is that Liddell was put his belt up against Quinton Jackson who has decided not to have another fight before getting a title shot.
The biggest question has to be whether or not Liddell is going to be physically ready for the biggest fight of his career after being sick for so long…
- Cage Rage has struck a television deal with Sky Sports in England and the station will broadcast Cage Rage 21 on April 21st.
“Cage Rage and Sky Sports have confirmed the deal,” said Cage Rage promoters in a public statement made over the weekend. “Cage Rage Championships are pleased to further cement their relationship with Sky Sports and as the biggest UK based MMA event in Europe, have once again raised the bar to bring you another spectacular fight night from Wembley Arena.”
“We have worked with Sky Sports for about three years now,” said promoter Andy Geer. “But this deal is something else. When Sky Sports throw their considerable advertising budget at this event it will pack sports bars up and down the country and finally put our wonderful sport live in the homes of millions of people.”
I’ve been thinking about the lasting effects of taking a big KO. Now I’m not talking about medical conditions like post concussion syndrome (more on that later). I’m talking about the mental aspect of being knocked out. We’ve all heard how when you fall off a horse, you have to get right back on so you do not develop any fear. When you’ve been KO’d in a fight, its a much longer process before you can get “back on the horse” so to speak. Could that time off be pretty detrimental to the KO’d fighter? Let me explain.
Many people are saying how Wanderlei Silva didn’t look himself and fought completely differently than he normally does. Now I understand he may have been a bit sick (strep throat), but his interview on Sherdog was revealing. He talked about how he wanted to feel out Henderson in the first couple of rounds and see what he had. He said he wanted “see the fight in the 1st” and feel Dan’s power. He went on to say he figured he’d get the KO in the 4th or 5th round! Since when does the Axe Murderer take his time feeling out an opponent. His murderous aggression is famous and he barely gave opponents time to breath, much less feel them out. Now we must remember Silva’s last fight was a devastating KO from CroCop. Did that KO make Wanderlei a little more hesitant and defensive, as witnessed by his backing up during the fight with Hendo, something almost never seen before?
Here are the results from todays weigh-in for UFC 67: All or Nothing.
Travis Lutter (187) vs. Anderson Silva (185)
Eddie Sanchez (229) vs. Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic (223)
Marvin Eastman (203) vs. Quinton Jackson (205)
John Halverson (155) vs. Roger Huerta (156)
Patrick Cote (185) vs. Scott Smith (185)
Terry Martin (187) vs. Jorge Rivera (185)
Frank Edgar (154) vs. Tyson Griffin (156)
Sam Hoger (206) vs. Ryoto Machida (203)
Diego Saraiva (155) vs. Dustin Hazelett (156)
Here is a preview John and I put together for UFC 67: All or Nothing.
Main Card Bouts:
Mirko Cro Cop vs. Eddie Sanchez
Anderson Silva vs. Travis Lutter
Quinton Jackson vs. Marvin Eastman
Roger Huerta vs. John Halverson
Scott Smith vs. Patrick Cote
Ryoto Machida vs. Sam Hoger
Tyson Griffin vs. Frank Edgar
Jorge Rivera vs. Terry Martin
Dustin Hazelett vs. Diego Saraiva
Also be sure to tune in at 10 PM EST as we’ll be doing one of our patented ‘Live Blogs’ for the PPV.