UFC heavyweight champion Randy “The Natural” Couture joins Jim Rome on Rome is Burning to discuss his upcoming title bout with Gabriel Gonzaga as well as the issue of steriods in MMA.
News and Notes
- Another reminder to leave your selection on our latest Rock the Vote: Should Sherk Be Stripped of the Title?
- Hayato Sakurai has not yet signed a contract to compete with the UFC according to The Fight Network:
Following his introduction to the United States audience by UFC president Dana White, Sakurai conducted several interviews over a seven-day period. He said “the [UFC] contract hasn’t been signed yet, but there are fighters in the UFC I would love to fight.”
- Former TUF runner-up Stephan Bonnar will now be training alongside rival Forrest Griffin at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas.
- The Ultimate Fighter reality show will be moved to Wednesday nights instead of it’s usual Thursday time slot for the upcoming sixth installment according to Spike TV. The show will still air at 10 PM. The season premiere of TUF 6 will air at 11 PM on September 19th because of the scheduled UFC Fight Night 11 airing from 9-11 PM that same night.
News and Notes
- Our rumors section has been updated once again…
- Remember to cast your vote on our latest poll: Rock the Vote - Favorite UFC 73 Fight
- MMA on Tap would like to congratulate UFC Junkie’s Eric “Performify” Foster on being hired as a columnist for Fight! Magazine.
- For those of you that haven’t already heard, Wesley “Cabbage” Correira has been forced to withdraw from his scheduled bout with James Thompson at Cage Rage 22 this Saturday after suffering a broken ankle during a recent training session. Cage Rage has also announced that Correira will be replaced by Kimo Leopoldo in the bout.
- Full Contact Fighter is reporting that former UFC Heavyweight Champion Ricco Rodriguez has been forced to withdraw from his scheduled bout against Ron Waterman at HCF: Unfinished Business on July 21 because he has been denied admittance into the country of Canada:
Hardcore Championship Fighting promoter, Keith Crawford, informed FCF this afternoon that Ricco Rodriguez will not fight Ron Waterman on the July 21st, “Unfinished Business” card, in Edmonton, Alberta, as had been advertised. The fight was to be the card’s main event, which will take place at the River Cree Resort and Casino in Alberta’s capital city. According to Crawford, Canadian authorities have denied Rodriguez entrance into the country.
“Mr. Rodriguez’s bond to get into Canada has been revoked due to recent situations.” said Crawford, which was the extent to which he cared to comment. As of last week, Crawford had maintained in correspondence with FCF that he believed all American fighters that were scheduled to compete on the card would be granted entry into Canada.
Rodriguez’s lawyer and agent, James C. Gallo, told FCF this afternoon that “I’m not an expert in Canadian law, but I’m unaware of any reason as to why Rodriguez would be precluded from leaving the U.S. to enter Canada.”
- The Fight Network is reporting that Mirko Cro Cop has hired a talented group to be used as sparring partners in preparation for Cro Cop’s upcoming bout against Cheick Kongo at UFC 75. Sergei Kharitonov, Ricco Rodriguez and Zelg Galesic will all be participating in Cro Cop’s training camp.
- Randy Couture and Quinton Jackson fell short of their bid to become the first mixed martial artist to receive an ESPY for Fighter of the Year as Floyd Mayweather Jr took home the honor.
- Gracie Fighter is stating that Nick Diaz has been released of his contract with PRIDE and Zuffa because of his ties with Elite XC:
We will be running a series on a seldom seen look at the behind the scenes workings that ultimately lead to the ouster of Nick Diaz from the new Pride organization. In our opinion this ouster had everything to do with Nick’s participation in the EliteXC organization and nothing to do with Zuffa’s technical grounds. Everyday this week we will post corresponding emails and let you the reader be the ultimate judge.
MMA Weekly: This Thing is a Unification Bout
NBC Sports: Sport, not savagery
CBS Sportsline: A look ahead at UFC championship picture
Fight Opinion: Thursday trash talk: Trigg and Toughman
Bloody Elbow: California and Oversaturation
411 Mania: Where Do The UFC 73 Fighters Go From Here
Since we didn’t get a CKA up this morning and there is a ton of news to report, I thought we would do a little catching up on things…
Couture, Jackson Nominated for ‘Best Fighter’ ESPY
UFC Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture and UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Quinton Jackson were announced as nominees yesterday for the Best Fighter category in the 15th annual ESPY Awards.
Couture and Jackson are joined by boxers Miguel Cotto, Floyd Mayweather Jr, and Manny Pacquiao as finalists. Fans will be able to vote at the ESPY’s official site until July 7th for the winner. The awards will be televised on July 15th.
Dana White: Shamrock Rumors False; Set to Release Him From Contract
UFC President Dana White stated to Yahoo! Sports Kevin Iole that he never even thought about having Ken Shamrock take on Michael Bisping at UFC 75 in England. He also said that he is considering releasing Shamrock from the remainder of his contract.
“I don’t know if he wants to fight, but we haven’t spoken to him and I’m not planning to use him,” White said.
UFC Officially Announces UFC 74: Respect
The UFC officially announced UFC 74: Respect set for August 25th at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. Two bouts were announced: Randy Couture will defend his UFC Heavyweight Title against Gabriel Gonzaga. Also former UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre will take on top-rated contender Josh Koscheck.
Tickets for the event will go on sale Sunday, July 8th.
Cote Meets Grove at UFC 74
Patrick Cote has announced via a post on The Underground forum that he will face Kendall Grove at UFC 74.
ESPN’s LeBetard Talks MMA on The Sports Reporters
ESPN commentator Dan LeBetard declared MMA as ‘the sport of tomorrow’ during ESPN’s annual Sunday morning show, The Sports Reporters.
LeBetard’s comments were as follows:
“Tomorrow’s sports fans, ages 18 to 34, have spoken,” LeBetard said. “Generation YouTube wants fights in a cage and submission holds and a bloody sport that appeals to the short attention span more than the ponderous 12 rounds of De la Hoya-Mayweather. Dying hockey would kill for the kind of future and attention and pub MMA has. Boxing is yesterday’s sport; MMA is tomorrow’s.”
You can watch the clip of the segment here via ESPN Motion.
IFL: Las Vegas, CFFC 5 Attendance Numbers
The Nevada State Athletic Commission released the attendance numbers for IFL’s Las Vegas event earlier this week. According to the NSAC, the event only brought in $93,270 at the gate. The number seems a bit low, especially when the IFL reported that the arena was sold out with a crowd of 3,200. Well apparently the IFL fibbed a little bit. It turns out that only 996 tickets were sold for the event and the IFL gave out 1,842 complimentary tix.
The New Jersey State Athletic Control Board announced that CFFC 5: Kimbo vs Mercer rang up a paid crowd of 7,286, not counting any complimentary tickets that the promotion may have given away.
Burnett, ProElite Developing Reality MMA Series
Reality TV producer Mark Burnett is planning on producing a series based on MMA in conjunction with ProElite, the parent company of Elite XC.
The most interesting thing about all of this is that Burnett now owns part of ProElite according to Loretta Hunt of The Fight Network:
As part of the agreement between Mark Burnett Productions and ProElite, Burnett was afforded the right to buy up to 17 million shares of ProElite stock at $3 a share in eight portions tied to the success of the joint venture. The format for the planned MMA series is still in the “exploration stage,” according to the report.
The first national issue of Gladiator Magazine, featuring new UFC champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson on the cover with spiritual guru Dr. Christian Harfouche, is now on the newsstands in all 50 U.S. states in all major bookstores including Barnes and Nobles, Borders, Books-A-Million and more! Gladiator is also available in 20 countries including Australia, New Zealand, Europe, the Middle East, and the Far East.
Gladiator Magazine brings together the top writers and experts in the MMA, BJJ, and grappling world including Editor-in-Chief Todd Hester, Editor-at-Large Kid Peligro, Deputy Editor Matt Furey, Jiu-Jitsu Editor Royler Gracie, Grappling Editor Rico Chiapparelli and columnists and writers such as Frank Trigg, Erik Paulson, Jeff “Sherdog” Sherwood, Kipp Kollar, Eddie Goldman, Tom Supnet, Tyson Johnson, Lester Griffin, and more!
Extensive MMA coverage including exclusive content on UFC fighters such as Randy Couture and events such as KOTC, Gladiator Challenge, WFC, Reality Fighting, Jungle Fight, Fury FC and others. World-leading coverage of submission wrestling and Brazilian jiu-jitsu including the Professional Submission League (PSL), the North American Grappling Association (NAGA), and the Copa Pacifica. Upcoming articles include ADCC 2007, BJJ Pan Ams, and BJJ Worlds.
News and Notes
- A Croatian news outlet reported yesterday in an interview with Mirko Cro Cop that his next fight would take place at UFC 75, the organization’s next event to be held in England. However in the latest issue of Japanese magazine Kamipro, Cro Cop’s manager Ken Imai stated that his client will most likely fight on the undercard of Randy Couture and Gabriel Gonzaga’s heavyweight title bout at UFC 74 in August.
- The Fight Network is reporting that Nippon Gaishi Hall, the proposed site for the PRIDE Lightweight Grand Prix scheduled to begin on July 16th, has now removed the event from it’s calendar.
- Kestutis Arbocius has been stripped of the Heavyweight King of Pancrase title because of inactivity. The title has been declared vacant and will be on the line at Pancrase’s 2007 Rising Tour on May 30th when Tatsuya Mizuno and Assuerio Silva battle for it.
- Art of War 3 has been moved from June 30th to August 18th according to the Houston Chronicle:
Art of War 3 is being postponed until later this summer.
The promoter was having trouble clearing enough homes to make a pay-per-view telecast fly and decided to move the show, originally scheduled for June 30 at American Airlines Center in Dallas, to August.
The new date is Aug. 18. Pedro Rizzo versus Jeff Monson remains the show headliner, with Jeremy Horn, Carlo Prater and Jake Shields also on the card.
The date of the event has also been changed on the official site...
News and Notes
- Our rumors section has been updated…
- Our UFC 71 coverage will include our usual predictions on Friday and one of our patented live blogs on Saturday night of course…
- Scott went ahead and updated his mega post concerning the big possibility that the K-1 Dynamite!! USA might not be happening because of K-1 parent company FEG continually failing to adhere to the requests of the CSAC.
- Loretta Hunt of The Fight Network is reporting that Randy Couture and Wanderlei Silva will sit down at some point this week to discuss the possibility of Silva training and teaching at Couture’s gym in Las Vegas.
“Wanderlei and I sat down with our wives and we had lunch in Ohio,” said Couture. “He’s a very nice guy and we are both very interested in getting together to train. I’m looking for some Muay Thai influence to go with Xtreme Couture’s wrestling and other offerings, so there is a good possibility this could happen.”
- Speaking of Couture, he will also be filming a documentary for National Geographic this week titled “Fight Science”. The special will also include Bas Rutten and Dean Lister and will take a look at the mechanics behind the art of fighting.
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
- According to Dave Meltzer, UFC 70: Nations Collide will likely appear on Spike TV and not HBO.
Dana White said that regarding the broadcast of UFC 70 on 4/21 from Manchester, England into the U.S., that nothing is finalized right now, but it will most likely be on Spike and not HBO.
- Fight Opinion Radio has released their newest episode dubbed “Power Brokers”. The show features former WFA boss and current EliteXC employee Jeremy Lappen and Jimmy Greninger of Soldier Fight Gear.
- MMA manager Monte Cox told MMAWeekly that he doesn’t feel Tim Sylvia’s back injury had any effect on the outcome of the fight with Randy Couture.
“He had trouble with his back. It was something that we dealt with with chiropractic help to make it so he could compete hard. And I think he did,” commented Cox. “I’m not one to say that has any kind of effect. I wish he hadn’t have said it. It happens before a lot of fights, it’s just one of those things.”
Injuries going into a fight, especially a fight with as much meaning as a title fight, are quite common among professional fighters. In fact, it’s a common saying amongst fighters that “if you’re not injured at all going into a fight, you’re not training hard enough.”
- Our rumors section has been updated.
Icon Sport: Epic TV Promo
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