Two of the best ever in their respective sports right there peoples.
News and Notes
- Our rumors page has been updated.
- HDNet has announced that Yarennoka! will be airing live from Japan at 6:00 AM EST on HDNet on New Year’s Eve. Additional re-broadcasts of the event will take place on the same day at 3:00 PM EST, January 4th at 10:30 PM EST, and January 5th at 3:00 AM EST and 3:00 PM EST.
- The Fight Network is reporting that Jesse Veium will replace an injured Cyrille Diabate against Travis Wiuff at IFO: Fireworks in the Cage IV on December 28th.
Diabate was forced to pull out of his bout against Wiuff after suffering a broken ankle during training.
- Justin McCully has apparently missed the deadline to accept a fight against Cheick Kongo at UFC 82 in February according to Brian Knapp of The Fight Network.
We reported yesterday that McCully had been offered a fight against Kongo but had not yet made a decision.
According to Knapp, McCully can still have the fight but only if he accepts before the UFC finds a replacement opponent for Kongo.
Bloody Elbow: Dear Denny Burkholder
MMA Mania: UFCs Georges St. Pierre and the Fuzzy Brossard
FIve Ounces of Pain: February could be busiest month in MMA history
CBS Sportsline: UFC Tapout video game revisited
Jarry Park: Jamie Varner Really Likes His Chances Against Razor Rob
The UFC has apparently turned down an offer from M-1 Global to do a cross-promotional fight between UFC Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture and Fedor Emelianenko.
The news comes from Steve Sievert of The Houston Chronicle who has a direct quote from Couture himself:
“We got an official offer from M-1 to the UFC to do a co-promotion for the Couture-Emelianenko fight, and they (UFC) rejected that offer. Really, the only thing standing in the way for that fight right now is Dana and the UFC. Obviously, M-1 is happy to do a co-promotion like that. It only serves to help them. I think the UFC is looking at it the other way, and it’s like why do we want to help out another organization? The fans want to see that fight. At some point, you have to put that first.”
It kind of depends when exactly this offer was made. If it was made during the period of time where Couture and the UFC were at each other’s throats, I can certainly see why Dana White and company would throw the offer aside. No matter what happens, I’m sure we’ll see this fight eventually.
The IFL held a conference call with the media earlier this afternoon to discuss the upcoming IFL World Grand Prix Finals which are set to take place on Saturday, December 29th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT.
The event will be broadcast in the United States on HDNet and in Canada on FOX Sports World Canada.
Nothing new was reported in terms of the IFL itself, that will come later in the week, on Wednesday to be exact when IFL President Kurt Otto meets with the media again to discuss the layout for next year.
Fighters participating on the call were Chris Horodecki and Jay Hieron. Notes on both are after the jump.
During last night’s HDNet Fights broadcast, current UFC heavyweight champion (for now) Randy Couture stated that he would be interested in fighting Fedor Emelianenko when he is free from his UFC contract next October.
Sherdog has the exact quote:
“Unless the UFC wants to do a co-promotion with M-1 and make the Fedor fight happen, I’m going to have to wait ‘til my contract expires,” Couture told HDNet’s Ron Kruck. “I have no intention of breaching that contract; that expires in July. My employment contract expires with them in October. So I would assume the soonest you’d see me fight Emelianenko would be in October.”
I’m pretty sure that Dana and company aren’t going to care that Randy has publicly said that he isn’t going to breach his contract but I’m sure they’ll be a little ticked that he has breathed some life into the drama between the two once again.
Apparenetly Couture’s remarks were a hot topic at the HDNet Fights press conference as well according to MMA Junkie:
It became a hot topic again in a post-fight press conference.
“I’m not sure what’s going to happen with me at this point,” Couture said. “I have a contract with the UFC that I have to honor. I can’t breach that or I’ll end up in litigation, so I don’t intend to do that.
Provided that Fedor is successful against Hong-Man Choi later this month, this could potentially be the biggest fight in history as we all know. I really hope it happens.
UFC Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture has turned down a proposed title defense against Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC 81 according to a report from MMA Weekly.
Couture was apparently offered the bout during a meeting with UFC President Dana White. While Couture ultimately decided to turn down the offer and will now most likely be stripped of the title, he has noted that talks went well and that he hopes into continue a relationship with the UFC in the future:
“We’ve cleared the air, and hopefully we’ll move forward with some sort of relationship,” Couture said. “I’ve got a lot of fighters and a lot of things that hinge around mixed martial arts and the UFC as well. I want to continue to work with them and I think that they want to continue to work with me, so we’ll figure out how that happens.”
Various reports from this past week have suggested that Nogueira will now most likely face former champion Tim Sylvia for the vacant title at some point early next year.
The UFC held a conference call with the media yesterday afternoon to promote this weekend’s UFC 78: Validation which is set to take place live from the brand new Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey this Saturday. UFC President Dana White was the host of the call. Featured fighters included Michael Bisping, Rashad Evans, and Houston Alexander.
- White stated that Randy Couture contacted him and requested a face-to-face meeting. White said that the meeting will most likely take place at some point this week. White also noted that Couture has been offered an official title defense against Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira for early next year. Couture has not given an answer as of yet. White says that there are no plans for an interim heavyweight title if Couture chooses not to accept.
- When it comes to Sean Sherk, White says that Sherk will now most likely be stripped of his title if the California State Athletic Commission refuses to overturn his positive steroids test next month. That means Penn and Stevenson would fight for the actual title at UFC 80 and that Sherk would become a mandatory challenger once his suspension was over.
- No decision on whether or not UFC 80 will be broadcasted on PPV or Spike TV.
- The UFC held a meeting with all of it’s fighters last week in Las Vegas where a variety of topics were discussed. Topics included the steroids problem, contracts, taxes, organization policy, and how to deal with the media. Rumor has it that White told fighters they no longer be permitted to participate in internet radio shows. That seems to be false however as Spencer Fisher was on Sherdog yesterday.
- White says that he is slated to meet with officials in the New York State Athletic Commission to discuss the possible legalization of MMA in the state.
- White noted that rematches of Tito Ortiz-Rashad Evans and Michael Bisping-Matt Hamill were originally supposed to headline UFC 78 but both Hamill and Ortiz claimed that they were injured and couldn’t compete.
- The next UFC Fight Night is scheduled for January 23rd. No word on a location or potential participants on the card yet.
- The UFC plans on returning to Florida at some point next year but the show will most likely be a PPV instead of the usual UFC Fight Night cards that have taken place in the state.
- While White did not reveal which major network he was currently in discussions with, he admitted that he was indeed in talks to have the UFC air on a “prime-time” network in the future.
- White has no idea concerning who is next in line to challenge Anderson Silva for the UFC Middleweight Title. White noted that he has attempted multiple times to try and get Dan Henderson to drop down to middleweight but Henderson seems to want to stay at 205 lbs.
In response to the rapid growth of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), Round 5 has just released the first official line of MMA collectible figures. The collectibles are set to launch in North America in over 1000 different stores this holiday season. They will also be available internationally online.
“This first series showcases the most exciting championship fighters to date, in their most well known poses,” said Barron Lau, Marketing Director of Round 5. He continues to explain, “Series 1: Champions, will include fan favourites; Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson, Tito ‘The Huntington Beach Bad Boy’ Ortiz, Matt Hughes, and Randy ‘The Natural’ Couture. Each collectible is expertly sculpted, stands 6” tall and is fully pose-able. Select characters even include accessories such Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson’s signature chain. Each fighter had direct input in the design and development of their own collectible figure including the look, feel and pose. We are honoured to be releasing these collectibles at a time when the sport has achieved so much success.”
The collectible figures are sculpted by famous McFarlane artist and owner of INU Art design studio, David Cortes. He is best known for sculpting comic-related and mainstream characters like Hellboy, Spawn, and the Incredible Hulk. Cortes takes great pride in the level of detail and likeness captured in the 6” tall caricature-style figures.
Interest in the sport of Mixed Martial Arts has grown dramatically over the past several years, surpassing both boxing and professional wrestling in popularity and Pay-Per-View sales in some areas of the world, to currently become one of the fastest growing sports around. “Due to the mainstream rise in popularity of professional MMA, the response from our website has been tremendous. These collectibles will be the hottest sellers for the upcoming Christmas season,” said Damon Lau, CEO Round 5.
Happy Halloween bitches!
News and Notes
- Officials at Team Link have confirmed that Gabriel Gonzaga will indeed take on Fabricio Werdum at UFC 80 in Newcastle, England.
- Sean Sherk, Phil Baroni, Adam Smith, and Kazuhiro Nakamura will all go in front of the CSAC this afternoon to try and get their original positive tests overturned by the commission. We will have full coverage throughout the day.
- FIghtlinker has all of the documents that were handed out at yesterday’s UFC press conference. (PDF)
- Adam Swift has a new article up on Sherdog where he dives into a standard Zuffa contract. What he found may tell us that Randy Couture’s contract certainly isn’t up after nine months:
The most infamous clause is the so-called retirement provision, which is largely responsible for the war of words—retirement versus resignation—between the UFC and Couture since his Oct. 11 departure from the company.
“If at any time during the Term, Fighter decides to retire from mixed martial arts or other professional fighting competition,” the clause begins, “then ZUFFA may, at its election, (i) suspend the Term for the period of such retirement; (ii) declare that ZUFFA has satisfied its obligation to promote all future Bouts to be promoted by ZUFFA hereunder, without any compensation due to Fighter therefore; or (ii) elect to provide Fighter with notice of an Acceleration.”
For all practical purposes, sub clause (i) allows Zuffa to retain the rights to a retired fighter in perpetuity. Sherdog.com has confirmed that this clause does not appear in every Zuffa contract; it is believed to be reserved for top fighters. The term of the contract may also be extended indefinitely for any period when a fighter is “unable, unwilling or refuses to compete or train for a Bout for any reason whatsoever.”
- Jess Liaudin has announced that he will sign a new three-fight deal with the UFC after his bout against Marcus Davis takes place at UFC 80:
“I will keep fighting for the UFC,” Liaudin said. “I need to go slow and build myself up, work on my weak areas. Training with Team Quest [before UFC 75] really improved my game. I need to keep doing stuff like that.”
- The IFL has announced that Vladimir Matyushenko has signed a contract extension that will keep him in the IFL through the end of 2008.
Sherdog: Matyushenko Meets Schoenauer for IFL Grand Prix 205-Pound Title
Fightlinker: Dana White’s personal heavyweight rankings
Five Ounces of Pain: Round 5 MMA figures on my Christmas list
MMA News: Exclusive Interview With Kevin Randleman [Pt. 1]; Exclusive Interview With Kevin Randleman [Pt. 2]
Bloody Elbow: Trevor Prangley Talks Strikeforce Middleweight Tournament
Fight Opinion: Wednesday war room: UFC winning the PR battle?
The UFC held a press conference earlier today with the media to in order to “protect” themselves from any false claims that UFC Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture made during his own press conference last week.
UFC President Dana White, UFC Co-Owner Lorenzo Fertitta, and the UFC’s Chief Financial Officer John Mulkey were all on hand to share their thoughts on the situation involving Couture, to challenge some of the claims that Couture made, and to answer any other questions that the media had.
White started off the press conference by mentioning that he hated that the whole situation was going on that the UFC never wants to have to do anything like this again, but they felt as a company that they wanted to protect themselves. White said that he still considers Couture a friend and that the UFC wasn’t holding the press conference to belittle him.
One of the first counters that White made was to a statement made by Couture’s wife Kim, who said that the UFC did not market her husband. White reminded everyone that Couture was one of the first coaches on The Ultimate Fighter, was involved in the 2nd and 4th seasons of the show, and also had his own day of programming on Spike TV, an idea created by White himself.
White said that he was proud of the fact that Randy claims he makes just as much money outside of the UFC as he does competing in the organization. White said that is the long-term goal for the fighters – that they can continue to profit from their success long after they stop fighting in the Octagon.
Fertitta, who was making a rare press conference appearance, revealed that he had negotiated Couture’s new contract that he signed in January with him. He said that after the talks were done, Couture seemed relatively happy with the results and what he had agreed to. Fertitta also noted that he was hurt by many of the comments that Randy made last week and feels that he put on that press conference in order to attempt to hurt the UFC.
We all wanted to know what the numbers were and here they are:
Couture made a base salary of $200,000 for his fights against Tim Sylvia and Gabriel Gonzaga. Couture also asked for and received a signing bonus of $500,000. $250,000 of that bonus was given to Couture up front and the final $250,000 was given to Couture following his fight against Sylvia at UFC 68. Couture received this check on January 15th and cashed it on January 30th.
On top of his salary, Couture was also paid a $200,000 employment fee, a commentating fee of $56,000, and the PPV bonus for UFC 68 was $936,000. Not counting the signing bonus, Couture made $1.186 million for fighting at UFC 68. Couture has received $936,000 to date from his UFC 68 earnings.
For UFC 74, Couture received a $35,000 bonus for fight of the night. He is also expected to earn $787,000 in PPV bonuses for UFC 74. He is expected to earn $1.072 million for UFC 74. The UFC has not yet been paid for UFC 74 but when they do, Couture will be paid 10 days after that. The UFC expects Couture to have grossed $2.9 million by years end.
All of the numbers were reported by Mulkey. Mulkey also stated that the discretionary fees Couture talked about are not just determined by Dana White but by all those involved in the management of the UFC. Mulkey said that Couture was off by $436,000 in his bonus claims.
- White says that the UFC is the only company he knows of that pays fighters more than what is stated in their contracts. White says that they do not pay guys under the table in reference to Couture’s multiple “off the book” claims from last week.
- White says that the UFC is not a monopoly, they just happen to be the best at what they do. White says that a monopoly is impossible because there are more opportunities now for fighters to be able to compete than ever before.
- Fertitta spoke to Randy the day before his press conference and said that he had a nice conversation with him, not knowing what he was about to say the next day.
- Both Fertitta and White sat down with Couture before UFC 76 and heard and discussed Couture’s problems that he had. White said that the meeting abruptly ended early after Fertitta was forced to leave but that he told Randy that they would finish talking at a later date. Couture claimed that two weeks went by and he didn’t hear an answer. White says that he didn’t know he had a time table of two weeks before Randy would resign.
- This is the last time that White or any other UFC officials will discuss the Randy Couture situation.
- White and Fertitta seemed to not have a definitive answer when asked if Couture’s contract would expire in nine months or if he was definitively locked in for his next two career fights. White responded with “We’ll find out”, “We expect Randy to honor his contract”, and “We aren’t going to discuss the contracts.”
- White says that he doesn’t consider Fedor Emelianenko the number one heavyweight in the world and that he considers Couture the number one heavyweight today. He mocked Fedor’s last four opponents and called him a “farce”. White also said that he wouldn’t even consider Fedor among the top five heavyweights in the division.
- Both White and Fertitta agreed that they don’t things to play out in court. However they did say that they would take any means necessary in order to protect themselves.
- There are no plans to report numbers for revenue or anything like that in the near future.
- White plans on offering Couture a fight most likely this week. He mentioned Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira as an opponent. He said that if Couture did not take the fight, he would take that as Randy retiring.
The IFL held a conference call with the media earlier this afternoon to promote this weekend’s opening round of the IFL Grand Prix, which will take place at at the Sears Center in Chicago. A portion of the event will be televised live on MyNetworkTV at 9 PM EST.
IFL President and Chief Operating Officer Jay Larkin was on hand to answer the media’s questions.
Larkin noted that the IFL will do away with the teams being attached to cities, citing that putting on events between two teams in neutral cities didn’t make much sense. The teams will now focus more on their name and head coach as well the gym the coach runs, if he has one. Larkin stated that the look of the league will look dramatically different compared to this past season.
The IFL is still in talks with MyNetworkTV about a television deal in 2008 but those negotiations are nearly complete. There aren’t currently any plans to have the final round of the Grand Prix televised live. Larkin also said that the IFL will announce a new television deal with a Canadian network tomorrow. The network will televise two hours of the Grand Prix. Larkin is also currently in talks with HBO concerning a television deal in the future.
Larkin said that he will not be at the Grand Prix because he is required to attend an HBO boxing event taking place overseas this weekend. He also said that he did not understand UFC President Dana White’s criticism of boxing officials even though he hired, Marc Ratner, a long-time boxing official, to be the UFC’s vice president.
There were no remarks made in terms of new coaches being hired or coaches being replaced. Larkin said those announcements will come at a later date. When asked about the possibility of hiring Randy Couture as a coach in the IFL, Larkin said that he would be interested but wouldn’t approach anything until all of the “dust” settles concerning Couture’s situation right now. Larkin also said that Couture is still under contract with the UFC so it wouldn’t be possible anyway.
The IFL will stay with a ring for next season, no plans to use a cage. The idea of eliminating the heavyweight division and adding a featherweight division is being discussed. No new news in terms of Kurt Angle signing with the IFL. Ben Rothwell is still with the IFL and will be ringside at the Grand Prix. Several IFL stars will be on hand at various locations throughout the city of Chicago to sign autographs today and tomorrow. Televised matchups for Saturday night will include Benji Radach vs Brent Beauparlant, Chris Horodecki vs Bart Palaszewski, Vladimir Matyushenko vs Alex Schoenauer.