News and Notes
- Sean Sherk will remain the UFC Lightweight Champion according to a report by Steve Sievert of The Houston Chronicle:
The UFC’s lightweight belt continues to reside with Sean Sherk.
The UFC has yet to comment and when asked about the situation late today, the UFC confirmed that Sherk remains the promotion’s 155-lb. titleholder.
- Ray Sefo, Chalid Arrab, and Souleimane Konate have all been forced to pull out of the K-1 World Grand Prix, which is scheduled to take place this Saturday night in Japan, because of injury.
The final card now looks like this:
Jerome LeBanner vs. Hong Man Choi
Peter Aerts vs. Junichi Sawayashiki
Remy Bonjasky vs. Badr Hari
Semmy Schilt vs. Glaube Feitosa
Musashi vs. David Dancrade
Mighty Mo vs. Paul Slowinski
Takashi Tachikawa vs. Ki Min Kim
Jan Nortje vs. Dong Wook Kim
Mitsugu Noda vs. Noel Cadet
- Mac Danzig says that he will move down to 155 lbs regardless of the outcome of his fight against Tommy Speer at this weekend’s TUF 6 Finale:
“I decided that before I even went on the show,” said Danzig. “I really have no business fighting the top five guys at 170, or even the top ten when it comes down to it. It’s not that I can’t beat them, but if you put me in with Matt Hughes or Georges St-Pierre ten times, I’m gonna win a number of those times, but realistically, with all skills being the same, those guys are extremely skilled and much bigger than me. I walk around at 170, those guys walk around at 190, so it’s not a good idea for me. I really want to make a run for a title, and 155 is my weight class. I feel that within a couple of years I can be a world champion at 155.”
- Five Ounces of Pain has a good recap of yesterday’s conference call for The Ultimate Fighter 6 Finale.
- Hiroyuki Takaya is set to join the featherweight ranks of the WEC according to Jordan Breen of Sherdog.
- The California State Athletic Commission denied Bill Mahood’s motion to appeal his positive test for steroids following post-fight testing for Strikeforce’s Playboy Mansion event in September:
“[CSAC] sent me their letter and it took an extra four days at the border. So as far as they were concerned I already had it when you [The Fight Network] called me originally to inform me of the positive test,” Mahood said. “That was fine but when I sent my stuff back to them, it arrived one day after the deadline and they denied me.”
The California State Athletic Commission announced earlier today that they have reduced UFC Lightweight Champion Sean Sherk’s suspension from one year to six months.
Sherk will now be permitted to return to action on January 19th. He will not be fined the original amount of $2500.
According to a Sherk quote posted by MMA Weekly, this whole ordeal might not be ending anytime soon:
Following the hearing, he stated, “I’m not happy at all with (a six-month suspension and fine). This is not over,” indicating that he would be discussing possible legal action with his attorneys.
I guess we’ll be finding out over the next couple of days whether or not Sherk will be stripped of his title. He is available to fight again next month but it depends whether or not the UFC is going to take the fact that he is still considered to have tested positive for steroids under consideration.
Also announced today was the upheld suspension of light heavyweight Kazuhiro Nakamura. Nakamura’s mandatory 90 day suspension will continue and he will be forced to pay a $500 fine. The CSAC originally announced that Nakamura tested positive for marjiuana on September 26th.
Adam Smith’s appeal was dropped after he failed to appear at his scheduled hearing.
Fight Opinion: Sean Sherk eligible to return to action in January
The Fight Network: Sherk Suspension Halved
MMA Junkie: Sean Sherk’s Steroid Suspension Reduced, Eligible to Fight in January.
MMA Mania: Report: CSAC reduces Sean Sherk steroids suspension to six months
Bloody Elbow: Sean Sherk Eligible To Fight In January
Five Ounces of Pain: Highlights from Sean Sherk on the Stephen Quadros Show
UFC Daily: The Latest CSAC Verdicts; Sherk’s Suspension Reduced
411 Mania: More News From Sherk Appeal Hearing
Update 12:00 PM: Sherdog spoke to Sherk after the ruling went down and learned that Sherk plans to never fight in the state of California again:
“Absolutely not. No way. It’s not even an option,” Sherk said. “It won’t even be offered to me. I will not fight in the state of California again. No way.”
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.
The Fight Network is reporting that the California State Athletic Commission has postponed Sean Sherk’s Nov. 13 appeal hearing. According to the report, Bill Douglas stated that the hearing has been postponed due to a scheduling conflict. The hearing has not yet been rescheduled.
“Eleven different individuals need their schedule coordinated – not an easy task,” Douglas said.
Sherk appeared before the CSAC on Oct. 31 but the appeal was delayed after a 17-page brief from Sherk’s attorney, Howard Jacobs, had not received by the seven CSAC members responsible for voting on the case.
In a recent interview with The Honolulu Advertiser, B.J. Penn states that he only wants to fight UFC Lightweight Champion Sean Sherk if the CSAC decides to clear him of his positive steroids test:
The bout is being called an interim championship fight because current UFC lightweight champion Sean Sherk is inactive while protesting a one-year suspension for testing positive for steroids in July. Penn was supposed to challenge Sherk for the title, but delays in the investigation apparently prompted the UFC to create the interim title bout.
“I was told four different times that it was going to be on with Sherk, and it got pushed back every time,” Penn said. “I’m just happy they set something else up. I was getting tired of waiting.”
Penn said he would still like to fight Sherk, but only if Sherk is cleared of the steroids charge.
“If he did win the belt by cheating, that’s ridiculous,” Penn said. “But he’s the one who has to live with it.”
Penn also joked that his bout with Stevenson would be for the “natural” lightweight championship.
“Just like bodybuilding,” Penn said. “If guys are cheating, maybe there should be two divisions.”
Pretty strong words from B.J. right there. As if the lightweight division title situation wasn’t already a mess, it might have just gotten even worse…
Touch of gloves to MMA Mania.
Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports is reporting that Sean Sherk will not be stripped of his UFC lightweight title and B.J. Penn and Joe Stevenson will face off for an interim title at UFC 80 in January in Newcastle, England. UFC president Dana White stated that he was fed up with the way the California State Athletic Commission has handled the Sherk case and because of that he has opted not to strip Sherk.
White had vowed to strip Sherk of the title, but said Friday that he no longer plans to do so.
“The way this whole thing has been handled has been a mess,” White said.
He said Penn and Stevenson, who said he learned on Tuesday that he and his wife will have another son, will fight for the interim title as the main event of UFC 80 in Newcastle, England, likely on Jan. 19.
The winner of that bout would then presumably face Sherk once Sherk’s status is defined by the commission.
Sean Sherk appeared before the CSAC on Oct. 31 but his case was postponed to Nov. 13 after the commission released they had not received the 17-page brief from Sherk’s attorney Howard Jacobs.
UFC Lightweight Champion Sean Sherk will have to wait until November 13th to now learn whether or not his positive steroids test will be overturned by the California State Athletic Commission.
The CSAC decided earlier this afternoon to recess Sherk’s hearing for another two weeks. The commission stated that unexpected evidence and a polygraph test were unable to given to all members ruling on Sherk’s test was the reason for moving the announcement of the decision back.
Sherk told Sherdog that he has spent close to $20,000 in legal fees in an attempt to clear his name.
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?
News and Notes
- Our rumors section has been updated…
- UFC Daily has a nice recap of yesterday’s UFC 77 conference call.
- Tito Ortiz sent out an official release yesterday stating that his next fight in the Octagon will come early next year:
As always, it’s been great to hear from so many fans who are eager to know about my next match. Right now I am totally focused on training. I have always had a reputation for being the best prepared fighter in any match I’ve ever entered, and I intend to maintain that reputation. I’m currently working very closely with the UFC to plan my next fight, which you can be sure will not disappoint my fans. It looks like I will fight again in early 2008, and when I do I will be 100% prepared to crush my opponent.
- Kazuhiro Nakamura’s appeal against the CSAC’s claim that he tested positive for marijuana will be heard on October 31st, the same day that UFC Lightweight Champion Sean Sherk’s appeal for a positive steroids test will be heard as well.
- Pro Elite announced plans for a new reality show in conjunction with famed reality show producer Mark Burnett yesterday:
The untitled initial reality series will focus on former professional athletes Jose Canseco and Herschel Walker, who will lead undisclosed sports stars to train mixed martial arts. The “team” of former greats will do battle with EliteXC talent, with the show’s finale touting a “famous celebrity athlete match up.”
- Jordan Breen has more on the new Japanese MMA organization set to debut itself on October 15th:
After six months of anxiety, vacancy and speculation ... your “new PRIDE” may be here.
A new mixed martial arts company named World Victory Road Inc., issued a notice Thursday of a news conference at Tokyo’s Prince Hotel on Oct. 15. The contact information on the release listed a cell phone number belonging to an employee of J-ROCK, the promotional group housing Hidehiko Yoshida and his stable of fighters.
Most importantly a source revealed that the company will use former Olympic gold medal judoka and Japanese superstar Hidehiko Yoshida as its main draw and that prized free agent Takanori Gomi is likely to join the company as well.
The company is reportedly aiming for February 2008 for its first event, which may be confirmed at the Oct. 15 news conference.
Luke Thomas gives his take on the Couture situation with Steve Cofield
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.