While Zuffa has signed a wealth of talent over the past few months, they haven’t locked up every top fighter just yet, including the world’s best pound-for-pound fighter. Here’s your guide to the top ten fighters that currently aren’t under contract with Zuffa (UFC/WEC) courtesy of Scott and myself…
1. Fedor Emelianenko (26-1-0-1) – The best fighter in the world, period. He has beaten a who’s who of heavyweights from around the world and is looking pretty much unstoppable at this point. The only thing we have against him is that he doesn’t fight often enough but it’s technically not his fault anyway. Both K-1 and the UFC are vigorously attempting to sign the hottest free agent on the market right now. Old rumors had him going to the UFC while the latest set has him staying in Japan. Only time will tell where Fedor is going to end up.
2. Josh Barnett (20-5) – Probably the second biggest FA on the market, Barnett hasn’t ruled out signing with any organization. He’s an extremely talented heavyweight and a former UFC Heavyweight Champion at that. Has split a pair of fights with Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. His ‘Achilles’ heel’ seems to be Mirko Cro Cop - Barnett has lost to him in three straight tries. Has the skill set to beat anyone in the world. Has said that he would love to return to the US but the guy is a legend in Japan.
3. Matt Lindland (20-5) – The one fighter that the UFC should have never let go. Lindland was set to challenge Rich Franklin for the UFC Middleweight Title until the UFC terminated his contract because of an unapproved sponsor being on his shorts. Lindland has won 5 out of 7 fights since then - his only losses have been against Quinton Jackson and Fedor who both compete in higher weight classes than “The Law”. Has said that he currently does not want to be locked up by a single organization.
4. Takanori Gomi (27-3-0-1) – Gomi was the top ranked lightweight in the world for what seemed like forever until he was submitted by both Marcus Aurelio and Nick Diaz in less than a year. His losses have come against the cream of the crop and he’s beaten just about everyone else out there. Gomi is the current PRIDE Lightweight Champion as well the winner of the PRIDE Lightweight Grand Prix in 2005. He has stated that he has no interest in leaving Japan to compete at this time and has publicly said he is interested in signing with K-1.
5. Denis Kang (27-8-1-1) – Reports have Kang signing with K-1 any day now. If he does indeed ink a deal with K-1, he is expected to take on Kazushi Sakuraba in September in what could possibly be Saku’s final fight. Kang put himself on the map by fighting his way to the finals of the PRIDE Welterweight Grand Prix, defeating Akihiro Gono, Murilo Rua, and Amar Suloev before ultimately losing a split decision to Kazuo Misaki. He is widely considered one of the most well-rounded middleweights in the world today.
Sherdog is reporting that Falaniko Vitale has agreed to terms on a deal that will have him compete in both K-1 Hero’s and Strikeforce over the next few years.
Vitale’s manager, Ken Pavia, confirmed the signing last night:
“We tried to take as professional a course as we could during negotiations,” said Pavia, who spoke with ProElite about a deal for Vitale since June. In the end, the manager indicated the K-1/Strikeforce offer was more attractive for Vitale because the agreement yielded “more money and provides international exposure.”
Sherdog also stated that Vitale is expected to compete on either the K-1 Hero’s card on September 17th or the September 29th Strikeforce event at the Playboy Mansion.
Phil Baroni spoke with the media after being granted an extension by the California State Athletic Commission. Baroni’s appeal will now take place in October.
Leading mixed martial arts federation, Strikeforce, will produce a historic, first-ever mixed martial arts event at the world-famous Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills, California on Saturday, September 29th. Amongst those slated for action at the home of Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner are undefeated Strikeforce world lightweight (155 lb. limit) champion “El Nino” Gilbert Melendez and UFC and Pride Fighting Championship veteran Josh “The Punk” Thomson.
The 10-bout fight card will also host the return of Strikeforce world light heavyweight (205 lb. limit) champion and The Ultimate Fighter season one runner-up Bobby Southworth as well as the return of former World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) star and Tough Enough 2 reality show winner Daniel Puder.
Sean Sherk and Hermes Franca have both decided to file official appeals with the California State Athletic Commission less then one day after it was revealed that both had tested positive for steroids.
According to CSAC Executive Director Armando Garcia, Sherk and Franca will be scheduled to have their appeals heard on August 6th, the same day that Phil Baroni and all of the other fighters that have tested positive in recent months will also be in attendance to state their case.
Garcia also stated that he spoke to Sherk on the telephone yesterday afternoon and that Sherk told him he had never heard of the steroid Nandralone until now.
Franca has already admitted to taking drostanolone in order to heal an injured ankle before the fight even though he has filed an appeal. The appeal is most likely being submitted in order to have Franca’s suspension time possibly reduced.
The California State Athletic Commission has announced that Phil Baroni tested positive for Boldenone Metabolite and Stanozolol Metabolite, two common anabolic steroids, after his loss to Frank Shamrock at EliteXC/Strikeforce: Shamrock vs. Baroni.
Middleweight Phil Baroni tested positive for Boldenone and Stanozolol Metabolites, the California State Athletic Commission announced Tuesday afternoon. The 31-year-old from Long Island, New York has been fined $2,500 and suspended 365 days from the conclusion of his loss against Frank Shamrock on June 22 in San Jose. The final 51 days of that suspension will be fulfilled at the start of Baroni’s next licensing year, should he decide to reapply.
Baroni joins Carter Williams, who tested positive for cocaine, as the second fighter to fail their test following the EliteXC/Strikeforce card.
Here are the payouts from Strikeforce/EliteXC: Shamrock vs. Baroni:
- Frank Shamrock ($200,000) def. Phil Baroni ($100,000)
- Murilo Rua ($50,000) def. Joey Villasenor ($15,000)
- Paul Buentello ($50,000) def. Carter Williams ($13,340)
- Cung Le ($45,000) def. Tony Fryklund ($8,000)
- Paul Daley ($12,000) def. Duane Ludwig ($15,000)
- Josh Thomson ($20,000) def. Nick Gonzalez ($4,000)
- Edson Berto ($14,000) def. Victor Valenzuela ($4,000)
- Mike Pyle ($20,000) def. Aaron Wetherspoon ($4,000)
- Luke Stewart ($10,000) def. Jason Von Flue ($10,000)
- Seth Kleinbeck ($6,000) def. Sam Spengler ($3,000)
- Chris Cariaso ($4,000) def. Anthony Figueroa ($3,000)
- Rex Richards ($4,000) def. Ray Seraille ($4,000)
- Sean Bassett ($3,700) def. David Smith ($2,000)
- Nik Theotikis ($2,800) def. Nikk Covert ($1,500)
Disclosed Fighter Payroll: $628,340
Seth Kleinbeck def. Sam Spengler - TKO (Strikes)
Chris Cariaso def. Anthony Figueroa - Decision (Unanimous)
Rex Richards def. Ray Seraille - TKO (Punches)
Luke Stewart def. Jason Von Flue - TKO (Strikes)
Mike Pyle def. Aaron Wetherspoon - Decision (Unanimous)
Nik Theotikos def. Nikk Covert - KO (Punch)
James Edson Berto def. Victor Valenzuela - Submission (Heel Hook)
Paul Buentello def. Carter Williams - KO (Punch)
Murilo Rua def. Joey Villasenor - TKO (Strikes)
Josh Thomson def. Nick Gonzalez - Submission (Rear Naked Choke)
Cung Le def. Tony Fryklund - TKO (Strikes)
Frank Shamrock def. Phil Baroni - Submission (Rear Naked Choke)
Paul Daley def. Duane Ludwig - TKO (Strikes)
Scott White (81-40)
John Chandler (81-40)
Here are the official weigh-in results for Strikeforce: Shamrock vs Baroni.
Frank Shamrock (184) vs. Phil Baroni (183)
Cung Le (179) vs. Tony Fryklund (177.5)
Joey Villasenor (184) vs. Murilo “Ninja” Rua (184)
Paul Daley (170) vs. Duane “Bang” Ludwig (170)
Josh Thomson (154) vs. Nick Gonzalez (155)
Carter Williams (265.5) vs. Paul Buentello (250.5)
Edson Berto (155) vs. Victor Valenzuela (155)
Nik Theotikos (181) vs. Nick Covert (175)
Mike Pyle (168.5) vs. Aaron Weartherspoon (168.5)
Jason Von Flue (173) vs. Luke Stewart (173)
Rex Richards (305.5) vs. Ray Seraille (265.5)
Chris Cariaso (134) vs. Anthony Figueroa (132.5)
Sam Spengler (184) vs. Seth Kleinbeck (184.5)
David Smith (155) vs. Sean Bassett (154)