“I think I’m nearing the end of that, I’m 41, but if I got the right offers and the right contract, and I’ve been looking at some stuff recently, early this spring. I think I’ve got at least another tournament or one more run at it with a promotion company that wants to get behind and support, and try to push that envelope. I really believe I still possess all the skills and my skills keep getting better. I learn something new everyday. I’m having a lot of fun coaching, I’m having a lot of fun running the gym, and working with Takedown and the promotion. As an athlete, it’s so hard to give that up. It’s not something you do for the money, it’s something you do intrinsically because you like to compete and you like to prove you can still get out there and compete."
— Despite losing four of his last five, including two fights via devastating KO, Team Quest co-founder and former top ranked middleweight Matt Lindland tells MMA Weekly that he is entertaining offers to return to action early next year despite recent retirement rumors that were actually started by Lindland himself.
MMA on Tap has learned that the father of former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin passed away yesterday due to a heart attack. All of us here would like to send our thoughts and prayers to Rich’s family and friends during this difficult time.
Diabate to Train with Team Quest
Cyrille “Snake” Diabate has announced that he will be spending some time in the United States to train with Dan Henderson and the rest of Team Quest’s Temecula, California franchise in preparation for his first fight on American soil.
Diabate is looking to improve his wrestling skills and takedown defense during his stay:
“This is exactly the kind of opportunity I need,” says Diabate. “America is where everything is happening right now, both fighting and training-wise. In the past I haven’t had to worry
about top level wrestlers trying to take me down. But now [with upcoming fights in American promotions], things will change.”
If Diabate is looking to improve his wrestling ten-fold, he certainly picked the right place…
Grove Fought High for First Six Fights
In a recent interview with Cage Potato, Kendall Grove admitted that he fought in his first six professional bouts high off of marijuana:
See, marijuana is a touchy subject. I’m a rock star — I’ve been smoking weed since I was in the 6th grade, I can openly say that. But I’m also clean when I fight. I cut that shit out — I’m a professional. Don’t get me wrong, my first six fights, I fought high, I fought stoned. But when you get to this level, you have to take responsibility. It’s your job. I stop doing that stuff three months out.
Thompson-Rogers, “Krazy Horse” Added to EliteXC Feb Card
ProElite’s Sam Caplan is reporting that a heavyweight bout between James Thompson and Brett Rogers has been added to the undercard of EliteXC’s next event on February 16th at the United Bank Arena in Miami, Florida.
Thompson will be making his EliteXC debut at the event. He was knocked out by Neil Grove in just 10 seconds at Cage Rage 22 in July. Rogers is coming off of a submission win over Ralph Kelly at EliteXC: Renegade.
Charles “Krazy Horse” Bennett will also apparently compete on the undercard as well. Bennett has not fought since submitting Donnie Martinez with a rear naked choke at a KOTC event in October.
Eric Bradley of Team Takedown fame is expected to sign with EliteXC according to Sam Caplan. Rick Roufus has not been cleared by the California State Athletic Commission and will not fight Mark Kerr at WCO: The Return. Roufus has been replaced by Kauai Kupihea.
NEW YORK - IFL titleholders Matt Horwich, Roy Nelson and Ryan Schultz will defend their belts when the International Fight League opens its 2008 schedule with an eight-bout card at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas on Friday, February 29.
In addition to the three Championship bouts, team competition will feature Matt Lindland?‘s Team Quest vs. Ken Shamrock?‘s Lions Den and Team Xtreme Couture vs. Mario Sperry?‘s MMA Top Team.
Horwich, who claimed the middleweight title with a victory over Benji Radach at the IFL World Grand Prix on December 29, will defend his crown against Tim Kennedy who won all three of his IFL matchups in 2007 with first or second-round finishes.
Nelson, who knocked out Antoine Jaoude to win the heavyweight crown, will take on IFL newcomer Fabiano Scherner, who trains with Lindland at Team Quest. Schultz, whose lightweight victory over Chris Horodecki raised eyebrows in the entire MMA community, makes the first defense of his lightweight belt against John Gunderson, who competes for the Lions Den.
?“This card is a good example of how the flexibility of our new format makes for great matchups,? said IFL Commissioner Kurt Otto. ?Fans will get to see three Championship bouts, plus some exciting team competition feeding some of our upcoming title fights.?”
This isn’t even close to the complete story, just bits and pieces that I was able to find here and there that may or may not be completely accurate, but what appears to be the best information out there.
I think everyone by now has heard how wearing a Sportsbook.com shirt at the UFC 54 weigh-ins ended up in the UFC releasing Matt Lindland from his contract at a time where he was widely known as the number one contender for Rich Franklin’s then-UFC middleweight title.
At the time those type of sponsor-fighter relationships were said to be prohibited by the UFC. Or was it just Sportsbook that was prohibited? Maybe just online gambling sites?
After all Dana White has called Calvin Ayre a criminal in the past for his dealings in online gambling. Sportsbook’s CEO Peter Dicks was arrested in 2006 on charges of racketeering, conspiracy and fraud, the same reasons why Ayre can not step foot inside the United States according to some.
Did Dana know something that made him think twice before allowing his fighters to be sponsored by online gambling sites? Did an event occur that made White change his mind about them? If something did, it may have been the Sportsbook/Team Quest scandal that occurred in the early months of 2005.
The IFL will be changing in many ways in 2008 and we’re here to tell you all about it…
The promotion held a conference call yesterday afternoon to announce the new changes and answer any questions that the press might have had. IFL Commissioner Kurt Otto and IFL Manager of Public Relations Jerry Milani were both on hand during the call.
Teams, Titles, and TV
The IFL will be switching from a team to a camp format meaning that instead of the Quad City Silverbacks and Portland Wolfpack, Miletich Fighting Systems and Team Quest will now be represented. Events will now feature teams putting three fighters in place to compete instead of five like in the past. This was done in order to create easier injury replacement situations.
Camps that are not under contract with the IFL will be permitted to compete. Team Punishment and Xtreme Couture are examples of this. Fighters from those camps can also compete for a title. Speaking of titles, each event will feature a minimum of eight fights - two title defenses and two matches between teams. Preliminary bouts are an option for each event also, especially for those that will be entering via the IFL Draft.
The IFL’s next event will take place at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas on February 29th. They currently have a deal in place with FOX Sports Net and are currently in discussions with MyNetworkTV. They are also in talks with other networks as well.
Updates on Frye, Rothwell, Rutten, Angle, and Gusmao
Don Frye will no longer be coaching with the IFL but will continue to do his “Dear Don” episodes as well as visiting with US troops overseas in conjunction with the IFL. Ben Rothwell is currently not with the IFL and is a free agent. Otto stated that while he’s sure that Rothwell will end up somewhere else, he hopes that he would consider a return in the future.
Bas Rutten will not be coaching in 2008 and will remain as the color commentator on broadcasts. There is no real news involving Kurt Angle except that Angle’s manager formally expressed his client’s interest in competing inside the confines of the IFL.
As far the Andre Gusmao situation goes, Gusmao and his agent misinterpreted his contract and attempted to strike a deal with the IFL. The IFL let the UFC know that they still had his rights and they retracted their offer. Otto and company are currently in talks with Gusmao and his representation during an exclusive negotiation period.
There was no official mention of plans to have another IFL Grand Prix. Both fighters with multi-fight deals and single-fight deals will be busy. No intent to include women in the fold anytime soon. The old IFL teams and logos will be done away with. Rosters will be announced after the new year. No indication of a formal set of standings for next season. Plans are currently to tame the travel schedule. Shorts will have an IFL logo and the logo of the camp on them. The IFL’s official “road map” is here. Sam Caplan has another excellent breakdown of everything here. Jarry Park has audio of the call here.
We have a lot of stuff to report this morning…
News and Notes
- EliteXC has announced a total net loss of $11.9 million between January and June 2007 according to UFC Mania.
- IFL heavyweight Krzysztof Soszynski has announced that he has joined Dan Henderson’s Team Quest in order to continue with his training…
- FEG formally announced three bouts for the upcoming K-1 Hero’s event on September 17th. The semifinals of the 2007 154 lb tournament will roll on when Caol Uno takes on Kultar Gill and Gesias Calvancanti goes up against Vitor Ribeiro. Ikuhisa Minowa and Ralek Gracie will compete in a non-tournament bout.
- Cage Fury Fighting Championship’s October 12th event will feature the return of Ricardo Almeida. Almeida’s opponent will be Dennis Hallman.
- American Top Team has stated that Denis Kang is expected to sign with an organization in the next few weeks and is targeting September as a possible date of return.
- Palace Fighting Championships has announced that Justin Levens will fight Kenny Ento for the vacant PFC World Middleweight Championship on October 18th:
“These are two of the most popular and intense fighters to ever compete in the Valley,” Printup said. “Levens has faced tougher competition, but Ento is an extremely tough match up. He’s tall, rangy, has excellent submissions and underrated stand up. Levens is an absolute animal, who has only lost to top-level fighters.”
- The IFL Finals on September 20th in Hollywood, Florida will now feature two superfights as well as the IFL Championship. Seth Petruzelli and Rolles Gracie Jr. will meet in a light heavyweight bout. Aaron Riley and Ryan Schultz will clash in the night’s other superfight.
- The weigh-ins for UFC 74 will begin at 6 PM EST and will start to be broadcast on ESPNEWS at 7:15 EST. As always, they will also be available to watch online for free on a slew of sites, including UFC.com, Yahoo! Sports, and MSN.
- Tickets for UFC 77: Hostile Territory are slated to go on sale starting on August 22nd…
Last Thursday we reported via Josh Gross of Sherdog that Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou inked a four fight deal with Elite XC. It seems that the news was a bit premature.
Ken Pishna of MMA Weekly is reporting that after speaking to members of Team Quest, Sokoudjou is not yet officially signed with Elite XC.
Sokoudjou has already made it well known that his number one choice would be Gary Shaw’s organization. Team Quest has stated that they are indeed in close contract talks with Shaw and company and that a deal will most likely be reached sooner than later.
News and Notes:
- Renzo Gracie recently accepted Frank Shamrock’s request for a rematch on MMA Weekly’s Sound Off:
Gracie was recently on MMAWeekly Radio to responds to Shamrock’s challenge. “I never get invited to a party that I didn’t show up. I’d love to do it again,” Gracie said excitedly. Anyone who knows Gracie knows that he never shies away from a challenge and that he has the heart of a lion. “I want to finish a fight that I never had a chance to finish. I think it will be a continuation of what we had in February.”
- Maurico Rua has stated that his leg injury is not as severe as many media outlets are reporting that he will still continue to train while undergoing physical therapy.
- Jason Gilliam will be replacing an injured Drew Fickett as Chris Lytle’s opponent at UFC 73.
- UFC Junkie is reporting that Renato “Babalu” Sobral will make his return to the Octagon at UFC 74 against David Heath.
- Jess Liaudin has announced that he will be training with Team Quest for his upcoming bout at UFC 75 in September:
“I wanted to go to [Las] Vegas to train with Randy [Couture],” Liaudin said. “I saw his new gym, and it looked great. Not only that, but everyone trains down there. Martin Kampmann offered to rent me his apartment because right now he’s back home having surgery on his knee. The only thing is that his apartment is about a 15-minute drive from the gym, and I don’t drive.”
“We looked around a number of different gyms,” Liaudin said. “I always wanted to go to Team Quest, but I didn’t really want to go to Oregon. Now Dan Henderson has a gym in California. My manager got in touch with them; you can stay in a house with other fighters, they come pick you up and take you to the gym and, for extra money, they even deliver food for us.”
- Justin Levens has signed a three-fight deal with Palace Fighting Championships.
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News and Notes
- Our rumors section has been updated…
- Our coverage of UFC 72 is going to be great as usual. Expect an official preview, some tap selections (that includes celebrity predictions), weigh-in results, a media roundup, live blog, and much more…
- Nate Diaz and Manny Gamburyan defeated Gray Maynard and Joe Lauzon respectively last night to move on to The Ultimate Fighter 5 finals on June 23rd.
- Tagg Radio had PRIDE light heavyweight contender Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou on yesterday
to talk about fellow Team Quest teammate Dan Henderson’s remark about Sokoudjou getting a poor contract offer from the UFC:
I don’t deal with contract stuff, too much English for me. I just know from my manager and Dan that they were negotiating on my contract. I usually don’t want to get into too much detail. I tried to read my contract with Pride, it was too much for me so I let Team Quest handle that part of my career. They know better than me.
- Carlos Arias from the Orange County Register is reporting that UFC 76 will take place at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.
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News and Notes
- Our rumors section has been updated once again…
- The always popular MMA on Tap Top Ten has been updated and was posted yesterday for everyone to break down and take in. Be sure to leave comments with any corrections, props, thoughts, and suggestions that you might have.
- Our latest edition of Rock the Vote has been posted - Who will be victorious in UFC 72’s main event: Rich Franklin or Yushin Okami? Be sure to add your pick…
Here are the results for our last poll:
Chuck Liddell: 25%
Mirko Cro Cop: 23%
Andrei Arlovski: 17%
Tim Sylvia: 17%
Gabriel Gonzaga: 8%
Randy Couture: 8%
Heath Herring: 2%
- Scott put together a nice mini-interview with Jonathan Goulet discussing Goulet’s recent win over Travis Axworthy this past weekend as well as his thoughts on John Alessio’s peformance on Sunday night. MMA Weekly caught wind of the piece and was going to ask Alessio about Goulet’s comments on last night’s radio show but Alessio failed to appear.
- The Fight Network is reporting that renowned grappler Marcelo Garcia is in California training with Team Quest this week. K-1 stated in a pre-fight press conference for Dynamite!! USA that Garcia would make his debut in September.
- Leonard Garcia has announced that he will be fighting on the finale of The Ultimate Fighter 5. Garcia did not say who his opponent will be.
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