Loretta Hunt’s latest interview with longtime Chuck Liddell trainer John Hackleman gives hope that Liddell and Wanderlei Silva might be matched up after all:
Last week, Hackleman had intonated his star pupil was in line to fight Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at Dec. 29’s UFC 79 in Las Vegas, Nev., a fight he’d told UFC brass Liddell (20-5) would take. Rua was another casualty of UFC 76, when he was systematically dismantled by Forrest Griffin, succumbing to exhaustion and a rear-naked choke in the third round’s final seconds. Rua has since undergone surgery for a torn knee ligament and has been added to a growing disabled list that also includes current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.
“We though it was going to be ‘Shogun,’” Hackleman said, “but now instead of saying ‘no’ to Wanderlei [Silva], they’re saying maybe. We’ve wanted Wanderlei all along. When I told Chuck [it was still a possibility], he was almost as excited about it as when he found out he was fighting Tito [Ortiz].”
I have to admit now that a few weeks have passed since Chuck’s loss to Keith Jardine, I’m feeling a lot better about a Liddell-Silva matchup. So much that I’m getting that feeling in my stomach when thinking about it. UFC 79 has the possibility to be absolutely huge. Matt Hughes vs Matt Serra and all of the trash talking that has gone on for the title. Liddell-Silva maybe. B.J. Penn against either Sean Sherk or Joe Stevenson. Plus some of the other names that have been rumored for the card. Huge.
The two being paired together will easily cause both fighters to train like never before. Chuck could perform a lot better than expected. Remember after his loss to Couture at UFC 43, his next fight was Tito Ortiz of all people. Maybe a fight against Keith Jardine coming off a loss really didn’t do it for Chuck.
Please make Liddell-Silva happen.
Forrest Griffin wishes you a good morning.
News and Notes
- Our rumors section has been updated…
- Luke Thomas of Bloody Elbow is reporting that the The Ultimate Fighter 7 will focus solely on the middleweight division:
UFC matchmaker Joe Silva made an appearance at the Combat Sports Challenge in Richmond, VA this past weekend where he announced to the crowd that the next season of The Ultimate Fighter will focus exclusively on the middleweight class. No further details are available at this time. However, if ultimately true, this would be a boon to a comparatively weak division. Stay tuned.
- Fight Opinion via MMA Movement is reporting that renowned grappler Rondalo “Jacare” Souza has announced that he has signed with the UFC.
Souza’s manager, Andre Cabral, apparently made the announcement at a recent Amazon Challenge event and was then later interviewed by a Brazilian news station.
Souza currently sports a professional MMA record of 5-1. He is a veteran of Jungle Fight, fighting in that promotion on four separate occasions. His lone loss came at the hands of Jorge Patino in 2003.
- Rafael Cordeiro of Chute Boxe has stated that Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos will fight at the next K-1 Hero’s event in October and then at Cage Rage 24 in December.
- MMA Junkie is reporting that Renato “Babalu” Sobral has signed Ken Pavia as his new agent:
Renato “Babalu” Sobral, who recently signed with Strikeforce after the UFC terminated his contract, has become the latest client of Ken Pavia’s MMA Agents sports agency.
Pavia told MMA Junkie of the signing late last night.
Other fighters that Pavia has recently added to his stable also include Cyrille Diabate, James Thompson, Carmelo Marerro, Todd Moore, and Carlo Prater according to the post.
- Fightlinker is passing along it’s own insider information concerning Tito Ortiz and his potential opponent at UFC 78:
I guess we’re at that size now where we start getting tips on stuff. On Saturday night, Tito Ortiz was at the Little Creek Casino in Shelton, WA. and got on the mic to say “Blah blah blah blah, my next fight will be against Wanderlei Silva or Rashad Evans”
Sherdog: PRIDE and Prejudice
MMA Weekly: Marines and Sailors use MMA as part of Training
Bloody Elbow: Rankings Roundup: Heavyweight
Five Ounces of Pain: Frank Shamrock to be sued?
FOX Sports: UFC’s light heavyweights carry the sport
Fight Opinion: A Look Behind the Curtain: Zuffa’s Finances Come Into Focus
Yahoo! Sports: Strikeforce proves it isn’t an all-UFC world
411 Mania: Punch Drunk Hangover
Forrest Griffin discusses his recent win over Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at the UFC 76 post-fight press conference.
News and Notes
- Forrest Griffin knows that Wanderlei Silva apparently wants to fight him. However Griffin isn’t sure if he would be medically cleared for UFC 79 in December:
“It kind of would, yeah,” said Griffin about a December date with Silva being too soon. “I’d love to fight him if I didn’t have a giant hole in my face right now. We were in the hotel lobby and I was doing an interview with someone and they’re like ‘Wanderlei just said he wants to fight you’ and I was like ‘Right now, really, right now? He wants to fight me? I know he’s a Chute Boxe guy, but right now?’ And they were like no, no, no … in December.”
“We’ll see medically,” Griffin stated about the December card. “[It’ll] take a couple of weeks to figure it out.”
The cut that Griffin sustained was pretty severe and I’m going to assume that the CSAC will medically suspend him for at least a month without contact. However UFC 79 isn’t until December 29th, which would still give Griffin a good two months to be able to train for the fight. I guess we’ll see what happens…
- Looking for an update on Dan Henderson? The Fight Network has one.
Apparently Henderson only has one fight left on his current contract with the UFC. He has also stated that he would be ready to fight by November but that he would like to stay at light heavyweight, despite the UFC’s efforts to attempt to get Henderson to move down to his natural weight of 185.
- Cage Rage has released part of the upcoming card for Cage Rage 24: Feel The Pain:
Evangelista Santos vs Paul Cahoon
Mark Epstein vs Tom Watson
Ross Pointon vs Marios Zaromskis
Brad Pickett vs Ronnie Mann
Abdul Mohammed vs Robbie Oliver
James McSweeney vs Robert Paczkow
Neil Grove vs Robert Berry
- Matt Hamill has set the story straight concerning his recent knee surgery and stated that he would like to rematch Michael Bisping in December on his official sitehttp://www.matthamill.com/.
- Entertaining PRIDE veteran Akihiro Gono announced at his own press conference yesterday that he has signed with the UFC and will be fighting welterweight Tamden McCrory at UFC 78 in November:
“I know his fight record,” Gono said of the 20-year-old McCrory. “I know that he’s tall, young and has a long reach.”
- The California State Athletic Commission has released the official attendance and gate for UFC 76:
The UFC 76 “Knockout” event on September 22nd in Anaheim, California had an official attendance of 13,770 - with 1,953 of those seats as comps (tickets given away for free to media, friends, celebrities, etc.) for a gate of $1,984,880.
- MMA Weekly has released their latest set of rankings.
Fightlinker: I loves me some Mac Danzig
Sherdog: Old-School Event Sparks Backlash in Brazil
Fight Opinion: Wednesday war room: Where’s my PRIDE?
Five Ounces of Pain: ShoXC to return on Oct. 26 featuring Javi Vazquez, Aaron Rosa, and Muhsin Corbbrey
MMA Analyst: Is the PRIDE vs. UFC debate over?
MMA HQ: “Minotauro” Nogueria vs Cheick Kongo at UFC 79?
UFC President Dana White hosted a conference call earlier today in preparation for the upcoming UFC 75: Champion vs Champion event set to take place on September 8th from London, England. The fighters featured on the call were UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Quinton Jackson, PRIDE Middleweight and Welterweight Champion Dan Henderson, Michael Bisping, and Matt Hamill through the use of an interpreter.
Catching up on things in the world of MMA…
- The Fight Network is reporting that officials at American Top Team have stated that Denis Kang is still in negotiations with K-1 and has not yet signed with the promotion:
American Top Team representatives have confirmed that popular Vancouver, British Columbia fighter Denis Kang is in negotiations to sign a five-fight deal with the K-1 HERO’S promotion. Rumors have been circulating about a possible match-up pitting Kang against Japanese legend Kazushi Sakuraba Sept. 17 at the Yokohama Arena in Kanagawa, Japan, but the ATT would not confirm the pairing.
- Tonight’s episode of IFL Battleground will preview the 10 matchups that will take place in the opening round of the upcoming IFL Grand Prix. It will air 8 PM EST on MyNetworkTV.
- Highly regarded trainer Greg Jackson has announced that Georges St. Pierre has now become an official member of his training team”>Georges St. Pierre has now become an official member of his training team. St. Pierre is excited to be able to train with the likes of Nate Marquardt, Rashad Evans, and Keith Jardine on a regular basis:
“It’s absolutely great, and I think I am blessed because I am lucky to be able to train with such a great group of guys and under Greg Jackson, who is the best MMA coach in my book,” St. Pierre says. “People say you’re only as good as your training partners, and I believe that is the truth.”
- Continuing with some more St. Pierre news - His former manager, Stephane Patry, who also serves as president of TKO, is stating that St. Pierre is still contractually obligated to him. St. Pierre says that is just not the case:
“My manager now is Shari Spencer. She takes care of my sponsorships and my fights, as well,” St. Pierre says. “It’s nothing personal. Me and Stephane are still good friends. We were not in agreement about some stuff in training, and we were not agreeing to some stuff regarding my management.”
- MMA Weekly is reporting that Masakazu Imanari will return to Cage Rage to take on Jean Silva at Cage Rage 23 for the promotion’s World Featherweight Title. Silva will be dropping down from lightweight to featherweight for the first time in his career.
- Jorge Gurgel announced at an open house for his gym over the weekend that he will be facing Alvin Robinson at UFC 77.
Some media links as well…
Sherdog: Georges St. Pierre Training Pictures
MMA Weekly: Pellegrino Hunting Down a Title Shot
The Fight Network: Murphy’s Law
UFC Junkie: What’s Next for Wanderlei Silva?
Yahoo! Sports: Gonzaga sniffs out his biggest opportunity
Rogers Sportsnet: Koscheck eager to get it on
Fight Opinion: Monday maintenance: Lots of activity in the UK
Fightlinker: Brandon Vera is back and I don’t care
Bloody Elbow: More Doubts About GSP
MMA Analyst: An Interview with Cub Swanson, WEC featherweight contender
Signed, sealed and delivered!
Today the UFC announced the signing of former PRIDE middleweight champion and top ranked light heavyweight Wanderlei Silva. According to the UFC’s article, Silva will make his return to the octagon in December after spending nearly 7 years in PRIDE.
“Many fighters have a dream of fighting for the UFC, and as a champion for six years in Japan, my dream has always been to have the UFC belt,” said Silva. “Today, I’m one step closer to this goal.”
When asked about the signing Dana White was ecstatic calling it the pinnacle of his seven year career.
“As crazy as this sounds, this is the pinnacle of my seven year career in this company,” said UFC President Dana White. “I’m so excited to have this guy under contract. He grabbed my arm and looked me in the eyes like one of his pre-fight staredowns and he said ‘I’m gonna fight so good for you, you’re gonna see the best fights ever from Wanderlei Silva.’”
“This guy is a real fighter,” said White. “He reminds me of Chuck Liddell, and he’s the kind of fighter that all fight fans love to see fight. He’s a gunslinger. He will get in harm’s way to inflict damage and pain. This guy comes out like a speeding train and never stops. He goes for the finish, he likes to knock people out, and I just think he’s going to bring so much excitement to the UFC, I feel like I’m going to jump out of my skin.”
Wanderlei Silva has spent the last 7 years in PRIDE amassing a record of 18-4-1 (1 NC). Silva holds victories over the likes of UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Kazuyuki Fujita, Ricardo Arona, Kazuhiro Nakamura, Hidehiko Yoshida, Kazushi Sakuraba, Dan Henderson, Guy Mezger, and Kiyoshi Tamura.
Yesterday reports surfaced stating that MMA legends Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva would be headlining UFC 76 in Anahiem, California.
Shortly after the fight was announced a story titled “Liddell-Silva Scrapped…Again” ran on the UFC website stating Silva did not want the fight with Chuck Liddell.
There was a glimmer of hope in the last couple of weeks, when terms were reportedly reached for the two future Hall of Famers to meet at UFC 76 in Anaheim, California, but Wednesday afternoon, a Silva representative informed UFC President Dana White that ‘The Axe Murderer’ did not want the fight.
“You never say it’s never gonna happen, but until you have something signed, you never say it’s gonna happen in this sport,” said Liddell. “It’s just one of those things. Before he had excuses, now he doesn’t. There’s nothing in his way now.”
Wanderlei Silva took time to respond to the comments saying he still wants the fight with Liddell but the proposed showdown in September just wasn’t convenient for him but he would be ready for a November showdown.
Here is the video (Portuguese):
The Fight Network has posted an excellent transcript of Wanderlei’s message:
“Hey Folks, I came here to clarify some things that are popping up about myself, about this bout between me and Chuck. I want to say that at no time I said I didn’t want to fight him. Much to the contrary, I have been wanting this fight for a long time. I’m very anxious for this bout, and I have already been preparing myself for some time, and I received a contract where I had two options, to fight either in September or in November.
Without a doubt it’s the most important fight of my life, I know the guy’s a big name in the USA, as I’m a big name as well, so I think we have all the tools to do a very exciting fight, and that’s why it’s that much awaited. I opted to do this fight in November, and at no time I said I didn’t want to fight him - much to the contrary, I was the first to propose this bout, and they were
hiding him behind many reasons, and now people are saying that I chickened out.
Much to the contrary, I’m here to say I didn’t chicken out, and I’m going for it. I think I need to be in my best shape, both physically and technically, so I want this extra time to be able to train better, and really be at the top of my preparation, so I can show all my potential.
I’m in a moment of a lot of transitions in my life. I’ll likely be moving to the USA in the next week, or the one following it, I’ll live there now, so a lot of things are happening and I’m having to take care of too many things, so I’m not able to focus directly on my training, which is what I need to do. I always did everything the promoters wanted, always fought whenever promoters wanted, and I was always available to all the promotions I worked for, and sometimes I even did things I shouldn’t have done, things that ended up hindering my own image, and this time I said “No, I’ll stop and organize my life to really be able to train and show everybody the Wanderlei Silva everybody is used to see.
I’m anxious to get back at winning, and I know of my responsibility with a lot of people from the whole world that supports me. Sometimes maybe because of anxiety from promoters in wanting me in a show, a lot of people start to say a lot of things, but none of that is true. [The] truth is that this fight will happen, if he doesn’t hide behind this now. If it’s not against him, then I don’t know - I’ll see what will happen.
But first, what I want to happen is that this fight takes place in November, so we can do a great spectacle that everybody’s waiting for. This bout has everything to be a historical bout in MMA, as all the fans have been awaiting this for a long time, and I hope to be at my best to show the Wanderlei Silva all of you want to see, with a lot of heart and determination, defending our flag and making it so I can bring happiness to all my fans that support me.
So this message is for you guys that want to know what’s happening, and to hear it straight from my mouth, not to keep hearing what’s taking place around [me], and this is the truth. Thanks guys, and stay with God –with his help I’ll be back strong, showing you the spectacle you are all used to seeing. Thanks a lot.”
Chuck Liddell vs. Wanderlei Silva in November, make it happen Dana!
Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports is reporting that Wanderlei Silva has turned down an offer to fight Chuck Liddell at UFC 76 on September 22 and that the promotion is now scrambling for a main event.
Iole learned about the circumstances from UFC President Dana White who stated that he learned through Silva’s Chute Boxe team that he did not want to fight Liddell:
“This is the worst news I could have possibly gotten,” White said. “It’s horrendous. I have been trying to make this fight for six years. I have done everything in my power I could do over the last six years to make this fight and it’s still not happening. I just don’t see it happening now.”
“This just happened (Wednesday afternoon) and I’m not sure what we’re going to do,” White said. “We’re trying to figure it out. It’s not a fun time right now.”
We will continue to follow this story as it develops…
It’s been rumored for a while now that Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva may finally meet later this year, possibly at UFC 76.
The rumors went to the next level earlier today when UFC Junkie reported that Liddell and Silva had verbally agreed to fight and that the contract would be signed the next time Silva returned to the USA.
Former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell and former longtime PRIDE Fighting Championships middleweight champion Wanderlei Silva have verbally agreed to a fight that will take place at UFC 76 in September. That’s according to a source close to the Chute Boxe team who recently spoke to UFC Junkie.
According to the source, the two fighters have agreed on “numbers” and a verbal agreement has been reached. Additionally, the fight likely will be signed once the Brazilian Silva returns to the U.S., the source said.
Silva’s official website even supports UFC Junkie’s claim as a new post popped this afternoon stating that Silva’s next fight would be against Liddell on September 22 at UFC 76.
So why is Liddell’s camp saying that the fight isn’t going to happen?
The Fight Network is reporting via Liddell head trainer John Hackleman that the UFC hasn’t notified Liddell or his camp that a fight with Silva has been signed:
“This is news to us,” Hackleman said. “As of this evening, we have not been notified by the UFC.”
We will definitely be following this story as it unfolds…
The MO Team League in Brazil, a team-based MMA league very similar to the IFL here in the United States, announced the head coaches and rosters for it’s first four teams as well as the fight card for it’s debut event on September 29 last Saturday according to MMA Weekly.
The head coaches and teams are as follows:
Hurricane - Head Coach: Wanderlei Silva
Lightweight - Jean Silva
Welterweight - Flávio Álvaro
Middleweight - Rafael Sapo
Light Heavyweight - Rafael Monteiro
Heavyweight - André Mussi
Wild Fire - Head Coach: Murilo Bustamante
Lightweight - Luciano Azevedo
Welterweight - Gerson Conceição
Middleweight - Silmar Rodrigo
Light Heavyweight - Alexandre Cacareco
Heavyweight - Joaquim Mamute
Tsunami - Head Coach: Pedro Rizzo
Lightweight - Leonardo Santos
Welterweight - André Chatuba
Middleweight - Mauricio Alonso
Light Heavyweight - Jair Sorriso
Heavyweight - Walter Broca
Avalanche - Head Coach: Antonio Rogério Nogueira
Lightweight - Rafael Mantega
Welterweight - Sergio Moraes
Middleweight - Julio Cesar Field Almeida
Light Heavyweight - Erick Wanderlei
Heavyweight - Fábio Maldonado
The league will use the five main weight divisions similar to the IFL. The inaugural event for the league will place on August 11th when Silva’s Hurricane face off against Bustamante’s Wild Fire. The second event will be held on September 29 where Nogueira’s Avalanche will take on Rizzo’s Tsunami.