The Fight Network is reporting that PRIDE Welterweight Grand Prix Champion Denis Kang is close to signing a contract with BodogFight.
The American Top Team’s Denis Kang is in serious negotiations with bodogFIGHT and could sign with the upstart promotion as early as this week, a source close to the ATT indicated.
Kang (27-8-1), one of the world’s top middleweights, is 20-1-1 in his past 22 fights, the lone defeat a split decision loss to Kazuo Misaki in the finals of the PRIDE Welterweight Grand Prix at PRIDE “Bushido 13.” Kang reportedly tore a biceps muscle in the semi-finals but agreed to fight anyway.
This is interesting because it was being rumored that Kang was about to join the UFC. I’m guessing now that some of the PRIDE fighters were able to get out of their contracts or were free agents before Zuffa bought the promotion.
Kang is the only other free agent from PRIDE that I’ve heard of except for a handful of others - Fedor, Silva, and Big Nog. Then again maybe all of the fighters are technically free agents as of right now and it just so happens that the majority of them are signing with Zuffa.
News and Notes
- In a interview with the Boston Herald that was printed Sunday, Chuck Liddell has confirmed that his next UFC fight will be against former PRIDE Middleweight Champion Wanderlei Silva:
The road back to the belt will not be easy. It will begin with a long-awaited fight against Wanderlei Silva, probably sometime toward the end of the year. Silva, like Liddell, recently lost his Pride light heavyweight belt to Dan Henderson, in a fight staged in Las Vegas, shortly before the UFC bought the Japanese-based organization.
Liddell-Silva is a fight that UFC president Dana White has been trying to make for a while, going to the extreme of bringing Silva into the ring during a UFC card, asking him who he wanted to fight, and Silva responding that he wanted Liddell.
“It’s going to be a striking battle,” Liddell said of the matchup with Silva. “Who’s going to hit harder and throw more punches. I think from the things I’ve seen (of him) that’s what it will be.”
- Chute Boxe USA has stated that former UFC Middleweight Champion Evan Tanner will make his return to the Octagon in September.
Evan Tanner has been training hard and is determined to win the title from Anderson Silva. According to Coach Roberto, he will be fighting at UFC in September under the Chute Boxe USA banner. His opponent is still unknown.
- UFC Mania has posted an exclusive interview with Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou over at their site…
Video of the Day
UFC 75: Mathis vs Boucher
It’s a legitimate question: Is PRIDE officially dead?
You only have to step back and take a look at the recent events that have taken place in the past few weeks to see that PRIDE’s future isn’t looking very promising. Well if there’s a future for the promotion at all…
PRIDE hasn’t held an event since April. It also hasn’t done much of anything except release their 10th anniversary documentary since then. One would think that the company will now get back on track since it’s acquisition by UFC parent company Zuffa is now complete according to UFC President Dana White. However that might not be the case.
The scheduled opening round for the company’s Lightweight Grand Prix on July 16th now seems that it’s not going to happen. Why? Nippon Gaishi Hall, the arena where the event was supposed to be held has now taken the show off of it’s event calendar. Couple that with White’s recent comments concerning all of PRIDE’s top fighters coming over to the UFC and it seems more and more likely that PRIDE’s run in the world of MMA is just about finished.
So what did you say about White’s comments? Well in that same interview with MMA Weekly where he stated that Zuffa now owned PRIDE, he also said that all of the promotion’s top fighters will be coming to the UFC:
“We’re going to have them all. We’re going to have them all. At the end of the day, if you want to fight the best fighters in the world, if you want to cement your place in history… and at the end of the day, the money is great, all that stuff is good, but for me I’m one of those types of people… it’s all about cementing your place in history. Who is the greatest fighter in every weight division? It’s here. It’s in the UFC. They’re all going to be here.”
Well so much for the original plan of keeping all of PRIDE’s top fighters with the company. Since the March announcement of that plan, the UFC has brought over Fabricio Werdum, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Mauricio Rua, and now Dan Henderson. Apparently they aren’t even close to being done either since Chuck Liddell’s next opponent is Wanderlei Silva…
When asked about one of Pride’s biggest stars, Wanderlei Silva, White said, “We’re going to have them all here. He [Silva] is going to be here. They’re all going to fight… they’re all under contract.” White also said that Silva would likely be Chuck Liddell’s next opponent.
With all of PRIDE’s biggest stars, including Henderson who currently holds two PRIDE belts and will challenge Quinton Jackson for the UFC Light Heavyweight title later this year, coming over to the UFC, I think it’s safe to say that they have decided to just let PRIDE wither away…
News and Notes
- Be sure to tune in tonight at 10 PM EST as John and I will be doing one of our patented ‘live blogs’ for UFC 71: Liddell vs. Jackson.
- The CSAC has granted Fight Entertainment Group (FEG), K-1’s parent company, a temporary promoter’s license.
- In a recent interview with TATAME Chute Boxe’s Rafael Cordeiro talked about Wanderlei Silva, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Murilo “Ninja” Rua.
“Shogun fights into any category. At the Chute Boxe team we train into the rules of the Pride and of the UFC, as like in the Muay Thai that we train into different rules”, said Cordeiro, who also said that believes at the KO of Murilo Ninja inhis bout against the fighter from Cube Joey Villasenor for the Middleweight tilte of the Elite XC. “After the training that he did with Wanderlei last morning, I am waiting for the KO. Wanderlei left the traininh saying good things about him and he also said he has a heavy hand. When some athlete receives good words from some champion and from the professors, he feels himself more confident”, said Cordeiro.
The trainer of the Chute Boxe team also revelated that Wanderlei Silva may fight this year, only waiting the confirmation of the business. “I am sure he will be back to train this year. He and Rudimar are waiting an answer so he can be beck to the ring this year”, revelated Rafael, who was asked if Wanderlei would be back to fight up the ring and answered the question with the statement “back to fight this year”.
Fight Opinion Radio #50: Big UFC 71 event preview
Major UFC 71 Rampage vs. Liddell preview show this week on Fight Opinion Radio. Our special guests this week are: Ken Pishna of MMAWeekly.com, Steve Sievert of The Houston Chronicle, and Luke Thomas of BloodyElbow.com. All six show personalities this week are split 50/50 across the board on who will win the big UFC 71 main event. This week’s show is brought to you by Monster Wrestling Rings and Kakuto Store.
Earlier today UFC President Dana White held a conference call with various members of the media in order to discuss this weekend’s UFC 71 event. Many other topics were touched upon and just like our recap of the UFC 70 conference call, we’ve got everything covered…
White’s Thoughts on UFC 71’s main event: Chuck Liddell vs Quinton Jackson:
White came right out and said that he was very excited for the fight as is everyone. He said that the mentality of both fighters are going to make it an exciting fight. He said that Chuck’s striking is obviously going to give Jackson trouble but so will Jackson’s athletic ability for Liddell. White stated that style-wise, it’s a bad matchup for Liddell and that we were able to see that in the first fight between the two.
White pressed on the fact that Liddell has the opportunity in front of him to finally avenge every loss that he’s ever suffered. One of the most interesting things that White said was that Jackson usually “fights to the level of his competition”. He noted that Jackson beat Marvin Eastman but he did it in a fashion that nobody was really impressed by. White said that because Liddell is such a high-caliber fighter, Jackson’s game will be on that same level and he will look much better in this fight then when he fought Eastman at UFC 67.
White briefly touched on Liddell’s controversial segment on Good Morning Dallas a few months back where he appeared to be under the influence of something. White attributed Liddell’s state to the lifestyle that he lives due to being famous. White said that he and other UFC officials promptly took care of the matter when it arose and that everything is fine now concerning that situtation.
White Discusses Potential Signing of Mauricio Rua; Possible Addition of Wanderlei Silva:
It’s been rumored for about a week now that the UFC has signed Mauricio Rua. Well White went ahead and all but confirmed that Rua will be part of the UFC when he said that the winner of Saturday night’s Liddell-Jackson bout will then have to face a challenger that the UFC is bringing in. White also said that the challenger will be revealed during the UFC 71 broadcast.
When asked who that challenger could be, White said that it could be one of two people - Mauricio Rua and Wanderlei Silva. However White then talked into detail about Rua and how he will most likely be fighting Liddell within the next year, all but confirming that the UFC has come to terms with him. White also made the surprising announcement that the UFC “has to bring in Wanderlei Silva”. White said that the winner of Saturday’s fight could also possibly be facing Silva in their next fight as well.
White Gives an Update on PRIDE Sale:
The whole PRIDE ordeal was definitely the most asked question during the conference call but it was also the one topic that White couldn’t really give any definitive answers to. White blamed the reason behind his lack of a definite answer on his busy travel schedule - That doesn’t make any sense, I know but he said it. White assured everyone that the fans would still be able to see the marquee matchups between fighters of both organizations at some point this year.
White Talks Huerta Sports Illustrated Cover, Sanchez’s Thoughts on Retirement, Vera’s Status, and St.Pierre-Koscheck at UFC 74:
White praised Roger Huerta for making the cover of Sports Illustrated and went on to talk about how the sport of MMA is finally becoming mainstream and achieving the dream that White and the Fertitta Brothers had for it. He also made a mention of Chuck Liddell’s appearance on the cover of ESPN the Magazine.
The most shocking thing that was discussed during the press conference was White’s confession that Diego Sanchez nearly announced his retirement one day before UFC 69 because doctor’s thought that he had contracted Hepatitis C. Doctors ran multiple tests on Sanchez after that and they kept on coming up negative so they then ruled that he in fact did not have Hepatitis C and the test where he tested positive was faulty. According to White, the doctors still thought that something was wrong with Sanchez, but because they couldn’t figure it out, they let him fight anyway. The next day, Sanchez was diagnosed with a staph infection after an enormous hole developed on his leg.
White assured everyone that Brandon Vera was still with the company and will remain with the company for a long time to come. Vera is currently figuring out personal matters between him and his former manager before he starts actively fighting again. White stated that the winner of the fight between Josh Koscheck and Georges St. Pierre at UFC 74 would get the winner of the Matt Serra-Matt Hughes welterweight title bout at some point in the winter.
White Bashes the NJSAC, K-1, IFL, and Tito Ortiz:
White openly bashed the New Jersey State Athletic Commission for deciding to sanction the upcoming June bout between underground fighting legend Kimbo Slice and former heavyweight champion Ray Mercer. Despite the criticism, White mentioned that the UFC would most likely be returning to the state later this year. K-1 got just as much of White’s wrath for the strong possibility that their Dynamite!! USA show scheduled for June 2nd may be cancelled. White said that the promotion was insane for thinking that could fill up the Los Angeles Coliseum when in fact they have trouble filling up small ballrooms in Las Vegas for their kickboxing tournaments.
White’s bashing of the IFL and Tito Ortiz was pretty much the same as always: The IFL is “retarded” and Ortiz is a baby…
News and Notes
- Our rumors section has been updated…
- Our UFC 71 coverage will include our usual predictions on Friday and one of our patented live blogs on Saturday night of course…
- Scott went ahead and updated his mega post concerning the big possibility that the K-1 Dynamite!! USA might not be happening because of K-1 parent company FEG continually failing to adhere to the requests of the CSAC.
- Loretta Hunt of The Fight Network is reporting that Randy Couture and Wanderlei Silva will sit down at some point this week to discuss the possibility of Silva training and teaching at Couture’s gym in Las Vegas.
“Wanderlei and I sat down with our wives and we had lunch in Ohio,” said Couture. “He’s a very nice guy and we are both very interested in getting together to train. I’m looking for some Muay Thai influence to go with Xtreme Couture’s wrestling and other offerings, so there is a good possibility this could happen.”
- Speaking of Couture, he will also be filming a documentary for National Geographic this week titled “Fight Science”. The special will also include Bas Rutten and Dean Lister and will take a look at the mechanics behind the art of fighting.
According to The Fight Network former PRIDE middleweight champion Wanderlei Silva has failed to gain medical clearance from the Nevada State Athletic Commission meaning he cannot fight on Sunday’s PRIDE 34: Kamikaze card.
On February 24th, Silva was handed a six-week medical suspension after suffering a second round knockout to the hands of Dan Henderson.
Chute Boxe USA has announced that Wanderlei Silva will be returning to the Pride ring this coming weekend as the main event of Pride 34: Kamikaze. He is set to face the Russian powerhouse Igor Vovchanchyn. Igor has not fought in MMA in close to 18 months, yet Vovchanchyn is one of the most experienced Pride veterans of all time, having competed in 27 Pride fights and sporting a sterling 45-9-1 record.
Ultimately, this fight may be scrapped if Wanderlei Silva does not get the NSAC mandated medical suspension lifted in time for the bout.
This is also a very dangerous bout for Wanderlei as Igor is a deadly striker and with Wanderlei coming off two devastating KO losses in a row, Igor will be looking to test that chin and make it three in a row.
I’ve been thinking about the lasting effects of taking a big KO. Now I’m not talking about medical conditions like post concussion syndrome (more on that later). I’m talking about the mental aspect of being knocked out. We’ve all heard how when you fall off a horse, you have to get right back on so you do not develop any fear. When you’ve been KO’d in a fight, its a much longer process before you can get “back on the horse” so to speak. Could that time off be pretty detrimental to the KO’d fighter? Let me explain.
Many people are saying how Wanderlei Silva didn’t look himself and fought completely differently than he normally does. Now I understand he may have been a bit sick (strep throat), but his interview on Sherdog was revealing. He talked about how he wanted to feel out Henderson in the first couple of rounds and see what he had. He said he wanted “see the fight in the 1st” and feel Dan’s power. He went on to say he figured he’d get the KO in the 4th or 5th round! Since when does the Axe Murderer take his time feeling out an opponent. His murderous aggression is famous and he barely gave opponents time to breath, much less feel them out. Now we must remember Silva’s last fight was a devastating KO from CroCop. Did that KO make Wanderlei a little more hesitant and defensive, as witnessed by his backing up during the fight with Hendo, something almost never seen before?
Just some random thoughts from this past weekend’s Pride 33: The Second Coming show.
It was a great show put on by DSE, which is great considering the amount of mismatches that most thought plagued the fight card. Stunning KO upsets (Lil’ Nog especially), an absolute war between Nick Diaz and the Fireball Kid Takanori Gomi that saw the UFC vet Diaz choke out Gomi with a gogoplata, and another highlight KO of Wanderlei Silva by Dan Henderson highlighted the event. While the production style of Pride may take some getting used to in the American market, the event was a much better representation of Pride than their first foray into the US this past October.
PRIDE 33 FULL RESULTS
Dan Henderson def. Wanderlei Silva by KO at 2:08, Round 3
Nick Diaz def. Takanori Gomi by Gogoplata at 1:46, Round 2
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua def. Alistair Overeem by TKO at 3:37, Round 1
Sergei Kharitonov def. Mike Russow by Armbar at 3:46, Round 1
Hayato “Mach” Sakurai def. Mac Danzig by TKO at 4:01, Round 2
Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou def. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira by TKO at 0:23, Round 1
James Lee def. Travis Wiuff by Guillotine Choke at 0:39, Round 1
Frank Trigg def. Kazuo Misaki by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Joachim Hansen def. Jason Ireland by Armbar at 2:33, Round 3
That being said, there are some stories out there that claim the results of Pride 33 will hurt the promotion in the long run. The first one by Zach Arnold was first printed on BoxingScene.com.
PRIDE 33 will go down as an event that, on paper, had a fight card line-up that looked like a turkey but produced some exciting fights. Short-term, the event was successful. Long-term, however, major damage was done to several of PRIDE’s key Japanese assets.
There is no turning back to Japan now for PRIDE. *Read More*
Arnold goes on to intricately detail how the surprising results will hurt Pride, especially in their stronghold of Japan itself.
A few days later, Al Yu, a Japanese columnist for MMAWeekly who specializies in covering the Far East MMA scene for the site, offered very similar setiments to Arnold. He even called it a disaster, the same as Arnold.
Operating under financial turmoil, DSE continued forward with their second U.S. show in hopes to make a further impact in a market currently dominated by the UFC. Pride 33: The Second Coming produced many exciting fights and was easily one of the best events of the year. Of the nine scheduled fights, only one went to a decision. So why was it a disaster?
What makes an organization is its stable of fighters. Pride’s large roster consists of some of the best fighters in the world. Any time a marquee fighter loses, it can have an adverse affect on an organization. In this case, four of Pride’s stars faltered on a crucial night for the Japanese organization.
There is no question that the event itself was a huge success, especially fight wise. The key will be where the PPV buy numbers end up, especially considering how poor the PPV numbers for the October event turned out. Let’s hope for the best.
Finally, for the first time ever, Pride CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara made a comment that did not deny that Pride may be up for sale. In the past, he has always firmly denied the sales rumors. From Loretta Hunt’s article on the Fight Network…
“Maybe,” PRIDE CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara answered of rumors that the PRIDE organization could go up for sale. “Today[‘s] show is very good [though].”