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?
The IFL held a conference call with the media earlier this afternoon to promote this weekend’s opening round of the IFL Grand Prix, which will take place at at the Sears Center in Chicago. A portion of the event will be televised live on MyNetworkTV at 9 PM EST.
IFL President and Chief Operating Officer Jay Larkin was on hand to answer the media’s questions.
Larkin noted that the IFL will do away with the teams being attached to cities, citing that putting on events between two teams in neutral cities didn’t make much sense. The teams will now focus more on their name and head coach as well the gym the coach runs, if he has one. Larkin stated that the look of the league will look dramatically different compared to this past season.
The IFL is still in talks with MyNetworkTV about a television deal in 2008 but those negotiations are nearly complete. There aren’t currently any plans to have the final round of the Grand Prix televised live. Larkin also said that the IFL will announce a new television deal with a Canadian network tomorrow. The network will televise two hours of the Grand Prix. Larkin is also currently in talks with HBO concerning a television deal in the future.
Larkin said that he will not be at the Grand Prix because he is required to attend an HBO boxing event taking place overseas this weekend. He also said that he did not understand UFC President Dana White’s criticism of boxing officials even though he hired, Marc Ratner, a long-time boxing official, to be the UFC’s vice president.
There were no remarks made in terms of new coaches being hired or coaches being replaced. Larkin said those announcements will come at a later date. When asked about the possibility of hiring Randy Couture as a coach in the IFL, Larkin said that he would be interested but wouldn’t approach anything until all of the “dust” settles concerning Couture’s situation right now. Larkin also said that Couture is still under contract with the UFC so it wouldn’t be possible anyway.
The IFL will stay with a ring for next season, no plans to use a cage. The idea of eliminating the heavyweight division and adding a featherweight division is being discussed. No new news in terms of Kurt Angle signing with the IFL. Ben Rothwell is still with the IFL and will be ringside at the Grand Prix. Several IFL stars will be on hand at various locations throughout the city of Chicago to sign autographs today and tomorrow. Televised matchups for Saturday night will include Benji Radach vs Brent Beauparlant, Chris Horodecki vs Bart Palaszewski, Vladimir Matyushenko vs Alex Schoenauer.
Sam Caplan is reporting that both Ben Rothwell and Mike Whitehead have been pulled from next month’s IFL Grand Prix because of contract problems:
The IFL made a decision to pull both Rothwell and Whitehead from their respective brackets after the promotion was unable to secure signed commitments from each fighter for the 2007 season. Rather than risk having one or both of the fighters winning a title only possibly to see them never defend it within the IFL, a decision was made to change directions.
The IFL’s policy in this regard is similar to the UFC’s of not allowing fighters with only one fight remaining on their contract to challenge for a title. The IFL felt it had secured verbal commitments in regard to 2008 from Rothwell and Whitehead’s camp. Both are managed by Monte Cox.
However, when the IFL tried to finalize the 2008 contracts for Rothwell and Whitehead they felt as though their management was being unresponsive. After a deadline passed, the team-oriented fight promotion was left with the feeling that the two might be considering offers from outside the organization.
Huge blow to the Grand Prix right there, especially since Rothwell is the company’s star.
So what happens now?
Caplan says that Bryan Vetell will serve as Rothwell’s replacement take on Antoine Jaoude. Roy Nelson will face Reese Andy in the other. As for the light heavyweights, Andre Gusmao has been forced to pull out with a foot injury so Vladimir Matyushenko will be fighting Alex Schoenauer for the title instead of having a tournament take place.
Caplan also mentioned that Jay Hieron was almost pulled from the event but agreed to a contract extension at the last minute. I find this odd because I spoke with Hieron last week and he didn’t mention anything concerning that.