Matt Mitrione, who faces Roy Nelson this Saturday, has turned down Nelson’s request for random drug testing by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association. Mitrione told MMA Junkie, “Since I was coming on somewhat short notice, cutting a couple weeks out of my camp, and training for a five-round fight, this is something I wanted to make sure I didn't have anything that could distract me.”
Ronda Rousey was officially crowned the UFC women’s bantamweight champion this weekend at the UFC on Fox 5 pre-fight press conference. Following the event, UFC president Dana White said Rousey is currently signed to an eight-fight deal and the women’s division will basically live and die with Rousey. [USA Today]
Mike Ricci and Colton Smith both won their The Ultimate Fighter 16 semi-final fights which aired on Friday and will now appear in the finale set for this Saturday in Las Vegas, Nevada. I recommend checking out Ricci’s interview on The MMA Hour where he gave a candid breakdown of his feeling regarding the TUF 16 experience. [MMA Fighting]
A much-anticipated rematch between former Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez and reigning DREAM 155 lb. king Shinya Aoki has reportedly been targeted for Bellator 66 on April 20. A venue and location for the bout has yet to have been announced.
The news comes from MMA Junkie, citing sources close to the event. Both fighters have agreed to the bout and contracts are expected to be finalized in the coming days.
Alvarez and Aoki first clashed at K-1 Dynamite!! 2008 in Japan, where Aoki forced Alvarez to tap from a heel hook just over a minute and a half into their bout. Rumors of a rematch have been swirling for about a year now, but talks between both parties seemed to have heated up in recent months.
From DREAM's New Year's Eve event this past Saturday night, here's longtime heavyweight king Fedor Emelianenko returning to action against former olympic judoka Satoshi Ishii.
Hideo Tokoro. Photo courtesy of DREAM.
Hideo Tokoro bested fellow submission specialist Masakazu Imanari via unanimous decision to win DREAM's inaugural bantamweight grand prix tournament at the organization's "Fight for Japan: Japan Grand Prix Final" event on Saturday at the Ariake Coliseum in Tokyo, Japan.
A pair of title defenses also took place: Hiroyuki Takaya grinded out a hard-fought split decision win over former Olympic wrestler Kazuyuki Miyata and Gegard Mousasi took out challenger Hiroshi Izumi in quick and impressive fashion, scoring a first round stoppage of the Japanese judoka.
Another notable winners on the card included world-ranked lightweight Tatsuya Kawajiri, DREAM welterweight champion Marius Zaromskis and DREAM bantamweight grand prix third-place winner Kenji Osawa.
Gegard Mousasi. Photo courtesy of DREAM.
All sixteen fighters scheduled to compete at DREAM's "Fight for Japan: Japan Grand Prix Final" event on Saturday successfully made weight yesterday afternoon.
Seasoned veteran Drew Fickett originally came in two pounds over the 154-lb limit for his fight against Tatsuya Kawajiri, but shed the extra weight and hit the required mark a couple of hours later.
The eight-fight card, which will not air live in North America, features a pair of title fights - DREAM light heavyweight champion Gegard Mousasi taking on Hiroshi Izumi and featherweight title holder Hiroyuki Takaya returning to face Kazuyuki Miyata - as well as the bantamweight grand prix finals featuring submission specialists Masakazu Imanari and Hideo Tokoro.
Fedor Emelianenko. Photo by Esther Lin/Strikeforce.
— Following his shocking loss to Antonio Silva, Fedor Emelianenko has been medically suspended indefinitely by the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board. He will not be permitted to compete until he's cleared by a doctor after an upcoming CT scan of his head and face. However, he did not suffer a broken orbital bone as widely speculated. Former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski will also be sidelined for a mandatory 30 days following his KO loss to Sergei Kharitonov. [MMAJunkie.com]
— A featherweight bout between one-time planned title contender Josh Grispi and "TUF" alumnus George Roop has been booked for the TUF 13 Finale in Las Vegas on June 4. Grispi had a ten-fight winning streak snapped by Dustin Porier at UFC 125 on Jan 1, while Roop suffered a one-sided loss to Mark Hominick just days later at UFC Fight for the Troops II. [MMA Mania]
Robbie Lawler. Photo by Esther Lin/Strikeforce.
— The California State Athletic Commission released the official list of medical suspensions and fighter payouts on Monday. Nick Diaz had the highest salary, banking $150,000 for his win over Evangelista "Cyborg" Santos, who received $20,000. Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza ($85,000), Robbie Lawler ($65,000) and Roger Gracie ($75,000) all took home big paydays as well. In addition, Lawler could be out up to six months due to a fractured left foot. [MMA Weekly]
— DREAM light heavyweight champion Gegard Mousasi has reportedly started the application process to be able to attempt to box at the 2012 Summer Olympic games in London, England. Mousasi would represent the country of Holland if he was to qualify. [MMAFA.tv]
Real Entertainment, a company made up of former PRIDE Fighting Championships employees and recent co-producers of the DREAM brand are planning an eight-man lightweight tournament that would kick off this May.
According to Josh Gross of ESPN.com, the event would be staged without the help of FEG, the parent company of K-1 and DREAM, amidst huge financial woes and claims that FEG is in debt to Real Entertainment employees.
In addition, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker has confirmed that he is in talks with the promotional group to send up to five of his fighters over to participate.
Satoshi Ishii. Photo courtesy of FEG.
— Japanese Olympic gold medalist judoka Satoshi Ishii is reportedly considered a move to Strikeforce, possibly as as next month for a "Challengers" event scheduled on February 18. Ishii is planning to drop down to the light heavyweight division as well. The 24-year-old last competed at Dynamite!! 2010, winning an unanimous decision over famed K-1 kickboxer Jerome LeBanner. [Nightmare of Battle]
— UFC heavyweight contender Junior Dos Santos has selected a coaching staff for his upcoming stint as a coach on "The Ultimate Fighter 13", which is set to debut March 30 on Spike. The quartet will include boxing coach Luis Carlos Dorea, BJJ champion Antonio Peinado, Muay Thai trainer Billy Scheibe and Rafael Alejarra, who formerly served as a conditioning coach for Wanderlei Silva. [Tatame.com]
Tito Ortiz out of TUF 11 and Liddell fight.
Last week, it was widely reported that something may have happened to Tito Ortiz causing his proposed fight with Chuck Liddell to be called off. Rumor was that Rich Franklin would be stepping into his place. Dana White vehemently denied the rumor, but more signs are pointing to that as being fact.
Recent days have seen Twitter posts from both Tito and his girlfriend Jenna Jameson confirming that Ortiz was in the hospital, posting that it was that it was due to a severe case of the flu. But another recent report on 5 Ounces of Pain suggests that Tito has stepped down due to disk herniations in his neck. Seventeen months ago, Ortiz underwent back surgery on his lumbar (low back) spine to fix herniations there.
Dream’s May card shaping up nicely
Dream’s May 30 show is set to launch the Light Heavyweight Grand Prix. It will feature returning Middleweight Grand Prix winner, Gegard Mousasi, pending the outcome physically from his April 17 matchup in Strikeforce with Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal. Recently signed to compete in the tourney are two fighters whom Mousasi has defeated in Strikeforce, Renato “Babalu” Sobral and Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou.
Also slated to make his return to the Dream ring is Marius Zaromskis, who last saw action in Strikeforce, suffering a TKO defeat at the hands of Nick Diaz.
Lashley on Strikeforce’s April card
Bobby Lashley, now training full-time in MMA, has been added to Strikeforce’s April 17th card on CBS. Strikeforce’s Scott Coker confirmed the news with MMAWeekly but declined to name an opponent pending athletic commission approval. With three title fights headlining the card, the fight is expected to be the swing bout that may or may not make the airwaves pending time available.