History will be made this weekend. It doesn’t even seem like it right? Where the hell is the hype for UFC 75? I wish I knew…
Anyway, the UFC has been gracious enough to at least promote this event as part of the UFC vs PRIDE battle that we were all promised back in March. UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Quinton Jackson and PRIDE Middleweight Champion Dan Henderson are to fight to unify the titles this Saturday.
Now let’s all be honest here. Even if Henderson wins, which I think he will, the UFC title is still going to remain just that. The PRIDE belt will most likely be absorbed into it unless the UFC has some kind of plan that we don’t know about.
So is UFC 75 the last we are going to see or hear about PRIDE? I’m not so sure. There’s always that remote chance that White and company somehow find a way to salvage the company and strike a TV deal over in Japan. My point is about the three other PRIDE belts that fighters still hold. It seems that PRIDE Lightweight Champion Takanori Gomi is going to stay in Japan and sign with K-1 Hero’s. The UFC could always vacate the title or they could give it to another former PRIDE fighter and then unify it that way.
Henderson still has PRIDE’s Welterweight Title as well. White has already said that he’s not sure if Henderson would get an immediate shot at Anderson Silva or Rich Franklin after the Jackson fight, making it seem like he is going to have to put the welterweight strap on the line too.
Then there’s always Fedor. Has he signed with the UFC or not? You know as much I do right now. I guess we’ll find out Saturday. If so, that’s yet another PRIDE belt that needs to be unified.
My guess is that the PRIDE label isn’t going anywhere, at least for the next few months…
News and Notes
- Sherdog is reporting that Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks and HDNet, is currently in discussions with officials connected to Fedor Emelianenko about signing the heavyweight free agent:
“I am in ongoing discussions with some of his people,” Cuban revealed in an e-mail interview that will be published on Sherdog.com later this week.
Cuban plans on possibly using Fedor in many of the MMA promotions he currently broadcasts events for on HDNet:
“We would work with his promoters to place him in fights from affiliated promoters or in fights we promote ourselves,” said Cuban, who plans on partnering with established MMA organizations to fill the weekly quota of bouts HDNet would need for its successful Friday Fight Night series.
- Sergei Kharitonov’s contract with K-1 states that he will be able to compete in both K-1 kickboxing matches and Hero’s MMA bouts.
- Masakazu Imanari and Zelg Galesic have both been removed from the Cage Rage 23 card set to take place on September 22nd.
Imanari was forced to pull out after suffering a shoulder injury during a recent training session. He will be replaced by Chris Brennan. Galesic pulled out of his bout after signing a new contract with K-1. Matt Ewin will be taking his place against Alex Reid. The bout will still be a title fight while Brennan-Silva will now take place at 155 lbs.
- The scheduled preliminary bout between Nate Quarry and Pete Sell at UFC Fight Night 11 has now been moved to the televised portion of the event after Mike Swick was forced to bow out of the event due to injury. Swick’s scheduled opponent, Jonathan Goulet and his fight against new opponent Dustin Hazelett, has now been changed to a prelim fight.
News and Notes
- Kultar Gill has been forced to pull out of his scheduled bout against Caol Uno in the K-1 Hero’s Middleweight Tournament after suffering a shoulder and neck injury according to The Fight Network. Gill stated that he is unable to live his arm over his shoulder at the moment:
“I finally took off two months from work to train for the first time in my life. I was on a roll and was training super-hard for Caol Uno,” says Gill. “My jiu-jitsu had improved tenfold. Training with Pele has been awesome. I finally have a guy that can strike with me who I don’t knock out. We’ve had some wars. I was looking and feeling so good but now I can’t lift my arm over my shoulder. I can’t even do one push-up. But you know, shit happens.”
- Sam Caplan has heard from a source that contract talks between Fedor and the UFC did not go well on Thursday:
I didn’t hear the show but I’ve read in several places that Tagg Radio reported today that the show heard from a reliable source in Fedor Emelianenko’s camp that he’s been offered a four fight deal worth $2 million per bout that would also allow him to fight in Russia. The reports I am reading suggests that Fedor is close to accepting.
If that story is in fact being reported I can tell you that a reliable source I spoke to from the UFC left me with a completely different impression of Thursday’s meeting. I did not ask the source specifically about Tagg Radio’s report and simply asked about how the meeting on Thursday went. The answer was not good and no indication was given that a deal was even close to being agreed to.
- The CSAC has laid down the law on two more fighters that have tested positive for marijuana.
Ty Montgomery has had his license revoked in the state and has also been fined $2,500. His license revocation is the result of three separate incidents that the CSAC has had to discipline him for - a prior positive test for marijuana in September 2006 and for an altercation with a promotion’s matchmaker in March 2007. Montgomery will be eligible to apply for reinstatement in one year in front of the CSAC.
Mongtomery’s opponent at a recent Galaxy Productions event, Virgil Zwicker has been suspended for three months and fined $500 after testing positive for marijuana as well.
Bloody Elbow: Misreading Your Opponent
Sherdog: Gearing up for “Art of War”
MMA Weekly: Refocused Clementi Enters Steele Cage
UFC Junkie: UFC 75 Weigh-Ins Airing Via Tape Delay
Fight Opinion: Saturday surprise: K-1 interested in Asashoryu?
Fightlinker: The Nandrolone Myth
UFC officials are set to meet with Fedor Emelianenko and his management team in hopes of striking a deal that will finally land MMA’s top free agent with a specific promotion later today in Las Vegas.
Apy Echteld, one of Fedor’s agents has apparently told Sherdog via email that the UFC has made the best offer so far during the process:
Having visited the City of Angels since Monday, Emelianenko’s representatives will return to Europe Friday afternoon deal or not. Following negotiations with the International Fight League, Strikeforce, K-1 and UFC, it is the Zuffa-promoted UFC that has to this point made the best offer to secure Fedor’s services, Echteld told Sherdog.com through e-mail.
So why has it taken Fedor so long to sign with an organization? Fedor has long been asking whatever organization he signs with to be permitted to compete in Sambo tournaments in his native country of Russia. Only recently has he requested that some of his Red Devil Fight Club teammates also be signed to UFC contracts.
According to Echteld, it’s basically UFC or bust at this point:
“Our trip is not to shop between the organizations but to come to a final solution,” Echteld said. “Unless we go for the UFC, Fedor will be a free agent.”
News and Notes
- Our rumors section has been updated…
- We are planning on posting an updated MMA on Tap Top 10 at some point this week.
- If you haven’t already, be sure to check us out on myspace.
- K-1 Hero’s and their parent company FEG held a press conference on Tuesday announcing two additional bouts and a new opponent for Ikuhisa Minowa.
Kazushi Sakuraba will be fighting at the event on September 17th but it won’t be against rumored opponent Denis Kang. Instead Sakuraba will be taking on Katsuyori Shibata. Also announced was a middleweight bout between PRIDE veterans Zelg Galesic and Dong Sik Yoon.
Ikuhisa Minowa will no longer be taking on Ralek Gracie as Gracie was forced to pull out of the bout for undisclosed reasons. Minowa will now face Kevin Casey, who will be making his professional MMA debut.
- So the real reason why Andrei Arlovski isn’t being booked by the UFC has finally been revealed - He only has one match left on his contract and the UFC won’t use him until he signs an extension.
Steve Sievert of The Houston Chronicle comments:
The big Belarusian is currently on the UFC sidelines because he has only one match left on his contract. As we know (see Brandon Vera), the UFC doesn’t make key bouts with a fighter who could be on his way out of the organization. After talking with Joe Silva last weekend, that’s actually a possibility.
While the UFC matchmaker stopped short of saying the organization doesn’t need the former heavyweight champ, comments such as “where else is he going to go” and the contract “has to make sense for us” send a clear message as to who has the upper hand in the ongoing negotiations. The UFC won’t book Arlovski until the contract issue is resolved.
Arlovski (11-5) wants a big payday. However, the harsh reality is he’s a mediocre 2-2 in his last four and just hasn’t been impressive since 2005. A year ago, the UFC couldn’t afford to let Arlovski walk. Today, the heavyweight division has ample fire power, and doesn’t need Arlovski to make big fights.
- Cub Swanson has announced via his myspace page that his fight with Jens Pulver has been rescheduled for November 3rd.
Fighting Jens Pulver in WEC November 3rd at the Hard Rock in Vegas. Pulver had a knee injury so we had to push the fight back.
- Sam Caplan wants people to stop stealing content from his site. You let me know if it happens again Sam, I’ll take them out…
Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto is slated to return to the K-1 Hero’s ring at the promotion’s September 17th event against newly signed featherweight Bibiano Fernandes according to Sherdog.
Fernandes stated that he and his camp had been in contract talks with K-1 for almost a year and that he is now ready for the challenge that Yamamoto will bring:
“I am focused,” he said. “Already I have trained sufficiently for a long time and I will be ready to face anyone. Yamamoto is a great fighter, but I’m going there to make a great presentation and be successful.”
K-1 is expected to formally announce the bout to the public at some point next week.
News and Notes
- Tony Bonello has been forced to withdraw from his scheduled bout against Jon Murphy at this Saturday’s ShoXC Elite Challenger Series event. A replacement opponent for Murphy has not yet been named.
- Cub Swanson says that he may not be competing in the WEC’s September 5th event now that Jens Pulver has bowed out of their bout with a knee injury:
“It’s fifty-fifty right now that I’ll fight in September,” said Swanson, a hot local talent on the San Diego circuit whose budding career could have surely benefited from the higher profile match-up with the former UFC lightweight champion.
“It’s unfortunate,” said Swanson. “I just finished training for a month in Big Bear and I’m in shape.”
Loretta Hunt of The Fight Network describes Swanson’s current situation as “the WEC placing him on standby.”
- MMA Weekly is reporting that yet another Korean news website is stating that Denis Kang has signed with K-1 Hero’s and that his first bout will be against Kazushi Sakuraba on September 17th.
A Korean website called “joynews.inews24.com” is reporting that Denis Kang has been signed by K-1’s Heroes to a lucrative 2-year contract.
Apparently, Kang’s management is citing the ability to continue to compete in Spirit MC, a Korean MMA promotion in which Kang is one of the biggest draws and holds a title, as the deciding factor in signing the contract with K-1 Heroes.
Korean news is also reporting that Kang’s debut is scheduled for September 17 against Kazushi Sakuraba. Neither Kang nor K-1 has yet confirmed this, however, and there is some speculation that Sakuraba may be injured.
The website does bring up two new points - Sakuraba’s possible injury and the fact that Kang would be free to still compete in Spirit MC, which happens to be holding a tournament right now to try and crown a number one contender for Kang’s heavyweight title in that promotion.
- UFC Junkie is reporting that Nate Mohr has been forced to pull out of his proposed bout with Jeremy Stephens at UFC 76. Mohr has apparently suffered a possible broken hand. Officials close to Stephens have stated that he has still been promised a spot on the card and that the UFC is currently searching for a replacement opponent. The UFC had yet to officially announce the Mohr-Stephens bout.
- UFC Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture will be featured tonight in Spike TV’s special, “100% Natural”. Spike will air three programs featuring Couture in them: UFC Unleashed featuring Couture’s win over Tim Sylvia at UFC 68 at 10 PM, Countdown to UFC 74 at 11 PM, and then UFC All Access: Randy Couture at 12 AM.
- The California State Athletic Commission has announced that Anthony Bivins and Cesar De La Torre have both been fined and suspended for testing positive for marijuana.
De La Torre last competed at Total Fighting Alliance on August 11th in Santa Monica, Calif. He lost by TKO to Justin Schalk. De La Torre has been fined $500 and his suspension runs from the conclusion of the bout on August 11 through November 9, 2007.
Bivins tested positive following his most recent bout for Cage Combat on August 18th in Yuba City, Calif. He defeated Tyson Schoel by triangle choke. Bivins was also fined $500 and his suspension runs from the conclusion of the bout on August 18 through November 16, 20007.
- The New Jersey State Athletic Control Board has added a female referee to it’s staff for the first time in it’s history:
Kim Winslow will officiate her first MMA fight under the NJSACB at Ring of Combat XV Friday, Sept. 7 at the Tropicana Casino in Atlantic City, N.J. Promoted by Louis Neglia, the event will be televised on pay-per-view. Ring of Combat XV will feature preliminary fights in the Beasts of the Northeast Tournament.
Winslow, a Reno, Nev. resident, has refereed in an amateur capacity in several other jurisdictions, according to the NJSACB. The 39-year-old has shadowed pro referees at UFC and IFL shows. Winslow trained regularly in jiu-jitsu and Muay thai for several years at the Reno School of Combat.
Sherdog: Canada’s Top Light Heavyweight? Hollett Thinks So
UFC Junkie: “The Ultimate Fighter 6? Will Include Small Rules Change
UFC Mania: Disjointed Lesnar interview shames MMA heavyweights
MMA Madness: A look back at K-1’s Las Vegas Grand Prix
News and Notes
- Our rumors section has been updated…
- MMA Weekly has released their latest World MMA Rankings and has also added the featherweight division to the list.
- Juanito Ibarra has told the Orange County Register that Michael Bisping is considering a move down to 185 lbs:
Juanito said Bisping is destined to be a UFC champion. He hinted that Bisping might be moving out of the 205-pound weight class in the future. Bisping confirmed he believes he can make the 185-pound limit. Bisping’s dynamic striking and the added strength he would have at a lower weight class would make him a serious force, as if he weren’t a force already. Bisping said he has a nine-fight contract with the UFC and he wants to take his time moving up the ladder and improving with each fight.
- It seems that British officials have discovered that UFC veteran Lee Murray was behind the largest cash robbery in the country’s history:
A professional cage fighter currently in jail in Morocco has been identified as one of the main conspirators in Britain’s largest cash robbery. An Old Bailey jury has heard it suggested the fighter probably started planning the raid, at the Securitas depot in Tonbridge in February last year, as early as July 2005.
The fighter, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is alleged to have bought custom-made surveillance equipment from a security expert and inquired about tracking devices and scanners. He is in custody in Rabat, Morocco, awaiting extradition proceedings. Police hope to bring him back to this country to stand trial next year.
The News Shopper states that the fighter can’t be named because of possible legal ramifications but I think many MMA fans that have been following the sport since 2004 are aware that it’s “Lightning” Lee.
- K-1 has named 12 of the 16 fighters that will compete in the 2007 K-1 World Grand Prix: Hong Man Choi, Semmy Schilt, Peter Aerts, Glaube Feitosa, Remy Bonjasky, Jerome LeBanner, Stefan Leko, Ruslan Karaev, Chalid Arrab, Mighty Mo Siliga, Badr Hari, and Paul Slowinski.
- UFC Junkie has announced a partnership with Yahoo! Sports…
While Zuffa has signed a wealth of talent over the past few months, they haven’t locked up every top fighter just yet, including the world’s best pound-for-pound fighter. Here’s your guide to the top ten fighters that currently aren’t under contract with Zuffa (UFC/WEC) courtesy of Scott and myself…
1. Fedor Emelianenko (26-1-0-1) – The best fighter in the world, period. He has beaten a who’s who of heavyweights from around the world and is looking pretty much unstoppable at this point. The only thing we have against him is that he doesn’t fight often enough but it’s technically not his fault anyway. Both K-1 and the UFC are vigorously attempting to sign the hottest free agent on the market right now. Old rumors had him going to the UFC while the latest set has him staying in Japan. Only time will tell where Fedor is going to end up.
2. Josh Barnett (20-5) – Probably the second biggest FA on the market, Barnett hasn’t ruled out signing with any organization. He’s an extremely talented heavyweight and a former UFC Heavyweight Champion at that. Has split a pair of fights with Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. His ‘Achilles’ heel’ seems to be Mirko Cro Cop - Barnett has lost to him in three straight tries. Has the skill set to beat anyone in the world. Has said that he would love to return to the US but the guy is a legend in Japan.
3. Matt Lindland (20-5) – The one fighter that the UFC should have never let go. Lindland was set to challenge Rich Franklin for the UFC Middleweight Title until the UFC terminated his contract because of an unapproved sponsor being on his shorts. Lindland has won 5 out of 7 fights since then - his only losses have been against Quinton Jackson and Fedor who both compete in higher weight classes than “The Law”. Has said that he currently does not want to be locked up by a single organization.
4. Takanori Gomi (27-3-0-1) – Gomi was the top ranked lightweight in the world for what seemed like forever until he was submitted by both Marcus Aurelio and Nick Diaz in less than a year. His losses have come against the cream of the crop and he’s beaten just about everyone else out there. Gomi is the current PRIDE Lightweight Champion as well the winner of the PRIDE Lightweight Grand Prix in 2005. He has stated that he has no interest in leaving Japan to compete at this time and has publicly said he is interested in signing with K-1.
5. Denis Kang (27-8-1-1) – Reports have Kang signing with K-1 any day now. If he does indeed ink a deal with K-1, he is expected to take on Kazushi Sakuraba in September in what could possibly be Saku’s final fight. Kang put himself on the map by fighting his way to the finals of the PRIDE Welterweight Grand Prix, defeating Akihiro Gono, Murilo Rua, and Amar Suloev before ultimately losing a split decision to Kazuo Misaki. He is widely considered one of the most well-rounded middleweights in the world today.
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