News and Notes
- Reaction from last night’s Ultimate Fighter 6 episode:
UFC: Matt Hughes’ Blog – Week Eleven; The Ultimate Fighter Serra vs Hughes – Episode Eleven Recap
Sherdog: Sherdog.com’s Guide to TUF 6
The Fight Network: Speer Into TUF 6 Semis
MMA Junkie: “The Ultimate Fighter: Team Hughes vs. Team Serra” — Episode No. 11 Recap
MMA Mania: Ultimate Fighter 6: Episode 11 recap and discussion
Five Ounces of Pain: TUF 6: Episode 11 Recap/Thoughts
UFC Daily: The Ultimate Fighter 6: Episode 11 Recap
Steve Cofield: Ben Saunders has his say
Chicago Sun-Times: John Kolosci’s TUF diary, Episode 10
- MMA Weekly is reporting that Leonard Garcia will be moving to the WEC to compete in the featherweight division according to Garcia’s trainer Greg Jackson:
“Leonard (Garcia) is such a great fighter and a strong guy, but he walks around at like three pounds over weight,” said Jackson about his fighter’s move to featherweight. “He had to eat the morning of the weigh-ins the last time. We’ve got to bring him down a weight class where he’s going to be more effective. We talked after his last fight and 145 is where he’s going to be. I’m really looking forward to proving ourselves in that division in the WEC.”
- Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto will take on former WEC bantamweight contender Rani Yahya at K-1 “Premium 2007 Dynamite!! on New Year’s Eve according to a report from Sports Navi.
Touch of gloves to The Fight Network for that one.
- Sam Caplan has some pretty big news to report…
First off, apparently Andre Gusmao will not be fighting David Heath at UFC 81 because he’s not even signed with the UFC:
Several reports have surfaced in the last 48 hours claiming that Andre Gusmao will be debuting for the UFC at UFC 81 on February 2 against David Heath. Pro Elite has learned that those reports are incorrect, as the IFL has a contract option to retain Gusmao for the 2008 season and will be exercising that option.
The UFC had been in discussions with someone falsely claiming to be representing Gusmao and misrepresenting information during the faux negotiations. According to the source, the UFC was contacted by the IFL soon after hearing the reports of Gusmao’s departure.
Secondly, Caplan has learned that M-1 Global is leaning towards holding their first-ever event at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ in March, which is good for this site because of a short traveling distance.
- Adam Morgan at Five Ounces of Pain is reporting that Dan Barrera and Ben Saunders will rematch at The Ultimate Fighter 6 Finale next Saturday.
London Free Press: He’s called the Crosby of fighting
Sherdog: Politics of Promoting on New Year’s Eve in Japan
MMA Opinion: We Found Rampage!
Bloody Elbow: How Dana White Blew It in 2007
MMA Analyst: Sengoku won’t prove who is the Fight Master
Officials running the Yarennoka! show scheduled to take place at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan held a press conference earlier today to announce two additional bouts for the event.
Reigning K-1 lightweight tournament champion Gesias Calvancanti will face Shinya Aoki for the first time in their respective careers.
Calvancanti had a monster year in 2007, stopping Nam Phan, Vitor Ribeiro, and Andre Amade in consecutive fights to win the K-1 Hero’s lightweight tourney for the second straight year. Calvancanti’s lone career loss came at the hands of Joachim Hansen at a Shooto event in 2004.
Aoki is 2-1 so far in 2007, submitting Brian Lo-A-Njoe at PRIDE 34 in April and earning a close split decision win over highly touted welterweight Akira Kikuchi at Shooto’s first “Back to our Roots” show in February.
The second bout announced at the press conference was Hayato “Mach” Sakurai returning to action against Hidehiko Hasegawa.
Sakurai last fought at PRIDE 33 where he knocked out current Ultimate Fighter contestant Mac Danzig.
Sakurai’s confirmed participation as this event should dispel the rumor that he had signed with the UFC to compete at welterweight. The UFC even showed him as a UFC welterweight during a PPV broadcast earlier this year but I’m assuming that contract talks thought to be a done deal may have fell apart. Either that or Sakurai is being lent to the show by Zuffa.
Hasegawa has been fairly active in 2007, earning a majority decision win over Jutaro Nakao in his first bout of the year. Hasegawa then faced Dong Hyun Kim in consecutive fights; Kim defeated Hasegawa in August by TKO before the two fought to a draw last month.
An official opponent for Fedor Emelianenko was not announced at the press conference. Officials present included M-1 Global CEO Monte Cox, FEG president Sadaharu Tanigawa, former PRIDE official Nobuhiko Takada and DEEP president Shigeru Saeki.
A press conference was held earlier today in Japan to officially announce a New Year’s Eve MMA event that will take place at the Saitama Super Arena, in Saitama, Japan.
Now I can’t speak a lick of Japanese so I can’t tell you who exactly the promoter is behind this whole thing but I’ll be able to find out later today.
The press conference was attended by a load of former PRIDE and DSE officials, including Nobuhiko Takada. Many of them will be involved in the running and production of the event. The event will be broadcast on SkyPerfecTV PPV and as of right now, there are no plans to have anything other than a Japanese-only broadcast.
Fighters that have been announced as officially competing at the event are Fedor Emelianenko, Hayato Sakurai, Shinya Aoki, Tatsuya Kawajiri, and Mitsuhiro Ishida. Other fighters that were mentioned as possibly competing at the event were Kazuo Misaki, Joachim Hansen, Ricardo Arona, Gilbert Melendez, Luiz Azevedo, and Hidehiko Hasegawa.
There was no mention of Hong Man Choi in any forum, leading more credibility to The Fight Network’s Brian Knapp and his report via Monte Cox that Hong Man Choi is not signed to fight Fedor and is nothing more than an option as of right now.
Cox mentioned a few details in terms of the lending out of Fedor by M-1. Fedor is set to be paid $1.5 million by the Japanese promotion and they are also responsible for choosing Fedor’s opponent:
“Part of the deal is that they choose the opponent,” Cox said. “They’re choosing an opponent that makes sense for the Japanese market.”
I’ll update this post whenever I receive more information on the press conference.
Sherdog’s Greg Savage is reporting that Fedor Emelianenko will return to action on New Year’s Eve against K-1 veteran Hong Man Choi.
Savage made the statement on his radio show along with Jeff Sherwood.
According to the report, Emelianenko and Choi will fight on a card being promoted by Hustle, a Japanese professional wrestling organization. The event is currently slated to take place at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan.
Choi is also scheduled to compete at the K-1 World Kickboxing Grand Prix on December 8th, so Choi will have to come out of the tournament relatively unscathed in order to stand at least a chance against the former PRIDE heavyweight champion.
We will have more information on this when we receive it…
Catching up on the day…
- Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson announced today on The Fight Network’s radio show that he will be fighting in EliteXC’s next event set to take place in February. An opponent for Slice has not yet been named.
- According to M-1’s official Russian site, the company will hold it’s first event under the M-1 Global banner on New Year’s Eve in Japan and Fedor will fight on the card as well:
The first M-1 Global event will take place in Japan, Saitama Super Arena on December, 31!
No one other than four time Pride Heavyweight Champion Fedor Emelianenko will fight in the main event.
- MMA Mania is reporting about a possible heavyweight showdown at UFC 79 between Eddie Sanchez and Soa Palalei.
- Joe Hall of Sherdog put together a great summary on yesterday’s public annoucement of the forming of the World Alliance of Mixed Martial Arts (WAMMA).
I don’t want to bad mouth the idea since a few fellow writers out there are involved with the the sanctioning body but something like this may end up bringing MMA closer to the way the world of boxing is run. That’s a place where a lot of fans don’t want the sport to go…
- Kurt Angle will appear on Inside MMA this Friday night on HDNet at 9:30 PM EST.
From the official press release:
Angle, who is the only wrestler in history to hold the distinction of winning four different world heavyweight championships throughout his career, sits down with Bas Rutten and Kenny Rice to discuss his thoughts on all of this week’s MMA action.
Angle also discusses his potential career change from pro-wrestling to MMA - and talks bluntly about which MMA organization he is NOT going to join and why!
- Let’s start talking about suspension shall we…
Bill Mahood plans to appeal his fine and suspension for a positive test for Drostanolone even after he openly admitted that he took the drug.
- The Nevada State Athletic Commission announced that they have suspended Josh Diekman, Anthony Lapsley, and Adam Torres.
Diekman has been suspended for nine months and fined $1000 after testing positive for Nandrolone, Hydrochlorothiazide, and Marijuana. Both Lapsley and Torres have been temporarily suspended for suspected use of illegal substances. Lapsley tested positive for the suspected use of Marijuana while Torres tested for Stanozolol and Methenolone
- The California State Athletic Commission has announced that they have suspended Jermaine Wilson until February 2 of next year and fined him $500 after testing positive for Marijuana.
MMA Weekly is reporting that Fedor Emelianenko will not be fighting in Japan on New Year’s Eve despite heavily circulating rumors.
M-1 CEO Monte Cox said that Fedor had been offered a fight but his management team turned down the offer because of a lack of time:
“No. It’s not going to happen,” said M-1’s president and CEO, Monte Cox, of the proposed fight. There was an offer. We looked at it. We tried to see if it was possible, but in the end, there just wasn’t enough time to pull it off. It wasn’t a bad idea. It was kind of planned to be a sort of goodbye to Pride fans for Fedor.”
Brazilian online magazine Tatame had a quote from the manager of Pedro Rizzo who stated that his client received an offer to fight Fedor”
“Actually, we received a proposal, but we can´t say from whom. Now it´s too early to speak”, said Jorge Guimarães, Rizzo´s manager.
Former UFC heavyweight contender Jeff Monson is currently in New Zealand as a special guest for Hextreme Events: Carnage in the Cage set to take place later tonight (Saturday in New Zealand).
Rogue Magazine was able to sit down with the MMA veteran and ask him a few questions, including the prospects of him fighting Fedor Emelianenko in M-1 at some point next year.
Monson believes that the fight is nearly official:
“Yeah it looks like a go,” said Monson. “I can’t wait to have a shot at who most call the best guy out there. It’s a good possibility at the moment but hopefully we get this fight official soon enough. The first time that I was supposed to fight him it didn’t happen but this time the possibility is great so I’m very excited.”
M-1 officials stated at a press conference earlier in the year that they were currently in talks with Monson. They also noted they are looking at PRIDE veterans Josh Barnett and Mark Hunt as well.
The UFC held a conference call with the media earlier today to announce a new television deal with Spike TV and to discuss the UFC’s recent acquisition of former pro wrestler Brock Lesnar and the much anticipated bout between Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva at UFC 79 in December.
Jennifer Wenk, the UFC’s head of public relations was the host of the call. Participants on the call included UFC President Dana White, former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Chuck Liddell, former PRIDE Middleweight Champion Wanderlei Silva, Brock Lesnar, and Spike TV officials Brian Diamond and Kevin Kay.
Right off the bat Dana was asked if he purposely planned a conference call at the same time Randy Couture was slated to hold his press conference.
“Am I putting on a press conference to fuck with Randy Couture right now?” asked White. “Is that what you’re asking me? No, it’s not intentional. I’m here to announce the Spike deal and discuss the Lesnar signing as well as talk about Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva and their fight, that’s it. Is it a coincidence that we got this deal done the same week that Randy decided to speak out? No.”
White let everyone know that he still likes Couture as a person and would love to have him back. He was also confident that Couture would return in the near future.
“He’s mine,” claimed White “He’s under contract to me and he can’t fight anywhere else. I don’t know what his people are telling him but resignation or not he won’t be permitted to fight anywhere else. Besides that I love Randy. Randy is pissed at me. We’re friends and friends get pissed at each other. However I’m real confident that we’re going to kiss and make up real soon.”
The details of the UFC’s new deal with Spike TV are as follows:
The contract is a four year deal. There will be five more seasons of The Ultimate Fighter. Two seasons will take place in 2008, two in 2009, and only one season in 2010. The UFC and Spike TV are also developing a new television show that will premiere in 2010. The show will feature live fights and fighters of a “higher caliber” than those currently featured on TUF according to White.
White also stated that the UFC will produce 12 live events on Spike TV for next year.
“We’re going to do 12 live fight cards for next year,” said White. “We’ll continue to do UFC Fight Nights. We’re back in bed with these guys. They’ve been so good to us over the years and we’re going to do a lot of good programs.”
Some notes from yesterday’s M-1 Global press conference which took place in New York City…
- Sibling Sports LLC is the name of the undisclosed American entertainment company that purchased M-1. The company is formed by Sibling Theatricals Inc and Garlin Holdings Limited. Mitchell Maxwell will serve as President of Sibling Sports while Monte Cox will serve as President and CEO of M-1 Global.
- Fedor Emelianenko’s contract is a two-year, six-fight, multi-million dollar deal. He has a clause in the contract that will allow him to fight in other organizations. If the UFC is able to bring Randy Couture back and would like to set up a mega-fight between him and Fedor, M-1 will send him over and also pay Couture and the winner of the fight an extra $1 million.
- M-1 Global is planning their first show to take place in the United States in February. They would also like to host shows in Russia, Korea, Japan, and the Netherlands as well. At least three of the promotion’s events next year will take place outside of the United States. The first show in Japan will most likely take place next summer.
- The company is still looking for a television deal. HBO, Showtime, and HDNet are said to all be among the interested parties.
- The new stable of fighters recently signed with the promotion will be revealed within the next 7-10 days.
- Fedor’s next opponent has not yet been named. Josh Barnett and Mark Hunt are said to be the favorites.
- M-1 Global will continue to use a rule set similar to the set that PRIDE used before it’s collapse. The promotion would like to adopt a set of rules that could be used anywhere in the future however.
- According to Fedor, the UFC apparently turned down an offer from PRIDE to have Fedor fight Tim Sylvia when he was the UFC Heavyweight Champion for unknown reasons. Fedor also added that a similar offer was made to match up Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva when they were champions as well.
- The UFC made a contract offer to Aleksander Emelianenko but the deal was apparently much lower than what Aleksander is worth according to his brother.
NEW YORK - Sibling Entertainment Group Holdings, Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: SIBE) [“Sibling Holdings”] announced Sibling Theatricals, Inc. [“Sibling Theatricals”], a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sibling Entertainment Group, Inc., together with Garlin Holdings Limited as Managing Members, have formed Sibling Sports, LLC (a Delaware limited liability company) for the purpose of creating M-1 Global, LLC (a New York limited liability company), a new mixed martial arts organization.
In addition, Monte Cox, a 13-year veteran of the mixed martial arts industry, was named President and CEO of M-1 Global.