Dan Rafael and Marc Stein of ESPN.com are reporting that Floyd Mayweather Jr. could make the jump to MMA with Mark Cuban and HDNet Fights.
“Floyd is considering fighting with HDNet Fights,” Cuban told ESPN.com. “We are going to let him visit some gyms to talk to some folks about what it would take to learn. He knows it won’t be easy. But he is getting involved with MMA and HDNet Fights one way or another. He is pumped about it. He wants to go on to the next big thing. Floyd is a brilliant marketer. He follows the money.”
No matter what the state of boxing is, Mayweather is a huge draw and could bring a ton of eyes to MMA and HDNet Fights.
If the deal happens, and if Mayweather can successfully transition into the sport (two decent-sized ifs), Cuban’s found a way to take HDNet Fights from fledging to rockstar fast.
This comes only eight months after Mayweather engaged in the boxing vs MMA argument with UFC head Dana White.
NEW YORK - The International Fight League and HDNet Fights today announced that the 2007 World Grand Prix Finals will be televised live from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, on HDNet on Saturday, December 29, starting at 9:30 p.m. EST.
This will mark the first collaboration between the IFL, which is completing its first full season of operation, and HDNet Fights. It will also mark the first-ever live IFL broadcast in HD. The regular IFL broadcast team of Kenny Rice, Bas Rutten and Ron Kruck will call the action.
?“We are very pleased to be able to offer our fans around the country this special event live and in HD for the first time”,? said IFL President and COO Jay Larkin. “?Our first live television event on November 3 received great reviews, and we think this event, with an unprecedented five titles on the line, may be the MMA event of the year.?”
DALLAS, TEXAS—-Mark Cuban’s HDNet Fights has inked a promotional deal with Rob Zombie’s Halloween Unrated to sponsor “Reckless Abandon,” scheduled for December 15th at Dallas’ American Airlines Center. The ten-bout mixed-martial-arts event will feature two of the sports top middleweights, Frank Trigg and Jason “Mayhem” Miller, in separate co-main event fights.
Each fan attending the event will receive Zombie’s Halloween Unrated on DVD. Halloween is scheduled to be released on DVD to the public on December 19th.
DALLAS - Mixed Martial Arts superstar Chuck Liddell and actor/comedian Kevin James help kick off the premiere episode of Inside MMA, the new weekly HDNet series covering the latest news, rankings, stats and highlights from the world of Mixed Martial Arts.
Inside MMA, hosted by Kenny Rice and former MMA fighter Bas Rutten, debuts on HDNet at 9:30 p.m. ET on Friday, September 14. This episode includes an appearance by former MMA fighter and HDNet Fights Commissioner Guy Mezger. Each episode of Inside MMA will also include in-depth features by HDNet’s Ron Kruck.
“Inside MMA is the only program of its kind,” said Mark Cuban, president and co-founder of HDNet. “It will be THE destination for MMA fans looking for the latest news and information on this exciting sport.”
HDNet has also announced the new HDNet Fights series that will premiere on the network on October 19.
HDNet Fights hosted a conference call earlier this afternoon to promote their new venture into the world of mixed martial arts as well as their inaugural event which will take place on October 13th at the American Airlines Arena in Dallas, Texas. HDNet Fights officials eatured on the call were HDNet owner Mark Cuban and UFC and PRIDE veteran Guy Mezger. The fighters participating were Erik Paulson, Jeff Ford, Justin Eilers, Jason House, and Freddie Espiricueta.
A news filled Coffee and Kick Ass today folks…
News and Notes
- Our rumors section has been updated…
- Mark Cuban will be holding a press conference and conference call concerning his new HDNet Fights venture. We will have a full report later today.
- If you haven’t already, please check out Randy Couture’s signed gloves from UFC 74 that are currently up for auction by the Ryan Bennett Memorial Fund. Bidding ends on Thursday night.
- K-1 Hero’s parent company FEG announced a rematch between PRIDE veterans Sergei Kharitonov and Alistair Overeem at the K-1 Hero’s show taking place on September 17th.
- Duane Ludwig will now face Mario Stapel at this Saturday’s Ring of Fire event after his original opponent, Dragan Baklua, broke his hand during a recent training session. Despite all of this, Ludwig has trained hard and is ready to face whomever is standing in front of him:
“I was getting ready to face a stand up guy, but Mario is much more well rounded,” stated Ludwig. “He is more of a true MMA fighter. I changed my game plan accordingly. For this fight, I tightened up my game by training at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas. The training was great and I feel prepared for whatever happens. I love fighting at home and can’t wait for Saturday.”
- Jeff Monson, Matt Horwich, and Tara LaRosa all won medals in last weekend’s World Grappling Championships in Turkey.
- Spike TV announced yesterday that UFC 75 was the most watched MMA event in the history of North America:
UFC 75 was the most watched mixed martial arts event ever in North America, drawing 4.7 million viewers, Spike TV officials said in a news release Tuesday.
The Sept. 8 event from the O2 Arena in London, England, featured UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton Jackson’s win over PRIDE champ Dan Henderson in a title unification bout. Airing delayed on Spike, the telecast peaked at 5.6 million viewers during Jackson’s battle against Henderson. The show’s ratings were particularly strong among men age 18-34 and men 18-49. For those audiences, UFC 75 beat everything on television, Spike officials said, including ABC’s NASCAR race and Michigan vs. Oregon college football game, as well as ESPN’s Virginia Tech vs. LSU and Notre Dame vs. Penn St. games.
Spike TV said its telecast of UFC 75 had an overall rating of 3.1 (3.0 million homes), including a 5.7 rating for men 18-34 (1.6 million), 4.5 for men 18-49 (2.5 million) and 6.2 for men 25-34 (1.0 million).
- The Honolulu Star Bulletin is reporting that Justin McCully has been forced to pull out of his scheduled bout against Christian Wellisch for undisclosed reasons. Wellisch will now face Scott Junk”
Kailua’s Scott Junk will make his UFC debut Sept. 22 against Christian Wellisch in a heavyweight fight at UFC 76: Knockout in Anaheim, Calif.
“It’s 100 percent going to happen,” Junk said. Wellisch (8-2) was originally scheduled to face Justin McCully.
Junk was notified about the fight yesterday, just 11 days before the event. He has put together six consecutive wins, including a TKO victory over Jimmy Ambriz back in June.
“It caught me off guard, but it’s good because I have been training this whole time,” Junk said.
Touch of gloves to UFC Mania for finding that interesting piece.
- The Governor of Illinois has signed legislation that will legalize MMA starting in 2008
- Michael Bisping’s father was apparently attacked in the parking lot of the O2 arena after the event.
Hat tip to Fight Opinion for that one.
- Sam Caplan of Five Ounces of Pain is reporting via Tagg Radio that Gilbert Melendez will be taking on Shooto’s Tetsuji Kato at Strikeforce’s Playboy Mansion event on September 29th.
News and Notes
- According to his management team, it seems that Fedor is going to sign with a promotion very soon:
That situation isn’t likely to remain so for much longer though, as speculation has swirled around Fedor’s contract status, or lack thereof, as of late. The hot rumor over the past few days has been that he has inked a deal with the UFC.
Not so says Reed Wallace, President of White Chocolate Management, who represents Fedor Emelianenko in the United States.
“Fedor has not signed anything [as of Tuesday afternoon],” Wallace informed MMAWeekly. “He’s going to do something soon. They can’t negotiate forever.”
So Wallace and company are getting fed up with waiting, just like the rest of the MMA world. It’s nothing surprising, but Apy Echteld sayng that contract talks with the UFC are going well certainly is:
Fedor’s managers, Vadim Finkelstein and Apy Echteld, met with the UFC late last week, but a signed contract has yet to materialize. “UFC discussions went very well according to Apy,” said Wallace in reference to the meeting. Initially it seemed the UFC was unwilling to make any modifications to their contract, but it now appears there has been some movement.
“I can say that they are very close to a deal, but some last minute players have stepped up as well,” he said.
One of those players as we all now know is Mark Cuban. The other is assumed to be K-1 Hero’s.
- Sherdog is reporting that Rumina Sato will take on Hideki Kadowaki at Shooto’s Back to our Roots show on September 22nd:
Shooto charisma Rumina Sato (Pictures) will fight Wajyutsu Keisyukai grappling ace Hideki Kadowaki (Pictures) on the Sept. 22 installment of the “Back to Our Roots” series, a source confirmed to Sherdog.com.
Leading Shooto promoter Sustain is expected to officially announce the Sato-Kadowaki bout later this week. The match-up will be the ninth, and likely final bout added to Sept. 22’s fight card.
- MMA Weekly has released their latest set of rankings...
Sherdog: Dan Henderson Training Pictures
UFC Junkie: “Team Hughes” Fighters Debut Sept. 15
UFC Mania: UFC Quick Quote: Chris Leben ‘in the best shape’ ever for Terry Martin
Bloody Elbow: Lift the Ban Watch
Fight Opinion: Wednesday war room: BMA and Big Brother
Fightlinker: Dana White treats people like shit
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has confirmed that he has signed Guy Mezger to run the day-to-day operations of his MMA project. Mezger will be responsible for things such as managing fight cards and signing fighters.
“We have already started,” Cuban said. “Our first hire was Guy Mezger, who will be responsible for managing fight cards, attracting and signing fighters.”
It looks like Cuban is taking MMA seriously with the hiring of Guy Mezger and his discussions with Reed Wallace in regards to signing PRIDE heavyweight ace Fedor Emelianenko.
“Mr. Cuban has a strong interest in MMA,” White Chocolate president Reed Wallace said in the press release. “He is very serious about Fedor and is entering the MMA business with very serious partners. Mr. Cuban is widely known to treat his athletes with great respect and care, and there were discussions regarding health insurance and many other areas for supporting MMA athletes and their families.”
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.