Photo courtesy of the Maximum Fighting Championship.
The Maximum Fighting Championship has announced it’s decision to change it’s weight classes in the form of dropping it’s heavyweight division and adding the featherweight division to the organization, with the intention of crowning a 145 lb. champion early next year.
The promotion revealed the news Tuesday afternoon. The MFC’s first official featherweight bout will likely take place in November according to MFC President Mark Pavelich, who also has opted to strip MFC heavyweight champion and UFC veteran Scott Junk of his title after a series of recurring injuries have left him unable to defend his belt amidst the folding of his weight class.
“There is such an impressive field of 145ers out there that we felt it was very important to add this weight class and this group of exciting fighters,” Pavelich said. “With what we have done with the lightweights in creating a stellar crew of contenders and up-and-comers, we felt it was very possible to do the same with the featherweights. There are only a few organizations that feature the featherweights and even a smaller number that do it well with some strong fights.”
I’d love to have the Octagon mat from UFC 30 in my backyard too. Check out this cat’s collection of stuff.
News and Notes
- Despite various reports that were made over the weekend, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza has not signed a contract with the UFC according to Sherdog:
“I have not signed with Zuffa, unlike what people have said on the Internet,” Souza said after his fight. “I was close to signing and fighting in WEC, but nothing is settled right now.”
- The California State Athletic Commission released the drug test results of 6 of the 18 fighters that were tested after UFC 76. Christian Wellisch, Scott Junk, Matt Wiman, Jeremy Stephens, Diego Saraiva, and Michihiro Omigawa all passed. The results of the other 12 fighters are expected to be released at some point this week.
- It seems that Shaq has been using MMA to prepare for the upcoming NBA season:
At seven foot one, Shaquille O’Neal is an intimidating enough opponent on the basketball court but the Miami Heat center has been testing his athleticism in one of the most violent of sports, Ultimate Fighting. Questioned on Monday how he had spent his time during the NBA off-season, O’Neal said he had been in the caged ring taking on challengers in the combination of boxing, martial arts and wrestling.
“I’ve been doing a lot of fighting, a lot of swimming, a lot of hunting and a lot of school work and a lot of reading,” O’Neal told reporters at the Heat’s pre-training camp media day.
Asked what he meant by fighting, O’Neal said: “UFC fighting, Ultimate Fighting, yeah, I’m serious. Every day. You have headgear and so on, it is basically like boxing with wrestling rules. I’m a fan of the sport. I started doing it and then some guys challenged me,” added O’Neal who is reported to earn around $20 million a year with the Heat.
Touch of gloves to Fight Opinion for the find.
- Sam Caplan has announced that he has been hired as the new lead writer and editor of ProElite.com. Congrats Sam.
- UFC Daily has added three new writers to it’s staff.
The year of the upset continues…
Keith Jardine proved that those who participated in The Ultimate Fighter reality series can hang among the best in the world when he beat former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Chuck Liddell at his own game and earned a close split decision in front of the estimated 16,000 in attendance at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA.
Liddell looked to win the first round by sending Jardine scrambling away from flurries of punches. Jardine began to score with his first few of numerous leg and body kicks but it wasn’t enough to prevent the judges from scoring the round in Liddell’s favor.
The second and third rounds were a different story however. Jardine continued to press the action while his opponent looked to land one of his patented counter-punches. Jardine (13-3-1) even knocked Liddell (20-5) down with a right hand midway through the second round, a shot that Liddell was able to absorb as he sprang back up to his feet and right back into the fight.
A number of leg and body kicks bruised and battered Liddell’s body and Jardine’s unorthodox style continued to stifle any opportunities the former champ had to get into a rhythm on the feet. When the 15 minutes was up, it was known that the judges had to make a close decision but it was also obvious that Jardine had won the fight, based on the reaction the crowd gave when Liddell raised his hands in possible victory.
Marcos Rosales was the lone judge that scored the fight for Liddell, giving him the edge by a 29-28 margin. Cecil Peoples and Richard Bertrand scored it the same but gave the victory to Jardine and ruined any chances we had of seeing a Liddell-Wanderlei Silva showdown in December.
After the fight, Jardine tried to put his win into perspective.
“The win feels great,” Jardine said. “Chuck is the greatest fighter in the history of the UFC as far as I’m concerned.”
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.