The Battle for MMA in Ontario Wages On

Sportsnet’s “Showdown” Joe Ferraro sits down with Noble Chummar, UFC’s legal counsel in Ontario, to look at the political fight taking place to bring mixed martial arts to Ontario.

Chummar belongs to a committee that is currently working to get the sport regulated in Ontario. According to Chummar, “The name of the game is patience. We can’t rush this because it’s too big and UFC completely supports the slow learning process, the slow education process of bringing people on side and we’re working at that pace to make it happen.”

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MacDonald Plans to Wear Lambert Down

Jason MacDonald. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

“I think at this point in my UFC career all the fights I face are tough, and I don’t think Lambert will be any different. What I do think is that the first time you cut the weight down to a level you haven’t before it’s tough. With Lambert, we’re talking about a guy who has fought at heavyweight, then was down to light-heavyweight, and now he’ll have his first fight at 185. I think that’s definitely to my advantage. As the rounds go on, I think the weight cut will wear on him.”

- Jason MacDonald discusses his upcoming middleweight bout against Jason Lambert at UFC 88: Breakthrough this Saturday night in his latest blog post for Rogers Sportsnet.

MacDonald’s strategy to attempt to wear Lambert down couldn’t be more perfect. Lambert’s first fight at 185 lbs is certainly going to have some kind of effect on his stamina and he’s never really been known for his gas tank anyway. Look for a weakened Lambert to be taken down and submitted in later rounds.

UFC Headed Back to Canada by Year’s End?

Georges St. Pierre. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Months after holding an uber-successful event at Montreal’s Bell Centre which marked records for the fastest and biggest sellout in UFC history, it seems the promotion is attempting to return to Canada for another event before the end of the year.

UFC President Dana White revealed the news yesterday while coming out of a meeting concerning the potential event. He stated that he is pinpointing a return to the Great White North sometime in either November or December. The UFC is also rumored to be considering a trip to Portland, Oregon for their November show as well.

Should Georges St. Pierre come away victorious in his welterweight title defense against Jon Fitch this weekend in Minnesota, an end of the year event could have St. Pierre face UFC lightweight champion B.J. Penn in a rematch of their March 2006 bout, where St. Pierre won a razor-close split decision.

Many have estimated that the 21,390 the UFC drew to the Bell Centre earlier this year was no fluke and that the majority of those who purchased tickets resided outside of the province of Quebec. While a St. Pierre-Penn II would be huge in general, it would be of the biggest importance in Canada. So… Olympic Stadium anyone?

(For those in Canada - Dana White will be featured in-studio tomorrow afternoon on Rogers Sportsnet’s “Sportsnet Connected” program, which airs daily from 6 AM-1 PM ET.)

UFC Releases Joe Doerksen

Joe Doerksen. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Manitoba native Joe Doerksen has become the latest casualty of the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s recent string of roster cuts, being released from his contract following a second-round knockout loss to rival Jason MacDonald at UFC 83 on April 19th.

Doerksen confirmed his release with MMA on Tap partner-site Rogers Sportsnet.

“The UFC officials made it very clear they’re very happy with the way I fight and they want me to come back,” Doerksen said in the report. “But they need me to go put a couple of wins together first. It’s always a possibility whenever you lose. I’ve come and gone several times over my career and I’m sure I’ll be back again. It’s not really devastating news. It’s just the cycle I have to go through.”

The release marks the third time that Doerksen has been forced to part ways with Zuffa. He was dropped from separate deals following a loss to Joe Riggs in August 2004 and then again after a decision loss to Nate Marquardt two years later.

Doerksen pieced together a seven-fight winning streak to earn yet another stint with the Las Vegas-based company but three consecutive losses inside the UFC and WEC have relegated him to smaller shows once again.

“I talked to my manager and he said take a vacation for a couple of weeks and don’t even think about fighting until June,” Doerksen said. “He said fighters like me are always in high demand. People find my fights entertaining and he’s not going to have any trouble finding me fights. So I’m not really worried about it.”

Doerksen will now travel to Utah in June to help Jeremy Horn prepare for his upcoming bout against fellow renowned grappler Dean Lister at The Ultimate Fighter 7 Finale in June. Doerksen joins Travis Lutter and Kalib Starnes as the most recent fighters to be given their walking papers by the UFC.

How Blogging Leads to Bad Blood

Jason MacDonald weighs-in for UFC 72: Victory. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

When Jason MacDonald was informed that he’d be fighting Joe Doerksen at UFC 83: Serra at St. Pierre II a few months back, he was less than enthused.

He had good reason to feel that way. After all, MacDonald already defeated Doerksen less than three years ago, submitting his fellow Canadian with a rear naked choke in the fourth round of their main event Ultimate Cage Wars bout in October 2005.

Enter Doerksen and his trash-talking.

Maybe it was Doerksen trying to save face after MacDonald publicly stated that he didn’t know why the two had to fight again, especially since they had gone in different directions since their first bout. Maybe it was a last ditch effort to move their fight to the televised main card instead of being relegated to a preliminary matchup despite being two of Canada’s most high-profile mixed martial artists.

Whatever Doerksen’s thinking was behind his decision to speak up, it worked. Not only has the fight bypassed a couple of featured bouts on the card in terms of hype, but it’s lit a fire inside of MacDonald, forcing him to change his mind about a fight that wasn’t very appealing at first glance.

The two have been battling back and forth in their respective Rogers Sportsnet blogs ever since and I must say, their commentary has become pretty entertaining. I suggest you check out what they’ve said. Thanks to the internet, what likely would have been a tactical fight that would have gone the distance might now just be an all-out war.

Jason MacDonald:
Pay me some respect
We’ll settle it in the cage
Countdown mode
All-Canadian matchup

Joe Doerksen:
Overrated athlete
Chance for redemption

Countdown Is on for Canada’s First UFC Event

Georges St. Pierre. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

TORONTO – All eyes will be on the Bell Centre in Montreal on Saturday, April 19 at 8 p.m. ET/ 5 p.m. PT when UFC 83: Countdown Canada previews the first ever Ultimate Fighting card held north of the border on Rogers Sportsnet.

Starting on Wednesday, April 16, R.J. Broadhead and “Showdown” Joe Ferraro will file reports on Sportsnet Connected with the latest updates from Montreal. On fight night, they will be reporting live from the Bell Centre offering exclusive analysis, features and special guests.

Sportsnet’s coverage of the biggest event in UFC history will set-up the rematch between current champion Matt “The Terror” Serra and interim champion and Quebec native Georges “Rush” St-Pierre, who will battle for the unified Welterweight championship.

UFC 83: Countdown Canada will take viewers behind-the-scenes and into the lives of Ultimate Fighters, featuring a sit-down interview with St-Pierre in which he breaks down his defeat at the hands of Serra at UFC 69. St-Pierre is only the second Canadian to ever hold a UFC championship. Newmarket, Ontario’s Carlos “The Ronin” Newton was Canada’s first and he warns viewers that Serra will pose a significant challenge for GSP.

Continue reading "Countdown Is on for Canada’s First UFC Event"

UFC 83 Trash Talk Recap

Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

While UFC 83 is now only less than a week away, the trash-talking between some of the fighters competing on the card has been going on for weeks now. James Brydon of Rogers Sportsnet has a full recap of the verbal pre-fight exchanges. He covers three of the more-vocal matchups that will go down on Saturday.

It’s interesting that a usually quiet

“Captain Miserable”

Charles McCarthy was first to speak up when it came to opponent Michael Bisping, however it might the only way McCarthy will be able to gain any kind of early advantage going into the fight, especially against someone as confident as Bisping.

In my opinion, it’s definitely Bisping’s fight to lose and I don’t see that coming even close to happening. McCarthy’s one-dimensional skill set was exposed against Pete Sell on “The Ultimate Fighter 4” and unless he’s improved ten-fold since then, he’s going to have an even worse time against Bisping.

Jason MacDonald wasn’t too keen on fighting Joe Doerksen after already beating him back in 2005, but thanks to Doerksen’s blog comments in recent weeks, I’m sure MacDonald mindset going into the fight has done a nice 180.

It’s a shame that a bout between two of Canada’s most high-profile fighters has been relegated to the undercard. Hopefully the bad blood between the two translates into an exciting fight that may have a chance of sneaking onto the PPV broadcast.

Unless you live under a rock, you know that Georges St. Pierre and Matt Serra don’t like each other. Especially after this beauty from Serra on last week’s pre-fight conference call:

“Drink your red wine, Frenchy, go to your hockey game and shut up.”

St. Pierre claimed that Serra crossed the line with that one. I love Serra’s Long Island attitude but tradtionally-speaking (Trigg, Sherk, Hughes II), a pissed off GSP isn’t exactly the guy he wants to go against.

MacDonald-Doerksen Not Signed

Jason MacDonald submits Joe Doerksen with a rear naked choke at UCW 3. Photo courtesy of Team MacDonald.

Jason MacDonald and Joe Doerksen might still fight when the UFC ventures into Canada for the first time in history on April 19th but nothing is official as of right now, at least according to MacDonald.

The Fight Network passed along a report on Sunday stating that Joe Doerksen had signed on to face MacDonald in April. However James Brydon from our partner-site Rogers Sportsnet, spoke to MacDonald and learned that bout agreements have not been signed, although MacDonald is aware of the opponents that have been offered to him.

MacDonald and Doerksen met before in the main event of UCW 3: Caged Inferno in October 2005. The two went back and forth over four rounds before MacDonald was finally able to submit Doerksen with a rear naked choke with only 23 seconds left in the round.

Since then they have each gone on to win seven more bouts each. Doerksen failed at an opporunity to win the WEC middleweight belt when he was stopped by Paulo Filho this past summer and was then upset by Ed Herman at UFC 78. MacDonald is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Yushin Okami at UFC 77.

UFC Prepared to Head North

Among the many items that were discussed at yesterday’s pre-fight press conference for UFC 79 was the promotion’s possible trek up to Canada for an event next year.

Well it looks like hoping and guessing is not needed anymore. According to UFC president Dana White, the UFC will hold an event in Canada in April.

“I knew this question was coming,” said White when asked about the UFC coming to Canada. “Yeah, we’re coming to Canada in April and regardless of what happens Saturday night, we’d love to have Georges St. Pierre on the card.”

Rogers Sportsnet has video on the announcement. Steve Cofield has audio.

When asked for an official date, White stated that a date was set but he “didn’t know it off the top of his head”. The event is expected to take place at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec.

Jason MacDonald has already stated that he’s booked for the event. Scott White has learned that Jonathan Goulet will partake in the festivities as well.

Rogers Sportsnet to Broadcast IFL

Rogers Sportsnet has gained the rights to broadcast the International Fight League (IFL) shows. The shows were originally aired on Fox Sports Net.

Rogers Sportsnet Pacific
7/13/2006 midnight – 1:00am
7/16/2006 11:00pm – midnight
8/3/2006 midnight – 1:00am

Rogers Sportsnet West
7/16/2006 10:00pm – 11:00pm
7/31/2006 1am – 2am
8/7/2006 1am – 2am

Rogers Sportsnet Ontario
7/16/2006 10:00pm – 11:00pm
7/17/2006 8:00 pm – 9:00pm
7/18/2006 8:00 pm – 9:00pm
7/24/2006 8:00 pm – 9:00pm
7/25/2006 8:00 pm – 9:00pm

Rogers Sportsnet East

7/16/2006 10:00 pm – 11:00pm
*Broadcast times all Eastern