Forrest Griffin. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Yahoo! Sports is reporting that former UFC light heavyweight champions Tito “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Ortiz and Forrest Griffin will rematch at UFC 106 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Griffin will be replacing UFC Hall of Famer Mark “The Hammer” Coleman who was forced to pull out of the bout after suffering a tear in one of his medial collateral ligaments.
Justin McCully grapples with Antoni Hardonk at UFC Fight Night 9. Photo by Mary Ann Owen.
Weeks after missing a deadline to accept a fight against heavyweight contender Cheick Kongo, Team Punishment’s Justin McCully has opted to undergo surgery that will remove a number of bone chips and spurs that have contributed to a nagging elbow injury that he is currently suffering from.
The Fight Network’s Ariel Helwani reports that McCully doesn’t even consider himself 100% at the moment:
“At this point, right now, I’m probably about 85 to 90 percent of myself,” McCully says. “I wouldn’t want to have to go into a fight with a man as good as Cheick Kongo and not give my best. It took 10 years to make it to the big dance [and] get to the UFC, and I don’t want to make any mistakes now that I am here. So, I’m going to get fixed, [and] I’m going to get back out there.”
McCully apparently hopes to face the winner of the Kongo-Heath Herring matchup that will most likely take place in March at UFC 82: Pride of a Champion.
Helwani also has an audio interview with McCully up at his Jarry Park website.
The IFL will be changing in many ways in 2008 and we’re here to tell you all about it…
The promotion held a conference call yesterday afternoon to announce the new changes and answer any questions that the press might have had. IFL Commissioner Kurt Otto and IFL Manager of Public Relations Jerry Milani were both on hand during the call.
Teams, Titles, and TV
The IFL will be switching from a team to a camp format meaning that instead of the Quad City Silverbacks and Portland Wolfpack, Miletich Fighting Systems and Team Quest will now be represented. Events will now feature teams putting three fighters in place to compete instead of five like in the past. This was done in order to create easier injury replacement situations.
Camps that are not under contract with the IFL will be permitted to compete. Team Punishment and Xtreme Couture are examples of this. Fighters from those camps can also compete for a title. Speaking of titles, each event will feature a minimum of eight fights - two title defenses and two matches between teams. Preliminary bouts are an option for each event also, especially for those that will be entering via the IFL Draft.
The IFL’s next event will take place at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas on February 29th. They currently have a deal in place with FOX Sports Net and are currently in discussions with MyNetworkTV. They are also in talks with other networks as well.
Updates on Frye, Rothwell, Rutten, Angle, and Gusmao
Don Frye will no longer be coaching with the IFL but will continue to do his “Dear Don” episodes as well as visiting with US troops overseas in conjunction with the IFL. Ben Rothwell is currently not with the IFL and is a free agent. Otto stated that while he’s sure that Rothwell will end up somewhere else, he hopes that he would consider a return in the future.
Bas Rutten will not be coaching in 2008 and will remain as the color commentator on broadcasts. There is no real news involving Kurt Angle except that Angle’s manager formally expressed his client’s interest in competing inside the confines of the IFL.
As far the Andre Gusmao situation goes, Gusmao and his agent misinterpreted his contract and attempted to strike a deal with the IFL. The IFL let the UFC know that they still had his rights and they retracted their offer. Otto and company are currently in talks with Gusmao and his representation during an exclusive negotiation period.
There was no official mention of plans to have another IFL Grand Prix. Both fighters with multi-fight deals and single-fight deals will be busy. No intent to include women in the fold anytime soon. The old IFL teams and logos will be done away with. Rosters will be announced after the new year. No indication of a formal set of standings for next season. Plans are currently to tame the travel schedule. Shorts will have an IFL logo and the logo of the camp on them. The IFL’s official “road map” is here. Sam Caplan has another excellent breakdown of everything here. Jarry Park has audio of the call here.