Dana White congratulates Randy Couture after his win over Pedro Rizzo at UFC 34. Photo by Joshua Hedges.
The feud between Randy Couture and the UFC has now gone to a completely different level…
The Las Vegas Review-Journal is reporting that lawyers hired by Zuffa, the UFC’s parent company, filed a lawsuit in Nevada’s Clark County District Court yesterday, citing that Couture has made negative comments about the promotion and those involved with it’s management.
They also stated that the comments have caused “irreparable damage” and that he has breached the latest contract he signed with the company in December of 2006.
Basically the lawsuit was filed because Randy’s Xtreme Couture gym will be fielding a team that will compete at the IFL’s next event in Las Vegas on Friday, February 29th. The UFC is claiming that Randy’s gym being involved with the IFL is a violation of his contract with the UFC. Will the claim hold up in court? We’ll just have to wait and see.
The lawsuit will also attempt to collect up to $10,000 in damages from Couture and seek a restraining order that will prevent Couture from being involved with any other organizations that compete against the UFC.
According to UFC president Dana White, the toughest thing about all of this is the fact that he and Couture have been friends for a long time:
“What’s really tough for me, to be honest, is we have been friends for a very long time,” White said. “The hard part is that he is not living up to his obligations. Captain America is not keeping his word. I expect Randy to honor the obligations in his contract that he signed (a year ago). I tried to resolve it by talking to this guy that I’ve had a relationship with for eight years and was unsuccessful. Now this thing’s in the hands of the justice system.”
NEW YORK - IFL titleholders Matt Horwich, Roy Nelson and Ryan Schultz will defend their belts when the International Fight League opens its 2008 schedule with an eight-bout card at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas on Friday, February 29.
In addition to the three Championship bouts, team competition will feature Matt Lindland?‘s Team Quest vs. Ken Shamrock?‘s Lions Den and Team Xtreme Couture vs. Mario Sperry?‘s MMA Top Team.
Horwich, who claimed the middleweight title with a victory over Benji Radach at the IFL World Grand Prix on December 29, will defend his crown against Tim Kennedy who won all three of his IFL matchups in 2007 with first or second-round finishes.
Nelson, who knocked out Antoine Jaoude to win the heavyweight crown, will take on IFL newcomer Fabiano Scherner, who trains with Lindland at Team Quest. Schultz, whose lightweight victory over Chris Horodecki raised eyebrows in the entire MMA community, makes the first defense of his lightweight belt against John Gunderson, who competes for the Lions Den.
?“This card is a good example of how the flexibility of our new format makes for great matchups,? said IFL Commissioner Kurt Otto. ?Fans will get to see three Championship bouts, plus some exciting team competition feeding some of our upcoming title fights.?”
NBC has released a nice video introducing each of the women American Gladiators, including Gina Carano. She was pretty impressive last night in my opinion and I’m sure everyone got a kick out of her pulling guard during the “Pyramid” event. Another episode is on this evening in it’s normal time slot at 8:00 PM EST on NBC.
Cage Potato says that last night’s episode was terrible. I think it was bad but not that bad, with a few changes it’ll be better.
Here’s a little catch-up on some of the things that we may have missed over the weekend:
Bloody Elbow: Vince McMahon and the UFC
Houston Chronicle: Henderson supremely confident prepping for Silva
MMA Weekly: UFC Offers Machida Fight With Ortiz
TKO Xtreme: Xtreme Couture Coming to Toronto
Sherdog: Hardy Headed for U.S. in ‘08
MMA Junkie: Heath Herring Offered UFC 82 Fight with Cheick Kongo
Five Ounces of Pain: Xtreme Couture to field team at IFL opener on Feb. 29
Sam Caplan: Baroni talks career options and steroids
Fight Opinion: He’s back… Bob Meyrowitz
Our rumors page will be updated as soon as possible.
Matyushenko and Palaszewski Move to Chicago IFL Team
IFL light heavyweight champ Vladimir Matyushenko and popular lightweight Bart Palaszewski have opted to leave their respective teams and join the new Chicago franchise in the IFL according to The Fight Network:
According to Palaszewski, the team will be affiliated with former UFC champion Andrei Arlovski’s team and trainers, and will include former Chicago Red Bear Mark Miller (8-2), and IFL light heavyweight champion Vladimir Matyushenko (20-3). Matyushenko transferred from the now-defunct Los Angeles Sabres team.
Palaszewski said the team will train at Sean Bormet’s Overtime School of Wrestling in suburban Naperville, home of Arlovski and Team Pitbull. Overtime’s coaching staff is comprised of wrestling standouts Bormet, Kerry Boumans, and John Kading, along with boxing trainer Mike Garcia and jiu-jitsu specialist Dino Costeas.
I thought it was the Tokyo Sabres and the Los Angeles Anacondas but whatever…
Pancrase Releases Partial Card for Jan 30 Event
Panrcrase has announced four scheduled bouts for the first event on it’s 2008 Shining Tour. The main event will feature Katsuya Inoue defending his welterweight King of Pancrase title against Satoru Kitaoka in the third career fight between the two.
The remainder of the card:
Daisuke Hanazawa vs. Wataru Takahashi
Shinsuke Shoji vs. Yuichi Ikari
Yuki Yamasawa vs. Seiya Kawahara
Fightlinker is also still taking e-mailed questions until 6:00 PM EST today for their usual “mailbag” show that will go up later tonight.
After earning a unanimous decision over Donnie Liles at the IFL World Grand Prix semifinals in November, Jay Hieron is now on the path to becoming the IFL’s first-ever welterweight champion.
However the only thing standing in Hieron’s way is Delson Heleno, who also was victorious at the Grand Prix semifinals last month and might be giving Hieron the biggest test of his MMA career thus far.
Hieron has acknowledged that quite he has quite the test coming up for him next weekend but it’s exactly the type of fight he wants to be in.
“I’ve fought a lot of tough fights,” Hieron said during a Monday teleconference. “He’s just another tough fight for me. I love these tough fights though. I’m really excited for this fight. After this it’s just about getting through this last hard week and then putting up game face on and getting out there.”
The matchup presents an interesting contrast of styles. Hieron has been a wrestling standout since high school while Heleno is widely known as one of the most talented jiu-jitsu practicioners out there today. While Hieron is more than capable of holding his own on the ground with Heleno, he’d like to try and keep the fight on the feet in this one.
“I think my striking is much better than his,” said Hieron. “That’s the plan, to keep it on the feet. If it goes to the ground I’ve been doing wrestling for years so I’ll be prepared for that as well. He’s a great fighter but I think he likes to force the takedown and I think that will play into my ability to keep things standing. Like I said, I’m more than prepared to go to the ground but I’d like to stay out of his element as much as possible.
Hieron’s standup is the one thing that many followers of MMA haven’t seen very much. An abnormally high percentage of Hieron’s fights have ended up going to the ground. Hieron hopes to break that trend on December 29th. As one of Hieron’s teammates at Xtreme Couture, Chris Horodecki attests that Hieron’s striking is a secret that will surprise a lot of people when he finally gets the opportunity to show it.
“I’ve been working on my striking constantly since I started doing mixed martial arts,” said Hieron. “That was the first thing that I worked on when I came into the sport. I feel my striking is just as good as anyone in the IFL, I just haven’t had a chance to show it since so many of my fights have ended up going to the ground.”
The IFL World Grand Prix Finals are scheduled to take place next Saturday at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The event will be broadcast in the United States on HDNet and in Canada on FOX Sports World Canada.
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.
The IFL held a conference call with the media earlier this afternoon to discuss the upcoming IFL World Grand Prix Finals which are set to take place on Saturday, December 29th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT.
The event will be broadcast in the United States on HDNet and in Canada on FOX Sports World Canada.
Nothing new was reported in terms of the IFL itself, that will come later in the week, on Wednesday to be exact when IFL President Kurt Otto meets with the media again to discuss the layout for next year.
Fighters participating on the call were Chris Horodecki and Jay Hieron. Notes on both are after the jump.
MMA veteran John Alessio will take on an undefeated Tood Moore in a welterweight matchup at WEC 31: Faber vs Curran which will take place on December 12th at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas according to an announcement from Xtreme Couture.
Luis Sapo was originally rumored to be fighting Moore at the event. No word on whether or not he was forced to pull out of the event because of injury but I’m assuming that is the reason since Alessio was on hold as an injury replacement for both the UFC and WEC’s December events.
Alessio is currently on a two-fight winning streak since being submitted by Carlos Condit in a WEC welterweight title fight at WEC 26 in March. Moore is undefeated so far in nine fights. He owns wins over HDNet Fights welterweight Anthony Waldberger and journeyman Thomas Schulte.
TKO Championship Fighting has announced that former TKO featherweight champion Mark “The Machine” Hominick will step into the cage at TKO 31: Young Guns with Rage in the Cage veteran Yaotzin Mesa.
Mark Hominick is a veteran of the UFC, WEC and TKO who sports a professional MMA record of 14-7. Hominick holds victories over Yves Edwards, Jorge Gurgel, Stephane Vigneault, and Doug Edwards. After suffering two tough losses, Hominick returned to TKO in September to face Ben Greer. Hominick was adamant about stepping into the cage and imposing his striking game on the highly touted Greer (10-3). Hominick did just that ending the contest at 1:14 of the first round when he sent Greer to the canvas with a vicious straight right.
Yaotzin Mesa is a veteran for Rage in the Cage who sports a MMA record of 6-3. Mesa lost his first three MMA appearances but since then he has reeled off six straight victories.
TKO 31: Young Guns
Steve Bosse vs. Icho Larenas (HW)
Mark Hominick vs. Yaotzin Mesa (FW)
Chris Clements vs. Stephane Dube (WW)
Jay Estrada vs. Martin Grandmont (LW)
Ben Greer vs. Stephane Vigneault (FW)
Syd Barnier vs. Mark Fraser (FW)
Bob Landry vs. Lance Evans (HW)
Thierry Quenneville vs. TBA (FW)
Valerie Letourneau vs. Alexis Davis (FW)
Eric Leclerc vs. TBA (FW)
Guilliaume Lamarche vs. TBA (FW)
Ben Gallant vs. Shawn Thompson (HW)
Yannick Galipeau vs. TBA (WW)
The Fight Network is reporting that Wagnney Fabiano will no longer be facing Chris “The Polish Hammer” Horodecki at the IFL Grand Prix Finals on Dec. 29 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. Chris Horodecki will now be facing Shad Lierley Dec. 29 for the IFL lightweight title.
According to the report, Fabiano will be making the drop to 145 lbs. and will be fighting for the IFL featherweight belt Dec. 29.
“We were ready to face Wagnney Fabiano in the final,” Tompkins said. “That’s being changed. Shad Lierley, who Horodecki fought before [in what was] probably one of the most exciting fights in the IFL, will be put into the Grand Prix spot against Chris.”
“I believe the IFL, in that show, is going to start a 145-pound division, and Wagnney Fabiano will be fighting for a 145-pound title,” Tompkins said. “We’re big fans of Wagnney Fabiano. Obviously, he’s waved the Canadian flag for [the Toronto Dragons]. We hope he becomes the 145-pound champion.”
IFL World Grand Prix Finals
IFL Featherweight Championship
Wagnney Fabiano vs. TBA
IFL Lightweight Championship
Chris Horodecki vs. Shad Lierley
IFL Welterweight Championship
Delson Heleno vs. Jay Hieron
IFL Middleweight Championship
Benji Radach vs. Matt Horwich
IFL Heavyweight Championship
Antoine Jaoude vs. Roy Nelson
All Randy Couture wants is the one thing he’s constantly earned over his 10 year MMA career: Respect.
Couture held a public press conference earlier today at his Xtreme Couture training facility in Las Vegas, Nevada to discuss his reasons behind resigning from the UFC just two weeks ago.
Couture was quick to point out that he doesn’t want to do any harm to the promotion that caused him to become one of the most recognizable athletes in the world.
“I talked to Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta on the phone yesterday and I told them both that I’m not trying to hurt the organization in any way,” said Couture. “I told them how I felt. There weren’t any shouting matches or anything like that. Dana made particular comments that he’d like me to come back but based on the responses that were put on the table I don’t see it happening right now.”
“I’m tired of swimming against the current,” continued Couture. “I just want to be treated the way that I deserve and I haven’t been treated that way in a long time. If I would have come out and made inflammatory statements about the UFC and how I was being treated then it would have made it worse while I was still fighting and talking about contracts. I didn’t try to create a big buzz and I didn’t want to start anything. I simply laid out my feelings about why I was resigning.”