Posts Tagged ‘Dana White’

UFC 170 Live Blog: Rousey wins in first round again

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Ronda Rousey wins in UFC 170

Ronda Rousey made quick work of Sara McMann with this knee at UFC 170 in Las Vegas. (AP)

Daniel Cormier had an easy first-round victory over Cummins. (AP)

Daniel Cormier had an easy first-round victory over Patrick Cummins. (AP)

UFC Bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey didn’t need her savvy judo game in her ninth career bout, as she utilized brutal knees to the body to stop Olympic wrestling silver medalist Sara McMann one minute and six seconds into the first round of Saturday’s UFC 170 main event in Las Vegas.  Rousey said she’d sparred her entire preparation camp. This is the first of Rousey’s bouts that she hasn’t ended via armbar. Check out SI.com‘s round-by-round recap of the entire main card below.

Main Card Results

Ronda Rousey def. Sara McMann – TKO (knee) 1:06 R1

Daniel Cormier def. Patrick Cummins  - TKO (strikes) 1:19 R1

Rory MacDonald def. Demian Maia – Unanimous Decision (29-28 all)

Mike Pyle def. T.J. Waldburger  - TKO (strikes) 4:03 R1

Stephen Thompson def. Robert Whittaker – TKO (strikes) 3:43 R1

———

Women’s Bantamweight Championship: Ronda Rousey vs. Sara McMann

Sara McMann is the only challenger with similar Olympic credentials to Rousey. She’s a 2004 Olympic silver medalist (7-0) with obvious physical strength, something that might make a difference against Rousey, who’s been able to bully her previous opponents. McCann’s preference is top control and some good ‘ole ground-and-pound. The problem is Rousey (8-0) can maneuver her armbar assault from just about any position. The X-factor is the stand-up (neither woman is an ace there yet) and Rousey’s movie star distractions. No matter what she says, she hasn’t had the dedicated time to work her weak spots. Will McMann be able to capitalize?

11:47 p.m. – Main event time. Sara McMann enters first with a T-shirt that reads “ETG.” Embrace The Grind. Rousey follows, mean-mugging an invisible opponent in front of her.

11:55 p.m. – The women take center for instructions.  They touch gloves. Our referee is Herb Dean.

R1 – It’s a brawl from the get go, both women throwing for the fences. McMann gets in the best strike and Rousey pushes it to the fence. McMann is defending well; Rousey is attacking with knees. Rousey throws a vicious body knee and McMann crumbles, her arms grasping her mid-section (liver shot). It’s all over.

 Official Result - Ronda Rousey def. Sara McMann – TKO (knee) 1:06 R1

Light Heavyweight: Daniel Cormier vs. Patrick Cummins

Though Cormier and Cummins have gone above and beyond to promote this bout, it’s hard to get excited for a last-minute replacement fight between a 4-0 newcomer and a 13-0 contender on the outskirts of the contender’s circle.

Regardless, the two have had “beef” this week: the short of it is Cummins, a two-time All-American, made Cormier cry during an especially grueling wrestling session when Cormier was training for his Olympic bid. Apparently, UFC President Dana White booked the fight on this story. I’d gripe about this move, but why bother? Cormier has a good shot of knocking Cummins out.

11:29 p.m.  - Goldie and Rogan going into overdrive to hype this next one. “Make no mistake. Pat Cummins deserves to be in the UFC,” says Rogan. At this point, everybody is making it into the UFC.

11:34 p.m.  - Cormier jogs quickly to the Octagon. He looks determined. Cormier makes his Octagon lap. He looks all business; borderline peeved. Our referee is Mario Yamasaki.

R1 – Cormier shrugs off Cummins half-shot. Cormier with an uppercut that hurts Cummins off the bat. Cormier taking his time. Cormier lands a left-right and Cummins goes down. Cummins turtled and Cormier lays on the hurt. This is over in no time.

Official Result: Daniel Cormier def. Patrick Cummins  - TKO (strikes) 1:19 R1

Welterweight: Rory MacDonald vs. Demian Maia

This is the first bout on the card tonight that has actual ramifications for its division. Let’s start with Rory MacDonald (15-2), touted as the second coming of Georges St. Pierre, his mentor. MacDonald lived up to the hype with decision wins over Jake Ellenberger and B.J. Penn, but hit a brick wall with Robbie Lawler last November – a split-decision loss that cost him a title shot now that GSP has stepped down as champ. MacDonald had his hands full with Lawler; he needs a decisive showing tonight to get back in the title hunt.

BJJ master Maia (18-5) was on a roll in his drop to 170 with back-to-back wins over Dong Hyun Kim, Rick Story, and Jon Fitch (February 2013). His split-decision loss to Jake Shields last October slowed down that train. Taking MacDonald out will get things back on track, though the young Canadian is quick on his feet.

R1 – Maia shoots immediately and Mac sprawls. Maia shoots again and gets the TD this time into Mac’s guard. Maia is aggressive tonight. Mac has butterfly guard, trying to fend off the BJJ ace. Maia with an elbow and passes to side and then mount. Maia with punches. Mac trying to buck him off. Mac is trapped. Maia landing more punches. Mac tries to backdoor out and Maia maintains half guard. 1:30 to go. Mac fights to butterfly guard. Tactical battle here, folks. Maia is smothering Mac. Mac finally to his feet with :45 to go. Maia with inside left kick. Maia is with strong combo. He’s looking good. Mac bleeding on bridge of his nose. Maia 10-9

R2 – Mac comes in strong with a combo. Maia with nice left hook to a shot; Mac sprawls. Maia with jab; then a big left.  Maia shoots; Mac sprawls again. Mac with body kick and Maia shoots again. No go. Maia slowing down fast. Mac is picking up momentum. Mac with a combo. Maia looks hurt, groggy on his feet.  Maia shoots again. Not even close. Mac starting to stalk. 1:45 to go. Mac with an inside leg kick; follow-up right. Mac with body kick and Maia stumbles a bit. He’s not landing his strikes anymore. Mac with another body kick. :30 to go. Mac misses a superman punch.  Big reversal of fortune here. Mac 10-9

R3 – Mac takes center. Maia with another lame shot.  Mac with another body kick – these are killing Maia. Mac with straight right. Maia shoots again and pays for it with a punch retreating out. Maia throwing flailing overhand lefts. Maia grabs a single, musters the strength to lift Mac and body slam him. Not sure where he got the energy for that, but he’s got 2:30 to cinch this fight up. Maia trying to pass guard; his face is bloody. Mac bucks Maia over his head and is back to his feet. This is going down to the wire. Maia with another half shot and another. Mac sprawling away. Mac with front kick. Maia with another sprawl and Mac tags him with an uppercut on the way out. Maia is just swinging wildly at this point. He’s spent. Mac tags Maia with a right. Another right and a combo to finish. Mac 10-9

11:25 p.m.  - “The animal is back.” — MacDonald

 Official Result: Rory MacDonald def. Demian Maia – Unanimous Decision (29-28 all)

Mike Pyle vs. T.J. Waldburger 

The 38-year-old Pyle (25-9) is entering the final phase of his career on a respectable note. He’s won four of his last five UFC bouts (eight of his 12 UFC appearances); Matt Brown took him out in the last with a 29-second KO six months ago. A win over Waldburger won’t put Pyle any closer to title contention…

…but Waldburger (16-8) stands to gain more with a win over the veteran Pyle. The 25-year-old Texan is also coming off a first-round KO loss – his to Adlan Amagov last October.

10:28 p.m. – Waldburger enters first to ACDC. Pyle enters with a big smile and his magic mullet. Our referee is Herb Dean.

R1 –  Wald takes center. Feeling each other out. Pyle with soft outside low kick. Pyle with inside left kick that Wald returns. Clinch and Wald pushes Pyle to fence. Wald drops levels for a single; Pyle keeping him at bay. They separate and back to center. Wald slips on a high kick but recovers. Wald with left hook. 2:30 to go. Wald with overhead right and follow-up right. Clinch and Pyle trips Wald down and into side control. Pyle passes to side control. Pyle with sporadic punches, knee to Wald’s side. 1:00 to go. Wald bounces out and up. Pyle has Wald in Thai clinch, lands knee. Wald on outside along  fence. Pyle keeps the clinch; another sold knee as they travel off fence to opposite side of cage. Pyle trips Wald at bell. Pyle 10-9

R2 – Wald forward with high kick that Pyle blocks easy. Wald with outside low kick. Pyle with straight left and Wald goes down, but grabs a leg on the way. Pyle twists out and maneuvers into half guard. Wald trying to set up guillotine; Pyle out. Wald wall-walks and Pyle knees him on the way up. Back to center. Wald bleeding from his nose. Pyle with spinning back kick; Wald blocks. Wald looks like he’s tiring a bit. Wald initiates clinch and pushes Pyle to fence again. We stall here in a fight for control. Pyle takes Wald’s back and rolls him down. Wald bounces back to his feet and tries to double-leg Pyle down. :30 to go. Back to center again and not much else to bell. Pyle 10-9

R3 – Wald bleeding from his left eye and nose. Wald picks up his pace; he knows he’s down. Pyle with a nice right. Wald with a left hook. Wald with body shot. Pyle with overhand right. Another right and Wald stumbles. Clinch and Pyle lands again.  Spinning back fist from Pyle and follow-up knees from Thai clinch. Wald pushes Pyle to fence to slow him down. Ties him up. 2:20 to go. Wald with knee in clinch. Knees and two elbows from Pyle. He has Wald in trouble; rolls Wald into guillotine. Wald turtles and its follow-up shots from back mount. Wald can’t defend and ref Dean finally steps in.

10:52 p.m.: “His leg quicks were hard. We expected a battle and we got it,” says Pyle. Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith flash across our screen.

Official Result: Mike Pyle def. T.J. Waldburger  - TKO (strikes) 4:03 R1

Welterweight: Stephen Thompson vs. Robert Whittaker

“Wonderboy” Thompson (8-1) has rebounded well enough from his sole career loss to Matt Brown last April with victories over Nah-Shon Burrell (May 2013) and Chris Clementes (Sept. 2013). He has potential in the division — especially as a quick, crowd-pleasing striker — but needs more time for development.

Whittaker (11-3) should be a fine challenge. He took gritty TUF winner Court McGee to task last August, narrowly dropping a spilt-decision loss to the tough-as-nails fighter.

R1 –  Whit takes center cage. Whit in with a jab; Thompson taking side stance. Good pace from both to start. Thompson with a right hook; then a left a few seconds later. Thompson landing front, side kicks; Whit has slowed down his attack. Thompson forward with a landing combo. Whit starting to chase Thompson down; lands here and there, but Thompson is generally circling out. Thompson with hook kick. Thompson standing in front of Whit, doesn’t look afraid of Whit’s striking. They continue to exchange. Thompson lands a big right straight and Whit goes down, tries to get his feet and is knocked down again in the Thai clinch with knees. Follow-up shots and referee Yamasaki stops it.

Official Result: Stephen Thompson def. Robert Whittaker – TKO (strikes) 3:43 R1

10:23 p.m. – Thompson very polished in his post-fight interview. Stone Cold Steve Austin and UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis in the house.

Preliminary Results

  • Alexis Davis def. Jessica Eye – Split Decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Raphael Assuncao def. Pedro Munhoz – Unanimous Decision (30-27 all)
  • Aljamain Sterling def. Cody Gibson – Unanimous Decision (29-28 all)
  • Zach Makovsky def. Josh Sampo  – Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
  • Erik Koch def. Rafaello Oliveira – TKO (punches) 1:24 R1
  • Ernest Chavez def. Yosdenis Cedeno – Split Decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27

  • Published On Feb 22, 2014
  • Renan Barao retains bantamweight crown vs. Urijah Faber at UFC 169

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    Renan Barao (left) and Urijah Faber face off during the UFC 169 weigh-in at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. (Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

    Renan Barao (left) and Urijah Faber face off during the UFC 169 weigh-in at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. (Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

    Here is SI.com’s live play-by-play blog for UFC 169: Renan Barao’s first-round TKO of Urijah Faber to retain the bantamweight crown was the highlight match from the UFC 169 card at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. Play-by-play and results are listed from main event down.

    Official Results:

    Renan Barao def. Urijah Faber - TKO (punches) 3:42 R1 

    Jose Aldo def. Ricardo Lamas – Unanimous Decision (49-46 all)

    Alistair Overeem def. Frank Mir – Unanimous Decision (30-27 all)

    Ali Bagautinov def. John Lineker – Unanimous Decision (29-28 all)

    Abel Trujillo def. Jamie Varner – KO 2:32 R2

    Alan Patrick Silva Alves def. John Makdessi – Unanimous Decision

    Chris Cariaso def. Danny Martinez – Unanimous Decision

    Nick Catone def. Tom Watson – Split Decision

    Al Iaquinta def. Kevin Lee – Unanimous Decision

    Clint Hester def. Andy Enz – Unanimous Decision

    Rashad Magamedov def. Tony Martin – Unanimous Decision

    Neil Magny def. Gasan Umalatov – Unanimous Decision

    ———————————–

    UFC Bantamweight Championship: Renan Barao vs. Urijah Faber

    With the injury-ridden Dominick Cruz now out of the picture (for the moment), interim champ Barao (31-1) has taken the throne. Barao is a bit of a slow-starter, but finds his groove (and his opponent’s pace) as the fight goes on. He’s deceivingly dangerous everywhere and already beat Faber via decision in July 2012. Barao is going for his fourth title defense.

    Some might take offense to Faber (30-6) getting a title shot tonight – it’s been blatantly obvious in the past that he’s a Zuffa favorite and might not have been completely deserving of the breaks he’s gotten. But in this case, I believe Faber has earned his shot this time. Since his loss to Barao, Faber has looked real good in his last four UFC bouts, including his most recent second-round submission over the younger Michael MacDonald (December.)

    R1 - Faber lands first: an outside left low kick. Faber catches Barao kick and slips in a decent punch. Faber looks aggressive. Faber throws a kick and slips to the ground; Barao tries to capitalize, but Faber composes himself. Barao with a left to overhand right. Faber moves in and Barao lands a combo that sends Faber back out. Barao with an outside low kick. Barao with a huge punch and Faber goes down. Faber to his feet and Barao swarms him on fence. Faber clinches for his life and manages to push the mass of men back to center. Barao is relentless, though, and another overhand and Faber goes down again, turtled, Barao punching away. Dean steps in with the stoppage, though Faber objects.

    Official Result: Renan Barao def. Urijah Faber - TKO (punches) 3:42 R1 

    12:32 – Our boys meet center cage, referee Herb Dean flanking them. Of course, they touch gloves.

    12:27 – Main event time. A corn-rowed Urijah Faber enters first with his “California” anthem. He’s taking this bout on three weeks’ notice. Lights out and boos fill the arena. Poor Renan Barao.

    UFC Featherweight Championship: Jose Aldo vs. Ricardo Lamas

    The UFC is past running out of opponents for Jose Aldo, the Anderson Silva of the featherweight scene before Chris Weidman broke the Spider’s streak. Enter Ricardo Lamas (13-2), coming off a second-round TKO over Eric Koch – Lamas’ fourth straight win in the UFC. Is it a good enough resume for Aldo? Probably not.

    Making his sixth title defense and with no obvious challengers in sight, Aldo (23-1) continues to flirt with his promise to move up to the lightweight division, where things will get much more interesting for him. Until then, we get to see if underdog Lamas can usurp a champion whose sheer aggressiveness and power is daunting.

    R1 - Lamas with opening low kick; misses a second attempt. Two minutes in with little action. Lamas throwing low kicks, but Aldo defending easy. Aldo has thrown virtually nothing up to this point. Aldo with a spinning back kick but Lamas circles out to avoid. Aldo catches Lamas’ kick, charges in with flying knee and almost nails Lamas with that. He gets in a follow-up shot before Lamas escapes again. Aldo lands body shot. :30 to go. Not much happening to the bell. Aldo 10-9 with effective striking.

    R2 - Aldo lands first significant kick about a minute in. Aldo misses with a combo.  Lamas again with low kicks, but Aldo has that number. Aldo looks like he’s calculating, waiting for his opening. Aldo with occasional body punch, but not landing. Aldo with a low kick to Lamas’ thigh; and then another.  Lamas with a missing wheel kick. Aldo lands another right kick to thigh. 1:00 to go. Aldo with another harsh kick; Lamas’ thigh must be hurting. Bell. Aldo 10-9

    R3 - Aldo starting to pick up his pace. Punch to his killer kick. Lamas shoots for single; Aldo defends easy. Lamas must know the end is coming. Aldo’s low kicks are just brutal and they’re all landing on Lamas’ lead leg. Lamas hasn’t given up yet, but his striking attempts aren’t really getting through. Aldo with body shot to another low kick. 1:30 to go. Aldo with body shot – his pace is starting to slow, but he’s still out ahead of Lamas. Bell. Aldo 10-9

    R4 - Aldo opens with his low kick. Lamas shoots for double, pushes Aldo to cage, has Aldo off his feet against fence for a few seconds before Aldo finds his footing again. Lamas switches to single leg, but Aldo reverses him on fence. 3:00 to go. Aldo trips Lamas to mat, settles into half guard. Crowd is not impressed with this laboring pace. Aldo slips to mount. Lamas flips to his back, and rear-naked is in. Aldo switches sides and Lamas manages to buck Aldo off. Lamas grabs a single leg, Aldo’s back to fence. :30 to go and it stalls here. Aldo 10-9

    R5 - Lamas starts strong with kicks and Aldo pushes him to fence. Aldo with a trip TD into full guard. Lamas’ corner screaming for him to get up. They don’t like how this one is going. Aldo trying to pass guard. Aldo to side and right to mount. We’re parallel with the fence. 3:00 to go. Lamas is trapped. Lamas escapes out the back and Lamas takes top in the scramble that follows. Lamas to his feet and leaps in with punch, Aldo responds by clinching him. Aldo with high guard; 1:30 to go. Lamas misses with an elbow. Lamas trying to rally for a finish, but Aldo’s tying him up for the most part. :30 to go. Lamas can’t get anything through Aldo’s guard to bell. Aldo 10-9

    Official Result: Jose Aldo def. Ricardo Lamas – Unanimous Decision (49-46 all)

    11:38 – Lamas struts with purpose to the cage. And it’s Aldo’s turn. Pedro Rizzo and Andre Pederneiras in his corner.

    11:32 – Overeem tells Rogan he played a conservative game tonight, then calls out Brock Lesnar. I seriously doubt Lesnar has designs to come back to the UFC  – just Dana White propaganda talk, in my opinion.

    Heavyweight: Frank Mir vs. Alistair Overeem

    This is probably the most anticipated fight on the card, even with two title bouts still to go. Former champ Mir (16-8) has had a tough road of late: three straight losses to Junior Dos Santos, Daniel Cormier, and most recently, Josh Barnett, who took Mir out with a quick first-round knee (TKO). Mir is a master on the ground, but the bad news is…

    ….Alistair Overeem (36-13) comes out like a monster in the first round, trying to bully his opponents to the cage with punches and knees. Beyond the first round, Overeem’s endurance, both physically and mentally, wanes dramatically. Travis Browne and Antonio Silva have exposed these weaknesses in Overeem’s last two bouts, leaving the Holland-based fighter a disappointing 1-2 in the Octagon.

    R1 - Overeem with right to body. Mir in with a left-right, they clinch on the fence, but Overeem shrugs it off. Mir lands a quick left. Overeem with an overhand left that lobs Mir’s neck. Overeem clinches, then nails Mir with a big knee to head that sends Mir to his behind and against fence. Overeem pounces, locks up Mir’s arm so he can’t defend. Mir fights to his knees, but Overeem is kneeing his body bad. Mir manages to escape and it’s back to center. 2:00 to go. Mir looks surprisingly OK. Mir swings and misses. Overeem clinches again and Mir drops to guard, trying to grab a leg on the way. No go. Overeem in Mir’s half guard. 1:00 to go. It stalls here to bell. Mir is bleeding slightly from his nose.  Overeem 10-9

    R2 – Overeem with a dead-on  jab. He doesn’t look gassed. New territory for him. Overeem with a left, then throws Mir off him like he did Brett Rogers back in the Strikeforce days. Mir clinches and Overeem reverses him onto fence. Referee separates them quickly. Overeem with combo. Mir bulldozes Overeem to his butt against the fence, locks up the guillotine and flops to his back. Mir loses the hold and is left with Overeem in his half guard. Overeem peppering Mir with big shots to the head. Mir is getting bloody; looks like cuts around his eyes, affecting his vision. Mir recovers guard. 1:15 to go. Overeem is still punching, picking his shots. Mir can only defend. Overeem to his feet, Mir still on his back. Ref makes Mir stand with :13 to go. Bell. Overeem 10-9

    R3 – Overeem is looking — dare I say it — pretty fresh. Mir tries to shoot, but Overeem’s girth pushes Mir to his back. Mir has closed guard. Overeem to his feet; Mir asked to stand right away. Again, Mir shoots and Overeem sprawls, then muscles Mir to his back. Mir recovers full guard. Overeem with a big elbow that makes the crowd wince. Mir again forced to defend. He pulls Overeem into him, trying to stop the onslaught. 2:00 to go. Mir’s face getting bloodier and bloodier. Overeem’s pace has slowed, but he just needs to ride this out.  Overeem backs out with 1:00 to go and Mir is beckoned to his feet again. Overeem with a nice right hand. Mir is spent. Overeem with a right-left; only lands the right. Bell. Overeem 10-9 (judges might go 10-8 on this one.)

    Official Result: Alistair Overeem def. Frank Mir – Unanimous Decision (30-27 all)

    11:08 – Mir gets the lights-out treatment, enters with Frank Sr. in his corner. Mir’s father has cornered his son for all of his fights. TUF vet James McSweeney is also in Mir’s corner.  Our referee is Dan Miragliotta.

    11:05 – Overeem is the first to enter, again with the extroverted entrance, egging on the crowd to get hyped. he gets the first pop from the crowd once he climbs into the cage and makes his entrance lap.

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  • Published On Feb 01, 2014
  • Rousey-Tate surprise signals troubling, drama-heavy trend in UFC title bouts

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    This was Ronda Rousey's demeanor before fighting Miesha Tate. Now she'll be living with her on a TV show. [Esther Lin/Getty Images]

    This was Ronda Rousey’s face before fighting Miesha Tate. Now the two will live together. [Esther Lin/Getty Images]

    The key word in the term “reality television” is not “reality” but “television.” Entertainment, or at least the promise of it, is what counts. If that means you must stretch the reality part a wee bit to pull in viewers, so be it.

    Within that context, the UFC and Fox didn’t simply rescue, but in fact spiced up The Ultimate Fighter on Tuesday. Season 18 of the show, which will air beginning Sept. 4 on the new Fox Sports 1 cable channel, was to feature women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey coaching against unbeaten Cat Zingano. The first female coaches in the show’s history would be working with teams composed, for the first time, of both men and women. It’s groundbreaking in a multitude of ways.

    Add to that some new made-for-TV drama. Zingano injured her right knee two weeks ago and had to drop out of the show, according to the UFC, which kept that information a secret until taping began on Tuesday. So when Rousey showed up in the promotion’s Las Vegas gym and the cameras rolled, she came face to face with her bitter nemesis, former Strikeforce champion Miesha Tate. Surprise, surprise.

    “For those of you who don’t know, Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate don’t like each other at all,” UFC president Dana White said in a Fox video. “They have been battling, verbally and physically, for years. Now they are going to be living together here for six weeks.”

    And afterward, they will fight — which is where this gets sticky if you care at all about the worthiness of title bouts.

    When Rousey puts her belt on the line against Tate sometime in the fall, she will be the fourth UFC champion this year to defend against an opponent coming off a loss. Tate, who had her Strikeforce title dislodged and her elbow dislocated by a Rousey armbar when they first met last year, was on the verge of earning a rematch after winning the first two rounds of a No. 1 challenger showdown with Zingano in April. But “Alpha Cat” turned the tide in Round 3, blasting Tate with knees to the face until the fight was stopped with just over two minutes remaining. Apparently the TKO loss was good enough to earn Miesha another shot at Ronda.

    Something has shifted in UFC matchmaking. José Aldo defended his featherweight championship in February against a man coming off two straight losses. Sure, Frankie Edgar is a former lightweight champ whose two prior defeats came in close title fights at that higher weight. But still. What about Georges St-Pierre, who put his welterweight strap on the line in March against Nick Diaz, who was coming off a loss and a year-long drug suspension? Just last month, Jon Jones defended the light heavyweight title against Chael Sonnen, who was coming off a knockout defeat and had not fought at 205 pounds in seven years. What a tangled web the UFC has weaved.

    Now, it’s not like this hadn’t ever happened before 2013. But generally — though not always — it’s either been a championship fight loser being granted a rematch or someone getting an unforeseen shot at a title because of a champion’s retirement, failed drug test or some other extenuating circumstance.

    GALLERY: Classic photos of Ronda Rousey

    One might view Rousey vs. Tate II as the product of extenuating circumstances. Losing a coach two weeks before your high-profile reality show begins taping calls for desperate measures. And what were the UFC’s options? Sarah Kaufman is ranked higher than Tate, and is also an ex-Strikeforce champ, but she lasted less than a minute against Ronda last August. There’s also Liz Carmouche, who was scheduled to fight Miesha in July … and who did better than either Tate or Kaufman against Rousey, nearly submitting the champ early before succumbing to — what else? — an armbar in the final seconds of the first round. But that February bout, the first women’s fight in UFC history, was the most recent on the resumes of both Ronda and Liz. “Girl-Rilla” needs to wait a while for another title try.

    An intriguing possibility for Rousey would have been fellow Olympian — and fellow groundbreaker — Sara McMann. Whereas Ronda became the first American woman to earn an Olympic medal in judo when she took bronze in Beijing in 2008, McMann became the first female American silver medalist in wrestling four years later in Athens. But while both also share a 7-0 record, Sara has been building her MMA career more steadily than the meteoric champ has. McMann dominated Sheila Gaff in her UFC debut last month, and the promotion apparently believes she needs more seasoning before it can serve up an Olympian vs. Olympian clash.

    In the end, the UFC has eschewed new blood for bad blood.

    Rousey is all for it — after getting over her initial shock. Yahoo! Sports’s Kevin Iole, who was at the UFC gym, wrote that Ronda “was clearly stunned” when she spotted Tate, and stormed out in search of White. When she emerged back under the bright lights, Rousey was in full TV publicist mode. “This is what we really wanted all along,” she told Iole. “Everyone said an Ultimate Fighter between me and Miesha would be the best. We have a personal history with each other, and this is a personal show. For some reason, me and Miesha are intertwined in fate like Ali and Frazier or something like that.”

    — Jeff Wagenheim


  • Published On May 29, 2013
  • Dana White went soft on Matt Mitrione; updated with fighter’s apology

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    UFC president Dana White lifted Matt Mitrione's suspension despite Mitrione never apologizing for his comments. (AP)

    UFC president Dana White lifted Matt Mitrione’s suspension despite Mitrione never apologizing for his comments. (AP)

    NEW YORK — Dana White was sitting on a brightly lit makeshift stage in the lobby of The Theater at Madison Square Garden, well aware of the irony of him being on this stage on a Thursday afternoon while, two nights later, his fighters would not be allowed to put on a show under the bright lights in the arena behind him. UFC 159 will play out on Saturday night not in New York’s eminent sports cathedral but across the river in New Jersey. It’s as if White’s mixed martial arts organization were the Giants or Jets, except for one tiny detail: The NFL is welcome in the Empire State.

    “It is what it is,” the UFC president told a gathering of reporters, pulling out a well-worn phrase of his, but this time with what seemed more resignation than usual behind it. White has seen MMA sanctioning legislation have its moments up in Albany, like a fighter getting in a few crisp jabs and leg kicks early in the first round, self-assuredly sticking and moving, looking like it’s his night. Until he runs into an overhand right. The leadership of the New York State Assembly, which again and again has KO’d an MMA bill before it even could come up for a vote, packs a mean punch.

    “I’m so over it,” said White, sounding like he’s anything but. Unless by “over it” he means keeping his nose out of a lobbying effort that can only suffer from his crudely tactless manner. That’s why the company’s visits to Albany are being made by CEO Lorenzo Fertitta, whom White characterized as “the kinder, gentler side of the UFC.”

    But as the UFC pushes for the sanctioning it needs to celebrate its 20th anniversary come November with a gala fight card in the Garden, which the organization has expressed keen interest in doing, White continues to play a significant role. How could he not? More than any fighter, the boss is the public face of the company. What he says and does matters.

    That is why the irony White missed on Thursday was more telling than the irony he acknowledged. Sure, he noticed the row of sports photographs that line one of the walls of the Garden lobby, prominent among them a shot of a kickboxing match. That sport is sanctioned in New York, along with boxing and other combative disciplines that are elements of MMA, while MMA itself is not? Right there from a frame on the wall, irony was getting up in White’s face.

    At the same time, the UFC poobah chose not to look squarely in the eye of the situation’s other source of irony. That would be the shameful saga of Matt Mitrione. You know, the heavyweight who back on April 8 had his UFC contract suspended after he’d spewed a venomous tirade against transgender fighter Fallon Fox. Back then, the UFC had rose petals thrown at its feet for swiftly bringing the hammer down.

    As it turns out, though, the hammer was only a Nerf hammer, the suspension no more than a kid’s timeout. Fox Sports reported on Wednesday that Mitrione will fight on the network’s UFC card in Seattle on July 27. So that’s it? A suspension lasting 16 days, which since “Meathead” wouldn’t have been fighting anyway amounts to nothing at all? White wouldn’t address the upcoming fight, reportedly to be against fellow Season 10 alum of The Ultimate Fighter (and fellow ex-NFL player) Brendan Schaub, but said Mitrione was fined “enough to make him call me 40 times and ask me not to fine him that much.”

    The takeaway: Open your wallet, Matt, but no need to publicly acknowledge that calling Fox a “lying, sick, sociopathic, disgusting freak” was vile and unbecoming of a professional athlete employed by the UFC.

    Of course, White doesn’t see it that way. “If a guy comes out and says something stupid, I don’t go to him and say, ‘Here’s what you’re going to do. You’re going to apologize,’ and you’re gonna do this and that,” he said. “You can’t make somebody apologize. If I make him do it, it’s not real. Then he’s not really apologizing.”

    There’s truth in that. All too often, athletes and others in the public eye issue faux mea culpas crafted by their PR teams. Those apologies aren’t worth the breath wasted on them. But the UFC is not the NFL or Major League Baseball, sports organizations that are already well established in the public perception, sometimes for the better, sometimes not. White’s fight league is on the fringes, vying for attention.

    Positive attention, that is, as opposed to having its notorious history of misogyny, homophobia and other antisocial behavior continually spotlit by groups like the Culinary Workers Union, Local 226. The Las Vegas-based outfit has long waged a battle with UFC majority owners Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta in an effort to unionize the brothers’ other business, Station Casinos. Recently the local has dragged the UFC into the fight, using the union’s political muscle in New York to lobby against MMA legislation. White calls this “dirty.”

    No, what’s dirty is masking Mitrione’s depraved hatred under the guise of having an opinion but just expressing it wrongly. Here’s what White said on the Mitrione matter on Thursday: “I don’t think that somebody who used to be a man but became a woman should be able to fight women. I don’t. But the way he said it? If he was standing in front of a courtroom because he was so passionate about this, in front of a judge or a committee or something like that, he wouldn’t have said it the way he said it. Maybe he thought he was trying to be funny? It wasn’t funny. My guys aren’t comedians, and they really need to figure that out and learn it. You wanna be funny, do it in with your friends, around your crew and everything else. Don’t do it on any public forum.”

    Now, there’s nothing wrong with White expressing an opinion of whether a trans woman should be allowed to compete with other women in combat sports, particularly in light of what he said next: “And you know, I’ll leave it up to the athletic commissions and the doctors and scientists, or whatever it is, to see if you have that surgery and you go through that stuff, if you actually become a … but bone structure is different. Hands are bigger. Jaw is bigger. Everything is bigger. I don’t believe in it. I don’t believe that someone who used to be a man and became a woman should be able to fight a woman. I don’t.”

    So White believes what he believes, but he’ll leave it to the experts to decide on how to proceed. Fine. The UFC president is not alone in that evenhanded stance. However, neither he nor anyone else who has commented on the matter — other than Mitrione — has darkened his or her opinion with a nasty personal attack. If the UFC wants to get past dirty politics, it needs to clean up its act by cleaning out the haters. Not by simply telling them to just whisper their malevolence to their buddies.

    Dana White might not get that, but his light heavyweight champion sure does. Jon Jones, who’ll defend his belt against Chael Sonnen in Saturday night’s main event at the Prudential Center in Newark (10 p.m. ET, PPV), offered up his own opinion of Mitrione during Thursday’s media gathering. “I think he’s terrible for that,” Jones said. “It’s ridiculous. I think Fallon Fox, that’s a strong person. Despite what the person has been through in their life, that’s a strong person. I’m a fan of that person because of what they’ve gone through and what they’re willing to go through. People like Matt Mitrione are scumbags. He’s a scumbag. I don’t care if he’s off suspension or doesn’t fight again. He’s a ridiculous person.”

    You might have noticed that Jones, even in defending Fox, did not once use a female personal pronoun. Taken within the context of what he said, he clearly meant no disrespect. Jones was just speaking outside his comfort zone. The emergence and gradual acceptance of transgenders and others who’ve long been shunned or ignored is a work-in-progress in sports as well as all of society. Comfort zones  can only expand along with education and compassion. One wonders whether that’s a lesson the UFC is even remotely interested in teaching Matt Mitrione.

    – Jeff Wagenheim

    UPDATE: Mitrione issued an apology on Friday via a UFC press release: “I want to apologize for my hurtful comments about Fallon Fox and a group within our society which, in truth, I know nothing about. I know now there’s an important line between expressing an opinion on a subject and being hurtful and insensitive. I crossed that line by expressing my views in an ugly, rude and inappropriate manner.”

    So, is this one of those meaningless apologies White was talking about? The jury is out on that, as Mitrione himself went on to acknowledge: “Anyone can say ‘I’m sorry’ to get themselves out of trouble. That’s not the kind of person I want to be. I am embarrassed I chose to express myself in such a fashion and am looking forward to living up to this apology through my future actions, words and conduct.”

    A couple of word choices suggest that perhaps the fighter is learning something from this ordeal. Describing transgenders as a group “I know nothing about” is a simple yet difficult acknowledgement that he was speaking out of ignorance. It also was good to hear Mitrione talk about “living up to this apology” with not just words but actions, a commitment the UFC plans to hold him to. Lawrence Epstein, the promotion’s vice president and COO, said Mitrione will work with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender groups “to make amends to the community he hurt.”

    How many grains of salt with which you take all of this depends on your own degree of naivete, cynicism or pragmatism. But if Mitrione is sincere in his desire to move forward, he has an opportunity here. There’s no better way to develop respect for a group of people different from you than to spend time around those people learning ways in which you’re the same.

    –J.W.


  • Published On Apr 26, 2013
  • Amid furor, Fallon Fox and UFC officials address Matt Mitrione suspension

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    Dana White said Matt Mitrione should not have been doing an interview in the first place. (Jed Jacobsohn/SI)

    Dana White said Matt Mitrione should not have been doing an interview in the first place. (Jed Jacobsohn/SI)

    A significant portion of public reaction to the UFC’s suspension of Matt Mitrione for verbally assaulting a transgender fighter on Monday has been even more hateful and vile than the words spewed by the heavyweight during his ill-fated online radio appearance. The comment section on the SI.com story was even taken offline because of the offensive tone.

    However, the responses by those most closely associated with the matter — Mitrione’s bosses at the UFC and the athlete he targeted with his rant — were more measured.

    “Matt Mitrione went well beyond disagreeing with the medical experts who say I should be able to compete as a woman, and personally attacked me as a fighter, as a woman, and as a human being,” Fallon Fox, a 37-year-old postoperative transgender female who is 2-0 as a mixed martial artist, wrote on her Facebook page. “His comments do not reflect the spirit of our sport, where most competitors uphold values like respect and dignity.”

    That was the theme also taken up by Lorenzo Fertitta, chairman/CEO of Zuffa, LLC, the parent company of the UFC. “Whatever your thoughts are on the whole transgender issue, I’ve listened to [what Mitrione said] and, in my opinion, it came off as a bit mean-spirited and is something I think warranted review,” Fertitta told Yahoo! Sports. “Obviously, this is not the easiest issue and a lot of people are questioning both sides of this thing. A fair debate and discussion of the issue should be allowed. But when you call her disgusting, and Buffalo Bill, that’s another matter. It warrants review. I think it’s the same thing the NFL would look at and the same thing that any professional organization that is at the level we’re at would at least take a look at.”

    Reading between the lines, it would seem that rather than cutting Mitrione loose — for calling Fox a “lying, sick, sociopathic, disgusting freak,” for comparing her to a serial killer character in The Silence of the Lambs, for putting the UFC in a hideous light — Fertitta is inclined to use this as an educational opportunity. That was the tenor of his rebuke, at least.

    Dana White also has fighter education in mind, but not so much focused on the issue at hand. The UFC president wants to simply teach his athletes when to do interviews and when not to. “I’m going to talk to these guys,” he said during a Tuesday conference call with reporters covering this weekend’s finale of The Ultimate Fighter. “The only time these guys really need to be doing interviews is leading up to fights. You know? It ended up being a nightmare for him.”

    White addressed the substance of Mitrione’s rant only obliquely. “It’s one of those things. It’s just a pain in the ass, you know what I mean?” he said, later adding, “What was the point of that interview? There was no point in it. Now it’s caused him a bunch of headaches and problems. It’s caused us a bunch of headaches and problems for no reason whatsoever.”

    – Jeff Wagenheim


  • Published On Apr 10, 2013
  • With no evidence, Nick Diaz accuses Georges St-Pierre of steroid use

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    Things got testy during Nick Diaz and Georges St-Pierre's weigh-in for UFC 158. (Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports)

    Things got testy during Nick Diaz (right) and Georges St-Pierre’s weigh-in for UFC 158. (Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports)

    MONTREAL — Saturday night will merely be an encore. Whatever Nick Diaz does in his fight with Georges St-Pierre will only add to the theater of the absurd he’s provided all week in the leadup to UFC 158.

    On Wednesday, Nick neglected to show up for the open workouts the fight promotion schedules prior to its events to get fans up close and personal with the athletes, and his absence overshadowed all of the fighters who bothered to be there.

    On Thursday, he livened up a monotonous pre-fight press conference at the Bell Centre by spewing more of the incomprehensible babble we’ve been hearing from him ever since the St-Pierre fight was announced. And by baiting the welterweight champion into a repeat performance of the acrimonious exchange they had last week during a conference call with members of the media.

    On Friday, Diaz jutted a sharp elbow toward GSP as they squared off after weighing in, prompting UFC president Dana White to jump into harm’s way to ensure the fighters didn’t get physical until it was time to get physical in front of a paying audience.

    Read More…


  • Published On Mar 16, 2013
  • Injury could spell the end of Dominick Cruz’s UFC reign at bantamweight

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    Dominick Cruz may be stripped of his bantamweight belt because he's been out with a knee injury for more than a year. (Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)

    Dominick Cruz may be stripped of his bantamweight belt due to injury. (Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)

    MONTREAL — One UFC champion might be dethroned this weekend. And the fight promotion also could soon unseat another champ without him even setting foot in the octagon.

    Or because he isn’t setting foot in the octagon.

    During a conversation with reporters at the Bell Centre following Thursday afternoon’s press conference to hype UFC 158 — and in particular, the main event, Georges St-Pierre’s welterweight title defense against Nick Diaz — company president Dana White was asked if he had any news to share about another of his belt holders, Dominick Cruz. The bantamweight titlist is recovering from a second knee surgery after the first one failed to fix a torn ACL. He has not fought in nearly a year and a half.

    Read More…


  • Published On Mar 15, 2013
  • Dana White: ‘If you have to use TRT, you’re probably too old to be fighting’

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    UFC president Dana White hopes to ban testosterone replacement therapy from MMA. (AP)

    UFC president Dana White hopes to ban testosterone replacement therapy from MMA. (AP)

    MONTREAL — From Chael Sonnen to Forrest Griffin, Frank Mir to Dan Henderson, Vitor Belfort to Rampage Jackson and beyond, mixed martial artists at the sport’s highest level have successfully persuaded state athletic commissions to OK medical exemptions for them to use testosterone replacement therapy.

    But Dana White has a different message for those fighters: “If you have to use TRT, you’re probably too old to be fighting.”

    Read More…


  • Published On Mar 15, 2013
  • Overeem, Aldo and Edgar top the lucrative UFC 156 purses

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    Frankie Edgar

    Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar were handsomely rewarded for their UFC 156 bout [Eric Jameson/AP]

    The Nevada State Athletic Commission released the reported purses from Saturday night’s UFC 156 fight card, headlined by Jose Aldo’s unanimous decision win over Frankie Edgar.  These amounts do not include performance-based bonuses given to fighters.

    Fighter Purse Win Bonus Total
    Jose Aldo

    $120,000

    $120,000

    $240,000

    Frankie Edgar

    $120,000

    $120,000

    $240,000

    Antonio Rogerio Nogueira

    $107,000

    $67,000

    $174,000

    Rashad Evans

    $300,000

    $300,000

    Antonio Bigfoot Silva

    $70,000

    $0

    $70,000

    Alistair Overeem

    $285,714.29

    $285,714

    Demian Maia

    $60,000

    $60,000

    $120,000

    Jon Fitch

    $66,000

    $66,000

    Ian McCall

    $9,000

    $9,000

    Joseph Benavidez

    $30,000

    $30,000

    $60,000

    Evan Dunham

    $23,000

        $23,000

    $46,000

    Gleison Tibau

    $33,000

    $33,000

    James Hieron

    $12,000

    $12,000

    Tyron Woodley

    $43,500

    $43,500

    $87,000

    Bobby Green

    $10,000

    $10,000

    $20,000

    Jacob Vokmann

    $22,000

    $22,000

    Isaac Vallie-Flagg

    $10,000

    $10,000

    $20,000

    Yves Edwards

    $21,000

    $21,000

    Dustin Kimura

    $8,000

    $8,000

    $16,000

    Chico Camus

    $8,000

    $8,000

    Franciso Rivera

    $8,000

    $8,000

    $16,000

    Edwin Figueroa

    $10,000

    $10,000

     — Melissa Segura


  • Published On Feb 04, 2013
  • Dana White: With random testing, 400 of the 475 fighters on the UFC’s roster would test positive for marijuana

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    Dana White is not in favor of random drug testing. (Jake Roth/USA TODAY Sports)

    LAS VEGAS — Dana White hates the idea of a fighter stepping into the octagon under the influence of performance enhancing drugs. “You go in and you face another fighter,” says the UFC president, “you can hurt him.”

    So why doesn’t the fight promotion hire a private company that could administer more rigorous random testing than what’s possible within the budget constraints of state athletic commissions? One reason might be that White has concerns over a correlated effect of expanded testing, especially if done at times other than during fight week.

    “Everybody thinks that if you did the random testing you’d catch so many guys on PEDs,” White told a group of reporters following Thursday’s UFC 155 pre-fight press conference. “You’d catch more guys on marijuana.”

    Well, OK, so Nick Diaz would perpetually be under suspension, or at least double-secret probation. And any fighter who’s ever hung out in Diaz’s living room in Stockton, Calif., might have to worry about the lingering effects of a contact high. But that’s about it, right?

    Not according to White. “So, 475 guys under contract,” he said, “and 400 will be out with marijuana.”

    Four hundred? As in, 84 percent of the UFC’s roster?

    Now, I realize that some fighters live in Colorado and Washington, states where pot is now legal. I know the light heavyweight champion walked out to a reggae classic prior to his last fight. Nonetheless, White’s estimate seems astoundingly high, so to speak, especially considering how vigilant many athletes in this sport are about every last thing they allow into their bodies. There are lots of vegetarians and vegans in the UFC, and many of those who do eat meat will consume only organic. I suppose that doesn’t rule out pot, but still … 400 out of 475? That’d be like all of the major leagues except the AL Central being stoners.

    Speaking of which, White’s claim came while he was being questioned about UFC drug policy as it relates to those in other professional sports. And his comment on that topic was not surprising. Calling the recent years’ PED focus on players from the past misplaced, White said, “Go after the guys who are playing now. Those are the ones you want to bust.”

    And even when the names of Manny Ramirez and Ryan Braun were brought up, as active players who were suspended for positive steroid tests, White would not concede that Major League Baseball or any other mainstream sport is doing a better job than the UFC of keeping things clean. “If you think baseball and football are really knocking it out of the park, pun intended, you’re crazy,” he said. “If they were really testing all the guys in baseball, do you think there’d be a [expletive] baseball game every day? There wouldn’t be, man. They’d be pulling guys up from the minors every day. It’d be crazy.”

    —Jeff Wagenheim


  • Published On Dec 29, 2012


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