Posts Tagged ‘Ultimate Fighting Championship’

In WSOF debut, Jon Fitch gets choked out in 41 seconds by Josh Burkman

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Josh Burkman knocked out veteran (Lucas Noonan/World Series of Fighting)

Josh Burkman (pictured above) knocked  veteran Jon Fitch unconscious in just 41 seconds during the World Series of Fighting. (Lucas Noonan/World Series of Fighting)

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

Jon Fitch, the longtime UFC welterweight contender and the No. 7 fighter in the 170-pound mixed martial arts rankings, made his debut with the nascent World Series of Fighting on Saturday night in Las Vegas. The fight lasted all of 41 seconds and did not end well for him.

Fitch was floored by a Josh Burkman left-right combination in their first exchange of fisticuffs, then was choked unconscious so swiftly that referee Steve Mazzagatti didn’t seem to notice that he was out. The ref just stood there watching as Burkman let go of the submission hold all on his own, climbed to his feet and raised a fist triumphantly in the air. Fitch lay limply on the canvas.

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  • Published On Jun 15, 2013
  • With Anthony Pettis injured, José Aldo will defend UFC belt vs. Chan Sung Jung

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    Jung, known as the "Korean Zombie," will face Jose Aldo as Anthony Pettis will miss the fight with a torn meniscus. (Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images)

    Jung, known as the “Korean Zombie,” will face Jose Aldo as Anthony Pettis will miss the fight with a torn meniscus. (Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images)

    You win some, you lose some.

    Title bouts, that is.

    On Thursday afternoon in Winnipeg, Manitoba, as he was hyping a UFC 161 card (Saturday, 10 p.m. ET, PPV) that has zero championship fights on it, promotion president Dana White captured the full attention of the assembled media by announcing the next title defenses for his heavyweight, light heavyweight and welterweight champs. Three belts, up for grabs.

    Then, on Friday, White unveiled still another tussle for a brass-and-leather strap. But this time, the news, which was released via Twitter, was not so welcome. Well, unless you’re a zombie from East Asia.

    Anthony Pettis, the lightweight contender who dropped down to featherweight in order to challenge José Aldo, injured a knee in training and is out of the Aug. 3 title fight in Rio de Janeiro. According to White, he’ll be replaced in the UFC 163 main event by Chan Sung Jung.

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  • Published On Jun 15, 2013
  • UFC’s Daniel Cormier to Jon Jones: “We can fight at 220 [pounds] tomorrow”

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    Jon Jones

    Jon Jones retained his light heavyweight title at AFC 159 in April via a first roudn TKO. (Gregory Payan/AP)

    LAS VEGAS — Apparently word got around that Daniel Cormier was going to be taking questions from fans on Friday afternoon at MGM Grand Garden Arena prior to the weigh-ins for UFC 160.

    The news reached all the way to Moscow, where Jon Jones is presenting a mixed martial arts seminar. And the light heavyweight champion couldn’t help but tweak the undefeated heavyweight who keeps talking about cutting down to 205 pounds and beating him up. “Someone ask DC when his diet starts,” Jones wrote on Twitter.

    When Cormier caught wind of the “Bones” tweet, he sidetracked the Q&A session by playfully but forcefully telling the next fan who stepped to the microphone, “OK, your question is to ask me, for Jon Jones, if I’ve started cutting weight yet.” That got a rise out of the crowd, as did the answer Cormier provided the champ: “I haven’t started cutting weight yet. But we can fight at 220 tomorrow if you want. He can walk off the street at whatever he weighs now, and we can fight. Let’s fight at any weight, Jon, you and I.”

    Hmm, Jones has been talking about moving up to heavyweight. But dueling bravado aside, it seems more likely that Cormier will aim for a challenge of Jones at 205 at the end of the year. First he plans to trim from his current 235 pounds to 220 for a heavyweight fight in August or September. He expressed an interest in the winner between Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira and Fabricio Werdum, who meet in Brazil in two weeks.

    If Cormier should get past one of those heavies, it would be down to 205 for him. That clearly will be a challenge for a man who likes to eat as much as Daniel does. What will he have to cut from his diet? “Gumbo,” said the native of Lafayette, Louisiana. “Jambalaya. Red beans and rice. All of the Louisiana food.” As he said this, he looked sad.

    Cormier perked up, however, when he told fans that after the weigh-ins he was planning on taking Cain Velasquez, who defends his heavyweight belt against Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva in Saturday’s main event, out for a movie to relax. Someone asked him if he’d be having butter on his popcorn, and he impulsively answered in the affirmative. Then caught himself. “If I’m going down,” he said, speaking of the long-range weight cut, “well, if I’m going down …” He paused. “Aw, it’s still popcorn with butter!”

    –Jeff Wagenheim

  • Published On May 24, 2013
  • UFC 159′s Michael Bisping: ‘I fight better when I’m angry’

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    UFC 159

    An angry Michael Bisping eyes revenage against Alan Belcher at UFC 159. (Diamond Images/Getty Images)

    NEWARK — He’s back. After an absence of nearly a year and a half.

    True, Michael Bisping competed in the UFC as recently as January, but that wasn’t the real Bisping. And I say that not because he was knocked out by a Vitor Belfort head kick. He fared much better in the fight before that, a decision victory over Brian Stann last September, and performed admirably even in a loss to Chael Sonnen eight months earlier.

    But the Bisping in those bouts — or, more precisely, in the leadup to those bouts — was a gentleman, an agreeable sort. He talked about his dedication and preparation and blah blah blah. It was not the Bisping we’d come to know and love. Or hate. Not the Bisping who spewed insults in the face of Jason Miller right up until the night in December 2011 when he made “Mayhem” his fourth straight conquest. Would we ever again see that angry guy from so many past fights?

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  • Published On Apr 27, 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 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
  • Ronda Rousey to coach “The Ultimate Fighter” with male and female fighters

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    Ronda Rousey, who beat Liz Carmouche at UFC 157, will be one of the coaches in next season's "The Ultimate Fighter." (Jae C. Hong/AP)

    Ronda Rousey, who beat Liz Carmouche at UFC 157, will be one of the coaches in next season’s “The Ultimate Fighter.” (Jae C. Hong/AP)

    MONTREAL — Somebody’s about to learn the armbar.

    We knew the UFC was only getting started riding the wave of Ronda Rousey’s barrier-busting appeal. And here comes the next breaker, rolling in from the horizon.

    The indomitable 135-pound champion, who just three weeks ago transformed the first women’s fight in UFC history into an event that transcended mixed martial arts and even the sports page in general, has been enlisted to breathe new life into another facet of the fight promotion’s business. Company president Dana White announced during Saturday night’s UFC 158 prelims telecast on FX that Rousey will coach the next season of The Ultimate Fighter along with the winner of the April 13 bout between former Strikeforce champ Miesha Tate and Cat Zingano.

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  • Published On Mar 16, 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.

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  • 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.

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  • Published On Mar 15, 2013
  • UFC suspends Thiago Tavares for failed drug test, reveals Vitor Belfort’s use of TRT

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    Thiago Tavares has been suspended 9 months after failing a drug test. (AP)

    Thiago Tavares has been suspended 9 months after failing a drug test. (AP)

    It was Friday evening, a little over 24 hours before a featherweight championship bout in Las Vegas that the UFC was hyping as a superfight. But the chatter in the various online meeting places of mixed martial arts fans was about a different fight, one that took place nearly two weeks earlier and 6,000 miles away.

    The circulating rumor that Vitor Belfort had failed a drug test following a Jan. 19 victory eventually reached Michael Bisping, who had a vested interest in the matter because he was Belfort’s opponent in that middleweight bout in Sao Paolo, Brazil. In fact, had Bisping won that night, he’d have earned a shot at the division’s champion, Anderson Silva. But the Brit had his hopes doused and his senses scrambled by a second-round head kick that led to a Belfort TKO.

    Now Bisping was wondering if he’d been in a fair fight. “About a certain someone who I fought recently failing his drug test,” he wrote on Twitter. “I hope it’s not true.”

    Well, it’s not.

    UFC president Dana White insisted over the weekend that while there had been an “irregular” test result, it did not involve Belfort. And on Wednesday the fight promotion issued a press release announcing that the failed drug test belonged to lightweight Thiago Tavares, whose results showed the presence of the anabolic steroid Drostanolone. The substance did not exactly enhance the 28-year-old Brazilian’s performance, as he was knocked out in less than two minutes by Khabib Nurmagomedov. Tavares was handed a nine-month suspension by the UFC, which assisted the new Comissao Atletica Brasileira de MMA, or Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission, in overseeing regulatory aspects of the event.

    However, that’s not the end of the story. In the same press release, the UFC revealed that Belfort competed while undergoing an approved regimen of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). Vitor has been evasive whenever questions about TRT have been raised. And when he met with reporters prior to Saturday night’s fights in Las Vegas, and Bisping’s accusatory tweet was mentioned, the 37-year-old implied that what you see is all natural. “I think people get jealous,” he said with a smile, “when a guy at my age is destroying these people getting title shots.”

    Jealous, perhaps, or maybe just uncomfortable. Belfort has broken no rules. Neither has Chael Sonnen, Dan Henderson, Quinton Jackson, Frank Mir or anyone on the growing list of MMA fighters who’ve received athletic commission exemptions to use TRT to maintain their testosterone levels. But make no mistake: Legal or not, that’s a performance enhancing substance, allowing an aging veteran to punch and kick like a younger man. And when you see a KO like the one Belfort put on Bisping, you’ve got to wonder when this sport will take a stand. What’s at risk in MMA, after all, is much greater than in other sports. The worst thing a baseball player on a PED can do is wreck some pitcher’s ERA. An enhanced fighter poses a far scarier threat.

    —Jeff Wagenheim

  • Published On Feb 06, 2013
  • At UFC 156, Rashad Evans is looking for a win … and for what’s been lost

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    Rashad Evans

    Former light-heavyweight champ Rashad Evans will fight Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in the co-main event of UFC 156. [Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images]

    LAS VEGAS — Rashad Evans will be looking for a defining win on Saturday night. He’ll also be looking for something not so tangible, something that’s been lost.

    “The competitor has been brought back to life, the one who truly just loves to compete,” Evans told reporters on Thursday, two days before his UFC 156 co-main event fight against Antônio Rogério Nogueira at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. “So many times when you’re competing, you kind of fall out of love with it. It becomes like a song and dance, and you kind of get like, ‘Ah, yeah, gotta do this, gotta do that.’ To really love to compete, to really love every aspect of it, is a passion that a lot of people don’t have. I’ve found myself, within the last 11 months or so, just falling in love with competing again.”

    That period coincides with a time during which the 33-year-old “Suga Rashad” has settled in with a new team of training partners, the Blackzilians in south Florida, after an acrimonious and very public departure from his longtime home, the Jackson-Winkeljohn gym in Albuquerque. And the change of camps is related, of course, to the former light heavyweight champion’s most recent fight, last April’s loss to the division’s reigning king, teammate-turned-mortal enemy Jon Jones. While this weekend’s fight could have major implications for his career — there’s talk that Rashad could be next in line to face middleweight champion Anderson Silva, and a rematch with Jones is also a possibility — the aspect that most stirs up Evans (17-2-1) is that he and Nogueira (20-5) will simply be competing against each other. Nothing more.

    “I felt like last time with Jones I got too distracted by everything else that was going on, the whole back story,” said Evans, referring to the teammates’ split over one man grabbing the belt that the other wanted as well, and their departure from a shared pledge to put team first and never fight each other. “It kind of took away from the fight for me. I thought it did the same thing for him as well. I don’t think he was at his best that day, either.

    “It took away what competing is about. It kind of scarred me in a way that made me mot want to compete anymore. I was like, ‘This is not about fighting.’ It’s just about a bunch of b.s. It’s not what I love about fighting. What I love about fighting is the actual fight, the feeling that I get when I walk into the cage and I see the mat and I see all the blood and all the sweat and everything else that everybody laid out. And when they say go, that feeling, that’s what I like about fighting.”

    -Jeff Wagenheim

  • Published On Feb 02, 2013