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Archive for the ‘UFC | Mixed Martial Arts’

Rampage Jackson Reportedly Returning To The UFC

December 20, 2014 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

Hell has frozen over. One of the UFC’s most outspoken critics has reportedly signed a new deal to return to the octagon. Former UFC light heavyweight champion Rampage Jackson is returning to the UFC.

Rumors have been swirling all week regarding Rampage returning to the UFC. MMA journalist Josh Gross tweeted not that long ago that Scott Coker told him that Rampage is still under contract to Bellator. Either something has changed or Gross was lied to because it appears that Rampage is heading back.

Sherdog broke the news on Twitter Saturday night. “I have confirmed from sources that @Rampage4real has signed by the UFC.” – @Sherdoggy

Jackson left the UFC in 2013 when his contract expired. Jackson signed with Bellator for a deal that reportedly included television appearances and a contract with TNA Wrestling. Jackson only made a handful of appearances for TNA and never trained for pro wrestling. I don’t recall seeing Jackson hosting any non-MMA Spike specials.

Jackson went undefeated in Bellator and looked pretty damned good. Jackson went 3-0 and won the season 10 light heavyweight tournament final. Jackson had two wins by KO/TKO and went the distance in a big grudge match, winning a unanimous decision over King Mo. Jackson has been pretty quiet since, although many reports surfaced indicating Jackson didn’t want to fight again.

Jackson left the UFC off of a three-loss streak. Overall Jackson went 7-5 during his last UFC run, paying immediate dividends right away by drawing a monster rating for a title unification fight against Pride middleweight champion Dan Henderson on Spike TV. Jackson was never the same fighter after getting upset by Forrest Griffin for the light heavyweight title.

One of Jackson’s biggest criticisms of his UFC career was the matchmaking. Jackson complained that the UFC matched him up against too many wrestlers, thus making for boring fights. It will be really interesting to see how the UFC match up Jackson upon his comeback. Do they acquiesce to his demands or do as they please?

Jackson also accused the UFC about lying to fighters about UFC pay-per-view numbers. “In my opinion, I just feel like me and the rest of the UFC fighters are getting taken advantage of,” Jackson explained to MMA Heat. “I feel like the UFC is cleaning house. Like the pay-per-view dollars, they tell me one number, but then they tell the press one number. Pay me the numbers that you tell the press. Don’t tell me, ‘Oh, we only made this, we only sold this many.’ Then you tell the press, ‘Oh we sold this many.’ But then I’m like, ‘Hey, you only told me we only sold 800,000 buys, but you told the press you sold a million buys.’ [They say,] ‘Oh, we’re just saying that for the press.’ No, no, just pay me like what you told the press then, because you lying somewhere. You either lying to me or you lying to the press about the pay-per-view numbers. You know what I’m saying? If they’re doing it to me, I’m sure they’re doing it to other fighters.”

I think the move screams of desperation. The UFC are obviously responding to Bellator’s big Bonnar vs. Griffin rating with recent moves such as this one and signing CM Punk. Neither add anything to the UFC inside of the octagon, although both will take viewers away from Bellator and put them on the UFC. I can’t imagine either Jackson or Punk getting a UFC deal otherwise.

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CM Punk Rips TV Host For WWE Questions

December 20, 2014 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

CM Punk has done a great job isolating himself from critics since announcing his UFC contract. Unfortunately for Punk the softballs came to an end when he went Off the Record and it didn’t take long for things to get ugly.

Michael Landsberg has had his share of verbal confrontations over the years and has never been known to shy away from tough questions or avoid the yellow elephants in the room. Which is why I am surprised that Punk wasn’t more prepared for the verbal joust that took place last week on Off the Record.

The interview started off on a bad foot for Punk when Landsberg made a complete mockery of Punk in the UFC by playing a video of potential Punk opponents which included Jose Cansenco and Chef Boyardeee. Yeah, you could see where this was going. Punk did not find it humorous and the interview grew to be contentious from there.

Landsberg asked Punk if he had ever been punched. Punk laughed and said he had been punched many times in a WWE ring. What a dumb answer. Here is a guy that is upset he isn’t being taken seriously as a UFC fighter yet he gives an answer which makes him look completely foolish.

This isn’t the first time Punk has helped fuel doubters and critics with his answers. It is amazing to me that someone as polished as Punk in media has been so unprepared to answer tough questions about his move to UFC. I don’t understand how someone from the UFC hasn’t sat down with him yet and crafted more well thought answers than some of the responses Punk has offered. Quite frankly it makes the UFC look more like a circus or mockery than Punk.

What is also interesting at this point is that Punk starts drinking coffee throughout the interview. I found it odd and a little unprofessional at the time but so be it. I saw it as Punk giving the interviewer a middle finger. At the end of the interview Landsberg brings that up and Punk says he needed to drink it to keep himself awake.

Punk is then asked about comments Dana White has made about Punk being offered an opponent at his own level. Punk says he’d fight anyone, including Anderson Silva for the right price. Punk says that he doesn’t want to take it easy and wants to put the “miles in.” He also says it probably wouldn’t be a good decision to fight someone like a Nate Diaz at this point in his career.

The interview progresses and it doesn’t take a psychologist to read Punk’s body language and assess his descending attitude throughout the interview. I will say that Landsberg appears to have picked up on it early and egged him on a bit as the interview progressed. Landsberg at the end of the interview finally calls Punk out on it and asks him if he was uncomfortable with the interview. Guess what? He was.

Punk says that the interview was very wrestling centric and he was there to talk about the UFC. Okay that may be well and good but it was Punk that first brought up wrestling when Landsberg asked him if he has ever taken a punch. Landsberg said nothing about the WWE up to that point. Even at the halfway mark there was only one question that Landsberg asked about the WWE and it was in comparison to UFC.

The truth finally comes out when Landsberg asks Punk he has no UFC fights scheduled, he has no UFC pedigree so what should he have asked them? Punk brings up the segment earlier in the show which made a joke of Punk fighting in the UFC. It’s funny because coming from wrestling you’d think Punk would just not sell the rib and move on. Instead he sat there with a sour puss for fifteen minutes. Nobody likes being laughed at but how Punk can expect journalists to take a former WWE wrestler with no MMA pro or amateur experience, not even a training camp under his belt seriously is incredibly naive of him.

Again, Punk is in desperate need of a media coach. It is in the best interest of the UFC to do that immediately. Punk is in for a reality check if he thinks that everyone in the sports media is going to treat this thing seriously. It is what it is and what this interview told me is that the criticism is starting to get to him. The more he feeds the critics, the more they will come to feast.

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UFC Star Rips CM Punk, Says Signing Is Ridiculous

December 15, 2014 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, WWE | Pro Wrestling

He might do great, but why does he get a chance? He’s an amateur. You’re going to put an amateur in there with pros? That makes us all amateurs, so I think it’s ridiculous. As far as I’m concerned, f-ck him, f-ck the whole situation. Anybody who takes that fight is tripping.

Not everyone is excited about CM Punk coming to the UFC. Punk has now become the target of one angry UFC fighter who believes that Punk’s UFC deal is making a complete mockery of the sport and guess what…he’s right.

It didn’t take long for CM Punk to get a taste of his own medicine. Remember, Punk has been outspoken for the last several years of guys walking into the WWE and getting WrestleMania main-events while the rest of the crew are working house shows and putting their time in. Punk is now in a similar situation on the opposite side in the UFC. The biggest difference however is that many in Punk’s new locker room don’t believe he has earned any of it.

UFC veteran Nate Diaz is the first big UFC star to publicly bash the signing. Diaz went off on Punk over the weekend and while he doesn’t wish any warm on Punk, he believes the entire situation is terrible for the UFC fighters and the sport as a whole.

I don’t dig it,” Diaz said. “He has got no fights. I know he’s a big draw. I looked him up. Everyone’s going to buy tickets. It’s going to be great for the venue and the UFC, but at the same time, it downgrades all the fighters.

Whether you are a Punk fan or not, you can’t argue with Diaz. Having a guy fight in the UFC with no fights under his belt or no amateur pedigree makes the entire sport look like a circus. It hurts the credibility of the sport and the fighters. What does it say about the UFC if Punk walks in, without any experience, and wins? It says exactly what Diaz is saying.

If I want to, I can’t go play in the NBA – not even Stefan Struve’s big ass,” Diaz said. “He can’t go play in the NBA if he wants to because he feels like making a change. For a publicity thing? They wouldn’t pay him no money, and they wouldn’t even let him play. It’s ridiculous.”

I don’t think you should just let some millionaire WWE guy just come on over and play a little game, like have fun with his career. I’m over here busting my ass, fighting for 10 years and doing my thing and having a serious job that I have to do for this. And this guy is going to come over and probably get paid more than everyone in the room.

Hey, that kind of sounds familiar doesn’t it. CM Punk’s own words on a similar situation are coming back to haunt him.

I have no personal problems against Dwayne. It’s very frustrating being here and watch a guy come in and get credit for a WrestleMania buyrate when he didn’t do anything on the show. He certainly didn’t do anything entertaining.

This whole situation is making Punk look like a bigger hypocrite by the day. Once again you have to keep in mind, Punk has been the one beating this drum for the last three years in the WWE. This was his fight and unfortunately for him he is the one that opened up the comparisons to his situation and the ones he whined about for the last three years.

I’m sorry, but this guy’s making a joke out of my serious life and getting compensated more for it,” Diaz said. “I don’t mean no harm on him, but I don’t think it’s right.

Nate Diaz isn’t a popular guy but it is hard for any objective fan to disagree with him. This whole situation really is a complete joke.

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CM Punk talks UFC, AJ’s Thoughts, WrestleMania, and More

December 11, 2014 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, WWE | Pro Wrestling

CM Punk is once again a hot commodity. The former WWE champion is on everyone’s minds after signing with the UFC. Punk is doing a lot of media and as expected, is shooting straight about his trajectory from the wrestling ring to the octagon.

It’s been less than a week and people still have questions. It is still hard to wrap my head around a guy with 0 fighting experience, amateur or pro getting a UFC deal after suffering numerous injuries as a pro wrestler, including several concussions. Yet that is exactly what Phil Brooks is going to do and he isn’t shy about discussing it.

Punk has talked to a lot of media and a recent stop at RollingStone.com may be one of the most insightful interviews he has done yet. The interview doesn’t touch on the WWE much at all but asks the questions we have all been wondering about Punk’s plan, his mindset, and what the hell is exactly going on here with the straight-edged superstar.

Punk was asked about whether critics and fans should reserve judgment until after Punk steps inside of the octagon as opposed to jumping conclusions. Punk says yes and even someone as confident as Punk isn’t going to make any bold predictions.

For sure. I’m not gonna sit here and make bold predictions about first-round head kicks and beating ranked opponents. This is about me and my journey to get there. I understand other peoples’ point of view about, “Oh, there’s great fighters out there like Ben Askren.” My only point on that is, “Don’t be mad at me, Ben. Be mad at [UFC President] Dana [White].” I’m sure Ben Askren’s a nice guy. If he’s mad at me, I understand. But if the Blackhawks came to me before Dana and Lorenzo did and were like, “We’re gonna put you in goal,” I’d be like, “That’s great. I played a little hockey when I was a kid.” You know what I mean? I’m not gonna deny myself some opportunity because somebody on Twitter thinks I shouldn’t have it.”

I do agree with Punk on one thing here. He is not the enemy. If you are upset that he is signed to a UFC deal, don’t be mad at him. Be mad at UFC management for signing him. Ironically, you could have said the same thing in regards to Punk whining for the last three years about The Rock and Brock Lesnar but I digress.

Punk isn’t quite sure whether the UFC will be more positive for him than the WWE, but he is happy with the way things are moving. Punk offered an interesting comparison between both companies to Rolling Stone.

I’m not sure I did know (whether UFC is more positive). If I can maybe throw out an example of how things are different – the lack of communication from the WWE office was astounding. They said they suspended me and never contacted me. They were in my town, about an eight-minute drive from my house multiple times, and didn’t feel like it was necessary to come try and talk to me, so I assumed that they didn’t want to talk to me.
Then, you’ve got Dana and [UFC CEO] Lorenzo Fertitta wanting to talk to me, and they get on a jet and fly to Chicago to talk to me. So that pretty much told me exactly how Dana and Lorenzo do business. I’m sure there are other people out there who have different situations with them, but they’re playing straight with me. And being backstage [at last Saturday’s UFC 181] and introducing everybody to my wife, it was such a great experience. And I’m sure part of that is the name value and who I am, but everyone seemed to be happy, which is different and odd for me.

I think most of us were curious as to what his wife, WWE Diva AJ Lee thinks of this. I think many of us wondered what his wife of less than one-year is thinking after hearing that her husband has signed to be a UFC fighter.

After I spoke with Dana and Lorenzo, that’s when it got serious and that’s when I brought it to her attention. Trust me, whatever nerves I’m gonna have stepping into the Octagon will pale in comparison to the nerves I had when I had to bring this up to my wife. I was honestly terrified. I was like, “She’s gonna shut it down, and I’m gonna have to figure out a way to smooth it over so I can do this, because I don’t take no for an answer, she doesn’t take no for an answer, and this is something I really wanna do.” Right off the bat she recognized that. She’s been around me long enough to know that, ever since the first day I met her, this is something I talked about doing, and she’s not somebody that’s gonna step in front of her husband trying to accomplish something that he dreamed about.

Finally, Punk is asked whether he is still itching for that WrestleMania main-event spot.

No, absolutely not.

All in all this is a fantastic interview with plenty of more details about Punk’s transition into UFC, reaction, and path to the octagon. Check out the entire interview over at RollingStone.com

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CM Punk in the UFC is the Height of Hypocrisy

December 08, 2014 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, WWE | Pro Wrestling

This thing isn’t a joke. You don’t just decide “I’m a professional wrestler I think I’m going to fight.” It takes a lot of time, dedication and hard work — just like wrestling does. I’m sure these guys have to train hard and have to get in great shape to professional wrestle. You can’t just jump up one day and say, “I’m going to be a pro fighter and I think I’ll fight next month.” It doesn’t work that way. It doesn’t even come close to working that way.” – Dana White 2007

CM Punk will be returning to action…but not in a WWE ring. The former WWE world champ is stepping into the UFC octagon in a move that has a lot of WWE fans excited and a lot of MMA fans asking questions.

It (fighting MMA) was always in the back of my mind since then. There was a fork in the road, I chose one direction. I’m fortunate to be able to revfisit things and take another fork in the road.

Punk has signed a multi-fight deal to join the UFC. The announcement comes less than two weeks after Punk returned to the spotlight after a series of podcast interviews in which he blasted the WWE and gave his side of the story on his exit. Ironically the things said in those interviews make very little sense in light of his latest announcement.

Punk talked extensively about the injuries he has suffered over the last several years in the WWE. He talked about concussions, bad knees, and MRSA infection, and broken ribs to name a few. Punk talked about burnout and went on a lengthy rant about Ryback in particular injuring Punk during their program. For a guy who has been so badly beaten up in a pro wrestling ring the last several years, the move to an actual combat sport doesn’t seem very logical does it?

My first reaction to hearing the news is that this may be the height of hypocrisy for CM Punk. Especially when you look back on all of the harsh statements Punk made against The Rock coming back to the WWE.

I have no personal problems against Dwayne. It’s very frustrating being here and watch a guy come in and get credit for a WrestleMania buyrate when he didn’t do anything on the show. He certainly didn’t do anything entertaining.

Let’s fast-forward to 2014 and compare the situations. You now have a guy (Punk) who is getting a UFC fight without any professional or amateur athletic background simply due to his star-power. This is a guy who is taking a spot away from an MMA fighter who has made the sacrifices and trained hard to get a coveted UFC spot. It would be one thing if Punk had to earn it on The Ultimate Fighter but he has never even had an MMA fight. His spot on the UFC card is undeserving no matter how you look at it and he is now that guy walking into the UFC locker room, without even an amateur fight or background, and taking someone’s spot. It doesn’t get any more hypocritical than that.

And then there is Dana White. The same Dana White who blasted competitors in the past for signing fighters with no MMA experience for their celebrity.

Which athletic commission is going to let this guy fight?” White asked. “Who the f**k are they going to find to fight Herschel Walker? A guy in a wheelchair?

Great question! Which athletic commission is going to let CM Punk? At least Herschel Walker had a professional sports background and the same can be said for James Toney who got a fight in the UFC. They also did not have a history of concussions. Keep in mind that a couple of years ago when Kurt Angle expressed interest in joining the UFC that Dana White was going to make Angle go through TUF to get a UFC spot and Angle is an Olympic gold medalist in wrestling! CM Punk is getting a contract and a fight simply for being a professional wrestling superstar.

I don’t have any doubt in my mind that Bellator was the key factor in getting this deal done. There was no Bellator aggressively signing fighters back when Angle wanted in. Bellator is aggressively going after the UFC and there is no doubt that they would have given Punk a fight on network TV if the UFC didn’t jump first. I also don’t care what anyone from the UFC says, this move is about a company that is struggling mightily on pay-per-view and looking for a Hail Mary. Even with Anderson Silva coming back, the UFC will be lucky if they get two fights out of him in 2015. The UFC has been unable to create new stars and the numbers don’t lie. They need something and signing a popular WWE star is about as good as it is going to get.

Signing with the UFC is one thing. Getting into a UFC fight is another. Punk had a problem staying healthy in a worked pro wrestling sport for the last several years. Granted he wrestles a more physical style than most but it is pro wrestling. Will his body hold up through a full training camp? Has he even put in a full training camp to see if it would? That is a big question.

Regardless, it will be a must-see event the day Punk steps foot inside of the octagon. My suspicion is that a guy without one MMA fight, one camp, and no amateur wrestling or boxing background is not going to fare well.

But we’ll all be watching and as far as Dana is concerned, that’s more important that credibility in 2014/15.

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CM Punk and the UFC: The Internet Breaks

December 07, 2014 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, WWE | Pro Wrestling

One thing’s for sure: it shouldn’t be too difficult for Dana White to license the rights to “Cult of Personality.”

Oh, and Phil Brooks, whatever moniker he uses when entering the Octagon, won’t be denied sponsors for his trunks this time. He may not get Pepsi’s sphere emblazoned across his crotch, but it’s more than what Vince McMahon reportedly was willing to allow.

But a bigger loser, from an ego standpoint, has to be Triple H. Not only was CM Punk unwilling to work with McMahon’s son-in-law at WrestleMania XXX, but Punk will instead be sharing the stage with some 1-0 or 2-1 no-name, lunch-bucket rookie. There’s a chance Punk could get his teeth kicked in by this likely-undistinguished competitor, and it’s still preferable in Punk’s eyes than that WrestleMania ‘reward’.

The idea of 36-year-old Phil Brooks trading star-print tights for sponsor-plastered trunks sent aftershocks throughout the social circuit, as Brooks announced Saturday night at UFC 181 in Las Vegas that he’d signed a multi-fight deal with the organization. Brooks is expected to have his first fight at some indeterminate point in 2015.

From a fighting standpoint, it’s a headscratcher; despite incorporating mixed martial arts into his training regimen, Brooks has never competed in an actual MMA match, nor does he have an amateur background in competitive grappling or fighting. Brock Lesnar was a Division I wrestling champion who also competed in one MMA fight prior to his UFC debut. Brooks has no such experience.

From a business prospective, using Brooks’ name, and accumulated notoriety throughout 2014, makes sense. In this year alone, there have been some ghastly UFC buyrates. UFC 174 on June 14 drew only 115,000 buys, headlined by Demetrious Johnson and Ali Bagautinov for the Flyweight Championship. A Jon Jones defense of the Lightheavyweight Championship on April 26 at UFC 172 drew just 350,000 buys, paltry considering Jones’ name value.

While WWE buyrates largely sunk into the hopper from a combination of waning fan interest and the proliferation of streaming sites (not that UFC doesn’t face the second problem), it’s fair to say that Brooks probably wasn’t the cause. Repetitive booking, homogenized direction, and too much John Cena took their toll on the brand, and Brooks never was really allowed to ascend as undisputed number one. Would the numbers have rebounded with CM Punk as full-blown headliner? Can’t say for certain, but nobody else gets their name chanted for months after telling the company to go screw.

Only eight UFC events have drawn more than one million buys and Lesnar was in four of them, all of which were World Heavyweight Title bouts. Tops is his avenging win over Frank Mir at UFC 100 in July 2009, drawing 1.6M buys. That’s almost 500,000 more than the second-place event, his dramatic comeback win over Shane Carwin at UFC 116, sitting at 1.16M buys.

Since Lesnar returned to WWE, only one UFC event has cleared the million mark: Chris Weidman’s gruesome rematch with Anderson Silva a year ago at UFC 168, where Silva’s leg infamously snapped like balsa wood. That sits in third place with 1.1M buys.

Only four events have even topped 700,000 buys since Lesnar’s departure, and all had either Silva, Georges St-Pierre, or Jon Jones in the main event.

In other words, a little wattage wouldn’t hurt.

That’s not to say that Brooks is going to work his way up the caste and challenge Weidman for the Middleweight crown, or even Robbie Lawler for the Welterweight title. Dana White has already stated that Brooks’ first opponent will be some relatively inexperienced fighter (read: tomato can who may or may not have seen Eight Men Out). It’s hard to imagine a 36-year-old taking up the game becoming a virtuoso, especially without a competitive background in some form of martial art. Dave Bautista was relatively lucky to win his only MMA bout (and not even UFC) at age 43; despite his occasional big talk, he never competed again.

Best case scenario for UFC, it’s a novelty hire, which sounds like something a minor league baseball team would do as a promotion (“It’s Canseco Flip Off Night! Give us your ‘finger’ at the ticket office and get a free bobblehead!”). Chances are, that first fight against John Q. Gumshield will do a better buyrate than most seasoned, and recognizable, fighters would do. Brooks losing would taint his drawing power, so as implied, it’s important that Brooks win. A tease of him being in contention would probably win over an audience that likes the lure of the chase.

Best case, Brooks stays strong long enough to co-headline an event with Brock Lesnar, rumored to be flying the McMahon coop after WrestleMania. Think late 2015, maybe even the annual year-end spectacular that UFC favors, Lesnar headlining against someone like Cain Velasquez or Fabricio Werdum, while Brooks goes on semi-last against perhaps a more noteworthy middleweight, perhaps CB Dolloway or Gegard Mousasi. On paper, that sounds like Brooks would get torn to pieces, but it’s merely an idea. I’m not the promoter here, although I’m sure White’s already stained his rug with this thought.

And what if Brooks clearly enjoys the UFC lifestyle? Maybe he fights three or four times and then migrates into a talking-head position with Curt Menefee or Ariel Helwani, but an endorsement of the UFC life is an open door for others in WWE, those who call BS on the whole ‘brass ring’ speech McMahon gave last Monday, to give MMA a go.

There are names that would have a chance; Jack Swagger is a proven amateur wrestler with an irregular body type that could create mismatches through leverage. Rusev maintains a background in muay thai, and is young enough to have a realistic chance of making a dent in the sport. El Patron Alberto is no longer a WWE star, but as a household name in Mexico (not to mention suddenly relevant in America from his WWE horror stories), he could potentially resume his fighting career in some capacity, even as a two-fight novelty. It’s been five years since Alberto’s last fight, nearly the same time gap Ken Shamrock had in his MMA career (which doesn’t sound promising for Alberto).

The WWE connection to UFC worked once before with Lesnar drawing disenchanted, or just suddenly ‘grown up’, wrestling fans to the sport. Brooks’ name holds immeasurable sway in 2014, and his hiring is White’s savviest business move in quite some time.

It is indeed ‘clobbering time’, but for whom?

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Brock Lesnar Leaning Towards A UFC Return

November 20, 2014 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, WWE | Pro Wrestling

The rumors of Brock Lesnar back to the UFC have taken on a whole new meaning. These tidbits are no longer rumors as it does appear that Lesnar could be returning to the UFC in 2015…or elesewhere according to one report.

Dave Meltzer dropped a bombshell on his latest F4Wonline.com podcast. Meltzer not only confirmed Dana White’s statements earlier this week about Brock wanting back in, but Dave reported that Brock is leaning towards a return to the UFC. The former UFC champion could return to the octagon at age 38 in 2015 in what could be one of the biggest returns in UFC history.

Meltzer also mentioned that Brock may have another option. According to Dave, Bellator is very aggressive right now, especially coming off a monster rating for the Ortiz vs. Bonnar fight. Meltzer speculates that Bellator will get in the Brock Lesnar game and could make Brock a very enticing offer. Meltzer did point out that as of his podcast, there had been no talks between Lesnar and Bellator.

Brock will become one of the hottest free agents at the perfect time next spring. While Brock has always had plenty of leverage to negotiate the WWE and the UFC against each other for his services, he now has a new suitor in the mix. Brock is not known for his company loyalty so it will come down to what Brock Lesnar’s goals are in 2015 and whether UFC, WWE, or Bellator can meet them better than the others.

The timing of this story couldn’t come at a worse time for the WWE. The economics of the company have completely changed with the network. The money and incentive to sign Brock back in 2012 just don’t make sense under the new business plan. Could they outmatch the others? Sure, but it makes no fiscal sense to do so. In 2012 they had much more leverage with better finances and a Brock who was coming off his worst fight in UFC history. Those advantages won’t exits during these negotiations.

Making matters worse is that Brock is currently walking around with the WWE title. The working plan was to leave the belt on Brock through WrestleMania and have the Beast Incarnate drop it to Roman Reigns. I think that changes with these stories. If these stories are out now, imagine how hot these rumors and stories will get by Mania. Remember the last time Brock worked a WrestleMania on the way out? It didn’t go well. I would be shocked if Brock leaves the Rumble with the title in light of these latest developments.

I think if Brock is getting back into the MMA game that there is no question he is signing with the UFC. Brock is a guy that appears to want the best competition in whatever sport he is competing. He could have played football or tried out in the CFL but instead went to the NFL. He could have went to Strikeforce but instead went to the UFC. This is a guy that wants to fight the best and the UFC is the only place that is going to happen.

Let’s be frank. The UFC needs Brock Lesnar more than Brock needs the UFC. He is the biggest draw in company history and has yet to be replaced. I have no doubts that the UFC will do everything in their power to bring him back. I don’t think he is beating Cain or JDS but you never know. Maybe he gets lucky against a couple of guys and catches someone like Werdum in transition? It can happen.

Nobody ever expected him to win the heavyweight title the first time. I won’t bet against Brock Lesnar.

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WWE: Can We Just End This Madness Now?

November 20, 2014 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Can we just get this over with already? Can Brock Lesnar finally leave the WWE so John Cena or Seth Rollins or Judy Bloom can win the damn WWE World Title and put an end to all this madness? Do we really have to endure another four months of lousy pay-per-views, “go home” Raw programs and the sight of John Cena clinching his fists like he is the only wrestler in the world that thinks he can save the entire planet with one punch?

Monday Night’s “Go Home” show with Survivor Series right on the horizon was about as excited as watching Florida Gators football. The addition of Ryback to Team Cena does nothing for me and the surprise addition of Erick Rowan to counter the Authority’s ad of Luke Harper is as bizarre as the latest infatuation with Kim Kardashian (that’s a story for later).

The latest news around the horn is that Lesnar has the itch for get back in a octagon which should set the wrestling world ablaze about how he should not be at home with beer and chips watching all the shenanigans go down with the company that signed him to a contract that pays him tons of mullah and allows him to be a part-time champion.

What in the name of Lou Thesz is going on?

UFC President Dana White revealed that the current holder of WWE World Heavyweight Championship belt is now “interested” in returning to MMA, and it’s possible the switch could come shortly after WrestleMania 31.

This would all work and flow together as a storyline, given the fact Lesnar can leave the WWE after March.

“This would leave Lesnar a free agent and it’s believed that Brock has a been a negotiating beast with Vince McMahon and Triple H, using the possibility of his return to the UFC as leverage for getting a better deal. The question is whether the WWE considers him worth the price of doing business, and whether or not this bargaining chip holds any weight. After all, Lesnar is set to turn 38-years-old in 2015, which is quite advanced in years when it comes to the MMA world.”

The only thing that this does right now is leave the current state of the WWE World Title in limbo.

There has not been a situation like this that the WWE Champion has been in this kind of limbo. Even with The Rock’s short title reign, he did promos, made appearances on Raw and kept the fans in suspense – wanting more. Where there was heat on the company, the idea that “Superman” would sve the WWE was a major part of the company’s angle.

It’s time to bring back the WWE World Title and for it to be defended at every single pay-per-view. But the lure of potentially getting back into a ring with the UFC combatants sours the fans’ impression of not only the wrestler, but also the title – as if it does not mean anything to the company right not.

Weren’t the days of CM Punk and John Cena getting in a ring and trading verbal abuse before they tore down the house grappling more fun than this?

No WWE Champion and 10 wrestlers (11, if you count Cesaro, who is the best jobber the WWE has ever had).

Now, with Survivor Series ready to mellow us all out, isn’t it time for the WWE to demand that its champion be present and accounted for since the final pay-per-view must tantalize you before it puts us all to sleep? No reversal of power is going to do that and at this moment, the WWE champion may not be able to do that either.

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UFC Prez Says Brock Lesnar Wants To Fight

November 18, 2014 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, WWE | Pro Wrestling

The quarterly Brock Lesnar to UFC rumors have reared their ugly head again. Thanks to UFC boss Dana White, the hot topic is back in conversation and according to the UFC president, it is a real possibility.

The UFC held a big press conference on Monday to announce…well nothing of note. UFC president Dana White took questions from the media and the name Brock Lesnar popped up. White told the media that while Lesnar is under contract to the WWE right now, he is healthy and has expressed interest in fighting again.

This isn’t a new story. The Brock back to UFC story has popped up several times in the last couple of years. The irony is that as much as Dana White says he hates rumors, he is generally the one to start the talk. That said, I certainly can’t blame him when you look at the void Brock has left in the UFC.

Brock Lesnar was the biggest draw in UFC history. There are certainly a variety of reasons but it is not coincidence that the UFC has not been the same since Brock left. No, he didn’t single handedly kill the momentum of the company. However, his departure took money away and attention away from the UFC that they haven’t gotten back.

As Dana said, Brock is still under a WWE contract. Brock’s contract expires with his WrestleMania 31 match. There are no rumors at all indicating that Brock and the WWE are in talks to re-negotiate. Several pro wrestling pundits have raised concerns about Brock being a lame duck champion heading into Mania. This UFC talk certainly won’t help quell those concerns.

A year ago it was a given that Brock and the WWE would agree on a new deal. Yet the economics are much different today for the WWE. With pay-per-view revenue off of the table and the emphasis on WWE Network subscriptions, an objective look at the landscape says that it will be very hard for the WWE to justify giving Brock a new deal.

I am a big Brock fan but the bottom line is the bottom line and he hasn’t been the draw for the company that most thought he would be. He hasn’t brought new viewers with him. His last PPV appearance against John Cena drew a disappointing buyrate. In the ring and on television he has been solid, but there is no indication he is moving any needles under the new business structure. It would certainly be in Brock’s interest to drum up these rumors because quite frankly I don’t know what kind of leverage he is going to have this spring when it comes to negotiating a new deal.

I suppose there is always the potential for the WWE and UFC to work out some kind of arrangement. There is all kinds of buzz about the WWE wanting Ronda Rousey for a match or appearance. There is always the possibility that Dana and McMahon could work out some kind of swap allowing Brock to fight in the UFC and Ronda to appear or wrestle a WWE match. I don’t foresee that ever happening but the deal would certainly be advantageous to both sides. Especially if the WWE could keep Brock yet lease him out the UFC to offset some costs.

Who knows what will happen in 2015. The UFC is desperate for stars and would likely make Brock a deal, giving Brock one last huge MMA payoff as he enters his forties. At 37 and with a history of injuries, I can’t imagine Brock being competitive in the current UFC landscape. The heavyweight division was much different when Brock came into the UFC in 2008. The UFC could always give him a favorable fight against a Big Foot Silva or even Mark Hunt. If Lesnar wins, I would expect the UFC to thrust him right into a title fight. If he loses, everyone wins with a big payday and a ride off into the sunset for the Beast Incarnate.

2015 could be a very interesting year indeed.

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Cruz, McGregor, Zingano impress at UFC 178

September 29, 2014 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

On paper UFC 178 was spectacular. A former champ looked amazing, a current champ seems unbeatable, we have a Cowboy on a roll, and a Cat on top, and it wouldn’t be a UFC card without some controversy. Here are my lessons learned from UFC 178.

Flyweights Need Love Too

I say this every time one of the top flyweights is fighting and I will continue to say it until people get on board. If you can’t appreciate what the flyweights, Demetrious Johnson in particular, does inside the Octagon; you do not truly love the sport of Mixed Martial Arts. The best flyweights in the world are blazing fast, exceptionally technical and a ton of fun to watch fight. They embody what the sport of MMA is all about.

When DJ’s opponent was named we all stopped and said, who? Chris Cariaso is definitely not a household name but it’s hard to find challengers when the champion has pretty much cleaned out the division. Was Cariaso deserving of a title fight? That’s not my job to determine but it’s not going to stop me from watching a Mighty Mouse fight. There were reports from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas that fans were actually leaving before the main event. Apparently, it was because they knew he was going to win and win easily. Early in his career, we all knew Mike Tyson was going to destroy his opponent and did that stop me from watching? No. It’s pretty much a forgone conclusion that Floyd Mayweather is going to win by decision and does that stop me from watching? No. As a hardcore fan of fighting, I enjoy watching the best fighters in the world fight. When it comes to the best all-around fighters in the UFC, Demetrious Johnson is easily one of the best. It’s time that he and the rest of the flyweights start getting the respect that they deserve.

The Champ is Back

The best story of the night came from Dominick Cruz. After a ton of injuries and three years outside of the octagon, he finally made his return and it was amazing. We saw a new side of Dom in his destruction of Takeya Mizugaki. He was aggressive and visually you can tell he was out for the finish. It was simply a “thing of beauty.”

I’ve always been a big fan of Cruz, and I’m sure a lot of that comes from my time working with him at Fox Sports, but I had no idea what he was going to look like in his return. I honestly wasn’t confident that he would be close to what he was. I knew he was putting in the work because that’s just who he is but his style is all based off of his footwork and striking angles. Having multiple ACL surgeries on the same knee, it seemed almost impossible. He made it back into the Octagon and looked better than ever.

So what’s next for the former bantamweight champion who never lost his belt? It’s easy, title shot. There’s no question that he should be the next in line for TJ Dillashaw. Dana White confirmed that he would get that fight at the UFC 178 post-fight press conference. Dominick Cruz taking on Team Alpha Male one more time for the title! It doesn’t get much better than that.

Hype Train Moving Fast

There is no question that there could be something special about Conor McGregor, but I feel like the hype train is moving a little too fast. I still need to see more from the brash Irishman before I jump on board.

I predicated that Dustin Porier would defeat McGregor and I was obviously wrong with that pick. I believed that Porier’s style would give McGregor some issues but it was the other way around. McGregor was very impressive with his striking, finishing Porier in the first round. I do think he will be a tough matchup for anyone who’s primarily a striker. We still haven’t seen him in the cage with a high caliber wrestler and there are a coupe of them at the top of the division. That’s the toughest test in my opinion. Not sure if someone on Twitter was joking or not, but they said Clay Guida beats McGregor. I don’t know about that, but point taken.

McGregor was on the UFC post-fight show with a UFC Title saying Jose Aldo gave it up to him. He also said at the press conference that he would maul Chad Mendes. He clearly already believes that he’s the best and should be fighting next for the belt. Right now, I really don’t think he’s deserving of a title shot. In my opinion, he needs more than one win over a top-10 opponent to get a shot at the title. So, let’s look at the options.

He just beat Porier who was ranked fifth. Ranked number four is Ricardo Lamas who fights Dennis Bermudez, who’s ranked seventh, on November 15th. Third Ranked Frankie Edgar is fighting second ranked Cub Swanson on November 22nd. Finally, number one contender Chad Mendes is fighting for the title against Jose Aldo on October 25th. Personally, I would like the UFC to take their time with him. I know he’s really hot right now and people really want to see him fight but there’s no need to rush him. I want the deserving fighter to get the title shot not the more popular fighter. The winner of Bermudez-Lamas could be a good fight for him. The winner of Edgar-Swanson should be next in line for a title fight. If McGregor destroys the winner of Lamas-Bermudez then we can talk number one contender fight. Until then, lets pump the breaks a little.

Cowboy Riding High

Donald Cerrone had the tall task of welcoming Eddie Alvarez into the UFC and looked phenomenal doing it. Ignore that 14th ranking next to Alvarez’s name because he’s much better than that. If you aren’t familiar with Eddie, he was a two-time Bellator lightweight champion and one of the best 155 pound fighters in the world who was riding an impressive 3-fight winning steak.

Cowboy started slow but picked things up in the 2nd and 3rd rounds and went on to dominate the fight. Cowboy has now won 5 fights in a row with 4 of them being in 2014. For his own sake, I hope he takes the rest of the year off so he can do things the right way. But for a guy who was wakeboarding everyday the week of one of his biggest fights ever, I don’t expect him to slow down at all. He is potentially one win away from a title fight and I would love a matchup with Russian standout, Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Other Notes:

Cat Zingano looked amazing in her win over Amanda Nunes. As promised by the UFC, Zingano will get her title shot. There is no question that the champion, Ronda Rousey has never fought anyone like Cat, but I still don’t think it will matter. She could be the toughest challenger to date, but I still think it will be an easy win for Ronda. Cat’s style will play right into Rousey’s style. Technique will always defeat strength and aggression.

What happened to Tim Kennedy was an absolute travesty. If a fighter does not get up to answer the bell, he loses the fight. That did not happen on Saturday night. Yoel Romero received a reported 37 seconds of extra time to sit on the stool and after almost being finished moments before. Romero receive over a minute and a half to recover between rounds and it may not sound like much, but that’s an eternity. Kennedy is going to protest the result, as he absolutely should. Romero should not have been allowed to continue. The Commission should do the right thing.

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