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Archive for the ‘UFC | Mixed Martial Arts’

UFC Fighters Need To Stop Complaining About Pay

February 28, 2014 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

A hot topic that never seems to go away in MMA social media is UFC fighter pay. Every once in awhile a current or ex-UFC fighter will succumb to tension and stress and go public with his salary complaints. Nate Quarry is the latest and I hope the last to cry poverty.

I have about had it with UFC fighters complaining about their pay. Recognizable names such as Chris Leben, Tim Kennedy, Jon Fitch, and of course Nick Diaz with Quarry being the latest have publicly cried about their financials to the sympathies of many fans and bloggers. Here is one blogger that wishes to bury this topic and move on.

Nate Quarry recently ranted about this after reports came out about the UFC instituting fighter uniforms which would reportedly impact fighter sponsorship deals. Quarry, who had his back surgery paid for by the UFC and was turned into a celebrity on The Ultimate Fighter (a show the UFC almost went broke producing) believes the UFC should have done more.

People have no clue from the outside what it’s like to fight for the UFC,” he wrote. “After spending 10-15 years chasing your dream, only to see that the company it’s been your dream to fight for cares nothing about the fighters and only cares about the bottom line.

Quarry also went on to whine about the salary he received for fighting the world champion. “I fought for the world title for $10,000. Not a penny more. No bonus. No cut of the PPV. The gate alone was 3.5 million dollars. The third highest gate in UFC history at the time. And they must have loved the fight cuz they show the final punch at the start of EVERY UFC PPV. :-)

Quarry’s buddy Chris Leben was not nearly as eloquent when he recent revealed on Twitter that he is broke. Leben later retracted the comment yet regardless of the retraction, he put it out there. Keep in mind that Leben has had documented problems with substance abuse.

Lorenzo Fertitta, Zuffa CEO recently responded to these salary complaints to Yahoo Sports. “This fight Nate is talking about (UFC 56, Franklin vs. Quarry) was so long ago and clearly the business wasn’t where it is today. It was in its infancy and we were coming out of a period where we suffered millions upon millions in losses. It wasn’t an insignificant amount of money. And I’ll tell you this, Nate is a smart guy. Absolutely he is. He knew when he signed his contract exactly what he’d be paid.

Just for kicks I decided to take a look at the fighter salaries from the UFC’s most recent pay-per-view event, UFC 169. The minimum salary for the night was $8000 while Alistair Overeem topped the list with $407,143 for a fight that wasn’t even a co-main-event. These numbers don’t take into account unreported bonuses and sponsorship deals but you get the gist of it.

I am sorry but I am tired of these fighters complaining. UFC fighter pay is not a secret. It is reported after every show. These guys chose to become fighters and knew very well what the pay scale is. Hey listen, I love radio, did it for ten years, but opted not to make a career of it for one simple reason. The chances of me making a secure, high salary in that business are about the same as someone who wants to try their hand in the UFC or MMA. I could have gone down that road and while I’d certainly be happier at my full-time job, I would have sacrificed a better life for myself and my family. That’s why I do podcasting…as a hobby!

Nate Quarry didn’t have to become a UFC fighter and he certainly didn’t have to accept a world championship fight. Quarry could have done something else with better earnings potential and practiced MMA as a hobby. Quarry was also given a shot at a golden ticket by even getting that fight because a win would have propelled him into a different salary range. Quarry could have also cut pro wrestling-style promos on Franklin and actually promote his fight, which in turn would have made him a star. Quarry lost in the first round and said nothing but complimentary things about the champion. He blew it.

Unless you truly believe you have what it takes to beat the best and if you don’t, go out there and promote your fights like it is show business, you have no right complaining about your pay. There is a reason we see so few superstars and draws in the UFC. Chael Sonnen was in the same situation as Quarry and turned that impossible task into an opportunity that made him a star. Quarry didn’t do that, nor have most of the fighters who complain about pay.

So the next time one of these fighters who made a choice to turn a hobby into a career goes on social media to complain about pay to fans who are working just as hard and making much less than they deserve, don’t do it. I don’t want to hear it and most of the fans don’t want to hear it. You don’t want to wear UFC uniforms, quit and do something else with your life. You made your career choice now live with it.

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Cyborg Santos Challenges UFC Champ Ronda Rousey To 135 Fight

February 22, 2014 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

Ronda Rousey’s nightmare is not going away. Cris Cyborg Santos may be fighting in Invicta but she still has her eyes set on Rousey and the UFC. Dana White has said numerous times he’d consider the fight if Santos dropped weight. Well it’s time to start the negotiating.

Santos left the UFC last year after failing to secure a fight with Ronda Rousey. It amazed me then and it amazes me today that the UFC let that fight get away but they did. Rousey went to Invicta yet the war of words between Rousey and Santos haven’t stopped. Rousey has always said that Santos needs to drop to 135 to fight her. Santos has finally said she’d do it.

Santos released a statement to Inside MMA where she proclaims that she will drop to 135 for three fights. Santos wants one fight against Invicta’s 135 pound champion this summer and says she will remain at 135 for two fights with Rousey. According to Cyborg, there will be no more excuses not to make this fight.

You have fought 154 in the Olympics and 145 in MMA. You can meet me at 140 easier than for me to go down to 135. The only reason you want the fight at 135 is because you feel that is your only chance because you hope the weight cut will affect me. You guys say I’m irrelevant, yet watch my highlights. The true MMA fans not only know me, but know I’m the best. Sad that you give the true MMA fans no recognition by saying that they don’t matter.

I’m currently training to fight at 145 on March 28 and in early May. My team has hired a medical doctor to help me make 135. I plan to challenge and win the Invicta 135 Championship in the summer and challenge you, champion to champion, for your 135 belt in December.”

Of course the Rousey defenders will dismiss this challenge and accuse Santos of using PEDs. I always found that to be a bogus excuse because if she does use them, she’ll get popped. Santos is upping the ante on those critics and addressed that concern head on.

“You can even have me tested every week up to the fight. That way you will not have an excuse after I kick your ass.”

So there it is. I never understood how a guy like Dana White always calls out fighters for ducking fights yet continues to defend Rousey for not fighting Santos. To me the answer has always been obvious. He is afraid that Rousey will not only lose, but get pummeled, thus exposing his self-proclaimed “biggest star ever.” That’s the only reason in my mind that White could justify Rousey passing on a fight that could do the biggest buyrate of all-time.

I also think Rousey has gotten a free pass from most of the media and fans for ducking this fight. Rousey has always used the weight excuse. Yet, as Cyborg points out (and I have been pointing out for almost a year), Rousey has fought at higher weight. The UFC have desperately tried to make super fights with fighters in different classes meeting at a catchweight. Why 140 has never been an option is just mind boggling to me. Rousey has fought at 140 or higher so the idea that she refuses to come from 135 for a fight that would be gigantic doesn’t make much sense.

The ball will be in Ronda’s court and the pressure will be on her if Santos makes 135 and wins her fight. There are no excuses from that point forward. Rousey could use the undeserving challenger excuse but let’s face it. The UFC 135 pound belt was handed to her in the first place and Miesha Tate certainly wasn’t deserving of a shot. Ronda has done a lot of talking about Cyborg. I don’t see any way out if Cyborg makes weight.

I am pulling for Cyborg only to see how this story plays out. If Santos makes weight and wins her fight, the next move will be Ronda’s and it will be fascinating to see what she does. It will be even more fascinating to see what Dana White does if she says no.

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Big UFC Fights Missing In 2014

February 12, 2014 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

With Anderson Silva and GSP on the sidelines, the UFC will need to count on new stars to fill those big fight slots this year. Unfortunately an early look at 2014 exposes a dull year and one of the most turbulent periods of the Zuffa era.

While the UFC has become a watered down product over the last couple of years, there have always been a couple of big fights to get excited about. A 2014 doesn’t show much promise when it comes to these big fights. I looked up and down the list of scheduled fights and potential fights and there is absolutely nothing for a casual fan to get excited about.

Dana White has had a lucky run the last few years. His two biggest stars, Anderson Silva and Georges St-Pierre continued to carry the company while cards became watered down and stars became harder to make. Now White is left with Jon Jones and Ronda Rousey, both unproven and somewhat unstable in their positions. It may be time for the UFC president to press the panic button.

If there is a big fight to get excited about in 2014 I don’t see it. When I mean big fight I am talking a fight expected to draw 700,000+ buys. Sure there are some intriguing fights that will appeal to the hardcore fans and maybe even some casuals, but where is the can’t-miss event of 2014?

Let’s take a look at some of the pay-per-view headline fights already scheduled for 2014. Excuse me while I grab a pillow.

Ronda Rousey vs. Sara McMann UFC 170 – This is the test for Rousey. There are many who believe that Rousey is the biggest star in the UFC. She certainly had a hand in that impressive UFC 168 buyrate but what has she done on her own? If Rousey can break 500,000 here I will concede that she is the biggest star in the UFC. If she can’t, it is a real dose of reality for the UFC who have hyped her more than any fighter since Brock Lesnar. Rashad Evans vs. Daniel Cormier in the semi is about as exciting as a sleeping pill. I would say thus far there is less buzz going into this Rousey fight than her previous two which isn’t a good sign.

Johny Hendricks vs. Robbie Lawler UFC 171 – I like the fight, like it a lot, but is it a draw? Hendricks drew a disappointing buyrate with GSP and let’s be clear, it was GSP drawing the number. I think a lot of casual fans still see Lawler as a Strikeforce castoff, which he certainly isn’t. I think it is going to be a fun fight but I can’t imagine many people scrambling to get together watch Robbie Lawler vs. Johny Hendricks.

Jon Jones vs. Glover Teixera UFC 172 – Again this is another fight I can’t wait to see. I am not the casual fan and casuals probably aren’t as hyped about Teixera as I am. Jones has not been the draw he should be given his star power (or lack thereof). His fight against Alexander Gusftafsson didn’t even break 400,000 buys! That is pathetic. The problem with Jones is Jones. The only time the guy draws is when his opponents like Rashad and Rampage do the talking. I don’t expect a lot of smack talk from Teixera here and thanks to Jones minimizing his opponent as he always does, I’d be hard pressed to expect anything more than 300,000 buys here.

Vitor Belfort vs. Chris Weidman UFC 173 – Of all the fights on paper this is the one I am most excited about. That said, how many times are fans going to get bit by Vitor Belfort’s championship chokes? Belfort is an exciting fighter whenever he is not challenging for a title. I think this is the most intriguing fight on the docket yet I don’t know how many fans are going to buy into Vitor. Add in the TRT controversy and Belfort is more of a turnoff in this situation. The saving grace here is Wanderlei vs. Chael which could push this event past 500,000 buys.

Quite honestly the more intriguing headliners to me are on the free shows. Lyoto Machida vs. Gegard Mousassi, Dan Henderson vs. Shogun Rua, Michael Bisping vs. Tim Kennedy, Roy Nelson vs. Bog Nog, and Travis Browne vs. Fabricio Werdum are better fights to me than most of the headliners.

Looking at the rest of the year there is nothing I can see that will fill the void left of by GSP in regards to pay-per-view buyrates. I don’t trust Jon Jones at all in selling the Gustafsson rematch. Teixera winning and a rematch with Jones could be a big one. Cain Velasquez will fight later this year but neither Fabricio nor Browne are opponents that anyone will get excited about. Machida vs. the Belfort vs. Weidman winner could be interesting but Machida has never been a big pay-per-view draw. Rousey vs. Cat Zingano is a fun fight but I don’t see either one doing the kind of promotion necessary to push it over the top. A miracle BJ Penn win over Frankie Edgar could make him an unlikely title challenger in what would be a huge fight. Any hope that GSP will come back and fight the Hendricks vs. Lawler winner seems to be dissipating with Dana White’s classless verbal attacks. If there is a big one I am missing let me know because all I am seeing is a bunch of okay fights lacking star power.

What is the UFC to do? There are no super fights available to solve this problem. The only super fight that is out there is Jones vs. Cain and according to Jones, he wouldn’t even entertain that until 2015. The UFC are going to have to work hard at creating new stars and using 2014 as something of a rebuilding year. Professional franchises do it all of the time. The UFC can still have a decent year while getting new faces and new stars ready for the future.

If not, 2015 is going to be an even uglier year for the UFC.

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Brock Lesnar Will Never Return To The UFC

February 06, 2014 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Dana White loves to tickle the feather of UFC fans. First it was promised Super Fights he couldn’t deliver and now he is dangling Brock Lesnar as a potential return. Just like those dream fights he guaranteed, he knows and I know that there is almost no chance that Brock ever fights in the UFC again.

TMZ.com had a story a week ago about UFC president Dana White saying that Brock Lesnar wants to come back to the UFC.

“He wants to. We’ll see what happens. He feels that, because of the illness he had while he was here, he feels that he wasn’t 100-percent and he’d like to take another run at it. We’ll see what happens. He wants to do both. He’s doing great over there and when his schedule opens up, he’d like to fight. Yeah, I got a good relationship with him.”

A few days later he backtracked saying that Brock is not returning. How long until we hear him tease Brock coming back again? This story repeats itself every few months, kind of like White’s promises and then denials of a GSP vs. Silva super fight. I can’t blame him for dreaming but he needs to stop screwing with his fans and get off of the Lesnar fantasy because it’s not going to happen.

The funny thing here is that Brock is under contract with the WWE. From all reports it would appear that Brock is not allowed to fight in the UFC. Brock is under contract for another year. At that time Brock will be 37-years old, closing in on 38. Brock has had multiple health issues which forced him into retirement. If you think a 38-year old millionaire who makes big money to “fake fight” three times a year is going to risk his health and reputation in a UFC octagon you probably believe Dana White when he tells you that the UFC is going to be bigger than the NFL.

Now White did a 180 this past weekend when he told reporters that Brock is not coming back. ”I mean does he want to come back? I mean we’ve talked about him wanting to come back. He feels like he wasn’t 100-percent while he was here and he feels like he sold himself a little short and all the stuff that I’ve told you guys before, but no he’s not (coming back).”

I don’t blame White for teasing TMZ and the fans. What else does he have? He is coming off of a pay per view that is reportedly forecasting low buyrate estimates which wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t have two championship fights. He has zero super fights on the table for 2014 and is down to one true superstar in Jon Jones who isn’t exactly the “company man” his past stars were. As a promoter what else does he have to hype in 2014? Nothing!

It is time for White to close the door on Brock coming back once and for all. Sure he did a good job of quieting the buzz down over the weekend but it was just a few days earlier where he teased Brock returning. Don’t tease, don’t hype, nor entertain the questions at this point. The biggest draw in the history of the UFC is not coming back and it’s time to tell your fans the truth. Stop feeding the beast!

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Anderson Silva Wants To Fight In The UFC Again

January 15, 2014 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

Don’t count Anderson Silva out just yet! The former UFC champion is about to begin a long road back to the octagon. The former world champion says he will fight again after suffering one of the most gruesome injuries in UFC history.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that The Spider is crawling his way back to the UFC. The former champion is set to begin rehabilitation which could culminate in a return to the UFC. While that fight probably wouldn’t take place until 2015, Silva’s management are already throwing out possible opponents. Some of which probably won’t surprise you.

I bet you won’t be shocked to read that Silva wants Chris Weidman…again! Silva’s management are already politicking for a third fight with Weidman. But hey if they can’t get Weidman they’d be happy to take Georges St-Pierre…who isn’t fighting anymore.

I mean, GSP’s definitely an option, but like we always say, who knows? At the end of the day, Dana [White] and Lorenzo [Fertitta] decide — if Anderson decides to come back. There’s a few options. It could be him. It could be who knows, a Michael Bisping?

It could be even a Chris Weidman because at the end of the day, people look at Chris Weidman’s two wins — and in a way it’s almost unfortunate for Chris — but like you said, they are controversial wins. Who knows? Maybe even a rematch if it came up would make sense, but like I said, at this point in time I still feel it’s too early to talk about that.

Well Weidman’s win in the first fight was controversial but I hate to break it to Team Silva but there was not much controversial about win number two. Quite frankly Team Silva are lucky the fight wasn’t stopped in the first round because it probably should have been. I certainly wouldn’t have ever counted Silva out in that second fight but he did nothing to lead me to believe that he had any answers for Chris Weidman.

What does the UFC do with Silva when he is ready to return? I can certainly understand why Silva wouldn’t want his final career moment to be him screaming in pain on a stretcher. But what do you do with the Spider when he returns? This whole idea of a GSP fight is a pipe dream. It’s never going to happen and it makes my skin crawl every time I hear Silva’s team or Dana White bring it up. So who do you book?

I think there are a few ways you can go. I think Michael Bisping would probably be a good choice. Bisping is a name and he will talk enough smack that the fight would probably be do exceptionally well. It is a very winnable fight for Silva, almost a layup if you will from the UFC. I would almost look at it as a tune up fight. While beating Bisping doesn’t prove a whole lot, I think it is a great way to get Silva back in the mix without exposing him to one of the bigger wolves of the division.

The Vitor Belfort-Chris Weidman loser probably makes the most sense. The only problem here is if Belfort beats Silva you have him back in the title mix once again after losing to Weidman this year. I have to think that the UFC don’t want him anywhere near the mix if he loses. It is anyone’s guess at this point if Silva could take Belfort coming off of such a long layoff.

I could see the potential here for Silva vs. Weidman III if Weidman loses. I don’t know that I’d necessarily be against hot shotting him to a title fight either against Weidman. He lost twice and while I hate the idea of anyone coming off of two losses getting a title shot, less deserving title shots have been booked. I highly doubt it goes down this way but at the end of the day this is a business and if that is what is best for business it could happen.

Silva is confident that he will be back and that is a promise. “When I saw that my leg was broken, I was terrified, I couldn’t tell if the fracture was exposed or not. Then, I spoke to the judge who was there with me so they could put my leg in place as quickly as possible, and the pain was absurd. I only thought one thing: Is it over? Will I ever walk again? Am I alright? But, I am confident that I will succeed. I will return.”

Is Silva done? Has he past his prime? It is so tough to say. Could it be that Chris Weidman is just that good? Weidman possessed the perfect arsenal of tools to beat Silva and he has been impressive throughout his UFC run barring one fight on short notice. I am curious to see Silva tested as I don’t think there is anyone out there that can dominate him like Weidman. I still think that Silva had a chance if the fight went deeper but none of us will ever know. Seeing him against Belfort or Bisping will answer a lot of these questions.

Regardless of who wants to fight Silva next it is a long road back to the octagon. Silva has some brutal months ahead of rehab and nobody knows how his leg will hold up once he starts training again. I won’t count him out yet I have to wonder if this is truly the end of an era or the start of one of the greatest comebacks in sports history.

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Georges St-Pierre Says The UFC Has A PED Problem

January 14, 2014 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

The MMA world is still reeling from losing Georges St-Pierre. The UFC champion vacated his title last month, leaving amidst a ton of questions. GSP has finally answered one and you may be surprised to hear what really pushed GSP out the door.

GSP has nothing to lose at this point. He is a wealthy man who can fight again in the UFC whenever he wants. That is great for him and bad for the UFC. Without any ties to the organization, GSP is free to talk about whatever he wants and the subject may be the most taboo of all within the UFC. PEDs!

GSP held a press conference this week to announce that his foundation would be giving money to six athletes. The subject of PEDs came up during his chat with reporters. GSP was not only willing to talk about it, he almost seemed giddy when the question was asked. The champ admitted that concerns over PEDs in MMA is what pushed him into an indefinite retirement.

It bothered me enormously.

That’s one of the reasons why I stopped fighting. Not really to teach them a lesson, because that would also punish me. I wanted to do something for the sport. I love the sport. I see the direction it’s going, and I don’t think it makes any sense. This is stupid.

GSP had been accused by previous opponents of juicing and taking PEDs several times over his UFC career. He has never tested positive for anything according to the UFC. These accusations are what prompted GSP to sponsor drug testing for his last fight, offering to pay for both he and his opponent to get tested. Johny Hendricks wasn’t interested and Dana White said they both looked “stupid.”

Ironically it would appear that Dana White was the stupid one here. White’s ignorance or disinterest in the matter contributed to the loss of his second biggest drawing card. If White had been supportive of GSP or had a different attitude about testing, it is possible that he would still be promoting GSP today. Instead he is left with a vacated title and a superstar who has no interest in fighting.

“The whole thing was done very weird. And if he feels like we didn’t support him, I don’t know. The whole thing’s [expletive] weird. I haven’t talked to him about it. He’s very fired up about it because he went out and started this thing and it’s turned into a [expletive]. I get it. I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what to tell him. The whole [expletive] thing’s weird.

I tried to do something to change the sport,” he said. “Unfortunately, there were other people, for different reasons, maybe for money, in fear of losing money, because if you canceled the fight because someone tested positive there are millions of dollars [lost]. Also, the sport’s image … If you start testing everyone, how many will get caught? I don’t want to say in public because I don’t want to accuse anyone, but the sport’s image will be hurt.

What may have been the most damaging statement of all is this one.

Don’t forget, I have internal information. I’m an athlete. I know what goes on, so that disappointed me greatly.

PEDs are a huge problem for MMA. MMA reporters have made enough cryptic remarks over the last year to confirm it without confirming it. Dana White was once adamant against TRT use for one thing but has since greatly changed his stance. Vitor Belfort is making a complete mockery and a sham of this with his TRT exemptions and he is just the tip of the iceberg.

It amazes me that a sport will blatantly allow their fighters to increase their levels of testosterone with a doctor’s note. To me, this has put a big black mark on the sport. Quite frankly it has helped push me away from the sport as a fan. Seeing Vitor Belfort mock the system has made some fans and media quite angry. Seeing GSP walk away due to the same issue is more heart breaking than anything else.

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UFC Could Greatly Benefit From WWE Network

January 14, 2014 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, WWE | Pro Wrestling

It didn’t take long for the UFC backlash to begin when the WWE Network was announced. Immediate comparisons were made to UFC Fight Pass with UFC being heralded as the big loser. Yet a closer look reveals that the UFC could be a big winner here after all.

I am still in the camp of bloggers who believe there isn’t as big of a crossover between the UFC and the WWE as some would lead you to believe. Which is why I was a bit surprised to see the UFC Fight Pass lumped into all of the WWE Network talk online. Why weren’t other streaming companion sites brought into the equation like the UFC? It doesn’t matter because the vast majority of fans like to compare them so I may as well play ball.

The timing of the WWE Network coming only a couple of weeks after the UFC Fight Pass was announced predicated the comparisons. I don’t think anyone praised the UFC’s efforts over the WWE streaming network. Every comparison ended with the UFC being body slammed by the wrestling kingpin. Yet a deeper look at the situation tells me that the UFC may wind up winning very big thanks to the WWE Network.

Let’s start first with pay per view. The WWE will be placing all of their pay per view events on the network at no additional charge. Pay Per View companies are livid at the idea that they will be undercut with some threatening to remove WWE events altogether. This could be absolutely huge for the UFC!

The UFC will be the big and only consistent game in town for the broadcasting companies. Now the UFC will receive a bigger cut of the advertising dollars these same companies would allocate towards the WWE. Whether they all remove the WWE or not, I would suspect that most won’t be as interested in promoting these events. Where does this advertising budget go? It is now allocated to the UFC. This is an immediate win for Zuffa!

What about the fact that fans still have to pay for UFC events? The WWE is a great guinea pig for the UFC. The UFC can sit back and watch how successful or not so successful this network will be. If the WWE Network is successful, the UFC can migrate their pay per view events online. Maybe they stick them on Fight Pass and bump up the subscription rate or they just stream them elsewhere for $30?

Zuffa or anyone else doing pay per view events have to split the revenue 50/50 with the pay per view broadcasting company. You better believe the UFC would love to find a way around this. Maybe the fighters would get a better percentage of the orders if the UFC aren’t splitting revenues with the satellite providers?

If there is this crossover that some believe there is between UFC and WWE fans, choice would be eliminated when it comes to pay per view. If the WWE and UFC have pay per view events on the same weekend, there wouldn’t be any more debate about which show to buy. One would presume that the allocated pay per view budget would go immediately to the UFC. I can’t see this being a big win but it could add a few dollars here and there.

So before you start to tear the UFC a new one when comparing the WWE Network to the UFC Fight Pass you may want to think about the long term ramifications. Maybe in the end the UFC are the smarter ones, sitting back and waiting to see what happens? Believe it or not they are already seeing benefits and with the potential upside, the UFC may wind up cashing on the WWE’s experiment sooner than you think.

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Top 20 MMA Fights Of 2013

January 02, 2014 By: Category: lists, Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

In honor of the UFC’s 20th anniversary this year, I figured it only appropriate that my year end fight countdown involved the top 20 fights from the calendar year 2013. Although not all of these fights took place in the UFC it’s hard to ignore the UFC’s place at the head of the class in terms of mixed martial arts promotions. Although there are a number of other promotions represented in the list including Bellator, Maximum Fighting Championship, ONE FC and Invicta. Enough rambling, let’s get to the year’s top fights.

#20 – ONE Fighting Championship: Moment of Truth – Featherweight Championship Bout: Honorio Banario vs. Koji Oishi – December 6, 2013

The opening round of this bout wasn’t the most exciting, but the second and third rounds really make up for it. In title bout rematches, this is often the case, especially in a fight between two proven power punchers like Banario and Oishi. The second and third rounds mainly featured a game of cat and mouse as Banario pressed forward with big punches, while Oishi coyly backed off and did his best to land the big power shot, eventually in the third round he found the shot and delivered a highlight reel knockout to retain his title.

#19 – Maximum Fighting Championship: True Grit – Bantamweight Bout: Anthony Birchak vs. Ryan Benoit – May 10, 2013

This fight was the debut of Maximum Fighting Championship’s Bantamweight division and granted the winner a future title shot. Both men carried winning streaks into the bout and put it all on the line in this bout. The result was a fast and furious scrap that had action both on the feet and on the mat. Each man had their chances to end the fight, either with submission attempts or ground and pound, but each man was able to hang tough. Eventually, the two warriors made it to the final bell and in the end it was Birchak that took home the Unanimous Decision victory.

#18 – Ultimate Fighting Championship: UFC on FOX 7 – Lightweight Championship Bout: Benson Henderson vs. Gilbert Melendez – April 20, 2013

Entering into this contest, many people were intrigued to see how the fight would play out. The long-reigning and final Lightweight champion of the Strikeforce promotion crossing over to battle the UFC’s reigning Lightweight champion, this would had the feeling of a champion vs. champion bout. Melendez was fighting in front of his hometown crowd in San Jose and the fans backed him relentlessly throughout the fight as Melendez shrugged off numerous takedown attempts and used leg kicks and a steady jab to throw the UFC’s champion off balance. In the end, the result was a hotly contested Split Decision victory that went to Benson Henderson.

#17 – Bellator Fighting Championship: Bellator 85 – Featherweight Championship Bout: Pat Curran vs. Patricio Freire – January 17, 2013

At Bellator 85 there were a number of title contests, one of which was a Featherweight Championship tilt between champion Pat Curran and Patricio “Pitbull” Freire. Despite both fighters coming off of long layoffs, the bout still delivered. Freire pushed the action early and often, which left Curran stumbling and reeling at times. But Curran seemed to get better and better as the fight wore on and began to take control of what was mostly a kickboxing contest. In the end Curran took home a very close Split Decision victory to retain his Featherweight title.

#16 – Invicta Fighting Championship: Invicta FC 4 – Women’s Strawweight Bout: Tecia Torres vs. Paige Van Zant – January 5, 2013

This was an entertaining women’s scrap that opened quickly. Torres showed an impressive striking acumen in the opening stanza, battering Van Zant’s face with a strong jab and several creative elbow strikes. The second round featured some exciting grappling as Van Zant took the bout to the mat to try and slow the striking prowess of Torres. With nearly four minutes remaining, Torres was able to reverse the position and took her opponent’s back, working for a choke finish but Van Zant was able to hang tough. The final few minutes of this fight was excellent as both women just turned it into a slugfest and let it all hang out in the middle of the cage. In the end Torres took a Unanimous decision victory.

#15 – Ultimate Fighting Championship: UFC on Fuel TV 8 – Heavyweight Bout: Mark Hunt vs. Stefan Struve – March 3, 2013

This Heavyweight bout could have gone a number of ways, Hunt promised a slugfest, but most experts expected the grappling savvy Struve to take the bout to the ground quickly. In the first round, that’s exactly what happened, as Struve quickly pulled guard and did his best to work for a submission. In the second Hunt took over and kept the bout standing, where he tagged Struve with a number of big punches, while the massive Struve seemed to fade and gas out. In the third round, Hunt really took over. With Struve’s defensive striking wavering Hunt began to land power shots at will. A huge combination of punches put Struve down for good, and lead to a long layoff for Struve as he suffered significant damage to his jaw from the punches in the knockout loss.

#14 – Ultimate Fighting Championship: UFC 168 – Women’s Bantamweight Championship Bout: Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate – December 28, 2013

There was a lot of hype heading into this bout, a full season’s worth of feuding on the latest season of The Ultimate Fighter. Not to mention the built in rivalry of this being a rematch from both ladies’ Strikeforce days. With all of that in mind, Miesha Tate was sold as a credible challenger to Rousey’s throne, but the odds makers in Vegas didn’t buy in, billing the challenger as a 7-to-1 underdog. In the end Tate put up a decent fight, and was able to hang tough, hanging in the Octagon with the champion longer than anyone else in history. At the end though, it was more domination from the champion and despite Tate’s ability to survive, she eventually succumbed to yet another Rousey arm bar.

#13 – Bellator Fighting Championship: Bellator 106 – Lightweight Championship Bout: Eddie Alvarez vs. Michael Chandler – November 2, 2013

It was the biggest rematch in the history of Bellator’s existence as undefeated Lightweight Champion Michael Chandler defended his title against former champion Eddie Alvarez. Their first scrap was a highly entertaining bout, which left big shoes to fill. I’d have a hard time describing the blow for blow coverage for this five round brawl, but it was a highly entertaining fight with tons of action on the ground and on the feet. While this fight failed to live up to the excitement that their first contest did, it was still an incredible fight that highlighted everything that MMA is about and despite the controversial Split Decision victory for Alvarez it remains the best fight in Bellator’s 2013 calendar year.

#12 – Ultimate Fighting Championship: UFC on FOX 7 – Welterweight Bout: Matt Brown vs. Jordan Mein – April 20, 2013

“The Immortal” Matt Brown made a career resurgence in 2013 and this bout was a big part of his statement year. Many expected the brawling style of Brown to struggle with the crisp and technical kickboxing of young Jordan Mein. The bout was contest mostly on the feet and Brown outworked his younger opponent with a stronger jaw and big power punches. After dropping Mein at the end of the first and having him saved by the bell, Brown continued to swarm the youngster in the second round. An onslaught of strikes against the cage and on the ground eventually led to Brown earning the TKO via referee stoppage.

#11 – Ultimate Fighting Championship: UFC on Fuel TV 7 – Featherweight Bout: Cub Swanson vs. Dustin Poirier – February 16, 2013

Cub Swanson bouts tend to be highly entertaining contests, Dustin Poirier fights tend to be highly entertaining scraps, both of those statements remained true in this contest. Swanson used a plethora of kicks to keep Poirier off-balance and keep the fight standing. In the second round, Swanson began to show some of his underrated grappling skills as both men exchanged in some excellent transitions on the ground. The final round started with a number of exchanges on the feet, before both men went to the ground. Swanson dominated the final minutes on the ground, en-route to sealing the deal on a hard fought Unanimous decision victory.

#10 – Ultimate Fighting Championship: UFC 156 – Featherweight Championship Bout: Jose Aldo vs. Frankie Edgar – February 2, 2013

Fresh off of losing consecutive decisions to Lightweight champion Benson Henderson, both in somewhat controversial fashion, Frankie Edgar made the drop to the Featherweight division for an immediate title shot against reigning kingpin Jose Aldo. What followed was a highly entertaining scrap that went the full five rounds, with every minute being filled with action. Through the early rounds Aldo used thudding leg kicks and a stiff jab to keep the challenger at bay, but as the rounds went on, the challenger seemed to get stronger as the champion slowly faded. The final two rounds were highly entertaining as Edgar tried to battle his way back and began to swing the fight in his favor. In the end his comeback bid fell short, and Edgar lost yet another close decision in a title fight.

#9 – Ultimate Fighting Championship: UFC 160 – Heavyweight Bout: Junior dos Santos vs. Mark Hunt – May 25, 2013

Junior dos Santos was a heavy favorite heading into this contest, and most expected JDS to show off his improved wrestling skills and exploit the subpar grappling skills of Mark Hunt. Instead he decided to slug it out with the heavy-handed former K-1 champion.  Early on JDS nearly cracked the iron jaw of Hunt and in the second round when he finally took the fight to the mat, he nearly stopped Hunt with a barrage of ground and pound. In the third, with the fight likely secure in his favor, JDS continued to pressure his highly dangerous opponent and the result was one of the best knockouts of the year. Dos Santos used a highlight reel spinning back kick to drop Hunt with under a minute left in the fight.

#8 – Ultimate Fighting Championship: UFC on FOX 6 – Flyweight Championship Bout: Demetrious Johnson vs. John Dodson

Despite the fact that the UFC’s Flyweight division has failed to catch on with the casual fan, it has continued to produce top quality contests. After steamrolling through a number of top fighters in both the Bantamweight and Flyweight divisions, most people wondered if anyone would be able to stop the Flyweight Champion. However, Dodson who’s speed would allow him to match up well with Johnson and who held big time knockout power. In the opening few rounds, the fight was quite close, with Dodson actually dropping the champion in the second round. But as the fight continued to wear on the champion seemed to get stronger and ran away for an eventual decision victory.

#7 – Ultimate Fighting Championship: UFC Fight Night 33 – Heavyweight Bout: Mark Hunt vs. Antonio Silva – December 6, 2013

Are we sensing a theme yet? For a division not known for having a number of highly exciting fighters, Mark Hunt fights simply deliver. Win or lose, Mark Hunt puts on exciting fights, as he makes his third appearance on this top 20. This bout has recently come under a bit of scrutiny as Antonio Silva has since tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone from this contest, but the results remain impressive and the fight remains highly entertaining. Despite this being a slugfest between two men who weigh well over 250 pounds and possess fight ending knockout power in both their hands and feet, this contest managed to turn into a 25-minute brawl that no one knew either man had in them. Bloody, highly violent and highly sloppy at times, this is a fight that you can’t help but love.

#6 – Ultimate Fighting Championship: The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale – Women’s Bantamweight Bout: Cat Zingano vs. Miesha Tate – April 13, 2013

If there’s another trend that this list seems to indicate it’s that exciting fights aren’t just for the men. The women of MMA have provided a number of highly entertaining bouts throughout the year, but this may be the most exciting of them all. This fight had it all. Technical striking exchanges, a few wild and sloppy striking exchanges and a number of impressive mat transitions. Tate used her grappling skills in the first round to control the action on the ground, using a steady stream of elbows and ground and pound to swarm her opponent. In the second it was more of the same, although Zingano showed a few signs of life. In the third, likely down two rounds to none and needing a stoppage for the victory, Zingano came out on fire. Pressuring Tate against the cage, Zingano delivered a number of brutal knee strikes that battered and bloodied Tate, before eventually earning her the stoppage and a comeback victory.

#5 – Ultimate Fighting Championship: UFC 166 – Lightweight Bout: Gilbert Melendez vs. Diego Sanchez – October 19, 2013

Despite being two highly talented and technical Lightweight fighters, these two men seemed to disregard that for one night to engage in a brawl for the ages at UFC 166. This was one of the bloodiest bouts of the year, as Melendez left a cut on Sanchez’s face that probably still hasn’t completely healed. Melendez looked like the more technically refined striker and won a number of the striking exchanges, but even battered and bloodied, Sanchez never backed down. In the end Melendez took a hard fought decision victory in a bout that Joe Rogan called the “best he’d seen in all of his years of calling fights.”

#4 – Ultimate Fighting Championship: UFC 157 – Featherweight Bout: Dennis Bermudez vs. Matt Grice – February 23, 2013

Despite being billed as a contest between two fighters with wrestling heavy styles, this fight ended up being highly entertaining and action packed. In the first round each man found a number of offensive openings, but Grice had the best of the round when he dropped Bermudez with a short left hook that dropped Bermudez. In the second round Grice continued to push forward and pressure Bermudez with big shots, but also ate a number of big punches, including one that bloodied his forehead. In the third round Bermudez came out firing on all cylinders. He dropped Grice with an uppercut and continued his assault with ground and pound. When Grice was finally able to regain his footing, Bermudez continued to swarm him against the fence, not allowing Grice to get free. In the final 45 seconds both men continued to just swing punches at one another searching for a stoppage that never came. In the end Bermudez took a hotly contested Split Decision victory.

#3 – Ultimate Fighting Championship: UFC 158 – Welterweight Bout: Johny Hendricks vs. Carlos Condit – March 16, 2013

On his way to a Welterweight title shot, Hendricks had to clear a very tough hurdle in the form of former UFC title challenger Carlos Condit. This fight had everything that a good MMA fight should have highly technical and fast paced striking exchanges, fast and furious grappling and a number of close calls. Hendricks landed a number of big punches early, but Condit showed a strong chin and was able to withstand them. Hendricks used his wrestling well in the early rounds of the bout, following up big punches with takedown attempts, which Condit struggled to fend off. Condit as always, was highly active from his back and attempted a number of submissions, but Hendricks controlled from the top and was able to defend well. In the second round Condit nailed a huge flying knee that many thought might swing the tide, but Hendricks was able to eat the shot and continue fighting. In the third round, Hendricks slowed and Condit attempted to mount his comeback. Condit threw everything he had at Hendricks, but couldn’t earn a stoppage and couldn’t do enough to sway the judge’s decision and dropped the decision to Hendricks who parlayed the win to a shot at GSP’s Welterweight title.

#2 – Ultimate Fighting Championship: UFC 165 – Light Heavyweight Championship Bout: Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson – September 21, 2013

Immediately after this fight was over, Twitter was abuzz and calling this the best fight in the history of the UFC’s Light Heavyweight division and one of the best fights in MMA history. While some of that might be hyperbole, the fact remains that this was a highly entertaining scrap and definitely has its place as one of the most entertaining fights of the year. I had a hard time ranking this fight against the eventual first place on this list, and would consider them more of a 1A and 1B. Still I wouldn’t be doing this fight justice to describe it in detail, it is something that needs to be watched in full to be truly appreciated. Alexander Gustafsson gave Champion Jon Jones everything he could handle and more in the fight and the result was a highly entertaining scrap that must be seen.

#1 – Ultimate Fighting Championship: UFC on Fuel TV 8 – Light Heavyweight Bout: Wanderlei Silva vs. Brian Stann – March 3, 2013

During my midyear assessment of the best fights of the year, and even with another six months there hasn’t been another to surpass it. This fight is a thing of beauty for anyone who loves a good old brawl. There was little in the way of grappling or beautiful combinations, but there was a lot of punches, a lot of knockdowns and a highly entertaining scrap. One that you should find on the Internet, and watch immediately.

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UFC 168: Weidman Vs. Silva 2 Results: Weidman Wins, Silva Breaks Leg

December 29, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

If you were expecting the questions surrounding Chris Weidman’s KO win over Anderson Silva to be answered at UFC 168, well think again. Another controversial ending leaves doubts yet it is Weidman again who leaves the octagon as champion.

Silva and Weidman met at UFC 168 in what the most anticipated UFC championship rematch since Sonnen vs. Silva 2. Weidman’s win in the first fight brought more questions than answers. Was it a fluke? Has Silva regressed? Unfortunately it looks as if several of those remaining questions about Weidman’s win will remain in doubt thanks to one of the most bizarre finishes in a big fight that I can remember.

Weidman dominated the first round against Silva. Weidman rocked Silva hard with a punch while the two were clinching and wound up on top of the former champion. The replay actually showed Silva’s eyes closing for a moment. Weidman proceeded to smother Silva from the top although it was the champ who was ironically busted open at the end of the round. Silva rebounded from the hard punch and nailed Weidman with some vicious strikes from his back including a nasty elbow. At the end of the round it looked like Weidman had Silva’s number but there were still four more rounds to go.

Silva opened up the second round with some leg kicks, leg kicks which were absent from round 1. It looked like Silva was starting to finally get into a groove when the unthinkable happened. Silva’s leg snapped after Weidman checked the leg kick. Silva fell to the ground in tremendous pain as his leg lay separated in a gruesome scene. Silva’s broken leg stopped the fight and gave Weidman the win via TKO once again in round 2. The only finish that I can compare it to was a fight years ago in UFC where Corey Hill broke his leg in similar fashion. Silva left on a stretcher. That is a terrible way to go out if that was his last fight ever

Things like that happen but I can’t help feeling disappointed that we didn’t get to see a conclusion. Weidman clearly won the first round but so did Dan Henderson and Chael Sonnen only to have the Spider bounce back. That said, I’ll be the first to admit that Silva didn’t look like himself. He looked older, a little slower, and above all lost that mystique. No matter how you slice it he just wasn’t the same fighter he once was.

Vitor Belfort will be up next for Weidman. I am highly intrigued by this fight. Belfort has looked unstoppable in his recent wins. If Weidman can’t take the fight to the ground, he is going to be in trouble. Yet at the same time I get the feeling that Belfort is a sucker’s bet. He has always been the kind of fighter that looks great as a contender but chokes in the big fights. He’s earned this one but I am still not completely convinced that he can win when it counts.

One thing that has to be mentioned is that no matter how you slice it this result is not good for the UFC. In a matter of a few weeks the UFC has had Georges St-Pierre retire and Anderson Silva stretchered out after breaking his leg. It is looking like neither will compete in the UFC in 2014 or maybe ever again. That leaves Jon Jones as the company’s top star and I am sure that thrills Dana White and the Fertittas. The UFC as a brand is not nearly as strong as it was domestically as it was a few years ago. The company needs stars desperately. I would be surprised if the UFC don’t make GSP an offer to sweet to refuse at this point to return at the end of the year. The company is in big trouble.

Ronda Rousey defeated Miesha Tate via submission to an arm bar in the third round to retain her UFC championship. The atmosphere for this fight was just unbelievable. Rousey dominated Tate for most of the fight but Tate just wouldn’t go away. Tate did get the better of Rousey a few times on their feet as evident by Rousey’s swollen face. Rousey was unstoppable and took Tate down at will. Her judo was quite frankly a thing of beauty. I can’t imagine anyone stopping Rousey at this point. Her judo is just that good. Which is why I have no idea why Tate would attempt to take Rousey down throughout the fight. It may have been the worst game plan I have ever seen from a challenger in a title fight. In the end it was a Rousey arm bar that did Tate in. The post-fight saw Rousey refuse to shake Tate’s hand which resulted in the champion getting booed out of the building.

Full UFC 168 Redemption winners and results…
Chris Weidman defeated Anderson Silva via second-round TKO (injury)
Ronda Rousey defeated Miesha Tate via submission (armbar)
Travis Browne defeated Josh Barnett via first-round KO
Jim Miller defeated Fabricio Camoes via submission (armbar)
Dustin Poirier defeated Diego Brandao via first-round TKO
Uriah Hall defeated Chris Leben via first-round TKO
Michael Johnson defeated Gleison Tibau via second-round TKO
Dennis Siver defeated Manvel Gamburyan via unanimous decision
John Howard defeated Siyar Bahadurzada via unanimous decision
William Macario defeated Bobby Voelker via unanimous decision
Robbie Peralta defeated Estevan Payan via third-round KO

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UFC 168 Weidman Vs. Silva 2 Predictions and Preview

December 27, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

When it comes to the numerous UFC events held during the 2013 year; it’ll be 31 by the time this card rolls around, the promotion is definitely saving one of the best for last. To cap a highly active and highly entertaining 20th anniversary year of UFC action, the UFC has a card featuring two massive title fight rematches. In the main event of the evening the legendary Anderson “The Spider” Silva looks to reclaim his place at the top of the Middleweight division when he battles undefeated incumbent champion Chris Weidman. The co-main event of the evening features a long brewing grudge match between the two coaches from the most recent season of The Ultimate Fighter as Miesha Tate challenges “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey for her Women’s Bantamweight title.

From the fight capital of the world UFC 168 takes place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on December 28, 2013. With a top-loaded card the rest of the bouts may be somewhat lacking in big name value, but the card remains loaded with a number of intriguing bouts with plenty of potential for fireworks. In other main card action Heavyweights Josh Barnett and Travis Browne will brawl it out, Jim Miller will battle Brazilian Fabricio Camoes in a Lightweight tilt and Dustin Poirier will scrap with Diego Brandao in a Featherweight bout that has potential to take home the Fight of the Night Award.

Preliminary Card (Online): Featherweight Bout: Robbie Peralta vs. Estevan Payan

Robbie “Problems” Peralta is a 27-year-old fighter from Escondido, California. Peralta is a member of the Team Xplode MMA Gym in his hometown. Before joining the UFC he fought for a number of big time MMA promotions including Gladiator Challenge and Strikeforce. He holds a professional MMA record of 16-4 with 1 No Contest.
Estevan “El Terrible” Payan is a 31-year-old fighter from Tempe, Arizona. He is a member of the Arizona Combat Sports Gym. He like his opponent has fought for some other notable MMA promotions, including Rage in the Cage, Strikeforce, Shark Fights and Bellator. Payan holds a professional MMA record of 14-4 with 1 No Contest.

Quick Pick: Robbie Peralta via TKO in Round Three

Preliminary Card (Online): Welterweight Bout: William Macario vs. Bobby Voelker

William “Patolino” Macario is a 22-year-old fighter from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Macario began training in Muay Thai as a teenager and at only 22 is one of the youngest fighters on the UFC’s roster. He was a cast-member of the second season of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil. He trains with the Pejor Fight Team in Rio de Janeiro. He holds a pro record of 6-1 with his lone pro loss coming in the finale of the Ultimate Fighter.

“Vicious” Bobby Voelker is a 34-year-old fighter from Kansas City, Kansas. He is an MMA veteran with over 30 professional fights in a number of promotions including Strikeforce, Titan FC and M-1 Challenge before making his way to the UFC. He is a member of Finney’s MMA Gym and holds a professional record of 24-10, with most victories coming by KO or TKO.

Quick Pick: William Macario via Submission in Round Two

Preliminary Card (Fox Sports 1): Welterweight Bout: John Howard vs. Siyar Bahadurzada

John “Doomsday” Howard is a 30-year-old fighter from Boston, Massachusetts. Howard has fought at both Middleweight and Welterweight in the UFC, and recently made his UFC return as an injury replacement where he defeated highly touted Uriah Hall via Split Decision. He is a member of the Wai Kru MMA Gym in Boston and holds a professional MMA record of 21-8.

Siyar “The Great” Bahadurzada is a 29-year-old fighter from Kabul, Afghanistan. Before joining the UFC he was a prominent fighter in the Asian MMA scene where he fought for Shooto and World Victory Road. Bahadurzada is a prominent striker who trains with Golden Glory in the Netherlands, but also with the Blackzillians in Boca Raton, Florida. He holds a professional record of 21-5-1.

Quick Pick: Siyar Bahadurzada via TKO in Round Two

Preliminary Card (Fox Sports 1): Featherweight Bout: Dennis Siver vs. Manvel Gamburyan

Dennis “The Menace” Siver is a 34-year-old fighter from Omsk, Russia in the former Soviet Union. Siver is a tough, well-rounded fighter who has reinvigorated his career since dropping to 145-pounds. Siver has a background in Tae-Kwan-Do and Judo as well as holding a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He trains with the MMA-Spirit Gym in Mannheim, Germany. Siver’s professional record stands at 21-9.

Manvel “The Anvil” Gamburyan is a 32-year-old fighter from Gyumri, Armenia, but currently living in Hollywood, California. Gamburyan was a cast member on the fifth season of The Ultimate Fighter and is notable for his Judo background. Gamburyan is a member of the Glendale Fighting Club in North Hollywood. Gamburyan holds black belts in both Judo and Kyokushin karate. His professional record is 13-7.

Quick Pick: Dennis Siver via Unanimous Decision.

Preliminary Card (Fox Sports 1): Lightweight Bout: Gleison Tibau vs. Michael Johnson

Gleison Tibau is a 30-year-old fighter from Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil. The Brazilian now resides and trains in the United States, training with the American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida. He is known as a mainstay in the UFC’s Lightweight division and for his massive frame, often cited as being one of the largest fighters in the 155-pound division. He holds a career record of 28-9.

Michael “The Menace” Johnson is a 27-year-old fighter from St. Louis, Missouri. He is a member of the Blackzillians, training at the Jaco Hybrid Training Center in Boca Raton, Florida. Johnson is perhaps best known as his stint on the twelfth season of The Ultimate Fighter. He currently holds a professional record of 13-8 and is riding high after an impressive victory over Joe Lauzon UFC Fight Night 26.

Quick Pick: Michael Johnson via Unanimous Decision

Preliminary Card (Fox Sports 1): Middleweight Bout: Chris Leben vs. Uriah Hall

Chris “The Crippler” Leben is a 33-year-old fighter from Portland, Oregon. One of the longest serving members of the UFC’s Middleweight division, he is a fan favorite from the first season of The Ultimate Fighter. He is a member of the Alliance MMA Gym in Chula Vista, California who is best known for his strong chin and his propensity to brawl. He holds a professional MMA record of 22-10.

Uriah “Prime Time” Hall is a 29-year-old fighter from Spanish Town, Jamaica. He is best known as the runner-up on the seventeenth season of The Ultimate Fighter, where he delivered one of the show’s most memorable knockouts with a spinning wheel kick. He is a member of the Reign Training Center training under coach Mark Munoz. He holds a professional MMA record of 7-4.

Quick Pick: Chris Leben via Split Decision

Main Card (Pay Per View): Featherweight Bout: Dustin Poirier vs. Diego Brandao

Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier is a 24-year-old fighter from Lafayette, Louisiana. Poirier is a member of the American Top Team Gym located in Louisiana, but also travels to their home base in Florida. Poirier is a talented grappler who holds a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He’s a highly entertaining fighter who is extremely well-rounded and has strong cardio. He holds a professional fight record of 14-3.

Diego “DB” Brandao is a 26-year-old fighter from Fortaleza, Brazil. Brandao is an extremely tough fighter who is best known as a cast member and the eventual winner of the fourteenth season of The Ultimate Fighter. He is a well-rounded fighter with strong grappling and Muay Thai credentials. He trains with Greg Jackson’s Submission Fighting Gym in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His professional MMA record stands at 18-8.

Quick Pick: Dustin Poirier via Unanimous Decision

Main Card (Pay Per View): Lightweight Bout: Jim Miller vs. Fabricio Camoes

Jim Miller is a 30-year-old fighter from Sparta Township, New Jersey. He has long been considered a top 10 Lightweight in the UFC’s stacked 155-pound division. He is one half of the fighting Miller brothers, as his older brother Dan is also a UFC fighter. Miller is a well-rounded fighter with a grinding style of ground based fighting. He is a former NCAA Division 1 Wrestler and also holds a black belt in BJJ. He trains with the AMA Fight Club in New Jersey. His MMA record is 22-4 with 1 No Contest.

Fabricio “Morango” Camoes is a 35-year-old fighter from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He is a top level grappler, being a 3rd degree black belt under Gracie family member Royler Gracie. Camoes represents Team Nogueira, but also splits time with his home gym of Gracie Humaita in San Diego, California. Despite a history in the UFC, he is likely taking on the toughest fight of his career against Miller. His current MMA record is 14-7-1.

Quick Pick: Jim Miller via Unanimous Decision

Main Card (Pay Per View): Heavyweight Bout: Josh Barnett vs. Travis Browne

Josh “The Warmaster/The Baby-Faced Assassin”” Barnett is a 36-year-old fighter from Seattle, Washington. A veteran of MMA he is one of the sport’s Heavyweight pioneers, earning early success in the UFC before leaving the promotion early in his career. He has held numerous MMA titles including the UFC Heavyweight Championship, The King of Pancrase Openweight Championship and was a finalist in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix. He trains out of the CSW Catch Wrestling Gym in Fullerton, California. He holds a professional resume of nearly 40 fights, holding a record of 33-6.

Travis “Hapa” Browne is a 31-year-old fighter from Oahu, Hawaii. He is a massive Heavyweight, standing at 6’7” tall and weighing nearly 250 pounds. Browne is a veteran of many notable MMA promotions such as Bellator, Gladiator Fighting Challenge and King of the Cage before making his UFC debut. Browne is a member of Greg Jackson’s Camp in New Mexico. He holds a nearly perfect pro record of 15-1-1.

Quick Pick: Josh Barnett via Unanimous Decision

Main Card (Pay Per View): Women’s Bantamweight Championship Bout: Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate

“Rowdy” Ronda Rousey is a 26-year-old fighter from Riverside County, California. Rousey is a former Olympic judoka, and often uses her judo and grappling skills in her fights. She is a student of “Judo” Gene Lebell and was the first American women to win a medal in Olympic judo competition. Her MMA career has been filled with success as she is the reigning and defending UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion and was a former Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Champion. Rousey trains with the Glendale Fighting Club in Santa Monica, California but is also known to train with the Cesar Gracie Fight Team and the Diaz brothers in Stockton. She holds a perfect professional record of 7-0 with 7 victories via armbar submission in Round One.

Miesha “Cupcake” Tate is a 27-year-old fighter from Tacoma, Washington. Tate is a former Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Champion and a FILA Grappling medalist. Tate is best known for her highly publicized feud and rivalry with Ronda Rousey and the two are fighting after a full season serving as opposing coaches on The Ultimate Fighter. Tate is a well-rounded fighter but does her best work on the mat. She is a member of the Team Alpha Male Gym where she trains daily with top fighters like Urijah Faber, Chad Mendes and her boyfriend Bryan Caraway. She holds a professional MMA record of 13-4.

Quick Pick: Ronda Rousey via Submission in Round Two

Main Card (Pay Per View): Middleweight Championship Bout: Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva

Chris “The All-American” Weidman is a 29-year-old fighter from Baldwin, New York. Weidman is a former NCAA Division1 Wrestler from Hofstra University where he was a two-time Division 1 All-American. Despite being 29-years-old he is fairly new to the MMA game, but is one of the new-breed of fighters who excels in all areas of the fight game and is incredibly tough to game plan for. He holds a brown belt in BJJ but is also complimented as being one of the toughest natural grapplers on the planet in submission fighting. Weidman is the reigning and defending UFC Middleweight Champion, having won his title from long-dominating former champion Anderson Silva. Weidman is a representative of the Serra-Longo Fight Team in Garden City, New York who holds a perfect professional record of 10-0.

Anderson “The Spider” Silva is 38-year-old fighter from Sao Paulo, Brazil. Silva is a former UFC Middleweight Champion, who dominated the division with 16 consecutive victories and ten straight title defenses before losing to Weidman earlier in 2013. Silva is a dynamic striker with extremely creative Muay Thai skills influenced heavily by a background in Capoeira. Despite his lethal striking skills, he also possesses strong grappling skills and is underrated as a ground fighter. Silva holds a number of accolades in martial arts, including black belts in BJJ, Judo and Tae Kwan Do. Silva is a member of the Black House Gym fighting and training out of Curitiba, Brazil. He holds a professional MMA record of 33-5.

Quick Pick: Chris Weidman via Submission in Round Four

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Brock Lesnar Returning To UFC? Rumors Swirling

December 26, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Would you like to see Brock Lesnar back in the UFC? UFC president Dana White probably would and he may get a late Christmas present according to some of the hottest rumors in the world of MMA and pro wrestling.

Rumors have been heating up over the last few weeks regarding the former UFC champion. Rumors are flying that Lesnar may be returning to the UFC. Dana White was asked about Lesnar appearing at UFC 168 and stirred things up a little more when he offered a vague “I don’t know” with a smile. The big story here is that White did not deny it. Is something up? Well…it depends upon who you ask.

Dave Meltzer is the leading journalist in my mind when it comes to the crossover reporting of pro wrestling and MMA. I don’t think there is anyone as connected to both worlds as he is. Meltzer was asked about the rumors on Twitter and believes this is nothing more than a business move from Lesnar’s camp.

“Timing is perfect for a new contract negotiation.” – @davemeltzerWON

The rumors started heating up on the MMA forum the MMA Underground. You can read into them what you will. Before you dismiss it as just some Internet message board, the Underground has been on top of many stories over the years in MMA before they were reported elsewhere. As a matter of a fact, the board was the first to break the story about Lesnar pulling out of his match with JDS.

The other thing to keep in mind here is that the UFC is entering some dangerous territory in 2014. The company has announced more cards that at any other time in Zuffa history with less superstar headliners than at any other time in Zuffa’s history. Dana White promised super fights late last year that were never delivered. White and the UFC stirring the pot could all be a diversion to what is looking like an extremely difficult year ahead for the company.

It is also important to keep in mind that Brock is under contract through WrestleMania 31. Brock signed a two-year extension last year with the WWE. Vince McMahon would have to give Brock permission to fight in the UFC before his contract expires. I don’t see it happening. For starters Dana White wouldn’t give Brock permission to wrestle for Vince a few years ago when Brock was under a UFC deal.

But maybe he does? I have seen some people say that Vince would never let one of his top guys go to the UFC to get beat up. Pro wrestling is a work and it isn’t as if Brock has not done any jobs. Maybe Vince does let him go and works out some kind of cross-promotional deal with the UFC? I doubt it but if you look back at Vince’s history it certainly isn’t as out of the question as some would lead you to believe.

What is my take? I don’t think Brock ever fights in the UFC again. Brock could make more in one fight with the right guy in the UFC than he could wrestling three times a year in the WWE. I just don’t think Brock can physically fight anymore due to his battles with diverticulitis. Why wouldn’t he be fighting now if he could? I think these rumors are all just negotiating ploys from Lesnar’s camp as Meltzer speculates.

I also don’t think the landscape is right for Lesnar. Lesnar is a true draw but he needs a good opponent to maximize his value. Who in the UFC heavyweight division is that guy? It is easy to say Frank Mir but at this point I don’t think anyone is buying that fight. There aren’t any Fedors, Coutures, or even Shane Carwins out there to draw the big money with.

You are kidding yourself if you don’t think the UFC would take him back in a second. Brock is the biggest draw in UFC history. The UFC are days away from UFC 168 and facing the reality that the biggest card in years probably won’t even break one million buys. I don’t blame the UFC for wishful thinking but I’d be shocked to see it happen in 2014 or ever.

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UFC 170 Main-Event Makes No Sense

December 17, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

The UFC is gearing up for 2014 with at least one lackluster main-event. The UFC 170 headliner has been confirmed and it will feature a battle of light heavyweights. Unfortunately it is one of the strangest fights the UFC has put together in awhile.

Rashad Evans will fight Daniel Cormier in the UFC 170 main-event in a light heavyweight fight. Cormier will make his debut at 205 in this fight. The fight is odd for a few reasons. The most prevelant being that the UFC is taking a huge gamble here with Cormier with little payoff in the interim.

The UFC has nothing for Jon Jones after an Alexander Gustaffson rematch and that is not guaranteed. While hot shotting Daniel Cormier to the front of the light heavyweight line makes little sense, a winnable fight to get there is logical. Rashad Evans in a five-round fight is probably the least winnable fight for Cormier to take in his 205 debut.

The UFC headlining with this also makes little sense to me. Evans is not a draw. Fans respect him but don’t want to pay money to watch him in the headline fight. His style of fight is not a big secret and after eight years fans know what they are going to get. The last time the UFC tried to headline with Evans, he and Dan Henderson drew the lowest buyrate of the year. To put it into perspective, The Korean Zombie vs. Jose Aldo reportedly outdrew Henderson vs. Evans.

What if Evans wins? I am already predicting a win here for the former light heavyweight champion. Cormier may be bigger but Evans has far superior conditioning to outlast Cormier in five-rounds. Theoretically Evans should go to the front of the line with his third straight win. Which begs the question, who in the world wants to see another Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans fight? I certainly don’t.

So what is the payoff here? I could see putting the fight together and mortgaging the Cormier-Jones fight if this was some kind of a big draw. It’s not. While Cormier has dominated since entering the UFC, he hasn’t had any exciting fights. How in the world could the UFC rationalize putting this on as a pay per view headliner?

I’ll dig a little deeper here for a conspiracy. The UFC wants Cormier to stay at heavyweight. Cormier has no interest in fighting the champion so he is moving to 205. What does Cormier do if he loses? I think the UFC are banking on Cormier losing and moving back to heavyweight. Friend or not, is Cormier going to stay in a division and damage his marketability or go back to a division in which he is undefeated? At that point the UFC are thinking that Cormier goes back to heavyweight and Velasquez has a much-needed new opponent past Fabricio Werdum or Barnett/Browne.

The conspiracy sounds ridiculous, I get it. Why would the UFC take a bath on a pay per view just to get Cormier back to heavyweight? Maybe they think that what he would draw with Velasquez will more than make up the loss?

That’s the only explanation I got.

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