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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Rousey Vs. Santos Fell Apart Due To Money

May 09, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

Cristiane Cyborg vs. Ronda Rousey is the fight that won’t go away. The biggest WMMA fight that the UFC could make has taken on a life of its own. While fans were always led to believe that weight kept these two apart a new report claims that the real issue was the money.

Mike Chiapetta at breaks down the timeline of events that led to the monster grudge fight slipping through the UFC’s fingers. For months we were always told that Cyborg couldn’t get down to 135 and Rousey would not move up five pounds. However at the end of the day it appears that money once again is the root of the problem.

Chiapetta talked to one of the sparring partners from Cyborg’s management team, George Prajin. Prajin told Chiapetta , “They were compensating Ronda like she was the only attraction of the fight.” The money and promotion Rousey would have received was much bigger than Santos and while weight was always an issue, there was a belief that for the right price Cyborg would make 135.

Chiapetta also reports that Cyborg’s contract was the other issue. Santos already had a contract with Zuffa, specifically fights remaining on her Strikeforce deal. The story reports that Cyborg made $66,000 on her last fight. Both sides were willing to renegotiate but the UFC wanted an eight-fight deal while Cyborg’s camp did not want her committed to the UFC at 135 pounds for more than three fights.

“Basically, her fighting at 135 is handicapping her,” said Prajin. “We were willing to do that, and cut down and go work with Mike and get to 135 to do the fight because Cris wanted to fight Ronda. However, when they said we had to do it for eight fights? She doesn’t want to do the cut eight times when all she wants to do is fight Ronda and beat Ronda. After Ronda, there is really nothing left for her.”

What is good news here in the story is that this fight is a long way away from dead. According to the story, Cyborg’s deal with Invicta gives her an out-clause after her second fight. The idea behind this was to open up negotiations with the UFC at this point, should Cyborg remain undefeated. The other interesting nugget here was that according to the story, Cyborg’s deal with Invicta is paying her more than the UFC deal.

That could answer the question as to why she went there in the first place. The UFC and Invicta had an arrangement on the table wherein the company would farm Cyborg out to Invicta while she was under a UFC contract. Most wondered at the time why she would not remain with UFC and fight in Invicta as opposed to leaving the UFC altogether to get to the same place. If this is true, that would make sense.

It is hard to say who has the leverage here. The UFC did better than expected numbers for Rousey’s debut against Liz Carmouche and Rousey has been a media darling ever since. Rousey will get a ton of exposure off of the next The Ultimate Fighter but as UFC 159 showed, a great season of TUF doesn’t necessarily mean a blockbuster buyrate.

What is interesting to me about all of this is that the UFC were ready to go with this fight for Rousey’s debut. The UFC has a ton of stock invested into Rousey and that could have taken a nose dive if Cyborg won or even worse destroyed her. In a sense, this is almost playing out like a Rocky vs. Clubber Lang story. At some point if these two women stay undefeated you’d think that this fight just has to be made.

It is becoming clear that the UFC has a lot of trouble closing the deal on super fights. The fighters know that they have the leverage and most demand outrageous money for these fights. I can’t imagine that Cyborg was making any outrageous demands but the fact that the UFC would let five fights on a contract stop this fight from being made is just ridiculous, and to be fair I am sure there was more involved. Yet at the end of the day this is just another super fight hanging out there that the UFC can’t close and that is really all anyone cares about.

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What If Ronda Rousey Loses At UFC 157?

February 23, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

The UFC has never invested more in a fighter than they have in Ronda Rousey and with good reason. Rousey has gotten the company more publicity in a shorter time than any fighter in UFC history. However, will it be all for nothing if Liz Carmouche can pull off the upset at UFC 157?

I will be the first one to admit that I don’t get the fascination with Rousey whatsoever. It isn’t as if Rousey is either the best or prettiest fighter to come along in WMMA. Yet for whatever reason the media have swarmed to Rousey and turned into the biggest star in the UFC. This is all great if Rousey lives up to the billing but what happens if this all comes crashing down quicker than you can say Cyborg?

A desperate fighter is a dangerous fighter and Liz Carmouche is a desperate fighter. Carmouche still holds down a part time job and doesn’t have the financial security that Rousey has. This is truly a Rocky story and if Carmouche can pull off the upset, her life would greatly change. But can she do it? You better believe she can.

What has Rousey proven? Rousey’s biggest win came over Miesha Tate and an impressive win it was. But we aren’t talking about an unstoppable machine are we? We are talking about a woman who thus far has proven to be a one-trick pony. I am not saying she doesn’t have more tricks up her sleeve, but thus far I have only seen one. One thing MMA history has shown me over the last two decades is that you can only get so far on one trick. Is UFC 157 the finale?

I believe the key to beating Rousey is to bring the attack to her. She has dominated offensively with her impressive judo skills and throws but what would happen if Carmouche turns it into a slugfest? Carmouche has only gone to two decisions in her entire MMA career. Five of her wins have come from TKO or KO. This is not a woman you want to underestimate. She is just as capable of landing a lucky punch as Emmanuel Newton.

I have also read a lot of people mock Carmouche’s record. “Who has she beaten?” Who in the world has Ronda Rousey beaten? Miesha Tate and Sarah Kaufman aren’t slouches, but it isn’t as if she went in there and beat Anderson Silva. Sure she has fought and won against better competition, but we are talking about a woman who has only fought top competition twice. I don’t think that makes her unbeatable.

So what if after all of this publicity Rousey loses to a fighter she is heavily favored to beat? Unfortunately the problem with Rousey is she has been shoved down the UFC fans’ throats so hard that there are plenty of people waiting for her to lose. In that case a loss could be a good thing. It makes her human. On the other hand you could have the backfire of Rousey being considered all hype and no substance which is something that is very hard to fight back from.

One problem is the yellow elephant in the room and that Cyborg. Nobody in the UFC would ever say it but the big payoff with Rousey is the eventual Cyborg vs. Rousey fight. That fight loses a lot of appeal if either one of the two loses before it happens. Quite honestly I don’t even know if it happens if one if them loses before then. Every UFC superstar needs a rivalry and this is one that will put more money in UFC’s pockets than any WMMA fight possible. A loss to Carmouche could greatly impact that fight from ever even happening.

The biggest problem I have here is that the UFC has put all of their eggs into one basket. Without Rousey there would be no WMMA in the UFC. If she is tarnished, what happens to the rest of the fighters? Would the UFC ever get this kind of media attention ever again for a WMMA fight? Would Dana White just completely give up on it altogether? These are all questions that nobody can answer.

As a sports fan I can tell you that there is more money in the rematch when it comes to upsets. Those fans that were turned off by the overexposure of Rousey may now find her a sympathetic character and get behind her as a challenger. She certainly loses her mystique but that is something she could get back with a convincing win, showing WMMA fans that the loss was merely an upset.

Or it can all blow up in everyone’s faces.

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Cyborg Santos Says No Rousey, No UFC

February 11, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, Videos

Cristiane Cyborg Santos is done dancing. If the Ultimate Fighting Championship and Dana White aren’t willing to meet her halfway on her demands for a catchweight fight with champion Ronda Rousey, she would rather fight somewhere else.

UFC Hall of Fame fighter and manager of Santos, Tito Ortiz broke the news on a recent edition of Inside MMA on Axis TV. Ortiz told Bas and Kenny that Santos is done playing games and if the UFC won’t meet her halfway at a 140 pound catchweight fight with Ronda Rousey, she wants to be released from her contract with Zuffa.

“Right now, we’re actually waiting for the UFC to release her,” Ortiz said. “We asked for them to release her, and Dana actually talked to me (Thursday). They gave an offer, and I went to Cyborg and she didn’t want to do it, so we asked for her release. Since they’re not having a 145-pound weight class, what else can they do?

Dana White confirmed that the UFC did have Santos under contract and owed her fights from her Strikeforce deal. Santos has been suspended since December 2011 for failing a PED test. Santos, Rousey, and White have been publicly negotiating the WMMA Superfight for the last few months. White and Rousey have been adamant that Santos must come down to 135 for the fight where Santos asked to meet in the middle at 140. Neither side appeared to budge so at this point Ortiz and Santos are ready to fight elsewhere.

I have written a lot on this story and to this day I really don’t understand the UFC and White’s position. I get it. Santos cheated and got busted for a PED. But, his stance on Santos has been different than any other fighter that has ever failed a drug test. Nick Diaz will be challenging for the title coming off of a loss and a failed drug test in several weeks. White’s support of Rousey not wanting to come up a mere five pounds for a fight that will do more for WMMA than any fight (other than a Rousey vs. Carano fight which won’t happen) is just simply mind boggling.

The interesting piece to this story is that Ortiz revealed that the UFC planned to farm Cyborg out to Invicta Fighting Championships and not even book her in the UFC since they only have a 135-pound division. I found that fascinating. Is there something going on behind the scenes with Invicta and the UFC? It would make perfect sense the UFC have only one WMMA fight booked right now and only a handful of other fighters under contract.

What this also shows me is that the UFC have no idea what they are going to be doing with their women’s division. Dana had some kind of a weird obsession with Rousey and had to get her in the UFC with no kind of sound plan. What happens if Rousey loses at UFC 157? What happens if the show is a flop? Who is next if she wins or loses? I think the best idea here would have been some kind of a 4 girl tournament to create some other stars and other matchups while buying time for Santos and Rousey to come together. That didn’t happen and right now the UFC has a one star and the only drawing opponent ready to walk.

The public seems to have taken Rousey and the UFC’s side in all of this. I am a bit surprised, especially since everyone including White blasted Jon Jones for running from a fight with Sonnen back at UFC 151. To me this is another case of the UFC failing to sign an obvious money making superfight which has become a real big problem if you ask me with Zuffa.

How a UFC champion can get away with running her mouth and yet balking at a fight over five pounds is something I’ll never understand. At this rate my money is on Invicta has a better shot of getting the fight done if Rousey and WMMA can’t cut it in the UFC.

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Dana White Is Scared Of Cyborg Vs. Rousey

February 01, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

Dana White has never been one to mince words. If there is one thing that the UFC prez has always hated it’s fighters that run away from fights. Which is why his support of Ronda Rousey not fighting Cyborg Santos is incredibly odd to say the least.

The UFC 135 pound women’s champion has been very vocal about her dislike for Cristiane Cyborg Santos. Rousey has regularly mocked the former Strikeforce champion over the last several months in interviews and social media. Yet as tough of a game as she talks, she sure doesn’t seem interested in fighting her.

Rousey will tell you that she will fight Santos and then follow it up with a non negotiable demand to fight at 135 pounds. Santos has repeatedly said she’d fight Rousey in a second, but she can’t come down to 135. Santos claims to walk around at 160, 170, and coming down to 135 will be dangerous to her health. As a compromise, Cyborg has offered to fight at 140. Rousey won’t budge.

I can’t recall a similar situation ever under Dana White’s watch where he didn’t publicly ridicule the fighter for not compromising. Heck, White criticized his own champion at every turn last year for turning down a fight, always telling fans that champions shouldn’t turn down fights. Which is why White’s support of Rousey refusing to come up five pounds for the fight is just outright perplexing.

White is now playing psychological games with Cyborg. White is now telling the MMA media that Cyborg is scared to fight Rousey, which is why she won’t come down to 135. I didn’t realize he was getting into stand up comedy.

“[Bantamweight] is the only division we have,” White said. “It’s been real interesting. You know, I’ve been in the fight game since I was 19 years old and I’ve been doing this for 15 years and what I get out of this deal with Cyborg is that she wants nothing to do with Ronda Rousey. She does not want to fight Ronda Rousey.”

All of the sudden the UFC are afraid of promoting catchweight fights? White has been begging Anderson Silva to fight Jon Jones and GSP to fight Anderson at catchweights. But all of the sudden a division that crowned its champion without even a fight has so much integrity that his champion can’t come up five pounds for a fight that would be the biggest WMMA fight of all time? This is just getting ridiculous.

It is hard to feel sorry for Cyborg. She got busted for PEDs and many feel that even though she got busted last year, she may have been using them longer. “Those poor girls” are what I have heard from fans and some journalists regarding Santos’ opponents after Santos was busted. Unfortunately for Santos, his past indiscretions have cost a lot of support she’d probably have in this common situation.

Cyborg continues to say that coming down that much would be too unhealthy. Santos says she wants to have kids some day and that cutting that much could prevent that from happening. Again, she loses sympathy when you consider the fact that she failed a PED test. Is taking a PED healthy if you plan to have children in your future?

Let’s call a spade a spade here. Dana White is the one scared to death of seeing this fight happen. I think he knows as do I that Cyborg would obliterate Rousey, destroying one of the biggest stars he thinks he has. How can you market the greatest woman’s fighter of all-time after she got brutalized? You can’t and without her the division is not nearly as marketable. The irony here is that as much money as the UFC stands to make by a Rousey vs. Santos fight, they could lose more if Rousey is the star they think she is.

Dana later said, “If I know Rhonda, she probably would anyway. If (Cyborg) wants to fight for a title, she’s gotta go to 135 pounds. The fight at 140 would be a fan fight because everybody wants to see it, but it’s not one of those fights that makes sense.” All I have ever heard from Ronda was say that she wouldn’t go up for the fight. If she really wanted to fight Cyborg all she’d have to do is say yes.

One point I heard someone make was to have Cyborg accept the fight at 135 knowing she can’t get down to fight weight. What would the UFC do if Santos showed up at the weigh-in five pounds over her weight? Would Rousey really refuse the fight at that point? Could Dana White really allow that to happen? It is an interesting idea and I’d really be curious to see how it would play out.

At this point I think the UFC, Dana White, and Ronda Rousey just look foolish. Continuing to call another fighter, yet ducking the fight over five pounds (especially when Rousey has fought heavier) makes Rousey look like a paper champion.

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10 Most Anticipated UFC 2013 Fights

January 09, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

2012 will go down as a mixed year in the UFC. Unable to deliver the big super fights, the UFC will attempt to rebound in 2013 with several highly anticipated fights both scheduled and in planning.

If there was one disappointment with the UFC in 2012 it was the inability to pull off big fights. Even realistic super fights in division like Georges St-Pierre vs. Nick Diaz failed to materialize for a variety of reasons. With an all-star roster on deck featuring new fighters from Strikeforce, the UFC has the potential to blow away 2012 with several big fights this year. Now whether the UFC can pull these off or not is another story altogether.

I sat down with the idea of writing about the 10 most anticipated UFC fights of 2013. Unfortunately I had a rough time coming up with anything past five. It isn’t as if the big fights aren’t available, it just appears that the biggest ones aren’t close to taking place. So in order to get to ten, I had to throw a lot of hypothetical matchups into the mix. I tried keeping it realistic and staying away from fights like GSP vs. Silva which while gigantic, doesn’t appear to be taking place in 2013. Of course the UFC is always full of surprises but on the first week of January, here is a look at what I think are the 10 most anticipated fights both signed and likely to happen in the next twelve months.

Georges St-Pierre vs. Nick Diaz UFC 158 – This one is signed but is far away from being sealed, and further away from being delivered. Diaz is still unlicensed so until he appears before the NSAC to get reinstated, this fight is far from a lock. However, if everything comes together as planned this is undoubtedly the biggest fight on the docket in 2013 now and for the rest of the year. Grudge fights sell in the UFC and I can’t think of a bigger grudge that will be settled in 2013 than this one.

Chael Sonnen vs. Jon Jones UFC 159 – If you are a hardcore fan and have followed Sonnen and Jones over the last few months, you are probably less excited about this fight than you were when it was announced. If you are a casual fan who peeks in and out, well then you are probably just as amped. So far the “grudge” between these two has turned into a bit of a love affair. I have to think that as the fight grows closer that Sonnen will go into his usual bag of promotional tricks and start talking. Regardless you have a fight between two stars with a title on the line. That will always draw to an extent.

Anderson Silva vs. Michael Bisping/Chris Weidman TBD – Anderson’s next move is as much of a mystery as anything else in the UFC. Dana White has said that Silva would fight Bisping if he wins his next fight but when is the last time Bisping hasn’t choked in this scenario? If it isn’t Bisping than Chris Weidman looks to be the next man up for the Spider. Regardless of the opponent, Anderson will always be a draw on pay per view. Unfortunately it isn’t likely to be the two opponents that would draw him the most money in either GSP or Bones Jones.

Frankie Edgar vs. Jose Aldo UFC 156 – I am probably one of the few MMA fans incredibly psyched for this fight. I am a big fan of both and I think that this one has enormous potential to be fight of the year. Unfortunately neither are a draw on pay per view, yet I think the weak schedule puts this one at least in consideration for top 10 anticipated fights.

Cain Velasquez vs. Alistair Overeem TBD – Now is where we start diving into hypothetical fights. Have you seen Bigfoot Silva fight elite competition? He doesn’t fare so well. So I am going to presume that Overeem beats him. This one has the makings of a classic. Overeem has something that nobody else in the heavyweight division has had since Brock Lesnar left…charisma. That charisma equals money and that charisma matched up with Velasquez’s mystique will draw mega money here.

Ronda Rousey vs. Cristiane Cyborg Santos TBD – Rousey and White can scream all that they want about Cyborg having to make 135 but at the end of the day I am still of the belief that this fight happens. Dave Meltzer recently reported that negotiations are very close to making this fight happen at 135. I think you have the makings of what could be the third or fourth biggest fight of 2013 in the UFC. I hate to say it but the fate of the women’s division rests on this fight.

Georges St-Pierre vs. Johny Hendricks TBD – This one could come sooner than you think if Diaz can’t play ball in time for UFC 158. Hendricks is on an impressive winning streak in the division and by rights, should be the number one contender. Hendricks has one more hurdle to jump and I can’t imagine him stumbling at this point. Another Hendricks KO will bring some big money to this welterweight title fight. The KO artist vs. the supreme athlete is gold. Hendricks is already running his mouth about GSP. By the time this fight happens you’ll have yourself a nice grudge match. I smell a lot of green here.

Jon Jones vs. Dan Henderson TBD – I’ll continue with the hypothetical fights here and go back to the light heavyweight division. Dana White has talked about Daniel Cormier getting the next title shot but I think a Hendo win over Machida seals the deal. Henderson continues to talk trash about Jones and as fickle as Jones is, I can see him demanding a fight to shut him up. Ticket sales weren’t strong for their first scheduled fight but I think this one is different. Henderson’s streak and list of victims will be a who’s who in the division and will make him a believable contender against Jones. This division desperately needs a credible contender. Continuing the circus with Cormier will do nobody any favors. I think Henderson gets the next shot and these guys do some better than expected business.

Benson Henderson vs. Gilbert Melendez TBD – There are grumblings that this first time battle of Strikeforce vs. UFC champions will take place at the UFC on FOX 7 broadcast, although those are just rumors right now. One thing is confirmed and that is that the UFC is working hard to make this fight happen. I think Henderson has now solidified himself as one of the faces of the UFC and the idea of someone with Melendez’s pedigree and winning streak coming in to challenge him is money. Additionally, there is always added intrigue when you have a battle of champions. I know this division has struggled for attention since BJ Penn lost the title but I think Henderson brings it back to relevance in 2013.

Jon Jones vs. Glover Teixeira TBD – I’ll close out the hypothetical schedule with a fight that I think could be absolutely huge. Unfortunately Teixeira did himself no favors in his fight with Fabio Maldonado. He won but I think a bit of the mystique was off. He’ll have the chance to snatch that back when he fights on network television against Rampage Jackson. If he can brutalize Jackson as most expect, he’ll make himself a star overnight. He will look like the unstoppable killing machine getting ready to end the reign of Jones. There is major money in this fight if Teixeira gets past Rampage convincingly. Maybe they go with Teixeira vs. Henderson, Gustaffson, or Cormier in an eliminator first, but I think Teixeira gets his crack at Jones by year’s end in what turns out to be a big time fight.

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UFC Owner Rips Boxing, Yet Fails To Deliver

December 10, 2012 By: Category: Boxing, Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta was checking out the competition over the weekend when Juan Manuel Marquez KO’d Manny Pacquiao. Fertitta was quick to react to the business lesson learned yet whether the UFC actually applies this knowledge or not is a whole other story.

Outsiders looking in at the knockout heard around the world Saturday immediately noted the totality of the event. It wasn’t just a boxing knockout or a big upset. This was millions of dollars that hit the canvas with the Pac Man. The UFC owner knows all too well about these kinds of dollars when it comes to promoting fights and he quickly took to Twitter to comment on it.

Gotta strike when the iron is hot boxing!Lost manny/Floyd 4ever.#gspvssilva #silvavsbones #superfights!” – @LorenzoFertitta

This isn’t just Lorenzo’s mindset. UFC president Dana White has ripped boxing for years for failing to pull off the biggest fight of this generation between Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao. White has called out Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum on several occasions for his inability to make the fight.

“(Pacquiao) and Floyd Mayweather need to cut the bulls*** and do the fight that everybody wants to see,” said White. “If there was ever a fight in history that should be fifty-fifty split, it’s this fight. Split the money, it’s a-f***in’-hundred million dollars or two hundred million — who knows what it’s gonna be? I think it’s gonna be the biggest pay-per-view ever, probably 2.6 million buys. Shut the f*** up and fight. Split the money. Just f***ing do it. People are tired of it.”

While what White and Fertitta are saying is 100% correct, there is only one problem. The UFC hasn’t been able to pull off their own superfights in years.

It is one thing to talk big and take shots at another business for failing to capitalize on opportunity, but it is another to do it when you have even less excuses at making those same mistakes. White and Fertitta have failed to pull off megafights between fighters in their own company! It isn’t as if they had to work with another promoter in the case of Golden Boy and Bob Arum. White and Fertitta theoretically should have a much easier making these fights yet they continue to fail to do it.

Even worse than failing to make the big fight is promoting it and promising it while failing to deliver. Nobody ever gave false expectations in boxing that Pac vs. Money was going to happen. Yet you had Dana White promising that Georges St-Pierre vs. Anderson Silva would happen, even going as far as naming a date and possible place. Now here we are a month later and the fight is neither signed or even close to coming to fruition. I’d say White looks a lot worse than Bob Arum in this case.

Speaking of Silva vs. GSP, I don’t think anyone even expected the fight before the UFC started talking about. Did any UFC fan really expect GSP to move out of the division? Why would you? Yet when you have the UFC president and owner start talking about this fight as a reality, fan’s expectations change when at the end of the day GSP was never coming out of the weight class anyway. The UFC has nobody to blame but themselves for even putting this fight into the mindset of its fans.

In boxing we are only talking about one fight. In the UFC there have been a handful of huge fights that the company had a chance to sign and never pulled off. Quite frankly the only real mega fight in my mind they pulled off was the last GSP vs. BJ Penn fight. That was years ago and here we are today with more UFC cards than you can keep track of yet they are unable to make these monster fights.

Say what you will about the circumstances but the UFC failed to close the door on what would have been the biggest fight in UFC history. Brock vs. Fedor was on the table in 2009 and at the end of the day Dana White couldn’t get a deal done. He can blame the “crazy Russians” for outrageous demands all he wants, yet at the end of the day isn’t it his job to get the fight signed? He doesn’t take into account any crazy demands Mayweather or Pacquiao may be making when he criticizes boxing. Letting that fight slip away is something that I think may be his biggest blunder ever as UFC president.

How about the inter-promotional Strikeforce fights he failed to capitalize on? Nick Diaz, Dan Henderson, and Alistair Overeem all entered the UFC as Strikeforce champions. Instead of putting them immediately in with the champions, Dana got cute (although in the case of Diaz he tried). Would they have been fights on the level of Jones vs. Silva? No, but they would have had something a little more special and intriguing than the fights that the UFC had on the table at the time. He did it when Henderson came over from Pride FC and it was a big fight, yet failed to learn his own lesson.

Now that GSP vs. Silva is off the table, the UFC is left with only one real megafight. Jon Jones vs. Anderson Silva is it. I wouldn’t put Cyborg Santos vs. Ronda Rousey, GSP vs. Nick Diaz, and Alistair Overeem vs. the UFC champion in the league of Jones vs. Silva, but they are even what I’d call special fights. Currently he is 0-4 on all of them. He can run around making grand promises that Silva vs. Jones is going to happen yet anyone with a clue can look at their schedules and see that even if it does come, it won’t be happening for a long time. Maybe it could have been booked for April or May, maybe it couldn’t have, but you’ll never know since Jones was signed to fight Chael Sonnen instead.

The UFC does a lot of great things but closing the deal on the big fight is not one of them. Making matters worse is White either purposely teasing his fans or living in a world of denial when he speaks about signing them. None of them appear to be anything more than talk on message boards at the moment and in all cases the blame rests with the UFC.

Maybe Lorenzo’s tweet was meant as a wakeup call to the camps of fighters like Jones, Silva, Rousey, Santos, and GSP? Regardless, you look like a fool when you start pointing fingers and blaming your competition for something you also have failed to do with multiple chances.

That iron is cooling off faster than you know it.

Chael Sonnen: The Voice of Reason: A V.I.P. Pass to Enlightenment

Anderson Spider Silva (Em Portugues do Brasil

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Ronda Rousey Signs First UFC Fight

December 07, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

MMA fans won’t have to wait much longer to watch Ronda Rousey’s UFC debut. The newly crowned 135 pound UFC champion will have her first title defense at UFC 157. The fight will headline the February event featuring Dan Henderson vs. Lyoto Machida in support.

The UFC made the fight official on Thursday. Dana White confirmed that Rousey will defend the UFC 135lb. women’s championship against Liz Carmouche at UFC 157. The fight is not just the first signed female fight in UFC history but the first female MMA fight to headline a pay-per-view event ever! In other words, this is a historic event.

The news comes 24 hours after the UFC’s own Brazilian website listed Rousey vs. Cristiane Cyborg Santos as the headliner for UFC 157. Lines were obviously crossed somewhere as Cyborg later told reporters that while they were negotiating, she wouldn’t be ready to make 135 pounds by February. Although I would not be shocked to see Cyborg fight on this show at 145 to move the rivalry forward.

According to Rousey and White, Carmouche was not the first choice to fight Rousey. White admitted to reporters that Carmouche was the lucky or unlucky third choice to take the fight. White said that two fighters turned down the fight, Cyborg and Miesha Tate. Although both sides disputed that claim, with Tate calling it a “straight up lieon Twitter and Cyborg’s manager Tito Ortiz denied also Dana’s claims.

I found it a bit ironic that some people in the social media world were criticizing the choice of Carmouche as challenger. Some questioned whether she deserved the title shot or not. In my opinion, Rousey is a made-up champion anyway. She never beat anyone in the UFC to earn the title. The UFC should have had at least one fight to determine a champion. I know Rousey was Strikeforce champion but so were Dan Henderson, Alistair Overeem, and Nick Diaz when they came to the UFC. All I am saying is that anyone arguing over the credibility of the title is missing the big picture.

The UFC will be headlining UFC 157 with this fight. I think this is a huge gamble and a little bit of a disappointment considering that Henderson vs. Machida is underneath. I understand why, but it is a bit of a bummer not to see Hendo and Machida get five rounds. The UFC is taking a major risk here in headlining a pay per view event strictly off of Rousey’s name. This is certainly not a fight anyone is clamoring to see.

Since day one I think the UFC has played this deal all wrong with Rousey. Unless you were bringing her in to fight Santos right away, it’s got a big chance of failing. Rousey can get on talk shows but at the end of the day are fight fans going to pay $50 to watch her fight just anyone? What if the fight with her and Carmouche disappoints? Carmouche is also no joke and is very capable here of pulling off the upset and blowing up all of their plans to market Rousey.  I just think you need a deeper roster and the UFC should have at least made the division 140 pounds to open it up to more females.

I also still don’t understand why Rousey and the UFC are unwilling to move up a mere five pounds to fight Santos. There is something going on here and I can’t say I get it. Dana has no problem pressuring guys to fight outside of their weight classes when it is best for business. Asking Santos to drop ten pounds to fight Rousey while Rousey refuses to go up a mere five pounds seems a bit unfair. The whole idea that this big fight is being held up over five pounds is absurd.

I know it isn’t the popular opinion here but I see this as Rousey being afraid to fight Santos. Rousey likes to talk a lot of trash on Cyborg but at the end of the day she is unwilling to take this fight over five pounds. Her excuse is more or less principle and that if Santos wants to fight the champ that she should come down to her weight. That is all fine and good but at the end of the day she is costing herself and the UFC potentially millions of dollars over principle? Jon Jones was vilified by his peers in the MMA community for turning down a fight yet nobody says a word about this other than Cyborg’s camp? There is more to this than five pounds and the fact that the UFC backs her up on it really blows my mind. The UFC has done more to coddle this fighter than any other newly signed fighter that I can ever remember.

We’ll see what happens at UFC 157. If Rousey is not the big draw that the UFC is banking on her tune and/or Dana White’s may change pretty fast.

Chael Sonnen: The Voice of Reason: A V.I.P. Pass to Enlightenment

Anderson Spider Silva (Em Portugues do Brasil

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Rousey vs. Cyborg UFC Negotiations Underway

December 06, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

Cristiane Cyborg Santos says she is now willing to fight Ronda Rousey at 135 pounds in the UFC, giving fight fans the most anticipated fight in MMA Women’s history at some point in 2013.

MMA social media went ballistic this week when UFC’s Brazilian website advertised Rousey vs. Santos for UFC 157. The fight was later removed off of the website but as the old saying goes, where there is smoke there is fire. While the fight is still not official for 157, Santos is telling the media that negotiations are currently in progress. did a great job of tracking down the former Strikeforce champion and asking her about the advertised fight. Santos confirmed that she was in talks with the UFC. The bigger news here is that it appears the one hurdle in making the fight has been cleared. Santos has agreed to fight at 135 pounds.

In one month, I can’t do it, but if I have time, I could do it.

The problem is the timing here in regards to UFC 157. Santos told the website that she could fight on UFC 157 but couldn’t get below 145 pounds by fight time. Regardless, the big news here is that Santos is on board at 135 for the fight. Santos is currently under suspension and is free to reapply for a license on December 17.

This puts the UFC in a real interesting predicament. Do they sit Rousey long enough to allow Santos to make weight? Do they risk Rousey fighting before then? Do they sign Santos to fight at 145 before then? There is high risk-high reward for all scenarios. The best case scenario would be to have them both fight at 157, win, and set up the grudge match for later next year. Unfortunately wins are never guaranteed in MMA so that always poses a major risk to the biggest female fight that the UFC will probably ever sign.

Rousey has insisted from the start that Santos drop to 135 to fight. I am still baffled as to why the UFC has supported her on this when the company is actively trying to get Georges St-Pierre to fight Anderson Silva out of his weight class and Silva to fight Jon Jones out of his. I always assumed that in order for Rousey to get a UFC deal that she’d have to agree to fight Santos at 140. Yet that doesn’t appear to be the case at all.

There is also the Strikeforce mess that has to be worked out. Dave Meltzer reports that Rousey can’t fight in the UFC until Strikeforce is officially closed or done with Showtime. Strikeforce has a show coming up January 12 that appears to be their final show. The UFC may not be contractually allowed to sign Rousey to any fights until the Strikeforce/Showtime relationship is officially dead. That would likely keep her off of the UFC 157 event regardless of whether Cyborg could make weight or not.

There has always been a part of me that felt that Rousey is scared to fight Cyborg. Again, when a fighter says no to a fight that is guaranteed to bring them their biggest payday over five pounds I am dubious of his or her real intentions. Everyone made such a big deal of Jon Jones not fighting Chael Sonnen, yet nobody seems to care that Rousey is holding up this fight over five pounds. I am real curious to see how she reacts now that Santos has publicly said she’d meet Rousey’s 135 pound demand.

More to come I am sure.

Chael Sonnen: The Voice of Reason: A V.I.P. Pass to Enlightenment

Anderson Spider Silva (Em Portugues do Brasil

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Ronda Rousey To UFC, Strikeforce MMA Closing

November 09, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

You knew it was coming! Strikeforce MMA is closing shop. The promotion’s January event will be the last. Fighters will begin to migrate over to the UFC starting with a brand new UFC champion.

TMZ was the first to break the news (amazing with hundreds of MMA reporters on the payroll that TMZ breaks the story) on Thursday that Zuffa and Showtime will be ending their relationship which will result in the end of Strikeforce. The first casualty of this is Ronda Rousey who didn’t even need to wait to find a new job. Rousey will be entering the UFC as the new UFC 135 pound women’s champion.

Dave Meltzer provided a detailed report on his podcast. According to Meltzer the move was seen as inevitable once Steven Espinoza took over as Showtime’s VP sports programming. Espinoza is a boxing guy and Meltzer speculates that rather than replace Strikeforce with a new MMA company, Espinoza could use the freed up money for boxing.

The writing has been on the wall for over a year, so much so that many in the MMA world were shocked when Showtime renewed their deal with Zuffa last year. Things really came to a head when Showtime cancelled a second consecutive event leaving many in the MMA world speculating when, not if the deal with Strikeforce would end.

The January 12 event is already shaping up to be one of the most stacked Strikeforce events in recent memory. Daniel Cormier is scheduled to fight on the show although no opponent has been named. Gilbert Melendez is scheduled to defend the Strikeforce lightweight title against Pat Healy. Luke Rockhold will defend his title against Lorenz Larkin, while Nate Marquardt and Tarec Saffiedine will fight for the vacated middleweight title.

Skeptics are pondering whether a mysterious illness or injury to the top fighters would pull them off the show, thus saving them for an upcoming UFC event. According to Meltzer’s report most of these fighters are desperate for a pay day and will likely show up to fight. It wouldn’t shock me to see Cormier not fight and be saved for a UFC event but I would expect everyone else to show up.

Strikeforce marks yet another promotional acquisition by the UFC’s parent company which ended with the company closing for good. Previous purchases of Pride FC and WEC ended the same, although WEC had a nice run after the acquisition. For all of the praise that the UFC gets for business, these have to go down as some of the worst business decisions in company history. The fact that they haven’t been able to keep any of these companies afloat is certainly a mark on the Fertittas and Dana White’s legacies.

So what’s next post-Strikeforce? I’d guess that all of the champions move over to the UFC. I think the window has closed on any real interest in Strikeforce vs. UFC fights which is a real shame. Those could have been some big events last year. A few notable names like Josh Barnett, Frank Shamrock, and Nate Marquardt are former UFC stars that all ended their relationships with the UFC on bad terms. My hunch is that Marquardt comes back, Shamrock does not, and Barnett makes a surprise return. Dana recently revealed how he tried to sign Fedor and Brock Lesnar. He needs star depth in the heavyweight division. I think he makes a play at least for Barnett, regardless of the past.

I just don’t see any real appeal in cross promotional fights right now. Luke Rockhold vs. Anderson Silva is an interesting fight because it presents a new challenger to Silva, but it isn’t anything that will excite casual fans. Melendez vs. Ben Henderson would be fun but it is unlikely he’d fight Nate Diaz, which begs to question whether Melendez changes divisions if Diaz wins the title. Marquardt/ Saffiedine vs. Georges St-Pierre or Carlos Condit isn’t thrilling anyone either. I think they really missed the boat last year by immediately signing  Dan Henderson vs. Jon Jones, Frankie Edgar vs. Gilbert Melendez, Nick Diaz vs. Georges St-Pierre, and Alistair Overeem vs. Cain Velasquez in champion vs. champion fights. Ironically three of those fights

Meltzer also speculated that they could promote Rousey as soon as the UFC on FOX 6 show in January. He speculated that they could shoot Rousey vs. Cyborg to the main-event which would be a great way to promote the brand new women’s division in the UFC. He also pondered the idea of both coaching The Ultimate Fighter. I love that idea. The biggest problem with finding fighters for TUF these days is that anyone decent is fighting somewhere else. It would be easy to find a cast of hungry female fighters who brought the same kind of win or nothing passion to the show that the early season contestants brought. It is certainly an interesting idea.

It is a sad day if you ask me as a former Strikeforce fan. Strikeforce certainly had its hits and misses but I always found their cards (pre-Zuffa) fun and entertaining. Some have pointed to the Fedor Emelianenko contract as the nail in the Strikeforce coffin. Up until that deal the company was reportedly profitable. Once Fedor was signed the pressure was on to move to pay per view and up the game and neither happened, thus forcing a sale to UFC parent company Zuffa LLC in 2011.

Chael Sonnen: The Voice of Reason: A V.I.P. Pass to Enlightenment

Anderson Spider Silva (Em Portugues do Brasil

UFC shirts and videos on