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Jon Jones’ Striking Coach Gives A Great Interview About Jones’ Drug Use & More

January 13, 2015 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

Jon Jones’ striking coach Brandon Gibson appeared on the MMA Hour Monday to discuss Jones entering rehab for drug use and more. Here are the highlights.

“I was sad. Obviously I care first and foremost for Jon as a friend, as father, fiancé, son, brother. So I was sad to hear that. He called me a couple of hours before the news was released. He didn’t find out until right before himself, and he was very apologetic about the whole situation to the whole coaching staff…I kind of wanted to ride that high a little bit of beating DC. That was a huge accomplishment for him. He put a lot of work in, and obviously this took away from that. But it definitely brought to light a more important issue that we have to face.”

What is Jones’ status as of today?

“As of today, I really don’t know what the exact status of it is.”

When asked how things were going with the champions?

“Some of it’s going to be outpatient follow-up stuff. So, I didn’t get too many details on that, but you know we just talked more about his process through this — and I’m going to support him through it. It’s not my job to diagnose or counsel Jon. All I can ultimately do is be there for him as a friend as he goes through this.”

With such a dominant fighter like Jones, did he see anything different with Jones heading into UFC 182:

“You know, I didn’t see any giant signs or signals through camp. Jon was probably more disciplined than he’s ever been as far as the work leading up to the DC fight. He wasn’t late for a single workout. I’d see him multiple times a day. I was more focused on his performance objectives, and I didn’t really see these signs, but maybe this brings to light some other things he’s going to have to work out.”

Jones failed a drug test prior to the UFC 182 event where he went onto defeat Daniel Cormier to retain his UFC Light Heavyweight Championship.

Everyone has an opinion, but did the commission do right by Jones?

“Each athletic commission is different. I don’t know. I think in my place it would never be up to me to disclose so much private medical history or background or progress of someone who was even in recovery. I know there’s a silver lining to this. I know that Jon is going to come out of this a better person. He’s going to come out of it more disciplined. So as far as NSAC releasing it, or not releasing it, or even doing it after the fight was over — I don’t know how much bearing that holds. I’m just happy that at least Jon is dealing with it.”

In that fight with Cormier, Jones went to war and won a dominate five round decision over the previously undefeated fighter.

Finally, with all the negative things to say about the situation and Jones, how he is handling those things:

“I’m confident he’ll come out of this stronger than ever. I think he’s really going to make the most of Albuquerque being his home. We’re not going to have to call it a comeback. I think Jon’s next fight we’re going to see an even greater Jon Jones than what we saw with the DC fight. I think he’s going to continue to fight off these temptations and become a stronger man through all this.”

Jones’ next fight is not known at this time, but we wish him a speedy recovery.

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Dana White Speaks About Jon Jones’ Positive Cocaine Test, Reaction & More

January 08, 2015 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

UFC President Dana White appeared on Fox Sports 1 America’s Pre Game yesterday to address all of the questions that comes hot off the heels of UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones testing positive for Cocaine before his fight with Daniel Cormier at UFC 182.

Down below are highlights from his interview.

“I was shocked, said White. Obviously, and this is one of those situations where it’s so different than if a guy gets busted for performance-enhancing drugs. You worry about the person first, you know? You forget about the fighting and the work side of it. You worry about the person, Jon Jones as a person. He got checked into rehab, they’re going to evaluate him and then we’ll go from there.”

White was asked why the UFC didn’t postpone or cancel the fight after learning about the test results?

“What happened was, so they do these tests leading up to a fight, these random drug tests, and he tested positive. No, (there was no talk of postponing the fight) because No. 1, he was healthy. No. 2, the reason you would stop a fight and the hammer would drop on a guy would be if he tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs.”

While gave some interesting news that Jones opponent at UFC 182, Daniel Cormier was not informed that Jones had tested positive before the fight.

“He was not (informed of the failed test) because he didn’t need to be. If he tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs, everything would have got shut down. The other thing people have to understand about this situation is Jon Jones was contracted to fight. We have a contract with him. Everybody thinks that we can just say, ‘Hey, the fight’s off. The fight’s not happening.’ Damn right he had the right to fight.”

Dana White continued to say that it is not about the UFC, the title or future plans for Jones. It is all about Jones getting help then the promotion worry about the future.

White stated repeatedly that he plans on talking to Jones soon.

“I talked to him yesterday before he went in, and I’m hoping that I’ll be able to talk to him tonight. He was in a good place going in there and I’m sure he’s in an even better place today. I look forward to talking to him today.”

White defended the promotion by saying that street drugs (cocaine) does not help a fighter, but hurts them. Thus the reason the fight was not cancelled. However, if Jones tested positive for performance enhancing drugs then the fight would be stopped right away.

“If you look at how shocked everybody was by this, nothing you saw in Jon Jones leading up to that fight would make you think that he used drugs. In a situation like this the last thing you worry about is his image right now. You worry about getting the guy healthy, he’ll come back, and whether you like him or you don’t like him, he’s the baddest dude in the world. He’s the pound-for-pound best guy in the world.

What’s even crazier is you do these tests to look for performance-enhancing drugs, the stuff he was doing, it hurts you. It doesn’t help you in any way, it actually hurts you. So imagine how good this guy’s going to be when he gets straight. Everything happens for a reason. It’s a great thing this happened. It’s a great thing this guy made a mistake. Who would have known? We would never know. We’ll get him the help that he needs.”

While I understand that UFC 182 would do huge business for the promotion, White cannot say that they are only concerned about the health of Jones right now. If so, why did you let him fight? Why not get him help in the first place. If he was already using the drug, wouldn’t have been better if he was clean a month ago. Jones could have overdosed and died. Can you imagine the backlash against a promotion like the UFC? While I enjoyed the fight, and the media coverage that came with it, you can’t argue that the person Jon Jones is more important right now because you already put business before his personal welfare.

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Brian Stann Discusses Jon Jones Testing Positive For Cocaine & More

January 07, 2015 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

Former middleweight fighter and UFC analyst Brian Stann recently appeared on Fox Sports live to discuss UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones testing positive for cocaine after his fight with Daniel Cormier at UFC 182 this past weekend.

“The first priority is that Jon and his family, but specifically Jon, get the help he needs and I know that that is the UFC’s No. 1 priority,” said Stann. “I’m glad to see that he’s already checked into a treatment facility. He’s got three beautiful daughters and a fiancée, Jessie, who I’ve had the privilege to meet, and I’m glad to hear that news immediately following this breaking news that’s so unfortunate.”

Jones won a five round war against Cormier, who was undefeated going into their fight this past Saturday night. When Cormier was asked about how this impacted the fight, Cormier was a man about it and did not use it as an excuse.

When asked if this news damages the victory over Cormier at UFC 182, Stann had this to say:

“In my eyes as an analyst and being that it’s out of competition, no,” said Stann. “I don’t think there’s a whole lot of performance enhancement speaking of cocaine. I mean obviously he didn’t take it right before the fight. I think obviously this is going to hurt his image and a lot of the other things he has going on outside of the Octagon for his brand, but this is an opportunity for him to do what’s best for him and his family right now. That’s the No. 1 priority and knowing Jon personally I don’t think there’s anything this kid can’t overcome.”

Jones has since checked into a rehab facility to get help for his condition. His primary sponsor, Reebok has made a public statement that says that they are going to stay by Jones in this difficult time.

Finally, with Jon Jones being seen as a villain or a bad guy in the past, how does this impact the way fans see him now? Stann answered with this:

“It’s going to be difficult,” said Stann. “It’s certainly going to be negative for his image. After the [Cormier] fight [Jones] did some interviews where I thought a lot of people really came around and saw the real side of Jon Jones. People started talking and saying, ‘Hey, give the guy a break. He doesn’t have to be perfect. He can be a little mean.’ So I think this swings the pendulum a little bit back in the opposite direction. He’s going to get criticized and he’s going to have to take this one on the chest, but first and foremost he’s got to worry about himself and his family. “But look, this is a country where one of the highest paid speakers in the country is [former U.S. president] Bill Clinton and he’s considered a hero in many ways. [Clinton] has certainly overcome much worse than a positive drug test so I think Jon can overcome this.”

Jones is currently getting help, but at this time his status as being the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion is unknown. Some think that he will be stripped of the title and some think that he will remain the champion.

The talk of his next fight is not even being considered, but before the news broke, he was rumored to fight UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez. Obviously, any of those discussions have since been put on hold with Jones in rehab.

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UFC Champ Jon Jones Tests Positive For Cocaine, Enters Rehab

January 07, 2015 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

It is never a good thing to see your biggest star get popped for cocaine. That is what happened to the UFC after it was announced that their champion and biggest star Jon Jones tested positive for cocaine metabolites and will now enter rehab.

This is a fascinating story on a lot of levels. The story broke on Tuesday, just a couple of days after Jones defeated Daniel Cormier in the biggest UFC fight of the last twelve months. According to all reports, Jones failed the test on December 4. The test was administered by the Nevada State Athletic Commission and considered “out of competition” since it was not the week of the fight. He tested positive for benzoylecgonine, the main metabolite in cocaine.

Jones will face no disciplinary action for his failure. The reason being is that cocaine believe it or not is not a banned substance by the NSAC during out of competition testing. Had Jones tested positive for this the week of the fight, he would have faced disciplinary actions. Yep, you can do as much coke as you want if you are a UFC fighter, just don’t do it the week of the fight.

Jones immediately announced that he will enter a rehab following the breaking news.

“With the support of my family, I have entered into a drug treatment facility. I want to apologize to my fiancee, my children, as well as my mother, father and brothers for a mistake that I made. I also want to apologize to the UFC, my coaches, my sponsors and equally important, to my fans. I am taking this treatment program very seriously. Therefore, at this time, my family and I would appreciate privacy.”

The UFC is standing behind their guy.

“We support UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones’ decision to enter a drug treatment facility to address his recent issue. While we are disappointed in the failed test, we applaud him for making this decision to enter a drug treatment facility. Jon is a strong, courageous fighter inside the Octagon, and we expect him to fight this issue with the same poise and diligence. We commend him on his decision, and look forward to him emerging from this program a better man as a result.

I am proud of Jon Jones for making the decision to enter a drug treatment facility,” said Dana White. “I’m confident that he’ll emerge from this program like the champion he truly is.”

The first thing that popped up in my mind was the recently announced Reebok deal with the UFC. Jones along with Ronda Rousey are the two faces of the marketing campaigns. I wondered if there would be ramifications to this coming off of the news. The answer is no. As of today, Reebok is also sticking by Jones and offering full support.

I have questions regarding the UFC. When did they know? Did they inform Daniel Cormier? I also presume that for Jones to enter rehab he must think he has a problem. Did Jones want to enter rehab earlier and if so, did he face any pressure from the UFC to delay it? The UFC were counting on that fight badly and I just want to know if it was promoted at the expense of Jones’ well-being. Let’s face it. It isn’t as if the UFC and Jones exactly have the best relationship.

Is there anything in Jones’ contract with the UFC in regard to using illegal drugs, a morals clause perhaps? Unfortunately I don’t think we’ll ever know the real answer to that as the only ones who would be able to release that would be the UFC and Jones’ camp and I doubt either are opening that can of worms. If not, why isn’t there a clause in the contract prohibiting using illegal drugs?

I hope he gets help because he does have problems. All you have to do is read that Deadspin article on Jones where he is glowing about his family and hitting on waitresses the next minute. It says a lot about the guy’s character and for him to blatantly do it in front of a reporter, allowing it to go on record shows a level of arrogance here that neither you or I can comprehend. I hope for his sake that this rehab stint isn’t merely for public relations because if so, I have a feeling this won’t be the last story we hear about Jones being in some kind of trouble.

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UFC Grudge Fights Rarely Deliver

January 06, 2015 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

After months of talking and threats, Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier delivered the fight I expected. Jones dominated Cormier in a long, boring, one-sided fight that surprised nobody who has followed the history of UFC grudge fights.

Grudge fights have become a blessing and a curse for the UFC. The blessing is that fans, casual and hardcore get caught up in the pro wrestling style banter leading up to the fight. Generally that interest returns a nice dividend for the UFC through big buyrates. The curse however is that new fans drawn to the UFC for the first-time who expected a fight for the ages are probably not coming back any time soon.

Unfortunately you have many in the MMA media who have incredibly short memories. Minutes after Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier got into their memorable press conference skirmish, those same media members took to social media and other outlets and became UFC’s best salesmen and saleswomen getting caught up in the hype and failing to report the obvious. This fight, like the big grudge fights before them, never had a prayer of delivering what was expected.

I didn’t buy it for a second. Any savvy fan could see the Jones-Cormier fight on paper for what it was. It was an over-hyped mismatch. Cormier’s 2-0 record at light heavyweight came against an unranked fighter and an aged veteran past his better years. Jones has been fighting the elite of the sport for the past few years and only once was he in a competitive fight. Yet for some reason fans and media got caught up in the moment failing to recognize the fantasy that was being perpetrated by the UFC.

The fight was everything I thought it would be. It was five rounds of Jones at his best and Cormier failing to do much damage. Sure, Cormier had his moments in Round 2 but that was hardly the fight the frenzied fans expected to see. Even today some MMA pundits are trying to convince themselves it was a good fight. To hardcore MMA fans, yes it was an intriguing battle. But for the casual audience that expected to see a war, it was a waste of time, money, and energy that they should have seen coming.

I started thinking about the great grudge matches in UFC history and how those fights turned out. I picked ten of what I thought were some of the greatest grudge fights in UFC history. All of these fights had the talking, the threats, the hype, and all of the promises of a war that you could have asked for. Yet very few delivered what many would consider great fights. Let’s take a look.

Ken Shamrock vs. Tito Ortiz – Some will call this the greatest rivalry in UFC history, yet all of their fights were one-sided, destructions in favor of the same guy. As great as their promos and hype were leading up to the fights, they did not deliver the fight fans expected.

Tito Ortiz vs. Chuck Liddell – Let’s stay with Tito for a minute. Like his fight with Shamrock, both fights were one-sided destructions. The difference was that Tito was the one getting pounded in these uneventful fights. I’ll say this. They were certainly intense going in, but neither were the battles fans expected.

Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir II – The number one selling fight in the history of the UFC was Brock vs. Mir. Mir’s insults and Brock’s threats had fans on the edge of their seats expecting a war. What they got was Brock dominating Mir for under ten minutes, giving Mir nothing in the fight. Again an intense fight for sure, but nowhere near what was expected.

Chael Sonnen vs. Anderson Silva – Now this is the outlier in this list. I feel that both fights delivered as expected. The first was a classic, maybe my favorite fight of all-time. The second, while over in two rounds, I think went exactly was you’d design it if you were scripting it.

Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans – Jones biggest fight up until Cormier was Rashad Evans. The storyline was taken right out of an old-school pro wrestling territory. Fans were expecting Evans to hang with Jones and teach him a lesson (as the teacher of course). Instead what they got was a snoozer that saw Jones win a unanimous decision that made Jones-Cormier look like Silva-Liddell.

Rashad Evans vs. Rampage Jackson – Let’s stick with Evans, who has talked his way into some of the biggest fights in UFC history. Unfortunately for the fans who bought into his big mouth, they were served up a big plate of boring and it doesn’t get more boring than this one. Sans a flurry late in the fight by Jackson, it was a one-sided affair which saw Evans tie up Jackson for five rounds and take a unanimous decision.

Nick Diaz vs. GSP – The man who coined the term “Wolf Tickets’ would know a lot about them as he sold plenty for his fight with GSP. Diaz made a lot of promises and offered some of the craziest quotes you’d ever hear leading up to a title fight before the match. Fans were pumped, the media was pumped, and GSP was pumped to dominate the living hell out of Diaz for five, one-sided, dull rounds winning a unanimous decision 50-45 by all three judges.

GSP vs. BJ Penn – This one had all of the makings of a classic fight yet wound up producing a frustrating, uneventful rematch. This rare battle of champions saw GSP (accused of greasing by Penn), just ground and pound an outsized Penn for four rounds, brutalizing the champion before Penn’s mercifully stopped the carnage.

So there you have it. Two guys cutting promos on each other for several months, pushing each other at press conferences, and the UFC president telling you about his next biggest fight of all-time does not make for a good fight. The odds of the fight delivering the brawl you are hoping to see are slim to none with none being the better bet.

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UFC 182 Jones vs. Cormier Results: Bones Retains Via Decision

January 04, 2015 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, Videos

Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier fought the biggest grudge fight of the year. Jones and Cormier put on a show early on but it was the UFC light heavyweight champion who wound up shining with an impressive, statement win

The fight started out hot with both guys coming out swinging. Cormier closed the distance more than I ever thought he would in the first two rounds. Jones took Cormier down for the first time in Cormier’s career, which was the difference in the first round. Cormier kept coming and won the second round with some dirty boxing and clinching. I was impressed with Cormier as I expected Jones to dominate the fight.

Jones looked sluggish early in the third round. Cormier was busy throughout the round and got inside with a lot of action. Cormier looked unstoppable until he walked into a poke in the eye. Jones hit an elbow on Cormier towards the end of the round. Cormier looked slower and more tired as the round closed. It looked like Cormier gave it his all in the start of the round and ran out of gas by the time the buzzer sounded.

Jones came alive in the fourth round. Jones took down Cormier twice and was more effective in the clinch throughout the round. Cormier looked tired and sluggish as the round continued. Jones looked strong throughout including taking down Cormier as the buzzer sounded. Jones also nailed Cormier with a short elbow. Jones looked best by far in this round as opposed to the early rounds. The body shots Jones nailed earlier had obviously taken their toll.

Cormier came out swinging and tried to get in some dirty boxing. Jones withstood the storm and the two wound up tying up along the cage. Jones doesn’t look tired at all which is amazing considering how sluggish he looked in the third round. Jones worked for Cormier’s back. Cormier spun out. Jones had the fight in hand by this round. Both grappled a bit on their feet towards the end of the round. Jones blocked all of Cormier’s takedown attempts. This was easily the most boring round of the fight. Cormier just had nothing left in the tank while Jones looked strong. Cormier was working for a takedown in the final minute as Jones dropped elbows. Cormier nailed a huge takedown in the final minute only for Jones to jump right back to his feet. Jones nailed a spinning elbow in the final thirty seconds. Jones gave Cormier the “D-X Crotch Chop” when the buzzer sounded.

Jones wins the fight via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46)

The grudge was deep between the two as Jones cut a pro wrestling style heel promo after the fight. Jones was awesome if you are into that kind of thing and told Joe Rogan that he really doesn’t like Cormier. Jones embracing the role of villain is money as UFC fans will continue to pay top dollar in hopes of seeing a hero take him down.

Did the fight live up to the hype? Well it depends. I never got caught up in it. It seemed like a total mismatch to me. Cormier’s record is nice but it is a bit suspect if you ask me. He only had two light heavyweight fights, one against an inexperienced Patrick Cummins and one against an aged fighter in Dan Henderson. I never thought he was in Jones’ class of fighters and thus the fight went like I thought it would. That said, I was shocked to see Cormier do as much damage as he did and survive without getting knocked out.

What’s next for both fighters? I am not sure. Cormier will be at a crossroads as to whether he goes back to heavyweight or not. The obvious fight for Jones is a rematch with Alexander Gustafsson but Gus is already signed to fight Anthony Johnson in a couple of weeks. I think you have to go with whomever wins that fight against Jones.

The truth is that Jones is much better than anyone I see fighting in the UFC right now. Whether it’s Gus, Johnson, or anyone else, I don’t see Jones ever losing the title. I see Jones going to heavyweight and fighting Cain at the end of the year, should Cain recover.

And that will be a hell of a fight!

Full UFC 182 Jones vs. Cormier Results and Winners
Jon Jones defeated Daniel Cormier via decision (unanimous)
Donald Cerrone defeated Myles Jury via Decision (unanimous)
Brad Tavares defeated Nate Marquardt via Decision (unanimous)
Kyoji Horiguchi defeated Louis Gaudinot via Decision (unanimous)
Hector Lombard defeated Josh Burkman via Decision (unanimous)
Paul Felder defeated Danny Castillo via KO (spinning back fist) in Round 2
Cody Garbrandt defeated Marcus Brimage via TKO (punches) in Round 3
Shawn Jordan defeated Jared Cannonier via KO (punches) in Round 1
Evan Dunham defeated Rodrigo Damm via Decision (unanimous)
Omari Akhmedov defeated Mats Nilsson via Decision (unanimous)
Marion Reneau defeated Alexis Dufresne via Decision (unanimous)

UFC 182 Post-Fight Press Conference

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Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier Delayed Until UFC 182

August 13, 2014 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

UFC fans will have to wait for the biggest fight of the year. An injury to UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has delayed his upcoming grudge match with Daniel Cormier until January 2015 and take place at UFC 182.

News broke on Tuesday of the delay which comes a week after some pundits predicted blockbuster numbers for the fight coming off of a press conference brawl and a couple of verbal scraps on television. Tensions boiled over last week when Jones and Cormier got into it at a presser. A satellite feed of ESPN’s interview with the two showed a side of Jones none of us had ever seen where he mocked Cormier and called him “p*ssy” several times. By week’s end interest in this fight had grown to levels not seen since Sonnen vs. Silva 2.

Jones is pulling out of the first due to an injury suffered in training. A torn meniscus and a sprained ankle Jones suffered Monday wrestling is the cause of the postponement. While this may sound perfectly reasonable to most, MMA fans are seething at Jones for the delay. Fighters fight with these types of injuries often and Jones delaying the fight due to this is not sitting well with many…including Daniel Cormier.

“I said from the beginning that Jon Jones isn’t afraid of anyone,” Cormier said. “But if I can go in there with a partially torn ACL, I think he should have fought; tough it up and fight.

“I don’t know the extent of his injuries, and if it’s really bad, I’ll take it back. But on the surface, I heard he hurt himself. But people hear ACL, they think you’re out for a year. I’ve been hurt, and I’ve been training. I wish he would have just fought.

“I’m saying tough it out sometimes,” he added. “Sometimes you’ve got to go in there and tough it out and just fight.”

As upset as Cormier is, the postponement may work in his favor. The delay will allow him to seek care for his partially torn ACL, an injury Jones would have surely targeted in the fight. Cormier could likely seek arthroscopic surgery for the ACL and fight closer to 100%. The irony here is that many critics believed the reason Jones wanted to fight Cormier so badly was because he knew Cormier was hurt and wanted to get him before he had surgery.

At first glance this is terrible news on the business side for the UFC. However, Dave Meltzer reports that the UFC would like to stack the January 3 Las Vegas event with Jones vs. Cormier and Ronda Rousey vs. Gina Carano. According to Meltzer, Carano is still in play between Bellator and the UFC. Meltzer predicted a buyrate of anywhere between 1.1 and 1.8 million for that double main-event. I think he’s freaking nuts but I do think it would be a blockbuster.

I do wonder if the buzz will subside between Cormier and Jones by the time we get close to the event. By that point the press conference brawl and verbal spats would have already been several months old. Many of the casual fans will be knee-deep in football by that point. I still think it will do great business, but how long the shelf-life is on this buzz is the big question. Cormier is confident that won’t happen.

“I think people recognize that it’s a big fight,” he said. “I think by January, people will understand, and maybe people will stop thinking about us fighting on stage or getting caught cussing each other when the cameras were on.

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Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier Fight At UFC 178 Press Conference

August 04, 2014 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, Videos

The UFC has finally got a blockbuster on its hands. Fireworks erupted today between Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones in a brawl that has everyone talking. The buzz is now in place to turn this fight into the biggest rivalry since Sonnen vs. Silva.

Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones don’t like each other. That isn’t news. What is news is that a fight broke out at a UFC press conference for the first time I can remember. Jones put his head on Cormier, Cormier put his hands on Jones, and chaos ensued on the MGM Grand floor in a video that has quickly become viral.

To say that the UFC needed this is one of the biggest understatements you will ever read on here. 2014 has shaped up to be a grim year for the UFC with no grudge matches, cancelled cards, and one super fight signed that won’t even happen until next year. That has changed. Judging from the press this brawl immediately received and the buzz created, it is not inconceivable that this fight could top one million buys, saving an otherwise tough year on pay per view.

What may be more interesting than the brawl is a dual interview that took place on ESPN SportsCenter a few hours later. Cormier and Jones were interviewed with a split screen, each giving their versions of the fight. Jones and Cormier also discussed the origins of their beef which goes back a few years. The video is great, specifically with an arrogant Jones telling Todd Grisham that he thought it would be harder to take Cormier down since he is an Olympic wrestler.

I have to admit that when news broke of the brawl, I thought it was a work. After watching this interview I am convinced it was 100% real for one reason. Jones was completely monotone and seemed almost disinterested in the whole thing as opposed to Cormier who was red hot. My biggest criticism of Jones is that he is horrible at promoting his own fights. He is lucky that Cormier sees the big picture otherwise this scuffle probably would mean a lot less.

Unfortunately all of the selling in the world won’t convince me that Jones isn’t going to walk through Cormier. Cormier has a bad knee and has never been in an MMA fight with anyone close to Jones’ level. I think Jones will pick him apart on their feet and Cormier will have a real rough time going into deep waters later in the fight.

Check out the brawl along with several interviews following the melee.

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Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson Rematch Signed For UFC 178

June 06, 2014 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

The biggest UFC rematch of 2014 will be coming to Toronto. It’s official, Jon Jones will put his UFC light heavyweight title up against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 178. As expected with Bones, this rematch did not come without plenty of controversy.

I can’t recall a UFC fighter who has had as much drama as Jon Jones has had in his or her UFC careers. Nothing is ever simple for Jones. Sometimes it’s good drama, yet the majority of trouble is not so good. Once again Jones put himself in the middle of controversy after refusing to fight Gus again. It took a final negotiation on Thursday between the UFC and the champ to get the fight signed.

Unless something changes from now to December and it can, this will be the biggest fight on paper for 2014. The fight rematches what some are calling the greatest light heavyweight title fight in UFC history. Jones survived a five-round onslaught against Gustafsson late last year. Yet even with what some call a controversial decision, Jones had very little interest in a second fight. Jones was reportedly more interested in a fight with undefeated UFC fighter Daniel Cormier, although he is now playing that down.

“I think Cormier is the tougher fighter, but the fans want to see me fight Gustafsson,” Jones stated. “There was never an issue with taking the Gustafsson fight. The issue was that my brother is getting married in July, and I would have preferred a later date. I didn’t want to go this early, and I would have preferred to go later in October or November.”

While a lot of UFC fans may not want to hear this I have to be honest with you. Jones is right. Jones should be fighting Daniel Cormier. Gus-Bones I was a close fight and it was a fun fight but here are the facts. Gus gassed out and he didn’t beat him. As the challenger he needed to do more to win the fight. He didn’t. Jones survived and had more in the tank at the end of the fight than his challenger did. It was a great fight, no question, but I just don’t understand the outcry for a rematch so soon.

What has Gus done since the fight? He has one won fight against Jimi Manuwa. Taking nothing away from Manuwa and while he was undefeated, he wasn’t even considered a top five fighter. Shouldn’t a guy who lost the fight against the champion have to do more to get a rematch? I am still waiting to see Frankie Edgar get another shot at the lightweight belt after coming close to defeating Ben Henderson. While Cormier hasn’t gone out and beat what I’d call the best, he has fought higher ranked opponents than Gus. He does deserve the shot.

Jones gets a lot of criticism for being a bad businessman but he is dead on here. His previous fight with Gus at UFC 165 did around 310,000 buys. Keep in mind that includes replay buys so if fans were so interested in seeing that classic, they would have ordered the replay the next day. That number is pathetic for a guy who is supposed to be the number one or two star. There was no business with Gus. He knows that and he knows that there is a much better chance that a fight with Cormier would do better business. I think an argument could be made that as great as their first fight was, Bones-Cormier could theoretically outdraw a rematch.

Regardless, the fight is coming and it is signed for UFC 178. Cormier will have to wait his turn, which may be a good thing since he reportedly has a knee injury. I look for Jones to retain the title in a fight that doesn’t go the distance. Gus gave him everything he had and couldn’t put him away. I don’t see anything different the second time around.

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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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