Maggie Hendricks

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  • Bellator willing to let welterweight champ Ben Askren sign with the UFC

    (Getty)Most of Ben Askren's fight have been in Bellator. Nine of his 12 wins (and zero defeats) come in the tournament-based promotion. He won the welterweight title in October of 2010, and has defended it four times since. Askren has been one of the faces of Bellator since his debut. Even with that history, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney said they are willing to let Askren go to UFC now that his contract is up.

    "I don't think we're going to make an offer at this point," Rebney said to ESPN.com. "So I don't see any reason to make anybody sit out. If Ben's going to go to the UFC, we should speed up that process so he can go fight. I'd love to see Ben versus GSP."

    Bellator recently went through a drawn-out legal battle with former champion Eddie Alvarez over his right to sign with the UFC. He will return to Bellator for a rematch with Michael Chandler on Nov. 2, but the legal battle required Alvarez to be on the shelf for a year. Considering how often Bellator runs events, keeping a known entity like Askren on the shelf while going through another legal battle could be too much to handle.

    On Askren's part, he's ready to take on the challenge of the UFC.

    Where do you want to see the 2008 Olympic wrestler compete? Speak up on Facebook.

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  • Lyoto Machida vs. Tim Kennedy will headline UFC’s next Fight for the Troops

    (Getty)Lyoto Machida teased a fight with Chael Sonnen on Twitter, and rumor spread he would fight Nick Diaz. But another, still intriguing fight was announced on "Fox Sports Live" Machida will fight Tim Kennedy in the main event for the Fight for the Troops in November.

    This will be the first time Machida, the one-time light heavyweight champ, fights at middleweight. Machida dropped a narrow decision to Phil Davis earlier this month.

    Kennedy is an Army veteran, and will likely get a loud crowd behind him at the event in Fort Campbell, an Army installation in Kentucky. He beat Roger Gracie in his UFC debut at UFC 162.

    The UFC has long had a close relationship with military. In addition to having veterans on the promotion's roster, fighters regularly visit troops around the world. Fighters have also assisted in training troops in different martial arts disciplines. The UFC has also previously brought fights to Fort Hood and Fayetteville, N.C.

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  • Watch a fighter come out of a crowd and win with a knockout

    When preparing for MMA bouts, most high-level fighters train for six to eight weeks. They eat right, practice two or three times a day, and schedule every minute of their lives to prepare them for that bout. It's usually the smarter way to go, unless you're the guy featured in the above video from Russia.

    If you want to follow this guy's path, you show up to a fight wearing jorts, raise your hand when the announcer asks for an opponent, then win by knockout. Perhaps it's the better way to go? As our friends at With Leather point out, it's possible this is a set-up. But if we can't trust a Russian MMA promotion with a sand ring, no weigh-ins or medicals, and announcers who dance behind fighters are they change into their fight shorts, who can we trust?

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  • Stefan Struve diagnosed with heart condition

    (Getty)UFC heavyweight Stefan Struve last fought in March, and would likely be scheduled for his next fight by now. However, news about Struve's health has overridden any fight priorities. Struve was diagnosed with a leaky aortic valve and an enlarged heart.

    Struve is out of the hospital and back to doing light conditioning, but he won't be able to fight until the problem is taken care of. It will be treated with medication for two months, and then doctors will reassess Struve's health.

    Struve released this statement through his manager:

    Stefan loves the UFC and plans on being involved with the company as a fighter and ambassador for years to come. Stefan wants to thank all the fans who have supported him thus far in his career as well as the UFC, Dana White, Lorenzo Fertita, Joe Silva, Dr. Jeff Davidson, the entire staff of the UFC, and his fellow fighters for affording him the opportunity to compete on the biggest stage of the sport of MMA, as well as a tremendous degree of support during this trying time. In particular Stefan wants to thank Dana White, Lorenzo Fertita, & Joe Silva for immediately getting engaged with this issue and providing Stefan access to the best possible medical care. Stefan will be sharing his experiences as he deals with this medical condition in the hopes that he can serve as a role model by helping to create awareness and inspire others to fight through adversity.

    He also tweeted his thanks:

    Struve is 25-6 on his career, and was riding a four-fight winning streak before losing to Mark Hunt in March.

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  • Urijah Faber wants to know about that time you got into a fight

    Urijah Faber would like to know about that time you got into a fight because that guy looked at you funny at the bar. Or maybe you were at a wedding, and the best man's girlfriend was talking smack about the bride. Though Faber, who beat Yuri Alcantara over the weekend, does not want people to go out looking for fights, he knows that they happen. When they do, he wants you to share them for a web comic with Fox Sports.

    The first installment has very not safe for work language, but still ends up as pretty hilarious. A black belt in knitting adds to the overall effect.

  • Vitor Belfort would like to give Chael Sonnen the opportunity to fight him

    (Getty)Chael Sonnen and Vitor Belfort have a lot in common. They both have fought -- and lost to -- Anderson Silva and Jon Jones. They both have used testosterone replacement therapy. They're both coming off big wins. Belfort looked at these similarities and decided a fight between the two would be appropriate.

    Belfort tweeted late last night:

    @sonnench I just read at the larger news paper from brasil that you are in both rankings( 10th light heavy weight," na repescagem correndo como um cavalo azarão" and 9th in my division) since you are in a "GREAT" position coming out of a win I still giving you an opportunity to fight with me.

    After Belfort won over Luke Rockhold, he asked for a title shot rematch against Silva. Chris Weidman winning the belt and Silva's rematch in December ruined Belfort's plans. Then a possible fight between Belfort and Lyoto Machida evaporated, causing UFC president Dana White to laugh about Belfort's actions.

    "I wanted Machida to fight Vitor Belfort, but Vitor Belfort is his own matchmaker, apparently," White said. "He wants to make his own fights."

    Now Belfort wants to give Sonnen and opportunity for a fight. Sonnen has been focused on Wanderlei Silva, but this challenge from Belfort is intriguing. Is this a fight you want to see? Speak up on Facebook.

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  • Anthony Pettis got a sweet, motivational surprise on the way to practice Monday

    Anthony Pettis walked out to a sweet surprise on Monday. He is less than two weeks away from UFC 164, where he will rematch with UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson in his hometown of Milwaukee. While on the way to the gym, he came upon these motivational signs.

    Among the signs: 'Showtime this is for you', 'The road to the gold ends in your hometown', 'Because you persevered and you never backed down', 'You battled back from injuries', 'And fixed holes in your game', and 'To chase your dream you endured the pain'.

    Pettis was born and raised in Milwaukee, and experienced the worst moment of his life there as his father was murdered in 2003. Looking for a healthy outlet to channel his anger after the tragic incident, Pettis turned to mixed martial arts at the Milwaukee-based Roufus Sport. Under the tutelage of gym founder/head coach Duke Roufus, Pettis learned the intricacies of the sport and eventually become the WEC champion with a win over Henderson in 2010.

    Boston fans gave

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  • Dana White doesn’t think ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ phenom Uriah Hall is a fighter

    Uriah Hall (left) had another disappointing performance on Saturday. (Getty)Uriah Hall burst onto the UFC scene with memorable fights on "The Ultimate Fighter." We named his knockout of Adam Cella the best knockout of the first quarter of this year. He scored two more knockouts on his way to the finals of the show.

    But all of the TUF fights were held in the gym, with the tightly controlled environment of a television show taping and a small crowd. Once he was put under the UFC lights, Hall fizzled. He lost to Kelvin Gastelum in the TUF finale, then looked equally lost in the cage with John Howard on Saturday. UFC president Dana White had some harsh but fair criticism for Hall.

    "I love Uriah Hall," White told reporters after the fights. "I have a great relationship with this kid. He's one of the nicest human beings you can ever meet. He's not a fighter, man."

    Remember that one of White's most motivating phrases to fighters is from TUF. "Do you want to be a [expletive] fighter?" When they showed a lack of commitment or determination, White would rally castmembers with this simple question. Some fighters would realize that perhaps getting punched in the face for a living wasn't for them. Most would listen to White's words and try to live up to his expectations.

    But with Hall, there isn't a speech. White has looked at Hall's two fights in the UFC, both losses, and he just doesn't see a fighter. It may not be a death knell to Hall's career, but it is a punishing blow.

    Read More »from Dana White doesn’t think ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ phenom Uriah Hall is a fighter
  • Three Stars from Ultimate Fight Night 26: Matt Brown works quickly

    (USA Today Sports)How do we pick just three stars from Saturday night's Ultimate Fight Night 26? The UFC was hoping to make a mark on Fox's new network, Fox Sports 1. They did just that. Here are the biggest stars from a bright and shiny night.

    No. 1 star -- Matt Brown: Imagine you're a UFC fighter. Matchmaker Joe Silva's name comes up on your phone, and you pick it up happily. "Joe, what fight do you have for me?" If he answers, "Matt Brown," your happiness would disappear instantly. Brown is currently fighting like he has no time to waste on game plans and decisions. He is on a six-fight winning streak, with the last five coming by knockout. His last two fights totaled 1:29 of action, and now he wants a title shot.

    No. 2 star -- Travis Browne: Browne withstood an early onslaught from Alistair Overeem, including an unpenalized illegal knee. He then came back to take advantage of Overeem coming forward with his face exposed. Browne used a front kick to get a first-round knockout win. This is Browne's second straight win, both by knockout.

    No. 3 star -- Chael Sonnen: Apparently, Sonnen is more comfortable at light heavyweight than he showed in his fight with Jon Jones. Sonne beat Mauricio "Shogun" Rua with a guillotine. It was the first time Rua lost by submission since his 2007 loss to Forrest Griffin.

    Who stood out for you? Speak up on Facebook or Twitter.

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  • (Getty)

    Kseniya Ryzhova and Tatyana Firov won a world championship as a part of the 4x400m relay team at the IAAF track championships in Moscow. They edged out the American and British teams for the gold. While on the medal stand, they kissed to protest their own country's anti-gay propaganda laws.

    This isn't the first protest of Russia's laws that penalize anyone for talking about homosexuality in front of children, but it's the most visible one done by Russian athletes. U.S. runner Nick Symmonds dedicated his silver medal in the 800m to his gay friends back home, and Swedish high jumper Emma Green Tregaro painted her nails in a rainbow in honor of LGBT pride.

    Russian pole-vaulting legend Yelena Isinbayva criticized Tregaro for her protest.

    "We consider ourselves, like normal, standard people, we just live boys with women, girls with boys... it comes from the history," Isinbayeva said.

    Later, she said her comments were misunderstood because English isn't her first language. She regularly speaks English to reporters.

    "But let me make it clear I respect the views of my fellow athletes, and let me state in the strongest terms that I am opposed to any discrimination against gay people on the grounds of their sexuality (which is against the Olympic charter)."

    The words spoken by Isinbayeva are not nearly as powerful as the protest of two young women kissing on the medal stand. One of the reasons many LGBT sports leaders are against a boycott of the upcoming Olympics in Sochi, Russia, is because more can be accomplished by LGBT athletes and their allies standing atop the medal stand with pride. Ryzhova and Firov put that idea into action in Moscow.

    Read More »from Russian gold medalists kiss on medal stand at world championships to protest anti-gay laws

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