Cagewriter

  • Ex-UFC executive Michael Mersch named World Series of Fighting's COO

    Michael Mersch spent Monday in New York, like he'd done many times during his eight-year tenure with Zuffa, the UFC's parent company. The New York State Assembly plans to vote on Tuesday on a proposal that would make mixed martial arts legal in the state.

    Mersch worked tirelessly on the issue for the UFC, when he was its senior vice president of business and legal affairas as well as its assistant general counsel from 2007 through 2015. This time, though, he was in New York for a different reason.

    Michael Mersch is the chief operationg officer of the World Series of Fighting (Photo courtesy Michael Mersch)Michael Mersch is the chief operationg officer of the World Series of Fighting (Photo courtesy Michael Mersch)He's been appointed chief operating officer of the World Series of Fighting by CEO Carlos Silva, and was in the Empire State not only for today's vote, but to meet with the fight promotion's business partners and to being plotting out a strategy for his new job.

    "There's quite a steep learning curve," said Mersch, 45, who for the last year had been general counsel for the Nevada Attorney General.

    Mersch was offered a job last year with the World Series, but declined, opting instead to return

    Read More »from Ex-UFC executive Michael Mersch named World Series of Fighting's COO
  • With Holly Holm’s successful transition from boxing to mixed martial arts, it can be expected that more practitioners of the sweet science could eventually find their way into a cage.

    George Groves (AP Photo)George Groves (AP Photo)One of those fighters interested in making the transition is former WBA super middleweight contender George Groves. Groves, who is known for his two outings against Carl Froch, revealed to Starsport during the launch of the UFC 2 video game that he’s a huge fan of the UFC. More importantly, he’d love to get a shot at Conor McGregor.

    "If McGregor is going to come to float around my weight and wants to do a pay-per-view fight and he wants to swear at me and call me names then I'd love to have a crack [at him],” Groves said.

    McGregor’s recent fight against Nate Diaz was at 170 pounds and Groves currently campaigns at 168 pounds in the super middleweight division.

    Groves (22-3, 17 knockouts) believes that because McGregor enjoys to stand and bang, this fight could be right in his wheelhouse. "I think it'd

    Read More »from Meet the British boxer that wants to fight Conor McGregor
  • Source confirms UFC looking at McGregor-Diaz II for July in Las Vegas

    UFC president Dana White has long resisted having one of his champions trying to hold belts in two weight classes at the same time. He relented when featherweight champion Conor McGregor asked to be allowed to go after the lightweight belt.

    McGregor vowed he’d defend both the lightweight and featherweight titles, if he defeated champion Rafael dos Anjos in their bout on March 5 in the main event of UFC 196.

    Dos Anjos, though, broke his foot and had to pull out of UFC 196. Instead, McGregor fought, and was submitted by late replacement Nate Diaz in that show.

    Now, the UFC appears to be headed in the direction of a McGregor-Diaz rematch for UFC 200 on July 9 at the new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

    A source confirmed to Yahoo Sports that the bout is being discussed, but has not been finalized. MMA Fighting first reported the possibility.

    Though it’s not done, the fact it is being seriously discussed is the very reason that White has been reluctant to allow someone to try to hold two belts

    Read More »from Source confirms UFC looking at McGregor-Diaz II for July in Las Vegas
  • Rashad Evans knows a thing or two about being emotionally invested in a rivalry with Jon Jones and how it can affect the ego.

    The former UFC light heavyweight champion was involved in a very heated war of words with Jones that culminated in a showdown at UFC 145 with Evans falling short. He empathizes with Daniel Cormier as he too was involved in a feud with Jones and also fell short then they met at 182.

    The difference is that Cormier now holds the UFC light heavyweight championship due to Jones being suspended and subsequently stripped last year. And with Jones and Cormier set to meet again at UFC 197 on April 23, the proverbial cup of emotions has runneth over yet again.UFC president holds Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones back from one another during a media event. (Getty)UFC president holds Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones back from one another during a media event. (Getty)

    With so much emotionally invested, Evans sees this fight as a must-win for Cormier. So much, in fact, that Evans believes that the 36-year-old may have to call it quits if he can’t get the job done the second time around.

    “I think that DC definitely can [win]," Evans said on The MMA Hour. "He definitely can. You

    Read More »from Rashad Evans: Daniel Cormier should retire if he loses to Jon Jones again
  • It was assumed that Rory MacDonald’s extended absence from the UFC came as a result of his brutal war with Robbie Lawler back in August at UFC 189 last July.

    But it appears that’s only partially true.

    Although his injuries were extensive, MacDonald sought to get back into the cage against Hector Lombard at UFC Fight Night 84 in London this past February. But that fight never came to fruition. However, as MacDonald revealed on The MMA Hour, his absence had less to do with his health and more to do with behind the scenes contract negotiations that have yet to yield an extension for the 26-year-old welterweight who was minutes away from becoming a champion.A bloodied MacDonald stalks Lawler during their epic fight. (AP)A bloodied MacDonald stalks Lawler during their epic fight. (AP)

    MacDonald said that his upcoming fight with Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson at UFC Fight Night 89 in June will be the last fight on his contract and he’s more than willing to test out free agency if a new deal hasn’t been ironed out by then. And with Bellator continuing to make a push with the signings of former UFC fighters Matt

    Read More »from Rory MacDonald willing to test free-agent market if UFC doesn't pony up
  • With the weight of the world lifted off the shoulders of newly minted UFC women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate, the time has come to have a little fun.

    Miesha Tate (AP Photo)Miesha Tate (AP Photo)Tate — who finally realized her dream of becoming champion with a come-from-behind fifth round submission of Holly Holm — decided to have a good laugh at the expense of a Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officer. A video recently went viral of Officer Russel Mettke stealing a glance at Tate’s backside at the UFC 196 weigh-in when Tate was putting on her shorts before interviewing with Joe Rogan.

    Now that a few days have passed since Tate submitted Holm, the Las Vegan decided to get her revenge by paying the officer a visit and replicating the scene at the weigh-in with the roles reversed.

    In an Instagram post, Mettke played the role of Tate and was pulling his pants up as Tate stood guard as the Las Vegas police officer.

    “Some of you will get this right away!” Tate posted. “If you don't, watch the viral YouTube video of

    Read More »from New UFC champ Miesha Tate gets revenge on Las Vegas cop
  • You cannot say that Jon Anik is not a man of his word.

    Jon Anik's new tattoo. (Instagram)Jon Anik's new tattoo. (Instagram)The UFC commentator said if Nate Diaz defeated Conor McGregor at UFC 196, he would get the area code of Diaz’s hometown of Stockton, Calif., tattooed on his body.

    Diaz submitted McGregor in the second round this past Saturday and Anik took to Instagram on Thursday to prove he would fulfill his side of the bet.

    In what appears to be the inside of Anik’s left forearm now resides a “209” tattoo. After all, it was either get the ink and keep his word or become a victim of a Stockton slap courtesy of Diaz.

    Anik went with the former.

    Diaz saw Anik’s post of the tattoo and re-tweeted it on his Twitter account.

    Read More »from UFC commentator Jon Anik gets Nate Diaz tattoo after UFC 196 upset
  • Paige VanZant relishes opportunity on new season of 'Dancing with the Stars'

    The last time Paige VanZant appeared in public, her face was a bloody, swollen mess, the result of a beating at the hands of Rose Namajunas in an important strawweight bout last December.

    It will be a very different side of VanZant viewers see later this year when she appears on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" as one of the Season 22 cast members.

    She did competitive dance when she was younger until she said she was burned out on it by the time she was through middle school.

    VanZant, who will turn 22 later this month, is taking a brief break from fighting to appear on the popular reality series. And though she has a background in dance and her mother owned a dance studio, her motivation for appearing goes beyond just what the show will do for her career.

    Paige VanZant and Dancing with the Stars partner Mark Ballas. (Photo by Craig Sjodin/Getty Images)Paige VanZant and Dancing with the Stars partner Mark Ballas. (Photo by Craig Sjodin/Getty Images)"I'm so fortunate to get this opportunity to show the world I'm a lot more than just a fighter," she said. "I really love the thought that I get to show that female fighters, and all fighters, really, are so much more than what you see

    Read More »from Paige VanZant relishes opportunity on new season of 'Dancing with the Stars'
  • The stars will come out for UFC 200, but which ones will get the coveted spots?

    Despite the phenomenal growth of the UFC and the increase in interest in mixed martial arts worldwide, UFC 100 on July 11, 2009, in Las Vegas remains one of promotion's bellwether events. It has long been the company's best-selling pay-per-view card as well as its highest grossing event.

    UFC 196, which featured two big upsets in the main and co-main events with Nate Diaz submitting Conor McGregor in the second round of a welterweight bout and Miesha Tate winning the women's bantamweight title with a final-round submission of Holly Holm, is on track to surpass it, though final figures aren't in.

    But the UFC has indicated it plans to make a huge event on July 9 at the new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, and the likelihood exists it will set records for pay-per-view sales and revenue generated.

    No fights have been announced yet, but here's a stab at what the five-fight main card could be:

    Robbie Lawler versus Nate Diaz for the UFC welterweight title: Lawler seems far too big for Diaz, who

    Read More »from The stars will come out for UFC 200, but which ones will get the coveted spots?
  • UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos was likely watching UFC 196 and thought to himself aloud “That could have been me” when Nate Diaz scored an upset submission victory over Conor McGregor. The Brazilian was originally slated to defend his title against McGregor in what would have easily been the most watched fight of his career as the Irishman sought to become the first UFC fighter to hold world titles simultaneously in two different weight classes.

    Rafael dos Anjos pulled out of UFC 196 after breaking his foot. (Getty)Rafael dos Anjos pulled out of UFC 196 after breaking his foot. (Getty)However, a broken foot saw RDA’s dreams of putting the brakes on the McGregor hype train go up in smoke when he had to pull out 10 days before the fight. So, it’s expected that dos Anjos had some difficulty watching Diaz earn a massive paycheck and score the biggest win of his MMA career at his expense.

    “What went through my mind: I fought Nate Diaz already, and I knew, Conor, he's a good fighter, but I think I can put a worse beating on him, for sure," dos Anjos said on “The MMA Hour” Monday. The UFC lightweight champion claims that

    Read More »from After missing massive payday, Rafael dos Anjos eyes UFC 200
  • Floyd Mayweather (AP Photo)Floyd Mayweather (AP Photo)Floyd Mayweather is an athlete, even in retirement, who can dominate headlines on a weekly basis.

    Mayweather has not fought since beating Andre Berto last September and retiring afterwards with a perfect 49-0 record. During his run as the world’s greatest boxer, Mayweather had a few well-publicized spats with UFC stars Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor.

    Now, with both fighters losing in the last six months — McGregor, most recently at Saturday’s UFC 196 to Nate Diaz — Mayweather has every opportunity to sit back and gloat. But he’s not. And truth be told, he never really cared about those beefs anyway.

    “I never once said anything negative about Ronda Rousey,” Mayweather told FightHype.com. “Never. Never once. I never once said anything disrespectful about … I want to make sure I get his name right … Conor McGregor. OK. I never said anything negative about them.

    “Now, I can wake up on the wrong side of the bed and not be happy that day; because I’m not well rested. So, [the media] can

    Read More »from Floyd Mayweather: I'm interested in promoting MMA fighters
  • Jose Aldo is going to say whatever it takes to get an opportunity to avenge his 13-second knockout loss to Conor McGregor. Even if what he says does border on nonsensical.

    The former UFC featherweight champion appeared on the Brazilian TV show "Extra Ordinarios" after McGregor’s loss and immediately went to work tearing McGregor down.

    "He quit, couldn’t take it anymore, wanted to run away," he said of McGregor’s second-round submission loss to Nate Diaz. "He’s a [expletive]. He went down and quit. He was slapped in the face. He looked like a child, getting slapped in the face."

    Aldo wasn’t impressed with McGregor making the leap from 145 pounds to 170 pounds to face Diaz. And the fact that McGregor was submitted has Aldo salivating at the possibility of a rematch for the featherweight title he lost in December. The Brazilian spoke to McGregor being unable to score a knockout over the bigger Diaz and suggested that the Irishman’s power is nothing to be concerned about.

    "Some fighters

    Read More »from Jose Aldo knocks Conor McGregor's power three months after getting KO'd by him
  • UFC strawweight Paige VanZant may have suffered her first career UFC loss last December, but it seemingly hasn’t hurt her popularity all that much.

    Paige VanZantPaige VanZantVanZant, 21, will be a contestant on the upcoming season of the ABC hit show “Dancing with the Stars.” The UFC starlet will join the 22nd season alongside fellow active athletes Von Miller of the Denver Broncos and Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

    VanZant will be just the third UFC fighter to ever compete on “Dancing with the Stars.” To her credit, however, Van Zant will be the first active fighter to appear on the show as UFC Hall of Famers Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture competed after retiring from the sport.

    Before becoming a professional fighter, VanZant was a dancer. Her parents owned a dance studio in her home state of Oregon, and the self-professed "tomboy" spent her entire childhood immersed in dance (ballet, cheerleading, jazz). So, assuming she hasn’t lost a step – and judging from this video, she hasn’t – VanZant could

    Read More »from UFC's Paige VanZant joins latest 'Dancing with the Stars' cast
  • After Conor McGregor’s unsuccessful jump to 170 pounds against Nate Diaz at UFC 196, all signs are pointing to the Irishman going back to 145 pounds to defend his featherweight title for his next fight. While that may be all but cemented, his opponent is not.

    Both Frankie Edgar and Jose Aldo have been lobbying to face McGregor for his world title. Aldo — who sat atop many pound-for-pound lists prior to the fight — seeks to gain revenge after McGregor scored a scintillating 13-second knockout of the Brazilian at UFC 194. Former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar has won five fights in a row, including a first-round knockout over Chad Mendes back in December, and has been vocal about earning his spot.

    Jose Aldo could soon get his second shot at Conor McGregor. (AP Photo)Jose Aldo could soon get his second shot at Conor McGregor. (AP Photo)The UFC has a tough decision to make but McGregor’s coach, John Kavanagh, is leaning toward the former featherweight champion.

    "Me personally, maybe the Aldo rematch, I’d like to see that again," Kavanagh said on “The MMA Hour” Monday. "I just think the first one was great for us, but it

    Read More »from Conor McGregor's camp 'leaning' toward Jose Aldo rematch
  • UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor suffered his first UFC loss on Saturday at UFC 196, submitting to a rear-naked choke courtesy of Nate Diaz.

    The second-round finish halted McGregor's plans of taking over the welterweight division, and potentially a run at the lightweight title, as well.

    UFC 196’s main event was originally slated to be a lightweight title fight between McGregor and champion Rafael dos Anjos. The fight would see McGregor jumping 10 pounds in weight in an attempt to claim his second belt just months removed from dethroning featherweight kingpin Jose Aldo at UFC 194. Dos Anjos, however, suffered an injury, forcing a cancellation of the fight, which resulted in Diaz filling the void.

    The man McGregor was originally set to square off against at UFC 196 doesn’t see it that way, though. Appearing on Monday’s edition of the MMA Hour, dos Anjos reminded everyone Diaz is a lightweight fighter most of the time. So, if McGregor couldn’t beat Diaz, how would he ever hope

    Read More »from Rafael dos Anjos mocks Conor McGregor for tapping out: 'Be a man'
  • Jon Jones rarely allows what he perceives to be a jab at him slip by without a response. Prior to UFC 196, Conor McGregor was asked by “UFC Tonight” whether he thought Jones was the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.

    Jon Jones and Demetrious Johnson (Instagram)Jon Jones and Demetrious Johnson (Instagram)"He's not," McGregor responded. "I'm No. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and maybe Jon and 'Mighty Mouse' [Demetrious Johnson] is 10. That's what I feel."

    McGregor also suggested that Jones has “threw cards down in the water” by pulling out, speaking specifically toward the cancelation of UFC 151 when Dan Henderson was injured and Jones was unwilling to face late replacement Chael Sonnen.

    But after UFC 196, when McGregor was submitted in the second round by late replacement Nate Diaz, Jones had an opportunity to respond to McGregor’s pound-for-pound analysis.

    “So much for being 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 & 9,” Jones posted on Instagram with a photo of himself and Demetrious Johnson holding up the numbers 1 and 2, respectively. The photo was posted while cageside at the event

    Read More »from Conor McGregor earns Jon Jones' respect despite Instagram jab
  • With Conor McGregor’s stunning second-round submission loss to Nate Diaz at UFC 196 in the books, the idea of McGregor making a run at the welterweight title to become the first fighter in UFC history to hold world titles in two different weight classes at the same time has gone up in smoke.

    But McGregor is still the UFC featherweight champion and it’s likely that his next fight will be in defense of that title. It’s still too early to tell who he will end up facing and when, but the Irishman has one opponent who is eagerly seeking revenge.

    “Conor, I’ll see you at UFC 200,” Jose Aldo posted with an image of himself. Back in December, McGregor knocked Aldo out in 13 seconds to become the undisputed UFC featherweight champion. Since then, Aldo has been adamant about securing a rematch for the title. “Your Cinderella fantasy is over. Nowhere to run to now. You're gonna have to give me my rematch, you [expletive]!!”

    Conor McGregor reacts following his loss to Nate Diaz at UFC 196. (USAT)Conor McGregor reacts following his loss to Nate Diaz at UFC 196. (USAT)

    Aldo is still seething from the shockingly fast knockout at the hands of

    Read More »from Conor McGregor on Jose Aldo's callout after UFC 196: 'That's the sign of a loser'
  • UFC 196: McGregor-Diaz live chat and analysis

  • LAS VEGAS – As per the course of this brief, yet vitriolic 10-day promotion, Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz exchanged curse words and middle fingers as both came in under the 170-pound weight limit in front of a raucous pro-McGregor crowd as the two prepare for their UFC 196 main event showdown at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

    McGregor, the current UFC featherweight champion, will make his welterweight debut against Diaz, who stepped in on short notice to replace the injured UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos. With little time to prepare, both agreed to square off at the welterweight limit of 170 pounds.

    The Irishman looked far different than the emaciated skeleton that stepped on the scale at UFC 194 for his featherweight title showdown against Jose Aldo. A very filled out McGregor hit the stage rubbing his belly as a sign that he is happy to not have to cut weight. Noticeably more defined than Diaz, McGregor weighed in at 168 pounds. His counterpart also made weight at 169

    Read More »from Conor McGregor, Nate Diaz preen and trade expletives at UFC 196 weigh-in
  • No shocker: Conor McGregor's mouth dominates UFC 196 news conference

    There was a lot of cursing, a slew of obscene gestures, numerous funny lines and a near-brawl during a photo conference.

    In other words, it was just a typical Conor McGregor public appearance.

    The UFC featherweight champion, who meets Nate Diaz Saturday in the main event of UFC 196 in a five-round non-title bout, was more than a half-hour late once again. But he was the life of the party during a raucous news conference that ended quickly when he swiped Diaz's right fist away from his face.

    As McGregor and Diaz posed for a photograph, Diaz took a wide stance and held his fists high, with his right fist just inches from McGregor's nose. After about a five-second staredown, McGregor used his left hand to chop Diaz's right away from his face.

    Members of both fighters' camps, as well as UFC staff and security, quickly followed. Though there were a few tense moments, it was broken up without further incident.

    Diaz took a lot of verbal abuse from McGregor, to no one's surprise, through the

    Read More »from No shocker: Conor McGregor's mouth dominates UFC 196 news conference