October 20, 2016
The standoff between the UFC and Georges St-Pierre is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
After St-Pierre rocked the MMA community with his declaration that he is no longer under contract with the UFC, the company promptly responded that the former welterweight champion remained under an existing agreement with the promotion.
The language in that contract is something that St-Pierre’s lawyer, James Quinn of New York firm Weil, Gotshal and Manges, suggested was a “form of slavery,” according to MMA Fighting.
“They’re basically tying him up for life,” Quinn said while stating how “blown away” he was by what he read. “They have no rights and they own all of his licensing and all the other things. It’s unheard of in the other professional sports. And they won’t get away with it forever.”
Quinn has been successful in cases against the NBA and NFL in the past but was shocked at how restrictive the French-Canadian’s contract was.
“You couldn’t get away with any old contract in any of the other sports,” Quinn said. “There is litigation in that aspect of a class-action lawsuit that challenges the contract as being illegal under the NHS laws. That case is ongoing, and I think that under the law’s terms, I don’t think the contract — that formal contract — is likely to stand up. Not in today’s world. It’s a pretty nice form of slavery.”
It doesn’t look like this will end amicably as both sides appear to be entrenched for the long haul. Quinn reiterated St-Pierre’s claims that he is, in fact, a free agent, after the UFC missed the deadline to offer him a fight. Obviously, the UFC won’t go away quietly and will likely drag him into a courtroom if St-Pierre decides to fight somewhere else. But Quinn wouldn’t rule out GSP competing in the Octagon again, as long as the contract is right.
“We take the position that we believe the contract has been terminated,” Quinn said. “They have their hand, we have our hand, we’ll see how it plays out. Georges still wants to fight and he’s perfectly happy to fight under a new UFC contract, if we can negotiate one. Or if not, he’ll look at other options.”
October 14, 2016
The reason for Brock Lesnar’s failed UFC 200 drug test is still a point of contention according to an anti-doping attorney who represents the former UFC heavyweight champion.
After initially suggesting that asthma medication could have caused the positive drug test, Lesnar has now requested that eye medication and foot cream he used prior to his fight with Mark Hunt be tested for clomiphene and clomiphene metabolites.
MMA Junkie reports that Lesnar’s attorney, Howard Jacobs, requested to postpone the WWE superstar’s disciplinary hearing with the Nevada Athletic Commission while it is determined what was the source of the positive test. However, the NAC has not approved the request.
“We are still investigating this matter [which investigation includes the ongoing testing of products used by Mr. Lesnar prior to the date of the positive test],” Jacobs wrote in a letter obtained by MMA Junkie dated Sept. 19. “To provide further detail, I am advised that the testing laboratory (Korva Labs) initially tested an eye medication, which was negative for either clomiphene or clomiphene metabolites. Subsequent testing has been conducted on a foot cream; that testing has included three separate extraction attempts, all of which have failed. A fourth extraction attempt is being made by Korva Labs this week.”
Paul Scott, who testified on Anderson Silva’s behalf during the Brazilian’s failed drug tests from UFC 183, heads Korva Labs. Lesnar has vehemently denied that he knowingly used any banned substance leading up to his fight with Hunt. He won his first fight back in the UFC after a four-and-a-half-year absence. But any potential future fights are now on hold considering that Lesnar is facing a possible two-year suspension by USADA and additional penalties from the NAC.
“I assure you that we have been diligent in our investigation and testing, and that the requested delay is not being sought for any improper purpose,” wrote Jacobs while suggesting the foot cream Lesnar used needs to be tested. “If the hearing can be rescheduled to a mutually agreeable date in November, I am confident that we can be prepared so that the case can be heard on the merits at that time.”
October 13, 2016
There has been a lot of controversy surrounding former NFL lineman Greg Hardy’s recent announcement that he’s going to pursue a career in mixed martial arts. His checkered past and legal trouble, which includes domestic violence charges and cocaine possession, bled over into his professional career and has kept him off the football field.
Many have criticized the move, including NFL and UFC analyst Jay Glazer, who has called for MMA promotions to steer clear from the troubled 28-year-old. However, that suggestion doesn’t quite ring true for UFC president Dana White.
White appeared on FS1’s Speak for Yourself show and addressed the possibility of Hardy transitioning into the world of MMA. Although he said he wouldn’t bring Hardy into the promotion right now, he wouldn’t rule it out if the former Dallas Cowboy proved he was good enough.
“I’m one of those guys too who believes that we’re all human beings and we all make mistakes,” White said. “And when you make a mistake, you pay your penance, whatever it might be, and you should be allowed to make a living and move on in your life. Is he good enough to come into the UFC and fight? I highly doubt it.”
Apparently, the legal troubles don’t scare off White. Although there is some concern considering that domestic violence and mixed martial arts have been tied together. An HBO Real Sports episode last year focused heavily on the history of domestic violence in MMA, with an emphasis on the infamous incident with ex-UFC/Bellator fighter War Machine and former girlfriend Christy Mack. Bringing Hardy into the UFC would certainly be questionable from a media standpoint.
But White believes that Hardy deserves a second chance. Whether or not that second chance eventually finds Hardy in the UFC is anyone’s guess.
“I’m not saying he should be welcomed here, but I’m saying I’m a guy who believes that if you make a mistake, your life isn’t over, go kill yourself or something,” White said. “You made a mistake, you pay for it. When you make mistakes, it’s all about how you act from there on out. How do you handle yourself after that and what do you do to fix it.”
Ultimately, it will be up to Hardy’s performance as an MMA fighter that will decide if he ever competes in the Octagon.
“I’ve been playing football for a couple weeks too, maybe I’ll try out for the (New England) Patriots?” White joked. “It takes a little bit longer than that, but he could fight at one of these small shows. We’ll see how he looks, and I don’t know.”
October 12, 2016
The teenage daughter of heavyweight legend Fedor Emelianenko was attacked and hospitalized in Moscow in what appears to be in response to Emelianenko’s criticism of child MMA fights in Chechnya hosted by Chechen dictator Ramzan Kadyrov.
The original reports suggested that the victim was the daughter of a “famous heavyweight.” However, Bloody Elbow confirmed with multiple sources that the girl was Emelianenko’s daughter.
According to a report by Moscow publication MKRU, the 16-year-old was assaulted by several individuals while walking home from school late last wek. The attack left the girl with several bruises, but she returned to her home in Moscow and remained there through the weekend. However, the pain did not subside and was taken to the hospital by her mother. She was transferred to the Research Institute of Children’s Emergency Surgery and Traumatology, where she was diagnosed with “contusion of the chest and abdomen.”
The article suggested that Emelianenko’s daughter refused to cooperate with police and identify her attackers.
This all comes after Emelianenko lampooned the MMA fights that Kadyrov had his three preteen sons compete in back on October 9. His heavy-handed condemnation of the event caused an investigation by the Kremlin and the Commissioner for Children’s Rights in the Russian Federation. Apparently, this drew the ire of those around Kadyrov as well as some harsh responses from members of the Akhmat Fight Club.
October 12, 2016
The long-awaited return of Ronda Rousey has been confirmed.
UFC president Dana White made the announcement that the former UFC women’s bantamweight champion will make her anticipated return to the Octagon on Dec. 30 at UFC 207 in Las Vegas against the division’s current champion, Amanda Nunes.
— Dana White (@danawhite) October 12, 2016
Rousey’s hasn’t fought since losing to Holly Holm last November and there had been growing concerns as to whether a return to fighting was in her future. However, Dana White stood firm that Rousey would eventually return and promised her a title shot whenever she decided that she was ready to compete, much to the chagrin of the rest of the division.
Since losing the title to Holly Holm at UFC 193, the title has changed hands on two occasions with no champion having a successful defense. Holm lost to Miesha Tate by submission at UFC 196 and Tate dropped the title in her first defense against Nunes at UFC 200.
Once labeled the ‘World’s Most Dominant Athlete’, Rousey had a rapid ascension to superstardom.
She worked her way through the Strikeforce women’s bantamweight division with such efficiency that she changed the mind of UFC president Dana White, who had previously said that women would never fight in the UFC. He ended up creating a women’s division within the promotion because of Rousey’s dominance and drawing power. (The UFC has since added a second women’s division at strawweight.)
Rousey had won the first 12 fights of her MMA career, 11 of them in the first round. It took her a total of 1:04 to defeat Bethe Correia, Cat Zingano and Alexis Davis in the three title defenses before the loss to Holm.
Rousey became the sport’s biggest star and was a regular on talk shows, instantly recognizable by the mainstream audience – which in turn meant huge pay-per-view numbers for the UFC whenever she fought.
It’s safe to say that Dana White is happy she’s back.
October 11, 2016
It’s no secret that everyone wants a piece of Conor McGregor. The UFC featherweight champion possesses a loud mouth but has also become a massive draw for the fighting promotion. Facing McGregor gives opponents the opportunity at a massive payday as well as the chance to silence the mouthy McGregor.
Although lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez is the next to get the opportunity at UFC 205, there is one opponent who may be able to match McGregor in both the skills department as well as trash talking: UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz.
The topic of a possible McGregor-Cruz fight was brought up by a fan question after UFC 204 and Cruz certainly didn’t shy away from the idea. The bantamweight champion outlined how he’d take out the hard-hitting Irishman. Not only that, but Cruz is willing to meet McGregor two weight classes higher than his own at lightweight.
“I know as much as McGregor, and more, about this sport than anybody and it seems that the only way to beat McGregor is with your mind,” Cruz said. “I know I can do that and I know that I can also technically beat him. And I know that at 145 pounds I am extremely fast and hard to deal with. I can beat McGregor, absolutely. And I would love to fight him at 145 pounds or 155 pounds if he wins the title. I don’t care, I’m the champion and my style is built for moving up in weight classes because I don’t take damage.”
Cruz has proven to be a formidable opponent in the mind game department and has engaged in some entertaining verbal jousting with his opponents. Perhaps more important than Cruz’s proficiency in the trash-talking department is the fact that he hasn’t lost a fight in nearly 10 years. Granted, he was sidelined with myriad injuries that only saw him fight once from October 2011 to January 2016, but his résumé certainly speaks for itself.
Ultimately, Cruz doesn’t want to become just another guy who wants a fight against McGregor. But he certainly believes that he has the mental and physical tools to take him down. However, if the fight is going to be made, Cruz believes that it’s up to one man to make it happen.
“Look everyone’s calling out Conor McGregor,” Cruz said. “I don’t want to be another guy because everybody wants that fight. But, the thing is, McGregor is picking his own fights. So that’s not up to me, it’s not up to UFC, it’s up to McGregor.”
October 10, 2016
It’s no secret that the UFC is struggling to find credible opponents for Cris “Cyborg” Justino. The No. 15 ranked pound-for-pound fighter has destroyed her last two opponents, Lina Lansberg and Leslie Smith, with little trouble and fans have been clamoring for her to face one of the more recognizable names in women’s MMA.
Although a Ronda Rousey fight has been the women’s MMA equivalent to Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao, it doesn’t seem close to coming to fruition anytime soon. But while so many other women don’t appear to be too interested in facing the Invicta 145-pound champion, a former UFC women’s bantamweight champ says that she certainly wouldn’t mind stepping up to face the powerful Brazilian.
Miesha Tate appeared on “The MMA Hour” to talk about her UFC 205 showdown with Raquel Pennington but made it clear that she’d be more than willing to fight Cyborg at a catchweight of 140 pounds if the opportunity presented itself.
“When I was the champ the UFC told me that they would not do a catchweight fight,” Tate said. She recently lost her title to Amanda Nunes at UFC 200 back in July. “But now that I’m not the champ I could fight her at 140. I wouldn’t be against it.”
Although she joked that a fight with Cyborg may “take a couple of years off” her life, the former UFC and Strikeforce champion sees the fight as a high-risk, high-reward prospect that could only enhance her career.
“I have nothing to lose in that fight,” Tate said. “I’d be fighting a girl that is such a powerhouse and just crushing girls. If I went in there and beat her or if I gave her a solid run for her money, it says a lot. I wouldn’t be opposed to doing it but it hasn’t been discussed yet.”
Obviously, Tate has her hands full with Pennington on Nov. 12, but is more than willing to explore the possibility of the fight should Cyborg need an opponent.
The mere suggestion is more than can be said for most of the women in the UFC.
October 10, 2016
UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor was hit with a $150,000 fine by the Nevada Athletic Commission for his role in a bottle-throwing incident that abruptly ended the UFC 202 pre-fight media event in Las Vegas on Aug. 17.
The commission voted unanimously to levy the Irishman with the fine – which equates to five percent of his disclosed $3 million purse earned against Nate Diaz – while also tacking on 50 hours of community service and requiring McGregor to participate in an anti-bullying campaign.
The punishment may seem a bit harsher than originally thought. The Nevada Attorney General initially suggested a fine of $25,000 with 25 days of community service and five hours of media training. However, the commission appeared to want a stiff penalty that would serve as a warning to anybody else that wants to engage in a degree of unsportsmanlike conduct as McGregor did.
I get fined more than these bums get paid
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) October 10, 2016
The incident took place at the David Copperfield Theater inside of the MGM Grand after McGregor drew the ire of Diaz when he arrived considerably late for the scheduled press conference. Diaz stormed out and shouted expletives at McGregor on his way out. One thing led to another and the two sides were throwing bottles at one another, with McGregor eventually launching a can of Monster Energy from the dais.
The Irishman testified by telephone and admitted to his part in the altercation but suggested he was only responding after he saw a bottle from Diaz’s party heading toward a teammate.
“I acted wrong, and all I will say is I’m sorry for this,” McGregor said. “This was a high-stakes fight for me.”
McGregor’s attorney argued against a possible suspension that would prevent McGregor from facing Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight title in the main event of UFC 205. Instead, the commission debated what percentage of McGregor’s purse he would be fined for. Commissioners Pat Lundvall and Michon Martin suggested a fine of 10 percent, which would have been $300,000. Fortunately, for McGregor, commissioners Francisco Aguilar and Anthony Marnell didn’t feel comfortable levying such a hefty fine for throwing a water bottle and settled on five percent.
A hearing for Nate Diaz regarding his role in the altercation has been postponed to a later date.
October 09, 2016
It was almost déjà vu for Michael Bisping. In almost identical fashion to their first meeting at UFC 100, a Dan Henderson right hand landed and Bisping went down…twice in the first two rounds. But this time, Bisping managed to keep his senses and survive. “The Count” refused to allow a fairy tale story come to fruition and outworked a retiring Dan Henderson to retain his UFC middleweight title by unanimous decision in front of a rabid hometown crowd in Manchester, England, in the main event of UFC 204.
Seven years ago, Michael Bisping ended up on the wrong side of the highlight reel when Henderson landed his patented H-Bomb right hand on the Brit’s chin to score one of the most brutal knockouts in UFC history. A lot has changed since then with Bisping becoming the middleweight champion and Henderson at the tail end of his career. However, the rematch was necessary for Bisping considering that he had been haunted by that knockout punch for many years — not to mention that it would be Henderson’s final opportunity to claim UFC gold as he announced that he would be retiring, win or lose.
It was a fight that many mocked considering that Henderson was ranked outside of the top 10. However, with it being his final appearance in the Octagon, and the multi-layered storyline, the fight made sense. And when the fight happened, it ended up being a memorable affair where the active Bisping had to summon everything he had to survive a pair of vicious knockdowns and outpoint the lumbering 46-year-old with scores of 48-47, 48-47 & 49-46.
“This man is incredible,” Bisping said. “He just kicked my ass. All the trash talking, you gotta respect that guy, he’s a legend.”
The fight started as many expected with the active Bisping prodding the methodical Henderson with jabs, leg kicks and combinations. But at the end of the first round, the H-Bomb found a familiar home. A collective gasp swept through the crowd as Henderson nearly pulled off a career finale that could only be written for a Hollywood blockbuster.
However, this time, Bisping refused to stay down. Henderson dove in just as he did in their first meeting and sought the finish. Bisping survived a frantic flurry from Henderson as the bell sounded and both smiled with the knowledge that history nearly repeated itself.
As the second round began, Bisping went right back to work and used movement to keep Henderson off balance and unable to uncork that right hand. A hard right hand from Bisping wobbled Henderson and “The Count” swarmed in. In the midst of the tornado of strikes, one of Bisping’s kicks strayed low. Unfortunately for Henderson, referee Yves Lavigne didn’t see it and Henderson had to do his best to survive. Not only did he survive, but he also caught Bisping asleep at the wheel yet again and sank Bisping to the canvas yet again with a right hand before the round came to a close. Once again, history threatened to repeat itself and the one title that eluded Dan Henderson was near.
But Bisping’s heart was on full display as he refused to be put away.
Fortunately for the champion, that’s about all Henderson had in the tank. After making some adjustments, the next two rounds were all Bisping circling, putting together combinations, landing leg kicks, darting out of firing range and snaring away rounds three and four with little resistance. His face was a bloody mess with his left eye swollen shut but Bisping wasn’t about to let down the fans that were packed into the Manchester Arena for a main event that happened at nearly 5 a.m local time.
Henderson would put together a spirited effort in the fifth round and scored a late takedown as the crowd roared to the fight’s conclusion. But it was too little too late, as the 37-year-old had deposited enough offense in the bank to sway the judges’ scores in his favor.
After the bout, Henderson confirmed that this would be his final fight.
“This is the last time that anyone will see me fight live,” Henderson said as the Manchester crowd that booed him earlier showered the arena with “Hendo” chants. “I appreciate all of the support throughout the years. I gave my heart and soul to this sport and fans like you made it worthwhile to compete every night. This was my last for the belt. I came up a little short but not bad for an old man.”
UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier will defend his title against Anthony Johnson in the main event of UFC 206 in Toronto on Dec. 10. The fight, which will take place at the Air Canada Centre, was announced on FS1’s “UFC Tonight.”
The announcement follows speculation that Jon Jones – who had his disciplinary hearing with the Nevada Athletic Commission for failing a UFC 200 drug test postponed – could face Johnson in an interim title fight. But with Jones’ hearing pushed back to November, the UFC moved forward with the rematch from UFC 187, where Cormier submitted Johnson to take possession of the championship that Jones had vacated when he was suspended last year.
“The city of Toronto is still buzzing after the Blue Jays’ walk-off home run last night,” Cormier said. “The only thing more exciting than that is that I am defending the undisputed UFC light heavyweight title in the Six on December 10 at UFC 206, only on pay-per-view. Down will go Rumble … again.”
Both Cormier and Johnson were interested in fighting each other and proposed that they “move on” from Jon Jones until his legal issues cleared up. However, Dana White proposed the idea that Jones could return to face Johnson if his suspension was lessened by the NAC, much to the chagrin of both Cormier and Johnson.
But with Jones out of the way, there is a clear path to the rematch. Cormier (18-1) is coming off a UFC 200 victory over Anderson Silva, who stepped in on short notice after Jon Jones was pulled from the card less than 72 hours before the event after the USADA violation. As for Johnson (22-5), aside from his loss to Cormier, he has been on a tear with 12 victories in his last 13 fights. He has won his last three fights by knockout to put himself right back into title contention.
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