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UFC 180: Werdum v Hunt - Press Conference

Cutting Through The Bullsh*t: UFC 180 Edition

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Zuffa Earnings Down 40 Percent in 2014 Due to Fighter Injury, Reports S&P

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(Looks like it’s time to start calling some old boyfriends, boys!)

In August of 2011, the UFC inked a multi-year deal with FOX, in what remains the biggest broadcasting deal in MMA history. As per the deal, the UFC increased their amount of events per year from 27 in 2011 to 32 in 2012. What followed was the now infamous year of the “injury curse”, wherein over 105 fights were cancelled due to injury.

It’s been much of the same for the UFC ever since, with most of the promotion’s champions being forced to the sidelines with long-term injuries or other affliction’s in the past two years. Fun fact: There have been just 11 title fights in 2014, with six of those fights belonging to Jose Aldo, Ronda Rousey, and Demetrious Johnson. Fan complaints of oversaturation have reached a fever pitch, and in July, the UFC was forced to cancel UFC 176 in the wake of Aldo’s injury.

But you already know this. Any MMA fan who has been paying at least half-attention to the sport in recent years has seen the negative effects the UFC’s increased schedule has had on their product. What you might not know, however, is just how bad the injury bug of 2012-2014 is affecting Zuffa’s earnings, and Standard and Poor’s recent assessment of Zuffa (via MMAJunkie) paints a pretty ugly picture…

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Ashlee Evans-Smith Replaces Holly Holm at UFC 181 Against Raquel Pennington


(Photo via Danny Morales / DTM News Journal)

With bantamweight rising star Holly Holm out of her UFC debut next month due to a neck injury, the UFC has signed Ashlee Evans-Smith to fill in for Holm at UFC 181: Hendricks vs. Lawler II (December 6th, Las Vegas) against Raquel Pennington. UFC officials announced the news yesterday.

If Evans-Smith’s name sounds vaguely familiar, there’s a reason for that. Carrying a 3-0 professional record, Evans-Smith is best known as the woman responsible for giving transgendered fighter Fallon Fox her only loss, via third-round TKO last October. Evans-Smith also got destroyed by Veronica Rothenhausler in five seconds during an amateur bout in July 2012.

From a competitive standpoint, Ashlee Evans-Smith vs. Raquel Pennington is actually a more compelling fight than Holly Holm vs. Raquel Pennington, which seemed like an obvious mismatch designed to put Holm over. I don’t know…I’m just trying to find a silver lining here. UFC.com currently lists Evans-Smith vs. Pennington as a part of the UFC 181 prelims broadcast on FOX Sports 1. A heavyweight bout between Todd Duffee and Anthony Hamilton has been moved up to the main card in the wake of Holly Holm’s withdrawal.

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TUF 20 Video Highlights: Felice Herrig vs. Randa Markos Ends in First-Round Submission


(Video via TheUltimateFighterFX)

TUF 20 got its first semi-finalist on last night’s episode, when #14-ranked Randa Markos tapped out #6 seed Felice Herrig in the first round with a brilliant modified armbar. Now carrying wins over Herrig and Tecia Torres, Markos has become the season’s Cinderella story — but keep in mind that her next fight will be a true buzzsaw against the winner of Rose Namajunas vs. Joanne Calderwood.

Also on the episode, Anthony Pettis and Gilbert Melendez squared off in the Coaches’ Challenge, which was a non-physical competition for the first time ever, on account of Pettis’s gimpy knee. So if you feel like watching a semi-awkward UFC trivia competition hosted by Bruce Buffer, that’s after the jump.

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Kill a Half Hour Watching Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler’s First Fight at UFC 171


(Props: UFC on YouTube)

In advance of their welterweight title fight rematch at UFC 181 (December 6th, Las Vegas), the UFC has released the full video of Johny Hendricks vs. Robbie Lawler 1 — the Fight of the Year candidate that took place at UFC 171 in March. Hendricks won the bout by unanimous decision (48-47 across the board) following a wild brawl that we stopped trying to score after the second round. In particular, the third round, which starts at the video’s 15:18 mark, is an incredible testament to both fighters’ ability to give and receive damage. It’s a true classic, and not a bad way to spend a half hour if you’re bored at the office today.

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Hey, Who Wants to See Another Exploding Ear in an MMA Fight? [VIDEO]

That was a rhetorical question, of course, because everybody wants to see another exploding ear in an MMA fight. Exploding ears are in our DNA, bro.

In the wake of Leslie Smith’s cauliflower ear blowing up at UFC 180, BloodyElbow has dug up an even messier clip of welterweight Rance Jones Jr. popping Dion Rizzuto’s ear at Atlas Fighting Championships 4 back in September. At the 1:14 mark, you will see a geyser of blood so propulsive that it must have drenched a few cageside spectators.

And that’s how the ebola virus began to spread in the United States.

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Quote of the Day: Bobby Green Thinks This Weekend “Might Be My Last Fight” [NOOOOOOO]


(Photo via Getty.)

It would be hard to name a fighter who has had a more difficult path to the UFC than Bobby Green. A foster kid who traveled between some 50 homes until the age of 20 in California’s notoriously rough Inland Empire, Green has beared witness to the absolute worst that humanity can offer. Even worse is the fact tha despite all his efforts and his recent success in the UFC, he still can’t seem to escape his troubled past.

Last May, Green lost his younger brother, Mitchell Davis Jr. (23), in a gang-related shooting. In the aftermath, a hit was allegedly put out on Green himself. Then in September, Green’s older brother was shot in a non gang-related incident. Thankfully, he survived. That Green was able to not only fight 4 times over the span of these tragedies, but win all 4 contests, speaks a lot to his character, as well as how far he could really go in this sport.

But it’s hard to account for the mental toll the past year in particular has taken on Green, and unfortunately, it looks like we could possibly be seeing the end of “King” in the octagon come this weekend. In a Facebook post last night, Green lamented that he was “tired” and considering retirement following his Fight Night 57 co-main event scrap with Edson Barboza this weekend.

“Think this might be my last fight thinking about retirement,” Green wrote.

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Rampage Jackson Begins to Regret Torrid Love Affair With Bellator

Quinton “Rampage” Jackson sent the above tweet on Monday night, once again reminding the world that he has had a falling out with every single person or corporate entity he has ever had a relationship with. Jackson’s association with Bellator began with the usual declarations of love. Here’s what he told CagePotato back in June 2013:

Me and Bellator, we tongue kissing right now, baby…Ever since I did that ‘A-Team’ movie it like — it’s like I cheated on [the UFC]. And so, you know what I’m saying, like over here I don’t see any way I can cheat on Bellator, because it seems like, you know what I’m saying, they’re with Viacom. They got me all set up. It’s all in-house and stuff like that…I see me being happy with these guys for the rest of my career. Because, you know what I’m saying, I can just feel it…I’ve done a lot of favors for the UFC, and sometimes, I didn’t get my favors back to me.”

Bellator saved him from a disgruntled existence with the UFC, just like the UFC saved him from a disgruntled existence with PRIDE. And for a while, Rampage and the Bjorn Rebney-led Bellator were in the thrall of new romance, just tongue-kissing their brains out. ‘Page dutifully played along with Spike TV’s awkward pro-wrestling crossover storylines, and he was successful in the cage, going 3-0 under the Bellator banner with first-round knockouts of Joey Beltran and Christian M’Pumbu. (He also beat King Mo in a dubious decision that nevertheless produced one of the best soundbites of the year.)

But the infatuation phase wears off, as it always does, and the person you thought you were sleeping with looks a lot different in the light of day.

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Kelvin Gastelum Gets Quick Turnaround, Faces Tyron Woodley in UFC 183 Co-Main Event


(Photo via Getty.)

After coming out of his UFC 180 win over Jake Ellenberger no worse for the wear, TUF 17 winner Kelvin Gastelum will be given next to no time off before receiving a(nother) huge step up in competition.

UFC officials announced earlier this evening that Gastelum has been booked to take on top welterweight contender Tyron Woodley at UFC 183: Diaz vs. Silva. As was the case with his bout against Elenberger, the fight will receive co-main event status.

Gatelum’s first round submission over Ellenberger last weekend improved his professional record to a perfect 10-0, while the 14-3 Woodley recently rebounded from a one-sided beatdown at the hands of Rory MacDonald with a first round starching of Dong Hyun Kim at Fight Night 48.

Gastelum is easily the greatest prospect to come out of The Ultimate Fighter since the early seasons, but does anyone think he can handle a legitimate top 3 opponent like Woodley? Give us a shout in the comments section.

-J. Jones

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Bellator 131 Draws a Reported 2 Million Viewers (!!), Setting a Promotional Viewership Record


(“Hey, is this one of those kiss cams? Because if it is, I invite Dana White to come KISS MY ASS.” Photo via Getty.)

“At the end of the day, the person who laughs last, laughs loudest and hardest. And that’s me.” — Jacob Christopher Ortiz

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: Tito Ortiz is an entrepreneurial genius who has been working one over on us since at least 1999. What? You thought he was just making that whole “I Put an Undercover Double Agent in Stephan Bonnar’s Training Camp” stuff just for the sake of making stuff up? You ignorant sluts. Tito Ortiz knows what audiences eat up. He watches Scandal. He knows that the only thing MMA fans love more than a grudge match is a grudge match with a twisty, turny backstory, and he manipulated us like a blob of silly putty in the palm of his hand. And don’t you feel like dum-dums now.

What am I blabbering on about? Oh, just that the ratings figures are in from last weekend trifecta of MMA events and Bellator 131 CRUSHED IT, setting a live gate and attendance record for the promotion and shattering a heap of viewership records as well. From a press release sent out earlier today:

Bellator 131 knocked out the competition on Saturday, November 15 with record ratings for the emerging MMA franchise under new president Scott Coker. The Bellator 131 main event between Tito Ortiz and Stephan Bonnar (11:50pm-12:16am) drew 1.8 million viewers, peaking at 2 million, making it the most-watched and highest­rated MMA fight on cable in 2014.

The Ortiz-Bonnar fight ranks as 2nd highest-rated MMA fight telecast in all of television with Men 18-34 and Men 18-49, including broadcast, in 2014. Also, Ortiz-Bonnar ranked #2 in its timeslot in all of cable with Men 18-34 and Men 18-49.

Overall, the entire fight card delivered (9:00-12:16) delivered 1,241,299 viewers, a record for Bellator MMA on Spike TV.

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Regrettable Tweet of the Day: Conor McGregor Calls Dennis Siver a Nazi


(Screencap via BloodyElbow)

While many of the UFC stars in attendance at yesterday’s The Time Is Now press conference treated the event as one big love fest, Irish featherweight star Conor McGregor was in no mood to play nice. Shortly after his public face-off with upcoming opponent Dennis Siver, he sent the unfortunate tweet you see above, which he deleted afterwards.

Though Siver is of German descent, he was actually born and raised in Russia, giving him a unique mix of Axis and Allied heritage. (I’m sure he’s very conflicted about his place in history.) Still, referring to a German man as a “Nazi” just because he’s German…not cool, Conor. They’re still really sensitive about that sort of thing over there.

Likely motivated by an angry phone call from the UFC brass, Conor then sent out this semi-apology: “Ich bin ein sowwy. Now about them feet…

Props to Conor McGregor for staying on message during his forced retraction. But seriously dude — what is it with you and feet?

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dukeroufus

Duke Roufus Responds to Team Members’ Abuse Allegations: “Things Have Changed”

"Back then...we were trying to spar ourselves into shape. My philosophy now, four short years later, is completely opposite of that."

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UFC 175 & The Ultimate Fighter Finale - On-Sale Press Conference

UFC “The Time Is Now” Press Conference Highlights NEVERMIND. MOVE ALONG, NOTHING TO SEE HERE.

#TheTimeIsNow to go f*ck yourselves, is what the UFC appears to be saying.

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Knockout of the Day: Joseph Duffy Wrecks Julien Boussuge With a Knee to the Dome at Cage Warriors 74

Boussage went down like a dead man, Manhoef-style.

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“The Next Jon Jones”: Bellator Signs 18-Year-Old Prospect Aaron Pico to Long-Term Contract

The next Jon Jones? Or the next Henry Cejudo?

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Ultimate Poker Closes Down Amid Claims of Mismanagement [UPDATED]

“There was a lot of leadership through fear and authority and ‘this is how it’s going to be.’ … In the end there was very little dissent.”

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Rose Namajunas Speaks Out Against Roufusport’s Abusive Coaching Methods Following the Death of Kickboxer Dennis Munson Jr.

"Crazy that I finally speak out against the people that are responsible for this tragedy...it's sad it takes someone's life to bring awareness."

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Tito Ortiz Fined $2,500 for Acting Like a Jackass After Bellator 131 Win Against Stephan Bonnar

Ortiz threw double middle fingers behind Bonnar's back after the fight, then sprayed water at Bonnar's prone body when the decision was read.

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UFC 180: Werdum v Hunt - Press Conference

Cutting Through The Bullsh*t: UFC 180 Edition

For a highly anticipated fight card marred by injuries to its premiere fighters and an ongoing crisis in Mexico, UFC 180: “Werdum vs. Hunt” turned out to be quite the showcase.

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wsof15

WSOF 15 Results: Branch Shocks Okami With TKO Win, Gaethje Decisions Guillard

With UFC 180 and Bellator 131 taking the majority of the spotlight this past Saturday night, MMA enthusiasts sort of forgot to pay attention to the stacked WSOF 15, which took place at USF Sundome in Tampa, Fla.

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UFC 155 Weigh-In

And Now He’s Retired: Leonard Garcia Retires After Legacy FC 37 Loss

Remember Leonard Garcia? Turns out he got submitted this weekend in under two minutes by Daniel Pineda at Legacy FC 37 and retired.

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UFC 148: Griffin v Ortiz

Bellator 131 Results and GIFs: Ortiz Decisions Bonnar, Brooks Weirdly KOs Chandler, Manhoef Gets KTFO

Bellator 131 was awesome. Look at the lovely GIFs.

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UFC 180 Ultimate Media Day

UFC 180 Results: Fabricio Werdum TKO’s Mark Hunt for Interim Heavyweight Title

Mark Hunt's Cinderella story loses its happy ending. Plus: Ricardo Lamas and Kelvin Gastelum score quick submission victories.

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See the Ruptured Cauliflower Ear at UFC 180 That Was More Disgusting Than James Thompson’s

The grossest ruptured cauliflower ear just happened at UFC 180.

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Street Fight of the Day: Russian* Dude Knocks Two Fools Cold With Just Two Punches

The first victim gets falling tree'd with a left hook. The second one eats an off-balance haymaker and drops to the ground, temporarily dead.

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melvin-guillard

Melvin Guillard Misses Weight (Again!) for WSOF 15, Fight Against Justin Gaethje Now a Non-Title Bout

For all his insistence that he's an "A-list fighter," Melvin Guillard is pulling some bush league crap during his current stint with World Series of Fighting.

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chael-sonnen-sportscenter

Video: Chael Sonnen Breaks Down Fabricio Werdum vs. Mark Hunt on SportsCenter

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UFC Fight Night: Thiago v Thatch

Barnburner Alert: Welterweight Prospects Brandon Thatch and Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson to Collide at Fight Night Broomfield

Predictions, please.

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Friday Links: Nate Diaz Is Upset Again, Rory MacDonald’s New Nickname, Channing Tatum Reaction GIFs + More

Some must-see highlights from our bros around the blogosphere.

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Hot Potato: 19 Photos of Katia Kubacki, Inked-Up Cage Conquest Ring Girl

Just when you think that tattoos in MMA are a lost cause, along comes a ring girl like Katia Kubacki.

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Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza vs. Yoel Romero Added to UFC 184

It's a match with high stakes, as it could theoretically produce a new title contender at 185-pounds.

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