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Tag: Bellator

Gilbert Melendez (Sorta) Signs With Bellator—But UFC Can Still Match Offer


(Photo via Getty)

Bellator has reached terms with top UFC lightweight Gilbert Melendez, in what would be the Viacom-owned promotion’s highest profile signing to date if they can wrest “El Niño” from Zuffa.

Notice the word, “if.”

Find out what the deal is after the jump.

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Why Does MMA Care About CM Punk?


(Photo via Getty)

By Matt Saccaro

Did you hear? CM Punk might be headed to MMA.

Don’t worry if you haven’t heard until just now, it’s not as if MMA news outlets have been talking about it at all recently.

So, in case you missed it, here’s what happened:

In an interview with MMAFighting’s Ariel Helwani, famed straight edge pro wrestler and former WWE champ CM Punk expressed an interest in taking an MMA fight, as well as thoughts about his doubtful future with the WWE. Punk left the WWE not long after this interview.

To MMA fans and pundits, the urge to connect the dots was too great. Punk departed the WWE shortly after he mentioned MMA. Therefore, he MUST have left the WWE to start fighting.

Cue the insanity.

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Video: John McCain, Lorenzo Fertitta, Jon Jones, Bernard Hopkins, and More Boxing/MMA Figures Unite to Support the Professional Fighters Brain Health Study


(Props: Senator Reid)

There are few occasions where you could get executives from the UFC, Bellator, Golden Boy, and Top Rank in the same room without a full-scale brawl breaking out. But today in Washington, DC, an unprecedented congregation of combat-sports power players joined forces to support a common cause — the Professional Fighters Brain Health Study, which is being conducted by the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas.

According to a press release distributed today, the Professional Fighters Brain Health Study was launched in April 2011, and is “focused on developing methods to detect the earliest and most subtle signs of brain injury in those exposed to head trauma, as well as determining which individuals may be more likely to develop chronic neurological disorders.” You can read a little more about the Cleveland Clinic’s work here.

Senators and lifelong boxing-lovers Harry Reid (D-NV) and John McCain (R-AZ) were keynote speakers at today’s press-conference, which you can watch above in its entirety. The list of speakers also included UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta, UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones, Spike TV President Kevin Kay, Bellator lightweight star Michael Chandler, Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer, Top Rank President Todd duBoef, and boxing legend Bernard Hopkins. Collectively, the combat sports promotions in attendance pledged $600,000 to help the Professional Fighters Brain Health Study continue its research for another year. As the press-release explains:

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Rampage Jackson and King Mo Lawal Entered in Bellator’s Completely Unbiased 10th Season LHW Tournament


(Ah, memories.) 

As part of their ongoing effort to forcibly establish a marketable champion introduce new contenders to their LHW division repeatedly cycle through their apparently limited stable of noteworthy fighters (while making sure to book as many rematches in the process as possible), Bellator unveiled their season 10 light heavyweight tournament last night, and surprise surprise, all of the fighters competing in said tournament have either a) already lost a previous tournament b) recently lost the LHW title or c) are Rampage Jackson. Although in the case of King Mo Lawal, who is also entered in the tournament, it’s a little bit of a and b.

The four-man tournament* will kick off at Bellator 110 on Feb. 28 from the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut, and will feature Quinton “Rampage” Jackson vs. Christian M’Pumbu on one side of the “bracket” and  Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal vs. Mikhail Zayats on the other. What, you didn’t think King Mo and Rampage would actually be paired against one another in the opening round, did you? Anyway, Rampage spoke with select members of the media during a conference call yesterday and brought his usual mix of faux-enthusiasm and borderline incomprehensible syntax to the proceedings, stating:

I’m very excited to do my first tournament in years. I’m in it, and I’m in it to win it. I’m going to win this tournament by everybody going to sleep.

Ah, the Ben Askren strategy. Interesting to see Rampage switching up game plans this late in his career.

Seriously though, who does Bellator think they’re fooling with this tournament? It’s become increasingly obvious as of late that the organization is willing to do whatever it must to fast-track its marketable faces to title shots (see: Mo Lawal, King or Curran, Pat) at the expense of its actual champions. Look no further than their treatment of Attila Vegh if you don’t believe me. While the UFC may be struggling to create new stars, Bellator seems content to betray its own mission statement in order to force the few stars they have into power. Call me crazy, but the latter strategy seems a lot more risky to one’s credibility than the former.

Let’s look at the facts here:

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So Bellator Almost Definitely Screwed Attila Vegh Back in November


(Video via MMAFighting.com)

Bellator’s tenth season hasn’t even started yet and the company is already in the headlines for the wrong reasons.

Remember the highly suspicious bait-and-switch Bellator pulled in November 2013? The one where their light heavyweight champ Attila Vegh conveniently got “injured,” allowing Bellator to book a much-anticipated rematch between Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal and Emanuel Newton (who really should’ve adopted the nickname “Kingslayer” after defeating Mo the first time) for an interim title?

If you recall, Vegh said he wasn’t actually injured. Bellator disputed this, and then Vegh shut his mouth (maybe Bjorn Rebney threatened his dog).

Fast forward to yesterday, when Ariel Helwani interviewed Vegh in what looks like a dingy auto repair shop. Vegh spoke about the “injury,” but not before some prodding by Helwani.

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Attila Vegh Returns From “Injury,” Faces Emanuel Newton at Bellator 113 in March


(Little did Attila know that he’d be wrapping his dead dog in that banner within a year’s time. Photo via Sherdog.)

Like the hopes and dreams of so many financially struggling, relatively unknown fighters before him, Attila Vegh was swept under the rug by Bellator last year, forced to sit out with a phony injury while the promotion attempted to overthrow his regime in favor of King Mo to no avail. Or at least, that’s what he’ll tell you. Bellator has since refuted Vegh’s claims, but given its history of sketchiness when it comes to its fighters (as well as the misdated medical report the promotion released as “evidence”), this doesn’t exactly boil down to “he said, she said.”

In any case, it seems Vegh has been “cleared” by his “doctor” to compete again, as he has been booked to rematch interim champion Emanuel Newton with the belt on the line at Bellator 113 on March 21st.

The pair last collided at in the 2012 Summer Series tournament final at Bellator 72, with Vegh emerging victorious via an ultra-thin split decision. In the time since, Vegh has posted victories over Travis Wiuff and Christian M’Pumbu, whereas Newton has scored wins over Atanas Djambazov (at Bellator 85), Mikhail Zayats (Bellator 94) and a pair of upset W’s over King Mo Lawal.

Who do you like to win this, the latest in Bellator’s rematch-heavy agenda (not that we’re complaining this time), Nation? While you think about it, check out the current lineup of Bellator 113 after the jump.

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28 Signs You’re Not a “REAL” MMA Fan


(“So, did you find a stream of that UFC fight we bought tickets to, or will we have to show up halfway through the main event to play on our phones during it?”)

by CagePotato.com staff

1.You use “UFC” and “MMA” interchangeably.

2. You don’t know how to score a fight under PRIDE rules.

3. You boo fights the second they hit the ground.

4. Your “MMA training” consists of curling in the squat rack, shadowboxing while watching MMA (despite having never hit pads in your entire goddamn life), and picking fights at Buffalo Wild Wings.

5. You don’t have the UFC Fight Pass, security issues aside.

6. You don’t have Legacy FC and Titan FC fight cards committed to memory.

7. Your pathetic DVD collection doesn’t even have any events from Rumble on the Rock.

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So Here’s Why Pat Curran vs. Daniel Straus III Doesn’t Make Sense…

Last night, Bjorn Rebney announced that Bellator 112 will feature the opening rounds of the welterweight tournament and be headlined by a trilogy-completing featherweight title fight between Daniel Straus and Pat Curran. If this fight booking comes as a surprise to you, well, it should. But allow Bjorn to clear up the confusion:

Daniel Straus and Pat Curran are two of the best featherweights on the planet and deserve every ounce and praise and recognition they receive.

Hard to argue with that. Now if we can just wrap things up without saying something ridiculous…

Our featherweight division continues to be the deepest and strongest featherweight division in MMA, and I’m very excited to have this title fight headline a huge night of fights on March 14 from The Horseshoe Hammond.

Well, at least he tried.

Let me see if I can follow Bjorn’s line of logic here: Straus just defeated Curran by clear-cut unanimous decision last November. Meanwhile, there are two, count ‘em, TWO, featherweight tournament winners waiting in the wings for a shot at Straus. One is Magomedrasul Khasbulaev, who has been unable to secure a fight license in America since winning the season 8 tournament (which, let’s be honest, Bellator probably has a hand in). The other is Patricio “Pitbull” Freire, who just won his second featherweight tournament at Bellator 108 and is the only man to defeat Straus under the Bellator banner.

Yet despite all this, Bellator is granting Curran an immediate rematch against a guy who dominated him just two months ago. And that somehow validates the depth of the Bellator featherweight roster? You gotta hand it to Bjorn, he is second to none in the fight game in his ability to keep a straight face while making immediately contradictory and insanely unaware statements.

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Publicity Stunt of the Day: Ali Abdel-Aziz Proposes WSOF vs. Bellator Pay-Per-View Extravaganza


(Click image for the full-size version. Yes, Eddie Alvarez is indeed listed as “hostage.” Image via @NewYorkRic)

For MMA fighters, one of the most tried-and-true methods of getting attention is to publicly challenge a fighter who’s a lot more famous than you. If you’re Conor McGregor, you call Diego Sanchez a fat has-been. If you’re any UFC middleweight who needs some fans, you call out Michael Bisping. If you’re Khabib Nurmagomedov, you put together a nice photo-collage of Hispanic lightweights for your dream-board. If you’re Jacob Volkmann, you threaten President Obama then get visited by the Secret Service. Sometimes, the resulting heat is good enough to get you noticed. Sometimes, it’s just transparent and crazy.

Case in point: On today’s installment of The MMA Hour, World Series of Fighting Executive Vice President and matchmaker Ali Abdel-Aziz challenged Bellator to a roster vs. roster pay-per-view event, with WSOF’s best fighters facing off against Bellator’s top talent. Abdel-Aziz even took the time to lay out what the hypothetical fight card might look like, as illustrated in the Excel document you see above.

“Listen, a lot of people said Bellator [is] number two and a lot of the media said Bellator is number two, but I believe it’s all about winning.” Abdel-Aziz said. “If we line up nine of our guys and nine of their guys, I believe we’ll win. We are number two, strong number two.”

Abdel-Aziz suggested that the event could be a “winner take all” card, in which the pormotion that came out on top would keep all gate receipts and PPV revenue. And despite the ludicrous, won’t-happen-in-a-million-years nature of his proposal, Abdel-Aziz insists that this isn’t just a publicity stunt:

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And Now He’s Fired: Bellator Releases Ben Saunders, For Some Reason [UPDATED]


(“You want to put me on a t-shirt? Sure, sounds great buddy!” — Marcus Davis / Photo via topmmanews)

Since his Bellator debut in 2011, Ben Saunders has been one of the most visible and entertaining members of the promotion’s welterweight division. But unfortunately, he was never able to win a tournament, failing to secure the Big Check in three consecutive years. And so, in the wake of his head kick knockout loss to Douglas Lima at Bellator 100 in September, Bellator has released the Killa B. Bjorn Rebney explained the decision in a statement released to MMAMania:

I’ve been a ‘Killa B’ fan for years, and Ben’s given 100 percent of his heart every single time he’s stepped into the Bellator cage. After competing in three Bellator tournaments, Ben could never get to the top of that mountain, and as we continue to grow and expand I spoke to Ben and we both decided it was time to move in a different direction, so we provided Ben his complete release.

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