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UFC Signs Yoshihiro Akiyama

Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Denis Kang – Watch more free videos
(Akiyama putting a hurting on Denis Kang, back when that meant a little more.) announced this afternoon that Yoshihiro Akiyama has signed on with the UFC.  There’s no word on who his first opponent will be, but he’s expected to step into the Octagon for the first time this summer.  

This is a big move for the UFC because it not only bolsters their middleweight roster, but also helps Dana White’s eventual plan to take his business to Japan.  Akiyama is the kind of fighter many Japanese fans (and Shinya Aoki) love to hate, partly because he is ethnically Korean and has been involved in one or two greasing scandals of his own.  As the UFC gets more top Japanese fighters on its roster, especially ones the Japanese fans will pay to see in spite of themselves, it’s going to make things much easier when the UFC finally manages to schedule an event over there.  

As Dana White is quoted as saying in the story:


Quick Hits: More on Kimo’s Arrest, Josh Neer Re-Ups, Lyoto Machida Waits

(When people start comparing your mugshots, rarely do they reach a conclusion that says anything positive about you.)

After first reporting that former UFC fighter Kimo Leopoldo was arrested for meth and maybe attempting to impersonate a police officer, has provided pretty conclusive photographic evidence that the would-be CSAC Executive Officer has a little bit of a problem.  As is often the case with meth, the mug shot tells the whole story.  He doesn’t even look like the same guy anymore, and Sherdog adds this detail about the Long Beach Police Department jumper he was sporting when cops spotted him: “It had a badge in the front and the word ‘Police’ across the back, except he was wearing flip-flops and playing with a yo-yo.”  Dude.  Just…wow.

- Another recently arrested substance-abuser is in the news for good reasons today.  Josh Neer has signed a new four-fight contract with the UFC following his submission victory over Mac Danzig at Fight Night 17.  That’s a relief for the guy who was looking at potentially being dropped from the organization following his arrest for DUI, hit-and-run, and evading police on New Year’s Eve.  But he won his fight, so it’s okay now!  Looks like beating up a vegan is still worth something in this country.  Thank God.

- Lyoto Machida is hoping Keith Jardine will beat Quinton Jackson at UFC 96 in March and grant him a title shot, but he’s not kidding himself.  Talking to Tatame, Machida said, “I’m cheering for Jardine, but I think that Quinton is stronger, hits harder… I think Quinton is the favorite. I think I’ll have to wait a bit more.”  The undefeated Brazilian said he’d consider another fight before challenging for the belt, since he’s always done what the UFC asked, but added, “now is time for me to start to ask a bit too.”  Twenty bucks says he asks for the UFC to get him one of those TapouT caged beds.  If not, he’s missing a golden fucking opportunity.


Huerta Turns Down UFC Contract Extension to Pursue Acting and Modeling

Roger Huerta MMA UFC Orion speakers
(Who could forget Roger’s haunting performance as Edward Wooferhands? Image courtesy of Orion Car Audio.)

Shocking news from Sherdog: UFC lightweight star Roger Huerta has turned down a five-fight contract extension in order to pursue a career in acting and modeling. "El Matador" has one more fight on his current contract, which he plans to fulfill sometime this year, and may eventually return to the UFC. But for the time being, his interests lie elsewhere:

“I saw that you have to dedicate as much as you do to training for a fight as you do for an acting role and I’m intrigued by that. I’m 25 years old. I see Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture and they didn’t really hit their primes till their thirties. I’m only going to be young so long and I know that movies and agencies and what not want the young look…
Pursuing the modeling and acting thing, that’s kind of where I’m at right now. The fighting will always be there. I’ll always have that in me. The truth is I’ve been fighting my whole life for everything, and this to me, is something else.”

Dean Lister Apologizes/Points Out He’s Still Better Than You

(‘I’m so mad I could pull guard right now.’)

There’s no getting around it, Dean Lister had a bad, bad night against Yushin Okami at UFC 92.  His offense consisted of pulling guard, a few token efforts at striking, and takedown attempts that only became more half-hearted as the fight wore on.  Not surprisingly, he lost the decision, was showered with boos from the fans, and got his release from the UFC afterwards.  

Now Lister has posted a message to the UG apologizing to his fans and teammates:

Listen I had a very poor performance my last fight. Truth is that I let my team and my gym, my friends and definitely myself down for this fight. Its not only that I lost but I really showed a poor performance. I had a much better showing against Arona (even though that was only primarily a grappling fight that I lost) even in Pride who is a better fighter than Okami for sure. Things just didnt come together for me this fight. I trained so, so hard, I really trained hard but it didnt work out.

Nice, right?  He owns up to his poor performance, apologizes to the people he let down, but it doesn’t stop there:


American Gladiators Cancelled, But Carano May Have a New Job Soon

(Let’s remember the good times. Props: Old, Bald, & Irish.)

First EliteXC tanked, leaving Gina Carano without an organization to call home.  But if that wasn’t enough of a kick in the ovaries, American Gladiators has also been cancelled.  We can’t say we didn’t see it coming, but it’s sad nonetheless.  If only the new American Gladiators could have captured some this kind of magic from the old AG, maybe they’d still be around.  Alas, it wasn’t meant to be.  Not only does this mean we may never again see “Crush” tossing old ladies around in a unitard, it also means Hulk Hogan is being released back into the wild, so look out.  

But just when all Carano’s revenue streams look to be drying up, it sounds as if Dana White may actually be serious about getting her signed.  The UFC prez told Five Ounces of Pain’s Gary Herman that Carano, Robbie Lawler, and Jake Shields are all former EliteXC fighters he’d like to sign.  He also chastised fighters for signing with “fly by night companies,” saying they were “wasting their time.”

There you have it, young fighters not in the UFC.  Don’t sign with organizations other than the UFC or you’ll be wasting your time.  Just keep fighting one-offs in tiny regional shows for almost no money.  Then, after the UFC signs you and later cuts you, it won’t be so hard to re-adjust to your life of poverty and despair.  See?  Circle of freaking life.


“The Hater Hurter” Cut by UFC After Loss?

(Hater Hurter, we hardly knew ye.  Photo courtesy of Combat Lifestyle.)

Johnny “The Hater Hurter” Rees will be released from his UFC contract after losing via submission to Steve “Hollywood” Bruno on last night’s F(2)T(2) card, reports Five Ounces of Pain.  It was the second loss in two UFC bouts for Rees (or, as I like to call him, THH), who was undefeated when he first signed with the organization. 

Just goes to show that a perfect record in the minor leagues doesn’t always guarantee success in the big show.  I don’t think I need to point out that Dana White should watch his back after cutting that dude, as he may now be officially dubbed a hater in Rees’ book.

There could be more roster cuts coming after last night, which isn’t surprising considering that the card was populated with so many inexperienced, unproven fighters.  Some of those who lost last night, such as Brandon Wolff, may just need more time to sharpen their skills.  Other guys who went down – say by a nasty arm break that was totally avoidable, for instance – might want to rethink their career path while they’re on the mend, or at the very least work on their tapping motion with the arm that’s not in a cast.

Some good news, via, is that Yoshiyuki Yoshida was treated and released from the hospital, having suffered nothing more serious than a concussion in his knockout loss.  You hate to think of a concussion as the best case scenario, but after seeing the shot Yoshida took, I’d say that’s getting off kind of easy.


Roger Huerta Inks New UFC Contract

(Top of the freakin’ world.)

Good news, Roger Huerta fans.  “El Matador” is out of the doghouse and back in good graces with the UFC, having just signed a new five-fight contract.  MMA Weekly reports that Huerta signed the deal on Monday, so hopefully this means he can start appearing on broadcasts once again and Dana White will stop spitting on the floor every time his name is mentioned.  That just doesn’t go over at all when he’s hanging at Fiddy Cent’s crib.

In case you’ve already forgotten and moved on with your life, Huerta was on the outs with the UFC back in August when he aired some grievances to our friend Neal Taflinger at Fight! Magazine, complaining about his per diem during PR tours and later asking for ridiculous sums of money to resign.  Then he lost to Kenny Florian and saw himself becoming persona non grata with the UFC, and since then we haven’t really heard much from him at all.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the past year or so about the way the UFC does business, it’s that fences can be mended as easily as they are destroyed if only you agree to do everything they want.  At least it means Huerta is sticking around.  Sorry, Bellator Fighting Championships


Fabricio Werdum Faces Facts

Fabricio Werdum
(‘A contract with the UFC? I’m set for life! What could possibly go wrong now?’)

Former UFC heavyweight Fabricio Werdum didn’t appear to realize he’d been fired from the organization even after several media outlets reported the news. At first we thought maybe his manager (also known as his sister) hadn’t told him for fear that he’d finally realize what a mistake it had been to hire her. Or perhaps he was just in denial. But now Werdum is facing the difficult realities of the situation, and judging by what he told Tatame, the UFC didn’t make much of an effort to come to terms with him:

“When I first heard the rumours, I didn’t know anything. I had four more fights left with them on my contract, which ran to 2010. But they demanded to renegotiate my existing contract by cutting my pay in half” revealed the heavyweight. Adding also that his departure had nothing to do with the video game licensing dispute. “No that wasn’t an issue but its not something that benefit’s the fighters”

“I‘m a free agent now. One of the advantages of leaving the UFC is the freedom of contract, which allows fighters to work with more than one event without any problems. That’s very beneficial. There are several possibilities now including fighting in multiple organizations. Affliction, Sengoku and Dream are big events, but I think the possibility of fighting for Affliction in particular will give me the best chance to fight the best in the world, Fedor, in addition to (Andrei) Arlovski, Josh Barnett and several other big names …That would be a great opportunity for me.”


Shitstorm Subsides: Jon Fitch is Back in the UFC

(Guess who’s back?)

Well that didn’t take long. Jon Fitch is once again a UFC fighter, and will still fight Akihiro Gono at UFC 94, as planned. Apparently all it took was a conversation with Lorenzo Fertitta. MMA Rated has the scoop:

“Communication kind of broke down with Dana (White) so we talked with Lorenzo,” Fitch told MMARated. “(I) just got off the phone with him and we came to an agreement. We’re going to move ahead and I’ll be back in the UFC. We’re going to sign off on the video game and I’m back. It was never even about the agreement or the contract. It was the approach that we felt Dana was being a little bit hot-headed and was threatening us right off the bat. It didn’t seem like a professional way of doing things.”

Cooler heads, as they say, have prevailed. Should the ease with which this was resolved once Fitch and his management team were able to speak with someone who wasn’t Dana White perhaps tell us something? Threatening, bullying, saying things in the media such as “[Expletive] them. All of them, every last [expletive] one of them,” maybe that’s the kind of thing that doesn’t help negotiations with one’s employees, who one claims to want to be “partners” with. Thankfully Lorenzo Fertitta is on board to smooth things over.

Now you have to wonder, what lesson will Dana White take from this? Fitch did sign the contract. The UFC got what they wanted. Will White now be convinced that he can get what he wants if he plays good cop, bad cop with Lorenzo? Or will he see that sometimes talking things over is preferable to flying off the handle? Let’s hope it’s the latter. Right now Lorenzo is looking like Michael Corleone and Dana is looking like Sonny. And we all remember what happened to Sonny.


Mike Swick: Scab?

(Woody Guthrie would be so disappointed in you, Mike.)

As the UFC’s scorched earth policy toward AKA and its fighters unfolds, it’s looking like not everyone in the stable is getting cut. In an interview with USA Today, Dana White claims that Mike Swick was the only AKA fighter to call and say, essentially, he’ll do anything Dana wants:

The only fighter that called me from AKA was Mike Swick. Mike Swick called me from AKA, that was it. And Mike Swick said, “Listen, I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t care what’s going on. I’m with you, I’m in business with you guys. You guys are my partners.” And I said, “I appreciate that, Mike. We look at you the same way.”