(Click the photo for a better look at the gash in question. / Props: MMAFighting)
UFC 166 heavyweight title challenger Junior Dos Santos showed up to open workouts in Houston yesterday with a noticeable scar on his forehead — the result of an accidental cut in his training camp about three weeks ago. The cut reportedly required three stitches, which have since been removed.
Though Dos Santos claimed he was “100% already,” it’s unquestionably a disadvantage in his rubber-match against Cain Velasquez this Saturday. It wouldn’t take much effort for Velasquez to re-open that cut with some well-placed punches, and due to the cut’s location, it’s possible that the blood-flow could affect Junior’s vision during the fight. (Not that Velasquez needs any head-starts to make that happen.)
Luckily, this happened far enough out from the event that the match itself wasn’t put in jeopardy (see: Gustafsson, Shamrock). But it’s just one more reason why Dos Santos needs to put Velasquez away early if he hopes to stand a chance.
Philippou is riding a five-fight win streak in the Octagon, and was going to serve as the UFC welcoming committee for Jacare, the former Strikeforce middleweight champion who has won his last three fights by stoppage, including his first-round submission of Ed Herman in January. No word yet if Souza will remain on the card against a different opponent…although the card could certainly use him. We’ll keep you posted.
* I mean, we’re assuming it happened during training. Maybe Costa participates in underground knife fights on the weekends to pick up extra beer money. Maybe it was a freakish eyebrow-plucking accident. Maybe he got scratched by one of his pet wolverines. I don’t know. We’ll just say “cut suffered in training” for now.
During Thursday’s (March 28) passes as we ran wrestling exercises I lost my balance and pitched eyebrow in a very unfortunate way when I hit my head on one burpelaren. Immediately after it happened, I went to the hospital and sewed three stitches. I was quite prepared to compete until the doctors called and told me that cut is unfortunate and will not have time to heal in time until the gala.
It is of course extremely sad when träningscampet has gone very well. In addition to the eyebrow, I am in my best form and completely ready for the match. It is also sad for my opponent, Gegard Mousasi, who has also been training long and hard for this match.
I and my team have done everything we can to get set up and race despite the injury, but the decision is unfortunately not in our hands. I am extremely sorry for this and I feel with Gegard Mousasi. I also suffer with the fans who have been looking forward to this event and this match. Would also like to thank my entire team who have helped and supported me all the way. The next step now is that I sit down with the team and planning the future.
(Well, technically it *was* a training injury. Alexander was trying to train his dog to dance in a circle, and the dog clawed the shit out of his face. / Photo via AlexTheMauler)
As first reported yesterday by the Swedish news outlet SVT, UFC light-heavyweight Alexander Gustafsson suffered a gash in his eyebrow while sparring, which could lead to the cancellation of his UFC on FUEL 9 headlining bout against Gegard Mousasi this coming Saturday. A follow-up report from MMAnytt confirmed with the Swedish MMA Association that it will take several weeks before the injury heals up, and that Gustafsson won’t be medically approved for the fight “with 99% certainty.”
If Gustafsson indeed has to withdraw from his UFC on FUEL 9 match on short notice, it would be devastating, both for the event — which was being carried to a large extent by Gustafsson — and for Alexander himself, who was likely just one more impressive performance away from clinching a light-heavyweight title shot.
However, the fight hasn’t been formally canceled yet. As UFC president Dana White explained in a text message to Ariel Helwani, “The [Swedish Mixed Martial Arts Federation] has not said he can’t fight, and he wants to fight.”
We’ll update you if anything changes. In the meantime, you can bet that the UFC is turning over every rock to find a big-name backup opponent for Mousasi, because if the main event is switched to Ross Pearson vs. Ryan Couture at the last minute, you really couldn’t blame the Swedes for rioting.
(The relevant ranting starts around the 20 minute mark, but scroll back to the 12:40 mark if you want to see White basically have a mental breakdown when discussing Jon Fitch.)
When the UFC announced that their latest batch of mass firings included none other than former #9 ranked welterweightJon Fitch, the MMA community responded somewhat alarmingly to say the least. When Dana White stated that the decision came as a result of Fitch’s price tag being too high — at a paltry 66K no less — it revealed a bigger problem that could be looming on the horizon for the UFC: Overspending. As BG pointed out, multiple television deals and decreasing pay-per-view buys could at least be partly to blame for the UFC’s recent string of…let’s just call them frugal decisions.
But as it turns out, Fitch & Co.’s departure is just the beginning. Oh yes, a great deluge of firings is headed our way, Potato Nation, one consisting of up to 100 UFC fighters. And if you think the first name that Dana White would place on the potential chopping block would be one of the Shane Del Rosarios, Keith Wisniewskis, or Leonard fucking Garcias* who are currently winless in the promotion, well you just don’t know how The Baldfather thinks. Believe it or not, former WEC champion Urijah Faber was the first to be mentioned as in danger of losing his job with a loss at UFC 157. When asked if his “down the ladder” argument in relation to Fitch applied to guys like Faber, White was characteristically frank (24:50):
Could be Saturday [that he's cut]. You never know, There’s over 100 guys. We’re heavy.
The argument to cut Faber instead of Fitch already makes sense when considering both fighter’s records in the promotion (Fitch: 13-3-1, Faber: 2-2), and that argument only gains more momentum should Faber lose to Ivan Menjivar — who he is currently a 3-to-1 favorite over — tomorrow. But from a business standpoint, releasing as hot a commodity as Faber (or fighters like him) into the arms of “Viacom MMA” seems like promotional suicide, does it not?
Roy Nelson’s UFC 143 scrap with Fabricio Werdum was truly an exercise in futility for “Big Country,” because it more or less showcased what we already knew about him (the man can take a beating like no other), while at the same time reinforcing the idea that Nelson has damn near refused to evolve as a MMA fighter. Yes, he has recently shown a commitment to slimming down and yes, not many of us expected him to try and submit Werdum on Saturday, but if Roy doesn’t start switching up his striking routine (aka looking for anything but a big overhand right), he can expect several more axe wounds like the one above in his future.
We love you Roy, but it might be time to depart from The Country Club for a while, because you can only change the tee box and hole locations for so long until you just get sick of playing the same course over and over again.
Speaking of axe wounds, join us after the jump for a brief look back at some of MMA’s nastiest cuts…
— According to a report on MMA Weekly, TUF 7 winner/Master Tweeter Amir Sadollah will compete next against undefeated Judo specialist Dong Hyun Kim at UFC 114 (May 29th, Las Vegas). Sadollah is riding back-to-back unanimous decision wins against Phil Baroni and Brad Blackburn; due to injury, Kim hasn’t competed since his decision win over TJ Grant at UFC 100 last July.
10. Randy Couture vs. Gabriel Gonzaga
(UFC 74, 8/25/07)
At 44 years of age, Randy Couture was the one who was supposed to look busted up after his heavyweight championship match with 29-year-old Brazilian wrecking ball Gabriel Gonzaga. But in one of the greatest triumphs of his career, Couture broke down the bigger, younger fighter with his wrestling and dirty boxing. About three minutes into the first round, blood began to pour out of Gonzaga’s shattered nose, giving Randy’s back a nice, red coat. The steady flow interrupts the challenger’s breathing and vision, leading to a brutal ground-and-pound finish in the third.
9. Robbie Lawler vs. Scott Smith
(EliteXC: Unfinished Business, 7/26/08)
In the second round of their EliteXC middleweight championship do-over, Scott Smith nailed Robbie Lawler with a series of standing elbows that opened up an ugly gash on the top of Lawler’s head. With blood pouring out of the wound, Lawler turned up the intensity, doing his best to finish Smith before a doctor could stop the fight. About 90 seconds later, he succeeded — but not before a spray of “plasma” fell into commentator Mauro Ranallo’s lap. The video doesn’t really do it justice; you should also check out this photo from the fight, and this photo of the aftermath.
8. Chase Beebe vs. Eddie Wineland
(WEC 26, 3/24/07)
It may have been the most grisly demolition of a cauliflower ear in MMA history. Midway through a five-round bantamweight title match, challenger Chase Beebe dropped an elbow from the top that burst Eddie Wineland’s overripe right ear, causing it to spray blood several feet across the mat. Wineland, who had already suffered multiple cuts near his eyes from Beebe’s precision striking, soldiered on to the fifth-round bell with what appeared to be a gaping hole in the side of his head. Beebe took home the belt and Wineland hasn’t fought in the WEC since.
After the jump: Things really start to get disgusting.
Nobody likes to lose, but there’s losing like a man and there’s losing like a six-year-old. In the above video from NBC Sports Jon Fitch ups his stock by taking his loss to Georges St. Pierre as well as can be expected. Not only did he prove his toughness by hanging in against GSP for five rounds, he also showed up to the press conference even though his face looked like he’d just made out with a wolverine. That’s an honorable competitor, right there.
For fighting his heart out and for this display of gentlemanly sportsmanship, we extend to Jon Fitch our rarely-awarded Cage Potato ‘Atta Boy (award has no implied or actual monetary value). We’d like to also give one to Dana White for trying to subtly replace Fitch’s beer with a bottle of water while he’s answering questions from reporters, but we only have so many of these fake awards lying around.