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Tag: Dana White

Palhares to See First Action at UFC 84


(Rousimar Palhares…future middleweight superstar?)

We recently told you that the UFC had signed Brazilian fighter Rousimar Palhares and now it looks like his first action is being slated for May. MMA Junkie is reporting that Palhares will pop his UFC cherry Mary 24th. His opponent will be Ivan Salaverry, who is 12-5 and has been spotty in the UFC against good fighters. He owns a notable win against Joe Riggs, but has struggled in the UFC since. Salaverry literally just received the fight offer and it’s expected to move forward.

Palhares trains with Brazilian Top Team and recently won Fury Fighting Championship’s 185lb Grand Prix tournament. He’s won five fights in a row and is a die-hard disciple of BJJ – he’s won five of his fights by submission. He’s never been knocked out and his lone professional loss was to Arthur Cesar.

This should be a good one for Palhares to get his feet wet in the UFC. Dana White and Co. are hoping he’s a future star in the lagging middleweight division and he looks to have the skills to fulfill their hopes. By the time the fight rolls around, it will be a year since Salaverry has fought – a loss to Terry Martin. An injury kept him away from the game for a while, but if he’s at full speed now, he’ll be a nice test for Palhares.

Their fight will be on the UFC 84 card – which was originally UFC 85 until UFC 83 was…what number are we on again? Anyway, you guys know that old chestnut by now. The possible heavy hitters on the card could be Tito Ortiz in his UFC swan song vs. Lyoto Machida and the Sean Sherk/BJ Penn fight-to-the-death match. With new blood like Palhares thrown in, too, I’m digging how this one’s shaping up.

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Even More Fighters Added to TUF 7


(Got your attention? Good…read on.)

Since our earlier report, more fighters have been added to the seventh season of The Ultimate Fighter. It’s now being reported that a Mississippi dude has been picked to step into the TUF 7 cage. Jeremiah Riggs is 1-0 as a pro, soooooo there’s not too much we can know about him yet.

The fighter used to be a sheriff’s deputy and fought in Alabama as an amateur. His pro debut was back in September, where he beat Craig Sjoerdsma via submission (on strikes). MMA Junkie had this to say:

Although he’s had little professional experience, Riggs has sought out some quality training. A source close to Riggs told us that the fighter recently spent some time in California training with Strikeforce world middleweight champ Frank Shamrock. Riggs was set to become part of the San Jose Razorclaws — an International Fight League team coached by Shamrock — but after never winning a team matchup, the IFL disbanded the team after the 2007 fight season.

As for his personality, “Jeremiah’s just a freakin’ crazy country boy,” we’re told.

Just can’t wait to have another “freakin’ crazy country boy” among us – especially one actually from the south. Other TUF 7 additions being reported, are:

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The Build-Up to Lesnar vs. Mir


(Lesnar, pre penis tattoo.)

“If Brock Lesnar can back up all the things he’s saying, he might become the biggest star in mixed martial arts.”
–Dana White

Good God, the build-up to Brock Lesnar stepping into the cage this weekend at UFC 81 can only be likened to the feeling of downing three cans of refried beans with a twelve pack of Arrogant Bastard – then not being allowed access to the john. We’ve touched on this and have totally expected it, but when it’s actually here – it’s still a little overwhelming. Everywhere you turn, there is a Lesnar story, update, quote, picture of him scowling or a link to a new video. As if we couldn’t see enough of his penis tattoo…

As expected, the UFC is pushing the Brock drug on their site – they even print it twice on the page in case you have trouble reading it the first time:

UFC All Access: Brock Lesnar hosted by Rachelle Leah
Go behind the scenes to see how the former WWE star Brock Lesnar gets ready for a real battle against Frank Mir in his first fight in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

The show’s premiere is this Thursday (January 31st) at midnight on Spike TV. It will show again on Saturday (February 2nd) at 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. MMA Junkie also had a piece about the show. But wait…there’s more Lesnar for you pro-wrestling, NFL-hating fans. Bloody Elbow’s Luke Thomas has a good description of Lesnar’s abilities – or what we kinda’ know about them, at least via this video:

1. His striking is god awful. He has good power (I think), but this video clearly shows his rudimentary footwork and awkward guard position. People don’t realize it, but the stand-up game is incredibly complicated and takes a long time to master. 2+ years isn’t enough, not even for an athlete of Lesnar’s caliber.

2. He does look to pass the guard. This is a good sign for Lesnar. He’s not content to sit in guard. He actively works for better positioning once the fight hits the floor, a tactic that could easily overwhelm Mir if he’s not careful.

3. His wrestling is fantastic. We already knew this, but his reflexes in catching Kim’s kick and immediate knee-tap takedown are impressive.

4. He is aggressive from the outset. Expect Lesnar to close the distance on Mir very quickly and look to put him away with every punch or pass.

Beyond this, it’s hard to say anything else. We don’t know about his gas tank and we don’t know about his submission defense. I’m sure he’s working at break neck speed to bring those up to par, but until we’ve had a chance to evaluate them, they are unknowns. But all that and more could change Saturday.

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TUF 7: More Rumored Fighters


(“Luke Zachrich, Come on Down!”)

More fighters are being rumored as contestants for The Ultimate Fighter 7.

It was already reported that Luke Zachrich and Mike Marrello will be contestants on the show, and now it looks like they’ll be joined by Prince Mclean, Steve Byrnes, C.B. Dollaway, Aaron Meisner, and Matt Brown.

Mike Marrello is a Chicago middleweight with a record of 6-1-1. He has fought for the Xtreme Fighting Organization and King of the Cage, with his loss coming at the hands of Terry Davinney via kimura. Davinney has since lost three in a row. Mike Marrello is also a former Marine and joins Cincinnati-bred Luke Zachrich on the show, who is 7-1. Luke has also fought for King of the Cage and Xtreme Fighting Organization. A Dan Severn-trained fighter, Zachrich’s only loss was to Danny Ruiz via a first round armbar.

Aaron Meisner is out of Philly and is undefeated in his three pro fights – all by KO or TKO. He last fought at Extreme Challenge 78. Also reportedly joining the middleweights will be Prince Mclean and his 4-5 record. Like Luke Zachrich, he’s based in Cincy. But unlike Luke, he’s lost five straight and has proven injury prone. He is an interesting selection for the show, since he’s more on a downward spiral and not on the rise. This one is worth keeping an eye on.

C.B. Dollaway, who is 6-0 and has been impressive, will also be stepping before cameras for the show. He was a kick-ass wrestler in college and has improved his striking with every match. He’s out of Arizona and has fought with HDNet Fights, Rage in the Cage and the IFO. His debut featured a TKO slam 17 seconds into the bout.

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Tito Ortiz Accepts Machida Fight; Will Likely Be His Last for the UFC

TO

Tito Ortiz confirmed on Sirius’s Fight Network Radio yesterday that he has accepted a May 24th fight with undefeated light-heavyweight contender Lyoto Machida, but because of disputes over money and a lack of respect from the UFC’s top brass (sound familiar?), it will be his last for the organization:

Expecting a rematch with “The Ultimate Fighter 2” winner Rashad Evans, Ortiz (15-5-1) said he begrudgingly accepted the bout with the Japanese-Brazilian fighter who toppled PRIDE sensation Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou with a second-round submission at UFC 79 “Nemesis” on Dec. 29 in Las Vegas.

“I was expecting a bigger fight. I think the fans were expecting a bigger fight,” said Ortiz. “I got pressed into it, and all of a sudden, it’s all over the Internet that Tito Ortiz won’t fight Machida. I’m just looking to get my final fight over with the UFC.”

On the topics of money and respect, Ortiz was out for blood:

“They said I wasn’t worth the money. I was worth no more than what I’m getting paid now, and I’m not a commodity to them anymore. I’m not as viable to them anymore. That was a sign of disrespect…With Dana in charge, I don’t think [another title shot] will ever happen for me. Dana has bad blood for me and nothing but bad blood. They’re going to try and ruin me…[The UFC] could care less about the fighters. Fighters are a dime a dozen. They’ll keep coming. Dana is really out for himself and the company. He doesn’t give a s–t about the fighters.”

So let’s take it from the top. Ortiz’s desire for a re-match with Rashad Evans comes from a place of personal honor; he wants to avenge his draw against who he perceives as an inferior fighter. But if he thinks that another bout with Evans would be a “bigger fight” in terms of PPV buys/general hype than a fight against top contender Lyoto Machida, he is deluding himself. Fan interest lies with Machida now, not Evans — Ortiz fans will show up to his last UFC appearance no matter who he fights. Of course, neither opponent would pull in dollars like Ortiz’s bank-breaking wars with Chuck Liddell and Ken Shamrock, but Ortiz vs. Machida is the fight that UFC fans genuinely want to see.

Clearly this is more about looking good in his last fight. Though Ortiz could probably dominate Evans in a rematch, Machida has made everyone from Rich Franklin to Stephan Bonnar to Rameau Sokoudjou look stupid, and Ortiz isn’t the guy to figure out how to beat him. Unfortunately, Ortiz’s relationship with the UFC isn’t good enough for Dana White to hand him an easy win for his farewell performance; instead, he’s being used as a gatekeeper for the light-heavyweight division’s upper-echelon. Maybe now he wishes he hadn’t been such a pain in Dana White’s ass.

As for money, the Fight Network reports that Ortiz has made over $1 million per fight in his latest outings. (We’re guessing a large chunk of that comes from a percentage he receives from PPV revenue.) Ortiz is convinced he’s worth a lot more, but he’s drifting further and further from #1 contender status, and other guys are overtaking him, both in terms of talent and marketability. Quinton Jackson and Forrest Griffin have basically made Tito Ortiz obsolete. In other words, he’s not worth a lot more that a million per fight, and the UFC knows it. To some extent, Tito must know it too. Hence the hostility.

But Ortiz has to be careful with his words until that last fight is in the can. I doubt the UFC will try to road-block his involvement with other fight promotions to the extent that they’ll do to Randy Couture — as a beloved champion, Couture is more of a painful loss to the UFC than a loudmouthed aspiring actor on the downswing. But as we learned last week, if you make enough harmful statements in the press, you’ll have a lawsuit waiting for you.

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Fight Night Press Conference Run-Down

UFC Logo

CagePotato took part in the UFC press conference held today in advance of Wednesday’s UFC Fight Night. Headliners Mike “Quick” Swick and Josh “The People’s Warrior” Burkman answered questions from the press along with Patrick Cote and Drew McFedries.

A recap:

-Dana White “couldn’t make it”. Hangover or jet lag. Or both.

-Mike Swick was asked if he has concerns about dropping to welterweight: “Not really, I feel really good right now.” He hasn’t gotten down to this weight since 1997. His walk-around weight is 185. How’d he do it? Diet and exercise – who knew those two could help you lose weight?

-Patrick Cote has ADD.

-Game Day routine for Mike Swick: He starts focusing on the fight when he wakes up and really starts focusing on it when he leaves the locker room.

-Game Day routine for Patrick Cote: Sleeps late, hangs out and doesn’t get nervous. Secrets revealed!

-Game Day routine for Josh Burkman: Listens to his headphones and doesn’t think about the fight too much. Oh, and hanging out, of course.

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UFC Rap: a Weigh-In and a Cancellation

UFC

Don’t forget: the weigh-ins for UFC 80 will happen this Friday at the Metroradio Arena in jolly ‘ole Newcastle, England. The fun is supposed to go down at 4 p.m. – which translates to 11 a.m. for us Yanks. Doors are supposed to open for the event an hour before and even earlier for UFC fan club members (you know who you are) – provided you can make the overseas drive to England. The event will not be broadcast live.

UFC 80 will rock the joint on Saturday and will be broadcast live at 3 p.m. ET. You can also check out the tape delay if you’re lame at 10 p.m. ET. Both will be on Pay-Per-View. The event will feature BJ Penn vs. Joe Stevenson, Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Fabricio Werdum and Kendall Grove vs. Jorge Rivera.

In other UFC news, it’s being widely reported today that UFC 83 – rumored to also be going down in England – will probably be happening in the United States instead. A source is saying that the Brit locale is a definite no go, but the show will plow forward (March 8th).

UFC 82 is happening March 1st in Columbus, Ohio, so having another event happen so soon after that seemed a bit ambitious anyway. Maybe this is part of Dana White’s hype machine. Or just his deal-breaking cockiness. Or both. The bald wonder has certainly been vocal about getting more UFC events into Europe and Asia and this was the year to do that. This poses a bit of a set-back, but if the upcoming January 19th event goes as planned, that ground may be regained quickly.

No statements just yet as to where UFC 83 might really happen. I’m voting for Hope, Indiana, population 2,000. They need some MMA up in there.

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Killing Deals Dana-Style

Dana White

We all know the negotiations between CBS and the UFC have gone the way of the Hollywood writer’s strike: nowhere. MMAPayout is reporting that creative differences might be to blame – which means Dana was being a dick (see the failed attempt at a Fedor vs. Randy fight as reference). An HBO deal bit the dust even before the CBS deal did, so now it looks like Dana’s next failed negotiation attempt could be NBC – although this may already be DOA.

Check it:

…the UFC has reportedly reached out to NBC as late as last week. The reception was reportedly cold with the peacock network having little interest in working with the UFC and particularly Dana White. NBC does not appear interested in prime time programming, making the UFC a poor fit in addition to any concerns they might have about White.

NBC continues to talk with a number of players about late night time slots, including the IFL, Strikeforce, M-1, and K-1. Speculation within the industry suggests that Strikeforce, with financial backing from Hewlett-Packard, may have already came to terms with the network, however, such a deal would not preclude other promotions involvement.

Looks pretty grim if you were jonesin’ to see Edith strut her stuff between rounds on one of the Big Four. But the other prospects sound cool.

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And So It Begins: UFC Files First Lawsuit Against Randy Couture

DWRC
(Couture and a pre-Headblade Dana White.)

The Las Vegas Review Journal has reported that lawyers for Zuffa have filed suit alleging that Randy Couture’s comments about the UFC have led to significant financial losses for the company, and that he is in breach of his contract. The lawsuit is complicated by a “conspiracy” charge, claiming that other people worked with Couture to intentionally inflict harm on the UFC, and the breach-of-contract refers specifically to a stipulation that prohibits him from engaging in “direct or indirect competition” with the UFC for a year after he leaves the organization. Couture’s sponsorship of a team in the IFL may violate this, and Zuffa is seeking an injunction to prohibit him from continuing his participation. According to the article, “The lawsuit seeks damages in excess of $10,000 and states that the amount of both compensatory and punitive damages would be proven at trial.”

Said Dana White:

“What’s really tough for me, to be honest, is we have been friends for a very long time,” White said. “The hard part is that he is not living up to his obligations. Captain America is not keeping his word.”

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Saddest/Truest Quote of the Day

BF

Dana White, during a UFC 80 press conference today:

“Look at the NFL. There’s nothing bigger in this country than the NFL. They’ve been spending billions of dollars trying to break into Europe and they can’t do it, because nobody gives a (expletive) about football in Europe. They didn’t grow up playing football, they don’t know about it. I take two guys and put them in the Octagon and they can use any martial art they want. It translates through all different cultural barriers, language barriers… people love fighting.”

In other words, the thing that drives us apart will be the very thing that unites us. I kinda like that. Can that be the tagline for Red Devil?

During the press conference, White announced that the UFC would be doing an event in Scotland as soon as possible, and is working to get events authorized in New York and Hawaii. He also described the Matt Serra-hosted UFC 79 viewing party at Madison Square Garden as “a very successful event.” I’d love to get independent confirmation of that claim, but I haven’t been able to find anything online. If you or someone you know attended the MSG party, holler at us and let us know what it was like. We’re guessing “poorly attended and awkward” — is that about right?

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