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Tag: Daniel Cormier

Four Olympic Athletes Who Should Transition Into MMA


(The bronze-medalist judoka and silver-medalist freestyle wrestler both have a shot at UFC gold this weekend. Photo via Esther Lin/MMAFighting)

By Nasir Jabbar

UFC 170‘s headline act will feature two Olympic medalists in Ronda Rousey and Sara McMann, and was supposed to feature a third Olympian in Daniel Cormier. Though other Olympic veterans like Henry Cejudo and Yoel Romero have successfully hopped onto the MMA bandwagon, the sport isn’t for everybody. It’s a tough, grueling game that apparently has “no moral values,” according to French judoka Teddy Riner.

At the risk of upsetting another French brick shithouse, Riner’s anti-MMA stance reeks of ignorance. So in honour of UFC 170, I’m going to highlight four Olympians who have a good chance of crossing over. These athletes have either expressed an interest in MMA, supported it, or have an uncanny parallel with another well-known fighter. Lets run them down…

Travis Stevens

Outside of the Olympic games there isn’t a professional avenue for judo players, but MMA provides that opportunity, giving former judokas a chance to use their skill set to compete and make a living. Travis Stevens could be the next crossover star from the world of judo — joining the ranks of Rousey, Hector Lombard, and Yoshiro Akiyama — and he’s already considering MMA as a future career.

The 27-year-old American made his first Olympic appearance at the 2008 Beijing Games (where he placed 9th), and fell short of the podium again in London in 2012, losing out in the bronze medal match. Failing to capture an Olympic medal in two attempts puts Stevens in an awkward position. Does he jump into MMA now or wait around for the next Olympic games?

Stevens is not only a top ten Judoka in his weight division he also regularly trains under Renzo Gracie at his academy in New York, and more impressively is a black-belt in jiu-jitsu under grappling guru John Danaher. A double black belt is a testament to Stevens’ incredible ground game, which provides the perfect base to enter MMA.

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The Ten Most Random Replacement Opponents in MMA History


(He wore his own shirt in hopes of getting MMA fans to learn his name. Instead, they all asked him if he’s a cameraman for the new Danny Trejo movie.)

By Seth Falvo

By now you’ve heard that Rashad Evans is out of his co-main event clash against Daniel Cormier at UFC 170, and has been replaced by promotional newcomer Patrick Cummins. Unsurprisingly, reactions to this announcement have ranged from “Who is Patrick Cummins?” to “UFC Books Match Between Number One Contender And Twitter User.“ Cummins certainly feels like an unusual replacement opponent, but how does he stack up against other fighters who were granted a shot in the spotlight out of sheer necessity for a warm body to step in and save a fight?

Coincidentally enough, we’ll start with his next opponent…

10.) Injury Replacement Daniel Cormier Wins the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix.

(Photo Courtesy of Getty Images.)

The Details: Replaced Alistair Overeem against Antonio Silva at Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Kharitonov (09/10/2011).
Why He Makes the Top Ten: It’s hard to believe that just under three years ago, Daniel Cormier such an unknown prospect that sportsbooks didn’t even bother creating odds for him to win the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, despite creating odds for Ray Sefo and Valentijn “Othereem” Overeem; a $20 bet on Cormier “FIELD” to win the tournament would have netted you $1,000. But when Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion Alistair Overeem injured his toe/realized fighting in the tournament was pointless and pulled out of his scheduled bout against Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, Cormier handled Silva so effortlessly that it was impossible not to take note. Cormier would go on to defeat Josh Barnett for the tournament title, and the rest is history.
Why He Isn’t Ranked Higher: While Cormier may not have been high on our radars at the time, it’s hard to call an Olympic wrestler an “unknown prospect.”

On a somewhat related note…

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Scratch That — Daniel Cormier Will Compete at UFC 170, Against 4-0 Prospect Patrick Cummins


(Ladies and gentlemen, I give you…Durkin? What does that even mean? / Photo via MMAJunkie)

When Rashad Evans pulled out of his scheduled UFC 170 match against Daniel Cormier, Cormier was devastated. “I don’t want this work to be for nothing,” he told Ariel Helwani. “I’ve killed myself in this gym. I’ve spent ten weeks away from my family…I’d fight Chael in a heartbeat. I’d fight Anthony Johnson in a heartbeat. I’d fight any of those guys. There’s somebody out there who wants to fight. Line ‘em up…I just want to fight now.”

And so, in an apparent move to keep him happy, the UFC has allowed Cormier to remain on the February 22nd “Rousey vs. McMann” lineup. No, he won’t be fighting Chael Sonnen, or Rumble Johnson, or anybody else you’ve heard of. Instead, Cormier will fight 4-0 light-heavyweight prospect Patrick Cummins, who will be making his Octagon debut.

A former two-time All American wrestler for Penn State, Cummins trains out of Mark Munoz’s Reign MMA gym in Orange County, and he’s finished all four of his pro fights in the first round. Cormier, of course, is one of the greatest MMA fighters in the world. Be sure to tune in, folks, because you might not see a bigger squash match all year. Seriously, how in the hell did the Nevada State Athletic Commission approve this friggin’ thing? KEITH, GET BACK HERE!

Desperate times call for desperate measures, I guess. Not that Cormier vs. Cummins is going to jack up the buyrate for this zombie card, but at least the entire show won’t rest on Ronda Rousey‘s shoulders now. Your thoughts?

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Chael Sonnen Calls Out Daniel Cormier, Instead Gets Silva Fight Moved to Brazil [TWIST!]

Depending how you look at it, Chael Sonnen‘s offer to step in for Rashad Evans against Daniel Cormier at UFC 170 was either an act of extreme bravery or extreme cowardice — further proof that Sonnen is the most fearless man in the UFC or that he is one desperately trying to get out of Brazil in one piece A.S.A.P. Personally, I choose to believe the former, because if Chael Sonnen was brave enough to march head first into enemy territory to promote a reality show that no one watches, there’s no way a little on-set scrap would be enough to scare him away.

Sonnen’s valiance aside, Cormier would have demolished the Gangster From West Linn inside 3 minutes. You know this. I know this. Sonnen knows this. Chael P. was thoroughly overpowered by Evans and Jon Jones at light heavyweight, and against Cormier he’d be fighting an Olympian dropping down from heavyweight. They’d need a spatula to peel him off the canvas by the time all was said and done.

Realizing this, the UFC has denied Sonnen’s request, instead re-scheduling Evans vs. Cormier for UFC 172 (this is unconfirmed) and moving Sonnen vs. Wandy from UFC 173 in Las Vegas to a yet-to-be-named event in Brazil the following weekend.

As Happy Gilmore would say, “Talk about your all-time backfires.”

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Rashad Evans Suffers Leg Injury, Out of UFC 170 Fight With Daniel Cormier


(Photo by Ryan Loco via @SugaRashadEvans)

Just nine days before he was set to square off with Daniel Cormier in the light-heavyweight co-main event of UFC 170: Rousey vs. McMann, Rashad Evans has dropped out of the fight due to a leg injury. The UFC confirmed the news today, adding that Cormier has been pulled off the card altogether.

Details on Evans’s injury are scarce, although UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta told Yahoo!’s Kevin Iole that Evans would need four weeks of rehab. (Iole’s report called it a knee injury, by the way.) Depending on Rashad’s recovery, the UFC may reschedule the Evans/Cormier match to take place at UFC 172: Jones vs. Teixeira (April 26th, Baltimore). We’ll update you if that becomes official.

As a result of the bout-scratch, the welterweight matchup between Rory MacDonald and Demian Maia now becomes UFC 170′s co-main event. It also means that Ronda Rousey will have to carry this rag-tag card pretty much on her own.

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Six Massive UFC Fights That Could Actually Happen in 2014


(Meanwhile, Alex’s friends were parked outside with a giant magnet. / Photo via Getty)

By Nasir Jabbar

With Georges St-Pierre, Anderson Silva, and Cain Velasquez all currently out of action due to injuries or bitter hiatuses, UFC executives will be scratching their heads trying to come up with marquee fights in 2014. But amidst this gloom, there are a few massive fights that could still happen. Some are more realistic than others, but if the stars align, these matchups would no doubt fill the void. Let’s run them down in order of probability…

Major fights within reach

Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson 2 or Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier: Very few gave Gustafsson the chance to last twenty-five minutes with the champ, let alone nearly dethrone him. The two engaged in a thrilling yet technical battle at UFC 165, which was as entertaining as it was controversial — making a rematch very interesting and potentially lucrative for the UFC. Prior to his first meeting with the Mauler, Jones had dominated every one of his opponents, which led to the New Yorker searching for his “Frazier”, the worthy rival who would define his legacy. Gustafsson could very much play that role as they look to meet again.

On the other hand, Daniel Cormier could play that role just as well. Unlike Gustafsson, Cormier has a genuine dislike towards Jones which would only add hype towards the fight. But, of course, the two potential challengers would have to get by Jimi Manuwa and Rashad Evans, respectively, to get their title shots. And of course there’s a hard-hitting Brazilian named Glover Teixeira who might derail these plans altogether.

Jose Aldo vs. BJ Penn: Incredibly, Penn is looking to become a three-weight world champion as he embarks on his unexpected new life as a featherweight. Before his year-long break from the sport, Penn had been fighting at welterweight without much success. (He hasn’t won a match since his quick knockout of Matt Hughes back in November 2010.) Penn will make his 145-pound debut against old rival Frankie Edgar as he looks to avenge, not one, but two defeats. Even though there is a connection between Penn and Aldo’s head coach Andre Pederneiras, the Prodigy would surely jump at the chance to compete for a belt.

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Like a Contract, But Not Exactly: Why Long Term Deals Are Terrible For UFC Fighters


(Sanchez’s contract is officially for eight more fights, but the UFC reserves the right to take him out behind the shed at any time and put him out of his misery. / Photo via Getty)

By Jon Mariani

With Daniel Cormier and Diego Sanchez both inking new eight-fight deals with the UFC recently, following an eyebrow-raising 10-fight contract extension for Anderson Silva earlier this year, long-term contracts have become a disturbing trend in the UFC. And it begs the question: “Why everybody’s doing that? Why?

MMA contracts are unique among professional sports, in the sense that long-term agreements aren’t necessarily beneficial to the athletes. The deals that Cormier and Sanchez signed with the UFC bear absolutely no resemblance to the 15-year, $67.5 million dollar “lottery ticket” that NHL goalie Rick DiPietro signed in 2006. After failing to live up to expectations, DiPietro’s contract was bought out in 2013, at $1.5 million a year for the next 16 years.

That’s what a contract is, after all — an employer’s obligation to pay a certain amount of money for services rendered. What the UFC offers its fighters is something different. It’s like a contract, but not exactly, and it results from the uniquely lopsided power structure in this sport, where there’s essentially one major-league team and no player’s union.

In MMA if you fail to live up to expectations and lose fights, your contract can simply be terminated at any time, and for a variety of reasons. When Eddie Alvarez‘s contract was made public, outsiders got a chance to see the long list of scenarios in which the UFC can cut an athlete loose. As the article’s author Jonathan Snowden notes “So, all those UFC contracts that claim to be for eight or 10 fights? That’s only true if you keep winning. Otherwise, the contract is only as long as the UFC wants it to be.”

A quote from that article, from Northwestern University labor law professor Zev Eigen, shows how imbalanced contracts are for UFC fighters:

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Jon Jones vs. Glover Teixeira Re-Re-Booked for UFC 171, March 15th in Dallas


(“MR. JONES, MR. JONES, TELL US MORE ABOUT THIS ‘GATORADE’ DRINK. IS IT TRUE THAT IT QUENCHES THIRST *AND* RESTORES ELECTROLYTES?” / Photo via Getty)

Super Bowl weekend didn’t work. February 22nd didn’t work either. But we have a good feeling that the latest date for Jon Jones vs. Glover Teixeira is going to stick, you guys. As revealed by UFC press secretary Ariel Helwani on the latest episode of UFC Tonight, the impending light-heavyweight title fight has been scheduled to headline UFC 171, March 15th at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.

Though the UFC wanted Jones to return to action earlier, the champ couldn’t commit to a February date against Teixeira due to lingering injuries from his last fight, as well as the desire to spend Christmas with his family. As for Teixeira, he’s been twiddling his thumbs since his TKO win over Ryan Bader in September, but other than a bout of indigestion, the Brazilian slugger is ready to roll.

No other fights have been announced for UFC 171 yet, although there’s a rumor floating around that Daniel Cormier could make his light-heavyweight debut on the card against none other than Rashad Evans. We’ll keep you posted…

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Armchair Matchmaker: ‘UFC 166: Velasquez vs. Dos Santos III’ Edition


(Quick, someone call Wanderlei Silva‘s plastic surgeon! Photo via Reddit MMA)

Now that we’ve all come down from the meth-like high that UFC 166 provided, let’s get down to some business, shall we? Fans and pundits of the sport alike have previously hailed our armchair matchmakers as “The most sagacious, in-depth and intellectually gratifying reading experiences in all of mixed martial arts reporting,” so let’s hope we can work our magic for Saturday’s biggest winners. Besides, AMC FearFest starts soon and we will be checking out for the rest of this month once that gets underway.

Cain Velasquez: Well, according to Dana White during Saturday’s media scrum, Velasquez will be facing Fabricio Werdum next. Don’t be fooled by Werdum’s recent three-fight killing spree, though; Velasquez will have “Vai Cavalo” butt-flopping all over the mat inside of two rounds. That greedy sonofabitch.

Daniel Cormier: To hell with who Cormier should be matched up with next, I want to be matched up with Cormier’s kickboxing coach and learn the art of the turning side check kick, STAT. In all seriousness, we’d like to see the former Olympian matched up with fellow grappling stud Phil Davis next. Davis is fresh off a split decision over Lyoto Machida at UFC 163, and if Cormier is as insistent on cutting to LHW as he seems, Davis would make for a perfect litmus test.

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UFC 166 Highlight Videos: Velasquez Dominates Dos Santos, Nelson Pays the Troll Toll + The FOTY Frontrunner


(Velasquez vs. Dos Santos highlights, via the FOX Sports Youtube page.) 

To put it bluntly, UFC 166 was the kind of faith-restoring UFC event that effectively silenced even the most cynical of the sport’s detractors (henceforth known as “garbage-assers“). Featuring a trio of wars and a pair of brutal first round finishes on the main card alone, UFC 166 staked its claim as an early frontrunner for “Event of the Year” at this year’s Potato Awards and will likely achieve the same notoriety at awards ceremonies that actually transpire.

In the evening’s main event, Cain “El Emperador Finale” Velasquez selfishly opted to ruin the heavyweight division for the foreseeable future with a dominant fifth round TKO of former rival Junior Dos Santos. Elsewhere on the card, Roy Nelson was routed by another top 5 competitor in Daniel Cormier, Gilbert Melendez attempted to punch the crazy out of Diego Sanchez to little avail, and Gabriel Gonzaga reaffirmed that a man with a pedostache is not to be toyed with. Twas a momentous night, indeed.

Thankfully, FOX Sports has compiled some highlight videos of the evening’s greatest slugfests and made them available for viewing on their Youtube page. Although these snippets won’t fill the bottomless void created in the soul of, say, your friend Dave who insisted on skipping UFC 166 to attend a Lady Gaga concert with his bitch of a girlfriend, they will give you the chance to confirm that Dave is a tiny, tin-eared man who lacks intestinal fortitude and any semblance of deductive reasoning. Fucking Dave.

We’ve placed the highlight video for Velasquez/Dos Santos III above, but join us after the jump to relive the rest of what was truly a historic night for both the UFC and MMA in general.

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