Let’s make two things clear from the beginning: Vitor Belfort is an amazing fighter, and an equally terrible trash talker. He demonstrated both of these things on Saturday night, with both his brilliant finish of Michael Bisping and his callout of Jon Jones immediately afterwards.
Of course, Jon Jones is a little busy at the moment, getting ready for Chael Sonnen and all. Belfort addresses this by asking Dana White to “Take that clown away” so he could have his rematch with Jones instead of having Bones fight Sonnen in the spring.
No one is here to say that Belfort can’t beat Sonnen in the cage – especially at light-heavyweight – but “The Phenom” doesn’t exactly live up to his nickname when it comes to trash talking. Even though I wouldn’t count Belfort’s post-fight interview as a callout of Chael Sonnen, the clown comment definitely left a sour taste in his mouth. Sonnen wasted no time responding to Belfort’s comments, using his commentary gig on the post-event FUEL TV broadcast to issue the following statements:
Swedish sensation Alexander Gustafsson is going to put his six fight win streak and legit claim to #1 contender-ship in the light heavyweight division on the line against Gegard Mousasi April 6. The UFC just announced that the pair will headline UFC on FUEL TV 9 this spring.
If it wasn’t for his young age and the long line of people talking themselves into title shots against champion Jon Jones and the huge mess that has ensued, Gustafsson would likely already be considered worthy of challenging “Bones.” As it stands, Gustafsson has to keep on fighting and winning to earn his shot.
(The best part about wearing a cowboy hat to a press conference? You can be dead asleep, and people will just think you’re carefully considering your answer. / Photo via MMAWeekly)
Donald Cerrone is the type of guy who will go for the kill at every moment of a fight, then blow his resulting bonus-check on a pontoon boat cooze-cruise. He’s not the kind of guy who will hold his tongue when he sees some bullshit go down, even when that bullshit is related to one of his Greg Jackson teammates.
“Yes, I’d have fought. They could call me tomorrow and ask me to fight. I think you need to fight. That’s our job. I don’t think you should curl up and find a way out. So yes, that’s my answer…He’s my teammate, and we have this discussion all the time. I said, ‘You should’ve done it.’ And he goes, ‘Well, you don’t make a million (dollars) to fight.’ And I said, ‘Well, you’re right, but I f—ing fight every time with all my heart.’“
According to a New York State Assembly “insider” quoted in a new report by NY Daily News reporter Kenneth Lovett, “It’s getting harder for [Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver] to keep blocking this,” referring to the bill partially crafted by the UFC to sanction MMA in New York.
“Resistance to it is getting less,” Speaker Silver admitted.
Lovett went on to explain in his report that Assemblyman Robert Reilly — better known around here as “Bob,” and one of New York’s most passionate, confused, and dishonest opponents of MMA sanctioning — is miraculously retiring this week (!!!) and that his departure should take a good deal of steam out of the opposition to MMA in New York. The ban on professional MMA in the state was signed into law by then-Governor George Pataki in 1997, but now even he is calling for the sport’s legalization.
Sources tell The Daily News that if the bill to legalize and regulate professional MMA in New York were brought to a vote in the general assembly right now, it would be passed. However, hurdles remain for the sport and its largest promotion, the UFC. Members of the NY Assembly including Deborah Glick and Daniel O’Donnell still oppose MMA’s legalization, the report says, and they might be able to prevent the measure from getting through committee and to the general assembly for voting.
In addition, the Culinary Workers Union — MMA’s most powerful arch-nemesis in the fight for New York MMA regulation — continues its loud propaganda campaign against the UFC, slamming everything from Dana White’s language to Mandy Moore’s judgment. (Funny story: If you go to the Culinary Union’s anti-UFC website UnfitforChildren.org right now, the lead story is a screen-cap of a CagePotato article. Wisely, they didn’t reprint the article’s first line, which refers to the Union as “two-faced, propaganda pushing arseholes.”)
Nevertheless, UFC President Dana White seems to be as optimistic as ever that his organization will soon put on an event in New York. After UFC 155, the promoter told assembled media that he hoped to host a UFC 20th Anniversary event in Manhattan’s Madison Square Garden this coming fall. “We have a date, and we have a match,” White revealed.
As a fantastic wrestler with dynamite punching power, Cormier would present Jon Jones with the same challenges that a guy like Dan Henderson would. But he also shares Hendo’s biggest disadvantage — his physical dimensions. Both Cormier and Henderson stand 5’11″, with 71″ reaches, and could be picked apart by the 6’4″ Jones and his inhuman 84.5″ wingspan.
As MMA gamely stumbles into 2013, we’ve once again decided to bestow meaningless awards to the fighters and moments that caught our attention this year. CagePotato’s crack team of writers spent all month nominating winners in 27 different categories, which we’ve loosely arranged in chronological order. Use the “next page” links to scroll through this monster, or click on the following page links at your leisure. And as always, thanks for putting up with us for another year. Here’s to bigger and better things in 2013, which shouldn’t be a tough goal to hit, considering.
1.) Showtime stays in the MMA biz, will announce deal with Invicta FC and others.
MMA is just too popular to completely wash your hands of. Showtime may finally be done with Strikeforce, but that only means they’re now free to partner up with the likes of all-female Invicta FC or the World Series of Fighting, both of which could be looking for more permanent homes after their early success in 2012. Don’t let the Invicta PPV news fool you; they can’t win that battle. No matter who inks the deal, expect Showtime to counter-program at least one UFC event.
2.) A Ronda Rousey loss brings about the swift execution of women’s MMA in the UFC.
After earning a shot at the UFC light heavyweight title, Alexander Gustafsson said Saturday night that he won’t wait around for the winner of champion Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen to fight again. Jones and Sonnen are currently slated to face one another for Jones’ belt after the season of The Ultimate Fighter that they are currently coaching on finishes.
The Swedish contender put himself in line for a shot with a dominant unanimous decision win over Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at Saturday’s UFC on Fox card but at the post event press conference said that he would be happy to risk his title shot by fighting again in the interim. “I want to fight for the belt, and if they give me one before that, it doesn’t matter. I’ll fight whoever the UFC gives me,” he said.
“I want to stay active, and I want to fight.” The young kickboxer has no interest in waiting another half year or more to fight.
“I’ll fight whenever. I was away for a long time. The last time I fought was in April, and that was too long. To wait till summer again, that would be too long.”
UFC President Dana White seems to be in accordance with that thought. “If I was [Gustafsson], I’d want to get another fight in before taking on Jon Jones,” he said.
“He could fight again. I’m hearing Dan Henderson’s knee isn’t better, so maybe Gustafsson should fight Machida next,” White continued.
Henderson’s poor health status is evidentally news to the fighter himself. The former Pride champion was scheduled to fight Jon Jones earlier this year but pulled out after he injured his knee in training camp. He is now scheduled to take on former UFC champion Lyoto Machida in February at UFC 157: These Chicks Can Fight.
On his twitter account, Dan reacted incredulously to White’s supposed inside information on his knee. “Not sure where @danawhite thinks he’s hearing that my knee isn’t doing ok. It’s doing great. Slowly picking training up just like I do for every training camp,” he tweeted.