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Cutting Through The Bullsh*t: UFC 180 Edition


(Photo via Getty)

For a highly anticipated fight card marred by injuries to its premiere fighters and an ongoing crisis in Mexico, UFC 180: “Werdum vs. Hunt” turned out to be quite the showcase.

UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, who had a card built entirely around him for the promotion’s first trip to the country with support from Diego Sanchez and Erik Perez, had to bow out of a title fight against Fabricio Werdum a few weeks removed from the championship encounter. This was after both Perez and Sanchez were already out with of their respective scraps with wounds.

When it comes to the champion, there’s always a lingering concern about his injuries. Multiple setbacks which required surgery (including his latest) has seen Velasquez fight six times in four years, against three different opponents.

But the show must go on, which means the attention turned to Werdum and a combat sports legend serving as an unexpected title challenger in an interim heavyweight championship bout.

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The UFC Picked a Hell of a Week to Go to Mexico City…


(via reddit/MMA)

On Saturday night, protesters in Mexico City set fire to the front doors of the National Palace and attempted to break inside, in response to the abduction and mass murder of 43 students by drug cartel gangsters in September. Protests have been escalating since late last week, as outraged citizens and families of the victims blame local government officials and crooked police for the horrific incident.

The National Palace is about 7.5 miles away from the Arena Ciudad de México, which will host UFC 180: Werdum vs. Hunt this weekend, a card that has already been torn apart by injuries. Things were bad enough when the card lost Cain Velasquez as a headliner — now the UFC will have to pull off a show during a period of civil unrest, where people are literally trying to burn a palace down. International attention is on Mexico City right now for the worst possible reasons. Can an American cage-fighting promotion bring some healing to this terrible moment?

Short answer: No, of course not. At this point, UFC 180 has to be one of the top 5 most cursed events ever, and I honestly feel bad for the UFC, which really doesn’t happen often. Stay safe, everybody.

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Cain Velasquez and Fabricio Werdum to Coach TUF: Latin America, Followed by Heavyweight Title Fight in November [UPDATED]


(Props: YouTube.com/UFC)

During a press conference today in Mexico City, UFC president Dana White announced that Cain Velasquez and Fabricio Werdum will appear as rival coaches on the first installment of The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America (aka EL TUF), which will air this fall in Mexico and the United States. Velasquez and Dos Santos will then meet at the show’s Finale, “the week of November 15th,” according to White.

Though no other fights on the card have been booked, White vowed to bring a stacked lineup to Mexico City. “You know I want to come to Mexico with a bang,” he said. “We’re gonna bring some good fights here, I promise you.”

When a media member asked White if the UFC would postpone the event or set up a new headliner if Velasquez got injured before the fight, White tried to ward off the bad juju: “Bite your tongue. Hopefully that doesn’t happen.”

Lots more details to come. Stay tuned.

Update, via MMAFighting: Velasquez vs. Werdum and the finals of The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America will take place at UFC 180, November 15th at Mexico City’s Arena Ciudad. TUF: Latin America will feature bantamweights and featherweights, and will air on Televisa in Mexico beginning the week of August 18th. The show begins filming on May 12th in Las Vegas.

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UFC to Host First Mexico Event in November With ‘TUF: Latinoamerica’ Finale


(Cain Velasquez: Just one of the many ferocious Latino UFC warriors who probably won’t be appearing on this card. / Illustration via Evan Shoman Art)

On Friday, the UFC casually tweeted out a semi-major announcement — the promotion will hold its first event in Mexico this November. Though a date and venue haven’t been revealed, the event will serve as the Finale for The Ultimate Fighter: Latinoamerica, which will begin filming this spring in Las Vegas, and will air on Fight Pass and the UFC Network.

Despite Mexico’s deep love of combat sports, the UFC has never held an event on Mexican soil — and it hasn’t been for lack of trying. As early as 2008, UFC president Dana White discussed the difficulty that the promotion had breaking into the market, “basically because five families control all of Mexico.” [Editor's note: That statement has not been fact-checked.]

Things have been looking promising lately, though. The UFC was planning on holding an event down in Mexico as early as this April, but the date was scrapped because proposed headliner Cain Velasquez wasn’t healthy enough to make it. We’ll update you when we know more about the TUF: Latinoamerica Finale lineup, or who might coach the show. At this point, it looks like El Chapo won’t be available.

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Report: Cain Velasquez vs. Fabricio Werdum to Headline UFC’s First Trip to Mexico in April 2014 [UPDATED]


(Yeah, good luck topping that.) 

Update, 5:05 p.m. ET: UFC President Dana White has refuted this report, telling Yahoo! that Cain won’t be competing on the Mexico show because he might have injured his left shoulder during his last fight against Junior Dos Santos. Velasquez has already undergone one MRI, and will have another to determine the extent of his injury and whether or not he’ll need surgery. Stay tuned…

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Although the matchup has yet to be officially confirmed by the UFC, multiple sources are reporting that the rumored bout between Cain Velasquez and Fabricio Werdum has been tentatively scheduled for the UFC’s inaugural trip to Mexico in 2014. The event: UFC 172. The date: April-ish. BloodyElbow passes along the roughly-translated news:

It’s a matter of days for the UFC officially announced the first event in Mexico. The Arena Mexico City will host the Billboard 172 company, a pay per view for America that will be headlined by Cain Velasquez and challenger for the heavyweight belt, the Brazilian Fabricio Werdum.

The date, the weekend of the 19th or April 26th 2014 is perfect for the Mexican American, because even though the medical suspension was discarded six months after his last defense, if you have half a year to make full preparation. On Tuesday afternoon, the president of the promoter Dana White confirmed that the announcement will take place on Mexican soil as they become ready. That moment could come in the coming weeks as the company’s promotional activity intensifies. 

Let’s hope that a trip to the motherland helps Velasquez rebound from being skipped over in the EA Sports video game cover vote, a fact he will probably be thankful for when Jon Jones confirms the “Cover Boy Curse” by getting viciously KO’d in his next fight.

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MMA Promoters Diego Hernandez and Craig Silva Missing for Two Weeks After Organizing Event in Mexico


(Image via facebook.com/HelpFindandBringHomeCraigandDiego)

Kidnapping is one of Mexico’s most lucrative shadow-industries, with a startling 72 cases per day estimated by one 2012 study. So when a pair of foreigners with money mysteriously disappear, it’s hard not to assume the worst.

On May 8th, a Canadian martial arts instructor named Diego Hernandez — who had relocated to Puerta Vallarta, Mexico, two years ago — vanished along with his business partner, an American named Craig Silva. The two men had just promoted an MMA event in Puerta Vallarta, and were last spotted in Silva’s black 2003 Chevy Trailblazer, which has since been recovered by Mexican authorities. Hernandez’s mother now suspects that a kidnapping took place, and that somebody close to the men might have been involved. The Huffington Post passes along more details:

Reached in Puerto Vallarta, Hernandez’s mother, Melissa Canez, said her son and Silva had been planning to withdraw money from Silva’s account to pay for some of the event’s expenses. Soon after they obtained the money, they dropped off Silva’s girlfriend at a local university and intended to pick her up after class, she said.

Canez said she suspected the two men were kidnapped when she was told the next day that they did not return to pick up Silva’s girlfriend…

“As soon as she said they hadn’t come back and they didn’t answer their phones, for me, I knew somebody had my son against his will because he would not do that. He wouldn’t just take off.”

The online newspaper Noticias PV says Puerto Vallarta’s director of public safety, Silvestre Chavez, didn’t learn of the men’s disappearance until five days later and has launched an investigation.

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Dana White Talks UFC’s Mob Troubles, Next TUF Coach


(Damn it feels good to be a gangsta.)

I’ve always assumed that the worlds of professional fighting and organized crime came into contact more often than we know. I’ve also assumed that if you’re involved in either industry, it’s probably better not to talk about that contact. But Dana White, being the UFC president and the producer of an upcoming Spike TV Irish mob drama, is just putting it in the streets anyway.

Fighters Only quotes White as blaming the Yakuza for Zuffa’s inability to do anything with Pride. This is no big shock, since the Japanese mafia’s involvement with Pride was rumored to be a big part of their downfall. It is a little surprising that White is so willing to talk about it, however, and apparently it’s not just Japan where the mob is an issue:

The UFC has also long had its eye on staging events in Mexico because, as White puts it, “when we first bought this company, we said there are three no-brainers: the US, Mexico and the UK. They are big fight countries.”

However, what he terms “The Mexican initiative” is taking “a lot longer than we though it would, basically because five families control all of Mexico”.

“A lot of these places are tough, you just have to work your way around it. The corruption in Japan, the way things are in Mexico, you know? In every country you go to there are different ways of doing business.”

Ain’t that the truth. Friend of mine went to the Netherlands over the summer, my hand to God, they sell marijuana over there. Like legally, in coffee shops and stuff. This crazy world, am I right?

Dana White must be in a talkative mood these days, because he also let it slip to Fighters Only that no matter what happens tomorrow night, Michael Bisping will be coaching on the next season of The Ultimate Fighter, as we suspected.

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