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WSOF Signs New Deal With NBC Sports Group; ‘Gaethje vs. Newell’ to Make NBC Debut on July 5th

(Newell and Gaethje pose together during the- OH MY GOD MACHETE WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE DEAD.)

It’s official: World Series of Fighting has become the latest MMA promotion to sign a network television deal. Previously a fixture on the NBC Sports Network cable channel, WSOF has signed a new multi-year agreement with the NBC Sports Group that will bring its events to multiple broadcast platforms, including a set of events on NBC. MMAJunkie confirmed the news earlier today with World Series of Fighting president Ray Sefo.

According to the Junkie report, the first WSOF event to appear on NBC will be WSOF 11: Gaethje vs. Newell, which will take place July 5th at a venue to be named later. WSOF 11 will also feature Jon Fitch vs. Josh Burkman 3, Matt Hamill’s promotion debut, and a lightweight bout between Melvin Guillard and Gesias Cavalcante. As we’ve pointed out before, July 5th is the same day as the super-stacked UFC 175: Weidman v. Machida card, which makes the timing of WSOF’s big network debut less than ideal.

While specific details of the new deal have yet to be announced, MMAJunkie writes that the WSOF/NBC agreement runs through 2017, and a second NBC broadcast event is being targeted for December 27th. We’ll keep you posted.


In Your Face, Jones: Brock Goes on Jimmy Fallon

(He never would’ve agreed to this if he knew it required putting on a shirt. Pic:

Just a programming reminder: New UFC light heavyweight champion and recently appointed king shit of fuck mountain Jon Jones will appear on “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno this evening. It should be a good opportunity for the UFC to finally introduce Jones to the coveted grandparents demographic while simultaneously drawing a few eyeballs under the age of 60 to Leno’s show. In other words, a real mutual back-scratching situation if there ever was one. We can’t wait to get a long, rambling voicemail from our grandma on Friday morning explaining that “that black fellow who fights UFC really did seem like a nice young man.” God, our grandma is such a racist.

Not to be outdone – and, ahem, speaking of racists. Ha! Just joking, big fella … – Brock Lesnar will emerge from the sensory deprivation chamber that was filming the new season of “The Ultimate Fighter” to go on “Late Night” with Jimmy Fallon on Monday, according to So that should be awkward. Plucky little Jimmy Fallon wearing one of his “Mad Men” suits and just trying to coast through the interview portion of the show to get to the prerecorded skits, while enormous (and whatever the opposite of “plucky”is) Brock Lesnar sits there in one of his stone-washed “DeathClutch” dress shirts grunting monosyllabic answers. Meanwhile, Dana White huddles at home with his eyes pinched shut mumbling, “Don’t say faggot on national TV, don’t say faggot on national TV” over and over.

Other guests on Fallon’s show that night? The dude who played Ross on “Friends” and funk legends Vanilla Fudge (Carmine Appice FTW!). Some other weird things we noticed after the jump …


Videos: Wandy’s Insane UFC Workout, and the Reality TV Version

(Props: MMA Scraps)

All I can think when I watch this video of one of Wanderlei Silva‘s insane recent workouts is man, Rampage is going to get smashed. I tried covering my nose up with masking tape the other day and gassed out going up the stairs. It’s inspiring what Silva can do, is all I’m saying. Compare that to the clip below, where Dana White, BJ Penn, and Sean Sherk show up on the set of NBC’s new series Momma’s Boys. (Basic premise of the show: A trio of dudes try to pull some tail despite their mothers’ best efforts to cockblock them. It’s executive produced by Ryan Seacrest, so you know you’ll be getting quality.) Anyway, the UFC crew puts the reality show cast through a grueling 11-minute workout. And they get to breathe through ther noses. And one dude still needs to get picked up by an ambulance. Pathetic.

(Props: NBC)


Newsflash: Judo Not as Exciting as MMA, Even in the Olympics

(Props: MMA Scraps)

When we wrote about American judoka Ryan Reser and his plea for more love from MMA fans, some of you responded with disappointment that there wasn’t a lot of judo on tap during NBC’s Olympic coverage. Here’s a clip courtesy of Korean TV and, no matter what Reser says, I don’t see it catching on the way MMA did. Maybe it’s just me, but the most exciting part of these clips is the announcers losing their minds during the brief bursts of action. Anyway, you people said you wanted to see it. So soak it up, jerks.


Hoo-Rah! Armed Forces Invade MMA TV Shows

(Jason Miller on the unpleasant end of an Army Ranger “stress position.”)

Two new MMA-based television series are being readied for debut — and we’re already liking them better than The Iron Ring and Settle Your Grudge.

— Next Monday through Wednesday at 10 p.m., the mini-series T.O.P. Army Fighter will air on the Military Channel. Each episode features military personnel competing in four-man tournaments — in seven weight classes ranging from flyweight to heavyweight — using modified MMA rules that prohibit knee strikes to the head and leg-locks, among other attacks. The fights will take place in a ring and will employ a scoring system that awards points for things like takedowns and passing guard. Army Ranger and MMA pro Tim Kennedy (IFL, HDNet Fights) will be one of the 28 servicemen competing on the show. Sounds like it could be a bit too complicated for its own good, but hey, it’s fighting on free TV. Now we just have to figure out what the hell the Military Channel is.

GI vs. Pro, a series where MMA-trained armed services members fight professional mixed martial artists, debuts July 19th on Fox Sports Net. The action will be more traditional than T.O.P. Army Fighter‘s, with each match slated for three five-minute rounds inside a circular cage. The GI team will be led by BodogFIGHT/FCC vet Nick Agallar, while the Pros squad will be led by UFC/KOTC vet Chris Brennan. Both lightweights will face off in a match during the show’s September 13th finale.

— In other MMA-on-TV news, Strikeforce on NBC premieres late this Saturday night at 2 a.m., immediately following Poker After Dark. The first episode will focus on Cung Le, and will include his June 2006 fight with Brian Warren. With that time-slot, how could it not succeed!

(Props: MMAJunkie)


Chuck Liddell on Conan O’ Brien: The Stripper Pole Is for the Guests

Here’s the video from Chuck Liddell’s appearance on Late Night With Conan O’Brien on Monday. The best exchange:

Conan: There’s an old adage in fighting…no sex before a fight. And when you’re training for a fight, no sex. What’s your feeling about that?
Chuck: I don’t believe in that, I never have. I actually go the opposite, I think.
Conan: Sex during the fight?

As Chuck explains, what’s harmful is going out and chasing sex all night, but he doesn’t have to chase it anymore so there’s no problem. Makes sense…

(Props: MMA Mania)


Ricco Rodriguez Can Sense the Hostility: MMA TV Roundup


With Tito on Celebrity Apprentice, Ricco on Celebrity Rehab, and Tank on Jimmy Kimmel Live, last night was one big TV party — and we have the couch-sores to prove it. If you had better things to do, we envy you. But here’s what you missed:

The Celebrity Apprentice
The episode began with Tito Ortiz working out and explaining his charity, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. A nine-year-old girl named Elizabeth with “brittle bone disease” came to meet him and gave him a drawing of a garden. Tito nearly destroyed her with a bear hug. This segment was probably thrown together to make up for the fact that he was basically absent from the rest of the episode, in which Hydra and Empresario battled to sell the most Broadway show tickets. The men sneaked off with a very close win, and Jennie Finch was fired for always taking a back-seat “assistant” role. But Tito was equally under-the-radar in the challenge, and if the men had lost, he might have been in danger of getting kicked off himself.

Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew
Ricco Rodriguez made his first appearance at the treatment facility, checking in for his habitual cocaine use. As he explained, after finding success in the UFC, he discovered cocaine, started going through an 8-ball per day, and was the first “ultimate fighter” to be suspended for coke. His usage also led to domestic disputes with his girlfriend, which once resulted in them both being arrested and their one-year-old son being taken by child protective services. Ricco came off like the classic, freaked-out cokehead on his first day in the facility, visibly nervous when the staff went through his bag, and calling out the staff and the other celebrity addicts for their hostility and rudeness, all of which was in his head. In return, the female residents seemed to find him intolorably arrogant and cocky. We don’t think little Ricco will be making any friends at camp this summer. But the most shocking moment was Ricco’s story about a car accident he was in while under the influence.


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.


Omarosa Is a Despicable Bitch; Tiffany Fallon Is Fired First on ‘Celebrity Apprentice’


90% of my interest in watching NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice was dashed last night, thanks to the conniving, under-the-bus-throwing ways of Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth, the most awful person ever featured on network television.

The season premiere involved a hot dog-selling contest, where the celebs (divided by gender) did battle to raise the most money for charity. Manigault-Stallworth quickly established herself as the biggest, dumbest asshole in room, demanding to be team leader and crafting a plan that involved pushing the hot dogs rather than their celebrity star power. Obviously, the guys dominated, and OMS scrambled to find a fall girl.

She found her mark in poor, sweet Tiffany, who was blamed for not fully exploiting her sex appeal or hitting up Hugh Hefner for money. The former Playmate of the Year was given the show’s first pink slip, thus reducing the show’s remaining eye-candy to Carol Alt (too old) and Jennie Finch (too softball player-ish).

Tito Ortiz (who represented the remaining 10% of my interest in this show) got a small amount of screen time in the episode, sparring with Lennox Lewis to draw interest in his team’s hot dog stand, and posing with girlfriend Jenna Jameson as she stopped by to suck down some meat for charity. “Anything for my man,” she said — quite a woman, that Jenna.

Also, Mike Huckabee and Barack Obama won something or other last night, but I wasn’t really paying attention.


Joe Rogan to Replace Tina Fey?


MMAPayout has a great summary/analysis of the latest developments in the UFC’s looming network television deal. Among the revelations:

— CBS’s discussions with the UFC began prior to the writer’s strike, and the deal is not dependent on the strike’s outcome. NBC’s interest, on the other hand, is directly dependent upon the strike; specifically, NBC is interested in MMA as a replacement for Saturday Night Live‘s timeslot if the writer’s strike continues. NBC has also met with M-1, EliteXC, and the IFL.

— CBS is interested in UFC 80 as a taped prime-time special.

— NBC is reportedly unwilling to pay rights fees, instead offering half the advertising inventory and NBC’s prestige and exposure. This is apparently what sunk their talks with the IFL, whose CEO Jay Larkin said, “[P]eople have been giving away this MMA product for so long that it’s very difficult to put on the brakes and say it’s no longer free, we have to get some of these costs covered…Going forward we have to stop giving this product away. It has enormous value….We have to start getting an appropriate license fee arrangement with whoever uses this show.”

— The UFC’s financially shaky and setback-filled year has damaged their bargaining power.

I think it’s safe to say that a major network TV deal is the only thing that will stop the UFC’s bleeding after a year marked by dull PPV cards, costly acquisitions/expansions, fluke upsets, and the “resignation” of one of their biggest stars. But being that you only get one shot to make a first impression, maybe UFC 80 isn’t the best way to debut the brand to an unfamiliar viewership. Though the Penn/Stevenson and Gonzaga/Werdum fights should be exciting, their names are meaningless to those who don’t follow the sport. It seems like Dana White and the Fertittas are panicking and trying to make a big move as soon as possible, when they should wait an extra two weeks to capitalize on the hype of Brock Lesnar’s debut at UFC 81.

Still, it would be nice to have the UFC fill the SNL spot for a while, if only for the possibility of post-fight interviews being handled by Fred Armisen