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Tag: TJ Grant

Nate Diaz Removed From UFC Rankings, Pretty Much Out of Spite


(“All I’m saying is, what if Ned Stark and Robert Baratheon are homos? Kinda changes the whole dynamic and sh*t.” / Photo via Getty)

So here’s one more example of the funny things that can happen when a fight promotion organizes its own ranking system, rather than relying on an independent body. This morning, #5-ranked lightweight Nate Diaz was unceremoniously removed from the UFC Rankings page, with no explanation given — although the fact that Diaz has been publicly feuding with the UFC over money lately can’t be a coincidence.

According to UFC.com/rankings, “A fighter is only eligible to be voted on if they are in active status in the UFC.” This could help explain why TJ Grant was also suddenly bounced from the rankings page yesterday; he’s been out of commission for nearly a year due to lingering concussion symptoms, and he still hasn’t booked his return fight yet. Diaz, on the other hand, is less than six months removed from his first-round TKO of Gray Maynard at the TUF 18 Finale…

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If TJ Grant Is Still Suffering Concussion Symptoms, Why Would Anybody Hope for His Return?


(Photo via Getty)

It’s hard not to root for TJ Grant. Here’s a guy who reached the highest level of the sport through talent and hard work alone. He never trash-talked his way into big fights. He wasn’t a good-looking poster boy who was given an easy road by promoters. He’s not known for flashy kicks and sharp grooming. He entered what is arguably the most competitive division in all of mixed martial arts, beat the crap out of five consecutive opponents, and managed to stay humble.

Following his savage first-round TKO of Gray Maynard at UFC 160, Grant was promised a lightweight title shot against then-champ Benson Henderson, but withdrew from the fight due to a concussion suffered during a grappling session, of all things. Anthony Pettis took his spot and made the most of the opportunity. And though we all assumed that Grant would get the first crack at Pettis’s belt, Grant couldn’t commit to a fight because of lingering concussion symptoms.

So here we are in November, four months after Grant first made his concussion public, and he still hasn’t completely cleared the cobwebs. As reported on last night’s episode of UFC Tonight, Grant’s health remains less than 100%, and he’s unsure when he’ll be able to return to competition. MMAFighting passes along more details:

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Anthony Pettis vs. Josh Thomson Booked for UFC on FOX 9 Title Fight, With TJ Grant Still Sidelined Due to Concussion


(Strikeforce neva die. WEC neva die. UFC doing best it can, under circumstances. Images via Getty/FOX Sports)

In July, a concussion suffered in training robbed UFC lightweight contender TJ Grant of his title shot against Benson Henderson. Grant was expected to return to action at UFC on FOX 9 (December 14th, Sacramento) against new champion Anthony Pettis, but news broke last night that the Canadian fighter has still not been medically cleared to compete. As Grant wrote on twitter:

Hey people. Quick update. Unfortunately I won’t be fighting Pettis on dec 14. I am still not yet 100% n can’t commit to fight. UFC is going with someone else instead. It sucks but it is the best for both myself and the UFC. Please don’t worry. Ill be back and if I gotta fight someone else to get back to where I wanna be then that’s what I’m gonna do. I’m not bitter. Thanks

The promotion confirmed shortly afterward that Pettis will remain on the UFC on FOX 9 card, defending his belt against Josh Thomson. It’s a somewhat unexpected choice, as Thomson’s TKO of Nate Diaz at UFC on FOX 7 represented his first victory in 13 months. Still, his performance against Diaz was extraordinary (“bitch-ass lady sounds” notwithstanding), and The Punk’s epic battles against Gilbert Melendez in Strikeforce always suggested that he might be a better fighter than rankings and records indicate.

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UFC Hoping to Book Grant vs. Pettis & Browne vs. Miocic at UFC on FOX 9, Faber vs. “Mayday” Already a Go


(“So then Frodo was all like ‘Give me back the ring!’ and I was all like ‘No way, dude!’ Anyways, long story short, the sumbitch burned me. He burned me bad.” Photo via Getty.)

After unveiling that the next season of The Ultimate Fighter would feature a head-scratching, perhaps even nonsensical coaching matchup, the UFC Tonight gang actually hinted at and/or confirmed a few matchups that fans might actually give two shits about. It’s called progress, you guys. All three of these fights are being pegged for UFC on FOX 9, which goes down in Sacramento, California on December 14th, so let’s start with the only matchup to be confirmed last night.

Currently riding an impressive three-fight win streak, Urijah Faber will be facing an incredibly tough challenge in Michael “Mayday” McDonald at the aforementioned event. Both men are coming off wins over Yuri Alcantara and Brad Pickett, respectively, at Fight Night: Sonnen vs. Shogun. Fun fact: This four fight stretch marks the longest Faber has gone without receiving a title shot of some kind (or defending a title) since his first five fights as a professional. Dude’s like the Mick Jagger of MMA.

In other, more tentative fight booking news…

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Anthony Pettis Will Face TJ Grant When He Returns From Rehabbing Knee Sprain


(Anthony’s a generous guy. He actually left behind that WEC belt as a tip. / Photo via instagram.com/showtimepettis)

New UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis won’t be chasing a superfight against Jose Aldo just yet. As first reported by Kevin Iole, Pettis’s next fight will be a title-defense against TJ Grant, at an event to be named later.

Grant, who has won his last five fights in the Octagon, was slated to challenge Benson Henderson for the lightweight title at UFC 164, but was replaced by Pettis after he suffered a concussion in training. And now, Grant is coming to collect on the title shot he was originally promised, and then not promised, and is now being promised again, I guess.

As for when this lightweight title fight will take place, it partially depends on the condition of Pettis’s knee. “Showtime” suffered a moderate knee sprain while checking a kick from Bendo during their fight last Saturday, and will be sidelined for 7-8 weeks to rehab it. Luckily, the injury won’t require surgery, and it’s likely that we’ll see him back in action early next year.

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The Milwaukee Mess: In the UFC’s Lightweight and Featherweight Divisions, Everyone Wants to Fight Each Other But No Match Ups Are Clear


(Admit it — you completely forgot about this guy. / Photo via MMAJunkie)

By Elias Cepeda

After ripping the lightweight world title away from Benson Henderson this past Saturday at UFC 164, Anthony Pettis immediately called out dominant featherweight champion Jose Aldo in the Octagon. The two have “unfinished business,” Pettis said.

Indeed they do. Pettis was supposed to drop down in weight and challenge Aldo for his belt a month ago, but injured his knee and pulled out of the fight. Then, when #1 lightweight contender T.J. Grant got concussed in training and had to pull out of his UFC 164 fight against Henderson, Pettis filled in for him.

The rest is history…as well as an exciting mess of future match-up possibilities. Just days after the lightweight division was shaken up by Pettis’ armbar win, every one seems to be calling out everyone else, but some how no one’s interests are quite matching up yet.

After UFC 164 and Pettis’ call out of Aldo, the featherweight’s manager and coach, Andre Pederneiras tweeted in Portuguese, “I believe now we will see Pettis returning his lightweight belt and moving down to fight Aldo at 145 [pounds],” according to MMA Fighting’s Guilherme Cruz.

“We were not the ones who left the fight in Rio, and I want to see [Pettis] make 145. This fight will happen, don’t worry. We just want equal rights to the Brazilians,” he went on.

UFC President Dana White immediately reacted to Pederneiras at the post event press conference. “They are going to fight,” White said.

“I’ve known Andre for years. But when you come out and make a statement like that, you make it look like (Aldo) is afraid. And that might not be Aldo’s same opinion. It makes it look like he’s afraid of Anthony Pettis, which already gives Anthony Pettis an advantage.”

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Who Saw This Coming? T.J. Grant No Longer Guaranteed a Title Shot Upon November Return


(If you enjoy seeing someone immediately regret a decision they made on camera, it doesn’t get much better than this.)

For better or worse, we as a society have become completely incapable of accepting any information at face value. It’s why some of us simply can’t believe that, yes, if you drop your hands and clown around a little too much against a world class fighter, you might get knocked the fuck out even if you’re Anderson Silva. It’s also why some of us simply refuse to believe that T.J. Grant was actually injured when he pulled out of his title fight with Ben Henderson, despite all the evidence pointing to the contrary.

Well, conspiracy theory or not, the concussion Grant suffered while rolling will keep him out of action until at least November. Unfortunately for Grant, his stock will have plummeted so far by the time he returns that he will likely have to fight his way back to a title shot that he will never truly receive once again. That’s UFC politics, baby — greed, get the money, dollar, dollar bill, y’all.

During an appearance on yesterday’s edition of The MMA Hour, Grant spelled out what the future had in store for him and also detailed his decision to pull out of the fight. And again, he would like you to know that it was actually his decision to make:

I’m not scared to fight anyone. If I was healthy and I knew that I could get in shape, I would’ve [tried it.]. It’s a little scary. I wanted to kind of make the best decision for myself. I want to do what’s best for me.

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Update: TJ Grant Claims He *Wasn’t* Paid Off by the UFC, So Let’s All Stop Talking About That, Okay?


(Props: @TJ_Grant)

Judging from the immediate reaction to last night’s news that TJ Grant has withdrawn from his title fight against Benson Henderson, a lot of you seem to feel that Grant’s injury is somewhat less than legitimate. As the conspiracy theory goes, the UFC recognized that Henderson vs. Anthony Pettis would do much better business than Henderson vs. TJ Grant, and paid off Grant to fake an injury. (Who knows, maybe Pettis’s knee injury was bullshit as well?)

So let’s pump the brakes on this speculation right now. According to TJ Grant last night, the lightweight contender is recovering from a concussion suffered while grappling — an invisible injury, but still a real injury — and the UFC did not, and could not, pay him to give up his title shot. Okay? Can we all move on with our lives now? Oh, if only.

Here’s the deal: I actually believe that Grant’s not the kind of person who would sell the title shot he worked so hard for, but the almost universally-skeptical reaction that this situation produced tells us a lot about the UFC’s public perception — namely, that the promotion is a shady outfit that would pay its fighters to lie in order to set up more profitable fights.

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TJ Grant Out of UFC 164 Title Fight Against Benson Henderson, Anthony Pettis to Replace Him Just Like He Planned All Along


(Oh, don’t act so surprised. / Photo via Getty Images)

MMAJunkie has confirmed with UFC president Dana White that lightweight contender TJ Grant has been forced to withdraw from his scheduled title fight against Benson Henderson at UFC 164 (August 31st, Milwaukee).

Replacing him will be Anthony Pettis, who was previously slated to fight for Jose Aldo’s featherweight title at UFC 163, then pulled out of that fight last month due to a knee injury, and immediately started campaigning to replace TJ Grant against Bendo, despite the fact that the injury was supposed to take Pettis out of circulation for six weeks. The MMA Gods were pleased at Showtime’s audacity, and struck Grant down with an undisclosed injury. Or maybe you’re a conspiracy theorist and you believe the UFC was planning this all along. And that’s fine. I don’t pass judgment on anybody’s beliefs.

The bottom line is, Henderson is making his next title defense against the last guy to beat him, thanks in part to a legendary highlight-reel kick that haunts Henderson to this day. Now that’s a story the UFC can sell. We’ll pass along more details when we have them.

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UFC Conspiracy Theory of the Day: Anthony Pettis Is Going to Steal TJ Grant’s Title Shot


(And that “Showtime Kick”? As fake as the moon landing. / Photo via MMAWeekly)

As we’ve already discussed, the upcoming UFC 164 lightweight title fight between Benson Henderson and TJ Grant isn’t exactly capturing the hearts and minds of MMA fans, and could potentially tank on pay-per-view. (Which wouldn’t be the first time that Bendo has tanked on PPV.) So when Anthony Pettis went down with a knee injury last week, knocking him out of his UFC 163 featherweight title fight against Jose Aldo, some of the more paranoid fans among us began buzzing: Is this just a ploy to line-jump Pettis into a much more compelling/lucrative fight against Henderson? The two men have some history, after all.

At first we dismissed this theory as lunatic ravings from the same people who would tell you that Luke Rockhold signaled that he was ready to take a dive against Vitor Belfort, or that Chael Sonnen bangs his desk to signify that he’s ready for his close-up. Would Pettis really fake an injury — or would the UFC invent one — in order to screw over TJ Grant and cash in with a bigger fight? Come on, that’s absurd. At least we thought so until we read this:

“I can be 100% ready to fight Benson Henderson in Milwaukee,” said Pettis to Fuel TV. “With all due respect to T.J. Grant, Milwaukee is my town, and the fight with Ben is the fight everyone has wanted for years.”

For the record, UFC president Dana White claims that Pettis’s knee won’t be ready in time for UFC 164 on August 31st, but obviously he’s just trying to keep the public from catching on to his dastardly plot, and TJ Grant will be faking his own injury sometime within the next couple weeks. Allegedly.

But seriously, here’s what Grant had to say about the situation…

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