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Tag: TUF 20

Anthony Pettis vs. Gilbert Melendez *Tentatively* Booked for UFC 181 on December 6th (Tentatively.)


(Your captions, please. via Pettis’ Twitter)

I would like to begin this article by proposing a new category for this year’s Potato Awards, “Most Excruciating Absence By a Champion (a.k.a “The Dominator Award”)” and preemptively awarding it to lightweight champion Anthony Pettis. Or maybe Cain Velasquez. No, definitely Pettis. Iiiit’s been nearly a year since we last saw “Showtime” secure said championship via a first round submission over Ben Henderson, and thanks to his coaching gig opposite Gilbert Melendez on TUF 20, it will be at least another half a year before we see him compete again.

That’s because earlier today, Pettis told MMAFighting that his fight against Melendez has been scheduled for December 6th at UFC 181. I honest-to-God want to believe that both men will make it to that date intact, but the TUF coaches curse has fooled me five too many times to place any real faith in Pettis’ words. But there you have it: December 6th. UFC 181. Vegas.

As for how the season itself is going, Pettis seems to have found the space between “it sucks” and “ERMAHGERD BERST SERSERN ERVER!!!” that Dana White has never been able to…

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Let’s Count All the Cringeworthy/Shit-Stirring Moments From Ariel Helwani’s Interview With the TUF 20 Cast

If you’re not familiar with MMA reporter/occasional UFC employee Ariel Helwani by now, all you need to know is that he loves to instigate shit between MMA fighters more than MMAMania’s Jesse Holland loves to eye-rape Brittney Palmer. The shots, they have been fired.

Helwani has been rightfully punked for talking noise on several occasions in the past, most notably by sirs Diaz, Page and Ortiz, but has never ceased in his quest to poke bee nests from afar while simultaneously acting as if he isn’t the one holding the honey-covered stick. His shit-stirring skills were on full display at the unveiling of the TUF 20 cast last week, where he sat down (sort of) with each member of the cast to ask hard-hitting questions like:

-”Is there anyone you saw while moving into the house that you were like ‘Oh my gosh, I have to live with this person?’”

-”Is there anyone that you’re annoyed that you have to live with for the next six weeks?”

-”Like who, who are we talking about?”

-”C’mon, it’s more fun that way.”

-”Is it Felice? Are you talking about Felice?”

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Fight Pass FTW?!: UFC to Begin Broadcasting Invicta FC Events Exclusively on Digital Network


(“Cris Cyborg is a roided-out, Wanderlei Silva in a dress-looking freak…who you can now watch compete for just $9.99 a month!”)

Of all the suggestions we made as to how the UFC could improve their Fight Pass programming, one obvious oversight we made was that of Invicta FC events. The UFC’s ties with the all-women’s fight promotion haven’t exactly been kept under wraps over the years, with the UFC recently pillaging Invicta’s strawweight division to fill the roster for The Ultimate Fighter 20. Considering Invicta’s past struggles with their website and iPPV process, it was only a matter of time before they partnered with the best the second best digital subscription-based combat sports (entertainment) website out there, right?

Well I’ll be damned if my fictionalized, rhetorical version of you CP readers isn’t actually right for once. Earlier today, the two promotions announced “an historic multi-year, multi-event deal” (via MMAJunkie) that grants the UFC exclusive broadcast rights to all future Invicta events via their Fight Pass network in addition to the promotion’s entire library being made available in the FP archives.

Said Invicta FC president and co-founder Shannon Knapp about the deal:

This is a great day for my company. Since the start of Invicta, I’ve been committed to providing the biggest and best possible platform for women athletes, and with this distribution deal with UFC Fight Pass, Invicta will reach the most passionate MMA fans, wherever they are in the world. 

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Paige VanZant Too Young for TUF 20, Signs Directly With the UFC Instead


(You mean we don’t get to see THIS WOMAN get into drunken pillow fights with Thug Rose? *throws TV out window*)

You guys remember Paige VanZant, right? Unbelievably, just impossibly adorable model who also happens to be a legitimate MMA fighter at only 20 years of age? Yeah, her. Well it turns out that, contrary to earlier reports, the lovely Ms. VanZant will *not* be among the dozen or so Invicta strawweights competing on the upcoming, all-women season of The Ultimate Fighter, TUF 20. The reason: She’s too young to drink, and the TUF house is nothing if not a place for drunken dude-bros — and now, dude-broads — to get into shouting matches over whom should allow whom to bang.

News of VanZant’s ineligibility came directly from her Alpha Male training partner, Urijah Faber, who told Bloody Elbow that “12 Gauge” has ”now signed straight with the UFC” in light of the TUF development.

While this means that VanZant won’t be given a shot at the inaugural strawweight title, it also means that she won’t be subjected to twoish months of reality show hell and the downright laughable UFC contract that follows. Toss in the fact that she’ll have the benefit of not only watching all her future competitors in action, but continue training with Team Alpha Male while doing so, and it seems like a win to me.

Then again, it would have been nice to see VanZant get schooled in the art of the Showtime Kick, or get into a prank war with one of her fellow castmates at the very least. But as it stands, one can only dream…

-J. Jones

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Gilbert Melendez Re-Signs With UFC, Will Fight Anthony Pettis for Lightweight Title Following ‘TUF 20′ Coaching Gig


(Melendez tags Diego Sanchez during their three-round dogfight in October. / Photo via Getty)

Gilbert Melendez is officially back in the UFC — and he’ll be getting another lightweight title shot later this year. According to a press release distributed last night, Melendez has agreed to a new contract with the UFC, and will challenge reigning champ Anthony Pettis for his belt after the two 155-pounders appear as rival coaches on The Ultimate Fighter 20: The Strawweights. The season will begin filming in May, and will premiere on FOX Sports 1 on September 10th. The date and venue for Pettis vs. Melendez haven’t been announced yet.

Outside of the TUF gig, which almost seems like punishment, Melendez’s brief flirtation with free agency couldn’t have gone any better. Before Bellator tried to snap him up, Melendez was being offered high-risk, low-reward fights against undefeated Russians in the UFC, along with contract terms that were clearly less than he was hoping for. Now, his price has been pumped up in a bidding war, and he’ll be strolling right back into a title fight. (It seems likely that Bellator offered Melendez an immediate title shot themselves, and the UFC was forced to match this perk in order to secure a new contract for El Niño.)

And so, the UFC hangs on to one of the most talented and entertaining lightweights in the world, and the fans get to keep watching Melendez on MMA’s biggest stage. The only loser here is Bjorn Rebney, who was thrilled at the prospect of having Melendez on his roster, only to have the UFC re-sign him, basically out of spite. Ah well. At least he can comfort himself with the fact that he performed a very important role in the marketplace.

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The UFC’s New Strawweights Are Getting a Surprisingly Large Paycheck to Compete on TUF


(With Felice Herrig in the cast, TUF 20 promises to be riveting entertainment. Jesus Christ. Is this really the life I’ve chosen for myself? / Photo via Esther Lin, Invicta FC)

Though the arrival of female strawweights on The Ultimate Fighter is exciting news in itself, we figured that the new 115-pounders would be working for the kind of money that all TUF castmembers tend to receive — i.e., peanuts, basically, until they work their way up to title contention. But as part of the new deal bringing them over from Invicta, the UFC is actually giving the ladies some decent walking-around money in advance:

Financial information has emerged in the wake of promotion president Dana White’s announcement and quite frankly, the women are coming out of the deal on top. During Wednesday’s late edition of Fox Sports Live, it was revealed that fighters will be paid at least $32,000 each prior to stepping foot inside the Octagon. Invicta’s current champ Carla Esparza is the exception, as she will nab a cool $40k herself before ever throwing a punch.

It’s safe to say all the fighters are getting raises, as some were said to be making as little as $1,000 to show and $1,000 to win. Not to mention 10 of the women will grab an $8000/$8000 split (twice) before ever stepping foot inside TUF 20 house…32 Gs to stay healthy and prepare for the show.

Since Rose, Felice, Carla, etc. won’t get a chance to officially compete in the Octagon until late 2014, that’s an awfully humane gesture by the UFC, and we have to give them props for it. As long as nobody gets injured from now until May, the strawweights have all found themselves in an enviable situation.

Oh God. I’ve cursed all of them, haven’t I.

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UFC Pillages Invicta FC’s Strawweight Division, 115-Pound Women to Be Featured on TUF 20


(Well, it was fun while it lasted. / Photo via InvictaFC)

On Wednesday evening, the UFC officially announced the launch of its 115-pound women’s division, after acquiring the contracts of 11 top strawweight fighters from Invicta FC: Carla Esparza, Claudia Gadelha, Felice Herrig, Joanne Calderwood, Tecia Torres, Rose Namajunas, Bec Hyatt, Emily Kagan, Alex Chambers, Juliana Lima, and Paige Van Zant.

Those fighters (along with five more strawweights to be named later) will compete on the 20th season of The Ultimate Fighter, which begins filming in May 2014. The winner of the season will become the UFC’s inaugural strawweight champion. Coaches for the season haven’t been named yet.

As for Invicta FC, company president Shannon Knapp has put on a happy face and explained that Invicta’s strawweight division will carry on without its 11 best fighters, which seems kind of depressing. But her promotion has had a good working relationship with the UFC since the beginning, and that’s not going to change.

At this point, you probably have a lot of burning questions racing through your heads, so we’ve put together a helpful FAQ to answer some of the major ones…

Q: Does this mean that CagePotato’s sponsorship of Rose Namajunas is effectively over?
A: Yeah, pretty much. But we wish Rose the best with the bigger, fancier sponsors that she’ll be snapping up next year. JUST TREAT HER RIGHT, BRO.

Q: I haven’t watched TUF since the Brock Lesnar season. (Chicken shit, chicken salad, good times.) Why can’t the UFC just start putting these women on upcoming fight cards? Like, they could re-book Gadelha vs. Esparza for the inaugural strawweight title on a UFC on FOX 1 show or something. You know what I mean?

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