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Tag: UFC on FOX 7

And Now They’re Fired: Pablo Garza and Clifford Starks Axed by UFC After Recent Losses [UPDATED]


(Good enough to beat up a former title contender. Not quite good enough to remain employed six months later. / Photo via Getty Images)

After losing to Diego Brandao by first-round arm-triangle choke at UFC on FUEL 9 last month, UFC featherweight Pablo Garza has been released by the UFC. Garza confirmed the bad news yesterday, saying that he will focus on coaching and competing in jiu-jitsu for the time being, although he didn’t rule out a return to MMA competition.

Though Garza kicked off his pro career with seven consecutive wins, he endured a couple of setbacks before making it into the UFC. First, he was selected for the TUF 11 lightweight cast, but lost a decision to Michael Johnson in the elimination round before making it into the house. After winning a couple more fights in his native North Dakota, Garza was brought back to the Zuffa fold as a featherweight injury replacement for Jason Reinhardt at WEC 51, and was quickly guillotine choked by Tiequan Zhang.

But the UFC gave him another chance, bringing him into the big leagues after the WEC closed its doors. Garza went on to score back-to-back wins over Fredson Paixao (via Knockout of the Night-earning flying knee) and Yves Jabouin (via Submission of the Night-earning flying triangle). A pair of losses to Dustin Poirier and Dennis Bermudez followed, putting the Scarecrow on thin ice again. But Garza redeemed himself by dominating Mark Hominick in a gritty decision at UFC 154 last November.

The April loss to Brandao sunk Garza’s UFC record to an even 3-3 — not the most impressive tally, but then again, all of Garza’s wins were pretty damn fantastic. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to keep him on the roster. Bummer. In other firing news…

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Josh Thomson Makes ‘Bitch Ass Lady Sounds’ When He Fights, According to Nate Diaz


(“OMG THOSE SHOES ARE FAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAABULOUS!!!!” / Photo via Sherdog)

If you thought Nate Diaz was going to accept his UFC on FOX 7 loss to Josh Thomson gracefully, then brother, you just don’t know what it means to be a Diaz. Nate was a guest on BJPenn.com Radio yesterday, where he squeezed enough sour grapes to make a fine red whine. (I’m not even going to ask if you saw what I did there. I know damn well that you saw it.) Here are some of the highlights, as transcribed by MMAMania and MMAFighting:

“[Thomson] didn’t come in there and put no ass whopping on me. You know what I’m saying? He didn’t come in there and make anything happen. I have never fought somebody before who had ever wanted out of a fight so bad. I expected a fight. I expected him to grab me and try to hold on to me or throw some kicks and move and throw some punches and move but that motherfucker was straight running and I had to chase him down. I was chasing him the whole fight. I was the aggressor. I was restless, you know? How can you not be when a guy is running scared shitless for his life? I’m over aggressive trying to get a hold of him and that’s why I got hit, because I’m over aggressive. I’m trying to meet the criteria to win these rounds…

“[He] was scared shitless when I was fighting him. It’s unbelievable how scared he was in there. He was running for his life…He was making bitch ass lady sounds and that’s not bullshit. I’m not here talking shit on him, this is reality. He was making woman sounds. He was running out of the clinch. I hit him in the face and he was going ‘Oh, oh, ehh’ making woman sounds I’ve never even heard out of a man before during a fight. I’m hearing his corner telling him to smile and I’m like, ‘Yeah, smile mother fucker’ and not a single smile came out of his mouth. He had a look of panic the whole fight. You have to be in there to fight these guys to know that. This is how it went. I’ve seen him in other fights, he was smiling at the other guy, bouncing around. He didn’t have no time for that against me. He was frantic and trying not to get his ass whooped…

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In No-Man’s-Land After Latest Loss, Nate Diaz Calls for Intermediate Weight Classes


(“…and I’m just saying, in this new 163-pound division, maybe motherf*ckers shouldn’t be allowed to kick you in your damn neck so much.” / Photo via Esther Lin @ MMAFighting)

Even before he lost his second consecutive lightweight fight to Josh Thomson at UFC on FOX 7, Nate Diaz was eyeing a return to welterweight — a division he’d already bounced out of in 2011, following back-to-back losses to Dong Hyun Kim and Rory MacDonald. So what’s a guy supposed to do if he’s not powerful enough to deal with the beasts at 170, and cutting to 155 is no longer worth the misery? Call it sour grapes if you will, but Nate floated the following suggestion on twitter yesterday:

@ufc more weight classes ASAP?? 163,178,193 More super fights more champion vs champion, closer to weight better fights more potential …

Obviously, that 163-pound division would be tailor-made for the younger Diaz brother, so it makes sense that he’d support it. But self-interest aside, there’s some logic to the idea. While UFC president Dana White has been looking to smaller and smaller fighters as the future of the promotion — 115-pound dudes? seriously? — the UFC already has a deep roster of talented, popular contenders who have suffered from being “in between” weight classes, either ruining their bodies through massive weight cuts to stay competitive, or giving up tremendous size disadvantages to compete at a more “natural” division.

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Armchair Matchmaker: ‘UFC on FOX 7: Henderson vs. Melendez’ Edition


(“Well, Joe, I’d just like to thank God for giving me the strength to-OH SHIT HERE COMES THE REST OF ‘EM.” Photo courtesy of Getty Images.) 

Let us begin this week’s edition of the Armchair Matchmaker with a few fun facts about last Saturday’s UFC on FOX 7 event

-With eight (T)KO’s, UFC on FOX 7 tied UFC 92 for the most (T)KO finishes in a single UFC event in the promotion’s history.

-In defeating Jordan Mein via second round TKO, the resurgent Matt Brown now holds the third longest win streak (5) amongst active UFC welterweights, as well as the record for (T)KO finishes in the welterweight division. Yet incredibly, the FOTN check Brown received was the first end of the night bonus he has earned in some 15 UFC fights.

-Frank Mir, like, really dropped the ball against Daniel Cormier.

Now, using those absolute truths and a little speculation, let’s decide who the biggest winners and losers from UFC on FOX 7 should face next, shall we?

The Winners

Ben Henderson: Well, we already know who he’ll be facing next, so that one is pretty easy. The question now becomes: How do you see Bendo taking it? Split decision, unanimous decision, or the always rare majority decision?

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In Case You Missed It: Yoel Romero Opens UFC on FOX 7 With a Flying Knee KO Over Clifford Starks


(Video courtesy of vk.com. Check it out before it gets taken down.) 

Heading into last Saturday’s card-opening fight with Clifford Starks at UFC on FOX 7, former Olympic wrestler Yoel “Soldier of God” Romero wasn’t exactly held in high regards by the few MMA fans who actually knew who he was. Despite starting his career with four straight (T)KO’s, Romero’s first and only “mainstream” appearance could not have possibly gone worse. Matched up against former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion (and enemy of the State of California) Rafael Cavalcante at Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Kharitonov, the fight saw Romero fiercely evade yet simultaneously taunt his opponent until he was rightfully knocked the fudge out with 9 seconds left in the second round.

Needless to say, Romero was in need of a strong performance last Saturday if he was hoping to redeem himself amongst casual fans, or in most cases, make a solid first impression. Luckily for everyone but Clifford Starks, Romero did just that, landing a beautifully timed flying knee a minute and a half into the opening round that had Starks backpedaling for the nearest exit. A few follow up punches sealed the deal and a $50,000 KOTN bonus for Romero. Not a bad way to kick off your UFC career, but if you ask us, having the last name Romero without some sort of zombie pun for your nickname is downright criminal.

On the off chance you missed Romero and Starks’ Facebook fracas, we’ve managed to find a full video of the fight and have placed it above for your convenience. So check it out before it gets taken down.

-J. Jones

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Man, Isn’t Boxing Corrupt? Anyway, The Judge Who Scored UFC on FOX 7 Main Event for Melendez Runs a Cesar Gracie Affiliate School


(Vierra is standing third from the right in the black gi, next to Cesar Gracie. / Photo via MixedMartialArts.com)

Following the conclusion of UFC on FOX 7 on Saturday, many die-hard fight fans switched their dials to Showtime to watch the WBA light-middleweight title fight between rising boxing star Saúl “Canelo” Álvarez and Austin Trout. Though Trout arguably won a majority of the early rounds, the fight’s “open-scoring” system revealed that the judges were in the bag for Alvarez from the beginning. When the match was over, the scores came back unanimously for the 22-year-old ginger: 115-112, 116-111 and a completely batshit 118-109 from judge Stanley Christodoulou. As usual, we MMA types used the opportunity to take potshots at boxing’s endemic corruption.

Alright, so get a load of this shit: Late Saturday night, Ben Henderson’s brother pointed out that Wade Vierra — the dissenting judge in Henderson’s split-decision win over Gilbert Melendez — is a “Master Instructor” for the GracieFighter network, and runs a Cesar Gracie affiliate school in Roseville, California. Considering that Melendez is a well-known Cesar Gracie product, the conflict-of-interest alarms should have been ringing for the California State Athletic Commission, and Vierra shouldn’t have been allowed to judge the fight. But the CSAC didn’t catch it, or didn’t care, or hey, maybe they were in on it. Either way, Bendo’s special night was put in jeopardy.

When judging controversies happen in MMA, fans usually chalk it up to ignorance rather than corruption. But when ignorance from MMA judges and commissions is allowed to exist indefinitely, that is corruption — it’s a corruption of the sport’s legitimacy, even if nobody’s directly profiting from it. Obviously, the UFC lightweight title fight was so close that Vierra’s 48-47 tally for Melendez was much more defensible than Christodoulou’s 118-109 for Canelo. Still, the incident gave the UFC event an appearance of commission malfeasance that reflects very poorly on the promotion and the sport in general. (Was somebody paid off to allow Vierra a spot on the judges’ table? Or is the CSAC just that inept?)

It’s a good thing Henderson won. Otherwise, we might have had a scandal on our hands.

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UFC on FOX 7 Video: Benson Henderson Proposes to His Girlfriend, Is Loudly Booed


(Insert toothpick gag. Video via YouTube.com/UFC)

Who says romance is dead? In case you missed the end of the UFC on FOX 7 broadcast on Saturday, Benson Henderson celebrated his title defense against Gilbert Melendez by proposing to his girlfriend Maria. Now, whether you support public marriage proposals or not — I don’t, way too risky — Henderson definitely miscalculated the goodwill of the San Jose crowd, who booed the fight’s decision as soon as it was read, and booed even harder when Bendo dropped to one knee, furious at seeing the enemy walk away with a title belt and a fiance.

“I’m not perfect, I never have been,” Henderson told his lady. “But you make me happier every single day, more than any man has a right to be. I love you. Will you marry me?”

Maria accepted, and then hung out in the background for a minute while Henderson finished off the interview. By the way, this was the first time that Henderson didn’t start off a UFC post-fight interview by quoting Philippians 4:13. Let’s hope this doesn’t lead to any awkward moments at the next Zuffa Christmas party.

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UFC on Fox 7 Salaries: Frank Mir Earns as Much as Benson Henderson? Frank Mir Earns as Much as Benson Henderson.


Since we can only post so many “U Mad?” GIFs in one day, this will have to suffice.

The UFC paid out a total of $1,518,000 in disclosed salaries and end of the night bonuses to the fighters on last night’s UFC on Fox 7, according to the California State Athletic Commission. Both former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir and current UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson took home $200,000 for their performances last night, making them the two highest paid fighters on the card. Former Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez took home the evening’s third-highest disclosed salary at $175,000.

The entire disclosed payroll is below, via MMA Junkie. Keep in mind that the following figures account for neither sponsorships and undisclosed “locker room bonuses,” nor do they include deductions for taxes, insurance, and licensing fees. Also, since there were no submissions on the card, two fighters took home a Knockout of the Night bonus.

Benson Henderson: $200,000 (includes $100,000 win bonus)
def. Gilbert Melendez: $175,000

Daniel Cormier: $126,000 (includes $63,000 win bonus)
def. Frank Mir: $200,000

Josh Thomson: $145,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus and $50,000 Knockout of the Night bonus)
def. Nate Diaz: $15,000

Matt Brown: $110,000 (includes $30,000 win bonus and $50,000 Fight of the Night bonus)
def. Jordan Mein: $66,000 (includes $50,000 Fight of the Night bonus)

Chad Mendes
: $56,000 (includes $28,000 win bonus)
def. Darren Elkins: $24,000

Francis Carmont: $38,000 (includes $19,000 win bonus)
def. Lorenz Larkin: $23,000

Myles Jury
: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. Ramsey Nijem: $14,000

Joseph Benavidez: $66,000 (includes $33,000 win bonus)
def. Darren Uyenoyama: $12,000

T.J. Dillashaw: $28,000 (includes $14,000 win bonus)
def. Hugo Viana: $8,000

Jorge Masvidal: $60,000 (includes $30,000 win bonus)
def. Tim Means: $10,000

Anthony Njorkuani: $36,000 (includes $18,000 win bonus)
def. Roger Bowling: $12,000

Yoel Romero: $70,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus and $50,000 Knockout of the Night bonus)
def. Clifford Starks: $8,000

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The Winner of Gray Maynard vs. TJ Grant at UFC 160 Next in Line for Lightweight Title Shot


If you think Gilbert Melendez deserves an immediate rematch, don’t bother reading the article. Just stare at this GIF for five seconds and go directly to the comments section.

If you watched UFC on Fox 7′s main event between UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson and former Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez, you saw an extremely close fight. In the end, Henderson walked away with a split decision victory that many fans felt should have went to Melendez. While the debate over who won the fight continues to rage on [Author Note: For what it's worth, Fight Metric stats seem to confirm that Henderson won.], the talks of an immediate rematch have already been squashed.

By the end of the post-event press conference, Dana White confirmed that the winner of the upcoming bout between Gray Maynard and TJ Grant at UFC 160 – which takes place on May 25 – is next in line for a shot at the lightweight title. At this time, there is no target date for Henderson’s next title defense. In White’s own words:

Gray Maynard is ranked number three. TJ Grant is ranked number seven. Those guys are gonna fight at UFC 160 on May 25. The winner of that fight is gonna fight Ben Henderson next.

So, we’re now pretending that those “official UFC rankings” are influencing how fighters earn title shots? I’m sure Chad Mendes, Ricardo Lamas and Chan Sung Jung will be thrilled by this recent development.

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UFC on Fox 7 Aftermath: Nasty Finishes & A Disputed Decision


(Photo by Esther Lin | MMAFighting)

By Elias Cepeda 

UFC on Fox 7 was a violent and almost uniformly fought at a furious pace over the course of twelve preliminary and main card bouts. Eight bouts finished inside of the distance, and the main event was five close-fought, damaging rounds long.

Welterweights Matt Brown and Jordan Mein each got extra $50,000 bonus checks for putting on the fight of the night and Josh Thomson and Yoel Romero each got knockout of the night awards and 50k bonuses.

Thomson returned to the UFC in style by handing Nate Diaz his first ever stoppage loss – a second round TKO stoppage. Romero caught Clifford Starks with a flying knee and won a quick via quick TKO.

Neither Daniel Cormier nor Frank Mir won extra bonuses for their three-round heavyweight bout. Cormier did continue to show that he is a legitimate contender in the division, on the strength of his world-class wrestling skills and speed, despite being vastly undersized.

As they took the center of the Octagon, the smaller Cormier looked like he was facing his uncle in the large former two-time heavyweight champ Mir. Once Cormier got a hold of Mir, over and over again throughout the fight, it was the two-time Olympic wrestler that looked like a man fighting a child.

Cormier clinched with Mir, pressed him against the cage, let go and, on separation, unloaded nasty hooks and uppercuts to the head and body of Mir, along with elbows and knees before clinching back up and rinsing and repeating. As the fight wore on and Mir proved helpless against Cormier’s strategy, referee Herb Dean didn’t like Cormier’s dominance so he tried, as all refs disturbingly seem to be instructed to do, to give Mir more of a chance by breaking up the clinch work quickly but that couldn’t stop the wrestler from continuing to close the distance.

Mir would not be mentally broken despite eating big shots and being ground down, and he fought hard in the third round – throwing hard punches and knees. The ones that did connect, however, were absorbed by Cormier, and he just went back to pressing Mir against the cage and doing short striking work at will.

Cormier fought the smartest fight he could against a much larger, more experienced opponent. The cerebral fighter knew that the middle was his friend. Had he stayed out on the outside, Mir might have used his far superior reach to land big shots.

Had Cormier taken Mir down (he did so once, with a single leg, but did not follow Mir to the ground. Choosing instead, to let the Jiu Jitsu master stand up and eat an over hand right), he would have let the black belt do work where he was most comfortable and dangerous. So, Cormier did what he should have – control the clinch and then use his superior speed to land at will on separation.

I don’t know how long this lightweight/welterweight-heighted phenom will continue to be successful at heavyweight, but so far he can count two former UFC heavyweight champs as wins, as well as the #1 contender to the belt right now, Antonio Silva. It has been fun to watch Cormier figure out how to win fights at heavyweight.

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