In a move that will likely make both fans and former Strikeforce fighters quite happy, CagePotato has learned from multiple sources close to the UFC that the promotion intends to increase the average number of fights per event in order to accommodate former Strikeforce fighters.
The UFC currently plans to feature twelve fights at UFC 160, their May 25th card in Las Vegas (main event TBA). From then on out, we are told, the organization plans to regularly produce twelve- and thirteen-fight cards in order to create more spots for former Strikeforce fighters. This would be a 1-2 fight per card increase over what the promotion has been doing lately. Most of the UFC’s recent cards — including UFC 156, UFC on FOX 6, and UFC on FX 7 — have each featured 11 fights.
To say Ryan Couture’s MMA career has moved fast is an understatement. The son of perhaps the most accomplished MMA fighter in history, Randy Couture, Ryan left a banking job just a few years ago to train full-time in Las Vegas with his father, and only two and a half years into his professional career, he has put together a four-fight win streak against great fighters in Strikeforce.
Though his last name has created a whirlwind around him since day one, the junior Couture has kept his head down and stayed humble while working hard to perfect his craft. With the week Ryan has had, it is a good thing that he had practice at keeping cool and collected amidst craziness.
The 30-year-old lightweight upset K.J. Noons in mid-January on Strikeforce’s final card. It was assumed that several Strikeforce champions and contenders would be offered UFC contracts after that event but nothing was certain for Couture.
Like all up-and-coming fighters, it was Couture’s dream to make it to the UFC. He took some time to rest after the Noons fights, got back to light training and waited for word about his future.
“I have a rule where I take one week after a fight and do nothing but eat cheeseburgers and drink beer,” Ryan says with a chuckle. “But after that, I got back to lifting and doing strength and conditioning with Jake [Bonacci], just trying to ease back up to working on the mat because my face was banged up.”
Then, a week ago Couture says he got a life-changing call from UFC President Dana White. Ryan was offered a UFC contract, but it came with one serious caveat.
(Because of its needlessly tall dimensions — you’ll see — we’ve placed the video after the jump.)
Because it has been over three years since Gina Carano has fought, we don’t hear from the former “Face of Women’s MMA” as often as we’d like to, but the fighter-turned-actress was in New Orleans for the Super Bowl over the weekend, and filmed a rare interview with SB Nation in which she tried to clear up whether or not she is actually retired from MMA and what she thinks about the elusive Ronda Rousey vs. “Cyborg” Santos mega-bout.
On being called a current fighter, Carano drew an important distinction. “I haven’t fought in three years and right now I’m focusing on films…that’s what my focus is,” she explained. “I think that if your focus is fighting, then you’re a fighter and that’s not my focus right now.”
“Conviction” wouldn’t close the door on her ever fighting again, however. “You can’t say that.”
“I wake up every morning and I surprise myself. I wake up to a new me. I still train.”
She last sparred about two weeks ago, in fact, and “felt really good.”
Carano went on to say that Rousey deserves the hype and attention, and also called shenanigans on Santos claim that she’d be facing certain death if she were to cut down to 135 pounds — the prerequisite for her fighting Rousey, according to UFC President Dana White. Carano doesn’t believe that Uncle Dana is being unfair to “Cyborg” by making the former 145 pound champ drop down to 135 in order to fight in the UFC and, potentially, against Rousey.
“I don’t think so…she made it down there a lot easier than I made it down there. That’s for Cyborg to figure out,” Gina said.
With how much he’s complained about everything from money, to respect to the way his opponents fight, combined with all the jerky things he’s done in recent years (take. your. pick), it can be difficult to remember that Quinton “Rampage” Jackson is an all-time great and future hall of famer. A humble and touching interview that he gave to Fuel TV after losing a decision to Glover Teixeira in Chicago at the UFC on Fox makes it easier to appreciate Quinton as the hard fighting, fan-friendly guy that he has been for so long.
The interview also makes us worry for him a bit. First, the good things.
Jackson gave his opponent credit for beating him without making silly excuses. “Glover was just the better man tonight,” Jackson said.
“Glover did what he had to do. He took it to me standing up and he took me down a few times. He did what he had to do to win…Fighters like Glover is what makes MMA.”
If Michael Bisping’s trash-talking mouth didn’t write checks that his fists couldn’t cash so often it’s very likely he’d be known as a British MMA pioneer with incredible work ethic and who improved greatly over the course of his career. Instead, Bisping has done his darndest to mask his real accomplishments by playing up imagined ones.
He’s campaigned, with his mouth, for a title shot for years despite losing to every top-tier fighter he’s faced and being gifted wins over less than top-tier ones. Coming into Saturday’s fight against Vitor Belfort in Sao Paulo Brazil, UFC President Dana White said that Bisping would earn a title shot against Anderson Silva with a win.
At that point, Bisping had a one fight win “streak.” Before that win, a decision against Brian Stann last September that could have easily been scored instead for Stann, Bisping lost to Chael Sonnen – who’s twice been beaten by Silva. Not long before that, Bisping walked away with a win against Jorge Rivera in a fight that he should have, in fact, lost by disqualification for his blatant and repeated fouls. His break-out UFC fight was a ludicrously bad decision win over Matt Hamill.
Every time the UFC has pushed Bisping into a fight with a fighter he’d given no indication he should be in the ring with, he’s lost. He’s said it is his destiny to be a world champion and insulted almost everyone else in his division, yet Bisping has lost to every fighter that had been or would go on to be a world champion that he’s faced.
Rashad Evans, Wanderlei Silva, Dan Henderson and now, Vitor Belfort. Bisping’s win streak is back down to zero after getting TKO’d by Belfort in the second round of their main event Saturday.
Hopefully the talk of him getting a title shot any time soon has also been knocked out.
Here’s the thing: The sanctioning body of that fight, the Colorado Boxing Commission, never specified which banned substance Shields tested positive for. But Herman, who Shields beat by decision before the fight was changed to a No Contest, isn’t buying the marijuana story.
“I think Colorado is one of the HIPAA privacy states where they weren’t allowed to release what he tested positive for. I’m pretty sure it was for some type of performance enhancing substance, just by looking at his physique going in to the fight,” Herman told Bloody Elbow recently.
A lil Mary Jane to relax before fighting another trained professional is one thing, according to Herman, because, you know, all the cool kids do it. But “Short Fuse” is coming right out and accusing Shields of being more ‘roid monkey than stoner kid in an apparent effort to discredit him.
“He looked pretty puffed up and exhibited the common signs. As an athlete, you can recognize those signs. I can’t guarantee it, but I’m pretty positive that it was for some kind of performance enhancing drug. If it really was for marijuana, it’s a lot easier for a guy to come right out and say, ‘I smoked a joint, sorry,’” Herman continued to narc.
(“Keep laughing, Eddie, because as soon as you lose that belt, your ass is mine.”)
Former President Clinton once made infamous the phrase, “It depends on what your definition of the word ’is’ is,” while answering questions from the Independent Counsel’s office on the all-important subject of Monica Lewinsky. With former Bellator lightweight champion/UFC hopeful Eddie Alvarez and his boss, Bjorn Rebney, the discrepancy appears to depend on what one’s definition of the word “matched” is.
It has been no secret that the UFC wants Alvarez under their banner. The top lightweight fought the last fight under his Bellator contract last October but the promotion has the right to match any contract offered to Alvarez and thus keep him with them.
The UFC did indeed recently make an offer to Alvarez, but it is here where the stories from the former champ and the Bellator CEO begin to differ.
First, Alvarez sat down with The MMA Hour and claimed that Bellator had not matched the UFC’s proposed terms. Rebney then went on MMA Weekly Radio and said that his organization had, in fact, matched the UFC’s contract offer to Alvarez, point for point.
According to a New York State Assembly “insider” quoted in a new report by NY Daily News reporter Kenneth Lovett, “It’s getting harder for [Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver] to keep blocking this,” referring to the bill partially crafted by the UFC to sanction MMA in New York.
“Resistance to it is getting less,” Speaker Silver admitted.
Lovett went on to explain in his report that Assemblyman Robert Reilly — better known around here as “Bob,” and one of New York’s most passionate, confused, and dishonest opponents of MMA sanctioning — is miraculously retiring this week (!!!) and that his departure should take a good deal of steam out of the opposition to MMA in New York. The ban on professional MMA in the state was signed into law by then-Governor George Pataki in 1997, but now even he is calling for the sport’s legalization.
Sources tell The Daily News that if the bill to legalize and regulate professional MMA in New York were brought to a vote in the general assembly right now, it would be passed. However, hurdles remain for the sport and its largest promotion, the UFC. Members of the NY Assembly including Deborah Glick and Daniel O’Donnell still oppose MMA’s legalization, the report says, and they might be able to prevent the measure from getting through committee and to the general assembly for voting.
In addition, the Culinary Workers Union — MMA’s most powerful arch-nemesis in the fight for New York MMA regulation — continues its loud propaganda campaign against the UFC, slamming everything from Dana White’s language to Mandy Moore’s judgment. (Funny story: If you go to the Culinary Union’s anti-UFC website UnfitforChildren.org right now, the lead story is a screen-cap of a CagePotato article. Wisely, they didn’t reprint the article’s first line, which refers to the Union as “two-faced, propaganda pushing arseholes.”)
Nevertheless, UFC President Dana White seems to be as optimistic as ever that his organization will soon put on an event in New York. After UFC 155, the promoter told assembled media that he hoped to host a UFC 20th Anniversary event in Manhattan’s Madison Square Garden this coming fall. “We have a date, and we have a match,” White revealed.
MMA legend Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic is a man of many skills. Before he was a world class MMA fighter, he was a top kickboxer. Before that, he was a special forces officer in the military of his native Croatia. He also later became an elected member of his country’s parliament.
Filipovic is also no stranger to making ridiculous videos and posting them on the internet. He’s made videos of darkly humorous, (or sometimes just dark) pranks where he’s laughing like a hyena at the end of them. Case in point, the video after the break of him punking the very worthy subject of then Pride television broadcast commentator Mauro Ranallo. There’s also my favorite video with “Cro Cop” refereeing an impromptu boxing match between two aging, drunk men at a backyard cookout, that has unfortunately been taken down from youtube and may be lost to future generations.
Just as he insists is the case with his fight career, however, Filipovic isn’t done with goofy internet videos yet, nation. The above video reveals a basketball hoop installed in his home gym. What “Cro Cop” and his teammates do with that situation is nothing short of awesome.
May we present, Croation MMA-Basketball. There’s dribbling, shooting, pink singlet guy, arm bars, knees and lots of choking. And then “Cro Cop” speaking Croatian at the end in a high-pitched voice, perhaps mocking someone.
After earning a shot at the UFC light heavyweight title, Alexander Gustafsson said Saturday night that he won’t wait around for the winner of champion Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen to fight again. Jones and Sonnen are currently slated to face one another for Jones’ belt after the season of The Ultimate Fighter that they are currently coaching on finishes.
The Swedish contender put himself in line for a shot with a dominant unanimous decision win over Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at Saturday’s UFC on Fox card but at the post event press conference said that he would be happy to risk his title shot by fighting again in the interim. “I want to fight for the belt, and if they give me one before that, it doesn’t matter. I’ll fight whoever the UFC gives me,” he said.
“I want to stay active, and I want to fight.” The young kickboxer has no interest in waiting another half year or more to fight.
“I’ll fight whenever. I was away for a long time. The last time I fought was in April, and that was too long. To wait till summer again, that would be too long.”
UFC President Dana White seems to be in accordance with that thought. “If I was [Gustafsson], I’d want to get another fight in before taking on Jon Jones,” he said.
“He could fight again. I’m hearing Dan Henderson’s knee isn’t better, so maybe Gustafsson should fight Machida next,” White continued.
Henderson’s poor health status is evidentally news to the fighter himself. The former Pride champion was scheduled to fight Jon Jones earlier this year but pulled out after he injured his knee in training camp. He is now scheduled to take on former UFC champion Lyoto Machida in February at UFC 157: These Chicks Can Fight.
On his twitter account, Dan reacted incredulously to White’s supposed inside information on his knee. “Not sure where @danawhite thinks he’s hearing that my knee isn’t doing ok. It’s doing great. Slowly picking training up just like I do for every training camp,” he tweeted.