Chael Sonnen’s Top 10 Reasons to Fight Wanderlei Silva

Chael Sonnen and Wandelei Silva will finally meet in the cage in the Bellator NYC: Sonnen vs. Silva main event at Madison Square Garden in New York City on June 24. The bout has been years in the making and Sonnen put together a top ten list of why he’s fighting “The Axe Murderer.”

TRENDING > Georges St-Pierre: It’s Harder to Remain UFC Champion Than to Become One

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Will ESPN’s Massive Layoffs Affect Its MMA Coverage?

News that ESPN was laying off more than 100 employees broke on Wednesday, but how will it affect the sports juggernaut’s MMA coverage?

It had been widely reported for some time that numerous ESPN cuts were on the way, but Yahoo Finance on Wednesday reported, “The 100 people getting cut are all ‘on-air talent,’ a label ESPN uses for TV personalities, radio hosts, and writers who regularly appear on TV and radio.”

Mixed martial arts has never been a primary focus for ESPN, but the company has a strong backbone for its MMA coverage with veteran reporter Brett Okamoto leading the way. ESPN also has fighters Chael Sonnen and Gilbert Melendez on staff as expert analysts. 

Chael SonnenWhen the business side of MMA coverage gets into the weeds on the financial side, ESPN business reporter Darren Rovell frequently lends his expertise.

The ESPN cuts are largely due to a shift in content strategy, as ESPN president John Skipper said in a public statement, “Given how fans’ habits are changing, our focus continues to be providing high-quality, distinctive content at any minute of the day on any screen.”

As such, Okamoto confirmed to MMAWeekly.com that he would be staying at ESPN. That’s not really a surprise, as Okamoto already fits the mold for ESPN’s developing strategy. He’s a solid reporter with strong writing skills, frequently appears on-air to discuss breaking stories, and hosts a podcast on ESPN.com. Okamoto is the dynamic type of content creator that is needed for “distinctive content on any screen.”

TRENDING > Dana White Claims UFC Shot Down $5 Billion Offer

Sonnen and Melendez’s roles moving forward weren’t quite as clear. Sonnen told MMAWeekly.com that, as of mid-day on Wednesday, he had not been contacted by ESPN about any change in his status. Melendez had not yet returned a request for comment about his status.

Some of the significant layoffs already made public included Ed Werder, Danny Kanell, Jayson Stark, Pierre LeBrun, Scott Burnside, Trent Dilfer, Jay Crawford, Paul Kuharsky, Jane McManus, Brett McMurphy, and many other longtime employees.

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Source: MMA Weekly

Georges St-Pierre: It’s Harder to Remain UFC Champion Than Becoming One

(Courtesy of Hayabusa)

Georges St-Pierre knows what it is like to become a UFC champion. He became the UFC welterweight titleholder on two different occasions.

He also knows what it is like to then remain at the top of the mountain. St-Pierre lost the belt in his first title defense in his first turn as champion. He then claimed the interim title, unified it, and then defended the belt nine consecutive times before taking a three-and-a-half-year sabbatical.

TRENDING > Al Iaquinta Rips into UFC and Dana White: ‘Shut the F— Up!’

In a recent interview conducted for his sponsor, Hayabusa, St-Pierre compared the difficulties of becoming and remaining a champion.

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Sid Bice Plans to Outclass Cody Land at LFA Fight Night 1

In his first fight of 2017 in January at SCL 56, featherweight up and comer Sid Bice felt that his opponent, Marc TongVan, would present a challenge, but the bout ended up being more difficult than he anticipated.

“I watched some tape on (TongVan) and I knew he was tough, but technique-wise I thought I was going to out-technique him all day,” Bice told MMAWeekly.com. “I though the fight kind of went that way, but he was definitely a lot tougher than I expected.

“I had him in danger a few different times, but he was really able to stick it out. I finally got the submission in the third round, but he definitely made me work for it.”

The bout against TongVan was Bice’s first in nearly 10 months. Long delays between bouts have sadly become the norm for Bice.

“It seems like it always takes a while for me to find fights,” said Bice. “I don’t really understand why. I think the 125-pound division is slowly getting bigger, but there’s not a lot of guys our size that want to fight me. It’s always been tough getting fights.

“I’m glad that stuff is kind of changing and I’m going to get a fight within a few months of my last one. It’s a big improvement and I’m excited for it.”

Thankfully Bice (6-1) didn’t have to wait as long for his next bout, as he takes on veteran Cody Land (14-8) in a 125-pound co-main event at LFA: Sioux Falls Fight Night 1 in Sioux Falls, S.D., on Friday, to be broadcast exclusively on FloCombat.com.

TRENDING > Al Iaquinta Rips into UFC and Dana White; ‘Shut the F— Up!’

“From what I’ve watched, (Land) comes out really hard and is explosive,” Bice said. “He’s more of a wrestler and Jiu-Jitsu guy and always tries to get the fight to the ground – which I’m perfectly fine with.

Sid Bice“I like being on the ground but I love standing on my feet fighting too. I think a big thing is my wrestling is going to outclass him there, so I think it’s going to be a stand-up fight and I’m just going to beat him up.”

For Bice, who now fights out of Colorado, being able to return to his former home state will be a big plus heading into April 29.

“I think this is my first time fighting back there in like five years, and I’m excited,” said Bice. “I’m going to have a lot of fans. My family is going to be able to come watch. I think it’s going to be an awesome fight.”

With just a single loss against a possible seven wins, Bice believes 2017 could be his year he makes it up to the UFC and becomes a player in the flyweight division.

“I take it fight-by-fight, but I’ve been knocking on that door a while now,” Bice said. “My managers have been talking to Dana (White), Mick Maynard and all those guys. I know they’ve been watching my fights.

“I think this fight (against Land) could be it. I‘m hoping it is. I’ve just got to out there and do my job and put a statement on this kid. I think it’s right there in my grasp.”

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Source: MMA Weekly

Georges St-Pierre is Looking a Tad Thick These Days

Dad bod GSP, you guys.

Former UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre is set to return to the Octagon some time later this year against Michael Bisping. When the exact date of the fight will be, we’re still not sure, but based on GSP’s physique, we hope it’s not any time soon.

In a recent photoshoot with Hayabusa, footage shows St-Pierre throwing light strikes and posing for action shots. But what people watching the video picked up on most isn’t his striking. No, instead folks pointed out Georges’ noticeable gut protruding out above his waistline.

TRENDING > Russia Made A ‘FEDOR’ Robot And It Can Shoot Guns

To the footage!

(Courtesy of Hayabusa)

Time off from fighting sure has been kind to Georges.

GSP always used to talk about his body being a genetic anomaly. In the past he mentioned how he enjoys junk food and it never affected his frame. I guess times have changed.

The YouTube comments roasted poor GSP, but it didn’t stop there. Twitter also let him have it.

Hopefully he can get his summer body sooner rather than later. I can’t say Bisping will show up in the same shape.

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Four UFC Nashville Fighters Face Six-Month Suspensions

The Tennessee Athletic Commission on Tuesday released the medical suspensions stemming from Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 108: Swanson vs. Lobov, which took place at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

Twenty-six fighters competed on the card, but only four face up to a six-month suspension if not cleared by a doctor for injuries sustained during their bouts. Several other fighters faced 45 or 60-day suspensions, which aren’t likely to have much effect on their expected returns to the Octagon.

Cub Swanson won the night’s main event, taking a five-round, unanimous-decision victory over Artem Lobov, while Al Iaquinta knocked out Diego Sanchez in the co-headliner.

TRENDING > Dana White Claims UFC Shot Down $5 Billion Offer

Sam Alvey UFC on FOX 23 scrum

UFC Fight Night 108 Complete Medical Suspensions:

  • Cub Swanson: Suspended seven days with seven days no contact.
  • Artem Lobov: Suspended 60 days, or until cleared by physician with no contact for 30 days for right foot injury.
  • Diego Sanchez: Suspended 45 days with 30 days no contact.
  • Marcos Rogerio de Lima: Suspended 60 days, or until cleared by physician with no contact for 30 days for cut.
  • Eddie Wineland: Suspended 60 days with 60 days no contact or until cleared by physician.
  • Stevie Ray: Suspended 30 days with 14 days no contact for laceration.
  • Joe Lauzon: Suspended 60 days with 60 days no contact, or until cleared by physician for laceration.
  • Mike Perry: Suspended 180 days with 180 days no contact, or until cleared by physician for nose injury.
  • Jake Ellenberger: Suspended 60 days with 45 days no contact.
  • Sam Alvey: Suspended 180 days with 180 days no contact, or until cleared by physician for left ankle injury.
  • Dustin Ortiz: Suspended 60 days with 45 days no contact.
  • Scott Holtzman: Suspended 180 days with 180 days no contact, or until cleared by physician for possible right foot fracture.
  • Michael McBride: Suspended 45 days with 30 days no contact for hard bout.
  • Cindy Dandois: Suspended 180 days with 180 days no contact, or until cleared by physician for possible right foot fracture.
  • Joe Proctor: Suspended 45 days with 30 days no contact.
  • Matt Schnell: Suspended 45 days with 30 days no contact.

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Dana White Claims UFC Shot Down $5 Billion Offer

Jaws hit the floor when a group headed by WME-IMG purchased the UFC for roughly $4.2 billion in July of 2016. It was the largest ever acquisition in sports history. 

What might be a little more shocking is UFC president Dana White‘s recent revelation that WME-IMG wasn’t the highest bidder. In fact, White said that the group was actually third in the running when the Feritta Brothers decided to sell the promotion they purchased in January of 2001 for $2 million.

“When we did this deal, there were two groups that came in for more money than (WME-IMG co-CEO Ari Emanuel). There was one for $5 billion,” said White in a recent UFC interview.

Turning a $2 million investment into a $4.2 billion sale certainly allowed the Fertittas to be a little choosey about whom would get the promotion. They surely wanted to make a hefty profit, and they did, but they, along with White, poured a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into building not just a company but a sport over the 15 years between the purchase and the sale.

“One of the millions of things that I respect about the Fertittas, they weren’t just going to let this go for the money,” White continued. “They were gonna make sure that it went to somebody that could come in and take it to the next level.”

White held a minority stake in the company alongside the Fertittas. With a $4.2 billion sale, even holding a small percentage, White didn’t have a financial need to remain a part of the company, but he did. 

White signed a five-year agreement with the new ownership to help continue building upon what he and the Fertittas had accomplished. For White, he said that remaining with the company had nothing to do with money, but everything to do with the love of what has become a global enterprise. 

“I was never in this for the money… ever. For me, it’s always taking it to the next level.”

TRENDING > Georges St-Pierre’s Pick for Best Pound-for-Pound Might Surprise You

Though he wouldn’t reveal details, White indicated that WME-IMG has significant expansion plans for the fight promotion. Although the company has appeared to have struggled under the new ownership, especially after they laid-off a large portion of the staff, White said that he kind of likes the negativity that has surfaced recently. 

He still has the belief that the UFC will continue to do bigger and better things.

“I love the negativity again. I love the doubt. I feel like I’m back in the old days where everybody doubts,” he said. “It’s gonna be so much bigger for the sport, obviously for the brand, and for the fighters.”

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Georges St-Pierre Understands the Ding on UFC Money Fights

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GSP from Hayabusa Academy! Exclusive and LIVE!

Hayabusa 发布于 2017年4月24日

(Questions begin at 1:45 mark | Video courtesy of Hayabusa)

Returning former UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre recently fielded some fan questions for his sponsor Hayabusa.

St-Pierre covered several topics, including his outlook on the current focus on “money fights” in the UFC, the realities of ring rust and whether or not he thinks he’ll be feeling it upon his return, and more.

TRENDING > Al Iaquinta Rips into UFC and Dana White

St-Pierre is slated to make his Octagon return in a challenge of UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping sometime later this year. The specific date and location of the fight have not yet been confirmed.

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Bellator Firms Up New Bouts for New York Fight Cards

The biggest night in the history of Bellator continues to grow, with the addition of Phil Davis (17-3, 1 NC) defending his light heavyweight world title against one of the promotion’s newest free agent acquisitions, Ryan Bader (22-5), during the main event of Bellator 180: Davis vs. Baderon June 24th at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

The five-round contest will anchor the LIVE and FREE broadcast of Bellator 180, which airs on SPIKE. In addition, undefeated Neiman Gracie (5-0) will return to action when he meets Dave Marfone (5-2) at welterweight. This contest, along with “Mr. Wonderful” versus “Darth” Bader joins a previously announced bout pitting “The Strabanimal” James Gallagher (6-0) againstChinzo Machida (5-2).

It was also announced last week that Aaron Pico would make his long-awaited MMA debut against Zach Freeman(8-2) during Bellator NYC: Sonnen vs. Silva, leading off a pay-per-view blockbuster that features a double main event of Chael Sonnen (29-15-1) and Wanderlei Silva (35-12-1, 1 NC), as well as Fedor Emelianenko (36-4, 1 NC) meeting Matt Mitrione(11-5).

Bellator NYC: Sonnen vs. Silva also includes two championship bouts, with Douglas Lima (28-6) defending his 170-pound strap against Lorenz Larkin (18-5, 1 NC) and current lightweight champion Michael Chandler (16-3) putting his world title on the line against the undefeated Brent Primus (7-0).

TRENDING > Dana White Claims UFC Shot Down $5 Billion Offer

The Bellator.com-streamed preliminary portion of the Bellator 180: Davis vs. Bader action on June 24 adds Ryan Couture (10-5) making his welterweight debut against Israel’s Haim Gozali (7-3). Three additional preliminary bouts are also confirmed and are listed below.

Bellator NYC: Sonnen vs. Silva airs LIVE on pay-per-view beginning at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. Prior to the pay-per-view event, SPIKE will air Bellator 180 LIVE and FREE on both coasts, beginning at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. Additionally, Bellator 180 prelims will air exclusively on Bellator.com and the Bellator Mobile App at 6 p.m. ET/ 3 p.m. PT.

Tickets for the event start at $60, not including applicable service charges and taxes, and are currently on sale at Ticketmaster, TheGarden.com and Bellator.com.

Bellator 180 Davis vs Bader

Bellator NYC: Sonnen vs. Silva Card (Pay-Per-View):

  • Light Heavyweight Main Event: Chael Sonnen (29-15-1) vs. Wanderlei Silva (35-12-1, 1 NC)
  • Heavyweight Main Event: Fedor Emelianenko (36-4, 1 NC) vs. Matt Mitrione (11-5)
  • Welterweight World Title Bout: Douglas Lima (28-6) vs. Lorenz Larkin (18-5, 1 NC)
  • Lightweight World Title Bout: Michael Chandler (16-3) vs. Brent Primus (7-0)
  • Lightweight Feature Bout: Aaron Pico (Debut) vs. Zach Freeman (8-2)

Bellator 180: Davis vs. Bader Card (SPIKE):

  • Light Heavyweight World Title Bout: Phil Davis (17-3, 1 NC) vs. Ryan Bader (22-5)
  • Featherweight Main Card Bout: James Gallagher (6-0) vs. Chinzo Machida (5-2)
  • Welterweight Main Card Bout: Neiman Gracie (5-0) vs. Dave Marfone (5-2)

Bellator 180: Davis vs. Bader Preliminary Card (Bellator.com):

  • Welterweight Preliminary Bout: Ryan Couture (10-5) vs. Haim Gozali (7-3)
  • Lightweight Preliminary Bout: Jerome Mickle (2-1) vs. Anthony Giacchina (1-1)
  • Catchweight Preliminary Bout (168 1bs.): John Salgado (4-7-1) vs. Hugh McKenna (0-1)
  •  Catchweight Preliminary Bout (130 1bs.): Matt Rizzo (9-2, 1 NC) vs. Sergio da Silva (6-8)

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Source: MMA Weekly

Growing Up Dana White (video)

(Courtesy of UFC)

UFC president Dana White recently sat down with Megan Olivi for an in-depth interview on The Exchange. The full episode appears on the UFC Fight Pass digital subscription service, but this clip gives some insight into the early life of White.

TRENDING > Al Iaquinta Rips into UFC and Dana White

White recounts some rough times growing up that helped shape him as an adult.

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Source: MMA Weekly