UFC Stars Avoid Union Designation, but Announce Fighter Association

A five-member board consisting of current UFC fighters announced on Wednesday the formation of the Mixed Martial Arts Athletes Association (MMAAA). The announcement was billed as industry “redefining.”

The board, made up of former champions Georges St-Pierre, Cain Velasquez, and TJ Dillashaw, as well as current contenders Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and Tim Kennedy, are seeking a settlement for past fighters, an increase in revenue shares closer to that of other professional sports, and a benefits package that includes insurance and pensions, among other things.

Georges St-Pierre - Donald Cerrone - Cain Velasquez - Tim Kennedy - TJ DillashawThe five-member board claims that the revenue split for other professional sports is roughly 50/50, but only about 8 percent of UFC revenues go to the athletes. Kennedy called it “one-sided,” particularly considering that UFC was recently purchased by WME | IMG for roughly $4.2 billion.

Bellator MMA founder and former president Bjorn Rebney is acting in a “strategic advisor” position, utilizing his experience as a promoter and knowledge of the finances that drive a promotion to assist a board of directors that currently consists of Kennedy, St-Pierre, Cerrone, Velasquez, and Dillashaw.

“The board handling the decisions,” said Kennedy, making it clear that the fighters, not Rebney, were steering the ship.

The association is a work in progress and is only focused on the UFC at the moment because of the promotion’s status atop the industry. Eventually, “the dream is that we are going to be representative of the fighters as a whole,” according to Kennedy. It was a refrain echoed by the other fighters throughout a two-hour media conference call announcing the association.

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“Don’t forget, the UFC without fighters, it’s only three letters of the alphabet,” said St-Pierre, who has been mired in a battle with the UFC over his current contract. “It’s time to make our voice heard and make change happen, for the best of the UFC and for the fighters.”

The MMAAA is not a union. It is an association. It’s an important distinction because fighters are independent contractors. A union would have forced legal battles that the association is trying to avoid, with Rebney admitting that any attempt to form a union around independent contractors was doomed to fail in the courts.

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Source: MMA Weekly

Knockout Radio LIVE: Ryan Bader and Kamaru Usman, TUF 24 Finale Preview

Tune in Wednesday, Nov. 30, at 6 pm ET, for Knockout Radio LIVE! Randy Harris and the crew talk with special guests Ryan Bader and Kamaru Usman, preview Saturday’s TUF 24 Finale and review UFC Melbourne. Plus, they break down all the hottest MMA news!

As always, Knockout Radio has the best giveaways, prizes, surprises, and celebrity guests!

TRENDING > Fabricio Werdum No Longer Happy Fighting for UFC

The phone lines will be open from 6 to 8 p.m. EST on our call-in number:  888-69-BUBBA (888-692-8222).

The radio show player goes live below from 6 to 8 p.m. EST. Refresh the page at that time to load the player.

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Source: MMA Weekly

Kelvin Gastelum Clears New York Hurdle En Route to UFC 206

Kelvin Gastelum has cleared a hurdle placed in front of him by the New York State Athletic Commission in his attempt to fight Tim Kennedy at UFC 206 on Dec. 10 in Toronto.

The NYSAC on Tuesday confirmed that Gastelum paid a $2,000 fine in lieu of a serving a six-month suspension for failing to appear at the UFC 205 official weigh-in on Nov. 11. 

“The disciplinary action against Kelvin Gastelum has been settled prior to hearing for the payment of a $2,000 fine.  The matter is now closed,” NYSAC representatives told FOX Sports.

TRENDING > Jose Aldo Calls Conor McGregor a Coward, UFC Title Loss a Fluke

07-Kelvin Gastelum UFC FN27_5823Gastelum had been expected to fight Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in a welterweight bout at UFC 205, but when he realized he was going to be unable to make weight, he backed out of the fight and did not appear at the official weigh-in. The NYSAC didn’t take kindly to Gastelum’s failure to appear and issued a six-month suspension.

With the UFC 205 issue settled, Gastelum is now expected to face Kennedy in a middleweight bout at UFC 206 in Toronto. He now has to get the approval of the Ontario Office of the Athletics Commissioner, but that is considered a formality now that the suspension has been lifted. 

An interim UFC featherweight championship bout between Max Holloway and Anthony Pettis headlines UFC 206.

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Source: MMA Weekly

Paul Daley Bout Added to Bellator 170: Ortiz vs. Sonnen

A welterweight showdown pitting Paul Daley (38-14-2) against Brennan Ward (14-4) has been added to the main card of Bellator 170: Ortiz vs. Sonnen on January 21, 2017 inside The Forum in Los Angeles, Calif.

The fight joins a main card that is headlined by a legendary clash between veterans Tito Ortiz (18-12-1) and Chael Sonnen (28-14-1). In addition, Ralek Gracie (3-0) against Hisaki Kato (7-2) will also be featured on the main card. The event will be broadcast live and free on SPIKE at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT, while preliminary action will stream on Bellator.com and the Bellator Mobile App.

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Tickets for this monumental event start at $36 and are on sale now at Bellator.com, as well as Ticketmaster.com. Additional bouts will be announced in the coming weeks.

Bellator 170 Daley vs Ward Fight PosterA 54-fight veteran of MMA Daley will now prepare to take on surging superstar Brennan Ward. A former member of the British Army, the 33-year-old “Semtex” competed for multiple promotions including Strikeforce and UFC before joining the Bellator MMA fray in 2012. Since then, Daley has made five appearances under the direction of the Scott Coker-led promotion, tallying four wins and a trio of fantastic knockouts. Hailing from Nottingham, England, the British phenom has recorded victories in nine of his last 11 bouts, and took current welterweight champion Douglas Lima to the limit in their last meeting. The former Cage Rage Welterweight Champion is known for his ruthless power and innate ability to end fights early, as 30 of his 38 career wins have resulted in a finish.

Ward enters the contest following a brutal knockout blow that he delivered just 1:26 into his bout with Saad Awad at “Bellator 163: McGeary vs. Davis.” The win was Ward’s ninth under the direction of Bellator MMA and fifth of his last six fights, dating back to 2015. A native of New London, Conn., “Irish” Ward seems to always deliver in front of his hometown fans at Mohegan Sun Arena, collecting five victories inside the venue, including four knockouts. Now, Ward takes his talents out West. The former NCAA All-American is widely regarded as one of the most feared brawlers in the welterweight division, as the 28-year-old has finished his opponent in 13 of his 14 career victories. Ward is now slated to tangle with another feared striker in Daley in a bout that hardcore fight fans won’t want to miss.

Updated “Bellator 170: Ortiz vs. Sonnen” Main Card:

  • Light Heavyweight Main Event: Tito Ortiz (18-12-1) vs. Chael Sonnen (28-14-1)
  • Middleweight Main Card Bout: Ralek Gracie (3-0) vs. Hisaki Kato (7-2)
  • Welterweight Main Card Bout: Paul Daley (38-14-2) vs. Brennan Ward (14-4)

Bellator.com-Streamed Preliminary Card:

  • Welterweight Preliminary Bout: Gabriel Green (3-0) vs. Jalin Turner (2-1)
  • Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Christian Gonzalez (1-0) vs. Daniel Rodriguez (2-0)

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Source: MMA Weekly

UFC 207 Video: Amanda Nunes vs. Ronda Rousey — She’s Back!

(Video Courtesy of UFC)

Former champion Ronda Rousey returns to the Octagon to take on bantamweight titleholder Amanda Nunes at UFC 207 on December 30 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, live on Pay-Per-View.

TRENDING > Jose Aldo Calls Conor McGregor a Coward, UFC Title Loss a Fluke

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AJ McKee ‘Making His Own Legacy’ at Bellator 166

After picking up three straight wins to start his pro career in 2015, featherweight up and comer AJ McKee has kept things rolling in 2016 with back-to-back wins in his first two fights of this year.

After getting himself in the mix last year, McKee feels 2016 has been a great year for establishing his own name as a fighter, coming out of the shadow of his MMA vet father Antonio.

“This was my year of growth, kind of. Just to grow and kind of get my name out there,” McKee told MMAWeekly.com. “Not just following my father’s career, but kind of making my own legacy and my own name for my own person.

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“Every fight I feel I’m a different fighter and I’m modifying something different. That’s why it’s hard for someone to train for me, because every fight I’m doing something different, my techniques and style are different. It’s hard to adapt to something that’s always changing.”

McKee (5-0) will look to duplicate his three-win success from last year, when he takes on late replacement Ray Wood (7-2) in a 145-pound co-main event at Bellator 166 on Friday in Thackerville, Okla.

Though Wood is the more experienced of the two fighters, McKee doesn’t believe the experience difference on paper will have much of an impact on the fight.

“It definitely factors in and plays a certain part in it, but when it comes to me, I’m a different breed,” McKee said. “If you watch my first fight, I was so composed in there that it looked like I had already had 10 fights.

“Everyone calls me a prospect, but in my eyes I’m not a prospect, I’m a young G.O.A.T. – I’m going to be the greatest of all time. I’m going to continue to live up to it and make sure that people recognize it and respect it sooner or later.”

TRENDING > Conor McGregor’s Coach Criticizes UFC for Stripping Featherweight Title

Now that he’s begun to make a name for himself, McKee has lofty goals for 2017, and becoming a record setting fighter in the process.

“In April is my 22nd birthday, so beginning in 2017 I’d like that belt around my waist before my birthday; beating Jon Jones as the youngest champ at 21,” said McKee. “I have to take it one fight at a time, with Emmanuel Sanchez being another step in this climbing of the mountain to the top.

“Hopefully I can get (Daniel) Straus after that, and if he’s still out hurt, I feel that belt should be up for grabs, and they should start throwing fights in there and let that belt move around. Because once McKee gets that belt, it’s going on lockdown and it’s not going anywhere.”

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Source: MMA Weekly

Miesha Tate Explains Why She Retired

There comes a time for every athlete when they realize that they can no longer compete in their chosen sport. For Miesha Tate, that realization came on Nov. 12 during her UFC 205 bout against Raquel Pennington.

After losing to Pennington by unanimous decision, the former bantamweight champion announced her retirement before leaving the Octagon at Madison Square Garden.

Miesha Tate“I’m announcing my retirement, you guys. I love you all so much. I’ve been doing this for over a decade. Thank you so much for being here. I love this sport forever. It’s not my time anymore. It’s the future’s time,” she said.

During a Q&A following the UFC Fight Night 101 weigh-in in Melbourne, Australia, Tate explained her decision to hang up the gloves.

“The problem is, I don’t want to give you guys half-ass performances. Unless I can go in there with a whole heart, I refuse to go back into that Octagon. That’s where it stands,” she explained.

Competing doesn’t feel the same as it used to for the 30-year-old Tate. As blues musicians Roy Hawkins and Rick Darnell penned in 1951, “the thrill is gone.”

“The competitive nature, it has to be there. I’ve been in contact sports over half my life. It doesn’t’ have the same thrill that it did when I was 22,” she said. “I won’t go in there and fight with half a heart.”

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With her fighting career behind her, Tate looks forward to other opportunities. She has experience as a commentator and analyst on television. While her fighting career is behind her, Tate believes we may see more of her now.

“I look at this as like the halftime of my life. It’s a transition-period. I don’t look at myself as retired because I’m going to be doing a lot more things,” she said. “It’s just a transition into something else. You guys may actually see more of me.”

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Source: MMA Weekly

Watch Sage Northcutt Rip an Apple Apart For No Reason at All

Sage Northcutt is the gift that keeps giving.

Random videos of his life travels, riding hover boards, saying “heck yeah” simply because he’s walking down the street — it just doesn’t end with everyone’s favorite reincarnation of Zack Morris. He’s either obliviously dorky or a goddamn brilliant mind.

Either way, this time your boy Super Sage decided to rip an apple apart and post the video on social media because why not?


I want to see who can Rip some Apples! #SuperSage

A video posted by Sage Northcutt (@supersagenorthcutt) on Nov 29, 2016 at 10:46am PST

I tried ripping an apple apart myself, but failed miserably. But then I ordered a pizza and tore that sum’ bitch apart so I don’t feel bad anymore. 

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Source: MMA Weekly

Bibiano Fernandes Still Motivated Despite All His Titles, Trophies and Success

There is a certain aura surrounding Bibiano Fernandes these days. The 36-year-old hasn’t lost a fight in six years and is undefeated in the bantamweight division, which has been his long term home.

Modern fight fans know him as the ONE Championship bantamweight champion, a winner of six successive title fights. But anyone who has been following Asian MMA for the past decade would know that before that he held Dream titles at 135 and 145 pounds, earning both with Grand Prix wins.

He’s one of the most decorated fighters of all time, but as he approaches Friday night’s title defense against Reece McLaren at ONE: Age of Domination, Fernandes reveals that he is far from ready to hang up the gloves.

“If I’m still healthy, I want to keep training and keep moving forward. I can be champion for a long time. For me, fighting is my life. When I think about fighting, I think about myself. When I think about defending my title, I think about my life.”

So he’s not going to stop anytime soon, but Fernandes is also determined to maintain the form which has seen him win 11 straight fights, seven of which have been title matches.  There is absolutely no danger of complacency creeping in.

TRENDING > Conor McGregor’s Coach Criticizes UFC for Stripping Featherweight Title

“A lot of people when they reach a different level lose their focus. They think because they are a champion they can enjoy their life or slack off. I don’t think like that. I think I can be better today. I can be better tomorrow. I can be better the next day.”

Dream featherweight champion Bibiano FernandesThere is evidence to suggest that Fernandes is actually improving. He has finished his last three opponents and recent form would seem to suggest that a fighter who used to regularly go the distance is becoming much more clinical in terms of finding submissions or knockouts.

He’s going up against an opponent 11 years his junior, who has already taken out two of the top contenders in the division. McLaren has a lot of momentum behind him and Fernandes is certainly not taking the Australian lightly.

“He’s a young guy. He wants to fight. He’s going to bring the fight. He’s very good at jiu-jitsu. He has very good takedowns. His stand up is okay. I’ll be surprised if he wants to fight stand-up with me. I believe he will try to take me down.”

Fernandes has held the ONE Championship bantamweight title since 2013. He won an interim version of the belt by beating Koetsu Okazaki and then unified the titles with a win over former champion Soo Chul Kim a few months later.

He also has two Dream belts, but says that the novelty of possessing so much hardware will never wear off.

“I see a lot of guys who when they win the belt say it’s just a piece of metal. For me, it’s not, it’s different. That piece of metal allowed me to meet you. That belt built my family. That belt built who I am. That’s why I respect having the belt.”

Fernandes describes himself as humble, but confident. He’s taking nothing for granted, but at the same time there is no doubt in the Brazilian’s mind that Friday night will bring win number 20 of his MMA career.

“I’m humble, I want to do my job, and I’m professional at what I’m doing. I believe in myself. I believe if I train right and doing everything right, I’m going to do my best and when I do my best the outcome is victory.”

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Source: MMA Weekly

Watch Anthony Pettis’ Thunderous Head-Kick KO (UFC 206 Free Fight Video)

(Courtesy of UFC)

Watch Anthony Pettis’ thunderous head-kick knockout of Joe Lauzon in his third bout in the Octagon back at UFC 144 in 2012. Don’t miss Pettis face Max Holloway for the interim featherweight title at UFC 206 on December 10 in Toronto.

TRENDING > Conor McGregor’s Coach Criticizes UFC for Stripping Featherweight Title

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Source: MMA Weekly