UFC Issues Statement Addressing Controversial Travel Ban Executive Order

U.S. President Donald Trump’s recent executive order instituting a travel ban has come under scrutiny across the globe. Considering the possibility that it could affect its business, the Ultimate Fighting Championship recently issued a statement regarding the order.

President Trump signed the executive order, often referred to as the “travel ban,” on Friday. The direction of the order bars refugees from entering the U.S. for 120 days. It also put a temporary 90-day ban on immigrants from seven nations identified by the Obama administration as “countries of concern” for terrorist activity, according to the Trump administration. The seven countries are Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia.

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Although the UFC is based in Las Vegas, it holds events globally and has many fighters and employees from around the world. Among them is Iranian-born Dutch national Gegard Mousasi, who recently expressed concern over what the order would mean to him.

Gegard Mousasi“I don’t know,” Mousasi told MMA DNA, when asked what the travel ban might mean to him. “The UFC is working on it. The lawyers and guys that take care of the visas. I just have to wait. They’re gonna change some things probably in a couple weeks, because there’s a lot of protests. I just have to wait and see.”

Mousasi is, of course, just one example of someone that might be affected by the executive order. The Ultimate Fighting Championship and its new owners, WME-IMG, have many other employees under similar circumstances, and they are of course proactively addressing the situation.

“We are aware of the federal travel ban,” UFC officials said in a statement released to MMAWeekly.com. “There are numerous variables including a judicial injunction. We are monitoring and will be affirmatively engaged to ensure that our fighters and employees are able to compete and do their jobs.”

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Source: MMA Weekly

Josh Thomson Faces Patricky Pitbull in Bellator 172 Co-Main Event

A lightweight feature bout pitting Josh Thomson (22-8, 1 NC) against Patricky “Pitbull” (16-8) will serve as the co-main event of Bellator 172 at SAP Center in San Jose, Calif. on Feb. 18.

The contest joins a stacked main card that includes a pair of heavyweight competitors featuring Fedor Emelianenko (36-4, 1 NC) against Matt Mitrione (11-5) in the main event and Cheick Kongo (25-10-2) against Oli Thompson (17-9) in main card action. In addition, undefeated lightweights Adam Piccolotti (9-0) and Brent Primus (7-0) round out the Spike-televised main card. Additional contests will be announced shortly.

After earning victories in each of his first seven professional contests, the 38-year-old Thomson joined forces with the UFC and Strikeforce, stringing together an impressive resume that included notable wins over Nate Diaz and Gilbert Melendez. Now under the direction of Bellator MMA, “The Punk” has recorded back-to-back finishes in his first two bouts with the Scott Coker-led promotion. With 16 of his 22 career victories coming by way of knockout or submission, Thomson is always a threat to end his opponent’s night early. Hailing from San Jose, Calif., Thomson hopes to put on a show in front of his hometown faithful and move one step closer to finally meeting Bellator MMA Lightweight Champion Michael Chandler.

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The 31-year-old “Pitbull” enters the cage for the 17th time under the Bellator MMA umbrella, second most in the promotion’s history behind only David Rickels. The Brazilian knockout artist continues to be at the forefront of Bellator MMA’s lightweight division and has tallied six wins over his past nine bouts, including a trio of knockouts over proven veterans Rickels, Derek Campos, and Ryan Couture. Hailing from Rio Grande Do Norte, Brazil, Freire has notched 10 knockouts over his professional career, with five of the finishes coming in the opening round of action. “Pitbull” will once again look to play the role of spoiler when he tries to take down San Jose’s own Thomson on Feb. 18.

Complete Bellator 172: Fedor vs. Mitrione Main Card:

  • Heavyweight Main Event: Fedor Emelianenko (36-4, 1 NC) vs. Matt Mitrione (11-5)
  • Lightweight Co-Main Event: Josh Thomson (22-8, 1 NC) vs. Patricky “Pitbull (16-8)
  • Heavyweight Feature Bout: Cheick Kongo (25-10-2) vs. Oli Thompson (17-9)
  • Lightweight Feature Bout: Adam Piccolotti (9-0) vs. Brent Primus (7-0)

Preliminary Bouts:

  • Welterweight Prelim Bout: James Terry (18-9) vs. David Douglas (9-6)
  • Lightweight Prelim Bout: Nikko Jackson (1-1) vs. Cesar Gonzalez (0-1)
  • Featherweight Prelim Bout: Juan Cardenas (1-0) vs. Luis Vargas (0-1)
  • Welterweight Prelim Bout: Danasabe Mohammed (5-1) vs. Carlos Rocha (9-4)
  • Flyweight Prelim Bout: Anthony Do (4-1) vs. Bobby Escalante (4-5)
  • Flyweight Prelim Bout: Matt Ramirez (1-2) vs. Jeremy Murphy (3-3)
  • Lightweight Prelim Bout: J.J. Okanovich (3-1) vs. Paradise Vaovasa (5-1)
  • Featherweight Prelim Bout: Justin Tenedora (Debut) vs. Roque Reyes (0-3)

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Source: MMA Weekly

Dana White Addresses Tito Ortiz vs. Chael Sonnen Fixed Fight Claims

UFC Hall of Fame fighter Tito Ortiz fought the final fight of his career at Bellator 170 on Jan. 21 in Los Angeles. He choked out Chael Sonnen a little over two minutes into their main event fight, ending his career on a high note.

Several doubters, however, said that the fix was in, accusing Sonnen of giving in to a choke that wasn’t properly applied

Don’t count UFC president Dana White among those making such accusations. 

Saying Ortiz’s retirement fight was the first time he had watched a Bellator event, White declared on the UFC Unfiltered podcast that there is “no way in hell” that the fight was a work. 

“I’d love to come out here and (expletive) all over Bellator, but there’s no way that was a work,” he said.

“Both guys are forty-something years old. It was basically a retirement fight. A lot of people, I think, were calling it a fix. There’s no way.”

Tito Ortiz vs. Chael Sonnen - Bellator 170 - Final FightWhite’s comments carry a fair amount of credence considering his history with Ortiz. Prior to becoming a part owner in the UFC, White was Ortiz’s manager. And after he became UFC president, White was his boss for several years, despite numerous times that they butted heads, even going so far as scheduling a boxing match between them to settle their differences.

That boxing match never occurred, and the two continued to have an on-again, off-again relationship, but White does not doubt the legitimacy of Ortiz’s final victory.

“Tito Ortiz is strong. He put me in a neck crank one time and almost popped my (expletive) head off my shoulders. This guy is physically very strong. And I think his ground game is very underrated,” said White.

“There’s no way in hell that was a work.”

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Ben Askren Returns at ONE Championship’s Upcoming Manila Event

Ben Askren hasn’t had much luck since signing for ONE Championship. He’s seen one fight end in a controversial no contest, another abandoned at the last minute when his opponent missed weight, and a recent title defense postponed following the death of HM the King of Thailand.

The reigning ONE Championship welterweight king will hope to be busier in 2017 and Askren is set to make the second defense of his belt on April 21. The former welterweight champion will be fighting at the MOA Arena for the third time with his opponent’s identity as yet undisclosed.

Ben AskrenAskren (15-0-0-1) has been out of action for just over a year.  Meanwhile, Luis Santos has won back to back fights and, having proved he can make welterweight under ONE Championship’s new regulations, he will be hoping for a rematch with the champion.

The April 21 card will also feature the first title defense for newly minted lightweight champion Eduard Folayang. He was already a hero in the Philippines before capturing the crown from Shinya Aoki and will be guaranteed a raucous reception from the crowd in Manila.

TRENDING > Dana White Addresses Tito Ortiz vs. Chael Sonnen Fixed Fight Claims

Folayang (17-5) is also without an opponent, but Ariel Sexton must surely be a contender to face him while the lightweight bout between Ev Ting and Kamal Shalorus next month could also have implications for the title picture.

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Source: MMA Weekly

Dana White Says Ronda Rousey is Probably Done Fighting

After losing back-to-back bouts for the first time in her career, it appears that former UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey may be riding off into the sunset.

Rousey has not made any statement regarding the status of her career, but UFC president Dana White, during a recent UFC Unfiltered podcast, relayed that he thinks she is probably done fighting.

“Her spirits are good. She’s doing her thing,” said White. “In the conversation I had her with her, if I had to say right here right now, and I don’t like saying anything because it’s up to her, but I wouldn’t say she fights again. I  think she’s probably done and she’s going to ride off into the sunset and live her life outside of fighting.”

Ronda RouseyPrior to her recent skid, Rousey had risen from a bronze medal in the 2008 Olympics to an unblemished amateur career to the inaugural UFC women’s champion. As a professional fighter, she went on a 12-0 run, including six UFC title defenses, before tasting defeat. 

That first defeat, however, was a devastating one. Rousey’s star had risen higher than any other fighter, male or female, in the history of mixed martial arts. 

So when a Holly Holm head kick sent her crashing back to Earth in November of 2015, Rousey took it hard. She spent more than a year out of the Octagon before making her comeback attempt opposite current bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes at UFC 207 to close out 2016.

The fight with Nunes didn’t go any better. It actually went worse. Nunes ended the fight 48 seconds into the opening round. 

Rousey’s perceived invincibility was erased. She has since been mostly off the radar, save for an appearance at the Dakota Access Pipeline protest at Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota, where she delivered supplies in support of the protesters.

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“It’s not even that I think it was an invincible thing, it’s just she’s so competitive that her career, her record, meant everything to her, and then once she lost, she started to say to herself, what the (expletive) am I doing? This is my whole life? This is it? I want to experience and start doing other things,” White said, putting Rousey’s current mood in perspective.

Ronda Rousey“And that’s what she started to do. She’s got a lot of money. She’s never gonna need money again. Unless you spend money like Floyd (Mayweather), you’re not gonna need money again when you have the kind of money that Ronda has. She’s not a big spender. She’s got a cute place down in Venice, California. She’s got some plans where I think she wants to move to a more desolate place and do her thing.”

The UFC has struggled to schedule marquee fights during the early part of 2017, primarily due to injuries and the like, so White might be expected to press Rousey to make another go of it. It sounds as if he has no such intention and is at peace with Rousey walking away, if she so chooses. 

“I’m happy for her man. She came in man, she changed the world. She put female fighting on the map. She’s been part of the biggest fights in the history of women fighting.”

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Joanna Jedrzejczyk Shoots Down Michael Waterson Rumors, So Who’s Next?

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Rumors have run rampant that UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk is going to next defend her belt against Michelle “Karate Hottie” Waterson. The champ, however, shot those rumors down, and discussed at length what her next move is.

TRENDING > Conor McGregor Intends to Settle Up with Vegas Commission and Get Boxing License

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Sam Alvey Wants to Set Record for Most UFC Fights

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After beating Nate Marquardt at UFC on FOX 23, Smilin’ Sam Alvey has his eyes on setting the record for most UFC fights in a calendar year.

TRENDING > Check Out Michael Bisping’s Post-Surgery Elephant Leg (pic)

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Conor McGregor Intends to Settle Up with Vegas Commission and Get Boxing License

One of the biggest outside the Octagon stories of the year regarding Conor McGregor in 2016 was the water bottle blow-up he had with Nate Diaz ahead of UFC 202. 

McGregor went before the Nevada Athletic Commission for disciplinary action after he, Diaz, and Diaz’s team hurled water bottles at each other in the middle of the UFC 202 pre-fight press conference. After much deliberation, which resulted in shifting away from a proposed fine of $300,000, the Nevada commission settled on the somewhat lesser sanctions of a $150,000 fine and 50 hours of community service to produce an anti-bullying campaign.

Though he was amiable during his disciplinary hearing, McGregor didn’t take kindly to the punishment, later telling Rolling Stone, “I don’t see Nevada in my future, for the foreseeable future, is how I see it.”

He appears to be backtracking on his Rolling Stone interview a tad, however, as he told the crowd at a question-and-answer session in Manchester, England, over the weekend that he would soon be going to Las Vegas to settle his business with the athletic commission, amongst other things.

“There’s a lot of business to settle in Las Vegas. They tried to fine me $150,000 for throwing a bottle,” said the UFC featherweight champion. “I didn’t even think it was a real court. I was like this isn’t a real court. This isn’t like legal. They just wanted a little respect. I went in and showed my respect.

“Look, I’m not going to try and point fingers, who threw what first. I just owned up, manned up and said I (expletive) up. I won’t do it again. They were like, Pat Lundvall was like, ‘so you’ll accept any fine that I give you?’ I’m like yeah. And then $150,000 fine, all in favor say I. I, boom, boom, boom, they started hitting the gavel. I was like, what the (expletive) is going on here? $150,000?”

As relayed in his Rolling Stone interview, McGregor may not have expressed it during the hearing, but he wasn’t at all happy about the way the commission treated him. 

Now, however, McGregor has a lot of business options in front of him. He is the UFC’s first dual-division champion, and also has aspirations to box retired world champion Floyd Mayweather. So, he needs to get things sorted with Nevada, which is the focal point of business for the UFC and Mayweather.

“We come to an understanding. I’m going to fly out there and fix it. I’m going to get my Las Vegas boxing (license) and then we’ll see where the (expletive) Floyd is at,” he continued.

Though he has long been licensed in mixed martial arts, he needs a separate license for boxing. Regardless of which pursuit is next, if he intends to fight in Las Vegas, McGregor has to get clear of the commission. Although $150,000 is a hefty fine, it’s peanuts compared to the type of money he stands to make fighting in the combat sports capitol of the world. If he doesn’t settle up with the commission, McGregor can’t compete in MMA or boxing in the state, which could potentially affect whether other states would license him.

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“They’re using it as leverage to get (the $150,000 fine). But whatever, we’ll see. We have it fixed. It’s fixed. That’s what I’m saying. It’s fixed. If I keep going I’ll dig myself back in. We figured it out. We fixed it. Everybody came together,” said McGregor. “They realized I bought $400 million in revenue in one fight to the beautiful city of Las Vegas. They realized that if I’m not there, ain’t nobody bringing money to that city. We figured it out. We got together. We’re going to make it work. We’ll pay the fine. We’ll work out a way to pay the fine. We’ll do the video that they want. They want like an anti-bullying campaign. I’m going to respect that.”

So in the end, it appears that McGregor is going to do what the commission wants, accept blame for his part in the water-bottle-throwing incident, and move forward.

“You’ve got to own up to your responsibilities. You’ve got to step up and own up to mistakes you’ve made. That’s what men do. That’s what people who have grown and passed a new stage go and do, so that’s what I’m going to go and do. Then I’m going to get that boxing license. Then we’ll figure out where it goes from there.”

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Source: MMA Weekly

Large Fight Erupted Outside Conor McGregor Q&A Pay-Per-View

While UFC champion Conor McGregor was inside Event City in Manchester, England on Saturday night talking about potential fights with Nate Diaz or Floyd Mayweather, the real action took place outside after he was done answering questions.

McGregor held a question and answer session for a reported 5,000 people in attendance with the event streaming online via pay-per-view on his website. While the Q&A session produced an abundance of news about everything McGregor, when it was all over, several fans outside the venue erupted into a violent fracas.

Conor McGregor - Vegas Media DayWhile initial reports characterized the situation as involving up to 100 people, a report by the Manchester Evening News said police officers established that there were “15 to 20 people involved in the incident” with three men taken to a local hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

“There was a lot of confusion about what happened and how many people were involved in (Saturday night’s) fighting, but we are now clear that there were a maximum of around 20 people involved in the disorder,” said Detective Inspector John Stainton from Stretford Police Station.

“We are appealing for anyone who saw anything to get in touch as soon as possible. Behavior like we saw last night is not acceptable and I’m only thankful that there weren’t any more serious injuries.”

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During the Q&A session, McGregor relayed that despite all the doubters, UFC president Dana White among them, he believes his next fight will be a boxing match with Floyd Mayweather, as does the retired world-champion boxer.

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Source: MMA Weekly

Check Out Michael Bisping’s Post-Surgery Elephant Leg (pic)

UFC middleweight champ Michael Bisping recently noted that he was going to be on the shelf for a while due to a necessary knee surgery.

Having come out of the surgery, Bisping was amazed at the look of his leg and decided to show it off on Instagram. Of course, we think he mostly wanted to show off how sleek his leg looked after shaving the hair off of it, but the swelling is kind of a distraction.

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Is it just me, or is my leg a bit swollen lol

A photo posted by Mikebisping (@mikebisping) on Jan 29, 2017 at 11:31pm PST

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Source: MMA Weekly