Laila Ali on Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor: Don't be pissed if it ends too fast

(This story first ran on For The Win.)

Add Laila Ali to the long list of people – particularly in the boxing world – who think the much-anticipated Floyd MayweatherConor McGregor fight in August won’t be terribly competitive.

The retired and undefeated boxer – also the daughter of the late heavyweight legend Muhammad Ali – spoke with FTW ahead of her third time hosting the ESPN Sports Humanitarian Awards on July 11, and she briefly shared her thoughts on the upcoming fight.

“I just think that fans need to just know that it’s for fun,” Ali said with a chuckle. “Easy for me to say – I’m not going to be in the ring. But you’ve got a UFC fighter, who has no boxing experience, fighting one of the best fighters in the world.

“So if you buy the fight, you know, don’t be pissed if it ends too fast or it wasn’t competitive. I’m going to be asking, ‘What did you expect?’”

But Ali added that if given the opportunity, she’ll likely watch the Mayweather-McGregor fight – unless she has “something else more important going on” – but she probably won’t pay for it.

For more on “The Money Fight: Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor,” check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Snoop Dogg Joins Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series Commentary Team

Dana White announced today that the entertainment icon Snoop Dogg will be joining the broadcast every week for Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series shown live and exclusively on UFC FIGHT PASS. Featuring on “SnoopCast,” Snoop will bring his irreverent humor and freestyle commentary to the action. Joining him on SnoopCast will be newly minted UFC Hall of Famer Urijah Faber, a UFC/WEC veteran of over 40 professional fights, who rounds out what is sure to be the most anticipated new commentary team in sports.

Available as a secondary audio feed to the primary broadcast team, SnoopCast will provide an experience that allows subscribers to toggle between both streams in real time. Additionally, viewers will have the opportunity to see Snoop and Faber via picture in picture technology throughout the fights, giving fans a chance to get even closer to the action. This groundbreaking feature will serve as a compliment to a traditional play by play team broadcasting through the main feed of FIGHT PASS.

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“I’m a big fan of UFC and looking forward to joining the team to bring my unique take on all the action,” Snoop Dogg said. “Ya’ll in for a brand new experience with Dogg on the mic.”

“I can’t wait to call fights with the Cali legend Snoop Dogg,” UFC Hall of Famer Urijah Faber said. “Snoop is on another level. Hope he brings the gin because I’ll bring the juice, laid back.”

“Snoop and I have wanted to do something together for a long time,” UFC President Dana White said. “He’s a huge fight fan and wanted to call fights. This is a fun opportunity for fans to opt into SnoopCast and hear his take along with Urijah Faber on how the fights are going.”

Fans were delighted back in April when Snoop lent his insights to highlights of UFC 210 headliners Daniel Cormier and Anthony Johnson. Revisit those hilarious clips to get a sense of what SnoopCast will bring on a weekly basis: Daniel Cormier & Anthony Johnson

July 11 sees the highly anticipated debut of the exclusive, weekly Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. Focused on finding the next generation of UFC talent, Contender Series will give competitors the biggest stage of their lives as they attempt to show they have what it takes to make it onto the UFC roster.

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Source: MMA Weekly

Snoop Dogg to commentate for 'Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series' on UFC Fight Pass

Rap superstar and longtime fight fan Snoop Dogg will soon be calling live fights on UFC Fight Pass.

Snoop will sit alongside 2017 UFC Hall of Fame inductee Urijah Faber for an alternate audio feed of the soon-to-debut “Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series,” which kicks off on July 11 from The Ultimate Fighter Gym in Las Vegas and streams live on UFC Fight Pass. The team’s commentary will serve as an alternate audio feed known as SnoopCast.

UFC Senior Vice President of International and Content Joe Carr today revealed the plans to ESPN.com.

“You’re starting to see it across sports,” Carr said. “If you watched March Madness coverage, once you get toward the Final Four, there are unique feeds, whether it’s a Duke channel or a Kentucky channel. I think people are starting to cater to different fan segments.

“It’s also an opportunity to broaden our appeal, broaden our fan base. Snoop is an entertainment icon. He might bring a totally different demographic in for us.”

“Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series” is set for a debut run of eight episodes in eight consecutive weeks on UFC Fight Pass. Each episode features five fights between athletes hoping to land a contract with the UFC.

“I’m a big fan of UFC and (am) looking forward to joining the team to bring my unique take on all the action,” Snoop Dogg told ESPN.com. “Y’all in for a brand-new experience with Dogg on the mic.”

A more traditional commentary team is also expected to be added shortly.

The full card for “Dana White’s Contender Series: Week 1” includes:

  • Matt Bessette vs. Kurt Holobaugh
  • Greg Rebello vs. Azunna Anyanwu
  • Boston Salmon vs. Ricky Turcios
  • Charles Byrd vs. Justin Jones
  • Joby Sanchez vs. Manny Vazquez

For more on “Dana White’s Contender Series: Week 1,” check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Curious about PFL's 2018 tournament format? Carlos Silva breaks down the road to $1 million

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The PFL debuts tonight in Daytona with one of four fight cards through the rest of the calendar year that will serve as warm-ups to the real thing in 2018.

And the real thing is going to be something very different from what MMA fans are used to, according to CEO Carlos Silva.

The newly launched Professional Fighters League, the rebranded promotion formerly known as WSOF, will have an official debut season in 2018. Tonight’s four-fight card airs on NBCSN from Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla.

But when the promotion picks up steam starting in January, it’ll go forward full-bore, it sounds like.

Silva said the PFL’s tournament structure will be based around seven traditional weight classes, from bantamweight up to heavyweight. There will be 12 fighters per weight class, he said, and between January and August, each fighter will get three fights in the regular season.

Fighters will earn points for wins and losses, bonus points for finishes, and additional points if they finish in the first round as opposed to, say, the third. A unanimous decision win will be worth more than a split call, too.

“At the end of August, we’ll look at all the points, look at some tie-breakers, and we’re going to take the top eight by points in each weight class, and they’re going to make it into the playoffs,” Silva told MMAjunkie Radio.

After that, PFL will have a playoff event in October in which fighters will have to fight twice in one night. They’ll be seeded like a traditional tournament, in which No. 1 meets No. 8, 2 vs. 7, 3 vs. 6 and 4 vs. 5. And the fighters who reach the final then will get a break until the championship event in December.

Silva said that event will feature all seven weight classes, with the finalists in each division fighting for the crown – which comes with a $1 million prize per division. He said the entire payout pool for the league will be $10 million in the first season, which leaves $3 million to pay out for regular-season fights and tournament fights ahead of the finals.

There will be 18 total events making up the regular season from January to August, all in North America, Silva said.

So what do you think of the PFL format? Make sure to vote in our poll below. And check out the video above for more from Silva ahead of tonight’s PFL launch.

For more on “PFL: Daytona,” check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

MMAjunkie Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Aung La N Sang Outstrikes Vitaly Bigdash to Win ONE Championship Middleweight Belt

Aung La N Sang and Vitaly Bigdash met for the second time at ONE: ‘Light of a Nation’ in Yangon. Just like the first fight this went the full five rounds but, unlike their January meeting, it was the man from Myanmar who earned the decision.

It looked like La N Sang might make it a quick night’s work when he dropped Bigdash with a crisp combination in the opening round. A left uppercut sent the undefeated Russian champion crumbling to the canvass and the Burmese fighter unleashed an onslaught of punches.

Bigdash survived and eventually worked his way back up but he was badly shaken. Sensing that his opponent held the striking advantage the Russian went for a takedown in the second stanza and looked close to locking in a reat naked choke.

La N Sang was able to tie Bigdash up on the ground, something which would be a feature of the fight, and the referee eventually stood them up. The champion got another takedown in the third but once again was unable to capitalize with strikes of submission attempts.

In the fourth La N Sang landed another crisp combination and an uppercut left Bigdash nursing some damage to his eye. The pace had slowed dramatically by this stage but under ONE Championship’s scoring system the early onslaught probably had the challenger ahead.

With around two minutes remaining in the final round Bigdash secured another takedown and looked to attack with punches and elbows. He was more energetic but La N Sang was able to evade the vast majority of the shots and was still on his back when the bell sounded.

It made for a tense wait at the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium but all three judges saw the fight in La Nsang’s favour. He improves to 20-10-0-1 while Bigdash drops to 9-1 after tasting defeat for the first time in his career.

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In the co-main event Mei Yamaguchi (16-10-1) proved far too experienced for Jenny Huang (5-2). The Japanese fighter controlled the fight from start to finish, finally forcing the tap with a rear naked choke late in the second round.

There were also stoppage wins for Bruno Pucci (5-2) and Kevin Chung (5-0) who beat Jimmy Yabo (5-5-0-1) and Zhong Qingya (0-1) respectively.

ONE: Light of a Nation Results:

– Aung La N Sang defeats Vitaly Bigdash by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 5 rounds
– Saw Min Min defeats Shwe Kyaung Thar by Submission (Guillotine Choke) at 1:43 minutes of round 1
– Mei Yamaguchi defeats Jenny Huang by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 4:00 minutes of round 2
– Bruno Pucci defeats Jimmy Yabo by TKO (Strikes) at 2:12 minutes of round 1
– Tha Pyay Nyo defeats Htet Aung Oo by Knockout at 0:16 minutes of round 1
– Kevin Chung defeats Zhong Qing Ya by TKO (Strikes) at 3:37 minutes of round 2
– Ye Thway Ne defeats Pat Kyaw Lin Naing by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 2 rounds
– Saw Min Min defeats Kyar Ba Hein by Knockout in round 1

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Source: MMA Weekly

TUF 25 Finale's Justin Gaethje ready to prove No. 1 lightweight status against 'quitter' Michael Johnson

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Justin Gaethje has been reluctant to beat the drum touting himself as the world’s best lightweight. He’s said it in the past and claims to believe it, but only now that he’s part of the UFC roster can he really prove it.

“I was stating that I was the best in the world at lightweight and I feel like a coward every time I said it because I wasn’t in a position to fight the best in the world,” Gaethje told MMAjunkie. “I started this path at 4 years old. I didn’t know it was going to lead me here, but in hindsight, I was always headed here.”

Gaethje (17-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) makes his UFC debut a week from today when he meets Michael Johnson (17-11 MMA, 9-7 UFC) in the lightweight main event of The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale, which airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Gaethje’s arrival in the UFC has been a long time coming. The No. 7 fighter in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA lightweight rankings put himself on the map as one of the best with a dominant run under the WSOF banner, going 10-0 with the promotion including five consecutive 155-pound title defenses.

Gaethje has never been beaten in an MMA fight, and although No. 12-ranked Johnson is adamant the UFC is an entirely different animal the newcomer isn’t ready for, Gaethje predicts “The Menace” is going to learn the hard way what he’s all about.

“Obviously he’s trying to give himself a little confidence because, calling me a C-league fighter, the more he talks the bigger of an ass he’s going to look like,” Gaethje said. “Unless he gets lucky and knocks me out in the first one or two minutes, then he knows. I’m going to make him wilt. He’s going to sit there and wilt under my pressure.”

Although the matchup between Gaethje and Johnson is promising by itself, the extra heat built between the two in the lead-up to the fight has made the bout even more anticipated. There have been numerous verbal altercations between the pair, but Gaethje said that’s all going to backfire on his opponent come fight night.

“The thing about Michael Johnson is that when he’s the hammer, he doesn’t quit,” Gaethje said. “When he’s the nail he tends to not – he has 11 losses – seven submissions (and) four decisions. Four times he’s been outworked. I’ve never been outworked. I’ve lost in wrestling, but I’ve never been outworked. … He has been fighting the best in the world, I’ll give him that. But a quitter’s a quitter, and I’m going to make him quit.”

Gaethje said the primary objective of his UFC run is to “prove the people that have always believed in me right.” His ultimate aspiration, of course, is to capture the UFC lightweight championship currently held by Conor McGregor, but Gaethje is taking things one step at a time.

The current focus is all on The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale, and while facing an experienced opponent like Johnson in a main event for his octagon debut bring a lot of pressure, Gaethje said he’s ready for it.

“I think the biggest factor is the anticipation,” Gaethje said. “Being able to control your emotions. I knew 10 or 12 weeks ago that I was going to have this fight. I’ve had many days, many hours, thousands of minutes to get ready for this 25 minutes, and I’m taking advantage of those.”

For more on The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Knockout Radio Replay: Tim Boetsch, Brent Primus, Ray Sefo, and Brian Foster

Join Knockout Radio for their show featuring Tim Boetsch, Brent Primus, Ray Sefo, and Brian Foster, and all the latest news!

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Source: MMA Weekly

Trash talking opponent Caros Fodor not part of Jason High's PFL: Daytona game plan

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Jason High may not be the kind of guy who wants to talk trash with his opponents, but he’s still got some pretty specific words for Caros Fodor heading into their fight tonight.

“When I see this fight in my head, I’m like a furious, unrelenting tornado of mixed martial arts, and I’m (stopping) Caros’ style at every turn,” High told MMAjunkie Radio. “I’m making him be disgusted with me, like he never wants to get in there with me again. That’s what I see for every fight.”

High (20-6) and Fodor (11-5) meet tonight at PFL: Daytona, the debut event for the newly launched Professional Fighters League, the rebranded promotion formerly known as WSOF. The card, which serves as one of a series of events that precede the promotion’s debut season in 2018, airs tonight on NBCSN from Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla.

That “furious, unrelenting tornado” of MMA might be about as close to talking smack as High is willing to get. At this point in his career, with fights for the UFC, WSOF, Strikeforce, DREAM, and Titan FC under his belt, what’s the point?

He’s got a job to do against Fodor, is all it comes down to.

“Who wants to talk trash? I think it’s silly,” High said. “I don’t have anything against him. I still plan on beating him up, but it’s business.”

High won two of his three fights under the WSOF banner, but will be fighting for the first time since an October 2016 TKO loss to Joao Zeferino, who also fights on tonight’s card.

But High’s knockout wins over Estevan Payan and Mike Ricci likely are the ones his bosses will be looking at, along with tonight’s fight, to decide High’s potential placement in a 2018 tournament that has promised its winner a $1 million prize.

“I’d like to be involved in that for sure – everybody likes millions of dollars,” High said. “I definitely feel like the main thing for me is being in shape so I can apply that through the entire fight. I feel like not only am I a great athlete, but I keep learning. That’s the main thing: I try to go in there and learn something every day, try to improve on something eveyr day. That’s been a theme in my mind my entire career – just try to enjoy the process and really learn stuff.”

For more on “PFL: Daytona,” check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

MMAjunkie Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC boss Dana White: We made some mistakes when it comes to 'Cyborg' Justino

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There hasn’t necessarily been much love lost between the UFC’s top brass and Cristiane Justino, but there’s still time for things to change.

And the relationship between the famed Brazilian fighter and the promotion made be on the uptick now that she’s fighting for the newly vacant women’s featherweight title next month. To go along with that, UFC President Dana White is willing to admit the promotion needed to try to right some wrongs when it comes to “Cyborg.”

“She’s had a rough go here in the UFC,” White recently told MMAjunkie in an exclusive sit-down interview. “She hasn’t been thrilled with things that have been said, things that have been done. And to be honest with you, :  :  ‘Cyborg.’ So the least we can do is get our (expletive) together and get this woman a fight for the title.”

Justino (17-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) was set to fight Invicta FC featherweight champion Megan Anderson (9-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) for the belt, which was stripped from inaugural UFC 145-pound champ Germaine de Randamie (7-3 MMA, 4-1 UFC) over a failure to defend. But when Anderson had to pull out of UFC 214, citing personal issues, Invicta FC bantamweight champ Tonya Evinger (19-5 MMA, 0-0 UFC) got the call to save the day.

UFC 214 takes place July 29 at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass. Justino vs. Evinger for the vacant featherweight title will be the co-main event.

White said he likes what Evinger is going to bring to the table.

“(Anderson) had some personal problems and couldn’t do this fight,” he said. “And Tonya Evinger is a girl who has been around for a long time. She’s tough, she’s gritty, and what I’m really looking for is, I want a woman that’s going to go out and fight ‘Cyborg.’ I believe Tonya Evinger is that woman. We’ll see.”

As far as de Randamie goes, White said the notion she didn’t want to fight Justino clearly created a problem.

“We make it very clear: When you go into that division, you know who you’re going to be fighting,” White said. “Basically, ‘Cyborg’ owns that division. You go into the 145-pound division and you’re fighting for a belt, you’re going to fight ‘Cyborg.’”

So far, Justino has had two fights in the UFC – both at 140-pound catchweights. The issue for her for the longest time was that the UFC didn’t have a women’s featherweight division, and “Cyborg” long has claimed she can’t get down to bantamweight safely. The issues making 135 pounds kept her out of the promotion, and kept a megafight with someone like former champ Ronda Rousey from happening.

But in February, the UFC opened up a women’s 145-pound division, crowned an inaugural champ when de Randamie beat former bantamweight champ Holly Holm, and the door was open for “Cyborg.”

“We signed ‘Cyborg,’ we made a commitment to ‘Cyborg,’ and not everything is easy and not everything is as fun as other divisions or whatever, but we made a commitment to this woman,” White said.

For more on UFC 214, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Conor McGregor’s Stunned by Mural of Him Blasting Floyd Mayweather

(Courtesy of TheMacLife productions)

Watch as Conor McGregor gets his first look at the mural of him blasting Floyd Mayweather that his coach, Jon Kavanagh, had painted on the gym wall overnight.

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