All posts by Damon Martin

‘A’ List Celebrities Lining Up to Attend Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor

It’s safe to say Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor will be the biggest event in 2017, at least judging by the guest list planning to attend the fight on Aug. 26 in Las Vegas.

Big boxing matches are usually a beacon for ‘A’ list celebrities and the showdown between Mayweather and McGregor is certainly no exception.

According to a list from TMZ.com, a ton of notable actors, actresses, musicians and even notable business people are expected in attendance at the event being held at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Among the actors and actresses planning on sitting ring side for the fight, Oscar winners Denzel Washington, Angelina Jolie, Charlize Theron, and Jamie Foxx as well as fellow nominee and UFC minority owner Mark Wahlberg. Famed action director Michael Bay is also expected at the fight.

Several notable musicians will also be in attendance including Drake, Diddy, LL Cool J, Rick Ross, Adam Levine and Avicii. It’s hard to imagine pop brat Justin Bieber won’t also make an appearance considering he’s walked to the ring with Mayweather in the past and is a self-professed fan of McGregor as well.

From the sports world, multi-time NBA champion LeBron James will be in attendance for the fight as well as New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft. Famed entrepreneur and inventor Elon Musk is also expected to show up at the fight between Mayweather and McGregor.

Now this is only a partial list with more celebrities expected to be in attendance when the fight takes place next Saturday night. When Mayweather faced Manny Pacquiao in 2015, the who’s who list of celebrities from across the globe showed up to attend the fight so it’s likely the same thing will happen for this event as well.

The fight goes down on Aug. 26 from Las Vegas as Mayweather puts his perfect 49-0 record on the line against the UFC lightweight champion in McGregor, who will be making his professional boxing debut.

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Source: MMA Weekly

Floyd Mayweather Slams Conor McGregor’s ‘Extremely Dirty’ Moves in Paulie Malignaggi Sparring Session

There were only 20 seconds of sparring footage released from Conor McGregor’s 12 round session with former champion Paulie Malignaggi, but his opponent on Aug. 26 was definitely watching.

On Thursday, Floyd Mayweather commented on the footage that showed McGregor popping Malignaggi with some hard punches including one short right hand that appeared to knock the retired boxer to the mat.

Malignaggi has contended that it was actually a shove from McGregor on the back of his neck that pushed him to the ground, which was one of several fouls he claimed the UFC lightweight champion committed during their sparring session.

In fact, McGregor was deducted two points by referee Joe Cortez during the 12-round session for moves committed outside of the rules.

“My thoughts is I think it was real interesting but a lot of illegal rabbit punching behind the head, a lot of stuff that was illegal. A lot of grappling, a lot of wrestling, a lot of illegal shots. That’s just my opinion,” Mayweather told MMAWeekly.com on Thursday during a media conference call.

“I’m pretty sure the referee’s going to be fair on both sides. I want the referee to be fair and treat both competitors, myself and Conor McGregor, treat us both, be even and treat us fair. I just want to have a good solid fight.”

Earlier this week, the Nevada State Athletic Commission assigned referee Robert Byrd as the third man in the ring to call the action between Mayweather and McGregor when they meet on Aug. 26.

Byrd has a reputation for being hands off in most of his fights while typically voicing his objections to the fighters rather than getting physically involved in breaking apart the clinch during exchanges.

That might seem to favor McGregor, who is stepping into his first professional boxing match, but Mayweather is confident that the referee will do his job for the safety of the fighters.

Still, Mayweather can’t help but take a jab at what he believes were several illegal moves committed by McGregor in the sparring match with Malignaggi.

“I truly believe the ref’s going to do his job. The referee’s job is to make sure he’s keeping the bout clean,” Mayweather said. “I want to have a good fight. Like I said on numerous occasions building up to this fight, I’m coming straight ahead so he don’t have nothing to worry about. I look forward to following the Queensberry rules of boxing and I’m pretty sure he looks forward to following the Queensberry rules of boxing.

“He had [referee] Joe Cortez in his training, which is a great thing. Even though he had Joe Cortez in his training camp, I still seen him being extremely dirty. My job is not to worry about the referee. My job is to go out there and fight and let the referee do his job.”

Despite those alleged fouls, Mayweather also managed to take a shot at McGregor for touting his success against Malignaggi, who is retired and suffered a knockout loss in his last fight in March.

“I mean last time I checked, some may call it a knockdown, some may not call it a knockdown. At the end of the day, it only counts once you get under the lights,” Mayweather said about the sparring session. “That’s just the gym.

“We are sitting down here judging Paulie [Malignaggi], a guy that’s been retired and been commentating and traveling the world and not going to the gym at all going in there with a guy that’s just working up. An athlete period that’s just working up, everyday, everyday and obviously it shouldn’t even have went 12 rounds with a young guy that’s an athlete.”

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Source: MMA Weekly

Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson vs. Jorge Masvidal Targeted for UFC 217

Two of the top strikers at 170 pounds are about to face off at UFC 217 in New York

Two-time title contender Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson is expected to meet Jorge Masvidal on Nov. 4 at the card taking place in Madison Square Garden.

Sources close to the matchup confirmed the news to MMAWeekly.com on Thursday. Masvidal also teased the bout via his Twitter account as well.

Thompson (13-2-1) is making his return to action following two fights against welterweight champion Tyron Woodley. While Thompson fought to a draw with Woodley in their first fight, he came up short in the rematch so now he’ll look to climb back into the title picture when he fights in November.

Prior to his two fights with Woodley, Thompson had won seven in a row including victories against Rory MacDonald, Johny Hendricks and current interim middleweight champion Robert Whittaker.

Masvidal (32-12) has enjoyed new life since moving to 170 pounds after spending the majority of his career as a lightweight.

The American Top Team fighter has gone 3-1 in his past four fights including a devastating knockout against fan favorite Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone with his only recent loss coming by way of split decision to former title contender Demian Maia.

Thompson vs. Masvidal is the latest fight headed to UFC 217, which will feature two title fights as Georges St-Pierre makes his long awaited return to action against middleweight champion Michael Bisping while Cody Garbrandt puts his bantamweight belt on the line against former teammate T.J. Dillashaw.

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Source: MMA Weekly

Fabricio Werdum vs. Derrick Lewis In the Works for UFC 216 in Las Vegas

A heavyweight fight pitting former champion Fabricio Werdum against Derrick Lewis is in the works for UFC 216 in Las Vegas on Oct. 7.

Sources close to the matchup confirmed the news to MMAWeekly.com on Thursday following an initial report from MMAFighting.com.

Werdum (21-7-1) is coming off a very close decision loss to Alistair Overeem at UFC 213, although he’s vehemently argued that he deserved the nod in the contest.

Still, Werdum has gone 1-2 in his past three fights including a loss to current heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic so he’ll look to get back on track when he returns in October.

Lewis (18-5, 1 NC) had actually teased retirement following his last fight against Mark Hunt that ended in a fourth round TKO, which brought to an end his six fight win streak.

Ultimately, Lewis decided to take some time off before booking his next fight as he looks to get right back into the title hunt as he faces Werdum in a marquee matchup at UFC 216.

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Source: MMA Weekly

Daniel Cormier Congratulates Jon Jones on His Victory But Not Ready to Be Friends Just Yet

It’s been more than two weeks since Daniel Cormier suffered a third round knockout to Jon Jones in the main event at UFC 214 in Anaheim, Calif.

In the aftermath of the loss, Cormier has stayed relatively quiet considering the magnitude of the fight with Jones where he fell to his longtime rival for the second time inside the Octagon.

While Cormier has largely remained silent, Jones has actually sung his praises on numerous occasions while remarking that the former champion is a role model and example for other fighters in the sport. Jones even went as far as hoping that he could bury the hatchet with Cormier one day and perhaps they could even spark up a friendship.

Cormier has rarely held his tongue when speaking about Jones personally or professionally and in this case he pulled no punches either.

In fact, Cormier says he absolutely believes that Jones was being sincere with his complimentary post fight comments, but despite the olive branch being extended, he’s still not sure friendship is something he could ever see for the two of them.

“I believe he’s being genuine,” Cormier said on “UFC Tonight” on Wednesday. “Yes, I do believe he’s trying to turn over a new leaf. I think he’s trying to show that he is a different person than he was in the past. With that being said, friendship would be very difficult for us to achieve because of our history. I’m OK with that.

“I’ve always said that. We don’t have to be friends. I have always respected him for the competitor that he is. I even congratulate him for getting the job done on July 29. In terms of going forward, we will be professional because we have to until the cage door closes again.”

The setback to Jones was obviously devastating to Cormier but he’s hinted that losing to him twice won’t stop him from pursuing a third bout in the future.

At 38, Cormier may not have that many years left in fighting, but he’s definitely not done yet.

Right now, Cormier is just trying to come to terms with the loss he suffered to Jones in July before deciding on when and where he will make his return to the UFC.

“It takes time to get over something that’s so big, especially when you’re unsuccessful in such a big event,” Cormier said. “But day by day you get better, you keep fighting, you keep learning that there are things that are much more important than the competition and you’ve got to try to get through it.

“I’m a guy that really does love what I do and I’m a guy that takes it very hard if I am unsuccessful and I think we saw that down at the Honda Center in Anaheim.”

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Source: MMA Weekly

Matt Brown vs. Diego Sanchez, Angela Hill vs. Nina Ansaroff Set for UFC Fight Night in Virginia

Two new fights have been added to the upcoming UFC Fight Night card in Norfolk, Virginia on Nov. 11 including the return of Matt Brown as he faces “Ultimate Fighter” season one winner Diego Sanchez while Angela Hill takes on Nina Ansaroff.

The new fights were announced via “UFC Tonight” on Wednesday.

Brown (20-16) will return to action for the first time in nearly a year as he looks to re-establish himself in the welterweight division.

The Ohio native has gone just 1-5 in his past six fights, but that streak came after he won seven bouts in a row to climb up the welterweight rankings.

Sanchez (27-10) not only books his next fight, but also gets back to the welterweight division after spending several bouts at both lightweight and featherweight in the UFC.

Sanchez has bounced back and forth between wins and losses over his past six fights while remaining one of the most exciting competitors on the UFC roster.Angela Hill

In the women’s strawweight division, former Invicta FC champion Angela Hill (7-3) will look to build on her last win over Ashley Yoder when she takes on Nina Ansaroff (7-5), who picked up her first win in the UFC in January with a submission victory against Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger.

The two new fights will be added to a card headlined by former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis taking on Dustin Poirier in a battle at 155 pounds with the card airing live on FS1.

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Source: MMA Weekly

Cody Garbrandt vs. T.J. Dillashaw Official for UFC 217 in New York

UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt got his wish.

The Ohio native had asked for a fight on Nov. 4 and now he’ll face former teammate T.J. Dillashaw at UFC 217 inside Madison Square Garden in New York.

UFC officials announced the matchup on Thursday night.

Garbrandt had been campaigning to land the Nov. 4 card after a back injury prevented his return to action earlier this year when he was scheduled to meet Dillashaw in July.

With rehabilitation on his back nearly finished, Garbrandt had targeted November for his first title defense after defeating former champion Dominick Cruz last December to win the belt.TJ Dillashaw Post UFC 200

Dillashaw will get his first crack at Garbrandt and second shot at the title after reigning as bantamweight champion for two defenses between 2014 and 2015.

Dillashaw is very familiar with Garbrandt after the two fighters were teammate at Team Alpha Male in Sacramento for several years before he split from the gym to relocate to Colorado to work full time with coach Duane “Bang” Ludwig.

Now the former friends will face off on Nov. 4 with the bantamweight title up for grabs in one of the most highly anticipated fights of 2017.

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Source: MMA Weekly

Conor McGregor Still Considers Himself UFC Lightweight and Featherweight Champion

Conor McGregor may be focused on his boxing match with Floyd Mayweather on Aug. 26 but he hasn’t lost sight on his eventual return to the UFC.

While McGregor is being touted as the UFC lightweight champion in the lead up to his fight with Mayweather, the 29-year old Irishman still believes that he’s actually a two division champion after making history last November.

It was at UFC 205 when McGregor became the first ever simultaneous two weight-class champion after finishing Eddie Alvarez to win the lightweight title, which came less than a year after he knocked out Jose Aldo in just 13 seconds to become the undisputed featherweight champion.

A few weeks later, the UFC stripped him of the featherweight title but even now 10 months later, McGregor says he’s still the king of two divisions and absolutely plans on defending both titles when he makes his return to the Octagon.

“100-percent. I mean how can I not consider myself the UFC featherweight world champion and the UFC lightweight world champion?” McGregor said on Wednesday. “The current UFC featherweight world champion is Max Holloway, a man that I dismantled and the former was Jose Aldo. I still reign supreme over that division.

“155-pound division I know there’s talks of an interim belt. I’d only won that belt and literally a month later there was an interim [title fight] scheduled. It is what it is, everyone knows I am the multiple weight world champion of the UFC’s featherweight division and the lightweight division.”

It was just a day ago that UFC president Dana White announced that Tony Ferguson would battle Kevin Lee to crown a new interim lightweight champion in McGregor’s absence.

While White is still holding out hope that McGregor will fight in the UFC again before the end of 2017, there are obviously no guarantees until after his bout with Mayweather is finished.

Still, McGregor sounds determined to make a triumphant return to the Octagon to reclaim his post as the best in the world.

“I look forward to going back and continuing where I left off,” McGregor said.

For now, the lightweight division will move forward with Ferguson vs. Lee while rumors persist that Holloway will defend his title later this year against former champion Frankie Edgar. Regardless of those two fights it certainly seems McGregor plans on re-staking his claim on both divisions when he comes back to the UFC.

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Source: MMA Weekly

Nevada Commission Approves 8-Ounce Gloves for Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor

Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor will fight in eight-ounce gloves after the Nevada State Athletic Commission voted unanimously on Wednesday to approve the measure.

Because the fight between Mayweather and McGregor is contracted at 154 pounds, regulations state that the athletes must wear 10-ounce gloves.

Both fight camps filed a motion with the commission to approve the use of smaller gloves as a one time exception, which was then approved during a meeting in Las Vegas on Wednesday.

All of the commissioners weighed in on the subject with some small objections being made — including the idea of doing further study on the effects of smaller glove size being used in boxing matches at higher weights — but ultimately the vote was unanimous.

It’s a one-time exception according to the commission, who approved the measure but cautioned that they would examine the gloves before and after the fight to ensure fighter safety as well as further study after the event is finished. 

Mayweather had originally raised the idea to wear eight-ounce gloves for the fight and McGregor gladly accepted the challenge.

The UFC lightweight champion then warned Mayweather that he was setting himself up for disaster by suggesting the move from 10-ounce gloves down to eight-ounce gloves for the fight.

“If we go eight-ounces…he’ll be unconscious inside two rounds,” McGregor said. “Really one round, only for the 10-second count, I will give him surviving into the second [round] but if it’s not and it’s 10-ounce [gloves] maybe four rounds. Under [10] ounce, he is certainly unconscious and that’s it.”

Now McGregor has his wish and he’ll face Mayweather wearing eight-ounce gloves when they step in the ring together on Aug. 26 in Las Vegas.

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Source: MMA Weekly

Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor Referees and Judges Announced

The final pieces of the puzzle for Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor are in place.

The Nevada State Athletic Commission on Wednesday confirmed the referee and judges for the fight on Aug. 26 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Referee Robert Byrd will be in charge of the action inside the ring with neither camp objecting to his placement in the fight.

Byrd is a veteran referee and a member of the World Boxing Hall of Fame, who has been part of some of the biggest fights in the sport including work in the fight between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev, as well as Saul “Canelo” Alvarez against Miguel Cotto.

In the boxing community, Byrd is known for not interfering in fights very much at all opting to use his voice to break up fighters from the clinch rather than getting physically involved. Byrd typically gives the fighters plenty of distance to work and rarely makes his presence known unless he’s forced to get involved.

This referee choice could be an advantage for McGregor, as many have speculated that he may look to rough up Mayweather from the clinch while working inside against the smaller fighter. Some referees are quick to break apart the fighters, but Byrd has a reputation for allowing the action to progress before voicing an objection to get them away from each other.

For the judges, Nevada assigned Burt Clements, Dave Moretti, and Guido Cavalieri to score the fight.

Clements has judged numerous fights over the years including the boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao from 2015. He has also worked other Mayweather fights in the past including his bouts against Juan Manuel Marquez and Marcos Maidana.

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Moretti has worked 10 past fights involving Mayweather including the Pacquiao fight as well as the bouts against Zab Judah, Canelo Alvarez, and the first Maidana match-up.

Cavalieri, who hails from Italy, has only worked one past bout involving Mayweather, which was his rematch with Maidana in 2014.

At the meeting, the commission also officially approved the licenses for Mayweather and McGregor for the fight taking place in less than two weeks time. Zuffa (parent company of the UFC) was also approved for a co-promoter’s license for the fight.

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Source: MMA Weekly