Aljamain Sterling: 2 more UFC wins makes me an 'appealing fight' for bantamweight title

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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

GDANSK, Poland – Aljamain Sterling is confident about where he stands in the UFC bantamweight division, and he sees a clear path to the title over the next year or less.

Sterling (14-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC), who faces Rani Yahya (24-9 MMA, 9-3 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 123 on Dec. 9 at Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif. (the card airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass), believes he’s just a couple of wins away from becoming a viable contender for the title in the deep 135-pound weight class.

Currently bantamweight champ Cody Garbrandt is lined up for a title defense against T.J. Dillashaw at UFC 217 on Nov. 4. After that, the winner of December’s UFC 218 matchup between former titleholder Dominick Cruz and the streaking Jimmie Rivera is likely next in line. “The Funkmaster” thinks he’s right behind those names, though, and if he can beat Yahya and then take out another notable name, he said it would be tough to deny him a crack at the gold.

“I think two more,” Sterling told MMAjunkie of his path to a title shot. “This one, and I think I fight one more in 2018, and I think that should be the No. 1 contender fight. I think just the landscape of everything, with (Raphael) Assuncao fighting Matt Lopez, the winner of that is going to be one step closer. Really, I don’t think they want Assuncao to fight for the belt. He split decisions everybody. (Bryan) Caraway, that guy doesn’t fight. He’s finally fighting on the same card as me. Then you have Cruz vs. Rivera, the winner will get the next title shot, that’ll be in 2018.

“After that we’ll see how that shakes out. John Dodson, if he gets another win, that could be an interesting fight for me. This next one, I have to get a win, I’ve got to get a finish, and I think I go out there and fight one more in 2018. I go out there and solidify the next shot at the belt.”

Sterling, No. 12 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA bantamweight rankings, has a realistic understanding of the division. He knows it all comes down to the timing of matchmaking and who is a viable contender at a given time. Right now he’s simply not in that position.

Although he’s coming off a unanimous-decision win over former UFC champion Renan Barao at UFC 214 in July, Sterling recognizes he’s currently short on momentum. The performance against Barao snapped a two-fight losing skid and got Sterling back on track after a rough patch in his career.

Sterling said he’s happy to have momentum on his side again, but it’s not the type of momentum he wants to bring into a championship fight. He wants to make sure he’s firing on all cylinders when he challenges for the gold, and that means stringing together consecutive wins against elite competition.

“I don’t think it’s the right time (to fight for the title),” Sterling said. “I think I need one more fight. I think I go in there with a three-fight win-streak, a four-fight win-streak. That makes it a more appealing fight for the masses to want to watch. Nobody wants to see a guy coming in off one or two wins and fighting for the title. Maybe, unless you’re a Conor McGregor or someone like a polarizing figure like a Ronda Rousey. If she came back she could immediately fight for a title. I’m in a different space right now. I’m still building my brand, building my career. Wins matter, especially in my weight class. I want to bring something to the table where I bring in some solid momentum.”

Sterling hopes a victory over Yahya at UFC Fight Night 123 will move him closer to his desired position. The fight pits two of the best grapplers in the bantamweight division against one another, and if the action hits the mat, viewers could be in for a treat.

There’s plenty to respect about Yahya, who has made 20 UFC/WEC appearances dating back to June 2007. Sterling said he holds the Brazilian in high regard, but believes he has the advantage if the fight hits the floor. Sterling views Yahya’s grappling style as “basic” and “traditional,” and said if the fight ends up on the mat, his more dynamic approach is going to make the difference.

“He’s definitely an elite-level grappler, but which one of these grapplers is doing the stuff I’m doing?” Sterling said. “Who is going for inverted triangles off their back? Who is going for banana splits? Who is doing stuff like that? No one is doing that kind of thing. I don’t think these guys have shown their versatility in their grappling arsenal as I have. A lot of these grapplers are high-level, but it’s very basic, very traditional.

“I don’t know what Rani Yahya has for me except traditional grappling. He doesn’t have anything unorthodox. I’m willing to go out there and throw a flying triangle. Is he willing to do some (expletive)’ like that? I have no idea. But I’m willing to do some crazy stuff.”

For more on UFC Fight Night 123, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

Do UFC fighters need managers? Maybe not (until they definitely do)

Aljamain Sterling was upset.

It was the week before his fight with former UFC bantamweight champion Renan Barao at UFC 214, a big moment in his career, and it seemed like Sterling’s management team barely could be bothered to return his calls.

Did they have any sponsors for him? Had they arranged any after-parties following the event? Were they doing anything at all to justify the 10 percent of his fight purses that they were taking for themselves?

“What they told me was, ‘Look, the phone’s not ringing off the hook for you,’” Sterling told MMAjunkie. “But if that’s how they look at it, what am I paying them for? Just to pick up the phone when it rings?”

The week after he beat Barao via unanimous decision, Sterling put this question to Malki Kawa, the CEO and founder of First Round Management, which represented him. Instead of trying to justify his cut of Sterling’s purses, Kawa suggested that they part ways.

“I’ve got nothing against (Sterling),” Kawa said. “Sometimes personalities clash. It’s not the first time I’ve had to let a fighter go, and it probably won’t be the last.”

Sterling said he was relieved when Kawa suggested the split. It was something Sterling been considering for weeks, and Kawa’s suggestion made it easier. But instead of getting a new manager, Sterling opted to go without one. He’d keep that 10 percent in his bank account. He’d manage himself. And why not?

Sterling is far from the first fighter to think of this solution. For many fighters, it’s strictly about cutting costs. Others figure that no manager could possibly care as much about their careers than they do, or give it as much attention with a stable of other fighters competing for their time and energy.

And in the UFC’s Reebok era, it’s not like missing out on lucrative sponsorship opportunities is a big concern. So what do managers do to earn their cut of the money that a fighter sweats and bleeds for?

“If they’re going to argue that they’re negotiating deals for us, I mean, they’re not getting us any more money than the UFC is going to offer anyway,” Sterling said. “Most of them just take the fights the UFC gives us. Unless you’re a Jon Jones or Daniel Cormier, you don’t really have much say. So what is the point of having a manager?”

Kawa, not surprisingly, disputes Sterling’s claim that there’s little negotiating going on.

“When I took him to free agency and negotiated between two different things, I got him a contract to where he was one of the top-five highest paid guys in the division, and Aljamain really hadn’t done anything,” Kawa said. “At no point in time can he say I just took what the UFC offered.”

But one thing Kawa would readily admit is that not a fighter’s needs are often dictated by what point they’re at in their careers. Champions and contenders? They’d better have a manager looking out for them, Kawa said. But fighters lower down on the totem pole, where the purses are smaller and the options are narrower? Maybe they could get away without one.

If, that is, they really know what they’re getting into by opting to manage themselves.

Aljamain Sterling.

“That’s the thing, is there are all those little nuances that come up during a fight camp,” Kawa said. “The bigger the fighter gets, the more goes into it. But the small guys still need a lot of the same things. Sometimes they think you’re only doing your job if you get them sponsors. No, if I can get your purses up and get you the right fights and get you involved in something that makes sense, that’s the right thing to do. A lot of times they don’t see what goes on behind the scenes.”

That’s a sentiment echoed by Charles McCarthy, who’s seen things from both sides of the fence. When he was a UFC fighter, he managed himself and a few of his teammates. But after he retired, he briefly managed fighters to help others avoid the mistakes he’d made while trying to shepherd his own career.

While he’s out of the fighter management business entirely now, McCarthy still sees the value of having an experienced advocate to guide a fighter through the pitfalls of an MMA career.

“It’s a funny thing,” McCarthy said. “You only need a manager when you need a manager. For a lot of fighters, it’s like insurance. You don’t need insurance every day, but when you need it, you really need it.”

For instance, say you’re a mid-level UFC fighter early on in a four-fight contract. Your purses for your next few fights are all set, so there’s nothing to negotiate there. Sponsors probably aren’t really happening for you unless it’s some local business you contact yourself. Every time your manager calls, it’s to tell you which opponent the UFC wants you to fight next – and rarely does it feel like it’s being posed as a question.

So why are you paying that 10 percent out of your already meager fight purse? Why not drop the manager, at least until it’s time to negotiate a new deal?

But then a day before your next fight the UFC comes to you with what it presents as an exciting opportunity for swift career advancement. One of the fighters in the co-main event just pulled out. His opponent, a former and/or potential future champ in your division, needs somebody to fight. Say the word, and the spot is yours.

What do you do? You could take the fight and maybe get in the UFC’s good graces, but then you’re also facing a much tougher opponent who you haven’t prepared for in the slightest, which means there’s a good chance you won’t be getting your win bonus or moving ahead in your division.

You could turn it down and stick with your original opponent, but that’s not going to make you any friends in the front office.

You could ask for more money in exchange for taking the bigger fight, but how much more? And what if the UFC won’t give it to you?

Here’s where it might be helpful to have a manager who’s been through this before.

Charles McCarthy has spent time as both a fighter and manager.

“It’s easy to be short-sighted as a fighter,” McCarthy said. “You’re living a pretty short-sighted life. So if you can save 10 percent on your next check, especially when you know the contract is already drawn up and the system is set, it seems like it makes sense. But what they’re not taking into account is the way things change. Every fight’s a math equation. Part of a manager’s job is to make sure it evens out, and it’s hard to be honest about some of that stuff when it’s your own career, because you’re too close to it emotionally.”

Of course, the way Sterling sees it, having an emotional connection isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It might be preferable to a manager who sees you as just another spoke in the wheel or some lottery ticket that’s yet to pay off.

“I think it’s definitely dependent on where you are in your career, but at the same time, a manager is supposed to be managing your career, at whatever point you are in it,” Sterling said. “If they’re not doing that, what’s the point? I’d rather give that money to my coaches, spend it on something that actually helps my career.”

And, at least so far, Sterling said he’s happy with the decision. Communicating directly with UFC matchmakers isn’t so different from what he already was doing even when he had a manager. Running his own social media, checking his own messages, setting up his own after-parties, none of that has changed. It’s just now he won’t give up a percentage of every fight purse while wondering what it’s for.

But while there are plenty of fighters who’ve managed themselves at one point or another, there aren’t a ton who’ve done it over the long haul, or kept doing it all the way to a major title. And sometimes, you don’t always realize what someone else was doing for you until they stop.

“It comes down to, you get what you pay for,” Kawa said. “Most guys who have tried doing it on their own eventually go back to having a manager, whether it’s coming back to me or finding someone else that they might work better with. Sometimes those are the best clients. The ones who leave and come back, they realize the grass isn’t always greener.”

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, visit the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Tickets for UFC's debut in Fresno go on sale today

The UFC will debut in Fresno, Calif., in December, and tickets for the event go on sale today.

Featuring a pivotal clash of top-10 featherweights between Cub Swanson (25-7 MMA, 10-3 UFC) and unbeaten Brian Ortega (12-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) in the main event, UFC Fight Night 123 takes Dec. 9 at Save Mart Center and airs on FS1 with prelims on FS2 and UFC Fight Pass.

Tickets are priced at $125, $90, $75 and $50. They go on sale to the general public Friday at noon PT on Ticketmaster.com.

UFC newsletter subscribers have access to a special pre-sale beginning Thursday at 10 a.m. PT, while UFC Fight Club members can purchase tickets Wednesday at 10 a.m. PT.

In addition to the main event, UFC Fight Night 123 features the return of Bryan Caraway (21-7 MMA, 6-2 UFC) , who takes on Luke Sanders, after more than a year away from the octagon.

The UFC Fight Night 123 card currently includes:

  • Cub Swanson vs. Brian Ortega
  • Bryan Caraway vs. Luke Sanders
  • Aljamain Sterling vs. Rani Yahya
  • Carls John de Tomas vs. Alex Perez
  • Liz Carmouche vs. Alexis Davis
  • Eryk Anders vs. John Phillips
  • Scott Holtzman vs. Darrell Horcher
  • Trevin Giles vs. Antonio Braga Neto
  • Chris Gruetzemacher vs. Davi Ramos
  • Benito Lopez vs. Albert Morales

For more on UFC Fight Night 123, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Aljamain Sterling vs. Rani Yahya added to UFC Fight Night 123 in Fresno

A bantamweight contest that could prove a pretty interesting grappling affair has been added to UFC Fight Night 123.

UFC officials announced that Aljamain Sterling (14-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) and Rany Yahya (24-9 MMA, 9-3 UFC) will square off at the event, which takes place Dec. 9 at Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif. The night’s complete bout order has yet to be revealed, but the main card airs on FS1 following prelims on FS2 and UFC Fight Pass.

Sterling, who is currently ranked No. 12 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA bantamweight rankings, brings a two-fight winning streak to the cage after picking up decisions over former UFC bantamweight champion Renan Barao and top Brazilian prospect Augusto Mendes. Six of his 14 career wins have come by way of submission, including four by rear-naked choke, though all of those were prior to his UFC run.

Meanwhile, Yahya has spent a decade fighting under the UFC and WEC banner and has earned an astounding 18 of his 24 career wins via submission. Most recently, he picked up a kimura win over Enrique Briones at UFC Fight Night 114 in Mexico City. Yahya stands at 5-1 in his past six appearances.

UFC Fight Night 123 now includes:

  • Cub Swanson vs. Brian Ortega
  • Bryan Caraway vs. Luke Sanders
  • Aljamain Sterling vs. Rani Yahya
  • Carls John de Tomas vs. Alex Perez
  • Liz Carmouche vs. Alexis Davis
  • Eryk Anders vs. John Phillips
  • Scott Holtzman vs. Darrell Horcher
  • Trevin Giles vs. Antonio Braga Neto
  • Chris Gruetzemacher vs. Davi Ramos
  • Benito Lopez vs. Albert Morales

For more on UFC Fight Night 123, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Fans invited to Friday's UFC Fight Night 118 weigh-ins, Q&A, autograph signing in Poland

If you’re in Poland for UFC Fight Night 118, you’ll have an opportunity to get up close to a pair of standout fighters before and after the weigh-ins.

Featuring a headlining contest between Donald Cerrone and Darren Till, UFC Fight Night 118 takes place Saturday at Ergo Arena in Gdansk, Poland. The entire card streams on UFC Fight Pass.

In the main event, veteran Donald Cerrone takes on confident up-and-comer Darren Till in a welterweight bout. The main card also features a trio of Poland’s finest in Karolina Kowalkiewicz, Jan Blachowicz and Oskar Piechota, who meet Jodie Esquibel, Devin Clark and Jonathan Wilson, respectively.

Prior to the event, fans can attend Friday’s ceremonial fighter weigh-ins at Ergo Arena. The fighters will take the stage at 6 p.m. local time in Gdansk. But ahead of that, bantamweight Aljamain Sterling and welterweight slugger Mike Perry will answer fan questions at a Q&A moderated by Dan Hardy starting at 5:15. And following the weigh-ins, at 6:30 p.m., Sterling and Perry will sign autographs for fans in attendance.

The UFC Fight Night 118 lineup includes:

MAIN CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 3 p.m. ET)

  • Donald Cerrone vs. Darren Till
  • Jodie Esquibel vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz
  • Jan Blachowicz vs. Devin Clark
  • Oskar Piechota vs. Jonathan Wilson

PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 11:45 a.m. ET )

  • Nasrat Haqparast vs. Marcin Held
  • Anthony Hamilton vs. Adam Wieczorek
  • Brian Kelleher vs. Damian Stasiak
  • Sam Alvey vs. Ramazan Emeev
  • Andre Fili vs. Artem Lobov
  • Warlley Alves vs. Salim Touahri
  • Aspen Ladd vs. Lina Lansberg
  • Felipe Arantes vs. Josh Emmett

For more on UFC Fight Night 118, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

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Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Aljamain Sterling lures Jimmie Rivera into Twitter beef – gets vengeful response

In the busy world of MMA Twitter beefs, it’s not easy to stand out. But Aljamain Sterling and Jimmie Rivera have our attention.

While the roots of this particular bantamweight stand-off go way back, this most recent back-and-forth seems to have been initiated by Sterling on Tuesday. With UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby and a fair amount of emojis involved, Sterling started by making his case as to why the two should meet up in the octagon.

The “Funk Master” was not only the early aggressor, but also had the biggest output  – with added points for his sharp gif game.

It was low-key savage Rivera, however, who arguably landed the most damaging shot (via Twitter).

It took a few tries for Sterling to finally lure Rivera in. But he kept the wait fun by taking on some of his favorite Twitter trolls.

Currently the No. 11 fighter in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA bantamweight rankings, Sterling (14-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) is certainly living a good octagon moment. After a bitter two-fight skid (both split decisions) halted an undefeated 12-fight pro run, Sterling bounced back with consecutive wins over Augusto Mendes and former 135-pound champion Renan Barao.

But Rivera (21-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC), who currently sits at No. 5, has been aiming a little higher in the bantamweight food chain. After a dominant decision over Thomas Almeida added a sixth win to his unbeaten UFC run – and 20th overall – Rivera went straight for ex-champs Dominick Cruz and T.J. Dillashaw.

Whether the matchup will materialize in the octagon remains to be seen. But, in the name of neutrality, The Blue Corner scores this Twitter exchange a fairly entertaining draw.

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, visit the UFC Rumors section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

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Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Cody Garbrandt-Aljamain Sterling Twitter beef spirals out of control with racism accusations

Conor McGregor got himself into hot water during last when he repeatedly referred to Floyd Mayweather as “boy” during their world tour.

Was Cody Garbrandt not paying attention?

The UFC bantamweight champion got involved in a Twitter beef with Aljamain Sterling over the weekend, which started as a typical Twitter beef between UFC fighters but quickly spiraled out of control with accusations of racism (via Twitter):

Right here, when Garbrandt called Sterling “boy,” is where things got ugly. Sterling even started responding to others chiming in. Garbrandt defended his trash-talk.

Garbrandt (11-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) hasn’t fought since winning the belt from Dominick Cruz last December at UFC 207. He’s scheduled for his first title defense at November’s UFC 217 vs. rival T.J. Dillashaw.

Sterling (14-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC), meanwhile, is fresh off the biggest win of his career last month, defeating ex-champion Renan Barao via unanimous decision at UFC 214.

If Garbrandt and Sterling cross paths in the future, a story line already is built in.

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, visit the UFC Rumors section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

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Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured, Featured Videos, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC's Aljamain Sterling wants a push: My next fight 'better be on the goddamn main card'

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid4621179066001?bckey=AQ~~,AAAABvaL8JE~,ufBHq_I6FnxR-PQW_F3sm5QdUbP7D6E9&bctid=5532575498001
Filed under: MMAjunkie Radio, News, UFC, Videos

Aljamain Sterling has never been shy about asking for what he wants – and believes he deserves. After a big win over a former UFC champion, that includes a main-card spot.

Shortly after beating ex-bantamweight titleholder Renan Barao (34-5-1 MMA, 9-4 UFC)  in a catchweight bout at UFC 214, Sterling (14-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) expressed his interest in meeting fellow contender Jimmie Rivera (21-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) next. That – along with the desire for a rematch with Bryan Caraway (21-7 MMA, 6-2 UFC) – still stands.

But now two wins removed from a two-fight skid that included the first setback of his entire professional career, the 28-year-old bantamweight has another request.

“Honestly, my next fight better be on the goddamn main card,” Sterling told MMAjunkie Radio. “I’m not even kidding at this point. This is beyond ridiculous, if you ask me. (UFC 214) was a blockbuster card on paper, so I get that, but I’m like, ‘Wow, you guys got Barao, a former world champ, on the undercard.’ It’s kind of crazy. But I think I deserve my fair shake at this point.

“I think I have a big enough name now. I’m eight fights into my UFC career. So, why not? Let’s start making some real money, man. I’m in this sport to change my life. I’m in this sport to to change my parents’ lives and the loved ones around me. That’s really what I care about. And I can’t do that if they keep putting me on these prelims.”

But that’s not all Sterling would like to negotiate with the promotion at some point in the near future.

“These guys signed me to an eight-fight deal; I was so pissed,” Sterling said. “I’m still under contract, and I need a new contract.”

The bantamweight chose to re-sign with the UFC early last year after a highly publicized free-agency period. Four fights later, Sterling explains why he ended up agreeing to such a long deal.

“It was a weird period, that whole time frame, that whole free agency thing was just very very odd,” Sterling said. “And things got a little personal. And things stared going the wrong way. And I was trying to not make it go that route, I guess. And just for argument’s sake and to make everything just be at ease.

“I guess I kind of just took it, because it was kind of almost like a ‘take it or leave it’ kind of thing. I was just in a weird spot. At that point, I really felt like my back was against the wall; I really had no other options. I see these other guys, they re-sign contracts all the time.

“So I’m like, ‘Man, I’ve just got to go out there and win, beat some good guys, and I should be able to get a new contract based on increased popularity.’ I think it makes sense. Why not? At this point, why should I have to fight out four more fights at that rate when they’re going to be making more money? It just doesn’t make any sense to me.”

The eagerness to finish his contract, Sterling says, was the main reason why he managed to squeeze in four fights in a relatively short 14-month window. The first two, of course, didn’t pan out so well for Sterling, who ended up dropping admittedly frustrating split decisions to Caraway and Raphael Assuncao.

But Sterling has recovered. First, with a unanimous nod over grappling ace Augusto Mendes at UFC on FOX 24 and now with the huge win over the once-dominant Barao. Now, as Sterling resumes his way up, he looks back on the tough lessons he learned by being down.

“(The Barao win) was everything that I’d been trying to accomplish three, four fights ago,” Sterling said. “Coming off the big win over Johnny Eduardo, doing the whole free agency thing, being that guy in the limelight and then doing the whole promotion thing with Eric B, leading up to the Caraway fight and just not delivering anywhere close to my true capabilities.

“Big letdowns. I just feel like the media, even like close friends – I guess I can’t even call them close friends, just some friends I thought really did believe in me. They started to doubt me. And it kind of lets you know where you really stand in people’s minds. It was all a learning process. I learned a lot about myself. I learned a lot about people, and how this world works.”

To hear more of Sterling’s candid thoughts on his career, learning experiences and his future, check out the video above.

And for more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC 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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Filed under: MMAjunkie Radio, News, UFC, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

MMA coach Ray Longo on how he looks for concussed fighters and has 'the talk'

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid4621179066001?bckey=AQ~~,AAAABvaL8JE~,ufBHq_I6FnxR-PQW_F3sm5QdUbP7D6E9&bctid=5529771464001
Filed under: News, Radio Highlight, UFC, Videos

Fighting is a rough business, but veteran MMA coach Ray Longo tries to minimize risks in the gym.

When a fighter gets too banged up, he has “the talk” with them.

Such was the case with UFC veteran Pete Sell (10-6 MMA, 2-5 UFC), who suffered knockout losses in four of his final eight fights. Sell retired in 2012.

“‘Drago’ would fight you tomorrow,” Longo told MMAjunkie Radio. “He wants to fight. That’s what he loves to do. But we’re just not having it.”

Longo said his longtime charge Chris Weidman (14-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC) hasn’t taken too many major hits during his decorated career in the UFC. But he’s watching.

“We do a lot of concussion testing in the gym with some newer technology stuff,” Longo said. “It’s a hot topic, and we’re definitely not turning a blind eye to it. I believe we’re on top of it.”

The gym is one of the last lines of defense when it comes to resting concussed fighters. Although state athletic commissions issue suspensions to those who’ve been through knockouts or tough fights, enforcement of no-contact orders is not realistic for a sport that’s so geographically spread out.

In reality, there’s little to stop a fighter who wants to jump back into sparring after a knockout, other than professional colleagues.

Longo said he used to be a “wild man” when he was a young martial-arts practitioner. But now, he sometimes keeps students benched for up to one month if they’ve been concussed in sparring.

“Both (Aljamain Sterling) and Chris, I pulled back on their sparring for (their respective fights at UFC 214 and UFC on FOX 25),” he said. “I don’t think you can ever be too cautious, but this is the sport they choose, and they are going to get hit.”

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC 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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Filed under: News, Radio Highlight, UFC, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

Stream or download MMAjunkie Radio #2504 with Aljamain Sterling

Stream or download Thursday’s episode of MMAjunkie Radio with guest Aljamain Sterling.

Sterling is coming off a big win over former UFC bantamweight Renan Barao at UFC 214 this past Saturday.

You can listen below or download the episode from SoundCloud.

Filed under: News, Radio, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie