Category Archives: Bellator

Bellator 182's Chidi Njokuani on why he wouldn't encourage his kids to become fighters

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Filed under: Bellator, News, Radio Highlight, Videos

After a slew of health issues, UFC flyweight Ian McCall recently opened about being afraid of the long-term damage that a career in MMA could end up causing to his brain.

McCall didn’t place the blame of his issues entirely on the sport. But, in a chat on “The MMA Hour”, he did question his decision to even go down that career path in the first place. Revealing episodes that ranged from “out-of-nowhere crying” and rage, McCall cited the case of Chris Benoit – the pro-wrestler who committed suicide after murdering his wife and child – to explain his fears.

While not many fighters have been as candid and open about it, it’s hard to believe that most of them haven’t at least stop to consider the possible repercussions of their day-to-day routines at some point.

Bellator 182’s Chidi Njokuani, at least, can certainly say he has. A lot. And while he won’t go so far as to say he regrets his career choice – which has done “a lot of good” for him – he wouldn’t exactly recommend it to his loved ones.

“I think about the boxers that are dying recently,” Njokuani told MMAjunkie Radio. “It’s crazy to me. For instance, if I were to have a kid, if they were trying to get into fighting, I’d encourage them not to. But I’m not just going to go out and say it’s the worst thing to be doing. But I think about it a lot.”

Njokuani (17-4-1 MMA, 4-0 BMMA), who enters the Aug. 25 headliner with former Bellator champion Andrey Koreshkov (19-2 MMA, 10-2 BMMA) on the strength of a nine-fight unbeaten streak, says these concerns have had direct implications not only on his training, but also on the way he goes about taking shots.

“I see people in the gym getting dropped left and right,” Njokuani said. “And it’s like, that can’t be good for them. It can’t be good, getting rocked, taking a little break and then jumping back into sparring. It goes through my mind a lot.

“At the same time, it helps me work on my defense, too. I’m constantly trying not to get hit. Not that I’m afraid of getting hit, (but) I just know the damage that it can do to you.”

To hear more of Njokuani’s thoughts, including his expectations for Bellator 182’s headliner, check out the video above.

And for more on Bellator 182, 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.

Filed under: Bellator, News, Radio Highlight, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

Ryan Bader defends title vs. Linton Vassell at Bellator 186; Penn State alums Phil Davis, Ed Ruth also on card

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For the first time, Bellator will touch down at Penn State University this fall, and the light heavyweight title will be on the line.

Newly crowned champ Ryan Bader (23-5 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) will put his 205-pound belt up against Linton Vassell (18-5 MMA, 7-2 BMMA) in the Bellator 186 main event, promotion officials confirmed to PennLive.com‘s Brian Linder. Also on the card will be a pair of Penn State wrestling alums, former champ Phil Davis (17-4 MMA, 4-1 BMMA) and Ed Ruth (3-0 MMA, 3-0 BMMA), though their opponents will be announced later.

Bellator 186 will take place Nov. 3 at Bryce Jordan Center on Penn State’s campus in University Park, Pa. The main card will air on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie.

Bryce Jordan Center, which opened in 1996, can seat upwards of 16,000 people, depending on its configuration. It is the home of Penn State’s basketball teams and regularly hosts top-shelf musical acts, as well, including Pearl Jam, Aerosmith and Garth Brooks.

Bader made his promotional debut in June in the main event of the Bellator 180 portion of Bellator NYC at Madison Square Garden in New York. In a split decision, he took the light heavyweight title from Davis in a rematch from when they previously met under the UFC banner in 2015 – when he also won a split call.

The win was Bader’s third straight and eighth in nine outings. Seven of those eight came for the UFC, the promotion he spent the bulk of his career fighting for, and where he won Season 8 of “The Ultimate Fighter.” But earlier this year, he left the promotion as a free agent, signed with Bellator, promptly got a title shot, and took home the belt.

Linton Vassell

England’s Vassell now gets the title shot he has been asking for. He brings three straight wins into the fight, including a third-round submission of ex-champ Liam McGeary at Bellator 179 in May in London. Prior to that, he avanged a loss to Emanuel Newton with a unanimous decision at Bellator 149 and outpointed Francis Carmont at Bellator 165, both in 2016.

Phil Davis

Davis, a Pennsylvania native, won a national wrestling title at 197 pounds for the Nittany Lions in 2008. He finished his college career with a 116-15 mark on the mats and was a four-time D-I All-American. He’ll attempt to get back in the win column after losing his light heavyweight title to Bader, which snapped a perfect 4-0 start to his Bellator tenure after coming to the promotion after years with the UFC.

Ed Ruth

Ruth was a three-time national champion for Penn State in 2012, 2013 and 2014, and a four-time D-I All-American. In May 2015, he signed with Bellator – though he also announced his intention to focus on the 2016 Summer Olympics before wading into the MMA waters. When he failed to make the U.S. team, he turned his attention to MMA and made his promotional and pro debut at Bellator 163, where he picked up a first-round TKO of Dustin Collins-Miles. At Bellator 168, he stopped Emanuele Palombi in the first round. And at Bellator 178 in April, he stopped David Mundell in the second after a knee to the body.

For more on Bellator 186, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie

12-fight UFC veteran Sam Sicilia latest to sign multi-fight Bellator contract

Sam Sicilia is the latest free-agent fighter to move over to Bellator from the UFC.

Sicilia (15-8 MMA, 0-0 BMMA), who completed his UFC contract with a unanimous-decision loss to Gavin Tucker at UFC Fight Night 105 in February, has signed a multi-fight deal with Bellator to compete in the featherweight division, a Bellator official today told MMAjunkie.

After getting signed to the UFC following a stint on Season 15 of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series, Sicilia went on to compete 12 times in the UFC featherweight division. He went 5-7 in his dozen octagon appearances and earned three wins by knockout.

Sicilia, who trains out of the Sikjitsu gym in Spokane, Wash., told MMAjunkie he plans to make his Bellator debut in the coming months. Although he’s spent the past five-plus years in the world’s leading MMA organization, Sicilia said he only views the change of scenery as a positive.

“It’s really not a step backwards,” Sicilia said. “It’s a different company, but you still get a shot at beating the big guys and being in the big fights. A lot of guys are moving there. It just feels like a good fit to be around. It’s still the big fight. That’s the biggest thing for me: It’s still on the big stage.”

Sicilia’s UFC career ended with three consecutive losses. He hasn’t won a fight since July 2015 but said he feels he’s currently in his prime. The heavy-handed striker intends on showing the full extent of his skill set under the Bellator banner.

“I’ve just been staying in the gym, and I really feel like now I’m ready to compete at the highest level,” Sicilia said. “I won’t be a guy that just simply exists in Bellator and go back to the win-lose-win-lose. I’m ready now to put it all together and get this winning streak going.”

For more on the upcoming Bellator schedule, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Stream or download MMAjunkie Radio #2512 with Jorge Masvidal, Muhammed Lawal, Cheyanne Vlismas

Stream or download Tuesday’s episode of MMAjunkie Radio with guests Jorge Masvidal, Muhammed Lawal and Cheyanne Vlismas.

Masvidal said he is fairly certain of a fight with Stephen Thompson on Nov. 4 at UFC 217. He also gave his unique perspective on Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor, given that he’s also boxed professionally. Lawal, who has trained at the Mayweather Boxing Club, also chimed in on the May-Mac hoopla, as well as his thoughts on facing Liam McGeary on Oct. 20 at Bellator 185. Vlismas is an amateur fighter based out of Las Vegas and will possibly turn pro this year.

MMAjunkie Radio airs from 1 to 3 p.m. ET (10 a.m. to noon PT), live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. You can watch and listen live on MMAjunkie’s Facebook and YouTubepages. Additionally, SiriusXM Rush (Ch. 93) carries a replay later in the day (8-10 p.m. ET) and the following morning (7-9 a.m. ET), or catch a replay on demand.

MMAjunkie Radio listener guide:

  • HOW TO WATCH (ON WEB): Watch a live stream on MMAjunkie’s Facebook or YouTube pages.
  • HOW TO CALL: MMAjunkie Radio takes phone calls from listeners throughout the show. Call into the MMAjunkie Radio hotline at (866) 522-2846.
  • HOW TO DISCUSS: The MMAjunkie MMA Forums has a section devoted solely to MMAjunkie Radio. Stop by the MMAjunkie Radio forum to discuss the show, interact with the hosts, suggest future guests and catch up on the latest MMAjunkie Radio news.
  • HOW TO VISIT THE SHOW: You can watch MMAjunkie Radio live and in person at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on the world-famous Las Vegas Strip. The booth is located in the resort’s Race & Sports Book next to the Mandalay Bay poker room. To plan a trip to Sin City and MMAjunkie Radio, go to www.mandalaybay.com.

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

Frank Mir is leaving behind an incredible UFC legacy with all these records

Frank Mir’s UFC career is officially over after today’s news that the former two-time heavyweight champion had inked a multi-fight deal with Bellator.

After a nearly 16-year, 27-fight tenure competing against the best inside the octagon, Mir (18-11 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) has moved on to a new chapter that will see him strap on non-UFC gloves for the first time since early 2001.

Mir’s accomplishments under the UFC banner will hold a prominent place in the heavyweight and overall company record books for the foreseeable future. He will likely land a spot in the UFC Hall of Fame when all is said and done, but for now, here’s the statistical legacy Mir leaves behind in the UFC.

* * * *

  • Longest uninterrupted tenure in UFC history: 5,727 days
  • Most fight in heavyweight history/tied for most fights in UFC history: 27
  • Most wins in UFC heavyweight history: 16
  • Most stoppage wins in UFC heavyweight history: 13
  • Most first-round stoppage wins in modern UFC history: 10
  • Most submission wins in UFC heavyweight history: 8
  • Most first-round submission wins in UFC history: 8
  • Most technical submission wins in UFC history: 3
  • Fastest submission wins in UFC heavyweight history: 45 seconds and 46 seconds
  • Most submission attempts in UFC heavyweight history: 21
  • Most knockdowns in a UFC heavyweight fight: 3 vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC 92

For more on Bellator’s upcoming schedule, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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

Former UFC heavyweight champ Frank Mir to sign with Bellator

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Frank Mir has signed with Bellator, marking the first time in more than 16 years that the former heavyweight champion will compete for an organization other than the UFC.

Mir (18-11 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) today announced that he’s signed with Bellator following an initial report from MMAFighting.com (via Twitter):

Mir debuted with the UFC in November 2001 at UFC 34. He began campaigning for his UFC release after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) flagged him for a violation following a March 2016 fight with Mark Hunt.

The 27-fight octagon veteran was officially handed a two-year suspension retroactive to the date of the test, but has maintained his innocence. He listed numerous potential sources for the positive test, including eating kangaroo meat while in Australia for the fight with Hunt. However, he was still given a maximum punishment by USADA.

On July 9, Mir announced he’d officially been released from his UFC contract.

Now Mir moves to Bellator, where he joins the likes of Rory MacDonald, Gegard Mousasi, Ryan Bader, Chael Sonnen, Benson Henderson and others who signed with Bellator after lengthy UFC tenures.

Mir leaves the UFC with numerous heavyweight records to his credit, including most fights (27), wins (16), stoppages (13) and submissions (eight).

Although active UFC fighter B.J. Penn made his promotional debut prior to Mir, the former champion’s uninterrupted UFC tenure of 5,727 days is a record that may never be broken.

For more on Bellator’s upcoming schedule, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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

Watch MMAjunkie Radio here (1 p.m. ET) with Jorge Masvidal, Muhammed Lawal and Cheyanne Vlismas

Filed under: Bellator, News, UFC

MMAjunkie Radio kicks off today at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) with guests Jorge Masvidal, Muhammed Lawal and Cheyanne Vlismas.

Masvidal hopes to fight Stephen Thompson at UFC 217. Lawal fights Liam McGeary on Oct. 20 at Bellator 185. Standout amateur fighter Vlismas discusses potential career options.

MMAjunkie Radio airs from 1 to 3 p.m. ET (10 a.m. to noon PT), live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. You can watch and listen live on MMAjunkie’s Facebook and YouTube pages. Additionally, SiriusXM Rush (Ch. 93) carries a replay later in the day (8-10 p.m. ET) and the following morning (7-9 a.m. ET), or catch a replay on demand.

MMAjunkie Radio listener guide:

  • HOW TO WATCH (ON WEB): Watch a live stream on MMAjunkie’s Facebook or YouTube pages.
  • HOW TO CALL: MMAjunkie Radio takes phone calls from listeners throughout the show. Call into the MMAjunkie Radio hotline at (866) 522-2846.
  • HOW TO DISCUSS: The MMAjunkie MMA Forums has a section devoted solely to MMAjunkie Radio. Stop by the MMAjunkie Radio forum to discuss the show, interact with the hosts, suggest future guests and catch up on the latest MMAjunkie Radio news.
  • HOW TO VISIT THE SHOW: You can watch MMAjunkie Radio live and in person at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on the world-famous Las Vegas Strip. The booth is located in the resort’s Race & Sports Book next to the Mandalay Bay poker room. To plan a trip to Sin City and MMAjunkie Radio, go to www.mandalaybay.com.

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

Stream or download MMAjunkie Radio #2511 with Paulie Malignaggi, T.J. Dillashaw, Jhenny Andrade, Ana Julaton, Angelo Reyes

Stream or download Monday’s episode of MMAjunkie Radio with guests Paulie Malignaggi, T.J. Dillashaw, Jhenny Andrade, Ana Julaton and Angelo Reyes.

Malignaggi addressed the leaked videos of him sparring Conor McGregor. Dillashaw discussed impending fatherhood and the likelihood he will fight UFC champ Cody Garbrandt at UFC 217. Andrade spoke about her 2016 World MMA Awards Ring Card Girl of the Year award. Julaton discussed her tryout for The Ultimate Fighter 26 and contract talks with Bellator.

MMAjunkie Radio airs from 1 to 3 p.m. ET (10 a.m. to noon PT), live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. You can watch and listen live on MMAjunkie’s Facebook and YouTube pages. Additionally, SiriusXM Rush (Ch. 93) carries a replay later in the day (8-10 p.m. ET) and the following morning (7-9 a.m. ET), or catch a replay on demand.

MMAjunkie Radio listener guide:

  • HOW TO WATCH (ON WEB): Watch a live stream on MMAjunkie’s Facebook or YouTube pages.
  • HOW TO CALL: MMAjunkie Radio takes phone calls from listeners throughout the show. Call into the MMAjunkie Radio hotline at (866) 522-2846.
  • HOW TO DISCUSS: The MMAjunkie MMA Forums has a section devoted solely to MMAjunkie Radio. Stop by the MMAjunkie Radio forum to discuss the show, interact with the hosts, suggest future guests and catch up on the latest MMAjunkie Radio news.
  • HOW TO VISIT THE SHOW: You can watch MMAjunkie Radio live and in person at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on the world-famous Las Vegas Strip. The booth is located in the resort’s Race & Sports Book next to the Mandalay Bay poker room. To plan a trip to Sin City and MMAjunkie Radio, go to www.mandalaybay.com.

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

Instant fan favorite Heather Hardy returns at Bellator 185

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Filed under: Bellator, News

Heather Hardy said she fell in love with MMA; the feeling was mutual with many MMA fans.

In June at Bellator 180, Hardy (1-0 MMA, 1-0 BMMA), a standout boxer, made a successful MMA debut with a third-round TKO of flyweight Alice Yauger (4-6 MMA, 0-2 BMMA).

Now, Hardy is slated to return at Bellator 185, she announced Monday on “The MMA Hour.”

An opponent hasn’t been revealed for the Oct. 20 event, which airs on Spike from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.

Heather Hardy

The 35-year-old Brooklyn native, who’s gone 20-0 and claimed WBC titles since making her pro boxing debut in 2012, said she enjoyed her move into MMA, where she finished strong and survived a nasty cut to emerge victorious in June.

“I think I just fell in love,” Hardy said after Bellator 180 (watch the video above). “I just worked so hard, and now I can say I did it too. A lot of people said I couldn’t do it or I wouldn’t do it. And I did.”

However, “The Heat” said she doesn’t plan to fully exit boxing and plans to compete in both sports.

“I’ll never leave boxing,” Hardy said. “There are girls I still want to fight in boxing. It’s not something I plan on walking away from. … I can’t wait to practice some new stuff. I’m learning.”

The latest Bellator 185 card includes:

  • Gegard Mousasi vs. Alexander Shlemenko
  • Muhammed Lawal vs. Liam McGeary
  • Heather Hardy vs. opponent TBA

For more on Bellator 185, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Chael Sonnen responds to Tito Ortiz's callout on Twitter just how you'd expect

UFC Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz recently provided an update this week on his post-neck surgery condition, posting an Instagram video in which he specifies details the procedure and how he’s feeling while also thanking friends, family and Bellator for their support.

Ortiz, who retired more than six months ago, closed out the video with this:

“I’m alive. I’m fixed. Now it’s time to get ready because, Chael, I’m kicking your ass.”

That obviously was Ortiz (19-12-1 MMA, 3-1 BMMA) hinting at un-retiring for a rematch with Chael Sonnen (30-15-1 MMA, 1-1 BMMA), who tapped out to a rear-naked choke in their fight earlier this year at Bellator 170. You know Sonnen wouldn’t let that go without a response, which he issued on Twitter.

That’s a classic Chael Sonnen response, ladies and gentlemen, especially the part about “I’m glad I beat you.” Because, you know, he is “still undefeated and still undisputed” no matter what any of us think.

For more on the upcoming Bellator schedule, visit the MMA 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: Bellator, Blue Corner, Featured Videos
Source: MMA Junkie