Ref Marc Goddard responds to Conor McGregor, clarifies Bellator 187 melee facts in Facebook post

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Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News, UFC

As it turns out, referee Marc Goddard’s first statement addressing the Conor McGregor melee at Bellator 187 wasn’t enough. He had much more to say, chiefly so he could clear up any confusion.

Following his short 37-word tweet on Saturday, Goddard today wrote a lengthy Facebook post to make sure the facts are known. Goddard shared his message not long after McGregor posted an apology for jumping the cage Friday, which set off a chaotic sequence at the conclusion of the fight between McGregor’s SBG Ireland teammate, Charlie Ward, and John Redmond at 3Arena in Dublin.

In his apology, McGregor called out Goddard for what McGregor “horrendous decision in trying to pick an unconscious fighter up off the floor and force the fight to continue.” Goddard’s Facebook message was, at least in part, a direct response to McGregor’s claim.

Goddard said he heard the 10-second warning, but because of the noisy crowd reaction to Ward’s left hook that dropped Redmond, Goddard stopped the fight in the final moments “with the belief that (the) bell had indeed been sounded.” Goddard supports his claim pointing to video evidence that he stepped in without waving his hands as if to signal the fight was over.

McGregor, who wasn’t a licensed cornerman, immediately jumped the cage to celebrate with Ward, and all hell broke loose from there. Goddard said he proceeded to react under the assumption that Round 2 was still to come and could not make a clear determination of Redmond’s condition because of McGregor’s actions.

“Had I been allowed to make my determination without the interference of unauthorized persons in the cage in the first place then the ensuing melee would have indeed not occurred and normal protocol could have ensued,” Goddard said. “I then (would’ve) notified all concerned and we could conclude the bout officially and satisfactorily. At no point did I attempt to ‘pick up an unconscious fighter’ [he was not unconscious] and of course would never ‘force the fight to continue.’

“The important point to note here is that the condition and safety of the fighter trumps any and all other decisions. Their ability to be safely allowed to continue in a contest is only ever called by the referee, the person in charge of that contest and the sole arbiter. When I am unfairly delayed or robbed of that opportunity from outside and external sources, it brings not only the sport into disrepute but from my primary role and function of being able to make the right decision, the correct decision that is both safe and fair to the athlete concerned.”

Goddard said that because he had yet to determine the bout was over, his immediate goal was to restore order by getting both fighters to their corners for the rest period. He also wanted McGregor out of the cage.

Goddard, though, takes umbrage with anyone who believes he instigated physical contact with McGregor, pointing to the video to support his claim. Goddard also has a problem with those who believe he had an ax to grind with McGregor because of their prior history.

“So to all of you out there who wrongly assumed that I approach Charlie to eject Conor then you are sadly mistaken and plain wrong,” Goddard said. “The only reason I approach is to tell Charlie to (go) back to his corner as the fight was not over. It’s called restoring order and gaining control – who else was going to do it?”

You can read Goddard’s entire statement below via Facebook:

After a couple of days of downtime and reflection I would like to offer some clarification on the events that unfolded in the fight between Charlie Ward & John Redmond at Bellator 187. As per usual there is much assumption and conjecture so allow me to clear the up the facts and put to bed the inaccuracies.

The 1st round was progressing and passing without incident and subsequently my involvement. As the round drew to a close the 10 second warning sounded and that was heard and acknowledged by me. Soon after Charlie Ward connected with a left hand that slumped John Redmond to his knees. At this exact point I could not and had not made my determination that John was either out of the contest or not in the position to intelligently defend himself.

The punch and action that followed naturally resulted in a surge of crowd noise, one that was so significant I had already made my determination that I could not audibly hear the bell sound for the end of the round, I had made my decision to step in with the belief that bell had indeed been sounded, when in actual fact it had not. This is a critical fact to the ensuing proceedings.

At this point on my step in, and you will clearly see from the video replay that I only step across and do not wave the fight off. Charlie Ward, understandably so had reeled off in celebration thinking that I had indeed ended the contest and not as I had actually done, called time on what I believed to be the end of the round. Two distinctly different endings.

At this point Conor McGregor, who had once again been stood for the entire duration of the round in close proximity of the cage had taken my intervention, wrongly, as the end of the contest and proceeded to jump the fence to enter the fighting area to congratulate what he believed to be his team mates victory. At this point again my immediate concern was John Redmond who was still on his hands and knees and not in a position to look up and at me, please remember at this point I had still not officially called a stop to the contest.

John Redmond was moving and still in an obvious daze from the concussive blow. At this point, due to the ensuing confusion and people in the ring who shouldn’t be, I had still not decided that Redmond was out of the contest and that I has stepped in to stop the fight for what I had ultimately believed to have been the bell sound. Had I have had the chance to look and assess the condition of Redmond, even in real time to ascertain should the fight be stopped then I would naturally have done so, of course I did not.

As I see Conor McGregor in the ring – this is the ONLY reason that I approach Mr Ward. Conor is of zero concern to me at this point, he “happened to be there” [wrongly] and my intention again as you will clearly see from the video is to approach Charlie to let him know that the fight was not at that point officially over, that he should return to his corner and wait for my assessment and call. Had I indeed ended the bout then the fact Conor McGregor was in the ring would have been of zero concern to me and I wouldn’t even have approached them. I would have no need to.

I was talking only to Charlie Ward at this point and you will see me put my arms between him and Conor McGregor, trying to separate and restore order to notify him to go back to his corner and continue the rest period, I was trying to communicate with Charlie Ward and then trying to tell Conor to leave, it wasn’t done yet. This is when Conor McGregor began firstly his verbal assault in my direction. My only thought at this point was to notify Charlie Ward, and his corner team, of my decision at the time and restore order to the fighting area. Also the condition of Paul Redmond and then subsequently bringing in the Dr in the rest period to make a determination. Of course the ensuing mêlée and confusion had completely prevented that from happening, that is the result of the actions of one man.

Still at this point I had no dialogue with the official timekeeper as order and control was trying to be kept in the cage. I will make zero allowance for what people believe to be a referee’s intervention and not a security or commission representative’s job. Know this – when a fight is in swing and in the fighting area then as long as that is going on and the relevant parties are present and involved then it is my responsibility to provide the over-riding authority, it always had/has and it always will be so please allow me to first make that categorically clear. Whilst those combatants and all who surround them are within the fighting area both before during and after the contest then they will and they are under my jurisdiction – make no mistake about that fact. So to the people who think and believe otherwise then you are categorically and wholly wrong. When I referee it is my area and I will control it.

So to all of you out there who wrongly assumed that I approach Charlie to eject Conor then you are sadly mistaken and plain wrong, the only reason I approach is to tell Charlie to Go back to his corner as the fight was not over. It’s called restoring order and gaining control – who else was going to do it?

People have a strange habit, particularly in highly charged and emotional affairs such as MMA contest’s of seeing and believing what indeed has not happened. There has been the notion and belief of the fact that I had pushed Conor McGregor when this factually and categorically untrue – please again watch the video and you will see very clearly that I have my arms in between Charlie and Conor whilst trying to tell Charlie to return to his corner and let me make my determination, pushing fighters, or anyone unnecessarily so is simply not in my nature, or protocol of conduct to do so. It is then again, clearly, that you will see Conor McGregor who put his hands on my chest to shove me, I then turn and walk away to go back and check on the condition of Paul Redmond.

Immediately behind me Conor McGregor is running after me, incensed that the fight was not yet officially ruled over, trying to get round a commission representative, this is unbeknown to me and again if you look at the video he then breaks free of the commissioner and round into my back, it was a light and insignificant touch of no concern to me but what is of paramount importance here is the facts. The video does not lie. Again at this point I wanted to look at Paul Redmond and had notified his corned that it was not over, I had called for what I had believed to be the bell. Conor McGregors actions and ensuing melee of additional people with and connected to him, again with zero need or authority to even be in the cage, had also resulted in Paul Redmond being knocked around by the very people who were trying to ensure his safety and well being.

It was then that finally, in a second of respite amongst the carnage do I get to see the timekeeper who tells me that bell was sounded one second after I had stepped across. This is when it becomes apparently and easily clear to me that the fight was now officially ruled and over and Charlie Ward had indeed rightfully won the fight, based upon my actions alone.

Conor McGregor was then forcefully ejected from the cage, whilst still trying to get to me and continuing his verbal tirade and threats, including “seeing me in Birmingham” [my hometown] Conor McGregor’s threats are of no concern to me. He then circled outside of the cage and jumped back up on the cage and when a commission official tried to get him down he struck out to him. The video presents all the evidence that is needed. People are mistakenly under the belief that they are entitled to their own opinion and I’m not really up for that train of thought however, we can argue that one, but what you’re never entitled to is your own facts – these will always remain unchanged.

It is of imperative importance that this point is understood – once I know that I had stepped across and in between the fighters at 4:59 [or any time for that matter] then the fight is officially over and there is no going back. Again at this point it was categorically clear to me that Paul Redmond was indeed in no state to continue and the rightful winner was Charlie Ward. Had I been allowed to make my determination without the interference of unauthorized persons in the cage in the first place then the ensuing melee would have indeed not occurred and normal protocol could have ensued. I then notified all concerned and we could conclude the bout officially and satisfactorily. At no point did I attempt to “pick up an unconscious fighter” [he was not unconscious] and of course would never “force the fight to continue”

The important point to note here is that the condition and safety of the fighter trumps any and all other decisions. Their ability to be safely allowed to continue in a contest is only ever called by the referee, the person in charge of that contest and the sole arbiter. When I am unfairly delayed or robbed of that opportunity from outside and external sources it brings not only the sport into disrepute but from my primary role and function of being able to make the right decision, the correct decision that is both safe and fair to the athlete concerned.

I have enjoyed a very good and enjoyable relationship over many, many years with fighters and members of SBGi who have always represented themselves and the team with class and respect. I would like to thank all the team who approached and messaged me directly. I wish you all continued success and good fortune.
Literally thousands of messages received too, I appreciate your support and kind words but this is about MMA not me. I have declined every single media/news request to speak publically, these are my own words. I would like to thank Mike Mazzulli ABC president and the inspectors from the Mohegan Tribe Commission for the support.

I do not wish for any further action to be taken against any party, in particular Conor McGregor, but ultimately that is entirely out of my hands. I hope that the situation can be reviewed, learned from on how we could prevent a repeat instance and then case closed, we move on for the good of the sport.
I have known, witnessed and refereed Conor on many previous occasions over the years and watched, even in support of his meteoric rise, speaking publically to commend him and offer an insight when others had turned against him. I have known Conor before he was the mega star that he is now, long before he amassed his fame and fortune – the difference being I respected him the same and treated him no different back then.

The sport of MMA is the bigger picture here and is of my primary concern and anyone who knows me, truly knows me, will underline that. As I said on Saturday morning before leaving Dublin – I operate with integrity, belief and values – all of the time, every time.

I apologise in advance for the lengthy statement.

My respect and thanks.

For complete coverage of Bellator 187, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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

Conor McGregor apologizes for Bellator 187 fiasco, blasts ref's 'horrendous decision'

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Conor McGregor has apologized for setting off a melee this past Friday at Bellator 187.

The UFC lightweight champion today released a statement to try to explain why it happened at the Dublin event.

The trouble began when longtime McGregor teammate Charlie Ward (4-3 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) dropped opponent John Redmond (7-13 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) with a hook late in the first round (watch the highlights above). Referee Marc Goddard stepped in to stop the bout as McGregor hopped the fence and tackled Ward in apparent celebration.

The veteran ref then ordered McGregor out of the cage – the second time he’s had words with the Irish star over his cageside demeanor – only to have McGregor curse him out and shove him as officials tried to calm the situation.

McGregor then exited the cage, only to march back in after officials tried to usher him out. “Notorious” then he hopped the cage once more, and when a Bellator employee named tried to stop him, he appeared to reply with a slap to the face.

Here’s McGregor’s full statement (via Instagram):

Instagram Photo

“I sincerely apologize for my behavior at last weekends fight event in Dublin. While trying to support a loyal teammate and friend, I let my emotions get the best of me and acted out of line. As a multiple weight UFC champion, executive producer, role model and public figure, I must hold myself to a higher standard.

“The referee Marc Gonard was making a horrendous decision in trying to pick an unconscious fighter up off the floor and force the fight to continue into the second round. Even against the wishes of the said fighters coach. The fight was over.

“After witnessing my fighter in a fight where the worst happened and the opponent passed away from his injuries on the night, I thought the worst was about to happen again, and I lost it and over reacted. I am sorry to everyone.

“I sincerely apologize to the Director of the Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulation, Mike Mazzulli, all the officials and staff working the event, Andy Ryan and his fighter John, two stonch ones that put up a great fight every time. That side will always have my respect, and lastly every one of my fans. I love yous all!

“I’ve always learned from my mistakes and this will be no different.”

Association of Boxing Commissions President Mike Mazzulli, who was at the event in a regulatory role, is currently evaluating his legal options for how to handle the incident.

For complete coverage of Bellator 187, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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Trading Shots: Conor McGregor jumps in cage and crosses line, so now what?

Conor McGregor made himself the story by jumping into the cage and shoving a referee at Bellator 187, but will he suffer any consequences whatsoever? And if it means delaying his return to the UFC, would we really want him to?

Retired UFC and WEC fighter Danny Downes joins MMAjunkie columnist Ben Fowlkes to discuss in this week’s Trading Shots.

* * * *

Downes: A couple weeks ago you talked about how you’re a Bellator believer, Ben. I guess that means you were glued to your set this past Friday for Bellator 187 from 3Arena in Dublin, where A.J. McKee improved his undefeated record to 10-0 and “Baby Slice” Kevin Ferguson Jr. picked up his second Bellator win via first-round submission.

But you know that’s not what we’re here to talk about. It’s all about Conor McGregor.

After his teammate Charlie Ward finished John Redmond with a first-round TKO, McGregor decided to inject a little bit of pandemonium to the proceedings. He jumped into the cage (despite not being a licensed cornerman), tackled his friend with some type of jumping guard pull, and then got into an altercation with referee Marc Goddard.

After he was escorted from the cage, he tried to climb back in. When he was rebuffed, he decided to slap a Bellator employee in the face.

We all know nothing will happen to McGregor, right? Maybe some tsk-tsking and a nominal fine, but nothing of substance. Should there be a stricter punishment, though? He brought that McGregor flair for the dramatic and probably increased the ratings. Even Bellator was promoting his actions on Twitter so people could catch the tape delay. So what’s the real story here?

Fowlkes: The real story is McGregor being completely out of control, acting like he can do anything he wants, maybe in part because that’s the message the MMA world has sent him. Before it’s all said and done, it will also end up being a referendum on what we truly value in this sport, which is where it’s going to get tricky.

First, let’s be very clear about what happened here. What McGregor did wasn’t just some minor breach of etiquette – it was dangerous. The fight was not even officially over yet, and Redmond was down on the mat, clearly still hurt from the blows he absorbed.

McGregor started out celebrating with his teammate, but when Goddard rightly tried to get him out of there, McGregor actually followed him across the cage to shove him as he was trying to check on the downed fighter. The ensuing fracas knocked Redmond down again as he was trying to get up, all so McGregor could continue haranguing a referee who was doing his job (via Twitter):

It was selfish. It was stupid. It was unsafe.

What we saw on display here was McGregor’s overwhelming sense of entitlement. He had about as much business in that cage as a random fan does in running onto the field during a football game, yet when an official tried to get him out of there, he flipped out. That not only created a dangerous environment, it also wound up stealing the spotlight from his teammate.

Think about it: You get your big win in Bellator in front of your home crowd, but once again your team’s most famous member ends up being the focal point. Somehow, you become a footnote to your own victory. And why? Because his ego was slightly bruised by someone telling him he couldn’t do absolutely anything he wanted.

But then, that’s the part we get stuck on, because unless there’s some fitting punishment here, the message we’re going to send is that McGregor really can do anything he wants.

He doesn’t work for Bellator, so it’s not like Scott Coker can do anything to him. He wasn’t licensed for the event, so the Mohegan Tribe commission that regulated it probably can’t punish him. That leaves it up to the UFC, which, as we’ve already established, is currently stuck in “how high” mode whenever McGregor asks it to jump.

So what do we actually want to see happen here? Should the UFC fine him? Suspend him? Should it stay consistent with its prior stance on Jason High and go right ahead and cut him? (Hahahahahaha … sorry, just couldn’t get through that one with a straight face.)

McGregor’s been allowed to play by his own rules to an unprecedented extent so far. Does our eagerness to see him fight again mean we’re willing to see that stretched even further?

Downes: First you get the money, then you get the power, then you get to jump on any cage you want. Rich, powerful people have thought they were above the rules for millennia. McGregor is no different in that respect.

I suppose we won’t know the line until he crosses it, but I think we should be on the lookout, because it’s probably going to going to come soon. When he decided not to attend a UFC press conference, most people were happy. He was sticking it to the man! Promoters have long had a disproportionate share of the power and here was a fighter who knew his worth.

When he decided to put multiple divisions on hold and change weight classes to become a two-time champ, most of us didn’t mind either. They were intriguing fights and brought a level of interest to the sport we hadn’t had in a while. Even the Floyd Mayweather boxing fight, while farcical on its surface, was fun. We enjoyed the circus and couldn’t blame a fella for making that boxing payday.

Recently though, he’s been acting with a level of impunity which has nothing to do with how he promotes his career. He inserts himself into the Artem Lobov vs. Andre Fili fight, freely uses homophobic slurs and then issues a non-apology apology. Even if he makes some pro forma statement about what happened Friday night, you know he won’t really mean it.

He doesn’t have remorse because he feels entitled to do whatever he wants. And he feels that way because he’s been given that power.

In any professional sport, your talent or ability to make the league/promotion/owner money grants you a longer and longer leash for misbehavior. High gets cut from the UFC while Roy Nelson and McGregor earn no such condemnation. Until you find leagues/promotions/owners who value character over dollars, this attitude will persist.

What I wonder, though, is how much fans and media have contributed to this problem. We wouldn’t be covering this event unless McGregor acted the way he did. Do a quick search for Bellator 187, and you’ll find that the top results are all in reference to McGregor.

“Mystic Mac” made himself a star, but he didn’t do it alone. The next time we have to discuss this Irishman’s impropriety (and there will be a next time), are we better off ignoring it completely?

Fowlkes: So you’re saying that the way to really set McGregor straight is to say and do absolutely nothing in response to his misbehavior? Bold strategy, Cotton. Let’s see if it pays off.

It’s one thing to say we in the media should stop the constant coverage of every little thing McGregor says or does or wears. There’s a legitimate argument to be made there.

But if Tyron Woodley had jumped in the cage at someone else’s fight and then shoved a ref and smacked a Bellator official, you know damn well we’d talk about it. You also know the entire MMA community and the UFC itself would come down on him like a cartoon safe, which is the part that won’t happen here solely because it’s McGregor.

And does anyone really want it to happen? Obviously, the UFC is not going to cut the goose that laid the golden pay-per-view just for the sake of consistency, which is an idea that’s never been that important to the UFC anyway.

Even the fans who agree that McGregor was completely out of line probably don’t want to see him suspended for any length of time just because he put his hands on an official and thereby crossed one of the few supposedly uncrossable lines left in this sport.

So what recourse does that leave? You can fine him, but he’s so rich he’ll barely notice. You can make him apologize to Goddard, but that’s a long way from an actual punishment. You can do nothing at all, which might be the most honest possible response from the UFC, but then you can’t be surprised when this escalating pattern of behavior continues.

One way or another, we’re going to find out whether McGregor’s star power is more important to the sport, the fans and the UFC than any of these silly little concepts like safety or decorum or the barest hint of good sense. I guess what I’m worried about is I feel like I already know the answer to that one.

For more on Bellator 187, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

Ben Fowlkes is MMAjunkie and USA TODAY’s MMA columnist. Danny Downes, a retired UFC and WEC fighter, is an MMAjunkie contributor who has also written for UFC.com and UFC 360. Follow them on twitter at @benfowlkesMMA and @dannyboydownes.

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

Bellator 187 post-event facts: A.J. McKee sets record with 10th consecutive Bellator win

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Bellator 187’s main event came down to the wire when unbeaten prospect A.J. McKee was forced to dig deep with a submission victory over Brian Moore at Friday’s event.

McKee (10-0 MMA, 10-0 BMMA) earned a third-round submission win over Moore (10-6 MMA, 1-2 BMMA) in the Spike-televised featherweight headliner at 3Arena in Dublin, giving him the longest winning streak in Bellator history.

McKee’s victory closed out of a five-fight main card that saw four contests end in a stoppage. For more on the numbers behind the show, check out 20 post-event facts about Bellator 187.

* * * *

General

Debuting fighters went 2-4 at the event.

Betting favorites went 5-0 on the main card.

Betting favorites improved to 13-4 (one fight had even odds) in Bellator main events this year.

Total fight time for the five-bout main card was 36:44.

* * * *

Main card

A.J. McKee

McKee’s 10-fight Bellator winning streak is the longest active streak in the company.

McKee’s 10-fight Bellator winning streak is the longest streak in company history.

McKee’s 10-fight Bellator winning streak in featherweight competition is the longest active streak in the division and longest in divisional history.

McKee’s 10 victories in Bellator featherweight competition are tied with Daniel Straus and Pat Curran for second most in divisional history behind Patricio Freire (14).

McKee has earned seven of his 10 career victories by stoppage.

Moore fell to 3-4 in his past seven fights overall dating back to September 2013.

Moore has suffered both of his Bellator losses by submission.

Sinead Kavanagh (5-2 MMA, 2-2 BMMA) improved to 1-1 since she moved up to the Bellator women’s featherweight division.

Kavanagh has earned all of her career stoppage victories by knockout.

Maria Casanova (3-6-1 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) has just one victory in her past six fights dating back to November 2016.

Kevin Ferguson Jr.

Kevin Ferguson Jr. (2-1 MMA, 2-1 BMMA) earned the first submission victory of his career.

Fred Freeman (1-1 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) suffered the first loss of his career.

Charlie Ward (4-3 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) snapped his two-fight losing skid for his first victory since June 2016.

Ward has earned both of his career stoppage victories by knockout.

Paul Redmond (14-7 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) improved to 4-1 since he was released from the UFC in July 2015.

For complete coverage of Bellator 187, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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Bellator 187 highlights: Charlie Ward's TKO set off a Conor McGregor fiasco

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Conor McGregor provided the most buzz-worthy moment on Friday at Bellator 187, but the actual sanctioned fighting had some highlights, as well.

While McGregor, the UFC lightweight champion set off a melee earlier on the card, the event, which took place at 3Arena in Dublin and aired via same-day delay on Spike, saw some familiar names in the action.

In the headliner, A.J. McKee (10-0 MMA, 10-0 BMMA) continued his undefeated pro run – and moved to 10-0 while fighting exclusively for Bellator – after putting featherweight Brian Moore (10-6 MMA, 1-2 BMMA) to sleep. McKee endured a nasty cut and a rally from his opponent, but he ultimately got the fight-ending rear naked choke in the third round.

Also on the card, Sinead Kavanagh (5-2 MMA, 2-2 BMMA), who missed weight for the 140-pound catchweight affair, nonetheless made quick work of Maria Casanova (3-6-1 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) en route to a 34-second TKO win.

Additionally, in a 161-pound catchweight fight, “Baby Slice” – Kevin Ferguson Jr. (2-1 MMA, 2-1 BMMA) – submitted Fred Freeman (1-1 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) in less than two minutes.

And in the main-card opener, middleweight Charlie Ward (4-3 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) scored a first-round TKO win over John Redmond (7-13 MMA, 0-1 BMMA), though his teammate, McGregor, set off this scene (via Twitter):

Check out all of the highlights above.

And for more on Bellator 187, including a full event recap, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Fight Tracks: The walkout songs of Bellator 187

While it takes intense training, world-class skills and maybe even a bit of luck to register a Bellator win, picking the right song to accompany you to the cage is a key talent, as well.

See what the fighters of Friday’s Bellator 187 event in Dublin, went with as their backing tracks.

* * * *

A.J. McKee def. Brian Moore via technical submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 3, 4:14

A.J. McKee: “A.J. McKee” by Lil’ Hef

Brian Moore: “L’Estasi Dell’oro (Bandini Remix)” by Ennio Morricone

Sinead Kavanagh def. Maria Casanova via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 0:34

Sinead Kavanagh: “Feel The Love” by Rudimental feat. John Newman

Maria Casanova: N/A

Kevin Ferguson Jr. def. Fred Freeman via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 1:57

Kevin Ferguson Jr.: “Bareknuckle Hits” by DJ EFN

Fred Freeman: “Dream On” by Aerosmith

Charlie Ward def. John Redmond via knockout (punch) – Round 1, 4:59

Charlie Ward: N/A

John Redmond: “The Last of the Mohicans Theme” by Dougie Maclean & Trevor Jones

Paul Redmond def. Sergio de Jesus Santos via unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-27)

Paul Redmond: “The Harder They Come” by Jimmy Cliff

Sergio de Jesus Santos: “We Will Rock You” by Queen

For complete coverage of Bellator 187, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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

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

Bellator 187 results: McKee stays unbeaten, but McGregor's behavior steals spotlight

Featherweight prospect A.J. McKee kept his perfect career record intact in the main event of Bellator 187, but it was UFC superstar Conor McGregor who stole the spotlight with a nasty incident of Friday’s event.

McKee (10-0 MMA, 10-0 BMMA) scored a third-round technical submission win over Brian Moore (10-6 MMA, 1-2 BMMA) in the headlining bout of the card, which took place at 3Arena in Dublin and aired in the U.S. on Spike via tape delay.

However, McKee’s victory was overshadowed by an ugly Conor McGregor episode that followed an earlier win by his SBG Ireland teammate Charlie Ward (4-3 MMA, 1-0 BMMA), who earned a first-round TKO win over John Redmond (7-13 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) in a featured main-card contest. McGregor, who was not serving as a licensed cornerman at the event, scaled the cage to celebrate with his teammate and then shoved Marc Goddard when the veteran referee tried to have the UFC lightweight champion removed from the cage while Redmond received medical attention.

Additional footage later showed that McGregor took a swipe at a Bellator employee who had tried to get “Notorious” down from the top of the cage.

MMAjunkie reached out to UFC officials for comment but have yet to hear back. Meanwhile, Bellator brass simply stated they intend to look further into the matter.

The card was regulated by the Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulation, and director Mike Mazzulli suggested to MMAjunkie that further actions could be coming.

“Mr. McGregor is not bigger than the sport of MMA,” Mazzulli stated to MMAjunkie’s Steve Marrocco via text.

In the night’s co-feature, Sinead Kavanagh (5-2 MMA, 2-2 BMMA) made quick work of an outmatched Maria Casanova (3-6-1 MMA, 0-1 BMMA), scoring a TKO win in just 34 seconds.

The two engaged quickly in the center to start the fight, but the first real flurry from Kavanagh sent her opponent to the floor. Kavanagh quickly jumped into mount and rained down punches, earning the lighting-quick stoppage.

In additional action, Kevin Ferguson Jr. (2-1 MMA, 2-1 BMMA), the man best known as “Baby Slice,” picked up his second consecutive win, submitting Fred Freeman (1-1 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) via rear-naked choke under two minutes.

The catchweight bout started with a few exchanges on the feet, but Ferguson Jr. quickly flashed his developing skillset by locking the body and taking the action to the floor, where he enjoyed top position until eyeing the opportunity to lock in the fight-ending submission at the 1:57 mark of the opening frame.

Bellator 187 results include:

MAIN CARD

  • A.J. McKee def. Brian Moore via technical submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 3, 4:14
  • Maria Casanova def. Sinead Kavanagh via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 0:34
  • Kevin Ferguson Jr. def. Fred Freeman via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 1:57
  • Charlie Ward def. John Redmond via TKO (punch) – Round 1, 4:59
  • Paul Redmond def. Sergio de Jesus Santos via unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-27)

PRELIMINARY CARD

  • Alex Lohore def. Richard Kiely via submission (kneebar) – Round 1, 4:25 to defend BAMMA welterweight title
  • Daniel Barez def. Andy Young via majority decision (29-27, 29-27, 28-28) to claim BAMMA flyweight title
  • Dominique Wooding def. Blaine O’Driscoll via knockout (punch) – Round 3, 1:47
  • Dylan Tuke def. David Khalsa via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 1:09
  • Ion Pascu def. Omar Jesus Santana via split decision (27-28, 28-27, 28-26) – Round 3, 5:00

For more on Bellator 187, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Conor McGregor jumps cage at Bellator 187, confronts referee Marc Goddard

UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor made quite the scene at today’s Bellator 187 event in his native Dublin.

Several of McGregor’s (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) SBG Ireland teammates compete on today’s card at 3Arena (it airs via same-day delay tonight on Spike), and after Charlie Ward (4-3 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) scored a knockout victory over John Redmond (7-13 MMA, 0-1 BMMA), “The Notorious” to jump in the cage to celebrate.

McGregor wasn’t a licensed cornerman for the event. That became obvious when security swarmed the UFC’s former 145-pound and current 155-pound titleholder. What happened after that was even stranger, though. A highly emotional McGregor charged in the direction of referee Marc Goddard, who attempted to break up the champ’ embrace with Ward. McGregor’s celebration quickly turned to ire as he targeted Goddard.

McGregor was restrained. He screamed and pointed in Goddard’s direction while chaos surrounded him inside the cage. Watch it below:

The recent history between McGregor and Goddard may have played a part in today’s melee. McGregor attended UFC Fight Night 118 in Gdansk, Poland, this past month and attempted to serve as an extra cornerman in Artem Lobov’s loss to Andre Fili. Goddard was the referee for the fight, and at one point he had to stop the action to order McGregor to return to his seat.

For complete coverage of Bellator 187, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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

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5 reasons to watch Bellator 187, with A.J. McKee, 'Baby Slice,' Sinead Kavanagh and more

Bellator heads to Dublin for Friday’s Bellator 187 event. The card lost its originally scheduled main event when rising Irish featherweight James Gallagher suffered a knee injury in October, but enough local fighters remain on the card to give the Irish crowd something to cheer about, including main event combatant Brian Moore.

Moore landed in the top spot when Gallagher, his teammate at SBG Ireland, was removed from the fight. Moore faces another rising star in the featherweight division in the headlining bout: A.J. McKee.

McKee and Gallagher have been in a war of words for quite a while. Even though Gallagher is no longer on the card, that hasn’t stopped McKee from taking shots at his nemesis in the lead up to the event.

“We should be fighting,” McKee told MMAjunkie. “It just keeps confirming that he’s scared. He’s little princess Gallagher. It’s a shame, but you can’t send a 19-year-old boy to do a man’s job. So that’s why they replaced him with Brian Moore.”

In the co-main event, Kevin Ferguson Jr., the son of the late Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson, faces Fred Freeman.

Bellator 187 takes place at 3Arena and airs via tape delay on Spike.

1. Championship goals

A.J. McKee

A few weeks after he turned 22, McKee laid out the blueprint for his MMA career.

“I plan on being the youngest champ ever,” McKee told MMAjunkie. “Jon Jones was 23 when he did it, so I’ve got a full year to beat that coming from April. (I also want to keep) being undefeated, keep that 0 and be the (Floyd) Mayweather of MMA. Just keep breaking records.”

While McKee has been impressive since turning pro with Bellator in 2015, the promotion has kept him away from the top fighters in the featherweight division. Names such as Daniel Weichel, Georgi Karakhanyan, Emmanuel Sanchez, Pat Curran and Daniel Straus don’t appear anywhere on his record. That makes McKee’s plan to capture gold in the next five months seem a tad too ambitious.

That’s not to say 22-year-old McKee hasn’t had a good run with the promotion; he has. His nine-fight winning streak is tied for longest in Bellator history with former welterweight champion Ben Askren. McKee has six finishes in those nine fights.

McKee (9-0 MMA, 9-0 BMMA) faces Moore (10-5 MMA, 1-1 BMMA), an SBG Ireland teammate of Gallagher’s, in this headlining bout. If the 30-year-old Moore manages to end the winning streak of his teammate’s nemesis, things might get a little crazy inside the arena.

2. Looking for progress

Kevin Ferguson Jr.

At Bellator 187, Ferguson fights in his third pro bout. In his debut he relied mostly on takedowns and striking, but his inexperience showed when he failed to lock in an anaconda choke and was easily reversed and quickly submitted via Aaron Hamilton’s second-round guillotine.

In his second fight with the promotion, Ferguson used power punches to put Darryal Griffin to the mat. Once on the ground, he used elbows and hammerfists to end the fight by TKO at the 3:40 mark of the first round.

Ferguson is still a very raw talent. He eschews jabs in favor of power strikes such as uppercuts and big overhands. He also tends to leave openings for submissions on the ground, but that’s not too much of a surprise considering his lack of experience in the cage.

Ferguson (1-1 MMA, 1-1 BMMA) has had nearly six months of gym work to ready himself for this 165-pound catchweight fight against Fred Freeman (1-0 MMA, 0-0 BMMA). With that prep time, there’s the expectation that we’ll see a more polished fighter when he steps into the cage in Dublin.

Freeman is 1-0 as a pro, but he has an extensive amateur background.

3. Getting back in the win column

Sinead Kavanagh

Sinead Kavanagh has hit a rough patch. After opening her career with a four-fight winning streak, the SBG Ireland fighter has lost her two most recent bouts.

Kavanagh got her start as a boxer before transitioning to MMA. That’s very evident from her “KO” nickname, as well as her striking heavy style.

In the first loss of her career, a decision defeat to Iony Razafiarison, Kavanagh’s lack of takedown defense was evident. The Irish fighter also showed a subpar game off of her back in that loss. She’s much more comfortable and confident in a fight if her opponent will stand and trade bungalows in the center of the cage.

Kavanagh’s (4-2 MMA, 1-2 BMMA) strengths and weaknesses are something her opponent, Maria Casanova (2-5-1 MMA, 0-0 BMMA), is undoubtedly aware of. If Casanova, who has two submission wins on her record, can get the fight to the ground, she has a much better chance of walking away from her Bellator featherweight debut with a victory.

Like Kavanagh, Casanova has losses in her two most recent bouts.

4. A big opportunity at home

Paul Redmond

Well-traveled veteran Paul Redmond makes his Bellator debut in his hometown of Dublin. The 31-year old has fought for 10 different promotions, including the UFC, Cage Warriors and BAMMA since he made his pro debut in April 2010.

This lightweight bout marks Redmond’s fifth consecutive fight in Ireland. He is 3-1 in his four most recent contests. His only loss during that run was a February split-decision defeat to Norman Parke. Had Redmond won that bout, he would have captured the BAMMA lightweight champion. Parke came in heavy for the fight, making him ineligible for the title.

Once primarily known for his ground game, Redmond has made a concerted effort to shore up his striking.

Redmond was originally booked to fight at Bellator 169 against former featherweight title contender Weichel. An injury knocked him from that card.

Redmond’s (13-7 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) opponent at Bellator 187, Sergio de Jesus Santos (4-5 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) doesn’t have the name recognition of Weichel, but this could be a good showcase fight for Redmond. For Santos, who has lost his two most recent bouts, this fight is an opportunity to get a win over a recognizable name.

5. A fresh start

Charlie Ward

Charlie Ward’s two-run stint in the UFC was brief. In those fights, he spent a little more than three minutes inside the octagon. Abdul Razak Alhassan knocked him out in 53 seconds in his first bout with the promotion. Ward’s second fight, a highlight-reel slam knockout loss to Galore Bofando, lasted a little more than two minutes. The SBG Ireland fighter, who was on a three-fight winning streak before his two recent losses, makes his Bellator debut in Dublin, and you can bet he hopes he has more success than he did with the UFC.

Ward (3-3 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) is a brawler. He loves nothing more than getting into a firefight and slinging wild bombs. If he can implement his style against John Redmond (7-12 MMA, 0-0 BMMA), he should have a crowd-pleasing bout.

Redmond also makes his Bellator debut at Bellator 187. As his 7-12 record indicates, he’s had a rough go as a professional fighter. He has a 2-5 record since 2014. His two victories have come by way of knockout.

This middleweight matchup might not be pretty, but it could be entertaining, and sometimes that’s enough.

For more on Bellator 187, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie

As an Irishman with a new UFC deal, Joseph Duffy is an endangered species

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As is befitting of the man, news that Irish lightweight Joseph Duffy had signed a new seven-fight UFC deal following a brief spell as a free agent was accompanied by minimal fanfare.

There was no bombast, nor were multiple members of the 155-pound division subjected to impromptu challenges on Twitter, in some transparent attempt to hog a little more of the spotlight while his name was in circulation.

That’s just not Duffy’s way, and it never will be. But, if it were, the UFC may not have allowed the Donegal native to fight out his old contract with a routine win over Reza Madadi at UFC Fight Night 107 in March, and then entertain offers from other promotions before finally tabling the sort of deal he felt deserving of.

Timing also played a significant role in the relatively subdued response to the UFC retaining the services of one of Europe’s most potent combatants.

In the hours after Pete Carroll of MMAFighting.com broke the story of Duffy (19-2 MMA, 4-1 UFC) committing his longterm future to the world’s biggest promotion, another Irishman, Conor McGregor, took to the stage of Barclays Center in Brooklyn to trade insults with Floyd Mayweather. There’s just no competing with that.

Had Duffy not signed on the dotted line, McGregor would have been left as the sole Irish-born fighter established on the UFC roster.

Just two years ago, when Duffy announced himself to the wider MMA audience with a first-round TKO of Jake Lindsey on his promotional debut at UFC 185, that scenario would have been unthinkable.

Irish fighters were ubiquitous among the ranks of the UFC as the first generation from the island bounded in behind McGregor. But now, after a slew of retirements and pink slips, they’re an endangered species.

On reflection, Duffy is somewhat taken aback by the brevity of the Celtic culling, but he’s confident the status quo will be temporary. In typically modest fashion, he also doubted whether his absence would have been keenly felt.

“To be honest, it was strange the way it happened, and it all seemed to happen very quick,” Duffy told MMAjunkie. “You had (Cathal Pendred, Paddy Holohan and Aisling Daly) retiring, and it was just so quick how it all thinned out.

“I’m not sure me leaving would have been too much of a loss because there’s always going to be a lot of talent coming through in Ireland. We love our combat sports, so I’m sure the future is going to be bright for the country.”

Veteran flyweight and Irish MMA icon Neil Seery hung up his gloves following a submission loss to Alexandre Pantoja just under a fortnight ago at UFC Fight Night 113, leaving McGregor as the lone survivor from that famous night at Dublin’s 3Arena in 2014 when Ireland was briefly the epicenter of the MMA universe.

Of course, Russian-born featherweight Artem Lobov, who grew up in Ireland, proudly flies the flag of both countries when he competes, while SBG Ireland team member Gunnar Nelson is a beloved adopted son of the Emerald Isle.

Another SBG man, Charlie Ward, has fought and lost twice under the UFC’s banner, but his UFC stint only materialized due to his connection with McGregor.

Given he has not lived in Ireland since childhood, Duffy was always somewhat of an outlier as an Irish fighting entity, but his connection to home has never waned. In fact, he draws strength from it daily.

“From day one, right back to my Cage Warriors days,” Duffy said, “that’s what my inspiration and drive was. I remember hearing about the bars being full at home with people who were watching the Cage Warriors live streams. That spurred me on even more.

“Every training camp, I remember the thoughts of people sitting in the bar watching the fight and everyone who traveled over, and that’s always been one of my inspirations. And that’s not to even mention all the fans from Wales and England who have followed me. It all means a lot to me.”

The son of a fisherman, Duffy was born close to the fishing village of Burtonport on the untamed but beautiful northwest coast of Ireland.

When the fishing industry began to dry up there, his father followed his uncle to work as tunneller in Wales. When Duffy was nine months old, the entire family made the move.

The Duffys returned to Ireland for a time when Joseph was small child, before returning to Wales, while family vacations to Donegal were frequent.

As such, Duffy was, in some people’s eyes, neither quite Irish or Welsh. But he knew exactly who he was.

“Since I was a kid, I was never one to follow the click or the bubble,” Duffy said.” Living in Wales and being Irish, I didn’t fit in there. Then coming home after living in Wales, there were people who wouldn’t consider me Irish.

“But if you let that all bother you, you’ll get nothing done. I was always proud of being Irish, right the way through school, and all my friends knew it very well. I’ve still got all my friends from Donegal, the ones I grew up with.”

In total, beginning with Tom Egan at UFC 93, and concluding with Ward’s loss at the hands of Galore Bofando, also at UFC Fight 133 in Glasgow, a total of 10 Irish-born fighters have fought in the UFC.

And every one of them has been supported with a manic fervor by their compatriots, which is a hallmark of the Irish sports fan; they rarely do half measures. In that respect, Duffy is proud to be native athlete they can rally around.

“No matter what sport it is, the Irish fans have always proved themselves and their support is always incredible,” he said. “The Irish fans will always get behind the likes of Gunnar Nelson and Artem Lobov, so it’s almost like there are more of us.

“You see it when Conor fights, with the amount of them that turn up. It would have been a bit of shame for the Irish fans to have nobody to get behind if Conor did decide to knock it on the head.”

Although McGregor has said he will return to MMA to defend his UFC lightweight title in December, his projected windfall for the boxing match with Mayweather next month is such that might he think otherwise.

Should that be the case, Duffy will be, for the time being at least, the last Irishman standing in the UFC, while over in Bellator, James Gallaghershould continue to make waves.

Training at the Tristar gym under Firas Zahabi and Eric O’Keefe, Duffy has been a resident of Montreal for more than two years. And while his skills are being honed in Canada, it’s Ireland where Duffy finds the fuel to compete.

“Before a camp, I try to get home,” Duffy said. “Because, when I go home and speak to people, and hear how much it means to them, it reminds me of that. That’s the difficult part, because when you’re away from it, sometimes you can forget.

“Some of the things people say to me is such a motivation, and I remember those words all through camp. If you’re having a bad session or things aren’t going your way, it those words you think of to push you on. And they were some of the people who really motivated me to do well.”

After defeating Ivan Gorge via first-round submission in his sophomore promotional appearance at UFC Fight Night 72 in Glasgow, Duffy took a trip back to Donegal to catch up with friends and family. What awaited him was a gesture he’ll never forget.

“I remember going home just after the Glasgow fight, and my cousins surprised me up the town, and lot of people from the town came out to welcome me home,” he said. “Then my best friend organized something for me after a festival that was going on, so home has always meant a great deal to me.”

At 29 and with his professional future secure, Duffy feels a sense of urgency about getting back in the cage and resuming his ascent through arguably the most exacting division in the sport.

And, just on the off-chance a reminder to do was required, he’s had plenty of prompting from the green hoards.

“The Irish fans on social media have been nagging me to get more active, and I haven’t been able to because I’ve been working on my game, but now I want to start putting on shows for those guys,” Duffy said.

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

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie