Evan Dunham is a Conor McGregor fan – but if anybody asks, Tony Ferguson is the UFC champ

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Filed under: News, Radio Highlight, UFC

While matchmaking is not an exact science, there is a general logic to the process, which often involves fighters paired with peers who are coming off equally positive or negative outcomes.

But then how do you go about planning your octagon future when you neither won nor lost your most recent bout?

That’s what lightweight Evan Dunham, who fought Beneil Dariush to a majority draw last week at UFC 216, will find out.

“I’m not going to fight down,” Dunham told MMAjunkie Radio. “I’ll tell you that right now. I’m only fighting up. And I said that going into my last fight. Because they tried to give me someone who wasn’t ranked.

“And I was like, ‘Dude, I’m coming off four wins. If this isn’t an opportunity for me to fight up, I don’t know what is.’ And since I didn’t take a loss, I’m not changing my stance.”

Dunham (18-6-1 MMA, 11-6-1 UFC) and Dariush (14-3-1 MMA, 8-3-1 UFC) opened UFC 216’s pay-per-view main card on a solid note. Dariush’s strong start had him taking a pair of 10-8 scores in the first round, but Dunham’s rally granted him the 10-9 scorecards that he needed to even things out – despite one judge seeing it Dariush’s way.

As it often happens with outcomes like these, both Dariush and Dunham were left thinking they’d done enough to win the fight. But at least one of them found out that, after 10 years, there are still surprises to be had in the octagon.

“A draw never even crossed my mind until they said it, to tell you the truth,” Dunham said. “Because I think this was what, my 33rd fight or something like that total, counting amateurs. And I’d never had a draw before. So I wasn’t thinking draw. I was actually thinking I won that, because I won (Rounds 2 and 3).

“When I’m there, I don’t think about, ‘How did they score this round?’ I think about, ‘Did I win that round, or did I lose that round?’ But after this fight I’m probably going to start thinking a little bit more, like ‘OK, how exactly did they score it?’”

Dunham’s plans moving forward were made clear: He’s not dipping below himself in the official UFC rankings, in which he occupies the No. 14 spot. But like a lot of his fellow UFC lightweights, Dunham knows that making your way up can be complicated given the division’s current state of affairs.

“Kevin Lee said it best, the rankings don’t mean (expletive) at this point,” Dunham said. “Which breaks my heart, hearing that as a guy who’s based my whole career trying to make my way up the rankings. Because, in my idea, you work your way up the rankings, that’s what gets you a title shot.”

Instead, Dunham believes there’s a logjam atop the division – with a few key players making it harder by their inactivity. That starts with champion Conor McGregor, who Dunham clarifies he is actually a fan of, but also goes by the likes of McGregor’s two-time opponent Nate Diaz and undefeated contender Khabib Nurmagomedov.

“The division is so jammed up at the top that it makes it really tough for anybody to work their way up,” Dunham said. “Because you’ve got Diaz, who’s not doing anything. You’ve got Conor, who’s – well, last weekend kind of helped it out. Now we have an interim champion, and there is starting to be some movement.”

The way Dunham – as well as a large group of people that includes UFC President Dana White – sees it, the title fight to make now is between newly crowned interim champion Tony Ferguson (24-3 MMA, 14-1 UFC) and McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC). Of course, rankings logic is one good reason for that. But Dunham also sees the battle as an intriguing stylistic matchup.

“That’s why the interim title was made,” Dunham said. “That’s the reason why they did the whole thing last weekend. Ferguson is the champ. In my book, if anybody asks, Ferguson is the champ of the 155 division right now.”

The next title challenger, Dunham reasons, could very well emerge from a UFC 218 meeting between ex-titleholder Eddie Alvarez and former WSOF champion Justin Gaethje. A meeting that, it turns out, Dunham is particularly invested in.

“I would like to fight the loser of that,” Dunham said. “Usually, they go loser-loser, and I’m kind of in this grey area of a draw. I don’t know what it means, but I guess I’ll figure it out pretty soon. But I would love to fight the loser of that fight, because the winner should get a title shot. It makes sense to me.”

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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Source: MMA Junkie

Stream or download MMAjunkie Radio #2542 with Evan Dunham, Zach Makovsky

Stream or download Thursday’s episode of MMAjunkie Radio with guests Evan Dunham and Zach Makovsky.

Dunham visited the studio to talk about his recent fight against Beneil Dariush at UFC 216, which ended in a draw. Makovsky is headlining ACB 72 on Saturday in Montreal against Yoni Sherbatov.

You can stream the entire episode on AudioBoom.com.

Filed under: News
Source: MMA Junkie

Watch MMAjunkie Radio here (1 p.m. ET) with Evan Dunham, Zach Makovsky

MMAjunkie Radio kicks off today at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) with guests Evan Dunham and Zach Makovsky.

Dunham fought Beneil Dariush at UFC 216 this past Saturday in Las Vegas. He’ll be in the studio to talk about the fight, which ended in a draw. Makovsky headlines ACB 72 on Saturday against Yoni Sherbatov in Montreal. The former Bellator champ and UFC fighter will talk about the bout.

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: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC 216 medical suspensions: Ray Borg potentially out six months with finger injury

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Filed under: News, UFC

UFC flyweight Ray Borg could be out for six months following a failed bid to unseat dominant champ Demetrious Johnson.

Borg’s arm isn’t the problem, however. After tapping to an armbar in the fifth round of UFC 216’s co-headliner, the Nevada State Athletic Commission cited his right right finger as the area of concern.

Borg (11-3 MMA, 5-3 UFC) needs an orthopedist to clear him, or he could sit out a half-year, according to medical suspensions released today by the NSAC, which regulated the pay-per-view event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Although Johnson (27-2-1 MMA, 15-1-1 UFC) reported a potential knee injury following his record-breaking 11th title defense, he got off scot-free with no suspension.

Headliner Tony Ferguson (24-3 MMA, 14-1 UFC), who claimed the interim lightweight title, has a three-week suspension for a possible corneal abrasion, while opponent Kevin Lee (16-3 MMA, 9-3 UFC) sits for two months after his third-round submission loss, which came after a brutal weight cut made more miserable by an active staph infection.

The full list of medical suspensions stemming from UFC 216 include:

  • Tony Ferguson: Suspended until Oct. 29 for possible left eye corneal abrasion.
  • Kevin Lee: Suspended until Nov. 7.
  • Ray Borg: Needs fourth right finger cleared by orthopedic doctor or suspended until April 6; minimum suspension runs to Nov. 7 with no contact until Oct. 29.
  • Mara Romero Borella: Must repeat MRI of brain in six months, due April 7.
  • Evan Dunham: Needs ophthalmologist clearance on blurred vision or no contest until Dec. 7, no contact until Nov. 22.
  • Cody Stamann: Suspended until Nov. 7 with no contact until Oct. 29.
  • Tom Duquesnoy: Suspended until Nov. 22 with no contact until Nov. 7.
  • Lando Vannata: Suspended until Dec. 7 with no contact until Nov. 22.
  • Bobby Green: Suspended until Nov. 22 with no contact until Nov. 7.
  • Pearl Gonzalez: Suspended until Nov. 7 with no contact until Oct. 29.
  • Poliana Botelho: Needs right elbow and right thumb cleared by orthopedic doctor or suspended until April 6; minimum suspension runs to Nov. 7 with no contact until Oct. 29.
  • Matt Schnell: Needs right forearm X-rayed; if broken, needs clearance by orthopedic doctor or suspended until April 6.
  • Marco Beltran: Needs left thumb X-rayed and cleared by orthopedic doctor or suspended until April 6; minimum suspension runs to Nov. 7 with no contact until Oct. 29.
  • Magomed Bibulatov: Suspended until Nov. 22 with no contact until Nov. 7.
  • Thales Leites: Needs possible right orbital fracture cleared by orthopedic doctor or suspended until April 6; minimum suspension runs to Nov. 22 with no contact until Nov. 7.

For complete coverage of UFC 216, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Beneil Dariush thought he had done enough to beat Evan Dunham at UFC 216

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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

LAS VEGAS – Beneil Dariush was hoping a big win at UFC 216 would help erase at least some of the memory of his most recent prior fight.

Instead, the lightweight found himself in classic kiss-your-sister territory thanks to a majority draw. Dariush (14-3-1 MMA, 8-3-1 UFC) and Evan Dunham (18-6-1 MMA, 11-6-1 UFC) settled for a draw to open up the main card on pay-per-view at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

“I felt like I won the fight,” Dariush told MMAjunkie afterward. “I felt like I was in control of the whole fight. The second round, I felt like I outlanded him with kicks. He had the takedown, but didn’t do any damage. … I’m just a little confused and hoping I’ll just get up and do this again.

“It was a good fight overall. Evan’s super tough, and he did a good job. I really felt like I had that. To say I lost the last two rounds is a tough pill for me to swallow, but I’ll respect the judges and go from there.”

Dariush had a big first round against Dunham and nearly finished him away. That led to a 10-8 frame from two of the judges. But because those same two judges gave Dunham the second and third rounds, much to Dariush’s chagrin, it turned the fight into a draw. (Dariush got the nod from the third judge.)

Dariush said if it’s a rematch his bosses want to see, he’ll do it. Or he’ll wait for whoever wants to call him out to take care of the matchmaking for him and the UFC.

“If the UFC puts that in front of me, I’ll take that. … I’ll step up to the plate no matter who calls me out,” he said. “There’s no animosity between Evan and I. It was a good fight, and that’s it.”

But what Dariush really was hoping for was a victory to help take some of the sting out of a knockout loss to Edson Barboza in March down in Brazil. Barboza took him out with a flying knee.

Dariush said a win over Dunham wouldn’t have handled that in full, though. So maybe that’s the fight he’s looking for next instead of thinking about running it back with Dunham.

“The Barboza fight is not something I’m looking to just get rid of (and) put away,” Dariush said. “I’m as disappointed as you can get with that fight. I’d like to keep that with me until I get to see Barboza again.”

For more from Dariush, check out the video above.

And for complete coverage of UFC 216, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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

Trading Shots: Is it time to abolish the draw in MMA?

UFC 216 had two different bouts end in draws, a rare occurrence that hasn’t happened since 1999. But is that a satisfying way for a fight to end, or should the UFC think about instituting some changes to make sure that someone ends up a winner? MMAjunkie columnist Ben Fowlkes joins retired WEC and UFC fighter Danny Downes to discuss.

Fowlkes: Who’d have guessed it, Danny? UFC 216 gave us not one but two draws on Saturday night in Las Vegas. That’s like seeing a shooting star on your drive home and then being so distracted by it that you hit a unicorn.

I can’t be mad at either result. Lando Vannata lost a point for an illegal knee, which was a penalty he deserved, so that threw the scorecards in his fight with Bobby Green out of whack. Then Beneil Dariush and Evan Dunham fought to a draw that also just felt right, considering how close the fight was.

I understand that a tie is an unsatisfying result in a lot of ways, but should MMA get a little more comfortable with the draw, or do we need to get rid of it altogether? Should we institute a “sudden victory” round in these matters? And how are promotions and rankings supposed to treat two guys who fought to a bloody stalemate? Do we just tell them both to move on and act like they kind of won, but kind of didn’t?

Downes: Get comfortable with draws? I bet you’re the Missoula hipster who calls NFL games “American Football.” Do all those soccer stars who write into your podcast send you those fancy scarves in the mail, too?

In all seriousness, I’m not opposed to draws per se, but I’m not exactly wild about them. I feel about them the way that the Griffin family felt about their vacation to purgatory. Especially in the Green/Vannata match, I understand why that was the result. but there’s no progression. What do you do with Green and Vannata? It was a great fight, but doing an immediate rematch does nothing for either fighter.

I don’t hate the draw result, but they aren’t necessary. Why not institute the “sudden victory” round? It seems to work fine on “The Ultimate Fighter.” Thanks to the beauty of editing, we don’t know how long the turnaround is between the judges’ decision and the extra round. If there’s a way to ensure there isn’t an extended lapse, what’s the issue?

At the end of the day, I’m sure it will come down to money. Fighters would obviously want some extra pay if they have to go an extra round, and promoters won’t want to pay it. There may be some other technical issues having to do with pacing or TV time, but those should be easily remedied.

What do you say Ben? Let’s abolish the draw!

Fowlkes: First of all, I’d love one of those scarves and now I’m mad no one’s sent me one. Second, instituting the sudden victory round shouldn’t be so hard.

The UFC makes you fight two extra rounds for the privilege of being the main event, which is another decision it made unilaterally without input from the fighters, so this shouldn’t be so different. The IFL did it, even if it almost never got to use it. The UFC had the provision for that flyweight title tournament, even if it was robbed of the chance to use it thanks to a screwup by officials. So clearly, it’s possible.

What I object to are the people who would rather have the judges close their eyes and pick a winner than admit that sometimes it really is too close to call. I don’t have a problem with judges who give out 10-10 rounds. I have much more of a problem with judges who see everything as a 10-9, as if there’s no difference between winning by a little and winning by a lot.

I recognize that draws create a problem for promoters who want to know who should move up and who should move down after every fight. I’d be all for an extra round to help figure it out. But after watching three awesome, bloody rounds between Vannata and Green, did anybody seriously feel disappointed by scorecards that refused to label one of them a loser?

Downes: Well what do you know? This is one of the few times you’ve seen reason and agree with the correct side (me).

I agree that the sudden victory would require some work, but it seems very plausible. It would be nice if the UFC and other organizations would negotiate with fighters, but they’ve mandated far more intrusive things in the past.

I also think the sudden victory format would improve judging. Instead of over-weighting takedowns or “octagon control,” an increase in 10-10 scoring could convince fighters to win a round more definitively. The strategy of waiting away a round and then trying to score some quick points in the final 30 seconds becomes much less beneficial under this format.

As far as your question about if anyone felt disappointed, you’re leading the witness by phrasing it that way. I don’t think anybody felt disappointed, but what if I asked, “did anybody seriously feel satisfied by scorecards that refused to label one of them a winner?” It would be the same answer.

Draws are the “meh” of decisions. Are they better than a decision which forces a winner? Sure, but being better than bad doesn’t necessarily make it something good.

It’s also worth noting that how a fight ends does have an effect on us, regardless of how much we enjoyed the match. It’s the same way that you can enjoy 90 percent of a movie, but if there’s a crappy ending, you end up hating the whole thing. I’m not saying that an increase in draws will make MMA fights into M. Night Shymalan films, but let’s not pretend they’re pleasant to see either.

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.

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

UFC 216 post-event facts: Demetrious Johnson's resume must be seen to be believed

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Despite going through four fight changes in the final two weeks, UFC 216 delivered an action-packed card on Saturdayat T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Both championship fights at the top of the pay-per-view lineup, which followed prelims on FX and UFC Fight Pass, ended with a submission. Tony Ferguson (23-3 MMA, 13-1 UFC) claimed the interim UFC lightweight title with a third-round triangle choke of Kevin Lee (16-3 MMA, 9-3 UFC) in the headliner, while flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson (27-2-1 MMA, 15-1-1 UFC) made history for most consecutive title defenses with a dazzling fifth-round armbar victory over Ray Borg (11-3 MMA, 5-3 UFC).

Both Ferguson and Johnson landed a prominent place in the UFC record books with their crafty finishes, but they weren’t the only UFC 216 fighters with noteworthy results. For more on the numbers to come out of the event, check below for 60 post-event facts from UFC 216.

* * * *

General

UFC 216 joined UFC 22 in September 2001 as the only events in UFC history with two draws.

The UFC-Reebok Athlete Outfitting payout for the event totaled $242,500.

Johnson, John Moraga, Lando Vannata and Bobby Green earned $50,000 UFC 216 fight-night bonuses.

Debuting fighters went 2-0 on the card.

UFC 216 drew an announced attendance of 10,638 for a live gate of $677,999.50.

Betting favorites went 6-3 on the card. Two fights ended in a draw.

Total fight time for the 11-bout card was 2:12:54.

Main card

Ferguson improved to 16-1 in his past 17 fights. The lone defeat in that stretch came to Michael Johnson at UFC on FOX 3 in May 2012.

Ferguson’s 13-1 record after 14 UFC appearances is the best of any fighter to come from “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series.

Ferguson’s 10-fight UFC winning streak in lightweight competition is the longest in active streak in the division.

Ferguson’s 10-fight UFC winning streak in lightweight competition is the longest in divisional history.

Ferguson’s 10-fight winning streak in UFC competition is the fourth longest active streak in the company behind D. Johnson (13), Georges St-Pierre (12) and Max Holloway (11).

Ferguson has earned 19 of his 23 career victories by stoppage. That includes nine of his 13 UFC wins.

Ferguson became the second fight in UFC history to win a title fight by triangle choke. Anderson Silva also accomplished the feat against Chael Sonnen at UFC 117.

Kevin Lee

Lee suffered the first submission loss of his career.

Lee has completed at least one takedown against 11 of his 12 UFC opponents.

Lee’s 28 takedowns since 2014 in UFC lightweight competition are most in the division.

Johnson’s 11 consecutive UFC title defenses are most among current titleholders.

Johnson’s 11 consecutive title defenses are the most in UFC history.

Johnson’s 12 victories in UFC title fights are tied with St-Pierre for most in company history.

Johnson’s seven stoppage victories in UFC title fights are third most in company history behind Silva (nine) and Matt Hughes (eight).

Johnson’s 13-fight UFC winning streak in flyweight competition is the longest active streak in the division.

Johnson’s 13-fight UFC winning streak is the longest active streak in the company.

Johnson’s 13-fight UFC winning streak is tied with Jon Jones for the second longest streak in company history behind Silva (16).

Johnson’s 13 victories in UFC flyweight competition are the most in divisional history.

Johnson’s seven stoppage victories in UFC flyweight competition are the most in divisional history.

Johnson’s five submission victories in UFC flyweight competition are the most in divisional history.

Johnson’s three fifth-round stoppage victories are most in UFC history.

Johnson’s 57 takedowns landed in UFC flyweight competition are most in divisional history.

Johnson’s 73 takedowns landed overall in UFC competition are third most in company history behind St-Pierre (87) and Gleison Tibau (84).

Johnson has been awarded eight fight-night bonuses for UFC flyweight bouts, the most in divisional history.

Borg suffered the first stoppage loss of his career.

Borg’s 22 total strikes landed are the fifth fewest in a UFC title fight to reach the fifth round.

Fabricio Werdum (22-7-1 MMA, 10-4 UFC) improved to 8-2 since he returned to the UFC for a second stint in February 2012.

Werdum has earned seven of his 10 UFC victories by stoppage.

Werdum’s 65-second victory was the fastest of his career.

Werdum’s five submission victories in UFC/Strikeforce heavyweight competition are tied for second most in combined divisional history behind Frank Mir (eight).

Walt Harris (10-6 MMA, 3-5 UFC) fell to 3-2 since he returned to the UFC for a second stint in April 2016.

Harris suffered the first submission loss of his career.

Mara Romero Borella

Mara Romero Borella (12-4 MMA, 1-0 UFC extended her unbeaten streak to seven fights. She hasn’t suffered a defeat since October 2015.

Kalindra Faria (18-6-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) has suffered four of her six career losses by stoppage.

Faria suffered her first submission loss since March 31, 2011 – a span of 2,384 days (more than six years) and 17 fights.

Evan Dunham’s (18-6-1 MMA, 11-6-1 UFC) five-fight UFC unbeaten streak in lightweight competition is tied for the third longest active streak in the division behind Ferguson (10) and Khabib Nurmagomedov (seven).

Preliminary card

Cody Stamann (15-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) has earned both of his UFC victories by decision.

Tom Duquesnoy (15-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) had his 12-fight unbeaten streak snapped for his first defeat since February 2013.

Duquesnoy suffered the first decision loss of his career.

Green (23-8-1 MMA, 4-3-1 UFC) extended the longest winless skid of his career to four fights. He hasn’t earned a victory since July 2014.

Poliana Botelho (6-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) earned the first decision victory of her career.

Pearl Gonzalez (6-3 MMA, 0-2 UFC) has suffered two of her three career losses by decision.

Matt Schnell

Matt Schnell (10-4 MMA, 1-2 UFC) earned his first decision victory since his MMA debut on Sept. 14, 2012 – a span of 1,850 days (more than five years) and 13 fights.

Marco Beltran (8-5 MMA, 3-3 UFC) fell to 0-2 since he dropped to the UFC flyweight division in June 2017.

Beltran suffered the first decision loss of his career.

Moraga’s (18-6 MMA, 7-5 UFC) seven victories in UFC flyweight competition are third most in divisional history behind D. Johnson (13) and Joseph Benavidez (10).

Moraga has earned five of his seven UFC victories by stoppage.

Moraga’s five stoppage victories in UFC flyweight competition are second most in divisional history behind Johnson (seven).

Magomed Bibulatov (14-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) had his 14-fight winning streak snapped for the first defeat of his career.

Brad Tavares

Brad Tavares (16-4 MMA, 11-4 UFC) has earned his past nine UFC victories by decision. His most recent stoppage win was a first-round knockout of Phil Baroni at UFC 125 in January 2011.

Thales Leites (27-8 MMA, 12-7 UFC) fell to 7-4 since he returned to the UFC in August 2013.

Leites fell to 2-4 in his past six UFC appearances.

Leites has suffered seven of his eight career losses by decision.

For complete coverage of UFC 216, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

FightMetric research analyst and live statistics producer Michael Carroll contributed to this story. Follow him on Twitter @MJCflipdascript.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Full UFC 216 salaries: New champ Tony Ferguson gets $500K of event's $2.1-million payout

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

Newly crowned interim UFC lightweight champion Tony Ferguson was the top earner at Saturday’s UFC 216 event.

Ferguson (23-3 MMA, 13-1 UFC), who picked up a third-round submission victory over Kevin Lee (16-3 MMA, 9-3 UFC) in the headliner, earned a disclosed payout of $500,000 – $250,000 of which was a win bonus. Lee picked up $250,000, and if victorious, would have earned an extra $50,000 as a win bonus.

MMAjunkie obtained the list of disclosed payouts from the Nevada State Athletic Commission on fight night.

UFC 216 took place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, and the main card aired on pay-per-view following prelims on FX and UFC Fight Pass.

Another top earner was flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson (27-2-1 MMA, 15-1-1 UFC), who notched a UFC-record 11th consecutive title defense with a nifty fifth-round tap-out of Ray Borg (11-3 MMA, 5-3 UFC) in the co-headliner. “Mighty Mouse” earned a flat rate of $370,000; Borg got $100,000 (and also wasn’t eligible for a win bonus).

The total disclosed payout for the event topped $2 million – $2,148,000, to be precise.

The full list of UFC 216 payouts included:

Tony Ferguson: $500,000 (includes $250,000 win bonus)
def. Kevin Lee: $250,000

Demetrious Johnson: $370,000 (no win bonus)
def. Ray Borg: $100,000

Fabricio Werdum: $400,000 (includes $125,000 win bonus)
def. Walt Harris: $28,000

Mara Romero Borella: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Kalindra Faria: $12,000

Beneil Dariush: $48,000*
vs. Evan Dunham: $40,000*

Cody Stamann: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Tom Duquesnoy: $23,000

Bobby Green: $24,000*
vs. Lando Vannata: $25,000*

Poliana Botelho: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Pearl Gonzalez: $10,000

Matt Schnell: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Marco Beltran: $14,000

John Moraga: $68,000 (includes $34,000 win bonus)
def. Magomed Bibulatov: $17,000

Brad Tavares: $74,000 (includes $37,000 win bonus)
def. Thales Leites: $57,000

* – Fight ended in a draw; no win bonuses given

Now, the usual disclaimer: The figures do not include deductions for items such as insurance, licenses and taxes. Additionally, the figures do not include money paid by sponsors, including the official UFC Athlete Outfitting sponsorship program pay. They also do not include any other “locker room” or special discretionary bonuses the UFC often pays. They also do not include pay-per-view cuts that some top-level fighters receive.

For example, as previously reported, UFC officials handed out additional $50,000 UFC 216 fight-night bonuses to Johnson and Moraga (“Performance of the Night”) and Green and Vannata (“Fight of the Night”).

In other words, the above figures are simply base salaries reported to the commission and do not reflect entire compensation packages for the event.

For more on UFC 216, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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

Why Everlast performed 'America the Beautiful' at UFC 216

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LAS VEGAS – Only once before Saturday night had the UFC opened an event with the singing of our national anthem, and the reason was because of a tragedy.

It was at UFC 33 at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Vegas – 17 days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

When Las Vegas was shaken to its core last week by the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history, coincidentally at Mandalay Bay, UFC President Dana White knew what he wanted do: invite first responders and victims to UFC 216 and honor them with a rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

So White called on longtime friend and Grammy Award-winning artist Everlast, who wanted to take part in a tribute. It’s just that something felt off about some lyrics – “rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air” – after what just happened. Instead, an acoustic guitar performance of “America the Beautiful” is what Everlast figured would work best.

“I love my country, and I love the anthem, all that, whatever,” Everlast said. “But it just seemed like this was a little more healing. The ‘crown thy good with brotherhood,’ I like that sentiment right now just a little bit better, considering there was a war zone here like five days ago. I don’t need to talk about bombs. That’s just how I felt. …

“I hope I made the right decision. I feel good about it. I feel like it may have opened up a little room in people’s hearts to start healing.”

White was on board when Everlast pitched it.

“What he said was … ‘We don’t need controversy. We need unity. This is what I want to sing,’” White said. “And I said, ‘Dude, that’s a great idea. I love it.’”

The performance in front of the T-Mobile Arena crowd, which included 1,500 victims and first responders from the shooting, opened the PPV portion of UFC 216 and was the highlight of several showings of support throughout the night.

Las Vegas resident Brad Tavares (14-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC), who normally walks to the octagon with the Hawaiian flag, also brought the state flag of Nevada with him and delivered a powerful message after his prelim-opening win over Thales Leites (27-8 MMA, 12-7 UFC). Evan Dunham (18-6-1 MMA, 11-6-1 UFC), another resident of the city, also draped himself in the Nevada state flag with #VegasStrong written on it and gave an uplifting speech following his majority-draw with Beneil Dariush (14-3-1 MMA, 8-3-1 UFC).

White was happy with how the night unfolded and thanked Las Vegas police for being “instrumental” in the UFC reaching out to invite first responders and victims to the event.

And Everlast, who didn’t even know how to play “America the Beautiful” before Thursday, was pleased he didn’t ruin the special occasion.

“I played the song probably 310 times in the last three days, no joke,” Everlast said. “The crowd didn’t scare me. The song didn’t scare me. (But) the moment made me nervous.”

For complete coverage of UFC 216, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC 216 Athlete Outfitting pay: Payout total 2nd highest of any 2017 event

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Filed under: News, UFC

LAS VEGAS – Fighters from Saturday’s UFC 216 event took home UFC Athlete Outfitting pay, a program that launched after the UFC’s deal with Reebok, totaling $242,500.

UFC 216 took place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, and the main card aired on pay-per-view following prelims on FX and UFC Fight Pass.

Leading the way was UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson (27-2-1 MMA, 15-1-1 UFC), who earned a maximum payout of $40,000 for a reigning titleholder. “Mighty Mouse” defeated Ray Borg (11-3 MMA, 5-3 UFC) in the event co-headliner.

The full UFC 216 UFC Athlete Outfitting payouts included:

Tony Ferguson: $30,000
def. Kevin Lee: $30,000

Demetrious Johnson: $40,000
def. Ray Borg: $30,000

Fabricio Werdum: $10,000
def. Walt Harris: $5,000

Mara Romero Borella: $2,500
def. Kalindra Faria: $2,500

Beneil Dariush: $10,000
vs. Evan Dunham: $15,000

Cody Stamann: $2,500
def. Tom Duquesnoy: $2,500

Lando Vannata: $2,500
vs. Bobby Green: $10,000

Poliana Botelho: $2,500
def. Pearl Gonzalez: $2,500

Matt Schnell: $2,500
def. Marco Beltran: $5,000

John Moraga: $10,000
def. Magomed Bibulatov: $2,500

Brad Tavares: $10,000
def. Thales Leites: $15,000

Under the UFC Athlete Outfitting program’s payout tiers, which appropriate the money generated by Reebok’s multi-year sponsorship with the UFC, fighters are paid based on their total number of UFC bouts, as well as Zuffa-era WEC fights (January 2007 and later) and Zuffa-era Strikeforce bouts (April 2011 and later). Fighters with 1-5 bouts receive $2,500 per appearance; 6-10 bouts get $5,000; 11-15 bouts earn $10,000; 16-20 bouts pocket $15,000; and 21 bouts and more get $20,000. Additionally, champions earn $40,000 while title challengers get $30,000.

In addition to experience-based pay, UFC fighters will receive in perpetuity royalty payments amounting to 20-30 percent of any UFC merchandise sold that bears their likeness, according to officials.

Full 2017 UFC-Reebok sponsorship payouts:

Year-to-date total: $4,492,500
2016 total: $7,138,000
2015 total: $3,185,000
Program-to-date total: $14,815,500

For complete coverage of UFC 216, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie