Category Archives: Featured

Daniel Cormier: Friendship with Jon Jones would be 'very difficult,' wants 3rd fight

Former UFC champion Daniel Cormier is still working to move past his UFC 214 title-fight loss to Jon Jones. Part of that process includes looking ahead to a third encounter with his longtime rival.

Cormier (19-2 MMA, 8-2 UFC) has kept a low profile since his third-round knockout defeat against Jones (23-1 MMA, 17-1 UFC) in July. He dropped the 205-pound belt and fell to 0-2 against “Bones” in a moment he’d anticipated for more than two years. Cormier was understandably devastated by the outcome, but as he said in his return to hosting duties on FS1’s “UFC Tonight” this week, he’s come to realize the loss doesn’t define him.

“It takes time to get over something that’s so big, especially when you’re unsuccessful in such a big event,” Cormier said. “But, you know, day by day you get better. You keep fighting. You keep learning that there are things much more important than the competition. I’m the guy that really does love what I do, and I’m a guy that takes it very hard if I am unsuccessful. And I think you saw that down at the Honda Center in Anaheim.”

After losing to Jones by unanimous decision in the pair’s first meeting at UFC 182 in January 2015, Cormier took over the role as champion when Jones was stripped of the title due to out-of-competition actions. During that time the tension between the pair grew thicker, and finally it came to a head at UFC 214.

Jones, No. 1 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA light heavyweight rankings, was classy in victory. He’s done nothing but praise No. 2-ranked Cormier in the fallout of the event, claiming he would like to form a working relationship despite seeing a high probability of a third bout in the future.

Fighting Jones one more time is among Cormier’s highest athletic priorities. He said he’s happy to be cordial with Jones, but that will never outweigh his desire to find a way to defeat him inside the octagon.

“I believe he’s being genuine; I do believe he’s trying to turn over a new leaf,” Cormier said. “I think he’s trying to show that he’s a different person than he was in the past. With that being said, friendship would be very difficult for us to achieve. And I’m OK with that. … In terms of going forward, we will be professional because we have to until the cage door closes again.”

Cormier, 38, may have been knocked out by Jones at UFC 214, but before the fight-ending sequence he was enjoying some solid success. He couldn’t get the job done, though, and Cormier said that’s one of the cruel aspects of the sport.

“If fighting was a nice ex-girlfriend, she would’ve allowed (Jones) to walk out and double-knee me and knock me out in 10 seconds,” Cormier said. “But, no, she had to give me some success before it happened. It was just too easy to say, ‘Don’t let the guy in the fight at all.’”

For more on UFC 214, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: “https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets”, analyticsCallback: “galleryAnalytics”, fullscreenUrl: “http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/bdoeQcZL7CgusvB3jtbMZ9/266576”, customAnalytics: true, title: “Jones def. Cormier”, feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == “undefined”) ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC welterweight Jorge Masvidal couldn't believe Stephen Thompson signed on dotted line

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid4621179066001?bckey=AQ~~,AAAABvaL8JE~,ufBHq_I6FnxR-PQW_F3sm5QdUbP7D6E9&bctid=5543254456001
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

It took two months for Jorge Masvidal vs. Stephen Thompson to become a reality, and almost until it was announced, Masvidal had his doubts.

“It’s no diss to Thompson, but this has happened previous to the (Donald Cerrone) bout – it happened like four times where I had a signed bout agreement with a certain fighter, and that fight didn’t materialize,” Masvidal told MMAjunkie Radio. “So I don’t believe it until I’m in the cage.”

Masvidal (32-12 MMA, 9-5 UFC) and Thompson(13-2-1 MMA, 8-2-1 UFC) agreed to fight two months ago, even plugging the fight onstage during a UFC Q&A prior to UFC Fight Night 111.

But now, they’ll meet at UFC 217, which takes place Nov. 4 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The bout is likely to serve on the event’s pay-per-view main card after prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

For both fighters, it’s a chance to get back in the title hunt. Masvidal suffered a split-call loss to Demian Maia at UFC 211, while Thompson twice fell short against champ Tyron Woodley.

“I wasn’t 100 percent myself that day,” Masvidal said of his setback. “I was 100 percent injury-free, but just in certain movements I did, I could have done them better. That’s the only thing I’m regretting.

“We’re going to have a rematch, me and Maia, one way or the other.”

Masvidal likes the karate-inflected style Thompson brings to the octagon and thinks they could put on an exciting fight. But the truth is, he’s game to fight any opponent if the money is right.

If someone offered him the right dollar amount to face Floyd Mayweather, no problem. He thinks he’d certainly do better than Conor McGregor.

“I think so. I’d be able to box-box. I might not have the greatest power in the world, but I can box, like hit and hit. That’s something I can do very well. I could definitely go 12 (rounds) with Mayweather.”

Back in the real world, however, he’s more concerned with going three rounds against Thompson – less if all goes well in the octagon. Now that the fight is public, he can stop worrying and start getting ready.

For more on UFC 217, 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.

jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: “https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets”, analyticsCallback: “galleryAnalytics”, fullscreenUrl: “http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/EfRcoFKeLiETVLNrCEPTen/266435”, customAnalytics: true, title: “Masvidal def. Cerrone”, feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == “undefined”) ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Junior Dos Santos rep says diuretic to blame for flagged test, team seeking potential contaminant

Junior Dos Santos’ flagged drug test was due to a diuretic, a representative for the former UFC heavyweight champion today revealed.

A statement sent to MMAjunkie by Dos Santos rep Ana Claudia Guedes identifies Hydrochlorothiazide – which is typically used to prevent high blood pressure, according to WebMD.com – as the culprit, and states that team is currently seeking to discover how the substance made it into the Brazilian slugger’s system.

Junior tested positive for a substance called Hydrochlorothiazide, which is a diuretic and is banned by USADA due to its use as a masking agent. We do not know where this substance came from. Junior has had his blood and urine randomnly tested many times and has never once tested positive for a banned substance.

We requested testing of his B sample today. Most times, the B sample will show the identical results as the A sample. Therefore, we are already working on analyzing his nutritional supplements and medications to determine whether anything might have been contaminated. Jeff Novitzky and Donna Marcolini of the UFC have provided the guidance for this process, and we are grateful to them for their professionalism and competence.

Earlier today, UFC officials announced that Dos Santos (18-5 MMA, 12-4 UFC) had been pulled from a planned UFC 215 fight with Francis Ngannou (10-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) due to a potential doping violation stemming from an Aug. 10 out-of-competition test administered by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, the UFC’s official anti-doping program administrator.

Ngannou initially vented his frustration at losing the high-profile fight, but Dos Santos’ rep said the two have since spoken and cleared the air.

Junior remains committed to and supportive of USADA drug testing – even if he is bearing an unfortunate consequence of it. He spoke personally with Francis Ngannou and apologized for the unintended consequence to him. Junior thanks Francis for the sympathy, understanding, and respect that transpired during their call, and very much looks forward to resolving this situation so that he and Francis can set up a new date to face one another.

Featuring a pair of championship matchups, UFC 215 takes place Sept. 9 at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The night’s main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

For more on UFC 215, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: “https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets”, analyticsCallback: “galleryAnalytics”, fullscreenUrl: “http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/SZ5PNChQ5VcCXuCzbyATL/266514”, customAnalytics: true, title: “Junior Dos Santos”, feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == “undefined”) ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Junior Dos Santos notified of potential doping violation, pulled from UFC 215

Former UFC heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos (18-5 MMA, 12-4 UFC) has been pulled from a planned fight with Francis Ngannou (10-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) due to a potential doping violation.

UFC officials today revealed the news after being notified by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.

Dos Santos was flagged after an out-of-competition drug test conducted Aug. 10. Per standard USADA procedure, details on the nature of his anti-doping violation are being withheld during the results management process.

“Because of the proximity to Dos Santos’ upcoming scheduled bout at UFC 215 in Edmonton, Canada against Francis Ngannou, Dos Santos has been removed from the card and the UFC is currently seeking a replacement,” the UFC’s statement read. “Under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, there is a full and fair legal process that is afforded to all athletes before any sanctions are imposed. Additional information will be provided at the appropriate time as the process moves forward.”

Dos Santos’ representatives issued a statement to MMAjunkie insisting the heavyweight has never taken performance-enhancing drugs and remains adamantly against their use in the sport.

“We are still trying to understand the test results, so that we can investigate and determine what happened,” the statement read. “What we know as of now is that Junior Dos Santos has never taken PED’s, has never knowingly used any banned substances, and has always supported USADA’s policies and efforts to keep the sport clean. If ever there was a fighter who made his position on this issue unequivocal, it’s Junior. We are confident that that we will be able to figure out what happened, and will provide an explanation once we have one.”

Ngannou immediately took to Twitter to post his frustration with the scrapped contest.

Dos Santos is currently ranked No. 5 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA heavyweight rankings, while Ngannou sits at No. 9.

Dos Santos last saw action in May, when he suffered a first-round knockout loss to current champ Stipe Miocic at UFC 211 in a failed bid to regain the title. Despite the result, the Brazilian slugger was anxious for a quick return to the cage.

Featuring a pair of championship matchups, UFC 215 takes place Sept. 9 at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The night’s main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

For more on UFC 215, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: “https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets”, analyticsCallback: “galleryAnalytics”, fullscreenUrl: “http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/SZ5PNChQ5VcCXuCzbyATL/266474”, customAnalytics: true, title: “Junior Dos Santos”, feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == “undefined”) ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Antonio Silva is on a troubling career trajectory, and there's no one who can stop him

Here’s what Antonio Silva’s career looks like over the past two years: Win (TKO), loss (TKO), loss (KO), loss (KO), loss (decision), loss (KO).

He’s been stopped by strikes in seven of his past 10 bouts. He has just two victories since 2012 – one over Soa Palelei, and one over Alistair Overeem, who was beating him soundly until a sudden third-round comeback by Silva.

If you do some combat sports math on the 37-year-old “Bigfoot,” what you see is a fighter on a dangerous trajectory. That path took him out of the UFC and into two fights for smaller Russian promotions, both of which he lost. His last knockout loss was two months ago.

So why did Silva (19-12-1 MMA) just sign on for a kickboxing bout against GLORY heavyweight champion Rico Verhoeven (51-10-1 kickboxing) in China this October?

“Obviously, it’s not a good fight for ‘Bigfoot,’” Silva’s longtime manager Alex Davis told MMAjunkie. “Jumping right into (GLORY) to go against the current champ, who’s a murderer? Yeah, we get it.”

But Silva’s doing it anyway, and for reasons that are as old as the fight game.

For one, he thinks he can win. According to Davis, “Bigfoot” is back on testosterone-replacement therapy, which he used somewhat controversially for a time in the UFC, before the practice was effectively banned.

Now, fighting in places like Russia and China, and for organizations whose anti-doping policies are notably less stringent, he’s free to resume the use of synthetic testosterone, which makes “a huge difference” for him, Davis said.

“And also he needs money,” Davis said. “He can’t turn down fights at the moment for that reason. If it was up to me, he would not take this fight. But at the end of the day, my job is to inform him, give him my advice, and the one who has to make the final decision is him.”

Here we get into a persistent problem for fighters and fight sports. No one can tell Silva to stop. They can suggest and argue and recommend. Promoters can cut him and trainers could refuse to train him. Even Davis, a longtime friend, could stop managing him.

But as long as Silva can find someone willing to pay for his name and his willingness to walk face-first into someone else’s fists, he gets to keep going.

It was the same with Gary Goodridge, another MMA fighter who turned to kickboxing later in his career. He lost about twice as many kickboxing bouts as he won, but his appeal for promoters was that, when you booked “Big Daddy,” you knew someone would get knocked out – even if the someone was usually him.

For Goodridge, those years of damage contributed to brain trauma that eventually left him unable to remember conversations moments after they’d ended. By the evening, he couldn’t tell you what he’d done during the afternoon.

But Goodridge also needed the money. Even when he knew he shouldn’t fight anymore, he was a man in his forties with no real work history outside of cages and rings. What else was he supposed to do?

According to Davis, Silva’s brain health has been closely monitored with testing done at the Cleveland Clinic’s Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas.

“Physically, ‘Bigfoot’ has no problems whatsoever,” Davis said. “He has no brain damage. We’ve done extensive research and testing, even before he left the UFC. So he’s OK on that end.”

But then, some signs of degenerative brain diseases like CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), which researchers have found in the brains of deceased fighters and football players, are sometimes not apparent until years after the actual trauma.

And clearly, Silva is doing himself no favors. He went less than five months between knockout losses in 2016. You’d have to go back to 2010 to find a single calendar year in which he didn’t suffer at least one knockout.

This fight against Verhoeven doesn’t promise to be any easier on his brain. Verhoeven is younger, faster, and riding a winning streak that’s about as good as Silva’s losing streak is bad. If anything, the kickboxing rules will likely only lead to Silva absorbing more punishment than he would in an MMA bout. And then what?

Soon the paycheck will be spent and Silva will face the same questions about his future that he faces now. So far, he only seems to know one answer.

“I’ll be very sincere and tell you, I can’t defend a man from himself,” Davis said. “If he fights and doesn’t manage his money, he’ll go looking for the next fight. This is a very common problem with many fighters, not just ‘Bigfoot.’ That’s what creates situations like Gary Goodridge.”

As for Goodridge, he also had people telling him he should stop. Then he had people telling him that there was something troubling happening to him. The damage “sneaks up on you,” he said later. When he finally realized the full extent of it, it was too late to stop it.

“I had no idea it was coming,” Goodridge said in 2012. “You don’t know. Everyone around you tells you it’s happening, but you don’t notice it yourself.”

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

jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: “https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets”, analyticsCallback: “galleryAnalytics”, fullscreenUrl: “http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/7upwBzxaq6JjB8J85ihJ3E/266433”, customAnalytics: true, title: “Antonio Silva”, feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == “undefined”) ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Featured, News
Source: MMA Junkie

Ex-UFC champ T.J. Dillashaw talks about why drama always seems to find him

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid4621179066001?bckey=AQ~~,AAAABvaL8JE~,ufBHq_I6FnxR-PQW_F3sm5QdUbP7D6E9&bctid=5541162145001
Filed under: Featured, News, Radio Highlight, UFC, Videos

Former UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw isn’t quite sure why drama seems to follow him everywhere.

From his public fallout and feud with Team Alpha Male, to his failed attempt to get a flyweight title shot, to would-be contenders taking verbal jabs, there’s always something to talk about.

“I don’t know – maybe it’s just me getting out there and being around everyone,” Dillashaw told MMAjunkie Radio. “Jimmie Rivera’s talking about sparring footage we had back in the day, and the past with me and Alpha Male, there’s going to be stuff there.

“It almost sounds like jealousy, really. It’s gotten kind of childish and really embarrassing with how obsessed Alpha Male has gotten with my career.”

Things are unlikely to settle down now that Dillashaw (14-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC) is officially rebooked to fight champ Cody Garbrandt (11-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) at UFC 217, a do-over after Garbrandt withdrew from their highly anticipated grudge match at UFC 213.

Garbrandt and Dillashaw served as opposing coaches on “The Ultimate Fighter 25” and repeatedly clashed on the set, with Garbrandt once physically assaulting his ex-training partner.

When Dillashaw met with a few ex-teammates after the show to hash things out, Garbrandt wasn’t in attendance.

“I think it’s just all circumstances and the position I’m in,” Dillashaw said. “I’m on top, and I’m looking to get my belt back. People, I think, are just a little bit jealous of the lifestyle and what I’m trying to accomplish.”

UFC 217 takes place Nov. 4 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The event’s main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Dillashaw lost the title at the start of 2016 with a split-decision loss to Dominick Cruz. He’s since beaten top contenders Raphael Assuncao and John Lineker to put himself back in title contention. It’s been a rocky road to get a second shot at the belt. Garbrandt’s injury prompted him to volunteer for a fight with flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson, only to be rebuffed when Johnson declined the offer.

If Dillashaw is able to take the title from Garbrandt, it would be the validation of nearly two years of work toward a comeback. Then he could look forward to the real drama of keeping the belt.

For more on UFC 217, check out the UFC Rumors section of MMAjunkie.

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.

jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: “https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets”, analyticsCallback: “galleryAnalytics”, fullscreenUrl: “http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/A26agBdqr8vPVjvBDqJt7B/266428”, customAnalytics: true, title: “Cody Garbrandt and T.J. Dillashaw”, feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == “undefined”) ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Featured, News, Radio Highlight, UFC, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

Conor McGregor's 10 most memorable outside-the-cage moments

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid4621179066001?bckey=AQ~~,AAAABvaL8JE~,ufBHq_I6FnxR-PQW_F3sm5QdUbP7D6E9&bctid=5544310472001
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos

In April 2013, UFC President Dana White traveled to Dublin to receive an award from Trinity College. After accepting the Philosophical Society’s Gold Medal of Honorary Patronage, White dropped by The Temple Bar. There, he heard one name over and over.

“Everybody was saying, ‘Conor McGregor, Conor McGregor, Conor McGregor,’” White told USA TODAY Sports and MMAjunkie. “I thought he was a heavyweight for some reason, the way everyone was talking about him.”

Intrigued, White told UFC matchmakers to sign the 24-year-old McGregor, who at the time held the Cage Warriors lightweight and featherweight titles.

Once in the UFC, it didn’t take McGregor long to make his presence felt both inside and outside the octagon. Equally talented in the cage or on the mic, McGregor has become the UFC’s biggest star.

He parlayed that star power into an Aug. 26 boxing match against undefeated multi-time boxing champion Floyd Mayweather, a matchup that could earn McGregor a nine-figure payday.

Before McGregor and Mayweather meet at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, here are 10 of McGregor’s most memorable outside-the-cage moments.

10. ‘Chuck!’

Chuck Liddell and a young Conor McGregor

On June 7, 2008, more than 15,000 fans entered The 02 in London to witness UFC 85. The event was headlined by a catchweight bout between Thiago Alves and Matt Hughes. Alves won the contest by TKO in the second round, blasting Hughes with a flying knee.

One of the people in attendance that night was former UFC light heavyweight champion and future UFC Hall of Famer Chuck Liddell. At some point during the event, a young Irish fighter, with a 2-0 record, shouted Liddell’s name and grabbed a selfie with the seemingly stunned Liddell. That young fighter was McGregor.

(McGregor was 19 at the time the photo was taken, not 16 as he indicated in his 2014 post.)

9. Welcome to the big stage

Conor McGregor vs. Marcus Brimage

McGregor made his UFC debut at UFC on FUEL TV 9. He fought on the untelevised Facebook prelims that night and earned a TKO win over Marcus Brimage. A few hours after that victory, McGregor appeared at the post-fight news conference – a rarity for a preliminary card fighter.

Resplendent in a gray suit and bowtie, McGregor was practically giddy after he learned he had won the “Knockout of the Night” bonus.

“To be honest, I don’t know what’s going on here,” McGregor said. “I’m just up here hearing $60,000. I’m just thinking of what I’m going to spend it on. Maybe a nice car and some suits or something, some custom-made suits. I don’t know.

“Just last week I was collecting the social welfare. I was in there saying to them, ‘I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’m signed to the UFC. I don’t know. Blah, blah, blah.’ Now I suppose I’m just going to have to tell them, ‘(Expletive) off!’”

8. Mystic Mac

Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier

UFC 178 marked the first time McGregor fought in Las Vegas. A large contingent of Irish fans witnessed McGregor dispatch Dustin Poirier at the 1:46 mark of the first round that night via strikes. After the fight, McGregor reminded everyone he had predicted a first-round knockout.

“I said I’d knock him out in the first round, and I knocked him out in the first round,” McGregor told UFC commentator Joe Rogan during his post-fight speech. “You can call me ‘Mystic Mac,’ because I predict these things.”

And with those words, McGregor guaranteed he would be asked for a prediction at every one of his pre-fight press conferences.

Since the birth of “Mystic Mac,” McGregor has been correct in his pre-fight predictions for first-round finishes of Chad Mendes and Jose Aldo, but he’s been incorrect on Dennis Siver (second-round TKO), both Nate Diaz bouts (submission loss and majority decision win), and his win over Eddie Alvarez (second-round TKO).

As for the Mayweather fight, McGregor has predicted a knockout victory inside four rounds.

7. Might as well jump

Conor McGregor and Jose Aldo

McGregor headlined his first American event at UFC Fight Night 59. At the time, McGregor was the No. 7 featherweight in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA featherweight rankings. His opponent that night was the unranked Siver.

McGregor finished Siver in the second round with strikes on the ground. He walked around the cage for a moment, then sprinted from the middle of the octagon and vaulted over the cage to confront then-champion Jose Aldo, who was sitting with his family. The meeting was brief. McGregor screamed into Aldo’s face, and Aldo replied with a smile.

After the fight McGregor addressed the situation.

“I don’t know,” McGregor said. “I just saw his skinny Brazilian head, and I knew they were filming him over there. ‘What’s he doing there, sitting front row?’

“They thought I was going to see my girlfriend. They must’ve thought I was a romantic. But I was going to kill that little Brazilian. But Pat, Lorenzo (Fertitta’s) right hand, intervened. And thankfully – because I like money. When fights happen outside the octagon, they take your money. And I want to keep my money.”

6. “Red Panty Night”

Conor McGregor

On Sept. 5, 2015, the UFC hosted the “Go Big” press conference, which focused on fight cards in the fourth quarter of the calendar year. Some of the UFC’s biggest stars were on stage for the event, including then-champions Ronda Rousey, Jose Aldo, Daniel Cormier and Rafael dos Anjos. Current champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk also waas there. But the man who stole the show was then-featherweight champion McGregor.

Early in the press conference, MMAjunkie asked Dos Anjos and Donald Cerrone about comments McGregor made about facing either of them at lightweight because a fight with him would change their lives.

“If he wants to move up, I’m here. It’s going to be easy money,” replied Dos Anjos.

McGregor did not allow Cerrone to reply. Instead, he picked up his microphone and turned to address Dos Anjos.

“I can make you rich,” McGregor said. “I’ll change your bum life. When you sign to fight me, it’s a celebration. You ring back home, you ring your wife: ‘Baby, we’ve done it. We’re rich, baby. Conor McGregor made us rich. Break out the red panties!’

“It’s Red Panty Night when you sign to fight me. It’s a celebration.”

5. You’ll do nothing

Conor McGregor at UFC 202 news conference

The UFC 202 press conference was full of surprises. McGregor was late. That left his opponent, Diaz, on the dais with co-main event fighters Glover Teixeira and Anthony Johnson for 30 minutes.

When McGregor did appear, Nick Diaz told Nate to leave the stage, and the younger Diaz did. Not one to leave quietly, Diaz shouted, “(Expletive) your whole team,” on his way out.

“Shut your (expletive) mouth. You’ll do nothing,” McGregor responded with, “You’ll do (expletive) nothing.”

Diaz threw a water bottle toward McGregor on the stage. McGregor retuned fire, throwing water bottles and full cans of Monster at Diaz and his team while UFC President Dana White and UFC personnel tried to get him to stop.

McGregor was fined $25,000 and ordered to complete 25 hours of community service due to the skirmish. Diaz received a $15,000 fine along with 15 hours of community service.

4. Going for a walk

Conor McGregor

While many of McGregor’s catchphrases and mannerisms have become popular among the MMA community (see: “You’ll do nothing,” “Who the (expletive) is that guy” and “Red Panty Night”), one has had real crossover appeal, especially among pro athletes. That’s the “billionaire strut,” which took off in popularity following UFC 202.

McGregor lifted the move from WWE owner Vince McMahon, something he acknowledged during a January 2017 pay-per-view interview.

“I’m thinking Vince McMahon must be pissed,” McGregor said. “I don’t give a (expletive) about Vince McMahon. I stole that walk, and that walk is now mine. And not Vince or any of those (expletives) over in WWE are going to do anything about it. That’s my walk. I created that walk. I made that walk. It’s amazing to cross into all different cultures, all different sports.”

3. Who’s that?

Jeremy Stephens

The UFC held its first event in New York in more than 21 years on Nov. 12, 2016. The promotion went big for that event, UFC 205, stacking the card with three title fights. The main event pitted lightweight champion Alvarez against featherweight kingpin McGregor. Alvarez’s belt was on the line, giving McGregor the opportunity to become the first UFC fighter to hold two titles at the same time.

At a September news conference at The Theater at Madison Square Garden, a vociferous McGregor stole the show.

When McGregor was asked who would give him the hardest fight of the fighters on the stage, Jeremy Stephens cut in, not allowing McGregor to reply.

“Right here,” said Stephens from the row behind McGregor. “The hardest hitting 145 pounder. The real hardest hitting 145er, right here.”

McGregor didn’t miss a beat with his reply.

“Who the (expletive) is that guy?” asked McGregor. “Who the (expletive) is that?”

And with that reply, an MMA catchphrase was born.

2. No doubt

Conan O’Brien and Conor McGregor

In July 2015, McGregor appeared on Conan O’Brien’s late-night show and fired a shot that made headlines, mostly because his request seemed an impossibility.

“If you’re asking would I like to fight Floyd, I mean, who would not like to dance around the ring for $180 million?” asked McGregor.

By May 2016, Mayweather’s interest seemed to be piqued and he allegedly started rumors that the fight was close to being booked.

More than a year later, Mayweather and McGregor announced the fight had been booked for Aug. 26 in Las Vegas.

McGregor, the man who joined the UFC while near rock-bottom, financially, now is preparing to fight in what could be the most lucrative fight in boxing history. That the fight is happening brings to mind a McGregor quote from the UFC 202 post-fight press conference.

“Every single person doubted me,” said McGregor. “Every single fighter doubted me. Doubt me now.”

1. Those threads

Conor McGregor’s infamous suit

At his first post-fight press conference, McGregor said he planned to spend some of his “Knockout of the Night” bonus money on “some suits.” Over the years, he has certainly done that. Those suits are usually custom-made and on the flashy side, but none compared to the pinstripe number he wore to the Los Angeles tour stop for his boxing match against Mayweather.

The suit, which was one of the main subjects of conversation after the July event, was not your normal pinstripe affair. If you looked closely you could see the pinstripes said “F**K YOU” running vertically.

As far as statement pieces go, the suit was a major one.

For more on “The Money Fight: Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor,” check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: “https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets”, analyticsCallback: “galleryAnalytics”, fullscreenUrl: “http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/68dBFQsn94fMkuPbDjykuH/266399”, customAnalytics: true, title: “McGregor workout before Mayweather fight”, feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == “undefined”) ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

NSAC says it won't get dragged into another glove challenge after 'The Money Fight'

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid4621179066001?bckey=AQ~~,AAAABvaL8JE~,ufBHq_I6FnxR-PQW_F3sm5QdUbP7D6E9&bctid=5542901295001
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

LAS VEGAS – Don’t expect the Nevada State Athletic Commission to bend rules for fighters from here on out – or so that’s the message after the commission waived an 11-year-old rule.

After a social media challenge from Floyd Mayweather led the NSAC to allow eight-ounce gloves against Conor McGregor for “The Money Fight,” NSAC chief Bob Bennett said the brakes are on.

“I think chairman (Anthony Marnell) put it very eloquently, very succinctly, and he basically put everybody on notice,” Bennett told MMAjunkie when asked if the commission’s decision on Wednesday had created a precedent. “This is not something we get involved in.

“We’re strictly business. We’re regulators. We’re not promoters. We don’t do the PR work for them. So he basically put everybody on notice and did it very well, and I happen to agree with him.”

“The Money Fight” takes place Aug. 26 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The event airs live on pay-per-view.

After several commissioners expressed concern over the change, only to signal their approval, Marnell briefly changed the tone of the NSAC meeting. He admonished reps for McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) and Mayweather (49-0 boxing) for the last-minute request, indicating the commission was being played as a mark to a big hustle.

“My biggest concern about this consideration or this request that is being made is that I do not like the (NSAC) being used as a pawn in a social media bout between these two,” Marnell said. “That part of this request, it pisses me off, I’ll be really, really honest with you. I respect the fact that you missed this and you admitted that in your testimony that you may have missed this subject when you guys put this bout agreement together.

“But this body is not the subject of two fighters who want to go back and forth like these two have at each other to create social media stir and another controversy for attention to sell tickets (and) to sell DirecTV. However, in saying that, I would like to put that aside and I would just caution going forward that this body, this forum, not be used for that again.”

Right now, though, the NSAC has no trouble being used for that.

Social media, of course, is what turned a fantasy fight between an undefeated boxing great with a complete novice. Mayweather and McGregor’s improbable path to the ring was paved by thousands of messages from fans and observers, creating a groundswell of attention that regulators eventually couldn’t ignore.

It’s an experiment that will benefit the NSAC handsomely, to say nothing of the fighters and the local economy in Las Vegas.

Despite McGregor’s absence of experience in the boxing ring, Bennett expressed confidence it will be a competitive fight. He noted Mayweather has used eight-ounce gloves for most of his career with his only recent knockout a 2007 stoppage of Ricky Hatton, and McGregor using four-ounce gloves in the UFC.

“I think a one-fight exception is conducive to this fight, because these are two elite fighters that pose a very interesting, compelling fight that is good for both MMA, boxing and the fans,” Bennett said.

For more on “The Money Fight: Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor,” check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: “https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets”, analyticsCallback: “galleryAnalytics”, fullscreenUrl: “http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/si9zxJPMHPwke8HK2qGqF9/266213”, customAnalytics: true, title: “Mayweather-McGregor world tour madness”, feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == “undefined”) ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

From welfare line to 'Money Fight,' Conor McGregor never forgets

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid4621179066001?bckey=AQ~~,AAAABvaL8JE~,ufBHq_I6FnxR-PQW_F3sm5QdUbP7D6E9&bctid=5541497820001
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

(This story first published over at usatoday.com.)

The city of Dublin has no shortage of lovely spots that are easy on the eye and a visitor’s delight, but Tower Road in the suburb of Clondalkin will never be described as one of them.

Midway along a tight street, a single lane of often-congested traffic in each direction, is a plain brick office building where local job seekers go in search of gainful work and to collect welfare checks to tide them over to the next week.

Opposite is a former pharmacy, now bricked up, and next to that a postal center, where the services provided also include a kiosk where the welfare payments can be distributed and received.

Conor McGregor is expected to make possibly $100 million when he fights Floyd Mayweather at T-Mobile Arena in a Las Vegas boxing ring on Aug. 26, but even if some unforeseen calamity cancels the fight, he no longer has a need to pass through Tower Road, or the local office of Intreo, Ireland’s national employment service.

Yet just over four years ago, in early April 2013, McGregor patiently took his place in line, got his final social payment of 188 Euros ($221), then queued to collect it at the post office. The wait nearly caused him to miss his flight to Sweden, where he would make his UFC debut days later, but he made it just in time.

“I told them at the welfare office, I’m about to start fighting in the UFC,” McGregor said. “We will see what happens.”

In Stockholm, he knocked out Marcus Brimage in 67 seconds, collected a $60,000 check for Performance of the Night, and began a remarkable journey to fame and fortune. He’s never cashed another welfare check since, instead collecting seven-figure sums after becoming the biggest draw in MMA.

McGregor’s fighting and promotional commitments are such that it would be easier in many ways for him to be permanently based in the U.S., but you can forget about that happening. The 29-year-old is a true son of Dublin, the Irish boy from his country’s capital proudly wearing the nation’s colors and making sure home is not only where the heart is, but where he and his family rest their heads.

McGregor now sees a side of Dublin that was closed off to him as a youngster, his wealth providing a lifestyle vastly different from his working-class youth. It is easy and common for young men to forget their humble beginnings in such situations. On the surface, McGregor would appear to be one of those, all mink coats and rented supercars and gaudy displays of wealth.

Yet for all the flash there is one spot that never fails to keep him somewhat grounded, Tower Road and all its memories, a place he seeks out whenever he returns home and one that offers an eternal reminder of how quickly he has risen.

“I always make a point to see it, look back, reminisce and pinch myself that I’m in this position,” McGregor said. “But (I) never stare. If you stare, you stay there. I look, pay homage and use it as fuel to keep going. I never become complacent or comfortable. Those are my people. I’ve never changed. Ask anyone.”

McGregor’s loud proclamations of self-worth and the nature of the sport he has mastered is not for everyone, especially in the snootier sections of Irish society. Among the working classes in his homeland, however, he is truly beloved, seen as the boy who made good, yet never disrespected his past.

“I haven’t changed since Day 1,” McGregor said. “I’m the same person. I show up to the gym, I work hard, and through my hard work I gain my confidence. That’s been the same since Day 1. What I arrive to the gym in, what I wear to the gym, my home that I go home to, those are things that have changed. They have become nicer. But the fundamentals are still there. I show up, I work hard, and I accomplish through my work.”

That hunger has served him well in the octagon, though whether it is enough to overcome the natural disadvantage he has as a boxing newcomer in facing Mayweather, one of the sweet science’s all-time greats, remains to be seen. Regardless, nearly five million people are expected to pay to find out, boosting McGregor’s earnings beyond his wildest dreams.

“I’ve come from shows I’m fighting in front of 100 people, and 75 of those are friends of those on the undercard,” McGregor said, referring to his time on the Irish MMA circuit before he got his UFC opportunity. “That’s where I’ve come from four years ago. I’ve come a long way. It’s been a hell of a journey.”

For more on “The Money Fight: Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor,” check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: “https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets”, analyticsCallback: “galleryAnalytics”, fullscreenUrl: “http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/68dBFQsn94fMkuPbDjykuH/266143”, customAnalytics: true, title: “Conor McGregor media workout before Floyd Mayweather fight”, feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == “undefined”) ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Dana White: Mayweather-McGregor is tracking to 'kill' 4.9 million pay-per-view buys

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid4621179066001?bckey=AQ~~,AAAABvaL8JE~,ufBHq_I6FnxR-PQW_F3sm5QdUbP7D6E9&bctid=5542969495001
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

UFC President Dana White believes “The Money Fight” is on track to beat the Las Vegas odds on how many people will purchase the pay-per-view.

With the over-under set at 4.9 million buys, White said “everything is tracking right now to say that we’re going to kill this thing” when Floyd Mayweather (49-0 boxing) squares off with Conor McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) on Aug. 26 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

White said technological advances will give the event a leg up in distribution, which will give it a better chance to generate more revenue. He claimed the boxing card will be the most widely distributed fight ever, from Internet sources to television, where the fight will be available in one billion homes worldwide.

“There’s a lot of things boxing doesn’t do,” White said Wednesday during a conference call. “For instance, most of the time, you’re dealing with a network. Networks aren’t too excited to go OTT. It’s not a big thing they’re into. We have the capabilities, we do it all the time, and I believe we’re one of the best to do it. The numbers are tracking huge. We’re going to do the numbers that everybody has been talking we’re going to do.”

A buy-rate over 4.9 million would shatter the record set by Floyd Mayweather’s 2015 fight against Manny Pacquiao in “The Fight of the Century,” which generated 4.4 million buys and over $400 million in revenue.

Mayweather on Tuesday predicted his boxing match with the UFC lightweight champion would net him $350 million. White wouldn’t say how much McGregor would take home, simply saying the Irish champ would make “life-changing money.”

Although boxing and MMA observers have widely dismissed McGregor’s chances against Mayweather, interest in the bout has been intense. White said video of McGregor sparring retired boxer Paulie Malignaggi generated 1 million views on his Instagram account, while his Facebook and Twitter accounts drew 2 million apiece.

“That doesn’t include everywhere else it went,” White said.

White and the fight’s promoters at Mayweather Promotions hope that curiosity translates to purchases. If it does, an obscene amount of money could be made.

For more on “The Money Fight: Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor,” check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: “https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets”, analyticsCallback: “galleryAnalytics”, fullscreenUrl: “http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/si9zxJPMHPwke8HK2qGqF9/266092”, customAnalytics: true, title: “Mayweather-McGregor world tour madness”, feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == “undefined”) ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie