Category Archives: Gilbert Melendez

Trading Shots: On toughness, tapping to strikes, and the things that only fighters know

Is tapping to strikes a reassuring sign that at least someone knows when to quit, or do non-fighters fail to understand just how much toughness – both mental and physical – matters in MMA? Former UFC and WEC fighter Danny Downes joins MMAjunkie columnist Ben Fowlkes to discuss in this week’s Trading Shots.

Downes: Ben, I had to get my oil changed this Monday, so that gave me a little time to kill. Instead of taking a walk or trying to engage with a person, I did what any of us would do – stare at my phone.

That was when I came across your column about the difference between toughness and stupidity.

It’s always nice to get a layman’s interpretation of what constitutes toughness in the cage. The overall message of the piece was that referees and cornermen don’t do enough to save fighters from themselves. This was in the immediate aftermath of Gilbert Melendez and Gavin Tucker suffering significant injuries.

After last night’s UFC Fight Night 116 in Pittsburgh, though, I wonder if you’d like to revise this story. Should Uriah Hall’s corner have stopped his fight? David Branch may have done the intelligent thing by tapping to strikes, but are you going to tell me you didn’t hold that against him?

Fowlkes: Yes, I am going to tell you that I did not and do not hold that against Branch. I know there’s that stigma about tapping to strikes, but it’s mostly pretty dumb. We regularly see fighters get hurt and go full fetal as a signal to the referee that they’ve had it, which is basically like tapping to strikes without actually doing it.

Branch was stuck, he was getting pummeled, he was beat and he knew it. Why take a dozen more punches just so people on the internet will be slightly less critical?

You do raise a good point with Hall, though. He had some bleak moments against Krzysztof Jotko in the opening round, only to come back and win with strikes in the second. Comebacks like that keep people hoping. Yes, you’re getting beat down now, but who knows, maybe you land one punch and change everything any minute now.

But you and I both know that’s way more the exception than the rule. I’m not saying we’ve got to pull the plug at the first sign of trouble, but I am saying that sometimes this sport gets hung up on stuff that doesn’t matter. Stuff like going the distance in an obvious losing effort. Stuff like taking a ton of abuse just to prove your own toughness, even when it wasn’t in doubt. Stuff like hanging on until the referee stops it, rather than just admitting what your body position has already told us.

I get that you have to be tough to do this sport, Danny. But are you going to tell me that sometimes it doesn’t cross the line into stupid?

Downes: First off, I’m going to totally disagree with you on the tapping to strikes comment. Does going “full fetal,” as you put it, end up being a type of de facto tapout? Yes it does. Is it the same as tapping to strikes? Absolutely not.

When you just stop answering your girlfriend’s texts, that’s de facto breaking up. When you look her in the eye and tell her it’s over, that’s something different. The result is the same, but one takes more courage.

I’m not going to say that it doesn’t cross the line, but I don’t think you realize the implications of what you’re asking. You’re essentially trying to change the nature of MMA. This might come as a shock to you Ben, but there’s no logical, objective reason to fight someone in a cage for money. I’ll try to put in terms you may understand: There’s also no logical, objective reason to put a helmet on and hit someone carrying an oblong-shaped ball.

American football and MMA are inherently violent sports. Especially in MMA, the violence is the key component. All these attempts to put the onus on referees, cornermen and fighters, themselves to avoid uncomfortably violent or tragic outcomes may seem like a noble pursuit, but I don’t think it is. How much of this is an attempt to make ourselves feel better about watching young men and women concuss themselves? I’m not a brute; I thought Melendez should have quit earlier!

Furthermore, if we were to take your criteria to its logical conclusion, that would make Bob Sapp the smartest fighter in MMA history. Facing any resistance? Quit. Down on the scorecards and going to lose? Don’t even finish the fight. Why test yourself when you can give up!?

You flippantly dismiss the idea of proving your toughness, but it’s something that matters. Being tough on the practice mat doesn’t mean anything. There is nothing at stake. Who cares if you’re supposed to spar five rounds and you stop after three? Your coaches may not be happy and you might even piss off a sparring partner or two, but there’s always the next sparring day.

When you’re standing in the middle of the cage in front of thousands of people as it’s being broadcast on national television, the stakes are much different. Character and strength isn’t what you do when things are going well; it’s what you do when times are tough.

Fowlkes: So, wait, I’m confused about the girlfriend analogy. There, doing something proactive is the brave thing, while passively waiting for her to get the point is cowardly. But what you’re saying is that it’s the same but completely opposite in MMA? Branch isn’t tough because he admitted he was done, rather than waiting for the referee to notice that he’d stopped fighting back?

To quote Sheriff Ed Tom Bell, Danny, that don’t make no sense.

I don’t disagree that toughness matters. I’d even argue that this sport requires a different brand of it than most others do, because you can’t limp to the sidelines or call timeout or go get an MRI in the locker room. It’s all about what you do in those few minutes inside the cage, and if it doesn’t go well there is not going to be another chance to redeem yourself next weekend.

Still, you can’t tell me that we don’t fetishize toughness beyond all good sense at times. Other sports sometimes do a better job of realizing that injuring yourself for a lost cause just to make a point is dumb. In MMA, we act like as long as you can stand (and sometimes even when you can’t) you’re obligated to keep going.

And we wonder why fighters have a hard time retiring when we think they should. What’s wrong with these guys, we ask each other. It’s like they don’t know when to quit!

I think you’ll agree that there’s a point where it’s smarter to stop and take your loss than it is to keep fighting just to impress people or prove something to yourself. It’s why tapping out is even an option. We can argue about where the line is, or who gets to decide, but once we admit that it’s there we can longer justify endless abuse in the name of toughness über alles.

What do you think when you see someone hobbling around for weeks, unable to train or fight, all because he refused to tap to a heel hook? Do you think “tough,” or do you think “stupid”? The distinction matters, Danny, and that’s only more true when it’s your brain rather than your ACL.

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: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Gilbert Melendez's beat-up leg is purple but looks better than before

Gilbert Melendez’s left leg took one helluva beating at UFC 215 thanks to Jeremy Stephens.

In the pay-per-view main-card opener at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Melendez (22-7 MMA, 1-5 UFC) was his usual resilient self as Stephens (26-14 MMA, 13-13 UFC) delivered an onslaught of low kicks for 15 minutes, leading to a unanimous decision in Stephens’ favor.

To his credit, Melendez endured to make it through the end, but he paid a painful-looking price.

But there’s good news, folks, courtesy of Melendez’s wife, Keri, on Twitter:

“Update on Gilbert’s leg for all the supportive fans. Still sore but we are getting better. Blood is spreading throughout the leg.”

Further proof that “El Nino” is as tough as they come.

For complete coverage of UFC 215, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC 215 'Fight Motion:' In which Gilbert Melendez's lower leg swells up instantly

Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

Jeremy Stephens delivered a barrage of low kicks to Gilbert Melendez and, as we in the “Fight Motion: highlights for this past Saturday’s UFC 215 bout, the swelling began instantly and forced Melendez to the mat.

The super-slow-motion highlights capture the action from the event at Rogers place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada., which aired on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Melendez (22-7 MMA, 1-5 UFC) once again proved his durability in the cage, but he’d probably just as soon forget all about his featherweight debut against Stephens (26-14 MMA, 13-13 UFC) as he dropped a unanimous decision with scores of 30-26, 30-26 and 30-25. The story of the fight was the repeated low kicks that hammered Melendez’s left leg.

“Fight Motion” highlights also include the main event, which champ Amanda Nunes (15-4 MMA, 8-1 UFC) won over Valentina Shevchenko (14-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC) by a narrow unanimous decision and Henry Cejudo (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) finishing Wilson Reis  (22-8 MMA, 6-4 UFC) via second-round TKO.

Check out the “Fight Motion” highlights above.

For more on UFC 215, visit the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

The long struggle to understand the difference between tough and stupid

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When the referee comes to visit you in the hospital so he can apologize, it’s a pretty good sign that you didn’t have a great night.

Still, UFC featherweight Gavin Tucker (10-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) isn’t complaining. In fact, he’s glad that referee Kyle Cardinal didn’t stop Rick Glenn (20-4 MMA, 2-1 UFC) from thumping on him at UFC 215 in Edmonton on Saturday night, or so he would have us believe.

“Stop blaming the ref for a bad call,” Tucker wrote on Facebook. “That man let me go out on my shield.”

He also let Tucker suffer through four broken bones in his face, including fractures in his jaw and orbital bones. He didn’t know that at the time – it’s not like he has X-ray vision – but what he should have been able to see was that, as of about the middle of the second round, Tucker was no longer in this fight.

Cardinal should have stopped it there. When he failed to, Tucker’s corner should have stopped it before the third. Instead, everyone with a responsibility to look out for his safety let Tucker get beat up for five more minutes, and for what?

I found myself asking a similar question later in the evening, when Gilbert Melendez’s corner talked him out of quitting on the stool before the third round of his pay-per-view main-card opener. Melendez (22-7 MMA, 1-5 UFC) had suffered a very obvious and visible leg injury early in the fight with Jeremy Stephens (26-14 MMA, 13-13 UFC). It clearly hampered his ability to move and defend and, at times, stand.

And yet when Melendez told his corner that he thought he was done, they talked him out of it. They told him he was fine. They told the doctor to pay no attention to the man with the ice pack on his shin. They told Melendez he could do anything for five minutes.

Of course, you go out there with limited mobility against a knockout artist like Stephens, one of the things you might do is hobble right into a concussion. Melendez didn’t, which is as much a testament to his poise and experience as his toughness, and in the end he managed to hear the final horn.

He still lost, of course, and he wasn’t able to do much but survive in the final round. Surviving might have been enough to help him net his $50,000 share of the “Fight of the Night” bonus, but it’s hard to say whether that’s genuine admiration from the UFC or just pity.

We have this strange attachment to pointless suffering in combat sports. Maybe it’s part of the morality play aspect of watching two people battle in a cage. We think that they are teaching us about how to suffer with strength and dignity, and to some extent maybe they are. Or maybe they’re just accumulating damage in the service of a lost cause.

The fact that both these fights happened on the same night in Edmonton helps to drive home a certain point. It’s the same Canadian city where, some three months ago, former UFC fighter Tim Hague died after being knocked out in a boxing match.

There was another fight where there seemed to be no real reason to continue after a first round in which Hague hit the deck four times. But again, combat sports love finality and hate even the tiniest shred of doubt. We often seem to feel that it’s easier to keep going than to stop and explain why.

And you can understand why the fighters want to keep going. Fans aren’t kind to those they deem a quitter. Plus, all that training for one night – and one paycheck that doubles with a victory – who can blame you for wanting to give yourself every last chance?

But then you look at Tucker, who was 10-0 with a promising future before he got his face broken in several places, all to prove what we already knew or suspected, which is that he’s a tough guy who can withstand some pain. It didn’t do him or his career any favors to take that extra five minutes worth of punishment. It was pointless and dumb and dangerous.

Same with Melendez, whose corner no doubt thought they were doing him a favor by talking him through a low point so he wouldn’t hate himself in the morning. Then again, in 10 years covering this sport, I’ve seen a handful of fighters get talked into continuing by well-meaning cornermen. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one of those fighters win, but I have seen a lot of ugly fights that only got uglier.

There’s definitely a place for this mentality in sports like MMA, where you’ll never get anywhere if you don’t know how to get hurt, recover and overcome some adversity. But there’s a difference between fighting through the pain and being someone’s punching bag.

There are times when the pursuit of some minor moral victory will come at the expense of actual victories later on, the same way refusing to tap to a joint lock only earns you more time in surgery and rehab, when you could have been training and fighting and learning instead.

Seems to me we could do a better job of understanding and recognizing that distinction, and not valorizing empty risks that only serve to reinforce a point that’s already been proven. We get that UFC fighters are tough. You don’t make it to this level if you’re not.

But there’s a point where tough gives way to stupid. There are already enough ways for this sport to send you to the hospital. We don’t need to go looking for new ones.

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

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

So yeah, Gilbert Melendez's leg was a mess the day after UFC 215

Dann StuppGilbert Melendez’s legs got a rude welcome to the UFC featherweight division on Saturday at UFC 215. Check out the aftermath.

In the pay-per-view main-card opener at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, a durable and resilient Melendez (22-7 MMA, 1-5 UFC) dropped from lightweight to featherweight and survived three rounds of lower-limb battering from Jeremy Stephens (26-14 MMA, 13-13 UFC).

Ultimately, Melendez, who was often hobbled early in the fight, survived to the final bell and suffered a unanimous-decision defeat. But it was clearly Stephens’ night.

On Sunday, Melendez’s wife, kickboxer/MMA fighter Keri Anne Taylor-Melendez, posted a picture of her husband’s badly swollen left leg.

With a quick comparison to his right leg, the swelling is obvious (via Twitter):

“Hey All. Everyone is asking about Gilbert’s leg. Here is a pic today. He is doing A ok. Thank you to all for the support. We feel the love

Melendez, a former Strikeforce champion who joined the UFC in 2013, has fallen short in two UFC title shots. With the UFC 215 defeat, the 35-year-old is now in a 1-5 skid going back to his promotional-debut title loss to then-champ Benson Henderson.

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

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

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Source: MMA Junkie

Sean Shelby's Shoes: What's next for Valentina Shevchenko and UFC 215's other losing fighters?

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(ALSO SEE: Sean Shelby’s Shoes: What’s next for UFC 215’s winning fighters?)

UFC 215 took place Saturday at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, with a five-fight pay-pay-per-view main card.

Valentina Shevchenko (14-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC) fell short of claiming the UFC women’s bantamweight title in the headliner when she suffered a split-decision loss to Amanda Nunes (15-4 MMA, 8-1 UFC) to experience her second UFC blemish, both of which have come against “The Lioness.”

Some other fighters suffered notable losses, as well, with Neil Magny (19-6 MMA, 12-5 UFC) and Wilson Reis (22-8 MMA, 6-4 UFC) suffering stoppage losses, and Tyson Pedro (6-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) and Gilbert Melendez (22-7 MMA, 1-5 UFC) falling short on the scorecards.

After every event, fans wonder whom the losing fighters will be matched up with next. And with another night of UFC action in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look forward, put on a pair of Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard’s shoes, and play UFC matchmaker for UFC 215’s losing fighters.

* * * *

Gilbert Melendez

Jason Knight

Should fight: Jason Knight
Why they should fight: Melendez’s experimental drop to the featherweight division didn’t go according to plan against Jeremy Stephens, and now the former Strikeforce champion is sitting on a four-fight losing skid and is winless over a nearly four-year period.

Although he’s had two title shots and a “Fight of the Year” contender with Diego Sanchez in 2013, Melendez’s run in the UFC can likely be summed up as disappointing, especially when considering only the number of wins and losses.

At 35, it remains to be seen if Melendez will want to continue to fight much longer, especially with ownership of his own gym and an analyst gig with ESPN. Assuming he wants to continue, and stay at featherweight, a number of interesting fights are available in the division.

A slugger such as Knight (20-3 MMA, 4-2 UFC) could potentially bring out the best in Melendez, and if it went the other way, Knight would add a legitimate name to his resume following a knockout loss to Ricardo Lamas at UFC 214 in July.

Tyson Pedro

Gian Villante

Should fight: Gian Villante
Why they should fight: Pedro experienced the first defeat of his career when he fell short with a unanimous-decision loss to Swedish powerhouse Ilir Latifi.

After a six-fight winning streak to begin his career, Pedro couldn’t rise to the level of his most elite opponent to date, and that shows he’s not quite ready for the higher-tier fighters in the light-heavyweight division.

A matchup with Villante (15-9 MMA, 5-6 UFC) wouldn’t be a big step back from Latifi, but he would present a winnable fight for the Australian that would also afford him a chance to add a notable name to his resume.

Wilson Reis

Brandon Moreno

Should fight: Brandon Moreno
Why they should fight: After being handed a brutal beatdown at the hands of flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson earlier this year, Reis took an even more one-sided loss when Henry Cejudo knocked him out cold in the matchup of former title challengers.

Reis was unable to accomplish anything in just over a round of cage time with Cejudo, and he got picked apart and ultimately finished with a series of second-round strikes. It’s unfamiliar territory for the Brazilian, who had never been finished in the UFC prior to this current skid.

Given the nature of his past two fights, it would probably be in Reis’ best interest to take a little time off. Once he’s recovered and recharged, though, a bout with fellow grappling specialist Moreno (14-4 MMA, 3-1 UFC) would be as compelling as any other available option at 125 pounds.

Neil Magny

Gunnar Nelson

Should fight: Gunnar Nelson
Why they should fight: After sitting out for eight months, Magny suffered a setback in his return to the octagon in the form of a first-round submission loss to former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos.

Magny has been stellar over the past few years, but in recent fights, he’s run into some issues that have prevented him from getting his hand raised. The American will need to make some adjustments in order to reach greater heights in the division, but many compelling matchups remain.

Nelson (16-3-1 MMA, 7-3 UFC) dangerous ground game and evolving striking would clash well with Magny’s versatile offense and defense. Both men would enter the fight off a loss, meaning even greater stakes and risk when they share the octagon.

Valentina Shevchenko

Should fight: Sara McMann
Why they should fight: Watch the video above to see why Shevchenko should fight McMann (11-4 MMA, 5-4 UFC) next after her title-fight loss.

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

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC 215 post-event facts: Which fighter tied an 11-year-old UFC record?

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Filed under: News, UFC

The UFC made a successful debut in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, on Saturday with UFC 215, which took place at Rogers Place with a main card on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

The 11-fight card was capped off by a razor-thin title defense from UFC women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes (15-4 MMA, 8-1 UFC), who edged rival Valentina Shevchenko (14-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC) by split decision in their anticipated title rematch.

Nunes’ victory continued to raise her profile in the divisional record books, but she wasn’t the only fighter on the card to make some history. For more, check below for 35 post-even facts to come out of UFC 215.

* * * *

General

Amanda Nunes

The UFC-Reebok Athlete Outfitting payout for the event totaled $185,000.

Rafael dos Anjos, Henry Cejudo, Jeremy Stephens and Gilbert Melendez earned $50,000 UFC 215 fight-night bonuses.

Debuting fighters went 1-0 on the card.

UFC 215 drew an announced attendance of 16,232 for a live gate of $2,028,307.14.

Betting favorites went 6-5 on the card.

Total fight time for the 11-bout card was 2:06:50.

Main card

Amanda Nunes and Valentina Shevchenko

Nunes’ six-fight UFC winning streak in women’s bantamweight competition is the longest active streak in the division.

Nunes’ eight victories in UFC women’s bantamweight competition are the most in divisional history.

Shevchenko has suffered both of her UFC losses to Nunes.

Shevchenko has suffered both of her UFC losses by decision.

Shevchenko failed to complete a takedown in a fight for the first time in her UFC career.

Rafael dos Anjos

Dos Anjos (27-9 MMA, 16-7 UFC) improved to 2-0 since he moved up to the UFC welterweight division in June 2017.

Dos Anjos earned his first submission victory since May 15, 2012 – a span of 1,943 days (more than five years) and 14 fights.

Neil Magny (19-6 MMA, 12-5 UFC) has suffered four of his six career losses by submission.

Henry Cejudo

Cejudo (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) earned the first stoppage victory of his UFC career.

Wilson Reis (22-8 MMA, 6-4 UFC) fell to 5-3 since he dropped to the UFC flyweight division in August 2014.

Tyson Pedro (6-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) had his six-fight winning streak snapped for the first defeat of his career.

Stephens (26-14 MMA, 13-13 UFC) improved to 6-5 since he dropped to the UFC featherweight division in May 2013.

Jeremy Stephens

Stephens has earned four of his six featherweight victories by decision.

Stephens’ five knockdowns landed tied the single-fight UFC record set by Forrest Petz vs. Sammy Morgan at UFC Fight Night 6 in 2006.

Melendez (22-7 MMA, 1-5 UFC) suffered his fourth consecutive loss to extend the longest skid of his career. He’s 1-5 in his past six bouts overall and hasn’t earned a victory since October 2013.

Melendez was unsuccessful in his UFC featherweight debut. He hasn’t earned a victory in the weight class since August 2005.

Melendez has suffered six of his seven career losses by decision.

Preliminary card

Ketlen Vieira and Sara McMann

Ketlen Vieira’s (9-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) three-fight UFC winning streak in women’s bantamweight competition is tied for the third longest active streak in the division behind Nunes (six) and Raquel Pennington (four).

Sara McMann (11-4 MMA, 5-4 UFC) has suffered three of her four career losses by stoppage.

Ashlee Evans-Smith (5-3 MMA, 2-3 UFC) has suffered both of her career stoppage losses by submission.

Gavin Tucker (10-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) had his 10-fight winning streak snapped for the first defeat of his career.

Mitch Clarke

Mitch Clarke (11-5 MMA, 2-5 UFC) suffered his third consecutive loss to extend the longest skid of his career.

Clarke retired from MMA following his defeat.

Alex White (12-3 MMA, 3-3 UFC) improved to 1-1 since he moved up to the UFC lightweight division in January.

White has earned 10 of his 12 career victories by stoppage.

Luis Henrique (10-4 MMA, 2-3 UFC) suffered the first decision loss of his career.

Henrique failed to complete a takedown for the first time in his UFC career.

Kajan Johnson

Kajan Johnson (22-11-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC) earned his first knockout victory since Nov. 6, 2009 – a span of 2,864 days (nearly eight years) and seven fights.

Adriano Martins (28-9 MMA, 4-3 UFC) has suffered both of his UFC stoppage losses by knockout.

For complete coverage of UFC 215, 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.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Jeremy Stephens would love to fight Jose Aldo – just not in November (and understandably so)

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EDMONTON – Veteran UFC featherweight Jeremy Stephens just finished his 26th octagon appearance and snapped a two-fight losing skid.

He feels a raise is due.

“My kids are growing, and I want the best for them and the best for me and to set them up in the future,” Stephens (26-14 MMA, 13-13 UFC) told MMAjunkie after Saturday’s UFC 215 event, where he outpointed former Strikeforce champ Gilbert Melendez (22-7 MMA, 1-5 UFC) in the pay-per-view opener at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. “I’m just now starting to make good money in this sport, and it’s been a long time.

“I feel like I should be making a (expletive) more money, especially since I just beat a guy who makes probably double what I do.”

That guy, of course, expertly used the free-agency process to win a lucrative new deal with the UFC. Stephens is most known for his work in the UFC octagon, so his opportunity to leverage one promotion against the other was not as strong as Melendez’s.

Still, with his contract nearing completion, Stephens said it’s time to get a bump.

“I’m definitely going to be begging for some more money and putting on these performances (so) I can retire nice,” Stephens said. “I definitely want to retire and do some FOX analysis (work). But right now I’m a fighter, and I want to make as much money as I can.”

Stephens has a good idea of an opponent that might earn him a bigger paycheck – ex-champ Jose Aldo (26-3 MMA, 8-2 UFC). He noted the Brazilian’s desire to fight in November after the loss of his belt to Max Holloway earlier this year.

While that timeline doesn’t exactly jibe with Stephens’ schedule – he did, after all, put off his wedding for UFC 215 – a matchup later this year sounds perfect.

“I would love that fight, but November, it’s a little tight on my schedule, and I can’t push two things back,” Stephens said. “So December or January, something like that – that would be something I’d definitely look forward to. He’s a banger and a class act.

“I think me and him could get it on and give the fans a great showing. But I just can’t do November. I can’t keep pushing things back.”

To hear more from Stephens, check out the video above.

And for complete coverage of UFC 215, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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

UFC 215 Athlete Outfitting pay: 2017 payout total passes $4 million

EDMONTON – Fighters from Saturday’s UFC 215 event took home UFC Athlete Outfitting pay, a program that launched after the UFC’s deal with Reebok, totaling $185,000.

UFC 215 took place at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and the main card aired on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

Leading the way was UFC women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes (15-4 MMA, 8-1 UFC), who as a titleholder earned a maximum program payout of $40,000. “The Lioness” earned a split-decision victory over Valentina Shevchenko (14-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC) in the main event.

With UFC 215 in the books, the UFC’s 2017 annual outfitting payout pushed past $4 million.

The full UFC 215 UFC Athlete Outfitting payouts included:

Amanda Nunes: $40,000
def. Valentina Shevchenko: $30,000

Rafael dos Anjos: $20,000
def. Neil Magny: $15,000

Henry Cejudo: $5,000
def. Wilson Reis: $5,000

Ilir Latifi: $5,000
def. Tyson Pedro: $2,500

Jeremy Stephens: $20,000
def. Gilbert Melendez: $5,000

Ketlen Vieira: $2,500
def. Sara McMann: $5,000

Sarah Moras: $2,500
def. Ashlee Evans-Smith: $2,500

Rick Glenn: $2,500
def. Gavin Tucker: $2,500

Alex White: $5,000
def. Mitch Clarke: $5,000

Arjan Bhullar: $2,500
def. Luis Henrique: $2,500

Kajan Johnson: $2,500
def. Adriano Martins: $5,000

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.

Year-to-date total: $4,050,000
2016 total: $7,138,000
2015 total: $3,185,000
Program-to-date total: $14,373,000

For complete coverage of UFC 215, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC 215 bonuses: Rafael dos Anjos, Henry Cejudo haul in $50K extra for impressive wins

EDMONTON – Rafael dos Anjos, Henry Cejudo, Jeremy Stephens, and Gilbert Melendez each earned $50,000 fight-night bonuses at Saturday’s UFC 215 event.

Dos Anjos (for his first-round submission of Neil Magny) and Cejudo (for his second-round knockout of Wilson Reis) picked up “Performance of the Night” awards, and Stephens-Melendez took home “Fight of the Night” honors.

The UFC announced the winners following the event, which MMAjunkie attended.

UFC 215 took place at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and the main card aired on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

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

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie