Ex-UFC contender Ian McCall joins Rizin FF bantamweight grand prix, debuts Dec. 29

Due to an infamous run of bad luck, Ian McCall has fought just once since July 2014. But that could soon change – in a big way.

Officials today announced McCall (13-5-1), a former UFC flyweight contender who’s No. 13 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA flyweight rankings, has joined the organization’s world bantamweight grand prix as a wild card and is set for a promotional debut at Rizin FF 8.

“Rizin FF 8: World Grand Prix 2nd Round” takes place Dec. 29 at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, and it streams in North America on FITE TV.

McCall, who could now fight three times in just three days, meets 23-year-old Portuguese fighter Manel Kape (7-1), who scored a knockout win over Erson Yamamoto this past weekend at Rizin FF 7 in an opening-round matchup. McCall vs. Kape is one of four quarterfinal-round matchups slated for Rizin FF 8.

The fighters squared off today at the official announcement (via Twitter):

The winner advances to the semifinal round, which takes place two days later at Rizin FF 9. That Dec. 31 event features both the semis and the tournament final. Therefore, the tourney winner and runner-up are scheduled to fight three times in a 48-hour span.

For 33-year-old McCall, who’s had six bouts canceled in recent years due to his opponents’ and his own injuries and fight-week ailments, it’s his first fighting opportunity since he fired his manager and requested and received his UFC release.

Other quarterfinal-round matchups slated for Rizin FF 8 include Kyoji Horiguchi (20-2) vs. TBA, Takafumi Otsuka (23-12-2) vs. Khalid Taha (11-0), and Shintaro Ishiwatari (23-6) vs. Kevin Petshi (13-3).

The latest Rizin FF 8 card now includes:

  • Kyoji Horiguchi vs. TBA – bantamweight grand prix quarterfinal
  • Manel Kape vs. Ian McCall – bantamweight grand prix quarterfinal
  • Takafumi Otsuka vs. Khalid Taha – bantamweight grand prix quarterfinal
  • Shintaro Ishiwatari vs. Kevin Petshi – bantamweight grand prix quarterfinal

For more on Rizin FF 8, check out the MMA Rumora section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Ian McCall fires manager, then gets release from UFC after $100,000 demand

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Ian McCall is striking out on his own.

The veteran flyweight asked for and received his release from his UFC contract after the promotion denied his demand for a $100,000 payout in his next fight.

MMAFighting.com first reported McCall’s release, which MMAjunkie confirmed with the promotion.

In an extended interview today, McCall (13-5-1 MMA, 2-3-1 UFC) said he also fired his longtime manager. He welcomed offers from other fight promoters while also leaving open the possibility of retirement if a good job offer materialized. He said he recently came close to a gig with a software development company to help develop a music and radio app.

“It just goes to show you that people are willing to offer me good money,” he said. “There’s other options for me out there. Good, corporate options with benefits.”

The UFC exit came after McCall discovered a treatment for a long-running stomach ailment, which led to his the cancellation of his most recent octagon bout, his fourth straight short-notice scratch in the promotion.

“I finally got out of my funk,” he said. “I finally feel like me again.”

Long dissatisfied with his pay grade, McCall said he tried to renegotiate with the UFC to receive a minimum of $50,000 to show and $50,000 to win. He said he asked his manager to be personally involved in talks, but ultimately was left out.

When a subsequent offer came for $22,000 to show and $22,000 to win, McCall fired the manager. This past week, he asked for his release from the UFC.

With the paperwork pending, McCall said he also refused a visit this past Saturday from USADA, seeing no need to do a random drug test if he’d never before tested positive and was likely to fight elsewhere. USADA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“I want to explore my options,” he said. “I’ve got one last good run in me, to go fight for a good solid couple of years, if I can keep my health up. As healthy as I am now, I can do that. The way I’ve tailored my training, it’s about getting in shape now.

“It’s more of a game at this point that I get to play to try and sell myself and see what I can pull off.”

McCall named Japanese promotion Rizin FF as a possibility, but said the highest bidder will ultimately determine his next move.

“Either tell me I’m pretty or take me to lunch,” he joked.

In the meantime, he’s working as a marketing consultant for a company that makes cannabidiol (CBD) oil. Two years ago, he signed on to be a co-manager of a medical marijuana facility before a fallout with its management.

“This is all fun and games for me,” he said. “What’s going to happen? Someone’s going to tell me, ‘You’re not worth it?’ OK. I’ll just go and do the job I’m doing now, and not hurt my body. I’ll make more money doing this, probably get offered another good corporate job, or land the job that was originally offered to me. Life doesn’t suck for me. I have options outside of fighting.

“For the first time in five years, I’m really clear-headed and ready to go. And I feel healthy. For the last five years, since I’ve been in the UFC, I’ve had seven surgeries, two or three bouts of MRSA, I tore my hip and groin, I popped my knee, and I had a blood infection. It hasn’t been a good environment for me. It’s time to move on.”

McCall ends his UFC career with a 2-3-1 record inside the octagon. Most famously, he twice fought current flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson as part of a four-man tournament to determine the inaugural titleholder; the pair was forced to rematch when a scoring error led their first bout to be declared a draw. That makes him the most recent fighter to take on Johnson and not lose.

McCall’s most recent appearance came in January 2015, when he was outpointed by top contender John Lineker.

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


Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

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

Filed under: Bellator, News, Radio Highlight, Videos

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And for more on Bellator 182, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

MMAjunkie Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

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

Ian McCall granted retroactive therapeutic exemption by USADA after UFC 208 IV use

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Ian McCall is just the second fighter in the history of the UFC-U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) partnership to be granted a retroactive therapeutic use exemption (TUE).

McCall (13-4-1 MMA, 2-3-1 UFC), who was supposed to fight Jared Brooks in a flyweight bout at UFC 208 in February, was forced to withdraw from the contest on fight day due to illness. He was transported to a hospital on Feb. 10 and administered an IV.

The IV administered to McCall did not contain a banned substance. However, it surpassed the 50mL per six-hour period rule, which would typically be an infraction resulting in a suspension. But as USADA revealed today in a press release, McCall went through the proper channels for a retroactive TUE and was cleared of any wrongdoing.

“After a thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding the potential violation, which included the retroactive TUE application process, USADA determined that the athlete had a diagnosed acute medical condition for which the use of an intravenous infusion is consistent with the standard of care,” the statement read. “Because McCall’s TUE application was granted retroactively, his use of a prohibited method will not result in an anti-doping policy violation.”

McCall hasn’t competed since a unanimous-decision loss to John Lineker at UFC 183 in January 2015. He’s attempted to compete at five different events against six scheduled opponents, but each time the contest has fallen apart on just days’ notice.

On top of the UFC 208 incident, “Uncle Creepy” was also forced out of a scheduled UFC Fight Night 99 bout with Neil Seery in November, which was scrapped on weigh-in day when McCall was taken to hospital.

McCall has said in the months following UFC 208 that he may not ever be able to compete again due to the physical tole that cutting weight places on his body. He said the financial rewards are not worth the sacrifice, but the 32-year-old still has not officially retired.

McCall joins UFC women’s featherweight contender Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino as fighters who have received retroactive TUEs from USADA.

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

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie