Mike Dolce makes passionate case for serious, industry-wide discussion around weight-cutting

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Mike Dolce said a deeper, larger conversation around weight-cutting in MMA is probably imminent. But unless we start soon, it just might happen for the wrong reasons.

The ugly sides of severe weight cuts seem to manifest themselves in different ways each week. Just this past Friday, reporters and officials saw UFC flyweight Deiveson Figueiredo actually cry on his way to the scale before making the 126-pound limit. Lightweight Kevin Lee made no excuses for his recent loss to Tony Ferguson in an interim title affair, but talked about how his publicly tough cut  “damn near killed” him.

Examples abound, but perhaps the most striking recent one was that of Sam Alvey (31-10 MMA, 8-5 UFC). By taking a UFC Fight Night 118 fight on 10 days’ notice, the middleweight also agreed to a more than 40-pound cut. He missed by three pounds – and the next day lost to Ramazan Emeev after an apathetic display.

For Dolce, a former MMA fighter and current nutrition specialist who’s helped his fair share of UFC athletes to the scale, Alvey is an example of what happens when fighters who are so far off their division marks take on short-notice calls.

“This is where people get hurt,” Dolce told MMAjunkie Radio. “This is what brings a black eye to the sport.”

If on the one hand there’s an effort to bring in qualified professionals to ensure proper cuts, Dolce said, he wonders where the UFC’s great team of specialists was when it was time to advise on Alvey. Especially considering that, in this time frame and with air-travel included, the weight loss would mostly happen via dehydration.

“So this young man is going to dehydrate himself 30-plus pounds in under 10 days and then have that baseball bat swung in his skull for 15 minutes,” Dolce said. “How is this a good idea?”

More than pointing fingers, Dolce said, there’s a learning opportunity here. But that would mean taking measures much beyond the “bureaucracy and red tape” of the 10-point plan approved by the California State Athletic Commission in May.

“The onus must be on the athlete,” Dolce said. “If there was a penalty to Sam – ‘Hey, Sam, we want to give you a fight in 10 days, on another continent. You’re 40 pounds over right now. Whatever. That’s your responsibility. But if you miss weight, we’re going to fine you 50 percent of your purse, and we’re going to suspend you for six months – if you miss weight within three pounds. If you miss weight for over three pounds, you are immediately pulled from the card and then that ban is a 12-month ban.’

“Will Sam Alvey – will any fighter – then take that fight? It’s actually protecting fighters from their own toughness.”

Dolce elaborated on his issues with the 10-point plan, which he said can be easily bypassed by fighters.

“Specific (urine) gravity testing? So easy to beat,” Dolce said. “Thirteen-year-olds in Iowa beat that every single season. The 30-day, the 10-day (weight check) – athletes hack that. I know the athletes right now are hacking that at California, laughing at California while they have their game in their scales. It’s silly. All this red tape is silly.”

Another issue that Dolce takes with the plan is the “suspect” limit of 10 percent of their body mass that any given fighter is allowed to have gained back by fight night. That type of measure, Dolce said, should be analyzed on an individual basis – or it will only discourage fighters to rehydrate properly.

“How is that in the interest of the athletes’ health and safety?” Dolce said. “What science actually says that you can’t hydrate more than 10 percent or you’re unhealthy? Because all the science points to adequate hydration, with no specific percentage and no specific cap.”

What can be done to change things, though? For Dolce, first there needs to be a general mobilization around the seriousness of the issue. Which includes the media. Right now, he said, headlines alerting to the dangers of weight cuts are sparsely thrown around and quickly drowned out in the noise as the MMA world moves on.

That can start with people actually paying attention when fighters like Lee, Cris Cyborg, Khabib Nurmagomedov and Anthony Pettis talk about how their harrowing cuts felt like near-death experiences.

“Does anybody listen to this?” Dolce said. “Is anybody paying attention to this? And what is being done about it other than a few articles showing up on a few websites and then it disappears? Then the industry just moves on.

“It’s like the industry is just waiting for the worst-case scenario to happen before there’s a cultural change.”

For Dolce, in order to ensure safety, harsher penalties should be placed upon fighters. They should also be expected to be in shape for 52 weeks of the year. And, as a general rule, he said they should always be physically able to take any fight on six weeks’ notice.

If in a case like Alvey’s something ends up going terribly wrong, Dolce ponders, who’s to blame? Cases can be argued for the the promotion, for the local athletic commission or even for the management team. Ultimately, though, it’s the fighter who’ll bear the consequences.

“But is there any other contributory element to that?” Dolce said. “That’s a much deeper larger conversation that can be had. And probably will be had for the wrong reasons within the next few years if we don’t do something about it.”

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

And for more on the upcoming MMA schedule, 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 towww.mmajunkie.com/radio.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Ramazan Emeev mulling drop to 170 after UFC-debut win at UFC-Gdansk

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Ramazan Emeev is considering a change in weight class for his next fight despite picking up a convincing win over an established name in the middleweight division at UFC Fight Night 118.

Emeev (16-3 MMA, 1-0 UFC) earned a unanimous-decision victory over Sam Alvey (31-10 MMA, 8-5 UFC) on Saturday’s UFC Fight Pass-streamed card at Ergo Arena in Gdansk, Poland.

The performance marked his 13th win in his past 14 fights, and though the Russian hasn’t suffered a loss in nearly three years, he said a drop to welterweight may be in order.

“To be honest I’m thinking to change my fighting category to welterweight,” Emeev told MMAjunkie through an interpreter following his fight with Alvey. “I am going to be good in that category, and think I can do fights in that category at welterweight.”

After settling in well with his first octagon appearance, Emeev apparently believes the 170-pound division will bring out his best. He’s off to a nice start, though; Alvey came into the fight on the high of a win over former UFC champion Rashad Evans.

Emeev, 30, said he’s grateful he got such a notable opponent for his debut, even if it came under the circumstances of Alvey stepping in as a short-notice replacement and missing weight.

“Since the beginning of my career, I tried to come to UFC,” Emeev said. “I worked very hard for this. … I’m really happy they gave me a good fighter high in the rankings. He’s 16th place, and I’m really happy that I won.”

Emeev is the latest in an ever-growing line of Russian fighters to join the UFC roster after thriving outside of the organization. His debut showed he belongs, but Emeev said his aspirations only go higher from here, and that includes fighting lighter than 185 pounds for the first time.

“I’ll rest a little bit and talk to my manager,” Emeev said. “I came here to be a champion, and there’s no other way than UFC.”

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 118, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC Fight Night 118 results: Ramazan Emeev fights, Sam Alvey freezes in 3-round snoozer

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Sam Alvey’s eagerness to fight on short notice was not matched by output in the cage.

UFC newcomer Ramazan Emeev (16-3 MMA, 1-0 UFC) ran away with in his promotional debut when Alvey (31-10 MMA, 8-5 UFC) didn’t show up for work, which led to a 30-27 shutout.

The catchweight bout (Alvey missed the middleweight limit) was part of the preliminary card of today’s UFC Fight Night 118 event at Ergo Arena in Gdansk, Poland. It streamed on UFC Fight Pass.

Alvey stepped into the cage 24 hours after failing to make weight by nine pounds, the result of a crash cut that started 34 pounds above the middleweight limit.

The evidence of a brutal fight on the scale was seen in his performance. After firing off a few big punches at the closing Emeev, he appeared distracted and frozen as his opponent repeatedly closed in for takedowns. Apart from using a muay Thai plumb to keep himself upright, Emeev had almost free reign, pushing the veteran as he stood upright.

Alternately admonished and begged by his corner to get in gear, Alvey couldn’t snap out of it as Emeev continued to punch his way in. By the second round, he had thrown just six significant strikes. At one point late in the frame, the referee stepped in to warn both for timidity.

Emeev was flustered by Alvey’s showing, though he continued to press the fight. But by the third round, both fighters were hearing it from the crowd, who’d grown tired of the lackluster action. Only in the last 10 seconds did Alvey appear to wake up, pawing at Emeev against the cage with short punches. But by then, it was far too late.

Emeev now picks up his first UFC win to improve his current streak to five, while Alvey goes back to the drawing board after a split-call over ex-champ Rashad Evans.

Up-to-the-minute UFC Fight Night 118 results include:

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 118, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

(MMAjunkie’s John Morgan and Abbey Subhan contributed to this report on site in Poland.)

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC Fight Night 118 official weigh-in photos and video highlights

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GDANSK, Poland – Check out the video highlights and photo gallery from today’s official UFC Fight Night 118 fighter weigh-ins, where the event’s 24 competitors all hit the scale in anticipation of Saturday’s fight card.

As MMAjunkie previously reported, 23 of the night’s athletes made weight with no issue, though middleweight Sam Alvey (31-9 MMA, 8-4 UFC), who stepped in on short notice, came up short on his attempt. Still, his fight with UFC newcomer Ramazan Emeev (15-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC) will go on as scheduled.

Check out highlights of the night’s competitors stepping to the scale in the video above. Below, don’t miss our exclusive photo gallery from the event.

UFC Fight Night 118 takes place Saturday at Ergo Arena in Gdansk, Poland, and the entire card streams on UFC Fight Pass.

For more on UFC Fight Night 118, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Sam Alvey faces 'biggest weight cut of my life' ahead of UFC Fight Night 118

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GDANSK, Poland – Sam Alvey wants to book a dream fight with Brazilian legend Vitor Belfort next year, but he’ll have to complete a weight cut of more than 34 pounds to get there.

Alvey (31-9 MMA, 8-4 UFC) takes on fellow middleweight Ramazan Emeev (15-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC) on Saturday at UFC Fight Night 118, which takes place ar Ergo Arena in Gdansk, Poland, and streams on UFC Fight Pass. Alvey looks to round off his year with a win and convince the UFC to grant his wish to face former UFC light heavyweight champion Belfort (26-13 MMA, 15-10 UFC) in the new year.

But with the call coming just 10 days ahead of the contest, and with Alvey not in optimal fight shape, the California native has in effect accepted two fights this week, as he faces a battle with the scale, and then the bout itself against Emeev.

Alvey was looking to squeeze in one more fight before the end of 2017, and he was hoping he might be the ideal man to step in should anything happen to either Anderson Silva or Kelvin Gastelum ahead of their UFC Fight Night 122 main event clash in Shanghai later this year.

“We’ve been bugging them for a fight,” he admitted. “We wanted to fight again this year, just like everyone on the UFC roster. We were told it’s probably not going to happen.

“I started running because I was anticipating Anderson Silva or Gastelum getting injured. ‘Sign me up. I’m there!’ So I was kinda training for that one, just in case.”

That fight didn’t materialize, and instead Alvey was offered an altogether different kind of test, against a dangerous Russian with an underrated record – on just 10 days’ notice.

Alvey’s face told the story when he explained how he was “right on the borderline” of whether he could get enough weight off in time to make the 186-pound middleweight limit for Saturday’s matchup.

But despite admitting he faces a serious weight-cut between now and official weigh-ins, he’s taking everything in stride with that familiar smile on his face.

“We’re going to make the biggest weight cut of my life, but we’re going to do it successfully,” he insisted, explaining that when he got the call to fight at middleweight he was “north of 220” pounds.

“As soon as camp (for his last fight) is over, I’m back, I’m lifting, I’m getting swole – and I’m eating,” he part-joked.

“It was a lot of fun making weight – so far!

“For me, it’s ‘say yes,’ and I’ll figure it out later. It’s always been the case, and my career’s been going real well so far.”

With Alvey accepting the fight – and the challenge of getting down to his contracted weight – he explained that he’d done some research on his opponent and discovered a man who, despite his lack of name recognition, held a fight record that demanded respect.

“I watched everything I could,” he said of Emeev, who holds a 15-3 record. “I know he’s a stud. He’s fought a lot of guys who are like 30-4 or 29-7 who have big winning records. So he’s no joke. I couldn’t take him lightly.

“I’ve got my idea of what I want to have happen, and I’m going to go out there and try to make it happen.”

And if Alvey is successful on Saturday night, he hopes 2018 will be the year he moves into contender status, though he concedes he’ll always be labeled a “fun fighter” by the fans.

“You know what? As long as the UFC likes me – the fans like me already – I’m going to be that fighter,” he said. “I’m going be that fighter that’s got the dynamite in (his) hands. I’m going to be that fighter that can even submit black belts if need be.

“It’s just a matter of time. The Vitor fight will be my real ticket to the top-10 starlight, and he wants the fight too, so we’ll make that fight happen.”

That potential clash with Belfort is something Alvey made clear he wants in his immediate future.

And the man known for his heavy hands and winning smile hopes to use victory on Saturday in Poland to state his case for a battle with Belfort.

“I said yes, and Vitor said yes. The UFC just had different plans for now,” he said. “But after I win this one at such short notice, I think the UFC owes me a little bit.

“And I’m going to demand it. I want Vitor. Give me Vitor!”

For more on UFC Fight Night 118, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Sam Alvey takes late-notice fight at next week's UFC Fight Night 118 event

Middleweight slugger Sam Alvey (31-9 MMA, 8-4 UFC) has made it clear he wants to stay as busy as possible, and that includes picking up the phone whenever the UFC calls.

This time, the voice on the other end of the line asked him to step in on a little more than one week’s notice to replace Trevor Smith (15-7 MMA, 5-4 UFC) and face Russian prospect Ramazan Emeev (15-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 118.

Alvey said yes.

UFC officials today announced the change for the Oct. 21 event, which takes place at Ergo Arena in Gdansk, Poland. The entire card streams on UFC Fight Pass.

Alvey fought most recently in August, scoring a split-decision win over former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans. The 31-year-old Alvey is 5-1 in his past six appearances, a run that also includes wins over Nate Marquardt, Alex Nicholson, Kevin Casey and Eric Spicely.

Meanwhile, Emeez is a 30-year-old Russian product who makes his UFC debut on the strength of a four-fight winning streak that includes victories over Anatoly Tokov, Maiquel Falcao, Luigi Fioravanti and Vyacheslav Vasilevsky – with three of those coming by way of stoppage. Overall, Emeev is 12-1 in his past 13 appearances.

With the change to the card, UFC Fight Night 118 now includes:

MAIN CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 3 p.m. ET)

  • Donald Cerrone vs. Darren Till
  • Jodie Esquibel vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz
  • Jan Blachowicz vs. Devin Clark
  • Oskar Piechota vs. Jonathan Wilson

PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 11:45 a.m. ET)

  • Nasrat Haqparast vs. Marcin Held
  • Anthony Hamilton vs. Adam Wieczorek
  • Brian Kelleher vs. Damian Stasiak
  • Sam Alvey vs. Ramazan Emeev
  • Andre Fili vs. Artem Lobov
  • Warlley Alves vs. Jim Wallhead
  • Aspen Ladd vs. Lina Lansberg
  • Felipe Arantes vs. Josh Emmett

For more on UFC Fight Night 118, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Vitor Belfort responds to Sam Alvey after UFC-Mexico: He'll be first to get knocked out smiling

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Vitor Belfort didn’t take long to accept Sam Alvey’s challenge to be the next stop on the “2017 Vengeance Tour.”

Following Alvey’s (31-9 MMA, 8-4 UFC) split-decision win over Rashad Evans at UFC Fight Night 114 on Saturday, “Smile’n” Sam called for a matchup with Belfort (26-13 MMA, 15-10 UFC). He said he wants to get revenge against everyone who has beaten his friend, mentor and training partner Dan Henderson – something “The Phenom” has done twice.

Belfort caught win of Alvey’s request for a future middleweight fight, and the Brazilian accepted with a threat (via Instagram):

Instagram Photo

Belfort, a former UFC light heavyweight champion who is coming off a unanimous decision win over Nate Marquardt at UFC 212 in February, mentioned Las Vegas as a possible destination for the matchup. The organization’s next stop in “Sin City,” is UFC 216, slated for Oct. 7 at T-Mobile Arena.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 114, check out the UFC Events section of the site. And for more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Sam Alvey sorry for lackluster UFC Fight Night 114 win vs. Rashad Evans, calls out Vitor Belfort

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MEXICO CITY – UFC middleweight Sam Alvey has fought veteran MMA stars Nate Marquardt and Thales Leites, and managed to keep his inner fanboy in line.

But at UFC Fight Night 114, he fought Rashad Evans, and it got to him.

“A little awestruck,” Alvey told MMAjunkie of the experience following his FS1-televised win over former UFC light heavyweight champion at Mexico City Arena in Mexico City. “I’d never experienced that before. But Rashad is one of those guys that, he’s fighting, I watch.”

As it turned out, Alvey (31-9 MMA, 8-4 UFC) watched too much and did too little fighting vs. Evans (19-7-1 MMA, 14-7-1 UFC). He wound up squeaking out a split decision but won no fans in the process. There was no getting around that fact.

“This was going to be that fight where people remember me forever, and I doodled a little bit,” Alvey said.

Alvey felt he’d done enough to secure the fight, or at least his corner had convinced him that was the case. In any event, a win goes on his resume opposite a highly decorated veteran and star of the sport, someone he watched long before he got into fighting.

The question, of course, is whether he’ll get the chance. Evans suffered his fourth straight loss in the octagon and second straight bout since dropping to middleweight. At 37, he’s already on the down slope of his career and has faced issues getting medically cleared to fight.

Alvey, for one, doesn’t want to see him go.

“I would be devastated if I retired Rashad Evans,” he said. “I want to see him fight. I’m a huge fan of him. I know this fight was a little bit of two counter-strikers trying to counter-strike, but I love watching him move and groove.”

As for what’s next for the “Smiling” guy, he’s going to keep aiming for big names on his resume. Chael Sonnen has the “Legends Ass-kicking Tour” – Alvey’s got the “Vengeance Tour.”

Alvey explained he’s trying to avenge the losses of his longtime coach and training partner Dan Henderson, who retired this past October after a third failed bid to win UFC gold against Michael Bisping.

“It started with Rashad,” Alvey said. “Vitor (Belfort), you’re next. I don’t care where or when. You just tell me where, and I’ll sign the dotted line tomorrow.”

Belfort, of course, knocked out Henderson with a kick in 2013, avenging an earlier decision loss. Belfort was at peak of his testosterone-replacement therapy usage.

Belfort said he wants to create a legend’s league and hinted at retirement. But Alvey wants him to give another young buck a try – and settle a score.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 114, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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UFC Fight Night 114 results: Sam Alvey outpoints Rashad Evans for split-decision win

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Filed under: News, UFC

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Sam Alvey eked out a split decision over former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans, but it wasn’t a fight that left anyone smiling.

Alvey (31-9 MMA, 8-4 UFC) and Evans (19-7-1 MMA, 14-7-1 UFC) played it as safe as they could be over three rounds, doing the minimum to secure victory. But because Alvey did more offensively, he won on two of three judges’ scorecards.

The middleweight bout was part of the main card of today’s UFC Fight Night 114 event at Mexico City Arena in Mexico. It aired on FS1 following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

The final scores were 29-28 twice for Alvey and 29-28 for Evans, who suffered his fourth straight loss and second as a UFC middleweight. Alvey got back in the win column after a decision loss to Thales Leites in his previous outing.

Much like that bout, Alvey fought not as a man who’d felled several UFC middleweights with his powerful left hand, but rather one too afraid to let his hands go lest he be taken down.

Evans justified that fear early and often as he tried to stuff Alvey against the fence before finishing takedowns. And while Alvey’s defensive wrestling was sound enough to earn him escapes, he struggled to catch Evans once upright. A few knees and short hooks were his best weapons.

Evans made the job easy when he ran into a jab, but Alvey did little to capitalize once he had the ex-champ in open range. In fact, neither man gave the judges much to score, landing only sporadic punches that did little to sway momentum. Between the second and third rounds, Alvey got an earful from his corner while Evans got a soft warning from referee John McCarthy.

A big right hook in the final frame was Evans’ best punch of the fight. Alvey managed to land in close as he fought off the takedown. But the boo birds came out in force, and the close decision reflected an altogether indecisive fight.

Up-to-the-minute UFC Fight Night 114 results include:

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 114, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

(MMAjunkie’s John Morgan contributed to this report on site in Mexico City.)

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Source: MMA Junkie

Twitter reacts to Sam Alvey's split decision over ex-champ Rashad Evans at UFC Fight Night 114

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Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured, Featured Videos, News, UFC

In his seventh UFC fight in nine months, Sam Alvey scored the biggest victory of his career on Saturday when he defeated former UFC champion Rashad Evans at UFC Fight Night 114.

Alvey (31-9 MMA, 8-4 UFC) was successful in his 40th pro bout when he earned a split decision victory over Evans (19-7-1 MMA, 14-7-1 UFC) in the FS1-televised middleweight bout at Mexico City Arena in Mexico.

Check below for the top Twitter reactions to Alvey’s victory over Evans at UFC Fight Night 114.

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For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 114, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie