Tag Archives: Austin Meese

UFC champs Conor McGregor, Demetrious Johnson nominated for 2017 ESPY Awards

Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor has picked up another nomination for an ESPY, and flyweight champ and pound-for-pound great Demetrious Johnson is finally getting some shine.

Conor McGregor

McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC), who won the 2016 award for Best Fighter and was nominated for Best Breakthrough Athlete, is nominated again in the Best Fighter category alongside Johnson (26-2-1 MMA, 14-1-1 UFC).

It’s the first nomination for “Mighty Mouse” and comes two months after his record-tying 10th consecutive title defense in the flyweight division.

The UFC fighters are competing against boxers Terence Crawford, Gennady Golovkin and Andre Ward.

McGregor is also nominated for Best International Athlete, competing against boxer Canelo Alvarez, sprinter Usain Bolt, swimmer Katinka Hosszu and soccer legend Cristiano Ronaldo.

The 2017 ESPY nominees were announced today, with voting underway until the awards show on July 12 in Los Angeles. The show airs live on ABC.

The timing of McGregor’s latest nomination is interesting, considering MMA is about the furthest thing from his mind as he prepares for a boxing showdown with Floyd Mayweather on Aug. 26 in Las Vegas. Johnson, meanwhile, is in the midst of a standoff with the UFC over his refusal to fight ex-bantamweight champ T.J. Dillashaw.

MMA’s fringe sport roots have given way to regular recognition from the yearly awards show, which recognizes sports stars, teams and plays. McGregor, Holly Holm, Robbie Lawler, Ronda Rousey, Lyoto Machida, Jon Jones, Anderson Silva and Edson Barboza are among the fighters nominated for honors at past ESPY Awards shows.

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, including “The Money Fight: Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor,” check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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

Ryan Bader says new pay structure will allow him to be more free in cage at Bellator 180

Filed under: Bellator, Featured, Featured Videos, News, Videos

NEW YORK – Ryan Bader believes spectators will have a chance to see a new side of him on Saturday when he makes his Bellator debut against light heavyweight champion Phil Davis at Bellator 180.

Bader credits the change to the way in which he’s financially compensated under the Bellator banner. After a 20-fight UFC career in which he was paid under the “show” and “win” money model, “Darth” will get lump sums for his bouts with Bellator, no matter the outcome.

Although his determination for victory won’t change, Bader (22-5 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) said being paid in full will make a difference in how he performs against Davis (17-3 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) in their Spike-televised title fight at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The Bellator: NYC main card airs on pay-per-view.

“There’s a couple different structures: UFC likes to use a show and a win structure where if you show up, you get a certain amount and if you win you usually get the same amount – double,” Bader told MMAjunkie. “The thinking is you’re going to go in there and fight your ass off to secure half your pay.

“Sometimes it works out the opposite to where you’re so much better at a certain discipline than somebody else, you’re going to use that. If I’m a wrestler and I’m fighting a striker, I’m going to do everything in my power to keep it on the ground. Obviously I try to finish every fight, but you’re also thinking that you have to get the half your pay by any means necessary – whether that’s taking him down and try to just ground and pound on the ground and it ends up being a boring fight.

“With a flat fee, which I have with Bellator, you go out there and you’re not fighting for that extra, so you can fight however you want. You’re not going to be reckless, but you can let loose a little more. It’s more free. You’re getting payment no matter what and you go have a great fight for the fans.”

Bader’s previous mentality led to him being one of the most successful light heavyweight fighters in UFC history. He signed with Bellator as a free agent earlier this year, and said it’s a goal to showcase the full extent of his abilities in his new promotion.

The Bellator environment might be fresh for Bader, but the matchup with Davis is not. Bader is quite familiar with “Mr. Wonderful” due to an extensive history which dates back to their days as collegiate wrestlers. They also fought under the UFC banner, which Bader winning a narrow split decision over Davis at UFC on FOX 14 in January 2015.

In Bader’s mind, the Bellator 180 bout represents a trilogy with Davis. He lost in wrestling but won in MMA, and now he wants to close things out in emphatic fashion.

“I wrestled him in one of the quarterfinals of the national tournament and he beat me in a close match,” Bader said. “That was always brought up before our last fight. He has a win over me in wrestling, I have a win over him in MMA and here we go. Here’s the third fight for a belt and the winner gets a trophy.

“It’s fun to look back and have a competitive history with a guy. He wants to get that fight back and I want to make an even bolder statement with this fight.”

For more on Bellator NYC and Bellator 180, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, Featured, Featured Videos, News, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

Report: Newcomer Amanda Lemos in for Lina Lansberg vs. Leslie Smith at UFC-Scotland

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The UFC’s return to Scotland next month will see a Brazilian fighter make her promotional debut.

Amanda Lemos (6-0-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) is set to replace Lina Lansberg (7-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) in a women’s bantamweight bout against Leslie Smith (9-7-1 MMA, 3-3 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 113, according to a report from Brazilian news outlet Combate. No reason was given for Lansberg’s withdrawal from the card, and the UFC has not yet made a formal announcement.

UFC Fight Night 113 takes place July 16 at SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland. The card airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass, though the lineup hasn’t been finalized.

The 30-year-old Lemos has stoppages in all six of her pro wins, four three of which have come under Brazil’s Jungle Fight banner. Her lone fight to not end in a finish was a majority draw in January 2016. It will have been more than a year since her most recent fight when she steps into the UFC’s octagon for the first time.

Smith, a former Invicta FC title challenger, has alternated wins and losses during her current six-fight UFC run. The 34-year-old, who’s recently been an outspoken proponent of fighters’ rights, is currently on a 2-1 run with victories over Rin Nakai and Irene Aldana sandwiched around a TKO loss to “Cyborg.”

Lansberg, a 35-year-old Swedish muay Thai fighter, went 6-1 to open her career and score a UFC contract. However, in her promotional debut, she had the unenviable task of fighting Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino in a 140-pound catchweight fight, which “Cyborg” won via second-round TKO. However, Lansberg rebounded in March with a close (and bloody) decision victory over Lucie Pudilova. But now her chance to string together back-to-back wins is put on hold.

With the change, the latest UFC Fight Night 113 card includes:

  • Gunnar Nelson vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio
  • Joanne Calderwood vs. Cynthia Calvillo
  • Paul Craig vs. Khalil Rountree
  • Ryan Janes vs. Jack Marshman
  • James Mulheron vs. Justin Willis
  • Galore Bofando vs. Charlie Ward
  • Bobby Nash vs. Danny Roberts
  • Paul Felder vs. Stevie Ray
  • Mitch Gagnon vs. Brett Johns
  • Alexandre Pantoja vs. Neil Seery
  • Amanda Lemos vs. Leslie Smith

For more on UFC Fight Night 113, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Gennady Golovkin: Mayweather vs. McGregor is Big Business, Not Boxing

(Courtesy of EPSN | Viewing may be limited by broadcast rights restrictions)

Gennady Golovkin is slated to face Canelo Alvarez on Sept. 16 in what many consider to be one of the greatest boxing match-ups of the past decade, if not in boxing’s history. Three weeks prior to that fight, Conor McGregor will make his boxing debut against one of the greatest pugilists in the history of the sport, Floyd Mayweather

While Golovkin admits that Mayweather vs. McGregor is big business, it’s not boxing.

TRENDING > All Things Mayweather vs. McGregor

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Source: MMA Weekly

Boxing Promoter Lou DiBella Talks Mayweather vs. McGregor and Heather Hardy’s MMA Debut

(Courtesy of MMAFightingonSBN)

Famed boxing promoter Lou DiBella is in New York for his client, boxer Heather Hardy‘s MMA debut at Bellator 180 on Saturday. He spoke to MMAFighting about his Hardy’s MMA debut and the status of women in combat sports in general, but had some fiery words surrounding the Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor boxing bout.

TRENDING > Matt Hughes to be Evaluated by Leading Traumatic Brain Injury Center

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Source: MMA Weekly

Bellator 180's Chinzo Machida trusts experience in 'martial arts as a whole' to make a difference

Filed under: Bellator, Featured Videos, News, Videos

Featherweight Chinzo Machida has only one more pro MMA bout over his opponent, but he’s still banking on experience on Saturday.

Machida (5-2 MMA, 2-0 BMMA) is a unique case. At 40, he’s only had seven MMA bouts, which were basically spread throughout a 12-year period. Meanwhile, Bellator 180 opponent James Gallagher (6-0 MMA, 3-0 BMMA), who happens to be half Machida’s age, only kicked off his pro career in 2015 – after a significant amateur run.

Looking at records alone, it doesn’t seem like there’s much of an experience advantage. But, with a lifetime of karate and a former UFC champ for a brother, Machida’s numbers are deceiving.

“I really trust my experience,” Machida told MMAjunkie. “Not only my experience in MMA, but in martial arts as a whole. I’ve been training (karate) since I was four, and following my dad’s teachings. I’ve been following Lyoto’s trajectory in MMA for a long time, too. I think experience will make a difference.”

Bellator 180 takes place Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The Bellator: NYC main card airs on pay-per-view following the Bellator 180 undercard on Spike.

There have been a few reasons for Machida’s timid record. More recently, between 2014 and 2016, he was recovering from a shoulder injury. Before that, there was karate – which, for him, entailed competing, teaching and promoting the Machida family’s specific, defense-driven style. And then, of course, there was a lot of focus put into helping with his brother’s very successful MMA career.

But Machida is now on a roll. After a TKO over Mario Navarro to kick off his Bellator run this past August, he went on to dispatch Jamar Ocampo at at Bellator 170 with yet another knockout. And, currently free from any serious injuries, he credits his background for helping him perform at a high level.

“I’m feeling fast and strong in training,” Machida said. “And Machida Karate, which we’ve adjusted to a more ‘real’ type of contact fighting, has also given us the ability to defend ourselves without letting our opponents hit us. This is one of our weapons, and it allows us to lead long lives in martial arts.”

Machida still trains with Lyoto, who’s currently serving an 18-month suspension following a USADA violation, and says his brother’s absence from the cage in no way disrupts his own training. Kings MMA leader Rafael Cordeiro also helps hone his striking.

While there was specific ground and defensive work done to prepare for an opponent who’s finished all but one of his professional fights via submission, Machida says he’s keeping an open mind as to where their bout can go.

“I can’t think that he’s strictly a jiu-jitsu guy, that he’s going to take me down and do jiu-jitsu alone,” Machida said. “The fight starts on the feet, so I need to be prepared both to attack on the feet and to defend on the feet.”

The future, should he manage to stop “The Strabanimal” train on its tracks, is one that Machida is still not putting too much thought into. But looking to be a part of Bellator’s roster “for a lot longer,” he admits his current situation has sparked his ambition a bit.

“Every fighter in there has a dream, which is to be a champion,” Machida said. “I’m no different. But one step at a time. My challenge is Gallagher. I have to watch out for him, he’s a dangerous guy. We’ll see what happens, but my dream of being a champion has awakened even more.”

For more on Bellator NYC and Bellator 180, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, Featured Videos, News, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

Bellator 180: Davis vs. Bader Media Day Staredown Video

(Courtesy of USA TODAY Sports)

The Bellator 180: Davis vs. Bader fighters went face-to-face on Wednesday for their first staredowns ahead of Saturday’s fight card at Madison Square Garden in New York.


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Source: MMA Weekly

Bellator 180 Preliminary Card, Live on Saturday at 6 pm ET

(Courtesy of Bellator MMA)

Watch the Bellator 180 Preliminary Card, Live and Free on Saturday at 6 pm ET / 3 pm PT on MMAWeekly.com.

RELATED > Bellator NYC: Sonnen vs. Silva Live Results and Fight Stats

Bellator 180 Preliminary Card:

  • Welterweight Preliminary Bout: Ryan Couture (10-5) vs. Haim Gozali (7-3)
  • Lightweight Preliminary Bout: Jerome Mickle (2-1) vs. Anthony Giacchina (1-1)
  • Catchweight Preliminary Bout (168 1bs.): John Salgado (4-7-1) vs. Hugh McKenna (0-1)
  • Catchweight Preliminary Bout (130 1bs.): Matt Rizzo (9-2, 1 NC) vs. Sergio da Silva (6-8)
  • VOW Lightweight Preliminary Bout: Nate Grebb (3-1) vs. Bradley Desir (9-5)

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Source: MMA Weekly

UFC stars Nate Diaz and Leslie Smith being sued by management group

Nate Diaz and Leslie Smith’s former management group is taking the fighters to court for allegedly skipping out on commissions and conspiring with an attorney to break management agreements.

The Ballengee Group seeks over $1 million in damages, among other claims alleging fraud, negligent misrepresentation and tortious interference in a lawsuit filed Monday by the firm’s attorney in Dallas County (Texas) court.

News of Diaz’s legal trouble was first reported by TMZ.com, and MMAjunkie obtained a copy of the lawsuit, which also includes Smith and attorney Sam Awad.

Nate Diaz could not be reached for comment, and calls to Smith and Awad went unreturned.

The suit, filed by attorney Jason H. Friedman, claims Ballengee signed Nate Diaz as a client in the summer of 2014 after his older brother Nick had signed and recommended him.

Diaz, the complaint states, was “looking for a management team that could take him to the next level which he had previously been unable to do.”

The brothers “represented and assured” Ballengee that in exchange for representing the younger Diaz, he would pay the firm “on the same terms and as set forth in” the elder Diaz, “and that The Ballengee Group would, if such terms were agreeable to it, represent Nate on all future bouts and business matters.”

The firm subsequently negotiated with the UFC on the younger Diaz’s behalf for several bouts, including his blockbuster against Conor McGregor at UFC 196, an ill-fated rematch planned for UFC 200 and a follow-up at UFC 202.

Diaz wound up making a disclosed $500,000 for UFC 196 and $2 million for UFC 202, though his final pay was likely much higher.

On the Diaz brothers’ recommendation, the management firm also picked up Smith, negotiating a promotional agreement in March 2016.

But just four months later in July, or one month after terms for UFC 202 had been negotiated, the suit claims Nate Diaz “unexpectedly” terminated its representation, and Smith did the same in November.

The suit claims that unbeknownst to Ballengee, attorney Awad had begun “interfering with their agreements” with the Diaz brothers and advised Nate Diaz and Smith not to pay for their services.

As a result, the firm is suing Awad for tortious interference while alleging the defendants “intended to avoid payment for the plaintiff’s services by intentionally or knowingly securing the performance of the service by deception,” or “knowingly securing the performance of a service by agreeing to provide compensation and, after the service was rendered, failing to make payment after receiving notice demanding payment.”

The suit argues had the interference not occurred, Ballengee would still be working with Nate Diaz and Smith. It requests “exemplary damages” be awarded to the management firm in addition to “actual, economic, and non-economic damages in an amount within the jurisdictional limits” of the court, as well as attorney’s fees.

Diaz (19-11 MMA,14-9 UFC), 32, remains inactive on the UFC’s roster since turning down a fight with Tony Ferguson at UFC 213 when the promotion didn’t reach his financial demands. The rematch with McGregor at UFC 202 ended in a unanimous decision loss, reversing a triumphant submission win over the current UFC lightweight champ at UFC 196.

Smith (9-7-1 MMA, 3-3 UFC), meanwhile, is slated to face Lina Lansberg at UFC Fight Night 113. She’s hoping to build on a recent decision over Mexican prospect Irene Aldana at UFC on FOX 22.

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

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

Homeless at 13 and selling drugs to survive, Brent Primus is now 1 win away from being a champion

Filed under: Bellator, Featured, News

Brent Primus was about 16 when the men with guns came through his door demanding money and drugs. He had both, and everybody in Eugene, Ore., knew it, so maybe it shouldn’t have been such a surprise. Still, something like that? It makes an impression.

“They told me they were going to come back and kill me,” Primus told MMAjunkie. “It was scary, man. I started hiding guns in every room of my house just in case they came back.”

Primus (7-0 MMA, 5-0 BMMA), who fights Michael Chandler (16-3 MMA, 13-3 BMMA) for the Bellator lightweight title at Bellator NYC this Saturday night, also began to consider another possibility. Maybe it was time to change his life. Maybe the bumpy and at times thrilling road he was on was doomed to end in disaster. Maybe he had to find a way out.

When he looks back on it now, even Primus, 32, sometimes can’t believe that the story of his tumultuous youth didn’t end badly. It certainly started that way.

It started when he was 13 and his stepfather kicked him out of the house. The two of them never had a great relationship, and then suddenly it got much worse.

“My real dad was in prison pretty much my whole life,” Primus said. “My mom raised me and my brother, and she was the best mom ever, just worked her butt off to take care of us. But when I was about 9, she met a guy who ended up becoming my stepdad, and we just never got along. He was out of the military, and I’m not going to lie, I was probably a little smart-ass. I always had to get the last word in, and with him coming from the military, he didn’t like that. I think he just didn’t like me.”

So one day his stepfather told him to get out of the house, which is exactly what Primus did. So what if he was 13 years old with no money and no job and no skills?

“I think maybe he was thinking it would set me straight and I would come back begging to live with them again,” Primus said. “But I’ve always been hardheaded.”

Brent Primus family photo

He spent the next year or so staying in friends’ houses, bouncing from couch to couch, trying to survive. He did his best to find a job. He even got someone to drive him around to all the fast food places in Eugene so he could drop off applications. But they weren’t about to hire a 14-year-old kid, so Primus went to work in the fields at nearby farms, picking berries for cash wages.

“Then I met some hippie guy when I was about 14, and he gave me some weed and said, ‘See if you can sell this to your friends,’” Primus said. “I got rid of it in a day.”

Soon he was making hundreds of dollars a day selling marijuana, money he then used to buy his own landscaping business. He was cutting grass and trimming trees by day, and suppling three different area high schools with “the best pot around” by night.

He even had enough money to rent a place of his own, and you can guess how that went. Primus’ place quickly became the “party house,” owing to a complete lack of parental supervision and the teenage drug dealer who lived there.

“I didn’t have any parents to tell me to go to school or tell me what to do,” Primus said. “I’d take my buddies and we’d go to Walmart and buy video games and every single kind of junk food snack you can imagine, then bring it back to my place. At the time, I thought I was living the life. But deep down I had a lot of depression and anger. I was getting in a fistfight at least once or twice a week.”

The home invasion robbery was one sign that things might need to change. The state of his right hand, which had become a permanently bruised “black and blue club,” according to Primus, was another sure indicator. A friend pointed out that, as many fights as Primus got into, he should be getting paid for it. Why do something like that for free when other people did it for money?

So he signed Primus up for a local MMA fight. Primus figured sure, why not?

“I had zero training, none at all, so a couple weeks before the fight I went into a jiu-jitsu place to check it out and see what it was about,” Primus said. “I walked in there thinking 100 percent that I was going to put a whipping on everybody, and I just got my ass handed to me. I got choked out and beat up by all these guys who, I knew I was stronger and more athletic than them, but they knew Brazilian jiu-jitsu and I didn’t. I fell in love with it that day.”

Within a couple months, Primus had sold his landscaping business. He stopped selling marijuana. He stopped drinking and partying.

“I put everything I had into jiu-jitsu, and thank God, because it saved my life,” Primus said.

Brent Primus

These days he’s reconciled somewhat with his mother and stepfather. The process happened slowly, he said, and still sometimes it’s tough to leave the past in the past.

“At the same time it drove me to be who I am,” Primus said. “I remember being 13 and doing 1,000 pushups every day, 1,000 crunches, all because my stepdad told me I was a loser and I wanted to get strong enough to beat him up one day. It made me want to make something of myself to prove him wrong. I’m sure I wouldn’t be who I am today if I wasn’t for all that crap that happened then.”

It’s that same fortitude that Primus hopes will serve him well as he challenges for Chandler’s title. He’s giving up the edge in experience and wrestling ability, Primus said, and he doesn’t kid himself about that. He knows most people will probably be picking Chandler to win.

Still, to go from a kid who slept on bus station benches to a man who’s about to walk out into Madison Square Garden for a pay-per-view title fight, that took an act of will and pure stubbornness.

After all that, what’s there to be scared of in a televised cage fight? After beating the odds in innumerable private moments just to get here, who’s to say he couldn’t beat them again when the MMA world is watching?

For more on Bellator NYC, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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