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“The Super Samoan” has been in the Octagon with three fighters who have failed drug tests and he’s had enough. He’s demanding a change, wants provisions made in his contract to deter other fighters from cheating, and is willing to fight UFC in court.

Mark Hunt has rained down fire and brimstone at Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) ever since Brock Lesnar was flagged by United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) following their fight at UFC 200 this past July, and he has yet to let up on his harsh criticism of the fight promotion.

The No.7-ranked UFC heavyweight has let it rip in the last few months, repeatedly bashing the promotion several times publicly and insisting they do more to rid their roster of cheating fighters after learning Lesnar tested positive for hydroxy-clomiphene, an anti-estrogen agent, in both in and out-of-competition drug tests issued by USADA for UFC 200. To use a driving analogy, he’s far beyond honking the horn and asking someone to move. It’s more in line with speeding up next to that person with the window down and fully extending his middle finger while shouting obscenities in full-on road rage.

“The Super Samoan” is demanding a change and he’s demanding it now. But he’s not going to just continue on with verbal tongue lashings at his employers. He’s willing to take legal action if he has to, should the changes he is seeking in terms of new provisions being added to his contract and the way the promotion handles performance enhancing drug users, not be made.

Hunt, 42, has retained the legal services of Christina Denning from Higgs, Fletcher and Mack, a law firm based in San Diego, Calif. and a lawsuit could be forthcoming.

The New Zealand native is incensed that he shared the Octagon with Lesnar, who popped positive after their UFC 200 bout, on top of being granted a four-month drug-testing exemption prior to signing on with the promotion. But it’s not just Lesnar that’s got Hunt all twisted with anger. It’s the fact that he’s fought two other violators in Frank Mir and also Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva. Hunt defeated Mir by knockout at UFC Fight Night 85 this past March at UFC Fight Night 85 in Brisbane, Australia, but Mir tested positive for oral turinabol metabolites, an anabolic steroid, after the bout. “Bigfoot” failed a drug test due to elevated levels of testosterone when he and Hunt fought to a draw back in 2013 at UFC Fight Night 33, also in Brisbane.

“It’s the third time I’ve had to fight a steroid user,” Hunt told on a conference call with Denning and his longtime attorney Michael Connette. “I don’t think the penalties are harsh enough. I don’t think it is a fair environment. I’ve probably fought more juicers than anybody. The difference is now is that I realized I can actually lose an eye or something and not be able to compete again. I know fighting is kind of hard and all, but when these losers are taking steroids it makes it even worse.”


Hunt has been adamant for harsher punishments because inside the Octagon you aren’t trying to win a game, you are trying to hurt someone, which in his eyes, makes it all the more dangerous.

“I think it should be strict on all of them–the charges for an athlete,” the 17-year veteran said. “Any other sport is pretty harsh on steroids, but the difference in those sports is they aren’t trying to hurt someone like you are in mixed martial arts. They are affecting time or other people, but with MMA you are hurting others.”

Denning, who specializes in business litigation, construction law and plaintiff’s litigation, explained that some things need to play out in order for a potential lawsuit to be filed, namely Lesnar’s hearing with the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC).

“One of the things about a lawsuit or a potential lawsuit is that we’ve got to let Brock Lesnar go through and exhaust his ability to challenge the findings of USADA,” she explained. “And Brock Lesnar’s hearing was originally scheduled for sometime in October, but it got put off until November 10. I’ve been trying to figure out if I need to make plans to go out there because we’ve requested permission to participate in that hearing before the Nevada Athletic Commission. Brock Lesnar retained an attorney (Howard Jacobs) who handles these things and I found out today in calling that attorney, who is representing Brock Lesnar, that he has already requested another continuance, which would push this out into mid December. It has not been granted yet. We are just trying to stay on top of that. We’ve requested an extension beyond the two minutes we are allowed to speak because it is a public forum and I would like to go and represent Mark’s interest in front of the NAC. And that leads me to the kind of conundrum that we are in with respect to this whole process.”

Should Lesnar be found guilty at that hearing–whenever it takes place–he will be issued a suspension and could also be given a fine. However, the latter is not a certainty, and if Lesnar is forced to pay a fine, that money goes to the State of Nevada. This, of course, would not sit well with Hunt or Denning, who both feel strongly that Hunt should receive that money since he is the one who risked his health by being in the Octagon against someone that was chemically enhanced.

“We’ve got the UFC’s own anti-doping policy, which also gives the UFC the ability to take away Lesnar’s purse, and it’s broad enough to include any money that he makes from the result of these fights,” Denning explained. “So, theoretically, the UFC upon the finding of a violation could take all of the money back from Brock. Not only the 2.5 million dollar purse, but anything he earned from pay-per-view, if he had a win bonus–all of that–and then put it into it’s anti-doping program. Or better yet–and what we’d like to see happen–is the person that had to get in the ring with him gets allocated that money.

“If such a policy was implemented it would definitely deter some UFC fighters–maybe not all–from actually doping in the first place because instead of a slap in the wrist or a suspension because they were planning a sabbatical anyway, it would cause them to forfeit the money that they’ve earned. So, we have an interesting dynamic between the UFC, it’s anti-doping regulation and how that reconciles with the Nevada State Athletic Commission jurisdiction over what happens with the person’s money. My understanding is that any fines that are imposed for violations haven’t been that great anyways. But conceptually, those two entities have the ability to take the money and do with it what the statute allows them to do with it on the one hand, and then the policy allows it to do on the other hand.”

Hunt added: “He’s [Lesnar] probably sitting there laughing about all the money he’s making. He’s still a fake, a fraud and a cheat. That’s all he will be known for. The problem is he ruins history. He ruins history for all the people’s history, for mine and everyone out there that competes clean. They need to have some penalties to take away their financial gain. That will stop them for sure.”

There are several layers to this potential lawsuit, according to Denning. The next issue she wants to bring to the able is one she says is “very troubling.’ And that would be UFC granting Lesnar a four-month exemption from USADA drug testing prior to signing him for the July UFC 200 card. Under normal circumstances any fighter coming out of retirement must give four-month notice so that they can meet the stringent requirements for in and out-of-competition drug testing. At the time, this move by the promotion certainly raised more than a few eyebrows, which it did even more so once Lesnar was flagged by USADA following UFC 200.

Denning says more than a few questions need to be raised as to why Lesnar was granted that exemption and didn’t enter into the drug testing protocol four months before UFC 200. Moreover, if UFC 200 was a one-and-done situation for Lesnar, who is already back performing in the WWE, Denning wants to know how a suspension can affect Lesnar, particularly if he had no plans to return to fighting beyond UFC 200 in the first place.

“We’ve got the UFC granting an exemption from the four-month drug testing requirements in order for Lesnar to participate in UFC 200,” she began. “UFC 200 happened in July, I believe, and he didn’t sign on with UFC until June, a month before. However, Brock and the UFC had been in discussions for several months beforehand about Brock Lesnar’s possible participation in the UFC and everybody understood that he was planning on coming into the UFC. That causes you to wonder, well, why didn’t he sign on early and get into the program.

“Well, I can’t say with certainty and I don’t want to throw out allegations that are unsupported, but one could suspect that the UFC and Brock Lesnar both knew that they were going to have a problem with these random drug tests and so they waited and sat on this announcement so he could get clean. And then he gets into the program and has a couple of results where he passes and then he starts taking whatever substance it is–and I’m not an expert on it–but he starts taking this substance knowing that this is a one-time stop in the UFC and he is now going back to the WWE, where he is part-time and not subject to any discipline there and it’s like this guy is invincible.

“What’s concerning is the UFC”s decision to grant him this exemption when the anti-doping policy … there is specific and this is where the law comes in and you argue over vague terms, but it says there has got to be extraordinary circumstances for granting that exemption,” Denning continued. “I don’t know, I”m not an insider like you, but there are reports out there that I haven’t substantiated, that this is the only time the UFC has granted such an exemption. Then you have to factor in the fact that UFC 200 came around the time of the 4.2 billion dollar sale of the UFC was getting ready to close and they’ve already lost some money because of the doping violations.


“So, here comes Mark, who is already willing to fight anyone and let’s put him in against Brock, who is all juiced up. So, what a potential lawsuit would address is the actual occurrence here, but also a pattern of the UFC saying ‘okay, well we’ve got an anti-doping policy.’ And sure they turn it over to USADA, a third-party agency to regulate it, but they have no control over when these people get tested. There is a pattern of these fighters coming up positive and the UFC not doing what it should be doing about it after the fact to actually deter this from happening in the future.”

“You can say the UFC is trying to do everything they can to try and catch drug users, but then why would they give him a four-month exemption?” asked Hunt. “I think they actually knew. They actually knew the pro wrestler was on the juice. All those losers are juicing. It’s all fake. It’s not a natural competition. They can do whatever they want to look good for the audience because it’s all scripted. How do I know this? I did pro wrestling in Japan myself. I’ve taken a lot of fights on short notice, but this one they gave him a four-month exemption. They had the sale on. I’ve had enough of it and I shouldn’t have to suffer, neither should my family, because these guys are taking the juice. And lose out on money that I should be making because this dickhead is coming around here with his steroids. And why is it that they are not making penalties even more harsher for these guys because it’s a violent sport about hurting people.”

Denning told she will be exploring the RICO Act (Racketeering influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) in regards to UFC possibly having knowledge of Lesnar being dirty and allowing him to step into the cage against Hunt at UFC 200 on July 9, 2016.

“One of these things that we are exploring–and same with Brock Lesnar there is causative action against him as well–but one of the things that we are exploring is actually racketeering, RICO violations, because there is a pattern for the benefit of the UFC to gain monetary benefit off of engaging in this behavior. And it’s given that there is a pattern and Mark can speak to this, but not only Mark, whose fought three people that have tested positive and they asked him to fight some of them again, there are other fighters in the UFC, who do not take any banned substances, who have also been put in the same situation. And my understanding is for those persons, sometimes their next fight’s compensation is dependent on the outcome of what that result is.”

If a fighter misses weight, than his opponent receives 20 percent of he overweight fighter’s purse in most cases. Hunt thinks the same action should be applied to a failed drug test, except it should be the entire purse.

“If you miss weight you lose 20 percent,” Hunt chimed in. “With drugs nothing really happens. You get a two-year ban or some rubbish. That doesn’t mean nothing for a broken eye or something. I got my hand broken in a few places and I was out for a whole year and he [Antonio Silva] actually came back and fought before I did. Do you know how annoying that is? It’s really annoying.”

With Lesnar back in WWE, why would he care if he is issued a fine or suspended?” Denning asks.

“He’s already making money elsewhere and he’s going to keep all of his money,” she said. “What are they going to fine him 25 grand or I don’t know what the going rate is, but from what I read it’s not their purse. The other thing is Mark is in a tough position right not because he needs to make money for his family.”

“Why should I lose out?” Hunt said, his voice now raised. “Why should I lose out on being the world champion or chasing my dream when this dickhead comes in cheats and doesn’t follow the rules. Why have rules for everyone, and have different rules for some idiot to come help your sale or whatever it is.”

Denning, like most, doesn’t know a lot about “the inner workings of UFC and Nevada State Athletic Commission” in regards to contracts and negotiations, but according to her, “there is a lot of monkey business going on and Mark is stepping up to the plate and wanting to get to the bottom of it. Hunt still has five fights left on his current contract and has been turning them down because he is “demanding change.”

And what Hunt wants from UFC is a new provision in his contract, which awards him money if he is matched up with someone, who tests positive for banned substances. Otherwise he’s going to continue to turn down fights and pursue this lawsuit.

“He’s being put into a position where he’s having to turn down fights because the UFC is refusing to say, ‘hey, we are going to do something about this policy,'” Denning said. “All he wants is a provision in there saying, ‘okay, if I have to fight a guy, who turns out that he was juicing than I want his money. That should go into my bout agreement and that should go into his bout agreement with the UFC.’ Why the UFC wouldn’t do that, I don’t know.”

Hunt said he’s already turned down a fight with Josh Barnett, calling him “another known cheater,” and Denning revealed the most recent opponent he would not agree to fight.

“Mark was offered a fight against Junior dos Santos and turned it down because the UFC would not agree to the provisions that we proposed,” she explained. “I understand that I also have the Nevada Athletic Commission to reckon with. It’s interesting because there is the UFC retaining the ability to impose certain penalties and what if they imposed them to 100 percent? That would be in direct contrast to if the Nevada Athletic Commission would decide to impose its penalties in full force. There is already an inherit conflict between the UFC anti-doping policy and the Nevada revised statutes.”


According to Denning, the provision they are seeking for Hunt’s contract is not unheard of.

“What I’m proposing where this other competitor gets the pot–that whole concept–theres precedence of that,” Denning explained. “There have been people, who have won marathons in the past and it’s found that they were doping and the purse or the winnings were taken from that person and given to the other competitor, who came in second. Theres precedence for the whole idea that the other competitors could recover that purse.”

The UFC Anti-doping policy models itself after the World Anti-doping policy, and that, Denning says, is a vital part of her argument that Hunt should be rewarded Lesnar’s fight purse from UFC 200.

“Now these UFC attorneys might think this is a stretch, but I don’t,” said Denning. “When the UFC anti-doping policy was written, you can read the first–I’m sure you have it–it talks about in the very first paragraph that it’s the central part of the expanded efforts to protect the health and safety of the athletes and to protect their right to compete on a level playing field. And it says their goal is for that policy to become the best anti-doping program in all of professional sport. Now, the next line is the most important thing that I want to point out. It says, ‘this anti-doping policy is modeled on the world anti-doping code.’ Now, the world anti-doping code has a provision in it where the cheater has to forfeit the money to the other athletes. So, what I’m proposing that the UFC do, not only is there precedent for it in other sports, but it’s also in line with what the UFC policy has modeled its policy and based it on.”

Denning said she has had open correspondence with UFC chief legal counsel, Lawrence Epstien, and also personal counsel, Donald J. Campbell and J. Colby Williams of Campbell and Williams, and has flown out to Las Vegas to meet with him and discuss matters. She says “they’ve been receptive” and “haven’t closed any doors” as of now.

“They haven’t said, ‘we aren’t going to pay you any money. We are not going to work with Mark anymore.’ They’ve been very careful to not close any doors on Mark and his cause and they’ve been very clear in saying it’s not they wouldn’t ever consider this type of contract language. But, they rejected the terms of our proposal for him to fight in the upcoming I think it’s UFC 206. I could be wrong.”

Hunt chimed in again and said, “I wanted to file the lawsuit ages ago.”

Denning maintained they would wait until Lesnar “exhausted the hearing process” before pursuing any possible action. Hunt’s impatience and contempt was transparent.

“What, so he can cheat like the rest of them,” said Hunt. “‘Oh it’s viagra or some sort of sex pill.’ They are all making up stories. The whole lot of them.”

“And that is why I am going to personally participate in the hearings for Brock Lesnar to make sure that doesn’t happen,  that he doesn’t find some sort of escape route,” Denning reassured. “So I’m going to personally be participating in that, but I don’t want to be in a position where I have to–I’m in San Diego–associate in Nevada counsel, which I have a few law firms chomping at the bit to get in on this. So I have to associate in counsel from Nevada to file in federal court, which is where it would be a lawsuit. But, I don’t want to go through all of that and we end up with egg on our face, if for some reason the Nevada Athletic Commission were to find that this was all a big mistake. Mark, I don’t think that is going to happen. I think that by your representatives actually hands-on participating in the process it’s going to increase the chances of upholding of the finding that he was doping.”


Hunt, who says the lone thing he takes away from his first fight vs. Silva–which is largely considered one of the greatest UFC Heavyweight fights of all time–is the fact that Silva failed a drug test. He still boasts that he will “fight anyone,” but he wants a level playing field and he wants the cheaters to “pay for what they’ve done.”

“I’ve had enough,” he continued. “It’s time to make things even. I’m not salty because I lost the fight [to Lesnar]. I’m never salty about a loss, but when someone is cheating, that’s where I get a bit upset. I’d like to see things change. I’d like for them to put rules in so if you are caught cheating all your money goes to the other guy. There shouldn’t be any sort of leniency for these drug cheats because they knowingly take these steroids to hurt people. There should be a clause that says, ‘If you are caught using steroids you will be banned for life and you will also have all your money [fight purse] taken.’ They should not be given any sort of excuses or try to get away. Listen, you are talking about people’s lives here. You are talking about people fighting and actually going and hurting someone.

“If I was juicing and went and killed someone knowing that I was juicing, what would happen to me? I would get a two-year ban. That’s fine. I can still fight again. But what about that guy’s family and his kids? What do they get? They get nothing. The main provider for their family is dead because the other guy was cheating and using steroids. You look at it that way. I said it before, does someone have to die before things change in this company? I’m just trying to make things change for the better. I understand it’s a violent sport and you can die anyway, but being turbocharged and supercharged on your body doesn’t help the cause. That’s all I want done. I want them to change these laws changed. I want them to take all their money and ban them for life. Any guy that is taking steroids should not be able to compete in any sport.”

In terms of a number for compensatory damages she would be seeking for Hunt, Denning said it would be premature to quantify, but she did provide some of what could be considered should a lawsuit be filed against the UFC.

“Well, if we are able to allege a pattern and practice of this kind of behavior, which is essentially criminal in order to establish RICO,” she said. “I want to say, I do know that there is punitive damages, attorney fees, I want to say trouble damages, triple damages, actual damages and so depending on what causative action we bring, we may be entitled to damages that are punitive. And there is no specific amount. And honestly it would be premature to talk about a specific amount because I have not, one, exhausted my discussions about a resolution with the UFC. And two, because we just have to let this process ride out with the Nevada Athletic Commission and hopefully he [Lesnar] is not granted a further continuance and the hearing goes forward on November 10th and I’m out there saying my peace, which would be exactly in line with everything I’ve said on the phone today.”

Connette, who had remained quiet for the majority of the phone call, added, “I think Mark and Christina are stated very accurately that the UFC has had an excellent opportunity to right this matter and they are hesitant.” The Santa Montica based lawyer, who once represented Pride and has known Hunt for almost 20 years revealed that Hunt has sued the UFC once before.

“I’ve known Mark since the Pride days,” said Connette. “Actually since he switched over from kickboxing at K-1 over into the MMA of Pride. I had a law firm in Japan at the time and I represented Pride at the time as well. Pride ended up stealing Mark from K-1. It was a big battle at the time between Pride and K-1, but he ended up switching over to MMA and you gotta start with Pride and MMA. I’ve know him ever since. We actually sold Pride to the UFC, the Fertitta brothers. Mark fought for Dream, another promotion out of Japan, which folded eventually.

“Mark and I ended up suing the UFC in Japan based on his Pride contract. Dana White states it incorrectly when he says ‘we paid him to go away.’ No that’s not true. Mark sued them for breach of contract and they paid handsomely to Mark for that breach of contract. They didn’t pay him to go away. They paid him for breach of contract. We sued them and we settled. I’m not going to talk about that settlement, but I don’t think we can anyways. That was a rough start with the UFC. Actually, one of the lawyers that represented the UFC, he was a big Mark Hunt fan and he made sure that Mark got a contract with the UFC after that lawsuit was over and Mark starting appearing with the UFC. They were really bad with him just to start. Eventually the relationship improved because Mark was showing them what he could do and the draw he could bring.”

The next few weeks will be very interesting as Lesnar’s hearing with the NSAC is set for November 10th or possibly later if he should be granted a continuance. Hunt and his legal team are adamant that they will not back down from their stance on having new provisions written into his contract. And they will take action and file that lawsuit–after Lesnar’s dealings with the NAC are finalized–should those provisions not be met along the lines of what they are seeking.

Hunt, who is now 12-11-1 in MMA competition, and 7-5-1 in UFC, said this before exiting the call.

“To be honest, they are taking away my love for fighting. What I love to do is fighting. They are taking it away by giving me all these freaking cheaters. It’s not their fault, but it might’ve been their fault because they might’ve known. I want my release from my contract if things don’t change. I don’t even want to fight anymore. These cheaters have ruined everything.”

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The money that changed hands when the UFC sold in July to a group led by entertainment powerhouse WME-IMG was slightly lower than the reported $4 billion, according to an investor document obtained by MMAjunkie that details the transaction.

But money that will change hands if the new promotion hits earnings goals will kick it over that mark.

WME-IMG, backed by Silver Lake Partners and KKR, paid the former owners $3.775 billion up front for the industry-leading MMA promotion, while about $200 million went to banker fees and other expenses.

The money could get bigger for the UFC’s new management group, including president Dana White, which has attached big bonuses to huge gains in earnings.

According to the document, the new group stands to make an additional $250 million in “earn-outs” if two performance goals are met over the next two years. The $250 million represents 6.2 percent of the UFC’s reported total value of $4.025 billion.

The UFC claimed its EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax and depreciation) was $170 million from June 2015 to June 2016. But to get those bonuses, the new owners need to bump that figure to $275 million – an increase of approximately 61 percent – through June 2017 to earn a $175 million payout.

By the end of 2018, that figure needs to increase to $350 million to earn an additional $75 million.

While the earnings numbers reported in the document are “pro forma,” meaning they haven’t been audited by an outside firm, they are generally expected to be accurate for financiers and others looking at the business.

However, the document also clarifies that the figures represent “various estimates and assumptions” about “anticipated results,” meaning they’re not meant to be 100 percent accurate.

So how does the new company plan to take the UFC to profit levels it hasn’t previously seen?

In part, according to the document, the team is counting on a full schedule of 13 pay-per-view events, including the promotion’s long-awaited debut in New York, which is expected to bring in as much as $15 million alone in revenue.

Increased rights fees from the UFC TV partnership with FOX and other sponsors are expected to bring in another $48 million in “contracted growth.”

One of the biggest drivers for growth, however, is cutting costs.

When the UFC laid off “under 15 percent” of its workforce earlier this month, it was just one phase of cost-cutting measures that WME-IMG expects will save the company $71 million.

An analysis of the business, conducted in part by corporate turnaround specialist Alvarez and Marsal, identified employee compensation as the biggest area of cost savings. The new group expects to slash $55.4 million in payroll costs, estimating a 44 percent to 53 percent reduction. Offsetting the cuts is a onetime $5 million severance payout.

The UFC’s long-running reality show “The Ultimate Fighter” also appears headed for major cutbacks. According to the document, the show’s production budget will be cut from $27.6 million to $10 million.

In a slide identified in the document as “synergy and cost saving opportunity,” the new owners tout savings opportunities “through increased standardization and more rigorous corporate discipline, namely in “compensation practices, (travel and expense) policies, long-lived consultants, political contributions, overhead, etc.”

It’s currently unclear where that leaves retired fighters such as Chuck Liddell, Matt Hughes and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, who hold largely ceremonial positions with the company.

WME-IMG reaps $25 million per year as a “management fee” for the UFC. But one big line item is most certainly gone – the cost of corporate jet used to fly the previous owners around the world.

The document clarifies that, “The corporate airplane is not part of the acquisition and we do not expect such expenses on an ongoing basis.”

Check back with MMAjunkie for more on the business strategy laid out by the UFC in the wake of its $4 billion sale.

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

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UFC's Anthony Pettis' Cars Torched In Fire Attack
1027–Anthony-Pettis-cars-fox6-03 Cops are investigating a scary fire attack at the home of UFC star Anthony Pettis — after someone set the fighter's cars ablaze in the middle of the night and then sped from the scene. It all went down around 1 AM on …
Three vehicles set on fire in former UFC champ Anthony Pettis' Milwaukee
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Three cars belonging to UFC fighter Anthony Pettis caught fire during an alleged arson Thursday morning at his home in Milwaukee, according to Justin Williams of Fox 6. 

Williams shared a photo of the damage:

Williams also spoke to Carson Blaszak, an eyewitness to the fire who claimed to have seen a driver fleeing the scene.

“Right around the same time as that happened, there was kind of a large bang,” Blaszak said. “It was three cars caught on fire. I just, I ran outside, and I was hoping, you know, the house hopefully wasn’t gonna catch on fire.”

Marc Raimondi of MMA Fighting spoke to the Milwaukee police department, which is investigating the alleged crime. A spokesperson confirmed the department has yet to identify a suspect but believes the assailant set two of Pettis’ cars ablaze, with the flames spreading to a third vehicle.

No injuries were reported, and the fire was confined to Pettis’ driveway.

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Three vehicles were set on fire in the driveway of Anthony Pettis’ Milwaukee home early Thursday morning, according to a report from Fox 6. View full post on Recent News on

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) recently released the extended video preview for its upcoming UFC 205 pay-per-view (PPV) card to get fans hyped for the Madison Square Garden mega-event in New York City on Nov. 12, 2016.

“Alvarez vs. McGregor” will be headlined by a lightweight title fight as division kingpin Eddie Alvarez defends his belt against current featherweight champion Conor McGregor.

In the co-headlining act, Tyron Woodley attempts to defend his belt for the first time against top-shelf striker Stephen Thompson. If that weren’t enough to fill your championship desires, Joanna Jędrzejczyk will put her women’s strawweight title on the line against Karolina Kowalkiewicz.

But wait, there’s more.

Chris Weidman will face Yoel Romero in an intriguing middleweight bout while Donald Cerrone continues his assault on the welterweight division when he faces Kelvin Gastelum. Also, Miesha Tate faces off against Raquel Pennington while Frankie Edgar meets Jeremy Stephens.

Oh, and Khabib Nurmagomedov returns to fight Michael Johnson while Rashad Evans makes his 185-pound debut against Tim Kennedy. Best MMA event of the year. Of all time?

Time will tell.

For the most up-to-date UFC 205 fight card click here.

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Mark Striegl was expected to be a serious contender in ONE Championship’s bantamweight division but the 28 year old suffered a surprise loss at the hands of Reece McLaren last year.

McLaren has since gone on to establish himself as the top contender in the division and earn a title shot. It’s a position Striegl aims to eventually be in and the Filipino will be looking to get back to winning ways when he faces Rafael Nunes at ONE: “Age of Domination.”

Nunes is dropping down two divisions for this December 2nd matchup which pits together two fighters with outstanding records. Striegl is 14-2 while the Brazilian boasts a 10-1 tally and looks set to be one of the biggest fighters in the bantamweight division.

Having spent his entire career competing at lightweight Nunes was probably not on Striegl’s radar and he is slightly surprised to see the Brazilian dropping down two divisions.

“I think he’s well-rounded. I was a little surprised (that Nunes is now a bantamweight) at first but he wasn’t a huge lightweight so it makes sense.”

Striegl has fought for promotions all over Asia but he doesn’t have much experience when it comes to losing. The loss to McLaren was only his second defeat in a career that has brought 14 wins and he sees it as a valuable learning experience.

“You usually learn a lot more when you lose than when you win and my fight with Reece was one of those cases.”

Striegl looked good in the early stages but faded badly down the stretch and says there were some extenuating circumstances for this.

“I had bronchitis, tonsilitis, and sinusitis, all the itis’s! And I was on antibiotics. That’s no excuse though. I remember Wanderlei Silva fought with a high fever and the flu in Pride FC. Pulling out of the fight didn’t enter my mind. It’s the December card, right before Christmas, the end of the year card, and it’s in Manila. I’ll always want to fight on that card.”

That was almost a year ago and Strielg says he has been using the time to rehabilitate and recover.

“I had a few injuries that I had to deal with and some sicknesses that took a little while to recover from. I’ve been improving my craft, MMA is a continuous journey and I’ve been working hard for my return fight.”

Striegl is a member of the fight team at Evolve MMA and normally prepares for his matches in Singapore  but this time around he has stayed closer to home, training with Bellator veteran AJ Matthews and current ONE Championship heavyweight king Brandon Vera in Manila.

Since Striegl last fought ONE Championship has introduced regulations that force fighters to compete at their normal walk around weight. Many were expecting the 28 year old to move up a division but he plans to stat at bantamweight for the forseeable future.

“I’ll fight at bantamweight. I applaud ONE Championship for creating these new regulations. The regulations are great for the sport and it’s a huge step in the right direction.”

McLaren is facing Bibiano Fernandes for the bantamweight title at the Mall of Asia Arena on December 2nd. It’s a position Striegl hopes to be in sooner rather than later and he knows what his target is for 2017.

“I want to win a world title next year, that’s my ambition.”

By the time Striegl returns to the cage at ONE: “Age of Champions” it will have been one year since his last fight. This represents a lengthy absence but the Filipino fan favourite is relaxed about the prospect of facing Nunes.

“There’s pressure in every fight and your next fight is always your biggest fight. It’s just another fight.”

A win over an opponent with such an impressive record would instantly propel Striegl back into the bantamweight title picture and he will be hoping to take the next step towards realizing his dream of a 2017 shot at the belt with a victory on December 2nd.

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UFC middleweight Sam Alvey thought the biggest challenge of his next fight would be a long plane flight and a weight cut.

Now, he can add air pollution.

One of 22 fighters displaced by the cancellation of UFC Fight Night 97 in the Philippines, Alvey was rebooked to appear in Mexico City at UFC Fight Night 98.

”I’ve got a few training partners who have fought in Mexico City before and they said the altitude is not great, but it’s the pollution that’ll get you,” said Alvey (28-8 MMA, 5-3 UFC), whose bout with Alex Nicholson (7-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) was moved to the FS1-televised event at Mexico City Arena.

Alvey has taken unusual steps to deal with dirty air.

“I’ve been going to L.A. a lot to run the streets and breathe in some smog,” the 30-year-old resident of Murrieta, Calif., told MMAjunkie Radio. “I’m just trying to get the best training possible.”

It’s just one part of preparing for conditions that are less than ideal for a fighter forced to extend his training camp. Not only is Alvey training longer, but he’s training for a fight at 7,000-plus feet, which is bound to tax his conditioning.

“I’m doing as much uncomfortable training as I can right now,” he said. “Of course, my cardio isn’t going to be as good as it is at sea level, but 15 minutes shouldn’t be a problem.”

Alvey isn’t one to complain when it comes to his career, though. Fighting in the UFC isn’t something he ever saw himself doing in the first place, so he’s gracious for even being in his current position.

“When I started fighting, I had no intentions of the UFC – I didn’t know what the UFC was,” he said. “It was just somebody said I could fight, so I fought. Eventually, somebody said they’d pay me if I fought. I said, ‘Suckers, I’d have done it for free.’ Somewhere along the line, it turned into a career. I just love doing it.

“I always say, I’ll fight for free, but you’re going to have to pay me to cut weight. That’s the honest truth. I’ll fight anywhere, anytime. I don’t know how realistic it is, but I hope to get one more fight this year yet.”

If the UFC wants to keep Alvey smiling, the promotion should simply keep him busy.

“I think I was going to set a UFC record, it was going to be my fourth fight in less than four months,” he said. “But that card got scrapped and I got pushed back a month and now it’ll be four fights in five months, which isn’t nearly as impressive.”

Check out the video above.

For more on UFC Fight Night 98, check out the UFC Rumors section of MMAjunkie.

MMAjunkie Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show, available on SiriusXM Ch. 93, is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to

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Bloody Elbow
Frank Mir 'trying to get out' of UFC contract to fight in K-1 and Chechnya
Bloody Elbow
"I am [still under contract with the UFC] but I am trying to get out of it," Mir said. "They are not going to utilize me as a fighter, and I am not getting any younger. Even if they do not let me go after my suspension, when I'm up and able to fight
Frank Mir wants to pursue K1 and boxing career, but UFC refuses to release him to 'take adventures'

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Bellator’s maiden voyage into Ireland is slowing coming into shape, as the California-based promotion announced on Thursday that two more bouts have been added to Bellator 169. View full post on Recent News on

It’s one thing when you put pressure on yourself to either win or retire, it’s quite another when your boss tells you that you have one more chance to get a victory in your next outing or get the pink slip.

That’s what happened to Jessica Eye, as the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) higher-ups told her following her loss to Bethe Correia at UFC 203 earlier this year (results) that she would be given one more chance inside the Octagon to right her ship.

Which is a good thing, really, as “Evil” has dropped four in a row. But rather than axing her altogether, UFC decided to give her one more opportunity. That said, knowing that she will receive at least one more fight inside the eight-walled cage to prove her worth, Eye will look to take a year off to reset, rest and enjoy life before getting back into the swing of things.

“We start talking about everything and how he feels that I’m just stuck in this funk and he’s seen other fighters go through it. I said,  ‘if you want to give me another chance, you can. I’m taking a year off. I’m going to train probably after the first of the year. I’m going to hang out, do some cross training, make some other decisions in my life, but I don’t plan to come back for a while,'” Eye explained to Fox Sports.

“[Sean Shelby] said, ‘Dana did message me and told me what you talked about and I’m going to keep you on the roster. I’m going to give you another chance.'”

After a tumultuous few years that saw Eye support her ailing father who was battling cancer and eventually laying him to rest earlier this year, Eye says her personal problems, as well as the pressure of fighting the top women in the world, weighed on her. In fact, Eye revealed that UFC President Dana White even offered to hook her up with a sports psychologist to help her out with the mental side of things.

“Time for me to not worry about a fight, not worry about a camp. Just go and help my teammates and just workout. If I want to eat clean for 10 days straight and eat bad for 10 days straight, I can do that. I just want to live for a little while to make sure I’m doing what I’m meant to be doing as a fighter,” Eye said. “I’m blessed that Sean Shelby and Dana White are giving me one more chance.”

Still, Eye does find comfort in the fact that her losses have come against the best-of-the-best, which includes Miesha Tate and Julianna Pena, both of whom were unable to finish her.

“I’m not going out there and getting destroyed by these girls. I’m losing split decisions. They are competitive fights. I realize now no one wants to see a competitive fight in this sport, they want to see a finish. So maybe that’s what I need to spend this year on — learning how to finish.”

Eye’s last victory came in 2014, a dominant technical knockout over Leslie Smith at UFC 180. And while she strongly feels she deserved to earn the nod against Correia in front of her hometown crowd in Cleveland, Eye is putting it all behind her and will now focus on “finding herself” before returning for what could be her final UFC fight.

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Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight champion, Frank Mir (18-11), has already stated that he is done inside the Octagon. And he reiterated those intentions this past weekend, discussing his future in combat sports with Russian mixed martial arts (MMA) website

Mir — who is still under contract with UFC — made his Absolute Championship Berkut Fights (ACB) commentary debut at ACB 48 this past weekend.

“I am [still under contract],” he said (via “But, I am trying to get out of it. They are not going to utilize me as a fighter and I am not getting any younger. And even if they do not let me go after my suspension, I’m up and I am able to fight again. I really would like to step outside.”

Mir was flagged by United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), which detected a small amount of oral turinabol metabolites in his system, prior to his first round knockout loss to Mark Hunt back in March. He made a “calculated decision” shortly thereafter to request his UFC release. Clearly, that hasn’t happened yet, but Mir is working diligently on it.

“UFC is not going to be able to get into Russia,” said Mir. “Here you already have phenomenal leagues. Obviously, UFC is a very big thing in the U.S., Canada, Brazil. But I like coming over here, I like the culture, the people. Fighting here and in Japan are two dreams of mine to be able to accomplish. And also fighting in different types of fights, as right now UFC only allows me to fight MMA.”

Mir’s color commentary for ACB 48 was his first taste of it since doing it for World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) before it was absorbed by UFC. Mir has always loved doing color commentary for MMA, and being able to do it in Russia was basically a win-win for him. In addition to wanting to do more color commentary, Mir wants to pursue opportunities in K-1 and boxing.

“I have never got to do kickboxing matches,” said Mir. “I have only fought an amateur boxing match. I want to do a professional boxing match. You know, I always wanted to test myself and find out different things. And UFC wants to protect me like any other fighter under the contract.… They have already made a lot of money, they are very famous, very important and I am very grateful for what they helped me accomplish.”

The ex-champ was also very specific about what he wanted to do with K-1 and boxing if he is released from his contract.

“I am being limited in what I am going to be able to do before I enter into full coaching. I want more experience in different aspects of the sport. My goal is to do at least five K-1-rule kickboxing matches, five professional boxing matches before I retire.”

Along with K-1 kickboxing and boxing, Mir was asked about performing in combat sambo.

“Even the combat sambo, I like watching it and I would be interested in entering the tournament. However, the UFC limits it because they do not want me to go out and take adventures.”

Mir can be added to the long list of fighters on UFC’s roster who have recently spoken out against Dana White and Co. After USADA hit him with a two-year suspension — which Mir is still confused by since he doesn’t know how he tested positive — the 37-year-old is ready to take the next step in his career.

And it’s not going to be inside the Octagon.

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After speculation started by his own Twitter posts, Shane Carwin made it official with a post on Reddit. The former UFC interim heavyweight champion has signed a deal with Rizin FF.

In his post, Carwin (12-2) made it clear the decision was not entirely motivated by money because the best financial offer was made by Bellator. Also, attempts to put together a fight with MMA great Fedor Emelianenko (36-4) in other promotions were unsuccessful.

“I had better offers from a money stand point,” Carwin wrote. “Bellator made the best offer. It just was not entirely clear that they wanted me as much as I wanted them to want me.

“I made an agreement to fight Fedor but he did not agree. I have been told by several matchmakers that that fight is a unicorn and they do not see Fedor taking it. Maybe I can just go help him train for the next one. Still a fan! He is still GOAT HWT to me.”

Carwin previously tweeted photos of a Rizin FF glove, telling the promotion, “you are going to need bigger gloves.”

Carwin last fought in June 2011 and lost a unanimous decision to Junior Dos Santos at UFC 131. It came on the heels of his submission defeat to Brock Lesnar at UFC 116.

Prior to the loss to Lesnar, Carwin won the first 12 fights of his career, all by first-round stoppage. At UFC 111, he captured the interim heavyweight title with a knockout of Frank Mir.

He retired from MMA after his two-fight losing skid and a series of injuries.

In the end, Carwin said the promotion shared his values and persisted despite his declining their offer multiple times. It was enough to win him over and secure a deal for his return to active competition.


In comments distributed by Rizin FF, Carwin made clear he has his sights on winning the promotion’s ongoing open-weight Grand Prix tournament.

“I am excited to return to the sport of MMA and I am also excited to be signing with Rizin,” the statement reads. “I’m ready to help take the company to the next level. I want people to remember me for my fights in Rizin, and for Rizin to be remembered as the promotion that overtook the UFC. After I win this Grand Prix fans can be excited about the great future that is to come.”

His Reddit post concluded with a similar sentiment and a target date for his debut.

“So on December 29th it begins,” Carwin wrote.

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

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UFC Fight Night 100's Cortney Casey: Beating Claudia Gadelha won't result in strawweight title shot
Casey (6-3 MMA, 2-2 UFC) is scheduled to fight former title challenger Claudia Gadelha (13-2 MMA, 2-2 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 100 next month in Brazil, a fight which signifies her chance to pick up a third consecutive octagon triumph and break through

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Steven Ray will step in for the injured James Krause and face Ross Pearson at UFC Fight Night 99 in Belfast. View full post on Recent News on

Harrison follows Rousey from Olympics to MMA View full post on – MMA

When the latest season of The Ultimate Fighter Latin America started, coach Chuck Liddell immediately pegged Peruvian prospect Claudio Puelles as his top pick and the most likely candidate to make it to the finals on November 5 in Mexico City. Puelles was definitely one of the most talked about prospects to start the season as he entered the competition with an impressive 7-1 mark and a lot of hype around what he brought to the table as one of the most well rounded fighters in the tournament. So far, Liddell’s faith in Puelles has been proven correct as the lightweight prospect has gone 2-0 wi … Read the Full Article Here View full post on UFC News

Bellator 163: “McGeary vs. Davis” comes to Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., on Nov. 4, 2016., featuring a main event between Light Heavyweight champion Liam McGeary — who has not competed in more than one year — against No. 1-ranked contender “Mr. Wonderful” Phil Davis.

Obviously, such a long layoff raises many questions, although McGeary certainly looked impressive when he submitted Tito Ortiz in Sept. 2015. Davis has been the more active fighter, though, earning his title shot that same night and then following it up with a victory over “King Mo” this summer.

Can Davis pick up his fourth straight win — and a world title — or is McGeary past his injuries and ready to dominate again as the undefeated champion? The best way to answer those questions is to speak to both the champion and the challenger. Bellator MMA arranged a press conference with both fighters yesterday to get thoughts from both men, as well as Bellator President, Scott Coker.

McGeary was the first to talk about how frustrated he was to be sidelined and unable to compete.

“My injury was ANNOYING. It’s kept me away from this sport for a long time — almost a year now. Now, I’m looking forward to getting back into it. It was my knee — I just had to get a lot of it fixed up, repairs, there was a lot of damage done inside. (I) just had to get it fixed up — I couldn’t really stand on it too well.”

Davis talked about Bellator’s new “Vote for Phil Davis” campaign and entertaining himself before the fight.

“We’re promoting this fight and we’re also having a little fun with this crazy election that we have going on, and the fact that this fight’s going to be equally as crazy, but equally as one sided. It’s just comedy all the way around. You’ve got one character, and then you’ve got one cool guy. Kudos to Bellator for recognizing that there could be so much comedy in the world out there.”

Davis also talked about this opportunity coming full circle for him after losing a title shot four years ago while under the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) banner.

“Yeah, you know what? This reminds me of that moment. I like the feeling of knowing that I’m in the semis or that I’m in the finals. The pressure’s on. That moment of ‘do or die’ — I love that moment, I thrive in that moment. I’m so glad to be back in that moment of do or die, all or nothing. That’s where I shine, that’s where I do my best work.”

McGeary said that even though he and Davis have had a few laughs in the past, nothing will be funny once the fighters are locked inside a cage together

“All the fun games are over now. I’ve had three to four months of getting ready for him, and the torture I’ve put myself through in this gym, I’m getting ready to take it out on him. He can make all the jokes and try to turn it into a laugh, but at the end of the day we’re able to fight him and this is going to be a tough fight. I’m going in there and I’m going in there to hurt him.”

Unsurprisingly, “Mr. Wonderful” didn’t agree with that assessment.

“The fun and games are NOT over — the fun and games have just begun. You’ve been training for four months (but) I’ve had over a full year I’ve put into wearing yo’ butt out and dragging your face across the mat.”

The tension continued to escalate over the course of the call, with each fighter getting a little more indignant and a little more combative with each verbal jab that was thrown. McGeary was clearly weary of Davis’ antics by the end.

“I’ve done all the talking I need to do. I’m watching all these silly little videos that he puts up thinking ‘How’s he got time to do these videos?’ He should be in the gym training. I’ve done all the talking I need to do. We had a laugh and a joke back when he was fighting, but now it’s time to get serious. Now it’s time to get on this. I’ve got a belt to defend and I will be defending it. I’m not gonna let that squeaky voiced weirdo take it off me.”

That potshot didn’t sit very well and quickly spilled over into trash talking on both sides — starting with Davis.

“Was that directed toward me? Squeaky voice? Unbelievable. I used to like Liam, but you know what, out of all the guys I’ve fought I’m gonna like punching him in the face the least. Business is business and I’m going to have to come at this man like a spider monkey. He’s right, he will defend that belt, but he will be unsuccessful.”

McGeary quickly proved he wasn’t done talking after all.

“Definitely, this is just business, and my business is to break your nose. You’ve been spending three years just working on your hands have ya? You’ve learned how to throw a nice one-two? I don’t make promises mate. Have you not seen my record? It’s 11-0 for a reason. If I say I’m gonna knock ’em out, I knock ’em out, if I say I’m gonna submit ’em, I submit ’em. You — I just wanna beat your fucking face in.”

And “Mr. Wonderful” couldn’t resist taunting McGeary one more time.

“Are you sure? That’s what you’re gonna do? You haven’t had a fight for a year and you think you can just jump off the bench, FRESH. Wrong, wrong! The world don’t work like that. Listen — I’ve been beating people up while I’ve been waiting to beat up you, okay? Your picture is on a bag in my gym and I just beat the picture off the bag for the second time.”

Punching bags don’t hit back, though, Phil. Tune in Nov. 4 on Spike TV to see who lives up to all of the trash talk. Complete audio of the conference call is below and complete Bellator MMA coverage can be found right here on fight night.


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You know that troll job from Fabricio Werdum in which he threw shade at Reebok while showing his support for Nike? Well, it seems there is a lot more to it, as “Vai Cavalo” tells MMA junkie that he is in the process of working a sponsorship agreement with the world renowned shoe and sports apparel giant, which just so happens to be one of Reebok’s biggest competitors.

“(Nike and I) are negotiating, it’s going to happen – we’ll see if it happens, it depends on figures, it depends on a lot of things,” Werdum said. “We might close (the deal), we might not. But, I went ahead because I’m not happy with Reebok. I’m not happy because making $5,000 per fight sucks. For a person who made $100,000, $150,000 per fight, going to $5,000, it’s not easy. It was more a protest, but I’m already negotiating with Nike.”

Like Werdum, many other athletes have expressed their displeasure at the Reebok payout in the past because it has cost them thousands upon thousands of side income from sponsors. Sure, fighters are still allowed to have partnerships with other sponsors as long as their logos are nowhere in sight come fight week or fight night. It’s that very fact that scared numerous companies into terminating some relationships with fighters on UFC’s roster.

Werdum hopes to change all of that.

“I also wanted to say that it’s important that other sponsors know that – sometimes other big sponsors don’t come to you because they think you have exclusivity with Reebok,” Werdum said. “I have no exclusivity with Reebok, it’s only during the fight and that’s it. Because that’s how it goes and we can’t do anything about it. But outside of the octagon, that’s where things show up the most, at social media, that’s where they show the brand, at training. It’s nice to clarify that, outside the UFC, I can have the sponsors I want.”

Nevertheless, Nike, according to Werdum, is okay with overlooking that aspect and is open to moving forward with an agreement with the former Heavyweight champion. Just don’t expect this to be a reality when Werdum faces Cain Velasquez for a second time at UFC 207 on Dec. 30, 2016, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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Yesterday, James Kruase posted an Instagram photo with a message an injury had knocked him from his UFC Fight Night 99 co-main event with Ross Pearson. Today, Pearson has a new opponent.

Stepping in for the injured Krause (23-7 MMA, 4-3 UFC) to face Pearson (19-12 MMA, 11-9 UFC) in the lightweight bout is Stevie Ray (19-6 MMA, 3-1 UFC).

The bout was announced by UFC officials.


UFC Fight Night 99 takes place Nov. 19 at SSE Arena in Belfast, and the entire card streams on UFC Fight Pass, though the bout order hasn’t been finalized. It’s the first of two cards on Nov. 19; UFC Fight Night 100 takes place later in the day in Brazil.

Pearson has lost two straight and three of his past four. The lone victory in that stretch came via hotly contested split decision to Chad Laprise. Most recently, Pearson took just 22 days between fights, temporarily moved up to welterweight and suffered a unanimous-decision loss to Jorge Masvidal at UFC 201.

After a three-fight winning streak to start his UFC career, Ray dropped a unanimous decision to Alan Patrick at UFC Fight Night 95. The loss snapped an overall winning streak of five fights.

The full UFC Fight Night 99 lineup includes:

MAIN CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 4 p.m. ET)

  • Uriah Hall vs. Gegard Mousasi
  • Ross Pearson vs. Stevie Ray
  • Timothy Johnson vs. Alexander Volkov
  • Teruto Ishihara vs. Artem Lobov

PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 12:30 p.m. ET)

  • Ian McCall vs. Neil Seery
  • Magnus Cedenblad vs. Jack Marshman
  • Ali Bagautinov vs. Kyoji Horiguchi
  • Kevin Lee vs. Magomed Mustafaev
  • Amanda Cooper vs. Anna Elmose
  • Mark Godbeer vs. Justin Ledet
  • Zak Cummings vs. Alexander Yakovlev
  • Milana Dudieva vs. Marion Reneau

Filed under: News, UFC View full post on News | MMAjunkie

The Sun
Conor McGregor to take break from the UFC to settle down with girlfriend Dee Devlin
The Sun
CONOR McGregor plans to take a break from his stellar UFC career — to settle down with long-term girlfriend Dee Devlin, according to friends. The MMA superstar is said to be planning at least a year off after UFC 205 — but could then come back for “a
Real Madrid explores hosting a Conor McGregor UFC fightWashington Post
Conor McGregor Could Make UFC 205 the UFC's Biggest Event EverBleacher Report
Conor McGregor Sharpens His Wrestling Ahead of UFC 205MMAWeekly (blog)
Daily Star –Metro –YouTube
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Watch Tyron Woodley seize the Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight title with force. View full post on Recent News on

In cities with a wealth of combat sports talent, it’s inevitable that a collection of those competitors are going to start running in the same circles, training at the same gyms and getting instruction from the same collection of coaches. In many cases, they’ll come together to form a team, whether loosely defined or complete with t-shirts, a logo and maybe a secret handshake.That’s what happened in Denver, Colorado with the Elevation Fight Team, a collection of athletes that ran together, spending time on the mats at Easton Training Center, High Altitude Martial Arts and thr … Read the Full Article Here View full post on UFC News

Six years ago, light heavyweight Ryan Bader beat former PRIDE standout Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC 119, a card largely forgotten for its punishingly slow pace.

So why is the UFC running back an old matchup at UFC Fight Night 100? For Bader, it’s what happens when injuries surface, you’ve already fought most of the division, and there’s precious few guys ahead of you.

“I’m ranked No. 4 (in the UFC’s rankings), but rankings don’t really mean all that much,” Bader, who holds the No. 5 spot on the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA light heavyweight rankings, told MMAjunkie. “I believe I’m one fight away at all times from getting a title shot and being up there. I have to beat one of those top three guys.”

After current contender Anthony Johnson brought a violent end to Bader’s five-fight winning streak, he rebooted this past month with a vicious knockout of Ilir Latifi and decided to let it ride against Nogueira, doing the UFC a favor that potentially could be repaid with a future title shot.

With Johnson now set to vie for the light heavyweight title against champ Daniel Cormier, and the winner of that bout expected to meet interim champ Jon Jones, Bader(21-5 MMA, 14-5 UFC) needs to keep himself at the forefront of his promoter’s mind when big opportunities are doled out. A rematch with Nogueira (22-7 MMA, 5-4 UFC), on a FS1-televised card in the Brazilian’s backyard no less, might not be the most high-profile one. But given the way the last fight turned out, and what he sees are natural advantages leading into the rematch, he’ll take on the challenge on Nov. 19 at Ibirapuera Gymnasium in Sao Paulo.

No longer does Bader consider himself a wrestler first in the octagon. Six years ago, that’s pretty much all he was, with the notable addition of a heavy right hand.

“The thing is, I’ve evolved since then,” he said. “I’m not even close to the fighter I was six years ago. I’m proficient on my feet and on the ground; I’m experienced having fought everybody. I’ve fought the who’s who of MMA. (The first fight) was a fight where I had to take him down, because I didn’t know what to do on my feet.

“I think there was more change in me than him. I think I’ve evolved more than he has in our first fight.”

After reshaping his focus to embrace risk and enjoying himself in the moment while fighting, Bader certainly appears to have reversed a downward trend. The only question now is if he can keep it up.

“I feel like I’m finally showing people what I can do,” he said. “Getting that KO, it was momentum. I want to carry it on in this fight.”

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Watch Tyron Woodley's devastating knockout win over Robbie Lawler
ATLANTA, GA – JULY 30: Tyron Woodley celebrates his knockout victory over Robbie Lawler in their welterweight championship bout during the UFC 201 event on July 30, 2016 at Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC …

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