Tag Archive for Arizona

Two New Bouts Added to UFC on Fox 29 Lineup in Arizona

A middleweight contest pitting Tim Boetsch against Antonio Carlos Jr. and a women’s flyweight showdown between Shana Dobson and Lauren Mueller have been added to the UFC on Fox 29 bill.
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UFC on Fox 29 Update: Yushin Okami, Dhiego Lima Set for Welterweight Tilt in Arizona

Yushin Okami and Dhiego Lima will clash in a welterweight bout at UFC on Fox 29.
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Chandler Jones traded to Arizona Cardinals, Jon Jones gets ‘excited’

Jon Jones is excited his younger brother Chandler Jones no longer plays for the New England Patriots of the National Football League (NFL).

No, not because of that.

Chandler was traded from the four-time Super Bowl champions earlier today (March 15, 2016) to the Arizona Cardinals; which means “Bones” won’t have to travel too far to catch his sibling in action, as the flight from Albuquerque, N.M., to Tempe, Ariz., is only a skip away.



The defensive end standout has played with the Patriots — who happen to be UFC President Dana White’s favorite squad — since he was drafted in 2012.

Earlier this year, Chandler came under fire after he walked into a police station to ask for help after he had a bad reaction to synthetic marijuana during the team’s run in the 2016 playoffs.

There’s no telling whether the incident had anything to do with the trade.

Nevertheless, the Jones brothers are now a bit closer, which is a good thing in more ways than one for “Bones,” as he his younger brother doesn’t have to travel too far to back him up in case a certain mixed martial arts (MMA) Heavyweight comes knocking at his door.

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Can Arizona force WSOF’s Eric Regan into retirement?

Tucked within the state-issued medical suspension report for last Saturday’s World Series of Fighting 19 show, the Arizona Boxing & MMA Commission (ABMC) left a curious note for local fighter Eric Regan. A 31-year-old veteran of the southwestern scene, Regan suffered a dramatic and violent head kick loss to Matthew Frincu in his WSOF debut, one which left Regan slumped against the cage wall for several seconds after referee Ryan Brueggeman intervened.

It was a scary scene, and it marked Regan’s eighth loss over his nine contests since 2011. Now the ABMC has seen enough. The commission subsequently placed Regan on indefinite suspension, along with issuing a rarely, if ever, seen “safety recommendation” for him to “stop competing” — effectively placing Regan into a sort of state-mandated early retirement, regardless of the fighter’s wishes.

“I haven’t done it before and I haven’t seen it done before,” ABMC executive director Matthew Valenzuela told MMAFighting.com. “But I think we need to, as regulators, enforce some things, make some recommendations, and make him seek doctor visits and treatments.

“If a doctor clears him for certain things, I know they’re trying to make him go through concussion testing. My position here when I took it on a year ago was that I’m here to improve the industry and help it out, not to make it worse. So it’s something I know I’ll probably take flak on, or whatever, but at least somebody will give me a call if he fights anywhere. They’ll hopefully look at what the suspension is and ask about it. That way I can at least let them know.”

The recommendation is, for now, only that — a recommendation. But when paired with the indefinite suspension, which only the ABMC has the jurisdiction to lift, it creates a tricky and somewhat unprecedented situation for Regan (15-25) to navigate if he wants to fight again, particularly with Valenzuela vowing not to allow Regan to compete in Arizona again.


As concussion and head trauma awareness rises throughout sports, Regan’s suspension now becomes a fascinating case study moving forward. How far is too far? Regan isn’t a Koscheck or Leben-level name by any means, but even on a smaller scale, should state commissions be granted the task of, in effect, protecting fighters from themselves? Regan’s case is unique, simply because the welterweight doesn’t fit the classic stereotype of an athlete who needs to be forced away from the table.

Over the course of nine years and 40 professional fights, Regan has never failed a drug test nor broken a state rule. He isn’t too old, he isn’t severely injured, and his hard losses haven’t made him particularly chinny. On the contrary, counting this past Saturday night, Regan has only been knocked out four times as a professional. His bouts regularly end in the judges’ hands, and that’s a fact made more impressive by his strength of schedule, which is collectively far greater than that of most journeymen on the regional scene — each of Regan’s five most recent losses have come against foes who previously cut their teeth in the UFC, Bellator, or WSOF.

At a glance, the numbers seem to indicate that Regan is, A) consistently fighting high-caliber opposition and, B) at the very least, staying vaguely competitive — both of which cast the commission’s recommendation in a strange light. After all, it’s not as if he’s getting steamrolled by scrubs.

But, Valenzuela argues, it’s Regan’s style more so than anything else that tells the whole story.

Fittingly nicknamed “The Iron Prince,” Regan is notorious for possessing the type of concrete chin that would make Roy Nelson blush. Having witnessed it firsthand several times myself, the welterweight’s disregard for getting struck in the face regularly leads to wild, tempestuous brawls, which makes for good local entertainment on a Friday night, but means that even during those decision losses, significant head trauma remains Regan’s symbiotic dance partner.

“We have observed him fighting in competitions for a few years now,” says Dr. Ken Ota, one of the four physicians on the ABMC roster. “What we decided was, as a recommendation, for him to consider putting fighting to the side because of the number of head traumas that he’s had over the years.

“What we want him to do is to be evaluated by a concussion specialist, to be able to objectively evaluate him with validated tests that will examine him in his post-concussion state. Because in these concussions, there are certain changes that can occur that aren’t readily apparent to the naked eye. They can be very subtle changes, and these subtle changes over time can build up into something that can be quite significant in terms of how one functions in their daily life.”

“It’s fun to see (him fight),” adds Valenzuela. “But not fun to witness the aftereffects, as a regulator. I think it’s fun for the fans, but when you know the insight of what’s going on, it’s a little tough to swallow.”

The ‘barroom brawler’ trope is one that’s been around as long as combat sports itself, though only within the past decade have we seen a rise in concern for the long-term health of such athletes. Jamie Varner, an ex-UFC lightweight who existed on the upper-tier of that fringe for a majority of his career, recently revealed on The MMA Hour that his retirement at age 30 was fueled by the revelation that he already had suffered more than 30 concussions over 11 years of competition, causing untold damages to his brain.

Varner’s ability to let go is commendable, though still a rare sight in the ultra-competitive world of professional fighting. And Regan doesn’t share his same concerns.

“The commission’s had it out for me for years,” says Regan. “They’ve always felt that I was — they were scared I was going to die in the ring because I didn’t really care, like I’d previously not tapped to a choke. They’ve felt for a long time that I might die in the ring, so they’ve kind of had it out for me for a long time.

“I’m upset, especially because it’s basically opinion. It’s not even objective opinion. It’s how they feel about it, that they’re going to take it away from me. Instead of going in and seeing someone who’s going to make an objective medical opinion, I have to worry about how they feel about things, what they’re afraid might happen. They’re reacting with a bias, and they really want to take it away before I even have a chance to show them I have the abilities. That’s just the way it’s always been.”

It’s the subjectiveness of the commission’s ruling that irks Regan the most. The state is trying to take this away from him, he says, not because of some worrisome knockout streak or some blotchy CT scan, but because of the ABMC’s own self-imposed speculation and worries. “I’m getting A’s in college right now, so I’m doing fine in school,” Regan explains. “My memory is fine. Obviously that should be considered with anybody involved in fighting, but I’m good. I don’t really have any problems.

“They’ve always had a bias against me. I don’t know. They feel I have a lack of self-preservation. That’s just the way it’s always been.”

A part-time drywall worker who attends Phoenix College, Regan celebrates his thirty-second birthday on Friday and he vows that he’s going to fight again before the year is over. If he does, it likely won’t be in Arizona, Valenzuela says, and it certainly won’t be without a litany of medical tests conducted to ensure that Regan is free from severe early-onset concussion damage, regardless of whether Regan likes it or not.

Irrespective of how the situation plays out, Valenzuela’s decision opens a broader debate about the responsibilities of state commissions and the dominion they have over fighters’ careers; namely, whether commissions can (or should) be able to play a parental role in deciding when too much damage is enough. Obviously the likelihood of the ABMC or other similar commissions ordering an established name like Josh Koscheck or Diego Sanchez to retire is slim. But should they be able to do the same for low-level fighters, individuals who will never make it much farther than their own regional scene and are only causing themselves mental troubles 10 or 15 years down the line?

It’s a tough question without an obvious answer, though Valenzuela hopes his ruling will serve as a tipping point for other commissioners to start thinking about things in the same way. In his eyes, the state’s nudge to retirement may not ultimately be popular with everyone, but when no one else is there to tell fighters no, “sometimes you’ve just got to pull the plug on some of these guys and make them think.”

“It’s on a case by case basis. There’s fighters fighting who shouldn’t be fighting, and we’ve got to stop it,” Valenzuela says. “As a matter of fact, there’s a lot of guys from Mexico coming over here for boxing. They come over here, they get a Top Rank $ 3,000 paycheck, now they think they’re $ 3,000 worth of fighting. And they’re not. They’re just an opponent to get beat. I’m constantly telling guys, ‘No, you’re not going to fight. Look at your record. You’re fighting guys who are 8-0, 10-0, 11-0, and you’re getting knocked out. So no, you’ve got to fight somebody your caliber. You’re not a top quality caliber fighter.’ I just had one yesterday. So I’m not just doing it to one guy. I’m doing it to a lot of guys.

“You don’t get a lot of nods for doing the right thing, so there’s going to be a lot of controversy. Hopefully not. But again, it’s my job to protect these guys from themselves. The state doesn’t need that record of guys being carried out on stretchers or possibly dying in the cage or the ring. I’m trying to eliminate any possibilities of that.”

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Super Bowl 2015 predictions: Picking Patriots vs Seahawks winner in Arizona

The clock is ticking as we countdown to Super 49 kickoff between New England Patriots vs. Seattle Seahawks, which takes place just a few hours (6:30 p.m. ET) from now (Sun., Feb. 1, 2015) at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. Which team will win NFL’s biggest game? We peer into our crystal balls below.

For the second year in a row the No. 1-ranked defense has made to the NFL championship game. Unlike last year, however, the No. 1-ranked offense will not be joining them, at least not statistically speaking. In fact, at least as far as yardage goes, the Seattle Seahawks have a better offense than their opponent at Super Bowl 49, the New England Patriots.

So who will deliver when it matters most on Sun., Feb. 1, 2015, at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona? We can answer that for you right here.

By “we” I mean myself, Geno Mrosko, and the man who runs the show around these parts, Thomas Myers. We didn’t fare so well last year when predicting a close game between the Broncos and Seahawks, but we nailed the NFC Championship Game, and on that we’ll forever hang our hats.

Enough with the credentials and on to our predictions for Super Bowl 49: New England Patriots vs. Seattle Seahawks.

Prediction from Geno:

You know what’s going to have zero effect on this game? Deflategate and whether or not Marshawn Lynch talks to the media. None of that matters now; it’s just the Patriots top ranked offense lining up against the Seahawks vaunted defense while Lynch worries about running over the seventh ranked rushing defense in the league.

That’s the real intrigue.

Statistically speaking, New England has been disgustingly good on offense in the postseason but surprisingly proficient on defense as well. They’ve scored 80 points in the postseason while playing only two games. They gave up just seven points in the AFC Championship Game to an Andrew Luck led offense that was 6th in scoring throughout the season.

Seattle, meanwhile, tough as they may be, have struggled mightily to get here. Realistically, they wouldn’t even be in this game were it not for Green Bay employing Mike McCarthy as its head football coach. They won’t have the luxury of playing against that kind of conservative style here.

Quite the opposite, actually.

That’s going to be the difference here. A coach willing to gamble on 4th and 3 at mid-field in the second quarter with a 10 point lead who takes advantage of his Hall of Fame bound quarterback to step on his opponent’s throat instead of relying on his defense to do it for him.

Brady and Belichick will be at it again, folks. Enjoy the ride.

Pick: Patriots 27, Seahawks 13

Prediction from Tom:

I’m not going to beat you over the head with too many statistics because there is only one that really matters: Seahawks boast the best defense in the league. Kam Chancellor is an integral part of that success and will play a major factor tonight, blanketing Rob Gronkowski and forcing Tom Brady to either hand the ball off or challenge the Seahawk’s dangerous play making defensive backfield.

This will lead to turnovers, which will put Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch in advantageous situations to punch it in with good field position.

Lynch plays at such a different level and brings an invaluable edge to the Seahawks each time he totes the rock. Seahawks will ride him all night, putting Wilson in manageable short yardage situations that he can exploit with his arms or his legs if necessary.

The last time I checked, a league-leading defense and a smash-mouth run game (ranked N0. 1 in the NFL, too) is a recipe for Super Bowl success. Not to mention, not many — not even the oddsmakers — expect Seahawks to repeat as champions, which is just more reason to believe the “Legion of Boom” will be motivated more than ever to prove the doubters wrong once again.

Don’t be mad, bro.

Pick: Seahawks 24, Patriots 20

Be sure to keep it locked here all Sunday afternoon because we will have complete Patriots vs. Seahawks results, including quarter-by-quarter, play-by-play updates, from kickoff to final whistle.

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UFC welterweight Joe Riggs hospitalized after shooting himself in Arizona

Never go full Plaxico Burress.

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight veteran Joe Riggs has been forced from his upcoming Paulo Thiago fight at the UFC Fight Night 51 mixed martial arts (MMA) event on FOX Sports 1, which takes place on Sept. 13, 2014 inside Nilson Nelson Gymnasium in Brasilia, Brazil.

From UFC.com:

“We were made aware that newly-signed UFC competitor Joe Riggs was involved in an unfortunate accident last night. While cleaning his permitted firearm (a pistol), the gun discharged, injuring his hand and upper thigh. Riggs was transported to a nearby hospital in Arizona where he is being treated by physicians. We wish Joe a speedy recovery.”

Riggs (40-14) is the winner of six straight, including his “Fight Master” tournament victory over Mike Bronzoulis at Bellator 106 last November. “Diesel” — still only 31 — is perhaps best remembered by UFC fans for his post-fight brawl with Nick Diaz inside a Las Vegas hospital just hours after UFC 57.

No replacement opponent for Thiago has been named at this time.

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Former UFC Fighter Homer Moore Arrested on Suspicion of 1999 Arizona Murder

Onetime UFC talent Homer Moore was arrested Monday in Tempe, Ariz., on a first-degree murder charge in a case nearly 15 years old, according to a press release from Tempe police.
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Anthony Pettis’ message to Benson Henderson: ‘I’m not the same fighter you fought in Arizona’

540_anthony_pettis_vs_donald_cerrone

Anthony Pettis was unwinding at his coach’s house, surrounded by friends, heaping plate of hot food in his hands, the summer sun beating down on another Milwaukee afternoon. He had no idea how quickly his life was about to change.

“Actually my phone was on the charger inside Duke (Roufus’) house. I didn’t even know I had like four missed calls from Dana (White), four missed calls from (manager) Mike (Roberts),” Pettis recalled on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour.

“They called Duke’s phone. … I knew it was Mike Roberts so I didn’t pay no mind. I thought he was talking about Chico (Camus) or Pascal (Krauss) or Erik Koch, one of these guys on the Milwaukee card. And then Duke turns and looks at me with this big smile and is like, ‘You want to fight in Milwaukee?’ I didn’t even think twice; I was like hell yeah, send me the contract. He was like, ‘Ben Henderson.’ Man, I couldn’t even believe it.”

That plate of food? Yeah, it went uneaten. Before the news could even set in, Pettis was already gone, years of pent-up excitement bubbling through his pores. Pettis snagged his younger brother and promptly went for a six-mile jog passed his father’s grave.

“It was just one of those moments,” Pettis said. “Everything in my head, it was just like, everything happens for a reason. I went from being so down to, even now, I’m excited to go train right now. Everything I wanted is right here.”

Pettis’ long-awaited rematch against Benson Henderson at UFC 164, made possible by a concussion to T.J. Grant, is now the culmination of a impossibly up-and-down UFC tenure filled with promised title shots, failed expectations, and injuries galore. Even the way this opportunity came about, with Pettis unexpectedly available after a knee injury thwarted yet another shot at a belt, is somewhat fitting.

“The injury wasn’t that serious. It was serious but it wasn’t like I needed surgery, it wasn’t like I’d be out for months. It was a couple weeks off and I felt like I could make it [to Aug. 3rd against Jose Aldo], but the UFC doctors said it wasn’t going to happen,” Pettis said, before joking.

“I even thought to myself [afterward], ‘Damn, was I really hurt? What even happened?’ Just the way it played out is crazy. It looks so fake, you know? It just looks fake. But I mean, on my end, I was really hurt. My knee popped. You can ask Phil Davis. Phil Davis was the one there rolling with me when it happened. And it just worked out so that I’ll be ready in time for Milwaukee.”

Pettis is right. It’s a scenario so far-fetched, a vocal minority of internet conspiracy theorists are having a hard time believing the fix wasn’t in and Grant isn’t off counting his thick wad of bills at some Nova Scotia casino. After all, it was just weeks ago that Pettis publicly campaigned for Grant’s spot in UFC 164′s main event, which takes place just minutes from Pettis’ Milwaukee home.

Back then Pettis’ brashness didn’t sit well with some, including Grant, who viewed the entire situation as “low class,” “dirty” and “incredibly disrespectful.” But looking back in retrospect, “Showtime” simply felt it was worth a try.

“Put it in like a regular job scenario,” Pettis explained. “If you and your [co-worker] both are up for promotion, are you going to compete to get that promotion? You’re damn right you are. It’s the same situation here. He’s the No. 1 contender, I feel I’m the No. 1 contender. Unfortunately I took a shot at featherweight, it didn’t work out for me. I don’t feel bad about it, but I do feel bad for T.J. Grant. I mean, I’ve been in his position and all I have to say is, keep your head up and don’t let it get you down, man, because it really does get you down. You’re at the top of the top, and then injury takes away all of that. You’ve got everybody is saying ridiculous things like it’s conspiracy and he got paid to fake an injury. No one in their right mind would do that.”

It took a while, the date on Pettis’ calendar may have changed, and the marquee may list a different opponent, but Pettis finally has the opportunity he always wanted, even if it came in a roundabout way. He won’t say he’s 100-percent recovered just yet — mentally, knee injuries take some time — but give it one full week back in training, and Pettis is confident he’ll be right back into the groove.

“I was super ready for the Aldo fight. I was down to 160, I was cutting weight already, so my weight is perfect for 155,” said Pettis. “A seven-week training camp is more than enough time. I’m always in shape so that’s not an issue for me. I just feel like I have what it takes to beat this guy, man.

“I always knew this fight was going to happen. I’ve been thinking about this guy for two years now, so I go through this gameplan all the time — how I’m going to fight him, how I’m going to beat him.

“[Henderson is] a whole new fighter, a way different fighter than he was in the WEC days. But I am, too. It’s not like I’m the same Anthony Pettis you fought in Arizona. This is a totally different Anthony Pettis. It’s funny because my last two fights, the world only got to see me perform for like two minutes, so no one really knows how much I’ve evolved as a fighter. I’m excited to get out there and show what I’ve been working on.”

Pettis has been through so much already, it’s easy to forget he’s only 26 years old. While injuries ground his career to a halt, the scant two times he’s been able to perform over the past few years, magic happened. Two meetings against gritty, game contenders, and two ‘Knockout of the Night’ checks for mere minutes of work.

It’s been 31 months since Pettis banished Henderson to a nightmare highlight reel, leaping off the side of the cage and dethroning the WEC king in front of his friends and family. Since then much has changed, yet the roles of both men remain the same, their fates intertwined once more. Champion against challenger, perhaps it was inevitable.

“All I know is that, if I lost to somebody and I’m the champ, I would want to avenge that loss,” Pettis finished. “I think he’s excited for the fight. He should be. It’s my hometown now. He knows what I did to him in his hometown. Everybody saw what I did to him in his hometown. I’m sure he’s going to bring it.

“All my fights before the WEC and UFC were in Milwaukee. I think it’s time for me to have my homecoming.”

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Olympic Gold Medalist Henry Cejudo to Make MMA Debut March 2 in Arizona

Olympic wrestling champion Henry Cejudo will make his mixed martial arts debut March 2.
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