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Retirement? What retirement?
When a mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter officially retires from cage fighting, it often means “I need a vacation but I’ll be back when I A) run out of money or B) run out of things to do.” Former World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) featherweight champion Urijah Faber, however, may be the exception to that rule.
“The California Kid” is not hard up for cash, nor does he need a hobby, thanks to his role at Team Alpha Male (TAM) in Sacramento, Calif. He just loves the thrill of competition and stays in fighting shape regardless of what’s on the horizon.
Which is why he told Submission Radio it only takes one phone call.
“I still get tested from USADA just because I’ve never taken drugs in my life so I don’t really care about that. It’s well worth it. The difference is, if there was a big opportunity and someone wanted you to fight and it sounded like a good idea, I wouldn’t want to wait four months to get cleared when I’m not doing drugs anyway. So I’ll take one for the team on a 6 a.m. wake-up call. I’ve got it down pat anyways. I pretty much sleep through the whole thing aside from when I’m giving the urine sample.”
This guy should try that.
Faber (34-10) turns 39 in May and hasn’t competed since his unanimous decision victory over Brad Pickett at UFC on FOX 22. While the bantamweight title managed to elude him, “The California Kid” is widely-considered the founding father of lighter weight classes and a big reason UFC was willing to dip below 155 pounds back in 2010.
Not sure what opportunities are out there for the aging Californian, especially with this rival already moving on to bigger and better things, but maybe Vitor Belfort was onto something when he called for a “Legends League.”
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight bruiser, Mark Hunt, is tired of being treated like shit as an independent contractor signed to the world’s largest mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion.
That’s why “Super Samoan” plans to run out his current UFC contract — in which he has three fights remaining — then dash off to the “Land of the Rising Sun,” where Hunt (13-11, 1 NC) rose to prominence for PRIDE and K-1.
From his conversation with Submission Radio:
“Three fights left, this will be one of them, I got two left and then see you later. That will be the end of my career in the UFC. I have two fights left and that’s it. You probably know the path I’ve had with the UFC, but you know, it’s business. I haven’t done nothing wrong, I just don’t like to be treated like shit – even if I’m an employee or whatever and I speak my mind about it and, you know, I’ll go from there. So like I said, three fights left and I’ll move on. I’m looking at going and fighting global fights for New Zealand, Australia and probably Japan. It depends on what happens. Like I said, I’m still chasing the dream of that world title.”
At 43-years old, the aging slugger doesn’t have much time to get it done.
Hunt has not been on the best of terms with UFC, particularly promotion president Dana White. After filing suit against the organization (for this), the “Super Samoan” was temporarily benched over concerns for his health.
The New Zelander returns to action at UFC 221 in Perth (more on that here).
With limited sponsorship and a stable of superstars in need of individual treatment, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is beginning to find it difficult to hold onto every one of its assets.
After seeing notable Octagon names like Rory MacDonald, Benson Henderson, Phil Davis, and Josh Thompson leave the promotion behind in 2016, UFC has witnessed other premier fighters like Ryan Bader, Roy Nelson, and Gegard Mousasi jump to Bellator MMA this year.
Mousasi, 32, will make his debut at Bellator 185 on Oct. 20 against Alexander Shlemenko after signing a six-fight deal with the promotion back in July. Like most of his fellow UFC veterans currently competing under the Bellator banner, Mousasi is enjoying the new experience.
“Life is easier,” Mousasi told MMAjunkie. “I was able to bring my friends also into Bellator. The treatment that I’m getting is great. I feel Bellator has space to grow, not only with me, but also as a company.
“I was a small fish in the UFC. I’m a big fish in Bellator. That’s why I want to do my part to grow with Bellator. There’s a connection that I don’t have with UFC. It’s a company, like a factory. With Bellator, it’s more that I’m part of the family, and I’m doing the best I can to grow with the family.”
The disconnection between Mousasi and UFC shouldn’t come as a surprise. Just hours after announcing his contract signing with Bellator earlier this year, the former Strikeforce champion took direct aim at UFC and blasted its partnership with Reebok. It wasn’t the first time Mousasi publicly challenged UFC and probably won’t be the last.
“I was treated well in the UFC because I got the opportunity to get where I am now,” Mousasi said. “But, if I was to criticize them, I think the fairness of payment or the fairness of getting a title shot, it’s too much about the name of the fighter and who they feel they can build as a star as opposed to who is the best fighter. There are issues. Before the belt I’d have to fight probably Luke Rockhold, I would have fought Yoel Romero because (Robert) Whittaker is next. It would have made my road so difficult to get to the top. Some get an easy road.
“They give the fighters they like matchups suited for them so they can keep winning. They’ll probably do (Conor) McGregor vs. Nate Diaz 3. Why? Because McGregor has a good shot of winning. They’re not going to make a fight with Khabib (Nurmagomedov) or Tony (Ferguson) because it’s bad for the promotion. Those things, you feel as a fighter. I’m not making things up. It’s frustrating. I had to take the hard road. That’s what I feel.”
After winning five-straight fights in the UFC’s middleweight division, including knockouts over former champions Chris Weidman and Vitor Belfort, Mousasi didn’t know if he was ever going to get a title shot, which led to his decision to sign with Bellator. It’s an understandable move to make, especially considering the UFC’s 185-pound crop is currently being hijacked by a superfight between champion Michael Bisping and former UFC welterweight king Georges St-Pierre.
With new land to travel and new opponents to overthrow, Mousasi now feels like he’s able to do whatever he wants to do. That sort of freedom is hard to come by in mixed martial arts (MMA) today, but Bellator is offering veterans like Mousasi the opportunity to branch out.
“That’s one of the great things about Bellator is I have the freedom to decide and do whatever I feel,” Mousasi said. “I have more freedom. It’s a lot more easy-going. Scott [Coker] bringing me into Bellator, I want to have a good impression. I don’t want to let anyone down. I’ve come to get the belt. I have to beat (Shlemenko)m and I have to beat him decisively. I have to make a statement.”
Stipe Miocic tied the record for most consecutive title defenses in the Heavyweight division at two by knocking out Junior dos Santos in the very first round at last night’s (Sat., May 13, 2017) UFC 211 pay-per-view (PPV) event in Dallas, Texas.
Granted, while two defenses is nothing like winning 10 in a row like Demetrious Johnson, it’s still a big feat, as no other big man in the history of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has ever gone on to defend the 265-pound strap three times. According to company president Dana White, however, that can all change soon, as Stipe is looking like the one to get there.
“He’s looking like the man,” UFC president Dana White told Fox Sports after UFC 211. “Cleveland’s killing it right now. He’s not the same fighter, obviously, that fought [Junior dos Santos] the first time,” he added.
“Super athletic, he stays in the pocket now and punches with big guys. Lightning fast, he’s a complete fighter and a really good athlete.”
Miocic, though, could care less of he breaks the record, he just wants to keep winning and all of the accolades will come as a by-product. The only thing the heavy-hitter is concerned about is being called “champion.”
“No, I really don’t care,” Miocic said about setting the record for most title defenses in the heavyweight division. “If I keep winning I’ll break history — big deal. I’m just going to keep winning. I like winning. I like being called champ especially,” he said.
Miocic has now won five straight wins via knockout, four of them in the very first round. And though he doesn’t have a clear-cut challenger lined up at the moment, he could see himself trying to win his third straight defense against another former champion who was expected to hold on to the title for a long time, too.
James Krause explains why he wanted to do The Ultimate Fighter despite already being on the UFC roster
LAS VEGAS — It’s been five years since James Krause had a chance on The Ultimate Fighter Live. He lost by knockout to Justin Lawrence in the elimination round and never made it into the house for TUF 15 in 2012.
Krause regretted the experience so much that he threw his name in the hat for The Ultimate Fighter 25: Redemption — even though he’s already firmly entrenched on the UFC roster.
Part of the allure of doing TUF 25, which is made up of all former TUF competitors, is getting back into the UFC. Krause is already there and has won two in a row.
“I don’t think I have the answer that everybody is looking for,” Krause told MMA Fighting recently at a TUF 25 media day. “I just wanted to do it. I felt kind of slighted in my first go-around. It was just something I wanted to do. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it and I wanted to prove to myself that I would win.”
Krause (23-7) has not fought since a unanimous decision win over Shane Campbell in February 2016. Family issues and a hamstring injury sidelined him over the rest of the year. But when the opportunity to do The Ultimate Fighter came up and he was healthy, he jumped at the chance. The $ 250,000 prize at the end didn’t exactly make him less enthusiastic, either.
“It’s basically the opposite of what we’re used to,” Krause said. “We’re using to doing our training camp at home, not being next to anybody that you’re fighting, creating game plans. And then we go to this huge venue where there are thousands of people watching. Now, this is the opposite of that. I sleep [in the same room as] guys that I can potentially fight. When you do fight, there’s nobody in here. It’s really different. It’s a different experience.”
Another big difference for Krause is that he’s been competing in the UFC at lightweight. The TUF season is at welterweight. Getting down to 155 is tough for the Missouri native, he said, and he’ll consider fighting at welterweight in the future, too, when he’s back on the main roster. After the show, Krause said he’ll talk to UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby and decide what the best move is for him.
The TUF season he missed was coached by the bantamweight champion and top contender: Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber, respectively. This one is, too. Cody Garbrandt, the UFC 135-pound titleholder, is coaching opposite rival and former champ T.J. Dillashaw.
There is a lot of heat between both men. They are former training partners at Team Alpha Male and things have been tense between Dillashaw and that camp since Dillashaw departed in 2015. The war of words has already begun.
As far the cast, there are some well known names like Joe Stevenson, Jesse Taylor, Eddie Gordon, and Ramsey Nijem. Taylor and another cast member Julian Lane are remembered for their drunken antics on Ultimate Fighter seasons of the past.
All of those elements together, Krause said, make for a very interesting season. The Ultimate Fighter’s ratings have gone down after its time as the UFC’s must-watch reality series and the main thing that got MMA on cable television. But Krause promises this season will be worth checking out.
“I will say this, for the fans that say that the show is no longer relevant, I highly encourage you to watch this season, because there is a lot going on and it is definitely going to be entertaining from multiple standpoints,” Krause said. “I definitely think it’s lost some of its steam, but I think with the cast that we have, there’s a lot of loyal following with the people that are here. And even with the casual fan that doesn’t necessarily follow any of us, there’s lot going on this season. There’s a lot of controversy.
“It’s been an interesting stay. There’s never a dull day here. I’m a huge MMA fan and I’m excited to watch the show from a fan perspective as well.”
At the time of this interview, Krause had been in the house for a few weeks. Despite already having a spot in the UFC, he was glad he decided to embark on this experience.
“We’ve been through most of it now,” Krause said. “I would do it all over again.”
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — Jose Aldo is looking to unify the UFC featherweight belts with interim champion Max Holloway in the UFC 212 main event June 3 in Rio de Janeiro, and welcomes his opponent’s trash talk leading up to the 145-pound contest.
After dealing with Conor McGregor for more than a year in the past, Aldo admits he changed his mind about pre-fight talk, seeing it as a way to make more money when he steps inside the Octagon to compete.
“I think that this rivalry is great because it sells more and gives us money,” Aldo said at the UFC 212 press conference on Tuesday. “We’re going through a new generation now that is completely different than when I started in the sport. When I started, athletes fought for honor, respect, philosophy. Today, it’s not a real fighter. It’s this joke. If you don’t talk, you fight for nothing, you’ll be left behind.”
“Rankings mean nothing, you have to talk trash,” he continued. “What drives this (sport) today is money, and that’s super normal to me now. I made a lot of money (against McGregor), and I’m thinking about it now. I think about continuing being champion and having my honor and respect, but it’s not worth being the good guy anymore. The thing is to talk trash. Talking makes the fight bigger. … When the fight is over, everyone goes in opposite sides with money in the pocket. You have to talk trash because that brings money.”
Aldo, who recently tried to get a fight done with lightweight contender Khabib Nurmagomedov at 155 pounds, hinted at “superfights” he’s interested in taking after dealing with Holloway.
“I have this fight first, and after I win, I’ll think about what’s next,” Aldo said. “The division has stopped for a bit. Not only my division, but lightweight too. I tried to get a fight done (at lightweight) but it didn’t happen. After I win, we’ll see. I already have a few fights in my head. I want superfights, to challenge other opponents. After I win, I have a plan in my head.”
As in, he appears two times smaller than the challenger Johnson on the official UFC 210 promo poster. On the poster, Johnson, cast in red hues, is the entire backdrop mashing his fists while the champion Cormier is in lighted focus below.
Cormier put out a message on his Instragram asking how many favors Johnson had to call in to be the hulking figure in the scenario.
UFC 210 takes place at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York, on April 8. For the 37-year old Cormier, it will be his second title defense, his first coming against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 192 (decision victory). It will be a rematch with Johnson, whom he fought for the vacant 205-pound title in March 2015 at UFC 187.
Bellator files lawsuit against UFC in attempt to block ‘confidential’ information from being released
The UFC is being challenged in court by multiple former fighters in an antitrust lawsuit. Bellator MMA, the UFC’s biggest rival, has been roped into the battle — and is now trying to do something to defend itself.
Bellator filed a lawsuit Wednesday in U.S. District Court (Central District of California) attempting to block two subpoenas from the UFC that would force the release of “confidential” documents involving fighter contracts and negotiations, per public court records.
The UFC is asking for those documents as part of its defense against fighters Cung Le, Nate Quarry, Jon Fitch and others, who are suing them for an alleged violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. The Sporting News was the first to report the information.
In the motion to quash or modify the subpoenas, Bellator attorney Philip Kelly writes that Bellator has produced more than 2,000 documents in response to the subpoenas, but the UFC wants more, seeking “sensitive, highly confidential information of no relevance to the underlying action.”
Bellator has provided documents identifying all fighters under Bellator contracts and “dates, locations, venues, athletes and purses paid for Bellator matches,” Kelly wrote. The motion continues that the UFC wants to see all Bellator athlete contracts and the negotiation history of those contracts. Both parties in the lawsuit are also seeking Bellator’s operations-wide quarterly reports, which are not public documents and “not relevant to the litigation,” per Kelly’s motion.
Bellator president Scott Coker wrote an eight-page declaration that was filed alongside the motion to explain why it would be harmful to Bellator to disclose such information. Coker wrote that Bellator contracts are not public and details are only known to a “very limited group of senior executives and the legal department.” The negotiation process of each contract is “highly confidential,” as well, Coker wrote.
The release of such information would “undermine Bellator’s bargaining leverage and ability to attract and retain the best athletes necessary to build a successful promotion,” Coker wrote. And, he wrote, Bellator would not be privy to any information regarding the UFC’s athlete contracts or negotiations, creating an unfair advantage for the UFC.
“For example, if individual athlete contract information were provided Bellator’s competitors, they would be able to anticipate Bellator’s recruitment strategics, outflanking its ability to sign the best fighters, anticipating its strategics in each respective weight class and geographic market, and compromising its strategic plans to develop the best overall promotion,” Coker wrote. … “Armed with Bellator’s information, a dominant market player such as UFC could easily allocate its resources to one-up Bellator on critical deals, counter-program Bellator, and appropriate its business strategies, either to obstruct and stifle Bellator’s initiatives or to exploit its weaknesses.”
In his closing paragraph, Coker took a shot at the UFC, the promotion that bought Strikeforce from him and investors in 2011, writing that Bellator has seen UFC “buy out, marginalize, and even drive competitors from the business.”
“UFC is an aggressive and ambitious enterprise, and I believe that if UFC were able to gain an advantage against Bellator by receiving Bellator’s confidential information or even simply leveraging the disadvantage caused by disclosure of Bellator’s confidential information to athletes and others, it would certainly do so,” Coker wrote.
In their class-action lawsuit filed in 2015, Le, Quarry, Fitch and others are asserting that the UFC is a monopoly, systematically eliminating competition from the marketplace and suppressing fighters’ earnings in multiple revenue streams.