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Bromance Blossoms Between Mike Perry And Darren Till

Mike and Darren sittin’ in a tree…

Looks like Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight headliner Darren Till, who takes center stage this Sunday against striking sensation Stephen Thompson, has a not-so-secret admirer on social media.

“Look strong man,” Perry wrote (via BJPenn.com). “Healthy weight cut! Do your thing against Wonderboy. Show me how it’s done. I can’t hate, you’re a beast.”

Not long after shitting all over the skills of top welterweight contender Colby Covington, Till told fight fans he would bury Perry in the striking department and leave “Platinum” looking up at the lights should they ever cross paths.

I guess Perry didn’t take that (or this) personally.

Till will have a chance to show him — and the rest of the division — how things are done in the UFC Liverpool main event this weekend across the pond. To see who else is competing on the FOX Sports 1 fight card click here.

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Dana White on Relationship with Conor McGregor: ‘There’s a Mutual Respect Between Us’

Conor McGregor did his best to ruin UFC 223 when he attacked a charter bus transporting fighters from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Friday. As a result, his immediate future with the Las Vegas-based promotion is uncertain, at best.
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The Never-Ending Dance Between Floyd Mayweather, Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz

We’ve been here before.

Last year, before the ground-breaking pay-per-view boxing match between superstar pugilist Floyd Mayweather and UFC superstar Conor McGregor materialized, it was all talk.

Insults and barbs, mostly, traded via social media. And at that stage, it seemed as if the talk would forever remain talk, because why the heck would a UFC champ ever want to step into a boxing ring – against the best – knowing full well they’d get slaughtered?

(Ah, how young and innocent we were then.)

But the bout happened, and Mayweather is a richer man for it, and McGregor has more money than he knows what to do with, and everyone that had a hand in putting the match-up together saw some love go directly into their bank accounts.

So now Mayweather and McGregor are back at it on social media. They’ve fought in a boxing ring, so why not in a cage, under MMA rules, next? Mayweather has no hesitation in teasing that idea. For the right price, Mayweather will get into the cage. If he can make a few hundred million getting humiliated in a sport he’s never trained in, why not do it?

And of course McGregor is on board. Another hundred million will ensure he never again has to sully himself with the company of lowly UFC fighters. Heck, he can just pal around with a mountain of cocaine and have an army of midgets do his bidding.

A real elbow in a real fight.

A post shared by Conor McGregor Official (@thenotoriousmma) on

But you know who else wants a seat at the table?

The last person to ever defeat McGregor in the cage: Nate Diaz. Because if another bout between Mayweather and McGregor doesn’t happen for whatever reason, a trilogy fight with Diaz is the next best thing in terms of raking in the dough.

Featherweight Bout Between Newcomers Austin Arnett, Cory Sandhagen Completes UFC on Fox 27

UFC on Fox 27 has a last-minute addition, as Saturday night’s card will feature a featherweight bout between promotional newcomers Austin Arnett and Cory Sandhagen
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Jose Aldo: There Was Never Any Rivalry Between Conor McGregor and I

The buildup to the showdown between Conor McGregor and Jose Aldo was one of the biggest ongoing stories of 2015, a saga that began to unfold in January of that year and didn’t conclude until December.
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Jose Aldo: There Was Never Any Rivalry Between Conor McGregor and I

The buildup to the showdown between Conor McGregor and Jose Aldo was one of the biggest ongoing stories of 2015, a saga that began to unfold in January of that year and didn’t conclude until December.
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UFC fighters react to battle between Trump and NFL over #TakeAKnee anthem protest

It was a divisive weekend as NFL players stood up (or took a knee) for what they believed in. Here’s what some UFC fighters thought.

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) picked a decent week to ditch out on America and head over to Japan, where everyone may be terrified of North Korea dropping a nuke on them but at least they’re unified over the subject. Meanwhile in the USA, everyone got just a little more crazy after President Donald Trump inserted himself into the controversial subject of NFL players kneeling during the national anthem.

Some consider it a protest against the nation’s police forces and their habit of disproportionately murdering black citizens (and not being punished for it). Others feel it’s disrespecting the flag and the military and freedom. It all made Sunday yet another day in the United States where everyone is feeling quite divided. Can’t we go back to hating each other over fun things like whose team sucks worse?

As you’d expect, MMA fighters had some opinions on the subject as well, which they shared over social media. Here’s some of them:

God bless Tim Kennedy, he’s so busy doing the real work of fighting for them freedoms that he doesn’t have the time to figure out what sport we’re talking about here.

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Atomweight match between former title challengers added to ONE: ‘Light of a Nation’

Two of the top contenders in ONE Championship’s atomweight division will do battle in Yangon on June 30th. A fight between Mei Yamaguchi and Jenny Huang was one of two bouts recently added to the upcoming card.

ONE: “Light of a Nation” is set for the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium and will be headlined by a middleweight title rematch between Burmese born challenger Aung La Nsang and champion Vitaly Bigdash.

Two fighters hoping to get back into title contention will be in action when Yamaguchi (15-10-1) faces Huang (5-1). The former will be looking for her first ONE Championship win after back-to-back defeats.

Huang has tasted victory in the ONE Championship cage on four separate occasions but was easily beaten by Angela Lee in a recent title match. Yamaguchi caused the current atomweight champion far more problems, going the full five rounds before losing by decision.

Also added to the card this week was a featherweight fight that pits Bruno Pucci (4-2) against Jimmy Yabo (5-4-0-1). Both men hold black belts, the Brazilian in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) and the Filipino in Taekwondo.


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No Love Lost between ‘Rampage’ and ‘King Mo’ Ahead of Bellator 175 Rematch

Rivalries — especially heated ones — are some of the most important cogs that keep the combat sports machine rolling along.
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Click Debate: Why is there such a disconnect between fighters and athletic commissions?

Dominick Cruz, one of the best fighters of all time in his division, was on color commentary for UFC 209 last weekend. The former bantamweight champion is so diligent in his second job as a broadcaster that he actually attended media day to interview fighters, so he could correctly get across their stories to the viewers on television and pay-per-view.

One of the things Cruz said during the event, though, was somewhat surprising from a sporting perspective. In discussing rules changes in MMA, particularly new language for judging, Cruz says he wasn’t exactly sure what actions constituted winning rounds anymore.

“And I’m a fighter,” Cruz said.

Imagine LeBron James saying something along the lines of, “I don’t know what’s a 3-pointer anymore — and I’m a basketball player.” Cruz was saying he is not clear on how to actually win at his sport. That seems unimaginable. But he’s not alone; in fact, he’s the majority.

This is no knock on Cruz or on fighters. While more could be done from a fighter’s perspective to seek out information from athletic commissions and promoters, it’s certainly not mostly on them.

For too long, commissions have been intentionally opaque, letting things go unsaid and uncorrected. Every time I hear a commentator refer to “three points of contact,” I slap my hand against my forehead. That is and has never been the rule for a grounded fighter. But it has been said over and over again by broadcasters, so now it has become the narrative from the perspective of fans, fighters and coaches.

Last year, Tim Means admitted to not knowing the rule for a grounded fighter when he nailed Alex Oliveira with a pair of illegal knees. Oliveira had both knees on the ground — clearly a grounded fighter by rule. The rule, before it was changed by the Association of Boxing Commissions and Combative Sports (ABC), was that anything other than the soles of the feet on the floor makes for a grounded fighter. Even under the new rules (and I’ll get to those in a bit), a knee down means a fighter is down.

Means didn’t know, though. UFC color commentator Joe Rogan and UFC regulatory head Marc Ratner also got it wrong on the broadcast, saying Means’ knees were legal. Rogan corrected himself after speaking to legendary referee John McCarthy moments later. Luckily, referee Dan Miragliotta was on top of it and made the correct call that the blows were illegal.

No commission issued a written explanation, though. Nor did the ABC. So confusion remains. The knee-jerk reaction is always that the referee or judge is incompetent. Even when that’s not the case, that becomes the narrative because of a lack of education.

The same thing has happened over the years with scoring. The words “Octagon control” and “aggression” have been repeated so many times by broadcasters that a lot of fans and fighters believe those are the ways you win rounds. They’re not — not under the old rules or the new rules. Effective striking/grappling is the primary determination. The other two are only tiebreakers, when effective striking/grappling is completely equal. Effective aggression is the first tiebreaker and cage control is the second.

Commissions and the ABC need to do a better job of educating fighters, especially. And those doing play-by-play and analysis on television should get more up to speed on rules and judging. It was only last year that the UFC added to its scoring introduction on broadcasts that the three criteria were used in order, from effective striking/grappling on down.

Now more than ever, education is needed. Because there is a lot of confusion between the old rules and new rules, which many commissions have yet to adopt. There was a lack of understanding even before there was an alteration to the Unified Rules of MMA. Believe it or not, it has gotten worse — shocking, right?

ABC president Mike Mazzulli has done well in his two years leading the overseeing body, though is in a precarious position because state commissions do not have to follow the ABC. The organization is more of a handshake agreement than anything else. State governments still ultimately decide their respective rules.

But what the ABC can do is control the education and understanding of rules and scoring. Mazzulli installed Sean Wheelock as chairman of the new MMA rules and regulations committee, which recommended the package of rules changes that got passed last year. Maybe the next step is adopting a committee of fighters — 10 athletes who will be in direct communication with the ABC, other committees and commissions.

Fighters need more of a voice when it comes to athletic commissions, which manager Alex Davis wrote about recently for MMAjunkie. Randy Couture, Matt Hughes and Jeremy Horn are on the ABC rules committee, but input from active fighters is necessary, too, ideally with their own committee.

One of the main missions for an athletic commission is to be an advocate for the fighter and not just on the health and safety level. As it is now, commissions communicate almost solely with promoters and matchmakers. The fighters need a seat at the table. This might not be as effective as a union or association for the athletes, but it’s a start.

At the very least, regulators need to get in a room with a group of fighters (and maybe coaches and managers) and explain fully the rules changes and the scoring criteria. They need to explain what makes a fighter grounded and the tiered system of scoring.

It’s a crime for someone as intelligent, pro-active and skilled as Cruz to admit that he isn’t clear on how rounds are won. Maybe some kind of fighter summit can be set up, much in the same way the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) held a weight-cutting summit in 2015.

MMA is a billion-dollar sport now. We’ve come too far to continue having misguided conversations about judging and in-cage rules. Fighters (and fans, too) need more than just McCarthy explaining regulations and scoring on Twitter and Nevada Athletic Commission executive director Bob Bennett answering questions at a press conference.

Both of those things are a breath of fresh air. They should be the rule, not the exception.

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