Tag Archive for Divisions

McGregor Offers To ‘Spearhead More Weight Divisions’ In UFC

McGregor says it’s not about the belts, it’s about ending dangerous weight cuts.

The idea of a 165 pound division in the UFC has been a ball that the MMA media and fans have been kicking around for over a year now, and especially after rumors came out back in February that Conor McGregor asked the UFC to create it.

The talk has grown into a fairly loud roar over the past weeks after Nate Diaz and Dustin Poirier started stumping to have their UFC 230 fight changed into a 165 pound title fight. And now McGregor is adding even more heat to the fire, expanding on the topic by declaring there should be way more weight classes than the ones currently offered by the UFC.

”If there’s two things that’ll keep me away from this game, it’s the intense media obligations and the weight cuts and that’s it,” McGregor told The Mac Life in a new interview less than a week out from his UFC 229 fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov. “They always come together at the same damn time. There’s a lot of work involved in the media, and a lot of different type of energy. And then of course factor in you’re cutting weight. It’s not enjoyable at all.”

”The weight cuts are ruthless,” he continued. “I have gone through every single one of them throughout the years and I’ve never released footage. I’ve seen Till release some footage and it was an eye opener for people. This is the game that we’re in. It’s a horrible, horrible part of the business and if I could correct or come in and help a situation like that, I believe I’d like to come in and spearhead many more divisions in the game so we can figure this situation out. Because it’s not correct. You don’t see it happening in other sports as far as weigh ins are concerned. It shouldn’t be like this in the game. We should be on top of this.”

”There should be many more weights to choose from. 155 to 170, it’s a 15 pound gap. Even 10 pounds is … boxing is every three pounds there’s a new f**king division. So I mean, there’s definitely space for more divisions and something needs to be done so we can keep an eye on the way people are cutting weight and manage it and make it more enjoyable for the athletes that are actually competing. You’ll get better fights for it. You’ll get fighters that are able to do extraordinary things when they’re going in full of energy and correctly prepared rather than killing themselves.”

”If I could do something, that would be something I’m interested in doing.”

What do you think, Maniacs? Is it time to expand weight classes drastically?

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Scott Coker: Bellator to ‘Keep That Door Open’ for Future Tournaments in Other Divisions

Before Scott Coker took over the helm, Bellator MMA was best known for holding “The Toughest Tournament in Sports.”
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Click Debate: Is it time for the UFC to add two new women’s divisions?

Women’s MMA has been a home run for the UFC. There’s no overstating it.

In July, the promotion put on an historic six events. Half of those were headlined by important women’s fights.

The biggest mainstream star in UFC history — Ronda Rousey — is a woman. Two of the most dominant, exciting athletes in the company are women: Cris Cyborg and Joanna Jedrzejczyk. And there are plenty of marketable, bankable female stars all over the roster, from Holly Holm and Miesha Tate to Paige VanZant and Claudia Gadelha.

It has gotten to the point where men’s and women’s fights are just about interchangeable. The vast majority of the fanbase gets just as pumped for a heavily hyped, high-level women’s bout as it does a fight between two males.

That is an absolute credit to the UFC, which has had the foresight to put women on the same platform, going back to UFC 157 in 2013 when Rousey ushered in women’s MMA against Liz Carmouche. Perhaps only in tennis can it be said that there is as much interest in the women’s side of things as the men’s side.

Now, nearly four years after women began fighting in the UFC, its time to usher in a new era. It’s time for expansion.

The UFC needs to add female weight classes at 145 and 125 pounds. It can be slowly at first. There doesn’t need to be a champion right away. But the women on the roster, and those coming from other promotions, should have the option to compete at a natural weight class. That’s what divisions have always been meant for.

Cyborg is, of course, the prime example. There’s just no reason for the UFC to keep asking her to cut to 140 pounds to take essentially meaningless fights. Not only is she maybe the best women’s fighter to ever grace the cage, she is a draw. A headliner. Maybe she’ll never sell as many pay-per-views or get any big Hollywood movie roles like Ronda Rousey. But fans want to see her fight.

Bring her 145-pound division into the UFC and a 125-pound division along with it. Hey, you can even debut them using The Ultimate Fighter, like the way the UFC did with the 135 and 115 divisions. Those shows — TUF 18 and TUF 20 — featured top fighters from new women’s divisions and did some of the best TUF ratings since the move over to Fox Sports 1.

Critics will say that there isn’t enough talent to sustain those divisions, especially at 145. And a 125-pound division could thin out 135 and 115. Those critics are not necessarily wrong. Cyborg’s featherweight division is not particularly strong and most of the good fighters there she has already decimated. It’s hard to find opponents for her, period.

These are legitimate concerns. The UFC has built all of their divisions very well. It’s a painstaking process done by matchmakers Joe Silva and Sean Shelby. They have a plan and they execute it. The 115-pound women’s division, in particular, has been matched beautifully by Shelby, funneling legitimate, marketable contenders toward champion Jedrzejczyk.

Maybe women’s divisions at 145 and 125 don’t have to be full divisions right away. There’s another real issue about more divisions and more fighters being added to a finite amount of spots and fights. But shouldn’t Cyborg have the option to fight some opponents at her natural weight class, without nearly killing herself to get down to an arbitrary 140-pound limit? Shouldn’t a solid veteran like Valerie Letourneau not have to choose between completely depleting herself to make 115 or being completely undersized at 135?

Letourneau vs. Joanne Calderwood was one of the best women’s fights of the year in the UFC. It just so happened to be the only 125-pound fight in promotion history. Calderwood, who has a huge fan base and is exceedingly likable, is just a different, better fighter at 125 compared to what she is at 115. There should be a place for her and others like her — Letourneau, Justine Kish, Nina Ansaroff, Liz Carmouche, etc. — to be at their best.

Plus, there’s a host of potential stars at 125 pounds in other organizations. Barb Honchak is the best in the world in the flyweight division and she was just relieved of her title by Invicta. Current Invicta champ Jennifer Maia always puts on exciting fights and Andrea Lee, Racheel Ostovich and Vanessa Porto are just a few other interesting names to add into the mix. Plus, 125 pounds is probably a more natural weight for top fighters like Jedrzejczyk and Valentina Shevchenko.

“A lot of these girls at 115 have a hard time making that weight, so it would be better if they could just fight at a more natural weight class,” bantamweight Julianna Pena told me during UFC 200 week. “Same with girls at 135 pounds. They can come down in weight to 125 as opposed to fighting bigger girls who walk around [much heavier].”

Featherweight would be far more challenging, because the talent at heavier weights in women’s divisions tends to thin out. There are a few intriguing names in Invicta, like Megan Anderson, but maybe 145 pounds becomes something like a see-who-can-beat-Cyborg sweepstakes. That’s kind of like what’s going on now at 140, only this would be at a much healthier weight for Cyborg. Those from the 135-pound division who want to try their luck against someone the stature of Cyborg can. Same as those who fight at 145 elsewhere.

Maybe it wouldn’t be a full division, but people would watch. I think this year has proven more than ever that weight classes, in the sporting sense, don’t matter that much to fans. Conor McGregor was the UFC featherweight champion when he fought Nate Diaz, a lightweight contender, twice at welterweight. And those just happened to be perhaps the biggest fights in UFC history. Nobody seemed to care that the fight was at 170 pounds.

On top of all that, the UFC adding new divisions will draw people to those divisions from outside organizations. The UFC is the big leagues. It’s where the money is. There are already fighters at 125 and 105 in Invicta talking about changing divisions to fight in the UFC. If you build it, they will come.

Talking to nutrition coach George Lockhart about Cyborg’s inhumane, unnecessary weight cut this week got me thinking more and more about new women’s divisions. The one thing Lockhart said over and over was how much tougher it was for women to cut weight than men, because their hormones change throughout the month.

“Certain times of the month, your body burns carbohydrates as a means of fuel,” Lockhart said. “Certain times of the month, your body burns fat. … It changes throughout the month. Whereas a dude, we’re the same all month long. We eat right, we work out, the [weight] goes down. That’s just the way it is. With women, hell no.”

The UFC is not a charity, of course. And the organization can do what it wants with its weight class. Keeping only two women’s divisions is well within its rights. From a business standpoint, maybe that’s the right call and it’s understandable. The UFC is a business, after all, and it has done OK for itself — to the tune of a $ 4 billion purchase in July to talent agency giant WME-IMG.

But it’s hard to imagine something like this hurting the UFC’s bottomline. Adding another champion at 125, one that can headline shows, isn’t the worst thing in the world. Having a healthy, devastating Cyborg as a headliner, in Brazil or wherever else, is a very nice thing.

On top of that, weight classes in general were never supposed to be marketing tools. Their addition to MMA was for regulatory reasons. It’s a safety issue. This applies here, too.

Maybe the health of the current women’s divisions would be negatively affected by adding 145 and 125. But shouldn’t the health of the actual human beings competing take top priority?

Fighters take enough punishment in the Octagon and the training room. That should not extend to weight cuts, too.

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Titan FC Signs Jessica Aguilar as Matchmaker for New Women’s Divisions

Florida-based MMA promotion Titan Fighting Championship has signed UFC and Bellator veteran Jessica Aguilar to handle matchmaking duties for its newly-minted women’s divisions.
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Titan FC Signs Jessica Aguilar as Matchmaker for New Women’s Divisions

Florida-based MMA promotion Titan Fighting Championship has signed UFC and Bellator veteran Jessica Aguilar to handle matchmaking duties for its newly-minted women’s divisions.
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Titan FC Signs Jessica Aguilar as Matchmaker for New Women’s Divisions

Florida-based MMA promotion Titan Fighting Championship has signed UFC and Bellator veteran Jessica Aguilar to handle matchmaking duties for its newly-minted women’s divisions.
Recent News on Sherdog.com

Titan FC Signs Jessica Aguilar as Matchmaker for New Women’s Divisions

Florida-based MMA promotion Titan Fighting Championship has signed UFC and Bellator veteran Jessica Aguilar to handle matchmaking duties for its newly-minted women’s divisions.
Recent News on Sherdog.com

Conor McGregor: The Featherweight Division’s MVP

Mixed martial arts has long passed the point where it must struggle to survive. Thanks to the efforts of the UFC, and countless other promotions who sacrificed blood, sweat and capital to make a mark in the landscape, fighting in the cage is here to stay. But while MMA won’t be dying anytime soon, it […]

The post Conor McGregor: The Featherweight Division’s MVP appeared first on Caged Insider.

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Eddie Bravo Invitational 2 Set for Oct. 10, Will Feature 135- and 155-Pound Divisions

Following the success of the inaugural Eddie Bravo Invitational, the 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu creator has announced that the Eddie Bravo Invitational 2 will take place on Oct. 10 in Hollywood, Calif.
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Invicta FC’s Shannon Knapp ‘thinks it’s great’ UFC is expanding women’s divisions

The last time Invicta FC held a card was nearly five months ago, when Cristiane Santos fought Marloes Coenen in Kansas City. A lot has happened since July. The UFC’s long-running franchise The Ultimate Fighter has aired in its entirety, featuring a fresh crop of women bantamweights, as well as women head coaches (champion Ronda Rousey and challenger Miesha Tate). Not only that, but UFC president Dana White has made public the intention of adding a strawweight division (115 pounds), and the TUF 18 Finale main card was carried by three women’s bouts. 

In other words, women’s MMA in general has been flourishing just as women’s MMA’s spiritual hub, Invicta FC, was in between shows. Why was there such a gap for the year-and-a-half old promotion between Invicta 6 and Invicta 7, which takes place at the Ameristar Casino in K.C. on Dec. 7?

Invicta FC president Shannon Knapp appeared on Monday’s edition of the MMA Hour to talk about it.

“Normally we would go October, November, but it just got so congested with dates,” Knapp told host Ariel Helwani. “We were going to go with Nov. 2, and then Bellator was going to do a pay-per-view, and we certainly didn’t want to counter program that. And so we just waited for the right opening, and it happened to be Dec. 7.”

Otherwise, Knapp said, there was internal strife that the company was dealing with between herself and business partner/matchmaker, Janet Martin.

“Janet Martin is no longer with Invicta, so there were a lot of things that were going on and — I like to do good business, that’s what I call it — and I just needed to get a better footing before we stepped forward.”

Knapp described the partnership as a “very bad situation” and a “mess,” but didn’t get into particulars. What she did say, though, was that her role as the company’s president — and sole owner, operating without financial backers — has broadened in Martin’s absence to be the matchmaker as well.

“I’m certainly going to look to fill that role, but this card was already set and there was no sense in bringing somebody in right now,” she said. “I’d like to take the time and be selective of who that person will be.”

Invicta FC 7 will feature three title fights, headlined by Barb Honchak and the ever-game Leslie Smith for the flyweight crown. Also fighting on the card will be Lauren Murphy and Miriam Nakamoto, with the inaugural bantamweight title hanging in the balance. And Knapp said that even though strawweight champion Carla Esparza’s grandmother died this past week, which has taken an emotional toll on her, she’ll still defend her belt against Brazil’s Claudia Gadelha.

The card will be a pay-per-view event as of right now online, though Knapp said she and DirecTV are working through a scheduling conflict — similar to the last time, when DirecTV had to do some maneuvering to make it work.

As far as the all-female promotion appearing on free TV, perhaps as early as its next show, Knapp said that there is an “offer,” though she wouldn’t divulge details.

“There are a few doors that have recently opened, more than they were before, so I am optimistic — very optimistic,” she said. 

One of the issues surrounding Invicta, which differentiated itself in the MMA game by being exclusively female, is the UFC’s new commitment to women’s MMA. Now that there’s a viable bantamweight division in the UFC, and a strawweight division on the horizon, some worry that the UFC will corner the market.

Does Knapp worry about losing her current roster, or potential future fighters down the line, to the biggest show in town — even though the idea was to be a platform for greater opportunity to begin with? Is it a double-edged sword?

“It depends on how you want to view something, period — you can find negatives or you can find positives,” she said. “For me I think it’s a positive on many levels because it really solidifies and says to me that what we’re doing here is making a difference, and that’s always been my commitment and my goal in building Invicta. So I think it’s great.

“[The UFC] can give more exposure to the athletes than I can right at this moment, and I think any exposure right now that the athletes are getting is huge for the athletes and Invicta. So, for a lack of better way of saying it, I don’t mind riding their coattail, and vice-versa, right?”

Knapp said that she’s not overly worried about ceding talent to the UFC, particularly in the now coveted strawweight division, in part because her fighters are under contract and don’t have UFC outs (contrary to popular belief).

“Second, there’s so much talent out there in that division,” she said. “Even if every one of my girls goes to the UFC the thing is that, I have more opportunity to build stars quicker because we are all female, and they do tend to fight a little more frequently, I guess. So I don’t worry about it. You have all of this new young talent coming in, I call them ‘the hybrids.’ They’re really performing, so I’m excited in aspects to continue to sign new talent and to keep pushing forward.”

Knapp said that the next installment, Invicta 8, will likely be held in February.

Meanwhile, Invicta 7 — in which Miesha Tate will work as a guess analyst alongside Muhammad Lawal and Michael Schiavello — goes down Dec. 7 as an online PPV ($ 14.95) at invictafc.com.

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