Tag Archive for Fire

Dustin Poirier Not Looking to Fight Fire with Fire Against Justin Gaethje

It’s safe to say fans were excited with the announcement that Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje would square off in the main event on April 14 at UFC on Fox 29.
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Henry Cejudo Flees Fire, Promises He’ll Still Fight at UFC 218

Apparently those wildfires raging in Northern California are no joke – as Olympic wrestler and flyweight title contender Henry Cejudo learned when he found himself fleeing the flames in the middle of the night. It is literally a story that could be plucked from a bad writing class. Take it away, MMAJunkie: MMAjunkie today spoke […]

The post Henry Cejudo Flees Fire, Promises He’ll Still Fight at UFC 218 appeared first on Caged Insider.

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Henry Cejudo Flees Fire, Promises He’ll Still Fight at UFC 218

Apparently those wildfires raging in Northern California are no joke – as Olympic wrestler and flyweight title contender Henry Cejudo learned when he found himself fleeing the flames in the middle of the night. It is literally a story that could be plucked from a bad writing class. Take it away, MMAJunkie: MMAjunkie today spoke […]

The post Henry Cejudo Flees Fire, Promises He’ll Still Fight at UFC 218 appeared first on Caged Insider.

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UFC 213 Competitor Alistair Overeem Uninjured After Fire at Albuquerque Hotel

Alistair Overeem had a slightly harrowing experience less than a week from his fight at UFC 213.
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Johil de Oliveira and the day he was (literally) on fire in PRIDE

Last-minute fight cancellations are a nightmare for MMA promoters. Injuries and weight issues are at the top of the list of most common reasons why bouts are cancelled in major promotions these days, but it’s unlikely that anything ever comes close to PRIDE 9’s Matt Serra vs. Johil de Oliveira bout.

Oliveira and Serra were both set to make their PRIDE debut that night, June 4, 2000. The Brazilian signed with the Japanese promotion after winning multiple one-night tournaments in Brazil and capturing the IVC championship, while Serra, a 26-year-old talent under Renzo Gracie, was 3-0 in the sport.

PRIDE 9 was marking the return of the promotion to Nagoya, and featured the likes of Vitor Belfort, Igor Vovchanchyn, Ricco Rodriguez and Heath Herring.

It was far from PRIDE’s most stacked events, especially if you compare it to the openweight tournament that took place months before in Tokyo, but what happened that night at the Nagoya Rainbow Hall was unforgettable.

Oliveira was about to walk out to the ring when a huge mistake led to him having most of his body burned.

“You’re at the top of a stage, waving to the crowd before you start to walk to the ring,” Oliveira recalls. “In this stage, there were six flamethrowers for their pyrotechnic show. But they hit the button to activate the flamethrower when I was right next to it, and they burned 70 percent of my body.”

“It was live. I was burned on live television,” he continues. “There was no adrenaline because I was used to fighting, so I wasn’t nervous or anxious. I was used to competition, and the pain was unbearable. Ricardo Liborio, the first to rescue me, saw how my skin was. It was coming off, and I still had fire on me. It was terrible. Until I got to the hospital and they put me out with anesthesia, it was the worst moment of my life. Being burned is no joke. There’s nothing worse than that.”

“I guess the pyrotechnics went wrong, and Johil was right in front of it to walk out to fight so the fire went all over him and burned him,” Liborio says. “I was one of the first ones to get there, with Renzo and Mark Kerr. I guess the Japanese didn’t understand what was going on, it took a long time before the doctors got there. They didn’t realize it was for real. (Johil) tried to stand back up but I told him to stop moving until the doctors got there. It was a horrible accident.”

Serra found himself without an opponent that night, and ended up never fighting in PRIDE. “The Terror” scored another win in a small promotion in New York before he started his nine-year run in the UFC, but Oliveira’s road wasn’t as glorious as his.

That night in Nagoya, the Brazilian was rushed to a burn center in Nagoya, and stayed there for two months. When he was finally cleared to return to Brazil, Oliveira had a list of things he couldn’t do for a long time, including shaving or sunbathing.

As soon as he landed in Rio de Janeiro, Oliveira realized he has made a big mistake.

“When I came back from Japan, there were a lot of reporters at the airport, and they weren’t really worried about me, they just wanted to know how much PRIDE paid me,” Oliveira recalls. “They thought PRIDE paid me a fortune. Everybody asked how much I made.”

In times where seven-figure pays in MMA were rare, everyone thought Oliveira had at least a million-dollar check in his pocket.

“Everybody thought they paid me one or two million dollars,” he says. “They screwed me up with that, too. They only gave me $ 70,000, and that’s it. I was pretty much robbed.”

Oliveira used part of the money to buy a house, and invested the rest in a gym and other businesses, but his ventures collapsed soon after.

“$ 70,000 were good money back then,” Oliveira says, “but that’s way less than what I could’ve made. Many people said that if I had sued PRIDE I’d be rich and wouldn’t need to fight anymore, but I didn’t want to do that because I respected them.

“Thinking about the money, yes, I regret (not suing them), but I love the promotion and I love Japan. I love fighting there. They treat you as an idol, something that doesn’t happen in Brazil. But I do regret (not suing them) for the money because my life would be way better than it is today.”

The freak accident didn’t stop him from fighting, though, but walking to a ring wasn’t as easy as it once was.

“Every time I stepped in there and saw those flamethrowers, that big show, I was shaken,” Oliveira says. “It took a while, four or five fights, before I was really over it. My coaches had to push me to the ring because it was hard for me to go there.”

It wouldn’t be a smart decision to go back to the ring right away, but Oliveira recalls being advised by his manager and trainers that turning down opportunities to compete in PRIDE could mean the end of his career in Japan.

“PRIDE did a new contract with me, they said they would give me three easy fights so I could make a good money,” Oliveira says. “Some kind of reward besides the indemnification.”

Oliveira would make $ 30,000 per fight with a $ 15,000 win bonus in his PRIDE deal.

“I never asked for easy fights in my life,,” he says, “but they said they wanted to give me easier fights so I could make money while I was recovering, and then I’d sign a new deal with ‘regular’ fights, but right away it seemed like they wanted to just break me.”

At PRIDE 12, six months after having 70 percent of his body burned, the Brazilian was facing Carlos Newton, who was on a four-fight winning streak — and had the experience of competing against Dan Henderson and Kazushi Sakuraba before in the UFC and PRIDE, respectively.

“They matched me up with Carlos Newton in the first fight, and they called that an easy fight,” says Oliveira, who lost via unanimous decision. “After that I fought ‘Nino’ Schembri, who was one of the best grapplers in the world back then. And then I fought Daiju Takase, who submitted Anderson Silva a year later. Taking those fights was a mistake. My manager should never have accepted that.”

In his first fight back, that’s when he was given his nickname, “Fire Samurai.”


“There was a fire extinguisher in the hallway. I looked at it and thought ‘let me grab this just in case I’m burned again, so I can put out the fire myself,’” Oliveira says with a laugh. “The Japanese crew said I couldn’t do that, that it wasn’t allowed, but I said I wouldn’t go to the ring if I couldn’t carry that with me, so they let me do it.

“It was a big success, and the Japanese gave me this nickname, ‘Fire Samurai’. I was scared, but I also thought it would be something cool.”

Between his PRIDE debut and the return against Schembri, though, Oliveira almost lost his eyesight. The IVC champion was injured in a car accident in Brazil, but decided to go on and face the dangerous grappler, who was making his MMA debut.

“I was blind in one eye against Schembri,” says Oliveira, who faced ‘Nino’ six months after his loss to Newton, losing via submission. “I didn’t train once before that fight, but I didn’t pull out because my manager and coaches told me I had to take the fight or I’d be released from the promotion. After the fight, I did the cornea transplant.”

Oliveira’s eye issues continue now. The MMA veteran had to undergo a second transplant in the same eye after being poked in the eye in training, and also needed a cataract surgery. After three surgeries in the left eye, Oliveira recently underwent a right eye cataract surgery as well.

Five years have passed since Oliveira’s last MMA bout, but he’s not done fighting. The PRIDE veteran was actually matched up against Jorge Patino “Macaco” in the main event of a small show in Sao Paulo in 2014, but the promoter left the arena when all the fighters realized they wouldn’t be paid for the bouts.

At 47, Oliveira is still hungry to compete. In fact, he wouldn’t mind signing with his old “boss”, RIZIN president Nobuyuki Sakakibara, for a return to Japan.

“I wouldn’t be skeptical if they gave me a new opportunity,” says Oliveira, who doesn’t feel like Sakakibara took care of him after the accident in PRIDE. “They are signing guys from the old days to compete, so why not give me a fight? I always fought whoever they put in front of me, I was blind in one of the fights.

“Fighters hurt their nails and pull out of fights these days. If what I did was right or wrong, I don’t know, but that’s who I am. I think I could have done a lot better in PRIDE if they were more correct with me. I should have had another chance in PRIDE, but they did me wrong.

“From the bottom of my heart, they hurt me. With RIZIN coming back, they could call me to right a wrong, but I never had any contact with them. I think they owe me that.”

A fight with Matt Serra for his debut in RIZIN, re-booking the PRIDE 9 clash that never happened, doesn’t interest Oliveira because “Serra is way heavier, fat, and he’s not fighting anymore, so I wouldn’t fight him.” Other than that, the Brazilian would face pretty much anyone at 170 pounds.

“If your head is fine and you can train, you can fight,” Oliveira says. “I feel fine to fight. If you give me enough time to prepare… I usually get calls on short notice. Shooto (Brazil) called me to fight on a week’s notice (in 2011). People call me to lose, and I ruin their plans. (Shooto) called me to fight ‘Cabelinho’ (Haroldo Bunn), and he was training at the best gym, Nova Uniao, while I was running around the block and only hitting pads three times before the fight, and I won.

“I have a huge heart but people don’t respect me. But I think MMA is different now. I think I can fight more even though I’m 47 years old. Age is just a number.”

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Report: Hotel fire forces fighters to evacuate night before UFC Fight Night 107

This is not the way you want to spend your night before a big fight, but at least all the weight cutting was over.

According to a report by MMA Junkie, fighters were forced to evacuate the Hilton Canary Wharf hotel in London, England, earlier tonight (Fri., Mar. 17, 2017) due to an apparent fire. With less than 24 hours before UFC Fight Night 107’s start time, fighters were woken out of bed and ushered out of the building as smoke reached as high as the 10th floor.

Some of the unexpected action can be seen below courtesy of mixed martial arts (MMA) reporter Simon Head.

“As soon as you got into the fire escape, you could smell smoke,” said Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight Scott Askham, who meets Bradley Scott on the UFC Fight Night 107 undercard tomorrow night. “I don’t know what floor, but you could smell smoke coming down the fire exit.

“I would imagine it’s going to be a long time before we’re allowed back in. The only plus side, I suppose, is at least the opponent’s in the same boat.”

Also in attendance was Straight Blast Gym head coach John Kavanagh, who will corner Gunnar Nelson and Makwan Amirkhani on Saturday. Kavanagh was returning from a nearby restaurant to find his hotel out of sorts.

“I turned the corner and saw what I thought was an ambulance,” explained Kavanagh. “And for some reason, in my head I thought, ‘Gunnar or Makwan’s opponent is sick.’ I was sure of it. I was like, ‘Ah, we’ve lost a fight.’ But then I heard it’s a fire and I was like, ‘Oh, OK. It’s not too serious.”

This is obviously a hiccup for each and every UFC Fight Night 107 fighter staying at the Hilton Canary Wharf hotel, but at least nobody got seriously hurt.

MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 107 fight, starting with the UFC Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. ET, before the UFC Fight Pass main card start time at 5 p.m. ET.

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How a chance encounter with ‘Cowboy’ helped the Pettis brothers find new fire at Jackson-Winkeljohn

LAS VEGAS — For better or worse, the wickedness of the fight game tends to show itself in waves. Just ask Anthony Pettis. A little over a year ago, Pettis was the guy in the UFC lightweight division. The guy on the Wheaties boxes. The guy with the portfolio that oozed star potential. The guy who looked good in gold. But then came his back-to-back losses — a first for an otherwise brilliant career — and suddenly Pettis was just another guy, one among many gifted but incomplete talents jockeying for space within the sport’s most crowded division.

In retrospect, Pettis knew after the second of those losses — a listless decision against Eddie Alvarez — that something had to change. In a game where creativity is king, nine years spent retracing the same steps can make even the best minds grow stale. But this? An eight-day USO tour across the world alongside old rival Donald Cerrone leading to a major career redesign? Yeah, Pettis never expected this.

But wouldn’t you know it, something about riding sidecar with a straight shooter like “Cowboy” tends to play funny tricks on a mind stuck in the mud.

By the trip’s end, any lingering animosity from the time Pettis nearly kicked a hole through Cerrone’s torso was gone, so Cerrone invited Pettis out to New Mexico for a few days of friendly sparring at Jackson-Winkeljohn. Somehow a three-day stay turned into a three-week retreat.

Before Pettis knew what hit him, Albuquerque was starting to look awfully lovely as a potential second home.

“I met the coaching staff, I met the team, and man, I just loved it,” Pettis told MMA Fighting. “It was just an environment where I could feel like I could get better and grow. In Milwaukee, I feel like I can definitely get better there, but growing mentally and all of that, it’s a slower process because I know everybody. It’s comfortable. I’ve done that gym routine for the last 10 years of my life. Changing it up and doing something new is good.”

Pettis wasn’t alone. His younger brother, UFC flyweight prospect Sergio Pettis, tagged along for the trip, and together the Pettis brothers spent the final three weeks of their camps for UFC 197 at Jackson-Winkeljohn, rather than the gym they’ve called home their entire careers, Milwaukee’s Roufusport Academy.

With training partners like Cerrone and Jon Jones and Holly Holm and B.J. Penn and John Dodson (and the list goes on) at their disposal, both men emerged from the experience with a renewed fire for the game, and both now hope to make Albuquerque a permanent fixture of their camps moving forward.

“Duke (Roufus) has always given me freedom to do what I want to do,” says Anthony. “He’s never that guy who is like, you’ve got to stay here or you’re not on my team. We’re family, man. I told him I needed to clear my head and I needed to get some new looks. He didn’t agree with it, he was like, ‘you’re not getting paid to spar, let’s not spar all these guys. You’re getting paid to fight, so let’s get ready to fight.’ I just felt like it was a good decision. I tried it for three days and it was the best decision I made.

“Not to take anything away from Duke. Duke is an amazing coach, he always will be my coach, but having bodies like that and training partners like that and the mindset of Greg Jackson and Israel Martinez, there’s four jiu-jitsu coaches, four wrestling coaches, there’s so much information I could get.”

That doesn’t mean Anthony and Sergio have abandoned their homes at Roufusport. Far from it. Both have made lives for themselves in Milwaukee and both remain heavily invested in the Roufusport team. But to know that Jackson-Winkeljohn is always there to spend a few weeks at a time immersing themselves in something new, something different — that has made all the difference as UFC 197 approaches.

Greg Jackson’s mindset is ridiculous, man,” says Sergio. “He’s got such a different perspective on fighting. It’s more than fighting. It’s like a battle, it’s like a war. The breathing. The emotions going in there. A lot of people don’t know that. These fights, they’re tough, man. You go in there and you’re fighting another human being. You get in uncomfortable positions and you’ve got to find a way out and still take control of your emotions. That’s the hardest part.”

“He has this gift of speaking,” Anthony adds, “maybe that he can relate to us. I’ve heard the things he said a million times, but the way he said it was like, damn. The way he made me see it and believe was just different.”

The jury is still out on whether the changes in this camp will make a difference for the Pettis brothers once it matters. Anthony is slated to face striking savant Edson Barboza on Saturday in Las Vegas, while Sergio looks to get the night started off right against Chris Kelades. Victories would propel both brothers into the proverbial mix for their divisions’ respective titles, and that focus was clear on the faces of both men all throughout fight week. But that’s what you get when you’re sparring with the best fighters in the world on a daily basis.

“Oh, it was pay-per-view quality,” striking coach Brandon Gibson says of some of those gym sessions. “There was some good stuff. I don’t think there’s any video of it, but in one of the fourth or fifth rounds where [Anthony and Donald Cerrone] had been going straight with each other, ‘Cowboy’ went for a Showtime Kick off the cage. Pulled it off. The whole gym just erupted in laughter. It’s so cool to have those guys in the same room, pushing each other and building that bond together.

“We just all clicked right away. We vibed well together, and they came in very humble, very focused, and very motivated to make the most out of each practice and each day.”

This is the second fight in a row that Anthony has spent most of his time talking about major corrections made in camp. That fact is not lost on him. The difference this time though is that after his loss to Rafael dos Anjos, Pettis committed nearly all of his effort to retooling his worst attributes, which ignoring what made him so successful in the first place.

He did not make that mistake again, and now hints of the swagger that made him a living video game character have returned just as strong as they were the night he captured UFC gold.

“The key is that pressure,” Pettis says. “I felt uncomfortable sparring and that’s how I feel in the Octagon. Most fights aren’t comfortable where you’re like, ‘oh, this is easy’. It’s an uncomfortable feeling where this guy has good moments, I have good moments — but that’s how it was when I sparred. It was good.

“I’m always going to one of those guys who is very close to a title shot with good performances, but at the same time, I’m focused on Edson Barboza. This guy is dangerous. He has good striking. I just feel like I need to focus on him and get through him first. Then I can think about everything else.”

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Raw Video: Gun Fire Erupts at Boxing Weigh-in; One Dead, Two Injured

Gunmen opened fire at a boxing weigh-in at Dublin’s Regency Hotel on Feb. 5, killing at least one man and wounding two others. A statement from An Garda Síochána, Ireland’s police force, said the victims were “all in their 20s or 30s.”
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Morning Report: Mother says Ronda Rousey needs to fire ‘idiot fraud’ coach for any chance to beat Holly Holm

Ronda Rousey’s mother Dr. AnnMaria De Mars isn’t the biggest fan of Edmond Tarverdyan.

Even prior to Rousey’s shocking upset loss to Holly Holm at UFC 193, DeMars made it clear she didn’t approve of her daughter’s head coach.

Speaking with Submission Radio, De Mars says she’s still hopeful Rousey will move on from her trainer.

“I predicted it in advance,” De Mars said of Rousey’s knockout loss. “Ronda trained with an idiot. She trained with an idiot and a fraud. I would be shocked to find out that guy has any record at all. As far as I know, I saw him fight once and he fought somebody that had a record of like 6-20 and won on a split decision. The guy is a fraud. Ronda has a lot of talent. She came into that gym with a very strong background of training at the Olympic level and it carried her a long way.

“She needs to get away from some egomaniac fraud and be herself. Ronda as herself can beat anybody on the planet. I’m sad about it but you become an adult and make decisions. Sometimes you make mistakes and hopefully you learn from them.”

A former world champion in Judo, De Mars can sniff out bad coaching. Like most critics, she wasn’t impressed with Tarverdyan’s cornering of Rousey as she slumped to the stool beaten and bloody after one round with Holm.

“The difference between me and these other fighters’ moms is that I actually was a world champion,” said De Mars. “I didn’t just make it up and put it on my website. I actually really did compete for 14 years. So when someone is talking about coaching I know if it’s bulls**t and this guy is a complete fraud. It didn’t surprise me for a second.

“I don’t claim to know everything but I know what it takes to win a world championship. I know what good coaching is. I told Ronda more than once, ‘I know what training to beat the world looks like and this isn’t it.’”

De Mars believes Rousey has all the talent to beat Holm in a rematch, but that she’s likely doomed to fail again if she doesn’t find new coaches to work with.

“If she changes gyms she could go dramatically further,” said De Mars. “Even if she was with a good coach I think going to a different place would really improve her. When you’re with someone who wants to keep you from going to other places, that’s a bad coach that doesn’t have your best interests at heart.

“I hope [Tarverdyan] loses his license or goes to jail because either of those is a possibility. I think if she changes gyms she has an outstanding chance of winning. If she doesn’t? As a statistician, the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. If you do the same things with the same people you can expect the same results.”

Holm is booked to face Miesha Tate March 5 at UFC 196 and Rousey will likely face the winner sometime later this year.

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5 MUST-READ STORIES

Post-fight show. After UFC on FOX 18, MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani and Chuck Mindenhall break down the top storylines.

Get comfortable. Anthony Johnson willing to wait for “biggest fight of my life” between winner of Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier.

‘Things are shaking out.’ UFC expects to announce Daniel Cormier vs. Jon Jones 2 “within the next couple of days.”

‘I’m here to lay waste to the entire division.’ Ben Rothwell wants a shot at the UFC heavyweight title but wouldn’t mind avenging some losses to Andrei Arlovski and Cain Velasquez.

Notorious. UFC president Dana White says Conor McGregor is “crazy” (in a good way) for wanting to fight Rafael dos Anjos.

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MEDIA STEW

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Octagon interviews with Anthony Johnson and Ben Rothwell.

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Highlights from Rumble vs. Bader and Rothwell vs. Barnett.

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UFC on FOX 18 post-fight presser highlights. (full presser here)

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Bryan Barbarena derails the Sage Northcutt hype train.

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Highlights from Lion Fight 27.

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Brutal KO from ONE Championship FC.

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Long watches.

KNUCKLE UP #330: UFC on Fox 18 + Bader, Barnett + Northbutt + the Hard Cold Reality of “Next”

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TWEETS

Check out Pros React to UFC on FOX 18 and This Week in Struggle.

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Victory lap.

I Just want to thank all you guys for all the support all my family, team, friends, fans and all my sponsors. You guys…

Posted by Diego Ferreira on Sunday, January 31, 2016

All the honor and glory to GOD, thank you guys for all the support.

Posted by Rafael Natal Sapo on Saturday, January 30, 2016

Friends, thank you to everyone who supported me and sincerely wish my victory. This victory and yours too.

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Better luck next time.

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Not many left at 205.

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Love & hate.

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Beef.

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Big shots.

Boom and out go the lights! #Bellator148KO courtesy of Patricky Pitbull Freire

Posted by Bellator MMA on Friday, January 29, 2016

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Hmm.

Meeting with the UFC bosses this week, hopefully I’ll have some big news to break soon

Posted by Carlos Condit on Sunday, January 31, 2016

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It happens.

Not a good night for one of my fighters. Through the gate and onto the floor. No contest. My fighter was okay but the other guy went to the hospital for (I think) his ribs. The lock on the gate broke or let go.

Posted by Joe Lauzon on Saturday, January 30, 2016

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announced yesterday (Jan. 29-31 2016)

Mark Eddiva vs. Daniel Hooker at UFC Fight Night: Hunt vs. Mir

Evan Dunham vs. Leonardo Santos at UFC Fight Night: Belfort vs. Souza

Bethe Correia vs. Raquel Pennington at UFC on FOX 19

Dan Henderson vs. Lyoto Machida at UFC on FOX 19

Hacran Dias vs. Cub Swanson at UFC on FOX 19

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Found something you’d like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me up on Twitter @SaintMMA and we’ll include it in tomorrow’s column.

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Andrei Arlovski on Quest to Reclaim UFC Heavyweight Title: ‘I Still Have Fire in My Eyes’

There was a point in time, 10 years ago or so, when it seemed unrealistic that Andrei Arlovski — then the reigning UFC heavyweight champion — would be on the outside of the MMA world looking in.
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