Following his first-round knockout loss to Muhammed Lawal at Bellator 96 on Wednesday, Seth Petruzelli announced his retirement from professional mixed martial arts competition. Petruzelli made the news official with a statement on Facebook.
“I want to thank my family, friends, fiancé and fans for being by my side these past 13 years plus of my MMA career,” he wrote. “Every time I fought it was to please and excite you but most of all make you proud of me. Up until a couple years ago it pleased and excited me as well. That is where I went wrong, for the past couple years I have been fighting for the wrong reasons, I don’t have the desire or drive to fight like I used to and the past couple fights have shown it.
“So at this point in my life I would like to officially announce my retirement from the sport of MMA. Competing has been a part of my life since I was 6 years old, now I would like to put more of an effort into seeing my students/fighters do the same and making my gym grow and flourish. MMA has taken me around the world, let me meet the best and worst of people and made me feel like the brightest star but also like a black hole at times. ..and I have no regrets because I did it all my way.”
Petruzelli, 33, ends his MMA career with a record of 14-8. He competed three times in professional kickboxing, twice in 2004 and once in 2012, losing all three by TKO.
‘The Silverback’ was a contestant on the second season of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’, ultimately losing to Brad Imes in the show’s semifinals. He fought Matt Hamill on UFC Fight Night 6.5 in October of 2006, losing by unanimous decision in a Fight of the Nigh the performance.
He briefly returned to the UFC in 2007, losing to Wilson Gouveia by second-round guillotine choke at UFC Fight Night 9.
The Floridian was brought back to the UFC one last time in 2010, but lost two consecutive fights: a submission loss to Ricardo Romero at UFC 116 and TKO-stoppage loss to Karlos Vemola at UFC 122.
Petruzelli, however, is best known for what he achieved between his stints in the UFC. At EliteXC: Heat in 2008, Petruzelli was scheduled to face Aaron Rosa on the undercard of the CBS-broadcast bout. The card was set to be headlined by a heavyweight contest between Kimbo Slice and Ken Shamrock. Yet just hours prior to the bout, Shamrock suffered a cut over his eye that wouldn’t allow him to compete. Looking to salvage the event, the promoters pulled Petruzelli from the preliminary card to face Slice on short notice.
In one of the most memorable moments in modern MMA history, Petruzelli knocked Slice out just 14 seconds into the first round.
He ends his career with Bellator, having competed three times for the organization starting with a TKO-win over former UFC heavyweight champion Ricco Rodriguez in at Bellator 49 in 2011. He lost to Jacob Noe at Bellator 85 in January of 2013 by first-round TKO. Bellator 96 marked his third time inside the circled cage.
Petruzelli wasn’t the only fighter on the Bellator 96 card who announced his retirement in close proximity to the event. UFC and Strikeforce veteran Renato ‘Babalu’ Sobral also officially ended his professional MMA career, although he announced its ending just moments after his third-round stoppage loss to Jacob Noe.
Bellator’s 2013 Summer Series kicked off last night in Thackerville, Oklahoma — population: 404 — with the semifinals of the promotion’s latest light-heavyweight and heavyweight tournaments. The televised card was an overall success, featuring fast action, brutal stoppages, and much-needed wins for a pair of marquee names. But it didn’t go well for everybody. Here are the important points…
War Machine Is Back in General Population
In a non-tournament bout that opened the broadcast, charmingly outspoken welterweight War Machine returned to competition for the first time since his latest stint in jail, facing journeyman Blas Avena. Machine appeared to be in fine form, putting Avena on his back in the second half of the opening round, trapping his arm, and slugging Avena with left hands until the match was stopped at the 3:55 mark. Random thought: War really needs to be a coach on season 2 of Fight Master. You want drama? There’s your drama.
Heavyweights Gonna Heavyweight
Both of the heavyweight tournament semi-finals resulted in gnarly first-round knockouts. During the prelims, Ryan Martinez — who came in as a short-notice replacement for the injured Vinicius Queiroz — slugged out Richard Hale with punches from the top. And on the main card, undefeated Russian prospect Vitaly Minakov needed just 32 seconds to beat the crap out of Ron Sparks. Minakov is now 11-0, with six of those wins coming in the first minute of the fight. He and Martinez will now face each other at Bellator 97, July 31st in Albuquerque.
Farewell, Sweet Babalu Renato “Babalu” Sobral vs. Jacob Noe was certainly the most competitive fight on the main card, with both light-heavyweights landing well through the first two rounds. The third round could have been the deciding frame, but Noe didn’t let it go to the judges. After stunning Sobral with punches and opening up a cut near his left eye, Noe threw the kitchen sink at Babalu, who stumbled around and ate punches until the ref called a standing TKO at the 3:32 mark of the final round. Despite his wooziness, Sobral didn’t appear too pleased with the call.
If you’re a well-traveled MMA veteran who has fought for the biggest organizations in the world, but you’re now being stopped by a virtual unknown in the opening round of a Bellator tournament, it might be a good sign to hang up the gloves — and that’s exactly what Babalu did after the fight, announcing his retirement in the cage. It’s hard to say if Sobral’s retirement will be permanent, or one of those temporary retirements that fighters seem to love so much. But for now, the BJJ black-belt leaves behind a 37-11 career record, and can claim victories over Chael Sonnen, Mauricio Rua, Robbie Lawler, Jeremy Horn, and Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou.
Look, I still think making Muhammad Lawal a 15-1 favorite in this fight was ludicrous. This wasn’t exactly Cro Cop vs. Dos Caras Jr. — it was a halfway legitimate matchup. But King Mo won, and he made it look easy. As soon as Lawal completed his first takedown, it was the beginning of the end. With Petruzelli on his back, Lawal grabbed his feet, swung them out of the way, and dived in with one of the most savage haymakers-from-above in MMA history. Nobody could have survived that shot, and Petruzelli was no exception. And so, Lawal bounces back from his surprise upset against Emanuel Newton at Bellator 90, and will now face Jacob Noe in the finals of the light-heavyweight summer tourney at Bellator 97. Meanwhile, Petruzelli’s Bellator record drops to 1-2.
And now, full results from Bellator 96…
Muhammed Lawal def. Seth Petruzelli via KO, 1:35 of round 1
Jacob Noe def. Renato Sobral via TKO, 3:32 of round 3
Vitaly Minakov def. Ron Sparks via TKO, 0:32 of round 1
War Machine def. Blas Avena via TKO, 3:55 of round 1
Damon Jackson def. Keith Miner via TKO, 2:00 of round 1
Raphael Butler def. Jeremiah O’Neal via TKO, 2:57 of round 1
Ryan Martinez def. Richard Hale via KO, 2:19 of round 1
Brandon Halsey def. Joe Yager via split decision (30-28 x 2, 28-30)*
Derek Campos def. Brandon Girtz via unanimous decision (29-28 x 3)
Justin McNally def. Steven Artoff via verbal submission (triangle choke), 2:44 of round 1
UNAIRED MATCHES (FOLLOWING THE MAIN CARD BROADCAST)
Chas Skelly def. Jarrod Card via unanimous decision (29-28 x 3)
Keith Berry def. Cortez Coleman via split decision (29-28 x 2, 28-29)
Mike Maldonado def. Chavous Smith via submission (rear-naked choke), 2:27 of round 1
* That 28-30 has to be a scoring error by the judge. Yager had a point deducted for groin-strikes, so even if he won every round, the highest score he could have received would be 29.
Roy Nelson pushed his chips all-in on Saturday night. Riding a tremendous three-fight knockout streak into the last fight of his TUF 10 contract, Nelson was poised to make a remarkable jump in pay scale if he just could get by unranked Stipe Miocic at UFC 161.
Unfortunately for Nelson, things didn’t quite work out as planned. But if “Big Country” was looking for sympathy, he didn’t need to turn towards his boss, UFC President Dana White.
“He was fighting under The Ultimate Fighter contract and he called Joe Silva and said, ‘Listen, I’m fighting tough guys here, and I’m winning.’ And Joe said, ‘You’re right. We’re going to get rid of The Ultimate Fighter contract and give you another contract,’” White explained during Saturday’s post-fight scrum. “So Joe Silva offers him a deal for more money, and Roy said that’s not enough. This was a while ago. And Joe says, ‘Okay, well this is my offer. I’ll rip up the old contract and give you this one.’ He said no. Joe said, ‘But it’s more money.’ [Roy said,] ‘I don’t care, it’s not what I want.’ He f–king fought under The Ultimate Fighter contract instead of taking the new contract from Joe, which was significantly more money.’
“That’s the business. Again, there’s a lot of reasons why I respect Roy Nelson. Roy Nelson rolled the dice tonight. He had a high stakes poker game tonight, and he lost.”
White and Nelson’s history is long and tenuous, which is why so much intrigue was generated by his UFC 161 fight. If Nelson won, he’d emerge a people’s champion, the owner of a top-5 ranking and suitcase crammed with negotiating leverage.
Instead, Nelson fell short, leaving White to reflect on why the heavyweight has frustrated him for so many years.
“Roy came to me one time and said, ‘I’m having a hard time getting sponsors,’” explained White. “I said, well that’s weird. I can’t understand why you would have a hard time getting sponsors. How about you cut the hair, lose some weight, get rid of the walk-in song ‘I’m Fat,’ and take yourself seriously? You’re a tough guy, you’ve got a lot of talent, you’re a very well-rounded fighter. He said, ‘Okay.’ I saw him at the next press conference — his mullet was longer, and he grew a beard down to here, and he was, maybe, six pounds less than the last time I’d seen him. I said, it’s good to see you took my advice. It’s just, don’t complain to me.
“Who wants to put their logo on that?” White continued, “Nobody. Nobody wants to put their logo on that. Burger King? Well that’s what he thought. Did you ever watch a Burger King commercial? It’s all handsome guys, skinny, and pretty girls. You think Burger King wants people to think that that’s what you look like if you eat Burger King?
“People don’t relate to him in the way that he looks. If people related to him in the way that he looks, there’d be sponsors stuck all over him. … What people relate to is that he’s knocked out 12 people in a row. You tune in and you watch this guy who looks like he could barely walk up the stairs to the Octagon, and he goes in there are knocks out these guys like Cheick Kongo, this physical specimen — he hits him in the neck and knocks him out. That’s why people like Roy Nelson.”
White’s sentiment is exactly why the pair’s relationship has become such compelling theater. In thought, Nelson represents MMA’s counter-culture; the idiosyncratic, mulletted heavyweight who has no qualms about battling ‘the man.’ Yet both individuals still function within the employee-employer relationship, and despite his rotund shortcomings, White still clearly respects and values the skillset Nelson brings with him into the cage.
So it’s telling that even in the face of each man’s stubbornness, both White and Nelson voiced a willingness to continue their partnership on Saturday.
“He wanted to stay under The Ultimate Fighter contract instead of taking the new deal that was offered to him,” White said in closing. “It’s more money. That’s why he can’t be knocked out. That’s what I told his wife tonight when she was sitting next to me. I said, he’s so thick-headed, you couldn’t knock him out if you hit him with a f–king truck.
“[But] it’s not like we’re saying, ‘We’re not signing Roy Nelson. We hate him. We don’t want him here.’ We’re trying to come to a deal with Roy Nelson.
Henderson responds. Not long after Anthony Pettis campaigned to replace T.J. Grant in UFC 164′s main event, UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson offered this blithe response: “I’ll just fight and let the others worry about talking their way into fights.”
Burkman rolls. Fighting in the main event of WSOF 3, Josh Burkman avenged his 2006 loss to Jon Fitch by pulling off a remarkable, 41-second ‘Submission of the Year’ victory, one which saw Burkman play referee during his own fight while Fitch laid unconscious on the mat, choked out by a guillotine.
If you watched UFC 161 last night, I am truly sorry for you. The card was bad on paper, and somehow worked out to being even worse than expected. The most significant development of the evening took place not in the cage, but on the post fight show after the fact. What, you didn’t watch it?
Anthony Pettis came onto the post fight show on Fuel with the following announcement:
“I can be 100-percent ready to fight Benson Henderson in Milwaukee. With all due respect to TJ Grant, Milwaukee is my town and the fight with Ben is the fight everyone has wanted for years. If it works out, great; if not, I will get my shot very soon. But I think we all know which fight the fans want to see and the entire city of Milwaukee!”
Dana White responded, not so optimistic that Pettis can be ready to fight that soon:
“Anthony Pettis’ knee is not bad, but it’s not good. He doesn’t require surgery, but he’s going to have to go into therapy.”
White also said he was going to have Pettis flown out to Vegas for a second opinion from Dr. Steven Saunders before making any decisions regarding his next fight. There have been different time frames mentioned for the recovery time for Pettis, and approaching the situation with caution is probably a good idea.
Okay, let me stop here for a minute. I hate to say this, because I am a big fan of Anthony Pettis, but him requesting to be inserted into this title fight is a slap in the face to TJ Grant and one of the bigger signs of disrespect I have seen from on fighter to another as of late. I know this fight is in Pettis’ hometown of Milwaukee, but the only reason he isn’t on this card is that he didn’t want to wait to fight Benson Henderson. He made a choice, and now he thinks TJ Grant should be the person to suffer the consequences?
The UFC was nice enough to acquiesce to the request from Pettis for a title fight at 145 pounds against Jose Aldo, despite the fact that he had never fought at that weight in his career and would be cutting in front of a number of deserving contenders (Korean Zombie, Ricardo Lamas, Cub Swanson). The UFC gave an inch, now “Showtime” is trying to take a mile.
This title fight is already booked. If Pettis was trying to step in for an injured opponent, then that would be great. But it takes a serious lack of perspective to try and alter an already scheduled title fight because he got hurt and missed his shot.
TJ Grant is 5-0 in the UFC at 155 pounds, while Pettis is 3-1. Grant is coming off a shocking total destruction of Gray Maynard and has not lost since 2010. For him to get pulled from this fight to suit the whims of Anthony Pettis would be an absolute sham, and would do a disservice to the credibility of the sport. Anthony, you ask for next. You don’t tell somebody to get off the court (or cage in this instance). That’s just not right.
Found something you’d like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me on Twitter @shaunalshatti and we’ll include it in tomorrow’s column.
“Big Nog” fans can exhale a sigh of relief, as the 37 year-old legend was reportedly not hurt during his UFC on FUEL TV 10 bout with Fabricio Werdum, which ended with the latter tapping out Nogueira via armbar.
The UFC announced the changes late on Friday night.
Gonzaga will have about five weeks to prepare for Herman.
The fight is likely a pivotal one for the UFC career of Herman, who has lost three straight and is also coming off a suspension for a failed drug test that flagged him for marijuana usage.
Herman (21-5) has been finished in three straight fights. He was most recently submitted by Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC 153. Prior to that he suffered a knockout loss at the hands of Roy Nelson, and another TKO via Stefan Struve. His only UFC win was a Fight of the Night knockout over John Olav Einemo in June 2011.
Gonzaga (14-7) is seven weeks removed from a knockout loss to Travis Browne at The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale, a defeat that snapped a three-fight win streak. He was just removed from a mandatory medical suspension on Wednesday.
UFC 162 takes place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, and will be headlined by a middleweight title match pitting Anderson Silva against challenger Chris Weidman.
A lightweight bout scheduled for UFC 162 has been changed due to an injury.
Edson Barboza will now meet Rafaello Oliveira after John Makdessi, Barboza’s original opponent, withdrew from the fight due to an undisclosed injury, MMAFighting.com confirmed with sources close to the fight.
Barboza (11-1) got back on the winning track in January, after suffering the first loss of his career to Jamie Varner last May, when he defeated Lucas Martins in the first round.
Oliveira (15-5) is coming off a UFC 148 unanimous decision win over Yoislandy Izquierdo last July. He withdrew from a December fight against Michael Chiesa due to a broken hand.
A Cat Zingano knee injury has opened the door to the most-anticipated rematch in women’s MMA history.
Miesha Tate will now coach opposite UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey on the 18th season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” the promotion announced Tuesday evening. Zingano suffered a serious injury earlier this month, which forced her out of the reality show and eventual title fight against Rousey in December.
As a result, Tate will now get a chance to avenge last year’s loss to Rousey following the taping of the show. TUF 18 premieres Sept. 4 on the new FOX Sports 1 cable channel.
According to a Yahoo! Sports report, Zingano underwent surgery on her right knee on Tuesday to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus, as well as to clean up other damage. Zingano, who defeated Tate on April 13 to earn a shot at Rousey and a coaching spot on the show, is hoping to resume training in six-to-nine months, and according to the same report, has been promised a title shot upon her return.
Rousey was reportedly told of the switch during the show’s first day of filming on Tuesday. When Tate appeared on the set, Rousey thought Tate was replacing her on the show and stormed off. She was then notified that it was Zingano who was being replaced.
“This is what we really wanted all along,” Rousey told Yahoo! Sports. “Everyone said an Ultimate Fighter between me and Miesha would be the best. We have a personal history with each other and this is a personal show. For some reason, I me and Miesha are intertwined in fate like Ali and Frazier or something like that.
“I think people will look back at this as one of monumental rivalries and look back at this as one of those things that really cemented women’s MMA.”
Tate was scheduled to fight Liz Carmouche at UFC on FOX 8 in July. Carmouche has yet to receive a new opponent.
No specific date has officially been announced for Rousey-Tate rematch. Rousey defeated Tate to win the Strikeforce bantamweight title in March 2012. She won her UFC debut against Carmouche in February via first-round armbar.