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Rashad Evans explains why he was pulled from UFC 205

NEW YORK — Rashad Evans was four days away from living out a dream.

The native of Niagara Falls, N.Y was sitting on a plane Tuesday afternoon headed from Florida to New York, where he was set to compete on the first UFC card at Madison Square Garden against Tim Kennedy Saturday night.

And then, in an instant, that dream vanished.

Evans received a letter, while still on the plane, from the New York State Athletic Commission, informing him that he would not be granted a license to fight Kennedy on Nov. 12.

According to Evans, an Oct. 19 MRI revealed “irregular findings.” He was then asked by the NYSAC to undergo further tests, which Evans says he passed.

After that, Evans, who declined to disclose the exact medical issue that came up, thought he was in the clear. And then Tuesday’s e-mail came.

“I’m disappointed,” Evans told MMAFighting.com. “I’m healthy. I don’t want anyone worrying about me. I’m fine, physically speaking. Never felt better. It’s just the commission and their rules. I guess they have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to this.”

Evans, who was set to make his middleweight debut at UFC 205 and currently weighs 196 pounds, said Tuesday’s disappointment will not stop him from fighting again. In fact, he’s hoping the UFC books him in December.

“Man, I had something special for Tim,” he said.

“This doesn’t change the fact that I want to fight. This doesn’t change anything for me as far as fighting.”

As for Kennedy, it’s unclear what the UFC will do with him. When initially contacted by MMAFighting.com, his management team had no idea the fight was off and said Kennedy was on a plane and wasn’t aware, either. He found out the news upon landing in New York.

Evans, 37, was hoping to snap a two-fight losing streak on Saturday night in his new weight class. And as one of only two New York-born fighters on the card (Chris Weidman being the other), he had a lot of family and friends planning on attending the event. As of this writing, Evans wasn’t sure if he was going to stay in New York to watch the card or go back home to Florida.

“In life, if it ain’t one thing it’s another,” he said. “I won’t get beat down by this.”

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Rashad Evans vs. Tim Kennedy fight scratched from UFC 205

The most loaded lineup in UFC history just became a little bit less so.

The UFC 205 middleweight matchup between former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans and Tim Kennedy is off due to an issue with Evans’ medical work. MMAFighting.com‘s Ariel Helwani confirmed an initial Tuesday report by ESPN.com.

The 37-year-old Evans (19-5-1) was slated to make his middleweight debut after losing two straight fights. He hasn’t won a fight since defeating Chael Sonnen at UFC 167. According to a source, an undisclosed medical issue came up in Evans’ testing, and the New York State Athletic Commission chose to keep Evans out of the fight as a precautionary measure.

Kennedy (18-5), for his part, has been vocal in his complaints about the UFC in recent months, and has intimated the bout with Evans could be the last of his MMA career. The 37-year-old JacksonWink fighter has not competed since a controversial loss to Yoel Romero at UFC 178.

The bout was scheduled to take place on the FS1 preliminary card of Saturday’s event at New York City’s Madison Square Garden. There is no word yet on which undercard bout would fill Evans-Kennedy’s slot.

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UFC Fight Night 98 results from last night: Beneil Dariush vs Rashid Magomedov fight review, analysis

To watch Beneil Dariush vs. Rashid Magomedov full fight video highlights from last night click here!

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight contenders Beneil Dariush and Rashid Magomedov threw down last night (Nov. 5, 2016) at UFC Fight Night 98 inside Arena Mexico in Mexico City, Mexico. Ranked inside the Top 10, Dariush came into this bout off perhaps the strongest performance of his career, a brutal first round knockout. If he could take out the nearly unbeaten Russian, Dariush was due for another high-profile opportunity. On the other hand, this was Magomedov’s big opportunity. He wasn’t able to fight all that consistently due to some injuries, but the kickboxer has been absolutely fantastic while inside the Octagon, and this was his chance to really announce himself as a factor at 155 pounds.

Dariush threw several kicks to start the bout before pushing his way into the clinch. He committed heavily to takedown attempts, but Magomedov defended and reversed before returning to the center of the Octagon. Dariush continued his kicking attack, aiming for Magomedov’s head and body. Nothing really got through, but Magomedov didn’t return fire either. However, the Russian did control his opponent along the fence and finish the round with a takedown.

On the whole, it was an incredibly close round.

The strategy remained the same into the second round. Dariush kept kicking, and his opponent landed a few decent counters. Even then, Dariush hung around at range, firing back low kicks. This time around, though, it was Dariush who was able to control his opponent against the fence for a long period of time. He didn’t do anything too significant, but it allowed him to implement his game plan a bit more.

It wasn’t dominant, but Magomedov allowed his opponent win the round.

Luckily, Magomedov’s corner put the fear of losing a lackluster decision into his head, as the Russian went after his opponent to start the final round. Dariush was still able to latch onto the Muay Thai plum and land some knees, but this time Magomedov did a far better job of ensuring his back wasn’t on the fence.

On the whole, this was Magomedov’s strongest round of the fight. He was able to land some hard shots, whereas Dariush was slowing down. That allowed Magomedov to land in the higher volume and keep his back off the fence, the two areas in which Dariush found his edge earlier in the fight.

Ultimately, it was an incredibly close bout. Despite that, two of the judges awarded Dariush all three rounds, giving him the unanimous decision victory.

A Dariush victory on its own is perfectly reasonable, but 30-27 is confusing to say the least. Dariush’s clinch played a huge role in this bout. While he wasn’t able to land any takedowns — in fact, he was put on his back twice — Dariush controlled his foe along the fence and landed a fair amount of knees.

They weren’t devastating, but volume is important in such a close bout.

Besides that, Dariush’s Southpaw kicks were on point in this bout. He wasn’t always able to land, but he did a spectacular job of digging low kicks when Magomedov tried to counter his kicks with punches. Either way, a win is a win. Dariush is in the top 10 on a win streak, and that puts him reasonably close to a title shot. After this victory, a match up with someone like Edson Barboza would make sense.

Magomedov has an argument to winning this fight, but he ultimately gave it away by sitting back for far too long. The Russian simply didn’t throw enough volume until the third round, and by then too much of the fight had passed. Similarly, he was content to work with his back on the fence, which is costly in the eyes of the judges.

On the bright side, Magomedov’s takedown defense is incredible. Plus, when the Russian did chose to throw, his strikes were accurate and clearly landing with an impact. If he can learn to attack more often, Magomedov is still a potential contender.

Last night, Beneil Dariush out-worked Rashid Magomedov in a tight bout. Where does Dariush go from here?

For complete UFC Fight Night 98: “dos Anjos vs Ferguson” results and play-by-play, click HERE!

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Beneil Dariush vs. Rashid Magomedov full fight video highlights from last night – UFC Fight Night 98

In one of the more underrated Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight matchups of 2016, rising title threat Beneil Dariush faced off against Russian striker Rashid Magomedov last night (Sat., Nov. 5, 2016) at UFC Fight Night 98 live on FOX Sports 1 from inside Arena Ciudad de México in Mexico City, Mexico. Dariush, 27, was coming off a knockout finish of James Vick back in June, while Magomedov, 32, came into the bout riding a 12-fight win streak.

While Magomedov offered some sound takedown defense throughout the contest, he did little to impress on the judges’ scorecards. Instead, Dariush pressed the action, pinned the Russian against the cage and was always first to the punch. It may have been a lackluster affair if you were hoping to see Magomedov’s technical striking, but at least Dariush was able to implement his gameplan to claim the unanimous decision win.

The full video highlights can be seen above courtesy of UFC.

With this win, Dariush continues his re-ascension up the 155-pound ladder. Entering 2017, he should be considered a budding title contender who still needs to elevate his finishing instincts to make a run at the lightweight elite.

For complete UFC Fight Night 98 results and coverage click here.

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Yuta Sasaki removed from UFN 100 following Matheus Nicolau’s potential USADA violation

Yuta Sasaki won’t be competing at UFC Fight Night 100 after all.

The Japanese flyweight was booked to face Matheus Nicolau at the Fight Night card in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Nov. 19, but sources told MMA Fighting that the promotion hasn’t found a replacement after Nicolau was notified of a potential United States Anti-Doping Agency violation.

According to a statement released by the UFC on Thursday night, Nicolau was informed by USADA of a potential drug test failure stemming from an out-of-competition sample collected on Oct. 13, 2016.

UFC Fight Night 100 takes place at the Ibirapuera gymnasium in Sao Paulo, and features a rematch between Ryan Bader and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in the main event.

Sasaki (19-3-2), who defeated Willie Gates in his 125-pound debut in May, will get a new date and opponent for his next bout.

Nicolau (12-1-1) was looking for his second win as a flyweight inside the Octagon, four months after defeating John Moraga via split decision. On his Instagram page, the Brazilian denied using banned substances.

I was surprised last night with the USADA notification about a potential violation of anti-doping program. I didn’t took the alleged substance and, until yesterday, even knew of its existence. I cooperated with the anti-drug commission with pleasure, since entering the UFC, performing at the last control urine and blood tests.
I wasn’t negligent in this case or in my career. Now, my immediate goal is to take all necessary measures to find out what happened and prove my righteousness. Again, I reiterate my surprise with the test results. In eight years of career, I didn’t use illicit substances to increase performance.
Like I always said, I train, fight, live and eat like a champ. And I know a champion play fair and win within the rules. So I wouldn’t put my colleagues, my team and reputation at risk.
I’m sure that the truth will prevail in the near future,
Matheus Nicolau

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Fabricio Werdum Gets Fired From UFCTV Job Due To Reebok Protest

UFC, The Dictatorship

Before I get into this article I just want to say that I have nothing against the UFC. They’re a great organization that has brought eyeballs to the sport and have made some of the most epic match-ups with some of the most epic fighters. However, they have some improvements that can be made and as true fans we have a responsibility to point them out.

Most recently, former heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum got the axe from a UFC TV job after a protest post regarding Reebox and it’s sponsorship of the UFC. Since Reebok has come in as the sole sponsor fighters have lost a significant amount of money. Werdum, a champ until 6 months ago, has been reduced to $ 5,000 dollars in sponsorship money per fight. Who knows what the other guys are getting paid. And it’s not like they’re seeing this difference on their paychecks,  with most top 15 fighters still earning $ 25,000 to show and $ 25,000 to win. Fabricio felt that he had a responsibility to speak out.

 

Now I know what you hardliners are thinking. This is a new BUSINESS with new owners, and UFC has already made it clear that if it don’t make dollars it don’t make sense. Also, it’s a conflict of interest for them to have someone who represents the company actively protesting one of its main partnerships. I get all of that, however, this business is about people, and whenever it’s about people it becomes about relationships. The UFC can’t just ignore it’s fighters with a take it or leave it attitude, at some point they’re going to have to negotiate. I’m not saying they have to give in or even give up the Reebok deal, but the fighters must be compensated somewhere else. Ask anyone who’s ever loved and lost, a one-sided relationship can only work for so long, something has to give.

Fabricio Werdum was set to be a commentator and analyst on the Spanish speaking UFC TV deal.

What do you guys think of these recent events? Have the UFC gone too far or is this just how it is?

Lionel Harris-Spence is a local drunk and part time writer for Cage Potato, and Generation Iron MMA. You can catch him screaming obscenities at a flat screen during most MMA events

The post Fabricio Werdum Gets Fired From UFCTV Job Due To Reebok Protest appeared first on Cagepotato.

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Marshall Zelaznik comments on departure from UFC after 10 years

For the first time in 10 years, Marshall Zelaznik woke up on Wednesday unemployed.

Zelaznik, who wore many hats at Zuffa, the parent company of the UFC, was relieved of his duties on Tuesday, part of a company-wide downsizing by the new promotion’s new owners, WME-IMG.

“The last 10 years with the UFC have been an incredible ride,” Zelaznik said. “I was so lucky to work with the smartest, most creative and hard-working people in sport for a decade. It is those day-to-day relationships with my co-workers, fighters and all of our partners that I worked with that I will miss the most.”

Zelaznik, who joined the UFC in September 2006 as president of the newly-formed United Kingdom division, departs as UFC chief content officer. He was one of many employees laid off this week. While the UFC declined to comment on a specific number, multiple sources say approximately 60-80 were let go over the past 72 hours.

“When I left iNDEMAND to join the UFC in 2006, some of my friends wondered if I was making a mistake. But — like many of us who were around back then — I believed the UFC would take its place among the greatest sports leagues in the world, if only we could get people to pay attention. Ten years on, I leave the UFC with a great sense of ‘mission accomplished.’”

Zelaznik was instrumental establishing the organization in the UK, Ireland, mainland Europe, the Middle East and Australia, along with launching the business unit many believe is the future of the company, the over-the-top subscription service UFC Fight Pass. He helped build UFC’s content business into one the most widely-available sports properties in the world over his tenure.

“I was involved with some really cool initiatives at the UFC, and I’m very thankful for the opportunity to play a role in helping to grow the UFC and the sport of MMA. I’m looking forward to watching the sport continue to grow and will enjoy the fights now as big fan.

“I wish the very best for everyone at the UFC under the new leadership from WME-IMG.”

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Gegard Mousasi talks knife threats from ‘retarded’ Conor McGregor: Say it to my face, bum

Last week, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight contender Gegard Mousasi revealed that featherweight kingpin Conor McGregor took to social media to “threaten him with a knife” after he caught wind of some not-so-flattering comments “The Dreamcatcher” made about him.

While a threat like that should be taken seriously to avoid a war-of-words from going too far, Mousasi appeared on The MMA Hour to clear up the message he got from “Notorious,” saying that he doesn’t know how to take the threat from the mouthy Irishman.

For his part, Gegard seems to think perhaps McGregor was trying to be philosophical with his words.

“Well I think that ginger-headed fuck is retarded. In the interview I said, they were talking about respect, and he texted me on Twitter. And I said, ‘What are you going to do with your 50 kilos?’ And I don’t know if he was trying to be philosophical or whatever the fuck he was writing, he was like, ‘Knife is lighter than a pound, it can cut ear to ear…’ what ever the fuck he was writing. That guy is a bum, he’s a 60 kilo guy, what the fuck is he going to do? Face-to-face he won’t say that. Twitter gives some people courage, I don’t know what he was trying to say with the knife, he was trying to be philosophical.  He put a lot of thought in his message. He has a lot of time. I told him to say it to my face, but I bet he won’t do that. Come say it to my face, everyone on social media, there courage goes up.”

Conor is known to pack heavy artillery, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

A fight between the two combatants is unlikely to ever see the light of day, as Gegard is currently climbing the 185-pound rankings and eying a showdown against Anderson Silva, while the much smaller McGregor is looking to become the first man to ever hold two titles in as many divisions at the same time when he faces lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 on Nov. 12, 2016 in New York.

Nevertheless, it seems Conor won’t let up on trying to pick fights with bigger men.

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Li Jingliang clear of doping suspension from NAC, slated to fight Chad Laprise at UFC 206

Li Jingliang beat his doping rap and now he has an actual fight on his hands.

The Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) removed Jingliang’s temporary suspension last month when the state attorney general’s office decided not to pursue the case, commission executive director Bob Bennett confirmed with MMA Fighting. The Chinese fighter will meet Chad Laprise at UFC 206 on Dec. 10 in Toronto, the UFC announced Friday.

Jingliang failed a drug test in May for clenbuterol, but was found to have no fault by USADA in September due to the prevalence of the drug in contaminated meat in Jingliang’s home country of China. After an investigation, USADA determined that Jingliang most likely unknowingly ingested the banned substance through meat.

The NAC temporarily suspended him Aug. 23, but took him off the suspended list Sept. 13, when the Nevada state attorney general’s office decided not to pursue the case. Bennett said the amount of clenbuterol found in Jingliang’s system was an insignificant amount and the World Anti-Doping Agency has been forthright about issues with clenbuterol in China and Mexico.

Jingliang (11-4) is coming off a first-round knockout win over Anton Zafir at The Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale on July 8 in Las Vegas. “The Leech” sports a 3-2 record in the UFC. Jingliang, 28, has won two of his last three fights and is considered a solid prospect coming out of China.

Laprise (11-2) will move back up to welterweight for this fight. He most recently defeated Thibault Gouti via first-round TKO at UFC on FOX 21 in August, but missed weight by three pounds. Laprise, 30, lost two straight at 155 pounds previously.

UFC 206 is headlined by a light heavyweight title fight between champion Daniel Cormier and challenger Anthony Johnson. No co-main event has been named yet.

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Pros react to Dan Henderson retiring from mixed martial arts

The mixed martial arts world said goodbye to a living legend on Saturday night, as future Hall of Famer Dan Henderson announced his formal retirement from MMA.

Henderson nearly left the game on top, falling just inches away from snatching Michael Bisping’s UFC middleweight belt in the main event of UFC 204. But regardless, Henderson walks away as one of the most accomplished fighters in the history of the sport, and his fellow fighters gave him a sendoff befitting of the icon he is.

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