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Johnson May Be Headed To Jail After What He Does To Kongo At Bellator 208

Bellator 208: “Fedor vs. Sonnen” takes place this Saturday night (Oct. 13, 2018) at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. The other half of the promotion’s Heavyweight Grand Prix final bracket comes down to “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko (37-5, 1 NC) and “The American Gangster” Chael Sonnen (31-15-1) in the Paramount Network-televised main event.

They’re not the only Heavyweights with something to prove in Uniondale this weekend, though. And, interestingly enough, both men have a Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) history ahead of their Bellator bout.

Cheick Kongo (28-10-2) owns a six-fight promotional win streak that probably should have earned him a slot in the Grand Prix … yet somehow didn’t. Perhaps knocking out Javy Ayala in May reminded both the promotion and fight fans that “The Darkness” can fall on any opponent he faces at any time — the 13th knockout to date of his lengthy career. Meanwhile, the hard-hitting Timothy Johnson (12-4) also departed UFC for the sunny shores of Bellator, but unlike Kongo, this is bout marks his promotional debut. With four wins by submission and five via knockout, Johnson is a dual threat who is well met by the seasoned Kongo as he looks to be just as impressive and stamp his claim to challenge the tournament winner.

MMAmania.com recently spoke with Johnson about his decision to join Bellator and how excited he is to take a fight with Kongo on a key card for the Heavyweight division.

“Yeah, I don’t think anyone could ask for a better debut than to be on this card, so I’m pretty happy about it. No it’s not (an easy fight), but I more than welcome the challenge. I’ve been waiting a long time to fight some kind of big time name, and just kind of give it a shot and see if I’m there or not.”

One reason Johnson feels that way is that he thinks UFC was unwilling to match him up with the top Heavyweights of the division during his three years in the promotion.

“The only thing I’ve really been vocal about exiting UFC has been that after my third UFC fight, I cracked the top 15, got as high as 12 and never dropped out (before I was released). After every one of my wins I’d be asking for big names like Stefan Struve, Alexey Oleynik — apparently they offered me to him and he declined it. I asked for Derrick Lewis multiple times and they’d never give me the opportunity to fight any of the guys that were in (or) around like that Top 10 area, so that kind of sucked.”

What makes it worse for Johnson was that he would end up fighting unranked fighters in their promotional debuts, which offered him zero chance at upward momentum.

“So, I finally just got sick of hearing it because they’d tell me, ‘No no, those guys aren’t available, but we’ve got this debuting Heavyweight, that’s all that’s available right now,’ so I’d have to always get stuck fighting debuts, and never got a chance to get the opportunity to crack the Top 10.”

It’s also a little bit strange that UFC didn’t renew his deal after a win in February when it seems to prefer to cut contracts or grant releases off of losses. It could be related to him turning down a short notice fight, though.

“The only opportunity I got was a missed opportunity. It was a short notice fight. They did offer me Andrei Arlovski, but I was laying in bed with the flu, and it was like four weeks away in Denver. I was like, ‘Guys, I’m not going to be ready for that fight.’ So they did offer me one (big fight) if I’m being honest.”

That would, of course, be the infamous fight in Denver, Colo., during which Francis Ngannou gave Arlovski a monster uppercut that left fans wondering if his head (and shoulders) were still connected to his body.

Johnson is not bitter about his missed opportunities … or lack thereof. He sees a whole new world of opportunities opening up for him with this Cheick Kongo fight — possibly even a world title shot after the Grand Prix.

“You know I wouldn’t shy away from that. It’s definitely something that is a possibility because Cheick is an alternate in the tournament, so he’s right there right now. You know when I was thinking about it for either one of us, we’d probably be fighting when the tournament comes to a completion and probably one of us would be fighting on that card as well and get the winner of whoever wins it all.”

The good news is the date and place for the finals has already been set — Jan. 26, 2019, at The Forum in Inglewood, California. The bad news is after Kongo’s first round finish in May, Johnson knows his size and power isn’t to be slept on early in a fight.

“Oh yeah, no for sure. You’re going to have that at Heavyweight no matter what. You’ve definitely got to be ready to go the first [five minutes]. The first round is always dangerous at Heavyweight no matter what.”

So where does Johnson feel he has the most advantage in the fight and the best chance to negate Kongo’s strength and power?

“Probably the clinch. Probably my clinch game, my dirty boxing type stuff. I wouldn’t go as far as to say I overpower them but it’s a gritty mentality area, and that’s an area where I like to be, because if you can impose your will on somebody there, you can impose it anywhere.”

Even though Johnson isn’t a fan of predictions (and he explains why) he did offer a little bit of a preview for the Kongo fight.

“I don’t like making predictions because then it makes you look like an idiot if you’re wrong {*laughing*}. But, it’s either going to go to a decision or — if things go very well for me — you may see me in jail.”

Now that’s an epic cliffhanger. To find out which way the pendulum will swing this weekend be sure to watch Bellator 208 live on Paramount Network this Saturday night.

Complete audio of our interview is embedded above, and complete coverage of “Sonnen vs. Fedor” resides here at MMA Mania all week long.

To check out the latest Bellator MMA-related news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive news archive right here.

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Conor McGregor Is Headed To New York For His Court Case

The big week is here where we get to find out what legal repercussions McGregor will face for his UFC 223 bus attack.

It’s been two months almost to the day since Conor McGregor and a gang of his friends stormed a loading dock in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, attacking a bus containing UFC 223 fighters. That behavior landed him in jail and resulted in three counts of assault and one count of criminal mischief. On June 14th McGregor will return to a New York courtroom to face those charges, and according to his social media he’ll be back in the US this Tuesday.

His travel plans were revealed in a tweet celebrating SBG teammate Cian Cowley’s first round knockout win at BraveCF 13 in Belfast. Cowley also happens to be the other member of McGregor’s entourage facing criminal charges over the bus attack. If McGregor was worried about the repercussions of their actions in court, he didn’t show it.

”Jet leaves Tuesday my brother,” he wrote. “Have a good one!”

According to legal experts, McGregor could be looking at anything from jail time, a felony on his record, or nothing at all if a good plea deal is reached. If we were betting people, we would probably lean towards McGregor getting off with a slap on the hand. Funny how that seems to be the case when dealing with multi-millionaires, isn’t it? But in this case, we won’t complain too much about the state of the justice system. The sooner all this is behind us, the sooner it’s Khabib Time.

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Conor McGregor Is Headed To New York For His Court Case

The big week is here where we get to find out what legal repercussions McGregor will face for his UFC 223 bus attack.

It’s been two months almost to the day since Conor McGregor and a gang of his friends stormed a loading dock in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, attacking a bus containing UFC 223 fighters. That behavior landed him in jail and resulted in three counts of assault and one count of criminal mischief. On June 14th McGregor will return to a New York courtroom to face those charges, and according to his social media he’ll be back in the US this Tuesday.

His travel plans were revealed in a tweet celebrating SBG teammate Cian Cowley’s first round knockout win at BraveCF 13 in Belfast. Cowley also happens to be the other member of McGregor’s entourage facing criminal charges over the bus attack. If McGregor was worried about the repercussions of their actions in court, he didn’t show it.

”Jet leaves Tuesday my brother,” he wrote. “Have a good one!”

According to legal experts, McGregor could be looking at anything from jail time, a felony on his record, or nothing at all if a good plea deal is reached. If we were betting people, we would probably lean towards McGregor getting off with a slap on the hand. Funny how that seems to be the case when dealing with multi-millionaires, isn’t it? But in this case, we won’t complain too much about the state of the justice system. The sooner all this is behind us, the sooner it’s Khabib Time.

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Weidman Headed For Yet Another Surgery

Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight champion, Chris Weidman, has one of the worst records in all of mixed martial arts (MMA) when it comes to debilitating injuries, rivaling the oft-hurt Dominick Cruz in the “oh shit, not again” category.

His latest setback stems from a hand injury suffered in his submission win over Kelvin Gastelum at UFC on FOX 25 last July (more on that here), one that was expected to be — but wasn’t — corrected by way of surgery.

From his conversation with the Slip ‘N Dip podcast:

“I had a surgery back after my Gastleum fight and I’ve been on the sidelines and I’ve had some great opportunities offered and I couldn’t take them because I was trying to get the hand better. And I pretty much found out that it’s not going to get better. I need to get another surgery. So I am getting another surgery in a week and a half. It could be a two-to-three month recovery and then I should be good to go. It’s been a tough last eight months.”

That puts an “All American” return somewhere in the vicinity of mid-summer.

Fortunately for Weidman, he’s currently ranked No. 4 in the division, which continues to search for its identity after burning through a couple of big names in the past few months. As it stands, Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero will collide for “The Reaper’s” middleweight strap this June in Chicago.

Weidman will be 34 when — and if — he finally returns to action.

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Conor McGregor may be headed to WrestleMania next

Rumors have it that McGregor is in negotiations with the WWE again to appear at Wreslemania 34.

Conor McGregor has nothing but options.

If you thought things boiled down to a toss up between Nate Diaz and Tony Ferguson, you were wrong. Rumors coming from the UK Sun have McGregor entertaining offers from the WWE to appear at WreslteMania 34 on April 8th at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.

“This is something he’s always wanted to do,” The Sun’s source said. “The WWE guys have asked him to do shows before with them but the timing was never really right. But this time it looks like a deal is going to be locked into place.”

This wouldn’t be the first time the WWE has approached McGregor about appearing at their biggest show of the year. Back in January, McGregor revealed that he was fielding offers from the pro wrestling company. In the end the deal didn’t go through, reportedly because the money being offered wasn’t high enough.

We doubt Conor McGregor has gotten any cheaper following his superfight with Floyd Mayweather which was rumored to net him a staggering $ 100 million dollars. But perhaps the WWE will consider the extra cheese money well spent to put a big boost on a WrestleMania currently being topped by a match between Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns.

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Bellator 176, Bellator Kickboxing 5 Headed to Italy on April 8

California-based fight promotion Bellator announced Tuesday afternoon that it will be returning to the site of its first-ever international show: the Pala Alpitour in Torino, Italy.
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Peace out! Nate Diaz headed out on vacation amidst Conor McGregor UFC 200 drama

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White assured Nate Diaz that he’d save him a spot on the historic UFC 200 fight card when his opponent, Conor McGregor, was scratched because he was unwilling to fulfill all of his promotional duties like the “other monkeys.”

Diaz, though, mentioned numerous times throughout the press conference that it was McGregor or bust. He apparently meant it, announcing on Twitter.com that he is shutting down training camp and heading out of town.

Check it out:

It’s hard to blame Diaz for losing patience. First, he was never a fan of the immediate rematch, considering that he torched McGregor inside two rounds and made him tap at UFC 196 last month. Then McGregor “retired,” “un-retired” and, incorrectly, announced earlier today that the fight was back on … all in the span of about six whacky days.

The back-and-forth drama is just too much. And rather than get sucked into more madness, Diaz plans to remove himself from the situation, relax and spend all that money. Who knows, maybe he’ll get a call from White and Co. between tequila shots and agree to compete inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, on July 9, 2016.

Don’t laugh: It proved to be a recipe for success last time.

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Peace out! Nate Diaz headed out on vacation amidst Conor McGregor UFC 200 drama

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White assured Nate Diaz that he’d save him a spot on the historic UFC 200 fight card when his opponent, Conor McGregor, was scratched because he was unwilling to fulfill all of his promotional duties like the “other monkeys.”

Diaz, though, mentioned numerous times throughout the press conference that it was McGregor or bust. He apparently meant it, announcing on Twitter.com that he is shutting down training camp and heading out of town.

Check it out:

It’s hard to blame Diaz for losing patience. First, he was never a fan of the immediate rematch, considering that he torched McGregor inside two rounds and made him tap at UFC 196 last month. Then McGregor “retired,” “un-retired” and, incorrectly, announced earlier today that the fight was back on … all in the span of about six whacky days.

The back-and-forth drama is just too much. And rather than get sucked into more madness, Diaz plans to remove himself from the situation, relax and spend all that money. Who knows, maybe he’ll get a call from White and Co. between tequila shots and agree to compete inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, on July 9, 2016.

Don’t laugh: It proved to be a recipe for success last time.

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Mike Jackson released by UFC after just one bout, headed for the boxing ring

The situation was all a little novel, but Mike Jackson — who made his UFC debut against fellow debutant Mickey Gall on Feb. 6 in Las Vegas — was never long for the Octagon.

Jackson has been released by the promotion after getting submitted in 45 seconds against Gall, the fighter who was discovered during an airing of Lookin’ For A Fight being groomed for the chance to face pro wrestler-turned-mixed martial artist CM Punk (real name Phil Brooks).

“I was released few weeks ago,” Jackson told MMA Fighting. “I wish they would have done it sooner, or gave me the Artem [Lobov] fight. But I’m getting back to boxing next month.”

The 31-year-old Jackson — who had experience as a kickboxer competing in Legacy heading into his UFC debut — had been angling to face SGB’s Lobov in his next fight. Lobov had even accepted the challenge.

Yet the Houston native was never delusional heading into his UFC Fight Night 82, admitting openly that he wasn’t UFC caliber. It all went into unique setting, which placed Jackson — who carries the nickname “The Truth” — essentially as a hurdle for Gall to clear en-route to CM Punk.

Jackson, who also doubles as a journalist in combat sports, said he’s hoping to have a boxing bout booked for the end of May.

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Bubba Jenkins vs Goiti Yamauchi headed to Bellator 151 on March 4

Bellator 151: ”Warren vs. Caldwell’ goes down on March 4th, 2016 at WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma. The headlining fight on Spike TV will be former bantamweight champion Joe Warren (13-4) going up against the undefeated Darrion Caldwell (8-0).

An intriguing bout has also just been confirmed for the main card as perennial featherweight contender Bubba Jenkins (10-2) will put a two-fight win streak on the line against the always-dangerous Goiti Yamauchi (19-2), winner of three in a row, including two straight by rear-naked choke.

Both combatants will have their eyes on a shot at featherweight champion Daniel Straus, fresh off his successful challenge for the belt at Bellator 145, a victory over Patricio Freire for which he paid a steep price.

Warren and Caldwell will also try to assert their place in line to face the winner of Bellator 150′s main event, where Marcos Galvao puts his bantamweight title on the line in a rematch with Eduardo Dantas.

The updated Bellator 151: “Warren vs. Caldwell” card is below.

Bantamweight: Joe Warren (13-4) vs. Darrion Caldwell (8-0)
Welterweight: Fernando Gonzalez (24-13) vs. Michael Page (9-0)
Featherweight: Goiti Yamauchi (19-2) vs. Bubba Jenkins (10-2)
Bantamweight: Steve Garcia (6-0) vs. Ray Rodriguez (5-4)
Bantamweight: Joe Taimanglo (21-6-1) vs. Sirwan Kakai (12-3)

To check out the latest Bellator MMA-related news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive news archive right here.

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