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Team Alpha Male announces aviation sponsorship that includes flights for fighters

Urijah Faber may be retired, but the squad he founded in Sacramento, Team Alpha Male (TAM), continues to make moves.

Faber announced Monday on The MMA Hour that TAM and California-based charter aviation company Mountain Lion Aviation have partnered together on a new sponsorship deal that paves the way for TAM to enjoy a new “discretionary bonus program, training scholarships, funds for coaching salaries, a life skills training curriculum, and career and financial counseling,” along with “complimentary flights for the fighters and their families to attend fights,” according to a press release.

Faber said the deal was brokered with Mountain Lion Aviation chairman Jim Wilkinson and will help the team transition into its next era following TAM’s recent move into a new 21,000 square foot facility in Sacramento.

“[Wilkinson] stepped up big-time with a substantial sponsorship for our team,” Faber said Monday on The MMA Hour, “including salaries for our coaches, which, we’ve always been a self-funded team where the guys pitch in and pay cash to pay for the coaches. Now we’ll be able to staff, put guys on, make them more comfortable so they can be hands-on a lot more, spend more time with the fighters, be more involved and make the scene even better.

“We’ll have a scholarship program now,” Faber continued. “We’ve got a little bit of a recruiting budget and we have guys that we’re trying to pull in and build the team throughout, from 105-pound girls to the heavyweight guys. We’ve been looking to grow the team and make the best team in the world through and through. He’s also incorporating a discretionary bonus system, which has kind of gone away with the new ownership with the UFC. You may end up with a check in your mailbox — that’s the way it used to be with the UFC.

“We’re incorporating something very similar here, and it’s pretty cool. We already had our first round of our established guys getting rewards, which was pretty cool for them and helped out a lot. … And the last part is we have our own aviation partnership now, so private flights for fight-related things, for friends and family and teammates while we’re going across the west coast on the fight scene, so it’s pretty cool.”

Faber said the free flight program has already paid dividends for one fighter on the team: undefeated flyweight prospect Joseph Morales.

“He had his wife that was pregnant with their first baby,” Faber said, “and he’s 22 years old, and it ended up being a massive fight for him, and Jim was like, ‘hey man, let’s get your girl out there and your mom out there,’ and it ended up being a monumental fight for him. He won the fight, he had the baby two weeks later, and his whole family was there to experience it, so it’s been pretty cool, man. It’s a cutting edge thing that we’re working on here, and it’s exciting on a bunch of different [levels].”

Faber said the team’s current sponsorship deal with Mountain Lion Aviation is for one year, but nonetheless is something Faber expects to last moving forward.

“It’s open-ended,” Faber said. “We definitely have a year deal right now with intent to continue beyond, and we have a lot of big things in the making. So, these things that I’m talking about right now are just kinda small potatoes compared to the things that we’re working on, so we’ll have more announcements as those things unfold. But it’s a perfect time. The new gym that we have, we went from an 8,500 square foot facility that’s been kinda rundown over the last 12 years to a 21,000 square foot facility with all the amenities and an Octagon and so many cool things. So it’s a bright, bright future for Team Alpha Male and we’re excited.

“I think [Mountain Lion Aviation’s] got four or five planes on-call now, and we’ll just go through — they call it the Chief Possibilities Manager, who basically helps us structure our flights when we need them. It’ll be getting our fighters, from the top guys to the lower-tiered guys, to their fights across the West coast primarily, and beyond there in a pretty quick fashion.”

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UFC’s Early 2017 Slate Includes PPV Events in Anaheim, Brooklyn and Las Vegas

The Ultimate Fighting Championship’s 2017 itinerary is beginning to take shape, as the Las Vegas-based promotion revealed a handful of events for the upcoming year on “UFC Tonight.”
Recent News on Sherdog.com

UFC’s Early 2017 Slate Includes PPV Events in Anaheim, Brooklyn and Las Vegas

The Ultimate Fighting Championship’s 2017 itinerary is beginning to take shape, as the Las Vegas-based promotion revealed a handful of events for the upcoming year on “UFC Tonight.”
Recent News on Sherdog.com

UFC’s Early 2017 Slate Includes PPV Events in Anaheim, Brooklyn and Las Vegas

The Ultimate Fighting Championship’s 2017 itinerary is beginning to take shape, as the Las Vegas-based promotion revealed a handful of events for the upcoming year on “UFC Tonight.”
Recent News on Sherdog.com

UFC’s Early 2017 Slate Includes PPV Events in Anaheim, Brooklyn and Las Vegas

The Ultimate Fighting Championship’s 2017 itinerary is beginning to take shape, as the Las Vegas-based promotion revealed a handful of events for the upcoming year on “UFC Tonight.”
Recent News on Sherdog.com

Jussier Formiga’s plan to win UFC belt includes not thinking about it

BRASILIA, Brazil — Jussier Formiga once was the No. 1 flyweight in the world, and he changed his approach to the game in order to get back to the top.

Matched up against Dustin Ortiz at UFC Fight Night 95 in Brasilia, Brazil, on Saturday night, the Nova Uniao talent decided to stop thinking about UFC title shots. Coming off a loss to Henry Cejudo in November, a result that gave his opponent a chance for the gold against flyweight kingpin Demetrious Johnson, Formiga won’t discuss title shots anymore.

“This time without fights was great because I had a chance to rethink my career,” Formiga told MMA Fighting. “I got close to fighting for the belt twice, but I have decided to stop thinking about it now. I won’t want to fight with this idea that I have to get through this guy to show something to someone. I want to fight to have fun and do what I do best. Whatever happens, happens. I will get the job done.

“Many people talk about title shots and speculate,” he continued. “When you have a good win, they always ask about the belt. But I have to stop thinking about it. I have to focus on my opponent and do what I do best.”

Even though he’s changed his mind set, Formiga, who holds wins over the likes of Wilson Reis, Zach Makovsky, Scott Jorgensen and Chris Cariaso, admits that not winning a belt in the UFC can change the way he will be seen in the future — and that gets him pumped up again.

“I believe that a fighter’s career is made of highs and lows,” he said. “I dominated the division before the UFC opened the flyweight division, and I want to show everybody I’m one of the best. It will happen naturally. Not being cocky, I know I’m still one of the best, and it will happen naturally. I will get there.”

Formiga had a long time to rethink his career, but his original plan was to compete around June in the United States. However, the Nova Uniao fighter says that the promotion kept postponing his return. In the end, it worked out perfect for him.

“I’ve been training all year for this fight,” Formiga said. “At first, I was going to fight in June, and then they moved it to July in Sioux Falls, and then to September. But I was already training. I helped Jose Aldo in his camp because I’m as tall as Frankie Edgar. When I went back to Natal, that’s when they called me with a date and opponent for my fight, so I returned to Rio for my camp. It was perfect.

“When I’m in Rio to help Aldo, we train more focused. It was a great chance to train the technical aspect of the game outside a camp. Wrestling, boxing, muay thai, and also the chance to do some different sparring during Aldo’s camp. It was a great experience for me.”

Formiga has a positive record when fighting in Brazil, winning three of his four UFC bouts in his native country. Ortiz also has good memories from Brazil, when he successfully made his Octagon debut in Rio de Janeiro by beating Jose Maria Tome via TKO.

At UFC Fight Night 95, Formiga aims to win by any means, and foresees a complicated clash style-wise.

“Dustin has an interesting style,” Formiga said. “He’s not a grappler or a striker, he pretty much does everything, so it’s a good match-up for me. Other fighters might see me as a pure grappler, but I have showed that I can fight in all areas. Dustin stood and fought 15 minutes fight (Joseph) Benavidez, and grappled with (John) Moraga, so you don’t know what to expect from him. Anything can happen.”

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Revamped UFC drug policy includes random year-round testing, two-year suspensions for first-time offenders

The UFC earlier this year teased a significant transformation to its drug testing policy. On Wednesday, that transformation became a reality.

Jeff Novitzy, the UFC’s new Vice President of Athlete Health and Performance, outlined a series of dramatic changes at a press conference in Las Vegas intended to create what he termed “the best anti-doping program in all of professional sports.” The new program, under the leadership of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, is expected to roll out July 1.

The UFC’s entire roster of 500+ fighters will soon be subject to “unannounced, year-round in- and out-of-competition testing,” including both blood and urine testing, “with the possibility of a collection occurring any place, any time, with no notice,” according to Novitzy.

The announcement comes on the heels of the Nevada Athletic Commission’s sweeping series of changes to its own drug testing program, which included a swathe of increased punishments for failed tests. The UFC’s new program emulated a series of similar changes, although there are a few differences. A revamped list of UFC sanctions can be seen below.

“Non-specified substances”

As defined by WADA code: Anabolic steroids, growth hormones, peptides, blood doping drugs and methods (tested for in- and out-of competition):

  • 1st offense: 2 years (with possibility of 4 years for “aggravating circumstances”)
  • 2nd offense: Double the sanction for the 1st offense
  • 3rd offense: Double the sanction for the 2nd offense

“Specified substances”

As defined by WADA code: marijuana, cocaine, other stimulants and glucocorticosteroids (tested for in-competition only):

  • 1st offense: 1 years (with possibility of 2 additional years for “aggravating circumstances”)
  • 2nd offense: Double the sanction for the 1st offense
  • 3rd offense: Double the sanction for the 2nd offense

“Today is a huge win for the athletes in the UFC as they set a new standard for all professional sport in protecting the rights and health of clean athletes and the integrity of competition,” said USADA CEO Travis Tygart.

“The UFC has taken a bold and courageous leap forward for the good of its athletes in developing a comprehensive and cutting edge anti-doping policy expressly modeled on the key elements of the WADA Anti-Doping Program and by having it run by an independent and transparent National Anti-Doping Organization. USADA looks forward to supporting clean athletes in this sport, as in all sport, to achieve success on the playing field fairly and safely.”

The UFC’s announcement fulfills a promise made by the organization following a barrage of positive tests from high-profile fighters in early 2015, included a three-month stretch in which former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, Nick Diaz, and Hector Lombard all tested positive for various substances.

“We are jumping into this issue into a very aggressive manner,” UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta said. “There is the potential that some very high profile fighters, or any fighter on our roster, now has the potential to be caught. There could be major fights that fall out, but we are prepared to deal with that. That’s a consequence that, hopefully it won’t happen, but if it does, then we understand that.

“But I think that at the end of the day, the way this program was structured and the education process and the way it’s going to be rolled out, we’re hopeful that there is a strong enough deterrent aspect to what we are doing here, that is very clear to every athlete on the UFC roster — and even an athlete who potentially believes they will be on the UFC roster in the future — that they cannot use any prohibited substance. And that’s the bottom line.”

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ADCC sets date, location for upcoming event, which includes Matt Hughes vs. Renzo Gracie

The Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championship will return to Brazil in 2015.

The promotion, which made its first trip to Brazil in 2003, returns to Sao Paulo on Aug. 28-30. The original plan was to hold the tournament in Manaus, but the promotion decided to move it to Sao Paulo. ADCC official Elefterios Magiropoulos broke the news to Graciemag.

The last champions are automatically confirmed to compete. Rubens Charles “Cobrinha”, Kron Gracie, Romulo Barral, Joao Assis, Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida, Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu, Michelle Nicolini and Gabi Garcia won gold medals at the 2013 edition in Beijing, China.

“Cyborg” Abreu, who won the absolute division in 2013, will battle Strikeforce veteran and fellow jiu-jitsu wizard Andre Galvao in the ADCC 2015 superfight.

ADCC 2015 will also feature a pair of special superfights, as Renzo Gracie battles Matt Hughes in a 10-minute match, and American Top Team coach Ricardo Liborio meets PRIDE veteran Ze Mario Sperry. In the previous ADCC events, Sperry defeated Renzo Gracie and Alliance head coach Fabio Gurgel.

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Jon Jones’ Fight Prep Includes An Awful Lot of Dancing and Justin Timberlake

I’m not going to judge him because the man is the champ and he knows what works for him, but UFC light-heavyweight king Jon Jones’s preparation for his UFC 182 bout against Daniel Cormier seems to contain an awful lot of dancing and Justin Timberlake. And really, how much is dancing and Justin Timberlake going […]

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