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Midnight Mania! Ngannou Explains Why He Left His Village Without Saying Goodbye

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Francis Ngannou has a true rags-to-riches story, perhaps the most unlikely in the entire Ultimate Fighting Championship. He grew up hauling sand in the mines of his village at age 12 in Cameroon, left home at 22, eventually made his way to France, and found a gym and coach while still homeless wandering the streets of Paris. His coach, also from Cameroon, let him sleep in the gym, seeing potential in the soft-spoken young giant, and the rest is history.

What he recently explained in an interview on Sirius XM makes the story even wilder: he left his village without saying a word to anyone, simply because he couldn’t tell them where he was going!

It wasn’t exciting because I didn’t know where I was going! I didn’t have a map. I couldn’t even tell them goodbye, because when you say, ‘okay, I’m leaving’, the first question is ‘where are you going?’ and I couldn’t tell anybody where I am going, so I couldn’t say goodbye to nobody. I just go visit my family. I stayed with my mom in my village for like three weeks. I was, like, looking at them like sometime like, this might be the last time that I’m seeing them. Because, you know, some people go there and some never come back, they died.

Interviewer: Damn.

Basically I knew that if I tell them, no one will accept that. I always have crazy dream, they always saw me as very ambitious, like over high, and I was like, I’m not gonna tell them, they know that people go there and someone die..

Interviewers: What did you tell them?


Interviewer: You just disappeared?


After the flabbergasted hosts clarified that he really, truly left without saying a word, Ngannou said that his family didn’t know where he was for nearly three weeks.

I left, and after three weeks I called, and they were like, you were scaring us… I was like, no, I’m good, I’m in Morocco…

Ngannou most recently knocked out Cain Velasquez in the main event of the first UFC event on big ESPN, putting him on a two-fight win streak. His victory before that, a lightning finish of Curtis Blaydes, snapped a two-fight losing streak, in which he was outwrestled by Stipe Miocic and then dropped a lackluster decision to Derrick Lewis. His combination of size, athleticism, power, and timing make him a formidable opponent for anyone at heavyweight, and a win over, say, Junior dos Santos, could earn him another shot at the title.


Tony Evinger rocking the boom box

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And that’s how it’s done ppl.. @bumpboxx

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“A” for Alex Oliveira. Nice work by Rune King Gunnar Nelson

What is going on with PFL fighter Will Brooks these days? Just life.

Combat sports this weekend

Slips, Rips, KO Clips

The one good punch Darren Till landed on Stephen Thompson was pretty good

Jorge Masvidal on the backyard circuit

This was funny to me for some reason

The throws by the first kid are fine, but the slam by the second kid is egregious

Then adult version is the same except crazier

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Looks easy enough, why can’t you do it. J/k

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Slow-motion face smash

Random Land

Sleep well, Maniacs! A better tomorrow is always possible. Follow me on Twitter and Facebook @Vorpality

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Donald Cerrone Posts Photo of Visit to Doctor’s Office, Heavily Wrapped Left Arm

Based on image alone, Donald Cerrone’s status for his UFC Fight Night 139 showdown with Mike Perry could be in jeopardy.
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Jon Jones: I Never Left USADA Drug Testing Program

After 9 tests in 2017, Jones has only been tested once in 2018. But according to the former champ, there’s nothing suspicious going on.

Jon Jones’ MMA career remains in a holding pattern as he continues to work on a resolution to a failed USADA drug test in 2017 following his fight with Daniel Cormier. That battle ended with Cormier brutally knocked out, but the result is now listed as a No Contest. But the bigger battle is in trying the ensure any suspension levied by USADA is closer to two years than five.

Jones has stayed pretty mum on that topic, letting his manager field interviews on that topic. That’s probably for the best given the last time he opened his mouth and spoke on the subject. But he recently took to Twitter to clarify another point regarding USADA: whether he was still in the testing pool.

Jon’s continued participation in the USADA drug testing program had been put into doubt last week when fans queried the USADA testing database and noticed Jones hadn’t been tested at all in 2018. Soon after, a single test appeared in Q3 of 2018 for Jones, but people still wondered if he had pulled a Lesnar and removed himself from the pool.

USADA rules specify that anyone removing themselves from the program has to spend six months being tested before returning to the cage. Brock Lesnar was infamously given a waiver to avoid this period the last time he returned for UFC 200, only to test positive for clomiphene (this ended the exception system all together). He then pulled out of the testing regime all together with six months remaining on his drug suspension, freezing it. Now that he’s returned to the pool in anticipation of a fight with Daniel Cormier in 2019, he’s serving both six month periods concurrently.

Smart, but also a bit sketchy. So it’s nice to hear that Jon Jones hasn’t done something similar. Whether it’ll help him convince USADA (or an arbitrator) that he deserves a shorter sentence is unclear.

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Till Returns To Liverpool, Where He Was Stabbed Twice And Left For Dead

Maybe it was this guy?

Who says you can’t go home again?

Local hero and undefeated welterweight up-and-comer Darren Till returns to Liverpool, England for the upcoming UFC Fight Night 130 headliner, held inside Echo Arena on Sun., May 27, 2018, on FOX Sports 1.

Fortunately, Till will have to fight just one man as opposed to 20, something that happened to the not-dumb cunt when he was a “fucking crazy” lad and looking to get his fight fix in the seedy night clubs of Liverpool.

“I was a troubled kid, hanging out with the wrong people, getting into trouble in Liverpool,” Till said. “Got into trouble in a nightclub, this guy comes up and just stabs me twice. I was in the hospital for like a week or two.”

Once he was released, his coach sent him to Brazil to train (sans distractions).

After racking up four wins in five appearances inside the Octagon (with one draw), Till (16-0-1) — who made headlines last fall for wrangling “Cowboy” Cerrone — earned his toughest test to date in the form of Thompson.

“Wonderboy” (14-2-1) was able to punch his way back into the win column with a unanimous decision win over Jorge Masvidal at UFC 217, following a pair of unsuccessful title attempts against reigning division champion Tyron Woodley.

We’re roughly 72 hours from fight night and at this point, we should forget about the weight cut and worry more about Till dying in a knife fight against a killing, fornicating Alpha Male like this guy.

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Midnight Mania! Ben Askren says UFC said they would sign him- until he left Bellator

Bringing you the weird and wild from the world of MMA each and every weeknight

Welcome to Midnight Mania!

This weekend saw the Bellator welterweight title change hands, with Rory Macdonald snatching it from Douglas Lima in a hard-fought bout. Macdonald, with a convincing win on his record over UFC champion Tyron Woodley, has a case for being the best welterweight in the world right now.

He’s not the first Bellator welterweight champion to make that case. For years, Ben Askren claimed that he was the best in the world. Unlike Rory, he never got the chance to test himself against top-flight UFC competition; he left Bellator, hoping to join the UFC, but they famously rebuffed him, refusing to make him an offer. Instead of taking their suggestion he go to the now-defunct World Series of Fighting (WSOF), he went to ONE FC, a top Asian promotion, and finished out his career there.

Recently, however, he went on the JRE to spill the beans on what went wrong- and it’s quite the story. Transcription via BJPenn.com:

So when I was 12-0, I had my last fight in Bellator against Andrey Koreshkov on July 30, maybe 31, of 2013 and I beat him up pretty good. I had a 12-month matching period, so what was expressed to me by the UFC brass was that you need to get out of your matching clause and we will make you an offer, but, we won’t make you an offer until that happens. So I called Bjorn [Rebney] and I said ‘Hey Bjorn, I’m not going to re-sign, let me go. Bjorn had a terrible reputation, but I never had a problem with him, we never butted heads too bad. Anyway, I said Bjorn, I don’t want to come back, but people say that they didn’t want me back, but that’s not true at all, but every day, I was like ‘Bjorn let me go, Bjorn let me go,’ and I love challenges. There’s nothing more in the world that I love than a challenge. Go through my wrestling career, it’s what I’m all about, taking the next best single thing every time. So all this time, Dana and the UFC are saying ‘We want Ben Askren. We want Ben Askren.’ I’m ranked number 7 in the world and 12-0 and so, I was going to the Asian store because I was going to make some Tom Kah soup and Bjorn called me and said ‘You’re released. You’re released, you can go.’ I said, ‘I appreciate that.

But that’s where things went wrong.

So Friday morning I go, it’s in November some time, mid-November. So they fax over the release and my manager faxes it over to UFC headquarters and in the afternoon, there’s a media scrum where one of the questions was asked about me and Dana [White] said ‘we aren’t interested in Ben Askren,’ and I was like wait, what’s just happened there because for the last three months they were saying they were interested. Now I finally produce this full release from Bellator which was a miracle that I got, and now they aren’t interested. So I was like, wow, I just got caught in the middle of this.

I was like f’ that and I bought a plane ticket to Vegas for Monday. I was like fuck that, I’m not taking this shit, I’m going to Vegas. So on the Monday, I fly out to Las Vegas to the UFC headquarters and I sit with Lorenzo [Fertitta] and Dana is on the speakerphone. They offered me a Zuffa contract, but it would be confidential and that I would have to fight one fight for World Series Of Fighting, which was like, that’s bizarre. I think the old relationship between the old WSOF and UFC was pretty hazy, but people went the other way right. Like Andrei Arlovski got dropped into World Series, Anthony Johnson, boom, all these people. So they said one fight in WSOF and Zuffa will pay you, but you do one fight. So that was f’d up, but OK. I don’t think they thought I was going to go for it, but I said I’d do it. So I leave, and about six hours later and I got a phone call saying that deal is no longer available, we aren’t’ going to make you an offer. So, wow.

Ben Askren isn’t sure exactly why Dana White didn’t want to sign him. It certainly colored his perception of the man, who he recently called an “insecure scumbag”.

Here’s my guess and I never got to sit face-to-face and say what was your problem with me. There are four things in my mind. Number one, he didn’t really like me, stemming from the, I called him out on the steroid thing where he said it’s impossible to test all UFC athletes. I said that’s not true because USADA does it all over the world for all sorts of sports. You can do it, but it’s just expensive so let’s just call it what it is. They do it now and I was correct, but when Dana is wrong in an argument, and he’s got this huge army that following him and I think his quote was, ‘I’d rather watch flys fuck than Ben Asken fight.’ So the personal attacks started and that’s number one.

Number two, my fighting style isn’t highly attractive. I also think that’s a little bit of fake news because if you look at Georges St-Pierre, consistently, now [Conor] McGregor has trumped him, but if you look on a consistent basis Georges has been the biggest draw. He heavily relied upon takedowns and ground and pound.

Three I think they wanted to take a key piece from Bellator. Four, I think they really believed I could be their champion and having a champion from Bellator transition right into the UFC and become champion, remember Bellator was going to Spike around now, and Bellator could’ve used that to say they’re the same.

Ben Askren says he can theorize all day, but he doesn’t know because he’s never had the chance to ask Dana about it.

I’ve never had the chance to sit down with Dana and ask why there was no offer. You know when like Anthony Pettis was the champ and I’m helping coach him and I think Tyron was, I’ve never had more than five words with Dana in passing right and so it would be really interesting for me to sit down and talk and say ‘tell me for real.’ I’ve got my assumptions on what the deal was, but I don’t really know.

If I had to have number five, I think he got the idea that I’d never be a ‘yes man’. I’m not going to be, I’m never going to be. He likes the ‘yes man’ champion. He’s got some heat with Tyron, he’s got some heat with Stipe as we saw on Saturday night. Dana really struggles with the personalities that won’t cater to what he wants to happen.”

Askren says he would be willing to return, but only for a fight that would prove he is the best in the world. He has frequently picked on Rory Macdonald in the past- could Bellator’s new champion be the catalyst for the Funky One’s return?


Rory Macdonald’s victory at Bellator 192 wasn’t easy.

Accurate bobblehead

Rory loved it.

So pumped on this, @plasticcell did an amazing job #art

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His leg was all messed up

“it hurts but it will fade” is one of the phrases which make Rory… different.

Bruce Buffer always has a great view- in this case Francis Ngannou coming in hot at Stipe Miocic.

@brucebufferufc with the best seat in the house

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I like this version of the Fedor meme

Dana put all his Ngannous in one basket

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The Miocic family have their priorities straight

Dan Henderson wrestling like this is a LONG time ago.

Good lil throwback

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Tony Ferguson loves weird jiu-jitsu, and this is beyond weird- and looks incredibly painful.

Demetrious Johnson hurt his shoulder on his Twitch stream- the best part of this is a UFC champion asking “why do they have to do it so violently??”

Michael Venom Page isn’t remotely bothered by Paul Daley’s bitter criticism of Bellator’s handling of his career.

Small dogs sometimes know no fear.


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Derrick Lewis is Always Online, so he never misses classics like this:

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Or knockouts like this:

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Max Holloway with his finger on the pulse of martial arts in pop culture

Chael Sonnen outwrestled a very overweight Rampage in the main event of Bellator 192 and acted like he had really accomplished a feat. I guess he did: he earned a cool 300K, just like Rampage.

Volkan Oezdemir was instantly focused on learning from his loss to Daniel Cormier this weekend- a good sign for him moving forward

This real-life spinning elbow turned out to be a fantastic sucker-punch… er… sucker-bow.

Rose Namajunas came by her skills honestly

#tbt when I’d get ribbed for being a #martialartist #whatevs

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Tara LaRosa finally fought that internet troll… sort of. They rolled, and it was underwhelming, to say the least. He gassed quickly, and she tapped him a couple times.

Tara LaRosa vs Kris Zylinski (Internet Troll)

#Rolljunkie #McDojoLife

Posted by Mcdojolife on Monday, January 22, 2018

Podcasts and Video

UFC 220 Highlights! Follow MMA Mania on Youtube

The MMA Hour

Jack Slack’s Fights Gone By with the overly harsh take on Francis Ngannou

The Severe MMA podcast

The Co-Main Event podcast

Random Land

Nice blade

Check out this shot

Stay woke, Maniacs! Follow me on Twitter and Facebook @Vorpality

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Midnight Mania! Oluwale Bamgbose announces he has left UFC, curses Dana White

Bringing you the weird and wild from the world of MMA each and every weeknight

Welcome to Midnight Mania!

Despite having a name that frustrates me (why is there an “M” before the g?? Why isn’t it an “N”? How do I pronounce that??) Oluwale Bamgbose has become a fighter I greatly appreciate. Anyone who reads this column regularly should know that the UFC paying their fighters shit wages is one of the issues I’m most angered by, most frequently.

In a sense, the UFC is a perfect embodiment of our current system of third wave capitalism: a huge monopolistic corporation, in heavy debt due to being bought out by private equity with no care for the long-term health of the sport. Their previous owners didn’t care either, because they knew they were getting out. Everything else is a symptom of this short-term vision: shrinking audience, skeletal staff at UFC HQ, the devaluing of title belts through endless interim title fights, champions sensing this and begging for “superfights”, money fights, and boxing matches; over-reliance on the lucky emergence of a couple superstars who masked the overall trends, the destructive Reebok deal, and the loss of long-term fans. These fans sense the soul of the sport they came to love has long since died, and it’s remnants are being sucked out piecemeal, for as many dollars as the absentee owners can wring.

Chief among these ills is the long-standing issue of fighter pay: professional athletes are independent contractors who are doled out the very least the UFC can afford, somewhere in the region of 15% of gross revenue. For comparison, sports with unions, like basketball and football, see their athletes get paid 50% of gross revenue to take their long-term brain damage. There is no collective bargaining. The UFC takes advantage of the fact that fighters, like many of us in our respective lives, are often insanely over-optimistic about their chances of making it to the coveted belt. Of the hundreds on the roster, only a few will ever even fight for a belt, much less win one.

There is a silver lining. When I spoke to Jon Fitch about the ongoing anti-trust lawsuit against the UFC, he said a potential payout would benefit all fighters who have fought for the UFC since 2012. The Muhammad Ali Expansion Act is gaining more cosponsors by the year, which could very well result in legal challenges to the UFC’s system. The very fact that the UFC was sold for over 4.2 billion dollars, yet the fighters remain mired in 10K/show 10K/win contracts has opened a lot of eyes. Bellator is a distant second to the UFC in terms of market share, but some fighters have successfully moved there to make a living; or, in Ben Askren’s case, to ONE FC. Local organizations like Cage Warriors and Rizin are not the big show, but for some athletes they are a viable way to get paid.

But back to Bamgbose. He is fed up with the way the UFC treated him, and gave the middle finger to his boss on the way out the door. To be clear, he was cut, but he is evidently happy to go. He fought injured in his last fight and turned in a poor performance, which led to a lot of fan criticism. That’s another constant feature of the modern world: because many of us aren’t able to live the lives we wish, we respond by allying with the billionaire owners of capital instead of the exploited underdog. By pretending we are the real owners, we live our aspirations vicariously online through our partisanship. We are like Dana White, bosses in our own right, never mind that most of us will never set foot on a private yacht or jet, much less own four of them. This is enhanced by the idiosyncratic exposure MMA fighters have to us, the fans: they get a LOT of personal hate online for any poor performance, from people they would destroy on the street. (Don’t get me wrong, I criticize fighters plenty. That’s my prerogative as a fan. I just never tag them in my tweets. They don’t, and shouldn’t, care what I think.)

Bamgbose laid out the long-term issues with low fighter pay: It erodes the fighters’ ability and desire to compete when they aren’t meeting basic needs. Paying fighters pauper wages inconsistent with their standing as professional athletes is fundamentally a strategy to enhance short-term profit, not long-term growth.

And to the endless stream of fans who had something negative to say:

Other fighters responded with hope and solidarity:

Gerald Harris echoed Bamgbose’s thoughts:


This is an important thing we missed…

Image credit: Jason Nawara

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Speaking of things that come out months later…

Whoever was running the UFC account didn’t actually read Angela’s tweet:

Cormier sweats like a… I never have a good analogy for someone who sweats a lot. Like the Atlantic Ocean.

Sean O’Malley vs. Andre Soukhamthath should be a great fight:

Belal Muhammad responded to James Vick’s “I wanted that fight” tweet with an “I wanted that fight too so let’s fight instead” tweet.

So this is an interesting training tool

Kamaru Usman is training his wrestling with Bellator lightweight Michael Chandler

Mackenzie Dern

Paddy Pimblett called out the ACB League for being used as a tool to promote dictator Ramzan Kadyrov:

Good Reads and Quick Hits:

Podcasts and Video

Holly Holm’s left high kick explained! Follow MMA Mania on Youtube for more

The Promotional Malpractice Live Chat:

Best of the MMA Hour 2017:

Stay woke, Maniacs! Follow me on Twitter and Facebook @Vorpality

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UFC on FOX 26 Primer: What’s Left for Robbie Lawler?

UFC 37, in Bossier City, Louisiana. That was when Robbie Lawler first stepped into the Octagon. (I was there. It was awesome.) Since then, he’s had some ups and downs, and some more ups and downs, and in the span of 13 years was a late-career welterweight champ. That’s a lot to have accomplished – so […]

The post UFC on FOX 26 Primer: What’s Left for Robbie Lawler? appeared first on Caged Insider.

Caged Insider

UFC on FOX 26 Primer: What’s Left for Robbie Lawler?

UFC 37, in Bossier City, Louisiana. That was when Robbie Lawler first stepped into the Octagon. (I was there. It was awesome.) Since then, he’s had some ups and downs, and some more ups and downs, and in the span of 13 years was a late-career welterweight champ. That’s a lot to have accomplished – so […]

The post UFC on FOX 26 Primer: What’s Left for Robbie Lawler? appeared first on Caged Insider.

Caged Insider

‘TUF 26’ Finale Medical Suspensions: Sean O’Malley Faces 180-Day Sit For Busted Left Foot, Hand

Undefeated bantamweight prospect Sean O’Malley may have a bright future in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, but before he returns to the Octagon, he’ll need to tend to his left foot and hand.
Recent News on Sherdog.com

‘TUF 26’ Finale Medical Suspensions: Sean O’Malley Faces 180-Day Sit For Busted Left Foot, Hand

Undefeated bantamweight prospect Sean O’Malley may have a bright future in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, but before he returns to the Octagon, he’ll need to tend to his left foot and hand.
Recent News on Sherdog.com