Tag Archive for Negotiations

Conor McGregor Says That He’s Currently in ‘Contract Negotiations’ for Next UFC Bout

His manager has already said that a showdown with Tony Ferguson is ”inevitable,” and now Conor McGregor himself is hinting that a lightweight championship unification bout is on the horizon.
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Dana White on Mayweather-McGregor Negotiations: We Just Lost Our Date to ‘Canelo’ and ‘GGG’

Surprise, surprise: there’s now another hurdle standing in the way of a proposed Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor showdown.
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Acting as his own manager, Misha Cirkunov details roller-coaster contract negotiations with UFC

Misha Cirkunov is one again under UFC contract, having re-signed a deal with the promotion earlier this month. However, the road was not a smooth as he expected.

Cirkunov, a 30-year-old who is widely considered to be one of the most promising up-and-comers in the light heavyweight division, saw his negotiations hit the public eye in February when UFC president Dana White criticized Cirkunov for “flaking out” on a new deal with the organization. White added that the UFC was “not interested” in Cirkunov any longer and indicated that the 205-pounder was free to look elsewhere for employment.

Ultimately, the two sides came together on a new contract just weeks after White’s statements, but nonetheless, Cirkunov — a fighter who does not employ a manager and instead negotiated the deal himself — remains puzzled about his boss’ words.

“Honestly, I don’t really understand what ‘flake’ means, because I never really flake on anything,” Cirkunov said Monday on The MMA Hour. “If I say I’m going to show up, I always show up. If I say I’m going to do something, I’m going to do something. We were negotiating the contract, and I guess maybe I didn’t get back as fast as I should’ve, or I don’t know; I don’t know exactly why I kinda pissed off Dana, but I obviously don’t want to be on his bad side, because we all knew things can turn kinda south — or north, however you want to look at it — really quick, so I’m just happy that we had a really nice chat with (UFC matchmaker) Mick Maynard.

“We chatted for 15 or 20 minutes and then we came to an agreement. I’m just happy that it was easy to talk to him, because with Dana, it’s a little bit nerve-wracking talking with him, because you say something he doesn’t like and all of a sudden, I thought we were buddies and next thing, maybe we’re not buddies. I don’t know. I’m just happy that there’s a matchmaker, Mick Maynard, and I can just deal with him, and Dana, I can show him great fights.”

Cirkunov (13-2) said he chooses not to employ a manager because he has yet to find one that brings something worthwhile to the table. He explained that he used a manger once in the past, but ultimately he felt as though he wasn’t getting enough out of the relationship to justify the expense.

Cirkunov also repeatedly credited new UFC matchmaker Mick Maynard for helping to restart negotiations with the UFC after White’s public salvo.

“I e-mailed Mick and then he called me and we had a nice chat,” Cirkunov said. “I always wanted to fight in the UFC, I just asked for maybe a little bit more money, and I guess Dana got pissed off at that. It’s not a big deal. I’m just happy that everything kinda got smoothed out and there’s no kinda bad feelings.

“It was a little bit nerve-wracking couple of weeks, just in terms of when they said I flaked out and everything, because I knew I didn’t. And it was kinda like for two weeks I didn’t have a job. … I want to fight and there’s a lot of great up-and-comers at the 205 division now, and I don’t want to be wasting time. I don’t want to be taking a long, long break. I want to always in action, and not fighting for awhile, you can get rusty. So I don’t want to get rusty. I want be in the mix.”

With the ink dried on his new UFC contract, Cirkunov isn’t wasting any time. He is slated to face No. 8-ranked light heavyweight Volkan Oezdemir on May 28 at UFC Fight Night 109 in Stockholm, Sweden. The UFC announced the bout Monday, and Cirkunov said he is content to simply get back on track under the terms of his new deal.

“It’s a nice deal,” Cirkunov said. “It’s a six-fight deal, a bunch of fights, and I’m happy. I’m happy to be part of the show. I’ve been getting a couple of other deals (offered), but I was not able to look into joining any other shows or anything. Like I said, I wanted some time, some air to clear out, and then just to talk with the UFC. I already put in four good performances and I just want to keep that going and just be part of the most respected show.”

Cirkunov added that he has not spoken with White about his comments since re-signing with the UFC.

“It’s nothing personal with Dana,” Cirkunov said. “I know he’s like a great businessman and all of that. It’s just, in my case, I think it’s a little bit easier for me to deal with Mick Maynard, because with Dana, sometimes he’s a little bit harsh in a way. I don’t want to be burning bridges with him, especially because I’m negotiating for Misha Cirkunov as a manager. So it’s kind of just a weird situation, and I’m just happy all of that has passed. Now it’s kinda like, oh, I have to concentrate just on the fights themselves and that’s kinda how I feel.”

Considering the dearth of viable prospects rising up the ranks at 205 pounds, Cirkunov could be in prime position for a big fight with a win at UFC Fight Night 109. The Toronto resident is a perfect 4-0 inside the Octagon, with a highlight reel of impressive finishes over Daniel Jolly, Alex Nicholson, Ion Cutelaba, and Nikita Krylov. One more victory over Oezdemir and Cirkunov may very well be in line for a shot against one of the division’s best.

But that is a conversation to be had after UFC Fight Night 109. For now, Cirkunov is just looking forward to being back in the mix and putting this chapter of his career behind him.

“I got a little bit more (money than the UFC initially offered), closer to kinda what I wanted,” Cirkunov said. “So, I think things worked out for me. Of course, you can always get something better and better and better. But given the position that I was in, and the things that I’ve done, I think it was a fair deal and I’m happy with it. And now I can leave all that behind and just kinda concentrate on just fighting.”

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Ray Borg expects good leverage in UFC contract negotiations with win over Jussier Formiga

FORTALEZA — Ray Borg responds to Jussier Formiga’s bold predictions before UFC Fight Night 106, talks about how a win over a top-five flyweight will help him in his UFC contract negotiations, and more.

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UFC renewed negotiations with Georges St-Pierre the night after he announced MMAAA

If you can’t beat ‘em, sign ‘em.

After several months of phone tag, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) stopped negotiating with former welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, who was hoping to make his Octagon return for a Michael Bisping “super fight” in Toronto.

Now, suddenly out of the blue, UFC is interested again.

Probably because St-Pierre joined former Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney in the announcement of the Mixed Martial Arts Athletes Association (MMAAA), alongside fellow ex-champion Cain Velasquez and TJ Dillashaw, among others.

The goal is to procure a massive settlement from UFC.

“The night that we launched the association we received a letter,” St-Pierre told TSN (via MMA Fighting). “Rodolphe [Beaulieu] received a letter – my agent – from the UFC lawyer saying that they want to renew the negotiation with me because at the point where I was before the negotiation, the communication was cut. So we didn’t have any kind of communication.”‘

Can’t blame the “scumbag” for that.

St-Pierre — whose last appearance inside the Octagon was a split decision win over Johny Hendricks in Nov. 2013 — was admittedly on a positive path toward a comeback. But, then UFC sold to WME | IMG for $ 4 billion over the summer and negotiations stalled.

Nothing like the threat of a fighter’s association to get them going again.

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Morning Report: Georges St-Pierre back in negotiations with the UFC about returning to fight

Georges St-Pierre has had himself a busy two weeks. First, he announced he was teaming up with Bjorn Rebney, Cain Velasquez, Tim Kennedy, T.J. Dillashaw, and (maybe?) Donald Cerrone to form the MMA Athletes Association (MMAAA). And now he says he’s back in talks with the UFC to negotiate his return to the cage.

In a recent interview with TSN, St-Pierre reaffirmed that his intention was still to fight again and that the UFC reached back out to him on the day he announced the formation of the MMAAA.

“No, no it doesn’t mean I’m done with the UFC. Like other members, like Cain Velasquez, Tim Kennedy, Cowboy Cerrone, they’re all seasoned fighters. Doesn’t mean I’m done. Actually, the night that we launched the association we received a letter, Rodolphe [Beaulieu] received a letter – my agent – from the UFC lawyer saying that they want to renew the negotiation with me because at the point where I was before the negotiation, the communication was cut. So we didn’t have any kind of communication.”

St-Pierre has been vocal about his intent to return the UFC for many months and was hoping to fight on UFC 206 this weekend in Toronto, even enrolling in the USADA testing program back in August to ensure his eligibility to fight. But when his team and the UFC couldn’t reach a satisfactory agreement for his return, the talks died and GSP was left in limbo. St-Pierre says that even a few weeks ago he still thought he might sneak onto the card and  was training in preparation but the call never came, not even when Daniel Cormier withdrew from the main event due to injury causing a minor seismic shift in the MMA world.

Cormier’s injury forced the UFC to promote the co-main event – a featherweight scrap between Max Holloway and former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis – to the main event and, as a corollary, to strip Conor McGregor of his featherweight belt so they could make that fight for an interim belt (ostensibly to increase visibility and marketing for a now floundering event) and promote current interim featherweight champion Jose Aldo to undisputed champion. And according to him, St-Pierre was never considered as an alternate option to that ordeal despite being ready to go.

“The thing is, I was training until a very recent point. I was fighting, I was training to get ready for a fight in Toronto. I really thought it would have worked out and in case someone got hurt, they would have maybe called me or I thought maybe they would have called me at the last minute, just to take me off guard. I didn’t know. But one or two weeks ago I pulled the plug, I knew it was not happening.

“I was hoping earlier to get on the card for Toronto but it’s not happening and now I guess they’ll keep talking and we’ll see if they can come to an agreement. Same story as before but now I have more options. I’m [a] free agent. I don’t have to be in the UFC. I could go somewhere else.”

The UFC disputes St-Pierre’s claim, saying he’s still under contract and that it “reserves its rights under the law” to have him honor the contract. The UFC seems to want to retain St-Pierre under his old contract from before his retirement three years ago and St-Pierre maintains the offer by the UFC is unfair strong-arming. The two parties being at loggerheads is even keeping St-Pierre from attending the event in Toronto to support his teammates fighting on the card.

“I will not be there but I remain a big fan. I’m gonna watch some of my teammates fighting on TV from my home but I won’t be there unfortunately. I wish I would have been there. The best place would be in the cage. I was hoping to get it done against Michael Bisping and he was hoping it too but unfortunately the conditions that they were offering me for the contract were unacceptable. Any smart person would not have accepted it. A person who would have accepted it is scared and has no choice but I’m healthy, I’m wealthy, I have the choice. I don’t have to take something that is not advantageous for me. I mean equitable. Because now I was taking all the risk and it was not equitable.”

To further complicate matters, St-Pierre says he’s not just negotiating for himself anymore, but for all the fighters. As the most famous member of the MMAAA, everything St-Pierre does will carry with it deeper connotations. It seems likely that St-Pierre will be even more incentivized to get his “fair share” meaning the UFC likely won’t be a fan of losing that extra equity. However these new negotiations play out though, St-Pierre says he’s okay with it because to accept lesser would be hypocritical and wouldn’t help the fighters that he’s ultimately trying to fight for.

“Who or what kind of person would I be if I’m taking a fight under conditions that are not equitable and I’m fighting for the other person that is trying to make their condition of work better. So if I do something, it’s smart to do it for myself first and then I try to do it for the other person. That’s my mentality.

“The truth is, I’ve met a lot of guys that when they finish their career they’re broken physically, mentally, financially and they have a family to feed and they have no insurance to care [for them]. This is unacceptable and that’s what we’re fighting for. I’m an exception because I’m very lucky. Even though I didn’t really have my fair share I ended up healthy and wealthy which is very rare in this business. Trust me, it is very rare. And I’m very happy, I feel very blessed to be in this situation and be able to fight for these guys that don’t have the same condition.”

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MUST-READ STORIES

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Gassing. Ronda Rousey says Amanda Nunes is predicting a first round KO because she “gasses in the second round.”

Fight the power. Conor McGregor is challenging his Nevada commission sanctions in court.

C&A. The MMAAA responds to a cease and desist letter from lawyers in UFC anti-trust case.

Uncle Dana called. Donald Cerrone eases back on his MMAAA relationship.

Bully beatdown. Matt Brown calls Donald Cerrone a “bully” and vows to “expose the that truth out of him.”

Technically. Anthony Pettis says Jose Aldo is the featherweight champion due to a “technicality.”

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MEDIA STEW

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Ronda’s new promo.

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Ronda looks friggin’ jacked.

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Look at Tom Duquesnoy go all fruit ninja in super slo-mo.

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He’s not wrong.

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Fitch getting active with his video game. Can’t speak to validity.

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LISTEN UP

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Heavy Hands.

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Fights Gone By.

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Show the Art.

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TWEETS

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Taking a title is “doing nothing.”

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Sad day for MMA.

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Damn Carlos.

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Lol.

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In case y’all want to know my mindset

A photo posted by Donald Cerrone (@cowboycerrone) on 

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It did though.

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

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Ed Ruth (1-0) vs. Emanuele Palombi (5-2)Bellator 168, December 10.

Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger (6-3) vs. Nina Ansaroff (6-5); UFC Fight Night Phoenix, January 15.

Raphael Assuncao (23-5) vs. Aljamain Sterling (12-1); UFC on Fox 23, January 28.

Glover Teixeira (25-5) vs. Jared Cannonier (9-1)UFC 208, February 11.

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TODAY IN MMA HISTORY

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2006: Gina Carano made her Strikeforce debut, winning a unanimous decision over Elaina Maxwell at Strikeforce: Triple Threat.

2007: Roger Huerta submitted Clay Guida in the 2007 Fight of the Year at The Ultimate Fighter 6 Finale.

2012: Ben Henderson successfully defended his UFC lightweight championship, winning a unanimous decision over Nate Diaz at UFC on Fox 5.

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FINAL THOUGHTS

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I’m now going to say that we never see GSP back in the octagon. Whatever terms he believes to be fair, the UFC surely won’t agree to.

Almost time for a big fight weekend, y’all. See you tomorrow.

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If you find something you’d like to see in the Morning Report, just hit me up on Twitter @JedKMeshew and let me know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram and add us on Snapchat at MMA-Fighting because we post dope things and you should enjoy them.

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Coach: Khabib Nurmagomedov ‘used as a pawn’ in UFC’s negotiations with Conor McGregor

Maybe this guy was right after all?

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) expected to pay a pretty penny for the services of Conor McGregor, who will headline the UFC 205 pay-per-view (PPV) event against Eddie Alvarez a week from Saturday night (Nov. 12, 2016) in New York City.

Unless, of course, there was certain Dagestani variable thrown into the mix.

Prior to signing on the dotted line, “Notorious” had stiff competition from No. 1 ranked contender Khabib Nurmagomedov, who not only signed a contract to fight Alvarez at UFC 205, but also at 206 should the lightweight champ not be ready in time for the “Big Apple” bash.

Not surprisingly, American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) head coach Javier Mendez has a problem with that sort of bait-and-switch.

“By all rights, people want to see Conor fight, no problem,” Mendez told Champions.co (via MMA Junkie). “But don’t give a guy a contract if you’re not intending to give him a fight.”

See a copy of both contracts here.

“I was disappointed,” he continued. “Not disappointed that (Conor) got the title shot, just disappointed that Khabib was used as a pawn, in my opinion. Why give a guy a contract to fight and actually not give him the fight?”

Because it’s cheaper that way!

With his title fight off the table, Nurmagomedov (23-0) was rebooked to throw hands against No. 6-ranked Michael Johnson, who flies with “The Eagle” inside Madison Square Garden.

To see who else is fighting at UFC 205: “Alvarez vs. McGregor” click here.

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Luke Rockhold details recent UFC contract negotiations, says ‘these guys are trying to keep you down’

After revealing that contract negotiations for his next fight weren’t going so smoothly with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) brass, nobody knew for sure when former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold would make his return to the Octagon following his UFC 199 title loss to Michael Bisping. Rockhold even acknowledged that a budding modeling career could keep him away from action even longer.

But like the true fighter he is, Rockhold decided to sign the dotted line for a comeback fight opposite Ronaldo Souza at UFC 101 on Nov. 27 from Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia. The two met once before for the Strikeforce title back in 2011, which saw Rockhold win a unanimous decision. According to Rockhold, he had to fight UFC tooth-and-nail for every penny he thought he was worth.

“They restructured the deal for the time being, and so we got a new contract,” said Rockhold during a recent appearance on Extra Rounds podcast (transcribed by MMA Fighting). “We got a new contract upping the money, and we got the right fight so I think this will be the best fight for me right now to get me back to the title. I think we’re clearly the best two guys in the division, so this will solidify myself to going back and getting my gold back.”

The former 185-pound champion further detailed his previous contract with UFC and why it’s important to get as much money as possible for his violent services.

“I signed my contract with the UFC back before I fought Machida,” explained Rockhold. “I had confidence in myself to win the title and I thought that I’d find myself in a better situation but the contract fell back – before I was able to restructure it – to a place where I wasn’t really happy with it. Seeing what I fell back to and knowing what I’ve accomplished and my credibility in the sport, I wasn’t happy with what they were offering. It’s gonna take more than that to get me to fight. I’ve got other avenues outside the sport, and I’m not gonna go fight when it’s not worth it. I gotta get my due, I’ve gotta get my worth. No matter how much I love fight, and what I’m doing out here, I need to get f*cking paid.”

With guys like Conor McGregor making millions per appearance and inexperienced circus attractions like CM Punk raking in $ 500,000 for his first professional mixed martial arts (MMA) bout, other fighters have begun to voice their need for more money. Current UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson joined the list when he recently demanded $ 2 million for a superfight with bantamweight king Dominick Cruz.

“I think we’re in a transition period,” added Rockhold. “I think there’s definitely positive change in the sport and people are starting to realize it’s about leverage in the right situation and understanding your worth… These guys are trying to keep you down on these paychecks, keep you hungry, keep you needing more.”

While MMA fans are happy that one of the best middleweights in the world will make another appearance in 2016, it wasn’t easy for Rockhold to pull the trigger. Unfortunately for UFC and the hand that writes the checks, Rockhold won’t be the last fighter to demand his presumed worth.

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Georges St-Pierre: ‘At one point, I’ll have to make a choice’ if UFC negotiations stall

LOS ANGELES — The discussions between the UFC and Georges St-Pierre’s team might be at an impasse, per GSP.

St-Pierre told MMA Fighting on Wednesday night at the “Kickboxer: Vengeance” premiere in Westwood that his agents attempted to reach out to WME-IMG, the UFC’s new owners, to talk about his contract this week, but they failed. GSP said the two sides were supposed to talk Tuesday, but it didn’t go down as planned.

“We wanted to get in touch,” St-Pierre said. “They were supposed to talk yesterday, but they couldn’t reach them. Something happened. They’re supposed to reach them. They’re unreachable now.”

GSP, 35, has repeatedly stated his desire to come back to fight in the UFC again after three years away. He even enrolled in the USADA drug-testing program Aug. 10, which would put a potential comeback fight in line for UFC 206 on Dec. 10 in Toronto. GSP, the greatest welterweight fighter of all time, wants to fight in his hometown of Canada — against either Tyron Woodley or Nick Diaz — and he has traditionally been a massive draw in Toronto.

In a statement to MMA Fighting, UFC senior vice president of public relations Dave Sholler intimated that there was no such deadlock in negotiations between St-Pierre and the UFC and WME-IMG.

“Dialogue between GSP’s management and UFC officials is ongoing,” Sholler said.

St-Pierre, though, seems frustrated by the way things are going. He has said that he has made “reasonable” requests to the UFC regarding a new contract. It might be taking longer to work out than he hoped. GSP told MMA Fighting that he has turned down multiple other opportunities — in movies and otherwise — in order to stay in the gym training for a return.

“We’ll see,” St-Pierre said. “I’ve refused a lot of projects because of this. At one point, I’ll have to make a choice.

“I want to stay sharp. I want to stay in shape. It’s either you go in movies or you go in fighting. You have to do one good.”

Part of the hangup, St-Pierre said, has to do with the UFC’s apparel deal with Reebok, which was not in place when St-Pierre stepped away and vacated his welterweight title in 2013. Many fighters lost of a lot of sponsorship money when the UFC and Reebok partnered together. Previously, fighters could wear the logos of their sponsors in the Octagon; now, they can only wear Reebok.

“It’s a lot of the Reebok deal, but it’s also other things, too,” St-Pierre said. “The Reebok deal is part of it and it changed a lot of the infrastructure of the contract. This is not my fight. This is my manager’s fight.”

St-Pierre is represented by Creative Artists Agency (CAA), a Hollywood firm that is a direct rival to WME-IMG. It’s unclear whether that has anything to do with the discussions. In an interview with MMA Fighting last week, GSP was confident that the rivalry between the two companies would not pose a threat to his comeback.

“Conflict is sometimes good,” St-Pierre said. “It raises the bar. It’s a good thing. Some people might not like what I have to say, but I think it’s good.”

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UFC Quick Quote: Joseph Benavidez says Henry Cejudo got a little ‘picky’ in fight negotiations

The Team Alpha Male-trained product was willing, but Cejudo didn’t have the time.

“I’m not upset that he said he didn’t want to fight me. It’s the fact he said he wanted to fight me, and then when the opportunity came up, he didn’t want to. I say ‘Sept. 5,’ and he says ‘not at that point.’ So if you say you want to fight somebody, you don’t pick the date, too. You say you want to fight someone, you don’t say, ‘Oh, I didn’t mean that day,’ so then it’s like, ‘I’ll fight him Oct. 3.’ And we waited awhile, and then he said ‘I’m not going to be ready for that one, either.”

– There have been grumblings over recent months concerning a potential clash of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Flyweight standouts and Mexican-American wrestlers Joseph Benavidez and Henry Cejudo. However, that didn’t happen as the pair were booked for bouts at UFC 192 and UFC Fight Night 78, respectively; however, “Joe-Jitsu” recently cleared the air on what happened during negotiations and whether or not he was upset at not getting a crack at the Olympic gold medalist (via MMAFighting). Benavidez — a winner of four straight — recently defeated former 125-pound title challenger Ali Baugatinov at UFC 192 (details). Meanwhile, “The Messenger” faces off with No. 3-ranked Jussier Formiga in Monterrey, Mexico, on Nov. 21, 2015.

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