Is this China's best hope for a UFC title?
In the span of seven months, Zhang Weili, 29, has gone from a virtual unknown to a top-10 ranked fighter. Don’t call 'Magnum' the best mixed martial artist in China; she’s too humble and too self-aware for hyperbole. But she may just be the mainland’s best bet to become China’s first UFC world champion. While her male countrymen struggle to break through their weight classes, she has uniquely risen to become one of UFC's top-ranked fighters. A student of Sanda and wrestling since the age of six, it was only after she saw a debuting Ronda Rouse in 2013, that Zhang threw herself into MMA training full-force, training at the lesser-known Black Tiger Fight Club in Beijing, where she learns under head coach Cai Xuejun and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu coach Pedro Jordao. She entered the UFC having won 14 fights in two years, and is now managed by Brian Butler-Au, CEO of SuckerPunch Entertainment. After a successful stint at the UFC PI, she would like to see the outside world train in China, too: “I believe every martial art has its own advantages, [From learning] wushu, UFC athletes can have a new understanding of the benefits of hard work and force in their MMA game.” h/t RADIIChina
UFC 236 Embedded, Episode 2 - It begins
T.J. Dillashaw receives 2 year suspension from USADA
USADA, which too often catches fighters with trace elements from Chinese or Mexican steak, or tainted OTC supplements, or getting an IV without asking, has got one right. Former UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw has accepted a 2 year suspension after testing positive for EPO, specifically recombinant human erythropoietin (rHuEPO). This is a snake at the highest levels of the sport getting caught. The suspension retroactively began on January 18, 2019, the sample collection date. The New York State Athletic Commission, which regulated UFC on ESPN+ 1, has previously suspended Dillashaw for one-year and fined him $10,000. Three weeks ago the figther attempted to get ahead of the story by announcing that there had been an adverse test finding, and relinquishing the belt; but there is no getting ahead of this one - Dillashaw, as has been whispered for years, is a damn doper. h/t USADA
Kate del Castillo empowers WMMA through Combate Americas partnership
Kate del Castillo has starred in dozens of telenovelas and films, served as an advocate for social causes, been a spokesperson for brands like L'Oréal and Ford, has her own tequila, and even caused some trouble when she found drug dealer El Chapo before authorities could. Kate is an unstoppable badass, and she continues to fight in this male-dominated world when she acquired an equity stake in Combate Americas. Her immediate point of focus as an owner is the upcoming Las Reinas del Combate at Galen Center in Los Angeles on Friday, April 26. It will be the first time in history that a combat sports event will feature an all-women's lineup on broadcast television: "This is a time when women are dominating, and I want to do my fair share to continue this trend. I find this an incredible event and I applaud Combate Americas for daring to do it, for not being scared to lose audience, but to gain it. I applaud how the franchise is making more women want to come to the fights and enjoy it." h/t POPSUGAR
Artem Lobov: BKB is 'a lot safer' than MMA, boxing, or the NFL
Artem Lobov and Jason Knight had what may be the Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar of bareknuckle boxing. The pair sustained a high degree of soft tissue damage, but Lobov says it will heal in a week or two, and is cosmetic only, as compared with brain damage, which he says his more severe in MMA, boxing, and American football. Lobov wants more states to regulate the sport: “It should be accepted everywhere. I hope the Nevada State Athletic Commission looks at this and finally legalizes this in Vegas. Let’s look at the facts here, let’s not make any stupid mistakes. Look at the facts, look at the research, look at what the neurosurgeons are saying and based on that they should be making a decision.” h/t Sherdog • Watch Ariel Helwani's The MMA Hour
Demetrious Johnson reveals retirement timeline
“I give myself five more years in mixed martial arts then I’m done. Five years, I’ll be 37, I’ll be old. At the end of the day, the biggest thing I’ll say, the difference… It’s been since 2011… Was the last time I fought at 135 [pounds]. And for me making this weight cut… Or weighing in at 135… My body’s being able to recover a lot faster. So who knows, I might be able to postpone five years to seven years because I’m not having to put my body through that traumatic weight cut to make 125. ... Eddie Alvarez ... it was just one punch that landed in the right spot, hit him in the eye and I was like, ‘damn your eye is f@$%ed up,’ He could possibly go blind! One shot. So at the end of the day, man, why risk it? Why risk that happening to me if I can say, ‘you know what? You gotta cut it off at five years.'” 'Mighty' next fight is the tournament semis, vs, the winner of Tatsumitsu Wada vs. Gustavo Balart at ONE: Roots of Honor on Friday. h/t BJPENN.COM • Watch The Ariel Helwani Show
'Shorty' Torres: Brave gives me the respect the UFC didn't
“I wasn’t respected at all [by the UFC], with two last-minute fights in 45 days. With 54 pounds to cut, whatever the case may be. When I lost, they cut me. They didn’t care. Compared to Brave – they’re trying to do everything possible to promote me. I was supposed to fight two weeks ago, but I ended up getting extremely sick, to where they’re like, ‘Hey, it’s OK. We want you to fight at 100 percent. We don’t want you to fight at 70 percent, nevertheless possibly 50. Come in at 100 percent and if you lose, you lose. You win, you win. But we’re going to work as hard as possible to give you the best opportunity.’ Everyone’s asking me, ‘Do you want to go back to the biggest promotion in the world?’ – which, right now, is the UFC ... because it’s the biggest, doesn’t mean it’s the best. Right now, I’m getting the best possible opportunity with Brave, and I think that’s, for me, my home.” 'Shorty' fights Amir Albazi at Brave 23: Pride and Honor, in Amman, Jordan, on 4/19. h/t MMA Junkie
Sage Northcutt reacts to ONE debut of Eddie Alvarez ahead of debut on 5/17
“I saw the giant slice on Eddie Alvarez’s eye — he had his eye split in half — that was pretty bad. I can’t even imagine that, that’s got to hurt. He had to get stitches. I’m sure Eddie was in a lot of pain. I’ve always heard ONE Championship has great strikers, and you can see that. ... I think there’s going to be a lot of guys and a lot of girls that are going to want to come over to ONE Championship and be a part of this organization. After seeing Eddie Alvarez fight, Demetrious Johnson fight, I’m going to fight, Vitor Belfort’s going to fight. ... A lot of people are going to want to come over here. Especially having Miesha Tate and the other people who are running the company. I think it’s just going to be great. ONE Championship is just going to keep growing. They’re going to keep growing so fast.” h/t BJPENN.COM
Brave's Lazzez: Eldarov is 'an elite wrestler, not an elite fighter'
Mounir Lazzez will look to beat Bahrain's Eldar Eldarov in the co-main event of Brave 23 on 4/19 in Amman, Jordan, and make history by becoming the first-ever world Super Lightweight champion. Even though he faces one of the best wrestlers in MMA, Lazzez seems relaxed about his chances: "I know Eldar is a strong wrestler. My gameplan is to hit, not get hit, win the fight, collect the cash, and go back home. We train smart here at Team Nogueira Dubai, and it takes more than elite wrestling to make an elite MMA fighter. I believe he's an elite wrestler, but not an elite MMA fighter. ... I'm very excited about Super Lightweight being introduced at Brave. I was always one of the smallest guys at Welterweight, and I had to have a huge cut in order to compete at Lightweight. So this is the best news for me, to have a Super Lightweight division it's a blessing for me."
Ross Pearson announces retirement from fighting
Rest in Peace PFL director Bruce Deifik
Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Nancy, and his family during this difficult time. Peter Murray, CEO of the PFL: “Bruce will always be a part of the PFL family. He was not just a director and investor, he was a visionary who loved the sport of MMA and played an integral role in bringing the PFL to legions of MMA fans. He will be missed dearly, and we offer our condolences to his family, friends and loved ones.” h/t PFL
Valentina Shevchenko gets hero's welcome in Kyrgyzstan, meets president
UFC 236 Embedded, Episode 1 - Max Holloway drives a fast car
Max Holloway has no intention of giving up 145 belt with win at 155
UFC featherweight champ Max Holloway fights Dustin Poirier at UFC 236 for the interim lightweight championship, and Blessed wants to hold and defend both belts: “First things first, we’ve got Dustin and then I keep hearing the one after this is maybe Khabib in September. I’m really going to have to sit down and talk to the UFC about that. I want to figure it out. A king defends his throne. We’ll sit down with the UFC after this fight, we’ll see how it goes first. All my attention is on Dustin for sure. Everybody is talking about me being the fourth person that might be able to be the simultaneous [two-division champion] but I want to be the champ that holds both and defends both. That’s always the end game.” h/t Yahoo Sports
Azamat Murzakanov accepts two-year USADA suspension for 2017 test failure
The UFC light heavyweight, 29, of Nalchik, Russia, has accepted a two-year sanction for a violation of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy after testing positive for the boldenone metabolites 5β-androst-1-en-17β-ol-3-one and androsta-1,4-diene-6β-ol-3,17-dione as the result of an out-of-competition urine sample he provided on September 2, 2017. Further confirmation of the positive test was achieved using the sensitive isotope ratio mass spectrometry (GC/C/IRMS) method, which reported a laboratory result consistent with the exogenous origin of boldenone metabolites. The delay in resolving Murzakanov’s case was due to requests for additional time by Murzakanov to investigate the source of his positive test. Murzakanov has been provisionally suspended and, therefore unable to compete, since the date he was notified on September 25, 2017. Murzakanov’s two-year period of ineligibility began on September 2, 2017, the date his sample was collected. h/t UFC
Lyoto Machida: USADA lost credibility over Jones' latest anti-doping test failure
Machida was suspended for 18 months for an over the counter supplement that contained DHEA. Then USADA anti-doping testing got so sophisticated that no one knew what a few picograms meant. That realization didn't come until cash-cow Jon Jones failed; the timing is not a good look. And 'The Dragon' is not impressed: ”Maybe what USADA is saying really did happen and there’s this contamination from the past. But when it’s a game of interests, we have questions and never really know what’s going on, what’s the goal behind all this, and USADA’s intentions and UFC’s intentions. When I saw different results, different substances and different penalties, man, to me, as a person, it lost credibility. For me, not being part of USADA, you can’t understand the joy I have. Not having that daily stress - you could be doing everything by the book, but there was always this stress." Machida fights Chael Sonnen at Bellator NYC on 6/14.
Justin Gaethje wants Conor McGregor, in Ireland
“This is the craziest weight class there is right now in the UFC. I think it’s the one with the most opportunities to become a superstar. There’s so many fights right now, but Conor sounds like he’s coming back, so I’m the man. If he’s gonna fight somebody, it has to be me. That’s the one I want. Tony’s there but he’s gotta go back and get better so that leaves Conor and me. F@$%, man, it’s the name of the game. I want to fight him. I want to fight him in Ireland. I know it’s not gonna happen in Ireland but that’s my dream, to go over there and be in that sort of chaos. That’s what f@$%ing wakes me up every day. ... He wants to retire, I can help him on his way out. He’s a warrior, I know that it would intrigue him, for sure, but I also think he might just be like, ‘No thank you.’ He can’t take my leg kicks. If I wanted to wrestle, I could wrestle him all day, and I could knock him out. The last thing he needs to be is on his back, reaching for the sky and I could do that to him.” h/t MMA Fighting • Watch TMZ Sports interview
Coach wants to see Pettis Kwon Do vs. Conor's Southpaw straight
Duke Roufus: “The fight honestly that’s trippin’ my trigger, Conor commended Anthony after the fight and then said, ‘Who wants it?’ You know what, we want it. No disrespect, I like Conor a lot, I think he’s funny, he’s charismatic, obviously a great fighter. Just the stage of the career that Team Pettis is at, we want to close out the twilight of Anthony’s career over the next many years with ‘legacy brawls’, if you will. Let’s test some theories. Let’s test Conor’s left hand versus ‘Pettis Kwon Do’, or as I call him, ‘The real-life Ong-Bak’. When I say we want to fight Conor, we want to fight him because he’s one of the best. That’s why we’re in this. We’re not cherry picking. These are things that get us motivated to sacrifice the way we do and the way Anthony had to to win this fight. I just think it would be a fun fight. They’re both a lot alike. They’re charismatic, they’re flashy, dapper guys, they’re both great for this sport. I think the time is right and let’s do it July 6 on International Fight weekend. ... Our main source that drives this sport is the fans and that’s what Anthony Pettis lives for. Not the ego, I talked to him and he said, ‘Coach, I had so much fun in there the other night.’ As a coach and friend that makes me happy. Mike Tyson said it best, ‘A happy fighter is a dangerous fighter.’” h/t MMA Fighting
Becky Lynch beats Ronda Rousey and Charlotte Flair at Wrestlemania
BKFC's Jason Knight: F@$% the UFC
“In a lot of my UFC fights, I made stupid ass little mistakes that ended up costing me the fight. I’ve got to work on fixing those things so I’m not ready to take an MMA fight because I don’t feel that I’ve had the time to really work on everything I want to work on. ... The UFC is going to $#!@. I would love to get back to the UFC, don’t get me wrong, but if I don’t it’s not going to be the end of the world. Because the rankings mean nothing. The belts mean absolutely f@$%ing nothing. If it’s not a money fight, the UFC doesn’t f@$%ing care about it anymore. If you’re not a fighter who’s bringing in a $#!@ ton of revenue for them, they’re going to treat you like trash and you’re expendable. F@$% the UFC. If I make it back, great, but if not I’ll be fine fighting for some other organization. My last UFC fight it was my ninth UFC fight. I made it to No. 15 in the world and then of course I fell off. I lost four fights in a row. After nine fights, the biggest my paycheck was $36,000 to walk in the cage, $36,000 to win. No pay-per-view points, no main event, none of that $#!@. My first fight with bare knuckle I get pay-per-view points and if everything works out the way it’s going to work out, I’m going to get a $#!@ ton more than I did in my last UFC fight. So why in the hell would I be rushing to get back there?" h/t MMA Weekly
PVZ: Guys, I can only hide so much of my girliness
“I’ve been pushing these opportunities to the side. I can only hide so much of my girliness. I’ve been turning down opportunities because I do want people to see me as a professional fighter. I’m done with that. I’m going to 100 percent be myself. There is this new era of being strong and beautiful. The die-hard fight fans can complain that I’m doing things like Sports Illustrated but it’s who I am and I absolutely loved it. There is not a lot of loyalty. The true fans support me any endeavor and they like me as a person… I don’t think there should be any question about my fight career at this point. I’ve broken my arm twice. Maybe I don’t look like a professional fighter but, hey, I was born this way. Call my mom and dad.” h/t SI swimsuit issue • FanSided
Luan 'Miau' promises to finish Al-Selwady in 1 at Brave 23
After suffering an injury in a title fight he was winning, the Brazilian striker now faces current divisional king Abdul-Kareem Al-Selwady at Brave 23: Pride and Honor, set for Amman, Jordan, on 4/19. 'Miau' promises a highlight KO in the first round: "Four Minutes. That's how long it's going to take for me to beat him. I'm going for the quick KO and I'm sure I'll bring this belt back to Brazil. I don't think he's dangerous. He beat Lucas Mineiro, but Lucas was injured. I was there during fight week and I saw the injury. We studied him a lot, he just has movement, but he doesn't have a good enough jiu-jitsu to hold me down, and my striking is way better. I can beat him up in the stand-up and if he's not careful, I can even take him down and tap him out."