Royce Gracie: Jiu-Jitsu is the bond in MMA
"Jiu-Jitsu is the bond or styles all between all the other styles. Take Jiu-Jitsu out, a boxer is just a boxer, a kickboxer is just a kickboxer. Take Jiu-Jitsu out of the wrestling – what is he going to do, take the person down and? there’s no finishing holds, there’s no striking. So the Jiu-Jitsu is the one that bonds all the styles together. ... I can’t say those guys [in the pre-Unified Rules era] were tougher than the guys today. The guys today are very tough. But it’s different. Back then there’s no time limit, no weight division, no gloves. Different rules." h/t BE
Daniel Pineda PED test flagged, $1 million PFL final fight in jeopardy
Daniel Pineda, who reached the featherweight playoff final, has failed a Nevada Athletic Commission-administered drug test. Without being overturned, the test likely will knock him out of his $1 million featherweight final against Lance Palmer on 12/31. The exact substance or reason for Pineda’s test failure is not known. It’s also unclear who would replace Pineda in the tournament final if he’s not allowed to compete. Pineda’s manager plans on appealing the decision. And the fighter tweeted that “no steroids or drugs” were found in his system. h/t MMA Junkie
The Prelim Primer: UFC Sao Paulo
The Prelim Primer is the one and only podcast dedicated to the curtain jerkers. Catch host Daniel "Gumby" Vreeland, who is joined this week by Drake Riggs from FanSided MMA and The Body Lock, as they break down all of the prelims of UFC Sao Paulo.
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Khabib Nurmagomedov: I don't like hurting opponents, but Conor ...
“At the beginning, when you’re just starting out and winning fights, it brings you some sort of pleasure. You enjoy it. Recently I haven’t had that. In the last couple of years, I’ve gone out there and won and it doesn’t bring me any real joy, to be honest. Well, with the exception of one fight, let’s say. In that fight I beat that guy with pleasure, I’ll tell you. I had fights in my career where I understood that I could hurt my opponent more, but I’d talk to him, tell him to give up so that I don’t beat him too hard. For example, if I had a painful hold where I could break something, I wouldn’t tighten it all the way, it’d just fix it so that the opponent would tap out. Because I have no aim to hurt anyone in this sport. Yes, we compete in a very brutal combat sport, but it’s never my goal to inflict a lot of pain on my opponent. If I understand that I’m winning, I don’t aim to hurt someone bad. Well, except for one fight.” h/t LowkickMMA • Watch RT interview (2:18)
Chuck Liddell: I'd beat Mike Tyson in a street fight
Titan FC BW title defense on 12/20
Brazil's Rudson Caliocane won the then-vacant Titan Fighting Championship bantamweight belt with a unanimous decision victory over Edir Terry at Titan FC 52 on 1/25. Caliocane was granted permission to fight outside the organization, and lost a decision to Matheus Mendonca at Future FC on 10/19 in Sao Paulo; post-fight Caliocane was diagnosed with a brain stem hemorrhage, which he attributed to an extreme cut, and vacated the belt. Titan CEO Lex McMahon established a GoFundMe to help with medical expenses. Titan interim champ Irwin Rivera was bumped up to undisputed champ, and will defend vs. Danny Sabatello at Titan FC 58 on Friday, 12/20 at Xtreme Action Park in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Helen 'Hellraiser' Harper: MMA saved my life
“MMA saved my life. I was in the lowest of lows, in an abusive relationship, and a few people plus MMA saved me. That was only eight years ago. But now I’m here in Bahrain, in the first-ever women’s pro bout here, and everything is so awesome. So hopefully I can inspire someone to do the same through martial arts. No matter the situation they’re in, there’s always hope. For me it was MMA. If a single person is inspired by my journey, it’ll all be worth it. BRAVE 29 on 15, headlines the historical 2019 BRAVE International Combat Week and also counts with the prestigious KHK World Title, a one-night, four-man Openweight tournament awarding the winner US$ 100,000 and the provisional possession of a 14-pound solid-gold belt, the most expensive prize in sports.
Legacy Fighting Alliance and UFC Fight Pass reach agreement
UFC FIGHT PASS and Legacy Fighting Alliance have entered a multi-year streaming agreement in which UFC FIGHT PASS will serve as the exclusive global streaming provider for LFA events. The inaugural event under this deal, LFA 78, will take place on Friday, 11/15, live from the Bell County Expo Center in Belton, TX, at 9 p.m. ET. UFC FIGHT PASS will live stream two remaining events in 2019, 20 events in 2020, and 24 events in 2021. UFC FIGHT PASS subscribers will also have access to the entire LFA event library starting in 2020. Historically, a total of 176 LFA athletes have transitioned to UFC, including champ champ Henry Cejudo, welterweight champ Kamaru Usman, and women's flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko. CEO Ed Soares: "I couldn't be more excited about partnering with UFC FIGHT PASS. With LFA being the industry leader in developing talent and UFC being the industry leader in our sport, it's a partnership that has all of the ingredients for success."
No RIZIN title shot for Ryan Bader, who targets Bellator LHW defense next
Bellator LHW and HW champ Ryan Bader aimed for a RIZIN title shot at the co-promoted “The Land of the Rising Sun” card on 12/29, but isn't getting it: "We tried hard but looks like fighting for the Rizin belt isn’t going to happen next. Just couldn’t come to terms where it made sense. I’m looking to return to the @bellatormma cage sometime in February. LHW" h/t Twitter
Tyson Fury responds to Stipe Miocic callout
“Stipe says he wants to box me, that would be a good fight for sure. After I get [Deontay] Wilder out of the way, I’ll fight Stipe in a boxing match if he wants it. It would be a big crossover fight like Mayweather and McGregor. I’m open to that fight so he should come and see me. It would be the same outcome for any of them, they’ll all get smashed. It was exciting training [MMA] with Darren Till and we get on like a house on fire. He put me through a hard training session and it was really good.” h/t MMA Fighting
Keith Lee: Firas Zahabi is a genius
Keith Lee, younger brother to Kevin, recently joined his bother at Tristar in Montreal: “Coming from Firas’ camp, I honestly think that it made a huge impact in me, and him. You could see it with him, but when I get the opportunity, I will show it. Firas is a genius, he had so many different game plans and so many different ways of thinking, that I’ve never seen before, and for a young guy, I’m only 23, I have a lot of experience in this game and I’ve never seen anybody that thinks like him, or that can process information how he does and you can see the difference that it made just in one fight with Kevin. I think I’m going to do the rest of my camps out there.” h/t MMA Junkie
Derek Anderson out of Bellator Europe 6 main event vs. MVP
Bellator Europe 6 is in need of a new main event matchup after one of the headliners needed to drop out. Derek Anderson, who was slated to face Michael Page in the welterweight main event of the Nov. 23 card in London, had to pull out of the fight due to an undisclosed injury. The company confirmed it is seeking a short-notice replacement to meet Page for the card at SSE Arena, Wembley. h/t MMA Junkie
A tearful Shorty Torres pulls out of Friday's title fight
Jose "Shorty" Torres made a terribly difficult decision, to fight Marcel Adur for the inaugural BRAVE CF Flyweight title on Friday in the promotion's biggest event of the year, after losing his father a little more than a month ago. However, the strain of the tragedy was too much to handle and Torres surprised the hundreds of people assembled at the Oasis Mall by pulling out of the fight: "I apologize to the people that supported me and support me, people that came to the Kingdom of Bahrain to watch me fight. To BRAVE CF, I wanted to be your first Flyweight world champion, and to Marcel. I wanted him to have the best version of myself in front of him, but I can't fight." Afterward, Adur once again extended his condolences to "Shorty", but did say he would rather have heard the news earlier, as he had already made weight. Marcel continued by saying he would like to fight as soon as possible for the belt.
Ngannou: It’s no secret that Alexander Volkov is dodging me
“Just for the record, Volkov turned down the fight against me twice. One was July 2017 and August 2018. He clearly denied to fight me. The UFC have made it clear for everybody that I’m who you have to fight if you want to fight for the title. But how about me fighting for the title? It doesn’t seem to be in the talk, so that’s exactly what the UFC has made me appear, to be the gate holder. And, yeah, I think Volkov is dodging me clearly. That’s not a secret that he’s dodging me.” h/t MMA Junkie
Gil Melendez statement on release
“It was a fun ride with the UFC that I really enjoyed,” Melendez told ESPN. “I feel I gave them one of the most entertaining fights in their history (against Diego Sanchez), and I appreciate all they’ve done. They have done a bunch of cool stuff for all of their fighters. That said, I do feel this release is mutual. I was ready to move on. I feel like, if I were to fight again, I would like to do it on my terms and steer my own ship. The UFC is a fantastic organization, but they have their agenda, and unless you’re a champion or a super strong needle mover, you don’t have as much say in your career. If I do get back in the cage, I want it to be with a company that agrees with the path that I want to be on. But I’m leaving the UFC on great terms”. h/t ESPN
Marcel Adur extends sincere condolences to Shorty Torres
Jose “Shorty” Torres and Marcel Adur fight for the inaugural BRAVE CF flyweight world title on Friday in Bahrain. During his camp, Adur learned Torres had lost his father, which evoked deep empathy as Adur lost his older brother, the source of his inspiration to start fighting, while training for his Brave debut in Mexico in 2017. “Torres is a very professional fighter but only when the fight starts he'll see if the grief will help him or be against him. For me, when my brother died it just made me more eager to fight in his honor. Let's see what the grief of his dad's loss does to his fighting. But I'd like to send my condolences to him and his family, regardless if we're fighting or not, MMA is a big family. I just can't promise he will be able to dedicate a win for his dad." The event headlines the historical 2019 BRAVE International Combat Week, which also features the prestigious KHK World Title, a one-night, four-man Openweight tournament awarding the winner $100,000 and the provisional possession of a 14-pound solid-gold belt, the most expensive prize in sports.
Kevin Lee: UFC won't let me get within 10' of Conor McGregor
“A lot of people wrote me off. They took me out of some conversations that I definitely should have been a part of ... But it’s my job to go out there and keep reminding people every single time I fight. ... They’re still trying to find an opponent for Conor McGregor on Jan. 18. I know they’re talking about Cowboy, but there’s no contract signed there. If he’s a little bit like me, if he’s a competitor at his heart, then he’s going to want to take on the tough wrestler. He should if he wants to get back to Khabib and really wants to get back into title contention. ... I’ll be real. It’s not going to happen. They’re not going to let me within 10 feet of that man. ... I don’t think he’s willing to take on the guy who’s on the up and up. You’ve got your back up against the wall, and he’s trying to make a name off of you. ... I think they’ll avoid me, they’ll avoid Gaethje, they’re going to avoid some of these other guys who can really give him a challenge.” h/t MMA Fighting
How Rose Namajunas found my passion for fighting again
'Thug' Rose lost her passion following the loss of her title to Jessica Andrade at UFC 237 in May, but found it after a visit: “It’s like I lost the passion for martial arts and fighting – mainly for fighting. I found my passion again. I went back to Minnesota to see one of my former coaches from earlier on in my amateur career, Greg Nelson. He’s just like a huge inspiration for me. ... I made [being champ] into everything I didn’t want it to be. I didn’t want the belt to define me and all I did was make it define me. ... It just consumed my every thought. It turned into a shackle and chain rather than just loving fighting. Do I want to be the best? Of course. But I don’t need a belt to tell me that I’m the best. I already know. It was like, weird. It was all of my fears and all of the things I didn’t want to happen ended up happening by just fearing it so much.” Namajunas says she has about 3 years left in the Octagon, and has a bout offer on the table, but hasn't yet decided whether to take it or not. h/t MMA Junkie • Watch Ariel Helwani's MMA Show (23.18)
IMMAF head lauds role of Bahrain in MMA growth
he 2019 IMMAF World Championships are underway during BRAVE International Combat Week, and president Kerrith Brown, himself a former Judo Olympic medalist, offered thanks to Brave Combat Federation founder Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa: “Shaikh Khalid’s passion for sports, especially mixed martial arts, has been key to the spread of the sport in Bahrain as well as the rest of the world. His contribution is enormous. The growth of mixed martial arts post-2012 has been marvelous and Bahrain has made a great contribution to it. With the support of countries like Bahrain, mixed martial arts will conquer greater heights. More exciting days are ahead." h/t GDN Online
Stipe Miocic wants Tyson Fury, not DC trilogy fight
“I saw Tyson Fury is coming into the mix now here. I like a new challenge… With DC, I didn’t fluke knock him out – I beat him. I decisively beat him. ... [Fury] is a talented fighter, so he’s definitely going to have good striking. But anyone can make a highlight reel. It’s still good, but I can do that too. … Definitely if he wants to step into the Octagon, I’ll love it. I’ll step in the ring. I’d love to box him. I would love to box him. He’s a great fighter. He’s a good dude and we’d put on a good show. It’s something new – something different. In mixed martial arts, there’s a lot more to go with. You’ve got a bunch of martial arts to work with. In boxing, we’d just go toe-to-toe and slug it out.” Miocic plans a return in 2020, and has undergone eye surgery to repair a retinal tear. h/t MMA Junkie
Nick Diaz wants a shot at Jorge Masvidal
Nick Diaz hasn't fought since Jan. 31, 2015, when Anderson Silva failed a PED test, and Diaz failed for the demon weed marijuana. However, Nate Daiz lost recently to Jorge Masvidal for the BMF belt, and Masvidal referenced "baptizing" Nate, which didn't set well with big brother, who plans to return early in 2020: "You don't talk about baptizing my younger brother, so you're already in a f@$%ed position if you fight with me. You don't f@$%ing talk about baptizing someone's younger brother. That's my baby brother. You don't talk like that to nobody." h/t ESPN • Watch Ariel Helwani's MMA Show
Gil Melendez released by the UFC
Melendez debuted in the UFC with a title shot, following six successful defenses of the Strikeforce lightweight title. 'El Nino' lost via SD to Benson Henderson, bounced back with a win over Diego Sanchez. Next fight was another title shot, vs, Anthony Pettis, but Melendez came up short, and then lost the next four fights, most recently to the unheralded Arnold Allen at UFC 239 in July. It's not clear whether Melendez will fight on for another organization, or will instead focus on his El Nino Training Center in San Francisco. h/t FightBookMMA
Israel Adesanya wants Yoel Romero, says UFC is meh to the idea
Adesanya beat Robert Whittaker at UFC 243 and became the undisputed MW champ, and was supposed to defend first vs. fellow undefeated Paulo Costa who was cageside, but 'The Eraser' is out with an injured arm until April, so Romero and 'The Last Stylebender' want to fight next but: "The UFC don’t think that’s going to sell, but f@$% records, I just want to fight. I want Yoel. ... I want to beat all the greatest of this era. I’ve taken Whittaker, I’ve taken Gastelum, I’ve taken Silva... So hopefully ... I’ll see you soon, boy. ... [Jon Jones] will face me eventually but I’m going to do what got me to the dance which is honor the game and defend my belt. I mean, he didn’t jump up to heavyweight right after he won the belt. ... If he wants to come down, come see me boy. If not, shut the f@$% up and wait ’til I come see you." h/t MMA Fighting • Watch TMZ Sports interview (2:48)
Cris Cyborg wants UFC vs. Bellator Amanda Nunes rematch
Cyborg debuts in Bellator vs. FW champ Julia Budd on 1/25, and has high hopes thereafter: “Cris Cyborg, Amanda Nunes – she’s the UFC champion, and I hope in the future [UFC] vs. Bellator champion, maybe the fight will happen. Scott said yes, we can do that. Dana White to call him and make this happen, and I think everybody would like to watch. One-fight deal – just call Scott.” h/t MMA Junkie • Watch TMZ Sports interview (1:17)
Worst Question of the Year award goes to unnamed reporter in Moscow
Q. “The UFC used to say they would never have women fighting. Now they have women fighting sometimes on the main cards. So will there ever be kids fighting in the UFC? Because there are kids fighting in other challenges.” A. by UFC SVP David Shaw “Children fighting in the UFC? No, we won’t have children fighting in the UFC.” h/t MMA Mania • Watch
What Alexander Volkov wants next
“I was very, very cautious because Greg was very hard and tough. He ate a lot of my punches and didn’t flinch and I know that while his style is very unorthodox, I have to be careful and work my way without any chance for him to win. My first goal was to stop his way of fighting, because usually that’s what I do with my opponents. I make them to go with my game. It’s not that he wanted to stand there and bang with me, he had too. All I worked before the fight was to make him stand there and fight with me. I know there my class is much higher than his. I returned to the title race. I want to be at the top. I will be the best. … I want as fast as possible. I have unfinished business with ‘JDS’ and Overeem. Both of them is good choice.” h/t MMA Junkie