Henry Cejudo sees possible free agency in his future
The UFC may be winding down the flyweight division. Current champ superfights bantamweight champ T.J. Dillashaw at 125, at UFC 233, and that could be it. Cejudo on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show said he wants a trilogy fight vs. Demetrious Johnson, but where? "That is to be announced," said Cejudo. “I think everything changes once they dismiss the flyweight division, if that's going to be the plan. I believe there's free agency in there, possibly. I believe the contract is signed at 125 pounds." Read more at H/T Sherdog
DLH: Chuck vs. Tito 3 ticket sales are strong
Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions is getting into the MMA business with a trilogy fight between Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz on 11/24: "The price points are perfect for this type of fight, and fans are coming out and supporting it. Everywhere I go, they don’t talk to me about the boxing cards I’m putting on. They talk about Canelo or Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz. ... The profits are going to be for Chuck and Tito. That’s exactly the way it’s structured. We feel that the gate being 70 percent sold, once you sell out the gate, the pay-per-view numbers are going to be relatively high. Every boxing show that I’ve promoted, you have to start with the gate. Once you sell out the gate, the pay-per-view numbers will be higher than expected." H/T MMAjunkie
Dillashaw: I'm getting paid F@$%load of money to drop and kill the flyweight division
UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw appeared recently on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show and discussed his drop to 125 for a fight with flyweight champ Henry Cejudo at UFC 233 on 1/6, and the potential demise of the division: “The UFC wants to get rid of the division and they hired me to go down and close it and get another belt in the process. It’s a win-win for me. They’re paying me a f***load of money to move down and kill the 125-pound division and collect a second belt. So, it’s game time. ... If I’m the champ in both weight classes, why even have it? All the attention is at 135 anyway so at the end of the day, make the guys that they believe should stick around, come up and challenge for the belt.” H/T MMA Fighting • Watch
Blaydes: Ngannou's got to be in a dark, dark place
Francis Ngannou beat Curtis Blaydes via doctor stoppage in April of '16. Blayes went 5-0 since, with a win changed to NC due to the presence of the demon weed marijuana. Ngannou went 4-0 and gave every appearance of being the Next Big Thing, but has dropped his last two fights, by decision. Ngannou-Blayes 2 takes place at UFC Fight Night 141 on 11/24, and 'Razor' is confident about the rematch: “It was inevitable. I knew he’d be around, I’d be around. The UFC likes natural stories like this. We already have a natural storyline. It’s not fake. We had a fight, he won, but I didn’t get to finish it. So I do have a bit of redemption I want to get. He’s probably in a hole right now. 0-2 after being the hotshot? That’s got to be a dark, dark place. I want him to be his best. I don’t want any excuses out of his camp or the fans or the company. I want him at his best. I’ll beat him 10 out of 10 times.” H/T MMAjunkie
Yair's coach: Every fighter needs one of those
Israel Martinez on The MMA Hour: “We believe every fighter needs one of those. It’s one of those things you tell a young fighter, even the older guys: You need to get your ass kicked to kinda be woken up a little bit, and you need to go through some dirty fights, some trenches. But you don’t need to do that every day. ... And that’s one of those fights that we’re gonna have in our bag and we’re always going to be able to pull out all the things we’re learned from that, but there’s no way we want that type of fight again. Those things are deadly. Yair is beat up, and that’s going to be stuck in his head, good and bad, for the rest of his life. So we want to make sure that we take the positives over the negatives and move forward. ... Those long five-round fights are good for the fans, but they’re not good for us. We want to try to [win] early.” H/T MMA Fighting • Watch
Tate: There is a power shift in MMA
Former UFC women's bantamweight champ Miesha Tate has a taken a VP brand ambassador role with ONE Championship, and sees a major change: “I think that there’s been a power shift, I just think that the Western media didn’t know about it, to be honest. I think that we were receiving the information we were receiving but if you really look at what ONE is doing in Asia… ONE is the UFC in Asia. I want to compare because that’s where I’m from, you know everyone where I’m from is all about the UFC, but you come here, and it’s all about ONE Championship. The UFC comes here, and it’s not quite the same. So again, I think that the branding of it, it speaks to the honor and it speaks to the true martial artist. I think that it fits over here well. I think it actually has a better appeal with the Asian culture, which is right up my alley too, so I think it’s the perfect home for me. ... I love the fact that ONE Championship appeals to the true martial arts fans and the true martial artists. It’s not about who has the biggest mouth, who can talk the biggest trash, it’s about who can get in there and fight the best and put on the best performances. To me, that speaks to my heart. That’s why I got into martial arts.” H/T BJPenn.com
Gus: Jones is #1 P4P
Alexander Gustafsson on fight vs Jon Jones at UFC 232 on 12/29: “Whatever Jon does, in that Octagon he has a strategy and he’s a very smart fighter with a good eye, so you can’t relax. ... You can’t even give him an inch. You have to be on your toes the whole fight, you have to be ready the whole fight. ... Jon has just been so impressive, that’s why he never lost. ... He’s been beating everybody, so we all know how he is and how he’s been. He’s the best fighter in the world. For me, he’s the pound-for-pound best fighter ... And when I beat this guy, it’s going to biggest thing ever, and it’s going to be a highlight in my career and it’s going to change my life, so that’s my motivation.” H/T Sherdog • Watch
Islam Makhachev: I never signed a contract in the first place
Last week the UFC announced Khabib Nurmagomedov's teammate Islam Makhachev vs. #13 Francisco Trinaldo at UFC 233 on 1/26. Then Combate reported correctly that Makhachev was out and Alexander Hernandez was in. A baffled Makhachev responded on his social network (via Google translate): "I didn’t understand what happened, as the UFC themselves made and canceled this fight. I didn’t sign any contract. I plan to fight somewhere in February with a top 15 opponent, as promised by Dana White."
Rose Namajunas: Only opponent that makes sense is Jessica Andrade
”I like fighting in spring and fall, I think that’s a good time for me. So that’s kind of what I’ve expressed already so we’ll see how things happen. I don’t see how anybody else other than Andrade would make sense. I know she wants to stay active, and if she wants to have another fight until I’m ready, then that’s cool. But if not I’d love to have the chance at her. Andrade definitely shook things up. Joanna got back in the winning streak of things, so she’s going up, so that’s kind of interesting as well. I don’t know, I think other than that, I guess Tatiana [Suarez] ... At the moment, all I’m focused on is just being a better martial artist, becoming a better athlete, and just one day at a time. Right now I’m kinda just getting back into strength and conditioning, conditioning my body, not really taking impact to the head or anything like that." H/T MMA Mania • Watch
Felipe Efrain 'not impressed' with champion Stephen Loman ahead of title fight at Brave 18 on Saturday
Felipe Efrain, owner of Brave's best KO in 2017: "I fought in Bahrain when Stephen Loman knocked out his opponent and became the first bantamweight champion. On that day, I saw him fight and I was not impressed by his performance ... I can take him out. I want this bad, I've worked hard for this opportunity and now I have that chance. Everyone knows I like to grapple, but thank God I always finish my fights before that, because all of my opponents feel the power of my hands so I don't have a choice really and they lose. If he tries this grappling strategy on me it's going to go badly for him, because this is something I train all the time."
TKZ: Apologies, no excuses, hospitalization
"I don't have an excuse. I'm so sorry for all the people who helped me. Thank you. Congratulations to those who hate me. I will stay in the hospital for a few more days before leaving for Korea, since I was told I am not healthy enough to take a flight yet. I’m ashamed. I'll see you when I get back." H/T FaceBook
Dana White: Craziest finish ever
Dana White to Laura Sanko on the UFC Fight Night 139 post-fight show on FS1: “Craziest finish ever. There was one second left on the clock when he landed that elbow, and Yair was losing 4-to-1. ‘Zombie’ had the fight in the bag, he had one second to go and, wow, what a finish.” H/T MMAjunkie • Watch
Cowboy knows who he's fighting at 155, but not telling
Post-fight press conference: ”155, New Year’s card, that’d be cool. I’ll fight on Fight Pass, I don’t give a $#!@, I’ll be the first fight of the night. 155, let’s go, let’s make a run, let’s do this. Let’s train hard, be focused, go get a motherf@$%ing belt. I’m 182 right now, that’s what I walked in here for fight week. This is heavy for me. When I’m 155, usually I’m at 176, 177. So I’m going to have to hire a dietitian because that last 5 pounds sucks, but I’m going to do it right. It’s time. ... There is someone, they already came up and told me. There’s your clickbait. You son of a b!@$#, you ain’t gonna get me to say it. Not gonna happen. They told me the who for once in my life first. 155. It’s very exciting. Guy’s very exciting. You’ll like it. You’ll all like it.” H/T MMA Mania • Watch
Germaine de Randamie nearly blinded before UFC Fight Night 139
Germaine De Randamie hadn't fought in 21 months before beating Raquel Pennington, and in the interim was hit in the eye with a ball, suffering nerve damage: “It made me blind for a long time. I still have nerve damage, and up to two weeks ago, it was still unsure if the doctors were going to clear me in the U.S. It was a hell of a journey to get here. Right now, I’m going to take a shower, call my mom, call my love, my friends, hug [my teammates], and drink a beer. Then I’m going to hop on a plan and hug my family. When the UFC calls me, we’ll find out who I fight next.” H/T MMAjunkie • Watch
Cowboy breaks down breaking Perry's arm
"Once I’d seen the clock, there was 30 seconds left, the monitor was right above me. I was like, oh I better spin for this armbar, so I did. He should have rolled the other way out of it, I don’t know why he didn’t. I was like ‘Pfft, gotcha!’ So I went belly down on it, I was just gonna take it until the referee pulled me off. I felt it pop before I went belly down. So the rest was just tearing the chicken wing off, yeah. I was taking it home with me.” H/T MMA Mania
White declines to define future of flyweight division
Dana White was asked if, as it appears, the UFC is winding down the flyweight division, but he declined to say definitively, only noting that the league is “working on some things right now." He said the Henry Cejudo vs. T.J. Dillashaw superfight being at fly was simply another superfight: “Dillashaw wants to win two belts. There’s five or six guys who have done it, he wants to do it. Cejudo is absolutely fine fighting at that weight instead of going to 135, so we made it.” H/T MMAjunkie
RIZIN issues apology for Mayweather announcement
“We at RIZIN announced that the RIZIN 14 fight card at the Saitama Super Arena on December 31, 2018, would be headlined by Floyd Mayweather vs. Tenshin Nasukawa. However, shortly after this announcement, Mr. Mayweather himself made an announcement through social media. This message seemed to be insisting that the match had been canceled, and we sincerely apologize for this confusion. RIZIN Chairman, Nobuyuki Sakakibara, is currently holding discussions towards carrying out the match based on the original contract between our promotion and Mr. Mayweather. This based on the basic agreement we initially did have with Mr. Mayweather. We hope to have a clearer announcement next week.” H/T RIZIN FF
UFC 230 PPV estimate in
UFC 230, headlined by DC's first defense of his heavyweight title vs. Derrick Lewis, is estimated at doing 250,000 PPV buys, normal levels for 2018, but well down from the 375,000 estimate of Cormier’s title win over Stipe Miocic. Negative factors include going head to head with the Alabama vs. LSU highest-rated college football game of the season, and coming four weeks after the Khabib vs. Conor biggest MMA PPV in history. The fight also had a short buildup time. The evolving nature of the business, is such that fans are less and less likely to watch every UFC event each week, but if what the public sees as a huge fight, it can pull bigger numbers than ever before. H/T MMA Fighting
Old Cowboy would have beat his ass in the lobby
Donald Cerrone is 35, and taking a brash 27-year-old Mike Perry in stride: “The old ‘Cowboy’ would’ve met this dude in the lobby and beat his ass. The new ‘Cowboy,’ I just: ‘I’ll see you on Saturday, buddy.’ ... The journey of my career has been fun. Just, I can’t complain. I love every bit about this."
Titan FC UFC Fight Pass extension, adds combat jiu-jitsu, expands internationally
Titan FC CEO Jeff Aronson: “Five years ago when I acquired Titan FC, it was my vision that Titan would be a major global brand in MMA and one of the premier leagues in the world. Renewing our media rights deal with UFC Fight Pass is another step to making the vision of Titan FC being a global brand a reality. As a longtime jiu-jitsu practitioner and avid fan of all combat sports, I’ve been particularly intrigued with the growth of combat jiu-jitsu, so it’s both an exciting and logical brand extension for Titan FC." The extension is also international, with Titan FC 51 on Dec. 21 being held at Almaty Arena in Kazakhstan, in partnership with Alem Fighters.
Final 4 fighters named for Combate Americas 100k Copa Combate II
Cn Friday, 12/7 in Fresno, California, Combate Americas holds the one-night, eight-man, largest trophy in sports, $100,000, Copa Combate II featherweight tournament. The final four fighters are Bruno Cannetti (7-5) Buenos Aires, Argentina • Pablo Villaseca (13-4) Santiago, Chile • John Bedoya (6-0) Bogota, Colombia • Marlon Gonzales (13-3-2, 1 NC) Lima, Peru. Previously announced fighters are Andres Quintana (15-2) Roswell, NM • Alejandro Flores (13-1) Monterrey, Mexico • Gaston Reyno (8-2, 2 NC) Montevideo, Uruguay • Zebenzui “El Niño Roca” Ruiz (7-2) Las Palmas, Spain. Brackets are TBA.
Raquel Pennington dealing with hypothyroidism, came down from 170
Raquel Pennington has cut weight 26 times, but lately has been dealing with hypothyroidism, and missed today by 2 pounds, forfeiting 20 percent of her purse. "I stay in shape. ... I have the Mexi-roll, is what I like to call it, but with how hard I train, I should actually be like a walking anatomy chart. … [Hypothyroidism] is one of those things to where you develop it and, obviously, being an athlete and constantly playing with the weight and stuff, we’re just trying to find a way to fine-tune it and what truly works for me. And since it’s something so new, we haven’t exactly fine-tuned it. There was a time in this camp where I actually started at 170, I was dropping really well, training was going great, and all of a sudden I started going back up in weight. So then I shot up to 162, and we weren’t understanding it, so we went back into the doctors to try to figure things out. And then the weight slowly started to come off.” H/T MMAkunkie
Info session on 12/16 for UFC class action lawsuit is postponed
The Named Plaintiffs and Plaintiffs’ Counsel in the pending class action lawsuit against Zuffa, LLC, have postponed the information session for members of the proposed class (all fighters who competed in UFC bouts or had their identity rights used or taken by the UFC, after December 16, 2010) that was scheduled to take place in Las Vegas on December 5, 2018, at the law offices of Wolf, Rifkin, Shapiro, Schulman & Rabkin, LLP. The session is being postponed because the Court recently scheduled a hearing on Plaintiffs’ Motion for Class Certification and Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment for December 14, 2018 at 2:00 PM, at the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada in Las Vegas, after which there will be more information to share with members of the proposed class. Plaintiffs’ Counsel will provide a new date for the class member information session after the December 14 hearing.
ONE CEO: If UFC closing flyweight we'll talk to all top fighters, including Cejudo
Chatri Sityodtong: “Many other flyweights, I’m very interested in, definitely. Already ONE Championship has the most stacked flyweight division in the world. I guarantee our roster is already better than the UFC’s flyweight division. But we definitely want to cherrypick and get some of the best UFC flyweights. That would be a dream come true. If it’s really true that UFC is going to close down their flyweight division, then, of course, we will talk to all the top flyweights. I will just say that I love Henry Cejudo. If he becomes a free agent, Henry give me a call.” BJPenn.com
Daniel Weichel moves up to lightweight, fights Goiti Yamauchi at Bellator 210
Featherweight Daniel Weichel is moving up to lightweight vs. Goiti Yamauchi on the Bellator 210 prelim card on 11/30 at WinStar World Casino & Resort in Thackerville, Oklahoma. The main card airs streams on DAZN, following the prelims, which stream on the UG. Chidi Njokuani fights John Salter in the main event, while David Rickels vs. Bomba Vasconcelos serves as the co-main.
T.J. Dillashaw vs. Henry Cejudo at UFC 233 on 1/26
Combate reported and it has since been confirmed that bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw and flyweight champ Henry Cejudo will fight UFC 233 on January 26 in Anaheim, California. The weight division is unknown, but given that the league appears to be shelving 125, 135 seems more likely. Dillashaw is coming off back to back TKOs of former champ Cody Garbrandt. Cejudo is coming off a win over former flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson that broke the best ever title defense streak in UFC history.