UFC Looking to Buy G4 Cable Channel, Spike Execs Prepare to Move On
In a blockbuster development, the UFC is in talks to buy an ownership stake in the G4 cable channel, according to published reports.
On Wednesday, New York Times TV reporter Brian Stelter tweeted that a source had confirmed that "Comcast is meeting with UFC today about possible sale of a stake in G4." Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal furthered the developing story, saying the UFC is in discussions to "buy control" of the network.
In recent days, sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity told MMA Fighting that Spike, which has been the home of the UFC since 2005, is essentially preparing for life without UFC, and that it will move the Bellator promotion on to the channel in 2012...
UFC 131 Tickets Not Moving Well in Vancouver
With just three days to go before UFC 131, things are not looking good in terms of ticket sales. A lot of it is out of the hands of the UFC though. They couldn't count on the Vancouver Canucks playing a Stanley Cup Final home game the night before in the same arena as UFC 131 is running (Rogers Arena); they obviously couldn't count on Brock Lesnar pulling out; and with no local fighters to root for, it's tougher for a Vancouver crowd to get into the spirit of things now that the novelty has worn off. The Vancouver Sun addressed this in an article this morning:
"It’s certainly not typical, this is one of the lowest-priced UFC events," said Glenn Lehrman, the head of communications for the popular ticket re-sale site StubHub. "It’s a great deal to go to a UFC fight."
Josh Barnett Unlicensed in Texas, Strikeforce: Overeem vs Werdum Only 10 Days Out
Bloody Elbow has confirmed Strikeforce heavyweight Josh Barnett, who is scheduled to fight on the Strikeforce: Overeem vs Werdum card in Dallas on June 18, has not yet been licensed to fight in Texas. Barnett is booked to face Brett Rogers in the second installment of the first round of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix.
Yesterday, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker assured the media that Barnett would be licensed in time for the fight. According to Susan Stanford, Public Information Officer for the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, Barnett has until 72 hours before fight time to complete his application, but has not yet done so.
Earlier today Stanford told Bloody Elbow that "Mr Barnett's application is incomplete."
She declined to state what additional materials Barnett needs to submit to complete the application, but she did confirm that he has submitted some materials to begin the application process.
No UFC Events in the UK in 2011
For the first time since 2006, the UFC will not hold any events in the England, Great Britain or Ireland in 2011. As late as November of last year, UFC UK President Marshall Zelaznik was talking about hosting "4 to 6" UFC events in the British Isles this year. Now he's admitting that thanks to a schedule change by Spike TV that the UFC won't be returning to the UK at all in 2011.
Zelaznik asserts that he "had three good venue options" for an October 15th date but recent scheduling changes by the UFC's US TV partners made that date impossible.
From ESPN UK:
However, problems emerged in May when the UFC's US TV date was forced to change to a different, specific date, where misfortune would dictate no suitable venues in the UK were available. In one swift changing of the goalposts, the UFC went from having three venues to none.
As a result, Zelaznik admits the chances of a 2011 event now stand at "less than 20 per cent", but he is still looking into every possibility, in order to find a solution that is growing increasingly unlikely.
"We are left with trying to convince our [TV] partner to move the date or look to other locations. That is where we are now.
"There is, if I were to put a percentage on it, less than a 20 per cent chance that we will be able to bring an event to the UK this year. We are all gutted over it and the fans who are being so vocal should know we hear them and we will continue to work hard to satisfy them."
Aldo: UFC Would Have to Pay Good Money for Title Fight with Nunes
Jose Aldo is sidelined at the moment, but the UFC’s 145-pound ace will have no shortage of challengers lined up to meet him upon his return to the Octagon this fall.
Unbeaten wrestler Chad Mendes, previously announced as the company’s No. 1 featherweight contender, has opted not to wait out Aldo’s return and will instead face Rani Yahya in August. Then there’s Kenny Florian, the former lightweight title challenger who could jump to the front of the line with a win in his June 11 featherweight debut against Diego Nunes. A training partner of Aldo’s at Nova Uniao in Rio de Janeiro, Nunes could also find himself in title contention with a win.
Speaking exclusively with Sherdog.com after Shooto Brazil 23 on June 4, Aldo didn’t deny the possibility of fighting his teammate for the belt, but did say that the UFC would have to make it worth his while.
“I believe Diego will defeat Kenny Florian,” Aldo said. “Diego is well-prepared. He has ‘blood in his eyes’ for that fight and he’s ready to reach the top of the division. He has enough talent to fight for the title.
New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver Effectively Kills 2011 MMA Bill
With a few words from arguably the most powerful man in New York state politics, it appears that mixed martial arts in the Empire State will once again die in its 2011 bid for sanctioning.
State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Democrat and 34-year veteran of the Assembly who has held the most pivotal role in New York's legislature since 1994, effectively sealed the sport's fate with a single sentence.
"There does not appear to be widespread support in the Assembly for this legislation," Silver said on Tuesday, according to The New York Daily News.
To say the least, his words come as a curious statement just days after the bill to regulate the sport had easily sailed through the Assembly's Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development committee by a 16-3 vote. The bill had already been passed through the state senate as well, in a 42-18 vote.
Jeremy Stephens Pays Respect to Danny Downes, Wants To Face Takanori Gomi Next
With two wins in a row, UFC lightweight Jeremy Stephens wants to face a former Pride champion Takanori Gomi for his next match-up, and he knows it’s fight the fans would love to see.
With two wins in a row and four out of his last fight, UFC lightweight Jeremy Stephens has proven he is one of the most dangerous fighters in the world on his feet.
Proven technique and deadly power have made Stephens a force to be reckoned as seen in evidence with his highlight reel knockout of Rafael Dos Anjos or as he blasted through Marcus Davis at UFC 125.
Sarah Kaufman vs. Liz Carmouche Targeted for July 22 Strikeforce Event
A Strikeforce 135-pound match pitting two of MMA's top female stars is being targeted for a July 22 Challengers Series card, MMA Fighting has learned.
Sources with knowledge of the situation confirmed that a bout pitting former champion Sarah Kaufman against Liz Carmouche is in the works, and has been verbally agreed to.
The 25-year-old Kaufman hasn't fought in Strikeforce since losing the belt to Marloes Coenen back in October 2010. Afterward, she took a fight in a Canadian promotion to stay active, defeating Megumi Yabushita via TKO.
UFC 131's Vagner Rocha on Donald Cerrone: "It's a lose-lose fight for him"
Vagner Rocha (6-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) knows the odds are against him.
A little more than two years into his fighting career, he's facing a two-time WEC title-challenger on a three-fight streak. A bonus collector. A guy with almost three times his experience.
So it's no surprise to him that he's a 3-to-1 underdog against Donald Cerrone (14-3 MMA, 1-0 UFC). He's keeping track because he's bet on himself. Not the farm, but "somebody's rent money," as Rocha told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
The two meet Saturday on the first pay-per-view bout of UFC 131, which takes place Saturday at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Strikeforce's Overeem and Werdum hope grand-prix title leads to UFC title shot
With one crossover fight between a UFC champ and Strikeforce champ now in the books, it's not unreasonable to wonder what's in store for the champions of other weight divisions.
And with the second round of the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix around the corner – a tournament that several of its participants have previously said will crown the No. 1 heavyweight in the world – it's not a stretch to imagine the winner presenting a good case for another crossover.
Although Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem (34-11 MMA, 3-0 SF) and Fabricio Werdum (14-4-1 MMA, 3-0 SF) are focused on fighting each other in the quarterfinals of the tournament, they share the hope that winning the competition will open the door to a bout with current UFC heavyweight kingpin Cain Velasquez.
Although cleared by commission, Gina Carano's return date unknown, manager says
Everything was full steam ahead for Gina Carano until Monday.
According to her manager, the popular fighter had had a "phenomenal camp" in preparation for a fight with Sarah D'Alelio at "Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum" before an "unfortunate setback" prompted her doctor to advise against her participation in the event, which takes place June 18 at American Airlines Center in Dallas.
"She's bummed out and trained her ass off for this fight," Scott Karp today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) via text.
Diamonds are forever: An MMAmania interview exclusive with Dustin Poirier
Dustin Poirier has big plans.
After a 1-1 stint in the WEC, "Diamond" looked polished in his UFC debut, completely dismantling then number one featherweight contender Josh Grispi via dominant unanimous decision at UFC 125 on New Year's.
Having just turned 22 years old, he's got all the time in the world to continue to develop his skills.
The Louisiana fighter trains under Tim Credeur at the Gladiator academy in Lafayette, LA and as he stated in his exclusive interview with MMAmania.com, despite defeating the number one contender, he's in no rush for a title shot.
TUF 13 Finale Pulls in 1.8 Million Viewers on Average for Spike TV Broadcast
The ratings for the TUF 13 finale are in and the final average was 1.8 million viewers for the Spike TV broadcast.
The ‘Ultimate Fighter’ season 13 was an up and down season for ratings and overall appeal, and the finale for the show seemed to suffer the same fate.
The ratings for the TUF 13 finale show average 1.8 million viewers for the broadcast that took place Saturday night in Las Vegas.
YouTube also will stream five UFC 131 preliminary card bouts
In addition to streaming on Facebook, the first five preliminary-card bouts from Saturday's UFC 131 card also will stream for free on YouTube.
YouTube recently opened the event page with a countdown to the event, which takes place at Rogers Arena in Vancouver.
UFC executives couldn't be reached for official comment, but sources told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) the organization simply wanted to widen its audience, reach non-Facebook users, and provide another platform that's very mobile-device-friendly.
Cavalcante and St. Preux not fighting at "Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson"
A bout between former Strikeforce champion Rafael "Feijao" Cavalcante and fellow light heavyweight Ovince St. Preux won't be a part of July's "Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson" event after all.
A source close to the show told MMAjunkie.com that despite reports, the two fighters never agreed to the bout.
Both are expected to be booked for other upcoming fights.
Facebook to stream remaining UFC 131 preliminary fights
Sticking with recent tradition, all bouts from Saturday's UFC 131 event will air or stream in some form.
While the main card is slated for pay-per-view and two preliminary-card bouts air on a Spike TV "UFC Prelims" special, the remaining bouts now will be part of a free Facebook stream.
Facebook will stream five of the event's 12 fights.
UFC 131 takes place at Rogers Arena in Vancouver. Heavyweights Junior Dos Santos and Shane Carwin meet in the PPV headliner.
The bouts now scheduled for Facebook include light heavyweights Krzysztof Soszynski (25-11-1 MMA, 5-2 UFC) vs. Mike Massenzio (12-4 MMA, 1-2 UFC), middleweights Nick Ring (11-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) vs. James Head (7-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC), featherweights Dustin Poirier (9-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) vs. Jason Young (8-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC), heavyweights Joey Beltran (12-5 MMA, 2-2 UFC) vs. Aaron Rosa (16-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC), and featherweights Darren Elkins (12-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) vs. Michihiro Omigawa (12-9-1 MMA, 0-3 UFC).