ESPN2 marks newest home for UFC's expanding "Primetime" series
Count ESPN2 among the UFC's growing library of broadcast partners.
On Wednesday night, the second episode of "UFC Primetime: St-Pierre vs. Shields" debuted on ESPN2, in addition to its traditional home on Spike TV.
UFC president Dana White today confirmed the series will continue to air on the all-sports channel as the UFC continues to look for increased viewership on a variety of networks.
"We have it on Spike TV, ION Televesion, Fuel TV, ESPN2 and Versus," White told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "We have a good relationship with everyone."
White declined to describe the specifics of the relationship or to speculate on whether the appearance of the in-depth UFC 129 preview show on "The Worldwide Leader in Sports" could potentially lead to further programming on the ESPN family of networks...
Shields, St-Pierre admit media schedule taxing leading into historic UFC 129 event
It didn't take Jake Shields long to notice that there were more eyes on him in the UFC than anywhere else he'd previously fought. What was usually a slow trickle of interview requests turned into a flood, so much so that he developed a special bond with his calendar.
Nothing, however, could prepare him for the amount of attention he'd receive in vying for a UFC title. It only took one recent glance at his media schedule to figure that out.
"They have me getting up at seven in the morning doing interviews, which is four in the morning my time," Shields said today during a teleconference in support of UFC 129. "It seems kind of ridiculous to me."
Brian Ebersole and Dennis Hallman to meet at August's UFC 133 event
Brian Ebersole and Dennis Hallman have been added to UFC 133.
Sources close to the event today told MMAjunkie.com that the welterweights have verbally agreed to meet with contracts on the way.
Although not officially announced by the promotion, UFC 133 is expected to take place Aug. 6 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
UFC 129: Georges St-Pierre Believes Jake Shields Would Beat Every Contender He’s Ever Faced
Some fans might be counting Jake Shields out in his fight against Georges St-Pierre at UFC 129. Some fighters might be counting Jake Shields out in his fight against Georges St-Pierre at UFC 129. Oddsmakers have Shields as a four-to-one underdog going into UFC 129.
But there’s one key person who knows exactly how dangerous Jake Shields is. That person is Georges St-Pierre.
St-Pierre has had past opponents come at him with trash talk trying to get into his head, but with Shields he believes he’s legitimately facing the best fighter he’s ever fought at 170 pounds.
The Canadian champion has had his eye on Shields even before he came to the UFC, and mentioned fighting him a few years ago. Now that they are on a collision course in Toronto, St-Pierre will never look at Shields as an underdog. Shields is a champion, capable of beating the best in the world and that includes Georges St-Pierre.
UFC Middleweight Champ Anderson Silva Back to 205? “Never Say Never”
UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva will next put his title on the line when he faces Yushin Okami at UFC 134 in August in his home country of Brazil.
Prior to that fight ever being made, UFC president Dana White told the crowd following UFC 128 that Silva had told him specifically that he wanted to fight at middleweight and not go back to 205 pounds, as he had done twice before when the promotion offered him fights in the heavier class.
Silva’s focus is indeed on defending his middleweight title, but if the right opportunity came up at light heavyweight, there’s a very famous phrase that goes something like “never say never.”
“If there’s opportunities that happen to be the right opportunities at the right time, then we’ll take them. But right now he’s focused on the middleweight title,” Silva’s manager Ed Soares told MMAWeekly Radio.
A New List of Contenders Could Keep Jose Aldo at Featherweight After UFC 129
The talk about Jose Aldo eventually moving up to 155 pounds has been discussed ever since the Brazilian started his tear through the featherweight division, where he currently sits as the No. 1 ranked fighter in the world.
During his time with the WEC, Aldo went 8-0 with seven knockouts or TKO’s with six of those never making it out of the second round.
Now the UFC featherweight champion, Aldo will make his first title defense in the Octagon against Mark Hominick, but the chatter about his move to 155 pounds hasn’t gone away.
The talk, however, may soon shift because Aldo could have a new list of contenders, some of which he may have faced at lightweight should he have made the move.
'Mighty Mouse' Replaces Pickett Against Torres at UFC 130
British bantamweight Brad Pickett has suffered an injury and has been forced to withdraw from his UFC 130 bout with Miguel Torres. Stepping in to face the former WEC champion in Pickett's stead will be Demetrious Johnson, the promotion announced Wednesday evening.
"The fastest man in the division has answered the call, and Demetrious Johnson will move into Pickett’s spot to face the former divisional kingpin," said UFC president Dana White. "Both men have verbally agreed to the fight."
Ben Henderson Isn't Afraid of Canadians, Wants Rematch With Anthony Pettis
Former WEC Lightweight Champion Ben Henderson could be forgiven if he was bitter about his last fight: a tight decision loss to Anthony Pettis that will forever be remembered more for "The Kick" than any of the action leading up to it.
But the 27-year-old isn't looking back and is ready to travel to hostile territory when he faces Canadian Mark Bocek to open the PPV portion of UFC 129 in Toronto, Canada. He isn't concerned in the least with the task of battling Bocek in front of a raucous pro-Canadian crowd of 55,000.
Michael Chandler vs Pitbull Freire tourney final official for Bellator 44
Michael Chandler (7-0 MMA, 4-0 BFC) and Patricky "Pitbull" Freire (9-1 MMA, 2-0 BFC) will determine Bellator Fighting Championships' season-four lightweight tourney champion at Bellator 44.
Bellator brass officially announced the two lightweight prospects will square off at the May 14 event, which takes place at New Jersey's Caesars Atlantic City and airs on MTV2.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) first reported the planned date this past week.
Chris Guillen vs. Mark Holata finalizes eight bout Bellator 42 lineup
A heavyweight affair featuring 14-year veteran Chris Guillen (13-12 MMA, 0-0 BFC) and one-time Bellator veteran Mark Holata (10-2 MMA, 1-0 BFC) is the final piece to the Bellator 42 puzzle.
Bellator Fighting Championships officials recently announced that Guillen vs. Holata would serve as the eighth and final bout at the event.
Featuring the organization's two season-four light heavyweight tournament semifinal bouts, Bellator 42 takes place Saturday at the Lucky Star Casino in Concho, Okla. The main card airs on MTV2.
Cartwheeling Bellator Champ Zach Makovsky says bring on Joe Warren
With three-straight outdoor fights to his Bellator Fighting Championships record, Bellator bantamweight champ Zach Makovsky (13-2 MMA, 5-0 BFC) is no stranger to fighting under the sun.
That said, even "Fun Size" admits the glaring afternoon heat of Yuma, Ariz., had him a bit worried a this past week's Bellator 41 event.
"When I went out to the cage earlier in the day, it was really hot," Makovsky recently told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). "If I sat in one place on the canvas, my feet were kind of burning. I was a little nervous, but the temperature went down by the time the fight started, and it was really enjoyable."
UFC 129: Patrick-Roberts, Menjivar-Valencia Free Fights on Facebook
MMA Fighting reports that the UFC is planning on airing prelim fights on Facebook for UFC 129 in Toronto. Claude Patrick vs. Daniel Roberts and Ivan Menjivar vs. Charlie Valencia are expected to be featured, but more fights may be added. The Spike TV prelims broadcast will air Nate Diaz vs. Rory Macdonald, and Jake Ellenberger vs. Sean Pierson.
Dana White Shoots Down Royce Gracie UFC 134 Return Rumors
UFC president Dana White has indicated to MMA Fighting that the promotion has no interest in offering a fight to Brazilian pioneer Royce Gracie for the UFC's upcoming August event in Rio de Janeiro, refuting previous reports that talks between the two sides could result in a Gracie return.
Just last week, Gracie told Brazilian news site Esporte.UOL.com that negotiations for his return were ongoing.
Gilbert Melendez’s Next Opponent Will Be from Strikeforce, Not UFC
Gilbert Melendez impressed everybody last weekend with his first-round drubbing of former Pride and Dream fighter Tatsuya Kawajiri to solidify his place among the best lightweights in the world.
Following a year layoff, Melendez came back guns blazing and didn’t stop until Kawajiri was finished. In the end, he laid claim to the top of the lightweight mountain.
Now comes the interesting part of finding the next opponent for Melendez.
Rumors started circling right after his fight with Kawajiri that the UFC was thinking about bringing in a title contender to face Melendez next. Names like Jim Miller started popping up right away, but it appears that fight or any cross-promotional fight won’t be Melendez’s next title defense.
Mark Pavelich Attacks Referee Pay, 'Big' John McCarthy Responds
The always outspoken MFC promoter Mark Pavelich made a minor splash with his most recent newsletter. In it he claimed that certain referees have become "celebrity referees" who charge upwards of $10,000 to work an event. From the newsletter:
It’s outrageous and absolutely inappropriate. These certain referees are charging anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 just to show up, bark out a catchphrase, and supervise a fight. But these fees aren’t being paid by any commission. They are paid by a show owner or promoter. And quite frankly it’s sad that some promoters feel obliged to pay them and put them front and center on a poster.
Why would they do that? Honestly, for most of them, it’s because they don’t have any talent pool to draw from so the biggest ovation of the night for anybody in the ring is for the referee. That’s a terrible statement for the sport of mixed martial arts. You don’t have much of a show if you’re paying your referee five times what you’re paying the two guys in the main event.
And how can you not call into question the ethics of these referees. Would you not expect their loyalties to be torn when some promoter is willing to pay them 10K, and that same referee is then calling the action when the promoter’s top fighters are in action.
It’s time for the commissions governing MMA to put a pay structure in place for all referees. They would be paid according to their experience, the level of competition they have overseen, and even feedback from notable fighters and insiders. There are a number of very good referees out there, including those that have worked recent MFC events. But even they shouldn’t be allowed to just toss out a price tag, or have a commission toss out one for them. There should be a pay scale in place – here’s what you get paid (plus reasonable expenses) … take it or leave it.