Kevin Iole at Cagewriter 17 hrs ago
UFC president Dana White told Yahoo Sports Wednesday that UFC 189 will set promotion records for largest paid gate in the U.S. and will set a Nevada record for attendance, even after the loss of featherweight champion Jose Aldo from the main event of the July 11 card at the MGM Grand.
A broken rib suffered in training on Tuesday forced Aldo out of his title defense against archrival Conor McGregor. The UFC replaced him with Chad Mendes, and they'll meet in the newly constituted main event for the interim featherweight crown. Aldo is expected to fight the winner when he's healthy.
The co-main event will remain the same, a welterweight title fight between Robbie Lawler and challenger Rory MacDonald.
White said the UFC had only received 50 requests for refunds since word of Aldo's withdrawal became public.
"We had to get creative," Dropick said. "We stayed within the fire code, but we had to get creative. We have seats in some places we've never had seats before."
Kevin Iole at Boxing 1 day ago
The lawsuits against Al Haymon continue to arrive at a dizzying rate.
Powerful Las Vegas-based Top Rank joined the ever-expanding ranks of promoters that have filed suit against Haymon, filing an antitrust suit in federal court in California. The suit also named Waddell & Reed, an asset management company that invested more than $400 million into the Premier Boxing Champions series created by Haymon, as a defendant.
Haymon was supposed to give a deposition in the Bad Dog Productions case on Tuesday in Florida, but BDP attorney Jorge L. Fors Jr. told Yahoo Sports that Haymon was ill and postponed the deposition.
In its lawsuit, Top Rank alleged that Haymon is violating the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act by serving as both a manager and a promoter. To support that allegation, it posted a photo that boxer Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. posted, and later deleted, to the social media website Instagram.
Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 1 day ago
This fight, as we've said repeatedly, was all about Conor McGregor because, well, it had to be about McGregor.
The UFC simply couldn't risk putting all its chips in on the man who just well may be the greatest fighter in the world.
Jose Aldo has seven UFC fights and, as of late Tuesday, five UFC withdrawals.
The Brazilian is a brilliant talent who at 28 is only now entering his prime. He's fast, has perhaps the sport's finest takedown defense, is a powerful and accurate striker and is as good as it gets on the ground.
He's the featherweight champion, and unbeaten in nearly 10 years, for a reason. He's reached Fedor Emelianenko levels of dominance. As of Tuesday, Aldo's gone nine years, seven months and three days since the sole loss of his career, a submission to Luciano Azevedo on Nov. 26, 2005, in Manaus, Brazil.
Emelianenko, the great Russian heavyweight, went nine years, six months and two days between losses.
The pain was too great, and he couldn't compete.
In this case, though, he's right.
Kevin Iole at Cagewriter 1 day ago
One of the most hotly anticipated fights in mixed martial arts history was scrapped on Tuesday when Jose Aldo said his rib injury was too painful and would prevent him from defending his featherweight title against Conor McGregor on July 11 at the MGM Grand in the main event of UFC 189.
UFC president Dana White made the announcement during an appearance with McGregor on Tuesday on SportsCenter. Chad Mendes, who lost a tough match to Aldo for the belt last year in Brazil, will now meet McGregor for the interim title.
It's the fifth time in his UFC career that Aldo has pulled out of a bout with injury, but far and away the most devastating. Previously, injuries prevented Aldo from participating in UFC 125, UFC 149, UFC 153 and UFC 176.
This one, though, is the toughest one for all concerned to take. The bout pitted the long-time champion, one of the great fighters in the sport's history, against a fast-rising star who in just two years has skyrocketed to stardom.
Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 1 day ago
At the end of a news conference in New York on Tuesday to unveil the uniforms UFC fighters will wear beginning July 11, Corrina Werkle, the general manager of Reebok's training business unit, wrapped it up by giving a summary.
The kits are all about flexibility, strength, customization and fit, she said. They will transform the UFC, she noted, and elevate the sport of mixed martial arts forever.
Ignoring, for a moment, Werkle's overreaching, self-serving statements, the truth of it is that it is all about money – television money, to be exact.
That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it is the truth. This deal was done, quite simply, to provide a better look for television so that the product is more appealing to TV networks when the UFC's current deal with Fox expires in 2018.
The best-case scenario for the UFC would be for Fox to bid for its rights against a competing network, such as ESPN.
Nobody can argue the wisdom of that move, and the long-range consequences it could have for the athletes. In making the decision to eliminate all logos but Reebok's from fighter gear during UFC events, however, it dramatically impacts the fighters.
Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 2 days ago
McGregor will fight champion Jose Aldo for the featherweight title in the main event of UFC 189 on July 11 at the MGM Grand in small part because of his five consecutive wins without a loss in the promotion. It's largely, however, because of his brilliance as a marketer that he's gotten the title fight.
One can fairly say that the outspoken Irishman has literally talked his way to the top, though that would ignore his athletic accomplishments.
He won the Cage Warriors title at both featherweight and lightweight, earning him his 2013 promotion to the UFC. That feat alone proves he can fight to some degree.
And with each succeeding win in the UFC – against Marcus Brimage, Max Holloway, Diego Brandao, Dustin Poirier and Dennis Siver – he's answered a few more questions about his ability at the highest level.
In his five fights, he's won Knockout of the Night once and Performance of the Night three times. In his only UFC bout in which he didn't receive a fight-night bonus, he severely injured his knee in the first round of his bout with Holloway and still went on to win a clear decision.
That puts the burden on McGregor to sell, and in some ways sets him up to fail.
Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 6 days ago
Yoel Romero is one of the great amateur wrestlers of this, or any, generation. He beat the legendary Cael Sanderson three times and is, arguably, the top wrestler ever to transition to mixed martial arts.
He suffered his first MMA loss in 2011, in just his fifth fight, when he got too ambitious and was beaten by the vastly more experienced Rafael "Fejaio" Cavalcante at Strikeforce 36.
Cavalcante is a quality striker and his hands were simply too much for Romero, as he stopped him in the second round.
Romero's brother, Yoan Pablo Hernandez, is a world cruiserweight boxing champion with a 29-1 record. But though it would seem to make sense that Romero would have sought out his brother for help with his striking, Yoel didn't and never really thought of it.
It was, though, not because of a family feud but more out of respect.
"My brother hits waaaaay too hard for me to be sparring with," said Romero, who on Saturday in Hollywood, Fla., will meet ex-light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida in the main event of a UFC card.
But Romero said he doesn't try to rely on his wrestling in his MMA career.
Kevin Iole at Boxing 6 days ago
LAS VEGAS -- There aren’t a lot of professional boxers from Sweden, and a large reason why is likely that the sport was illegal in the country from 1970 through 2007.
Chris Spang, a Swede, managed to find a way to fight despite the ban, though he could never fully indulge his passion for the sport until now. He even did a long stint as a gymnast because there were so few boxers around.
Spang, who was 19 and in the midst of his amateur mixed martial arts career when the law prohibiting boxing in Sweden was repealed in 2007, always felt he’d been miscast in MMA.
He did it because it was a way toward making a living, but he was never fully able to take advantage of his skills.
Spang didn't need to fight. He's a model of some note, has a degree in economics and spent some time managing a nightclub. He's got plenty of substance to go with those athletic genes.
He went 5-3 in MMA and made it to the UFC, where he lost his only fight in 2013. He worked hard on his wrestling and had a solid takedown defense, but he was really a boxer attempting to make a go of it in MMA.
“I was born to do this,” Spang said of BKB.
He said he loves to fight for the same reason he enjoys modeling.
Kevin Iole at Cagewriter 6 days ago
LAS VEGAS -- Here's all you need to know about Chad Mendes: When UFC president Dana White called to gauge his interest in facing Conor McGregor if featherweight champion Jose Aldo is unable to compete on July 11, Mendes said yes before he knew whether he'd be paid.
And on Thursday, a day after the UFC announced that Aldo is planning to put his belt on the line against McGregor but bringing in Mendes as a precaution in case the pain from a bruised rib becomes too unbearable for Aldo to fight, Mendes still didn't know if he'd be paid.
"Honestly, I don't know," he told Yahoo Sports when asked if he'd be paid even if he's not needed to fight. "I guess we're still talking. I don't really know. But they offered me the chance to be the stand-by fighter for UFC and, paid or not, I was all over it. I was 100 percent going to do it."
"He's got talent, but when you put aside the mouth and the marketing skills, he's not the kind of guy I see as a champion."
Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 6 days ago
A few days ago, New York legislators were able to, in their infinite wisdom, push a bill through the assembly and state senate to authorize Gov. Andrew Cuomo to declare July 29 as "Chicken Wing Day."
They weren't, however, able to bring to a vote a bill that would legalize mixed martial arts in the state.
And so, for another year, New York will remain the only state in the country in which MMA is illegal and not regulated by the state athletic commission.
It's laughable, and clearly corrupt. There is no logical rationale to ban MMA or to impose conditions that would make it difficult to promote events in the state.
Those who say it's too brutal or too violent simply don't understand the sport. In 23 years, the UFC has experienced zero deaths. Football can't say the same. Neither can boxing. Personally, I've covered seven boxing deaths in my reporting career, and boxing is a sanctioned sport in New York.
All it shows is the seamy underbelly of state politics.
Adding in Republican votes, the Journal News reported the bill would pass easily.
It's lunacy, but there is no real political pressure being placed on the members to make something happen.