Kevin Iole

  • Travis Browne believes he should get title shot if he beats Cain Velasquez

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 1 day ago

    During International Fight Week in Las Vegas next month, the UFC is putting on four world title bouts and one interim title match.

    In Travis Browne’s mind, though, it should be five title bouts. That’s because the 6-foot-7 Hawaiian sees his match with Cain Velasquez, which will kick off the main card of UFC 200 on July 9 at T-Mobile Arena, as a title fight.

    Browne has been near the top of the heavyweight division for years, but hasn’t quite earned that coveted shot yet despite a 9-3-1 UFC mark and eight finishes.

    The one failing Browne has had in a division where the title flips hands with regularity is losing at the wrong time.

    Most significantly, he was routed by Fabricio Werdum on April 19, 2014, in a title eliminator bout, losing a stunningly wide unanimous decision. He was a 2-to-1 favorite to beat Werdum, but he lost and Werdum went on to capture the title.

    But he was an underdog to Alistair Overeem and Josh Barnett and won both of those impressively.

    Browne gives little credence to that. The competition is elite, and closely matched. And he said it is difficult for an outsider to fully comprehend what goes into getting ready to fight a world-class opponent.

  • Shawn Porter ready to seize spotlight after years of being 'the other guy'

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 1 day ago

    Shawn Porter is one of the great guys in boxing, a genuine and unassuming man who is as likeable as he is talented. He was an extraordinary amateur, winning 276 of 290 fights and just missed out on making the U.S. Olympic boxing team.

    As a pro, he’s won a world title and is 26-1-1, and has the kind of entertaining style that fans love.

    Porter outboxed and outhustled Adrien Broner in his last outing, a unanimous decision victory in Las Vegas that was televised by NBC, but post-fight, the story was more about Broner’s failings than Porter’s abilities.

    A win on Saturday in his CBS-televised bout against Keith Thurman, though, will change things dramatically.

    Porter will go from being the other guy to the guy if he hands the unbeaten Thurman his first defeat.

    They meet on Saturday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn for Thurman’s WBA belt in a bout that boxing fans have hotly anticipated for the better part of the last year.

    They will meet in the first bout televised in primetime on CBS since Muhammad Ali fought Leon Spinks in 1978.

    Porter is always highly motivated regardless of external forces, but following Ali has lit a fire under him.

  • Cat Zingano eager for return after 'humbling' Ronda Rousey loss, ensuing time away

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 1 day ago

    The question for Cat Zingano was easy: Why have you been away from competition for so long? The answer, perhaps not unexpectedly, was hard.

    Zingano hasn’t fought since she submitted to a Ronda Rousey arm bar at UFC 184 on Feb. 28, 2015, in just 14 seconds at the height of Rousey-Mania.

    A decade-long dream of making it to the top, as well as years of sweat, suffering and sacrifice went poof in about the time it takes to get from the bed to the toaster in the morning.

    She hasn’t been seen since, though she’ll return to take on Julianna Peña on July 9 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas in the biggest show of the year and, quite possibly, in MMA history.

    The big stage will be a prime opportunity for Zingano to make amends, to remind folks who may have forgotten that she has finished both current champion Miesha Tate and Amanda Nunes, who will fight for the bantamweight title on the loaded UFC 200 main card.

    Zingano submitted Tate in 2013 and Nunes in 2014, both in the third round, and took that momentum, as well as an undefeated record, into the bout with Rousey.

    But before she could do any of that, she needed to make sure she sorted her personal life out.

  • Canelo and Triple-G agree to fight, but you're going to have to wait for it

    Kevin Iole at Boxing 2 days ago

    Promoters Oscar De La Hoya and Tom Loeffler met in Los Angeles at the Golden Boy Promotions offices on Wednesday to discuss putting together the long-awaited title fight between linear middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez and WBA/WBC/IBF champion Gennady Golovkin.

    No deal was signed, though De La Hoya, who promotes Alvarez, tweeted following the meeting that the promoters had agreed verbally for Alvarez and Golovkin in September 2017.

    On Tuesday, Tom Loeffler came to @GoldenBoyBoxing's offices and we agreed that the mega fight between @canelo and GGG would occur next fall

    Fans have been clamoring for the fight for nearly a year, but the drumbeat picked up intensity on Nov. 21 after Alvarez defeated Miguel Cotto to win the WBC and linear middleweight belts.

    But Loeffler, who promotes Golovkin, stressed there is still no deal.

    The 15-month delay of pushing the bout to 2017 will allow Alvarez to get comfortable fighting as a fully fledged middleweight and to help Golovkin build his name.

  • Richard Schaefer creates Ringstar Sports, back in promotional business

    Kevin Iole at Boxing 2 days ago

    After an 18-month absence, Richard Schaefer is back in the business of promoting boxing.

    The former Golden Boy CEO, who bitterly split with the company in January 2015, created a company he called Ringstar Sports and is in the process of building a staff and seeking out fighters.

    A prominent Swiss banker, Schaefer joined forces with Oscar De La Hoya in 2000 to build Golden Boy Promotions. He eventually became the CEO of the company and led it to become one of the major players in the business.

    He parted ways with Golden Boy last year and, as part of a confidential settlement that ended a lawsuit between the sides, he remained out of boxing for 18 months before starting Ringstar.

    Schaefer has no staff or fighters currently under contract. He said not only is he open to working once again with Al Haymon, the powerful boxing manager who created the Premier Boxing Champions, but he expects to have substantive talks with him soon.

  • Will Ronda Rousey ever rebound from Holly Holm loss?

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 3 days ago

    Sometimes it seems that the Internet exists solely to celebrate the failings and problems of famous people. Ronda Rousey learned that lesson the hard way in November.

    Minutes after she was knocked out by Holly Holm and lost her UFC women’s bantamweight title at UFC 193 in Melbourne, Australia, the head-kick knockout had been viewed tens of thousands of times and there were many who mocked her with glee.

    Rousey arrived home in Los Angeles a few days later, hiding her face from waiting photographers, the extraordinary accomplishments of her career being ignored while many celebrated one night gone horribly wrong.

    Rousey hasn’t fought since that night, and there is no timetable for her return. She recently had arthroscopic surgery on her knee, and it’s possible that she may not fight at all in 2016.

    One could have gotten appealing betting odds on Nov. 15, the day after she lost to Holm, wagering that Brock Lesnar would be back in the Octagon before Rousey. Sure enough, though, Lesnar will fight Mark Hunt on July 9 at UFC 200, while Rousey still isn’t scheduled.

    “I absolutely think she’s going to fight again,” White said. “One hundred percent, I believe that.”

  • Is Keith Thurman the next great welterweight?

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 3 days ago

    Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter will square off Saturday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., on CBS for the WBA welterweight title in a match that, on paper, is the best to be made so far this year.

    Thurman is 26-0 with 22 knockouts and has been on the fringes of stardom for some time. Yet, he hasn’t had that one breakthrough moment, largely because he hasn’t had that big-name opponent standing across from him in the ring.

    A year ago, about a month after Mayweather defeated Pacquiao, Mayweather responded to questions about a fight against Thurman by suggesting that Thurman go fight Errol Spence Jr.

    While Spence was then, as he is now, an elite prospect, he wasn’t nearly the polished product he is today. Spence has the kind of ability to end up in the same echelon as those great welterweights.

    It was just one of the many pitfalls in Thurman’s rise to the top. He’s an electric fighter in the ring, a good boxer with far better than average power who is well spoken and eager to fight.

    The fight with Porter is kind of a defining line in his career. Porter is 26-1-1 with 16 knockouts, and a win will make Thurman the de facto No. 1 welterweight.

  • UFC tells employees that report of $4.2 billion sale is false

    Kevin Iole at Cagewriter 3 days ago

    A UFC spokesman on Monday shot down a FloCombat report that indicated ownership had accepted an offer of $4.2 billion to sell the company.

    Dave Sholler, the UFC's vice president of public relations, athlete marketing and development, sent a statement to Yahoo Sports late Monday denying the story.

    "'s report indicating that the UFC has been sold is false," Sholler said in the statement. "We've communicated that to our staff members tonight via an internal memo."

    Sholler would not answer questions and UFC president Dana White declined comment. ESPN reported on May 9 that the UFC was in the advanced stages of talks to sell the company. White denied that to Yahoo Sports on that day.

    Our story on the UFC’s acceptance of a $4.2 billion bid for company sale is updated with more information:





  • What would UFC look like without Dana White?

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 7 days ago

    LAS VEGAS – Dana White is a visionary, an unquestionably driven and creative man who has shown a willingness to go to almost any length to get what he wants.

    He’s battled friends and friended enemies as he’s led a dying company in an almost non-existent sport into mainstream status.

    He was a 31-year-old without much money and no track record of business success when he took over as UFC president in January 2001, when he and partners Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta paid $2 million to purchase the company from Semaphore Entertainment Group.

    Mixed martial arts was a mess in 2001 and was only sanctioned by New Jersey at the time of Zuffa’s purchase. It was ignored by the mainstream media, unavailable on television except on pay-per-view and had a tiny (though committed) fan base.

    More than 15 years later, the sport is legal and sanctioned in all 50 states. Since White took over, the UFC has put on shows in 21 countries and in 30 states.

    It has offices in Las Vegas, Toronto, London, Sao Paolo and Singapore. CEO Lorenzo Fertitta told CNN that the company had $600 million in revenues in 2015.

  • How Stephen Thompson felt when he found out he was fighting his friend

    Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports 9 days ago

    Stephen Thompson’s reaction to Rory MacDonald’s welterweight title fight with Robbie Lawler last year was pretty much the same as everyone else who watched what might well be the greatest fight in UFC history:

    “Wow,” he said. “That was amazing.”

    As the fight unfolded, Thompson said to himself, “How are they still standing?”

    Lawler stopped MacDonald a minute into the fifth round at UFC 189 in Las Vegas in a savage brawl which has kept MacDonald out of the ring until Saturday, when he faces Thompson in the main event of a card televised from Ottawa on Fox Sports 1.

    Thompson never thought he’d be fighting MacDonald, his long-time friend, and he wasn’t too happy about it when he first heard. And his displeasure had nothing to do with competing against a friend.

    “After what I’d done, I thought the title would be next,” Thompson said. “I really didn’t even consider anything else.”

    Thompson annihilated former champion Johny Hendricks in February, knocking him out in the first round of a shockingly one-sided fight.

    His belief was that he’d next line up with Lawler. His father and trainer, Ray Thompson, told Yahoo Sports after the bout that his son was ready to win the championship.