- Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports5 hrs ago
Two fight cards into the second half of 2014, and one fact has become abundantly clear: Without former welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, the UFC does not have one fighter it can place atop a card and, no matter who he or she is fighting, reasonably expect it to sell 500,000 or more pay-per-views.
The company has a lot of popular fighters and burgeoning stars, not the least of which are women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey and middleweight champion Chris Weidman.
Selling a fight on pay-per-view is a difficult and challenging business in the best of times. When times are rough, it can be next to impossible.
The UFC does not release its pay-per-view results and any list or discussion of sales is speculation. There is, however, a general feeling in the industry that the company has backslid in pay-per-view sales this year compared to last.
In 2013, the UFC had extraordinary luck with injuries and did not have to change one main event all year after it was announced because a fighter got hurt.
But in 2014, some of the company's best fighters and potential stars have yet to compete.
- Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports9 hrs ago
LAS VEGAS – It's all about positioning for Canelo Alvarez. After what some would call a flop against Floyd Mayweather in September, Alvarez needed to regroup.
He was still young, still talented and still massively popular.
There were few men in his weight class who would be favored to beat him other than Mayweather, but he was handled so easily once he had his shot he seemed out of place to not belong.
But as he tries to rebound from that difficult loss, Alvarez has something going for him that few others do: He is a massive draw who helped Mayweather set a single-fight record for most pay-per-view revenue at $150 million. The fight sold 2.3 million, making it the second-best selling fight behind Mayweather's 2007 win over Oscar De La Hoya.
So if Alvarez could rebuild himself and convince the public that he is a legitimate threat to Mayweather in a rematch, it's then at least feasible he could get a second shot at the King and the mega-payday that would carry with it.
The second step on that path toward redemption comes Saturday, and it promises to be a much more difficult challenge than his first post-Mayweather bout when he easily thrashed Alfredo Angulo in March.
- Kevin Iole at Cagewriter21 hrs ago
The UFC is quickly running out of viable challengers for women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, as the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist has run roughshod over the 135-pound division.
On Thursday, the UFC may have gotten her some stiff competition.
UFC president Dana White announced on Twitter that the company had signed former boxing champion Holly Holm, who is 7-0 in her mixed martial arts career.
Holm is expected to debut with the promotion in the fall, but isn't expected to land an immediate title shot against Rousey. She was 33-2-3 as a boxer and was 2-1 as a kick boxer.
Holm is 5-8, an inch taller than the 5-7 Rousey, and has a 70-66 advantage in reach.
The UFC had been in talks with Holm for several months. Holm began boxing in 2002 and won a number of world championships. Included among her victories were 2005 wins over Christy Martin and Mia St. John.
Holm made her MMA debut on March 4, 2011, defeating Christina Domke by leg kicks in the second round. Later that month, on March 27, 2011, Rousey made her pro MMA debut by submitting Ediane Gomes with an arm bar in just 25 seconds of the first round.
- Kevin Iole at Cagewriter1 day ago
The third UFC fighter to be randomly tested for the usage of performance-enhancing drugs in the past seven weeks has turned in a positive test.
Ali Bagautinov, a flyweight who did nothing in a title fight loss to Demetrious Johnson on June 14 in Vancouver, British Columbia, tested positive for the hormone EPO. The British Columbia Athletic Commission suspended Bagautinov for a year.
EPO is banned in and out of competition and is on the World Anti-Doping Agency's 2014 prohibited list.
A favorite of cyclists for its ability to help improve endurance, EPO helps increase the body's production of red blood cells, which allows more oxygen to be delivered to the lungs and then muscles. That helps increase endurance and aid in recovery following workouts, allowing an athlete to train more vigorously.
- Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports1 day ago
The most influential boxer in the world flexed his muscles a bit on Thursday to show who's boss to the man who used to hold that mythical title.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. announced via a smartphone app, of all things, that he would fight a welterweight title rematch against Marcos Maidana on Sept. 13 at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas.
That the announcement was made only hours before Golden Boy Promotions president Oscar De La Hoya was about to step behind a podium and run a very critical news conference was not at all coincidental.
The message was loud and clear, to De La Hoya, to potential venues, to Showtime, and to anyone else with an interest in the fight game: This is all about what's best for Floyd Mayweather. Everyone else be damned.
De La Hoya is promoting a pay-per-view card on Saturday between Canelo Alvarez and Erislandy Lara at the MGM Grand on Saturday. The news conference was scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Pacific time on Thursday, or only about three hours after Mayweather announced he would rematch Maidana.
- Kevin Iole at Boxing1 day ago
LAS VEGAS – Floyd Mayweather, the world's top pound-for-pound boxer, waited until about the last possible moment to announce via a smart phone app on Thursday that he will rematch Marcos Maidana on Sept. 13 at the MGM Grand Garden in a bout that will be televised on Showtime pay-per-view.
Mayweather made the announcement of the rematch of his May 3 majority decision win over Maidana on the Shots smart phone app, but didn't announce either the venue or the promoter. Leonard Ellerbe, the CEO of Mayweather Promotions, confirmed to Yahoo Sports via telephone that the bout will be co-promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and Mayeather Promotions.
- Kevin Iole at Cagewriter1 day ago
Cat Zingano, who lost a UFC title shot and an opportunity to coach against women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey when she suffered a knee injury during training, willl return to competition on Sept. 27 in Las Vegas when she meets Amanda Nunes at UFC 178 at the MGM Grand Garden.
Zingano defeated former Strikeforce champion Miesha Tate to earn a shot to coach against Rousey and then fight her in the finale, but a knee injury announced on May 28, 2013, forced her to withdraw. She was replaced by Tate, a move that shocked Rousey. Rousey then defeated Tate in the third round when they met at UFC 168.
Injury, though, hasn't been Zingano's only issue. In January, her husband, Mauricio Zingano, took his own life.
- Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports2 days ago
LAS VEGAS – There is, Martin Kampmann says, at least some similarities between mixed martial arts and playing professional poker.
The longtime UFC fighter has recently turned professional in poker and is currently playing in the World Series of Poker at the Rio.
Contestants begin with $30,000 in chips, and at the end of the day on Tuesday, Kampmann wound up with a stack of $40,775, so he'd made considerable progress.
MMA fighters need a poker face and must remain cool under pressure, traits that also help greatly in poker. But there is one thing, he concedes, that makes fighting more appealing than poker.
"I don't have to worry about getting punched in the face in poker, though," Kampmann said, chuckling. "But staying cool under pressure is a big similarity. One mistake in fighting, if you leave your chin up or your arm out, the fight is going to be over quickly and you'll wind up being knocked out or submitted.
- Kevin Iole at Yahoo Sports2 days ago
LAS VEGAS – Erislandy Lara has a curious nickname. The Cuban-born boxer refers to himself as "The American Dream," but he wanted no part of the United States when he first began to seriously ponder defecting.
Lara knew full well the difficulties he'd face escaping Cuba and had no illusions that it would be easy or safe.
He tried for the first time in 2007 along with two-time Olympic gold medalist Guillermo Rigondeaux, but was captured in Brazil and returned to Cuba.
In 2008, he opted to try it again.
"Cuba," Lara says emotionlessly, "is a socialist country. There was nothing for me there, no future."
To become the boxer he believed he could become, he had to leave the island that has spawned so many greats.
After their failed first attempt, Lara wanted to try again, but Rigondeaux wasn't as sure. He chose not to go, but there was something inside of Lara telling him to go.
He'd leave behind his mother, his sister and two sons, not sure if he'd ever see them again and not entirely sure what would become of them in Cuba.
- Kevin Iole at Cagewriter3 days ago
For the second time in the current ownership's history, the UFC has decided to cancel a pay-per-view event. On Tuesday, UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta said UFC 176, scheduled for Aug. 2 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, has been canceled because of an injury to featherweight champion Jose Aldo.
UFC 151 was canceled in 2012 when Dan Henderson suffered an injury and was unable to fight light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. When no suitable replacement for Henderson could be found, the event was canceled.
Aldo suffered a neck injury during training on July 1 which Fertitta described Tuesday as "kind of like a stinger," that forced him to withdraw from the fight. UFC president Dana White said on Saturday he thought Aldo would be ready to return in 45 days, and Fertitta said because it was a short-term thing, the decision was made to cancel the Aug. 2 show.
The bout is not rescheduled as yet, however, because it is still not clear when Aldo will be ready, but mid-October seems like a good guess at this point, Fertitta said.