Cagewriter - Mixed Martial Arts

  • Will we see Ronda Rousey in the WWE ring in the near future? (Getty)

    It’s become more and more obvious that Ronda Rousey’s career as a mixed martial artist has come to an end. She hasn’t competed since January and has said nothing when it comes to a possible return to the Octagon. Not to mention that the former UFC women’s bantamweight champion is a happily married woman who tied the knot with fellow UFC fighter Travis Browne in August.

    But the one thing that continues to linger is the possibility of Rousey competing in the WWE ring. It has been teased with her appearances on WWE programming as her friend Shayna Baszler competed in the recent Mae Young Classic and signed a deal with the sports entertainment company. But there has been no word on whether Rousey would follow.

    In an interview with TMZ Sports, Rousey addressed the rumors of her heading to the WWE. And in true pro wrestling fashion, Rousey refused to provide a spoiler.

    “If you were a real fan, would you really wanna know?” Rousey asked rhetorically. “I enjoy it more that way, and I don’t wanna ruin anything.”

    WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon has left the door open for Rousey to join the company and the 30-year-old has already been involved in an angle that featured her and her mixed martial arts version of the Four Horsewomen exchanging words with WWE Superstars Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch and Bayley. Rousey was last seen in a WWE ring at WrestleMania 31 alongside Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and tangled with McMahon and her husband Triple H.

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  • Even though he hasn’t fought in the UFC in nearly a year, the biggest story in MMA surrounds the future of Conor McGregor. With his dream bout against Floyd Mayweather in his rearview mirror, McGregor’s next act is under a microscope.
    The Irishman is certainly not short of options but it appears that there are two that stand out when it comes to his return to the Octagon. The one that has lingered for quite some time is a third fight with Nate Diaz, but UFC president Dana White has squashed the notion that a McGregor-Diaz fight is in the works. However, with Tony Ferguson claiming the interim UFC lightweight title at UFC 216, it appears that a unification bout may be in order. And that seems to line up with White’s thought process.

    But it may not be exactly what McGregor has in mind.

    According to the UFC lightweight champion’s striking coach Owen Roddy, a Ferguson fight is welcome but a third meeting with Diaz is the big money fight.

    “I honestly think that people would rather – like, I think people would rather see Conor vs. Diaz,” Roddy said on Submission Radio. “I just think it’s a more exciting fight for everybody. It’s the trilogy. The first two fights, the back and forth between the guys and the way the fights went – you know, who wouldn’t want to see the third fight? But of course, it makes sense that he fights (Ferguson), he defends the belt.”

    Ferguson has certainly earned the right to face McGregor with a 10-fight winning streak that dates back to 2013. His thrilling third round submission of Kevin Lee punctuated his claim as the best fighter in the division. However, Roddy doesn’t think Ferguson presents the same challenge that Diaz does.

    “His style is, you know, it’s not traditional, it’s a bit unorthodox and stuff, but I just honestly think that Conor’s going to be way too clean for Ferguson,” he said. ““If Ferguson tries to stand with Conor for an extended period of time it will be lights out, in my opinion…he’s tough and durable, so he may take a couple of smacks, but at the end of the day Conor’s going to be way too clean and too technical to… he won’t get touched.”

    Dismissing Ferguson as the easier fight will certainly draw the ire of the interim champion but it will be up to the UFC to decide which of the two fighters McGregor faces next.

    In the meanwhile, it appears that Mystic Mac may once again be looking for opportunities outside of the UFC as a report surfaced on UK outlet The Sun that suggests that McGregor may be entertaining an offer from the WWE to appear at WrestleMania 34 next April.

    “Conor is a huge wrestling fan. His entire persona on stage he has developed from watching performers like Ric Flair and The Rock,” The Sun reports from an unnamed source. “These are the top dogs at self-promotion and trash talk. He watched these guys when he was younger. This is something he’s always wanted to do. The WWE guys have asked him to do shows before with them but the timing was never really right. But this time it looks like a deal is going to be locked into place.”

    Rumors of McGregor appearing at WrestleMania cropped up last year as well but nothing ever came to fruition.

    Regardless, McGregor’s TKO loss to Mayweather has done nothing to slow him down. He has plenty of options on the table and the world will be tuned in to see what’s next.

  • Dana White wants nothing to do with country singer Jason Aldean. (Getty Images)

    Although the rest of the country may see Jason Aldean as a hero, UFC president Dana White is none too happy with the country singer who was on stage when the mass shooting in Las Vegas began that claimed 58 lives and injured nearly 500 people at the Route 91 Harvest Festival.

    White sounded off on Aldean to TMZ Sports for choosing to perform on “Saturday Night Live” rather than sing the national anthem at UFC 216 in Las Vegas on Saturday. Both took place at roughly the same time.

    “His image was more important than coming back to Vegas and playing for the people who are his fans and who got shot watching him play,” White said. “[Expletive] you Jason Aldean. Stay out of Vegas.”

    According to TMZ, White reached out to Aldean’s camp to sing the national anthem at the UFC’s pay-per-view event that took place at T-Mobile Arena, which sits just a few blocks from where the shooting took place. White said that Aldean’s representatives turned down the offer and suggested that the country singer might not perform live again.

    White mentioned that he had reached out to other country singers as well and all declined. Instead, Everlast sang “America, the Beautiful” during the opening of the PPV with both survivors and first responders in attendance.

    On the other side of the country, Aldean opened “SNL” with a performance of the late Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down.” According to the Instagram of Aldean’s wife, Brittany, the singer did visit Las Vegas over the weekend to meet with survivors from the shooting at two hospitals.

    This clearly drew the ire of White, who felt that the singer’s presence was needed more at UFC 216, and took the liberty of slamming Aldean and any other country singer who declined to perform

    “Those are people who buy your albums and none of you country music people could sing the anthem in front of survivors and first responders?” White said.

    Although Aldean didn’t perform at UFC 216, the mixed martial arts promotion did well in handling the tribute. A somber opening with a emphatic message from White, the performance by Everlast, the survivors and first responders in attendance and a sea of “Vegas Strong” T-shirts in the crowd was pitch perfect as the city still mourns the tragedy a week later.

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  • The main card of UFC 216 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas opened with a heartfelt tribute to the victims, survivors and first responders of the tragic mass shooting that claimed 58 lives and injured nearly 500 at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas on Sunday night.

    UFC president Dana White, who is from Las Vegas, opened the pay-per-view with a powerful message on a video shown on the big screens throughout the arena.

    “Don’t be afraid. Don’t let fear stop you. Continue to live life to the fullest and experience everything that life has to offer.” White said. “Together we will heal, together we will help the victims and their families. Together, we will be stronger than ever.”

    Earlier in the week, the UFC donated $1 million to the families of victims while White said more than 1,500 free tickets will be given to first responders from around the valley. And those individuals were recognized and serenaded with standing ovations from the fans inside of the arena.

    Vocalist Everlast sung a stirring rendition of “America The Beautiful” as a “U.S.A.” chant erupted from those in attendance. During the preliminary fights, a moment of silence was taken for the victims of the shooting. The UFC’s Octagon girls and all the UFC staff wore #VegasStrong T-shirts to pay tribute on Saturday as well.

    It was only right that the first big event to take place in Las Vegas after Sunday’s tragedy would be from the world’s biggest mixed martial arts promotion, which calls Southern Nevada its home. Although the streets of Las Vegas have been relatively quiet in the aftermath, those who were in attendance at UFC 216 were a loud and proud bunch who refused to live in fear.

    The UFC donated $1 million to the victims of the Las Vegas mass shooting earlier this week.. (Getty file photo)

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  • MMA: Conor McGregor eyes up another opponent – but who is next?

    Did Freddie Roach prematurely let the cat out of the bag on a potential fight between Georges St-Pierre and Conor McGregor?

    The trainer of boxing greats that include Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto revealed to TMZ that he has been training St-Pierre for his upcoming fight with Michael Bisping at UFC 217 for Bisping’s middleweight title. When Roach was asked if he could help improve McGregor’s boxing skills, the 57-year-old dismissed the idea.

    “It’s too late [for McGregor],” Roach said before dropping the bombshell.

    “GSP is going to kick his ass anyway.”

    There have been some mild rumblings about a potential fight between the two, but with McGregor being tied up with Floyd Mayweather the past year and St-Pierre finally ending his four-year hiatus, the stars haven’t quite aligned for the two. Not to mention that McGregor is the UFC’s 155-pound champion while St-Pierre will be competing for the 185-pound title.

    However, there is a distinct possibility that they could meet at 170 pounds considering that GSP was the longtime welterweight champion and McGregor owns a win over Nate Diaz in that weight class. It is certainly be the biggest fight the UFC could make and would do big business for the MMA promotion.

    The UFC denied that there was anything in the works.

    “GSP is coming back after 4 years off. Conor is looking to defend his title. There is zero talk about GSP vs. Conor,” the UFC told TMZ.

    Does Roach know something everyone else doesn’t?

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  • The Boston Crab, a pro wrestling finishing move, actually forced a MMA fighter to submit over the weekend.

    Pro wrestling may not be a “real” sport, but there is nothing fake about some of the moves as they certainly do hurt. For proof, look no further than MMA fighter Jonno Mears, who applied a pro-wrestling style submission to earn a victory at Full Contact Contender 19 in Bolton, England.

    Mears channelled the spirt of pro wrestlers Rick Martel and Chris Jericho by using a Boston Crab to finish Aaron Jones in the first round of their fight over the weekend.

    For the uninitiated, the Boston Crab is a move where a fighter has his opponent laying on his stomach and pulls their legs backward toward their head.

    If it sounds painful … it is.

    After working to Jones’ back, Mears soon found himself on top while Jones was flat on his stomach. Jones used a couple of punches to keep his opponent from moving and immediately snatched up both legs. With Jones trapped, Mears sank in the submission as his opponent winced in pain. To add insult to injury, Mears stuck his tongue out and gave a thumbs up before Mears finally tapped out to the pro wrestling hold that has seldom — if ever — been used in an MMA fight.

    Social media exploded once the finish went viral and even WWE Superstar Chris Jericho tweeted his approval of the finish that mirrors his “Walls of Jericho.”

    Mears, who is from Rochdale, England, improved to 2-0 in his young MMA career with the finish. If the UFC doesn’t come calling, perhaps the WWE will find a place for the welterweight.

  • LAS VEGAS – UFC president Dana White said the company will donate $1 million to a fund to assist those impacted by the shooting Sunday at a country music concert, in which at least 59 people were killed and more than 500 others were injured.

    The UFC also confirmed in a statement that UFC 216, headlined by an interim lightweight title fight between Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee, will be held Saturday as planned at T-Mobile Arena.

    The statement in full:

    Our focus right now is on supporting the community and those affected by Sunday evening’s events. UFC 216 on Saturday, October 7 at T-Mobile Arena will proceed as scheduled until further notice.

    Not long after that statement was released, White, who grew up in Las Vegas and for a while attended Bishop Gorman High School here, told MMA reporter Adam Hill of the Las Vegas Review-Journal about the plans for the donation.

    Steve Sisolak, the chairman of the Clark County Commission who is expected to run for Nevada governor as a Democrat in 2018, created a GoFundMe page to benefit the victims and their families that has raised more than $1.2 million, mostly in small donations.

    In addition to the Ferguson-Lee bout for the interim lightweight title, flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson will meet Ray Borg. With a win, Johnson will set the UFC record for most consecutive successful title defenses.

    Debris is strewn through the scene of a mass shooting at a music festival near the Mandalay Bay resort and casino on the Las Vegas Strip, Monday, Oct. 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

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  • Tony Ferguson, pictured, exchanged gay slurs in Spanish with Fabricio Werdum. (AP)

    Tony Ferguson and Fabricio Werdum are both fighting at UFC 216 next week, but not against each other. However, you couldn’t tell at a UFC media lunch in Los Angeles when the two engaged in a heated war of words.

    Ferguson, who will face Kevin Lee for the interim UFC lightweight title, was interrupted by Werdum, who will face Derrick Lewis, while answering a question from a reporter.

    “Hold on, I’m talking, brother,” Ferguson said to Werdum, who seemingly was answering a separate question by a different reporter. Werdum took exception to Ferguson’s words and fired back in Portuguese with a number of expletives. Werdum used the word “maricon,” a common gay slur in Spanish, several times and eventually stood up to challenge Ferguson. Before things got too out of hand, UFC PR stepped in to separate the two fighters.

    “Have fun fighting on my undercard,” Ferguson said to Werdum, who was escorted away from the table.

    “Obviously, I’m getting to some people,” Ferguson continued. “Which is good. I told you all, they’re not going to like me when I get to this spot. And I said it.”

    With Werdum out of view, Ferguson gestured to the Brazilian heavyweight with one last volley in Spanish.

    “Este maricon.”

    Afterward, Werdum took to social media to apologize for the rampant use of the gay slur.

    It is not known if either will face disciplinary action for the slurs.

  • UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor (C) of Ireland has words with former sparring partner Paulie Malignaggi (L) after his arrival at Toshiba Plaza in Las Vegas, Nevada U.S. on August 22, 2017. (Reuters) 

    The ship may have sailed on public interest in a fight between Conor McGregor and Paulie Malignaggi, but there was a time when McGregor was seriously entertaining a throw down with his former sparring partner. Only, it wouldn’t have been in a boxing ring.

    Conor McGregor’s coach, John Kavanagh, revealed to Mike Sheridan at the launch of the Original Penguin AW17 collection in Dublin that the Irishman was fed up with Malignaggi and wanted a piece of him on his terms.

    “He said to me, ‘Let’s get him in the Octagon’, and I said that there was no way that he would fight in MMA. You’ve got to be able to prove yourself in the arena,” Kavanagh said. “When Conor wanted a boxing license they could look at the Diaz 2 fight where there was more or less 25 minutes of boxing. Why would Paulie go to MMA? He’d never go to MMA.”

    McGregor and Malignaggi’s very public feud nearly overshadowed the UFC lightweight champion’s boxing match with Floyd Mayweather last month. After Malignaggi took exception to images released online, the former boxing champion quit being McGregor’s sparring partner and a war of words ensued. Things nearly bubbled over during Mayweather-McGregor fight week when the two engaged in an argument during the grand arrivals.

    Kavanagh explained that it was Malignaggi who initially stirred the pot after the first sparring session.

    “It wasn’t just general stuff explaining how he was part of the camp. He had to go back to New York to do some promotion for the Andre Ward fight, and straightaway he was disrespecting [McGregor’s] power,” Kavanagh said.

    “He was saying this and that, and I was thinking, ‘What are you doing, you have to come back here and spar Conor in seven days?’” he continued. “This guy is a former world champion, he should know that you should keep your mouth shut until the fight is over – then write a book, then do 50 interviews.”

    With McGregor unsuccessful in his boxing debut, he’s likely turned all of his attention back to the UFC. However, the bad blood between the two likely still remains and there’s always a possibility that McGregor could shift his attention back to a fight with Malignaggi at some point. However, a fight between the two is unlikely to ever take place in the UFC.

  • Cris Cyborg: Ronda Rousey’s coach is a joke.

    Ronda Rousey’s coach Edmond Tarverdyan suggested that if the former UFC women’s bantamweight champion were to have one more fight, it would be against longtime rival Cris “Cyborg” Justino.

    Justino caught wind of Tarverdyan’s comments on “The MMA Hour” and agreed that a bout against Rousey would be best for business … just not in a sanctioned MMA match. Instead, Cyborg believes that the world of sports entertainment would be the perfect place to have them meet.

    “If Ronda is wanting to make the fight for the fans, I would still be willing to give them it,” Justino said in a post on her website. “But I think it would be better to take place inside the WWE ring. For her, it gets her one step closer to Hollywood and for me it would be another exciting challenge and a chance to test my athletic ability.”

    Cyborg vs. Rousey has long been a dream fight for MMA fans considering their respective dominance over their competition. However, interest has dwindled with Rousey’s back-to-back knockout losses in her last two fights and there is speculation that she will never compete in MMA again. Cyborg has since continued her run through competition and is currently the UFC women’s featherweight champion. With their careers going in opposite directions, Cyborg doesn’t see the need for them to fight.

    “When I wanted to fight her, it was because she was at the top of her game and she had all of the confidence in the world,” she said. “She had not been KO’d twice in a row, and some people were actually saying she could beat Floyd Mayweather in a fight.”

    Cyborg recalled a time when she tried everything she could to land the fight with Rousey but, for one reason or another, it never came to fruition.

    “I wanted the challenge so bad I almost killed myself trying to make the lowest weight possible just to give this fight to the fans, and she made every excuse for it not to happen,” Cyborg said. “Both of us are now at different chapters in our careers, and for me that chapter is finished.”

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