The Fight Nerd

March 23, 2015

Two title fights headline UFC 189

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , , — The Fight Nerd @ 7:40 PM

In one of the most anticipated matchups in UFC® history, reigning featherweight champion Jose Aldo goes head-to-head with Irish superstar Conor McGregor in the main event of UFC 189, Saturday, July 11 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Plus, newly crowned welterweight champion Robbie Lawler makes his first title defense against No. 2 Rory MacDonald in the co-main event. The two world title fights will be the signature events of UFC’s International Fight Week™, which kicks off July 7 in Las Vegas, the home of the UFC.

Aldo (25-1, fighting out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), second in the pound-for-pound rankings, looks to continue his historic reign and remain the only featherweight champion in UFC history. He will attempt an eighth straight successful title defense against polarizing Irish sensation McGregor (17-2, fighting out of Dublin, Ireland), a winner of 13 straight. After several heated exchanges through the press and social media, these adversaries will finally meet in the five-round main event. The talking ends July 11.

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Plus, UFC welterweight champion Lawler (25-10, 1NC, fighting out of Coconut Creek, Fla.) will make his first title defense in a rematch against a young and hungry MacDonald (18-2, fighting out of Montreal, Quebec, Canada). Lawler handed MacDonald his only loss in the last five years at UFC 167 in November 2013, and then went on to defeat top-ranked contenders Jake Ellenberger and Matt Brown before taking the 170-pound title from Johny Hendricks by decision. MacDonald has rattled off three straight wins over Demian Maia, Tyron Woodley and Tarec Saffiedine to secure his title shot and rematch with the champ.

Additional bouts will be announced soon.

January 10, 2015

Mauro Ranallo frustrated with Jon Jones & drugs in MMA + Pro Wrestling Dream Matches

Mauro Ranallo has been present first-hand for some of the greatest times in MMA and continues to be a top commentator and analyst in the sport. However, that does not mean that someone so deeply immersed in the professional side of the sport can not be as angry and confused like us fans are when they heard about Jon Jones’ positive drug test for Cocaine.

While discussing Ranallo’s new job as one-half of the English-speaking commentary team on AXS TV’s “New Japan Pro Wrestling” alongside Josh Barnett (which premieres January 16) we meandered over to the topic of MMA and Jon Jones, which Ranallo had plenty to say about:

“It’s devastating, it’s shocking and it’s obviously not a great way to kick off the year in MMA. MMA, a sport that I have been involved in for over a decade, I love MMA… it doesn’t matter if its a local show or Pride FC or the UFC, I have covered it at every level, I have called matches at ever level and every time i start commentating a match, I realize just how incredible these people are that are putting their lives on the lines and showcasing their skills. And to see one of the best ever, a guy at the age of 27… Jones has had a history of making these kinds of mistakes.

We all make mistakes, we all do idiotic things but he is a guy with plenty of responsibility. As the old saying goes, with plenty of power comes plenty of responsibilities. He has brands to worry about… he is the UFC light heavyweight champion, and for him to test positive for metabolites and cocaine, which don’t even get me started on what the commission and how the UFC has handled this because, frankly, I am very confused and very frustrated, and I have had conversations in the past with the NSAC about how they deal with certain things, and you know, when you follow the WADA code where other competitions drug testing, they don’t test for recreational drugs like cocaine or marijuana, so the fact that now the commission is saying it was an anomaly or an oversight, there has to be hell to pay here in many ways.

And while the UFC code of conduct covers substance abuse and all this stuff that is detrimental to the PR and reputation of the company, I know a lot of people are frustrated that Dana White, when Jon Jones pulled out of UFC 152… Dana White railed against him, and now here he tests positive for cocaine and stands firmly in support of him and so at the end of the day, i am no one to judge… but because of the profile and because of who he is, I wish him the best… but there does have to be some repercussions regardless of what the rules are going.

The commission and the UFC had to have known December fourth when the results came out… and a guy who was already a very polarizing personality… now I wonder what the future holds and whether this is going to be all but forgotten and soon enough, we continue, because there seems to be some double standards when you look at the marijuana tests, when you look at the people that have been fired for far less egregious situations… when you look at it from the way it is now, it was out of competition drug test, out of competition is 12 hours, or 12 days before the fight, and hours after the fight, so it’s a mess… I really love the sport of MMA but boy, does this sport really do a good job of shooting itself in the foot and when it comes to performance enhancing drugs and drugs of any type, it needs to be eradicated and the commissions need to be overhauled and everyone has got to be on the same page or what’s the point? It’s not good.”

Ranallo had plenty more to say on the topic as you will hear in the video above, which he discusses after we do some fantasy booking for pro wrestling dream matches.

For those readers that are also fans of Pro Wrestling, especially Japanese Pro Wrestling, I urge you to listen to the other parts of this interview I conducted with Mauro, such as this one below where he discusses his roots in pro wrestling, explains the big storyline between Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kazuchika Okada, and tells us why MMA fans should watch NJPW, why they will love it, and how it is nothing like the product that WWE produces:

In this part below, Mauro and I review Wrestle Kingdom 9, which is the NJPW equivalent of “Wrestlemania” and already considered one of the best NJPW shows ever:

December 16, 2014

MMA Fighters File Class-Action Lawsuit Against UFC, Alleging Illegal Market Monopolization

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , , , , — The Fight Nerd @ 5:57 PM

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Three current and former high-profile Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters filed a multi-million-dollar class-action lawsuit today against the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) organization, accusing the $2-billion outfit of illegally maintaining monopoly and monoposony power by systematically eliminating competition from rival promoters, artificially suppressing fighters’ earnings from bouts and merchandising and marketing activities through restrictive contracting and other exclusionary practices.
The civil action – Cung Le, et al. v. Zuffa, LLC, d/b/a Ultimate Fighting Championship and UFC– filed todayin the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Jose,seeks treble damages and injunctive relief under the Sherman Antitrust Act stemming from the UFC’s alleged “over-arching, anti-competitive scheme to enhance its monopoly power” in the market for promotion of live Elite Professional MMA bouts, and monopsony powerin the market for live Elite Professional MMA Fighter services in the U.S. Monopsony refers to when there are many “sellers” and few “buyers” in the marketplace.
The lawsuit filed by fighters Cung Le, Nathan Quarry and Jon Fitch,who seek to represent a class of similarly situated current and former UFC professional combatants,allegesthat the plaintiffs are victims of the UFC’s illegal scheme to eliminate its competition in the sport of MMA and suppress compensation for UFC Fighters from bouts and fighteridentities and likenesses.
According to plaintiffs’ counsel Benjamin Brown, of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC,“The UFC was built on the battered bodies of MMA fighters who have left their blood and sweat in the Octagon.  Those fighters are entitled to the benefits of a competitive market for their talents.”
The lawsuit targets defendants Zuffa LLC, the Las Vegas-based company that conducts business as the UFC. Zuffa isprimarily owned by billionaires Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta, along with the UFC’s front-man, President Dana White.  White has publicly boasted about the success of the UFC’s alleged illegal scheme, allegedly claiming that “there is no competition” because “I am the grim reaper[.]”
The lawsuit claims that the UFC’s alleged anti-competitive acts, in particular its actions over a period of years, have made and maintained the UFC asthe onlyoption for MMA fighters who want to earn a viable living in the profession.
“All UFC Fighters are paid a mere fraction of what they would make in a competitive market,” said Brown.“Rather than earning paydays comparable to boxers – a sport with many natural parallels –MMA fighters go substantially under-compensated despite the punishing nature of their profession.”
Above all, the lawsuit alleges thatthe UFC prevents fighters from working with other MMA promoters, mounting self-promotional efforts of their ownor signing with outside sponsors – monopolistic practices that suppressfighters’ incomes.
According to named plaintiff Cung Le, of San Jose, Calif., an internationally acclaimed MMA combatant, “Because  of the UFC’s coercive practices, competitive market forces have been strangled, future earnings power of the athletes is stripped away, and purses to the fighters are artificially depressed.”
Plaintiffs’ co-counsel and sports law specialist Robert Maysey, of Warner Angle Hallam Jackson & Formanek PLC, added, “As a result of the UFC’s illegal conduct, they have become the only game in town and locked down the entire sport.  It is ironic that the fiercest combat athletes in the world have, until now, been powerless to take on the UFC.”
The lawsuit alleges that the UFC has pursued an aggressive strategy of depriving key inputs to potential rival promoters or merging with them to maintain its monopoly position.  The complaint alleges “exclusionary scheme” to impair and foreclose competition, whereby the UFC deprives potential competitors in the fight promotion market access to elite MMA fighters, premium live event venues and sponsors.
According to plaintiffs’ co-counsel Michael Dell’Angelo, of Berger & Montague, P.C., “the lawsuit alleges that the UFC has engaged in an illegal scheme to eliminate competition from rival MMA promoters by systematically preventing rivals from gaining access to ingredients critical to successful MMA promotions, including by imposing extreme restrictions on UFC Fighters’ ability to fight for rivals during and after their tenure with the UFC.  The UFC also takes the rights to fighters’ names and likenesses in perpetuity.  As a result of the UFC’s scheme, we allege that UFC Fighters are paid fraction of what they would earn in a competitive marketplace.”
The lawsuit alleges that as a result of these and other anti-competitive acts, including the UFC’s acquisition of rival Strikeforce, the UFC has maintained control of more than 90 percent of the revenue derived from live MMA bouts nationwide.
The lawsuit also alleges that the UFC has retaliated against fighters who have worked with or who have announced intentions to work with rival promoters or sponsors by refusing to book their bouts and/or eliminating them from key UFC promotional activities such as advertising campaigns and video games.
“UFC’s threats are taken seriously by fighters because they know that a UFC ban will substantially diminish, if not end, their ability to earn a living at their chosen profession,” said plaintiffs’ co-counsel Joseph Saveri of Saveri Law Firm, Inc. “These MMA professionals deserve the right to take back their careers.”
The plaintiffs are represented by nationally respected antitrust litigation firmsCohen Milstein Sellers and Toll PLLC, Berger & Montague, P.C.,Joseph Saveri Law Firm, Inc. and Warner Angle Hallam Jackson &Formanek PLC.
For more information about Cung Le, et al v. Zuffa, LLC, d/b/a Ultimate Fighting Championship and UFC,visit http://www.cohenmilstein.com/news.php?NewsID=742
- Info Via Press Release, Photo courtesy of Sherdog Twitter

November 26, 2014

Eminem raps about Ronda Rousey in latest song

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — The Fight Nerd @ 3:36 PM

Rap legend Eminem released his newest album titled “Shady XV” and as usual, is getting some controversy around it. This 2-disc CD set contains a first disc with new songs from his ‘Shady’ label, while the second features greatest hits from the label, and both discs feature the sounds that made Eminem the memorable man that he became, for better or worse. I am not much of an Eminem fan, but when I heard he mentioned a certain MMA fighter, I had to give it a listen.

In the title track, Eminem talks about UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey in a way that some see as an insult (while most are just confused). Eminem rapped:

I got a Magic Johnson
It’s like a Magic Wand allows me to not let a blonde arouse me
If Ronda Rousey was on the couch with the condoms out
Holding a thousand Magnums at once to pounce me
I’ll laugh in response to how she dances and flaunts it around me
Her flat little badonkadonk is bouncing around
And all I see is Paulie Malignaggi, she’s slaughterhouse in a blouse

I am no rap music expert, but from what I can gather, this was meant not as an insult but possibly as a compliment to Rousey. “Slaughterhouse” might be a reference to the hip-hop group by the same name that is under Shady Records and are also featured on the second disc of this set, so perhaps he is saying she is as good as they are? Beats me, I just report it.

Via BJPenn.com

November 11, 2014

Wanderlei Silva Set To Appear At Dave & Buster’s for Bellator 131 Pre-Party

Filed under: News — Tags: , , — The Fight Nerd @ 12:34 PM

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The festivities surrounding Saturday’s #Bellator131 continue to grow as Bellator will host a pre-party kickoff event from San Diego’s Dave & Buster’s on Friday, November 14. After weigh-ins, fans are invited to take pictures and have autographs signed with MMA legends Royce Gracie, Randy Couture, Frank Shamrock, and now MMA icon Wanderlei Silva beginning at 6pm PST. Silva will join the other MMA legends in attendance for #Bellator 131 on Saturday, November 15.

“After we saw just an overwhelming response to our Bellator Fan Fest a few weeks ago, we wanted to once again give our fans a chance to be a part of something special and give everyone the opportunity to spend time with a group of fighters that built the sport we all love,” Bellator President Scott Coker said. “We have events taking place all week around the San Diego area as we prepare for the biggest night of fights in company history, and we want everyone to be a part of it.”

#Bellator131 takes place on Saturday, November 15th from Valley View Casino Center. The night will feature one of the biggest grudge matches in the sport as MMA icons Tito “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Ortiz and “The American Psycho” Stephan Bonnar battle at light heavyweight, while San Diego’s own Michael Chandler faces Will Brooks for the Bellator Lightweight Title.

Tickets for the event are on sale now and can be purchased on Bellator.com, AXS.com, as well as the Valley View Casino Center.

The full list of fight week activities can be found below:

Wednesday, November 12th

Bellator 131 Open Workouts: Workouts begin at 1pm PST and will take place from Dave & Buster’s San Diego, located at 2931 Camino Del Rio N, San Diego, CA 92108.

Fighters Scheduled To Attend: Tito Ortiz, Stephan Bonnar, Michael Chandler, Will Brooks, King Mo and Melvin Manhoef.

Fans and media are welcome to attend beginning at 1pm PST on Wednesday, November 12th.

Thursday, November 13th

Bellator 131 Pre-Fight Press Conference: The Bellator 131 Pre-Fight Press Conference will begin at 2pm PST on Thursday, November 13th from Dave & Buster’s San Diego, inside the Show Room.

Fighters Scheduled To Attend: Tito Ortiz, Stephan Bonnar, Michael Chandler, Will Brooks, King Mo, Joe Vedepo, Melvin Manhoef and Joe Schilling.

The Bellator 131 Pre-Fight Press Conference will only be open for media members.

Friday, November 14th

Cheick Kongo/Everlast Meet & Greet at Mission Valley Sports Chalet.

The Meet & Greet will take place from 3pm PST. Sports Chalet is located at 1640 Camino Del Rio N San Diego, CA 92108.

Bellator 131 Weigh-Ins from San Diego’s Valley View Casino Center, located at 3500 Sports Arena Blvd, San Diego, CA 92110.

Weigh-Ins begin at 5pm PST and will be streamed on Bellator.com as well as Spike.com.Fans and media are welcome to attend.

Dave & Busters Official Pre-Party Kick Off with Royce Gracie, Randy Couture, Frank Shamrock and Wanderlei Silva.

Join MMA legends and the Bellator MMA Ring Girls Mercedes and Jade beginning at 6pm PST at Dave & Buster’s San Diego, 2931 Camino Del Rio N, San Diego, CA 92108.

A live raffle for Bellator 131 tickets will also take place.

Saturday, November 15th

Bellator 131 will take place from the Valley View Casino Center. Doors will open at 3pm PST with first fight beginning at 3:45pm PST on Saturday, November 15th. The Main Card will begin at 6pm PST (9pm EST) live on Spike TV.

October 22, 2014

Mark Hunt replaces injured Cain Velasquez in title fight at UFC 180, AKA PRIDE NEVER DIE!

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , , , , — The Fight Nerd @ 1:35 PM

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The UFC announced today that UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez suffered a right knee injury during training and was forced to withdraw from his championship fight against No.1 contender Fabricio Werdum in Mexico City on November 15.

As a result, No.4 heavyweight Mark Hunt (10-8-1 in professional MMA, fighting out of Auckland, New Zealand), who is coming off a walk-off knockout against the iron-chinned Roy Nelson in Tokyo in September, will face Werdum (18-5-1, fighting out of Los Angeles via Porto Alegre, Brazil) in the five-round main event for the interim UFC heavyweight title.

“I’m so unbelievably disappointed that this happened,” Velasquez said. “To say I was looking forward to fighting in Mexico for the first time is an understatement. I wanted to fight on that card so bad. Looks like it wasn’t meant to be and it’s not going to happen. I’m going to get my [right] knee fixed and get back to training as soon as I can. I’m sorry to the fans in Mexico who were expecting this fight, and I hope to be able to come down and still be a part of this historic event.”

For Werdum, it was never about Cain, it was always about the title. “I’m ready for whatever comes. I have been training in Mexico for nearly two months and accept the challenge that is presented to me. I’ll continue to prepare and will arrive ready to fight on behalf of all my Latin American fans,” said Werdum.

Mark Hunt, never one to shy away from a big opportunity, wasted no time accepting a dream opportunity to fight for UFC gold.

“I feel blessed to have this opportunity to fight for another world title. This is something that doesn’t happen often to people. First K1 and now UFC – how can I say no, even though it’s on short notice? I’m dropping everything and flying to Mexico tomorrow so I can best prepare myself for this fight. I have to get into shape and acclimatize to that environment, which is really important.

“There’s nothing to lose when you’re competing against the best at the top level,” Hunt added.

UFC 180: WERDUM vs. HUNT scheduled for November 15 at the Arena Mexico City, sold-out in only eight hours, and will welcome more than 20,000 fans. Along with the explosive main event, fans will also be treated to six other bouts featuring Latin American contenders.

August 15, 2014

Old School MMA Review: UFC Ultimate Ultimate 1996

The Old School MMA Review returns with a huge milestone from the SEG UFC era – the Ultimate Ultimate ’96! The Fight Nerd and Zane Simon are back with more useless trivia and self-deprecating humor to educate and ridicule the past of our beloved sport.

Bringing you the best of the best (or whoever was available) from the past events, this epic tournament (also known as UFC 11.5) took place on December 7, 1996 in Alabama, and marked the end of an era for the company, as this event was their final one-night eight-man tournament. After watching this event, the reasons for doing this became painfully obvious.

Featuring the return of stars like Ken Shamrock, Don Frye, Gary Goodridge, and Tank Abbott, along with Kimo Leopoldo, Brian Johnston, Cal Worsham, and Paul Varelans, this show is a high point in terms of talent, but matchmaking… well, you will see. Huge slams, big brawls, high emotions, and more in this opening round of the tournament and the first part of our review!

In the second part of this review, after Zane Simon snores during The Fight Nerd’s display of bootleg DVD’s and official Panther Video collection, we get back to the epic one-night tournament that took place on December 7, 1996 in Alabama. Picking up at the start of the second round of the brackets featuring Don Frye VS Mark Hall in one of the most well-known and acknowledged fixed fights in UFC history, as well as Tank Abbott coining the term “Nelmarked” as he faces alternate Steve Nelmark in one of the most vicious knockouts ever. We also get lots of filler that Zuffa has hidden from the masses (an amazing Scott Ferrozzo promo in the style of Ric Flair and so much Dan Severn hype that I thought Jeff Blatnick might explode), plus the thrilling conclusion to this huge tournament, and the official end of an era as the UFC announces that they are done with the eight-man tournament format and progresses into the next step of their evolution – weight classes!

Plus, we say goodbye to many fighters that we have come to know and love, and make way for the next phase in the world of the OSMMA Review series. What is that next phase? Make it to the end of the video and see.

August 1, 2014

Tito Ortiz: “If guys use TRT, they need to retire!”, + TNA Wrestling & Old School MMA

The Fight Nerd caught up with Bellator MMA light heavyweight Tito Ortiz at a recent press event in New York City, and Tito had plenty to say!

In part two of this interview, Tito gives us his thoughts on the UFC’s idea of giving uniforms to their fighters, if he has any plans to return to TNA Wrestling and whether or not he thinks that TNA will survive if Spike TV does not renew their contract, and how he squares up against Bellator MMA LHW champ Emanuel Newton.

Ortiz also comments on the trend of fighters using TRT and getting TRT exemptions, and how random drug testing should be used more in the sport, and gives us some old school MMA stories about “Tank” Abbott and Tito’s first fight in the UFC.

If you missed part one of this interview, head to this link here to check out what Tito had to say to critics of his Shlemenko fight and why he does not want to fight King Mo.

July 31, 2014

Tito Ortiz on critics of Shlemenko fight & why he doesn’t want to fight King Mo

The Fight Nerd spoke with Tito Ortiz at a Bellator MMA Press Event in NYC, and gave us his thoughts on a variety of topics in the fight world.

In part one of this two-part interview, “The People’s Champ” gives us a little insight on his lawsuit with John Ibarra (as much as he is allowed to tell us without getting himself into any trouble), and talks about his comeback fight against Alexander Shlemenko and the negative criticism he took while fighting a natural middleweight in a light-heavyweight bout.

Ortiz also tells us that he still wants to fight Rampage and that he thinks Rampage definitively beat King Mo in their match at Bellator 120, and why he has zero interest in fighting King Mo. Plus, Tito talks about Bjorn Rebney’s departure from the promotion and what he hopes Scott Coker will do to make Bellator a better place for fans and fighters alike, and who he would like to see Bellator pick up to add to their growing roster.

July 27, 2014

Art Davie on how Chuck Norris almost worked for the UFC

In 1993, the UFC held their first event in Denver, Colorado, planting the seeds for an entire sport to begin growing out of this barely legal event. The mastermind behind the concept was Art Davie, who held onto an idea for years until he was finally able to turn it into a reality. Davie has just released a book explaining the history of the first UFC and all of the tumultuous events leading up to it, and I had a chance to chat with him about damn near everything!

In the second episode of this two-part series, Davie discusses some of the fighters that he was trying to get to compete at UFC 1, including Tae Kwon Do Olympian Herb Perez, Shoot fighter Bart Vale, K-1 kickboxer Peter Aerts, and many others that will surely shock and surprise you (hint – pro wrestlers and more Olympians).

Davie also reminisces on how UFC commentators Jeff Blatnick and Don “The Dragon” WIlson were looking to fight in the UFC and why it never happened (even though Wilson talked extensively about it during many old UFC events), and the tale of Chuck Norris and how he almost became involved with the very first UFC event, and what went wrong.

If you want to check out Art Davie’s new autobiography and uncensored tell-all about the first UFC event, head over to this link here to pick up “Is This Legal?: The Inside Story of The First UFC from the Man Who Created It”. It comes with The Fight Nerd seal of approval as a must-have for MMA history fans!

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