MMA Junkie News

Co-Main Event Podcast: Download episode No. 282 with Ben Fowlkes, Chad Dundas

Episode No. 282 of the Co-Main Event Podcast now is available for streaming and download.

MMAjunkie/USA TODAY columnist Ben Fowlkes and Bleacher Report lead MMA writer Chad Dundas host the weekly show (also dubbed the “CME,” if you nasty). This week, the boys discuss the Fabricio Werdum-Colby Covington boomerang saga, UFC Fight Night 121 results, and Saturday’s UFC debut in Shanghai.

Check it out at comainevent.com, or download the podcast directly.


Filed under: News, UFC

Listen to today's UFC 218 media call with Max Holloway and Jose Aldo at 5 p.m. ET


Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

You can listen to a live stream of today’s UFC 218 media call here on MMAjunkie at 5 p.m. ET (2 p.m. PT).

The call features UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway (18-3 MMA, 14-3 UFC) and former titleholder Jose Aldo (26-3 MMA, 8-2 UFC), who headline the card.

UFC 218 takes place Dec. 2 at the new Little Caesars Arena in downtown Detroit, and it airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

For more on UFC 218, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) reacts to fight against Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; General view of the arena for the fight between Jose Aldo (red gloves) Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Max Hollway (blue gloves) enters the arena before the fight against Jose Aldo (red gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) enters the arena before the fight against Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) and Max Hollway (blue gloves) touch gloves before the fight during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) reacts to fight against Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) reacts to fight against Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) reacts to fight against Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Max Hollway (blue gloves) reacts to victory against Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Max Hollway (blue gloves) reacts to victory against Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/B84CQRWMH4V4dxLzmg3uQL/285879", customAnalytics: true, title: "Holloway def. Aldo", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

8th Chinese fighter added to UFC-Shanghai as 12-bout lineup again complete

A late heavyweight addition to this week’s UFC Fight Night 122 lineup means a record eight Chinese fighters will appear on the card.

MMAjunkie today confirmed with UFC officials the addition of newcomer Hu Yaozong (3-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) against Cyril Asker (8-3 MMA, 1-2 UFC) in the opening contest of Saturday’s card, which takes place at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai and streams live on UFC Fight Pass.

The card marks the UFC’s debut event in mainland China.

Asker was initially expected to face James Mulheron (11-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC), who was pulled from the event due to a potential UFC anti-doping policy violation.

Asker, a 31-year-old Frenchman, looks to rebound from a 104-second TKO loss to Walt Harris at UFC Fight Night 111 in June. A fight prior, he scored his first UFC victory by knocking out Dmitry Smoliakov in the first round.

Meanwhile, Yaozong makes his UFC debut in just his fourth professional contest. The Chinese fighter turned pro in October 2016 and has quickly rattled off three stoppage wins to open his career.

With the addition, UFC Fight Night 122 now includes:

MAIN CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 7 a.m. ET)

  • Michael Bisping vs. Kelvin Gastelum
  • Li Jingliang vs. Zak Ottow
  • Alex Caceres vs. Wang Guan
  • Alex Garcia vs. Muslim Salikhov

PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Night, 3:45 a.m. ET)

  • Zabit Magomedsharipov vs. Sheymon Moraes
  • Bobby Nash vs. Song Kenan
  • Kailin Curran vs. Yan Xiaonan
  • Bharat Kandare vs. Song Yadong
  • Shamil Abdurakhimov vs. Chase Sherman
  • Gina Mazany vs. Wu Yanan
  • Wuliji Buren vs. Rolando Dy
  • Cyril Asker vs. Hu Yaozong

For more on UFC Fight Night 122, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.


Filed under: News, UFC

Volkan Oezdemir's alleged battery victim claims being knocked unconscious

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

Details have emerged in the battery case involving UFC light heavyweight title contender Volkan Oezdemir, including the name of the alleged victim.

Oezdemir was arrested Saturday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and charged with aggravated battery causing bodily harm or disability as the result of what Oezdemir’s manager called a “bar room altercation” that took place Aug. 12. The charge carries a maximum 15-year sentence.

According to the police report, the alleged victim, Kevin Cohen, claims he was knocked out unconscious after being punched by Oezdemir outside a bar called Capone’s.

Per MMAFighting.com, which cited the police report:

Kevin Cohen, the alleged victim, told police that he went outside after hearing a friend had been knocked unconscious following a verbal altercation with another man. Upon asking who knocked out his friend, Cohen told cops that he looked up and was hit in the face.

Cohen said he lost consciousness for about 14 minutes and was taken to the hospital, where he was treated for concussion symptoms and given multiple staples for lacerations. Cohen said people present outside Capone’s told him it was Oezdemir that hit him.

Fort Lauderdale police investigated the allegations that Oezdemir also struck Cohen’s friend, Sergio Sandoval, but could not reach Sandoval by phone or mail, per the incident report. Oezdemir is currently only being charged for the alleged attack on Cohen; the alleged battery of Sandoval has been designated as inactive.

Oezdemir (15-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC), a 28-year-old Switzerland native, has been training in South Florida with Combat Club, a team formed in the wake of the general dissolution of the Blackzilians.

Earlier this month, UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier (19-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) told MMAjunkie that he and Oezdemir, who’s No. 7 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA light-heavyweight rankings, were close to finalizing a title fight. At the time, Cormier said the title bout likely would happen in early 2018.

In a statement, UFC officials said they’re aware of Oezdemir’s arrest and looking into it.

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Volkan Oezdemir moves in against Jimi Manuwa during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Volkan Oezdemir moves in with a hit against Jimi Manuwa during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Volkan Oezdemir moves in with a hit against Jimi Manuwa during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Volkan Oezdemir moves in with a hit against Jimi Manuwa during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Volkan Oezdemir reacts following his knockout victory against Jimi Manuwa during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Volkan Oezdemir reacts following his knockout victory against Jimi Manuwa during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Volkan Oezdemir reacts following his knockout victory against Jimi Manuwa during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Volkan Oezdemir reacts following his knockout victory against Jimi Manuwa during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/rTsGCcX2BJSR4ZHnjpCPye/285815", customAnalytics: true, title: "Oezdemir def. Manuwa", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

MMAjunkie reader predictions: Make your picks for UFC Fight Night 122 in China

We want your predictions for Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 122 event in China.

Our staff picks feature includes the consensus picks from MMAjunkie readers. Simply cast your vote for each bout below, and we’ll use the official tallies that are registered by Thursday at noon ET (9 a.m. PT).

Those MMAjunkie MMA reader consensus picks will be part of the UFC Fight Night 122 staff picks we release Friday ahead of the event. UFC Fight Night 122 takes place Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai, and the entire card streams on UFC Fight Pass.

* * * *

Michael Bisping vs. Kelvin Gastelum

Records: Michael Bisping (30-8 MMA, 20-8 UFC), Kelvin Gastelum (13-3 MMA, 8-3 UFC)
Past five: Bisping 4-1, Gastelum 2-2 (one no-contest)
Division: Middleweight
Rankings: Bisping No. 3, Gastelum honorable mention
Odds (as of 11/19/17): Gastelum -260, Bisping +220

Take Our Poll (function(d,c,j){if(!d.getElementById(j)){var pd=d.createElement(c),s;pd.id=j;pd.src='http://s1.wp.com/wp-content/mu-plugins/shortcodes/js/polldaddy-shortcode.js';s=d.getElementsByTagName(c)[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(pd,s);} else if(typeof jQuery !=='undefined')jQuery(d.body).trigger('pd-script-load');}(document,'script','pd-polldaddy-loader')); Li Jingliang vs. Zak Ottow

Records: Li Jingliang (13-4 MMA, 5-2 UFC), Zak Ottow (15-4 MMA, 2-1 UFC)
Past five: Jingliang 4-1, Ottow 4-1
Division: Welterweight
Rankings: None
Odds (as of 11/19/17): Jingliang -175, Ottow +145

Take Our Poll (function(d,c,j){if(!d.getElementById(j)){var pd=d.createElement(c),s;pd.id=j;pd.src='http://s1.wp.com/wp-content/mu-plugins/shortcodes/js/polldaddy-shortcode.js';s=d.getElementsByTagName(c)[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(pd,s);} else if(typeof jQuery !=='undefined')jQuery(d.body).trigger('pd-script-load');}(document,'script','pd-polldaddy-loader')); Alex Caceres vs. Wang Guan

Records: Alex Caceres (13-10 MMA, 8-8 UFC), Wang Guan (16-1-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC)
Past five: Caceres 3-2, Guan 4-1
Division: Featherweight
Rankings: None
Odds (as of 11/19/17): Caceres -180, Guan +150

Take Our Poll (function(d,c,j){if(!d.getElementById(j)){var pd=d.createElement(c),s;pd.id=j;pd.src='http://s1.wp.com/wp-content/mu-plugins/shortcodes/js/polldaddy-shortcode.js';s=d.getElementsByTagName(c)[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(pd,s);} else if(typeof jQuery !=='undefined')jQuery(d.body).trigger('pd-script-load');}(document,'script','pd-polldaddy-loader')); Alex Garcia vs. Muslim Salikhov

Records: Alex Garcia (14-4 MMA, 4-3 UFC), Muslim Salikhov (12-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC)
Past five: Garcia 2-3, Salikhov 5-0
Division: Welterweight
Rankings: None
Odds (as of 11/19/17): Salikhov -180, Garcia +150

Take Our Poll (function(d,c,j){if(!d.getElementById(j)){var pd=d.createElement(c),s;pd.id=j;pd.src='http://s1.wp.com/wp-content/mu-plugins/shortcodes/js/polldaddy-shortcode.js';s=d.getElementsByTagName(c)[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(pd,s);} else if(typeof jQuery !=='undefined')jQuery(d.body).trigger('pd-script-load');}(document,'script','pd-polldaddy-loader'));

For more on UFC Fight Night 122, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Mar 11, 2017; Fortazela, Brazil, USA; Kelvin Gastelum (blue gloves) defeats Vitor Belfort (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Centro de Formacao Olimpica de Fortaleza. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jul 22, 2017; Long Island, NY, USA; Chris Weidman (red gloves) fights Kelvin Gastelum during UFC Fight Night at Nassau Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Jul 22, 2017; Long Island, NY, USA; Chris Weidman (red gloves) fights Kelvin Gastelum during UFC Fight Night at Nassau Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Mar 11, 2017; Fortazela, Brazil, USA; Kelvin Gastelum (blue gloves) before his fight against Vitor Belfort (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Centro de Formacao Olimpica de Fortaleza. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Mar 11, 2017; Fortazela, Brazil, USA; Kelvin Gastelum (blue gloves) fights Vitor Belfort (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Centro de Formacao Olimpica de Fortaleza. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Mar 11, 2017; Fortazela, Brazil, USA; Kelvin Gastelum (blue gloves) fights Vitor Belfort (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Centro de Formacao Olimpica de Fortaleza. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Mar 11, 2017; Fortazela, Brazil, USA; Kelvin Gastelum (blue gloves) fights Vitor Belfort (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Centro de Formacao Olimpica de Fortaleza. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Mar 11, 2017; Fortazela, Brazil, USA; Kelvin Gastelum (blue gloves) fights Vitor Belfort (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Centro de Formacao Olimpica de Fortaleza. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Mar 11, 2017; Fortazela, Brazil, USA; Kelvin Gastelum (blue gloves) fights Vitor Belfort (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Centro de Formacao Olimpica de Fortaleza. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Mar 11, 2017; Fortazela, Brazil, USA; Kelvin Gastelum (blue gloves) defeats Vitor Belfort (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Centro de Formacao Olimpica de Fortaleza. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Tim Kennedy (red gloves) fights Kelvin Gastelum (blue gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Kelvin Gastelum (blue gloves) reacts to the fight with Tim Kennedy (red gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Tim Kennedy (red gloves) fights Kelvin Gastelum (blue gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Tim Kennedy (red gloves) fights Kelvin Gastelum (blue gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Kelvin Gastelum (blue gloves) reacts to the fight with Tim Kennedy (red gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/Rj7mJSYbwjdoPRdgaH825j/285298", customAnalytics: true, title: "Kelvin Gastelum", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: News, UFC

Francis Ngannou's motivation goes deeper than MMA ahead of UFC 218 fight vs. Alistair Overeem

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos

LAS VEGAS – The biggest fight of Francis Ngannou’s young career is right around the corner, and it’s not lost on the UFC heavyweight rising star why he’s reached this point so quickly.

Ngannou, who’s fought MMA professionally for just four years, is set to take on Alistair Overeem in what is widely considered a title eliminator Dec. 2 at UFC 218 from Little Caesar’s Arena in Detroit. Not only are the stakes the highest they’ve ever been for Ngannou, it’s also his first appearance on pay-per-view – and in the co-main event, no less.

RelatedFabricio Werdum not so sure Alistair Overeem-Francis Ngannou winner deserves UFC title shot

Through five UFC fights, Ngannou’s power and athleticism have overwhelmed opponents, leading to all five victories via stoppage. Take one look at his massive frame, and his ability seems natural. Ngannou, though, says it’s bigger than that.

“I think the main thing is motivation,” Ngannou said Monday following an open workout at the UFC Performance Institute. “My strength, my power, it’s all about my mind. When I look back where I’m from, look at my family, it’s kind of scary. I want to change things back. I don’t want my kids or my son to live the same thing I lived in my life. That is motivation.”

Ngannou’s journey from homelessness to UFC contender has been documented before. He never forgets where he came from. And as he prepares to face Overeem, Ngannou’s mother, who remains in his native Cameroon, continues to weigh on his mind.

RelatedEnough with 'could,' says Francis Ngannou: UFC 218 win will earn me title shot

“When I look at my family, when I look at my mom, I hope I will be able to help her,” Ngannou said. “I hope she will be proud of me. She gave all of what she had for us. That’s my motivation.”

It’s a big reason Ngannou left Paris and moved to Las Vegas this year in hopes of further advancing his career by taking advantage of all the state-of-the-art UFC Performance Institute has to offer.

In Overeem (43-15 MMA, 8-4 UFC), Ngannou  (10-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) faces his biggest challenge to date. For his part, Ngannou said there isn’t one particular skill he’s honing in preparation for the former Strikeforce and DREAM heavyweight champion.

RelatedFrancis Ngannou roasts Alistair Overeem for Instagram photo to hype UFC 218 fight

“We aren’t working on anything, because I’m an opportunity fighter,” Ngannou said. “I’m not just a striker. I’m not a wrestler or grappler. I’m a fighter, an opportunity fighter. I like to finish my fight and be able to shape my skills and take every opportunity I get in the fight.”

Speaking of opportunity, despite Fabricio Werdum’s belief that he’s deserving of a title shot following his UFC Fight Night 121 victory over the weekend, Ngannou said there’s no way to keep him from a date with champ Stipe Miocic if he beats Overeem.

“Stipe took the belt from Werdum, and that was not a long time ago,” Ngannou said. “Yes, Werdum deserves, but right now I deserve it more. I win this fight, I will be the legit challenger.”

He added, “If I beat the No. 1, there’s no way to avoid it.”

To hear more from Ngannou, check out the video above. And to watch his workout from Monday, click on the video below.

And for more on UFC 218, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos

Bryan Caraway out at UFC-Fresno, Luke Sanders needs new opponent

Injury has forced Bryan Caraway (21-7 MMA, 6-2 UFC) out of a planned contest with Luke Sanders (11-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC), leaving UFC officials on the search for a bantamweight foe.

MMAjunkie today confirmed Caraway’s withdrawal with UFC officials after learning of the move.

Caraway and Sanders were expected to meet at UFC Fight Night 123, which takes place at Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif. The card airs on FS1 following prelims on FS2 and UFC Fight Pass.

Caraway, who is currently ranked No. 11 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA bantamweight rankings, hasn’t competed since a May 2016 win over Aljamain Sterling. Caraway was scheduled to meet fast-rising contender Jimmie Rivera this past January, but injury forced him out of that matchup, as well. “Kid Lightning” stands at 4-1 in his past five contests but fought just once in 2015, once in 2016 and now appears unlikely to compete in 2017, at all, though an exact timetable for his return wasn’t evident.

Meanwhile, Sanders looks to bounce back from a March loss to Iuri Alcantara. The kneebar defeat marked Sanders’ first professional setback, snapping a run of 11 consecutive wins to open his career.

The UFC Fight Night 123 lineup currently includes:

  • Cub Swanson vs. Brian Ortega
  • Marlon Moraes vs. Aljamain Sterling
  • Liz Carmouche vs. Alexis Davis
  • Scott Holtzman vs. Darrell Horcher
  • Trevin Giles vs. Antonio Braga Neto
  • Carls John de Tomas vs. Alex Perez
  • Chris Gruetzemacher vs. Davi Ramos
  • Luke Sanders vs. opponent TBA
  • Merab Dvalishvili vs. Frankie Saenz
  • Gabriel Benitez vs. Jason Knight
  • Eryk Anders vs. Markus Perez
  • Benito Lopez vs. Albert Morales

For more on UFC Fight Night 123, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.


Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

Dustin Poirier's neck was a little sore, but without Mike Brown, it could've been worse

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Filed under: News, Radio Highlight, UFC, Videos

Dustin Poirier left a recent UFC headliner with a sore neck, but if it weren’t for Mike Brown, he could’ve left with a loss too.

Earlier this month in UFC Fight Night 120’s headliner, Poirier (22-5 MMA, 14-4 UFC) picked up a big win after scoring a third-round TKO victory over former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis (20-7 MMA, 7-6 UFC).

However, to get the victory, which took place Nov. 11 and aired on FS1 from Ted Constant Convocation Center in Norfolk, Va., Poirier had to survive a few dangerous – and painful – submission attempts.

RelatedUFC Fight Night 120 results: Dustin Poirier downs Anthony Pettis in gloriously gory instant classic

“My neck is a little sore from getting out of that last triangle,” he recently told MMAjunkie Radio. “He locked in a tight triangle. The tightest one of them all was maybe (with) 20 or 30 seconds left in the second round.

“There’s a pass I do to get out of the triangle and I throw my head toward the lock and kind of sprawl over the body and circle my feet around. And when I did that, the triangle was so tight that my neck got put in a crazy position and it popped.”

Of course, one triangle also came with a tad of controversy. As Pettis looked to secure the hold, the referee called a timeout to have a cageside physician look at the ex-champ’s badly bleeding face. The pause in action elicited some boos, though Poirier dismissed them.

“All those people who were upset probably live in Milwaukee or have an Anthony Pettis T-shirt,” he joked. “F*ck ’em, man.”

As for his ability to survive Pettis’ dangerous ground game, Poirier, who’s No. 11 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA lightweight rankings, thanks one man: American Top Team coach and former WEC champ Brown.

RelatedSean Shelby's Shoes: What's next for Dustin Poirier and UFC Fight Night 120's other winning fighters?

“I used to have more of a pure jiu-jitsu style, but since I’ve been at American Top Team, Mike Brown has helped me round out my grappling for MMA so much more,” Poirier said. “I’m more of a top guy now. I give up less positions chasing submissions, and he’s a guy who’s really dedicated and spent a lot of time perfecting the things I was doing wrong, and still to this day, (he’s) tightening up a lot of things.

“He’s an amazing coach and an amazing guy to have (in my corner).”

Following his victory, Poirier emphatically called for a rematch with another ex-champ, Eddie Alvarez (28-5 MMA, 3-2 UFC), who fought to a controversial no-contest in May. An immediate rematch wasn’t booked so that Alvarez could coach opposite Justin Gaethje on the currently airing 26th season of “The Ultimate Fighter.”

RelatedDustin Poirier adamant about Eddie Alvarez rematch after TKO win over Anthony Pettis

Still, Poirier hopes to get that fight someday – and bouts against other top contenders who can help him get to a title shot.

But getting the type of experience he did against Pettis – and with help from coaches like Brown – he’s confident he’s ready for more fights against the 155-pound division’s best.

“You know, (Pettis) is a vet,” Poirier said. “He’s been fighting a long time and fighting the best of the best, so I didn’t expect anything less from him.”

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 120, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

MMAjunkie Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia, Brian “Goze” Garcia and Dan Tom. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) reacts after beating Anthony Pettis (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Anthony Pettis (blue gloves) walks out for the fight against Dustin Poirier (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) walks out tot he fight against Anthony Pettis (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) fights Anthony Pettis (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) fights Anthony Pettis (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) fights Anthony Pettis (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) fights Anthony Pettis (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) fights Anthony Pettis (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) fights Anthony Pettis (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) fights Anthony Pettis (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) fights Anthony Pettis (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) fights Anthony Pettis (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) fights Anthony Pettis (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) fights Anthony Pettis (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) fights Anthony Pettis (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) fights Anthony Pettis (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) fights Anthony Pettis (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) fights Anthony Pettis (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) fights Anthony Pettis (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) fights Anthony Pettis (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) fights Anthony Pettis (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) celebrates beating Anthony Pettis (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Dustin Poirier (red gloves) fights Anthony Pettis (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports Nov 11, 2017; Virginia, VA, USA; Anthony Pettis (blue gloves) leaves the fight against Dustin Poirier (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/oLeXGUMhkr8i7LDMVe8As8/285740", customAnalytics: true, title: "Poirier def. Pettis", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
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UFC 218 lineup features 13 fights and featherweight title on the line in return to Detroit

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Filed under: News, UFC

With an amended main event rematch, the lineup is set for next month’s UFC 218 pay-per-view in Michigan.

UFC 218 takes place Dec. 2 at the new Little Caesars Arena in downtown Detroit, and it’s the UFC’s first event in Michigan since UFC 123 in 2010. The main card airs live on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

In the main event, featherweight champion Max Holloway (18-3 MMA, 14-3 UFC), who’s No. 1 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA 145-pound rankings (and No. 8 pound-for-pound), looks to defend his title for the first time when he meets former champ Jose Aldo (26-3 MMA, 8-2 UFC) in a rematch. Holloway was supposed to fight Frankie Edgar (22-5-1 MMA, 16-5-1 UFC) before Edgar pulled out with an injury.

The co-main event could serve as a title-eliminator in the heavyweight division. No. 2-ranked Alistair Overeem (43-15 MMA, 8-4 UFC) takes on No. 9 Francis Ngannou (10-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) in a battle of heavy-handed strikers.

Rounding out the main card, Henry Cejudo (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) meets Sergio Pettis (16-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC) at flyweight; Justin Gaethje (18-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) takes on former lightweight champ Eddie Alvarez (28-5 MMA, 3-2 UFC) in a fight between current “TUF” coaches; and strawweight Tecia Torres (9-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC) meets Michelle Waterson (14-5 MMA, 2-1 UFC).

The featured bout on the preliminary card is at lightweight. Paul Felder (14-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) takes on Charles Oliveira (22-7 MMA, 10-7 UFC), who replaced an injured Al Iaquinta.

The full “UFC 218: Holloway vs. Aldo” card now includes:

MAIN CARD (Pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET)

  • Champ Max Holloway vs. Jose Aldo – for featherweight title
  • Francis Ngannou vs. Alistair Overeem
  • Henry Cejudo vs. Sergio Pettis
  • Eddie Alvarez vs. Justin Gaethje
  • Tecia Torres vs. Michelle Waterson

PRELIMINARY CARD (FS1, 8 p.m. ET)

PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 6:15 p.m. ET)

For more on UFC 218, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) reacts to fight against Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; General view of the arena for the fight between Jose Aldo (red gloves) Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Max Hollway (blue gloves) enters the arena before the fight against Jose Aldo (red gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) enters the arena before the fight against Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) and Max Hollway (blue gloves) touch gloves before the fight during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) reacts to fight against Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) reacts to fight against Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) reacts to fight against Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Max Hollway (blue gloves) reacts to victory against Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Max Hollway (blue gloves) reacts to victory against Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/B84CQRWMH4V4dxLzmg3uQL/285679", customAnalytics: true, title: "Holloway def. Aldo", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
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What happened to Anderson Silva, and why don't we seem to care?

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

You know the weirdest part about Anderson Silva’s most recent drug test failure? It’s the silence. It’s all the stuff that’s not being said, both by him and by us.

For instance, look at the timeline of events. On Nov. 10, UFC officials announce he’s been flagged for an undisclosed substance stemming from a U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) test from October, and so now he’s off Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 122 fight card in Shanghai. This news is quickly bumped out of the spotlight by the news that Michael Bisping will be replacing him at the UFC event – and only three weeks removed from his title loss at UFC 217.

Then several days go by. No word from Silva (34-8 MMA, 17-4 UFC). No public statement. No plea to his fans.

RelatedAnderson Silva flagged for potential doping violation, pulled from UFC Fight Night 122

On Nov. 14, he speaks. Or rather, he posts a message on Instagram in which he thanks his fans, his coaches, and God. He vows not to quit fighting. He ends promising “a big kiss for everyone and see you soon.”

No mention whatsoever of the drug test. Like, doesn’t even acknowledge that he failed one, or that his fight off, or that this is his second failed test in less than three years. If your only source of Silva news was Silva’s social media feed, you’d have no idea what he was even talking about.

But a couple days later, another social media statement. This one is more formal. Instead of essentially a prolonged caption on a stock training photo, this one is a message to fans that’s signed by Silva. In it, he actually acknowledges that he failed a drug test and says his “medical team is working very closely with USADA to find out the reason” for his test result.

RelatedAnderson Silva 'working very closely with USADA' to figure out failed drug test

“I have been fighting for the past 20 years and always try to be an example to my fans and to my sport…” Silva writes. “Again, I want to thank all of you for your support and hope to see you soon for my next fight.”

At the bottom there’s a picture of Silva, looking serious and sitting cross-legged. Around his waist he’s wearing the UFC championship belt that hasn’t been his since 2013.

What’s interesting about his response is that, while it took him roughly a week and two different social media statements to even reference the existence of a drug testing issue, he never explicitly denied anything.

There were no passionate claims of innocence, no pleas for us to refrain from jumping to conclusions. He didn’t cop to it or apologize, but he didn’t pound on the table and swear he was clean, either.

And the strange thing about all that? It’s that fans barely seem to care. This is the former UFC middleweight champ, the consensus pick for best 185-pounder of all time, not to mention one of the pound-for-pound best to ever do it in this sport, and suddenly he has more drug test failures than wins in the past three years of his career, and it’s barely even news.

Remember when we heard about his first failure, following the Nick Diaz fight at UFC 183? People were heartbroken. Among the younger generation of fighters who had grown up worshipping Silva, it was like finding out that Yoda had been secretly using the dark side of the force.

RelatedMichael Bisping: Anderson Silva 'completely destroyed' legacy with second failed drug test

But back then there was an easy explanation, even if Silva himself refused to embrace it. The Diaz bout was his first fight back after a gruesome leg injury. He was closing in on 40, trying to whip his body back into shape after one of the most sickening injuries ever seen in the UFC. Under those circumstance, you could maybe forgive him for turning to banned pharmaceuticals (or, as he would later claim, to a mysterious marital aid that a friend picked up in Thailand) for help getting back in the cage.

What are we supposed to think now, though? This is Silva, at age 42, coming off a win over Derek Brunson and heading into a fight with former welterweight Kelvin Gastelum. If he was doping for that, do we tell ourselves that it’s a recent development in his life, or an old habit dying hard?

As members of the Nevada State Athletic Commission pointed out when Silva’s team launched their infamous “Thai sex juice” defense, this is a former champion who had the advantage of fighting most of his career without the threat of random, out-of-competition drug tests. How can we not be suspicious now that, in the era of more sophisticated anti-doping measures, he keeps failing tests and losing fights?

But aside from critiques from rivals like Bisping, who insisted that Silva has “completely destroyed his legacy,” you don’t hear much of a reaction from fans. It’s as if, having already decided that Silva is an middleweight of the past but not one who matters in the present, we’d rather just not think about him right now. Better to ignore it all than have to go back and revise our memories of his former glory.

And if that’s where we’re at, it could be that the looming suspension doesn’t seem like such a bad thing to us. Depending on how USADA decides to treat him, Silva could be looking at anywhere from a two- to four-year ban, either of which could essentially be a career-ender at his age.

For a guy who has thus far refused to leave the sport even as it continues to leave him further and further behind, maybe that’s what it’s going to take. And if we could avert our eyes just long enough to see him shuffled into storage, maybe that’s a not-so happy ending that we’d accept, just so we don’t have to deal with questions we might not want answers to.

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Feb 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Anderson Silva (red gloves) moments after his fight against Derek Brunson (blue gloves) (not pictured) during UFC 208 at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Feb 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Anderson Silva (red gloves) moments before his fight against Derek Brunson (blue gloves) (not pictured) during UFC 208 at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Feb 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Anderson Silva (red gloves) fights Derek Brunson (blue gloves) during UFC 208 at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Feb 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Anderson Silva (red gloves) fights Derek Brunson (blue gloves) during UFC 208 at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Feb 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Anderson Silva (red gloves) fights Derek Brunson (blue gloves) during UFC 208 at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Feb 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Anderson Silva (red gloves) fights Derek Brunson (blue gloves) during UFC 208 at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Feb 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Anderson Silva (red gloves) fights Derek Brunson (blue gloves) during UFC 208 at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Feb 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Anderson Silva (red gloves) fights Derek Brunson (blue gloves) during UFC 208 at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Feb 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Anderson Silva (red gloves) fights Derek Brunson (blue gloves) during UFC 208 at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Feb 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Anderson Silva (red gloves) fights Derek Brunson (blue gloves) during UFC 208 at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Feb 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Anderson Silva (red gloves) fights Derek Brunson (blue gloves) during UFC 208 at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Feb 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Anderson Silva (red gloves) shares a smile with Derek Brunson (blue gloves) moments after their fight during UFC 208 at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports Feb 11, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Anderson Silva (red gloves) celebrates after his victory against Derek Brunson (blue gloves) during UFC 208 at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/75dpnYz26NNbhtaT5nSjwA/285742", customAnalytics: true, title: "Silva def. Brunson", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
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Why Jose Aldo doesn't fault Conor McGregor for Bellator in-cage melee

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos

RIO DE JANEIRO – In light of his most recent controversial outburst, UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor got some surprising support from a UFC peer and former foe.

After a Bellator 187 ruckus that involved McGregor hopping over the fence, invading the cage and confronting referee Marc Goddard, the champ had his actions defined as “assault” by a commission representative. McGregor has since apologized – or something close to that – and Goddard, himself, has issued a few statements on the matter.

Here’s footage of the melee (via Twitter):

Madness in Dublin thanks to @TheNotoriousMMA!!! DO NOT miss #Bellator187 TONIGHT on @spike 9/8c pic.twitter.com/BGWcOBDvFb

— Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) November 10, 2017

While McGregor’s antics are not particularly shocking, this one prompted questions as to just how far the UFC champ can push things – in this case, somewhat literally – before getting punished.

But despite his own turbulent past with McGregor, one man who took no issue with the Irishman’s actions in Dublin earlier this month is former 145-pound champ Jose Aldo.

“I didn’t watch the video, but I heard about it,” Aldo said today during a media day in Rio de Janeiro. “I think it’s part of it. He’s an emotional guy. He’s a guy who – whenever there are Irish guys involved, I think not only him, but the Irish people embrace them.

“So I won’t condemn him or say he did something just to get attention. He’s always done that. When we were (on ‘The Ultimate Fighter’), too, one of his athletes won, and he jumped in there. He even tore his pants. He’s a very emotional guy too, I don’t condemn him for what he did.”

RelatedTrading Shots: Conor McGregor jumps in cage and crosses line, so now what?

McGregor, who wasn’t a licensed cornerman at the event, invaded the cage seemingly to celebrate with SBG Ireland teammate Charlie Ward, who’d just dropped John Redmond with a hook. Ward was declared the TKO winner of the middleweight bout.

Aldo, who lost the UFC’s 145-pound crown to McGregor in 13 seconds after months of a heated promotion, went on to say he thought the criticism toward the Irishman was unfair – and that he, too, has invaded the cage at Shooto Brazil events multiple times.

“When someone I’m close to fights, I go up there,” Aldo said. “The referee talks to me, but I go up there anyway. It’s in the heat of emotion. I think there are bigger things than rules.”

After the loss to McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) in 2015, Aldo (26-3 MMA, 8-2 UFC) took the division’s interim title with a win over Frankie Edgar and was later reinstated as the undisputed champ. He lost the belt to Max Holloway (18-3 MMA, 14-3 UFC) at UFC 212.

On Dec. 2 at UFC 218, Aldo tries to re-claim the crown from Holloway after stepping in for the injured Edgar.

After beating Aldo, McGregor never defended the featherweight belt. He fought twice against Nate Diaz at welterweight and then became the first simultaneous two-division UFC champion by beating Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight crown. He then relinquished the 145-pound crown, which made Aldo the undisputed champ again.

That was over a year ago, and McGregor has yet to defend the 155-pound title. Rather, he went on to compete in a boxing match with Floyd Mayweather. An interim lightweight title was created and won by Tony Ferguson, and McGregor’s UFC return remains a mystery.

Asked whether the believes that the time is coming for the UFC to either have McGregor defend the 155-pound crown or have him vacate it like what happened with the 145-pound one, Aldo said yes.

“He has to do this defense; he has to put his belt on the line so that he can then be the champion,” Aldo said. “So far, he’s only won the title. But for me, Ferguson has a great chance of being champion in the future.”

For more on UFC 218, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) enters the arena before the fight against Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) and Max Hollway (blue gloves) touch gloves before the fight during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) fights Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jun 3, 2017; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) reacts to fight against Max Hollway (blue gloves) during UFC 212 at Rio Olympic Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Jul 9, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Frankie Edgar (blue gloves) and Jose Aldo (red gloves) kick during UFC 200 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Jul 9, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Frankie Edgar (blue gloves) is punched by Jose Aldo (red gloves) during UFC 200 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Jul 9, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Frankie Edgar (blue gloves) is kicked by Jose Aldo (red gloves) during UFC 200 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Jul 9, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Frankie Edgar (blue gloves) gets kicked by Jose Aldo (red gloves) during UFC 200 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Jul 9, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Jose Aldo (red gloves) reacts to his win over Frankie Edgar (blue gloves) during UFC 200 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports Jul 9, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Jose Aldo (red gloves) reacts to his win over Frankie Edgar (blue gloves) during UFC 200 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports December 11, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor pose for photos as they are separated by UFC president Dana White during weigh-ins for UFC 194 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports December 12, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Jose Aldo before fighting against Conor McGregor during UFC 194 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports December 12, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor lands punches to win b technical knockout against Jose Aldo during UFC 194 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Jul 31, 2015; Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil; Jose Aldo interacts with fans during a Q&A session before weigh-ins for UFC 190 at HSBC Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/2JwShsPebU2wvnTkVF8khk/285739", customAnalytics: true, title: "Jose Aldo", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
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After choking out Will Brooks, Nik Lentz ready for whoever else from American Top Team

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos

SYDNEY – Former American Top Team teammates Nik Lentz and Will Brooks originally were supposed to fight last month at UFC 216 until Lentz wound up having diabetic-like symptoms that turned out to be hypoglycemia (non-diabetic low blood sugar), which forced his withdrawal from the lightweight bout.

It was no joking matter. And yet, it made him the target of trash talk by Brooks and others at ATT.

That didn’t sit well with Lentz, who submitted Brooks with a guillotine choke on Saturday at UFC Fight Night 121 from Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney.

“This is one of the first times that I’ve had, like, a serious medical issue, and my old team threw it in my face,” Lentz told MMAjunkie after his win, which aired during the FS1 prelims. “Like, ‘Hey, you’re running, you’re scared.’ Not one of them even messaged me to check on me or anything. And I have to admit that hurts. That’s supposed to be my family.”

You can imagine just how satisfying the win was for Lentz, who explained why he willingly took damage.

“I told everyone exactly how this was going to happen,” Lentz said.

He continued, “I knew that I could take that jab, and I knew if I took a couple jabs I could get him to play my game. And that’s what happened.”

What about earlier? Why was Brooks able to get out of a previous guillotine choke attempt? Lentz said he made a conscious in-fight decision to release.

“I didn’t get the guillotine on purpose, because I knew,” Lentz said. “I had it. I knew I wasn’t going to waste it. I was going to let him roll out the first time, (let him) think that he knew how to get out. And then the second time I was going to lock that b*tch up, and he ain’t ever getting away.”

With the win over Brooks out of the way, Lentz isn’t forgetting about the words directed at him from ATT. And he said he’s ready to take on anyone from the gym.

“When it comes down to it, it was f*cked up. And there’s no two ways to put it,” Lentz said. “It’s f*cked up when your old family throws you under the bus and says you’re scared. Because I ain’t scared of Will Brooks. I ain’t scared of anyone at ATT.”

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 121, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Nik Lentz reacts following his victory by submission against Will Brooks during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Nik Lentz moves in with a hit as Will Brooks defends during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Nik Lentz lands a hit against Will Brooks during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Nik Lentz moves in with a kick against Will Brooks during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Nik Lentz moves in with a hit as Will Brooks counter hits during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Will Brooks moves in with a hit as Nik Lentz defends during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Nik Lentz applies a hold against Will Brooks during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Nik Lentz puts Will Brooks in a hold during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Nik Lentz applies a hold against Will Brooks during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Nik Lentz applies a hold against Will Brooks during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Nik Lentz reacts following his match against Will Brooks during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Nik Lentz reacts following his victory by submission against Will Brooks during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/wzxZGNvdcWY5Ax2JtDXfTf/285469", customAnalytics: true, title: "Lentz def. Brooks", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos

Watch MMAjunkie Radio here (1 p.m. ET) with Justin Gaethje, Ali Abdelaziz and Andrew Simon


Filed under: AXS TV Fights, News, UFC, Videos

MMAjunkie Radio kicks off today at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) with guests Justin Gaethje, Ali Abdelaziz and Andrew Simon – all in studio.

Gaethje fights fellow “The Ultimate Fighter 26” head coach Eddie Alvarez at UFC 218 on Dec. 2. Abdelaziz manages many of the sport’s top stars, and Simon is head of AXS TV Fights, home to LFA, CES MMA and other promotions.

MMAjunkie Radio airs from 1 to 3 p.m. ET (10 a.m. to noon PT), live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. You can watch and listen live on MMAjunkie’s Facebook and YouTube pages. Additionally, SiriusXM Rush (Ch. 93) carries a replay later in the day (8-10 p.m. ET) and the following morning (7-9 a.m. ET), or catch a replay on demand.

MMAjunkie Radio listener guide:

  • HOW TO WATCH (ON WEB): Watch a live stream on MMAjunkie’s Facebook or YouTube pages.
  • HOW TO CALL: MMAjunkie Radio takes phone calls from listeners throughout the show. Call into the MMAjunkie Radio hotline at (866) 522-2846.
  • HOW TO DISCUSS: The MMAjunkie MMA Forums has a section devoted solely to MMAjunkie Radio. Stop by the MMAjunkie Radio forum to discuss the show, interact with the hosts, suggest future guests and catch up on the latest MMAjunkie Radio news.
  • HOW TO VISIT THE SHOW: You can watch MMAjunkie Radio live and in person at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on the world-famous Las Vegas Strip. The booth is located in the resort’s Race & Sports Book next to the Mandalay Bay poker room. To plan a trip to Sin City and MMAjunkie Radio, go to www.mandalaybay.com.

Filed under: AXS TV Fights, News, UFC, Videos

Adam Wieczorek critical of UFC debut win at UFC Fight Night 121

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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

SYDNEY – In theory, Adam Wieczorek’s UFC debut was a success. In a reality, though, that’s not entirely true.

Wieczorek (9-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) won a unanimous decision with a trio of 29-28 scores against Anthony Hamilton (15-9 MMA, 3-7 UFC) in a heavyweight bout that opened the preliminary card of Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 121 at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney.

It was Wieczorek’s eighth straight win and opens up his UFC career with a victory. He hasn’t had a setback in six years.

So what was the problem? Plain and simply, Wieczorek feels like he didn’t perform up to standards, which he attributed to being tired right from the start.

Check out the video above to hear Wieczorek explain why he wasn’t completely satisfied, despite earning the win.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 121, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Adam Wieczorek lands a hit against Anthony Hamilton during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Anthony Hamilton pins Adam Wieczorek to the mat during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Adam Wieczorek lands a hit against Anthony Hamilton during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Adam Wieczorek holds Anthony Hamilton during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Adam Wieczorek lands a kick against Anthony Hamilton during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Adam Wieczorek moves in with a hit against Anthony Hamilton during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Anthony Hamilton moves in against Adam Wieczorek during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Anthony Hamilton pins Adam Wieczorek to the mat during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Anthony Hamilton moves in as Adam Wieczorek defends during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Adam Wieczorek moves in with a kick against Anthony Hamilton during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Adam Wieczorek moves in against Anthony Hamilton during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Adam Wieczorek applies a hold against Anthony Hamilton during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Adam Wieczorek before his match against Anthony Hamilton during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/tnv3PgW249aRGPPpkWFWHF/285354", customAnalytics: true, title: "Wieczorek def. Hamilton", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

Strawweight champ Yoshitaka Naito vs. Alex Silva headlines ONE Championship 66

The strawweight title will be up for grabs in next month’s ONE Championship 66 headliner.

Officials today announced a fight between strawweight champion Yoshitaka Naito (12-0) and challenger Alex Silva (6-1).

ONE Championship takes place Dec. 9 at Impact Arena in Bangkok, and it streams as an online pay-per-view in North America following prelims on Facebook.

Naito, a 33-year-old Japanese fighter, is a former Shooto flyweight champion who made his ONE Championship debut in 2016. In his first bout with the promotion, Naito submitted Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke for the title. The submission specialist then defended it by tapping out Joshua Pacio. He now returns from a 14-month layoff as he searches for his 13th straight victory.

RelatedONE Championship 48 video highlights, including Yoshitaka Naito's title defense

He meets Silva, a 35-year-old Brazilian who turned pro in 2011 and has spent most of his career with ONE Championship. “Little Rock” is currently riding a five-fight winning streak with the promotion, which included a recent submission victory over Hayato Suzuki (17-1-2) earlier this month.

The latest ONE Championship 66 card includes:

  • Champ Yoshitaka Naito vs. Alex Silva – for strawweight title
  • Shannon Wiratchai vs. Rasul Yakhyaev
  • Rika Ishige vs. TBA
  • Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke vs. TBA
  • Kritsada Kongsrichai vs. TBA
  • Sagetdao Petpayathai vs. TBA

For more on ONE Championship 66, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.


Filed under: News

Like Rory MacDonald, Linton Vassell wants a spot in Bellator's heavyweight tourney

Linton Vassell knows that MMA tournaments rarely go according to plan.

That’s why the former light-heavyweight title challenger is offering his services for the Bellator MMA World Grand Prix 2018.

The tournament field includes eight fighters – four heavyweights and four light heavyweights – who fight for the organization’s vacant heavyweight title.

RelatedBellator heavyweight grand prix opening odds: TBA favored over 'King Mo,' Sonnen, 'Rampage'

Vassell (18-6 MMA, 7-3 BMMA), who was on a 4-1 run before a title loss to light-heavyweight champ Ryan Bader earlier this month, is ready to step in as an injury replacement – especially since he has some “unfinished business to attend to.”

He recently campaigned for a slot (via Twitter):

@BellatorMMA @ScottCoker I want in on this World Grand Prix, anyone gets hurt or injured I want in, I want to be that alternant. Plus I got some unfinished business to attend to. #cantstopwontstop pic.twitter.com/zHtpMzHcya

— Linton Vassell (@LDV_TheSwarm) November 19, 2017

In addition to Bader (24-5 MMA, 2-0 BMMA), Vassell has a past loss to fellow tourney participant Muhammed Lawal (21-6 MMA, 10-4 BMMA).

However, Vassell isn’t the only Bellator fighter campaigning for a slot in the tournament. Former UFC welterweight title challenger Rory MacDonald (19-4 MMA, 1-0 BMA), who fights Bellator 170-pound champ Douglas Lima in January at Bellator 192, has also expressed interest – both via Twitter and a recent Facebook live chat – in a tourney spot. MacDonald, of course, would likely need to pack on some serious pounds if he got a slot.

Officials haven’t announced plans for any alternates or reserve bouts for the multi-event tournament, which kicks off in early 2018.

Opening-round matchups are expected to be formally announced in the coming weeks.

For more on the upcoming Bellator schedule, visit the MMA Rumors section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

Nov 3, 2017; University Park, PA, USA; Ryan Bader (red gloves) enters the arena prior to fighting Linton Vassell (not pictured ) during Bellator 186 at Bryce Jordan Center. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports Nov 3, 2017; University Park, PA, USA; Linton Vassell (blue gloves) enters the arena prior to fighting Ryan Bader (not pictured) during Bellator 186 at Bryce Jordan Center. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports Nov 3, 2017; University Park, PA, USA; Linton Vassell (blue gloves) enters the arena prior to fighting Ryan Bader (not pictured) during Bellator 186 at Bryce Jordan Center. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports Nov 3, 2017; University Park, PA, USA; Ryan Bader (red gloves) enters the arena prior to fighting Linton Vassell (not pictured ) during Bellator 186 at Bryce Jordan Center. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports Nov 3, 2017; University Park, PA, USA; Linton Vassell (blue gloves) in the ring prior to fighting Ryan Bader (not pictured) during Bellator 186 at Bryce Jordan Center. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports Nov 3, 2017; University Park, PA, USA; Ryan Bader (red gloves) looks on during Bellator 186 at Bryce Jordan Center. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports Nov 3, 2017; University Park, PA, USA; Linton Vassell (blue gloves) fights Ryan Bader (red gloves) during Bellator 186 at Bryce Jordan Center. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports Nov 3, 2017; University Park, PA, USA; Ryan Bader (red gloves) fights Linton Vassell (blue gloves) during Bellator 186 at Bryce Jordan Center. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports Nov 3, 2017; University Park, PA, USA; Linton Vassell (blue gloves) fights Ryan Bader (red gloves) during Bellator 186 at Bryce Jordan Center. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports Nov 3, 2017; University Park, PA, USA; Ryan Bader (red gloves) fights Linton Vassell (blue gloves) during Bellator 186 at Bryce Jordan Center. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/fbc378hacKJiwChRG3ezY5/285720", customAnalytics: true, title: "Bader def. Vassell", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Bellator, Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News

After unpaid 'Fight of Night' bonus, Frank Camacho wants to run it back with Damien Brown

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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

SYDNEY – Had he not had issues making weight for his bout with Damien Brown at UFC Fight Night 121, Frank Camacho would be $50,000 richer.

But Camacho (21-5 MMA, 1-1 UFC) didn’t make the mark on the scale for his welterweight fight with Brown (17-11 MMA, 2-3 UFC), which left him ineligible for fight-night bonuses. It turned out the pair put on a classic slugfest and won “Fight of the Night” – an award only Brown could collect on after a split-decision loss.

UFC Fight Night 121 took place at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney. It aired on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

RelatedIneligible Frank Camacho implores UFC to give Damien Brown his share of 'Fight of Night' bonus

Camacho said he miscalculated his weight cut and said no fault lies with nutritionist George Lockhart – whom Brown was using, too, coincidentally.

“What happened was I cut the water a little too early,” Camacho said. “The day before, right when I was going to start cutting, my body was actually holding (water). So I messed up on my part, and George got me a six-pack.”

But given his win was a split call, and given he couldn’t pick up the bonus, a suggestion was made by Dan Hardy in his post-fight interview with Camacho that maybe the two should fight again.

If nothing else, the fans probably wouldn’t mind it. And UFC 220 takes place in Perth, Australia, in February – so Brown could fight at home again and try to even the score.

“Dude – let’s do it,” Camacho said. “Damien Brown, man, I feel like I owe that to him. If that’s what the fans want to see, I wouldn’t mind coming back to Australia. I’ll come in and I’ll come in as a pro – let’s do it, dude. Let’s do it, dude. We’re gonna do it.”

For more from Camacho, check out the video above.

And for complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 121, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Frank Camacho moves in with a hit against Damien Brown during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Damien Brown lands an elbow against Frank Camacho during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Damien Brown defends against Frank Camacho during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Frank Camacho moves in with a hit against Damien Brown during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Damien Brown counters with a hit against Frank Camacho during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Damien Brown counters with a hit against Frank Camacho during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Damien Brown moves in with a hit against Frank Camacho during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Frank Camacho moves in with a hit as Damien Brown defends during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Damien Brown moves in with a hit against Frank Camacho during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/VepuVozUgfWut6bgTzVquP/285676", customAnalytics: true, title: "Camacho def. Brown", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

Eric Shelton knew he was fighting for job at UFC Fight Night 121, beyond relieved to keep it

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Filed under: News, UFC

SYDNEY – It took him three tries, but Eric Shelton got his first UFC victory with a unanimous decision over Jenel Lausa at UFC Fight Night 121 in Sydney, Australia. And if you don’t think he went into that fight feeling like his roster spot was on the line, guess again.

“That was exactly what I was thinking,” Shelton told MMAjunkie. “I knew I had to get out there and be dominant, whether it was on the ground or on my feet. And I felt when I got it to the ground that I could finish it there, and if not, be dominant.”

After the year he had, Shelton (11-4 MMA, 1-2 UFC) had every reason to believe it would take a dominant effort to win over the judges. In both his UFC debut in January, as well as his second fight at UFC 214 in July, Shelton put forth a strong effort and came up short with two consecutive split-decision losses.

And since the UFC doesn’t typically retain fighters who lose three straight to start their octagon careers, the pressure was on in this fight. So when Shelton heard his name called after three hard rounds against Lausa (7-4 MMA, 1-2 UFC), the relief was overwhelming.

“You have no idea,” Shelton said. “It feels like Heaven has come down on me, like, ‘Here you go. Here’s your gift for working hard and staying the course.'”

But with one win in three tries throughout 2017, the flyweight isn’t looking for a long layoff before he attempts to capitalize on his newfound momentum.

“I’m back in there as soon as they got me,” Shelton said. “I know I’ve got to take two months rest or whatever, but I’ve got mouths to feed and I’ve got a family that supports me, so there’s no resting for me. I’m coming and I’m coming strong.”

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 121, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Eric Shelton reacts being introduced before his match against Jenel Lausa during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Jenel Lausa moves in against Eric Shelton during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Eric Shelton pins Jenel Lausa to the mat during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Eric Shelton fights against Jenel Lausa during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Eric Shelton moves in against Jenel Lausa during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Jenel Lausa lifts Eric Shelton during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Eric Shelton moves in against Jenel Lausa during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Eric Shelton moves in against Jenel Lausa during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Jenel Lausa lands a kick against Eric Shelton during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Eric Shelton moves in with a kick against Jenel Lausa during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Jenel Lausa brings down Eric Shelton to the mat during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Eric Shelton pins Jenel Lausa to the cage during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Eric Shelton and Jenel Lausa react following their match during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/oP8k4CUGwaDWnssnFiNLtH/285375", customAnalytics: true, title: "Shelton def. Lausa", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: News, UFC

Jessica-Rose Clark already feels near title shot in 'wide open' flyweight division

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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

SYDNEY – Although she’s only one fight into her octagon tenure and still hasn’t technically made the weight class, Jessica-Rose Clark feels like a contender in the UFC women’s flyweight division.

Clark (8-4 MMA, 1-0 UFC), who made her promotional debut at UFC Fight Night 121 on Saturday with a split-decision win over Bec Rawlings (7-7 MMA, 2-4 UFC), came in two pounds overweight after accepting the contest, which co-headlined the FS1-televised card at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney, on just 11 days’ notice.

Still, Clark feels beating Rawlings puts her on the map at 125 pounds. She regrets not making the limit, but knows she can in the future. Moreover, given the fact it was just the third bout scheduled for the weight class under the UFC banner, Clark believes the win puts her in a good position.

“One hundred percent, I’m supposed to be in flyweight,” Clark told MMAjunkie following her win. “I’ve felt like that for a long time, and it’s just taken me a while to get my weight in check and make sure my preparation is key. It’s wide open. I feel like I’m a couple fights away from being able to fight for the belt anyway after they crown it Dec. 1 (at The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale). I feel I stack up well with anybody they give me.”

Clark’s UFC debut came together in a whirlwind situation. She stepped in as a short-notice replacement for Joanne Calderwood and defeated a veteran opponent. It was a closely matched fight over three rounds, resulting in a split call from the judges. The all-Aussie matchup was something Clark saw in her future for quite some time, but didn’t expect it to come under the given circumstances.

“Everything about this fight and the matchup was amazing,” Clark said. “It felt like the perfect storm. It’s my 30th (birthday) in a few days and I really wanted to come home, but I couldn’t afford it. Then this fight happened and it was against Bec. This fight has been talked about in Aussie MMA for about five years now, but we were always two divisions apart. It’s crazy it finally happened, and it happened on the biggest stage in the world.”

Although missing weight will somewhat put an asterisk next to the win, Clark was just pleased to get her hand raised. She believes she would have finished Rawlings inside the distance with a full training camp, and said she hopes to have that opportunity ahead of her next fight.

“I honestly thought I could have finished that fight,” Clark said. “Obviously I took it on pretty short notice and had a tough weight cut. I feel like with a bit of better preparation I could have finished it in the second. I almost finished it anyway. I’m sure happy with that. As each fight goes by, they get better and better.”

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 121, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Bec Rawlings pins Jessica-Rose Clark to the cage during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Bec Rawlings pins Jessica-Rose Clark to the mat during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Bec Rawlings moves in with a hit against Jessica-Rose Clark during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Bec Rawlings moves in with a hit against Jessica-Rose Clark during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Jessica-Rose Clark moves in with a hit as Bec Rawlings defends during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Bec Rawlings holds Jessica-Rose Clark during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Jessica-Rose Clark moves in with a hit as Bec Rawlings defends during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Bec Rawlings moves in with a hit against Jessica-Rose Clark during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Jessica-Rose Clark moves in with a hit as Bec Rawlings defends during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Bec Rawlings moves in with a hit as Jessica-Rose Clark defends during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Jessica-Rose Clark moves in with a hit against Bec Rawlings during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Bec Rawlings moves in with a hit as Jessica-Rose Clark defends during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Jessica-Rose Clark moves in with a kick against Bec Rawlings during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Bec Rawlings pins Jessica-Rose Clark to the mat during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports Nov 18, 2017; Sydney, Australia; Jessica-Rose Clark pins Bec Rawlings to the mat during UFC Fight Night at Qudos Bank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/XBbyeEXbD2YpDDogKFEeV3/285640", customAnalytics: true, title: "Clark def. Rawlings", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
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Trading Shots: What should the UFC do about an uptick in fighters behaving badly?

From shoving referees to flinging boomerangs and homophobic epithets, UFC fighters haven’t exactly been on their best behavior lately. But when consequences are slow to appear, at what point do we need to examine the UFC’s approach to crime and punishment? MMAjunkie columnist Ben Fowlkes and retired UFC and WEC fighter Danny Downes discuss.

* * * *

Fowlkes: It was an eventful week outside the cage, Danny.

Down in Sydney, Australia, Fabricio Werdum hit Colby Covington in the neck with a boomerang that was, somewhat hilariously, still in a plastic bag.

Covington responded with a Facebook video of himself using the English version of the same gay slur that got Werdum in trouble a couple months ago, and that’s in addition to his ongoing verbal attacks on Brazilians, which is what started this mess.

Then on Sunday morning I wake up to news that Volkan Oezdemir has been arrested for battery shortly after being pegged as the next UFC light heavyweight title challenger.

All this comes, of course, in the shadow of Conor McGregor’s latest transgression, which involved leaping into the Bellator cage, shoving a ref, and then issuing an “apology” that mostly blamed that ref.

RelatedUFC light heavyweight contender Volkan Oezdemir arrested on battery charge in Florida (Updated)

You know what all these incidents have in common, Danny? The UFC doesn’t seem to know what to do about any of them, at least not yet.

Consequences and repercussions are proving to be a tricky business for the MMA leader, and you can kind of see why. On one hand, rivalries and trash-talk and angry people paid to hurt each other are good business. But is there a connection between the UFC’s reluctance to punish anybody and what feels like an uptick in bad behavior from fighters gone wild?

Downes: I don’t know if I’d make that connection. True, the UFC hasn’t punished any of the fighters you mentioned (unless you include McGregor getting pulled from a fight card that we never heard he’d been booked on), but I think you’re attributing a larger problem to a few specific fighters.

Let’s look at some of the people in question. Werdum hasn’t received any discipline for his transgressions yet, so of course he’ll think it’s alright to throw a boomerang at somebody else.

I agree that there’s a chance that if he had received some type of fine/suspension in the past, he would be more wary of getting into confrontations, but that’s not a guarantee. If you’ll unapologetically support a Chechen dictator accused of multiple human rights abuses, I doubt your affinity for a change of heart.

Then we have Covington. He’s out there trolling anyone and everything. Either he’s willfully ignorant of his racist pronouncements, or he’s purposefully using them in his gimmick. Either way, I don’t feel like giving him any more attention.

Last but not least we have McGregor. We discussed this a little last week, but McGregor knows he has the leverage. Despite the UFC having its “best year ever,” it can’t afford to keep McGregor on the sideline. You think the UFC wants to teach him a lesson in humility if it means passing up on all that sweet McGregor money?

I know you’d like to see the UFC do something to enforce the supposed code of conduct, but I for one do not want to endorse a more heavy-handed disciplinary process. From Nate Diaz to Jason High and many other fighters in between, we’ve seen UFC discipline used to send a message against fighters that don’t tow the company line or have upset the brass.

If we give the UFC more discretion to punish athletes, won’t it lead to even more disparity in how the rules are enforced? You think the Endeavor era is beyond petty grievances?

Fowlkes: Seems to me that what you’re complaining about there is the uneven application of punishments, not the mere existence of them. And that’s a valid complaint. All are not equal in the UFC’s internal justice system, and they never have been.

Then there’s the issue of what the UFC deems worthy of punishment. Remember when Donald Cerrone made an unapproved addition to his Reebok fight kit? The UFC didn’t hesitate to hit him with what he described as a pretty serious fine. And even McGregor wasn’t immune from the penalty for blowing off pre-fight media obligations, as we saw when he got yanked from UFC 200.

You mess with the UFC’s money, there will be consequences. But what if you’re just out there acting like a jerk? What if that jerkish behavior veers into criminal territory?

That’s what surprised me about the UFC’s response to the Werdum boomerang incident (hereafter known as “Werdumerang”). The initial statement said that the UFC would be investigating whether or not it violated the “Athlete Conduct Policy.” Now, I don’t know if there’s a specific clause in there about hitting other fighters in the neck with a damn boomerang, but it’s hard for me to imagine how you could even have a code of conduct that something like that wouldn’t violate.

RelatedFabricio Werdum charged with assault for allegedly hitting Colby Covington with boomerang

Seriously, we all saw the video. Werdum was standing there arguing with Covington and then decided to hit him in the neck with an aerodynamic stick. I don’t know how many brilliant detectives we really need in order to crack this case.

Let me ask you this: When you heard about this incident, did you entertain the thought, even for a second, that the UFC might pull Werdum out of his fight as punishment? Probably not. That’d be crazy, right? Just because a guy gets charged with assault outside the host hotel two days before the event, that’s no reason to scratch him from the headlining spot. Why, that’d be bad for business. Better to take your time with the investigation until after the show’s over and the money’s all been counted.

Why is it so hard to believe that, in the instant before he turned his souvenir into a weapon, Werdum ran through the same calculation in his head? And if he knew there was no way he’d lose his chance to fight and get paid, hell, why not find out if a boomerang can still fly inside a plastic bag?

Downes: You do realize you’re attributing a cold, calculated process of judgement to a man who threw a boomerang at another person, right?

You’re correct that many fighters (at least the high-profile ones) know they can get away with a certain level of misbehavior, but all the discipline in the world isn’t going to prevent impulsive people from doing impulsive things. What are the odds on Werdum picking on a bantamweight the next time he makes a public appearance? Obviously he has a hard time walking away from confrontations, and he’s not the only MMA fighter who would fall into that category.

You’ve complained about the arbitrary nature of the Nevada State Athletic Commission on multiple occasions. I fail to see how the UFC would avoid the same mistakes. That doesn’t mean that nothing should be done, but the current UFC structure is not equipped to handle these matters. If the company executives tried to take a tougher stance on conduct issues, they would bumble through it and open themselves up to lawsuits just like the NFL.

You think they’re going to risk the leverage they have in labor relations to teach Werdum that he should use his words (at least his non-homophobic ones) instead of his boomerangs? Not likely.

Perhaps all these disciplinary issues will hurt the bottom line and spurn some action. News stories about your athletes throwing boomerangs or using bigoted language are not good for the “brand.” You said that if you mess with the UFC’s money, there will be consequences. But none of the altercations we’ve discussed have done that so far.

Maybe the UFC needs to hire Matt Hughes back to get his crack team of policy strategists back together. More likely, though, what it needs is a panel to hear appeals and mete out punishments like other sports leagues. This can’t be some reactionary, spur-of-the-moment answer. It may seem more fulfilling to have someone unilaterally deal out discipline, but that doesn’t solve any longterm issues.

I do wonder, though, what type of discipline would satisfy us. MMA, by its nature, does not lend itself to effective judgments. You can’t suspend fighters for a few games (they only fight a couple times a year) and most of them don’t make enough money to make fines a fair method. Punishment and justice are two totally different things. We may desire the former, but we should aim for the latter.

Ben Fowlkes is MMAjunkie and USA TODAY’s MMA columnist. Danny Downes, a retired UFC and WEC fighter, is an MMAjunkie contributor who has also written for UFC.com and UFC 360. Follow them on twitter at @benfowlkesMMA and @dannyboydownes.

Oct 28, 2017; Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil; Colby Covington (blue gloves) reacts after defeating Demian Maia (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ibirapuera Gymnasium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Oct 28, 2017; Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil; Colby Covington (blue gloves) makes his way to the octagon before his bout against Demian Maia (not pictured) UFC Fight Night at Ibirapuera Gymnasium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Oct 28, 2017; Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil; Demian Maia (red gloves) makes his way to the octagon before his bout against Colby Covington (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at Ibirapuera Gymnasium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Oct 28, 2017; Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil; Demian Maia (red gloves) makes his way to the octagon before his bout against Colby Covington (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at Ibirapuera Gymnasium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Oct 28, 2017; Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil; Demian Maia (red gloves) fights Colby Covington (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ibirapuera Gymnasium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Oct 28, 2017; Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil; Demian Maia (red gloves) fights Colby Covington (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ibirapuera Gymnasium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Oct 28, 2017; Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil; Demian Maia (red gloves) fights Colby Covington (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ibirapuera Gymnasium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Oct 28, 2017; Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil; Demian Maia (red gloves) fights Colby Covington (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ibirapuera Gymnasium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Oct 28, 2017; Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil; Demian Maia (red gloves) fights Colby Covington (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ibirapuera Gymnasium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Oct 28, 2017; Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil; Demian Maia (red gloves) fights Colby Covington (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ibirapuera Gymnasium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Oct 28, 2017; Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil; (Editor's Note: Graphic Content) Demian Maia (red gloves) fights Colby Covington (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ibirapuera Gymnasium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Oct 28, 2017; Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil; (Editor's Note: Graphic Content) Demian Maia (red gloves) fights Colby Covington (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ibirapuera Gymnasium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Oct 28, 2017; Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil; (Editor's Note: Graphic Content) Demian Maia (red gloves) reacts after losing to Colby Covington (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at Ibirapuera Gymnasium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports Oct 28, 2017; Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil; (Editor's Note: Graphic Content) Demian Maia (red gloves) reacts after losing to Colby Covington (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at Ibirapuera Gymnasium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports jQuery.extend( window._usmgOptions,{ scriptUrl: "https://s2.wp.com/wp-content/themes/vip/usatoday-plugins/api-galleries/assets", analyticsCallback: "galleryAnalytics", fullscreenUrl: "http://mmajunkie.com/sigallery/KGJwMcimq5RCV6xhf83E5o/285683", customAnalytics: true, title: "Covington def. Maia", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
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