MMA Junkie News

Top 25 finishes in Invicta FC history (Nos. 21-25): Cat Zingano vs. Raquel Pennington pre-UFC

More than five years have passed since Invicta FC hosted its first event. During that time the all-female organization has gone through a number of different incarnations.

Despite having its roster consistently ravaged by the UFC, Invicta FC frequently hosts solid fight cards to help further the growth of women’s MMA. The fighters do their part by delivering inside the cage, and with the 25th event in company history set to go down later this month, Invicta FC has decided to highlight its young history.

Invicta FC 25 takes place Aug. 31 at Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino in Lemoore, Calif. Ahead of the seminal event, Invicta FC’s social media team is rolling out a countdown of the 25 best finishes in its history.

Check out the first portion of the list, which counts down No. 25 to No. 21.

* * * *

25. Ashley Yoder def. Amber Brown at Invicta FC 20 (Nov. 18, 2016)

Ashley Yoder was successful in her Invicta FC debut when she locked up a tight armbar on Amber Brown to win in the second round.

24. Megan Anderson def. Peggy Morgan at Invicta FC 18 (July 29, 2016)

Megan Anderson’s charge toward the Invicta FC featherweight title continued at Invicta FC 18 when she throttled Peggy Morgan with a series of right hands for the first-round knockout.

23. Ayaka Yamasaki def. Amber Brown at Invicta FC 16 (Mar. 11, 2016)

Invicta FC atomweight champion Ayaka Yamasaki made her first successful title defense at Invicta FC 16 when she caught Brown with a second-round armbar to stay unbeaten in her career at 105 pounds.

22. Cat Zingano def. Raquel Pennington at Invicta FC 3 (Oct. 6, 2012)

In a bantamweight matchup between two fighters who now hold a place among the UFC elite, Cat Zingano put away Raquel Pennington by second-round rear-naked choke at Invicta FC 3.

21. Livia Souza def. Katja Kankaanpaa at Invicta FC 12 (Apr. 24, 2015)

The triangle choke is now fairly rare in top-level MMA, but Livia Souza proved it still works. At Invicta FC 12, she caught Katja Kankaanpaa with the technique in the fourth round of their bout to win the vacant strawweight belt.

Check out the Blue Corner on Saturday for the next installment of Invicta FC’s top 25 finishes countdown.

And for more on the Invicta schedule, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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

April 13, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cat Zingano hits Miesha Tate during the TUF 17 Finale at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports April 13, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cat Zingano pins Miesha Tate during the TUF 17 Finale at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports April 13, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cat Zingano pins down Miesha Tate during the TUF 17 Finale at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports April 13, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cat Zingano holds down Miesha Tate during the TUF 17 Finale at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports April 13, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cat Zingano reacts to defeating Miesha Tate during the TUF 17 Finale at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports April 13, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cat Zingano speaks to media following her victory at the TUF 17 Finale at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports April 13, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Ronda Rousey (left) poses for photographs with Cat Zingano following the TUF 17 Finale at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Sep 27, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Amanda Nunes (blue gloves) fights Cat Zingano (red gloves) during a bantamweight fight in UFC 178 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Sep 27, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Amanda Nunes (blue gloves) fights Cat Zingano (red gloves) during a bantamweight fight at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Sep 27, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Amanda Nunes (blue gloves) fights Cat Zingano (red gloves) during a bantamweight fight at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Sep 27, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Cat Zingano celebrates her victory over Amanda Nunes during a bantamweight fight in UFC 178 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Feb 27, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Cat Zingano throws her hat to the crowd during her weigh-in for UFC 184 at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Feb 27, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Cat Zingano during her weigh-in for UFC 184 at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Feb 27, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Cat Zingano during her weigh-in for UFC 184 at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Feb 27, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Ronda Rousey and Cat Zingano face off at the weigh-in for their fight at UFC 184 at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Feb 28, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Cat Zingano leaves the arena after she was defeated by Ronda Rousey (not pictured) in her women's bantamweight title bout at UFC 184 at Staples Center. Rousey won in the first round. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Feb 28, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Cat Zingano at the post fight press conference for UFC 184 at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-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/7BJZE7MN3a6zRjEkHu5oyi/265752", customAnalytics: true, title: "Cat Zingano", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News, Videos

UFC boss wants Conor McGregor back in MMA: 'What's the point' of Floyd Mayweather rematch?

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid4621179066001?bckey=AQ~~,AAAABvaL8JE~,ufBHq_I6FnxR-PQW_F3sm5QdUbP7D6E9&bctid=5542346592001
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos

LAS VEGAS – Even if Conor McGregor pulls off an upset and beats Floyd Mayweather in their boxing match later this month, what’s the point of a rematch, Dana White wonders.

“What’s the point?” White told MMAjunkie and other reporters during a small media scrum on Tuesday. ” … What’s the point if Conor beats him – to do it again?”

McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC), the reigning UFC lightweight champion, crosses over on Aug. 26, when he meets undefeated boxing legend Mayweather (49-0 boxing) in a boxing pay-per-view blockbuster at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

It’s supposed to be a one-off, one-night MMA-vs.-boxing spectacle – with massive potential paydays for all involved. Mayweather is approximately a 6-1 favorite (though he arguably should be a much bigger one), though there’s no contractual obligation to grant a rematch if McGregor pulls off the upset.

RelatedSo, how do you determine odds for Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather, anyway?

“I guess, if that happened, we’d talk about it, but there’s no rematch clause in there,” White said. “I’m ready for Conor to get back to MMA.”

And what’s he coming back? Likely a fight with Tony Ferguson (23-3 MMA, 13-1 UFC), who’s No. 3 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA lightweight rankings, or No. 8 Kevin Lee (16-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC), who are now slated to fight for an interim title at UFC 216 on Oct. 7.

No. 1-ranked McGregor is expected to face the winner, but White said McGregor is still entertaining the idea of future boxing bouts (watch the full scrum).

RelatedConor McGregor's 10 most memorable in-the-cage moments

“We’ll see,” White said. “When you deal with Conor, I’ll take it day-by-day.”

While an embarrassing loss to Mayweather could force the Irish superstar back to MMA on a permanent basis, White said he hopes McGregor pulls off the upset.

“Conor’s going to get in there and rough him up – probably fight him a lot like (Marcos Maidana did in 2014),” he said. ” … I stopped doubting the kid a long time ago, and I’m hoping for this knockout. I’m hoping for him to knock Floyd out.”

For more on “The Money Fight: Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor,” check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Aug 10, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Floyd Mayweather Jr. warms up in the ring during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Conor McGregor at Mayweather Boxing Club. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 10, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Floyd Mayweather Jr. talks with members of the media during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Conor McGregor at Mayweather Boxing Club. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 10, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Floyd Mayweather Jr. talks with members of the media during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Conor McGregor at Mayweather Boxing Club. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 10, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Floyd Mayweather Jr. talks with members of the media during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Conor McGregor at Mayweather Boxing Club. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 10, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Floyd Mayweather Jr. talks with members of the media during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Conor McGregor at Mayweather Boxing Club. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 10, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Roger Mayweather talks with media during a Floyd Mayweather Jr. (not pictured)media workout in preparation for his fight against Conor McGregor at Mayweather Boxing Club. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 10, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Floyd Mayweather Jr. throws punches with weights in his hands during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Conor McGregor at Mayweather Boxing Club. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 10, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Floyd Mayweather Jr. throws punches with weights in his hands during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Conor McGregor at Mayweather Boxing Club. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 10, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Floyd Mayweather Jr. throws punches with weights in his hands during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Conor McGregor at Mayweather Boxing Club. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 10, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Floyd Mayweather Jr. throws punches with weights in his hands during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Conor McGregor at Mayweather Boxing Club. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 10, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Floyd Mayweather Jr. hits a body pad during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Conor McGregor at Mayweather Boxing Club. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 10, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Floyd Mayweather Jr. hits a body pad during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Conor McGregor at Mayweather Boxing Club. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 10, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Floyd Mayweather Jr. hits a heavy bag during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Conor McGregor at Mayweather Boxing Club. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 10, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Floyd Mayweather Jr. hits a speed bag during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Conor McGregor at Mayweather Boxing Club. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 10, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Floyd Mayweather Jr. hits a speed bag during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Conor McGregor at Mayweather Boxing Club. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 10, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Floyd Mayweather Jr. hits a speed bag during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Conor McGregor at Mayweather Boxing Club. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 10, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Floyd Mayweather Jr. hits a heavy bag during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Conor McGregor at Mayweather Boxing Club. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 10, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Floyd Mayweather Jr. hits a heavy bag during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Conor McGregor at Mayweather Boxing Club. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 10, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Floyd Mayweather Jr. hits a heavy bag during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Conor McGregor at Mayweather Boxing Club. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 10, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Floyd Mayweather Jr. hits a heavy bag during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Conor McGregor at Mayweather Boxing Club. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 10, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Floyd Mayweather Jr. looks on during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Conor McGregor at Mayweather Boxing Club. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 10, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Floyd Mayweather Jr. hits a heavy bag during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Conor McGregor at Mayweather Boxing Club. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 10, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Floyd Mayweather Jr. presses a workout ball during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Conor McGregor at Mayweather Boxing Club. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 10, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Floyd Mayweather Jr. sips a beverage during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Conor McGregor at Mayweather Boxing Club. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 10, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Floyd Mayweather Jr. sips a beverage during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Conor McGregor at Mayweather Boxing Club. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-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/b7XNbrMFarz7bdjEhKnESY/265929", customAnalytics: true, title: "Floyd Mayweather workout", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos

Ryan Benoit vs. Ashkan Mokhtarian added to UFC Fight Night 121 in Australia

Jul 30, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Ryan Benoit (red gloves) competes against Fredy Serrano (blue gloves) during UFC 201 at Phillips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports Dec 3, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Brandon Moreno (red gloves) fights Ryan Benoit (blue gloves) during the TUF tournament of champions at Palms Casino. Mandatory Credit: Tracy Lee-USA TODAY Sports Jul 30, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Ryan Benoit (red gloves) competes against Fredy Serrano (blue gloves) during UFC 201 at Phillips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports Mar 14, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Ryan Benoit (blue) before fighting Sergio Pettis (red) in the flyweight bout during UFC 185 at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports Mar 14, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Sergio Pettis (red) fights Ryan Benoit (blue) in the flyweight bout during UFC 185 at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports Mar 14, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Sergio Pettis (red) fights Ryan Benoit (blue) in the flyweight bout during UFC 185 at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports Mar 14, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Sergio Pettis (red) fights Ryan Benoit (blue) in the flyweight bout during UFC 185 at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports Mar 14, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Sergio Pettis (red) fights Ryan Benoit (blue) in the flyweight bout during UFC 185 at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports Mar 14, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Sergio Pettis (red) fights Ryan Benoit (blue) in the flyweight bout during UFC 185 at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports Mar 14, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Ryan Benoit (blue) defeats Sergio Pettis (red) in the flyweight bout during UFC 185 at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-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/3Vn5zNSJUzTCeKMrMD6wW5/265927", customAnalytics: true, title: "Ryan Benoit", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();

Two flyweights have been added to the UFC’s upcoming return to Australia.

Officials announced on Tuesday that Ryan Benoit (9-5 MMA, 2-3 UFC) and Ashkan Mokhtarian (13-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) are set to meet at UFC Fight Night 121.

UFC Fight Night 121 takes place Nov. 19 (but airs in the U.S. on Nov. 18 due to time difference) at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney. It’s expected to air on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass, though the full fight card and bout order haven’t been finalized.

RelatedMark Hunt to headline UFC Fight Night in Sydney vs. Marcin Tybura

Benoit, a 27-year-old, made his UFC debut in 2013 and suffered a submission loss to Josh Sampo in a “Fight of the Night” performance. He’s since experienced uneven results and has alternated wins and losses during his UFC tenure. Most recently, he followed up a split-decision win over Fredy Serrano with a split-decision defeat to Brandon Moreno in December.

He now meets Mokhtarian, a 31-year-old Iranian-Australian fighter who won six straight fights to earn a UFC contract earlier this year. However, in his promotional debut, the veteran of the Australian regional circuit, who has 12 stoppages in 13 career wins, suffered a one-sided decision loss to John Moraga at the UFC’s June event in New Zealand.

The latest UFC Fight Night 121 card now includes:

  • Mark Hunt vs. Marcin Tybura
  • Rashad Coulter vs. Tai Tuivasa
  • Ryan Benoit vs. Ashkan Mokhtarian

For more on UFC Fight Night 121, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.


Filed under: News, UFC

Dana White: 'Nothing against' Paulie Malignaggi, though Showtime turned down offer of sparring footage

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid4621179066001?bckey=AQ~~,AAAABvaL8JE~,ufBHq_I6FnxR-PQW_F3sm5QdUbP7D6E9&bctid=5542297051001
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos

LAS VEGAS – Dana White has “nothing against” former Conor McGregor sparring partner Paulie Malignaggi, though the UFC president did offer Showtime some of their infamous sparring footage.

Malignaggi (36-8 boxing), a former pro boxer and who held titles in two divisions, retired earlier this year and shifted to a career in boxing commentary. But as UFC lightweight champion McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) prepares for an Aug. 26 boxing match with undefeated boxing legend Floyd Mayweather (49-0 boxing), Malignaggi briefly served as a McGregor sparring partner.

Since a high-profile falling out with McGregor, Malignaggi and White have offered different accounts of how the sparring sessions unfolded.

After spending roughly a week in McGregor’s camp, Malignaggi made a sudden exit when unflattering sparring photos surfaced online. White then released 22 unflattering seconds of footage; Malignaggi suggested it was a typical classless move from White.

RelatedPaulie Malignaggi: 'Cute and adorable' Conor McGregor sparring videos distract from truth

However, White said it could have been even more embarrassing for the 36-year-old pugilist.

“I have nothing against Paulie,” White told MMAjunkie and other reporters on Tuesday during a small media scrum. “I don’t even know the guy. I don’t know him. But you know me, man. When you start talking (expletive) – (with) how I get – I actually felt bad for the guy. I actually felt bad for him.”

Malignaggi is actually now a Showtime commentator and will provide analysis for the Aug. 26 pay-per-view broadcast of Mayweather vs. McGregor. It’s perhaps no wonder why, then, White’s offer to Showtime was turned down.

“The last thing I want to do is get in a beef with Showtime, but we gave them a ton of the footage of the (Malignaggi vs. McGregor) sparring, and they denied it – because they didn’t want to make Paulie look bad,” he said. “They had a ton of the sparring footage, and they wanted to use zero (of it).”

RelatedIf Conor McGregor hangs with Floyd Mayweather, Paulie Malignaggi would consider fight

White then continued to further play up the alleged one-sided nature of the sparring sessions. He said Malignaggi’s departure from the camp was a wise move.

“As far as his health goes, he made the right decision to leave that camp,” White said. ” … I think he made the decision for his health, and I think it was the right decision. And I’m not talking (expletive). What do I care? It makes no difference in my life whatsoever.

“This was a deal between Conor and this boxer and whatever. But I’m just telling you he made the right decision for his health, because it was a 12-round straight ass-whooping. It was as bad an ass-whooping as I’ve ever seen.”

For more on “The Money Fight: Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor,” check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor warms up in the ring during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor speaks with reporters after a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor enters the workout area during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor speaks to reporters while getting his hands wrapped during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor speaks with reporters after a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor speaks with reporters after a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor speaks with reporters after a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor speaks with reporters after a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor speaks with reporters after a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor warms up in the ring during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor warms up in the ring during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor hits a heavy bag during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor has looks on during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor hits an uppercut bag during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor hits an uppercut bag during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor hits an uppercut bag during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor hits a heavy bag during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor looks on during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor hits a heavy bag during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor drinks water during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-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/68dBFQsn94fMkuPbDjykuH/265924", customAnalytics: true, title: "Conor McGregor media workout", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos

Live video: Listen to today's Conor McGregor media call at 5 p.m. ET


Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

Prior to his upcoming boxing match with undefeated Floyd Mayweather, UFC champion Conor McGregor hosts a media call today at 5 p.m. ET (2 p.m. PT).

McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) meets Mayweather (49-0 boxing) on Aug. 26 in a pay-per-view bout – possibly the biggest in combat-sports history – at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

RelatedConor McGregor's 10 most memorable in-the-cage moments

Today, he takes questions from MMA and boxing media members.

Also on the call are Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe and Showtime Sports Executive VP and General Manager Stephen Espinoza

For more on “The Money Fight: Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor,” check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports July 11, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor stare down one another during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 11, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Conor McGregor reacts during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 11, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Conor McGregor gestures toward Floyd Mayweather during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 11, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Conor McGregor speaks as Floyd Mayweather reacts during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 11, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Floyd Mayweather shadow boxes during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 11, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Conor McGregor gestures toward Floyd Mayweather during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 11, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Floyd Mayweather holds up a check while speaking during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 11, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Conor McGregor reacts toward Floyd Mayweather during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 11, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor meet face to face following the world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 11, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor meet face to face as UFC president Dana White keeps them separated following the world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 11, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor meet face to face following the world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Fans of Conor McGregor cheer during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Fans of Conor McGregor hold up a sign predicting the defeat of Floyd Mayweather (not pictured) during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Rap artist Drake performs before Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor appear during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Conor McGregor dances as he speaks during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor point and stare down each other during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor stare each other down during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor stare each other down as UFC president Dana White intervenes during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Conor McGregor taunts Floyd Mayweather as he speaks during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Conor McGregor draws a reaction from the crowd as he speaks during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Conor McGregor speaks during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Conor McGregor taunts Floyd Mayweather as he speaks during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Conor McGregor sits near UFC president Dana White during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Floyd Mayweather (right) draws a reaction from Conor McGregor as he speaks during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Floyd Mayweather taunts Conor McGregor as he speaks during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Floyd Mayweather poses with an Irish flag during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Conor McGregor reacts as he takes cash from a money bag brought onto the stage by Floyd Mayweather during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Floyd Mayweather taunts Conor McGregor while wearing an Irish flag and Conor McGregor mocks Floyd Mayweather with his money bag during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Conor McGregor throws the Irish flag at Floyd Mayweather as he speaks during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Conor McGregor throws an Irish flag at Floyd Mayweather as he speaks during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor stare each other down during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Conor McGregor walks the runway during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Conor McGregor during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Floyd Mayweather enters Barclay Canter during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Conor McGregor during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Conor McGregor during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Conor McGregor during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Floyd Mayweather throws money at Conor McGregor during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Floyd Mayweather throws money at Conor McGregor during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Conor McGregor enters the ring during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather face off during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Dana White steps in as Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather face off during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Conor McGregor reacts to Floyd Mayweather during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Conor McGregor addresses the crowd during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Floyd Mayweather address the crowd during the press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Conor McGregor reacts during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Floyd Mayweather during the press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Floyd Mayweather shouts at Conor McGregor during the press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Conor McGregor reacts to Floyd Mayweather during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Floyd Mayweather address the crowd during the press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Floyd Mayweather address the crowd during the press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Floyd Mayweather address the crowd during the press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather face off during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather face off during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Dana White (hidden) separates Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather astray face off during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-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/si9zxJPMHPwke8HK2qGqF9/265954", customAnalytics: true, title: "Mayweather-McGregor world tour madness", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

Tony Ferguson, Kevin Lee will fight at UFC 216 for interim lightweight title

Jun 25, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Michael Chiesa (red gloves) fights Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sean Pokorny-USA TODAY Sports Jun 25, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Michael Chiesa (red gloves) fights Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sean Pokorny-USA TODAY Sports Jun 25, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Michael Chiesa (red gloves) fights Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sean Pokorny-USA TODAY Sports Jun 25, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Michael Chiesa (red gloves) fights Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sean Pokorny-USA TODAY Sports Jun 25, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Michael Chiesa (red gloves) fights Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sean Pokorny-USA TODAY Sports Jun 25, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Michael Chiesa (red gloves) fights Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sean Pokorny-USA TODAY Sports Jun 25, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Michael Chiesa (red gloves) fights Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sean Pokorny-USA TODAY Sports Jun 25, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Michael Chiesa (red gloves) fights Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sean Pokorny-USA TODAY Sports Jun 25, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Michael Chiesa (red gloves) fights Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sean Pokorny-USA TODAY Sports Jun 25, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Michael Chiesa (red gloves) fights Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sean Pokorny-USA TODAY Sports Jun 25, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Michael Chiesa (red gloves) fights Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sean Pokorny-USA TODAY Sports Jun 25, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Kevin Lee (blue gloves) is called off of Michael Chiesa (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sean Pokorny-USA TODAY Sports Jun 25, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Michael Chiesa (red gloves) reacts after being called for a tap out Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sean Pokorny-USA TODAY Sports Jun 25, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Michael Chiesa (red gloves) reacts after being called for a tap out Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sean Pokorny-USA TODAY Sports Jun 25, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Michael Chiesa (red gloves) reacts after his fight against Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sean Pokorny-USA TODAY Sports Jun 25, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Kevin Lee (blue gloves) before his fight against Michael Chiesa (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sean Pokorny-USA TODAY Sports Jun 25, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Michael Chiesa (red gloves) reacts after his bout against Kevin Lee (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sean Pokorny-USA TODAY Sports Jun 25, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Kevin Lee (blue gloves) reacts after beating Michael Chiesa (red gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sean Pokorny-USA TODAY Sports Jun 25, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Michael Chiesa (red gloves) greets Kevin Lee (blue gloves) after their bout during UFC Fight Night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sean Pokorny-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/JpUwbD8TTHVxzs5LMzngEE/265903", customAnalytics: true, title: "Lee def. Chiesa", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();

LAS VEGAS – Move over, Conor McGregor. A second UFC lightweight champion is coming.

An interim title fight between Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee has been booked for UFC 216, UFC President Dana White told reporters on Tuesday.

White said he was unsure if the bout between Ferguson (23-3 MMA, 13-1 UFC) and Lee (16-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC) would serve as the headliner for the pay-per-view event, which takes place Oct. 7 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

RelatedTony Ferguson asked Kevin Lee a question on FS1's UFC post show, and a full-blown beef ensued

Ferguson gets his second chance to win an interim UFC title after a thrice-canceled fight with undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov (24-0 MMA, 8-0 UFC). The pair were scheduled to fight for the belt at UFC 209 before Nurmagomedov was hospitalized after a bad weight-cut.

In July, UFC President Dana White said he wanted to try booking them against each other a fourth time and would consider Ferguson against red-hot prospect Justin Gaethje – who accepted an offer to coach on “The Ultimate Fighter 26” – if Nurmagomedov wasn’t ready.

It’s not clear why Nurmagomedov was taken out of consideration for the interim title. White simply said, “Khabib’s not ready.” A request for comment to Nurmagomedov’s representative went unanswered. This past week, he sparred on Twitter with Ferguson, writing, “I’m waiting for you in New York … just take this fight, everybody waiting your decision.”

RelatedUFC's Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov in new round of online beef – or is it tiramisu?

Ferguson shot back, “Your (manager Ali Abdelaziz) Informed @ufc U Are Not Well Enough To Fight Me At MSG, Turned Down The Fight On Your Behalf. Don’t Fool Your Fans.”

Nurmagomedov responded, “You don’t need my manager, I’m the one who fights with you. Take the fight or tell fans that you looking for easy way.”

Even with Lee getting the interim opportunity, Nurmagomedov still appears to have other lucrative options. White recently told MMAjunkie that current undisputed champ McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) had the undefeated fighter in his crosshairs, which McGregor later confirmed while on the world tour for his upcoming boxing showdown with Floyd Mayweather.

For more on UFC 216, visit the UFC Rumors section of the site.


Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

Dana White's Contender Series 6 results: Charles Byrd wins for 2nd time, lands UFC contract

Middleweight Charles Byrd became the first fighter to win twice on Dana White’s Contender Series after submitting short-notice replacement Randall Wallace.

Byrd toughed it out after Wallace set up a rear-naked choke in the first, returning the favor at the 2:03 mark of the second frame in the headliner of Dana White’s Contender Series 6 on Tuesday.

For his troubles, Wallace was one of two fighters to earn a UFC contract.

“I knew I had to get a finish first,” Byrd said afterward. “The pressure went away because of the first fight, but it’s the big leagues. You’ve got to perform. I’m thankful I got another victory and the finish.”

He's done it! @dynamitebyrd170 comes back to earn his second victory on #ContenderSeries! pic.twitter.com/g0bsAVT5LC

— UFC Fight Pass (@UFCFightPass) August 16, 2017

The event took place at The Ultimate Fighter Gym in Las Vegas and streamed live on UFC Fight Pass.

Byrd came in hot with a flurry of punches but wound up catching a right hand that stunned him. Byrd tried to pull off the quick upset, taking the back after a takedown. With his hands not quite positioned, Byrd was forced to wait it out. When he got a bit of space, he reversed position and took mount. Wallace escaped but was muscled back to the canvas.

The momentum shift of the first round didn’t repeat in the second. Byrd (9-4) again charged in and reversed a takedown attempt to land big shots from top position. When Wallace (15-7) gave up his back, he sunk in the choke.

And the #ContenderSeries contracts go to… @ToyoTires @UFCFightPass pic.twitter.com/w7ARqASx80

— UFC (@ufc) August 16, 2017

Dawson decimates Diaz, earns contract

Featherweight Grant Dawson ran roughshod over Adrian Diaz before a rear-naked choke at the 1:15 mark of the second round.

Diaz barely survived the first round as Dawson put him on the mat and pounded him. He squeezed a choke in the last seconds of the frame that might have ended the fight if not for the bell.

He made it look easy! @dawsongrant20y1 has never had a fight go the distance and wasn't going to start tonight! #ContenderSeries @ToyoTires pic.twitter.com/gIp4ryDuV2

— UFC Fight Pass (@UFCFightPass) August 16, 2017

“I hope that was the performance Dana (White) was looking for,” Dawson said after the win. “I knew what I had to do, and I did it, and I hope I can get a contract.”

He did.

Dawson (12-1) now has won three straight. Diaz (11-5-1) sees a three-fight winning streak snapped.

Olson grinds out Reed for decision upset

Light heavyweight Cameron Olson knew how to take the spring out of Karl Reed’s step.

After taking enough potshots from the bouncy Reed to bloody his nose, Olson made it an ugly grind. He charged in and smothered his opponent against the fence and sapped Reed’s energy in the process.

Spurts of offense from Reed in the early portion of the fight gave way to Olson’s control. In the first round, Olson landed a series of knees to the head. In the second, he slammed Reed and almost got an arm-triangle.

By the third, Olson (7-3) was doing most of the initiation when it came to dictating the direction of the fight. The final scores were 29-28 across the board, bringing an upset as the +225 underdog against Reed (1-1).

“I didn’t get the finish like I wanted to, but I had the gas,” Olson said afterward. “I’m still upset I couldn’t quite get the finish. That’s what I really wanted to do.”

Alvarez survives disastrous third against Day

Flyweight Jamie Alvarez got beat from pillar to post in his final round against Martin Day. But he survived the onslaught, and his work in the first two rounds got him the decision win.

A clearly dissatisfied Alvarez earned scores of 28-27, 29-28 and 29-27 to take the fight. He said afterward that a tough weight-cut left him unable to fight back against Day, who battered his body and landed heavy punches and kicks.

“I know what I’m capable of, and that definitely wasn’t it,” said Alvarez, a veteran of “The Ultimate Fighter 24.”

Alvarez attacked Day’s legs early in an effort to take the sting from the Hawaiian’s big kicks. Toward the end of the opening frame, he traded takedowns with Day and did more damage during his stint in dominant position.

Doubling down on the strategy, Alvarez got an early takedown in the second and threatened chokes from back control, keeping top position despite a scramble effort from Day, who briefly managed to take the back near the end.

Going into the third, it was a close fight. Day (5-2) had put some good hands on Alvarez (7-1) as he shot in, and hadn’t expired when taking ground-and-pound. Alvarez, however, just didn’t have the energy to put up much of a fight and was badly outclassed in the final frame.

Thankfully for him, he’d already built up enough credit with judges.

Colleen snatches victory at last-minute with submission

Women’s strawweight [autotag]Jamie Colleen snatched victory from the jaws of certain defeat, getting a last-minute armbar on Tiffany Masters after getting dominated for much of the bout.

Masters appeared to be well on her way to a decision win when Colleen secured the submission, going belly down to get a verbal tap at the 4:43 mark of the third round.

“This fight means everything to me, and I preach to my daughters never to give up,” Colleen said after improving her professional record to 4-1.

The complete results for Dana White’s Contender Series 6 include:

  • Charles Byrd def. Randall Wallace via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 2:03
  • Grant Dawson def. Adrian Diaz via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 1:15
  • Cameron Olson def. Karl Reed via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Jamie Alvarez def. Martin Day via unanimous decision (28-27, 29-28, 29-27)
  • Jamie Colleen def. Tiffany Masters via submission (armbar) – Round 3, 4:43

For more on Dana White’s Contender Series 6, visit the UFC Events page of the site.


Filed under: News, UFC

Former UFC fighter Yves Edwards opens up on loss that still haunts him a decade later

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid4621179066001?bckey=AQ~~,AAAABvaL8JE~,ufBHq_I6FnxR-PQW_F3sm5QdUbP7D6E9&bctid=5535575018001
Filed under: News, Radio Highlight, UFC, Videos

More than a decade has gone by, and Yves Edwards still has some problems digesting his UFC 58 loss to Mark Hominick.

Edwards, who retired from fighting and now works as an MMA analyst for Fox Sports, was returning to the octagon after a brief 1-1 PRIDE stint when he met Hominick in 2006 in Las Vegas. He already had 40 professional MMA bouts to his name at the time, while Hominick brought a 13-fight record into what was set to be his UFC debut.

In an upset big enough to spark fight-fixing accusations, Edwards ended up on the sour end of a second-round submission.

A lot happened after that.

Edwards went back to fighting both at PRIDE and the UFC – not to mention numerous others, like Strikeforce and EliteXC – adding another 26 fights to his record. He went won and lost to several other opponents.

But it’s that one setback that haunts him.

RelatedUFC weigh-in snack mastermind Yves Edwards talks inspiration for gimmick – and its biggest victim

“That was the biggest deal,” Edwards told MMAjunkie Radio. “There are a lot of things I believe that were around that. I’ve spoken to a psychologist about it and been concerned about it. The reason why it was a big deal – before that, I went over to PRIDE. I came back, and the UFC was a different beast at this point. Like, instantly.

“I was the No. 1 guy when I left. Josh (Thomson) and I were supposed to be fighting for a belt. We were the best guys in the division. And when I came back, the arena – there were people at the weigh-ins. There weren’t people at the weigh-ins before that. It’s just bigger, it’s a different beast.”

The 40-year-old Edwards (42-22-1 MMA, 10-10 UFC) says he walked into the bout with Hominick (20-12 MMA, 3-4 UFC), now 35 and also retired, both comfortable with his kickboxing and confident that his ground skills were superior. Until it happened – the fateful moment he says a lot of his colleagues can relate to.

“There’s a moment in fights where you first feel your wind,” Edwards said. “At that moment, if you relax, and get through that, you’re good. But if you panic, that can kind of get straight to you. And I was like, ‘Oh (expletive). I’m getting tired.’ I remember thinking that. I was thinking, ‘OK, OK, I’ve got to change the game.’ I took him down, and I was in his butterfly guard. I use this pass all the time. I show it to everybody all the time.

“I’m trying to hit this pass, and it didn’t happen, so I was like, ‘Holy (expletive). I’m supposed to be so much better than this guy, and this is my pass. Why didn’t it work? What’s going on here? Oh, his leg is on my shoulder. Oh, don’t worry about that, because he’s still in his butterfly guard.’

“So I’m not even concerned with it. But why didn’t this pass work? This kid, I was supposed to be so much better than this kid on the ground, and then – oh (expletive), this triangle is real.'”

The triangle, as it was proven at the 1:52 mark of the second round, was real enough to end the fight. Finding himself tapping from that position, Edwards said, is something that still bothers him.

“At that point, I didn’t even know he got his leg out and got into position, because I was in another place,” Edwards said. “I wasn’t there in the fight. I was thinking about other (expletive), and I’m supposed to be better than this guy. I’m supposed to tap him.

“I’m supposed to get this fight to the ground and be able to do what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it. And that wasn’t going on.”

It didn’t take long for Edwards to bounce back from the setback. Less than a month later, he went back to PRIDE to earn a unanimous decision over Seichi Ikemoto. But three months after that, a UFC 61 return against Joe Stevenson had him back on the losing column and out of the UFC.

Edwards would return to the octagon in 2010, going on to brighten up several weigh-ins with his often hilarious scale-snack gimmick. He amassed a 4-6 record in his final UFC run, before deciding to hang up his gloves.

But UFC 58 seems to have stuck with him.

“And then somebody questions me over that and say that I threw the fight, or even to say that I suck, because I panicked,” Edwards said. “I had a moment of weakness at a time when you’re not supposed to. I don’t know. I still have some stuff to work out to get through that. But it is what it is.

“I lost a lot of confidence then. And then I fought Joe Stevenson. (It) wasn’t my best fight the,  and then having to leave the UFC at that point. That was a hard time, man. That was (expletive) (expletive).”

To hear more on Edwards’ account of his career-changing encounter with Hominick, check out the video above.

And for more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors 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 and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.


Filed under: News, Radio Highlight, UFC, Videos

Frank Mir is leaving behind an incredible UFC legacy with all these records

Frank Mir’s UFC career is officially over after today’s news that the former two-time heavyweight champion had inked a multi-fight deal with Bellator.

After a nearly 16-year, 27-fight tenure competing against the best inside the octagon, Mir (18-11 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) has moved on to a new chapter that will see him strap on non-UFC gloves for the first time since early 2001.

Mir’s accomplishments under the UFC banner will hold a prominent place in the heavyweight and overall company record books for the foreseeable future. He will likely land a spot in the UFC Hall of Fame when all is said and done, but for now, here’s the statistical legacy Mir leaves behind in the UFC.

* * * *

  • Longest uninterrupted tenure in UFC history: 5,727 days
  • Most fight in heavyweight history/tied for most fights in UFC history: 27
  • Most wins in UFC heavyweight history: 16
  • Most stoppage wins in UFC heavyweight history: 13
  • Most first-round stoppage wins in modern UFC history: 10
  • Most submission wins in UFC heavyweight history: 8
  • Most first-round submission wins in UFC history: 8
  • Most technical submission wins in UFC history: 3
  • Fastest submission wins in UFC heavyweight history: 45 seconds and 46 seconds
  • Most submission attempts in UFC heavyweight history: 21
  • Most knockdowns in a UFC heavyweight fight: 3 vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC 92

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

Mar 20, 2016; Brisbane, Australia; Frank Mir (blue gloves) looks on before his bout with Mark Hunt (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at Brisbane Entertainment Centre. Mandatory Credit: Matt Roberts-USA TODAY Sports Mar 20, 2016; Brisbane, Australia; Mark Hunt (red gloves) competes against Frank Mir (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Brisbane Entertainment Centre. Mandatory Credit: Matt Roberts-USA TODAY Sports Mar 20, 2016; Brisbane, Australia; Frank Mir (blue gloves) receives attention after being knocked out by Mark Hunt (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at Brisbane Entertainment Centre. Mandatory Credit: Matt Roberts-USA TODAY Sports Sep 5, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Frank Mir (blue gloves) stands in the ring during a heavyweight bout against Andrei Arlovski (not shown) at UFC 191 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Sep 4, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Andrei Arlovski (left) and Frank Mir face off for for their heavyweight bout at UFC 191 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Sep 5, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Frank Mir (blue gloves) and Andrei Arlovski (red gloves) during their heavyweight bout at UFC 191 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Sep 5, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Frank Mir (blue gloves) and Andrei Arlovski (red gloves) during their heavyweight bout at UFC 191 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Sep 5, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Frank Mir (blue gloves) and Andrei Arlovski (red gloves) during their heavyweight bout at UFC 191 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Jul 15, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; Frank Mir (red) enters the arena before his fight with Todd Duffee (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at Valley View Casino Center. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports Feb 22, 2015; Porto Alegre, Brazil; Antonio Silva (red gloves) fights against Frank Mir (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ginasio do Gigantinho. Mandatory Credit: Jason da Silva-USA TODAY Sports Feb 22, 2015; Porto Alegre, Brazil; Frank Mir (blue gloves) after defeating Antonio Silva during UFC Fight Night at Ginasio do Gigantinho. Mandatory Credit: Jason da Silva-USA TODAY Sports Feb 22, 2015; Porto Alegre, Brazil; Antonio Silva (red gloves) fights against Frank Mir (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ginasio do Gigantinho. Mandatory Credit: Jason da Silva-USA TODAY Sports Feb 22, 2015; Porto Alegre, Brazil; Frank Mir (blue gloves) after defeating Antonio Silva during UFC Fight Night at Ginasio do Gigantinho. Mandatory Credit: Jason da Silva-USA TODAY Sports Feb 22, 2015; Porto Alegre, Brazil; Frank Mir (blue gloves) before his fight against Antonio Silva during UFC Fight Night at Ginasio do Gigantinho. Mandatory Credit: Jason da Silva-USA TODAY Sports Feb 1, 2014; Newark, NJ, USA; Frank Mir (red gloves) fights Alistair Overeem (not pictured) during UFC169 at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-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/RAJrc7J3W8UuKpA8h5ftNi/265809", customAnalytics: true, title: "Frank Mir", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Bellator, Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News

If Conor McGregor hangs with Floyd Mayweather, Paulie Malignaggi would consider fight

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid4621179066001?bckey=AQ~~,AAAABvaL8JE~,ufBHq_I6FnxR-PQW_F3sm5QdUbP7D6E9&bctid=5541060944001
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

Now that there’s a grudge and a ready-make storyline to promote, the idea of un-retiring doesn’t sound so bad to former two-division boxing champ Paulie Malignaggi.

Punching Conor McGregor for real – and making big money in the process – is something that might get him off the bench. His inner-promoter can already see it.

RelatedBoxing coach to Conor McGregor: Don't lie about Paulie Malignaggi being 'badly concussed'

“Paulie Malignaggi is the retired guy who can still fight and is maybe past his prime, but still generates a big name in the sport and the event, and the bad blood, that’s already inherent there,” Malignaggi told MMAjunkie Radio. “I’ve thought about St. Patrick’s day falls on a Saturday next year. My mind thinks at a hundred miles an hour.”

At the same time, Malignaggi is hesitant to get too invested in the idea given his prediction for what will happen when McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) steps in the ring with Floyd Mayweather (49-0 boxing) on Aug. 26 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

“I don’t want to put the cart way ahead of the horse,” Malignaggi said. “Let’s say he looks really bad with Floyd. Can you really ever sell him in boxing again? If he does even decent, yes, you’ve got something there. You can’t really talk about anything past the 26th.”

RelatedDana White: Conor McGregor gave Paulie Malignaggi '1-way beating' for 12 rounds

Malignaggi retired in March on the 19th anniversary of his first amateur match. He then turned to commentary and signed on to analyze McGregor’s upcoming fight with Mayweather.

Then, he found himself at the center of the Showtime pay-per-view fight’s storyline when McGregor wanted him to spar and indicated there was a grudge to settle. He was aware of the Irish champ’s talk but eagerly accepted an offer to help in camp.

Now, the two are in the midst of a full-blown feud that’s distracted from McGregor’s fight with Mayweather, which Malignaggi believes was the intention all along, whatever the cost.

RelatedTwitter Mailbag: Is this McGregor-Malignaggi thing a feud or a plan for the future?

“You might find a way to get rid of me,” Malignaggi said. “Andre Berto didn’t want to come in. You try to contact Steve Forbes; he didn’t want to come in, because now you’ve alienated yourself from the boxing community, because they know what you do. They know you try to make little highlight reels out of your sessions, whether you look good or not.

“So what do you have left? He’s got some little amateur bum he’s sparring, like some kid who kisses his ass every second he gets; he’s like some 20-year-old kid,” Malignaggi said. “And then this guy Artem (Lobov), who’s basically his professional ass-kisser, who’s basically a punching bag. This guy would come in at the end of sparring, and I was looking at it and thinking to myself, ‘Why doesn’t this guy just hit the punching bag?’ At least a punching bag gives more resistance when you hit it. This guy’s useless.

RelatedHere's video of Conor McGregor sparring Paulie Malignaggi you've been dying to see

“What’s the the point of doing this? First of all, you’re getting ready for Floyd Mayweather – you want to spar an MMA guy in boxing and an amateur? And that’s what he’s left with basically.”

Still, Malignaggi is not one to pass up a good opportunity. If McGregor manages to hang with Mayweather, all their bad blood is a perfect platform to sell a fight. And Malignaggi argues it’s a better option than putting McGregor against other top boxing contenders, who might further expose him.

“I think there’s genuinely interest in it,” he said. “Let’s face it: What’s he really going to do in boxing? Who’s he going to fight, Errol Spence?”

For more on “The Money Fight: Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor,” check out the MMA Rumors 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 and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor warms up in the ring during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor speaks with reporters after a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor enters the workout area during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor speaks to reporters while getting his hands wrapped during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor speaks with reporters after a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor speaks with reporters after a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor speaks with reporters after a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor speaks with reporters after a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor speaks with reporters after a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor warms up in the ring during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor warms up in the ring during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor hits a heavy bag during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor has looks on during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor hits an uppercut bag during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor hits an uppercut bag during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor hits an uppercut bag during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor hits a heavy bag during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor looks on during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor hits a heavy bag during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor drinks water during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-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/68dBFQsn94fMkuPbDjykuH/265847", customAnalytics: true, title: "Conor McGregor media workout before Floyd Mayweather fight", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

Cris 'Cyborg' explains taking high road during Joe Rogan interview after UFC title win

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid4621179066001?bckey=AQ~~,AAAABvaL8JE~,ufBHq_I6FnxR-PQW_F3sm5QdUbP7D6E9&bctid=5542109835001
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos

RIO DE JANEIRO – UFC champ Cristiane Justino had been a target of Joe Rogan’s verbal jabs in the past. So, when he was the one with the microphone following her title-winning UFC 214 display, the symbolism was hard to miss.

“Cyborg” herself, at least, was quite aware of it.

“I was thinking, I said ‘Man, Joe Rogan is going to interview me,'” Justino told MMAjunkie during a media day in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday. “I’m going to make some ironic play with him. You know, make all (these) ideas before the fight.”

RelatedToday in MMA History: When Cris 'Cyborg' vs. Gina Carano elevated women's MMA to new heights

Justino’s issues with Rogan go a while back. While he did publicly apologize for jokes about the champ having male genitals, made during a podcast that also featured UFC president Dana White back in 2015, he recently landed back on the champ’s bad side because of a later-cleared issue with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency stemming from a test for the banned diuretic spironolactone.

Before an investigation ended with Justino being granted a retroactive therapeutic use exemption (TUE) and cleared of any wrongdoing, Rogan expressed skepticism around her reasons to make use of the substance. “Cyborg” was quick to respond to him, who she called neither a friend or a fan.

She’s also been very public about how she feels her reputation was tarnished by the past remarks made by both Rogan and White – who’s also admitted to the UFC’s share of blame when it comes to their dealings with the Brazilian featherweight.

But, at UFC 214, she preferred to take the high road.

RelatedFeatherweight champ 'Cyborg' Justino calls for UFC 219 fight with ex-135 champ Holly Holm

“It was my moment there,” Justino said in her native Portuguese. “I think him, at that moment, interviewing me, and Dana White putting the belt on my waist, that was a response in itself. I didn’t need to say anything. I think they reflected at that moment. I didn’t need to say anything and ruin a special moment for me.

“We did the interview normally as if he was just any other person there. I’m not saying that we’re going to become friends. But he was doing his job, and I was doing mine.”

One can understand why Justino (18-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) wanted nothing more than to savor the moment. After all, the third-round knockout over fellow former Invicta FC champ Tonya Evinger (19-6 MMA, 0-1 UFC) carried some meaning. After a long, turbulent road, “Cyborg” had not only beaten the odds in making it to the UFC – she was conquering the belt of a division built around her.

There’s also the fact that “Cyborg” seems to have developed somewhat of a thick skin when it comes to doping accusations. In fact, that was the main argument used by inaugural women’s 145-pound champ Germaine de Randamie to refuse fighting the then obvious contender Justino following a title win over Holly Holm.

RelatedTito Ortiz: 'Cyborg' should've been face of women's MMA long before 'flash in the pan' Ronda Rousey

While Justino has, in fact, failed a doping test in the past – she was stripped from her Strikeforce title after testing positive for an anabolic steroid in 2011 – she’s not only admitted to it, but has taken extra steps to prove herself a clean athlete.

Which is why the accusations, she says, look more like “insurance” than anything else.

“Ronda (Rousey) started this, to not fight me,” Justino said. “And then everybody said that. But the fans are smart. The fans know. I take the same test everybody does. It’s USADA. I do the same thing. If you call me a cheater, you think USADA is cheating. You think they’re doing wrong, their jobs, if you think I’m a cheater. Because I do the same as everybody.

“I’m the first athlete (who) signed with USADA one year before I fought in the UFC. When I fought in Curitiba (at UFC 198), I (had already been working) with USADA for one year. When I fought in Invicta I fought girls who didn’t have to take USADA tests. I did this to prove I’m a clean athlete. I made a mistake. Everybody makes mistakes, but everybody likes to judge you.

“I think (De Randamie) wanted insurance to not fight me; she didn’t have an excuse. First (it was) about the doping, after (it was) the hands, after (it was) the doctor, after the family. I don’t know. Any day you’d interview her, she had an excuse.”

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

July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Cris Cyborg is declared the winner by TKO and champion against Tonya Evinger during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Cris Cyborg pins Tonya Evinger to the cage during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Cris Cyborg pins Tonya Evinger to the cage during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Cris Cyborg lands a kick against Tonya Evinger during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Tonya Evinger moves in with a hit against Cris Cyborg during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Cris Cyborg lands a kick against Tonya Evinger during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Cris Cyborg fights against Tonya Evinger during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Tonya Evinger moves in with a punch against Cris Cyborg during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Cris Cyborg reacts following her victory against Tonya Evinger during UFC 214 at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 29, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Cris Cyborg reacts following her victory against Tonya Evinger 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/xjyzqu9SEBQ2qzNqSUgEgD/265802", customAnalytics: true, title: "Justino def. Evinger", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos

Conor McGregor's 10 most memorable in-the-cage moments

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid4621179066001?bckey=AQ~~,AAAABvaL8JE~,ufBHq_I6FnxR-PQW_F3sm5QdUbP7D6E9&bctid=5541497820001 1 2 3 45
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos

When Conor McGregor joined the UFC in 2013, his mission was to take over the sport of MMA. In less than four years he accomplished that goal.

McGregor went from fighting on an un-televised prelim card to winning simultaneous titles in at both featherweight and lightweight while headlining several of the biggest selling pay-per-view events in UFC history.

Not satisfied with taking over one sport, McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) will step into the boxing ring to face Floyd Mayweather (49-0 boxing), perhaps the best boxer of his generation. Despite the fact that McGregor has never boxed professionally, the Aug. 26 matchup has a shot at breaking the all-time pay-per-view buy record of 4.6 million set in May 2015 when Mayweather faced Manny Pacquiao.

RelatedConor McGregor's uncanny ability to will things into existence is why he's fighting Floyd Mayweather

McGregor will profit handsomely from the Mayweather fight, which has left some, including UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway, wondering if McGregor will return to the octagon.

If we have seen the last of McGregor in MMA, he’s left us with plenty of memories. Here are the 10 most unforgettable moments McGregor’s career.

10. Welcome to the UFC

McGregor was an unknown commodity when he came to the UFC. Sure, he was overflowing with confidence based on his success in the lower rungs of the sport, but he had blemishes on his record with two submission defeats in his first six fights. He bounced back from his second loss with eight straight stoppage victories, but there were still questions about his ability against UFC quality competition.

The UFC seemed to have those same questions. Instead of throwing McGregor on a main card and hyping him as the next big thing, the promotion booked him in the middle of the Facebook prelims (remember them?) against Marcus Brimage at UFC on Fuel TV 9.

McGregor was dominant, taking the best Brimage had to offer and coming back with bigger shots of his own. While Brimage was unafraid to stalk McGregor down, he came straight at him. That allowed McGregor to land powerful punches and put Brimage away 67 seconds into the fight.

The knockout win was the launching point for McGregor reaching the pinnacle of the sport.

9. That first test

McGregor entered his UFC 178 bout against Dustin Poirier as an honorable mention in the rankings, while Poirier came in as the No. 11 ranked fighter in the featherweight division. Poirier was supposed to represent the biggest test for the young and brash McGregor, who not only passed the test but also earned a gold star on his report card.

McGregor opened the fight with a hook kick that missed. McGregor remained calm and confident, and when he found his opening, he took it. He landed a left hand 90 seconds into the fight that had a visible effect on both fighters. It increased McGregor’s confidence and sent Poirier backpedaling. Not long after, McGregor dropped Poirier with a left behind the ear. A few strikes later the fight was waved off at the 1:46 mark of the first round.

RelatedUFC 178's Conor McGregor: He said what?!? (post-fight edition) 1 2 3 45
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos

Conor McGregor's 'The Mac Life' vlog, No. 2: A rowing battle with Roddy


Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News, UFC

UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor is releasing his own video blog series in the lead-up to his Aug. 26 boxing match with Floyd Mayweather.

McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC), who meets Mayweather (49-0 boxing) in the pay-per-view headliner at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, launched TheMacLife.com this past year to provide exclusive insight and updates on his career.

The second edition of his vlog series for the Mayweather fight goes behind the scenes of one of his conditioning workouts where he has a rowing machine battle with striking coach Owen Roddy.

Watch Episode 1 of “The Mac Life” vlog series here and Episode 2 above.

And for more on “The Money Fight: Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor,” check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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

Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports July 11, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor stare down one another during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 11, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Conor McGregor reacts during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 11, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Conor McGregor gestures toward Floyd Mayweather during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 11, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Conor McGregor speaks as Floyd Mayweather reacts during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 11, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Floyd Mayweather shadow boxes during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 11, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Conor McGregor gestures toward Floyd Mayweather during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 11, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Floyd Mayweather holds up a check while speaking during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 11, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Conor McGregor reacts toward Floyd Mayweather during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 11, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor meet face to face following the world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 11, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor meet face to face as UFC president Dana White keeps them separated following the world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 11, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor meet face to face following the world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Fans of Conor McGregor cheer during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Fans of Conor McGregor hold up a sign predicting the defeat of Floyd Mayweather (not pictured) during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Rap artist Drake performs before Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor appear during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Conor McGregor dances as he speaks during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor point and stare down each other during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor stare each other down during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor stare each other down as UFC president Dana White intervenes during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Conor McGregor taunts Floyd Mayweather as he speaks during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Conor McGregor draws a reaction from the crowd as he speaks during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Conor McGregor speaks during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Conor McGregor taunts Floyd Mayweather as he speaks during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Conor McGregor sits near UFC president Dana White during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Floyd Mayweather (right) draws a reaction from Conor McGregor as he speaks during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Floyd Mayweather taunts Conor McGregor as he speaks during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Floyd Mayweather poses with an Irish flag during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Conor McGregor reacts as he takes cash from a money bag brought onto the stage by Floyd Mayweather during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Floyd Mayweather taunts Conor McGregor while wearing an Irish flag and Conor McGregor mocks Floyd Mayweather with his money bag during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Conor McGregor throws the Irish flag at Floyd Mayweather as he speaks during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Conor McGregor throws an Irish flag at Floyd Mayweather as he speaks during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor stare each other down during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Conor McGregor walks the runway during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Conor McGregor during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Floyd Mayweather enters Barclay Canter during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Conor McGregor during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Conor McGregor during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Conor McGregor during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Floyd Mayweather throws money at Conor McGregor during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Floyd Mayweather throws money at Conor McGregor during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Conor McGregor enters the ring during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather face off during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Dana White steps in as Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather face off during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Conor McGregor reacts to Floyd Mayweather during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Conor McGregor addresses the crowd during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Floyd Mayweather address the crowd during the press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Conor McGregor reacts during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Floyd Mayweather during the press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Floyd Mayweather shouts at Conor McGregor during the press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Conor McGregor reacts to Floyd Mayweather during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Floyd Mayweather address the crowd during the press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Floyd Mayweather address the crowd during the press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Floyd Mayweather address the crowd during the press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather face off during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather face off during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Dana White (hidden) separates Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather astray face off during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-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/si9zxJPMHPwke8HK2qGqF9/265829", customAnalytics: true, title: "Mayweather-McGregor world tour madness", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News, UFC

Today in MMA History: When Cris 'Cyborg' vs. Gina Carano elevated women's MMA to new heights

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid4621179066001?bckey=AQ~~,AAAABvaL8JE~,ufBHq_I6FnxR-PQW_F3sm5QdUbP7D6E9&bctid=5542202162001
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

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/ihQEG7SNBWcTktCAgFGngZ/265760", customAnalytics: true, title: "Cyborg vs. Carano", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();

When she stepped into the cage for the biggest fight in the history of women’s MMA, Gina Carano couldn’t feel the canvas under her feet. A strange sensation. Not unpleasant, in other circumstances, but this was not the time.

Nearly 14,000 people were in HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif., and more than half a million more watching on Showtime – all of them held rapt by the promise of seeing MMA’s poster girl with the toothpaste-commercial smile go up against a true force of nature, both unstoppable force and immovable object, the woman who needed only one name: “Cyborg.”

A bad time for Carano to feel suddenly and irrevocably disconnected from her body, and yet there she was, seemingly floating a few inches off the canvas.

“I felt high on a drug I’d never had before,” Carano told MMAjunkie this week. “I might’ve enjoyed that feeling had I not been in front of thousands of people, getting ready to fight, and had ‘Cyborg’ staring across the cage at me.”

Cris “Cyborg” Santos (now known as Cristiane Justino, following a divorce from her husband, Evangelista Santos), watched her from the opposite corner, thinking about all the people who would much rather see Carano win. That list included most of the fans in the arena, and probably most of the people at Strikeforce and Showtime, too.

“It wasn’t what they expected, because they wanted Gina to win,” Justino said. “I was the underdog. But it was my shot. I thought, ‘I have to. I trained too hard for this. This will be my day.’”

It was the evening of Aug. 15, 2009. For the first time in a long time, the eyes of the MMA community were trained not on the UFC, but on Strikeforce, the little fight promotion out of San Jose that had recently made the most aggressive move in its short history when it purchased select assets of a defunct competitor by the name of EliteXC.

The bout between Gina Carano & Cris Cyborg marked the first time in history that two women were headlining a major MMA event. pic.twitter.com/Q5XQ9cIyRj

— MMA History Today (@MMAHistoryToday) August 15, 2017

The fight marked the end of Gina Carano's fighting career, and propelled Cris Cyborg's career into stardom. pic.twitter.com/9GRSQYsMFi

— MMA History Today (@MMAHistoryToday) August 15, 2017

Fighter contracts were among those assets, and it didn’t take long for fans and media to start doing some fantasy matchmaking with the new pieces in play. A few days after the sale, and already one question was swirling: What about “Cyborg,” the South American terror, going up against Carano, the unblemished face of women’s MMA?

Carano was already the most famous female fighter in the world, thanks to her time in EliteXC, where promoter Gary Shaw did his best to ensure that fans saw as much of her as possible, and from every conceivable angle. She quickly became the darling of the MMA blogs, then reached out into the mainstream with a role as “Crush” on the rebooted “American Gladiators.” She was a staple at big EliteXC events, giving her shy, girl-next-door smile and looking embarrassed of the attention while also drawing it to her with an unspoken magnetism.

Gina Carano

During her time with the promotion she won four fights in 20 months, competing on both the first EliteXC event and the last. But as much as Shaw and company loved to show her off in a sports bra, or even naked behind a towel on weigh-in day, one thing they never gave her was a spot in the main event.

Female fighters were good enough to be a sideshow, it seemed, but they couldn’t be the primary attraction. Over in Strikeforce, however, Scott Coker had other ideas.

Carano’s 2006 bout with Elaina Maxwell had been Strikeforce’s first foray into women’s MMA, but it took another couple years before female fighters became a regular feature there. By the time Coker purchased EliteXC’s assets and library, there seemed to be one obvious fight to make. The question was if the people who stood to make a lot of money off Carano’s good looks and perfect record would ever let it happen.

To Carano, it seemed too important not to happen.

“I remember thinking when I took that fight that there were so many big fights that so many people wanted to see throughout fight history that never happened,” Carano said. “And win or lose, I wasn’t going to let ‘Cyborg’ and I become one of those big fights that never happened.”

At the time, the MMA world was still figuring out what a force “Cyborg” was. The Brazilian began as something of a curiosity, the menacing female half of a husband-and-wife duo, both of them sharing the nickname that would come to define her more than him. It fit her, too. She had a way of firing punches with a machine-gun efficiency, overwhelming opponents with offense before finishing them with a kind of power not often seen in the women’s divisions.

At 23, she essentially knocked out Shayna Baszler twice in one fight in her U.S. debut for EliteXC, with referee Steve Mazzagatti coaxing her down from an early celebration atop the cage just so she could continue jackhammering Baszler with right hands until Baszler eventually collapsed face-first on the canvas.

In her first fight with Strikeforce after the EliteXC acquisition, she mauled a much smaller fighter in Hitomi Akano after missing weight, then celebrated as Carano watched from cageside, coyly biting her lip as the camera returned to her throughout a post-fight interview in which “Cyborg” vowed, via an interpreter, to “take Carano down.”

The two had met outside the cage a handful of times before their August bout. To Carano, “Cyborg’s” gentle demeanor in person was a stark contrast to the aggressive fighter she’d seen in action. At the ESPY awards before the bout, Carano watched as “Cyborg” and her then husband giggled with excitement at passing celebrities.

Cristiane Justino and Evangelista Santos

The way Justino remembers it, she “didn’t speak a lick of English” at the time, so the language barrier prevented the two from getting to know each other. All they had was a mutual respect, and the growing sense that a fight was inevitable.

“There was no rivalry between us,” Justino said. “It was just a language barrier. We didn’t really know anything about each other.”

Carano knew that “Cyborg” would likely be the most dangerous opponent she’d ever faced. While EliteXC had been criticized at times for trying to protect its valuable assets like Carano and internet brawler Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson, in Strikeforce she was thrown immediately into the toughest fight available, thereby giving Strikeforce a must-see event with a headliner that felt genuinely historic.

But as Carano entered the cage that night, the magnitude of the moment seemed to overpower her. Standing in the glow of a spotlight in an otherwise darkened arena, her face glistening with Vaseline, she looked across the cage at “Cyborg” and almost felt as if she were hovering over her own body, watching herself from afar.

In the opposite corner, “Cyborg” swayed from side to side as her husband spoke to her though the cage in a steady stream of encouragement. When announcer Jimmy Lennon Jr. introduced her as “the baddest woman south of the Equator,” fans pelted her with mixed boos.

“They were fans of Gina,” Justino said. “When I walked out, they booed me. And I was like, ‘OK, then.’”

For Carano, who by now could be seen sucking in deep, nervous breaths, it was a solid wall of cheers. And why not? It was an easy narrative to latch onto, with media outlets running the “beauty and the beast” story all week long. By the time they met each other in the center of the cage, Showtime commentator Gus Johnson managed to get it almost comically wrong, identifying “Cyborg” as a jiu-jitsu specialist, while hailing Carano as “a big-time puncher.”

“Cyborg” set the record straight in the opening seconds, charging forward and pinning Carano against the fence with a barrage of punches. But as Carano covered up, “Cyborg” grabbed her in a body lock and attempted a throw that only succeeded in pulling Carano on top of her, effectively gift-wrapping a dominant position for her opponent.

Cristiane Justino and Gina Carano

It was a baffling error that “Cyborg” would repeat again moments later, giving Carano an opening for her most significant offense of the fight as she hammered down punches from the top in full mount.

“I remember when I went to suplex her, like from the front, and I thought, ‘Wow, she’s heavy,’” Justino said. “I felt she was heavy. I remember that from the fight, that takedown attempt. And I also saw the fear in her face. When I punched her, I saw she didn’t want to be there.”

The way Carano remembers it, she was overwhelmed by adrenaline, her mind racing and her body on autopilot. Even when she found herself in full mount, she couldn’t say how she’d gotten there.

“I felt nothing,” Carano said. “I couldn’t tell you if she had snap on her punches or how strong she was. I remember seeing her on the ground and thinking, ‘How did I do that? I’m not even here.’”

The frantic pace seemed to slow somewhat as the fight returned to the feet, with “Cyborg” stalking forward and Carano trying to halt her progress with strikes from the outside. But “Cyborg” never stopped advancing, using her pressure to bait Carano into throwing so she could counter with stinging right hands on a visibly fatigued Carano.

After hauling Carano down late in the round, “Cyborg” finally had a chance to use her size and strength on the mat. An attempt at an Americana proved unsuccessful, so “Cyborg” stood over Carano and slammed down a series of right hands through Carano’s guard.

Cristiane Justino and Gina Carano

Sensing that she had Carano hurt, “Cyborg” moved into mount and blasted away with both fists as Carano rolled to her side, doing her best to cover up and wait out the storm as the final seconds of the round ticked away.

“You gotta fight back!” warned referee Josh Rosenthal.

But Carano was stuck, trapped against the fence with the force of “Cyborg’s” insistent violence pinning her down. Just as the air horn sounded to end the round, Rosenthal thrust himself forward to shove “Cyborg” off, waving the fight off as both commentators and viewers struggled to ascertain whether it was the end of the fight or just the opening round.

“Cyborg,” however, harbored no doubts. She leapt on the cage to celebrate, extending her arms like a giant hug for a crowd that still murmured with shock and confusion. Carano still lay on her back next to the fence, issuing no complaints about the stoppage as Rosenthal hovered over her. As she would recall later, the fight seemed to end in a flash, when in reality the official time of the stoppage was 4:59 of Round 1.

“Nothing hurt, because I couldn’t feel anything,” Carano said. “The first place I started having feeling again was in my chest when we were standing there and her hand was about to be raised. I went from feeling nothing to feeling everything, but only in my heart. It was an overwhelming ache. It was hard to hold in the emotion.”

In the cage, Carano clapped as “Cyborg’s” team strapped the inaugural Strikeforce women’s 145-pound title around her waist. As “Cyborg” thanked her fans and her coaches in a post-fight interview, Carano walked to the locker room and then sat down on the floor of a bathroom stall and cried quietly by herself.

The outcome, it seemed to her, was a worst-case scenario, something she almost hadn’t even thought possible. The pain she hadn’t felt in the fight was now flooding in, embarrassment and shame and disappointment all rolled into one terrible tsunami of emotion.

“The real heartbreak was that I felt I had broken so many other hearts other than my own,” Carano said. “Everyone who was with me that night that had so much hope in me. Beyond my family, coaches and training partners, there were people I didn’t even know who were heartbroken, and it gutted me. I felt like I completely failed.”

The day after the fight Carano woke with fresh bruises and a swollen lump above her eyebrow, though she couldn’t remember the strikes that had done it to her. She left San Jose and drove down the coast to San Diego with a friend, and two days later an agent called, one who’d previously seemed somewhat indifferent to her. He sounded excited, “like a little boy,” Carano said, his voice racing as he explained that a film director named Steven Soderbergh wanted to meet with her.

Carano was in no mood. She had a black eye. She wasn’t feeling particularly social. Plus, she didn’t know this Soderbergh.

“At the time, he could’ve directed porn for all I knew,” Carano said.

It was only when the agent told her that Soderbergh had directed the 2000 film “Traffic,” starring Michael Douglas and Benicio del Toro, that Carano changed her mind. She loved that movie, and in a strange way the film had helped her through a completely different heartbreak years earlier. Maybe its director could help her now. So she took the meeting, black eye and all, and from that her new career was born, with a starring role in Soderbergh’s 2011 film “Haywire” soon to follow.

From the outside, it looked as if she’d fled combat sports at the first taste of defeat. People said she’d been knocked out of MMA altogether, from the face of the sport to a distant memory after five minutes in the cage with “Cyborg.” That stung.

“It hadn’t been my intention to stop fighting,” Carano said. “I had no clue what all went into movie-making. Actually, when they called me back to do some reshoots after ‘Haywire,’ I said, ‘What’s a reshoot?’ I was in Thailand training.”

The way Carano saw it, she’d carved a path to the top of the sport and blazed a trail for the women that would follow. But what was she supposed to do now? The loss to “Cyborg” had set her back, and a film career seemed like an opportunity that might never come again.

“So I thought I might as well go explore this new world,” Carano said. “It became really hard to train after that, because I had a popular name and anywhere I would show up there would be pictures and video of my training, and I hated that. I was still learning and I had become more socially anxious than I had been before. I just wanted to do what I love, and learn in a safe environment. I hadn’t made millions of dollars to afford a private place and team, and I hated acting like I was all that important to want that kind of environment. But I did want privacy. It wasn’t fun for me if I couldn’t just disappear into training.”

As for “Cyborg,” the win left her alone on a mountaintop, which was both good news and bad. She’d wanted to cement herself as the most dominant woman in MMA, and she’d succeeded. But without a star like Carano in the opposite her corner, she struggled to draw the same kind of broad attention. She would defend her title three times in Strikeforce – never in a main event – before being stripped of the belt following a positive test for stanozolol in December 2011.

News of that drug test failure and ensuing suspension hurt Carano, she said in a subsequent interview.

“That fight with her was definitely the biggest moment of my mixed martial arts career and at that time I had people around me telling me she was on steroids and everything,” Carano said in 2012. “But, if there was a chance that she wasn’t, I never wanted to take anything away from her (win). She is a wonderful athlete, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t sting a little. In fact, I could have gone the rest of my life without hearing that. But, at the same time, she’s a human being and a phenomenal athlete, so maybe someone around her was telling her she needed to do that when she really didn’t. Maybe it was someone around her telling her the wrong things, I don’t know. I kind of feel bad for her.”

“Cyborg” would return to prominence with the all-female fight promotion Invicta FC, where she became champion before moving to the UFC and claiming the vacant women’s featherweight title there with a win over Tonya Evinger at UFC 214. Even she has to wonder sometimes if any of it – the career that followed or the UFC’s eventual embrace of women’s MMA in general – would have happened without that Carano fight.

“I think she did a lot for the sport, too,” Justino said. “I was very sad that she stopped fighting. I think everybody liked and likes her. I think if she ever fights again, the fans who were crazy over Ronda (Rousey) would probably go crazy over her, too. I think she could fight again, who knows.”

Gina Carano and Cristiane Justino

“Today in MMA History” is an MMAjunkie series created in association with MMA History Today, the social media outlet dedicated to reliving “a daily journey through our sport’s history.”

MMAjunkie’s Fernanda Prates contributed to this story.


Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

UFC executive Joe Carr leaving promotion to join World Surf League

Joe Carr, the UFC’s senior vice president and head of international and content, is leaving the company to join the World Surf League.

It was announced today that Carr has been tabbed as WSL’s chief strategy officer and head of international, and “will lead the strategy and execution of the league’s international business” in his new role, according to a WSL-issued press release.

“The decision to leave colleagues and the (UFC) after more than 5 years was one of the toughest of my life,” Carr said in a statement. “As much as I enjoyed the sport and the events, it was really the personal relationship with my teams around the world that I valued the most.

RelatedUFC exec Joe Carr thinks MMA could be in Olympics by 2024 or 2028

“I was fortunate enough to receive an incredible offer to join another fast-growing sports organization in the WSL and move back to L.A. – I see a ton of parallels between both companies and am leaving for the same set of challenges that attracted me to UFC.”

Carr’s first position with the UFC was as a senior director of investment and strategy. In his latest capacity, Carr was integral in continuing to expand the UFC globally, which included the promotion hosting four events in four weeks on four continents earlier this year, as well scheduling the UFC’s first event in mainland China in November. He also helped lead the sale of the UFC for an unprecedented $4 billion to WME-IMG.

“I want to thank Lorenzo (Fertitta), Dana (White) and Lawrence (Epstein) for taking a chance on me years ago, and I will be forever grateful for what they did for this organization. I also need to thank Ari (Emanuel) and the WME-IMG ownership group for sticking with me through the acquisition, and I am excited for the UFC’s bright future in the years to come. With the biggest fight in history on the horizon, the company’s first event in mainland China, and countless opportunities globally, the business has great momentum heading into 2018.”

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


Filed under: News, UFC

Dana White: Conor McGregor gave Paulie Malignaggi '1-way beating' for 12 rounds

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid4621179066001?bckey=AQ~~,AAAABvaL8JE~,ufBHq_I6FnxR-PQW_F3sm5QdUbP7D6E9&bctid=5541060944001
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

UFC President Dana White denies Paulie Malignaggi’s claim that the released sparring footage with Conor McGregor was manipulated.

Not only that, but White insisted Malignaggi has fabricated his entire story about how sparring rounds with “The Notorious” unfolded ahead of McGregor’s (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) Aug. 26 boxing match with Floyd Mayweather (49-0 boxing).

The UFC boss apparently witnessed everything that went down in person, and he told SkySports.com during a Monday interview that the published clips were just a fraction of what really unfolded in the gym.

RelatedHere's video of Conor McGregor sparring Paulie Malignaggi you've been dying to see

“What am I, Steven Spielberg? Come on,” White said. “It’s footage of the actual sparring. Let me tell you what: I was there for all 12 rounds, and Paulie has said some crazy things and bad things about me. I felt sorry for the guy. It was a one-way beating. A lot of people said Conor couldn’t box. Paulie was obviously lying about everything he said about the sparring match, so I released it.”

After spending roughly a week with McGregor’s camp, a furious Malignaggi made a sudden exit when some unflattering sparring photos surfaced online. One photo in particular showed Malignaggi down on the canvas with McGregor looking over him from a distance.

The photo immediately sparked debate about whether it was a true knockdown, and Malignaggi insisted it was merely a “push down.” A few days later, White published roughly 22 seconds of footage from a 12-round sparring session between the pair, a portion of which showed the moment in question.

RelatedPaulie Malignaggi continues to rip Conor McGregor after leaving camp: I beat the brakes off him

The debate about what exactly happened is still ongoing. Malignaggi told MMAjunkie Radio on Monday that he wasn’t pleased with White’s decision to show the material from inside the gym to the world. However, he said that’s simply another example of White’s character.

“Dana robs the UFC fighters blind,” Malignaggi said. “I’ve never met an MMA fighter that actually likes Dana or had anything good to say. I’m still looking for one. When Dana comes up in conversation, I’ve yet to hear anybody say, ‘Wow, that guy’s great.’ Or, ‘That guy treats us so good.’ Or, ‘That guy’s a good guy.’

“This isn’t a Disney movie, my friend. This is real life. Aug 26, this isn’t a Disney movie. Across the ring, you’ve got Floyd Mayweather, and he knows what he’s doing.”

RelatedBoxing coach to Conor McGregor: Don't lie about Paulie Malignaggi being 'badly concussed'

Malignaggi has challenged White and McGregor’s camp to release the entirety of the sparring footage to prove which side truly got the best of the other. White said he’s willing to make that happen, but McGregor doesn’t want an extensive look at his techniques and tactics getting out to the public, and in turn, to his opponent Mayweather.

“I got no problem releasing the full tape,” White said. “The problem is Conor doesn’t want Mayweather to see everything that he’s doing and everything he’s been working on. Those were just some small clips.”

Malignaggi-McGregor feud has sparked discussion about a potential fight between the two once the Irishman handles his business with Mayweather at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas later this month. Malignaggi said he’d like it to happen on St. Patrick’s Day of next year, but White doesn’t seem keen on allowing the UFC’s reigning lightweight champ to venture into another boxing match.

White has said numerous times that McGregor’s fight after Mayweather will come under the UFC banner. He also said he’s already seen 12 rounds of work between McGregor and Malignaggi, and doesn’t need to witness more.

“It was very one-sided,” White said. “It was an absolute beating. Guess what: I think it was the right for Paulie Malignaggi to definitely leave, for his health’s sake.”

For more on “The Money Fight: Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor,” check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports July 11, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor stare down one another during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 11, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Conor McGregor reacts during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 11, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Conor McGregor gestures toward Floyd Mayweather during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 11, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Conor McGregor speaks as Floyd Mayweather reacts during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 11, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Floyd Mayweather shadow boxes during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 11, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Conor McGregor gestures toward Floyd Mayweather during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 11, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Floyd Mayweather holds up a check while speaking during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 11, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Conor McGregor reacts toward Floyd Mayweather during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 11, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor meet face to face following the world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 11, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor meet face to face as UFC president Dana White keeps them separated following the world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 11, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor meet face to face following the world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Fans of Conor McGregor cheer during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Fans of Conor McGregor hold up a sign predicting the defeat of Floyd Mayweather (not pictured) during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Rap artist Drake performs before Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor appear during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Conor McGregor dances as he speaks during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor point and stare down each other during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor stare each other down during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor stare each other down as UFC president Dana White intervenes during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Conor McGregor taunts Floyd Mayweather as he speaks during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Conor McGregor draws a reaction from the crowd as he speaks during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Conor McGregor speaks during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Conor McGregor taunts Floyd Mayweather as he speaks during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Conor McGregor sits near UFC president Dana White during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Floyd Mayweather (right) draws a reaction from Conor McGregor as he speaks during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Floyd Mayweather taunts Conor McGregor as he speaks during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Floyd Mayweather poses with an Irish flag during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Conor McGregor reacts as he takes cash from a money bag brought onto the stage by Floyd Mayweather during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Floyd Mayweather taunts Conor McGregor while wearing an Irish flag and Conor McGregor mocks Floyd Mayweather with his money bag during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Conor McGregor throws the Irish flag at Floyd Mayweather as he speaks during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Conor McGregor throws an Irish flag at Floyd Mayweather as he speaks during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor stare each other down during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Conor McGregor walks the runway during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Conor McGregor during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Floyd Mayweather enters Barclay Canter during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Conor McGregor during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Conor McGregor during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Conor McGregor during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Floyd Mayweather throws money at Conor McGregor during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Floyd Mayweather throws money at Conor McGregor during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Conor McGregor enters the ring during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather face off during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Dana White steps in as Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather face off during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Conor McGregor reacts to Floyd Mayweather during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Conor McGregor addresses the crowd during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Floyd Mayweather address the crowd during the press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Conor McGregor reacts during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Floyd Mayweather during the press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Floyd Mayweather shouts at Conor McGregor during the press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Conor McGregor reacts to Floyd Mayweather during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Floyd Mayweather address the crowd during the press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Floyd Mayweather address the crowd during the press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Floyd Mayweather address the crowd during the press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather face off during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather face off during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Dana White (hidden) separates Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather astray face off during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-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/si9zxJPMHPwke8HK2qGqF9/265770", customAnalytics: true, title: "Mayweather-McGregor world tour madness", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

Association of Ringside Physicians 'strongly cautions' against smaller gloves for Mayweather-McGregor

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid4621179066001?bckey=AQ~~,AAAABvaL8JE~,ufBHq_I6FnxR-PQW_F3sm5QdUbP7D6E9&bctid=554194505100
Filed under: News, UFC

The Association of Ringside Physicians doesn’t support the push for smaller gloves for the upcoming boxing match between UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor and undefeated boxing legend Floyd Mayweather.

Here’s the letter (check out the original .pdf):

To the Nevada State Athletic Commission:

The Association of Ringside Physicians understands that consideration is being given to amend current regulations, and in so doing, permit the use of 8oz Gloves in the forthcoming boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor. This is a bout that has already been set a (sic) specific weight class. Unless there is scientific evidence to support the view that such a change might improve the safety of this bout, we would strongly caution against allowing current regulation to be over-ruled. To do so would also set a precent for future bouts.

Respectfully,

Dr. Raymond M. Monsell
MSc MC BC FFSEM Dip Sport Med
Chairman of the Board of Directors
Association of Ringside Physicians

McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) meets Mayweather (49-0 boxing) in a highly anticipated boxing match on Aug. 26. The pay-per-view bout – possibly the biggest in combat-sports history – takes place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

At a Nevada State Athletic Commission meeting on Wednesday, commissioners will determine what sort of gloves the fighters will wear.

RelatedConor McGregor: Floyd Mayweather won't last 2 rounds with me in 8-ounce gloves

Mayweather recently took to social media to request eight-ounce gloves for the bout, answering McGregor’s challenge; the Nevada commission typically mandates 10-ounce gloves for any bout heavier than 147 pounds.

“Whatever advantage McGregor needs to feel more comfortable in the ring, I’m willing to accommodate,” Mayweather wrote. “Let’s give the boxing and MMA fans what they want to see.”

According to NSAC Executive Director Bob Bennett, such a change would require special permission from the regulatory body, which the commission would likely give only if a compelling case could be made for the change in protocol, he said.

For more on “The Money Fight: Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor,” check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports July 11, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor stare down one another during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 11, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Conor McGregor reacts during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 11, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Conor McGregor gestures toward Floyd Mayweather during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 11, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Conor McGregor speaks as Floyd Mayweather reacts during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 11, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Floyd Mayweather shadow boxes during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 11, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Conor McGregor gestures toward Floyd Mayweather during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 11, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Floyd Mayweather holds up a check while speaking during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 11, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Conor McGregor reacts toward Floyd Mayweather during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 11, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor meet face to face following the world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 11, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor meet face to face as UFC president Dana White keeps them separated following the world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports July 11, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor meet face to face following the world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Fans of Conor McGregor cheer during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Fans of Conor McGregor hold up a sign predicting the defeat of Floyd Mayweather (not pictured) during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Rap artist Drake performs before Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor appear during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Conor McGregor dances as he speaks during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor point and stare down each other during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor stare each other down during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor stare each other down as UFC president Dana White intervenes during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Conor McGregor taunts Floyd Mayweather as he speaks during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Conor McGregor draws a reaction from the crowd as he speaks during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Conor McGregor speaks during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Conor McGregor taunts Floyd Mayweather as he speaks during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Conor McGregor sits near UFC president Dana White during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Floyd Mayweather (right) draws a reaction from Conor McGregor as he speaks during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Floyd Mayweather taunts Conor McGregor as he speaks during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Floyd Mayweather poses with an Irish flag during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Conor McGregor reacts as he takes cash from a money bag brought onto the stage by Floyd Mayweather during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Floyd Mayweather taunts Conor McGregor while wearing an Irish flag and Conor McGregor mocks Floyd Mayweather with his money bag during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Conor McGregor throws the Irish flag at Floyd Mayweather as he speaks during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Conor McGregor throws an Irish flag at Floyd Mayweather as he speaks during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 12, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor stare each other down during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Budweiser Stage. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Conor McGregor walks the runway during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Conor McGregor during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Floyd Mayweather enters Barclay Canter during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Conor McGregor during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Conor McGregor during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Conor McGregor during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Floyd Mayweather throws money at Conor McGregor during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Floyd Mayweather throws money at Conor McGregor during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Jul 13, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Conor McGregor enters the ring during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather face off during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Dana White steps in as Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather face off during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Conor McGregor reacts to Floyd Mayweather during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Conor McGregor addresses the crowd during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Floyd Mayweather address the crowd during the press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Conor McGregor reacts during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Floyd Mayweather during the press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Floyd Mayweather shouts at Conor McGregor during the press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Conor McGregor reacts to Floyd Mayweather during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Floyd Mayweather address the crowd during the press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Floyd Mayweather address the crowd during the press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Floyd Mayweather address the crowd during the press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather face off during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather face off during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports Jul 14, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Dana White (hidden) separates Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather astray face off during a world tour press conference to promote the upcoming Mayweather vs McGregor boxing fight at SSE Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-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/si9zxJPMHPwke8HK2qGqF9/265789", customAnalytics: true, title: "Mayweather-McGregor world tour madness", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();
Filed under: News, UFC

Former UFC heavyweight champ Frank Mir to sign with Bellator (Updated)

Mar 20, 2016; Brisbane, Australia; Frank Mir (blue gloves) looks on before his bout with Mark Hunt (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at Brisbane Entertainment Centre. Mandatory Credit: Matt Roberts-USA TODAY Sports Mar 20, 2016; Brisbane, Australia; Mark Hunt (red gloves) competes against Frank Mir (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Brisbane Entertainment Centre. Mandatory Credit: Matt Roberts-USA TODAY Sports Mar 20, 2016; Brisbane, Australia; Frank Mir (blue gloves) receives attention after being knocked out by Mark Hunt (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at Brisbane Entertainment Centre. Mandatory Credit: Matt Roberts-USA TODAY Sports Sep 5, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Frank Mir (blue gloves) stands in the ring during a heavyweight bout against Andrei Arlovski (not shown) at UFC 191 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Sep 4, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Andrei Arlovski (left) and Frank Mir face off for for their heavyweight bout at UFC 191 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Sep 5, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Frank Mir (blue gloves) and Andrei Arlovski (red gloves) during their heavyweight bout at UFC 191 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Sep 5, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Frank Mir (blue gloves) and Andrei Arlovski (red gloves) during their heavyweight bout at UFC 191 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Sep 5, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Frank Mir (blue gloves) and Andrei Arlovski (red gloves) during their heavyweight bout at UFC 191 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Jul 15, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; Frank Mir (red) enters the arena before his fight with Todd Duffee (not pictured) during UFC Fight Night at Valley View Casino Center. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports Feb 22, 2015; Porto Alegre, Brazil; Antonio Silva (red gloves) fights against Frank Mir (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ginasio do Gigantinho. Mandatory Credit: Jason da Silva-USA TODAY Sports Feb 22, 2015; Porto Alegre, Brazil; Frank Mir (blue gloves) after defeating Antonio Silva during UFC Fight Night at Ginasio do Gigantinho. Mandatory Credit: Jason da Silva-USA TODAY Sports Feb 22, 2015; Porto Alegre, Brazil; Antonio Silva (red gloves) fights against Frank Mir (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Ginasio do Gigantinho. Mandatory Credit: Jason da Silva-USA TODAY Sports Feb 22, 2015; Porto Alegre, Brazil; Frank Mir (blue gloves) after defeating Antonio Silva during UFC Fight Night at Ginasio do Gigantinho. Mandatory Credit: Jason da Silva-USA TODAY Sports Feb 22, 2015; Porto Alegre, Brazil; Frank Mir (blue gloves) before his fight against Antonio Silva during UFC Fight Night at Ginasio do Gigantinho. Mandatory Credit: Jason da Silva-USA TODAY Sports Feb 1, 2014; Newark, NJ, USA; Frank Mir (red gloves) fights Alistair Overeem (not pictured) during UFC169 at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-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/RAJrc7J3W8UuKpA8h5ftNi/265778", customAnalytics: true, title: "Frank Mir", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();

(UPDATED on 8/15/17 at 3 p.m. ET with confirmation of the signing from Frank Mir.) 

Frank Mir has signed with Bellator, marking the first time in more than 16 years that the former heavyweight champion will compete for an organization other than the UFC.

Mir (18-11 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) today announced that he’s signed with Bellator following an initial report from MMAFighting.com (via Twitter):

Watch me make my official announcement that I've signed to fight for @BellatorMMA on my @phoneboothfight podcast https://t.co/T8t6THpw2I

— Frank Mir (@thefrankmir) August 15, 2017

Mir debuted with the UFC in November 2001 at UFC 34. He began campaigning for his UFC release after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) flagged him for a violation following a March 2016 fight with Mark Hunt.

The 27-fight octagon veteran was officially handed a two-year suspension retroactive to the date of the test, but has maintained his innocence. He listed numerous potential sources for the positive test, including eating kangaroo meat while in Australia for the fight with Hunt. However, he was still given a maximum punishment by USADA.

On July 9, Mir announced he’d officially been released from his UFC contract.

RelatedFormer UFC champ Frank Mir announces release after 16 years with promotion

Now Mir moves to Bellator, where he joins the likes of Rory MacDonald, Gegard Mousasi, Ryan Bader, Chael Sonnen, Benson Henderson and others who signed with Bellator after lengthy UFC tenures.

Mir leaves the UFC with numerous heavyweight records to his credit, including most fights (27), wins (16), stoppages (13) and submissions (eight).

Although active UFC fighter B.J. Penn made his promotional debut prior to Mir, the former champion’s uninterrupted UFC tenure of 5,727 days is a record that may never be broken.

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


Filed under: Bellator, News, UFC

Before Mayweather vs. McGregor was Ali vs. Inoki. Remembering 1st big combat-sports crossover event

Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor warms up in the ring during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor speaks with reporters after a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor enters the workout area during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor speaks to reporters while getting his hands wrapped during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor speaks with reporters after a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor speaks with reporters after a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor speaks with reporters after a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor speaks with reporters after a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor speaks with reporters after a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor warms up in the ring during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor warms up in the ring during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor hits a heavy bag during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor has looks on during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor hits an uppercut bag during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor hits an uppercut bag during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor hits an uppercut bag during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor hits a heavy bag during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor looks on during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor hits a heavy bag during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports Aug 11, 2017; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Conor McGregor drinks water during a media workout in preparation for his fight against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. at UFC Performance Institute. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-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/68dBFQsn94fMkuPbDjykuH/265658", customAnalytics: true, title: "Conor McGregor media workout", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();

(This story was first published on usatoday.com.)

Gene LeBell still shakes his head when he hears how the most infamous cross-sport fight in combat sports history — at least until Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor go at it Aug. 26 — was supposedly fixed.

“I remember looking at (Muhammad) Ali’s legs,” martial arts icon LeBell, who refereed the fight and is now 84, told USA TODAY Sports via telephone Monday. “There were marks and hematomas all over them. Ali ended up in the hospital.”

RelatedConor McGregor's uncanny ability to will things into existence is why he's fighting Floyd Mayweather

Ali didn’t rake in the $100-plus million that Mayweather and McGregor will collect for their efforts when he took on Japanese wrestler Antonio Inoki in 1976, but he did secure a $6 million purse. That was then a monstrous sum, especially for a bout that the boxing star believed would be scripted with a pre-ordained outcome.

“Except that it wasn’t,” LeBell said. “People don’t believe me, but no one said anything to me about what had to happen or about a specific set of rules.”

The contest itself generated huge attention and played out before a sellout crowd at the Budokan in Tokyo. Inoki was a massive star in Japan, where pro wrestling enjoys great appeal. Ali was coming off an 11-fight win streak in boxing, with the third bout of his trilogy against Ken Norton to follow soon after.

RelatedWhat role did boxer Muhammad Ali play in early MMA? Let 'Ali vs. Inoki' author Josh Gross explain

Sadly, the Tokyo fight was a dud. Inoki spent much of the 15 rounds on his back, kicking out at Ali’s legs, which quickly welted up. Different versions of what was permitted abound, with Inoki having claimed then that many of his typical tactics such as throws and strong grappling were forbidden, leaving him little option but to stay on his back, out of range of Ali’s strikes. Ali connected with just five punches the entire fight.

The lack of activity meant the much-touted battle went down as a footnote, fading into obscurity alongside the classic boxing events of the 1970s, many of them featuring Ali.

“It was the most atrocious crap that I have ever seen,” Ali’s promoter and current Top Rank chief Bob Arum said. “Nothing happened.”

Antonio Inoki (left) and Muhammad Ali during their match on June 26, 1976 at Tokyo’s Budokan Hall. (AP)

LeBell said the entertainment void was because neither man had any fighting skills except his own. Ali couldn’t wrestle or strike except for with his fists. Inoki couldn’t box. Each stuck to what they knew best. The fight was eventually called a draw, LeBell scoring it 71-71, a boxing judge giving Inoki the win and a wrestling judge scoring it for Ali.

One man who has watched it in depth, perhaps surprisingly, is McGregor, an avid discipline of all combat sports and their history.

“I watched, but you can’t see much of the build-up. It was a different time,” McGregor said at his media workout last week. “But the fight was interesting. I believe Ali was set up and didn’t know what he was letting himself in for. Ali wasn’t calling Inoki into his game (boxing), so credit to Ali for that. That shows his character.

RelatedFloyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor 2? Sounds absurd, but it's not impossible

“It was a crazy fight. Inoki sat full guard and was crawling across the floor kicking Ali in the legs. Ali was like backing up trying to say, ‘Get him up.’ (But) you’ve got to deal with these problems yourself.”

Midway through the fight, Ali made an attempt to catch Inoki’s legs and subsequently land punches. As the most lucrative night of his life approaches, McGregor reflected how if that moment had gone differently, the event might have provided a seminal change in combat sports.

“Ali tried to reach down and punch, and he ended up getting swept and Inoki ended up on top,” McGregor added. “(But) the referee separated it straight away. If that moment in time was let go for five more seconds, 10 seconds, Inoki would have wrapped around his neck or his arm or a limb, and the whole face of the combat world would have changed right there and then.”

RelatedBoxing broadcaster Al Bernstein discusses Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor intrigue

As it was, boxing remained king for decades to come, whereas the explosion of the UFC and mixed martial arts was still far off in the future.

While the fight wasn’t fixed, as Ali originally assumed, it could have turned out that way. Pro wrestling legend Vince McMahon Sr. contacted Arum with an incredible and hilarious script that he believed would give the bout the best possible result.

“Inoki would have a razor blade hidden and would cut himself,” Arum added. “He would be covered in blood, and Ali would have him on the ropes and would be begging the referee to stop the fight. Eventually, Ali would turn completely to the referee, then Inoki would jump on him, pin him, the referee would count 1-2-3, and Inoki would win. Then Ali would shout: ‘It’s another Pearl Harbor.’”

RelatedConor McGregor workout video highlights: I've been lacing up the gloves my whole life

Perhaps thankfully, that outcome did not eventuate. Ali would go on to beat Norton, though his legs became infected from all the cuts caused by Inoki’s kicks and his movement never quite got back to its scintillating best.

Inoki became a politician, and the pair remained firm friends for the rest of Ali’s life. LeBell continued to be involved in combat sports, writing several books, worked extensively in the movie industry as a renowned stuntman, and was involved in MMA recently through his friendship with Ronda Rousey. He is looking forward to having an armchair view of Mayweather-McGregor instead of the in-ring look he had 41 years ago.

“In reality, boxers shouldn’t wrestle or fight MMA guys,” LeBell said. “MMA guys shouldn’t fight boxers. But for $100 million I’d fight a lion, and I can’t wait to see what they make of this event.”

For more on “The Money Fight: Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor,” check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid4621179066001?bckey=AQ~~,AAAABvaL8JE~,ufBHq_I6FnxR-PQW_F3sm5QdUbP7D6E9&bctid=5538669194001
Filed under: Featured, News, UFC

Tony Martin vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier added to UFC Fight Night 116 in Steel City

Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Oliver Aubin-Mercier (red gloves) reacts to fight with Drew Dober (blue gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Oliver Aubin-Mercier (red gloves) fights Drew Dober (blue gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Oliver Aubin-Mercier (red gloves) fights Drew Dober (blue gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Oliver Aubin-Mercier (red gloves) fights Drew Dober (blue gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Oliver Aubin-Mercier (red gloves) fights Drew Dober (blue gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Oliver Aubin-Mercier (red gloves) fights Drew Dober (blue gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Oliver Aubin-Mercier (red gloves) fights Drew Dober (blue gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Oliver Aubin-Mercier (red gloves) fights Drew Dober (blue gloves) during UFC 206 at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports Dec 10, 2016; Toronto, ON, CAN; Oliver Aubin-Mercier (red gloves) fights Drew Dober (blue 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/vrBjvthFhnr2hbbrQQLCib/265748", customAnalytics: true, title: "Aubin-Mercier def. Dober", feedsrc: 2 } );(typeof _usdpgw == "undefined") ? _usdpgw = new _usdpGalleryWall(window._usmgOptions) : _usdpgw.start();

A lightweight bout is the latest addition to UFC Fight Night 116 in Steel City.

Officials today announced a fight between Tony Martin (12-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC) and fellow submission specialist Olivier Aubin-Mercier (9-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC).

The card airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass, though the full fight card and bout order haven’t been determined.

RelatedWatch UFC Fight Night 116 headliner David Branch drop 8 F-bombs on Luke Rockhold in 28 seconds

Martin, a 27-year-old who turned pro in 2012, had a rough go early in his UFC career and lost three of his first four fights. However, he’s now riding a three-fight winning streak with a submission victory over Felipe Olivieri and decision wins over Alex White and Johnny Case. Eight of his 12 career wins have come via submission.

Aubin-Mercier, a 28-year-old Canadian fighter who fights for the first time in 2017, looks for his third straight victory. Following a decision loss to Diego Ferreira in early 2016, he’s rebounded with submission victories over Thibault Gouti and Drew Dober. Eight of nine career wins have come via submission since “The Ultimate Fighter Nations” runner-up turned pro in 2011.

With the addition, UFC Fight Night 116 now includes:

  • Luke Rockhold vs. David Branch
  • Thiago Alves vs. Mike Perry
  • Hector Lombard vs. Anthony Smith
  • Anthony Hamilton vs. Daniel Spitz
  • Uriah Hall vs. Krzysztof Jotko
  • Sergio Moraes vs. Kamaru Usman
  • Justin Ledet vs. Dmitriy Sosnovskiy
  • Gilbert Burns vs. Jason Saggo
  • Gregor Gillespie vs. Jason Gonzalez
  • Tony Martin vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier

For more on UFC Fight Night 116, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.


Filed under: News, UFC

Pages