Tag:Dana White
Posted on: March 21, 2010 11:04 am
Edited on: March 21, 2010 11:08 am

UFC Live: Live blog.

Did I mention it's live?

UFC makes its debut on Versus tonight with UFC Live, from Broomfield, Colo. I'll be live-blogging the show beginning with quickie undercard results at about 8:45 p.m. ET. Check back for full round-by-round coverage.

Main Card:
  • Brandon Vera vs. Jon Jones (Light Hwt.)
  • Junior Dos Santos vs. Gabriel Gonzaga (Hwt.)
  • Cheick Kongo vs. Paul Buentello (Hwt.)
  • Alessio Sakara vs. James Irvin (Mwt.)

Undercard (may not air on TV):
  • Clay Guida vs. Shannon Gugerty (Lwt.)
  • Eliot Marshall vs. Vladimir Matyushenko (Light Hwt.)
  • Duane Ludwig vs. Darren Elkins (Lwt.)
  • John Howard vs. Daniel Roberts (Wwt.)
  • Brendan Schaub vs. Chase Gormley (Hwt.)
  • Mike Pierce vs. Julio Paulino (Wwt.)
  • Eric Schafer vs. Jason Brilz (Light Hwt.)
Everybody made weight. There was a "pull-apart" of sorts, which basically amounted to Jones getting close to Vera and Dana White diving in to pull him back, before even the hint of an altercation seemed imminent.

But now, they get to say there was a "pull-apart." Fight Hype 101.

Posted on: November 20, 2009 2:37 pm
Edited on: November 21, 2009 3:27 pm

Ortiz-Griffin rematch significant for both men

At UFC 106 on Saturday, an old nemesis resurfaces, hoping to rekindle the once-fevered interest that MMA fans had in him -- and more importantly, looking to prove he can still be a relevant part of the UFC's main event rotation.

Tito Ortiz returns from an 18-month layoff to fight Forrest Griffin in a bout that got bumped into the main event slot when ailing heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar pulled out of his title defense against Shane Carwin.

Tito Ortiz (UFC) In his last fight, Ortiz lost via decision to eventual UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida. Since that time, Ortiz has -- among other things -- feuded publicly with UFC president Dana White, teased signing with just about every non-UFC promotion with a pulse, had back surgery, and brought twins into the world with porn icon Jenna Jameson.

With a newly repaired back and an equally patched-up relationship with MMA's most powerful promoter, Ortiz is once again ready for his close-up.

When Tito Ortiz and Forrest Griffin first squared off in the Octagon at UFC 59 in 2006, Ortiz was arguably the hottest commodity on the UFC roster. Love him or hate him, the "Huntington Beach Bad Boy" proved his worth with strong PPV buyrates, loud audience reactions, and of course, by winning.

From 2000 to 2006, Ortiz's only three losses were to Chuck Liddell (twice) and Randy Couture, both of whom were considered top dogs in the UFC at the time. Liddell, Couture, and Ortiz were the three biggest stars in the UFC at the precise moment in history when the world began to take notice of the UFC and MMA in general. Of those three men, Ortiz was by far the most charismatic. Beyond being a good fighter, Ortiz made himself into a personality that could draw new fans into the UFC product.

While Ortiz and company held down the fort as PPV main-eventers, the other catalyst to UFC's popularity explosion -- the Spike TV reality series The Ultimate Fighter -- made household names out of several UFC newcomers and wannabes. TUF Season 1 co-winner Forrest Griffin was the most popular of the bunch. When he got his shot at Ortiz in 2006, he had the chance to make a statement. One big win over Ortiz in 2006 would have been an astronomical boost to Griffin's career at the time.

Even though he lost that fight, the fact that Griffin took Ortiz to a split decision was enough to prove to his skeptics that Griffin was not just another reality TV star -- this was a real fighter, and a potential champion. Indeed, Griffin went on to hold the 205-pound title in 2008. Ortiz faded into the background while Griffin was heavily pushed as the UFC's golden child.

Fast forward to 2009. Griffin has lost his last two fights -- the first, his title loss to Rashad Evans, and the most recent being a lop-sided defeat at the hands of Anderson Silva. Ortiz hasn't won a fight since his Oct. 2006 smashing of Ken Shamrock, which was the most watched MMA fight in U.S. history until Kimbo Slice's first fight on CBS broke the record.

Ortiz and Griffin have both been here before, in the sense that they've fought one another in a UFC main event.

But in career terms, both fighters are in unfamiliar territory. Griffin is staring at a three-fight losing streak if he can't even the score with Ortiz. Ortiz still has the attitude to make a spectacle of himself, but that only matters if he can still back it up in the cage.

Come Sunday morning, one of them will be back on track.

Check this blog on Saturday for the UFC 106 live round-by-round fight blog, beginning shortly before 9 p.m. ET.

Follow Denny Burkholder on Twitter: http://twitter.com/DennyBurkholder

Posted on: July 24, 2009 9:07 pm
Edited on: July 24, 2009 9:29 pm

Report: Affliction, UFC reach business deal

Earlier today, in writing about Affliction cancelling the Trilogy pay-per-view that was set to be headlined by Fedor Emelianenko vs. Josh Barnett, I ended with a bit of speculation : "Three months from now, will there be an Affliction MMA promotion?"

As it turns out, Affliction's demise only took another three hours.

After cancelling their Aug. 1 Trilogy event, Affliction reportedly cancelled their entire future as an MMA promotion. Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports reported Friday night that Affliction had kissed and made up with the UFC, agreeing to get out of the fight promotion business in exchange for the UFC allowing Affliction to sponsor fighters in the Octagon once again.

It is unknown what will become of the fighters under contract to Affliction. The best guys on the roster will no doubt turn up in either the UFC, WEC, Strikeforce, Bellator or M-1. Some could head for Japan.

Fedor Emelianenko will be the hot property as always, but there's only one place he could make truly big money, and Dana White wants exclusivity. Time will tell if Emelianenko will finally bend on that demand and put himself in the position to fight Brock Lesnar.

The UFC expressed interest in Vitor Belfort earlier this summer, so "The Phenom's" UFC return could be right around the corner pending a release from his Affliction contract. Renato "Babalu" Sobral is the reigning Strikeforce light heavyweight champion already, so his future should be secure.

Otherwise, the upcoming weeks and months figure to be busy ones for a bunch of former Affliction fighters. Here's hoping everybody lands on their feet without too much trouble.

There will certainly be more information and news to come in what has been a ridiculous week for MMA.

Posted on: June 2, 2009 8:48 pm
Edited on: June 2, 2009 8:58 pm

After Barnett fight, will Fedor jump to UFC?

Last week, Affliction and M-1 Global issued a string of press releases alerting the media to a pair of press conferences -- one to be held Wednesday in New York, and another on Thursday in Los Angeles -- "to announce 'Trilogy,' Fedor Emelianenko vs. Josh Barnett , on August 1 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA; Live on Pay-Per-View."

That quote is taken directly from one of the press releases, which begs the question: What's left to announce?

Beans-spilling press releases aside, the story here is that Emelianenko vs. Barnett is finally going to happen, not that Affliction is flying people all over the country to reveal that which has already been revealed.

Fedor Emelianenko Barnett (24-5-0) has been the second-best heavyweight on the Affliction roster since virtually day one. But due to a number of circumstances -- Tim Sylvia being available to fight Fedor last summer, Andrei Arlovski getting the honors for Affliction 2 -- he has never fought "The Last Emperor." Not even in Pride, where both men enjoyed lots of career success. At last, Barnett will get his shot at the man widely considered the best heavyweight MMA fighter on this planet.

For Fedor Emelianenko (30-1-0, 1 NC), Barnett not only represents the stiffest challenge possible among guys he hasn't fought yet, but he also may be his final worthwhile opponent outside of the UFC roster. Simply put: If Emelianenko beats Barnett on Aug. 1, there will be no more credible opponents for him in any promotion other than the UFC. And that's where things get truly interesting. Consider the following:

1) After Affliction's second PPV in January, speculation swirled that the company would only promote one more show -- tentatively scheduled for the summer, as "Affliction: Trilogy" is -- before bowing out of the MMA promotion business for good. But in a recent interview with MMA FanHouse's Ariel Helwani, Affliction COO Michael Cohen not only insisted that Affliction: Trilogy would not be the last event, but he promised a fourth, fifth and sixth show.

The trouble is, Emelianenko vs. Barnett is believed to be the last remaining fight on Emelianenko's Affliction contract. If that's the case, and if Emelianenko ends up running the table on Affliction's main event-worthy heavyweights, would it be financially viable for Affliction to re-up Emelianenko if the quality of his PPV opponents will go south? Spending big for a superstar fighter is only worthwhile if the profit outweighs the expenditure, and all indications are that Affliction hasn't yet figured out how to come out of its investments with a profit.

2) If Affliction does try to re-sign Emelianenko, there's a good chance it would be for a lot less money. In this economy, the decision may not even be up to Affliction anymore. They could be willing to pay him $1 million per fight -- hypothetically, of course -- but if they can't secure the financing to pull it off, will they be willing to pay Fedor out of pocket? If the UFC can match or beat Affliction's financial offer to Emelianenko, then the only remaining roadblock to him signing with the UFC would be the exclusivity issue. Which remains a potential deal-breaker for sure, but with Emelianenko running out of options and the UFC still wanting to book him, one or both sides could budge on their demands enough to meet somewhere close to the middle. The state of the MMA business and the world economy in general means that an Emelianenko-UFC negotiation might go a little differently today than it did in 2007 or 2008.

3) While it would take several major pieces falling into place for it to happen, an Emelianenko deal with the UFC might not be as far-fetched as some think. In a February interview with DreamFighters.com , Fedor said "Me and my management hope to get a chance to talk to Dana White in person in June to discuss a possible fight between me and Brock [Lesnar] ." Sure enough, on Sunday -- the last day of May -- Dana White was Twittering about having a "HUGE" meeting in Los Angeles the next day. "Insane for UFC fans if we get this done," he tweeted.

Then, in a video blog posted on YouTube on Tuesday, White mentioned the Kimbo Slice participation on The Ultimate Fighter , and followed up with this:

"Lorenzo [Fertitta] and I had a killer, killer meeting in Los Angeles today, and I was hoping I would be able to tell you about it today, but the way deals go, they take time," White said in the video. "So I can't tell you today, but I can tell you it was a great meeting and I'm feeling very confident that we're gonna get this deal done, and it's gonna literally change the UFC forever."

We know Emelianenko is in the U.S. this week. Could it be?

Wait -- let me rephrase that.

Who else could it possibly be?

Posted on: November 20, 2008 7:29 pm
Edited on: November 20, 2008 7:36 pm

UFC re-hires Fitch after he agrees to rights deal

In a follow-up to the story on the UFC's falling-out with American Kickboxing Academy fighters over their refusal to sign over the lifetime rights to their names and likenesses for video games, both Jon Fitch and Christian Wellisch were re-hired Thursday, according to a report by MMARated.com.

Fitch reportedly contacted UFC owner Lorenzo Fertitta directly and agreed to sign the rights agreement after all, and was subsequently re-hired. His fight at UFC 94 with Akihiro Gono is back on.

Wellisch, according to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer newsletter, had agreed all along to sign the rights agreement, but was fired anyway when UFC president Dana White had a falling out with manager DeWayne Zinkin, who represents many UFC fighters both independently and in cooperation with Bob Cook at AKA. Wellisch also got his job back today.

Meltzer reports that the other fighters in question -- which include Josh Koscheck and Cain Velasquez, along with possible others -- due to the rights agreement issue are still in negotiations.

Posted on: November 20, 2008 10:35 am
Edited on: November 20, 2008 10:49 am

UFC cuts Fitch, Wellisch, more possibly to come

The UFC has cut top welterweight Jon Fitch from his contract over a dispute regarding the rights to his name and likeness, several outlets reported on Wednesday. Christian Wellisch has also been cut by the UFC, reportedly over the same issue.

The dispute began over the UFC's attempt to get its fighters to sign over the lifetime rights to their names and likenesses for use in video games as the UFC saw fit -- a deal AKA management, under Bob Cook, advised its fighters not to sign.

Fitch appeared on Hardcore Sports Radio's 'Road Rage' on Wednesday to give his side of the story. In a story posted on Sherdog.com on Wednesday, Fitch was quoted as telling the radio show that the UFC cut fellow AKA fighter Wellisch first, "I think as kind of a scare for me and (Josh) Koscheck and Cain (Velasquez)."

Fitch believes both Koscheck and Velasquez will be cut over the rights dispute as well, but since both are on winning streaks -- and since Koscheck recently bailed out the organization by fighting Thiago Alves on less than two weeks' notice, and is slated to headline against Yoshiyuki Yoshida on Dec. 10 -- neither can be cut immediately.

“I guess Cain Velasquez wouldn't sign under his contract and they were saying that after his fight he was done and they weren't going to re-up his contract," Fitch said, as quoted by Sherdog. "I think the same thing goes for Koscheck. I think they would drop him right now too, if he wasn't fighting on the 10th, if he wasn't headlining that show -- so they can't drop him."

Fitch had no problem with signing over his likeness for the game, but the details -- the fact that it was a lifetime deal, that the fighters got no compensation at all for the deal outside of the exposure of having their character in the video game -- were too great to overlook. Fitch recently turned in his signed bout agreement to the UFC for a fight with Akihiro Gono at UFC 94. But since he would not agree to the licensing deal, the UFC terminated that bout agreement, along with his UFC deal, Fitch said.

"They basically kicked the door open, guns blazing, pointed it in our face and said, 'Sign this or you're going to pay,'" Fitch said.

In a story published by Yahoo! Sports on Wednesday, UFC president Dana White said he was done working with the AKA.

"We're looking for guys who want to work with us and not against us, and frankly I'm just so [expletive] sick of this [expletive] it's not even funny," White said. "Affliction is still out there trying to build its company. Let [Fitch] go work with them. Let him see what he thinks of those [expletives]. [Expletive] him. These guys aren't partners with us. [Expletive] them. All of them, every last [expletive] one of them."

White further explained to USA Today's Sergio Non that the problem isn't with Fitch, or any individual fighter, but with the AKA management itself.

"They knew exactly where this was going, and now they want to run around and cry and say, 'Oh, these guys are bullying us,' or whatever their claim is out there. ... Those idiots know exactly what happened and exactly why we're in this position right now," White said, as quoted by Non.

White added that one AKA fighter -- Mike Swick -- personally contacted him to pledge allegiance to the UFC in light of the dispute with AKA.

"Any of the fighters can come and talk to me one-on-one. ... Mike Swick called me 10 minutes after it happened and said, 'I'm with you.' "

CBSSports.com has requested to speak with White numerous times within the past two months, but has received no response from UFC officials.

Fitch was on an eight-fight win streak in the UFC leading up to his five-round decision loss to Georges St. Pierre in a welterweight title fight at UFC 87 on Aug. 9. The streak was a UFC record.

Now, one of the UFC's recent success stories finds himself looking for work.

"I never wanted anything more than to fight in the UFC and be a UFC champ," Fitch said on Hardcore Sports Radio. "I put a lot of blood and guts and sweat and tears into this. This is my reward, I guess."
Posted on: November 3, 2008 5:10 pm
Edited on: November 3, 2008 6:17 pm

UFC suspends Leben for steroid test failure

The Ultimate Fighting Championship has suspended Chris Leben for testing positive for the steroid Stanazolol following his fight with Michael Bisping at UFC 89 on Oct. 18.

UFC president Dana White confirmed the suspension in comments to Dave Meltzer of Yahoo! Sports on Monday. White said he was disappointed in Leben -- who reportedly admitted taking the drug, also known as Winstrol V.

“I am obviously disappointed with Chris, who has made great strides getting his life back on track,” White said, as quoted by Meltzer. “To his credit, he has taken responsibility for his actions and is accepting the punishment that has been handed down. But as always, the UFC puts the safety of its athletes first and foremost, and we won’t tolerate anyone using performance enhancing drugs in our organization.”

In the United States, drug testing for UFC events is handled independently by the state athletic commission, wherever the event takes place. The commission not only tests the fighters, but chooses the punishment for failed tests, usually a combination of a fine and a suspension. For events held in England, such as UFC 89, the UFC does its own drug testing since there is no commission overseeing the event. For UFC 89, Meltzer reported that the UFC tested all 22 fighters on the card for banned substances, both before and after their fights.

The UFC suspended Leben for nine months and fined him one third of his purse from the event.
Posted on: September 2, 2008 4:15 pm

Breaking news: Couture returns to UFC

The UFC announced today that heavyweight champion Randy Couture would return to the organization for a Nov. 15 fight with Brock Lesnar at UFC 91 in Las Vegas.

The return ends a year-long holdout by Couture that resulted in numerous legal claims and harsh words being tossed around by both sides of the dispute.

"We had some problems with Randy," Dana White said during the conference call. "We have resolved them all."

Couture resigned from the UFC in September 2007 via fax, citing a lack of respect. He also claimed that the UFC's failure to sign Fedor Emelianenko -- the one man he wanted to fight, and the man considered by many as the best fighter in the world -- as the last straw in his departure.

All of that seems to have been smoothed over, and the 45-year-old UFC Hall of Famer will return to the Octagon imminently.

The UFC continued to recognize Couture as the heavyweight champion during his absence, citing that two of the four fights left on Couture's contract were unfulfilled, and unless Couture retired permanently from the sport, he remained under contract to them. In the meantime, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira was crowned UFC interim heavyweight champion following a win over Tim Sylvia, after Couture refused an offer to defend against Nogueira.

On paper, the Lesnar vs. Couture fight appears to have a good chance to rank among the highest-drawing PPV bouts in company history. While still very green in MMA, Lesnar's wrestling ability, punching power, and athleticism have caused many to deem him the future of the UFC heavyweight division.

CBSSports.com will have more on this story as it develops.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com