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Posts from — July 2009

Gatti death ruled a suicide

Brazilian police have ruled boxing great Arturo Gatti’s death was a suicide and have let his 23-year-old wife Amanda Rodrigues, who was suspected of murdering him, walk free. But Gatti’s family back in Montreal isn’t buying it and have requested his body be exhumed and a new autopsy be performed by the Quebec coroner’s office.

Gatti was found dead of apparent strangulation in his hotel room in Recife, in north-eastern Brazil on July 11. Police originally believed Rodrigues had strangled him with the strap of her handbag while he slept and had arrested her, but they later determined he hanged himself.

Gatti was IBF super-featherweight champion in 1995 and WBC light-welterweight champion in 2004. His career spanned 49 fights and he won 40 of them, 31 by knockout. He retired in 2007.

July 31, 2009   No Comments

Mark Hominick back in the WEC

Mark Hominick (16-8), a former UFC and WEC fighter from London, ON, who was slated to fight at Affliction: Trilogy, has signed a multi-fight deal with World Extreme Cagefighting and will debut at the organization’s WEC 43 show on September 2.

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UFC president Dana White mentioned the signing during Friday’s media call, although no opponent has been scheduled for the featherweight bout.

Hominick returns to the WEC after a 19-month break, having last fought for the organization at WEC 32, where he suffered a first-round submission loss to Josh Grispi. He suffered a submission loss to Rani Yahya in his WEC debut at WEC 28.

Hominick also went 2-0 in the UFC with impressive wins over Jorge Gurgel and Yves Edwards and has won three of his last four fights, including a second-round submission victory over Savant Young at Affliction: Banned in July 2008.

White also revealed that L.C. Davis and Javier Vazquez have also signed WEC contracts while Paul Daley, Ben Rothwell, Chase Gormley, Dan Lauzon and Rafaello “Tractor” Oliveira are now with the UFC. Lauzon will likely face Oliveira at UFC 103. Both fighters were originally on the Affliction: Trilogy card, with Lauzon scheduled to face Hominick’s London training partner Chris Horodecki and Oliveira set to meet Takanori Gomi.

Oh, and White has no interest in re-signing former UFC and Affliction heavyweights Tim Sylvia and Andrei Arlovski. No kidding.

July 31, 2009   No Comments

Time for Joe Silva to retire

I’m just going to throw this out there: When UFC president Dana White announced Friday that Rich Franklin would face the newly signed Vitor Belfort at UFC 103 instead of Dan Henderson, as originally planned, he said the switch was made because of fan apathy.

Really? The fans didn’t like the matchup, which I only heard slight grumblings about, so you changed the card? Why am I having a hard time believing that? Even worse, what if it’s true? Instead of UFC matchmaker Joe Silva putting cards together, choosing the best fighters to put on the best fights based on record, skill, dynamism and yes, popularity, why don’t they just throw it open to a fan vote entirely, make it a popularity contest, like running for student council? That makes a lot of sense.

July 31, 2009   1 Comment

The Tito Ortiz hype machine fires up

He actually doesn’t look nearly as out of shape as you might expect for someone who’s coming off back surgery and hasn’t trained in over a year. Although his eyes seem to be disappearing into his face as it expands like a Pillsbury crescent roll. And no, I don’t want to win your sweaty handwraps, Tito.

There’s a little too much talk about shrinking nuggets in this second clip. “Pain is merely weakness leaving the body.” Somebody should print that on a fortune cookie. And his girlfriend, Jenna Jameson, looks remarkably unlike a porn star.

July 31, 2009   No Comments

Barnett stays positive

Dave Meltzer over at Yahoo! Sports is reporting that Josh Barnett’s B sample has also tested positive for a banned steroid metabolite, according to the California State Athletic Commission.

Barnett’s initial failed drug test two weeks ago led to the cancellation of the August 1 Affliction: Trilogy event in which he was to headline in a bout with Fedor Emelianenko. And while of lot of people blame Barnett for the complete collapse of the Affliction promotion, it’s become clear that Affliction was already looking for an exit strategy via deals with Strikeforce or the UFC before the first test came back.

Barnett, who previously tested positive in 2001 and 2002, was the first MMA fighter tested out of competition in California under new regulations, while the steroid he used usually clears the system in 10 days, meaning that under the old system that would’ve tested him on fight day his sample probably would’ve come back negative.

And now, maybe, I can stop writing about Barnett, Fedor and steroids for awhile. That would be nice.

July 31, 2009   No Comments

News from Dana White’s conference call

Or, more accurately, not much news:

The UFC has signed Affliction fighter Vitor Belfort and he’ll face Rich Franklin at 205 pounds at UFC 103, replacing Dan Henderson, who will have the next crack at middleweight champ Anderson Silva. The winner of UFC 101’s Nate Marquardt vs Demian Maia is also “in the mix.”

Tito Ortiz is officially back in the fold after receiving an offer he couldn’t refuse. While most speculated he’d face Franklin at UFC 103 it looks like his post-back surgery tune-up will likely come at the fists of Mark Coleman (exactly as I predicted here last night) sometime in November or December. Ortiz, who was also on the line, says he’s willing to move up to heavyweight and fight Brock Lesnar if he can dominate at light heavyweight first.

White says they offered Fedor Emelianenko everything except the co-promotion deal with M-1 Global: “These guys are going to come in and co-promote? How are they gonna co-promote anything? I’m going to give them 50 percent of my business? For what?”

White is also still talking a network TV deal, saying he’s “confident” it’ll happen. But when is White not confident about anything, like signing Fedor?

And yes, because UFC 100 had more than 1.5 million pay-per-view buys, White is going to make good on his promise to base jump off the top of the Mandalay Bay. “I’m gonna jump off that fucker. And I’m not looking forward to it.”

July 31, 2009   1 Comment

Strikeforce understudy

With Affliction falling apart after Josh Barnett’s failed drug test, and multiple fight changes on August 15’s Strikeforce: Carano vs Cyborg main card, it’s no surprise that Strikeforce has assigned Erin Toughill as a replacement should either of the headliners get injured during training (or fail to make weight).

Toughill is 10-2-1 in MMA and riding a four-fight winning streak. She also has an 8-2-1 boxing record, having lost to Muhammad Ali’s daughter, Laila Ali, in 2005 and she fought Joe Frazier’s daughter, Jackie Frazier-Lyde, to a no-contest in 2002. She also appeared on the second season of American Gladiators as Steel.

The most-recent switch-up on the Strikeforce card is Mitsuhiro Ishida (18-5-1) replacing injured lightweight champ Josh Thomson (16-2) in a five-round bout with interim titleholder Gilbert Melendez (15-2). Thomson, who defeated Melendez for the title in mid-2008, initially was slated to rematch his former training partner earlier this year. However, Thomson broke his leg during a training session in April, which forced the cancellation of the bout and led to Melendez vs. Rodrigo Damm for the interim belt. Melendez won the April fight via second-round knockout. Thomson’s leg break still isn’t sufficiently healed to clear medicals, apparently.

July 31, 2009   No Comments

Bigfoot spotted

Pituitary case Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva is ready to return to the ring after serving a a one-year suspension for testing positive for an anabolic steroid following his EliteXC championship victory over Justin Eilers in July of 2008.

According to Tatame.com, the 6-foot-5, 265-pounds-plus American Top Team man-mountain has two upcoming fights in Japan’s Sengoku although no opponents have been announced. But now that Josh Barnett has some free time, Bigfoot has expressed interest in facing him.

Of course, now that Affliction has folded and Fedor Emelianenko is free to fight wherever he wants, what’s to stop some enterprising fight promoter from staging a Fedor vs. Barnett fight somewhere outside the U.S.? Make it tournament-style and throw Bigfoot, Hong Man Choi, Shaquille O’Neal, Bob Sapp and Jose Canseco into the mix, as well. Superfight of the century.

July 31, 2009   No Comments

Learn to fight the Machida way

There’s a lot more to karate than just the crane technique, young Daniel-san. But I think you have to be undefeated UFC light heavyweight champ Lyoto Machida to pull off some of this fancy footwork against a real opponent intent on doing you some serious damage.

July 31, 2009   No Comments

Tito Ortiz: “Let the punishment begin”

Okay, so Fedor Emelianenko isn’t signing with the UFC, at least not for the moment, and Dana White still has a press conference on Friday. I wonder what he could possibly be announcing…

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And who might the Huntington Beach Bad Boy’s first opponent be? Rich Franklin is the best guess. But let me throw another name at you: Mark Coleman.

July 30, 2009   No Comments

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