DREAM.18 ADDS COENEN VS. MUXLOW, ANNOUNCES BROADCASTS ON CBS SPORTS NETWORK
A women's contest between former Strikeforce champ Marloes Coenen (20-5) and Australian product Fiona Muxlow (6-1) has been added to the year-end "DREAM.18 and GLORY 4 Tokyo – New Year's Eve Special" event.
DREAM officials recently announced the new booking.
DREAM.18, which features both MMA bouts and the "GLORY 4 Tokyo – Heavyweight Grand Slam" kickboxing tournament, takes place Dec. 31 at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. Shinya Aoki and Antonio McKee headline the MMA portion of the card.
Additionally, broadcast plans for the dual DREAM.18 and GLORY 4 Tokyo events now include a tape-delayed broadcast to the U.S. via CBS Sports Network, which is currently available in approximately 47 million homes. The Glory 4 event airs at 10 p.m. ET on New Year's Eve while DREAM.18 airs the following day at the same time.
The event also airs live on Canada's Fight Network and streams worldwide via online pay-per-view on www.gloryworldseries.com.
Holland native Coenen returns to the ring after besting Romy Ruyssen in April at Invicta FC 1, which was her second win over the fighter. Previously, she lost the Strikeforce bantamweight title to Miesha Tate at "Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson," which snapped a streak that saw her win the belt by submitting Sarah Kaufman and defend it by submitting Liz Carmouche.
Coenen was cut from Strikeforce in August 2011 amid a dispute between her management company, Golden Glory (which operates the DREAM and Glory promotions), and UFC parent Zuffa.
Muxlow, who hails from Australia, has won her past three bouts and makes her first international appearance at the year-end event.
DREAM.18 also features former DREAM bantamweight champ Bibiano Fernandes as he takes on Japanese vet and DEEP champ Yoshiro Maeda, as well as UFC vets Denis Kang, Phil Baroni and Michihiro Omigawa.
The event's full MMA card includes:
Shinya Aoki (c) vs. Antonio McKee - for LW title
Bibiano Fernandes vs. Yoshiro Maeda - FW
Denis Kang vs. Melvin Manhoef - MW
Hiroyuki Takaya vs. Georgi Karakhanyan - FW
Phil Baroni vs. Hayato Sakurai - WW
Will Brooks vs. Satoru Kitaoka - LW
Tatsuya Kawajiri vs. Michihiro Omigawa - FW
Marloes Coenen vs. Fiona Muxlow - Women's BW
UFC 157, Rousey and Carmouche get 'UFC Primetime' treatment
Next month's UFC 157 event and the first-ever UFC women's bout and title fight will get the "UFC Primetime" treatment on FX and FUEL TV.
The three-part "UFC Primetime: Rousey vs. Carmouche" series debuts Friday, Feb. 8, at midnight ET (9 p.m. PT) on FUEL TV. It previews the upcoming title fight between newly named UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey (6-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) and challenger Liz Carmouche (7-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC).
The final two episodes of the three-part series debut in the same timeslot each week.
UFC 157 takes place Feb. 23 at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FX and Facebook.
Following the Friday-night debuts (which also include Feb. 15 and Feb. 22), FX reairs "UFC Primetime: Rousey vs. Carmouche" the following Saturdays at 11 a.m. ET/PT and Sunday at 2 a.m. ET/PT.
The UFC most recently featured a "Primetime" special for November's UFC 154 event, which saw UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre top challenger Carlos Condit in his long-awaited return from injury.
Palhares, Beltran test positive after UFC on FX 6, suspended nine months
Rousimar Palhares and Joey Beltran were flagged after their fights this past month in Australia and have been suspended for nine months by the UFC.
UFC officials late Thursday announced the suspensions in an official statement.
Palhares, the UFC said, tested positive for elevated testosterone-to-epitestosterone levels. And Beltran tested positive for nandrolone, a banned steroid.
The two fought at UFC on FX 6, which took place Dec. 15 at Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. It aired Dec. 14 in the U.S. (on FX, FUEL TV and Facebook) due to the time difference.
When no regulatory body is available, as is the case for most UFC international shows, the promotion oversees its own drug testing and medical suspensions, typically headed up by Marc Ratner, the former head of the Nevada State Athletic Commission and the UFC's vice president of regulatory affairs.
"The UFC organization has a strict, consistent policy against the use of any illegal and/or performance-enhancing drugs, stimulants or masking agents," the UFC statement read. "Both athletes have agreed to serve a nine-month suspension retroactive to Dec. 14. They must pass a drug test upon completion of the suspension before receiving clearance to compete again."
Palhares and Beltran each were given medical suspensions of up to six months after their fights – Palhares for a right foot injury and Beltran for a right hand injury. But those become largely moot now since neither fighter will be able to return to the UFC prior to mid-September.
Palhares (14-5 MMA, 7-5 UFC) came out on the business end of Hector Lombard's first UFC win when the longtime Australian resident tore through him for a first-round TKO victory. His suspension won't affect his record since he lost the fight regardless.
The NSAC allows a maximum testosterone-to-epitestosterone level of 6-to-1, though many commissions limit the level to 4-to-1. The UFC did not release what Palhares' elevated level was. The suspension for Palhares is his second under the UFC banner. He was suspended 90 days in 2010 for failing to release a fight-ending heel hook against Thomasz Drwal immediately after Drwal tapped.
Beltran (15-8 MMA, 4-5 UFC) won for the first time in the UFC since June 2011 when he beat Igor Pokrajac by a unanimous-decision sweep in a slugfest. But that win will be overturned to a no-contest in the wake of Beltran's positive test.
Beltran returned to the UFC in July as a light heavyweight after dropping down from heavyweight. He had lost three straight fights in the promotion, with his lone win since June 2011 coming outside the organization in his debut at 205 pounds. His loss to James Te Huna in July still earned him a "Fight of the Night" bonus.
UFC 156 main card set, McCall vs. Benavidez takes final PPV slot
The main card is set for UFC 156, the newest and upcoming edition of the UFC's annual Super Bowl weekend card.
As previously announced, the event takes place Feb. 2 at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, and featherweight champion Jose Aldo (21-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) meets former lightweight titleholder Frankie Edgar (14-3-1 MMA, 9-3-1 UFC) in the championship pay-per-view headliner.
Taking the final slot on the PPV main card is a flyweight bout between Ian McCall (11-3-1 MMA, 0-1-1 UFC) and Joseph Benavidez (16-3 MMA, 3-1 UFC).
The five-fight main card follows prelims on FX and Facebook.
Also on the main card are light heavyweights Rashad Evans (17-2-1 MMA, 12-2-1 UFC) vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (20-5 MMA, 3-2 UFC), heavyweights Alistair Overeem (36-11 MMA, 1-0 UFC) vs. Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva (17-4 MMA, 1-1 UFC), and welterweights Jon Fitch (24-4-1 MMA, 14-2-1 UFC) vs. Demian Maia (17-4 MMA, 11-4 UFC).
The latest UFC 156 card includes:
MAIN CARD (Pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET)
•Jose Aldo vs. Frankie Edgar - for featherweight title
•Rashad Evans vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
•Alistair Overeem vs. Antonio Silva
•Jon Fitch vs. Demian Maia
•Joseph Benavidez vs. Ian McCall
PRELIMINARY CARD (FX and Facebook, 7 p.m. ET)
•Evan Dunham vs. Gleison Tibau
•Bobby Green vs. Jacob Volkmann
•Edwin Figueroa vs. Francisco Rivera
•Jay Hieron vs. Tyron Woodley
•Yves Edwards vs. Isaac Vallie-Flagg
•Chico Camus vs. Dustin Kimura
An eight-fight deal would start Alvarez at $70,000 to show and $70,000 to win and raises in $5,000 increments with each win until it tops out at a guaranteed $210,000 for a win, the exhibit states. Alvarez would also be guaranteed a $250,000 signing bonus, payable in two installments of $85,000 and one of $80,000.
When Alvarez fights on a UFC PPV broadcast, the offer states it entitles him to $1 for each "buy" between 200,000 and 400,000 buys, $2 per buy between 400,000 and 600,000 buys, and $2.50 per buy over 600,000 buys.
Additionally, Alvarez is guaranteed a fight on a UFC on FOX card and three appearances as a commentator at UFC-branded events.
The exhibit confirms a previous claim from Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney that his promotion merely changed window dressings on the UFC's offer. Mentions of UFC parent company Zuffa are simply crossed out and replaced with Bellator.
It also shows Bellator offered three additional bonuses to Alvarez when Bellator decided to match the UFC's offer. Included was a $25,000 payout for participating in a behind-the-scenes show filmed by Bellator broadcast partner Spike TV, a $100,000 payout for a head coach position on the second season of Bellator's reality show, and a guest host spot on Spike TV's "Road to the Championship" program.
And Alvarez stood to receive a $250,000 signing bonus upon re-upping with Bellator.
The deals are the same – on paper. But Bellator and Alvarez disagree on their value, and they've taken their cases to the court of public opinion.
Before they did that, though, they sued each other.
Spike TV considering kickboxing, as well as cross-promotional bouts
The marriage between Bellator and Spike TV is looking at a number of different ways of promoting and televising MMA programming, as well as creating unique match-ups.
A major idea being batted around includes using Bellator talent to either fight, or entertain, outside of just the company's television show. Besides a reality show that begins shooting in a few weeks, and cross-promotional efforts using King Mo Lawal in both pro wrestling and MMA, they are also looking at potential cross promotional ideas with Bellator and kickboxing.
Among the ideas are where Bellator talent, such as Paul Daley, who are strong stand-up fighters, could do kickboxing matches that would air on Spike. The ideas also include using stars in the kickboxing world who have had some MMA experience competing on Bellator shows. In the past with UFC, all fighters were under exclusive contracts that prohibited them from competing in any combat sports, as well as pro wrestling.
The ideas are just part of many new plans for a long-term vision of combat sports promotion on Spike TV now that their one-year non-compete term after the UFC contract expired is over.
Spike had previously announced a relationship with K-1, where they would air live kickboxing shows this year, but according to Kevin Kay, the president of Spike TV, that won't be happening.
"We're probably not going to move forward and continue with K-1," said Kay. "It was a little bit of an experiment. Those guys are great. We're trying to figure out our kickboxing plans. It did okay. It was a digital play (K-1 aired on Spike.com late 2012). There are other things we can do in the kickboxing spectrum."
While the name K-1 sounds like something, the actual K-1 organization that was huge in Japan from 1993 to 2010 is no more, with parent company FEG running out of money. The name was sold to a new group which has run some shows, but most of the top fighters from K-1 signed with the rival Glory promotion, which ran a New Year's Eve show in Japan.
While no deal is finalized, Kay did say that several Spike executives were at the Glory show at the Saitama Super Arena regarding a potential relationship.
"It was a great night of fights and we're impressed by the organization and continuing discussions," said Kay. "There are serious discussions also as well as discussions with Bjorn (Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney) with any potential partners we get into kickboxing with. Right now we're launching Bellator. We're all about Bellator. If we do end up in the Glory business, that's going to be a little later down the line. We don't want anything to get in the way of our launch with Bellator."
"We've got a different view on the fight business from the other guys (UFC)," said Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney. "If we can find the right kind of guys, we'd like those (kickboxing) promoters to keep our guys busy if they'd like to fight as kickboxers. And we'd also like to bring guys in from other organizations. It just depends on the right guys. Kickboxing is wildly fun to watch and it's exciting. Not all our guys can make a great transition from MMA to kickboxing, or from kickboxing to MMA. But for those who can, we'd like to bring that knockout excitement with them to our shows."
"A lot of those guys and a lot of guys in kickboxing have tried to make the crossover," Rebney noted. "I don't think as MMA continues to evolve, it becomes more difficult for guys from one discipline only having success. But there are guys with clear recognition, and there's a payoff for them. There's never a larger distribution platform than Spike TV. If we can find the right guys out there who can compete at a high level to make the transition, if they can stuff takedowns and have a ground game, then you've got something."
Glory's one-night heavyweight tournament winner, 6-foot-11, 292-pound Semmy Schilt, actually garnered his first fame in Japan as an MMA fighter with Pancrase and Pride, as well as with UFC. But once becoming a major star with K-1, he curtailed his MMA competition to concentrate on kickboxing, which was more lucrative for him at the time
After signing 'very lucrative' eight-fight deal, Henderson's camp eyes Melendez
UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson (18-2 MMA, 6-0 UFC) recently signed a new eight-fight deal with the world's largest MMA promotion. Now his manager hopes to see him sign a bout agreement that reads, "Gilbert Melendez."
"We really like the Gilbert Melendez fight, and I'll tell you why: Gilbert Melendez has been ranked either No. 1, No. 2 or No. 3 between himself, Frankie Edgar and Benson," Henderson's manager, Malki Kawa, told MMAjunkie.com (UFC blog for UFC news, UFC rumors, fighter interviews and event previews/recaps*–*MMAjunkie.com). "Frankie was considered No. 1 in the world, and Benson beat him. Now some people are saying Gilbert might be No. 1 in the world. OK, well Benson would like to beat him, too, and leave no doubt that he is the best 155-pounder in the world.
"Depending on whose poll you look at over the past few years, it's been those guys in the top three spots, and Benson definitely wants to fight the best guys in the world. He's already defeated Frankie. Beating Gilbert would prove that Benson is absolutely the best lightweight in MMA."
Henderson this weekend announced the new deal and said the contract actually brought him to reconsider the entire trajectory of his career.
"Proud to announce that I just signed my new contract, which will keep me around for at least eight more fight," Henderson wrote. "This deal made me think long-term and what it all means and what I'm here for.
"I hope I can use these few years to really inspire, introduce, encourage and do some of His will."
As with all fighter contracts, UFC officials declined to confirm any specifics, including whether or not the deal was worth more than the offer recently tendered to former Bellator champ Eddie Alvarez, which was scheduled to start the lightweight at $70,000 to show and $70,000 to win and raise incrementally with each victory until it topped out at a guaranteed $210,000 for a winning effort. Kawa also refused to talk specifics but said the deal, which he said has been in the works for some two months, was a marked improvement over the terms Henderson had been working under, which saw him earn a reported $78,000 for his December title defense over Nate Diaz.
"Obviously we could never get into specifics about a contract, but it's a very fair deal and one that stands to make Benson a lot of money," Kawa said. "We felt the UFC was very fair in their handling of the discussions, and this is a very lucrative contract.
"This contract can secure Benson's future. He just has to go out and win. If he can win his next few fights, he'll be a very happy man."
Sources close to the promotion indicated the deal, which was largely in place well before the details of Alvarez's contract came to public light, was built with a "very different" structure in mind. Kawa could not disclose the exact terms of the new contract but was happy to reiterate the deal was "very lucrative."
Henderson, a former WEC title holder, became the UFC champion with a hotly contested February 2012 decision win over Frankie Edgar. He then downed Edgar again in an August 2012 rematch, though the close nature of the two fights led many to question Henderson validity as a champion. That changed in December, when Henderson looked absolutely dominant in a unanimous-decision win over Nate Diaz.
Kawa believes that performance definitely helped his client earn respect in the public's eye.
"After the Nate Diaz fight, I think he's getting the respect he deserves," Kawa said. "He beat up a guy that was beating everybody up – a guy that brings it every time and had never been dominated the way he was dominated."
Henderson's next fight has yet to be announced by UFC officials, but he has been linked to both Melendez and Alvarez. Of course, with Alvarez's ongoing legal dispute with Bellator MMA, it's unknown when (and if) the Blackzilian fighter would be eligible to compete in the UFC's octagon.
Kawa, however, doesn't believe that contract status really matters much at all.
"For a guy who's not even the champion in another organization, it just wouldn't seem right for him to get a title shot against Benson," Kawa said. "Anyway, he's tied up right now with those contract discussions, so it's not really something worth discussing.
"We're really interested in fighting Gilbert Melendez, and we've got a lot of confidence that the UFC will make that fight happen. Right now we're just happy to have this contract done, and we're going to sit back and hope that this is the fight they give us. It's the top two lightweight fighters in the world at this point. It needs to happen."
Cormier's post-Strikeforce plans not set, don't include facing 'man crush' Hendo
OKLAHOMA CITY – While Strikeforce's final months of operations will a likely be remembered as a sort of slow march to the pasture, a few of its athletes now stand to make huge strides in their MMA career. Daniel Cormier (11-0 MMA, 8-0 SF) is certainly one of them.
However, Cormier wants to make one thing perfectly clear: While he believes an octagon debut at UFC on FOX 7 against Frank Mir makes all the sense in the world, nothing is yet set in stone.
"Nothing's been signed," Cormier said at Saturday's night's post-fight press conference for "Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine," which took place at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City. "This is just what I've said in my ideal universe, that's what would happen as this year goes on. It could not happen; if it doesn't, I'll just keep on plugging away."
While no bouts have been announced for the card, UFC on FOX 7 takes place April 20 in Cormier's backyard of San Jose, Calif.
Cormier, of course, was supposed to face Mir at Saturday's event before injury forced the former UFC heavyweight champ out of the bout and allowed relative unknown Dion Staring to step in as a warm body across the cage. Cormier's vaunted wrestling attack and pressure game left Staring overwhelmed from the start, though the Austrian did prove himself to be a tough character in lasting until the latter stages of the second round before finally succumbing to a TKO finish.
It was a fight that admittedly had the potenital for more downside than up for Cormier, but the American Kickboxing Academy product said there were a few valuable lessons to take from the entire experience.
"I think it kind of went exactly as we thought," Cormier said. "I wanted to wrestle with him and get him tired. I've got a great jiu-jitsu coach now, but I won't give up position for a submission yet. So I just kind of rode him and when he got up, let him get up a little bit and then take him back down to wear on him a little bit. Not many guys can stay with that wrestling pace of up and down, up and down, up and down. He was a tough guy, though – he was real tough.
"What I take from this fight is, when everybody was looking past him, I was able to keep my focus on taking care of tonight and not looking at the bigger picture. I got a lot of, 'You're looking past this guy and to the UFC,' and everything, when the reality is I wasn't. I was just answering a lot of the questions that were asked of me. Even in a situation where most people around me may not think there's much to gain, I can maintain complete focus on that task and get through it, get through it healthy and put on a pretty good performance."
Of course, when Cormier took to the mic following his win, he didn't just call out Mir. No, Cormier is already planning more than one fight into the future, and he's not limiting himself to one division. The undefeated 33-year-old, who weighed 230 pounds for his fight with Staring, also said he'd like to face UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones in late 2013.
Cormier said there was a method to his madness, and some of it had to do with avoiding a fight with a hero of his, Dan Henderson.
"The reason I said I'd fight [Jones] in the fall is I'd need some time to get that weight down," Cormier admitted. "I'm comfortable at 230 right now, but that's still 25 more pounds. I'd need some time to make weight and I don't want to fight (next) at 205 because I don't want to fight Dan Henderson. I've kind of got a man-crush on Dan Henderson."
Henderson, a former Strikeforce and PRIDE champion, currently has a UFC 157 headlining bout with Lyoto Machida next month. "Hendo" is considered one of the UFC's top light heavyweights and would likely stand between Cormier and Jones should "D.C" make an immediate switch to 205 pounds.
And so Cormier will keep his sights set on Mir until the UFC tells him otherwise. After all, the story does seem to write itself.
"Most of the other guys are tied up, and pretty much everyone is scheduled in the division," Cormier said. "Why not? We were supposed to fight already. It's a good fight, and I think people would watch the fight. We could sell the fight, Frank and I, and make some money."
In fact, as far as Cormier is concerned, it's (practically) a done deal.