MMAterial Facts (03/24/10): ESPN Boosts MMA Coverage, DirecTV/Versus Settlement Details

March 24, 2010

  • ESPN ‘MMA Live’ graduates to television on ESPN2
  • Dana White looking to build a giant family entertainment complex in Vegas
  • UFC on Versus 1: Vera vs. Jones” draws 1.24 million viewers for live broadcast
  • Monte Cox Joins KOTC, HDNet, and Lake of the Torches Casino Partnership
  • The Launch of M-1 Global Japan, Evgeni Kogan Interview

ESPN ‘MMA Live’ graduates to television on ESPN2

MMAmania.com has learned that host Jon Anik along with analysts Franklin McNeil and Kenny Florian will soon bring their mixed martial arts news, highlights and analysis to the world’s biggest sports network on ESPN2.  (MMAMania)

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Georges St. Pierre, Frank Mir and Brock Lesnar scheduled for ESPN SportsCenter

UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre and heavyweight contender Frank Mir will be appearing live on SportsCenter this Thursday (March 25) on ESPN. “Rush” is expected at 10:15 a.m. ET while Mir will be stopping by a little later at 12:15 p.m. ET.

Later in the week, UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar will return to SportsCenter on Friday (March 26) at 10:15 a.m. to discuss his pending return to MMA. (MMAMania)

Dana White looking to build a giant family entertainment complex in Vegas

“I’m gonna build a bad-ass, nice, clean place up in Summerlin where people can take their kids and have a blast on the weekends,” he told me.

White’s complex would offer entertainment diversity on the level of a chain called Dave & Buster’s, which some Las Vegans know for its California locations. Dave & Buster’s combines a restaurant with scores of interactive games, from boxing to NASCAR simulators, video games, Skee-Ball, billiards and other indoor activities.  (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

UFC on Versus draws 1.24 million viewers, Details On Versus/DirecTV Settlement

The UFC’s first-ever event on Versus, “UFC on Versus 1: Vera vs. Jones,” held this past Sunday in Broomfield, Colo., drew 1.24 million viewers, MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) today confirmed.

UFC on Versus 1 marked the first event on the cable channel available to the 18 million homes serviced by DirecTV after a six-and-a-half-month service interruption due to a dispute over carrier fees.

The ratings included a 1.66 rating in the males 18-34 demographic, as well as a 1.21 figure in the persons 18-49 category. (MMAJunkie)

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Mixed martial arts fans helped to get Versus back in DirecTV’s lineup

“I know the fans were upset about WEC fights not being on the air, and I can only imagine that the volume multiplied by a number I can’t even guess with the fans knowing this UFC fight [with Jones] wasn’t going to be on, either,” UFC owner Lorenzo Fertitta said.

Fertitta admitted that he got into the ear of the DirecTV officials, and his company has given millions of dollars to DirecTV via monthly UFC pay-per-view cards. Fertitta said he told the DirecTV officials “it’d be nice” to have Versus accessible to the 25 million satellite customers in the U.S. and Latin America.  (LA Times)

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MMAPayout Note: Though DirecTV and Versus reached on a settlement and Versus was able to stay in its previous tier (non-premium), the deal wasn’t all favorable for Versus.  The new agreement reached placed Versus in the Channel 600 range, instead of its former Channel 300 range.  It may not seem like much, but the prime channels for DirecTV are in the 200’s, so the 600’s are quite a distance away and may detract future channel surfers from ever stumbling on to MMA on Versus.  Not to mention the confusion this ordeal created by taking away the channel from DirecTV customers for months and then placing it back on a different channel.

Monte Cox Joins KOTC, HDNet, and Lake of the Torches Casino Partnership

Lac du Flambeau’s Lake of the Torches Resort Casino just added more star power to its already successful mixed martial arts events. The casino, along with host promotion King of the Cage, has announced the affiliation of KOTC and high-profile promoter and fighter manager, Monte Cox, for the casino’s events.

Monte Cox is regarded as “The Godfather” of MMA and is considered to be one of the most influential figures in the sport today and in the sport’s history. Over the past 14 years no one has promoted more MMA events (nearly 600) or managed more UFC champions (seven) than Cox.

“King of the Cage has done a great job promoting events in the Midwest and at Lake of the Torches specifically,” Cox said. “I think it is, without a doubt, the top event in the state. Now, we will use our contacts, fighters and promotional team to bring the current and future stars of the sport to the area.”

King of the Cage President Terry Trebilcock and Cox have been long-time friends and have often looked for opportunities to join forces. “Terry and I started in MMA about the same time and we’ve known each other for a long time. There’s a lot of mutual respect and we’ve often talked about working together on projects,” Cox said. “I’m excited about this and I know with the two of us behind it great things will follow.”  (PRESS RELEASE)

The Launch of M-1 Global Japan, Evgeni Kogan Interview

A press conference was held today in Tokyo. The theme of the event was “aiming at the globalization of MMA.” The press conference was to announce a small show on 4/16 at Shinjuku FACE in Tokyo called “M-1 Selection ASIA EDITION 2010 Japan.” Heading up M-1 Global Japan is former AtoZ Japanese pro-wrestling women’s wrestling ring announcer Mr. Tsuruga (he’s in the middle of the photo linked above). There will be M-1 events throughout Asia (including South Korea). (FightOpinion)

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MMA Nation Interview Recap: Evgeni Kogan Talks Fedor Emelianenko and M-1 Global’s Goals

Kogan made it clear that M-1 does not currently have the level of brand recognition in America that they would like but that they do plan on continuing to attempt to make the connection with the sport’s fanbase.  Also important to M-1 is developing an understanding that they are not simply a “management company” but are a full fledged fight promotion putting on events in multiple continents this year.  Kogan also admitted that in part the lack of narrative control by M-1 during the Fedor/UFC negotiations led to the issues with understanding the company and that they plan to work more with the media and fans going forward.  (BloodyElbow)

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“I want to take The Ultimate Fighter all over the world. We’re working on the Middle East right now. That will probably happen the soonest. I want one in the UK and then one for all of Europe. …That has been in the works for a while and that isn’t an easy one to pull off.”  (Dana White on Globalizing TUF, MMACanada)

QUICK HITS

  • Wanderlei Silva vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama set for UFC 116 in Las Vegas (MMAJunkie)
  • Showtime offers free preview weekend, Strikeforce Challengers VII included (MMAJunkie)
  • Dana White promises UFC return to Dublin in 2010 (MMAJunkie)
  • Bellator adds “TUF 7” alum Luke Zachrich for season-two middleweight tourney (MMAJunkie)
  • Four amateur contests round-out Strikeforce Challengers VII’s 11-bout fight card (MMAJunkie)
  • Dana White expects UFC’s return to German TV, not ruling out live event in interim (MMAJunkie)
  • UFC Makes Big Splash in New York City (MMAFighting)
  • White Unsure of Direction, Purpose for Toney (MMAFighting)
  • UFC 111 Presser Notes: White on Toney Deal, Upcoming Shows & More (Sherdog)
  • Hendo Grades Early Strikeforce, CBS Efforts; Calls Counter-Programming ‘Childish’ (Sherdog)
  • K.J. NOONS HAD BROKEN FOOT DURING TO DIDA WIN (MMAWeekly)
  • FEDOR CONFIRMED FOR JUNE RETURN AGAINST WERDUM (MMAWeekly)
  • White vlog: Trapped in Toronto (Cage Writer)
  • ADCC champ Braulio Estima set for MMA debut against Rick Hawn at Shine Fights (FiveOuncesOfPain)
  • News Roundup: Marshall, Gugerty, Another Bellator Signing (Heavy)

TV LISTINGS

  • HDNet Fights Vault (Eddie Alvarez) at 8 PM ET on HDNet (03/26/10)
  • InsideMMA (Wanderlei Silva, Joe Soto, Shane Carwin) at 9 PM ET on HDNet (03/26/10)
  • HDNet Fights: King of the Cage “Legacy” at 10 PM ET on HDNet (03/26/10)
  • Strikeforce Challengers: Johnson vs Mahe at 11 PM ET/PT on Showtime (03/26/10)
  • UFC 111: GSP vs Hardy at 10 PM ET on PPV (03/27/10)
  • HDNet Fights Presents DREAM.13 at 11 PM ET on HDNet (03/27/10)

UPCOMING EVENTS

  • HDNet Fights: King of the Cage – Legacy at 10 PM ET on HDNet (03/26/10)
  • Strikeforce Challengers: Johnson vs Mahe at 11 PM ET/PT on Showtime (03/26/10)
  • UFC 111: GSP vs Hardy at 10 PM ET on PPV (03/27/10)
  • UFN 21 : Florian vs Gomi at 10 PM ET on Spike (03/31/10)
  • The Ultimate Fighter 11 Debut after UFN 21 on Spike (03/31/10)

"Celebrity Apprentice" Star and Former WWE Diva Maria Kanellis to Join HDNet's MMA Broadcast Team

March 15, 2010

DALLAS (March 15, 2010) – Last week on HDNet’s Inside MMA, we broke the news that Maria Kanellis will become the newest member of the network’s MMA broadcast team. Kanellis was WWE’s 2009 “Diva of the Year,” a Playboy Cover Girl, recording artist and a contestant on this season’s  “Celebrity Apprentice.” She will debut as the backstage correspondent on HDNet’s LIVE broadcast of “Mark Burnett Presents: King of the Cage: Legacy” on March 26 from the Silver Legacy Casino in Reno, Nev.

“Maria is an amazing talent with a devoted fan base and we are excited to have her as part of our MMA broadcast team,” said Andrew Simon, CEO of HDNet Fights. “Maria loves MMA and is a superstar on LIVE television – the MMA community will welcome the passion she will bring to covering the sport.”

“My mantra is ‘passion is my motivation’ and I am definitely passionate about MMA!” said Kanellis.  “I am excited for the opportunity to be part of the HDNet family.  I love their commitment to the sport.”

Kanellis began her career in 2004 as a WWE Diva and appeared on the cover of Playboy magazine in April 2008. Her television credits include appearances on “Family Feud,” “Project Runway,” ” VH1’s Top 20 Video Countdown,” “The Insider,” “Best Damn Sports Show Period,” “Red Eye” and “The Today Show.”

She will be featured as a contestant on this season’s  “The Celebrity Apprentice” which premiered on March 14 on NBC. Her debut album “Seven Sins” will be available on iTunes on April 13 and a preview of the first single can be heard at http://mariakanellis.net.

About HDNet

HDNet (www.hd.net) is the independent network with unique and provocative content that appeals to men of all ages and is delivered in true high definition.

HDNet to Air "Mark Burnett Presents: King of the Cage-Vengeance"

February 12, 2010

WHAT: HDNet announces the fight card to be featured in the first “Mark Burnett Presents:  King of the Cage” event entitled “Vengeance.”  The event will feature three title fights in one night!  In the heavyweight division, champion Tony “Kryptonite” Lopez (17-2) puts his 15-fight win streak on the line against Tyler East (4-2).  KOTC Bantamweight champion and DREAM veteran Abel Cullum (16-3) faces a rising star in undefeated Joe Coca (7-0).  Wrapping up the championship bouts, Lightweight champion Donald Sanchez (18-10) who’s on a 3-fight win streak, takes on Victor “Joe Boxer” Valenzuela (9-4-2).

The Main Event features a clash of Heavyweights, as cage veteran Travis Wiuff (58-13), who is on a 4-fight winning streak, faces Mike Kyle (13-7) who won four of his last five fights.  HDNet rounds out this stacked card with Rich Clementi (35-15) vs. submission specialist Quinn Mulhern (8-1).

HDNet Fights CEO, Andrew Simon said, “This event marks the beginning of great relationship between HDNet and Mark Burnett Presents: King of the Cage.  Everyone is excited about showcasing great fights while highlighting the long journey that these fighters endure to make it to national television.”

The HDNet announce team will pair “The Voice” Michael Schiavello with MMA fighter and MTV Bully Beatdown star Jason “Mayhem” Miller.  HDNet will also introduce Andrea Feczko to MMA fans as backstage reporter.

WHEN: LIVE, Friday,February 12 at 10:00 p.m. ET only on HDNet.

MMAterial Facts (02/01/10) : Strikeforce Miami Edition

February 1, 2010

Strikeforce Miami Post-Fight News and Notes

  • More Info On Problematic EA/Strikeforce Stream: A lot of questions were asked on Saturday as to what happened and who to blame for the bad EA/Strikeforce stream.  According to Sam Strayer via Josh Gross,  the executive producer of  iBN Sports (who was responsible for streaming the Strikeforce Jay Hieron vs Joe Riggs fight on Saturday):  “We had a huge influx of fans… The show went well for most. …Some with lower bandwidth had trouble due to high quality of stream. They are looking into a re-air.” Though many fans were obviously disappointed by the stream quality (or in most cases lack thereof) , there were apparently a few fans who were blessed with enough bandwidth to watch the fight.  Not focusing on only the negative, Strayer commented on the amazing turnout for the stream,   “Great night tonight. iBN Stream had some technical issues out of the venue… what an amazing turnout for the stream. Unbelievable numbers… All the fans can watch it again soon… We will keep you posted!!!” We will keep an eye on when EA/Strikeforce/iBN  plan to make the fight available again for viewing.
  • Paydays Put Into Perspective: Wes Sims (22-13), who lost to Bobby Lashley (5-0) by TKO in the first round on Saturday night, was estimated to make $30,000  (Josh Gross).  Hershel Walker (1-0), who won his debut against Greg Nagy (1-2), was estimated to make six figures, which he will donate to charity (MMAJunkie).  The way this is shaping, taking into consideration that Lashley, Diaz, Zaromskis, Manhoef, Lawler, and Cyborg will also make some good pay days, the pay scale for this event should be one of the highest in Strikeforce’s short MMA history.
  • Attendance Put Into Perspective: According to Josh Gross over at Sports Illustrated, 8,156 MMA fans packed the BankAtlantic Center on Saturday night.  To put the number in perspective, Elite XC’s CBS event “Heat”, which featured hometown product and current “MMA Viewership King” Kimbo Slice against Seth Petruzelli, drew 9,414 (7,723 paid) fans for a live gate of $826,433.  If Strikeforce Miami can draw similar numbers, which they are currently positioned to do, it will meet the gate and revenue expectations coming into this weekend.
  • Herschel Walker Brought In The Viewers and Media Attention: Some are still questioning whether or not it was a good move by Strikeforce to promote Herschel Walker the way they did and put him on the main card this weekend over the likes of arguably more deserving fighters Joe Riggs and Jay Hieron.  Let me just say that absolutely no one on the card came even close to garnering the amount of attention that Hershel Walker received for this event. Walker got heavy attention over at ESPN (Front Page Top Headlines, Top 10 Plays, ESPN Radio, PTI, MMA Live, etc), news papers and publications across the nation, most notably (Atlanta, Texas, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Missouri, DC, and Florida), became a trending topic on Twitter, Front page of CNN, and a slew more nation wide.  In what has to be considered good news for Strikeforce, ESPN and ESPN News showed the MMA tab on their “Scores Bar” followed by  “Strikeforce:” and the results from all main card bouts plus Hieron vs Riggs.  The promotion and amount of eyeballs that Herschel Walker drew for this event had to be deemed a huge success for Strikeforce.  Strong ratings are expected for this event, and the booking of Walker by Strikeforce and Showtime was no mistake.  EliteXC had also been interested in using Walker before they folded, and it comes to no surprise that some of the biggest viewership numbers for MMA on Showtime and CBS come from the Southern states.  Another strategic move by all parties was holding this event the day before the Pro Bowl in Florida.  The booking of Walker got a  good number of NFL affiliates, players, and fans to buy tickets for this event and Showtime’s ties to the NFL (“Inside The NFL”) most likely lead to NY Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan’s infamous interview, which is still getting headlines.  Not to mention that EA Sports, who hosts the Madden Bowl on Super Bowl Week, was also on scene to promote the Madden franchise, sponsor fighters, and promote their upcoming EA Sports MMA game.  The scheduling and timing of the event was well crafted and was a good display of synergy between EA, Strikeforce, and Showtime to use the NFL’s fan base as potential draws to the event.  Now, they just need to work on better execution.
  • What’s Next For Strikeforce Miami Participants: Scott Coker has already confirmed  interest in putting together Cyborg vs Erin Toughill (145 Lbs Title), Gilbert Melendez (Strikeforce LW Champ) vs Shinya Aoki (DREAM LW Champ), Nick Diaz vs Mach Sakurai/Jay Hieron (WW Title), and Bobby Lashley vs Brett Rogers in the near future (MMAFighting).  The April CBS show is already in the plans and Fedor Emelianenko, Fabricio Werdum, Jake Shields, Dan Henderson, Gegard Mousasi, King Mo, Brett Rogers, and Bobby Lashley have all been rumored for the event.  Frank Shamrock vs Pat Miletich is also being rumored at the moment for a May Strikeforce event (FiveOuncesOfPain).  There has also been a great deal of talk that Nick Diaz or Robbie Lawler will be jumping ship to the UFC.  I don’t expect that to be happening anytime soon, since both have multiple fights left in their Strikeforce contracts.
  • Strikeforce Fighter Announcements:  Scott Coker implied (previously mentioned by Gegard Mousasi’s manager) that DREAM would be hosting LHW and HW GP’s for 2010, which would free up the lighter weight fighters from DREAM for Strikeforce to use.  Coker has already shown interest in getting Aoki, Kawajiri, Sakurai, Hansen, and JZ in Strikeforce.  Another big announcement was the Women’s 135 lbs and 145 lbs tournaments which are rumored to start around June this year.  Both tournaments will take place within 2 events (1 fight on the first event, 2 fights on the second to crown the winner) and will consist of 8 participants. Strikeforce promises to get the best female fighters around the world in order to create true contenders for Cyborg Santos and for the winner of Sarah Kaufman vs Takayo Hashi, which is for the 135 lbs title bout  set to take place in the February 26th Strikeforce Challengers card. (Sherdog)
  • Strikeforce Announces TV Deals: Distributor Shine International has completed a host of deals for its Strikeforce brand internationally, selling more than 70 hours of mixed martial arts programming in Europe, Australia and Latin America. Virgin Media Television-owned Bravo in the UK, Turner in Latin America, FX in Portugal, Ukraine’s Megasport, Seven Network in Australia and Dahlia TV in Italy have all purchased Strikeforce’s library of TV programming (MMAPayout) .  Channel Seven is one of Australia’s biggest networks, and the UK fans were buzzing this weekend after watching the Strikeforce Miami event on Bravo.
  • UPDATE: Looks like MMAJunkie is reporting that Strikeforce Miami drew 517K viewers, which is a 52% ratings increase over the previous Strikeforce event on Showtime (Strikeforce Evolution) and finishes in second place behind Strikeforce: Carano vs Cyborg who drew 576K viewers and beat Strikeforce: Kimbo vs Tank, which drew 511K.  This is along the range I predicted above, and has to be considered a success for Strikeforce and Showtime, despite Spike TV counter-programming the event with UFC 107, which drew 2.2 million viewers.

QUICK HITS

  • UFC to Offer Spanish PPV Broadcasts (MMAPayout’s Perspective)
  • Strikeforce Miami: Payout Perspective (MMAPayout’s Perspective)
  • Diaz shares spotlight with Walker at Strikeforce: Miami (Sports Illustrated)
  • Diaz bludgeons Zaromskis; Walker wins (ESPN)
  • Despite debut MMA win, NFL great Herschel Walker not a lock for a second fight (MMAJunkie)
  • New York Jets coach Rex Ryan issues apology after “Strikeforce: Miami” bird-flipping (MMAJunkie)
  • Coker Says Aoki, Sakurai, Toughill Will Get Title Shots (MMAFighting)
  • Coker Eyeing Melendez-Aoki, Women’s Tourneys in 2010 (Sherdog)
  • Strikeforce Post-Mortem: Punches in Bunches, Football’s Revenge, and More (Sherdog)
  • Tim Kennedy latest addition to “EA Sports MMA” videogame roster (MMAJunkie)
  • King Of The Cage Is Coming To HDNet on February 12 (HDNet)
  • Despite initial one-sided affair, Strikeforce’s Robbie Lawler said he stuck to game plan (MMAJunkie)
  • Free agent Jay Hieron still not guaranteed title shot with new Strikeforce champ Nick Diaz (MMAJunkie)
  • Bellator adds DREAM vet Joe Warren to season-two featherweight tourney (MMAJunkie)
  • Shine Fights signs Abu Dhabi champ Braulio Estima to multi-fight deal (MMAJunkie)
  • Weekend Rundown: Yamaguchi Captures KOTC Crown (Sherdog)
  • Overeem’s Trainer Likes Chances vs. Fedor (MMAFighting)
  • On Mend, Tyson Griffin Could Be In Vancouver (MMAWeekly)
  • Freestyle Cage Fighting 39 Results (MMARising)

IMAGE OF THE DAY

All Elbows: Robbie Lawler vs Melvin Manhoef

TV LISTINGS

  • HDNet Fights Presents K-1 Classics (2005 World GP Finals)  at 8 PM ET on HDNet (02/05/10)
  • InsideMMA (Brendan Schaub, Matt Mitrione, & Dermontti Dawson) at 9 PM ET on HDNet (02/05/10)
  • HDNet Fights Presents “Furious Finishes III” at 10 PM ET on HDNet (02/05/10)
  • Best of Pride FC at 10 PM ET/PT on Spike (02/05/10)
  • UFC 109 at 10 PM ET on PPV (02/06/10)

UPCOMING EVENTS

  • UFC 109: Couture vs Coleman at 10 PM ET on PPV (02/06/10)
  • HDNet Fights: King of the Cage – Vengeance at 10 PM ET on HDNet (02/12/10)
  • UFC 110: Nogueira vs Velazquez at 10 PM ET on PPV (02/20/10)
  • Strikeforce Challengers: Prangley vs  Amoussou at 11 PM ET/PT on Showtime (02/26/10)
  • WEC 47: Bowles vs Cruz on at 10 PM ET on Versus (03/06/10)

HDNet Announces Multi-year Partnership with "Mark Burnett Presents: King of the Cage"

February 1, 2010

DALLAS (February 1, 2010)  HDNet announces a multi-year partnership with “Mark Burnett Presents: King of the Cage,” in which, under terms of the agreement, the network will feature LIVE “King of the Cage”events every month.

The first event will air on HDNet on Friday, February 12 at 10:00 p.m. ET.

“King of the Cage and Mark Burnett are pioneers in their respective fields, and we are excited to feature ‘Mark Burnett Presents:  King of the Cage’ on HDNet as part of our commitment to being the home of MMA,” said Mark Cuban, Chairman and Co-founder of HDNet. “The award-winning story telling of Mark Burnett will bring the personalities of MMA to life in a way that has never been seen before.”

“MMA fighters are some of the most fascinating personalities I have ever encountered, and I am excited about the opportunity to help KOTC to bring those characters to life on HDNet,” said Mark Burnett.  “I am impressed with the quality of King of the Cage, and we look forward to bringing their brand to the next level in conjunction with Mark Cuban, who is one of the truly great entrepreneurs of media and sports.”

“King of the Cage is committed to delivering great fights while developing the stars of tomorrow in MMA,” said Terry Trebilcock, President of King of the Cage. “Working with Mark Burnett and HDNet provides us with the perfect platform to do just that.”

Founded in 1998, “King of the Cage” has become the most prolific MMA promoter in the United States, and has grown into an internationally recognized brand, with events in Canada, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Japan. It has launched the careers of many MMA superstars including Forrest Griffin, Quinton Jackson, and Urijah Faber.

Mark Burnett is a leading executive producer for primetime television, cable and the Internet, and has produced over 1,100 hours of television programming which regularly air in over 70 countries around the world. Burnett has revolutionized television with continuing hits such as “Survivor” (CBS), “The Apprentice” (NBC), the now syndicated “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” (FOX), which is currently being produced in 55 countries, the daytime syndicated hit “Martha,” and the hit series “Shark Tank” (ABC); giving Mark a different series on each of the four major networks.

Burnett also produces the MTV Movie Awards and Bully Beatdown (MTV).  Burnett started off 2010 with a bang, producing the 36th annual People’s Choice Awards (CBS).

About HDNet

HDNet (www.hd.net) is the independent network with unique and provocative content that appeals to men of all ages and is delivered in true high definition.

MMAterial Facts (01/29/10)

January 29, 2010

  • Shine International strikes Strikeforce deals
  • Harris Confirms WEC 48: Aldo vs. Faber in May on PPV
  • Gov’s plan to legalize mixed martial arts gets mixed reviews
  • Michigan promoter reveals own highs and lows during state’s drive toward pro MMA
  • “Inside MMA” to Preview “Strikeforce: Miami”,  KOTC signs TV Deal With HDNet
  • Herschel Walker ready to tackle MMA

Shine International strikes Strikeforce deals

Distributor Shine International has completed a host of deals for its Strikeforce brand internationally, selling more than 70 hours of mixed martial arts programming in Europe, Australia and Latin America.

Virgin Media Television-owned Bravo in the UK, Turner in Latin America, FX in Portugal, Ukraine’s Megasport, Seven Network in Australia and Dahlia TV in Italy have all purchased Strikeforce’s library of TV programming.

“Strikeforce is the leader in mixed martial arts content as proven by the huge demand for their programming around the world,” said Chris Grant, president of Shine International.

“They have the world’s best fighters, the world’s best events and they know how to translate that into fast-paced programming that captures what will soon be the most popular sport in the world.”

The deal covers the 30 episodes and 56 hours of fights that have aired on NBC and Showtime respectively. (C21Media)

Harris Confirms WEC 48: Aldo vs. Faber in May on PPV

The upcoming featherweight title fight between champion Jose Aldo and challenger Urijah Faber will be the first pay-per-view fight card in World Extreme Cagefighting history, WEC President Reed Harris said Friday.

“I think the Aldo-Faber fight could truly be one of the most exciting fights ever in the whole sport of MMA,” Harris said on the Dave and Mahoney Show.

Harris said an official announcement is coming within the next week or 10 days, and that he expects the fight to take place in May and cost $45, the same price as a UFC pay-per-view.

There’s no question that Aldo vs. Faber is a good enough fight to be worthy of pay-per-view. The question is whether the WEC can convince enough people of its worthiness to make the event a financial success. Non-UFC MMA events have never turned a profit on North American pay-per-view, and the WEC faces an uphill battle in making this one work, no matter how great a fight Faber vs. Aldo is.  (MMAFighting) … [MMA Payout’s Perspective]

Gov’s plan to legalize mixed martial arts gets mixed reviews

New York Gov. David Paterson’s plan to legalize mixed martial arts in an effort to raise $2 million to help close the budget gap doesn’t have much support among registered voters.

According to the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, 68 percent of registered New York voters opposed Paterson’s plan to legalize what’s known as ultimate fighting. However, 29 percent support the measure.

The institute, which is affiliated with Marist College in Poughkeepsie, found 82 percent of women and 55 percent of men disapproving Paterson’s proposal.  (The Business Review)

Michigan promoter reveals own highs and lows during state’s drive toward pro MMA

Donofrio credits the UFC with helping Michigan regulators realize the importance of bringing the sport to the state, but he also feels the sport’s biggest promotion may have added a few regulations that make true grassroots growth of professional MMA very difficult.

“It wasn’t exactly as I hoped it would be,” Donofrio admitted. “There were so many stipulations that would make it difficult for a small-time promoter to be successful. One of them was you have to have a minimum of 30 rounds (on a card), which would be 10 three-round fights. You can’t have a pro-am card. The fee to do the show is $2,000 compared to $125 for boxing. And then the fighters have to have a CT scan and EKG, all that stuff.

“So it’s kind of difficult for anybody to be profitable doing a professional show here in Michigan. That was probably by design.”

Donofrio, who is the first to admit he’s not a medical professional, thinks perhaps the extensive testing could be reserved for older fighters and those who have shown previous reason for concern. Nevertheless, the promoter admits fighter safety is of the utmost concern, and simply hopes the commission will at least revisit the fees one day in the future.

In the meantime, Donofrio is pleased that unlike a handful of states still looking to pass regulation, Michigan will no longer have to concern itself with unregulated events.

“I think the regulations in Michigan are pretty strict, but I think the rogue promoters need to be put in check,” Donofrio said.  (MMAJunkie) … [MMAPayout’s Perspective]

“Inside MMA” to Preview “Strikeforce: Miami”,  KOTC signs TV Deal With HDNet

This week the “Inside MMA” panel will preview the “Strikeforce: Miami” fight card with the following fighters joining Kenny Rice and Bas Rutten to add perspective to the event and to discuss their own journey through the ranks in mixed martial arts.  The panel features Gegard Mousasi, Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champ (and former Dream Middleweight Champ), Gilbert Melendez, Strikeforce Lightweight Champ and Tony Lopez, the Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight Champion of King of the Cage.  The panel will take a look at the Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos vs. Marloes Coenen match-up, along with the Nick Diaz vs. Marius Zaromskis fight and Herschel Walker vs. Greg Nagy.

Also, Ron Kruck files a report on the MMA debut of Walker, the Heisman Trophy winner, and former NFL running back.  Despite having several decades of experience in martial arts and being a sixth- degree black belt in tae kwon do, Walker admits he has quite a learning curve.

Also, HDNet will make a BIG announcement on tonight’s broadcast.  Don’t miss it!  (HDNet Fights)

MMAPayout Note: KOTC has partnered with Mark Burnett to produce KOTC based programming and signed a 3 year deal with HDNet for live monthly events. The first KOTC event to air live on HDNet will be the 2/12/10 show, which features Lopez v. East, Valenzuela v. Sanchez, Coca v. Cullum, Wiuff v. Kyle, and Clementi vs. Lapsley.

Herschel Walker ready to tackle MMA

Herschel Walker is most known for his accomplishments on the gridiron, but his athleticism extends further, and on Saturday, Jan. 30, he will add mixed martial artist to a stellar résumé, debuting for Strikeforce at the Bank Atlantic Center in Sunrise.

The 47-year-old Walker will face another MMA newcomer, Greg Nagy (1-1).

“I love martial arts,” he said. “I’ve loved it for years. I love the sport of it. When I saw MMA years ago, I fell in love with it.

“They’ve cleaned it up so much that it is now a mainstream sport, and I wanted to get involved in it. There are incredible athletes doing it, and I want to consider myself a good athlete, and that’s the reason I want to do it.”

A very good athlete, Walker, a 6-1, 220-pound former running back with the University of Georgia, Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings, holds a fifth degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and boasts additional training in Kenpo karate and Muay Thai.

“People have to know that I love this sport [MMA], but I am green,” he noted. “I’m not stepping into this sport, fighting for a belt, `Oh, I want to be heavyweight champion.’ No.

“I’m stepping into this sport because I love it and to fight people who are trying to grow like I’m trying to grow. I don’t know how far I’m going to go and how long I’m going to be in it.”  (Miami Herald)

***

Drive to compete powers Walker’s jump to MMA

“This is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” the 6-foot-1, 220-pound Walker said. “This was a very tough sport for me. … Every muscle in your body is sore.”

He added that his MMA instruction was even tougher than the grueling NFL training camps he endured for 12 seasons in the sweltering heat. Walker said that in football, a play goes for eight seconds and then players have 30 seconds to rest. In MMA, athletes don’t have such a luxury.

Even his Tae Kwon Do skills were somewhat neutralized, saying he had to, in essence, forget about that fighting style and enter his training with a completely open mind.

Walker, who said he’s an avid fan of MMA and watching it inspired him to enter the sport, is thankful to Strikeforce for giving him a shot. For a company looking to raise its profile any way it can, this was a simple decision. In announcing Walker’s signing in September, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker said, “I flew to L.A. last month to watch Herschel train and was surprised to see his advanced wrestling and striking abilities. He’s got work ahead of him.”

Coker’s company has plenty of work to do too. Strikeforce is the No. 2 MMA company in the United States, behind the juggernaut Ultimate Fighting Championship. Not many sports bosses are going to travel to watch a guy pushing 50. But, Walker brings a known name and will attract mainstream interest.  (Fox Sports)

QUICK HITS

  • MMA fighting: Herschel Walker faces new challenge at 47 (Miami Herald)
  • ESPN Primer: Strikeforce: Miami’ (ESPN)
  • COENEN READY TO GO TOE-TO-TOE WITH CYBORG (MMAWeekly)
  • The future of women’s MMA (Baltimore Sun)
  • Nick Diaz getting back in cage (Lodi News)
  • Cyborg Santos ‘Ready for War’ With Marloes Coenen (MMAFighting)
  • Shamrock gives Coenen a shot at ‘Cyborg’ upset (Cage Fighter)
  • Diaz, Manhoef tabbed to earn victories at Strikeforce: Miami (Sports Illustrated)
  • Strike Force Miami (Sun Sentinel)
  • Nagy Ready to Seize his ‘Opportunity of a Lifetime’ (Sherdog)
  • Lawler: I’ll take my chances on the feet against Manhoef (USA Today)
  • Melvin Manhoef Coming to Strikeforce for ‘American Dream’ (MMAFighting)
  • Wes Sims promises Hogan legdrop on Lashley (USA Today)
  • Five Burning Questions for Strikeforce in 2010 (MMAFighting)
  • Five Burning Questions for WEC in 2010 (MMAFighting)
  • Intimidation Clothing Sponsors Greg Nagy at Strikeforce Miami (Email Wire)
  • 5 Heavyweights Strikeforce Needs to Sign (Fight Magazine)
  • Matrix Fights to launch in Philadelphia on Feb. 27 with Matt Makowski vs. LeVon Maynard (5OzsOfPain)
  • Ultimate fighting a knockout and bound for Sydney (Cumberland Courier)
  • King of Cage competition producer returns home (U.S. Marine Corps Bases Japan)
  • Marloes Coenen: Survival of the Fittest (Fight Magazine)
  • DREAM LIGHTWEIGHTS HEADED TO STRIKEFORCE (MMAWeekly)
  • HIERON/RIGGS WINNER LIKELY TO GET TITLE SHOT (MMAWeekly)
  • DREAM Roughs Out 2010 Plans, Korea Possible (MMAWeekly)
  • King Of The Cage Japan: “Toryumon” Preview (MMARising)

VIDEO OF THE DAY

  • Inside MMA Preview (01/29/10): Guests Gegard Mousasi, Gilbert Melendez and Tony Lopez weigh in on the latest in mixed martial arts news with hosts Kenny Rice and Bas Rutten. Also, reporter Ron Kruck previews the upcoming Strikeforce: Miami fight card.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

Updates on the attendance for the past two shows. The Jan. 2 show drew 13,529 fans in total according to the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Those are different numbers than announced that night or numbers from the building. The live attendance and gate were the same as we reported, with 8,004 paying $1,969,670, so there were 5,314 comp tickets, and of those paid tickets, a couple of thousand were casino buys, so there were actually more fans who didn’t pay for tickets in the arena than paid. (Dave Meltzer commenting on UFC 108 attendance, Wrestling Observer)

TV LISTINGS

  • HDNet Fights Presents K-1 Classics (Musashi Tribute) at 8 PM ET on HDNet (01/29/10)
  • InsideMMA (Gegard Mousasi, Gilbert Melendez, & Tony Lopez) at 9 PM ET on HDNet (01/29/10)
  • HDNet Fights Presents Best of DREAM Super Hulk GP at 10 PM ET on HDNet (01/29/10)
  • Best of Pride FC at 10 PM ET/PT on Spike (01/29/10)
  • Strikeforce Miami: Diaz vs Zaromskis at 10 PM ET/PT on Showtime (01/30/10)
  • Countdown to UFC 109 at 12:30 AM ET/PT on Spike (01/30/10)

UPCOMING EVENTS

  • Strikeforce Miami: Diaz vs Zaromskis at 10 PM ET/PT on Showtime (01/30/10)
  • FCF 39: Women’s 135 lbs Grand Prix: Opening Round on PPV (01/30/10)
  • KOTC: Toryumon from Okinawa, Japan on PPV (01/30/10)
  • UFC 109 at 10 PM ET on PPV (02/06/10)

MMAterial Facts (01/27/10)

January 27, 2010

  • UFC now available on Sohu.com
  • UFC to make history in Abu Dhabi at UFC 112
  • Woods Tops Power List in Bloomberg BusinessWeek Sports Rankings (Fedor and Lesnar Make List)
  • Bellator Selects Its Home Base
  • Stakes are high in Walker’s MMA debut
  • Second UFC Gym to open in California this summer

UFC now available on Sohu.com

Hundreds of millions of sports fans in China will now have the opportunity to see UFC superstars like Randy Couture, Georges St-Pierre and “Minotauro” Nogueira fight in the UFC® Octagon™.  The Ultimate Fighting Championship organization today announced it has inked a deal with one of the country’s largest web portals, Sohu.com to present UFC pay per view events online. Named the official web partner of the UFC in China, Sohu.com will live broadcast UFC events starting with UFC 109: RELENTLESS in February.

“China is one of the gateways to building UFC into the biggest sport in the world,” said Dana White, UFC President.  “China is the cradle of martial arts, many of the styles that you see in the UFC were born in this country.  With Sohu.com as our web partner, we look forward to presenting world class fights and to bringing the great tradition of martial arts back to its homeland in China.”

Larry Jin, Director of Sports, Sohu.com said, “SOHU Kungfu channel is made to comprehensively report and follow-up the many Kungfu fighting related events both in China and overseas. We are looking forward to working with the UFC to create a stronger relationship and to seeing Chinese warriors in the Octagon.” (UFC)

UFC to make history in Abu Dhabi at UFC 112

UFC in Abu Dhabi Official

The world’s greatest indoor sporting event goes outdoors on April 10 as the Ultimate Fighting Championship® organisation lands in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates for the first time.

Some of the world’s greatest mixed martial artists will appear on the historic open-air UFC 112 event at the Concert Arena, Ferrari World, Yas Island.

Topped by a double main event, two UFC world titles will be on the line at UFC 112. First, UFC lightweight champion BJ ‘The Prodigy’ Penn puts his belt on the line against No.1 contender Frankie ‘The Answer’ Edgar and then UFC middleweight king Anderson ‘The Spider’ Silva defends his crown against fellow Brazilian striker Vitor ‘The Phenom’ Belfort.

As well as two fascinating UFC title clashes, the UFC’s first venture into the region will also showcase an intriguing battle of legends as UFC icon Matt Hughes locks horns with MMA pioneer and Brazilian jiu-jitsu legend Renzo Gracie at welterweight.

UFC President Dana White said: “This is one of the biggest and most significant nights in the history of the UFC. UFC 112 is our first ever outdoor event and it is taking place in the hometown of our brand new partners, Flash Entertainment. We are very happy we could deliver what fans around the world will recognise as a stacked card featuring the sport’s biggest stars.”  (UFC)

Woods Tops Power List in Bloomberg BusinessWeek Sports Rankings (Fedor and Lesnar Make List)

To determine who the 100 most powerful athletes are on and off the field, Bloomberg BusinessWeek teamed with CSE, formerly known as Career Sports & Entertainment, an integrated sports and entertainment company that connects brands with fans, and Bloomberg BusinessWeek columnist Rick Horrow of Horrow Sports Ventures and host of “The $ports Take with Sports Professor Rick Horrow,” to create the 2010 version of the Power 100.

Unlike previous Power 100s, this year’s would focus only on athletes — not owners, agents, commissioners or coaches. On- field metrics included athletes who scored the best on the field (or the rink, greens or court) over a two-year period. The more popular the sport, the more weight those achievements garnered. (Bloomberg)

82. Fedor Emelianenko   Mixed Martial Arts
83. Derrick Rose              Basketball
84. Vijay Singh                 Golf
85. Steven Jackson         Football
86. Andy Murray            Tennis
87. Allen Iverson           Basketball
88. Danica Patrick          Auto Racing
89. Brandon Roy             Basketball
90. Manny Ramirez       Baseball
91. Floyd Mayweather    Boxing
92. Candace Parker          Basketball
93. Shane Mosley              Boxing
94. Diana Taurasi              Basketball
95. Misty May-Treanor   Volleyball
96. Brock Lesnar        Mixed Martial Arts
97. Patrick Kane             Hockey
98. Chad Ochocinco      Football
99. Matt Ryan                  Football
100. Ryan Sheckler       Skateboarding

Bellator Selects Its Home Base

Mixed martial arts promotions typically have one town they return to over and over again with their biggest and best events. The UFC has Las Vegas. Strikeforce has San Jose. The WEC has Sacramento.

Bellator Fighting Championships has now made it official that it has a home of its own, with Hollywood, Fla., set to host Bellator’s top shows in 2010.

Bellator has announced that its Season 2 premiere will take place on April 8 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla., and that it will return to the venue for its June 10 Season 2 finale, its Aug. 12 Season 3 premiere and its Oct. 28 Season 3 finale.

The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino also hosted Bellator’s Season 1 premiere and Season 1 finale.

“We are thrilled to be returning to the Seminole Hard Rock during our second and third seasons,” Bellator founder and CEO Bjorn Rebney said in a statement. “As we discovered during our inaugural season, the Hard Rock Live is one of the finest, most state-of-the-art venues for MMA and the fan response was spectacular. We’re looking forward to bringing four world-class MMA events to South Florida and some of the country’s most devoted and die-hard MMA fans.”   (MMAFighting)

Stakes are high in Walker’s MMA debut

Most will think of things like, “Yeah, it’s too bad he got hurt,” or “It’s too bad he embarrassed the sport,” or even “It’s too bad this had to be televised.”

But don’t expect to see a sports horror story like Willie Mays playing center in the 1973 World Series or Johnny Unitas quarterbacking the San Diego Chargers or Muhammad Ali fighting Larry Holmes. Instead, Walker, the 1982 Heisman Trophy winner, will fulfill a long-time dream on Saturday by fighting professionally for the first time.

More likely, after the fight, most who watch Walker – and rest assured, it will be one of the largest audiences Showtime has ever had for an MMA card – will say “It’s too bad the guy wasn’t born 25 years later.”

He’s such a great athlete, if he were born in 1987 instead of in 1962, he could have become the greatest MMA fighter who ever lived.

We’ll never know. This is a guy who was born when John F. Kennedy was president for barely a year. The Cuban Missile Crisis was still seven months away.  (Yahoo! Sports)

***

A lot of the players who are playing in the Pro Bowl on 1/31 have requested tickets to the show. This show is unique in how it’s laid out. To the public, the main event is Herschel Walker, but from a standpoint of who should in what spot based on tenure, he should be in the opener. The second biggest star is Bobby Lashley, who at this point is scheduled to be in the opener with Walker either second or third, probably with Melvin Manhoef vs. Robbie Lawler in the middle, and Cyborg in the semi and Nick Diaz vs. Marius Zaromskis as the main event.

As far as public interest as judged by Internet trends, if Walker is 100, Lashley is 44, Diaz is 19, Cyborg, Zaromskis and Manhoef are all a 2, which is the best indicator of who would draw the ratings and theory, who you’d want on last to not lose audience. Obviously there are reasons it won’t be that way, but I can’t think of any show where it is the prelims that are going to determine what level of success the show has. The goal at this point is to get 9,000 to 10,000, which would be more than Kimbo drew in the same arena in essentially his home town 14 months ago.  (Dave Meltzer, Wrestling Observer)

Second UFC Gym to open in California this summer

“We are excited to open our second UFC Gym this summer,” NEFC CEO/co-founder Jim Rowley, said. “This facility will continue with the UFC Gym approach and feature unique fitness programming that will truly change the way people think about fitness.”

With easy access off Interstate 10, UFC Gym officials expect the Rosemead facility to become an instant fitness destination. The gym will feature cutting-edge training techniques, including MMA programming such as Muay Thai kickboxing, jiu jitsu, self-defense classes, and team-oriented Daily Ultimate Training, as well as one-of-a-kind offerings such as UFC Kid’s Gym Fitness, Octagon Training Disciplines, and High-Octane Conditioning. What’s more, the second UFC Gym will inspire members to realize results like never before.

“By combining our innovative fitness techniques with the fast-paced action of the UFC, we believe we’ve found the formula for success,” Rowley said. “We are really looking forward to bringing a UFC Gym to Rosemead. We are confident that it will only take one trip to our new facility for people to see why UFC Gyms are the future of fitness.”  (UFC)

QUICK HITS

  • UFC’s Nate Marquardt Named SAF’s “True Warrior” for 2009-2010 (Sharon Antcliff Foundation)
  • Strikeforce Targeting Johnson-Mahe, Tate-Frausto for Challengers VII (MMAFighting)
  • Frank Shamrock Now Targeting May, Not March, Return to Strikeforce (MMAFighting)
  • DREAM.13 set for March 22 at Yokohama Arena in Japan (MMAJunkie)
  • Rory MacDonald, Carlos Condit Verbally Agree to UFC 115 Bout (MMAFighting)
  • Strikeforce: Miami Fight Card (MMAFighting)
  • Coaches Honored with ‘Jackson/Winkeljohn Day’ (Sherdog)
  • UFC Lands Internet Broadcast Deal in China (Sherdog)
  • WEC’s Cruz vows to gradually dismantle bantamweight champ Bowles (USA Today)
  • “Strikeforce: Miami” open workout photos (MMAJunkie)
  • Chad Mendes vs. Eric Koch official for WEC 47 prelimary card (MMAJunkie)
  • Dos Santos in No Hurry For UFC Title Shot (MMAWeekly)
  • Yes, you will get to watch Hieron vs. Riggs this Saturday (Yahoo! Sports)
  • Roxanne Modafferi Welcomes King of the Cage’s Entry to Japan (MMAFighting)
  • King Of The Cage Japan: “Toryumon” Preview (MMARising)

VIDEO OF THE DAY

TV LISTINGS

  • HDNet Fights Presents K-1 Classics (Musashi Tribute) at 8 PM ET on HDNet (01/29/10)
  • InsideMMA (Gegard Mousasi, Gilbert Melendez, & Tony Lopez) at 9 PM ET on HDNet (01/29/10)
  • HDNet Fights Presents Best of DREAM Super Hulk GP at 10 PM ET on HDNet (01/29/10)
  • Best of Pride FC  at 10 PM ET/PT on Spike (01/29/10)
  • Strikeforce Miami: Diaz vs Zaromskis at 10 PM ET/PT on Showtime (01/30/10)
  • Countdown to UFC 109 at 12:30 AM ET/PT on Spike (01/30/10)

UPCOMING EVENTS

  • Strikeforce Miami: Diaz vs Zaromskis at 10 PM ET/PT on Showtime (01/30/10)
  • FCF 39: Women’s 135 lbs Grand Prix: Opening Round on PPV (01/30/10)
  • KOTC: Toryumon from Okinawa, Japan on PPV (01/30/10)
  • UFC 109 at 10 PM ET on PPV (02/06/10)
80. Maria Sharapova     Tennis
81. Sergio Garcia       Golf

MMAterial Facts (01/26/10)

January 26, 2010

  • Affliction’s Motion to Dismiss Denied in Fedor Lawsuit
  • LNF Ultra Cage MMA fighters raise money for breast cancer
  • New Mixed Martial Arts Search Engine and Directory
  • Ontario leads world in MMA devotion, UFC says
  • UFC fights still not welcome in Ontario despite the sports growing popularity in the province
  • UFC’s big hopes for the Big Apple

Affliction’s Motion to Dismiss Denied in Fedor Lawsuit

Fedor Emelianenko and his promotional team survived a first-round attack Monday in a legal battle that pits them against their former business partner, Affliction Entertainment.

Affliction’s attorney, Michael Bassiri, confirmed to Sherdog.com that a Los Angeles federal judge had denied Affliction’s motion to dismiss several claims made in a breach of contract lawsuit filed Oct. 28 by Emelianenko and M-1 Global.

The case is set to go to trial on Nov. 16.

Emelianenko and M-1 Global, a promotional/management group with which the fighter is closely aligned, have sued Affliction for damages following Affliction Entertainment’s decision to cancel its co-promoted “Trilogy” event, which was scheduled to take place Aug. 1 in Anaheim, Calif. (Sherdog) … [MMAPayout’s Perspective]

LNF Ultra Cage MMA fighters raise money for breast cancer

“It ended up being a great show,” LNF Ultra Cage Fighters founder Dan Ferrie said. “We had enough entertainment for everybody. (Glen) Big Baby Davis came, so we had the stars out. From the kid’s demonstrations, to the Human Floor, to the fights—it had something for everybody.”

“It was a very good night,” LNF Director Greg Mendes agreed. “Everybody pulled together. You know, me and Dan did a lot of work, but the final result was a culmination of everybody picking up all the loose odds and ends. And we had everything, from boxing, to kickboxing matches, MMA matches, and (strict) grappling. In the fights nobody got hurt real bad, which is always good, and everybody joining together to raise awareness really shows what type of people we have in the surrounding communities out here.”

It also demonstrated the intense following of mixed martial arts on the local level. Despite several supposed setbacks, the Holiday Inn was swarming with eager fans.

“MMA is drawing fans better than ever,” Mendes said. “And if it’s this good now, just imagine five years down the road—it will be the biggest thing out here. And hopefully New England can be a Mecca for the sport.”

Before entering the event room, patrons were greeted by the thumping bass from DJ Al Martinez, who kept the atmosphere buzzing throughout the evening. Singer Angella Kronillis also delighted the crowd with a stirring rendition of “God Bless America.”  (Taunton Daily Gazette)

New Mixed Martial Arts Search Engine and Directory

Bridgewater, NJ (PRWEB) January 24, 2010 — Index MMA has launched a mixed martial arts directory and search engine. Located at www.indexmma.com , this website is a database of all mixed martial arts websites on the Internet. The worldwide directory consists entirely of user submitted websites.

“The sport of mma is growing incredibly fast and there are new websites all over the world created daily,” said Shawn Ayre president of Zelfanet. “We created a website to accommodate this phenomenon. Now a mma fan can jump on one website and search through a plethora of websites that may have been buried or not even listed in traditional search engines. This is exciting news for mixed martial arts enthusiasts”.

The website was created by the web design group of Zelfanet LLC. Zelfanet is a leading provider of technology solutions based out of New Jersey, USA.  (PR Web)

Ontario leads world in MMA devotion, UFC says

More than any other part of the world, Ontario has the most interest in pay-per-view shows for mixed martial arts, the Ultimate Fighting Championship says.

“When we look at our TV ratings and our pay-per-view buys, on a per-capita basis, Toronto and Ontario are the No. 1 places in the world,” UFC executive Marc Ratner tells the Toronto Sun. “It’s unbelievably popular in the province of Ontario and especially Toronto.”

Although Quebec has hosted UFC events and Vancouver plans to do so later this year, Ontario officials say MMA remains illegal in their province for now. But UFC can draw a crowd of 35,000 to 40,000 in Toronto, says Ratner, the promotion’s vice president of regulatory affairs.  (USA Today) … [MMAPayout Perspective]

UFC fights still not welcome in Ontario despite the sports growing popularity in the province

On the phone from his office in Las Vegas, Marc Ratner says bluntly that if Ontario were to legalize mixed martial arts, the biggest-ever UFC event in history would go down in Toronto.

“We think we can draw 35,000 to 40,000 there,” said Ratner, vice-president of regulatory affairs for the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Despite his desert locale, Ratner should know what he’s talking about when it comes to Canada’s most populous city. As the UFC’s expansion point-man, he’s spent years lobbying state and provincial governments to pass laws legalizing the controversial UFC. Most of them have. Queen’s Park hasn’t.

According to Ratner, there isn’t a place on earth that boasts more of an interest in UFC than Ontario.

Provincial athletics commissioner Ken Hayashi, who rightly or wrongly has been perceived by some as being anti-MMA because of his strict adherence to federal Criminal Code regulations, which in his interpretation outlaws mixed martial arts, didn’t respond to calls and e-mails from the Sun.

In a story last year by the Sun’s Steve Buffery, Hayashi maintained his stance that mixed martial arts is an illegal activity in Canada.

Until Sec. 83 is changed to allow for professional combat sports beyond what the law calls a “boxing contest,” there won’t be any UFC bouts in Ontario, Hayashi has said.  (Toronto Sun)

UFC’s big hopes for the Big Apple

When Gov. Jim Doyle signs the bill sometime this week, Wisconsin will become the 43rd state to regulate mixed martial arts.

It’s one that doesn’t regulate it that still stands out, however. The Ultimate Fighting Championship has been desperate to get into New York and has spent thousands on its lobbying effort.

But there will be no MMA in New York any time soon, even if the state legislature sends a bill to the desk of Gov. David Patterson for his signature in the next few months. That’s because once the bill is signed by the governor, there would be a 120-day window that would have to pass before the bill became law and the sport became legal and regulated by the New York State Athletic Commission.

If the state does pass a bill this year, this is a thought that may essentially give UFC president Dana White a license to print money: Hold the company’s annual New Year’s Eve show in Madison Square Garden with a bout featuring reigning heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar. (Who knows if he’ll hold the belt then, but he should be the headliner regardless.)

January 1, 2011, is a Saturday, the day the UFC normally holds its pay-per-view events. How about a New Year’s Eve weigh-in and then a fight to kick off the New Year in the world’s most famous arena?  (Yahoo! Sports)

QUICK HITS

  • Hansen challenges Fernandes for DREAM title (Yahoo! Sports)
  • Round 5 Announces UFC Ultimate Collector Series 2 (Round5)
  • MMA fighting: Bobby Lashley ready for bout at BankAtlantic Center (Miami Herald)
  • Bobby Lashley Sees Positives of Opponent Shuffling (MMAFighting)
  • Herschel Walker to Debut in MMA (Financial News USA)
  • Walker uses star power to hype fight  (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
  • Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal cautiously optimistic on potential bout with Gegard Mousasi (MMAJunkie)
  • Tokyo Five Signs Matt Serra For Sponsorship At UFC 109 (FightLine)
  • 11 Bouts Signed for UFC’s Versus Debut (Sherdog)
  • Griffin vs L’il Nog at UFC 113 (Yahoo! Sports)
  • Josh Gross: Stoic Zaromskis shoots for Strikeforce welter title (Sports Illustrated)
  • Liddell, 40, has plenty of fight left in him  (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
  • Cole Konrad, Training Partner of Brock Lesnar’s, Wins MMA Debut (MMAFighting)
  • Nick Diaz Happy With Welterweight Return (MMAWeekly)
  • 12 Questions for Cris ‘Cyborg’ Santos (Sherdog)
  • Shine Fights inks Dave “Pee Wee” Herman; bout with Jeff Monson likely for spring (MMAJunkie)
  • Mauler Manhoef aware of shortcomings (ESPN)
  • King Of The Cage Japan: “Toryumon” Preview (MMARising)

IMAGE OF THE DAY

Round 5 MMA Ultimate Collection

TV LISTINGS

  • HDNet Fights Presents K-1 Classics (Musashi Tribute) at 8 PM ET on HDNet (01/29/10)
  • InsideMMA (Gegard Mousasi, Gilbert Melendez, & Tony Lopez) at 9 PM ET on HDNet (01/29/10)
  • HDNet Fights Presents Best of DREAM Super Hulk GP at 10 PM ET on HDNet (01/29/10)
  • Best of Pride FC  at 10 PM ET/PT on Spike (01/29/10)
  • Strikeforce Miami: Diaz vs Zaromskis at 10 PM ET/PT on Showtime (01/30/10)
  • Countdown to UFC 109 at 12:30 AM ET/PT on Spike (01/30/10)

UPCOMING EVENTS

  • Strikeforce Miami: Diaz vs Zaromskis at 10 PM ET/PT on Showtime (01/30/10)
  • FCF 39: Women’s 135 lbs Grand Prix: Opening Round on PPV (01/30/10)
  • KOTC: Toryumon from Okinawa, Japan on PPV (01/30/10)
  • UFC 109 at 10 PM ET on PPV (02/06/10)

MMAterial Facts (01/20/10)

January 20, 2010

  • BROCK LESNAR REVEALS DIVERTICULITIS WAS REASON FOR UFC ABSENCE
  • UFC exclusive: Abu Dhabi a goer with Penn Silva Hughes and Gracie
  • Kizer welcomes Strikeforce to Las Vegas, though April date “not very likely”
  • Zelaznik on the UFC’s Expansion
  • Survivor’s Mark Burnett invests in King of the Cage, secures deal with HDNet for 2010
  • FCC to force cable operators to share sports channels

BROCK LESNAR REVEALS DIVERTICULITIS WAS REASON FOR UFC ABSENCE

UFC President Dana White and UFC fighter Brock Lesnar appeared on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” today to discuss Lesnar’s absence from competition due to being diagnosed with diverticulitis. Lesnar: “I had a hole in my stomach.” Lesnar said a doctor in Bismarck , North Dakota , “put me on antibiotics, put me on pain medication and wanted for me to heal myself. The other side of it was to go in, remove part of my colon and wear a colostomy bag and pretty much end my career.”

After getting a second opinion, Lesnar said he told White that he had to have surgery. Lesnar: “I didn’t want to. If I could beat the odds, I was going to do everything in my power to do that. I had another checkup after the first of the year. I went home, I went back in the gym. I got my weight back up. I put about 30 pounds back on. I went back into the doctor January 5, and a miracle. … They couldn’t find any signs of any problem in my stomach.”

Brock Lesnar - Dana White on ESPN

When asked when Lesnar would return to the octagon, White said the winner of the Shane Carwin-Frank Mir fight in March would face Lesnar “this summer” (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 1/20)… (Sports Business Daily)

UFC exclusive: Abu Dhabi a goer with Penn Silva Hughes and Gracie

Marshall Zelaznik, UFC’s managing director of International Expansion, said: “We’re going to have a big press conference in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, with our new partners from the region, Flash. Lorenzo [Fertitta] and myself will be there with some of the biggest names on the UFC roster. I don’t want to give away the official announcement  but it will be a unique showand not just because the card will be as good as any in UFC history.”

That suggests BJ Penn v Frankie Edgar, Anderson Silva v Vitor Belfort, and Matt Hughes v Renzo Gracie are likely to be the top three fights on the event, arguably the best line-up since UFC 100 in Las Vegas in July 2009… (Telegraph)

Kizer welcomes Strikeforce to Las Vegas, though April date “not very likely”

The only problem? Strikeforce has yet to apply for a promoter’s license in the state of Nevada.

Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Keith Kizer recently told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that Strikeforce asked for an application in late 2009, but he has yet to see a completed form. And with just three months until the proposed event, Kizer said getting the deal done in time “would be very, very difficult.”

“[Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker] has not applied for a date request of any sort for April or any other time in Nevada, and I’m sure he’s well aware of the fact that he would need to get a license before he even asks for a date,” Kizer said. “I was very pleased to see that they had asked for an application about two months ago, and we look forward to seeing Strikeforce here, and if the commission says yes, we’d very much look forward to having a Strikeforce card here. But April would be very, very difficult.”… (MMAJunkie)

Zelaznik on the UFC’s Expansion

Sherdog.com: How has the event been received there since the announcement was made?
Zelaznik: It’s been incredible. You never really know how successful a new territory will be, but we have been blown away by our final analysis. The event sold out in a day. It would have been the fastest-selling event in the companies history, but we held some back from the pre-sale. It’s currently the second fastest-selling event in UFC history. People are travelling from all over to see it. Half of the tickets sold have been to fans outside of the New South Wales area. In fact, the event sold out so quickly that for the first time ever for an international event we are arranging a close-circuit experience for fans without tickets. It will be in the ballroom at the Acer Arena, which holds around 800 people. Tickets will go on sale for around $50, and were looking to have a few significant [fighters] make the trip and hold a Q&A with the fans…

Sherdog.com: How close are you to confirming a date for the show in Abu Dhabi?
Zelaznik: We’re pretty close, but these things take a lot of time and we don’t like announcing anything until all the papers and fighters have been signed. But, as I said, I was there for three days last week and we are working to deliver the show in April…

Sherdog.com: Outside of Australia and Abu Dhabi, do you have any idea where you will take the promotion next?
Zelaznik: I don’t know. We’re kicking around with the possibility of doing a show in Italy. We are working on a few TV deals over there, and the prospect of putting on a Scandinavian show is also a possibility. The sport is really popular in that part of the world, and it is definitely something that we would like to explore …(Sherdog)

Survivor’s Mark Burnett invests in King of the Cage, secures deal with HDNet for 2010

FiveOuncesofPain.com has recently been able to learn from sources close to the situation that reality television kingpin, Mark Burnett, has invested in King of the Cage, and through this recent founded partnership the company has managed to secure a broadcast deal with HDNet Fights for the year of 2010.

Sources close to the agreement have indicated to 5 Oz. that the promotion’s founder and current majority owner, Terry Trebilcock, still has a controlling interest in the company.

FiveOuncesofPain.com has also been able to learn that the debut of King the Cage on HDNet in 2010 will kick off with a show targeted for March 26 from Reno, Nevada… (Five Ounces of Pain)

[MMAPayout contacted HDNet regarding the news and was notified that there was no official announcement just yet.]

FCC to force cable operators to share sports channels

The cable industry could face more competition from phone and satellite rivals after federal regulators voted to close a loophole giving operators such as Comcast Corp. exclusive rights to certain sports channels.

The decision mainly covers the Philadelphia television market, but San Diego, New York City, New Jersey, Connecticut and North Carolina could also be affected by the ruling.

Comcast has denied DirecTV and Dish Network access to the company’s SportsNet Philadephia channel, which airs professional games of the baseball Phillies, basketball 76ers and hockey Flyers. Comcast could lose thousands of customers to rivals if the FCC ruling withstands legal challenge.

“For years, the so-called ‘terrestrial loophole’ has allowed Comcast to maintain a virtual lock on sports fans in greater Philadelphia,” analyst Craig Moffett of Bernstein Research wrote in a note… (Market Watch)

QUICK HITS

  • Lesnar to Return, Face Winner of Carwin-Mir (MMAPayout Perspective)
  • UFC champ Brock Lesnar says Canadian health care like ‘a Third World country’ (Vancouver Sun)
  • Details on Pacquiao-Clottey Emerge (MMAPayout Perspective)
  • Strikeforce Women’s Tourneys Launch in April (Sherdog)
  • Prangley-Amoussou Top Strikeforce Challengers Return Feb. 26 (Sherdog)
  • KAUFMAN VS. HASHI for 135-Pound Women’s (Strikeforce) Title (MMAWeekly)
  • “Strikeforce: Miami” Media Conference Call Recap (Heavy)
  • Wisconsin Assembly Approves Regulation of Mixed Martial Arts (Journal Sentinel)
  • Gina Carano is the 68th Most Desirable Woman in the World (AskMen)
  • Fistic Medicine: The Biophysics of Taking a Punch (Sherdog)
  • Readers split over co-promotion (Sports Illustrated)
  • Georges St-Pierre: I’m Not Good Enough for the Olympics Right Now (MMAFighting)
  • Dream champ Zaromskis draws energy from flamboyance (USA Today)
  • Smokin’ Joey Villasenor signs new four-fight deal with Strikeforce (MMAMania)
  • Exclusive: Shine Fights 3 pushed back to April, will air as televised Pay-Per-View (Five Ounces of Pain)

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“During the darkest days of UFC history, when its existence was hanging by a thread in 1998-99, Frank [Shamrock], as middleweight champion, was the company’s biggest star. Later, Frank, from his ability to promote fights also garnered from years of studying pro wrestling, was instrumental to the beginnings and the early success of the Strikeforce promotion…

Frank, who became the head coach while Ken was wrestling, saw his career go nowhere. He moved with a girlfriend at the time to San Jose, and it was that move that led to San Jose becoming one of the MMA capitals of the world. He started up MMA training at the American Kickboxing Academy, which became one of the world’s most well-known camps, although he later went his own way and is no longer involved with the group. He was also instrumental in Strikeforce moving from being a kickboxing promotion to MMA in 2006, headlined the biggest shows in San Jose which in many ways opened the door for Strikeforce to become the No. 2 promotion in the U.S.” … (Dave Meltzer, Wrestling Observer)

TV LISTINGS

  • HDNet Fights Presents K-1 Classics (Asian GP 2008) at 8 PM ET on HDNet (01/22/10)
  • InsideMMA (Ed Soares, Jose Aldo, Jon Fitch, & Randy Couture) at 9 PM ET on HDNet (01/22/10)
  • HDNet Fights Presents Best of 2009 K-1 World MAX at 10 PM ET on HDNet (01/22/10)
  • Best of Pride FC  at 10 PM ET/PT on Spike (01/22/10)

UPCOMING EVENTS

  • Strikeforce Miami: Diaz vs Zaromskis at 10 PM ET/PT on Showtime (01/30/10)
  • FCF 39: Women’s 135 lbs Grand Prix: Opening Round on TBD (01/30/10)
  • KOTC: Toryumon from Okinawa, Japan on PPV (01/30/10)

ProElite, KOTC Part Ways

July 11, 2009

When we last left the ProElite situation, ProElite had licensed certain service and trade marks to Strikeforce as well as selling numerous fighter contracts. The thought at that time was that there may be some future prospects for the company using the ProElite assets left over in tandem with the King of the Cage promotion. Those prospects no longer seem to be viable, as ProElite announced yesterday that they have parted ways with KOTC, and the brand has now reverted back to original owner Terry Trebilcock:

LOS ANGELES, Jul 10, 2009 — ProElite, Inc. said today that it has closed a strict foreclosure agreement that returns King of the Cage, the highly successful mixed martial arts brand, to its original owners Terry and Julie Trebilcock. With the agreement, ProElite’s outstanding debt to King of the Cage has been satisfied; and King of the Cage, under the leadership of founder Terry Trebilcock, again becomes an independent company with control over its own extensive video library.

ProElite CEO Charles F. Champion said that the agreement closed today and that the financial and legal issues between the two entities have been completely resolved.

ProElite retains a number of prominent assets including a host of international MMA brands such as Spirit MC, its community-driven interactive broadband entertainment website, and an extensive library of MMA events.

The parting of the ways allows the Trebilcocks do what they do best, put on fights and license out their King of the Cage brand for use by others, without a superfluous corporate structure impeding their efforts. ProElite, if it has any future at this juncture, would seem to be more of a media based company than having any real roots in fight promotion.

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