Week in MMA & Boxing #15
MMA & Boxing News From the week of
October 31 - November 6, 2015
Rumble vs Bader
On Wednesday's UFC Tonight, it was announced that the main event for the first FOX special of 2016 will be Anthony "Rumble" Johnson vs. Ryan Bader in a battle of top light heavyweight contenders.
The show will be held on January 30th at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ.
Given the current state of the light heavyweight division, the winner of the bout has the best shot at facing the winner of the impending Daniel Cormier vs. Jon Jones light heavyweight title rematch. And because of promotion that will be done during the NFL playoffs on Fox, this is also the show with the best shot at drawing the promotion's biggest Fox rating of the year.
Other matches announced for the show thus far are Jake Ellenberger vs. the returning Tarec Saffiedine at welterweight (expect that on the main card), local fighter George Sullivan vs. Alexander Yakolev, Olivier Aubin-Mercier against Joaquim Silva, and Felipe Oliveri vs Tony Martin.
This marks the promotion's third UFC offering of January with their January 2nd UFC 195 ppv headlined by welterweight champion Robbie Lawler vs. Carlos Condit, and the January 17th Fox Sports One show headlined by bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw vs. Dominick Cruz and Eddie Alvarez vs. Anthony Pettis.
Union fighting for Diaz
In a really interesting political note, the Teamsters Local 986 and Culinary Workers Union held a rally calling for a reform of the Nevada Athletic Commission outside the monthly meeting on 10/29.
The two unions said they had sent a letter to Governor Brian Sandoval about the unfair treatment of Nick Diaz with a five year suspension and $165,000 fine due to the questionable nature of the marijuana testing. Diaz had two tests under the limit and one way over on the night of his 1/31 fight with Anderson Silva. The unions, that have been anti-UFC because of Station Casinos not being unionized, have attempted to unionize UFC fighters.
UFC has sent two letters to its fighters on the subject but as best we can tell, there has been no strong momentum among the fighters to join with those unions. With the Reebok deal, there has been a very clear change in mood among the relationship between fighters and management in recent months.
Rumors have it that Nick Diaz's settlement will be an 18 month suspension and a $100,000 fine, which would be finalized soon and he'd be able to fight over the summer.
UFC Fight Night
This week's show is an FS 1 show from Sao Paulo, Brazil. The show starts at 6:30 p.m. on Fight Pass with Matheus Nicolau vs. Bruno Korea, Pedro Munhoz vs. Jimmie Rivera and Viscardi Andrade vs. Gasan Umalatov. Prelims at 8 p.m. have Chas Skelly vs. Kevin Souza, Clay Guida vs. Thiago Tavares (while Guida is long past his popularity prime, he's still a ranked featherweight and it's weird seeing him in the second match in prelims when you look at the names higher on the card), Yan Cabral vs. Johnny Case, Gleison Tibau vs. Abel Trujillo, Corey Anderson vs. Fabio Maldonado, Gilbert Burns vs. Rashid Magomedov, Piotr Hallman vs. Alex Oliveira, Thomas Almeida (a major prospect) vs. Anthony Birchak, Glover Teixiera vs. Patrick Cummins and the third meeting of Vitor Belfort vs. Dan Henderson.
UFC Screwed over Miesha
Miesha Tate has been turning down fights as well as media work asked by UFC because of how being pulled from her title shot with Ronda Rousey for Holly Holm was handled. It's not a secret she's very unhappy. "If it's clear there's no way for me to get a title shot as long as Ronda has the belt, then I don't know. I suppose I have to look at my options. And that's not saying I will retire, but it's something I'd have to think about."
Tate has said that she's taking time off from fighting to re-evaluate her career. It's an interesting situation because Tate, could walk into Bellator and be the face of their women's division, but contractually she's stuck. She doesn't believe she can get a shot at the UFC title unless somebody beats Rousey, because she can't cut to 115. Tate said on the MMA Hour that she expects to sit down and talk to Dana White this month, and said that retirement is a viable option if UFC doesn't budge on several issues including pay and a shot at the title.
Tate was mad that she found out Holly Holm was getting the title shot she was promised when Ronda Rousey announced it on "Good Morning America." Nobody gave her advance warning. "I think the handling of it stings more than anything." She said she's been a team player and company woman. She was also mad that Rousey made more than $6 million while she's making nothing close, claiming she's fought tougher fighters, and she feels that she usually has the biggest fan base on any card she's on except when she's on the same card as Rousey.
Really, the one thing she can't do is compare her pay with that of Rousey. She also noted that UFC offered her a fight with Amanda Nunes that would have been on Fight Pass (I believe it was for the main event spot on 12/10) and she turned it down, saying she went from a PPV main event to Fight Pass, and said she already helped build Fight Pass with her fight with Rin Nakai. "It's either going to go up in flames or (Dana White) is going to say that I'm making some valid points and make some adjustments."
The Fox Network, and presumably this is for FS 1, is working on some sort of a documentary series on C.M. Punk and his training for his first fight. Punk started back in the gym in Milwaukee this past week after being pretty much out of the gym since August due to his shoulder injury.
The last major show of the year is 11/6 in St. Louis with Patricio Pitbull Freire vs. Daniel Straus for the featherweight title, Will Brooks vs. Marcin Held for the lightweight title, Justin Lawrence vs. Emmanuel Sanchez, Michael Chandler vs. David Rickels and Bobby Lashley vs. James Thompson as the main card fights. To show the difference between Bellator and UFC, in UFC, if a guy wins twice, they aren't going to make a third match. Bellator, partially due to the lack of depth, they will. Pitbull has beaten Straus twice, although he was about to lose the second one on 1/16 when he got a late fourth round choke. Chandler beat Held via submission in 2011. Thompson beat Lashley via decision in a 2012 fight.
Deontay Wilder to fight on January 16th
WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder (35-0, 34 KOs) will be fighting on January 16th against an opponent still to be determined at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. No.1 WBC contender Alexander Povetkin said to the WBC that he won’t be ready to fight in January.
Andre Ward pulls out of November 21st fight
The Saul “Canelo” Alvarez vs. Miguel Cotto card will be without the co-feature bout between unbeaten Andre Ward (28-0, 14 KOs) and Alexander Brand (24-0, 19 KOs) due to Ward experiencing swelling on one of his knees, according to Dan Rafael of ESPN.
The problem is bad enough to where the 31-year-old Ward needs to pull out of the card. This is bad for the Cotto-Canelo fight, because it’s an HBO PPV card, and the other fights on the undercard are generally obscure fighters that the casual boxing fans have never heard of before.