Week in MMA & Boxing #38
MMA & Boxing News From the week of
May 7th- May 13th, 2016
UFC for Sale?
We have an article covering the subject in-depth here, but the gist is simple, the UFC could be sold between $3.5 and $4 billion in the not-too-distant future.
ESPN's Darren Rovell reported Tuesday night that sources have told him several groups are in on the bidding which include China Media Capital, entertainment power WME/IMG, The Blackstone Group, and Dalian Wanda Group.
Dana White immediately claimed the story wasn’t accurate, telling the Las Vegas Review-Journal that, “The UFC is not for sale. The ESPN story is overblown. Darren Rovell is not a fan of facts. His facts could not be further off.”
Later, on the Dan Patrick show, White said, “We’re not up for sale. We’re always working on deals and our expansion globally. I’ve been saying since this thing came out, no, we’re not for sale, but let me tell you, if somebody shows up with $4 billion, we can talk. We can definitely talk.”
When asked if there would be a partial sale as opposed to a full sale, White said he couldn’t answer due to confidentiality.
For so many more details provided by Dave Meltzer, please click the link above.
Anderson off of UFC 198
Just days before UFC 198, Anderson Silva had to pull out of his fight with Uriah Hall. According to a story by Kevin Iole, Silva had started experiencing abdominal pains and underwent surgery on 5/11, which was a success. “Anderson developed abdominal discomfort and further evaluation today is consistent with acute cholecystitis,” said Dr. Jeff Davidson, a UFC medical consultant on 5/10.
McGregor vs Mayweather fake story
The latest Conor McGregor story was an article in The Sun claiming that McGregor and Floyd Mayweather Jr. were going to do a boxing match. The obvious hold-up is that McGregor’s UFC contract specifically prohibits this. Plus, McGregor would have no chance except the fluke of all fluke chances in such an encounter since, while he has trained in boxing, a guy like Mayweather in that sport is so completely beyond him from a skill level.
I don’t think it serves McGregor’s longtime goals to be made a fool out of in a boxing match for a one-time payoff unless the payoff is like $60 million and he’s just cashing out, and that feels way too early in his career for that. Of course the other issue is timing, as Mayweather isn’t going to be fighting much longer and there’s nobody else as big that McGregor could fight, but it’s still something UFC would have to approve and the last thing they would want is one of their stars looking like he was out of his league in a fight with a top boxer.
Dana White said there was nothing to the story. Others noted that The Sun story about the purse split where Mayweather would get 14 times what McGregor would get made no sense.
Dana and Conor
Dana White was on the Dan Patrick show, and said that he and McGregor had been talking every day, called the incident where McGregor was pulled from UFC 200 a “little speed bump,” and said their relationship was great. He said the two were going to meet last week and agree on when he will fight again, and indicated it would be against Nate Diaz, so that would indicate a monster PPV number later in the summer. Patrick brought up UFC 202 in August and White said it sounded like a good idea, but made it clear that was not official.
C.M. Punk Update
UFC originally wanted to debut Punk on the 6/4 show in Los Angeles, but he underwent back surgery, the same surgery Cain Velasquez underwent a few weeks earlier and Velasquez is fighting at UFC 200.
Numerous accounts have it that while Punk has been a hard worker, that he has not progressed well as a fighter. He has done live sparring in the gym, and there are all kinds of rumors about it, but what is consistent is that he hasn’t fared well. He’s had his training delayed by both shoulder and back injuries, the back injury being more based on wear and tear from pro wrestling.
Originally the hope was for him to debut around the summer of 2015, or fall at the latest, but the injuries and his adaptation to the sport led to delays. We’ve heard nothing new about an FS 1 reality show that would lead into his first fight past the fact they have been shooting and I expect it will be part of the package of building it. The general belief is Mikey Gall, his scheduled first opponent, will probably run through him.
While nobody ever said so, even had he adapted well to fighting, he was at best going to be a Herschel Walker like attraction, and given his age maybe do a few fights. We figured he may transition into an announcing role. But UFC hasn’t been talking about him at all and he’s kept a low profile of late, completely away from the media.
The entire reason of taking the risk on signing a novice fighter was the media attention it would receive. Of course when a date is announced, the interest will ramp up. But if too much more time goes by without a date announced, that will be telling. Punk was so adamant about proving critics wrong and now may have to face a situation where he may not be able to pull that off. This makes his next moves very interesting.
Vitor Criticizes Reebok
Vitor Belfort didn’t make friends among the brass this week by saying about the Reebok deal, “MMA is a lot closer to entertainment than sport these days. I’m not satisfied with the way the company is handling sponsorship's. We are pretty much living in slavery. We can’t use our own sponsors.” Because of his popularity as a mainstream celebrity in Brazil, Belfort made a ton on sponsorship's so he was among the people hit the hardest by the Reebok deal.
New fight for International Fight Week
For 7/9 in Las Vegas, they have added T.J. Dillashaw vs. Raphael Assuncao. Assuncao beat Dillashaw via close decision in 2013, right before Dillashaw then beat Renan Barao for the bantamweight title. The winner of this fight is likely to face the Dominick Cruz vs. Urijah Faber winner from 6/4. The fight is expected not to be on PPV, but used as the FS 1 main event.
Holm to Main Event FOX Show
For 7/23 in Chicago, the top two fights are Anthony “Rumble” Johnson vs. Glover Teixeira and Holly Holm vs. Valentina Shevchenko for FOX, with the latter being the main event. That’s notable because Johnson vs. Teixeira is to me more of a main event fight, since they are No. 3 and No. 4 at light heavyweight and the winner is pretty much a lock for the Daniel Cormier vs. Jon Jones winner.
But Holm is the biggest name of the four and would both likely be a bigger draw to casual viewers, and also Johnson vs. Teixeira has a good show at a quick ending while Holm vs. Shevchenko will probably last several rounds, meaning it has more time to build a main event rating.
But Holm vs. Shevchenko doesn’t seem to make any sense. Shevchenko is a champion kickboxer who is 58-2-1 in that sport, but is coming off a loss to Amanda Nunes, who was able to take her down. Now it really makes no sense that they didn’t put Holm against Miesha Tate.
It’s notable because UFC previously had told Holm to sit and wait for a match with Rousey, and not to defend against Tate. But they insisted. Tate recounted that Dana White told her that he went to Albuquerque and told Holm to wait for Rousey, that’s the biggest money fight possible and you should wait for it. Tate said that Holm’s management insisted of her fighting Tate first, figuring her contract as champion meant it would be a big payday. White told Tate that he specifically told them not to take the fight and that the UFC didn’t want Holm fighting first, but Holm’s management insisted on the Tate fight and treated it like it would be a tune-up fight prior to the Rousey fight.
UFC announced was that UFC 201 would take place on 7/30 at the Phillips Arena in Atlanta, with the current plan being Robbie Lawler defending the welterweight title against Tyron Woodley although that fight has not yet been officially announced.
Great fight signed
Michael Chiesa vs. Tony Ferguson was announced as the main event on 7/13 in Sioux Falls, SD in a very intriguing match.
Rousey Snuffs Van Zant
Miesha Tate was on Joe Rogan’s podcast and told a story about an encounter between Ronda Rousey and Paige VanZant, which VanZant later confirmed was accurate. VanZant and Rousey were both at a Reebok function and VanZant wanted to get a picture with Rousey. She asked some people where Rousey was, and she was told in no uncertain terms, “Don’t ask Ronda for a picture.” She asked why, and they said, “Just don’t. Just stay away from Ronda. Don’t ask her for a picture.” So she didn’t, but later they crossed paths.
They’d never really had a conversation but had said “Hi” and stuff to each other at events. Apparently Ronda saw her and started cussing her out about being a fair weather bitch and when VanZant asked why she was so mad, evidently it was because VanZant had congratulated Holly Holm on beating Rousey. VanZant, when asked, described the incident as “very shocking and totally unnecessary."