Week in MMA & Boxing #51
By: Larry Causion Jr. CausionCreations.com
Posted: Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Credit: Dave Meltzer
Posted: Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Credit: Dave Meltzer
MMA & Boxing News From the week of
September 18th - September 27, 2016
Woodley vs. Thompson in MSG
Tyron Woodley vs. Stephen Wonderboy Thompson for the welterweight title was announced this week for UFC 205 on 11/12 in Madison Square Garden. This is the right match to make from a sports standpoint. Woodley had said he didn’t want to face Thompson, and instead wanted to fight someone he could draw with on PPV, suggesting GSP or Nick Diaz. Thompson is coming off decisive wins over Rory MacDonald and Johny Hendricks.
UFC Fight Night Texas
Michael Johnson knocked out Dustin Poirier in 1:35 to headline UFC’s 9/17 show in Hidalgo, TX.
Johnson is a unique fighter in the division, good enough to have wins over both Edson Barboza and Tony Ferguson, who are currently among the top contenders for champion Eddie Alvarez. But he’s inconsistent enough that even with the win over Poirier, his career record is only 17-10.
The show was just a normal show, a few highlights, some of the regulatory issues you almost always get in Texas, and a few boring fights thrown in.
The show did 826,000 viewers on FS 1 for the main card and 637,000 for the prelims. The show went not only against a Canelo Alvarez boxing PPV, but also Saturday night college football which included games on FOX, ABC, NBC, ESPN, ESPN 2 and ESPN U all head-to-head.
Dunham and Glenn got $50,000 bonuses for the best fight, while the other performance bonuses went to Johnson and Chas Skelly.
Skelly’s fight was the highlight of the night. He and opponent Maximo Blanco ran to the center and both tried flying kicks at the same time. Skelly’s landed, basically a one legged dropkick that would be a Shinsuke Nakamura type move, right to the jaw, which stunned Blanco so Skelly could get the Anaconda choke in 19 seconds. After the fight, Skelly said that his idea was to start with a flying dropkick, but he wasn’t athletic enough to do it, so said he had to settle for the Hulk Hogan boot, which this wasn’t quite either.
New UFC Booker
UFC formally announced the retirement of Joe Silva on 9/20 in a release announcing that Mick Maynard had joined the promotion.
As expected, Sean Shelby, who has been Silva’s assistant, and handled the 125, 135 and 145 pound divisions as well as the women’s divisions, was promoted to Senior Vice President of Talent Relations, the position Silva had filled with the company since the Fertitta Brothers purchased the company from Bob Meyrowitz in 2001.
The company officially announced Maynard as Vice President of Talent Relations and Silva as retiring as of the end of the year.
It is expected that Maynard will handle certain divisions as will Shelby, although at this point it isn’t clear who will do what.
“Joe Silva’s contributions to the UFC over the last 20 years were huge, and he played a big role in helping make the sport as big as it is today,” said Dana White. “He left his mark on this sport and I wish him nothing but success in retirement.”
Maynard started promoting shows on a regional basis in Texas in 2006, and was responsible for launching the careers in MMA of Holly Holm, Henry Cejudo and Sage Northcutt.
Dana White is now saying there’s a good chance Ronda Rousey will face Amanda Nunes for the title before the end of the year. The company had always hoped to get a Conor McGregor fight at MSG on 11/12 and end the year with Rousey in Las Vegas on 12/30. Daniel Cormier vs. Anthony Johnson and Cain Velasquez vs. Fabricio Werdum are also looking like 12/30 right now.
Chael Signs with Bellator
With his two-year suspension over, Chael Sonnen, 39, has signed a multi-year contract here. Sonnen said that he believed his contract was for three years and six fights, and Scott Coker indicated that was close for whatever that was worth. Sonnen was released from his UFC contract in 2013 after testing positive for a number of banned substances (some of which he should have been taking to kickstart his system after getting off testosterone that he was allowed to use, whether he should have been allowed to use it was a different issue) and they also found out he was using HGH and EPO which were banned PEDs that there’s no excuse for using and usually skate through testing. When his commission suspension ended, he was under the impression he’d be returning to UFC and had already been drug tested four times by USADA, but talks also started with Bellator.
He claimed in three conversations with Scott Coker they went from hello to a signed contract and he’s hoping to start in November, perhaps at the big show in San Jose on 11/19. Sonnen said that he would fight at “Gangster weight,” noting he’d be agreeable too facing Rory MacDonald at 185 or Fedor Emelianenko (who he claimed Bellator was close to signing) at heavyweight. But his home division for now looks to be 205 since he talked about wanting to fight Tito Ortiz (who has said he wants to fight once more before retiring) and Liam McGeary (the light heavyweight champion). It was also brought up the idea of Sonnen facing Wanderlei Silva, who is expected to also sign with Bellator when his suspension is up. Silva returns and will be fighting in December with Rizin in Japan, which doesn’t have any regulation of their fights. Sonnen said that he would continue to announce for World Series of Fighting as well as do analysis for UFC events, as well as potentially Bellator events, for ESPN. He also claimed that in his contract, there was a clause that if he tested positive for drugs that not only would he lose his entire purse, but he’d be fined an additional $500,000.
With Bellator, he would, in most cases, likely be tested only the day of the show, but given his track record, I’d think if he was to fight in California, that there’s a good chance he’ll face unannounced testing before the fight. He himself said he expected Andy Foster (the head of the California commission) to test him out of competition if he fights in that state. Sonnen appeared in two interview segments on the 9/16 television show, doing complete 1970s pro wrestler, largely Superstar Billy Graham in particular with his regular Scott Hall schtick. It was funny that the best promo in pro wrestling was on Bellator. While he didn’t say this on Bellator TV, Sonnen was on the MMA Hour and noted that he and Punk have talked to each other daily and that Punk was back in the gym Monday and preparing for a second fight.
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira vs. Alexander Gustafsson is being talked about to headline an 11/19 show in Sao Paulo, Brazil. That is going to be another crazy weekend like SummerSlam weekend. Actually even crazier in the sense UFC has a morning/afternoon U.S. time show from Belfast, Northern Ireland, and after that ends, has the Sao Paulo show.
Dollaway Injured in Elevator
C.B. Dollaway was in so much pain after the elevator accident before the UFC 203 show in Cleveland that he was unable to leave the city and fly home all week. Dollaway was diagnosed with a compressed disc in the lower back and a wedged disc in the neck when the elevator he was in dropped several floors and came to a sudden stop. There were multiple issues with the elevator at the host hostel but I’d expect Dollaway, whose injuries prevented him from fighting, is going to have to take legal action.
Al Iaquinta pulled out of his 11/12 fight in Madison Square Garden with Thiago Alves. A fight on the first-ever show in Madison Square Garden would be something under normal circumstances that Iaquinta would have on a bucket list, but this pull-out is financial. Iaquinta, who is ranked No. 13 at lightweight, said that with the Reebok deal and loss of sponsors, that if he was to lose to Alves, he’d essentially be fighting in MSG for free. He said after 17 months out, he wasn’t willing to risk injuries or health problems from fighting for the money he was being paid. He said on the deal he’s under, if he wins, after taxes and paying his trainers, he’ll still do okay. But if he loses, he’d go through a camp and fight, and when all was said and done, would break even. Iaquinta claimed he told his manager to contact UFC, feeling that with the Reebok deal, the old terms of his contract were no longer good enough. He said on the MMA Hour that UFC, notably Joe Silva, told him there was no interest in renegotiating the deal, which paid him $26,000 to fight with a $26,000 win bonus.
It should be noted that Iaquinta signed that deal after the Reebok deal was put in place. So he said he was pulling out. I believe he was on the second fight of his contract. He also said that he wasn’t eligible for a win bonus, noting he was in trouble with the promotion for calling in sick and missing the Fighters Summit in Las Vegas (and then posting photos of himself at the beach, not realizing that could get him in trouble), trashing a hotel room the weekend of one of his fights, and swearing at the fans on live television. Well, he’s raging Al. Part of the issue was that Iaquinta suffered a knee injury, which kept him out of action for 17 months, so he had to find a full-time job and he’s been working in real estate. He said in training for a fight, he’d have to take time away from work. He said fighting in MSG is a goal for it wasn’t worth it to him if there was nothing financially to show for it. He also noted that he spent money for a full camp for a fight with Gilbert Melendez last year, and then Melendez was suspended right before the fight, so he ended up not having a fight nor getting paid.