Week in MMA & Boxing #6 - September 3, 2015
MMA & Boxing News From the week of
August 28 - September 3, 2015
UFC 191 this Saturday
One of the weakest PPV numbers of the year will be this Saturday night's show from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, headlined by a Demetrious Johnson flyweight title fight. The live advance was said to be the weakest for a UFC PPV show in Las Vegas in some time.
The show starts at 7 p.m. Eastern on Fight Pass with Nazareno Malegarie vs. Joaquin Silva and Joe Riggs vs. Ron Stallings. FS 1 at 8 p.m. has Clay Collard vs. Thiago Trator, Jessica Andrade vs. Raquel Pennington, John Lineker vs. Francisco Rivera and Paul Felder vs. Ross Pearson.
The PPV at 10 p.m. has Paige VanZant vs. Alex Chambers, Corey Anderson vs. Jan Blachowicz, Anthony Johnson vs. Jimi Manuwa, Andrei Arlovski vs. Frank Mir and Demetrious Johnson vs. John Dodson for the flyweight title.
UFC 193 Main Event Changed
Robbie Lawler suffered a thumb injury which made him the first casualty of UFC’s big run that started in October and goes through early January. The Lawler vs. Carlos Condit welterweight title fight is being postponed, with no new date announced. So with a 70,000-seat Etihad Stadium needed to fill, UFC asked Ronda Rousey to move up her title defense against Holly Holm from Jan. 2 in Las Vegas to 11/15, and she agreed, so that’s the new main event.
The feeling with the new main event is that it has a much better chance to sell out, but with already throwing around the 70,000 figure, that doing 56,000 like WWE did in 2002 in the same stadium would come across as a disappointment. They are going to do a week’s worth of activities in conjunction with the show to get the word out, similar to what WWE does at the Mania host cities.
Jan. 2 Show
There has been at least talk of trying to do three title matches on Jan. 2, which would be Fabricio Werdum vs. Cain Velasquez, T.J. Dillashaw vs. Dominick Cruz and Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Claudia Gadelha if all works out. A lot depends on if all are ready, plus they also need a main event for 2/5. Lawler vs. Condit would probably be ready to go during that time frame as well.
The light heavyweight title should, if everything goes right, possibly be ready for February or March, and if Jon Jones is back that would be a big fight. Then we should have a lot ready from April to July, but the July show, as UFC 200, pretty much has to be loaded. The key there is if Jose Aldo wins over Conor McGregor, then UFC 200 pretty much has to have Ronda Rousey or Jon Jones on top, and there is no time frame right now on Jones
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, who at one time was considered the best MMA fighter on the planet, officially announced his retirement on 9/1 while accepting a job as an Athletic Relations Ambassador for UFC Brazil.
The UFC announced that Nogueira, 39, will serve as the company’s liaison between athletes, sponsors, media and governing bodies, as well as act as a mentor in the developmental of young athletes. Nogueira will also scout prospective Brazilian talent for the promotion.
Nogueira’s career was highlighted by being the first-ever Pride world heavyweight champion, winning a match to determine the title over Heath Herring on November 3, 2001, at the Tokyo Dome, before a sellout crowd of 53,000 fans, the first time an MMA event had sold the building out.
Travis Browne, 33, and the alleged current boyfriend of Ronda Rousey, was reinstated by the UFC this past week after they had put him on ice pending an investigation due to allegations of domestic abuse by his wife, fitness model Jenna Renee Webb.
The UFC announced that a seven-week-long investigation conducted by a former FBI agent with 25 years of experience, who interviewed both the individuals and friends of both, found inconclusive evidence to support the domestic abuse claim. After the report, the UFC reinstated him.
The UFC claimed that they had hired the Las Vegas law firm of Campbell & Williams to find a third party to conduct a thorough investigation after learning on 7/8 that Webb had photos of her with a number of bruises and claimed it was from Browne and that she was breaking up with him.
The investigator spoke with nearly a dozen individuals in several states, including Browne, Webb, former spouses, doctors associated with both, as well as friends of both. The investigator also obtained electronic data showing interactions of the two both with each other and with others.
Webb had of late been critical of Rousey for both dating a married man and for being critical of Floyd Mayweather Jr., for his domestic violence past, while dating Browne.
Webb said, “I told them the truth. I gave them photos. I gave them a dated and detailed journal, and how they came up with those results is beyond belief. The investigator got this info and helped the UFC come to this conclusion. My family and I are totally baffled. It just shows what an abused person from a close family in Florida faces when they go up against an ex-FBI investigator, Campbell & Williams, and the UFC. They have more money than we do. They appear to be the winners. We believe that in the end truth prevails.”
The 22nd season of the Ultimate Fighter, with Urijah Faber and Conor McGregor as coaches of Team USA vs. Team Europe, will debut on 9/9 at 10 p.m. Eastern and run weekly on Wednesday nights through early December.
The debut episode will feature the usual 16 fights to get into the house. The fights on that two-hour first show will be all American vs. American and European vs. European fights, so there will be eight American winners and eight European winners.
At that point, they will start a tournament in the first round, although after the first round, fighters from the U.S. could fight each other and fighters from Europe could also fight each other.
As noted, at this point there are no plans for the coaches to fight, although should McGregor not beat Jose Aldo and win the featherweight title, it would then make sense to have McGregor vs. Faber.
The attempt here is clearly to hope that McGregor can help build up the show’s ratings. In the early seasons of the show, the right mix of coaches were clearly a ratings draw. But in recent years, that wasn’t as much the case. The numbers for Chael Sonnen and Ronda Rousey as coaches weren’t that big, although they were considerably bigger than other seasons at about the same time. When the show was still on Spike, the season with Brock Lesnar was a ratings disappointment.
Both McGregor and Faber understand the role and are both always promoting, so the hope is that McGregor can work his ratings magic here.
The season will have 12 episodes, with the finals on 12/11, a special Friday night show in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, the night before the McGregor vs. Aldo fight.
Rousey on Cyborg
Rousey was on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast and said that she doesn’t want to be fighting in her 30s, and said by that, she means, at the age of 31. She’s now 28, so that seems to put early 2018 as the end of her career if she doesn’t change her mind. A lot can happen by then, including her losing or getting so big in other places, or the money increasing to a level it’ll be hard to walk away.
She said that right now her career feels unfinished and said that a fight with Cris Cyborg would provide an element of finality to her career. There were hints that she could fight Cyborg as a retirement fight, as when Rogan brought up if she fought her would you feel like your career was over, and she said, “that definitely would.”
By that standpoint, maybe UFC is the one that should drag that out. “If she never steps up, I’ll know. I’ll probably go on a little longer waiting for her, see if she shows up sooner rather than later. I don’t know how much longer I’d go.” You see what happens when people get off steroids. You see what they look like. It’s very easy for them to drop down. They immediately shrink up. It changes everything. It’s all an insecurity thing. When you look at these people from when they were using and after, they look entirely different. Cyborg looks and weighs exactly the same. If she gets off, it will be very easy for her to make the weight.
Lots of rumors floating around about UFC and Fedor Emelianenko signing, but at this point nobody in UFC will confirm them. The word from Bellator is that they are not making a play for him, but Japanese hoping to revitalize the MMA business there (and Nobuyuki Sakakibara, who formerly ran Pride, is looking to start something up), supposedly have had dialogue with his people.
UFC is also making major plans for UFC 200 in July with the idea of it being just like a WrestleMania week. Among the ideas are multiple shows from smaller promotions the week of the event. The idea is to do it the opposite of WWE, which has no affiliation with the smaller shows and tries to make it difficult for them (although the key people all were able to get venues this year in Dallas, whereas last year ROH had to move all the way to Redwood City), that UFC would have different promotions like Invicta and some others run shows during the week and air them on Fight Pass
Jose Aldo was confronted by Jeff Novitzky and Dana White about his comments that he was going to use an IV even though it’s against the rules. Aldo told them it was the fault of reporters who misinterpreted his remarks when he said, “I will continue to use an IV, I don’t care. I’ll tell them I’m going to eat and do it instead. They won’t take me out of the f***ing fight, so I don’t care,. They can say whatever they want, but it’s scientifically proven the best way to rehydrate. Only if they put a security guard with me 24 hours a day I don’t care.” Aldo said that the interview was translated wrong (it wasn’t) and that he was only kidding anyway when he said that
PBC on ESPN
The Premier Boxing show on ESPN on 8/29 headlined by Leo Santa Cruz beating Abner Mares drew 1,217,000 viewers, the largest audience for an ESPN boxing match since 1998. The show drew another 355,000 viewers on ESPN Deportes, peaking with 453,000 for the main event, making it the most-watched boxing event ever on that station.