Khabib vs. McGregor in Boxing?
By: Michael Kane
Conor McGregor fought UFC Lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in October, and was convincingly defeated. McGregor would like a rematch and so it seems would Khabib Nurmagomedov’s father.
Only next time in a boxing ring.
After the Dagestani’s win, he called out Floyd Mayweather, Mayweather said the fight may happen and that he could make more money fighting Khabib than he did when he beat McGregor in the 10th round last year.
The rumours on this potential match up have gone quiet and now it seems Khabib and his team still fancy a boxing bout against his old foe, McGregor.
Whether this would hold much appeal to boxing aficionados around the world is debatable however, could it launch the much talked about entrance to the boxing world of Zuffa Boxing?
Speaking to Russian newspaper, Izvestia, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov said, “As for the fight against Conor under boxing rules, this is a fight we are interested in. Khabib showed that he is able to beat the best strikers of mixed martial arts.
“He said this before, but few believed it. However, after strong victories over Michael Johnson, Edson Barboza and Conor, people begin to believe.”
Nurmagomedov knocked McGregor to the canvas in the second round of their bout at UFC 229 and may have taken some confidence that He could out strike the Irishman.
“Nurmagomedov is able to do it in the boxing ring. Khabib has all the skills to win by the rules of boxing. One of the key skills can be called endurance.
“I remember his five round fight with (Al) Iaquinta, in which Khabib showed his willingness to fight in absolutely any area, using everything from a left jab to control on the ground. I want to note that the fight against Iaquinta was of great importance to us, there was a belt at stake and it was important to keep the bout calm and take the win. Which we did!”
Combatant in Chief: The Story of Donald Trump and Combat Sports Debuts on UFC Fight Pass on Wednesday, November 14th
UFC®, the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization, continues its celebration of the company’s silver anniversary with the ongoing release of a 25-part documentary series entitled UFC 25 Years in Short. The compilation of short films represents 25 captivating UFC stories, one for each year of the promotion’s existence, that examine UFC’s amazing evolution, fascinating characters, and lasting influence. UFC 25 Years in Short streams on UFC FIGHT PASS®, the promotion’s digital subscription streaming service.
“COMBATANT IN CHIEF: The Story of Donald Trump and Combat Sports”
When Donald Trump opened his Atlantic City casino to the struggling UFC, it was the start of an unlikely friendship between the current POTUS and UFC president Dana White.
Directed by Adam Condal and Michael Hayden.
Premiere Date: Wednesday, November 14 at 12 a.m. PT / 3 a.m. ET
The history of UFC and President Donald Trump are intertwined, as President Trump played a pivotal role in legitimizing UFC and the sport of Mixed Martial Arts. Trump Taj Mahal hosted UFC 30 in Atlantic City in February 2001, making it the first UFC event held by new owners Zuffa, LLC, which purchased the promotion in January that year. UFC 30 was also the first state-sanctioned UFC event held in New Jersey. UFC returned to Trump Taj Mahal in May 2001 with UFC 31, the first UFC event held under the new Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts, which the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board had adopted a month earlier.
Crisis Aborted for Floyd Mayweather
By: Kirk Jackson
It appears the highly publicized bout between Floyd Mayweather and Tenshin Nasukawa will not manifest after all.
Mayweather shocked the world earlier this week, revealing he signed with Japanese mixed martial arts promotions company RIZIN Fighting Federation, to fight 20-year-old Japanese kick boxer Tenshin Nasukawa on New Year’s Eve in Japan.
But the fight, Mayweather now claims, is void. He has called it off. In an Instagram statement now deleted, after he had left Japan and flown back to the US, Mayweather claimed he had been duped and that the fight was meant to be an exhibition for “a small group of wealthy spectators.”
Obviously there’s much to dissect and digest as there is a bit of confusion as to the original terms and conditions of the proposed bout, and what resulted in cancellation.
Fortunately for us terms of the contract leaked out.
The original rules of combat were never released to the public – being as it seemed they weren’t agreed to upon completion of the contract, or at the very least there was a lack of transparency from one side of the negotiating table. This lack of transparency was hinted on Mayweather’s Instagram page.
“Ultimately, I was asked to participate in a 9 minute exhibition of 3 rounds with an opponent selected by the ‘Rizen Fighting Federation,” Mayweather’s Instagram stated.
“What I was originally informed of by Brent Johnson of ‘One Entertainment’ was that this was to be an exhibition put on for a small group of wealthy spectators for a very large fee. This exhibition was previously arranged as a ‘Special Bout’ purely for entertainment purposes with no intentions of being represented as an official fight card nor televised worldwide.”
According to Mayweather, the press conference he and Nasukawa held earlier in the week to discuss the fight caught him and his team off-guard because of the details discussed. Mayweather claims they did not speak up at the press conference because they didn’t want to create a disturbance.
For his part Mayweather has since apologized to his fans again via Instagram.
“I can assure you that I too was completely blindsided by the arrangements that were being made without my consent nor approval. For the sake of the several fans and attendees that flew in from all parts of the world to attend this past press conference, I was hesitant to create a huge disturbance by combating what was being said and for that I am truly sorry.”
Now that the dust settled, even though this is an opportunity lost, it’s also an opportunity gained. In spite of the criticism from fellow boxing promoters, jealous mixed martial arts fighters, writers and even some boxers, this is a win for Mayweather and illustrates his command in the combat world.
Again for a moment in time, he illustrates the ability to command attention and command the big bucks in case there were those doubting.
He is doing the things that Conor McGregor and Canelo Alvarez want to do. He sets trends and breaks ground, but because of who he is, he doesn’t warrant the positive attention that comes with it.
Any publicity negative or positive is still publicity and keeps your name in the news cycle. People in the United States and worldwide now know of Nasukawa and RIZIN.
Mayweather has the attention he seeks.
Not to count another person’s pockets, as it’s uncertain if Mayweather needs the money, but this is more so a testament to the attention and potential amount of money that can be earned. The cherry on top is if he can make this amount of money with the minimal amount of risk.
Which is something Mayweather has been accused from by his critics regardless in spite of the weight classes climbed, the challenges he overcame, the twenty-plus world champions and multiple Hall of Famers he defeated.
But let this be a lesson learned to fully read through the terms and conditions of a contract before signing off and agreeing.
As mentioned earlier, all eyes again re on Mayweather, so what’s next?
Who is Tenshin Nasukawa, Floyd Mayweather’s Next Opponent?
By: Oliver McManus
Floyd Mayweather is set to return to the ring on December 31st, in Tokyo, against an MMA superstar… no, it’s not Khabib Nurmagomedov but rather Tenshin Nasukawa – the 20 year old Japanese kickboxer.
The question on many fight fans lips is “just who is Tenshin Nasukawa?” and it’s a very valid point because few outside of Japan will have heard of the diminutive figure – standing 5ft5in – but let’s try and establish some facts about him.
photo Credit: Nobuyuki Sakakibara Twitter Account
A two weight champion within RISE, Nasukawa has held belts at flyweight and featherweight with that particular organisation and was the 2017 RIZIN kickboxing featherweight champion so he has pedigree.
Enrolled by his father into a karate class aged five, Nasukawa soon turned his attention to kickboxing – where he honed a natural aggression and power. Having dedicated himself to the sport, the youngster accrued 111 amateur contests with a mere five losses before turning professional.
That power I talked about is evidenced by his 22 knockouts as a professional with a particularly pleasing flying knee against Yamato Fujita – funnily enough on New Years Eve last year – but he’s well-rounded enough to be able to finish opponents via punches and submissions.
Of course we don’t know the rule set or the weight category being stipulated for December 31st but if, as many believe, it will be a cross-over of both MMA and boxing then you’d expect this to play into the favour of Nasukawa who, despite his age, is one of the most experienced and mature fighters around.
He is no stranger to mixing it with professional boxers, nor with coming out on top, owing to a contest he had in February last year with, former IBF champion, Amnat Ruenroeng. As part of KNOCK OUT Vol. 1, Nasukawa emerged victorious with a sumptuous left hook to the body in the fourth round.
Fighting is in his blood and his sister – Riri – is already making waves in the professional ranks despite being just 16 years of age. She made her debut in June, a winning start, and will next compete on November 11th, having racked up 33 fights as an amateur with a 90% win rate.
A surprise to many in the MMA / boxing community who, largely, were expecting either MayPac 2 or Mayweather-Nurmagomedov to take place, Tenshin admitted he was caught a little off guard by the offer – “It was a surprise offer but I accepted without hesitation, It’s the biggest moment in my life and I want to be the man who changes history. I’ll do that with these fists, with one punch – just watch.”
And watch we will, whether you think it’s a freak show or a miss-match you won’t be able to not watch. December 31st, Tokyo, you can feel the Tenshin Rizin.
Mayweather Out of Retirement to Fight on Rizin in Japan
By: Michael Kane
It seems Floyd Mayweather is out of retirement once more.
Mayweather (50-0) appeared in Japan last night with Japanese MMA promotion Rizin Fighting Federation. In the press conference it was announced Mayweather would face Tenshin Nasukawa, a 27-0 kickboxer and 4-0 MMA fighter.
Photo Credit: Nobuyuki Sakakibara Twitter Account
As yet it’s not known what format the fight will take place, all that was said was it would be under ‘special rules’.
Mayweather last competed last year against MMA superstar Conor McGregor, stopping McGregor in the 10th round under boxing rules. Lately Mayweather has suggested he would face UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov however Dana White, the UFC president said this would not happen under boxing rules.
The Mayweather v McGregor PPV was one of the biggest PPV events in history.
Rizin promoter Nobuyuki Sakakibara gave an explanation on the deal, “I think my shortest answer to that is the fact that now we are aligned to achieve something together and that is hitting a new challenge, taking a step forward to whatever wonderful thing that we can create together,” Sakakibara said via a Japanese translator.
Mayweather is looking forward to spending more time in Japan and also the prospect of promoting his fighters there.
“Rizin has done a remarkable job with the fighters,” Mayweather said. “I look forward to giving you guys entertainment come December 31, but my relationship with Rizin, it doesn’t stop just here. I look forward to taking this worldwide.”
Nasukawa, is looking forward to facing the undefeated boxer.
“I would probably say that this is my biggest event in life, so far,” Nasukawa said, via a Japanese translator. “And I’m very happy that this is going to materialize.”
“Nobody has defeated my opponent in the past,” he continued, referring to Mayweather’s 50-0 pro boxing record. “And I would like to be the man who makes history. My punch can change the history and I will show that to you, so please stay tuned.”
The event will take place on Rizin’s New Years Eve show a big date in Japanese combat shows, since the days of Pride and K-1.
The full press conference can be watched here:
Mayweather Says He’ll Rematch McGregor : “I’m Helping Keep Combat Sports Alive!”
By: Sean Crose
Give this to Floyd Mayweather – the man knows how to keep himself in the spotlight. After it looked like his pay per view numbers might be starting to decline a while back, he finally agreed to meet Manny Pacquiao in what many observers felt was the money grab to end all money grabs. How wrong those observers were. For just over two years later, Mayweather got in the ring with the MMAs biggest star, the one man knee jerk reaction to every anti-bullying campaign known to man, Conor McGregor. Mayweather essentially made easy work of his Irish foe…only to just recently declare he would rematch Pacquiao in the near future.
Since then, Mayweather’s focus has apparently switched to Khabib Nomagomedov, the UFC star who recently came close to choking McGregor into oblivion. “Oh, we fighting!” Mayweather recently said of the Russian terror. “He called me out, so he gotta come to my world.” Naturally. One simply can’t expect a world class wrestler to wrestle. There’s simply too much money to be made leaving the cage for the ring and getting punched out by an aging boxing great. Or is there? If Khabib was only kidding when he called out Mayweather (which he did last week) this might all be nonsense.
Then again, who knows? At any rate, Mayweather is back in the news today, via TMZ, claiming he’s ready to give McGregor a rematch after fighting Khabib (one has to wonder how many beatings McGregor has left in him at this point). “After me and Khabib lock up,” he’s quoted as saying, “me and McGregor we gonna lock up again.” Mayweather, grandiose as ever, is also quoted as saying: “I’m helping keep combat sports alive!”” Perhaps Mayweather hasn’t heard of the massive 300 million plus deal former foe Canelo Alvarez has made with DAZN streaming service, or of the huge pay per view numbers such fights as Canelo-Golovkin and McGregor-Nurmogomadov have recently done. One suspects, however, that Mayweather has been kept well abreast of such news, hence the splashy headlines he’s taken to dishing out as of late.
Canelo, boxing’s new king (though many feel he lost his recent bout to Gennady Golovkin, only to be saved by the judges), is patently unimpressed with Mayweather’s latest round of media proclamations. “He wants to continue hurting boxing,” says the Mexican star of Mayweather, “by making fights that don’t make sense … and not giving boxing the credibility it deserves.” A younger, less able version of Canelo lost by decision to Mayweather in a massive 2013 bout. Now the Mexican himself wants a second chance.
“If he wants to return,” Canelo says of Mayweather, “I ask him to look my way to give a great fight to the fans.”
Khabib’s Explosion: Was it Unexpected and Justified?
By: William Holmes
“This is respect sport….This is not trash-talking sport…I don’t want people talk shit about opponents, talk shit about his father, religion. You cannot talk about religion. You cannot talk about nation. Guys, you cannot talk about this stuff.”-Khabib Nurmagomedov
The talk of the combat sporting world this weekend was the Khabib vs. Conor McGregor UFC fight, which featured Khabib picking McGregor apart before submitting him in the fourth round, then suddenly jumping out of the octagon cage and into the crowd to attack Dillon Danis, a member of McGregor’s team who was sitting cage side and allegedly taunting Khabib.
Chaos ensued afterwards and members of Khabib’s team jumped in the cage to attack McGregor. Suspensions will likely be given out, loss of purse and titles are also a possibility.
The sports world was divided. Were Khabib’s actions justified? Were his actions unexpected?
In order to attempt to understand Khabib, one first has to understand his background and where he is from, something that he was evidently trying to explain in his post fight explanation.
Khabib is from Dagestan, a Russian republic. It has been the forefront of Islamic Insurgency and ethnic tension since the 1990s. It borders Chechnya, the location of a severe conflict with Russia that often featured Chechen fighters infiltrating Dagestan to call for Jihad.
Khabib is a devout Sunni Muslim and well educated. He speaks several languages and is very proud of his culture and heritage.
Insults aimed at his religion or nation are not taken likely. I’m not arguing that Khabib is a terrorist or that he supports armed violent jihad, but pointing out that disrespect against his religion is taken very seriously.
So should we have been surprised by Khabib’s actions? Well, if you had some general knowledge about the region he is from, probably not. McGregor is notorious for his trash talking, but when he insulted Khabib he questioned the support Khabib has in his nation, mocked Khabib by offering him alcohol even though he’s a Muslim who does not drink, and called his manager a terrorist rat.
Khabib has been exposed to religious warfare and terrorism, and to lump him and his team with real terrorists was undoubtedly an insult that he could not ignore.
Khabib claims Dillon Danis hurled Muslim insults at him after the fight and that’s why he jumped over the fence, a claim Danis denies. But nobody should have been surprised that Khabib was still fired up after his fight with McGregor was over.
“I know my father’s gonna smash me when I go home because…I know he’s gonna smash me.”-Khabib Nurmagomedov
“I think that for Khabib, the most severe sanctions would be my regard. I am going to regard this severely. I warned him. For me, the most important thing is discipline. You can do whatever you want in the octagon, but beyond its barrier-this is the border separating civilians, there are children, women, bystanders.
This fight took place within the octagon. That’s the spectacle But I am categorically against fighting outsid the octagon. Outside of the octagon, you need to exist peacefully. Fight in the octagon.”
Now for the million dollar, or two million dollar question. Were his actions justified?
Pre-fight trash talk has been a part of combat sports for years. McGregor and Mayweather’s trash talk was probably more entertaining than the actual fight itself.
But even though Mayweather and McGregor insulted each other greatly leading up to the fight, they were able to be cordial in the post fight interviews.
It’s difficult to find too many situations where a fighter leaped into the crowd immediately after a fight to engage someone in the crowd.
But there has been several situations where members of a boxer’s team jumped in a cage to start a brawl, and they were usually dealt with by the commission harshly.
Roger Mayweather jumped in the ring when Floyd fought Zab Judah and was hit with a low blow and a punch behind the head. An all out melee ensued when members from both camps entered the ring and brawled. Afterwards, Yoel Judah was fined $100,000 and had his license revoked for a year. Roger Mayweather was fined $200,000 and had his license revoked for one year. Leonard Ellerbe was fined $50,000 and had his license revoked for four months. Even Zab Judah received a fine of $350,000 and had his license revoked for a year.
Another example of a brawl happening in boxing was during the riot during the first Riddick Bowe/Andrew Golota fight. The fight was stopped after Golota landed several low blows on Bowe after repeated warnings. Members of Bowe’s security team jumped in the ring and went after Golota.
Rock Newman, Bowe’s manager and promoter, was suspended for a year and fined $250,000 for the incident.
More recently, one would have to look at the fight between Jose Uzcategui and Andre Dirrell, which featured Leon Lawson Jr., the Uncle of Dirrell, sucker punch Uzcategui. Lawson was suspended by the Maryland State Athletic Commission and faced criminal charges as a result.
Of course, one of the most famous post fight brawls or sucker punches was when James Butler sucker punched Richard Grant on ESPN after he lost his fight. He was charged with assault and suspended. In fact, he served four months at Rikers Island as a result.
Were his actions, jumping into the crowd to attack bystanders, justified? Precedent by athletic commission for boxers and members of their team behaving poorly and attacking fighters after a sanctioned fight is over are usually dealt with harshly.
There really isn’t any specific precedent to determine if the actions of Khabib were justified, but it appears likely that the commission won’t find any justification for a fighter to jump into a crowd to start a wild brawl, and will also likely deal with him harshly.
Justified? Also no.
Khabib’s punishment awaits.
Chael Sonnen: “I’m the Biggest Heel this Sport Has”
By: Sean Crose
“I don’t do a whole lot of it,” Chael Sonnen said on a Tuesday conference call to promote his Belator 208 heavyweight title eliminator this weekend against Fedor Emilianenko, “just a show every here and there.” Sonnen was referring to his very active media presence as a podcaster and commentator. Even after working the wild UFC McGregor-Nurmagomedov card last weekend, Sonnen still claimed he was ready to face Fedor, a man widely regarded as the greatest heavyweight MMA combatant in history. “I’m sore and tired all the time,” Sonnen added, as proof that he’s been hard at work preparing for the Fedor match, which will go down at New York’s Nassau Coliseum.
Sonnen, one of the most highly regarded practitioners in mixed martial arts, might be best known for his famous near win against then dominant UFC star Anderson Silva years ago. Now that he’s facing another iconic brand in the 37-5-1 Fedor, the 30-15-1 Sonnen is at a point in his long career where he can put things in perspective. Of his colorful time as a top fighter, Sonnen claimed: “I think I should have more appreciation.” Still, the heavyweight is a man who looks towards the future. “As my life moves on,” he added. “I would like to create new memories.”
He’ll certainly have a chance against Fedor, a nice seeming man who nonetheless has earned a reputation as an aggressive, fearsome, and highly skilled fighter, one who is able to employ a variety of disciplines while in the octagon. “I think Fedor’s great,” Sonnen said, declaring his foe “the best heavyweight of all time” (while adding Fedor was about “to face the best fighter of all time”). Sonnen, who was long known as a classic villain, now seems reasonable in an era of Conor and Khabib. Not that he’s happy about it.
“I’m the biggest heel this sport has,” he stated on the call. Sonnen, however, has never thrown a dolly against a bus window, nor has he ever dove into the audience after a fight to attack someone, a difference between himself and recent UFC stars he seemed happy to admit to. “It’s important to be civilized,” Sonnen claimed outright. “It was a really big shock,” he said, when the inevitable matter of last weekend’s near riot in Las Vegas came up. “I don’t know why it happened.”
Yet, for the moment, Sonnen’s main priority is beating his famed opponent this Saturday. “I’ve been stunned,” he said of Fedor, “at how hard he can hit – especially with that right hand.” Not that he’s worried. Sonnen, after all, is the biggest heel around.
Or at least that’s a character he still likes to play.
UFC 229 Preview: Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada will host the biggest pay per view of the year in either boxing or MMA as the UFC Lightweight Title will be up for grabs when undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov faces Conor McGregor in the main event of the evening.
McGregor is the UFC’s biggest draw, and Khabib is McGregor’s toughest test to date in MMA. This blockbuster event will be getting a lot of attention in the mainstream media leading up to Saturday.
The co-main event of the evening will be between Anthony Pettis and Tony Ferguson in the lightweight division. The winner of this bout will likely be in line for a future title shot against the winner of Khabib and McGregor.
Photo Credit: UFC Twitter Account
The undercard has some intriguing fights throughout. Ovince Saint Preux will face Dominick Reyes in the light heavyweight division, Derrick Lewis will face Alexander Volkov in the heavyweight division, Sergio Pettis will face Jussier Formiga in the flyweight division, and Michelle Waterson will face Felice Herrig in the Women’s Straweight division.
The UFC tends to show more fights on their pay per view offerings than boxing so five fights will likely be televised.
The following is a preview of the co-main event and the main event of the night.
Anthony Pettis (21-7) vs. Tony Ferguson (23-3); Lightweights
The winner of the co-main event of the night will likely move on to a future title shot.
Anthony Pettis was once considered a top rated contender, but he has struggled recently and has only gone 3-3 in his last six fights, and actually has a losing record of 3-5 in his last eight fights.
Tony Ferguson has been on a roll and is currently riding a ten fight win streak. However, his activity is of some concern as he has only fought three times since the beginning of 2016, while Pettis has fought seven times since the beginning of 2016.
Ferguson is 34 years old and three years older than Pettis. Ferguson will have a very slight two inch height advantage on Pettis.
Both fighters like to finish their fight. Of Pettis’ 21 victories, 17 have come by way of stoppage. 18 of Ferguson’s victories have come by way of stoppage.
There really is no such thing as an easy fight in the UFC. Pettis has defeated the likes of Michael Chiesa, Jim Miller, Charles Oliveira, Gilbert Melendez, and Benson Henderson. His losses were to Rafael Dos Anjos, Eddie Alvarez, Edson Barboza, Max Holloway, and Dustin Poirier.
Ferguson’s only losses were to Michael Johnson and two lesser known fighters very early in his career. He has defeated the likes of Kevin Lee, Rafael Dos Anjos, Edson Barboza, Josh Thomson, Gleison Tibau, Abel Trujillo, and Danny Castillo.
Pettis might have a slight edge in striking, but Ferguson has a strong edge in grappling. Ferguson was a NCWA Collegiate National Champion in Wrestling and was a high school state champion in Michigan. Pettis didn’t pick up on grappling until later on in his life.
Ferguson should win this fight by decision. He’s never been stopped by strikes in his career, and that’s Anthony Pettis’ best weapon.
Khabib Nurmagomedov (26-0) vs. Conor McGregor (21-3); UFC Lightweight Championship
As stated earlier, there really is no such thing as an easy fight in the UFC, and that’s why it’s very impressive for Khabib Nurmagomedov to have an undefeated record.
Khabib is a fighter with a very strong grappling background. He was born in Dagestan, Russia and has never lost. His win streak currently stands at 26 victories in a row.
Both Khabib and McGregor are 30 years old, though Khabib will have a two inch height advantage on McGregor.
Khabib has a history of injuries and trouble making weight, though he has made weight for this weekend. 16 of his 26 wins were by stoppage, with eight by TKO and eight by submission.
McGregor’s excitement as a fighter is much more than his personality. Of McGregor’s 21 victories, 18 have come by TKO/KO and one by submission. Only two of his wins were by judges decision.
Neither fighter can consider themselves to be super active since 2016. Khabib fought once in 2018, once in 2017, and twice in 2016. McGregor did not fight yet in an MMA cage in 2018 or 2017. He fought three times in 2016 and was last seen competing in a boxing ring when he was stopped by Floyd Mayweather Jr.
McGregor has beaten the likes of Eddie Alvarez, Nate Diaz, Jose Aldo, Chad Mendes, Dennis Silver, Dustin Poirier, and Max Holloway. His losses were to Joseph Duffy, Nate Diaz, and Artemij Sitenkov.
Nobody has ever beaten Khabib. He has defeated the likes of Al Iaquinta, Edson Barboza, Michael Johnson, Darrel Horcher, Rafael Dos Anjos, Thiago Tavares, and Gleison Tibau.
One of the biggest factors that jumps out at this writer is that McGregor’s three losses were all by submission and he’s facing a fighter who’s known for being a very strong grappler. Khabib has finished 8 previous opponents by submission.
If McGregor is going to win he’ll have to stop Khabib with strikes, it’s difficult to imagine him keeping the fight standing for five rounds.
Even though McGregor recently signed a lucrative contract extension with the UFC and is their most popular fighter, his recent inactivity and weakness in grappling will likely be issues that Khabib will exploit.
This writer feels that Khabib’s strengths will make for a very bad matchup for McGregor on Saturday.
For Boxing Fans Not Interested in the UFC; Streaming with DAZN and ESPN+ is the New Normal
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night the number one PPV attraction in combat sports will defend his world title.
I’m not talking about Floyd Mayweather Jr., the past PPV king who has yet to officially announce the details of his next proposed fight.
I’m talking about Conor McGregor, the UFC’s cash cow who’s set to take on undefeated challenger Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Photo Credit: DAZN Twitter Account
As recently as last year, if a UFC fight card was on PPV and an outlet like HBO or Showtime put on a competing card, you could expect HBO or Showtime to still get decent ratings.
However, the times have changed and HBO is making an exit from broadcasting boxing and will be completely out of boxing by the time 2019 arrives.
The future for boxing fans is streaming, and the future is here.
One of the bigger complaints against HBO Boxing was that you couldn’t watch a fight on their network live via streaming. You could subscribe to a service like HBO GO without a cable television provider or satellite provider, but you could not watch fights live, only on tape delay. Showtime has that option for their subscribers, which reflects the inclinations of the younger generation to cut the chord and stream their programming and also reflected Showtime’s commitment to the sport of boxing.
Showtime would still probably get good numbers if they were to counter program against the UFC, but they even have a streaming option for fights available for their customers.
HBO has a wide array of programming for their subscribers and charges approximately $15 per month. Some of their consumers got HBO solely for boxing, and would shell out additional money per month for their PPV offerings.
The number of fights that HBO put on yearly has been on the decline, as well as their budget. For the same $15 a month, fight fans can get high quality fights on both ESPN+ and DAZN and a much larger number of boxing matches.
DAZN has contracts to televised both boxing and MMA. They plan to televised 16 boxing events in the United States and 16 boxing events in the United Kingdom with Matchroom Boxing per year. They plan to show 15 World Boxing Super Series events per year with 21 tournament bouts. They have a contract with Combate Americas for thirteen events a year. They also have a contract to broadcast some of Bellator MMA’s biggest events, who have named fighters such as Chael Sonnen, Rampage Jackson, Rory McDonald, Gegard Mousasi, and Fedor Emelianenko under contract.
ESPN+ also has plans to put on a large number of MMA and boxing events on their platform. When ESPN originally announced their contract with Top Rank they indicated they will show at least 12 live fight cards from the US and six international cards. They’ve already signed an extension on that deal that will call for 18 cards to air on ESPN, 12 prime-time cards that will stream exclusively on ESPN+, and 24 premium international events to be shown on ESPN+.
While DAZN has Bellator and Combate Americas; ESPN+ has a contract with the UFC, the MMA powerhouse. The deal that ESPN+ has with the UFC is for 10 UFC Fight Night cards on ESPN and 20 UFC Fight Night cards on ESPN+ per year.
In the past boxing fans who were not fans of the UFC would usually turn to their premium networks to watch boxing during a UFC PPV. This weekend, boxing fans have plenty of other options.
On ESPN+ they can watch a bantamweight bout between Luis Nery and Jason Canoy from Tijuana, Mexico and also watch a junior welterweight fight between Jack Catterall and Ohara Davies from Leicester, England in the junior welterweight division.
On DAZN they can watch a welterweight bout between Jessie Vargas and Thomas Dulorme, as well as an IBF Light Heavyweight bout between Artur Beterbiev and Callum Johnson, as well as a WBA Junior Featherweight bout between Danny Roman and Gavin McDonnell.
Additionally, fight fans can also watch on DAZN a WBA Bantamweight Title bout between Naoya Inoue and Juan Carlos Payano as well as a WBA Junior Welterweight bout between Kiryl Relikh and Eduard Troyanovsky. These bouts are part of the World Boxing Super Series and will be broadcast from Yokohama, Japan.
So while all the hype and marketing this week is behind Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov, boxing fans still have a chance to see a high quality card from Chicago and Japan on DAZN, and a boxing card from England and Mexico on ESPN+. If you’re already a subscriber you know of the quality and quantity of boxing fights these services offer.
Finally, the streaming services offer viewers an opportunity to watch an entire card, from opening fight to the main fight, and not just the top two or three fights. This will allow fans to get a better look at prospects early on in their career.
For boxing fans, the price of ESPN+ and DAZN combined is about the same price as a monthly subscription to HBO. But the quality and quantity of content is far greater with these streaming services.
If you’re not a fan of the UFC and are looking for other viewing options, might as well sign up with these streaming services for a month and enjoy.
And get used to it, for streaming is the new normal for boxing fans. At close inspection, it appears to be a better normal.
Jon Jones Claims Interest in Seeing Him Take on Wilder and Joshua
By: Michael Kane
Jon Jones, one of the finest MMA fighters on the planet, has said ‘people’ want to see him take on Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua.
Just who these people are, no one knows.
Photo Credit: Jon Jones Twitter Account
Jones who has just had a 4 year suspension cut to 14 months by USADA for helping them in their investigations of the use of illegal substances within the UFC, is expected to make a return to the sport towards the end of the year.
With Conor McGregor having made a lot of money by facing Floyd Mayweather in the boxing ring, it seems Jones would like to so something similar.
“Right now my mindset is more about making money, even those big fights,” Jones told RT Sports.
“You know, I watched Conor McGregor fight Floyd Mayweather, and it was high risk, high reward. There’s a saying, ‘scared money don’t make money’. I gotta be brave when I get back in the game and start challenging guys that I could possibly lose to, because that’s what people want to see.”
The former light heavy weight UFC champion could make a return in the heavyweight division, especially as arch rival Daniel Cormier has become the heavyweight champion to add to the light heavyweight strap he holds.
It was the heavyweights in both sports that he gave a mention to.
“They want to see Jones versus Velasquez, they want to see Jones versus Ngannou, that’s what people want to see, and that’s where my mindset is,” Jones said.
“Jones versus Anthony Joshua, or Deontay Wilder, you know, that’s what people want to see.”
We’ll find out if the fan interest for the fight is there.
Multi Division Boxing Champion Amanda Serrano to Return to MMA
By: Michael Kane
Amanda ‘The Real Deal’ Serrano, the six division world boxing champion is to return to MMA, taking on Mexico’s Erendina Ordonez.
The fight will be in the Comabate Americas women’s flyweight division on October 13th.
Photo Credit: Amanda Serrano Twitter Account
The 29 year old Puerto Rican, Serrano, makes her rerurn to MMA after an unanimous decision win over Yamila Esther Reyonso of Argentina for the WBO Junior Welterweight World Championship. The bout took place at the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn on September 8th.
With her win, Serrano joined an elite group to have claimed six world titles at six different weights, joining Oscar De La Hoya and Manny Pacquiao.
With one MMA fight to her name, so far, Serrano will be hoping to go one better than her debut bout. On April 13th, Serrano faced Corina Herrera at ‘Combate Estrellas ‘ in LA, the bout finishing in a draw.
Serrano’s opponent this time out, Ordonez, is a three time San Shou style kickboxing gold medallist.
Combate Americas CEO Campbell McLaren said in a press release, ” It is an honour to have the world’s greatest women’s boxer in history, who is on par with De La Hota and Pacquiao, back in La Jaula (Combate Americas cage) for Combate Americas.”
DAZN Builds Up Their Content with an Eye Towards the Future
By: William Holmes
DAZN is hoping to be a big disruptor in the traditional boxing viewing model for fans and have already signed a major fight to give their customers.
The Heavyweight division, prior to the arrival of Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao, has long been considered boxing’s glamour division. One of DAZN’s biggest investments was to lock up the current heavyweight kingpin, Anthony Joshua.
With Floyd Mayweather retired and Manny Pacquiao near 40, the welterweight division’s time at the top of boxing’s money divisions appears to be coming to a close. Anthony Joshua has been selling a tremendous number of tickets when he fights. The first fight for Joshua under the DAZN service will be a good test when he meets Alexander Povetkin.
But their foray into the heavyweight division is not the only thing that DAZN has in mind.
Former ESPN President John Skipper is the new chairman of DAZN, and the company’s stated goal is to be eventually known as the Netflix of Sports. They have Over the Top (OTT) streaming rights to major sporting events in international markets such as Germany, Austria, Canada, and Japan to leagues such as the NFL, NHL, MLB, UEFA Champions League, and Serie A.
OTT streaming won’t have commercials, and won’t rely on advertisements to turn a profit like traditional broadcast media.
Marcus Parnwell, director of product at DAZN, recently told Quartz “We’ve seen Netflix build a model without advertising based on the subscription… Sport has more natural breaks in play, especially US Sports are built for advertising. We’re trying to do a different model and a different thing.”
Their acquisition of OTT rights for some valuable sport franchises will likely take some time to turn into a profitable venture. However, the American consumer has increasingly made the decision to ‘cut the chord’ which has lessened the reach of traditional broadcast outlets. Streaming options, such as Netflix, Hulu, and even the ‘niche’ market of the WWE network have been fairly successful.
It’s only logical for a streaming service dedicated to sports to eventually enter that market. Enter DAZN.
They don’t have the OTT rights to any of the major American sport leagues in the United States yet, but they have already made some inroads into combat sports in the United States and early on their focus will be on that.
Their deal with Matchroom Boxing USA is for $1billion for eight years with 16 events in the US and 16 events in the UK per year. Their deal with Bellator is for 22 events, 7 exclusive to DAZN in addition to their welterweight tournament. They also have a deal for Combate Americas for 13 events a year. They also have a deal with World Boxing Super Series for 15 events and 21 tournament bouts.
The goal appears to put on PPV style events in both boxing and MMA for a lower monthly subscription price.
They already have some attractive fights lined up for fans, including:
9-22: Anthony Joshua vs. Alexander Povetkin (Boxing)
9-29: Mousasi vs. Mcdonald (Bellator)
10-6: Jessie Vargas vs. Thomas Dulorme, Artur Beterbiev vs. Callum Johnson (Boxing)
10-7:Inoue vs. Payano (Boxing)
10-12: Mitrione vs. Bader (Bellator)
10-13: Fedor vs. Sonnen (Bellator)
10-20: Billy Joe Saunders vs. Demetrius Andrade, Katie Taylor vs. Cindy Serrano (Boxing)
Streaming will also allow DAZN to do some things that cable networks can’t. Traditional boxing broadcast outlets like HBO and Showtime only show 2-4 fights per card, while DAZN show the entire card, including the opening fights that often feature prospects and local fighters.
It’s alleged that Brian Kenny, Michael Buffer, Sugar Ray Leonard will help lend a veteran presence to their boxing broadcasts.
In addition to live fights, DAZN is also looking into shoulder programming for these events. Scott Woodgat, the director of programming at DAZN, recently told awfulannouncing.com “OTT and DAZN are all about live. The content strategy here differs a little bit from the other regions, because there’s gaps between events in fight sports, and we need to fill those gaps with various shoulder programming, which we’re looking into.”
DAZN has made investment at a base production facility at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and hired producers, writers, and staff to create original content. They also have a library of past fights uploaded in both boxing and MMA.
Subscribers to DAZN will have other viewing options besides live events.
The future of DAZN is also intriguing.
Saturday’s PPV fight between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin appears to be the last fight that both boxers have under their current contract with HBO.
Manny Pacquiao, though older, is also a free agent and eager to fight.
The addition of any of those three, or all three, would make DAZN a very attractive option for fight fans, both the casual and hardcore ones.
DAZN currently has Boxing, MMA, Soccer, Cycling, and Cricket as sport offerings in the American market. If they are successful, it wouldn’t be out of the question to see them make a run at the OTT rights for one of the big four professional sport leagues (NFL,NBA,NHL, and MLB) one day.
But as of today, DAZN is making its mark felt in the combat sports world.
How Many Older Boxing Fans Have Switched to MMA-UFC?
By: Ken Hissner
At age 74 this writer has been a boxing fan since at age 8 watching the rematch between then World Heavyweight Champion Rocky Marciano and the former champion “Jersey” Joe Walcott on TV with my dad.
I’ve watched many changes especially in boxing. The then great trainers didn’t always pass down their knowledge possibly in fear of losing a fighter they trained. Trainers are in a position where “they do not have a contract with a boxer” as the manager does so there is little protection. You lose a fight today and the boxer changes trainers as if it were the fault of the trainer and not the boxers.
At an early age I loved watching professional wrestling. Several of my favorites were Argentina Rocca and Haystacks Calhoun. With age I realized the results in wrestling was known prior to the match. I was told by one who was involved in wrestling a “blood capsule” was placed in the mouth of a wrestler and when “hit” the blood from the capsule looked like real blood coming out. Granted, they had to be in good enough condition to take the tumbles and falls they did.
In time I grew out of watching wrestling though once watching high school wrestling at state championships in Pennsylvania with three events going on at once I knew that at that level let alone college it was really a tough sport. That is probably where some of the better MMA-UFC fighters have an advantage today.
We now live in a “blood thirsty” society that the more violence the better for the say 20 to 50 crowd enjoy the more blood and violence the better! I don’t even want to get into the NFL’s violence. Do they test for steroids?
So as more American men today rather choose playing a team sport where they can make plenty of money without having to take all the “blame” whereas unless it’s a last play failing the team takes the blame for the loss not the individual as in boxing it’s “safer!” Today in boxing you have some of the best P4P boxers coming from Eastern Europe where they come to the United States “hungry” like the Americans did say in the 50’s and 60’s they have great success. The Ukraine’s Vasyl “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko and Kazakhstan’s Gennady “GGG” Golovkin are great examples of that today.
So along comes MMA-UFC and I can’t believe how the fan’s go crazy for the violence as they do for American football where the injuries are horrific. A quarterback literally takes his life into his hands waiting to be crushed by a 250 pound “monster” hitting him from the-blindside! I couldn’t believe it when while serving in the Army in the mid 60’s when NY Jet quarterback Joe Namath claimed he couldn’t go in because of “bad knees!” Bad knees? How dangerous would it have been getting inducted and probably leading recruits into calisthenics? You think the greats like Joe “The Brown Bomber” and “Sugar” Ray Robinson were put into combat while serving during World War II?
The Gracie family has brought their development of Brazilian jiu-jitsu into Mixed Martial Arts and made their mark! From this writers point of view I see two guys wrestling to the ground as in a street fight with one on top of the other smashing his face into submission and think “such brutality”. There are skills I don’t watch long enough to pick up on. At least in boxing it is against the rules of “hitting below the belt”.
Now there seems to be a resurgence coming in Bare Knuckle Boxing. Top unbeaten BKB fighter Bobby Gunn once told me “it’s not as brutal as boxing” because one punch usually can end it much sooner than taking a beating over ten rounds with boxing gloves on.
To make long story by now not so short for someone over 60 getting the thrill watching MMA-UFC as one would seeing for example the first Marciano-Walcott fight when the challenger was well behind going into the thirteenth round and pulls out by way of knockout is second to none!
Floyd Mayweather vs. Himself: The Octagon Theory
By: James Risoli
What makes a person who they are? What propels and motivates us to do the things we do? More specifically, why do fighters have such a hard time in the twilight of their careers with hanging up their gloves, unable to walk off into the sunset, after such an arduous journey which often times consists of unforgiving years of blood, sweat, and tears?
If one was to look up the word fighter in the dictionary the definition is one that any person that ever lived would know does not encapsulate it’s real world meaning. A fighter by any sense of the word is someone who challenges themselves. Who goes beyond their normal limits to achieve success in whatever endeavor they are trying to complete. A fighter may not always seek out but will always stand up to challenges and tribulations put forth or laid out before them. All fighters, especially those in the fight game, need to be able to know that the person staring back at them is the same person they believe themselves to be in their heart of hearts.
For those of us that do not know Floyd Mayweather, the man has been a fighter in every sense of the word way before any serious consideration was given to it becoming his profession. Born on February 24th 1977 in Grand Rapids Michigan and then moving at a very early age to the Hiram Square neighborhood of New Brunswick, New Jersey. Mayweather learned about the sometime all too familiar hardships of life at an early age in dealing with poverty and drugs, including a drug addicted mother. Mayweather would later say, “When I was about eight or nine, I lived in New Jersey with my mother and we were seven deep in one bedroom and sometimes we didn’t have electricity. When people see what I have now, they have no idea of where I came from and how I didn’t have anything growing up.” Mayweather’s story however, is one of a more personal nature and perhaps one that would be better told by himself than this author. However, it is important to mention because it bears significance to the “term” fighter. His story could possibly bare some insight into some of his current state of affairs and those future decisions and or plans that may be taking shape or unfolding in his mind’s eye.
By most accounts and for all intents and purposes, Floyd Mayweather has achieved everything there is to achieve in boxing. In a career that spanned two decades Mayweather has done what only one other person could, that being Rocky Marciano. 50 times Floyd Mayweather entered the ring and 50 times Floyd Mayweather’s hand was raised in victory. During his career, he has held multiple world titles in five weight classes and the lineal championship in four of those. In 2016, Mayweather was ranked as the best pound for pound fighter in the past 25 years by ESPN. He is one of the most marketable pay per view fighters of all time, as well as, one of the highest paid athletes in the world. So, the real news and noteworthy question of the day is, why after all this is Mayweather talking about the UFC and walking in the octagon?
Many people have been asking this particular question. Most people think the idea is outrageous, if not borderline crazy, or an actual joke. A statement muttered in jest. However, I for one do not believe that to be the case. Although not the norm, it is not completely uncommon for fighters to attempt a chance at crossing over from discipline to discipline. All one would have to do is just look to Floyd’s most recent and last opponent, Conor McGregor, who tried to accomplish this exact same feat. So, once again, why then is Mayweather entertaining this idea? Why after all the victories and all the achievements is it possible that this is in all actuality a real plausible possibility? Simple, because for the fighters we love and adore, those that bleed and train for the fans to see, cheer, and adore the answer is quite simple. All one would have to look at is the meaning of the word fighter.