Tag Archives: ufc

Gervonta Davis vs Leo Santa Cruz Moves Back One Week, Will Allow Limited Amount Of Fans In Attendance

Posted on 10/01/2020

By: Hans Themistode

The wait for Gervonta Davis Pay-Per-View headlining clash against Leo Santa Cruz may be killing fans, but it appears they’ll have to wait a bit longer. 

The much hyped up contest, which was due to take place on October 24th, will now take place one week later on Halloween at the Alamodome in Arlington, Texas. While fans are moaning over the decision to delay the bout, many will be thrilled to find out that an unspecified amount of fans will be allowed to attend. 

News of the delay came shortly after Major League Baseball green lighted a max capacity crowd of 11,500 fans into the same arena for the National League Championship Series and the subsequent World Series. 

The admission of fans inside of arena’s isn’t the only reason why the bout was pushed back. 

Although Davis vs Santa Cruz is one of the more anticipated matchups left on the calendar, it faced major competition from a familiar rival. UFC President Dana White is slated to have one of his biggest events of the year when undefeated lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov takes on interim titlist Justin Gaethje. 

Handing the UFC the date all together may eliminate one threat, but Davis vs Santa Cruz will still receive plenty in the form of other boxing events taking place on that night. 

Over on the other side of the world, heavyweight contenders Oleksandr Usyk and Dereck Chisora face off. Their event, however, shouldn’t clash with Davis vs Santa Cruz as the heavyweight giants should enter the ring around 5 pm eastern time, roughly six hours before Davis and Santa Cruz.

Over on ESPN though, pound for pound star Naoya Inoue takes on number one contender Jason Moloney. A quality contest on paper, but a matchup that shouldn’t deter buyers from tuning in to watch Davis vs Santa Cruz.

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Mayweather’s High Money Demand For McGregor, Nurmagomedov Fights

Posted on 03/06/2020

By: Sean Crose

The sun will rise in the east and set in the west, the tides will perpetually go in and out, and Floyd Mayweather will always be Floyd Mayweather. If there’s anything the all time great – and anyone who doesn’t think Mayweather is an all time great frankly doesn’t know much about boxing – has in common with current heavyweight king Tyson Fury it’s that both men have the unique ability to make fans and journalists alike scratch their heads on a regular basis.

For these are individuals who make proclamations that sometimes seem either straight off the tops of their heads or purposely designed to mislead. Take the recent headline from the Daily Mail:
“$600 MILLION: The incredible fee Floyd Mayweather wants to get in the boxing ring with Conor McGregor AND Khabib Nurmagomedov” 

While it’s true Mayweather has found a way to earn more money than pretty much any fighter – or athlete – in the world for a single sporting event, six hundred million for two fights is pretty over the top, even by contemporary boxing standards. A rematch with McGregor, who Mayweather has already bested courtesy of a 2017 novelty bout, would do huge business, but would it do THAT much? As for Nurmagomedov, who also bested McGregor, a boxing match with Mayweather seems even more outlandish than a McGregor rematch. At least McGregor is primarily a striker in his home sport of MMA. Nurmagomadov’s strength is wrestling.  

Still, Mayweather is playing it straight.  “For myself,” the Mail quotes him as saying, “the number is $600m. If I’m going to go out there and risk it, it’d have to be worth it.” Without doubt, any fight is now a risk for Mayweather, who is currently a not so young 43 years old. Although he should be able to best both MMA stars in a ring, the sport of boxing takes it’s toll on fighters as the years roll on. What’s more, Mayweather hasn’t faced a boxer of note since he bested Andre Berto after his insanely lucrative match with Manny Pacquiao back in 2015.  

“In the boxing world as of right now, it doesn’t make sense for me to fight any ordinary fighter,” he says, via the Mail. “I’m a business man.”  Fair enough, but it’s worth wondering if jumping sports would be worth it for McGregor and Nurmagomedov. McGregor has just gotten back to his winning ways in the octagon after a rocky few years, and Nurmagomedov is essentially the sport’s resident badass. What could a likely loss to a considerably over the hill boxer – no matter how great – do to bolster each man’s career?  

Millions upon millions of dollars can make up for a lot of embarrassment, however. As the Mail quotes Mayweather as saying: 

“It’s an entertainment business.”

 As if all this wasn’t wild enough, the Mail reports there’s rumors Mayweather may battle both MMA kings on the same night. 

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Manny Pacquiao Signs With Paradigm, Who Happens to Represent Conor McGregor

Posted on 02/12/2020

By: Sean Crose

“We’re very excited to announce that Manny Pacquiao has signed with PSM for full service representation!” Paradigm Sports Management announced Tuesday. “Manny is one of the greatest boxers of all time & we look forward to working with Arnold, Ping and the rest of the team back in Manila to maximize his historic career.” One of the most popular fighters in the world, Pacquiao is now represented by the same company that represents MMA superstar Conor McGregor. “Welcome to the team Emmanuel,” McGregor tweeted. Although Pacquiao is now under the Paradigm banner, his personal team is supposed to stay generally in tact.

“I am proud to partner with Paradigm Sports Management,” Pacquiao claimed, “and am excited for the opportunities that Audie Attar and PSM have to offer.” Pacquiao then went on to address the public in general. “One thing I want everyone to remember is to always think positively. Never think negatively, that is the beginning of your downfall. Everything is possible.” Audie Attar, the head of Paradigm, also weighed in. “I’m honored to have the opportunity not only to maximize Manny’s boxing career,” ESPN reports Attar as stating, “but to help him continue to leave a legacy he is proud of through the lens of business and sport…my approach is to focus on each client and their goals always, and I look forward to fighting on his behalf.”

Pacquiao is one of the most famous athletes on earth. He’s earned hundreds of millions of dollars over the course of his long career and fought in the most lucrative battle in boxing history when he lost a decision to Floyd Mayweather back in 2015. The Filipino icon has found himself in the midst of a career resurgence since besting Adrien Broner and Keith Thurman last year. Pacquiao is currently the WBA welterweight champion of the world.
Naturally, talk has already turned to a Pacquiao-McGregor fight. McGregor jumped into the boxing ring in 2017 to take on Mayweather in a bout so lucrative that only Pacquiao-Mayweather had managed to bring in more money. Although McGregor is considerably bigger and younger than Pacquiao, he lost to the far less aggressive Mayweather by knockout, meaning that the fast and hard punching Pacquiao would likely prove to be a formidable foe in the ring. Neither Pacquiao’s nor McGregor’s next opponents have been announced. That does not, however, mean that either man won’t end up facing an opponent from his respective sport.

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Bob Arum Wants Terence Crawford vs Conor McGregor in The Ring and Octagon

Posted on 01/25/2020

By: Hans Themistode

WBO Welterweight title holder Terence Crawford has been a professional boxer for 12 years now. He’s managed to win world titles in three different weight classes and is universally considered one of, if not the very best in the world pound-for-pound. 

Yet, with everything that Crawford has achieved in the ring, his boxing resume is amongst the weakest, regardless of weight class. 

The competition of Crawford is always in question but don’t pin any of the blame on him. Simply put, some of the very best fighters in the world aren’t exactly in a rush to step foot inside the ring with him. Crawford (36-0, 27 KOs) has spent the vast majority of his career calling to face the best but no has answered the call. 

Crawford has repeatedly claimed that his lack of a big name opponent hasn’t been frustrating. If no one of note decides to face him, then he will simply continue to dominate whomever they place in front of him.  

Frustration hasn’t hit Crawford just yet, but it does seem that it has affected his promoter Bob Arum. Although he has reached out to just about everyone about matching his star fighter with a big name opponent, it seems as though Arum has decided to go in another direction. 

Paying attention to every sport is extremely difficult. Yet, even the most dedicated fans of boxing, football or even tennis who don’t pay attention to the world of mixed martial arts (MMA) knows one name. Conor McGregor. 

On January 18th, the MMA superstar made quick work of Donald Cerrone in their contest at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. McGregor of course, loss his first and only boxing match against Floyd Mayweather in August of 2017. McGregor’s now looking for redemption against Mayweather. If he can’t secure that contest, then he is reportedly very much interested in a matchup against eight division world champion Manny Pacquiao. 

Bob Arum on the other hand, has another idea in mind. How about McGregor turn his attention to Crawford. In the case of both Mayweather and Pacquiao, McGregor would be forced to face them in the boxing ring. 

In a bout with Crawford however, Arum wants to see his star face McGregor in the boxing ring and in the octagon.

“You’ve got an elite boxer in Terence Crawford fighting an elite MMA guy in Conor McGregor under MMA rules,” said Arum. “You don’t think that would be interesting and something the public would want to see? I think it’s very realistic. Whenever they are ready, we are ready,” Arum said, referring to UFC president Dana White and McGregor. “We’d do the MMA fight first if that’s what they want.”

Realistic? Yes. 

Dangerous? Also yes. 

Crazy? Hell yes. 

Crawford is a great fighter. Maybe even the best in the world but MMA is a completely different animal. The story is always the same when it comes down to these crossover matchups. If it takes place in the boxing ring then the boxer will win. If it’s done inside of the octagon, then the MMA fighter will take home the victory. 

That might be the right away to think about those scenarios normally, but Crawford is anything but normal.

“I’m a fighter first,” Crawford said. “As a fighter, I would entertain it. I just have to have the proper time to prepare myself. It would be a little more than boxing training. I haven’t been in that [wrestling] environment in a long time, but most definitely I feel I can compete with anyone given the proper time to train on the MMA side, being that I have a wrestling background. McGregor would have worry about my stand-up game as well. It would be interesting. He’s got good kicks and he’s strong. I’d have to prepare myself for those things, but I feel I would be all right. A lot of people may say if Terence goes into the Octagon, he will get crushed, but they don’t know me.”

A fight with McGregor would gift Crawford with more money than he can count but that isn’t on the mind of Crawford. The sort of attention that a fight with McGregor could bring the Welterweight champ is what he desires. If no one else wants to fight him then it’s time to get creative.

“I can’t get none of these top welterweights in the ring to fight me, so whatever is clever,” said Crawford. “I’m with it all.”

If this mega event actually does take place, the obvious outcome should be that Crawford wins in the boxing match and McGregor would take home the victory in the MMA matchup. But, according to Arum, McGregor certainly has no shot in the ring but you shouldn’t sleep on Crawford in the octagon.

“Fighting Crawford would be great for McGregor because he has no chance in a boxing match, except to pick up a check,” Arum said. “In an MMA match, he would be the favorite, but Crawford would have a chance because he’s one tough dude and because he has a wrestling background. I think that Crawford is the one boxer that can compete with an elite MMA guy under MMA rules. We’d do two fights so we can level the playing field by fighting in both disciplines. Mayweather and Pacquiao would never fight under MMA rules. Crawford would.”

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Floyd Eyes McGregor and Nurmagomedov While McGregor Has Floyd and Pacquiao on His Mind

Posted on 01/19/2020

By: Hans Themistode

It didn’t take long for UFC star Conor McGregor to get rid of Donald Cerone at UFC 246. 

40 seconds to be exact. It took Floyd Mayweather an even shorter amount of time to call out McGregor on his Instagram account for a rematch. 

Seemingly watching the McGregor contest with his finger on the send button, Mayweather watched as McGregor landed a head kick and followed it up with several strikes on the ground that ended the contest. Once Mayweather pushed the send button, a huge picture of both him and McGregor was plastered across his Instagram account reading the words “MAYWEATHER VS MCGREGOR 2 2020”. 

Before the boxing and MMA world could wrap their heads around the possibility of a rematch between the two, Mayweather posted another picture. It contained the same format but this time McGregor was replaced by undefeated UFC star Khabib Nurmagomedov. 

Mayweather of course, has expressed interest in facing Nurmagomedov and defeated McGregor in the tenth round of their first matchup in August of 2017. By no means was it a blowout as McGregor made it competitive throughout. 

Before Mayweather made it clear that he wants to return against an MMA star, McGregor was on his own campaign trail. Not only stating that he wants the rematch with Mayweather but that he believes it’s only a matter of when, not if.

“I’d like to rematch Floyd, I think we should rematch Floyd,” said McGregor during a recent interview on ESPN. “He’s flirting with it and he can go and rematch someone else but it won’t be the same. I did phenomenal in the bout and the only reason I lost is because I prepared for a back footed, Philly shell kind of opponent. When the fight was like that I was picking him apart. Then he started pressing forward and I wasn’t sinking into my shots like I am now. I know I can beat Floyd if we rematch. Well, when we rematch.”

At this point, everyone is calling out McGregor. With the sort of payday that he can bring to anyone he fights, it isn’t surprising. Yet up until recently, McGregor seemed only interested in facing Mayweather in terms of boxing. But now he has his eyes on another huge star in the sport of boxing at the soon to be opened NFL arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Allegiant Stadium.

“I would love to be the first combatant to fight in that arena,” McGregor said. “What a fight that would be against Manny. A small, powerful southpaw. I’d have to figure out the weight and these things. But something that interests me, no doubt.”

There is so much to dissect here. Mayweather seems to have his eyes set on either Nurmagomedov or McGregor. While McGregor on the other hand has his eyes set on Mayweather, Pacquiao and of course his own UFC rival Nurmagomedov as well. 

With so many different possibilities, there is no doubt that Mayweather is likely to return to the ring to cash in another ridiculous payday.

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UFC 246 Preview: The Second Act Of Conor McGregor

Posted on 01/17/2020

By: Sean Crose

It’s been a tough couple of years for Conor McGregor. After assuring the world he would “educate” the greatest boxer of a generation, he ended up losing handily in his first boxing match. Then, the following year, he stepped back into the octagon after a lengthy layoff only to be completely dominated by a man he had mocked mercilessly. Then, of course, there were the consequences of antisocial behavior– charges of racism, and Islamophobia, sexual assault accusations, and numerous recorded incidents showcasing aggressive physical behavior. Again, it’s been a tough couple of years – much of it self-inflicted. Still, McGregor, one of the most famous athletes on earth, is planning on turning things around starting this Saturday night in Las Vegas.

For there, at the T-Mobile arena, the Irish star will once again step into the octagon, this time to face the highly respected MMA vet Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in a scheduled five round welterweight fight. Cerrone, at first blush, looks to be the perfect opponent for McGregor at this point. With a record of 36-13, and at 36 years of age, the product of Denver has lost his last two fights – to Justin Gaethje and Tony Ferguson respectively. Still, the 21-4 McGregor doesn’t have the greatest track record at welterweight, having split two matches with arch foil Nate Diaz in the 170 pound division back in 2016.

Photo Credit: UFC Twitter Account

It’s also worth noting that McGregor hasn’t won a fight since 2016, when he stopped Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight title that November. After moving on to face – and be stopped by – Floyd Mayweather the following summer, McGregor took over a year off, then tapped out to Khabib Nurmagomadov in October of 2018. Then there’s the matter of those well-publicized troubles the Dublin based fighter has faced before, during and since that time.  The wear and tear seem to be evident in the McGregor’s latest public appearances. Here is a man, it appears, who has been genuinely impacted by his experiences and decisions. 

It’s best to keep in mind, though, that McGregor looks physically GOOD heading into Saturday. He’s carrying that needed extra weight well. He’s also appeared extremely sharp and focused in training. It sometimes may be easy to forget that McGregor is more than a pop culture presence, he’s a professional fighter who excels at the highest levels of his chosen sport. He is, simply put, a lot more than just hype. Should McGregor show the skills he’s noted for – the awkwardness, speed, and expert use of a deadly left hand – Cerrone may well be in for a long night come Saturday. Or perhaps a very short one. 

In fact, it’s being noted among analysts that the fight – which McGregor is favored to win as of press time – can go one of two ways:  McGregor will wrap things up in rapid whirlwind fashion, or Cerrone will survive an initial onslaught and take McGregor deep. Known for having less than impressive cardio, the second scenario could prove all wrong for McGregor. Cerrone, on the other hand, would be well advised to be mindful of the first scenario, as his lack of head movement in the octagon can make for a perfect target for McGregor’s missile like strikes. 

As he enters his second act, McGregor brings with him a great many questions. He can take comfort knowing other major combat sport stars, such as Muhammad Ali, and George Foreman, also brought questions with them into the mid to late portions of their careers. Both those men obviously did exceptionally well for themselves. Then again, many fighters have crashed and burned under the circumstances. It will be interesting to see where McGregor stands after this weekend. 

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Interview: UFC Veteran Leo Kuntz Calls for Fight with Bellator’s Dillon Danis

Posted on 12/06/2019

By: Jesse Donathan

Leo “The Lion” Kuntz would like to get his paws on Bellator’s Dillon Danis and settle the score once and for all inside the mixed martial arts gladiatorial arena. A two-time UFC veteran who trains out of American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida, Kuntz is a former The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 16 cast member who isn’t intimidated one bit by the Bellator golden boy Danis, who is better known as UFC superstar Conor McGregor’s Brazilian Jiu-jitsu mentor. According to Kuntz (18-4-1, 9 KOs), Danis is ducking him but can’t run forever. “Dillon, or ‘El Jefa’ as I prefer to call him, personifies all of the negative qualities that are attributed to the great sport of mixed martial arts,” said Kuntz on the origins of his beef with Danis. According to Leo, “He is arrogant and has zero respect for anyone, unless they can better his career. He is exactly all of the bad things about our sport rolled up into one large worthless bag of flesh,” explained Kuntz on how he really feels about the Bellator signed fighter.

“Many years ago, Bellator had offered me two title fights against Ben Askren. I had to turn both fights down because I was already under contract,” said Kuntz. “I knew that Bellator had had some interest in me and a fight between me and ‘El Jefa’ was a real possibility. I then began calling him out on Twitter, this is a tactic he uses often. ‘El Jefa’ only calls out fighters who have no real chance of fighting him. Where I come from, we call these types of people telephone tough guys,” said Kuntz.

“It quickly became apparent to me that Dillon is in bed with Bellator and they don’t want to see him fight somebody like me,” Kuntz explained. “Scott Coker even made comments on Twitter about ‘El Jefa’ not just being a friend, but also his business partner,” said Kuntz. “After those remarks, I lost all respect for Scott Coker and his organization. I would however still fight for Bellator if it meant a fight with ‘El Jefa,’” the American Top Team representative added.

Switching gears, Kuntz is unfortunately perhaps best known for his now infamous fight against opponent Tae Hyun Bang at UFC Fight Night 79 in 2015, which stands today as the only known prosecuted case of fight fixing in the modern era of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. According to an April 19, 2017 MMAJunkie.com article titled, “UFC warned Tae Hyun Bang, Leo Kuntz about fight fixing; Bang investigated in South Korea,” author Steven Marrocco writes, “UFC officials warned Tae Hyun Bang and Leo Kuntz about fight fixing before they fought at UFC Fight Night 79, people with knowledge of the situation told MMAjunkie.”

According to the report, both fighters initially denied any knowledge of wrong doing, but later Bang, “Allegedly admitted to police his role in fight fixing after receiving death threats from organized crime figures, who’d wagered $2 billion Korean won (approximately $1.7 million USD) that Kuntz would win.”

“Police say Bang accepted a bribe of $100 million won (approximately $87,000) while wagering $50 million (approximately $43,000) on his opponent,” writes MMAJunkie.com. A November 24, 2017 follow up article titled, “Report: Tae Hyun Bang sentenced to 10-month prison term for fight-fixing scheme at UFC Fight Night 79,” indicates that Bang was found guilty of, “Taking bribes in connection with a plan to throw a fight.” Incredibly, according to the report, the “three brokers” who set up the fix and gave money to Bang totaling $92,160 USD also were given jail terms for their roles. One of those brokers was reportedly MMA fighter Dae Won Kim.” A fact which may or may not be an indication that fight fixing in mixed martial arts is more prevalent than anyone would like to admit or has previously been willing to address.

“If the top level athletes in MMA would be getting paid in proportion to the top level athletes in the NFL, NBA, MLB etc… this type of incident wouldn’t even be considered,” said Kuntz on his infamous UFC Fight Night 79 split decision loss to Tae Hyun Bang who was later convicted and sent to prison. According to a November 24, 2019 MMAMania.com article titled, “Report: Tae Hyun Bang lands 10-month prison sentence for accepting bribes in attempt to fix UFC fight,” author Dan Hiergesell writes that, “Bang, 34, was given $92,160 USD by a collection of three brokers and was expected to lose the first two rounds to Kuntz.”
Interestingly, the report went on to state, “But after Bang bet half of that money on Kuntz to win, the betting lines drastically switched, forcing UFC officials to warn both Bang and Kuntz of the ramifications of fixing fights.” This is information, that if true, would seem to suggest that the UFC has actively monitored betting lines for sometime now, long before the expected launch of their official sports betting product known as UFC Event Centre in the first quarter of 2020 according to a November 15, 2019 Sherdog.com report.

According to Kuntz, who claims to have had no prior knowledge or involvement of any kind in the fight fixing scandal or any of the individuals involved, “I first became aware of the issue moments before my fight with Tae Hyun Bang. I was in the locker room getting my hands wrapped when UFC brass came and spoke to me about the betting line swinging overnight. I had no idea what this meant at the time,” explained Kuntz. “The UFC went to speak with Bang after they spoke to me and I’m certain that conversation was of a different nature. They knew that the bets had come in on me to win. It’s sad that athletes at our level would even consider throwing a fight for money,” said Kuntz.

“As far as my career goes,” said Kuntz after being asked how the incident has affected him professionally, “I think this incident actually helped me. It is always a topic of conversation and I’ve had several interviews based solely on the fight fixing scandal.”

More recently, Kuntz, a professional MMA fighter with a traditional martial arts background, had a successful exhibition boxing match in an October 12, 2019 Bozeman, Montana fight against another mixed martial arts fighter with a reported 5-1 semi-pro record. “I’m at a point in my career where I am finally able to train full time,” said Kuntz. “Except for my recent boxing exhibition, I haven’t fought in over 2 years. My last 4 fights have been at 155. During my time as a lightweight, I’ve only won 1 out of 4 fights! As a welterweight I am 17-1-1. I will be permanently moving back up to welterweight and I will be competing in MMA in the end of January,” revealed the traditional Chinese martial artist.

A student of the late Grand Master Wei Lun Huang, Kuntz is a Chinese kung fu master who has studied extensively in Taiji and other Chinese internal martial arts. On the influence kung fu has had in his training as a mixed marital artist, according to Kuntz, “Taiji’s power is like water, ever changing and adopting to its environment. Water is one of the softest substance’s on earth and it can still be harnessed to etch stone and steel. Water can carve through mountains and destroy entire cities, yet it is a requirement for nearly every known source of life on earth,” said Kuntz. “GM Wei Lun Huang has shown me how to be like water. This is a path you walk for a lifetime, knowing that you will never reach the end,” explained Kuntz with a heavy dose of Asian martial philosophy and spiritual dogma to his overall worldview.

On what the future holds for the American Top Team trained mixed martial artist, “I am still interested in boxing and will certainly be making my pro boxing debut in 2020,” said Kuntz who is no doubt looking for financially lucrative opportunities. “As a prize fighter, I am interested in any fight that makes dollars and sense.
“I don’t see myself getting involved in bare knuckle boxing though, unless I’m getting paid stupid money,” explained Kuntz upon being asked if the recent trend in MMA fighters transitioning to bare knuckle boxing would be something that he would be interested in pursuing. According to Kuntz, “Martial arts is about self-preservation and bare-knuckle boxing creates an environment that isn’t sustainable for the athletes. I would be more interested in bare knuckle MMA,” in what is an idea quite a few people would be willing to get behind and support.
“My stock is going up,” said Kuntz. “If Dana White wants to give me another chance, it’s best for him to reach out to me quickly. Once I start making waves at welterweight, I won’t be signing with any large promotion if they want to try and give me an entry level contract,” said Kuntz in what is no doubt the mark of a business savvy, experienced professional who has been around the block a few times already.

As a two-time UFC veteran and TUF season 16 cast member sporting an 18-4 overall professional record with an impressive 9 stoppages to his credit, “The Lion” Kuntz is a primed, unsigned big-league talent looking to take advantage of the current professional boxing/MMA crossover market. With the looming entry of Zuffa Boxing into the world of professional pugilism, fighters like Kuntz with previous experience fighting under the Zuffa banner and a desire to follow the money into the ranks of professional boxing are perfect potential free agent acquisitions primed for the taking as Zuffa attempts to make its mark in the squared circle. But in the meantime, Kuntz appears perfectly content with finding himself inside the Bellator cage opposite Dillon Danis where the score can be settled once and for all.

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Floyd Mayweather vs Khabib Nurmagomedov Could Happen in 2020

Posted on 11/08/2019

By: Hans Themistode

It’s been quite some time since sure fire first ballot hall of famer Floyd Mayweather Jr has been seen in the ring. However, that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been behind the scenes trying to make things happen.

This is apparently the case according to Abdulmanap, the father of UFC Lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.

It was long thought that Mayweather would ride off into the sunset following his tenth round stoppage win over another UFC star in Conor McGregor, in 2017. That aforementioned contest reportedly netted Mayweather close to 300 million.

Discussions of the two polarizing figures running back the contest never materialized. Instead, Mayweather seemed content with living the retired life. However, as of late, Mayweather has seemingly been in discussions with his former rival, Manny Pacquiao.

The two settled their long standing feud in the ring back in 2015. Mayweather would win via unanimous decision, although Pacquiao has said on numerous occasions that he was not 100 percent for their contest, citing a torn rotator cuff for his shortcomings in the contest.

A rematch between the two has been in discussions for quite some time now, but Mayweather has seemingly switched his focus to Nurmagomedov.

Thoughts of these two sharing the ring with one another has been teased for several years now. Yet, there was never any real traction. Fast forward to today, and it looks as though the possibility has become as real as ever.

“Floyd, I respect your wish to fight Khabib,” said Abdulmanap via Instagram. “At the moment we have our most crucial moment, when he have to hold the best fight in the history of the UFC.”

The contest in which Abdulmanap is speaking of, is his son’s next opponent Tony Ferguson. It will undoubtedly be one of the biggest contests in the history of the UFC.

“Twelve against 12 in a series of victories (in the UFC) and all the fans are waiting for this fight.”

When Abdulmanap says the number twelve, he is speaking of victories in the UFC octagon. Khabib is undefeated in twelve contests for the UFC, while Ferguson is currently on a twelve fight win streak which stretches back to 2013.

“We’ve been preparing for this fight for more than a year. Five months and the fight with Ferguson should take place.”

Abdulmanap’s wish for his son to first fight Tony Ferguson is understandable. They are both arguably the best Lightweights in the UFC, and a contest between the two would end the debate on who is the best in the world.

Although Abdulmanap wants his son to focus on Ferguson, he would like for Khabib to shift his focus following victory over Ferguson.

Abdulmanap however, has made it clear that he will need some time for his son to get fully prepared, which will include calling upon the help of a respected boxing trainer.

“First of all we will need to do some boxing training and we need a camp – with Lomachenko Sr for half a year. Why not!!!”

A match between Khabib and Floyd would take place in a boxing ring, which leads to the belief that Khabib will suffer the same fate of Conor McGregor. It is truly mind boggling that any UFC fighter truly believes that they can defeat one of the best boxers in the world. Even at the age of 42, Floyd Mayweather possesses the sort of skill, you simply can’t teach in a short amount of time.

With Floyd officially receiving the blessing of Khabibs father to make the contest happen, it looks as though the showdown will take place in 2020.

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The UFC 244 Post-Fight Press Conference and Moving Forward

Posted on 11/06/2019

By: Jesse Donathan

Jorge Masvidal claimed the UFC’s Baddest Motherf*cker title Saturday night, defeating the game Nate Diaz by third round TKO doctor stoppage. Though a clear and convincing victory for Masvidal, there seems to be some question surrounding the efficacy of the ringside physician’s decision to stop the fight and how the next two championship rounds would have ultimately panned out for the victorious American Top Team welterweight representative. Immediately following the ringside physician’s decision to bring a halt to the context, Diaz and Masvidal met in the center of the Octagon and seemed to have words centering around how the contest ultimately played out.

“You guys said it,” Diaz wrote on Twitter social media immediately following the fight with a picture attached to the message of Masvidal and himself going back and forth following his third round TKO loss over the weekend in Madison Square Garden. “Don’t back out motherf*cker, I see the f*ckery coming my way already,” Diaz wrote in expressing his doubt that the publicly stated rematch with Masvidal would actually come to fruition.

Photo Credit: UFC Twitter Account

Immediately following Masvidal’s UFC 244 victory for the promotions inaugural Baddest Motherf*cker title, the attention quickly turned to what’s next for the man they call “Gamebred” at the UFC 244 post-fight press conference. According to a November 3, 2019 MMAJunkie.com Twitter social media post, “Conor McGregor has said that he is going to come back January 18th, the opponent Dana White said,” a reporter queried to Masvidal before being interrupted, “Come back to what?” asked Masvidal. “Too MMA, to the UFC,” the reporter replied. Obviously two steps ahead of the journalist, “What do you mean, like fighting in the cage?” Jorge replied.

“Yeah,” the reporter answered, seemingly unaware that he was being led down the promotional road of soundbite wizardry. “I don’t know man,” said Masvidal. “That dude has been talking for an (inaudible) what, second. If he fights and gets a victory and he wants this,” explained Masvidal, while motioning to himself with food in his hand, “And some of you motherf*ckers are mean man, ‘cause you know what the f*ck I’ll do to that little dude bro, I’ll f*ck that little guy up man, he’s a f*cking midget,” said Masvidal with the kind of confidence and vibrato that comes with knowing you’re the Baddest Motherf*cker in the room.

On a roll, the 18-fight UFC veteran wasn’t nearly through there either. “Dana White,” said Masvidal as he made eye contact with everyone at press row, “The president of this mothaf*ckin’ company, said that I’m too much man for him.” In what can only be described as a hood, street talk, Masvidal went on to deliver promotional gold in dressing McGregor down in front of the mixed martial arts media gathered to celebrate his UFC 244 victory over Nate Diaz.

“I get it, why people want to see him hurt for the stunts that he’s been pulling,” said Masvidal. “But he don’t want this shit, he’s just talking so he can get his name out there. He was cheering for Nate, he wanted to run it back with Nate,” explained Jorge. “You think he’s at home seeing that fight and saying I want to fight that dude? That dude ain’t retarded, you see he punches old people in the face because those are the fights that he could win. He don’t want this shit,” said Masvidal.

With the reporter attempting to move on to another question, “Gamebred” wasn’t having any part of it. “No, no,” said Masvidal shaking his head. “You know he doesn’t want this shit. Dana and them might try to promote it, I don’t even think Dana is going to promote that fight, because you can’t get that guy to sign the paper,” said Masvidal.

As originally reported in an October 31, 2019 BloodyElbow.com report titled, “UFC ‘looking at’ Conor McGregor vs. Donald Cerrone for January,” author Nick Baldwin writes that, “UFC president Dana White confirmed Wednesday that the promotion is considering booking the Irishman against Donald Cerrone at a Jan. 18 pay-per-view card in Las Vegas, likely to be called UFC 246.” According to Baldwin, “White said that the fight is far from official, however.”

The UFC’s original BMF according to MMAFighting.com, Donald Cerrone (36-13, 10 KOs) has 33-fights with the Ultimate Fighting Championship in a career spanning 14 years in the making, approximately nine of which have been spent as an athlete fighting under the sports premiere mixed martial arts banner. By anyone’s count, Cerrone is among the most diligent workers in the organization, regularly bouncing back and forth between the UFC lightweight and welterweight divisions, fighting some of the sports premiere up-and-coming talent and promotional assets in the process where victory was often times anything but certain. A fight against McGregor would almost certainly be among the most critical of the aging Cerrone’s career, and perhaps one of the most lucrative as well.

According to an August 22, 2016 MMAJunkie.com article titled, “Full UFC 202 salaries: McGregor, Diaz get $5 million of reported $6.1 million payout,” Diaz was paid upwards of $2 million for winning the Conor McGregor sweepstakes in their UFC 202 rematch. Having hand selected and cherry picked smaller opponents throughout the duration of his UFC career, McGregor made a crucial error at UFC 196 in selecting Diaz for his UFC welterweight debut, and while looking like a fish out of water once the fight inevitably hit the mat, McGregor was promptly submitted in the second round by the Brazilian Jiu-jitsu black belt.

The rematch at UFC 202 was a different story however, with Diaz ultimately falling to the Irishman by 5-round majority decision, though paid handsomely even in defeat. The real story however, is what McGregor and the UFC really have in mind; a rematch with the undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr. (50-0, 27 KOs), which would be a lucrative payday for everyone involved if the initial estimated figures from the first bout are to be believed. Which brings into the focus the ethos behind McGregor seeming receiving the white glove treatment from the UFC brass and the absolutely critical nature in which the stakes ride on Conor McGregor’s next fight inside the ring or cage.

And considering it’s been three years since McGregor last won a fight inside the Octagon, most recently losing to lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 in October of 2018 following a two-year hiatus from the sport, it’s not unfair to characterize Conor McGregor’s career as being in great jeopardy. And with serious legal charges reportedly hanging over the UFC superstars head, another loss inside the Octagon would all but eliminate the possibility of a “Money” Mayweather rematch. Which is where the UFC’s BMF title and their longtime perennial work horses in Masvidal, Diaz and Donald Cerrone come into the picture in my opinion as potential possibilities to save the day.

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Canelo vs. Kovalev: About that Hour and a Half Wait

Posted on 11/04/2019

By: Sean Crose

It may well have been smart business for the DAZN streaming service to make paying customers wait half an eternity to watch this weekend’s Canelo Alvarez -Sergey Kovalev fight. It might also make sense for restaurants to first serve patrons who pull up in the most expensive looking vehicles, no matter how long less lucrative seeming clientele have been waiting. Business is business, after all, and no one says a business has to pay an ounce of respect to those who purchase its product. People are free to spend their money elsewhere.

Photo Credit: Golden Boy Promotions Twitter Account

Yet it appears DAZN doesn’t believe boxing fans will take their business elsewhere. Either that or the service already feels its foray into boxing is a dud and it’s time to use its resources to appeal to fans of other sports. Regardless, DAZNs decision to wait until a UFC fight ended before airing one of the top boxing events of the year has made clear what it thinks of boxing fans.

And that isn’t much.

Even UFC kingpin Dana White seemed stunned at it all, so blatant was DAZN’s ass kissing of the UFC fans it hoped to lure in to watch a late night boxing match. He was right to seem stunned. It was stunning stuff, so stunning that pictures of Canelo and Kovalev lounging about until the UFC card concluded made their way across the internet.

Not that DAZN had seemed to care. Rather than apologize or make nice with subscribers, the service reportedly boasted afterwards that putting the main event on freeze for ninety minutes paid off. Needles to say, an email to DAZN has yet to be returned (Boxinginsider will notify readers if DAZN responds).

In the meantime, boxing nuts shouldn’t be surprised if DAZN pulls a similar stunt again in the near future. Again, a business isn’t required to respect its customers. And, as things stand, DAZN is apparently feeling its act of what was essentially poor customer service paid off. Besides, sometimes you can see the writing on the wall. It was obvious for a while, for instance, that HBO had tired of boxing.In this case, it certainly doesn’t seem like the folks at DAZN are in love with boxing’s core fanbase.

On the bright side, the Canelo-Kovalev fight proved to be a success. Kovalev, the bigger man and defending WBO light heavyweight champion, flustered Canelo for round after round until the Mexican star caught his man and ended things abruptly late in the fight. Impressive stuff. If only fans got to watch the match sooner.

Much, much sooner.

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UFC 244: Jorge Masvidal is the UFC’s Baddest Motherf*cker

Posted on 11/03/2019

By: Jesse Donathan

UFC 244 took place at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, November 2, 2019 and featured a main event fight between Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal for the UFC’s inaugural Baddest Motherf*cker (BMF) title. Although not a legitimate championship belt, the media and fan frenzy in the lead up to the main event bout dwarfed all but the most significant of UFC championship title fights in coverage for a belt that is reported to have cost $50,000 alone to deliver.

Following the weigh-ins on Friday, UFC personality Joe Rogan asked Diaz to share his thoughts on opponent Jorge Masvidal and what the fight for the UFC’s “Baddest Motherf*cker” title meant to the Stockton, California native. “All that matters,” said Diaz, “Is that I came with the greatest fighter of all-time, Nick Diaz, and I got the Nick Diaz army with me and we here to take motherf*ckers out.”

According to ESPN reporter Brett Okamoto, another all-time great was in attendance for UFC 244 Saturday night as well, none other than the legendary professional boxer himself, Roberto Duran. “For those who missed my report on the prelims,” wrote Okamoto in his November 2, 2019 Twitter social media post, “Retired boxer Roberto Duran took Jorge Masvidal to dinner last night. Victor’s Cafe, same place he used to eat before he fought in New York. 37 years ago, Duran won his first world title in MSG. Tonight he’ll walk out with Jorge,” reported ESPN’s Okamoto.

Photo Credit: UFC Twitter Account

Right off the bat in round one, Masvidal would attempt to blitzkrieg Diaz in much the same fashion as he did to previous opponents (and victims) Darren Till and Ben Askren. Obviously well prepared, Diaz would circle out and avoid the storming Masvidal in what must have no doubt been a revolutionary concept for Masvidal’s previous two opponents. Not afraid to mix it up, Diaz would immediately set about taking the fight to Masvidal from the start, coming straight for his American Top Team trained opponent. Turning the tables, the veteran Masvidal would momentarily pin Diaz against the fence before Diaz, fighting his way out, was met with a flurry of knee’s and elbows that sent the Stockton, California native reeling backwards before catching punches and finally a head kick that sent Diaz crashing to the mat.

On his back for some time as a standing Masvidal landed numerous blows, Diaz was obviously busted up and seemingly at Masvidal’s mercy as a break in the action from referee Dan Miragliotta enabled Diaz to stand up, making his way back to his feet. In a somewhat questionable decision after the action resumed, Diaz would fight his way back into the clinch with Masvidal where he would again get roughed up before the two found themselves back in the center of the Octagon. With Diaz walking Masvidal down and landing some pretty good shots of his own, the round would go on to end with more clinching against the fence in a 10-9 edge for Masvidal.

The second round would begin with Diaz looking noticeably busted up, the right side of his face sporting a cut above the brawl with a noticeable mouse already forming below the eye. Again, wasting no time, Diaz would come right for Masvidal as the California native seemingly invited himself into Masvidal’s corner to get the start of the second period underway.

Switching between western boxing and Tae Kwon Do stances, Diaz would at times appear to be bored and lackadaisical in the cage, lacking a sense of urgency for a fighter clearly down a round on the judges score cards. With the action beginning to pick up, Diaz would throw a lazy leg kick before going on to catch a right cross from Masvidal that sent Diaz reeling backwards as a body kick, left hook combination would ultimately floor the Cesar Gracie Jiu-jitsu black belt once again.

In a scene eerily reminiscent of round 1, Diaz was again flat on his back and fighting a pressing Masvidal off before “Gamebred” backed off and allowed the now mangled Diaz to return to his feet. The two fighters would engage in a stand up battle for much of the remaining part of the second round, with Masvidal clearly getting the better of the Cesar Gracie Fight Team product before a rather entertaining grappling exchange at the end of the round found Masvidal on top of a game Diaz as the end of the round came to a close. 10-9 Masvidal.

In the corner shortly before the beginning of the third, Diaz could be seen with a noticeable amount of Vaseline over his right eye, the damage sustained from the previous two rounds beginning to mount. The two would actively engage each other in a stand-up affair for a good part of the opening portion of the third, with Diaz beginning to show a sense of urgency while “Gamebred” was more than holding his own as the two went at it.

The third round was perhaps Diaz’s best round, though he was constantly plagued with vision problems throughout as the blood from the opened wounds poured down the young UFC stars face. After a brief period of inactivity with Masvidal pinning Diaz against the fence, the fighters would once again find themselves on the mat with Masvidal in top position as the Brazilian Jiu-jitsu black belt Diaz defended himself well from the blows raining down from above. The horn would go on to sound, marking the end of what was another clear 10-9 outing for American Top Team’s Jorge Masvidal.

With the ringside physician closely examining Diaz in between rounds, it was ultimately determined that a protesting Diaz could no longer continue due to the damage sustained to the right side of his face throughout the previous three rounds of the action. And with that, Jorge Masvidal is the UFC’s inaugural Baddest Motherf*cker, taking the BMF title back home to the American Top Team headquarters in Coconut Creek, Florida where it belongs.

Though now officially crowned the UFC’s baddest, Masvidal has always been a tough fighter and an unofficial heir to the throne. In a sport increasingly populated with athletes, Jorge is a legitimate tough guy from the mean streets of Miami where street fighting is a known commodity. In fact, Masvidal himself is a known street fighter, claiming YouTube fame in a widely viewed backyard street fight video with none other than the late, great Kimbo Slice himself in attendance to take in Masvidal’s symphony of destruction.

In mixed martial arts, Jorge has never been an easy night out for anyone and has perpetually skirted the ranks as a dangerous fighter capable of beating anybody on any given night. Following back-to-back losses in 2017 to Brazilian Jiu-jitsu master Demian Maia and Karate phenom Stephen Thompson, Masvidal would take the entirely of 2018 off before going on to knock out Darren “The Gorilla” Till in convincing fashion at UFC Fight Night 147 earlier this year.

Not finished there, Masvidal went on to deliver his legendary 3-piece and a soda to rising UFC welterweight star Leon Edwards backstage immediately following the Till baptizing after some passing verbiage from the young British fighter which obviously did not set very well with the Miami street fighting legends liking. It would not be unfair to characterize this as a turning point in Masvidal’s career, the incident with Edwards combined with the emphatic knockout of Till at UFC Fight Night 147 cementing Masvidal’s mystique in the public’s imagination as a legitimate tough guy and perhaps even more importantly, establishing “Gamebred” as a needle mover in the UFC’s painfully stagnant welterweight division.

For a lot of fighters, this could be where the story ended, their string of good luck and fortune inevitably winding down to its eventual conclusion. But not for Masvidal; seemingly handpicked by the MMA gods to finish the job former UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler failed to complete against NCAA wrestling legend Ben Askren at UFC 235, “Gamebred” was matched up against Askren at UFC 239 where Masvidal promptly grabbed the bull by the horns once again, flatlining Askren in a promotional record 5-seconds even, the fastest knockout in UFC history.

It’s a story that can only be described as nothing short of destiny, as the road was paved in blood for Masvidal’s eventual showdown Saturday night against Diaz for the UFC’s inaugural Baddest Motherf*cker title, where the Miami street fighting legend claimed his rightful place atop the throne, leaving no doubt who baddest man in the UFC’s welterweight division truly is. With former interim welterweight champion and American Top Team teammate Colby Covington vying for a spot against the division’s champion Kamaru Usman, its anyone’s guess what the immediate future holds for “Gamebred” Masvidal though a rematch against Diaz is already said to be reportedly in the works.

Waiting in the wings remains the vengeance seeking Leon Edwards and the “Notorious” one himself, Conor McGregor, whose career is no doubt in desperate need of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation following serious legal charges and a lopsided loss to lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 in October of 2018. The fallout of which could no doubt be smoked screened and overshadowed by the resulting media frenzy sure to follow in the announcement of McGregor vying for the UFC’s newly created BMF title belt. Going out on a limb here, with no inside knowledge to share, I would not be in the least bit surprised to see Masvidal skip Covington in the UFC’s welterweight championship title picture to go on to challenge Kamaru Usman for the real welterweight championship crown.

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UFC 244: Masvidal vs. Diaz for the BMF Belt

Posted on 11/01/2019

By: Jesse Donathan

It’s a conspiracy, or so UFC superstar Nate Diaz alleges in the controversy surrounding his positive test for a performance enhancing drug in the lead up to his UFC 244 showdown with Jorge Masvidal for the promotions newly created BMF title. The resulting backlash from the mainstream media and the sports wildly dedicated fan base was so severe that not only was an acquittal for Diaz quick in the making, but the UFC’s own anti-doping czar, Jeff Novitzky , has reportedly been left openly questioning the very intellectual foundation itself in how the matter of flagged test results could potentially be handled moving forward later down the line in the future.

“You’re all on steroids, not me,” Nate Diaz announced in his October 24, 2019 Twitter social media message in effort to get out in front of the bad news shared with him privately. Attached to the Tweet, an additional message the UFC superstar took the time to type up in a screenshotted text message that read, “I’m not gonna make it out to NYC for (the) fight next week because they say I tested with elevated levels that they say might be from some tainted supplements,” Diaz wrote. “I call false on that because I only take whole food or natural food supplements. I don’t even eat meat,” Diaz explained.

“So, until UFC, USADA or whoever is (expletive) with me fixes it, I won’t be competing. I’m not gonna play their game and try and hide it or keep quiet, as they suggested,” said Diaz. It was the shot heard around the world, heads turned in the mixed martial arts community on the news someone within the UFC or USADA had suggested Diaz hide the flagged, atypical test result. According to Forbes writer Trent Reinsmith, “The story isn’t that Nate Diaz is out of UFC 244, the story is that someone allegedly told him to keep quiet. Find that person, report that story. That’s what matters,” alleges Reinsmith.

The news and mainstream narrative would quickly shift to Diaz being exonerated of any wrong doing, with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto reporting that Diaz had in fact been cleared to compete at UFC 244 after all. According to the October 25, 2019 Twitter social media post, “Breaking: Nate Diaz is eligible to compete at UFC 244. USADA has ruled he has not committed an anti-doping violation. Elevated level of SARMS was traced to a contaminated organic, vegan, plant-based daily multivitamin,” reads the Okamoto report.

Originally taped to an October 27, 2019 Chael Sonnen YouTube video titled, “The difference between Jon Jones and Nate Diaz flagged USADA tests…,” Sonnen, a former UFC middleweight championship contender and current ESPN MMA analyst himself, believes that, “The apologies that are owed to Nate Diaz are bountiful, but I don’t see them coming in.”

In classic form, Sonnen didn’t skip a beat in assessing the media firestorm surrounding the Diaz flagged test result. As the Bad Guy Inc. CEO sees it, “So, if you publicly attacked Nate Diaz and now you are left to look like a fool, the apology needs to be done publicly,” said Sonnen. “You did it through social media on Twitter, you got to go back to Twitter and make it right. Or you’re just a scumbag and you can go ahead and be scumbag, I mean, it is the fight business, right?” the seasoned veteran Sonnen leveled for his viewing audience in reviewing the basic facts of the story.

“People say terrible things about one another, but those are the choices. People were very quick to turn on Nate, now I will have to say, most of the people who turned on Nate were completely clean and innocent, and just don’t know, they just don’t know how abundantly clear it is. Take Dustin Poirier by example,” said Sonnen.

“Dustin Poirier, who has never taken anything and is squeaky clean himself, he wouldn’t know. He wouldn’t be like a guy like me who is an expert in this, for all the wrong reasons, but an expert nonetheless, he just wouldn’t know,” said Professor Sonnen. “So, he is going to default to the test.” Continuing, and most interesting to consider, Sonnen went on to remark, “Just by example, a lot of the people who were hard on Nate were very innocent themselves, okay. They weren’t throwing stones and then doing something bad. But wrong? They were wrong,” said Sonnen in getting to the bottom of the matter once and for all.

The Bad Guy’s message apparently made it to all the right parties, including the Dustin Poirier camp, with Poirier himself taking to Twitter social media in an October 28, 2019 post to lay something somewhat reminiscent of an apology out to Diaz, stating that, “… I jumped the gun when news came out that he (Diaz) failed a test. He’s always been a guy who pushed for clean eating and clean sport. I shouldn’t have,” explained the former interim lightweight champion before going on to add that that it, “Doesn’t change the fact that I still want to beat his ass,” said Poirier.

Since joining BoxingInsider.com, I have written a number of articles on the topic of performance enhancing drug use, regularly calling for a paradigm shift in how anti-doping is handled in combat sports across the board. It would seem the countless hours spent kneeling at the altar of sacrifice before the “Just Bleed Gods” has finally paid off as my prayers have been delivered to the high priests of MMA who answered the call. Although it is likely that they only picked the phone up out of necessity, rather than reason, in the face of increased backlash and scrutiny surrounding the way in which the promotion and the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) handle their day to day operations amid accusations of conspiracy.

As originally recorded to an October 29, 2019 Luke Thomas YouTube video titled, “Jeff Novitzky Made a Key Admission About Anti-Doping,” the longtime MMA analyst highlighted what he believes to be a potentially “radical change” in anti-doping policy that could be on the horizon.

According to Thomas, ““What is slowly beginning to don on anti-doping authorities, and who again, Jeff Novitzky does not work for USADA, he works for the UFC, is what they’ve found is it’s not merely supplements that are contaminated with trace levels of prohibited substances,” explained Thomas. “They’re finding it in water from the municipal water system, they’re finding it in medications from reputable pharmacies, they’re finding it in foods, they’re finding it in all manners of circumstances where you just can’t believe,” said Thomas.

Going on to cite an October 26, 2019 Josh Gross article for TheAthletic.com titled, “In a ‘contaminated world,’ can common sense prevail with the UFC Anti-Doping Policy?” Thomas highlighted a segment of the report of particular interest to the MMA SiriusXM radio host. As originally written by Gross, “For many years the onus of “strict liability” fell on the fighters, meaning they were the ones responsible for what is in their bodies. Now Novitzky and the UFC are arguing that in some cases the burden must shift from the athlete to the testing authority.”

Referencing Novitzky, Gross went on to write that, “Maybe 10 or 15 years ago when the labs could only detect nanogram level and you didn’t see as much contaminates in the world, that policy was appropriate,” he said. “In this day and age, with those two things happening – the low limits of detection and increased contaminates in our world – I don’t think “strict liability” is the appropriate answer,” said Novitzky.

Admittedly blown away by this revelation from the UFC anti-doping czar, Thomas went on to share his thoughts on the subject and what it could possibly mean for the future of combat sports. “Strict liability is the, is part of and a key corner stone of the intellectual underpinning that makes anti-doping what it is,” explained Thomas. Continuing, “If the world is that contaminated and the detection is that good, as they seem to believe that it is, what are you supposed to do?” a perplexed Thomas asked.

“You can’t force the onus constantly on the athlete,” said Thomas. “He actually thinks the burden should shift to the testing agency. That is an absolute, if that happens, fundamental shift in how anti-doping works. It is an absolute invert. It is literally like saying, not literally, it is kind of like saying, I want to be fair here, you have went from guilty until proven innocent to innocent until proven guilty. That is how utterly monumental that is as an admission,” Thomas concluded.

According to an October 28, 2019 MMAFighting.com article titled, “Nate Diaz blasts ‘made up’ USADA drug testing issue: ‘It was all just a big old bunch of bullsh*t’,” author Damon Martin writes, “The UFC claims that an “organic, vegan, plant-based daily multivitamin” was contaminated with the banned substance LGD-4033—a selective androgen receptor modulator banned at all times for athletes—led to the adverse findings in the drug test.”

Interestingly, the MMAFighting.com report went on to state, “Ultimately, Diaz calls the whole debacle one giant “conspiracy,” and he vehemently denies any accusations made against him, especially considering his feelings on the majority of fighters in the UFC, who he branded as cheaters a long time ago,” said Martin.

According to the report, “’Everybody I’ve been fighting has been on steroids,’ Diaz explained. ‘Most of the people, I don’t want to diss everybody, but most of the people in the UFC, champions or not champion, they’re all on f*cking steroids, and they’re going to pass their tests and they know how to pass their tests. I know, cause I know all them motherf*ckers,’” MMAFighting.com reports.

In the wake of the controversy surrounding Diaz’s reported positive test for elevated levels of a performance enhancing drug, a furor erupted in the mixed martial arts community that brought increased scrutiny and skepticism to the efficacy of the promotions testing program under the United States Anti-Doping Agency, striking at the very intellectual foundation itself in how the two entities conduct their day to day operations. The resulting fallout so severe that the UFC’s own anti-doping czar Jeff Novitzky is openly considering a complete and radical paradigm shift due to the significant pushback and increased scrutiny from the combat sports media and general public as accusations of a conspiracy mount.

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Tyson Fury Eyes MMA Move With The Help Of Conor McGregor

Posted on 10/28/2019

By: Hans Themistode

Tyson Fury has made headlines recently. The Lineal Heavyweight champion has been seen in recent weeks in the WWE world. His back and forth feud with super star wrestler Braun Strowman has captured the imagination of everyone. It was fun to see Fury outside of his normal boxing element.

The fun quickly ended when it was reported that Fury was seriously considering to forego his 2020 rematch with WBC belt holder Deontay Wilder in favor of pursuing a full time career in the WWE.

In just a few short days, Fury will settle his beef with Strowman at the highly anticipated Crown Jewel wrestling event which is slated to take place on Halloween. With Fury reportedly making 15 million for his lone contest with Strowman, the possibility of Fury leaving the boxing ring for good is a real possibility.

With the obligations of defending his Lineal crown, coupled with his WWE commitment, Fury seemingly has a full plate in front of him. Well, according to the man nicknamed the “Gypsy King” he still has room for other ventures as well.

The undefeated Heavyweight champion is in serious talks with Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) star Conor McGregor about a possible move into the world of MMA. Fury isn’t simply thinking about making a move to the cage, he is apparently ready to go head first into it with McGregor firmly in his corner as his training partner.

“I have been speaking to Conor about it,” said Fury. “He’s willing to train me. It’s gonna be good”

Many boxers have made the transition to MMA or at least have given it thought. To train for such a complex sport, many would be led to believe that Fury’s possible MMA debut is something that could happen sometime in the future. Getting acclimated to an entirely different sport is something that could take Fury quite some time to get the hang of. If this was your first initial thought, it would be a good one, but ultimately, you would be wrong.

For Fury, stepping into the cage is something that could happen much sooner than anyone realizes.

“Who knows? I have got something big coming up after this, even bigger than this. We might see Tyson Fury have his MMA debut this year. Tyson Fury is taking over,”

If Fury truly is considering the move to MMA, then he has chosen the perfect person to train him. McGregor is the most prominent name in MMA and one of the most popular athletes regardless of the sport. According to Fury, the extension of help offered from McGregor is something he surely can’t pass up on.

“He’s just said any time that you are ready come over to Dublin and let’s go. I can’t wait, I’m going to take him up on the offer. Who knows we might be on a double-header.”

Although MMA would essential be a new ordeal for Fury, his background has led him to believe that any form of fighting is something that he will excel at.

“I come from a long line of bare-knuckle boxing champions. Getting hurt, getting bloodied is nothing new to me, it’s all a part of my heritage. I would love to get in there and smash someone up.”

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UFC Legend Randy Couture Hospitalized after Massive Heart Attack

Posted on 10/27/2019

By: Jesse Donathan

If there was a Mt. Rushmore of mixed martial arts, Randy Couture would have a seat at the table, for sure, no questions asked, it’s not even debatable. This much is true today and a hundred years from now, simply put, Couture is a verifiable legend in the sport of mixed martial arts. On Thursday, news of the mixed martial arts legends reported massive heart attack struck the MMA community like a Brock Lesnar ham-fisted sandwich, sparking fears and concern the world over for the UFC Hall of Famers health and wellbeing.

“But I’m sitting in the fighter meeting, I get a text message, it says, ‘Randy Couture suffered a massive heart attack and is in the hospital, TMZ reports.’ Oh my goodness,” explains ESPN MMA analyst Chael Sonnen in his October 25, 2019 YouTube video titled, “Randy Couture’s heart attack proves just how tough he is….” According to the Sonnen, who is a former training partner of Couture’s at the legendary Team Quest, “So I stopped the meeting. And another guy in the meeting was Big John (McCarthy). ‘Big John, I just got this news about Randy, I’m going this way, you go that way, lets find out who can find out information,’” Sonnen explained of his conversation with the well-known referee and current Bellator fight commentator.

Photo Credit: Randy Couture Twitter Account

“So, I go straight to Randy. Now when I went to Randy, I never thought in a million years (that) I’m going to hear back from him if its true. If its not true, he will go, ‘Oh, I don’t know where that rumor came from.’ So, I go to Randy, Big John goes to Randy’s significant other and they were both very responsive,” said Sonnen. “I hear right away from Randy. And he says, “Oh, I had a little heart issue, I’ll be out of here tomorrow.” Which as Sonnen explained, was somewhat re-assuring news considering the TMZ report.

“So John gets back, so I share what I got with John and then John shares what he got with me, and his was a little more, you know, the significant other is a little bit more worried, but we still thought we were out of the woods on this massive heart attack thing,” the ESPN MMA analyst said. Continuing, “So, then it catches on, it’s getting all over the news, words getting out, phones are lighting up. Go towards the end of my day and I see Jay Glazer. Well Glazer and Randy work out of the Unbreakable gym. And Glazer was like, ‘Oh Chael, let me tell you the story from the beginning.”

What would follow next is a testament to exactly what kind of man Randy Couture actually is, which is one tough, son of a gun. According to Sonnen, who relayed the story as originally told to him by Glazer, “He said, ‘Randy didn’t have some heart attack and an ambulance gets called and he goes to the hospital. He said, ‘Bro, he had a heart attack at my gym. He had a heart attack. He was telling us, ‘Oh, my heart, my chest, I’m having something going on in my chest.’’ He went and got a foam roller and tried to roll it out. He tried to roll out a heart attack, oh I should add for you, said Sonnen, he then finished the work out. He then walks to the hospital himself, no ambulance, no ride, doesn’t even tell anybody, walks himself into the hospital.

“They immediately perform an operation,” said Sonnen. “They put a stint in, they inform he has had a massive heart attack, they inform him that he has some kind of clotting, and they have some kind of with his blood. And Jay is now at the hospital visiting. And they come in and they ask Randy, ‘On a scale of 1 to 10, where’s your pain?’ And Randy says, ‘Oh, about a 2.’ And they go, ‘Okay, at the time of the heart attack, on a scale of 1 to 10, where was the pain?’ And Randy says, ‘Oh, 4.’

“And Jay goes, ‘Damnit, don’t ask him, quit, you ask me ques…, don’t ask him any questions, this is the toughest guy you’ve ever met. He doesn’t even know what an 8 or a 9 is,’” said Sonnen with a laugh.

In giving an update on Couture’s health, Sonnen went on to explain, “So Randy is doing okay, that is the point of my story, but the fact that he had a heart attack, tried to get it out with a foam roller, finished the work out and then walked to the hospital and informed the doctor he was in almost no pain, I think tells you all you need to know about the heart of Randy Couture.”

Among the most recent updates on Couture’s health include an October 25, 2019 Twitter social media post from ESPN MMA journalist Ariel Helwani. According to the long time MMA personality, “Randy Couture has been discharged from the hospital, less than two days after suffering a heart attack.” Incredibly, Helwani went on to add, Couture walked home just the same as he did when he checked himself into the hospital, according to the report. Whether this is an indication of how close Couture lives to the medical facility or if the aging fighter has fell on hard times financially remains to be seen, though with reports of Couture in the gym and working out, its clear the desire to compete still burns in the legendary fighters soul whatever the case may be.

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Former NFL Great Greg Hardy’s Decision Victory at UFC on ESPN 6 Overturned

Posted on 10/20/2019

By: Jesse Donathan

Something stinks in Beantown and to those intimately familiar with “The Anatomy of the Fight Game,” virtually no part of combat sports remains beyond reproach. If once is happenstance, twice is coincidence and three times is a full-blown conspiracy, then there is something going on in Beantown that needs to be investigated. Boston is a beautiful city with a long and illustrious fight history, renowned the world over, though as happenstance would have it, one unfortunately steeped in impropriety and corruption. With MMA well on its way to becoming a global phenomenon, the experiences of UFC President Dana White indicate that there is every reason to be concerned.

“I had a kind of run-in with Whitey Bulger and his guys,” said UFC President Dana White in a February 28, 2011 BleacherReport.com article titled, “MMA: Without Irish Gangster Whitey Bulger, Would the UFC Have Survived?” According to White, “They showed up at the gym looking for money. It was time to leave,” writes author Colin Linneweber. The BleacherReport.com article went on to note that, “White may have never abandoned his boxing gym had he not been threatened with extortion by notorious Irish gangster Whitey Bulger before the criminal went on the lam in 1995.”

Photo Credit: GregHardyJr Twitter Account

Bulger, who once reportedly employed the services legendary boxing trainer Freddie Roach, is one of the most infamous crime bosses in US history. A ruthless and violent criminal once described by prosecutors as someone with “no redeeming qualities,” Bulger was the former mafia don of the Winter Hill Gang, whose crimes included, among other things, “Fixing horse races and even a gang war with another Irish American outfit over crime spoils,” according to a 2013 LA Times report titled, ”Whitey Bulger likened to Satan by victim’s son at sentencing hearing.”

Fast forwarding to this past weekend at UFC on ESPN 6, as coincidence would have it, controversy arose from the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission as a bizarre set of circumstances unfolded just before the evenings co-main event. According to an October 19, 2019 Bad Guy Inc. YouTube video titled, “Greg Hardy’s inhaler…who’s at fault?” former UFC middleweight contender Chael Sonnen weighed in on the latest controversy surrounding former NFL star Greg Hardy’s (5-1-0, 1 NC) use of an inhaler mid-fight as well as exploring the idea of exactly who is at fault in this made for media mixed martial arts disaster.

“Greg Hardy goes out and he fights Ben Sosoli from Australia,” explains Sonnen. “Now I’m gonna tell you right now, I don’t want to hear it from you, I’m going to take you on a whole bunch of different directions,” warned the ESPN MMA analyst. “Before any, ‘Aw, Chael, you believe in conspiracy theories?’ – No, I’m not, hear me out on this alright, let’s just have a little bit of fun. Let’s just be some fans, let’s just be some people talking, but let’s just be wide minded,” a non-conspiratorial Sonnen said as he began to lay out his case.

“Now, let’s get into the fun. So, in between the second round and third round, Hardy’s corner comes in and Hardy calls for the inhaler. The corner says, ‘It’s USADA approved,’ he says that to a commission official that’s there and then says, ‘It’s in my pocket,’ and then takes the inhaler out and gives it to Greg Hardy who uses the inhaler,” said Sonnen. Not finished there, in no uncertain terms Sonnen went wanted to make this point very clear, “That is against the rules to the clearest and the highest of levels.”

With the kind of insight that only an industry insider could deliver, Sonnen went on to discuss some of the finer points of mixed martial arts competition that isn’t reported on a regular basis, including the rather obvious nature of the infraction from the Greg Hardy camp in question.

“Is it against the rules, yes, is it clearly against the rules, yes. Does it matter in the least if it is USADA approved … no, of course not!” said Sonnen. “To put this, but I want to put this into prospective for you, see, I know this, this is clear to me but I’ve did the sport for 22-years, but you guys may not know that, you may go, ‘Hey, wait a minute, if it’s not a problem with USADA, I thought he could take it?’ No, not even close,” exclaimed Sonnen.

Continuing, “By example, you cannot have Gatorade,” explained Chael. “Not only can you not have Gatorade during the fight, you can’t have Gatorade the second you enter the building. The second you walk into the locker room, the only thing you are allowed to put into your body is water. Oh, and by the way, a water that they, meaning the commission, hand you,” said Sonnen.

According to Chael, who once infamously took UFC middleweight legend Anderson Silva behind the woodshed for five rounds before succumbing to a come from behind submission hold to the UFC great, “Hold on, stories not over. He asked the commissioner, ‘Can I do this?’ The commissioner told him, ‘Yes.’ Greg Hardy has a reasonable right to rely on that information, including if that information is wrong, he has a reasonable right to expect it to be accurate information and then to rely on it, which is what he did,” explained Sonnen.

“That only means, okay, that he cannot be disciplined, there will not be a hearing, there will not be a revocation of his license, there will not be a monetary disciplinary action in my opinion,” said Sonnen. “It does not mean that his opponent can’t look at it and say, ‘A commission official gave bad information, which allowed an illegal advantage to my opponent,’ which it did, right?”

In explaining that Hardy’s opponent Ben Sosoli (7-2-0, 2 NC) should file an appeal, Chael went on to note that, “The question becomes who is at fault? In many parts, the question becomes who’s at fault. You have a commission who has the ultimate say, as a matter of a fact, the only say, not USADA and certainly not the promotion, it’s the commission. You would have a claim against that commission,” explained the longtime mixed martial arts veteran.

Stepping back into time, according to a January 26, 2018 MMAFighting.com article titled, “Mass confusion: Miscommunication leads to two different rulesets being used at UFC 220,” author Marc Raimondi writes that miscommunication at UFC 220 in Boston lead to mass confusion between the officials and fighters at the event.

According to Raimondi, “Everything was going as it usually does for Kyle Bochniak backstage at UFC 220. His hands were wrapped and approved by the commission. He went over the game plan with his coach. The referee for his fight with Brandon Davis came over and laid out the in-cage rules.” But according to the MMAFighting.com report, “Less than an hour later, Bochniak was warming up and “getting in the zone,” as he put it, for the important fight. Just as he was about to walk out, another referee came to him and said there had been a change.”

In a rather bizarre turn of events, according to Raimondi, “The first ref had told him the new Unified Rules of MMA would be in place for the fight; the second ref said to forget that — the commission had made a change and now it was actually the old rules. The ref comes in and says the athletic commission has changed it back to the old rules,” Bochniak said. And I’m like, ‘Whoa whoa whoa, what’s the old rules again?’”

The document went on to conclude that, “A miscommunication between the UFC, the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission (MSAC) and the referees working the card led to the rules being switched from new to old in the middle of the event.”

Bochniak went on to describe the bizarre set of events as a curve ball, something he had not previously seen before while ultimately downplaying the resulting confusion surrounding the use of two different sets of rules applied to the same UFC 220 event. They say where there is smoke, there is fire, and its unusual events like these and those that transpired at UFC on ESPN 6 with Greg Hardy, and the use of a commission approved inhaler that are really pause for concern.

Boston is a truly beautiful city with a long and storied history in boxing, though one unfortunately marred by impropriety and corruption. With mixed martial arts well on its way to becoming a global phenomenon, the experiences of UFC President Dana White, Greg Hardy and Kyle Bochniak indicate that there is every reason to be concerned. “The Anatomy of the Fight Game” suggests every conceivable angle in combat sports is potentially susceptible to perversion, if once is happenstance, twice is coincidence and three times is a full-blown conspiracy, then something stinks in Beantown that needs to be investigated.

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