TMZ Stands By Its Confirmation of Kimo Leopoldo's Death

Posted by fightstalker on Friday Sep 11, 2009 Under Kimo Leopoldo, Rumors

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Well this is odd. After those reports of Kimo Leopoldo’s death were discovered to be an Internet message board-driven hoax, many of us were quick to dump haterade on TMZ, the celebrity gossip outlet that “confirmed” the news after it was first reported, and helped the false report snowball out of control. Though TMZ quickly took the story down when Kimo showed up breathing, we never heard an apology from Harvey Levin and his gang of misfits — and we’re never going to:

TMZ founder Harvey Levin told FiveKnuckles.com exclusively that they had received the tip that Leopoldo had died from the fighter’s management. “We actually got a call from his reps,” said Levin. He now, looking back on the issue, thinks that it might have been motivated by publicity.
While Levin would not reveal the name of the person who contacted TMZ, he did explicitly say that the confirmation came though Leopoldo’s camp. “There are a lot of people who just want to – and I’m not saying [Leopoldo] – but representatives that want to get their name out there in all sorts of ways,” Levin said. “And somebody there clearly did.”
However, Leopoldo’s lawyer, Stephen Doniger, is still in the process of filing a lawsuit against TMZ. Initially, Doniger and Leopoldo wanted to settle the matter without going to court, but TMZ has not responded to Doniger’s attempts at communicating.

So in other words, Kimo hears that he’s died of a heart-attack, tells one of his people to tell TMZ that it’s true, then gives us an alibi for his long silence by saying he didn’t wake up until “around noon-ish this morning.” That’s what Levin’s saying anyway. Honestly, it’s hard to know who to believe — the parasitic gossip-dealer or the cop-impersonating yo-yo expert. They’re both such pillars of trustworthiness.

http://www.cagepotato.com/tmz-stands-its-confirmation-kimo-leopoldos-death

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UFC 103 GOING BIG IN TEXAS WITH 13 BOUTS

Posted by fightstalker on Friday Sep 11, 2009 Under Rumors

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As the saying goes, everything’s bigger in Texas – including the fight cards. With the superfight between former middleweight champion Rich Franklin and Vitor Belfort already signed, the Ultimate Fighting Championship is set to put on a record 13 fights for UFC 103: Franklin vs. Belfort, which is presented by Tequila Cazadores, live from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas on September 19.

Mirko Cro Cop (fighting out of Zagreb, Croatia) has fought some of the best heavyweights in the world. The seasoned striker with 25 professional wins is coming off a TKO victory against Mostapha Al Turk in June, but the former Pride Grand Prix champion could be facing one of his toughest challenges in recent memory when he takes on the dangerous Brazilian Junior Dos Santos (fighting out of Salvador, Bahia, Brazil). With two knockout wins in his first two UFC fights, no one has lasted longer than 80 seconds in the UFC against the 25-year-old. The 6-foot-4, 238-pound fighter will need to bring his sharpest standup game yet against the feared Croatian kickboxer.

Coming off the biggest win of his career, welterweight contender Martin Kampmann (fighting out of Las Vegas, Nev.) is fresh from an impressive split decision victory over former World Extreme Cagefighting® welterweight champion Carlos Condit in April. Since dropping down to the 170-pound weight class, the 27-year-old former Danish Thai boxing champion is a perfect 2-0 but will be pitted against the extremely explosive Paul Daley (fighting out of Nottingham, England). An exciting striker that has fought around the globe, Daley owns KO wins over UFC veterans John Alessio and Duane Ludwig and is making his UFC debut.

A former national college wrestling champion, Josh Koscheck (fighting out of Fresno, Calif.) has compiled 10 UFC wins in his career. The Waynesburg, Pennsylvania native has wins over Diego Sanchez, Chris Lytle and Dustin Hazelett, but he has never faced someone like returning UFC veteran Frank Trigg (fighting out of Las Vegas, NV.). One half of two memorable fights with then UFC welterweight champion Matt Hughes, Trigg has the experience, wrestling background and Octagon savvy to give Koscheck the most difficult test of his career. With two UFC victories already on his resume`, Trigg makes his first trip back into the Octagon™ since 2005.

At only 25 years old, Tyson Griffin (fighting out of Las Vegas, Nev.) has already compiled six wins in the UFC. The powerful lightweight fighter holds victories over Clay Guida, Gleison Tibau and most recently a unanimous decision win against Rafael Dos Anjos in April. But now the Sacramento, California born mixed martial artist turns his attention to another tough Brazilian in Hermes Franca (fighting out of Miami, Fla.). The decorated Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt holds two submission victories in the UFC and is coming off a unanimous decision win against his former jiu-jitsu instructor Marcus Aurelio at UFC 90.

Winner of the eighth season of The Ultimate Fighter™, Efrain Escudero (fighting out of Tempe, Ariz.) remains undefeated (12-0) as a professional mixed martial artist and holds a win over Phillipe Nover in the show’s finale. Now the former All-American college wrestler and Mexico-born fighter will face the red-hot Cole Miller (fighting out of Coconut Creek, Fla.). The 25-year-old Augusta, Ga. native is coming off two consecutive submission victories, tapping out Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Jorge Gurgel and TUF 8’s Junie Browning in successive bouts. The 6-foot-1 lightweight has four total wins in the UFC, and he’ll be looking for number five on September 19th.

With all four of his UFC wins coming via KO/TKO, Drew McFedries (fighting out of Bettendorf, Iowa) has the power and the talent to put anyone’s lights out. It took the Ames, Iowa born fighter only 37 seconds to take Xavier Foupa-Pokam out in his last fight at UFC 98 and the talented middleweight will need every bit of his standup skill when he mixes it up with the aggressive Tomasz Drwal (fighting out of San Diego, Calif. / Krakow, Poland). The heavy-handed 27-year-old is coming off of two knockout victories, including a devastating TKO win over Mike Ciesnolevicz in June. Drwal, who has a 16-2 record, will look for his third UFC win in 2009.

Jim Miller (fighting out of Whippany, N.J.) has impressed many during his time in the UFC. Winner of three of his four UFC fights, the Sparta, New Jersey native earned a unanimous decision win against the experienced Mac Danzig at UFC 100 in July. Now the lightweight with the 14-2 pro record faces UFC newcomer Steve Lopez (fighting out of South Bend, Ind.). A national qualifier as a college wrestler, the 25-year-old Lopez holds a 12-1 record and makes his UFC debut on September 19.

Two fighters that are making their UFC debuts, Nik Lentz (fighting out of Eden Prairie, Minn.) and Rafaello Oliveira (fighting out of Knoxville, Tenn. / Janja, Brazil) are looking to put on a show in their respective premieres. Lentz, an El Paso, Texas native, wrestled at the University of Minnesota, where he is one semester away from graduating in Pre-Med. Lentz puts his 18-3-1 career mark against Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Rafaello Oliveira. Riding a three-fight win streak, the 9-1 Oliveira has three wins by submission and three by TKO.

Heading into his second UFC fight, Rick Story (Vancouver, Wash.) is coming off a three-round battle with John Hathaway. The 25-year-old welterweight holds a 7-3 pro record and is looking for his first UFC win when he takes on Sallisaw, Oklahoma’s Brian Foster (fighting out of Granite City, Ill.). With an impressive 14-3 pro record, Foster has eight wins by KO/TKO, four by submission and is making his UFC debut.

Making plenty of noise in the ultra-stacked light heavyweight division is Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Eliot Marshall (fighting out of Boulder, Colo.). With back-to-back wins against Jules Bruchez and Vinny Magalhaes, the Franklinville, N.J. native is a perfect 2-0 in the UFC and 7-2 overall. Marshall looks for his third UFC win when he faces Jason Brilz (fighting out of Omaha, Neb.). The Bismarck, North Dakota fighter also has wins in his two UFC fights, including a unanimous decision victory against Tim Boetsch in March.

Making his return to the Octagon after six years, Vladimir Matyushenko (fighting out of El Segundo, Calif.) is back and has won nine of his last 10 fights. The 22-4 Belarusian holds seven wins by submission and seven by TKO and is looking to shake up the light heavyweight division when he returns to face Igor Pokrajac (fighting out of Zagreb, Croatia). A protégé of Mirko Cro Cop, Pokrajac is on an eight-fight win streak and brings a 21-5 record into his UFC debut.

A veteran of four UFC fights, lightweight Rob Emerson (fighting out of Irvine, Calif.) is remembered for his 12 second TKO victory against the aggressive Manny Gamburyan. Now the 28-year-old from Huntington, California looks for his third UFC win when he takes on Rafael Dos Anjos (fighting out of Rio de Janeiro). The 24-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu champion last fought Tyson Griffin in a three-round battle that turned many heads. Now Dos Anjos heads into his third UFC match against the experienced Emerson.

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Tito Ortiz is a 205-pound man, and Cristiane “Cris Cyborg” Santos is a 145-pound woman, but as Ortiz recovers from back surgery and prepares to return to the UFC, he says rolling on the mats with Cyborg has been a part of working his way back into the Octagon.

“I was wrestling with Cris Cyborg,” Ortiz says in the above video. “She’s a tough chick, man. For a girl, I expected her not to be so damn tough. We were just wrestling on and I went for a guillotine and she slipped out of it. When she slipped out of it I went straight on to a triangle. When I locked in the triangle she picked me up and slammed me on the ground and I had no pain, nothing. I ended up choking her.”

As strong as Cyborg is, I do have a little bit of a hard time seeing Cyborg actually picking up Ortiz and slamming him to the ground. And, obviously, Ortiz wouldn’t be able to go all-out in sparring with any 145-pound fighter, male or female.

But whatever the specifics of Cyborg and Ortiz working together, I think it’s a good development for MMA that male and female fighters feel comfortable enough working together that Ortiz can roll with Cyborg, and they’re both benefiting from it.

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CRO COP CLEARS THE SMOKE ON PAST UFC DEALINGS

Posted by fightstalker on Wednesday Sep 9, 2009 Under Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic, Rumors

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Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic is a company man. At least, he comes off that way.

“I made my career in Japan. I liked Pride more than anything, but those days are gone and UFC is the main on the MMA market today. I think my place is to fight in the UFC and that is it.”

That’s a far cry from the tornado of uncertainty that swirled following his win over Mustapha Al-Turk at UFC 99 in June.

That fight was the only time UFC president Dana White did a one-fight deal over the phone. As soon as it was over, it appeared that White got played for a mark.

A report by Yahoo! Sports reporter Kevin Iole noted that Cro Cop opted not to live up to a verbal agreement with White and instead would bolt back to Japan, returning to the Dream organization he left behind six months prior.

White even responded in the report, saying, “Isn’t that a dirty (expletive) thing to do? The first time in the history of the company I do one over the phone. He promised me a three-fight deal and he (expletived) me.”

Cro Cop is now back in the fold, the ink dry on a new three-bout deal – courtesy of a personal visit from UFC owner Lorenzo Fertitta in the fighter’s home country of Croatia – and fighting Junior Dos Santos on Sept. 19 in Dallas.

During a media conference call for UFC 103 on Tuesday, the one time Pride Open Weight Grand Prix champion talked of his decision to sign with the UFC, hoping to lock down talk of the controversial dealings squarely in the past.

“We make the deal for the Germany event. It was a single fight, but I told Dana that I want to keep fighting and that everything was pretty much clear,” recounted the Croatian.

“Then so many kinds of rumors came from Internet, this that, this that, but there is no truth to any of this. I was able to choose. I was free on the market and I wanted to go in the hardest and the only global organization today, it’s UFC. I think that every true fighter should fight in the UFC today because UFC definitely the only worldwide organization today.”

There was interest from Dream, but Cro Cop insists he was nothing but fair to all parties involved.

“Dream was interested in me to keep fighting there,” he said. “I was fair with Dana White, talking with UFC. I was fair with Dream and I told Dream I would accept better deal, better challenge for me, and UFC is definitely for fighters (a) better chance and that’s all. There is no mystery in that. And of course, I decided to take UFC offer.”

And with that, the smoke clears. Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic is a UFC fight once again.

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MOUSASI OUT OF DREAM "SUPER HULK" TOURNAMENT

Posted by fightstalker on Wednesday Sep 9, 2009 Under DREAM, Gegard Mousasi, Rumors

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Gegard Mousasi has been forced to withdraw from a scheduled bout with Rameau Thierry Sokodjou in the semifinals of the Super Hulk Tournament at Dream 11, MMAWeekly.com has been told by multiple sources close to the situation. The Japanese promotion is currently trying to find a replacement opponent for the Oct. 6 event, which also features the promotion’s Featherweight Grand Prix Finals.

According to one source, Mousasi may have injured his shoulder during a grappling exhibition with Fedor Emelianenko at M-1: Breakthrough last month in Kansas City.

Less than two weeks prior to the exhibition, Mousasi dazzled in his American MMA debut at Strikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg, stopping Renato “Babalu” Sobral in a minute to win the promotion’s light heavyweight title. The 24-year-old Dutch Armenian picked up his first major belt last year when he defeated an impressive field of contenders to take the Dream middleweight belt in September 2008. He vacated the belt shortly after to take fights in the light heavyweight class and beyond.

Mousasi’s manager, Apy Echteld, declined comment on the situation.

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Mike Bisping to Return to Action at UFC 105

Posted by fightstalker on Tuesday Sep 8, 2009 Under Michael Bisping, Rumors, UFC, UFC 105

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Michael Bisping’s first fight back from his knockout loss to Dan Henderson at UFC 100 will be against Denis Kang at UFC 105 on Nov. 14 at the MEN Arena in Manchester, England, the UFC confirmed Tuesday.

Fellow Brit Dan Hardy has also been confirmed for the event in a welterweight tilt versus undefeated Korean superstar Dong Hyun Kim.

Bisping and Hardy are only the first two confirmed of many British fighters expected for the UFC 105 card with a main event still to be announced. The Ultimate Fighter 9 winners Ross Pearson and James Wilks are also expected to compete.

Bisping (17-2) lost a chance at a title shot in July and is hoping he can make up for the poor showing with a victory over the experienced Canadian.

“This is exactly the sort of fight I need to get right back up there and prove that I’m one of the top guys in the division,” Bisping said. “I’ve watched Kang’s fights over the years and he is very dangerous on the ground with his submissions and is also a powerful striker on his feet. Plus, he’s an explosive fighter. He can explode into a huge strike or takedown from nowhere, which makes him very unpredictable.”

Kang (32-11-1) was upsetted in his UFC debut in January against Alan Belcher but bounced back three months after with a unanimous decision win over Xavier Foupa-Pokam at UFC 97.

Hardy (22-6), who will seek out his four consecutive UFC win, left a bold statement for the Judo specialist Kim and potential future opponents.

“Kim is technically unbeaten and, while he’s been under pressure in his career, has always found a way to win,” Hardy said. “I will have to break him. He can control people on the ground with his judo and can land strikes. He can boss you on the ground for 15 minutes and that will be his plan. But I plan to put a beating on this guy that is so nasty and so one-sided it will be uncomfortable viewing for all the other welterweights in the UFC.”

Kim (12-0-1) is 3-0 in the UFC with one fight a split decision lost against Karo Parisyan that was later changed to a no contest due to Parisyan testing positive for painkillers.

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An infection suffered by UFC middleweight Dan Miller (11-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC) has forced him out of next week’s UFC Fight Night 19 preliminary-card fight with C.B. Dollaway (8-2 MMA, 2-2 UFC).

Miller’s camp confirmed the ailment with MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com), and his manager, Mike Constantino, said the infection “is under control, and [Miller] will be OK.”

According to MMAMadness.com, Miller’s spot on the card has been taken by undefeated UFC newcomer Jay Silva (5-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC).

The UFC has yet to announce the change to the card, which takes place Sept. 16 at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City.

Miller, who began his UFC career last year with three straight victories, snapped an overall win streak of nine fights when he suffered a unanimous-decision loss to Chael Sonnen in May. He’ll likely get a spot on a fight card later this year.

Taking his place on next week’s card is Silva, who turned pro just 14 months ago. However, he’s posted five straight wins all by knockout. His latest win came over former EliteXC fighter Ray Lizama at the Aug. 15 Call to Arms II event.

Dollaway, who lost to Amir Sadollah at The Ultimate Fighter 7 Finale in June 2008, rebounded from the runner-up finish with first-round-stoppage wins over Jesse Taylor and Mike Massenzio. But the win streak came to a halt when Tom Lawlor caught him with a swift guillotine choke at UFC 100 and ended the fight in just 55 seconds.

The latest card now includes:

MAIN CARD

  • Nate Diaz vs. Melvin Guillard
  • Roger Huerta vs. Gray Maynard
  • Carlos Condit vs. Jake Ellenberger
  • Tim Credeur vs. Nate Quarry

PRELIMINARY CARD

  • Steve Cantwell vs. Brian Stann
  • Mike Pyle vs. Chris Wilson
  • C.B. Dollaway vs. Jay Silva
  • Phillipe Nover vs. Sam Stout
  • Justin Buchholz vs. Jeremy Stephens
  • Brock Larson vs. Mike Pierce
  • Ryan Jensen vs. Steven Steinbeiss
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Ricardo Arona: 'I Can Beat Anyone,' Machida Included

Posted by fightstalker on Tuesday Sep 8, 2009 Under Rumors, Uncategorized

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More than two years have passed since Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou knocked out Ricardo Arona at the final Pride Fighting Championships event in Japan. Viewed by most as one of the top light heavyweight fighters in the world in 2005 and 2006, Arona disappeared from the mixed martial arts scene in wake of Pride’s demise.

“The Brazilian Tiger” — who built his reputation, in part, on the back of a 1999 victory over Jeff Monson in the absolute final of the Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championships — will return to MMA this Saturday when he meets UFC veteran Marvin Eastman in the Bitetti Combat Nordeste 4 main event in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It will also mark the first time Arona competes inside a cage.

“I always thought the cage was even better for my game,” Arona said. “I like to use elbows on the ground, which I couldn’t do in Pride. Also, I can’t wait to fight for my fans.”

The Brazilian promises to compete at the level that made him successful inside Pride, when he scored wins over two-time Olympian Dan Henderson, former Pride middleweight king Wanderlei Silva, Japanese legend Kazushi Sakuraba and reigning Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem. The 38-year-old Eastman has lost two of his past three fights.

Marcelo Alonso/Sherdog.com

Arona is no joke on the mat.

“He is very experienced and deserves all respect,” Arona said, “but I’m well-trained and coming to win and make a great exhibition for my fans.”

Though focused on Eastman, Arona still wants a crack at the American market. The 31-year-old carries with him a strong resume. His only career losses have come to Sokoudjou, Silva, 2005 Pride middleweight grand prix winner Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and the great Fedor Emelianenko.

“I’ll wait for a proposal,” Arona said. “Of course, I would love to fight in the UFC, because it’s for sure the best event, but I’m also studying some other proposals. I’m waiting calmly for my time. I’m ready to do my best in the ring or in the cage.”

Arona indicated he would welcome a shot at current UFC light heavyweight titleholder Lyoto Machida, now the top dog in the 205-pound weight class. The undefeated Machida will defend his belt for the first time against Rua in the UFC 104 main event next month in Los Angeles.

“He’s defending Brazil well in the MMA world, and I respect him a lot, but if I get into the UFC and have to fight Lyoto, I’d go to win,” Arona said. “He’s a great champion, but if I’m well-trained, I know my potential; I can beat anyone.”

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BRYAN TRAVERS SIGNS WITH STRIKEFORCE

Posted by fightstalker on Tuesday Sep 8, 2009 Under BRYAN TRAVERS, Rumors

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Considered one of the top lightweight prospects in the sport, Bryan Travers has signed a five fight deal to compete in Strikeforce as confirmed to MMAWeekly.com by sources close to the negotiations on Monday.

Travers, a former Palace Fighting Championships welterweight champion, has amassed an impressive 13-1 record, and now competes at 155 pounds, where he expects to find immediate success.

A product of the wrestling program at Bakersfield College, Travers has added a strong jiu-jitsu game as well working under Dan Camarillo, currently holding a purple belt on his way to a brown.

While there is no set date on his debut, Travers could end up on the Strikeforce card in November, which is likely to feature the heavyweight tilt between Fedor Emelianenko and Brett Rogers.

As the Strikeforce lightweight division tries to solidify one champion, with current titleholder Josh Thomson recovering from an injury and interim champion Gilbert Melendez chomping at the bit for a rematch, the addition of Travers helps bolster a tough 155-pound weight class.

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Mousasi: UFC Never Made Offer

Posted by fightstalker on Sunday Sep 6, 2009 Under Gegard Mousasi, Rumors, Strikeforce

20090820120523_mousasiIn terms of long-term potential, few mixed martial artists carry the value of Gegard Mousasi, a multi-lingual 24-year-old with talent to spare. Currently under contract to Strikeforce and Dream, he denies the UFC made a pitch for his services following the collapse of Affliction’s fight promotion wing in July.

“There’s never been an offer to me to fight in the UFC,” Mousasi told Sherdog.com in this exclusive video interview.

In the month since Affliction’s demise, Mousasi has become the Strikeforce light heavyweight champion. He smashed Brazilian veteran Renato “Babalu” Sobral in exactly one minute to capture the belt in August, posting his 13th consecutive victory dating back to 2006.

“Basically, the fight went … it ended too quickly, so there wasn’t much he could offer,” Mousasi said. “It was a good fight for me for my U.S. debut.”

Check out TJ De Santis’ complete interview with Mousasi, as he touches on his marketability in North America, the second round of the Dream Super Hulk tournament on Oct. 6 in Japan and his decision to sign on for the EA Sports mixed martial arts video game.

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