Kevin Holland Interview Following DWTNCS

Despite cruising his way to a dominant victory Kevin “Trailblazer” Holland was not given a UFC contract by president Dana White. Despite Holland’s best efforts, Will Santiago was able to cling on as the fight when to the judges to confirm that Holland was the superior fighter on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. I have been fortunate enough to catch up with the man himself to see his thoughts on what the future holds for one of the brightest prospects at 185 pounds.

Continue reading “Kevin Holland Interview Following DWTNCS”

News: Conor McGregor appears in court in Brooklyn

A little over 2 months after wreaking havoc at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, Conor McGregor has today made his second appearance at Kings County Supreme Criminal Court, Brooklyn.

McGregor initially appeared in court on April 6th alongside SGB teammate Cian Cowley to answer to three counts of assault and one count of criminal mischief. Both fighters were released after each posted $50,000 bail.

Both McGregor and Cowley entered the court room at approximately 3pm UK time with the hearing lasting just a couple of minutes.

Continue reading “News: Conor McGregor appears in court in Brooklyn”

News: Dana White confirms new date for Conor McGregor meeting

Dana White and Conor McGregor are finally getting together to discuss the former two weight UFC champion’s future with the promotion.

Speaking to TMZ Sports yesterday, White confirmed that he will be meeting with the outspoken Irishman early next week.

Continue reading “News: Dana White confirms new date for Conor McGregor meeting”

News: Greg Hardy awarded UFC contract – Dana White explains plans for former NFL star

It took just 57 seconds for Greg Hardy (1-0-0) to finish Austin Lane (4-1-0) with a viscous KO during the first episode of Dana Whites Contender Series 9. It was a particularly impressive performance considering the fight was Hardy’s first professional MMA contest, following a brief stint as an amateur which saw the former NFL All-Pro defensive end win all three of his fights.

When the fight with Lane was first announced, Dana White and the UFC received a notable amount of criticism due to Hardy’s 2014 conviction for assaulting his ex-girlfriend. The charges were subsequently dropped during Hardy’s appeal after the victim declined to testify.

Speaking to MMAJunkie after the event, Dana White acknowledged Hardy’s past but explained that he felt that the 29-year-old deserved his opportunity to rebuild his life.

“The reality is, if this guy stays clean for the next 10 years, goes on to win a world title, becomes one of the greatest mixed martial artists to ever live, he’s always going to be looked at – he’s always going to hear it,” White said. “That’s always going to be in the story that’s written about him. Other opponents he fights are going to call him a woman beater. That’s going follow him for the rest of his life. You don’t shed that. That stays with you forever, and he’s done all the things right so far.

 

“The guy paid his dues. He hit rock bottom. He built himself back up, and the guy’s out there just trying to make a life and a living.”

 

“People always make mistakes, and the thing about making mistakes is, how do you recover from that? How do you act after you’ve done something bad?” White said. “This guy has paid his dues, and like I said, he hit rock bottom. He built himself back up, he’s going out there, and he’s fighting in these amateur fights where he doesn’t get paid. Now he came here, and I think he made $10,000 and $10,000. He’s working his way back up the ladder. He’s doing the right things. He’s off drugs, he’s off alcohol, and he’s trying to change his life.

White went on to say that he recognises the risks for Hardy now that he is back in the spotlight. As many UFC stars will confirm, the platform the promotion provides leaves very little margin for error.

“He’s the type of athlete, and he’s the type of guy that, if he does anything wrong, there will be no mercy for him,” White said. “I mean, everybody’s going to jump on him. You talk to the people in his camp, they love the guy. Men and women. They think he’s a great guy and a guy who (was) probably doing drugs, drinking and made a big mistake.”

While it isn’t completely unheard of for a fighter with just one professional contest to enter the UFC (shout out CM Punk), White is eager for Hardy to follow a more structured developmental path before making the step up to the biggest stage.

How that plays out is still a mystery for now but it would seem that Hardy is likely to take at least a few fights elsewhere before making his official UFC debut – something the promotion has a history of doing with prospects they have particularly high hopes for.

“The way I see it is, what I would love to do, in a perfect world, this is not what I’m doing, but in a perfect world this is what I would like to do,” White said. “If he can turn around and come back, I would like to have him fight on the last episode of the Contender Series. Then I would like to put him on a bunch of ‘Looking For A Fight’ cards, get him some experience and then we’ll decide when we think he’s ready for the UFC.

 

“If you see him, you see that he has power. He’s a big heavyweight. He needs to work more. He needs to get some more fights. We’ve done deals where, for example, Cyborg was under contract with the UFC but fought in Invicta. Alexa Grasso was under contract with the UFC. Mackenzie Dern was under contract with the UFC and fought in other places. I have a few ideas of what to do with this guy and let him develop. He’s with a great team already, he’s training with great guys. They say he’s a hard worker. They say all positive things about him out of that gym. We’ll try to build him up and see what he can do.”

 

 

 

Breaking News: Dana White looks to make a U-turn with early weigh ins

On the June 5, 2018 episode of the UFC Unfiltered podcast, Dana White talks to Matt Serra and Jim Norton about an array of topics including the worrying trend of fighters missing weight.

The topic is brought to attention by Serra at 1:20:49 of the episode here.

Notable examples of fighters missing weight for significant match-ups are, Mackenzie Mackenzie Dern at UFC 224, Kevin Lee at UFC Fight Night: Atlantic City, and Darren Till at UFC Fight Night: Liverpool.

He goes further by saying, fighters exploit the weigh’ins by “cutting it close”, and then upping their weight to gain an advantage.

With this change, fighters will only have the ceremonial weigh-ins to officiate their weight for their respective fights, which is 24 hours out from their fight, ratger than the 36 hours specified with the early weigh-in process.

This is one of many new changes Dana announced on the podcast.

It will be interesting to see these changes develop as the year goes on as he not only has the fighters opinions to field, but also athletic commissions…

BRAVE 13: Andy Young Interview – “The mental area is the most important out of anything”

On the 9th of June, Brave Combat Federation makes its European debut when it arrives to the SSE Arena, Belfast, Northern Ireland. This is a landmark occasion for the fast-growing promotion as it branches out for the first time into the continent.

Fitting for such a historic occasion, the card is packed with exciting fights as well as fan favorite names. In the main event we see bantamweight champion Stephen Loman (9-2) defend his belt in a rematch against highly touted SBG man Frans Mlambo (5-2), who looks to avenge his loss against Loman, this time hoping to walk away with a championship. In the Co-Main event we see Northern Ireland’s own and former UFC contender Norman Parke (24-6-1) take on Irish man Myles Price (10-6) in a very exciting lightweight match up.

Also on the card, we see two extremely entertaining fighters come head to head when Liverpudlian Bryan Creighton (8-6) takes on Belfast’s own Andy Young (11-10). While Creighton is coming off a 3 fight finish streak, Young is coming off a loss. However, it was to former top 5 UFC flyweight Ali Bagautinov who has beaten top fighters such as Tim Elliott, John Lineker and has fought current UFC flyweight champion Demetrius Johnson. With 11 Finishes between both fighters, this fight will surely live up to expectation and deliver a barn burner.

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The mental area is the most important out of anything, I will beat him there and take whatever I see to get the finish in this fight.”

After fighting one of the very best flyweights in Ali Bagautinov in Russia, Andy will be looking to get back to winning ways with a victory over rising British prospect Creighton. Andy is a dangerous fighter, both on the feet and on the ground, which we seen in an impressive victory over Dominic Wooding, a very hot young prospect, with a record of    3-0 (3 TKO) at BAMMA 28. Andy is currently 5-3 in his last 8 bouts, with 3 finishes. These wins include impressive performances over fighters such as Alexander Barabash and Aaron Aby. I caught up with Andy Young to get his thoughts on his upcoming opponent and how he feels to be fighting on such a huge card in his home town of Belfast.

Eamonn Scott: Andy, this is your first fight under the Brave banner. When exactly did you get the call about fighting for them and was there anything in particular that interested you the most about fighting for brave?

Andy Young: “I was contacted back in March about their plans to run a show in Belfast and to have me on it, I was thrilled to hear that BRAVE was coming to my home town, I heard a lot of great things about the promotion and how it’s run.”

ES: You make your return to your hometown in Belfast, which you have an excellent record in. What is it that’s so special about Belfast which also always seems to bring the very best out of you.

AY: “The energy of the people here is unrivaled! Belfast knows how to make some noise!  I get so much support and feel a real uplift getting to represent and get the win for them.”

ES: Northern Ireland has a thriving MMA scene at the minute. With fighters such as James Gallagher, Rhys McKee and Norman Parke, do you believe that this will only improve and how do you see the MMA scene in Northern Ireland at the minute?

AY: “It is scary to see how good the local scene is getting. The sport is becoming more and more popular and gaining great traction. There is a plethora of  talent, ability and skills in the new breed of upcoming mixed martial artists here, and for sure will only improve.”

ES:  You’re fighting against a very tough opponent in Bryan Creighton who himself is coming off an impressive 3 fight win streak. When this fight was proposed to you, what were your first thoughts on fighting Bryan?

AY: “I was excited to get an opponent who i know brings a great fight, he’s very game. well-rounded and likes to trade, so i know this will be fun!”

ES: You’ve fought top quality fighters in your career such as the former top 5 UFC contender in Ali Bagautinov. Do you thrive off facing the biggest names you can get?

AY: “There are a number of reasons to be in this sport, and one of the main factors is to compete against and be best in the world. I love and jump on the opportunities to do this.”

ES: Bryan has multiple wins by TKO, Sub and Decision, showing that he has skills in all departments. However, is there a particular area that you believe you can exploit and get the best over him in?

AY: “The mental area is the most important out of anything, I will beat him there and take whatever I see to get the finish in this fight.”

ES: How has this training camp gone for you? Is there anything specific that you have focused on in this camp and do you think you have improved it as much as you aimed to?

AY: “It has went great, I have made a few changes and stepped things up. It’s all about getting the right formula, I’ve enjoyed working all areas and getting a bit creative with things, it will all be on show 9th June.”

ES: You’ve been in this game for a while now, do you believe that you still have a lot to accomplish?

AY: “Yes, I want to be the very best version of myself in there and fully realise my potential. In addition, that UFC title will be in my hands by the end of my career.”

ES: Finally, if there’s one message you have for Bryan, what would it be?

AY: “Let’s put on a show and bring your best.”

This fight is surely going to live up to every expectation. With Andy young being the home town fighter, he is certainly going to receive an incredible atmosphere. Bryan Creighton will also be defending the best win streak of career, both fighters have a lot to defend in this epic Flyweight battle. SEE YOU THERE!

UFC News: Dana White and Conor McGregor to hold private discussions at UFC Liverpool

UFC President Dana White confirmed Saturday afternoon that he and star commodity Conor McGregor will meet at the Echo Arena this Sunday ahead of the promotion’s premier event on Merseyside.

During an interview with Caroline Pearce of BT Sport, White confirmed how he and Conor would sit down for the first time since the fiasco in Brooklyn ahead of UFC 223 in April. Dana refused to hint at a possible return date or a probable opponent for the Dubliner:

“This is the first time we’ve seen eachother since New York, so we’re just going to get in a room together and talk.”

Rumours suggested that the former featherweight and lightweight kingpin will make his first octagon appearance since November 2016. Possibilities include a September return, or possibly at UFC 232 in the curtain closer of 2018 against Russia’s Khabib Nurmagomedov for the 155lbs title. That being said, the rather large roadblock in that may halt those predictions is the New York City justice system, may prevent such a return.

McGregor will return to the Big Apple on June 14th after he was granted a $50,000 bail subsequently paid by Dillon Danis, ahead of a second hearing and verdict. The Crumlin striker was charged with three counts of assault and one count of criminal mischief after he threw a moving dolly through the window of a bus carrying blue corner fighters in the Barclays Centre car park. McGregor and his entoutage’s actions resulted in the removal of Michael Chiesa, Anthony Pettis, Ray Borg, Brandon Moreno, Artem Lobov and Alex Caceres from the Madison Square Garden card. McGregor and SBG teammate Cian Cowley were ultimately arrested and held overnight in a New York City precinct after his private jet was grounded at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

A wide array of lawsuits and criminal damage fines are on the horizon for the Straight Blast Gym product, but he also faces the possibility of a suspension from the UFC. A certainly more realistic result is a severe fine, revoking of his fight license and community service from the NYC judicial system.

Interestingly, independent state athletic commissions such as New York, California or Las Vegas have a history of following suit if a license is revoked or a suspension is issued, casting further doubt on a possible return date or venue.

Father of one McGregor, recently posted on his official Twitter page, a picture of him in a cellar, with a caption hinting at his return:

These comments sent the MMA community into a spiral of chatter regarding a potential come back, further solidified by Khabib Nurmagomedov’s agent Ali Abdelaziz’s Twitter post, hinting at a possible meeting with McGregor:

I believe it’s safe to say, some sort of fight negotiations will be thrashed out between Conor and Dana sometime within this meeting.

More to follow as it happens…

News: Diaz accuses GSP of using steroids

Earlier this week, Dana White dropped the bomb that George St. Pierre vs. Nate Diaz is in the works for August 4th. Via Twitter, Nate has decided to add an extra snap, crackle and pop to procedings and give his side of thought about White’s declaration.

He started the verbal punches by claiming St. Pierre was on steroids during the 2013 bout with brother Nick (where GSP defended his at the time untouchable welterweight championship) with a lop-sided unanimous decision win over the eldest Diaz brother.

A fight between GSP and Nate would argueably be the biggest fight of the UFC year so far, and judging by the first comments from Nate, you can already sense the fire that the press conferences will throw up. The Stockton mentality is something that has been greatly missed in MMA, and Nate has brought it back with a bang in his first public comment.

GSP would be making his lightweight debut, and Diaz would definetly be far from a walk in the park. If the rumoured fight comes to fruition, it seems George may be planning to solidify his name as the “GOAT” by being the first man to win 3 belts in UFC history with the move down to lightweight. If Nate is able to get under the skin of a depleted GSP, this may not be as much of a one sided fight as people think.

One thing is guaranteed, the coming weeks are going to be interesting, and without a doubt entertaining. Let us all hope that the MMA stars align and we see this come together.

News: Yair Rodriguez cut from UFC due to turning down fights

In an organisation full of controversy, the shock value of new stories coming out the UFC is fairly low nowadays, but this isn’t necessarily the case when we learned the latest bit of gossip. It came in the form of rising featherweight star Yair Rodriguez, who was cut from the UFC late last night (May 10th).

Ever since winning The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America tournament, “El Pantera” is (was?) considered as one of the rising stars of the featherweight division, boasting a record of 11-2 in professional combat, 6-1 in the UFC. He has passed serious tests since joining the organisation, which was capped by a win over former lightweight/welterweight champion and hall of famer BJ Penn in January of 2017.

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Rodriguez is known for his flashy fighting style and his spinning attacks, therefore he does bring in a decent fanbase; and with the added extra of being Mexican, he brings in a whole country of supporters for him and the UFC; but it has been heard from Dana White that Rodriguez will be dropped and can “take his act elsewhere” because the Mexican has turned down fights against Ricardo Lamas and Zabit Magomedsharipov on the UFC 227 fight card (coupled with the fact that he is coming off a loss to Frankie Edgar at UFC 211.

White has never been one for following procedure or precedence, this we know.  But to cut someone for turning down a fight (which is his right as a fighter) is very controversial to say the least, especially giving that he is a known name by most MMA fans and is a legitimate prospect in his division.

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With the exact reason behind the fights being turned down unknown, it’s hard to say whether or not this new development is fair.  Rodriguez is yet to speak out about it but once he does, some light should be shed on the matter.  All we know is, the highly anticipated fight between him and Magomedsharipov (which incidentally was confirmed, which we now know to be false as Rodriguez never agreed to the fight) is now not happening, which is a shame for the Russian as he himself has a point to prove and a stiff test against “El Pantera” was his chance to do exactly that.

Rodriguez will not be out of the public eye altogether though, as it remains highly likely that another MMA promotion will sign him, with options open to the Mexican such as Bellator MMA and Strikeforce.  This probably wouldn’t be a bad idea for Rodriguez; with his skill in fighting ever increasing, it’s possible for him to become a star in one of these organisations, which could open up multiple other paths (including a re-entry into the UFC).

 

News: Dana White targeting Nate Diaz vs Georges St-Pierre for UFC 227 co-main event

Speaking on the UFC Unfiltered podcast with Jim Norton and Matt Serra, UFC President Dana White confirmed that he is working toward matching Nate Diaz (20-11) and the former UFC welterweight and middleweight champion, Georges “Rush” St-Pierre(26-2). The fight is intended to serve as the co-main event for UFC 227.

At the 1:10:00-1:10:57 of the podcast, Dana goes into the topic of Stockton native where he confirms that his intention is for Diaz to fight St-Pierre at UFC 227 in the lightweight division.

St-Pierre was the most dominant welterweight champion in UFC history. After vacating the title and stepping away from the sport, the Canadian returned in dramatic fashion last year, capturing the UFC middleweight title from then champion Michael Bisping at UFC 217. Should the bout with Diaz materialize, it would be yet another new direction for GSP with him dropping to 155lbs for the first time in his storied career.

Diaz however, is a natural lightweight, spending much of his career in the division prior to embarking on a pair of welterweight scraps with Conor McGregor.  While the Stockton native does have a history of fighting at lightweight, he would be facing the not insignificant challenge of handing St-Pierre his first loss since his stunning loss to Matt Sera more than ten years ago at UFC 69.

Since his pair of fights with McGregor in 2016, Diaz has remained on the sidelines, insisting that he will only get back into the octagon for a big money fight. Sitting at number eight in the UFC lightweight rankings it is unlikely that he would jump the lengthy queue to fight reigning champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. With a trilogy bout against longtime foe McGregor not seeming likely in the near future, there are very few options available for Diaz. A fight with the man many consider to be the greatest of all time appears to tick all the necessary boxes to get the brash talking fan favourite back into the octagon.