The recently released UFC flyweight is making a move up to 135 for a slot in RIZIN’s 2017 World Grand Prix. It looks like Ian McCall won’t be needing that “blood money” after all. The former UFC flyweight contender recently asked for, and received, his release from the world’s largest MMA promotion. And on his way out the door, he made it clear that he was willing to fight for anyone that would pay him enough.
“People say, ‘You don’t care that it’s blood money?’“ McCall said in an interview on the MMA Hour, when asked if he’d fight for Ramzan Kadyrov. “I don’t give a flying f— that it’s blood money. You can pay me in blood diamonds. I get into a cage and fistfight for money. I don’t care. I don’t live there.”
Turns out that’s not going to be a decision he has to make, or at least not any time too soon. ‘Uncle Creepy’ appears to have found a new home quickly, as a part of RIZIN’s 2017 Bantamweight World Grand Prix.
The news was made official by the organization in a press conference following the recent RIZIN event on October 15th.
According to MMA Junkie, McCall will make his debut against Manel Kape (6-1), fresh off the Angolan fighter’s KO win over Erson Yamamoto. Kape is also scheduled to fight at EFC Worldwide 65 in November, which hopefully won’t mean another scrapped fight for McCall, if Kape can’t make a quick turnaround.
The semi-final leg of the tournament takes place on December 29th, with the quarterfinal and final legs taking place on the 31st during RIZIN’s spectacular New Year’s Eve show. Wins could mean that McCall gets to fight 3 times in a 3-day span, more bouts than he’s had since 2014.
Henry Cejudo heard the fire alarm go off in his hotel around 2 a.m. on Oct. 9. He figured it was just a mistake.
“I looked outside my room, nothing is going on,” Cejudo told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s episode of The MMA Hour. “I look outside my bedroom window and nothing is going on. There are cars there, nothing is moving. I thought, ‘OK this is a malfunction.’”
So, Cejudo, who was in Santa Rosa, Calif., for a celebrity charity golf event, just went back to bed. He woke up at 4:30 a.m. coughing. It had nothing to do with the wine he drank the night before at the gala. It was smoke filling his room — and his lungs.
Cejudo’s quick actions in the proceeding moments likely saved his life. And the UFC flyweight fighter will still be fighting Sergio Pettis on UFC 218 on Dec. 2 in Detroit. The Olympic wrestling gold medalist is currently in Brazil training.
With his trouble breathing inside that hotel room at the Fountaingrove Inn, Cejudo snatched open the curtains to see what was going on. What he witnessed was horrifying. Half the hotel was engulfed in flames. The wildfires that have been wreaking havoc in Northern California were on his doorstep.
“i’m talking about fire coming out the windows — like flame,” Cejudo said. “The whole thing is on fire.”
Cejudo, who was wearing only a towel, grabbed the only things he could find quickly: the pair of slacks he wore the night before and his phone. He then jumped from two-story window onto a branch. The branch, Cejudo said, was on fire. But that was a risk he needed to take at the moment.
“I knew I was gonna get burnt,” Cejudo said. “I didn’t mind getting burnt as long as i was able to breathe.”
Cejudo hit the branch and then the ground. His foot was on fire and he had to stomp it out. When he looked around, he was completely deserted and alone. There was fire everywhere, but no cars or people. He spotted a police car about a quarter mile away on a freeway and bolted toward that, figuring it would be his only hope of survival.
“I was scared,” Cejudo said. “I thought I felt adrenaline fighting. This is something I’ve never felt before. I was kind of in survival mode. I’m a fighter, I’m a wrestler. The only thing I know how to do is survive.
“I was thinking this is a horrible way to die, man. Maybe i deserve to die, but not like this.”
Cejudo, 30, said he had to hop multiple fences on his way to the cop car. The third and final one was flimsy, he said, and it folded up and hooked onto his slacks on the way down, ripping half of them off and cutting into his butt.
As all this was happening, the cop car ended up leaving. Cejudo made it to the freeway, with one pant leg left and a burnt foot, and he was alone again. Suddenly, a fire truck came by and picked him up and drove him to safety. The firemen told Cejudo that he was a “lucky guy” and the hotel evacuated more than two hours earlier. There was no one else there.
In the fire, Cejudo lost his Olympic gold medal, his Olympic ring and a belt his mentor made for him. All of those things were sentimental to him. But the Arizona native doesn’t mind too much right now.
“I wasn’t even thinking about that,” Cejudo said. “I was like, man! I just dodged a bullet, man.
“I’m just happy to be alive. They’re like, ‘Aren’t you sad?’ Nah, I’m happy. I kissed the floor when i got back.”
Cejudo said he has now motivated by what happened and plans to donate $50,000 to the victims of the fires. Forty people have died in the fires and dozens are still missing. Cejudo knows that could have been him and he plans on taking the memory of those lost with him into the cage in December.
“If God had to pick somebody to go through that, it would be me,” Cejudo said. “Because I’m here to tell the story. I don’t think your average Joe would have gotten out of there.”
Tyron Woodley believes Georges St-Pierre has only returned to the UFC for money fights. Make no mistake about it, UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley has tremendous respect for Georges St-Pierre, but ‘T-Wood’ believes GSP’s championship days are over.
Speaking on his recent podcast ‘The Morning Wood Show’, Woodley stated that he has surpassed St-Pierre in every aspect of mixed martial arts and that the game has passed him by.
“Georges has been away for three years, almost four,” Woodley said, per MMA Fighting’s Jed Meshew. “By the time he gets in there, it’s gonna be just a few days shy of four years so the sport has caught up. Whatever advantage he had, whatever degree of separation he created by being such a great martial artist, people have played catchup. I think I’ve surpassed him. He was a person I looked up to but skill for skill, mindset, explosion, power, wrestling ability, timing, strategy, all those things, I feel like I’ve surpassed Georges and that’s why I want to go out there to fight him and prove it.”
St-Pierre is coming out of retirement to challenge Michael Bisping for the middleweight title in hopes of cementing his legacy as the best fighter ever to compete.
Woodley, however, who will be looking to call out the winner of Bisping vs. St-Pierre, believes that ‘Rush’ has only come back for the money and expects the Canadian to call out Conor McGregor for a superfight if he’s victorious at UFC 217.
“No, that’s a disrespect to me. . .” Woodley said of a potential showdown between McGregor and GSP.
“[St-Pierre] probably [will call out McGregor], but he’s gonna have to be honest with the fans and say, ‘I’m here for money.” And that’s okay. There’s no shame in that. . . Just know I’m gonna call him out on that. Win, lose, or draw, I’m gonna want to fight the winner of that fight, Bisping or Georges. Then I’m going to want to come back and see all this fresh new talent in the welterweight division and I’m gonna want to show them a lesson too.”
St-Pierre recently told the media that he doesn’t challenge fighters in lower weight classes but is open to a fight with McGregor.
McGregor, 28, just got done fighting Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the boxing ring and ‘The Notorious’ is likely to return to the UFC to take on Tony Ferguson in a lightweight title unification bout.
Woodley, 35, starched Robbie Lawler to win the welterweight title at UFC 201 and has gone on to defend the belt against Stephen Thompson and Demian Maia.
UFC 217, which will feature Bisping vs. St-Pierre as the main event, takes place next month, November 4 at Madison Square Garden, New York.
A week after losing its co-main event, the Oct. 20 show has now lost the bout that was moved up to take its place. Welterweight Brennan Ward has withdrawn from Friday’s card due to an injury, and his fight with David Rickels has been canceled, officials confirmed to MMA Fighting.
In another change, Neiman Gracie (6-0) will now fight Bellator newcomer Zak Bucia (18-8) after originally scheduled opponent Javier Torres suffered an injury. That bout has been positioned as the new co-main event.
The original co-headliner was supposed to feature Liam McGeary fighting Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal. An injury forced Lawal out of the fight, and he was replaced by Bubba McDaniel, only for McGeary to then bow out with an injury, which led to the encounter being canceled altogether.
A lightweight bout between Ryan Quinn (13-7-1) and Marcus Surin (4-0) has been promoted to the main card.
Bellator 185 takes place at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. on Friday. In the main event, Gegard Mousasi (42-6-2) makes his promotional debut against former middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko (56-9).
Tony Ferguson’s BJJ coach Eddie Bravo gives his take on the potential Conor McGregor fight. Although newly-crowned UFC lightweight champion Tony Ferguson is one of the most unorthodox and dynamic strikers in the division, his best asset against McGregor is probably his grappling.
That’s according to ‘El Cucuy’s’ longtime Brazilian Jiu Jitsu coach Eddie Bravo, who was very honest about Ferguson’s chances against ‘The Notorious’.
Speaking to BJ Penn Radio in a recent interview, Bravo, the founder of 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu, is cautious of McGregor’s striking but believes Ferguson has what it takes to ‘strangle him’ on the mat.
“If you don’t have respect for Conor and his abilities, then you haven’t been paying attention,” Bravo said of a possible championship showdown between McGregor and Ferguson. “In this game, at the top, anything can happen. I never guaranteed a [Tony Ferguson] victory over Kevin Lee – I never guarantee victories. The only time I guarantee a victory is if your opponent is a duck and it’s a mismatch. You just never know. Conor has great power; he has great striking technique. So does Tony. On the feet, man, anything can happen, it’s like Russian Roulette, you never know. You can’t predict that fight.
“Maybe Tony takes him down and strangles him. Hey, maybe Tony can knock McGregor down. He can just stay on the outside, pop him with jabs, wear him down, and do what Nate Diaz did to him. That’s a possibility. Tony’s got a great chin. He’s got great striking. He’s just as unorthodox as Conor McGregor, if not more, so Conor McGregor might get knocked out, you just never know. But I think the best strategy would be to take Conor down and strangle him.”
McGregor, 29, is considered one of the best punchers in the sport and the Irishman surprised many fans by going 10 rounds with none other than Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the boxing ring this past August. The proud SBG Ireland representative captured the official UFC lightweight strap when he outclassed and TKO’d Eddie Alvarez last year at UFC 205.
Ferguson, a winner of ten straight, submitted Kevin Lee to win the interim 155-pound title at UFC 216 and the 33-year-old is now considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world.
There has been no official announcement of a title unification bout between McGregor and Ferguson, but both men seem game to throw down. UFC president Dana White also told reporters after Ferguson’s most recent win that he must challenge McGregor in his next bout.
Tony pic.twitter.com/IhPaemJP30— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) October 13, 2017
“Zero Fucks” #DefendorVacate MF’er #TonyFergusonMMA SnapJitsu™ #SnapDownCity This Is My Mat. pic.twitter.com/9aMmzAB3z5— Tony Ferguson (@TonyFergusonXT) October 14, 2017
Garry Tonon will now be taking his grappling skills to the cage.
The decorated grappler has signed a multi-fight deal with Asian-based MMA promotion ONE Championship. The news was announced by the promotion on Monday morning.
“I am thrilled to be able to finally announce my arrival in ONE Championship,” Tonon said in an official statement with ONE Championship. “It is the natural evolution in my career as a grappler. I have achieved all that I have set out to do in the world of jiu-jitsu, and now I am ready to take on a new challenge.”
Tonon’s MMA debut is yet to be determined.
The 26-year-old grappler competed for ONE Championship earlier this year, but not in MMA. Tonon took on former ONE Championship lightweight champ Shinya Aoki in a grappling match at ONE: Dynasty of Heroes. The New York-based fighter submitted Aoki with a heel hook.
Originally scheduled for UFC 216, a heavyweight fight between Walt Harris and Mark Godbeer will happen at UFC 217 on November 4th. Heavyweights Walt Harris and Mark Godbeer were slated to fight on the UFC 216 preliminary card just over a week ago, but unusual circumstances led to Harris accepting a totally different fight on hours’ notice, leaving Godbeer without an opponent. The good news for both men is that they have been rebooked to fight at UFC 217, per MMAjunkie.
Harris (10-6) was offered a main card spot against Fabricio Werdum after Werdum’s original opponent, Derrick Lewis, withdrew from the card due to ongoing back problems. The 34-year-old agreed to take on the former champion Werdum, who submitted him via armbar in just 65 seconds.
Godbeer (12-3) was paid both his base and win money to make up for the last-minute cancellation. The Englishman is looking for his second consecutive win, having bested Daniel Spitz by unanimous decision at UFC 209.
UFC 217 takes place at Madison Square Garden on November 4th. Middleweight champion Michael Bisping defends his belt vs. former welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre in the night’s main event. Bantamweight champ Gody Garbrandt takes on rival T.J. Dillashaw in the co-main event, while strawweight titleholder Joanna Jedrzejczyk defends her crown against Rose Namajunas.
A potential grudge match is planned for November 26th. There are times when rivalries can take odd turns. Consider that to be the case with the feud between Ralek Gracie and AJ Agazarm. Their back and forth is set to be continued and come to a head with a planned grappling bout between the two in November. Gracie took to Instagram to call out Agazarm for the November match in Denver, Colorado.
“I am formally challenging AJ Agazarm to a no time-limit, submission only match,” Gracie posted. “All proceeds will go toward paying Metamoris athletes.”
This is where the conversation becomes interesting. For the last year Metamoris has been involved in a controversy with paying the competitors on past shows. Athletes such as Renato “Babalu” Sobral, Agazarm and others openly complained that the organization owes them money or were slow to pay for matches.
“I think he has good intentions, but my grandmother always said that hell is full of good intentions,” Sobral said Guilherme Cruz of MMA Fighting back in 2016. “With all due respect to him and his family, he made a huge mistake. I don’t recommend anyone to fight there if you want money. I wish him luck, and I hope someday he gets to clean his reputation in the jiu-jitsu world because it’s not looking good.”
Agazarm was perhaps one of the most vocal competitors. He once took to the Metamoris Instagram account to call the organization on the carpet for lack of payment.
“It has been over 6 months since my bout against Karo Parisyan, and I still haven’t been paid. It’s not about the money (it wasn’t a lot) but instead it is about the principle,” Agazarm posted. “I took the match on short notice to help save your show, as you would otherwise have been left without a main event. To this date my match is still behind your paywall and I have not yet seen a single dollar.”
Agazarm would even take things a step further by broadcasting a Metamoris internet PPV on his Facebook page for viewers to watch for free before the stream was taken down; a move that wasn’t appreciated by Gracie.
“By pirating our last Metamoris event on his personal Facebook account, [Agazarm] stole money from the very athletes he claimed to be supporting,” Gracie posted. “Here’s your chance to put your money where your mouth is ‘Florida boy.’”
Agazarm has yet to officially respond to the challenge. He’s coming off of a second-place finish at ADCC 2017, earning a silver medal in the 66 kilograms division. He also defeated Phil Baroni at Submission Underground 5.
Carlos Condit speaks in detail about his MMA return, after a year-long break from competition. After his stinging first round submission loss to Demian Maia in August 2016, Carlos Condit suddenly became uncertain about his fighting future. The sheer disappointment led him to question whether or not he is still worthy to compete against the top names in the UFC’s welterweight division today.
“The pressure of being one of the top guys for almost a decade — it’s been awesome, I loved being involved in the sport at the time that I had, got to do for what I loved for a living for a long time. But I don’t know man. I don’t know if I belong here anymore,” the 33-year-old Condit said during the post-fight press conference.
“The Natural Born Killer” will be making his return at UFC 219 this December against Neil Magny, aiming to snap his two-fight skid. And the decision to carry on with his career was simply because the desire to fight at the highest level of the sport never really left him.
“That feeling never really left honestly, man,” Condit said on a recent MMA Hour episode (via MMA Fighting). “I’m a fighter, this is what I love to do, there’s obviously a lot of different factors that go into making decisions. And as important as what I’m doing with my life and career and all that stuff. I think I wanted to fight, I’ll probably want to fight until the day I’m dead.”
Condit admitted that he was initially on the fence about making a return, but it all came down to the realization that fighting is the one craft that he knows he is best at.
“There’s a lot of different factors. I still love to fight, I still love to train, I love the process, I love the people I’ve surrounded myself with, I love my team and also, honestly there’s a financial piece to this, too.”
“This is my trade, this is what I do. I didn’t go to college,” Condit said. “I don’t have a whole lot of options as far as backup plans. I’ve got bills to pay and mouths to feed, so, let’s strap up the gloves and get to it.”
UFC 219 will be the company’s year-end card, slated for December 30th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Two rising welterweights will collide in Winnipeg, Canada, and Santiago Ponzinibbio wants to make sure he continues to climb the rankings.
Coming off a 82-second knockout win over Gunnar Nelson, Ponzinibbio takes on Mike Perry at UFC on FOX 26 on Dec. 16. Months after taking on a respectful opponent in “Gunni”, the Argentinian is not bothered by the trash talk that Perry will likely throw at him.
“It’s a good fight. It’s a good fight,” Ponzinibbio told MMA Fighting. “I think he’s very popular now, he likes to talk a lot and promote himself, so this is going to be a good fight.
“I always enter my fights the same way, I always go there to knock people out. I go there to put my hands on them. I’m an aggressive fighter, that’s my style. I don’t care about him. If he wants to promote the fight, do what you want, whatever. I don’t care. I knock out whoever stands in front of me. If he doesn’t go down, I will hurt him.”
Ponzinibbio, who has won five in a row and seven of his last eight, didn’t have Perry in mind as a potential opponent. In fact, he says he never watched even one of “Platinum’s” five UFC bouts.
“I wanted to fight (Carlos) Condit, (Rafael) dos Anjos, but unfortunately it didn’t happen,” Ponzinibbio said. “I have to stay active. I want to stay in rhythm. Perry is on a roll and promotes his fights well, and I think this will be great.
“Honestly, I never watched even one of his fights. I have to watch it now. I wasn’t eyeing this fight, to be honest with you. I was thinking about Condit, dos Anjos, (Donald) Cerrone. They were my options, but it didn’t happen. But this fight is good. I’ll study his fights and see what he brings, and based on that I will prepare my strategy and train for that.”
If Ponzinibbio manages to get through Perry in Winnipeg — especially if he’s correct in his knockout prediction — the Argentinian hopes to earn a shot at UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley next.
“I have what it takes to fight for the belt already, I have the potential to become champion, but it’s up to the UFC to give me the chance,” he said. “I know I have the potential to fight the champion. I beat the No. 8 welterweight in 82 seconds. I’ve fought great opponents, so I deserve it. It’s UFC’s call. I’m here.”