Daniel Cormier says Cain Velasquez is back to training, readying for ‘a long, sustained run’

It’s been a long time since the heavyweight division has seen Cain Velasquez.

The former two-time UFC heavyweight champion has missed all of 2017 after being forced to pull out of his Dec. 2016 fight against Fabricio Werdum due to a lingering injury in his back, which ultimately required surgery.

But the light at the end of the tunnel may soon be approaching for Velasquez.

The 35-year-old Velasquez, who in September revealed that he was targeting a 2018 return to action, is finally healthy enough to once again resume training at San Jose’s American Kickboxing Academy, according to his longtime teammate and training partner Daniel Cormier.

“He’s back to training, and it hurts, but it nothing’s felt better for a long time,” Cormier said Monday on The MMA Hour.

“It does suck to have to go in there and work with Cain, because he’s so much better than everybody else that’s ever been around, but it’s good to have him, man. Just seeing him back doing what he loves to do, it’s amazing as a friend and as a fan of mixed martial arts, because if Cain gets back, you guys know what he does for the heavyweight division. He makes for some very, very interesting and fun fights.”

Velasquez last competed in July 2016, scoring a first-round knockout over Travis Browne that earned him ‘Performance of the Night’ honors at UFC 200. His injury woes have halted his momentum ever since, but that reality is unfortunately nothing new for Velasquez, as the former heavyweight champion’s career has been repeatedly derailed over recent years due several long stints on the shelf.

Altogether, Velasquez has fought just twice over the past four years, failing to appear inside the Octagon even once in 2014 and 2017.

That leaves Velasquez as one of the biggest ‘what ifs’ of his era, as the ex-champion has proven to be a dominant force when he is healthy. His 12-2 Octagon record and pair of title reigns in the UFC’s most volatile division can attest to that.

Cormier admitted that he isn’t sure when Velasquez will be ready to fight again. For now, the team is taking things slow. But Cormier believes this past injury layoff changed things for Velasquez, and once the time comes, “DC” hopes his longtime friend will be able to put together the kind of career-defining run that Cormier knows Velasquez is capable of doing.

“It’s a process,” Cormier said. “When you start dealing with some of the injuries that Cain has had, and I’ve seen this since wrestling — backs and necks and all those types of injuries — man, it takes time to recover. And I think, for a long time, Cain may have pushed himself when he should’ve rested, and I believe this time he’s actually taken the time to try to let himself heal, and I feel like this will be a chance for him to make a long, sustained run, much longer than he really has over the course of his career.

“He’s had a lot of injuries at bad times. I talked to Cain about this, and it sucks — for a guy who was talented and committed to the sport, he’s probably lost five years. Can you imagine what Cain Velasquez’s resume would look like without five years worth of time on the shelf? It’s so sad to think about, but I believe that he has finally gotten himself in a position where his body is going to be able to match his work ethic, his mind, his ferociousness, his mentality, everything, and allow him to go on a run — a long, sustained run — to kinda finish out his career.”

Source: mmafighting

Despite stunning win at UFC Fresno, Brian Ortega says Frankie Edgar is deserving of next title shot

A humble Brian Ortega believes Frankie Edgar should fight Max Holloway for the featherweight title. Undefeated UFC featherweight standout Brian Ortega pulled off another sensational come-from-behind submission win at UFC Fight Night 123, submitting top-four contender Cub Swanson with a vicious guillotine choke in the main event at Save Mart Center in Fresno, California.
But, despite his recent triumph and five-fight win streak, Ortega doesn’t think he’s deserving of the next title shot.
Speaking at the UFC Fresno post-fight press conference, per MMA Fighting’s Dave Meltzer, a humble Ortega said former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar deserves to challenge Max Holloway for the featherweight belt.
“I’m still trying to figure it out,” Ortega said when asked what was next for him. “I know Frankie got injured. I’m not sure how long it’ll take to patch him up again. I’m respectful for the shot he’s earned. Hopefully he recovers, he’ll have a speedy recovery and fights Holloway. Hopefully, maybe I’ll get the winner of that. If not, I’ll keep doing what I’m doing.”
Edgar, 36, was originally supposed to fight Holloway at UFC 218 but was forced to pull out of the championship bout at the last minute due to injury.
Holloway, who is on a 12-fight win streak, went on to rematch former champ and pound-for-pound No. 1 Jose Aldo, finishing the Brazilian in the third round with a barrage of strikes and becoming the only fighter to beat ‘Scarface’ in back-to-back fights.
As for Ortega, the 26-year-old talent will continue to use his UFC profile as a way to help those in need outside of the cage.
“I really want to help people out,” he said. “I want to use this time and this life to not just have it on me, but to use this time, they invested a lot of money to promote me. I want to help people out. I’m not the perfect person, but I have the perfect heart and want to help people who are down and out. I’ve been there.
“I’ve been doing charity work since I’m 20 years old and now I want to help kids.”
Currently ranked at No. 6 in the official UFC featherweight rankings, Ortega is likely to break into the top four with his win over Swanson.

Source: bloody

Frankie Edgar aiming to return in March or April to fight Max Holloway

Frankie Edgar is recovering from an orbital injury that knocked him out of a featherweight title opportunity vs. champion Max Holloway, and he’s optimistic that they can make that fight happen soon.

“The Answer” was in attendance at UFC Fresno this past weekend, and he managed to sneak in a conversation with Dana White in regards to where he stands in the contenders’ line once he’s healed up.

“He said we’re just figuring out – this is after this weekend’s fight – we’re just waiting to see what’s next,” Edgar explained on Monday’s episode of The MMA Hour. “I think March or April sounds good, so one of those dates I imagine we’ll set it up.”

Edgar was also asked if he took any offense to White recently expressing his bewilderment at how Edgar could get hurt ahead of such an important fight, and the former lightweight champion didn’t sound bothered in the slightest.

“I don’t think he was questioning my toughness,” Edgar said. “I think he meant more like I shouldn’t be getting hit like that so I could get a broken face, you know what I mean? I think that’s what he was getting at, that’s what he kind of conveyed to us at least.”

The UFC does not currently have any events officially scheduled for April, but UFC 222 takes place in Las Vegas, Nev., on March 3 and Edgar mentioned that date as a logical one for the Holloway clash. He added that he (and his friends and family) would be excited about traveling to Hawaii, Holloway’s home turf, and challenging the champion there should the UFC ever schedule a show in the islands.

Holloway authored his first title defense at UFC 218 in a rematch against Jose Aldo, Edgar’s replacement, making him 2-0 against the featherweight legend; in comparison, Edgar twice challenged Aldo during the Brazilian’s lengthy championship reign and both times he came out on the wrong end of a unanimous decision.

At just 26 years old, Holloway has already built up an impressive resume and Edgar believes that “Blessed” is living up to the hype.

“I think he’s all that he’s cracked up to be and the fact that he’s so young and keeps getting better every fight is scary almost,” Edgar said. “But that also motivates me. I still feel like I’m at the top of my game. Max is the future, but I’m still here, I’m the present and I want to get this title shot and get what’s mine and become a two-weight champion. That’s been my goal since I came down to ‘45.”

One potential wrench that could be thrown into Edgar’s plans is the sudden emergence of unbeaten submission artist Brian Ortega. The California-native submitted veteran Cub Swanson in the main event of UFC Fresno and while Ortega himself refused to make any bold claims to a title shot, the impressive performance planted the seed that he could be in championship bout sooner rather than later.

Edgar praised Ortega, but he’s glad that the fast-rising fighter is respecting the current pecking order.

“He’s got a good following, he’s finishing guys, yeah he might be ready, but as long it’s after me that’s all I care about,” Edgar said.

Source: mmafighting

Michael McDonald: UFC uses bonuses ‘more like a weapon than a reward’

Michael McDonald says the UFC uses their bonus structure as a weapon during contract negotiations. Michael McDonald had been with Zuffa for 6 years, before he eventually asked for his release last March. He had quite a few issues with the UFC, from low pay to “dishonest” business practices, which eventually made him want to move on and sign with Bellator.
As McDonald approaches his promotional debut this week, he mentioned that he prefers Bellator’s structure of not having fight night bonuses, but having higher — and guaranteed — base salaries.
“With the UFC’s bonus system and how it’s structured, if you win and you get a bonus you’re doing good, you’re comfortable in life. If you don’t win it, you’re starving,” he told MMA Fighting. “A lot of the guys in the UFC are at that place and it’s not a very good place to be.”
McDonald, who was a top 10 bantamweight in the UFC, even put his career on hold at one point because he couldn’t afford to pay for the proper training. He also doesn’t like how the UFC uses this bonus structure during contract negotiations.
“In the UFC, they used to use the bonuses against you, they used them like a gun to your head,” he explained.
“They would say, ‘We don’t want to raise your contract because you’re last fight was this or that’ or, ‘all you have to do is win some bonuses, if you win some bonuses you’ll be fine.’
“It was used more like a weapon than a reward, and I’m honestly glad that I don’t have to deal with that anymore.”
McDonald grew up fighting, and has been a professional since he was 16. Now that he’s 26-years-old, naturally, his priorities have changed quite a bit.
“For the longest time I would tell myself that the money didn’t matter and I was only in this sport because I love it. Eventually that wears off once you have bills and a family and other responsibilities.
“Maybe it was all about the love of the game back then, but I had to make the decision that this is going to be my job.”
He will headline Bellator 191 against Peter Ligier on December 15.
Source: bloody

Swedish boxer Erik Skoglund placed in coma after suffering brain bleed in training

Erik Skoglund last competed in September, losing a decision to Callum Smith. BBC Sport reports that Swedish professional boxer Erik Skoglund, 26, is in a serious yet stable condition after having surgery in response to bleeding on the brain (h/t Bad Left Hook).
Skoglund, who has a 26 win and 1 loss record, was taken to hospital on Friday after a training session in his hometown of Nykoping. Reportedly, Skoglund had sought medical assistance because he was, “feeling ill.”
In a statement on Satuday, Skoglund’s promoter Sauerland Events said that Skoglund, “was placed in a medically induced coma and underwent surgery last night to repair a bleed on the brain. Doctors are pleased with the results and Erik remains in a serious yet stable condition.” (h/t FightNights)
Sauerland Events continued to state that, “the next 3-4 days are critical for his recovery. During this time, we ask that everyone respect the privacy of Erik and his family. We will communicate further information when it becomes available.”
Skoglund, a super-middleweight and light heavyweight, lost his first pro fight on September 16th. It was a unanimous decision to Callum Smith as part of the World Boxing Super Series. Prior to that fight he won the vacant WBA International light heavyweight title after knocking out Shpetim Shala on December 9th, 2016.
Skoglund was due to face Rocky Fielding at Tony Bellow vs. David Haye II.
Brain bleeds are a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that can be caused by the shearing of blood vessels around the dura mater (a membrane that surrounds the brain). The shearing largely occurs from lineal acceleration of the brain within the skull (the brain shifting violently back and forth as the result of impact to the head).
Bleeding can occur either above or below the dura mater. Epidural hematomas are caused when the bleeding happens between the dura mater and the skull. Subdural hematomas are caused when bleeding occurs beneath the dura mater.
In both instances, the hematomas (a pool of blood) swells and causes pressure on the brain. The pressure can damage delicate tissue. Left unalleviated the hematoma can grow to the point it forces the brain to shift position, which can cause serious brain damage and/or death.
Some hematomas don’t show any serious symptoms until they have swelled to a near-fatal size. Because of this, many sufferers feel relatively fine immediately after they suffer the injury. The sufferer can be awake and alert for sometime until suddenly falling unconscious. These lucid intervals have been observed in a number of professional fighters with bleeding on the brain.
In June of this year former UFC heavyweight Tim Hague left a boxing ring in Edmonton under his own power after suffering a brain bleed. He reportedly felt ill backstage and was then rushed to a hospital where he would later die.
In April, 2016, a near identical situation happened to the late Joao Carvalho at an MMA event in Dublin. In September, 2016 professional boxer Mike Towell died of a brain bleed the same night he suffered a TKO in Glasgow.
Also last year, boxers Nick Blackwell and Eduard Gutknecht suffered brain bleeds during separate fights in the UK. Both were hospitalized. Blackwell was released after being in a coma for a week. Gutknecht suffered severe brain damage and, in October 2017, his wife reported (via The Express) that he still could not walk or talk as a result of the injury.
The key to surviving a subdural/epidural hematoma is early detection. Lucid intervals make this task extremely difficult. There are devices that can detect brain bleeds before the symptoms are felt. These devices have been purchased by NFL squads, Olympic teams, and the California State Athletic Commission. However, the units are a long way from being ever-present at fighting arenas and gyms.

Source: bloody

UFC-USADA loophole could be letting chosen athletes avoid testing in secret

The UFC’s Anti-Doping policy contains a loophole that could let athletes avoid testing by “retiring” and “un-retiring” in secret with the UFC’s permission. USADA refuses to disclose information about the registered testing pool that would prevent these exemptions from staying secret. Dana White recently claimed that Ronda Rousey isn’t retired, and that “USADA is still popping up at her house testing her, but she refuses to retire.” USADA maintains a database of all tests conducted, but according to this database, Rousey hasn’t been tested at all in 2017.
Rousey was last tested in the fourth quarter of 2016 according to the list. Her last fight was a losing effort to Amanda Nunes at UFC 207 on December 30th, 2016.
Since it’s theoretically possible that Rousey has been in the registered testing pool (RTP) this entire time, but hasn’t been tested, I decided to try to find out exactly what was happening. During that process, I discovered something disconcerting:
There is a loophole in the UFC’s anti-doping policy that allows them to secretly exempt athletes from testing if they so choose.
Exemptions and secrecy
Under the WADA code, athletes returning from retirement have to undergo testing for six months. WADA may give a waiver after consulting the relevant national anti-doping organization and sport federation. Under the UFC’s anti-doping policy, the UFC gives the waiver. I wrote about that here.
That wouldn’t be a big deal if we knew which athletes had retired. If an athlete suspiciously retired and un-retired, skipping the testing pool whenever they didn’t have a fight, we would notice, right? Wrong.
It turns out the UFC and USADA can, and do, hide that information. There is no way for anyone to see who is and is not part of the registered testing pool at any time. USADA cannot or will not confirm which athletes are part of the pool, and the UFC, thus far, haven’t even responded to questions about it.
We have a situation where we can’t find out who is and isn’t in the testing pool, and the UFC president appears to be making incorrect statements about who is and isn’t being tested to the media.
This means, in theory, even if an athlete publicly says they are retired, they might not be. And even if Dana White says they aren’t retired, they might officially be retired as far as USADA is concerned. We would have no way of verifying that information, and Dana has a habit of being less than truthful when it comes to public statements.
Since the names of the athletes in the pool are a secret, and the UFC has the final decision on granting exemptions to retired athletes, there’s nothing stopping the UFC from letting a chosen athlete “retire” to avoid testing, lying to the press about them being retired, then allowing them to “un-retire” just before a fight to avoid months of testing. Their opponent, the media, and the public would have no way of knowing. That’s not to say this is happening, but the system, as it operates now, could allow it to happen.
Have athletes been exempted before?
Normally an athlete has to be in the testing pool for six months if they “un-retire.” In the past this clause was four months. It was part of this four-month testing period that Brock Lesnar skipped when he signed to fight at UFC 200. Instead of being tested for the 16 weeks retired athletes were supposed to under the anti-doping policy, he was tested for around five weeks.
It subsequently emerged that Brock Lesnar provided an out-of-competition sample prior to UFC 200 which was positive for the banned substance clomiphene. The result of the test wasn’t returned until after his UFC 200 bout.
The decision to exempt Lesnar was controversial at the time, even before he tested positive for a banned substance. It’s possible other athletes have had similar exemptions without the public ever becoming aware of it.
According to data provided by @dimspace, there are around 10 athletes (out of around 600), who haven’t been tested at all in 2017, but may have been under contract for at least the past year. USADA’s athlete test history page confirms these athletes haven’t been tested in 2017.
The athletes seem to still be under UFC contract—at least there have been no announcements that they have been released, and they are still on the UFC’s roster page—but they haven’t been tested in 2017.
It’s hard to be sure if they’re still in the registered testing pool, because USADA refuses to say who is actually in the pool. I sent a request to USADA asking which of these athletes are currently in the registered testing pool, but USADA is unable or unwilling to divulge that information.
Why is this an issue?
If you’re a fighter who accepts a bout against someone who hasn’t been tested in a year, it’s important to know if your opponent thought they could be tested at any time, or if they knew for a fact they wouldn’t be tested.
USADA CEO Travis Tygart said in a recent interview that even a short period in which a fighter knew they wouldn’t be tested would let athletes cheat. Here’s what Mr. Tygart said about having a two or three week period of no testing, “That’s not an effective program. Someone can go and cheat and we would never know about it.”
If knowing you wouldn’t be tested for three weeks makes the program ineffective, what would knowing you can’t be tested for three months accomplish? What about a year? This is why it’s important for athletes to know if their opponent just got a pass. Right now, they don’t. In fact, USADA actively refuses to disclose the information that would let them know.
The USADA site has this to say about transparency, “Instead of wondering if their competitors or role models are being tested, people can track testing data and see how USADA is working to uphold clean sport.”
There is an argument to be made that USADA shouldn’t be publishing information that could “out” a retired athlete, but the anti-doping organization’s site rightly notes that knowing when your opponent was tested is an important part of a transparent anti-doping program. That’s why the athlete test history exists. Does an athlete’s right to know their opponent had a time period when they were “retired” and could dope without being tested outweigh the right of an athlete to retire without telling anyone? That’s a judgement call.
The UFC doesn’t have a great history when it comes to properly handling fighter exemptions. Recall that ahead of UFC 152, Vitor Belfort was given a therapeutic use exemption for testosterone by the UFC. When tested, Belfort’s free testosterone came back high. Belfort’s opponent was never informed, and the information only came out thanks to an email being circulated to people it shouldn’t have been sent to. Belfort was allowed to compete.
The UFC around that time said they used the Nevada athletic commission’s standards for TUEs. Belfort’s total testosterone came back at over 1,000 ng/dL. NSAC executive director Keith Kizer stated that under Nevada rules, testosterone replacement therapy should be 600-700ng/dL at best.
By hiring USADA to implement their anti-doping policy, the UFC helped create a firewall between themselves and decisions around things like TUEs, which the UFC has been criticized over in the past. The truth is, there probably isn’t a better option than USADA out there to run an independent drug testing program, but that’s not to say it couldn’t be improved.
When the UFC has had the ability to secretly give fighters passes and cover up results in the past, the evidence suggests they have, though the UFC denies there was a “cover-up”. You can argue about whether or not that would happen today, but the optics of the situation means transparency should be favored over opacity to avoid even the impression of favoritism or malfeasance.
USADA could make this situation more transparent by listing which fighters are part of the registered testing pool and updating that list each week. They currently have a list of which fighters have been tested which they update each week, so this shouldn’t be a difficult task.
Instead, USADA refuses to confirm which fighters are part of the registered testing pool at any point. Whether deliberate or not, this opacity means fighters can never be sure if their opponent has actually been part of the registered testing pool prior to them actually being tested.
The UFC has been asked for comment on this story and we will update the post with their response.
Source: bloody

Dana White hopeful to re-sign Cub Swanson: ‘I can keep him happy’

Dana White hopes he can come to an agreement for a new contract with Cub Swanson, who has been unhappy with the UFC as of late. Like many of his contemporaries, Cub Swanson has not been happy with the treatment he has been getting from the UFC. After feeling constantly devalued because of title shot snubs, along with his perception about the “pampering” of both Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey, the UFC featherweight contender became hesitant to renew his contract until after his Saturday night fight against Brian Ortega in Fresno.
UFC president Dana White, however, hopes that Swanson would reconsider his decision.
“I yelled up to him, too (from cageside), ‘Let’s get a deal done,’” White said in a post-fight media scrum (transcript via MMA Fighting). “Cub’s been around forever, he’s a great kid, and I like him and hopefully we can get something done with him. And I can keep him happy. I want him to be happy, so we’ll see.”
But from his end, Cub remains cautious about making any move, especially since he already made his declaration about ending ties with the UFC.
“I don’t know,” Swanson said in a separate media interview. “It stings, it’s like, it just gets thrown back in your face, ‘Oh, you just don’t win the big ones,’ so it’s like what am I gonna say? I’m sure we’ll negotiate.”
“Dana said, ‘Let’s make a deal right now,’ he was outside the cage,” he added. “But it’s like, do I gotta crawl back and say, ‘OK, I’ll take that deal you offered me that I said ‘no’ to’? So we’ll see. I’m going to enjoy family over Christmas, all that, and try not to be in low spirits because I thought I fought great, I just didn’t get the ending I wanted.”
Swanson ended up losing to Ortega via second-round submission, breaking his four-fight winning streak. Both fighters, however, bagged Fight of the Night honors and $50,000 each.
Source: bloody

Arum: ‘Piece of crap’ Dana White entering into boxing to save himself from ‘cratering’ UFC

Bob Arum talks about UFC president Dana White’s planned venture into boxing. UFC president Dana White recently announced his planned venture into boxing promotion. The long-time MMA promoter basically believes the current crop of boxers would enjoy fighting under the WME/Zuffa umbrella.
Rival promoter Bob Arum, however, thinks White has other reasons for getting into this new endeavor.
“Who gives a sh-t about White, he’s a piece of crap,” Arum told reporters on Saturday night after the Vasyl Lomachenko-Guillermo Rigondeaux fight in New York City.
“It’s an acknowledgment how strong boxing is. He has the UFC that’s cratering, and he needs boxing to save himself.”
Arum and White have been at odds over the years, throwing shade at each other through media interviews. But even so, the Top Rank Promotions chief says he welcomes the idea of White as a boxing promoter.
“If Dana White started promoting boxing, it would be terrific,” Arum said. “Because it would show what we have now proven that boxing is not an old man’s sport, that our demographics are young. We’ve been up against them twice, and we’re up against them now for the third time, but a leveled playing field. Free television (on) ESPN, free television (on) FOX and FS1, and a lot of kids don’t have premium television because they can’t afford $15 a month.”
“So when we have a leveled playing field, we beat the pants off them, not only just overall rating but the demographics that everybody is looking for.”
Save for crashed streaming broadcasts on UFC Fight Pass, White’s first dip into big ticket boxing promotion during the August 26th fight between Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather Jr. was still a financial success, with the event drawing a live gate total of $55 million.

Source: bloody

Michael McDonald: UFC uses bonus system ‘like a gun to your head’

Michael McDonald is set for his promotional debut against Peter Ligier in the main event of Bellator 191 in Newcastle on Dec. 15, but he isn’t feeling any added pressure to please his new employers.

“Mayday” believes the contract Bellator offered him already underlined the faith that they have in him as a fighter and despite the magnifying glass that is cast over fighters moving from UFC to its main rival, the 26-year-old is far from overwhelmed by his situation.

“From my very first interaction with Bellator they’ve made it clear that they believe in me and they’re willing to show it, and I’m very appreciative of that,” McDonald told MMAFighting.com.

“They believed in me and were willing to give me what the UFC wasn’t and because of that I feel very valued.

“I don’t feel pressure in the sense that I have to show them that I’m good and that they were right to hire me. I’m really not feeling a whole lot of pressure coming into this, even personally.”

The former UFC title challenger insisted that the UFC’s bonus structure allows them to manipulate fighters. Without winning those bonuses, McDonald believes it’s very difficult for the majority of athletes to be “comfortable in life”.

“With the UFC’s bonus system and how it’s structured, if you win and you get a bonus you’re doing good, you’re comfortable in life. If you don’t win it, you’re starving. A lot of the guys in the UFC are at that place and it’s not a very good place to be,” he explained.

“Now I’m with Bellator and it’s not the way it is and I’m very happy about that. The bonus structure isn’t applied here with Bellator and because of that the base payments can be a bit better.

“In the UFC, they used to use the bonuses against you, they used them like a gun to your head.

“They would say, ‘We don’t want to raise your contract because you’re last fight was this or that’ or, ‘all you have to do is win some bonuses, if you win some bonuses you’ll be fine.’

“It was used more like a weapon than a reward, and I’m honestly glad that I don’t have to deal with that anymore.”

McDonald underlined that his signing for Bellator was a “business move,” citing financial stability as one of the main factors behind his decision.

“I had to really come to grips with this conflict – am I doing this as a business or a fighter?” he said.

“For the longest time I would tell myself that the money didn’t matter and I was only in this sport because I love it. Eventually that wears off once you have bills and a family and other responsibilities.

“If you don’t make that monthly requirement people start turning off your stuff. It’s a predicament because once you start becoming an adult, money does matter and I started fighting when I was a kid.

“Maybe it was all about the love of the game back then, but I had to make the decision that this is going to be my job.”

Although he believes he sacrificed some pride as a competitor by committing his future to Bellator, he knows he still has plenty of fire in his belly as evidenced by his gunfight with John Lineker in his last outing.

“I’m happy I made the decision but I guess part of that is me putting away my pride as a competitor, but sometimes that still comes out,” stated McDonald.

“In my fight with John Lineker, I didn’t want to take him down. I wanted to show the world that my hands were better than John’s. The fight showed his chin was better than mine, we were both hitting each other.

“My pride as a competitor can still come out, but as a businessman if I did that over again I would have thought, ‘Mike, you’re a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, a fantastic wrestler – put this guy down and put him where he is least comfortable.’

“I still have that pride as a competitor, but moving over from the UFC was definitely a business decision. There is some great competition in Bellator as well so this should not come as an insult to the promotion, but some of the best in the world right now are in the UFC.”

While a lot of former UFC fighters that sign on the dotted line with Bellator look to thrust themselves into the title conversation as soon as possible, McDonald has some criteria that needs to be reached before he’s ready to commit to a title showdown.

“I have to leave that to my management, they’re the smart people behind my career and I need to take their council about who I’m fighting, for what amount of money and where,” he outlined.

“As a competitor I’m thinking, ‘give me the title shot right now’, but again, this has to be my business. When the money is right and the time is right we’ll have to make it happen.”

Source: mmafighting

Cub Swanson: ‘I felt like I was going to die’ from Brian Ortega’s choke

Cub Swanson describes what it felt like to be stuck in Brian Ortega’s guillotine. Cub Swanson had a lot riding on his bout with Brian Ortega this past weekend in Fresno. It was the last fight on his contract, and a win would have left him much closer to an elusive title shot. Instead, Ortega managed to finish him with a brutal guillotine choke in the second round.
When asked about the choke at the event’s post-fight press conference, Swanson didn’t mince words (via MMA Fighting):
“I felt like I was going to die.”
In the first round of the fight, Swanson implemented a strong striking game for the first four and a half minutes. Ortega managed to secure an anaconda choke though, and it looked dicey for Swanson. He described how he was able to get out of the round in that situation:
“It was getting tight and then loosening up, getting tight and then loosening up,” Swanson said. “He was making adjustments, I was fighting it. I was doing all the things I needed to do to create space. Luckily the bell rang, but I felt like I was going to get out.”
He wasn’t as lucky in the second though. After Ortega pushed him against the fence, he snatched up a guillotine and jumped onto his opponent. Swanson explained what happened from his side of things:
“It was tight right away. He had like a lock, you know? And then I was fighting him and kind of shaking him, and he only had like one hand. I grabbed his arm and his wrist and I felt OK. And then he grabbed his hand and I felt like I could still pull out, and then he readjusted. I felt his legs get a little higher on my body. And then it crushed my head, and then its like, I just flared up. I panicked.”
Ortega picked up the win at 3:22 of the second round. The slick sub earned “T-City” a $50,000 dollar performance bonus, in addition to the other $50,000 he and Swanson got for the Fight of the Night.

Source: bloody