Misha Cirkunov talks about his upcoming UFC fight, his contract negotiations and more.
Welcome to If I Did It, the show where we solve PR kerfluffles from the world of MMA and beyond. This week we look at Floyd Mayweather’s announcement that he’s coming out of retirement to face Conor McGregor and much much more! Alexei Auld is back with a brand new book available 7 Secret Sources of Inspiration: A Snappy Guide for Creative Procrastinators to grill Eugene S. Robinson (who’s pushing a GoFundMe to pay for the new Oxbow album) and myself with some PR stumpers from the world of combat sports.
For the audio only version check us out on SoundCloud and be sure to subscribe to MMA NATION on iTunes and subscribe to MMA Nation on YouTube so you’ll never miss an episode. This week’s kerfuffles include:
You’re Conor McGregor. On his European press tour last Saturday, Floyd Mayweather Jr. came out of retirement just to fight you. “We don’t need to waste no time. We need to make this s**t happen quickly. Let’s get it on in June.” Is it time for bidness now to be taken care of, live and in public, if you will or would it be shameful for you to get funky like a monkey one month after your baby mama bears the fruit of your loins?
You’re Snoop Dogg. Little Marco Rubio took you to task on TMZ for your shooting a clown-faced Donald Trump lookalike with a toy gun that shot the word “bang” in your “Lavender” video: “Snoop shouldn’t have done that. You know, we’ve had presidents assassinated before in this country, so anything like that is really something that you should be very careful about… I’m not sure what Snoop was thinking.” Snoopsplain to us as we crawl through your hood. Maniac. Lunatic. Or Snoop Eastwood?.
You’re House Speaker Paul Ryan. Brietbart, a site once run by assistant to the President and White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, has your job in their crosshairs by releasing audio of your pre-election disavowal of Trump. The article concludes, “(T)here are now rumblings among House Republicans that they may want a replacement not just of Obamacare but a replacement of Paul Ryan as Speaker. A new Speaker, some argue, would make life much easier for President Trump as he moves forward with his agenda.” How can you make your life much easier?
You’re the Food Network. An anti-Asian segment from Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond from your network is being used to question your lack of diverse programming…five years after it aired. How do you handle negative PR from your past that’s affecting your present?
You’re VMagic. You’ve branded your product, the “Feminine Lips Stick” as a product which keeps the vulva “balanced, moisturized and purified.” But the Huffington Post reports that your “Vagina lipstick” is unnecessary and harmful to women. How can you salvage this product from punani purgatory?
TEACHABLE MOMENT. You’re Texas State Representative Jessica Farrar. You were frustrated by “obstacles that interfere with (a woman’s) ability to legally access safe healthcare, and subject them to fake science and medically unnecessary procedures”. So you took action in the Texas House by proposing HB 4260, a “satirical bill” that would impose penalties for “masturbatory emissions” occurring outside of a woman’s vagina or a hospital. What can we learn from your headline grabbing PR provocations?
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“We’ll be back next week with another installment of If I Did It and we don’t know what we’ll be talking about yet because the PR mistakes have yet to be made.”
UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson brought a unique viewpoint to how draws work in the promotion while discussing comments made by his friend Tyron Woodley. Back in January, UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley went on the offensive about what he perceived as substandard treatment by the UFC despite his championship pedigree. He cited a few factors, but believed that race played a part in it as well. To prove his point, he referenced UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson as another guy who may fit into the category.
Whether Mighty Mouse wanted to be included in the conversation or not, he is now. So in an interview on The MMA Hour, he cleared the air about his own thoughts on things. Basically, he doesn’t feel that being black has had an effect on his drawing power, calling it a “crazy statement”, but he can understand why Woodley might feel that way (via MMA Fighting):
“I don’t want to say it’s an issue. Because obviously I’ve been promoted very well as the flyweight champion. But can I say that people might feel there is? Yeah, probably people feel it. But I don’t think Dana White has ever been like, ‘I’m not gonna look at that [expletive], he’s black. Get somebody else in front of me.’ I don’t think Dana White is doing that. But I’m saying if people feel that way, it’s possible that some people feel that way. That’s just how it is.”
He did add that it’s something he has considered before though:
“If I were to say that’s never came into my mind, I’d be lying to the world.”
He then went in another direction in terms of describing how people draw in the promotion, stating (in a jovial manner) that the viral sensation, 13-year-old ‘Cash Me Outside’ girl Danielle Bregoli, would be a money draw in the UFC:
“I guarantee you if you get her some gloves and put her in the Octagon, she would be the highest selling pay-per-view fighter in the world,” Johnson said. “She’d probably do way more numbers than Ronda. Just because she brings drama and negativity to wherever she goes.”
Going back to the point though, he offers some insight into what his friend Woodley was trying to say:
“As an athlete, you have to sit back and think like, ‘Why won’t they push my work? I’m an analyst, I’m a husband, I’m a father, I don’t do drugs. I never disrespected anybody on a big level. So why won’t they promote me, but they’ll promote this guy? … Do you think it’s because I’m black or is it because he’s white?’
“That’s where he’s coming from. I totally understand it, because as an athlete and as an African-American, you have to sit back and think about that.”
Johnson will look to defend his 125-pound title for the 10th time when he meets Wilson Reis in the UFC on Fox 24 headliner in Kansas City on April 15th.
Minakov (19-0) recently scored his fifth straight stoppage victory since leaving Bellator in 2014, stopping DJ Linderman in the third round. The former Bellator heavyweight champion survived an early scare to add the 10th knockout win to his resume.
Silva (19-11, 1 NC) competed for the last time in November, his first bout since leaving the UFC, and lost a close decision to Ivan Shtyrkov after a back and forth battle in Russia. “Bigfoot” desperately needs a victory after winning only three of his last 13 fights.
Check out Bloody Elbow’s pre-fight coverage for the Saturday, March 18th UFC Fight Night 107 event in London, United Kingdom, headlined by light heavyweights Jimi Manuwa and Corey Anderson. The final UFC event of March will take place at The O2 Arena in London, England on the 18th. Saturday’s headliner is a light heavyweight bout between London’s own Jimi Manuwa and TUF 19 winner Corey Anderson. The co-main event will see welterweight submission specialist Gunnar Nelson take on the always exciting Alan Jouban. Brad Pickett’s retirement fight will be against short-notice replacement Marlon Vera, while the main card will open with featherweight prospects Arnold Allen and Makwan Amirkhani.
UFC London streams exclusively on Fight Pass. Here’s the full fight card:
Main Card (5 PM ET/2 PM PT)
Jimi Manuwa vs. Corey AndersonAlan Jouban vs. Gunnar NelsonBrad Pickett vs. Marlon VeraArnold Allen vs. Makwan Amirkhani
Preliminary Card (1:30 PM ET/10:30 AM PT)
Joseph Duffy vs. Reza MadadiFrancimar Barroso vs. Darren StewartTimothy Johnson vs. Daniel OmielanczukMarc Diakiese vs. Teemu PackalenOluwale Bamgbose vs. Tom BreeseLeon Edwards vs. Vicente LuqueIan Entwistle vs. Brett JohnsScott Askham vs. Brad ScottLina Akhtar Lansberg vs. Lucie Pudilova
This Saturday night, boxing’s arguable pound for pound king is in action, but there are valid questions he needs to answer if he wants to keep that crown. This Saturday night, Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez returns to action on HBO PPV. Considered by most boxing analysts to be the pound for pound king in our post-Mayweather era, Chocolatito is here to take on Thailand’s Srisaket Sor Rungvisai. It’s a pretty easy fight for Gonzalez, but also an important one to begin answering some questions.
Here are the key questions to consider for Chocolatito Saturday night:
How will he bounce back? For the first time in a long time, he fights without long-time trainer Arnulfo Obando in his corner, who passed away in October. Gonzalez is instead now working with new trainer Wilmer Hernandez. Gonzalez says that you won’t see a change – that Hernandez is continuing the work laid out by Obando and Alexis Arguello before him. We shall see.
Where’s the power? Gonzalez had a 10 fight KO streak broken by McWilliams Arroyo last April and followed that up with a decision win over Carlos Cuadras. The Cuadras fight (and this Saturday’s) came at 115 pounds – that’s 3 divisions up from where he started. Have we just reached a point where Chocolatito can’t bring the power up in weight with him anymore?
What next? If he wins (and, again, he’s expected to) the obvious fight is a rematch with Cuadras, who is also on this card and also expected to win. Their fight was a dark horse fight of the year contender last year, so there’s no complaints about seeing it again. The other name that always gets tossed around with Gonzalez’s is Japan’s Naoya Inoue, another undefeated world champion at 115 pounds. Many feel Gonzalez made the step up partly to take on Inoue – that’s a fight that has to happen.
Can he go higher? This won’t get answered Saturday, but should he beat Sor Rungvisai, then Cuadras, then Inoue, he will essentially have cleaned out the division’s true elite. Could yet another step up be in the works at that point? It’s tough to keep going, but this is a special fighter we are talking about.
Is he still #1? This is the big one – the one that wraps up many of these questions. Now at 115 pounds, without his KO power, bouncing back from tragedy, is this still the best boxer in the world? Again, we may not get a clear-cut answer Saturday night. But we’ll be on our way.
Join us here at Bloody Elbow Saturday night for live fight night coverage of the Golovkin vs. Jacobs PPV featuring Roman Gonzalez. We’ll have coverage all week, and live discussion, play by play, and results Saturday.
Albert Tumenov has a date and opponent for his first bout since leaving the UFC.
The Russian welterweight, who signed with Absolute Championship Berkut (ACB) after racking up a 5-3 UFC record, will return to action on May 20 against Brazilian veteran Marcelo Alfaya in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Alfaya announced the booking on his Facebook page, and revealed the date and the location to MMA Fighting on Tuesday.
Tumenov (17-4) left the UFC on a two-fight losing skid, finished by Gunnar Nelson and Leon Edwards, but had a five-fight winning streak leading up to those bouts, including victories over the likes of Lorenz Larkin and Alan Jouban.
Alfaya (18-7, 1 NC), who will celebrate the 15th anniversary of his MMA debut later this month, went 2-0 competing in Russia in 2016. The TUF 21 alum has fought the likes of Jon Fitch and Jake Ellenberger under the WSOF and Bellator banners.
Former heavyweight champion, Fabricio Werdum, started a business in Sao Paulo. Former heavyweight champion, Fabricio Werdum, knows that at 39 years old, he doesn’t have much time left in the sport. Which is why, as Combate reported, he’s already considering future endeavors outside of MMA. The first one of them is a comedy bar he just opened in Sao Paulo.
“I have other investments, because I’m already 39 and even though I want to keep fighting for a long time, I’m thinking about the future, as a long term investment. And it’s not only about that, but I also want to do something I like. I have always been like this. I like doing this and I’m lucky I’m able to make a living out of it. Not many people are lucky to work with something they like.”
“That’s why this new chapter of my life is something I wanted bad. I always liked comedy. People who know me know I’m always joking around. I’m no comedian, but I know them all. I have a good relationship with Brazilian comics such as Tom Cavalcanti, Leandro Hassum and Luiz Franca, who is my partner in this. I’m very grateful to be able to do two things I really enjoy.”
Fabricio Werdum has been away from the Octagon since a unanimous decision win over Travis Browne in September 2016. He was expected to face Ben Rothwell at UFC 211, but Rothwell’s USADA issues are likely to prevent that from happening.
FORTALEZA, Brazil — Sergio Moraes remains unbeaten as a welterweight inside the Octagon, but is still hoping to face someone ranked in his division.
The jiu-jitsu ace, who had his opponent changed in four of his last five bouts in the UFC, defeated short-notice replacement Davi Ramos via decision at the UFC Fight Night 106 card in Fortaleza, Brazil.
Unhappy with the boos at the end of the fight, Moraes says it was hard to adapt his training when Ramos replaced Max Griffin.
“I was training for someone with a completely different body type and completely different fighting style, and he gets hurt and all of a sudden someone with a ground game as good as mine steps in,” Moraes said after the win. “It’s complicated. I followed my strategy my corner told me and won, but it wasn’t a show. Fighting a newcomer is tough because he’s watching you fight but you’re not watching him.”
Moraes is 6-0-1 as a 170-pounder inside the Octagon, including a first-round submission win over Neil Magny, and feels he deserves to be booked against someone at the top.
“I’m a UFC fighter and will fight whoever they tell, but I’m undefeated in this division, my only loss in the UFC was to (Cezar Ferreira) ’Mutante’ at the TUF Brazil middleweight final, when I was just a jiu-jitsu fighter,” he said. “I deserve it. I’ve fought a guy that it’s in the top 10 and submitted him. I deserve a top 10. A complete training camp, and someone that doesn’t get hurt a week away from the fight [laughs].”
Moraes won’t call out anyone specifically, and he explains why.
“I want to fight a top 10. It’s easy for (the UFC) now,” Moraes said. “If I ask for an specific name, that’s harder. I’m saying any top 10. Pick a name and I’ll accept it.”
“If I could choose I’d fight the champion,” he continued. “I’m in this division to fight the champion, not the No. 2 or the No. 3. But I know I’m far from that yet. I have to get past a top 10 and a top 5, and I’ll do that. I’m undefeated in this division. I’m asking for a fight against a top 10. Give me one.”