Chechen Fight Diplomacy: Making sense of Floyd Mayweather meeting with Ramzan Kadyrov

Karim Zidan looks at the unexpected meeting between Floyd Mayweather and Chechnya’s unsavoury leader Ramzan Kadyrov.  On Thursday, March 16, Floyd Mayweather stepped off his private jet, a custom-built Gulfstream III, to a hero’s welcome in Grozny, Chechnya. A handful of Chechens dressed in multi-colored tracksuits with the Akhmat MMA logo emblazoned on their chests clapped and cheered as ‘Money’ descended from his 12-seat luxury plane. Dressed in a stripped blue suit and plain white shirt — no tie — Mayweather shook hands with the privileged few who awaited him at the airport, all of whom loyally represented the republic’s ruthless leader, Ramzan Kadyrov.
Amidst the crowd of Chechnya’s elite – fighters and close associates of Kadyrov himself – emerged Adam Delimkhanov, a politician and State Duma representative. He is also considered to be one of the most powerful men in the Chechen Republic. He directed the boxer to the vehicle that would take them to Kadyrov’s palace, which he drove personally while taking selfies and videos with Mayweather strapped in the passenger seat. Little did Mayweather know that he was being personally chauffeured by one of the country’s most notorious strongmen.
Cousin to the leader of the Chechen Republic, Delimkhanov has been accused of a host of atrocities, including having ordered the assassination of the former Chechen warlord and Russian military commander Sulim Yamadayev in Dubai. He also publicly threatened legendary Russian fighter Fedor Emelianenko.
Given the infamy attached to his name, Delimkhanov is a primary actor in Chechnya’s absurdist political theatre.

Floyd Mayweather is meeting w/ Chechen dictator Ramzan Kadyrov right now. Video shows him being driven by crony who threatened Fedor’s life pic.twitter.com/reLYFpe6B8— Karim Zidan (@ZidanSports) March 16, 2017

So how did Mayweather, an undefeated American boxer with little reason to be 11,000km away from home, end up sharing a vehicle with an accused assassination mastermind, and lunch with a dictator and his cronies? it began when the boxer ventured to the Russian Federation to attend the grand opening of a new boxing gym in Moscow, and to coach an accompanying masterclass. According to reports, Mayweather was paid over $86,500 for the day’s effort. Shortly thereafter, he headed to Chechnya at Kadyrov’s invitation.
And where Mayweather saw another paid public appearance, Kadyrov chanced upon an opportunity for boxing diplomacy.
Boxing Diplomacy
Following a rich lunch heavy in meats, cheese, leeks, and Hingalsh, a dry-fried dough with sweet pumpkin filling, Mayweather toured Kadyrov’s palace and spent a short while chatting with the leader through a translator. Kadyrov later revealed that the two discussed plans for further cooperation between the two notable figures, likely in reference to a proposed boxing partnerships between his state-sponsored Akhmat fighters and Mayweather’s network of coaches and talent in the United States.
Kadyrov’s calculated effort is an example of the leader’s keen interest in using sports to enhance his personal image and that of the city he built from the ashes of the 2nd Chechen War. Shrewdly aware of how invaluable Mayweather could be to the betterment of Chechnya’s reputation, the leader cultivated the relationship from the moment he welcomed Mayweather into his home with open arms and a list of jokes. Yet their post-lunch conversation was merely the beginning of series of stops that day designed to impress the visiting foreigner. Next up was the Akhmat facility in Grozny.

Accompanied by several members of his ‘Money Team’ entourage, Mayweather arrived at the Akhmat gym, a large-scale, state-sponsored facility that housed hundreds of prospective fighters, as well as current MMA champions of the World Fighting Championship of Akhmat (WFCA) promotion, which is also funded by Kadyrov’s coffers. Mayweather, clearly taken aback by the 8,000 square meter space and state-of-the-art equipment, commended Kadyrov on his dedication to combat sports. Whether he was unaware of Kadyrov’s oppressive attitude towards the majority of his population or simply didn’t care, remains to be seen.
The head of the Chechen Republic later revealed that Mayweather “highly appreciated the conditions created for the development of martial arts in Chechnya” and plans to “invite a team of trainers in boxing and MMA from the US.”

Дорогие друзья! В Чечню по моему приглашению прибыл чемпион мира в пяти весовых категориях, легенда бокса, не знающий горечь поражений Флойд Мейвезер. Вместе с гостем мы посетили многофункциональный спорткомплекс клуба “Ахмат” в Гудермесе. Мейвезер ознакомился с тренировочным процессом, посмотрел показательные выступления боксеров и бойцов ММА, пообщался со спортсменами. Он высоко оценил условия, созданные для развития единоборств в Чечне. Гость остался под приятным впечатлением от общения с людьми и увиденной в Грозном, Гудермесе и Аргуне картины. Флойд намерен совершить в республику повторный визит и пригласить команду тренеров по боксу и ММА из США. Надеюсь, что наше сотрудничество будет носить долгосрочный и продуктивный характер. Уверен, опыт такого великого спортсмена будет бесценен для воспитанников клуба “Ахмат”. #Кадыров #Россия #Чечня #Бокс #Мейвезер #ММА A post shared by Ramzan Kadyrov (@kadyrov_95) on Mar 16, 2017 at 1:05pm PDT

Kadyrov’s boxing diplomacy worked. He had secured an active working relationship with the greatest boxer of the generation.
“Of course, I have to plan for the future and will agree with his team and friends, but we’re going to go back and plan to bring with us a top American boxing coach and the best trainers from the UFC,” Mayweather told Russian media following his day in Chechnya. “I think it will help to ensure that Chechen fighters will be able to get a higher level of training.”
Mayweather’s visits ensured that Kadyrov-sponsored Akhmat fighters will likely have the opportunity to train at U.S. facilities associated with Mayweather and his team. It established a working relationship between the two regions and opens the door for Kadyrov and his fighters to become as relevant in boxing as they already are in MMA and the UFC.
Warlord Machismo
While Mayweather’s appearance in Chechnya was as surreal as it was unexpected, it is far from the first time that a notable athlete has visited Ramzan Kadyrov, though the 49-0 boxer may have been the most well known. Countless UFC fighters, including a handful of former champions like Fabricio Werdum, Frank Mir, Chris Weidman, and Frankie Edgar have been paid to attend his MMA events in Grozny, Chechnya. He has since hosted other UFC fighters, including Khabib, Alexander Gustafsson, Makwan Amirkhani, Ilir Latifi. Werdum also happens to be an ambassador to Kadyrov’s MMA promotion. The head of the Chechen Republic also promoted kickboxing shows headlined by Badr Hari (who was infamously pictured with a gold Ak-47 in Kadyrov’s bathtub) and even hosted actors like Steven Seagal.

In most cases, Kadyrov does this to present the image of a wealthy and powerful leader associating with masculine athletes and celebrities that his people would approve off. Well-edited vignettes featuring strategic shots of Kadyrov mingling with American and foreign fighters are later placed on his Instagram account, his preferred outlet for communication with the Chechen people, and the medium for the vast majority of his personal propaganda.
While this approach might appear far-fetched to some, it’s in keeping with the broader narrative that Kadyrov propagates amongst his people: a fabricated form of Chechen machismo. He regularly posts videos of himself wearing a Putin t-shirt and working out in the gym, or training with MMA fighters and boxers. He promotes Chechen manhood, though a version that suits his political needs. His sports socialization tactic allows Kadyrov to assimilate Chechens en masse into combat sports programs. Associating with famed fighters only serves to enhance his personal image as the embodiment of Chechen ideals and traditional masculinity, and thus, secures his de facto reign over the Chechen Republic.

Photo by Kadyrov Press Office/Getty Images

By presenting a specific image of Chechnya during Mayweather’s stay, Kadyrov was able to reap the benefits in the form of propaganda spread across local Chechen outlets. When Mayweather was asked his thoughts about the republic, his response was perfectly in line with what Kadyrov needs to enhance his state prestige.
“I was already in the capital of Russia, so I decided to come to Chechnya,” Mayweather was quoted saying on various Chechen outlets. “I knew that there are good fighters and wanted to see the conditions in which they train. Honestly, I’m amazed by the conditions created in Chechnya for boxing, and with how things are doing. Of course, the technology used in training differs slightly from the US, but in general, there are all conditions for the success of the fighters. I loved it.”
In his first major display of boxing diplomacy since inviting Mike Tyson to visit several years ago, Kadyrov seemingly managed to create a lasting relationship that would be mutually beneficial to both parties involved. Mayweather would likely be well compensated for his efforts, while return Kaydrov’s team wound enjoy their newfound association and links to the United States boxing world.
Despite Mayweather’s controversial image in the U.S. stemming from domestic abuse cases he was convicted in, he remains a significant asset to a warlord with countless human rights accusations and a morbid fascination with combat sports.
Source: bloody

Eric Del Fierro says Dominick Cruz has been in a ‘good place’ since loss

When Dominick Cruz lost his bantamweight title to Cody Garbrandt at UFC 207, it had been a little over nine years and nine months since he’d suffered his last defeat. A decade is a long time to go without losing, but Cruz handled himself afterwards like a man given to exploration. He didn’t present excuses, nor did he lean on stock fight game adages to pull him through as he faced the media. He simply accepted that he lost to Garbrandt that night, right there on the spot, and it was up to everyone else to reach his level of acceptance.

An hour after losing his belt, he was well into the process of moving on.

Now three months later, Garbrandt is coaching opposite his nemesis T.J. Dillashaw on The Ultimate Fighter in preamble to a fight between the two, and Cruz is left to pick up the pieces. His longtime coach at Alliance MMA, Eric Del Fierro, says Cruz has been much the same man he’s always been in dealing with a loss.

“It’s no different than dealing with Dominick after a win,” Del Fierro told MMA Fighting recently. “You go back and you look at what went great, and you look at what went wrong. We do that when we win, as well. This sport is evolving everyday, and we knew this was going to be a tough fight — there’s no such thing as Dominick having an easy fight, period. Win or lose, he knows what he needs to do. He knows what little mistakes to work on, and what Cody shined on. At this point, it’s just sitting back and making the right decision on when he wants to fight again.”

Though Cruz hadn’t lost a fight in that 10-year span as the WEC and UFC champion, he’d suffered plenty of setbacks throughout his career — namely with his health. He dealt with a series of hand and knee injuries and a severe groin tear that kept him out of action for a prolonged period of time. Between late 2011 and early 2016, Cruz fought just once, against Takeya Mizugaki in 2014. That fight lasted just 61 seconds.

Yet even after being stripped of his title and watching others in his division fight for it, Cruz made a triumphant return at a UFC Fight Night in Boston in 2016 against Dillashaw. After winning a five-round unanimous decision to regain the title, he was asked if — given all he’d been through — holding the belt again was the greatest moment of his life.

“No,” he deadpanned. “The greatest moment of my life was realizing that I didn’t need a belt to be happy.”

In winning back his title, Cruz held onto an ounce of melancholy. In losing it, he clung to his resolve. Del Fierro said that’s Cruz in a nutshell, a unique fighter in that he can assess the big picture as well as he can a single jab in a fight.

“I’ve been blessed in the sense that he’s been with me for so long,” he said. “I know when everything is 100 percent perfect, and I know when certain things are missing, or when things weren’t executed, due to him or due to Cody. It just didn’t work out the right way. He knows it and I know it, and you just go back and make adjustments. It’s no different if he had won the fight. We would still make the adjustments, and we’d figure out what went right and what went wrong.”

Cruz has demonstrated through his analyst work with FOX that he’s one of the brightest minds in the game. During the UFC 209 pay-per-view, he sat in with Jon Anik and Joe Rogan and effectively gave the in-cage action meaning to a casual viewer, walking through set-ups, pointing out inclinations and offering crystal clear ideas on how to counter what it was he was seeing. In short, he gave a fight a sense of telegraphy, making even the most chaotic sequences come off as not only accessible, but perfectly reasonable.

Not an easy thing to do.

Del Fierro says that Cruz sees his own fights with similar clarity. “It’s easy for me to sit back and look at the video game of it, and say, ‘do this, this, and this,’” Del Fierro said. “It’s getting the opponent to cooperate, and Dominick going in there and executing. Does Dominick have all the tools in his arsenal that he needs to win that fight [with Garbrandt]? For sure. But my job’s a lot easier than the actual athlete.”

Recently Cruz did an in-depth, two-hour interview on the Joe Rogan Experience, in which he talked about life growing up, his family, why he got into fighting, and why he was equipped to get over losing his title as quickly as he did.

If you listen to that, his coach says, you’ll see why “Dominick is in a good place.” Building a normal fighter after a loss can be a process of rebuilding a psyche. With Cruz it’s an experience.

“He’s learned a lot about himself and who he is. And honestly, fighting is a big part of his life, but it’s something he’s still having fun with. When it becomes a job, or when it becomes more than that, maybe it’ll be too much of him. But right now he loves it, and he’s looking forward to competing again. I think this is the best version of Dominick that’ll be coming back to fight again.”

Del Fierro said that right now he’s not sure who Cruz will fight next, but the inclination is to wait and see how Garbrandt-Dillashaw plays out. If it’s Garbrandt, it’s a chance to right the ship (like he did with Urijah Faber). If it’s Dillashaw, it’s a chance to do better than he did the first time out in Boston.

In either case, Del Fierro said Cruz took what he needed from both fights, and — if anything — losing for the first time in 10 years contains some novelty.

“Don’t get me wrong, Dominick is human like everybody else,” he said. “There’s no happiness in losing. We’re happy to be alive, happy to be competing, happy to have these gifts, but we’re all competitors here, and he is too. He’s not 100 percent happy with losing, let’s just say that.”

Source: mmafighting

2017 NCAA Championships: Day one packed with action and upsets

Penn State leads the way after the first two sessions of matches Day one of the 2017 NCAA wrestling championships is over and the mats in St. Louis were packed with action from start to finish. There were a number of interesting upsets that rocked the brackets, while setting the stage for some compelling bouts in day two of the tournament.
Jake Residori defeating All-American Kyle Crutchmer was not only was a big win for Residori, it’s also a victory that will impact the team rankings as well. Clayton Ream was the highest-ranked fighter to drop a match in day one when he fell to Paul Fox of Stanford, 8 to 4. Fox is a redshirt freshman who had to win a wildcard match to even get into the tournament. Keep an eye out on this prospect as he continues to push through the tournament.
Many of the favorites did their job to advance in the tournament on day one. Olympic medalist J’den Cox moved onto the next round when he pinned Jeric Kasunic and defeated Steban Cervantes by major decision. Kyle Snyder defeated both Jake Gunning and Garrett Ryan by technical fall to keep the momentum going towards another NCAA title.
The team race to the title continues to heat up as well. Penn State was leading the way early but there’s still a lot of room available for another team to move up to find themselves in the hunt for a team title. The Nittany Lions are the favorites to walk out of the event with a team title, and rolling through the first two rounds helped that argument, as a strong performance in day two would help cement a team title.
Session Three kicks off on Friday at 10 a.m., followed by Session Four at 7 p.m. This year the NCAA Championships is a featured option on the main ESPN platform instead of being pushed back to other mediums within the network. FloWrestling is also an option for live coverage through their paid membership options.
Source: bloody

Michael Page’s father in trial for 22 sex charges, including rape and abuse of minors

Curtis Page, father of Bellator star Michael Page, is currently in trial, accused of 22 sex charges. Curtis Page, a world champion kickboxer and father to Bellator star Michael Page, is currently on trial after being accused of multiple counts of rape and abuse. The 60-year-old has been officially charged with 6 rapes, 14 indecent assaults, and 2 counts of sex with a child under the age of 13.
Page, who held positions at the Great Britain Martial Arts Association and the British Kickboxing Council, has since been barred from teaching following his arrest. Curtis is a three-time kickboxing world champion, who trained and gave his son, Michael his 5th dan black belt.
According to a report from Daily Mail, three women came forward a few years back, accusing him of multiple abuses between 1985 and 1995.
“To those people who he didn’t sexually abuse he can do no wrong. The prosecution simply say he has a dual personality,” prosecutor James Thacker said in court. “Mr. Page had a liking for young girls and groomed them.”
He states that the three underage girls looked up to the martial arts instructor as a “father figure” and “person of authority”.
Page allegedly groped one victim when she was 11-years-old, took her virginity when she was 12, and had a sexual relationship for years after.
According to the prosecutor, Page raped another minor after she revealed to him that she had been abused by another older man. Rapes also allegedly occurred after martial arts classes. When she was older, they allege that Page “raped her with a blade held to her throat and threatened to throw her out of the window of her 18th floor flat”.
A third woman alleges that Page indecently assaulted her two times as a minor, before starting a sexual relationship when she turned 16.
For his part, Page denies all accusations, insisting that he only had sex with the three girls after they turned 16. According to the report, Page says that the three women just ‘got their heads together’ to get him into ‘an awful lot of trouble’.
The trial is on going, with more information and testimonials expected to be made public soon.

Source: bloody

UFC’s Makwan Amirkhani claims he stopped robbers who appeared to be stabbing his brother

Makwan Amirkhani is the UFC’s own international man of mystery.

The Finnish featherweight claims he stopped a pair of robbery suspects earlier this month, knocking out one of them after it appeared Amirkhani’s brother was being stabbed. Two years ago, Amirkhani captured video of himself allegedly stopping a robbery at a coffee shop in Sweden.

On Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, Amirkhani, 28, said he was cooking with family members in early March when his brother’s wife got a call. There was apparently a robbery attempt at a friend’s home and a child was inside hiding in the closet with a knife. When Amirkhani and family members arrived, he said the would-be robbers saw them and attempted to flee.

Amirkhani said his brother got into a scuffle with both men and one appeared to be wielding a knife, so the UFC prospect bolted into action.

“It looked like a knife and I thought they were stabbing my brother,” Amirkhani said. “I was like, ‘I don’t care. They can stab me, too. But I’m gonna help my brother.’”

(function(d, s, id) {
var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];
if (d.getElementById(id)) return;
js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id;
js.src = “//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.3”;
fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);
}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’));

Lauantai extra!

Makwan Amirkhanin ja hänen perheensä rauhallinen lauantai-illan vietto sai dramaattisen käänteen kun…

Posted by Makwan Amirkhani on Saturday, March 4, 2017

It didn’t end up being a knife. From the photo Amirkhani posted to Facebook, the man was holding a screwdriver. Amirkhani said it didn’t take much to end the battle — just one punch and the alleged thief was out.

“I was like, he’s gonna die now,” Amirkhani said. “All I needed was one punch and this f*cking guy was lying on the snow. Then it was all over the news.”

Amirkhani said he worried at first that he might be charged by Finnish police due to excessive force, but has not heard anything about the incident since then. Still, he did not regret doing what he did, he said. Amirkhani said his cousin joked it was a “good warm-up for London.”

There is a police report associated with this case and the incident is currently under investigation, Finnish police spokesperson Teemu Äikäs told MMA Fighting via e-mail.

Amirkhani takes on fellow blue-chipper Arnold Allen at UFC Fight Night: Manuwa vs. Anderson on Saturday in the English capital. It’ll be the Iraq-born fighter’s first bout in more than a year, since a unanimous decision over Mike Wilkinson in February 2016.

Allen will probably pose more of a threat than the attempted burglar. This time, though, he’ll be fully expecting to get into a fight.

“This is not normal in Finland,” Amirkhani said of the incident. “It’s really safe here and really unusual that sh*t like this happens. But I think it was a bad day in the office for those two guys.”

Source: mmafighting

UFC Fight Night 107 weigh-in video

At the UFC UFC Fight Night 107 weigh-ins, all 26 fighters taking part in Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 107 fights will step on the scale Friday, and we’ll have the live video here at MMA Fighting.

In the main event, Jimi Manuwa and Corey Anderson will have to make the light heavyweight limit of 205 pounds.

The UFC Fight Night 107 official weigh-in is at 1 p.m. ET, and the video is above.

Check out the UFC Fight Night 107 weigh-in results below.

Main card (UFC Fight Pass at 5 p.m. ET)

Jimi Manuwa vs. Corey Anderson

Gunnar Nelson vs. Alan Jouban

Brad Pickett vs. Marlon Vera

Arnold Allen vs. Makwan Amirkhani

Undercard (UFC Fight Pass at 1:30 p.m. ET)

Joseph Duffy vs. Reza Madadi

Darren Stewart vs. Francimar Barroso

Daniel Omielanczuk vs. Timothy Johnson

Marc Diakiese vs. Teemu Packalen

Tom Breese vs. Oluwale Bamgbose

Leon Edwards vs. Vicente Luque

Ian Entwistle vs. Brett Johns

Bradley Scott vs. Scott Askham

Lina Lansberg vs. Lucie Pudilova

Source: mmafighting

Thompson on third Woodley fight: I know I can beat him, and the fans do too

Stephen Thompson is confident that he has MMA fans agreeing that he can win a third fight against Tyron Woodley. After a draw at UFC 205 last November, Tyron Woodley was finally able to edge Stephen Thompson at UFC 209 early this month. The current champion defended his belt by winning a majority decision verdict in a contest that was highly criticized.
From his end, Thompson is not closing his doors on the possibility of a third fight. And if it does materialize, he is confident he will end up victorious, and believes that fans share the same sentiment.
“I feel I can go out there and I know I can beat him,” Thompson told Submission Radio. “I mean just in the last two fights, I know if I put forth just a little bit more effort and actually go out there and just do what I know I can do, just fight, you know, I know I can beat him. I know I can do it. And the fans do too.”
“Of course, you’re out there being cautious, but sometimes you gotta grit your teeth, bite down on that mouthpiece and go. And I didn’t do that in the last fight. And that’s something that I know if I go out there and do, then I’ll ended up winning. But the fight happened twice and I’ll fight who I gotta fight next and we’ll do it again.”
UFC 209’s main event fight got major flak for having almost no action until the fifth round, where Woodley dropped Thompson with a right hand and almost ended up winning by stoppage. Thompson revealed that he actually injured his knee during that round, and has yet to fully recover from it.
“Well in the fifth round he actually blitzed me in the fifth round and I ended up falling down. And as I was getting back up against the cage, he ends up smoking me with a right hand, back of the head. I ended up dropping right then,” Thompson explained. “And the way I dropped, I fell back over my right knee kind of at an awkward angle. And I don’t know if you go back and watch it, but it ended up falling over the back of my right knee and we believe we have an MCL tear – not an ACL tear, but an MCL tear. And hopefully that’s all it is.”
“I’m pretty sure the ACL’s intact, just making sure there’s no meniscus tears or anything like that. But it’s sore, still a little swollen, but you know, I’m itching to just get back out there and train and this is what I do, man. I do this everyday and this is kind of hard for me just to kind of sit back and watch everybody else train. We’ve got guys from my gym that have fights coming up, so I’d like to be there for them as well.”
Source: bloody

Morning Report: Chael Sonnen says giving Conor McGregor a chance against Floyd Mayweather is an ‘incredible disrespect to boxing’

This week, UFC president Dana White informed the huddled masses that he believes a boxing match between Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather Jr. will actually happen. It was a change of pace from White’s previous and continuous insistence that Mayweather wasn’t actively trying to make the fight happen because he laughed at White’s offer of $25 million dollars (Mayweather made $700 million in career earnings).

So now, as the greatest cross-promotional spectacle in combat sports appears to be drawing closer to reality, every pundit, fighter, and fan is taking the opportunity to weigh in on the great philosophical question of our time: can a man who has never boxed professionally beat the greatest boxer of his generation?

Three-time UFC title challenger and ESPN MMA analyst Chael Sonnen had some thoughts on the matter, and he shared them recently on his podcast, You’re Welcome.

“I think the fact that anybody is weighing in that there’s a contest there is such an incredible disrespect to boxing. If that fight goes more than 30 seconds, it shames boxing. If it goes out of the first round, it humiliates boxing.

“If I was to tell you in any other sport, ‘Hey, we’ve got a great athlete from one field, that’s never done a sport before, and he’s gonna come on and take on the best current living guy in that sport,’ it’d be laughed at. If I told you, I’ve got a guy who’s never played basketball, sure he’s shot the ball around and been on a court and had the ball in his hand, but he’s never played a competitive game of basketball before, and we’re gonna put him up against LeBron James, it would be laughed at. ‘We’ve got a gal that’s never played tennis before, she’s fooled around with a ball in the gym, she’s gonna take on Serena Williams,’ it would be laughed at.

“The fact that there’s even an interest there – and I’m one of the people that shares the interest – but the fact that there’s even an interest there is so disrespectful to the entire sport of boxing. When that fight’s done, Conor is gonna go more than 30 seconds. He’s likely to go more than one round – he shouldn’t, but he is likely to go more than one round – and it’s going to humiliate boxing.”

Sonnen went on to clarify that he does believe the fight will happen and that he is interested in the promotional aspects of the fight. Then, last night, Tweeted that the bout is set.

If true, announcing Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather on St. Patrick’s Day would be an excellent example of the promotional excitement that Sonnen is interested in.


MUST-READ STORIES

Top-10. Lorenz Larkin has left the UFC and signed with Bellator MMA.

Global. The UFC announced upcoming events in Scotland, Poland, and the Netherlands.

No way, Jose. Jose Aldo responded to Max Holloway’s claims he would “take over” Rio.

Double the fun. Ronaldo Souza is hoping for a double knockout in Michael Bisping vs. Georges St-Pierre.

Respect. Alex Oliveira thinks his submission of Tim Means will silence the doubters.


MEDIA STEW

Dana on MayGregor.

Dana on fighting with Tito.

Gunni’s answer to the first question is gold.

The talking heads on Dana’s latest.

GGG hath spoken.

Fan promo of Silva-Gastelum.

Lobov interview.


LISTEN UP

Extra rounds.

MMA Mad.


TWEETS

The world according to Chael.

WME-IMg letting a lot of exciting, top-10 talent go.

You mean to tell me Dana is incorrect about something?

Didn’t think I could think less of Floyd as a person.

Conor-Floyd shade?

Twitter beef.

Emoji use.

Google.

Friends.

Neat.


FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Aljamain Sterling (12-2) vs. Augusto Mendes (6-1); UFC on Fox 24, April 15.

Ali Bagautinov (15-6) vs. Tyson Nam (14-8-1); Fight Nights Global, April 29.


TODAY IN MMA HISTORY

2006: Urijah Faber won the WEC featherweight championship by stopping Cole Escovedo at WEC 19.


FINAL THOUGHTS

I highly, highly doubt Chael has some inside scoop here. But just in case, keep it locked to MMAFighting to find out. Other than that, Happy St. Patrick’s Day y’all and enjoy the weekend.


If you find something you’d like to see in the Morning Report, just hit me up on Twitter @JedKMeshew and let me know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram and add us on Snapchat at MMA-Fighting because we post dope things and you should enjoy them.

Source: mmafighting

Following UFC’s ‘dishonest’ business practices, Michael McDonald granted release

Michael McDonald is no longer a UFC fighter. One-time interim title challenger Michael McDonald is no longer a UFC fighter.
After believing that the UFC took part in unacceptable business practices, McDonald requested his release from the UFC last month, he told ESPN.com. It was officially granted to him Thursday.
“The UFC was dishonest in the way they tried to do business with me and it’s resulted in a complete waste of my time,” McDonald said. “I want to feel like my employer isn’t out trying to cut my head off.”
McDonald didn’t specifically state whether talks have started with other organizations, but it does appear that he will indeed continue fighting.
“I’m looking to enter a mutually respectful business contract with another fight organization,” he said.
Earlier this year, McDonald put his UFC career on hold due to financial reasons. He said he was unable to afford a training camp for a fight and had to work a second job. He also claimed that he had tried to get a fight often, but nothing materialized from brief discussions with the organization.
McDonald, who’s currently ranked No. 9 in the 135-pound division’s official standings, returned to the UFC after a two-year-plus layoff at UFC 196 in January 2016 and defeated Masanori Kanehara via submission. Last summer, he headlined UFC Fight Night 91 opposite John Lineker, who finished him in the first round.
Despite plenty of experience, McDonald (17-4) is still only 26 years old and was once considered one of the top bantamweight prospects in the sport.
Source: bloody