UFC 81 News & Notes
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
and Frank Mir were both heavyweight winners
at UFC 81. However, that was certainly not all
of the big the news from the weekend’s
show. Many of the participants had a lot of
interesting things to say about what is going
on in the world of mixed martial arts.
With the submission victory
over Tim Sylvia, Nogueira won the UFC interim
heavyweight championship. The reason for the
interim tag is due to the true champion, Randy
Couture, walking out on the UFC.
UFC President Dana White
clearly stated that he wants Nogueira to have
the same opportunity Couture did.
“I expect Captain America
(Couture) to step up to the plate and give Nogueira
the chance to win the title,” White said,
“Couture was knocked out twice by (Chuck)
Liddell. Then, he called me and asked for the
heavyweight title shot. I gave it to him. Now,
it’s his turn to return the favor.”
Nogueira also thinks the
fight should take place.
“Today I got the belt.
I deserve a chance to fight Couture,”
Liddell vs. Shogun
Coming off an exciting slugfest
victory over Wanderlei Silva in December, Chuck
Liddell will get an opportunity against another
former Pride and Brazilian Chute Box star.
Liddell’s next fight
will be against Mauricio “Shogun”
“Liddell vs Shogun
is confirmed,” said White.
The date and location of
the fight has not been completely determined
yet, but White said that he believes the fight
will be in June at the O2 Arena in London.
Frank Mir was very candid
when talking about the past few years of his
career – not all of which were successful.
“I am such a question
mark,” Mir said, “I was losing before
because I was injured and not performing well.
Psychologically, I was screwed up from the injuries,
but now that I’m back to 100% and winning
convincingly – no one really knows what
Mir’s opponent at UFC
81, Brock Lesnar, openly stated that Mir was
the guy he wanted to fight. Surprisingly, Mir
agreed that Lesnar made a good choice.
“I had the most to
offer him with the least amount of danger of
all the guys that had a heavyweight title,”
said Mir, “Between Tim Sylvia, Andrei
Arlovski and Randy Couture, I posed the least
threat of a former champion.”
Hermes Franca comments
on Sean Sherk
At UFC 73, Sean Sherk won
a unanimous decision over Hermes Franca. However,
the most intriguing result of the fight was
not Sherk’s victory over Franca–
it was the result the steroid test taken that
weekend. Both Sherk and Franca tested positive
During their appeals to California
State Athletic Commission, Sherk and Franca
took different paths. Sherk vehemently protested
his innocence while Franca admitted to using
“My opinion is this
is weird,” said Franca, “The fighting
commission, for no reason, dropped his suspension
to six months.”
Franca believes the ruling
could set a dangerous precedent.
“A lot of guys are
going to lie in the future. I hope everyone
is going to fight clean, but now, it looks like
they will lie and get their suspension reduced,”
Franca also stated that he
does not know if Sherk used steroids.
“I am not sure if Sherk
is guilty or not,” said Franca, “but
he has to prove (his innocence) and he has not
White talks about
Internet sensation Kimbo
Slice currently competes in rival organization
EliteXC. Slice was made famous through street
fights televised on Youtube.com.
White does not think that
Slice is ready for the UFC.
“Sean Gannon beat him
in a street fight. Everyone saw happened to
Sean Gannon when he fought a guy that no one
ever heard of (a decisive TKO loss to Branden
Lee Hinkle in the UFC),” said White, “Gannon
was in the hospital for three weeks.”
would happen to Kimbo Slice if he fought in
the UFC. He would get hurt bad – real
bad,” White said.
Heavyweight Brandon Vera
is finally scheduled to get back into the octagon.
He will be returning in just a few months.
“I will be fighting
in June, but I do not know exactly who I will
be fighting,” Vera said, “There
are a couple of names being thrown around, but
nothing is official.”
Vera did go on to say that
there is one guy he hopes to have opportunity
to square off against.
“I would love to fight
Andrei Arlovski. He is someone I really look
up to,” said Vera.
UFC to negotiate
The long awaited debut for
the Ultimate Fighting Championship on a major
network may not be very far off. Ongoing conversations
are heating up. UFC President Dana White expects
major progress in the next few days.
“I am going out of
town tomorrow for a week. Hopefully, I’ll
come back with good news,” White said.
for Cro Cop?
Mirko Cro Cop has been out
of action since his decision loss to Cheick
Congo at UFC 75 in September 2007. The UFC is
ready for Cro Cop to make a decision on whether
or not he will be returning.
to hear from him,” said White, “We
told him we’d wait for him to make a decision,
but he’s not making a decision.”
The UFC does not want to
hold off any longer.
“The deadline is pretty
much up, and I need decision from him by Monday
(February 4),” White said.
Lindland not headed
to the UFC
Top middleweight Matt Lindland
had been rumored to be coming back to the UFC.
Lindland dispelled any chances of that occurring.
“Dana has made it clear
they are not going to make me an offer to return
to the UFC,” Lindland said.
While Lindland respects the
fighters in the UFC, he feels he matches up
very well against most of them.
“I feel there are a
lot of good fighters in the UFC, and I feel
like I could beat most of them,” Lindland
Is Frank Mir back?
One of the underlying stories
coming into UFC 81 was whether or not Frank
Mir is fully recovered from a broken leg. He
suffered the injury in a motorcycle accident
a few years ago.
If the submission victory
over Lesnar did not quiet all the questions
about his health, Mir has another way to show
he is fully well again.
“My leg is healed,”
said Mir, “I’m tired of all the
questions. I wish I could walk around wearing
a t-shirt that says, ‘I’m ok’.”
UFC 81 awards
Following the show, the UFC handed out awards
for the best fight, the best knockout and the
best submission. With the award comes a $60,000
Best fight: Antonio Rodrigo
Nogueira vs. Tim Sylvia. Nogueira came back
from being down on the scorecards to win the
UFC interim heavyweight championship. Sylvia
battered Nogueira for the first two and a half
rounds before Nogueira quickly reversed one
mistake by Sylvia into a guillotine submission.
Best knockout: Chris Lytle.
Lytle scored a very impressive knockout victory
over UFC newcomer Kyle Bradley. With the award,
Lytle records his second straight UFC bonus.
He took home an extra 55k for the fight of the
night with Thiago Alves at UFC 78. Lytle lost
that fight between the second and third rounds
due to referee stoppage for a cut over his left
Best submission: Frank Mir. Mir spoiled the
UFC debut of former professional wrestler Lesnar
by locking in a kneebar for the submission win.
Lesnar looked great early in the fight before
Mir went for an armbar. Lesnar pulled out of
the armbar by standing up. When Lesnar stood
up, Mir grabbed Lesnar’s leg and rolled
into the finishing leglock.