MMA Observer
    1. MMA Rewind: Ronda Rousey 

      Phil Murphy at ESPN watches early Ronda Rousey fights with the champion herself, as she commentates on her memories and experiences from each fight. Good watch.

    2. Daniel Cormier: I Fought Cain Velasquez Five Rounds This Week 

      David St. Martin at MMA Fighting relays Cormier’s comments on AKA training methods, made on a recent episode of Chael Sonnen’s podcast.

      Cormier on training with Cain Velasquez:

      We have changed our training a little bit. Like, over the course of the week we’ll go lighter. Cain and I tomorrow, we’ll spar five rounds. We’ll spar five rounds, light. Yesterday, Cain and I fought. We didn’t spar yesterday, we fought. We fought for five rounds and today I’m feeling it. [Cain] says he’s feeling it, but it’s why we will be prepared whenever the Octagon door closes.

      This is why UFC’s plans to build a rehab facility is such a brilliant move. There will never be a way for UFC to convince fighters to “go light in the gym,” when those fighters are convinced that achieving their hopes and dreams rely on not doing that.

    3. UFC Reebok Sponsorship Deal Pay 

      Kevin Iole writing for Yahoo Sports on the Rebook sponsorship deal:

      The pay per fight, which begins at UFC 189 on July 11 in Las Vegas, is as follows:

      • Champions: $40,000.
      • Title challengers: $30,000.
      • 21 or more fights with UFC: $20,000.
      • 16-20 fights: $15,000.
      • 11-15 fights: $10,000.
      • 6-10 fights: $5,000.
      • 1-5 fights: $2,500.

      My impression is that these figures make Reebok as a company seem cheap. Even the champions’ sponsorship pay strikes me as distinctly underwhelming.

      Maybe Reebok should have thrown more money into their UFC sponsorship deal, over a shorter timeframe, to avoid making this impression with MMA fans.

    1. UFC Restructures Hall of Fame 

      Kevin Iole writing for Yahoo Sports details changes to the UFC Hall of Fame.

      In short, it will now be split into four new categories or “wings.”

      1. Modern era wing: fighters who debuted after the introduction of the unified rules.
      2. Pioneer era wing: fighters who debuted before the introduction of the unified rules.
      3. Contributors wing: persons or groups who contributed to the sport outside of the cage.
      4. Fight wing: a category to induct legendary fights rather than fighters.

      Love these changes, and the attention being paid to improving the Hall of Fame.

      The fight wing in particular sounds like a great idea, though I hope Pride FC fights are eligible – there’s quite a few from that promotion that belong.

    2. Manager Says Jon Jones May Not Return to Fighting 

      Malki Kawa, manager of Jon Jones, speaks with Ariel Herwani on The MMA Hour.

      Kawa:

      It could very well be the last time we’ve seen Jon Jones in the Octagon. I think Jon Jones is gonna focus on Jon Jones. I think he’s gonna take the time to do whatever he’s gotta do. And if it’s the last time we’ve seen him fight, it’s the last time we’ve seen him fight.

      This strikes me as a definite possibility.

      One significant factor at play – amongst many others – will be how Jones settles his mind on the fact UFC stripped him of his title. For his part, Kawa makes it clear he thinks Jones should not have been stripped. Jones may have a different perspective on things.

    3. Metamoris 6 to Be Held in Secret Location, Closed to Public, Available to Watch Live Online Only 

      MMA Mania with confirmation that this weekend’s Metamoris will be closed to the public physically, though still available to watch live online.

      I think this format sounds like it will suit Metamoris well – previous events only hosted small live audiences, and already had a “private audience” feel.

      Also, the idea of a martial arts event hosted in a secret location, which can be attended by invitation only, is undeniably cool.

      I’m hoping for something like this.

      The event is this Saturday (3PM PST / 6PM EST / 11PM GMT), notably featuring Josh Barnett vs. Robert Abreu and Chael Sonnel vs. Renato “Babalu” Sobral.

      The online pay-per-view stream can be pre-ordered now for $29.95.

    4. Roger Gracie Campaigns for Shot at ONE Championship Vacant Light Heavyweight Title 

      Honestly, I lost track of Roger Gracie after his 2013 UFC debut, when he lost to Tim Kennedy by unanimous decision.

      I thought it was premature of the UFC to cut him after one loss, given his renowned BJJ skills. I’m surprised to hear he scored a TKO victory over James McSweeney in his debut ONE Championship fight last December.

      Whether or not he gets the ONE Championship title shot he wants, I’ll be tuning in to watch his future fights there.

    5. Diego Sanchez Plans Featherweight Move 

      Diego Sanchez talking to MMA Junkie’s John Morgan:

      I want to be one of the UFC fighters – Kenny Florian is the only UFC fighter to compete in four divisions, but he didn’t win at 185. But he competed in four divisions. I want to be the one that actually wins (in four divisions).

      After two losses followed by a split-decision victory over Ross Pearson last year, it makes sense that Sanchez is looking to make some changes. It’s easy to forget he is still only 33.

    1. Killing a King: Mayweather Versus Pacquiao 

      Jack Slack with a brilliant, technical analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, and fighting tendencies of Mayweather and Pacquiao ahead of their bout tomorrow night.

      No prediction given, but the insights contained in Slack’s analysis will arm any casual boxing fan with a good sense of the critical factors at play heading into the fight.

      If you plan on watching the fight tomorrow, this is a must read.

      Great work as always from Slack.

    2. Why Floyd Mayweather Is the Last of a Kind 

      Charles Farrell writes for Deadspin on Floyd Mayweather Jn., classifying him as the last member of the defence-oriented “Black Code” school of boxing that began in the early 1900s.

      Comparing him to other boxing greats, Farrell argues that Mayweather should not be counted as one of the sport’s all-time greats. Nonetheless he thinks he should win handily on Saturday… As long as the fix is not in.

    3. Cassius Clay, Here I Come: Bob Dylan and Boxing 

      Sarah Kurchak writing for Fightland on Bob Dylan’s relationship with boxing.

      As a Dylan fan, I had no idea he took such a personal interest in – and participated in – the sport. I always took Who Killed Davey Moore? as a definitively anti-boxing protest song.

      This quote from Jack Dempsey to Dylan – mistaking the folk singer for a boxer – is priceless:

      You look too light for a heavyweight kid, you’ll have to put on a few pounds. You’re gonna have to dress a little finer, look a little sharper – not that you’ll need much in the way of clothes when you’re in the ring – don’t be afraid of hitting somebody too hard.

      Great read.

    4. Gustafsson vs. Teixeira Off, Replaced With Female Strawweight Title Fight 

      From UFC.com:

      Alexander Gustafsson has been forced to withdraw from the upcoming UFC Fight Night Berlin main event bout against Glover Teixeira due to injury.

      UFC women’s strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk (9-0-0), from Olsztyn, Poland, will step into the main event at o2 World in Berlin to defend her belt against no.3 ranked Jessica Penne (12-3-0) from from Newport Beach, California.

      The injuries keep on coming.

    5. Stevie Ray, 25, Was Preparing for Retirement Before UFC Deal 

      Tom Rooney, writing for MMA Junkie, speaks with Stevie Ray.

      Ray:

      When I was training full-time and not working, I was living a pretty rubbish life – not having a lot of money, with two kids and not having a car. I’ve been on a rollercoaster the last few years. In February I got a job working full-time as a fitness instructor, so I was working eight hours a day and then going to training at night. But when I got the email from my manager about the UFC calling, I quit there and then.

      Ray looked exceptional in his debut against Marcin Bandel last month. I’m glad UFC didn’t wait any longer to come to Scotland, which seems to have focused their scouting spotlight on local talent there.

      I can’t wait to see his next fight – presumably on the Glasgow card.

    6. Cain Velasquez Talks Training Camp, Cormier vs. Johnson, and Staying Out of Trouble 

      Luke Thomas interviews Cain Velasquez for SB Nation.

      Velasquez talks about how difficult it was watching Mark Hunt step in for him to fight Werdum, defends his training methods, and gives his take on how he has stayed out of the kind of trouble Jones finds himself in – emphasising the value of being humble, and associating only with family and trusted friends. He also gives his pick for Mayweather vs. Pacquiao.

      Interestingly, Velasquez agrees that Cormier vs. Johnson could be won based on who dominates in the clinch, and thinks Cormier matches up well due to how hard he is to hit.

      Good interview.

    7. Cormier Opens as Slight Favorite Over “Rumble” 

      Cormier opened as a -140 (1.71 or 71/100) favourite.

      According to BestFightOdds the line has since moved to make make things a bit more even, with Cormier offered as high as -127 (1.79 or 79/100), and Johnson offered as low as +115 (2.15 or 23/20).

      This matchup is interesting. Johnson could be seen as a genetically-modified, or mutated, version of Jones. Less varied and finessed in his attacks but significantly more devastating. He has a similar strength to Jones in his takedown defence, and shares with him what is sure to be a striking advantage over Cormier.

      I’m intrigued so see how this fight will compare to Jones vs. Cormier.