1. Rampage Regrets Leaving UFC 

      Not a man who gets on easily with his employers.

    2. The Time Is Now… But We Didn’t Get It Done on Time 

      So, yesterday’s UFC press conference passed without the expected big announcement. Instead we got dates for all of the promotion’s 2015 events. The biggest stars were brought out to answer questions.

      My guess is that the UFC was simply anxious to emphasise the big fights they have lined up for next year.

      Since Ronda Rousey was scheduled to take over the E! News (celebrity gossip site) Twitter account during the press conference, it seems likely they expected to have signed her next opponent – probably Gina Carano –, and that was going to be the big announcement.

    1. Weighing The Options of Anderson Silva 

      Tom Taylor writing for Fightland:

      The first Weidman fight saw Silva strutting around the octagon and sticking his chin out in a show of rather unsportsmanlike antics. It wouldn’t have been so bad, had he not been knocked out by Weidman when his confidence got too high.

      Next was their rematch, whose outcome made their first fight look like an episode of Care Bears. Yes, I’m talking about the tibia-break, the infamous spaghetti-leg of UFC 168. After a leg-kick gone awry, Silva’s leg snapped, and sent him crashing to the ground in pain. It was carnage. His legacy had taken a blow in his first loss to Weidman, but suddenly his career seemed to have come to an abrupt and tragic end.

      But Silva, even after losing his belt, still has the heart of a champion. His competitive fire, it appears, still burns. Just a few months into his recovery, it was announced that the former champ and consensus best-ever would be returning to action in a middleweight superfight. His opponent? A beefed-up Nick Diaz, the older of Stockton’s two favourite sons. The pair will meet at UFC 183 on January 31st of 2015.

    2. The Truth About MMA’s Dangerous Weight Cutting Game 

      Michael Huang writing for ESPN:

      Holm is 5-foot-8, with a “walk-around” weight of about 155 pounds. But she will be fighting at bantamweight (135 pounds) when she steps foot into the Octagon for the first time, on Dec. 6. When she talks about making weight, she speaks casually. It’s a part of a fighter’s life, she says, and it has been a daily thought for Holm for the past decade. She doesn’t want anybody to feel sorry for her — it’s part of the deal as a pro fighter.

      But the sheer numbers are alarming. Holm feels comfortable if she can be within 10 pounds of her weight class the day of the weigh-in. That means she has to lose 10 pounds — in 24 hours.

      If we could find a way to eliminate weight cutting from the sport it would be a very good, progressive change.

      This is a case where we need to save competitor’s from themselves – and that mentality in general is a million miles away from the way I usually think.

      Same day weigh-ins would be a good first step. The Athletic Commissions should take this challenge almost (and I mean almost) as seriously as performance-enhancing drugs.

      The sport has come a long way, but is still in need of major changes before we can champion it with all of our hearts. And don’t think this is unrelated to GSP’s hiatus.

    1. Anderson Silva: “With all my energy I’m going to be rooting for Vitor to win” 

      Anderson Silva on Vitor Belfort (via MMA Weekly):

      He’s more explosive, he’s got better boxing, good jiu-jitsu, good wrestling. Chris Weidman, he’s a new athlete. He’s a new generation. He’s a young athlete and he’s coming out very strong. It’s a fight that everyone is gonna want to see. With all my energy I’m going to be rooting for Vitor to win.

    2. “Korean Zombie” Taken Into Mandatory Military Service 

      After only fighting once in over two and a half years, count Chan Sung Jung out of competition for the next two years. He will be serving an involuntary military service in South Korea, beginning later this month.

      He’ll be nearing 30 when the South Korean government permits him to resume his career.

    3. Floyd Mayweather: ‘I look forward to putting on my first MMA show and having me some MMA champions’ 

      In an interview with Fight Hype, Floyd Mayweather announces his intention to promote MMA fights through Mayweather Promotions (via USA Today):

      If you want to be treated fair, come over to Mayweather Promotions. We believe in the talent winning. That’s what we believe in. We believe in treating our boxers and our MMA fighters fair. I want a lot of MMA fighters to get in touch with you because Mayweather Promotions, I look forward to putting on my first MMA show also and having me some MMA champions. Like I said before, Floyd Mayweather loves to think outside the box. We’re not just one-dimensional. [We’re] very versatile and we have an open mind. When I get into the MMA game, I want them to make more money than they’re making because from what I hear, they’re not being treated fair. Once again, I don’t have nothing to say about nobody. I’m only talking about what I’m here to do. I’m here to treat fighters fair, I’m here to treat MMA fighters fair, and I feel that the talent should win. Stephen Espinoza is my guy. I love CBS. I love Showtime.

      Got to love how Mayweather uses the third person to refer to himself.

      If he’s serious about promoting MMA, to the extent of crowning champions under his banner, it could be an extremely interesting development.

      Note that Mayweather is non-specific on his timeline for entering the sport, though. My guess is that is won’t be any time soon.

    1. Anderson Silva Has Championship Thoughts Again 

      Silva on his new-found willingness to fight for the title (via MMA Fighting):

      I will fight the fights I have left in my contract and, if I earn a chance to fight for the title one day, against [Weidman] or not – not being a friend or a training partner –, I will be happy.

      The only way to explain his sudden reversal is that he was previously clearing the way for his training partner Lyoto Machida to be champion.

      Silva on his bout with Diaz:

      It’s going to be a show for the fans. It will make history as the best striking match of all-time. […] If Nick does a clean fight, if he fights standing without stalling, we’ll do a spectacular fight.

      The new year can’t come soon enough.

    1. Dan Hardy Hoping for 2015 Return to Competition 

      Dan Hardy (via Fighters Only):

      One thing that’s frustrating about this job is I don’t feel like I’ve shown my best in the UFC yet. So I would like maybe two or three more fights just to kind of get that out the way so I can focus on being a commentator.

    2. Fantasy Fights Heavyweight Fighter Ratings 

      David Williams at Fantasy Fights creates a top 20 heavyweights list based purely on historical winning percentages against other top 20 fighters.

      I like the results – they strike me as free from the hype and volatility of regular rankings, where a fighter’s last two or three fights counts for everything.

    3. Zach Arnold on UFC’s Dropping PPV Buys Rates & Future Business Model 

      Zach Arnold writes on the recent downward trajectory of UFC pay-per-view buy rates, and looks at the UFC’s position with Fox when it comes to future TV deals.

      On recent PPV buy rates:

      No matter how you spin the numbers, UFC is falling off a cliff on PPV right now. Sure, they can pop 500k for a Chris Weidman/Ronda Rousey dual event. That appears to be the ceiling. Without GSP & Anderson Silva, it’s a rough go of things. Johny Hendricks is really their best hope at this point in time.

      On future TV deals with Fox:

      If you’re Fox Sports, you have a lot of leverage come 2018 with UFC negotiations. PPV numbers down. Ratings down. A lot of cards on Fight Pass. UFC audience least likely to watch sports programming. Fox is trying to build a sports channel and one of their anchor properties attracts TV viewers that are the least interested in watching sports.

      Arnold paints a dim picture, but there’s no doubt UFC is heading into uncharted waters. The change to showing 50+ events in 2014 was massive, and anecdotally, few if any existing fans I have spoken to have positive things to say about it.

      The product is relatively diluted, and it’s next to impossible for the casual fan to watch every event. I’d venture to guess that for many fans, once they miss a few events and feel “behind” on the current events in the UFC their interest in watching future events dwindles. This could result in fans who previously watched all the PPVs becoming fans who pop their head in to see what’s happening only once or twice a year.

      The upside to the change in format is that the UFC’s product gets wider, more frequent, and more international exposure. If the UFC plans on sticking to its guns with this approach, let’s hope for the sport’s sake the fans it brings in outweighs the fans it turns off.