Tag Archives: UFC

Chuck Liddell Gets Tough for “Dancing With The Stars”

It won’t be Tito Ortiz, Rashad Evans, Wanderlei Silva, or Randy Couture ready to bite and/or tear off his head in the steel octagon, but, rather, on Monday, September 21st, UFC Hall of Famer Chuck and frequent Las Vegas visitor Liddell will makes his debut in a new ring–  ABC’s “Dancing With The Stars” chuckliddell

“I want to win,” Liddell told UFC.com. “I don’t like losing in anything, so I’ll work as hard as they’ll let me.” “The Iceman” will join 15 other celebrities on the hit series, in the process becoming the first mixed martial artist to compete on DWTS. But Liddell, the sport’s first true crossover star, is comfortable with being an ambassador for MMA, and looking forward to having some fun in the process. 

“I’m gonna go out, be myself, and show what kind of people we do have in this sport,” he said. “I’m sure the reaction will be mixed (among fight fans).”

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Dan Henderson Wins UFC Fight & Award, But Loses Car

Remember that sweet Range Rover that the UFC gave to Dan Henderson to thank him for coaching “The Ultimate Fighter?”  Henderson, who lives in Temecula, California was driving back home after UFC 100 and couldn’t even make it out of Nevada before the car broke down. Henderson sent a message to UFC president Dana White on his Web site saying, “Thanks for the car, Dana, hope it comes with a warranty!” DanHenderson

Henderson had a highlight reel win over British UFC star Michael Bisping on Saturday night, knocking Bisping out in the second round with a powerful right hand.  Henderson caused some controversy by following up the right with an additional punch when Bisping was on the ground before the referee stopped the fight. Afterward, Henderson said that the extra punch was to “shut Bisping up.” 

Prior to their bout, the two men coached on “The Ultimate Fighter,” and Bisping spent much of the show badmouthing Henderson.  

Edmunds, a Web site that reviews automobiles, claims that the British-born Range Rovers have a poor reputation for reliability, and that was proven true, at least with Henderson’s car. Henderson won the $100,000 Knockout of the Night bonus on Saturday; he should be able to buy himself another car. Or, perhaps he could use the bonus to waste some time at Whiskey Pete’s, the low-rent casino at the Nevada state border.   

UPDATE: Henderson reported that the Range Rover is back up and working, and he later drove it to the ESPY awards in Los Angeles, an hour and a half from Temecula.  Let’s hope that it can handle the drive home.

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Ultimate Fighting Championship More Than Human Cockfighting

The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was once brashly branded by U.S. Senator John McCain as “human cockfighting” and the sport was scorned by many, even banned from television networks. 

Fast forward, MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) fighting is now sanctioned in every state with an athletic commission, except New York. 

What was once a fledging sport trying to survive when it first appeared at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on the Las Vegas Strip in late September 2001, is a booming multibillion dollar industry. 

Las Vegas brothers Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta and a street-smart former boxing promoter named Dana White were riding the tide to something big back then– less than eight years later, the UFC staged the biggest, most lucrative event in its history: UFCs 100th contest last night at the Mandalay Bay. 

Tickets for Saturday night’s championship were snapped up in minutes, and some ringside seats sold on StubHub this week for $45,000 each. The UFC’s pay-per-view audience surpassed boxing and World Wrestling Entertainment for the first time in 2006. 

The pugilistic contest saw heavyweight champion Brock Lesna unmercifully pummel Las Vegas Frank Mir with staccato right hands in the second round and emerge victorious in the octagon, avenging his only prior professional loss, which came against Mir last year. UFC2

The sport has worldwide appeal and is experiencing unprecedented growth. The UFC organization has expanded to England and Germany, and is poised to take on France and Australia next. There is even an unquestionable fever for it in Canada, and a palpable sense of momentum for a company that just five years ago was more than $40 million in debt. 

“All the things going on right now, whether it’s UFC 100 or going to Germany for the first time, it’s really the way it’s been for us the last nine years,” White told The Associated Press recently. “The great thing about this sport, it transcends all cultural barriers, language barriers, because I don’t care what language you speak, what color you are, what country you’re from, at the end of the day we’re all human beings. Fighting is in our DNA.” 

The UFC began in 1993 as a tournament to crown the world’s best fighting style, featuring everything from boxers to a sumo wrestler. There were no weight classes, gloves or rounds. There was no judging and virtually no rules. The only way to win was by knocking out your opponent or making them quit, which is precisely what a scrawny jujitsu expert named Royce Gracie did. 

Dozens of states quickly enacted laws banning “no-holds-barred” fighting, abhorred by the thought of humans fighting inside an eight-sided cage. Even though limited rules and gloves were introduced, the organization stood on the brink of bankruptcy. 

That’s when White brought the concept to the Fertittas, a pair of casino executives he’d known since high school. They purchased the UFC for $2 million in 2001 and immediately went to work getting the sport sanctioned. Universal rules were put in place, allowing shows to be held for the first time in casinos in Nevada and New Jersey. 

“When we bought this company, especially my partners, they had a lot of people working for them and they thought this was probably the dumbest business investment ever,” says White, the UFC president. “We believed in it. We were passionate about the sport.” 

But passion only goes so far. By 2004, parent company Zuffa LLC still couldn’t climb out of the red. The Fertittas nearly gave up, and White frantically tried to secure funding to press on. 

Everything changed when the trio came up with “The Ultimate Fighter,” couching the sport in a reality TV format. The cable show was an instant hit, and the sport quickly began to slice into boxing’s fan base, which had long grown stagnant.

Stars like Las Vegans Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture were born, and an entire industry sprouted nearly over night. Nearly ever major event is now sold out, and a sport that corporate American once refused to touch has credibility with mainstream sponsors like Harley-Davidson and Budweiser. 

The new “UFC: Undisputed” video game sold a 1 million copies its first week.

“Having ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ was the thing that did it for us, live fighting on TV,” says Liddell, who was recently inducted into the UFC’s Hall of Fame. “That’s what we had to do, was get a live fight on TV. It couldn’t have worked out better.” 

Each of the Fertittas now own 45 percent of Zuffa LLC, while White owns 10 percent. Before the recession hit, the company was estimated to be worth close to $1 billion. 

Business advisory firm Applied Analysis in Las Vegas recently completed an economic impact study of the UFC on Las Vegas, which has been severely affected by the crumbling economy, and found it generated $86.2 million in nongaming revenue for six events held last year and early this year. 

White believes it’s his responsibility to safeguard a sport that he has grown and nurtured almost from the beginning, and has given him so much in return: financial security, a 7,500-square-foot home, worldwide attention. 

“Is it going to become stale, are people going to become tired of it? Hell no,” he says. “Is there too much football on TV? Is there too much baseball on TV? People want to see great fights, and if we put together the best fights with the best fighters in the world, this is going to continue to grow and grow and grow.”

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UFC 105 Likely To Be Held In Las Vegas

MMA Weekly is reporting that Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Keith Kizer confirmed that the UFC has requested the pre-Thanksgiving weekend date, November 21, at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas for UFC 105.

The UFC had thoughts of having UFC 105 outside of Las Vegas with Boston, Toronto and New York being cities brought up to potentially host the event; however, adverse legislation of MMA in those cities has put those plans on the backburner.

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UFC Fighter Randy Couture Scurries Back in the Cage

Las Vegan Randy “The Natural” Couture will meet Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC 102 at the Rose Garden inRandyCouture Portland, Ore., on Aug. 29, the UFC confirmed. 

The 45-year-old Couture (16-7) has not fought since losing his heavyweight title to Brock Lesnar at UFC 91 last November. 

The 33-year-old Nogueira (31-5-1) is coming off a loss to Frank Mir at UFC 92 in December.

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UFC Blood Fest in Las Vegas on Saturday

Preparation is a key for success- even for sedentary beer-hoisting football fans.  You might want to consider pre-ufcgame practice for the hard-pounding gridiron action by watching on Saturday night, January 31, at 4:15 p.m. the UFC premiere fight between warriors BJ Penn and Georges St. Pierre.  The duo will be smack-talking and raising their fists and feet for what will surely be an Octagon butt-kicking Blood Fest at UFC 94 at the MGM Grand Garden arena.  

And if you can’t make it down the MGM Grand, you might consider heading down to the Hawaiian Tropic Zone in the Miracle Mile at Planet Hollywood Resort.  They’re offering a fight special to watch the UFC  action on a big screen for $25 admission, with a minimum of $40 for food and beverage. 

Nevada, retaining the “lucky” persona rubric, is fortunate to host this contest. Many states, like New York, outlaw UFC fights.  

Some sports writers are predicting the Penn-St. Pierre match will be the biggest UFC fight ever.

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