Georges St-Pierre: “I’m a free agent”

According to his latest appearance on The MMA Hour Monday morning, Canadian superstar and former UFC Welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre has announced that he is no longer a UFC fighter.

“You heard it right,” St-Pierre said “I’m a free agent.”

Georges St-Pierre (25-2, 20-2), largely considered to be the greatest fighter in MMA history, claimed his lawyer, James Quinn, terminated his UFC contract after the promotion did not meet a deadline to offer him a fight recently. “GSP” said he was under a 2011 contract with the UFC and was working on a new deal, but talks had stifled after the UFC was sold to WME-IMG this past July. GSP said WME-IMG pulled the offer on the table from former CEO Lorenzo Fertitta and put negotiations on ice.

“It was like a shock, because we felt like we were making progress, we were almost there,” St-Pierre said.

GSP said he is free now to sign with any other MMA promotion, though he isn’t sure what will happen next. He said he wants to get out of the limelight after an “emotionally draining” few months negotiating with the newly-run UFC.

“The reason I wanted to go back and fight is because i feel right now that I’m at my best,” St-Pierre said. “I’m truly confident I can beat the guys that are champions right now. I’m that confident. At least I’m a free man. Now, I know I’m free. I have other options. I’m not caught up legally with a contract. I’m a free man.”

St-Pierre claims one of the things the UFC’s new ownership explained to him was that the promotion would have to spend a lot of money to re-introduce him to the new audience. St-Pierre said he felt very confident he could have sold out Air Canada Centre for UFC 206 in minutes, a feat not yet accomplished by the UFC despite holding three events there.

“I don’t take it personal,” St-Pierre said. “I found it a little bit funny to tell you the truth. I know it’s a lie. Sometimes I start to ask myself if they started to believe what they’re saying.

“To come back, it would have been a win-win situation. I think now what happened with this situation, the biggest loser is the fans. I’m a loser. The UFC is a loser. Even the UFC is a loser. They would have made good money.”

A request for response from the UFC was not immediately returned Monday by MMA Fighting

“I was very pumped up a few weeks ago when we talked,” St-Pierre said. “Now, I’m not as pumped up as I was. I’m entering unknown water, unknown territory. I just don’t know what’s gonna happen.”

 

Gray Maynard vs. Ryan Hall set for TUF 24 Finale

Coming off a successful debut at Featherweight, former Lightweight number one contender Gray Maynard will face off against Ultimate Fighter season 22 winner Ryan Hall in a Featherweight contest at the TUF 24 finale on December 3rd. The fight was confirmed by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Maynard (12-5-1, 1 NC) defeated Fernando Bruno in his Featherweight debut at the TUF 23 Finale early in the summer. The win came as a much needed breath of relief as Maynard went 1-4 in his last 5 bouts at Lightweight which necessitated the move down a weight class. Of Maynard’s 12 wins, 10 are by judges decision.

Hall (5-1) has yet to compete since winning the Ultimate Fighter’s 22nd season last winter. He was scheduled to face Alex White at UFC Fight Night 91 in July. However, after White was removed from the bout, Hall elected to not fight on the card against the replacement. Of Hall’s five wins, four have come by finish. Two by submission, two by (t)ko.

The Ultimate Fighter Finale 24 Finale takes place on December 3rd. The main event will be headlined by a Flyweight title defense between Demetrious Johnson and the winner of the TUF 24 Flyweight season.

Why Chris Leben Will Always Remind Me of Apollo Creed

Everyone remembers Rocky, a true underdog story. A movie about a boxer from Philadelphia, The Italian Stallion, who gets a shot at the title. Apollo Creed, The Heavyweight Champion of the world, feeling generous and looking to make headlines, hand picks Rocky from a list of nobodies, and gives him a shot at the title. Apollo agrees to take a fight with not just a non-contender, but someone he’s literally never heard of.

In the cage, Chris Leben would remind you of Rocky more than Apollo. Chris always fought fearlessly. A true entertainer, always coming forward, and being aggressive. Always looking for the knock out, and getting it. In his career he fought the best fighters out there. Fighters like Anderson Silva, who many consider the greatest of all time. Wanderlei Silva, a Pride legend, and current middleweight champion Michael Bisping. Chris is a true pioneer of the sport and an alumni from the first season of The Ultimate Fighter.

There’s so much more that can be said about Chris, like about the time he got a TKO on Aaron Simpson, winning knock out of the night. Then just a mere two weeks later, stepped in on short notice and submitted Yoshihiro Akiyama, a fight that many believed was the fight of the year. There’s also the time he knocked Wanderlei Silva out in 27 seconds. His 22 UFC fights at middleweight is an all-time record. Enough of that though, let’s get back to the comparison, the reason why Chris Leben will always remind me of Apollo Creed.

He gave me a shot much like Apollo did. A writer he had never heard of. I reached out and he could have ignored me or directed me to his manager, like many other fighters did. Instead he was a cool dude and said, “Sure. Why not? I’ll call this guy I’ve never heard of at 4 in the morning and give him a 37 minute interview.” Now this being my first interview it could have been tough. Could you imagine your first big interview being with someone like Bill Billichick from the New England Patriots or Greg Poppovich from the San Antonio Spurs?

That could have been awkward. Not with Chris though, with his charisma, wit, and war stories. He always makes for a great interview, no matter who the host is. I can only imagine the awesome stuff in his book, The Crippler: Cage Fighting and My Life on the Edge. Chael Sonnen has said many times that Chris Leben has the best stories. While beauty, youth, and high school friends all fade away, my interview with the Crippler will be a memory that will stick with me forever.

If you missed my interview with Chris Leben, here it is again

Report: Chael Sonnen vs. Nick Diaz in the works for UFC 205?

Wait…what?

I’m sure you all share the same reaction as I did. But the rumor mill is currently working up some dark magic of sorts as the latest report from The MMA Bulletin states that the UFC is currently working on a bout between former Middleweight and Light Heavyweight title contender Chael Sonnen and former Strikeforce Welterweight champion Nick Diaz.

The rumored bout comes at a time where both men have conveniently been released of their shackles after both men had to serve a lengthy inactive period due to receiving suspensions from the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Sonnen had popped on two occasions in the summer of 2014 leading up to a bout with Wanderlei Silva. Altogether, Sonnen popped for human growth hormones (HGH), recombinant human erythropoietin (EPO), anastrozole, and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). Not long after being handed his suspension, Sonnen proclaimed that he would be retiring from the sport of mixed martial arts. Though not long after his suspension ended this year in July, news had broke that Sonnen would be going through with the four-month protocol for USADA testing to become eligible to compete inside the Octagon once again.

Diaz is coming off an 18-month suspension after allegedly testing positive for marijuana following his bout with Anderson Silva at UFC 183. It is not yet known if Diaz will also have to undergo a mandatory four-month testing period, in which case the bout will not take place at UFC 205 in Madison Square Garden. Diaz/ last win was against BJ Penn at UFc 136 in the fall of 2011.

UFC 205 takes place in the New York City inside the world famous Madison Square Garden Arena in November. No main event has been set.

 

Photo credit: MMA Bulletin

Report: Michael Bisping vs. Dan Henderson II to headline UFC 204 in Manchester

The rematch the Middleweight division didn’t know it was waiting for might finally have a date.

Reported on Thursday afternoon on MMAFighting.com by Ariel Helwani, after confirming that both fighters had agreed to the bout. Bisping also confirmed that the fight would likely occur on October 8th in his home country of England in Manchester.

Bisping and Henderson met seven years ago in one of the featured bouts of the most successful UFC pay per view cards of all time, UFC 100. In that fight Dan Henderson knocked Bisping out with one of, if not the greatest one-punch knockout ever recorded in UFC history.

Henderson recently garnered a momentous knockout against former Bellator Middleweight champion Hector Lombard at UFC 199. Following that win, Henderson appeared on the MMA Discussion podcast to proclaim his desire to not only rematch Bisping, but to do so for the UFC Middleweight championship. As if that call-out wasn’t huge enough Henderson also notified the world that win, lose or draw it would be the final fight of his legendary UFC career.

The promotion is expected to officially announce the fight in the coming days, with a pre-fight press conference scheduled for the day before UFC 202 in Las Vegas according to Helwani.

Mark Hunt goes off on UFC: “F**k the UFC, you are s**t”

Mark Hunt isn’t letting this go.

Nor should he. Following the news that his UFC 200 opponent, Brock Lesnar, popped for a banned substance, very little has been hinted from the UFC that anything will be done in light of this news. In fact, the UFC has already claimed that they don’t plan to penalize Lesnar financially and that only USADA will be able to enforce a fine.

Aside from ripping UFC and threatening to start a fighter union, “Super Samoan” Hunt has also lobbied to get a piece of Lesnar’s $2.5 million payday.

“I don’t want to be a part of this company unless they do something about this shit. They need to do something about this cheating. It’s like the whole roster is cheating. One person gets pinched and another person gets pinched, and they are not doing anything about it. People say this is the hurt business, I understand that, but if you’re going to make it the cheating sport, then let’s all fucking cheat. Let’s all cheat, stick needles in our assess and see who’s the first person to die. I mean this is ridiculous. It took years and years for something to be done about that scummy cheater Armstrong, how long is it going to take for something to happen on this sport? Until someone dies? Then let’s lay some charges against these cheaters.”

While Lesnar’s treatment may seem mild, many would certainly call it unique as Chad Mendes” two year ban from the sport following his positive test certainly doesn’t feel light.

If you ask the mammoth-hitting Heavyweight, he would personally love to see all anti-doping offenders go to an actual criminal court to answer for their transgressions, lose all of their winnings, on top of facing a fine and a five-to-10-year ban.

As far as fines go, Lesnar won’t face one from UFC, as they will leave that up to Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) when Brock eventually has his day in front of the commissioners. And if Brock and the rest of the “cheaters” aren’t punished properly, Hunt is moving on to a different promotion:

“I want to be a part of a company that says we don’t want you cheating, or else every monkey will be able to. No, I got to work somewhere else. Like I said, if we have to sue their asses, well then fuck you, you’re getting sued. You scummy cunts. The problem is, guys are like I want to get into the UFC, well fuck the UFC, you are shit. You motherfuckers don’t look after nobody. You just go, ‘Here, fight this motherfucker here, stupid fucking……we’ll let this fucking white piece of shit stick a needle in his ass and let him cheat all the way to the bank. Let’s give him millions of dollars and not worry about this motherfucker. You know what? Fuck that and fuck your shit company. You can sue me on that, you motherfuckers.”

Well…damn

Gegard Mousasi, Alexander Gustaffson make plea for bout with Daniel Cormier following Jones removal from UFC 200.

Following the unfortunate removal of Jon Jones from the UFC 200 championship main event due to a potential USADA anti-doping violation, Daniel Cormier finds himself possibly missing out on competing in arguably the greatest UFC card in history. After the announcement of Jones removal however, Dana White hinted that an opponent for Cormier was not off the table just yet.

During a Las Vegas press conference, UFC president Dana White indicated that a new opponent for Cormier hadn’t been ruled out.

“Maybe someone will pop up and fight Cormier at the last minute,” White said. “Stranger things have happened.”

Not long after the announcement, a handful of capable fighters made their desires to compete against the current Light Heavyweight champion known. Most notably Gegard Mousasi and top ranked Light Heavyweight Alexander Gustaffson.

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Gustaffson, who gave out an apparent timeline last night might be too far away to be considered the actual replacement. Gegard Mousasi however may be the favorite to be awarded this fight. After all, he’s already in Vegas getting set to compete against Thiago Santos in the UFC Fight Pass preliminary portion of Saturday nights card.

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Gegard Mousasi has competed for a good portion of his career at Light Heavyweight. He has won Light Heavyweight gold in both DREAM and Strikeforce and holds wins in that division against the likes of Evangelista Santos, Renato “Babalu” Sobral, Sokoudjou, Hector Lombard, Ilir Latifi, Mike Kyle, and Ovince St. Preux.

Cormier and Co. stand to lose quite the paycheck should they miss out on competing on this historic card. With all variables considered it would appear Gegard Mousasi is the best potential candidate to come into this bout and face the current 205 lb champion.

Dan Henderson: I want to fight Bisping for the title and then I’ll call it a career

Dan Henderson has already fought through one of the most legendary careers that there has ever been in our sport. He’s fought from Welterweight all the way to Heavyweight. He’s a two-division champion of PRIDE, and the former Light Heavyweight champion of Strikeforce. And the future Hall of Famer cemented the perfect ending to his MMA journey  at UFC 199. Henderson took on Hector Lombard and, after nearly being knocked out cold in the first round, came back in the second and decimated Lombard with a fight ending back elbow.

Afterwards, Henderson said he wouldn’t make any hasty decisions about calling it a career immediately. But with Michael Bisping’s amazing upset of Luke Rockhold in the night’s main event, fans and media alike had been pondering and calling for the rematch with the Middleweight title on the line.

Henderson’s camp and management had cited Dan’s possible desire for the match-up over the last week. Now having taken that time to celebrate the victory, and contemplate his career and a match-up with the British champion, Henderson joined Nick Peralta on the MMA Discussion podcast Monday afternoon to solidify his thoughts on what may be left for him in his career.

“(Fighting Bisping) is definitely something that I would do. But it would definitely be my last fight for sure. Win or lose. I’m obviously confident that I would win, but win or lose I would make that my retirement fight.”

Bisping won the epic upset over the now-former champion Luke Rockhold via knockout in the first round. It was quite the spectacular sight, especially considering first-round knockouts are not the general manner in which you see a Bisping fight end. Henderson, of course, caught the fight and had his thoughts on Bisping’s style and his historic win.

“He’s always been the same way. He’s of course well-rounded, he’s always in shape. He always tries to outpoint people. I think in this last fight with Luke Rockhold, he landed punches right where he needed to. He hasn’t shown big power in the past, so maybe he’s gotten a little bit better with his power but it just seemed like he landed some punches that were right on the button and was able to knock Luke out. I don’t think he’s changed all that much. Obviously he has improved in little ways. 

I think Luke kind of went in there a little cocky and just paid the price. Bisping just stayed the course, fighting his fight, and didn’t worry about Luke so much and just worried about what he had to do an he did it and it worked out well for him. I don’t think there was anything other than that that went on.”

When asked if he would take any other fights in order to earn that championship bout Henderson didn’t shy away from the possibility of taking one more fight before fighting “The Count” but further enforced that Bisping was the fight most deserving of his swan song.

“I don’t know how much (longer) I want to fight, it all depends on who they offer me. I’d be interested in maybe one more fight. I’m pretty close to being done though and I asked my fans the other day who do you want me to fight in my last fight and like 99% of them said Bisping. So that’s what I hope happens because that’s who the fans want to see me fight. There was a couple that said Anderson Silva, a couple that said Fedor. But I think the one right now that makes the most sense. Him winning that title has given me the (motivation) to want to fight him again. I didn’t have any reason (before), I wouldn’t be able to knock him out any better or more exciting than I did the first time. Now with him having the belt, that gives me a reason, and gives him reason as far as being able to get some redemption.”

The full interview with Dan Henderson will be released on Wednesday, June 15th. Check MMA Discussion or MMA Outsiders on Facebook and Twitter or here on MMAOutsiders.com.

MMA Discussion Podcast – Episode 95 (Muhammad Ali, UFC 199, Ariel Helwani, Kimbo Slice)

Hosts John Franklin and Nick Peralta fond over the life and career of Boxing great Muhammad Ali, review UFC 199, discuss the Ariel Helwani controversy, and talk about the unfortunate and untimely passing of MMA icon Kimbo Slice

BREAKING: Brock Lesnar vs. Mark Hunt added to UFC 200!

Brock Lesnar will face the “Super Samoan” at UFC 200!

Joining Hannah Storm during the Monday morning on SportsCenter, the former UFC Heavyweight champion announced he will face Mark Hunt at the blockbuster event event.

“Why not? It could be anybody. I didn’t care,” Lesnar said of the announcement. “If Dana White called me and said, ‘You have opponent X, Y, and Z, who do you want?’ He never gave me those options. This is the guy that we want you to face, I said, ‘Great. This is what I’m going to do.'”

Lesnar (5-3, 4-3 in UFC) last competed at UFC 141 in December 2011, where he was defeated via first-round TKO by Alistair Overeem, who will compete for the Heavyweight crown at UFC 203. During his initial UFC run, Lesnar went 4-3, winning the title against Randy Couture at UFC 92 and twice defending the championship against Frank Mir and Shane Carwin before losing it to Cain Velasquez.

Hunt(12-10-1, 7-4-1 in UFC ) has won two straight fights both by knockout, one being against “Bigfoot” Silva at the historic UFC 193 event, and most recently earned a first-round starching of Frank Mir at UFC Fight Night 85.

UFC 200 takes place at the T-Mobile Arena on July 9th and will be headlined by a UFC Light Heavyweight title fight between Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones.