UFC announces Singapore event
The UFC announced Wednesday its first event in Asia for the year. A UFC Fight Night card will be held on Saturday, June 17 at Singapore Indoor Stadium.
“We are very excited to kick off our 2017 Asia event calendar with UFC Fight Night Singapore,” UFC senior vice president of international business Joe Carr said in a release. “Singapore is the home of our Asia headquarters and as such has always been a key market in our strategy to grow the UFC brand and the sport of MMA in the ASEAN region.”
No bouts have been announced yet for the event. The event marks the second UFC card in the country. Tarec Saffiedine defeated Hyun Gyu Lim in the main event of Jan. 4, 2014 card held in Singapore.
Andrew Holbrook vs. Gregor Gillespie added to UFC 210 in Buffalo
A lightweight bout pitting Andrew Holbrook and Gregor Gillespie is the latest addition to UFC 210. The news was announced by the UFC on Wednesday.
Holbrook is coming off a split-decision win over lightweight prospect Jake Matthews back in November at UFC Fight Night 101. Prior to that, the 31-year-old fighter suffered his first professional defeat, losing to Joaquim Silva via first-round technical knockout. Holbrook is 12-1 as a professional fighter and 2-1 in the UFC.
Gillespie is undefeated in his MMA career with a record of 8-0. ‘The Gift’ made his UFC debut last September at UFC Fight Night 95, defeating Glaico Franca via unanimous decision.
UFC 210 takes place on Apr. 8 at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo, N.Y. Light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier is scheduled to defend his belt in a rematch against Anthony Johnson in the main event.
Ratings report: UFN 105 does 907,000 viewers against NBA All-Star Game
Going against NBA All-Star weekend activities, the UFC did normal numbers and Bellator did above usual numbers over the weekend.
The UFC Fight Night from Halifax, Nova Scotia, airing on Sunday, and one hour earlier than usual, averaged 907,000 viewers for the final six fights, headlined by Derrick Lewis' second round knockout of Travis Browne. The audience peaked at 1,019,000 viewers for the No. 2 bout, where Johny Hendricks won a decision over Hector Lombard.
Bellator did 807,000 viewers on Saturday night for a show from San Jose, Calif. The show was originally to be headlined by Fedor Emelianenko vs. Matt Mitrione, which likely would have drawn substantially more viewers than usual, since the bout was supported by a stronger than usual marketing campaign. However, due to Mitrione developing kidney stones, the fight was canceled just three hours before the broadcast went on the air.
It is likely some people who had made plans to see the show, well above the normal Bellator level of 600,000 to 650,000 viewers, watched, while others who may have tuned in particularly for Emelianenko, after finding out his fight was off, may have tuned out. The Bellator show peaked at 1,050,000 viewers for the main event where Patricky "Pitbull" Freire stopped Josh Thomson in the second round.
The UFC show went against the NBA All-Star Game, which did 6,513,000 viewers. Bellator had similar competition, going against the All-Star Saturday night activities, which did 5,627,000 viewers, and Bellator also had competition from NASCAR on FS 1 and college basketball on ESPN.
The viewership of the UFC and Bellator shows from a demographic standpoint were remarkably similar. Bellator had slightly more teenage viewers. The two shows did almost identical numbers in 18-34 viewers, while UFC had a small lead in viewers 35 and older.
In the 18-49 key demo, the UFC audience was 67 percent men while Bellator's was 62 percent men, which is a higher percentage of women viewers than MMA events usually get.
The UFC prelims on Sunday did 760,000 viewers, while the pre-fight show did 233,000 viewers and the post-fight show did 249,000 viewers.
For a comparison, the show two weeks earlier headlined by Chan Sung Jung's win over Dennis Bermudez averaged 1,158,000 viewers on a Saturday night against lesser competition, with the prelims doing 834,000, the pre-fight show doing 237,000 and postfight show doing 355,000.
Vitaly Minakov talks contract situation, still considers himself Bellator heavyweight champion
Vitaly Minakov competed under the Bellator banner for less than two years, but it was enough for him to win four fights and become the promotion’s heavyweight champion. A lot has changed since though.
More than a year after his last title defense against Cheick Kongo, the undefeated fighter returned to his home country of Russia to compete at Fight Nights in 2015. Minakov finished Adam Maciejewski in 21 seconds, and never returned to the Bellator cage. When Minakov scored three straight finishes in Russia, Bellator decided to strip him of his belt in May 2016.
After adding another quick win to his record last June, the unbeaten heavyweight looks to improve to 19-0 on Feb. 23, when he faces DJ Linderman at Russia’s Fight Nights Global 59. And despite his activity overseas, Minakov is still under contract with Bellator.
"The contract with Bellator is in force now,” Minakov told MMA Fighting through a translator. "If I am not mistaken, it runs for another eight fights. I fight for Fight Nights Global now, but we carry on negotiations about the better terms of contract and the reduction of fights in Bellator."
Bellator officials told MMA Fighting they can't comment regarding active negotiations, but confirmed that Minakov is still under contract with Bellator. The Russian heavyweight, who hasn’t fought for Bellator since Scott Coker replaced Bjorn Rebney, doesn’t rule out coming back to the promotion.
"Lately, I fight only in Russia in Fight Nights Global,” Minakov said. "If we have luck in communication with Bellator, I will continue there. If not, I am looking for strong opponents in Fight Nights Global.
"If the organization agrees to make our contract acceptable,” he said when asked to give a timetable for his return to the United States, "I will not keep myself waiting for a long time."
As for Bellator’s decision to strip him of his heavyweight belt, Minakov doesn’t feel it makes a difference after all as he still considers himself the champion.
"I consider it was typical to (strip) me,” Minakov said. "First of all, I have not fought in this company for four years. (…) Even though I have been (stripped), as you can see, and due to non-sporting reason, I consider myself as Bellator champion. I didn’t lose any fight. It is just a formal decision.”
Ready to face a 20-11 veteran in Linderman, Minakov would also welcome fights against top competition in North American promotions.
“(As for the) heavyweight division, I won’t speak about the particular company, it is a perfect time to come to organization and fight,” he said. "It is generational change. Old residents retire and young hopefuls are ready to take their place in best world leagues. There is a fierce war for the first places and for the titles. Of course, in addition to battles in Russia, I would like to compete with the fighters of foreign promotion companies. Will I have such an opportunity? Time will show."
Minakov has to take care of Linderman before targeting other opponents first, though.
"Linderman has a great experience in MMA, he has more than 30 fights in different organizations,” said the Russian heavyweight. "He is forceful and a die-hard sportsman, works aggressively as No. 1. It makes him dangerous."
"It doesn’t matter for me what kind of fight he will chose,” he continued. "I am ready for everything, no matter what will it be: stand up or (the ground). I don’t think Linderman will wrestle with me. But if it is so, it will be a kind of gift for me and I will take it with pleasure."
Bellator 172 medical suspensions: Josh Thomson, five others potentially out 180 days
Former Strikeforce lightweight champion Josh Thomson highlighted a list of six fighters who received extended medical suspensions in the aftermath of Bellator 172, according to information released Monday to MMA Fighting by the California State Athletic Commission.
Thomson suffered a second-round knockout loss to Bellator veteran Patricky Freire in the night’s main event, which took place Feb. 18 at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., and aired live on Spike TV.
As a result, Thomson will be forced to seek doctor’s clearance on potential injuries sustained during the bout or sit out 180 days, per commission orders.
The five other fighters who received similar suspensions were: Brooke Mayo, James Terry, Cesar Gonzalez, Anthony Do, and Abraham Vaesau.
A complete list of Bellator 172’s medical suspensions can be seen below.
- Josh Thomson: Suspended 180 days pending doctor’s clearance; minimum suspension of 45 days no contest, 30 days no contact
- Brooke Mayo: Suspended 180 days pending doctor’s clearance; minimum suspension of 45 days no contest, 30 days no contact
- James Terry: Suspended 180 days pending doctor’s clearance; minimum suspension of 60 days no contest, 60 days no contact
- Cesar Gonzalez: Suspended 180 days pending doctor’s clearance; minimum suspension of 60 days no contest, 60 days no contact
- Anthony Do: Suspended 180 days pending doctor’s clearance
- Abraham Vaesau: Suspended 180 days pending doctor’s clearance; minimum suspension of 45 days no contest, 30 days no contact
Veta Arteaga: Suspended 60 days no contest, 60 days no contact
- J.C. Llamas: Suspended 60 days no contest, 60 days no contact
Martin Sano: Suspended 60 days no contest, 60 days no contact
Oli Thompson: Suspended 45 days no contest, 30 days no contact
Francisco France: Suspended 45 days no contest, 30 days no contact
Josh Koscheck: Suspended 45 days no contest, 30 days no contact
Matt Ramirez: Suspended 45 days no contest, 30 days no contact
Diego Herzog: Suspended 45 days no contest, 30 days no contact
Abner Perez: Suspended 45 days no contest, 30 days no contact
Dominic Sumner: Suspended 45 days no contest, 30 days no contact
- Patricky Freire: Suspended 7 days for mandatory rest
Cheick Kongo: Suspended 7 days for mandatory rest
Anatoly Tokov: Suspended 7 days for mandatory rest
Mauricio Alonso: Suspended 7 days for mandatory rest
Nikko Jackson: Suspended 7 days for mandatory rest
Juan Cardenas: Suspended 7 days for mandatory rest
Luis Vargas: Suspended 7 days for mandatory rest
- Bobby Escalanate: Suspended 7 days for mandatory rest
Jeremy Murphy: Suspended 7 days for mandatory rest
- J.J. Okanaovich: Suspended 7 days for mandatory rest
Zach Andrews: Suspended 7 days for mandatory rest
Justin Tenedora: Suspended 7 days for mandatory rest
- Roqui Reyes: Suspended 7 days for mandatory rest
Gaston Bolanos: Suspended 7 days for mandatory rest