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No K-1 Until at LEAST July, Maybe

  • Published in K-1

Amidst all of the talk of the possibility of Sakikabara, formerly of PRIDE, involved in one of the biggest yakuza scandals in Japanese MMA that led to the death of PRIDE and the Zuffa purchase, returning to promote MMA again, there is some news on FEG's future.

Daniel Herbertson spoke with FEG USA's Mike Kogan, and by the looks of things, FEG is planning on still hosting K-1, K-1 MAX and DREAM events in 2011, as long as things pan out. The voluntary shut down was supposed to last until March, and with March fast approaching, it looks like the new target date is May.

FEG USA's Mike Kogan this week confirmed to MMA Fighting that the leading Japanese promoter's internal restructuring will not be completed until at least May and no FEG events are expected until at least July. 

At the moment, FEG is planning to continue all three of its major events (K-1, K-1 MAX and DREAM), although that is obviously subject to change and it is clear that the events will be scaled down.

The financial state of FEG is still uncertain and Kogan was unable to confirm whether Chinese backer PUJI or any sponsors are still involved in FEG events. It seems as though Dynamite, K-1 MAX and DREAM broadcaster TBS has not signed on for 2011 yet, all signs are indicate that a new contract will be discussed after FEG's restructuring process is complete.

Dan's awesome Nippon Weekly has lots of information about Sakakiraba and what's new in Japanese MMA, so check that out. [source]

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Does Tim Sylvia Get What He's Getting Into Against Jerome Le Banner?

  • Published in Kickboxing

While it is understood that Tim Sylvia has participated in IGF's brand of professional wrestling before and probably has an understand of what to expect, Tim Sylvia's last IGF match was against Josh Barnett. Josh Barnett is a rare example of a MMA fighter who went ahead and learned the art of pro wrestling and participated in pro wrestling for the past few years outside of his MMA obligations. To be brief, Barnett knows how to work with an untrained wrestler and make sure that they don't get hurt.

Jerome Le Banner, who Tim Sylvia will step into the ring against, is a different story. Jerome's run in IGF has involved some absolute maulings. The line between fake and reality is blurred when JLB steps into the ring and starts raining down blows. Sure, he'll pull as many as he can, but when he hits, he hits, and hard. I guess the question is, will this bout remain civil and planned, or will having two professional fighters without a lot of professional wrestling experience end up in two guys trying to legitimately beat each other up? Watch JLB's bout from July against Erik Hammer and decide for yourself.

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Programming Note: Peter Graham Fights Cheick Kongo Tomorrow Night in Bellator

  • Published in Kickboxing

Graham

If you would have told me in 2006 that Peter Graham would be fighting in MMA regularly and that he'd not only do okay, but do pretty well, I'd probably not believe you. Not because Peter Graham isn't an awesome fighter, but because I just couldn't imagine the man behind the Rolling Thunder navigating the waters of wrestling and jiu-jitsu. Peter has always been known as an exciting, no-nonsense fighter who isn't afraid to pull out all of the stops.

Well, here we are in 2013 and the 38 year old Graham is making a serious go at Heavyweight MMA as he'll fight his second fight under the Bellator banner this Friday night against none other than Cheick Kongo. Kongo is himself known for being an exciting striker with a Kickboxing past, but then again, he doesn't have a KO win over Badr Hari with a Rolling Thunder, now does he? Graham's hard work and dedication to MMA have shown in his recent MMA outings, with him picking up a decision victory over Eric Prindle in his Bellator debut. He also isn't at all deterred from Kongo's size or reputation.

"I know who Cheick Kongo is but I haven't followed his career. He's been a great athlete for a long time. He's got a bit of kickboxing and wrestling skill. It'll be a good fight and I'm ready to go. I hope he doesn't underestimate me. I know he's been famous and had a big name for a while and, when it comes to MMA, I'm somewhat of a newcomer. I've come from the worst record to one of the best heavyweight win streaks there's been. I went from going 1-6 to 9 wins a row with 8 of them being KO's over some really good fighters. I want to get to the top and I'm not there yet, but I'm relentless. He needs to bring his A-game, which I'm sure he will. He's got that inner strength to keep going but I have it more than ever and I've worked harder than ever to make every performance better than the last."

Now if only we could see a Rolling Thunder in the Bellator cage, I'd be a happy, happy man.

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LEGEND 3 Set for April 5th in Milan, LEGEND 4 with Badr Hari in June

  • Published in Kickboxing

Legend

Interestingly enough, if you follow the exploits of LEGEND's Ruslan Suleymanov you'd know that he appeared at UFC 169 to have some discussions with Dana White and Lorenzo Fertita about a possible UFC event in Russia, just like he had been in discussions with GLORY officials recently and plans to again. Suleymanov has money and a love for the world of Kickboxing and MMA, so he seems steadfast on promoting more big events around the world.

According to an interview with MMAFighting's Ariel Helwani from this weekend, the next LEGEND event will be on April 5th in Milan, Italy. There have been no bouts announced yet, but we have learned that it will be a co-promotion with Carlo di Blasi's Oktagon promotion, which promotes Muay Thai in Milan. This has added to it rumors of using Giorgio Petrosyan on the card, as Di Blasi is Petrosyan's manager. This could be an explanation for the meetings with GLORY officials, as Petrosyan is signed to GLORY. The next LEGEND event afterwards will be in June, where Suleymanov expects Badr Hari to appear.

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HeadBlade Offering Discount to Benefit Mark 'Fightshark' Miller

  • Published in Kickboxing

Fightshark

I’m sure that you’ve heard by now, but if not, Mark “Fightshark” Miller is going through a tough time over the past few months. Mark’s story is well known by fans far and wide; Mark was fighting throughout most of his career with a heart defect as well as diabetes -- without knowing -- then discovered the heart condition and was forced to undergo open-heart surgery. Mark was then the first fighter to come back from open-heart surgery in May of 2011. His heroic comeback story is the stuff of legends now for American Kickboxing, with his giant knockout of Nikolaj Falin at Ultimate Glory (the precursor to GLORY). Since then it has been a rollercoaster ride for Miller, including huge ups and rock bottom downs.

Most recently there have been a series of downs, when he was forced into the hospital for complications with his CHD as well as suffering from renal failure. Those complications led to boatloads of medical bills on the un-insurable Mark Miller due to “pre-existing conditions.” Crazy, right? Now he’s facing down a kidney transplant as well as $250,000 in medical bills with his mind still set on another comeback fight. If one thing is for certain, you cannot keep Mark Miller down.

HeadBlade, one of Mark’s sponsors has recognized how tough this HeadBlade user has been over the years and now they are looking to give back to Miller with your help. HeadBlade will be running a special, two-week long campaign to help raise money for Mark where using the coupon code “FightShark” at checkout will get you a 10% discount off of their entire stock, with a portion of the proceeds going to help Mark with his medical bills. So if you are sporting a freshly-shaved head, want to, or know someone that does head over to http://www.HeadBlade.com and enter the code “FightShark” at checkout to receive an instant 10% discount and to help out the storied Kickboxer.

HeadBlade was first approached about helping Miller through this difficult time by Kristen Brown, a two time cancer survivor and Founder of Livetofight.org, a charitable cause dedicated to “Fighting relentlessly for those in the martial arts, mixed martial arts, and combat sports community who are suffering from life-threatening illnesses."

You can donate directly for Mark's medical bills through his GoFundMe.

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Go Ahead and Watch Tyrone Spong's MMA Debut

  • Published in Video

So Tyrone Spong finally made his MMA debut this weekend at the World Series of Fighting's inaugural event. WSoF is headed up by Ray Sefo, whom you should all know, so there is no surprise that this is where Kickboxing and Muay Thai fighter Tyrone Spong decided to make his debut. Spong fought, well, some dude named Travis Bartlett that we give all of the credit in the world to for stepping into the ring with Tyrone, but yeah. This was what it was. Watch it and marvel at why Tyrone hasn't been super active in Kickboxing.

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Saki on Badr Hari: "Sometimes He Makes a Mistake Because he Fights Too Aggressive."

The showdown between Badr Hari and Gokhan Saki is just two days away now, with things reaching a critical mass for both fighters. At this point both men are done training and are simply wading through the final preparations before the big fight. In an interesting interview with Fighters Only, Gokhan Saki interrupted his training earlier in the week to discuss the upcoming bout with Badr Hari as well as a bunch of other issues. One of the big topics was K-1, and he says that he knows "many things" about K-1, but that he can't talk about them right now. This goes along with a lot of the rumblings we've been hearing behind the scenes.

When asked about MMA and if he is interested, his answer is simply, "Yes, of course, I'm a fighter, you know?" Saki mentioned maybe MMA, maybe Boxing, that he has been training in both, but that his "thing is K-1" and that is his main focus for right now. [source]

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Bill Goldberg Claims He Turned Down a Fight with Alberto Del Rio

  • Published in Glory

Bill Goldberg appeared on Ariel Helwani's MMA Hour this afternoon and the sole purpose was for Bill Goldberg to talk about his relationship with GLORY. That relationship has been much-publicized over the past few months after GLORY learned about Goldberg's admiration for the sport of kickboxing and the organization itself. Goldberg, of course, still trains seriously and there has been talk about a possible fight between Goldberg and an unnamed opponent.

According to Goldberg on the show the fight that was offered to him was none other than Alberto Del Rio/Alberto el Patron/Rodriguez, or the guy that was formerly Dos Caras Jr. and fought Mirko Cro Cop. The fight was offered to Goldberg for May 8th but he decided that it wasn't the right direction that he'd like to see GLORY move in but remains steadfast that he wants to work with GLORY in some capacity, possibly even fight if the situation was right. Apparently a fight with Del Rio was a bit too much of a freakshow fight for him to justify it.

Goldberg reiterated that he is willing to do whatever it takes to work with GLORY and to help promote the brand, even if it means working in the front office, hosting shoulder programming or appearing as a commentator on events. While Goldberg's heyday in WCW was just under 20 years ago now he still commands a loyal following and has been involved in Mixed Martial Arts and sports since departing the WWE. It'll be interesting to see where this goes from here.

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Why You Should Be Amped for Sergio Wielzen This Weekend in It's Showtime

  • Published in Kickboxing

Time gets the better of all of us once in a while, and for me, there has been a lot of combat sports lately, enough so to where I kept putting off discussing this weekend's It's Showtime event. Now here I am early on Tuesday morning trying to sell you on watching the fights this weekend. The big fight coming up is a 61kg MAX It's Showtime World Championship bout between the champion, Sergio Wiezlen.

Wiezlen, for a fighter at a mere 61kg (135lbs) has a ton of power to go with his speed. If you need proof, watch this video from a fighter last year, where Wiezlen faced off against a former Lumpini and four time Rajadamnern Stadium Champion (this was of course 2003 - 2006ish) and annihilated him with a right head kick.

Not sold yet? OK, in December Sergio defended his newly won It's Showtime 61kg MAX crown against a game challenger in Masahiro Yamamoto. Yamamoto was able to match him with speed, but not in power. One of my favorite moments in this fight is the left knee in the first round that puts Yamamoto down. Wiezlen looks to use those knees like a mini Ubereem, granted he is just about half the size and uses his kicks a bit more liberally.

A nice, commanding performance and what we get to look forward to this weekend. Will Wiezlen make this his 19th professional knockout?

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Saenchai Set to Train UFC Fighters in New York Seminar

  • Published in Muay Thai

Muay Thai legend Saenchai has landed in New York and is all set for his round of seminars that are set to go down on the 13th, 14th and 15th at the Striking 101 Gym in New York City. Pakorn was initially supposed to accompany Saenchai, but due to visa issues Saenchai will be going it alone without Pakorn.

There are a host of UFC, MMA and Kickboxing stars that are to be in attendance for Saenchai's NYC seminars, with Uriah Hall's name being tossed around as one of the names that has requested some time with the legendary Thai fighter. We'll have an update with what his schedule looks like further in the coming days. Here's a look at some highlights from his seminar in Kuala Lumpur. 

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