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Author: Michael Zand

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Watch Today’s UFC on FOX 3 Weigh-Ins Live On PERSIANMMA.COM (4pm ET)

Main Card:

Nate Diaz  vs. Jim Miller 
Johny Hendricks  vs. Josh Koscheck 
Alan Belcher  vs. Rousimar Palhares 
Pat Barry  vs. Lavar Johnson

Preliminary Card:

Tony Ferguson vs. Michael Johnson 
John Dodson  vs. Tim Elliott 
John Hathaway vs. Pascal Krauss 
Louis Gaudinot  vs. John Lineker 
Danny Castillo  vs. John Cholish 
Dennis Bermudez  vs. Pablo Garza 
Roland Delorme vs. Nick Denis 
Mike Massenzio vs. Karlos Vemola

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Mayweather Vs. Cotto: Floyd Accuses Pacquiao Of Steroid Use

LAS VEGAS -- Floyd Mayweather Jr. ranting about Manny Pacquiao, and particularly what he believes is Pacquiao's unusual climb up boxing weight classes, is nothing new.
But on Tuesday in front of a small group of reporters in the VIP check-in area at the MGM Grand, Mayweather put on quite a memorable show. He ended one of the most intriguing interviews he ever gave by concluding with a 15-minute tirade in which he said his health was too important to fight someone on performance-enhancing drugs.


He was giving the interview ostensibly to promote his pay-per-view bout Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden against Miguel Cotto for the World Boxing Association super welterweight championship. Mayweather, though, spoke much more about Pacquiao than he did about Cotto, even though he was never asked about Pacquiao until after he brought up Pacquiao himself.
Mayweather and Pacquiao are the top two fighters in the Yahoo! Sports rankings and are the two most popular men in the sport. They've negotiated, unsuccessfully, to fight each other since late 2009. Most experts believe the bout would break the pay-per-view sales record, which Mayweather holds at 2.5 million with Oscar De La Hoya.

When a reporter asked Mayweather if he was convinced Pacquiao was using PEDs, the unbeaten fighter, said it is "basic common sense."


When my career is over, anything can happen and my health is more important than anything. I'm not saying nobody is, or nobody is not doing it. But my health is more important than anything. Guess what? When my career is over, if I'm hurt, or something is going on, because something has happened in a fight, I can't come to you and say, 'Yo, I need you to pay my rent for this month. I need you to pay my bills for this month. I need you to pay my car note. I need you to put my kids through school.'
So, my health is more important. So, you're an American, right? I'm an American. I was in the Olympics. I represented the red, white and blue. You know what the American writers should say? 'Well, why is this guy from another country coming over here and making money [and] taking it back to his country?' Once again, I'm feeding American citizens every day. All I ask is, give a little blood, give a little urine. That's a crime?


Mayweather also pointed to what he said was Pacquiao's head growth as evidence of PED usage. He said Pacquiao's head had "probably grown" from a 7 1/4 to an 8. Head growth is a side effect of anabolic steroid abuse.
Arum said Wednesday that he believes he's figured what set Mayweather off: A cognac commercial Pacquiao did that has been appearing regularly during NBA playoff telecasts.
"What has really triggered this, I think is that Floyd is a basketball junkie and he's watching all these playoff games," Arum told Yahoo! Sports. "What does he see when he's watching those games, over and over? Manny's Hennessy commercial. It's a piece that shows Manny chasing his dreams, from when he was a kid to the present."


Arum said Mayweather's comments about Pacquiao's hat size was the clue he needed to come up with this idea: An actor who resembles Pacquiao was hired to play a young Pacquiao in the commercial, while the scenes involving the current Pacquiao were played by Pacquiao himself.
"There is this actor who sort of looks like Manny, but you can't really tell and they shoot it in a way that makes you think it's a younger Manny, and he's in a gym working out," Arum said. "Then it segues to a scene where it is Manny. So when Mayweather is talking about the size of the head, that's got to be where he gets it. He's seeing this commercial over and over and over in just about every NBA game that's on television and we know he loves to watch basketball. He's a basketball junkie. And yeah, there are two different-sized heads, but one's an actor's and the other's is Manny's."
Still, Arum said Pacquiao's rants make no sense since Pacquiao has agreed to accept the random blood and urine testing that Mayweather demands of all opponents now. In a Feb. 17 interview with Yahoo! Sports in his suite at the MGM Grand, Pacquiao said he would take the test without restriction, as Mayweather had requested.


I told him, 'OK, 50-50 [with the money] and I'll agree to everything else.' I told him I would agree to all of the other things he was demanding. Everything. Even the blood testing he wanted, I would do it. But it had to be 50-50.

 

Arum said Mayweather's stance about protecting his health makes no sense since Pacquiao has agreed to the testing. When pushed, Arum said he agreed that no one would want to fight someone who was boosted by PED usage, but he said it's a moot point since Pacquiao has unequivocally agreed to all of the testing.
"Manny Pacquiao is not using now and has not ever used steroids," Arum said. "But for now, forget about whether [Mayweather] has proof about what he's saying. It doesn't matter because for two years, Manny has said he'd agreed to the testing. Manny is saying that, not me. You've talked to him. He's told you himself. So if Manny has agreed to the testing, how is Floyd going to be disadvantaged when they'll be checking the blood and urine of both guys?"

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Jon Jones vs. Dan Henderson: September 1

Jon Jones' murderer's row of opponents looks like it will resume again during the dog days of summer.

On Thursday afternoon, UFC president Dana White said that the organization was targeting an early September date for the UFC light-heavyweight champion's next title defense, likely on Labor Day weekend.

The UFC currently has no September 1 show on its official schedule, but if and when it gets added, future Hall of Famer Dan Henderson is on deck in the challenger's role.

Jones (16-1) has so far successfully run the gauntlet of former champions thrown his way, smashing through Mauricio Rua, Quinton Jackson, Lyoto Machida and Rashad Evans consecutively. Add in his February 2011 win over Ryan Bader, and he defeated five top 10 opponents in the span of 14 months.

Jones' manager Malki Kawa recently told MMA Fighting that Jones preferred to take some time off after his recent stretch of activity, and that he was likely to be ready to fight again in August or September.

Meanwhile, Henderson (29-8) hasn't fought since last November, when he beat Rua in a fight many have called the greatest bout in MMA history. He's won seven of his last eight.

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Video p2:Chael Sonnen: Anderson Silva Lives In A Beverly Hills Mansion, Not In Brazil

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Video p1:Chael Sonnen: Anderson Silva Lives In A Beverly Hills Mansion, Not In Brazil

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Nick Diaz BJJ Superfight Available On PPV Next Week, Donating Purse To Charity

The inaugural World Jiu-Jitsu Expo, staged on Saturday, May 12, 2012 at the Long Beach Convention Center in Long Beach, Calif., will feature a live pay-per-view webcast of the entire slate of jiu-jitsu superfights.

The HD stream, produced by Mobile Black Belt and available for purchase on mobileblackbelt.tv for $9.95, will begin with a pre-show at 6:30 pm/9:30 pm PT/ET and the first fight will take place at 7:00 pm/10:00 pm PT/ET.

The full slate of fights includes:

NICK DIAZ vs. BRAULIO ESTIMA (NO-GI)
KAYRON GRACIE vs. RAFAEL LOVATO (GI)
VICTOR ESTIMA vs. KRON GRACIE (GI)
NINO SCHEMBRI vs. BILL COOPER (GI)
KYRA GRACIE vs. ALEXIS DAVIS (NO-GI)
CAIO TERRA vs. JEFF GLOVER (NO-GI)

Jiu-jitsu fans unable to watch the live stream will be able to purchase the full production On Demand for 30 days following the event on mobileblackbelt.tv.

“I am honored to be a part of this inaugural World Jiu-Jitsu Expo,” says Renzo Gracie, “We have some of the best jiu-jitsu players on earth competing at the show. Now everyone will have a chance to watch the best of the best compete even if they can’t make it to Long Beach to attend the Expo.”

In the spirit of “the gentle art,” the World Jiu Jitsu Expo and Mobile Black Belt will donate 10 percent of the proceeds from each pay-per-view purchase to charity. In addition, Nick Diaz will donate his entire purse to charity.

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Jon Jones Not Worried About Hendo’s “TRT-Bomb”

“No, I’m not worried about the ‘H-bomb.’ I fought Ryan Bader. He had an amazing overhand right. I think he won The Ultimate Fighter with that overhand right. Rashad Evans ended up knocking out Chuck Liddell with his overhand right. Mauricio ‘Shogun’ had an awesome overhand right. I’m just not worried about it. It’s a single technique that I’m prepared for, extensively. ‘Hendo’ actually has a good left hook, as well, so, I’m not worried about single strikes.”

While a guest on Spike TV’s MMA Uncensored UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones weighed in on his upcoming battle with MMA legend, Dan Henderson.

The champ should have confidence in his skillset; in fact at this point I do not think anyone can deny him. He has taken out the likes of Shogun, Machida and Rampage Jackson with ease, and they are three of the best strikers in the division.

Dan Henderson’s one true gift as a fighter is his ability to land that big right hand. Everyone knows it’s coming, but he has really honed in on making that his trademark, go-to-move and it’s worked for him time and time again.

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Arianny Celeste FHM Phillipines photos

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Bellator signs Shahbulat Shamhalaev

Once-beaten prospect Shahbulat Shamhalaev (9-1 MMA, 0-0 BFC) is Bellator Fighting Championships' latest addition.

The new deal was revealed today learned by sources close to the fighter. Shamhalaev will compete as a featherweight for Bellator.

It's currently unknown when Shamhalaev will make his Bellator debut, but he could potentially fight as soon as the promotion's upcoming "Summer Series" of monthly events.

Shamhalaev fought twice under the M-1 Global banner early in his career, and he earned a TKO win over Radzha Hizriev in September 2009 before falling pray to a Khabib Nurmagomedov kimura two months later. The loss remains Shamhalaev's only defeat to date, and Nurmagedov recently signed with the UFC.

Since the loss, Shamhalaev has racked up seven straight victories, including a single-night eight-man tournament win in November 2009 for Russia's Mix Fight Tournament promotion, as well as a pair of wins on back-to-back days under Ukraine's World Martial Arts Championship banners.

Shamhalaev also is an accomplished Muay Thai stylist who has competed internationally as a professional.

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Lavar Johnson's tools for UFC on FOX 3 victory: hard head and acting skills

NEW YORK CITY – Lavar Johnson makes his network-television debut on Saturday as part of UFC on FOX 3's main card.

And, the heavyweight said, he expects it to be a successful one when he meets fellow striker Pat Barry.

After all, he's got two tools that should work just fine against a fighter such as Barry: a remarkably hard head and – when in a pinch – Oscar-worthy acting skills.

"I've never been knocked out," Johnson said on Wednesday during UFC on FOX 3 open workouts. "Car accidents, motorcycle accidents, football – no concussions, anything. I've got a hard head, I guess."

Johnson (16-5 MMA, 1-0 UFC) hopes his concrete cranium is up to the task on Saturday. He and Barry (7-4 MMA, 4-4 UFC) meet at IZOD Center in East Rutherford, N.J., on FOX following prelims on FUEL TV. The 5-foot-11 (on a good day) Barry could have trouble reaching 6-foot-4 Johnson's noggin, but it's a risk the Strikeforce vet wastes little time worrying about.

"Hey, if it happens, it happens," he said. "You can't go in there being afraid to be knocked out. If it's going to happen, it's going to happen. There's nothing you can do about it. You could be kicking a guy's ass for the whole round, and he could close his eyes ... and hit you one time, and it's over. You see (Junior) Dos Santos hit Cain (Velasquez) with one punch and that's it."

Dos Santos vs. Velasquez was the first of the UFC's FOX-televised heavyweight fights. Now, fresh off a UFC-debut "Knockout of the Night" victory over Joey Beltran at UFC on FOX 2, Johnson fights in the second one. Johnson, who snapped a two-fight losing streak in Strikeforce with the UFC victory, and opponent Barry are unlikely to fight for a title anytime soon. However, the heavy-handed heavyweights are the type of crowd-pleasers who will always be used to spruce up big UFC cards.

But don't expect a drawn-out, strategic and grinding affair. Johnson enters the cage with the intention of leaving it as quickly as possible.

"I think me and Pat are going to go at it," said Johnson, who owns 14 knockouts in 16 career wins. "Us heavyweights, we're lazy. We don't want to be there all night fighting for 15 minutes. So the quicker it's done, whether I knock him out or he knocks me out, as long as it's a good show, I'm happy.

"I just think that I'm bigger and I'm stronger, and I just have better leverage over him. I think I'll be able to wear him down in the clinch. If we do tie up, he has to be inside to hit me. I think I have a good boxing inside game too. He can't hit very good if he's going backward, so I'm just going to keep the pressure on him and keep him backing up."

Barry, of course, was an accomplished kickboxer before he turned his talents into an MMA career. He joined the UFC in just his fourth pro bout, and though he's an even .500 since then, he leaves fans on the edge of their seats. With each stinging leg and head kick, and with each wild power punch he flings, the crowd becomes a bit more electric.

At some point in a scheduled three rounds, Barry is very likely to ring Johnson's bell at least once. After all, Johnson said "speed kills," especially in the big-man division and with a fighter who possesses Barry's power. But he knows how to handle it.

"I'm a good actor," said Johnson, who trained with K-1 vet Carter Williams for this fight. "I've been hit hard a few times, and I wanted to look at my corner like, 'Do something. Throw the towel in or something.' But I put my game face on, I keep coming forward, and I think that changes it up.

"If somebody hits you with their hardest shot, and you're still coming at them, it breaks their confidence."

Since a 2009 gunshot wound put him on the shelf for a year, Johnson is 3-2. But a 2-0 start to his UFC career could help him break through to the next level of the heavyweight division rather quickly.

Millions of folks will be watching, and like UFC officials, they have great expectations for the heavyweight clash.

Once the door closes, though, Johnson said it's business as usual.

"A fight's a fight, regardless," he said. "As soon as the first punch is thrown, everything will be out of the window, and it will just be a regular fight."

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