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BJ Penn explains why he turned down Melendez

BJ Penn has explained why he chose not to fight Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez, revealing he thought it would be a step down to fight outside the UFC.

Penn is expected to step out of retirement at some point in the future, with UFC president Dana White adamant he will fight again. However, White revealed the Prodigy turned down a big fight with Melendez, something Penn does not deny.

"It was right after the Nick Diaz fight [which Penn lost convincingly]," Penn told The MMA Hour.

"[White] offered a fight against Gilbert Melendez in Strikeforce. We sat down and we thought about it for a little while. We talked back and forth.

"It was kind of one of those things where I guess at the end of the day we thought about it a thousand different ways and we were like, 'Is that downgrading yourself fighting in Strikeforce? If you win the Strikeforce title are people going to say you did it because you couldn't win the UFC title?'

"At the end of the day, it just didn't make sense to us."

White believes Penn will, at some point, return to the UFC welterweight division in the future. However, Penn insists it is still his dream to be world champion again, which would suggest lightweight is his more viable option - given that Georges St-Pierre still reigns at 170lbs.

"You have dreams and aspirations to what you can accomplish," Penn said. "You never know what's going to be reality at the end of the day. I don't feel like I've done enough. I'd love to become a world champion again. I'm sure every fighter out there, that's all they think about all the time."

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Papy Abedi replaces Rich Attonito, meets Rick Story at UFC on FX 4

Papy Abedi (8-2 MMA, 0-2 UFC) has replaced Rich Attonito (10-5 MMA, 3-2 UFC) and now meets fellow welterweight Rick Story (13-5 MMA, 6-3 UFC) at next month's UFC on FX 4 event. 

UFC officials today announced the switch while stating Attonito suffered an undisclosed injury. 

UFC on FX 4 takes place June 22 at Revel Casino in Atlantic City, N.J. 

The night's main card card airs on FX. The prelims, including Abedi vs. Story, air on FUEL TV. 

Story is still trying to regain momentum and may be close to a pink slip. After a six-fight streak saw him earn key wins over top contender Johny Hendricks and former title challenger Thiago Alves, he's fallen short in his past two outings against Charlie Brenneman and Martin Kampmann, both via decision. 

He fights for the first time since November when he meets Abedi, a Swedish-Congolese fighter who gets a third shot at a first UFC win. After opening his career with an 8-0 mark in England, he signed with the UFC and since has suffered submission losses to Alves and James Head, both in the first round. 

The latest UFC on FX 4 card now includes: 

MAIN CARD (FX)

  • Clay Guida vs. Gray Maynard
  • Spencer Fisher vs. Sam Stout
  • Brian Ebersole vs. T.J. Waldburger
  • Ross Pearson vs. Cub Swanson

PRELIMINARY CARD (FUEL TV)

  • Hatsu Hioki vs. Ricardo Lamas
  • Jim Hettes vs. Steven Siler
  • Papy Abedi vs. Rick Story
  • Luis Ramos vs. Matt Riddle
  • Chis Camozzi vs. Nick Catone
  • Ricardo Funch vs. Dan Miller
  • Edwin Figueroa vs. Ken Stone
  • C.J. Keith vs. Ramsey Nijem*

* - Not officially announced

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Best comment of the month: "We need an RFL - Roid Fight League"

We just had to post this =)

 

"We need an RFL - Roid Fight League

It’s obvious that Reem can kick the ass of every other non-roided fighter in the world. Fans will never be able to see a non-roided champion in the UFC if Reem is still there— and every contender with half a chance will have to be on roids if they are to compete with Reem.

 Therefore we need an RFL — Roid Fight League

All the fighters in the Roid Fight League will be on roids, and then the fans will truly know if Reem can beat roided-out fighters.

The UFC can remain roid-free and the fans will then watch the UFC to see who the best non-roid fighters are.

by Future Marine on Apr 12, 2012 5:12 PM EDT reply   "

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B.J. Penn Still Uncertain About Any Return to MMA, But Covets Another World Title

What will it take for former UFC welterweight and lightweight champion B.J. Penn to return to competitive mixed martial arts? Is it a fight in Hawaii? Would it be a rematch against Nick Diaz? Maybe a big paycheck?

It could be all or none of those things. The right offer matters, of course, but most important is timing. Or stated differently, time off. Time for things to change.

If there's anything that becomes immediately clear in a conversation with Penn, he just isn't in a part of his life where returning to competitive fighting interests him enough to make the commitment. "I'm not really excited to jump into a training camp right now," Penn told Ariel Helwani yesterday on The MMA Hour.

That isn't to say he's totally disinterested. After all, he's at least willing to entertain offers even if they ultimately don't move him into action. "Me and Dana sat down," Penn explained. "Dana said, 'I'm seeing a lot of stuff. You're saying you don't want to fight anymore.' Me and him just kind of talked and did a couple of hypotheticals back and forth and that was it. I know Dana wants me to fight again."

"I'm enjoying training right now," Penn said. "You never know what the future holds. If Dana puts something together like 'hey, you want to do this?' You never know. You never know what could happen."

 

It isn't just White that wants Penn to fight again. Legions of MMA fans are hopeful 'The Prodigy'won't retire, especially while many of his supporters believe he's still got the capacity to compete.

"I don't know. I do get pumped up about it when I go different places and people are like ‘come on! You gotta fight again! You gotta fight again!" But it's a lot of work."

It appears more than anything, 'a lot of work' is what's holding Penn back. After years and years the grind, the routine and uphill climb of training camp, the process is not as easy to be a part of as it once was. The toll on the body, the time away from family. Who wants that when you've accomplished so much, you're wealthy and you've got an infant daughter? Penn readily admits he thinks he still has what it takes to compete against the elite, but getting up for a training camp day after day just isn't appealing right now.

"I guess being a competitor, you always have that itch. But what it is is...it's tough," Penn said with a laugh. "The training camps are tough, going through that. I've been with the UFC for ten years going through different things. All the different personalities you gotta deal with. I still look at some of the guys up there and of course being a competitor 'You know, I could beat that guy or I could do well with that guy.' It's just a tough question."

Interestingly, though, Penn confirmed reports that Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez was offered to him and that he ultimately turned the fight down. "It was right after the Nick Diaz fight," Penn acknowledged.

"[White] offered a fight against Gilbert Melendez in Strikeforce. We sat down and we thought about it for a little while. We talked back and forth. It was kind of one of those things where I guess at the end of the day we thought about it a thousand different ways and we were like 'Is that downgrading yourself fighting in Strikeforce? If you win the Strikeforce title are people going to say you did it because you couldn't win the UFC title?'"

"At the end of the day, it just didn't make sense to us," Penn said.

Penn noted it wasn't Melendez as an opponent he objected to ("If you decide you're going to be a fighter, you shouldn't have a problem fighting anyone"), but he just couldn't rationalize competing under a banner outside of the UFC. If it doesn't move the needle or add to his legacy, it's hard to move forward.

In the wake of a serious thrashing at the hands of Nick Diaz at UFC 137, the two-division champion also confessed he's worried about departing the sport in an unceremonious exit. "That is definitely on my mind," admitted Penn. "I don't want to stick around and whether it's a lack of reflexes or a lack of motivation, whichever it may be. You end up getting laid out a few times that could've been avoided."

"I would think that's on a lot of fighters' minds, but some people just do it anyway. They like the money or the attention. It's one or the other or both. We've seen that happen over the years to some of the greatest fighters of all time. That's definitely on my mind. Certain athletes like Randy Couture, they never needed the reflexes. They could've stayed around. I look at a boxer like Floyd Mayweather and think he's all reflexes. Once his reflexes go, it's probably time for him to maybe step out."

As for Penn's future, there's no guarantee it could go any direction save for the one it's one now. To return to MMA, he'd need the right monetary offer against the right opponent at a time when he is willing to put himself through the rigors of training. It would all have to mean something and the day where it could may never come. Or maybe it will. For admirers of Penn, it's frustrating to live in limbo, but he simply doesn't know if and when he'll ever change his mind. Until something acts as a catalyst for change, he's content to enjoy his life away from professional competition.

Yet, that doesn't mean Penn doesn't miss it or doesn't want more. He still dreams and dreams big when it comes to accomplishing goals in the sport. A fire still burns within the Hawaiian fighter.

After all, Penn told Helwani he still has unfinished business in the Octagon.

"You have dreams and aspirations to what you can accomplish. You never know what's going to be reality at the end of the day. No, I don't feel like I've done enough. I'd love to become a world champion again. I'm sure every fighter out there, that's all they think about all the time."

"I'd love to - without a doubt - be a world champion again," Penn said.

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Gilbert Melendez, who will be left to fight him?

Gilbert Melendez (20-2) is scheduled to fight Josh Thomson (19-4-1) for a third time on May 19, 2012 in San Jose, California at Strikeforce 40: Barnett vs. Cormier.

The odds are favoring Melendez, and even though Thomson is coming off a recent victory, his last loss was to Tatsuya Kawajiri (31-7-2), whom Melendez had defeated in 2011.

The question becomes: What happens next for Melendez?

Dana White has gone on record saying that he wanted to bring Melendez over to UFC. White went so far as to attempt to arrange former UFC lightweight and welterweight champion B.J. Penn to face him in a Strikeforce event. Unfortunately it never came to fruition and Melendez is still in a contract with Strikeforce and Showtime.

With the UFC absorbing the vast pool of talent in the Lightweight division, worthy prospects to fight Melendez are drying up. There are always great fighters coming up in the ranks, but will any one of them prove to be a worthy contender?

Melendez told MMAWeekly.com that he wants to prove that he is Number One and part of that is: "beating everyone, every match-up. I think I can beat every style out there."

Melendez knows that talk is cheap and wants to show that he is the best lightweight fighter out there. Unfortunately, the San Francisco-based fighter is going to have to wait.

Any by then Strikeforce might not be around...

 

 

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Ronda Rousey vs. Sarah Kaufman Slated for August

Ronda Rousey will defend her Strikeforce bantamweight title for the first time later this summer.

According to sources close to Strikeforce, Rousey will meet top contender Sarah Kaufman at a yet-to-be announced Strikeforce card in August. No date or location has been finalized yet.

Rousey (5-0) defeated Miesha Tate in March to capture the Strikeforce women's 135-pound belt. The win capped off an impressive year which saw her win her first five fights in a combined time of 7:15.

Kaufman (15-1) secured her spot as the No. 1 contender when she defeated Alexis Davis on the same card in March. The Canadian has won three in a row since losing the 135-pound belt toMarloes Coenen in Oct. 2010.

The card will air on Showtime.

Strikeforce returns on May 19 with an event headlined by Daniel Cormier vs. Josh Barnett and Gilbert Melendez vs. Josh Thomson.

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Sheldon Silver KO's Legal NY MMA This Round

Ken Lovett reports:

The Assembly Democratic conference discussed behind closed doors whether to bring a bill to legalize the controversial sport in New York before Speaker Sheldon Silver determined the votes weren’t there for it to pass.

“It will not come to the floor this year,” Silver told the Daily News afterward.

The conference, he said, “was pretty evenly divided.”

Silver didn’t rule out passage in the next year or two.

“I think it’s evolving,” he said. “I don’t think two years ago it was a 50-50 proposition.”

Assemblyman Micah Kellner (D-Manhattan) expressed disappointment at the decision.

“This is legal in [most] states, it’s highly regulated and it generates economic activities for small business and creates much needed revenue for the state,” Kellner said.

Queens Democratic Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas, a self-proclaimed fan of the controversial sport, dismissed talk of the violence played up by detractors.

“Mixed martial arts is an art form,” she said. “I don’t believe there is inherent violence in it.”

But longtime Assembly Majority Leader Ron Canestrari (D-Troy) called ultimate fighting a “barbaric exercise.”

The decision not to bring the bill to the floor helped highlight a growing split between younger members of the Assembly and older lawmakers, insiders said.

“Shelly is still siding with a dwindling number of aging veterans,” one source in the room griped.

The source said after eight people had spoken in favor of legalizing MMA and eight against, Silver called on members who don’t support the bill to raise their hands. About 25 members did.

Then he asked for a show of hands of those who support it before saying that it looked even, the source said.

An upstate member who supports the measure complained it didn’t look even to her, the source said. When Silver asked what she wanted, a city Democrat joked, a “slow roll call.”

The speaker took another informal vote, with 25 again raising their hands against. The “ayes” seemingly had more than 60, the source said.

Silver then said others had expressed opposition privately and that the votes weren’t there to move the bill.

Update: A “very, very disappointed” Marc Ratner, vice president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship league, said he was looking for was an up-or-down vote.

“I feel 150% if we had a vote on the floor of the Assembly we would win,” Ratner said. “Not to get a vote is un-American.”

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Siyar Bahadurzada Steps In to Face Thiago Alves at UFC 149

An injury has knocked Yoshihiro Akiyama from the UFC 149 card, and he's been replaced by Siyar Bahadurzada in a welterweight showdown with Thiago Alves. The UFC confirmed the opponent swap on Tuesday afternoon. No specifics were offered on Akiyama's injury, or how long it would keep him out of action. Bahadurzada made a successful UFC debut at the promotion's April event in Sweden, knocking out the durable Paulo Thiago in just 42 seconds. Overall, it was his seventh straight win as he improved his career record to 21-4-1. His fight with Alves should come as a striker's delight, as both men prefer the standup game to any other facet of MMA. Alves will be looking to rebound following a heartbreaking loss at at March UFC on FUEL event. After controlling the first two rounds of his main event fight with Martin Kampmann, Alves went for a takedown and was choked out guillotine. The loss dropped the former No. 1 contender to 19-9. UFC 149 takes place on July 21 from the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary. In the main event of the show, featherweight champion Jose Aldo will attempt to defend his belt against Erik Koch.

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Injured Gabriel Gonzaga guarantees: ‘I’ll get over it’

Gabriel “Napao” Gonzaga couldn’t pick his opponent’s replacer. But Shane Del Rosario replacement by Roy Nelson would be a big fight for him and something that could be considered a win on his journey to the top. However, during the shooting of the countdown for UFC 146 he suffered a lower back injury, what forced him to cancel the confrontation, scheduled for May 26th.

 

“Both Shane and Nelson are pretty tough opponents and I was training hard. I was in great shape to get there prepared. The low back pains were so strong. After a 4-day observation period we didn’t have other choice than inform the event I wouldn’t be able to fight. I’m very upset because it was a really important fight for me, but things happen for a reason. I’ll get over it”, commented Gabriel.

 

According to the fighter, the recovery takes time and he still doesn’t know when he will be back to training. He affirmed that when he suffered the injury he couldn’t even walk, move and regretted having to watch UFC 146 on TV.

 

“The fighting card is great and it’ll change many things in the division. I’m sad I’m out, but I wanna be 100 percent to fight”.

 

BJJ black belt graduated by Wander Braga, Gabriel Gonzaga fought last time at UFC Rio 2. Away from the stages since 2010, he returned this January in great style submitting Ednaldo Oliveira with a rear naked choke.

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Chael Sonnen On Anderson Silva, Hector Lombard, Not Going To Brazil & Defending “His” Belt

Chael Sonnen comments on this weeks episode of The MMA Hour.

Sonnen comments on his fight with Silva being moved from Brazil & his experience of Brazil in his recent visit.

“Yeah, I would’ve liked to have been part of a stadium show, a record-breaker. I would’ve definitely enjoyed the experience of walking into a hostile environment. I like that. I really enjoy the negative energy. So we lost that, but I want to pick my words carefully. The last thing I want to do is to be put in a great situation, something that dreams are made of, and then complain that it wasn’t even better. That’s not the message I want to put out, but yeah, it would have been a neat experience, and I would have liked to have had it.”

“As far as the people, it was great. Look, if I want to be famous in America, I’ve got to go to a fight. Walking around town, I’m just not. I’m not a celebrity, as you put it earlier. But in Brazil, that’s, not true man. Everybody knows the sport in Brazil. Just because I had some confusions about their Country, that doesn’t mean, those aren’t insults. So what? I had it wrong. It turns out they have computers, I didn’t know. But as far as their hero’s go, I think they were pretty refreshed when I informed them of their thinking. You know you got these guys that are Brazilian when it’s convenient. You got your Vitor’s and your Wanderlei’s and your Anderson’s that are Brazilian when they can take money from the local people. But of course, they’ve lived in America for over a decade in gated communities on golf courses. So the Brazilian people don’t like those guys. There is a major misconception with that. Those guys are looked at for what they are, which is phony’s.”

Sonnen also comments on being the true Middleweight Champion.

“I am the champion, so I will always have my belt. Will Anderson bring his fake belt? Yeah, he most likely will, and I think it’s embarrassing he has to do that. I think what he’s doing is he’s seeing the influx of new viewers the FOX deal got us, he went out to do his level best to misinform the new viewers into believing he’s champion, and he went out and got himself a fake belt. I think it’s embarrassing. I would never do that. I think it’s shameful. I think it’s disrespectful to everything that I’ve done and I’ve earned in the sport, but he continues to do it. So I’m going to destroy him once and for all, finally, on July 7, live and only on pay-per-view.”

Sonnen goes on to talk about Hector Lombard’s possible title shot if he beats Brian Stann.

“I don’t think there should be any set architecture. You always hear the champion that doesn’t want to fight the true best guy making arguments for why he shouldn’t have to fight that guy. Rich Franklin did that. He was the champion. He’s living the high life. He’s fighting bums left and right. And Anderson comes into the company, he has one fight, and Rich is like, ‘Well, I don’t think he should get it after one fight.’ Well, Rich you don’t get to decide. Whoever the best guy is gets the shot. And if it’s Hector, then Hector will get the shot. Good for him. He’s on quite a roll, he won a whole bunch of fights, he’s in the UFC. If he can do it, good for him. Whoever the right guy is should get the shot, and I will not deny anybody.”

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