The Ultimate Fighter season 20 winner and inaugural UFC women’s strawweight champion, Carla Esparza, has been inactive following a UFC 197 victory over Juliana Lima due to requiring surgery on a shoulder injury that she originally suffered in her UFC 185 title loss to Joanna Jedrzejczyk – and that has taken its toll on her finances.
Esparza revealed today on her social media accounts that she must sell the Harley-Davidson motorcycle that she won for becoming The Ultimate Fighter season 20 in order to make ends meet.
If anyone is interested, I am selling my 2015 Harley Breakout that I won on The Ultimate Fighter 20 “A Champion Will be Crowned”. Brand new (bc of my shoulder surgery), purchase price was $19,799. Going with highest bid OBO. It’s very unfortunate that I am selling this bike not because I want to, but because I HAVE to in order to make ends meet. After having a year off from shoulder surgery (injury obtained at UFC 185), taking a short notice fight, and then 8 months since that fight, I literally have enough in my bank account to pay for 2 more months of bills. I need to fight and have been asking for a fight for so long, multiple times a week. I know I can make my run again but I also know that after being off for so long that I’m not ready to fight a title contention fight right away and all I’m being offered is the #1 contender (whom I’ve accepted and been scheduled to fight 2x in the past). I’m 100% down for that fight. I just asked for just one non-title contention fight with an actual camp after having so much time off from injury and the result is being benched for 8 months and still no word of a fight, not even a whisper. I’m at a loss of what to do. When I make my run, my intention is to WIN not because I’m being forced to when I’m not ready. Just frustrated and sad :( if anyone is interested in buying my Harley or knows someone that might please contact me at email@example.com
Esparza (11-3) currently holds a 2-1 UFC record, with a one win by submission over Rose Namajunas, which gave her the title of TUF 20 winner, the inaugural women’s strawweight champion and the Harley-Davidson Breakout that it now appears she will have to part with. Prior to joining the UFC, Esparza had put together a 9-2 run, culminating in her becoming the Invicta FC strawweight champion, which was also an inaugural title for the company.
It is a situation that no professional fighter, particularly one in the biggest MMA organisation in the world, should find themselves in and Esparza’s frustration at not getting fights that she has repeatedly asked for is clear. Nobody who is a fan, fighter or in any way involved with MMA wants to see fighters end up in such situations due to circumstances beyond their control such as injury lay-offs. This is one of the issues that many will be hoping that the newly formed Mixed Martial Arts Athletes Association will be able to improve in the coming months.
King Mo: “The MMAAA doesn’t even exist anymore!”
Bellator veteran Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal is in London, England ahead of Bellator’s press conference to announce their return to the capital with a fight card at the SSE Arena.
The thirty-six-year-old will rematch fellow MMA veteran Quinton “Rampage” Jackson at Bellator 175 on March 31st at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois in a heavyweight bout after Lawal lost out to Jackson back at Bellator 120 in March 2014 by unanimous decision, a decision which Lawal says should have gone his way.
“The fact is the first time we fought, I knew I should have won the fight. His corner even told me I should have won the fight and so did the fans! It was voted as one of the worst decisions of the year, just look at the media’s scorelines… Nobody scored it for him!” said Lawal when asked how he felt having been on the wrong side of a decision.
He also raised concerns over his fitness at that event saying, “I wasn’t healthy or in shape for that fight. I was injured but now I’m fit and healthy I’ve got to be decisive and make sure the result goes my way”.
At the Bellator press conference to announce the event, Lawal told Rampage that he was out of shape, that he had been lifting donuts and was a pregnant D cup. He shed further light on this saying, “I’m just being honest, the last time he made 205lbs was against me back in 2014. Since then he’s fought at a 215lb catchweight (against Fabio Maldonado) and then fought at heavyweight (against Satoshi Ishii). He can’t make 205lbs!”
King Mo faced Satoshi Ishii at Bellator 169 in Dublin, Ireland in December 2016 in the main event of the first cross promotion show between Bellator and BAMMA, and won by unanimous decision. He said that the Irish fans were “respectful and cool” adding that “they just wanted to see a fight and I tried to put on a show but Ishii just wanted to survive”.
He then stepped in to fight Mirko Cro Cop just thirteen days after his win in Ireland and was knocked out in the second round, but Lawal has no regrets. “I don’t regret taking the fight. I thought I was actually winning the fight until I got caught but that’s just part of the game. You can’t win them all!
On the Mixed Martial Arts Athletes Association (MMAAA), King Mo said, “Nothing has changed between myself and the MMAAA. They’re done, they don’t even exist anymore! They’re kind of a joke!”
On Bellator making their return to London, he said, “It’s cool here except for the cold weather. I want to tell all my British fans to keep supporting Bellator as we’ll do our best to keep entertaining you and giving you the best fight cards! Be ready for some surprises as 2017 is going to see some huge fights!”
Vitor Belfort supporting the idea of a Fighters’ Union
One of the greatest Brazilian fighters to ever step foot in the Octagon, Vitor Belfort, spoke recently about how he would support a union for the fighters, admitting also that he does not know what the existing associations are standing for.
Belfort, who is facing Kelvin Gastelum in Brazil for UFC Fight Night 106, is being viewed by other Brazilian fighters as the leader of the pack and that one move by him could arguably lead to a support move by other fighters from Brazil as well. When speaking to MMA Fighting, Vitor said, “I’m glad that fighters that are part of the history of the sport see me this way, but it’s important for fighters to realize that it’s time to have a fighters’ union. There’s unions for everything, there’s a union even for prostitutes, and we won’t have one for fighters? It’s time for the athlete to have his union.”
The past few months associations like MMAAA, PFA and MMAFA have shown their interest in being the one organization, which is going to lead to that change and possibly a unionization in the future. Belfort made clear that he has not been in touch with any of these associations and that the most important target should be to protect the fighters and their rights.
On the same subject, he stated, “I don’t think we have to go against the UFC. We have to be together and work together. You have to remember that the same way we want to fight for our rights, we have to understand their rights, too. You need to know that.”
“The Phenom” also added, “And it’s not only the UFC, there are several promotions. People talk about the UFC, but it’s wonderful for the sport. We are grateful, but there should be a law that benefits every combat sports athlete.”
Giving his own opinion on what changes he would like to see, Belfort replied, “I think there should be a health insurance for fighters, they should allow sponsors like the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) does, and they should create a league of legends, to bring back fighters fans love. Those would be my three changes.” Belfort continued, “And get rid of elbows so there would be no blood. Big companies want to be associated with fights if there are no bloody fights.”
With a lot of fighters saying that it is clear that something must be done, the unionization seems closer but still a work in progress. Fighters with a legacy such as Vitor Belfort could arguably help the cause.
Donald Cerrone on Matt Brown saying he’s overrated: “Expose me. It’s your chance, buddy.”
Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone has arrived in Toronto Canada for his fight at UFC 206 against Matt brown. Cowboy took some time to address the media and speak a bit about his involvement in the new Mixed Martial Arts Athletes Association (MMAAA), his eye injury and his next fight.
Donald Cerrone is a guy who is always looking for a good time, easily one of the most popular fighters in the UFC, his laid back attitude makes him a fan favorite. Two weeks ago Cerrone appeared with fellow UFC stars and former stars to announce the formation of the MMAAA, an association for MMA athletes who will act as a sort of “union.” The fact that Cerrone was a part of this association took UFC president Dana white by surprised and had express publicly that he was “disappointed” in Cowboy. To this Cowboy responded, “George (St-Pierre) and Tim (Kennedy) called me and asked me to ba a part of it. I didn’t know I was sitting on a board, that kinda took me by surprise.” Cerrone stated that it was a misunderstanding, that he just wanted to voice his opinion, and that the UFC had always been great to him.
As far as his opponent Matt Brown, Cerrone said he feels the matchup against a former training partner will be interesting due to the familiarty between the two. “We’ll see. It might be his night, it might not be. I plan on going out there, kicking ass and taking names, so, we’ll see.” Brown has recently stated that Cerrone is overrated as a fighter, to that, Cerrone replied, “Maybe I am overrated, expose me. It’s your chance, buddy.” After Brown apparently gave him the cold shoulder when trying to speak to him earlier this week, Cerrone continued on, “Maybe he’s gonna expose me. I tell you what, I’m going out there and giving it hell.”
That's definitely not makeup on Cowboy Cerrone's eye pic.twitter.com/YWCvhFd54a
— Michael Hutchinson (@TheMikeyHutch) December 7, 2016
Another issue that had been talked about quite a bit lately across social media, was an injury to his eye. “ It was a hunting accident,” Cerrone said about the eye. He stated that he had gone to Mexico prior to this fight to get stem cell treatment on the eye and it was fine now. He explained that he had been checked out by the commission and the UFC and he was cleared to fight. He added that another reason he was in Cabo san Lucus was “Healing, chilling, fishing, sun, that’s what I do. Man, drinking beer on a beach is fun.”
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