Times are changing. Julianna Pena has become the latest fighter to express concern over the direction the UFC are taking the organisation.
The women’s bantamweight contender spoke with Danny Segura of MMAFighting.com yesterday, voicing her dismay over the decision to grant Ronda Rousey an immediate chance to reclaim gold, despite the brutal knockout she suffered in her last bout.
Pena, who has racked up four wins in her past four fights was angry that her work is yet to be rewarded with a shot at the title.
“It’s bullshit, that spoiled brat has gotten everything handed to her, and she’s getting everything handed to her again. It’s bullshit.”
While these may seem like harsh words Pena’s statement went even further and she, like a growing number of competitors are looking to compete outside the organisation. This is the most troubling part of the power struggle at play.
“Maybe I’ll go fight for Combate [Americas] or something because it sounds like they want to pay me serious money and actually give me a belt right off the bat just like they did with Ronda in the UFC, They just handed Ronda a belt and Combate will hand me a belt, so I don’t know, we’ll see how that goes.”
While Rousey was a champion who defended her title six times, a feat that has not repeated since she was dethroned, is this the real reason viable contenders are being skipped over or is it due to her being one of the sport’s biggest names in a business that thrives on superstars?
This in itself is only a microcosm of the problem’s fighters have with the promotion currently. The organisation is slowly moving away from handing out title fights based on merit, in favour of the ability to draw big pay per view numbers.
Jose Aldo, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and Anderson Silva have all spoke recently of their disapproval with the decision making, made at the top. Khabib declared that he would not fight again, after UFC205 (where he is scheduled to meet Michael Johnson), if it is not for the lightweight belt. The number of fighters echoing this is beginning to become a problem.
Aldo is due to speak to the UFC next week to discuss a release from his contract. His willingness to involve lawyers in the talks indicates the climate is changing, and the fighters are fed up.
While the announcement of Anthony Johnson and Daniel Cormier, as the main event for UFC206, does buck the recent trend, the UFC is uncharted waters here. The growing voice of discontent is a first for the promotion who up until now, have ruled the roost with an iron fist. The danger of speaking out against the head honchos has so far curved any malcontent. That is changing very, very quickly, since the takeover by WME-IMG, who do not have the experience of the Fertitta brothers in the fight game.
The question we must ask ourselves now is, will the UFC change their approach? It seems if they do not, they are at risk of losing some of the top names in the sport. The presence of two proposed fighters unions, that seem to be gathering steam by the day, means that the UFC must address this situation quickly.
It is neither good for the UFC to allow top competitors to walk away in their prime, or for fighters at the pinnacle of the sport to be considering early retirement. Either way, Pena is not the first to echo a need for change, nor will she be the last. The UFC have set a precedent in 2016 that it needs to re-evaluate, and soon, or it risks losing its credibility and its talent.
UFC looks for undefeated fighters for the next season of TUF
As the latest season of The Ultimate Fighter comes to a close in a few weeks, UFC has set tryouts for the next season of The Ultimate Fighter on December 12th but there is a catch, participates must hold an undefeated record.
Titled The Ultimate Fighter 27: Battle of the Undefeated, the next installment of TUF will be looking for male fighters with an undefeated record with a minimum of 3-0 to apply for the show. The casting call asks for featherweights and welterweights but in the early stages of tryouts, a weight class will be decided later in the process.
Fighters must be aged between 21 – 34 and will grapple and light spar in front of UFC matchmakers and must be prepared to stay in Vegas until December 16th.
It is unknown what the future of TUF will be after the TV deal with FOX ends next year but the show has been a success for the company and many fighters to emerge from The Ultimate Fighter have become champion including current interim Lightweight champion Tony Ferguson, Bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw and Strawweight champion Rose Namajunas coming from past seasons of the show.
This will be the third time in a row that a gimmick will be added to the show that has been on the decline in the ratings in recent years but yet to use only undefeated fighters. An undefeated streak can be one of the most prestigious records to keep in mixed martial arts with the wins and losses being so vital in a fighters career.
Who will keep their zero? Who will be the next Ultimate Fighter? Who will be the coaches?
These questions will be answered when the new season of TUF begins shooting in January and the show premiering later in the year.
Tom Gallicchio on UFC Release “It’s Been a Dream of Mine to Fight in KSW”
MMA Latest spoke to TUF 22 and 25 season competitor Tom Gallicchio about being cut from the UFC, and potential promotions that he could sign for in the future.
Gallicchio (19-10) signed for the UFC after reaching the semi-finals of The Ultimate Fighter: Season 25. Losing to James Krause in his debut, “Da Tank” was informed earlier this month that the UFC had parted ways with him.
Q: Before we jump into the whole free agency stuff, talk me through how the UFC broke the news that they were going to release you?
I thought I was going to have another fight, this time at lightweight. I got a letter dated July 7th, saying they were going to keep me, I received it in September. I was getting emails to update my USADA, I never got a cut letter and I got tested by USADA on October 24th. I was hoping to fight sometime in January or February, then they broke the news to me that they need to make a room for new talent.
Q: You made your UFC debut against James Krause in July, then 4 months down the line, they cut you. How surprised were you at this somewhat out of the blue decision?
I’m thankful for my opportunity in the UFC and the fact that they gave me another shot, but it was definitely surprising how it happened. They released a newsletter in September welcoming Jesse (Taylor) Dhiego (Lima) and myself into the UFC, all signs pointed towards another fight. Hearing that I was cut was just heartbreaking.
Q: Have any talks started with a new promotion. I saw you name a few on Twitter, the likes of Bellator, BAMMA, KSW and ACB. Who do you see yourself signing for?
I would love to compete in any of those! A couple of them hit me up, one of which I am very happy to talk with. Since they came out, It’s been a dream of mine to fight in KSW. They’re taking care of their fighters, I would love to fight for them. I want to travel, I want to see the world, I want to fight. I’ve got a lot of fans overseas and I want to give them a show.
It’s been a dream of mine to fight in KSW.
— Tom Gallicchio (@TomGallicchio) November 15, 2017
Q: Your long time friend Jesse Taylor was victorious in the TUF 25 Finale, but he has since accepted a 1-year ban for failing a USADA test. What is your take on this given how close you two are?
I know Jesse is not a juicer, I’ve known him ever since I came down to (Team) Quest. It’s probably come from some supplement that he’s taking, it sucks for him. I think he went into a little bit of panic mode, he could have done a better job of handling it.
— Tom Gallicchio (@TomGallicchio) November 16, 2017
I don’t take supplements, if there was a way, I’d still keep myself in the USADA pool just because I believe in a clean sport. I think it’s important we keep the sport clean and if we’re cleaning up the supplement companies then good, because no one else is.
Where would you look to see Tom fight next? Let us know below!
2017 IMMAF World Championships: Finals fixtures
After 4 days of non stop action from Monday to Thursday we have our final 14 bouts to determine the 2017 IMMAF World Champions. Most of these fighters have fought four times for their slot in the final and tomorrow will be their chance to finish off what has been a fantastic week of fights.
Kicking off the action tomorrow will be Michele Oliveira vs. Danni Neilan. Both women have looked extremely impressive in their bouts so far, Oliveira has spent less time in the cage than her opponent after finishing two of her fights. Neilan is the Irish teams last chance of a gold in this competition and comes into this after a war of a last fight. She is constantly pressuring and has solid striking with incredible ground and pound from any position on top.
Joel Aronlainen came down to featherweight after testing the water at lightweight in the European Championships. His lanky build and impressive overall skill set has seen him pick up 3 finishes in the competition so far. His opponent Delyan Georgiev is undefeated and will be a tough challenge for him. Georgiev has dominated the featherweight division at amateur, his gold medal at the European Championships could now lead to him becoming a world champion if he continues to perform like we’re used to seeing him do.
At 155lbs, Vitali Andruhovich will take on top American prospect Quintin Thomas for the gold. Andruhovich has been on the right side of two very close split decisions in this tournament so far. His controversial win over Irishman Ciaran Clarke had many people scratching their heads at the decision. He now has the chance to prove himself with a win against Quintin Thomas. Thomas is the UMMAF National Champion and a very experienced amateur fighter. Racking up 13 wins he has been a dominant fighter in most of his fights, his sole losses coming from sustaining an injury and a split decision loss.
For the Middleweight medal we have a battle of the Nordic fighters. Iceland’s Bjorn Lukas Haraldsson has looked phenomenal in his fights so far, finishing each and everyone inside a round. The Mjolnir fighter has been to many the highlight of the tournament, but has a tough task a head of him in Laallam who’s had half the number of fights in this tournament and looked impressive in both.
Bahrain’s last hope for a medal lies in the hand of Light Heavyweight finisher Murtaza Talha Ali. Ali has finished all four of his bouts so far, 3 via TKO/KO and his last being by way of submission. Standing in his way of gold will be Pavel Pahomenko from Belarus who’s proven to be lethal with submissions once an opportunity arises scoring two submission wins inside the first round.
Here is the full fixture list for the finals tomorrow:
- Michele Oliveira vs. Danni Neilan 125 lbs
- Anna Astvik vs. Hannah Dawson 115 lbs
- Chamia Chabbi vs. Manon Fiorot 135 lbs
- C. McCrudden vs. Fabiana Giampà 145 lbs
- Gase Sanita vs. Kaycee Blake 155 lbs
- Yernaz Mussabek vs. Serdar Atlas 125 lbs
- Gamzat Magomedov vs. O. Moldagaliyev 135 lbs
- Joel Arolainen vs. Delyan Georgiev 145 lbs
- V. Andruhovich vs. Quitin Thomas 155 lbs
- Sola Axel vs. Benjamin Bennett 170 lbs
- B. Haraldsson vs. Khaled Laallam 185 lbs
- Pavel Pahomenko vs. Murtaza Talha Ali 205 lbs
- Irman Smajic vs. Lev Vins 265 lbs
- Atanas Krastanov vs. Marcin Kalata 300 lbs
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