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Frank Mir requests to be released from the UFC

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Frank Mir was a guest on “The MMA Hour” with Ariel Helwani today and spoke on a multitude of topics ranging from his 2-year suspension to his picks for UFC 200. At the very beginning of the interview, however, Mir was asked about his future in MMA and the UFC and his answer wasn’t what many fight fans might have expected. Mir obviously touched on the fact that he’s currently serving a 2-year suspension that began in April after testing positive for PEDs. This suspension means that he will be unable to fight or even be a part of the broadcast crew until 2018.

Within his answer, however, Mir said, almost nonchalantly, that “possibly even being released by the UFC so that I can go off and pursue my career in other avenues” was something that had the potential to happen. When later asked to clarify if he had already asked for his release from the UFC, Mir said that “I put in the motion right after it (the suspension) happened, and then about 2 or 3 weeks ago when I started seeing the situation in its entirety; I looked at my savings account and what my kids cost to raise and I realized, you know, I have to go make a living…”. At this point in the interview the video feed that Mir was on became very choppy and difficult to discern what he was saying but they were able to re-establish a connection with him over a phone line to continue. When Ariel asked for clarification due to the poor connection on whether the UFC had granted Mir his release yet, Mir responded: “No, as of right now I’m told they have to go back and look at the lawyers and figure out what course of action is permit-able.” He did raise the question of “who exactly are we waiting on” after talking about when he heard that Brock Lesnar will have the normal 4 month testing period of new/returning fighters waived to fight at UFC 200 and that the call for that was made by the UFC. He maintained however that he “knows that UFC 200 is a big deal and they have a lot on their plate so I’m just trying to be as patient as I possibly can and wait for my time to go in front of them and press the issue.” Mir did seem optimistic that the UFC brass would sympathise with his situation due to most of them being father’s themselves and realising “this doesn’t just affect me.”

Mir also spoke about how he “didn’t see a scenario where the odds were in my favor of winning” in regards to an appeal, stating again that he had to think of his children and his livelihood and that having to pay out-of-pocket during an appeal without a guarantee of a win wasn’t something he felt good about, which is ultimately why he decided against any sort of appeal.

As Mir himself stated, it is unlikely that this issue will be resolved during International Fight Week due to the multitude of events and other situations requiring the UFC brass’ attention. For his sake, hopefully, he won’t have too long afterwards to wait to find out what potential career options may hold, whether they’re with the UFC or elsewhere.

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2017 IMMAF World Championships: Finals fixtures

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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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Why It’s Time to Cherish Michael Bisping and Stop the Hate

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Ever since the Ultimate Fighter 3, Michael ‘The Count’ Bisping has been one of the most hated fighters on the UFC roster. Since he was painted as the big bad Brit against the American hero Dan Henderson, Bisping has been the villain. He has played up to the reputation of being one of the biggest heels in the UFC, with his arrogance, trash talk and often disrespectful attitude.

But nothing has summed up Michael Bisping more than the events of this past week. After losing his Middleweight Championship to Georges St. Pierre at UFC 217, no one would blame Bisping for wanting a few months on the couch whilst sinking a few beers before retiring at UFC London in March.

After hearing that Anderson Silva had tested positive for a banned substance, it was announced that Bisping would fill in for Silva to face Kelvin Gastelum in the main event of UFC Shanghai. A fight that nobody else would have wanted. A fight that he has less than three weeks to prepare for.

The fight does nothing for Bisping. Gastelum is a rising, rejuvenated contender and Bisping knows he can not take him lightly. But he’s also seven places below him in the rankings. Although, this doesn’t matter anymore as Bisping has announced this will be his second to last fight ever before hanging up his gloves.

Nothing sums Bisping up better than his comment on Gastelum’s Instagram post “See you in China. Loser buys the beers”.

He sounds relaxed. Perhaps he’s enjoying his last two fights and is at peace with his impending retirement.

In an era all about money, fighters like Bisping are rare and hard to come by. Fighters that only care about one thing, fighting.

Sure, his title reign wasn’t the best. But the UFC offered him the Henderson fight, to bring back some feeling of nostalgia that has been missing in the modern times of the UFC. And who in their right mind wouldn’t want to face one of the greatest ever in GSP.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – JULY 17: Michael Bisping of England steps on the scale during the UFC weigh-in inside the SSE Hydro on July 17, 2015 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

It’s easy to forget amongst all the trash talk that Bisping has always played by the rules, and been anti PEDs during a time when a majority of the roster was using some form of performance enhancers. Fighting PED users has given Bisping most of his losses and has even led to him losing sight in one of his eyes.

Most of Bisping’s outrageous acts, have been him using a ‘pro wrestling’ act in order to hype up his fights and put bums in seats. That isn’t an excuse for some of his obnoxious behaviour. But when he’s not in the zone, it’s clear to see what a respectful and humble man he is. Like his moment after UFC 217, where he approached Cody Garbrandt to tell him how proud he was of him, or his post fight respect for Anderson Silva, where they both bowed on their knees to one another.

This is me and Anderson exchanging respect while being attended to by the doctors.

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The truth is, Bisping is an incredible ambassador of the sport and one of the pioneers across the pond.

Bisping should be remembered and appreciated as the workhorse warrior who brought absolutely everything he had to the cage every time he fought. He always comes to fight, whether it’s three weeks notice or more. He’s simply tough as hell.

Believe you me Michael Bisping is a true old school legend of this sport and should be cherished whilst we still have him, cause we will miss him when he’s gone.

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Could Cynthia Calvillo set herself up for a shot at the title in 2018 with a win later this year?

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The end of 2017 is fast approaching and we’ve experienced some upsets in some of the recent cards. Not only did we witness three title changes at UFC 217 but we are also missing out on Frankie Edgar’s title shot at UFC 218 and Dominick Cruz being out of UFC 219. This bodes the question, who can finish the year with a triumphant win?

Maybe we’ll leave it to the ladies. Highly touted strawweight prospect Cynthia Calvillo is making waves throughout her division. Calvillo made her pro debut with “Global Knockout” August 27th, 2016 against Jessica Sanchez and got the win with a TKO in round two. She had two more fights in 2016, both of them she came out on top with an undefeated record of 3-0.

Calvillo made her UFC debut March 4th, 2017 just a month after signing her contract to UFC. She won her bout against Amanda “ABC” Cooper in round one with a rear naked choke showing everyone why she deserved to be in the octagon. Calvillo’s pro record now stood at 4-0. Her second UFC bout had her jump straight onto the main card fighting Pearl Gonzalez in which Calvillo dominated the fight and ended Gonzalez with another rear naked choke in round three. Displaying her strong submission game once again.

Not even halfway through 2017 and this prospect has certainly made herself known within the division. Originally from San Jose and fighting out of Sacramento, CA with the renowned Team Alpha Male, it’s no surprise she’s stacking the wins up already. She’s training under some of the best instructors in the business including Urijah Faber and Justin Buchholz, as well as training amongst some of the elite UFC fighters of the moment such as Cody Garbrandt, Darren Elkins, and Teruto Ishihara to name a few. Team Alpha Male is predominantly a male fight team and Calvillo says this has helped her on her way to success, fighting with the guys at Team Alpha Male has made her one tough cookie that’s not to be messed with.

In July 2017 Calvillo fought one of Scotland’s finest, Joanne Calderwood in Calderwood’s home city, Glasgow. Calvillo did not get the finish she wanted, however, did get the decision which put her record at 6-0. Not only did she snap up another win she now ranks at number 7 in her division and this is all within five months which is unheard of. This lady has clearly made herself right at home in the octagon.

While everyone was focusing on the title belt between Rose Namajunas and Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Cynthia has been creeping up those ranking and knocking fighters off their pedestals on her way. December 30th sees her fourth fight of the year against Carla Esparza who is currently ranked at number 8 in the division. If Calvillo defeats Esparza and gains another win she will hold a record of 7-0 and the only woman in the top ten of the Strawweight division to stay undefeated.

A win to top off her so far successful 2017 campaign could mean 2018 will be an even bigger year for this fearless fighter. Will anyone be able to stop he in tracks or could we see Calvillo go to the top in 2018?

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