After failing to come to terms with the UFC, Gegard Mousasi has decided to team up with Scott Coker once more by signing a multi-fight deal with Bellator MMA.
‘The Dreamcatcher’ is currently ranked #4 on the UFC’s middleweight ranking and also holds a five-fight winning streak over the likes of former UFC champions Vitor Belfort and Chris Weidman.
Confirming earlier reports to Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, Mousasi outlined how talks fell apart between himself and the UFC.
“I went to the [UFC Athlete] retreat because I wanted to have a meeting with Dana White (UFC president) and UFC lawyers,” Mousasi explained. “We were close. We negotiated up until the end but the best choice for me was to go to Bellator.”
“I worked before with Scott Coker so I have no problems going with Bellator. I know how I’m going to get treated in Bellator and the opportunities I’ll get there. After the [Chris Weidman] fight, all the options were open and I wanted to have the best deal for me and at the end, Bellator was the better offer for me.
“The UFC was getting close to the Bellator offer at the end but it’s not just the money. I’ve worked with Scott; when Scott promises you something, he delivers. He’s an honest guy, he treats fighters with respect and that’s one of the things that was very important for me to go to Bellator. The money wasn’t just the factor. You’ve never heard one fighter talk bad about Scoott Coker.”
The Dutch fighter had previously talked of his want to re-sign with the UFC but was publicly honest about his disappointment with their offer.
““We want to sign with the UFC,” Mousasi had told ‘UFC Tonight’. “UFC wants to sign also, so I don’t know. They should pay. I’m co-main event all the time, so it’s not like people don’t know me. [The offer] is not good. We don’t like it.”
With the former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion now signed to Bellator however, Mousasi would go on to explain on The MMA Hour why his desire to stay with the WME-IMG banner waned in recent time.
“The UFC had always treated me well to be honest. Dana White has alwasy talked good about me. I’m thankful to them. I’m at this point because they gave me the opportunities to be where I’m at now,” Mousasi said. “The thing is with the middleweight division, (Robert) Whittaker won against Jacare (Souza) and he skipped three places in the rankings and fought for the interim title. I thought I was ahead of him, that’s my opinion. I respect Whittaker, congratulations for winning the belt but I think if they would have come to me and said ‘You’re fighting for the interim belt’ things would have been more interesting to me. Those things matter.”
Joining the likes of Rory MacDonald and Ryan Bader to jump ship from the UFC, Mousasi spoke glowingly of his new promotion and the ‘more open minded’ approach that Bellator would afford him.
“Eventually, maybe, a fight against Rory MacDonald is a possibility. It’s the same thing the UFC did, Michael Bisping vs Georges St-Pierre but I think me versus MacDonald would be much better because we are both in our primes,” Mousasi said. “It creates oportunites. I get something to say. I can say I want to go up a division, there’s superfights to be made. I could fight Wanderlei (Silva), not because he’s in his prime but because he has a big name. I could even fight heavyweight, I’m open to it. Thats the good thing about Bellator, I can ask for things. It’s more open minded. The UFC is very strict about those things… those things make me happy to go to Bellator.
“To be honest, my feeling was to go with Bellator all the way from the beginning. I’ve worked with Scott before… with Bellator I can grow with the company. Why would a fighter choose to not go to Bellator where they would be treated better. I want to do my part to make Bellator bigger.”
Mousasi would also speak about his hopes to fight Bellator’s middleweight champion, Rafael Calvalho, and light heavyweight champion, Ryan Bader, during his Bellator tenure but provided a succint summary of the news that he has signed with Bellator MMA:
“I’m here to fight. I’m a fighter. I believe I will be champion there. I believe I could have been champion in the UFC also. I’ll take whoever they put in front of me.”
UFC Announces Liverpool Event, Darren Till Main Event
Scousers are drowning in celebration this evening. Earlier today, UFC officials announced the addition of a Liverpool show to their 2018 event calendar. Liverpool’s, Echo Arena, plays host for the event, which takes place on May 27th.
Liverpool’s own, Darren Till made the announcement this afternoon with Dan Hardy at the UFC Fight Night: Werdum vs. Volkov, ceremonial weigh-in. When asked by Hardy what it means to have the UFC in Liverpool, he had this to day, “Words can’t describe it. It doesn’t do it justice, words. So, it’s coming and I’m going to be the first Scousers to ever have done it. In 200 years they’re going to remember my name in combat sports in Liverpool. I’m gonna take someones chin off in Liverpool, that’s what’s happening”.
He was also quoted in an release from the promotion saying, “I can’t believe UFC is finally coming to Liverpool and I’m going to be headlining Echo Arena. My name is going to be remembered in 200 years time for being part of this historical event and I can’t even describe how much that means to me”. Till will headline the card, his opponent is yet to be announced.
In the official release, it quotes David Shaw, Senior Vice President International and Content, claiming, “The stars really aligned for the Octagon to touch down in Liverpool. We have seen such phenomenal demand from fans in the region for a live event. Pair that with having such a rising, local star in Darren Till it made absolute sense to bring our first live event to this historical combat sports city in 2018”.
UFC Liverpool lands on a date speculated for a different venue, in a different country. Reports swirled last month, specifically one from MMAFighting.com, which claimed the May 27th date belonged to the UFCs return to Dublin. A return to Dublin doesn’t seem to fall completely out of the realm of possibility. For now, it remains to be seen.
The UFC also announced two bouts, both in the Middleweight division, booked for the event. Elias Therodorou takes on Trevor Smith, and Daniel Kelly goes up against England’s Tom Breese.
Marco Reyes Flagged for Potential Anti-Doping Policy Violation
Earlier today, UFC officials announced that Lightweight, Marco Reyes was flagged for a potential UFC Anti-Doping Policy violation. The potential violation hails from a sample collected on March 8th, 2018, in an out-of-competition test.
Reyes made his way into the UFC through The Ultimate Fighter Latin America, season 2. Competing in the lightweight bracket, Reyes defeated Christhian Soto by 2nd rd. TKO of a preliminary round bout. He then went onto to face Horacio Gutiérrez, in the semifinals of the tournament. Gutiérrez defeated Reyes in the opening round by TKO.
Following his elimination from the tournament, the Mexican fighter met Cezar Arzamendia on the series finale, The Ultimate Fighter Latin America 2 Finale. Reyes impressively defeated Arzamendia, whom was the first overall pick for Team Gastelum, by 1st round KO.
From there, Reyes defeated Dong Hung Kim (rd. 1, KO), and Jason Novelli (Split Decision) respectively, before falling to rising contender James Vick. Most recently, the Lightweight fighter dispatched Matt Frevola in the opening round, ruining the Long Islanders promotional debut. His bout against Frevola took place at UFC Fight Night: Stephens vs. Choi, on January 14th of this year.
The UFC statement on the matter reads as follows:
The UFC organization was notified today that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has informed Marco Reyes of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from an out-of-competition sample collected on March 8, 2018.
USADA, the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, will handle the results management and appropriate adjudication of this case involving Reyes. Under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, there is a full and fair legal process that is afforded to all athletes before any sanctions are imposed. Additional information will be provided at the appropriate time as the process moves forward.
Rhode Island Prospect John Douma Booked for CES 49 against Zach Burhans
The New England regional MMA scene has been fairly quiet this month. Such a description won’t be apt one month from now. As the days fade away from the month of March, the two most prominent organizations of this region gear up for early April events. The CES MMA promotion holds CES 49, on the first Friday of April (April 6th). CES 49 takes place in its hub venue, Twin River Casino, in Lincoln, Rhode Island.
Yesterday, CES officials announced John Douma, a highly regarded pro featherweight prospect, makes his third appearance for the MMA promotion, when he faces Zach Burhans at CES 49.
For John Douma, he looks to continue his career with an undefeated record. At 2-0, Douma owns two stoppage victories, both coming in the first round (1 KO/TKO, 1 Sub). Born and raised in Wyckoff, Rhode Island, Douma is the New England regions 18th ranked pro Featherweight (Rankings by Tapology.com). A lofty ranking for a 21-year-old with only two professional fights on his record. Especially so in the regions most prominent professional division.
Zach Burhans comes into next months match with a similar amount of experience. Burhans has four professional fights in his arsenal of experience with a record of 3-1. Twice that of his opponent, but two times a small number is still a small number. The New York fighter makes his promotional debut at next months CES 49.
Surprisingly, Burhans has not fought since his last loss, which came in March of 2011. The loss was the first of his four fight pro career. It also was the first fight for Burhans since August of 2009. At CES 49, he ends his second hiatus from professional mixed martial arts. His second and most recent break from the sport was his longest. Burhans did not compete from March 2011, until next months CES MMA card. Making the span between his most recent and upcoming, around 6 years and nine months.
CES 49 takes place at Twin River Casino in Lincoln, Rhode Island on April 6th. Other bouts featured on the card include, #1 ranked New England Lightweight, Nate Andrews takes on Chris Padilla for the promotions vacant Lightweight title. Kaline Medeiros attempts to bounce back following her 3rd round submission loss to rising star, Mackenzie Dern at Invicta 26, when she faces 11th ranked pound-for-pound New England women’s fighter, Jenna Serio. Also, Chris Curtis goes up against Jason Norwood in a main card Welterweight clash.
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