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Mirko Cro Cop leaves the sport with no regrets

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It’s been three weeks since Mirko Cro Cop withdrew from his bout with Anthony Hamilton due to injury. He also very abruptly retired from mixed martial arts after he released a post on his website. During the 28-day period, a lot has happened with the UFC and PRIDE legend.

It was announced that Cro Cop, who cited his shoulder injury as the reason for his retirement, had failed an out-of-competition (a test he admitted he would fail before results were published) drug test administered by USADA, the promotion’s third party anti-doping agency. He was provisionally suspended by USADA for two years and the UFC claimed that was the actual reason for Cro Cop not fighting Hamilton at UFC Fight Night 79 in Seoul, South Korea this past weekend.

Appearing on Monday’s episode of the MMA Hour, Cro Cop announced that he had over-trained and would have pulled out of the fight regardless,

“And of course in the meantime I didn’t have time to make calls, because if I announced that on the doctor’s recommendation that I take some growth hormone to try to heal, it would be okay,” he told Ariel Helwani. “But it takes time. And I didn’t have that luxury of time. And they came to test me and I said I took it, and [they said] you took it and didn’t ask permission. But at the end of the day, I had an injury and definitely I wouldn’t be able to fight, and to wait another five or six months until the next fight when you are 41…I am just not able to make such a long break between two fights.”

Cro Cop (31-11-2) was last in action in April against his rival Gabriel Gonzaga. A rematch from their previous meeting at UFC 70 where Gonzaga upset Cro Cop via devastating high kick. The return bout went to the Croatian, in a very violent affair, Cro Cop stopped Gonzaga via third-round TKO. The win would make it three in a row for the 41-year old Cro Cop.

In what was a very celebrated 14-year career, the Croatian put on some the sport’s most violent and memorable performances. From the rings of PRIDE in Japan to the UFC’s Octagon around the world the 41-year old has no regrets about how his career ended, he went out on a winning note.

“Listen, that’s life, you know,” he said. “This is a violent sport, and in most of the cases the end is violent. You leave this sport either from injury, from serious injury — or you’ve lost three or four fights in a row and you’re employer doesn’t want to give you any more fights. That’s the sad truth about this sport. Either injury or you lost three or four fights and you get fired.

Of course, it would have been best if I could have finished all three fights on my contract with three victories and after the last fight in the cage say, okay guys, listen, this is my last fight. I’ll never fight again. But it’s not done that way.”

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Dana White

UFC to Sell #VegasStrong Shirts and Donate the Proceeds

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Our hearts are heavy this week as we remember our brothers and sisters that lost their lives in Las Vegas.

The perpetrator Stephen Paddock opened fire on a crowd of concertgoers from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel, killing 59 people and injuring over 500 more.

It was the largest mass shooting in Modern American history.

Dana White and the UFC were quick to step up as they donated $1M to the residents of Las Vegas who were affected by this tragedy. White has also stated that this weekend’s UFC 216 card will be “dedicated to the entire city of Las Vegas.”

The UFC and Fanatics have also teamed up to sell #VegasStrong shirts and 100% percent of the proceeds will be donated.

These shirts are available at UFCStore.com

#VegasStrong

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Conor McGregor

Dana White posts sparring footage of Conor McGregor and Paulie Malignaggi

Matthew Wells

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What happens in the gym, stays in the gym.

That is, until recently when Conor McGregor’s camp posted photos of his former training partner Paul Malignaggi on the receiving end of what looked to be a knockdown during a sparring session. McGregor, preparing for the blockbuster fight against Floyd Mayweather taking place on August 26, brought in Malinaggi to help sharpen and test his skills in preparation for the boxing contest.

However, when pictures of their sparring battles surfaced, painting Malignaggi in a negative light. The former IBF/WBA World Champion boxer turned analyst took to social media to defend himself stating the images were taken out of context, sparking controversy.

Late Friday evening, UFC President Dana White out all of the rumors to bed by taking to Instagram to post a pair of clips from their sparring session, most notably, the infamous “knock down” that Malignaggi defended adamantly.

Video 1: The video shows McGregor blasting Malignaggi with a hard left hand that popped his head back and then following up with a series of punches causing Malignaggi to retreat from the pressure.

 

Video 2: The knockdown. Conor hits Malignaggi with a punching combination, sending the former boxing champion to the canvas.

While the knock down does come after a series of punches from McGregor, Malignaggi was not completely knocked out. With this video evidence coming to light, it seems the UFC Lightweight Champion’s hands may be better prepared for the upcoming fight against one of boxing’s best than previously thought.

Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather takes place on August 26, 2017 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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Contender Series

Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series – Week 2 Recap

Matthew Wells

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The second week of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series provided some incredible moments from fighters looking to earn their shot in the UFC.

With five fights on the docket and Dana White handing out only one, possibly two UFC contracts at the end of the show, fighters not only had to win their fights, but make a statement to impress the boss. If nobody makes a strong enough impression, White could also decide to not award anyone with a contract.

That was not the case on Week 2 thanks to three exciting finishes.

Sean O’Malley said in video packages in the lead up that he shows up to knock people out and he did exactly that with an exciting first round finish of Alfred Khashakyan. O’Malley kept his undefeated record in tact by utilizing hard, fight-ending strikes that sent his opponent to the canvas in the closing minute of the first round. A hard right hand dropped Khashakyan for good and O’Malley ran over towards Dana White to let him know he’s ready for his shot.

The Ultimate Fighter 22 veteran Thanh Le got the fans on their feet with his impressive finish of Lazar Stojadinovic, and made his case with Laura Sanko for Dana White to give him a contract.  Stojadinovic, a solid boxer began fighting angry in the second round after getting caught with a few clean strikes, which only left more openings for Le. Moments later, Le would land a beautiful kick followed up by hard strikes to get the second-round stoppage.

Daniel Spohn, after a rough start to his fight against Angel De Anda, recovered from illegal blows to the back of the head to lock in a submission in the first round. Referee Big John McCarthy paused the action after three illegal blows by De Anda, and once the action resumed, Spohn blitzed across the cage to unleash strikes and eventually find the arm triangle submission.

At the conclusion of the show, Dana White decided to give Sean O’Malley an opportunity on the big stage by awarding him with a UFC contract due to his flashy, exciting style inside the Octagon.

Below are the full results of Week 2:

  • Daniel Spohn (16-5) vs. Angel De Anda (18-6)
    • Result: Daniel Spohn def. Angel De Anda via Submission (Arm Triangle), Round 1 – 3:10
  • Sean O’Malley (8-0) vs. Alfred Khashakyan (8-4)
    • Result: Sean O’Malley def. Alfred Khashakyan via KO (Punch), Round 1 – 4:14
  • Thanh Le (7-1) vs. Lazar Stojadinovic (15-6)
    • Result: Thanh Le def. Lazar Stojadinovic via KO (Strikes), Round 2 – 1:35
  • Sidney Outlaw (9-4) vs. Michael Cora (4-2)
    • Result: Sidney Outlaw def. Michael Cora via Unanimous Decision (29-27, 29-28, 29-27)
  • CJ Hamilton (11-5) vs. Casey Kenney (7-0-1)
    • Result: Casey Kenney def. CJ Hamilton via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
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