In the media, we seem to focus a lot of coverage on the negative things happening in the world. There’s that journalism saying “If it bleeds, it leads.” MMA isn’t that much different.
Sure, bleeding is common in the sport, but when something bad happens that involves a fighter – most recently former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, the hit-and-run accident he was involved in and his subsequent suspension from the UFC – we tend to blow it up and cover it as much as we can. As we should because it’s big news. However the media sometimes overlooks the good things that athletes are doing. Part of it is because we are limited in staff and coverage. Another reason is that we don’t necessarily care to report on it, or we don’t think our readers will care.
One recent example of fighters doing something positive took place in the hours leading up to UFC Fight Night: Adelaide.
On MMA Junkie, there’s a video of UFC stars Alistair Overeem, Jessica Eye and Michael Chiesa – along with executive producer Tom Wright – cooking at the Sprout Kitchen in Hilton South Australia. As a part of the UFC’s Community Works Program, the fighters and Wright were working with OzHarvest, an organization that distributes excess food from commercial outlets to charities who in turn give it to the needy. The video itself has a few laughs though if you own a restaurant and are looking for a cook, I suggest giving Chiesa a call.
In all seriousness, these four were doing something good for the people of Austrailia, but this was just once instance where UFC fighters were helping a community. Established in 2011, the UFC’s Community Works Program was designed to help make contributions to cities in Canada to help at-risk youth. Since then the program has spread to several countries. Most recently hall of famer Forrest Griffin and several fighters visited the Hajime School Jiu-Jitsu in Poland. Before his bout with Dennis Siver, Connor McGregor spoke to youth in South Boston. Yes this is the same guy who stole Jose Aldo’s title during a press conference – and will have a chance of actually taking the belt from him in July.
There are other fighters who donate to charity on their own time. Women’s Bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey holds a “Free Rice” contest where she’ll donate rise to the World Food Programme. Other competitors like former UFC and WEC champion Carlos Condit, who visited a young fan recovering from brain surgery.
It’s easy to look these good deeds and say “Well they’re just doing to it for good publicity.” That’s true to some extent. However, to those who are on the receiving end of these acts of kindness, it’s means the world to them. Critics can say “Overeem should be training, he’ll never be champion.” Maybe not, but to some of those folks who will receive food from OzHarvest and are UFC fans, they can say “Overeem helped prepare my meal, thank you.” To the parents who listen to someone badmouth McGregor they can say “yeah he’s crazy but he helped keep my son on the straight and narrow.”
It also brings some good press to the sport and shows people who arent’ fans that not every fighter is a criminal like Jon Jones, Nick Diaz or War Machine.
We can’t cover everything that’s out there but we can strive to have a little more balance and shine a light on the good things that athletes are doing. The bad stuff is out there but it doesn’t make the good stuff any less important.
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.
Dillon Danis to make Pro debut against Kyle Walker at Bellator 198
Mixed Martial Arts officially adopted another incredibly talented jiu-jitsu practioner today. Bellator officials announced today the long-awaited debut of Dillon Danis, whom the promotion had signed in the year previous. After zero amateur and countless jiu-jitsu matches, Danis makes his debut at Bellator 198: Mir vs. Emelianenko, against Kyle Walker.
Kyle Walker enters the match up also making his Bellator debut. Walker recently made a resurgence in 2016 after taking off, almost exactly, 3 years. Since returning to the professional scene his record is 0-3, losing each fight by stoppage (2 Sub, 1 KO).
Walker looks to snap his streak yet, his opponent could provide a major challenge. In terms of advantages for Walker, he has a massive and obvious one. His experience. Walkers opponent fights for the first time in the sport of MMA. While Danis competed in many top-level jiu-jitsu tournaments and matches, comparing the competition would stop and end upon examining the rule sets. It is quite obvious, the difference. Danis will have a bit of adversity to overcome, in that respect.
In spite of this, Danis’ team, he trains out of the highly regarded SBG Ireland. Even before his MMA training, he trained under Marcelo Garcia. He earned his black belt in April of 2015, following an incredible 2014. In that year, Danis became UAEJJF World Champion, winning gold in the 82 kg (181 lb.) Brown belt category.
The prospect of what that could look like inside the cage is exciting. He may have developed some striking techniques but, the lack of time dedicated to that training in undeniable. Experience and time is required to develop skills of any kind.
Bellator 198: Mir vs. Emelianenko, takes place on Saturday, April 28th from the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois. Bellator 198 features the third of four preliminary bouts in the promotions Heavyweight Grand Prix, Fedor Emelianenko takes on Frank Mir. It serves as the nights main event. Other bouts on the card feature; Emmanuel Sanchez against Sam Sicilia, Neiman Gracie faces Javier Torres, Rafael Lavato Jr. vs. John Salter, and more.
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