In a week filled with so many bad news stories surrounding the sport I thought I would give the perspective of the Canadian MMA scene from an outsider who just spent the best part of a week immersed in it.
Since the ‘retirement’ of GSP many so called experts will tell you that Canadian MMA is in a bad place and that it’s current lack of star power is sending it in a one way direction into the doldrums of insignificance.
The argument for that can be some what backed up by the not particularly inspiring gate numbers of just 10,154 and $668,000 grossed this weekend. Taking those figures at face value however would be a total nonsense and let me tell you why.
We all know UFC 186 was the victim of some major roadblocks, namely the injury suffered by TJ Dillashaw and the removal of Rory MacDonald from the card. Being there this week I got to experience first hand how supportive the Canadian public and authorities are for MMA and that wasn’t just because the UFC were in town.
Last Friday I attended a seminar on the ‘Business of MMA’ held in the Jewish Chambers of Commerce in Montreal, hosted by Montreal’s own Ariel Helwani, with Tom Wright, David Loiseau and Forrest Griffin making up the rest of the panel. The event was attended by local business people, local education authorities and also local fans (and me from the UK!!)
Here the significance of MMA to Canada was underlined and the UFC officials were at the forefront of reaffirming how important it was to them as a market.
What became fast apparent was that the growth of MMA in Canada is mutually beneficial to both parties. For local Canadian communities it offers youths valuable life skills and structure, it also creates employment opportunities and tourism to any of the cities the roadshow rolls through. We could go on but as the panel outlined it’s an important industry to the country.
Of course the UFC also have much to benefit from with their continual investment. Though some would claim they haven’t treated it as a market their care about much recently with their removal of UFC 178 and their ‘weak’ card at UFC 186, Tom Wright confirmed they would be looking at other Canadian cities to take the franchise and that it was a market they still held in very high regard.
He also pointed at the fact that Olivier Aubin-mercier had just been made the latest face of their in-octagon apparel and headline sponsor Reebok. If you believe Oliveir this was something that took even him by surprise – check out our backstage interview with him from UFC 186 for evidence of that (See Here).
Suffice to say the UFC at least are still showing support for Canadian MMA even if it may not be too evident from recent events.
Canada may be lacking activity from their number 1 MMA star GSP at this point in time however by the end of the year it’s very likely he could be back in action given the way he was talking this weekend. See our media scrum with GSP HERE
Add the potential of a GSP return to the potential of them having a new UFC Welterweight Champion in Rory MacDonald come July you are looking at a scene just ready to spring back into a boom period.
All that and I’ve not even mentioned the fact that Chad Laprise, John Makdessi, Patrick Cote, Alexis Davis and Randa Markos were all victorious at the weekend. They also have a five time award winning MMA journalist of the year giving further credibility to their midst.
Now do you still want to tell me Canadian MMA is still struggling?? Let me know what you think @MMA_Jim
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
Why It’s Time to Cherish Michael Bisping and Stop the Hate
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.
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.
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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