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Vitor Cancels MMA Hour Interview Over Potential TRT Discussion

AJ Camacho

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Since last Wednesday former UFC champion, Vitor Belfort, was booked as a guest for The MMA Hour. The interview was scheduled in anticipation for his pending November 7th bout with Dan Henderson but was canceled today just moments before he was to go on with Ariel Helwani.

The interview was scheduled via Vitor Belfort’s wife, Brazilian actress Joana Prado. However, she proceeded to cancel the interview once it became clear that Vitor’s TRT test results would be a topic of discussion.

As early as Sunday, Ariel suspected that there might be a problem when Joana would not reply to his text messages. It is common for Ariel to confirm his interviews so when Joana failed to respond, he began to suspect that something was up. It wasn’t unheard of for a guest to miss his confirmation message and still make the interview, but it was not typical of his past correspondence with Joana and Vitor.

At 11 AM, just before Ariel was to enter the MMA Hour studio, he received a rather loaded text message from Joana. Ariel read the text message verbatim live on air during his MMA Hour podcast.

“Just to make sure, he will be talking ONLY about his upcoming fight, right?” – Vitor’s wife Joana Prado

Ariel then explained how the interview would not solely be based on questions about Vitor’s steroid test but that it would be an important part of the discussion. This response didn’t seem to satisfy Vitor’s wife as it became apparent that she was expecting a softball interview for her husband.

“Can you send me the questions? I thought the interview was based on his next fight.” – Joana Prado

As an interviewer, it is not uncommon for someone to ask you for a copy of the questions prior to the interview. To be honest, some of us do indeed show our subject the questions so that they may be more informed and capable of giving a more in depth response. However, it is typically reputation suicide to allow the subject to vet your questions prior to the interview.

In MMA Media, for the most part, we function as an echo chamber for the UFC’s press releases. Our audience relies on us for this PR regurgitated content and we happily oblige in order for our websites to provide as much comprehensive coverage as possible (even if we didn’t find the scoop). Our one on one interactions with our subject is really where our integrity is built and retained. To give away that dignity is to completely turn oneself into a shill. A shill for the athlete, the manager, the UFC, or even just an energy drink.

Maybe it’s for this reason that Ariel does not write his questions in advance, a detail he explained during the broadcast. It would seem to be an easy stance to fall back on as I imagine that he receives these sort of softball requests every week if not every other day. By not having questions to actually vet, no one could blame you for being incapable of handing them over.

Ariel’s insistence on the TRT issue would be the deal breaker for the interview. Joana would cancel Vitor’s appearance moments before going on air, in a way that implied that her expectations were reasonable.

“I’m sorry Ariel, we can schedule for tomorrow when he is going to have a media day with the UFC. I thought I could count on you, as you could always count on us. – Joana Prado”

The rather cryptic response didn’t seem to please Ariel as his attitude seemed to sour just reading the text message. Joana’s message was polite, but the message was clear. It basically said, “Play my way or we don’t play.” Joana’s allusion to some sort of quid pro quo relationship (or at the very least the termination of one) was not only off-putting but said a lot about Vitor’s expectations from the media and Ariel was not pleased.

“I don’t even know what that means,” stated Ariel during his podcast. “I’m not the one who backed out from the interview. I’m not the one who put any stipulations on the interview. So, I’m not sure I understood that last line or appreciated it.

Vitor is expected to appear at the UFC’s media event tomorrow (10/27/15) where Joana said that Ariel could ask his TRT related questions. It will be interesting to see if this rather public interview cancellation will be more of a discussion than the fight itself.

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Fight Announcements

Stipe Miocic vs. Francis Ngannou Official for UFC 220

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UFC 220 in Boston, Massachusetts has its main event. Stipe Miocic (17-2) will put his belt on the line for the third time against rising heavyweight star, Francis Ngannou (11-1)

Rumors surrounded the match-up for UFC 220 after Ngannou’s first round knockout over Alistair Overeem, at UFC 218. The Cameroonian heavyweight called for the fight himself. In his octagon interview proceeding his most recent victory, Ngannou stated:

“I’m feeling good… I’m on my way to a title shot”.

The heavy handed Ngannou has finished all of his opponents in all of his six UFC bouts. A streak which includes a kimura submission over Anthony Hamilton and a TKO victory against former UFC heavyweight champion, Andrei Arlovski. Overall, he holds a ten fight win streak. His only defeat came by way of unanimous decision to Zoumana Cisse, in his second professional MMA fight.

If victorious, Ngannou would become the first African-born champion in UFC history.

Not to be diminished, Stipe Miocic rides his a streak of his own into the beantown match-up. Five consecutive wins, five knockouts and the past four of which, ended in the first round. A victory in Boston for the champ would make him the longest reigning heavyweight champion in UFC history. Currently, Miocic is one of three heavyweights, in the promotions entirety, whom has successfully defended the belt twice.

UFC 220 will be held at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts on January 20th, 2018. The pay-per-view (PPV) card will also feature light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, as he faces challenger Volkan “No Time” Oezdemir.

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Events

Ladies Fight Night 7: “Double Trouble” Preview

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Polish women’s federation Ladies Fight Night is going to celebrate their second birthday this year on the 15th to 17th of December. Two days, two events with a lot of great bouts.

LFN in Poland is being titled the new Invicta FC. The Polish owners created this federation to give European women a chance to fight on a big platform.

Hosting their first ever event in December 2015, LFN will hold two great cards next week, that will feature women who have fought under many prestigious promotions, such as the UFC, Invicta, Bellator, Glory, and Kunlun.

Two days of fantastic fights, intensified by a double dose of sports impressions. The name is not accidental, LFN 7 / LFN 8 combines two events, during which the best Polish fighters will be shown, as well as the best fighters from Europe (including France, Sweden, Italy, the Czech Republic and Romania)

The stakes are high, and we are electrified by the clashes between warriors such as Żaneta Cieśla vs Silvia La Notte and Patricia Axling vs. Cindy Silvestri. Mainly due to their vastness of their experience in the cage.

In the fight of the evening, the talented Romanian Cristina Stanciu will face Magdaléna Šormovádo. Stanciu fought twice in the UFC, but she was unfortunately cut from the promotion after suffering consecutive losses to Cortney Casey and Maryna Moroz.

Judyta Rymarzak vs Marta Waliczek is an amazing fight between two experienced kickboxers. Both making their pro MMA debuts on the night, we will witness a one-of-a-kind duel between two kickboxing perfectionists, as they look to transcend their skills into the MMA world.

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Invicta

Mackenzie Dern victorious in Invicta debut 

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Late Friday night, Mackenzie Dern (5-0, 1-0 Invicta FC) won her co-main event booking, defeating Kaline Medieros (8-6, 2-2 Invicta FC), at Invicta FC 26: Maia vs. Niedzwiedz, via submission (armbar) with only fifteen seconds remaining in the fight.

Much of the fight was controlled by Dern. The heralded prospect displayed her power, visibly damaging her opponent with multiple overhand rights. Striking is an under-developed aspect of her attack, only when compared to the twenty-four-year-olds black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Above all, she showed a progression of her striking skills. Dern looked to be bigger and physically stronger than her veteran opponent. She utilized forward pressure and found the proper timing for her overhand right throughout.

The veteran Medeiros showed her toughness throughout the fight. She defended and scrambled out of some bad positions during the grappling exchanges. Ultimately, she tapped when caught in a deeply planted armbar.  While Medeiros did earn a few hard trip takedowns, it factored minimally in the result as she refused to follow Dern to the mat. The Boston native suffered her second straight loss, Friday night. Her first was to, former Invicta strawweight champion, Angela Hill.

Dern made her professional debut in July of 2016 with Legacy Fighting Alliance (previously: Legacy Fighting Championship). In her debut, she defeated Kenia Rosas by unanimous decision. The Phoenix-born fighter won her next three bouts. Before her MMA career began, Dern won the ADCC (Abu Dhabi Combat Club) championship at 60 kg. She was the first American born female to become champion at the weight. Her grappling resume boasts many more incredible accomplishments. Justifiably, a growing spotlight now hangs over her, her skills, and potential in the sport of MMA.

Elsewhere on the Invicta 26 card, Jennifer Maia defeated Agnieszka Niedzweidz by unanimous decision. Maia retained her Invicta flyweight belt, defending it for the second time. Invicta FC 26: Maia vs. Niedzweidz, took place at the Scottish Rite Temple in Kansas City, Missouri.

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