Archive for the ‘MMA’ Category

Joanna Jedrzejczyk knows better than most that it takes an enormous amount of commitment to be an accomplished MMA fighter.

That’s why, more than a decade into her pro career, the former UFC strawweight champion decided to walk away from the sport following a knockout loss to Zhang Weili at UFC 275 on Saturday.

“I’ve been in this business for the last 19 years,” Jedrzejczyk said at the postfight press conference, according to MMA Fighting. “Lots of investment from myself. It’s time to fully enjoy my life.

“Honestly, I had no time to sit on it and think about my legacy, how big it is. I’m a hard worker, and I always dedicate myself. I give as much as I can, and I get as much as I can in the same way. But now, it’s time to really, fully enjoy it.”

Jedrzejczyk was a trailblazer for the 115-pound division. Carla Esparza became the inaugural champion after winning “The Ultimate Fighter 20” in 2014, but it was Jedrzejczyk who put the division on the map. She took the title from Esparza in 2015 and defended it a record five times until losing to Rose Namajunas in 2017.

When asked what she wants her legacy to be, the Poland native said she simply hopes MMA fans recognize and appreciate all that it takes to be a fighter.

“I want people to look at the athletes who are winning or losing as hard workers,” Jedrzejczyk said. “People don’t see the preparation. People see only the (result) – you win or you lose in this sport.”

Reflecting on her rise in MMA to become one of the greatest women’s fighters in history, Jedrzejczyk said she wants people to know that “everything and anything is possible.”

“It doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re from, what color is your skin, what religion you believe in, what your gender is. You can make it,” Jedrzejczyk said. “I’m from a small city in Poland. I was dreaming about the trip to the United States when I was a little girl. Every time I closed my eyes, I saw a panorama of Manhattan.

“A few years later, my picture was hanging at Times Square before (UFC) 205 or another event. Dreams are coming true, but we have to work hard and really believe. I’m proud of myself.”

Jedrzejczyk said she plans to stay involved with the UFC in retirement and will attend upcoming events such as International Fight Week, the London card, and the promotion’s debut in Paris. She added that she wants to pursue a career in management.

“It’s been an honor for me. I will (be) a UFC soldier forever,” Jedrzejczyk said.

Tony Ferguson got a lot off his chest ahead of his first UFC fight in almost a year.

The lightweight contender, who returns to action against Michael Chandler at UFC 274 on Saturday in Phoenix, said he believes fighters in the promotion are underpaid.

Ferguson also blasted UFC president Dana White for not allowing him to compete in boxing – or other professional sports – while under contract with the UFC.

“Dana said something the other day … talking about how boxers are overpaid,” Ferguson told reporters Wednesday, per MMA Fighting. “I asked Dana to box. He said, ‘Fuck no.’ I’m like, ‘Why?’

“I wanted to go play baseball. I wanted to go do other sports. I’m an athlete. … But then I have this guy right here acting like a fucking drug dealer telling me I can’t go and do this shit. I want to go make more money for my family.”

Regarding his frustration with the UFC, “El Cucuy” said he’s not alone.

“A lot of fighters have been keeping their mouths shut for a long time,” Ferguson said. “You should ask some of the other fighters that have been fucking treated like shit for a long time, too. Because I’m not the only one thinking it or fucking saying it or seeing it.”

Ferguson, a former interim champion, will look to snap his three-fight losing streak against Chandler.

Saturday’s event features a lightweight title fight between Charles Oliveira and Justin Gaethje.

UFC star Conor McGregor faces six charges stemming from his March arrest for dangerous driving in Ireland, a court spokesperson told ESPN’s Marc Raimondi on Thursday.

The Blanchardstown District Court is charging the 33-year-old with two counts of dangerous driving and one count each of driving without a license, failure to produce a license, driving without insurance, and failure to produce insurance records.

McGregor was arrested March 22 while driving to his gym and was later released on bail. His case will be remanded until June 23.

The former two-division champion has been preparing for a return to the Octagon since recovering from a broken leg. He suffered the injury in July 2021 while fighting Dustin Poirier at UFC 264.

McGregor was stripped of his driver’s license in 2018 after a previous incident in Ireland and has faced other legal troubles in recent years.

Ronda Rousey may be a member of the UFC Hall of Fame, but UFC bantamweight champion Julianna Pena isn’t impressed by the legacy “Rowdy” left behind in MMA.

Fresh off spending a weekend in Dallas for WrestleMania, where she watched Rousey fall short in a pro wrestling match against WWE star Charlotte Flair, Pena took aim at the former UFC titleholder on The MMA Hour and issued an open challenge for Rousey to try to pen a better final chapter in MMA than the 0-2 slump that ended her UFC career in 2016.

“Ronda is so old news, right?” Pena said on Monday’s episode of The MMA Hour. “I think that what’s incredible about her is that she opened up the door and was destroying people in 10 seconds, and became a star because she was demolishing people in the first round, and that’s great — but she got knocked out twice and never came back. So how legit is she?

“She had to go to pro wrestling. And I get that and I think that that’s great. But as a fighter and somebody who is competitive, I know that — deep down — it probably truly bothers her, the fact that she went away off of two knockout losses and never came back to make her name good. If it really truly does bother her and if it gets under her skin at the end of the day to know that, you know, her legacy is kind of ruined by the fact that she never came back and never got back on the horse, then I would like to invite her to please come back — and if she would like to come back, I would welcome her with open arms.”

Rousey memorably left the MMA world in 2016 following back-to-back knockout losses to Holly Holm and Amanda Nunes, the latter of which lasted just 48 seconds. Rousey had risen to be one of the biggest stars in combat sports prior to those career-ending setbacks, having kicked off her MMA run with a 12-0 record that included 11 first-round stoppages and multiple headlining spots on major UFC pay-per-views. Rousey’s breakout as Strikeforce champion in 2012 is also what convinced UFC president Dana White to ultimately open the doors for women’s divisions in the UFC, and her impact in that regard cannot be overstated.

Still, Rousey’s exit from MMA was ignominious, to say the least, and Pena believes the reality of that fact must continue to eat away at the former UFC champion.

“That’s what I’m saying, she’s kind of a joke in the MMA world now, because she’s a — what is the word? — sellout,” Pena said of Rousey. “Like, a little bit of a sellout there. I mean, I guess I understand, right? It’s like, pro wrestling is fake, you get paid millions of dollars, I get it. But for me, for real shit, for like the ‘you’re the real, real deal,’ I would say that that’s in the UFC. And if she ever wants any of that real smoke, I’m ready.”

The likelihood of Rousey ever returning to MMA is slim. She’s currently busy with a full-time schedule in the WWE, and Pena, likewise, is readying to put her UFC title on line this summer in a rematch against Nunes. Pena and Nunes are also dueling coaches on the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter 30, which is set to begin airing in May.

So even if Rousey never takes Pena up on her offer, the bantamweight champ still considers herself a fan of the woman who helped put female athletes on the map in the UFC.

“I thought she had a great [WrestleMania] match,” Pena said. “I thought she was very good, yes. And this is just from girl to girl as a fan — I’m a fan and I think that she’s great and I’m happy for her, and I think that it’s awesome what she’s doing in the WWE — but as a fan, she either needs to be more comfortable in her own skin or needs to figure out a different attire, because every move that she does, there becomes a wardrobe fix. You know what I mean?

“Wear something that you’re comfortable with. Wear something that you love and that you’re not going to have to constantly be yanking at your clothes the entire match. You didn’t see Charlotte Flair one time touch anything that she was wearing, it was just all about the match. But Ronda’s constantly pulling. So wear something that you’re comfortable in so that you don’t have to do that, because it just takes away a little bit.”

Former UFC title challenger Chael Sonnen faces nearly a dozen charges stemming from a December incident in Las Vegas.

According to online court records, Sonnen was hit with 10 misdemeanor charges of battery and one felony charge of battery by strangulation. He is due for his initial court appearance April 27 in Las Vegas. TMZ Sports on Tuesday was first to report the filings, which occurred March 14.

The alleged incident took place Dec. 18 at the Four Seasons hotel. Initially facing five misdemeanor battery counts for alleged altercations with five separate individuals, Sonnen had the charges “dismissed by the court without prejudice.” There was a possibility that the charges could be refiled at a later date.

Police told MMA Fighting in January that Sonnen never was arrested or placed in jail, but he was issued citations and escorted off the property. A video published by TMZ Sports shows a man who appears to be Sonnen being escorted down a hallway with his hands behind his back and T-shirt around his shoulders.

Sonnen, 44, has not competed since 2019 but has served in an analyst role for various stations and promotions, including the UFC and Bellator, as well as heading grappling promotion Submission Underground. He has not yet commented on the charges filed against him.

Former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov came to the defense of Jorge Masvidal following his arrest on Wednesday.

“Gamebred” was taken into police custody following a reported altercation with UFC welterweight opponent Colby Covington at a Miami Beach restaurant Monday.

Covington alleged that Masvidal punched him twice in the face. The report also states Covington suffered a fractured tooth and wrist abrasion.

Nurmagomedov was surprised the police became involved in the altercation. He also suggests that other welterweights should decline to fight Covington.

If you are stronger than someone inside the Octagon, it does not mean you can insult his children. No one has the right to insult someone’s family. Once you have gone down that path, then be ready to back up your words. You were attacked by professional fighter, the same as you are, your own size, and you go press charges against him to the police? I think all welterweights should refuse to fight Colby, just don’t accept fights with him, let him sit without a fight, it will probably significantly affect him and all fighters who even think of insulting families, who is provoking the fighters to look for someone in restaurants to deal with him.

Masvidal, 37, was arrested and charged with one count of aggravated battery resulting in great bodily harm and one count of criminal mischief. He was released Thursday after bail was set at $15,000.

The former friends turned bitter rivals squared off in the Octagon at UFC 272 on March 5. Covington emerged victorious with a unanimous decision in the five-round main event.

In the leadup to the bout, Covington mentioned Masvidal’s wife and called him “a deadbeat dad,” among other insults, according to Farah Hannoun of MMA Junkie.

UFC star Jorge Masvidal was arrested Wednesday and charged with one count of aggravated battery resulting in great bodily harm and one count of criminal mischief, according to Nolan King of MMA Junkie, citing public online records.

The arrest stems from an alleged altercation between Masvidal and UFC star Colby Covington at a Miami Beach restaurant Monday night.

Masvidal pleaded not guilty to the charges and was released from custody Thursday morning on $15,000 bail, according to ESPN’s Marc Raimondi.

His next court appearance is now set for April 21.

The Miami Beach Police Department began investigating the case Tuesday, identifying Masvidal as the suspect and Covington as the victim in the incident.

According to a police report, Covington alleged Masvidal ran up from the victim’s left at the Papi Steak restaurant and punched him twice in the face. The report also states Covington suffered a fractured tooth and wrist abrasion.

Charges were not immediately filed after police arrived at the scene.

Covington and Masvidal, who’ve become bitter rivals in recent years, recently fought in their long-awaited grudge match at UFC 272 on March 5. Covington dominated the welterweight bout en route to a unanimous decision victory.

UFC star Conor McGregor was arrested and charged with dangerous driving in Ireland on Tuesday, reports Robin Schiller of the Irish Independent.

McGregor, 33, also reportedly saw his car briefly seized after being pulled over by police. He was later released on bail and, if found guilty, faces a maximum punishment of a fine up to €5,000 ($5,500) or six months imprisonment or both, adds Schiller.

A police spokesman confirmed to Schiller that they detained and charged a man aged in his 30s on Tuesday evening due to an incident of dangerous driving.

McGregor spokesperson Karen Kessler addressed the report in a statement Wednesday.

“Mr. McGregor was driving to the gym when he was stopped by Gardai for alleged road traffic violations. He passed the drug and alcohol tests taken at the station,” the statement reads, according to ESPN’s Marc Raimondi.

McGregor is reportedly set to appear in court in April.

The former UFC champion previously lost his license in 2018 and faced a fine after reportedly driving over the speed limit, per MMA Fighting’s Damon Martin.

McGregor is expected to return to the Octagon at some point in 2022. He’s currently recovering from a broken leg suffered in his most recent fight against Dustin Poirier last July.

Former WWE Champion Alberto Del Rio is set to become one of the Spanish commentators for UFC, according to Lucha Libre Online.

The report noted that Del Rio will be on commentary for this Saturday’s UFC Fight Night: Volkov vs. Aspinall, which will be headlined by the heavyweight clash between Alexander Volkov and Tom Aspinall. The event will be held at the O2 Arena in London, England.

It was noted that while Del Rio has inked a short-term deal with the MMA promotion, there is interest from both sides for a potential long-term partnership.

The report added that Del Rio will also be calling the action for Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC) in the near future.

Del Rio is no stranger to the world of MMA. In 2019, he was involved in a highly-publicized catchweight fight against former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Tito Ortiz. Del Rio lost the bout via first round submission. Del Rio also fought several times for Pride Fighting Championships in the early 2000s. In 2016, he was temporarily named the President of MMA promotion Combate Americas.

Last December, Alberto Del Rio was cleared of all kidnapping and sexual assault charges leveled against him by his ex-girlfriend. Since then, Del Rio has expressed his desire to return to WWE or join AEW. However, a report noted that WWE, Impact Wrestling, AEW and MLW have zero interest in signing Del Rio.

If further proof were needed that professional wrestlers are a magnet for vile online abuse, here it is.

Per a study from BonusFinder, who used a Twitter listening tool to analyse tweets sent to female athletes, WWE’s Ronda Rousey receives a higher percentage of negative tweets than anyone else – regardless of sport. The outlet’s data shows that a staggering 83.1% of tweets sent to the SmackDown Women’s Title contender were negative in tone.

In second place with 76.19% is Becky Lynch.

Olympian Simone Biles received a higher volume of negative tweets with 9.165 out of 14,077, though her percentage was considerably lower than the WWE wrestlers at 65.11%. Obviously, that’s still a repulsively high number.

Above all else, the study serves to highlight the volume of abuse sent to female athletes online. This appears to be heightened in pro wrestling, given Rousey and Lynch’s percentages, even with the two currently operating on different sides of the face/heel alignment scale.

Rousey is currently lined-up to challenge SmackDown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair as a babyface at WrestleMania 38. Lynch, a heel, defends her Raw belt against Bianca Belair at the same event.