UFC president Dana White has revealed that the UFC could host full arena events "by this summer" — Fightful has you covered on the UFC and all of the other news in the world of combat sports.
Dana White says the UFC could host full arena events by "this summer"
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, the UFC has been one of the only sports in the world which COVID-19 has had a very minimal effect on. This is because the UFC acted very quickly and was the first sport back to hosting live shows but without fans.
While other sports specifically in America have welcomed fans back for a while now, UFC president Dana White has made himself very clear that he will not run events in the USA with only a small percentage of the crowd allowed in. Even though the UFC hosted three events with fans just last month, White insisted on multiple occasions that the decision to have fans at the events in Abu Dhabi was an idea from the people in Abu Dhabi and not himself.
While these events in Abu Dhabi and also the events at the UFC Apex in Vegas have been huge successes, White has revealed that he is now more than ready to welcome fans back to UFC events and hopefully do so at a full capacity.
Speaking to reporters including MMA Junkie at the UFC 258 post-fight press conference, White revealed that he is working on plans to get fans back into arenas to watch UFC events in person. However, White also revealed that if he was forced to only allow a percentage of fans in instead of a full capacity he wouldn't do it.
White said "I’m not doing a percentage, I want to sell out. It’s too nice over here (at the UFC Apex). I like it here. I said on ESPN the other day that I was optimistic that by this summer we could be doing it, either in Florida or here.”
The UFC is currently scheduled at the UFC Apex through to the end of March, while other event dates from April onward do not yet have confirmed locations.
Belal Muhammad calls out Li Jingliang and Nate Diaz
After securing a pretty dominant win over Dhiego Lima at UFC 258, Belal Muhammad has turned his attention to higher-ranked opponents in the UFC's welterweight division.
In his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan, Muhammad called out Chinese fighter Li Jingliang who is coming off a very impressive first-round knockout win over Santiago Ponzinibbio.
Speaking in the UFC 258 post-fight press conference, Muhammad said "It’s nothing personal with Li Jingliang, I’m just working up that ladder. I’m finally on that ladder and I finally want to climb it one by one. He had a huge win against (Santiago) Ponzinibbio and they put him at number 12. I just want to keep climbing."
Muhammad also expressed his desire to be fighting some of the best in the world by the end of 2021. Some of those names include fighters such as Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz.
Muhammad said "At the end of 2021, I want to be on that top five. I want to be there when they are sitting and talking about who’s going to be the top guys fighting for the title. I want my name to be in that mix. I want to be that guy that they are looking at like, ‘I want to see who he fights next.’ They are talking about the Wonderboys (Stephen Thompson), the (Jorge) Masvidals. Nate Diaz gets all this attention, but he sucks. I want to just scratch those guys out. Belal Muhammad needs to be in front of these guys.”
Julian Marquez insists that he hasn't blown his chance with Miley Cyrus
After 31 months out of the Octagon, UFC middleweight Julian Marquez used his time on the mic during his post-fight interview to make a pretty special call out. Marquez did not call out his fellow UFC middleweights, instead, he called out pop star Miley Cyrus to be his Valentine.
Just a few hours after Marquez's post-fight interview, Cyrus responded to his call-out on Twitter.
Shave an MC into your chest hair and I am YOURS Happy VDay and Congrats my love!— Miley Ray Cyrus (@MileyCyrus) February 14, 2021
Many fans believe that Marquez fumbled his opportunity with Cyrus when he requested her to get a henna tattoo of his “Cuban Missile Crisis” nickname on her stomach.
Marquez himself does not believe that he has put Cyrus off, instead, he has said that things are happening exactly how they should be.
Marquez told MMA Junkie Radio "I have not shaven an ‘MC’ in my chest just yet. I flew home (Sunday) and spent some time with my family. It’s been 31 months. I’ve spent two camps away from my family, kind of pushing them away. I’ve spent the majority of the time with my grandmother. But here’s the thing: A man’s chest hair is sacred. It’s like a lion’s mane. It’s very difficult to shave. But I am talking to some people right now and we have something in the works for everybody."
“Trust me, everything is going to work out the way you guys want it to work out. Everything is going the way it should go. For everyone saying I blew it, I think that’s hilarious because that’s not what it looks like on this side.”
Kelvin Gastelum praises Ian Heinisch in UFC 258 post-fight statement
After getting a much-needed victory over Ian Heinisch at UFC 258, Kelvin Gastelum had nothing but praise for Heinisch in his post-fight statement.
On his Instagram after their bout, Gastelum praised Heinisch very highly by saying "you inspire a lot of people."
The post from Gastelum read "Respect is EARNED! Amazing fight @ianheinischmma. You inspire a lot of ppl with your story of perseverance and resurgence. Much love & God bless you and your family brother."
Charles Rosa believes that he will knock out Darrick Minner
Charles Rosa will take on Darrick Minner on the main card of UFC Fight Night Blaydes vs Lewis. Rosa is expecting to put on a hell of a show for the fans when he fights Minner.
Going into the bout, Rosa says that he knows that Minner's game plan will be to come in and take him down and submit him in the first round. However, Rosa believes that if he can stop a few of Minner's takedowns and keep the fight standing he will knock him out.
Rosa said "I’m putting Minner out. I haven’t gotten a knockout in the UFC yet and I think this is the fight I can get the KO win. He won’t be able to submit me and I expect him to get frustrated and there are levels to this and he will find that out.”
Rosa has also revealed that his main goal for 2021 is to break into the UFC featherweight rankings.
Leon Edwards says Colby Covington doesn’t want to face him
Leon Edwards' luck since the COVID-19 pandemic began has been terrible. In total, he has had four fights cancelled since the start of the pandemic. The first fight which was cancelled was his bout against Tyron Woodley which was supposed to be held in England. The next two fight cancellations were both against Khamzat Chimaev when both tested positive for COVID-19. And the final cancelled bout was also against Chimaev as the fight was once again rebooked but Chimaev was forced to pull out due to lung issues from when he had COVID-19.
The person who is the most likely to fight Edwards next is Donald Trump's favourite fighter Colby Covington. However, Edwards believes that the fight will not happen because Covington simply does not want to face him.
Speaking to MMA Mania, Edwards said "He doesn’t even want to say my name. So he probably doesn’t want to get these hands either. Who knows, he’s a weird, weird man. If they do go down that route to making Masvidal vs. Usman, then where does he go? He has to fight me – I’m number three ranked in the world. I’ll go out there, I’ll beat him and that’ll put me right in line for a title shot next"
Do you think that the bout between Covington and Edwards will be made?
Jose Canseco speaks out after abrupt loss to Barstool Sports intern
Former MLB star Jose Canseco has broken his silence after a quick, stoppage loss in a boxing match with Barstool Sports intern Billy Football.
Here is the clip of the finish.
Down goes Jose Canseco, who can't get up and then quits. pic.twitter.com/HBFoIeYU3c— Tyler Treese (@tylertreese) February 6, 2021
Canseco then spoke out about the bout in a long string of tweets.
Wait for it wait for it let's find out what really happened here did anyone ever see me get hit in the face at all wait for the truth it's coming to a theater near you— Jose Canseco (@JoseCanseco) February 9, 2021
Everyone watch the fight video closely first job I threw I blew out my shoulder and my pec muscle my right shoulder was already damaged from before when I hit the ground I completely dislocated my right shoulder and it popped back into place— Jose Canseco (@JoseCanseco) February 13, 2021
The reason why I went to the grounds because I put too much weight on my right knee which I just had surgery done on it and it gave out completely— Jose Canseco (@JoseCanseco) February 13, 2021
Billy you're a great kid but if I was completely healthy you would not stand the chance— Jose Canseco (@JoseCanseco) February 13, 2021
Billy I'll be back— Jose Canseco (@JoseCanseco) February 13, 2021
Bruce Buffer reflects on his 25 year run as UFC Octagon announcer
In the UFC 258 post-fight press conference, the UFC's voice of the Octagon Bruce Buffer reflected on his 25 years in the UFC as the Octagon announcer.
“You know how passionate I am to be the voice of the octagon, working for Dana (White) and all the powers that be in the UFC – I love it,” Buffer told reporters after UFC 258. “I wish I had another 25 years, who knows because I’m ready to rock and roll for 25 more."
“Back in 1996 when I got involved with the UFC, I realized this was going to be the biggest thing in fighting sports,” Buffer said. “I realized it was probably going to be the biggest thing in sports. And when you stick with something, when I set a goal, I stick with it to the end. I’m a loyal soldier."
“I’ve wanted to do everything I could, way beyond being the face of the octagon announcer to the UFC, because I love the organization. I love the sport. I love announcing these female and male warriors, the greatest fighters in the world. (They’re) some of the best people I’ve ever met. The friends I’ve made, the relationships with media, fighters, the people I work with – I love this. This is awesome.”
Ricky Simon says he loved not cutting weight for his fight against Brian Kelleher but he does not plan on staying at featherweight
After defeating Brian Kelleher pretty convincingly at UFC 258, Ricky Simon has revealed that he enjoyed the process of not cutting a lot of weight for the fight but he does not plan on staying at featherweight.
In the UFC 258 post-fight press conference Simon said "Up a weight class, honestly, I felt guilty all week. I felt a little weird. Usually, I have this weird, like, dread just like hanging right over me and I have to cut all that weight, get down there, so it was funny, too. Like after the weigh-ins I didn’t feel like I needed to gorge myself because I was starving forever and thirsty. So I just felt great coming in here.”
Simon also revealed his plans for the rest of 2021 and his opinions on staying up at 145 pounds in the future.
Simon explained "If it’s another bantamweight, let’s do it again. But you have to see these featherweights – Max (Holloway), how big that boy is. I’m not trying to get none of that smoke. I’ll stay down at bantamweight, or at least I can fight bantamweights up in featherweight."
“I’m hoping for three more fights this year. A little bit of rehab after this, a little bit of relaxation with the family. This is what I do. I train all the time no matter what. I’m not a training camp fighter. I’m at the gym nonstop, so three more for sure this year.”
Former UFC fighter Paul Kelly announces retirement from MMA
British MMA veteran Paul Kelly has officially announced his retirement from MMA.
Kelly last fought in March 2020, stopping Simone Bottino in the second round at Probellum 1: Liverpool. It was his comeback fight, as he had been away from the fight game for seven years due to a lengthy prison sentence for drug trafficking.
Kelly competed in the UFC from 2008-11. He entered the Las-Vegas-based promotion undefeated and fought several notable names at 155 pounds such as Donald Cerrone, Dennis Siver and Marcus Davis. Kelly also took home two “Fight of the Night” awards during his run with the UFC.
Kelly was one of the early fighters representing the U.K. under the UFC banner. He retires on a three-fight winning streak.