When Eddie Alvarez topped off his latest Bellator contract with a stunning first-round head kick of Patricky Freire, essentially submitting one of the greatest contract cappers seen in MMA in some time, the universal thought in the community was that Alvarez had just competed under the Bellator banner for final time. After all, it wasn't long before that the UFC had come calling for his former co-worker, longtime Bellator middleweight champ Hector Lombard.
And when UFC President Dana White subsequently sent a glowing tweet to Alvarez congratulating him on his performance and closing with, "Let's talk :)," Alvarez being poached away by the UFC almost seemed like a foregone conclusion. But that, as they say, is why you never assume in the fight business.
"Umm, yeah, I just don't know if I can talk about it," White hesitantly answered yesterday when asked about his attempts to sign the former Bellator lightweight champ.
After a comment from the scrum concluded that the situation must be fine because White would be able to speak if Bellator had re-signed Alvarez, the UFC President carefully responded, "No, that's not what's going on. It's... yeah," trailing off before picking back up. "It's going to get ugly."
That cryptic response was about as far as White was willing to go. Pressed once again on what he meant, White simply threw the question back, "What do you think it is? What do you think I'm talking about?
"If I could talk about it, I would. I think it's going to get ugly."
Earlier this month Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney claimed his promotion, bolstered by support from Viacom, had the capability of matching Alvarez's recent UFC offer. If his words are true, it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility to see Alvarez back in the Bellator cage in 2013. Though White's uncharacteristically subdued response likely signifies that this story is far from over.
6 MUST-READ STORIES
Velasquez felt betrayed by injury video. Former heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez said he never authorized the video of his knee injury to be released and admitted to feeling betrayed by the decision. Velasquez also promised he was "100-percent healthy" for this weekend's rematch against Junior dos Santos.
UFC 155 dissections. Check out previews, predictions, and comprehensive breakdowns for Saturday night's UFC 155 fight card.
Melendez likely to get immediate title shot. According to UFC president Dana White, Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez will likely receive an instant title shot against Benson Henderson when Strikeforce dissolves in early 2013.
Killing the king. Jack Slack breaks down the strengths, weaknesses and holes in UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos' game ahead of UFC 155 in the latest edition of his Killing the King series.
Overeem applies for license. Nine months after being suspended for elevated levels of testosterone, Alstair Overeem submitted his application for re-licensure to the Nevada State Athletic Commission, commissioner Keith Kizer confirmed. Overeem is scheduled to appear in front of the NSAC at a January 8 hearing before he can be cleared to fight Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva on February 2, 2013 at UFC 156.
Lytle open to coming out of retirement. Speaking to MiddleEasy, former UFC bonus hoarder Chris Lytle said he would consider ending his retirement for a short-notice fight against a decision-opposed opponent, citing Nick Diaz and Carlos Condit as examples.
A litany of nuggets always come from these pre-fight Dana White scrums, and yesterday's was no exception.
Great Granddaddy Lauzon: Pioneer of Ears for Years to Come.
A silhouetted Vitor Belfort strumming guitar and singing gently to no one in particular. If you guessed this was the UFC's new Brazilian marketing efforts, you guessed right. I dig the shift away from the generic, cut-and-paste trailer.
According to YouTube user 00BradWild00, "If you mute this show.. its really weird." Sounds legit.
Curious to see quantitative data on the power of Jonhy Hendricks' feared left hand? Check this out. For reference, a Pat Barry high kick topped out in the high 900's. Now I don't know if these are the same machines, but still -- damn.
Props to Byron Craig for the find.
Phil Baroni had a job "moving money" when he was in college. What did that job entail? Apparently getting the back of his head sliced open.
And just in case you missed any of our on-site UFC 155 coverage this week, here's a handy playlist to get you caught up.
NUGGETS FROM VEGAS
I'm a skinny rat and still have more to do 😳 will do 7lbs tonight then the rest in the morning 😢 instagr.am/p/Tw2T3dIFmK/— Brad Pickett (@One_Punch) December 28, 2012
They just put make-up on my face , I feel so pretty !!! instagr.am/p/TwhS6hFrQf/— Derek Brunson (@DerekBrunsonMMA) December 27, 2012
Weight is coming off. #UFC155— Tim Boetsch (@TimBoetsch) December 27, 2012
WOW!!! @danawhite just made my week he told me I was like fed ex I always deliver!— Leonard Garcia (@badboygarcia) December 27, 2012
SUPPORT FROM AN OLD FRIEND
That's how you smile when your in painlockerz.com/s/271592924— Forrest Griffin (@ForrestGriffin) December 24, 2012
wow this is old school, 1998 back in my karate days. thanks for the memories Mick Chanthaseth and happy new years :) twitter.com/NamPhanMMA/sta…— Nam Phan (@NamPhanMMA) December 28, 2012
QUESTION:HOW MUCH BLOOD HAS TO COME OUT OF YOUR ASS BEFORE YOU GET NERVOUS???SCARIEST LOOK DOWN EVAAAAAAA!!! moby.to/96mm2f— Pat Barry (@HypeOrDie) December 27, 2012
Announced over the holidays (Monday, December 24, 2012 - Thursday, December 27, 2012):
- UFC 157: Brock Jardine (9-2) vs. Kenny Robertson (11-2)
- UFC on FX 7: Caio Magalhaes (5-1) out with injury opposite Michael Kuiper (12-1), bout cancelled
- UFC on FOX 6: Michael Kuiper (12-1) vs. Buddy Roberts (12-3)
- Bellator MMA: Paul Daley (30-12-1) pulled from season eight welterweight tournament
- DREAM.18: Marloes Coenen (20-5) vs. Fiona Muxlow (6-1)
FANPOST OF THE DAY
Today's Fanpost of the Day is an exciting announcement, courtesy of Chris Hall: SBNation homepage revamp!
Most of you probably noticed that your beloved [MMA Fighting] underwent a few minor changes a couple months. Most of the changes were pretty superficial, but you probably noticed a slight change in format. Since then, the team at SBN has kept up with complaints and criticism from the community and staff throughout all the network. And coming up in early January they'll be rolling out a new homepage design.
The numbered annotations match up to the points below:
1. FanPosts, FanShots and Sidebars Moved: We are moving all sidebar modules to the right side of the page and increased their size. This makes FanPosts and FanShots modules more visible and makes it easier to see the lastest posts from community members.
2. FanPosts Featured in the "Cover." FanPosts from site members can now be featured alongside the lead stories on a site. AND New Shorter, Hero-Style "Covers." We are adding some new formats for displaying the lead story or stories of the day that occupy less vertical space, to help push FanPosts up higher on the page and improve the scanability of the front pages.
3. Local Site Navigation at the Top of all Pages. For some users the current double navigation, with SB Nation network navigation at the top of the home page and the local site navigation below the top stories, creates a disconnect between the content and the community on a team site. We have switched to a single navigation bar on each community that highlights the community elements rather than network blogs by default. But if you roll over "SB Nation" in the new nav, the full network league and blog navigation appears. So we've retained network navigation functionality while calling out the local site navigation (and particularly FanPosts and FanShots) first and foremost. This change will also carry down to all pages on the blogs, including article pages, FanPosts and FanShots.
More changes explained after the jump...
Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me on Twitter @shaunalshatti and we'll include it in Monday's column.