Well folks, we're in the home stretch. Enjoy it while you still can, because aside from a brief moment at the end of August, the next four days are the only break in the action you're going to get for a while. Once Saturday rolls around with WSOF 4, MMA's furious end-of-2013 calendar shifts into high gear, with non-stop major events lining the every week of the schedule until late-November. And that's not an exaggeration.
But in the meantime, there's a ton to discuss. So lean back in that office chair, heat up that morning coffee, kick up your feet and let's dive into some headlines.
6 MUST-READ STORIES
Bellator pay-per-view. Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney revealed a myriad of details about his organization's upcoming debut on pay-per-view, including a $35 to $45 price point, Jackson-Ortiz will be a three-round fight, and multiple title fights are a possibility for the main card.
Cormier, Jones spar. After Jon Jones accused Daniel Cormier of 'just wanting to be famous,' Cormier fired back at the UFC light heavyweight champion: "When I hear his quote, it's like a 16-year old girl," Cormier said. "Jon Jones, grow up bud. We're going to fight regardless of how you feel. And when we do and I'm cutting the line and you might as well pull the guard because I'm taking you down."
Daley signs. Paul Daley inked a three-fight deal with European organization BAMMA. "We know how much Paul brings to a promotions fight roster and this multi-fight deal shows the mutual respect that we hold each other in," said Ashley Bothwell, BAMMA's managing director.
Gracie let go. Following his UFC 162 loss to Tim Kennedy, which signified the end to his four-fight Strikeforce deal, Zuffa officials elected not to renew the contract of Roger Gracie. SporTV first reported the news.
Silva still wants superfight. Despite losing his UFC middleweight title, Anderson Silva is still eyeing an eventual superfight against either Jon Jones or Georges St-Pierre. "I hope it happens," Anderson Silva told Combate.com. "That's the fight everybody is waiting for."
New York update. New York Assembly GOP minority leader Brian Kolb issued a press release calling for a special Assembly session to discuss urgent agenda matters, including, "Bring a vote on Mixed Martial Arts legislation to the floor, a job-creating measure with more than 60 bill sponsors and bipartisan support in the Assembly."
I swear, even a month after the fact, this is still incredibly bizarre footage to watch.
More backstage footage for you guys, this time all the way from Brazil.
Jared Rosholt is a tremendously accomplished amateur wrestler at Oklahoma State turned top heavyweight MMA prospect. And lucky for us, he just fought over the weekend.
How about one more? Normally I'd tell you to skip ahead to a certain time, but this one doesn't take long. And yeah, hopefully that guy is still alive, because he could've fooled me.
We now move from Zimbabwe's general election to a couple of tall guys who punch each other in the face. The BBC, keepin' it classy.
Tito's got jokes, guys.
THIS IS HAPPENING
It's On!! Nov-2nd-2013 http://t.co/noYiwzSwUH— Tito Ortiz (@titoortiz) August 5, 2013
"I am back on Impact Live Thursday Night Spike TV 9pm/8c" I hope no one gets out of line.— Tito Ortiz (@titoortiz) August 6, 2013
NOT EVERYONE'S A FAN
Rampage complains that the UFC matched him up with nothing but wrestlers so he agrees to fight Tito in Bellator. Great example of MMA logic— Ulysses Gomez (@uselessgomez) August 5, 2013
Joe Lauzon (@JoeLauzon) August 5, 2013
So I had more total strikes and a take down in the 1st and 2nd round.... But I lost those rounds? How?… http://t.co/1fwbo7c627— Phil Davis (@PhilMrWonderful) August 5, 2013
I love this sport but it looks much different on TV than in person.If you are a UFC fan make sure you attended a live show for the read deal— Phil Davis (@PhilMrWonderful) August 5, 2013
THE CHAMP WEIGHS IN
Phil got two takedowns and was the aggressor, Lyoto clearly landed the more significant strikes. Tough one to judge— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) August 5, 2013
Takedowns are big points in MMA. I mean, if it was a street fight, I would give it to Machida— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) August 5, 2013
THE GRACIES ARE ANGRY
Announced yesterday (Monday, August 5, 2013):
FANPOST OF THE DAY
Today's Fanpost of the Day comes to us from SecondhandMMA, who writes: Bellator: The New Pride FC
Since the demise of Pride in 2007, the UFC's greatest rival promotion, many different organizations stepped up to try and fill the void. Several Japanese promotions picked up Pride's hometown hero's (SRC and Dream), Affliction attempted to buy the ronin fighters with their pocket books, and Strikeforce looked pretty good toward the end of it's independence. However, all of these promotions ended up being absorbed by the industry leader.
Bellator is the newest face on the block, and the one with the most viable chance of holding it's own. While highly doubtful they move past the UFC as the number one promotion, they have established themselves as a very legitimate no. 2. The UFC has disregarded the promotion, and it's practices, but it must noted that the UFC is no longer the lone wolf on the major scene.
Bellator, in establishing their credibility, has also opened up the fighter market. For up and coming fighters looking to make it past the uppermost echelon of the regional scene (Legacy FC to name the most successful one), there is another alternative to the UFC. For fighters on their way out of the UFC, another employer is ready to negotiate their contracts.
When the UFC and Pride were still locked in promotional battle, a fighter with name value was something to cherish. Men would come from Pride to the UFC and vice versa. Irregardless of if they could still compete with the best, men would still be put on fight cards because they were recognizable. A key example would be Pedro Rizzo, past his fighting prime, returning after a two year layoff, to suffer two first round knockouts. But he was there! Off of a UFC victory no less.
When Pride closed shop, the fighters had other options: the aforementioned Japanese promotions, Affliction and Strikeforce. Soon enough, however, the competition fell to the UFC juggernaut, and with it, so did the free lancing paydays.
But now Bellator is the newest plan B. Having already drawn UFC washouts (but still name fighters) such as Renato Sobral, Marcus Aurelio, and Marcus Davis, this point was illustrated in no greater way than the announcement of Tito Ortiz vs. Quinton Jackson. Two fighters, who for all intents and purposes, are fighting with nothing left to prove and nothing left to gain except a paycheck, have found a new home.
The interesting thing in all this is how Bellator has managed to stay so alluring to the free agent. With the public vitriol seen on message boards in the wake of the Eddie Alvarez lawsuit, it would be easy to assume that fighters would be dissuaded. But that just goes to show how well Bellator has downplayed the legal battle it is undertaking.
Bellator is the new Pride, in terms of name fighters looking to stay out of the UFC. The option is there for the taking, and it will be interesting to see who takes the invitation.
Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me on Twitter @shaunalshatti and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.