After a wild weekend or back and forth between UFC brass and a number of lightweights, Khabib Nurmagomedov's dance card remains empty. The undefeated Dagestani standout has been getting a bit antsy about finding his next opponent, openly mocking some of the division's elite. Things came to a head Saturday when UFC president Dana White tweeted that Nate Diaz had turned down a potential scrap with Nurmagomedov.
Diaz, who quickly responded on Twitter himself, claimed that wasn't the case.
Nurmagomedov issued the challenge again, but was met with no response.
Who would have thought 2 years ago that the President would be the best organization in the world to... http://t.co/fjB9sdrVLq— khabib nurmagomedov (@TeamKhabib) January 12, 2014
Enter Diaz' manager, Mike Kogan. On Sunday, Kogan admitted that while the fight was offered, the promotion refused certain conditions, effectively pumping the brakes on talks. "Nate has never turned down a fight against anyone," Kogan told MMA Mania. "There are conditions that we asked for that were turned down by the UFC, so the fight didn't happen."
Elaborating on the issue to FOX Sports, Kogan explains where exactly the UFC wasn't willing to budge:
"We asked for Nate's contract to be redone. The UFC turned it down. We asked for a change to his contract, and changes to when the fight takes place. They said no and we said no thanks. This is supposed to be a professional sport, but then this resorts to these Twitter wars. This isn't a street fight, it's a professional sport. If it's a street fight and they want to see who the better man is they know where the fuck Nate is, and then we can see who is the better man."
Knowing an opportunity when he sees it, Michael Johnson joined the fray Sunday.
Johnson had been campaigning to face Diaz, but told MMA Fighting he's after anyone ahead of him in the divisional standings. With back-to-back wins over Gleison Tibau and Joe Lauzon, a win over Nurmagomedov (currently ranked No. 7) would undoubtedly push Johnson (No. 13) into the division's top ten. To his credit, Jamie Varner also threw his name in the ring, but after dropping two of his last three and a tough short-notice fight with Abel Trujillo coming up at UFC 169 you would have to imagine it being a tough sell to Nurmagomedov and UFC brass, alike.
Nurmagomedov was originally slated to face perennial contender Gilbert Melendez at UFC 170 until White officially put the kibosh on it Jan. 3. According to Melendez' training parter Jake Shields, it's a fight 'El Nino' still wants down the line, but that nothing was ever agreed to before being prematurely announced late last December.
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Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) January 11, 2014
@SugaRashadEvans whoa really? Are u talking bout the time I had to let u start with ur hands locked behind both legs haha— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) January 11, 2014
@SugaRashadEvans on February 22nd I'm dancing evs. So u know what that means :)— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) January 11, 2014
@dc_mma one ambition at a time my puggy friend!:) make weight and I will let the fight last at least 1rd for your efforts! I like you!— Rashad Evans (@SugaRashadEvans) January 11, 2014
Putting the break to good use.
After hours of surgery in my shoulder I'm very well and I will be back 100% thank you... http://t.co/KvZqPaYf49— Antonio Pezao Silva (@BigfootSilva) January 10, 2014
Just in case ... water wings.
Stefan Struve (@StefanStruve) January 12, 2014
House that Conor built.
Get him before the coppers do.
Lorenz Larkin (@da_MONSOON) January 13, 2014
Michael Chiesa (@MikeMav22) January 13, 2014
Fuck it I'll fight @TeamKhabib since no one else wants to... but only i can dress like borat : )— Ian McCall (@Unclecreepymma) January 12, 2014
Announced this weekend (Jan. 10-12 2014)
FANPOST OF THE DAY
Today's Fanpost of the Day comes via tigerlee.
Recently WSOF match-maker Ali Abdel-Aziz threw down the gauntlet with Bellator in a proposed PPV event matching up stars from respective organizations. It certainly started a lot of debate concerning which promotion is number two behind the UFC and how close these trailing promotions are when it comes to roster talent.
I decided it was time to add some statistics to the debate so that we have some sort of factual information to gain insight into just how the top market share of fighters is divided up, rather than pure speculative opinion. We must all understand that most rankings are subjective anyway, so the weight of this information should be scrutinized and I accept that this is no way definitive.
Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me up on Twitter @SaintMMA and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.