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Morning Report: Ben Askren not retiring, wants to 'beat up' Georges St-Pierre

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Speaking at the UFC on Fox 9 press conference promoting his first title defense, UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis was asked who in his Roufusport camp we could be seeing join the UFC ranks sooner than later. After mentioning his younger brother Sergio, Pettis started gushing over U.S. Olympian and Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren.

"One guy that is on the main stage already is Ben Askren," said Pettis. "He's stuck between Bellator and UFC, thinking about retiring. One of the best guys I've ever trained with. His level of wrestling and how much better he's got his striking is ridiculous. One guy I don't want to see retire. I don't want to see him get lost between organizations."

Thursday night, Askren not only dispelled the retirement rumors, but called out UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre. Unless St-Pierre plans on looking for work elsewhere, Askren's signing with the UFC may just be a matter of time.

Askren recently finished out his contract with Bellator in July, scoring a TKO victory over Andrey Koreshkov at Bellator 97. Although Bellator waived the right to an exclusive negotiating period to allow Askren to test the waters of free agency, the promotion still has the right to match any offer he may receive. Askren would need to allow for that exclusive matching period to end before truly becoming an unrestricted free agent.



Jones vs. Teixeira set for UFC 169. With the addition of Alistair Overeem vs. Frank Mir being brought over from UFC 167, Jon Jones will make the next defense of his UFC light heavyweight title to Glover Teixeira in February 2014.

Gus heads home. A possible fight with teammate Phil Davis looming, Alexander Gustafsson has split from California's Alliance camp in favor of setting up shop back in his native Sweden.

Remembering EliteXC. Five years removed from the promotion's infamous final show, Chuck Mindenhall's piece on the strange, last days of the promotion is an absolute must-read. "It was like the circus was in town, and they were going to check out ‘the show.' They aren't there to see the other MMA fighters and they weren't MMA fans. They were Kimbo Slice fans."

Rothwell suspended. While his recent TKO victory over Brandon Vera cannot be overturned by Wisconsin's athletic commission, the UFC has suspended heavyweight Ben Rothwell nine months for exceeding allotted testosterone levels.

Munoz on Hall. As a training partner and coach, Mark Munoz gives some insight into the troubles Uriah Hall has had since his dominating stint on The Ultimate Fighter. "When he steps into the Octagon, he's not the same person that I see in practice."




UFC on FOX 9: Pettis vs. Thomson Press Conference.


Ronda's mom stops by TUF.


Rico Verhoeven's Glory 11 interview. I sat behind his girlfriend at Glory 9 in New York and man can she scream.


UFC Tonight: Sonnen responds to Silva taunts with bonus arm wrestling.


Jesse Taylor wants a crack at Yushin Okami.


A look at the Evolve Fight Team.

(HT to Anton)






Impressive. Most impressive.


The Professors are still crazy.


Get that Reebok money.


His neighbors must love it.


Good point.



Announced yesterday (Oct. 3 2013)

Robert Whittaker vs. Brian Melancon at UFC Fight Night 33

Jim Miller vs. Fabricio Camoes at UFC 168

Bobby Voelker vs. William Macario at UFC 168

Matthew Riddle vs. TBA at Bellator 109

Jon Jones vs. Glover Teixeira at UFC 169

Frank Mir vs. Alistair Overeem moved from UFC 167 to UFC 169

Cody McKenzie vs. Sam Stout at UFC on FOX 9

Robert Drysdale vs. Cody Donovan at UFC 167



Today's Fanpost of the Day comes via Decado.

The UFC Only Has 8 Fighters it Can Rely on to Draw Over 300,000 Buys. Is it in Trouble?

A random, off the cuff question from my MMA Sentinel partner in crime, Steph Daniels, ‘Is Jon Jones the UFC's third biggest Pay-Per-View draw?' led me down a surprising rabbit hole. When I consulted my magical spreadsheet that I used to chart the UFC's Pay-Per-View trends over the past 6 years, I discovered something surprising.

There are only four fighters in the UFC who have drawn over 500,000 buys on average over the past two years or so. There are perhaps another three who regularly draw over 400,000. Overall, there are only 8 fighters who average over 300,000 buys. This is a significant drop from the high point of 2009. Is the UFC failing to create new draws?

First of all, there's an important caveat to all of this. I only count headliners. The strength of the undercard is ignored completely. In some instances this can skew things a little, a very strong co-main event can account for an extra 50,000 - 100,000 buys or more, but properly accounting for that in an objective manner is impossible, so I avoid that pitfall by only counting headliners. The UFC doesn't release PPV buy numbers, so for the most part these are estimates from industry insiders and analysts such as Dave Meltzer.


Check out the rest of the post here.


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