There's always a boatload of news that fills our plates anytime a fight week reaches its crescendo, but this Friday morning takes it to a different level. Between PED scandals and Swedish arrests, to Paul Daley's freedom and the bizarre next step for Rampage Jackson, things got a bit out of hand yesterday -- and that's without even mentioning our slew of interviews featuring all of this weekend's biggest names.
So without further ado, strap into your seat and let's get things started with some headlines.
8 MUST-READ STORIES
Trouble in Miami. Porter Fischer, the whistleblower in the Biogenesis PED scandal, told ESPN's Outside the Lines that "athletes from the NBA, NCAA, professional boxing, tennis and MMA" were all clients at the controversial clinic, which supplied numerous MLB players with high-end performance enhancing drugs.
UFC on FOX 8 preview. Follow along with Ariel Helwani as he catches up with all the stars of UFC on FOX 8. Check out interviews with UFC flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson, John Moraga, Rory MacDonald, Jake Ellenberger, Robbie Lawler, Bobby Voelker, Liz Carmouche, Jessica Andrade, Jorge Masvidal and Michael Chiesa.
Chandler cashes in. Michael Chandler agreed on an eight-fight, multi-year contract extension with Bellator MMA. "He had a long time left on his existing deal, but I just felt like, you know what, he's elevated himself to a completely new level," said Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney. "I'm [going] to reward what he's done and make sure Mike is part of the Bellator family for a lot of years."
Shamrock on 'Fight Master.' Frank Shamrock returns to field your questions about the latest episode of Fight Master, from putting Joe Warren back in his place, to making Tito Ortiz crumble.
Aldo to 155 may not happen. Despite his prior statements, UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo may remain in the 145-pound division following his title defense against the Korean Zombie.
Rampage vs. Jones Jr.? According to MMA Junkie's Steven Marocco, an upcoming "unveiling of Bellator fighter Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson's plans with the promotion will likely include a pay-per-view boxing match with former multi-division boxing champ Roy Jones Jr." Viacom is reportedly targeting an end-of-the-year date for the bout.
Madadi in a bad spot. UFC lightweight Reza Madadi reportedly spent the previous two months jailed in connection to a robbery of Gucci-owned Bottega Veneta in Sweden, according to Kimura.se. If convicted, Madadi faces up to six years in prison.
Daley, Falcao gone. Bellator MMA unconditionally released Paul Daley and Maiquel Falcao due to ongoing legal problems. "Both fighters are now able to fight wherever they wish and for whoever they wish," said Bellator director of communications Anthony Mazzuca. "We have retained no matching rights to either fighter. We wish them the best in their future endeavors."
June 8, 2012: Three months after the Australian commission robbed them of a fourth round, Demetrious Johnson and Ian McCall settled their score to decide a challenger for the inaugural UFC flyweight crown.
Nothing says 'Canadian Psycho' like a trip out suit shopping.
Court McGee recently stopped by the San Luis Obispo County Jail, where he shared his roller coaster story with inmates.
Apparently Jake Ellenberger speaks decent Portuguese. Good to know.
Today's regional gem is a short but sweet replay of Henderson-Edgar I, but only if Frankie didn't have such superhuman recovery skills.
If you missed out on the debut of Joe Rogan Questions Everything, don't worry. You can catch the full replay below.
Tonight was a very tragic night 3 minutes after this pic was taken one of my fellow warriors had a… http://t.co/IYKk0shFUS— Jamie Varner (@jamievarner) July 25, 2013
One of my teammates posted this pic. About 5 seconds later is when Sam fell and I ran to his side then… http://t.co/SQVBfhXFe3— Jamie Varner (@jamievarner) July 25, 2013
Hey tweeps...love a lil on ur loved ones right now, just give'em a good hug, let'em know how much u love them...— Benson Henderson (@BensonHenderson) July 25, 2013
"Bellator is my home, it’s where I want to be & it’s where I’m going to continue to defend my belt." @MikeChandlerMMA pic.twitter.com/AYt78XUGfz— Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) July 25, 2013
Welcome home Champ, @MikeChandlerMMA http://t.co/tKPYG2SSJg @SpikeTV @BellatorMMA— Bjorn Rebney (@BjornRebney) July 25, 2013
A CIVIL DISCUSSION
@UFC_UK @TomKongWatson go and make a name for yourself, not off my back mate. Stop dropping my name to get attention. Hard work is the way.— michael (@bisping) July 24, 2013
@TomKongWatson @UFC_UK well keep working hard you might get somewhere. Dont disparage me to get yourself ahead. Wish you the best of British— michael (@bisping) July 24, 2013
Rough fucking day.. http://t.co/fXdpDUWEw3— War Machine (@WarMachine170) July 20, 2013
I did this to my own face...imagine what I'd to to YOU. Call me a psycho, call me what you want ,… http://t.co/mku91LH747— War Machine (@WarMachine170) July 22, 2013
OMG...apparently it's against the law in America these days, not only to punch others, but to punch yourself! Lol..4 cops just left my pad.— War Machine (@WarMachine170) July 24, 2013
Announced yesterday (Thusday, July 25, 2013):
FANPOST OF THE DAY
Today's Fanpost of the Day is dpk875's latest edition of: Prospects to Watch this Weekend
Here are some of the better prospects in action this weekend
X-Fight MMA - 27 Jul - Sao Paulo, Brazil
Ricardo "Demente" Abreu (3-0) vs. Bruno Chinaglia (1-0)
Abreu is a highly decorated BJJ Blackbelt, 4 x Brazilian Champion, and 2 x world champion. He has trained in the past with Tito Ortiz, Anderson Silva, and Fabricio Werdum as part of their MMA training camps. As an MMA fighter his game is what you would expect, close the distance, takedown, submission. His standup is basic, but he does have some power when he connects.
Allan Nascimento (8-1) vs. Vinicius Maximo
Nascimento is back for his 2nd fight of the month, and tries to put his only professional loss a little smaller in the rear view mirror. Nascimento will attack with submissions from any position on the ground, and is never out of fight.
Thomas de Almeida (12-0) vs. Ricardo Sattelmayer
Almeida will try to finish out the month of July 3-0 with another victory. There isn't much that this fight will do for Almeida's stock, unless he gets stunned, because Sattelmayer brings a 3-6 record into the fight. Almeida is coming off a fight where he was rocked early, but then showed his power to score his 12th straight 1st round finish.
Shooto - 27 Jul - Tokyo, Japan
Yuta Sasaki (12-1-2) vs. Kenji Yamamoto (6-1-1)
At 5'10'' Sasaki has a height, and reach advantage over most other Bantamweights, but he doesn't always use it. When he snaps his jab it is a very effective weapon, but it doesn't always seem like he uses it enough. Sasaki favors a grappling contest, he has a good single leg takedown, but also uses his long arms and legs to sweep, and tie up his opposition.
King of the Cage - 27 Jul - Lac du Flambeau, WI
Sam Thao (7-1) is one of the better FLWs not signed to UFC. He is listed on the KOTC poster, but I cannot find anything listing who he is fighting. He hasn't been the most active fighter over the last few years, only fighting once since 2010, but if he increases his activity, and picks up some wins he could be in the running for a UFC roster spot.
Fight Lab 32 - 27 Jul - Charlotte, NC
Joseph Pacheco (6-0) vs. Amaechi Oselukwue(4-7)
Pacheco's name might ring a bell for some fans, as he has scored stoppage victories on Bellator undercards his last two times out. He is a powerhouse with the ability to end the fight on the feet or muscle an opponent around on the ground.
Victory Fighting Championships - 27 Jul - Omaha, NE
James Wood (7-1) vs. Brian Foster
Wood will look for his 2nd straight victory over an UFC veteran when he steps in with Foster this weekend. In December, Wood defeated Kevin Burns in a 5 round UD. A victory over Foster would have to land Wood on the radar of both UFC and Bellator, if he isn't there already. Wood is looking to take the fight to the mat, where he can use ground and pound. He doesn't have a blast double, or dynamic throws, but has been successful using body clinch, and single legs off the clinch. His striking isn't great, outside of good use of knees to both the body and head in the clinch.
Brian Houston (3-0) vs. Jett Jones
Houston is coming off a 33 second KO victory in June where he showed good movement, quick hands, and good power. It is early in his MMA career, but Houston could be a serious prospect moving forward.
CF - 28 Jul - Matoshinhos, Portugal
Artur Lemos (4-0) vs. Pedro Carvalho (1-0)
Portugal is not an MMA hotbed for top talent, but Lemos is a solid prospect to keep an eye on. He does his best work on his feet with a solid Muay Thai based striking game. He has shown some takedowns, but is very content to stay inside his opponents guard, and just try to punch from there when it goes to the ground. He has outstanding athleticism, and appears to be someone who could continue to refine his game over time.
Bellator - 31 July - Albuquerque, NM - I normally would not worry about a Bellator card, as they get plenty of press, but there are three very good prospects on their Spike.com prelim card next week.
Bubba Jenkins (3-0) vs. Mike Barreras
Jenkins is among the best prospects in the sport. A Freestyle wrestling Junior World Champion, and NCAA Division 1 Championship give Jenkins the amateur wrestling credentials to go with anyone. He is a tremendous athlete, and I expect big things from him moving forward.
Jeremy Kimball (9-3) vs. Keith Berry
Kimball's last three wins have put him on the radar of the big organizations. He picked off UFC vets Tom Speer, and Drew McFedries before submitting highly regarded prospect Chidi Njokuani, who is the brother of current UFC fighter Anthony Njokuani. Overall Kimball has won 9 of 10 since starting his career 0-2.
Shawn Bunch (1-0) vs. Steve Garcia
After a successful College career where he was a multiple time All-American, Bunch was a US Freestyle National Champion, and found some success on the international stage. He fell sort of the 2012 Olympics in a wrestle off with Coleman Scott, and was signed by Bellator with no pro fights. Bunch is a great athlete with elite wrestling.
Review from Last Week
Legacy Fighting Championships
Darrion Caldwell (3-0) remained undefeated in his young career with a Unanimous Decision victory. Holly Holm picked up a highlight reel Head Kick KO, and improved to 4-0 in MMA competition. Also, solid prospects Matt Hobar (8-1), and Bubba Bush (6-2) picked up solid wins.
Robson Souza (5-0) missed weight big time in this FLW fight, and was removed by Jungle Fights. Junior Boya (5-2) was in the right place at the right time, and stepped in for his first fight since 2009, and won a TKO in the 2nd round over Marcos Vinicius (8-2) to pick up the interim Jungle Fights FLW title.
Chris Fishgold (9-0) picked up his 8th stoppage win in 9 pro fights, with a 2nd round TKO over Marcin Wrzosek (6-2).
Danny Roberts (9-1) picked up his 3rd straight stoppage victory with a 3rd round submission victory over Henry Fadipe.
Ali Arish (20-2) improved his winning streak to 9 straight with a UD victory over tough veteran Jack Mason.
Michael Tobin (5-0) was scratched in his XFC FW title fight against Adrian Rodriguez. Rodriguez (5-1) went on to score a Submission victory over Taylor Harvey. Tobin appears to have a fight lined up in early August for another organization's FW title.
Former Edinboro University Wrestler and NCAA D1 finalist Chris Honeycutt (3-0) picked up a five round Unanimous Decision victory over Manny Murillo to win the UPC MW title. The rounds were only 3 minute rounds, but the UPC web site indicated that it was a pro fight, and his opponent has a 5-1 pro record according to Sherdog.
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.