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The Weekly Rundown

The past week in mixed martial arts was filled with replacements, grassroots campaigns and lots of cancellations. If you just reached 88 mph, Fightlinker is here to keep you informed.

Penn vs. Sanchez main events UFC 107
UFC Lightweight champion BJ Penn will return to the Octagon on December 12th at UFC 107, as confirmed by Dana White. The Hawaiian will defend his title in the main event against “The Ultimate Fighter” season one Middleweight winner Diego Sanchez. Penn stated his desire to remain in active competition following his fourth round submission of Kenny Florian at UFC 101 in early August; the bout making the thirteen week turnaround one of the shortest of his career. He has been undefeated at Lightweight since his January 2002 fight with Jens Pulver and is 4-1 in his last five fights. Sanchez was likely granted the title shot for his 2009 Lightweight campaign that saw him dominate contenders Joe Stevenson and Clay Guida in February and June respectively. With the match he joins Forrest Griffin, Kenny Florian, Joe Stevenson and Rashad Evans in the group of Ultimate Fighter alumni who have fought for a UFC belt. It will be his first opportunity to compete for the promotion’s gold.

Rampage vs. Rashad off of UFC 107
The Penn/Sanchez bout was likely made out of necessity after Quinton Jackson removed himself from the card in favor of an acting endeavor. Last week, multiple sources reported the fighter being cast as B.A. Baracus – a role made famous by pop-culture icon Mr. T – in the upcoming feature film adaptation of “The A-Team”. Scheduling conflicts caused by filming obligations resulted in the 31 year old choosing not to partake in the year end mega-card. The original main event, booked in Jackson’s hometown, was he against Rashad Evans in a routine battle of TUF coaches that typically happens after the season’s completion. UFC President Dana White expressed his displeasure with having his marquee match canceled for a film:

“I hate it with a [expletive] passion…You’re a fighter; you’re not a movie star. It’s so [expletive] funny because fighters want to be movie stars, and movie stars want to act like they’re fighters. Get a [expletive] grip. You’re a fighter, and you’re (not) a [expletive] movie star. Alright?”

It’s unknown when the Rampage vs. Evans bout will be rescheduled for a later date in 2010 – if at all.

Failed TV deal for UFC
Rumors swirled earlier this week when a third UFC card in November was believed not to take place on pay per view or Spike TV. In an interview following UFC 102, Dana White confirmed discussions with a major network about airing a live event featuring the aforementioned BJ Penn vs. Diego Sanchez championship match. He has remained quiet on the subject in the days following the September 1st meetings, and his decision to move the Penn/Sanchez bout to the December show likely means negotiations have fallen through for the time being. The reasoning for scheduling a third show in November was likely to blanket all weekends in the month with programming to counter the tentatively dated Strikeforce debut of Fedor Emelianenko. With the network UFC event off of the table, Zuffa will probably instead counter-program Showtime with a Spike airing of UFC 102’s epic battle between Randy Couture and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.

Versus dropped by DirectTV
Satellite television provider DirectTV has removed WEC’s home, Versus, from its channel lineup following a dispute over subscription fees. The network is owned by rival cable company Comcast, who requested a five cent increase per subscriber in order to reach a new agreement that would have resulted in no disruption of service. DirecTV called their bluff, and now a business-as-usual, capitalistic television feud has created casualties for the MMA world in the form of millions of fans now unable to watch WEC events. The satellite companies viewers who attempted to tune into Versus were greeted with a petty explanation for the channel’s absence:

There has been no update on the situation as of early Sunday morning. The whole situation lends credence to last week’s whispers that the September 2nd WEC was postponed as a result of its uncertain availability. And with recent talks of culling the lower weight divisions and turning the promotion exclusively into a UFC feeder league, it seems more and more likely that the diminished visibility won’t hurt Zuffa too much.

Swick out of title eliminator
Mike Swick has withdrawn from his September 19th co-main event fight against Martin Kampmann at UFC 103. The 30 year old Texan suffered a concussion after landing on his neck and head during a grappling session sometime last week and declined to compete on the advice of his trainers and doctors. While the bout was intended to be a title eliminator to find a number one contender for Georges St-Pierre sometime in the future, it came under criticism from fans who either believed neither man should earn a championship match for beating the other, or that both would have little chance to defeat the Welterweight kingpin. In any case, Swick stated his intentions to continue training should space on a later event open up, while Kampmann will remain on the 103 main card against English fighter Paul Daley.

Big John “Tweet-bomb”
The first UFC card in California following John McCarthy’s temporary hiatus leaves the door open for a return of the promotion’s most iconic referee. Beginning in February 1994 and ending in December 2007, McCarthy’s career in the UFC turned him into a recognizable and trusted figure in the ring. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and with the rash of bad refereeing giving a black eye to the sport, fans are clamoring to see the trustworthy former UFC head official back in charge during matches. Fightlinker is spearheading a movement to spam Dana White’s Twitter account with requests to bring in the referee for their October 24th event in Los Angeles. To participate, “tweet” the following:

@danawhiteufc BRING BACK BIG JOHN! #UFC

and then spread the word where you can.

September 4, 2009 – Shine Fights 2: American Top Team vs. The World
– Junior Assuncao def. Pete Grimes via split decision
– Micah Miller def. Anthony Morrison via submission at 4:25 of round 2
– Flavio Alvaro def. Jean Silva via majority decision
– Luiz Firmino def. Ryan Healy via unanimous decision
– Yves Edwards def. James Warfield via submission at 4:48 of round 2
– Roan Carneiro def. Jorge Patino via unanimous decision

Couture, Hughes get new contracts
UFC legends Matt Hughes and Randy Couture have re-signed new multi-fight contracts that will allow both to finish their careers in the Octagon. The move shows that Zuffa is treating them with respect, unlike their handling of Ken Shamrock. It’s a step in the right direction.

Lil Nog debuting at UFC 105
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, fraternal twin brother of the former PRIDE Heavyweight champion of confusingly similar name, is tentatively scheduled to enter the UFC for the first time on the November 14th card in England. The consensus top fifteen Light-Heavyweight is 5-0 since losing by KO to an unknown Sodokojou at PRIDE 32. No opponent is rumored at the time, but there are a bevy of 205’ers who would accept the fight.

Silvas settle quasi-feud
Silvas Anderson and Wanderlei have squashed whatever animosity existed between them:

A source close to the fighters told Tatame the two went for a meal together after the UFC 102 post-event press conference. The sit-down was instigated by Rafael Alejarra, who is Wanderlei’s strength and physical conditioning coach. He asked the pair to bring the feud – which has seen them sniping at each other through the MMA media – to an end. Over the course of an amicable meal, the two agreed to set their differences aside and left the restaurant as friends.

Two fighters agreeing to stop going after each other outside of the ring is good. No “wassup now” confrontations at clubs; no nose-to-nose in the crowd during shows; no throwing shoes backstage. Jamie Varner and Donald Cerrone should take note.

Mousasi to box
Gegard Mousasi once again stated his intentions to compete professionally as a boxer. Unlike his similarly minded contemporaries who plan to do the same, Mousasi wants to begin at the bottom rung of opponents to gauge his abilities and see whether an attempt at the sport would be fruitful. But any time in a boxing ring means another very talented prospect will be away from MMA for substantial periods, and fans of the sport have attention spans that can only be measured in nanoseconds.

ADCC loses top MMA names
The 2009 ADCC submission grappling tournament was reported to have a large number of top mixed martial artists competing in it, but it doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. Georges St-Pierre, Demian Maia and Nate Marquardt have all removed themselves from the event for one reason for another. Stuff like this makes you yearn for the glory days of 2000 when fighters from the UFC and PRIDE filled brackets and?wmode=transparent” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen> &feature=related”>this.

Anderson out through 2010
UFC Middleweight champion Anderson Silva will sit out of competition for the remainder of the year to get surgery on a nagging elbow injury. The timing seems too convenient to not be a well thought out plan: Silva is willing to fight at Heavyweight to get big money fights, and he doesn’t see rematches with Henderson or Marquardt on a tape delayed Spike event in November to be worth his time. Weather he had ulterior motives or not, the pound for pound deity will remain out of action for a minute.

Stupid writers still exist
Oregonian writer John Canzano published a hitjob on MMA after attending UFC 101 in Portland this week – going as far as to say “Someone is going to die in the Octagon someday.” Can we please get this ignorant hack to stop doing whatever it is he does? At least we can take solace in the fact that there is a whole generation of upcoming writers that will take his place and treat MMA with the respect and integrity it deserves.

Racist fighter on M-1 card
Toni Valtonen competed on HDNet televised M-1cards with various racist artifacts – including a swastika – tattooed on his body in clear view. All it takes is one news outlet to see the offending ink in order to have it used to degrade the sport as a whole.

Eilers’ murderer to be sentenced
James Robert Malec, the killer of former UFC Heavyweight title challenger Justin Eilers, will have his fate decided by a jury in October. Normally justice is a good thing, but it seems as though his lawyer used the fact that Eilers “tried to make a living by pummeling people into submission” to reduce sympathy for his death. It apparently worked because the charges were lowered from second degree murder to manslaughter.

– BJ bans “george st pierre” username

– Overeem in K-1 instead of Strikeforce

– King Mo vs. Kerr by Allelbows

– Baroni vs. Sadollah at 106

– Neer replaces Sherk against Tibau at 104

– Why Hendo vs. Marquardt should happen at 105

– Rodriguez at Strikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg

– M-1: Breakthrough pictures:

What did Kazuhiro Nakamura tell Wanderlei Silva to do before their 2005 GP quarterfinal match?

Marvin Eastman > Minotauro Nogueira
Marvin Eastman > Quinton Jackson > Chuck Liddell > Randy Couture > Gabriel Gonzaga > Mirko Filipovic > Josh Barnett > Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira