UFC News: Jorge Gurgel Dropped From UFC, But Signs With Strikeforce

It has been reported that UFC lightweightr fighter Jorge Gurgel was dropped from the UFC.  The news is certainly not a shock as Gurgel has struggled in the UFC.  He is always exciting, but his record does not show his ability and heart.   The good news is that Gurgel is already signed on with Strikeforce and could be a contender in the Strikeforce lightweight divison alongside Josh Thomson, Gilbert Melendez, and Mitsuhiro Ishida.  Gurgel’s loss to Aaron Riley was apparently the final straw for the fighter who went 3-4 in the UFC.  However, Gurgel picked up $60,000 in a bonus in his last fight for fight of the night.  Exciting is not good enough.  You need wins to stay in the UFC.

It’s not a happy moment. It’s very humiliating, and it’s a crushing of my childhood dream. I never fought for the money. If you read any of my interviews, I only did it because my childhood dream — when I was in Brazil and 15 years old — was to come here to fight in the UFC. I wanted to have my own school and fight in the UFC. I got there, and now I’m out of the UFC.  One day I’ll be back again. I can not be happy — truly, truly, thoroughly happy — about what happened. But I am excited about new opportunities and new chances and new doors that are going to open, and for me to show my skills. I’m so sick of people asking why I don’t do jiu-jitsu. “So I’m going to start doing it so people can shut up. ‘Why don’t you do jiu-jitsu?’ Come on, man.  Joe Rogan, everybody asks me. ‘Why don’t you do jiu-jitsu? You’d be in the top of the guys in the weight class if you would do jiu-jitsu.’ But I always get caught up in not being boring. I live with no regrets. I fight the fight the way I want to fight because it’s my job. And if you’re not having any fun doing your job, you should do a different job so that you have fun.  I have so much fun striking, and I love it so much. And the high that I get that I look for when I train is to be in the octagon in heated exchanges. And we’re just going crazy punching each other, moving from a head kick or something. And the crowd goes from watching the fight to, ‘Wow.’ That’s what I feed on. After the three rounds are over, I go, ‘Oh, [expletive], maybe I was having too much fun and I didn’t worry too much about winning decisively. Then I lose and I think, ‘Oh my God. I can not believe this.’  I don’t even think about maybe losing until the end of it. That’s something that I have to fix. I always think that I’m winning and not that I’m not doing good. Because I’m having so much fun, I don’t think too much about it. I just get on auto-pilot, and I get out and go to war. And that’s cost me in the past. But I have no regret not using the jiu-jitsu. I have the arsenal. I put 16 years of my life into jiu-jitsu. I know what I can do. And I’m going to use it now. I don’t know why I have such a humongous fan base, it’s definitely not based on performance because my performances have been poor in my own standards. But I think they see how I fight with so much heart, and I fight for them. I fight for my fans and mostly my students, because I want to make them proud. Everybody that’s believed in me and supported me for all these years, I want to say thank you. And I’m only getting started. I’m going to go to Strikeforce, and I’m going to win that belt. Then I’m going to come back to the UFC as a contender and not a gatekeeper.

Strikeforce: Destruction Results

Quick Results:

Scott Smith def. Terry Martin by KO in Round 1

Renato “Babalu” Sobral def. Bobby Southworth at the end of Round 1 Due to Cut

Duane “Bang” Ludwig def. Yves Edwards by Unanimous Decision

Joe ‘Diesel’ Riggs defeats Luke Stewart via TKO (Strikes) in Round Two

Kim Couture defeats Lina Kvokov via TKO (Strikes) in Round One

Notes:

  • Check out my pre-fight picks.  I went 5 for 5 here.  Honestly, non-UFC events have fewer upsets and are easier to pick.   I don’t mean to brag, but I have done fairly well with my picks.  Maybe I should pick up gambling…nah.
  • Scott Smith looked really solid and Terry Martin has a glass jaw
  • I don’t know if the Southworth fight should have been stopped, but Babalu probably had it in the bag anyways
  • It looks like Kim Couture fought a tomato can who was scared to engage and turned away as she was being beaten up
  • Yves Edwards might want to consider retirement
  • The production of this event was second rate at best

Strikeforce: Destruction Predictions

This still turns out to be a fairly solid card, b ut it really took a hit with the injury to Josh Thomson.  However, Strikeforce showed a lot of flexibility by bringing in Duane Ludwig as a replacement and by tapping Scott Smith and Terry Martin to fight, which really helped a card that would have been dead otherwise.  It doesn’t have UFC draw on it, but it has 4 good fights, plus the debut of Kim Couture.  There are a lot of prospects on the undercard and I only know of a few of them so I will refrain from picking out of ignorance. 

Bobby Southworth vs. Renato “Babalu” Sobral

Bobby Southworth may be able to hit hard with that right hand, but I base this pick off of pure skill set.  Babalu may be a punk, but he is a top 20 light heavyweight in the world punk.  He has to hope for a win as he has a tough match up looming in January with Matt Lindland at Affliction’s second card.  Babalu is a great grappler, wrestler and jiu jitsu practitoner.  Southworth may want to watch Chuck Liddell’s fight against Babalu as Babalu may be suseptible to strikes.  However, in the end Babalu is too well rounded.  I saw he gets the take down and chokes out Southworth in round 2 to become the Strikeforce light heavyweight champion.

Yves Edwards vs. Duane “Bang” Ludwig

Edwards has the experience in his corner, however I think Ludwig’s muay thai will prove to be too much.  Edwards has a weak chin which will be tested in this fight.  Ludwig is not on elite level, but this should be a good fight.  Also, do not forget Ludwig will have some size advantage in this fight as well.  I pick Ludwig by TKO in round 1.

Terry Martin vs. Scott Smith

This is a great fight.  I do not know what this means for Smith’s career and the contract status with ProElite, but this is a big fight for Smith.  Scott Smith hung with Lawler in their first fight and then suffered a loss to him.   This fight will show that Scott Smith is not a one hit wonder in MMA.  A loss here would hurt Smith’s career with the fold of ProElite.  A win here and he could find a lot of offers including an offer from Strikeforce, Affliction, DREAM, or even a shot back in the UFC.  A loss would hurt that.  At one time i was on the Terry Martin hype wagon.  He looked good for a while in the UFC, but the loss to Leben hurt him.  Terry martin is a great boxer, but while he can KO people he can also be KO’d himself.  I have to believe that Smith has overall better MMA skills and hope he would utilize kicks and strikes to get the win.  I would expect this fight to stay standing.  If Smith uses his kicks well I expect he can keep his distance and pick up the win.  I pick Scott Smith to win this by decision.

Joe Riggs vs. Luke Stewart

Which Joe Riggs will show up?  Riggs has looked decent lately.  He got a bad deal with the stoppage at the last event against Kazuo Misaki, but he still was going to lose that fight.  Stewart is a relative unknown with good jiu jitsu skills.  Riggs is a solid competitior.  I expect him to win by decision.

This Week (November 16-23) In MMA

  • Strikeforce: Destruction – November 21st –  This card was scheduled to feature a title defense by lightweight Champ Josh Thomson, however he was forced to withdraw to to a foot injury.  Duane “Bang” Ludwig was tapped to replace him against Yves Edwards.  Also on the card is a light heavyweight title bout between Champ Bobby Southworth and Renato “Babalu” Sobral.  That is a tough match for Southworth.  Strikeforce also added a good middleweight bout between UFC vets Scott Smith and Terry Martin.  Also, look for the debut of Kim Couture on this card.  It is worth a watch.
  • Ring of Combat XXII – November 21 – This card features a couple of titles.  Including Chris Liguori in a lightweight bout with Cory Mahon.  Also, a middleweight title fight between TUF 7 alums Dante Rivera and Paul Bradley. 
  • M-1 Challenge 9 – November 21 – Aleksander Emelianenko will fight Korean prospect Sang Soo Lee
  • The Ultimate Fighter Episode 11 – November 19 –  This is going to be the last of the prelim fights and will feature a fight between lightweights George Roop and John Polakowski.  Also, we expect the semi-finals match ups to be announced.
  • C-3 Fights: DominationNovember 22 –  TUF 7 Alum John Kolosci, TUF 8 Alum Jason Guida, Up and Comer Pat Curran and Eddie Wineland will all be in action at this event.

Evaluating Affliction

One of the questions that I keep thinking about is whether or not Affliction in here to stay and whether or not they will compete with the UFC.  No one disagrees that UFC is the standard of MMA right now, but Affliction is making up ground quickly.  It has been a tell tale sign of a slight change that Affliction has signed so many guys lately including many of the stars from the now defunt IFL, which was bought by the parent company of the UFC, Zuffa.  Affliction has signed Champs Roy Nelson and Vladimir Matyushenko.  They have signed lightweight star Chris Horodecki and are rumored to have welterweight champ Jay Hieron.  Affliction is cleaning up the free agents and doing better in that regard than even the UFC as of late.  So, what is there to judge a promotion…

1. Fighter Talent – Fight promotions are fight promotions.  There are other factors that come into play, but primarily if a promotion does not have top level talent they will not stay relevant.

2. Show Quality –  While good fighters is essential, the promotion must put on a good show.  They must entertain fans.  This includes exciting fights, good commentators and a solid show production.  Promotions have to build shows people will come to or buy.

3.  Solid Managment –  Managment is important to a fight promotion, not just anyone can do it.  A promotion may suceed or fail based ont he business savvy of the fight promoter or president.  The PR, fighter pay, contracts, TV deals, etc. all come into play here.

With that said, let’s see how Affliction is doing…

1. Fighter Talent…

There is a lot of hype around Affliction’s fighter talent.  Here is who I can think of off hand that they have and will use on their cards

  • Fedor Emelianenko
  • Andrei Arlovski
  • Josh Barnett
  • Tim Sylvia
  • Ben Rothwell
  • Roy Nelson
  • Pedro Rizzo
  • Paul Buentello
  • Aleksander Emelianenko
  • Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
  • Tito Ortiz
  • Vladimir Matyushenko
  • Renato “Babalu” Sobral
  • Mike Whitehead
  • Edwin DeWees
  • Vernon White
  • Vitor Belfort
  • Matt Lindland
  • Jay Hieron
  • Mike Pyle
  • J.J. Ambrose
  • Chris Horodecki

I went to HDNet’s Rankings to see how many Affliction Fighters were ranked in the top 100 pound for pound or top in their divisons  here is the results.

(Pound for Pound Rank, Divison Rank)

  • Fedor Emelianenko (2, 1)
  • Andrei Arlovski (25, 4)
  • Josh Barnett (27, 5)
  • Tim Sylvia (55, 7)
  • Ben Rothwell (81, 12)
  • Roy Nelson (84, 13)
  • Pedro Rizzo (NR, 19)
  • Paul Buentello (NR, NR)
  • Aleksander Emelianenko (76, 10)
  • Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (85, 13)
  • Tito Ortiz (87, 15)
  • Vladimir Matyushenko (66, 12)
  • Renato “Babalu” Sobral (92, 16)
  • Mike Whitehead (NR, NR)
  • Edwin DeWees (NR, NR)
  • Vernon White (NR, NR)
  • Vitor Belfort (NR, NR) – Unfairly I’d admit
  • Matt Lindland (22, 5)
  • Jay Hieron (59, 11)
  • Mike Pyle (NR, NR)
  • J.J. Ambrose (NR, NR)
  • Chris Horodecki (NR, NR)
  • Put this into perspective, out of the top 100 the promotions faires like this in pound for pound top 100 fighters…

    • UFC -39
    • Affliction – 13
    • DREAM -12
    • WEC – 10
    • EliteXC – 10
    • Strikeforce – 5
    • World Victory Road – 3

    The point is that Affliction’s talent is overrated. 

    • They are right about the level of DREAM talent wise
    • They are no where near the talent level of the UFC
    • 10 of the Affliction guys that appeared on the rankings list have fought in the UFC before.  Some have been sucessful.  There are several former UFC champs (Sylvia, Barnett, Rizzo, Ortiz and Arlovski), however most of them did no better than fair in the UFC (see Matyushenko, Hieron, et. al)
    • Most of the top Affliction guys are in the second half of their careers and are past their prime.  They still have fight left in them, don’t get me wrong, but not for the long haul
    • What happens if two or three of those gusy get injured?  Affliction is hanging their hat on Fedor, Barnett, Arlovski and Ortiz.  They cannot keep putting everyone on every card, they will run out of match-ups.
    • To their credit, they can put on good fights.  The talent isn’t bad.  Their guys can fight exciting fighter, but they have exciting fights at tough man competitions. They need to sign younger talent and more talent.

    Show Quality…

    • I cannot judge them solely on their sole show.  Affliction needs to improve their show quality as far as commentating, interviews and production is concerned
    • Also, I thought with the exception of the last 3 fights the card wasn’t what it was billed to be
    • They are nowhere near the UFC level as far as enjoyability to watch

    Solid Managment:

    • The UFC with Dana White and the Fertitas is still the managment standard.  I have problems with the UFC and Dana White’s managing style.  I don’t like his constant expletives, I don’t like the way he trashes other promotions, I don’t like the stubborness he exhibits with signing guys like Lindland and Barnett, and even Fedor.  However, Dana is crafty.  Atencio is no Dana White.  Watch his video below where he can’t remember Josh Barnett’s name and he is the main event for the second show. 
    • Affliction does have the deep pocketed Donald Trump behind them which helps.  Trump is a business guiness, but he doesn’t neccessarily know MMA.  The money helps thought he same way it helped having Lorezon and Frank in the UFC early days when they lost tons of money.

    Here is the point folks…Affliction is a solid upstart company.  They may be around for a while, but before we jump ont he bandwagon and label them peers to the UFC and competitors to the UFC let them get through a few shows first.  Let’s see how much money they lose after 3 events.  Let’s see how many fights they can do after 3 card.  They could compete, but as for now it is the UFC and then everyone else.  Zuffa is sitting pretty in the MMA world.  They are the big leagues, everything else is just the minors.  Affliction, EliteXC and DREAM are in the same boat and in a year from now at least one of them will be non-existent.

    Donald Trump and Affliction

    It has been learned that multi millionaire Donald Trump has some involvment with the upstart MMA promotion Affliction.  Affliction will host a huge show on July 19th featuring many great fighters.  MMARated reports:

    at tomorrow’s Affliction press conference in Manhattan, Donald Trump will be announcing that former UFC heavyweight champion, Andrei Arlovski, has officially signed with the upstart promotion. The Executive Vice President of The Trump Organization and the Special Counsel to Donald J. Trump, Michael D. Cohen, confirmed the news with MMARated.com.

    It has long been rumored that Arlovski would be facing Ben Rothwell on the inaugural Affliction card but Mr. Cohen would not officially comment on when “The Pit Bull” would be making his debut. We should, however, find out more tomorrow.

    Trump will also announce that he has become an equity partner in the Affliction promotion. When asked what percentage of the organization he now owns, Mr. Cohen would only say “a significant amount.”

    Finally, when asked if Trump’s relationship with Tito Ortiz would help bring the former UFC light heavyweight champion to Affliction, Cohen said:

    “Everything that Donald Trump does is the biggest and the best and the “Afflcition: Banned” show will be just that.

    Due to the status of the Trump mark, and Donald Trump as a mogul business man, Mr. Trump has received dozens of phone calls from fighters who are interested in joining the Affliction family.”

    Obviously, the point is that Donald Trump has deep pockets.  That will obviously help Affliction.  Many fighting promotions get off to a bad start, but not Affliction.  It seems that financially Trump will be willing to invest in them.  Also, is addition to the money Trump has the know how to run a busisness and run it well.  He will be a bonus for Affliction.  The upstart promotion is also expected to officially announce what I reported several days ago, that Andrei Arlovski was signed to a deal and would take on Ben Rothwell.  Affliction has many good fighters and a good card set up.  Their divisons look like this:

    Heavyweight:

    1. Fedor Emelianenko

    2. Tim Sylvia

    3. Josh Barnett

    4. Andrei Arlovski

    5. Ben Rothwell

    6. Aleksander Emelianenko

    7. Pedro Rizzo

    8. Paul Buentello

    Light HeavyWeight

    1. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira

    2. Renato “Babalu” Sobral

    3. (Possibly Tito Ortiz)

    4. Mike Whitehead

    5. Vernon White

    Obviously, following that they do not have much competiton in the other weight classes.  Also, we may wonder how many possible match-ups can they have with 8 Heavyweights.  They do have some solid big guys, they have 6 top ten type fighters in the world.  I expect that they sign more fighters as time goes on.  The age and mileage on the guys they have is a worry for me, but the July 19th fights ought to be good and we ought to see not only good Affliction match-ups, but also good inter-promotional match-ups.  Affliction could make the Couture vs. Fedor fight happen.  Affliction could utilize other guys as well from organizations willing to work with others like EliteXC, Strikeforce, DREAM, and IFL.  With the Donald on their side Affliction instantly became a competitor with the UFC in the likeness of PRIDE.  They will attract fighters on the promise of better pay and better treatment as well as flexibility to work with other promotions.  I don’t look for Affliction to flop quickly.

    Who Benefited Most From PRIDE’s Collapse?

    When PRIDE fell they were clearly the biggest competitors with the UFC, having many of MMA’s top guys.  They had some big time stars. Then PRIDE got into trouble and was bought by Zuffa.  So who benefited the most from PRIDE’s deminse?  There was a mad scramble to sign those guys who were now unemployed. I have been critical of the UFC’s ability to sign top PRIDE guys like Fedor, Gomi, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Arona, Kang, Mousasi, Melendez, etc. However, it looks like the UFC has done great due to PRIDE’s fall.  I ranked the PRIDE guys at the time of their collapse in order of who I would want to sign and the UFC benefited from it.  Now, the guys they have signed haven;t had huge success, but they are popular and will win eventually.  Can you imagine the UFC heavyweight divison without the influx of Nogueira, Werdum, and Herring???  The light heavyweight divison also was greatly boosted with the signings of Shogun, Wanderlei, Dan Henderson, Nakamura, and Sokoudjou.  UFC just struggles to get the lightweights. UFC signed 13 of those guys I listed and they have faired well, this doesn’t even include other guys who came in before the fall of PRIDE like “Rampage” Jackson.  Out of those guys you have some stars now in the UFC, some guys that can draw a crowd and one of them owns the belt (Nogueira).  DREAM and Affliction seemed to clean up what UFC couldn’t sign.  DREAM picked up the ligtweights, signing 8 of those PRIDE guys.  Affliction has a few signings.  So while I am critical of the UFC, let us give Dana and the UFC brass some credit for signing many of the top PRIDE guys.  I still would like to see the best of the best in one place, but it won’t happen, so this puts things into perspective and the UFC did good and benefited the most from PRIDE’s fall.

     

    Name

    Fight Organization Signed With

    Fedor Emelianenko

    Affliction

    Wanderlei Silva

    UFC

    Mauricio “Shogun” Rua

    UFC

    Mirko Cro Cop

    UFC (DREAM)

    Takanori Gomi

    World Victory Road

    Dan Henderson

    UFC

    Josh Barnett

    Affliction

    Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

    UFC

    Paulo Filho

    WEC

    Antonio Rogerio Nogueira

    HCF

    Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou

    UFC

    Ricardo Arona

     

    Gilbert Melendez

    Strikeforce

    Fabricio Werdum

    UFC

    Gegard Mousasi

    DREAM

    Denis Kang

    DREAM

    Aleksander Emelianenko

    Affliction

    Marcus Aurelio

    UFC

    Akihiro Gono

    UFC

    Kauo Misaki

    DREAM

    Ricardo Almeida

    UFC

    Heath Herring

    UFC

    Joachim Hansen

    DREAM

    Ryo Chonan

    UFC

    Kazuhiro Nakamura

    UFC

    Tatsuya Kawajiri

    DREAM

    Mitsuhiro Ishida

    DREAM

    Alistair Overeem

    Strikeforce

    Kevin Randleman

     

    Phil Baroni

    EliteXC

    Hayato “Mach” Sakurai

    DREAM

    Murilio Bustamante

     

    Murilo “Ninja” Rua

    EliteXC