About Rich Mitchell

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Posts by Rich Mitchell:

Ronda Rousey’s Latest WWE Tease… Hubby Joining Her?

(Video courtesy of TMZSports | Viewing may be limited by broadcast rights restrictions)

What’s next for Ronda Rousey

The former queen of the UFC has laid low when it comes to talking about her career after losing her last two bouts in spectacular fashion. Rousey has been seen around the WWE lately, and WWE officials have not been shy about admitting that they would welcome her to the professional wrestling world with open arms. 

Rousey has already taken the ring alongside The Rock at a previous WrestleMania and is a lifelong fan, so it’s not like it would be a surprising move. But is she really considering a move to the WWE? And would her hubby, UFC heavyweight Travis Browne, join her?

TRENDING > Mark Hunt Blasts Dana White After Being Pulled from UFC Australia

TMZ Sports recently caught up with Rousey and Browne when the couple was about to head home from the airport, where they surprisingly opened up about a possible future in professional wrestling.

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Bryan Caraway Faces Luke Sanders at UFC Fight Night in Fresno

Following more than a year off due to injury, Bryan Caraway will make his long awaited return to the Octagon in Decmeber as he faces up and coming bantmaweight talent Luke Sanders at UFC Fight Night in Fresno.

Sources close to the matchup confirmed the news to MMAWeekly.com on Wednesday following an initial report from ESPN.

Caraway comes back with momentum after picking up wins in each of his last two bouts against Aljamain Sterling and Eddie Wineland while building on a 4-1 record overall in his last five fights.

The former “Ultimate Fighter” competitor was supposed to fight in January but a back injury knocked him out of his bout against Jimmie Rivera but he’s finally healthy and ready to resume his career.

Meanwhile, Sanders will look for his first win over a top 10 ranked opponent when he faces Caraway on Dec. 9.

Sanders is 11-1 in his career with his only loss coming by way of submission in his last bout against Iuri Alcantara. Now he’ll look to bounce back while facing a veteran contender in Caraway.

UFC Fight Night in Fresno will be headlined by a featherweight matchup as Cub Swanson takes on undefeated prospect Brian Ortega.

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Kurt Holobaugh Will Appeal Nine Month Suspension, Manager Explains What Unfolded

Kurt Holobaugh and his management team are planning an appeal to the nine month suspension he was handed after willfully admitting to using an IV after the weigh-ins for his bout on the Dana White Tuesday Night Contender Series back in July.

The commission handed down the nine month suspension on Tuesday along with a $750 fine after Holobaugh disclosed that he used an IV ahead of his win against Matt Bessette that was also overturned to a no contest.

Holobaugh’s manager Bryan Hamper from Suckerpunch Entertainment explained that the entire issue stems from his fighter not understanding the rules in Nevada much more than any attempt to actually cheat the system.

In fact, Holobaugh was only caught because he willfully disclosed that he used an IV because otherwise no one would have ever known.

According to Hamper, the problem started at the weigh-ins where Holobaugh filled out his pre-fight questionnaire for Nevada and checked the box that stated he was going to use an IV. Because he wasn’t under USADA testing protocols for the fight, Holobaugh believed IV use was still allowed, not knowing that Nevada had adapted the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) rules that bans athletes from using an IV over 50mL unless specifically authorized by a physician.

“As he filling out his commission paperwork at weigh-ins while he’s sucked out, he’s on weight and he fills it out and checks the box that talks about IV use,” Hamper explained when speaking to MMAWeekly. “[The commission representative] sees his response and they say you can’t check that box, you have to check the other way. Because basically he was saying ‘I intend to use an IV’. He checks the box, they tell him, no you have to check the other box.

“He erases his answer and checks the other box. It’s very clear to see that he erased and checked the other box after being told with the commission to do so.”

Hamper says that’s where the problems start with this suspension because the commission representative could have easily told Holobaugh that IV use is banned rather than just telling him to fill out his paperwork a different way. Had Holobaugh known that IV use wasn’t allowed, Hamper knows that would have stopped him from doing it in the first place.

“It’s an education issue,” Hamper explained. “If they would have said he can’t take an IV [at the weigh-ins], Kurt would have never taken an IV. He understood he wasn’t under USADA protocol so there’s no statute that says he couldn’t use and IV. Needless to say, Nevada had changed their regulations and it can only be administered in a hospital now. It’s an education issue, not a case of trying to have any wrongdoing or try to hide anything.”

After earning a contract to fight in the UFC, Holobaugh entered the USADA testing program and once again disclosed that he used an IV, which then raised a red flag with the agency who then notified Nevada about what happened. That’s when the process started that eventually ended with the nine-month suspension.

“He willfully discloses that he used the IV during the Contender Series fight in Nevada. Upon receiving that, USADA knows that’s a violation and they have to go back to Nevada and notify them. That’s what happened. He checked the box about IV use, was told he can’t do that and told the check the other box,” Hamper said.

“He willfully disclosed that used it and we are where we are and they’re trying to make an example out of him.”

Hamper said that he plans to exhaust all resources to appeal the decision because he doesn’t feel like Holobaugh got a fair shake in the matter. When B.J. Penn disclosed that he took an IV while under the USADA testing protocol, he was handed a six-month suspension while Holobaugh got nine months for the same infraction.

Of course, Penn was punished by USADA rather than the Nevada State Athletic Commission but Hamper still believes that his fighter was handed too harsh of a punishment.

“We’re going to exercise any appeal process that’s available. Jeff [Novitsky] from the UFC said that he would love to speak on behalf of the situation and there was no malicious intent in anything Kurt did. He willfully disclosed everything. It’s an education issue. He’s not a cheater,” Hamper said.

“Now he’s entered into the USADA program and he has this stigma around him when he filled out the paperwork properly and was instructed to change it. That’s my biggest issue with this whole thing. I can’t help but feel like we got railroaded. There are catastrophic ramifications for this action. He’s the primary caregiver to three kids he has sole custody of and now he has no way to earn an income. This is a really major issue. With his family structure, he would never have put himself in this situation. The biggest thing that Kurt’s worried about is not the no contest, it’s that people will think he’s a cheater.”

In a separate statement to MMAFighting, UFC vice president of athlete health and performance Jeff Novitsky took part of the blame for what happened with Holobaugh because the Contender Series falls into a grey area where the fighters on those shows aren’t under UFC contract and aren’t educated in the same way as athletes already on the roster.

Novitsky also admitted that the only reason Holobaugh faced the suspension in the first place is because he honestly disclosed his IV use and now he’s paying for it.

“I really almost take a level of self responsibility on this one, because that Contender Series is a bit of a gray area,” Novitzky said. “We really didn’t, until this happened, educate those fighters towards the IV ban or even the Nevada rules they’d be subject to are. We do that now going forward, but I wish looking back that we had, because I probably could have prevented that.

“I think that they realized that this guy wasn’t trying to break this rule or try to cheat on purpose. Again, if not for his honesty, no one would have known about it.”

If there’s a silver lining in this entire mess, Hamper says that the UFC still plans on keeping Holobaugh on the roster despite the suspension and his win being overturned to a no contest. Of course that still doesn’t clear his name and the last thing Holobaugh wants is to be associated with cheating.

“His UFC contract’s not in jeopardy,” Hamper said. “But now we have the stigma of being caught up in a situation where people think he’s a cheater and we’ve got nine months where he’s not able to earn an income. Of course in a perfect world he fights in nine months but we don’t always live in that. There are injuries in training and situations that could prevent him from fighting right away, he might have to get booked later than nine months from now. It can be catastrophic to his ability to earn a living.”

Holobaugh said the same in a statement provided by his management team over the fiasco that ended with him being suspended until April 2018.

“Upon hearing the Nevada ruling, I’m extremely troubled by their decision to overturn the fight to a no contest and suspend me nine months,” Holobaugh said. “Every step of the way, I complied to the procedures that were put in front of me. I also willfully acknowledged this on my pre-screening form with USADA. This was an education error. This was not something that was done with any malicious intent.

“I tried to comply to the best of my ability and I want to move forward and clear my name of any wrongdoing.”

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Michael Bisping Keeps Blasting Georges St-Pierre Over Steroids

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Michael Bisping has long been saying – or at least insinuating – that Georges St-Pierre‘s delaying his return to the Octagon was because he needed to clear steroids out of his system. 

St-Pierre is returning from a four-year hiatus by moving from welterweight, where he ruled the roost, up to middleweight, where he will challenge Bisping for the belt. The two were initially expected to fight over the summer. Numerous delays, however, have pushed the fight back to Nov. 4 at UFC 217 in New York. 

St-Pierre has made no secret of the idea that he wanted to take some time to add some size to his body, but Bisping has frequently tipped to the idea that St-Pierre might have used steroids.

TRENDING > UFC’s Jeff Novitzky Debunks Jon Jones Controversy

Bisping briefly shied away from the accusations during a late-night stop on Conan O’Brien’s talk show, but at the recent UFC 217 Kickoff Press Conference in Las Vegas, he doubled down, once again throwing the steroid accusations in St-Pierre’s face.

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UFC’s Jeff Novitzky Debunks Jon Jones Controversy

Fake news is one of the hottest terms in the media landscape. There’s good reason for that.

It seems anything anyone says or does can be twisted to fit the storyline being proposed by whatever outlet is publishing it. That goes for MMA just as much as it does for the big boys at CNN, Fox News, or MSNBC.

Jeff Novitsky, the UFC Vice President of Athlete Health and Performance, recently became the victim of fake news following an appearance on Octagon announcer Bruce Buffer’s podcast. 

Novitsky was asked about former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones‘ latest anti-doping case. 

Jeff Novitzky over Jon JonesFollowing his victory over Daniel Cormier at UFC 214, Jones was notified that he had tested positive for the steroid Turinabol in a sample collected on July 28, the day prior to the fight. He was provisionally suspended by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. The UFC stripped the title from Jones and returned it to Cormier. 

Jones is currently in the midst of the adjudication of his case, claiming that he was unaware of where the Turinabol came from and trying to prove his innocence.

In his appearance on Buffer’s podcast, Novitsky explained the circumstances of the case and mentioned that the facts as he knew them seemed to lead toward the idea that Jones might have unknowingly ingested Turinabol, but he was far removed from declaring Jones’ innocence or proclaiming that he was likely to receive no punishment, as several reports proclaimed.

Novitsky released a statement via MMAFighting on Wednesday, debunking the fake news claims.

“The  headline and corresponding article took excerpts from an interview I did last week, where I was asked about the status of Jon Jones’ pending case,” Novitzky wrote in the statement. “I indicated that Jon’s camp, the UFC and USADA were all working hard and together to determine the source of the prohibited substance in Jon’s system. That is still the case.

TRENDING > Mark Hunt Blasts Dana White After Being Pulled from UFC Australia

“I stated that this is often a lengthy process that can take up to several months to complete, but that possible sanctions based on the findings of a completed case ranged from a multi-year suspension, to a minimal, or no-fault sanction, if an unavoidable ingestion of the prohibited substance was determined.”

Jones has a prior sanction from USADA, making it doubly difficult for him to escape this case without additional punishment. But it is likely to be several months before there is a definitive outcome to his case.

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Check Out the Choke That Earned Alex Perez a UFC Contract

(Courtesy of UFC)

Alex Perez was a man on a mission when he met Kevin Gray on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. Perez earned himself a UFC contract when locked in a D’Arce choke in the first round.

TRENDING > First Look at Full Conor McGregor Documentary Trailer for ‘Notorious’ (VIDEO)

According to UFC president Dana White, the Contender Series will return sometime after the start of 2018.

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Kevin Lee’s Head Coach Explains Why More Weight Classes Aren’t the Answer to Weight Cutting Issues

Weight cutting has been one of the biggest issues in mixed martial arts ever since the sport adapted weight classes, but no one has figured out the perfect answer to the problem.

In recent years, weight cutting has caused numerous fights to be cancelled and athletes have even died due to the extreme damage done during the weight cutting process.

Last weekend at UFC 216, main event fighter Kevin Lee suffered through his own tough weight cut while trying to get down to the 155-pound limit for his lightweight title fight against Tony Ferguson.

Lee has made the cut numerous times throughout his career, but this instance was made even tougher after he contracted a staph infection just days before he was scheduled to step on the scale for his main event title fight.

Lee’s head coach Robert Follis went through the entire weight cutting process with him and while he can’t explain exactly how much of a toll the staph infection took on the Detroit native, there’s little doubt it made the whole thing that much harder.

“Knowing how we normally cut, I would say it had an impact. I think it slowed things down, I think it made it harder for that weight to come off,” Follis told the Fight Society podcast this week. “I think it affected him a little bit physically but at no point were we done sweating. As soon as they cleared us to cut [after the first weigh-in], we went back and kept right on sweating. It just took a little bit longer than we thought. We actually allowed some extra time, we cut a little bit earlier than we normally do. His body just wasn’t responding.

“We have notes from every weight cut we’ve ever done. We know down to the minute what we’ve done in every camp. Weight cutting is an art that uses science but it’s still an art and it’s never exact.”

After the fight was over, Lee once again made the push for the UFC to add an additional weight class at 165 pounds, which he’s done several times in the past as well. UFC president Dana White quickly shot down the idea and instead suggested that Lee and other athletes take advantage of the new UFC Performance Institute where athletes can work with nutritionists and trainers at no cost to them in the lead up to the fight.

White also stated that adding more weight classes wouldn’t ensure that safer measures were being taken regarding extreme weight cuts in MMA.

It turns out Follis agrees because while he knows additional weight classes might save some fighters, the exact opposite will happen as different athletes will then try make an even more extreme cut to try and gain a competitive advantage.Kevin Lee UFC 216

“People talk about adding weight classes but I just see that extending the problem,” Follis said. “As soon as you extend the weight class, people are going to get bigger and they’re going to cut just as much weight. This is really a commission issue and the commissions really need to pull together and figure out a way across the board where it’s consistent and it’s safe for the fighters. A commission’s job, they’re No. 1 objective is fighter safety.

“Of all the things that I do with my fighters, the most dangerous is knockouts but we can work to avoid that, it doesn’t happen all the time but every fight we have to go through a weight cut to remain competitive in a weight class. People will say you don’t have to weight cut but then you’re giving up 15 pounds of muscle to someone. There’s a reason why there’s weight classes.”

Follis looks at an organization such as ONE Championship, who made drastic changes to their policies after a fighter died in 2015 after suffering from a brutal weight cut. States such as California have also begun instituting new rules to curb the extreme weight cutting that takes place in MMA, but Follis knows it’s an issue that needs to be addressed on a global level not just within certain states.

“I would really love to see them make it a priority to work together to come up with a system where people can’t cut too much weight and those things get toned down to where how much you can sweat isn’t a big factor in how well you fight. Quite frankly, the fact that the weight cut becomes such a deal, so important on how well you sweat, how fast you can rehydrate, how your body handles it — don’t we just want to see people come in at their best and fight? For me, I really feel like the weight classes don’t matter cause they’re just going to extend [weight cutting],” Follis said.

While there are plenty of fighters pushing for additional weight classes, Follis believes that’s only going to slow down a few symptoms involved with weight cutting for certain athletes but there’s no chance it will cure the disease.

Follis suggests a complete overhaul to weight cutting regulation when it comes to MMA or the problem will just persist no matter how many divisions are added to the sport.

“After doing this as long as I have I can tell you honestly, I mean I don’t like losing but it’s part of the sport. You’re accepting of it. You’re going to have some losses. But the one part that I absolutely don’t like being a part of and don’t like doing is the weight cut. I’m good at it and I can help my guys do it, but I would love to take that out of the equation,” Follis said.

“As long as you have that day before weigh-in and the ability to cut weight, people are going to do it. You have to take that off the table with rules. Anything is better than what we’re doing right now.”

Listen to the rest of Follis’ interview on the latest Fight Society podcast here or download and subscribe to the show via Apple Podcasts. 

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Michael Bisping Has Been Racking Up Wins; What About Georges St-Pierre?

(Courtesy of UFC)

Three world titles will be at stake and a legend returns when the Octagon lands in New York City for UFC 217 on Saturday, Nov. 4.

Middleweight champion Michael Bisping looks to defend his crown for the second time against one of the greatest mixed martial artists in history, Georges St-Pierre, who makes his comeback after four years away from the sport, in UFC 217 the main event.

TRENDING > Joanna Jedrzejczyk: I’m Ready for All of Them, but They’re Not Ready for Me

In the co-main event, former training partners turned bitter rivals will settle the score when bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt clashes with TJ Dillashaw. Strawweight powerhouse Joanna Jedrzejczyk chases Ronda Rousey’s record for most successful title defenses in the women’s divisions when she meets Rose Namajunas.

Check out the UFC 217: Bisping vs. St-Pierre fight card and rumors.

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ONE: Hero’s Dream Full Fight Card Revealed

ONE: Hero’s Dream is set for the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium on Nov. 3 and will be headlined by an openweight bout between Aung La Nsang and Alain Ngalani. The full fight card was released on Tuesday and features ten matches.

In total, there are six Burmese fighters in action. Two of them are set to face off in the co-main event with featherweight Phoe Thaw (4-0) looking for his fifth straight ONE Championship win when he faces Saw Ba Oo (2-1).

There’s a battle between two top ranked flyweights with Ma Hao Bin (7-1) looking to move closer to title contention with what would be his fifth victory for the promotion. He faces Eugene Toquero (8-5) with the Filipino looking to snap a three match losing skid.

Another fighter with title aspirations is Pongsiri Mitsatit (8-0). The 21-year-old can take a big step towards earning a shot at the belt if he manages to defeat Jeremy Miado (6-1) on Nov. 3.

There are also four Chinese fighters on the card. Flyweight Chen Lei (3-0) will be looking to secure a fourth straight stoppage win under the ONE Championship banner when he faces Filipino stand-up specialist Burn Soriano (3-3)

ONE: Hero’s Dream Fight Card

  • Aung La N Sang vs. Alain Ngalani
  • Phoe Thaw vs. Saw Ba Oo
  • Ma Hao Bin vs. Eugene Toquero
  • Tha Pyay Nyo vs. Asraful Islam
  • Pongsiri Mitsatit vs. Jeremy Miado
  • Saw Min Min vs. Ye Thway Ne
  • Chen Lei vs. Burn Soriano
  • Miao Jie vs. Amira Hafizovic
  • Zhang Ze Hao vs. Bala Shetty
  • Nita Dea vs. Jomary Torres

(Follow @JamesGoyder on Twitter)

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Cub Swanson to Headline UFC Fresno Then May Move On

Cub Swanson and Brian Ortega will make their returns to the Octagon opposite one another in the UFC Fight Night main event in Fresno, Calif.

Though the bout has been rumored for some time, UFC officials confirmed the bout on Tuesday. It will serve as the Dec. 9 headliner at Save Mart Center.

For Swanson (25-7), No. 4 in the featherweight rankings, it could be his final fight in the Octagon. Coming off of four-consecutive victories, Swanson is looking for a boost to his bottom line, and this being the last fight on his current contract, he’s considering hitting the free market.

Cub Swanson“I want to get paid more,” Swanson said during a recent episode of ESPN’s Five Rounds podcast. “The thing people don’t understand is that I’ve gotten to a point where I’m making good money and it’s enough to live on, but it’s not retirement money. Not even close.

“I’ve been doing this for 13 years and I’m in the prime of my career, but at some point it’s going to dip off, and I’d like to walk away before I start having really bad performances… with enough money in my account to make smart investments and do the right things.”

TRENDING > Ian McCall Granted His Release from the UFC

Ortega (12-0, 1NC) is a former RFA champion who has steadily climbed the 145-pound ranks. He currently occupies the No. 6 spot in the division.

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