Watch Chael Sonnen Beat Tito Ortiz … in 1998 (video)

(Courtesy of FloWrestling)

Yes, we realize it was a collegiate wrestling match, but Chael Sonnen and Tito Ortiz have met in competition in the past. Getting ready for their upcoming MMA fight at Bellator 170 on Jan. 21 in California, take a look back at the time they met in college and Sonnen dominated Ortiz.

TRENDING > Cris Cyborg is Applying for a Retroactive Exemption for Anti-Doping Violation

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No, Cain Velasquez is Not Out of His UFC 207 Fight with Fabricio Werdum

Despite a report on Thursday that Cain Velasquez was out of his scheduled UFC 207 bout with Fabricio Werdum, the former heavyweight champ said he is “in shape and ready to go.”

That’s not to say there wasn’t some concern about Valesquez’s participation on the Dec. 30 pay-per-view event.

Velasquez conducted an interview with ESPN.com in which he revealed an issue with his sciatic nerve that he had already scheduled a surgical procedure to repair following the fight. He also mentioned the use of Cannabidiol (CBD) instead of pain killers to deal with the pain while training. 

CBD is not banned out of competition, so Velasquez’s use shouldn’t be an anti-doping issue as long as he ceased usage soon enough that it won’t show on his drug screen the night of the fight.

TRENDING > Jessica Andrade Pulled from UFC 207, Line-Up Reduced to 11 Bouts

The sciatic nerve issue and surgery, however, were a red flag.

It’s actually a problem that Velasquez has had in the past. He has bone spurs that put pressure on his sciatic nerve, which causes pain in his leg. He had surgery earlier this year when he was having pain in his left leg. That fixed the issue for several months, but the pain returned, this time in his right leg. 

It’s not an extensive surgery, but a procedure that he went ahead and scheduled for after the fight.

Cain Velasquez - UFC 200“The surgery is basically shaving off some bone to make room for my sciatic nerve. After the last surgery, the doctor said I might be pain-free forever, but knowing how I train and what I do as a fighter, the pain could come back,” Velasquez told ESPN. “I didn’t really know how long I was going to feel good. It ended up being about a year.”

Though he’s not sure whether it was the UFC or the Nevada Athletic Commission, or both, that expressed concern about his back, Velasquez told MMAFighting.com on Friday that the UFC asked him to get further clearance from his doctor to prove he would be ready to fight next week.

Confident that he wouldn’t have an issue getting further clearance, Velasquez said, “It’s going to be an easy process, definitely. I’ve been working out now for two months, doing everything: wrestling, sparring … I’ve been throwing out stuff on social media to show that I am ready.

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“He’s going to look me over and give me the green light and then call the UFC and do the same there.”

So, unless things go awry with Velasquez’s doctor, he will be ready to fight Werdum next Friday at UFC 207 in Las Vegas.

UFC women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes puts her belt on the line against Ronda Rousey in the Dec. 30 main event.

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UFC 207 Video: The Rise of Amanda Nunes

(Video Courtesy of UFC)

Amanda Nunes shocked the women’s bantamweight division with her win over former champ Miesha Tate at UFC 200. Now, she defends her title for the first time against Ronda Rousey at UFC 207 Friday, December 30 on PPV.

TRENDING > Holly Holm on Amanda Nunes and Ronda Rousey Title Fight: ‘It’s a Wildcard’

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Ronda Rousey: UFC 207 Gracie Breakdown Video

(Courtesy of UFC)

Rener and Ryron Gracie break down some of Ronda Rousey‘s best moves before she takes on Amanda Nunes at UFC 207 for the bantamweight championship.

TRENDING > Holly Holm on Amanda Nunes and Ronda Rousey Title Fight: ‘It’s a Wildcard’

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Could Nate Diaz Become a $20 Million Man? Never Say Never

Though Nate Diaz was recently sanctioned by the Nevada Athletic Commission for his part in a UFC 202 pre-fight press conference bottle-throwing melee with Conor McGregor, he remains free to fight. The biggest question is what it will take to get him back in the Octagon.

Diaz was slapped with a $50,000 fine, which represented 2.5 percent of his $2 million dollar disclosed payout, and 50 hours of community service. Like McGregor, however, he was not suspended. If he pays the fine by Feb. 1, 2017 or his next fight, whichever occurs first, he is free to fight.

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There’s no guarantee that he’ll return to the UFC anytime soon though.

Diaz recently said that he was seeking his boxing license in Nevada and California, and admitted he wasn’t all that passionate about mixed martial arts.

Nate Diaz“I’m not doing it for a publicity stunt,” said Diaz in comments to FOX Sports. “I’m doing it because I love the sport of boxing. I want to win fights for real and get out of this MMA (expletive) that I ain’t even into anyway.”

He then told MMAFighting.com that his demands to return to the Octagon were fairly hefty.

“I’m only fighting at lightweight for a big fight or 20 million (dollars) just to take the call,” said Diaz. “Until then, I’m just living my life.”

The big fight he was likely referring to was a third bout with McGregor after they split their two bouts at welterweight. And 20 million dollars would be enough to get anyone’s attention in MMA. McGregor’s disclosed UFC 205 fighter salary of $3.5 million is the highest in the promotion’s history.

That surely sounds as if Diaz is pricing himself out of a career, but not so according to UFC president Dana White, who told TMZ Sports, “That’s my boy. Hey, I never say never. Never say never.”

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Conor McGregor Gifted His Package Just in Time for Christmas

Yup, Conor McGregor definitely posted this picture solely to show he’s in shape. That’s all. Nothing else to see. Just showing off his frame. Well, maybe the car, too, but nothing else is the focus of this picture. 

Balls.

We can always depend on Conor to spread Christmas cheer with unique gifts that keep giving. Bless us, each and everyone.

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Ronda Rousey Not Participating in UFC 207 Build-Up

Former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey will not participate in next week’s UFC 207 Ultimate Media Day during the event’s fight week in Las Vegas. On Friday, the fight promotion released the UFC 207 schedule of events for next week’s pay-per-view and Rousey’s name did not appear. Nor did that of current titleholder Amanda Nunes.

Ten fighters will participate in next Wednesday’s UFC 207 Ultimate Media Day, but neither of the main event competitors will be there. The rest of the main card athletes will be present and the headliners of the Fox Sports 1 preliminary card.

TRENDING > No, Cain Velasquez is Not Out of His UFC 207 Fight with Fabricio Werdum

The event poster reads, in bold black letters, “She’s Back,” referring to Rousey’s return to the octagon for the first time since being knocked out by Holly Holm at UFC 193 in November 2015. She’s been largely radio silent since the loss and has only done a couple of television show interviews leading up to next Saturday’s title fight.

Ronda Rousey

In one of her rare appearances in the lead-up to her return, Rousey commented on her seclusion to ESPN, describing her newfound life as a hermit. “It’s like I’m doing the chick version of growing a beard and living in a cave, you know?”

It’s something she decided to do for this fight with Nunes because she doesn’t want to walk away from mixed martial arts simply as the fighter who ushered women into the octagon and had a good run. Rousey has always strived to win, and when she walks away from the sport, she wants to do it on her terms. 

Right now, to her, that means she has to get selfish and focus on herself. In the past, she always did whatever it took to promote the sport and the fights, this time, she solely focused on her development and winning.

“I was just trying to make too many people happy,” Rousey told ESPN. “But when I try and do favors and make everybody else happy, at the end of the day, they walk away happy and I’m the one who has to deal with the depression. All the pay-per-views in the world, all the money in the world, it means (expletive) nothing to me because I lost.”

It’s unclear whether Rousey will participate in the event’s post-fight press conference following next week’s event at the T-Mobile Arena, but it’s surely something that doesn’t ever cross her mind right now.

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Pony Keg Fights Podcast (Ep. 1): Special Guest – UFC Flyweight Contender Louis Smolka

pony-keg-sports-720x400

In the debut episode of the new MMANews.com show, Pony Keg Fights Podcast, hosts Tim Thompson and Josh Stephens kick-off the new program with the latest news and views from the world of mixed-martial-arts. Featured as the special guest of Pony Keg Fights Podcast Episode 1 is none other than current UFC Flyweight contender Louis Smolka. Hear Smolka discuss his upcoming fight against Ray Borg, which was recently bumped up to the opening match slot on the pay-per-view broadcast at next Saturday’s year-end UFC 207 show, which features among other fights, Amanda Nunes vs. Ronda Rousey for the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Title, Dominick Cruz vs. Cody “No Love” Garbrandt for the UFC Bantamweight Title, Cain Velasquez vs. Fabricio Werdum and TJ Dillashaw vs. John Lineker. Check out episode one of the brand new Pony Keg Fights Podcast, which includes the complete Louis Smolka pre-UFC 207 interview, below. Be on the lookout for episode two of the Pony Keg Fights Podcast, where Tim Thompson and Josh Stephens will bring you the latest from the world of MMA, as well as an exclusive interview with Australian-based UFC Lightweight prospect Damien “Beatdown” Brown.

Video: Ohio Born, Team Alpha Male Made Cody Garbrandt Prepares For UFC 207 Title Shot

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https://youtu.be/Gr410G_e5SQ Ahead of the biggest fight of his career at next Saturday’s UFC 207: Nunes vs. Rousey pay-per-view event, Cody “No Love” Garbrandt is the subject of the latest promotional video for the event released by the UFC. Featured above is “UFC 207: Cody Garbrandt – Ohio Born, Alpha Male Made,” which takes a look at Garbrandt, the latest member of MMA legend Urijah Faber’s “Team Alpha Male” fight camp to try and dethrone UFC 135-pound champion Dominick Cruz. Garbrandt challenges Cruz for the UFC Bantamweight in the co-main event of next Saturday’s UFC 207 pay-per-view, headlined by Amanda Nunes vs. Ronda Rousey for the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship. UFC 207: Nunes vs. Rousey takes place on Saturday, December 30th, from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada and airs live on pay-per-view. Join us here at MMANews.com on 12/30 for live round-by-round results coverage of the fights.

Photo: UFC Goes “Old School” With UFC On FOX 23: Shevchenko vs. Pena Poster

ufc-on-fox-23-shevchenko-pena

With only one major UFC event remaining on the 2016 calendar, MMA’s largest promotion begins to look ahead to the new year. On their Twitter page, UFC unveiled the official promotional poster for their first “Big FOX” fight card of the new year, UFC On FOX 23, which features a Women’s Bantamweight contender bout as the main event. Pictured below is the official UFC On FOX 23 poster, which as UFC noted in their tweet, features an “old school” look for the event headlined by Valentina Shevchenko vs. Julianna Pena. Also featuring Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone vs. Jorge Masvidal, Andrei Arlovski vs. Francis Ngannou and other entertaining bouts, UFC On FOX 23: Shevchenko vs. Pena takes place on Saturday, January 28, 2017 from the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado.