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Friday, April 19, 2019

MMA

Kimbo Slice dead at 42 – reportedly of heart attack

Kimbo Slice

Some awful news to report as Kimbo Slice died on Monday night, shortly after being taken to the hospital in Florida. One specific report says Kimbo died of a heart attack.

Kimbo’s gym, American Top Team, wrote an RIP message for the fighter:

Kimbo Slice, real name Kevin Ferguson, was 5-2 in his pro MMA career and recently headlined a fight with Dada 5000 at Bellator 149. Dada 5000 had serious health problems during and after that fight. His heart reportedly stopped at one point and he was later revived. Now four months later, it’s Kimbo who has died.

LBS examines his unique legacy in this video:

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  • MMA

CM Punk fight vs Mickey Gall targeted for UFC 202

CM Punk UFC

Here’s something else the UFC can start banning reporters over: CM Punk and Mickey Gall’s fight date reportedly is targeted for UFC 202.

There has been speculation that Punk would finally make his UFC debut at some point during the summer, and the word is the date should be UFC 202 in August:

The UFC also announced that Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz will fight each other in a rematch on that UFC 202 card.

Punk’s MMA debut has long been awaited. He signed with the UFC in Dec. 2014 after leaving the WWE, but has yet to make his debut a year and a half later. He first injured his shoulder, and then he had back surgery.

Dave Meltzer has also reported that FS1 supposedly has a documentary on Punk’s MMA debut set to air this summer, another indication that CM Punk may be fighting soon.

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Dana White told banned reporter Ariel Helwani ‘you’re too negative’

Ariel Helwani

Ariel Helwani’s biggest crime was being too good of a reporter, it seems.

Hours after breaking major UFC news Saturday night, MMAFighting.com’s Helwani said on Twitter that he was escorted out of the UFC 199 event in Inglewood, Calif. and told he was banned for life by the organization (you can read the tweets here). The move was done by the UFC apparently out of frustration over Helwani breaking news of big stories, spoiling the UFC’s planned announcements.

Helwani broke news of the Conor McGregor-Nate Diaz rematch being set, and more importantly, he reported that Brock Lesnar was close to a return to the UFC — an absolute bombshell of a story. UFC boss Dana White was ticked off about Helwani’s reporting and let the veteran reporter have it.

“I was brought to the back by UFC [public relations] and told by Dana White that I had to leave the arena,” Helwani told Yahoo Sports. “Dana mentioned that from what I recalled that Brock Lesnar was upset the news was released early and that this could have ruined their deal.

“He repeatedly said, ‘Go cover Bellator. We don’t want you here.’ … I said, ‘What did I do wrong?’ He said, ‘You’re too negative.’”

Helwani also told Yahoo that he had at least two sources on both stories. He says the UFC suspects he has a “mole” inside the company feeding him information, which has them angered.

The UFC has long been criticized for being so strict and controlling with some of its policies. If they do not like something a reporter writes or says, they will revoke his/her credentials. It’s a petty and short-sighted response that will only anger fans and turn them off from the company.

Worst of all, banning Helwani and trying to intimidate reporters will not solve the problem for the UFC; Helwani will still be able to report news and break stories without having credentials. Heck, this whole incident may drive him to work even harder to break news/continue spoiling UFC announcements, which would end up backfiring on them.

Ariel Helwani kicked out of UFC event, banned over reporting Brock Lesnar news

Ariel Helwani

The UFC’s habit of bullying reporters and controlling the news took a new twist on Saturday night when MMA reporter Ariel Helwani says he was kicked out of UFC 199 and banned for life.

Helwani tweeted the news of his removal from the show in Inglewood, Calif. at a little after 10 p.m. PT Saturday night just before the main event at UFC 199. The veteran MMA reporter had broken news hours earlier that the UFC was close to a deal with Brock Lesnar to fight at UFC 200. He beat the UFC on the news, as the organization made it public when they included Lesnar in their UFC 200 promo they aired later in the evening. He also tweeted about potential opponents for Lesnar, which may be a sensitive topic because the organization reportedly is not planning to release until Monday.

Here’s what Helwani tweeted about being removed and having his credential taken away:

The UFC has a long, concerning history of banning/kicking out reporters who report things they do not like. If you write negatively about Dana White or his personal life or talk about scandals within the organization, they will ban you. They rule with an iron fist, so to speak.

A UFC spokesperson confirmed that the organization took issue with Helwani’s reporting.

“I’m not saying you don’t have a job to report, but in this case [with Helwani], the professional standards are to reach out [to the UFC] for comment on a story you’re about to report, even if you get a no-comment,” Sholler said.

Helwani was fired by FOX in March supposedly again because the UFC was unhappy/uncomfortable with some of his reporting, such as encouraging fighters to explore free agency.

Helwani is not in their pocket nor should he be; he’s a reporter with a job to report. The UFC needs to become more professional and stop essentially violating the first amendment by silencing/punishing anyone who does not act like a perfect cheerleader for them.

Josh Barnett mentioned as possible Brock Lesnar opponent

UFC 200 card

Brock Lesnar is officially making his return to the Octagon at UFC 200, but the UFC has not yet announced his opponent. That announcement could be coming on Monday evening, but that isn’t stopping many from speculating about his potential opponent.

For now, my money would be on Josh Barnett.

Ariel Helwani first reported news of Lesnar’s comeback a few hours before the UFC made it official. Later in the evening, Helwani specifically mentioned Barnett as a possibility for Lesnar.

Barnett also weighed in on Twitter:

Given how accurate Helwani was about the Lesnar news to begin with, I’d call this tweet a little more than informed speculation.

Barnett isn’t the only heavyweight on the UFC roster being talked about as a possible Brock Lesnar opponent. Todd Duffee wants a piece of Brock.

So does Shane Carwin:

Others mentioned as potential opponents for Lesnar include Mark Hunt, Big Nog and even Junior dos Santos. We should know who it is soon enough.

UFC 200 promo announces Brock Lesnar’s return to Octagon

Brock Lesnar

Hours after a report circulated that the UFC was close to finalizing a deal to have Brock Lesnar return to the Octagon and fight at UFC 200, the UFC made it official.

The promo the organization made for UFC 200 that they aired at UFC 199 in Inglewood on Saturday included a cool image of Lesnar at the very end. It’s obvious they just added it in to the end, meaning this was a new/late addition:

Lesnar’s opponent for UFC 200 has not been announced yet, but it will likely be announced in the coming days.

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Brock Lesnar WWE contract likely includes new UFC option

Brock Lesnar

News that Brock Lesnar will fight at UFC 200 left many wondering about his WWE contract and what kind of provision it has for him to fight in the UFC.

While we do not know the exact terms and language of it, we do have some insight.

What We Know:

Lesnar signed a three-year deal with the WWE on March 23, 2015. That would put him at 14.5 months into his contract.

At the time he signed his contract, Lesnar said he was still training for MMA and still very much had interest in a comeback. The UFC was trying hard to sign him and even doubled their offer to him according to Lesnar, but the superstar was not swayed.

What is Being Speculated:

Though Lesnar’s deal with the WWE is exclusive, he may have worked an option to fight in the UFC.

Front Row Brian is a very reliable source for all things MMA-related and floated that Lesnar was seeking more money from the WWE prior to WrestleMania 32 and used that as leverage to get the UFC option in his contract changed.

Would the WWE be upset about Lesnar fighting in the Octagon?

Lesnar made his fame in the WWE and then helped give the UFC a huge boost by fighting there, so there is little doubt which of the promotions gains more when he fights in MMA. However, the UFC has grown even more in the past four years since Lesnar last fought there, and they have their own fan base and ability to generate headlines. All this speculation means there will be a lot more interest in Brock’s next moves. The more buzz surrounding one of the WWE’s superstars is a good thing, as it should mean higher ratings/more intrigue for programming he appears on. And as our wrestling insider Big Daddy mentioned to us, the organizations could do some sort of WWE/UFC champion co-promotions and branding, which would benefit both companies.