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Watch out, Bellator. Gypsy Curse Lady seems to be taking an interest in you lately. The tournament format is ripe for injury disruption, and now the company’s Fight Master reality show final between Joe Riggs and Mike Bronzoulis this Saturday has been delayed due to a “partial orbital bone fracture and retina detachment injury.” Scary!

“My sparring partner threw a high kick and I blocked it, but his toe went through my head gear,” said the 30-year-old Riggs on Friday. “I was in horrible pain and they had to pry my eye open to see the damage.”

Riggs underwent a four-hour surgery for the injury that night, he said, and spent four days recovering in an Arizona hospital. Riggs said the surgery was successful and his physician has already cleared him to train again.

The bout will be rescheduled as soon as Riggs has recovered, wrote Anthony Mazzuca, Bellator’s Director of Public Relations, in an email to SI.com. Mazzuca added that Bellator hopes to reschedule the bout before season nine comes to its close in December.

“I can be ready [to fight] in October or [on] Nov. 2, if they need me,” said Riggs. Bellator will promote its first-ever, pay-per-view event on Nov. 2 at the Long Beach Arena in Southern California.

You get the feeling Riggs would still be fighting this Saturday if doctors let him – this might explain why an injury that happened three weeks ago has only become public and resulted in the finals being scrapped a week away from the fight. The guy is already back and training, which seems a bit insane to me, but I guess when you’re talking about dudes beating the shit out of each other in a cage, insane needs to be looked at in relative terms.

Now what does Bellator do with the finals? Stick it on one of their weekly cards or use it to pump up their PPV? It might be tempting to do the latter but it may also piss off the casual fans who watched through the season but aren’t going to be eager to shell out cash to watch things wrap up. Maybe Bellator could do something a bit innovative – put the fight on PPV, and then package it into a final Fight Master episode for airing on Spike afterwards. Those that reeeally wanna see it live can, and those that just wanna tune in on Spike won’t feel like they’ve been bait and switched.

UFCSonnenEvansPoster167

 

When UFC Matchmaker Chael Sonnen matched himself with Rashad Evans last week, there were just a few slight problems: the matchmaking took place over the fighters’ personal Twitter feeds, this may or may not have been cleared in advance by UFC management, Chael Sonnen is not actually a UFC Matchmaker, and the proposed date and event number could not be confirmed. Other than that, nothing seemed amiss, and the matchup seemed to have an extremely good chance of actually happening—a greater chance, for example, than any fight involving Ken Shamrock or War Machine would have. It was a sure enough thing that Sonnen had a poster designed in advance.

So it was no surprise when official word came during Wednesday’s pre-fight show that Rashad Evans and Chael Sonnen will indeed fight at UFC 167, the UFC’s 20th anniversary event, this November. How much of the motivation to call out Evans came from Sonnen, and how much came from the UFC wanting to float a trial balloon or build hype through linking Twitter with TV exposure? Is Sonnen really unafraid of blow darts? (I hear those things can really hurt.)

I am left feeling unsure about how all these Twitter beefs and callouts are generated. In the “puss u are” drama between Dana White and Tito Ortiz, they seem to genuinely enjoy going at it; on the other hand, the contrived feel of this Twitter callout with specific event info followed by an immediate fight announcement a week later seems transparently promotionally motivated. I guess there’s nothing technically wrong with using Twitter this way, but anyone who could find the time to use Twitter for this seriously needs to discover how many pictures of poop are tweeted. It’s an amazing world out there.

(Dick has been using his head for Fightlinker since 2011. He also uses it for sex [NSFW boobs].)

Welp, my adventures in Reno betting didn’t go all that well but that’s how the cookie crumbles when you’re throwing money down on underdogs. That doesn’t mean the night was a complete wash – there were a decent amount of great fights sandwiched between a few dogs (Silverio / Zeferino, I’m looking at you fuckers) and some great finishes to boot. Below you’re watching Junior Hernandez go to sleep via a RNC from Lucas Martins – the only finish from the prelims. After the jump, some of the best stoppages from the main card.

(gifs via Zombie Prophet, our unofficial source for gifs when we’re on the road and can’t make our own)

Continue after the Jump ››

Glover Teixeira Scares the Shit Out of Everyone, May Be Doing Some Kind of Voodoo

It’s funny how after 19 straight wins, people still doubted that Glover Teixeira was and is a supernatural being. To find the length of his winning streak, it’s long been easier to take the total number of fights in his career and subtract all since his last loss than to actually count his consecutive wins. But it’s amazing what getting caught illegally immigrating to America can do: the resulting visa problems can harm one’s career for quite some time, even though the “but come on, he kicks too much ass” argument is eventually likely to prevail. For years, Teixeira was out of sight and out of mind in the US to all but those who could stand to listen to the heavily padded esophagi of Shitdog Radio.

So it’s no surprise that my colleague Ryan, and some of his wide-eyed compatriots, continued to bet against Teixeira even after a 4-fight UFC win streak. The funny thing is that certain people have fished for bad things to say about Teixeira, calling him “slow” and noting that he does take damage. Some doubted his top-end power after he couldn’t put away Quinton Jackson. What those people fail to take into account is the fact that during his exile from the US, Teixeira was obviously anointed by a shaman or something to give him a magic fucking touch that makes him unstoppable despite any logic suggesting the contrary.

Now that he put Ryan Bader away after yawning off severe brain damage and has earned a title shot after 20 straight wins, airport security in America will probably constantly be searching him for shrunken heads, using TSA regulations against transporting dead bodies to save the rest of the light heavyweight division on a technicality. They need to do this, as there is technically no prohibition on in-cage witchcraft. Either that, or they could drug test him twice a week for the rest of his career a-la Larry Allen in an attempt to drain the fluids that give him his zombie power.

Burkman v. Carl for WSOF welterweight championship

It’s been a busy week in MMA, and it all culminates today with one spectacular event: the World Series of Fighting’s announcement that it will award its first championship belt in October.

Josh Burkman and Steve Carl will vie for the welterweight strap at World Series of Fighting 6 on Oct. 26 in Coral Gables, inaugurating a title that will no doubt be contested in several thrilling scraps over decades of peaceful coexistence with Major League Baseball.

“I think that matchup will be something special,” WSOF President Ray Sefo said. “The whole lineup we’re planning will be fantastic, and I look forward to making more announcements very soon.”

The card will co-feature a bantamweight fight between Carson “Little Juggernaut” Beebe and Marlon Moraes, as well as Dan Lauzon versus undefeated lightweight Justin “Gidget” Gaethje. The main card will air live on NBC Sports Network beginning at 9pm. As of press time, Gaethje has not agreed to his nickname.

Burkman (26-9 MMA) is 8-1 since leaving the UFC, with a 41-second submission win over Jon Fitch in June. WSOF’s press release describes him as a “resurgent veteran.” His opponent is an actual veteran; Carl (20-3 MMA) began fighting in the Modern Army Combatives Program and trains with Team Hard Drive in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

You have not partied until you’ve partied with Team Hard Drive in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Also, Burkman’s post-UFC win streak can be read two ways.

It might say that the UFC is too quick to let go of underperforming talent. Burkman was 5-2 in the big show before he hit the dreaded three-fight losing streak, which included a split decision in a headliner to Mike Swick. His impressive record since is a testament to his determination, but it might also testify to the gap in competition between the UFC and other promotions.

Sefo and the World Series of Fighting are working hard to sell the other narrative. In the post-Pride, post-Strikeforce, post-arm-wrestling-with-punching era of mixed martial arts, WSOF believes there are enough talented welterweights outside the UFC to make a division. Godspeed, Ray Sefo. Godspeed.

Dan Brooks writes about politics, culture and lying at Combat! blog.

 

 

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