Former UFC lightweight Ramsey Nijem signs with WSOF
The Ultimate Fighter season 13 runner-up Ramsey Nijem has signed a an exclusive, multi-fight promotional agreement with World Series of Fighting. The news was announced by the promotion on Monday.
Nijem hasn't fought in over a year. His last fight was at UFC on Fox 16 back in July 2015, where he lost a split-decision to Andrew Holbrook. The 28-year-old lightweight is currently 9-6 as a professional fighter and has fought for the UFC since 2011, compiling a record of 5-5. Nijem holds notable victories over Beneil Dariush, Joe Proctor, and Danny Downes.
Nijem's WSOF debut is expected to be announced soon, according to the promotion.
Bellator 160 salaries: Benson Henderson makes $75K for win over Patricio Pitbull
Benson Henderson was the high man on Bellator's payout list over the weekend.
The former UFC lightweight champion made $75,000 for his Bellator 160 main event victory over Patricio Freire on Friday night in Anaheim, according to a document obtained by MMA Fighting through the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC). The figure was a flat rate with no win bonus.
Freire earned the second most on the card at $50,000. Henderson won by second-round TKO when "Pitbull" could not continue due to a broken right leg.
It was Henderson's second fight with Bellator after a loss to Andrey Koreshkov in a welterweight title fight in his debut. "Smooth" will challenge Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler in his next bout in November.
A complete list of the Bellator 160 salaries can be seen below. As always, these figures do not represent a fighter's total earnings, as certain sponsorship incomes and bonuses are not publicly disclosed.
Main card (Spike)
Benson Henderson ($75,000 + no win bonus = $75,000) def. Patricio Freire ($50,000)
Derek Anderson ($10,000 + $10,000 = $20,000) def. Saad Award ($18,000)
Georgi Karakhanyan ($17,000 + $17,000 = $34,000) def. Bubba Jenkins ($14,000)
A.J. McKee ($10,000 + $10,000 = $20,000) def. Cody Walker ($8,000)
David Duran ($2,000 + $2,000 = $4,000) def. Kyle Estrada ($1,500)
Steve Ramirez ($1,750 + $1,750 = $3,500) def. Ron Henderson ($2,000)
Joey Davis ($5,000 + no win bonus = $5,000) def. Keith Cutrone ($1,500)
Gabriel Green ($1,500 + $1,500 = $3,000) def. Alex Trinidad ($1,500)
Andy Murad ($2,000 + $2,000 = $4,000) def. Johnny Cisneros ($2,000)
Jake Roberts ($5,000 + $5,000 = $10,000) def. Stephen Martinez ($2,500)
Chinzo Machida ($8,000 + $8,000 = $16,000) def. Mario Navarro Jr. ($2,500)
Jacob Rosales ($1,500 + $1,500 = $3,000) def. Mike Segura ($1,500)
Monday Morning Analyst: UFC on FOX 21, UFC 202 main event breakdowns
How did Demian Maia defeat Carlos Condit so easily? For that matter, how was Conor McGregor able to get by Nate Diaz at UFC 202? In this episode of the podcast, we look at both fights plus a little Bellator 160.
Rory MacDonald says UFC wasn’t ‘respectful’ in handling of Reebok deal: ‘There was no discussion’
Rory MacDonald has long been one of the best welterweights in the world, but after spending seven years under the UFC umbrella, his career ventured down a new path on Friday when MacDonald inked an exclusive six-fight deal with Bellator MMA, in the process becoming the biggest free agent to leave the UFC in years. And although the 27-year-old Canadian has only been part of the Bellator family for a few days, he is encouraged by his initial interactions with Bellator president Scott Coker and the crew at Viacom, compared to what MacDonald is used to hearing from the UFC.
"They're straight-up guys," MacDonald said Monday on The MMA Hour. "They're easy to talk to, they're approachable, and they have their ears open. They don't just have their plan and tell the fighters to just do what they want. They want to hear what the fighters want to do.
"They want to be creative, do something new. They don't want to just push their agenda, so to say. They want to listen and be partners almost, do this together and build something unique. So even though it's new, it's already been awesome. I've talked to the head guys over at Bellator and Spike in one day more than I have in a whole seven years with the UFC."
MacDonald debuted in the UFC as a 20-year-old prodigy in 2010 and quickly established himself as a name to watch in the welterweight division, racking up a 9-2 record with victories over the likes of Nate Diaz, Demian Maia, and current UFC champion Tyron Woodley. That run culminated in a title shot against Robbie Lawler at UFC 189, and although MacDonald lost a grueling war of attrition that many observers consider to be one of the greatest fights in mixed martial arts history, the experience prompted a shift in the way he looked at the fight game.
MacDonald earned a disclosed salary of $59,000 to fight Lawler, low numbers that MacDonald admitted opened his eyes for his need to get paid what he is worth. That realization ultimately led to "The Red King" inking a free agency deal with Bellator MMA, and now that his time in the Octagon is behind him, MacDonald pointed to the UFC-Reebok partnership as an example of the type of autonomous decision-making that is common within the UFC.
"I'm sponsored by Reebok and I appreciate everything they've done for me," MacDonald said. "They do a lot for me on a daily basis and they've actually been great. They actually want to come into the sport and make a positive effect. And you know what, they came in with not much time to work, putting together the stuff that they got going on in the cage right now. But I think in the long run, they have their mind in the right place. They want to do good things for the sport, be a part of it for a long time, and I appreciate that.
"I just think the UFC went about it the wrong way. They didn't really think of the fighters, I don't think, even though I think they're trying to make it out like they were. There was no discussion. It was just, okay, this is happening and deal with it, kind of thing. And that's not very respectful. I don't think that was a very good move. I don't appreciate that, but at the end of the day, I don't think it really played the biggest factor in my decision. It was more the numbers and the respect I get on a daily basis, the opportunities on the horizon that Bellator was believing in and giving me. They're working with me, building my brand and making money, and making good fights and making a great promotion."
As one of the few UFC fighters with an individualized Reebok sponsorship, MacDonald isn't sure if his decision to sign with Bellator will end his relationship with the apparel brand, though he hopes Reebok will continue to stick by him in his new home.
"I hope so," MacDonald said. "I guess we'll see. I still think that they have a great opportunity because of all the things that I'm going to be doing outside of the cage with Bellator, a lot of shows and good promotion. I think they could reap the benefits of that as well, not just reaching the UFC's market. That's a discussion I need to have with them."
Though he has been vocal dating back to March about his frustration with the UFC and his desire to test the free agency waters, MacDonald noted that still looks back fondly on his time with the promotion and he wishes the UFC well moving forward.
"You know what, the UFC has done a lot for me, and I'm not going to be one of those guys who sh*ts all over them and says they're doing this, they're doing that," MacDonald said. "They've done a lot for my career. Without them, I wouldn't be where I am on the bargaining side of things.
"They put in the position to do this, to build my career. They've given me many opportunities, so I would've been happy to go back with them. But at the same time, I also believe in the promoters and the company, in Bellator. I believe in what they're doing, building a strong roster, and I have a lot of faith in them and the direction they're going towards."
MacDonald declined to delve into specifics about the nature of his deal with Bellator MMA, reiterating only that he is "very happy" with the terms of the contract. He also added that even though he entered free agency on a two-fight losing streak, he was always confident that his overall body of work would speak louder than his loss to Stephen Thompson at UFC Fight Night 89.
"I was excited about the whole thing because it was time that I get paid, and I knew what I was worth," MacDonald said. "Win or lose, I know I bring a lot to the table. I'm one of the youngest and brightest fighters in the division, and I really don't think that I've even reached my potential. There's a long road ahead in my career, and I really don't even think that I've shown anything yet.
"I got another 10, 15 years ahead of me in this game. I think people have seen me for a long time at the top getting a lot of attention, so they think that I'm old-school and I'm on my way out. But they're going to be very surprised when they see me down the road in 10 years still at the top of the game."
Rashad Evans moves to middleweight, wants to fight in New York but has no official opponent
Former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans will be making a drop in weight class for his next UFC bout.
Evans, who built an impressive career in the UFC's 205-pound division, seizing light heavyweight gold and competing against the best fighters in the world for many years, announced his drop to middleweight on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour. The 36-year-old fighter also clarified previous reports that stated he'll be fighting Tim Kennedy at UFC 205 in November.
"I can tell you I'm working towards that in making my cut down to middleweight," Evans told Ariel Helwani. "As far as the opponent, nothing has been set in stone. There has been talks about a fight with Tim Kennedy, but other fights too as well, but nothing has been signed yet. I had Ali [Evans' manager] with Joe Silva trying to set something up but nothing has been finalized yet."
At 36 years of age, dropping 20 extra pounds to make the middleweight limit is something difficult to do, but being on a two-fight losing streak and 2-4 in his past six trips to the octagon, Evans says he needs a fresh start to his career.
"Well, you know, the thing about it is the fact that it is a tough cut but at some point I feel like I need just to kind of start over again, kind of get something fresh, you know. And 185 is weight class that I've always thought about going but really never put the time and the discipline to make it happen and, you know, coming off two fights losing, I just want to find the way to bring some life back to wanting to compete again I feel like dropping to 185 is the best choice."
Even though Evans has no official opponent or date for his next fight, 'Suga' wants to be part of history and says fighting in his native state of New York would be a perfect opportunity to get back in the wining column.
"It is absolutely perfect," Evans said. "I couldn't write anything better myself to be able to hopefully have an opportunity to compete in this card, to be a part of what this card means for the history of mixed martial arts, it's just, it really means everything to me, and it's a big opportunity, a big chance for me to get back on track and to make a statement, you know, it's something that I look to do. If I get a chance to be on this card, I'm going to go out there and show off, I'm going to do my thing, and I'm going to enjoy doing it, you know what I'm saying. This is what its about. It's just about being a part of history. No matter what happens in my life, I'll live forever in this moment, I'll be immortalized in this moment, being the fact that I can say that I competed in the first card at Madison Square Garden, UFC, mixed martial arts, and that for me it's something that nobody can ever take away. I'll just be happy I could be a part of that."