UFC sets Lesnar vs. Overeem for Dec. 30

nullThe UFC has been big with their announcements and another big one dropped on Tuesday.

The organization released through the L.A. Times that on Dec. 30, Alistair Overeem will make his UFC debut against none other than Brock Lesnar.

Brock Lesnar will return to the UFC octagon in a five-round main event Dec. 30 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, facing newly signed former Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem.

“Brock is a big name, a dangerous guy, and this is a dream matchup,” Overeem told The Times on Tuesday, just after signing a standard UFC fight contract in the office of Chairman Lorenzo Fertitta. “Brock’s a big guy, an exciting wrestler with his takedowns.

“I want to see this fight myself. Overall, I’m a different fighter. A striker, athletic, big. These are going to be two big trucks going at it on a collision course.”

This fight will be as anticipated as the Velasquez vs. dos Santos bout on Nov. 12, if not more, as Lesnar has the drawing power and Overeem was the last Strikeforce champion.

It is expected that this will be the main event of UFC 141 from Las Vegas and will take place on a Friday night, with New Year’s Eve being on a Saturday this year.

In terms of the fight, this should be explosive and very interesting. Overeem has the clear striking edge, but will he be able to fend off the explosive takedown attempts of Lesnar?

Either way, I don’t see this fight lasting too long.

  

Zuffa to insure fighters outside of the octagon

nullOutside of the UFC 130 main event being cancelled, there was some other big news in the MMA world on Monday.

Zuffa LLC announced that it will provide health insurance for their fighters starting on June 1, that will cover injuries that take place in training, not just on fight nights.

Here is a sample of Kevin Iole’s piece from Yahoo! Sports.

Lorenzo Fertitta, the UFC’s chairman and chief executive officer, said the company plans to offer accident insurance that will cover approximately 350 athletes in the event of out-of-competition injury, effective June 1.

MMA fighters and boxers are not employees. They are independent contractors and thus aren’t eligible for things like health-care coverage.

But injuries to fighters, either in the cage or during training, can be disastrous. That’s why Fertitta said he and UFC president Dana White began looking into the potential of offering the fighters accident insurance nearly three years ago.

Zuffa will pay 100 percent of the premiums, Fertitta said, and will have a full-time employee who will coordinate the claims process.

“We looked at this as a necessity for the sport and something that needed to happen,” Fertitta said. “We have talked about this for a long time and we have always had the same position when asked how fighters could have insurance outside of the fights. Like we said, it’s tough enough to get insurance just as a business, in and of itself, with how expensive it is.

This is something that some fighters have been pushing for for a long time and White and the Fertitta’s claim to have been pushing for it for a while as well.

It is a big positive for fighters, who have to shell out thousands of dollars if they are injured when preparing for a fight. It is good to see that Zuffa is trying to take care of their fighters and allow them to truly make a living by just competing in MMA.

  

Poker Site Shutdowns Could Impact MMA

nullIn an interesting development in the business-side of MMA, three major poker websites were shut down on Friday due to federal indictments.

According to a report by MMAWeekly.com, poker sites PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker received indictments for illegal gambling and money laundering.

“These defendants concocted an elaborate criminal fraud scheme, alternately tricking some U.S. banks and effectively bribing others to assure the continued flow of billions in illegal gambling profits,” Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, said in a statement.

The poker sites have been shut down by the government, and while some people may still be able to access them currently, it will only be a matter of time before they are shut down completely and inaccessible.

The online sites were once a prominent sponsor of the big MMA promotions like the UFC, but those days have passed. Despite the UFC avoiding these sponsors, they are still vital to smaller promotions that have to rely on their sponsorship dollars to stay afloat.

Also, despite the organization not allowing the sponsor, fighters still use sites like these for their own sponsorship. Time will tell what these indictments will do to the fighters’ bankroll.

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