Posts Tagged ‘Australia’

UFC Stars Front Media in Melbourne

Rousey image: https://twitter.com/RondaRousey?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

UFC boss Dana White has fronted the media ahead of UFC 193 in Melbourne. Sitting beside him was MMA superstar Ronda ‘Rowdy’ Rousey, challenger Holly Holm, Strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzehczyk, and her challenger the ever hopeful Valerie Letourmeau.

The air was literally electric with anticipation.

It’s been a running joke that White was initially reluctant to have a women’s UFC division. But since changing his mind, Ronda Rousey has become the franchise’s greatest drawcard and asset.

White chuckles about being reminded of his opposition.

“She’s broken through – it’s amazing,” he said to new.com.au. “She’s the biggest star we’ve ever had.”

And White has had some stars. Chuck Liddell crossed over from Strikeforce, Georges St Pierre and Anderson Silva were megastars. But no one – and White confirms this – no one has ever been as big as Rousey.

“Normally it’s a f*@king nightmare to manage somebody like her. But the thing with Ronda Rousey is the more rich and famous she gets, the easier she is to deal with. It’s not supposed to be like that. It’s always the complete opposite. Any of these guys, if they get this much fame, this much money, they lose their mind. Ronda is the exact opposite.”

And it’s not just White who benefits.

Rousey was clearly jetlagged when approached by reporters. And while everyone would be wise to be cautious around the most dangerous female athlete on the planet they found her approachable and friendly.

After a recent appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres show the popular talk show host felt she’d got the best from the UFC stable.

“She’s got unbelievable charisma,” White continued describing Rousey. “She’s intelligent. She’s literally the whole package.”

And Ellen DeGeneres agrees.

But Rousey adapts to her situation.

“She’ll fight anyone, anywhere, anytime,” said White about the fighter Rousey. “She’s mean. She’s nasty. She doesn’t just want to beat you, she wants to destroy you. She comes out of that tunnel with bad intentions.”

All of her previous opponents agree.

Twonsville Holds No Fear For Sharks

http://www.nrl.com/nrl-finals-week-two-information/tabid/10874/newsid/89777/default.aspx

North Queensland Cowboy’s coach Paul Green believes the Cronulla Sharks are semi-finals favourites.

His comments come as the two teams prepare for their weekend do-or-die clash in the first round of the finals.

The match will be played in front of a sold out Townsville crowd, with both teams needing to win.

Green admitted the Sharks were the only team to have beaten his side in both games they played against each other this year. They beat the Cowboys 24-18 in June (in Townsville) and in round 22 won again 30-18 at Shark Park.

“They probably deserve to be favourites for this game,” said Green.

“They’ve beaten us twice throughout the year, they have knocked off the Roosters and done well against (the) top four teams.

“They play a tough brand of footy.”

Most recently they demolished the sliding defending premiers, the Roosters; while the Cowboys were beaten by the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium 16-12.

Arguably the most divisive man in the NRL, Paul Gallen said to Sky Sports Radio that playing in front of a sold out Townsville crowd held no fear for his side.

“A few of us were having coffee and speaking about this last week – both places hold no fear for us, whether we had to play in Townsville or Brisbane.

“We were saying how exciting it would be to play in Brisbane in front of 50,000 people.

“And in Townsville it would be more than 20,000 and we’ve had success there; so no, it’s not daunting.”

NRL Furious at Captains’ Snub

NRL Captains Calll imgaes: https://twitter.com/nrl

NRL officials were fuming when three first-grade captains snubbed the annual finals captains’ call.

Melbourne storm captain Cameron Smith missed the engagement for the second year in a row claiming he has a virus. Instead the club sent Ryan Hinchcliffe, who confirmed the news.

“He’s got a little bit of a virus. He didn’t come to training yesterday and today. He is still crook.” But Hinchcliffe assured Storm fans that the captain will be okay when the finals series kicks off.

Other no-shows were Cowboys captain Jonathon Thurston who sited a slight groin injury for his absence.

The club’s co-captain Matt Scott also begged-off with a neck injury.

Veteran backrower Gavin Cooper was sent to replace them both. He said the long flight for the short event was too much of a disruption to both men’s rehab’ and medicos preferred their star playmakers to rest and heal.

Cooper assured Cowboy fans Thurston and Scott should be right to play in time for the finals.

An NRL spokesman said it was ‘disappointing’ that not all captains were able to attend.

NRL Captains Calll imgaes: https://twitter.com/nrl

NRL Captains Calll imgaes: https://twitter.com/nrl

“But we understand that players cannot travel due to illness and injury.

“The clubs involved sent replacement players to ensure they were properly represented at the event.”

Whether the absences are legitimate or calculated snubs the NRL is fast losing credibility among its players, power-brokers, and fans – and this years’ captains call only reinforces that.

Joanna Jedrzejczyk Named UFC 193 Co-Headliner

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Australian UFC fans are in raptures after Dana White announced another title defence for UFC 193.

Current women’s strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk will defend her title against Canadian Valerie Letourneau.

Jedrzejczyk (10-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) was originally scheduled to fight Claudia Gadelha at UFC 195, but UFC powers have decided to open all the stops for Melbourne and asked Jedrzejczyk to share the card with Ronda Rousey.

Jedrzejczyk is one of the most exciting fighters in the UFC stable and considered one of the finest strikers in all of women’s MMA. She earned Fight of the Night bonus with her bloody title defence against Jessica Penne in June and has destroyed any and all opponents placed in front of her.

octagon-750x400Letourneau (8-3 MMA, 3-0 UFC) is riding a wave of success after winning her last three UFC fights. She will make a name for herself if she can upset Jedrzejczyk who is coming off her own unanimous decision victory over Maryna Moroz.

The announcement of Jedrzejczyk and Letourneau pushes Mark Hunt and Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva from the co-main event status.

Despite this the November 15 crowd is expected to blow away all previous records for an MMA event in Australia. 70,000 are expected – and they’ve got good reason to go.

Richie Vaculik Named on UFC 193 Fight Card

Image: https://twitter.com/RichieVaculik?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

If fans weren’t already excited about seeing UFC superstar Ronda Rousey heading the UFC 193 card in Melbourne, then they’ve just been given another reason.

In a card stacked with well-known and home-grown fighters the UFC announced today that TUF: the Smashes contestant and UFC Fight of the week co-host Richie Vaculik has been added to the card.

Vaculik made an inauspicious entrance to the UFC in the TUF: The Smashes house. The opposing Canadian team ran roughshod over the Aussies. But since then the Australians have blossomed.

Vaculik announced on Thursday that he will be fighting Danny Martinez in what promises to be a spectacular flyweight bout.

Vaculik is coming off a loss to Louis Smolka. But the 32 year-old has won 10 of his last 14 fights and says he will be ready for the dangerous Martinez. He flies out to Thailand on the 18th for his training camp in Thailand.

The disappointment of his most recent loss and the chance to perform in front of 70,000 screaming fellow Australians offers Vaculik huge encouragement.

Melbourne’s Etihad stadium will host what is expected to be the largest attendance and viewing numbers for any MMA event in the country ever.

White Effusive Over Rousey

Rousey image: https://twitter.com/RondaRousey?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

UFC supremo Dana White is falling over himself praising Ronda Rousey.

In an interview with Yahoo’s Kevin Iole he spoke of Rousey’s willingness to help him out of the UFC 193 jam.

Robbie Lawler’s injured thumb prevented his title defence against Carlos Condit in Melbourne. Suddenly White had an event with no headline fighters.

Rousey was already scheduled to fight on January 2, but White thought he might at least try to convince her to move the bout forward six weeks.

“I swear on my life,” said White to Iole, “I called her today when I thought something might happen and I said to her, ‘Hypothetically speaking …

“She interrupts me and said, ‘I’ll do whatever you need me to do.’

“So I laugh and I’m telling her how much I love that attitude and I’m going on and she stops me again and says, ‘Hey, so what’s up? What do you need?’

“She’s incredible. In 15 years of doing this, I’ve never seen anyone remotely like this woman.”

Fans’ reactions to the announcement of Rousey coming to Australia were off the charts. There, quite literally, is no one with her star power.

However, many are now lamenting the choice of Holm as an opponent. While Holm is a decorated striker, a veteran fighter, and an up-and-comer in the women’s UFC bantamweight division many think it is too early for her to step into the Octagon against the untouchable Ronda Rousey.

Rousey Headlines UFC 193 in Melbourne!

Rousey image: https://twitter.com/RondaRousey?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

Social media exploded yesterday. Women’s bantamweight champion ‘Rowdy’ Ronda Rousey was announced as the headliner at UFC 193 in Melbourne, Australia. Rousey will defend her championship belt against decorated striker Holly ‘The Preacher’s Daughter’ Holm in what is said to be a coup for the hosting venue, Etihad Stadium.

UFC supremo Dana White made the announcement on ESPN’s SportsCentre in New York. Rousey and Hom will take the place of Lawler and Condit at the top of the bill.

“We’ll break all-time attendance record for an MMA event,” said White on Twitter.

Australian MMA fans are euphoric.

“Australia’s an important market for us,” said White to ESPN, “so we’re going to bring her out there in our first real big stadium show. And we know she’ll break the record out there.”

Ticket sellers were inundated at the news. Within seconds of the announcement online ticket sellers were reporting a blowout in sales.

Ronda Rousey is arguably the most marketable fighter in the world. She is without doubt the best.

Holm image: https://twitter.com/_HOLLYHOLM?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

Holm image: https://twitter.com/_HOLLYHOLM?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

But Holm is no slouch either. The 33 year-old from New Mexico has a 9-0 record, she has won 9 world boxing titles, and fast climbing the bantamweight ranks.

Her only chance against Rousey, however, is to elude the champion’s Olympic level judo game and keep the fight standing.

Holm lacks the grappling pedigree of Rousey. The champion’s almost patented arm-bar has ended more fights than both of Holm’s fists.

Only Miesha Tate has managed to take Rousey beyond the first round.

In her 12 career wins Rousey ended the last four in: 66 seconds (Sara McMann), 16 seconds (Alexis Davis), 14 seconds (Cat Zingano), and 14 seconds (Bethe Correia).

Most experts are predicting another early night for the champion.

Mason on Report After First Tackle

Mason image: https://twitter.com/mase21?lang=en

He has never been known as the sharpest knife in the draw. This week Manly forward Willie Mason showed just how stupid he is.

In his first game back following a two-week suspension for a shoulder charge Mason sunk his shoulder into the Rooster’s prop Dylan Napa in the very first hit-up of the game.

Napa is no shrinking violet. The 109 kg steamroller was met by three Manly defenders, one of whom was Mason.

Mason didn’t even bother to disguise his shoulder charge.

So with only seven seconds of the game gone the Roosters had their first penalty and Mason was once again on report.

Mason has been an outspoken critic of the new shoulder charge rule.

“I’m embarrassed to be a rugby league player at the moment,” he said after the first two week suspension, “with all the rule changes and everything like that.

“It’s a sad day for rugby league really if you have a look at it.

“I’ve seen bigger hits on the weekend in netball.”

And who can argue?

Rugby league is meant to be a hard-man’s game; getting rid of the shoulder charge from league is like outlawing the body check in ice hockey or the blindside hit in NFL.

I suppose we should be thankful the NRL management don’t run Formula One – everyone would have to drive at the speed limit.

Shoulder charge rule: “Is where a defender, without attempting to tackle, grab or hold the ball-carrier (or any opposing player) using the arms or hands, makes direct physical contact using the shoulder or the upper arm (tucked into the side).

“It will be considered misconduct, if any player affects a tackle in the manner as defined.”

Card Stacks for UFC 193 in Melbourne

Image: https://twitter.com/UFCEurope/status/628204426021330944

Melbourne fight fans are licking their lips as Stefan ‘Skyscaper’ Struve has been signed to fight American Jared Rosholt at UFC 193 at Etihad Stadium in November.

Dutchman Struve is a giant of a man, towering over opponents at 2.12 meters.

He was powering up the heavyweight rankings with a four-fight win streak; overpowering luminaries like Stipe Miocic, Lavar Johnson, Dave Herman, and Pat Barry before being forced out of competition with a heart condition.

Since then Struve lost two bouts; the first to Mark ‘the Super Samoan’ Hunt, the second to Alistair Overeem. He has since regrouped with a unanimous decision victory over the highly respected veteran warrior Anotonio Rodrigo Nogueira in August.

Rosholt, in contrast, is unranked in the UFC heavyweight division. He is rising fast, but still something of an unknown.

He was knocked out in the first round by Alexey Oliynyk in November.

But Rosholt has since defeated Josh Copeland and Timothy Johnson on his way to securing a 5-1 UFC record and a 9-1 MMA record.

The night will be headlined by the welterweight championship bout between Robbie Lawler and Carlos Condit.

Adopted Aussie Mark Hunt will meet fellow slugger, the hammer-fisted Bigfoot Silva.

Australian prodigy Robert Whittaker will get his first taste of the big time, being given the opportunity to fight the veteran but ever dangerous Michael Bisping.

Whittaker versus Bisping is expected to be a show-stopper!

Club Revolt in NRL Gives Ultimatum to CEO Smith

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NRL CEO Dave Smith has been given an ultimatum: Either you go or we do.

The threat comes from some of the most powerful figures in rugby league –  frustrated with the changes and inconsistencies implemented by Smith in his year at the helm.

Last week’s TV rights negotiations saw Fox Sports and Telstra effectively snubbed from the deal. This caused much heated discussion and finger pointing among club presidents towards Smith and Australian Rugby League Commission Chairman John Grant.

In response, 12 clubs are considering breaking away from the NRL in 2017 when their contracts expire.

The new 12 club league would leave out those clubs currently being supported by the NRL: Wests tigers, St George Illawarra, Newcastle, and the perennially embattled Gold Coast.

The influential figures were incensed when Fox Sports and Telstra were omitted from the TV right negotiations.

This fury was only multiplied when News Corp then partnered with the Seven Network to inject $2.5 billion into AFL through a revised television deal – money that could have gone to them.

These blunders are, however, just the latest in a long list of complaints against Smith: Inconsistent judiciary rulings, the insipid and unclear changes made to the shoulder charge rule, and the multi-million dollar blowout of executive salaries for certain staff employed by Smith have incurred ire at every turn.

The game’s powerbrokers, it seems, have finally had enough.