Rory MacDonald vs. Hector Lombard set for UFC 186 in Montreal

A massive welterweight bout is coming to the Great White North.
Rory MacDonald will take on Hector Lombard at UFC 186 on April 25, Lombard confirmed with MMAFighting.com on Saturday. The fight was initially reported by VendettaFighter.com. T…

A massive welterweight bout is coming to the Great White North.

Rory MacDonald will take on Hector Lombard at UFC 186 on April 25, Lombard confirmed with MMAFighting.com on Saturday. The fight was initially reported by VendettaFighter.com. That bout would seemingly be a 170-pound title eliminator, but Lombard said that has not been made official.

Lombard isn’t sure whether the bout will be the main event, but said “it should be.”

UFC officials told MMAFighting.com that the potential bout is not yet official.

MacDonald (18-2) was supposed to get the next welterweight title shot until Robbie Lawler’s victory over Johny Hendricks at UFC 181 to take the belt. Hendricks defeated Lawler last March and, since both fights were extremely tight, the UFC has decided to go with an immediate trilogy. MacDonald, 25, has won three straight, including a third-round TKO of Tarec Saffiedine in October. The Canadian trains at Tristar Gym in Montreal.

Lombard (35-4, 1 NC) is one of the most feared fighters in the UFC. He is 3-0 as a welterweight in the UFC and is coming off a unanimous decision win over Josh Burkman at UFC 182 on Jan. 3. The 36-year-old Cuba native and former Olympic judoka is a former Bellator MMA middleweight champion and owns victories over the likes of Jake Shields, Nate Marquardt and Rousimar Palhares.

UFC 186 will mark the promotion’s return to Montreal for the first time since UFC 158 in March 2013. No other fights have been announced for the card.

Jake Shields on Jon Jones’ cocaine use: ‘It’s just way too easy to get sucked into it’

Jake Shields is troubled that people are vilifying Jon Jones.

Jones, the UFC light heavyweight champion, tested positive for cocaine metabolites in a December drug test. The news came out Tuesday and Jones announced the same day that he would be checking into a drug-treatment facility.

“Bones” won’t be fined or suspended by the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) since the test came out of competition and subsequent tests were clean. However, in the court of public opinion, Jones is taking a bigger beating than he has ever received in the Octagon.

In Shields’ opinion, that is not right, because the people doing the disparaging have never been in Jones’ position as a young, millionaire athlete. Peer pressure in certain circles is a real thing, the World Series of Fighting star welterweight said.

“People don’t understand,” Shields told MMAFighting.com. “Jon Jones is king of the world. It’s not like people randomly doing drugs. He’s probably with the richest people, the hottest girls, everyone trying to get him to party.”

Shields, who takes on Brian Foster in the main event of WSOF 17 on Jan. 17 in Las Vegas, tested positive for a banned substance following a win over Ed Herman at UFC 150 in August 2012. The Colorado State Boxing Commission (CSBC) suspended and fined Shields and the victory was turned into a no contest. But the CSBC was not allowed to release the drug he tested positive for by law. Shields has been private about the matter and, in some ways, empathizes with Jones.

“It’s tough,” Shields said. “We have lives, too. We make mistakes. We do things. Obviously, I don’t think he should be doing the coke, but it’s easier said than done. I’ve made my mistakes as well. Right now, everything is good in my life, but it’s easy to fall in these traps.”

Shields, 35, has been following the Jones news, mostly because it’s everywhere he looks. He doesn’t understand the actions of the NAC at all. Jones was not supposed to be tested for cocaine, but he was due to an “administrative oversight” and then the results were released after Jones’ victory over Daniel Cormier on Jan. 3 at UFC 182. The commission has said that the information was made public, because of a media request.

“I think it’s unfortunate that he’s doing cocaine, but that’s like a whole separate issue,” Shields said. “The legality is if you aren’t supposed to be tested for it, then why would they test you for it? If they accidentally tested you for something, then why would they release it?”

Shields believes the positive test for cocaine could be potentially very damaging for Jones.

“It just cost him millions of dollars in sponsorship money,” Shields said. “It’s a pretty serious issue to throw that out there. Obviously, he shouldn’t be doing it and he probably needs a rehab process if he needs help on that end. But it seems unfair to blast him for something he wasn’t supposed to be tested for.”

In all, Shields thinks it’s a “very negative thing” that Jones used cocaine, especially as a professional athlete. But he also has an image of the situations in which he believes Jones likely took the recreational drug.

“You’d be surprised how it is with rich and famous people — everyone doing drugs, hot girls everywhere,” Shields said. “It’s just way too easy to get sucked into it.”

Jake Shields is troubled that people are vilifying Jon Jones.

Jones, the UFC light heavyweight champion, tested positive for cocaine metabolites in a December drug test. The news came out Tuesday and Jones announced the same day that he would be checking into a drug-treatment facility.

“Bones” won’t be fined or suspended by the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) since the test came out of competition and subsequent tests were clean. However, in the court of public opinion, Jones is taking a bigger beating than he has ever received in the Octagon.

In Shields’ opinion, that is not right, because the people doing the disparaging have never been in Jones’ position as a young, millionaire athlete. Peer pressure in certain circles is a real thing, the World Series of Fighting star welterweight said.

“People don’t understand,” Shields told MMAFighting.com. “Jon Jones is king of the world. It’s not like people randomly doing drugs. He’s probably with the richest people, the hottest girls, everyone trying to get him to party.”

Shields, who takes on Brian Foster in the main event of WSOF 17 on Jan. 17 in Las Vegas, tested positive for a banned substance following a win over Ed Herman at UFC 150 in August 2012. The Colorado State Boxing Commission (CSBC) suspended and fined Shields and the victory was turned into a no contest. But the CSBC was not allowed to release the drug he tested positive for by law. Shields has been private about the matter and, in some ways, empathizes with Jones.

“It’s tough,” Shields said. “We have lives, too. We make mistakes. We do things. Obviously, I don’t think he should be doing the coke, but it’s easier said than done. I’ve made my mistakes as well. Right now, everything is good in my life, but it’s easy to fall in these traps.”

Shields, 35, has been following the Jones news, mostly because it’s everywhere he looks. He doesn’t understand the actions of the NAC at all. Jones was not supposed to be tested for cocaine, but he was¬†due to an “administrative oversight” and then the results were released after Jones’ victory over Daniel Cormier on Jan. 3 at UFC 182. The commission has said that the information was made public, because of a media request.

“I think it’s unfortunate that he’s doing cocaine, but that’s like a whole separate issue,” Shields said. “The legality is if you aren’t supposed to be tested for it, then why would they test you for it? If they accidentally tested you for something, then why would they release it?”

Shields believes the positive test for cocaine could be potentially very damaging for Jones.

“It just cost him millions of dollars in sponsorship money,” Shields said. “It’s a pretty serious issue to throw that out there. Obviously, he shouldn’t be doing it and he probably needs a rehab process if he needs help on that end. But it seems unfair to blast him for something he wasn’t supposed to be tested for.”

In all, Shields thinks it’s a “very negative thing” that Jones used cocaine, especially as a professional athlete. But he also has an image of the situations in which he believes Jones likely took the recreational drug.

“You’d be surprised how it is with rich and famous people — everyone doing drugs, hot girls everywhere,” Shields said. “It’s just way too easy to get sucked into it.”

Ex-UFC fighter Cody McKenzie would fight Dana White for free: ‘I’d love to beat him up’

Cody McKenzie has retired from MMA. But there is one fight that could bring him back.
The quirky former UFC fighter told MMA Fighting that he would be interested in getting into the Octagon with UFC president Dana White. And he’d do it “for …

Cody McKenzie has retired from MMA. But there is one fight that could bring him back.

The quirky former UFC fighter told MMA Fighting that he would be interested in getting into the Octagon with UFC president Dana White. And he’d do it “for free.”

“I would love to fight Dana White,” McKenzie said. “I’d love to beat him up. He talks bad about fighters all the time, disrespects fighters. Yeah, he’s a piece of work.”

McKenzie, who announced his retirement after a knockout loss to Beslan Isaev at M-1 Challenge 54 on Dec. 17, is among those UFC fighters currently speaking out about low wages and poor treatment from promotion brass. The Alaska native said he’s leaving the sport, because he can make far more money doing something else, like fishing or welding.

More than anything, McKenzie finds it disrespectful the way White and UFC owners Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta flaunt their money. The UFC is estimated to be worth more than $1 billion, yet McKenzie said he never made more than $50,000 in one year. He fought seven times for the UFC from 2010 to 2013 and is an alum of the organization’s flagship reality show “The Ultimate Fighter.”

McKenzie, 27, cites reports about White tipping waitresses and dealers in Las Vegas with tens of thousands of dollars and the Fertittas funding the state-of-the-art stadium at Bishop Gorman High School, where Lorenzo’s sons played football.

“It’s just a joke,” McKenzie said. “I’ve heard stories about Dana tipping waitresses big money and it’s like, ‘Damn that’s more money than I get paid a year.’ That sucks.

“There’s a bunch of guys getting their heads pounded in to make them that money struggling. They don’t understand the other end of it. They don’t understand the struggle. Dana runs around running his mouth all the time about fighters.”

That’s why McKenzie wouldn’t mind showing White what it’s like to be an MMA fighter.

“What drives me the most nuts is how he’ll talk like he knows,” McKenzie said. “All these people who talk about fighting, it’s like a million virgins watching a porno. They’ve never had sex, but they all want to put their input in. It’s ridiculous. They all have their input, but until you’ve been in a fight you have no clue what it’s like. That’s the bottom line. It’s like sex. Until you’ve done it, you have no clue what’s going on.”

McKenzie said that the UFC didn’t even tell him when he had been released. He said that he called officials three months after his fight with Sam Stout in December 2013, because he wanted his next bout. They responded that he had been cut, but they couldn’t get in touch with him to tell him.

“They never had a problem getting ahold of me when they needed me to fight on short notice,” McKenzie said. “But when it came down to firing me, [they couldn’t]. They all just seem like a bunch of bulls—-ers.”

If there were more money in the sport, McKenzie said he would keep going. But it’s not worth his health at this point, he said. After getting knocked out in M-1, he had enough.

“I ain’t trying to get knocked out no more,” McKenzie said. “I want to get out while my health is good. I’d like to find something else to do while I’m still able-bodied and not a potato.

“I ain’t trying to be punchy. I already feel it coming on.”

McKenzie, who is leaving the sport with a 15-6 record and a 3-4 UFC mark, has done salmon fishing in Alaska and said he always made far more money doing that than fighting. He could continue that or get into another trade. McKenzie believes he has options outside of MMA.

“It almost seems like one big joke to the point where I’m just over it,” McKenzie said. “I’m going to get a job. I can fish. I liked welding in school, I’m thinking about getting into that. I like art. There’s lots of stuff out there to do. I definitely wish I got paid for fighting the best guys in the world, but more than that I just wish they’d treat their fighters good.”

McKenzie said he has deleted all of his social media accounts and won’t do any more interviews. He’s not going to get involved in the antitrust lawsuit filed against the UFC last week, because he doesn’t believe in suing and the litigious nature of the current-day United States.

“The AK Kid,” who infamously wore Nike shorts with the tag still on them during his UFC fight against Stout, plans on just fading away. He never wanted to be famous and is fine with leaving that life behind.

There is, of course, that one fight that would bring him back, though.

“Dana has never been in a fight,” McKenzie said. “I’d fight Dana for free.”

Ashlee Evans-Smith facing suspension after testing positive for diuretics

Ashlee Evans-Smith has a date with the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) on Monday, and she didn’t even know about it until late this week.
Evans-Smith allegedly tested positive for diuretics following her loss to Raquel Pennington at UFC 181…

Ashlee Evans-Smith has a date with the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) on Monday, and she didn’t even know about it until late this week.

Evans-Smith allegedly tested positive for diuretics following her loss to Raquel Pennington at UFC 181 on Dec. 6 in Las Vegas. The NAC sent her a letter to notify her of the charge, but mailed it to her old address, Evans-Smith’s manager told MMAFighting.com.

Evans-Smith is in New York doing seminars and only found out about the news Wednesday. McLeish said he was surprised when UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby called to inform him, and they did not hear from the commission until Thursday. Evans-Smith, who doesn’t get home until late Sunday night, will call into the NAC meeting Monday via conference.

“She hasn’t even had time to look at her stuff or anything,” McLeish said. “It kind of sucks.”

NAC executive director Bob Bennett said the commission mailed the information to the address it had on file for her. McLeish said Evans-Smith, a California native, fought in Las Vegas back in June and then moved in August. But he said the UFC and commission should have had the new address after UFC 181 and must not have updated their system.

NAC regulations require the commission to serve a copy of the complaint by certified mail. Evans-Smith would then have 20 days to respond, admitting or denying the alleged rule violation. At that point, she would have to attend a hearing.

“It was mailed to her last-known address that she put on her application,” Bennett told MMAFighting.com. “Whether she got it or not is irrelevant to us.”

McLeish said Evans-Smith, who took the fight on short notice when Holly Holm pulled out, is denying the use of diuretics, which can be used to aid weight cutting or as a masking agent for performance-enhancing drugs. McLeish is unsure if she will fight the accusation, which could lead to further legal fees.

“All her supplements are protein or flower- and plant-based,” McLeish said. “They said it wasn’t a plant-based one.”

McLeish said Evans-Smith is “embarrassed” by the charge and he doesn’t get why she is facing discipline while Jon Jones is not for testing positive for cocaine a month before his fight at UFC 182.

“It’s not performance-enhancing or anything,” McLeish said of diuretics. “I don’t understand why they’re talking about her doing diuretics, but Jon Jones did cocaine and nothing is happening to him. Cocaine is OK, because it’s out of competition? He was in training camp.”

Nick Newell, WSOF have different visions of the fighter’s future with the promotion

Nick Newell is not used to losing. Not when he wrestled in high school and college. And definitely not in MMA, where he began his career a perfect 10-0.
Newell got hit with the first loss on his record against Justin Gaethje in the main even…

Nick Newell is not used to losing. Not when he wrestled in high school and college. And definitely not in MMA, where he began his career a perfect 10-0.

Newell got hit with the first loss on his record against Justin Gaethje in the main event of World Series of Fighting 11 in July. All he’s wanted since then is another opportunity to get back in the cage, prove himself and erase the memory of the loss. If Newell had his way, he would have returned long before now and he still doesn’t have a fight booked.

“The thing I care about now most — more than anything — is I just want to fight,” Newell told MMA Fighting. “It’s not sitting well in my stomach this last fight. I’m ready to just show the real me and make a statement.”

So where has Newell, the popular WSOF lightweight, been the last five months? It’s complicated.

Newell has just one fight left on his World Series of Fighting contract and that deal, he said, is about to expire. WSOF matchmaker Ali Abdel-Aziz told MMA Fighting that he has been locked in negotiations with Newell’s manager Angelo Bodetti about extending him and it’s currently “in a stalemate.”

Abdel-Aziz said he usually likes to ink a new contract with a fighter who only has one bout left on his current deal. He’s looking to bring Newell back on a three- or four-fight contract. The hangup, Abdel-Aziz said, is financial, but it also has to do with the direction the promotion wants to take Newell. Abdel-Aziz wants to build him back up after the lightweight title loss to Gaethje, whereas Newell wants to fight the best WSOF has to offer, someone like Gesias “JZ” Cavalcante.

“He’s an expensive guy,” Abdel-Aziz said. “And to be honest with you, I want to give him a fight to get back on track and normally when you have one fight left on your contract, a promoter gives you a fight you can lose. I don’t want to play this game with Nick.”

Newell, 28, is a draw for WSOF, one of the organization’s biggest. He’s charismatic, exciting in the cage and has a story of incredible perseverance that connects with the mainstream audience. Newell is a congenital amputee, born without a left hand. His left arm ends just past his elbow. Yet, he’s been able to excel in a sport like MMA that is incredibly difficult, even if you have both hands to work with.

It’s no coincidence that Newell headlined World Series of Fighting’s debut on NBC. Normally the promotion’s shows air on NBC Sports Network, but Newell’s July bout with Gaethje was the main event on broadcast television. That was more because of Newell’s star power than Gaethje, regardless of the result of the fight and Gaethje being one of the best lightweights in the world outside the UFC.

Newell (11-1) will likely have significant interest from outside organizations if his WSOF contract expires. And Newell said he is willing to listen. The Connecticut native just bought his own condo, moving out of his mother’s home. Making money through fighting and providing for himself is a top priority.

“Right now, I just want to stay active,” Newell said. “I want to fight like five times a year. I know that’s probably not going to happen, but whatever. I want to go wherever I can make the most money, too. That’s definitely a motivating factor. Obviously, the UFC is a great opportunity to make that and prove how good I am, too. Anywhere they have elite competition and I can get paid well is cool.”

Newell has nothing bad to say about WSOF other than he wishes the company would get him a fight already. While the UFC and Bellator would surely be attractive options if he becomes a free agent, Newell has been disenfranchised by the UFC in the past.

“I tried to get in when I was 9-0 with eight first-round finishes and some big wins and they said no,” Newell said. “Then they let guys with 1-1 records in there. It makes no f*cking sense to me. Being in the UFC is not as cool as it used to be if they’re just letting anyone in. I don’t know what the deal is. It’s like you think you can win all these fights and they’ll let you in. They just have to like you and I’m not gonna beg for anyone that didn’t see anything in me to hire me and give me a fight. WSOF wanted me and that’s where I went and that’s where I’ve been. I’m not bitter.”

It’s Abdel-Aziz’s desire to get Newell some wins under his belt for another push to the top of the card. But if Newell isn’t going to be fighting top guys in headline fights for WSOF, Abdel-Aziz doesn’t want to give Newell as much money as his management is asking.

“If I match him up to rebuild him, most likely I’m going to give him a good fight,” Abdel-Aziz said. “He’ll have a chance to win. It has to make business sense for both of us. If I was his management, you’ve gotta be smart. I would get Nick Newell to three wins or two wins and after that, he’ll start making his money back again.

“To fight for more money, you’ve gotta fight top guys. You can’t fight lower-tier guys. You have to have a strategy to build your brand back up.”

Abdel-Aziz believes Newell will lose his drawing power if he gets the wrong matchup next and doesn’t come out on top.

“If I give Nick Newell a fight and he loses again, there’s not going to be too many people that care about Nick Newell,” he said. “But if Nick Newell gets two, three wins, people are gonna be like, ‘Wow, I want to see Nick Newell fight again.'”

Newell stays hands off with negotiations and lets Bodetti take care of everything. The only thing on his mind is getting back into the cage and making everyone — himself included — forget about that TKO loss to Gaethje. Because he is a congenital amputee, critics have already said he should quit MMA now because he was finished with strikes last time out.

“I kind of got myself ready for this a while ago,” Newell said. “Obviously, as soon as I lose people are going to say, ‘Oh he shouldn’t fight anymore, that’s bad. I can’t believe that.’ I didn’t know I’m the only fighter that’s not allowed to lose a fight. I’m sorry, I guess. But it happens. Everyone loses. No one is perfect. I’m far from perfect, but I’m more than capable.

“I’ve already proven myself beyond a shadow of a doubt that I’m worthy and I’ll have a good fight with anyone in the world. I think I’m one of the best in the world. My last fight, it wasn’t a good day. I’m trying to get to the point where even if I have a bad day, I can beat anyone. It’s a work in progress.”

So where does he go from here? That’s unclear. Abdel-Aziz is adamant his strategy — growing Newell’s brand again slowly — “makes sense for both of us.” Newell, meanwhile, is ready for anyone at 155 on the planet.

“People are always going to say things and people are always going to try and tell me how to live my life,” Newell said. “It’s been that way my whole life. And I didn’t get where I am by listening to people say I can’t or shouldn’t.”

Manny Gamburyan vs. Aljamain Sterling set for UFC on FOX in Newark

Undefeated prospect Aljamain Sterling is ready to return to the Octagon.

Sterling takes on veteran Manny Gamburyan at UFC on FOX: Machida vs. Rockhold on April 18 in Newark, N.J., UFC officials confirmed with MMAFighting.com. Newsday was the first to report the story.

Sterling (10-0) was supposed to face Mitch Gagnon in October before pulling out with an injury. The Serra-Longo product was then put on the UFC’s Australia card in November only for opponent Frankie Saenz and replacement Michael Imperato both to fall out.

In his last bout, Sterling, 25, finished Hugo Viana by third-round TKO in July. He has won both of his UFC fights and is considered one of the top prospects in the bantamweight division.

“Manny is a stud, and he had his turn at bat,” Sterling told MMAFighting.com “Now I’m up at the plate, ready to knock the ball out the park.”

Gamburyan (14-8, 1 NC) debuted in the UFC all the way back in 2007 and also spent time in WEC after that. The Armenia native dropped down to bantamweight for his last fight, a second-round submission win over Cody Gibson in September. Gamburyan, 33, is 3-1-1 in his last five fights.

UFC on FOX 15 is headlined by a middleweight contender bout between Lyoto Machida and Luke Rockhold. The main card will air live on FOX from Prudential Center.

Undefeated prospect Aljamain Sterling is ready to return to the Octagon.

Sterling takes on veteran Manny Gamburyan at UFC on FOX: Machida vs. Rockhold on April 18 in Newark, N.J., UFC officials confirmed with MMAFighting.com. Newsday was the first to report the story.

Sterling (10-0) was supposed to face Mitch Gagnon in October before pulling out with an injury. The Serra-Longo product was then put on the UFC’s Australia card in November only for opponent Frankie Saenz and replacement Michael Imperato both to fall out.

In his last bout, Sterling, 25, finished Hugo Viana by third-round TKO in July. He has won both of his UFC fights and is considered one of the top prospects in the bantamweight division.

“Manny is a stud, and he had his turn at bat,” Sterling told MMAFighting.com “Now I’m up at the plate, ready to knock the ball out the park.”

Gamburyan (14-8, 1 NC) debuted in the UFC all the way back in 2007 and also spent time in WEC after that. The Armenia native dropped down to bantamweight for his last fight, a second-round submission win over Cody Gibson in September. Gamburyan, 33, is 3-1-1 in his last five fights.

UFC on FOX 15 is headlined by a middleweight contender bout between Lyoto Machida and Luke Rockhold. The main card will air live on FOX from Prudential Center.