Former NFL Star Set For Bare Knuckle Boxing Debut

Another former NFL star is attempting a switch to combat sports.

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Another former NFL Pro Bowler is looking to get started in combat sports.

Former NFL All-Pro linebacker Shawne Merriman has been confirmed for the inaugural World Bare Knuckle Fighting Federation (WBKFF) event, “Rise of the Titans.” The event airs live on pay-per-view (PPV) from the Casper Events Center in Casper, Wyoming. A date has yet to be announced, however, early indications point to October 20th.

WBKKF announced the following about Merriman’s involvement in the event:

“We are thrilled to have Shawne as part of our team,” WBKFF CEO Tom Stankiewicz said. “It’s a very exciting time for everyone. Shawne was a proven warrior on the field and we look forward to seeing him in the ring.

“We feel that Shawne’s signing with WBKFF opens the doors to champions from all sports and shows that he has the guts and courage to step into this gladiator sport. Bare knuckle fighting is the combat sport for the 21st century. We welcome Shawne as part of our family!”

“This is really exciting for me,” Merriman said. “It’s a real privilege and honor for me to come out and fight. Thank you to everyone at the World Bare Knuckle Fighting Federation for your support. It’s time for Lights Out!”

The 34-year-old played linebacker in the NFL for eight seasons between 2005 and 2012 as a member of the San Diego Chargers and Buffalo Bills. He is a three-time NFL All-Pro and has long flirted with a possible combat sports career.

Also on the card will be a match-up between UFC veterans Chris Leben and Phil Baroni for the WBKFF light heavyweight title.

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Floyd Mayweather Tops Conor McGregor On Forbes Celebrity 100 List

Floyd Mayweather continues to beat out Conor McGregor.

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Floyd Mayweather can’t stop beating Conor McGregor, even outside of the boxing ring.

Since their ‘money fight’ last year, Mayweather and McGregor have been lavishing in the mega paydays they each received as a result from the Las Vegas affair. Mayweather has since been traveling across the globe while McGregor has found himself in some legal trouble after a Brooklyn bus attack, and is also preparing to welcome his second child into the world.

Even after defeating the Irishman in August, Mayweather has defeated McGregor yet again – this time on the 2018 Forbes Celebrity 100 list. Mayweather tops off the list at the No. 1 spot, while McGregor is well below him at number 12:

“The UFC’s biggest star has not stepped foot in the Octagon professionally since November 2016, but Conor McGregor scored his biggest payday to date thanks to a 2017 boxing match with Floyd Mayweather.

“McGregor banked an estimated $85 million for the fight, more than five times his previous top paycheck. The fight had 4.3 million PPV buys and generated more than $550 million in revenue. The Irishman signed a slew of deals over the past 12 months with the buzz around the Mayweather fight.

“His current partners are Burger King, Beats by Dre, Monster Energy, David August, BSN, Anheuser-Busch, HiSmile and Betsafe. He also has a residency deal with the Wynn Las Vegas for all of his afterparties, and his digital properties, Conor McGregor FAST Program, MacMoji App, MacTalk App and the Mac Life, also generate cash.”

Mayweather defeated McGregor via 10th round TKO inside the T-Mobile Arena. “Money” allowed the former UFC “Champ Champ” to exhaust himself in the opening rounds before pouring on the offense to finish the gassed Irishman, and earn his 50th consecutive victory inside the squared circle. Mayweather has since retired from boxing with an undefeated 50-0 record.

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Weekend Boxing Recap: Manny Pacquiao Plasters Lucas Matthysse

What a great fight this was.

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Last night (Sat. July 15, 2018) Manny Pacquiao picked up his first stoppage victory inside the boxing ring since 2009.

He defeated Lucas Matthysse via seventh round TKO. The 39-year-old’s last knockout occurred back in November of 2009 when he finished Miguel Cotto in the 12th round.

“Pac-Man” has now won three of his last four fights inside the ring. His last defeat came in July of last year when he dropped a controversial unanimous decision to Jeff Horn in Australia. He lost the WBO welterweight championship as a result.

Pacquiao’s victory over Matthysee last night won him the WBA welterweight crown. Check out some highlights from the bout below:

The undercard results can be found here as well:

  • Moruti Mthalane def. Muhammad Waseem via unanimous decision (114-113, 114-113, 116-110) – won IBF flyweight title
  • Carlos Canizales def. Lu Bin via R12 TKO (2:59) – retained WBA light flyweight title
  • Jhack Tepora def. Edivaldo Ortega via R9 TKO (2:38) – won interim WBA featherweight title

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Manny Pacquiao vs. Lucas Matthysse Back On After Weeks Of Uncertainty

We finally know that the upcoming Manny Pacquiao vs. Lucas Matthysse fight will happen.

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We finally know that the upcoming Manny Pacquiao vs. Lucas Matthysse fight will happen.

The boxing legend is slated to challenge Matthysse for the World Boxing Association welterweight title on July 15th, 2018 (July 14th in the United States) at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Some thought that this fight would never happen due to Pacquiao taking some time off.

Matthysse is coming off an eight round TKO of Tewa Kiram at The Forum in Los Angeles, which saw him win the ‘regular’ version of the WBA welterweight title. Following the fight, Matthysse called out Pacquiao for a potential fight.

The career of the boxing legend has been on a roller coaster of a ride since suffering a devastating loss knockout loss to great rival Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012.

Thus, he has gone 5-2 in his last seven fights that include dropping decisions to Floyd Mayweather, Jr in May 2015 and Jeff Horn in July of 2017.

This fight had been in jeopardy for the past several weeks over financing issues but that has all changed and it’s officially on according to a report by ESPN.

Golden Boy Promotions president Eric Gomez told ESPN that Matthysse and his team will fly Tuesday from Los Angeles to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for the fight.

“The fight’s a go. There were some bumps in the road but everything is now in order and we’re excited. It’s a great opportunity for Lucas,” Gomez said. “This is his dream fight. It’s the fight he’s been talking about for five years now. Anytime you can fight a legend like Manny Pacquiao it’s a win.

“The money is in place. The money was supposed to be in an escrow account in the U.S. and now everything is good. It’s customary practice when you are fighting overseas to have the money in an escrow account, and now the money is there. We’re excited to be working with Manny and his company, MP Promotions, and commend him for putting this fight together and making sure it comes off.”

This whole deal came down to money as the initial payment of $500,000 was made to the Golden Boy/Matthysse camp when the fight was signed to help pay for things. However, this fight was in jeopardy after MP Promotions missed several deadlines over the past two months to fully fund $2 million for the camp. Last week more of the money was wired to the account and now it’s back on.

“I didn’t really pay attention to it, but I saw the headlines,” Matthysse, who is from Argentina, told ESPN through a translator, in reference to the money issues. “I read a little bit about it, but I just kept training with the same desire I always have. I knew the fight would happen so I didn’t really pay attention to what was going on. I feel good and I am happy to be heading out there to Malaysia to defend my title.”

Top Rank CEO Bob Arum went on record by stating that he is working with ESPN to get the fight aired either on ESPN or ESPN+.

“ESPN is up to speed on everything,” Arum said, noting that it is up to the network to decide whether the card would air on ESPN or on the ESPN+ streaming service. “When the contract is signed with Manny and his company, then ESPN will announce what its plans are for the fight.”

It should be noted that there is a Top Rank Boxing event on ESPN card beginning at 7 p.m. ET on July 14 that is slated to be headlined by No. 1 junior welterweight Regis Prograis taking on Juan Jose Velasco in the main event in New Orleans, which could end up serving the undercard fights for Pacquiao vs. Matthysse.

“Our card in New Orleans will be over by 9 p.m. ET and ESPN could go with Manny’s undercard like it would be a normal telecast at that time and make it a night of boxing,” Arum said.

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UFC Posts Massive Profit In 2017, But It’s Not All Good

The UFC reported a record profit in 2017 – but there’s a catch:

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The UFC is thought to have posted their best financial year in 2017, but that headline does not tell the whole story.

It should be true that the world’s leading MMA promotion and their UFC Holdings, LLC,(the rated entity following the acquisition of Zuffa by Endeavor, Silver Lake Partners and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.) tallied their most profitable annual results according to a report from Moody’s Investors Service (via Bloody Elbow), earning “well over $700 million” the last 12 months ending March 31 of this year.

The main reason for the success was obviously last August’s Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather boxing match, which drew 4.4 million buys at $100 each on pay-per-view, not including overseas sales. The UFC co-promoted the event with SHOWTIME Sports, and their cut was supposedly in the neighborhood of $180 million.

So that “well over” $700 million figure would break the record or UFC revenue set the prior year in 2016, where a trio of monstrous pay-per-views headlined by McGregor and Ronda Rousey’s perceived last fight propelled the company to an estimated number right at or just over $700 million.

However, the numbers, although most likely being record-setting, don’t paint the full picture. The promotion brought in only 4.142 million PPV buys of their own in 2017, down from 7.55 million as recently as 2015, painting the picture that 2017 would have been an unmitigated disaster without the circus-like event of McGregor vs. Mayweather.

What’s more, you can only put on a spectacle like that once (unless they rematch, which could happen), so it appears the UFC chose to cash in on a short-term profit that appears much greater than it really is, as McGregor has yet to return to the UFC octagon for almost two years now. Without him, actual UFC pay-per-view sales have struggled in a huge way, with June 9’s UFC 225 only drawing a reported 250,000 buys despite two title fights and a host of other high-profile competitors.

Another big factor in the UFC’s record profits was the fact they increased contracted revenue by an estimated $50 million in addition to saving $55 million on cost-saving measures. Of course, the hotly-debated topic of fighter pay, where the UFC paid 14 fighters only $10,000 to compete, a number that is one of the many reasons fighters have discussed unionizing despite never getting a single effort off the ground.

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Dana White Teases ‘Real Ballsy Move’ For Zuffa Boxing

Dana White is planning to make a big move with Zuffa Boxing soon.

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Dana White is planning to make a big move with Zuffa Boxing soon.

We are halfway through 2018 and the UFC President has yet to get Zuffa Boxing off the ground yet.

If you recall, just a few months ago, White was briefly linked to heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua. At the time, it was noted that the two sides were working on a deal but White shot that down.

White got back into the boxing world and this time as a promoter last year when he handled things for former UFC lightweight and featherweight champion Conor McGregor when he fought boxing legend Floyd Mayweather Jr.

White told Mario Lopez on his ON With Mario show that believes he can “do it better” than what’s currently in the world of boxing.

“It’s so broken and so fragmented,” White said. (Via The Mac Life) It’s just, how do you do it? I’m still poking around figuring out how do I do this? How do I get into this and make it work. First of all if I sign a couple of guys, which I could do, I could go out and sign a couple of big stars — who they gonna fight? In my world, I have 550 fighters under contract, so I can make any fight I want to make. You have to have a deep roster to make great fights. So I wouldn’t have a deep roster right out the gates.

“I’m still poking around. You’re gonna see, coming up here soon I’m going to make a real ballsy move here pretty soon. We’ll see how it pans out.”

White also made it clear that he is critical of boxers playing it safe in the ring once they become big superstars. White thinks that this doesn’t happen inside of the Octagon under the UFC banner.

“I just think that when you get guys in boxing that become huge superstars, it’s almost like they don’t want to fight anymore,” he said. “Whether it’s not engaging in the ring, and trying to do just enough to win and just enough to not lose and you don’t see that in the UFC, man. When these guys come to fight, they come to fight. We stack the card, and I think we put on the best live event in all of sports.”

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