Conor McGregor & Khabib Nurmagomedov Are Finally In The Same Place

Conor McGregor & Khabib Nurmagomedov are living it up in the same place today.

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After months of animosity, Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov are finally in the same place.

Unfortunately for MMA fans, it’s just not for a fight.

The two have been at odds in a big way since McGregor stormed the Barclays Center this April and threw a metal dolly through a bus containing Nurmagomedov and several other fighters at UFC 223, forcing three fights off the card and landing “The Notorious” in jail on assault charges, for which he’ll appear in court again in Brooklyn this month. But that’s not preventing him from enjoying the best of the sports world abroad.

With France facing Croatia in the 2018 World Cup Finals in Moscow, Russia, today (Sun., July 15, 2018), both McGregor and Nurmagomedov have made their presence known on social media. First, McGregor tweeted late last night that his “Russian Compound” was taking shape as he walked through an undisclosed location with his entourage:

Next, Canadian bronze medalist in soccer, Karina LeBlanc, tweeted a picture with McGregor at the game earlier this morning:

Khabib made his presence known as well, saying he had fulfilled a childhood dream come true by attending the World Cup finals on Instagram:

News also came that “The Eagle” had a TV pass for the world-anticipated event (for whatever that’s worth):

McGregor and Nurmagomedov are living the high life at one of the year’s most awaited sporting events, but there’s still a long line of red tape to pass for them to finally get their bad blood-filled grudge match signed.

The UFC is waiting for the Irish superstar’s legal issues to pass, so even though Khabib says he wants to fight this fall or November-December at the latest, McGregor may not be clear of his latest self-caused hurdle – and his ongoing negotiations with the UFC may not be over even if he is.

Will Conor vs. Khabib ever happen? Or will they just continue with the public grandstanding?

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Max Holloway May Have Been Pulled From UFC 226 Due to Water Poisoning

Max Holloway’s UFC 226 pullout could be down to water poisoning. Holloway was scheduled to defend his UFC featherweight title against Brian Ortega. The bout would’ve served as UFC 226’s co-main event. Instead, Holloway pulled out due …

Max Holloway’s UFC 226 pullout could be down to water poisoning. Holloway was scheduled to defend his UFC featherweight title against Brian Ortega. The bout would’ve served as UFC 226’s co-main event. Instead, Holloway pulled out due to concussion-like symptoms. Ortega was offered a bout with Jeremy Stephens, but felt three days notice was too […]

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Jeremy Stephens Says He’ll Fight ‘Ducking’ Brian Ortega At His Mom’s House

Will Stephens and Ortega ever cross paths?

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Jeremy Stephens had an opportunity to compete for his first UFC title of his mixed martial arts (MMA) career this past weekend (Sat. July 7, 2018), but top-ranked Brian Ortega threw a wrench in those plans.

Stephens was called upon by UFC officials when featherweight champion Max Holloway was forced out of his UFC 226 co-headliner against Brian Ortega. “Blessed” was suffering from some scary concussion-like symptoms and was thus removed from the bout.

Ortega was offered an interim title fight against Stephens, who agreed to take the bout on short notice. The timing couldn’t have been better for Stephens, who was already in a training camp in preparation for his fight against Jose Aldo at UFC on FOX 30 on July 28th.

Instead, “T-City” opted to wait for a healthy Holloway rather than fight “Lil Heathen” on short notice. Stephens joined Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show earlier this week to discuss the situation, and said he was 100 percent ready to fight (quotes via MMA Mania):

“It’s really not my concern what that guy does. I stepped up and he stepped back. It is what it is, what can I do about it? I don’t want to sit here and talk about the guy, I really don’t know him personally,” he said.

“I am willing to fight and all I know is that this is the third time that my name has been in his ear. He has seen me fight a lot, in the front row, and seen me knock a ************ out. I mean, you tell me.”

Stephens was asked if he thinks Ortega is doing as much as possible to avoid a fight with him. His answer – “facts, bro”:

“Those are facts, bro. Deny all you want, he stepped back and I stepped up. They said they were going to fight somebody else, Frankie, and I said take it and then they called it off,” he said.

Should Holloway not be ready to jump back into action anytime soon, Stephens is ready to give things with Ortega another shot. As a matter of fact, he’d be willing to throw down in Ortega’s home state of California at UFC 227 in August:

“I told Dana that I will go to that kid’s mama’s house in L.A. and fight him in his front yard. I’ll fight him August 4, why not? Jose Aldo lost two title fights, he is out. I’ve been in the sport 11 years, putting on dominant performances, why not give him to me right now? Let’s set it up for September 8,” said.

“This kid is ducking me. Whether I fight Jose or not, they can pull me off this card and I will fight this kid in L.A. on August 4. I will go to his backyard, fight him there and pull his gangster card. I saw on Embedded where he is talking about he used to show up to domes and bar fights where you look at a guy, you are the same weight and you fought.

“Well I don’t know if he was there with his little jiu-jitsu crew watching guys like me who actually stepped up and fought grown men when I was 16 years old and I wasn’t even supposed to be there. That was me, I was really living that type of life. I do this **** for fun, because I love it,” concluded a fired-up Stephens.”

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UFC 226 PPV Estimates Show More Concerning Numbers

The UFC’s horrible run of PPV numbers continues.

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Last Saturday night’s (Sat., July 7, 2018) UFC 226 from Las Vegas was supposed to be the biggest UFC card of the year.

Featuring a heavyweight superfight between record-breaking champion Stipe Miocic and light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, the card also boasted a stacked lineup of top-level talent that, for the most part, produced an extremely entertaining night of action-packed fights.

True, the card lost its Max Holloway vs. Brian Ortega co-main event only three days before fight night and the new co-main, an awaited heavyweight slugfest between Derrick Lewis and Francis Ngannou that turned out to be anything but didn’t deliver, but the prospect of Miocic vs. Cormier for the heavyweight title was legitimately one of the best match-ups in UFC history, at least on paper. However, that reportedly failed to translate into success at the box office despite a shocking KO from Cormier.

According to MMA Fighting’s Dave Meltzer, the card didn’t exactly do gangbusters at the box office, continuing a disturbing trend of UFC PPVs that have failed to draw anything resembling great numbers as of late:

“The expectation going in was that this would be the biggest show so far this year. But the most preliminary of pay-per-view estimates have the show doing a little under 400,000 buys. There are those who believe the loss of Max Holloway vs. Brian Ortega hurt interest, but Cormier vs. Miocic on its own should have been able to do bigger numbers.”

The preliminary card did decent numbers by comparison, with the bouts earning FOX Sports 1 the top spot for cable sports networks. In terms of overall television sports broadcasts, the UFC got third place behind NASCAR on NBC at 4,437,000 viewers and Major League Baseball on FOX at 2,217,000 viewers. The prelims peaked at 800,00 viewers for the featured Paulo Costa vs. Uriah Hall match.

However, the FS1-aired pre-fight show only earned 254,000 viewers and the post-fight show only 155,000 viewers, very disappointing figures considering the circus-like atmosphere Brock Lesnar fostered after Cormier’s win over Miocic.

The low pay-per-view buys continue for the world’s MMA leader, with UFC 226’s estimated sub-400,000 buys following up June’s concerning 250,000 buys – a number that was initially projected at a paltry 150,000 buys. That’s why the UFC is bringing Lesnar back, but at this rate, it may not be worth the perceived insult to the integrity of the UFC – if it has any left at this point.

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Brian Ortega Wants Featherweight Title Vacated Due To Holloway ‘Water Poisoning’

Brian Ortega has his own plan for the future of the featherweight division.

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Weight cutting continues to be a hot topic in MMA circles.

Whether it was Michael Chiesa nearly dying in his attempt to make the non-title lightweight limit of 156 pounds at UFC 226, or the revelation that featherweight champion Max “Blessed” Holloway would not be competing at the same event, it would seem the UFC has a real problem with its athletes cutting far to much weight.

Holloway would be removed from the co-main event last Saturday night (July 7th, 2018) for what was thought to be concussion-like symptoms. Now, just three short days later, a new theory has emerged, that of ‘water poisoning’ due to Holloway consuming too much water.

“We heard that he was water loading, which is super dangerous,” UFC President Dana White told Kevin Iole. “When you water load, and I didn’t know this for those of you out there that might not know, either, there is such thing as water poisoning. And you can actually drink too much water and die from it.”

The removal of Holloway left the No. 1-ranked Brian Ortega opponent-less for UFC 226. Albeit, he had some suiters, namely Jeremy Stephens and Frankie Edgar both nearly stepped in to challenge the jiu-jitsu ace. Ortega untimely decided to wait for his title shot, a decision that has garnered some pushback from fans.

With the champions immediate future uncertain, Ortega revealed on “Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show” a potential solution to this unfortunate situation.

“From what I’m getting now, they said that Max might not fight for a long time, and he might not even fight 145. So I told them then, make the belt vacant and then I’ll fight whoever you guys want me to fight ASAP. I’ll fight them at UFC 227 here in Staples (Center in Los Angeles) but let’s get that situated.”

Let us know what you think. Is stripping Max Holloway of the featherweight title the way to go?

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Brian Ortega Addresses Decision Not To Fight Replacement Opponent At UFC 226

Brian Ortega has opened up on why he decided to not fight a replacement opponent at UFC 226.

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Brian Ortega has opened up on why he decided to not fight a replacement opponent at UFC 226.

Ortega was originally slated to challenge Max Holloway for the featherweight title in the co-main event of this past weekend’s UFC 226 pay-per-view event at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

However, Holloway had to pull out of the fight after he had been experiencing concussion-like symptoms and was taken to a hospital.

There was some talk about having Ortega fight a replacement opponent. UFC President Dana White went as far as stating during the pre-fight press conference last week that the UFC attempted to get Jeremy Stephens to fill-in on short notice and fight Ortega.

However, Ortega turned down the fight and decided to wait for Holloway to get healthy enough in order to make this fight happen. Some criticized Ortega for this decision while others can understand his reasoning behind it.

If you recall, in his last fight, Ortega stepped in for Holloway to fight Frankie Edgar on short-notice a few months ago.

If Edgar had declined to take this fight then he would’ve been fighting for the title but instead, he lost to Ortega and his position for a title fight.

Ortega took to his official Instagram account over the weekend to open up on why he decided to decline a replacement fight and wait for Holloway to defend his featherweight title. The #1 contender wrote the following:

“I’m a Businessman, a company man, but I’m no yes man. Watching the fights last night knowing I could have been performing for all of you truly took a toll on me. I stand by my decision.

Thank you to all of you who showed up to support and respected my decision. For those of you who don’t agree with me I completely understand and promise to give you guys the show of your life when I fight for the title. #tcity.”

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