Move over, Kevin Holland, it’s Melvin Manhoef’s time to shine when it comes to taking down crooks. Jon Jones, meanwhile, admitted this past week that the candle blew out for him at light heavyweight, with the Dominick Reyes fight signaling the end. There’s lots to cover in this week’s Quick Hits, which are going to become to not-so-quick hits if we don’t get to it!
Chael Sonnen Hit with Eleven Criminal Charges, and a Lawsuit
First, Chael Sonnen was facing five criminal charges relating to a brawl in a hotel hallway in Las Vegas late last year. Then, those charges were dismissed without prejudice. Now, he’s been slapped with eleven counts — 10 misdemeanor battery charges and one count of felony battery by strangulation. Plus a civil lawsuit.
The lawsuit has been brought about by an alleged victim, Dr. Christopher Stellpflug, and his wife, who claim the retired Bellator and UFC star attacked them without provocation. They told their story to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
In comments to the paper, both Stellpflugs claimed to be recovering from concussions and and bruises, while Mrs. Stellpflug suffered a split lip.
A police report listed only that five individuals had suffered “apparent minor injury.”
Previously, fellow fighter Brendan Schaub let slip that Sonnen was defending his wife in the altercation. Or at least his wife’s honor. Sonnen himself, wisely, has not commented, but there’s likely more to this story than we’re getting. As for loading up on 10 battery charges in a brawl involving five other individuals, that’s the usual tactic used in the hopes of forcing a plea deal on a suspect. Whether Sonnen takes the bait remains to be seen.
Sonnen is currently suspended from his duties with ESPN while the legal process plays out.
And then there were fewer
Scratch that. Later in the week, Chael Sonnen saw a felony charge and four misdemeanor counts dropped by prosecutors. Sonnen’s lawyer, Dayvid Figler, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the D.A. “realized that the more appropriate way to move forward would be with this amended complaint.”
Sonnen still faces the remaining misdemeanor charges, and the civil lawsuit.
Deiveson Figueiredo wants “Dirty Kiwi” Kai Kara-France Next
UFC flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo — or whoever is working his social media accounts these days — says he wants “dirty Kiwi” Kai Kara-France next.
The comments were made in a post following the New Zealand flyweight’s win over Askar Askarov at UFC Columbus. Currently, the UFC is thought to be working on a fourth fight between Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno, given their career series is tied 1-1-1.
According to the “God of War,” or more likely, manager Walid Ismail, “Assassin Baby” Brandon Moreno “just took the back seat.”
Honestly, both of these fights sound fun, so, whatever.
Congratulations you dirty kiwi @kaikarafrance you just punched your ticket with the God of War. @theassassinbaby you just took the back seat. You are 0- 2 against @Pantojamma if you could beat him I’ll give you the next title shot. 🇧🇷 Vs🇦🇺 let’s make it happen @danawhite pic.twitter.com/mysuGl9Wsa
— Deiveson (@Daico_Deiveson) March 27, 2022
Curtis Blaydes Hits Back
Curtis Blaydes had a little message for the “all you do is wrestle” crowd following his main event win at UFC Columbus.
“aLl YoU dO iS wReStLe” pic.twitter.com/pqQkHhamEk
— Curtis Blaydes (@RazorBlaydes265) March 27, 2022
Felder Plays Matchmaker, Strikes a Nerve
Paul Felder’s attempt at booking future title shots for the welterweight division got a cool reception this past week.
“After what Belal [Muhammad] showed in his last performance with [Stephen] ‘Wonderboy’ [Thompson] and what Sean [Brady] has shown throughout his career, I think it’s one of those two guys in the future [fighting for the title],” he told MMA Fighting recently.
That was after noting that Leon Edwards deserves the next shot, which he will likely get this July.
Khamzant Chimaev, meanwhile, still has more to prove as a welterweight, Felder believes — primarily when it comes to making the weight.
Chimaev has competed twice in the UFC as a welterweight, beating Rhys McKee and Li Jingliang. He successfully made weight both times, despite it being a struggle ahead of the Jingliang fight, and will get another shot at it when he faces Gilbert Burns at UFC 273.
Fans online were quick to chastise Felder for his picks, noting that Brady and Muhammad seemingly have little to offer champ Kamaru Usman. Chimaev, should he get past Burns, is another story entirely.
The Oscars Incident Somehow an MMA Story?
This isn’t unique to MMA media, because some pro wrestling dirt sheets did it as well. But conjuring up a story on the Will Smith-Chris Rock incident at the wholly unnecessary Academy Awards (as in, the entire sorry show is unnecessary at this point, the slap included) is the worst example of clickbait journalism. Well, maybe not the worst. But up there.
Yes, big news happened. It didn’t happen in your sphere. Sometimes, it’s okay to let things pass. No, we didn’t need a comparison of Smith-Rock to Masvidal-Covington.
That said, Rock took the slap and carried on like a pro, while Smith is being mercilessly reminded of his failed marriage on social media. There is a story — it’s just not an MMA one.
LFA fighter’s pre-fight medical exams detect brain aneurysms, will undergo surgery
In a shining example of why medicals are important, LFA featherweight Rafael Barbosa had brain aneurysms detected prior to a title challenge in mid-March. As a result, he was pulled from the LFA 126 card for precautionary reasons (read: he had brain aneurysms!), and will have further testing and surgery later in April.
The cost of pre-fight medicals is often a sore spot for fighters, who normally foot the bill. This is a reminder that such exams can save lives.
It’s not the first time pre-fight medicals have potentially averted tragedy. Ahead of UFC 129 in Toronto back in 2011, Brian Foster’s MRI revealed a brain hemorrhage. He was pulled from his planned bout with Sean Pierson, underwent surgery, and returned to competition, fully healthy, later that year.
Melvin Manhoef 3, Burglars 0
If you’re going to break into someone’s house, well, don’t. And if you absolutely, positively must break into someone’s house, make sure they’re not a professional fighter. Especially make sure they don’t have the striking skills of Melvin Manhoef. Oh, and make sure they aren’t actually Melvin Manhoef.
There’s dumb, and then there’s these three — who Manhoef chased down and detained for police. Technically, they didn’t even get to the breaking part of breaking and entering, let alone entering, but they were caught casing Melvin’s house, and fled the scene when he caught them in the act. Manhoef actually crashed his car into the suspect’s vehicle, and they allegedly had burglary tools on hand.
Hollanda’da boksör Melvin Manhoef, evine giren hırsızları kaçarken arabayla durdurup dövüp polise teslim etmiş… fotoğrafda ki karizma şaka mı pic.twitter.com/0NN9zvVZHy
— Galatasaray Hollanda (@GS_Hollanda) March 28, 2022
Jon Jones Admits “Candle for Light Heavyweight Blew Out”
Former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones is focused on a move to heavyweight, which may or may not come sometime this year.
However, he recently opened up about the end of his run at 205lbs, and admitted to his fight against Dominick Reyes being a “bad performance.”
“My candle for light heavyweight blew out, it showed in my last fight, instead of being discouraged by a bad performance, I’m stoked about this new season,” Jones wrote on social media this past week. “New energy. My time at LWH was over, I see that more clear today than ever.”
Jones’ (26-1, 1NC) last fight, against Reyes, came at UFC 247 in February 2020. Although the record shows it as a unanimous decision victory for Jones, many saw the fight in favor of Reyes. The bout followed another close win, a split decision victory against Thiago Santos.
More Fighter Pay Controversy
With Ohio being one of the rare athletic commissions to still publicly disclose purses, we got a look at exactly what each fighter on the UFC Columbus card made last week.
It wasn’t always a pretty picture.
First, the bright spots. Matt Brown made $105,000 in a losing effort against Bryan Barberena, and picked up an extra $50,000 by way of the Fight of the Night bonus. Add in his outfitting pay, and that’s okay money.
Neil Magny was able to pocket $230,000 ($115,000 to show, and that again for the win) for his decision victory against Max Griffin. Given how often Magny fights, he’s getting a decent bump thanks to outfitting pay on top of that.
But let’s be real: Askar Askarov getting $26,000 for what amounted to a title eliminator is pathetic.
Viachaslav Borshchev, Denis Tiulinin, and Bruno Souza all made just $12,000 in their first or second fights with the company. All three lost, so no win bonus there. Aliaskhab Khizriev made $20,000 — $10,000 to show, $10,000 to win. And Luis Saldana made $24,0000 at 12/12.
Those numbers are frankly sad to see, coming off a year which many saw as the promotion’s best ever. At least Curtis Blaydes had a good night, walking away with $312,000 (including a Performance bonus), without factoring in outfitting pay. But when you consider that Mark Hunt was making $950,000 as a heavyweight six years ago, and Blaydes was in the main event, you really have to wonder.
MMA Fighting has the numbers for the full card.
Bas Rutten Believes Dale Brown’s Methods Are Going to Get People Dusted
D.U.S.T. Commander Dale Brown became a viral sensation over the past year, and even turned up in the corner of UFC middleweight Joaquin Buckley. But the self-defense guru’s methods have been a constant point of contention, and the legendary Bas Rutten is among those critical of Brown — who he sees as the type of snake oil salesman who is going to get someone killed.
“The not real guy? With the black hair and ‘stache, that guy? Very funny… Guys like that get people killed, because they give them a false sense of security,” Rutten said during an appearance on The MMA Hour recently. “That’s why I don’t teach self defense in my classes.”
Suggesting that defending against a knife was “almost worse” than defending against a gun, Rutten explained that “imagine I just teach a knife defense and then a friend of a person I taught it to is getting in trouble. Someone pulls a knife and he goes, ‘Hey, step back, I got it. They just taught me this in class.’ And then he gets stabbed to death. That’s a problem.”
Beyond that, what works in a classroom may play out very differently under pressure in a life or death situation.
“It’s like fighting. It looks real easy and in the dojo, you’re really good and everything works, but that’s without stress,” Rutten noted. “How many fighters do we have that are dojo fighters. Every fighter you hear talks about this, they work circles around world champions and then under pressure they can’t perform. They can’t bring out what they can do without any pressure. And that’s just fighting, now imagine a weapon presents itself. Even I’m gonna go like, ‘Sh*t.’ There’s gonna be a lot of nerves and you better make everything perfect.”
Rutten might know a thing or two about the self-defense subject: he released his own video on it, Lethal Street Fighting, back in the early 2000s.
Amosov retrieves Bellator championship belt from rubble in Ukraine
Yaroslav Amosov is the reigning Bellator MMA welterweight champion. He’s also actively defending the European nation from invasion by neighbouring Russia. Prior to the bombs falling, Amosov’s mother apparently hid his championship belt — which he recovered in the video below.
— BellatorMMA (@BellatorMMA) April 1, 2022
Bonnar and family lose home to fire, Go Fund Me established
A fire has destroyed Stephen Bonnar’s home in Henderson, Nevada, with a Go Fund Me campaign established to help the Bonnar family recover. The UFC Hall of Fame member and his wife have said they’ve essentially lost everything, although Bonnar was able to at least retrieve a couple of keepsakes. Still, small solace in the face of massive loss.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.