It’s Sunday, it’s your Sunday MMA Quick Hits. You know the drill. This week, Valerie Loureda strapped on her wrasslin’ boots, Gregor Gillespie had to yell “fake news,” and Michael Chandler had something to say about fighter pay that his peers may take issue with.
Insert “Let’s go!,” “It’s time!” or some other MMA-related catchphrase here, then read on.
Yes, Gregor Gillespie Is Still with the UFC
It seems someone jumped the gun recently, and declared that Gregor Gillespie had been cut by the UFC. That’s after UFC Roster Watch, an automated service (read: script based) noted he’d been removed from the rankings pool.
Many a time, that indicates a fighter has been cut. Not in this case. While legitimate media will verify such things with their own sources, social media began spreading the word that Gillespie was out.
He’s not. Gillespie confirmed as much on his own social media accounts, after no doubt being bombarded with messages. To make a long story short, Gillespie is out of the rankings due to inactivity, which he attempted to explain in his post. You can read that below.
Remember, if you’re getting your news off social media, you’re not really getting the news at all. It’s like trying to stay up to date on politics by asking your neighbor’s drunk uncle Lenny what the latest from Washington is.
Tony Ferguson Turns Down Charles Oliveira Training Offer
Charlie Olives… sorry Charles Oliveira extended his hand and offered some training to former opponent and fellow lightweight Tony Ferguson recently. “El Cucuy,” however, has declined, as he’s still chasing a rematch with the champ.
Speaking to MMA Junkie, Ferguson explained that “I have to really reflect on what he said, because Chute Boxe is a very good school. But he is in my weight class. I’m one of the only fighters that he hasn’t finished, and I went into that fight practicing zero jiu-jitsu. I didn’t do too bad. I didn’t do as bad as Dustin Poirier just sitting there laying there. I stayed active and I went for submissions everywhere. It’s not like I practiced really hard.”
“I’ve got to really think about that one, because I see myself competing against him again,” Ferguson added.
It’s highly unlikely Ferguson lands a fight with Oliveira any time soon, as one is the uncrowned king of the lightweight division, while the other is on a four-fight skid.
Ferguson Says McGregor Fight Couldn’t Happen Due to Legal Hurdle
At the risk of this becoming the Sunday “El Cucuy” Quick Hits, here’s another gem from T-Ferg. According to Ferguson, who was on The MMA Hour last Monday, a much-sought after fight with Conor McGregor couldn’t happen, because McGregor allegedly is part-owner of Paradigm Sports. The firm previously represented Ferguson, although that’s no longer the case.
“There’s a Miller-Ayala act that says an active agent is not allowed to compete in the same sport as the person you’re representing. I would ask my management if he [McGregor] was the owner of the company. They kept straight up lying to me,” Ferguson told the show (h/t Sportskeeda). “They lied to me a lot… Everyone else is telling me he is, but they’re telling me he isn’t… There’s a lot of things going on and some people are probably gonna get called to court.”
McGregor and Paradigm founder Audie Attar were business partners and owners of Eire Born Spirits, which brought the world Proper 12 whiskey (the company was bought up by Proximo Spirits/Becle, makers of Jose Cuervo tequila, last year). However, no public acknowledgement of a McGregor ownership stake in Paradigm has ever been made.
Gian Villante Lands a New Gig
Former UFC light heavyweight/heavyweight Gian Villante, who retired last year, has a new gig. He’s now the head coach of the varsity football team at St. Dominic High School in Oyster Bay, Long Island.
St. Dominic’s is about to have the most well-behaved players for miles.
Very excited to be the new Head Football coach @stdomsathletics Time to get to work. Great things ahead!!! pic.twitter.com/ZqXUbv08AV
— Gian Villante (@GPVillante) May 16, 2022
Valerie Loureda May Also Have a New Gig
Back in April, Valerie Loureda had a tryout with the WWE, per ESPN (and her own social media). A Bellator “It Girl” with a massive following on social media, the 4-1 flyweight apparently impressed enough to get a further look by the pro wrestling (sorry, “sports entertainment) behemoth.
“Remember the name,” Loureda wrote on Twitter on Wednesday, attaching a shot of the WWE Performance Center. We’re assuming that’s not a Belal Muhammad reference. In addition to working at the Performance Center, Loureda reportedly made a visit to NXT last week. Her management team at First Round Management also promoted the move.
remember the name pic.twitter.com/SSsIJgSQcF
— Valerie Loureda (@valerielouredaa) May 18, 2022
Loureda, who attended this year’s WrestleMania in Dallas, has some decent mic skills, at least based on her post-fight interviews. She’s naturally athletic, and has a look the WWE would most certainly be keen to promote. On the flip side, she’s probably not making all that much from MMA (if Paige VanZant says she makes more on Instagram than from fighting, it’s no doubt true for Loureda as well). If that’s the case, this might be a smart move — but unlike rival AEW, the WWE has not been open to its workers actively fighting in the cage (yes, we know, except that time).
Michael Chandler Gives His Side of Fighter Pay Debate
You’d have to imagine that the UFC loves hearing fighters give this sort of take. Michael Chandler turned up on How U Livin’ with J Piven this week, and we learned two things: one is that actor Jeremy Piven abuses the English language worse than most teenagers. The other is that Michael Chandler, while not making any more money with the UFC than he did with Bellator, doesn’t have an issue with his pay — because of the opportunities the UFC platform has given him.
“I don’t have a problem with the quote-unquote ‘fighter pay’ argument. I think people think that we should make a lot more money because the UFC makes a ton of money on their shows. Well the UFC’s been at it since 1993. Dana White’s had 10,000 sleepless nights when most of us fighters are just showing up to practice, going to bed, laying our head on the pillow, getting after it, and getting paid a decent wage for what we do,” Chandler told Piven, who outright asked how his UFC pay compared to Bellator.
Chandler noted that while the UFC owns the rights to his likeness and fights, he can sell t-shirts, open up gyms, or even appear in Piven’s next movie, as an independent contractor.
“I always think that there’s people on the lower rungs of society always throwing rocks at the people above them, when it takes the same amount of energy to reach up and grab the next rung to pull themselves up,” Chandler later added.
He admits that this stance gets him flak from other fighters. It probably will again.
Lerone Murphy Has “Near Death” Experience In Cycling Accident
UFC featherweight Lerone Murphy just can’t catch a break. And we wish him a speedy recovery, after he landed in hospital following a cycling accident in which he was struck by a careless driver.
The worst part about this? He had to start off his statement with “another near death experience.” One is usually plenty.