Sunday MMA Quick Hits: Bisping Believes Zuckerberg’s Private Show Good for UFC, Guillard Grounded

Michael Bisping UFC
Michael Bisping, UFC 280 press conference, London, England Credit: Gabriel Gonzalez/Cageside Press

Michael Bisping believes Mark Zuckerberg’s private UFC show could be good for MMA and the promotion, while James Vick returns to combat sports. Managers butt heads, Jerome Le Banner is still fighting, and more in this week’s Sunday MMA Quick Hits. No UFC, Bellator, or ONE Championship this week, but still plenty of ground to cover!

Manager Says He “Owns” the Media, As Spat with MMA Factory’s Ferdinand Lopez Continues

Ali Abdelaziz, one of the better-known managers in the MMA realm, has been caught on tape claiming to “own” the media, going so far as to name names in terms of one journalist whose story he alleges he suppressed.

The revelation comes as the result of a leaked recording of Abdelaziz, speaking to MMA Factory head coach Ferdinand Lopez, who is a manager himself. Lopez is best known for working with Ciryl Gane, and formerly Francis Ngannou. But it’s another heavyweight the pair have butted heads over: Slim Trabelsi. Earlier this year, Trabelsi briefly signed a UFC deal before it all fell through after his previous promotion, ARES FC, cried foul.

Lopez is a co-founder and chairman of ARES, which would seemingly put him in a conflict of interest, given he also manages Trabelsi, the ARES heavyweight champ. Abdelaziz had taken on Trabelsi as a client, apparently unaware of his relationship with Lopez.

Interestingly enough, Abdelaziz, who runs management firm Dominance MMA, was dropped from his role as matchmaker in the World Series of Fighting (a precursor to the PFL) in 2015 due to a similar conflict of interest.

Lopez has admitted to asking for 90,000 euros to release Slim Trabelsi from his contract. Abdelaziz has claimed that while he negated his deal with the fighter, Lopez still killed his potential move to the UFC.

Check out the leaked audio below care of MMA Focus.

James Vick Signs with Karate Combat

Former UFC lightweight James Vick has signed with Karate Combat.

Vick (13-6) retired from MMA last year after enduring a five-fight losing streak, including four straight losses that resulted in his exit from the UFC.

Karate Combat recently announced on social media that Vick will face Jorge Perez on October 29, 2022 at Karate Combat 36.

Melvin Guillard Grounded Again

For the second time, an athletic commission has denied Melvin Guillard a license to compete for BKFC.

Guillard had been announced for BKFC 31 in Colorado later this month, but the Colorado Combative Sports Commission has pumped the brakes on a planned fight with Evgeny Kurdanov.

“Mr. Guillard is not currently licensed in Colorado and the Oct. 15 bout will not take place as scheduled,” the commission told MMA Junkie this past week. No reason was stated for the decision to deny Guillard a license, but a separate statement to MyMMANews indicated concerns over the former UFC fighter’s health.

It’s not the first time this has happened. The Florida Boxing Commission, in conjunction with the Association of Boxing Commissions and Combative Sports (ABC), denied Guillard a license in February, when he was matched up with Ulysses Diaz.

Multiple media outlets, including this one, had voiced concerns about Guillard’s ability to effectively and safely compete against Diaz, who at the time was coming off the fastest KO in BKFC history.

At the time, the ABC released a statement saying that “After doing due diligence, the executive director Patrick Cunningham found a serious concern with the health of Melvin Guillard.”

Flying Switch Kick!

Definitely worth a watch. And credit to Twitter’s Caposa (@Grabaka_Hitman), without whom, a lot of cool highlights would be missed.

Jerome Le Banner Is Still Competing, Mangles Leg, Still Earns TKO Win

At 49, kickboxer and mixed martial artist Jerome Le Banner is still competing. To put that in perspective, he made his MMA debut in 2001, while his pro kickboxing debut came way back in 1992.

That’s 30 years of active competition for the French heavyweight, who improved to 2-0 in 2022 on Saturday care of a TKO victory over Adnan Alić. Le Banner appears to injure his knee in the bout, but is still able to reverse position, move to mount, and finish the ground n’ pound for his third straight win overall.

Michael Bisping Believes Mark Zuckerberg’s Private UFC Vegas 61 Show Will Bring in More Fans

Fans and media outlets alike gave Mark Zuckerberg a chilly reception when news of his private UFC event — that would be UFC Vegas 61 a week ago — broke. The Fight Night card, hosted at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, was closed off to media and fans in an unprecedented move by the promotion. Zuckerberg, who runs Meta and remains one of the world’s richest lizard people men, sat alongside his wife taking in the fights, apparently an invited guest of the UFC and Dana White.

One figure, however, believes the move could be good for the sport. Leave it to Michael “The Count” Bisping to play devil’s advocate and find the silver lining.

“[Zuckerberg]’s a tech genius. You’ve seen him, and he can be described as, quote unquote, a bit of a nerd. But to see a guy like him who does have that influence, who does that wealth, who does have that power, and I don’t know what to think about Mark Zuckerberg, he’s a f*cking nerd, let’s be honest, but he’s awesome because he’s there and he’s watching the UFC,” Bisping stated on his podcast, Believe You Me.

“I believe this will open up, potentially, another realm of people because MMA is hugely and wildly popular, but there’s still skeptics, there’s critics, and there’s still people that won’t give it a shot. But seeing someone that’s clearly wildly intelligent as he is, to be an admirer of the sport, and his wife is there enjoying it, it’s only going to bring in more fans.”

So, about Zuckerberg’s wife enjoying it…

Fighters React to NBA Star Punching Teammate, Jake Paul Offers $10 Million for Undercard Spot

Draymond Green of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors is taking time away from the team after attacking a teammate during practice, but the punch in question has earned him a wee bit of praise for his fighting skills — and a $10 million dollar offer from Jake Paul.