Greg Hardy fell (hard) while John Dodson soared at BKFC’s KnuckleMania 3. Conor McGrgor, meanwhile, is on the defensive after being accused of kicking fighters off of The Ultimate Fighter 31, where he is serving as coach, allegedly to make room for his own guys.
Evan Elder, meanwhile, showed off the nasty gash that ended his fight with Nazim Sadykhov at UFC Vegas 69 following the bout. We’re back with your Sunday MMA Quick Hits!
Did Conor McGregor boot fighters off TUF 31 in favor of his own guys?
A supposed cast list for the upcoming Ultimate Fighter 31 began making the rounds on social media on Friday — only for noted MMA manager Daniel Rubenstein to claim that three of the fighters had been pulled off the show. By none other than Conor McGregor.
According to Rubenstein, that was to bring three of Conor’s fighters onto the show.
Ken Cross, Mitch Ramirez and Brandon Jenkins all got pulled off to make room for 3 of Conor’s guy to be on the show.
— Daniel Rubenstein (@dannyrube) February 17, 2023
The original cast list has not been verified. McGregor will coach TUF 31 opposite Michael Chandler, with the coaches expected to face off later this year.
McGregor Fires Back
Conor McGregor himself was quick to dispel the notion that he’d kicked anyone off TUF 31. In a since-deleted response to Chris Curtis, who stated that the rumors of McGregor kicking fighters off the show to make room for his own guys were “definitely true,” McGregor had this to say:
“[Chris Curtis] not true. I only know one guy on this show and he put himself forward for it. And he is now, after today, set to fight the number 1 seed! I didn’t ask nor request nothing! And I certainly didn’t have people removed. I’m just tryna get back in the mix myself so f*ck off.”
— Sinéad O'Conor McGregor 🇮🇪 (@ftblcozza) February 18, 2023
Wrestling Standout Pat Downey Cut by Bellator
Decorated amateur wrestler Pat Downey has been given the axe by Bellator MMA. Posting a 1-1 record in the promotion, Downey was coming off an ugly loss against the virtually unknown Christian Echols. Downey had been nearly a -2000 favorite in the fight.
In his brief stint with Bellator, the NCAA Division I All-American also pulled out of two bouts.
MMA Junkie was first to report news of Downey’s release.
Greg Hardy Gets Rude Welcome to Bare-Knuckle Realm, Sent to Shadow Realm
Good night, Greg Hardy.
The former NFL Pro Bowl defensive end and ex-UFC heavyweight made his bare-knuckle boxing debut at BKFC KnuckleMania 3 on Friday night in Albuquerque, NM. Placed high up the main card, Hardy’s debut didn’t last long — and ended with him put to sleep.
Hardy, who went 2-0 in traditional boxing in 2022, found out the hard way that bare-knuckle is a different endeavor. After knocking Hardy down at the end of round one, the essentially unknown Josh Watson knocked the big man out 19 seconds into round number two.
Watson, age 40, wrapped up an MMA career that began in 2007 in 2013, finishing with a 6-4 record. He re-emerged on the combat sports scene in 2021 and has now posted a 2-1 record under the BKFC banner.
Greg Hardy messed around and found out. Bare knuckle ain’t for everybody. pic.twitter.com/qDTkdLMcoV
— Cageside Press (@Cagesidepress) February 18, 2023
John Dodson To Get Title Shot Next?
Another UFC alum with a much better showing at BKFC KnuckleMania 3 was John Dodson. The former two-time UFC flyweight title challenger knocked out Jared Grant inside of a round. At times, Grant appeared to be standing still next to the speed of “The Magician.”
Following the win, Dodson called for a flyweight title shot. BKFC has yet to introduce the belt, but Dodson called for a fight with 135lb champ Reggie Barnett Jr., who is expected to fight next month.
“Yo Reggie, I know you already got a fight, but you know what my name is! And I’m the flyweight champion already, so let’s go! You want to knuckle up? Knuckle up with me!”
Always been a fan of John Dodson #KnuckleMania3 pic.twitter.com/QHOvfTvHgT
— Jim (@FukingCasuals) February 18, 2023
From the sounds of it BKFC President David Feldman is on board with Dodson getting a title shot. No word on if that will come against Barnett or someone else.
Evan Elder Shows Off Nasty Cut That Led to UFC Vegas 69 Stoppage
He may have lived to fight another day after his bout with Nazim Sadykhov was stopped by the doctor, but Evan Elder just wants to bang.
Sadykhov vs. Elder was a thriller until the doctor halted this one — but it’s hard to cry foul. That’s a nasty gash Evan is sporting. Their effort took home Fight of the Night honors.
I just wanna bang @ufc @danawhite pic.twitter.com/IVqameesyo
— Evan (@ElderEvan) February 19, 2023