Tito Ortiz Returns to MMA, Fighting Rampage Jackson on Bellator PPV

The whole “Rampage Jackson vs. Roy Jones Jr.” boxing match looks to have been a smoke screen.

Instead, Jackson’s first fight for Bellator will be against former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz who is coming out of retirement.  Ortiz last fought on July 7, 2012 at UFC 148, losing a unanimous decision to Forrest Griffin.

The two will square off at Bellator 107 on November 2 in Long Beach, California in what will be the promotion’s first pay-per-view event.

Here is the official press release from Bellator:

Newport Beach, CA. (Wednesday, July 31st) – It was announced live inside the Bellator cage tonight that two of the biggest names in MMA  Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Tito “The People’s Champion” Ortiz will meet in a light heavyweight battle live on PPV Saturday, November 2nd.  The announcement was made with both Rampage and Tito inside the Bellator cage to a nationally televised audience on Spike TV at Bellator 97 inside The Santa Ana Star Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

“Rampage vs. Tito” will be held at Southern California’s Long Beach Arena, with tickets on sale at 10 AM PST this Saturday, August 3rd. Tickets can be purchased on Bellator.com, Ticketmaster.com, as well as at the Long Beach Arena Box Office.

“To have two of the biggest names in MMA headline our first PPV is awesome,” Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney said. “Rampage vs. Tito is a fight I’ve wanted to see for years and to have it as our Main Event on our first Pay-Per-View is a spectacular next step in Bellator’s evolution. They’re both re-energized, excited and ready for a war. This will be a great fight.”

“Honestly, I feel like I’ve been re-born.,” Jackson said. “My excitement, energy and aggression, it’s all back and bigger than ever. I feel like a kid again. The Rampage you’ll see Nov. 2nd will be better than any Rampage you’ve ever seen.  Everybody knows Tito and I have a very long history. He’s a former teammate and friend, and it’s one of the reasons I stayed away from the UFC as long as I did.  But, I want to be very clear; any sort of friendship we once had doesn’t exist when that cage door shuts. I’ve got a ton to prove on November 2nd, and unfortunately for Tito he’s the guy I have to make an example of. He’s in my house now and Saturday, November 2nd on PPV, it’s going to be a horrible night for Tito Ortiz.”

“I’m back,” Ortiz stated. “Over the last few years, my passion for MMA was completely killed, dealing with UFC politics and with Dana. I didn’t have that drive to compete, my heart wasn’t in it. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I’m free. Bjorn and Bellator put together an opportunity that made me part of the promotion, part of the family.  I feel like I can breathe again and my old friend is going to be on the receiving end of all that happiness turned into an old school Tito Ortiz ground and pound beating. I’ve fought and beaten the very best in MMA history and on Nov. 2nd, Rampage will be the next huge win on my record. This is a new era for the People’s Champion.”

Jackson arrived in Bellator in June as a former Pride and UFC champion, having last fought on Spike TV in September 2007, in a fight vs. Dan Henderson that drew nearly 6 million viewers, making it one of the most watched fights in the sport’s history. In 2009, Jackson served as a coach on Spike’s “The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights,” the highest-rated season by far in franchise history, delivering over 3 million viewers per week. Rampage joins a Bellator Light Heavyweight division that features “King Mo”, Emanuel Newton, Vladimir Matyushenko, Attila Vegh and now, Tito Ortiz.

Ortiz joins Bellator as a former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion and throughout his career has been one of the most recognizable and polarizing figures during his sixteen year career, fighting the likes of Randy Couture, Chuck Liddell, Vitor Belfort, Rashad Evans and Ken Shamrock. A true MMA icon, Ortiz will now start a new chapter of his career fighting under the Bellator banner beginning on November 2nd.

Memphis Wrestling Personality Corey Maclin Passes Away

Longtime Memphis wrestling announcer Corey Maclin died in a car accident on Tuesday night in Mississippi.  He was 43 years old.

Maclin has worked on television as a wrestling announcer for many years in Memphis, working alongside both Lance Russell and Dave Brown.

He went on to become a promoter in the area working with Jerry Lawler and had very successful shows based on using Lawler’s popularity in the area and doing nostalgia shows.

Maclin is survived by his wife and six children.

Madison Rayne Discusses Leaving TNA Wrestling, Was Not Fired

madisonrayneAlthough Madison Rayne (Ashley Cabot) has said that her contract with TNA Wrestling simply expired on July 3, there are still some that believe that she was fired from the company.

Rayne reiterated on her personal blog that she simply left the company on her own terms with a baby on the way and was not given the best in her future endeavors.

I was not released from my contract on bad terms, with any ill feelings, or with the slightest bit of regret for giving everything I had to Impact Wrestling for 4 1/2 years!* I’ve had what seems like an endless number of tweets lately telling me that I need to go wrestle elsewhere, and people cannot believe I got fired because I was pregnant.

She went on to say:

Y’all, as much as I appreciate the support and the fact that people were affected enough by my release to generate some sort of emotion, please don’t stress over it. I’m surely not. As cliche as it may sound, if I am meant to be back in a wrestling ring on television, God will put me back there. And I have this overwhelming feeling that He will, but for right now I’m so excited and so looking forward to being a mommy and bringing the next generation of Queen Bee into the world.

Rayne added that she has plenty of good memories while working at TNA Wrestling and still has a great relationship with Dixie Carter.

As far as Dixie goes, that passport I mentioned, all those trips around the world, the chance to frisk Earl Hebner (LOL) was all because of her. Bosses are always the easy target when something is less than perfect. That’s business. But at the end of the day she gave the green light to every face you see on the Impact roster. That’s something I think everyone should thank her for because that roster kicks ass! I still touch base with Dixie often. I send baby bump updates to her in the middle of the day and not one time have I gone without a response.

While there were some recent cuts from TNA Wrestling, it’s pretty ludicrous for anyone who continues to think that Rayne was fired, especially while pregnant and the firestorm that would have created.  She had appeared for the company dating back to March 17 and was still on the roster leading up to her contract expiring in early July.

Video: UFC World Tour 2013 in New York Starting at 1 P.M. ET

The UFC World Tour 2013 continues today as the UFC stops in New York as the press conference takes at the Beacon Theatre starting at 1 p.m. ET.

You can watch the video live on the player above.

The people that were in Los Angeles yesterday for the UFC World Tour 2013 are in New York today. Those people are: UFC President Dana White, UFC 165 headliners Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson, UFC 166 headliners Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos, UFC 167 headliners Georges St-Pierre and Johny Hendricks, and UFC 168 co-headliners Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate.

Follow Between The Ropes on Facebook and Twitter.

You can follow me on Twitter @SMuehlhausenMMA.

WWE Monday Night Raw Rating Down From Last Week

The rating for Monday’s WWE Monday Night Raw is in and it is about what was expected. The rating for Raw was a 2.87 rating with an average of 3.678 million viewers. That is down from the 2.94 rating with an average of 4.005 million viewers from last week’s show.

It should also be noted that Monday’s WWE Raw was pre-recorded last week as the WWE is right now on an international tour and typically pre-recorded shows draw a lower rating due to spoilers being released online.

Follow Between The Ropes on Facebook and Twitter.

You can follow me on Twitter @SMuehlhausenMMA.

Between The Ropes Podcast: Bellator 97 Preview

On today’s podcast we preview Bellator MMA 97 as the event takes place tonight from Rio Rancho, New Mexico. The card features two title fights as Michael Chandler defends his Bellator lightweight title against David Rickels and Ben Askren defends his welterweight title against Andrey Koreshkov.

Also two tournament finals take place as Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal squares off with Jacob Noe in the light heavyweight finals and Ryan Martinez faces off with Vitaly Minakov in the heavyweight finals.

We talk to MMAMania.com writer Brian Hemminger as we break down tonight’s card.

Follow Brian Hemminger on Twitter @BrianHemminger.

You can follow Between The Ropes on Facebook and Twitter.

Follow me on Twitter @SMuehlhausenMMA.

Play

Video: Bellator 97 Preview

Bellator MMA returns tonight with the final Summer Series event as Bellator 97 takes place tonight at the Santa Ana Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico and the main card airs on Spike TV at 7 p.m. ET following the preliminary card on Spike.com at 6 p.m. ET.

The card features two title fights as Michael Chandler defends his Bellator lightweight title against David Rickels and Ben Askren defends his welterweight title against Andrey Koreshkov.

Also two tournament finals take place as Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal squares off with Jacob Noe in the light heavyweight finals and Ryan Martinez faces off with Vitaly Minakov in the heavyweight finals.

Watch the video above for a preview of tonight’s card.

Follow Between The Ropes on Facebook and Twitter.

You can follow me on Twitter @SMuehlhausenMMA.

Between The Ropes | Paul O’Brien – July 31, 2013

Author Paul O’Brien of the wrestling crime novels “Blood Red Turns Dollar Green” talks about the second volume of the book now being out, why he decided to write a crime novel about wrestling during the territories, the influence of TV shows on his writing, getting a helping hand from Mick Foley, the research that goes into doing the books and more.

Find out more about the books at Paul’s website PaulOBrien.info and you get get his books at Amazon.com.

Subscribe to Between The Ropes on iTunes so you can automatically get the latest podcasts.

Follow Between The Ropes on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Play

Fan Attacks Randy Orton In Ring in South Africa

Randy Orton was attacked in the ring during a show in Cape Town, South Africa.

After winning his match against Big E. Langston, Orton was posing on the turnbuckles when a fan snuck into the ring and gave him a low blow.

Orton fell off the turnbuckle but quickly got up as security jumped into the ring to grab the fan.  Luckily, it looks like Orton was not seriously injured and it could have been much worse.

WWE.com posted the following on their website regarding the incident:

WWE.com has learned that Randy Orton was violently attacked by an audience member during a SmackDown World Tour Live Event in Cape Town, South Africa, this evening. Footage of the attack was captured by a WWE fan and posted to YouTube, and shows the perpetrator striking Orton from behind. The matter is currently under investigation by the local authorities, and the South African fan is being held in jail pending criminal charges. The extent of Orton’s injuries are unknown at this time.

A WWE representative gave this statement to TMZ.com: “Randy was violently attacked from behind” by the fan — who was not part of the show … and is now in police custody.”

Big E. Langston shared his thoughts on his Twitter account:

Video: UFC World Tour in Los Angeles

The UFC announced about two weeks ago that a world tour would ensue to promote UFC 165, UFC 166, UFC 167 and UFC 168.

Today was the first time all eight participants on the tour were all together. The tour stop today was at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. The fighters that were there today were: UFC 165 headliners Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson, UFC 166 headliners Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos, UFC 167 headliners Georges St-Pierre and Johny Hendricks, UFC 168 co-headliners Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate and UFc President Dana White.

The video above is the full video of today’s UFC World Tour press conference.

Follow Between the Ropes on Facebook and Twitter.

You can follow me on Twitter @SMuehlhausenMMA.

Between The Ropes Podcast – July 30, 2013

Brian and Steve talk about WWE Monday Night Raw including the latest on Daniel Bryan and the inclusion of the McMahon family in his storyline leading up to his SummerSlam match against John Cena, what the end game could be for that storyline, other storylines that like right now, which guys are going nowhere, the debut of Total Divas, TNA’s mystery man and more.

Subscribe to Between The Ropes on iTunes so you can automatically get the latest podcasts.

Follow Between The Ropes on Facebook and Twitter.

Play

‘WWE Monday Night Raw’ Reaction and Review – July 29th, 2013

For complete coverage of everything that happened on Monday Night Raw, be sure to check out last night’s WWE Raw Rundown.

daniel bryan 2Internet fans finally got what they wanted, with Daniel Bryan confronting Vince McMahon to kick-off the show. Smart decision by creative here. With Vince openly confronting Bryan about his chances to win, viewers have an even bigger reason to pull for Daniel Bryan. This segment sold Bryan both as a legitimate title contender, and as a main-event superstar. And while I thought the “anti-Cena” rherotic was a bit weird coming from the boss, it leaves me curious about where this storyline is heading. My prediction? An Orton-McMahon alliance is in the wings.

Ryback didn’t look nearly as impressive as Bryan, though. His match with Cena was fun. The problem is, he’s lost countless times now, and his character seems utterly directionless. Is he still a main-event guy? Is his heel personal even relevant anymore? Seeing him put a random backstage citizen through a table just felt forced, and inspired nothing in me but a strong desire to change the channel.

Mark Henry and The Usos lost their match against The Shield, but they ended up as the last group standing… again. I feel like they’ve gotten their “babyface revenge” at this point.

CM Punk, however, still hasn’t gotten his hands on Paul Heyman. These two didn’t cut a promo against each other last night, and they honestly didn’t need to. What’s needed to be said has already been said. Heyman sneaking away by any means necessary only makes the fans hate him more, and things should pick up considerably once Lesnar returns. This was filler, but that doesn’t make it bad by default.

Also falling into the “more of the same” category was the Wyatt Family’s attack on Kane. It was a necessary evil, having to re-introduce Kane to these guys after a few weeks off, and vice-versa. I’m looking for WWE to bring something fresh to the table in the coming weeks.

Christian’s winning streak continues to be one of my favorite things on WWE television right now. He’s already defeated a few low-to-mid profile acts, but cemented his return with a strong victory over Alberto Del Rio in a very competitive match. These two had great chemistry on Raw, and I’m hoping they end up locking horns at SummerSlam. It’s nice to see Christian finally treated as the true veteran he is.

Overall show wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. I like a little more intrigue from my WWE TV (and a little less “Total Divas” filler). And while the show tried to live by its strong in-ring action, it died by the number of non-finishes throughout the night. It was a paint-by-numbers kind of evening.

What did you think of last night’s show?  Sound off in the comments below, or let me know on Twitter @therealwiseman. Also, be sure to follow @BetweenTheRopes while you’re at it!

WWE Raw Rundown – 7/29/2013

Raw SidewaysWhile there was nothing particularly wrong with tonight’s WWE Raw, the show seemed lacking in a few areas.  I really enjoyed the focus on in-ring action.  However, the show suffered from too many non-finishes, and didn’t offer any “must-see” segments. Here’s the rundown: [Read more...]

UFC Video: The Ultimate Fighter 18 Preview ‘Rousey vs. Tate’

There is a lot of hype going into The Ultimate Fighter 18 with Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate as the coaches.  And to say there is no love lost between these two would be an understatement.

Hate would be much closer to the truth.

And when a couple of women don’t like one another — especially in an adrenaline filled combat sport — you know there will be fireworks.

Even UFC President Dana White recently described the upcoming season as “pure f***ing mayhem”.

TUF 18 debuts on September 4 at 10p.m. ETon the new FOX Sports 1.  Here is the preview trailer:

Cody Rhodes vs. Damien Sandow is Simply About Good Friendship

Sandow Money in the BankIf you had a chance to catch last night’s solid WWE Smackdown, you saw Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes highlighted in a way they haven’t been before in their respective WWE tenures. Both men, especially Sandow, have the “gift of gab”. Both men know what they’re doing in the ring. But up until recently, creative seemed absolutely clueless on how to properly utilize Sandow and Rhodes, and their endless strengths. [Read more...]

WWE Smackdown Rundown – 7/27/2013

wwe smackdown logoFun night for WWE Smackdown.  While not every match was an instant classic, and some segments were weaker than others, the overall show delivered on what it set out to do. Let’s take a look: [Read more...]

Video: UFC on Fox 8 Show Opener

UFC on Fox 8 is finally here as the event takes place from the Key Arena in Seattle. The main event will feature UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson defending his title against John Moraga. In the co-feature, top welterweight contenders will square off as Rory MacDonald will square off against Jake Ellenberger.

The main card will also feature welterweights Robbie Lawler facing off with Bobby Voelker and the ladies kick off the main card as bantamweights Liz Carmouche and Jessica Andrade battle.

UFC on Fox 8 main card kicks off at 8 p.m. ET/5PT with six preliminary fights airing on FX starting at 5 p.m. ET and two fights on Facebook starting at 4 p.m. ET.

The video above is the montage for UFC on Fox 8 that will open up the broadcast.

Follow Between The Ropes on Facebook and Twitter.

You can follow me on Twitter @SMuehlhausenMMA.

UFC on Fox 8 Weigh-In Results

Today’s weigh-ins for tomorrow night’s UFC on Fox 8 took place at the Key Arena in Seattle. The main event fighters, UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson and challenger John Moraga were both on point as each guy made the 125 lb limit.

Here are the results from the UFC on Fox 8 weigh-ins:

MAIN CARD (FOX, 8 p.m. ET)
• Champ Demetrious Johnson (124.5) vs. John Moraga (124.5)
• Jake Ellenberger (171) vs. Rory MacDonald (170.5)
• Robbie Lawler (170.5) vs. Bobby Voelker (170)
• Jessica Andrade (134) vs. Liz Carmouche (136)
PRELIMINARY CARD (FX, 5 p.m. ET)
• Michael Chiesa (155.5) vs. Jorge Masvidal (155)*
• Danny Castillo (155) vs. Tim Means (160)**
• Mac Danzig (155) vs. Melvin Guillard (155)
• Daron Cruickshank (156) vs. Yves Edwards (155)
• Ed Herman (186) vs. Trevor Smith (185)
• Germaine de Randamie (135) vs. Julie Kedzie (135.5)
PRELIMINARY CARD (Facebook, 4 p.m. ET)
• Aaron Riley (156) vs. Justin Salas (155)
• John Albert (137)*** vs. Yaotzin Meza (136)

* Masvidal initially weighed 157.5 pounds but was given an additional two hours and made weight on his second attempt.
** Means will forfeit 20 percent of his purse to Castillo.
*** Albert will forfeit 20 percent of his purse to Meza.

Follow Between The Ropes on Facebook and Twitter.

You can follow me on Twitter @SMuehlhausenMMA.