John Lineker explains tweet requesting UFC fight or release: ‘This is my life’

UFC slugger John Lineker is working at a pet shop while he waits for his longtime promoter to ring, according to his manager.

The Brazilian slugger ran out of patience and lashed out on Twitter when he saw recent opponent Corey Sandhagen booked a fourth time this year.

Despite a fight last month at UFC on ESPN+ 8, Lineker has fought just four  times in the past 30 months. He said he’s struggling to make ends meet. In an interview with MMA Junkie translated by his longtime manager Alex Davis, Lineker said his message came “out of necessity” because his current situation is “unsustainable.”

“I’ve fought four times since 2016,” Lineker said. “I have five kids. I need to pay my bills. I cannot survive like this.”

Lineker said the promotion has been unresponsive as of late, and he’s not sure what he’s done to damage the relationship. He places the blame at the feet of UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby, who books fights in the bantamweight division.

“I don’t know if it’s something personal against me,” he said. “If it is, just tell me and let me go, because I have to fight. I have to move on. It’s my career. It’s my life. I can’t be stuck this way.”

Shelby declined comment when reached by MMA Junkie; the UFC typically doesn’t authorize matchmakers to speak on the record to media.

Davis said he’s not looking to start a fight with the promotion. At the same time, he accuses the UFC of favoring certain fighters over others.

“The reality is staring us in the face,” he said. “We’re in a situation where certain guys are getting accelerated and other guys aren’t. In his case, it’s not fair, because he’s a very exciting, dynamic, top-level fighter. He deserves better than this.”

Over 16 UFC appearances, Lineker, 28, has carved out a reputation as a knockout artist, winning four performance bonuses. He’s also repeatedly struggled to make weight, missing five times as a flyweight and bantamweight, and struggled with injuries. UFC President Dana White ordered him to compete at 135 pounds after coming in heavy four times as a flyweight.

Lineker isn’t sure whether his history is holding him back. But he said injuries shouldn’t be held against him.

“I’m a human being like everybody else,” he said. “I get hurt. I get sick. Things like that happen. I’m 28 years old. This is the way I feed my family. It happens with everybody.”

Davis said he recently lined up a jiu-jitsu match in July so Lineker can make a paycheck. Lineker has two fights remaining on his UFC contract. Davis declined comment on how long Lineker is obligated to his contract; deals are typically extended for six months in the event a fighter is injured.

The only recourse Lineker currently seeks is a return to work.

“Let me fight once every four months,” he said. “Let me fight three times a year. I think that’s only fair.

“I’ve always fought in the ring, but now I find myself in a fight outside the ring. I’m fighting for my career. I’m fighting for my legacy. I’m fighting for my life. I can’t wait. It has to be now. I need to change the situation. I need to fight.”

For more on the upcoming UFC schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

UFC on ESPN+ 9 results: Macy Chiasson rallies, pounds out Sarah Moras

After a tough first round, “The Ultimate Fighter 28” winner Macy Chiasson added another finish to her resume.

Chiasson (5-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) pounded out grappling specialist Sarah Moras (5-5 MMA, 2-4 UFC) at the 2:22 mark of the second round to pick up her third UFC win on Saturday night.

The women’s bantamweight bout served as the UFC on ESPN+ 9 featured prelim from Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, Ontario.

The referee stepped in to save Moras just shy of the fight’s midpoint after Chiasson rained down punches and elbows from mount. Moras had hoped to take the fight to the ground again after a strong opening frame in which she controlled Chiasson for the first half of the round.

Chiasson, who took two tries to make weight, made full use of her bulk in the first round, reversing position and doing damage from top position. Advised by her coaches to do the same, she nailed a sprawl and got to work up top.

Chiasson has finished all three of her UFC opponents following her winning run on “TUF 28” as a featherweight. Moras has now lost three straight.

Up-to-the-minute UFC on ESPN+ 9 results include:

Macy Chiasson def. Sarah Moras via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 2:22
Vince Morales def. Aiemann Zahabi via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Nordine Taleb def. Kyle Prepolec via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 20-27)
Matt Sayles def. Kyle Nelson via submission (arm-triangle choke) – Round 3, 3:16
Arjan Bhullar def. Juan Adams via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Cole Smith def. Mitch Gagnon via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

For complete coverage of UFC on ESPN+ 9, check out the UFC events section of the site.

Stream or download MMA Junkie Radio #2912 with Jon Anik, Jeremy Kennedy

Stream or download Thursday’s episode of MMA Junkie Radio with guests Jon Anik, Jeremy Kennedy and “The Schmo.”

Anik, the popular UFC commentator, recapped last week’s UFC on ESPN+ 8. PFL featherweight Kennedy talked about his fight later this month with Alexandre Bezerra at “PFL 2019: Week 2,” and “The Schmo” stopped by to talk all the latest MMA happenings.

Stream or download the entire episode over at AudioBoom.com, or watch a replay in the video above.

Stream or download MMA Junkie Radio #2909 with Jim Miller and Alex Davis

Stream or download Tuesday’s episode of MMA Junkie Radio with guests Jim Miller and Alex Davis.

UFC lightweight Miller called in to recap his submission win at UFC Fort Lauderdale and what’s next for him. MMA manager Davis called in and offered his perspective on ONE Championship’s creation of an agent certification program.

Stream or download the entire episode over at AudioBoom.com, or watch a replay in the video above.

Cole Smith: ‘No reason’ I shouldn’t be victorious at UFC on ESPN+ 9

Since turning pro in February of 2016, bantamweight Cole Smith hasn’t had much to complain about.

Across multiple combat sports, Smith has had great success, culminating in an undefeated MMA record and championships just about everywhere he has fought.

“My first couple years of me being pro have gone real well,” Smith told MMAWeekly.com. “My second fight I won the BFL welterweight title. I moved back out to Thailand and had a few more pro fights out there.

“I won a couple of Muay Thai titles out there. I came back and defended my (BFL) belt two or three times and got the UFC phone call. Everything has been working out real with my professional career.”

Splitting his time between Thailand and the United States has not been a burden on Smith. Instead, his travels have only had positive results when it comes to his development as a fighter.

“I’ve got back out to Thailand and trained at Fairtex with some of the best Muay Thai fighters and coaches in the world,” said Smith. “I’ve come back out to Las Vegas and tested myself against some of the best MMA fighters, and I’m right there in the mix with them.

“The last year or two have been real good not just physically but also mentally. I’ve figured out that I am one of the best in the world and that I can hang with anybody. My mental game has sharpened quite a bit.”

At UFC on ESPN+ 9 on Saturday in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Smith (6-0) will look to remain undefeated when he faces veteran Mitch Gagnon (12-4) in a preliminary 135-pound bout.

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“Mitch has more UFC fights than I have professional fights,” Smith said. “The pressure is on him really. I’m going in as the underdog and I like that role.

“I’ve just got to keep doing what I’m doing. I train with the best guys, and just listen to my coach, and let them show me the path to victory. If I keep doing what I’m doing I have no reason to not come out victorious.”

Now that he’s on the biggest stage in MMA, Smith is looking to showcase his skills again in the not so distant future should all go his way on May 4.

“After this fight I’m hoping everything goes well and I have no injuries or anything,” said Smith. “There’s a rumor of a Vancouver show in July, and I’d like to get on that card and fight in front of my hometown. Other than that I’m just going to keep plugging away and keep training.”

Carla Esparza welcomes Joanna Jędrzejczyk rematch, says ‘it would be a much different fight’

Former strawweight champion Carla Esparza admits she put a lot of pressure on herself moments before walking out to the octagon at UFC on ESPN+ 8.

“When I was in the locker room, like … shoot, shoot,” Esparza recalled. “I’ve never come off two losses before. I’ve never had two losses in a row. So, for me, that third one, I kept telling myself, ‘You cannot lose this fight no matter what.’ I was willing to go in there and go through anything to get that win.”

Esparza’s mental approach worked out in the end, as she defeated newcomer Virna Jandiroba this past Saturday at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla., to snap a two-fight losing streak. As Esparza mentioned, the victory meant she avoided the first three-fight skid of her career.

Back in the win column, Esparza said now is all about rebuilding her momentum toward a title shot. She’s realistic about the fact that she’s not that close – but also knows that, in her division specifically, she’s not that far off, either.

Esparza won the inaugural UFC strawweight title in December 2014 by submitting current champ Rose Namajunas after the two competed on “The Ultimate Fighter 20.” Three months later, Esparza lost the belt to Joanna Jędrzejczyk via TKO.

Speaking of which, if a title shot isn’t immediately on the horizon, Esparza definitely would love the opportunity to get that one back with Jędrzejczyk.

“Honestly I’ve thought about that a lot since the fight happened,” Esparza said. “Not to take anything away from her win, but I really wasn’t in the best place. I think she’s gotten better, I’ve gotten better, and I would definitely be welcomed to that fight again. No matter what happens in that fight, it would be a much different fight than it was the first time.”

To hear more from Esparza, watch her post-fight scrum in the video above.

For complete coverage of UFC on ESPN+ 8, check out the UFC Eventssection of the site.

32-fight UFC vet Jim Miller doesn’t know when he’ll retire from MMA, but wants it to be on his own terms


SUNRISE, Fla. – There isn’t much that Jim Miller hasn’t been through in almost 15 years of professional fighting, but he got to experience a first at this past Saturday’s UFC on ESPN+ 8: For the first time, his four children were present in the building to watch him compete.

It’s hard to think of a better debut for the kids, who saw their dad submit Jason Gonzalez (11-4 MMA, 1-2 UFC) in the first round and set another octagon record in the process. Now 32 fights and 19 wins into his octagon career, Miller (30-13 MMA, 19-12 UFC) now also holds the record for most submission wins in UFC lightweight history.

How special was it to share that moment with his children? Miller discussed it backstage, and there was quite a lot to unpack.

“My kids see a lot of what I do, and I want them to have a good example – not only in this sport, but kind of in this world. ” Miller told reporters, including MMA Junkie. “We’re stuck in this place where the most successful people just go about getting attention in the worst ways, so I just try to lead by example. It was great to have them there and have them see it and have them be part of it. I don’t want my kids to fight – not with the state of MMA right now, in particular.

“I want them to learn to defend themselves. I want them to appreciate what their dad and their uncle did and the heights that we reached in this sport. It’s cool to have them there; I’m happy to have them there. But, at the same time, I get my hands taped up and slide on those gloves and bite down on that mouthpiece for me, because I still enjoy it. I could provide for them in other ways, but it’s cool for them to see it.”

UFC on ESPN+ 8 took place at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla. Miller vs. Gonzalez was part of the early prelims on ESPN2, which aired prior to prelims on ESPN and the main card on ESPN+.

Jim, brother of fellow UFC vet Dan Miller, has been a professional MMA fighter since 2005 and a part of the UFC roster since 2008. At 35, he’s experienced all the peaks and valleys of the sport, having just recently come out of a four-fight skid, but has managed to stay active throughout. He’s now 2-1 in his past three fights.

Miller said in the octagon that he didn’t know how many fights he still had left in him, but that he was still hoping to pull a “Cinderella Man” and go on one more run before calling it quits.

Miller later explained that, for a while, his dealings with Lyme disease kept him from properly working on himself as an athlete. While he was able to hit technique-specific parts of his training, like grappling and hitting pads, lifting or hitting circuits would put him out of commission for days. As a pressure fighter, that meant Miller was missing a part of his game.

Miller has since fazed that out, though, and feeling the positive effects of that made him more optimistic about his fighting future.

“Now that I feel like I’m getting back to being more well-rounded and training as an athlete again, I know that I can compete with the best in the world,” Miller said. “And I know that I have to earn that opportunity again and I’m willing to do that.

“We’ll see. We’ll see where the road goes. I’m just as interested as you to find out.”

Miller is still figuring out how he’ll go about hanging up his gloves when the time comes, as fighting is still the way he provides for his family. Whether he’ll be able to smoothly transition to the next thing or simply quit MMA cold-turkey, though, he knows this about his retirement: It will be on his own terms.

“I’m going to know when it’s going to be my last fight,” Miller said. “I’m pretty sure you guys are going to know, too. I don’t want it to be because I had a (expletive) camp and I fought like (expletive), ‘You know what, I’m not doing this anymore’ and be emotional inside the cage and do it that way. I want to know going in there.

“I think it’s going to be a great night for me, because having that lifted off my shoulders, that I don’t have to do it again, is going to be awesome. It takes a lot; it does. It takes a lot to grind through camp and to deal with the ups and downs. I get home from a hard day of training and I’m tired and beat up and then my kids want to wrestle and it’s like – you try to do it as much as you can, but at the same time, ‘I can’t tonight, I can’t.’ And I hate having to say that.”

To hear more from Miller, check out the video above.

And for complete coverage of UFC on ESPN+ 8, check out the UFC Events section of the site.