PETA comes after Khabib Nurmagomedov for wrestling bears

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have come after UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov after old videos of him wrestling bears recently resurfaced.

Videos of Nurmagomedov wrestling bears as a child have been known in the MMA community for years, however with the champ recently becoming a global star after headlining UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi, the mainstream media has now become aware of them.

PETA UK Director Elisa Allen spoke to Business Insider and criticized Nurmagomedov for wrestling bears, and also called on the UFC to evaluate its relationship with him. Check out what PETA had to say about Nurmagomedov below (h/t Karim Zidan of

“PETA encourages the UFC to evaluate its relationship with Mr. Nurmagomedov until he shows a clear change in attitude and a commitment to showing animals the respect that they deserve. Wrestling with a chained bear is loathsome behavior that shows an utter lack of respect for and consideration of who these animals are. In the wild, bears roam across vast territories, foraging, swimming, digging in the dirt, climbing trees, searching for a mate, and expressing other essential, natural types of behavior. Those used in Russia for ‘boxing,’ ‘dancing,’ or other archaic forms of entertainment are typically torn from their mothers as cubs, chained, caged, muzzled, beaten, and deprived of everything that’s meaningful to them. PETA urges Mr. Nurmagomedov to stick to wrestling with willing human opponents.”

Nurmagomedov recently defeated Dustin Poirier to defend the UFC lightweight championship in the main event of UFC 242. He is now expected to defend his title next against No. 1 contender Tony Ferguson, though fights against Justin Gaethje and Conor McGregor are possibilities as well if the Ferguson fight can’t get done. Not to mention a possible superfight against the legend Georges St-Pierre.

Do you agree with PETA’s criticisms of Khabib Nurmagomedov?

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 9/17/2019. 

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Conor McGregor “Agreed” To Fight WBO Champion Luke Keeler In December Boxing Match

Photo Credit: John Locher AP

According to Keeler, McGregor verbally agreed to a boxing match after ‘Cool Hand{‘s}’ callout

Speaking with recently, Keeler had this to say; “I don’t want to get into it too much, but I know he wasn’t happy about the call out. He is not happy. The fight community in Ireland is small enough and Crumlin isn’t too far from Ballyfermot, and I heard he wasn’t happy with the timing of it. He rang me and we had a few words. I told him the fight was there to be made and he was all for it. He agreed to fight over the phone. I agree it could be just all talk. Whether he has the balls or not to get in the ring again, never mind with me, we will have to see. He could have just been trying to front up or speaking in anger. But it got to the stage where I felt comfortable enough passing onto my management.”

McGregor cryptically tweeted on Sunday, “December 14th. Dublin“, with many speculating a return to the Octagon on the already finalized UFC 245 card in Las Vegas, but it now seems the SBG product is in line to face with middleweight boxing best Keeler.Former UFC lightweight and featherweight champion, ‘The Notorious’ Conor McGregor, has allegedly agreed to a December return to boxing, in a clash with WBO European champion ‘Cool Hand’ Luke Keeler. The Dubliner who scored an August upset over Luis Arias called for a boxing match with the Crumlin native, labeling him a “bully” in relation to McGregor’s April attack on a patron at the Marble Arch pub in Drimnagh.

McGregor’s first and so far only foray into the squared circle came back in a 2017 meeting with Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather Jr. In a match billed, “The Biggest Fight In Combat Sports History.” Mayweather moved to a perfect 50-0 via a tenth round knock out of McGregor.

Brandon Moreno Returns After Stint Away from UFC

The Assasin Baby

Brandon Moreno returns to the UFC this weekend at UFC Fight Night 159 in Mexico City. Moreno previously went 3-2 in the UFC with wins over Louis Smolka, Ryan Benoit and Dustin Ortiz. Following two losses on the bounce, the UFC cut Moreno. His first UFC loss came to Sergio Pettis in a main event slot in Mexico City in August 2017. His second loss was in a rematch from TUF 24 against Alexandre Pantoja. Both of these losses came at a time where the UFC’s flyweight division was up in the air. The future of the division was very unclear and a number of fighters were cut, including Brandon Moreno.

Time Away and UFC Return

Brandon Moreno returned to competitive action after over a year out. This time it was for LFA and Moreno was put straight into a title fight at LFA 69. He faced 6-1, 2008 Olympic wrestler, Maikel Pérez. Moreno’s MMA experience showed and he landed an impressive fourth-round TKO to capture the LFA flyweight title.

Despite previously ‘not seeing a future‘ in the 125lbs division, Brandon Moreno re-signed with the UFC as a flyweight. He will welcome undefeated Russian prospect Askar Askarov at UFC Fight Night 159. At 10-0, Askarov is the former ACB flyweight champion and has finished all 10 of his victories inside the cage. This fight is a fan favourite fight as in a combined 25 wins, 22 have come via finish.

Other Fights on the Card

Joining Brandon Moreno and Askar Askarov on the card are a number of competitive fights.

  • The main event sees Yair Rodriguez return following his emphatic knockout of Chan Sung Jung. Rodriguez will face the hard-hitting Jeremy Stephens.
  • Former strawweight champion Carla Esparza faces upcoming prospect Alexa Grosso in the co-main in Mexico City.
  • Exciting bantamweight Irene Aldana returns following her split decision loss at UFC on ESPN 4. Her opponent in Mexico City will be promotional newcomer Vanessa Melo, who takes the fight on short notice.
  • Sijara Eubanks looks to get back to winning ways as she takes on former title challenger Bethe Correia.


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Colby Covington slams UFC for ‘slave labor negotiations’

Colby Covington is once again butting heads with the UFC.

The former interim welterweight champ was expected to challenge Kamaru Usman for the undisputed welterweight title at UFC 244 this November, but this plan fizzled when the fighters and the promotion could not come to an agreement that worked for all parties involved.

Speaking on the latest episode of Radio, Covington trashed the UFC’s business practices.

“That’s how UFC does business, they do the bully tactics,” he said. “They do the slave labor negotiations. It’s sick man. They don’t want to pay any of the fighters because they want everybody to be poor, so they keep back coming back and fighting all the time, and fighting six times a year.”

Covington continued, explaining that he’s tired of doing the UFC favors — like stepping in to fight Robbie Lawler on short notice at UFC Newark this summer— and receiving nothing in return.

“The UFC always makes promises, they’ve made me so many promises,” Covington continued. “[They say] ‘Oh, do this and we’ll give you a favor here. We’ll throw you a bone next time.’ They never end up throwing that bone back, man. They just use you even more next time. So it’s just… I’m not going to be played for a fool anymore, man. They want to do business like that, then they’re not going to get any business. That’s that.

They said, ‘Oh, show up for the Robbie Lawler fight,’” Covington continued. “And needless to say, Robbie was training for 12 weeks for that fight. He was getting ready for [Tyron] Woodley, but Woodley was scared and he pulled out with a sore pinky. So Woodley didn’t want to get knocked out by Robbie, he was scared. He knows he got lucky the first time [they fought]. So I showed up on four weeks’ notice, without a training camp because I got a nasty cut from a head butt in the first week in training camp. I couldn’t even train. Pretty much had to run on the treadmill every day, that’s it. That’s not training timing, accuracy, all that. So I showed up with no camp, to save the UFC, to save the main event, to bring the First Family, to get the President Tweeting about the UFC. To get all the troops all over the world watching in their bases because I’m America’s and the troops’ favorite fighter.

“The UFC still doesn’t do good for me,” he concluded. “I make them millions and millions and they just continue to just pocket all that money, and they don’t want to pay me a fraction — not even 5% of any of that money. It’s ridiculous how they can pocket 95, 98% and not give the fighters anymore than the 2, 3%.”

What do you think of these gripes from Colby Covington? Should he, and the other fighters on the UFC roster, be getting a bigger piece of the pie?

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 9/17/2019. 

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UFC 244 press conference with Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz set for September 19

Las Vegas: The UFC® returns to New York City with a spectacular welterweight contenders’ bout guaranteed to deliver fireworks. Hot off delivering the fastest knockout in UFC history, No. 3 ranked Jorge Masvidal (34-13) fighting out of Miami, Fla. takes on perennial fan favorite and No. 6 Nate Diaz (21-11) fighting out of Stockton, Calif.

Ahead of UFC 244, UFC will host a press conference with both athletes on Thursday, September 19 at 7 p.m. ET at The Rooftop at Pier 17 in New York City. The press conference is free and open to the public and for those who can’t attend the conference will also be streamed live on ESPN+.

Scheduled to attend the conference are:

DANA WHITE, UFC president

JORGE MASVIDAL, No. 3 ranked UFC welterweight contender

NATE DIAZ, No. 6 ranked UFC welterweight contender

Dustin Poirier still confident he can beat Khabib Nurmagomedov

Earlier this month, in the main event of UFC 242, Dustin Poirier attempted to swipe the lightweight title from the undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov. Unfortunately for Poirier and his team, this mission didn’t go as planned. Instead, he was forced to tap out to a third-round rear-naked choke.

Despite this setback against the champ, Poirier is still confident he has the ability to beat the champion. He attributes his loss to Nurmagomedov to his own performance more than anything else.

“He is a special individual, but I can beat him,” Poirier said on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show on Monday (via MMA Mania). “I just let myself down that night and it sucks.”

Dustin Poirier continued, explaining that he’s determined to work his way back to another shot at lightweight gold.

“I promise you I am going to rise again and I am going to get my hand raised, beat who I have to beat and I will be back,” Poirier said. “I’ll be knocking on that door again, I just hate to have to dust myself off over and over again, but this is my story.”

“This is my path. I don’t try to look for an explanation as to why this happened. I know I am one of the best in the world, and when it all does finally come together, It is going to be beautiful and it’s my story. It’s a love and hate relationship. Sometimes I love this so much and sometimes I hate it. It’s something that keeps breaking your heart but you keep going back to it. I can’t stop and I will not stop. I know have greatness in me, and I just have to show the world, keep rising.”

Do you think Dustin Poirier could defeat Khabib Nurmagomedov in a rematch?

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 9/17/2019. 

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UFC Fight Night 158: Preliminary Thoughts

Saturday night the UFC took their show on the road, setting up shop in picturesque Vancouver, British Columbia. While the main card had a ton of action and featured a highly anticipated main event of Donald Cerrone and Justin Gaethje, we’re going to focus on the preliminaries and break down all the happenings. You can see MMASucka’s pre-fight breakdown of UFC Fight Night 158 here.

UFC Fight Night 158 Prelims

Austin Hubbard def. Kyle Prepolec via Unanimous Decision

In the first fight of the evening, Austin Hubbard and Kyle Prepolec met at lightweight to kick things off. Prepolec was the fan-favorite as the first Canadian to make the walk to the Octagon and the fans were behind him en masse. He came out and executed well in the first round, and the judges all awarded him the opening frame. Hubbard controlled the action on the canvas after that point. He took Prepolec down time and again and used that control to put rounds in the bank. When it was over, Hubbard won a unanimous decision.

An interesting footnote to the fight was that Austin Hubbard had such massive leg swelling after the fight he passed out and had to go to the hospital to get his leg surgically opened up to alleviate the swelling. You can see his thoughts via Instagram, here. Tough way to end the night. 

Louis Smolka def. Ryan MacDonald via Round 1 TKO

Louis Smolka showed up to Vancouver looking for an impressive performance and did he ever have one. He was facing Ryan MacDonald, who was 10-1 heading into the contest. Smolka utilized a steady jab and a straight right hand behind it to score points in the early going. Ryan MacDonald did well to avoid major damage but didn’t seem able to get going. The end came in the first round when Smolka connected with a devastating right hand that sent MacDonald crumbling to the canvas. It was a brilliant performance from Smolka, who has now won five of his last six.

Chas Skelly def. Jordan Griffin via Unanimous Decision

Up next we saw a very entertaining scrap between Chas Skelly and Jordan Griffin. It was one of the more entertaining fights on the card. It was pretty clear what Skelly wanted, and he immediately started searching for takedowns. He was able to transition to a single leg and get Griffin to the canvas. From there he immediately took the back and sunk in both hooks. Griffin spent the next few minutes trying to protect his neck eventually breaking free and landing some big shots as the round expired.

More of the same in the second, as Skelly was interested in getting to the mat. That said, Griffin did a good job landing on the feet and when the action hits the mat. It was Griffin who gets the dominant position and winds up on Skelly’s back. Skelly was standing with Jordan Griffin on his back, and Skelly executed a perfect front flip to escape the position. It was very impressive. The round ended and it was all tied up heading into the third and final round. 

The third round saw Griffin enjoy success standing but ultimately he got trapped on the ground and gave up his back. He tried the same rolling escape but it didn’t work and Skelly had back control with a body triangle. Skelly was exhausted but he controlled the position until there were only a few seconds left. Griffin unloaded and went for a last-second choke, but it wasn’t to be. The fight was over and Chas Skelly won a unanimous decision. It was a fun fight for sure. 

Hunter Azure def Brad Katona via Unanimous Decision

Hunter Azure was making his official debut on the UFC Vancouver card, after earning his contract via the Dana White Contender Series. He was facing established veteran Brad Katona and the Poplar, MT native was looking to debut in style. Azure, who is a tremendous wrestler, opted instead to stand for three rounds and though puzzling, it was effective as he dropped Katona on several occasions. 

Much of this fight took place along the cage, as Katona worked tirelessly for takedowns pretty much non-stop. He was able to take Azure down a few times but didn’t do much with the position sans a transition to the back momentarily in the third round. This fight was decided on how you scored what the fighters did best. Katona lost the standup, he was knocked down twice. He did secure a few takedowns and controlled the action along the cage. In the end, the judges saw the fight for Azure, and he picked up a nice win in his official promotional debut. 

Miles Johns def.  Cole Smith via Split Decision

Miles Johns and Cole Smith were up next and despite the fight going the distance, it wasn’t packed with action. The Vancouver crowd was supporting hometown fighter Cole Smith. In the first round, Cole Smith took Johns’ back standing and they spent the majority of the round in that position. Johns eventually was able to peel Smith off his back, but Smith immediately went after another takedown, slowing the action along the fence. 

The second round saw both men secure takedowns and Smith again found himself on Johns’ back. Johns defended well and wound up on top, and landed some strong ground and pound to close the round. The round was pretty close, and it looked to be tied heading into the final frame. 

The third round was a tale of two halves. Cole Smith had good position against the fence but could not secure the takedown. He just held Johns there, pressed against the cage for a few minutes. Miles Johns was asking the referee for a restart, but it’s not the ref’s job to remove Johns from the cage. With a couple of minutes left, Johns escapes and spends the last 90 seconds punishing Cole with strikes. Cole Smith was rocked and in trouble, as the final bell sounded to end the fight. The judges awarded a split decision to Miles Johns. It was a close fight. 

Augusto Sakai def. Marcin Tybura via Round 1 KO

The last fight of the preliminary card featured heavyweights Marcin Tybura and Augusto Sakai. It was Sakai’s third fight in the UFC and undoubtedly his most impressive. He needed only 50 seconds to dismantle and knockout Tybura.  

Tybura landed a nice kick to the body and then the leg to open the fight, but it was all downhill from there. About 30 seconds in, Sakai started landing jabs and right hands, and finally landed a right hand to the temple and Tybura crashed to the mat in a heap. That 50-second highlight-reel knockout is usually good for a bonus, but not Saturday night. UFC Fight Night 158 was so full action that this knockout didn’t make the cut.

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