John Lineker determined to entertain in ONE Championship debut

John Lineker, a native of Brazil and a current resident of Florida, never imagined he’d fight in Indonesia. Yet on October 25, he’ll take to the cage in Jakarta to ply his trade against Tajikistan’s Muin Gafurov.

Lineker’s trip to the bustling metropolis of Jakarta is the result of his recent move from the UFC to ONE Championship.

His departure from the UFC came as a surprise to many fans, but he says he holds no ill will toward the promotion. He is, however, to move on to this new chapter of his career with ONE Championship, where he’ll be competing at 145 pounds against a new and unfamiliar roster of killers.

“We had a few promotions interested, but ONE Championship was the right way to go economically,” Lineker told ahead of his ONE Championship debut. “Also their weight system, it really seemed like a better thing. Also, if you look at the type of fighters they have over there in my weight division, they’re strikers, which I really enjoy.

In Gafurov, Lineker will meet a dangerous striker who’s also flaunted a knack for finishing on the ground. The Tajik fighter has scored stoppages in a great many of his 16 victories, and has only lost to established ONE Championship stars in Reece McLaren and Kevin Belingon.

Unsurprisingly, Lineker is impressed with what he’s seen from his opponent so far.

“He’s a great fighter,” he said of Gafurov. “He’s very versatile. When he doesn’t do good in the striking department he tries to take the fight down.”

Muin Gafurov

While Lineker respects Gafurov’s striking, he expects his foe to attempt to ground the fight early.

“He will not be comfortable in the striking department with me, and he’ll probably try to take me down, but I’m ready for it,” he said.

“[Striking] is what I like to do,” he added. “I’m coming ready. I’m really looking forward to it and I want to put on a show for all of my fans to watch.”

John Lineker is not the first UFC fighter to migrate to the ONE Championship of late. Over the last year, we’ve seen other UFC veterans such Demetrious Johnson, Eddie Alvarez, Sage Northcutt, Yoshihiro Akiyama and Yushin Okami move to the Singapore-based promotion.

Of the men listed above, only Demetrious Johnson won his first fight under the ONE Championship banner. Given the struggles these UFC veterans have endured while fighting for ONE, you might expect Lineker to approach his debut with a degree of caution, yet he claims he couldn’t be cautious of he tried. It is simply not in his nature.

“I’ve seen some of the fighters that have migrated from the UFC [to ONE], but caution is not part of my nature, not a part of my personality,” he said. “My story is going to be different.”

If Lineker is successful against Gafurov in Jakarta, he’ll be well positioned for a shot at the ONE Championship bantamweight title, which will next be on the line when Bibiano Fernandes and Kevin Belingon rematch in Tokyo, Japan this October. The UFC veteran is reluctant to look too far past Gafurov, but is of course eager for the chance to fight for gold in ONE.

“I want to take things step by step, of course,” he said of a potential ONE bantamweight title shot. “If that opportunity arises, I’m going to be very happy with it, but I’m focused on taking things step-by-step, fight-by-fight.”

Lineker’s receiving a ONE Championship title shot any time soon, of course, would seem to hinge on his looming showdown with Gafurov. The Brazilian is reluctant to make a prediction, but is happy to make a promise instead: he’ll be looking for the knockout, always.

“The only prediction I can guarantee is I’m going to look for a knockout as I always do.”

How do you think John Lineker will perform in ONE Championship?

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

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Keri Taylor Melendez to fight Mandy Polk at Bellator 229

Keri Taylor Melendez (pictured) will fight Mandy Polk at Bellator 229 in Temecula, Calif., on Oct. 4 | Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The queen of the Skrap Pack is back.

Keri Taylor Melendez is set to make her first appearance of 2019 when she fights Mandy Polk in a 118-pound catchweight bout at Bellator 229 on Oct. 4 at Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, Calif. MMA Fighting confirmed the bout with an official following an initial report by ESPN.

An experienced pro kickboxer who trains alongside husband Gilbert Melendez among other MMA notables in San Francisco, Taylor Melendez is 3-0 in her MMA career so far. She has not competed since September of last year, when she defeated Dakota Zimmerman by split decision at Bellator 206.

Polk (6-4) will be making her Bellator debut. Since losing to Mackenzie Dern at a Legacy Fighting Alliance show in October 2017, Polk has won three straight fights by submission.

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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The Lee family is an ‘Unstoppable’ force ahead of Angela’s title defense at ONE: Century

The Lee family is an ‘Unstoppable’ force ahead of Angela’s title defense at ONE: Century in Tokyo, Japan in October. O’ahu, Hawaii – Being a patriarch to a family of world champions isn’t something just any dad can put on their resume, but Ken Lee isn’t your average father. He’s the head of the “Unstoppable” […]

The Lee family is an ‘Unstoppable’ force ahead of Angela’s title defense at ONE: CenturyFanSidedFanSided – Sports News, Entertainment, Lifestyle & Technology – 300+ Sites

UFC owners at Endeavor seek to raise over $600 million with IPO

UFC 202 Weigh-ins

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Endeavor — the parent company to the UFC — is seeking to raise more than $620 million with an initial public offering (IPO) later this year.

According to new financial documentation filed by the company, Endeavor expects a sale price between $30 to $32 per share when the organization goes public with the IPO. The company believes the sale of 19.4 million shares will raise more than $600 million with nearly 3 million more shares potentially being offered to underwriters for the IPO.

Endeavor, which originally started as a powerhouse talent agency in Hollywood, plans on using $500 million of the money raised to pay down outstanding debts on the company’s balance sheet. Endeavor spent more than $4 billion back in 2016 to purchase the UFC with numerous other high-profile additions to the company in recent years that accrued substantial debt.

Endeavor will then target approximately $46.8 million from the IPO to use as working capital and for corporate purposes not to mention future acquisitions for the company.

Under the agreement for the upcoming IPO, Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel and chairman Patrick Whitesell will each control 18.7 percent of the company stock.

Because of the classification of the different kinds of stock being opened up for the IPO, Emanuel and Whitesell along with their partners at Silver Lake — a private equity firm heavily invested in Endeavor — will retain enough voting power to ultimately retain control over the company and any major decisions made going forward.

Endeavor has been carefully plotting plans to take the company public after rumors swirled for years that the organization was headed in that direction.

Wall Street speculators have cast some doubt on the long term viability of Endeavor due to the volatile nature of the agency business not to mention the ups and downs of the UFC because of the star power needed to draw bigger numbers on pay-per-view.

The good news for the UFC, many of the concerns raised about the mixed martial arts promotion were answered thanks to a multi-year deal inked with ESPN for television broadcast rights as well as the recent contract for the Disney-owned company to take over as the pay-per-view partner as well.

Carlos “The Solution” Morales and Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta will clash on Golden Boy DAZN Thursday Night Fights

LOS ANGELES: Carlos “The Solution” Morales (19-4-3, 8 KOs) and Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta (32-3-2, 17 KOs) will clash in a 10-round lightweight battle between experienced contenders in the main event of the Nov. 13 edition of Golden Boy DAZN Thursday Night Fights at the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles. The event will be streamed live on and on Facebook Watch via the Golden Boy Fight Night Page beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. PT. The series will also be available on regional sports networks around the nation.

Morales is a 29-year-old former regional champion who exceeded all expectations despite beginning his career with a record of one loss and three draws. Contrary to what one might expect from a start like that, the native of Tulancingo, Hidalgo, Mexico then began a 16-fight win streak, including huge victories against Luis Franco for the NABA Super Featherweight Title and Charles Huerta to defend that belt. Morales has had some setbacks since then, but against tough fighters such as former world champion Alberto “Explosivo” Machado, Ryan Garcia and Rene Alvarado. However, Morales is now campaigning at 135 pounds, where he has already scored two victories and is looking for a big challenge in Gesta.

Gesta is a 31-year-old Filipino contender who has challenged for a world title on two occasions. Indeed, Gesta faced former world champion Miguel “Titere” Vazquez in 2012 and challenged former unified champion Jorge “El Niño de Oro” Linares in 2018. Though facing a tough upset loss to Juan Antonio “Mozo” Rodriguez in the first installment of Golden Boy DAZN Thursday Night Fights, Gesta has joined forces with Marvin Somodio and is looking for another shot at a world title.

In the co-main event, Charles Huerta (21-6, 12 KOs) of Paramount, Calif. will face Jonathan “Polvo” Oquendo (30-6, 19 KOs) of Bayamon, Puerto Rico in a 10-round fight for the WBO Latino Super Featherweight Title. Both men are eager to reach a top spot in the 130-pound rankings, which make a victory extremely necessary in this fight. Needless to say, these contenders plan to steal the show on Nov. 14.

Travell “Black Magic” Mazion (15-0, 12 KOs) of Austin, Texas will fight in a 10-round super welterweight battle. Martin Saldaña (12-0, 5 KOs) of North Hollywood, Calif. will participate in a six-round super welterweight clash. Edgar “Kid Neza” Valerio (13-1, 8 KOs) ofNezahualcoyotl, Mexico will make his highly anticipated return in a six-round featherweight fight against experienced warrior Diuhl Olguin (14-12-3, 9 KOs) of Guadalajara, Mexico. Oscar “El Motorcito” Acevedo (5-0) de Garden City, Kansas will return in a four-round super featherweight bout. Rene Moreno (2-0, 2 KOs) of Las Vegas will open the night in a four-round super featherweight fight.

Opponents for the undercard will be announced shortly.

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.