The Friday Five: January 5th, 2018

  1.  Dana White’s War With Showtime.
    The UFC and Showtime worked together in 2017 for the superfight between UFC star, Conor McGregor and Showtime’s featured boxer, Floyd Mayweather, which took place last August at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.According to a press release from Showtime in December, the pay-per-view generated generated 4.3 million buys in North America – officially making it the second largest pay-per-view event of all time behind Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, which set the North American pay-per-view mark at 4.6 million buys in 2015.Following the successful experiment in boxing, White with the backing of WME-IMG (UFC’s parent company) is now planning to enter the boxing market and stage events in 2018.White believes that Showtime executive Stephen Espinoza is  downplaying the Mayweather-McGregor numbers because it was a UFC fighter who helped set a record number. Or maybe he believes they are undercutting the obligation of what needs to be paid to his side.He believes the fight certainly surpassed the Mayweather-Pacquiao buy rates, a crossbranded partnership between Showtime and HBO.“Think about this, and I don’t give a sh*t about Showtime’s f***ing, full of sh*t press release that they put out – it’s the biggest fight ever, ever in combat sports history. The thing did over 6.7 million buys [worldwide] and if the service didn’t drop, we would have gotten closer to 7 million. It was the biggest event ever. It was the biggest boxing event ever without a boxer, there was only one boxer in that fight,” White told Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports.

  2.  Joshua & Parker Getting Closer To Reality.
    Eddie Hearn, sees the danger in the eventual showdown with WBO champion Joseph Parker.The fight is allegedly set for March 31, potentially at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. Both Hearn and Parker’s promoter, David Higgins are expected to meet in the coming days to finalized the remaining details.Joshua  last fought in October, at Principality Stadium in front of 78,000 fans, when he stopped IBF mandatory challenger Carlos Takam in the tenth round. The victory capped off a year, which saw Joshua stop Wladimir Klitschko in April in what many people believe to be a fight of the year.Parker believes Joshua has a “glass jaw” and that he will knock out Joshua. In the opposite corner, Joshua also believes that he will win the contest with a knockout ending.Hearn is anticipating the idea of Parker looking to trade punches to get a knockout, because Joshua also likes to trade.But if the expected fire fight breaks out, then Hearn feel very confident that Joshua will come out on top.

    “It’s a very dangerous fight for both fighters, they have great styles for each other. Joseph Parker and his team will fancy this fight because he will know that AJ likes to stand and trade and get hit. Also AJ and his team know that if someone is willing to take chances, then they are going to get hit and AJ is technically a lot better than some tend to think,” Hearn told Stuff.

    “Both fighters can punch and they may get hurt. But I just feel AJ’s punching power and speed is underrated and I’m not sure whether Parker has the artillery to do enough damage if there is a gunfight. If they are standing in a gunfight and they are trading up, then I have to pick my man all day long.”

  3.  Khabib & Conor Or Khabib & Ferguson Could Be Next.UFC president Dana White addressed the rumors surrounding UFC’s lightweight division, including its champion and a lightning rod for the company, Conor McGregor. During an interview with Yahoo! Sports’ Kevin Iole, White also laid out a  timetable for a McGregor return.McGregor hasn’t fought in MMA since his Nov. 2016 title victory over Eddie Alvarez, and following McGregor’s boxing debut against Floyd Mayweather, many assumed that a title unification bout against Tony Ferguson would be his return to the octagon. Yet, following a command performance from Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 219, and Nurmagomedov’s subsequent Twitter dialogue with McGregor, rumblings started emerging about Nurmagomedov potentially skipping the queue and jumping straight into a fight against McGregor.“I love that matchup (against Nurmagomedov), but Tony Ferguson is the interim champion, and Conor and I haven’t really figured out when he’s coming back and what’s going on,” White said.

    “So Conor has some big decisions to make here, really quick. If he waits — I don’t think Conor wants to fight until August, but if he waits until August or September, that’s around two years since the belt has been defended, and that can’t happen.”

    Following his victory in Detroit over Kevin Lee, Ferguson has called on McGregor to “defend or vacate” the UFC lightweight belt. Those calls have only picked up since it became obvious that the year of 2017 would not feature McGregor competing in MMA.

  4. Cyborg Calls Holm Tougher Than NunesCris Cyborg made a successful first defense of her 145-pound title with a unanimous decision victory over Holly Holm at UFC 219 on December 30th.And while there was a very public feud between Cyborg and Holm, the champion was very complimentary of her opponent following their fight. And while Cyborg is open to facing Amanda Nunes or former Invicta FC featherweight champion Megan Anderson next, but made it clear she doesn’t think highly of Nunes.“I won’t say no to the fight [against Nunes],” Cyborg told her coaches Jason Parillo and Tito Ortiz, as shown in the “UFC 219: The Thrill and the Agony” video. “I’d say I wouldn’t like it because we are both Brazilians. But if she wants to fight me and the UFC wants…”

  5. Fury Calls Joshua A Fraud And A Con

    The 29-year-old Fury, who is set to come back after depression and drug addiction forced him to give up his heavyweight titles in 2016, stated earlier this week that he is willing to fight Joshua in his first fight back.Joshua is headed toward a title unification fight against WBO champion Joseph Parker either late in March or early in April. An official announcement of the Joshua-Parker fight is expected soon as the financial situation has been straightened out.Fury wants to challenge Joshua in his following fight, assuming the heavily favored IBF, IBO and WBA champ beats New Zealand’s Parker.Fury wrote to Joshua on Friday, stating

    “Don’t be fooled by this fraud @anthonyfjoshua trying to con the boxing fans, he struggled with a 41yo man in Wladimir after I schooled him! Then made hard work of takam who took fight on 11 days notice, I’m the real Don of the heavyweights if only he had the heart to fight me?”

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