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Monday, Jul 29, 2002

Ufc Withdraws Heavyweight Title Recognition From Barnett;couture, Rodriguez To Fight For Vacant Championship, Sept. 27


From Josh Hedges/Zuffa:


UFC WITHDRAWS HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE RECOGNITION FROM BARNETT;
COUTURE, RODRIGUEZ TO FIGHT FOR VACANT CHAMPIONSHIP, SEPT. 27


      LAS VEGAS, July 30, 2002…Officials of Zuffa LLC, the owner of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), today announced that it has withdrawn its title recognition from Josh Barnett as the UFC Heavyweight Champion. Zuffa’s action is based on the Friday, July 26, unanimous vote (5-0) by the Nevada State Athletic Commission to suspend Barnett’s license for six months. The NSAC listened to several hours of testimony and presentation of evidence and concluded Barnett violated Nevada’s unarmed combat laws by having three, separate anabolic agents in his body when he won the UFC heavyweight title from Randy Couture March 22 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
      The UFC waited more than four months while Barnett dealt with the disciplinary case brought by the NSAC. "We intentionally avoided making any statements prior to the Commission’s hearing because it was a matter between Josh and the State of Nevada. We also waited to take any action regarding the status of our heavyweight division because Josh deserved time to answer the Commission’s allegations," said Dana White, UFC president.
      "Zuffa supports the Commission’s goal of protecting the health and safety of the competitors. We want to see mixed martial arts become the premier combat sport in the world and therefore, we must move forward. The top spot in the heavyweight division is now vacant, and the new champion will be decided in the Octagon," White said.
      White announced that former UFC Heavyweight Champion Randy "The Natural" Couture will meet top contender Ricco "Suave" Rodriguez Friday, September 27, at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., to determine who will be the next heavyweight champion. Tickets for UFC 39: The Warriors Return will go on sale Wednesday, August 7, at the Mohegan Sun Arena box office, at tickets.com or by calling tickets.com at 1-800-477-6849. The fight also will be available on iN DEMAND, DIRECTV, Dish Network, Bell ExpressVu and Viewers Choice Canada pay-per-view television. The suggested retail price is $29.95.
      In light of the NSAC’s disciplinary action, Zuffa is requesting the Commission to consider declaring the March 22 heavyweight fight a "no contest." Under Nevada law, only the Commission can change the result of a contest held within the state. The Commission’s decision could take several weeks and White said Zuffa will support whatever decision is reached.
      "Josh Barnett is a gentleman, a fierce competitor and has always conducted himself as a true champion. I hope he keeps training and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him become a champion again some day. Once his suspension is over, Zuffa welcomes the chance to discuss his possible return to the UFC," White said.

By Eduardo Alonso

Heating Up for UFO(?)
Minotauro Just Wants to Fight for the Fans!


PRIDE Heavyweight Champion Rodrigo "Minotauro" Nogueira has been building one of the most impressive careers in NHB ever, with dominant wins over names like Mark Coleman, Heath Herring and Enson Inoue. However, since his win over Enson Inoue at PRIDE 19 Nogueira hasn’t been able to fight again due to some injuries. Anxious fans have been itching ever sicnce for his return to the ring. After taking care of his injuries and a special preparation in Holland, the PRIDE Champion is finally about the return to the ring at a brand new NHB event, Antonio Inoki’s own promotion, the UFO. Just as things seemed set and ready for Minotauro to face Pancrase favorite Sanae Kikuta on August 8th, it seems that the Brazilian fighter has to deal with a new type of fighting for the first time in his life: The fight of politics and personal/business interests. Being a fighter, "Mino" just wants to fight and is willing to fight as many times as PRIDE wants till the end of this year, and face whatever challenge it presents in his way to show the fans, PRIDE and pretty much everybody else how much he values his belt, and how much he loves competing. In this conversation Rodrigo Minotauro Nogueira spoke with FCF about this delicate issue regarding his PRIDE contract and his upcoming fight in UFO, his recent injuries, training methods, his future in K-1, his twin brother’s potential and more as Full Contact Fighter is heating up for UFO (if politics allow)…

Minotauro
FCF:   Your last fight was against Enson Inoue back at PRIDE 19. How it has been for you to wait all that time to finally fight again? Are you getting anxious?
RMN:   I’m getting anxious. What happened is that I had a problem with my back so I couldn’t train and since I couldn’t train this was making me anxious. But I met a doctor who was introduced to me by Pedro Rizzo, a Dutch doctor, and I had problems with my back muscles and this was causing me a spine problem. My back muscles on the right side were way stronger than my back muscles on the left side and this was causing the problems in my spine. So I got there to start the treatment and the muscles from my right leg weren’t that well too, it was hurting a bit, and the guy [the doctor] made me lift weights, do squats and stuff like that. I was even a bit worried at first, like "isn’t this going to hurt me?" On the first day I got there he made me do squats with 140kg, and from there on it was a lot of hard work in a small town in Holland, a farm city, waking up every day at 7 am and working out 6 hours per day till we corrected the problem.

FCF:   How is the injury now, and are you 100% recovered now?
RMN:   Nowadays I believe I’m 100% recovered. Let me tell you, my physical capacity is coming back now. I have been training as hard as I ever did, both in the physical part as in the technical part, because last year I was emphasizing a lot on the technical part and was neglecting the physical part a bit, like weightlifting, the physical preparation, squats and stuff, so I was having some muscular problems. I had an injury on my knee, another on my heel, and I was lacking a bit of muscle. Now I’m even a bit stronger, I even gained around 2 kg in bodyweight and I’m not feeling any pain in my back now.

FCF:   You and your twin brother Rogerio spent some time training Muay Thai in Holland with Peter Aerts recently. How did this opportunity come about?
RMN:   In fact we didn’t have much time to train with Peter, I only trained with him three times there. This doctor who took care of my injury is also his doctor, and is also his physical trainer, and he took care of my physical preparation as well since he has a degree in sporting sciences. He is a doctor, a physiologist and a physical trainer, so he took care of my preparation and he also does it for Peter, so we usually worked out together while I was there. But around ten days after I got there he had to fight in K-1 against Ignatov, so I had the chance to train with him for only a short while. But he introduced me to some people and I trained with them for around two weeks while I was there.

FCF:   How was the experience of training Muay Thai with some of the best in the world?
RMN:   This adds a lot to you. I won’t say that I learned Muay Thai there, but I learned a lot of details. I learned several clinch situations, stuff that can help me in NHB, I also learned how to position myself in a knee situation, all those small details that make a lot of difference in a fight.


Click here to continue the interview


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posted by Full Contact Fighter @ 8:00 pm
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