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Kelvin Gastelum vows to never fight in Brazil again following suspension

UFC middleweight Kelvin Gastelum recently sat down with The MMA Hour’s Ariel Helwani to discuss his recent suspension, being pulled from UFC 212, and the overturning of his win at UFC Fight Night 106.

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UFC middleweight Kelvin Gastelum

 

It’s safe to say Kelvin Gastelum has had a forgettable few weeks in the aftermath of his failed drug test at UFC Fight Night 106.

The UFC middleweight contender was suspended by the Brazilian MMA Sports Court for 90 days after testing positive for marijuana in a sample collected in the hours leading up to his main event bout against Vitor Belfort on March 11 in Fortaleza, Brazil.  Subsequently, Gastelum‘s highlight reel finish over Belfort was converted into a no-contest (NC).  He was also docked 20% of his fight purse, which he asserts was almost $100,000 (approx. £77,200).

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Gastelum (R) following his finish over Vitor Belfort (L), a short-lived win that would later become an NC

 

On top of all that, the UFC was forced to pull Gastelum from the most substantial opportunity of the 25-year-old’s promising career:  an upcoming matchup with MMA legend and longtime UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva at UFC 212 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on June 3.  That news was particularly upsetting to Gastelum.

“I was devastated.  I was devastated, and I still am devastated because it was a huge opportunity that I missed.  I was dumbfounded, I was in shock, I was so devastated, that’s the only word I can think of and I’m still thinking about it.”

Kelvin Gastelum on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour

 

As it happens, Gastelum has a medical marijuana license in his home state of California.  He says he has always smoked cannabis between fights and has never had issues with drug tests.  This, of course, by making sure he stops smoking in time for his next bout.

“Well, I always stop consuming a few weeks before the fight,” Gastelum stated. “I always have in all my fights, and I didn’t do anything different, so you know, I went into the fight thinking nothing was wrong.  I’ve found that it helps with pain and really just pain and sleeping.  We train so much, I pretty much hurt myself every day, I’m in pain pretty much every day, so it’s good to relax the muscles a little bit.”

Despite loving the country and culture of Brazil, the Kings MMA standout vows to never fight there again, feeling as if the Brazilian commission did not handle the circumstances appropriately.

“It was a big headache going back and forth with the Brazilian commission.  And on top of what was already taken from me, they wanted to fine me 20% on top of that, and I just think it was really unfair and I was really angry towards the commission.  I want to make that clear, because I hope my Brazilian fans don’t get mad, I was mad at the commission, it’s been a headache dealing with the commission and trying to fight this battle.  That’s why I would never fight in Brazil.”

“I hope I can get past this and just learn from it, it’s been a hard few weeks.  Personally, I’ve had a few problems with my family, I’ve had problems with the commission, my employer, I’ve been talking to Dana White and he’s pissed as well, so it’s caused me a lot of headaches and I’m just ready to move past it.”

Gastelum to The MMA Hour‘s Ariel Helwani

 

Thankfully for Gastelum, his suspension is retroactive to UFC Fight Night 106‘s drug test, meaning that he will be eligible to fight again in June.  He apparently already has another fight booked (according to Gastelum, at least), but much to his dismay, it is not against ‘The Spider’.

“It’s a shame that I’m not allowed to fight [Silva], but you know, I already resolved the issue,” Gastelum explained. “Hopefully this is something I learn from and it’s something that we grow from, but you know, I just don’t know what they base their THC level off of.  This is just a learning experience, I’m going to move on, I’m going to learn from it and — I’m not going to say who or when — but I already got something lined up and I’m just waiting to announce it.”

What are your thoughts on this situation? Who is the mystery fighter Gastelum is referring to?  Let us know what you think in the comments.

 

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Daniel Cormier has harsh words for Alexander Gustafsson

‘The Mauler’ Alexander Gustafsson was quick to call out Luke Rockhold following his knockout defeat last weekend – and Cormier had something to say about it.

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Prior to his knockout defeat in Perth last weekend, Luke Rockhold had expressed his desire to move up to the light heavyweight division. This certainly did not go unnoticed, and the first fighter of the 205lb division to call out Rockhold was none other than ‘The Mauler’ Alexander Gustafsson. Taking to Instagram, Gustafsson said the following.

@lukerockhold, your teammate is holding MY Division hostage, and you think there are only easy fights at LHW. If u think Romero hits hard, then wait till you come to the big boys. I want @dc_mma , and knocking u out will keep me warm in the meantime. Beware of coming up in weight because I will be standing at the front door waiting.”

One could argue that it is too soon to be calling out a recently defeated fighter – and Rockhold’s former teammate Daniel Cormier certainly seems to think so.

Cormier and Gustafsson faced each other back at UFC 192 in October of 2015. Both fighters since then have had a degree of respect for each other, especially after the war they had 192. It would seem that despite Rockhold’s recent camp transition, DC’s loyalties still lie with his former teammate.

There’s no doubt that clash between Rockhold and Gustafsson would be a great spectacle and an interesting matchup, but was this callout too early from ‘The Mauler‘? We’d love to know your opinion in the comments below.

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Is it time for Luke Rockold to move up to light heavyweight

After tough weight cuts and knockout losses alike, it seems the former middleweight champion’s future lies at 205

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Luke Rockhold just suffered another brutal KO loss at the hands of Yoel Romero on Saturday night. Rockhold did well early in the fight, doing serious damage to Romero in the form of leg kicks which ultimately left Romero unable to stand at the end of the fight. However, it was Romero’s explosive speed and power that left the former champion unconscious in front of the Perth crowd in the third round.

This has left Rockhold in a very difficult position, especially being that he would have gained an interim title should he have achieved victory over Romero at UFC 221. It is certain then that Rockhold won’t be the middleweight title picture for the foreseeable future.

In the eyes of many, the next logical decision for Rockhold would be to try his hand at light heavyweight – especially being that his close friend and Teammate Daniel Cormier has just booked a fight against heavyweight champ Stipe Miocic. Rockhold has said himself that he the move is imminent, stating in an interview with submissionradio.com  that “DC is moving up to heavyweight. He’s not coming back, so I’ll be up there soon”.

The move for Rockhold would certainly make for easier weight cuts which could seem him perform far better in the octagon, and would also create a multitude of fresh new matchups that the division could certainly use. A clash between Rockhold and #1 contender Alexander Gustafsson is just one example of the electric matchups that could be made.

Rockhold’s chin has been very suspect at this weight, and it is well known that fighters who are dehydrated are far more prone to knockouts that fighters who are fighting at a natural and healthy weight. Many other fighters have found great success in moving up in weight, Antony ‘Rumble’ Johnson – who was also a fighter training under coach Henry Hooft- is a good example.

Is moving up to light heavyweight the right move for Rockhold? Or is this simply a bump in the road, and should he stay at the weight in which he became champion? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

 

 

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The McGregor Dilemma 2.0

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After Conor McGregor’s demolition of Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205, in November 2016, which ultimately earned him the UFC Lightweight title, the Irish-born star had the world at his feet.

Now, after being away from the sport, not defending his UFC Lightweight title in 438 days and counting, and moving ever closer to being stripped by Dana White, where does he go from here?

 

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Today, we are looking at the multiple opportunities awaiting McGregor’s return.

Firstly, we will highlight the more realistic options available to the current Lightweight champion.

 

Khabib Nurmagomedov. The Russian Lightweight with a perfect 25-0 MMA record is thought to be the biggest threat to McGregor’s throne.

Possibility – 8/10

 

Tony Ferguson. The TUF 13 winner who currently boasts a 10-fight win streak is also seen as a serious threat to the near ‘untouchable-status’ of “The Notorious”.

Possibility – 8/10

 

Georges St. Pierre. Another fight rumoured to be favoured by the company and its fans is the mega-fight between Canada’s own GSP and the Irish native, Conor McGregor.

Possibility – 6/10

 

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Now, we move on to less likely fight possibilities for the former P4P king.

 

Tyron Woodley. The Welterweight champion has previously had a heated exchange of words with McGregor on multiple occasions.

Possibility – 5/10

 

Max Holloway. Although the current Featherweight king once fought the SBG representative in the past, the lack of competition in his division could well open up a potential rematch for these two UFC icons.

Possibility – 5/10

 

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Lastly, we point out the competition the Irishman is least likely to face.

 

Floyd Mayweather. Conor McGregor made history when he entered the Boxing ring to faceoff with one of the greatest boxers of all time, and with speculation of a rematch, could we see the Boxing legend enter the Octagon?

Possibility – 1/10

 

Paulie Malignaggi. The short history between McGregor and Malignaggi was enough to spark rumours of a possible Boxing match between the two.

Possibility – 2/10

 

Manny Pacquiao. Just as word got around that McGregor and Pacquiao were close to agreeing on a Boxing bout agreement, the news died down, but will we see these two face off in Conor’s return fight?

Possibility – 2/10

 

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There is our list of potential opponents who await the Irish stars return, but who will he face?

 

What do you think? Let us know in the comments.

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John Kavanagh says 2018 will be a big year for Conor McGregor

“The plan is forming, but as they say, stay tuned. “

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With a 14 month hiatus from competing in mixed martial arts, there has been a lot of question marks surrounding the UFC lightweight champion, Conor McGregor and if he will ever return to the octagon.  After picking up a multi-million dollar cheque for his boxing debut against Floyd Mayweather many people have questioned whether or not McGregor will compete again but his head coach and close friend John Kavanagh stated in a recent interview with BBC Northern Ireland that he will be pushing for MMA rather than another fight in boxing.

“I think 2018 will be another big year for us,” Kavanagh said. “Exactly what that is, I don’t know yet. The plan is forming, but as they say, stay tuned.  In my opinion, I’ll be pushing very hard for MMA. The boxing was a nice detour from what we’ve done, but mixed martial arts is my passion. If I have anything to do with it, he’ll be in the octagon this year.”

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He also touched on the subject of the UFC lightweight division with the likes of Khabib Nurmagomedov and interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson not recognising Conor as the lightweight champion. “Conor is still the champion. They can say what they want – I have his belt at home, actually,” Kavanagh said. “He’s still the champion. He’s making the decision on what makes sense for the next move. It’s kind of early days yet. We’re just watching how that has developed while he’s been away; he’s had other going things on. Let’s see what happens in 2018. I’m excited about it, anyway.”

The Notorious has hit the headlines several times in the 14 months since he won the UFC lightweight championship again Eddie Alvarez in November 2016 but Kavanagh says Conor is now getting back into regular training. “I’m happy to see him back just regular training,” Kavanagh stated. “He had a lot going on in his life, a lot of stuff outside of fighting was going on in his life. He seems to be getting the hang of all that. He’s back training almost every day now.”

Will Conor McGregor return to the octagon in 2018 or will he take another shot at boxing?  Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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