Bennett Breakdown: Wild Rumors Galore

November 19, 2005

Joe Riggs and Matt Hughes at UFC 56

Joe Riggs and Matt Hughes at UFC 56

Tonight is UFC 56 and usually when I do my “Bennett Breakdown” I go through your emails, but let me first start with the bizarre happenings of last night.

Let’s get into the Riggs vs Hughes championshp fight, that was scheduled to be for a UFC title, but now will be for practice. There was nothing more bizarre than having the Matt Hughes vs Joe Riggs fight go from a world title fight to no title fight. Hughes will retain his UFC title no matter what happens tonight. Let’s just say the UFC better pray Hughes wins, because of Riggs wins and Sherk pulls off the upset, could there be a worse scenario for the UFC at this hour?

You all know the story. Joe Riggs stepped on the scales and weighed in at 172. One pound over the 171 limit for a title fight. So Riggs spent his time after the first weigh-in on an exercise bike. He came back a short time later to the scales thinking he was 169 pounds after the exercise bike workout. In one of the more puzzling things maybe ever, he actually somehow gained weight the second time. Rumor has it he thought he made the weight the second time and then took a sip of water. His corner yelled at him, that he hadn’t made weight and to quit drinking water. So bottom line Riggs added a pound after the second weigh-in. When he went back on the bike again, he tried to weigh in once more for a third time and he didn’t make weight. So not only will this fight not be for the UFC title, but it will cost Riggs financially.

Joe Riggs will lose somewhere in the ball park of 5-10% of his purse before the bell rings tonight. That part of his purse will be given to Hughes, so the champ makes money before he even fights tonight. One of the most bizarre things we have ever seen at a UFC weigh-in, no doubt. Let’s try to put the drama behind us (if we can, which may not be possible). Two things make this fight very interesting after the turn of events. Will Riggs have a “me against the world” attitude and fight with absolutely nothing to lose tonight? Maybe. Could he be mentally devastated and know it’s not for the title and be mentally out of it tonight and take a beating early? Maybe. Either way it’s going to be interesting theatre tonight for the fight that was supposed to be for a world title that is now just for the heck of it in essence.

A couple of other interesting notes from yesterdays weigh in. Rich Franklin weighed in at 183 and looked very good at that weight. Franklin is starting to figure out how to be affective at cutting weight in the 185 division and his corner is extremely happy with how easy it has become for the champ. Remember, Franklins first time at 185 against Jorge Rivera was a nightmare in making the weight. Now he’s figured it out. From here on out it could get tougher and tougher to beat the champion at 185.

Keep an eye on Sean Sherk tonight. He will be looking to turn a family tragedy into triumph in the octagon when he squares off against Georges St.Pierre. Late word from Minnesota is that Sherk was supposed to arrive to Las Vegas on Tuesday with all the other fighters competing on tonights card. I’ve learned that Sherk lost his grandfather recently and according to his camp that will be a huge motivating factor for him tonight. This could be the best Sean Sherk we’ve seen. Will it be enough to beat St.Pierre? We will find out tonight.

Now to the one email I’ve gotten more than any other. Who are the the Ultimate Fighters coaches for Season 3? – signed every MMA Fan on the planet.

It’s the million dollar question and it seems it’s changed many times. Let me give you the cliff notes version of what I’ve heard as far as Season 3 of the Ultimate Fighter goes. Over several months there have been talks with several fighters about becoming the coaches for the show. From what I’ve heard originally the UFC focused on MMA Hall of Famer Royce Gracie. It’s no secret that they need some big time names for Season 3 to get the ratings up and the biggest name in MMA history is of course Royce Gracie.

Gracie had plenty of talks with the UFC and by all accounts, because of time commitments, Royce couldn’t commit enough time for the show. The show is taped anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks. Royce told the UFC he couldn’t do it. But that was a couple of months ago. Have things changed in recent days? Maybe. More on that in a moment.

Many thought if Royce would have accepted, then the UFC would pursue Ken Shamrock as the other coach and have a hall of fame fight between Gracie and Shamrock. Since Royce pulled out a few months ago though, Shamrock would miss out on the opportunity, unless the UFC could get Tito Ortiz. According to several sources Tito Ortiz had several meetings with the UFC, including talks with UFC Matchmaker Joe Silva.

The Huntington Beach Bad Boy apparently spent plenty of time talking with the UFC and confirmed as much in plenty of interviews in the past month. I’ve heard from one Spike employee that Ortiz was indeed offered a deal to oppose Shamrock as the coaches for Season 3. A deal was close, but at the 11th hour, for whatever reason, there was a snag in the negotiation and the deal fell apart. That’s when the WFA stepped in with Ortiz. (For the record I hear the deal with the WFA may not be that stable as well, so I wouldn’t look for an Ortiz vs Lindland fight in the WFA to happen anytime soon, but that’s another story).

Here’s an even more interesting story. According to the Clark County Courthouse, a court case is supposed to start in a few weeks between BJ Penn and the UFC.

It looks as though on December 3rd there is supposed to be a court hearing between Penn and the UFC, the day according to the Clark County courthouse. When I tried to contact the Penn’s in Hawaii, they were out of town for the next few weeks. When I tried to get a comment from the UFC I received an emphatic “no comment.” Rumor has it that a settlement was on the verge of happening, but did not. BJ Penn and the UFC are going to court. We’ll continue to follow the developments of BJ Penn vs. UFC.

If it sounds confusing, it is confusing. I have a headache just trying to figure out how Riggs will fight tonight, who Tito will fight for next, and where the heck is BJ Penn? For now you and I can just grab the remote and watch the pay per view on t.v. tonight. That’s right I’m not in Vegas, I’m not credentialed and I’m not complaining. It’s a lot of work what we do at everyday at MMAWeekly at every UFC, Pride, WEC, Rumble on the Rock etc…. I guess the UFC is finding that out too since they didn’t have any video up on their website and somehow one guy from our site who was not credentialed named the great Scott “Sensai”, somehow scooped every site including UFC.TV and got you weigh-in video and weigh-in pictures up yesterday before anyone else. I just wanted to give him many props publicly and will just live my dreams through him. O.k. I’m off my soap box. Thank you. While you are waiting for tonights pay per view, enjoy the video on MMAWeekly TV and check out the Photo Gallery on and we will have live prelim results on the home page and Soundoff Forum for you guys who can’t see the show or could be out of the country. We appreciate you reading the MMA industry leader in Enjoy your weekend and here’s to some great fights tonight.