All the Cage: Invicta founder won't block fighters' UFC dreams; Emmett's remarkable resolve
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UFC signs Invictas Frey, Hansen
Promoters can never have too many quality fighters, especially in a sport like MMA. This is particularly important when events are nearby. Shannon Knapp, the founder of the Invicta campaign for women, knows this only too well.
She has scheduled a show on July 2nd and another in progress that is not yet complete, but it looks like July 30th will be.
But in the past three days, she's released two of her most talented fighters from their contracts so they can sign with the UFC. She doesn't have an "UFC-Out Clause" in her deals, but Knapp said she couldn't stand in the way of a fighter chasing her dream.
The UFC signed the former Invicta atomic weight champion Jinh Yu Frey and the unbeaten straw weight prospect Kay Hansen for all-round deals. They will meet on Saturday at the Apex in Las Vegas as part of the ESPN television card led by Dustin Poirier against Dan Hooker.
The UFC needed another fight when Aspen Ladd was injured and had to withdraw from her fight with Sara McMann. McMann decided not to fight because she couldn't get a high-ranking opponent in time.
Just like many smaller promoters had to crawl more often than she can remember when the UFC called. Although the UFC and Invicta have a good working relationship, they are still essentially competing with promotions and Knapp has her own shows to think about.
But never for a second, she said, had she thought of denying Frey or Hansen the opportunity to go to the UFC.
"It definitely hinders me in the short term," said Knapp when asked if there were any long-term benefits for her to allow it. "I can't keep up with paying for the UFC or the exposure it can offer." Many people tell me that I'm not smart in business, and maybe not, but I do it because these girls fight hard for me. You deserve the opportunity. "
Knapp said she wanted to fight Frey Hansen for one of her upcoming cards. She told UFC matchmaker Mick Maynard that she believes 20-year-old Hansen, who is 6-3, will become a star.
She said she thinks it will be an exciting fight fans will love. She's not sure if she has an advantage, but she said she would never stop doing what she thinks is right for her athletes.
"I am not a promoter who goes out and hits me on the chest and says:" I have X athletes in the UFC, "said Knapp." It is not our claim to fame and it should not be. It is difficult to lose them. I've invited her [the UFC] to my main event before. It is always a better relationship if it is mutual and there is continuity and they don't just destroy me.
"But at the end of the day it's about these ladies. We send them to battle and you know you saw our shows, they very routinely give us everything they have. If their dream is to go to the UFC, how could I stand in the way of this? ... I just adjust and go on hoping that the move will work for them as they hope. "
If he were the picture of health, perfect in every way, what Josh Emmett did on Saturday in a unanimous win over Shane Burgos at Apex would have been stunning.
It was a contender for the fight of the year and every man fought remarkably hard and surprisingly brave. But considering that Emmett injured his right leg and suffered serious injuries less than a minute after the fight started, this is the culmination when Turner Shun Fujimoto competes on the rings at the 1976 Summer Olympics.
A Fujimoto video has been part of the opening of ABC's legendary "Wide World of Sports" series for years, describing the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.
Emmett deserves to be remembered for its performance. The UFC featherweight announced on Twitter on Monday that he had suffered several serious leg injuries, including a complete cruciate ligament rupture, an MCL sprain with a partial tear, and a broken femur.
Josh Emmett reacts after completing his underweight fight against Shane Burgos during the UFC Fight Night at UFC Apex on June 20, 2020 in Las Vegas. (Photo by Chris Unger / Zuffa LLC)
Remarkably, Emmett ended the fight and was then depressed when he was at the post-fight press conference. He said he didn't get enough respect from the media - maybe it was, but after that epic effort it's gone forever - and he wasn't happy with the way he acted.
But he should have been incredibly proud of what he had done because it was rarely achieved.
"I'm a hard critic of myself," said Emmett after the fight before knowing the extent of his injuries. "I couldn't move. I couldn't do what I wanted to do. I use a lot of movement, a lot of sideways movement and I really wanted to mix up wrestling and do things, but I injured my knee in the first 45 seconds. So I felt like I had to stand there and play "Rock em, Sock em Robots" and just slide and rip.
"I don't know. People say it's a good fight, I think, but I couldn't scratch the surface of what I'm capable of."
This is unnecessarily difficult for yourself. He showed remarkable determination, courage and tenacity, let alone defeating someone like Burgos.
If the UFC ever decides to award a toughness and commitment award, it could be worse than naming it after Emmett.
Robert Drysdale receives a lot of recognition for his work in the corner of Max Rohskopf on Saturday. Rohskopf is the fighter who made his UFC debut against Austin Hubbard at Apex and wanted his trainer to call the fight after the second round.
During the minute rest, Rohskopf asked Drysdale nine times to "call it". However, Drysdale argued with him as if listening on the corner microphones and asked him to continue.
Drysdale has come under fire in several corners for not responding to Rohskopf's request immediately, and the Nevada Athletic Commission has announced that it will investigate.
The truth is that the corner's main job is to protect the fighter. That is first, last and always.
Still, Drysdale wasn't wrong here. In particular, he did not let Rohskopf go out for the third round. Together with Rohskopf, he told NAC inspector Charvez Foger that Rohskopf did not want to continue because the clock was counting down the rest period.
And it was not clear to anyone that the fight had to be stopped. Rohskopf knew his condition better than anyone, but Drysdale did what a good coach would do and tried to motivate him. This is none other than Raquel Pennington's coaches, which she sent out for a fifth round in a title fight with Amanda Nunes when she was already beaten and beaten and excluded from the fight.
Drysdale, a former UFC fighter, released a video on Instagram on Sunday defending his actions in the corner.
"He was not seriously injured," said Drysdale. "I knew he wasn't in danger. He was just frustrated. I tried to push him so that he could overcome this frustration. I still think he could have won the fight. I felt he was won the first round. I don't see how he lost the first round. He definitely lost the second round. I thought he could have turned it in the third. Even if he wasn't exciting, he could have won a decision I tried to make him do it. "
I almost always criticize the corners, both in MMA and in boxing, because they don't end fights earlier than they do. But in this case, Drysdale did his fighter right and doesn't deserve a penalty.
"If you look closely, I called the fight at the last second," said Drysdale. "I did the right thing. I exhausted the 60 seconds and in the last second I called it. It was the right strategy. I don't regret my decision at all. "
Khabib's father recovers from COVID-19
UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov said his father and trainer Abdulmanap had recovered from COVID-19, but are still having an impact. Nurmagomedov told a Russian television station that his father is in intensive care with heart and kidney problems.
"I visit him [and] he recognizes me, but there is no communication because he is connected to [medical] devices," said Nurmagomedov. "Every day they let me in, I spend half an hour [with him]. I hold his hand. When I ask, "Father, do you recognize me?" He gestures and lets me know. "
Nurmagomedov said his father was being treated by some of the best doctors in the world.
He said it
"I feel like the most overlooked fighter. I hope with this achievement that people will no longer overlook me. Frank [Camacho], as you said, he's a sports veteran, it's his seventh UFC fight. I am a fan of Frank. It was an honor to be in the cage with him. I am super excited. This is like a dream come true. I'm lost for words.
"I will just come in, I will go forward and I will try to hit. I don't really like wrestling or fighting. I just want to get in and get some knockouts on the highlight role. That is my goal." - UFC lightweight Justin Jaynes after his knockout in the first round of Frank Camacho on Saturday on his UFC debut.
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