ONE: GLOBAL SUPERHEROES SET FOR 26 JANUARY IN MANILA

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Photo by Ryan Tang

ONE: GLOBAL SUPERHEROES SET FOR 26 JANUARY IN MANILA

GEJE EUSTAQUIO TAKES ON KAIRAT AKHMETOV IN THE MAIN EVENT

Manila, Philippines: The largest global sports media property in Asian history, ONE Championship™ (ONE), has just announced its return to the Mall of Asia Arena on Friday, 26 January. ONE: GLOBAL SUPERHEROES is set to showcase the absolute best in local and international martial arts talent. In the main event, Team Lakay’s Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio will take on Kairat Akhmetov for the interim ONE Flyweight World Championship.

Ticket information for ONE: GLOBAL SUPERHEROES is available at www.onefc.com.

Chatri Sityodtong, Chairman and CEO of ONE Championship, stated: “This is the first in four blockbuster events in Manila in 2018, and ONE Championship is looking to kick things off with a spectacular show. Fans of martial arts in the Philippines are among the most passionate in the world, and it is our honor to present the best in local and global martial arts talent. The Mall of Asia Arena will be pulsating with excitement as hometown hero Geje Eustaquio takes on Kairat Akhmetov in a highly-anticipated main event rematch. This time, it’s for the interim ONE Flyweight World Championship.”

Top flyweight contender and former world title challenger Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio of  Baguio City, Philippines, is one of the most skilled martial artists in Asia, and a highly-decorated wushu practitioner. His solid striking and grappling skill set has led to huge victories over the course of a seven-year professional career. Training in the high altitudes of the Philippines’ Summer capital, Eustaquio hones his craft alongside world-class teammates at the fabled Team Lakay. Known for his incredible ability to keep calm in the face of adversity, Eustaquio is set to headline ONE: GLOBAL SUPERHEROES opposite former ONE Flyweight World Champion Kairat Akhmetov.

Former ONE Flyweight World Champion Kairat Akhmetov is a veteran martial artist from Almaty, Kazakhstan. The 30-year-old boasts a solid 24-1 professional record amassed during a stellar martial arts career which has seen him dominate his opponents with tenacious wrestling and powerful striking. In his most recent appearance inside the ONE Championship cage, Akhmetov defeated Geje Eustaquio via closely-contested three-round split decision. Now he faces Eustaquio in a rematch, this time for the interim ONE Flyweight World Championship.

22-year-old Joshua Pacio of Baguio City is one of the fastest rising martial arts stars from the Philippines. He is one of the promotion’s most talented strawweights and a proud member of the famed Team Lakay. Pacio is a wushu practitioner with a solid grappling repertoire. All but one of his 10 career victories have come by spectacular finish, which includes five wins by submission and four by devastating knockout. In his most recent bout, Pacio knocked out veteran Roy Doliguez with a second-round spinning back fist. A former ONE Strawweight World Championship Title Challenger, Pacio is looking to bring himself back to title contention with another victory. A tough task is ahead of Pacio, however, as he is slated to lock horns with Pongsiri Mitsatit.

21-year-old Pongsiri “The Smiling Assassin” Mitsatit is an undefeated martial artist from Chiang Mai, Thailand, and was previously a North Thailand Muay Thai champion with a 72-17 record, which included 49 KOs. Since making his professional debut in the cage, the strawweight has amassed an unblemished record of 9-0 with seven knockout triumphs and one submission victory, and made an immediate impact in ONE Championship with first-round finishes over Ye Thway Ne and Rabin Catalan. In his next outing, Mitsatit will share the ONE Championship cage with Joshua Pacio of the Philippines in a three-round strawweight contest.

Featherweight standout Eric “The Natural” Kelly of Baguio City is widely considered one of the best homegrown martial arts athletes to come out of the Philippines. The wushu practitioner combines solid striking techniques with high-level grappling skills, which has resulted in nine impressive submissions and one knockout out of 12 total victories. Kelly’s most impressive showing to date came in a submission win over Rob Lisita in 2014, a performance which earned him the US$50,000 ONE Warrior Bonus. In his next bout, Kelly will face Rafael Nunes.

20-year-old Rafael Nunes is a martial artist from Sao Paulo, Brazil with a 10-1 record. He is the former Premier FC Lightweight Champion and has steamrolled through the competition in his home country with a knack for winning by exciting finish. All but one of Nunes’ 10 wins have ended within the distance. A Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt, Nunes is equally comfortable finishing his opponents by submission or by strikes. He looks to showcase his multifaceted skill set in his next bout, and will face a tough challenge when he takes on veteran Eric Kelly.

27-year-old Bulgarian martial artist Sotir Kichukov is a ONE Championship flyweight contender and former Max Bantamweight Champion. Representing Saigon Sports Club, Kichukov made his promotional debut in December of 2016 at ONE: AGE OF DOMINATION against Mark Striegl. Kichukov, who lives and trains out of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, is set to return to the ONE Championship cage to take on China’s Ma Hao Bin.

24-year-old Chinese national freestyle wrestling champion “The Southern Eagle” Ma Hao Bin is unbeaten inside the ONE Championship cage. Making his professional debut in 2016, Ma took home the ONE: DYNASTY OF CHAMPIONS (CHANGSHA) Flyweight Tournament Championship, defeating Wu Ting Shen and Bu Huo You Ga in a single evening of action. Since then, Ma has strung together an impressive 7-1 professional record which includes four wins by submission and one by knockout. In his last bout, Ma needed just one round to force Eugene Toquero to tap from an armbar. He takes on Sotir Kichukov next.

25-year-old Yago Bryan of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is a former Shooto South American Strawweight Champion who took on former ONE Strawweight World Champion Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke in his promotional debut. A Muay Thai practitioner and wrestler, Bryan features both striking and grappling skills in his arsenal. Making his way back to the ONE Championship cage, Bryan is set to take on Hayato Suzuki.

31-year-old Hayato Suzuki of Saitama, Japan, is a veteran martial artist with an impressive professional record of 17-1 with two draws. Spending the majority of his career competing in his native Japan, Suzuki is known as a highly-skilled competitor with the ability to finish his foes with heavy knockout power and technical grappling skills. Out of 17 wins, Suzuki has finished 12 of his opponents, including seven by submission and five by knockout. He will face Yago Bryan in his next contest.

27-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion Bruno “Pucci Bull” Pucci is a No-Gi world champion from Brazil who is based out of Singapore. Training at Evolve, Pucci is one of ONE Championship’s most skilled featherweights. With an inherent ability to source high-level submission maneuvers from any position in the cage, Pucci is looking for his second straight victory. Famous for finishing all his bouts via rear naked choke, Pucci will take on Emilio Urrutia in his next contest.

Emilio “The Honey Badger” Urrutia is an American martial arts talent from Miami, Florida. The 31-year old made his professional debut in 2013, and has since produced a solid 10-4 record. He the former SFC Bantamweight Champion. A skilled grappler, four of Urrutia’s 10 total victories have come by submission. In his last bout, Urrutia scored a unanimous decision victory over the highly-regarded Edward Kelly. Training out of the renowned Tiger Muay Thai gym in Thailand, Urrutia will now take on Bruno Pucci.

Edward “The Ferocious” Kelly is a 33-year old Filipino martial arts talent and one of the brightest featherweight prospects to emerge from the Philippines. With a complete striking and grappling skill set, Kelly brings Team Lakay’s world-renowned wushu to centerstage as he looks to showcase his expertise inside the ONE Championship cage. Kelly has won three of his last four bouts, all by spectacular finish. He will take on Meas Meul.

27-year-old Meas Meul of Phnom Penh, Cambodia is an undefeated martial artist with a professional record of 6-0. Meul made his ONE Championship debut in 2014, submitting countryman Chan Heng via rear-naked choke. A former KW 2 Champion, Meul is set to put his highly-regarded khun khmer offensive skills on full display when he takes on Edward Kelly.

Rajinder Singh “Knockout” Meena of India is a martial artist competing in the ONE Championship lightweight division. A former SFL Lightweight Champion, all eight of Meena’s victories have come by exciting finish. With a robust grappling skill set, Meena owns five impressive wins by submission and three by knockout. In his next bout, Meena is set to take on rising Chinese star Zhang Ze Hao.

“The Ghost” Zhang Ze Hao of Shanghai is a martial artist from China and one of the top Chinese lightweight prospects He made his promotional debut at ONE CHAMPIONSHIP: SHANGHAI in early September of 2017, finishing compatriot Li Cheng Chao via technical knockout in the third round. Zhang, a proponent at the AMA Shanghai Gym, is a sanda and Brazilian jiu-jitsu and sanda practitioner. He is set to do battle against Rajinder Singh Meena in a three-round lightweight contest.

For more updates on ONE Championship, please visit www.onefc.com, follow us on Twitter and Instagram @ONEChampionship, and like us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ONEChampionship.

Must Love MMA — Cage & Screen — Every Fighter Has A Story

By | 2018-03-26T11:45:00+00:00 January 10th, 2018|News|Comments Off on ONE: GLOBAL SUPERHEROES SET FOR 26 JANUARY IN MANILA

UFC® RETURNS TO ORLANDO WITH AN ACTION-PACKED CARD

ufc orlando poster

FEATURED BOUTS:

(#1) YOEL ROMERO vs. (#10) DAVID BRANCH

(#2) JESSICA ANDRADE vs. (#5) TECIA TORRIES

 TICKETS FOR UFC FIGHT NIGHT® AT AMWAY CENTER GO ON SALE FRIDAY, JAN. 12

Las Vegas – UFC® returns to the Sunshine State with a thrilling fight card, featuring a battle between two exciting middleweight contenders, as No.1-ranked Yoel Romero looks to get back into the title picture when he clashes with No.10 David BranchUFC FIGHT NIGHT® takes place at Orlando’s Amway Center on Saturday, Feb. 24.

In his most recent outing, Romero (12-2, fighting out of Coconut Creek, Fla. by way of Pinar del Rio, Cuba) came close to realizing his dream of being UFC champion. The 2000 Olympic silver medalist wrestler dropped a close and captivating decision to Robert Whittaker last summer, earning Fight of the Night honors in the process. Prior to the bout, Romero was undefeated at middleweight and scored stunning knockout wins over Chris Weidman, Lyoto Machida and Derek Brunson.

Looking to play spoiler and resume his climb up the middleweight rankings is dangerous grappler and boxer Branch (21-4, fighting out of Brooklyn, N.Y.). A two-division champion outside the UFC, Branch returned to the world’s largest MMA organization last year with a win over ranked Krzysztof Jotko. Throughout his career, he’s earned victories over Yushin Okami, Jesse Taylor and Paulo Filho. Following a recent setback against Luke Rockhold, Branch aims to use Romero as a stepping stone into the division’s top five.

Also at UFC FIGHT NIGHT®, top strawweight contenders collide when No.2-ranked Jessica Andrade faces No.5 Tecia Torres.

A former strawweight title challenger, Andrade (17-6, fighting out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) put on the most dominant performance of her career in September when she won a spectacular decision against Claudia Gadelha. During her stint in the UFC’s 115-pound weight class, she’s also netted impressive victories over Angela Hill, Joanne Calderwood and Jessica Penne. Andrade hopes an emphatic win will propel her into another title shot.

Torres (10-1, fighting out of Colorado Springs, Colo.) is gunning for a rubber match with newly-minted strawweight champion Rose Namajunas. The two originally met under the Invicta FC banner in 2013, with Torres winning a unanimous decision. Namajunas returned the favor in April 2016. Since then, Torres has gone on a three-fight winning streak, picking up victories against Bec Rawlings, Juliana Lima and Michelle Waterson.

Additional bouts on the card include:

  • Hometown welterweight Ben Saunders (21-8-2, fighting out of Orlando, Fla.) looks to blow the roof off the Amway Center when he takes onAlan Jouban (15-6, fighting out of Los Angeles, Calif.)
  • No.8-ranked bantamweight contender Sara McMann (11-4, fighting out of Gaffney, S.C.) welcomes Invicta FC champ Yana Kunitskaya (10-3, fighting out of Saint Petersburg, Russia)
  • Light heavyweight standout Gadzhimurad Antigulov (20-4, fighting out of Makhachkala, Russia) looks for his 15th consecutive win when he faces hot prospect Aleksandar Rakic (8-1, fighting out of Vienna, Austria)
  • In a battle of submission aces, Gilbert Burns (12-2, fighting out of Boca Raton, Fla. by way of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) meets Olivier Aubin-Mercier (11-2, fighting out of Montreal, Canada)

For the latest information on additional bouts for this event, please visit www.ufc.com. All bouts live and subject to change.

UFC FIGHT NIGHT® will air live on FOX at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Saturday, Feb. 24, with the prelims kicking off the evening on FS1 at 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT and on UFC FIGHT PASS® at 3:30 p.m. ET/12:30 p.m. PT. Doors open at 2:30 p.m. ET/11:30 a.m. PT.

Tickets for UFC FIGHT NIGHT® go on sale Friday, Jan. 12 at 10 a.m. ET and are priced at $195, $160, $135, $110, $95, $85, $75, $65 and $55 USD (prices do not include applicable service charges or fees). Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com or through the Amway Center box office. Ticket sales are limited to eight (8) per person.

UFC Fight Club® members will have the opportunity to purchase tickets Wednesday, Jan. 10 at 10 a.m. ET via the website www.ufcfightclub.com. A special Internet ticket pre-sale will be available to UFC newsletter subscribers Thursday, Jan. 11 starting at 10 a.m. ET. To access this presale, users must register for the UFC newsletter through UFC.com.

Must Love MMA — Cage & Screen — Everybody Has A Story

By | 2018-04-04T17:07:38+00:00 January 9th, 2018|News|Comments Off on UFC® RETURNS TO ORLANDO WITH AN ACTION-PACKED CARD

UFC Fighter Volkan Oezdemir Arraigned In Florida Court Today

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MustLoveMMA.com’s Susan Cingari reports for Cage & Screen on the ongoing legal troubles of MMA fighter Volkan Oezdemir.

Every Fighter Has A Story.

UFC light heavyweight title contender Volkan Oezdemir appeared in Broward County’s Seventeenth Judicial Circuit Court and was arraigned today. He is due back in court on  Feb 22, 2018.

Oezdemir pleaded not guilty to a charge of battery causing great bodily harm, a third-degree felony. Oezdemir (15-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC), a 28-year-old Switzerland native, has been training for his upcoming title challenge against Daniel Cormier at UFC 220 with Combat Club in Lantana, Fl.

The charge stems from an altercation outside Capone’s bar in Fort Lauderdale, Fl, that occurred Aug. 12, 2017. Oezdemir was arrested Nov. 18, 2017, initially on a second-degree felony charge of aggravated battery causing serious bodily harm or disability.

According to court records, the alleged victim left the bar after hearing a friend had been knocked unconscious following a verbal altercation. When he asked what had happened, he said he “looked up and was hit in the face” by what the state prosecutor described as a “sucker punch.”

The alleged victim claims he lost consciousness for approximately 14 minutes, was treated at a local hospital for concussion symptoms, and received multiple staples for lacerations. Witnesses at the scene told the alleged victim it was Oezdemir who hit him.  A second report, claiming Oezdemir struck another man, was designated inactive when he refused to cooperate with police.

In a hearing Nov. 19, Oezdemir’s attorney, Bruce A. Zimet, a former federal prosecutor, described the scene as a  “bar room altercation” in which his client was not the aggressor and acted justifiably pursuant to Florida law. Oezdemir has claimed the incident was prompted when somebody approached his fiancee at the bar while he was in the restroom.

Oezdemir pleaded not guilty to the second-degree felony charges on Nov. 29 and was released on a $10,000 bond. Florida state attorney Michael J. Satz filed the new charges Dec. 15.  A no-bond arrest warrant was issued the same day, to come into effect if Oezdemir failed to appear in court today (Jan. 9). That warrant was subsequently vacated.

Felony battery causing great bodily harm in Florida carries a maximum sentence of 5 years incarceration. The original charge of aggravated battery carried a potential prison sentence of 15 years.

Oezdemir remains optimistic about the future. “I have a really good team around me,” he told The MMA Hour. “Believe me, everything is going to be all right…. I don’t really know about all the details, how it’s gonna happen. But definitely I’m gonna fight and I’m gonna be champion.”

Meanwhile title holder Daniel Cormier isn’t getting drawn into debate about his opponent’s legal worries. “I really don’t have any energy anymore for all these guys’ extracurriculars anymore…. I feel like I have lost years of my life dealing with the sh-t with [Jon] Jones, in terms of the arguments, the fighting, the worry, whether we’re going to fight, when we’re going to fight…. I’ve lost a lot of time and energy just wasted on things that were out of my control.”

UFC 220 airs on Pay-Per-View Saturday 01.20.2018 at 10:00 PM ET, with prelims live on Fox Sports 1. In the headline fight, champion Stipe Miocic looks to make history as the UFC’s most successful heavyweight when he faces challenger Francis N’Gannou. Daniel Cormier vs. Volkan Oezdemir, a light heavyweight title bout, is the co-main event.

By | 2018-03-26T11:45:02+00:00 January 9th, 2018|News|Comments Off on UFC Fighter Volkan Oezdemir Arraigned In Florida Court Today

MustLoveMMA.com’s Susan Cingari Named PG Sports MMA Reporter of the Year

pg sports reporter of the year

MustLoveMMA.com’s Susan Cingari was honored to be named PG SportsMMA Sports Journalist Reporter of the Year. Susan was named alongside athletes and influencers from a variety of fields, including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and MMA’s Conor McGregor and Lynch on Sports.

2017 was a dramatic year for MMA, and MustLoveMMA and Susan Cingari were there for every step. From the May/Mac superfight to GSP’s return, and a host of new title holders — the UFC saw Tony Ferguson take the interim lightweight belt, Max Holloway win the featherweight title, TJ Dillashaw reclaim his bantamweight belt from old rival Cody Garbrandt, Cris Cyborg took her place at the head of the women’s featherweight division, Nicco Montano was crowned women’s inaugural flyweight champ, and Rose Namajunas took the UFC strawweight belt. And of course GSP defeated Michael Bisping to take the middleweight belt, only to vacate the title. Interim titleholder Robert Whittaker was promoted to undisputed champion on Dec 7.

Bellator MMA also welcomed a host of new champions — Ryan Bader as light heavyweight, Brent Primus won the lightweight title, Patricio Freire took the featherweight belt, Darrion Caldwell won the bantamweight crown, Julia Budd became women’s featherweight champ, and Ilima-Lei Macfarlane claimed the women’s flyweight title.

Susan and the MustLoveMMA.com team are excited to see what happens in 2018, and can’t wait to bring you all the breaking news through weekly episodes of The Cage & Screen Report! Every Fighter Has A Story!

By | 2018-03-26T11:45:02+00:00 January 2nd, 2018|News|Comments Off on MustLoveMMA.com’s Susan Cingari Named PG Sports MMA Reporter of the Year

UFC® UNVEILS 25TH ANNIVERSARY LOGOS

ufc 25th anniversary logo

Las Vegas – UFC®, the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization, today unveiled its commemorative 25th anniversary logos that will be used throughout 2018 to celebrate the global brand’s historic milestone. The commemorative logos will appear as part of the brand’s year-long 25th anniversary celebration, which officially launches on Monday, January 1, 2018.

“What started as an idea in 1993 to put on the best fights with the best fighters in the world has changed the face of sports,” UFC President Dana White said. “I heard the word ‘no’ over and over and we faced a ton of challenges, but UFC bounced back each time, bigger and better, to build legends and superstars, while creating some of the most memorable events in the history of sports. The first 25 years have been amazing and we’re just getting started.”

The logo, designed in conjunction with Droga5, ‘Cannes Lions Independent Agency of the Year’, combines the silver anniversary with UFC’s world-famous Octagon®, the organization’s iconic symbol that debuted at UFC® 1: THE BEGINNING, which took place on Friday, November 12, 1993 in Denver, Colorado.

The 25th anniversary commemorative logos, along with additional creative designs, will be integrated into UFC broadcasts, across social and digital platforms, in-Octagon branding, UFC Fight Night collection, event posters, fan activations and merchandise throughout 2018.

UFC FIGHT NIGHT®: STEPHENS vs. CHOI, which takes place on Sunday, January 14, at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri, will be the first event that incorporates the campaign. For more information, please visit UFC.com.

By | 2018-03-26T11:45:02+00:00 December 29th, 2017|News|Comments Off on UFC® UNVEILS 25TH ANNIVERSARY LOGOS

Last Minute Christmas Gift Ideas for #MMA Fans

Stuck for a last-minute present for that special someone? Have a friend who can’t get enough of the latest UfC and BellatorMMA  action? Check out these MMA-themed books for thoughtful gifts and stocking stuffers for the fight fan in your life!

And because they’re all from Amazon and available with 2-day shipping, they’ll still arrive in time for Christmas Day.

Chael Sonnen — The Voice of Reason: A V.I.P. Pass to Enlightenment

“Like all men of myth and legend, Sonnen strives for the betterment of the human race. Prometheus brought us fire; Dana White brought us the modern-day gladiator; and Chael P. Sonnen now brings us the step-by-step guide to being a great human being and patriot.”

Urijah Faber — The Laws of the Ring

“Urijah Faber offers an unconventional and enlightening guide to mental dominance and personal success… The Laws of the Ring is, at once, a celebration of physical and mental toughness, a serious reflection on success and failure, a colorful account of Faber’s rise to greatness, and a fascinating look at life inside the cage.”

Sam Sheridan — A Fighter’s Heart: One Man’s Journey Through the World of Fighting

“An extraordinary combination of gonzo journalism and participatory sports writing, A Fighter’s Heart is a dizzying first-hand account of what it’s like to reach the peak of finely disciplined personal aggression, to hit—and be hit.”

Georges St-Pierre — The Way of the Fight

“A compelling memoir that offers an intimate, gritty look at a fighter’s journey, told through inspiring vignettes, GSP is a moving account of commitment and power, achievement and pain, dedication and conviction from one of the world’s greatest champions.”

John Kavanagh — Win or Learn: MMA, Conor McGregor and Me: A Trainer’s Journey

“Kavanagh’s portrait of McGregor is a revelation. What emerges is a remarkable portrait of ambition, discipline, and persistence in the face of years and years of disappointment… A must read for every MMA fan.”

 

Ronda Rousey — My Fight/Your Fight

“Packed with raw emotion, drama, and wisdom, this is an unforgettable book by one of the most remarkable women in the world.”

“Big” John McCarthy — Let’s Get It On!: The Making of MMA and Its Ultimate Referee

“In his own words, ‘Big’ John relates his insider’s perspective from the midst of many of the sport’s greatest moments—from Tito Ortiz–Ken Shamrock I at UFC 40 in 2002 to Randy Couture–Tim Sylvia at UFC 68 in March of 2007—along with his account of the birth of the sport in America, its evolution, and MMA’s ongoing struggles for acceptance.”

Chuck Liddell — Iceman: My Fighting Life

“Here, for the first time, is the story of Chuck Liddell inside and outside the Octagon—from his childhood in the poor section of Santa Barbara to the bloodiest battles of his career, to balancing life as a father, a UFC champ, and a superstar. With never-before-seen photos—and an all-new chapter added for this edition—Iceman is the true, no-holds-barred story of Chuck Liddell’s fight to become a champion.”

Bruce Buffer — It’s Time!: My 360-Degree View of the UFC

“I want to tell you about the passion that first led me to bet everything on this sport of ours, way back when MMA was outlawed in half the country and there wasn’t a dime to be made on it. I want to tell you how that passion all started.”

Clyde Gentry III — No Holds Barred: The Complete History of Mixed Martial Arts in America

“Called the bible for MMA, No Holds Barred is the definitive American history of MMA and its rapid rise in the sports and entertainment world… This is the most definitive, in-depth and thoroughly researched book on the history of the sport ever written and a must-have book for every mixed martial arts fan.”

 

Still stuck for ideas? How about these cute Funko POP figurines. Collect them all — Jose Aldo, Chris Weidman, Ronda Rousey, and Conor McGregor.

Check out more great MMA goodies year-round in my Amazon shop! ~Every Fighter Has A Story

By | 2018-03-26T11:45:03+00:00 December 19th, 2017|News|Comments Off on Last Minute Christmas Gift Ideas for #MMA Fans