Each day, The MMA Corner will provide a recap of results, event announcements, fight matchups, and injuries/cancellations from throughout the world of MMA.

Okami Returns Home in Fight Against Boetsch

Middleweight contender Yushin Okami, in his first bout since facing Anderson Silva at UFC 134, will get a home cage advantage when he takes on Tim Boetsch in UFC 144 action on Feb. 26.

UFC President Dana White announced, “Undefeated since dropping down to middleweight, Tim ‘The Barbarian’ Boetsch has verbally agreed to face top three ranked Yushin ‘Thunder’ Okami February 26th in Saitama, Japan.”

Source: UFC
UFC Returns to the Litigation Cage in NY Ban on MMA

New York state officials have banned live professional MMA events despite the growth and regulation of the sport. In response, the UFC and a group of plaintiffs including fighters, fans, trainers and others announced today that they have filed a lawsuit against New York State officials. The crux of the cause of action is the UFC et al. are challenging the constitutionality of the state law banning live professional MMA events and associated activities; based on the contention that the ban is violating provisions of the United States Constitution, including the First Amendment, the Equal Protection Clause and the Due Process Clause.

Specifically, the lawsuit alleges the Ban infringes upon the rights of the fighters who want to publicly exhibit their skills as professionals and express themselves before a live audience, the rights of fans who would like to experience live professional MMA events, and the rights of those who train, publicize or otherwise advance MMA in New York.  Plaintiffs point to the following as evidence of the irrational, unconstitutional nature of the Ban:

“MMA is one of the fastest growing sports in the U.S. and one of the most popular in the world,” said Lorenzo Fertitta, Chairman and CEO of Zuffa LLC, owner of the UFC.  “When we acquired the UFC, we went to great lengths to invite regulation and adopt substantial safety measures.  MMA is now as safe as or even safer than many other sports and activities sanctioned in New York like boxing, for example, because it allows fighters to honorably tap out and involves far fewer hits. All the disciplines that go into mixed martial arts are performed live in New York; it is only their combination that is illegal.  Denying fighters the chance to exhibit their training and skills before a live audience and denying thousands of New Yorkers the ability to watch their favorite fighters perform live is not only an injustice to them, but to the local markets that would reap tremendous economic benefits from hosting competitions. We believe the ban should be eliminated, and look forward to fighting live in New York.”

Source: UFC
Green to Fight Newcomer in Reese

Strikeforce officials announced that newcomer James “J.P” Reese will step in for an injured Isaac Vallie-Flagg to fight lightweight Bobby Green on the preliminary card of Strikeforce Challengers 20 which place Friday, Nov. 18., at The Pearl at the Palms Casino in Las Vegas. Main-card fights air live on Showtime.

Source: Strikeforce
Russian Phenom Vyacheslav Vasilevsky Sign with Bellator

Bellator Fighting Championships has signed another international talent in highly-touted Russian striker Vyacheslav Vasilevsky.

Vasilevsky joins Bellator after an incredibly successful career in Russia where “Slava” compiled a dominating 15-1 record.   “This opportunity means the world to me,” Vasilevsky said. “I’m really excited for the opportunity. I felt like I’ve conquered the Russian scene, and I’m ready to compete against some of the best in the world with Bellator. They have some great middleweights, and I want to test my skills against them as soon as I can.”

Source: Bellator
HDNet Signs Deal with European BAMMA

MMA continues to experience international growth as the British-based British Association of Mixed Martial Arts (BAMMA), signs a deal with the HDNet. HDNet announced a new multi-year deal scheduled to kick off with BAMMA 8 on Dec. 10.

“We see a U.S. TV partner as a major step in our growth as an organization and believe we have found the ideal partner in HDNet,” BAMMA CEO David Green stated. “We are very excited about this new partnership and look forward to bringing some first-class events to the U.S. public.”

HDNet has previously played host to organizations such as Strikeforce, Affliction Entertainment, DREAM, World Victory Road, ProElite, King of the Cage, Adrenaline MMA and Xtreme Fighting Championships.

Source: MMA Junkie
Huerta Out, Jenkins Faces Williams

Today, Tachi Palace Fights executive Jeremy Luchau announced Chris Huerta will be unable to fight on the Tachi Palace Fights 11 event. In Huerta’s absence, Jason Williams has agreed to fight former NCAA Division I national wrestling champion Bubba Jenkins in a lightweight contest.

Source: MMA Junkie
Semerzier Appeals Controversial Loss, Wants Peralta Rematch

The management team of UFC featherweight Mackens Semerzier has filed an appeal with the California State Athletic Commission following Semerzier’s controversial loss to Robert Peralta at UFC on Fox 1 last Saturday.

SuckerPunch Entertainment Managing Partner Brian Butler-Au confirmed Tuesday to Sherdog.com that an appeal has been filed with the California State Athletic Commission in relation to Mackens Semerzier’s controversial loss to Robert Peralta at UFC on Fox last Saturday.

After two entertaining rounds, the third round saw the two fighters’ heads clashing, which caused Semerzier to be dazed and allowed Peralta to finish the fight. Referee John McCarthy did not see the collision of heads and ruled the fight a technical knockout in favor of Peralta.

Source: Sherdog

Photo: Yushin Okami (Rob Tatum/The MMA Corner)