Posts Tagged ‘Cheick Kongo’

Photo by Esther Lin via Myers MMAMania

Doe-doei! Dutch-born mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Gilbert Yvel has announced that his combat sports career is over after more than 16 years of head-scratching competition.

Mixed martial arts (MMA) veteran, Gilbert Yvel, is calling it a mixed martial arts (MMA) career after more than 16 years of professional competition.

“The Hurricane” made the announcement in an interview with earlier this weekend.

Yvel seemingly went out on top, winning his two most recent Heavyweight fights under the Resurrection Fighting Alliance (RFA) banner, stopping Damian Dantibo with punches in Dec. 2011 and then doing the same to Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) washout Houston Alexander in March 2012.

Most modern fight fans more than likely remember the Dutch fighter getting creamed by Junior dos Santos in little more than two minutes at UFC 108 in Jan. 2010. Yvel, 37, would go on to lose back-to-back fights against Ben Rothwell and John Madsen, forcing his quick exit from the world’s leading MMA promotion.

Meanwhile, most long-term fight fans likely remember Yvel biting an opponent, rake-facing Don Frye (for real) and knocking out a referee, among other unsportsmanlike transgressions.

Regardless of how Yvel is remembered, he was a journeyman of the sport who plied his trade in just about every major organization to date, including Rings, Pride FC, Affliction MMA and, of course, UFC. His most notable win more than likely came against Semmy Schilt earlier in his career, as well as an over-the-hill Pedro Rizzo and green Cheick Kongo.

The 6’2″ Yvel finishes his MMA career with 38 wins, 16 losses, one “No Contest” and a draw (38-16-1-1).

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting/Dave Doyle MMA Fighting

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — On Tuesday, published reports claimed veteran heavyweight Cheick Kongo signed with Bellator.

One day later, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney said that the French fighter has not inked a deal with the company. But he dropped plenty of hints that Bellator has interest in the Wolfslair MMA fighter.

Speaking at Wednesday’s press conference for another Wolfslair-affliliated fighter, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Rebney said that Kongo has not yet signed.

“He has not [signed],” said Rebney. “Great fighter, fun personality, very good fighter to watch, I’ve been watching him fight for years, but he has not signed with Bellator.”

But Rebney then went ahead and added that in developing a relationship with Jackson, Bellator also established contact with the rest of the British camp.

While not mentioning Kongo again by name, Rebney said to expect more Wolfslair fighters to join the Bellator fold.

“Part of the magic of this relationship is I got to spend literally months working with the team at Wolfslair,” Rebney said. “They’ve got a terrific stable of talent. You’re going to see some announcements coming out literally in the next couple weeks about more Wolfslair talent that’s going to be coming in with Bellator.”

The 38-year-old Kongo is 18-8-2 in his MMA career. He was released from the UFC last month after a seven-year stint in which he went 11-6-1 in the company, with his last fight a knockout loss to Roy Nelson at UFC 159.

Ethan Miller/Adam Guillen Jr. MMAMania

Cheick Kongo has found a new home, as the former UFC heavyweight contender has reportedly inked a deal with Bellator MMA.

Not all faces will be unfamiliar for Quinton Jackson when he heads to Bellator this Fall.

According to MMA Weekly, Cheick Kongo — “Rampage’s” teammate at Wolfslair MMA — signed on the dotted line to compete inside the Bellator cage earlier today (June 4, 2013).

The former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight contender turned down a four-fight deal with the Las Vegas-based promotion just last month, debunking any rumors that the French-born fighter had been cut from the ZUFFA roster after his first round knockout loss to Roy Nelson at UFC 159.

“Don’t believe he said-she said stories. I have not been cut by the UFC. I am Cheick Kongo so I know BEST what’s NEXT for me. It doesn’t mean that I am leaving the UFC, it doesn’t mean that I am staying, it means this is my LIFE. Do not believe what we tell you. I am in the best position to know what happened to my career in the UFC. AND do not worry. For the moment, be aware that in no case the UFC not dismissed me and I am on very good terms with the American organization.”

Kongo posted those comments on his Facebook page shortly after the rumor mill started working overtime.

The Parisian competed 18 times inside the Octagon, amassing an 11-6-1 record during his tenure. However, he was knocked out in two of his last three fights by the aforementioned Nelson and Mark Hunt.

The signing comes on the heels of the news that “Rampage” had bagged a contract with Bellator in an exclusive deal that will also see him compete for TNA Wrestling. The former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion “guaranteed” big changes in MMA thanks to the benefits of his new contract.

Perhaps those benefits were too good for Cheick to pass up, too.

No word yet if Kongo will have the same option of pulling double duty as an MMA fighter and pro wrestler, much like Jackson and former Strikeforce 205-pound champion, Muhammed Lawal.

Anyone expect big things from Kongo inside the Bellator cage?

Anne-Marie Sorvin-US PRESSWIRE

The French heavyweight put out a statement on his Facebook page stating that he’s on good terms with the organization and could still re-sign with them.

A few days ago, there was a big buzz in MMA circles about heavyweight Cheick Kongo‘s profile being taken off of It turns out that his contract with the organization had expired after his loss to Roy Nelson at UFC 159, and he had passed on an extension offered to him before the bout. Kongo doesn’t think that he’s necessarily done with the organization though, and put out a statement on his Facebook page that indicates the door is still open for him to return:

“Do not believe everything you are told. “I’m in the best position to know about my career in the UFC. And do not worry. For now, know that I have not dismissed the UFC and I’m on good terms with the American organization. I’m out of contract, as I’ve been before. … So I say to you, unless proved otherwise, I’m still a UFC fighter. Take care of yourself.

“Don’t believe he said-she said stories. I have not been cut by the UFC. I am Cheick Kongo so I know best what’s next for me. It doesn’t mean that I am leaving the UFC, it doesn’t mean that I am staying – it means this is my life.”

Kongo (18-8-2) had spent most of his MMA career in the UFC, going 11-6-1 in 18 contests. He had lost two out of his last three though, getting knocked out by Nelson and Mark Hunt. His last reported pay was three fights ago at UFC 137, where he made 70k to show and 70k to win. If he does choose to re-sign with the UFC, you’d have to figure it would be for less than that. There could be other suitors for him, but the heavyweight class isn’t very deep outside the UFC.

Esther Lin for MMA Fighting

“Big Country” is down to fight Daniel Cormier, provided he earns the same Light Heavyweight championship opportunity with a win.

While Daniel Cormier thinks a bout against Roy Nelson would be a “damn good fight,” “Big Country” doesn’t seem too keen on fighting the former Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix winner.

Unless, of course, it is a meaningful mixed martial arts (MMA) match.

Indeed, Nelson is coming off a first round knockout victory over Cheick Kongo at UFC 159 last weekend (April 27, 2013), giving him his third consecutive Heavyweight victory inside the Octagon. Cormier, meanwhile, made a successful transition from Strikeforce to Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), besting Frank Mir at UFC on Fox 7 one week earlier.

On the surface, it would appear to be a an ideal match up; however, Cormier is still undecided about his future in the division because his good friend and long-time training partner, Cain Velasquez, is the reigning division champion. And he has hinted that a drop to 205 pounds would be possible if “Brown Pride” retains his title against Antonio Silva in their rematch at UFC 160 later this month.

For now, Cormier is non-committal about his Heavyweight future, playing the waiting game and claiming that he is interested in “big fights.”

That’s the primary reason Nelson’s manager, Mike Kogan, recently revealed that a showdown with Cormier “doesn’t make sense,” a sentiment that The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 10 winner Nelson echoed to Bloody Elbow. Nelson revealed that he would be more interested in a fight against former UFC heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira next rather than Cormier.

Unless, of course, a scrap with Cormier earner him the No. 1 Light Heavyweight contender spot.

His words:

“You know, I think in our sport, there’s a couple guys that get to fight everybody like three or four times, and I’m one of those guys, I guess, that get’s to fight everybody once. Like, I’ve been trying to fight Big Nog since after the Junior dos Santos fight, and that was two years ago. I’m all about the big fights. That’s why I think a fight with Big Nog would be great. As far Daniel (Cormier), I think the reason Mike, my manger, said anything about Daniel, is because he’s supposed be getting an immediate title shot at 205. If he’s going down to 205, it doesn’t really make any sense to fight him, unless we’re going to fight for a 205 contendership. Then hey, we can do that, too.”

It’s unclear if the portly Nelson — who not too long ago teased a drop to 205 pounds if he could get 100,000 “Likes” on (he did) — was actually being serious. But, it would make sense from his perspective, considering Cormier has already locked up an immediate title shot should he make the cut.

Leg be damned.

For what it’s worth, Nogueria is currently booked to tango against Fabricio Werdum at UFC on FUEL TV 10 on June 8, 2013. And should he prove victorious against “Vai Cavalo,” a fight between “Big Country” and “Big Nog” would seemingly make sense.

Unless, of course, UFC President and Dana White — along with Cormier — call Nelson’s latest Light Heavyweight bluff.

Anne-Marie Sorvin-US PRESSWIRE

Another fighter appears to have been removed from the UFC’s rosters. Cheick Kongo no longer appears among the active fighters on

Cheick Kongo’s profile was removed from today, meaning that his days with the promotion are most likely at an end. It’s a little surprising considering his long history at or near the top of the heavyweight division and shows that the UFC is devoted to removing fighters that they consider to be dead weight.

Kongo would leave behind an 11–6–1 record with the promotion, gathered over a seven year span. Despite his long winning record he never managed to fight for a title, often falling just short of contention against fighters like Cain Velasquez and Frank Mir. He’d lost two of his last three fights by KO against Mark Hunt and Roy Nelson, with a decision victory over Shawn Jordan sandwiched in-between. However, before the Hunt loss he was on a four fight unbeaten streak, including a highlight, comeback KO victory over Pat Barry.

It’s hard to see him continuing his career outside of the octagon. At 37 and with a long MMA and kickboxing career already behind him, one would imagine that other opportunities outside of fighting may present themselves. However, much like Fitch before him, Kongo is not on a substantial losing streak. And while he may be older, in a paper-thin division like heavyweight, other promotions are sure to come knocking for a big fighter with name recognition.

Hopefully he lands on his feet, wherever they may take him. He’s never been a huge draw, but he’s put enough time and years into this sport, and had enough success, to deserve what few rewards it has to offer. Whether they be a few big purses fighting over-matched opponents in WSOF, or a chance to open his own gym and train new fighters, or even doing some managing and promoting I will be interested to see where he goes from here.

We will update with confirmations when, or if, they occur.

UPDATE: (via MMAjunkie)

on May 1, 2013, at 4:15 p.m. ET with confirmation from a UFC official that Kongo fulfilled the terms of his contract and is unlikely to be re-signed.


Shortly after Nelson KOd Kongo at UFC 159, UFC newcomer Daniel Cormier called him out. However, it doesn’t look like Nelson’s management is keen on the idea.

In arguably the biggest win of his UFC career, Heavyweight Roy Nelson capped off a three-fight win streak with a first round knockout of Cheick Kongo at UFC 159. Nelson has now finished 5 of his UFC wins inside round one. Following the win there was a lot of speculation of who would be next up to face “Big Country” in the Octagon. Foremost on the list was Strikeforce HWGP champion Daniel Cormier.

However, according to Nelson’s manager Mike Kogan, that’s not a fight they’re interested in:

  UFC Tonight         @UFCTonight

Helwani reports @RoyNelsonMMA’s manager doesn’t want him to fight @dc_mma. He says that he doesn’t see what Roy will gain from that fight.

10:24 PM – 30 Apr 2013
11 Retweets 5 favorites

Instead, Kogan says they’d prefer a fight against Antonio Silva if he loses to Cain Velasquez UFC 160. If not that fight, they’d like Junior Dos Santos or Mark Hunt regardless of the outcome their fight on the same event.

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