The saga of “Lightning” Lee Murray appears to be at an end for the time being at least. The former UFC fighter and part time armed robber has been sentenced to ten years in prison in Morocco, after fleeing Britain after the 2006 Securitas robbery. Murray along with several accomplices made off with around $77 million dollars, much of which has now been recovered by the British authorities.
Murray enjoyed notoriety in the MMA community primarily because of two incidents prior to his arrest. Firstly he gave Anderson Silva a decent fight before he became the untouchable pound for pound stalwart that he is today. Secondly he allegedly knocked out Tito Ortiz in a street fight in London after a UFC event some years ago. Before fans could really get the measure of Murray and his potential though, he disappeared from the sport and was nearly fatally stabbed. Again in London during a street fight.
The conviction in Morocco, where Murray has been granted citizenship due to his father, will mean he will likely serve at least another 6 years in prison. Given his notoriety and any inherent drawing power he might now have, I wouldn’t rule out a return to the cage altogether just yet. It isn’t clear from a legal standpoint whether he will be able to return to the UK a free man in 6 years time or whether he would face additional charges. If he is free and clear after his sentence is up though (he has already served 4 years) he will only be 36, and might be inclined to take up MMA again. Then again he probably doesn’t need the money these days given that his cut of the $77 million hasn’t been recovered yet.
Josh Koscheck’s feud with Dana White has been continuing this week, as the pair have blasted each other in interviews for no particular reason. White revealed that he didn’t like the welterweight challenger not long ago, and seems less than pleased that he will be hosting the next season of The Ultimate Fighter alongside George St. Pierre. White isn’t alone in this sentiment though, Koscheck is one of the least fighters in the company and it will be interesting to see how well the public takes to the idea of a second bout between him and the welterweight champion.
White’s problem with Kos might stem from the fact that he and fellow American Kickboxing Academy fighter Jon Fitch have said on multiple occasions that they will never fight each other. Usually not too much of a problem but in this case they are in the same weight class and are probably number one and two in line for title shots.
Female MMA fighter and former spouse of Randy Couture, Kim Couture has been arrested for domestic abuse. In the second such incident recently for mixed martial arts (Tito and Jenna), Couture allegedly assaulted her personal assistant. More information as the situation develops.
Kimbo Slice is apparently bowing out of MMA after being cut from the UFC and is in talks to reenter the world of bare knuckle fighting. Unlike his previous efforts though, in backyards against an assortment of unsavory characters, this time he is hoping to make us of the London Prize rules. He is currently in talks with a fairly well known cruiser weight boxer as a first opponent, which if it comes to fruition will almost certainly result in Mr. Slice being knocked out in fairly short order.
Slice has been largely successful in his bare knuckle endeavors in the past, although never took on anyone with much skill. Against a decent boxer, even with a size advantage, my money will be on the boxer. The other issue will be whether this event will be allowed to happen at all. In the old days of MMA bare knuckle fights were accepted in a few states, and there are still those without a proper athletic commission to oversee such events. Today though, smaller bare knuckle events can fly under the radar but a name as big as Kimbo might attract opposition either from boxing or mixed martial arts promoters.
Boxer turned MMA fighter James Toney has been talking up his upcoming out against Randy Couture, and took the opportunity to comment on the heavyweight division in boxing as well. Mainly just his usual claims that everyone from Brock Lesnar to Vitali Klitschko is scared to fight him. Despite the fact that he has not been able to sell a pay per view in boxing for several years, he appears to be getting a lot more airtime in MMA and it will be interesting to see just how well he sells in August.
Tito Ortiz was officially kicked out of his coaching job on The Ultimate Fighter this week, which had been long rumored in the press but denied by the UFC top brass. It was confirmed some time ago that Chuck Liddell’s new opponent would be former middleweight champion Rich Franklin, although it wasn’t clear whether Ortiz was finishing the season or not until now. As per usual Tito had a dramatic sounding injury, this time involving his neck, and underwent surgery to fix the problem some time in the past two months. Rich Franklin was revealed as the coach for Tito’s team for the remainder of the season, along with a mystery former champion as an assistant coach.
Tito is now saying that he will be ready to fight towards the end of the year and that he wants to fight Chuck Liddell still. Barring another knockout at the hands of Rich Franklin, the chances are that the fight will eventually happen, and that once again Chuck Liddell will win again. So long as we aren’t subjected to Ortiz vs. Griffin 3 though I think that’s something we can all get behind.
Cung Le and Scott Smith are set for a rematch after taking part in one of the greatest comebacks MMA has seen in recent times last year. Le controlled much of the first fight and looked to have the win in the bag until Smith, known for his heroic comebacks, knocked the one time San shao practitioner out cold in the third round. Their next fight is on the StrikeForce: Fedor vs. Werdum card later this month and will no doubt attract a lot of interest.