- The UFC's pre-event hype show "Countdown" returned Sunday for UFC Fight Night 103. The show aired on FOX Sports 1, the same network that will televise this coming Sunday's event.
Spotlighting the main event between former UFC champion BJ Penn and top prospect Yair Rodriguez, the show creates an "old-school vs. new blood" surrounding to the headline bout.
- UFC heavyweight Ben Rothwell believes Ronda Rousey "was never a champion" if she cannot rebound from two consecutive losses. In an interview with MMAjunkie, Rothwell sounded off on the former UFC female bantamweight champion, who recently suffered a first round knockout loss to Amanda Nunes.
"What matters is now," Rothwell said. "What's she going to do now? What matters is six months from now if she walks away from the sport and never fights again, she never has to have her name brought up again. If she can't come back from everything she's been through and being put on such a high pedestal and making waves, then she loses two fights and she doesn't come back from that? Well, then she's a loser and she never was a champion."
Rothwell also took exception to Rousey's "media blackout" heading into the contest. As a veteran of the sport, he knows that promoting yourself and MMA is what helps build the sport up.
"It's taken (me) only 17 years to figure this out, because we need the media and if the fighters ever forget that the media is the reason we are here," Rothwell said. "I fought in the dark ages. The media's the only reason the sport survived. This sport was going to get banned at one time and I was there for all that (expletive). I didn't fight for fame and money. I fought because I love to fight and the media is the reason this thing blew up and got where it's at. We do all need to work together. We're a team in this thing."
- Jimmie Rivera will not be facing Marlon Vera this coming Sunday night to kickoff the UFC Fight Night 103 main card. After initially picking Vera over John Dodson as a replacement for Bryan Caraway, the rising contender told MMA Fighting that he doesn't want to feel like a "bully."
"All I ask, if it's going to be replacement, give me someone who's going to benefit me," Rivera said. "If I fight Vera, it makes me look like a bully and I teach my kids not to be a bully. Plus, he's got a daughter that he's trying to make money to get her surgery done. I got a heart man, I can't stand there and stop that."
Rivera is unbeaten in his UFC career, including a recent win over Urijah Faber. The event features BJ Penn vs. Yair Rodriguez from Phoenix.