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MMA Roundup: Liddell could fight in Dec.; Rampage could be done for ’07; Parisyan vs. Lombard; Riggs wants Shamrock; and more!

You know what I love so much about covering MMA? There’s never a shortage of news to cover. Here are some stories that are being reported around the ‘Net:

Loretta Hunt from The Fight Network spoke with John Hackleman, the trainer for Chuck Liddell, who says he’s unaware of any retirement talk. In fact, he not only claims Liddell told him he’ll be back in the gym next Monday, but didn’t rule out a December fight for Liddell:

“He’s already said he’ll be back in the gym next Monday,” said Hackleman, who has coached Liddell for 16 years. “He’s going to fight again, hopefully as soon as possible, maybe in December. We’re looking at ‘Shogun.’”

– It was revealed during the UFC 76 post-fight press conference that Quinton “Rampage” Jackson’s hand injury worsened during his UFC 75 title defense against Dan Henderson and that he’s unlikely to fight again in 2007. It doesn’t look like the UFC can fall back on a Forrest Griffin vs. Rampage UFC light heavyweight title match for UFC 79 on Dec. 29.

According to John Pollock of The Fight Network, Karo Parisyan has confirmed he’ll be fighting Judoka standout Hector Lombard at UFC 78 in Newark, NJ.

MMAJunkie.com broke the news that Dean Lister’s opponent at UFC 79 on Dec. 29 could very well be Jordan Radev, the dude who got wrecked by Drew McFedries at UFN 10.

UFCDaily.com is reporting that Doug Evans will be fighting in a preliminary match on the UFC 79 undercard on Dec. 29.

– According to this week’s print edition of The Wrestling Observer, BodogFIGHT welterweight champion Nick Thompson is having contract issues with the company. He’s one of the most underrated fighters in the world right now (right up there with Jon Fitch) and would be a tremendous addition to any fight promotion’s talent roster.

– In case you missed it, Ricco Rodriguez confirmed on Inside the Cage Radio with Matt Cava and I this past weekend that he’s still under contract to EliteXC (although a debut match has not been scheduled) and that he plans to continue to fight at heavyweight for the time being. His ultimate goal in the next year is to fight at light heavyweight and he also challenged former friend Tito Ortiz to a catch weight fight at 225 lbs.

– In a previous interview with me for CBSSports.com earlier in the year, Joe “Diesel” Riggs claimed he was transferred from the WEC to the UFC per his request. During Inside the Cage, he indicated that was not actually the case and that the idea was actually pushed on him by Zuffa. Riggs has signed what he believes is a five fight contract with Strikeforce and he’ll make his debut for the promotion this Saturday at the Playboy Mansion against 41-year old Eugene Jackson. It’s a non-exclusive deal but he needs to get permission from Strikeforce to fight outside of it (hey, how about Riggs vs. Nick Diaz II?). Riggs also confirmed there’s a chance he could fight Cung Le if he beats Jackson but said that while he wouldn’t mind fighting Le, he’d love to fight Frank Shamrock.

– I came across this interview via a story on MMANews.com, but in an interview with IronLife.com, Pride lightweight Joachim Hansen indicated he is still technically under contract to Zuffa through the Pride acquisition but there are no immediate plans to fight for the company. It appears they don’t want to use him under his existing deal, and wanted to re-negotiate his contract for less money:

They offered me a fight some months ago – I wasn’t sure if they had bought Pride for what the hell was going on. They offered me a fight against Marcus Aurelio, they offered me half the salary of what I got in Pride. Obviously at the time they had already bought Pride, in my opinion they also bought my contract, so how can they offer me half the salary?

– According to The Fight Network, NSAC officially decided not too suspend Renato “Babalu” Sobral following his extended choke on David Heath following their match at UFC 74 on Aug. 25. However, he will not receive the $25,000 win bonus that the commission decided to withhold, which means he’s been fined $25,000 in essence. All because a guy called him a mother fucker?

– According to MMAjunkie.com, Jake O’Brien, who underwent what what considered at the time to be possible career-ending back surgery, will resume training next year.

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