Josh Gross
Tuesday February 23rd, 2010

At the end of another scorching Australian summer, the last thing Elvis Sinosic expected would freeze was his shoulder.

Yet as the 13-year MMA veteran navigated through the final sparring session of a month-and-a-half-long camp, Sinosic sensed his long-awaited rematch against countryman Chris Haseman at UFC 110 was in jeopardy.

"It just escalated to the point that it was too much [discomfort]," Sinosic said in an e-mail. "I just was not able to use my right shoulder and arm to its full ability."

When the 37-year-old Sinosic informed UFC executives that his shoulder was probably going to keep him out of a historic night of fights in Sydney, the company put him in front of their own doctor, who administered a cortisone shot. Unfortunately, Sinosic said, it did nothing to alleviate the pain and ineffectiveness of a limb that one specialist estimated was operating at 40 to 50 percent.

"It turns out that I have a couple of underlying problems with my shoulder," Sinosic wrote. "Basically I have tendonitis and bone spurs, which have lead to chronic osteoarthritis and on top of that adhesive capsulitis -- known as frozen shoulder. I had a sore shoulder during my camp but never realized the extent of what was wrong."

The untimely news was essentially the only bad moment last week for Australian mixed-martial-arts fans who helped UFC establish gate and merchandise records at Acer Arena on Sunday afternoon.

Sinosic's bout against Haseman -- who took the victory in their first fight in 1997 with an unceremonious chin-to-the-eye submission (a move that has been rightly outlawed) -- received as much attention from Australian media as the card's main event between Cain Velasquez and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. For a pair of fighters who were light years ahead of most in the region in terms of breaking though internationally, Sinosic's withdrawal meant that neither he nor Haseman would appear in front of the biggest crowd to view a UFC card outside of North America.

Pending a follow-up appointment with a specialist in a couple of weeks, Sinosic, who expects to need a complete shoulder reconstruction, said he preferred to have surgery as soon as possible.

"The worst part of the injury is that the recuperation process is the opposite for each set of injuries," he said. "For the tendonitis, arthritis, and other underlying problems you need to rest the joint. For the frozen shoulder, rest will cause it lock up further and you need to push the range of motion. So one process aggravates the other as I've learned after further research. Such is life."

Even with surgery, Sinosic (8-11-2) isn't guaranteed to fight again, which would be another disappointment considering UFC president Dana White said he planned on promoting in Australia again within a year.

"I should hopefully be back to normal," said Sinosic, who lost to Tito Ortiz in 2001 in a bid for the UFC light heavyweight title. "The problem will be how long that takes. So it's a wait-and-see situation."

Velasquez ready for UFC title fight

If 27-year-old Cain Velasquez proved anything to his trainers by stopping Antonio Rodrigo Noguiera at UFC 110, it's that the 8-0 heavyweight is ready to fight anyone.

At the top of that list, said American Kickboxing Academy's "Crazy" Bob Cook, stands mammoth UFC champion Brock Lesnar.

AKA wants a title shot for Velasquez, and they want it now.

"It's a different fight than Nogueira," Cook said. "Cain would have to steer clear of Lesnar's sledgehammers."

Velasquez enjoyed 10 pounds on Nogueira to go with speed and wrestling advantages. Against Lesnar, however, the Mexican-American fighter would have to overcome at least a 30-pound weight discrepancy against the more accomplished collegiate wrestler.

"I have to fight a smart fight," Velasquez said Sunday after defeating Nogueira. "Gotta get with my coaches and figure out a good game plan. Definitely with those kind of guys -- big, strong -- you have to be aware of their power. I think it's going to be a war and fight to the end. You have to try and tire them out, but it's easier said than done."

Strikeforce close to nailing down April slot(s)

Details surrounding the date and place of Strikeforce's next offering on CBS should be revealed by the end of the week, Strikeforce matchmaker Rich Chou told Monday night.

The San Jose, Calif.-based promotion is awaiting finalized dates from its television partners -- CBS and Showtime -- before announcing bouts, he said.

On Monday, newly appointed California State Athletic Commission executive officer George Dodd said Strikeforce expressed an interest in securing an April 24 date in the Golden State, meaning it could go heads-up against the first pay-per-view offering from UFC's sister promotion, WEC.

However yesterday's announcement by Showtime that two fights in its Super Six middleweight boxing tournament are set for Apr. 24 essentially rules out Strikeforce running too -- the same television production crew handles MMA for CBS and Showtime, as well as boxing on the premium-cable network, and could not do both on the same night without serious maneuvering.

While Strikeforce has discussed promoting two events in April, a busy calendar could also prevent that from happening.

Last week reported that Strikeforce would promote in the Music City on April 17. Chou said nothing has been confirmed, but that scenario remains most likely at this time.

Barnett no-shows CSAC appeal ... again

Heavyweight Josh Barnett failed to appear in front of the California State Athletic Commission on Monday, marking his fourth postponed appeal stemming from a denial of licensure following a positive steroid test in June 2009.

Though CSAC executive officer George Dodd said Barnett was notified by letter like all appellants that his presence is required for the process to move forward, the youngest fighter to hold a UFC championship was apparently in Japan to work a pro wrestling match against Bob Sapp.

Dodd said he expected the 32-year-old Barnett, who was represented in the Downtown L.A. meeting by New York-based lawyer Michael J. DiMaggio, to appear in front of the commission on Monday.

The CSAC scheduled April 20 for its next hearing, and Barnett remains on the agenda.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.