Today, Sherdog.com released an excellent interview with Ed Fishman where he discusses his hopes to purchase PRIDE FC.
Fishman expresses his hopes to eventually have a chance to purchase the organization but he also reveals that he hasn’t currently had any discussions with PRIDE or Mr. Sakakibara.
Ed Fishman: Yes I am. I wish I could have a chance to buy PRIDE. It’s to me the best MMA in the business. And I have absolutely made that known to Mr. Sakakibara — I call him Nobu. We have not gone into real heavy details yet. He is back in Japan now, and he’ll be here next week when we’re getting ready for the 24th. I’m sure we’ll have more conversations then, but I am dead serious about buying it.
While they haven’t currently had any discussions, Fishman hopes to kick them off in a week or so when Sakakibara comes to the States for the upcoming PRIDE show.
Fishman: As soon as possible. [Sakakibara] is coming here in a week or so to do the 24th, and I’m sure we’ll spend a lot of time talking about it.
News and Notes
- PRIDE USA President Ed Fishman has expressed that he is currently doing everything possible to purchase the PRIDE organization. Fishman feels that the only two people in the running for the organization are the UFC and him.
- Strikeforce and EliteXC have reached a deal which will allow them to co-promote cards on Showtime. Showtime will do a joint broadcast in April when Frank Shamrock and Phil Baroni fight in Strikeforce.
- Tito Ortiz will guest star in NUMB3RS Friday, Feb. 16 on CBS.
- Andrei Arlovski is expected to fight on UFC 70 against Jim York. Mirko Filipovic will also be on the card.
The Fight Network: The Cro Cop Mystique
And what did McCarthy glean from the dangerous kickboxer’s performance Saturday night?
“The Octagon is a bigger surface area,” says McCarthy. “I think Mirko was using the same footwork he’s always used and that caused some problems for him when he tried to cut Sanchez off.”
The motivation to improve appears to be there. Before leaving for his 18-hour journey back to his homeland, Filipovic asked McCarthy for a recommendation to import a cage to him there.
Nate from South Jersey writes:
Great page guys…
What are your thoughts on the UFC’s heavyweight division? The last few fights with Sylvia have been really lackluster at best, obviously Arlovski is still one of the better heavyweights, but we’ve seen enough of Sylvia vs. Arlovski. Is the fight between Sylvia and Couture just a publicity stunt/sign of despiration by the UFC similar to the Hughes - Gracie fight last year? What can the UFC do to bring fans to the table to watch heavyweight fights, or as they just gonna continue to be semi-undercards?
Thanks for the props Nate…
The UFC’s heavyweight division has improved greatly since last year. The reason why Tim Sylvia’s recent fights have been so lackluster is best stated by Randy Couture himself in that he believes Sylvia is not fighting to win, but fighting not to lose. You can tell that Sylvia is thinking defense first in his fights - He’s trying to avoid getting hit, only taking opening when they are given to him instead of being aggressive and creating them himself. Sylvia has denied that this is his mindset but it’s obvious that he isn’t the same Sylvia we have seen when he was moving up the ranks at the start of his career and when he was trying to win his belt back at UFC 59.
The Sylvia-Couture fight isn’t a publicity stunt of any means. Anyone who has seen Couture fight knows that he is just as dangerous at heavyweight as he is at 205 lbs. Couture has made it known that he was itching to step back into the Octagon ever since he announced his retirement. Moving up to heavyweight is good for him as he has bulked back up to his natural weight of 225 lbs since he retired. At Randy’s age, it’s best that he doesn’t go through the rigors of cutting weight as it takes a strong physical toll on one’s body, especially at his age, when the chance that he might not be able to fully recover in the 24 hour period before the fight is so strong.
As far as the UFC trying to improve the division, aren’t we seeing now that with the additions of Mirko Cro Cop and Heath Herring? Dana White has made it known that he is trying to sign as much top talent as possible this year so I’m certain that those two won’t be the only big additions to the UFC’s heavyweight division this year. I think the UFC should go ahead and build up multiple contenders just like they did at welterweight. This way contract disputes, injuries, and things that would prevent a fight from happening can be worked around. Andrei Arlovski, Gabriel Gonzaga, and Brandon Vera (if he realizes that he needs to actually been an elite fighter before he gets paid top money) are already in line for a title shot if they win another fight or two. Having multiple fighters like them in the division would bring a lot of the excitement back…
Well I guess this would be the perfect opportunity to introduce you to our newest feature - From The Mailbag. Basically if you send in a question, we will try our best to answer it and post it on the site under this heading. Simple as that…
C Rizzle writes:
If Rampage gets through Eastman and I figure he will, do you see Dana matching him up with Liddell right away? (I see him getting 2 fights before a title bout) If not and you are going to give him another bout before the title fight, I could very well see Dana matching him up with Evans, and in light of Evans comments saying he would “knock Jackson out”, I think this could have some merit to it. Or do you see him fighting a Sobral, Jardine, etc. What are your thoughts?
Basically I think it’s all going to come down to what Dana White decides to do. The Light-Heavyweight division is absolutely stacked, we already know that. The problem is that there is no legitimate number one contender to Chuck Liddell’s belt.
Could Quinton Jackson get an immediate title shot if he beats Marvin Eastman? It’s very possible and only because there isn’t any other fighter that is a step ahead of the rest right now and would be a just challenger.
If Rashad Evans and Keith Jardine are forced to fight or else they are terminated from their UFC contracts, I think the two will fight. If not, another scenario Dana may be visualize is Tito Ortiz vs Keith Jardine and Quinton Jackson vs Rashad Evans. Another thing that may prevent this is the fact that Forrest and Tito are heavily rumored to be fighting at UFC 70.
Michael Bisping is still going to have two or three more fights before he is seriously considered just like the rest of The Ultimate Fighter alumni. Renato Sobral and Jason Lambert are scheduled to fight at UFC 68 so that takes them out of the picture for now…
But where does this leave Liddell? Is he going to have to go through another UFC 57-UFC 62 stretch where he doesn’t fight? Will Dana try to grab Wanderlei Silva again? There’s so many possible scenarios that could happen, it’s too early to really to gage what’s going to happen until some of these fights go down and future matchups are finalized.
Anyway there are my thoughts on the situation. Hope I answered your question well enough…
The Boston Herald is reporting that the UFC may actually be on ESPN a lot sooner than we think. UFC President Dana White informed the newspaper that he will be traveling to the network headquarters to participate in a series of meetings regarding the possibility of putting UFC programming on ESPN in the near future.
“All the top meetings over there are about the UFC, said White. When they start talking about this stuff on ‘SportsCenter,’ that’s really going to help us. That’s going to help us get to the next level.”
Even though the UFC and the sport of mixed martial arts is exploding faster than ever before, White still isn’t satisifed with his product’s place in pop culture…
“That’s the beauty of the business,” White said. “We’re the biggest thing on pay per view. We’re bigger than boxing. We’re bigger than WWE. But we’re so fucking far from mainstream. Mainstream is Shaquille O’Neal. If Shaq is walking down the street, everyone knows who he is.
The weird thing about this is Chuck Liddell is one of the biggest superstars in other places. We went to Ibiza, Spain, and he’s getting mobbed there. We couldn’t go anywhere. He goes to New York and people are all over him. I mean, it’s tough to miss a guy with a Mohawk and Chinese writing on his head. They might recognize him, but they don’t immediately know the UFC.”
A lot of interesting news and notes were brought to light after last night’s event were over…
- The Wrestling Observer reported last night in it’s live play-by-play of the fight that Diego Sanchez would tentatively be facing Josh Koscheck at the UFC’s event in April. (UFC 69 which will take place in Houston, Texas) MMA Weekly now has the fight listed as a rumor as well. It makes me wonder if something was said or at least shown on the video screen during the preliminary fights seeing how Wrestling Observer just plopped that note in there out of nowhere.
- Sean Salmon was rushed to the hospital last night right after the event was over. Those at the event said that he was motionless on the mat for upwards of seven minutes. He received a CAT scan that came up negative at the hospital and was released in the wee hours of the morning. He is doing fine and is now vacationing with his family.
- UFC President Dana White announced at the post-fight press conference that Hermes Franca would be getting a shot at Sean Sherk’s UFC Lightweight belt at some point during the summer when Sherk is able to fight again. Sherk is currently recovering from shoulder surgery that will keep him out of action for at least another month or two.
- The most interesting thing to come out of last night’s press conference was an exchange between Dana White and Rashad Evans that was reported by the Los Angeles Times.
Perhaps the most interesting exchange took place after the show at the press conference. When a reporter asked about a prospective match with Evans vs. Keith Jardine, who made a name for himself by knocking out Forrest Griffin on Dec. 30 in Las Vegas, UFC President Dana White said that sounded like a great idea. Evans shot back that he trains regularly with Jardine in Albuquerque, and he would never fight him. White said that if he made the match, he’d fight him. Evans shot back that he would not, and the awkward exchange ended at that point.
Other fighters have put friendships aside to move up the rankings in the past… Will see it happen between these two in the near future?
News and Notes
- The next WEC show will be March 24th at The Joint in Las Vegas, Nevada.
- PRIDE has added the following bouts to their upcoming show Pride 33: Second Coming:
* Takanori Gomi vs. Nick Diaz
* Hayato Sakurai vs. Mac Danzig
* Kazuo Misaki vs. Frank Trigg
* Kazuhiro Nakamura vs. Travis Wiuff
- Matt Lindland has confirmed through ‘The Fight Network’ that he signed a three-fight deal with BodogFight. All of the fights will take place in the heavyweight division.
- It’s looking like Tito Oritz vs. Forrest Griffin II is a strong possibility for UFC 70 in Manchester.
News and Notes
- Renato “Babalu” Sobral will make his return to the octagon at UFC 68 on March 3rd when he faces Jason Lambert. Sobral last appeared in the octagon at UFC 62 when he suffered a devastating knock out loss to the hands of the UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell.
- Martin Kampmann will be fighting on the upcoming UFC 68 card, his opponent is currently unknown.
- It looks like Matt Lindland will be making his way over to BodogFight to face PRIDE heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko.
- Last night Dana White took part in a special chat for all of the ‘UFC Fight Club’ members. Here is some interesting information that came out of the chat…
Mason: Have you ever considered having a legends type fight on a card, such as Randy vs. Bas Rutten?
Dana White: We always want to put on the fights the fans want to see. I would love to bring Bas back.
rickrock: Would you like to see Wanderlei Silva back in the octagon? Has there been any steps taken to try and sign him?
Dana White: I would love to have Silva in the UFC, it’s always my goal to get the best fighters in the world to fight for us. Hopefully we will see that fight in 2007.
Poundem: Dana, were do you see the UFC in 5 years from now?
Dana White: Poundem, I see us GLOBAL.
tootall2: Do you intend to keep bringing the better - fighters from other organizations, or is there a plan to absorb other organizations, such as Pride - and thanks for bringing excitement back to professional fighting.
Dana White: Totall, it’s my goal to acquire all the best fighters in the world and if things go my way, I will have them all by the end of year.
Poundem: What is your plan for Fedor, or do you have one? Would you like to get him in the UFC?
Dana White: Poundem, I want Fedor and everyone else in the UFC.
DrWu: If you could change one thing about the rules of fighting in the octagon, what would it be and why?
Dana White: I would add knees to the head.
dnkyntz: Could you talk about the rumors regarding Zuffa acquiring Pride?
Dana White: Obviously we are out there acquiring other MMA companies right now and if Pride is for sale, I’m interested.
Raiderbeast:Before leaving tonight, can you tell us if another big Pride fighter will show up in the UFC anytime soon?
Dana White: Count on it!!
For the folks back home, the 5-7 Fisher was going to the relatively big city of Bettendorf, Iowa to train in some sport he called mixed martial arts. He might as well have told them he was going to be the star in a high-wire trapeze act, because that probably got more recognition from mainstream America in 2002.
But fast forward to 2006, and Fisher has not only carved out a niche for himself in MMA, currently the fastest growing sport in the world, but he’s one of the featured fighters on a Spike TV fight card on January 25th and his face is plastered on the event’s poster. So when he visits family in Cashiers, things have changed a bit for him.
“They love it,” said Fisher. “They keep up with it, and when I go back home they say, ‘hey, I saw you on TV the other day,’ and it’s a big deal to them. It’s nice to know that I have fans. Before I made it on TV, I’d go back home and people would say ‘what are you doing now?’ I’d tell them and they’d go ‘Oh jeez,’ and it was kind of a joke until they saw it on TV and they saw that there were real punches and real kicks and now there’s a respect that goes along with it.”
MMAWeekly: UFC Champ Ready for Cro Cop and Couture
Pride officially announced that Wanderlei Silva will defend his Pride Middleweight Title against Pride Welterweight Champion Dan Henderson at Pride 33: The Second Coming on February 24th at a press conference in Los Angeles yesterday.
The biggest surprise of the day: Tommy Lee was on hand to voice his support for the event.
Not the biggest surprise of the day: Lee screwed up the date of the event, saying that it was in January instead of February, confusing Motley Crue fans everywhere.
Pride CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara was very confident that his company would succeed in the UFC-dominated American market…
“2007 is the year of change and challenge for PRIDE,” Sakakibara told Sherdog.com. “We take the American market very seriously and also we have champions like Fedor and Wanderlei, strong fighters — they’re waiting for anyone to challenge them. We’re here to stay in America and those champions are here to stay in PRIDE.”
While he couldn’t say anything more about the matchups for Pride 33, Sakakibara did state that Takanori Gomi will be fighting on the card.
Sakakibara also quelled the rampant rumors that are circulating through some of MMA’s most popular message boards that Zuffa, the company that owns the UFC and WEC, has come to terms to purchase Pride:
“It’s just a rumor. I haven’t had any close conversation with (UFC president) Dana White so far. But since the Fertitta brothers bought the UFC we’ve had a very close relationship and we have had friendly conversation. We’re just trying to come up with the idea on how we can make this sport grow. That’s our main concern. I think that is where the rumors are coming from. We’re constantly having a conversation with the UFC.”
While an MMA monopoly might not be the best thing for the sport, it’s always good to know that the two superpowers are working together to try and better the sport and also constantly talking to each other.
If there ever comes a time when Pride has to be sold, I’d rather Zuffa acquire it than WWE or Showtime…
The Fight Network is reporting that the Nevada State Athletic Commission has “filed a petition with U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services seeking approval” for PRIDE Open Weight Grand Prix Champion Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic to fight on the upcoming UFC 67 card.
Nevada State Athletic Commission executive director Keith Kizer confirmed today that his agency has filed a petition with U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services seeking approval for Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic to compete in UFC 67 at the Mandalay Bay Event Center on February 3, 2007. The UFC has yet to request NSAC approval for a potential opponent.
It seems more and more likely that “Cro Cop” will be introduced to the UFC fans tonight live on the UFC 66: Liddell vs. Ortiz II pay-per-view.
It has also been confirmed by Dave Meltzer at The Wrestling Observer that Mirko Filipovic will in fact be in Las Vegas.
We’ve had it confirmed that Mirko Cro Cop is coming to Las Vegas, so I guess that answers all the questions.
So after many months of speculation it looks like “Cro Cop” will in fact sign with the UFC and he will be introduced to the audience some time tonight.