MMAWeekly and Sherdog both now have articles up which are reporting that Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic has signed in the UFC. The announcement will be made this Saturday at UFC 66: Liddell vs. Ortiz II. Cro Cop’s first fight is expected to come at UFC 67 against Eddie Sanchez.
Along with the signing of Mirko Cro Cop, it has been announced and PRIDE and K-1 veteran Heath Herring has signed a five-fight deal with the UFC which will see him make his debut January 25th against Jake O’Brien. Herring was one of the many contracts acquired when the UFC bought out the WFA.
InsideFighting is reporting that Hermes Franca will make his return to the octagon against Spencer Fisher on January 25th at the UFC Fight Night in Miami, Florida. Nothing has been confirmed but it is expected that the winner will become the number one contender in the lightweight division. Franca’s manager, Joe Mullings said, ““Nothing is guaranteed but the direction of conversation has been that either Fisher or Franca will likely be in line for a shot at (UFC lightweight champion) Sean (Sherk).”
Things are starting to come together with the UFC and HBO, as I posted yesterday, Larry Merchant confirmed that the UFC would appear on the network when he said “People look at it (UFC) as real wrestling. And next year HBO and Showtime, they both will test the waters and see if this works. I don’t know what Showtime is doing, but we’ll do four and see how it goes.”
MMAWeekly is reporting that various independent sources have confirmed that WEC will no renew their deal with HDNet but rather they will sign a deal with Versus. The deal calls for six shows to be televised next year including three live shows and three on tape delay. The first Zuffa-owned WEC event will take place January 20th as Kit Cope and Rob McCullough will be headlining the card. It is still unknown whether or not this event will be included in the television deal. Both McCullough and Cope’s contracts were acquired when the UFC purchased the WFA.
Pedro Fernandez at Ring TALK is reporting that Larry Merchant confirmed that HBO will be testing its luck with the UFC in 2007.
“People look at it (UFC) as real wrestling. And next year HBO and Showtime, they both will test the waters and see if this works. I don’t know what Showtime is doing, but we’ll do four and see how it goes.”
Today UFC President Dana White sat down with the OC Register and provided fans with some excellent insight as to what’s on the horizon for the UFC. Here is some interesting information from the interview.
Dana White confirmed the company has picked up:
- Quinton Jackson
- Rob McCullough
- Heath Herring
- Ivan Salaverry
- Urijah Faber
He also mentioned that they are still sifting through it all but the main score was the acquisition of Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. We’ll be hearing more information on who was picked up in the coming days.
When asked if being associated with the IFL would be a problem, White stated “Not at all, I’ll take care of that too.” That means we could see the likes of Matt Lindland and Bas Rutten in the UFC in the near future.
White’s reason for purchasing the WFA was mainly for the contracts and in the process he was able to squash the company.
For the past couple of weeks there have been rumors floating around stating that the UFC had purchased the WEC and today Dana White confirmed them. In the interview White said he did in fact purchase the WEC and he went on to say “We’re going to take that to a whole other level, put it on television and blow it up. Pretty soon the WEC will be number 2.”
“The WEC isn’t going to be looked at as a feeder show or guys who are aspiring to be in the UFC. There is going to be no trading or swapping. It’s going to be UFC versus WEC.”
White continued to assure the reporters that 2007 was going to be huge and we now know that is true. At this point we are still at the tail end of 2006 and White has already gone out and purchased the WEC, bought out the WFA, acquired numerous WFA contracts, and he expects his product to be televised on HBO in the very near future. Also there have been many rumors floating around that heavyweight ace Mirko Cro Cop may be testing his luck in UFC in the very near future. When asked about Cro Cop, White said “I’m looking at a lot of guys right now, I want them all.”
White closed out the interview by saying that the UFC would be coming to Canada in April of 2007 for the Georges St. Pierre vs. Matt Hughes rubber match. When talking about the rematch in Canada, an excited White said “How crazy do you that place going to be that night? How do you think it’s going to be for Hughes when he walks in with 16,000 Canadians in there? They’re going to kill him.” On top of that he said the UFC plans on branching out into Mexico and the U.K.
2007 is going to be great!
Reports indicate that Zuffa and HBO are in serious negotiations and are close to reaching an agreement that would bring the UFC to HBO.