Personalities

Mauro Ranallo to be the Voice of HCF

It has been announced that former PRIDE play-by-play announcer Mauro Ranallo has been signed to commentate for the newly formed Hardcore Championship Fighting.

“I have worked with Mauro for the past 8 years. Having him head up our broadcast team guarantees our spot amongst the world’s elite productions,” said HCF CEO Keith Crawford. “There really isn’t anything he can’t do when it comes to announcing.”

It has been a busy year for Ranallo. In August he signed with ‘The Fight Network’ and he will be the network’s lead news anchor for a Sportscenter-type of show which will start later this year. Then in early November it was announced that Ranallo resigned from Pride Fighting Championships due to difficulties he had with the American producer, Jerry Millen.

 

Nobuyuki Sakakibara Comments on Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic

In a recent interview, PRIDE President Nobuyuki Sakakibara provided fans with his thoughts on “Cro Cop” signing with the UFC among other things.

Mirko has decided to challenge himself in the UFC in 2007, just as the UFC officially announced today. We support Mirko’s desire to challenge himself and we hope that he will be a success as one of PRIDE’s top fighters. I think Mirko has left some unfinished business in PRIDE as well, such as rematches with Fedor and Nogueira. So, I anticipate Mirko challenging himself once again in PRIDE after he has taken the UFC Championship belt. For our part, we have decided to accept Mirko’s desire and support him as we see him off.

NSAC Files For Cro Cop’s Work Visa

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.

UFC Calls Off Montreal Card

Earlier this month, UFC President Dana White told reporters that the UFC was planning to come to Montreal April 7th with Georges St. Pierre vs. Matt Hughes II as the headline bout.

Unfortunately for the Canadian fans things took a sudden change as Dana White called off the card on Thursday. In an interview with The Globe and Mail, White said “Fell apart, unfortunately, there were a lot of different things that made that fight fall apart.”

“I’m trying to regroup right now and figure out when we go to Canada.”

With St. Pierre vs. Hughes currently on the backburner, fans will get to see Matt Hughes make his return to the octagon at UFC 68 in Ohio.

UFC Update: St. Pierre, Cro Cop, Rampage, Franca

UFC President Dana White has stated that UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre may be fighting Diego Sanchez April 7th in Montreal for the welterweight title. It was originally thought that St. Pierre would rematch Matt Hughes but it’s now up in the air.

It is all but confirmed that PRIDE Open Weight Grand Prix champion Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic has signed with the UFC. Look for an announcement to come soon, possibly on the December 30th show.

On the most recent edition of ‘Inside the UFC’, lightweights Jens Pulver and B.J. Penn were introduced as the coaches for season 5 of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ and also Joe Rogan announced that Quinton “Rampage” Jackson would be fighting in the UFC in 2007.

It has been confirmed that Quinton “Rampage” Jackson’s first fight in the UFC will come against UFC and PRIDE veteran Marvin Eastman at UFC 67. This fight was originally scheduled to take place on WFA: King of the Streets II but the fight was cancelled and shortly after the Zuffa LLC purchased the organization.

Randy Couture’s name has reemerged in the media as he stated that if Tito Ortiz beats Chuck Liddell at UFC 66, he’ll come out of retirement to fight Ortiz. “If Tito finds a way to beat Chuck, I’m going to have to come out of retirement and give Tito a whack.”

InsideFighting.com sat down with UFC lightweight Hermes Franca and he stated that he signed a new four fight deal with the UFC and his next fight would be January 25th at the Hard Rock in Miami, Florida.

Be sure to tune into Spike TV Thursday, December 28th, as they will be airing UFC 66: Countdown to Liddell vs. Ortiz II, All Access with Chuck Liddell and of course Inside the UFC with Joe Rogan. That will be followed by Live and Inside at 10 PM on Friday.

Finally remember to tune in live on December 30th at 10 PM EST as I’ll be doing one of our patented ‘Live Blogs’.

Inside the UFC Preview

Be sure to tune into Spike TV tonight at 12 AM EST as they’ll be going live with another edition of “Inside the UFC” hosted by Joe Rogan.

Here is what will be on the show tonight:

- The show may include a special announcement regarding a 2007 addition to the UFC roster.

- A preview UFC All Access with Chuck Liddell.

- The show will follow light heavyweight James Irvin as he makes him homecoming at UFC 65 in Sacramento.

- Introduction to the two coaches (Jens Pulver & B.J. Penn) of ‘The Ultimate Fighter 5’

- They will also show how the UFC is giving back this holiday season.

UFC Update: Canada, Cro Cop, Penn, WFA

Moments after the UFC Fight Night event concluded UFC President Dana White took some time to answer questions with reporters on subjects ranging from Mirko “Cro Cop” to Marcus Davis.

White mentioned that UFC welterweight champion Georges “Rush” St. Pierre would be fighting Matt Serra in February and then his next opponent would likely be Matt Hughes in April at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada. White then went on to say he has heard Hughes may want to wait so we could possibly see a fight between Hughes and Diego Sanchez but nothing is for certain. No matter what White said “We’re going to Montreal in April no matter what.”

One reporter asked if there was any more news on which fighters the UFC would be picking up from the WFA and White said “No, not since yesterday. I mean we talked yesterday and obviously the big score there was Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.”

Shortly after that another reporter brought up the rumors of the UFC signing Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, White smiled and said “Really, that’d be awesome too.”

Later White was again asked about “Cro Cop” and he smiled and said “I cannot deny or confirm that. We’re going after everyone; I’m taking over the world. We’re going after everyone.”

White confirmed that he’d love to do another show for the marines. He felt the atmosphere was tremendous and they were honored with the support provided by the folks in the armed services.

When asked about Jeff Joslin, White said “Joslin will definitely be back, no doubt about it. He’s a tough guy, a tough durable fighter. Josh Koscheck is no joke.”

White also confirmed that former UFC welterweight champion B.J. Penn would be a coach on season 5 of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’. Penn will be joining Pulver as a coach on the 5th season and it is expected that they will fight on the season finale which is expected to be in June/July.

UFC Update: HBO, WEC, WFA, Canada

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!

UFC Acquires Assets from WFA; Purchases WEC

Zuffa, LLC, the company that owns the Ultimate Fighting Championship has announced that it has acquired select assets from the World Fighting Alliance.

The company purchased select fighter contracts and the trademarks and other intellectual property of World Fighting Alliance.

Dana White, UFC President and Zuffa co-owner said, “Zuffa is committed to giving our fans the best fights between the best fighters in the world. This acquisition helps us continue fulfilling that goal.” White also said, “Goodman and Palazzo were working towards building a strong promotion. But bringing the WFA fighters into the Zuffa family is the best thing that could happen for the fighters – and for the fans.”

The WFA will now cease all operations.

The UFC also is in the final stages of buying out the WEC, according to MMA Weekly.

The WEC is expected to serve as a sort of developmental promotion for young fighters that the UFC signs. The WEC will use the offical Octagon and is scheduled at this time to hold it’s first event under the UFC next month…

Update - 11:11 PM
The Fight Network is reporting that UFC president Dana White has confirmed that Quinton “Rampage” Jackson is among the talents acquired.

Jeremy Lappen Sues WFA Owners

Tonight on MMAWeekly Radio, WFA President Jeremy Lappen broke news that he is suing the owners of the WFA for breach of contract.

Lappen stated that the WFA has failed to pay him along with many of the other employees. MMAWeekly is reporting that many of the company’s employees have left and the company is beginning to build up some heavy debt.

As it stands right now, the future isn’t looking very bright for the World Fighting Alliance.

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