News and Notes
- MMA journeyman Travis Fulton suffered a KO loss to the hands of former heavyweight contender Lou Savarese.
- Shinya Aoki will make his return to Shooto when he faces Akira Kikuchi in a rematch as he defends his Shooto 167-pound belt.
- UFC veteran Wes Sims will headline the March 22nd Palace Fighting card when he faces Anthony Fuller.
“I like this show. It’s a great setup,” Sims said. “For this being the first show, I’m very happy with the number of people here. If I had to rate this promotion on a scale of 1-10, I’d give it a 10 for a small show. If it keeps growing, I think it will be a great big show.”
- The WEC has announced that Versus will begin airing events in the summer. Versus will air three live fights and six one-hour highlight shows.
- NBCSports.com has added the UFC to their sports coverage.
The first WEC card under Zuffa ownership is quickly coming together with just 15 days to go until the event. One of the main events has been dropped, that being Jorge Oliviera vs Doug Marshall. The card including heavily rumored fights looks like this:
WEC Lightweight Title: Rob McCullough vs. Kit Cope
WEC Featherweight Title: Urijah Faber vs. Joe Pearson
Alex Karalexis vs. Olaf Alfonso
Carlos Condit vs. Alex Serduykov
Josh Smith vs. Casey Olson
Rich Crunkilton vs. Mike Joy (Rumored)
John Alessio vs. Brian Gassaway (Rumored)
Brandon Seguin vs. Fernando Gonzalez (Rumored)
A couple of potentially great fights on there, especially the two title fights and the Condit/Serduykov match. This is a very good offering for the re-invented WEC. Eventually, most of these fights will likely end up on VERSUS, the network that the WEC signed on to broadcast their events.
The World Extreme Cagefighting’s first card under Zuffa is beginning to take shape.
The card’s main event will pit heavy-handed lightweights Kit Cope and “Razor” Rob McCullough in a battle that will be for the vacant WEC lightweight title. The belt was originally held by Hermes Franca but he decided to vacate it when he recently signed a new four-fight deal with the UFC.
Doug “The Rhino” Marshall will battle Chute Boxe USA’s Jorge Oliveira for the vacant WEC light heavyweight title. Oliveira became a WEC fighter when the Zuffa purchased the contracts of the WFA. Zuffa decided they’d showcase Oliveira in the newly acquired WEC.
Urijah Faber will defend his WEC featherweight title against PRIDE veteran Joe Pearson. Faber much like MuCullough, Cope and Oliveira was acquired when Zuffa purchased the WFA. Faber was sent to the WEC because he fights at 145 lbs and the UFC doesn’t currently have a featherweight division. Faber’s only MMA loss came to the hands of UFC veteran Tyson Griffin at Gladiator Challenge 42.
Since acquiring the WEC, Zuffa has been working hard to put on a solid first show which will showcase some of their lightweight talent. WEC event’s are also expected to appear on Versus.
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.
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!
The WFA has announced the remaining fights set to take place on WFA: King of the Streets. The event will take place July 22nd at the Forum in Los Angeles and it will also be available on pay per view.
Jason “Mayhem” Miller vs. Lodune Sincaid
Rob McCullough vs. Harris Sarmiento
Jorge Oliveira vs. Marvin Eastman
Jose Landi-Jons vs. TBD
Rob McCullough came away the victor in the main event of the evening when referee Herb Dean was forced to stop the fight in the first round because of a cut over Ryan Healy’s left eye. Nathan Diaz put Joe Hurley to sleep with a triangle choke, forcing Hurley’s corner to throw in the towel during the middle of the second round. Hurley actually woke up and then proceeded to tap but the fight was already over.
Hermes Franca defended his WEC lightweight title for the last time before going over to the UFC, submitting Brandon Olsen with an armbar. Justin Eilers continued his winning ways has his opponent, Jimmy Ambriz was unable to answer the bell for the second because of a shoulder injury. The ringside doctor quickly found that Ambriz had a torn bicep tendon.