Heath Herring has announced that he has signed with the newly resurrected World Fighting Alliance. The deal is a four-fight, sixteen-month contract and his first fight will be December 9th.
Leading up to UFC 63 this week, UFC President Dana White has to be very vocal. However, he decided to comment on a few of the rumors that have been floating around as of late, things that he really didn’t even have to address.
When it comes to the stories out there that say many big-name UFC fighters are considering leaving the company because of horrible pay, what does White have to say?
“Believe me when I tell you, brother, people aren’t leaving me,” Dana White said in an interview Tuesday.
While declining to detail UFC’s finances, he said his athletes were happy with their take. “We’re a private company and our fighters make a lot of money, a lot of money,” he added.
“None of us are arguing, none of us are bitching and none of us are fighting. We get along with all of our fighters very well. They feel like they’re part of a very happy family. Let me tell you what, I can sleep at night. I’m not in this for the money and I never was.
“We’re a real business. We’ve got this thing rolling and we’re thrilled, thrilled that these guys are able to make what they’re making.”
Dana happened to use UFC Middleweight Champion as an example of this:
White cited middleweight champion Rich Franklin, a native of Cincinnati whose UFC deal calls for a basic fee of $18,000 per fight with another $18,000 for each win.
“Him and his wife just bought 15 acres of land and a big fat house that they just moved into,” White said.
White also decided to comment on Jeremy Lappen, CEO of the WFA, and the real reason as to why he was ejected from UFC 61.
White also denied being responsible for having the head of the rival World Fighting Alliance ejected from the Mandalay Bay at UFC 61: Bitter Rivals. Jeremy Lappen was asked to leave by Mandalay Bay officials, White said, because he had people distributing flyers in the casino for a WFA event.
The UFC president said he “embraced” competition from rival organizations.
“These guys create the talent that’s going to end up in my show some day. I’ve got no problem with these guys.”
“I’ve made more millionaires in this business than anybody else has,” White added.
Those are pretty brash comments by Dana right there. However with the UFC on top of the MMA world right now, I’d say that he can make those remarks whenever he pleases…
Highly touted lightweight prospect Urijah Faber has signed a multi-fight deal with The World Fighting Alliance.
“I actually signed with the WFA and will be fighting for them early next year or at the end of this year,” exclaimed Faber. “I just have some fights that I have to get out of the way; I have one that’s scheduled in King of the Cage for October 28th in Reno [Nevada] and one that’s a tentative date down the road.”
Faber also stated that he received offers from plenty of other big shows but the money just wasn’t right.
“I’ve gotten offers from a lot of big shows, but I’m making good money for a lightweight fighter fighting in the shows like I did this weekend,” admitted Urijah. “They offered me really good money compared to what the UFC does. I know it’s really important to get the big exposure but I feel like I’m making a pretty good name for myself. I’m ready to step in there; I just want to be compensated for it.”
Chuck Liddell was recently on MMA Weekly Radio discussing his plans for the near future...
Liddell stated that his next opponent will most likely be Tito Ortiz for the Light-Heavyweight title in December provided that Ortiz gets by Ken Shamrock on October 10th as expected.
Although a major push was made to get the fight with Wanderlei Silva worked out, things fell apart. Chuck noted that the announcement made at UFC 60 was a ploy by Pride to use the venue to promote themselves. He also said that the deal fell through because of Pride and had nothing to do with Wanderlei.
As always, Liddell expressed interest in rematching Quinton Jackson and avenging his loss to him a few years ago. Chuck said that Rampage signed with the WFA to avoid him. When interestingly asked if he would ever move up a weight class and fight in the heavyweight division, Liddell didn’t rule out the possibility and said that he was open to fighting anyone.
He was questioned about retirement and when it would take place - Liddell said that he would be taking things one day at a time and that he doesn’t have plans to stop fighting any time soon.
Tonight I finally got the chance to check out WFA: King of the Streets. The pay per view broadcast was kicked off with a custom WFA theme song followed by an introduction of the co-main events. Barry Tompkins opened up the shows announcing introducing Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Matt “The Law” Lindland. Both Bill Goldberg and Stephen Quadros then join in and give their views on the WFA and the show. Eventually Phil Baroni appeared for a moment to give his picks and thoughts on the odds. Jimmy Lennon Jr. was the in ring announcer.
Rob McCullough vs. Harris Sarmiento
The first fight of the night featured Team Punishment co-founder “Razor” Rob McCullough going up against tough Hawaiian fighter Harris Sarmiento. Sarmiento was the first fighter to enter the cage followed by “Razor” Rob who was being cornered by Tito Ortiz. Referee Herb Dean was calling the action. The first round was a fairly slow paced as both fighters showed a lot of respect for one another and seemed hesitant to trade. At times we did see some action as McCullough was able to throw a couple hard low kicks and some punches. At various points throughout the round the fans began to grow very restless. One of the main things I noticed was the punches and kicks being thrown by “Razor” Rob were much harder and had a lot more snap on them.
The second round was a lot like the first. Both fighters still seemed very hesitant and the fight continued to play out exactly how it was in the first round. McCullough was able to sneak in the odd low kick and punch. The end of the round ended in the clinch as both fighters attempted knees.
During the break between the second and third round both fighters corners told them to go out gunning for the takedown. The fight did hit the canvas with McCullough on top. He attempted a few short punches but the fight quickly returned to the feet. In the end Rob McCullough was able to do enough in the fight to earn a unanimous decision victory as all of the judges scored the fight 30-27 for McCullough. With the win McCullough extends his win streak to seven and avenges his previous loss to Sarmiento.
Ricco Rodriguez vs. Ron Waterman
The next fight of the night was a super heavyweight fight between Ricco Rodriguez and Ron Waterman. In the pre-fight interviews it sounded as though they were trying to make it like Waterman and Rodriguez hated each other but it was a rather weak attempt. Ron Waterman was the first to enter the cage looking to be in very good shape at 286 lbs. Ricco Rodriguez then made his way to the cage with Tito Ortiz at his side. At 298 lbs Rodriguez looked very big and out of shape.
The first round began with both fighters meeting in the middle of the cage and touching gloves. Ricco then kicked off the action with a right and a superman punch. Waterman then made an attempt to take Ricco down by powering him up against the cage and going for a leg. Rodriguez showed great takedown defense and was able to escape. Afterwards Waterman was totally gassed and it showed. The two were back standing again in the middle of the cage and Rodriguez started bombing Waterman with shots. He landed an overhand right followed by another that landed flush. Ricco then threw two more shots and a knee. They then clinched again and when they broke free Ricco threw another overhand right followed by a hard left. Waterman was in trouble so Ricco tried to attack as he came in with the flying knee. He then throws another knee follow by an 8 shot combo with about 4-5 landing hard. Waterman was out on his feet. The round ended and Waterman was totally gassed and his eye was very swollen. The corner called a halt to the fight between rounds because Waterman was having trouble seeing.
Ricco Rodriguez won the fight by TKO. He was clearly the better striker in the fight and it showed. He blasted Waterman with numerous unanswered shots. For the size he came in at I’d say he did a great job.
Art Santore vs. Ivan Salaverry
The third fight of the evening was Art Santore vs. Ivan Salaverry. Salaverry was the first fighter to enter the cage. Once again Tito Ortiz appeared to corner his third fighter of the night. Santore then made his way to the cage dressed in a pimp suit dancing around. Dan Henderson was in his corner. Cecil Peoples the referee.
Both guys came out swinging in this fight. Salaverry started by rushing in with punches as Santore attempted to work the kicks. They then made their way back to the center of the cage and this was where Salaverry began to take over. He threw a nice right head kick along with some hard low kicks. Santore had a lot of trouble landing shots on Salaverry as every time he came forwards Salaverry was able to fade away from the punches. Throughout the first round Salaverry continued to pick Santore apart by landing hard punches, knees and kicks. He was able to open up a cut over Santore’s right brow and Santore’s face was showing lots of redness from all the damage. Salaverry ended the round with a nice hard left head kick.
Round two started with the fighters touching gloves. Salaverry then continued right where he left off pelting Santore with hard low kicks and a nice head kick. Santore was able to get the fight to the ground but there was little action so referee Cecil Peoples stood the fight back up. They were restarted on their feet and Salaverry came out right away with two hard low kicks. He followed that up with a head kick. They exchange a few head shots and during that time Salaverry was able to get in two more head kicks with the last one landing flush with the jaw. Santore was in trouble so Salavarry charges in with a combo and drops him with a left hand. Salaverry mounts him and begins to pound away. Cecil Peoples has seen enough and called a stop to the fight.
Santore was not out afterwards but it was still a good call as he was taking tons of shots on the feet and he had no chance once he was mounted. Afterwards he was very bloody yet still smiling. Ivan Salaverry showed he is a very well rounded fighter as he threw some great hard shots but he also has a great ground game to go along with those shots.
Jason Miller vs. Lodune Sincaid
Next up was Jason “Mayhem” Miller vs. Lodune Sincaid. Sincaid was the first fighter to come out followed by Mayhem who came out throwing money, dancing and wearing his signature mask.
This fighter was all Miller. He started early with some shots and then worked in the clinch where he was able to get in some knees. Miller then worked for the takedown. Once he got Sincaid down he was able to take his back. He works hard for the rear naked choke but Sincaid is able to break free and reverse Miller. He gets Miller in the half guard but he quickly loses it and once again Miller takes his back. This time Miller is able to get his arm under then neck and secure the rear naked choke. Jason Miller will now prepare for an ICON middleweight title fight against Robbie Lawler.
After the fight Miller break-danced in the center of the cage to celebrate. Afterwards the broadcast team announces that the WFA will return in October. The next fight was Lyoto Machida vs. Vernon “Tiger” White.
Vernon White vs. Lyoto Machida
The fight was fairly slow paced as Machida didn’t come forward much and basically sat back and counterpunched. Right out of the gate Machida threw a lazy shot and White was able to get in a great counter and put Machida on his back. He was unable to do anything while they were down. Later on in the round Machida was able to sneak in a few hard shots and kicks but both fighters were fairly gun-shy. White was having a lot of trouble getting any offence mounted as he was forced to charge in with shots as Machida was counterpunching. While charging in he’d leave himself open and take shots.
As the second round start Machida is able to get in a few hard left hands. His awkward stance and counterpunching continues to force White to charge in wildly. The crowd grows restless and begins to boo so Vernon White gives the crowd the finger. The fighters continue to stall with very little action. Late in the round Machida sweeps White and falls into his guard. He spends the rest of the round working from the guard. At the end of the round White has blood coming from his right eye.
The third round was a lot like the first and second. Both fighters wanted to counterpunch which caused a very boring battle. Machida is eventually able to take White down and get the side mount. From there he works to the mount. White was able to explode out but Machida then took his back. From there he tried to work for the choke but once again White spun out.
The judges scored the fight 29-28, 30-27 & 30-27 for the winner by unanimous decision Lyoto Machida.
Bas Rutten vs. Ruben Villareal
Next up was the fight everyone had been waiting for Bas Rutten vs. Ruben Villareal. Bas Rutten was making his return to mma after seven years on the shelf. They showed a good segment of Bas Rutten fighting in Japan and training. They also interviewed “Warpath” and he was able to introduce himself to the crowd.
“Warpath” was the first fighter to come out with Tank Abbott by his side walking to “Jesus Walks” by Kanye West. Next up was Bas Rutten who got a standing ovation. The crowd was going wild and it was clearly the loudest they had been all night.
Bas started the action off with a huge left hand. He was able to follow that up with a few more very hard shots. Villareal showed a very strong chin and lots of heart even though he was clearly outclassed. Rutten lands another very hard left. Villareal then comes charging forward and tries to work some dirty boxing while they are in close. Bas then breaks free and they come to the center of the cage again. Bas then throws a very hard low kick. He follows that up with another flush hard left kick. Villareal began limping so Rutten threw one more hard kick and Villareal went to the canvas. The referee ends up calling the fight as Villareal is unable to stand up.
Afterward Bas goes and shakes “Warpath’s” hand while he is down and then when “Warpath” got to his feet both fighters embraced and Rutten raised Villareal’s hand. Afterwards Rutten stated that he will need surgery on his knee as he tore his ACL. Also he said he pulled his groin and a rib.
Quinton Jackson vs. Matt Lindland
The final bout of the evening was the main event between Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. Jackson was making his return to the United States after a three year stint in Japan. Quinton came to the ring with Josh Barnett by his side.
The first round started with Matt Lindland getting the clinch immediately. “Rampage” was able to push him up against the fence and slam him on his back. Lindland was able to quickly get back up to his feet. From here they clinched again and “Rampage” pushed Lindland up against the cage. Lindland was able to land and elbow and then he returned the favour by picking “Rampage” up and slamming him to the canvas. Lindland was able to get the half-guard and from there he took Quinton’s back. “Rampage” was able to escape for a moment but Lindland quickly got his back again. Lindland then secured the rear naked choke but “Rampage” escaped just before the round ended.
At the start of the second round Lindland came out and surprised “Rampage” with a spinning backfist. The pace then really began to slow as both fighters were in the clinch. Lindland ended up securing a front choke but “Rampage” slammed him on his head to escape. This gave him side-control but once again Lindland was able to get back to his feet. “Rampage” then throws a few shots and gets Lindland down again. Once again Lindland does enough to allow himself to get back to his feet. At the end of the round “Rampage” landed a good uppercut.
Round three starts and once again both fighters quickly clinch but this time Lindland pushes Quinton up against the fence. Lindland then starts using a few foot stomps followed by some dirty boxing. Quinton is able to break out of the clinch and work a few shots. Lindland then throws a kick and afterwards is able to secure another front choke. “Rampage” looked like he was in trouble but he broke free and started working from Lindland’s guard. Quinton utilizes the ground and pound to finish the fight strong.
The fight was very close but the judges scored it 29-28 Lindland, 29-28 Jackson and 29-28 Jackson as we wins by split decision.
Overall I wasn’t very impressed with the event. There were a few good fights but the production was fairly poor. One of the biggest things I noticed was the lighting in the arena. You couldn’t see anyone in the crowd and when the fighters were coming to the octagon is was very hard to see them. The camera work was very poor at times as was the announcing. Bill Goldberg has a great voice but I didn’t hear him say one intelligent mma thing all night. I really enjoyed the fact that the WFA was able to get Jimmy Lennon Jr. to be their in ring announcer. It’s nice not having to listen to Bruce Buffer for three hours. Either way there were some good fights and it was a good first effort by the WFA. I think I’ll wait before I purchase the next event.
Here are the results from the weigh-ins for WFA: King of the Streets.
Quinton Jackson (204) vs. Matt Lindland (200.5)
Bas Rutten (214) vs. Ruben Villareal (260)
Lyoto Machida (205) vs. Vernon White (204)
Jason Miller (202) vs. Lodune Sincaid (205.5)
Ivan Salaverry (184) vs. Art Santore (185.8)
Ricco Rodriguez (298) vs. Ron Waterman (286)
Rob McCullough (154) vs. Harris Sarmiento (155.5)
Marvin Eastman (206) vs. Jorge Oliveira (206)
Edwin Aguilar (185.5) vs. Martin Kampmann (184)
Antonio McKee (163.5) vs. Adam Arredondo (158)
Jose Landi-Jons has pulled out his fight against Edwin Aguilar. No reason was provided but his replacement is Danish striker Martin Kampmann.
Kimo Leopoldo will no longer be fighting Bas Rutten at WFA King of the Streets. Kimo tested positive to a banned substance and has been pulled from the card. Wes Sims was thought to be the late replacement but he is unable to because he cannot fight twice in a seven day span. Sims decided to take the fight on the WEC “The Hitman” card.
The last time Kimo fought in the US against Ken Shamrock, he failed his post-fight drug test. He served his suspension and since he is making his return to the US for the first time since his suspension he was required to undergo a pre-fight drug test which he failed. Reports state that the drug Kimo tested positive for was the anabolic steroid Stanozolol.
WFA CEO Jeremy Lappen was in attendance at the Mandalay Bay Saturday to watch UFC 61: Bitter Rivals. Lappen was given a front row ticket from his former client Ken Shamrock. Just minutes into the event a UFC official along with three security guards escorted Lappen out of the Casino. No real reason was provided.
The newly revamped WFA has announced that they have signed a deal with Showtime which will have them airing a thirty-minute preview/countdown for WFA: King of the Streets.