WCO

Report: WCO Headed to Japan for Next Show

The World Cagefighting Organization, fresh off of an embarrassing cancellation of a schedule event earlier this month, will now head to Japan for it’s next event, which will be likely titled ““Unbreakable”.

The news comes from Chris Howie of MMA News.

The event earlier this month was scheduled for January 12th at the San Diego Sports Arena but was cancelled due to insufficent funds gathered by the promoters of the event.

According to CSAC executive director Armando Garcia, the commission was informed that the WCO and Valor Fighting, who were co-promoting the event together, would not have enough money to pay the fighters competing on the card.

WCO President Bruce Bellocchi has big plans for the venture in Japan. Japanese businessman Nori Igawa is even going as far as to say that the promotion could serve as a replacement for PRIDE.

“The goal is to replace PRIDE and give the Japanese fans another top organization to be excited about. I believe the vision of the WCO deserves to be realized,” Igawa told MMA News.

CSAC Cancels WCO: The Return


Mark Kerr grapples with Mike Whitehead at an IFL event in November 2006. Photo courtesy of IFL.

The California State Athletic Commission has announced that it has cancelled the World Cagefighting Organization event scheduled for tonight at the San Diego Sports Arena due to insufficent funds gathered by the promoters of the event.

According to CSAC executive director Armando Garcia, the commission was informed that the WCO and Valor Fighting, who were co-promoting the event together, would not have enough money to pay the fighters competing on the card.

Josh Gross of Sherdog reports that WCO officials attempted to apply for a promoter’s license but were denied since there would not be enough time before the event to complete the application process. A promoter’s license would have allowed the organization to pay the fighters at a later date.

Even more disturbing, Ken Pishna of MMA Weekly has learned that several fighters were approached and asked to sign a new contract that would have them being paid $100 and then the difference of what they were supposed to make at a later date.

The CSAC has stated that all fighters are guaranteed 20% of their set purse per the commission’s rules and must be paid by January 18th.

The show was set to feature a number of notable veterans of the sport, including Ricco Rodriguez, Mike Kyle, Joe Riggs, David Loiseau, and Wesley “Cabbage” Correira among others. Mark Kerr and Kauai Kupihea were set to clash in a heavyweight bout. The main event was scheduled to have Renato “Babalu” Sobral going up against Vernon White.

Ghosn-Ambrose Off WCO Card

A scheduled welterweight bout between Tiki Ghosn and J.J. Ambrose has been cancelled according to Sherdog’s Josh Gross after Ambrose failed to show up for the event’s weigh-ins, which were reportedly very unorganized and took nearly five hours to complete according to those in attendance.

A replacement opponent for Ghosn will not be found in time so he will not be on the card.

Carmelo Marrero, who wasn’t advertised as participating at the event, will not be fighting after declining a fight against Team Quest’s Vinicius Magalhaes on short notice.

All of the other fighters on the card successfully made weight, including native Hawaiian Kauai Kupihea, who passed all of the required tests administered by the California State Athletic Commission. Kupihea will take on Mark Kerr. Kerr’s original opponent, veteran kickboxer Rick Roufus, was not cleared by the CSAC in time for the event due to late paperwork.

The Weekend Ahead…

There aren’t any blockbuster events going down this weekend but there are some smaller shows that everyone should definitely follow…

Obviously the big one has to be WCO: The Return, which will take place at the San Diego Sports Arena in San Diego, CA this Saturday night. The card is stacked with veterans of the sport, including a main event between Renato “Babalu” Sobral and Lion’s Den veteran Vernon White as you can see below:

Renato Sobral vs. Vernon White
Mark Kerr vs. Kauai Kupihea
Ricco Rodriguez vs. Mike Kyle
Joe Riggs vs. Gustavo Machado
David Loiseau vs. Leopoldo Serao
Wesley Correira vs. Jimmy Ambriz
Tiki Ghosn vs. JJ Ambrose
Virgil Zwicker vs. David Mejia
Fabio Costa vs. Carlos Fuentes
Georgi Karakhanyan vs. Armando Sanchez
Cain Velasquez vs. Tony Sylvester

As we reported yesterday, Rick Roufus was forced to pull out of his scheduled bout against Mark Kerr after he was not cleared by the California State Athletic Commission in time for the fight. Armando Garcia says that it has nothing to do with Roufus’ health but rather his paperwork was not done on time in order for him to be scheduled to undergo all of the necessary pre-fight tests.

WCO officials are trying to replace Roufus with Kauai Kupihea, who has racked up a 15-11 professional record that includes knockouts of Wade Shipp and Travis Wiuff. Kupihea has been tentatively approved but that not passed all of his requirements as of this morning. We will have an update on his status as soon as we receive the information.

Semmy Schilt will fight in MMA for the first time in over a year when he takes on Nandor Guelmino at the first-ever Lord of the Ring event this weekend at the Belgrade Arena in Belgrade, Serbia.

Schilt has not fought since submitting Min Soo Kim with a triangle choke at K-1 Hero’s 6 in August of 2006. Not much is known about Guelmino except that he only has three professional MMA bouts under his belt.

Sherdog has an article on Schilt’s return here.

Bonecrunch Fighting will also hold it’s first-ever event this weekend in Lakeland, Florida. The promotion uses a schedule similar to the IFL except matchups between teams will work like an elimination tournament if that makes any sense.

UFC lightweight Din Thomas will guide the Port St. Lucie Devils into action against the Tampa Terrors. The Cincinnati Norsemen and the Lakeland Blaze will clash in the other matchup. Seth Petruzelli and Josh Odom will be at the event to announce their fight between each other at the promotion’s next event in February.

KOTC and DEEP also have events scheduled for this weekend. MMA on Tap will have full results for those shows and the rest of the events that are taking place this weekend.

CKA: Jan 10, 2008

MMA on Tap has learned that the father of former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin passed away yesterday due to a heart attack. All of us here would like to send our thoughts and prayers to Rich’s family and friends during this difficult time.

Diabate to Train with Team Quest

Cyrille “Snake” Diabate has announced that he will be spending some time in the United States to train with Dan Henderson and the rest of Team Quest’s Temecula, California franchise in preparation for his first fight on American soil.

Diabate is looking to improve his wrestling skills and takedown defense during his stay:

“This is exactly the kind of opportunity I need,” says Diabate. “America is where everything is happening right now, both fighting and training-wise. In the past I haven’t had to worry

about top level wrestlers trying to take me down. But now [with upcoming fights in American promotions], things will change.”

If Diabate is looking to improve his wrestling ten-fold, he certainly picked the right place…

Grove Fought High for First Six Fights

In a recent interview with Cage Potato, Kendall Grove admitted that he fought in his first six professional bouts high off of marijuana:

See, marijuana is a touchy subject. I’m a rock star — I’ve been smoking weed since I was in the 6th grade, I can openly say that. But I’m also clean when I fight. I cut that shit out — I’m a professional. Don’t get me wrong, my first six fights, I fought high, I fought stoned. But when you get to this level, you have to take responsibility. It’s your job. I stop doing that stuff three months out.

Thompson-Rogers, “Krazy Horse” Added to EliteXC Feb Card

ProElite’s Sam Caplan is reporting that a heavyweight bout between James Thompson and Brett Rogers has been added to the undercard of EliteXC’s next event on February 16th at the United Bank Arena in Miami, Florida.

Thompson will be making his EliteXC debut at the event. He was knocked out by Neil Grove in just 10 seconds at Cage Rage 22 in July. Rogers is coming off of a submission win over Ralph Kelly at EliteXC: Renegade.

Charles “Krazy Horse” Bennett will also apparently compete on the undercard as well. Bennett has not fought since submitting Donnie Martinez with a rear naked choke at a KOTC event in October.

Miscellaneous Notes

Eric Bradley of Team Takedown fame is expected to sign with EliteXC according to Sam Caplan.  Rick Roufus has not been cleared by the California State Athletic Commission and will not fight Mark Kerr at WCO: The Return. Roufus has been replaced by Kauai Kupihea.

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