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.