Winners of Henderson vs. Pettis, Edgar vs. Maynard to merge UFC, WEC titles
by MMAjunkie.com Staff on Oct 28, 2010 at 1:40 pm ET
A showdown between WEC and UFC champions is on the horizon.
The winner of an upcoming WEC title fight between champion Ben Henderson (12-1 MMA, 5-0 WEC) and challenger Anthony Pettis (11-1 MMA, 4-1 WEC) will meet the winner of an upcoming UFC title fight between champion Frankie Edgar (13-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) and challenger Gray Maynard (10-0 MMA, 8-0 UFC).
The news was shared today by UFC president Dana White on the heels of an announcement that the UFC is folding the WEC into its promotion in January 2011, though he did not provide a timeline for the meeting between the two promotions' lightweight champions.
Henderson vs. Pettis is set to take place at WEC 53, which takes place at the Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, Ariz., while Edgar vs. Maynard is set for UFC 125 on Jan. 1 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Until today's merger announcement, the WEC lightweight division was the only class which overlapped with UFC's lightweight division. That, of course, led to airy speculation on potential matchups between the promotion's champions, though both UFC and WEC officials repeatedly downplayed the possibility.
WEC 52, which takes place Nov. 11, and WEC 53 are the final events scheduled for the WEC.
Jose Aldo to defend UFC Featherweight belt @ UFC 125
The announcement of the merger between the UFC and WEC was less than an hour old when the news came down that Jose Aldo will be the first of the newly renamed UFC champions to put his belt on the line.
During a conference call to formally announce the merger, UFC president Dana White confirmed that Aldo would defend the featherweight championship at UFC 125 on January 1.
Once a promising No. 1 contender, Brazilian heavyweight Gabriel Gonzaga has been cut from the UFC following his recent loss at UFC 121.
The fighter announced the news on his Twitter page.
WEC/UFC Merger announced
World Extreme Cagefighting is merging with its sister organization the Ultimate Fighting Championship.In the video interview below, Dana White exclusively confirmed that the merger will take place in January 2011. In addition, White said that four UFC events will air live on Versus in 2011.
The final two WEC cards will air on the cable network on Nov. 11 and Dec. 16, which means that starting next year, the UFC will absorb WEC's 135, 145 and 155 weight classes.
Roy Nelson Welcomes The Challenge Of Mirko Cro Cop
With original foe Shane Carwin off UFC 125, the TUF 10 winner has a hint for the Fertittas on a replacement opponent-call the Cop. “I wonder if Lorenzo [Fertitta] is going to call Cro Cop to see if he wants to fight, he is [a] legend and has done some great things, would love the challenge, but as everybody knows I just like to fight the best and the challenges that it brings.”
Jon Fitch: Moving Up To Middleweight Would Be "Like A 2 Year Process"
And he still says it's dependent on Josh Koscheck beating GSP for the UFC Welterweight Title AND Kos defending it once, at which point FItch would likely be in line for his next title shot (Dana says Jake Shields is next). "It would be like a two year process for me to move up a weight class because I have unfinished business at 170. The thing is I would move up if Josh would win the title and defend it. So he’d have to hold on to it for a while. You’re talking about almost a year right there, with a win and defense. In that time I could fight GSP non-title, I could fight Jake Shields, I could fight Martin Kampmann, I could fight Carlos Condit. All those guys could be fought already, and after that there’s not much left to do in front of me. Then that would be the optimum time I would be looking for other challenges if I want to move up a weight class. If there’s no one else for me to compete with at 170 other than Koscheck, I’m going to move up."
Shane Carwin Update: Surgery Scheduled For Tuesday, Return Unknown
UFC heavyweight contender Shane Carwin will undergo surgery to address lingering neck and back problems that forced him out of a proposed Jan. 1 fight with Roy Nelson. According to Carwin's manager Jason Genet, the 35-year-old has been suffering through the injuries for years, working through them with physical therapy and pain medication. But the injury has gotten progressively worse until a few days ago, one of Carwin's arms went numb down to the elbow, necessitating a visit to the doctor. After examination, Carwin was told that even without surgery, he would be out a minimum of 8-12 weeks but was advised that an operation would be the recommended long-term remedy. Genet would not disclose the exact procedure Carwin would undergo, only saying it would address both back and neck injuries. "We're trying to avoid spending 12 weeks with rehabilitation, traction, pain pills and epidurals, only to end up getting surgery anyway," Genet said. Surgery has been scheduled for Tuesday (November 2), with no timetable set for a return.
ESPN Report: UFC To Start Its Own Network
The UFC has planned a press conference for Thursday starting at 1 p.m. ET with UFC president Dana White, and the news is said to be a “major” announcement.
ESPN’s popular Emmy award winning show Pardon The Interruption may have let the cat out of the bag a day early though. They announced on Wednesday that the UFC plans to start its own network.
“UFC is planning to start it’s own TV network,” said Pardon the Interruption co-host Michael Wilbon.
When asked if he was okay with the UFC starting its own network, PTI co-host Tony Kornheiser said, “I’ve got 75,000 networks on my cable system, certainly there’s room for even that.”
The UFC has made no official statement at this point regarding the announcement on Thursday outside of its shear magnitude. Although it’s own network isn’t a certainty for tomorrow’s the announcement, a new network dedicated and owned by the UFC would certainly fit the bill.
Patrick Cote confirms UFC release
Former title challenger, "The Ultimate Fighter 4" runner-up and veteran middleweight Patrick Cote is a free agent.
Following a loss to Tom Lawlor this past weekend at UFC 121, the Canadian today confirmed via Twitter his UFC release.
"I had a little hope but (I) finally got the release word from the UFC," wrote Cote, who suffered a unanimous-decision loss at the Oct. 23 event in California. "It's been [an] awesome experience. I'll be back."
On Eve Of UFC Debut, Toney Learned Of IRS Lien, Purse Withheld
James Toney walked into the riskiest fight of his career unsure of whether he would be paid for it. Toney's trainer and manager, John Arthur, says the Internal Revenue Service placed a lien on the boxer's purse the night prior to his fight with Randy Couture. Toney's camp currently is in litigation with the government agency to recover a reported $500,000 payout. Toney was not scheduled to receive a win bonus, nor a cut of the event's pay-per-view profits, said Arthur. The attorney claimed the IRS put a hold on Toney's purse to examine several past tax returns, Arthur said. Arthur disputes the $500,000 purse reported as Toney's payout by the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission and said the actual amount is lower. Per its statutes, the MSAC distributes checks cut from the promoter to fighters following an event, provided the fighter has not committed any rules violations punishable by fine and/or suspension. Ronnie Drimer, a representative for the MSAC, did not confirm or deny the alleged lien, though she said the office's legal team is preparing a comment on the matter. A representative for the IRS could not be reached for comment.
Marcus Davis To Lightweight, Possibly Retirement Soon
After seven years at welterweight, Marcus Davis will drop to the lightweight division for his next UFC appearance. Davis today said he made the decision after the realization that his frame is better suited for 155 pounds. And with retirement a serious consideration at this point in his career, Davis plans to remain in the new weight class until he calls it quits on a once-unlikely MMA career. "I'm going to finish out my career at 155 and try to entertain some people along the way before my old ass retires," he said. "I like the opportunities that present themselves." He's 9-5 career in UFC and has 2 fights left on his current deal, after which he'll decide what to do. "I've got to win two fights. If I make 155, and I win two fights, and I feel like the new Marcus Davis, then we sit down and sign a new contract. But I will say this: I will not be 40 years old and fighting. I just can't."
UFC 121 Medical Suspensions
The CSAC has announced the medical suspensions from Saturday's UFC 121 event. 13 fighters in all are suspended, all for at least 45 days but 5 fighters-Brock Lesnar, Jake Shields, Diego Sanchez, Court McGee and Patrick Cote-are all suspended 6 months, but all can be cleared to return early. Either way, Lesnar must sit out 60 days (cut) and McGee 45 days (precautionary reasons).
UFC 121 Fighter Payouts
The CSAC has revealed the official fighter payouts from Saturday's UFC 121 event. The total disclosed payouts were $1,513,000 with the biggest share-$400,000-going to Brock Lesnar. New UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez got $200,000 to go with the title, he would've gotten $100,000 if he lost.
UFC 121 Prelims: 1.5 Million Viewers
After a couple of busts with their "UFC Prelims" specials, the Ultimate Fighting Championship and Spike TV posted a strong showing with this past weekend's UFC 121 broadcast. The one-hour special, which preceded the Oct. 23 event's pay-per-view broadcast, drew a 1.03 household rating, an average audience of 1.5 million viewers, and a peak of 1.64 million. The peak audience came during the broadcast's second preliminary-card fight, which saw "The Ultimate Fighter 11" winner Court McGee submit fellow middleweight Ryan Jensen. The show also did a 1.42 rating in both the men 18-34 and men 18-49 demos Spike targets.
Former TUF Fighter O'Brien To Replace Ruediger At UFC 123
T.J. O'Brien, who was chosen for season 12 of The Ultimate Fighter but was KO'd quickly by Marc Stevens in an elimination fight, just got another chance in UFC. He's been tapped as the replacement for an injured Gabe Ruediger and will face Paul Kelly at UFC 123. O'Brien has agreed to the fight, paperwork pending. O'Brien has an official 6-fight win streak (the loss on TUF was an exhibition and thus isn't on his official record) and 13-1 in his last 14 fights, all 13 wins by submission.
Matt Hughes: UFC Needs a Fighter to Balance Joe Rogan
In almost every television broadcast of almost every sport, one of the commentators is an athlete who has competed in the sport being shown. You never watch an NFL game without hearing analysis from a former football player, or a Major League Baseball game without hearing the voice of a former baseball player.
But in the UFC, the commentary role goes to Joe Rogan, who's undeniably knowledgeable about MMA but whose background is in comedy and acting, not in fighting.
Matt Hughes says it's time for the UFC to add a fighter to the broadcast.
Injured Anthony "T.J." Waldburger out of UFC 124 fight with Matt Riddle
An undisclosed injury has forced Anthony "T.J." Waldburger (13-5 MMA, 1-0 UFC) out of preliminary-card fight with fellow welterweight Matt Riddle (5-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC) at December's UFC 124 event.
Riddle's manager, Malki Kawa of First Round Management, today announced the news via Twitter.
He stated that a replacement fighter will be named shortly.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) could not immediately confirm the nature of the injury.
Shane Carwin Off UFC 125
Shane Carwin is now off UFC 125 on New Year's Day due to a back injury and expected surgery. After dealing with back pain, the former title challenger underwent an MRI on Monday that detected an injury that "may really require surgery," he wrote on his official website, shane-carwin.com. He was to have faced Roy Nelson. No replacement named yet and UFC has not announced his withdrawal yet.
Silva Says He's Fighting Leben In April In Toronto
UFC middleweight Wanderlei Silva is pretty sure his next opponent will be Chris Leben and that the fight will take place in Toronto in April. The Brazilian MMA icon revealed the news in a recent interview he did with Fighters Only. “I think I want to fight in April in Canada -- I want to fight in Toronto. I think against Chris Leben. I want to fight with him next,” Silva informed Fighters Only when asked about his eventual return to the Octagon. “I think he is interesting, he is my size, he is aggressive, he fights to the front (comes forward)," he explained. I think we are going to make an interesting fight.” It's a big if though mainly because of the status of Leben-he's scheduled to face DUI charges in Hawaii in November and Brian Stann at UFC 125, but it looks like UFC is making alternative arrangements, possibly in anticipation that he will likely have to do additional time behind bars for his latest infraction.