Who's On First For Shot At Dominick Cruz?
When Dominick Cruz defeated Brian Bowles to win the WEC bantamweight title on Saturday night, the new champion didn't have long to celebrate before the questions started coming about who he might fight for his first title defense.
WEC 47 Fighter Payouts
The Ohio Athletic Commission has released the official fighter payouts from WEC 47. The total disclosed payouts were $236,500 with the biggest share-$29,000-going to Joseph Benavidez.
Benavidez Leaves A Friendly Reminder On Miguel Torres's Skull
If you woke up today with a passionate urge to see inside Miguel Torres' head then this picture will make your day. Apparently if you get elbowed hard enough in the face, it could open a nasty gash right to your skull. Check out this picture of Miguel Torres just after his fight with Benavidez last night. Yum.
WEC 47 Medical Suspensions
The Ohio Athletic Commission has announced the medical suspensions from Saturday's WEC 47. 7 fighters in all are suspended, most got 60 days but 2 fighters-Brian Bowles and Miguel Torres-are suspended indefinitely and must get doctor clearance before fighting again.
Fighters Earn $10,000 Bonuses At WEC 47
With only three of the eleven fights on the card going to a decision at Saturday night’s WEC 47: Bowles vs. Cruz, World Extreme Cagefighting officials had their work cut out for them in handing out post-fight awards.
WEC signs "Korean Zombie" Chan Sung Jung to six fight deal
Sherdog.com has confirmed the signing of standout Korean prospect Chan Sung Jung to a six-fight deal with the Zuffa-owned promotion. The deal was confirmed with Jun Choi, who is the lead agent for Korean Top Team, the biggest entity in Korean MMA.
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According to his representation, Jung's WEC debut may come as soon as April 24 at WEC 48, the promotion's first pay-per-view venture, headlined by Jose Aldo's featherweight title defense against Urijah Faber. The most likely opponent for Jung is said to be Cub Swanson, though bout agreements have not been issued as yet.
After fixing mental game, WEC 47's Jens Pulver knew retirement wasn't the answer
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Shortly after a swift submission loss to Josh Grispi at WEC 41 this past summer, Jens Pulver was stuck in a four-fight losing skid and hinted at a likely retirement.
One of MMA's first superstars appeared on his way out, and Pulver was left contemplating what he called "the death of Lil' Evil."
It soon proved too much for the 35-year-old to bare, and after working with a doctor to diagnose and treat depression and anxiety issues, Pulver (22-12 MMA, 1-4 WEC) spoke to WEC officials, who then gave him a main-card slot at tonight's WEC 47 event against fellow vet Javier Vazquez (13-4 MMA, 0-2 WEC).
Pulver thinks his recent string of setbacks, which includes a 1-6 record since an appearance at UFC 63 in 2006, was more about crippling psychological factors than a decline in physical ability.
"I went and talked to my doctor, and they got my mind right because of the depression and anxiety," Pulver, who's part of tonight's Versus-televised event at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "A lot of people battle it. Once my mind got right, I shot to Idaho. I don't if I ever really – 34 years old – I don't know if retirement is in my cards because I'm not getting knocked to sleep with an ambulance picking me up.
"I'm making bad mistakes. ... That's how I'm losing. I'm making bad mistakes because my mind wasn't right, and so that's a transition I have to make."
Regardless of Pulver's future, his storied past assures a lasting legacy in the sport. And while many aging early trailblazers have returned to MMA for a final shot at stardom and now-lucrative fight purses, Pulver continues fighting for another reason.
"I didn't fight – I didn't go into this sport – because I wanted to be cool," he said. "I didn't jump into this sport because I wanted to be hard. When I did this sport, it was only legal in three states, it was kept alive on the Internet, and no one thought it was cool. No one even knew what this sport was. But I wanted to keep training. I wanted to be an athlete.
"Facing my mortality – the death of the athlete or the death of Lil' Evil – was just hard to think about. And that's when I started making changes, I had to make a lot of changes to correct things."
Whether the mental improvements will lead to improved physical efforts will be determined tonight. Regardless, Pulver said he's in a better place mentally to prepare for either success or failure.
That wasn't always the case, of course. As was well-documented in his brutally honest and open autobiography "Little Evil," Pulver suffered from an extremely difficult childhood due to an abusive father. Pulver carried the same name as his father, and senior's name presented plenty of baggage for junior.
But he's repairing the name and is now the happiest he's been outside of fighting.
"It's abuse, drunkenness, beat your wife, beat your children, neglect, no responsibilities and stuff like that," he said. "It was hard for me. I was running from that name. When I won the world title, I put a big end to that. I showed everybody that the Pulvers, that we have something to be proud of.
"Then I met my wife. ... I met the woman of my dreams. God smiled upon me and gave me the greatest homelife I've ever had."
Chan Sung Jung Likely Headed To WEC
Japanese MMA veteran Chan Sung Jung, a Korean fighter with a 10-1 career mark, appears headed to WEC. Nicknamed "The Korean Zombie", Jung is in negotiations with WEC and a deal is expected to be done soon. No confirmation yet from WEC and no date set for a debut for Jung, who is expected to compete at Featherweight (he recently has competed at 143 in Japan).
Zack Micklewright Off WEC 48
The curse has arrived in WEC. For the second time in less than 2 days a fighter has been forced off an upcoming card, this time it's Zack Micklewright, who is off WEC 48 due to an undisclosed injury suffered in training. He was to have faced Alex Karalexis. No word on if WEC will try to find a replacement foe for Karalexis.
Stephan Bonnar steps in for Frank Mir in WEC 47 commentator role
Cast member of "The Ultimate Fighter" and 11-time UFC veteran Stephan Bonnar will take over for former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir in the the "WEC 47: Bowles vs. Cruz" commentating booth this weekend.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) today confirmed the change to the Versus broadcast team with WEC officials.
Mir is understandably busy as he prepares for a UFC 111 interim title fight with Shane Carwin, which led to the change. WEC officials insisted that Mir's recent controversial statements regarding Brock Lesnar – and subsequent apology – had nothing to do with the change.
Kamal Shalorus not cleared for WEC 48 fight, Jamie Varner likely off pay-per-view event
A proposed WEC 48 lightweight matchup between former champion Jamie Varner (16-3 MMA, 4-1 WEC) and intriguing prospect Kamal Shalorus (6-0-1 MMA, 2-0 WEC) has been nixed.
Varner first posted news of the dissolution of the potential matchup on his Twitter account Wednesday night, and MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) has since confirmed that Shalorus was forced to withdraw from the event after failing to receive medical clearance for a few lingering, yet not serious, injuries from his hard-fought January win over Dave Jansen.
Bout agreements were never distributed for the contest, and it now appears likely that Varner will re-booked on another card at a later date.
"WEC 48: Aldo vs. Faber" takes place on April 24 at ARCO Arena in Sacramento, Calif., and features two title fights: featherweight champion Jose Aldo vs. ex-champ Urijah Faber and newly crowned lightweight title-holder Benson Henderson vs. Donald Cerrone.
Shalorus, an Iranian who wrestled for England in the 2004 Summer Olympics, made his WEC debut in late 2009 and replaced Alex Karalexis on short notice at WEC 42. There, he scored a quick, 86-second knockout of Will Kerr. He then followed up the successful debut with a unanimous-decision victory over then-unbeaten Jansen (14-0 at the time) at WEC 46.
A powerful wrestler with potent striking, Shalorus is considered among the WEC's top prospects. An exact timetable for his return has not yet been established.
Varner, who held the WEC's 155-pound title from February 2008 to January 2010, lost the belt to then-interim champ Benson Henderson at WEC 46. The loss snapped Varner's five-fight win streak, which began after a submission loss to Hermes Franca at UFC 62.
Varner returned from a year-long layoff due to hand and foot injuries when he fought Henderson.
Report: WEC In Calgary On June 20 (Updated)
"We're going to go up to Canada, and we're hoping to do that in the next few months," WEC general manager Reed Harris said recently on MMAWeekly Radio. According to one news article, "the next few months" means June 20. The report cites Calgary Combative Sports Commission chairperson Shirley Stunzi as confirming that WEC has “officially booked” the date in Calgary, Alberta.
UPDATE: A second article says that "A source close to the show said the event is not official and that a date and venue are still being finalized. However, all signs are pointing to a June 20 date at the 7,500-seat Stampede Corral."
Matchmaker says WEC 155-pound class isn't going anywhere
WEC matchmaker Sean Shelby shares a portfolio of fighters looking to fight in the 155-pound division with UFC matchmaker Joe Silva. Since this past March, the lightweight division remains the only weight class in which the two Zuffa, LLC-owned promotions share a common division. Why the overlap? In a recent interview with MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio), Shelby said the 155-pound division is a necessary tool to keep fans invested in the UFC's lighter-weighted sibling. "I really think it's a situation with the WEC that the future is the lighter-weight category," Shelby said. "The [155-pound fighters are] a fantastic bridge into the [145-pound fighters and 135-pound fighters], which are extremely well-established in the UFC, and they've had a great history in the UFC." Shelby points to boxing as a model for the popularity of lighter-weight classes. Fighters such as Floyd Mayweather, Oscar De La Hoya and Manny Pacquiao are doing the biggest business in boxing's recent history – with the days of heavyweight dominance in steep decline. "That's where all the money's at; that's [what] everyone wants to see nowadays," Shelby said. The WEC is just beginning to scratch that surface. Meanwhile, lightweights headed no less than five UFC events in 2009 due in no small part to UFC lightweight champion B.J. Penn's popularity. Three 2009 events featuring Penn have cracked the 500,000 mark in pay-per-view buys. "It's one of the last frontiers in MMA," Shelby said. "I don't think we're 100 percent there yet, but people are appreciating the lighter-weight guys." And often, the loyal fans of both promotions wonder why the WEC's top lightweights aren't fighting in the UFC. If they're so good, and the promotions are linked together, why not try them out against the UFC's best inside the octagon? Some fans want Jose Aldo to move up in weight and challenge Penn for UFC lightweight title – even though Aldo hasn't defended his own featherweight belt. Shelby is confident that while WEC lightweights could hold their own in the UFC, the division needs to mature before Zuffa, LLC addresses the issue of swapping 155-pound fighters. "I don't think we [can] cross that bridge yet because there's so many questions that aren't answered in the [155-pound] division in the WEC," he said. "I think if you have a guy who's just completely just decimated the division, then you can maybe start talking about that. But I don't think we're at that point yet." Keeping the divisions separate also means more work for fighters looking to make their marks in the sport. "There's enough to go around right now; there's enough talent," Shelby said. "When you watch these 155-pound fighters (in the WEC), I've never had a person come away going, 'I can't believe you had the [155-pound fighters] on there. That sucked.' They're always fantastic fights in the WEC. They're fan friendly fights. These guys are awesome fighters." Shelby said, in time, fans will come to appreciate the WEC lightweight division on its own. "I could put these fighters against anybody, and they would not only hold their own, but they would excel," he said.