Despite denials from Spike TV and the UFC, the UFC has green lit the last minute July 19 live Spike TV event designed to counter Affliction Entertainment’s MMA debut.
MMAmania.com has learned today that the UFC will indeed go forward with a Spike TV event on July 19 despite some recent reports that claimed it wasn’t going to materialize.
We first passed along the news over the weekend that several fighters had been approached about participating in the event, which is less than five weeks away. It is widely believed that the decision to stage an event on such short notice is to counter the Affliction: “Banned” debut event on pay-per-view (PPV) that same evening.
It also appears that Anderson Silva will be making his highly rumored light heavyweight debut against James Irvin in the night’s main event. The event will be titled “Ultimate Fight Night 14″ and Frankie Edgar vs Hermes Franca will be moved to the card from UFC 87.
MMARated.com has learned that not only is the July 19th UFC live event on Spike TV official but that the main event will feature a light heavyweight battle between Anderson Silva James Irvin. This fight will mark Silva’s UFC debut at 205 lbs.
This event will be dubbed “Ultimate Fight Night 14″ and will be held in Las Vegas. In addition, a lightweight battle featuring Hermes Franca and Frankie Edgar has also been confirmed. Early reports that it will take place at the Palms Casino Resort are still unconfirmed. As of today, the UFC was planning on officially announcing the card during this Saturday’s “Ultimate Finale Live” broadcast on Spike TV.
It’s important to note that Josh Gross of SI.com has reason to believe that a once rumored match between Chuck Liddell and Anderson Silva could still be taking place in the “near future.”
Three other fighters have been floated around as possible participants—Wanderlei Silva, Brandon Vera, and Cain Velasquez. Silva has reportedly turned the offer down, due to inadequate time to prepare. Silva has mentioned before that PRIDE often had him fighting on short notice, much to his chagrin, which may have played a factor into his decision.
Of course, UFC president, Dana White, is denying that the event was put together to counter Affliction’s card.
White denied such reasons of counter-programming, claiming, instead, that more fights is simply “giving the fans what they want. And Silva just wants to fight more.”
Seriously Dana, why not just admit what you’re trying to do here? We can see right through your “what the fans want” BS.
Ever since this news first broke, I’ve read all over the internet where people think this is great. Yes, we get two MMA events in one night, which is nice, but I think its terribly short-sighted to think this is good news.
If, ultimately, you want to see all the best fighters fighting each other, you should want promotions like Affliction to be successful. Its no secret the UFC has created a virtual monopoly on the industry. However, they only control approximately 60% of the world’s top ten ranked fighters in the top five weight divisions, depending on whose rankings you’re looking at. Due to the UFC’s exclusivity policy, that 60% is only allowed to fight that same 60%. Without viable competition in the marketplace, that is never going to change. As a fan, I want to see 100% of the top fighters fighting each other and that will never happen without competition.
The fighters, especially high-profile fighters like Anderson Silva and Brandon Vera, should want rival promotions to flourish as well. Without competition, they will be subjected to the same restrictive contracts and lower pay-rates with no other options to turn to besides the UFC. We’re already seeing a guy like Tim Sylvia who was making $125k/$125k in the UFC, signed to make $800k in Affliction with non-exclusivity, and he’s 1-2 in his last three fights! Any fighter who fights for the UFC on July 19 should know they are essentially working against their own best interests.
So yes, for one night, we get two major MMA events, but in the long-run its just going to hold the sport back from giving the fans what we deserve—all of the top fighters fighting each other. Who doesn’t want to see Fedor Emelianenko fight Randy Couture without all the legal BS? Or see BJ Penn fight Gomi, Aoki or JZ? Or see Anderson Silva vs Matt Lindland? Or Urijah Faber vs Kid Yamamoto?
In the end, we, as the consumer, will decide who fights who.
[UPDATE 6/17/2008 10:36PM ET] – Fight bookings are coming in from everywhere for Ultimate Fight Night 14. Reese Andy has signed on as Brandon Vera’s opponent in a light heavyweight match that will serve as the night’s co-main event. Jake O’Brien has been re-signed to take on Cain Velasquez. Anthony Johnson, who brutally knocked out Tommy Speer at Ultimate Fight Night 13, will take on Kevin Burns, who recently shocked everyone by submitting BJJ Black Belt Roan Carniero at UFC 85.
The latest card:
- Anderson Silva vs James Irvin
- Brandon Vera vs Reese Andy
- Frankie Edgar vs Hermes Franca
- Cain Velasquez vs Jake O’Brien
- Anthony Johnson vs Kevin Burns
The latest UFC: Ultimate Fight Night 14 fight card and event details can be found in our fight cards section.