Actually, the Affliction rumors aren’t really rumors at all since they came straight from Affliction VP Tom Atencio. First, Tom confirmed rumors that Jerome LeBanner may sign with the organization to fight Tim Sylvia at Affliction 3.
“In terms of fighters we are looking at Jerome LeBanner, he is interested in doing MMA and apparently him and Tim Sylvia have some history between them so that is something that we are looking at right now.”
These two have history, so it actually would be a welcomed fight. Sylvia left little doubt that he will ever be the number one heavyweight in Affliction while Fedor is there, so what do you do with him? This seems to be a good solution, at least for now.
Atencio also stated that he’s very interested in signing PRIDE veteran Sergei Kharitonov.
“I would absolutely love to bring Sergei Kharitonov on board. He has had some back injuries that have kept him out of action but I would love to have him. I’m a big fan of Pride.”
If this comes to fruition, all Tom needs to do now is get Cro Cop when he’s done with DREAM, and he’ll basically have all the former PRIDE heavyweights, with the exception of Nogueira. He’s certainly a significant piece in anyone’s heavyweight division, but like Sylvia, is there really a need to see him get destroyed by Fedor again?
Now on the the juicier rumor. This one seems so far out there, and probably doesn’t have any shred of truth to it, but who knows, crazier things have happened in MMA. Wait, have they?
Rumors are starting to swirl that former UFC heavyweight champion Randy “The Natural” Couture could headline UFC 91 as the organization swings into Portland, OR, for the first time ever in November.
Goldenboy, a respected member of the mixedmartialarts.com forum who has provided credible tips in the past, provided the info earlier this afternoon. He first broke the news of Aleksander Emelianenko failing his blood test.
While Couture’s participation at UFC 91 is far from official, Eric, an amateur member of the Xtreme Couture gym where Randy trains, has confirmed that Couture is training to fight somebody in the near future.
“Goldenboy” also stated that Nogueira would not be Randy’s opponent, which pretty much only leaves Fedor as the only possible opponent I can imagine Randy coming back to the UFC to fight. And Fedor signing with the UFC, with everything we know about how far apart they were in negotiations last year, just seems way too far fetched. There’s no way the UFC signs Fedor for a one-fight deal so he can go in, do what he does, and run back to to fight for Affliction. An exclusive long-term deal seems even more unlikely considering he already has a contract in place with Affliction. I’m almost positive that’s not even possible. I’m definitely not buying this, but if it does happen, it could certainly qualify as the “mind blowing” announcement Dana White never delivered on.