Video of the UFC 102 pre-fight press conference is streaming on UFC.com. Here’s a rundown of news and notes from the presser.
Dana: Nogueira is in the best shape he’s seen him. Says he’s so light he looks like Lil’ Nog.
Dana: The winner of the Couture-Nogueira is “in the mix” for a title shot against Lesnar-Carwin winner.
Dana: Wants to see how fight goes between Demian Maia and Nate Marquardt before deciding who gets next middleweight title shot.
Randy: Been training at Team Quest all week. Described it as clean and “nostalgic.” All the hard work already done at Xtreme Couture in Vegas.
Dana: We’ve kept ticket prices we’re they’ve always been. Not raising pay-per-view prices. Thinks the response in Oregon has been great. Understands some fans are complaining about current ticket prices but they have to run their business and can’t lower them.
Randy: His and Nogueira’s styles are going to make a great fight on Saturday night.
Nogueira: I’m in much better shape than fans have seen in previous UFC fights. Trained in California for three months without distractions. Expect the Nogueira from PRIDE.
Randy: Mixed martial arts has become a way of life. MMA gave him the opportunity to be a professional athlete in the United States.
Nogueira: Very proud of representing Brazil in the UFC.
Randy: Bought 45 extra tickets for friends and family.
Dana: UFC 103 in Dallas is already sold out.
Dana: Working on cultivating the Brazilian market. Not going there in 2010, but will eventually.
Nogueira: Would love to fight in home country of Brazil, but loves to fight in the US as well.
Dana: We’re going to Vancouver soon. Coming to Toronto too.
Dana: If we add weight classes, it will only be lighter classes. Asked if that meant folding in WEC, he responded, “It doesn’t really mean that, but…anymore questions” with big fat smile. (Definitely looks like something is going on there)
Dana: Tequila Cazadores Authentic Spirit Award goes to Nate Marquardt.
A few post-presser notes via MMA Weekly’s twitter feed.
Dana White says he hopes to get GSP back in the Octagon by February…says Matt Hughes will be ready to go too.
Correction: Kang vs Bisping as UFC 105 co-main in Manchester…Penn vs Sanchez is a go, not at 105
Dana White confirms Penn v. Sanchez and Bisping v. Kang at UFC 105, NOT in Manchester, England http://twitpic.com/fhkqo
In reply to a question about where the Penn vs Sanchez fight would end up since it’s not on UFC 105, Kevin Iole tweeted this.
[Dana] said there will be another main event at 105. Bisping-Kang is No. 2. Not sure what he’s up to with a main there
He alluded to them adding another show. Said he wouldn’t counterprogram Strikeforce with a live show, but gave no other details
Now here’s where it gets interesting. When talking to MMA Junkie following the presser, Dana suggested the Penn-Sanchez fight could end up on a third show in November.
“It’s Penn-Sanchez, but I don’t know where yet. We’re working on a deal right now. That fight might end up somewhere else – and it definitely won’t be in Manchester…B.J. doesn’t want to fight anywhere. He didn’t want to fight in Las Vegas because he didn’t like the [the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s decision regarding Greasegate.] Then when they called it ‘The B.J. Penn Rule,’ now he likes Las Vegas and wants to fight. Don’t even get me started…But listen, you have to fight wherever we have fights. You’ve got to fight. If I need him to fight in Manchester, he’s got to fight in Manchester. But I’m working on something else for him right now…We could go early November with another fight.”
Dana says this third event isn’t certain nor intended to counter-program Fedor’s Strikeforce debut. He says they could beat Strikeforce with a replay of an event already seen “790,000 times.” Then he hinted at it happening with a new broadcast partner.
When asked by MMAjunkie.com whether the event would fall to Spike TV or pay per view, White’s response was simple.
“Neither,” White said. “Wait and see boys.”
Network TV? HBO? Is the UFC finally getting the major deal they’ve been looking for?
Image via CombatLifestyle.com
Update: Kevin Iole has a little more from Dana on the UFC-WEC merger rumor.
White said he has a new television deal with the cable channel Versus, which hosts WEC fights. Spike has an exclusive deal to air UFC fights on cable, but White said that’s not a reason preventing a merger.
He said he agrees with those who advocate a merger. “When people ask me that question, I don’t disagree,” he said. “It makes some sense. We’re trying to figure some stuff out right now. Obviously, not only Versus, but Comcast [which owns Versus] has been a great partner for us.”
In relation to the possibility of whether Spike’s exclusivity deal would get in the way of a merger, he said, “There are obviously some things that need to be worked out, but we can figure this thing out. We’ve had bigger problems.”
I’m sure it’s extremely complicated and would take a while to work out, but I really think they need to do it. Sounded like they’re adding the lighter weight classes to the UFC no matter what, so if they don’t merge it, would they bring over the champs and top talent essentially turning the WEC into a B-league for the featherweights and bantamweights like it currently is with the lightweights? If so, I suppose it wouldn’t really matter if they merged or not, right?