Fighters Only Magazine reported all sorts of interesting UFC tidbits earlier today. They’re typically a reliable news source, but at least one of these is pretty out there, so for now, these should just be taken as rumors.
First off, as Dana White said they would, the UFC has been talking to Mirko ‘Cro Cop’ Filipovic, and will apparently be offered a multi-fight deal, assuming the two sides can come to terms. They’re reportedly not just talking money though. The UFC wants Cro Cop to fight at UFC 99 in Germany, and are offering Mark Coleman and Tito Ortiz as opponents.
Wait, Tito??? Yep, I said Tito, and I’ll get to that in a moment.
According to the report though, since neither Coleman or Ortiz are likely to move to heavyweight, and visa versa with Cro Cop, the chances are slim either of these fights will get made.
Personally, I’d like to see Cro Cop get a rematch with Kongo, but also recognize that putting him against an opponent like Coleman, who even the unimpressive Cro Cop should destroy, has its place in attempting to reestablish him as a contender. That said, I don’t particularly have any interest in that fight having seen Cro Cop put on a sprawl ‘n brawl clinic against Coleman nearly four years ago. Both fighters’ skills have dramatically diminished since then, especially Cro Cop’s, so why should I be compelled to watch a rematch now?
Back to Tito, you may be wondering how the UFC could be floating his name to Cro Cop when he isn’t even signed to the organization. Well, quite honestly, I’m wondering that too. Perhaps, what was just a casual, “Hey, if we got Tito back, would you be interested in fighting him,” turned into a news report. I don’t know, but with all signs pointing to Affliction’s demise following Saturday’s event, Tito isn’t going to have much of a choice unless he wants to fight in Japan, and that’s just not Tito’s style. So, what has been speculated by pundits and fans for months may be turning into reality behind the scenes.
The rumour that Tito Ortiz will be returning to the UFC in the summer has circulated for some weeks now.
This week, UFC sources said there is substance to the rumour, with the Germany event being a desirable return show because of the high profile Ortiz has there.
Unless a miracle happens this Saturday night for Affliction, Tito re-signing with the UFC is pretty much inevitable, but for now, we’ll just have to wait and see.
Moving on, Alistair Overeem’s presence at UFC 93 caused a bit of a stir further fueling the fire that he may sign with the Ultimate Fighting Championships. That fire burned white hot though in Dana’s final video blog when the two exchanged pleasantries cageside. Both expressed desire for Alistair to fight in the Octagon, and Dana even promised the fans he would definitely try to sign him.
Of course, MMA is a business, and fighters want to get paid the most they can in their short careers, so it’s little surprise that Alistair told Fighters Only that he’ll sign with the organization “if the money is right.”
“We will have to see what contract they offer me and if the money is right then yes, I am definitely interested.”
The other roadblock at the moment is his contract with DREAM. He has two fights remaining, and the UFC doesn’t sign non-exclusive deals with fighters, so how’s it even possible? Here’s Sherdog with some insight.
Golden Glory manager Bas Boon and his fighters Alistair Overeem and Semmy Schilt were on hand in Dublin to discuss a possible jump from K-1/Dream to the UFC. After his stellar performances in 2008, Overeem in particular would be a welcome addition to a heavyweight division that could improve. The “Demolition Man” still has two fights left on his contract with Dream; he will either have to complete the contract or Zuffa will have to negotiate with Dream parent company Fighting & Entertainment Group if it wants to acquire the services of the 6-foot-5 kickboxer earlier.
Both Schilt and Overeem would obviously have the biggest value when used in continental European shows like the one coming up in Germany in June. With less than five months to go, Zuffa may have to either pay a transfer fee for the rights to both fighters or possibly exchange some talent that the Japanese may be interested in like Yoshiro Maeda, Rani Yahya and Yoshiyuki Yoshida. Schilt has fallen out of favor with FEG anyway, so it’s likely that the company would let him leave under the right circumstances.
Personally, I would love to see Alistair in the UFC. He’s truly resurrected his career at heavyweight, and has proved he’s ready to start fighting the best the UFC has to offer. And let’s face it, there’s really not a clear cut line of contenders to face the Mir/Lesnar winner. Right now, with Couture and Nogueira on the back burner, unless I’m forgetting someone, Gonzaga and Kongo are really the only fighters you can even think of giving the next title shot to.
On a final note, Randy Couture was apparently offered a light-heavyweight fight against Lyoto Machida, although that conflicts with reports that he was offered Nogueira in roughly the same time period.
Like they say, don’t believe everything you read on the internet, but at least some of these rumors appear to have some substance behind them.