As usual, there’s a ton of news and notes to cover following last night’s first-ever WEC pay-per-view event. Above, Versus.com’s Ariel Helwani gets Dana White’s immediate thoughts on the show and discussed a few other topics with the UFC president. Rundown of the news and notes below.
– Leonard Garcia, Chan Sung Jung, Manny Gamburyan and Ben Henderson earned $65k bonuses for Fight of the Night, Knockout of the Night and Submission of the Night, respectively.
– 14,144 people attended WEC 48 for a $1 million gate, a new WEC record if the CSAC confirms their accuracy
– Dana White explained their deals with Spike TV and Versus was the reason they completely removed the WEC logo and branding from the show.
“[The WEC and UFC] are two different brands on two different networks. Even though they’re owned by the same company, they’re two different brands owned by the same company. The networks aren’t going to let us do it…For me to get Spike over the hump to put this thing on and promote the ‘Countdown’ show and all the other stuff, thank God these guys went ahead and delivered and put on a good night for the sport. It was awesome…Whenever you promote a pay-per-view, you don’t want to limit yourself. WEC is on Versus. UFC is on Spike TV. We went with no branding for this one, and we got as much promotion as we could…At the end of the day, it’s about the fights. If you’re going to buy tickets to come to the show, if you’re going to buy the pay-per-view, it’s about the fights that night…We just wanted to make sure that we could expose these fights to as many people as possible. A-B-C-D-E-F-G, it doesn’t mean [expletive] to me. Sell some pay-per-views. That’s what we are at the end of the day: a pay-per-view company.”
While the future of the WEC on pay-per-view will likely hinge on the buy rate this show pulled, Dana continues to insist they have a long-term plan for the WEC and UFC.
“We know what we’re doing,” said White, who replaced WEC General Manager Reed Harris as fight-week promoter for the show. “We’ve got some plans, and as we start to go global and move into all these other countries, there’s a long-term gameplan for this thing. I just can’t tell you guys what it is.”
I have no clue what their plan is, but right now, it feels like they’re taking the scenic route to an eventual merger. We’ll see.
– No, Dana mouthing, “He’s mine,” on last night’s broadcast does not mean Jake Shields has signed a UFC contract…yet. Dana is “very confident” he will get him, but has to wait for Shields’ 45-60 day negotiation period with the “knuckleheads” to run out first.
“The deal with Shields, is that there’s some discrepancy as to whether it’s 45 or 60 days he has left on his contract,” White told a group of reporters after the press conference. “So he can work that out with the knuckleheads (Strikeforce), and when he does, we’ll jump in there.”
“I’m very confident that he’s going to be with the UFC,” White said Saturday.
Despite all the rumors, the timing won’t work out for Jake Shields to be the opposing coach to GSP on TUF 12.
– There’s already of talk of Jose Aldo going after two other titles — the WEC bantamweight title and the UFC lightweight title — and Dana White is not against the idea.
“I had heard that he wants to move down a weight class, win that belt and then go to 155 to fight BJ in the UFC. If he can do that, I don’t know if he can cut that weight and make that light a weight division, but he’d be the first guy to win three titles in three different weight divisions…I think it’d be pretty interesting. I love stuff like that. I think if a guy proves himself at a certain weight class it’s time to move on and try something new and I like that. but it’s so hard to do in this sport because there’s such a gap between weight classes. You can’t be like [Manny] Pacquiao [jumping] seven different weight classes.”
Much like GSP and Anderson Silva, I think this will just be talk for awhile before they ever actually act on it.
– Leonard Garcia vs Chan Sung Jung was insane! I see people everywhere up in arms about the decision, but honestly, I don’t even care. The fight was sloppy and it was often ugly, but it was non-stop, balls to the wall action and I freakin’ loved it. It was essentially the WEC’s Bonnar-Griffin. It was on Spike too so we’ll have to wait and see if it had any impact on the pay-per-view, but for now here’s Leonard Garcia’s thoughts on the fight.
“For me to be able to put on shows and fight and have guys who are gonna fight me like that guy, that’s a dream come true for me. I always said I wondered what it would be like to break my hand in any round and have to continue on in the fight. I told Coach ‘I think my right hand’s broken’ and he was like ‘It’s gonna be broken until the fight ends anyway so you gotta go in there and finish.’ I felt like he hit me with some shots that would have put anyone else down and I hit him with some shots that would have put anyone else down. He’s a great fighter, I think he’s gonna grow a lot. I heard some boos in the audience. I’m not here for judge’s decisions, I’m here to make fans, to give the best fights to my ability and that’s what I felt like I did tonight.”
I’m sure there will be a rematch but by the look of this picture they both have a lot of healing to do first.
– Dana White explains why Mike Brown might have been a little off his game last night.
“I hate talking about this kind of stuff because I don’t like taking anything away from Manny Gamburyan who went in there and knocked him out tonight and looked great doing it. But before the fight started, I was sitting next to Jake Shields and Mark DellaGrotte and both guys said to me ‘(Brown) might lose tonight.’ He’s got a lot of personal problems, his girlfriend broke up with him, he skipped camp for like 14 days. He’s got some personal problems that he’s dealing with right now and this isn’t basketball or baseball where you lose and say ‘Ah, we still got 130 games left so it’s all good.’ In fighting you’re only as good as your last fight and you have to be physically, mentally and emotionally ready every time you go in there and I don’t think that was the case with him tonight. I think he’s one of the best in the world, I think he’s got some personal problems right now but I’m sure he’ll be back as soon as he sorts them out.”
I haven’t seen anyone in the know mention anything about Manny Gamburyan getting the next title shot against Jose Aldo, however the general consensus is he’s the top contender for the crown.
– What’s next for Urijah Faber? Well, as long as Jose Aldo is the featherweight champ, we know the featherweight title is pretty much out of the question for him. Aldo didn’t leave any doubt about how a rematch would go. Still, Faber is the WEC’s only proven star so they have to find some way to keep him in the mix. Here’s Dave Meltzer floating the idea of Faber dropping down to 135.
It’s possible that Faber, having lost three of his last five fights, could drop to bantamweight. He has noted many times that he could make 135 pounds with little problem. He wrestled at a lower weight at UC Davis and he’s naturally small for the 145-pound class. Faber fought the past several years at featherweight because, at first, there was no bantamweight class. Once there was, he was already featherweight champion and beating everyone in his path.
– Dana confirmed they are “working on” Randy Couture vs. James Toney for UFC 118 in Boston, but it’s “not a done deal.”
– Is an all UFC television network the company’s endgame? That’s the question MMA Weekly is asking.
Some of those big things could include a UFC or Zuffa specific network or channel. The conversation about that possibility has come up before, and White didn’t exactly discount the idea when pressed if it could happen.
“If you can’t join ’em, beat ’em,” he joked.
The feeling I get is whatever notions they may have about a UFC network probably ties in with television gravitating towards the internet. I don’t know that we’ll ever see a UFC network similar to the NFL Network pop up in our channel guides on our cable and satellite boxes, but I could definitely see something like it on the internet. After all, Dana says the future of the company is riding on IPTV. And besides, they’re perfectly happy on Spike TV.
“I am happy as a pig in (expletive) with Spike TV. I love it on Spike TV,” said White. “They’ve been great partners to us, we’ve been great partners to them, and I’m not one of these the grass is greener over on network. It’s not.
“The grass is very (expletive) green on Spike TV.”
– Despite his threats to punish Anderson Silva by putting him in the prelims, Dana confirmed Silva and Chael Sonnen will headline UFC 117 in Oakland.
“You have to. He’s the main event…I wish I could sit down with everyone and explain, ‘Listen, this is what happened with Anderson.’ I can’t. He gave me no answers, either. It’s one of the craziest things, I’m sure, for any of us. All of us have been in the fight business or whatever for a long time, and I’ve never seen anything like that, ever. Ever. Nothing that crazy…Listen, he’s our guy. He’s the champion..Hopefully that never happens again.”
“That is true [of the Silva fight happening], on one condition, that is, if diplomacy fails,” Sonnen said. “I am giving Anderson Silva the fair chance to back out and back out now. But as sure as night follows day if he does not heed my warning I will declare war and on Aug. 7 at 7PM his 15 minutes of fame will come to an abrupt halt.”
— “Have we all had it with this ‘I got a staph infection?’ That’s like the new thing — I would be embarrassed if I didn’t have a staph infection. You know what a staph infection is? It means you’ve been working out on a mat. For goodness sake you should always want to have a staph infection. But I tell you what, when Aug. 7 rolls around, I may have one of these mysterious staph infections,I will have something on me will hurt, I will not feel good, but when my music hits those speakers, I’ll make that walk and I’ll answer for everything I’ve ever said.”
— “James Toney I think without question is the best striker we got in this company. I think James Toney can outstrike anybody including Anderson Silva and I think everyone here would probably agree with me. Though everybody’s dismissing James Toney, but they’re accepting Anderson’s skills. I dismiss both of those bums. That’s what I think about them. I dismiss them both.”
What’s left to say?