MMA Quick Hits 2/4/13: Andrei Arlovski vs. Anthony Johnson, Anthony Pettis vs. Jose Aldo
World Series of Fighting officials announced on Monday that they have signed a multi-year television deal with NBC Sports Network to air a minimum of six events annually. Their first event aired on the network as a time buy, essentially a tryout to see what type of rating they could pull. Apparently NBC liked what they saw, and they’ll now run multiple events per year. In addition to the television deal, NBCSports.com will live stream events as well. Sources close to the event said a heavyweight bout between ex-UFC champ Andrei Arlovski and Anthony Johnson is set as the headliner. “We are thrilled to call NBC Sports Network the home of World Series of Fighting,” said World Series of Fighting President and six-time world kickboxing champion, Ray Sefo. “This partnership will allow us to build the World Series of Fighting brand of world-class MMA competition before a dedicated national audience of passionate sports fans and place our athletes on the big stage that they deserve.” This is great news for the upstart company, and great for fans of free MMA. The first event was great, so hopefully they can continue where the left off. This Arlovski/Johnson bout is very interesting. I guess Johnson really hates cutting weight because in just about a year he’s gone from welterweight all the way to heavyweight.
During the post-fight press conference, after Jose Aldo defended his belt against Frankie Edgar at UFC 156, UFC President Dana White revealed that he received a text message from top lightweight challenger Anthony Pettis, who said he wants to drop to featherweight to fight Aldo. But would White grant that request? “It didn’t cross my mind until he texted me, but it’s crossing my mind now. I like Pettis.” While that would be all kinds of exciting, just no. No, do not give Pettis this title shot. Someone who just fought has a claim to the title, and his name is Ricardo Lamas. Lamas just dispatched the previous guy who was supposed to get a title shot. Oh heck, even the Korean Zombie is waiting. One of them should be next to fight Aldo. Besides, Pettis is already guaranteed a title shot at the winner of Melendez/Henderson. After that, and if he wins, then let him fight for the Featherweight title.
Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva told Fuel TV after he knocked out Alistair Overeem that he knew exactly how to fight the Dutchman. “He didn’t respect me for a long time – in a lot of interviews. He talked a lot of shit about me. In the press conference I said to him, ‘hey I make you respect me.’ I waited for the second and third round. I know he doesn’t have a lot of cardio or have a good heart. I know he won the first round. He used the ground and pound in the second and I said, ‘let’s go, push me harder.’ I know he was going to tire in the third round.” If that was indeed his plan, kudos, because it worked flawlessly. In my eyes Silva was down 0-2, but once he blizted Overeem it was all over.
Given his recent problems with Randy Couture, Dana White was asked how that would affect Randy’s son, Ryan, going forward with the UFC. “After I talked to you guys, I called Ryan Couture, and I said, ‘Ryan, let me put it to you this way: This is probably going to be the weirdest conversation you’re ever going to have with me. You signed a deal with us to fight in the UFC. I want you here if you want to be here, but I need you to understand this: Me and your dad are not good. Me and your dad are never going to be good – ever, ever again as long as I walk this fucking planet. I know he’s your dad, and I don’t want to – you know, I’m calling you up telling you how much I don’t like your father. But if you want to leave the UFC’ – because he’s not cornering him; Randy Couture can’t buy a ticket to this motherfucking event, OK? So I said, ‘He’s not going to be around, and I just want to be up front with you. You know how I am. I want to be honest, and I want to be up front. If you want me to release you from your contract so you can go do a deal with Bellator and have your dad and maybe work with him and do whatever, I would do that for you, too.’ He said to me, ‘Every kid who’s ever strapped on a pair of gloves is dreaming about fighting in the UFC. If they say they’re not, they’re either lying or they’re stupid. This is my dream. I want to be with you guys. Listen, he’s my dad, and he’s always going to be my dad, but this is where I want to be. I’ve worked my ass off to get here.’ I said, ‘Well let me tell you this: This is your house. Don’t ever feel like it’s not. Don’t ever feel like if you walk down the hallway at our show that you’re not part of this team and part of this family. I’m honored that you said that, and bro, we’re happy to have you.’ I just felt like that was something that I had to do. I had to talk to him.” This is good to know, that White wouldn’t hold anything agaist the younger Couture. Still, I think Dana is going a little nuts with this whole Randy Couture thing. Should he be upset? Perhaps. But basically banning the UFC Hall of Famer? That’s kinda dumb.
MMA HEAT’s Karyn Bryant talked with Rashad Evans just prior to UFC 156 and asked him about the apparent departure of one-time rival, Quinton Jackson. “I’m going to miss Rampage man. I’m going to miss him a lot. He was a great talent. And the sad part for me with Rampage is I don’t think he ever realized how talented he was, you know? And that’s one thing I wish that he would have realized how talented he was. I hope that he rediscovers some things for himself and find out that he is all fighter. He needs to be fighting on the biggest stage right now, and that’s with the UFC, you know, and I hope that him and Dana and the UFC make up and he comes back. I would love to see him compete again he’s one of my favorite fighters, he’s one of those fighters who inspired me to start training, so for him to come back and to really rediscover the fighter that he is and realize the potential, for me it would be great.” I, too, will miss Rampage in the Octagon if he’s for sure gone. It definitely seems that way, but I’ll hold onto hope until it’s official. As far as Rampage’s unfulfilled potential, Evans is right. Rampage has more tools that he never really displays in the cage because he’s always trying to put on a knockout show. Maybe he should train with Evans and make a comeback. Just throwing that out there.