Georges St. Pierre could be part of the most lucrative fight in UFC history. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
News & Notes
With a victory on Nov. 17 in his first fight in nearly two years, UFC welterweight kingpin Georges St. Pierre put himself in a position to negotiate for what will almost certainly be the most lucrative fight in UFC history -- a showdown against Anderson Silva.
Talk and posturing about the fight enveloped St. Pierre’s return outing against Carlos Condit at UFC 154, as Silva made an appearance at the event and held a press conference to discuss the fight. St. Pierre and his camp did not appear bullish on the bout, constantly bringing up Nick Diaz and Johny Hendricks in interviews as opponents of interest at 170 pounds.
In an appearance on a Montreal talk show, St. Pierre said he struggles to see a future past a Silva fight and will only take it when he feels he has conquered all other challenges. St. Pierre indicated money is not going to sway him into taking the fight prematurely. Weight is a key factor, as there seems to be a rough consensus around a catchweight of 174.
UFC President Dana White said he would like to make the fight in May and have it in either Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, or a stadium in Brazil or Toronto. It is unclear what the fight would mean for the middleweight and welterweight titles Silva and St. Pierre hold.
Other items of interest:
• It appears Bellator Fighting Championships will be making its Spike TV debut on Thursday, Jan. 10. The promotion booked a date at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J., for that night, and a venue in Irvine, Calif., the next Thursday. It is believed Spike will air live weekly Bellator events on one night of the week and a Bellator reality show on a different night. FX, which broadcasts “The Ultimate Fighter,” has signaled it will move the reality series to whatever night Spike tries to schedule Bellator’s show; that would serve as payback for Spike counter-programming “The Ultimate Fighter” on FX with archived UFC footage. According to a report in TimeOut Chicago, Bellator’s reality show will feature featherweight champion Pat Curran and run 10 episodes per season. Bellator also announced it has modified its policy on title shots. Fighters who lose competitive title fights will be eligible for rematches without going through another Bellator tournament. Ostensibly, this is to allow Eddie Alvarez -- he is negotiating a potential new contract and entertaining UFC offers -- to face lightweight champion Michael Chandler in a rematch of what many consider the best fight in Bellator history. Alvarez expressed disinterest in enduring another tournament to fight again for the title he lost to Chandler in November 2011;
• Fox is looking to boost the UFC network special on Dec. 8 by moving the three-hour preliminary fight broadcast from Fuel TV to FX, putting it in tens of millions more homes -- 36 million for Fuel TV as opposed to 91 million for FX. There will be six preliminary fights on FX, followed by four fights on Fox. Fox also aired a “Primetime”-esque “Road to the Octagon” special on the card and its fighters prior to NFL action on Dec. 2. The network is also pushing the UFC to consider holding its 2014 Super Bowl weekend event in New Jersey to coincide with the actual Super Bowl. Fox is keen on integrating UFC shows into other big weekend sports events as part of a strategy to create a halo effect of playoff football’s ratings on other Fox Sports content. The UFC is also said to be part of the vision for the Fox Sports 1 network, which is in development and will be designed to compete with ESPN. Fox will rebrand the existing Speed Channel into Fox Sports 1. Speed is available in three times as many households as Fuel TV;
• Glory World Series, which is keeping alive the Japanese tradition of MMA fights on New Year’s Eve using the Dream name, canceled its K-1-esque, one-night Dec. 2 kickboxing tournament and merged the fights into the Dec. 31 card. The promotion also reached a deal with One Fighting Championship that will allow fighters from that pan-Asian promotion, including Shinya Aoki, to appear on the New Year’s Eve card. A television clearance, a vital component of the event’s economic feasibility, has yet to be announced;
• In another Japanese MMA note, the venerable Vale Tudo Japan series will return for the first time since 2009 on Christmas Eve in Tokyo. Hideo Tokoro will headline the event against iconic lightweight Rumina Sato. For the first time, Vale Tudo Japan fights will take place in a cage and adhere to the unified rules. Vale Tudo Japan dates back 18 years, with roots in the same era of early Pancrase and the UFC;
• Legend Fighting Championship announced it has signed a two-year deal with ESPN International to broadcast its tournaments in 109 countries, including Australia and New Zealand, and in the Caribbean, Latin America and the Middle East;
• A series of high-profile fighters flunked drug tests after recent UFC bouts. Stephan Bonnar tested positive for the steroid Drostanolone following his Oct. 13 fight in Brazil against Silva. Bonnar has since retired. Dave Herman tested positive for marijuana for his fight with Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira on that same show, as did Thiago Silva following his Nov. 10 bout against Stanislov Nedkov in China. Both Herman and Silva were suspended six months and will be sent to rehab, the idea being they have a problem if they cannot stop using marijuana far enough out from a fight to test clean. UFC regulatory czar Marc Ratner told MMAJunkie.com that the UFC is working on a new drug testing policy with increased testing, including random tests, and will likely announce it by year’s end. Under Ratner’s supervision, the UFC serves as its own drug-testing and regulatory body when it travels to international jurisdictions that do not drug test;
• The UFC has begun to fill out its 2013 international calendar. The promotion will travel to Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Jan. 19, Wembley Arena in London on Feb. 16 and Saitama Super Arena in Tokyo on March 2. The Brazil event will air on FX, the other two on Fuel TV. The promotion also has plans for its first “Ultimate Fighter” season exclusively for Canadian television next fall;
• In other international notes, the UFC announced a deal with Indonesian broadcaster Media Nusantara Citra. MNC owns a sizeable portion of media outlets in the populous country of Indonesia and will air UFC content on terrestrial television. MNC, which claims to have the largest broadcast coverage in the nation of 237 million, owns three networks, as well as a number of newspapers and radio networks. The UFC plans to bring an event to the country as the sport establishes itself on television. In addition to broadcasting UFC content, MNC is also going to play a role in developing fighters in the country;
• Junior dos Santos joined Silva and Jon Jones in signing endorsement deals with Nike. It appears dos Santos’ deal is limited to Nike’s Brazilian arm. The athletic apparel company’s Japanese branch has worked with MMA fighters in the past, including Tatsuya Kawajiri and Yoshihiro Akiyama;
• The UFC and Ticketmaster signed a deal making the ticket seller an official resale marketplace for the promotion. This essentially means Ticketmaster guarantees UFC tickets purchased on its website are authentic;
• UFC lightweight Anthony Pettis took on an ownership stake in his coach Duke Roufus’ Roufusport Academy in Milwaukee, as well as the area MMA promotion North American Fighting Championship;
• There was some court action in the MMA world in November. A tattoo artist sued THQ, which designed and manufactured the first three modern-era UFC video games, for using his designs on Carlos Condit’s body in the game without his permission. Elsewhere, charges were dropped against Jason “Mayhem” Miller in relation to his alleged burglary of a California church.
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