WSOF Inks 1-Year Deal with NBC Sports; Torres, Lashley Among Notables Expected for Nov. 3 Debut

By Tristen Critchfield Sep 7, 2012

In at least one way, the burgeoning MMA promotion World Series of Fighting will outdo its Zuffa counterparts when it makes its debut on the NBC Sports Network in a little less than two months’ time.

While the UFC famously employs an eight-sided Octagon for its fights, and a Strikeforce uses a hexagon, the WSOF plans to unveil a decagon (10-sided cage) for its initial foray into the MMA business on Nov. 3.

The organization formally announced its plans for the event at a Thursday press conference. Promotion President Ray Sefo said that WSOF has a one-year deal with NBC Sports, and he hopes to hold between eight and 10 events during that time. For now, expect all the events to be held at the Planet Hollywood Casino in Las Vegas, although Sefo said expansion could come as the company continues to grow.

“We look to put the fans and fighters first and to promote the best events,” said Sefo, a former K-1 standout and two-time Strikeforce competitor. “It makes me proud to know that we will be the first [organization] to ever have an event on NBC Sports live.”

Former WEC bantamweight champion Miguel Torres will headline the card against an as-yet-to-be determined opponent. Torres was recently released by the UFC after a four-fight stint with the promotion.

“The biggest thing for me is that it’s a new company, a new beginning,” Torres said. “Being on NBC Sports is a huge thing. Me and my manager and my trainer talked, and it was the best decision for me to come here. I’m happy with the deal we worked out.”

While Sefo promised that more big names will be added to the WSOF roster in the near future, four fights were officially confirmed for the Nov. 3 bill during Thursday’s press conference: Josh Burkman vs. Gerald Harris, Gesias Cavalcante vs. John Gunderson, Gregor Gracie vs. Tyson Steele and Ronys Torres vs. Brian Cobb.

Additionally, notables Bobby Lashley, James McSweeney and Rolles Gracie have also been signed but do not yet have opponents. While the promotion’s website promises tournaments in five weight classes, Sefo said those plans will be put on hold for the moment.

“Obviously that was the initial plan. The tournament format will eventually come, but we’ll have to sit down and discuss that a little bit later,” he said.

The promotion’s Nov. 3 debut will place it head-to-head against a Strikeforce event taking place that same night in Oklahoma City. That card includes a highly anticipated heavyweight clash between Frank Mir and Daniel Cormier as well as a middleweight title tilt between Luke Rockhold and Lorenz Larkin, but Sefo is confident that the WSOF -- and its 10-sided cage -- can hold its own.

“That is a great card, but I’m positive and proud of our guys,” Sefo said. “I know for a fact that our card is going to be just as good. I know NBC Sports is going to do their best to promote us. I feel like we have an amazing card on the night.”


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