Posted tagged ‘Antonio Rodrigo Noguera’

Breaking UFC News: Randy Couture is BACK!

September 2, 2008

I just finished listening to Dana White’s 3pm-EST media conference call where the UFC President laid out some very exciting news today regarding the UFC’s heavyweight division.

The UFC and their exiled Heavyweight Champion, Randy Couture, have buried the hatchet regarding their legal battle, renewing contractual agreements and bringing back the official UFC heavyweight champion.

Here are the Important Points from the Conference Call

  • Randy Couture is now officially back as a UFC Fighter full-time with a contract that stretches a minimum of three fights.
  • His first fight back will be at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas against highly-touted MMA Heavyweight and former WWE World Champion Brock Lesnar at UFC 91 on November 14, 2008.
  • The winner of Couture vs. Lesnar will face the winner of Interim Champion Antonio Rodrigo Noguera vs. Frank Mir. (that fight takes place in December)
  • The UFC will once again have an undisputed Heavyweight World Champion by the end of Q1 2009.
  • Dana White predicts at least one million PPV buys for Couture vs. Lesnar.
  • The UFC will try to set up a fight of Couture vs. consensus #1 MMA Heavyweight Emelianenko Fedor next year.

Ramifications from this announcement could affect the whole MMA landscape. For one, the UFC’s struggling heavyweight division just became one of the most intriguing in the company. Also, Affliction’s plans to host Fedor vs. Couture is now a wash. And most importantly, Couture’s legal loss now sets a precedent for other fighters hoping to challenge the UFC brass with lawsuits regarding contractual obligations.

My Ninja Predictions

  1. Lesnar will BEAT Couture in a shocking underdog victory via first round Ground and Pound TKO, thereby becoming the biggest star in MMA. As a result, Randy Couture will NOT fight Fedor due to his loss. What happens to Couture from there is a wildcard. He will likely have a few winnable fights and retire in earnest as the most decorated UFC fighter ever.
  2. Noguera will walk through Frank Mir and set up supermatch #2 with Brock Lesnar. Noguera will have a MUCH more difficult time with Lesnar than he did with another giant, Bob Sapp. I cannot predict the result of that fight yet, but if Lesnar keeps improving at this pace he has a chance to win.
  3. The UFC will come close to, or top, the million PPV buy prediction from Dana White. From there, it is only a matter of time before they take the next step in their evolution – a network television deal. CBS is a likely partner but that all hinges on the profitable outcome of EliteXC’s Oct. 4 card featuring Kimbo Slice vs. Ken Shamrock. CBS or not, the UFC should have the leverage to enter network television without mortgaging their controlling interest in operations.
  4. This decision is a win-win for everyone.
    • Randy Couture – even though he losses his legal battle, he succeeded in gaining a more profitable contract and extends his shelf life as a UFC Fighter.
    • The UFC train is back on track (as if it were ever off) and they will likely have to deal with much less angst from fighters challenging their contractual agreements. They also get their superfight in Lesnar vs. Couture, which is currently much more likely to do huge numbers than Couture vs. Fedor due to Lesnar’s mainstream recognition in the US marketplace. Likewise, their heavyweight division, which had been a mess, now has a gameplan for the next year or so. Furthermore, they now have the time necessary to develop new stars beyond Lesnar in Cain Velasquez, Shane Carwin, etc.
    • The biggest winner are YOU GUYS, the fans. You’ll now get to see a HUGE fight in Couture v. Lesnar, which will either give closure to Fedor vs. Randy OR set up potentially the hugest fight ever, Lesnar vs. Fedor, down the road. I view this announcement today to be a catalyst for the sport much like Forrest Griffin vs. Stephen Bonnar on SpikeTV. It should be a very exciting foreseeable future to look forward to for MMA fans.
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