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The world’s happiest punching bag, Leonard Garcia, is gonna be fighting at the TUF5 finale. This is another smart move for the UFC, who have finally started stacking their TV cards with lesser known but more exciting fighters. As I mentioned in the Stout-Fisher post, this is the best way to make new fans out of casual viewers.

Karo better get used to not being the Welterweight champion, because I don’t see it happening anytime soon. MMAWeekly has an article on Karo and it has this sad hopeful paragraph:

With the win over Burkman, Parisyan has to be in title contention. At the post fight press conference, White eluded to Matt Hughes and Matt Serra having their fight in late fall, which means that if Karo were to get a title shot, it wouldn’t be until 2008. “He didn’t say no and he didn’t say yes, but I have a feeling I’m gonna have another fight before a title shot.”

Hah, try two fights at least. Dana’s got a boner for Georges St Pierre, and if he doesn’t just give the winner of GSP/Koscheck the next title shot (which is the big rumour at the moment) then he’ll make Karo fight the winner. That’s good news for fans but bad news for Karo since GSP has already beaten him once. A second loss to GSP and Parisyan will be stuck without a title shot so long as Georges holds the belt. Remember Andrei Arlovski’s position after losing twice to Tim Sylvia? Well, it’ll be like that except replace Tim with someone who doesn’t suck.

With word of Paulo Filho and Jens Pulver going to the WEC, I think it’s time for us to take a few seconds and review what’s happening. The original word from Zuffa was that the WEC would be a ‘competing organization’, on even tread with the UFC. We all smiled and nodded and waited for the WEC to become Zuffa’s farm league. When the UFC sent Joe Riggs to the WEC, I took it as proof that the WEC was where fighters got sent when they couldn’t make it in the big leagues. But now I’m not so sure any more.

It’s still too soon to tell what the fuck Zuffa is doing, but they’re certainly doing something. Moving Jens Pulver to the WEC is good for Jens (because he’s a featherweight fighter anyways), it’s great for the WEC, but it’s not so good for the UFC. The UFC has invested heavily in Jens, giving him the spotlight in this season’s Ultimate Fighter. While the LW division is definately one of the most exciting divisions at the moment, it’s also a total clusterfuck with no established contender list. Past Sean Sherk, Jens Pulver is the only guy with any kind of name outside of the hardcore fan base. So what the hell are they doing giving away one of their best known fighters to the WEC? What is the plan?

My bet is this is all the result of the PRIDE deal going sour. Now that the UFC only has 2 organizations instead of 3, we’re seeing a redistribution of talent across the UFC and WEC. Many Pride fighters will come into the WEC to get some cage seasoning and popularity. I also think you’ll be seeing more UFC fighters switched to the WEC. There’s already ‘contender traffic-jams’ in the UFC’s welterweight and heavyweight division, so it makes sense to even out the talent pool for now.

Do I think it’ll stay like this very long? No. The big issue right now is the influx of talent from other organizations. Once things have been rolling for a year, proper rankings will re-emerge and I think you’ll see the WEC settle into the role of establishing and promoting new talent. Eventually I doubt you’ll ever see a fighter in the UFC who hasn’t gone through the WEC.

Anyways, this is all speculation on my part but it makes sense in my mind. I’d love to hear what you guys think they’re doing, so comment away!

We didn’t get a lot of time to talk about it on our radio show, but I am fucking hyped for Spencer Fisher vs Sam Stout. You may not be too familiar with these guys, but all you really need to know is they’re both strikers who love to throw.
While some hardcore fans are complaining that the UFC needs to start putting ‘bigger’ fights on their UFN cards, I disagree. Past being a guaranteed slugfest, the other reason this fight will rule is that both of these guys are aggressive and hungry. Sam Stout chases guys down relentlessly. Spencer Fisher is one of my favorite fighters because he never quits. With both guys coming off UFC losses, they know they need to impress the brass in order to get back into lightweight contention.

There’s nothing better than seeing hungry up and comers with something to prove battling eachother. There’ll be no Arlovski or Sylvia bullshit going on with guys trying to win on the scorecards. No holding back for fear of making a mistake. These guys are gonna go at it full tilt, and they’re going to make new fans of every casual viewer who’s tuned in at the time. And *that* is what Ultimate Fight Night should be about.

WEC pay is out, courtesy of MMA on Tap:

Urijah Faber: $20,000
John Alessio: $18,000
Brock Larson: $16,000
Alex Karalexis: $10,000
Rani Yahya: $10,000
Cub Swanson: $8,000
Brian Stann: $8,000
Mark Hominick: $6,000
Alex Serdyukov: $6,000
Jeff Bedard: $6,000
Charlie Valencia: $6,000
Chance Farrar: $4,000
Brian Bowles: $4,000
Micah Miller: $4,000
Mike French: $3,000
Kevin Knabjian: $2,000
Craig Zellner: $2,000
Josh Smith: $1,000

For a second tier organization like the WEC, this isn’t too shabby overall. Again the pay for the middle and lower rung fighters is almost on par with the UFC, and the bigger names are already being paid a comfortable amount. There’s a few people who I think got short changed though:

Chance Farrar : The fact that a dude headlining a show is getting 4k/4k (that’s 4k to fight and 4k to win) is kinda sad. Especially considering the story going around that no one else was willing to fight Faber. Farrar took a fight he had no business being in, and lost his perfect record because of it. The WEC should take into account this and pay the guy more.

Kevin Knabjian: Another example of the WEC not rewarding a guy who stood up to the plate. Kevin was a last minute replacement for Carlos Condit, and he agreed to fight Brock Larson, a total beast. That’s worth more than 2k.

My main issues at the moment with payment (both in the UFC and WEC) is the base pay for starting fighters. If these organizations are serious about finding and developing new talent, they should be paying these guys enough to fight ‘full-time’. It’s not a huge expense either. Paying a fighter the equivelant of a 32k a year salary is only around 8k per fight, 4 fights a year. Paying guys 1000$ to fight on a major cable network is pretty scandalous. Giving a guy 2000$ to fight a guy like Brock Larson is even worse.

I’m not the kind of guy to constantly bang the “Pay everyone more” drum because take a look at what happened to boxing as a result. But there’s a difference between fighters not being paid as much as they’re worth and fighters who are practically having to pay out of their own pocket to fight for these organizations. There’s a serious issue with the pay for lower rung fighters at UFC and WEC level, and it needs to be resolved to ensure we don’t lose countless numbers of potential world class fighters who simply can’t afford to stay in the sport.

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