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UFC News & Notes: Arlovski’s next fight; Cro Cop’s future; who will Ortiz fight next; and more!

Both Yahoo! and had correspondents in New Castle this weekend to cover UFC 80. Here are some of the bigger revelations to come out of the event, with my thoughts included. I’ve also added some other UFC-related news that came out over the weekend, in case you missed it:

Arloski’s next fight looking like O’Brien: Various sites are reporting that Andrei Arlovski is expected to face Jake O’Brien at UFC 82 in Columbus, Ohio on March 2 in a story we reported earlier this week. This match has yet to officially been signed but O’Brien is expected to sign a bout agreement soon. No word on what Arlovski’s plans are but it looks like he might not have any other choice but to accept the fight if he still wants to become a free agent on April 15. Sounds to me that the UFC is resigned to the fact that Arlovski is unwilling to commit to the promotion long-term and the UFC wants to do everything they can to send him out with a loss. O’Brien’s style will make it very tough for Arlovski to impose his will. It’s good match making from a business standpoint for the UFC. O’Brien isn’t a major name right now so if he loses to Arlovski then it means he got a win against someone that isn’t one of the promotion’s key players. And if O’Brien pulls off the upset, it hurts Arlovski’s market value and makes O’Brien a more well known commodity.

White confirms Oritz vs. Machida match speculation: UFC president Dana White reportedly said that Tito Ortiz will be fighting again in May, so long as he signs a bout agreement to face Lyoto Machida. Like Arlovski, it looks like the UFC will be pulling a power play of sorts with Ortiz. Ortiz has one fight left on his contract and is due to become a free agent in June. If he doesn’t take the Machida fight then he runs the risk of not being granted free agency. All indications that I’ve heard is that Ortiz does not want this fight but may have no choice but to accept it. He’d like to fight more of a marquee name that will draw a bigger buyrate but with one fight left on his current contract, the UFC is unlikely to risk having a marketable fighter lose to someone who could potentially be fighting for another promotion soon.

White says Cro Cop uncertain about next move: According to White, Mirko Cro Cop is undecided about his future. Huh? Didn’t he just say on the Hustle show that he’s committed to MMA and that he won’t continue to disappoint his fans? Cro Cop’s camp is continually saying he’s re-focusing himself while White says Cro Cop is uncertain about fighting. What’s the real story? Is Cro Cop not being sincere or is the UFC trying to re-negotiate with Cro Cop so they can schedule him for fights without having to pay such a bloated guarantee?

Davis still wants a shot at Gomi: Marcus Davis has asked in the past for a match against Takanori Gomi and reportedly asked for it again last night. While their styles would mesh well, I’m not sure we’ll see Gomi face Davis if he were to sign with the UFC. I’m not sure if he can make 155 pounds, but they money needed to bring him in wouldn’t be well spent if he was simply going to be inserted into the UFC’s crowded welterweight division.

UFC awards lower bonuses after UFC 80: The UFC awarded several $35,000 bonuses after the show. Wilson Gouveia received knockout of the night, B.J. Penn got the bonus for submission of the night, and the fight of the night bonus went to Paul Kelly and Paul Taylor. No word as to why the bonuses were $35,000 as opposed to $55,000 but my guess is because the European shows are still losing money. That makes and everything, but if I’m B.J. Penn, why would I agree to fight in Europe again if I know my potential bonus won’t be as much as it would if I were fighting in the U.S.? Twenty thousand dollars is a huge difference.


  • Jeremy says:

    Davis should forget all about Gomi, Fitch is someone he should concentrate more on. He’s actually available to fight.

  • Evan says:

    Good write up Sam.

    My only guess about the Cro Crop issue is he obviously met with his camp while in Europe and something was said to him that has alarmed him to a degree.

  • mike wolfe says:

    I’m surprised by the cynical tone to the piece. Arlovski’s unimpressive recent fights don’t justify a match up with one of the better known contenders, regardless of whether he plans to leave UFC. And if he doesn’t win, or look like his former self, what should the UFC do? Keep him and continue to pay him for lackluster perfomances that are increasingly less interesting? I don’t think it’s some calculated machination by White. It’s a predictable response to an underperforming fighter.

    Same thing with Tito. Machida is a worthy opponent, and Tito’s lack of focus and recent fight history don’t justify anything close to a title shot or a shot against a contender. Tito’s stalled right now, and it’s either up or out in the rankings. Frankly, if UFC was as calculated as the piece suggests, they’d throw him in with somebody like Wanderlei Silva to beat the piss out of him on his way out of the organization. That would result in large buy rates and would damage Tito’s marketability with another organization. If White had a grudge against Tito that was motivating his business decisions, that would be a win-win situation for White.

    As far as Cro-Cop is concerned, he ought to be reflecting on his future. His losses to Gonzaga and Kongo have exposed some of his weaknesses and established his legitimate ranking. He’s an effective striker but struggles against aggressive strikers who back him up and walk him down, and his ground game is suspect. MMA is constantly evolving, and it’s a legitimate question to ask if Cro-Cop can evolve with or even wants to try at this point in his career.

  • mmaninja says:

    Gomi would really do a number on Davis, but good for Davis asking for it, he may get some publicity out of it.

    As for Arlovski, I’m just glad he’s finally fighting, he’ll beat O’Brian too. O’ brian couldn’t beat an overrated Heath Herring, I don’t see him doing much on Arlovski.

  • […] that there’s factual information out there that contradicts what they’re saying. Dana White claims that Mirko CroCop is still ‘undecided about his future’. Mirko CroCop would tend to […]

  • Derek B. says:

    I would like to see Cro-Cop quit the UFC and go to M-1 where he will be able to revenge the only loss on his record that he would care about…and that is the rematch of the century.


    who doesn’t want to see this fight?

  • Sam Caplan says:

    Derek, quitting the UFC wouldn’t allow Cro Cop to go to M-1. He’d need to be released from his contract.

  • Derek B. says:

    maybe he can pull a Brandon Melendez.

    I’m a little upset that Dana came out publicly before Cro-Cop had said anything to his fans about the way that he feels. I’m not sure if I believe what Dana says.

    I just can’t see Cro-Cop not wanting to fight anymore, but if that is his decision it should be very well respected. I’d just hate to see Cro-Cop go out with a 2 loss streak on his record.

  • I think Tito didnt really want the Lyoto fight because hes taking the risk of a loss, and he knows hes dealing with a serious threat, on the other hand if he beats Lyoto he puts himself back at the top right away and in Title contention in my opinion, as far as for Arlovski his fights have been boring even against Tim Sylvia where they did nothing for 5 rounds and against Fabricio same damn thing, its like who cares what he does next give him to another MMA franchise trying to build up. For Cro Cop yeah he had 2 back to back lossess but who hasnt evereyones making a big deal Lidell didnt loose twice Diego didnt losse twice Burkman didnt loose twice Hughes didnt loose twice, In my opinion his best bet is to get back in the cage ASAP and win, so everyone will be off of his nuts, you know. And as for Dana he has a big mouth and he is a greedy bastard always trying to make money for the company and not trying to pay the fighters what their worth and trying to make deals behind the fighters backs, also by paying the fighters a low amnt of money thats probably why they dont put it all on the line, in the back of their minds their probably like im not going to kill myself for 45 G’s on the other hand if he paid more bucks they would be all desperate to win and really wanna hurt their opponent, not just size each other up for the whole damn rounds.

  • Bullet2008 says:

    In response to DJ EZ, i think you’ll find it was Sylvia who made the AA fights boring as he does with all his fights and even though they havent been as entertaining as they were before his last 2 fights have resulted in wins the last one against arguably one fo the worlds best BJJ practisioners so AA had to stick to a game plan i.e. dont go 2 the ground with him AA frequently gets too caught up in the moment and goes all out when his opponent hits the deck which would have been a bad idea against werdum as hes deadly off his back therefore AA stuck to a game plan and saw it out for the win good job its a fuckin crime Dana is ignorin him for god sake Big Nog has a title fight and wtf has he done? a 3 round lackluster UD over heath ‘[email protected] herring he doesnt deserve shit and hes got it all because dana only see $$$$$ not whats good for MMA AA may not deserve a title shot just yet but he deserves a top 5 opponent not boring obrien who incident he’ll walk through AA is a class act Obrien is a nobody. With regards to Cro Cop your talking nonsense hes lost it hes lost his last 2 fights id bank he loses his next hes getting older and the fire has gone let it go he may have cleaned up in pride but this isnt pride anymore hes been taken apart twice by 2 better opponents he doesnt deserve anything AA has won his last 2 fights he deserves more than Cro Cop i say put them in 2gether watch Cro Cop get KTFO, the only thing i would agree with tho is Dana White is a money grabber and mark my words he’ll kill MMA in the end.


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