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WEC 47 Payouts: Joseph Benavidez Leads the Pack, Pulver Takes a Major Pay Cut

Joseph Benavidez Miguel Torres WEC 47 MMA
(Photo courtesy of Sherdog.)

The WEC paid out $276,500 in disclosed salaries and bonuses for their WEC 47 card on Saturday, with bantamweight contender Joseph Benavidez taking home the biggest cut. Benavidez’s $39,000 haul — including his win bonus and submission bonus — made him one of just three fighters to earn over $20,000 from the event. The numbers are below; keep in mind that they don’t include income from sponsorships or undisclosed "locker-room bonuses," or deductions for taxes, insurance, and licensing fees.

Dominick Cruz: $18,000 (includes $9,000 win bonus)
Brian Bowles: $12,000

Joseph Benavidez: $39,000 (includes $14,500 win bonus, $10,000 Submission of the Night bonus)
Miguel Torres: $26,000

Javier Vazquez: $12,000 (includes $6,000 win bonus)
Jens Pulver: $14,000*

L.C. Davis: $18,000 (includes $9,000 win bonus)
Deividas Taurosevicius: $9,000

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Strikeforce Confirms April Show in Nashville; Hendo/Shields In, Fedor Out

Fedor Emelianenko Scott Coker Strikeforce
("These barbarian Americans," Fedor thought to himself. "Worshipping laminated rectangles with names on them.")

Strikeforce has been laying suspiciously low lately, leading some to wonder if they’re having behind-the-scenes problems with Fedor Emelianenko or their broadcast partners; Gegard Mousasi‘s departure from M-1 two weeks ago added another wrinkle to the mystery. Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker tried to shed what light he could yesterday, telling reporters that the organization would hold an event in Nashville, Tennessee, on April 17th, and that more announcements would come next week. No, it’s not much to work on. But recent reports have also clued us in on the following…

— The middleweight title fight between Jake Shields and Dan Henderson is a done deal for April. Said Shields: "I have a date (and) venue, but they told me to hold that back. Hopefully CBS. I think it’s CBS. There’s a slight possibility of Showtime because they’re still (working it out). I don’t know the rest of the card or any of that yet. But me and Dan’s on, and I’m hoping it’s on CBS."

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Report: Wanderlei Silva vs. Michael Bisping in Australia

Wanderlei Silva Keith Jardine
("Damn it…what did I just come down here for?")

Contradicting previous reports that Wanderlei Silva‘s next opponent will be Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 110 (February 21st; Sydney, Australia), Fighters Only UK says that the Axe Murderer will instead be taking on Michael Bisping:

Verbal agreements for the clash have been given, although Fighters Only understands that bout agreements are not yet drawn up. The fight will not be official until these are signed and returned by both men…
Silva and Bisping were due to fight at UFC 105 but the Brazilian legend had surgery on his face to remove scar tissue that had built up around his eyes. He was unable to make the November 14th date with Bisping and Denis Kang was drafted in instead…Silva had been rumoured to be facing Yoshihiro Akiyama at the UFC Australia event, but UFC president Dana White commented offhand after UFC 106 that the fight was most likely off. Today’s news explains that remark.
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Report: Randy Couture vs. Mark Coleman to Headline UFC 109

Mark Coleman UFC MMA
(Whaddya say, old-timer? One last job, for all the Lipitor?)

According to Sherdog, UFC hall-of-famers Randy Couture and Mark Coleman have verbally agreed to a light-heavyweight headlining match at UFC 109 (February 6th, Las Vegas). Combined age for the fight: 90. At 46 years and five months old at the time of his decision win over Brandon Vera last weekend, Couture is the oldest person to score a victory in the UFC. (If only Ron van Clief had pulled off the upset.) Coleman, who made his Octagon debut at UFC 10 in July 1996, has had the longest career of any fighter currently under contract with Zuffa.

The pairing tells us two things. First, that the UFC realizes a razor-thin decision over Brandon Vera isn’t enough to throw Couture directly into a 205-pound title fight; he’ll need at least one more win over somebody he can beat, preferably by stoppage. And second, that the UFC is absolutely desperate for headlining bouts. Couture vs. Coleman may turn out to be a #1 light-heavyweight contender’s match, but it certainly doesn’t deserve to be. Unfortunately, there are no bigger fights available to main-event the card. Though a middleweight title match between Anderson Silva and Vitor Belfort was previously expected to headline UFC 109, Belfort says he may be fighting someone else at the February show.

Fun fact: In 1989, Couture and Coleman met in a freestyle wrestling match at the 1989 Olympic Festival at Oklahoma State; Coleman won by one point. So you can expect the UFC to start referring to this fight as a "MAIN EVENT GRUDGE MATCH."

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Rebound Alert: Sean Sherk Draws Rafaello Oliveira for UFC 108

Rafaello Tractor Oliveira

From Georges St. Pierre to BJ Penn to Kenny Florian, Sean Sherk has fought nothing but champions and top contenders during his current run in the UFC. But after his loss to Frank Edgar at UFC 98, the Muscle Shark may no longer be a top contender himself. And so, it’s time to rebuild. In an interview with wicombatsports.com, Sherk revealed that he’ll be returning to the Octagon at UFC 108 (January 2, Las Vegas) against Rafaello "Tractor" Oliveira, the 9-2 BJ Penn training partner who lost his UFC debut to Nik Lentz at UFC 103. Coincidentally, Lentz is a training partner of Sherk at Minnesota Martial Arts Academy. "He’s been able to give me some good advice on him," Sherk said.

For the former UFC lightweight champion, this is one of those matchups where you just have to swallow your pride and get the job done. Yes, Oliveira is "below" him; he’s 0-1 in the UFC, and has never beaten anybody with a name. On the other hand, Sherk looked completely ineffective in his last match — the fearsome wrestler has become a middling kickboxer — and he hasn’t finished a fight inside the Octagon since 2002. "Tractor" is obviously being set up to lose here. If Sherk wants to make a comeback, he’ll have to hold up his end of the deal, and do so in impressive fashion.

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Strikeforce News Roundup: Fedor’s Injury Update, Jerry Millen Violates CagePotato Ban + More

Fedor Emelianenko Brett Rogers Strikeforce
("I’m gettin’ too calm and emotionless for this shit." Photo courtesy of Sherdog.)

— Though it was initially rumored that Fedor Emelianenko could be out-of-action for 4-6 months due to a jacked-up left thumb he suffered in the first round of his fight against Brett Rogers, his condition has been upgraded. Sherdog reports that the Last Emperor underwent surgery yesterday to fix his injury, and will have a half-cast removed in just 4-6 weeks:

[T]he fighter’s reps said two pins were placed in Emelianenko’s hand to correct the dislocation, and that the bone had not fractured… Emelianenko also said that his nose was not fractured, as was earlier suspected…Emelianenko said he planned to return to training, sans striking, upon his return to Russia later this week. M-1 officials said Emelianenko could headline his second co-promoted Strikeforce card in the first quarter of 2010.

— Cristiane "Cris Cyborg" Santos is expected to make her first Strikeforce title defense against Marloes Coenen on January 30th in Miami, according to MMA Weekly. Santos was originally slated to compete on last Saturday’s "Fedor vs. Rogers" card, but her return was pushed back after she suffered an injury during the 2009 ADCC‘s in September.

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Jacare/Lindland, King Mo, and Both Cyborgs Slated for ‘Strikeforce: Evolution’

Ronaldo Jacare Souza MMA
(Nobody makes Jacare bleed his own blood.)

Details are beginning to emerge about Strikeforce’s next big card, which is slated to take place December 19th at their familiar haunts in San Jose’s HP Pavilion. Though a headlining bout is still in the works, the event — dubbed "Evolution" — will reportedly feature…

A middleweight bout between jiu-jitsu specialist Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza and old-schooler Matt Lindland. Souza is coming off his chaotic no-contest rematch against Jason Miller, while Lindland hasn’t competed since he was added to Vitor Belfort’s highlight reel at Affliction: Day of Reckoning. The winner of Souza vs. Lindland seems like a logical choice to challenge the winner of Saturday’s Jake Shields vs. Jason Miller fight for Strikeforce’s brand-new middleweight title.

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Brock Lesnar Has Mono; Fight With Shane Carwin Pushed Back Even Further


(You can blame Kurt Angle for this one.)

From a post on shane-carwin.com titled "UFC 108 Not Happening For Me":

Guys my manager Jason Genet just told me that UFC 108 is not happening. Brock has Mono and what the UFC has told me is that I have earned the title shoot but I have to wait for the title holder. I hope Brock gets well soon. I highly suggest he get into a Max Muscle store because they have the best advice and supplements to support that advice. It really is the only way to make it through the grueling weather and training we live through. [Ed. note: Damn, Shane, that was the smoothest product placement since Wayne's World.] Here’s to spending some time with the family and eating as much as I can at Thanksgiving.

Heavy.com confirms that Lesnar has been struck down by what teenagers refer to as "the kissing disease," and not the flu as originally reported. There’s currently no timeframe on when Brock will be healthy enough to return to competition.

Unfortunately, this means UFC 108 is currently being headlined by Rashad Evans vs. Thiago Silva. But there is hope: To shore up the January 2nd card, a heavyweight clash between Cain Velasquez and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira may be in the works — which would surely determine who’s next in line for a title shot after Shane finally gets his turn.

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Jon Fitch’s Latest Opponent: Mike Pierce

Mike Pierce Brock Larson MMA UFC
(Mike Pierce takes Brock Larson for a ride during the "Diaz vs. Guillard" prelims in September. Photo courtesy of Sherdog.)

Poor Jon Fitch. Two weeks ago he was "So excited!" about his rematch with Thiago Alves, which was set up when his original opponent Ricardo Almeida went down with a knee injury. But Alves soon had to pull out for the same reason, and Fitch is now faced with a nightmare scenario for any top contender — a dangerous opponent with little name-value. As reported by MMA Mania, Fitch will now compete at UFC 107 (December 12th, Memphis) against Mike Pierce, a 10-1 up-and-comer who recently scored a major upset over Brock Larson during his Octagon debut at UFC Fight Night 19. Before he joined the UFC, Pierce toiled in regional promotions where he picked up wins over TUF castmembers Mike Dolce, Mark Miller, and Paul Bradley. He’s currently riding a six-fight win streak.

Obviously, Fitch should take this one; just as he derailed Paulo Thiago‘s hype train at UFC 100 after the Brazilian scored a freak upset against Josh Koscheck, Fitch will probably do the same thing to Pierce, who’s coming off the biggest win of his career. But once again, it’s a fight that doesn’t do much to move him towards another shot at the welterweight belt. Unfortunately, when your opponents are struck down with injuries, and you’ve already had a shot at the champion, and you won’t fight Josh Koscheck and Mike Swick because of your camp affiliation, your options tend to be limited.

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Report: Kimbo Slice and Houston Alexander Will Meet at a 215-Pound Catchweight

Kimbo Slice UFC
("Which hand’s the penny in, motherfucker? WHICH HAND?!?")

From nwitimes.com via MMA Junkie:

Several published reports have surfaced in recent weeks indicating [Kevin "Kimbo Slice"] Ferguson will take on light heavyweight striker Houston Alexander sometime after the conclusion of [TUF's] 10th season. The Times has learned from a source close to the Alexander camp that the fight has indeed been agreed to and that it will be contested at a special heavyweight catch weight of 215 pounds on "The Ultimate Fighter 10 Finale" on Dec. 5 at The Pearl at The Palms in Las Vegas.
 
According to the source, the fight was originally going to take place at light heavyweight. But Ferguson, the source said, is not able to make the drop to 205 pounds, and the two fighters agreed to the bout at 215 pounds. Ferguson weighed in at 230 pounds for his fight with Nelson on the show, which was filmed over the summer. And on a media conference call two days before that episode aired, he said he was then just short of 235 pounds.
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