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Tag: World Series of Fighting

Is World Series of Fighting’s “Pay the Fighters Half” PPV Model Crazy Enough to Work?


(“Y’know Rousimar, it’s a shame how imbalanced the profit distribution is in this sport. Sometimes, it feels like we-OW OW OW OW OKAY I’LL STOP TALKING.” / Photo via Sherdog)

World Series of Fighting turned some heads yesterday — as in, we briefly looked up from our General Tso’s chicken — when the promotion announced that it will begin putting on pay-per-view shows beginning next year. In other words, the second-tier MMA promotion that very few of you watch on cable wants you to start paying for their shows. Make sense so far?

And, because WSOF has no superfights to sell you at the moment, the promotion is trying to generate interest through a unique financial arrangement: Half of the revenue that WSOF takes in through pay-per-view sales will go to their fighters. From the press release…

LAS VEGAS (Sept. 23, 2014) – In a radical move that could forever change the earning potential of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters, World Series of Fighting (www.wsof.com) has announced that it will enter the pay-per-view business in the second half of 2015 with an unprecedented revenue sharing model that will pay 50 percent of all net revenue earned from live pay-per-view events it produces, to the fighters featured on the telecasts.

“This is a proud day for the sport of mixed martial arts and our organization and one that we hope will create a better opportunity for the fighters who put everything on the line every time they step inside the cage,” said World Series of Fighting President, six-time world champion and two-time Hall of Famer Ray Sefo.

“Until now,” continued Sefo, “one of the main things holding this sport back from becoming even bigger than it is today has been fighter compensation and the inability of the sport’s top athletes to earn on par with top-level professional athletes in other sports.

“If fighters can’t earn a fair share of the money at the top,” said Sefo, “the fighters lose hope or become disenchanted with the sport, which impacts their commitment to training and preparing properly for title fights. That is about to change, thanks to this major step we are taking now fighters will train harder than ever to become a champion giving the fans some epic championship bouts to enjoy. We want to thank NBC Sports and NBC for giving us such an amazing stage to grow World Series of Fighting since its debut…

Additional details about World Series of Fighting’s 2015 pay-per-view launch will be announced soon.

It’s not bad for a publicity stunt. But can this revenue-sharing model actually work? Let’s do some quick math…

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‘WSOF 11: Gaethje vs. Newell’ Set for Ocean Center in Daytona Beach; NBC Broadcast Begins at 4 p.m. ET


(Justin Gaethje’s 69-second smash-up of Richard Patishnock, at WSOF 8 back in January.)

According to World Series of Fighting Executive Vice President Ali Abdel-Aziz, WSOF 11: Gaethje vs. Newell — the promotion’s big NBC debut on July 5th — will take place at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach, Florida. BleacherReport confirmed the news with Abdel-Aziz last night.

More importantly, the card will kick off at 4 p.m. ET, which means that it’ll finish right around the time that the UFC 175: Weidman vs. Machida prelims get underway. Considering that the TUF 19 Finale is scheduled for the next day, there’s no reason for you to not be watching MMA at any point that weekend. Hope you didn’t have plans with family or anything.

Aside from the WSOF lightweight title fight between Justin Gaethje and Nick Newell (both 11-0), the card will feature the rubber match between Jon Fitch and Josh Burkman, and Melvin Guillard vs. Gesias Cavalcante. No other matches have been confirmed.

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WSOF Signs New Deal With NBC Sports Group; ‘Gaethje vs. Newell’ to Make NBC Debut on July 5th


(Newell and Gaethje pose together during the- OH MY GOD MACHETE WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE DEAD.)

It’s official: World Series of Fighting has become the latest MMA promotion to sign a network television deal. Previously a fixture on the NBC Sports Network cable channel, WSOF has signed a new multi-year agreement with the NBC Sports Group that will bring its events to multiple broadcast platforms, including a set of events on NBC. MMAJunkie confirmed the news earlier today with World Series of Fighting president Ray Sefo.

According to the Junkie report, the first WSOF event to appear on NBC will be WSOF 11: Gaethje vs. Newell, which will take place July 5th at a venue to be named later. WSOF 11 will also feature Jon Fitch vs. Josh Burkman 3, Matt Hamill’s promotion debut, and a lightweight bout between Melvin Guillard and Gesias Cavalcante. As we’ve pointed out before, July 5th is the same day as the super-stacked UFC 175: Weidman v. Machida card, which makes the timing of WSOF’s big network debut less than ideal.

While specific details of the new deal have yet to be announced, MMAJunkie writes that the WSOF/NBC agreement runs through 2017, and a second NBC broadcast event is being targeted for December 27th. We’ll keep you posted.

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Jake Shields Signs With World Series of Fi-Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz


(If you think I’m going to waste my time thinking of a funny caption for this photo, you are out of your damn mind. / Props: Esther Lin)

Fresh off his kind-of-unfair-but-whatever firing by the UFC, welterweight veteran Jake Shields has signed a multi-fight contract with the World Series of Fighting, according to BleacherReport’s Jeremy Botter.

“I am very excited to be fighting for the World Series of Fighting. They have one of if not the best welterweight divisions in the world* and I look forward to fighting great fighters like Jon Fitch, Rousimar Palhares, Josh Burkman, Gerald Harris and more,” Shields said in a statement to Bleacher Report. “I also believe I will now be in an environment where fighters are embraced which will allow my performance at my very best! My first fight for WSOF will be soon so stay tuned. My thanks to the MMA community and fans for all the love and support.”

Between the guys that Shields listed, and other UFC castoffs like Yushin Okami and Melvin Guillard, WSOF isn’t just taking the UFC’s leftovers — they’re constructing a bizarre alternate reality in which we’ve all warped back to the year 2007 or something. WSOF should rename itself “UFC Classic” and see if they can draw Matt Hughes out of retirement. The crazy part is, people are legitimately excited about this. Here’s one representative tweet we got after the news broke:

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Melvin Guillard Signs With World Series of Fighting, Hopes to Make “Some Real Money”


(Hopefully Guillard can earn enough with the WSOF to actually get some lenses put in those frames, but a man can only dream…Photo via Getty)

Whether you were a fan of his brash personality or excitement-first fight philosophy, there’s no denying the impact Melvin Guillard had on the UFC’s lightweight division during his near-unprecedented 9-year run in the organization. His recent release from the UFC may not have been completely unexpected, given his 1-3 1 NC record in his past 5 fights, but it signified the end of an era in its own way. Of course, given Guillard’s fan-friendly style, we figured it wouldn’t be long before he found a new promotion to call home.

And as is usually the case, we were right. After a mere fortnight of unemployment, Guillard has signed a multi-fight deal with the World Series of Fighting, as confirmed by WSOF executive Shawn Lampman and Guillard’s own Twitter account:

We hope that’s truly the case for Guillard, because UFC vets like Josh Burkman might argue otherwise.

After the jump: Guillard speaks with The MMA Hour about life after the UFC and the factors that led to his uninspiring performance against Michael Johnson at Fight Night 37.

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Yushin Okami to Face the Complete Opposite of Yushin Okami in WSOF Debut


(Savov poses with his Bulgarian pop star girlfriend, Desi Slava, while Okami can only crysterbate into a box of tissues offscreen.)

After signing a multi-fight deal with World Series of Fighting back in October, former UFC middleweight title challenger Yushin Okami finally has a date set for his promotional debut.

If you recall, Okami was released from the UFC last September (to make room for the Jumabieke Tuerxuns of the world) despite going 3-1 in his last 4 fights, because whatever, fuck you. “Thunder” was quickly snatched up by the WSOF but has been sitting on the shelf ever since his signing for reasons unknown. Regardless, it was announced earlier today that Okami will make his promotional debut against Bulgarian Svetlozar Savov at WSOF 9 on March 29th.

With 11 finishes in his 12 victories, Savov is pretty much the antithesis of Okami, who collected just 4 stoppages in his 18-fight UFC career. That being said, expect Okami to come in as a huge favorite here. Not Cormier vs. Cummins huge, but somewhere around that. Thankfully, this squash match will likely slip completely under the radar once Rousimar Palhares inevitably maims Steve Carl in the evening’s main event.

Seriously, I cannot begin to comprehend why the WSOF is essentially rewarding Paul Harris for his repeated acts of douchebaggery in the cage by giving him an immediate title shot — it’s like giving a convicted arsonist a book of matches, a gallon of kerosene, and the keys to the home of the judge who sentenced him. “Tickets got to be sold,” I guess.

-J. Jones

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Rousimar Palhares vs. Steve Carl Title Fight Booked for World Series of Fighting 9 Main Event


(Props: The UG)

After signing Rousimar Palhares in November, World Series of Fighting is fast-tracking the unpredictable heel-hook artist to a title fight against the promotion’s reigning welterweight champ, Steve Carl. MMAJunkie reports that Carl vs. Palhares will headline WSOF 9, March 29th at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The event will be co-headlined by the inaugural WSOF bantamweight title fight between Marlon Moraes and Josh Rettinghouse.

A former Bellator vet, Steve Carl has won his last seven fights including three consecutive submission victories under the WSOF banner. His fourth-round triangle-choke of Josh Burkman won him World Series of Fighting’s 170-pound title back in October.

Palhares, of course, is the Brazilian maniac who was fired by the UFC for holding onto Mike Pierce’s leg after the referee intervened at UFC Fight Night 29 — the final straw in a controversial UFC career that included a similar incident against Tomasz Drwal, an elevated testosterone bust, and repeated episodes of excessive flexing. World Series of Fighting has already warned Palhares that they won’t tolerate any crazy behavior on their watch. Unfortunately, Palhares has the mind of a jungle-native and the impulse-control of an excited five-year-old at California Pizza Kitchen.

Palhares’s upcoming fight against Carl will be a much-needed opportunity to prove that he can behave like a professional, and we truly hope he can straighten out his head. But either way, kudos to World Series of Fighting for getting us to actually care about a Steve Carl title defense. This one should be interesting, folks…

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Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson Is the Hottest Free Agent in MMA — And the Most Over-Hyped


(In case you missed it, here’s what Rumble did to Mike Kyle on Saturday. Props: Arquivo El)

By Scott Sawitz

What a weird, wild ride it’s been for Anthony “Rumble” Johnson for the past 18 months. He’s gone from being a welterweight prospect with an insanely high ceiling (and an even bigger weight cut), to a high-profile UFC castoff, to a star for the fledgling World Series of Fighting promotion at light-heavyweight. After his spectacular knockout of journeyman Mike Kyle on Saturday night — which fulfilled the last fight on his WSOF contract — there was plenty of speculation among the MMA community on where he’d end up next.

Somehow, Rumble Johnson has become the hottest free agent since Hector Lombard. The WSOF, the UFC, or Bellator (or maybe all three) is going to offer him a big money deal because of one thing: Anthony Johnson is the only unsigned light-heavyweight in the world right now who looks like he could be a relevant fighter in the top tier of the 205-pound division. But the reality is, that’s only because he hasn’t had to face anyone that would suggest otherwise; the current buzz around Johnson wasn’t exactly built on quality of competition.

Bloody Elbow’s Mookie Alexander wrote a terrific piece on why the UFC needs Johnson, if only to bolster its dwindling, aging LHW roster, but I’d argue that Johnson isn’t the sort of high-profile fighter we think he is right now. You could never call him “elite” because he hasn’t fought anyone of note (with the possible exception of Andrei Arlovski, who he fought at heavyweight). In his best moments, Johnson looks like he could actually pass for a UFC title contender, but that could also be the result of some kind matchmaking by World Series of Fighting and Johnson’s management team.

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Jessica Aguilar vs. Alida Gray Might Be the Best Reason to Watch WSOF 8 This Saturday


(Jessica Aguilar photo via Jeff Lopes/Kimurawear)

Believe it or not, there’s a World Series of Fighting event happening this weekend. WSOF 8 goes down this Saturday at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida, featuring the twice-delayed fight between Anthony Johnson and Mike Kyle, and the promotion’s inaugural lightweight title fight between undefeated banger Justin Gaethje and Richard “Who Da Fuq?” Patishnock. [Ed. note: Not his real nickname. But seriously, have any of you heard of this guy?]

Look, I’d happily tune in to watch Rumble Johnson beat up any unretired jobber they throw at him. But it’s worth mentioning that WSOF 8 features a second title fight, which might turn out to be the most competitive, meaningful fight on the entire card. I’m speaking, of course, of the inaugural women’s strawweight championship match between Jessica Aguilar and Alida Gray.

For devoted fans of WMMA, Jessica Aguilar should need no introduction, but here it is anyway: Aguilar is an eight-year veteran of the sport who’s best known for her 5-1 stint in Bellator, where she won decisions against Carla Esparza, Lisa Ellis, and Megumi Fujii. Then, last October, Aguilar traveled to Fujii’s home-turf and beat her again (although not without controversy).

When Bellator shut down its women’s division last August, Aguilar signed with the World Series of Fighting — perhaps prematurely. In short order, other female Bellator refugees found themselves snatched up by the UFC (like Jessica Eye) or signed to Invicta and then snatched up by the UFC (like Felice Herrig). In other words, Jessica Aguilar is probably the best female 115-pounder not in the UFC, for better or worse.

As for Alida Gray, well, even if you don’t recognize her name, you may have seen her around here before…

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Publicity Stunt of the Day: Ali Abdel-Aziz Proposes WSOF vs. Bellator Pay-Per-View Extravaganza


(Click image for the full-size version. Yes, Eddie Alvarez is indeed listed as “hostage.” Image via @NewYorkRic)

For MMA fighters, one of the most tried-and-true methods of getting attention is to publicly challenge a fighter who’s a lot more famous than you. If you’re Conor McGregor, you call Diego Sanchez a fat has-been. If you’re any UFC middleweight who needs some fans, you call out Michael Bisping. If you’re Khabib Nurmagomedov, you put together a nice photo-collage of Hispanic lightweights for your dream-board. If you’re Jacob Volkmann, you threaten President Obama then get visited by the Secret Service. Sometimes, the resulting heat is good enough to get you noticed. Sometimes, it’s just transparent and crazy.

Case in point: On today’s installment of The MMA Hour, World Series of Fighting Executive Vice President and matchmaker Ali Abdel-Aziz challenged Bellator to a roster vs. roster pay-per-view event, with WSOF’s best fighters facing off against Bellator’s top talent. Abdel-Aziz even took the time to lay out what the hypothetical fight card might look like, as illustrated in the Excel document you see above.

“Listen, a lot of people said Bellator [is] number two and a lot of the media said Bellator is number two, but I believe it’s all about winning.” Abdel-Aziz said. “If we line up nine of our guys and nine of their guys, I believe we’ll win. We are number two, strong number two.”

Abdel-Aziz suggested that the event could be a “winner take all” card, in which the pormotion that came out on top would keep all gate receipts and PPV revenue. And despite the ludicrous, won’t-happen-in-a-million-years nature of his proposal, Abdel-Aziz insists that this isn’t just a publicity stunt:

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