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UFC Loses ‘Fireball Kid’ to Japan’s World Victory Road

(He’s got a little Captain in him.)

Though the UFC had been in talks to bring one of the best lightweights in the world to the Octagon, the two sides couldn’t come to terms, and it was announced today that Takanori Gomi has signed with Japan’s World Victory Road organization instead. Gomi will earn approximately $190,000 per fight, and makes his WVR debut at “Sengoku” on March 5th, to be held at the National Yoyogi Stadium in Tokyo. No opponent for Gomi has been named yet, but the card is expected to host fights between Phil Baroni and Sanae Kikuta, Kazuo Misaki and Siyar Bahadurzada, and Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos and Makoto Takimoto; a bout between Roger Gracie and Hidehiko Yoshida has also been rumored.

So, this blows. With every botched high-profile negotiation, the UFC’s claim to having “the best fighters in the world” becomes even more suspect, and Gomi was a big one. In particular, we would have loved to see a potential re-match between him and B.J. Penn. Penn submitted “The Fireball Kid” at a Rumble on the Rock event in 2003, after which Gomi went on a ten-fight win-streak, plowing through the likes of Jens Pulver, Ralph Gracie, Luiz Azeredo (twice) and Hayato “Mach” Sakurai. If the UFC can’t open their pocketbooks for guys like Sakurai and Norifumi Yamamoto and offer them what they’re worth, this is going to keep happening. Until then, we’re stuck waking up at six in the morning to watch Japanese fight cards on HDNet…

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Jonathan- January 31, 2008 at 6:25 am
damn... i would have LOVED to have seen gomi vs huerta... their styles are so similar! oh well...