Elite XC held a press conference yesterday to hype their next 11/10 show “Renegade.” Gary Shaw and his team deserve some credit for this one because the card is pretty stacked. Some of the main fights to look out for are Nick Diaz vs. KJ Noons for the new 160 lbs Lighweight belt, Jake Shields vs. Mike Pyle, Seth Kleinbeck vs. Kyle Noke and Kimbo Slice vs. Bo Cantrell (who is replacing the injured Mike Bourke). Antonio Silva and Yves Edwards are also likely to appear on the card however their opponents have yet to be announced.
Obviously, the main attraction on the card will be the Elite XC debut of Kimbo Slice. Slice, a street-fighting Internet legend whose only official MMA victory came against former boxer Ray Mercer in June, was by far the star of this press conference. He surely brings something different to the table but whether or not he is best suited for the backyard or an MMA cage is yet to be seen. That said, I am not sure if we will find that answer in the form of Bo Cantrell. Nevertheless, his debut in Elite XC will definitely garner a lot of attention within the MMA world and in this day and age that really is half the battle.
Other notes discussed on the call were:
Due to Gary Shaw’s concern for the dangers involved with extreme weight-cutting before fights he announced new weight classes for Elite XC. They will look to crown a new champion within each of these new divisions fairly soon. The new weight classes are: 140 lbs, 150, 160, 170, 185, 205, 265+.
This will be last for Mike Pyle in Elite XC. His opponent, Jake Shields, appears to be happy again despite reports to the contrary.
Gary Shaw seems interested in signing former Pride star Josh Barnett. He is still negotiating a Frank Shamrock vs. Ken Shamrock fight.
Shaw’s goal is for Kimbo Slice and KJ Noons to become the first ever dual champions in Boxing and MMA.
Shaw claimed that when Nick Diaz fought Takanori Gomi at Pride33 that he was under contract with Elite XC. Wha? Correct me if I’m wrong but that’s the first I ever heard of that.
For more check out the audio below. We make several appearances throughout the call.
Somewhere Vince McMahon must be smiling. First, Randy Couture announces he’ll be holding a press conference to discuss his resignation from the UFC. A couple of days later, coincidentally or not, the UFC decides to hold a press conference to announce their new TV deal with Spike beginning 30 minutes prior to Couture’s. Never a boring day in the world of MMA. Some of the main points discussed were:
The UFC has signed a new deal with Spike TV that runs through 2011. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Their current deal expires in 2008 meaning this new one will run for three-year. There will be at least four more seasons of The Ultimate Fighter and twelve Ultimate Fights Nights (four per year from ’09-’11). Also, a brand new “fight series” will be launching in 2010. No more details of this new fight series were made available.
UFC president Dana White said he did not schedule this press conference at the same time as Couture’s press conference. He claims it was simply a coincidence.
White said he has yet to speak to Couture and is waiting for Couture to call him back. However, in his press conference, Couture said he spoke to White and Lorenzo Fertita yesterday. Hmmm.
When asked about Fedor Emelianenko signing with M-1, White said that he was disappointed they couldn’t agree on a deal but that in all his dealings with Fedor’s management not once did they ever talk about Fedor. “It was always about his managers.” He also said “Fedor sucks. He’s not even in the top 5.” He also called Fedor’s agent, Vadim Finklestein, “a fucking liar.”
The deal with HBO is dead. The UFC is looking elsewhere. The reason they love Spike TV so much is because they have never tied them down. Spike allows them to look for partners, as well. HBO wasn’t as flexible.
Chuck Liddell, Wanderlei Silva and Brock Lesnar were also on the call.
Liddell never really thought about retiring after the Jardine loss and is not concerned with his last two losses. He thinks that a win over Silva will propel him back into the title picture.
White said that the winner of Silva-Liddell will definitely be considered a number one contender.
White said that the UFC is dying to come to Canada. A Montrealer can only hope…
Take a listen to the UFC press conference. White is asked to address the Couture situation right off the bat.
Meanwhile, here are some of the highlights from Couture’s presser that was shown live HDNet and proelite.com were:
“I’ve had issues with Zuffa and the company since they bought it in 2001…It’s the little things that make athletes feel appreciated that weren’t done…weren’t being done from my perspective that were done for a lot of other athletes.
“Everyone’s trying to make a big deal out of the money. This was never a money issue. It’s been a prevailing feeling of respect that wasn’t being given for eleven years of my life I have tried to represent this sports with integrity…Represent this sport in a particular way for the owner before and the owners now and I’ve never felt that that was appreciated.”
“I think that the Fertitas and Dana White did a marvelous job in saving our sport. I think our sport was gonna die. Does that mean I agree with all the decisions they’ve made and how they’ve treated a lot of people…no, I don’t agree with a lot of that.”
“I’ve been taken care of, I’m the last guy to complain. People are gonna ask questions ‘oh you’ve signed a contract eight months ago you seemed perfectly happy with that contract then.’ Nah, I wasn’t happy with that contract then.”
“I asked for a signing bonus and wasn’t given one. I don’t really know why but I wanted to fight.”
The general theme, as expected, was that Couture was pissed they were offering huge contracts to the Pride fighters and he wasn’t making close to their contracts.
He said he heard Liddell made close to $17 million last year while his base salary for the Sylvia and Gonzaga fights was $250,000 per fight. He also made one dollar for 100,000 ppv buy and up to three dollars for 330,00 PPV buys. Not exactly the $3.25-3.75 million that had been reported.
He kept saying that it wasn’t about the money yet he kept talking about money.
Once the Fedor match was off the table, he felt as though he had nothing left to gain by staying in the UFC.
Couture claims that his “hollywood agent” (as White has called him) had nothing to do with this because his agent has been with him for a while and he is his sports agent.
“I’m tired of swimming up stream…something needs to change.”
“They were given every opportunity…I expressed face-to-face how I felt…I’m not going to get into a pissing match with Dana.”
Couture says that prior to returning to the UFC he was offered $3 million dollars to fight Fedor in Bodog and took that offer to the UFC. That is when White proposed the Sylvia match.
“I’m saying that I simply left the UFC at this stage. It would be silly for me to sit here and say I’m retiring again… nobody is going to buy that crap, anyway.”
Couture said that he received a bonus after the Liddell fights and the Sylvia fight yet he didn’t receive any kind of bonus after the Gonzaga fight. He was extremely bothered by that.
Couture acknowledged that he has nine more months left on his contract so he seems to be willing to wait it out and then look elsewhere.
Courtesy of RawVegas.tv here are two videos of Randy Couture’s press conference.