Full Contact Fighter’s “The Daily Takedown:” Saturday Night Fights — World Series of Fighting Ready to Rumble With the UFC; One Man To Win $300K at GLORY Tournament
By Joshua Molina
In his epic, 87-fight career, Ray Sefo has fought the some of best (Mirko Cro Cop) and undoubtedly the worst (Bob Sapp).
He’s an indefatigable warrior who spent a majority of his career as a K-1 kickboxing star, but who has also fought inside the cage and as professional boxer.
And now the scrappy 41-year-old is taking on a new fight, one that just might be the most challenging of his enduring career.
Sefo on Saturday night will debut his World Series of Fighting Mixed Martial Arts promotion from Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, in a fight that will be televised live on the NBC Sports network.
At a time when mixed martial arts has emerged as the fastest-growing sport in the world, led by the rise of the UFC, the WSOF is looking to usher in the next big era of the sport and take advantage of the UFC’s slight drop in popularity.
It’s a tall task, but as any fighter knows, no one or no thing is unbeatable; it’s all about timing, seizing opportunities and being unafraid to fail.
An air of intrigue surrounds the debut of the show. The MMA media, the UFC and Bellator and hardcore fans will watch to look at the production quality, the live attendance, and the quality of the fights.
While the UFC has barely acknowledged the show, everybody knows that there’s a lot a stake in how the show comes off. NBC sports has committed to televising the first show; unless the ratings are horrible, it’s likely that NBC Sports will televise a second show.
But others are watching. With Strikeforce in shambles, Showtime might be looking for a new MMA company to partner with in 2013.
Will the World Series of Fighting be one and done? Or are we watching the birth of the next big thing in MMA? We don’t know yet.
What we do know is that the show has a strong main event. Former UFC champion Andre Arlovski will battle one-time rising star Devin Cole.
Arlovski is an enigma. He looks great (but can he please replace the ridiculous vampire mouthpiece?) and with power in his hands can undoubtedly can fight. But he can’t take a punch. After lose four straight fights, three by knockout, Arlovski has put together three straight impressive performances. His last fight was declared a NC because of an illegal kick, but Arlovski was well in control at the time.
If he can beat Cole Saturday, then we can say that Arlovski is back. That’s because Cole, a former All-American wrestler, will be Arlovski’s toughest opponent since he fought the tough, at-the-time confident Brett Rogers. Cole has won eight out of his last 11 fights. He would likely be fighting in the UFC right now, but an arrest on sex assault charges prompted the UFC to back out of doing business with him. The charges were eventually reduced to assault and sexual harassment.
Cole, who went three rounds with Daniel Cormier, is hungry to redeem himself.
Both fighters are hungry to redeem themselves. They both stand in each others’ way.
The card is stacked with 10 fights, including Anthony Johnson vs. DJ Linderman and Miguel Torres vs. Marlon Moraes.
Saturday’s show is also important because it gives fighters another option to make a living. These days, the UFC routinely dismisses fighters because the company has little fear that they will be successful in another promotion.
Competition will only make every company better. In the vicious business of MMA, fighters need options so that they don’t live or die on the whims of one or two power brokers.
Sefo now enters the business of MMA. Round 1 begins Saturday night on NBC Sports at 7:30 PST.
Saturday night also features an exciting kickboxing Pay Per View (also an iPPV on GloryWorldseries.com) event put on by the GLORY. In MMA, (unless your Ovince St. Preux in 2010), fighters compete, twice, maybe three times a year.
Imagine competing three times in one night? GLORY will hold the Final 8 tournament in Rome, Italy Saturday night. The winner of the single-elimination, one-night tournament will win $300,000 — an amazing amount considering that fighters in the UFC don’t make nearly that kind of money, (except for a handful of guys at the top).
The stand-up fighting promotions are growing in popularity and appear to represent a significant growth area for the combat sports movement.