by Ryan Bennett – MMAWeekly.com
MMAWeekly Insider, Ryan Bennett breaks down your emails regarding the latest rumors on Quinton Jackson, Joe Riggs, the IFL and The Ultimate Fighter Season 4.
“Alright a busy and important week for MMA fans as rumors swirl about Quinton Jackson, Joe Riggs, plus the IFL secures a TV Deal before their first show which has never happened before in MMA. Bushido 10 sees some last minute changes. We address all of those things in your latest emails.
I heard today that Quinton Jackson is signing a two fight deal with the UFC. True? Marvin Gorodiza – Bronx, New York
I couldn’t get anyone to confirm it and I’m not sure if I’m buying it despite the rumors. Could he sign? Absolutely, but there are some huge things that are still in the way from signing with the UFC. First one his agent. UFC President Dana White and Quinton’s agent haven’t made any bones about it, they haven’t seen eye to eye on anything as far as negotiations in the past. I’m not convinced they will see eye to eye on the money that Quinton and his agent will want.
Two, I hear Jackson’s agent will be a major player in the WFA as the WFA is looking to revamp their organization and they are interested in crowning Quinton as their “Tito Ortiz”. Remember it was Ortiz that was supposed to help jump start the WFA, but the UFC outbid their competition to get him. I hear Jackson may be the new poster boy of the WFA and the WFA will pay him better than Pride did which you know is significant cash. Once again Jackson I guess could have signed with the UFC, but I’m not buying it yet and I think the WFA deal sounds a lot more promising at this stage of the game.
With the IFL signing a TV deal does it mean that the UFC dropped their case with the IFL? Mark Summers – Clearwater, Florida
No. Not from what the IFL guys said on the radio yesterday. Kurt Otto and Gareb Shamus who run the IFL said the case is still on going. It’s pretty amazing though when you think about that an organization who hasn’t had a single show already has already secured a tv deal. That sets a whole new standard when you think how long it took the UFC and Pride to secure a deal.
Does the popularity of the UFC help contribute to that fact? Absolutely, but It’s pretty amazing when you think about it. Now it’s up to the IFL to take the ball and run with it. Bottom line there is still litigation between the UFC and IFL and who knows what will transpire from this point on.
Rumors lately have stated that it’s Joe Riggs fighting Evan Tanner at UFC 59. Any truth to that? – Doug Plummer Irvine, CA
No, I’m not sure where that came from. I’m sure when Jeremy Horn couldn’t fight that they may have looked at his camp in Utah and maybe that’s where Riggs name came from, but that fight isn’t happening at all. It is Justin Levens who will be fighting Evan Tanner. From what I understand Riggs will be fighting Mike Swick in May which should be a dynamite match up. This gives Swick his first big test in the UFC, while if Riggs can beat Swick, then you know he wants Chris Leben next.
What’s up with Ricco Rodriguez and will he ever return to the UFC? Gabe Lingburt – Bend, Oregon
I think Ricco needs to get a few impressive and quality wins under his belt for one and two he needs to be able to get down to under 265 pounds if he ever wants to fight in the UFC. The good news is that I heard Ricco’s surgery on his knee went well and he is already under 300 pounds. Remember he ballooned to over 340 from a few accounts so being under 300 is a big deal. I’ve also heard that Billy Rush may work with him to get him back into shape. We shall see. Bottom line, Ricco has to get serious about the fight game and he has to be motivated. It seems like he is starting to get that fire back after a couple of bad losses.
How huge will Mark Ratner’s signing be for the UFC? Kelly Westbrook – Tacoma, Washington
This was a monster signing for the UFC. Ratner was by far the most well respected member of the Nevada State Athletic Commission and that’s a huge blow to them. Ratner also gives Zuffa instant credibility. The UFC will try to get into New York, and you know they will go with both guns blazing to open the doors there. Ratner could be the one guy to get a deal done in New York. Chicago and Canada won’t be too far behind either. The signing is also huge for all MMA organizations because if the UFC can get into New York, you know every single MMA organization in the country will follow, much like the MMA boom in California.
Do you have any insights to TUF 4 casting now that TUF 3 is done? Timothy Jackson – Boston
All I know is that Jermaine Andre told a crowd in Illinois that they are in fact bringing MMA veterans to compete in TUF 4. The names he mentioned were of course himself, Jermaine Andre, Mikey Burnett, Chris Lytle, Frank Trigg, and Jay Hieron. When I confronted Trigg about this he laughed and said “I guess with all the rumors going around I’m now fighting in ROTR, Pride, K-1, IFL and the UFC very soon.” If you look at these fighters, it appears the weight classes would be 170 and 185. The UFC hasn’t signed anyone yet according to a few sources, but it does appear that TUF 4 will be bringing back veterans. I also heard that the TUF 3 taping went very well and they were pleased with what Ken Shamrock brought to the table.
Alright folks, gotta run. Enjoy the busy weekend ahead with Pride Bushido 10 this weekend in Japan and don’t forget April will be one of the busiest months in MMA history .