by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
World Extreme Cagefighting yesterday released a statement confirming that King of the Cage veteran Charlie Kohler has signed to step into the cage with American Kickboxing Academy fighter and UFC veteran Rich Crunkilton. The fight is part of the WEC event in Las Vegas, Nev. on May 12 headlined by Doug Marshall defending his light heavyweight belt against Xtreme Fighting Organization Champion Justin McElfresh.
The original plan was for Crunkilton to challenge WEC Lightweight Champion “Razor” Rob McCullough, but McCullough had to withdraw from the bout due to a knee injury.
The WEC then lined up UFC veteran Jamie Varner to square off with Crunkilton with the winner getting a future shot at McCullough. Varner suffered a rib injury during sparring and subsequently had to withdraw as well.
With little more than a week until the event at The Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, the WEC is hoping that Kohler will be the final substitution in this little game of MMA roulette.
Despite all the changes, WEC Co-General Manager Scott Adams is unfazed, “When you look at this card from top to bottom, you’ll see why the WEC is quickly establishing itself as the premiere MMA event in the game. We’ve got seven unbeaten fighters on the card, and two matches with unbeaten fighters in both corners.”
Crunkilton isn’t fighting for the title yet, but having gone 8-0 in his WEC fights, he hasn’t lost his focus on the belt. “I’m unbeaten in the WEC and have always been willing to prove myself against the best guys in this weight class,” said Crunkilton. “While McCullough’s injury could be seen as a setback for me, I look at Charlie Kohler as just another opportunity to prove that I deserve a title shot. Everybody knows this guy is a quality fighter and by beating him that just eliminates another guy in line for a title shot. I’m going to get that title belt and nobody is going to stop me.”
Fighting in his WEC debut, Kohler has other ideas. “I don’t want shortcuts and I don’t want easy opponents, and Crunkilton is the kind of guy I want to make a statement with. We’re going to give the fans an explosive match and I’m going to get the title shot, not him, because I’m going to win.”