by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
“We have two heavyweights on the phone. We have scheduled a mega-fight between these two on Saturday, Nov. 15 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena here in Las Vegas. It will be Randy ‘The Natural’ Couture, the heavyweight champion of the UFC, versus Brock Lesnar.”
Those were the words from Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White on Tuesday as he announced the return of the promotion’s embattled champion to the Octagon.
He also confirmed that the fight would be a five-round title bout, leaving many to wonder what is to become of the planned interim title bout between The Ultimate Fighter Season 8 coaches Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, who currently holds the interim designation, and challenger Frank Mir.
People didn’t have to wonder long.
“The winner of the Brock/Randy fight will be the heavyweight champion of the UFC. Obviously, the reality show is already in motion and they are already scheduled to fight, so Nogueira and Mir will fight for the interim (championship) and then it will be champion versus champion when this thing is all done. So it’s a pretty interesting little tournament,” commented White as he clarified the UFC heavyweight title picture.
“(Couture vs. Lesnar) will go Nov. 15, then the winner will wait to see who wins the interim fight in December. Then we’ll have a heavyweight (unification) fight next year,” he added, providing a timeline for how this “interesting little tournament” would play out.
With an overall record of 2-1 in his MMA career, many would question why the UFC would make this fight with the interim bout already on the horizon. The answer is simple… money. At the end of the day, the fight business is yet a business and the potential numbers indicate that the fight between Couture and Lesnar will be just as White described it… a mega fight.
“We put the feelers out there. There was talk about him fighting Cheick Kongo; fans weren’t very interested in that. At the end of the day, one of the great things about the UFC, we’re not caught up in all the boxing political (expletive). We can basically put on fights that fans want to see. And I think that this is a very interesting heavyweight tournament going on with Couture and Lesnar,” said the UFC president, putting his estimates on total pay-per-view buys for Couture and Lesnar somewhere between 1 and 1.5 million.
“I can tell you this right now, mark my words on this one, Couture vs. Lesnar will be the biggest fight in UFC history. So obviously it’s a fight that people want to see. Then the winner of that fight will face the winner of Mir and Nogueira.”