The Bottom Dollar in MMA News (Nov. 29, 2008)

Bleacher ReportCorrespondent INovember 29, 2008

-- UFC 91 did gigantic numbers. The most consistent number I've seen has them assuredly topping 850,000 buys for the show, and could even be over 900,000. It's the second biggest show in UFC history (right behind UFC 66), and it means that Brock Lesnar has drawn over 2 million buys this year, which nobody has done since Tito Ortiz did it in 2006.

It also means that it was easily the biggest PPV event of the year, at least until De La Hoya vs. Pacquiao takes place.

-- Jorge Gurgel and Sokoudjou were cut. Neither one is a surprise, since both guys seem to relish being defeated. Gurgel has already signed with Strikeforce, and Affliction is trying to bring in Sokoudjou for January, but word has it that both DREAM and WVR are making a play for him as well.

I see him likely ending up back in Japan, where they love foreigners who can put on entertaining fights, which Sokoudjou can certainly do for at least one round before he gets tired.

-- Randy Couture hasn't made up his mind about fighting again. He could very well retire from fighting and has said that it all depends on who the UFC offers him as an opponent.

As far as the potential fight with Chuck Liddell, I can tell you that neither side has been offered the fight, and at this point, it's something that has only been discussed internally. There has been absolutely no talk within the company of Liddell moving to heavyweight, and that's something that won't even be discussed until after the fight is accepted by both parties.

This is a fight that Dana White would love to make, but it hasn't gotten past the discussion stages yet, and both fighters confirm that the company have not approached them about it. The rumors have been running wild and people are treating it like a done deal, but that's just not the case at this point.

-- There is talk of a big potential return by a former UFC star that could take place at one of the February shows. I haven't been able to track down anything concrete, but the two names being tossed around the most are Frank Shamrock and Josh Barnett.

Both of those are very unlikely to ever return to Zuffa, which means that it would indeed be shocking if it were to happen. Frank Shamrock vs. Anderson Silva would be a huge fight, because there is nobody in the fighting industry who understands how to sell a fight better than Frank Shamrock, and if Silva beats him in dramatic fashion, it could finally be the push that turns Silva into a true superstar instead of just being the best fighter in the world.

-- Fabricio Werdum's story about Zuffa wanting to renegotiate his contract is likely not true. All UFC sources have stated that Werdum was cut outright and there was no attempt to cut his contract in half. There were a lot of reasons for Werdum being dismissed, and his management played a large role in it.

The complaints about not getting a title shot surely factored into the decision. He also had a gigantic contract and the company felt like they couldn't book him in a fight that would draw enough money to justify what they were paying him, so they cut him.

He will land with Affliction, possibly in time for the January show. Affliction should just cut everyone but the heavyweights and become a heavyweights-only promotion. People love to watch the heavyweights, and they have the best heavyweight roster in the sport and could probably carve out a good niche for themselves by concentrating on the giants.

-- UFC 92 has only sold 5,500 tickets for a $1.7 million gate thus far in the MGM Grand Garden Arena, which is weird considering the show is the strongest of the year on paper. None of the three main events for the show equal Couture vs. Lesnar in stature or hype, but all three of the fights could have been main events on any other show.

The company is blaming it on New Year's Eve being on a Wednesday, because people will come into Vegas on the weekend for New Year's and attend the traditional December UFC show, but with New Year's being four days later, it's tough to keep people in town.

I have no idea if this is true or even plausible, but I suppose that as far as excuses go, it's as good as any.

-- The winner of the Urijah Faber vs. Jens Pulver fight in January will get a shot at the winner of the Mike Brown/Leonard Garcia fight that'll take place in March. Contracts haven't been signed for Faber/Pulver II as of press time, but they're expected to be finished soon.

-- Round 5 signed exclusive deals with Rich Franklin, Sean Sherk, Wanderlei Silva, Randy Couture, Matt Hughes, Rampage Jackson, and Tito Ortiz. The toy deals are exclusive, and UFC won't be allowed to create action figures of those fighters, which explains why Zuffa has been so insistent on getting the merchandising options signed.

-- No location has been finalized for the Feb. 7 Spike show, but that will likely be done within the week. They are looking at a southeast location.

-- The next season of The Ultimate Fighter will kick off on Apr. 1, and there will be a two hour Fight Night to kick it off.

-- Brock and Rena Lesnar's first child is due in June.

Jeremy Botter is the editor-in-chief of Inside Fights, a blog title covering the mixed martial arts and boxing industries. He has been writing about mixed martial arts and the professional wrestling industry for 15 years. His weekly news column, The Botterm Dollar in MMA News, is published on Inside Fights every Friday morning.

In addition to Inside Fights, Jeremy also serves on the rankings committee for the World Alliance of Mixed Martial Arts. He is a graduate of The University of Texas and believes that President-elect Obama's first major presidential duty should be to mandate a college football playoff system.