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Sunday September 23, 2007 2:39 PM PST

 

UFC 76 post-fight news & notes

By Gary Herman

Sanchez to move to lightweight?

After his loss to Jon Fitch, Diego “Nightmare” Sanchez came to a realization about the competition at 170 lbs.

“I may be a little bit small for a welterweight. I have to give 155 some serious thought,” Sanchez said. “It’s either put on some weight and start power lifting or drop.”

Should Sanchez move to lightweight, he already has designs on the opponent he would like.

“I want to fight BJ Penn. We are about the same size, and I think it could be a great match,” Sanchez said.

No competition

The UFC name is the most well known brand name in the United States for mixed martial arts. With new companies popping up almost daily, UFC President Dana White does not see any of the new organizations as legitimate competitors.

“I am not impressed by the competition,” White said. “I did see the Elite XC show the other week, and it was good, but they are so far away it’s not funny.”

White did say that the smaller companies are good for the sport.

“They provide a training ground for fighters. We need these shows because it helps build fighters for the UFC,” said White.

Marc Cuban and his new HDNet fighting league were not left out of White’s comments.

“I like Marc Cuban. He’s a good guy, but he is going to lose a lot of money with his new venture,” White said.

Fedor’s timeline

One of the worst kept secrets in MMA is that negotiations between the UFC and Fedor Emelianenko have been complicated by Emelianeko’s unusual demands.

Chief among those is his insistence on competing in the World Sambo Championships next month in Russia.

“Fedor wants to fight in the World Sambo event,” White said. “I won’t let him fight in it if he’s signed with us.”

White believes that Emelianenko will be ready to join the UFC shortly after the event.

“The Sambo tournament is in October, and I think he’ll sign (with the UFC) after that. In fact, I am positive he’ll be with us after that,” said White.

Has the dream become a nightmare?

Chuck Liddell vs. Wanderlei Silva has been a dream match of many MMA fans for quite a few years. When Silva signed with the UFC, the fight seemed inevitable. So much so that the two were scheduled to square off on December 29 in Las Vegas.

However, Keith Jardine’s split decision victory over Liddell will force those plans to be rethought.

“I don’t know if that fight will happen anymore,” White said.

Silva was also very disappointed by the result of Liddell’s fight.

“I’ve waited to fight Chuck Liddell for a long time and then he loses to this guy (Jardine),” said Silva. “It’s terrible. I just don’t know what’s going to happen now.”

Liddell, nevertheless, wants to see Silva on the opposite side of the cage.

“I still want to fight Wanderlei if I can,” said Liddell.

Top lightweight contenders

Should the California State Athletic Commission uphold UFC lightweight champion Sean Sherk’s suspension for steroids, plans are close to set to crown a new champion.

“Joe Stevenson will fight BJ Penn for the vacated title if Sherk is suspended,” said White. “I will wait until the decision is final though before scheduling the fight.”

Sherk’s appeal for the suspension will be heard on October 31.

Griffin hits the trifecta

Tyson Griffin continues to rack up fight of the night accolades. Griffin’s victory over Thiago Tavares makes it three in row for the lightweight contender.

White could hardly contain his enthusiasm for Griffin.

“Tyson Griffin is at the top of food chain. The guy is unbelievable,” White said. “He’ll get a forty thousand dollar bonus for winning fight of the night.”

Griffin also received fight of the night honors for his decision victory over Clay Guida at UFC 72 in June, and his decision loss to Frank Edgar at UFC 67 in February.

Video game

Forrest Griffin used all available resources in his upset submission victory over Mauricio “Shogun” Rua.

“I looked at the big screen and checked the time continually throughout the fight. I couldn’t believe how long it was taking,” said Griffin.

“Finally, when the fight got to thirty seconds left, I went all out and cinched in the choke.”

 

 
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