Anderson Silva, the UFC’s Affliction counter-programming, another EliteXC show and more
July is going to be a very busy month, so let’s get right into another edition of the ramblings. First, the major news is that the UFC is going to shrewdly counter-program the card of the summer with a free card on Spike on July 19.
That’s a smart play by UFC president Dana White and company by itself. The kicker is the rumor that headliner and middleweight champion Anderson Silva will be making his debut at light heavyweight, possibly against James Irvin.
This is huge. That means the world’s best pound-for-pound fighter (Silva) will be fighting the same night as the former pound-for-pound top fighter (Fedor), but on different cards for different promotions. The Affliction show is still packed with big fights and big names, but hasn’t been gaining much publicity. The UFC will be taking away a lot of potential buyers from the Affliction card if this Silva fight comes to fruition. It's big enough to have the world's top fighter headlining, but to have him move up a weight class would be terrific.
I would love to see Silva fighting at 205 but he’s always seemed to balk at the suggestion. I’ve covered his last two fights and at the news conference afterward he’s always asked about moving up to 205 and always is quick to shake his head, especially when a match with Rampage Jackson is mentioned. There’s nothing left for him at the middleweight level (spare me the Yushin Okami talk -- you’re fooling only yourself if you actually believe it) except for more rematches with Rich Franklin and Dan Henderson. I like the possibility of Anderson Silva fighting welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre, even if it was at a catchweight, but there are more great fights for Silva at 205. Rumor has it he will go back to middleweight to defend his title in the near future, but he wouldn’t move up to 205 just for a match against Irvin. There has to be more (Chuck Liddell?) in store for him at 205.
What does this mean for Affliction? Nothing good. They should still draw well because people will tune in to see what Fedor still has and to see what Affliction is all about. It remains the more interesting card, but we’ll see if the UFC has anything else in store for the hastily-put-together event.
Other possible matches on the UFC card ...
More details on the July 26 EliteXC event from SI.com’s Josh Gross ... a Scott Smith-Robbie Lawler rematch is nice, but will it draw without Kimbo Slice? Nope.
The UFC officially announces the main event for UFC 88 in Atlanta in September. Liddell vs. Rashad Evans ... Not bad, but not great. I’m not the biggest Evans fan.
MMAPayout.com may have uncovered Dana White’s major announcement planned for Wednesday (yes, it was moved back again). That certainly would qualify.
The Ultimate Fighter 8 assistant coaches have been revealed ...
I’ll have more on Wednesday once official word (finally) breaks about the UFC’s announcement. Also, at some point Wednesday, I'll take IFL CEO Jay Larkin to task for his overwhelming ignorance.
But, if you can only watch one event July 19 and without seeing other matches on the UFC card (Brandon Vera may still be involved)...would you rather watch Silva debut at 205 for free or shell out the cash for the Affliction card?