Monday, May 15, 2006

WFA Announces “King of the Streets” Event

The newly reborn World Fighting Alliance held a contract signing this evening at their offices in Los Angeles to announce a loaded lineup for their initial “King of the Streets” event. The card, headlined by Matt “the Law” Lindland vs. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, will take place at the Los Angeles Forum on July 22, and be available on pay-per-view. WFA unveiled its new ad campaign, built around “Rampage Reborn.”

WFA CEO Jeremy Lappen announced the new approach of the organization, which is to be a “fighter-first” organization that will focus on building individual fighters over a brand. Lappen explained, “We are going to build our brand off the fighters themselves: off their stories, off their unique personalities that they bring into play.” The approach stands in marked contrast to the team approach of rival upstart IFL. With UFC having a stronger brand name than any rival for the foreseeable future, fighters are going to have to be the principal draw for a viable alternative. Lappen asserted, “We will be the premiere mixed martial arts event in the world.”

Jackson, in good spirits, described his decision to join WFA as being motivated by monetary and promotional concerns. There was interest in Jackson from many major organizations. Jackson frankly noted, “WFA offered me the most money” and added an enthusiastic, “Cha-ching!” He also observed, “I knew the WFA would promote me the way I want to be promoted,” and cited their ad campaign and approach as a positive. Jackson declined to address the number of fights on his WFA contract.
Lindland expressed a similar affinity for the WFA’s philosophy, and said that he originally signed his WFA contract in November with the intention of fighting Tito Ortiz. Lindland had been rumored as a participant on the next season of the Ultimate Fighter, but that was never in the negotiating or planning stages.

Jackson has fought at 205, while Lindland has fought at 185 for most of his career. Lindland said that he doesn’t care whether he fights at one class or the other. He noted that he walks around at 205 and is comfortable at that weight. He joked, “I whooped all the guys at 185. I had to move up.” Retorted Jackson, “You didn’t whoop Bustamante,” referring to a dominant performance in a 2002 UFC title fight.

Jackson added, “I think July 23 he’s going to be moving back to 185.” Jackson continued his good-natured trash-talking by joking about Lindland’s breath and predicting, “I’m going to break the Law.” Lindland jabbed back a little, “There’s a lot more technical guys than Quinton, especially in his weight class. Look at Ricardo Arona, how much more talented he is than Jackson.”

The WFA also announced a surprisingly strong undercard, which arguably has a higher talent level than UFC 60. Former UFC heavyweight champion Ricco Rodriguez will face Pride, UFC and OVW veteran Ron Waterman. In perhaps the most intriguing matchup, Antonio Inoki protege Lyoto Machida will make his American MMA debut against Vernon White. Lyoto holds victories over Rich Franklin, B.J. Penn and Stephan Bonnar. Also on the card is Ivan Salaverry vs. Art Santore, as well as Jason “Mayhem” Miller, Kimo and Rob McCullough against unnamed opponents.


Anonymous Phil said...

Wow, that's impressive (and expensive) for a startup. Jackson vs. Lindland is, as Gorilla Monsoon would say, a main event anywhere in the country.

9:31 PM  
Anonymous James said...

Great story and very exciting news for the world of MMA. I'm very happy cuz it gives me another SoCal event to cover.

10:42 AM  
Anonymous James said...

Oh, and in honor of Gorilla Monsoon: I hope Jackson knocks Lindland in his 'external occipital protuberence.'

10:58 AM  
Blogger Todd Martin said...

Lindland was very nice in person. I've always been more of a fan of Rampage (to say the very least), but he was giving me crap of my questions (in a good natured way, of course), while Lindland was very straight-forward and serious. Rampage is clearly a thicker individual, and seems much stronger. The way the fight will go will likely be evident early, when we see how much success Lindland has on his first takedown.

11:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope that Rampage will knock the shit out of Lindland with a slam:)

1:25 PM  

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