On Saturday in Coral Gables, Fla., the World Series of Fighting holds its sixth event, part of an effort to display the promotion’s national reach, according to its president, Ray Sefo.
Sefo said ticket sales for the event, which takes place at BankUnited Center, aren’t “great” but “good” and again teased a dramatic expansion in WSOF’s upcoming schedule during a media teleconference in support of WSOF 6.
The card is headlined by a welterweight bout between ex-UFC fighter Josh Burkman and Steve Carl, who’s won his past two under the WSOF banner. Burkman is coming off a first-round submission of onetime UFC title challenger Jon Fitch he called the biggest win of his career.
Burkman almost didn’t make it to the fight, however, as he revealed during the conference call. He said three different surgeons once told him he shouldn’t fight any more due to a herniated disc in his neck and four bulging discs in his back that caused arthritis and nerve damage. After a year off and a series of lifestyle changes, he was able to return and triumph over Fitch, who previously bested him in a 2006 bout.
“Jon Fitch is one of the top three welterweights in the short history of mixed martial arts,” Burkman told MMAjunkie.com. “Just to get a win like that was good for me, and I really believe it was good for the organization. I expect for us to have a third one somewhere down the road, too.”
That revelation was among several noteworthy tidbits from the call, which featured Sefo, Burkman, and six other fighters on the WSOF 6 card.
- Miguel Torres said his 11-month layoff from competition was the result of moving his gym to another location only to find mold that forced him to renovate the facility.
- Burkman said he has three fights remaining on his current WSOF contract, but has no plans of vacating the promotion for greener pastures.
- Sefo said a planned matchup between Torres and Tyson Nam, which was scrapped in favor of Torres vs. Pablo Alfonso, is still on the table for future WSOF events.
- Sefo said the WSOF won’t sign the controversial Rousimar Palhares unless he takes steps to stop holding on to submissions past the point of tapout.
“The team and I have talked about it, and he needs to seek some sort of help, or talk to somebody, a psychiatrist or whatever, that would help him get away from hurting fighters,” Sefo said. “At the end of the day, we don’t want that. Until he does that, we won’t look at signing him any time soon.”
Jon Fitch, who made headlines by saying he wouldn’t fight the Brazilian, said Palhares would have to “prove he is no longer out there trying to cripple people after the fight is over.”
“I give you the example of one of my teammates, Mike Kyle,” Fitch added. “He had a bad fight where he was in the wrong and continued to strike an opponent after the referee had stopped it. He went out there and has been nothing but straightforward, 100 percent sportsman after that. Palhares, it seems to be a reoccurring thing that’s happened twice in the UFC twice and in his grappling matches a number of times.
“It’s just not what our sport is. We’re trying to beat each other up, but somebody concedes and gives up, you don’t continue to crank on submissions. You could end somebody’s career that way.”
- Sefo said bantamweight standout Marlon Moraes could fight for the WSOF’s inaugural title if successful on Saturday against Carson Beebe.
- Sefo said a previously announced four-man lightweight tournament is now planned to take place sometime in 2014. He said an injury to participant Gesias “JZ” Cavalcante played a part in the delay.
- Sefo said recent WSOF acquisition Yushin Okami could make his promotional debut in March 2014.
- Torres also gave an update on his father, who was robbed at gunpoint. Torres, who offered a cash reward for information leading to the arrest of the robbers, said three of the assailants involved in the crime have been arrested. One of them was identified by Torres’ father in a police lineup.
“My dad has been playing soccer his whole life,” Torres told MMAjunkie.com. “One night, he got off work late and he went to run and shoot a couple shots at the goal at the soccer field I pretty much grew up playing soccer my whole life, since I was six. Eleven guys came out of the back of the school, and one guy put a gun to my dad’s chest, (and) one put to the back of his head. They took two of his gold chains, they took his wallet, (and) they even took his soccer ball and his jacket. The police ended up catching three of them, but they couldn’t return the possessions.
“It was really upsetting to me, because it hits close to home. It’s my home town; it’s where I grew up, and it was bad when I was growing up, but it’s even worse now. To see it every day, but to have it happen to your father, it hit real close to home. I had found out after the fact that that happened up here; that the people are the same crew. It’s becoming more and more apparent that area’s not safe. Since then, my dad is taking precautions and not going out late. And it wasn’t even late. It was 8:00. I’m just happy he didn’t get hurt, and I’m happy that I can sit down and have dinner with him.”
- Torres added that his recent bust in his home state of Indiana for pot possession was cleared up when charges were dropped.
For more on WSOF 6, stay tuned to the MMA Rumors section of the site.
(Pictured: Ray Sefo)