Today was a big news day for the UFC and not only because of the 1,500 pounds of muscle that surrounded UFC president Dana White inside the lobby of the MGM Grand for an inaugural press conference for UFC 146, which will take place there on May 26.
“This fight is a big one, I mean that literally. This card is stacked with heavyweights,” said White, addressing a contingent of media members and a couple of hundred fans who came out to see the fighters who will represent the first-ever UFC pay-per-view card to feature all heavyweight bouts.
“I think the heavyweights bring that excitement that you’re probably going to see a knockout. But in this heavyweight show, there could be knockouts, submissions, whatever there may be. If you look at everybody sitting on this podium right now and think back to the last five or six fights they’ve had, there aren’t too many boring fights that any of these heavyweights have ever been in.”
Indeed heavyweight champ Junior Dos Santos is 8-0 in his young UFC career, while Dutch kickboxing hero Alistair Overeem made quite a splash in his debut last December when he destroyed Brock Lesnar with a first-round TKO.
“This is definitely the biggest fight of my career cause the UFC is the biggest show on the planet,” Overeem said. “I’m very excited about it. I think it’s gonna be a great show.”
Las Vegas native Frank Mir will take on Cain Velasquez in a match that will decide the division’s No. 1 contender.
“If you see a 135-pound fighter, he could be the baddest dude at 135, but I think a lot of people when they’re watching the fights in the back of their minds are thinking ‘I’m 220, even though he knows how to fight, I can probably kick his butt,’ joked Mir about the allure of the heavyweight division.
“But we’re heavyweights, if you’re thinking that against us, you’re stupid.”
Fellow Vegas native Roy Nelson will take on Antonio (Big Foot) Silva, who is making his UFC debut after switching from Strikeforce. Two other 265-pound matches—Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Shane Del Rosario, and Stefan Struve vs. Mark Hunt—round out the stacked card.
In other UFC news Tuesday …
• The 31-year-old Overeem was sentenced to 50 hours of community service and anger-management counseling as a result of a battery charge stemming from a Jan. 2 incident at a Las Vegas nightclub, in which he allegedly pushed a woman.
“I just heard the news and I’m very relieved it came to a resolution. Being famous in the states is definitely different than being famous in Holland,” he said. “It comes with a lot of advantages and some disadvantages. You have to learn to deal with it.”
• Zuffa has cut former Strikeforce champ Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal from his contract after he released a Tweet in response to the news that the Nevada State Athletic Commission was suspending him for nine months after failing a post-fight drug test in a January Strikeforce show at The Joint.
“I honestly feel Lundvall was a racist bitch asking me if I can read or speak English. Go on somewhere with that bullshit,” Lawal tweeted after commissioner Pat Lundvall asked him if he could read and understood English in relation to a pre-fight questionnaire to disclose any medications he might have taken prior to the fight or injuries.
• White said the UFC’s global expansion would continue sometime in 2012 with the promotion welcoming the world’s most populous country into its fold.
“It will happen this year. We are going to do a fight in China,” said White, of a show that would likely happen in Macau—a special administrative region known for its tourism and close gambling association with Las Vegas.