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GSP/Shields and Velasquez/dos Santos likely headliners for first Toronto UFC show

By Zach Arnold | December 12, 2010

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Full credit to MMA Fighting and Ariel Helwani

The interview runs 10 and a half minutes long. Not the most newsworthy interview, but certainly an intriguing one for the last three minutes.

Before we get to that part of the interview, the UFC President basically said that as long as Georges St. Pierre continues to be in the pound-for-pound best mix that he will never escape criticism. (This was in response to whether or not St. Pierre will get criticism for going the distance and not finishing off Josh Koscheck.) “I thought he looked incredible tonight. He fought the perfect fight.” The title of this post says it all as far as what we will likely see in late April when UFC makes its debut at the Sky Dome (Rogers Centre). Mr. White was asked why we wouldn’t see GSP vs. Anderson Silva in Toronto and it was promptly pointed out that it was Jake Shields’ turn to get a title shot. Dana did admit that the reason he put off booking St. Pierre vs. Anderson is because he expected Anderson to jump up to Light Heavyweight but instead he remains at Middleweight and can make the cut. If the fight does get it booked, the requirement would be for Anderson to make the cut to 180 pounds. As for why the Jim Miller/Charles Oliveira fight didn’t get more attention from UFC’s marketing department, Mr. White bluntly stated that the Countdown crew was not going to go down to Brazil to film footage for a fight that wasn’t high-profile on the card. As far as whether Joe Stevenson will keep his job in the UFC, Dana played it coy but hinted that Stevenson would hang around for at least one more fight.

And then the interview got interesting when Ariel Helwani brought up the name Alistair Overeem, referring to Overeem’s win at Ariake Colosseum earlier in the day. Dana White made it a point to clearly and repeatedly state that he has no heat with Alistair Overeem and likes him but hates the fact that MMA web sites rank him in Top 10 lists for best MMA Heavyweight fighters in the world. He doesn’t understand how competing in kickboxing fights can earn him support in MMA ratings lists. Furthermore, Mr. White said that he would only hire Overeem if Overeem fought more regularly in MMA fights and did so against higher-quality competition. He went into a rant about Strikeforce’s booking and called him the minor leagues. He trashed their St. Louis event (from last weekend), saying that it was a card full of mismatches and that UFC could do that all day long but they won’t because their matchmaking treats MMA as if it’s a sport. He buried Matt Lindland and Scott Smith, saying that Smith was a guy who couldn’t win The Ultimate Fighter.

On a side note, Mr. White acknowledged that he would like to put together a fight between Kid Yamamoto and Urijah Faber.

Topics: Canada, K-1, Media, MMA, StrikeForce, UFC, Zach Arnold | 28 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

28 Responses to “GSP/Shields and Velasquez/dos Santos likely headliners for first Toronto UFC show”

  1. 45 Huddle says:

    1) Velasquez/JDS & GSP/Shields would make for a huge event. With the addition of more weight classes, some of these 2011 cards are going to be stacked.

    2) I wish they would get Jim Miller to fight Dunham in January instead of Guillard. It would make for a much more relevent fight.

    3) White is 100% right about how the UFC could easily do 1-sided fights all of the time. But what has been their bread and butter is putting on mostly evenly matched fights on paper and letting the best rise to the top.

    Overall it was a fun event to watch. The undercard was fun, despite having little weight to some of the fights. And the main event delivered, even as a decision. GSP could have gone after it a little more in the last 2 rounds.

    • Chromium says:

      Jim Miller just fought tonight. That’s a pretty short turnaround to fight a top 15 guy when you’re closing in on a title shot and have a lot to lose. Not to mention that the Ultimate Fight Night is already booked, as well it should have been, and bumping Melvin Guillard out of the main-event after already bumping him into it (and finding a replacement for his fight with Yves Edwards) is just kind of asinine.

  2. The Rogers Centre (it’s been called that for a while, but everyone still calls it the SkyDome) is a strange place for a debut.

    The Air Canada Centre (where the Raptors and Leafs play) is a 10 minute walk East of the Dome, and holds 20,000+ fans. This would be a guaranteed sell-out.

    I saw U2 in 2009 at the Dome, and it was packed. 60,000 fans. It looked spectacular. I’ve also seen concerts there in the past that had 30,000 fans. It didn’t look great. It’s a huge place, and without a spectacular sellout from the UFC, it’s going to look empty. And the press will not be shy about indicating that.

    On the plus side, two title fights – one involving GSP – will be a great way to pack the place. Most people don’t know who Shields is, so the casual fan will buy tickets just for GSP and not realize they’re guaranteed a 5 round snoozefest.

    Toronto is probably the most rabid MMA city in the world that currently has not had a major MMA event, so I can’t wait to see this unfold.

    • SixT4 says:

      If by “5 round snoozefest” you mean “brutal 2nd round KO” then yes.

      GSP striking >>>>> Shields striking. GSP doesn’t even have to worry about going to the ground because Shields is never going to submit him, and he’s not going to do any damage on top.

  3. The Gaijin says:

    They will sell out the Skydome in minutes. UFC is just too hot up in Canada, Toronto/Ontario is STARVED for a live event – especially since all of their pro teams are horrendous these days – this will be a must see event.

    I think the UFC Canada office is going to see some expansion, because I can see this show being another resounding success in Canada.

  4. robthom says:

    “…Alistair Overeem, referring to Overeem’s win at Ariake Colosseum earlier in the day. … He doesn’t understand how competing in kickboxing fights can earn him support in MMA ratings lists.”

    Lol, I was just thinking something similar when I read the K1 results.

    This is why I dont like tournaments in MMA (in K1 its not my business).

    Overeem is probably as decent as he ever was (he looks the same to me skill/stylewise except obviously MUCH stronger), but now I fear him getting a bunch more over valued praise for slipping through to a win with 1 part skill/effort and 2 parts bracketing and fortunate circumstances.

    It doesn’t bother me for k1 fans because I know that thats K1’s shtick. But its when people try to cross apply it to MMA that bothers me.

    That was also a big chip on my shoulder against the pride tournaments. Sure fun and all, but not scientific.

    I’m not really sure how good most k1 guys actually are (it seemed peculiar to me that an also ran like Shilt would washout of MMA and then suddenly be a years long king of the hill over there?!), but I’ll bet they’re good enough that if overeem fought the best they’ve got who should allegedly be at his level 1 on 1 that he wouldn’t be having so much easy success.

    Like Hari 2.

    And he wont in MMA either.

    • robthom says:

      Of course by tournaments I mean 1 night tournaments.

      Good matchmaking towards the title should be the same as a tournament mathematically but with only one fight per night per fighter.

    • ComicBookGrrl says:

      It’s interesting that online, ignorance about PRIDE is being replaced by ignorance about K-1.

      I guess if you follow the Dana White school of logic you can justify any line of thinking. ie. Fedor is a “fraud” who has never beaten anyone of value, but Nogueira, Coleman and CroCop were all main-event fighters in the UFC very recently.

      Overeem is worthless to UFC fan boys, but if the UFC signed him today, the message boards would light up like a Christmas tree with joyful messages of praise and adoration for Dana.

      • robthom says:

        Awww, sweet and hot.

        I was hoping for so much more from you.


        (But comics having gone so far down these days, I suppose putting my faith in the feminine while of a “comic girl” was a foolish emotional assumption in the first place.)

        • ComicBookGrrl says:

          1. Comics have not ‘gone down’. Graphic novel sales are up.

          And most of the time a halfway-decent movie comes out it was either based on a comic book, or the idea was stolen from one.

          2. MMA rankings are SO subjective, and you can use any Dana-ism you want to justify anything. That’s all I’m saying.

          Dana says Overeem isn’t top 10. He says Fedor is a fraud. He thinks K-1 is useless. He gave Brock Lesnar a world title fight as a rookie. He put Coleman in a main event o a PPV…recently…and expected people to pay money for it.

          If you subscribe to all this bullplop, that’s cool.

          Go right ahead. Just take what Dana says with a grain of salt.

        • robthom says:

          1. Dont care about sales!

          2. DJ! the mutant with the power of music!

          3. Black captain murika, just like captain murika except black!

    • SixT4 says:

      It’s not surprising that a standup only fighter would do poorly in MMA. Schilt would destroy every single UFC heavyweight in the 1st round in K-1.

  5. Fred says:

    LOL Dana. Way to get riled up about a “minor league” promotion. Bother to check the betting line on your main event last night? Or how about the two guys in your co-main event who would have finished no better than 3rd on the heavyweight season of TUF? Does Dana understand that Heavyweight is not a very deep division worldwide, that being top 10 is not like being a top 10 lightweight? Does he think that Schaub, Kongo, Struve should be ahead of Overeem?

  6. robthom says:

    Thats a legitimate assumption IMO.

    Except that even beyond Shilts Sub losses to thee like of twits like barnett, he was never considered a hell of a MMA striker either.

    Sergei kicked his stuff KB!

    And I dont have a problem with considering Kickboxing talents into an MMA fighters attributes.

    MANY of our own best fighters are KB based!

    That is a legitimate atribute to consider!

    I mostly have a problem with using the results under K1 as a measure!

  7. robthom says:

    “Mr. White was asked why we wouldn’t see GSP vs. Anderson Silva in Toronto and it was promptly pointed out that it was Jake Shields’ turn to get a title shot.”

    One the one hand I feel that its the bigger dude who’s duty it is to move up.

    Especially when the bigger you get the closer you get, hence 106-up!

    But I can see how some might say that it is GSP’s work for the same reason.

    I dont agree.

    A.S. goes up first IMO!

    Against real contenders!

    Against jackson, Thiago, Martian, etc..
    We’ll se you far he goes against people his own size (and his own talent!)

    Let smaller man grow and feel out like you did, then meet you up there!

  8. David M says:

    I saw a Kevin Iole article today (but obviously didn’t read it because I find him to be a complete moron who is devoid of anything interesting to say) saying that Anderson is better P4P than GSP because he finishes fights. LOL at this shit. Anderson got beaten almost to death in his last fight, and has one world-class performance post-July 2008 (when he beat James Irvin, a scrub), that being his accidental KO of Forrest Griffin.

    • robthom says:

      Anderson is as amazing as many of them want to do!

      And plays half a bitch as many of them want to do!

      A very strange and very powerful people!

  9. robthom says:

    And thats why anderon wont fight against an actual challenge above 180!

    Because he’s a gimme chump!

    (he smokes ’em at 185! A little big!)

  10. The Gaijin says:

    Unfortunately, just like Wanderlei vs. Liddell, time has tarnished the “aura” of a KID vs. Faber fight.

    I’d still love to see it, but it certainly doesn’t have the cache that it once would have had. No one’s fault for that – both guys were making too much money in their particular circumstances, but still sucks as a fight fan.

  11. EJ says:

    Wand/Liddell wasn’t tarnished at all, I always find it funny that some people make that claim. The fight happened on even footing and both guys brought it instead of complaining about missed chances mma fans should be greatfull we got to see it in the first place.

    • The Gaijin says:

      Why do I always have to wonder what alternate universe you live in?

      Wasn’t tarnished at all? Ok.

      Instead of a “Dream match” of two dominant champions who had been scorching the earth in the LHW division we got to see a fight between two fighters
      – past their primes (arguably peaking from 2002/3-2005/6);
      – both 0-2 coming into the fight;
      – one had one horrible KO and one fight where he looked like total garbage and got dropped by Keith Jardine; the other was gruesomely KTFO in back-to-back fights less than 6 months apart; and
      – since the fight one has gone 0-3, while the other has gone 2-2 and dropped a division to stay remotely relevant.

      Yeah – none of the lustre/draw/importance was lost on that fight… *shakes head in disbelief*

  12. Keith Harris says:

    “He trashed their St. Louis event (from last weekend), saying that it was a card full of mismatches and that UFC could do that all day long but they won’t because their matchmaking treats MMA as if it’s a sport.”

    This sentence made me chuckle. 🙂


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