UFC in Mexico and Canada Updates, UFC Fighter Avoids Jail Time, More

Partial source: BloodyElbow.com

– After the confusion during the weekend of UFC 99, Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports is reporting that Mirko Cro Cop has signed a new three fight deal with the UFC. He will fight Junior dos Santos at UFC 103 in Dallas on Sept. 19th. The original confusion seems to come from Filipovic’s manager, Ken Imai, who could not be reached for comment. Dana White commented on Cro Cop’s return, stating the following…

“I never had a problem with Mirko himself, and I’m looking forward to having him fight for us again. He’s said (his previous stint in) the UFC is the black mark on his career and he wants to do something about that.”

– Josh Neer has received a suspended sentence after pleading guilty to two charges stemming from a New Year’s Day drunk-driving arrest. Judge Douglas F. Staskal issued Neer a maximum two years of imprisonment after the fighter pleaded guilty to second-offense OWI and five years after a guilty plea for eluding or attempting to elude a police vehicle. The sentence was suspended, and Neer will be able to fight at UFC 101. As long as he fulfills the terms of his probation, he will be allowed to travel to fight, and will stay out of prison.

Neer’s manager, Mickey Dubberly of KO Dynasty made the following comments…

“We are very pleased with the decision the judge made on Josh’s hearing, and we can now finally put this matter behind us and move on. In no way will the judge’s decision keep Josh from fighting in UFC 101. Josh has been training very hard for this fight and is looking forward to putting on a great fight for the UFC and the fans. Josh would like to thank the UFC, family, friends, fans, sponsors and his training partners for supporting him through this incident.”

– UFC CEO and co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta is determined to hit Canada hard in 2010. In addition to a return to Montreal, the company has penciled in Vancouver and Toronto for 2010 shows. Fertitta is aiming for Vancouver in June of 2010, and “guaranteed” that the company would run the “biggest mixed martial arts event in North America” in Toronto in the same year.

The first two UFC events in Canada, Montreal to be exact, have been successes for the company. UFC 83 was in April 2008 and drew 21,390 attendees, which was a North American MMA attendance record at the time, and a $5.1 million gate. The next event, UFC 97, took place this year and drew 21,451, for another impressive gate of $4.9 million gate.

UFC officials are currently working on regulations with the local legislators to make the shows happen. If the regulations pass, the Toronto event could take place at the Rogers Centre, which could seat nearly 70,000 fans for an MMA event.

– UFC made their Mexican TV debut this past weekend with a free airing of UFC 100 on Grupo Televisa. Dana White recently said that expanding into Mexico was a priority, and that the WEC, which has many Hispanic fighters, would be a part of the expansion, as the Mexican market is ripe for the companies’ growth. Here is what Dana White had to say about the expansion…

“Same thing that we did here in the United States. We start on free TV. We start educating people on the sport. We start traveling around Mexico and doing all the things that I did in the United State from radio to television, meeting with all the different people who probably oppose it and think it’s bad and start trying to educate people. We’ll then bring a live event down there. And then we’ll continue bringing live events down there. Once we get Mexico rolling – it’s going to take some time – I’d like to do something like we did ‘The Ultimate Fighter: U.S. vs. U.K.’ (with) U.S. vs. Mexico, U.K. vs. Mexico, Canada vs. Mexico, whatever, I don’t know. We’ll do something.”