Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White was adamant that when the World Fighting Alliance promoted a mixed martial arts card in Los Angeles in the summer the fledgling company would not pose a threat to the UFC’s dominance. On Monday, the UFC made certain of that when it purchased the WFA’s assets. The impetus behind the move, White said, was the acquisition of light heavyweight Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. One of the world’s top 205-pounders, Jackson is the last man to defeat UFC champion Chuck Liddell.
The transaction included the acquisition of more than 30 fighters’ contracts, but Jackson’s was the primary focus.
“We just had a lot of interest in Rampage,” White said. “I’ve said I’ve been trying to do deals and get guys like this, but sometimes business doesn’t move as fast as I’d like it to. “Rampage is one of the best light heavyweights out there. I just wanted to add another guy, another top-level fighter, to the mix.”
Since losing to Jackson on Nov. 9, 2003, Liddell has become the biggest draw in the sport. He has defeated mixed martial arts icons such as Randy Couture (twice), Tito Ortiz and Babalu Sobral.
Liddell’s rematch with Ortiz on Dec. 30 at the MGM Grand Garden is expected to be the richest fight in mixed martial arts history.
“If a guy is good enough to beat Chuck, then that guy is a real fighter,” White said. White said Jackson would fight for the UFC “as soon as possible” and said it is likely he could appear on a Feb. 3 pay-per-view card at Mandalay Bay.
The WFA was co-owned by Attorney Ross Goodman and Attorney Louis Palazzo. They put on the company’s first show in three years on July 22 in Los Angeles, but scrapped plans for a Dec. 9 show in Las Vegas when the acquisition by the UFC grew more likely.
Goodman called it a great move for the WFA. “We’re being acquired by the pre-eminent mixed martial arts company in the world,” Goodman said. “When you develop a business, you always need to have an exit strategy. We were developing our business model, but this opportunity presented itself and, what can I say? We’re going out on a happy note.”
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