World Series of Fighting appears to have a running start this year for their organization. Following their largely successful debut event, which had fans and media alike singing their praises, we have been informed, via press release, that they have signed on with NBC Sports Network for a multi-year deal, and will offer up six cards a year, which will commence this March 23rd. I recently spoke with president, Ray Sefo, who gave me some insight to their first card, and future events.
Stephie Daniels: How was the reception from the executives at NBC Sports to your first event, and were they immediately on board to get this long term deal locked down?
Ray Sefo: It was definitely a smooth flowing deal. Right after the event, we ended up heading back to Caesar's Palace at one of the villas there, and kind of had a small after party with some of the execs. Everybody was super excited and very happy with the way the show turned out, and the way it looked. I think it just took a little extra time to close the deal because of the holidays, and we understood that. We are really happy with the way that the deal was worked.
Stephie Daniels: I saw the Nam / Moraes fight confirmed for your first card this year. Are there any other big fights inthe works?
Ray Sefo: I have some surprises for you. As a matter of fact, we have a verbal agreement for our main event. It's Andrei Arlovski vs. Anthony Johnson. It will be at heavyweight.
Stephie Daniels: What are the plans for the six cards this year? Will they all be situated in Nevada, or are you planning to take them to other locations?
Ray Sefo: Well, I have another surprise. The March 23rd card will be at the Revel Resort and Casino in Atlantic City, NJ. Then, the next event will be back here, in Vegas. We're definitely going to be all over the country.
Stephie Daniels: You've been trying to remain active in your own combat sports career. Now that you have this deal with NBC Sports, and have several cards a year planned, will you continue that, or is retirement in your immediate future?
Ray Sefo: I absolutely plan to stay active. I still have the hunger to compete, along with the determination and motivation to train. I've always said that the day I'm unmotivated to go to the gym twice a day, will be an indication to me that it's time to hang it up. I'm still very active, in the gym six days a week. Obviously, my main goal is to get WSOF off the ground with a bang this year, but my other goal is to get seven fights under my belt and then look at retiring.
Stephie Daniels: What's happening with Extreme Couture?
Ray Sefo: You know, it's kind of crazy. Some guy wrote some sort of article about all our guys leaving Extreme, but that's completely fals and wrong. Mike Pyle, for example, had been talking about training over at The Syndicate for a while, because his striking coach was there, and his best friend owns the gym. There has been talk about Mike leaving for about a year, and there was no bad blood or any ill will.
About seven months ago, our guys all fought back to back, and then the holidays came along, so there was really nobody in the gym on the level of Evan and Jay for sparring, so some of the guys just went elsewhere for their sparring needs. That's pretty much it. Everybody is back in the gym now.
Stephie Daniels: Do you think that Randy's big announcement of working with Spike and coaching teams for Bellator might mean a resurgence of Extreme Couture?
Ray Sefo: That's very possible. Just like everything in life, we get older. These guys get older and move on, and then the young talent comes in to take their place. That's kind of what's happening at Extreme right now. There's a whole new breed of young guys in the pro class right now. The gym has an open door policy where people can come and go, and I'm sure that Randy will always keep it like that.
You can follow Ray via his Twitter account, @SugarRaySefo