WSOF – The Scrutiny of Signing UFC Veterans
By Christopher Jester
On the heels of his release from the UFC, Jake Shields has signed a multi-fight deal with World Series of Fighting. Like Yushin Okami and Rousimar Palhares, he is just another fighter to land a spot on the roster of the up and coming mixed martial arts organization. However, is this a good move for WSOF? Taking on so many former UFC veterans could lead their image to becoming UFC 1.5 instead of its own product. Or does taking a closer look at their selections of former UFC stars mean pure genius on WSOF’s part?
The sport is changing. No longer is the UFC the go to North American mixed martial arts organization that will earn fighter’s exposure. With the likes of Bellator, World Series of Fighting, and Invicta FC – fighters have options. But so does the organizations that hire them. No matter how you look at, signing UFC fighters is a good and bad thing.
Former UFC fighters bring the strong name and the fanbase. In the case of Jake Shields, much like Okami and Jon Fitch before him, he brings his ranking from his respective division. Yet, for an organization on the rise like WSOF, gathering as many UFC vets is not always a good thing.
Many like the idea that these fledgling organizations are making future champions. WSOF has been great at this already, especially if you look at the careers of Marlon Moraes and Nick Newell. But drowning that image with UFC fighters could diminish the work they are putting in with their prospects and their future potential.
Despite all of that, World Series of Fighting’s signing of fighters has been a smart business move. When you consider the list of fighters they have picked up from the UFC, nearly every single one of them were in the top ten. Jon Fitch was picked up right when he was still at a decent spot in the rankings. Jake Shields has always been a perennial contender.
Evaluating who they have signed and you see they have developed quite a welterweight division. With fighters like Rousimar Palhares, Jon Fitch, Josh Burkman, and now Jake Shields – World Series of Fighting may not have the second best welterweight division in the world. The merit and talent of these welterweights are unquestionable.
With one former UFC fighter in Rousimar Palhares already one of their champions, World Series of Fighting has a strong likelihood of crowning more UFC vets as their champions. Melvin Guillard was also signed this spring and in a limited lightweight division, he has a strong chance at least becoming a top contender.
World Series of Fighting does not want to look like they are the second home to the UFC, but they also want to gain the best fighters in the world. If the best fighters in the world are coming from the UFC, what other choice do they have? WSOF deserves commending in that regard. At least they are not suffering the same fate as Bellator where the majority of its signed former UFC fighters have become busts. If they continue the right signings, WSOF may very well recruit the best roster class to legitimize them as more than just a halfway house for UFC fighters.
Follow Christopher “sLapDatSuCKa” Jester on Twitter @sLapDatSuCka
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