It's been a busy week in MMA. Here are my thoughts on some of the bigger news items of the week:

Mirko Cro Flop?: Numerous sources, including Mirko Cro Cop himself, are saying that the Croatian heavyweight is no longer with the UFC. In fact, he was present at the press conference of a new league in Japan called "Dream." Dream is a partnership between the former employees of DSE (the former owners of PRIDE) and FEG (the owners of K-1).


Cro Crop had a very disappointing, very expensive, and very short tenure in the UFC. He fought three times in the promotion and went 1-2, losing his last two. He may forever be remembered by UFC fans for the right head kick by Gabriel Gonzaga that twisted him in knots. It's too bad because when Cro Cop was brought in, it was with the expectation that he would eventually challenge for the UFC heavyweight crown in what was then a weak division.

The division isn't much better right now, but releasing Cro Cop (especially at his current price tag) may be addition by subtraction.

By the way, the UFC hasn't officially commented on Cro Cop's departure and my request for an official response has thus far not been answered.

(Update: Dana White discussed Cro Cop's departure in an article published today at

WEC held another great event Wednesday night: The WEC (the UFC's sibling Zuffa league) held another very well-produced event on Wednesday. Three titles were on the line and two belts switched hands. Carlos Condit successfully defended his welterweight crown against Carlo Prater; Rob McCullough lost his lightweight belt in a wild third round against Jamie Varner; and Chase Beebe lost his bantamweight belt to Miguel Torres. In addition, former UFC lightweight Leonard Garcia made his debut in the WEC's featherweight division and handled Hiroyuki Takaya.

The WEC is looking deeper with each event. The featherweight division, especially, with the additions of Jens Pulver and now Garcia, might be the league's strongest division. Right now, I would have to say that the WEC is the number two MMA promotion in America. The product looks good on TV, the roster is getting better, and the attendance for this Wednesday's event appeared solid.

EliteXC: Street Certified on Saturday: EliteXC takes its show to Miami on Saturday, bringing the promotion to the home of Kimbo Slice. Slice headlines the event with his fight against fellow former streetfighter Tank Abbott. While we don't really know what to expect from Slice, we also don't know what to expect from the 40+, hard-living Abbott. Stylistically this matchup should be a good one. How will Slice handle an opponent that won't go down easily and can also dish out some punishment? This is Slice's first true test as a MMA fighter.

The rest of the main card is appealing as well. Antonio Silva takes on former UFC fighter Ricco Rodriguez in a heavyweight bout. I like Silva's skills. He's a nimble big man who has shown flashes of a ground game. He's still developing but he has a lot of potential.

Scott Smith squares off against Kyle Noke in a welterweight bout. Many of you will remember Smith for his remarkable victory over Pete Sell at the TUF 4 Finale. Noke made a nice debut with EliteXC his last fight and may be better known to his Aussie countrymen as the late "Crocodile Hunter's" bodyguard.

In addition, Brett Rogers takes on former PRIDE fighter James Thomson in a heavyweight bout while Edson Berto takes on former UFC veteran Yves Edwards in a lightweight matchup.

You can catch the main card on Showtime at 10 PM ET on Saturday.

Lawsuits, Lawsuits: The Randy Couture vs. UFC conflict has resulted in the gainful employment of many lawyers. And, apparently the opportunities for litigation are bountiful. This week, two Couture-related lawsuits were brought to light.

In one case, the UFC filed an injunction against Couture in the hopes of preventing him from appearing at the IFL's Feb. 29 event, saying that such an appearance would violate the terms of his contract with the UFC. Couture's camp, Xtreme Couture, is fielding a team at this IFL event.

In the other case brought to the courts on Wednesday, Mark Cuban's HDNet Fights brought forth a suit against Zuffa essentially requesting that the courts decide on Couture's contractual status with the UFC. This is presumably so that Cuban can then determine when he can sign Couture to his own promotion.

I'm not a huge fan of frivolous litigation, but I don't see the cases that are coming out of the UFC-Couture dispute as frivolous at all. In fact, I think this a seminal moment for MMA. These suits will serve to clarify what, if anything, needs to change about the way promotions and fighters do business as the sport continues to grow from its underground roots to the mainstream entity it is slowly becoming. Fighters have never had the leverage they now have in this country and MMA contracts, including those of the UFC, may have to change to reflect this.