World Series of Fighting is making its debut on Saturday, November 3rd at the Planet Hollywood’s PH Live in Las Vegas. President of the WSOF, Ray Sefo joined MMA Fight Corner on Tuesday night to discuss the promotion’s inaugural fight card and detailed what fans can expect from WSOF in 2013.
The first bout kicks off 4:30pm Saturday afternoon on Pacific Time. The weigh-ins will be open to the public at Planet Hollywood’s PH Live lobby at 4pm PT on Friday in Las Vegas. The decagon, their 10-sided cage, is ready for the fighters to make their mark on its canvas. Maybe at some point, Ray Sefo himself steps into it and fights…really.
“I’ve done it before, I can do it again,” Sefo said. Back in 1997, he and his business partner then held an event in New Zealand which Ray headlined. Then, he had much more of a skeleton crew and much more to handle on his plate. “It got a point where I’m literally about to walk out [and fight] and I’m making decisions. So thank goodness that I have a whole team. I don’t have to worry about anything, all I gotta focus on is kicking the next guy’s butt.”
With 93 professional fights in kickboxing, MMA and Muay Thai to his name, Ray’s worn several hats that have all shared a part in getting him where he is today. “I’ve been through it all I don’t think there’s anything in the martial arts world that I haven’t been through, or haven’t seen,” Sefo stated. “My first lesson in jiu jitsu was with Royce, who’s a good friend of mine, Royce Gracie. And then I met Randy Couture, and started wrestling, and started respecting all the different parts of what Mixed Martial Arts is. Understanding all that, understanding being a fighter, understanding the business side as well, understanding the fighters and what they go through, what they bring, the discipline the sacrifices for example – Devin Cole for this camp had to leave his wife and two kids, he’s training away from home – and so, these are the sacrifices for someone who really wants to climb the ladder and wants to give 150% when he jumps into the cage. So, I understand all that.”
There’s no doubt Sefo has had an influence in several fighters making their decision to sign with the promotion. He plans to maintain his integrity and always keep the fighters best interests at heart. “As long as I’m president of the company, all the fighters will be well looked after.”
With their first event just days away, the promotion has already started staging out what’s next. In last week’s conference call, Sefo said maybe New Jersey would be the next state they venture to. Though that’s not set in stone, Sefo shed some light on where the promotion could land next.
“There’s already discussions with people from different parts of states, and also, different people worldwide. It’s one of these things that I think it’s a must that we travel outside. Right now, I think we’re probably going to have two cards at home, or three cards at home, and then we’re going to travel. There’s a lot of need for it. So, yea, that’s definitely in the works right now.”
In addition, titles will come with time for the organization. “World Series of Fighting, probably by the third show we should have some sort of idea who we have that are regular on the cards and select a champion from there.”
While he is the president of the newest organization to set up shop in Las Vegas, Sefo still works as the head coach for several fighters including UFC welterweights, Jay Hieron and Martin Kampmann. In no way does he currently see his latest job interfering with his ability to train fighters.
“When it comes to my guys who do fight for the UFC, I think I have a good enough relationship with the UFC. The UFC is an inspiration to our league for what they’ve done for the sport. For me, having to corner my guys at UFC, that’s what I do, I wear different hats. I’m a coach, I’m a fighter, I’m the president of the World Series of Fighting. Why can’t you do all that? If you can do, why can’t you do it.”
While keeping on top of it all, World Series of Fighting has also managed to wrangle in more than one of the top prospects in MMA right now. Their next fight card is in January 2013 and on it will be bantamweight Tyson Nam. “He’s 100% going to be on the January card,” said Sefo.
Nam has been on a 4-fight win streak and has signed with the WSOF. Sefo added that Nam’s first opponent will be the winner of the Miguel Torres and Marlon Moraes bout. “That’s definitely who we were thinking of matching him up against. The winner of those two will definitely face Nam.”
Sefo also took the time to breakdown the upcoming fight card with our crew.
Sefo said of the main event, Andre Arlovski vs Devin Cole: “I think it’s going to be a good fight. You’ve got two big guys. They both can throw down. They can both go to the ground. It just depends on who wants to be where and who can dictate where that fight is going to go. I see a stoppage in that fight, but you never know.”
As far as Cole looking ready to rock and seeming to have reinvented himself, Sefo said. “He’s obviously done some changes. He’s now training with the Jackson Camp,” Sefo added. “I’m really excited about the main event, but I’m really excited about the whole card.”
In the co-main event, Anthony Johnson faces DJ Linderman, Sefo thinks at light heavyweight, Johnson has a new home. “He looks strong, He looks good. I think we’re seeing the best of Anthony Johnson at 205.”
Another highly touted prospect acquired by the WSOF is Dutch kickboxer, Tyrone Spong who is making his MMA debut. Spong will face Sefo actually fought Spong when he was kickboxing and spoke on his skillset.
“Tyrone he’s one of these guys who’s a complete fighter. And when I say that I mean he knows how to put his punches together, kicks, I mean the guy is strong. He’s fast,” Sefo stated. “I held mitts for him and I think we had half of the gym watching…I asked him about his ground. He’s working with Blackzilians. He’s really confident with his camp and with his ground and I think we’re going to see some great things from Tyrone.”
The main card’s third event of the night, Miguel Torres vs Marlon Moraes. Torres was cut from the UFC following a loss, as was Gerald Harris and several other fighters on the card. But, Ray explained that sometimes fighters have ups and downs they go through in their careers, but by no means does it diminish anything about their skills.
“A lot of people don’t realize when somebody gets cut from somewhere, it’s not because they’re lesser fighters. It’s just because Sometimes you can climb the ladder and sometimes you can be off that day, but you can never take away they’re skills because when they can get to that level with their skills their skills will still be there it just depends on how they prepare for the next fight, or where they’re at with their personal life or their professional life. So, it changes all the time.”
Sefo added that earlier in Torres’ career, he was on is own, he was self-taught and a lot younger. Now, he’s more mature and fighting to support his family. “We’re going to see a beast out of Miguel Torres come Saturday Night,” Sefo promised.
The inaugural World Series of Fighting card will be televised on NBC Sports Network and live streamed on Sherdog.com starting at 4pm. Tickets for the Nov. 3 event start at $19.99 and can be purchased online at Ticketmaster.com, at all Caesars Entertainment and Ticketron outlets and by phone at 800-745-3000.
The main event is a heavyweight bout between Andre Arlovski vs Devin Cole. Visit http://mmawsof.com/ for more information.
Here’s a look at the full fight card:
Andre Arlovski vs Devin Cole
Anthony Johnson vs DJ Linderman
Miguel Torres vs Marlon Moraes
Gregor Gracie vs Tyson Steele
Travis Barlett vs Tyrone Spong
Brian Cobb vs. Ronys Torres
Josh Burkman vs. Gerald Harris
Gesias “JZ” Cavalcante vs. T.J. O’Brien
Dave Branch vs. Dustin Jacoby
Waylon Lowe vs. Fabio Mello
Ramico Blackmon vs. Steve Carl