Tapouts: The Latest on UFC, WEC, and Elite XC

Shogun signed and sealed?

With PRIDE seemingly on the backburner for now, one of the main questions for UFC fans has been the status of PRIDE 2005 Middleweight Grand Prix champion Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua. It has long been rumored that Shogun is inked to Zuffa, and now that has seemingly been confirmed. UFC President Dana White’s latest interview with The Oregonian claims that Shogun will make his long awaited Octagon debut on September 22nd, which is likely to mean UFC 76 from the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, CA. “He’s signed and ready to roll” was White’s quote.

Fedor reaches verbal agreement with Zuffa?

A source on the official forum of PRIDE Heavyweight Champion Fedor Emelianenko (note – link is in Russian) has been translated as claiming that Fedor and his lawyers “offered some changes to the contract offered by Dana, and the changes were accepted. So, verbal agreement is reached. They plan a 2 year contract for 6-8 fights with top fighters….” The sticking point of the contract is rumored to be a clause that allows Emelianenko to compete in Sambo tournaments in Russia.

Sokoudjou to Elite XC

Sherdog.com is running a story claiming that PRIDE star Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou, coming off two of the year’s biggest upset victories – over Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Ricardo Arona respectively – has signed a four-fight deal with Showtime’s MMA group Elite XC. This will come as a blow to UFC fans who were hoping to see the Cameroon native tested against the world’s best inside the Octagon in the near future.

Filho vs. Doerksen to headline WEC 29

Thankfully, another of PRIDE’s free agents following the buyout *is* headed Zuffa’s way, albeit not in the usual direction. Brazilian Top Team Middleweight standout Paulo Filho, who is unbeaten with a record of 14-0, has been reported to have signed with Zuffa, but on their WEC branch rather than UFC. Various sources are reporting that Filho’s first match with the promotion will come on August 5th’s WEC 29 show, which will be broadcast on the Versus network, and that this match, for the vacant WEC Middleweight belt, will be against former UFC fighter Joe Doerksen. Filho’s contract is rumored to feature four fights with WEC, with the reasoning behind his move there likely being to avoid a clash with friend and training partner Anderson Silva, who currently holds the UFC Middleweight Title.