Tim Sylvia leaves the UFC
Tim Sylvia and Ben Rothwell Sign with Adrenaline MMA
by Dann Stupp [mmajunkie] on Mar 28, 2008 at 9:00 pm in - News -
Former UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia (24-4), a longtime UFC fighter whose relationship with the organization was oftentimes rocky, has left the organization and signed with Adrenaline MMA -- the promotion previously known as M-1 Global.
Adrenaline MMA CEO Monte Cox announced that former IFL stand-out heavyweight Ben Rothwell (29-5) has also signed with the organization, which is working toward a June 14 show in Chicago.
The announcements were made on today's edition of "Inside MMA" on HDNet.
Both Sylvia and Rothwell are represented by Cox, who's also one of the sport's most prominent fight managers.
Sylvia, who had spent more than five years with the UFC and held the heavyweight belt on two different occasions, had one fight left on his contract with the organization. He says the split with the UFC was mutually agreed upon.
It was reported his possible depature earlier today -- soon after Sylvia posted a message on his official website promising a big announcement on "Inside MMA."
His deal with Adrenaline MMA is non-exlusive, meaning he will be able to compete outside the organization.
"I'll be real active, fighting six or seven times a year," Sylvia said. "Adrenaline is a new company that's just starting up, but they're allowing fighters to fight outside of their organization. That's huge... Take for instance my last fight. Granted, I loss, but I came out of there unhurt and unscathed. I could have fought a week or two later.
"Being 32 years old, I have four or five good years ahead of me. I plan to make the most of it."
M-1 Global launched in October 2007 after the organization was purchased by a group of American investors from Sibling Entertainment. However, after announcing that Emelianenko signed with the organization more than six months ago, Cox admitted this week that the fighter only signed a letter of intent. The organization and M-1 Global split ways this week, and the M-1 name will return to Emelianenko's manager and former M-1 president, Vadim Finkelchtein.
Sylvia, who suffered a third-round submission loss to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in his host recent fight, specifically mentioned Emelianenko, who's now a free agent, as a fighter he wants to face in the future.
As for Cox, he is committed to getting Adrenaline MMA off the ground.
"It's a chance for me to build an organization," Cox said. "We're not going to come in and be the UFC. Anyone who tries to do that is crazy.
"We're brand new. What we want to do is I want to identify exciting fighters, up-and-coming fighters, and give them a chance to perform on a big stage. And hopefully, we'll gather a big following and someday down the road be doing pay-per-views and such."
Rothwell, a Miletich fighter like Sylvia, has competed exclusively with the IFL since April 2006, going a perfect 9-0. He's currently riding a 13-fight win streak.
"We have two of the best heavyweights in the world to start off," Cox said of Adrenaline MMA. "There are a lot of organizations that would like to be in our shoes.