The WSOF conference call took place on Thursday to promote WSOF 8, which takes place on January 18 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida. Justin Gaethje will take on Richard Patishnock in the main event for the inaugural WSOF lightweight title.
See a preview here.
Also on the card is a light heavyweight matchup between Anthony Johnson and Mike Kyle. This is the last fight of Johnson's three-fight contract. The Team Blackzilian fighter was asked if any dialogue has taken place as far as a future contract.
"I love Ali. I love Ray. I love World Series of Fighting," Johnson told MMAmania.com. "I've been telling everybody. I'm really enjoying myself here, so we will definitely see what happens, you know what I mean."
WSOF matchmaker and executive VP Ali Abdelaziz chimed in on the subject of Johnson's future at length:
"Anthony has been here since day one, he's one of the pioneers," he said. "We love Anthony, but at the end of the day after this fight, win, lose or draw we would love to have Anthony around. But if Anthony has another idea or is interested in any other ideas, we will support him 100 percent wherever he goes. I always say that you cannot do your best at any place, if you are not happy 100 percent. If we want Anthony to continue to with us, or any fighters, I want them to be happy and comfortable to give us the best performances."
Abdelaziz was then asked if keeping Johnson on the roster was of high priority. After all, he is one of the biggest stars on the roster, and it's not exactly going out on a limb to think he will draw some interest from the UFC or perhaps Bellator.
The WSOF VP brought up the Eddie Alvarez vs. Bellator contract dispute in his response.
"Eddie Alvarez single-handedly ruined one promotion because all this drama and nasty things that happened," Abdelaziz said. "He ruined some people's careers. I believe he ruined this promotion because they can't sign anyone because of one guy. Why would I force a guy to be with me if he doesn't want to be with me? You have to understand, the fan is always going to go with the fighters, if the fighter is right, and Eddie was right."
"If Anthony's contract is over and he want to go and fight in different place... Guess what? I'm going to give him a big huge hug and say good luck and wish him the best of luck," he continued in a matter of fact tone. "This is 2014. Were not boxing or different sports. If somebody have a dream to fight wherever you call it, the UFC, whatever... Who am I as a human being an individual, from keeping him from achieving his dreams? Everybody has a dream and me and Ray, and Sean, when we started this promotion, we said ‘fighters first.' Guarantee you this is why we have so much fans behind us, and supporting us. We might not be getting the biggest rating whatever, but I can guarantee you whoever tunes in to watch World Series of Fighting on NBC Sports, they are really true MMA fans."
Johnson should be a high priority, especially since aside from Tyrone Spong and an aging Andrei Arlovski, the 205 and 265 divisions are not exactly stacked with mega stars.
Will he re-sign? Time will tell.