The following notes are courtesy of Chris Howie who represented MMANews.com in today's UFC conference call with president Dana White and Heavyweight fighter Mirko CroCop.
-Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira was in limbo, so the UFC signed him. Basically he had no existing deal with PRIDE, so they decided to move him over to the UFC during the acquisition of PRIDE. Doesn't know who he will be fighting first in the UFC as he just signed him a week ago, but said Nogueira will be fighting a top draw. The rumors are Brandon Vera.
-PRIDE will follow the unified rules, weight-classes and rounds. Pretty much adopting UFC's style.
-UFC 72 “Victory” will be broadcast free on Spike TV and will feature Rich Franklin vs. Martin Kampmann and Forrest Griffin vs. Hector Ramirez.
-There has been no official decision on the PRIDE LWGP yet. Well, we have that one on the main page already. Dana says rumors of UFC fighters being involved in the tournament (Matt Hughes and Diego Sanchez were rumored via a poster) are false. It will only be PRIDE fighters and there will be no UFC vs. PRIDE fights until they do the big supershow.
-When discussing Vanderlei Silva, Dana again mentions how him fighting Chuck Liddell could have been the biggest fight in MMA history until Silva was knocked out by CroCop and Dan Henderson, consecutively.
-Dana doesn't really have anything official on Fedor yet. His contract with PRIDE is not an exclusive deal and Zuffa does not deal with non-exclusive contracts with fighters. Fedor is not a free agent though and they will be working hard to keep him.
-Dana White is still pissed at Tito Ortiz. He sprinkled several insults and choice words throughout the call about him.
-The New Jersey State Athletic Commission is working hard to allow the use of knee strikes in MMA. Dana said that is one rule he would change and they want it added.
-Puts over UFC securing the future of the sport. They are only expanding it and making it bigger, and aren't a flash-in-the-pan like some predict.
-The HBO deal is signed, sealed and delivered. As mentioned before, Dana announced that HBO gained control of the production – so it will be their announcers. It wasn't mentioned, but as a fan of MMA and someone who's about to take over Larry Merchant's position on the boxing broadcasts this year, Max Kellerman would make sense as one of the announcers for the UFC on HBO.
-ESPN will be covering the weigh-ins regularly from now on, and he expects live fight shows to air on that network at some point in the future as well.
This is only some of the stuff mentioned today. Keep checking MMANews.com as we'll have very detailed recaps with anything newsworthy from the conference call.