In advance of his first title defense against Chris Horodecki, World Series of Fighting featherweight champion Lance Palmer has re-signed with the promotion for four more fights, via Sherdog.com.
And, for all the craziness and confusion the WSOF goes under, it’s a brillant move by Palmer.
With Reebok’s new sponsorship deal with the UFC, Palmer would stand to lose about $8,000 per fight since he does not have experience under the Zuffa banner. The sponsorship rate for the first five fights with Zuffa is $2,500, indicating that Palmer is doing a great job of aquiring sponsors on his own so it really doesn’t make sense for him to stop his curent business practices.
While he could be the next Andrei Arlovski or Anthony Johnson, who both have experienced success in the UFC (and appeared on UFC 187) after appearing in the WSOF, he could also be the next Josh Burkman or Steve Carl. Burkman, if you don’t remember, was also on the UFC 187 card, just on the preliminaries where he got pulped by Doug Hyun Kim.
And the prospect of turning into the next Steve Carl has to be terrifying for Palmer. After rising to become the WSOF’s welterweight champion (similar to Palmer) in a bout over Josh Burkman, Carl lost it in a bout to Rousimar Palhares, then forced his way out of the organization, thinking the UFC was his next stop. Instead, he couldn’t gain a spot on the roster and has to battle for one on the Ultimate Fighter 21, which will be difficult for him to win.
The point is that there’s no guarentee Palmer would make it into the UFC. He’s guarenteed a spot in the WSOF, and that’s worth something. Better to not let that slip by reaching too far and fall to having to fight in regional promotions, where the money is scarce for fighter and promotion alike.
And with the UFC busy cutting costs by putting the screws to fighters, like fellow WSOF fighter Jake Shields, there’s no guarantee he’d stay with the UFC beyond his initial, probably four-to-six fight, contract even if he was able to join. While he could eventually get more money from the UFC if he succeeds with them, that’s a risky proposition. The talent in the UFC, even at the lower rungs, is substancially better than any he has faced at this point in his career. Better to take the bird in the hand right now than hope for two later, which could possibly never come.
Not only does it make sense from a financial standpoint, it makes sense from a relevence standpoint. In the WSOF, he’s a big fish in a little tiny bantamweight pond and garnering national attention. If he were to join the big UFC ocean, he’d be just another guy (at least at first) and MMA radio wouldn’t want him on their program. Palmer would lose his shine, becoming just another guy.
That’s not a good idea as Palmer is one the more talented fighters in the WSOF, making Horidecki a good first fight on his new contract. Palmer needs exposure just like the WSOF does, making the renewed partnership a good one. Together, they can help expand the WSOF’s featherweight division and help make it more compelling.