Most of the MMA blogosphere and mainstream sites received emails yesterday from M-1 Global’s Brian Patton regarding the recent shift of M-1 Global’s American division to a new name. M-1 Global will now be known as Adrenaline MMA, and it also released a press release on two big name heavyweight signings:
Sylvia and Ben Rothwell have signed multi-fight contracts with the newly-formed promotion.
Sylvia (24-4) is a former 2-time UFC heavyweight champion, while Rothwell (31-5) was undefeated in the IFL for the champion Quad Cities Silverbacks.
Sylvia, 6-foot-8 and 265 pounds, has fought 13 times in the UFC and defeated top performers like Jeff Monson, Andre Arlovski (twice), Brandon Vera, Ricco Rodriguez and Assuerio Silva.
“Adrenaline is a new promotion, but it allows fighters to fight for other organizations… that’s huge,” Sylvia said. “I’ve got 3 to 4 years left and want to fight as much as possible, so this is the perfect choice for me at this time.”
Rothwell, 6-5 and 265, has won 13 straight bouts, including all 9 of his IFL fights.
“Adrenaline will give me the chance to take things to the next level,” Rothwell said. “I’m ready to see how I fare against the best heavyweights in the world.”
Sylvia and Rothwell both train at Miletich Fighting Systems in Bettendorf, Iowa.
The big question here is whether or not Tim will actually have some upside in this small-time promotion. According to Monte Cox, the new promotion won’t be the size of EliteXC or UFC, but it may reach a size equivalent to WEC. It’ll also begin moving into larger midwestern markets with their first show possibly being in Chicago. With such a big market in Chicago, Adrenaline could start out with some profit on a small scale.
For Sylvia and Rothwell, this could potentially be a good deal for them if they manage to get bouts in other promotions that have some legitimate fighters. EliteXC is definitely going to be pursuing a way to grab the recognizable name in Sylvia for their CBS shows. Signing with a promotion that has non-exclusive clauses could work out great for Sylvia, but there still remains two huge problems.
Sylvia’s reputation as a boring fighter that simply uses his size to win is renowned to UFC fans everywhere. He’s booed in nearly every single performance he has even though he wins. Can this change? The consensus is that it’s possible that Sylvia’s style could pick up a step if he fights non-UFC competition in other promotions. Sylvia vs. Antonio Silva or Ricco Rodriguez could be exciting? I’m not exactly convinced, but if Sylvia doesn’t do something to liven up his game, his UFC departure could spell disaster for his career down the road. Then again, Sylvia says he only has a few years left in his career, so maybe he can go out with a substantial amount of cash in his pocket before it is all said and done.