Morning Report: Frankie Edgar to continue at featherweight, wants five-round headliner against Cub Swanson

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

It didn't take long for Frankie Edgar to make up his mind. Following his third straight title loss, the former UFC lightweight champion elected to continue his pursuit of Jose Aldo's featherweight strap.

Edgar is eyeing a five-round headlining fight against top contender Cub Swanson on an FX or FUEL TV card, our own Ariel Helwani reported on UFC Tonight. If that's unavailable, Edgar also suggested a fight against either Swanson or Dennis Siver at UFC 160 -- a fight card which happened to receive a few attractive additions late last night.

Swanson currently rides a four-fight win streak; three straight knockouts of George Roop, Ross Pearson and Charles Oliveira, punctuated by electric victory over Dustin Poirier. Likewise Siver has racked up a perfect 2-0 record since dropping down from 155 pounds, earning decision victories over Diego Nunes and Nam Phan.

Regardless of the route the UFC chooses, the bout will mark Edgar's first non-title fight since 2009, a span that includes seven title challenges or defenses. A remarkable feat, no doubt.

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7 MUST-READ STORIES

Edgar wants Swanson, Siver. Former UFC champion Frankie Edgar will continue his pursuit of the featherweight belt, according to a report from UFC Tonight. Edgar hopes to return to action against Cub Swanson or Denis Siver.

Cerrone uninjured after fall. UFC lightweight Donald Cerrone is fortunately uninjured after claiming to fall 40 feet while rock climbing. "The wild man IS THROUGH," tweeted Cerrone, who is now fighting K.J. Noons at UFC 160.

Marquardt steps in. Former Strikeforce champion Nate Marquardt signed on as a late replacement to fight Jake Ellenberger at UFC 158. Ellenberger's initial opponent, Johny Hendricks, withdrew on Monday to fight Carlos Condit after Rory MacDonald suffered an undisclosed neck injury.

TUF 17 results. Team Sonnen's Kelvin Gastelum, the youngest competitor in TUF history, upset Team Jones' Bubba McDaniel via second-round rear-naked choke on last night's episode of The Ultimate Fighter 17.

Volkmann cut. Following his recent loss to Bobby Green, lightweight fighter Jacob Volkmann received his release from the UFC. Volkmann racked up a 6-2 record since dropping down from welterweight.

Mayweather inks monster deal. Boxing superstar Floyd "Money" Mayweather, a longtime staple on HBO, inked a monstrous new contract with Showtime Networks Inc. and its parent company, CBS Corporation. The deal will see Mayweather "fight up to six times over a period of 30 months" -- beginning with a bout against Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero -- and is estimated to potentially become "the richest individual athlete deal in all of sports." So perhaps Showtime won't be missing Strikeforce too much.

Invicta FC drug testing. Invicta Fighting Championships plans to implement random drug testing in advance of Invicta FC 5, which takes place April 5, 2013 and notably features the debut of Cris "Cyborg." Fighters were notified in January of the new policy, which will be administered by an independent agency at all Invicta FC events moving forward.

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MEDIA STEW

I normally try to avoid posting generic pre-fight interviews, but I must say, this one is fantastic.

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Tank Abbott is a national treasure.

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Two takeaways: 1.) Chael Sonnen apparently broke that man's ribs. 2.) 21-year-old Jake Ellenberger!

(HT: Reddit)

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The folks over at FightHub shadowed Ronda Rousey to capture this behind-the-scenes look at the UFC champ's training camp in Big Bear.

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Frank Mir seems a tad uninterested in this.

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I think my head might have exploded if I had these as a kid.

(HT: Bloody Elbow)

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FlyWin Evolutions returns to demonstrate why exactly they call this man "Showtime."

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WHOA

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NOT GOOD

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WHAT A 6-2 RUN GETS YOU

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PARTING SHOT

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BLASTOISE IS THE ONLY CORRECT ANSWER

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A REQUEST

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announced yesterday (Tuesday, February 19, 2013):

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FANPOST OF THE DAY

Today's Fanpost of the Days comes from Omar Little, who writes: Eddie Alvarez v. Bellator Fighting Championships: A Legal Primer

First off, a little bit about me. I am a third year law student at Drake University Law School in Des Moines, Iowa. I've taken several courses on intellectual property law, entertainment law, licensing, and contracts. There really isn't a big "business of MMA" market out there and most of the articles about this subject don't really discuss the issues in a proper legal context. I'm as qualified as anyone so I'll throw my hat in the conversation.

...

First off the issue is that Bellator has a "right of first refusal" for Eddie Alvarez for a period of time. Eddie signed a contract for a period of time, and at the end of this period Bellator has a right of first refusal for his next contract. This is what's the "match" of the issue. We all know what happens after this, the UFC gave Eddie a very handsome offer and Bellator claims that they have matched. There are things that the UFC has offered that Eddie and his legal team feel Bellator cannot, or will not, offer. Whereas Bellator feels that they just need to offer only what's guaranteed.

This is where the rubber meets the road. The issue now is what constitutes a "match" in this sense. Eddie's team has a strong argument. UFC offers him just as much guaranteed money Bellator does, but they offer him a much larger platform to build his star power. They're a business that makes a significant chunk of money from PPV, and they're offering Eddie a share of that revenue stream. They're also offering Eddie Alvarez an appearance on network TV and an opportunity to make money talking MMA on Fox and I'm sure a TUF appearance may not be out of the question.

Bellator is offering the same things, at least that's what they claim. However, Bellator to date has NOT put on a PPV broadcast. Furthermore, they don't have a network TV broadcast partner. There were some other things that Rebney brought up that were offered to Eddie that weren't in the UFC offer. Now, Bellator is saying that they are planning to do a PPV and that they've lined up broadcast partners to match the broadcast TV offer.

So now we have to consider what is a "match." Typically the meaning of this is dictated by the terms of the contract, given that there's a lot of conflict over this and there was actually a hearing regarding an injunction I'm fairly certain that this wasn't defined in the contract. For larger entertainers you can better believe that what constitutes a match is included.

From the start there's some pretty big differences in opportunity between what the UFC offers and what Bellator is offering. Now, it seems like Bellator is going out of their way to guarantee what the UFC is guaranteeing. Technically they may offer the same floor that UFC offers, though we'll get to that in a second, but explicitly the UFC contract has the ability to pay Eddie Alvarez more than the Bellator contract. There's really no way that it does not pay him more. The fact that Bellator is bending over backwards to give the appearance that these offers are a match and Bjorn Rebney has said "we've done what we're legally required to," pretty much says all that needs to be said. The UFC offer has a much higher potential payout than the Bellator deal.

Much more after the jump...

Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me on Twitter @shaunalshatti and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.

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