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UFC 166 notebook: Brandon Vera ‘probably' not getting cut, Aldo-Lamas in talks for Super Bowl weekend, more

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

HOUSTON -- Brandon Vera has left the Octagon victorious only once over the course of his past six tries. However in light of Vera's most recent loss, a third-round knockout at the hands of Ben Rothwell, after which Rothwell tested positive for elevated testosterone, it appears as if Vera's job is secure for the time being.

"I would imagine if he hasn't been cut yet, he's probably not getting cut," UFC President Dana White said on Thursday.

The situation mirrors an instance in early 2011 when Vera (12-7, 1 NC) was briefly released from the UFC after suffering a lopsided loss to Thiago Silva, but subsequently re-signed after it was revealed that Silva falsified his urine sample.

Meanwhile, in the case of Rothwell (33-9), the heavyweight was granted prior permission to undergo testosterone-replacement therapy ahead of UFC 164, but only received an "administrative warning" from the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services for his failed test.

Regardless, the UFC elected to supersede the Wisconsin commission and hand Rothwell a nine-month suspension.

"I told you guys, however long ago it was, what our stance on TRT was," White said. "We have a position on TRT, and anybody, no matter where we are, we're going to go after guys that are abusing TRT.

"When you're a professional athlete, this stuff is serious s--t. You'd better know what's going on with your own f--king body and what's going in it."

Aldo's next challenge

Months of waiting on the sidelines for a title shot may finally pay off for featherweight contender Ricardo Lamas (13-2). According to UFC President Dana White, a battle between Lamas and UFC champion Jose Aldo (23-1) could be brewing for February 1, 2014.

"We're talking about that (fight) Super Bowl weekend, but it's not done yet," White said. "We're talking about it, but we talk about a lot of things."

Lamas is 4-0 thus far in the UFC, and currently the promotion's No. 2 ranked featherweight.

If the match-up is booked, it would take place Super Bowl weekend at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

Nelson's new contract

Heading into UFC 161, Roy Nelson stood to make a lot of money. The 37-year-old rode a streak of three consecutive first-round knockout wins into a short notice meeting with Stipe Miocic, a bout which served as the final fight on his UFC contract.

At the time, UFC President Dana White said Nelson (19-8) was willing to "roll the dice" instead of extending the life of his contract. Unfortunately for Nelson, the gamble failed to pay off, as Miocic bested him in a lopsided decision.

However now that negotiations are over, and Nelson is fighting on the first fight of his new deal, both sides say they are reasonably satisfied with the outcome of Nelson's decision.

"It didn't ruin his brand, it didn't put a dent in anything. It was just a fight," said Nelson's manager, Mike Kogan.

"Roy is not a win or lose fighter. Roy is a fight fighter. People just want to see him fight. It's kind of like Nick and Nate Diaz. They don't care if they come out with a loss or a win, they just want to see them fight because they move forward and they're not there to outpoint the opponent or outspar him."

For the most part, White agreed with Kogan's assertion.

"We wanted Roy. We were going to sign Roy anyway," White said. "It's not like we were like, ‘Oh Roy, you lost, now you're f--ked, buddy.' We don't do that, we don't play like that."

In truth the Miocic loss did little to hurt Nelson's stature within the heavyweight ranks, as even despite the setback, Nelson jumped immediately into a fight against the division's No. 2 ranked fighter, Daniel Cormier.

And while White disagreed with the route Nelson elected to take, he respects the fact that Nelson had the fortitude to do so.

"It's just weird when we get into those situations, like Roy rolling the dice and all this stuff," White said. "When I talked about Roy rolling the dice, it's like, Roy waited until the end of his contract. We owed him a fight, and we offered him a fight, and if he didn't take it we'd have to extend his contract. So he took the fight instead. I just feel like he played the whole thing the wrong way, when he didn't need to play it that way."

UFC 166 update

Days out from the fight night, tickets for UFC 166 have sold out to the tune of a $2.5 million gate.

In addition, the event, which takes place October 19, 2013 at the Toyota Center, will be more crowded than initially anticipated. Due to the arena's immensely large central video monitor, the UFC was able to remove all surrounding monitors which would usually decorate the arena, clearing up room for 1,100 additional seats.