May 13, 2008

Tommy Speer to WEC


From Rochester Post-Bulletin:
Elgin ultimate fighter Tommy Speer released from UFC contract
5/12/2008 8:52:27 AM
By Ben Pherson
Post-Bulletin-Rochester, MN

Losing two consecutive fights appears to be unacceptable to the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

After a pair of setbacks, Elgin mixed martial artist Tommy Speer recently was released from his Ultimate Fighting Championship contract.

Speer was a contestant on season six of hit reality TV show "The Ultimate Fighter." He finished as that season's runner-up, winning three fights before losing to Mac Danzig by first-round submission during the live TUF finale in December.

In Speer's most recent fight, he suffered a devastating 51-second knockout loss to Anthony Johnson last month at UFC's Fight Night 13.

Speer became a casualty of the UFC's most recent cuts; the organization is reportedly trying to trim its roster by 25 percent. Other big-name fighters, like Din Thomas, Jake O'Brien and Travis Lutter, also were released by the UFC.

Speer is 9-3 as a professional but 0-2 in the UFC (his three victories on the reality show don't count on his official record).

After his release, Speer said his manager, Monte Cox, was immediately contacted by World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC). Speer had been fighting for the WEC before he made the cast of "The Ultimate Fighter." The WEC is owned by the UFC and is considered the No. 2 mixed martial arts organization in the world. Eyota's Logan Clark also fought for the WEC, though he is not currently under contract with the organization.

Speer said the WEC has welcomed him back.

"They're pumped to have me back because they never wanted to lose me in the first place," Speer said. "We haven't talked about the money or length of contract yet, but I'll definitely be in the WEC. They're planning to get me on their next big event after their June event, probably in August."

When Speer first learned of his UFC release, he was disappointed. But now he's comfortable with the move.

"I didn't agree with it right away; it was depressing news," Speer said. "But now I know I lost to a great fighter, and he surprised me and everyone by how well he fought. I don't think it's too bad of a thing for me to be going to the WEC. There are great fighters there, too. I need to keep learning and working on my game, and the WEC is a great place to do that.

"I can't complain about what's happened, because have I put in as much time and effort as other people who have gotten to the UFC? No, I haven't. But I'm going to keep working on it as much as I can."

Speer is currently working on his family's farm outside Elgin. He had hoped to fight outside of the WEC prior to August, but a spider bite has halted his training.

"The doctors at Mayo (Clinic) said I was bit by a brown recluse spider (on my calf), so I'm on antibiotics," Speer said. "They said it might take a month to heal up. So I'm not training now, and I probably won't be able to fight until August, because I'll need some serious training time when I get back."

Speer said he still intends to travel to Missouri to train with former UFC champion Matt Hughes at his gym, H.I.T. Squad, prior to his fights. He spent a month training with Hughes prior to his last UFC fight.

"I won't be down there full-time because I still need to help on the farm. But I'll get down there whenever I can, and for sure before fights," Speer said.
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