The World Alliance of Mixed Martial Arts (WAMMA) has announced that it will recognize the winner of the New Year’s Eve lightweight bout between Eddie Alvarez and Shinya Aoki, WAMMA’s number 2 and 3 ranked lightweights respectively, as WAMMA’s first-ever lightweight champion.
The bout is slated to take place on December 31st in Saitama, Japan at the Saitama Super Arena during FEG’s “FieLDS Dynamtie!!”.
UFC lightweight champion BJ Penn is currently WAMMA’s top-ranked lightweight, but WAMMA Chief Operating Officer Michael Lynch, in a press release announcing the title match, explained that the winner of the upcoming bout is still deserving of the title.
“WAMMA’s board of directors supports the WAMMA pollsters in their recognition of B.J. Penn as the number one rated lightweight fighter in the world,” said Lynch. “However, Penn has not fought since May 24 and isn’t scheduled to compete again until January 31. His Jan. 31 fight will be contested at welterweight against Georges St. Pierre for the UFC’s 170 pound crown. If Penn wins, UFC President Dana White has already stated that Penn’s next fight will be a welterweight title defense against Thiago Alves. Needless to say, Penn’s future as a regular competitor in the lightweight division is uncertain.
“With our number two and three ranked lightweight fighters scheduled to compete on one of the sport’s biggest stages, we felt that the fight was worthy of determining WAMMA’s first-ever lightweight champion. But we’re a fan-forward organization and we are aware of the criticism. If after the St. Pierre fight it becomes clear that Penn’s future is at lightweight, WAMMA will approach the UFC with the hope of facilitating a fight between Penn and the WAMMA lightweight champion.”
The 155-pound title will be the second championship issued by WAMMA, who currently recognizes Fedor Emelianenko as their undisputed heavyweight champion. Emelianenko will put his title on the line on January 24th against former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski in the main event of Affliction: Day of Reckoning.