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'Fight for the Troops' a farewell to Koscheck?

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Will this Wednesday be the last time we see Josh Koscheck in the UFC for a while?

After the huge spat between American Kickboxing Academy and Zuffa a few weeks back, it looked as though things had smoothed over for the most part as Jon Fitch returned to the welterweight fold and the big talk of MMA quieted down. Recently on ESPN’s MMA Live, Frank McNeil of the Newark Star-Ledger basically stated that Koscheck had not signed the merchandising and licensing agreement and had no plans of doing so. Quoting McNeil:

"If he loses - and even if he wins - this may the last fight he has in the UFC," said McNeil. "As far as I know, he hasn’t signed the licensing agreement and has no intention of signing it."

This makes Wednesday’s fight a little more intriguing in my opinion. Will Koscheck get the Tito Ortiz treatment, seeing as how he’s never been one of the more liked fighters in the UFC? A loss for Koscheck would definitely signal a possible departure from the promotion. With him unwilling to sign the deal as well as racking up back to back losses, he can pretty much pack his bags. A boring, plodding decision would probably mean the same, as even a win in that method wouldn’t exactly back Dana White against a wall to keep him. Only a spectacular knockout or wild, crazy fight of the year candidate would Dana and crew most likely keep him around.

Looking back at Koscheck’s UFC run (of course, speaking as though he’s on his way out), he’s done remarkably well seeing as how he was known as simply a wrestler coming out of the initial Ultimate Fighter. Going 9-3 is no easy task in a stacked welterweight division and his only losses there come to #1 contender Thiago Alves, welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre, and former top welterweight Drew Fickett. Outside of a decision win over Diego Sanchez though, he never quite beat any top 10 welterweights in the UFC. His improving striking and tough, never say die attitude has kept him atop UFC’s list of contenders but the fan’s disdain for him in his case doesn’t signal more buys like a Tito Ortiz.

Thus, if Koscheck does go out after his fight with Yoshiyuki Yoshida, there’s not a whole lot of options especially at welterweight. Nearly the entire consensus top ten in the welterweight division is Zuffa owned. Georges St. Pierre, Thiago Alves, Carlos Condit, Jon Fitch, Diego Sanchez, etc are all of course either in the UFC or WEC, so his opposition would be few and far between. Maybe a clash with free agent Jake Shields could generate a buzz for Koscheck, but the likely hood that Shields is UFC bound is big. That leaves UK fighter Paul Daley and maybe former UFC/WEC fighter John Alessio, which have little to no interest in my opinion. I understand Koscheck wanting to take a stand for himself and others but when it could very well jeopardize your career as far as money and exposure, sometimes you just got to bite the bullet. We’ll see what happens as the ‘Fight for the Troops’ rolls around. What do you think will happen to Josh Koscheck?