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Babalu Ready to Get Off the Bench

(Props: MMA Fighting.)

It’s been nine months since Renato “Babalu” Sobral lost the Strikeforce light heavyweight title via short-and-sweet first round TKO to Gegard Mousasi last August. If you think that sounds like a lot of time to sit at home ruminating on the defeat, you’re right. Babalu is understandably pumped at the opportunity to step in for training partner Jason “Mayhem” Miller against Robbie Lawler next month and expresses some frustration to Ariel Helwani in the above video that it’s taken so long to get back in the cage.

Also interesting to note, Babalu seems to direct his annoyance at Showtime, not Strikeforce itself, so that should further stoke debate about who’s really wearing the pants in the fight company’s relationship with the premium cable channel. An excerpt from the interview after the jump.

At about the 3:00 mark:

Helwani: You mentioned the loss to Gegard Mousasi, almost a year ago now. It’s amazing how quickly time has gone by. Why have you waited so long to get back into action?
Babalu: You should ask Showtime, you shouldn’t ask me.
Helwani: You wanted to fight, they just didn’t give you something?
Babalu: Yeah, that’s what happened …
Helwani: To be honest, we’ve heard this from a lot of fighters. Has that been something that’s been frustrating to deal with? You wanting to fight yet no fight being offered to you?
Babalu: Especially because we do have families to support and we need to work. Unfortunately, (in) this sport winners have the voice …

Sobral was tabbed to take over for Mayhem while he awaits word from the Tennessee Athletic Commission about a possible suspension stemming from the post-fight brawl at Strikeforce: Nashville on April 17. The bout with Lawler will be contested at a catchweight of 195-pounds and Sobral indicates to Helwani that making weight this time around could be a trial run for making the move to middleweight.

Sobral says he talked it over with his doctor – you hear that, MMA fighters? – and decided it wouldn’t be a good idea to try to cut all the way down to 185-pounds for this short-notice fight. He’ll gauge how his body feels once he makes 195 and decide from there which division will be best for him in the future. All that sounds like a surprisingly pragmatic way to go about it, so bravo to the fighter for taking a smart approach.

Babalu hopes to be more active during the next calendar year, you know, provided he doesn’t have to take on a third job – he opened his own gym in 2008 – just to feed his wife and kids.

Cagepotato Comments

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ihateemo- May 24, 2010 at 12:46 pm
What's his gym's slogan?

"Tap until you learn respect"?
KidDinomite- May 23, 2010 at 2:59 pm
How many fights does he have in his contract with Strikeforce? Maybe Babalu should sign with Bellator for their upcoming light-heavyweight tournament. He'd be a a good contender and possibly the favorite to win it, plus he gets more fights depending on how he does. Make it happen, Bjorn Rebney!!!!
Mr_Misanthropy- May 23, 2010 at 12:47 pm
Helwani certainly has a nose for sniffing out the inside info, it's as if he can smell when the timing is right.
cecils_pupils- May 23, 2010 at 12:43 pm
Ariel (in his best Dr. Phil voice): Babalu... when David Heath called you a motherfucker, how did that make you feel?
ReX13- May 23, 2010 at 12:02 pm
Shamrock would choke Sobral until he learned some respect.
just some dong- May 23, 2010 at 11:40 am
Sobral's cool. But man, did he seem depressed by the end of this interview. Nice work, Helwani!
Angry Whopper- May 23, 2010 at 10:38 am
I'd like to see Sobral back in the game. He isn't getting any younger, for one thing, and this may be a chance for him to get back into the UFC. I think he'd be a good addition to the LHW division in the UFC, and his unique brand of insanity would serve to keep other 205-nonchalants on their toes. A matchup I'd like to see is Sobral vs. Thiago Silva.
SiDeBuRnZ- May 23, 2010 at 8:35 am
I'd train at his gym. Provided his slogan isn't "Tap, Snap, THEN Nap"
Shaky- May 23, 2010 at 8:35 am
I don't really think the UFC treats their fighters any worse than any other promotion, in fact, they seem a lot better. Sure they use strong-arm tactics in negotiations etc but at least they give their fighters fights.
Almost North- May 23, 2010 at 8:08 am
Every day I hate showforce a little bit more.
CheechFace- May 23, 2010 at 7:54 am