(Ladies and gentlemen, I present you with Paulo Filho‘s next tattoo)?
When the upstart Impact Fighting Championships organization announced it would be putting on a series of events in Australia anchored by a cast of controversial WEC, PRIDE and UFC castaways like Karo Parisyan, Ricco Rodriguez, Paulo Filho, Ken Shamrock, Paul Daley and Jesse Taylor, Ben and I figuratively high-fived each other in anticipation of the sheer amount of material for the site the event would undoubtedly produce.??
The fact that the first show basically went off without a hitch would have lost us both money if we trusted our predictions enough to bet that there would be problems with the show.??
Well, the chances of something strange happening at the second event are looking more and more likely, considering how bizarre the pre-fight press conference went yesterday.
According to Sherdog’s Jordan Breen, the presser made less sense than a David Lynch movie and he left the event just as empty inside and wanting his money back.
First we have Ken Shamrock ranting about finding God and the UFC’s monopoly of the sport:
"[Ken] Shamrock is in the process of filming a Christian documentary about his life. A former foster child, Shamrock told a story about a group home he visited in Puerto Rico before facing Kimo Leopoldo at UFC 8 in 1996: children slept in a tractor trailer lined with beds, playing basketball with a milk crate tethered to a pole in the dirt. Shamrock said that memories of that trip led him to become more deeply involved with social work, and more recently, Christian causes.
"Wonderlust Productions, the company making the film with me, have made some really, really great films," says Shamrock. "They’re really popular in our world."
"When you say ‘our world,’ do you mean the world of born-again Christianity?" I ask.
"Yes sir," Shamrock nods confidently. He has long been portrayed as an angry, volatile has-been, but the 46-year-old’s jollity was certainly at odds with that characterization.
"I don’t really want to get into a debate about it. I’m not going to force anyone into what I believe," he continues.
"If we allow one company to control this industry, the fighters are going to suffer, the fans are going to suffer," says Shamrock, suddenly ranting with no provocation."Let’s have some competition out there so we have a say, so fans get higher quality fights. Because right now, you’re not getting good fights," he claims.
Shamrock’s voice gets louder and louder as he speaks, until it seems like he realizes the demon is slipping out and he forces it back inside, softening his tone as he finishes speaking."
I think it’s safe to say that when a guy is more interested in talking about being a born-again Christian and the organization he hasn’t fought for in a few years, he isn’t in a great mental place for his impending fight.??
Only a few months removed from his release by the promotion, Paul Daley seems a bit less upset over his strained relationship with the UFC. Maybe it’s because he didn’t lose a lawsuit against the organization and didn’t have to pay their legal fees.
"Paul, it’s been two months since the sucker punch incident with Josh Koscheck in Montreal," I say, breaking the ice. "I’m sure you regret what you did. However, do you think you truly did a terrible thing, or do you think you were made an example of by the UFC?" ??
"For me, the whole incident has become a bit insignificant," Daley shrugs. "Before I got to the UFC, I was doing just fine. My name was out there; I was fighting top guys. Everyone’s goal is to be with the UFC, and I feel like I did myself justice. I made a mistake, but there’s still paychecks out there." ?
"Dana White said you would never fight in the UFC again. Do you believe him?" I ask, teetering on "Gotcha!" journalism. ??
"Dana is a volatile character," Daley smirks. "I think when he said that, he did really mean it. But, I know Dana likes money, and I’m going to keep bringing in fans. Somewhere down the line, he might want me back."
Not to be outdone, the elephant in the room, Paulo Filho showed up in rare form to the media event, seeming oblivious to the fact that he was at a press conference and not at home in his living room in Brazil watching his beloved Cartoon Network in his underwear.
"Middleweight Denis Kang, though obviously disinterested, is thoughtful in his responses and speaks at length about the ankle injury that hampered him before his bout with Alan Belcher, and the visa issues that kept him from training at American Top Team recently. However, his opponent, the notoriously eccentric Paulo Filho — clad in a beige Venum shirt instead of his usual sleeveless flannel — gives terse, bizarre answers to questions. ??Twice Filho responds to questions after Kang, simply mumbling, "I agree." When asked by fighter-stroke-commentator Elvis Sinosic what he did to train specifically for Kang, Filho offers, "I trained for him, specifically."
I’ve got a good feeling about Saturday night. Something weird is going down for sure.
I don’t know if it’ll be Shamrock announcing he’s retiring to become a minister or Filho announcing that he’s retiring to start his own cult, but whatever it is, it will be full of win.