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Tag: MMA interviews

Exclusive: ‘World Series of Fighting’ President Ray Sefo Prepares for His New Battle Outside of the Ring


(Photo via Sherdog.)

By Andreas Hale

It only made sense for Ray Sefo to start his own MMA promotion. Well, it only made sense once the stars aligned in a unique way that told him he’d better start an MMA promotion or else. You see, back when K-1 was falling apart, Sefo happened to do an interview where he discussed how much money the promotion owed him and the possibility of starting his own company. The thought ran through his mind heavy after the call. After all, he has put on a successful K-1 event in New Zealand, and he had a pretty good idea how to handle the business. So he decided to sleep on it.

The next morning, a wealthy friend of his named Sig Rogich gave him a call out of the blue and invited Sefo to breakfast so they could discuss something. Mind you, Rogich had never heard the interview from the night before.

“(Sig) said ‘What do you think about starting an MMA fighting league?’” Sefo says when reflecting on the origins of World Series of Fighting. “I looked at him and said ‘Are you kidding me? That’s exactly what I was going to talk to you about on Monday!’ It was just meant to be. The stars aligned for us and this was meant to happen.”

Plans were laid out, business was taken care of, and fighters were signed. November 3rd marks the inaugural fight night, which will emanate from the Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, and air on NBC Sports (formally Versus). It’s not your average rinky-dink startup operation, as WSoF 1 features a loaded card that includes the likes of Andrei Arlovski, Anthony Johnson, and Miguel Torres on the main card. While newer promotions may struggle to land talent, WSoF has had many of its fighters fall right into their lap. In particular, guys like Johnson and Torres had been cut by the UFC this year for weight issues but are still marquee names in the sport. Inking with WSoF made perfect sense for them, partly because of Sefo’s own background

“Many of them were up for it right away because of my involvement and with the understanding that I am a fighter becoming a promoter,” Sefo explains. “I understand what a fighter goes through to prepare for a fight. That appealed to a lot of the guys.”

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Exclusive: Frank Shamrock Discusses His Lifetime of Fighting, And the Healing Process of Writing ‘Uncaged’


(Order it on Amazon.com right here.)

By Brian J. D’Souza

With his fight career behind him, and the MMA promotion that he helped build heading towards disintegration, Frank Shamrock has reached a reflective moment in his life. Armed with the perspective from years of struggle, Shamrock has poured his thoughts into an autobiography published last week, Uncaged: My Life as a Champion MMA Fighter. In this revealing interview with CagePotato.com, “The Legend” discusses his formative years, the experiences that carved his mind and body into fighting shape, and the massive labor of love that resulted in his book. Enjoy…

CAGEPOTATO.COM: How are you doing?
FRANK SHAMROCK: I am slightly jet-lagged and my spine is killing me.

You just came back from ‘Glory 2’ in Brussels? Did you enjoy the fights? 
Yeah, it was awesome, totally awesome. I’ve never called kickboxing, but I liked it. They [Glory] have a serious shot there. They have really good production people involved, the distribution seems to be pretty solid for the plan. Everybody just seemed to be on top of the world. It was pretty cool.

I read your book — in one sitting, because it was so riveting. It touched on a lot of personal issues, a lot of sensitive things [child abuse, molestation, incarceration, alcoholism] that we almost never hear fighters talk about. How tough was it to write this book?
It was pretty tough — not the sharing part, but just the learning part. There was a lot of stuff that I didn’t know about myself during the book writing part. It was healing and it was challenging. I think it was more healing than anything.

How long did it take to bring this project to completion?
It took four-and-a-half years. We started with an outline — I always knew I’d write this book — but it was an outline about four-and-a-half years ago. My story is my story, it didn’t change, it just kept growing. I wrote the skeleton down and got it going, and as soon as I found a writer [Charles Fleming], which took me a couple years, then it took me a year to sell him on the project. It took a long time to get people to realize what the depth of the work would be.

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‘WTF?’ Video of the Day: Nate Landwehr, Post-Fight Interview Madman


(Props: MMAInsideTheCageTV)

How can I describe Nate “The Train” Landwehr? Imagine an evil government experiment in which the combined DNA of Clay GuidaRiff Raff, and Ric Flair were mixed together in a petri dish and left to ferment in a sock drawer for like three weeks. He’s a fully hyped up sumbitch, and he does his best work directly after his fights, whenever a microphone is aimed near his face. This clip came after Nate’s second-round TKO win over Chris Wright (“I mean Chris Wrong”) at XFC 20 on Friday, which began with some trash-talk and ended in a near-brawl inside the cage. During the post-fight interview with our bros at MMA:ITC, he’s a bouncing ball of adrenaline, who appears ready to break out a freestyle rap verse at any moment. He’s the anti-Gunnar Nelson.

Two more of Landwehr’s post-fight interviews are after the jump, along with his first XFC win over Billy Mullins in June, which ended in a horribly late stoppage.

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Unforgettable: Bas Rutten Discusses His Greatest Opponents


(Photo via FUEL TV)

A near-mythological figure in the world of combat sports, Bas Rutten‘s achievements include three King of Pancrase titles, a UFC heavyweight championship, broadcasting gigs for PRIDE and Inside MMA, various movie cameos, and a starring role in the greatest instructional video of all time. “El Guapo” was kind enough to give us a few minutes of his time this week to discuss his legendary fight career, and the opponents who stood out across a number of categories. Show your appreciation by following Bas on Twitter and Facebook, and watch out for his latest big-screen appearance in the MMA comedy flick Here Comes the Boom next month.

Toughest chin: That has to be Masakatsu Funaki and my last opponent Ruben Villareal. Funaki I hit and kneed so hard that my palms and knee were bruised, until the final knee where I grabbed Funaki’s hair and drilled the knee in his face, but boy, every time he got back up, it was crazy. Villareal, although I had a rib out and couldn’t hit a bag the last two weeks [of training], I still hit him hard, and right on his chin every time. First he said to me, “Damn, you’re fast.” I said “Thank you,” then I hit him again and he said, “And you hit hard.” I told him, “Apparently not hard enough!” It was funny.

Heaviest hands: I was very fortunate never to have anybody connecting full. I have pretty good defense. So I honestly can’t tell you; I’ve never been hit hard. Though I guess in training I have. Pedro Rizzo has very heavy hands.

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‘UFC on FOX 4′ Exclusive: For Cole Miller, Losing Is No Longer an Option

By Elias Cepeda

UFC featherweight Cole Miller (18-6) doesn’t mince words and isn’t initially open to reflection today. He’s on his way from Miami’s international airport to Los Angeles, where he will fight Nam Pham this Saturday, August 4th, on the preliminary card of UFC on Fox: Shogun vs. Vera.

Traveling is hardly ever any fun, and it must be less so for someone cutting weight, as Miller is. And when he’s asked what he may have learned from his last fight, a loss to Steven Siler in March, Miller is hard on himself.

“I wouldn’t say I learned anything from that fight. I just looked like shit,” he deadpans. “I moved backwards too much, I tried to counter too much, which is not really my game. I don’t know why I did that.”

Miller has never lost two fights in a row in his MMA career — and admits to a certain pride in that — but says that these days, losing at all is not acceptable. “When I was younger [losing two in a row] really meant that you didn’t learn from your previous mistake or didn’t work hard enough. Now its more of a, ‘losing sucks, period,’ feeling,” he says.

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[VIDEO] Retired Legend Randy Couture Discusses Life and His Identity After the UFC


(Props: KnuckleGame)

Man, you’d think reporters would give it a rest with asking retired fighters like Randy Couture whether or not they have the itch to come back to fighting. I mean, Couture hasn’t fought since April of 2011 when he took on Lyoto Machida at UFC 129 for crying out loud. On second thought, I guess that’s also the last time Georges St. Pierre fought, so…

In any case, we’ve been enjoying a series of video interviews with “The Natural,” done by MMAFighting’s Luke Thomas recently. In the first installment, Randy talks about his decision to retire, and how well it’s sitting with him these days as he jets around the world making blockbuster and straight-to-video films alike, all while running a top MMA gym.

Perhaps most interestingly, Thomas references the just-retired Kenny Florian, who recently spoke about the difficulty of adjusting to no longer being able to identify himself as a fighter, and asks Couture about how he defines himself these days. Is he a wrestler? Is he a fighter? Is he a coach? Is he the Scorpion King? Couture, per usual, gives a thoughtful and earnest response. Give it a look, and check out more from this revealing interview series after the jump.

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Exclusive: Martin Kampmann Talks Comebacks and Title Shots


(Nothing that a little super-glue and duct tape won’t fix… / Photo via @MartinKampmann)

By Elias Cepeda

At this point, fight fans are wondering how Martin Kampmann can keep pulling dramatic victories out from the jaws of defeat. In March, the UFC welterweight contender was being soundly beaten for fourteen minutes by Thiago Alves on the feet before forcing him to tap out to a guillotine choke with seconds left in the fight.

Less than two weeks ago, Kampmann did it again, this time against Jake Ellenberger. Ellenberger connected with a monster left hook to the dome of Kampmann at the start of their TUF 15 Finale main event bout. Kampmann went down hard and looked to be moments away from losing and letting the division’s number one contender spot to the interim title — or whatever these poor guys are competing for at this point, in Georges St. Pierre’s absence — go to his opponent.

Instead, Kampmann somehow survived the round. Less than two minutes into the second, he landed his own punches and one huge knee to the head, putting Ellenberger down and out, and scoring his second come-from-behind stoppage win of 2012.

But good luck trying to figure out what, exactly, was going on in Kampmann’s mind at those moments of in-cage crisis before he turned the tide. “I kind of go on autopilot when I’m in there and try not to think too much,” Kampmann tells CagePotato.com.

Thinking is for training, for strategy, for figuring out how to prepare for the fight. In the heat of battle itself, a fighter needs his training to pay off with dividends of pure reaction. Punches, kicks, feints, and even submission holds need to be instinctual at that point.

“The more I think, the worse I do,” Kampmann explains.

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UFC 145 Exclusive: Travis Browne Discusses Chad Griggs, Facial Hair, Dogs, Fatherhood + More

After compiling a 3-0-1 record in the UFC, heavyweight contender Travis “Hapa” Browne will welcome Strikeforce standout Chad Griggs into the Octagon at UFC 145: Jones vs. Evans (April 21st, Atlanta). CagePotato video-correspondent Sal Mora caught up to the undefeated slugger at the Jackson’s MMA camp in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to chat about his upcoming match — which will close out the UFC 145 preliminary card broadcast on FX — as well as Browne’s life outside of the cage. Check out the exclusive video after the jump, and let us know how you think this one will go down. Some highlights from the interview…

- On deserving a “step up” after four fights in the UFC: ”I can’t worry myself with that. Joe Silva lines ‘em up, I knock ‘em down. Whoever he decides to put in front of me, it’s none of my business. I’m just out there to put on a show and keep winning my fights. It doesn’t matter who I fight, or where I stand in the rankings. I’m not somebody who gets caught up in that. I don’t even know where I stand right now, actually.”

- On what his sons think of their dad’s MMA career: “I think right now it’s not something that they have fully grasped. Before I came to camp, my last dinner with my kids…we’re all sitting down to dinner, and the waiter comes over and says, ‘Can I get you guys anything to drink?’ and my son stands up on the bench that he’s sitting on and says, ‘Hey! My dad’s in the video game!’…It was really cool to see my son happy about that. I just want my kids to be proud of me, and I think I’m doing that.”

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Exclusive: Brian Stann Discusses Life Between the Battles


(Photo courtesy of MMA Weekly)

By Jonathan Shrager

Brian Stann‘s accomplishments in MMA and military heroism are matters of public record. But what about the man himself? As the UFC middleweight contender heads into his pivotal co-main-event against Alessio Sakara at UFC on Fuel TV: Gustafsson vs. Silva this weekend, we spoke to the All-American about everything from his childhood to his intense training to his various pursuits outside of fighting. Enjoy, and follow Brian Stann on twitter @BrianStann.

CAGEPOTATO.COM Hi Brian, many thanks for the opportunity to conduct this interview. I read that you played football as middle linebacker at the Naval Academy. How good were you at football? Do you think you could have made the NFL?
BRIAN STANN:
No, not even close. When I played football in college, I was recruited to play quarterback. My style was more to pass than run the option. Quarterback didn’t really work out, so I got moved around to a lot of different positions before finding a home at linebacker. It was a position I had only played sparingly at high school, so I had to learn the position while actually playing at a competitive level. I was always a good athlete, but quarterback was my primary position, and I never really had the stuff to play in the NFL.

Going back even further, you were actually born in Japan, at Yokota Airbase. Were your parents in the armed forces?
Yes that’s true. My father was in the air force, so my family was stationed at the airbase. My mom left with me and my sister when I was two years old, and we moved back to Scranton, Pennsylvania. I pretty much lived there until I left for college.

Obviously you were very young so you might not remember, but being born there, do you feel any affinity with Japan at all?
Yes I do. When I was young, The Karate Kid was big, and I always thought it was really cool that I was born there. My mother and I made this promise that one day in the future we would return to visit Yokota and that she would show me all the different spots, and reminisce, since I don’t remember anything. So there’s certainly an affinity there, and when my fight career is over and I’m not constantly in training, my mom and I will make that trip.

So, you were born in Japan, raised in Pennsylvania, currently live in Georgia, train out in New Mexico, and fight everywhere. Where do you consider home now? You must feel a little displaced at times with all the traveling.

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[VIDEO] – War Machine’s Final 48 Hours of Freedom


(Well, at least the guy knows how to go out in style.) 

After a year long prison sentence training camp helped propel John Koppenhaver War Machine to a brilliant third round TKO over Roger Huerta last November, it saddened the world to find out that the former UFC fighter, TUF 6 star, and short lived pornstar would headed back to jail for another year, despite already being released some 8 months ago.

The unfortunate announcement came shortly after War Machine snagged a place in Bellator’s season 6 welterweight tournament, and appeared to be at least attempting to turn his life around. Needless to say, War Machine was pissed.

And now that War Machine’s days are truly numbered, he decided to sit down with MMA Uncensored Live for a lengthy interview, which will air this Thursday at 11 p.m. on Spike TV.

Check out a video preview of the interview after the jump.

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